Steve-O and the entire Jackass crew have made a career and legacy for themselves by performing some of the most ludicrous stunts ever seen on television. When Steve-O says, “This is one of the craziest things that ever happened to me!” you would assume he was talking about one of his many stunts, but you’d be wrong!
The Jackass and WWE connection runs deep. For instance, did you know the original plans for SummerSlam 2007 was to revolve around a Jackass theme but got changed at the last minute after Johnny Knoxville pulled out due to a WWE scandal at the time? With the announcement of Jackass 4 being confirmed for 2021, psych yourself up with this wild ride of a story!
The Jackass crew are a mad bunch, and when any of them tell a story, people tend to listen. Steve-O shared a memory on his YouTube channel in a video entitled, “The Worst Beating I Ever Got!” It was about an experience he had on WWE’s Monday Night RAW in 2006. When someone like Steve-O says something like that, a person who has gone through all sorts of pain, including landing on his face on concrete after throwing himself off a second-floor balcony, you know it must have hurt!
Steve-O from Jackass Gets Knocked Out on WWE Monday Night RAW
The October 16th, 2006 edition of Monday Night RAW took place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The theme of the night was, “RAW goes Hollywood.” The Hollywood stars featured on the show included Kevin Federline, ZZ Top, Three 6 Mafia, Nick and Aaron Carter, Antonio Sabato Jr., and two Jackass stars, Steve-O and Chris Pontius. This episode of RAW spawned two memorable moments with guests, the first one being this Steve-O appearance about to be covered and the second one being Kevin Federline’s appearance, which marked the begging of a feud with John Cena spanning all the way to the new year in 2007, so indeed, RAW did go Hollywood on this night!
The Steve-O and Chris Pontius segment could have been much less disastrous if only someone told them beforehand the importance of selling moves and staying down. However, both of them lacked wrestling knowledge, and without anyone to guide them through the segment properly, chaos ensued.
In the middle of a strong push at that time was the late Umaga. “The Samoan Bulldozer” was undefeated at the time and would remain so for several more months after this episode. He was one of the most notable monster-type characters WWE had at the time. It made sense to pair the Jackass guys with him.
As a viewer, you knew it meant trouble. Some sort of beatdown was going down one way or another, and undoubtedly it would be Steve-O and Chris Pontius on the end of it. It sounded great on paper until it ensued. Steve-O found himself on the end of a couple of nasty slams, kicks, chops, and what was supposed to be the final part of the beatdown, a top rope splash. But when Steve-O wouldn’t stay down, laughed about it, and didn’t take the art of selling too seriously, Umaga decided to take action into his own hands and knock him out for real.
Discussing this harrowing moment in his YouTube video, Steve-O stated, “This is something I’ve wanted to do for so long because it’s one of the craziest things that’s ever happened to me.
“When we [with Jackass co-star Chris Pontius] were on Monday Night Raw, this was 2006, and Jackass Number Two had just come out. It was number one in the box office. I was like heinously on drugs,” Steve-O admits.
Chris Pontius was also alongside Steve-O when reflecting on this story and added, “WWE came into town and the theme of that night was Hollywood, so they like had different celebrities that they invited. We weren’t originally set to go and wrestle. They wanted us to go in the ring and plug some stuff… and Vince McMahon’s out there, and he’s like, ‘You’re gonna get these guys in the ring and NOT have them wrestle!? We are fucking idiots if we don’t get them to wrestle somebody!'”
Steve-O recalled being fascinated beforehand with the idea. “I remember walking through it and being really fascinated to see how much preparation goes into one of these matches.”
It all started smoothly for Steve-O. He showed off in only a way Steve-O could, pandering to the crowd and then nailing a picture-perfect backflip off the top rope to the canvas as Umaga watched on.
“So Umaga comes into the ring, and I’m gonna show off by performing a backflip,” Steve-O explains to his YouTube viewers. “I had no confidence that I was gonna land it, and I stomped it so perfect!
“That’s one of the best backflips I think I ever did in my life.”
The mood was about to change, however. The onslaught from Umaga was about to begin.
The first big impact was to Chris Pontius, who was on the receiving end of a clubbing blow and then a Samoan drop. Chris did what Steve-O didn’t, though, and that was… stay down! Chris was able to avoid any trouble after that.
Steve-O’s fate was completely different. His first mistake was laughing, and it all went downhill from there.
Chris Pontius described the pain of the Samoan drop stating, “The Samoan drop, I’ll tell you… it hurt. I woke up in the middle of the night, and I couldn’t breathe.
“I don’t care if people say it’s fake. It was not fake,” Pontius says.
Steve-O agrees, “It was NOT fucking fake!”
