5 instances when the celebrities involved did justify their presence on the WM card
Celebrities and Wrestlemania go hand in hand. It has been pretty much unlikely over the past many years for the WWE to air its biggest show of the year and not have a mainstream personality gracing its stage with his or her presence.Some of the celebrities have even gone on to main event Wrestlemania. A celebrity presence ensures some more eyes on the product but that doesn’t entirely mean that they do something meaningful. But there have been a few moments when their presence became more meaningful.Here are those five moments:
#5 Mickey Rourke
Mickey Rourke made a spectacular comeback in his film career with ‘The Wrestler’. And if there is a mainstream film on the wrestling industry, how can WWE be far behind to capitalize on it?
As a storyline point of view, it was unique in the way it was executed. Rourke was one of the favorites to win the Oscar that year and Chris Jericho was a burgeoning heel. Rourke called out Jericho at the Red Carpet of the SAG awards. Then they had a war of words on the Larry King show. “There’s a difference between playing a wrestler in a movie and being one in real life” Rourke appeared to be humble and Jericho was just a volcano waiting to erupt and he made it feel like it was beneath him to compare him and Rourke.
And Rourke was advertised to make an appearance at Wrestlemania. And after Jericho had one his match against three WWE legends, he called out Rourke and eventually got knocked out by the former boxer. His boxing background gave him some credibility and the audience was cheering for him. He celebrated with Ric Flair in the ring afterwards.
#4 Lawrence Taylor
The only factor that holds his involvement back is the fact that he main evented Wrestlemania XI.
But for all it was worth, this match had much fan fare and Lawrence being a football player and all surprised everyone with his performance. Bam Bam Bigelow was his behemoth of an opponent and they were playing out the oft-used Underog storyline and it sort of worked.
Bam Bam got slammed.
#3 Mr. T
He was not involved in just one but two Wrestlemanias. He main evented the very first Wrestlemania with Hulk Hogan against Roddy Rowdy Piper and Paul Orndorff. He was playing a tough guy and he legit looked like one. He played it so well that this match got Wrestlemania on themainstream map and ever since then Vince McMahon’s biggest gamble has worked its magic for the past 30 years.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame 2 years ago and he kept thanking his mother. He’s one memorable celebrity.
#2 Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson was at the peak of his ‘Baddest man on the Planet’ phase when Stone Cold Steve Austin was becoming the heir apparent. All of this – the match against Shawn Michaels, feud with Mr. McMahon and Mike Tyson’s presence- was culminating into Steve Austin’s crowning momet at Wrestlemania 14. The first time Tyson and Austin came face to face, the toughest S.O.B in the WWE flipped the bird to the Baddest Man on the Planet and then a brawl for the ages ensued which got ample mainstream attention.
Tyson eventually cost Michaels the title by being the one to do the referees job for Austin when The Rattlesnake pinned HBK for the One-Two-Three.
The plan for mainstream attention and Austin’s rise was hence successfully executed.
#1 The Rock
Okay, The Rock is first and foremost a WWE wrestler before he became a Hollywood megastar. In 2011, he became the prodigal son by returning to WWE Raw in the most spectacular manner, without any buzz or rumors surrounding his big return. And then, eventually he was set to face John Cena a year after Wrestlemania 27, where he played host. As much as we love The Brahma Bull and as much as we find him electrifying, it is undeniable that The Great One wasn’t as great as he originally was. He was gassed out in his matches and he mellowed down his catchphrases. Maybe the PG Era could only incorporate a few of his attitude from the Attitude Era.
But nonetheless, his presence accentuated the WM card and brought back many lost fans just to see what The Rock was upto. There is no way that he’s in the WWE and he doesn’t have the audience in the palm of his hand.
He won his match against John Cena at WM 28 to the delight of his home crowd.
Rock returned in 2011 as a celebrity with minimal appearances but he will always be remembered as The Great One.