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Who Competed in the First-Ever WrestleMania and When Was It?
Hulk Hogan headlined the first WrestleMania with Mr. T, but the night was filled to the brim with all-star appearances.
The biggest night in WWE is almost upon us and the hype couldn’t be higher for when WrestleMania Goes Hollywood in a star-studded two-night event that will feature bouts between some of the greatest Superstars in sports entertainment. By 2023, the show is a well-oiled machine and a massive spectacle, but there was a time when it was just a grand experiment designed to keep the then-World Wrestling Federation competitive with other wrestling companies that threatened to overtake the business.
Almost two decades ago, some of the OG greats in wrestling gathered alongside the biggest celebrities of the time to tie up the most electrifying storylines they had going at the time in the only way they know how — with match after match of bone-crushing mayhem.
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Before WWE makes history yet again this weekend in Hollywood on April 1 and 2, we thought it’d be fun to dive into WrestleMania history and take a look back at the first-ever card on the grandest stage of them all.
When was the first WrestleMania?
The then WWF got its foot in the pay-per-view door with WrestleMania as far back as the 1980s. Specifically, the first-ever high-profile, A-List night of wrestling entertainment took place on March 31, 1985, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The packed arena played home to a broadcast that went out to not only households across the country but other arenas throughout the country where wrestling fans could gather and watch the event live together.
Who competed at the first WrestleMania?
The match card for WrestleMania was filled to the brim with the biggest Superstars of the day, so it was no wonder that fans of sports entertainment believed the hype that this would be the can’t-miss event of the year.
The night saw Tito Santana defeat The Executioner before David Sammartino took the ring with Bruno Sammartino against Brutus Beefcake joined by Luscious Johnny Valiant, which ended in a no contest. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat toppled Matt Borne and then the legendary King Kong Bundy absolutely demolished Special Delivery Jones.
One of the biggest highlights of the night was the Eighth Wonder Of The World, Andre The Giant, taking on John Studd. The stakes of the match were simple: if Andre could body slam the more than 300-pound Studd, he would win $15,000. However, if he failed to pull off the move, Andre would be forced into retirement. Fortunately, body-slamming 300 pounds is easy for a man of Andre's abilities and he handily defeated his opponent while only breaking a mild sweat.
After that, Junkyard Dog took down Greg "The Hammer" Valentine alongside Jimmy Hart to win the Intercontinental Championship. In a war of countries, Nikolai Volkoff and Iron Sheik bested Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham, much to the dismay of the crowd. It didn’t help that Sheik used the cane of Classy Freddie Blassie at ringside to give them an unfair advantage.
After that, singer Cyndi Lauper joined Wendi Richter when she defeated Leilani Kai, who was joined by Fabulous Moolah to become the new Women’s Champion.
However, the main event of the night was the legendary Hulk Hogan joined in a tag team match by his partner, Mr. T, for a match against "Rowdy" Roddy Piper & "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff. The titans clashed in the ring for roughly 15 minutes with special guests coming in and out along the way. Ultimately, Hogan and Mr. T emerged triumphant as the winners of the first-ever WrestleMania main event.
Who were the celebrity guests at the first WrestleMania?
Although everyone was tuning in to see their favorite Superstars go at it, even at its inception, WrestleMania was a night to go all out. So, a handful of incredible celebrity guests joined the party to participate in the action.
As mentioned, Cyndi Lauper was there ringside for Wendi Richter’s bout and even got in on the action when it spilled over to her side. She was far from the only one, though.
Others who attended included Billy Martin as well as Liberace, who was accompanied by The Rocketts for one of the flashiest ring entrances of the night (possibly WWE history) before he rang the bell for the main event. Joining Pat Patterson as a guest referee for the main event was boxing legend Muhammad Ali who naturally wasn’t afraid to get a little physical when it came to upholding the rules of the night.
How many WrestleManias have there been?
Needless to say, the first WrestleMania was a smashing success that completely raised the bar for pay-per-view events. It was a no-brainer to keep it going and make it an annual event. So that’s exactly what happened. On Saturday, the 39th installment of WrestleMania will kick off from the SoFi Stadium in Hollywood California.
Catch up on all things WWE including the first WrestleMania on Peacock now.