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WWF WrestleMania I

This is the original version of the show, not the one from Coliseum Video

March 31, 1985

Your hosts are Jesse Ventura and Gorilla Monsoon

The show starts with Howard Finkel welcoming the crowd then introducing Gene Okerlund, who sings the National Anthem. Not the best rendition I have ever heard. Anyway, Jesse compares him to Robert Goulet.

We take it to Lord Alfred Hayes, who lets us know that The Executioner vs. Tito Santana will open the show. He is seen holding the WrestleMania program, which is in his hands for the duration of the show. The format here was similar to that of an NFL broadcast today. You had your announcers then Hayes as a sideline reporter of sorts then Okerlund acted the othe reporter. Personally, I thought it gave teh show a real major league feel. After that, we are shown pre-recorded interviews of both men. The Executioner is Buddy Rose and it is very obvious. You could see through half the mask. Most of the matches have promos before them with Gene Okerlund.

The Executioner vs. Tito Santana

The match starts with a criss-cross spot that ends with a backdrop by Santana. He dropkicks the Executioner to the floor then grabs a headlock when he comes back inside. The Executioner takes control then works on the leg. Tito fights back and destroys the Executioner in the corner until he gets backdropped. Slam by the Executioner but he gets slammed off the top rope. He is able to get the knees up on a splash attempt by Tito. The Executioner is sent over the top rope and ends up in a chair. Tito brings him back in and hits the flying forearm before making him submit to the figure-four (4:49) **.

Thoughts: This was a decent little match. It was also worked at a faster pace than most WWF matches at the time. Rose would leave the WWF after this and return in five years later, with his "Blow Away" diet. Tito did not have much to do at this point, he did endorse Junkyard Dog as his friend at the last ever WWF show on TBS the day prior (Quick note: I know I promised to review that but it was torture watching eight minute squash matches) and cheered for him to beat Valentine for the IC Title.

S.D. Jones vs. King Kong Bundy w/Jimmy Hart

Bundy catches Jones in a bearhug then rams him in the corner. He then hits the Avalanche and finishes him off with a splash (0:24) N/A. After the match, Jesse and Gorilla believe that Bundy has set the record for the quickest pinfall as Finkel said the match took nine seconds, which Gorilla tells us beat the previous record of 23 seconds.

Thoughts: First, the match got Bundy over as a monster, which was the main goal. It also made him appear as a star on a major show too. The only complaint I have is that it was clear this match lasted longer than nine seconds.

Matt Borne vs. Ricky Steamboat

The lockup to start. Steamboat chops down Borne and grabs a headlock as Gorilla puts over the team of Steamboat & Snuka. Steamboat floats over Borne and hits an atomic drop. Borne comes back with an inverted atomic drop and a clothesline. Steamboat fights back with chops and goes back to the headlock. Borne gets to the ropes and attacks Steamboat. He hits a few suplexes then they have a slugfest. Steamboat hits a back suplex and a swinging neckbreaker. He follows that with a few kneedrops then a flying chop before finishing Borne off with a flying body press (4:38) **1/2.

Thoughts: Good match. It was short but all action. Borne was a really good wrestler and moved at a lot quicker pace here than he did as Doink the Clown, which is how most people remember him most. On commentary, it was clear that they are pushing Steamboat. He was ripped here too. The crowd wasnt behind him yet but he would slowly win them over after the match.

Brutus Beefcake w/Johnny Valiant vs. David Sammartino w/Bruno Sammartino

Beefcake and Valiant stall for a few minutes. Sammartino catches Beefcake with a drop toehold. Beefcake regroups outside with Valiant for a bit. Sammartino grounds Beefcake, who is able to reach the ropes. Sammartino works the arm then gets some advice from his dad. Beefcake works a side headlock then takes him down with a shoulder block and a hiptoss. Sammartino fights back and works the leg for a while. Beefcake gets an eye rake then takes control. He hits Samamrtino with a lot of forearm shots until Sammartino reverses an Irish whip and hits a backdrop. Sammartino fights back and gets two off a suplex. Beefcake headbutts Sammartino in the gut and tosses him to the floor. Valiant slams David then gets attacked by Bruno. They wind up in the ring and Beefcake goes after Bruno until David comes in and the Sammartino's clean house. The referee rules the match a double disqualification (11:44) *3/4.

