Yesterday morning started no different than any other for me. Wake up, shower, stare in awe at the beautiful specimen in the mirror for 7-10 minutes, then eat breakfast with the TV tuned to the worldwide leader in sports’s flagship show – SportsCenter. Only when I looked up from my Fruity Pebbles (yes, I am on the six-year-old diet) did I realize something strange on the screen: the program rundown had an upcoming segment titled “Shaq on WWE.” Sure enough, the Big Aristotle brought his act to the squared circle and as usual, he did not disappoint.
There was a time when I wouldn’t dare miss a moment of Monday Night RAW, but those days went the way of the dodo bird as I substituted Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage for Jack Daniels and Mary Jane. I guess I finally just realized that the WWE was scripted and could no longer continue to fall for the same backstabbing chair shots each and every Monday evening. To win back lost fans and adapt to the competitive television landscape, the mastermind behind the WWE – Vincent K. McMahon – has ushered in a bold new marketing strategy for his 57 year old mega-company: the celebrity host.
This past Monday, wrestling fans had the pleasure of witnessing Shaquille O’Neal put his stamp on the longest continuously running weekly entertainment show in TV history. In his typical Diesel fashion, Shaq destroyed a Kobe Bryant poster, told the Washington crowd that notorious Wizards killer “LeBron James told [him] to tell you hello,” and, to top it off, went toe-to-toe with sports entertainment’s largest athlete, the Big Show. Big Show did the impossible: he made O’Neal look skinny, something apparent to the Cavs center who called the bald goliath “fat boy” and challenged him to a match. Chris Jericho also felt the wrath of Shaq Fu as the guest host called him “Christina” and placed him and Big Show in a match with everybody’s favorite ghetto fabulous tag team, Cryme Tyme. Take a look at SportsCenter’s highlights of “Raw is Shaq.”
Although the WWE has had some other solid guest hosts (i.e. Donald Trump, Seth Green), none have been quite the hit that Shaq was on Monday. Although I will likely never become a full-time pro wrestling junkie again, watching the Big Man made me pine for the old days when my best friends were my Legion of Doom bash buddies and I traded all of my Halloween candy for a Hasbro Mr. Perfect action figure.
Raw isn’t planning on slowing down their star studded guest host roster anytime soon as Jeremy Piven, better known as “Entourage” super agent Ari Gold will thrown his hat and possibly a few fists into the ring next Monday. Don’t miss it.