WrestleMania's Biggest Celebrities
WrestleMania is more than a wrestling show. For World Wrestling Entertainment, the pay-per-view promotion is a spectacle, and the biggest event of each calendar year.
To add to the pageantry, WWE brings in celebrities from sports and entertainment. Their involvement means being part of the show or stepping in the ring and taking part in matches.
Which celebrities hit the WrestleMania stage often is a surprise, but it's no surprise that big names from outside the wrestling world are needed to grab people's attention and make a statement.
They don't get any bigger than these.
Bottom line: WrestleMania’s inception in 1985 was a monumental gamble on the part of WWE owner Vince McMahon.
In order to maximize exposure, several A-listers were brought in, including "The Greatest of All Time."
Muhammad Ali served as a special referee for the night’s main event, which pitted Hulk Hogan and Mr. T against Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff.
Bottom line: McMahon arranged for one of music’s top stars to play a role in the event.
Cyndi Lauper already was friendly with eventual WWE Hall of Famer Captain Lou Albano, who had appeared in her music video for "Girls Just Want to Have Fun."
As a result, she was a natural fit in the storylines leading up to the first WrestleMania, where she accompanied Wendi Richter to the ring for her bout against Leilani Kai.
WrestleMania: 1, 2
Bottom line: Few celebrities were bigger than Mr. T
WWE didn’t just use him as an accessory to the first WrestleMania. They built the event around his involvement in the final match of the evening.
It was so successful he returned the next year for a boxing match against Roddy Piper.
William 'The Refrigerator' Perry and Other NFL Players
Bottom line: We’re lumping all of the participants from a special battle royal held at WrestleMania 2 into one entry.
A total of six NFL stars, including two members of the Super Bowl-champion Chicago Bears (offensive linemen William "The Refrigerator" Perry and Jimbo Covert), participated in the match, which was won by wrestling legend Andre the Giant.
Bottom line: Fans still fondly remember the event to this day.
Rock star Alice Cooper accompanied Jake "The Snake" Roberts to the ring for his match against The Honky Tonk Man at Detroit’s Pontiac Silverdome.
Depending on which figure you believe, attendance at the show ranged from approximately 78,000 to WWE’s announced total of 93,173.
WrestleMania: 3, 23
Years: 1987, 2007
Bottom line: One WrestleMania tradition that has lasted for more than three decades is the singing of "America the Beautiful" at the start of the show.
The "Queen of Soul" made multiple appearances at the event two decades apart, one of only a handful of musicians to grace the WrestleMania stage multiple times.
WrestleMania: 3, 4
Years: 1987, 1988
Bottom line: Known for his crossover success in sports broadcasting and entertainment, Bob Uecker had roles in multiple WrestleMania events in the late 1980s.
He was the ring announcer for the WrestleMania 3 main event between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, and he also conducted backstage interviews one year later, including one where Andre choked and shook him in hilarious fashion.
Morton Downey Jr.
Bottom line: Morton Downey Jr. was one of the most provocative television hosts of the time and made an appearance at WrestleMania 5.
He was a guest of Roddy Piper on Piper’s talk show, "Piper’s Pit."
Predictably, the two strong personalities did not mesh well, and the segment ended with Piper blasting a chain-smoking Downey with a fire extinguisher.
Bottom line: WrestleMania 7 was held in Los Angeles, so it was fitting to have a major entertainment figure be part of the proceedings.
In this case, Alex Trebek, best known as the host of "Jeopardy," served as the special ring announcer for the evening’s main event, which featured Hulk Hogan taking on Sgt. Slaughter.
Pamela Anderson/Jenny McCarthy
Bottom line: Two of the world’s most famous females played roles in one of WrestleMania 11’s biggest matches.
By winning that year’s Royal Rumble, Shawn Michaels earned the right to be accompanied to the ring by Pamela Anderson, who had become a superstar thanks to the success of "Baywatch."
But instead of Anderson walking with Michaels, she accompanied his opponent, Diesel, and Michaels got Jenny McCarthy, who had earned Playmate of the Year honors in 1994.
Rumor has it that a feud between Michaels and Tommy Lee, who was dating Anderson, prompted the change in plans.
Bottom line: The Shawn Michaels/Diesel battle would have main-evented most WrestleMania events, but not WrestleMania 11.
The honor went to NFL Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor, who made his in-ring debut against Bam Bam Bigelow.
Despite having never wrestled before, Taylor drew rave reviews for his performance, and won the match following a flying forearm.
WrestleMania: 14, 15, 16
Bottom line: Pete Rose first was brought in for an appearance at WrestleMania 14, where he badmouthed the Boston crowd before being attacked by Kane (whose nickname, fittingly enough, was "The Big Red Machine").
