Article by Mike
Sometime last month I wrote an article about wrestlers who tried other careers, including acting, music, and even advertising. Well I’m going to be looking at a few more professional wrestlers who gave other things a go, and failed miserably, and some who succeeded, starting with:
I may or may not have mentioned in my last article that wrestling is like acting. You have to go out and play a character, the ring is your stage, you need to entertain your audience. So it’s not surprising that some wrestlers will try to throw in a little comedy.
This leads to such moments as when The Ultimate Warrior (who I believe I mentioned in my last post) made the following joke about his opponent Rick Rude and Rude’s manager Bobby Heenan. “Do you know what Rick Rude and Bobby Heenan have in common with the Liberty Bell? One is cracked, and the other is a ding dong.” Yes, he actually said that. But one wrestler who used comedy in wrestling and made it work was Mick Foley, who formerly wrestled in WWE (or WWF as it was known back then) as Mankind, Cactus Jack and Dude Love, all at the same time.
See? Wrestling as Mankind, Mick Foley was one of the most popular wrestlers in WWE in the late 1990’s. He held the WWF World Title three times, as well as multiple Tag Team Title reigns, and was inducted into WWE’s Hall of Fame in 2013. His comedic antics in the ring and backstage entertained the fans even after one of his many retirements. But then he decided to go into stand-up comedy. And this happened:
In this video, Mick Foley rips on long-time pal Al Snow. Anyone who’s a fan of Mick Foley will know that he loves to take the piss out of Al Snow, which is fine, but if you don’t know that then the four minutes of that video were absolutely pointless. At least when someone makes a joke about Boris Johnson or George W. Bush (topical I know), you actually know who they’re talking about. To get Mick’s joke there, you have to not only know who Al Snow is, but know that Mick likes to joke about him, which you’d only get if you’ve read his autobiography. It’s like the joke needs instructions for you to understand it. And is doesn’t stop there, he does it all the time.
Luckily the audio version of the autobiography is up there for ya.
And when he’s not using Al Snow to try and get a laugh, he’s stinking the place up with his bad jokes and bad timing. It’s difficult to get across how bad he is from watching his videos, his shows are often attended by his fans who’ll laugh at anything he says anyway, but to really get an idea of how bad he is, you’d have to see him live, but I’d advise you not to. For a little more insight into Mick’s stand-up, here’s a review of a show he did in Dublin.
But has any wrestler made comedy work for them? Well, yes, like I said Mick Foley was a popular character in the ring, his backstage segments always got a laugh, and other wrestlers can make the crowd laugh too. But has any wrestler made comedy work for them outside wrestling?
Why yes. Colt Cabana, a wrestler from Chicago, has done pretty well and made a name for himself as a comedian as well as a wrestler. He, along with fellow Chicago based comedian Marty DeRosa, star in short sketches entitled Creative Has Nothing For You. A little info, the creative team, or just creative for short, are the writers, and often, when a wrestler is fired from WWE (including Colt Cabana himself) the reason given is “Creative has nothing for you.”
Colt and Marty are also known for $5 Wrestling, which showcases the most laughably bad wrestling matches while they both commentate over it.
Yep, politics. I’m sure most wrestlers are political in some way, whether they’re Democratic or Republican or whatever, and some of them are more vocal than others. That brings me to The Ultimate Warrior (again) who, in 1999 (6 years after he changed his name from Jim Hellwig to Warrior, yes he actually did that), began a brief career as a Conservative speaker. It ended quickly when Warrior stated “Queering doesn’t make the world work.” By this he meant that if everyone in the world was gay, the population would die out. It seems that he doesn’t understand how sperm works. His statement offended a lot of people, but I can’t see why. Not that I agree with him, it’s just how can you take a public speaker seriously when his name is Warrior? Besides, he’s not all that he seems himself. Here he is about to rape Santa:
But that’s nothing compared to Linda McMahon, former CEO of WWE, who ran for US Senator from Connecticut between September 2009 and November the following year. It didn’t go too well for her, sadly, or luckily depending on your political views. Just to give you an idea of how bad things went for Linda, she lost. Not only did she lose, but her 2 failed senate bids cost her $97,000,000. The senate bids were funded by the McMahons themselves, because using WWE’s money would be illegal. Sadly I couldn’t find the TV advert for her campaign, but it showed footage of Linda, in WWE, kicking a guy in the nuts, slapping her own daughter, and getting attacked by a wrestler named Kane.
