Since its inception, WrestleMania has enjoyed strong ties with the mainstream celebrity world. As much as purists rue it, the Grandest Stage Of Them All isn’t simply a wrestling show. It often features musical performances, mainstream celebrity endorsements, guest interviews, special announcers, and so on.
Occasionally, however, things work in reverse – a celebrity will step into the squared circle and try their hand at the noble art of sports entertainment.
Now obviously, sticking an untrained non-wrestler in a bout on the grandest stage of all is a risk. Some celebrity bouts are a predictable disaster, others awkward and sloppy. Some, however, defy expectations and turn out pretty good indeed.
It’s a strange phenomenon to examine because celebrity involvement is so naturally divisive. Hardcore fans often rue the time and attention such bouts take away from the actual wrestlers on the card, while casual or newer fans may be more attracted by the prospect of a familiar face.
Ultimately, celebrity matches at WrestleMania are always going to attract a degree of attention – but some are naturally more well-remembered than others. We’re going to take a look at the 10 biggest examples in the 33-year history of ‘Mania – from ill-advised boxing matches to surprise appearances from global megastars. There’s even a certain President of the United States in there…
10. Mr T Vs. ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper
No, not that Mr T match.
The star is obviously better remembered for a different WrestleMania match – one we’ll cover later – but the sequel was a rather less impressive affair.
WrestleMania 2 saw Mr T square off with non-boxer Roddy Piper in a boxing match. Admittedly, Piper tried his best here, mean-mugging and trash-talking like a proper heel should. Unfortunately, even he couldn’t help Mr T to a compelling match under a set of unfamiliar circumstances.
T triumphed in the end, but it wasn’t clean. Piper actually got himself disqualified for bodyslamming his opponent.
Spare a thought for the poor souls who attended the New York portion of the triple-header event. This was their main event. Ouch.