One reason pro wrestling will probably stick around forever is that there are certain advantages to having everything scripted, such as making sure shocking underdog stories happen right on schedule, and celebrity guest appearances.
No other sport can do this -- while some NFL team might invite a famous actor or rapper to hang out on the sidelines or in the locker room, they're not going to let the dude go out and get crushed by a linebacker. But in wrestling, you can totally do this -- and for as long as wrestling has been popular, celebrities have been taking advantage. If it's all fake, why not have Donald Trump beat the shit out of Vince McMahon on live TV?
But sometimes these appearances get so awkward, cringe-worthy, or stupid that they wind up being undignified, even by pro wrestling standards.
Jay Leno Takes on Hulk Hogan (and Wins)
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In 1998, wrestling was red hot and firmly in the mainstream. Everybody wanted in on the act, and World Championship Wrestling (WCW) just refused to say no. This is how they wound up having Jay Leno (yup, that one) fight Hulk Hogan. And not just fight him, but beat his ass. If it's still not clear to you why this made wrestling fans groan and roll their eyes, just look at it:
Hell, the referee looks like he could beat Leno to a pulp.
We get that wrestling fans don't demand gritty realism from their sport -- they're not stupid, they understand the concept of suspension of disbelief. But regardless of how ridiculous the storylines can get, at the very least they have to make it somewhat plausible that the guy who wins the match could actually have done it. You know, because both guys in the ring are professional wrestlers and it's not, say, a muscle-bound superman versus a pudgy middle-aged desk jockey.
There was actually a storyline behind this (because if Leno just showed up and started whaling on Hulk out of nowhere, that wouldn't have made any sense). Basically, Hulk Hogan was a heel (bad guy) at the time, and his manager was Eric Bischoff, the real-life president of WCW and most likely the guy you can blame for all of this bullshit. Bischoff's character randomly decided he wanted to be a talk-show host and launched the excruciating Nightcap, 30 minutes of intentionally awful jokes smack dab in the middle of WCW television. Every fucking week.
The torture only stopped when Jay Leno voiced his fake concern and challenged Hogan and Bischoff to a fight, because wrestling. There are lots of ways they could have resolved this without pretending Leno could actually wrestle anyone for five minutes without coughing up a lung, such as having him manage a real wrestler (like the WWE did with Donald Trump), but no, they instead set up a tag-team match. Leno went and found himself an actual wrestler for a partner, and the match was on.
Via Wrestling Legends Forum
For the first time in his life, Hogan realizes he has chosen a ridiculous line of work.