As we learned on Monday afternoon, former The Daily Show host Jon Stewart will host this year’s edition of WWE SummerSlam from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
How did we get here? What brought together two seemingly unrelated media giants — the political evisceration of Comedy Central’s fake news giant and the goofy Americana of fake fighting? Here’s what you need to know about Jon Stewart and WWE, BEST FRIENDS FOREVER.
The Daily Show
At WrestleMania 30, “The Beast Incarnate” Brock Lesnar ended the 21-year WrestleMania undefeated streak of the legendary Undertaker. It was a decision that surprised many, including Stewart. He complained about the match on his show, to an … unresponsive crowd.
It wasn’t interim host John Oliver’s special friendship with WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley, but it was something.
Stewart made an appearance sitting in the front row (waving, in a baseball cap to make himself as incognito as possible), but things didn’t escalate until the following February.
The Daily Show Gets A New Host
On the February 16, 2015, episode of Raw, a boastful Seth Rollins announced himself as the world’s greatest entertainer, saying he could do anything. He could be President of the United States, or he could become the new host of The Daily Show and “make that thing actually watchable.”
Battle lines were drawn.
Jon Stewart Responds
A few days later, WWE uploaded a surprisingly adept promo from Jon Stewart, “160 pounds of dynamite.” He claimed that Rollins messing with The Daily Show was the “biggest mistake” he’d ever made. He also threw some shade at Rollins’ dye job, but that’s to be expected.
Rollins quickly responded, saying Stewart knew where to find him if he wanted a piece.
Rollins Knows Where To Find Jon Stewart, Too
It turns out he didn’t have to wait for an attack. Rollins crashed The Daily Show and challenged Stewart to put his money where his mouth is and appear live on Monday Night Raw. Stewart promised to bring it, but he didn’t have “it” with him right now, and would bring it at a later date.
The Daily Show With Seth Rollins
On March 2, Rollins held his own version of The Daily Show with Seth Rollins, with Stewart as his guest. If you ever needed to feel good about Stewart showing up in a recurring role on WWE TV, this is the segment for you.
Stewart showed a real fan’s perspective on WWE’s characters and stories, even reminding Rollins that he’d only won the Money in the Bank briefcase with help from Kane. Most regular fans didn’t even remember that by March. Things almost came to blows until Randy Orton interrupted, allowing Stewart to nail a spectacular kick to the balls and escape.
Backstage, Jon was not exactly confident.
Then, a swerve:
Making Peace (?)
During Jon Stewart’s final run of Daily Show episodes, future host (I’m assuming) Rollins returned to throw Stewart’s years of Arby’s-related insults back in his face and, ultimately, present him with a custom Daily Show WWE World Heavyweight Championship belt.
Jon didn’t sell out; he bought in.
And now, Stewart has been announced as the host of WWE SummerSlam 2015. It’ll be his first post-Daily Show hosting gig, but how do the allegiances lie? Is Stewart still a plucky babyface trying to do right in the face of The Authority, or has that championship belt gone to his head? Stewart’s a fan of the Undertaker and Taker’s kind of evil again, so who knows?
Let’s just hope that if we never get Jon Stewart on The Daily Show again, he keeps showing up on Raw.