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WWE Flashback: WrestleMania 1

Sunday, March 31st, 1985 – Madison Square Garden – New York City, New York – A pay-per-view that I’m surprised I haven’t watched until now and what better way to discuss my thoughts about it than blogging about it, and I’m referring to WrestleMania 1! I popped in the WrestleMania 1 DVD for history and for entertainment for a few hours!

We open the show with an awesome ‘80s video package graphics showing some of the competitors who’ll be wrestling on the card. I can’t forget to mention the ‘80s instrumental rock playing in the background.

Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura welcome us after the video package finished and we see Jesse’s pick suit jacket, which I absolutely love!

“Mean” Gene sings “the Star Spangled Banner.” What a major musician to sing at the first WrestleMania! I’ll admit, “Mean” Gene was able to get the crowd in with him, even though his voice wasn’t made for the public.

Lord Alfred Hayes opens WrestleMania with a back-story of the first match. I guess “Mean” Gene has some prerecorded interviews with both guys. Tito Santana said that the Executioner will learn what it means to be on the big time. The Executioner said that he’ll go for Tito’s leg and will win because of that.

Tito Santana versus the Executioner

One thing I enjoy about Jesse “the Body” was he put over both competitors in this match. I wish the announcers would have learned from Ventura each passing commentator for all superstars would look like big time superstars.

Right away the match seems to be a squash match in favor of “Chico” Santana (in words of Jesse Ventura). As of me typing that last sentence, the Executioner got the upper hand! Come on Executioner, you’ll be the World Champ some day!

This match isn’t a bad opener for 1985. I don’t know if these two men would be able to get the crowd in 2012 as interested in their match like they did back then. Matches like this that goes back-and-forth and both announcers put over each guy make me get into the match and into the card.

Chico Santana pulled the Executioner into the center of the ring and slapped on the figure four leg lock and Santana walked out with the first victory at WrestleMania!

Winner: Tito Santana with the figure four leg lock! Ric Flair would be proud!

We go back to Lord Alfred Hayes again and he, like the first match, explains the next match. Another prerecorded interview with “Mean” Gene with SD Jones. I feel like SD Jones is a great interview. King Kong Bundy come to talk to Gene and said that he’s the biggest man in wrestling and the five count being his gimmick. I miss King Kong Bundy!

King Kong Bundy (with Jimmy Hart) versus SD Jones

The crowd hates King Kong Bundy when Howard Finkel introduced him. Monsoon and Ventura also put over on how dangerous Bundy is.

A bear hug and a splash in the corner followed by the giant splash and King Kong Bundy wins! Great work Bundy, you’ll main event WrestleMania twice someday!

Winner: King Kong Bundy with a splash! King Kong stopped attacking some buildings to watch your 9-second match.

“Mean” Gene interviews Matt Borne, sunglasses and all. Borne said that Ricky Steamboat is too nice of a guy. Steamboat said that this match will be a test in his life, which I doubt. Steamboat came to New York to become mean and we’ll see him become mean in the World Wrestling Federation.

Matt Borne versus Ricky Steamboat

I noticed with all these matches so far that they have a twenty-minute time-limit. I wish professional wrestling would bring back time-limits because to me, that’ll guarantee us a victor in every match we see (and forces the wrestlers to pace their match).

I can tell you this match is longer than the last match.

Great good-guy-versus-bad-guy tights with these two men with Steamboat, the baby face, wearing white and Borne, the heel, wearing black.

I guess Matt Borne’s nickname is “Maniac.” I wonder if that’s short for him being a Hulkamaniac. I hope so because I always wanted to be a Hulkamanaic when I was in grade school.

Steamboat wins with an awesome top-rope flying body press and scored the victory with a pinfall.

Winner: Ricky Steamboat with a flying press. Jim Crocket would be happy.

Lord Hayes tells us about the next match and when talking about the match, Johnny V and Beefcake tells him to “look out.” Good laughs. “Mean” Gene has another prerecorded interview with the Sammartinos and Beefcake comes to do an interview and spits at the microphone. Jimmy V, his manager, speaks for the future barber.

Brutus Beefcake versus David Sammartino

It’s wonderful to see Bruno, I never watched WrestleMania 1 before and never seen anything with Sammartino before.

Seeing old pictures of Bruno when he was in his prime, David looks a lot like him in the ring. It rings true with the old line: like father, like son.

Brutus and David try to counter-wrestle each other and I got excited because it gives me a memory of William Regal, who I love to watch whenever possible.

When Brutus has in a front face lock, Ventura said, “The fans are getting a great view of Beefcake,” and laughed. Monsoon laughed too. Simply comedy like that makes me wish Monsoon was still alive because I’ll love to hear Monsoon and Ventura call the current product because they’ll make all superstars look like gold.

