The 10 most famous fans in sports-entertainment history
The WWE Universe is made up of millions of passionate people around the world, dedicated to cheering on their favorite Superstars and Divas. And while shows like Raw, SmackDown and WrestleMania wouldn’t be possible without every WWE fan, there are some who stick out from the pack.
Throughout the years, some fans have earned infamy in their own right, whether it be for having the right reaction at the right time, wearing a unique hat, or simply finding a way to be at every show possible.
Take a look back through wrestling history and remember 10 of the most recognizable fans ever caught on camera.
"Brock Lesnar Guy"
It’s hard not to get excited when Brock Lesnar shows up. That’s why we can’t blame this notorious WWE fan for imitating The Beast Incarnate upon his return to WWE in 2012.
When Lesnar shocked the WWE Universe the night after WrestleMania 28 with his surprise appearance, cameras panned throughout the WWE Universe in attendance for the perfect reaction. People were leaping out of their seats, cheering like wild, but the best reaction came a split second after The Conqueror reared back and let a battle cry.
A fan clad in a skull-adorned T-shirt was caught imitating Lesnar’s roar in the front row. Thanks to social media, GIFs and videos of his Brock impression spread, turning him into one of the most recognizable fans in the WWE Universe. — BOBBY MELOK
"Straw Hat Guy"
Anyone who has ever watched ECW recognizes “Straw Hat Guy” John Bailey in the front row at every ECW Arena event. Actually, Bailey was at all but one event as he had to attend a family wedding … talk about a lack of priorities. Wearing, of course, a straw hat and a Hawaiian shirt, Bailey became as recognizable as any member of the ECW roster and occasionally had other fans dressing like him the same way they would dress like ECW’s wrestlers.
“Straw Hat Guy” would fearlessly get in the faces of ECW’s most reviled competitors, making for great television. After each show, all would be forgiven and Bailey could be seen enjoying a beverage with the wrestlers that he was furiously confronting just hours earlier. John Bailey was as much as part of the show as the rest of us. — JOEY STYLES
"Angry Miz Girl"
Sporting a Randy Orton shirt and a scowl, one 9-year-old girl came to Raw as a WWE fan and left an icon.
When Miz successfully cashed in his Money in the Bank contract on Orton in November 2010, everyone’s jaws dropped inside Baltimore’s Royal Farms Arena. After the three-count and Miz’s music hit, though, cameras caught a girl in the crowd steaming like a tea kettle. Cayley booed and gave a double “thumbs down,” but her epic frown drew the most attention. Her dad tried to pat her on the back, but there was no consoling her. She hated The Miz.
The following week, Miz forever dubbed her “Angry Miz Girl,” and she became the face of his six-month reign as WWE Champion. Cayley gloriously returned one month later at the Slammys to win the WWE Universe Fan Reaction of the Year. Although Miz interrupted her thank you speech and stole her Slammy, he can never take away her award-winning frown. — JEFF LABOON
Really Excited Fan
Watch enough WCW and WWE events from the 1990s and you’re bound to come across this exuberant enigma, whose mushroom-shaped hair shook with excitement as he forcefully leaned over the security guardrail and mugged with reckless abandon to any camera in the vicinity. When Ultimate Warrior defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley at WrestleMania 12, he was there. As Eddie Guerrero and Diamond Dallas Page took their match at Halloween Havoc 1996 outside the ring, this bowl cut-headed bystander gotrightin Guerrero’s face. He even got positively irate with a passing-by Shawn Michaels as HBK was headed to the ring to defend his WWE Championship against Sid.
Although the other WWE fans on this list have been identified, either of their own volition or thanks to Internet sleuthing, the identity of this maniacal teenager remains unknown. Who is he? How did he wind up with such amazing seats at so many major events at both WWE and WCW? Does he still have that haircut? Thanks to WWE Network, we’re able to relive this mystery man’s bewildering outbursts again and again as his legend lives on. Wherever he is, we hope he hasn’t switched to decaf. — JAMES WORTMAN
"Faith No More Guy"
I had no idea why Lenny Bonfiglio was called “Faith No More Guy” until I started writing this article and was told he resembles rock band Faith No More’s drummer, Jim Martin. The nickname was news to Lenny as well when we spoke earlier today. Not only was Lenny a fixture at ECW events in both Philadelphia and New York (he lived in Queens) but he attended Monday Night Raw tapings at the Manhattan Center and other WWE events in the Big Apple.
However, ECW Arena events still stand out as his favorite memories. “ECW was the best time of my life,” he told me on the phone. “If I could go back in time, that’s where I would go. We (the regular fans) all knew each other. There was me, ‘Straw Hat Guy,’ ‘Sign Guy’ and ‘Kato Kaelin Guy.’ Those were fun times.” For those of you wondering, Lenny now has short hair but is still rocking his goatee. — JOEY STYLES
"Tye Dye Guy"
No, that’s not Hulk Hogan hanging out ringside at Raw. Though he’s got the same well-tanned complexion as The Hulkster, and an affinity for psychedelic prints, “Tye Dye Guy” is, perhaps, one of the most recognizable wrestling fans ever.
