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Malone, Rodman tout wrestling match with taunting, pushing

Dennis Rodman confronts Karl Malone, right, as Tonight Show host Jay Leno, second right, attempts to break it up. - AP
Bigger photos from The Tonight Show in our gallery!
 BURBANK, Calif. (AP) -- Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone tuned up for their planned pay-per-view wrestling event with some playful taunting and pushing Wednesday on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

The two self-proclaimed wrestling fans say they'll square off in a tag-team match in San Diego on July 12. Rodman will partner Hollywood Hulk Hogan against Malone, the Utah Jazz star, and Diamond Dallas Page.

Leno asked the Chicago Bulls rebounder to explain his attraction to wrestling. Rodman's wrestling moniker is "Rodzilla."

"I just like the men in tights," said Rodman, sporting a ring in his nose and lower lip and a leopard-skin hat.

Hogan described Rodman as "a natural" in the ring, then called Malone's partner, Diamond Dallas Page, "a yellow-bellied coward."

"I called Karl a lot more than a wimp on the court," Rodman told Leno. "I don't know how he's going to beat me in the ring when he can't beat me on the court."

At that moment, Malone and Page walked on stage, prompting wild cheering from the audience. Malone showed off his muscles in a sleeveless World Championship Wrestling shirt.

Malone put a playful headlock on Leno, who stood in the middle while Rodman and Hogan exchanged trash talk and shoves with Malone and Page.

"It feels like an episode of Jerry Springer," cracked Howie Mandel, who followed the fracas on stage.

Rodman made headlines when he appeared, cigar in hand, with Hogan for a WCW event in Auburn Hills, Mich., a day after Chicago beat the Jazz in Game 3 of the NBA final. The Bulls went on to win their sixth title in eight years.

Malone and his mother are big wrestling fans.