In 2006, James Roday Rodriguez took on the iconic television role of fake psychic detective Shawn Spencer on the hit USA series, Psych. The popular show came to an official end in 2014, after eight seasons, and three films have been made since, with Peacock releasing the latest in 2021. The success of the show led to an appearance on WWE Raw in 2012, where he served as guest ring announcer for a match between CM Punk and The Miz, who was making his own guest appearance on Psych that week.
Rodriguez is a lifelong pro wrestling fan, something Michael Cole noted on commentary, and he seemed at ease as he welcomed both men to the ring. His foray into pro wrestling did not end that night, however, as he is currently producing a play called Master Of Puppets at The Legacy Theater in Connecticut. The show presents a fictionalized look at the drama that goes on behind the scenes in the colorful world of pro wrestling.
“I don’t know that there is one person that you could say is the best talker, the best worker,” he said. “I think from when I was a kid, and it was like going to the circus, and you had no idea how the sausage was made. I would probably have to go with Piper because he managed to be a heel that you also couldn’t not laugh at and be entertained by. He was aces on mic.”
Growing up a pro wrestling fan, Rodriguez’s taste when it came to in-ring action evolved over time, as it does for most pro wrestling fans. While he enjoyed the loud, over-the-top stylings of the late-80s, the 90s brought its own energy that he attached to.
“For adult me being reintroduced into the wrestling landscape, I don’t know that I’ve seen anybody do it better than Shawn Michaels,” he stated. “I don’t think I’ve seen anybody do it like he did it. Not the best talker but certainly good enough to go along with what he could do in a wrestling ring. The way he could sell for anybody, pretty phenomenal and fun to watch, and a San Antonio dude.”
One of Michaels’ greatest rivals, Bret Hart, is also someone that Rodriguez has a lot of respect for. The TV star spoke about Hart’s infamous WWF SummerSlam 1992 match against Davey Boy Smith in the UK, which is remembered fondly by pro wrestling fans but, notoriously, Hart had to carry it due to Smith being high on drugs, something The Hitman wrote about in his book. Rodriguez believes Hart showed his true greatness in that match, calling all the action, and making something great out of a bad situation.
“I think he’s underrated,” Rodriguez said of Hart. “I think the reason he’s underrated is because he was never, because of when he left, he was never the guy, right? He was never The Rock or Stone Cold or Hogan. He got very close to the top of the mountain, and then his problems with Vince are sort of what prevented him from actually being that person who had a full reign, which I think would have bumped him up on a lot of lists.”