Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wrestlemania Rankings - Celebrities

Greetings one and all for the 4th of nine installment of my Wrestlemania rankings countdown. Today, in honour of Chris Jericho's Mikey Rourke fueled feud with the legends of wrestling, we will look at the best celebrity involvement on the grandest stage of them all. While there have been a number of wrestlers who served as guest ring announcers, or time keepers, those will be ignored. We are only going to look at the 11 times (by my count) that a celebrity has been involved in a match, in one way or another.


Miller Light Cat Fight Girls vs. Stacey Keibler and Tori Wilson

Wrestlemania XIX
Safeco Field
Seattle, WA

While this was not an official sanctioned match, it took far, far too much time to be ignored. The Miller Light Cat Fight Girls (it's ok if you forget who they are), were being interviewed, when Stacey and Tori came down, and a catfight ensued. If anyone ever asks, this is why RVD/Kane vs. Lance Storm/Morley was bumped to Sunday Night Heat. Such a crime.

Brawl for All Match:
Bart Gunn vs. Butterbean

Wrestlemania XV
First Union Center
Philadelphia, PA

One of the shortest, and most ill-advised matches to ever take place. For those of you who may not remember, the Brawl For All, was a bizarre attempt at a legitimate torunament that the WWF tried in 1998. They had felt that Dr. Death Steve Williams would win, and be a good challenger for Austin in the fall, however, Bart Gunn legitametly knocked him out in the second round of their match. Sensing an opportunity to push Gunn, the WWF worked his final two matches, to have him knock out his opponents. Sadly though, just about everyone in the tournament, including Gunn and Williams, were injured and had to take several months off as a result. When Gunn finally returned from injury (and I believe some time in Japan) he was pushed as a very tough wrestler, so logically he had to challenge Butterbean, who was a sideshow boxer at the time. Of course, keeping with the great idea, this match would not be scripted, and be fought "for real".

The most important thing to notice here is that it probably took you just as long to read about that as it did for the match to happen, as Butterbean won the match in 35 seconds, and this match (and the Brawl for All Tournament) was never spoken of again. I don't ever remember seeing Bart Gunn on WWF programming after this.

Boxing Match:
"Rowdy" Roddy Pipper vs. Mr. T

Wrestlemania 2
Nassau Colliseum
Long Island, NY

On the other end of the "ill-advised decision" spectrum is this match. Which, while still a bad move, was for a different set of reasons. Pipper and T had been involved in the main event of Wrestlemania the year before (more on that to come later), and their feud continued throughout the year. It was decided that it woudl be settled in a boxing match. However, unlike the Bart Gunn - Butterbean disaster, this would be worked. What resulted was 13 minutes of a boring, slow paced boxing match with no legitimate punches getting thrown. The only redeeming quality was Piper freaking out between rounds and throwing his stool.

The misery was stopped when Piper bodyslammed Mr. T to earn himself a disqualification.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Big, huge jump here to the next number, as all of them above here were quite good and actually added to the program)

WWF vs. NFL Battleroyal

Wrestlemania 2
Rosemont Horizon
Rosemeont, IL

One of the big attractions to Wrestlemania 2, and the second last match of the Chicago portion of the evening, was the WWF vs. NFL battleroyal, featuring a mixture of wrestlers and football players. This was a great showdown of titans, and helped bring in a great deal of fans to the event, which makes it a hard one to fault. The football players looked fine in the match, as they did not have to perform any real wrestling moves, and thankfully, it was won by a wreslter, and certainly one believable enough to eliminate the large football palyers.

Battle of the Billionaires
Hair vs. Hair Match
Bobby Lashley vs. Umaga

Wrestlemania 23
Ford Field
Detroit, MI

THE selling point for Wrestlemania 23 was the showdown between Donald Trump and Vince McMahon, via their charges. The story being that they were having differences and wanted to settle them in a match, and they would both pick a representative. Trump picked Lashley while Vince picked Umaga. The two wrestlers had an entertaining enough match, that ended with a Lashley victory, and Vince's head was shaved in a fun Wrestlemania moment.

