It’s that time of the year again, folks! The Road to WrestleMania that started this January has seen a few interesting twists and turns, including some controversial title changes and ho-hum storylines that have given shape to the ‘Mania 33 card.
As always, pro-wrestling fans and pundits have mixed opinions about this year’s WrestleMania matchmaking. Nevertheless, the event features several big-name Superstars and legends of the sport, going toe-to-toe in the biggest annual show in sports entertainment.
Regardless of whether you’re a hardcore professional wrestling fan or a naïve newbie, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you must’ve heard about the grand pop-culture spectacle that is ‘WrestleMania’. Keeping up with our tradition as professional wrestling maniacs, we turn back the clock and reminisce about past ‘Manias, including the wildest, iconic and most awesome moments at The Showcase of the Immortals.
For the sake of all things wrasslin’, I’ve collected a few iconic and a few forgotten photographs from past WrestleManias and put them into a 3-part series for the WWE Universe. Today, we revisit the first decade of the Show of Shows. Wrestlemania 1-10 in pictures…Giddy up!
WWF. Date: March 31, 1995.
Venue: Madison Square Garden. New York City, New York.
Wrestlemania 1 was seen by over 1 million viewers on closed-circuit television, a record in the USA at the time. The event saw Andre ‘The Giant’ beat Big John Studd, winning the ‘Body Slam Challenge’ for $15,000 and throwing some of the said prize money into the crowd.
Wendi Richter, who was accompanied by singer Cyndi Lauper, defeated Leilani Kai (w/ The Fabulous Moolah) for the WWF Women’s Championship. The main event saw Hulk Hogan team-up with Mr T. of ‘Rocky 3’ to beat the team of Roddy Piper and Paul Orndoff (w/ Bob Orton).
Muhammad Ali and Pat Patterson were special guest referees for the match.
WWF. Date: April 7, 1986.
Venue(s): 1) Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Unionsdale, New York.
2) Rosemont Horizon. Rosemont, Illinois.
3) Memorial Sports Arena. Los Angeles, California.
Combined Attendance: 40,085.
The NY show was headlined by a boxing match between Mr T and ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, that saw Mr T emerging victorious, albeit due to Piper getting DQ’d. The Illinois show was main-evented by The British Bulldogs defeating The Dream Team for the WWF tag-team championships.
The L.A. show was headlined by a steel cage match between Hulk Hogan and King Kong Bundy (w/ Bobby Heenan) for the WWF Heavyweight Championship. The Hulkster emerged victorious, successfully defending his WWF strap.
WWF. Date: March 29, 1987.
Venue: Pontiac Silverdome. Pontiac, Michigan.
WrestleMania 3 marked the absolute peak of professional wrestling’s Golden Age in the ‘80s. WM 3 witnessed ‘The Macho Man’ Randy Savage take on Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat in what is to this date, considered one of the greatest pro-wrestling matches of all time.
The main event saw Hulk Hogan defend his WWF World Heavyweight title against Andre The Giant- a match that saw Hogan body-slam the 7’4” behemoth in front of 93,000-plus fans.
WWF. Date: March 27, 1988.
Venue: Historic Atlantic City Convention Hall. Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The event saw Bad News Brown win a 20-man Battle Royal. WM 4 saw a 14-man single man elimination tournament for the vacant WWF Heavyweight Championship. Randy Savage overcame all odds, besting ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted Dibiase in the main event of the evening.
WWF. Date: April 2, 1989.
Venue: Boardwalk Hall. Atlantic City, New Jersey.
WrestleMania 5 saw some of the biggest names in the sport clash with one another, including Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, Andre The Giant, The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart), Mr Perfect and several others.
‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude beat The Ultimate Warrior for the WWF Intercontinental title. The main event saw Hulk Hogan defeat ‘The Macho Man’ Randy Savage for the WWF Heavyweight Championship.
WWF. Date: April 1, 1990.
Venue: Skydome. Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
WrestleMania 6 was headlined by a special ‘Champion vs. Champion’ match between WWF World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan and WWF Intercontinental Champion The Ultimate Warrior- a back and forth barnburner that saw The Ultimate Warrior emerge as the victor.
The undercard featured Ted Dibiase beating Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts via disqualification. The team of Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire (w/ Miss Elizabeth) defeated the team of Randy Savage and Queen Sherri.
WWF. Date: March 24, 1991.
Venue: Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. Los Angeles, California.
The 7th edition of ‘Mania was significant in many ways. It marked the beginning of The Undertaker’s long, undefeated streak at WrestleMania, with the Deadman winning his ‘Mania debut against Jimmy Snuka.
The event also saw the last match of the original Hart Foundation, after which Bret Hart went on to find incredible success as a singles performer. Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage lost a ‘Retirement Match’ to The Ultimate Warrior but ended his night on a high note, reuniting with his former manager and lover Miss Elizabeth.
The main event saw Hulk Hogan take the WWF World Heavyweight championship off of Sgt. Slaughter, and further his image as a ‘Real American’ amongst Hulkamaniacs the world over.
WWF. Date: April 5, 1992.
Venue: Hoosier Dome. Indianapolis, Indiana.
WrestleMania 8 saw The Undertaker beat Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, while Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart won the WWF Intercontinental title off of ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper. Mania’s 8th edition saw not one but two main events.
The first headliner saw ‘The Macho Man’ Randy Savage defeat ‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair for the WWF Heavyweight Championship. The second headliner saw Hulk Hogan collide with Sid Justice, with The Hulkster standing tall in the end.
WWF. Date: April 4, 1993.
Venue: Caesars Palace. Paradise, Nevada.
Yep, it’s one of the, if not the worst WrestleManias of all time. Everything about the event, right from the Roman ‘Togas’ to the ‘Taker-Giant Gonzalez matchup and the rushed sub-minute match between Hulk Hogan and Yokozuna were panned by fans and critics alike.
‘Taker stayed undefeated at ‘Mania while Yokozuna dethroned Bret Hart for the WWF Heavyweight title. He’d immediately drop the WWF strap to Hulk Hogan in an impromptu matchup that marked the end of the night, losing to Hogan in about 22 seconds.
WWF. Date: March 20, 1994.
Venue: Madison Square Garden. New York City, New York.
WrestleMania 10 was a turning point for the WWE (then-WWF) in more ways than one, with the organisation’s longtime face Hulk Hogan absent for the first time from WWF’s WrestleMania PPV. Besides, WM 10 was one of only 2 ‘Manias post-1991 to not feature The Undertaker, as the Deadman was out due to injury.
The event saw the most legendary ladder match of all time when Razor Ramon fought tooth-and-nail for the WWF Intercontinental title against ‘Mr Wrestlemania’ himself, Shawn Michaels. Besides, Randy Savage settled his rivalry with Crush by scoring yet another victory on the grandest stage of them all.
The WWF Heavyweight Champion Yokozuna defended his title against Lex Luger, winning by DQ after Luger shoved the referee. Later the same night, Bret Hart collided with Yokozuna, beating the behemoth 1-2-3.
The Hitman’s post-match celebration was indicative of the WWF’s intentions i.e., making Hart the new face of the company after Hogan’s departure in 1993.
The next time we meet, we’ll check out a few forgotten Mania moments in photographs (WM 11-20). Stay tuned folks!
Send us news tips at [email protected]