Brett Mix’s- WWF Wrestlemania Review:
“The Happening of the Century is about to be brought down here at Wrestlemania, brought to you by the World Wrestling Federation!” –Gorilla Monsoon
-WWF Wrestlemania 1 took place on Sunday, March 31st, 1985 at the Sold Out Madison Sqaure Garden in New York City, New York in front of 19,121 fans. Not bad for an arena that usually sits just 18,200 for Rangers and Knicks games.
-This was the 1st Annual WWF Wrestlemania event.
-This event was viewed by over one million fans through closed circuit television, making it the largest event on closed-circuit television in the United States at the time. The event was the start of the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling gimmick, which brought together professional wrestling and the music industry, and matches aired on MTV during the build up to the event.
-Despite this event being a major success The reviews for the event were still mixed. Reviewers considered the main event match to be entertaining and humorous but lacking in technical wrestling. Despite this, it received Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s annual PWI Match of the Year award.
-In the late 1980s, Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation (WWF)’s main competition in the professional wrestling industry was from Jim Crockett Promotions. McMahon countered Jim Crockett’s successful Starrcade pay-per-view, which began airing in 1983, by creating the WrestleMania franchise.
-For the first WrestleMania, Vince McMahon began cross promoting with MTV. In addition, several celebrities like Muhammad Ali, Liberace and Cyndi Lauper also appeared during the build up to and at the event. The WWF aired two wrestling specials on MTV. The first one was The Brawl to End it All, aired on July 23, 1984, in which a match from a live Madison Square Garden broadcast was shown on MTV. Wendi Richter defeated The Fabulous Moolah to win the WWF Women’s Championship on the card, with Lauper on her side. At The War to Settle the Score, which aired on February 18, 1985, Leilani Kai, accompanied by Moolah, defeated Richter, again accompanied by Lauper, to win the Women’s Championship.
-Many call this event the brainshild of Vince McMahon Jr that is the sole reason his company is based mainly on PPV’s today 25 years later and going relatively strong.
-The MSG Network creditted the Main Event of this show the 30th best moment in MSG History on there top 50 moment shows.
-In the months leading up to the first WrestleMania, Roddy Piper began a talk-show segment on WWF television entitled Piper’s Pit. On one episode of the show, he hit Jimmy Snuka over the head with a coconut, leading to a feud between the two men. As part of the storyline, Piper recruited Cowboy Bob Orton to be his bodyguard. On another episode of Piper’s Pit, Piper spoke out against the burgeoning Rock ‘n’ Wrestling connection, which led to a confrontation with Hulk Hogan. In February 1985, the two men faced each other at The War to Settle the Score, where Hogan won by disqualification after interference by Paul Orndorff and Mr. T. Their on-going feud led to their match at WrestleMania 1.
-WWF announcer Gene Okerlund sang the “The Star-Spangled Banner”, and Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura called the action. Okerlund also did interviews backstage, and “Lord” Alfred Hayes did interviews near the entrance to the locker room, right outside the ring. Howard Finkel was the ring announcer.
-Howard Finkel is the only performer to appear at EVERY Wrestlemania to date.
-The opening theme for the event was the instrumental portion of the Phil Collins and Philip Bailey hit “Easy Lover”, while the closing theme for the credits was “Axel F.” by HaroldFaltermeyer. Celebrity guests in attendance included Billy Martin, Cyndi Lauper, Mr. T, Muhammad Ali, and Liberace accompanied by The Rockettes.
-Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “THE BODY” Ventura do commentary for the event.
-Now onto the PPV……………
1) Opening Contest- Tito Santana vs The Executioner
The Dynasty Begins:
I think what makes being apart of Wrestlemania special is the fact that you’re always going to be apart of its Legacy.
Anything on the event is automatically saved and re-watched by millions of fans worldwide every year.
With the name Wrestlemania, it doesen’t matter if your Matt Borne, Curt Hennig, Steve Austin, The Goon or The Kat, if you wrestle at Mania you will never be erased. NOT even Chris Benoit. It’s like having your name engraved on Hockey’s annual (assuming there’s no lockout) Stanley Cup. You win it just once and are forever known because you will ALWAYS be on that trophy and it will be passed on year to year. That analogy must be the Canadian in me coming out on from me and translating to this review.
Gorilla Monsoon said Wrestlemania is the biggest event of all time and I have to believe even HE (nor Vince McMahon despite his VISION) even knew it’d get as big as it did. In order for Vince’s Federation to run with the NWA in the 80’s he’d need this to be a success. It was. Stu Hart’s projection that Vince McMahon Jr would be the top wrestling promoter by the mid 80’s was correct.
And so Wrestlemania 1 begins in the same venue where 20 years later it would all begin…..again. I still don’t know what that actually meant.
Wow, the ropes were certainly loose at this event and you can tell from this Opening Match in the first Match in Mania’s Grand history.
To say this event was successful wouldn’t be doing it justice. Of course Wrestlemania 3 was what all events can try and be like but can only immitate (only WM X7 could match that feeling) but this show, the original Mania in the Garden was special.Of course not every match was a blockbuster such as this opener, but it’s worth pointing out how despite the average looking card, the event was extremely significant thus all of its matches are as well, and set the standard to all following Mania’s.
