Wrestling, in particular the WWE, is full of cringe-worthy goodness when it comes to the entertainment aspect of sports entertainment. Christmas-themed segments on Monday Night Raws or pay-per-views are quick to reassure you, the fan over 18, that you are clearly watching a program aimed at children. Sometimes there’s a gem amongst all that coal, but usually they’re bad. They’re so bad, I decided to watch Christmas with the Kranks last night on Netflix, rather than stream another holiday episode of Raw and watch guys like Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt go from killing themselves in TLC matches to tumbling over empty, novelty-sized, Christmas presents. Still, I was able to put together this list of other memorable Santa-filled moments.
10. Santa Visits Bret Hart at the Survivor Series
Technically, this took place in November. But WWE didn’t have December pay-per-views at the time and Raw hadn’t even been invented yet, so there was no point in saving this for December. Santa stopped by to visit The Hitman and congratulate him on his first successful pay-per-view WWE Title defense against Shawn Michaels. Snow fell from the rafters and Kris Kringle brought a giant bag full of presents with him, no doubt carrying the torch that was due for Bret Hart.
9. Santa Claus Delivers Dink to Doink
The number of Doinks infiltrating the WWE was getting to be ridiculous and apparently the WWE passed a ban on the number of Doinks allowed in the WWE. Santa, giving zero fucks, decided to bring Doink an early Christmas gift in the form of a miniature Doink. Fabulous Rougeau brother turned Fabulous Interviewer, Ray Rougeau, reminded Doink of the ban on Doinks. So Doink, brilliant clown bastard that he is, decided to name him Dink and subjected us to more years of terrible, babyface, Ray Apollo Doink
8. Jerishow Ho Ho
Chris Jericho in full-on Santa gear came to pay a visit to the Big Show while doing his best impersonation of The Yes Guy from The Simpsons. Seeing “Santa Claus” sitting on Big Show’s lap is quite the sight. All Big Show wants is for Chris Jericho, his partner at the time, to return. Jericho had either left to go play some Fozzy gigs, or had gotten fired for the 20th time. Who knows or cares? Hornswoggle then comes down and revealed Santa to be Jericho. Before Big Show can finally chokeslam Hornswoggle into obscurity, DX makes the save. Granted they make short jokes and treat him like a tiny pet animal because little people aren’t really people. People complain about how terrible wrestling is now, but nothing is more terrible than DX 3.0. Especially during that whole thing they had going with Hornswoggle and awful midget puns that followed.
7. The Debut of Xanta Klaus
While at first this incident might have sent the message that Santa didn’t care for Puerto Ricans, It instead proved that anybody is willing to commit a hate crime for the right amount of money. This was the debut of the short-lived character, Xanta Klaus, Santa’s evil twin brother from the South Pole. Played by one Balls Mahoney. For a wrestling organization that had employed a garbage man, hockey player, plumber, and an evil dentist (is there any other kind?) at that time, even they realized how incredibly stupid an evil Santa Claus-themed wrestler was. In a few weeks Klaus disappeared faster than you can say “Phantasio.”
6. The Battle for Christmas
For whatever reason, there was a one or two week buildup for The Battle for Christmas which took place between good and bad Santa. In an uncharacteristically progressive move by the WWE, they made Mark Henry, a black man, the good Santa. Granted, he was terrible babyface Mark Henry at the time. Sadly, as bad Santa, Damien Sandow wasn’t robbing department stores and having anal sex in the dressing rooms of said department stores. Instead he was dressed like down-on-his luck Dan Aykroyd from Trading Places. With empty present boxes, Christmas trees, Singapore candy canes, and, for whatever reason, a toilet, this was about as festive and hardcore as it could get for the holidays. And terrible. Thank God Damien Sandow became Damien Mizdow.
5. Austin vs. McMahon, The 2003 Holiday Version
If WWE Network is to be believed, Austin vs. McMahon will forever be the best rivalry of all-time no matter what you think, and the WWE will always find a away to keep milking it. Even in 2003, before his retirement can fully go into effect the WWE was using the McMahon-Austin feud as a crutch. So on the first episode of the Tribute to the Troops show, back when only SmackDown scrubs were sent to put on the show while the A-show roster stayed home, the WWE had Vince run-down Santa and then attack him. Of course, this is the WWE and anybody dressed up as Santa is either going to be Mick Foley or another wrestler. Austin reveals himself and proceeds to stun McMahon and send the troops home happy. Home being the military base they were stationed at.
4. Mick Foley vs. The Boiler Room Santas
Two of Mick Foley’s favorite things: boiler room brawls and Santa Claus collided as Mick found himself fighting off a bunch of Santa Claus impersonators. It’s evident here that Foley’s obsession with all things merry has been a long-running theme and he is clearly not joking when he refers to himself as jolly old St. Mick. The fact that he is still featured on WWE TV some 15 years later, still portraying Santa Claus, while promoting a documentary he’s in called I am Santa Claus is both a testament to his obsession and, unknowingly to him, a cry for help.
3. Stone Cold Stuns Santa
Back during the Attitude Era when society was edgy and “suck it” was the official American greeting, even Santa Claus was kind of a dick. Or a “fat piece of trash” according to Steve Austin. In Austin’s defense, Santa had acted like a jerk to a little kid (who could pass for a young Jimmy or Jey Uso). Austin running down Santa and calling him “son” was a nice touch. Of course Austin stuns the crap out of Santa, as he was contractually obligated at the time to perform at least four Stone Cold Stunners per Raw episode.
2. Santa Got Run Over by Alberto Del Rio
Santa’s segment was spilling over into precious Alberto Del Rio match time and was unfortunately struck by one of Del Rio’s many luxurious cars. And, for some reason, a Christmas tree also fell over on him. As much of a jerk Del Rio was he seemed distraught over the whole situation. Meanwhile, Ricardo Rodriguez sobbed uncontrollably which made the whole thing a billion times better. Because WWE is WWE and their suspension of disbelief is on a level that no other wrestling organization can match, Del Rio didn’t run someone over who looked like Santa Claus, but in fact the actual Santa Claus. John Cena confronted Del Rio, in the most ridiculous “funny” John Cena voice, even for John Cena, while rippipng off lines from Anchorman because apparently even he was like, “fuck it.” This all led to the first Miracle on 34th Street Fight which ends with Santa giving Del Rio Mr. Stocko, which further proved that Mick Foley has been hit with a steel chair so many damn times he really does believe he’s Kris Kringle.
1. Santa Taps to Kurt Angle
The Kurt Angle Invitational series was a nice touch that seemingly added credibility to Angle’s character as long as he wasn’t wrestling stupid Daniel Puder. Kurt Angle was justifiably jealous of his daughter writing to Santa for Christmas presents. Unfortunately, he’s still real to her, dammit! This was basically a squash match that ended with Angle making a phony Santa tap to the Angle Lock and rightfully so. And this is how most segments with Santa Claus should end when heel wrestlers are involved. Or just wrestlers in general. Extra points for Angle ribbing Taz by calling him one of Santa’s elves. That’s what you get for making Angle tap at the Royal Rumble and not following through with a decent WWE career, Taz. I don’t care how horribly booked you were.