(NEXSTAR) – From Muhammad Ali to Kim Kardashian to Donald Trump, WWE’s flagship event WrestleMania has always featured the best of professional wrestling sprinkled with some of entertainment’s top celebrities. The 2022 edition of WWE’s 2-day Super Bowl-style event continues that tradition with “Jackass” stuntman Johnny Knoxville, YouTube star Logan Paul, and sports broadcaster Pat McAfee stepping into the ring and competing on wrestling’s biggest stage.
The three celebrities have limited experience in WWE. Each has been in physical altercations but only McAfee has had a substantial wrestling match. When the trio steps into the ring in their respective matches at WrestleMania 38 in front of 60,000 people this weekend, it’ll be a very different experience.
In 2021, music superstar Bad Bunny set the bar for celebrity performances putting on what’s been regarded as the top celebrity wrestling match in WrestleMania history. He did that against WWE mainstay and former champion The Miz. In the 2022 edition of WrestleMania, The Miz will wrestle alongside Paul against legendary competitor Rey Mysterio and his son Dominik.
Arguably the most successful celebrity appearance took place at WrestleMania 23 in Detroit, Michigan when then-TV host Donald Trump and WWE owner Vince McMahon took center stage in a hair vs. hair contest. The 2007 event ended with record pay per view purchases and McMahon shaved bald. One of wrestling’s top acts, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, served as the special guest referee. Austin will also be returning to the ring for an appearance this weekend in Texas.
Here’s what you can expect out of this year’s celebrity matches at WrestleMania:
Johnny Knoxville is set to compete against wrestler Sami Zayn in what’s being called an “anything goes match” during Sunday night’s WrestleMania show.
While promoting “Jackass Forever,” Knoxville made appearances on WWE television and briefly competed in the 2022 Royal Rumble match. Zayn took exception to Knoxville receiving the spotlight and regularly reminded him he didn’t belong in the wrestling world.
After Zayn crashed the rep carpet premiere of Knoxville’s movie, the stuntman and actor returned the favor by costing Zayn his Intercontinental Championship in a match on SmackDown against Ricochet. This prompted Zayn to make the challenge for a match at WrestleMania.
A prank war commenced between the two leading to Knoxville flying Zayn’s phone number over the skies of Los Angeles. After receiving thousands of calls and texts, Zayn has said he’s ready to put an end to Knoxville’s wild ways and send him packing from the world of wrestling.
With the stipulation of “anything goes,” expect to see some of Knoxville’s friends from the “Jackass” world make an appearance at ringside.
After being on the losing side of a match against Bad Bunny and Damian Priest at last year’s WrestleMania, The Miz vowed to be victorious with a celebrity partner at this year’s event. He’ll do it with YouTuber and celebrity boxer Logan Paul.
Paul first appeared in WWE in 2021 where he was initially positioned as a crowd favorite. It quickly became clear the audience didn’t see him as a traditional “good guy” performer leading Kevin Owens giving him a stunner to a rousing ovation at Wrestlemania 37 in Tampa.
Paul returned ahead of WrestleMania 38 alongside The Miz to ignite a feud with the Mysterios. In addition to vicious attacks, Paul stole the mask of Rey Mysterio and wore it to the ring as his own. The Miz has been positioning Paul as one of the world’s greatest wrestlers — a knock on the Mysterio’s legacy and heritage of him.
Paul may surprise some people with his athleticism at WrestleMania. During training sessions ahead of the big show, The Miz has labeled him a “natural” and said few people have taken to wrestling as quickly as his tag team partner.
Could we see another Bad Bunny-style performance from Paul? We’ll find out during WrestleMania on Saturday.
Former NFL punter and sports podcaster Pat McAfee isn’t a stranger to the wrestling ring. McAfee had a handful of standout wrestling matches on WWE’s NXT program over the last few years. However, this will his biggest match from him to date as he takes on cocky newcomer Austin Theory.
McAfee, who is a commentator for Smackdown on FOX, recently had WWE owner Vince McMahon on his podcast for a rare interview. During the segment, McMahon offered the opportunity for McAfee to fulfill a dream and compete at WrestleMania against a partner of his choosing him.
Days later, Theory attacked McAfee and revealed he’d be competing against him in Arlington.
Based on McAfee’s training and previous matches, you’d imagine this will be the best of the celebrity WrestleMania match. In a 2020 loss to Adam Cole, McAfee proved he knows what he’s doing in a wrestling ring and has the ability to put on an exceptional performance.
McAfee vs. Theory will take place on Sunday’s edition of WrestleMania.
Gallery: Celebrities at WrestleMania
What time does WrestleMania start? How can I watch?
WrestleMania will take place across two nights: Saturday, April 2, and Sunday, April 3. The event begins at 7pm CT and usually runs 3-4 hours.
The event is available exclusively on NBC’s streaming platform Peacock.