Jesse Ventura says “Wrestlemania is livin up to everything I thought it would be!” I guess he meant by the atmosphere because we hadn’t seen anything yet or they were just quick to praise the show.
The Execeutioner tells us backstage he is going after Santana’s leg. (Meanwhile cutting one of the worst promo’s ever stuttering on the first word) Way to give your gameplan away Mr. Executioner. Santana of course had the bad leg for an on-going year storyline wise and The Exceutioner was nothing but a gimmick trying to take somebody apart.
Tito Santana however said he’d do what it takes to win and yada yada yada, followed by of course Arrrriba! The Hall of Famer competed in a ton of Mania’s early Wrestlemania’s and was not only the first person to compete in a Mania match, but he was also the first person to ever start a Royal Rumble alongside co-Hall of Famer Bret Hart in 1988.
Now that we’re done that history lesson it’s off to the match with Monsoon and The Body from the booth, which just says nothing but “good times” for me. Best tandem all around, any place, any time ever from where I sit, I’m glad they did the first Six Mania’s together starting of course with the original, this one.
The Executioner began the match after tying up with Tito known as Chico by “The Body” anyway in mid-ring and he applies a quick side headlock followed by The Executioner.
The Executioner was pushed to the side ropes and a criss-cross and Santana drops down and elevated The Executioner with a backdrop over his back and he hit the mat hard. Santana then dropkicks The Executioner outside the ring and Wrestlemania is off to a fast start.
Tito Santana with a side headlock on The Executioner and walks up the rope and takes him over to hold onto that side headlock. Tito Santana going after the head early here with a combining pin while with the side headlock. The Executioner elbowed out but Santana brought him down with a right and slammed his head to the mat. Tito Santana has overhwhelmed The Executioner to this point.
It’s incredible how easy it is to understand how a match is going with Monsoon and Ventura, this is why they’re the best. They both were indeed one step ahead of the Game with psychology and being wrestlers themselves probably helped that fact. I love it as the next six Mania’s I review I’ll be seeing these two call the action. Heenan was great for the next three especially for comedy but he just didn’t have the same psychology factor Ventura did, but Bobby Heenan still is a legend and the best manager ever not to mention one of the funniest characters in Wrestling History.
The Executioner caught Santana with a shot coming in and got his head rammed into the top turnbuckle followed by a headbutt. The Executioner gave Tito a knee to the gut and kicked him in the groin with his boot and listen to MSG who are seemingly outraged with a cheap move.
The Executioner did what he planned to do and attack the legs but Santana came back with a couple of hard shots and Ventura says The Executioner needs to get back on the leg but Tito hit a big right hand and an irishwhip into the corner and The Executioner crunched the buckle. The Executioner with a nice over the top powerful backdrop to Tito Santana followed by a body slam. The Executioner climbed up to the outside but Santana caught him from up high and slammed him from the top rope. Santana splashed The Executioner off the side ropes and The Executioner put his knees up on Santana while he splashed him.
The Executioner went back to the leg! The gameplan finally coming into play!
Santana fought off Executioner and backdropped him over the top to the outside where the fans and photographers are extremely close.
A body slam by Tito Santana once The Executioner got back in the ring.
Santana off the ropes once more and hit a flying forearm and then he dragged The Executioner into the middle of the ring and slapped on his finisher and that did it.
In the end Tito Santana won with his figure-four leglock at 4:43.
This match was definitely decent for its time period in this company, not so great wrestling wise but it set the flow for the night nicely and did its job. It’s historic for the reason it’s the first match ever in Wrestlemania History and Tito Santana was an underrated star at Mania, he appeared in quite a few of these shows and a lot of them were very solid.
The Executioner’s promo before the match was beyond hilarious and if this doesen’t suck you into the world of 80’s WWF nothing will.
Go back and watch it. You must think “This is 1985 for sure.” It ranks up there with Booker’s promo on Hogan in WCW when he dropped the “N” bomb and Hercules’s at WM 3 (more on that one later) comedy wise.
A lot better then I remembered it being. Had a decent degree of psychology and a fast pace, never dull and quick and to the point, so a solid opener for Wrestlemania actually.
2) King Kong Bundy (w/Jimmy Hart) vs Special Delivery Jones
What a match this was.
Here we go!
King Kong Bundy just stood in the middle of the ring while SD Jokes ran off the ropes for leverage and got caught in a bearhug and drove to the corner by Bundy. Bundy splashed him in the corner with an Avalanche and then hit a giant splash.
Aaaaaaannnnd it’s over.
So King Kong Bundy pinned the late SD Jones after an avalanche and a big splash at 0:23.
This was only the second match in Wrestlemania history so obviously record time and since then (As of 26 Wrestlemania’s) that record has been broken.
The WWF announced the time of the match as 9 seconds.
–WOW, who’s intelligence our they insulting here, quite obviously everybody.
Oh and Gorilla, King Kong Bundy is NOT 500 pounds but try again. I still love ya though.
This is exactly what you’d think given this review.
3) Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs Matt Borne
Don’t recognize him?
Does THIS Help?
He was the original (best) version of him anyway.
