The War to Settle the Score was a World Wrestling Federation event that took place on February 18, 1985, at Madison Square Garden and aired on MTV. It featured Hulk Hogan against Rowdy Roddy Piper for the then-WWF Championship. The event, which was part of the Rock 'n Wrestling storyline, served as a build-up for the original Wrestlemania.
On December 28, 1984, during a wrestling show at Madison Square Garden, rock star Cyndi Lauper presented commemorative gold albums to the Federation and "Captain" Lou Albano for their work with the Multiple Sclerosis Association. This was to show that Lauper and Albano had ended their (kayfabe) feud that had culminated at The Brawl to End It All. As Albano accepted his album, however, Piper entered the ring, took the album from Albano and smashed it over his head. As Lauper ran to check on Albano, Piper kicked her across the ring, then picked up her manager David Wolff and slammed him to the mat. Piper claimed he did it all out of frustration that he wasn't getting enough attention along with his dislike of rock and roll. The incident separated the Federation into pro and anti-rock camps, with Hulk Hogan leading the pro-rock camp and Piper leading the anti-rock one. The two agreed to settle their differences with a match for Hogan's championship.
Hogan came to the ring alongside Lauper, Albano and Wolff. Piper was accompanied by Cowboy Bob Orton. During the match, Orton tried to interject himself in the match only to have Hogan smash his arm (within a sling) into the ring post. Orton was replaced at ringside by Paul Orndorff.
Late in the match, the referee was knocked out when Piper knocked Hogan into him breaking free of an atomic drop attempt. At that point, Orndorff entered the ring and both he and Piper double-teamed Hogan. Lauper jumped onto the apron and tried to enter the ring with Wollf and Albano holding her back. As Piper and Orndorff began to corner Lauper, Mr. T came out of the crowd and pulled Lauper to safety. Piper and Orndorff goaded Mr. T into the ring and then double-teamed him, only to have Hogan finally come to and come to Mr. T's aid. Members of both factions stormed into the ring and had to be separated by security. The match was ended in a disqualification with Hogan as the winner.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Leilani Kai (w/ The Fabulous Moolah) defeated Wendi Richter (w/ Cyndi Lauper & David Wolff) (c) to win the WWF Women's Championship (11:49)
- Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo (c) defeated The Assassin & The Spoiler to retain the WWF World Tag Team Championship
- Hulk Hogan (w/ Captain Lou Albano & Cyndi Lauper) (c) defeated Roddy Piper (w/ Bob Orton, Jr.) by DQ to retain the WWF Championship (7:40)
The War and its controversial finish led to a quasi-rematch on March 31 in which Hogan teamed up with Mr. T against Piper and Orndorff in the main event of the first Wrestlemania. Hogan and Mr. T won the match when Orton tried to hit Hogan with his arm in a cast but hit Orndorff instead, allowing Hogan to pin Orndorff.
The War was MTV's highest rated program at the time, surpassing The Brawl. It would be the last World Wrestling Federation special on the network. The two sides parted ways after MTV demanded a share of Vince McMahon's company in return for airing more programs.