[PPV Recap] ‘WWF WrestleMania’ – It All Begins Here

Date: March 31, 1985
Venue:
Madison Square Garden (Manhattan, NY)
Commentators:
Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura

Every wrestling fan worth their weight in salt (or have watched any WWE Network doc about it) already know the story so I’ll just keep it brief: this event was a make it or break situation for the WWF at the time, with Vince McMahon leveraging his entire business on the success of this show. Luckily he already had a winning formula at the time with then-World Champion Hulk Hogan and their partnership with MTV so even though there was a chance for failure I don’t think it was as big of a deal as they make it out to be. I could be wrong though, I’m one of them there internet nerds writing compendium books. Whatever. Also if you can’t tell I’m stalling for time because oh boy has this show not aged well but I’ll shut up now and get to it.

Champion Roll-Call

  • WWF Champion: Hulk Hogan
  • WWF Intercontinental Champion: Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine
  • WWF Tag Team Champions: The U.S. Express (Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo)

The Lineup

  • Tito Santana vs. The Executioner (*3/4)
  • Special Delivery Jones vs. King Kong Bundy (SQUASH)
  • Ricky Steamboat vs. Matt Borne (**)
  • David Sammartino vs. Brutus Beefcake (*)
  • Greg Valentine [c] vs. The Junkyard Dog for the WWF INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP (*)
  • The U.S. Express [c] vs. The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff for the WWF WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (**1/2)
  • $15,000 Body Slam Challenge: Andre The Giant vs. Big John Studd (DUD)
  • Leilani Kai [c] vs. Wendi Richter for the WWF WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP (**1/4)
  • Hulk Hogan & Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff (***)

*****

-After a slideshow that goes on way too long we go live to the Garden where Gorilla Monsoon welcomes the home audience before taking it to the ring for the National Anthem, sung by…’Mean’ Gene Okerlund?!? Yikes. Actually he’s not that bad (very Robert Goulet-ish which Ventura actually points out later) but I mean this was the Rock and Wrestling Connection man, you couldn’t have someone else do it? Cyndi Lauper is on the same show!

-Cut to pre-recorded comments from Tito Santana. Santana knows nothing about his upcoming opponent The Executioner. Neither do we because he doesn’t really exist. Oh also ARRIBA. The Executioner has some words to stumble over as well, announcing that he will be going after the same leg that Greg Valentine has been targeting in his matches with Santana. Good game plan.

Tito Santana vs. The Executioner

Executioner is really AWA star ‘Playboy’ Buddy Rose under a hood. A criss cross starts us off followed by a backdrop and a dropkick that sends Executioner out to the floor. Santana settles into a side headlock, Executioner breaks it by targeting the leg but begs off to the corner when Santana won’t relent. Executioner takes control of the contest with a boot in the corner and a knee to the midsection. Executioner goes after Santana’s leg once more, applying a leglock that’s quickly turned into a pinning combination by Santana for two. Santana whips Executioner into the corner but has his piledriver attempt countered with a back bodydrop. Oh well. Executioner heads to the top, Santana slams him off and goes for a running splash but Executioner gets his knees up. Executioner goes after the leg once more, Santana kicks him out to the floor and brings him back in with a bodyslam. Santana follows up with a flying forearm and locks in the Figure Four for the submission victory.

Tito Santana defeated The Executioner via submission with the Figure Four Leglock (4:48)

  • Santana was one of the WWF’s more popular mid-card guys back in 1985 so it makes sense to give him a quick win to pump up the crowd early. Match itself wasn’t much to write home about since it was a squash but it was competently done. (*3/4)

-‘Lord’ Alfred Hayes awkwardly segues into pre-recorded comments from the folks in the next match. First up is Special Delivery Jones, who is going to GET DOOOOOWN. Well he’s right but not the way he’s hoping for. Next is King Kong Bundy, joined by Jimmy Hart. Bundy wants Jones to think about how he’s going to get beaten up. Cool. Anyway.

Special Delivery Jones vs. King Kong Bundy [w/ ‘The Mouth of the South’ Jimmy Hart]

Jones charges at Bundy, who catches him and rams into the corner. Bundy measures Jones and hits an Avalanche followed by a standing splash for the 1…2…3. Howard Finkel announces it as being a nine-second win but that’s a lie. Did they think people couldn’t count?

