When a celebrity enters the ring with wrestlers, it epitomizes the term "sports entertainment." Most of Raw, SmackDown or PPVs are filled with arm drags, hip tosses and Russian leg sweeps, but the entertainment value is just as important. It's hit or miss when a celebrity makes an appearance. It's similar to when a comedian tries out a new joke, as sometimes it goes over fantastically well and sometimes it flops. A recent example of a flop would be when Kathy Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb performed a skit on Raw where they were swinging wine bottles at each other. The segment was met with jeers and several "deer in the headlight" looks from fans, as they weren't sure what was going on. As this train wreck went on, you could literally see fans leaving their seats and jogging up the stairs to take a bathroom break. You win some, you lose some.
But the point of this article is not to be a Negative Nancy, as the number of awesome segments involving celebrities vastly outweigh the flops. These appearances usually leave the audience with a huge smile. Sometimes the lines are even blurred as the celebrity will partake in an actual match, in a pay per view!
Wrestling purists will argue that a celebrity has no place in the squared circle, but the fact of the matter is that it attracts attention from people who aren't hardcore fans. They see someone they can identify with and it lures them in. It also adds shock value, which is what "the attitude era" was all about. Needless to say, the attitude era was a huge success.
Here are the top 15 celebrity appearances in wrestling history!
15 Arnold Schwarzenegger Appears on SmackDown
14 "Pee Wee" Herman Appears on Raw
13 Joe C Appears on Raw
Joe. C's appearance tends to fly under the radar but it was memorable. Joseph Calleja was basically Kid Rock's sidekick, as he would appear in his music videos and on stage at his concerts. Joe suffered from coeliac disease, which attributed to his dwarfism. He only reached 3 feet and 9 inches tall. In his autobiography, Mick Foley maintains that he saw Joe. C swearing up a storm backstage, and started asking who was this rude child that was cussing, until he was informed that Joe. C was an adult. Oops, foot in mouth!
During Joe. C's appearance, he had encounters with the always comical Edge and Christian. They kept referring to him as "Mini-Me" and had an infamous segment where Edge and Christian stuffed him into a garbage can and whacked it with a steel chair. They then picked up the can and smashed it against the wall with these parting words: "Can't wait for the new album."
12 Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Lawrence Taylor at WrestleMania XI
This wasn't just an appearance, an actual match took place at the granddaddy of em all, WrestleMania! The feud between Bam Bam and Taylor began at the Royal Rumble when LT was sitting ringside as a guest of Diesel, and Bam Bam saw him laughing after his match. Bigelow angrily confronted Taylor and while LT extended his hand as a peace offering, Bam Bam was having none of it and shoved him to the floor, and it was on!
11 Pete Rose Gets Tombstoned at WrestleMania XIV
Pete Rose will be remembered for three things: gambling on baseball while he was still an active player, running over (and injuring) catcher Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star game as he secured the winning run, and getting Tombstoned by Kane at WrestleMania.
10 Muhammad Ali, Special Guest Referee at WrestleMania I
His appearance wasn't as chaotic or memorable as some of the other ones (Mr. T's was, more on that later), but Ali is the greatest boxer of all time, and he was the special guest referee in the main event at the first WrestleMania ever, so how could we possibly exclude him from the list?
9 Drew Carey Competes in the 2001 Royal Rumble
Carey's efforts were so fantastic that it even earned him a spot in the Hall of Fame. He was extremely funny in there and the commentary by Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler only added to the hilarity. Carey made his way to the ring as Matt and Jeff Hardy were grappling and managed to eliminate each other, leaving him as the only participant in the ring. He had a huge smile and proceeded to celebrate as Lawler shouted in his high pitched voice: "DREW'S DONE IT! DO YOU REALIZE WHEN THIS IS OVER DREW COULD BE GOING TO WRESTLEMANIA?!"
8 Donald Trump Shaves Vince McMahon's Head at WrestleMania 23
We all knew what the result was going to be even before the match started. There was no way Donald Trump was going to shave his legendary mop. But even though the ending was basically given away, it was still a treat to see McMahon on a barber's chair getting his head shaved.
