Wrestlemania, the Super Bowl of Sports-Entertainment​’s pop culture attraction

The NFL Super Bowl of sports-entertainment, WWE WrestleMania 33, made history on April 2, 2017 and emanated live and exclusive from the 74,000 capacity Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida.

However, history is indeed going to be made once again at the granddaddy of the all, “The Showcase of the Immortals”, the show of shows, WWE WrestleMania 34 which will come live and exclusive from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA on April 8.

Throughout history, the high-profile A-list celebrity involvement with WWE WrestleMania has increasingly grown over time within sports-entertainment and has obliterated various barriers between casual and die-hard viewers, whilst also undisputedly mastering the art of crossover promotion in mainstream media and business.

A-list celebrities have historically experienced and witnessed the uber-excitement, surprise element, gloss, pomp, pageantry and theatrics of the Super Bowl of sports-entertainment – WWE WrestleMania.

United States President/global business tycoon Donald Trump and WWE’s billionaire Chairman Vince McMahon share a few moderate things in common – catchphrases (‘You’re Fired!’), gloating affluence, polarizing personalities and successful enterprises.

The ultimate battle of the billionaires settled their differences not with their endless riches rather with hair – Trump’s infamously alleged golden blond toupee and McMahon’s trademark precious pompadour were both on the line as each egomaniacal entrepreneur elected a WWE Superstar to compete on their own behalf for their prized locks in a hair versus hair match.

Trump’s hard-hitting, soft spoken representative and current Bellator MMA superstar Bobby Lashley defeated McMahon’s imposing elected superstar Umaga (the late cousin of Hollywood movie superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), which in turn signalled the proud WWE billionaire being shaven completely bald before millions watching worldwide.

WWE Wrestlemania 23 in the Motor City in 2007 turned the gears up several notches and invariably set the tone for A-list celebrity and pop culture involvement for subsequent years courtesy of Trump.

Moreover, Trump’s involvement is not the starting point where the A-list celebrity megastars first become attracted to the bright lights and over-the-top personalities of the squared circle.

A few years thereafter President Donald Trump’s victory at WWE WrestleMania 23, ‘Jersey Shore’ reality TV superstar, Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi, turned the tide of events at WWE WrestleMania XXVII – hosted by Hollywood superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson – in a 3-on-3 tag-team teaming with Trish Stratus and John Morrison against LayCool and Dolph Ziggler, where the popular New Jersey-born reality TV superstar proved who the most dominant diva on the night was.

Where dreams became a reality, ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ superstar, Entrepreneur and global sex symbol, Kim Kardashian, served as the special guest ring announcer at WWE Wrestlemania XXIV inside the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, FL.

The magnetic presence and mass appeal of Kim Kardashian at WWE WrestleMania XXIV made the major appearance automatically one of the most high-profile celebrity moments in WWE WrestleMania history and an indication of the grandeur, majesty and spectacle of the NFL Super Bowl of sports-entertainment.

At WWE WrestleMania 31, Hollywood actress and UFC superstar Ronda Rousey appeared inside the 68,000 capacity Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California; Rousey recently reappeared at the WWE Royal Rumble 2018 announcing to the world that she has officially signed a multi-year full-time contract with WWE.

Rousey – a lifelong fan of WWE – was watching as a fan in the front row inside Levi’s Stadium at WWE WrestleMania 31 during a heated segment which witnessed the vindictive, spiteful alebit very savvy Stephanie McMahon and her proud husband Triple H berating Hollywood megastar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

The then-undefeated UFC Women’s Banthamweight Champion Ronda Rousey jumped over the WWE WrestleMania 31 security barrier inside Levi’s Stadium and entered the ring to then even the score, whilst subsequently issuing a hard-hitting judo toss to Triple H and applying a clenching hold much to the chagrin of Stephanie McMahon.

The high-profile Ronda Rousey WWE WrestleMania 31 appearance was largely spontaneous and unpredicatable, thus setting up Ronda Rousey’s transition to World Wrestling Entertainment from UFC.

Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr, arguably the greatest pound-for-pound prize fighter of all-time and major box office attraction faced “The World’s Largest Athlete” – Big Show (7 foot, 500 pounds) – in a thrilling David vs. Goliath-esque showdown that was worth the price of admission. The flamboyant, very cocky and charismatic Mayweather Jr earned $20m alone for the back-and-forth box office brawling bout at WWE WrestleMania XXIV and punctuated an emphatic win over the towering giant.

Furthermore, the additional A-list celebrity inclusions and appearances at WWE WrestleMania since its inception are endless. The following pop culture megastars have been involved in some capacity at WWE WrestleMania: Raven-Symoné, Rob Gronkowski, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Diddy, Maria Menounos, Machine Gun Kelly, Skylar Grey, Natalie La Rose, Flo Rida, Michelle Williams, Nicole Scherzinger, John Legend, Mickey Rourke, Snoop Dogg, Fantasia Barrino, Freddie Prinze Jr, Gladys Knight, Kid Rock, Shaquille O’Neal, Ashanti, Boyz II Men, Fifth Harmony, Keri Hilson, Cyndi Lauper, Joan Rivers, Motorhead, Willie Nelson, Ozzy Osbourne, Donnie Wahlberg, Salt-N-Pepa, Run-DMC, Pamela Anderson, Lawrence Taylor and Chuck Wepner to name a few.

