March 3, 2007|
Sign-ing a Deal?
By Zack Zeigler
Written: March 1, 2007
Rick Achberger – better known to WWE fans as "Sign Guy" – will battle for a prize-filled briefcase. Not the briefcase dangling from atop Ford Field that has eight WWE Superstars vying for sports-entertainment supremacy at WrestleMania’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match. (That battle happens April 1) Instead, this Sunday Achberger will be on NBC’s top-rated game show Deal or No Deal (9/8 CT), combating a frugal banker for a briefcase that could contain as much as one million dollars.
Sign Guy is known throughout the WWE locker room for his attendance at numerous WWE live events, and for bringing dozens of creative poster boards decked with pearls of wisdom. His innovative ways to express his feelings about everything and everyone WWE is often surprising — and sometimes shocking — to the Superstars and Divas.
On Sunday, however, it’s the Superstars who will get their chance to surprise Sign Guy. Rated-RKO’s Randy Orton and Edge sat among the Deal or No Deal audience to heckle Achberger, attempting to impede his ability to concentrate on the game. Fortunately, WWE Champion John Cena and ECW World Champion Bobby Lashley were also there countering Rated-RKO’s jeers and cheer Sign Guy on to open that potential million-dollar case.
“He for damn sure had no idea we would be there,” said Orton. “It felt good to give him a taste of his own medicine and distract him while he was the one trying to concentrate for once. Make no mistake about it, I wanted him to walk out with no money.”
The Rated-R Superstar agreed with his counterpart, and jumped at the opening to help spear Sign Guy’s opportunity to win some cash. But Edge also admitted to WWE.com (very reluctantly) that the atmosphere created by the intense pressures of Deal or No Deal forced him to have fun.
“Rick looked even more dumbfounded than usual — and that says a lot,” he quipped. “When he recognized Randy and I were there yelling at him from the crowd, he got that deer-in-headlights look. But it was a lot of fun.”
Edge also pointed out that this one-time “deal” to pester Rick doesn’t change that fact that he always has, and always will, stay one up on Sign Guy.
“I always get the better of him,” he explained, “whether that means getting him tossed from buildings or tearing up his signs and shoving them down his mouth. Tonight was no different.”
John Cena’s feelings couldn’t have differed more from his two foes. He stood firmly in Achberger’s corner, believing Sign Guy needed WWE’s help to have any shot at breaking the banker.
“Whenever Sign Guy’s been approached [by the Superstars or Mr. McMahon], he doesn’t work well under pressure; he tends to get all scattered, nervous and jittery. I think he needed his family and our help to get him through this,” said The Champ. “He was really surprised when he saw us. I had a good time watching him play the game.”
Unlike Cena, Bobby Lashley believed that having Edge and Orton in the Deal or No Deal audience actually helped Achberger.
“Everyone knows how WWE is — we support the people that support us, and I’m glad we all could be here today [for Sign Guy].”
Seeing two of his favorite WWE Superstars there to root for him may have meant more to Rick than his once-in-a-lifetime chance to walk out of Deal or No Deal with a huge check.
“I couldn’t think of two better guys to be there supporting me,” said Achberger of Cena and Lashley, choosing to remain silent about The Rated-R Superstar and The Legend Killer. (A sign perhaps?) “I’ve rooted for those guys for years; they’ve worked so hard to get where they are now, as two WWE champions. It was an honor to have them on the same stage.”
One man who knows all about packed audiences is Deal or No Deal host Howie Mandel. The stand-up comedian-turned-game show host noticed the crowd — clearly made up of sports-entertainment enthusiasts — was especially electrified by the WWE Superstars in attendance.
“People had [replica Championships] that were signed and they were screaming out the [WWE] chants.... It was just so exciting. When you have the excitement of the contestant, the money and then add WWE to that – it just went through the roof,” said Mandel.
How will Achberger hold up against the odds of Deal or No Deal? Can Cena and Lashley direct him toward a path of riches, or will Rated-RKO tear down Sign Guy? Watch NBC's Deal or No Deal at 9/8 CT this Sunday to find out.