Celebrity involvement with WrestleMania dates back to the very first event. The notable appearances that night included Cyndi Lauper, Muhammad Ali, and Mr. T. Cross-promotion is a significant aspect in marketing, as it extends past regular and casual audiences to attract even more viewers and attention.
Fans usually see celebrities perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” or “America The Beautiful” each year at WrestleMania, the theme song artist performs the song live, and a quick camera cut to big names sitting at ringside. Sometimes a celebrity is used in a prominent or featured role in the event. These appearances were rather odd. and they may have become forgotten; here are the 10 most random.
10 Clara Peller (WrestleMania 2)
Clara became a household star in the mid-’80s when she was the main star in a commercial for the fast-food chain Wendy’s in their infamous “Where’s The Beef!?” marketing campaign that first aired in January of 1984.
Peller, who was a senior in her 80s, would have an uncredited appearance on Saturday Night Live later in the year. WWE asked her to take part in WrestleMania 2 in 1986, where she served as the guest timekeeper for the WWE vs. NFL Battle Royal at the Rosemont Horizon. Clara passed away the following year.
9 George Steinbrenner (WrestleMania VII)
Years before “George Steinbrenner” was overseeing George Constanza at Yankee Stadium and demanding calzones, the real Steinbrenner appeared at WrestleMania VII in 1991 in an on-screen segment that was hosted by Vince McMahon. The NFL had recently introduced instant replays and WWE wanted in on the hype.
Vince hosted a debate on having instant replays in wrestling with NFL announcer Paul Maguire, who was somewhat relevant to this conversation of replays in wrestling but still random, and New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. The event was in Los Angeles, so having a New York-based personality was random. Replays in baseball were not relevant either, so there was really no need for George.
8 Sy Sperling (WrestleMania X)
WrestleMania X in 1994 at New York’s Madison Square Garden was attended by “President Bill Clinton”; it was a hired impersonator. The show’s opener of Owen vs. Bret Hart is considered the greatest opening match in WrestleMania history. Following their match, the president of the Hair Club For Men (now known as HairClub), Sy Sperling, appeared in the ring.
Sperling appeared to announce his latest client Howard Finkle. “The Fink” then came into the frame sporting a snazzy toupee. That may have created more laughs than interest for fans. Sperling appeared on WWE TV leading up to WrestleMania to promote the event and to promote hair products for the superstars.
7 Gennifer Flowers (WrestleMania XIV)
Gennifer Flowers became infamously known to Americans in the early 1990s for coming forward in the 1992 Presidential election, to reveal an affair she had with candidate Bill Clinton. Clinton won the election, was re-elected, and would then testify in January 1998 that he did have an affair with Flowers.
As the revelation put Gennifer back in the spotlight, WWE called her for an appearance two months later at WrestleMania XIV at the FleetCenter in Boston. Flowers interviewed The Rock in a backstage segment and was also the guest ring announcer for that night’s Intercontinental Championship match. For the latter, she was escorted to the ring by Jeff Jarrett.
6 Pete Rose (WrestleMania XIV)
Outside of his betting scandal, Pete Rose is considered one of, if not, the greatest baseball players ever. Rose was permanently placed on baseball’s ineligible list in 1989 but “Charlie Hustle” infamously had three appearances at WrestleMania a decade later. When Rose was an active player for the Cincinnati Reds in the 1970s, the team earned the nickname “The Big Red Machine.”
At WrestleMania XIV, Pete was the guest ring announcer for the co-main event between The Undertaker and “The Big Red Machine” Kane. Rose was warmly welcomed at first by the crowd, but he then insulted the Boston fans until Kane came out to deliver a Tombstone to Rose, beginning their trilogy of WrestleMania run-ins. Pete never played for Boston and was long removed from baseball. He did not even announce anyone! All he did was get himself more hated.
5 Donald Trump (WrestleMania XX)
Donald Trump has been involved in several WrestleManias, including hosting two in the late ’80s. The former POTUS is remembered for his 2007 involvement in the Battle of the Billionaires Hair vs Hair match with Vince McMahon.
Trump was featured in a segment at WrestleMania XX in New York along with Jesse Ventura in 2004. An inductee of that year’s Hall of Fame, Ventura came to the ring to conduct an interview in a throwback to his former days with the company. Jesse “spotted” Donald at ringside and he performed a quick interview. Fans did not care at all for the interview and it did nothing for the show.
4 Raven-Symone (WrestleMania XXIV)
Raven-Symone became a star in the 1990s, starring in The Cosby Show and Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper. Her profile continued to rise in the 2000s when she became a Disney star, starring in That’s So Raven, as well as performing in The Cheetah Girls.
In 2008 she got the call from WWE to appear at WrestleMania XXIV at the Florida Citrus Bowl. Raven appeared on behalf of the Make-A-Wish Foundation to up-sell WWE’s charity involvement, but also to promote the organization’s attendance. A company spokesperson would have been a better fit and at that time Raven was past her Disney prime.
3 Keith Colburn (WrestleMania XXVIII)
Early in the show at WrestleMania XXVIII, a backstage segment ran with Santino Marella, Mick Foley, and star of the Discovery Channel show Deadliest Catch, Captain Keith Colburn.
The new season of the show was premiering days later and a cross-promotion was occurring. Fans did not care for Keith’s appearance but cheered loudly for Foley. The three would indulge in some king crab legs and that was about it. Another big cheer took place, but this time for Ron Simmons, who came in to break up the madness with a “DAMN!”
2 P. Diddy (WrestleMania XXVIII)
Singers Flo Rida and Sia performed at WrestleMania XXVIII to hype up The Rock for the main event; John Cena had a performance for his hype too. Machine Gun Kelly and Skylar Grey performed for Cena, where MGK told the Miami crowd that their hometown hero [Rock] had “one of the biggest egos” and that he was going to lose. This was a hilarious major backfire for Cena as it caused even more boos.
The random appearance though was Sean “P. Diddy” Combs. Ring announcer Justin Roberts announced Combs with a lot of pizazz who then introduced Grey and MGK; he did not even perform. Combs was only on stage for a few seconds, to do what Justin Roberts could have done. Roberts would have done a better job too.
1 Shaquille O’Neal (WrestleMania 32)
The incredibly large crowd at WrestleMania 32 witnessed stars like Mark Henry, DDP and Shaquille O’ Neal make their way to the ring for the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Shaq was a guest host on Raw in 2009, where he had a memorable physical spot with Cryme Tyme against Big Show.
Seven years later, this rivalry was randomly restarted. Show had made his entrance for the match already and just when everyone thought the match was starting, Shaq came out as the final entrant. The only basketball the retired megastar played in Texas was in high school, and he was not transitioning into a career in wrestling. Fans loved it but no one anywhere could have predicted Shaq competing at WrestleMania.
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About The Author
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Luke is a college graduate for broadcasting and a university graduate for health and safety. Luke is also a mail carrier in Alberta, Canada and a freelance wrestling website contributor. He trained briefly in professional wrestling and has attended over 20 WWE events including WrestleMania 31 and 32. Luke is an avid wrestling VHS tape and memorabilia collector.
Original posted at www.thesportster.com