Jersey Shore: Family Vacation saw its season finale on MTV last night following a three months of weddings, lock-ups, drunken antics and more tanner than anyone could ever want. A reboot of the 2009 – 2012 series that defined a generation, a subculture and a television network, Jersey Shore: Family Vacation follows reality television royalty made famous for their trials and tribulations in Seaside, New Jersey – now with families, kids and responsibilities. I may have tuned in for one or two episodes while channel surfing one night, and it reminded me about the time when four cast members from the reality show tried their luck at professional wrestling.
The biggest name to appear on Jersey Shore/Jersey Shore: Family Vacation is obviously Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi. Everyone knows who Snooki is and, honestly, she was the one with the best shot at pulling off decent wrestling moves thanks to her years as a cheerleader and dancer; due to the flipping and highly choreographed routines. Snooki first appeared on RAW on March 14th 2011 when she slapped Vicki Guerrero before getting into a brawl with Michelle McCool and Layla. The feud was continued on the March 28th 2011 episode of RAW, where she took Trish Stratus on a tour of The Jersey Shore before getting into a street fight with LayCool.
This resulted in a match at Wrestlemania 27 that April, which saw John Morrison, Trish Status and Snooki against Dolph Ziggler, LayCool and Vickie Guerrero. Snooki and company beat their rivals in less than four minutes, with Snooki getting the pin on Michelle McCool with her stylized version of a Frog Splash. Despite many fans being outraged that the reality star took a spot away from a main-roster performer who could have had a Wrestlemania moment, this still enabled the pint-sized diva to win the Slammy Award for A-Lister of the Year in December of 2011. But she wasn’t the only Jersey Shore cast-member wetting her feet in the pro-wrestling pool.
Angelina “The Staten Island Dumb” Pivarnick made her in-ring debut on TNA Impact Wrestling on March 10, 2011 – four days before Snooki made her first appearance on RAW. Competition much? Following an introduction on the March 3rd episode, Angelina took part in an eight-woman tag match that was interrupted by Robbie E, which enabled Winter to sneak in and assist Velvet Sky to pin the sometimes-Jersey Shore star. The match was also over in less than four minutes and saw Pivarnick do nothing but pull hair. And with that, she never appeared on TNA again and was absent from Jersey Shore for many years until the reboot.
Pivarnick wasn’t the first Jersey Shore cast-member to appear on TNA, though! Jwoww beat her there five months earlier as a friend of The Beautiful People tag team. The one-off appearance saw Jwoww confront a Snookie gimmick’ed character named Cookie, resulting in name calling and Jwoww rag-dolling the other woman for several minutes. Ronnie Ortiz-Magro also appeared on TNA on two separate occasions in November 2011. He teamed with Eric Young in a short-lived feud with Robbie E and Robbie T that ended with a somewhat impressive clothes-line, body-slam, Frog Splash combination by Ronnie on Robbie E (my head hurts…) to achieve the pin.
Love them or hate them, you can’t deny that these kids were A-listers at one point and audiences were drawn to them. They took the hand they were dealt and they ran with it, becoming millionaires in the process and changing the face of reality television forever. As professional wrestlers, though, there was a lot to be desired. Snooki and Ronnie showed real promise for the time and level of training they received, and who knows – maybe they could have gotten a little better with a week or two under the leadership of a more accomplished athlete. Angelina and Jwoww, well, there’s no hope there that they could have turned professional wrestling into a career.
Coincidentally, Jwoww is currently dating a wrestler, Zack Clayton Carpinello, who is based out of New York and performers across the East Coast. Zack has yet to make it onto the roster of a major wrestling organization as of this writing.