I don’t think one could understate just how huge Mike Tyson was in his prime, nor how pivotal his role was in helping the WWF turn the tide on the Monday Night Wars. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in many ways became a household name thanks in large part to Tyson. Don’t misunderstand me – Austin still would have been huge had Tyson, say, gone to WCW rather than the WWF (and make no mistake, both sides were bidding for the guy at the time). I have zero doubt he would have been because he was exactly what fans wanted at the time. But Tyson definitely helped to propel Austin – and the WWF in turn – to a peak it had never before experienced.
What a lot of folks forget is that he was actually slated to appear for the company several years earlier, which would have taken place smack-dab in the middle of Iron Mike’s prime. Prior to WrestleMania VI, Hulk Hogan was slated to take on Randy Savage for approximately the 4,879th time. Since the match had been done to death, the idea was that it needed a little something extra to make this a viable Saturday Night’s Main Event spectacle. Enter Tyson, who would play the role of special guest referee.
It was a great idea in theory.
Unfortunately for Tyson, he was KO’ed by an unheralded guy by the name of Buster Douglas a couple weeks prior. Tyson proceeded to pull out of several post fight appearances following the devastating loss. So his appearance as a special referee for Vince would have to wait a few more years.
The rumor mill was crazy prior to both the 1990 scheduled SNME appearance and the 1997 Austin run that Tyson wasn’t going to just show up and referee a match – he was coming to fight, and was looking to put his fists upside either Hogan or Austin’s head depending on the timeframe.
While that never happened, it was something seemingly everyone I ever talked to wanted to see. Tyson was HUGE, and the potential of seeing him in a WWF ring taking on the pro wrestling’s top star was almost unfathomable.
Equally unfathomable is that it did actually happen.
Mike Tyson wrestled for the WWF.
WITHIN THE LAST DECADE!
Show of hands – anyone remember this?
Like anyone at all?
But happen it did, during the legendary “Guest Host” era of WWE. Now sure, that era is admittedly not quite as fondly remembered as the Attitude era. But it’s light years ahead of the “Wrestling Doesn’t Pay Well So Everyone in the Company Has Another Job” era of the mid 1990s.
Following the opening theme, Tyson comes out and immediately gets completely lost. I mean COMPLETELY LOST. Which is too bad, as I was hoping he’d tell us again about how he had a great time with “Cold Stone” Steve Austin and that his favorite wrestler ever was Bruno Sammartino.
Remember Vince nearly flipping his lid over that? Good times.
Instead, Tyson just kinda looks around in a very uncomfortable manner without saying anything at all. Seriously, you watch that and all you can think is, “That dude took way too many punches to the head.”
Finally Sheamus interrupts. Apparently he was champion at the time, and thus tells us that he, not Tyson, is now the baddest man on the planet.
Austin-Tyson this was not.
On the plus side, doing this induction I got to hear his Sheamus’ old theme song. You know, the one where it says something about dunderheads. In the pantheon of stupid WWE themes, that one will always hold a special place in my heart.
I mean, I never want to hear it again, but it made me laugh one more time.
So Sheamus blah blah blahs, and of course this brings out Randy Orton. This leads to overplayed trope #13 in the WWE playbook. You know the one: guy one talks to guy two, guy three comes out and talks to guys one and two, then…
…guy four comes out and talks to the first three…
…before guy five comes out to complete the yak fest and some kind of multi-person match is made. And they all listen politely to what each other has to say, even when they inevitably say horrible things about each other. I call this schtick “Polite Pontification”. Feel free to use that on social media the next time you see them doing this, just make sure to credit me. Site needs the hits!
And I don’t know I’ve ever discussed this before, but I’d like to make something very clear:
I HATE IT WHEN THEY DO THIS.
AND THEY DO IT ALL THE TIME!!!
Thank you. I feel much better now.
Besides, who cares about whatever stupid triple threat or whatever those clowns are having. After all, I’m pretty sure the header on this induction says MIKE TYSON WRESTLES!
Let’s get to that!
Backstage we go, where Tyson runs into Shawn Michaels. The Heartbreak Kid puts his hand on Mike’s shoulder, and explains that he had recently made up with Bret Hart after years of issues, and was hoping to do the same with Tyson. Tyson explains that he sees through what a total sham Michaels actually is because unlike Bret, Mike’s not a total idiot.
I mean, that’s what he would have said if I was writing for the company.
Still, he does note that he actually enjoyed knocking Michaels out in the past and would like to do it again.
I mean, sure, who wouldn’t?
At this point, Chris Jericho shows up and tells Michaels to hit the bricks. I should note this happened one week after Jericho had lost a loser leaves Raw match. And still here he is, as if nothing happened.
If you think that this company completely ignoring whatever they did the week before is something new, umm, no. It’s happened for years.
I don’t know I’ve ever discussed this before, but I’d like to make something very clear:
I HATE IT WHEN THEY DO THIS.
AND THEY DO IT ALL THE TIME!!!
Geez, it feels like I just wrote that.
“DX,” Tyson laughs, “dumb fools!”
Really. That was his witty retort to all this.
And just like that, the match is set up: DX vs. Jericho and Tyson.
Not for a PPV.
Not for a show next week.
No, for like an hour later!
Look, I get it. Tyson wasn’t the draw he was in the 90’s, or even in the first decade of the new millennium. But he was still a major name and in theory had at least some drawing power. I mean, why else would you have him on the show in the first place?
And if that was the case, shouldn’t you at least try to get a little publicity out of this instead of just doing it with zero notice whatsoever?
So Shawn and Hunter come out doing their DX schtick. In hindsight, that’s comical enough – two middle aged men pretending to be guys fifteen years younger pretending to be teenagers. I can’t wait until they are both retirement age and still doing that.
We ain’t far from it, and y’all know it will happen.
Probably for some prince in Saudi Arabia.
Tyson and Michaels lock up to start the match and give Mike credit – he actually looks pretty decent here. Of course, Michaels is flopping around like a fish out of water for the guy, so that definitely helps.
Hunter comes in and gives it a shot as well. I know what you’re thinking – kick, wham, pedigree on Tyson for the clean pin. But amazingly, that does not happen. Instead, Tyson backs Hunter into the corner and tags in Jericho and we get DX pummeling Y2J for a few minutes. Jericho is finally able to turn the tide, and gets Tyson back into the ring only for him to be interrupted by…
Tyson looks on completely baffled, but it’s naturally all a set up.
Tyson takes off his shirt to reveal he was actually with DX all along!
And yes, it ends exactly the way you’d expect – with Jericho being cold cocked by Tyson.
Well, maybe not exactly like you’d expect, as that punch missed Jericho by a good eight inches. Was Tyson shadow boxing with Shane McMahon backstage?
And yeah, that was pretty much it. With one of the biggest boxing stars in history being interrupted by a leprechaun.
Ok, WWE you win – now I DO understand why you didn’t advertise this ahead of time!