I'm sure most people have heard by now that Mickey Rourke has said that he will be appearing at WrestleMania 25 on April 5, and the inference is that he will wrestling in a match. Last night on the red carpet at the SAG awards, the star of The Wrestler said that he was going to be in Houston for the pay-per-view event and he specifically mentioned wanting to get a piece of Chris Jericho.
Obviously, this is a major coup for WWE to have a potential Oscar-winning actor (the Academy Awards ceremony takes place on Feb. 22) stepping into the ring at the company's marquee show. I think it's bigger than Donald Trump's involvement at WrestleMania 23 and certainly bigger than Floyd Mayweather's match last year.
It's somewhat surprising that WWE is doing a tie-in with The Wrestler since WWE chairman Vince McMahon reportedly hated the film, which paints a realistic portrait of pro wrestling on the independent level, warts and all. But after the film garnered Oscar nominations, McMahon apparently realized that an association with Rourke made good business sense. It's funny, because after WWE aired a clip of The Wrestler on Smackdown Friday, I joked that Rourke should appear as his movie character at WrestleMania.
It goes without saying that this would be the biggest match of Jericho's career if he does wrestle Rourke. Jericho is a smart choice for the role, not just because he plays his character so well and would do a great job of building up the match, but he also is talented enough in the ring that he likely could carry Rourke to a decent match.
I have a feeling that the Motion Pictures Academy of Arts and Sciences is going to turn its nose up at Rourke's decision to participate in a wrestling match, but I doubt that matters much to him. Rourke has always been a free spirit, as evidenced by his decision to become a professional boxer in the early '90s at the age of 40.
It always angers me when people in the sports and entertainment worlds get all up in arms when one of their own does anything in pro wrestling. You just have to laugh when they claim that guys such as Mike Tyson and Lawrence Taylor are disgracing themselves by working with WWE. Yeah, stepping into a WWE ring is much worse than a rape conviction, drug suspensions and arrests for offenses such as assault, DUI and failure to pay child support.
But I think McMahon actually thrives on that negativity, as it plays into his us-against-them mentality. And I'm sure he loves the free publicity as he laughs all the way to the bank.