World Wrestling Entertainment has been bringing in celebrities to participate in their shows for decades. Even at the very first Wrestlemania back in 1985, Muhammad Ali, Mr. T, and Cyndi Lauper were all involved in the Showcase of the Immortals. ‘Arrow’ and ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2’ star Stephen Amell became the latest Hollywood star to step into the squared circle at SummerSlam a few weeks ago. While many fans and wrestlers praised the actor for his in-ring ability during his tag match with Neville against Stardust and King Barrett, it seems there were a few members of the WWE Universe who were not on board with Amell’s performance, specifically a certain hellraising WWE Hall of Famer.
During the most recent episode of ‘The Steve Austin Show’ on PodcastOne, the legendary “Stone Cold” Steve Austin commented on the special attraction match featured at the company’s premiere event of the summer. Though the Texas Rattlesnake had some critiques for Amell specifically, the bigger issue that the former six-time WWE Champion had was with involving the WWE involving celebrities in matches in general:
“I just don’t like the celebrities coming in there, the squared circle, and being able to compete at any level with the guys in the business [pro wrestling]. You’ve got to protect some integrity of the business. I don’t care what day and age, what year it is.
It was what it was, but I just got a hard time seeing that kid come off with that crossbody on the top rope on two WWE guys down there.”
Truth be told, I can see where Austin is coming from. Wade Barrett and Stardust are both multi-time Intercontinental Champions. They stand with greats like Mr. Perfect, The Rock, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Shawn Michaels, The Ultimate Warrior, and Austin himself as holders of the prestigious title. So how is it that Stephen Amell could come in with no wrestling experience and make those two look stupid? Despite him being constantly billed as his Green Arrow character, it’s a hard thing to buy right away. However, keep in mind that we’ve seen weirder things in professional wrestling. I mean, the less said about the Gobbledy Gooker or the Shockmaster the better, but comedian Andy Kaufman’s feud with Jerry “The King” Lawler was one of the things that put this form of entertainment on the mainstream map.
The bottom line here is that Stone Cold is old school. He even has a problem with Vince McMahon’s employees being called “sports entertainers” instead of “pro wrestlers”. But having someone with no experience pull one over on full-time workers exposes the business a little bit. That being said, as a long-time fan of the WWE, this was one of the least cringe-worthy mainstream crossovers ever done by the WWE. It was even made better when it turned out that Amell was pretty good in the ring for a beginner. Although, I wouldn’t want stuff like this to dominate WWE programming. The guys and girls in the locker room need to be the ones that are predominantly showcased.
What did you think of Stephen Amell’s performance at WWE Summerslam? Do you think that he had no place stepping foot in the ring? Or is it nice to see some crossover with mainstream media stars once in a while? Sound off in the comments below.