Donald Trump Is Not the First Person to Make a Pro Wrestling-Style Entrance at a Convention: Bill Clinton Did It, Too

Donald Trump’s entrance was among many things to mock about the first night of the Republican Convention.

Coming out with heavy backlighting (perhaps even fog), and accompanied by the Queen song “We Are the Champions,” Trump gave an entrance that reminded people of the WWE, where he has made many appearances.

“Donald Trump’s first appearance at the Republican National Committee [sic] this Monday night was characteristically stylized, with an entrance comparable to that of his days appearing on WWE,” said Nathan Wellman on U.S. Uncut.

“Trump’s a showman, and that he would borrow from the bombast of pro wrestling should be no surprise,” said Josh Hafner of USA Today.

“Donald Trump is no stranger to the larger than life theatrics of professional wrestling and tonight he arrived at the Republican National Convention with an entrance that would bring a tear to John Cena’s eye,” wrote Charles Pulliam-Moore on Fusion.

See the entrance for yourself and decide:

Even in the past, Donald Trump’s campaign has drawn numerous comparisons to the world of professional wrestling and his tenure therein, from outlets such as the New York Times (and its Sunday Magazine), NPR, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, National Review, and Salon.

But, when it comes to entrances at political conventions, Trump is not the first to channel the world of professional wrestling.

People may forget that Bill Clinton made a wrestling-style entrance for his speech at the 2000 Democratic National Convention.

For his speech entrance, a camera in front of Clinton followed him backstage, shooting him from below, as he navigated the arena corridors to the stage. As he was making his way onstage he was accompanied by generic feel-good music not unlike the instrumental tunes used for wrestling entrance themes. (Reportedly there were supposed to be subtitles on the screen proclaiming his accomplishments, but they were omitted because of a production error.)

The whole thing strongly resembled the entrances of professional wrestlers. Most of all, it was reminiscent of the entrance of Bill Goldberg, whose signature entrance was for a camera to follow him as he walked from his locker room to the entranceway:

The “walking through hallways” device is also popular as an establishing shot to show that a wrestler has made his way to the arena.

Indeed, a few people noticed the professional wrestling styling.

During an interview that night with The Rock and Chyna, Tom Brokaw quipped that Clinton had stolen The Rock’s entrance.

Al Hunt in the Wall Street Journal wrote, “The planners kept the music but forgot the scroll, making it look more like a World Wrestling Federation entrance.”

In 2004, WWE superstar the Big Show reminisced about the camera work with the Palm Beach Post:

“I think our whole world has become entertainment. You have to make things entertaining to give them an enlightening tone.” Big Show said he was particularly impressed with Bill Clinton’s entrance onstage for the 2000 Democratic National Convention. The camera work, he said, looked borrowed from the wrestling world. “It was the ‘Raw’ entrance, the low camera shot,” Big Show said.

So Trump, for all his goofiness, can at least attest that he was not the first to draw from the world of professional wrestling at a convention.