Top 10 WrestleMania celebrities: No. 10
One of the reasons WrestleMania has become a fixture in pop culture is the involvement of mainstream celebrities. Over the years, numerous actors, athletes, musicians and other personalities have appeared in some capacity at WWE’s annual big event.
Beginning with this post and continuing daily through April 3, I will count down the Top 10 WrestleMania celebrities.
Looking to capitalize on the buzz surrounding the movie “The Wrestler,” WWE came up with a story line that was intended to lead to Rourke – who was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his performance as Randy The Ram in the critically acclaimed film – wrestling Chris Jericho at WrestleMania XXV (2009) in Houston.
However, shortly after the Rourke-Jericho angle began, Rourke backed out of the match after his agents convinced him that participating in the match could be detrimental to his acting career.
So instead of wrestling on the show, Rourke sat in the audience at Reliant Stadium and looked on as Jericho battled WWE legends Roddy Piper, Ricky Steamboat and Jimmy Snuka in a handicap match.
After Jericho got the win and then laid out Ric Flair – who had been in the legends’ corner – after the match, he challenged Rourke to get in the ring. Rourke stepped through the ropes, assumed a boxing stance and knocked out Jericho with a left to the jaw.
Obviously, it would have been a much bigger deal if Rourke had wrestled on the show rather than just doing a post-match cameo, but the fact that an A-list actor who had just been nominated for an Academy Award appeared in any capacity was a feather in WWE’s cap.
Photo of Ric Flair and Mickey Rourke by Getty Images