The subject of celebrity appearances in wrestling promotions is a hot topic for fans of the sport.
There are a few good ones out there (none of which are coming to mind) and bad ones (of which nearly all are coming to mind). Usually the worst appearances are when celebrities are worked into an on-going storyline when they have absolutely no bearing on the storyline at hand. Case in point:
So yeah, once upon a time, there used to be a critically-acclaimed show on HBO called Arli$$, about a sports agency and the wacky goings on. The show was fine enough but someone at Time Warner (parent company of TNT and HBO) got the bright idea to have WCW wrestlers guest star on Arli$$, and then to return the favor by having Arliss himself on Nitro.
Note we didn’t say Robert Wuhl was a guest.
ARLISS was the guest.
Look, I remember the whole “Zeus” feud in the WWF to promote No Holds Barred (Note from RD: and I remember inducting it!) and that was quite goofy but also very funny (RD: hmm, you must have watched a different feud than me!), especially when the rumor got around that Vince McMahon wanted a Hulk Hogan-Zeus main event at WrestleMania VI.
Anyways, back to Arliss…
…who showed up with Scott Hudson introducing him, again, not as Robert Wurl, but indeed as Arliss, who then went onto plug his show on HBO. That’s like having James Gandolfini plugging The Sopranos and repeatedly calling him “Tony Soprano” (though I’m sure that has happened more than once). When asked why he’s in WCW, Wuhl, excuse me “Arliss”, said that the WCW wrestlers have guest-starred on his series on HBO because all the “big networks” like CBS, NBC and ABC are “scared of them”. I don’t know, the wrestling boom of the late 90s was huge business so I don’t know how a “big network” could be “scared” of decent ratings.
Oh right, this is all bullshit, gotcha.
So Randy Savage comes out (flanked by Gorgeous George and…Miss Madness, aka Molly Holly!), Scott Hudson asks “Arliss” about his suit. He says that it’s his “WCW suit” that is “strong” and “makes a statement”.
“Once again, Dr. Jones, there is nothing you can possess which I cannot take away.”
(Note from RD: Ooooh! A Belloch reference AND an Alexander Knox reference in the same induction! You just scored mega points with me, girl!)
Scott presses further by asking Arliss if he’s scouting talent and he says yes he is, in particular, Dennis Rodman…who isn’t even a wrestler. “He can make more money in this business than all these wrestlers combined”.
The saddest part of that line? HE ACTUALLY DID! Despite being horrible in the ring, no-showing repeatedly, and suing WCW, his every whim was catered to and he got the best contract of anyone besides Hogan, Nash and the other old guys on top.
I wonder how much Robert Wuhl made for this show?
(Note from RD: I’m more curious if WCW made the check out to “Arliss.”
Because I could totally see this company doing that.)
Meanwhile Macho Man cuts a promo on Hulk by saying he’s a candidate for President too.
To steal a line from Lewis Black, “he’ll run for President and he’ll do it…in his own mind”.
Billy Kidman is Macho Man’s opponent for the match at hand and while Scott Hudson and Bobby Heenan try to build him up, Arliss buries him by saying “Rodman will be greater than all the wrestlers in WCW”.
I bet he took that line directly from a WCW booking meeting.
Bobby tries his best to bring some legitimacy to the match by mentioning he once managed Randy’s father Angelo Poffo.
But enough of this 5 seconds of wrestling talk! Back to the Dennis Rodman love-fest we go as Arliss says Rodman is the “savior” of WCW and “will put all these guys away”.
At this point I can only assume that Wuhl…dammit, gotta stop doing that…ARLISS has any idea who anyone other than Dennis Rodman is.
Oh wait, he did mention Hulk Hogan.
Ugh, this is downright embarrassing to watch.
Thankfully, Savage decides to help us all out by heading to the broadcast booth with a chair, prompting Arliss to state: “The…passion of this man knows no bounds”.
Meanwhile an insightful fan has UFC sign in the background, foreshadowing the eventual UFC domination over wrestling on all fronts.
OH! And Macho Man chokes Billy Kidman with Slim Jims.
I know you think I am just throwing random JPGs over on the right with random text here on the left, but this all happened.
If you watched a lot of WCW back in the day, this type of thing was a weekly occurrence.
So more random things happen and random things are stated, such as Arliss promising us that “if Rodman wants to wrestle that man right there, it’ll break every record on pay-per-view, you mark my words”.
Mr. Wuhl, yes Mr. Wuhl, I know you have no knowledge of the WCW product or how a wrestling company works or anything like that, and that you’re here because it’s your job to plug your series and Time Warner management told you to but I think I speak for everyone when I sincerely suggest you
So then Dennis Rodman (who actually showed up!) then does a run in to kill Macho Man to a standing ovation and the match is stopped dead so Mean Gene can interview Arliss about what Rodman’s just done. And yes, the guy just babbles on and on about Rodman being the biggest star in WCW while “the usual gang of idiots” fill the ring and Madusa brawling with Miss Madness Molly Holly turns the segment into one big clusterf***.
Thankfully, this was the last we saw of Arliss in WCW.
Oh, and just as a bit of follow-up on Mr. Wuhl’s prediction: Road Wild 99, featuring Randy Savage vs. Dennis Rodman, did a whopping .55 buyrate.
On the plus side, it did feature Rodman and Savage fighting in a Porta-Potty.
And how can we hate that?