King Kong Bundy defeated S.D. Jones via pinfall with a splash (0:25)

  • This is one of the legendary early WrestleMania matches due to it taking the record for “shortest match in history” at the time (two lies in one). But hey it put Bundy over as a monster not to be messed with and Jones ended up with an LJN action figure for god knows what reason, so everybody won if you think about it. (SQUASH)

-We go backstage where Okerlund is standing by with ‘Maniac’ Matt Borne. Borne puts over his upcoming opponent, Ricky Steamboat, but also says he’s too nice to win. Speak of the devil we get some comments from Steamboat as well who vows to find his mean streak against Borne.

Ricky Steamboat vs. ‘Maniac’ Matt Borne

Steamboat shows off his speed and his ‘mastery’ of the martial arts with karate chops. Apparently Steamboat was teaming with Jimmy Snuka at the time, I wish I could have seen some of those matches. Borne tries to escape the headlock with a belly-to-back suplex but Steamboat lands on his feet and hits an atomic drop before reapplying the hold. Borne escapes for real the next time around, peppering Steamboat with forearms and chops. Steamboat fights out of the corner and hits a chop from the middle buckle followed by another chop and once again we’re in a headlock. Borne backs Steamboat into the corner and drives a pair of knees to the midsection followed by a belly-to-belly suplex. Snap suplex from Borne only gets a one-count. Steamboat fights back with a series of chops and a right hand that sends him to the mat. Steamboat follows up with a belly-to-back suplex and a swinging neckbreaker. He drops a knee to the sternum and covers but Borne easily kicks out. Steamboat leapfrogs Borne and hits a double right hand (according to Ventura) before finishing him off with a flying crossbody for the 1…2…3.

Ricky Steamboat defeated Matt Borne via pinfall with a flying crossbody (4:37)

  • Steamboat is not quite ‘The Dragon’ yet but the announcers were constantly putting over his martial arts prowess, so you can tell it’s coming. Good back and forth, showcased Steamboat’s ability really well. Borne wouldn’t stick around much longer after this one but this won’t be the last we see of him in a WrestleMania recap. Just the last we’ll see him without clown makeup. FORESHADOWING. (**)

-‘Lord’ Alfred Hayes hypes up the next match: David Sammartino vs. Brutus Beefcake. Well he tries to but this man keeps awkwardly pausing and tripping over his words. Poor guy. Cut to pre-recorded footage with Okerlund, who’s with Sammartino and his father Bruno Sammartino. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. Bruno threatens to put his hands on ‘Luscious’ Johnny Valiant if he tries to get involved. Next up is Beefcake and Valiant. Valiant tries to get Beefcake to say something but he doesn’t take the bait so Valiant loudmouths his way out of it. I love Johnny Valiant so much.

David Sammartino [w/ ‘The Living Legend’ Bruno Sammartino] vs. Brutus Beefcake [w/ ‘Luscious’ Johnny Valiant]

Bruno naturally gets a way bigger pop than his son, since he’s a goddamn legend and all. Poor David, what a shadow to have to work under. Beefcake is announced as being from ‘Parts Unknown’. Little known fact that I just made up: Beefcake was on the Parts Unknown High School football team with The Ultimate Warrior.

Sammartino wants to lock up, Beefcake wants to strut. His arrogance costs him and Sammartino sends him into the corner then takes him down with a drop toehold. Lots of focus on Bruno, something tells me David ain’t the one WWF is happy to have in the company. Beefcake tries to do a little rasslin’ but Sammartino worms out and Valiant accuses him of being ‘greased up’. Sammartino applies an armbar, Beefcake tries to escape with a bodyslam but Sammartino rolls through and keeps the hold applied. They break and reset, Sammartino getting some fatherly advice. Bruno is even decked out in a Dad Sweater, I love it. Beefcake traps Sammartino in a side headlock, Sammartino escapes with an Irish whip but gets dropped to the mat with a shoulderblock. Sammartino catches a charging Beefcake with a drop toehold and he ties the legs up in a bow and arrow position before transitioning into a standing toehold. Beefcake escapes with a kick, Sammartino trips the legs and reapplies the toehold. Spot happens once again, this time Sammartino kneeling into the toehold for extra torque. Beefcake rakes Sammartino’s eyes with his forearm and takes control back with a back bodydrop and scoop slam. Picture-in-picture of Bruno, the real star, looking on while his son gets clubbed.

