Ciao! That’s Italian for “Hello and welcome to my new column on WrestleView.com.” I just wanted to be a bit different and cultured see?
For those of you who don?t know me, I?m Joe Baiamonte, or “Baia” as I?m known to my friends and fellow WrestleView forum members. I?ll be delivering you hot, fresh, tasty nuggets of wrestling wisdom every Monday from now on, talking about everything from the great beards in pro wrestling history to the art of the perfect theme song. So, without further adieu, I present to you, the debut of ?Baiamonte’s Casa?.
With the recent critical success of the movie ?The Wrestler?, the star of the film, Mickey Rourke has been linked with a possible appearance at this year’s Wrestlemania. Whether it’s in an actual wrestling capacity or merely a guest appearance at the show remains to be seen, but it certainly continues the marriage of celebrities and wrestling. A marriage that, like all others, has had it’s honeymoon period (see the red hot angle between Jerry Lawler and Andy Kaufman in Memphis) and it’s had it’s rough patches (Yes, I?m looking at you, former World Heavyweight Champion David Arquette). However, with so many celebrities being sports entertainment junkies, we?ve never seen a Hollywood A ? Lister don the spandex full time.
Now, while I?m sure there’s more than a fair share of smart Alec marks out there who hate celebrity involvement in wrestling, I feel that when done properly, it never fails to provide fantastic entertainment. Floyd Mayweather Junior proved last year that certain celebrities or sports stars can have a place in the squared circle when he and The Big Show put on a match of the year contender at Wrestlemania 24. K Fed didn?t even need to do anything but be himself to be a natural arsehole in his mini feud with John Cena at the back end of 2006.
So, I got to thinking, rather than chronicle the trend of celebrity wrestling angles, why not dream up a celebrity WWE roster? Which celebrities or TV/film characters would make great additions to Raw, SmackDown and ECW? Arnie vs The Hulkster anyone? How about Mark Wahlberg turning up as John Cena’s long lost twin brother? Here’s what I came up with;
1) Chuck Norris ? I dare anyone to try and tell me Chuck Norris on the WWE roster wouldn?t print money. The build up to his debut would be simple. Just have word spread that there’s a new guy making his debut soon. No one knows anything for sure apart from the fact he’s a martial arts expert. The rumors begin to fly with fellow superstars trading stories about what they?ve heard. Stuff like ?I heard he ordered a Big Mac at Burger King? AND GOT ONE!? and ?I hear he ate a whole cake before his friends could tell him there was a stripper inside it?. Eventually, Chuck makes his debut on Raw one Monday night and proceeds to roundhouse kick his way through the entire roster en route to becoming a Grand Slam champion within the first hour of the show. In the second hour of the show he decided to retire because he saw the travel schedule and decided it was too easy.
2) Arnold Schwarzenegger ? Ok, so if that last one was far fetched, this is as serious a pick as I am going to make in this column. Arnie, like many pro wrestlers, started out as a bodybuilder. He had the look of a champion and a more impressive physique than even The Hulkster. Combine this with the fact that Arnie was also good friends with Hall of Famer ?Superstar? Billy Graham during his bodybuilding career, and you have all the groundwork in place to build a bona fide main event superstar.
The now Governor of California became a pop culture icon in the 80’s just like Hogan did. If anything, Arnie could have been just as good an opponent for Hogan as even Piper and Andre were in the 80’s. Remember, being foreign in the WWE of the 80’s instantly meant you were evil. So what better guy to go up against The Immortal One than the Austrian Hulk Hogan with the funny accent and robot like demeanor? If Schwarzenegger could make film studios hundreds of millions of dollars, why couldn?t he make Vince his fair share? I?d be surprised if bringing Arnie in at some point during the Rock ?N? Wrestling years was never brought up. If Mr.T can wrestle at 2 consecutive Wrestlemanias, then surely big Arn could have as well? At the very least, we could have had Hogan and Arnie go at it on the big screen at the height of their popularity. It would have spared us all ?No Holds Barred?, a film so bad it would be embarrassing to label it as ‘so bad it’s good?.
