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10 Biggest Celebrity Matches In WWE WrestleMania History

...and one Battle of the Billionaires.

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


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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.


9. Maria Menounos & Kelly Kelly Vs. Beth Phoenix & Eve Torres


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Speaking of uninspiring celebrity matches, WrestleMania XXVIII saw a tag match where Kelly Kelly was the more skilled member of her team. Her partner? Maria Menounos.

In fairness to Maria, she has often been open about her long-term love of pro wrestling and has acted as a guest star, Hall of Fame red carpet interviewer, and ring announcer in her many interactions with WWE.

Celebrities often win the matches they're involved in, which makes sense - but this is a clear example of a bout where the opponents really would have benefitted from avoiding defeat. Beth Phoenix suffered the misfortune of putting Maria over, succumbing to a clumsy roll-up despite comfortably being one of the best women's wrestlers of her generation.

8. WrestleMania 2 Battle Royal (Feat. NFL Stars)


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Let's head back to WrestleMania 2 for the other big celebrity match of the night. Well, not entirely. This Battle Royal featured a mishmash of WWF Superstars and NFL players. A coordinated and carefully-planned affair it was not.

Andre the Giant won, which was a good decision, as was giving Bret Hart the runner-up spot (although perhaps he deserved a more important match on the card...).

For the sake of completion, let's run through the other participants in the match. The remaining wrestlers were Pedro Morales, Tony Atlas, Ted Arcidi, Dan Spivey, Hillbilly Jim, 'King Tonga' (or Haku), The Iron Sheik, The Killer Bees, Big John Studd, and Bruno Sammartino. A mixed group, for sure.

A number of NFL players were involved, including the Atlanta Falcons' Bill Fralic and former Dallas Cowboys defensive end Harvey Martin - but the main star was William 'The Refrigerator' Perry, perhaps the most wrestler-sounding sportsman in human history.

7. Akebono Vs. Big Show


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Big Show has been trusted with celebrity matches on numerous occasions, but his worst was probably this bout against sumo star Akebono at WrestleMania 21.

Full credit to Show, he really got into the spirit of things, donning traditional sumo attire and squaring off against his 6'8" opponent in a ropeless ring.

Things didn't go so well for the former WWF Champion once the bell had sounded, and he found himself carted clean out of the ring to the floor in just over a minute. To make matters worse, this contest followed the excellent match between Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels, one of the best singles matches in WrestleMania history.


6. Snooki, Trish Stratus, & John Morrison Vs. Dolph Ziggler & LayCool


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To be honest, Snooki surprised a lot of people with her performance at WrestleMania XXVII. The Jersey Store star drew a chorus of sneers and sniggers from fans in the build-up to the event; evidently her reality show histrionics didn't give off the impression of a capable in-ring competitor.

Although her involvement in this match was wisely limited, she did display impressive athleticism towards the end. Flipping across the ring (thanks to a possible background in gymnastics), Snooki took down Michelle McCool and secured the pinfall for her babyface team.

This match isn't solely remembered for Snooki's involvement, however. It's also rumoured to be the cause of strife between real-life couple John Morrison and Melina. Allegedly, Melina didn't take too kindly to her boyfriend teaming with Trish Stratus. Given Snooki's hard-partying antics on Jersey Shore, Melina may have had her eyes on the wrong target.

5. WrestleMania 32 Battle Royal (Feat. Shaquille O'Neal)


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WrestleMania 32's Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal was won by Baron Corbin and was used as part of the Lone Wolf's push up the SmackDown ranks. He eventually won the Money in the Bank ladder match in 2017, before suffering one of the most embarrassing cash-in attempts in the history of the stipulation.

Thankfully for Corbin, his momentum has somewhat recovered - but his Battle Royal triumph has been largely forgotten. The reason for that? Shaquille O'Neal.

With the ring full of main roster stars, NXT up-and-comers, and a few legendary faces (DDP and Tatanka among them), Desiigner's 'Panda' hit the speakers. As the Texas crowd looked to the entrance ramp in confusion, the seven-foot NBA icon burst through the curtain and jogged menacingly to the ring.

His stint in the match didn't last long, but was memorable for a truly titanic stare-down with Big Show. A singles match was rumoured for WrestleMania 33 - a supposed retirement match for Show - but Shaq is alleged to have backed out. Disappointing.

4. Floyd Mayweather Jr. Vs. The Big Show


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Despite being one of the greatest boxers of all time, you'd be forgiven for thinking that 5'8" Floyd Mayweather Jr. would get beaten to a pulp against Big Show at WrestleMania XXIV.

This was a particularly unusual celebrity match in that the special guest was the outright heel. Floyd played the bad guy magnificently, and the natural showmanship he developed in the boxing world translated wonderfully to the wrestling ring.

He also picked up the win, but did so in believable circumstances against a man twice his size. Mayweather enjoyed considerable help from his entourage (a few of whom acted as punching bags for an enraged Big Show, of course).

He also tore off one of his gloves and donned a pair of brass knuckles to deliver the knockout blow, giving himself an undefeated WrestleMania record to match his unbeaten boxing career.


3. Battle Of The Billionaires


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In hindsight, this could well be the oddest match in WrestleMania history. It was already pretty weird at the time, without the knowledge that Donald Trump would go on to become President of the United States.

Now yes, technically this wasn't a celebrity match, as Trump wasn't an actual participant in the match. However, he did get physically involved at one stage, tackling Vince McMahon to the floor and 'beating him up', in a way.

He also received a customary Stunner from special guest referee Steve Austin when all was said and done, and the WWE owner Vince McMahon had been relieved of his hair.

Ah yes, about that. The stipulation of this match was Hair vs. Hair, with Vince and Trump both putting their manes on the line and selecting a wrestler to fight for their honour. McMahon opted for heel Umaga, the future President for babyface Bobby Lashley.

Umaga's loss was pretty predictable - few would expect Trump to part with his infamous hair - but it was still a visual spectacle to see Vince rendered completely bald.

2. Lawrence Taylor Vs. Bam Bam Bigelow


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Apart from Mr T, Lawrence Taylor has the distinction of being the only celebrity to main event WrestleMania. However, unlike Mr T, LT was not sharing the ring with the biggest name in the history of wrestling - nor did he have the benefit of a tag team stipulation to guide him through the bout.

Strangely, he went one-on-one with midcarder Bam Bam Bigelow. (That's not a knock on Bam Bam, by the way. I think he's one of the most underrated Superstars in the history of WWE.)

Ultimately, the match surpassed expectations. It's still regarded as one of the weakest WrestleMania main events. However, Taylor's performance is thought to be one of the most surprisingly competent displays by an untrained wrestler.

Happily - in terms of a heel/babyface dynamic at least - LT won with a diving shoulder tackle.

The WWF Championship (Diesel vs. Shawn Michaels) was relegated to the undercard, but HBK would get his revenge one year later, winning the title from Bret Hart in a 60-minute Iron Man match.

1. Mr T & Hulk Hogan Vs. 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff


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In terms of the biggest celebrity matches in WrestleMania history, only one can be considered the grandest of all time. I'm talking, of course, about Mr T and Hulk Hogan vs. Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff - the main event of the first-ever WrestleMania.


Although hardly a slick exhibition of technical wizardry, the match stirred up an almighty reaction from the Madison Square Garden crowd. The faces inevitably won to a raucous reception, with ringside heel Bob Orton accidentally nailing his ally with a mistimed axe-handle.

In hindsight, a strange quirk to this match is the lack of attention paid to special ringside official Muhammad Ali - surely the biggest star in the building!

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Jack G. King

Written by Jack G. King

Head of News at Cultaholic.com | [email protected]