Even non-wrestling fans can’t help but tune in for Wrestlemania. The event has become like the Superbowl of wrestling, filled with the biggest crowds, musical performances, and loaded up with celebrities. Obviously the wrestling is the main attraction, since this is usually the culmination of a year’s worth of storylines and rivalries. But for casual and hardcore fans alike, the celebrities can be a fun attraction to make the night just a little more memorable.
There have been a ton of celebrities who have been involved in Wrestlemania in just about every capacity, but usually the most memorable ones are the people who mix it up with the wrestlers. Musical performances and guest hosts are all entertaining, but we want to see a fight. So we decided to look at the best physical altercations involving the guests to the show and the wrestlers in 15 Celebrities Who Have Stepped Into The Ring At Wrestlemania.
15. DONALD TRUMP
We may as well get the obvious name out of the way first, but don’t worry, we’re not going to get political about this. It’s just amusing to look back and see that our current President of the United States was once embroiled in a wrestling rivalry with Vince McMahon. It all started on an episode of WWE’s weekly show Raw that Donald Trump guest-hosted. In the storyline, Trump went on to buy the show from Vince and celebrated by having a commercial free version of the show. Of course, Vince had to get control back and was irritated at another billionaire trying to one up him, so a Wrestlemania match was planned.
Trump and Vince both chose representatives to wrestle on their behalf on the big show, and whichever billionaire lost would have to get their head shaved. The match between Umaga and Bobby Lashley was fine, but what people really remember is how Trump took Vince down and began pummeling him at ringside. Then when Lashley won on Trump’s behalf, Vince got his head shaved in front of the entire crowd. But just as Trump was looking to celebrate with special guest referee “Stone Cold” Steve Austin with a beer bash, Austin pulled his usual tricks. You’ve all seen the GIFs and know what happened: Austin delivered his patented Stone Cold Stunner to the current U.S. President.
14. MICKEY ROURKE
While watching pro wrestling every week might not be for everyone, plenty of people are still intrigued by the business enough to watch a movie about it. So this gave us 2008’s The Wrestler, starring Mickey Rourke. The movie showed viewers some of the darker realities of being a wrestler, the other side of the glamor and opportunities surrounding guys like the Rock. The Wrestler featured a performer who was past his prime, reliant on pain killers to get through his day, and was at a loss how to function as a normal person now that his fame and money had dried up.
The movie actually featured a number of real-life wrestlers, so the WWE decided to get in on the action by giving the movie some promotion. Chris Jericho got into a war of words with Rourke in the lead-up to that year’s Wrestlemania, so Rourke wound up making an appearance to watch Jericho’s match during the event. After the bell, Rourke was so sick of Jericho’s mouth that he climbed into the ring to confront Y2J. Rourke has a history as a boxer in real life, so when it was time for the two to trade blows, Rourke punched out Jericho and shut his mouth for good.
13. LAWRENCE TAYLOR
While celebrity involvement at Wrestlemania is all fine and cool, we don’t want the outside faces to overshadow the people actually putting on a show that night. Vince McMahon finally reached the point of tipping the scales too far at Wrestlemania XI, an event that was packed with celebrities. Lots of non-wrestling personalities were invited to participate in the night through segments backstage, having guest duties in the ring, or even just chaperoning wrestlers to the ring. The world title match saw Jenny McCarthy and Pamela Anderson accompany Shawn Michaels and Diesel to the ring for their match.
The moment that really seemed like way too much was when football player Lawrence Taylor was put into the main event match for the night, even over the world championship match. Taylor faced off against Bam Bam Bigelow to close out the night, and while Taylor performed better than expected for a non-wrestler, it definitely seemed like some misplaced priorities to give a football player top billing (and a victory in the match) over the wrestlers who performed for the company night in and night out.
