On December 8, 2018, David Arquette was standing in front of a table in the 2300 Arena, formerly the ECW Arena. He was wrestling later that night but was at that moment signing autographs and taking pictures. A fan approached the table to tell Arquette that he was his favorite World Championship Wrestling champion. It’s safe to say that after Arquette’s infamous and mercifully short title reign in that promotion at the turn of the century—his turn in the role came after filming the movie Ready To Rumble, a sort of long-form commercial for the promotion that also starred Rose McGowan, Martin Landau, and Diamond Dallas Page—this was not a compliment he’d received very often. That’s part of what put Arquette at that table, in that arena, after all these years.
Arquette is a professional wrestler for real, now, but he’s also 48 years old and graying; he’s fit, but stands at a charitable 5’9” in height and probably 165 pounds at the most even after months of intensive workouts. In a classic WWE “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase t-shirt, he looks less like an actual wrestler than a fan dressed as one. It fits because he is both. That’s a big part of why, nearly two decades after he was one of the most widely reviled champions in pro wrestling history, that one young fan and many others are now chanting his name at indie wrestling shows all over the country after every crossbody block and double axe handle. Arquette was always a disarmingly natural actor, but his love and enthusiasm for pro wrestling cannot be and is not being faked. The challenge, when it comes to the necessary suspension of disbelief, has more to do with how it all came to this.