Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but you wouldn’t know it from the world of professional wrestling. Over the years, wrestlers and wrestling organizations have tried to exploit the holiday season in a myriad of ways, from Christmas-themed gimmick matches, to wrestlers dressing up in various attempts at playing Santa, to actual Christmas movies, and generally, they all end up being cheesy at best, and actually fairly terrible at worst. We’ve looked through the archives, and come up with a bunch of examples of when it seemed like the wrestling industry was trying to guarantee that nobody had a Merry Christmas.
10. Christmas Creature
Glenn Jacobs, the man underneath the mask of Kane, is well-known for having participating in his share of terrible gimmicks before becoming the Big Red Machine, but few outside of the truly dedicated know about one of his dumbest gimmicks ever, which happened during his early years in USWA, where he was known as The Christmas Creature. Jacobs portrayed the Creature as a gigantic, murderous Christmas Tree, and, well, it looked about as ridiculous as you could imagine. Possibly the only good thing about the Creature is that in a full bodysuit and mask, nobody knew who was playing the gimmick, so it didn’t immediately burn Jacobs’ burgeoning wrestling career to the ground. On the bright side, the gimmick was buried for good in a final match against the legendary Jerry “The King” Lawler, so at least Jacobs got to have that on his resume!
9. “Santa’s Little Helper” Matches
Listen, we were horny teenagers once, and we understand the appeal of attractive women dressed in revealing costumes. That said, the blatant cheesecake of the seemingly annual “Santa’s Little Helper” matches were a not-so-shining example of how poorly WWE treated their Women’s Division for many, many years. In almost every instance, these matches were an opportunity for “comedy” as opposed to wrestling, and just brings up bad memories of all the actually talented female wrestlers who passed through WWE and spent most of their TV time in holiday-themed teddies, in hair-pulling contests with barely trained swimsuit models, often in battle royals where the “over the top rope” part of the gimmick was waived because half the women involved couldn’t actually take that kind of bump. And even if the concept appealed to you because, hey, it’s women in sexy costumes, you were still out of luck. Since these matches actually took place post-Attitude Era, it’s not like anyone was wearing anything particularly revealing anyway! The modern Women’s Division is far from perfect, but we’d bet we won’t be seeing Sasha Banks and Charlotte in reindeer antlers and big red bows this holiday season.
8. A Jingle With Jillian
The gimmick of a person who thinks she’s a great singer but really isn’t has dominated network sitcoms for decades, so it’s not a shock to see WWE try its hand with Jillian Hall. The fact that it’s an interesting concept sadly didn’t mean that anyone wanted to actually listen to Hall’s tone-deaf warbling, but severe audience blowback never stopped WWE before. But of course, since this is WWE, they either forgot the whole thing was supposed to be a joke or just figured they might as well make a few bucks of the stupidity while they were at it, and the result was “A Jingle With Jillian”, an honest-to-goodness Christmas album featuring a handful of Christmas classic being brutalized by Hall’s complete lack of talent. The album actually briefly made it onto several “best-seller” charts the week of release, getting as high as 20th on the UK Holidays Top 100, and hitting 120 on the Billboard Top 200. Sales immediately plummeted, as basically everyone who wanted the damned thing got it that first week, and then were likely killed by anyone who they forced to listen to it.
7. December To Dismember
We’re pretty sure the wrestling audience has shoveled enough dirt on the corpse of WWE’s ill-fated revival of ECW, but let’s take another look back at this ridiculously poorly-planned PPV, the first and only one of the new ECW, December To Dismember. Sure, it doesn’t specifically involve Christmas, but WWE did get in some minor legal trouble when the poster advertising the event was deemed just a little too close to the movie posters for 1984 Christmas-themed horror movie Silent Night, Deadly Night, so we’re counting it. Plus, it did feature an appearance from an ECW wrestler who will make another appearance on this list! Headed into the show, only two matches were actually booked, and the rest of the card was revealed to the general public when the matches actually happened. Plus, WWE made a switch in the main event participants during the PPV itself, changing up one of the only matches people had theoretically paid to see! We say “theoretically”, of course, because it was the least-bought PPV in WWE history, and remained so right up until the company moved their PPVs to the WWE Network. The failure of December To Dismember put the nail in the coffin of the ECW revival, as Paul Heyman, the creative force behind the idea, was fired the next day, and WWE began overhauling the entire brand in order to make it more like Raw and Smackdown, as opposed to the “rebel” promotion it was initially portrayed as.
6. Xanta Klaus
You know what would be the perfect wrestling character to market to WWE’s target demographic? Evil Santa Claus! These words must have been spoken at some point, and far too many people had to have agreed, in order for the character of Xanta Klaus to ever darken a WWE ring. Introduced as a character in the employ of Ted DiBiase, during the days when he ran a Corporation full of losers like IRS, evil Native American Tatanka, and ancient Nikolai Volkoff (plus that one Ringmaster guy, who did all right for himself), Xanta Klaus, played by future ECW stalwart Balls Mahoney, was billed as hailing from the South Pole, and supposedly stole presents from good children. Setting aside the nightmares such a character would give kids in the audience, a Santa-based gimmick really only has a shelf life of roughly four weeks out of the year, tops. The instant someone clued into the fact that there was absolutely no point to having an evil Santa outside of December, the gimmick was mercifully eliminated, but not before he got in a few licks on an unsuspecting Savio Vega, who always seemed to end up on the wrong end of sneak attacks during his career, for some reason.