This certainly was a fun match and fun celebrity involvment, but it woudl have been more highly ranked had Trump been a better talker, and Bobby Lashley had stuck around for longer than he did.

The Pete Rose Run Ins
Wrestlemania XIV, XV, and 2000

This was legitametly a highlight of the attitude era Wrestlemanias. It all started when Rose was serving as a guest ring announcer before the Kane-Undertaker match at Wrestlemania XIV, he ran down the crowd, only for Kane to come to the ring, chokeslam and tombstone baseball's hit king. While that was entertaining enough, the next year, Pete Rose would run down again and attack Kane, only for the Big Red Machine to get the upper hand again. The next year, it would happen once more, this time with Rikishi (Kane's partner in the tag match) giving Rose a stinkface.

While Kane was fighting for the hardcore title at Wrestlemania X-Seven, I really hoped that after he won, Pete Rose would run in and steal a pin on Kane to get the title, before Kane would tombstone him again, but sadly, the tradition ended after three very entertaining years and moments.

No Disqualification Match:
Big Show vs. Floyd "Money" Mayweather

Wrestlemania XXIV
Citrus Bowl
Orlando, FL

A fun little match, that got a lot of play on sports shows. While at first it may have seemed stupid and a waste of the Big Show's return, it ended up giving us some great moments. Floyd Mayweather was made to be a wrestling heel, as he has all of the mannerisms down pat, and knows how to cut an "I'm better than you" promo as good as almost anyone on the roster. I was really hoping that he would make a return for this years event, but I guess not.

(EDITOR'S NOTE:...and, break!)

Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Lawrence Taylor
Wrestlemania XI
Hartford Civic Center
Hartford, CT

Probably the best wrestler vs. celebrity match ever. These two had a surprisingly competitive match, and Bigelow had no problem making Taylor look like a million bucks. This is one of few non world-title matches to close Wrestlemania, and is one of the few bright spots on an otherwise forgettable card.

Hulk Hogan and Mr. T vs. Rowdy Piper and Paul Orndorff

Madison Square Garden
New York, NY

An insanely important match in the history of wrestling. While there had been previous celebrity involvment in matches, it had never been like this. This received a huge amount of hype, and was central to the entire "Wrestlemania" concept coming to be. Sure the match wasn't that great, but it helped make it all happen.

But there was another...

Women's Title Match:
Leilani Kai (c) vs. Wendi Richter

Madison Square Garden
New York, NY

That's right, I have this one a slight nod. After appearing on television a number of times, Cyndi Lauper got involved with the women of wrestling, and feuded with Leilani Kai and her manager, the Fabulous Moolah. She got herself a "temporary managers license" to stand in the corenr of Wendi Richter. While the match was far from spectacular, Lauper's involvment was a huge boost to the event, and got everything featured on MTV, which was new and hip at the time (and actually played music). This helped get a lot of people into wrestling, and helped create a huge amount of life long fans.

WWF Title Match:
Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Steve Austin

Wrestlemania XIV
Fleet Center
Boston, MA

A huge, huge, huge match, with a huge, huge, huge celebrity involvment. It was announced that Mike Tyson, the baddest man on the planet, would be involved at Wrestlemania. When he showed up on Raw, Steve Austin got in his face and a shoving match ensued. A few weeks later, Tyson showed up on Raw, and he ended up siding with Shawn Michaels and his group, D-X. This received a *huge* amount of coverage on news agencies, and it became a big deal. During the match though, Tyson switched sides, and joined Austin, giving him the victory and officially starting the most profitable era that the WWF ever experienced.


Assuming that Rourke gets involved in Jericho's match, we could have some room up near the top. Well, at least it will have to be better than the Miller Light Cat Fight Girls, right?

Until next time,


Achieved Posts:

The Openers
The Intercontinental Title
The Tag Team Titles
Extreme Rules
Women's Matches
The Dead Man
The Showstopper
The Main Events

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