WrestleMania (chronologically known as WrestleMania I) was the first WrestleMania professional wrestling event produced by the World Wrestling Federation. It took place on March 31, 1985 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. The attendance for the event was 19,121 fans. The 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. It was also available in limited markets on Pay Per View, although WWE lists The Wrestling Classic as their first Pay Per View event. 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 buildup to the event.
Nine professional wrestling matches, performances with pre-determined outcomes between wrestlers with fictional personalities that are portrayed as real, were featured. The main event match pitted Hulk Hogan and Mr. T against Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff. Hogan won the match after interference from "Cowboy" Bob Orton (Bob Orton, Jr.). Also at the event, Wendi Richter defeated Leilani Kai for the WWF Women's Championship, and Nikolai Volkoff and The Iron Sheik defeated The U.S. Express (Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham) to win the WWF Tag Team Championship.
The reviews for the event were 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.
Background and promotion
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 buildup 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.
Two other championships were also defended at WrestleMania: the WWF Intercontinental Championship and the WWF Tag Team Championship. Prior to the event, Greg Valentine had feuded with Tito Santana over the belt. Valentine defeated Santana on September 24, 1984 for the championship. Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham won the WWF Tag Team Championship three months before WrestleMania from the team of Adrian Adonis and Dick Murdoch.
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.
As part of the promotion for the event, Hogan appeared on Hot Properties four days prior to WrestleMania, where he put host Richard Belzer into a front chinlock —a move that cuts off the flow of blood to the brain. Belzer, however, fell to the floor unconscious and began to bleed profusely. His injury required eight stitches.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Tito Santana defeated The Executioner (4:50)
- King Kong Bundy (w/ Jimmy Hart) defeated Special Delivery Jones (0:23)
- Ricky Steamboat defeated Matt Borne (4:37)
- David Sammartino (w/ Bruno Sammartino) versus Brutus Beefcake (w/ Johnny Valiant) ended in a draw. (12:43)
- The Junkyard Dog defeated Greg Valentine (c) (w/ Jimmy Hart) by Countout in a WWF Intercontinental Championship match (7:05)
- Nikolai Volkoff and The Iron Sheik (w/ Freddie Blassie) defeated The US Express (Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham) (c) (w/ Captain Lou Albano) to win the WWF Tag Team Championship (6:55)
- André the Giant defeated Big John Studd (w/ Bobby Heenan) in a $15,000 Body Slam Match (5:53)
- Wendi Richter (w/ Cyndi Lauper) defeated Leilani Kai (c) to win the WWF Women's Championship (6:12)
- Hulk Hogan and Mr. T (w/ Jimmy Snuka) defeated Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff (w/ Cowboy Bob Orton) with Muhammad Ali as Guest Referee (13:13)
Other on-screen talent
- This WrestleMania is the only WrestleMania not to feature a match with any of the company's world titles on the line.
- The font used in the logo for the first WrestleMania would continually be used in every consecutive WrestleMania up to WrestleMania XV. However, the font would later be used again for the logo of WrestleMania 22.
- Celebrity guests in attendance for this WrestleMania included Billy Martin, Cyndi Lauper, Mr. T, Muhammad Ali, and Liberace accompanied by The Rockettes.
DVD & Video Releases
- The Official Website of WrestleMania 1985 (I)
- WrestleMania 1985 on WWE Network
- WrestleMania 1 at CAGEMATCH.net
|I (1985) • II (1986) • III (1987) • IV (1988) • V (1989) • VI (1990) • VII (1991) • VIII (1992) • IX (1993) • X (1994) • XI (1995) • XII (1996) • XIII (1997) • XIV (1998) • XV (1999) • XVI (2000) • XVII (2001) • XVIII (2002) • XIX (2003) • XX (2004) • XXI (2005) • XXII (2006) • XXIII (2007) • XXIV (2008) • XXV (2009) • XXVI (2010) • XXVII (2011) • XXVIII (2012) • XXIX (2013) • XXX (2014) • XXXI (2015) • 32 (2016) • 33 (2017) • 34 (2018) • 35 (2019) • 36 (2020) • 37 (2021) • 38 (2022) • 39 (2023)|
|1985 World Wrestling Federation pay-per-views|
WrestleMania • The Wrestling Classic