Despite the company making a CLOWN out of him quite literally, he could still go and Ricky Steamboat could definitely go with absolutely anybody, as of this writing I look forward to his DVD being released later this year in 2010.
Borne was a pretty good wrestler though back in his Portland and Mid-South days. Both Jesse and Monsoon put over Borne’s father during this match and of course give him the props of a second generation superstar.
Ricky Steamboat cut a good promo (by his standards anyway) before the match talking about how he was not just a NICE GUY, something Borne had just accused him of being. And Steamboat should know Borne said that because not only was he a nice guy, (don’t think he ever went heel which is RARE in this business due to it being way easier to get over as a heel) but he was just a few meters away listening. I have no idea why they had a person just steps behind the camera, they might as well have had them on camera. Oh well, it’s 1985 so I wont be so harsh on the production staff. Besides, I’m sure whoever was responsible for this event (other then McMahon) have accomplished perhaps more then I ever will which there is a solid chance.
Is “The Dragon” to “nice of a guy”?, lets find out.
Ricky Steamboat and Borne with a hook up, a feeling out process early, Ricky Steamboat leapfrogged Borne twice before he hung onto the ropes for additional leverage avoiding a chop but then Steamboat caught him with two chops and then a snap takedown followed by a chinlock putting the pressure on. I love Steamboat’s quick offense. Ricky Steamboat flipped over the back caught Borne by surprise and went right back into the headlock squeezing on those ears after a snapmare. Ricky Steamboat flipped back again and lifted up Borne and hit an atomic drop back to the side headlock afterwards.
Good early pressure by The Dragon in the first of his four Wrestlemania matches. This obviously wasn’t his best match at Wrestlemania but each one of them from events 1-4 were all at least good which says something about the talent of the Hall of Famer Ricky Steamboat.
Out of the headlock Matt Borne lifted up The Dragon and hit an atomic drop of his own to gain some momentum before a forearm shot followed by a chop and an irishwhip to the corner, when Borne comes to Ricky Steamboat he lifts the legs and hits the chest of Borne and followed it up by a chop to the chest of Borne. Ricky Steamboat with a side headlock again into a front facelock. Ricky Steamboat got pushed to the corner by Borne and then he drives the knee into Steamboat in the corner and catches Ricky Steamboat with a bearhug right into a gutwrench suplex. Ricky Steamboat on the recieving end all of the sudden and Matt Borne hits a well executed vertical suplex which looked pretty powerful. Two hard forearm shots with the left arm and then Ricky Steamboat followed that up by coming back with chops and hard right hands knocking Borne down before he hit a nice back suplex to Borne. Ricky Steamboat hit a reverse neckbreaker and then dropped the arm on Borne’s head followed by a knee right to the Sternum area and got a nearfall.
Ricky Steamboat ducked a clothesline attempt by Borne, off the ropes caught him with a clothesline. Ricky Steamboat from the top turnbuckle hits a crossbody and gets the three count
In the end Ricky Steamboat pinned Borne after a flying crossbody at 4:37.
Very solid match, quick and to the point. Quite good, especially when you compare it to some other matches in that era and even on this paticular night for that matter. Almost as much quality as you can get in just four and a half minutes of Wrestling action in 1985.
So the final thought here is this one is very impressive for a match under five minutes and with Ricky Steamboat you could expect nothing less.
4) David Sammartino (w/Bruno Sammartino) vs Brutus Beefcake (w/”Luscious” Johnny Valiant)
This is one of only two appearances of “The Living Legend” Bruno Sammartino at a Wrestlemania, who I can truely say is one of the biggest legends of all time. A lot of people claim to be, he most certainly is and forever will be. He’d already be in the Hall of Fame (likely the first class) but is not on good terms with McMahon and has actually stated he doesen’t want to go in.
I hate Brutus Beefcake but I guess I should prepare myself for him here, he’s only in the first several Wrestlemania’s which is about a several too many for my liking. At least he didn’t become “The Barber” when I couldn’t stand him the most until Wrestlemania 3.
Saying that I “hate” him might be a bit much but much but he’s a real life friend of Terry Bollea and if that doesen’t say enough, take a look at his character. I can’t stand it.
Moving onto the match and his opponent. And I guess I should point out the guy could work, so he isn’t all that bad.
I don’t know very much about David Sammartino outside of who is dad is. Perhaps that’s a good thing. He was no Dwayne Johnson, Bret Hart or Randy Savage in making there wrestling fathers extremely proud. (In the ring anyway) He’s a bit like Greg Gagne to Vern in the AWA I’d imagine as a better comparison.
Two pretty great manager’s here in Johnny Valiant and Bruno Sammartino who added to the match by there presence alone, not to mention the ending of this match.
Valiant hugs Bruti before the match.
David Sammartino ties up mid-ring and then with a power move shoves Brutus to the corner and he goes to talk to Johnny on the outside for advice and a breather. Locking back up he gets shoved off again.
Brutus Beefcake charged out of the corner and got caught with a quick drop toehold by David Sammartino. They tried to put David over a lot here you could tell. You can imagine how happy David Sammartino would be wrestling in the Garden in front of his father (pretty much his father’s house) at the first Wrestlemania with Dad in his corner.
