10 Hilarious Moments in Professional Wrestling


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The recent scare involving our beloved Jerry “The King” Lawler’s nationally-televised heart attack has prompted a lot of us to remember everything that made him famous. Aside from his storied career in and out of the squared circle, we can’t help but recall that surreal time when he and comic legend Andy Kaufman were befuddling people everywhere by selling their wrestling feud as a completely legitimate beef in every public forum they could – most notably, “Late Night with David Letterman.”

But as much of a milestone as that moment is, if you scratch the surface of the pro wrestling world, you’re going to find a hell of a lot of surreal comedy. I mean, we’re talking about a theatrical profession that, until relatively recently, was absolutely dedicated to not letting people in on the fact that it was a theatrical profession, and that in itself provides ample opportunity for guys like Kaufman. Nowadays, however, the cat is out of the bag, which often means they can be even crazier. So let’s take a look at this particular calling with these ten hilarious moments in professional wrestling.

1. Jerry Lawler VS. Andy Kaufman on Letterman

We’ve got to start with this one. Andy Kaufman was a comedian who loved to frustrate audiences with abrasive characters he would never break. Some people got the gags, but many others did not and wound up hating the man, which was a reaction that he thrived upon. It makes perfect sense, then, that he would want to be a “heel” (i.e. “bad guy”) wrestler, because this was an entire industry based around building up that kind of character, and then supplying the “babyface” (i.e. “good guy”) hero to beat that heel up. Lawler was one of the most popular wrestlers at the time, and in this much-talked-about clip, his quick wit and his mental encyclopedia of one-liners is on full display: “I couldn’t warm up to this guy if we were cremated together.” Kaufman played the weasel-hill to the hilt, and, in a world where everybody involved with pro wrestling from the grapplers to the fans still insisted it was unscripted and real sporting competition, history was made.

2. Crazy Promo Master: “Macho Man” Randy Savage

It’s impossible to pick one interview of Savage’s that stands out as the funniest, because his entire character was this amazing amalgamation of insanity, intensity and menace. His constantly growling voice, his use of prop comedy and his willingness to not only go over the top but live over the top made him a master of “cutting the promo.” You hang on his every word, because you never know what the heck the next word is going to be, but he did it with a unique style that’s just a highly amusing delight to watch.

3. Crazy Promo Disaster: The Ultimate Warrior

The flip side of the wild and weird coin is this guy – a burly, steroidal hulk of humanity slathered in face-paint, bright rainbow colors and an absolutely domineering incomprehensibility. He barreled his way into every match and won the hearts of fans everywhere with his high energy, awesome entrance music and superheroic look, but that connection never quite lasted when someone put a microphone in front of him. Whereas Savage could balance the strange with the grounded enough to live in the moment and have a conversation, the Warrior was naught but delirious ranting about outer space and divine conversations. That hallucinogenic madness extended to his actual life, as he’s become a strange right-wing zealot in his retirement who has legally changed his name from Jim Hellwig to Warrior.

4. The Debut of the Shockmaster

Fred Ottman had made a splash in the World Wrestling Federation in the early 1990s as Tugboat, ally to Hulk Hogan wearing a red stripey shirt and a sailor hat and making foghorn noises as his gimmick. You could still do that back then. He then became known as Typhoon when he turned heel and became a tag team champion alongside Earthquake as “The Natural Disasters.” However, he eventually signed on with World Championship Wrestling, which would become the WWF’s most tenacious competitor. In 1993, however, Ottman had the misfortune to have one of the worst debut s in wrestling history. The identity of “The Shockmaster” was already sketchy, as it was just a Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet painted silver and glittery atop a big vest and jeans, but when he was introduced during a Ric Flair interview segment, his botched entrance became the stuff of infamy.

5. Degeneration X Invades WCW

In the mid-1990s, the long-reigning WWF had a problem in that WCW was raiding them of all their big-name talent, such as Hulk Hogan, Savage, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and more. Not only that, but their marquee shows were both on the same night, and WCW was winning in the ratings. On April 27, 1998, both WWF Raw Is War and WCW Monday Nitro were taking place in Virginia, only 19 miles apart, and this was well into WWF’s “Attitude Era,” wherein most of their “faces” were more like anti-heroes, and the rude, crude, rabble-rousing stable of wrestlers known as Degeneration X were the highest profile of them all. The WWF had a history of never acknowledging that any competition existed, but that all changed when DX got suited up in pseudo-military gear, got a jeep with a big cannon on it and drove right over to the arena where WCW’s show was set to begin, attempting to invade their show with the power of hijinks. The Monday Night Wars were on.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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Byrning Down the House

Everything You Need to Know About the Film That Inspired “Final Transmission”

Documentary Now! pays tribute to "Stop Making Sense" this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Cinecom/courtesy Everett Collection

This week Documentary Now! is with the band. For everyone who’s ever wanted to be a roadie without leaving the couch, “Final Transmission” pulls back the curtain on experimental rock group Test Pattern’s final concert. Before you tune in Wednesday at 10P on IFC, plug your amp into this guide for Stop Making Sense, the acclaimed 1984 Talking Heads concert documentary.

Put on Your Dancing Shoes

Hailed as one of the best concert films ever created, director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) captured the energy and eccentricities of a band known for pushing the limits of music and performance.

Make an Entrance

Lead singer David Byrne treats the concert like a story: He enters an empty stage with a boom box and sings the first song on the setlist solo, then welcomes the other members of the group to the stage one song at a time.

Steal the Spotlight

David Byrne Dancing
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Always a physical performer, Byrne infuses the stage and the film with contagious joy — jogging in place, dancing with lamps, and generally carrying the show’s high energy on his shoulders.

Suit Yourself

Byrne makes a splash in his “big suit,” a boxy business suit that grows with each song until he looks like a boy who raided his father’s closet. Don’t overthink it; on the DVD, the singer explains, “Music is very physical, and often the body understands it before the head.”

View from the Front Row

Stop Making Sense Band On Stage
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Demme (who also helmed 1987’s Swimming to Cambodia, the inspiration for this season’s Documentary Now! episode “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything”) films the show by putting viewers in the audience’s shoes. The camera rarely shows the crowd and never cuts to interviews or talking heads — except the ones onstage.

Let’s Get Digital

Tina Weymouth Keyboard
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Stop Making Sense isn’t just a good time — it’s also the first rock movie to be recorded entirely using digital audio techniques. The sound holds up more than 30 years later.

Out of Pocket

Talk about investing in your art: Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz told Rolling Stone that the members of the band “basically put [their] life savings” into the movie, and they didn’t regret it.

Catch Documentary Now!’s tribute to Stop Making Sense when “Final Transmission” premieres Wednesday, October 12 at 10P on IFC.

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