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  March 29, 1998

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Tyson tries wrestling

 BOSTON (AP) -- Mike Tyson felt right at home in his wrestling debut. He threw a knockout punch, turned on a one-time ally and made a lot of money like he's done in his stalled boxing career.

Just where that career will go, he wouldn't say Sunday night. He preferred to discuss why he enjoyed his role as a "special enforcer" to help sell a World Wrestling Federation show.

"I haven't been here long enough and I haven't been messed over like I've been messed over in boxing," he said. "That's a good reason."

Tyson was suspended from boxing last July for biting Evander Holyfield's ears June 28. Earlier this month, he sued promoter Don King and his former managers Rory Holloway and John Horne.

Might he now split ranks with Stone Cold Steve Austin, the bald, menacing wrestler who, with Tyson's help, took the WWF championship belt from Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XIV?

"Anything's possible. If the price is right, I'll fight a lion," Tyson said. "We're in two different worlds. I rule my planet. He rules his. But, as of now, I'm nobody."

Tyson had just fulfilled his role in the Austin-Michaels bout. He stood outside the ring, supposedly to help the referee, if necessary. But his "D-Generation X" T-shirt -- a reference to Michaels' camp -- betrayed his sympathies.

Or so it seemed.

With the referee seemingly stunned after being slammed against a turnbuckle, Tyson slyly reached in and slid him out of the ring.

Austin then pinned Michaels, and Tyson leaped into the ring and counted Michaels out.

When Michaels got up and realized the betrayal, he argued with Tyson. The boxer floored the wrestler with a quick right that seemed to fall short of Michaels' chin, then raised arms with Austin, who held his WWF championship belt aloft.

The show may not have helped Tyson's image but it didn't hurt his wallet. He reportedly was paid $3.5 million to $4 million.

Other celebrities hired to hype the event served as guest announcers for preliminary matches -- Pete Rose, banned from baseball and the Hall of Fame ballot for gambling, and Gennifer Flowers, alleged to have had a relationship with U.S. President Clinton.

Rose, clad in a tuxedo, called Boston "the city of losers" as he introduced Kane and the Undertaker. Rose didn't say anything as he was rolled off on a stretcher after Kane picked him up and drove him headfirst into the mat.

A WWF spokesman said, with a straight face, that Rose was fine.

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