WrestleMania 23 took place in 2007, and remains one of the most beloved events in WWE history. It was the first Stadium show the WWE put on for many years, and was the first time WWE brought WrestleMania to Michigan since the iconic WrestleMania III event.
The event saw some iconic matches take place. Batista battled The Undertaker with his World Heavyweight Championship on the line, while Shawn Michaels wrestled John Cena for the WWE Championship. Other bouts saw Umaga vs Bobby Lashley, the Money in the Bank ladder match, and the ECW Originals taking on The New Breed.
Here are ten of the most interesting facts about WrestleMania 23, starting with what match was originally meant to be in the main event of the show.
10. Triple H Was Supposed To Wrestle John Cena At WrestleMania 23
The original main event that was planned for WrestleMania 23 was a rematch from the year prior, with Triple H beating John Cena for the WWE Championship.
Despite being planned a year in advance, Triple H suffered an injury at New Year’s Revolution 2007 that put the match on hold, and forced The Game to miss WrestleMania completely.
Shawn Michaels was drafted in to replace him, and had a fantastic match with John Cena in the main event of WrestleMania 23 instead.
9. Lance Russel Was Rejected As Jerry Lawler’s Hall of Fame Inductee
Jerry “The King” Lawler was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on the night before WrestleMania 23, but was actually not very happy with his induction.
The Memphis Legend originally chose the legendary commentator Lance Russel, who called many of Lawler’s iconic moments in his career in Memphis. However, Vince McMahon rejected the idea, claiming that nobody would know who he was, so William Shatner was chosen instead.
Jerry Lawler was said to be against his induction at all. He viewed it as something bestowed upon retired wrestlers, while he still wanted to carry on wrestling.
8. Hulk Hogan Was Set To Wrestle Big Show At WrestleMania 23
Hulk Hogan nearly wrestled against Big Show at WrestleMania 23, before his giant opponent turned down the chance to face The Hulkster at the biggest show of the year. This match was set to mimic Hogan’s match with Andre the Giant twenty-years prior, which took place at WrestleMania III.
Sadly, The Big Show rejected the chance to wrestle Hulk Hogan. He was working with a back injury at the time, and also refused to lose to Hulk Hogan. With Hogan also refusing to put over his opponent, the match was cancelled, and neither man wrestled at that year’s event.
Curiously, the pair wrestled later that month, but outside the WWE. At an indie show in Memphis, Hulk Hogan beat Paul “The Great” Wight (Big Show’s name used that night), in front of a much smaller audience than WrestleMania.
7. WrestleMania 23 Was Chris Benoit’s Last WrestleMania Match
Chris Benoit killed his family and then himself on the weekend of June 24th, 2007, just months after wrestling in his final WrestleMania match.
This was Chris Benoit’s last WrestleMania match, just three years after he won the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XX. He died just three months later, and due to the nature of his death has not been mentioned by WWE since.
6. Shawn Michaels Was Meant To Wrestle King Booker
The pair have never wrestled one-on-one, only facing off in tag team matches and multi-man matches, like the Royal Rumble, in the past. WrestleMania 23 would have finally seen them face off, with the WWE legend taking on the former WCW Champion.
Instead, Michaels wrestled John Cena in the main event of the evening, while Booker T (as King Booker) appeared in the Money in the Bank ladder match.
5. Hulk Hogan & Donald Trump Almost Became A Team
After Big Show refused to wrestle against Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 23, plans were changed to include him in the “Battle of the Billionaires”.
The match eventually ended up being Trump, represented by Bobby Lashley against Vince McMahon, who had Umaga as his chosen champion, with the two billionaire’s hair on the line – the loser would have his hair shaven by the winner, in an iconic WrestleMania moment.
Hulk Hogan was the original person chosen to represent Trump, but wanted way more money than Vince McMahon was willing to pay. This forced him to drop out of WrestleMania 23, and he would never wrestle at the event again.
4. WWE Sued The WrestleMania 23 Sponsors For Non-Payment
WWE successfully sued multiple sponsors for their non-payment after being featured numerous times during WrestleMania 23.
In a lawsuit following the show, WWE took Air, Sea and Ground, Inc., Rockford-Montgomery Labs, Inc. and the IAHL Corporation to court for over $1,000,000 in missed payments.
The WWE won the lawsuits, and the companies were forced to pay in full what they owed for being named sponsors at WrestleMania 23.
3. Batista Was Angry About Not Being In The Main Event
While the Royal Rumble winner usually main events WrestleMania, this was not the case in 2007. The Undertaker won the Royal Rumble match and challenged Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship, but the pair were passed over for the main event for the John Cena vs Shawn Michaels match, mentioned earlier.
This irked The Animal no end, who felt that the feud between himself and Undertaker was much more deserving of the main event that the WWE Championship match. The Deadman revealed that Batista had a “chip on his shoulder” about the match, and told Cena and Michaels to “Follow that!” after coming back through the curtain following his bout with The Undertaker.
2. Kane vs Great Khali Was Meant To Recreate Hogan vs Andre
One of the worst matches on the card at WrestleMania 23 was an all-giant clash between Kane and The Great Khali. Kane was tasked with pulling out a good match with the giant Indian, and despite his best efforts could only give the fans a passable match.
The original plan for the bout was to pay tribute to the Hulk Hogan vs Andre The Giant match at WrestleMania III, with Kane slamming Khali for the win. However, Khali managed to kick out of the slam and win the match with a “Khali Bomb”.
The event was the first WrestleMania to take place in Michigan since WrestleMania III, which explain why Vince McMahon was so keen to recreate the Hogan vs Andre match from the event in 1987.
1. Donald Trump Appeared At WrestleMania and Shaved Vince McMahon’s Head
Former US President Donald J. Trump appeared as a key part of WrestleMania 23, in a “Battle of the Billionaires” against WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.
Trump and McMahon put their hair on the line, with two champions of their choice wrestling for them in the ring at WrestleMania. Trump chose Bobby Lashley, while Umaga was McMahon’s wrestler of choice.
Trump managed to hit a clothesline on McMahon before being “Stone Cold Stunnered” by Steve Austin, and helped shave McMahon bald in one of the most memorable scenes in WrestleMania history.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.