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10 Times Christmas Collides with Pro Wrestling!

Much like Thanksgiving... Pro Wrestling and Christmas go hand in hand.  Over the years, wrestling promotions and wrestlers have celebrated (and exploited) the holiday season in many ways.  From holding events on Christmas day to wrestlers dressed up as Santa Claus, Christmas themed gimmick matches, or even a handful of wrestlers appearing in Christmas movies, these festive events celebrate the holiday season for children and adults alike.

I've looked around the internet and compiled a list in no particular order of some examples of when Christmas and Pro Wrestling COLLIDE!

10.  Xanta Claus:  
This is one that immediately came to mind when I thought of Christmas and Pro Wrestling.  During the early-to-mid 1990's, "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase began managing a stable of wrestlers named "The Million Dollar Corporation."  WWF SuperStars such as Irwin R. Shyster (Mike Rotundo), evil Tatanka, Nikolai Volkoff and a man you may have heard of named Steve Austin... although at that time Austin went by the name The Ringmaster.  During the holiday season, what could be a more perfect wrestling character to market to children?  An evil version of Santa Claus... the XANTA CLAUS!  (Pronounced Zanta)

You may know him as future ECW star Balls Mahoney, Xanta supposedly stole presents from the good children, took them to his evil lair on the South Pole (get it?)  The opposite of everything Santa, the wrestler even wore black and red instead of white and red.  Unfortunately for Xanta the evil character lasted only a few weeks.  Once Christmas was over what use did the WWF really have for a Santa Claus knockoff?

9.  December to Dismember (The 2006 WWECW PPV):
December to Dismember is widely known as one of the worst, if not THE worst, WWE produced Pay-Per-View events of all time.  Most fans hold the WWE run ECW in contempt anyway, but, this PPV event pretty much killed the promotion.  December to Dismember was the one and only ECW PPV and for good reason.

Why was this event so bad?  To start, it only had two booked matches on the morning of the event.  The rest of the show was only announced as the show progressed and the wrestlers made their ring entrance.  Then, one of the only two announced matches was switched at the last minute!  In the end, this was the least purchased WWE Pay-Per-View of all time and was the last straw for the ECW brand.  Paul Heyman, the creator of ECW and the creative director behind the December to Dismember event, was fired the next day over how poorly the event went among other things.  Vince McMahon began overhauling ECW to make it more like Raw and Smackdown and that was all she wrote.

While December to Dismember isn't specifically about Christmas per se, the show's advertising did get the promotion into a little legal trouble.  The posters and graphics looked strikingly similar to the 1984 Christmas thriller "Silent Night."

8.  Santa's Little Helper starring The Miz and Paige:
Mike "The Miz" Mizanin stars as the heartless millionaire businessman who loses his job early in this film produced by WWE.  He's recruited by Santa as his new assistant and somehow The Miz learns the true meaning of Christmas.

Also appearing in this movie is WWE SuperStar Paige who plays an elf that wants the same job as the Miz.  Paige... is not good here.  It's a good thing that this was a Direct-to-DVD movie because the overall quality was not good here.  It's a sort-of cute movie aimed at teaching children the true meaning of Christmas but the acting is below sub-par... even for a direct to DVD film.

7.  Santa with Muscles:
During the early 1990's Hulk Hogan had decided to give up his days in the ring and try his hand at acting.  One of the more memorable movies that came during his run out in Hollywood was "Santa with Muscles."  The Hulkster plays an arrogant billionaire thief who loses his memory in a car accident.  He wakes up in the Santa suit he wore to throw off police and began believing he's the real Santa Claus.  He winds up at an orphanage that happened to be built on top of a secret gold-mine full of energy crystals that a group of evil scientists want to steal.  Towards the end of the film, Hogan gets his memory back and uses his muscles to stop the evil doers.

Yes... that really is the plot to this film.  That said, I love it.  I enjoy all of Hogan's movies from this time period.  Maybe I'm just a mark for Hulk Hogan but it's a campy fun film that has such bad comedy that it's a fun little waste of time.  Admittedly it's not an Oscar winner but it's a fun Christmas-themed movie with wrestlers.  Also, you can see a 13 year old Mila Kunis in the orphanage.

6.  Jingle All the Way 2:
Following the success of the 1996 Arnold Schwarzenegger film Jingle All The Way, the WWE and it's film division decided it would be a good idea to create Jingle All The Way 2 nearly 20 years later.  The original featured Schwarzenegger, Sinbad, Phil Hartman and other recognizable stars while grossing $130 million at the box office.  In 2014 though, the WWE recruited Larry the Cable Guy and wrestler Santino Marella to carry the direct-to-DVD sequel. 

I kid you not, and you can go check, the Wikipedia entry for this movie is one sentence long.  Seriously.  I also never liked Santino Marella and I'm not sure why he was the hand picked wrestler forced into the movie by WWE.  Even for a Larry the Cable Guy movie this one stinks.

5.  Santa's Slay:
One genre in particular that I don't care for is horror... but comedy horror doesn't even make sense to me.  That's what this movie is though that features former WCW World Heavyweight Champion (also former WWE Universal Champion) Bill Goldberg.  Goldberg portrays the child of the devil who lost a bet to an angel thousands of years ago that forces him to become Santa Claus... the lovable gift giver everyone loves.  Now that the terms of his bet have been met, he begins murdering people on Christmas instead of leaving gifts under the tree.

