Punches And Piledrivers: All The Times ‘SNL’ Took On Boxing And Pro Wrestling

Professional wrestlers and boxers have a long and storied history within the walls of 30 Rockefeller Center, with stars of the two mediums bringing the funny on Saturday Night Live for decades. Just the context of wrestling and boxing alone has provided fans of SNL with a plethora of comedy nuggets.

With UFC star and former women’s champ Ronda Rousey hosting the newest episode of SNL, what better way to celebrate her appearance than with some of contact sports’ best sketches on the long-running show?

Jerry “The King” Lawler Destroys Andy Kaufman

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Andy Kaufman was a performer best known for his absurdist humor that blurred the lines between reality and comedy. Perhaps his best work in that realm came during his “feud” with Jerry “The King” Lawler. Kaufman was going around the country facing females in wrestling matches, and real-life wrestler, Lawler, took exception to his mockery of the sport. The two eventually met in a wrestling match where Lawler pummeled the comedian with a back suplex and piledriver.

The feud was well documented in the above clip from a 1982 episode of SNL and also spilled onto David Letterman’s show, where Lawler slapped Kaufman. It wasn’t until years later that we learned that the two men concocted the elaborate ruse, but for a time, it felt entirely real and tense.

SNL‘s Mayweather vs. Pacquiao Is Almost Like The Real Thing

For this SNL cold opening of an episode that was up against the Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao “Fight of the Century,” the NBC mainstay decided to hold their own bout, with crude doppelgängers standing in for the two athletes. It doesn’t last long as cast members Jay Pharoah and Kenan Thompson leave to actually go watch the real fight.

Koko Watchout And Trashyard Mutt Have An Exchange

“Watchout” and “Trashyard” are plays on ’80s WWF wrestlers Koko B. Ware and Junkyard Dog. In this promo exchange between the two faux wrestlers, The Rock once again proves why he’s the best pro wrestler to ever appear on SNL. Johnson’s herpes attack and his sequined jacket are the true stars of this sketch.

The Rock And WrestleMania Invade SNL

In the lead-up to WrestleMania 16, also known as WrestleMania 2000, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson made his very first appearance on the show as a host. During his monologue, his opponents from the main-event of the card (Triple H, Mick Foley, and The Big Show) all made appearances to try and derail The Rock’s moment. It didn’t work, but the MVP of the bit was definitely Big Show, who showed that he can do more than punch and chokeslam.

James “The Gentleman Masher” Corcoran On ESPN

Conan O’Brien as an early 20th century, fleet-footed pugilist is everything, but an old-timey boxing sketch wouldn’t be complete, of course, without a twisty mustache. As he’s proven on his late-night talk show, O’Brien isn’t afraid to show some skin, even if it’s blindingly pasty and frail looking.

Fernando Makes Hulk Hogan And Mr. T Break Character

Everyone can agree that when an actor or comedian breaks character on SNL, it provides some of the funniest moments. In this sketch during the lead-up to the very first WrestleMania in 1985, Mr. T and Hulk Hogan can’t contain their laughter when Billy Crystal’s Fernando character makes a suggestive comment about T’s strengthening device.

Joe Piscopo Interviews Muhammad Ali

If you were to list the greatest SNL cast members, Eddie Murphy would undoubtedly be in the top ten. Muhammad Ali is arguably the greatest heavyweight boxer of all-time. What do you get when you combine the two? You get this sketch that roasts Ali’s deteriorating condition in the twilight of his career. It’s probably not as funny as it once was, considering Ali is now battling Parkinson’s, but it’s still worthy of a chuckle just for Murphy’s depiction of the aging champ.

George Foreman Is A Makeover Specialist

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Foreman once had his own TV series briefly after his boxing career began to fade, and it was mostly forgettable. What’s not forgettable, though, is Adam Sandler’s appearance in this sketch that shows the former heavyweight champ pummeling people in order to enhance their features. Sandler’s swollen face, missing teeth, and fearful demeanor make this moment much funnier than it should have been.

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