Kids today might only know Mike Tyson from his appearances in “The Hangover” movies or that television show he did about racing pigeons, but he was more over than just about any other athlete during his heyday. Naturally, WWF wanted to get their hands on Tyson’s name in some way by including him in their product in some manner. Tyson was famously involved in the main event at WrestleMania XIV as the special enforcer, but WWF had been working on him for nearly a decade before then.
Bruce Prichard says in the latest episode of “Something To Wrestle With” on the MLW Radio Network that the plans got as far as even promoting that Tyson would be involved in a match on “Friday Night’s Main Event” with Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage. The match was originally Hogan and Ultimate Warrior vs. Dino Bravo and Earthquake, but when Tyson was added as guest referee, Bruce says officials changed the match to exclusively feature their two top guys instead.
Tyson was scheduled to referee the match, but it never happened and instead he was replaced by the man who beat him in Japan: Buster Douglas.
Bruce says that there were big plans for Tyson and WWF before his shocking loss to Douglas. “Mike Tyson was the man and he hasn’t done this kind of stuff” Bruce said. “There was a mystique about Mike Tyson, the only time you could see Mike Tyson was on pay-per-view. Big money bouts, and the fact that he was going to be in a ring, and a ring that he wasn’t comfortable being in was a huge deal.”
Bruce goes on to explain some of the preparation that WWF went through to set up Tyson’s emergence onto the WWF’s landscape, but also explains that there as a little trepidation on Tyson’s part.
“There’s tape that exists of Mike Tyson in Tokyo, Japan,” Prichard added. “Vince had a Japanese film crew that followed him around in Japan. And, since there was a language barrier there, Vince, through interpreters told the camera guy, ‘Shoot Tyson, just don’t ever stop shooting us.’ We’re not going to start and stop because that was getting too confusing. And the camera recorded all the conversation, recorded everything going on through this whole time. And, one of the conversations that took place was Vince joking about uh [while doing a spot-on Vince McMahon impression], ‘God–Mike, we’ve gotta get you in the ring, gotta get you wrestling.’ Mike replied [while doing a Mike Tyson impression], ‘Oh hell no! I ain’t getting in the ring with Hulk Hogan, he’s huge! He’d kill me!’ as a shoot’ […] “Because, Mike was a huge fan–he’s a huge wrestling fan. He loved Hulk Hogan but he believed it. And he just thought, he saw Hulk Hogan and he saw I kid you not, the Rocky movie and what Hulk did to Rocky and thought that could be him. He thought if Hulk got his hands on him, he’d kill him. Tyson was not really big on getting in the ring with Hulkster in any competitive match, and vice-versa.”
This just goes to show you that things often don’t happen when you first want them to, but patience is a virtue. Sometimes time has to play it’s awful games and do its little dance, but if something is meant to be then it will eventually happen. It also goes to show that Mike Tyson thought that the Rocky movies were real and so was the World Wrestling Federation.
Mike Tyson didn’t appear in WWF as initially planned around WrestleMania 6, but he did show up eight years later in one of the most iconic moments in professional wrestling history as he made the fast count against Shawn Michaels to give Steve Austin his first WWF World Title. Regardless of when he first made an impact for Vince McMahon’s House of Hip-tosses, Tyson was still inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012.