Connect with us

WWE

WWE Network Dive | WrestleMania I

Hulk Hogan Wrestlemania at Madison Square Garden in New York, May 31, 1985. (AP Photo)
AP Photo

With this being the (real) inaugural installment of FRS SLAM’s “WWE Network Dive” series as last week covered the ever-popular Tables, Ladders and Chairs pay-per-view, why not start at the very beginning with WrestleMania I?

The Rundown:

Event: WrestleMania I

Location: Madison Square Garden

Date: March 31, 1985

Estimated Attendance: 19,121

Duration: 2 hours, 16 minutes

Lineup:

  • Tito Santana defeats The Executioner
  • King Kong Bundy defeats Special Delivery Jones
  • Ricky Steamboat defeats Matt Borne
  • Brutus Beefcake versus David Sammartino ends in double disqualification
  • Junkyard Dog defeats Greg Valentine
  • The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff defeat The U.S. Express
  • Andre The Giant defeats Big John Studd
  • Wendi Richter defeats Leilani Kai
  • Hulk Hogan and Mr. T defeat Paul Orndorff and Roddy Piper (Special Guest Referees: Muhammad Ali and Pat Patterson)

Key Match To Watch:

How could this be anything else besides the tag-team of Hulk Hogan and Mr. T taking on Paul Orndorff and Roddy Piper? Not only was this match the main event, but because of its status on the WrestleMania I card, this bout has gone down in history as one of the most famous matches ever. When you think of the original WrestleManias, you almost always think of Mr. T and especially Hulk Hogan.

That aside, the 13-minute and 24-second back-and-forth affair provides just about everything one could want in a main event match at WrestleMania. With Howard Finkel and heralded New York Yankees manager Billy Martin kicking off the festivities as the ring announcers, the bout initially started with Hogan versus Orndorff which then led to some theatrics en route to ultimately having Mr. T and Piper square off to begin the first ever main event in WrestleMania history. However, the technical wrestling would have to wait, though there was plenty of it throughout this match, as Mr. T and Piper first settled their differences by trading a series of slaps.

On top of the enticing slaps, impressive technical wrestling and patented interferences at timely points in the match, it should not be forgotten that Mr. T also held his on inside the ring with some of the best of all time. With all of that in mind, Hogan and Mr. T then capped off the victory with a dramatic finish as “The Hulkster” covered Orndorff to make history. On the other hand, it wouldn’t have been a complete match without a magnificently tremendous post-match promo from the victors in Hogan and Mr. T  — though just about every single competitor on the historic card created an unforgettable promo that evening in 1985.

Why WrestleMania I?

Why not WrestleMania I? This is where it all began!

While the first installment of the now iconic event would surely be deemed somewhat lackluster in comparison to most of the commonplace pay-per-views the WWE has to offer today in terms of theatrics and “wow” factor, WrestleMania I certainly paved the way for everything we know today. Thanks to the lineage that begins with the March 31, 1985 event at Madison Square Garden, WrestleMania has transformed into not only one of the biggest sports entertainment events the world has ever seen but one of the top sporting events overall as well.

Although cliché, without WrestleMania I, there would be no WrestleMania III, WrestleMania XVII, WrestleMania XXX and so on and so forth. No “Mr. WrestleMania,” “The Streak,” nothing.

Joe Nocco is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, born and raised in the New York area. Previously a contributor to SB Nation, Football.com and his own website titled Joe Nocco Sports, among others, Nocco has experience covering a variety of sports having specialized in content surrounding the NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB. You can follow Nocco at @JoeNoccoFRS on Twitter.

More in WWE