Photo by Walter Huang.
Sometimes it still seems hard to believe that there ever was a time when World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) wasn't the top pro wrestling organization in the world. But there was, and it was when the promotion was known as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in the late 1990s when World Championship Wrestling (WCW) was ruling the roost with the New World Order (NWO).
Success isn't just measured by ratings (of which WCW was handing WWF its ass) or pay-per-view (PPV) buyrates (same) but also by mainstream media attention. Pro wrestling is no media darling, for obvious reasons, so when a promotion manages to attract big name stars, it does wonders for exposure.
Throughout the years, Vince McMahon has made it a habit to get as many mainstream stars on his television as possible. But in 1997, the WWF had a product that, quite frankly, no one wanted their name attached to. WCW, on the other hand, had the edgy thing going that attracted a few stars of the same quality.
One of them being embattled former National Basketball Association (NBA) All Star Dennis Rodman. And it was on this date in WCW history (July 13, 1997) that he made his in-ring wrestling debut at Bash at the Beach.
Rodman showed up in March and joined the NWO, to the surprise of few. He had been suspended by the NBA for kicking a camera man and his profile couldn't have been higher. He was also a member of the Chicago Bulls, who were the best team in the league that year, posting a 69-13 record. In fact, just one month prior, Rodman helped the team to a 4-2 series win in the NBA Finals over the Utah Jazz.
So a match was booked for Bash at the Beach with Rodman teaming up with Hulk Hogan, with Randy Savage in tow, to take on The Giant and Lex Luger. The babyfaces emerged victorious, but Rodman managed to not only hold his own, but look pretty damn good, all things considered. It helped that he was in there with three of the worst big name workers ever but whatever.
Watch the match after the jump.