David Sammartino with a go-behind waistlock and Brutus turns around and then he lifts him up and takes him down, David Sammartino with a way out and Beefcake ended up on his own and rolled out of the ring for a breather as to this point David Sammartino had outwrestled and countered everything Brutus Beefcake had thrown at him.
Back in the ring Beefake got caught with a hammerlock with a switch into a front facelock by David Sammartino a move his father did well.
Good Chain Wrestling.
Ventura says the fans are getting a good look at Beefcake as he was bent over, Monsoon replies that “he loves it.” Not sure what to make of that but it was at least funny.
David Sammartino attempted another hold but Brutus this time goes to the ropes to break it off and David Sammartino backed up. Brutus Beefcake got caught in an armbar but then he tried raking the face and while in the armbar by David Sammartino he flipped him over nicely and then kept the armbar on and dropped a knee to the arm of Brutus Beefcake working on the left arm/shoulder region.
A very methodical pace by David Sammartino as he has owned Brutus to this point of the match.
Brutus Beefcake though when tying up again got a side headlock on David Sammartino and then flipped him over on the canvas with a side headlock takedown. Brutus was attempting to wear David Sammartino down so he could buy himself some time to get himself back in the match. David Sammartino back up to his legs pushed Brutus to the ropes as a way out but Beefcake hit a hard shoulder block and then a hiptoss. Sammartino caught Beefcake with a drop toehold again.
Brutus caught in a submission hold, a leglock by David Sammartino in a good back and forth match here but it is a bit slower then two of the three faster matches on the evening.
David Sammartino twisted the left leg of Brutus Beefcake putting the pressure on Brutus’s knee. Some solid technical wrestling displayed here.
Beefcake attempted to get up but Sammartino used his arm to sweep Beefcake off his feet and twisted the left knee of Bruti even more. Brutus wouldn’t quit but he attempted to grab at the head of David Sammartino but was unsuccessful. An eye rake by Brutus gets himself out of that predicament and then a backdrop by Beefcake and then he unloaded by dropping heavy forearms to the face of David Sammartino. Brutus caught David Sammartino up with a big powerslam. Beefcake stomped on Tito Santana and dropped his forearm to the chest of David Sammartino. Monsoon says it’s now or never for Beefcake which is very true.
To this point David Sammartino had worn down the left leg and left arm so Beefcake was desperate and this was his chance to fight back.
An elbow shot to the jaw by Beefcake and he irishwhipped David Sammartino to the corner turnbuckle hard. Another elbow shot by Beefcake to David Sammartino. Beefcake with a knee to the gut of David Sammartino.
Crowd chanted for David and he reversed an irishwhip and hit a back bodydrop to Beefcake after Brutus hit the corner to buy himself some time.
Fans got louder as they were relatively dead for a lot of the match despite it being a good one, and you could hardely tell because you can’t really see them unless its a shot from above because of the dark MSG lighting which I’m glad they dropped.
David Sammartino with a boot to the mid-section and then a big knee. Sammartino looked for a vertical suplex and he got him over despite having the air out of him temporarily, David got a nearfall. Brutus with a headbutt out of desperation and then the fans boo as Beefcake throws him to the outside.
Luscious Johnny Valiant slams David Sammartino on the concrete floow until Sammartino threw punches at Valiant.
The bell rings as its a double dq and the fans don’t care because Bruti is brawling on the outside and then on the inside as Beefcake and Valiant leave while father and son stand proud at Mania. (sort of like Rocky Maivia and Rocky Johnson would at WM 13 but better)
The fans did eventually boo when the match result was announced by the hall of fame Fink, (Who as of this writing has appeared at all 26 Mania’s) but it`s alright as the match was very good.
This match had its dull moments as to be expected given the time period but when you can look past that, you see a good technical match with just a different feel/pace to it. Back and forth material here was well done. I also won’t be hard on the ending as most matches, especially in the mid 80’s had endings similar to this one.
Plus how could you not love Bruno in the end.
Sure, it’s more methodically paced compared to other matches but that isn’t always a bad thing.
Funny when Jesse says a loss could put either man back a year. Wow how times have changed where wins and losses in the wrestling world actually meant something.
“The Living Legend” Bruno Sammartino got a huge pop after the match as expected when he interfered in his Son’s match.
In the end David Sammartino and Beefcake wrestled to a double disqualification when Johnny Valiant attacked David Sammartino outside the ring, prompting Bruno Sammarino to respond, ending with all four men brawling in the ring at 12:43.
Crowd were hot at the end and if they were just 1/4th that loud for the actual match it would of been presented better as a whole. But who could blam them, as said the match was paced slow, the crowd isn’t going to react like it’s Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Another Hockey reference, I should stop…
Good stuff here from a chain-technical wrestling standpoint.
Another match similar in quality but was a completelyd different match from the last one.
5) Greg “The Hammer” Valentine (c) (w/Jimmy Hart) vs The Junkyard Dog for the WWF Intercontinental Championionship
I loved when they put Valentine in the 2004 Hall of Fame Class. (Which is by far the most elite class for the WWE Hall of Fame until 2009)
valentine was a stiff, underrated worker and great overall wrestler. Here he is the first man to ever carry gold into a Wrestlemania match.
