The year was 1999 and WCW being true to its nature, made another bumbling, expensive error by opening the WCW Nitro Grill in Las Vegas. WCW’s ship had well and truly sailed by this point and instead of being the trendsetter, WCW was just copying whatever WWF was doing. At the time, WWF was arguably at the peak of their powers. At the start of 1999 they opened WWF New York – their own version of Hard Rock Cafe. Anything WWF can do, WCW can do better, right? Well, you could say WCW was the winner if most money wasted is your metric. The WCW Nitro Grill lasted just over a year. WWF New York fared a bit better by lasting a few years before the plug was pulled due to the themed restaurant being a total money sinkhole. I actually went to the WCW Nitro Grill. Despite being pretty down on WCW at the time, I thought it would be worth checking out. The place was “alright,” but “alright” won’t really cut it in the restaurant trade. The highlight of the dining experience was the wrestler themed dishes. I had the “Goldburger.” Given that he’s a proud, practitioner of the Jewish faith, the “Goldburger” was the least kosher meal you can imagine: a giant, overly cheesed cheeseburger. At least there wasn’t any bacon in it, I think. Much like a victim of Goldberg’s spear, I spent the latter part of that evening clutching my midsection in pain.
My trip to the WCW Nitro Grill and subsequent pondering of its fate got me thinking about wrestling related food ventures. So here I’ve decided to dig a little deeper into the subject and highlight some other examples of when wrestling joined forces with food and left us not wanting more.
Hulk Hogan’s “Pastamania”
Hulk Hogan’s 1995 foray into fast food started with a bang by being heavily shilled by WCW on their debut episode of Monday Nitro. Monday Nitro went on to do really well. The same can’t be said for “Pastamania.” The venture coughed and spluttered until its closing less than a year later. When I think of fast food, I think burgers, hot dogs and so on. Not heavy, glutinous pasta. “Hulkaroo” sounded like an Australian take on the Incredible Hulk. Not something I’d grab for a snack.
WWE Pizza Prints
What’s that? You want no anchovies but go heavy on the Triple H? I feel like WCW are copping all the flak, so it’s time to lay into WWE for their crimes against food. For some reason, someone at WWE figured that slapping a thin, edible, paper-like substance with Sheamus’s mug on it would appeal to both pizza lovers and WWE fans. Now, I’m a fan of both The Walking Dead and toasted paninis, but I don’t want an image of a rotting-fleshed zombie on my sandwich. One Redditor describes the prints as such, “it was like a wet piece of paper draped over pizza, the image kept stretching and distorting.” At least they were gluten free and kosher – Mazeltov!
Scott Steiner’s Shoney’s Franchise
The jury’s still out on this one, but I just find Scott Steiner being the proprietor of a family restaurant and diner hilarious. Surely “Steiner Diner” would’ve been a better choice of name? In any case, earlier this year it was revealed that Big Poppa Pump was a franchisee of Shoney’s. His store in Acworth, Georgia opened in April 2016. Opening day saw some of his old WCW and NWO buddies come to promote the business. So far one of the most noted moments in the restaurant’s history was when a shooting occurred just outside. Steiner was interviewed on a local news program where he was described as “a man who owns a restaurant.” If I ever go to Scott Steiner’s Shoney’s, I hope he would be my server. I can just imagine him describing the dishes like a promo,
“And then you add Eggs Benedict to the mix, your chances of not having a heart attack drastically go down. You see, the seafood platter! you got a 33 and 1/3 chance of not throwing up. But I, I got a 66 and 2/3 chance of offering you a discount coupon cause diners know Hardees can’t beat me and Hardees not even gonna try. So,sir, you take your 33 and 1/3 chance, minus my 25 percent chance and you got an 8 and 1/3 chance of a delicious, value meal here at Shoneys.
So, there are a few examples of wrestling and food gone bad. Got any other stories of horrible wrestling themed snacks, beverages or restaurants? Add them to the comments section below!