It is a wrestling fan’s Mecca; our Stanley Cup. We anticipate it every year; for some it starts at TLC; for other’s it starts at the Royal Rumble…and for a select few it starts on the RAW after Wrestlemania. It means to us what the Super Bowl means to NFL fans. It’s a bloody big deal.
For the men and women of WWE it’s a goal of their tenure; a Wrestlemania moment. Not everyone gets a Wrestlemania moment every year; whether it is due to injury or no room on the card. In recent years the addition of a Battle Royale means every man in the locker room and the ladies always seem to have a rather large tag match to ensure they too get a ‘moment’ even if it’s in the wrestling equivalent of the Chorus Line.
WWE pulls out all the stops at Wrestlemania; they have added Axxess which is where fans can meet their favourite wrestler and get autographs; photos and memorabilia. The night before is now host to their Hall of Fame Ceremony. It has gone from a one-night only Pay-Per-View that no one was sure would be repeated to a spectacle that lasts nearly a week.
This year marks Wrestlemania’s 32nd year; looking back Wrestlemania tells the story of WWE better than any other PPV or weekly episode of RAW/Smackdown ever could. No one every talks about a match on RAW longer than a week after it happens; but they talk about matches at Wrestlemania for years after they occurred.
The first Wrestlemania – less than 20,000 people attended; but over one million people saw it on TV. They watched Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. square off and defeat Paul Orndorff and Roddy Piper; they saw Wendi Richter take the Women’s title from Leilani Kai.
Wrestlemania II where they had 3 venues in 3 different cities – New York; Chicago and Los Angeles.
Wrestlemania III – with that record of 93, 173 attendance; which stood until 2010 and Hogan facing off against Andre the Giant. There were also a few questionable matches…King Kong Bundy v. Hillbilly Jim and their teams were no doubt used for comic relief.
Wresltlemania V – Hogan v Macho Man in the Mega Powers Explode angle.
Wrestlemania VI – Hogan v The Ultimate Warrior with both the Heavyweight Championship Title and the Intercontinental Championship were both on the line.
Wrestlemania VII – The Undertaker’s Debut and the start of his winning streak.
Wrestlemania X – the first one without Hulk Hogan; and the last one with Macho Man Randy Savage. The PPV where Owen and Bret Hart turned on each other.
Wrestlemania XII – the 60 minute Iron Man match between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. 20 years later and fans still talk about that.
I could go on but you know the stories and the corresponding match as well as this writer does if not better.
Wrestlemania lives up to the moniker ‘Showcase of the Immortals’ because the best way to achieve immortality…is to be remembered.