There has been an unusual amount of pro wrestling involved in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ celebration of winning the city’s first major sports title in 50 years. Kevin Love wore an “Austin 3:16” shirt and chugged beers à la Stone Cold. The WWE announced they were sending the Cavaliers a championship belt to honor their victory. Of course, we can’t forget LeBron James’ ultimate troll job, wearing an Ultimate Warrior shirt on his return to Cleveland. This is not LeBron’s only connection to pro wrestling, though. Back in 2003, LeBron made his first appearance on WWE Raw.
LeBron was but a week into his NBA career at that point, a mere teenager with so much promise ahead of him. However, his appearance in the RAW audience was still a major event. The whole video, despite how brief it is, is a real blast from the past. James looks so young, and he has a flip phone he seems very proud of. There are glimpses of the likes of Trish Stratus and the aforementioned Stone Cold Steve Austin. James poses backstage with people like Stacy Keibler. A small child wields a kendo stick next to LeBron.
Not only has LeBron changed quite a bit in the ensuing 13 years, so has the WWE. Now, he could get in the squared circle and use his three rings like William Regal’s brass knuckles. Excuse me, I meant “the power of the punch.”