Now that the uptight Academy Awards are behind him, Mickey Rourke is free to star in big-budget popcorn flicks and make a high-profile appearance at WrestleMania. But will he go mano a mano with his World Wrestling Entertainment "nemesis" Chris Jericho?
The Hollywood angle—the Oscar-nominated star of The Wrestler vs. the wrestler—has been one of the sexiest hooks but far from the only marketing activity around the 25th anniversary of the grappling pay-per-view. WWE has gathered the Army National Guard as presenting sponsor, along with video game maker THQ, salty snack Slim Jim, and retailers Best Buy, Toys R Us and Kmart for multi-platform promotions around its marquee event and WrestleMania Axxess, the four-day fan fest that leads up to it. The deals "elevate our brand and what we're trying to do, and we deliver the demographics that partners are looking for," says Michelle Wilson, WWE's evp of marketing.
But back to Rourke, who spent some years boxing but demurred on Larry King Live when Jericho tried to get a commitment for a WrestleMania fight. (It was Oscar campaigning season, and Rourke was on his best behavior, whatever that means.) Turns out he could get his beatdown by proxy, with Jericho using Monday night's telecast of WWE Raw to challenge Rowdy Roddy Piper and several more of the actor's WWE Hall of Fame buddies to a match. Will it become an all-out brawl with a rehabbed A-list actor in the mix? You'll have to fork over the $54.95 to find out.
—Posted by T.L. Stanley