With the recent news that WWE Studios and Warner Bros. are working on a new animated crossover between Scooby Doo and the stars of the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment – formally WWF), I thought I’d delve into the world of professional wrestling and movie crossovers.
This isn’t the first time WWE stars have appeared with movie characters. And I’m not talking about actors appearing on wrestling programs or wrestlers trying to act, I’m talking about WWE characters interacting with fictional movie and TV characters. Most recently, Harry, Curly and Moe appeared on Monday Night Raw to promote The Three Stooges movie (one of them said it was the most embarrassing thing he’d ever done). They came down did some wacky backstage skits before coming down to the ring where they were beaten up by Kane. It was about as funny as the new film looks (which isn’t much).
So, let’s begin our top 5 shall we?
5. Jackass invades RAW
On the 16th October 2006, Jackass stars Steve-o and Chris “Party Boy” Pontius appeared on Monday Night RAW to promote Jackass Number Two. First appearing in the crowd and then in the ring, Steve-o and Pontius were treated to a hostile welcoming by the Samoan Bulldozer, Umaga. At the time, Umaga was being pushed in WWE as an unstoppable force and he showed just how terrifying he was by kicking the crap out of the Jackass stars and leaving them laying.
What’s funny about this appearance was that reportedly WWE owner Vince McMahon and Eddie Fatu (the wrestler who played Umaga) were very upset at Steve-o and Pontius because they laughed during Umaga’s beat down. I really have no idea why the pair of them were surprised that the stars of Jackass were so comical about their appearance given the nature of their show, but the Jackass crew were never asked back and I don’t think there has ever been much mention of their appearance since.
4. The Muppets host RAW
October again but the a few years later, The Muppets (the actual Muppets) were the guest hosts of Monday Night RAW to promote their new movie. At the time, RAW was going through a period where they had lots of celebrities and guest hosts including Ozzy Ozbourne, Hugh Jackman, Rob Zombie and even Pee-Wee Herman. They would do some backstage skits and appear in front of the live crowd. It lasted for about a year with some great unintentionally hilarious moments like Jeremy Piven calling the upcoming Summerslam Pay-Per-View “Summerfest”.
While a lot of fans didn’t like The Muppets' appearance on RAW, I thought they were actually pretty funny and it was so bizarre to see them interact with the wrestlers. Miss Piggy tried flirting with John Morrison, Gonzo was bullied by Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler and even Beaker interfered in a match that had Animal as the guest time keeper. What’s not to like about that?!
3. RoboCop helps Sting in WCW
Okay, so this isn’t a WWE appearance, but it’s still a cool one. In a very bizarre piece of promotional work, World Championship Wrestling held a Pay-Per-View to promote the release of RoboCop 2 in May 1990 called Capitol Combat: Return of RoboCop. During the PPV, Sting was going to doing a special segment with RoboCop but as RoboCop was making his entrance, Sting was attacked and imprisoned in a cage by the dastardly Four Horseman (Sid Vicious, Arn Anderson and Ole Anderson). Luckily for Sting, RoboCop scares off the Horseman and breaks the cage door open to free Sting. It was only a very short appearance and ultimately completely pointless, but the image of RoboCop and Sting together was mind blowing. It’s also hilarious to hear ‘Good ol JR’ Jim Ross talk about how great it is to see Sting and “his good buddy RoboCop”.
2. Hulk Hogan gets Gremlins 2 back on track
When Gremlins was a surprise hit for Warner Bros. back in 1984, they wanted a sequel to capitalise on its success. But director Joe Dante didn’t want to work with Gremlins again so the project fell through until he was given carte blanche to do whatever he felt like with the movie, which ended up being the fairly unbalanced Gremlins 2: The New Batch in 1990. During the movie, there is a scene where the Gremlins break the movie reel and stop the film. They start to do hand puppets until one of the cinema ushers gets Hulk Hogan to threaten the Gremlins into putting the film back on. The scene was taken off the VHS release (although I have vivid memories of seeing it as a child) and wouldn’t see the light of day until the rise of the Internet and DVD.
I picked this one out because this wasn’t Terry Bollea or Hulk Hogan playing a character - this was the actual Hulk Hogan in a movie, eating popcorn and cutting a promo on Gremlins. While the movie isn’t all that great, this is one of the best moments of the film.
1. Leslie Nielsen investigates the disappearance of The Undertaker
Okay, so he technically wasn’t Frank Drebin from Police Squad! as he was always credited as Leslie Nielsen, but he was basically doing the Frank Drebin deal so I think this is a fitting number one slot.
At the 1994 Royal Rumble, The Undertaker lost a casket match to Japanese sumo wrestler Yokozuna (who was actually played by a Samoan). In the subsequent months, The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase claimed that he had brought back The Undertaker but Taker’s manager at the time Paul Bearer informed us that he was not the real Undertaker. At Summerslam, the two Undertakers would meet in the middle of the ring to see just who was the real one.
But while all this was happening, there were these short segments that appeared on Monday Night RAW with Leslie Nielsen investigating why there were two Undertakers. The segments borrowed humour directly from the Police Squad! and The Naked Gun movies with off-the-wall comedy. It all culminated with Nielsen appearing at Summerslam to finish off his investigation with the help of George Kennedy reprising his Ed Hocken from The Naked Gun. After the Undertaker vs. Undertaker match, we got a quick backstage skit where Nielsen and Kennedy discovering a briefcase in Undertaker’s coffin, which Kennedy points out means that the ‘case is closed’.
The segments weren’t really that funny compared to the films and TV shows they were based on but it was just so weird to see Leslie Nielsen investigate a missing wrestler and then appear on the Pay-Per-View for no actual reason. I guess it was to promote Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult which came out the same year, but he wasn’t Frank Drebin doing the investigation. Plus, the movie came out in May which meant that the August Summerslam PPV was a little late to be promoting the movie. It would be like having Dan Aykroyd appear on RAW to promote Ghostbusters 3 a year after the film was released in costume hunting ghosts but never being called Ray. Regardless, I loved these segments and it is without doubt my number one WWE / movie crossover.
Do you have any favourite WWE and movie crossovers? Is there anything really better than Frank Drebin solving a case of two Undertakers?
Luke Owen is a freelance copywriter working for Europe’s biggest golf holiday provider as their web content executive.