Well deserved if you ask me. Ventura goes over on commentary on why he is such a great Intercontinental Champion.
The JYD was majorly over and I`m glad he went into the Hall of Fame in the same class as the man he was facing in Valentine.
So the first title match in Wrestlemania history is underway.
Greg Valentine after some hesitation by both men, but you could still feel it was going to be a big match with a title like the IC belt when it still had prestige, or even defended at WM for that matter, on The line.
The Junkyard Dog with an armbar and then a headbutt, but Greg Valentine soon gets control when he irishwhips the Dog to the ropes and the JYD caught the leg of Valentine, spun him around and hammered him a big right that Ventura points out that it was a swing (which it was) that Monsoon thinks was a headbutt. Some different point of views here.
They tie up again and Valentine drops the elbow to the JYD. He dropped another elbow to the Dog and then when he went for another Junkyard Dog moved out of the way and the fans cheered as the JYD began to hit headbutts on his knees, like a dog and Greg Valentine goes for a breather outside.
Another tie up in the middle of the ring and its a test of power which Valentine wins and then drives the forearm into the mid-section of Dog. Valentine with a big forearm uppercut and then off the ropes he hits a stiff righthand.
Lifting up the legs of the JYD, Valentine drops a knee to the leg which is the start to his eventual figure four. A standing leglock by Valentine working over the leg of JYD which was intelligent.
Ventura says he`s making no bones, pardon the pun. (Natural wit by the best color guy ever)
Valentine, `The Hammer` stayed on JYD dishing out punishment to JYD`s leg. Greg Valentine went for the figure four and with the other leg in a familar spot the Dog kicks Valentine off with the other-good leg.
Greg Valentine hit his regular stiff shots to the mid-section of Dog but the JYD then opened up with right hands to Valentine to battle back. Grabbing Valentine by the head, the Dog hits a big headbutt. Jimmy Hart, the little runt jumps on the apron and JYD knocks him off to a loud roar.
Junkyard Dog then gets into a slugfest with Valentine from most of which he wins. Another righthand by the JYD but when Valentine knocks him down he uses his legs for leverage on the ropes to pin Dog.
The bell rings.
So Greg Valentine originally pinned The JYD with a roll-up in the end while holding onto the ropes for leverage. Displeased with the result, Tito Santana came out and told the referee about Valentine’s illegal victory causing the match to restart. They don’t do that anymore I believe these days, Tito must have some pull.
When it gets going again Valentine wants nothing to do with Dog and Hart puts the title on him and they walk away.
In the end, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine walked out of the match in typical coward-heel fashion, giving JYD the win by countout at 7:05.
However, Valentine retained the Intercontinental Championship of course.
Again the result of this match doesen`t deduct star points of the rating because it was a familiar ending at the time.
This was also very well done actually.
6) Nikolai Volkoff and The Iron Sheik (w/”Classy” Freddie Blassie) vs The US Express (Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham) (c) (w/Lou Albano) for the WWF Tag Team Championship
Volkoff sings the Russian National Anthem. Sheik says USA and then spits.
Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham were the reigning and babyface tag team champion’s coming in going up against a very hated team to say the least.
Not the best tag team match but Volkoff and the Sheik were so good at getting real life heat back then and did a decent job in the ring with two guys 90’s fans would later know as The Stalker and IRS. Although both of them would probably prefer you remember them as there 80’s persona’s which were a bit more Wrestling orientated. Either way both got major ovation’s here to come out representing the States.
Just a guess.
Mike Rotundo starts off with the Sheik in the ring who performs a standing side headlock to him and then off the ropes goes Sheik who hits a nice shoulder block. Mike Rotundo ducks Sheik and then a leapfrog before a hiplock and a beautiful dropkick. Mike Rotundo can actually work when not IRS and he slammed Sheik. A big sleeper down on the mat and then Sheik rolled Mike Rotundo with a handfull of the tights back down on the mat but got a two.
They key to tag wrestling, keep your opponent in your half of the ring so you can tag in and out frequently which is common sense and that is what Rotundo and Windham did here. Windham tagged in and dropped an axehandle from the top on The Iron Sheik.
Barry Windham who was just awesome in the 1980`s came in and after that blow to The Iron Sheik he knocked him over, lifted his legs and kicked him in the groin to a loud roar. Barry Windham proceeded to punish The Sheik as he slapped on a side headlock, and once backed into the corner by Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff choked him and then was dropkicked by The Iron Sheik as he charged towards Windham at the last second. Nikolai Volkoff tagged in and went toe to toe with Bary Windham who slapped on a side headlock and tagged back in Rotundo who irishwhipped Nikolai Volkoff and hit a clothesline followed by an elbow drop which gets him a nearfall. Rotundo twists the arm of Nikolai Volkoff and tagged in Barry who dropped the axehandle again and hits an arm ringer followed by a wristlock.
Mike Rotundo tagged in yet again but Nikolai Volkoff dropped the elbow to the throat region before slamming his head in the corner. The Iron Sheik comes in as Nikolai Volkoff makes a much needed tag and Sheik hit a nice backdrop followed by an elbow drop and a nearfall. Good pace here.
