One thing WWE always had over WCW was the use of celebrities. Something about WWE made it more popular for big stars to show up while WCW was seen as a smaller operation. They started doing more thanks to the success of “Nitro” and the Monday Night Wars bringing wrestling into the mainstream. Attracting celebrities was one major problem for the company, especially when WWE began taking over. The real issue was that in terms of how they actually used the celebrities, WCW was even worse than with their regular workers.
It seemed as if WCW just went out of their way to use celebrities in the worst ways. Sure, Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone in tag matches was something to see, but they were athletes. Much crazier was WCW taking various actors and trying to make something of them in the ring. More ridiculous was how some weren’t even actors but celebrities of other sorts given absolutely ridiculous things to do. Here are 10 of the worst uses of celebrities in WCW to once more remind fans just how silly this company could be.
10 Will Sasso
Try to follow this one. Will Sasso was best known from his turn on Mad TV imitating Steven Seagal and Kenny Rogers. In 1999, he was playing Jesse Ventura on a skit with Bret Hart guest-starring as himself. Hart “broke character” to attack Sasso and put him in the Sharpshooter. This led to Sasso making appearances in WCW to cost Bret the US title. They had a match with Sasso’s “Mad” co-star Debra Wilson turning on Sasso to help Bret. WCW actually gave this feud TV time before dropping it for no reason. Little wonder that Bret doesn’t talk warmly of his WCW time.
9 Mr. T
When WCW hired Hulk Hogan in 1994, it wasn’t long before Hogan brought his various old running buddies to join them. That included Mr. T as the long-faded 1980s star was pushed in WCW aiding Hogan when he won the World title from Ric Flair. This included being a special ref for the Hogan-Flair Halloween Havoc match, which was bad.
They then put him into the ring against Kevin Sullivan at Starrcade which was a horrible match. While he left fast, the only thing fans pitied about these appearances was Mr. T himself.
8 Gary Spivey
1995 WCW was a very terrible year. Before “Nitro” premiered, the company seemed to go out of their way to put on the stupidest stuff imaginable. One of the worst was when Paul Orndorff was down on himself for a bad losing streak and feeling he was no longer “Mr. Wonderful.” Out of nowhere came Gary Spivey from the Physic Friends Hotline, best known for a hairdo that made him look like a Brillo Pad. He claimed he’d “had a vision” and came to give Paul a pep talk. Orndorff was so inspired by this that…he retired a few weeks later. Someone at WCW should have foreseen how bad this would be.
The plan in 1990 was for Sting to beat Ric Flair early in the year and dominate as champion. Sting suffering a real leg injury threw all that off as WCW needed time for him to recover. At Capital Combat 1990, the Horsemen attacked Sting and threw him into a cage at ringside.
Coming out to the ring (very, very slowly) was Robocop. It wasn't even Peter Weller, just a guy in the huge armor who marched out to tear the cage door off. Hearing Jim Ross promote this was wild and it was another reason Sting’s injury hurt WCW so badly at this time.
At least others on this list were actual living people. This was just utterly ridiculous. For some time in late 1998, Rick Steiner was being haunted by some sort of weird laughter. The logical answer would be some new heel going after him. As everyone knows, logic was never WCW’s strong point. Instead, while in the ring, Rick was confronted on the screen by his attacker…Chucky from the Child’s Play movies. True, of all people in WCW, Rick Steiner was the most logical to be targeted by a wooden doll but it was still insane. No wonder that this year was filled with stuff fans love to mock.
While never a critical favorite, “Arliss” was a long-running popular show for HBO. It starred Robert Wuhl in the title role of a super-agent who made a lot of shady moves for his clients. Having him show up on WCW was already a bit weird. But wilder was that rather than be himself, Wuhl was Arliss acting as his character talking about signing on wrestlers as clients.
The announcers kept plugging the show but treating Wuhl as his character which is as confusing as it sounds. The fact Wuhl seemed to have little idea who was who in WCW didn’t seem to matter too much for his act. Thankfully, it was just one appearance but still pretty bad.
4 Master P
Bringing on Master P was a truly ridiculous move for WCW. First, paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for a rapper was already nuts. Second, was how his “No Limit Soldiers” were a bad batch of wrestlers. Third, WCW never had what one would call the audience ready to accept hip-hop culture. Then there was the creation of the West Texas Rednecks to face them only for the fans to back the Rednecks over the Soldiers due to odds and the hilarious “Rap is Crap” song. WCW ended the feud because it wasn’t what they wanted and Master P faded away to cause another huge waste for WCW.
3 Jay Leno
In 1998, WCW had Goldberg, a huge star fans loved and his winning the WCW World title was a big deal. So who did they have headlining a major PPV just a month later? Jay Leno. Yes, WCW thought the Tonight Show host in the main event of a tag team match would be a great idea.
In his first book, Chris Jericho talked of the moment when Leno had Hulk Hogan in an armbar and posing to be photographed by the media as him being embarrassed at the business. Sure, it got attention but still utterly laughable and helped make WCW a joke.
When one talks about massive wastes of money for WCW, this is one of the biggest. Somehow convinced that in 1999, KISS was still one of the biggest musical acts in the world, Eric Bischoff shelled out over a quarter of a million dollars for them to show up on “Nitro.” He also agreed to a deal to allow a wrestler named the KISS Demon to show up on WCW programming.
The musical segment was one of the lowest-rated in Nitro history and the Demon was a huge flop. All this did was waste more money for WCW at a time when they couldn’t afford it and ruined them further.
1 David Arquette
What else could top the list? To this day, David Arquette winning the World title is pointed to as the moment WCW passed the point of no return. To promote “Ready to Rumble,” they showed Arquette hanging around WCW a lot and doing his best to make the movie work (which it didn’t). So Russo decided that giving Arquette the World title would be a great thing to boost business.
In his defense, Arquette hated the whole thing as much as any fan did and gave the money he made off it to the families of Brian Pillman and Owen Hart. His win pretty much sealed WCW’s fate and made the company look more like a joke than ever before.