Muhammad Ali’s historic WrestleMania I appearance is still must-see

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?

Wrestling has come a long way since the first WrestleMania back in 1985. The original showpiece event had over a million pay-per-view audience members.

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.

Read: Five of the most shocking WrestleMania celebrity appearances

However, going into the first WrestleMania, this precedent was not set. Vince McMahon knew that he needed to drum up interest in this new showcase, so he turned to celebrities for help.

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.

Read: When Hulk Hogan tried to fight a prime Mike Tyson

This wasn’t happening on Ali’s watch.

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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.

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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.

Read: Stone Cold Steve Austin is in fantastic shape ahead of his WrestleMania comeback

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