The Stupidest Moment in Pro Wrestling History Happened 22 Years Ago in Syracuse
What many pro wrestling fans consider to be the stupidest moment in history happened on this day, 22 years ago. And it happened right in Syracuse.
For something in an entertainment form already rife with ridiculousness to be called "the stupidest moment" is a pretty impressive accomplishment. This is a medium, of course, in which men (and women) engage in choreographed battles wearing goofy outfits, often over some equally goofy melodrama, such as one wrestler abducting the other wrestler's dog. Sometimes called a "male soap opera," one might argue that it's not meant to be taken seriously to begin with.
But like anything, wrestling has its super fans, and they're very passionate about their product. Ask any of them what they think the "stupidest moment" was, and they might say it was the night when Scream actor David Arquette won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
The late '90s was arguably the hottest time to be a wrestling fan. There was not only the Vince McMahon-led World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment), but there was the Ted Turner-led World Championship Wrestling. WCW used Ted Turner's deep pockets to procure many big name stars, such as Hulk Hogan and "Macho Man" Randy Savage, and in 2000 they dabbled in producing a Hollywood movie.
The wrestling-themed comedy Ready to Rumble starred several WCW wrestlers, as well as Scream actor and ex-husband of Courtney Cox, David Arquette. And in order to help promote the movie, WCW started involving David Arquette in its weekly wrestling storylines.
On April 26th, 2000, during a taping for the weekly WCW Thunder television show, WCW made David Arquette win the World Heavyweight Championship, the company's "highest honor."
Yes, wrestling is fake, and yes, the outcomes are pre-determined. But for many fans and wrestlers alike, having a Hollywood actor win their biggest championship was a disgrace, and insult to their intelligence.
Almost all wrestling fans have heard of this moment. But what New York wrestling fans may not realize is that it happened in Syracuse, at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
Arquette would later attempt to redeem himself to wrestling fans by touring wrestling's independent circuit. These exploits were filmed as part of the 2020 documentary You Cannot Kill David Arquette. The documentary was relatively well-received, holding a 84% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
To have the "stupidest moment in pro wrestling history" occur in Central New York, that's a pretty prestigious title. Almost as prestigious as the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.