Wrestling organizations, such as World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and defunct World Championship Wrestling (WCW), have been known to bring in major Hollywood celebrities to help gain mainstream media attention. It is usually the case when a major event happens, such as WWE’s Wrestlemania,which is like the Super Bowl and the Oscars rolled into one. Often times celebrities, like Aretha Franklin and Nicole Scherzinger, will sing the national anthem. Others, such as Regis Phibin and Kim Kardashian, handle interviews. However, many celebrities like to take on a much bigger and more imprtant role, and some will actually get in the ring and wrestle. Here is a look at 11 celebrities that were involved with wrestling.
11) Pamela Anderson
Pamela Anderson rose to fame after appearing in Playboy Magazine. She had a recurring role on Home Improvement and had her breakthrough with Baywatch. She made an appearance at the WWE Royal Rumble on January 22, 1995 and promised to be in the corner of the winner of the Royal Rumble match. The winner of the match at the 1995 Wrestlemania was “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels. During that time, there were many rumors circulating about a real life incident that occurred the day of Wrestlemania 11, when Motley Crue drummer, Tommy Lee, Pamela’s husband at the time, refused to let her accompany Shawn to the ring. Apparently, Tommy Lee didn’t appreciate Shawn’s attitude. Instead, she was in the corner of his opponent, Diesel and celebrity, Jenny McCarthy was the woman in Shawn’s corner.
10) Kevin Federline
Kevin Ferderline or K-Fed, is best known for his rocky marriage to pop star Britney Spears and the custody battle over their two sons. He released his first album, Playing with Fire in 2006 and appeared several times on WWE Raw to promote the album. In October of the year, he had a physical altercation with top star WWE Champion, John Cena. Eventually, he would face John Cena in a one-on-one match on the January 1, 2007 Raw and was victorious with a little help from wrestlers Johnny Nitro and Umaga.
9) David Arquette
David Arquette’s involvement with WCW in the early 2000’s is considered to be a disaster by those in the wrestling business. He comes from a well known acting family and appeared in the horror film, Scream Series. He starred in the film Ready To Rumble, which revolved around wrestling, and Arquette appeared on WCW TV to promote the film. He ended up winning the WCW world title, which angered fans and wrestling pursuits. Arquette, a lifelong wrestling fan, was against the idea of winning the belt. He donated all the money he made from his wrestling appearances to the families of deceased wrestlers, Brian Pillman and Owen Hart as well as Droz, who became paralyzed after an accident in the ring.
8) Pete Rose
Pete Rose is one of the most talented and controversial baseball players of all time. He won Rookie of the Year, three World Series rings, and made 17 appearances in the ALL-Star games. While he was a player and a manager for the Cincinnati Reds, he participated in illegal gambling and bet on his own team. He is banned from ever being inducted into the baseball Hall Of Fame. He appeared at Wrestlemania 14 in Boston, as the ring announcer for the Kane vs. Undertaker match. He ripped on the Boston Red Sox, which led to the demon Kane giving Pete a tombstone pile-driver. At Wrestlemania 15, disguised as the San Diego Chicken, he tried to gain revenge, and again at Wrestlemania 2000 but was beaten up both times. He was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame in 2004.
7) Maria Menounos
Maria Menounos rose to fame as a correspondent for Entertainment Tonight and rival program, Access Hollywood. She’s acted in TV shows such as Without a Trace, One Tree Hill and was on the reality series, Dancing With the Stars. She is a lifelong wrestling fan and has made several appearances on WWE TV. Her biggest match was at Wrestlemania 28 where she tagged with Kelly Kelly to defeat the Divas of Doom (Beth Phoenix and Natalya). The match was set up on an episode of Extra when the Divas of Doom crashed an interview where Maria was talking to Kelly Kelly. Maria Menounos competed in the match with two broken ribs, which occurred days earlier during practice for Dancing With The Stars.
