WrestleMania 38 is coming soon, so why not remember an iconic moment from the first edition of the ‘Show of Shows’, courtesy of Muhammad Ali?
By comparison, the federation reported that the various social media channels received over 1.1 billion views during WrestleMania 37. The success of WrestleMania has undoubtedly boosted the WWE’s popularity and helped it become the global phenomenon it is today.
A celebrity history
WrestleMania has always had celebrity appearances from its first event to its current multi-night blockbuster showcase. Celebrities from many different areas of popular culture have tried their hand in the ring.
Notable appearances include former US President Donald Trump, singer Cyndi Lauper, NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, and Baseball icon Pete Rose.
McMahon wanted the first WrestleMania to be huge. Therefore, he got TV and film star Mr T and a boxing legend in Muhammad Ali.
Muhammad Ali steals the show at Wrestlemania
Ali entered Madison Square Garden to chants of “Ali! Ali!” from the crowd. The heavyweight icon joined as an outside referee for the battle between Roddy Piper and Mr T. Ali had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in the previous year, but that didn’t stop him from getting involved in the action.
After Mr T slammed Piper into the mat, the pro wrestler took exception. As a result, Hulk Hogan and Ace jumped in the ring as a full-blown scrap broke out.
This wasn’t happening on Ali’s watch.
The boxing legend climbed into the ring to restore order to the match he was enforcing. He gunned for Piper, the instigator of the chaos, hitting him with a pair of swift right hooks. Amazingly, the others in the ring are frozen to the spot as the crowd went wild.
As a result of Ali’s punches, Roddy Piper tumbled out of the ring – and the others rushed to avoid Ali’s wrath too. He even gave Ace a parting shot as he tried to escape!
This now-iconic scene from WrestleMania I set the standard for celebrity appearances, generating hype year on year as to who Vince McMahon may welcome to WWE action.
Boxers follow in Ali’s footsteps
Muhammad Ali was the first, but not the only boxer to appear at Wrestlemania.
For instance, the charismatic ‘Butterbean’ entertained crowds at Wrestlemania 15, beating Bart Gunn in an exhibition boxing match.
Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather have both turned up at the ‘Show of Shows’ too. Mayweather’s fight against Big Show at Wrestlemania 24 was a popular success while also making ‘Money’ undefeated across two sports.
Meanwhile, Tyson has made several WWE appearances. He most famously was a guest enforcer at WrestleMania 14. Tyson was heavily involved in the main event fight between Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels in this unbelievable show.
While Muhammad Ali’s legacy in the boxing world is incredible, his impact on the success of WrestleMania should not be underestimated.
Featured Image Credit: WWE / YouTube