HomeEntertainment‘Happy Days’ Star Henry Winkler Once Got in the Ring with a WWE Legend: Here’s Why

‘Happy Days’ Star Henry Winkler Once Got in the Ring with a WWE Legend: Here’s Why

by Joe Rutland
(Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

“Happy Days” actor Henry Winkler once did a movie called “The One and Only.” His role called for him to be a pro wrestler. Just call the WWE.

Winkler, who played Arthur Fonzarelli on the popular ABC sitcom, found himself getting in-ring tips from “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. He talked about it in an interview from Coming Soon.

“I trained a few weeks before we started filming and then several nights a week during filming so I was ready for the routine for that particular day of shooting,” Winkler said. He talked about working out those scenes with Piper and other wrestlers.

“And these guys, Piper and all the guys that I wrestled with were so supportive and so careful and they took such good care of me,” Winkler, the “Happy Days” star, said. “So that I would not be hurt because no matter what, it was rough and tumble existence. My pride—my pride was injured if I missed a move.”

Piper was a WWE Hall of Famer who wrestled not only for Vince McMahon’s company as the WWF, but in California, Texas, and other “territories” as well. He also found himself starring in a cult film favorite, “They Live.” Piper, whose real name was Roderick Toombs, died on July 31, 2015, at 61 years old.

Winkler played “The Fonz” on the ABC sitcom from 1974-84. He has gone on to appear in films and other TV shows throughout his career.

ABC Had High Hopes For ‘Happy Days’ Spinoff ‘Joanie Loves Chachi’

Now ABC was hoping to cash in on the success of actor Scott Baio on “Happy Days.” His character Chachi was picking up steam among viewers. Show producers saw a chance to cash in on that by developing a spinoff called “Joanie Loves Chachi.”

How did that work out? Not too well.

“I don’t know whether the show was a workable show. They thought the show would hinge on Scott’s following,” director Howard Storm said in “Happier Days: Paramount Television’s Classic Sitcoms.”

Storm knows what he’s talking about here as he was behind the camera shooting some of those shows.

But Baio had developed quite a fan base. As Storm said, the network hoped the show could pick up steam on his popularity.

For the show, though, it really didn’t work out. “Joanie Loves Chachi,” which also starred the late Erin Moran as Joanie Cunningham,” lasted two seasons for a total of 17 episodes. ABC canceled the show. Some people believe that the show was simply for a limited run on the network.

Still, Baio’s following at the time was something the network hoped would help the show live on a lot longer.