A step-over toe-hold by Sammartino made me pop in my living room! YES! Submission holds always makes me proud to be a wrestling fan because it gives me a break to write (for the shows I blog about) and think about how I’ll call the match if I were one of the superstars in the ring.

I can’t believe Sammartino got a two-count on Beefcake with a suplex. Monsoon and Ventura were putting it over as a finisher.

Johnny V attacked David on the outside, which caused a double disqualification.

Winner: No one by the double-DQ. Real winner, Bruno Sammartino for having his WrestleMania moment.

Lord Hayes is talking about the Intercontinental Championship match and Jimmy Hart and the Champ walk by and laugh.

“Mean” Gene is backstage with some prerecorded interviews and Valentine says that he’s down 16 pounds and will hammer Junkyard Dog. JYD says that he wants the IC title and he needs a bone to chew.

Intercontinental Championship match: Greg Valentine (champion – with Jimmy Hart) versus Junkyard Dog

We are told by Howard Finkel when introducing the competitors for the match that this match has a one-hour time limit!

Junkyard Dog came out to the song “Grab Them Cakes,” sung by him, on the Wrestle Album that the WWE put out around this time. Sorry JYD, I won’t “grab them cakes” because I may be fat, but I don’t like cake. I prefer cheeseburgers. Thanks JYD.

Our first championship match at WrestleMania and I’m excited! Valentine, the current Intercontinental Champion, and the Junkyard Dog, the challenger, I can’t wait for this match to unfold!

I am surprised that Jimmy Hart doesn’t have his megaphone. Jimmy isn’t vintage when he doesn’t have his megaphone. Come on Jimmy, I wanna hear you talk to your men when you’re out there!

A submission move that got pulled out in this move is a grapevine on JYD’s leg. Obviously that grapevine is a set-up submission for the figure four leg lock that Valentine pulls put for his finisher.

The Hammer got hammered in the head when the Dog headbutted him. When the Junkyard Dog did, the crowd popped for the move. I can’t believe fans would go crazy for a headbutt. I guess its 1985 when time was different!

Valentine won when he school boy-ed JYD and put his legs on the second rope to give him leverage to score the victory.

But wait, Steamboat came out and told the ref what happened. The ref restarted the match and counted the champ out. JYD won but didn’t score the title because the title can’t change hands over a count-out.

Winner: the Junkyard Dog via count-out, yet the real winner is Greg Valentine because he still walks out as the WWF Intercontinental Champion.

Alfred Hayes tells us about the WWF Tag Team Championship match, which is next. Yes, another championship match!

Another prerecorded interview with the challengers. Sheiky tells us that this is the best time in his life. The champs tell us that they’ll do their best for the fans. Kind of boring interviews, in my opinion.

Tag Team Championship match: Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik (with Freddie Blassie) versus the U.S. Express (Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo – champions – with Captain Lou Albano)

The fans hated when Volkoff sung the Soviet national anthem. Great way to get heat from the fans! We also get the Sheik! I love Sheiky baby!

A cool thing that the U.S. Express did for this match was get matching blue trunks. An easy way for fans to tell which two guys are on the same team, if they couldn’t figure it out before the match started.

I’m surprised that the announcers hadn’t mentioned that the Iron Sheik is the last WWF Champion because current champion Hulk Hogan defeated him about a year before WrestleMania 1. Poor Sheiky, always getting shafted.

At the end of the match, all four men were battling inside. Sheik grabbed Blassie’s cane and nailed Windham from behind and that gave them the victory!

Winners: Volkoff and Sheik, new Tag Team Champions! USSR and Iran are going wild to bring the tag team gold home!

Gene Okerlund is backstage with the champs and Blassie and all three men are super excited to capture the titles. Volkoff and Sheik came to America to win the gold and now they can go home with gold!

Lord Alfred Hayes talks about the next match, the Body Slam challenge.

Gene Okerlund brings in Bobby Heenan and Big John Studd and they say that they’ll eliminated Andre from wrestling because Andre will loose and be forced to retire.

Body Slam Challenge: Big John Studd (with Bobby Heenan) versus Andre the Giant – if Andre wins, he wins $15,000; if Studd wins, Andre retires

I’m pretty positive that Andre does the ultimate screw-job and comes out of retirement after this match and headlines WrestleMania 3. Who’s with me?

I enjoy the occasional big man versus big man match and I enjoy an Andre match where he isn’t in pain. So far, in the first few minutes of the match, I enjoy this match. I don’t expect this match to blow my mind away but I expect this match to be entertaining.