12. PETE ROSE
You wouldn’t think a baseball player would have much to do in the WWE, but Pete Rose has actually been a pretty entertaining recurring celebrity over the years. Fans didn’t care too much about his accomplishments, but they loved watching his feud with the then-newcomer Kane. The Undertaker’s big red half-brother had debuted months before Wrestlemania XIV, and the plan was always to have the two siblings face off at the WWE’s biggest pay-per-view. But when the big moment came, Pete Rose had some words for the fans first.
Rose came out to the ring and belittled the fans in attendance, and was showered with boos. It was Kane who cut Rose’s comedy act short, silently stalking down to the ring for his match, and clearing Rose out the best way he knew how. Kane picked Pete Rose up, turned him upside down, and spiked his head into the mat with a Tombstone Piledriver.
That wasn’t the end of the little rivalry, though, as the two have met several more times over the years, including at Wrestlemania 2000. After Kane and Rikishi won their tag-team match against DX, Pete Rose tried to get revenge for years ago by attacking Kane with a baseball bat. All that did was anger Kane, though, who chokeslammed the baseball legend and left Rikishi to stinkface him.
11. MIKE TYSON
There might be no better collaboration the WWE has done than in 1998 when they brought in Mike Tyson for Wrestlemania XIV. Mike Tyson was still a hot commodity in boxing at the time, and the then-WWF was building to the best ratings in the company’s history, in large part thanks to Steve Austin. So what better combination of personalities than the controversial Tyson and the rebellious Austin? In the build-up to the big Wrestlemania match between Austin and Shawn Michaels, Austin even flipped off Tyson in the ring and made it look like they were about to fight right then.
In the title match between Austin and Michaels at Wrestlemania, Mike Tyson was the special enforcer. In the closing moments of the match, the referee was knocked out when Austin had just hit his finishing move on Michaels. Tyson sprang into the ring and took over the ref duties to deliver the three count and secure Austin the victory. Afterwards Michaels was irritated at Tyson for taking the ref’s spot, so Tyson delivered a knock-out punch that left Shawn out cold in the middle of the ring. It was an iconic moment that cemented the new era of Austin.
10. MR. T
A great example of how celebrities can help the wrestling industry requires you to look no further than the very first Wrestlemania in 1985. At the time such a huge event was a big gamble for the company because it just wasn’t the kind of thing that happened in the industry. If it flopped, it could have really endangered the company. So the show pulled out all the stops to get even non-wrestling fans interested, including getting Mr. T involved, who was a big name at the time. In fact, Mr. T teamed with none other than Hulk Hogan in the main event of the show.
Mr. T and Hogan were successful in the main event against “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff, but more importantly, Wrestlemania was a success as well. Mr. T even got to help the event expand again next year, as he followed up on his feud with Piper by fighting him in a boxing match at Wrestlemania II. Mr. T was once again successful, and can truly say he was instrumental in helping the show find a wider audience.
9. MARIA MENOUNOS
Maria Menounos probably isn’t a name that a ton of people recognize, since she usually is reporting on celebrity news rather than making it herself. She has been a correspondent on shows like Extra, and Access Hollywood to take viewers into the lives of big name celebrities. But it turned out that Menounos is also a big WWE fan, and the company is usually quite happy to embrace working with their fans in the public sphere, so they invited Menounos to do a few matches in the company’s women’s division.
Menounos had a couple matches at smaller shows, where she fought in tag-team matches that saw her come out victorious each time. But her biggest moment was in the lead-up to Wrestlemania XVIII, when a feud was set up featuring Maria teaming with Kelly Kelly to take on Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres. To build the match, the latter two women even showed up to confront Menounos during an episode of Extra, sparking some contention between them.
Menounos obviously wasn’t a trained wrestler, and Kelly Kelly was never the best wrestler either, so the Wrestlemania match wasn’t superb or anything, but it did cap off Menounos’s involvement with the company with yet another win when she pinned Phoenix.
