Tyson, Fury & Brawl For All: 5 Times the Worlds Of Wrestling & Boxing Collided

Mike Tyson

It’s nearly 25 years since Vince McMahon decided that the best way to defeat rival franchise WCW was to welcome the world of combat sports into the WWE.

Signing MMA legend Ken Shamrock to a contract in 1997 kickstarted the move, but it was McMahon’s decision to integrate boxing into his company – this was at the beginning of the Attitude Era, after all – that gave the WWE some legitimacy amongst traditional fight fans. Since then, the worlds of wrestling and boxing have collided on a number of occasions – sometimes successfully, other times… not so much. Here’s five instances where the squared circle and the sweet science grappled with one another.

Fury Furore

In 2019, Vinny Mac scratched his itch once more and handed a short-term deal – said to be worth £11.9 million – to the WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, who naturally replied ‘yes please, thanks very much.’ Fury first appeared in the crowd at a SmackDown taping that October, goading Braun Strowman. The ‘Gypsy King’ would then latterly appear on RAW, agreeing to fight Strowman at the PPV in Saudi Arabia the following month.

The boxer would use his pugilistic powers to full effect, striking ‘The Monster Among Men’ with a right hand that would see Strowman unable to meet the ten count. Fury himself has claimed that he will one day return to the WWE, although for now, he is fully focused on his boxing career. In fact, he is expected to fight fellow Brit Dillian Whyte this year in a bout in which he is a heavy 1/7 favorite with the bookmakers in their boxing odds.

After that, he is then expected to battle Oleksandr Usyk for the chance to be crowned undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Most boxing tips agree that Fury is the likely victor, which would bring a bittersweet end to a decade-long journey to be regarded as the best on the planet.

Iron Mike Shows His Steel

Fury will be looking to emulate the achievements of his namesake Mike Tyson, who reigned as the undisputed heavyweight champ between 1987 and 1990. Iron Mike has also enjoyed a handful of stints in the WWE, and it was his first in 1998 during the build-up to WrestleMania 14 that helped to attract global attention ahead of the showpiece occasion.

Brought in as an enforcer, Tyson brawled with Stone Cold Steve Austin during a press conference and was outed as an honorary member of DX. However, the worm would turn at the Showcase of the Immortals, and after a quick three-count on Shawn Michaels in the main event, Tyson would celebrate with an ‘Austin 3:16’ t-shirt with his new chum Stone Cold.

Floyd’s Nose for Success

In 2008, McMahon went down the wrestling-boxing crossover path again by signing Floyd Mayweather to a short run leading into WrestleMania 24. Regarded by many as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, the WWE head honcho upped the stakes by pairing Mayweather with Big Show, who at 7ft dwarfed his 5ft 6in foe. After legitimately breaking Show’s nose at No Way Out, the pair collided at ‘Mania. A hugely entertaining brawl ended when Mayweather struck the giant with a pair of brass knuckles to secure a shock victory.

Holy Hell for Hardy

At a Main Event taping in 2007, McMahon planned for Matt Hardy to scrap with MVP in a boxing match on the PPV card. But the latter was diagnosed with a genuine heart condition, and after being ruled out by medics McMahon had to find a replacement… and sharpish. Incredibly, he managed to persuade former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield to fill the void, and he proceeded to deliver to Hardy a two-round destruction.

Brawl for All

A man known for thinking outside the box, McMahon and his right-hand man Vince Russo went the extra mile with his ‘Brawl for All’ tournament in 1998. Basically, this was a real boxing competition involving WWE superstars, designed essentially to prove their worth as legitimate hard men. In the end, Bart Gunn – who would later become an MMA fighter – defeated John Bradshaw Layfield in the final, but the tournament was considered a disaster as several stars sustained injuries during the action. Sometimes, it’s perhaps best for wrestling and boxing to stay in their lanes…