Beefcake works over Sammartino in the corner, Sammartino reverses an Irish whip and catches him with a back bodydrop. Sammartino mounts a string of offense, concluding with a vertical suplex that gets a near-fall. Beefcake tosses Sammartino to the floor, Valiant slams him on the cement so Bruno comes in and attacks. He throws Valiant in the ring but gets attacked from behind by Beefcake. David helps his Dad and they clean house of the bad guys. Official result: double-disqualification.

David Sammartino and Brutus Beefcake fought to a double-disqualification (11:45)

  • THIS got almost twelve minutes? Yikes. I know Bruno is pretty much God when it comes to Madison Square Garden but David and Beefcake were not ready to go that long. This was a dull plodding match that the crowd only got excited for once Bruno got involved. Can’t blame them. (*)

-Pre-recorded comments from the folks in the next match. Intercontinental Champion Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine is up first, very cocky and in the best shape of his life according to him. His challenger The Junkyard Dog is up next. He wants a bone to chew on for he is a dog…from a junkyard.

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine [c] [w/ ‘The Mouth of the South’ Jimmy Hart] vs. The Junkyard Dog

Whatever JYD’s theme used to be has been edited out in favor of ‘Grab Them Cakes’ on the WWE Network. I believe that didn’t become a thing until the next year. I hate when WWE does this. Pay for the rights, man. Do me a solid. Only me. JYD outside of Mid-South is terrible in the ring but his charisma was off the charts and got by anyway. Gimmick hasn’t aged well either if we’re being honest.

JYD grabs a wristlock to start, throwing in a headbutt to bring the champ to one knee. Valentine escapes via Irish whip but JYD catches a kick and decks him. Valentine catches JYD with a knee and brings him to the mat but JYD dodges a forearm and crawls around the ring headbutting the champ, forcing him to the apron. Valentine applies a wristlock, JYD almost breaks out so he gets decked with a forearm. Valentine starts working JYD’s right leg over in preparation for the Figure Four. He goes for the hold, JYD kicks him off and limps to the corner. They trade jabs, JYD winning the shootout and following up with a pair of headbutts that sends Valentine flopping to the mat. Hart gets on the apron to distract the ref, JYD grabs him by the coat. Valentine tries to attack but accidentally hits his own manager. JYD pummels Valentine in the corner, Valentine sweeps the legs and rolls him up, foot on the rope, for the 1…2…3! Tito Santana comes out and tattles on the ref like the snitch he is and the ref restarts the match. Valentine has no desire to get back in the ring though so he’s counted out! JYD WINS AFTER ALL…but not the title so he doesn’t really win. Fake win.

The Junkyard Dog defeated Greg Valentine [c] via countout; Valentine retains the WWF INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP (6:07)

  • Meh match with a dumb retcon of the original finish to give JYD a win without being forced to give him the championship. I DON’T ACCEPT THIS, VALENTINE TECHNICALLY WON FAIR AND SQUARE. Eh whatever. This went almost half the time Sammartino/Beefcake went and was for a major championship. Gross. (*)

-Pre-recorded comments from The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff. Sheik calls Okerlund ‘Gene Mean’ so he’s my new favorite wrestler. They don’t really have much to say. Now we get the pre-recorded comments from The U.S. Express and their manager ‘Captain’ Lou Albano. The time for talking IS OVER. Then why waste Gene Mean’s time?

WWF Tag Team Championship
The U.S. Express (Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo) [c] [w/ ‘Captain Lou’ Albano] vs. The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff [w/ ‘Classy Freddie Blassie]

Before the match we get a full rendition of the Soviet National Anthem from Volkoff as the crowd lays into him, throwing trash into the ring. The good ol’ Cold War days. Wait they weren’t good. You know what I mean, LET’S DROP IT. Windham and Rotundo are suuuuper young here, it’s almost adorable. WWE Network gave them a fake ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ riff for their edited theme.

