Mickey Rourke addresses wrestling rumors

Actor says his agent, insurance firm won't let him in ring

HOUSTON -- Mickey Rourke loves wrestling, but he is putting Hollywood first.

The actor brought a slice of Hollywood to Texas on Sunday as he -- and later "Pussycat Dolls" lead singer Nicole Scherzinger -- talked to reporters at Reliant Stadium ahead of WWE's annual pay-per-view extravaganza "WrestleMania 25."

Rourke addressed talk several weeks ago that he may get involved at "WrestleMania" in a wrestling role instead of a support role.

"My agents said it would be detrimental to my career" to take the focus off of acting after making a comeback in "The Wrestler," he told reporters, which included local TV stations and international wrestling media. Also, "I'm doing 'Iron Man 2' now, and the insurance company said under no circumstances could I get into the ring," he added.

Rourke was in town to take a seat Sunday night at the anniversary edition of the mother of all wrestling pay-per-views in support of wrestling legends Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. With "Nature Boy" Ric Flair in their corner, the legends took on Chris Jericho, who has bad-mouthed them and Rourke's character in "The Wrestler" on WWE TV shows in recent weeks.

After training hard and getting hurt a lot, "I started really enjoying it," Rourke said about wrestling. "I gained the respect for a sport I knew nothing about."

Asked by one reporter if he would have loved to become a wrestler in retrospect, Rourke said: "Oh, God, yes."

Rourke, flanked at the press conference by Flair and Steamboat, said WWE and its stars had supported "The Wrestler" so much that he wanted to show support for the wrestlers at "Mania" as well.

"I'm very honored," he said. "I was out of the movie business for 15 years. The wrestling movie has given my career a boost."

Meanwhile, Flair called Rourke "one of us" and said his portrayal of a wrestler was an inspiration. "He makes us look really good," he said.

Rourke quipped that after gaining weight for "The Wrestler," he is still working on his weight. "I'm still trying to get in shape for 'Iron Man 2,' " he said.

Later on at "WrestleMania 25" on Sunday night, Rourke couldn't quite restrain himself after all. After Jericho won his 3-on-1 match against the legends, he provoked the former boxer Rourke who ended up getting into the ring very slowly and taking his cowboy hat off before punching and knocking down the WWE superstar to gain a measure of revanche for the legends.

Rourke then celebrated in the ring with the legendary Flair to big cheers from the audience.
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