COMMENTARY | For most of the last 100 years, boxing and professional wrestling have represented two of the most popular forms of sport and entertainment, respectively, in the world.
The concept of the skilled boxer taking on the brawling wrestler was arguably the highlight of Rocky III. Certainly, Hulk Hogan's performance as Thunderlips caught Vince McMahon's eye and the rest is history. However, there have been many instances through the years of boxers and wrestlers crossing over into the other's line of work. Most of these contests were scripted wrestling storylines, but others saw wrestlers face boxers in legitimate boxing matches.
Take a look back at the top five storylines involving wrestlers and boxers.
5. March 29, 2008: Floyd Mayweather vs. Big Show
In the interest of full disclosure, this is my least favorite wrestling angle with a boxer ever. But since an undefeated boxer appeared at Wrestlemania, it had to make the list. However, if the WWE wanted to put over Floyd Mayweather, I wish it would have chosen a different opponent than Big Show. There was just too much of a size difference to justify Mayweather knocking him out. At least Big Show now uses a boxer's knockout punch as his WMD finisher.
4. March 28, 1999: Butterbean vs. Bart Gunn
When Vince McMahon was desperately trying to keep pace with WCW in the late 1990s, he tried many new gimmicks. Admittedly, some worked better than others. One of the WWF's more ill-fated angles was the "Brawl for All." 16 WWF wrestlers faced off in a legitimate shoot fighting tournament. Bart Gunn was the upset victor and he met Butterbean in a non-scripted boxing match at Wrestlemania. The boxer knocked out the wrestler in under a minute.
3. June 2, 1976: Muhammad Ali vs. Gorilla Monsoon
Technically, this entry and the next were part of the same angle. But both were so memorable that each deserves its own mention. As part of the hype surrounding Muhammad Ali's upcoming showdown against Antonio Inoki, the boxer showed up at one of Gorilla Monsoon's matches. After yelling at Monsoon, Ali found himself inside the ring. I'll never forget how small Ali looked next to Monsoon. After he shoved away a few jabs, Monsoon gave Ali an airplane spin.
2. July 25, 1976: Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki
Muhammad Ali's first soiree into pro wrestling culminated with a bizarre match against Antonio Inoki. This contest can best be described as one of the earliest, high profile MMA fights in history. Ali fought with his boxing gloves on, while Inoki played the role of a wrestler or shoot fighter. Inoki had a strange offense in which he laid on back to avoid Ali's powerful punches, while he kicked at the boxer's legs. The underwhelming match ended in a draw for Ali and Inoki.
1. March 29, 1998: Mike Tyson serves as guest outside enforcer at Wrestlemania XIV
Although Vince McMahon would like to forget the WWF Brawl for All Tournament of 1998, a storyline earlier that year was one of the greatest angles in the promotion's history. Mike Tyson got into an altercation with Steve Austin on Raw that was truly great television. Then Tyson served as the guest outside enforcer at Wrestlemania for a match between Austin and Shawn Michaels. But after pretending to be in D-X, the boxer sided with Austin in the match.
Muhammad Ali as referee at Wrestlemania I, Muhammad Ali as guest outside enforcer at a Mid-South Superdome event, Buster Douglas as referee at WWF The Main Event, Chuck Wepner vs. Andre the Giant, Evander Holyfield vs. Matt Hardy
Patrick Michael lives in New Orleans and has always been a big fan of pro wrestling. Patrick's favorite wrestling promotion was Mid-South Wrestling back in the 1980s. Patrick's favorite wrestling angle of all-time was the NWO and his favorite wrestler is Roddy Piper. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
More from this contributor
- Sports & Recreation
- Antonio Inoki
- Floyd Mayweather
- Vince McMahon
- Gorilla Monsoon
- professional wrestling