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    Thursday, September 10, 2020

    The Supercard (9/10/20): World Wrestling Celebrity

    Mike Tyson in AEW

    Modern professional wrestling occupies a weird place in pop culture. Although you can catch pro wrestlers on talk shows every now and then, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins aren't exactly the household names that Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, and Andre the Giant were during their prime. Nowadays, if people didn't get hooked on wrestling at a young age, they will probably never have it on their radar as something they should follow. This causes wrestling promoters to acknowledge this fact and get creative on how they can draw in new wrestling fans.

    One way to do it is to bring someone from the mainstream to make appearances on wrestling shows. From Aretha Franklin singing the national anthem at WrestleMania III to Hugh Jackman punching Dolph Ziggler's lights out, WWE has been using mainstream crossovers to bring new eyes on the product and further legitimize themselves to newer audiences. They've been doing it so much that they sometimes get the most obscure celebrities to pop up—forcing many wrestling fans to Google who the hell Angel Garza was flirting with.

    However, WWE isn't just the promotion that loves the occasional crossover, and this week on Supercard I am gonna run down some of my favorite celebrity appearance in the squared circle. 


    Austin St. John faces off with Benny Jux (The Bell Time Club)


    Does this one count as a "mainstream" crossover? I don't know. Do I care? Nope.

    Let me tell you something: the Power Rangers franchise and professional wrestling are probably the two most interchangeable fandoms to ever exist. This is a fact. Built on nostalgia for the '90s and early 2000s, both fandoms follow a bunch of grown adults pretending to fight in colorful costumes for the enjoyment of primarily kids and kids at heart. Most importantly, both of these fandoms contain hardcore fans who love, and I mean, love to revel in the "good ol' days". 

    Rant about the shit I follow aside if you love Power Rangers, you know how big of a deal the Red Ranger is. That is why when the small promotion Bell Time Club in Massachusetts had him step in the ring to answer the taunts of New England's own Benny Jux, 11-year-old me popped harder than ever. The original Power Rangers theme in the background made the moment more special than it already was.

    Stephen Amell vs. Christopher Daniels, with special guest referee Jerry Lynn (All In)


    Former Arrow star Stephen Amell's wrestling career dates all the way back to his feud with Stardust. And yes, I forgot this feud happened too. Being an avid wrestling fan, Amell campaigned to have an appearance on the show, which snowballed to a match at SummerSlam teaming with Neville against Stardust and King Barrett. From there, he and Cody Rhodes would go on to form a friendship and working relationship. 

    After Cody left WWE, he would go on to appear in Arrow and Amell would then make an appearance in the Bullet Club's corner in a match against the Addiction, Scorpion Sky, and Flip Gordon. During the match, the Addiction would proceed to put Amell through a table. Once All In was finalized with Amell appearing in the event's announcement, it made sense that they would put the biggest celebrity attached to the event against a name that he had crossed paths with before: Christopher Daniels. 

    Although not a technical spectacle, Amell and Daniels were able to tell a simple story of Amell trying to put Daniels through a table and the latter trying to prove that an actor couldn't hang with him. The added element of Jerry Lynn who has a history with Daniels in his own right makes for a fun match to watch and look back on. Say anything you want about celebrities in professional wrestling because plunging seven feet in the air through a table takes serious guts. 

    Disclaimer: I am a huge fan of Arrow, so when I watched this match I pretended Oliver Queen was wrestling Daniels in a plot to save the world. Nerdom confirmed.

    Main Event: Mike Tyson and company brawl with Chris Jericho and the Inner Circle (AEW Dynamite, May 27, 2020)


    Legitimate martial arts stars' involvement in pro wrestling is the natural conclusion to a culture that loves to bash pro wrestling as being fake martial arts. This is why we have our Brock Lesnars and Ronda Rouseys who are brought in to add a level of legitimacy to the product. However, Lesnar and Rousey have put in enough time in learning the art form and in entertaining the masses to gain respect from the pro wrestling community and to be seen as legitimate "pro wrestlers".

    However, a one-off appearance by a big name star like a Floyd Mayweather or a Tyson Fury can draw as many, if not more, eyes as the aforementioned in-betweeners. In my eyes, the epitome of the electricity and buzz a sporadic crossover can create came when Mike Tyson, flanked by some of the best martial artists in the world, faced off against Chris Jericho and his Inner Circle. 

    As a UFC fan, the fact that Henry Cejudo, Rashad Evans, and Vitor Belfort formed a posse with the living legend Tyson is crazy enough. For them to be squaring up in the middle of a wrestling ring against my favorite wrestling faction right now, blew my mind. Tyson's wacky antics aside, the electricity could be felt across oceans through the internet and in my face. 

    I pray to this day that after Tyson's exhibition match with Roy Jones Jr. that he and Jericho could pick up where they left off and face off one-on-one in the ring. What a sight that would be.

    Photos and videos courtesy of Bell Time Club, Ring of Honor and All Elite Wrestling

    *****

    Jacob Tambunting is a freshman at the Ateneo de Manila University currently studying BS Psychology. In his high school years, he authored plays for competitions, essays for projects, and fan fiction for fun.  He currently lives with his two parents, his two siblings, and his two dogs, and is probably writing something angsty on his 10-year-old laptop.
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    Item Reviewed: The Supercard (9/10/20): World Wrestling Celebrity Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jacob Tambunting
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