Mike Tyson is well known for being one of the most successful and intimidating fighters of all time. The American shot to fame, winning his first 37 professional fights before Buster Douglas shut him down in 1990. Since then, his notoriety has given way to a softer, more lovable Tyson, who has appeared on Broadway and is a prominent pop culture icon. Part of his transition occurred way back in 1998 when Tyson had a brief foray into the world of professional wrestling. The trouble is, as the story goes, he didn’t realize it was fake!
The clip below is taken from Monday Night Raw, on January 19th 1998. The WWF program was a staple of American prime time viewing and Tyson stood to make a tonne of cash from his appearance. Tyson was being introduced to WWE for the first time with the commentator baiting the huge audience by saying, “Let’s hope that’s not the last time we see Mike Tyson in a WWF Ring.”
After a brief interview where Tyson explains that he has been a diehard fan of wrestling since he was eight or nine years old, proceedings take a turn. Announcer McMahon is about to announce Tyson’s next appearance at Wrestlemania when all of a sudden, in classic WWf form, who should appear? “Stone Cold” Steve Austin…
Austin hijacks proceedings explaining that he is sick and tired of Tyson showboating around the ring in the WWF world and that messing with Stone Cold is something that shouldn’t be done. He refuses to shake Tyson’s hand and says he’s not there to make friends. This is made abundantly clear when he flips the double bird at Tyson in case he can’t hear his venomous words.
That’s it for Tyson, the star who has been getting increasingly agitated during Austin’s speech flips out and gives Stone Cold an almighty shove. Entourages converge and a massive in-ring brawl breaks out. The two fighters are held back in a bid to prevent certain death in the ring. It’s bloody entertaining stuff!