5 times WrestleMania plans went awry
- Looking back at five WrestleMania matches that had to be cancelled and the bouts that took their place.
WrestleMania originated in 1985, on March 31 of that year.
It was a special closed-circuit extravaganza which thrust professional wrestling into the mainstream and solidified Vince McMahon's WWE promotion as an internationally recognised wrestling promotion.
Everything slotted neatly into place for WrestleMania I, the glitz, glamour and celebrity involvement; Mr T and Muhammad Ali were two massive names who participated in the main event.
However, in the 34 WrestleMania events that have taken place to date, that has not always been the case.
Think back to WrestleMania XIV, an event that was pivotal in turning around WWE's declining fortunes. Since mid-1996, they had been battered in the weekly television ratings by Ted Turner's WCW. Headlined by former WWE stars such as Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and others, WCW had come close to putting WWE out of business in 1997.
WWE's best weapon against the WCW juggernaut was Stone Cold Steve Austin; a character that resonated with the blue collar worker as he stood up to his boss, McMahon and sought to win the WWE World title for the first time against hated heel, Shawn Michaels.
However, those plans were thrown into disarray when Austin suffered what was thought to be a career-ending spinal injury when he was accidentally dropped on his head by Owen Hart at SummerSlam 1997. Months of intensive rehabilitation followed, but the WrestleMania main event was set to be Austin's first full-time singles match since the injury.
That was enough to panic WWE top brass, but the match was thrown into further doubt, when Michaels suffered what would be, at the time a career-ending spinal injury of his own at Royal Rumble 1998, two months prior to the 'Mania clash.
Michaels did not set foot in the ring until WrestleMania. The pair made it to the big show, but had their match occurred in 2018 and not 1998, it likely would not have been allowed to take place, given the terrible condition both men's bodies were in.
While that bout was saved, plenty of others have been planned that have not occurred for a wide variety of reasons.
This slideshow looks at five such examples.
#5 WrestleMania XII
Planned match affected: Razor Ramon vs Goldust
Razor Ramon was originally booked to challenge Goldust for the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania XII in a return match of their bout at the 1996 Royal Rumble wherein Goldust had shockingly defeated Razor to become IC Champion for the first time.
Their WrestleMania re-match was to have been a Street Fight with all manner of weapons and chicanery involved.
Sadly, it didn't happen.
Razor was not keen on wrestling Goldust as he was uncomfortable with the character and its overtly sexual nature. Also, Razor was suspended for a drugs violation when WrestleMania occurred which made him ineligible to compete, regardless of his feelings towards Goldust.
Razor missed WrestleMania XII entirely.
Goldust instead competed against "Rowdy" Roddy Piper in a Streetfight; a match that was a debacle in all honesty as a hot start with a brutal brawl in the parking lot descended into lunacy as Goldust made an exit in his corvette pursued by Piper in a Ford Bronco.
Throughout the rest of the show, WWE interspersed footage of OJ Simpson on the run from the police in his Bronco back in 1994 and passed it off as Piper pursuing Goldust. Tasteless doesn't cover it.
The pair made it back to the ring just prior to the main event where Piper stripped Goldust down to his underwear which was women's lingerie.
Would the Razor match have been better? Who knows. It couldn't have been any worse.