Celebrities have been a part of WWE’s signature event since the first WrestleMania took place in 1985. The reason is because the WWE wanted to make WrestleMania a pop culture event that everybody could enjoy by mixing in celebrities to take part in the massive event.
This has led to some celebrities actually taking part in some of the matches while others have served a number of different roles. In addition to those celebrities that actually wrestled, there have been guest ring announcers, managers, special referees, musical performances and even a “Master of Ceremonies” for the Bunnymania match at one point.
For celebrities, it’s a chance to perform in front of a different fanbase that may not be used to them. Some of them are really awful at it while others are able to create moments that wrestling fans can talk and laugh about for years to come.
Some fans don’t want any celebrities on a wrestling show because they look so out of place. However, WWE will always try to involve them because they love being mentioned in the mainstream media. Just look at recent examples involving Jon Stewart and Stephen Amell having big roles at SummerSlam.
To the Bill Clinton imitator at WrestleMania X: sorry, but you’re not going to make the cut here. Who did make the cut? Let’s find out.
15. Kim Kardashian – WrestleMania XXIV
As the hostess of WrestleMania XXIV, Kim Kardashian didn’t have to do too much although really, what does she even do anyway? It’s still cool to be able to say that she was a part of a WrestleMania. She only appeared twice during the broadcast – to welcome the fans to the show and to announce the attendance or the event with over 74,000 people in attendance.
In the seven years since this event, Kardashian has become even more famous for doing nothing. She’s so famous that if WWE asked her to be at a WrestleMania again she would likely laugh it off because she’s too big for it. There have been other celebrities that have done more, but she deserves credit for keeping it simple, doing her job and moving on.
14. Morton Downey Jr. – WrestleMania V
When Roddy Piper hosted Morton Downey Jr. on Piper’s Pit at the fifth WrestleMania, it was pretty clear that it wasn’t going to end well for Downey. The loudmouth talk show host ripped on Piper for wearing a skirt and also smoked a cigarette in the ring. That was a big mistake.
The image of Piper spraying a fire extinguisher on Downey was one of those classic clips that WWE has played so many times over the years. It was funny back then and it’s still funny today.
What wasn’t great about the segment is that it ran for about 20 minutes, which was far too long for it, but it was still a classic WrestleMania moment.
13. Alice Cooper – WrestleMania III
Some celebrities are a natural fit at WrestleMania. Pairing Alice Cooper with Jake Roberts was perfect because the rocker had the look of a guy that was comfortable hanging around a guy that carried a snake with him everywhere he went.
Even though Roberts lost his match to the Honky Tonk Man, Cooper was able to have some fun when they trapped manager Jimmy Hart. Cooper grabbed Jake’s snake (Damien) and they tossed the snake onto Hart, which delighted the crowd.
It was easy to see how much fun Cooper was having. As a singer he was a natural performer anyway, but he also looked comfortable being part of WrestleMania as well.
12. Mickey Rourke – WrestleMania XXV
In a story that Chris Jericho told in his most recent book, he mentioned that at WrestleMania XXV in 2009, he was supposed to face Mickey Rourke in a match. The reason it got pulled is because Rourke’s managers thought that working with WWE would get him bad press, so it never happened.
Instead of the match, Rourke showed up in the crowd for the event. After Jericho beat Hall of Famers Roddy Piper, Ricky Steamboat and Jimmy Snuka, he called Rourke to the ring. That led to Rourke knocking out Jericho with one punch.
It would have been cool to see Rourke in a match since he did so well in the film “The Wrestler” but it wasn’t mean to be for him.
11. Bob Uecker – WrestleMania III and IV
Bob Uecker appeared at both WrestleMania III and IV in a number of roles. He was a commentator, ring announcer and backstage interviewer.
The most memorable appearance he did was at WrestleMania 4 when he was interviewing Andre the Giant. Andre told him that Ted Dibiase was going to be the next WWE Champion and then Andre started to choke Uecker. That led to Uecker making this ridiculous, over the top face in a moment that was replayed many times over the years.
It’s easy to see why WWE loves Uecker enough to use him two years in a row because he had such a big personality. Even though he’s a former baseball player that became an announcer, he was a natural fit in WWE.
10. Pamela Anderson & Jenny McCarthy – WrestleMania XI
These two former Playboy bombshells warrant a mention because they are two of the most gorgeous women from the 1990s that were involved in the WWE Title match at WrestleMania XI.
The story was that Pam Anderson was supposed to accompany Shawn Michaels to the ring, but he was a jerk, so she ended up walking out with Diesel. Jenny McCarthy ended up walking out with Michaels. After the match, with Diesel retaining his WWE Title, the two women ended up celebrating with him in the ring.
They didn’t have a major role, but just their presence alone made that WrestleMania a lot more memorable.
9. Cyndi Lauper – WrestleMania
The presence of Cyndi Lauper at the first WrestleMania was massive because she was a popular pop star at a time when channels like MTV were just taking off. Since WWE had a good relationship with MTV, it worked well in her favor as a crossover star.
At the first WrestleMania, Lauper was in the corner of Wendi Richter as she beat Leilani Kai to win the Women’s Title. Lauper played a big role in the match as she attacked the Fabulous Moolah every time she tried to interfere.
Listening to the crowd reactions for Lauper showed how popular she was. The fans went wild for her. It was another example of WWE being smart enough to work with a good celebrity at a WrestleMania.
8. Muhammad Ali – WrestleMania
Muhammad Ali is one of the most iconic figures in the history of sports. While he wasn’t a part of the first WrestleMania in a physical way, the fact that he was there outside the ring as a referee added some much needed star power to the event.