Rose's segment went so well that he appeared at two more WrestleMania events in an attempt to exact his revenge.
Most memorably, he disguised himself as the San Diego Chicken at WrestleMania 15 as part of a ruse to get to Kane. Unfortunately for baseball’s hit king, though, his efforts continually failed.
Bottom line: Mike Tyson's boxing peak may have been years behind him, but he still was one of the most feared men on the planet in early 1998.
At that time, he joined WWE as a special enforcer for WrestleMania’s main event, which pitted Shawn Michaels against Steve Austin.
After the referee was knocked out, Tyson counted the winning pinfall for Austin, and when Michaels complained, the former champion (who would not wrestle in WWE again until 2002) was promptly knocked out with one punch.
Bottom line: In the late 1990’s, WWE ran a legitimate, unscripted tournament between some of its wrestlers called "Brawl for All" that acted as a "toughman contest" of sorts.
It was won by little-known wrestler Bart Gunn, who showed himself to have a decent left hook.
Upon seeing this, WWE booked a legitimate boxing match between Gunn and Eric "Butterbean" Esch.
As one can surmise, this fight ended very quickly, with Butterbean knocking Gunn in under a minute.
Bottom line: We could have put the current president of the United States on this list sooner, as he hosted the fourth and fifth WrestleMania events at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City.
However, Donald Trump makes the cut due to his role in the "Battle of the Billionaires," which featured Trump and Vince McMahon enlisting wrestlers to compete on their behalf.
Trump’s representative, Bobby Lashley, defeated Umaga, and as a result, McMahon’s head was shaved bald following the match.
Bottom line: More than a decade ago, Kim Kardashian’s star was on the rise, and WWE took advantage of it.
She served as the hostess of WrestleMania 24, where she appeared several times during the evening.
Bottom line: The physically strenuous celebrity appearance of WrestleMania 24 came from legendary boxer Floyd Mayweather, who competed against The Big Show in a special "boxer vs. wrestler" match.
Big Show towered over Mayweather, but the boxer emerged victorious following a punch with brass knuckles.
WrestleMania: 24, 27, and 32
Years: 2008, 2011, 2016
Bottom line: Snoop Dogg is one of the entertainers who's graced the WrestleMania stage multiple times.
The rapper has appeared at three different events in different capacities.
Most recently, he rapped real-life first cousin Sasha Banks to the ring for her match at WrestleMania 32.
Bottom line: Mickey Rourke’s career resurgence came as Randy "The Ram" Robinson in "The Wrestler," so an appearance in the squared circle wasn’t a surprise.
Rumors flew that he was to wrestle Chris Jericho at WrestleMania 25.
A match didn’t come to pass, but Rourke did hit the ring after Jericho dispatched three Hall of Famers, and the former boxer leveled the wrestler with a right cross.
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi
Bottom line: For better or worse, "Jersey Shore" was one of the most popular television shows of the day, and its centerpiece was a woman nicknamed "Snooki," or Nicole Polizzi.
Near the end of its run, Snooki appeared at WrestleMania 27 as part of an intergender, six-person tag match, and she even scored the pin for her team.
WrestleMania: 28, 31-33
Years: 2012, 2015-2017
Bottom line: A longtime professional wrestling fan, television host Maria Menounos has appeared at four different WrestleMania events (among other WWE programs).
Most notably, she competed at WrestleMania 28 in 2012, where she teamed with Kelly Kelly to defeat Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres.
In addition, Menounos has served as an interviewer at both WrestleMania and WWE’s annual Hall of Fame ceremony.
WrestleMania: 28, 33
Years: 2012, 2017
Bottom line: Entertainer Flo Rida has had a long relationship with WWE, and performed at WrestleMania in both 2012 and 2017.
In addition, his song, "My House," served as the official theme song for WrestleMania 32 in 2016.
Bottom line: One of the NBA’s best big men of all time has had a long history of involvement in wrestling.
In addition to guest-hosting WWE Monday Night Raw on one occasion, Shaquille O'Neal served as a surprise entrant in WrestleMania 32’s Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, where he squared off with The Big Show.
Allegedly, this was to tease a match at the next year’s WrestleMania, but that never materialized.
Bottom line: Given Rob Gronkowski's larger-than-life personality, it’s not a surprise that the man known as "Gronk" made an appearance at WrestleMania.
He did so in 2017, when he jumped over the guardrail and helped Mojo Rawley win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
In an odd twist, the nearest security guard appeared to have no idea this was part of the show.
Bottom line: Last, but certainly not least, female MMA superstar Ronda Rousey turned to professional wrestling in 2018, and she made her debut at that year’s WrestleMania event.
The match featured her teaming with WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle to take on Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, and Rousey’s performance stole the show.
One year later, she’s a headliner for WrestleMania 35 against Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair.