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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Celebrity Wrestlers
February 17, 2007 by Chris E.


Editor's Note: The author of this column can be contacted via the OWW Forums, where this submission was first posted. Feedback can be posted automatically by clicking here - but remember you must sign up for the forums to post feedback on a column. Thanks you!


On every wrestling show, whether it's RAW, Smackdown!, ECW, or iMPACT, there is sometimes bizarre and controversial moments. A lot of these moments make wrestling exciting, in my opinion, because you know what's going to happen next. A lot of these moments come celebrities. Now, I know most people find stupid that celebrities try to get into the ring to compete with the competitors who give 100% every time they walk out from behind that curtain and into that ring EVERY single night, but in my opinion you should them credit for actually having the guts to even get into the ring. Plus, they create some of the greatest moments in wrestling history, and they deserved to be honored for their contribution to wrestling. Many celebrities have tried to wrestle, but only a few could be recognized for their greatness.

Andy Kaufman:
Arguably and in my opinion, he's the greatest celebrity wrestler of all time. Although, he only wrestled for Mid-South Wrestling and not for a major company like the WWE/F, he made a huge impact on wrestling fans such as myself. For those of you who don't know, Kaufman was a comedian and TV personality on the sitcom "Taxi" where he played Latka, and was known for his strange antics, such as playing hoaxes on audience members on some of his shows. Anyway, when he first came to the wrestling world, he was wrestling women on shows such as Saturday Night Live and at comedy clubs where he performed. In doing so he would first insult women and tell them to go back to the kitchen where they belong, he would then challenge women to a wrestling match and the first women to pin Kaufman would be paid $500. He was the self-proclaimed Inter-Gender Champion, and even had a belt to prove it. Kaufman's intention was to show people what wrestling was back in the circus days where the giant men would challenge anyone in the audience to a match. After doing these bits on TV, he tried to get into the WWE/F, but Vince McMahon, Sr. wouldn't allow it. So, Kaufman made his way it Memphis Wrestling, where he not only insulted women, but also mad fun of people from the south calling them dirty and disgusting. This angle started a feud with Jerry "The King" Lawler, who was the hometown hero of Memphis, Tennessee. Lawler and Kaufman soon had a match against each other on April 5, 1982. In a mere 6 minutes Kaufman won the match by DQ, when Lawler put the pile-driver on Kaufman, which was an outlawed move in Memphis. After the match Lawler put another pile-driver on Kaufman, the crowd went wild for this. Kaufman was then reported to have a "broken" neck, but was really yet another hoax by Kaufman. Kaufman continued to feud with Lawler, with Jimmy Hart as his manger. Kaufman and Hart worked with each other in handicap matches against Lawler and even hired wrestler pile-drive Lawler and put him in the hospital as what happened to Kaufman. Kaufman continued to wrestle more matches until 1983. In 1984, Kaufman died of lung cancer at the age of 35. At the time of his death, his house was being cleared of his belongings and as people were going through his stuff, they old un-cashed checks, by the promoter of Memphis Wrestling, that's when it was realized that Kaufman didn't wrestle for the money, he didn't for the love of wrestling, which is what the business is really about. Andy Kaufman R.I.P.: 1949-1984....you truly were the greatest celebrity wrestler of all time, thanks for the memories.

