WWE Legend Unveils Original Risky Plan for Mike Tyson's Six-Round WrestleMania Stint

Revisiting a pivotal era, unexpected plans for Tyson emerge.

by Atia Mukhtar
WWE Legend Unveils Original Risky Plan for Mike Tyson's Six-Round WrestleMania Stint

Mike Tyson, the celebrated boxing icon, left an indelible mark on the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) landscape with his memorable appearance at WrestleMania 14. Tyson's knockout punch in that event was instrumental in rejuvenating Vince McMahon's wrestling empire, marking a significant turning point in the Monday Night Wars.

However, few fans realize that the WWE initially had grander plans for Tyson. McMahon had envisaged a headline-grabbing showdown between Tyson and Triple H at WrestleMania 17. Such an encounter could have had disastrous consequences for the latter, known as 'The Game'

Triple H, the WWE's chief content officer, later disclosed the proposed plan. After Tyson's triumphant debut at WrestleMania 14, the WWE had considered staging a boxing match between him and Triple H. The proposed six-round match was to be fought under full boxing rules – a scenario well within Tyson's comfort zone, but a potential nightmare for Triple H.

Mike Tyson's High Price Thwarts Plans

However, these plans never came to fruition. Tyson's boxing ban had been lifted, and his asking price proved too steep for the WWE. “We were going to do six rounds," Triple H disclosed to WWE.com.

"I don’t remember if it was going to be full boxing rules, or whether I was wearing gloves, but it ended up being a deal where the whole thing just would have been a ludicrous amount of money, and it got pushed off." The intended match would have offered an exciting revisit to 'Iron' Mike Tyson's history with D-Generation X, a faction he betrayed at WrestleMania 14, having initially aligned with them.

Although Tyson's second WrestleMania appearance fell through, his debut had already proven game-changing for the WWE. Vince McMahon, the WWE CEO, possesses a knack for seizing opportunities to propel his company forward. He demonstrated this talent in 1997 when he capitalized on Tyson's career downturn.

On July 9, 1997, Tyson was banned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) for biting Evander Holyfield's ear during a match. Around the same time, McMahon's WWE was losing to the rival WCW in TV ratings for 83 consecutive weeks.

Spotting an opportunity in adversity, McMahon offered the financially struggling Tyson $3.5 million to participate in WWE programming ahead of WrestleMania 14. Tyson accepted, appearing as a guest referee in the main event.

During the match, Tyson aided Steve Austin and delivered a knockout punch to Shawn Michaels. This singular appearance drew a massive audience, helping WWE outperform WCW in ratings that month, a turn of events that has since gone down in history.

In a twist of irony, Tyson's infamous boxing moment of biting off his opponent’s ear became the catalyst for McMahon's WWE, setting it on a course for unprecedented success.

Mike Tyson Wrestlemania