By April 2000, World Championship Wrestling became desperate for ratings to combat the World Wrestling Federation on Monday nights. The Monday Night Wars were no longer a competitive battle as the WWF leapt out in front of WCW and never turned back. Despite the growing lead the WWF obtained, WCW continued to try and rekindle their previous success against the WWF.
WCW decided to have a full blown reboot on the April 10th, 2000 episode of Nitro where Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo united to provide compelling television for the audience. Bischoff had previously led WCW to their great success a couple of years ago, but played a part in the ultimate demise. Meanwhile Russo was largely credited with the creative success that the WWF had in beating WCW. On paper, it looked as if the partnership should lead WCW back to great success.
However, WCW needed that one major angle to bounce them back into relevancy. They started a typical young vs. old storyline with the New Blood attempting to dethrone Millionaire’s Club. At this point WCW didn’t have an interesting name to keep fans tuned into the programming. Not even a guy such as Hulk Hogan wearing a shirt with “F.U.N.B” could stop them from switching channels. But, maybe a Hollywood movie star could help WCW.
Enter David Arquette a long time wrestling fan. Arquette had movie success with Scream and also success by marrying Courtney Cox, star of the NBC sitcom Friends. Arquette aligned himself with Diamond Dallas Page in his feud with Eric Bischoff and Jeff Jarrett. Arquette’s first match was a victory against Eric Bischoff on the April 24th Nitro. Two days later, Arquette teamed with WCW World Champion Diamond Dallas Page to defeat Jarrett and Bischoff. In a crazy turn of events, Arquette pinned Bischoff and thus became the WCW World Champion.
Arquette’s title win didn’t lead to a surge in ratings that the company had hoped for. The reign lasted twelve days until May 7th at the Slamboree 2000 pay per view. At the PPV, Arquette defended the title against his friend Diamond Dallas Page and Jeff Jarrett in a three tier cage. The cage had been used in the Ready To Rumble film, which Arquette starred in and was competing in WCW to promote since it was a movie backed by Warner Brothers.
At Slamboree, Arquette ended up aligning with Jarrett and the New Blood costing Diamond Dallas Page the match and title. Arquette ended his run with WCW as an annoying heel, but wouldn’t appear regularly. His last WCW appearance came at New Blood Rising 2000 where he got involved in a match between Buff Bagwell and Kanyon.
For many years Arquette’s title reign became a joke amongst wrestling fans. Arquettte initially didn’t want to do the angle, but ended up doing the job and donated his earnings to families such as the Pillman’s, who had tragically lost Brian Pillman in 1997. Arquette made an appearance in WWE in 2010 teaming with Alex Riley in a losing effort against Randy Orton.
It wasn’t until 2018 when Arquette started to properly train to become a wrestler. His goal was to turn the joke of his name into a respected one in the wrestling business. Arquette’s first match back in the wrestling world came on July 15th, 2018 when he competed against RJ City for Championship Wrestling From Hollywood.
The most notable match that Arquette ended up having would be against Nick Gage for the Game Changer Wrestling World Championship in a death match on November 16th, 2018. Arquette ended up bleeding quite a bit and the usage of weapons such as light tubes were used. To the surprise of nobody, it would be the first and last time Arquette competed in a death match. Arquette suffered a laceration on his neck that required immediate medical assistance.
From 2019 to 2021, Arquette competed against the names of Mr. Anderson, Peter Avalon, Jungle Boy, Ethan Page, and wrestled Jerry Lawler in a tag team match. Arquette’s work on the independents ended up earning respect amongst wrestling fans and helped minimize the focus on his previous WCW run as World Champion. Arquette announced his retirement from professional wrestling in June 2021.
Personally, Arquette’s title run in 2000 came across as a poor attempt for a ratings boost. When the WWF is producing arguably the best content in a long time seeing a scrawny movie star as the WCW World Champion defeating a former MMA fighter such as Tank Abbott doesn’t tend to click with a viewer such as myself. WCW was in shambles by that point and any notion that Arquette caused the death of WCW is completely misguided.
Arquette’s death match with Gage is a spectacle and I was left shocked watching Arquette go as violent as he did. I remember seeing Arquette in a tag match against Lawler in Poughkeepsie for NEW and his performance came across well. Arquette never got a shot to compete for a major promotion, which is kind of a bummer. I would have liked to have seen Arquette get national exposure to complete the redemption tour.
What are your memories of David Arquette in wrestling? Were you a fan of his WCW run? Did he change your perception of him on the indies?
Leave your thoughts below!
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