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From Donald Trump to Kim Kardashian, there’s no event that lures in the biggest celebrity names quite like WrestleMania.
WWE presents the 37th instalment of the sport entertainment spectacular this weekend, with the two-night show coming from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. It’ll be the first WWE event with live fans in over a year, with plenty of celebrities set to be on hand.
But while rap star Bad Bunny wrestles in a match and Bebe Rexha will sing America The Beautiful this time around, we’ve delved deep into the archives of WrestleMania to find some of the biggest celebrity involvements in the extravaganza.
Including NFL stars, boxing legends or even former Presidents, here’s a glimpse at some of the most star-studded celebrity moments in Mania history…
Mike Tyson – WrestleMania 14
The late 1990s is time close to the hearts of many wrestling fans – in WWE not least because it was the start of the Attitude Era that boasted brash and at-times obscene on-screen content, as well as the birth of characters such as The Rock, Triple H and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Always keen to court mainstream publicity, Vince McMahon managed to land something of a coup for what was effectively the first WrestleMania of the Attitude Era by bringing in lifelong wrestling fan Mike Tyson for WrestleMania 14.
Tyson served as the special guest enforcer for the WWE Championship match between Shawn Michaels and Austin and, having aligned himself with Michaels in the storyline of the day, Tyson dramatically switched loyalties at the climax of the bout, counting the pinfall that crowned Austin as champion for the for the first time and began a period in WWE that few will ever forget.
Mr T at WrestleMania 1 & 2
While wrestling fans take enjoyment from seeing household names mingle in the world of sports entertainment, there is a special place in their affections for those who take it one step further and get physical.
One of the first to do this was Mr T of the A-Team and Rocky fame, who not only got his hands dirty with WWE but had the incredible distinction of being in the very first WrestleMania main event, teaming with Hulk Hogan to face Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff.
Far from being a one-shot deal Mr T remained in and around the scene and took on Piper at WrestleMania 2 – being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014 for his accomplishments.
Floyd Mayweather Jr – WrestleMania 24
WrestleMania 24 saw the titanic clash between WWE heavyweight The Big Show and one of the greatest boxers of all time in Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather, in comparison to many celebs before and after him, did put in some hard yards to build the story around this match, appearing at episodes of Raw and a pay per view show prior to Mania.
On the night itself, he did plenty without doing much at all, peppering The Big Show with body shots before, eventually, turning to a steel chair for some extra help. Mayweather would nail the giant with a right hand to leave him laying for then ten count which declared him the winner.
Rob Gronkowski – WrestleMania 33 and 36
Another big name with dreams of stepping foot in WWE is NFL star Rob Gronkowski, one of few celebrities to actual hold a title with the company.
The Gronk first appeared in 2017 at Mania in Orlando. There to cheer on buddy Mojo Rawley, he was confronted by Jinder Mahal, with the former New England Patriots legend taking exception to Mahal’s aggression to the extent he cost the grappler the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal – helping Rawley win it at his expense.
The 31-year-old returned at WrestleMania last year as special guest host, even claiming the 24/7 Championship on the night’s second event. He’d go on to ‘hold’ the championship for a couple of months, exploits that won him a Slammy Award for Celebrity of the Year.
Ozzy Osborne – WrestleMania 2
Few celebrities can match the pure craziness and unpredictability of WWE, but one that does a pretty good job is Ozzy Osborne.
The Brit has had an on-off relationship with WWE and has appeared at many events, but the most notable remains WrestleMania 2 in 1985 when he accompanied legendary performers The British Bulldogs, Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid to the ring. They won the WWE tag team titles that night.
For his contributions to WWE over the years, Osborne was inducted into WWE’s Hall of Fame class of 2021 this week – on the same night that Smith was finally given his posthumous 2020 induction.
Pete Rose – WrestleManias 14, 15 and 16.
For long-time WWE fans, when the subject of celebrity involvement at WrestleMania is raised, few names are closer to the lips than that of baseball legend Pete Rose.