A well executed gutwrench suplex by The Iron Sheik and a nearfall. sheik went for a vertical suplex but Rotundo hit one of his own. Sheik was able to tag in Nikolai Volkoff still and once in he dropped Rotundo`s upperbody on the top rope to do some damage and knock the wind out of him. Nikolai Volkoff had him against the ropes and after an irishwhip Rotundo hit a sunset flip and then Nikolai Volkoff used both legs to smach Rotundo`s head and get out.
Once up Nikolai Volkoff rakes the face of Rutondo and then drives the boot into him before tagging in Sheik, he holds Rotundo so Sheik can get a cheap shot in.
The two manager`s, Lou Albano and Freddie Blassie have words while meanwhile inside the ring The Iron Sheik has an abdominal stretch on Rotundo who got out. Nikolai Volkoff and Barry Windham get tagged in.
Barry Windham with a lot of power hits lefts and rights to Nikolai Volkoff and then a nice dropkick! A huge right hand by Barry Windham before he signals for a bulldog which he hits. Sheik came in to save Nikolai Volkoff and break the count, Rotundo cleared him out. While the official took Rotundo out of the ring, Sheik hit Rotundo from behind the official and we got new Champion`s once the count is made with Nikolai Volkoff on top of Mike Rotundo.
The match had a good flow and had a standard tag formula, never was once boring.
In the end it was Volkoff who pinned Windham after Sheik hit Windham with Blassie’s cane to win the WWF tag titles for him and the Sheik at 6:55.
A pretty gutsy move to put the straps on the foregin heels at the time.
This was the very first of many title switches in Mania History, the fans were upset with the result in 1985 KAYFABE world, but this was still historic.
This is placed on the Allied Powers: Greatest Tag Teams DVD on Disc 2.
Another very good match here.
7) André the Giant vs Big John Studd (w/Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) in a $15,000 Body Slam Challenge
The stipulations of the match were that if André had failed to slam Studd, that he would be forced to retire from wrestling. Even though “Retire from Wrestling” always meant very little in Pro-Wrestling back then and still does to this day.
Unfortunately, the stipulation couldn’t build up more excitement, at least not for me.
This match is about as boring as it could possibly be…
Although this was not as bad as Andre’s dreadful match with Jake Roberts at Wrestlemania 5, more on that later.
André the Giant was pushed off to the corner by Big John Studd (the future 1989 Royal Rumble winner) and André the Giant by the way got an amazing ovation as expected from MSG, one of the company`s biggest draws ever.
Big John Studd unloaded some hard shots to the mid-upper section of The Giant until he hit Giant (pun intended) chops to Studd which took him out of the ring and he re-grouped by catching a breather, and both men probably needed it considering they`re not exactly the kings of workrate. Still this was an attraction.
The 8th wonder of the world, André the Giant stood waiting for Big John Studd and choked him out once he got back in the ring in the corner. André the Giant choked him on the ropes back and forth and the fans went wild, they are it all up. André the Giant bounced his head off his knee before planting another right between the eyes and then choked him some more. André the Giant then backed his body weight into the corner of Big John Studd. André the Giant stood there as Big John Studd attempted to slam him.
André the Giant slapped on a bearhug when Big John Studd couldn`t slam André the Giant. The crowd chanted for a SLAM. If a bearhug is thrown on today the crowd wouldn`t say a word. André the Giant lifted up Big John Studd and he raked the eyes of André the Giant but it wasn`t enough to break the bearhug by The Giant. Big John Studd threw an elbow into André the Giant in the corner when he came towards him.
André the Giant still managed a standing side headlock and the pace slowed down a bit here nearing the closing sequences because both men had been going at it for a few minutes longer then they`re usual matches you`d assume.
Giant kicked at the side of the legs of Studd.
Each time Big John Studd hit an offensive move André the Giant would act as if nothing happened which is believable because it`s him.
Studd elbowed out of all of Andre`s work but eventually André the Giant slammed him!
“Andre picked him up! He slammed him!!!”
Words said by Gorilla Monsoon which we`ve heard a number of times over the years when they replay that moment. The fans went wild.
A great moment at Wrestlemania.
The only reason I’m giving this near a star is for historical reasons (A theme that runs as wild as Hulkamania for this event)
In the end the result was that André the Giant bodyslammed the “unslammable” Big John Studd to win the match at 5:53.
After the match, André began to throw the money into the crowd to Heenan’s dismay, who eventually got the bag back. You see a memorable shot of Andre with his arm in the air here. (As often seen in many WWF or Wrestlemania packages)
8 ) Wendi Richter (w/Cyndi Lauper) vs Leilani Kai (c) (w/The Fabulous Moolah) for the WWF Women’s Championship
These two put on a solid contest that was placed just before the main event, solid and intelligent booking as the fans weren’t being treated to trash but at the same time it was SOMETHING different.
Leilani Kai was the defending HEEL Champion up against the babyface Wendi Richter who was helped by having Cyndi Lauper with her.
Leilani Kai tied up with Wendi Richter in the beginning and Leilani Kai backed Richter into the corner and went for a hard shot in the corner of the ring and she didn`t hit it as Wendi Richter blocked the punch and came back with one of her own that sent Leilani Kai across the ring and then she did again with a hiplock. Leilani Kai with an armbar, and then Richter comes back with a hammerlock followed by a power move. Wendi Richter keeps on the hammerlock and throws Leilani Kai aross the ring.