5. Alberto Del Rio Runs Over Santa
Speaking of giving children nightmares, how about having Alberto Del Rio, known for entering the arena in obscenely expensive automobiles, actually run down Santa Claus in front of the Raw audience at Christmas? That doesn’t sound like a good idea to us, especially at the height of WWE’s PG era, where the company was supposed to be focusing on marketing to a younger audience, but they went ahead and did it anyway. This was all done as a way of setting up John Cena to get revenge for the attempted vehicular homicide of Santa Claus (they were kind of unclear if Santa actually survived the accident, but since he was played by Mick Foley, and for the sake of our sanity, we’re going to assume he lived) in a Christmas-themed Street Fight. To make matters worse, Del Rio had actually turned face in the weeks leading up to the episode, so one of his first big, memorable actions as a newly minted hero was…accidentally hitting Santa Claus with a car! In case you were curious, Del Rio’s initial face run was a complete bust, but you probably could have guessed that.
4. Jingle All The Way 2
You might think we’re crazy, but there are good things about the original Jingle All The Way movie, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sinbad, and that kid who would eventually gain larger fame by helping ruin the Star Wars prequels. Also, Phil Hartman was in it, and that’s really all we needed. But then, years later, WWE Studios decided to help finance a sequel (alongside 20th Century Fox), starring Larry The Cable Guy. We’ve actually got nothing against Larry, he found a niche and made lots of money doing it, but that doesn’t mean we want to watch him bumble his way through a Christmas movie. The movie is so devoid of content that in its Wikipedia article, the description of the plot is literally one sentence. And not a long sentence, either. Jingle All The Way 2 does include Santino Marella in a supporting role, which was probably the condition for WWE putting up money to get this film made, and also why they incessantly ran advertisements for it on their weekly TV shows. We can’t believe we’re saying this, but even if you’re a fan of Larry The Cable Guy, there are far better options for you.
3. Christmas Bounty/Santa’s Little Helper
It doesn’t matter how great of a Superstar that Miz might have turned into eventually, he’s still going to have the anchor of having starred in not one, but two terrible Christmas movies weighing him down. WWE can’t take full credit for Christmas Bounty, as that was an ABC Family deal, but suffice to say Miz didn’t exactly rise above the material there in a supporting role as part of a gang of thieves plotting a major heist on Christmas. His starring role in Santa’s Little Helper is no better, as it has Miz playing the part of a heartless millionaire businessman who loses his job, is scouted by Santa for the job of his assistant, and somehow learns the true meaning of Christmas. We wouldn’t believe the Miz had actually learned the true meaning of Christmas if we knew he’d been visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve, which we suppose is a credit to his persona, but doesn’t help make his character in this movie believable at all. For a double dose of wrestling-related awful, Santa’s Little Helper also features Paige playing another elf who wants the same job. We’ll say this for Paige, as an actor, she’s a really good wrestler. We know the standard of quality in Direct-to-Video Christmas movies isn’t exactly high, but with a bar that low, you’d think WWE Studios would have managed to clear it at least once.
2. Santa’s Slay
WWE doesn’t get all the credit for terrible Christmas movies involving wrestlers though, because we’ve still got this ridiculous exercise in Christmas horror. In Santa’s Slay, former WCW World Champion Bill Goldberg plays the child of Satan, who lost a bet to an angel thousands of years ago and was forced to become the Santa Claus everyone knows and loves. Except now, the terms of the deal have been met, and he’s decided to start murdering people at Christmas instead. The movie is clearly an attempt at a comedic horror movie, and it fails at both, being neither particularly funny or scary at all. But you’d probably figure that out roughly thirty seconds into the movie when you realize that the people who made this movie thought “comedy” and came up with “Fran Drescher and Chris Kattan”. Oh, and it should go without saying, but Goldberg isn’t exactly the best actor in the world, either. In case you wondered whether they had anyone else in mind for the role, the post-credits scene literally has Goldberg’s character looking over his Naughty List and say “Who’s Next?”
1. Santa With Muscles
As bad as recent Christmas movies involving wrestlers have been (and like we said, they’ve been bad), they will never compare to the Hollywood career of the one and only Hulk Hogan. We tried to explain the plot of Santa With Muscles to someone the other day, and they couldn’t believe it was a real movie that you could have paid money to see in a theater. In case you didn’t know, Hogan plays an arrogant millionaire who loses his memory in an accident, wakes up in a Santa suit, and believes that he must be the real Santa. He ends up at an orphanage full of needy children (including a 13-year-old Mila Kunis), which happens to be located on top of a secret mine full of energy crystals that an evil scientist wants to steal. Eventually Hogan’s character gets his memories back, and decides to stop the evil scientist with the help of his household staff. These are all things that actually happen in this film! Everyone should actually see this movie once, because it contains just enough camp and comically bad elements to be a fun waste of time if you have absolutely nothing better to do, but by no stretch of the imagination is it a good movie.