Now Steve-O’s suffering was really about to begin in the ring, and he catalogs his old memories in swift detail.
“[Umaga] kicked me like hard there, and I’m like, ‘Wait a second. Hold on, what are you doing!?’ and this right here [the chop]… you can hear it.”
Next up was supposed to be the end. But as Steve-O explains… it wasn’t:
“This was supposed to be the final move of the match, him jumping off the top rope… Oh my god! It was so bad!
“So now the match is supposed to be over, but I don’t know that I have to play dead, so I keep moving around and like he’s not done beating me up… now he’s gonna hit me with the fucking elbow that actually knocked me into a blackout.
“Now I’m like begging him, I’m like, ‘Please, stop doing this to me!’ but that means that he has to keep doing it because I’m moving around. I don’t remember leaving the ring, and then they just cut to a commercial.”
“When we did leave the ring, we went down the aisle, we went to the control room [Gorilla position], and Vince McMahon was in there, and he’s like, ‘Yes!’ He was so stoked.
“They could’ve stressed the importance of staying down a little more!”
A fascinating take from this is Pontius explaining how stoked Vince McMahon was at the segment. It was quite clearly off the rails, and many viewers felt the segment was awkward and uncomfortable! But it got people talking. That’s what Jackass does, so maybe it was for the best. If it were anyone else, this would be an absolute dumpster fire, but the fact it was a couple of guys from Jackass almost makes it passable! And it left the door open for their return the next year in 2007.
Steve-O also offered his condolences for the man who knocked him out, Umaga, real-name Edward Smith Fatu, who sadly passed away on December 4, 2009, due to a heart attack caused by acute toxicity. “Umaga has since died of attack, so rest in peace.”
Steve-O Exposes WWE For Lies
In episode #960 of JRE (Joe Rogan Experience), Steve-O went over the details, largely mirroring what he had said in his reaction video on YouTube but in the process inadvertently exposed WWE for some cringe-worthy lies.
WWE played up Steve-O as a WWE mega-fan who had been watching all of his life. In fact, they put out an article on WWE.com, and they finish the first paragraph by saying, “He is a lifelong WWE fan and an unabashed member of the Raw fan nation.”
Well, it was clear by watching the Umaga segment alone that Steve-O was unfamiliar with the product. “Here’s the thing,” Steve-O admits on JRE, “I was never a fucking wrestling fan. I never got into it; I just didn’t understand it.”
This doesn’t exactly come as a big surprise, it’s evident, but it goes to show how far WWE will bend reality for the sake of making their product more appealing to a certain demographic.
And in typical Steve-O fashion, he explains something he didn’t mention in his reaction video but is totally believable. “And on top of that, I went home and destroyed my brain [after getting knocked out] some more with the god damn nitrous [oxide],” the Jackass star told Joe.
Joe Rogan added this classy piece of insight on his thoughts of professional wrestling before finishing up on the topic. “Pro wrestling is one of the most underappreciated things in terms of how difficult it is for the performers.
Rogan continues, “It’s one of the most difficult jobs a person can do. Those guys are on tour hundreds of days a year. They’re constantly on the road. They’re doing that all the time, slamming into each other, throwing each other on the ground, pile-driving each other, jumping from the top rope… Massive trauma.”
WATCH: Steve-O and Chris Pontius React to the Umaga Beatdown
Canceled plans for SummerSlam 2007
The Jackass and WWE association doesn’t stop there. Shane McMahon was sold on the idea of bringing the Jackass guys in for retribution against Umaga, leading up to a handicap match at SummerSlam 2007. The idea floundered around for a while as ratings were going fine, but once they started to dwindle, Vince McMahon decided to bring the Jackass guys in for a program.
The idea was hanging by a thread from the moment Vince gave it the green light. Steve-O was rubbing wrestlers the wrong way backstage, undoubtedly due to his heavy drug problem at the time. He was going around backstage filming all sorts of shenanigans for a planned DVD titled “Paparazzi Stuntman,” which never eventuated since, thankfully, Steve-O got sober and wasn’t willing to release footage looking back to his drug-fueled days. Vince McMahon was also irate with Steve-O trying to convince wrestlers to choke him out for the DVD. Funnily enough, it was Umaga who came closest to doing so before Vince put his foot down hard. This almost was the catalyst that got the match canceled, but it wasn’t the straw that broke the camel’s back.
They even shot promotional material for the match. This commercial can be found on Dailymotion!
Oh, and there’s a photo of the Jackass boys buried neck-deep in the sand with Umaga menacingly standing by!
Not to mention, Steve-O jumped the gun and told the internet about their planned match before WWE officially announced it on his June 5th, 2007 MySpace blog. Shane McMahon had to do a lot of convincing to his father, Vince, to be patient and vigilant!