Thoughts: The match itself was on the dull side. However, the crowd loved seeing Bruno destroy Valiant and I never figured out why they took this long to have Bruno help get his son over. Although the match was put together a few weeks before the crowd with little fanfare, they look to be starting a feud.

WWF Intercontinental Title Match
Greg "The Hammer" Valentine (Champion) w/Jimmy Hart vs. Junkyard Dog

The crowd exploded when "Another One Bites the Dust" played. After some stalling, JYD works the arm. Valentine fights back but misses a forearm drop and that allows JYD to hit his crawling headbutts. Valentine cheapshots JYD during a test-of-strength then knocks him dow with a forearm smash. Valentine works the leg for a bit but fails to put on the figure-four. JYD hobbles on one leg but still manages to win a slugfest. He takes down the Hammer with a headbutt. Hart jumps up on the apron to distract the ref but Valentine accidentally knocks him down. JYD beats on Valentine in the corner as the crowd goes nuts but Valentine is able to rake the eyes then rolls up JYD and gets his feet on the ropes for the win. However, Tito Santana runs out and tells the referee that Valentine had both feet on the ropes and restarts the match, which angers Ventura. Anyway, Valentine did not go back inside and the ref counts to ten, giving JYD the win via countout (6:55) *. Valentine is pissed and wants to go back inside but Hart is holding onto his leg.

Thoughts: The match itself was completely forgettable but the finish was understandable. You didnt want JYD to lose clean and he was popular enough in that he did not need the belt. Also, you are able to prolong the feud between Santana and Valentine.

WWF Tag Team Championship Match
Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff w/Freddie Blassie vs. Mike Rotundo & Barry Windham (Champions) w/Capt. Lou Albano

Rotundo and Sheik start things off. Rotundo gets a dropkick and a slam after an Irish whip sequence. Windham tags and gets backed into the opposite corner but is able to dodge a dropkick that accidentally sent Volkoff to the floor. After a replay, the champs use quick tags as they work on the arm of Nikolai. He fights back then rams Rotundo's head off the boot of the Sheik. Tag to the Sheik and he hits a backdrop. Elbow drop gets two. Gutwrench suplex gets two. Rotundo blocks a suplex and hits one of his own. Sheik is able to make the tag as Volkoff drops Rotundo on the ropes. Volkoff catches Rotundo with a knee then tags the Sheik as we see Blassie and Albano face-to-face. Sheik has Rotundo in an abdominal stretch but he escapes and hot tag to Windham. He unloads on Volkoff and hits the bulldog but Sheik breaks up the count. Rotundo dropkicks the Sheik to the floor and the match breaks down. Sheik grabs Blassie's cane and hits Windham from behind and Volkoff covers for the win and the belts (6:55) ***.

Thoughts: This was a good match. It was fast-paced too. The crowd did seem shocked by the finish, which ended the ten week reign of Windham & Rotundo. The way the match ended, it sets up for a rematch.

Gene Okerlund is backstage with the new Tag Team Champions. Blassie plays dumb when grilled about his men cheating then the champs talk over each other.

Up next is a quick plug for the WrestleMania merchandise, followed by a ten-minute intermission. For those who are too young to remember, the older PPV's used to have an intermission in the middle, which showed the time on the screen, which was either a shot of the crowd or just a blank color.

$15,000 Bodyslam Match
Big John Studd w/Bobby Heenan vs. Andre the Giant

The rule for the match is that Andre wins $15,000 if he slams Studd and if he loses, he will have to retire. The money is in a duffel bag that features the WWF logo. The fans immediately start a "weasel" chant as Studd attacks Andre before the belt. Andre chops back then hits a headbutt. Studd ducks outside and regroups with Heenan. He re-enters but gets choked out in the corner. They show Heenan split screen yelling at the ref to break the hold. Studd goes low and tries to slam Andre but fails. Studd is trapped in a bearhug as the fans chant for Andre to slam him. This bearhug lasts for a long time then Andre switches to a chinlock. This match is just dragging. Andre beats on Studd in the corner then shortly after that, picks him up for the slam and the win (5:53) DUD. The crowd erupts and Andre takes the bag and starts tossing the money out to the crowd. As this happens, Heenan runs in and snatches the bag from Andre and takes off to the back.