GRAMMY Award-winning music icon “The Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin performed ‘America the Beautiful’ before 93,173 in the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, MI at the unforgettable WWE WrestleMania III spectacle headlined with Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant for the WWE Championship.

The record-setting WrestleMania III attendance record stood in tact as the all-time record attendance at WWE WrestleMania until WWE WrestleMania 32, which set a brand new attendance record of 101,763 inside the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

However, the musical performance by Aretha Franklin at WrestleMania III served as an all-time standard bearer for musical contributions on the grandest stage of them all – WWE WrestleMania.

Multi-platinum selling act Limp Bizkit kept WWE Wrestlemania XIX ‘Rollin’ as Fred Durst and company churned out their global smash inside a sold-out Safeco Field in Seattle, WA in 2003; “Rollin” was the entrance theme song of “The American Bad Ass” The Undertaker. The then-undefeated streak of the “The Phenom” continued to prove it was the WWE mainstays yard after an impeccably exciting introduction from the multi-platinum selling nu-metal band.

Professional Boxing icon ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’, ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson, landed the deadly uppercut heard around the world at WWE WrestleMania XIV inside the Fleet Center in Boston, MA on March 29, 1998.

Serving as the high-profile special guest enforcer between the very arrogant and attitudinal degenerate reigning WWE Champion, “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels, and rebellious anti-establishment challenger, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, the New York-born global boxing icon ensured the crucial three count for the bird-flipping Texas rattlesnake to claim the WWE Championship for the first-ever occassion in his historic career; thus Tyson deceiving Degeneration X ally (Shawn Michaels). “Iron” Mike Tyson is a member of the WWE Hall of Fame.

This magical moment turned up the intense heat on the brewing and uber-intense sports-entertainment Monday night war with the now defunct WCW and officially ushered in the Austin 3:16 era that propelled WWE to immeasurable heights.

WWE Wrestlemania I inside the world’s most famous arena Madison Square Garden in New York redefined sports-entertainment due to innovative MTV pop culture and iconic celebrity participation, which was a huge financial gamble for Vincent K. McMahon Jr; WrestleMania’s name was inspired by the popular BeatleMania of the 1960s, where the aforementioned name was coined by the golden voiced WWE Hall of Famer Howard Finkel.

‘The Greatest’, Muhammad Ali, called the action right down the middle of the star-studded main event between – “The A-Team” and “Rocky III” superstar Mr. T and “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan vs. ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper and ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff; Ali showed zero trepidation and leniency. Hogan and Mr. T hosted Saturday Night Live prior to the main event showdown at WrestleMania I and additionally made a plethora of very special promotional appearances on other mainstream television shows to promote WWE WrestleMania I; “Hot Rod”, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper – the most charismatic man on a live microphone and the most loathed villain in professional wrestling history – had deep disdain for Mr. T – both in and out of the ring – due to the trash-talking, jiving, confrontational tough man Mr. T not being a professional wrestler worthy of the main event status in the inaugural WWE WrestleMania I.

Motor-mouthed commentator, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, bombastically noted “Ali looks like he can go 12 (rounds) right now”. It was an undeniable big fight aura in New York City where New York Yankees legend Billy Martin, Liberace and The Rockettes were also incorporated in the WWE WrestleMania I main event fold as guest time keeper, guest ring announcer and special guests respectively.

WWE Hall of Famer, Pete Rose, will be eternally associated for unlawful practices in violating the spirit of Baseball. However, for the WWE Universe, the mere mention of the polarizing baseball great arouses thoughts of being the recipient of a hellacious tombstone at WWE WrestleMania XIV from the big red machine – Kane. A true WWE WrestleMania moment that knocked other feats out of the park. Through hellfire and brimstone.

Two-time NFL Super Bowl Champion, Lawrence Taylor, was fearless on the NFL grid-iron as he was in the squared-circle against ruggedly ruthless opponent “The Beast from the East”, Asbury Park, New Jersey’s very own larger-than-life brute Bam Bam Bigelow, at WWE Wrestlemania XI in Hartford, CT. However, the former New York Giants linebacker aggressively charged through to a major victory which invariably proved the Lawrence Taylor was indeed the true ‘Beast from the East’.

Moreover, the grand creation and launch of WWE WrestleMania in 1985 was essentially a gamble from Vince McMahon which invariably paid off. If WrestleMania I failed, then WWE would have suffered financially, thus the prospects of WWE WrestleMania II being unlikely and the crossover pop culture trend falling short before taking off.

Vince McMahon’s creative genius mantra of incorporating pop culture crossover promotion into his unique brand of sports-entertainment – WWE – redefined the industry and solidified his reputation as the Walt Disney of Professional Wrestling; Vince McMahon is a Hollywood Walk of Famer and cherishes WWE WrestleMania as his greatest live event creation.

Ultimately, the fearless, merciless, take-no-prisoners attitude of McMahon looked outside of the box and traditionally compromised the traditional territory mindset of the business to profiteer and gain Forbes certified billionaire status all whilst ruthlessly defeating the competition which stood in his path.


Dean Perretta

Dean Perretta is a 2x SEA Award-winning creative, Broadcast Journalist, Reporter, Courtside Analyst for BBC televised London Lions and Executive Producer who currently contributes to FOX Sports Radio, FourFourTwo Magazine and Muscle & Fitness Magazine.