Some good chain wrestling by the ladies.
A handfull of hair by Leilani Kai who snaps Wendi Richter over and then applies an armringer to Wendi Richter before pulling the hair back and keeps on an armbar. The official tells Leilani Kai to watch the hair pulling and she says she wasn`t. For the third time Leilani Kai grabbed the hair again taking Wendi Richter down and she kept claiming she didn`t do anything wrong. Leilani Kai slammed Wendi Richter`s head into the top turnbuckle and then went to grab her by the hair again but Wendi caught her with an elbow but it didn`t stop her, Leilani Kai kept on her by choking Richter out. Wendi Richter slapped on a bodyscissors to wear down Leilani Kai who grabbed Wendi by the hair.
Leilani Kai went for a gutwrench suplex but Wendi Richter got a two count on a cradle pinning attempt. Leilani Kai snapped Wendi by the hair again. An irishwhip by Leilani Kai to Richter into the corner but she lifted her legs into Leilani Kai and then got a nearfall. Wendi drove Leilani Kai into the corner! The Fabulous Moolah tried choking out Wendi Richter behind the official and then Lauper got in it with Moolah a bit. Leilani Kai hit a big boot into the sternum area. Leilani Kai caught a few right hand`s by Wendi Richter and then she picked up Leilani Kai with a FireWoman`s carry and then slammer her down and got a nearfall. Leilani Kai got a double knee lift on Wendi Richter when she charged towards her in the corner, Leilani Kai got a nearfall in the middle of the ring before hitting a back breaker.
Leilani Kai scooped up Richter and slammed her.
Leilani Kai hit a high cross body to Wendi Richter and then Wendy reversed it with leverage and she got it!
Monsoon says “He got it!” At least that`s how it sounded.
In the end Wendi Richter defeated Kai after reversing Kai’s flying bodypress into a pin at 6:12 to win the WWF Ladies title. (As they called it often here in this time period)
A very good match and every fan in attendance had a smile on there face during the entrance and exit with the theme playing. You really felt like you were watching something special when this was happening and “Girls just wanna have fun” was playing on the speakers. Such a classic time, Lauper did a lot for the WWF. Would be a better Celebrity Inductee into the Hall then some of the other Celebs who have made it thus far. At least Wendi Richter was finally inducted in 2010.
This match was a very good effort.
This was WRESTLEMANIA, a Feel Good ending.
9) Main Event- Hulk Hogan and Mr. T (w/Jimmy Snuka) vs “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff (w/Cowboy Bob Orton) (w/Muhammad Ali as guest outside referee)
Here we are!
The Main Event of Wrestlemania.
This is the 30th greatest moment in MSG history as voted by there network on the top 50 moments in MSG special.
You really felt like you were watching a moment in time when you saw Liberaci kick in the air dancing with the Rockettes and MSG cheering on.
Fans chanted for Ali soon after.
The spectacle of this entire event is perhaps best illustrated when a lot of Major Celebs came out here including Libberaci and Ali. Vince Jr. did a nice job with this and it was a memorable buildup to this match, set the stage for sure.
All apart of the Spectacle or “Happening” as Monsoon liked to call these moments in time.
Billy Martin was also the ring announcer.
Hulk Hogan gets a huge pop as expected in the birth place of Hulkamania. Madison Square Hogan. Bret probably had the best matches at the Garden overall but Hogan’s presence meant a great deal as well. Of course Bruno and Backlund have had there dozens as well.
Some sequences in the match dragged but it still felt intense overall and was worked relatively well for what it was.
In the long run it was a very solid tag match for back then.
Roddy Piper as the top HEEL now HOFer since 05, same with his partner here “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff were the top heel tandem and as over as ever here in the Main Event.
Piper and Hogan had a red hot feud that many saw further grow at “The War to Settle The Score” just a month and change before this show.
Mr. Wonderful started it off with the Hulkster and to say MSG was hyped would be an understatement, you could genuinely feel, “This“ was the Main Event of the biggest show to this time.
Paul Orndorff got some words in the corner from Piper and got set to square off with Hulk.
They circled around each other and while Hogan was ready to get it on, Orndorff teased him and tagged in Piper.
Now we`re really going to get a show down!
Piper and Hogan in 1985 from the Garden at Wrestlemania to begin the Main Event! You`ve got to love it.
Roddy Piper stepped into the ring and Hogan shook his head up and down saying it`s me and you. Mr. T jumped up and down on the ring apron as if he wanted in. Hulk pointed to Mr. T and Hogan pointed at him and MSG erupted.
Mr. T wants PIPER!
So now we`re gonna have T and Piper! The fans erupt.
People wondered if Mr. T could wrestle. He can`t but he went nose to nose with Piper and this spot was familar from Wrestlemania History shots.
Piper and T traded slaps. Piper kicked T while the fans chanted for him and he hit a go-behind waistlock. Piper slapped at T and then T got a switch and got out of it. Mr. T
Fans were extremely loud and Mr. T got set to go with Piper again as he glared at the people. Both men tie up and T throws him off.
