In some instances, WWE wouldn’t be the company it is today without a little outside help from some WWE fans who, coincidentally, are rather famous. WWE would use these stars to bump up the number of non-wrestling fans to their product.
Wrestlemania and Summerslam are the two most well known shows to non-wrestling audiences, so WWE would bring big stars in to make their viewing number as high as possible. WWE show their appreciation to these celebrities with the Celebrity Wing in the WWE Hall of Fame, inducting various stars who helped shaped the landscape of the company and created some incredible rememberable moments. There are so many more celebrities who we want to see inducted to the Hall of Fame, more than five, let’s put it that way. However, these five are a must for the wing and I expect we shall see them in there very, very soon. I did really want to include Stephen Amell for his great program with Stardust, but due to his stock rising thanks to his allegiance to the Bullet Club and his friendship with Cody, I couldn’t justify his entry.
5. David Arquette
Let’s start a bit controversially, shall we? I only call it controversial for what actually entailed David Arquette’s leap from the silver screen to the wrestling ring. In 2000, he was staring in the movie ‘Ready to Rumble’ and as this movie was about WCW, he was brought onto WCW weekly programming. He had a one on one match with Eric Bischoff, which he won, but that wasn’t the most mental thing. He, alongside reigning WCW World Champion Diamond Dallas Page, teamed to face Eric Bischoff and Jeff Jarrett with a stipulation in place – the man who got the pin would win the title. Can you guess who got the pin? That’s right, it was David Arquette! It created a brilliant visual to see a much smaller man than some of the WCW roster in street clothes and with a black eye lifting the WCW World Title above his head.
He was used a comic relief champion with his reign only lasting 12 days after turning on Page to give Jarrett the win at Slamboree 2000, when all three men would compete in the most ridiculous match stipulation, a triple cage match. It’s no surprise that Arquette didn’t want the title run and Vince Russo was the man to convince him to complete the angle and win the title.
However, a bit of additional good came out of it as Arquette would donate all the money he earned from WCW to the families of Owen Hart, Brian Pillman and Darren Drozdov.
Arquette, at the age of 48, is now competing on the indie scene, citing the reason to be ‘he was trolled for 18 years on the internet and wanted people to have respect for his name in wrestling’. He is earning that respect, mainly due to his deathmatch against Nick Gage in 2018 where he suffered a nasty cut to his neck which caused him to bleed profusely.
4. Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather
The visual of 5’7 Mayweather going toe-to-toe with the 7’ Big Show at WWE No Way Out 2008 was fantastic. Show had returned to the show that evening attacking Rey Mysterio, the catalyst for Mayweather to jump the barricade and stand up to the big man. Show got down onto his knees, to ‘even the height’ but regretted it instantly when Mayweather hit him with a combo breaking his nose before he and his posse scarpered from the ring.
The following night on RAW, Show coersed Mayweather to face him in a No-DQ match at Wrestlemania XXIV, with the latter accepting the challenge, charging the ring and squaring up to Show. At Mania, Mayweather won after hitting Show with brass knuckles and earned $20 million for the match, with the whole show doing one million buys resulting in a revenue of $23.8 million.
Mayweather returned to WWE a year later, again in an altercation with Big Show as he cost Show and his then partner, Jericho, a match against MVP and Mark Henry, giving MVP brass knuckles to knock out Jericho.
He also later appeared backstage helping prepare Vince McMahon for his six-man tag match against the Legacy. At the time of his match in 2008, this was quite a big moment and harkened back to the days of Muhammed Ali and Mike Tyson infusing the worlds of boxing and wrestling. It also made Big Show seem like a big deal again with this being his first high profile match after his return.
3. Maria Menounos
A lifelong WWE fan, Maria first appeared as guest host of RAW on October 12, 2009. She also made her in ring debut that night teaming with Gail Kim and Kelly Kelly to face Alicia Fox, Beth Phoneix and Rosa Mendes. Her team won this match and she got her moment by slapping the intimidating Phoenix.
She and Phoenix would come to blows again at the 2011 Tribute to the Troops where she pinned Phoenix in an eight-women tag match also featuring Alicia Fox, Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres for Maria’s team against the Bella Twins and Natalya who were alongside Phoenix.