“I really wasn’t that bad last night, well, that’s not true. I did a great job shooting my new WWE commercial to promote the WWE pay-per-view SummerSlam, but then everyone got all sorts of uptight as a result of me running around trying to get famous wrestlers to choke me unconscious for my Paparazzi Stuntman DVD (plenty of them were ready to do it, including Umaga, but the suits derailed me). I got a funny call from LA saying, ‘Why are we getting calls that the main event of their WWE SummerSlam may be called off because you’re behaving so badly?’ (The whole cast of Jackass, minus Weeman, will be in a huge match for the main event),” he wrote on the blog.
In a separate blog post one week later, Steve-O continued to test WWE’s patience…
“As for upsetting the WWE, too bad for them– they’re stuck plastering the television screen with commercials, starring only me (representing the entire cast of Jackass by myself) and Umaga, promoting the pay-per-view event. As for ‘almost shutting down the Jackass match,’ that’s just hype to let everyone know we’re coming. As for the choke-outs, Ryan Dunn choked me out six times in one day. Umaga actually knows what he’s doing, he’s very capable of safely choking me out, and he’s the current champion of the WWE. Of course, I was a complete nightmare for those people doing everything in and out of my power to get footage of Umaga choking me out and then have him sign a release form, which I was packing on the bod.”
Yes… Steve-O called Umaga the WWE champion (he wasn’t — he was Intercontinental Champion). This is the guy WWE claims to have been a sports-entertainment fan his whole life.
Their involvement was supposed to begin at The Great American Bash pay-per-view, the last pay-per-view before SummerSlam. The idea was for the Jackass guys to cost Umaga the match, handing him his first loss and making him drop the Intercontinental Championship to Jeff Hardy. This would set up the ambitious handicap match at SummerSlam.
With everything hanging by a thread naturally with Steve-O’s antics on the loose, you’d think it would be a safe bet that WWE were the ones to pull the plug on the deal, but it was actually Jackass who essentially ended it. Johnny Knoxville, a major face of the Jackass brand, decided to pull out of the program after the Chris Benoit murder-suicide. The Benoit incident happened only weeks after they agreed to the program, so the timing was terrible.
The other Jackass guys were still available for the match, but WWE decided that it was a deal-breaker without Knoxville. I guess you could say WWE canceled it, but Knoxville inspired that decision on WWE’s behalf. Instead of the intriguing Jackass vs. Umaga match, we got a somewhat forgettable triple threat for the Intercontinental Championship — Umaga vs. Carlito vs. Mr. Kennedy.
The most shocking part of this proposed program? Jackass was booked to defeat Umaga! The match may have been a train wreck, but the booking decision alone makes it a missed part of WWE history that we very well still could have been talking about to this day! Instead, we are talking about how things never came to fruition.
Johnny Knoxville from Jackass Appears for WWE in 2008
A year later, on the October 13th, 2008 edition of Monday Night RAW, Johnny Knoxville would make his debut WWE television appearance. For a change, everything went as planned on this appearance! There’s a theme here… it’s that the Jackass guys seem to get under the big superstar’s skins. First, it was Umaga, then this time Johnny Knoxville found himself caught in an entertaining feud with The Great Khali. Nothing went wrong here; the segment still had fans split, though. If you were a Jackass fan, chances are you enjoyed this!
It started on the now-defunct website Jackassworld.com. Johnny Knoxville hosted a show on there called “One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Beer,” with the premise being he’d enjoy a beverage or two whilst chatting to a guest across the table. Somehow, someway, the odd guest of The Great Khali found himself on the show, and WWE took this opportunity to work it into a segment for Monday Night RAW.
The interview, quite honestly, is a gem! What starts as normal small talk escalates when Knoxville strikes a nerve with Khali after asking, and I quote, “Sometimes, and this may be a little off-color, but sometimes when you see a big guy like yourself, you wonder if everything is in proportion, you know, if your tallywhacker is in proportion with the rest of your body, like if it’s normal-sized or?”
Now we don’t know what this exactly says about Khali’s “tallywhacker,” but he got agitated at Knoxville for this. Ranjin Singh, Khali’s manager for many years and translator (and current Senior Vice president of the WWE creative team!), translated the question for Khali. Thanks to Borat Sagdiyev on YouTube for the translation:
“Can you believe what he just said? He just asked if everything down there is okay. What type of question is that?” Singh translated to Khali.
A furious Khali responded to Knoxville, “What type of question is that? Are you looking for a beating? You don’t have any respect for people. I’ll make an omelet out of you! What interview do you call this?!”
The Great Khali and his tallywhacker were furious. As any pro wrestler would, The Great Khali decided the only way to settle this dispute was in front of millions of people on live television in the middle of the ring!
