In wrestling, history is mutable: feuds are forgotten at the drop of a hat, extensive storylines -all recorded and internationally broadcast-being wiped out because one character stands in the ring and says it just wasn’t so. Clearly this is the most valuable lesson Freddie Prinze, Jr took away from his time in WWE.
To review, Freddie had this to say about his coworker Kiefer Sutherland during San Diego ComicCon:
“I did 24, it was terrible. I hated every moment of it,” Prinze said. “Kiefer was the most unprofessional dude in the world. That’s not me talking trash, I’d say it to his face, I think everyone that’s worked with him has said that.”
“I went and worked for Vince McMahon at the WWE for Christ’s sake and it was a crazier job than working with Kiefer,” he said. “But, at least he was cool and tall. I didn’t have to take my shoes off to do scenes with him, which they made me do. Just put the guy on an apple box or don’t hire me next time. You know I’m 6 feet and he’s 5’4.” [ABC News]
As Danger Guerrero pointed out earlier, that’s a long time to sit on a grudge. As the story has spread, everyone from co-workers to ex-girlfriends to Kiefer Sutherland himself have responded with a resounding “Uhh, wait…what?”
While their working relationship is debated back and forth, let’s pause to take a look at what is clearly the most important aspect of this story: Freddie Prinze, Jr. worked for the WWE, and it was kinda hilarious.
Back in 2008, Prinze, Jr. was shown as being a Very Notable Attendee of WrestleMania XXIV, because nothing speaks to a wrestling audience more than a milquetoast teen rom-com star. Prinze, Jr. was a long time wrestling fan who would soon get to live out a childhood dream of…watching The Miz make fun of a “bald, fat virgin.”
The purpose of these segments was to prove just how well-connected to the LA celebrity scene The Miz (currently…um…doing this exact same thing on WWE television) and John Morrison (currently parkouring somewhere in parts unknown) were by showing rousing endorsements by such legendary actors as Michael Rappaport, and threatening to beat up Michael Flatley.
The payoff to all of this should have been a madeover Festus walking down the ramp to Sixpence None The Richer. An enraptured Freddie Prinze, Jr. would then jump the barricade, steal a microphone and announce to The Miz and Morrison (giggling from the Titantron) that the bet was off because he was now in love. Festus would beome enraged that he was “just a stupid bet,” suplex Freddie into oblivion, and we’d all have a good laugh at that weird segment that came nine years too late and never invite a celebrity back onto Raw again. Hindsight is 20/20, I guess.
Freddie Prinze, Jr.’s relationship with WWE grew, from giggling awkwardly at the word “virgin,” to blogging about his thoughts for the WWE Universe, then finally being hired on as a member for the creative team in charge of the then (and still) B-program Smackdown. The position didn’t last that long, with him parting ways from the company in February of 2009.
Their relationship, however, would not end there. Prinze was invited back to guest-host an episode of Monday Night Raw. WWE, most widely known for their topical pop-culture references, took this opportunity to plug I Know What You Did Last Summer, roughly 12 years too late:
Because getting ribbed by a mildly-offensive Italian-stereotype gimmick doing his best Dr. Claw impression isn’t enough of an indelible wrestling legacy, Freddie had to get in the face of then-WWE Champion Randy Orton:
Prinze, Jr. has spoken fondly of the six months he spent traveling with the WWE and it’s super-friendly roster of super tall dudes. Will this sudden blood feud with Kiefer Sutherland lead to an ultimate cage-match showdown at SummerSlam? Eh, probably not. Will it lead to a WWE remake of Head Over Heels featuring the cast of E!’s Total Divas? Lord, I hope so.