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  March 26, 1998

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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

Wrestlemania's March Madness

By ED SCHUYLER JR. -- Associated Press
 This could even set professional wrestling back.

When Shawn Michaels defends the World Wrestling Federation championship in Wrestlemania XIV at the Fleet Center in Boston on Sunday, Mike Tyson will serve as a "special enforcer."

Hey, a man has to make a buck.

You'll get much more, however, than just a banished former heavyweight boxing champion if you're lucky enough -- or should it be unlucky enough? -- to get a ticket to the show, or if you buy it on pay-per-view.

Pete Rose will be guest ring announcer, and Gennifer Flowers will serve as guest timekeeper.

Unless you live in a cave or have never seen television, Flowers needs no introduction.

Rose, some people might recall, once had a all of Fame career playing baseball with the Cincinnati Reds, but his gambling habits got him banished from the game and kept him off the Hall of Fame ballot.

With no apologies to Don King, WWF magazine's April cover blared "Only in America" about the gathering of Tyson, Rose, Flowers and a bunch of meanies that will include the tag teams of Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie and Badd Ass Billy Gunn and Road Dog Jesse James. By the way, the tag teams will compete under dumpster match rules, whatever they are.

Tyson is being billed as the "Baddest Man on the Planet." Is Evander Holyfield from Mars?

Should Tyson need help, maybe Rose can lend him one of the bats with which he collected a record 4,256 hits. That is, if he hasn't autographed and sold them all.

Tyson, who is suing King for $100 million, contending the promoter cheated him, is getting $4 million for his performance. It is not known how much Rose and Flowers are being paid.

Tyson's role in the featured act of the show is to stand on the ring apron and go to the aid of the referee if he has trouble handling Michaels and Austin, who Tyson has referred to as Cold Stone instead of Stone Col.

The chances would appear excellent that Tyson ends up in the ring. If he does, hopefully he won't take sides. But there has been a dire warning in a WWF news release that he might.

"Although Tyson's role requires neutrality, his impartiality is suspect following his recent alliance with D-Generation X -- the outlaw faction of which Shawn Michaels is the leader," the release stated.

So there!

In the first Wrestlemania March 31, 1985, in Madison Square Garden, Muhammad Ali performed in an "enforcer" role. The Greatest, of course, played it for laughs. When is the last time Iron Mike played anything for laughs? Biting ears is not especially funny.

If booing or cheering Tyson or watching the dumpster-rules match is not enough, there also will be a 15-team battle royal. If a partner is eliminated, so is the teammate.

Talk about March Madness.

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