By Chad Smart
@ChadSmart on Twitter
I know Kevin has started a month long series tying Halloween into the postings, but before I can start with my series, I have to get out a blog I promised writing a week ago. We had a suggestion from a loyal reader who wanted our opinion on the best appearances by wrestlers on television programs.
After thinking about it, I realized there were way more wrestling appearances than I realized. So without any more delay here in no certain order is my top 10 list of wrestlers stepping outside of the squared circle and onto a production set.
KING KONG BUNDY ON “MARRIED WITH CHILDREN”: I have to lead off this one because if it wasn’t for King Kong Bundy, the “Married with Children” family would have had a different name. King Kong Bundy was one of the creator’s favorite wrestlers so they decided to name the Bundy’s after the master of the 5 count. In this episode, Bud Bundy dresses up as the Bumble Bee and wrestles King Kong Bundy.
ANDRE THE GIANT ON “THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN”: I have to admit I don’t remember this one but it always gets brought up when the topic of wrestlers on TV gets mentioned. Before his scene stealing performance in “The Princess Bride,” Andre played Bigfoot and had a fight with the original Steve Austin.
THE ROCK ON “THAT 70’S SHOW”: During the Attitude era, The Rock appeared on an episode of “That 70’s Show” playing his father “Soul Man” Rocky Johnson. The appearance was full of inaccuracies. For example the block style WWF logo was used even though during the time frame of the show the company was still the WWWF. Take away the mistakes and The Rock showed some of the promise of being a credible actor he would later use to segway out of wrestling and into a bonafide acting career.
VADER ON”BOY MEETS WORLD”: This is probably one of my all time favorites. Vader made a few appearances on “Boy Meets World” as the father of Ethan Suplee’s character, Frankie. Frankie was the thug with a heart of gold. In this episode Vader wanted Frankie to be his corner man for a fight against Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Frankie knew very little about wrestling so he enlisted the help of Corey and Shawn to be in the corner with him to give adequate advice. The night of the match was also the same night as Topanga’s Sweet 16 birthday party, which provided the conflict for Corey. How would he be able to be at the party and the wrestling match at the same time? I recently watched this episode again and have to say it holds up pretty well. Vader’s son is currently in FCW and I’ve read message board suggestions that if he ever makes it to the WWE’s main roster, they should call him Frankie as a nod to “Boy Meets World.” I agree with this suggestion.
THE ROAD WARRIORS ON “LEARNING THE ROPES”: This is another show that I’ve read a lot about but don’t remember watching when it was on. The premise, if I’m correct, was former football star Lyle Alzado played a teacher by day, masked wrestler by night. I’m not sure what connection the show had with the NWA but several NWA stars made appearances on the show and “Dr. Death” Steve Williams was the actual wrestler under the mask during the match footage.
LEX LUGER ON “THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERBOY”: Before there was “Smallville,” before there was “Lois and Clark,” there was the “The New Adventures of Superboy.” This was a syndicated show in the late 80s. I vaguely remember watching this show on Sunday mornings. In addition to Luger making an appearance, Sting also appeared on an episode. If you watch the clip, I’m sure you’ll understand why Luger’s acting career never took off.
CAPT. LOU ALBANO ON “THE SUPER MARIO BROS. SUPER SHOW”: The late, great Capt. Lou Albano played video game plumber, Mario on a syndicated children’s show in 1989. Capt. Lou was a perfect fit as Mario. In the clip provided, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper makes an appearance as well. Children’s programming has never been cooler.
RANDY “MACHO MAN” SAVAGE ON “THE “WEIRD” AL SHOW”: Did I say children’s television couldn’t get any cooler? I was wrong. “Macho Man” wrestles a hamster. What more needs to be said?
THE BASH AT THE BEACH EPISODE OF “BAYWATCH”: In a move of marketing genius, WCW held their 1995 “Bash at the Beach” pay per view on an actual beach in California. I want to say it was held at Venice Beach, which would make sense since Hulk Hogan was billed as being from Venice Beach. The PPV tied in with an episode of “Baywatch” featuring Hogan, Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Vader and Kevin Sullivan. Just watch the clip.
JOHN CENA ON “HANNAH MONTANA”: I couldn’t end the list without including the biggest star in wrestling. It’s John Cena. It’s Hannah Montana. Let’s leave it at that.
Bret Hart on “The Simpsons” (wanted to include this but couldn’t find a clip)
John Cena, Mickie James, Stacy Kiebler on “Psych”
Mick Foley on “G vs. E.”
Triple H on “The Drew Carey Show”
Steve Austin on “Nash Bridges”
Steve Austin, Batista, Stacy Kiebler on “Chuck”
Cody Rhodes on “Warehouse 13”
Edge on “Haven”