3) John Candy ? This choice is so simple it hurts. You?ve currently got Jamaica’s finest superstar Kofi Kingston on the Raw roster. And apart from dishing out ?Boom Boom? legdrops, what else do Jamaicans do best that doesn?t involve Malibu or yardie shootouts? That’s right, they bobsled! Now, I know John Candy is sadly no longer with us, but for arguments sake, who wouldn?t, if he was alive and well, want to see Candy go all ?Irv Blitzer? on us again as Kofi’s manager? Imagine Kingston’s theme music hitting and here comes Kofi sliding down the ramp with Blitzer right behind him chomping on a Cuban. All you need is Sanka, Yul Brenner and Junior and you?ve got yourselves a ?Cool Runnings? Survivor Series team. There’s not a shadow of doubt in my mind that if John Candy was still with us, this would be his chosen career choice??. Maybe.
4.) Jeremy ?Ari Gold? Piven ? This may be my personal favorite pick of the whole bunch. Who doesn?t love Ari Gold off HBO’s ?Entourage?? The idea is simple. Have Ari basically become the Bobby Heenan of the 21st century. Only instead of being the manager of a ?family? of superstars like Heenan was in the late 80’s/early 90’s, Gold would be their agent. The guy would be a heat magnet. He’s got the perfect combination of success and unbridled arrogance to stir a crowd into a frenzy, although he could quite easily work as an attitude era style babyface. All creative would need to do is employ Funaki as his ?Lloyd? assistant and hey presto! He’s good to go. Whereas Bobby Heenan had the ?Heenan Family?, Ari will run the ?Gold Standard? wrestling agency. Hiring the best up and coming superstars along with some main event talent as well. The Ari Gold character is one who is a natural when it comes to big speeches and over the top dramatic monologues, and where better to showcase this talent than the WWE?
So many guys nowadays make the step up to the main roster and clearly aren?t ready for it. They?re too green and have nothing individual about them. Attach an Ari Gold agent to them as a mouthpiece and now you?ve got something to work with. In the long run, he?d make the step up to General Manager of one of the brands, along with his own take on Vince’s infamous ?You?re Fired? tagline when dismissing a superstar. Instead, Ari would deliver the line ?Go clear your locker, you know why? Because you?re MOTHERF**KIN FIRED!? Or, he?d simply write ?Get the f**k out!? in a letter to them, either way would be gold (pun slightly intended).
5) Paulie Walnuts & Silvio Dante ? If they can serve as Tony Soprano’s henchmen, then Paulie and Silvio would have no problem in being Vinnie Mac’s long awaited replacements for Patterson and Briscoe. Only they?d be more Italian and angry, and therefore better.
6) Mark Wahlberg ? Ok, which current WWE superstar does this profile remind you of? White, muscular build, from Massachusetts, had a rap career? That’s right, Mark Wahlberg and John Cena were separated at birth (if you choose to conveniently ignore the 6 year age gap, which I have done here). They even look like each other, something which Christian pointed out during his Backlash 2005 rap. Following ?The Happening? and ?Max Payne?, I don?t think anyone is on tenterhooks to see Marky Mark’s next box office release, so why not kill some time in the ?E? as Cena’s long lost brother? Have Wahlberg run interference for Cena ala Eric Angle at Survivor Series 2000. He?d help Cena against Cena’s own wishes, culminating in a feud and battle rap blow off at Wrestlemania 26 for the Unified WWE and World Heavyweight Titles. Done correctly, it would dwarf any other ?Mania main event and would end with Randy Orton interjecting to punt Wahlberg into New Kids On The Block with his real brother Donnie. Thus ending the Cena/Wahlberg feud and bringing the Cena/Orton feud full circle at the same time. It’s booking genius 101 at it’s very finest.
So there you have it. I hoped you liked what you saw from your first step inside of ?Baiamonte’s Casa?. I hope you?ll be back next week. Until then, let me know what you think of my celebrity roster picks and tell me who you would have chosen to ditch Hollywood for the squared circle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next week ? Facial hair and it’s importance to wrestling. Required viewing: Anything involving Hulk Hogan, The Iron Sheik, Bruiser Brody, ?Superstar? Billy Graham, Rick Rude, Capt. Lou Albano, Arn Anderson, Steve Austin or uh, Jim ?The Anvil? Neidhart.