Mr. T has a fireman’s carry on “Rowdy“ Roddy Piper into a body slam and the fans love it.
Roddy Piper didn`t expect it and he got angry driving him into the corner.
All four men get into the match. Ali took a shot at Piper and told everyone to get out, Ali told Orton to leave the ring and the place chanted for “Ali”, the greatest champion of the world.
This might not of been the best Wrestling Match but it was Sport`s Entertainment personified in 1985!
Piper and Orndorff try and re-group on the outside and then head towards the dressing room.
Ali tells them to come back.
Hogan tells referee Pat Patterson that there`s no way he`s going to count them out. Orndorff and Piper were forced to return.
Four men inside and T and Hogan slam Piper and Orndorff into each other head first. Hogan unloads on Piper irishwhipping him into the corner followed by a clothesline. Hogan smashes both men`s head together and then plants an atomic drop to Roddy Piper. Hogan choked him out and bounced Roddy Piper`s head off the canvas and Patterson did nothing about it.
Hogan with a few right hand shots to Roddy Piper and then Piper raked the eyes but Hulk didn`t let it bother him. Hogan tagged in T and fans chanted his name, a double whip by Hogan and T before Mr. T slammed Piper! Mr. T caught Orndorff and slammed Piper before headbutting Mr. Wonderful. Piper couldn`t land a shot once back in by Hogan as he delivered the punishment. Hulk Hogan backdropped Roddy Piper over the top to the floor.
Mr. Wonderful came up from behind and drove Hogan out to the cement floor. Piper with a chair across the back of The Hulkster on the outside. Fast paced action with a hot crowd!
On the outside the heels continue the punishment as Orndorff slams the Champ`s (Hogan) into the ring apron. Piper now rakes the eyes of Hogan while he glares at the crowd with an evil stare. Piper sends Hogan into the corner and the fans boo. Roddy Piper backs off as Mr. T was taunted by him earlier to come into the ring but the official made sure T stayed out but Orndorff and Piper both choked out Hulk Hogan in the corner, but Mr. T then comes to save him but the double team behind Patterson`s back continued. A double atomic drop and Hogan was hurt. Piper said he stayed out to Ali who questioned the action.
Mr. Wonderful now with a boot attack to Champion Hulk Hogan.
I always thought Paul Orndorff was underrated, glad he`s in the Hall of Fame.
Paul Orndorff, Mr. Wonderful with a great suplex to Hulk Hogan and even that got him a ton of heat in Madison Square Garden. Great teamwork by Piper and Orndorff as Roddy Piper is tagged back in and he ran across the ropes for extra leverage and landed a big right to Hogan. Roddy Piper with a knee lift to Hogan and then a nearfall. Orndorff tagged in and lands an elbow into the head of Hogan from the top rope. Orndorff continued to wear down Higan with a kick. Mr. Wonderful scooped up Hulk Hogan and hit a back breaker. The Champ is absorbing a great deal of punishment. Orndorff flew from the top and missed a flying knee and the fans cheer!
Can Hogan make the tag was the question. He made it. Mr. T unloaded with lefts and rights but while the official made sure Hogan got on the apron more double team this time on T. Roddy Piper tried to ride T in a amateur wrestling move and he kept it on while MSG chanted for T. Orton got on the apron with his Cast and Ali made sure he stayed back. Foreshadowing perhaps.
A tag made and Roddy Piper with a front facelock to Mr. T attempting to wear him out. Piper wearing him down but T managed to power out and tag in Hulk Hogan to a great pop who landed blows on Piper, when Orndorff came back in he rammed both there heads together. A right hand by Hogan rocks Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff but he ended up levelling the champ with a great suplex to buy him time.
Superfly Snuka came in and delivered a headbutt to Orton who had just came in. Orndorff caught a Full Nelson on Hogan while Orton jumped from the top with the Cast and hit Orndorff with it by accident!
Hogan covered Orndorff! He got him! Place explodes.
So in the end it was Hulk Hogan who pinned Paul Orndorff after Orton accidentally hit Orndorff with his cast at 13:13. Hulkamania’s momentum would go on to be very good at Wrestlemania in the main event as I will illustrate from this point on…..(unless he’s in Sky Dome) This match was good in a way if you don’t expect it to be the way it was in a certain way. Confused. You should be. Overall great and highly significant which boosts it’s rating up quite a bit for me.
Good way to end this show.
I’ll slap an additional 1/4 – 1/2* on this one for Historical Significance and call it a day.
Not the match of 1985 as it won but definitely good to and even great considering how it was booked counting in everything.
Match of the night, all things considered.
Final Rating for WWF Wrestlemania 1 = 6.5/10
This is about the 15th time I`ve seen this show and most of the matches this time around seemed a lot better then they did before which can be only a good thing.
Sure, it might not hold up extremely well compared to recent Mania events but for its time in 1985, and considering its sifnificance and how much of a success it was at the time, it’s only fitting giving it a solid rating.
The main point is this show went over huge, the celebrity additions with music, the atmosphere and booking were done excellent here. Not everything worked top notch but most of it did which in the long run is all that really matters. Bottom line- Without this show (even if it isn’t your personal favourite) you wouldn’t have all the other ones.
That tells the WHOLE story.