‘Jackass’ Knoxville star trades stunts for WrestleMania
Johnny Knoxville and Sami Zayn are ready to rumble Sunday at WrestleMania
Johnny Knoxville once landed on his head and nearly died after being hit by a bull, attacked by a yak and nearly exploding on a rocket.
The stuntman knows how to absorb a beating – and the ‘Jackass’ star had the broken bones and concussions to prove it. But as for handing out a punishment? The 52-year-old thought it was time to move from the arena fight to the wrestling ring against Sami Zayn.
“For WrestleMania, it won’t be too safe for Sami Zayn, I’ll tell you right now,” Knoxville said. “He’s going to wish he was run over by a bull.”
Knoxville is the latest celebrity to lace up the boots for a match at WrestleMania, joining the likes of former winners Bad Bunny and MT Also on the card is YouTuber Logan Paul in a tag team fight and retired NFL punter Pat McAfee has a match against WWE CEO Vince McMahon’s hand-picked protege Austin Theory.
The WrestleMania card at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas runs Saturday and Sunday. Charlotte Flair defends her Smackdown Women’s Championship against Ronda Rousey and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin returns to face Kevin Owens in Saturday’s main attractions. WWE Champion Brock Lesnar takes on Universal Champion Roman Reigns in a unification bout in Sunday’s main event. Both nights air on Peacock.
The Undertaker – who has already won 21 consecutive matches at WrestleMania – was due to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on Friday night. The only WrestleMania wrestlers to have beaten Undertaker are Lesnar and Reigns.
“I see it going both ways,” Undertaker said. “If you rush me, I’ll say Roman wins. It may be an upheaval, but that’s kind of what I think.
WrestleMania returns to AT&T Stadium for the first time since Dwayne “The Rock” fired a flamethrower in front of nearly 94,000 fans in 2016.
Knoxville fights Zayn in an “Anything Goes” match on Sunday. In other words, don’t be surprised to see Knoxville bring in some of his “Jackass” buddies to help him score a win against the annoying Zayn. Knoxville appeared on WWE TV earlier this year to promote his movie “Jackass Forever.” Zayn eliminated Knoxville from the Royal Rumble match above the rope in January to kick off the feud in its own right.
“It took four men – four men! — to get me out of the ring,” Knoxville said.
The men have tried to outdo each other as part of the story over the past three months: Zayn crushed the red carpet premiere of “Jackass”; Knoxville cost Zayn a match and the Intercontinental belt.
“It’s just talking so loud all the time,” Knoxville said in a recent interview with The Associated Press ahead of “Smackdown.” “It’s one of the only things I’m decent at. So to be able to use that negligible skill for that is wonderful.
Knoxville insisted he was training hard for his professional wrestling singles debut. He grew up watching wrestling, but that didn’t necessarily point him towards starring on his own MTV reality show.
“It was more the influence of my dad and Evel Knievel and cartoons,” he said. “But there is a common thread between WWE and Jackass.”
The common thread included a night at a hotel before the Royal Rumble when Knoxville spotted Lesnar – the former UFC heavyweight champion – strolling through the restaurant. Knoxville tricked Lesnar into throwing pint-sized “Jackass” star Wee Man through a table.
Sure enough, fat Lesnar picked up Wee Man and slammed him across the dinner table.
Knoxville said he would like to stay after WrestleMania and continue his relationship with the company. He also didn’t completely rule out another “Jackass” movie after “Jackass Forever” grossed around $80 million during a pandemic.
“The world is in a pretty crazy place. We were hoping people would go to the movies because they needed a laugh right now, but we didn’t know that,” he said. “That they turned out and liked what we did, that means the world to us.
“We could do another one. But who knows?”
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