Crossovers between popular television shows and the world of WWE are nothing new, but for children growing up in the 1990’s, one of the most iconic crossovers was Vader’s recurring character on Boy Meets World. Ethan Suplee recently opened up about working with the legend on the show, recalling that he nearly came to blows with members of the WWE Universe while filming a particular episode.
On the show, Suplee played Frankie Stecchino, a bully who eventually befriends the show’s protagonists. Midway through season two, WWE (then WWF) star Vader was introduced as Stechino’s father, Frankie Sr. The WWE Hall of Famer appeared in three episodes of the TGIF staple, and his most well-known appearance took place during the 1996 episode Sixteen Candles and Four Hundred Pound Men.
On that episode, Frankie Stecchino needs protagonists Cory and Shawn (played by Ben Savage and Rider Strong) to help give his father advice as he faces off against Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts for a chance to compete at WrestleMania.
“Nobody Prepared Us” – Ethan Suplee Recalled Almost Getting Into Fights With WWE Audience Members
Speaking on the latest episode of Pod Meets World, Ethan Suplee opened up about his experience working with Vader during the 1990’s, first admitting he’d never heard of the wrestler before he was cast as his father.
“No idea. Never. I saw Hulk Hogan, I like knew Hulk Hogan, I knew Jake the Snake. I knew when he had a match with Jake the Snake. I knew Jake the Snake, but I had never heard of Vader before. Which seem sacrilegious to men now, ya know, having known now he was a big deal, but I didn’t at the time know him.”
After recalling that he didn’t immediately believe the infamous story about Vader putting his own eye back into socket, Suplee continued, recalling the episode the cast filmed in front of a live WWE audience. The My Name is Earl star said that nobody prepared the cast for the passion of a wrestling crowd, and he almost came to blows with fans in attendance.
“I almost got into a fight with multiple people. Nobody prepared us! No idea, and I didn’t know. I think all the people there were just there as [wrestling fans], like they didn’t know what was happening. We didn’t know what was happening. And people hated Vader so much, and they were saying really nasty stuff. And I remember somebody telling me in between stuff, they were like, ‘You’re mic’d. Stop fighting with people because we can hear what you’re saying.'”
After fellow cast member Rider Strong chimed in that he and the show’s star Ben Savage were terrified during the ordeal, Suplee went on to explain further, saying that production members kept him from getting into a physical altercation.
“I was I almost got into a physical fight with people in the audience. And one of whoever was… somebody there, somebody on our team was like, ‘Stop, you’re acting, like don’t listen to them. You’re gonna get in real trouble.’ And I was like, ‘Guys keep saying f*** your mom!’ You know?”
In addition to Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts and Vader, the episode also featured appearances from senior referee Earl Hebner as well as Brother Love.
If you use any quotes from this transcription, please credit Pod Meets World and link back to this article with a h/t to Inside the Ropes.