Thoughts: The match itself was horrendous, but the end was fun. Andre was in terrible shape here and half of the match consisted of a bearhug. Studd barely got in any offense and it came off as a glorified squash match.

Okerlund interviews Andre. He doesnt care about the money. They are now referring to his slam as the "slam heard around the world."

WWF Womens Championship Match
Leilani Kai (Champion) w/Fabulous Moolah vs. Wendi Richter w/Cyndi Lauper

The girls lockup and struggle to gain an advantage. Richter works a hammerlock for a bit before Kai hits a snapmare. She yanks Richter's hair then works the arm. Kai stops Richter's comeback by yanking the hair then chokes her out on the mat. More hairpulling by Kai as this match is just awful. Richter boots a charging Kai but falls in the corner and Moolah pulls her hair. Lauper runs over and stops that rather quickly. Kai boots down Richter but she fights right back. Richter picks up Kai in a Samoan drop position then just slams her down. Richter tries a corner splash but Kai gets her knees up and covers for two. Backbreaker gets two. Kai hits a slam and goes up top and hits a flying cross body but Richter uses her momentum and reverses for the win and the championship (6:14) 1/2*. Wow, Richter completely fucked up that finish. I think Kai actually had to get off Richter then put her on top. Kai tries to attack Richter but she is celebrating with Lauper and David Wolfe.

Thoughts: The finish should have ended up on Botchamania if it hasnt already. The match was sloppy anyway as Richter was just not a good wrestler at all. I have said it before but Richter was in the right place at the right time because she was pretty bad in the ring and just horrendous on the mic. They need to add to the Women's Division if they want to promote it further.

Howard Finkel introduces New York Yankees manager Billy Martin, who is the guest ring announcer. He thanks the fans then introduces the guest timekeeper, Liberace, who is accompanied by four Rockettes. Muhammed Ali is the guest official. Pat Patterson, not announced by Martin, is the referee.

Paul Orndorff & Roddy Piper w/"Cowboy" Bob Orton vs. Mr. T and Hulk Hogan w/Jimmy Snuka

The crowd goes insane when Mr. T and Hogan come out. Both teams have to be separated as trash is flying into the ring at the heels. The heat for this match is off the charts. Orndorff and Hogan are about to start things out but Piper wants in and tags. The crowd wants Mr. T to tag and he does. Piper and Mr. T go nose-to-nose then slap each other. Piper kicks him and takes him down. Mr. T escapes after Piper grounds him then they lockup again. Mr. T picks up Piper and drops him. All four men brawl in the corner as Ali and Patterson struggle to maintain order. Ali even takes a swing at Orton. The heels take a breather outside then head towards the dressing room. Hogan orders Patterson to stop the ten count then the heels return and they brawl again. The faces take control as Hogan and Piper are now in the ring. Mr. T tags and they hit Piper with a double clothesline. Mr. T hits a few slams as Orndorff comes in and gets slammed too. Hogan sends Piper over the top rope with a big boot but gets attacked from behind by Orndorff and ends up on the floor. Piper hits Hogan with a chair as the heels finally take control. Piper taunts Mr. T as Hogan is double-teamed in the corner. Orndorff stomps on Hogan then hits a suplex. Piper tags and punches away. Kneelift gets two. Orndorff tags and hits a backbreaker. He then misses a flying knee drop and Hogan tags Mr. T. He fights off both men temporarily but ends up getting destroyed in the corner. Both men use quick tags to ground Mr. T but he is able to escape and tag Hogan. he fights off both men as the crowd isnt nearly as loud as you would think. Orndorff hits a suplex and Orton tries to enter but Snuka knocks him out of the ring. The match breaks down as Orndorff holds up Hogan as Orton is on the top rope but he accidentally gets hit with the cast and Hogan covers for the win (13:33) **1/2. After the match, Piper and Orton take off, leaving Orndorff by himself. When he gets up, he is holding the back of his head, seemingly confused and having no idea what happened. Mr. T and Hogan then pose for the crowd. They show the replay of the finish a few more times as well.