A native Floridian, “Tye Dye Guy” can be spotted in the crowd at countless ECW and WWE shows throughout the years. Standing out from the masses in his trademark red-and-yellow tye dye shirt, sunglasses and a bandana that keeps his mullet protected from the elements.
And though he’s been coming to wrestling shows for years, “Tye Dye Guy” is just as excited to be a part of the crowd as ever, jumping out of his seat to cheer and chant with the WWE Universe. That’s a true fan. — BOBBY MELOK
WWE’s “Sign Guy” – whose real name is Rick Achberger – has attended well over 1,000 WWE shows and counting. “Sign Guy” has almost become a Superstar in his own right, showing up to live events in the same red hat and blue work shirt. And every time Achberger is in the crowd, you can be sure he will have a cleverly worded sign as he hilariously heckles WWE’s Superstars. Achberger – who also is known as “Red Hat Guy” – has become a staple at WWE events, popping up in photos and in the background of television broadcasts … always wearing his trademark attire.
Over the years, Achberger’s fandom has reached legendary levels, routinely being asked to take pictures with fellow fans at WWE events. He even was a part of a memorable encounter with WWE Superstars on NBC’s “Deal or No Deal.” You know you’ve made it as a great sports-entertainment fan when the Superstars themselves know who you are.
“Sign Guy’s” Twitter account may describe him best: “Red hat, blue workman shirt. Attends 40 to 50 WWE shows a year. Holds up signs and acts like an idiot.” The only thing missing is “one of sports-entertainment’s greatest fans.” — SCOTT TAYLOR
"Shocked Undertaker Guy"
Ellis Mbeh is many things. He is a fan of WWE. He wouldn’t be here if he wasn’t. He is a powerlifter. And, given how he turned his life around after reading Triple H’s book, he is, in some ways, an inspiration. But what makes him a legendary fan isn’t that his stunned reaction to Brock Lesnar’s defeat of The Undertaker at WrestleMania 30 was unique (even “Brock Lesnar Guy” was similarly floored), but that The Deadman was barely cold on the mat before the camera found Mbeh, slack-jawed and speechless, at ringside, lingering on him just long enough to shoot him into the dueling realms of memehood and immortality.
It’s because that is the image forever associated with 21-1. Not Lesnar’s disbelieving grin and Paul Heyman practically dissolving with joy. Not the four (four!) squadrons of announce teams delivering The Undertaker a standing ovation as he struggled to his feet. Not the lasting tableau of The Phenom himself, forlorn and broken, wandering back up the ramp and into a yearlong hibernation. No. It’s the guy in the “JUST SAY YES” shirt, eyes wide as saucers and face contorted in pure disbelief. There were more famous people in the audience that night, more recognizable and, perhaps, more people who were personally affected by The Last Outlaw’s loss (fun fact: Mbeh was rooting FOR Lesnar). But no one captured it more than Mbeh. On that night, and all the nights since, Ellis Mbeh was all of us. — ANTHONY BENIGNO
"It's Still Real to Me, Dammit" Guy
While many of the fans on this list are instantly recognizable, few are bona fide viral stars on the internet. David Wills has the rare distinction of being beamed onto computer, tablet and phone screens the world over, all because of an outpouring of admiration for his heroes.
Attending a wrestling convention featuring a Q&A session with “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton and Dennis Condrey of The Midnight Express, their longtime manager Jim Cornette and WWE Hall of Famer Terry Funk, Wills was handed the microphone to ask the legends a question.
Overcome with emotion, Wills instead gave a tearful thanks to the legends for the sacrifices they made. Perhaps caught up in the emotions of a lifetime of wrestling fandom, being face-to-face with real people who often seem like comic book superheroes, Wills exclaimed, “It’s still real to me, dammit!” That gave birth to an internet meme that became a rallying cry of sorts for passionate wrestling fans the world over. Wills even earned a guest spot on Comedy Central’s “Tosh.0,” where he got to live out a dream and step in the ring with Sgt. Slaughter, “The Million Dollar Man” and Koko B. Ware! — BOBBY MELOK
One of the most recognizable wrestling fans that I can ever recall was a fellow by the name of Vladimir. When I ring announced in Madison Square Garden during the 1980s and 1990s, Vladimir never missed an event. His unbridled passion for the product was second to none! And truth be told, he himself carved himself a niche of popularity among the Garden faithful by showing his support for the Superstars who appeared in the World’s Most Famous Arena.
Case in point: In a live “Piper’s Pit” at MSG in October 1986, Piper was having his differences with “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff, and his manager Bobby “The Brain” Heenan suggested a tag team match, and mentioned that Harley Race could partner with Orndorff. Piper looked to the crowd for ideas, saw Vladimir, and summoned him to come up onto the ring apron. Vladimir got an MSG moment for himself by promptly saying that Hulk Hogan should be Piper’s partner. The Garden faithful erupted! — HOWARD FINKEL