Mike Tyson was Vince McMahon’s secret weapon to help turn the tide of the Monday Night Wars as the boxing icon was brought into WWE to be a featured part of WrestleMania 14.
Tyson was the outside enforcer for the WrestleMania 14 main event between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels back in 1998 and was the man who counted the pinfall that saw Austin win the WWE Championship for the very first time. But Mike Tyson’s role at the event could have been very different.
Former WWE photographer Tom Buchanan was a guest on the Cheap Heat Productions Podcast and reflected on Mike Tyson’s involvement in the lead-up to WrestleMania 14. According to Buchanan, Tyson botched his positioning during a pre-show press conference where he was meant to split up Austin and Michaels. That helped lead the company to decide that the boxing legend was best utilized at WrestleMania outside the ring:
“Tyson gets up and he turns around backwards, and somebody else in the media has to say, ‘Mike, turn around!’ [Tyson is] not a smart guy. I think he was originally scheduled to be an in-ring referee, special guest referee, but it became clear to us that he just didn’t have that capacity, so he became an outside the ring guest enforcer, and it worked that way.”
“He was a nice guy, I don’t have any issues there. He just wasn’t real smart. We were in a restaurant setting this thing up. It was like a Hard Rock kinda place. There were all these pictures on the wall of famous places and people and whatnot. I tried to engage Mike in a conversation about something he was looking at on the wall and it was hard. He was not a conversational kinda guy.”
Mike Tyson has been back in the wrestling sphere in more recent years, appearing on several occasions in AEW, the first of which saw him hand over the TNT Championship to inaugural champion Cody Rhodes.