Sheik with a headlock on Rotundo to start, Rotundo uses his speed to catch him off guard with a hip toss into a dropkick and scoop slam. USA USA USA. Windham gets a shot in and Rotundo takes him to the mat with a side headlock. Windham tags in and drops the boot right between Sheik’s legs. Sheik backs Windham into the ropes, Volkoff grabs him from behind but gets dropkicked by his own partner when Windham moves out of the way. Sheik apologizes profusely and tags in Volkoff proper. Rotundo catches Volkoff with a back elbow and drops another elbow for a two-count. The Express take turns working on Volkoff’s left arm, Volkoff grabs Rotundo’s hair to take control, sending him into Sheik’s spiky boot. Sheik tags in and gets a near-fall off a gutwrench suplex. He goes for a vertical suplex, Rotundo blocks it and counters with one of his own. Volkoff tags in and prevents the tag, hanging Rotundo out to dry over the top rope. Volkoff with an Irish whip, Rotundo counters a backdrop attempt with a sunset flip for the 1…2…nope. Volkoff goes back on the attack and tags in Sheik who applies an abdominal stretch. Albano and Blassie tease fighting on the outside to pop the crowd a bit. Rotundo escapes with a hip toss and gets the tag to Windham. Windham goes ham on the now-legal Volkoff with a series of jabs and a dropkick. Windham hits a running bulldog for the 1…2…Sheik breaks the count. Rotundo attacks Sheik and sends him to the floor with a dropkick. The ref gets distracted with Rotundo, allowing Sheik to hit Windham from behind with Blassie’s cane and Volkoff covers for the 1…2…3! NEW CHAMPS!

The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff defeated The U.S. Express [c] to win the WWF WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP when Volkoff pinned Barry Windham (6:53)

  • Hey, we finally got a good match! I dug this one a lot, especially in comparison to the rest of the card so far. The U.S. Express had a ton of energy and with Sheik and Volkoff riding high on that foreigner heel heat the crowd was super engaged. Plus, The British Bulldogs or whoever didn’t come out and try to change the ref’s mind after, so the decision actually stuck! This is probably as good as it’s going to get wrestling-wise, so I’ll take solace in this as I finish this review off. (**1/2)

-Okerlund interviews the new champs backstage. Blassie says he didn’t even have a cane at ringside, that dastardly heel. Blassie rules.

-Pre-recorded comments from Big John Studd and his manager Bobby Heenan, who clutches the duffel bag full of money ($15,000 to be exact). Heenan boasts that they will be ridding the WWF of Andre The Giant tonight and Studd will prove to be the real giant of the World Wrestling Federation. Real compelling stuff. That was sarcasm.

$15,000 Body Slam Challenge
Andre The Giant vs. Big John Studd [w/ Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan]

Giant and Studd have been feuding for a while at this point, with Studd adding insult to injury by cutting Andre’s hair (that poor afro didn’t stand a chance). If Andre can slam Studd he wins the money; if he can’t then he must retire.

Studd attacks Andre at the bell with clubbing forearms. Andre fights back with a series of chops followed by a headbutt and out goes Studd to the floor. Andre keeps control of the contest with right hands and a butt squash in the corner. Studd tries to slam Andre but can’t and Andre counters with a knee and a standing bearhug. Studd rakes the eyes but Andre doesn’t break it. Andre finally lets go and slowly clubs Studd in the back before applying a standing chinlock. Andre kicks at Studd’s hamstrings and connects with another chop. Studd refuses to come out of the corner, so Andre brings him out with more hamstring kicks and a BODY SLAM.  Andre wins!

Andre The Giant defeated Big John Studd (5:53)

  • Andre The Giant is one of the biggest and most important stars in professional wrestling history. There’s no question about it, no debates necessary. But by the time pro wrestling caught on again in the States he was getting bigger and more immobile and his matches suffered as a result, this one included. Not that a pinfall or anything was the point; it was all about a slam. But the action leading up was just dull and Andre could barely club the dude convincingly. Studd also looked like a goof there, barely landing any hits of his own. Again Andre’s a legend and his place in pro wrestling history is 1000000% deserved but I can’t and won’t pretend I like his matches much. (DUD)

After the match Andre grabs the duffle bag and starts throwing the money around before Heenan runs in and steals it back, running to the back before the Giant can do anything about it. So he didn’t even get the money? Poor guy.

-Cut backstage where ‘Mean’ Gene is standing by with the victorious Andre The Giant. Andre says he doesn’t care about the money because he showed everyone he could slam Studd. Andre keeps talking but they cut him off to get back to the arena so Monsoon can tell us again and again about how big and important WrestleMania is. Rude.