Maria would yet again come up against Phoenix who, alongside Eve Torres interrupted a Kelly Kelly interview on Extra, leading to a tag match between the four at Wrestlemania XXVIII. Menounos legitimately cracked two ribs training for Dancing with the Stars before the match but still powered through, picking up the win by rolling up Phoenix.
Menounos would continue to be around the WWE, hosting the red carpet before the Hall of Fame from 2014 to this year as well as being a backstage interviewer for three Wrestlemania’s.
Inside the ropes, she did what she needed to do and that was get the pop from the fans pinning heels and getting shock wins, but she excelled in what she does best and that was being a credible journalist and popular face on WWE programming for a large portion of the 2010’s.
She has inducted one person into the Hall of Fame, that being Bob Backlund in 2013, now it’s time for her to be inducted.
2. Andy Kaufman
Falling in love with wrestling due to the theatricality of kayfabe, Kaufman began wrestling women during his act and proclaimed himself ‘Inter-Gender Wrestling Champion of the World’.
He approached Vince McMahon Sr. about bringing his act to the New York territory, only for McMahon to dismiss the idea, stating he was not about to bring ‘show business’ into pro wrestling.
Kaufman developed a friendship with Bill Apter, who put Kaufman in touch with Memphis icon, Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler. He would portray the heel in the feud with Lawler, perhaps one of the most famous feuds of the 20th century, stepping into the ring with Lawler and slandering the Memphis fans. Kaufman would get heel wrestlers in his corner against Lawler and the feud included a lot of staged works, like Kaufman having his neck broken by Lawler through a Piledriver, or the fight the two men had on an episode of Late Night with David Letterman, perhaps their most famous moment.
Kaufman would also appear with a neck brace on, selling the injury from Lawler’s Piledriver in a time where kayfabe wasn’t a known thing to the fans and that everything performed inside the ring was considered real.
However, his neck injury was real, so he and Lawler came up with ways to exaggerate it with Kaufman selling his injuries to the severity he and Lawler had discussed. It was revealed the tirade he went on during Letterman was his idea, including Lawler slapping him out of his chair. Jerry Jarrett also revealed that Kaufman was being paid at the same level as a main-event talent, with Kaufman never cashing those cheques and doing what he did for the love of the business.
For someone outside of the wrestling business and looking in, Kaufman understood everything about wrestling and knew how to portray a heel persona as well as selling his injuries. He was a complete and utter professional, and one of the greatest things to happen to a wrestling landscape whilst it was still in the territories stage.
1. Cyndi Lauper
Without Cyndi Lauper, WWE would not exist today. If it wasn’t for her relationship with ‘Captain’ Lou Albano, her hit song ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ would never have fused the Rock ‘n’ Roll industry with the Wrestling industry.
Albano appeared in the music video for the aforementioned song portraying her dad, and from there, a friendship stemmed. She appeared alongside Hulk Hogan, with him portraying her manager, as well as making multiple appearances in the WWF’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection events. She also made an appearance at the inaugural Wrestlemania managing Wendi Richter.
Cyndi, and us as fans, can thank her then boyfriend and manager, David Wolff, who was a boyhood wrestling fan, playing an integral part of the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection. Without Lauper’s connections to music and wrestling, the business of wrestling would never have become the mainstay that it is now in the US, which caused a domino effect bringing the industry to a worldwide stage.
Lauper brought wrestling to a wider audience, with her fan base shifting over and watching her appear at Wrestlemania, becoming hooked on wrestling and being lifelong fans since then. She was a massive reason for the success of the WWF throughout the 80’s and early 90’s, with the WWF using Rock ‘n’ Roll and rock attitude as the basis for the largely successful Attitude Era.
Like I said in the introduction, there are so many names who deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, but no more than these five people. They paved the way for more viewers to have an eye on wrestling, making it a more successful business with so many companies being around in the US and the rest of the world. Each person added to their legacy, and the legacy of the WWE, with these appearances and their legacies deserved to be honoured with an entry into the 2020 Hall of Fame class.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @George_Geal_. Thanks for reading!