With the WWE heavily hinting that Arrow’s Stephen Amell is the next celebrity to set foot in the squared circle, it seems only fitting that we look at the 5 most notable celebrities to set foot in a WWE ring in some capacity or the other. This is just WWE guest appearances; if we were to include promotions like WCW that’s when things get surreal with celebrities ranging from Jay Leno to Robocop (I wish I was kidding!).
Honourable Mention: Pete Rose
Pete Rose may not be that well known these days; I’m pretty sure younger wrestling fans are wondering who he is. However, while he never wrestled a match he certainly knows how to take a Tombstone Piledriver. From Wrestlemania 14 to 16 Rose made appearances, each time being savaged by the Big Red Machine, Kane. Once could be considered unlucky, as most professional wrestlers who have been in the WWE have suffered Kane’s wrath at some point, but after the second time you would think he might have learned. Admittedly, Rose did try to get the jump on Kane at Wrestlemania 16, coming at him with a baseball bat, which only seemed to anger the Devil’s Favourite Demon. While the fans were never on his side, Rose finally got his recognition for the suffering he received at Kane’s hand, being inducted into the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame.
5 – Drew Carey
Drew Carey is yet another celebrity that has disappeared from the limelight. However, like Rose he knows what it’s like to hear Kane’s music when it’s only him in the ring. Unlike Rose however, Carey was actually competing, being an entrant into the 2001 Royal Rumble. Carey entered the ring just as Matt and Jeff Hardy eliminated each other, leaving Carey alone in the ring, only to discover, to his horror, that the next entrant was Kane. What ensued was hilarious, when Carey tried several tactics, including pleading with referees to bring the Hardy’s back in and offering Kane money. Sadly for wrestling fans, just as Kane had his hand round Carey’s throat for the chokeslam, the next entrant, Raven came down armed with a kendo stick. Carey took advantage of the distraction to quickly eliminate himself. This is one of the most entertaining surprise entrants of the Royal Rumble ever, the WWE have recognized him giving him a spot in the Hall of Fame.
4 – John Stewart
John Stewart is the newest entrant to this list, however, his involvement with the WWE was equally entertaining. Stewart, a big time wrestling fan, began his dalliance with the WWE due to a comment made by now WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins, regarding Stewart’s replacement on The Daily Show. Stewart responded in kind by posting a video online calling out Rollins, who in turn made an appearance on The Daily Show challenging Stewart to appear on Monday Night Raw the following week. What followed on Raw was a hilarious segment, where Stewart threw hilarious insults at Rollins, who was desperately trying not to laugh. The segment ended on an equally high moment that was immortalised in GIF form, where Rollins, attempting to beat up Stewart, was distracted by fellow Authority member Randy Orton, giving Stewart a chance to give Rollins a swift kick between the legs and make his escape. This is already one of the highpoints of the 2015 wrestling year, and hopefully will lead to Stewart, in time, getting his own place in the Hall of Fame.
3 – Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson is not only a celebrity that has taken a part in a wrestling match, but he also has his very own Wrestlemania Moment. Tyson’s moment takes place at Wrestlemania 14, the same one that Pete Rose first met Kane in. Tyson was a guest enforcer for the main event between WWE Champion Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold Steve Austin, however Tyson had seemingly allied himself with Michaels and his faction Degeneration X before the match. This belief in Tyson’s loyalty proved to be Michael’s undoing, when the referee was knocked out, Tyson stepped in to do the 3-count, losing Michaels the belt. Michaels was less than impressed with Tyson and took a swing at him, Tyson responded with one of his own, knocking Michaels out. Tyson would redeem himself in the eyes of Michaels fans years later when he helped Michaels, and his tag-team partner Triple H, win a match against long-time rival Chris Jericho. However, it will be his Wrestlemania moment that will go down in history and earned him his place in the WWE Hall of Fame.
2 – LT Lawrence Taylor
Former New York Giant, LT Lawrence Taylor’s Wrestlemania moment is more infamous then other guest appearances, namely for knocking a great WWE Championship match between Diesel and Shawn Michaels off of the top of the billing. Also, the match is still criticised for letting Taylor beat his opponent, Bam-Bam Bigleow, who is considered one of the most under-appreciated wrestlers in WWE history. Despite this, the match was well hyped for months, feeling like an actual feud between two wrestlers, rather than an exhibition match, like some celebrity matches do. It began with an angry Bigelow shoving Taylor, who was in the crowd of the 1995 Royal Rumble, this led to Bigelow calling out Taylor the next night on Raw and accusing him over the coming weeks of being scared. Taylor finally accepted, leading to one of the most high profile matches of the period, in and out of wrestling; not since the first Wrestlemania had a celebrity wrestled in the main event. Taylor did prove himself to be competent, although strangely enough he has not been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
1 – Mr. T
The top spot has to of course go, to not a sports star, but an actor, Mr. T. Mr. T was in the main event of the very first Wrestlemania, where he teamed with Hulk Hogan to take on Rowdy Roddy Piper and Mr Wonderful, Paul Orndorff. Now this seems like another match, for the time it was huge, T was a major star and the idea of him teaming with Hulk Hogan, who was bringing professional wrestling to dizzying heights of fame, after only a year as WWE Champion was a very big deal. T. proved himself to be very good as a wrestler and would go on to appear in Hogan’s corner at the very first Saturday Night’s Main Event. Not only that, T would appear at the following Wrestlemania to face Piper in a boxing match. There is little doubt that Wrestlemania would be as big a deal as it is today if not for Mr. T’s early appearances, and thankfully the WWE recognised this, with his induction into the Hall of Fame last year.
When looking at this list it is obvious that some of the biggest celebrities of the past 30 years have stepped in to the ring. Amell certainly has some big shoes to fill, so here is hoping he’s up for the challenge.
– Stephen Watts