-Cut to pre-recorded comments from Wendi Richter who’s accompanied by Cyndi Lauper. Richter is dead set on getting her title back, Lauper rambles in her thick New York accent. Now we get comments from the champ Leilani Kai and her manager The Fabulous Moolah. Kai vows to return to the dressing room victorious.

WWF Women’s Championship
Leilani Kai [c] [w/ The Fabulous Moolah] vs. Wendi Richter [w/ Cyndi Lauper & David Wolf]

Richter’s feud with Kai and Moolah began in 1984 when she defeated Moolah for the Women’s Championship, ending her (kayfabe) 20+ year reign. Wanting revenge Moolah brought in her trainee Kai who defeated Richter for the belt the month before at The War to Settle the Score live on MTV.

Richter gets an early pinfall attempt, Kai goes for an armbar but Richter counters with a hammerlock. Ventura says Kai can bench press over 200 pounds, which means she’s way tougher than I’ll ever be. Kai grabs the hair and snapmares Richter to the mat for a lateral press but doesn’t get the pinfall. Kai with a wristlock, taking Richter to the mat with a handful of hair behind the ref’s back. Kai with a chokehold, Richter stops it with a bodyscissors. Kai goes for a gutwrench suplex, Richter powers her to the mat with a two-count. Richter catches a charging Kai with a pair of boots. Moolah grabs Richter’s hair behind the ref’s back, Lauper comes over and breaks it up. Richter connects with a fireman’s carry into a slam for a two-count. Kai connects with a backbreaker and covers again but once more Richter kicks out. Kai heads to the top and connects with a flying crossbody but Richter sorta kinda rolls through for the 1…2…3! RICHTER IS THE NEW CHAMPION!

Wendi Richter defeated Leilani Kai [c] via pinfall to win the WWF WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP (6:10)

  • Good match for what it was; women’s wrestling in the WWF back in the 80s consisted of a whole lot of hair-based offense and this was no different but it was an enjoyable back and forth contest. Unfortunately, this ended up being the highlight of Richter’s WWF run; after refusing to sign a new contract later in the year she was the victim of a shoot screwjob by the WWF when Moolah, masked as The Spider, beat her for the championship despite Richter having kicked out at one. Not even being the female face of the Rock & Wrestling Connection could save her from McMahon’s wrath. Richter would not be seen in the WWF again until her Hall of Fame induction in 2010. Kai wouldn’t have another run as WWF Women’s Champ but stuck around in the company, forming The Glamour Girls with Judy Martin and winning the short-lived WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship. Kai would then contend again for the Women’s Championship at WrestleMania X taking on Alundra Blayze. (**1/4)

Richter and Lauper celebrate by doing a little dosey-do in the ring. Monsoon calls it a ‘happening’, which by my count is the 498394394475th time he’s said that on this show. WE GET IT, GINO.

-Cut to ‘Mean’ Gene backstage where he’s standing by with Richter, Lauper, and Wolfe. Richter says this is the happiest moment of her life. Lauper also throws in her two cents but she’s got literally all of the lipstick on her teeth and I couldn’t concentrate. I’m a bad person, I know.

-Howard Finkel introduces the guest ring announcer for the main event: former New York Yankees manager Billy Martin. Martin introduces the guest timekeeper: iconic musician/personality Liberace, who does a little can can with the Rockettes. Next up we’ve got one of our guest referees, the greatest boxer of all-time (and noted wrestling fan) Muhammad Ali. Loud ‘Ali’ chants from the Garden crowd. Former light heavyweight boxing champion Jose Torres is also here, I guess. The in-ring referee for this one is Pat Patterson, longtime WWF official and the first-ever Intercontinental Champion.

-With the celebrities out of the way it’s time for the wrestlers to enter. A bagpipe band leads out of the heel duo of ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper & ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff, accompanied by ‘Cowboy’ Bob Orton, complete with arm cast. Their opponents, Hulk Hogan & Mr. T, make their way out next as the crowd goes absolutely insane (a little drowned out by ‘Real American’ being piped in by the Network over ‘Eye of the Tiger’ but shhhh). They’ve got ‘Superfly’ Jimmy Snuka by their side.