8. FLOYD MAYWEATHER
WWE sure does love working with boxers at Wrestlemania. But at least they do it right and manage to get some of the biggest names each time. Just like Mike Tyson was the star of the sport years ago when he was brought in as a special enforcer at Wrestlemania, Floyd Mayweather was making waves in the sport with his dominant winning streak and his cocky attitude. While the WWE wasn’t as big then as it was during Tyson’s appearance, Wrestlemania is still always a good chance for people to step into the spotlight, so Mayweather agreed to do a match at the show.
His opponent was going to be the Big Show, who was in the vicinity of 500 pounds and seven feet fall. Obviously in a straight-up fight even Mayweather would never beat someone that huge, but in the world of wrestling, everyone has a chance. Mayweather tried to box Show in the match, but Show was able to throw Mayweather around with ease, and even beat up his entourage.
7. KITANA BAKER AND TANYA BALLINGER
We’re pairing these two models together because they were so directly tied into each other’s events, so it would be silly to talk about them separately. You may better know these two as the Miller Lite Catfight Girls, a pretty self-explanatory ad for the beer that featured the two women. In a pretty blatant excuse to get in some product placement, the women reprised their roles to engage in a bit of a feud with WWE’s Stacy Kiebler and Torrie Wilson at Wrestlemania XIX.
Kitana Baker and Tanya Ballinger obviously weren’t wrestlers, and Kiebler and Wilson, while employed as wrestlers, were really more known for their sex appeal. Putting all that together makes it pretty obvious why this feud between the women wasn’t settled in some huge wrestling match, but rather in a pillow fight.
Was this a Wrestlemania classic, you ask? Was this pillow fight the highlight not just of the night, but of the pay-per-view’s entire history? Well, nothing against the Catfight Girls, but we’re not expecting them to be inducted into the WWE’s hall of fame for this pillow fight.
Many people who don’t get the appeal of wrestling use the same bizarre logic to dismiss the business: because it’s fake. You never hear people not wanting to see a movie because it’s all fake, though, so that reasoning has always been weird. Still, the WWE tried to shut down those naysayers at one point when they had their infamous Brawl for All tournament in the ’90s. Wrestlers were legitimately fighting each other in the WWF under a mixture of MMA rules. It was messy, wrestlers seriously got hurt, and it did nothing to stop detractors from dismissing wrestling. The whole thing was a waste, especially since the wrestlers WWF was hoping would win wound up losing.
Brawl for All might have been real, but the WWF definitely expected their golden boy Dr. Death to win the tournament and become a big name for the company. To the shock of many, a lower level wrestler named Bart Gunn knocked out Dr. Death and went on to win the tournament. The WWF didn’t seem exactly pleased with this result, because at that year’s Wrestlemania they “rewarded” Gunn by putting him in a legitimate boxing match against Butterbean.
A legitimate boxer against a pro wrestler was never destined to go well and Gunn got knocked out in quick fashion. Butterbean was basically called in to get a paycheck and knock Gunn down a peg for screwing up the desired results to the Brawl for All.
5. SHAQUILLE O’NEAL
Following in their tactics of getting the biggest stars in boxing, the WWE has also been able to draw in one of the biggest stars in basketball. And because the Big Show just seems to be the go to guy for celebrity feuds, this time it was Show vs Shaq. The tension between the two initially started on a night when Shaq was the guest host of Raw, and the two big men squared off in an encounter that saw Shaq jettison Show from the ring with a shoulder tackle.
Years later, Shaq would reignite the feud at Wrestlemania by showing up in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Show was in the battle royal too, so naturally the two big men faced off once again, and even cooperated at one point to deliver a double chokeslam to Kane. But these giants didn’t want to fight in a battle royal. They wanted their singles match together.
In the build up for this year’s Wrestlemania 33 it finally looked like they would be booked for a one-on-one match, with the two trading barbs on social media and Big Show hitting the gym to get in tremendous shape. But Shaq ultimately seems to have pulled out, and Big Show didn’t hold back in showing his disdain for that decision, even saying Shaq backed out cause he was so fat that Shaq looked like Jabba the Hut these days.