6) Mr. T
Mr. T is known for his brash attitude, his unique Mohawk, wearing an enormous amount of jewelry and for the catchphrase, “I Pity the Fool”. He made a name for himself on the hit series the A-Team and was the villain in Rocky 3, which included a cameo by wrestling legend, Hulk Hogan. He also played an important role in the first Wrestlemania, in 1985. His involvement is credited with making the event a success and helped propel the WWE into mainstream media. He made several appearances on WWE TV to set up the main event. At Wrestlemania, Hulk Hogan and Mr. T defeated “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and “Mr Wonderful” Paul Orndorff and started the 80’s boom period for the WWE. He battled Piper in a boxing match at Wrestlemania 2. The legendary Mr. T was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014.
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi was the breakout star of the hit reality series, MTV’s The Jersey Shore. She is known for her outgoing and feisty personality. She is one of the most popular reality stars and has appeared on shows such as, The View and Late Show With David Letterman. She currently stars in a Jersey Shore spin-off, Snooki and Jwoww. In the world of wrestling entertainment, she had an altercation with WWE personalities, Vickie Guerrero and Lay-Cool (Michelle McCool and Layla), on WWE Raw in 2011. Snooki wanted revenge, so she teamed up with John Morrison and Iconic women’s wrestler, Trish Stratus to defeat Dolph Ziggler and Lay-Cool at Wrestlemania 27. Snooki scored the pin after hitting a cartwheel splash.
4) Andy Kaufman
Andy Kaufman rose to fame as a stand up comedian and was on the ABC Series, Taxi. He was a lifelong wrestling fan and wanted to be involved. This led him to Memphis, Tennessee where he engaged in a legendary feud with Jerry “The King” Lawler. Despite it widely being known that wrestling is “fixed”, the media and fans thought that their hatred was real. In 1982, they had a match where Jerry gave Andy a pile-driver that injured Kaufman’s neck. The two had a very memorable fight on the air on Late Night With David Letterman, that resulted in Lawler slapping Kaufman so hard across the face he fell out of his chair. Letterman and his staff were unaware that Kaufman and Lawler had planned that. Many thought the incident was real. Andy Kaufman is considered by many in the wrestling business, to have been the greatest celebrity villain.
3) Donald Trump
Donald Trump is the president and chairman of The Trump Organization, founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts and host of Celebrity Apprentice. Although both, Wrestlemania 4 and 5 were held at the Trump Plaza, it wouldn’t be until Wrestlemania 23 in 2007, that he would have a big role. In the battle of the billionaires, both Trump and WWE Owner, Vince McMahon picked wrestlers to represent them in a match. Trump picked Bobby Lashley and Vince picked Umaga, the stipulation was that, whoever picked the man who lost the match would have his head shaved bald. Donald Trump gleefully shaved Vince’s head. To date, Wrestlemania 23 has the highest buys with 1.25 million. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013.
2) Cyndi Lauper
Cyndi Lauper’s debut album, She’s So Unusual, was a massive success and spawned her four top five hits, including Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. She won the Grammy for Best New Artist in 1985. She is credited with helping propel the WWE into the mainstream. Her involvement, known as the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling connection, also helped launched their first major event, Wrestlemania 1 in 1985. Initially, she had a short feud with Captain Lou Albano, who played her father in the video for Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. She acted as manager of Wendi Richter who feuded with ‘The Fabulous Moolah’ and ‘Leilani Kai’. She got physically involved several times. Wendi Richter, with Cyndi Lauper in her corner, defeated Leilani Kai for Women’s championship at Wrestlemania.
1) Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson is one of the most famous, controversial and feared boxers of all time. He was the undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the world and he unified the WBC, WBA and IBF titles. Tyson is a lifelong wrestling fan and was supposed to be the referee at WWE Saturday Night’s Main Event, in February 1990. However, a few weeks earlier, Tyson lost his world title to James “Buster” Douglas, who then took his place as referee. He made his first appearance in January of 1998 and had a memorable altercation with mega star, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin on WWE RAW. He was the special referee at Wrestlemania 14 for the the Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels main event. Weeks Prior to the event, Tyson shocked everyone when he became a member of wrestling stable, D-Generation X (DX). However, at the event he betrayed DX. This was the start of a major boom period for the WWE known as the Attitude Era. His involvement with the WWE is considered to be one of the most successful celebrity appearances in wrestling. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012.