Thoughts:  This was a lot of fun. The crowd reactions were great, even if they did die down towards the end. Mr. T held up okay and they were smart to use a lot of smoke and mirrors whenever he was in the ring. Still, he did not embarrass himself. The hot-tags happened at odd times too but this was a good time. I had a hard time coming up with a rating for this match

Okerlund is with Mr. T, Hogan, and Snuka. They put over their win. Mr. T was gasping for air.

The show closes with Ventura and Monsoon thanking the fans.

Final Thoughts: The first WrestleMania was a huge success. Sure, from a wrestling standpoint, the actual matches werent the greatest but the big matches were over huge and the atmosphere was terrific. The overall production was awesome too. The build for the show was phenominal. In fact, it was so good that because of the great job they did in promoting the show (celebrity promotion and having Mr. T and Hulk Hogan host SNL the night before) that there was a huge increase in ticket sales at the closed circuit locations across the country. With the show and the hype job from the WWF, they brought wrestling to the mainstream and in a little over a month, would bring wrestling to primetime, network television.


  1. Good review and I like your stuff, Brian. One idea: Maybe stick to more obscure tapes/matches/shows/whatever that we all haven't seen a million times. I think it would drive up interest.

  2. Thanks for the compliments.
    I try to review more of the obscure stuff but this was part of my plan to review the WWF in order starting with Hogan winning the belt from the Iron Sheik in 1984. When I finish my TNA Weekly stuff, which wont be completed for another year or so, I was thinking of either reviewing the beginning of RoH, Old NWA shows, or even the beginning of OVW or FCW.
    I also agree about reviewing stuff that has been done before, I probably just added the 10,000 WrestleMania I review to the internet. When I started this, I wanted to review stuff that no one was doing (Nedeff over at 411Mania started to review the syndicated shows a couple of months ago) but the major shows were all part of the plan too.

  3. I actually burned this show today to watch tonight after work. I was thinking of going through and watching every mania again. Cool to see a review posted today.

  4. I liked that you reviewed Wrestlemania I in its context. Yeah the show was reviewed many times but rarely within the context of the buildup to the actual show. That makes a big difference, rather than reviewing as a stand alone history making show.

  5. Thank you.
    That was what I hoped for in reviewing these shows. From this era, I only remember the big shows but did not really see how they were built up. From watching the syndicated shows and house shows, the main matches here were built up tremendously.

  6. I thought that it was good, and definitely neat to see it in context.
    I almost always skim at least a bit when reading reviews, plus I know this show really well, and I still read the whole thing.
    Good job.

  7. Oh, cool, that all makes more sense then. In context is definitely good; I've been loving what Logan has done with WWF 96/97 over the last couple years so more of the same for Hogan's reign seems interesting too.

  8. What the hell was the deal with mean gene singing the national anthem? Seems odd. Also anyone know the deal with why they just wouldn't let buddy rose be buddy rose? And his pre match promo was fucking Jeff farmer bad. Still I love this show.

  9. Damn I hated coliseum video. They cut intros, music, and matches. Wtf

  10. I bet they had someone lined up to do it but it fell through.

  11. BTW. Has anyone else ever noticed the creepy guy staring at hogan's ass as he and T are walking in the back toward the aisle? He's kinda standing near Vince. Really awkward lol.

  12. YankeesHoganTripleHFanOctober 9, 2013 at 6:33 AM

    Yes but they had that awesome intro.

  13. "They did it for FUN!" lol

  14. I enjoy how someone will walk off to the left of the screen and his opponent would come in to the right of the screen.

  15. YankeesHoganTripleHFanOctober 9, 2013 at 7:18 AM

    I really wish they would do a remake with the modern guys, and bust it out at one of those Raw Homecomings that they do every now and then. Tell me that everyone on the blog would mark the FUCK out if they saw that.


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