When Snooki came into the WWE, she was not popular with the fans at all. She felt like one of the more blatant examples of a celebrity coming in to try and keep the attention on them while they did other ventures, rather than someone with a genuine love for the business. The build up for her Wrestlemania match featured her antagonizing Vickie Guerrero, who fans found to be one of the most irritating people in the company at the time. Yet Snooki still got booed more. Even the return of fan-favorite Trish Stratus to be one of Snooki’s tag partners couldn’t alleviate the disdain fans had for the Jersey Shore star.
Come Wrestlemania time, Snooki’s partners handled the majority of the wrestling, but eventually it was time for the Jersey girl to step in to finish the match against Michelle McCool. As soon as Snooki stepped into the ring she was met with a chorus of boos, but she quickly silenced them as she demonstrated totally unexpected athletic ability. She did a series of handspring backflips all the way across the ring to hit Michelle, then did a cartwheel followed by a big splash to get the pinfall victory. It was a great surprise and actually earned Snooki some respect from the WWE crowd.
Before Big Show tried his hand at taking on a boxer in Floyd Mayweather, Show tried to utilize his size for a competition well-suited to someone of his stature: sumo wrestling. Admittedly the gimmick for this match was more of the attraction than the celebrity. Unless there’s some big market for sumo wrestling in America that we are just unaware of, we can’t imagine most fans knew who Akebono was. The man was no doubt impressive, though, as he was a legitimate winner of numerous sumo tournaments and had been very popular in Japan.
This celebrity match was memorable, but admittedly has been one of the less interesting moments of a celebrity facing a WWE wrestler. For one, nobody was asking to see the Big Show in a sumo thong. Beyond that, Akebono not having a ton of name recognition didn’t exactly leave fans particularly caring whether he won or lost. The bout was entertaining enough once it got started though, and even featured Big Show lifting his enormous opponent off the ground at one point. Ultimately Big Show got shoved out of the ring, though, marking the end of his sumo career.
2. RONDA ROUSEY
Though Rousey’s prospects of returning to the UFC are currently looking slim, at the time of this appearance, she was one of the biggest names in MMA and was on a crazy undefeated streak. The WWE was no doubt thrilled when they learned Rousey was a wrestling fan and that she could attend in the front row of Wrestlemania. And thanks to The Rock, she was even called upon to get into the ring.
The Rock had interrupted Triple H and Stephanie McMahon gloating about the earlier defeat of Sting, and Stephanie wound up slapping The Rock. This wasn’t the olden days of WWE where male wrestlers wouldn’t think twice about taking down a woman, so the Rock turned to Rousey for backup. Though this segment admittedly dragged on a bit too long, it did have a cool payoff where Rousey not only judo flipped Triple H, but nearly got Stephanie in her famous armbar.
1. THE ROCK (POST WWE CAREER)
You might find it silly to include The Rock here, but he’s not a full-time wrestler anymore. Heck, he couldn’t even qualify as a part-timer. Nowadays when people think of The Rock, they think of him as an actor. He gave juggling both careers a shot a few years ago when he came back to do a few matches, including beating CM Punk for the world title, and having back-to-back matches with John Cena at Wrestlemania. The thing is, The Rock got injured in his second match with Cena, so that has been his last real match, due to studios fearing their star getting injured during filming.
The Rock does still come back, though, and he can get physical with other wrestlers in extremely limited capacities. The Rock has so much charisma that he doesn’t really need to do much to get the fans fired up, but he’ll still dish out a few of his signature moves. At Wrestlemania 32, the Rock had a “match” in the loosest sense of the word – he immediately delivered the Rock Bottom to Erick Rowan and pinned him in six seconds. Even though The Rock has transitioned in his career, it’s still always fun to see him stop by his old home in the WWE.
Who was your favorite celebrity at Wrestlemania? Tell us about it in the comments!