WWE Held Auditions for the Next Colonel Sanders, and Yep, Things Turned Comically Violent

Only one wrestler could hold the KFC title

In an age when seemingly anyone could wake up one morning as the victim of a Kafka-like transformation into Colonel Harland Sanders, it’s hard to imagine people fighting over the opportunity. But such is the way of professional wrestlers, apparently.

In the newest KFC-WWE crossover, following up last year’s colonel vs. chicken SummerSlam showdown, wrestlers descend on an audition to become the league’s next Colonel Sanders incarnation.

The previous title holder, Dolph Ziggler, has quite a bit of competition this year, from the likes of Enzo Amore, Goldust, Becky Lynch and The Big Show. Sadly, while we were rooting for a goggle-wearing, crimson-haired colonel to come out on top, the brand video ends with the reveal of a surprise victor:


For those who might not know or recognize him, the winner is WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels, aka “The Heartbreak Kid.” He made his costumed spokesman debut live at the recent SummerSlam 2017.

The brand partnership between WWE and sponsor KFC was coordinated by media agency Spark Foundry, with KFC agency Wieden + Kennedy serving as creative consultants.

Spark Foundry vp Chinar Desai described the combination of prerecorded and live presentation as “a seamless, one-of-a-kind pop-culture moment with two iconic brands that fans love.”

Copywriter Shaine Edwards from W+K said the KFC integration is a great example of creating content that fits perfectly into an event like SummerSlam, where passionate fans don’t want to see ads that take them away from the WWE experience.

“We’ve found with a lot of effort that going out of our way to remain authentic earns us goodwill from the folks we’re talking to—also, it’s just not a good idea to upset an arena full of wrestling fans,” Edwards said. “People have to know that we love the things they love just as much as they do, otherwise we’re just co-opting their interests. In WWE, they’d call that Cheap Heat. The Colonel wouldn’t like cheap heat.”