Compared to rest of the card, this match is paced really slowly. I’m not surprised because both men are over 6’5” and over 300 pounds. Like said I’m happy to see Andre move around and not appearing to be in complete pain just to be alive.

Winner: Andre the Giant after a body slam! The fans who sat across from the camera won too when a few of them got a few dollar bills that Andre threw out. Thank you Andre on making them a little richer.

Gene Okerlund is back with Andre and he’s happy that Andre didn’t have to retire. Andrew said that he won and seemed happy he didn’t have to retire.

Lord Alfred Hayes tells us that the Women’s Championship match is coming up next!

Gene Okerlund is back with a prerecorded interview with the challenger and some weird woman manager. Both women said that they’ll walk out with the title. The champion said that she’ll walk out with the title.

Women’s Championship match: Leilani Kai (champion – with the Fabulous Moolah) versus Wendi Richter (with Cyndi Lauper)

Why is “Girls Wanna Have Fun” playing? Oh yea! Cyndi Lauper is here! That’s who the weird lady was that we seen in the interview before this match!

Vintage girl fight and both ladies started the match with pulling each others hair! Jesse Ventura even mentioned that! Thank you Jesse! I’m happy we voted you in as Governor of Minnesota!

Lauper and Moolah got into a brawl outside and that fight didn’t last much longer than ten seconds, thankfully. To be honenst, I feel like that’s the highlight of the match.

Winner: Wendi Ricther, new Women’s Champion, with a counter of a flying body press. In my eyes, the real winners are the girls who wanna have fun.

“Mean” Gene Okerlund is backstage with new Women’s Champ, Wendi Richter! Richter is happy to recapture the title. Lauper said a few things but I couldn’t pick up anything she said because her voice was hard for me to listen to.

“Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (with “Cowboy” Bob Orton) versus Mr. T and WWF Champion Hulk Hogan (with Jimmy Snuka)

The special guest referee for the match was the first Intercontinental Champion Pat Paterson and Muhammad Ali was the special enforcer for the match. Two guys that will interject if the match gets out-of-hand!

Piper and Orndorff had a live bagpipe band play them to the ring! It was great to see them come out to the live band! Then we hear “Real American” play and WWF Champion “Hollywood” Hogan and Mr. T come out to the ring with the fans jumping up and down excited to see this awesome tag team encounter!

Mr. Wonderful and the WWF Champion start out the match. I still can’t believe Mr. T was in the main event for the first WrestleMania! I guess if McMahon wanted to bring in fans into watching his company, he’s a smart man. At least Mr. T didn’t start the match.

Shortly after, Piper and T get into the ring together and go nose-to-nose and exchange a few slaps and the crowd ate it up!

All four men got into the ring and Paterson and Ali had to break it up and the fans loved that Ali threw some punches at Piper to break it up and to calm down. I wish all referees would do that today.

Paul Orndorff showed me why he’s “Mr. Wonderful” when he hit the WWF Champion with a perfect suplex. After that, he tagged in Piper and Piper did a number on the champ. Great way to work over the champion. If those guys would have won, they should have been able to chase the champ and got title matches for months after.

At the end, Hogan outsmarted his opponents and moved out of the way for Orton nailing his guys with a cast, letting Hogan win the pin.

Winners: Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. The real winners, Vince McMahon, for WrestleMania 1 being a success.

All-in-all, I feel like this was a good card if you wanted to see what 1985 WWE was like. None of these matches should be ranked as great WrestleMania matches but as short matches, they were good for the length. If they would have went longer, I think the whole event would have been hurt because of it. For history, I would suggest watching WrestleMania 1. Vintage Hogan for posing after his victory, which is a great way to end any WrestleMania.

Eric Darsie is known as a ‘common-man’ among his peers, at least he thinks so. He works hard with his hands in the heart of Minnesota and on his free time, he thugs and a bugs with his family and friends. Whenever he doesn’t do that, he’s found to be writing. Now more of a rare thing, he’s gems could be found here. If you would like to see more of Eric’s work outside of the professional world, check him out at http://vintagedarsie.wordpress.com/, http://www.writerscafe.org/Darsie/writing/, and on Twitter @IAmDarsie.

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Eric Darsie

Eric Darsie is known as a ‘common-man’ among his peers, at least he thinks so. He works hard with his hands in the heart of Minnesota and on his free time, he thugs and a bugs with his family and friends. Whenever he doesn’t do that, he’s found to be writing. Now more of a rare thing, he’s gems could be found here. If you would like to see more of Eric’s work outside of the professional world, check him out at http://vintagedarsie.wordpress.com/, http://www.writerscafe.org/Darsie/writing/.

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