But his presence was too big for any one ring to contain. So big, he even made it to WrestleMania, among other wrestling appearances. He wrestled the great Antonio Inoki, setting the bar for every attraction match which followed. He was a unique figure, one who happily borrowed the styles and flair he saw elsewhere. Perhaps the pinnacle of the Ali/wrestling connection was his guest referee spot at WrestleMania I, the grandest stage of them all.
I admit, I was not old enough to have ever enjoyed Ali, in his prime, live and in living color. I’ve seen the tape, of course, and it’s impressive. But nothing compares to seeing it live. Which is probably why one of the more memorable Ali moments for me was actually during the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, when the legend, shaking from his Parkinson’s, managed to carry the Olympic flame. Considering what the disease was doing to him, he still rose above it like a true champion to shine in the moment.
If you’ve been watching social media the last few days, ever since he fell ill in Phoenix, his influence was readily apparent. Superstars from sports and entertainment, and so many other walks of life, have sent out their heartfelt condolences. He was such a big person, with a much larger persona, that no one path could contain him. He truly was larger than life, and he will be missed.
We at Wrestlenewz would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the Ali family in their time of mourning. Rest in peace, Muhammad Ali.