Wayne Rooney: England and Manchester United captain, the nation’s all-time leading goal-scorer and… wrestling entertainment superstar?
Maybe not quite, but for a few seconds last night Roonamania ran wild at the Manchester Arena.
WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) was sold-out for its annual live ‘Raw’ tour when Rooney floored Preston-born wrestler Wade Barrett with a right-handed slap.
Barrett, the current ‘King of the Ring’, called Rooney out when sat at ringside during a bout between ‘the Irish warrior’ Sheamus and Cesaro.
Following an exchange of words, the Red Devils’ hitman emulated fellow-Liverpudlian Mitchell Smith, who at the weekend knocked down Rocky Fielding to claim the British super-middleweight championship.
— WWE (@WWE) November 9, 2015
— TheSPORTbible (@TSBible) November 9, 2015
Rooney, who said in a recent BBC documentary that his sons Klay and Kai are WWE fans, was goaded into the faux-fight following trash-talk from Barrett.
“In this ring are two men who can easily be described as championship material,” said Barrett, of himself and Sheamus.
“Which is, of course, more than can be said of Wayne Rooney and Manchester United.”
After jokingly making the invitation for a fight in the ring, six-foot seven-inch Barrett told the crowd he would only cause embarrassment.
That weird moment where you record professional wrestling for the first time in 17 years. Just because @WayneRooney is going to be on.
— Johseal Rodriguez (@johseal) November 9, 2015
“I would hate for your little boy to have to watch his own father fail. He gets to experience that every single time you step on a football pitch,” he said.
WWE are well renowned for celebrity integration with their product as Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather and UFC’s Ronda Rousey have appeared at past Wrestlemania’s.
Like Rousey’s surprise appearance, last night’s spectacle caught the imagination of Twitter on both sides of the Atlantic.
The star was also pictured backstage with former WWE superstar, now executive vice president, Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque aside former teammates Ryan Giggs and Darren Fletcher.
— Triple H (@TripleH) November 9, 2015
The event was filmed ‘live’ for WWE’s weekly episodic Monday Night Raw and shown last night on Sky Sports 3 from 1am.
Image courtesy of WWE via Twitter, with thanks.