5 most talked about celebrity cameos in WWE history

Mike Tyson was just one of many celebrities to make a knockout appearance for WWE.
Mike Tyson was just one of many celebrities to make a knockout appearance for WWE.
Mike Chin

Celebrities have a big part in wrestling history. It’s a business built less on athletic integrity than drawing as many eyes to the product as possible. This is particularly true of WWE. Early in his reign atop WWE, Vince McMahon recognized the value of celebrities in drawing mass media attention and legitimizing wrestling to the casual viewer.

Not all celebrity involvement is created equally, though. There are those celebrities one-off appearances that were fun enough in the moment, but not memorable in the long term. There are others that did not go well because the celebrity clearly didn’t know anything about the product they were getting involved with and were only there for a payday or for promotional purposes.

For better or for worse, though, there were those celebrities involved with WWE for a short time who nonetheless made an impact that had wrestling fans talking for years to follow. This article looks at five of the most talked about celebrity cameos in WWE history.

#5 Jeremy Piven

Picture credit:
Picture credit:

Jeremy Piven and Ken Jeong were guest hosts of Monday Night Raw in the era when the show featured a weekly rotation of celebrities serving as one-night authority figures. The results of this pattern were uneven, in part because different celebrities committed to the show to different degrees.

Piven seemed like he could do well as a guest host, based in his acting chops (including his loud-mouthed work in the role of Ari Gold on Entourage) not to mention that he was in good enough shape to get physically involved in the show.

While Jeong was generally annoying for his part, Piven was competent enough, right up until he was responsible for making a major announcement for SummerSlam—only to call it SummerFest.

The SummerFest gaff demonstrated Piven really didn’t know what he was doing in WWE, and lived on as a joke for fans and even, occasionally, on screen for years to follow.

#4 Maria Menounos

Menounos had a memorable match at WrestleMania 28
Menounos had a memorable match at WrestleMania 28

Maria Menounos is best known for her work as a commentator and interviewer for E! and similar entertainment properties. Little did anyone realize, however, that she was also a big wrestling fan.

Menounos became involved in WWE as an occasional interviewer and guest, culminating in more than one visit to the wrestling ring itself. Her most memorable short-term visit to the company came for WrestleMania 28 where she teamed up with Kelly Kelly to battle the heel pair of Eve Torres and Beth Phoenix.

While Menounos wasn’t a fully trained wrestler, she was both fit enough and familiar enough with wrestling to fit right in and be a more than serviceable addition to the match.

Despite Menounos more than carrying her weight, the match may be most memorable for a wardrobe issue. Menounos wrestled in white pants and in a key spot, she and Kelly Kelly delivered a dual stinkface to Torres.

The upshot was Torres’s makeup rubbing off on her pants in a brown smudge that famously made it look like Menounos had soiled herself mid-match.

#3 Shaquille O’Neal

Shaq got people talking when he confronted The Big Show.
Shaq got people talking when he confronted The Big Show.

While he had flirted with the wrestling world before, including an appearance in Hulk Hogan’s corner in WCW, and appeared as a guest host on Raw, Shaquille O’Neal took things to the next level in his unadvertised appearance at WrestleMania 32 which turned out to be his first wrestling match. He was a surprise entrant in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

O’Neal wouldn’t have a huge impact on the match itself but had a memorable exchange with The Big Show. This confrontation led to a ton of speculation about the two of them would have a proper one on one match at WrestleMania 33, a big-time attraction befitting the two giants and particularly apropos for an event held in Orlando, where O’Neal’s NBA career got its start.

That match never did come to fruition, but O’Neal's game appearance at WrestleMania 32 was nonetheless the talk of the wrestling business.

#2 Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson was one of the best boxers of all time, but he also made an impact in the wrestling ring.
Mike Tyson was one of the best boxers of all time, but he also made an impact in the wrestling ring.

There are a lot of ways in which Mike Tyson looked to fit perfectly on the WWE landscape. After all, he was a legitimate fighter and looked the part. On top of that, he’s spoken interviews about having grown up a wrestling fan back in the days of Bruno Sammartino.

WWE recruited Tyson at exactly the right time for exactly the right role with the company. In 1998, the company was taking a turn, full tilt, into the Attitude Era. They were winning over fans but needed to draw extra eyes to the product so they’d understand what WWE had to offer.

The company masterfully booked Tyson in the build to WrestleMania 14, which would feature the coronation of Steve Austin as he won his first world championship. Tyson and Austin antagonized each other on Raw before the announcement Tyson would be a guest enforcer referee for Austin’s main event match.

So, Tyson drew in the masses, then played a key role in actually counting the pin for Austin to win, and then punching out Shawn Michaels in an iconic moment after the match.

#1 Donald Trump

Donald Trump is the first US President to also have WWE Hall of Famer on his resume.
Donald Trump is the first US President to also have WWE Hall of Famer on his resume.

Donald Trump has been involved with WWE more than once, including playing host to WrestleManias 4 and 5 at his casino, and memorably bought Monday Night Raw (in kayfabe) in a storyline that sent ripples through the real business world, besides kick-starting the trend of celebrity guest hosts for Raw.

Trump’s most famous WWE appearance, however, came at WrestleMania 23, where he backed Bobby Lashley against Vince McMahon’s representative, Umaga in a match billed, “The Battle of the Billionaires,” for which the losing billionaire would have his head shaved. The sight of Trump tackling McMahon at ringside, helping to shave his head, and finally eating a Stunner from Steve Austin were all the stuff of legend.

These moments have become all the more potent since Trump ventured into politics and became the President of the United States of America.

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Edited by anirudh.b


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