Mr. T:
Although, he had a short stint in the WWE/F, he still made wrestling fans watch and created excitement. Mr. T was best known after being in the film Rocky III, which Hulk Hogan was also in; this film launched both of their careers. Mr. T then went on to do more movies and eventually was on the show The A-Team. Before getting into the WWE/F, T wrestled in high school and was said to be an excellent wrestler. So, T's agent Peter Young, who was also Hogan's agent contacted the WWE/F to try to get T in wrestling, Vince McMahon, Jr. liked the idea. It was on WWE/F's MTV special "The War to Settle the Score" that Mr. T made his first wrestling appearance. During the match between Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper, "Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff interfered during the match, and he and Piper were about to hurt singer Cindi Lauper, who was on the ring apron trying to stop the mayhem. But then T came form the audience and tried to attack Orndorff and Piper was attacked first, then Hogan and T started going after Piper and Orndorff, until police and security came in to break it up. This mayhem led to the main event at the first ever WrestleMania. The match at WrestleMania was a great match; although T showed he wasn't a gifted wrestler, he still did a great job, and showed some great moves. This match was voted match of the year by Pro Wrestling Illustrated, and voted by many wrestlers as their favorite WrestleMania match. Mr. T and Hogan continued to be a tag for a while, until early 1986. Piper and Mr. T continued feuding into WrestleMania 2, where the two squared off in a boxing match, which T won by DQ, when Piper body-slammed T. After that match, T retired form the ring, but in 1987 he came back to the WWE/F as a referee. He refereed matches, such as Flair-Hogan at Saturday Night's Main Event. He once again left the WWE/F. In 1994 he came to WCW, to wrestle in a match at Starrcade 1994 against Kevin Sullivan, which T won when he pinned Sullivan in a mere 3 minutes. After that match T never returned to the ring ever again. Mr. T didn't stay long in wrestling, but he still created excitement, and was at the historical first ever WrestleMania, and in the main event, and he should honored for it.

Muhammad Ali:
Like Mr. T, Ali also had a short wrestling career, but was part one of best moments in wrestling history. Ali at the time was the heavyweight boxing champion of the world. In 1976, Ali made his first wrestling appearance in the WWE/F, he was sitting in the audience watching a match that involved Gorilla Monsoon. Right at the start of the match Monsoon threw his opponent over the top rope, and was counted out, after the match Ali came into the ring and taunted Monsoon, and started taking off his suit jacket and shoes and getting ready fight Monsoon. Ali started circling Monsoon using his great speed and started throwing some very lazy jabs, which Monsoon blocked repeatedly. Ali then taunted Monsoon once again. Monsoon then lifted Ali, put him into an airplane spin, and finished Ali, and thereby created one of the greatest moments in wrestling history. Ali continued his wrestling career by doing a few "boxer vs. wrestler" matches with Freddie Blassie in his corner. His most famous opponent was Antonio Inoki. The two fought a 15-round fight, which ended in a draw. This was Ali's last time in a wrestling ring. However, in 1985 Ali was a special outside ring enforcer for the main event at WrestleMania I, in the match with Hulk Hogan and Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper and Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff. After that he never made a wrestling appearance ever again. Although not a long career, he did alright, and made an impact when it comes to celebrities involved with wrestling.

Mike Tyson:
Although he didn't have a long career nor did he even wrestle in a match, he still created some of the greatest moments in celebrity wrestling history. Tyson appeared in the WWE/F and he was as the special enforcer for the main event of WrestleMania 14, in the championship match between Shawn Michaels and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. At the time of his first appearance, he announced that he had joined DX and even got into an in-ring scuffle with Steve Austin, which was broken up security. At WrestleMania 14, Austin pinned Michaels to win the championship, when Tyson counted 1-2-3. After the match Austin celebrated in the ring, but then Michaels got in Tyson's face, and all the sudden Tyson turned on DX and sent Michaels to the canvas with a hard right hand, and thereby creating a WrestleMania moment. Tyson and Austin then celebrated in ring with the championship. Although he was never in a match he should still be recognized for a great moment.

Lawrence Taylor:
Without question, he was the most athletic of all celebrity wrestlers and put on such a great match, that you would think that he'd been wrestling for years. Taylor at the time was one of the top players in the NFL. He made his first appearance in the WWE/F as Diesel's guest during once show, and was pushed around by the late great Bam Bam Bigalow. After more insults Bigalow challenged Taylor to a match at WrestleMania 11. Now, people were expecting a match with a lot of pushing and shoving, and only a few body slams by Taylor, but what the audience got was one of the greatest matches by a non wrestler. Taylor showed that celebrities can do it to. In the end Taylor pinned Bam Bam. He should defiantly be honored for this match. I thought he did an excellent job.

There were more celebrities who've gotten into the ring such as Dennis Rodman, Cindi Lauper, and most recently Kevin Federline, but the celebs I stated above were the ones who made the biggest impact in the world of professional wrestling. Thier moments will live forever.

by Chris E. (View/Submit your feedback here)..




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