Even in the world of professional wrestling,
Mayweather Jr., the undefeated WBC welterweight champion, made his professional wrestling debut at WrestleMania XXIV in front of 74,635 fans at the Citrus Bowl and defeated the
The 7-foot, 440-pound Wight was knocked down to his knees by three Mayweather steel chair shots (and really, what would a pro wrestling match be without a few chair shots, right?) before the boxer took off his gloves in favor of brass knuckles in the "no-holds-barred match."
While Mayweather, who wore oversized black and white fur shorts, won his much-publicized WWE match, he took more abuse than most expected as Wight slapped Mayweather loudly across the chest, slammed him down to the mat and stepped on his body a couple of times, at one point walking over him in the middle of the ring.
The absurdity of the match, however, was probably best captured early on when Mayweather dangled on Wight's back and brought him down with a chokehold before Wight recovered and took out most of Mayweather's entourage.
Five hours prior to the fight, Mayweather walked down the neon-lit 175 -foot entranceway to the ring alongside WWE Executive Vice President
"My ultimate goal is to entertain the fans and entertain the people," said Mayweather. "A lot of people on the outside say that wrestling is not this and its not that, but believe me, wrestling is real. They're not just entertainers, they're athletes. There are hard slaps and hard punches."
As McMahon strolled around the ring, doing a
"We always have this magical curtain backstage," said McMahon, who has taken a hands-on approach to Mayweather's stint with the WWE, talking to him and Ellerbe on a near daily basis leading up to WrestleMania. "A lot of athletes want to be on the show but you never want to cross the line but we've wanted to do something with Floyd for sometime and he's always wanted to do something with us."
While Mayweather and McMahon talked through Mayweather's match, WWE champion
"I think he respects what we do and I respect what he does," said Orton. "He's a tough guy. I wouldn't want to fight him. I wouldn't want to box him. I think he's good for the wrestling industry."
Initially Mayweather's wrestling debut was supposed to be a mixed tag-team match with Wight to face
"When you mention Oscar De Lay Hoya, you're mentioning an ordinary fighter," said Mayweather. "When you mention Floyd Mayweather, you're mentioning an entertainer. A guy who's not scared to go out there and take a chance and take a risk and go out the box, that's what it's about. Certain NFL players and NBA players are labeled as just that, when you look at me, I'm labeled as an entertainer."
Mayweather didn't close the door on returning to wrestling in the near future after establishing himself as a bona-fide villain and extending his unbeaten record into pro wresting.
"This could be another branch to my career; I really don't know what the future holds," said Mayweather. "Before I got involved with the WWE, I thought this stuff was easy but no, it's hard work. There's a lot of hard work that goes into this. I saw
Much of the power in the Citrus Bowl went out about an hour before Mayweather's fight, leaving the ring dimly lit and turning off the four large Jumbotrons hanging from the tent over the ring that fans in the upper sections were relying on to see the action. While power was restored just before the fight, most in attendance missed