Goldberg was never the best wrestler and he certainly isn't the best actor either.  As I said, I don't care for horror or silly comedy-horror movies, but, this movie is bad.  And not bad-to-the-bone bad... just bad.  There is one little nod to wrestling fans... at the end of the film Goldberg's evil Santa looks over his Good/Naughty list he does say his iconic line "Who's Next?"

4.  Stone Cold stuns Santa Claus:
During the Attitude era of the late 90's, Stone Cold Steve Austin was running roughshod over the WWF.  He was so popular he could do anything and get a positive fan reaction... including giving a Stone Cold Stunner to jolly Ol' St. Nick himself!  On the December 22, 1997 Monday Night RAW he did just that.

On the famous podcast "Something to Wrestle" with Bruce Prichard, mentioned that "Santa" was a independent wrestler from "upstate Massachusetts" named Roy.  Prichard also revealed that the child in the segment seen sitting on Santa's lap was one of the Uso's.  They were backstage visiting with their father Rikishi at the time and one of them was used.  Bruce claimed he insisted to Austin that he rip off the Santa outfit to prove that he really isn't Santa Claus before stunning him but Austin clearly didn't listen.

This Kris Kringle knockout is quite iconic and to this day gets replayed on WWE highlights and all over the internet.

3.  Santa's Little Helper Matches:
Who of us that were teenage boys in the 90's didn't mind the attractive women dressed in revealing costumes that WWE would trot out from time to time?  The WWE gave us the annual "Santa's Little Helper" matches during the "Ruthless Aggression" era during the low period after the Attitude Era.  Since the WWE was making a move towards a more PG rating the "Divas" would dress in all sorts of holiday themed teddies or bikinis that would have been much more revealing years prior.

These hair-pulling slap and kick fests wouldn't even include the typical over-the-top rule of a normal Battle Royal.  During the post-Attitude Era of the 90's the WWE Women's division was mostly bikini models and actresses and to be honest they were far from decent in the ring.  Even though women in skimpy outfits appeals to most wrestling fans, the actual matches were not good.  But hey, sexy Elf outfits... and stuff.

2.  Christmas Creature:
Glenn Jacobs is the current Mayor of Knox County, the former evil dentist Issacc Yankem, and The Big Red Machine Kane, but did you know he was once known as the Christmas Creature?  Back before he worked for the WWE, Jacobs worked for Jerry Lawler's Memphis based territory known as the USWA.

The Mayor was portrayed as The Christmas Creature... a gigantic, murderous Christmas Tree mixed with a candy cane.  Yep, a green and red bodysuit and mask adorned with ornaments, garland, and lights.  At least with the mask nobody knew who it was and it didn't kill Kane's career before it even began.  The Christmas Creature was put to rest in a blow-off match with none other than USWA promoter Jerry Lawler.

1.  Tribute to the Troops:
Following 9-11, the WWE has provided an entertaining annual holiday show to honor and entertain the men and women of the armed forces.  They teamed up with the USO in 2003 to perform on army bases abroad during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  As the recession hit, and as the fighting in the Middle East subsided, the WWE cut costs and began offering shows stateside that would not only include active members but veterans as well.  These shows are free of storylines and offer the biggest stars of the WWE in quick matches that usually the good guy gets the victory to make the crowd happy.

The idea for the event is credited to wrestler John "Bradshaw" Layfield.  The first event was held from Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq and aired on Christmas Day as a special episode of Smackdown.  For the Main Event of the first "Tribute to the Troops", John Cena defeated the Big Show.  Stone Cold Steve Austin came out after the match and hit the Stunner on everyone in the ring.  He then invited everyone out to the ring to celebrate with the soldiers.

From 2003 to 2009, the show was held in several places overseas.  From Bagdhad and Tikrit in Iraq to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan a small group of volunteer wrestlers and crew would fly over on military transports and then visit the soldiers in their element.  They would tour the base, take photos and sign autographs, and some even got to fire some weapons or pose with tanks or helicopters.

Until 2010, the commentary for the event was recorded back home at WWE headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut.  Following 2009, the event moved home to the United States and the announcers would travel with the crew to the show.  Once the show moved home they would film the event at military bases around the United States.  They'd still visit with the soldiers stationed there but would also visit the surrounding areas such as The Walter Reed Medical Hospital or the Bethesda Naval Hospital.

Honorable Mention - Roddy Piper attacks Bobby Heenan dressed as Santa Claus:

In the early 90's Rowdy Roddy Piper began a run for the Intercontinental Championship, using his hosting gig on WWF Prime Time (alongside Gorilla Monsoon) to launch a feud with Bobby Heenan and the Heenan Family.  Piper interfered in Family member Rick Rude's Intercontinental Title defense against Ultimate Warrior at SummerSlam.  The feud was featured heavily and led to Heenan appearing on Prime Time dressed as Santa Claus.  Of course, Heenan's appearance slowly devolved into a brawl between Piper and the Santa clad Heenan.  Heenan had been telling silly jokes and began telling kids that Santa Claus wasn't real and Piper couldn't control himself any longer.

Bruce Prichard mentioned on an episode of "Something to Wrestle" that everyone in the WWF caught "a lot of sh*t" because it was viewed by the people at USA Network that Piper attacked Santa Claus... not Piper attacking someone dressed as Santa.