WWE announced that Kathie Lee Gifford would be appearing on Monday Night War as part of the WWE partnership with Susan G. Komen. It got me thinking about Kathie Lee’s connection to WWE over the years. Honestly I’d rather not have to see her on Raw since she probably would want nothing to do with wrestling and the deal was likely made through NBC and not her.
In 1989, Ravishing Rick Rude and Bobby Heenan made an appearance on Regis and Kathie Lee to promote SummerSlam. Regis Philbin has always been a wrestling fan dating back to the 1960s and was always friendly with wrestlers over the years. That’s why they had wrestlers on the show for so many years. Anyway, Rude appeared in character, as was the norm back in those days, and well, you can see the video of his appearance on the show below.
Her husband Frank Gifford actually went nuts and told producers that he did not want wrestlers on the show anymore and supposedly wanted to look for Rude. They kept wrestlers from appearing for a while but by 1990 the ban was over. Luckily for Gifford he didn’t find Rude because who knows what Rude would have done to him.
When Rude died in 1999 she couldn’t help it and decided to continue her grudge against Rude and she went on TV and insulted him and said that even though he’s dead she could not forgive him.
A couple of years later she wrote the following in her book, “I Can’t Believe I Said That,”
Then there was the “animal” known as Ravishing Rick Rude. Now, I have a problem with Reege’s wrestling thing. We aren’t exactly McNeil-Lehrer out there, but I think the wrestlers’ shtick lowers the quality of the show a notch or two. Some of them are pretty sleazy. Rick Rude was about as low as the get, right down there with the Bushwhackers. If there was a gold championship belt for the most horible disgusting-smelling people, the Bushwhackers would have been wearing it the day they came on. They tried to hold me and kiss me. First of all, I’m sorry, but don’t touch me, and second of all, I don’t kiss people I don’t want to kiss. And Cody was there with me that day. They chased me all over the set and I ran off, locked myself in my dressing room-nursery with Cody, and refused to come out. I was afraid they’d come right in there after me to bushwhack Cody.
But the absolute low point was a year or so before when Ravishing Rick Rude came out, bragging about his “Rude Awakening” at wrestling arenas. Young women are hand-picked to go into the ring with him, where this muscle-bound baboon embraces and kisses them until they just pretend to faint dead away with ardor as he stands over his latest conquest. It’s a pathetic spectacle, so of course Gelman booked him.
This guy comes out in his “Simply Ravishing” sequined robe, kisses my hand ever so gently,and sits there giving me the eye like he’d been behind bars for a decade. Nonstop. It’s not like we ask them tough questions – like, “Duhh, howdja get dose muscles?” We let them pretty much do their thing – which, catroonish and entertaining as it is to some people, has its place in the world. But not this kind of stuff. I was so flustered I crossed my legs and one shoe dropped off my foot.
Gracious host that I am, I humored him (“Rick, you’re sweet talking me”) while Reege sucked up to him by mooning over his title belt. (Rude was the WWF IC Champ at the time. -D) “This guy,” he said, “is the best built of all the wrestlers. He’s got a tremendous physique and great sex appeal.”
With an ego to match. He asked me how tall I was and I told him “really short, I got stumps for legs.” He leered at me and said, “Those don’t look like no stubs I’ve ever seen before.”
Reege egged him on. “Honest to God, I sense something going on here! Frank is out of town, isn’t he?” Yeah, I said. Rick’s manager is now on. (Bobby Heenan) “This guy is looking her over and making her very nervous,” Reege tells him. “The woman is coming unglued.” “Kathie Lee needs a Rude Awakening,” the manager says. “Kathie Lee,” I say, “has had a few rude awakenings.” “Not this rude, not this rude.” “Over the airways, ” Rick says, staring at my body, “I could see that Kathie Lee was the most beautiful woman on television. Now, as I draw closer and closer, I just can’t believe it.”
Rick gave a woman in the audience an “awakening” to stripper music and then dropped his robe in front of me. I was standing off now to the side. I didn’t believe what I saw. This was absolutely unscripted.
On his clingy nothing-left-to -the-imagination Lycra tights, he had painted my face over his crotch. He stood there, hands behind his head, thrusting and flexing, half naked. It was so gross I didn’t know what to do or where to go. I put my hands over my face and ran up the stairs at the rear of the set.
Meanwhile, he turned his butt to the camera and, of course, there was Reege’s face painted on his, Rick’s, quivering, gyrating glutes. Talk about “back end participation”! THis got my vote for the worst breach of taste in the history of the show. Then Rick ran up the stairs after me and I came down, skipped over the couches and dashed off the set, amazed that I didn’t wipe out and hurt myself.
Too bad Rude is not alive to fire back at her. Anyway, hopefully the segment with Kathie Lee on Monday is a short one and hopefully the fans in Brooklyn can give her the proper reception that she deserves. It would be nice if Kathie Lee just asked NBC to pull her out of the appearance since wrestling is sleazy and so beneath her. If only we could be so lucky.