Hulk Hogan & Mr. T [w/ ‘Superfly’ Jimmy Snuka] vs. ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper & ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff [w/ ‘Cowboy’ Bob Orton]

Bell sounds (with Liberace ringing his goofy tiny bell at the same time) and we’re off to the races. Hogan and Orndorff start, but Piper, Hogan’s hated rival, wants in. Mr. T begs Hogan to let him in, as does the crowd who want to see him finally wrestle for the first time ever. Piper slaps T, T slaps back, Piper kicks him and takes him to the mat with a waistlock. T struggles for a bit but manages to switch and escape the hold, much to Piper’s chagrin. ‘T’ chants from the Garden, who must be big A-Team fans. Who am I kidding, everyone was a big A-Team fan in 1985. T picks Piper up in a fireman’s carry and tosses him to the mat, Piper charges at him into the corner. Hogan runs in to stop the attack, and now everybody is in the damn ring including Ali, who chases Orton out of the ring. Cut to Martin who’s laughing his head off and enjoying the nonsense.

Piper, Orndorff, and Orton tease leaving and Hogan stops Patterson from counting them out. The heels reluctantly return, Hogan with a double noggin knocker and an atomic drop on Piper. Piper rakes the eyes, Hogan rakes back and T tags in for a double clothesline. T follows up with a scoop slam to Piper and a hip toss to Orndorff. Nice. Hogan tags back in and sends Piper to the floor with a big boot. Orndorff clotheslines Hogan out to the floor and Piper cracks a chair across his back. T tries to get involved but Patterson won’t let him. Piper taunts T to re-enter the ring so he and Orndorff can double team The Hulkster with a double atomic drop. Ali enters the ring and threatens Piper on the apron while Orndorff hits Hogan with a kneedrop. Piper tags in and connects with a couple of rights and a kneelift but can’t get the pin so Orndorff tags back in to continue the attack. Orndorff to the top and misses whatever move he was going for. T gets the tag and unloads on Orndorff, Piper attacks him from behind. T tries to escape Orndorff’s clutches but Mr. Wonderful hangs on and Piper tags in. Front facelock time! T powers out and Hogan tags back in for another double noggin knocker, but gets dropped with a belly-to-belly suplex from Mr. Wonderful. Orton tries to get involved but Snuka takes him out with a big headbutt before Patterson gets distracted with getting him out of the ring. Orton tries to hit Hogan with his cast but hits Orndorff instead and Hogan covers for the 1…2…3!

Hulk Hogan & Mr. T defeated Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff when Hogan pinned Orndorff (13:24)

  • A chaotic and messy main event but I can’t deny that this one was a lot of fun. Tons of energy from the crowd and Mr. T to his credit did well with his limited time in the ring. Almost made it worth sitting through that drudgery of an undercard. Almost. I know Mr. T was the big Hollywood star and they needed to accommodate him in order to make WrestleMania a big event but I would have given anything for Hogan/Piper to have been the actual main event. The War to Settle the Score was fine and all but their feud deserved the ultimate spotlight. ANYWAY good stuff here, and definitely the most fun match of the show. (***)

After the match Piper and Orton exit in a huff, leaving their partner Orndorff in the ring while Mr. T of all people checks on him. Orndorff wakes up and starts swinging, then notices his partners are gone. Mr. T offers to shake his hand but Hogan talks him out of it. Good storyline building to Orndorff’s eventual face turn. Hogan, Mr. T, and Snuka raise their hands in triumph and celebrate with the celebrities. WHAT A HAPPENING.

-After a host of replays we go to ‘Mean’ Gene in the back who’s with Hogan, Snuka, and Mr. T. T puts over how tough professional wrestling, Hogan puts over Snuka and says they reigned supreme tonight. Snuka even gets to talk which is a mistake and he says nothing interesting. Hogan vows they will be around for a long long time. Not Snuka though, he’s out of the company soon after and won’t be back until 1989. Oops.

-Cut to Monsoon and Ventura who close the show. It was a happening. Happening happening happening.

*****

Overall Thoughts: WrestleMania is an important show for any wrestling fan to watch purely for historical reasons but as a wrestling show it does not hold up very well at all. The undercard is a dumpster fire of short, dull matches and one longer than it should be dull match, but the main event is still fun in its theatrics and chaos so there’s that. Watch it for the historical context but keep it on in the background and probably only do it once.

  • Match of the Night: The U.S. Express [c] vs. Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff for the WWF TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
  • Moment of the Night: Every time they cut to ‘Lord’ Alfred Hayes’ TERRIFIED face for an interview
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