With the passing of Mae Young, one can’t help but reminisce about all the skits she’s been involved in on WWE TV in the last twenty years (specifically). Let me tell you this, Mae Young should Not just be remembered for her comedy. She has worked in-ring in some competitive capacity for the last seven decades. What’s in a decade? Ten years to be quite blunt. Having started her professional wrestling career in 1941. She was a true pioneer of the women’s wrestling world. But when she was no longer able to work a regular schedule she began appearing alongside her best friend The Fabulous Moolah. Moolah tragically passed away a few years back but Mae continued to make various appearances for WWE.
Some of the most memorable of her comedy skits include Young giving birth to a hand and making out with Vince McMahon. While we can look back on those with fond memories now, we often complain about WWE’s comedy sketches. We hardcore wrestling fans often claim that we don’t want a variety show, we want a wrestling show. But let’s really think about that for a moment. Where would WWE be without these comedic shorts?
In 2002, John Cena introduced his rapping skills to the world as he cut a freestyle (dressed as Vanilla Ice) during a Halloween party backstage segment. The next week he was re-branded with a rapper gimmick. The rest is history! Cena became very over with the audience and eventually became WWE Champion and jumped ship to WWE’s Monday Night RAW. Some may argue that Cena is terrible in the ring or boring. However, his merchandise and public relations work has led WWE to some pretty significant profits. Cena is undoubtedly WWE’s top star. The last nine Wrestlemania events featured either John Cena main eventing or John Cena being in a championship bout. I may not be a big Cena fan but he is definitely WWE’s biggest home-grown star. Without that little comedy bit, Cena never would have become the face of the company and WWE may have hit financial struggles in recent years.
As the year 1999 came to a close, the hardcore wrestling fans knew Jericho coming to WWE would be great. We were all anxious to see one of the most talented young guns in the world grapple with The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin and the WWE’s top stars. The casual fan wouldn’t have cared. Is Jericho great in the ring? Yes. Did he have a great look? Yes. Did he have a definite character that the casual fan would latch onto and adore? No. Jericho’s clever exchange with The Rock on his debut led to him doing more and more comedic promos in his WWE tenure and many of us can quote these promos line for line. Would Chris Jericho be such a huge star today had he not been involved in the comedy?
Before Jericho or Cena rose to the top, D-Generation-X was among the most popular of wrestling acts. Some could argue that DX defined the Attitude Era. DX’s entire gimmick was based on sophomoric pranks and rebellion that were comedic if nothing else. The New Age Outlaws became huge fan favorites for their antics and Triple H would have never become the star he is without that rub from good friend Shawn Michaels. Every single hardcore wrestling fan can recount the day DX drove a tank up to the WCW house show or the day that they played strip poker in the middle of the ring. Where would WWE be without DX’s formation? Triple H would have never gotten over, Shawn Michaels would have faded into obscurity years ago, The New Age Outlaws would only be a footnote in WWE history, Chyna would have never been of any importance and X-Pac may have been working the indy scene a lot sooner.
As you see, WWE’s comedy may seem annoying and unnecessary but this isn’t always the case. These skits can produce WWE’s next huge stars. These skits may be lame at times and may even make us want to change channels but when it comes down to it… WWE and Comedy go hand in hand.. As fans we need to learn to get over it.