WrestleMania is WWE's biggest show of the year, and generally marks the end of one wrestling year and the beginning of another. The events are therefore positioned as a transitional event from the story-lines of the past year to the story-lines for the coming year.
WrestleMania 1 started a tradition that has been going on for 35 years. Broadcasted from the WWF's "home base" at the time, Madison Square Garden, the first ever Show of Shows was a festival of entertainment that combined celebrity guests with top wrestling of the day.
The first match on the card saw Tito Santana go up against The Executioner. Prior to the match, there was an awkward interview between Mean Gene and both the superstars.
The match featured many classic wrestling spots, with the wrestlers performing crisscrosses and drop downs. The Executioner was played by "Playboy" Buddy Rose. Santana would win the match after locking in the Figure-Four Leg Lock, forcing The Executioner to submit.
Santana kept the leg lock applied, even after the bell. This was followed quickly by King Kong Bundy, accompanied by Jimmy Hart, against S.D. "Special Delivery" Jones.
Bundy won in 9 seconds, pinning him after hitting him with an avalanche in the corner and a splash, Monsoon announced that this was the quickest match in wrestling history.
This was followed by a match between Matt Bourne against the legendary Ricky 'the Dragon' Steamboat. Steamboat had signed for the WWE earlier in the year, after wrestling with Jim Crockett Promotions from 1977 to 1985.
Steamboat is a master technician in the ring and this match was a further display of how crisp the Dragon was as a worker, especially compared to others of the era. Steamboat would win with a crossbody from the top turnbuckle and the pinfall victory.
Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake, accompanied by Johnny Valiant, faced off against David Sammartino and his father Bruno Sammartino. The match was incredibly scrappy as the two chain-wrestled and swapped holds.
The match would end with Johnny Valiant and Bruno Sammartino getting involved in the match. The senior Sammartino got the biggest reaction of the match with the Madison Square Garden crowd still had fond memories of Bruno's career as the WWWF Champion.
The first title match of the night saw the Intercontinental Championship being defended by Greg Valentine, accompanied by Jimmy Hart, against the Junkyard Dog. Despite JYD dominating the match, Valentine would seemingly retain the title after rolling up the Junkyard Dog.
However, Tito Santana came to the ring and seemed to advise the referee that Valentine had his feet on the ropes. Valentine would then leave the ring and refuse to return, meaning that the Junkyard Dog would win the match via count-out. Unfortunately, this allowed Valentine to retain the title.
This was followed by a match for the tag team titles between the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff challenging the reigning champions in Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo. Iron Sheik and Volkoff would be accompanied by their manager Classy Freddie Blassie, while the Tag Team Champions were accompanied by Captain Lou Albano.
The foreigners would emerge victorious after the Iron Sheik hit Barry Windham with Blassie's cane, allowing Volkoff to cover him for the pin. This would be the first title change to take place at Wrestlemania.
Big John Studd would wrestle Andre the Giant for a cash prize of $15,000, with Andre being forced to retire if he lost. The match was a slam match, meaning that Andre could only win if he managed to slam John Studd.
Andre would wear down Studd before body slamming him, winning the match. Andre would then start throwing the money into the crowd, before Studd's manager Bobby the Brain Heenan stole back the bag of money.
Next up would see WrestleMania's first celebrity appearance, with Cyndi Lauper in the corner of Wendi Richter against Leilani Kai with Fabulous Moolah. Richter had dropped the belt to Kai due to interference by Moolah. Richter would counter Kai's crossbody into a pinfall, getting her the three-count to get her title back.
Finally, the main event of the card saw Hulk Hogan team with Mr. T against the team of Rowdy Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff. The match had a special Ring Announcer, Billy Martin, a special timekeeper in Liberace and the Rockettes, and special outside referee in the Boxing Heavyweight champion of the World Muhammad Ali.
After Ali, Pipper and Orndorff were led to the ring by a series of Bag Pipe players, with the first ever version of an elaborate 'Mania entrance. They were accompanied to the ring by Cowboy Bob Orton. Hogan and Mr. T were out next to accompanied by Hogan's "Real American" entrance music and Jimmy Snuka.
Despite Orndorff and Hogan starting in the ring, it would be Piper and Mr. T that would lock up first. Unsurprisingly, Mr. T spent most of the time on the apron as Piper and Orndorff teamed up against Hogan.
As the match wore on, Hogan would take more of the heat for the pair, and Mr. T was used sparingly, as the pair of Piper and Orndorff took multiple cheap shots at Hogan throughout the match.
Ali would get himself involved in several spots, frequently taking issue with the underhanded tactics of the heel team and frequently entering the ring to remonstrate with the heels. Hogan and Mr. T would pick up the win after Orton hit Orndorff with a double ax handle from the top rope when he was aiming for Hogan.