Looking back at the event, it would have been nice if WWE set up a spot for Ali to knock out one of the heels. Maybe he wasn’t willing or able to do it, but it just feels like if it were done today they would have definitely set up a moment for him.
Ali would have made a great pro wrestler, but it’s hard to argue his success his boxing and his influence on people all around the world.
7. Pete Rose – WrestleMania XIV, XV and 2000
Baseball legend Pete Rose did a fantastic heel promo on the fans in Boston at WrestleMania XIV in 1998, but then Kane showed up making his WrestleMania debut; he didn’t care to hear Pete talk anymore and he dropped him with a Tombstone.
Prior to Kane’s entrance at WrestleMania XV, he was attacked by somebody in the famous San Diego Chicken outfit. It was Rose again, who ended up receiving another Tombstone for his attempted attack on Kane.
At WrestleMania 2000, Pete attacked Kane with a baseball bat. That didn’t work as Kane dropped him with a Chokeslam and then his partner Rikishi gave Pete a Stinkface in the corner. It was also hilarious when Paul Bearer was doing crotch chops over a fallen Rose.
Rose showed in those appearances that he was willing to do anything to entertain the fans, even take a beating.
6. Floyd Mayweather Jr. – WrestleMania XXIV
When Floyd Mayweather Jr. had his altercation with Big Show at the No Way Out PPV one month before WrestleMania XXIV in 2008, it set up a unique match with the world famous boxer taking on WWE’s largest athlete.
There was a lot of build up to the match that accentuated the height difference because Show weighs 400 pounds while Mayweather is 150 pounds. It was a weird match because Mayweather kept on acting like a heel even though he was the face in the storyline. He just didn’t come off as likable.
Mayweather ended up getting the win thanks to a lot of help from his entourage. He also bragged about his money, which is something he loves doing to this day.
5. Lawrence Taylor – WrestleMania XI
The man known on football fields as “LT” is the only celebrity to main event a WrestleMania in a singles match. His match was set up at the Royal Rumble in 1995 when he got into a shoving match with Bam Bam Bigelow, which set up the WrestleMania XI main event.
Taylor was a natural in the wrestling ring. A lot of the moves he did were basic, but he made them all look easy and like he had been in the ring for years.
Some people may not have liked that he beat Bigelow in the main event because of how unrealistic it is to have a non-wrestler win. However, it was the big selling point of the show and Taylor clearly proved himself by looking credible against a bigger opponent.
4. Ronda Rousey – WrestleMania 31
When The Rock appeared as a surprise at WrestleMania earlier this year (a surprise celebrity guest in his own right), he sought some backup at ringside. The camera panned over to see UFC Champion Ronda Rousey sitting ringside.
When Rousey got in the ring to stare down Stephanie McMahon, the crowd was going crazy for her. It showed just how popular she is, as well as how natural she appeared to be in a WWE ring. Then she stopped a slap from Stephanie as well as flipping Triple H to the mat, which drew a huge reaction from the crowd.
It would be great if Rousey appeared at next year’s WrestleMania, but she has movie commitments that may prevent it. One of these year’s she’ll likely be in a WWE ring again.
3. Donald Trump – WrestleMania IV, V, VII, XX and 23
Donald Trump is currently a frontrunner to be the next President of the United States of America. He also has a long history with WWE going back to when his arena called Trump Plaza hosted WrestleManias IV and V in New Jersey.
His biggest role was at WrestleMania 23 in 2007 in Detroit when he was part of the “Battle of the Billionaires” match with Vince McMahon. The loser of a match between Umaga and Bobby Lashley had to have their head shaved, so it was McMahon that lost and Trump joined in on the head shaving fun.
It was one of the most successful WrestleManias ever, in large part to Trump’s involvement with McMahon.
2. Mr. T – WrestleMania I & II
Mr. T was one of the most famous actors alive in the mid-1980s, so getting him to appear at the first WrestleMania was huge for WWE because he was the kind of mainstream star they coveted. He was known for his work in the film Rocky 3 as well as the A-Team television show.
At WrestleMania, he teamed with Hulk Hogan to defeat Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff. In the weeks leading up to it, he promoted the show with Hogan a lot, which was key to the event’s success.
A year later, at WrestleMania II, he had a boxing match with Piper where Piper was disqualified for cheating. It wasn’t a great match by any means, but it was memorable.
Without Mr. T’s presence, that first WrestleMania could have been a failure. He’s one of the most important celebrities WWE has ever worked with.
1. Mike Tyson – WrestleMania XIV
No celebrity was used better at a WrestleMania than former boxing World Champion Mike Tyson at WrestleMania XIV in 1998. At the time, Tyson was suspended from boxing for biting the ear of his opponent Evander Holyfield. Due to that incident, Tyson was considered to be wild by a lot of people and his unpredictability ended up making him a huge draw in WWE.
Tyson’s role at WrestleMania was as the outside enforcer for the Shawn Michaels vs. Steve Austin WWE Title match. They built it up so well with Tyson and Austin having a shoving match following the 1998 Royal Rumble. Then in the weeks before the big event, Tyson aligned himself with Shawn and his Degeneration X group.
When it came time for the match, the ref got bumped, Austin hit the Stunner and Tyson slid in the ring to count the pinfall. The count was even a little fast since Tyson was so excited. Tyson ended up punching Michaels after Shawn complained after the match and Austin celebrated his first WWE Title with Tyson.
The timing of Tyson was huge as well because it was when WWE was still training WCW in the Monday Night Wars. After Tyson appeared, WWE started gaining that momentum and eventually passed WCW for good. The presence of Tyson was a huge factor.