But some wrestlers do well in politics. Well, one that I know of. Jesse Ventura wrestled from the mid 1970’s to the mid 1980’s when he retired to become one of the best wrestling commentators of all time. Before this he’d served in the military, and in 1987 appeared in Predator and The Running Man alongside his pal Arnold Schwarzenegger. But aside from all this, he was also the 38th Governor Minnesota, and was in office between 1999 and 2003.
Vince McMahon, owner of WWE, has always been a fan of other sports, probably more so than wrestling itself. In 1990 he founded the WBF, or World Bodybuilding Federation. Unsurprisingly, it failed, and had gone extinct in 1992, only two years later. The problem was Vince was trying to appeal to wrestling fans, by giving the bodybuilders ridiculous cartoony characters, like in the WWF, and to bodybuilding fans by giving them big muscly oil-covered guys in thongs. Like this one:
But Vince didn’t stop there. It seems he was sick of people looking at his product and saying it was fake, that the wrestlers weren’t really getting hurt and it was all acting, so how do you counter these claims? By getting your wrestlers legitimately injured in a shoot fighting tournament, that’s how.I present to you, the Brawl For All.
The reason this happened was because the WWF had some legit tough guys who weren’t doing anything at the time, so it gave them something to do, and capitalized on the growing interest in Toughman Contests. Like I mentioned, a lot of people got genuinely injured from this tournament, on account of them being trained to wrestle and not fight, and the whole thing was negatively received by the fans, who chanted “Boring” and “We want wrestling” during the bouts, on account of them paying to go to a wrestling show to see actual wrestling. It has been described as “the stupidest thing the WWF has ever done” and “a bad idea.” Bart Gunn went on to win the tournament, knocking out ‘Dr. Death’ Steve Williams in the process, who was known as one of the hardest men in wrestling, so with genuinely knocking out this man, you’d think that he’d be a future star in the WWF. But you’d be wrong, here is what Bart Gunn was doing at Wresltmania XV, WWF’s biggest Pay Per View of the year:
But Vince McMahon didn’t stop there! Vince McMahon, you see, isn’t just a big fan of boxing, shoot fighting and bodybuilding, but he really likes American football, and he had a crack at this himself with his own football league, the XFL. How did it do? It was founded in 2000, its inaugural season was in 2001, ended in 2001, and lost Vince $63,000,000.
But it’s not just Vince who’s tried his hand at other sports, as a lot have given MMA a go. Batista fought Vince Lucero to a win in a terrible fight, but hey, it’s a win, 7’2 Giant Silva holds two wins and six losses during his MMA career, both wins over former sumo wrestlers, and Nathan Jones, best known for being a terrible wrestler, turned out to be a terrible mixed martial artist with his 0-1 career, losing to Koji Kitao, a sumo wrestler, by submission.
Katao (on the right) seems to have forgotten his attire.
But it’s not all bad. Bobby Lashley was another regular roid monkey working for the WWE and later TNA until he gave MMA a go, and currently holds a 10-2 record. Brock Lesnar is another wrestler turned shoot fighter, holding a 5-3 win/loss record in MMA, and even became the UFC Heavyweight Championship, and making a big name for himself in the process. Ken Shamrock became a star in WWE (WWF at the time) after making a name for himself in shoot fighting, but what you may or may not know is that he got into the sport after training to be a professional wrestler.
So that’s it, I’ve looked at wrestlers who have tried careers in acting, music and even politics. We’ve seen what happens when wrestlers try to be funny, or try to genuinely beat people up, and what happens when wrestling promotions try to advertise products. Make what you want of that information, I’m off to smoke a pipe. And remember what The Ultimate Warrior says: