5 – Bob Backlund Runs For President
Some 21 years later, it’s still tough to tell how much of Bob Backlund’s personality is a work (fake), and how much is a shoot (reality). The fresh-faced Ron Howard-esque grappler of the late 70s and early 80s became a deranged lunatic angry at today’s society during his early 90s WWE run. After months of random attacks on wrestlers and declarations of modern societal ruin, Backlund continued his slide into insanity by declaring his own presidential run in 1995. It really just amounted to Backlund randomly showing up in WWE crowds over the next few months with “Backlund for President” signs.
However, Backlund’s current WWE run still has some political ties, as his current management of modern wrestler Darren Young has repurposed Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, as Backlund frequently declares “We’re going to make Darren Young great again!”
4 – Bill Clinton Strives to Survive
1995 was a weird political year for the WWE. On top of Backlund’s candidacy that year, the 1995 Survivor Series showcased a B-grade Bill Clinton impersonator who lampooned the real article’s lack of cultural knowledge and love of buxom blondes as he showed a complete lack of WWE knowledge while ogling Tammy “Sunny” Sytch.
3 – Jesse Ventura’s Presidential Poll of Donald Trump
Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump is no stranger to World Wrestling Entertainment, serving as one of the celebrity members of WWE’s Hall of Fame. He’s been a frequent guest at WrestleMania, bringing WWE’s biggest show to the Trump Plaza in New Jersey for WrestleMania 4 & 5, while putting his hair on the line against Vince McMahon’s on a bet for a WrestleMania 23 match.
However, if you’re looking for Trump’s most political WWE moment, it was his brief discussion with former Minnesota Governor Jesse “The Body” Ventura at WrestleMania 20. Some 12 years ago, Trump was fairly apolitical while Ventura used his WWE Hall of Fame induciton to test the waters for a Presidential run. Ventura actually sought out Trump at the show and asked for the Don’s financial support, should “The Body” aim to become “The President.” Fortunately for Trump, he didn’t have to follow through on that financial promise.
2 – Barack Obama Fights Hilary Clinton
As much as WWE has lampooned Presidential candidates, they’ve usually kept the humor relegated to speaking bits. That was not the case in 2008, when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s hard-fought primary for the Democratic nomination bled into a match featuring wrestlers on Monday Night Raw. After a ton of talking, the two actually briefly met in an intergender match which was ultimately ruled a draw. Bonus points to WWE for continuity by putting their Bill Clinton impersonator from 13 years earlier in Hillary’s corner!
1 – The Real Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, and John McCain Spout WWE Catchphrases
On the same night that fake Obama and Hillary met in the ring, WWE had the unprecidented moment of featuring the year’s biggest presidential candidates speak directly to the WWE crowd via pre-taped videos in an attempt to boost voter registration ahead of the year’s presidential election. While each candidate’s comments were kept short, all three managed to spout a few WWE catchphrases in order to capture the attention of wrestling fans. Even though the sitting president has often sent a message to American armed forces during WWE’s annual Tribute to the Troops, this was the first (and to date only) time that the future president directly addressed the WWE Universe. However, that will likely change, as this year’s Democratic and Republican front runner both have done so before. God bless America!
Looking for more presidential punch-n-kick? Check out our recent fantasy fight that pit former, future, and potential presidents in a Royal Rumble!