The spectacle that is professional wrestling, or sports entertainment, is one that has a long history of excess, whether it be in the service of brutality or hilarity.
A quick examination of the latter should provide some insight as to what makes children and adults delight in the simple comedy that surrounds wrestling fandom. Comedy is essential in this performing art. It lightens the mood of perpetual contest between skilled competitors putting it all on the line for their fans.
Following are five of the most hilarious WWE and WCW angles of all time.
1. The debut of the Shockmaster at WCW’s Clash of Champions XXIV
This is an extremely dissociative promo cut in what looks to be a 1950s dining room, with guys like Davey Boy Smith, Sting, Ric Flair, both members of Harlem Heat, and Sid Vicious being shoved into frame. A bit of smack talk is exchanged because, after all, Sting and ex-British Bulldog are about to go head-to-head against Sid Vicious and Harlem Heat. There’s one catch, Sting has a mystery partner to announce to even the odds: The Shockmaster.
The Shockmaster sounds tough, right? Besides, the man behind the costume was ring veteran Tugboat, famous for being one half of the Natural Disasters, opposite Earthquake.
Cheap pyro goes off and a section of the wall falls inward. Unfortunately, the Shockmaster trips immediately, tumbling through the opening, awkwardly, as his glitter-encrusted helmet flies from his head. Scrambling on all fours to regain his helmet, and any semblance of his dignity, the Shockmaster stands, stomach heaving. A badly dubbed voice performs a speech that is meant to emanate from behind the obviously re-purposed Stormtrooper mask. I doubt anyone could hear the corny promo over the roaring laughter that was sure to infect viewers watching this embarrassing, yet unforgettable debut.
2. The Rock, Monday Night Raw, December 4, 2000
Always amazing on the mic, the most electrifying man in sports entertainment was perhaps at the peak of his abilities when he used his bully pulpit to absolutely destroy his opponents before the Hell in a Cell match set for that year’s Armageddon pay-per-view. Bashing every single one of his five rivals, Rikishi, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Triple H, and The Undertaker, in a serious of sarcastic, yet strangely accurate impressions, the Rock laid the smack down in a fashion as only he could.
3. Stone Cold Steve Austin and Booker T., Smackdown, December 13, 2001
The setting? A grocery store. The premise? Both men beat each other senseless with grocery items including chips, milk, nuts, mustard, flour, and of course, beer. Austin gets the better of Booker T for the majority of the match, savaging him through each and every aisle, punctuated with insults and more than a few jokes. This is a classic segment that is still often referenced by the wrestling community today, most fans consider it a must watch.
4. Sting and RoboCop
Yes, the steely cyborg officer from 1987’s RoboCop is a surprise ally running, or perhaps more accurately walking, to the aid of a caged and helpless Sting. RoboCop appeared during the first and only WCW Capital Combat pay-per-view in May, 1990. While obviously a cross-promotional publicity stunt for the upcoming Robocop 2, it was amusing to say the least. Anyone who was a child, teen, or young at heart at the time may have held some extra degree of appreciation in seeing a silver-screen action hero come to life in the world of pro wrestling.
5. Titus O’Neil and the Titus “World-slide”
Famous for being the absolute boss behind the brand, Titus Worldwide, Titus O’Neil is usually a smooth, athletic competitor that any WWE superstar thinks twice about locking up with. However, all of the dexterity training and cardio in the world couldn’t prevent him from botching his entrance as No. 39 in the Greatest Royal Rumble match held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
With the entire color commentary team bursting instantly into laughter, it was easily one of the highlights of a great rumble match that would eventually see Braun Strowman victorious. Even Vince McMahon is reported by The Sporter to have found the segment comical, and for a man who’s likely seen it all in the sports entertainment business, that’s high praise indeed.