March 27 (UPI) — WWE’s biggest event, WrestleMania 36, is still taking place — despite the coronavirus pandemic — on April 4 and April 5 from the Performance Center in Orlando. Fans will not be in attendance.
Dubbed “the grandest stage of them all,” WrestleMania not only features the biggest stars in professional wrestling, but also some of the biggest names in entertainment and sports.
Celebrities have been showing up at the event ever since the first WrestleMania in 1985, setting the tone for WWE’s most star-studded showcase.
Here are UPI’s Top 5 celebrity appearances at WrestleMania.
5. Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi at WrestleMania 27 in 2011
Snooki, of Jersey Shore fame, teamed up with John Morrison and Hall of Famer Trish Stratus against Dolph Ziggler and LayCool — which consisted of Michelle McCool and Layla — at WrestleMania 27.
While Snooki’s physical involvement in the match was limited, she appeared multiple times on WWE programming to hype up the bout and even spent a night out with Stratus in the Jersey Shore area.
Snooki performed an impressive Handspring Elbow into McCool at WrestleMania 27. The maneuver, which called back to Snooki’s background in gymnastics and cheerleading, impressed even the most hardcore wrestling fans who are known to scoff at any celebrity involvement.
Snooki went on to win the match by flipping onto McCool with a Splash, proving that even reality stars can compete inside the squared circle.
4. Pete Rose at WrestleMania 14 in 1998
Baseball great Pete Rose was a special guest announcer at WrestleMania 14 but things quickly got ugly.
The Cincinnati Reds star used his appearance to make fun of the live Boston crowd and their beloved Red Sox. Rose was soon joined by the monstrous Kane who was set to take on his brother The Undertaker in the first of their legendary encounters at WrestleMania.
Rose looked shocked to see the masked and towering Kane who quickly went on the attack. Kane shockingly delivered a Tombstone Piledriver to Rose as the Boston fans cheered.
This moment is memorable for how Rose trash talked the audience, was attacked by one of WWE’s most terrifying characters and how it launched one of the most unexpected rivalries in professional wrestling history.
Rose would try and fail to get revenge on Kane at WrestleMania 15 in 1999, and then again at WrestleMania 16 in 2000. While Rose may never be entered into the Baseball Hall of Fame, his multiple appearances at WrestleMania earned him a spot inside the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame.
3. Floyd Mayweather at WrestleMania 24 in 2008
Undefeated boxing champion Floyd Mayweather took on Big Show at WrestleMania 24 in a unique match that saw one of boxing’s most successful fighters going up against The World’s Largest Athlete.
Mayweather, who was putting his undefeated streak on the line, looked tiny next to the giant Big Show. Money Mayweather wasn’t fazed and used his quickness to avoid attacks from his opponent, going in to deliver hard punches when he could.
Big Show eventually started to punish the boxer, which led to Mayweather’s entourage getting involved. Mayweather took advantage of the distraction and won the match like a classic wrestling villain. Mayweather kicked Big Show below the belt, used a steel chair and knocked him out using brass knuckles.
Mayweather was every bit the showman and despite the mix of styles, helped to deliver possibly the greatest celebrity match WWE has ever had. Mayweather fit right inside a WWE ring and was entertaining throughout.
Other boxing greats, such as Mike Tyson at WrestleMania 14, have also made an impact in WWE, but none like Mayweather who went the distance against Big Show.
2. Donald Trump at WrestleMania 23 in 2007
Trump, years before he was President of the United States, was involved in the Battle of the Billionaires with WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon at WrestleMania 23.
Trump and McMahon both picked wrestlers to represent each other in the match with Trump selecting Bobby Lashley and McMahon choosing Umaga. The loser would result in either Trump or McMahon having their hair shaved off in the middle of the ring.
To make things more volatile between the feuding businessmen, WWE icon Stone Cold Steve Austin was the special guest referee for the bout.
Trump, after growing tired of McMahon’s cheating antics, tackled his rival to the ground and delivered a number of punches. Lashley ending up defeating Umaga which led to Trump, Austin and Lashley shaving McMahon’s full head of hair off with clippers and razors.
Austin didn’t allow Trump to escape unscathed, however, as he nailed the future commander-in-chief with a Stone Cold Stunner.
1. Mr. T at WrestleMania 1 in 1985
This list doesn’t exist without Mr. T teaming up with professional wrestling legend Hulk Hogan to take on the late, great Rowdy Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff. Piper and Orndorff were notably joined by Cowboy Bob Orton — the father of current WWE star Randy Orton — at ringside.
Mr. T’s involvement helped turned WrestleMania into the phenomenon it is today along with the event’s other guest stars, the legendary Muhammed Ali, who served as the special guest referee for the bout, and Cyndi Lauper who accompanied Wendi Richter to the ring as she faced Leilani Kai for the then WWF Women’s Championship.
Mr. T and Hogan proved to be a formidable duo, defeating Piper and Orndorff after Orton accidentally struck down Orndorff. Other key moments included Mr. T and Piper’s iconic stare down and how Mr. T was able to hold his own inside the ring.
Mr. T brought excitement and mainstream attention to WWE as he was partnered with the company’s biggest star in Hogan and developed a fiery feud with Piper. The match was the main event of WrestleMania 1, forever cementing its legacy. All of the participants are rightfully in the WWE Hall of Fame.
Mr. T went on to have another marquee match at WrestleMania 2 in 1986 where he took on Piper in a heated boxing match.
Marquee matches set for WrestleMania 36 include Universal Champion Goldberg defending his title against Roman Reigns, WWE Champion Brock Lesnar defending his title against Drew McIntyre, John Cena vs. The Fiend Bray Wyatt, Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch defending her title against Shayna Baszler, Edge vs. Randy Orton in a Last Man Standing match, NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley defending her title against Charlotte Flair and The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles in a Boneyard match.
WrestleMania 36 will have its own celebrity appearance by former NFL star Rob Gronkowski who is serving as host.