If there is one thing synonymous with WWE WrestleMania it is celebrity. WrestleMania has brought out the A, B, C, and plenty of D celebrities for the last 27 years. Here is a look back at the top 10 based on the contribution and legacy that they left behind at the big WWE event.
The WWE has certainly been hit and miss over the last 27 years when it comes to celebrity involvement at WrestleMania. They all have left lasting legacies, some for better reasons than others. I thought it would be fun to take a look back and rank the top ten based on the attention they brought to WrestleMania, importance to their event, quality of appearance, and more important lasting legacy.
Mr. T – People may argue Donald Trump, Mike Tyson, or even Cyndi Lauper but to me there is no celebrity more important to the success of WrestleMania than Mr. T. It was Mr. T that brought the WWF international attention the months leading up to WrestleMania 1. Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan were hot at the time but Mr. T was even hotter. I do think WrestleMania would have been big without him but I don’t think it would have been nearly as big nor got the mainstream media attention that it did if Mr. T wasn’t wrestling in the main-event. Unfortunately he didn’t have the same impact on WrestleMania 2.
Cyndi Lauper – Yes I’ll go back to 1985 and the first WrestleMania for my top two celebrity rankings. I struggled for awhile between Lauper and Mr. T for the top spot. MTV was such a critical piece in promoting the WWF during this time period and I highly doubt that the WWF would have gotten on MTV if it were not for Lauper’s involvement. Not only was she involved, but she was great, and delivered passionate promos every time she had the chance to promote the big New York event. Her legacy is highly underrated when the legend of WrestleMania is discussed. So much so that the WWE even left her out of their top 20 WrestleMania celebrity list. Blasphemy!
Donald Trump – You probably don’t like him but it is hard to argue with what he meant to WrestleMania. Of all of the celebrities there is probably nobody that brought more business to WrestleMania than Trump. It wasn’t until last year and WrestleMania 27 that the WrestleMania 23 buyrate was broken. Trump like Lauper was fantastic in his role and delivered all of his pre-match promos with the same fire he uses to fire celebrities on television. For whatever reason it all clicked and it is impossible to deny the money 23 brought in wasn’t highly attributed to the Donald.
Mike Tyson – Tyson never wrestled at WrestleMania but it is hard to argue with the impact he had on WrestleMania X-3 as well as overall business at the time for the WWE. Not since Lauper and T did any other celebrity bring the WWE as much attention leading into WrestleMania as Mike Tyson did. His confrontation on RAW with Steve Austin is legendary and credited by some for turning the Monday Night Wars around. The controversy, the intrigue, the personality, and the timing just worked out for everyone involved. If I were to create a Mount Rushmore of WrestleMania celebrities it would be T, Lauper, Trump, and Tyson.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. – Here is where the list starts getting interesting. I think there is a top four and everyone else. I struggled with putting Dwayne Johnson here for his role in WrestleMania 27 but I didn’t think that would be fair. Instead I went with one of only a handful of celebrities that had the guts to actually get into the ring. Of course he had a reported (but worked) 20 million reasons to do so. Mayweather really doesn’t get enough credit for the impact he brought to WrestleMania 24. WrestleMania 24 is only one of five Mania events to break 1 million buys. In addition, he actually wasn’t that bad in the ring. Unlike Taylor who was painful to watch at times, Mayweather looked like a natural at times against The Big Show. People also forget about how much media attention that Money brought with him to the event that year. I have no problem putting Mayweather at the five spot.
Lawrence Taylor – Again we have one of the few celebrities to actually have the guts to wrestle at WrestleMania. Signing L.T. was a big coup for the WWE back in the 1990s, especially for a match in New York. Sure he could hardly walk on those bad knees at the time but he gutted out a passable, borderline good match with Bam Bam Bigelow. Once again I go back to the media attention that Taylor brought to the company as justification for his sixth position on the list. Unfortunately it wasn’t nearly as much as anyone in the five spots ahead of him.
Bob Uecker – Bob Uecker is a unique place in WrestleMania history. Unlike the others on this list who made a major impact in the ring or through media attention, Uecker did neither. Uecker’s legacy is for all of about three minutes but it is a legacy that remains one of the most memorable moments in WrestleMania history. Uecker is remembered most not for being a ring announcer at arguably the biggest WrestleMania in event history, but simply for a backstage interview he had with Andre the Giant at WrestleMania IV. The appearance was so memorable that it landed Uecker in the WWE Hall of Fame!
William Refrigerator Perry – If you look back at WrestleMania history, the Refrigerator should have had a bigger impact on the event. But I remember the promotion leading into WrestleMania 2 and he really didn’t mean a whole lot for the event. I think the media still had a bit of a WrestleMania 1 hangover and needed a break. Regardless, Perry did get in the ring and compete against some of the biggest stars in WWE history like Andre the Giant and Bruno Sammartino in the NFL-WWF Battle Royal. Heck he even eliminated Big John Studd! That memorable elimination lands him on the list.
Mickey Rourke – He probably should have had a bigger impact that year on WrestleMania but believe it or not the publicity he received for the appearance was moderate compared to the above celebrities. Unfortunately he opted not to wrestle, a decision I remember reading about that went back and forth leading up to WrestleMania. However, his appearance and his KO of Jericho was more of a WrestleMania memory than anything that had any lasting impact. Hey, it was either him or Maria Menounos.
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