WrestleMania: Top five celebrity moments, including Mike Tyson and Donald Trump
Pamela Anderson and Aretha Franklin have been involved too
Monday 10 March 2014
It’s not just the wrestlers who help make ‘The Showcase of the Immortals’ the biggest sports entertainment event of the year.
Here are five of the biggest and best celebrity cameos...
1) Mike Tyson (WrestleMania 14, 1998)
It’s hard to imagine now but for a period in the nineties, the WWF was actually number two in the wrestling world, behind its major rival, WCW. Three men would turn the tide back in the WWF’s favour. While ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin was the hottest new fan favourite in the wrestling world and Mr McMahon (Vince McMahon’s on-screen character) its new biggest villain, it was the introduction of ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’, ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson to the federation that was the springboard for the company’s return to the top. Debuting on the Monday Night Raw after the 1998 Royal Rumble, Stone Cold took umbrage to Tyson being paraded in what he saw as ‘his ring’ and, following some choice words, the two engaged in a pull-apart brawl which would land the WWF its first mainstream media coverage in a long time. Riding the crest of the wave, Tyson soon joined D-Generation X, led by Austin’s WrestleMania opponent Shawn Michaels. With Tyson now serving as ‘Guest Enforcer’, Austin’s chances appeared slim, but Tyson would betray DX by counting the decisive pinfall and raising Stone Cold’s hand in victory. The ‘Austin era’ had begun, and Tyson would round off the event by knocking out The Heartbreak Kid. WCW never recovered and the WWF never looked back.
2) Donald Trump (WrestleMania 23)
It was deemed ‘The Battle of the Billionaires’ and it helped set - at the time - pay-per-view records for the clash. Although they didn’t actually meet in the ring, the stakes couldn’t have been higher – the loser would have their head shaved bald. Trump, whose Atlantic City casino hosted WrestleMania IV and V, was one of the most famous men in America (if not the world) at the time due to his smash hit TV show, The Apprentice. He shared more than incredible wealth with McMahon: they also shared famously-questionable and much-mocked haircuts. Following weeks of fantastic build-up, including the appointment of McMahon’s nemesis ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin as special referee, Trump would be in the corner of his man, Bobby Lashley, while McMahon would second his choice, the late Umaga. After a back and forth contest and some of the world’s worst punches thrown by Trump on McMahon, Lashley would win the bout, leaving McMahon to face the barber’s chair. In one of the world’s best examples of over-acting, McMahon was shaved bald, much to the delight of the fans. Trump would go on to donate his $1 million pay day to charity.
3) Pamela Anderson/ Jenny McCarthy / Tommy Lee (WrestleMania 11)
The reward for winning the 1995 Royal Rumble was not only the chance to fight for the WWF Title at WrestleMania XI, but also to be walked down the aisle by none other than Baywatch’s own Pamela Anderson, arguably the most famous pin-up of the 90s. Shawn Michaels went on to win the Rumble but not the arm of Anderson, as she would betray ‘HBK’ by walking down the aisle with his opponent, Diesel. Michaels would have to settle for the company of MTV host and Playboy playmate Jenny McCarthy, which was no small consolation. This angle would result in a real life fight between Michaels and Anderson’s husband at the time, Tommy Lee. It is not known if Michaels won the fight with his patented Sweet Chin Music superkick.
4) Aretha Franklin (WrestleMania 3 and 23)
The biggest wrestling event of the year traditionally kicks off with a rendition of ‘America the Beautiful’, with famous names from the music world ranging from Boyz II Men to Little Richard performing . At Wrestlemania III, ‘the Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin kicked off the event that saw Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant clash in their famous bout. Twenty years later, Franklin would return to perform the song again to open the aforementioned ‘Battle of the Billionaires’. While it was known for its main event and the famous clash between ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage and Rickey ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat, it is worth tracking down Wrestlemania III for the introduction of Franklin alone, as well as Vince McMahon’s incredible hair and suit combination.
5) Cyndi Lauper (WrestleMania I)
Following a chance meeting on a plane to Puerto Rico with ‘Captain’ Lou Albano and the subsequent casting of him as the grumpy father in the ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ video, Cyndi Lauper put her day job on hold to manage Wendi Richter to the WWF’s Women Championship at the inaugural WrestleMania. At the time one of the biggest pop stars on Earth, Lauper’s role as part of the ‘Rock and Wrestling’ connection helped launch the WWF towards global popularity and saved the McMahon family from certain bankruptcy.
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