Rose began his love affair with WWE back in 1998 at WrestleMania 14, brutally berating the Boston crowd with a promo that would have left the top heels in the business proud. True to form, though, WWE ensured fans got the last laugh and rose was planted with a Tombstone courtesy of Kane.
Far from deterred, Rose would return at WrestleManias 15, 16 in an attempt to thwart Kane, sadly always with familiar results. He was a Celebrity Wing inductee to the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014.
Kim Kardashian – WrestleMania 24
One of the most recognised of all public figures, social media and reality television goddess was the official host of WWE’s WrestleMania 24 in Orlando, Florida.
While she may now have a net worth exceeding $1 billion dollars and an entertainment portfolio busting at its seams, Kardashian was, by comparison, much less known when she took on the responsibilities of fronting the show that came before some of her more notable headlines and achievements.
On the night, she hosted a backstage segment that was gate-crashed by the loudmouth Mr Kennedy and appeared in front of the live crowd to deliver the announcement of the attendance for the night, a whopping 74,635 to go alongside a pay-per-view audience of millions.
The Rock’s comeback – WrestleMania 27 & 28
Yes, yes, we know… The Rock of course made his relatively humble beginning as a wrestler and star in WWE so, in some senses, is a curious addition to our list, but his return for WrestleManias 27 and 28 are significant in their own right.
In the interim – and since – Dwayne Johnson of course went on to become arguably one of the biggest and most successful movie stars of all time. Many wrestling fans felt slighted, as Johnson for a while would publicly shy away from his WWE past in order to make a name for himself in Hollywood.
Imagine their delight, then, when he agreed to host Mania 27 – a night which saw him cost John Cena the WWE Championship against the Miz, a move that would set up a meeting between Cena and Rock a year later.
Billed a Once in a Lifetime affair, the Rock came out on top in a half-hour blockbuster, only for WWE to take some of the shine off the occasion by repeating the bout the following year as Cena gained revenge and the WWE title.
Mohammad Ali – WrestleMania 1
Few would dispute his status and standing of one of the greatest sportsmen of all time; Mohammad Ali is arguably Boxing’s biggest ever export with some 56 wins from 61 professional fights in an incredible, unrivalled career.
It’s perhaps little surprise, then, that this huge megastar of the sporting arena was called upon to add his presence and gravitas to arguably the most significant wrestling event of all time – the first WrestleMania.
With tensions between Hulk Hogan, Mr T, Paul Orndorff and Roddy Piper at an all-time high, Ali was drafted in as one of the special guest referees for the crunch encounter. Ali was given a hero’s welcome from the sold-out Madison Square Garden crowd and watched on as Hogan and Mr T did the business in the main event.
Donald Trump – WrestleMania 23
Whether it’s in business or politics, there are few names anywhere in the globe as polarising as that of former US President Donald Trump.
With Linda McMahon, wife of WWE supremo Vince, previously part of the Trump administration, it is a natural assumption that President Joe Biden’s predecessor has dabbled in all things WrestleMania. Trump hosted Manias 4 and 5 at his Trump Plaza hotel and Casino but thrust himself into the middle of the action for WrestleMania 23.
Trump and McMahon (Vince that is) were due to clash in a battle of the billionaires at the show, with Bobby Lashley and Umaga handpicked as the respective ‘representatives’ for the pair, and Stone Cold Steve Austin thrown into the mix as a special guest referee.
The loser, as the story went, must have their head shaved bald and, ever willing to be the butt of the joke, it was McMahon that went on to play the fool and lose his locks in a post-match shaving that Trump helped lead. For good measure, Trump was even good enough to take a Stone Cold Stunner from Austin to finish the piece.
Catch WWE WrestleMania 37 this weekend over the nights of April 10 and 11, airing in the UK on BT Sport Box Office and WWE Network. Visit wwe.com for more
- Donald Trump
- Hulk Hogan
- John Cena
- Kim Kardashian
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