Any chance of the meeting in the ring being civil was put to an end when Knoxville graffitied something quite vulgar about Khali’s tallywhacker days before the RAW episode.
WATCH: Johnny Knoxville graffiti’s “The Great Khali has a small wee-wee.”
Johnny Knoxville unveiled the wrestler inside and cut a promo in the above video, further enticing the giant.
“Alright, The Great Khali. The word is getting out that you ain’t hung like you’re strung!”
Knoxville continued, “The only thing that matters is Monday night… you and me and your little bitty ‘wee-wee’ in the ring!”
Monday Night RAW came around, and it turned out The Great Khali wasn’t the only obstacle for Knoxville. He was invited to the ring by Santino Marella alongside his sidekick at the time, Beth Phoenix. Knoxville found himself in trouble after mistaking Beth Phoenix for a dude. Beth would bodyslam him (albeit incredibly awkwardly), and Hornswoggle would run the ring and land a ‘tadpole splash’ on him. This left the scraps for Khali to feed on, an opportunity to finally do his tallywhacker justice.
“Weird things happen whenever the cast of Jackass shows up!” Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler remarks on commentary. He’s right. Moments after he said this, Chris Pontius, who came along with Knoxville, was attacked by The Boogeyman and had Boogeyman’s vintage worms poured all over him. That’s just another day’s work for anyone in the Jackass crew, though!
Khali’s music hit, and it has to be said, it got a strong reaction from the crowd! They were ready for this confrontation.
Knoxville locks eyes with The Great Khali laughs at him, and shows him this gesture:
Some say Khali’s tallywhacker has never recovered from this blow.
What followed was a vice grip and a ‘Khali bomb’ leaving Knoxville motionless and needing to be stretchered out of the ring.
Again, Johnny Knoxville would grace WWE screens one last time in 2010 as a guest star to promote Jackass 3D. But it just doesn’t compare to a confrontation with Khali regarding his size proportions…
Director of Jackass, Jeff Tremaine, On Directing WWE’s ‘Swerved’
Swerved was a fun prank-style show that ran on the WWE Network for a couple of seasons. The show saw pranks performed among the wrestlers themselves and the wrestlers going out and doing pranks on the general public. It was directed by the man behind Jackass, Jeff Tremaine!
The show is definitely worth checking out on the WWE Network and a good way to kill a couple of hours. You can see Jeff Tremaine at work onset and a preview clip of him working with Paige below.
Tremaine was interviewed by Gorilla Flicks, his own production company, about his time working on Swerved.
“Was making Swerved different from anything else you’ve done before?”
“Yeah, this show is different than the others in that it’s almost like following the circus around. We had to hide in plain sight in their world, and their world is always on the road. They’re in a different arena every night, and they eat, workout, travel. Eat, workout, travel—that’s their life. There are not that many places we can hit them, so it’s been an interesting process. The best place has been mostly hitting them in the arenas.”
“Have all the superstars been fun to work with? Any favorites?”
“Most of the superstars have been fun to work with… a few of them don’t like us, but overall I’d say it’s been a lot of fun. Most of the superstars have a really good sense of humor. They have to have a good sense of humor in this world, or you wouldn’t survive.”
“Do you think you’ll be able to win over the ones that don’t like us?”
“No. Certain people don’t like being shocked. Certain people don’t like having poo-poo shoved in their faces. So I don’t know if we’ll win them over. The thing about this show is that these guys have such a busy life, and we’re messing with them on their tiny little windows of free time. So it’s sort of an inherently mean show, messing with these guys when they just don’t have time to be messed with because they have to get to the arena, do their thing, get out, and travel to the next one. But we’ve been really lucky, and we’ve pulled off some really funny stuff on a good variety of these guys.”
“Who have been some of your favorite accomplices on the show?”
“Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston, Xavier McDaniel (presumably Xavier Woods!), Paige, Heath Slater, The Miz, Hornswoggle… yeah, everyone that has wanted to play has been awesome to work with.”
It appears WWE finally had a somewhat positive experience working with someone with Jackass ties, but then again, perhaps not! Maybe it just isn’t in the cards for the WWE and Jackass camps to get along.
The last question Jeff was asked was, “So has this been a pretty fun experience working with the WWE?”
Tremaine responded, “I’ve had a great time working with the WWE. But I doubt they’d say the same about me!”
What a truly strange and unusual history Jackass and WWE have together. Ironically, Jackass 4 was confirmed while we were in the midst of writing this article. If that isn’t a good luck charm, we don’t know what is! Perhaps maybe we’ll even see this bizarre partnership rekindle once again as promotion for the new film gets underway. As we’ve seen in this crazy cartoon world of entertainment, crazier things have happened!
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