7 Hulk Hogan and Dennis Rodman vs. DDP and Karl Malone at Bash at the Beach
6 Shaq Confronts The Big Show on Raw
Shaq's confrontation with The Big Show was compelling because fans had seen something that they had never seen before. Believe it or not, The Big Show has been in the WWE for over fifteen years (time flies). He's essentially faced everyone on the WWE roster but up until that point, nobody really matched him in size. The Undertaker was probably the closest, but even at that, Show was considerably bigger. People like to rag on The Big Show, but there hasn't been anyone like him since Andre The Giant.
5 Cyndi Lauper Corners Wendi Richter at WrestleMania I
Wendi Richter and Leilani Kai deserve the bulk of the credit, as they put on one of the best women's matches of all time. Unfortunately with women's matches (now referred to as Divas matches), it oftentimes results in a lot of slapping, hair pulling and half-hearted attempts at actual wrestling moves. It resembles more of a cat fight than a wrestling match. Richter and Moolah put on such a technical match, you'd think you were watching Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels.
4 Floyd Mayweather vs. The Big Show at WrestleMania XXIV
It wasn't just a one and done appearance for the boxing king, as he actually had a feud with The Big Show that lasted several weeks. The build up to this match was actually way more intriguing than the contest itself. In one particular instance on Raw, Big Show got on his knees and mocked the much smaller Mayweather, which prompted Floyd to throw a combination of punches right in The Big Show's face. It doesn't sound all that perplexing, but when the camera zoomed in on Show's face, it was more than apparent that his nose was actually broken (like real life broken). Blood was pouring out and it was also bent in the wrong direction. To this day, nobody knows if The Big Show told Floyd to hit him as hard as he could (which wrestlers have been known to do, to maximize the realism) or if Floyd took it upon himself to "put it on him" as they say.
3 David Arquette Wins the World Title on Thunder
This is without a doubt the most ridiculous celebrity moment on any wrestling show and may have been the nail in the coffin for WCW. First of all, the optics of this match made no sense. It was Diamond Dallas Page and David Arquette vs. Jeff Jarrett and Eric Bischoff. The special stipulation for this match was that whomever got the pin fall, would be crowned champion. The World Title changing hands in a tag team match? That can't possible be a thing. But keep in mind, WCW was on its last legs and was looking for any type of attention/viewership.
2 Mike Tyson as Special Enforcer at WrestleMania XIV
There was a lot of controversy surrounding the main event at WrestleMania XIV, right up until moments before the match. For one, Tyson was at his peek in terms of erratic behavior and nobody really knew what to expect from him. Secondly, Shawn Michaels was suffering from a potential career ending back injury and this would ultimately be his last match for over four years. Michaels was risking his overall well-being by even partaking in this match because doctors had strongly advised he would never wrestle again. He felt that WWE wasn't appreciative enough that he was sacrificing his health for the good of the company and was threatening to not drop the belt to Austin or simply not even show up. He eventually decided to do the match and "put Austin over," as they say in wrestling. There's a rumor that The Undertaker intervened and made sure that Michaels didn't pull any funny business as he was one of the most respected wrestlers backstage (and still is).
1 Mr. T and Hulk Hogan vs. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff at WrestleMania I
This was the main event at the inaugural WrestleMania. As mentioned above, Muhammad Ali was also involved in the match as the special guest referee. But all the buzz surrounded Mr. T as he was a handful to work with, to put it mildly. There was a natural distain between Mr. T and Piper. Despite how difficult Mr. T was being, it has to be noted that a lot of people had issues with Piper, as he was very brash and had a tendency to pop off with just about anyone. As Piper stated in an interview, Mr. T thought he was above everyone and if you ruffled his feather he'd simply threaten to leave and at one point, he did. In Hogan's autobiography, he claims that Mr. T got in a car and attempted to storm off until Hogan intercepted him and talked him out of it. He maintains that Mr. T was a nervous wreck all day and that his nerves were getting the best of him.
To surmise, the main event of the inaugural WrestleMania was about a hair away from going up in flames. Had this happened, who even knows if the WrestleMania pay per view would go on to be WWE's kingpin?
Was it a technical masterpiece? Absolutely not (none of Hogan's matches were, but that's a story for another day). But it was still a genius move by Vince McMahon. Mr. T had a ton of momentum and fan support behind him at the time, so he was the perfect tag team partner for Hogan. Their opponents were also perfect because they were just such masterful heels. Putting "Cowboy" Bob Orton in their corner was just icing on the cake. Mr. T didn't look all that bad either as he nailed some solid moves, including a few hip tosses and a fireman's carry.
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