WWE: Obama, Clinton or Bush? Best (Worst?) Mashups of Wrestling and Politics
It's too bad Herman Cain's peccadillos are likely taking him out of the presidential campaign. Vince McMahon and his writers could have had oodles of fun with Cain as the Republican nominee—Sexual Chocolate, Jr., perhaps—at least in a non-TVPG world.
The parody of politicians by the WWE is almost as American as the quadrennial elections themselves. Here are the seven best (or, perhaps, worst) political appearances in the WWE.
7. Actual Politicians: Hillary, Obama and McCain
On April 21, 2008, WWE got three actual politicians to appear on Raw, and they didn't disappoint.
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, still vying for the Democratic nomination at the time, laid down some general smack, while sole surviving Republican John McCain didn't let his Freddie Blassie-like appearance get in the way of his calling out both of the Dems.
In the end, the nation smelled what Barack was cookin'.
6. Jim Ross Interviews
In the mid 1990's after the Republican takeover of Congress, Jim Ross made some disparaging remarks about new House Speaker Newt Gingrich during a couple of Monday Night Raw broadcasts. These barbs were sometimes in conjunction with the conservative political views of former WWE Champion Mr. Bob Backlund (whose own "presidential candidacy" I have mercifully omitted from this list).
One week, Raw took it to the next level and had JR interview "President Clinton" via telephone during one of Mr. Backlund's matches. Though I couldn't find footage of the interview, I remember "Mr. President" saying he would love to settle his differences with Speaker Gingrich "in the squared circle" and that he would proudly wear his "stars-and-stripes trunks" and "red, white and blue boots."
5. Obama vs. Hillary in the Ring
Sure, these two looked nothing like the future president and his soon-to-be secretary of state. But why not have the competition to be the leader of the free world be....OK, not even James Carville or Rush Limbaugh on speed could spin this one. It pretty much sucked.
Even the intros stunk. "The junior senator from New York City?" Really, Lillian? Really?
Now, a battle royal for the Republican nomination this year would have been much more entertaining than many of the 87 debates they've held so far.
4. Obama on Capitol Punishment
On June 19, 2011, "President Obama" made a special appearance at WWE's Capitol Punishment PPV, trading lines backstage with Sgt. Slaughter and Vicki Guerrero, and climbing in the ring with Booker T. But Obama impersonator Reggie Brown didn't seem to get much reaction from the Washington, D.C. crowd despite a nicely executed "spinarooni."
The real Obama was involved in the buildup to Capitol Punishment, whether he knew it or not.
3. R-Truth Crashes an Obama Press Conference
"I hear people saying you gonna be first in line to get a title shot before I do."
"Little Jimmy got a boat! I ain't got no boat! I ain't gettin' in no boat wich-you, Obama!"
It was one of the funniest things WWE has done all year. Of course, some people have no sense of humor, and WWE actually had to air a disclaimer prior to this bit. Because, you know, R-Truth could actually sneak in to a presidential press conference, which would almost make them worth watching.
2. Cryme Tyme with "President Bush"
Like Capitol Punishment, the scene was Washington. But it was almost five years earlier, Dec. 18, 2006 to be exact. Depending on your point of view, it was either one of the funniest or one of the most cringe-inducing segments in the history of Raw.
As if the ridiculous thug parody that was Cryme Tyme's gimmick wasn't bad enough (WWE actually ran disclaimers prior to their 2006 Raw debut in hopes of preventing a backlash), having a Bush impersonator call then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice a "hot, black b***h" was probably not the best of ideas.
When "Bush" later almost drops the 'n-word', you could almost hear Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler thinking, "we are so going to kicked in the critical nether regions."
1. Gennifer Flowers Interviews the Rock
Sure, this technically didn't involve a politician or an impersonator. It only involved one of the hottest political figures in the country.
Well, it would have been a McMahon-like stretch to refer to Ms. Flowers that way by the time Wrestlemania XIV rolled around in 1998. You could say her figure was one with which the era's hottest politician was intimately familiar.
It was also the segment that forever turned The Rock into "The Rock: The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment." It was his Austin 3:16 moment.