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WrestleMania 1

Updated: Apr 25, 2020


New York City, New York

Madison Square Garden

Attendance: 19,121

Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse "The Body" Ventura

Ring Announcer: Howard Finkel

National Anthem: Mean Gene Okerlund

Tito Santana vs. The Executioner

We got a horrible interview before the match as The Executioner can't talk and the look on Mean Gene's face says "this is going to be bad". Executioner claims he's going to target Tito's leg that Greg Valentine previously injured. Match time. Thankfully this is kept short as it felt Tito was wrestling himself. Executioner does some minimal leg work and Tito attempts to sell for him. Tito wins a short bout with the figure four leg lock.

Winner: Tito Santana via submission @ 4:49 (*)

King Kong Bundy w/ Jimmy Hart vs. SD "Special Delivery" Jones

Pre-match, SD says he's up for the challenge of taking down the giant Bundy. Too bad for SD, his pre-match interview was longer than the match. Avalanche! Splash! Pin! Thanks for coming!

Winner: King Kong Bundy via pin @ 0:23 (NR)

Matt Borne vs. Ricky Steamboat

Much like the opening match, this was pretty one sided. Matt Borne was a much better heel than The Executioner but that's not saying much. Seems as though the crowd didn't know who Borne was or just didn't care. Steamboat wins with a cross body from the top rope.

Winner: Ricky Steamboat via pin @ 4:38 (**)

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

From the beginning, Bruno Sammartino seems to be the one the crowd cares about and deservingly so. Stall tactics started the match especially by Beefcake. The crowd doesn't get excited until Valiant gets involved because that means Bruno is going to get some action. A brawl ensues and we end up with a double DQ. The match is the longest on the card at this point but it felt even longer. The same result could have been in a fraction of the time. The crowd got to see Bruno and that's what they wanted.

Winner: Double DQ @ 11:44 (*)

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match

Greg "The Hammer" Valentine (champ) w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Junkyard Dog

Let me start by saying that this version of the Intercontinental championship is ugly as sin. If you don't believe me, go back and take a look. Most of this match is Valentine working over JYD's leg to setup for the figure four. Just when JYD starts to build some sort of come back, Valentine gets a cheap pin while using the ropes for leverage and that does it.....or not. Tito Santana comes out to argue the decision and I guess he has convinced the referee to restart it. However, Valentine is done and walks away giving JYD a count out win. I actually didn't mind the leg work or even the sudden cheap finish. I wish they would of left it at that and let Valentine get more heat. Instead, we get the count out to make two bad finishes in a row.

Winner: Junkyard Dog via count out @ 6:51 (**)

WWE Tag Team Championship Match

Nikolai Volkoff & Iron Shiek w/ "Classy" Freddy Blassie vs. Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo (champs) w/ Captain Lou Albano

I love the heels getting heat before the match starts with Volkoff singing the Soviet National Anthem. You have the fans booing and throwing cups and trash at him in the ring. Great stuff. This is the first match on the card that the crowd is really into. They use the US versus foreign heels formula and it works. While Windham/Rotundo were technically better, the heels had no boundaries. Barry eventually gets the hot tag which makes the crowd go crazy but the heels use Blassie's cane to pick up a cheap win and you got new champs!

Winners: Nikolai Volkoff & Iron Shiek via pin @ 6:54 (**3/4)

$15,000 Body Slam Match (Andre will retire if he loses)

Big John Studd w/ Bobby "The Brain" Heenan vs. Andre the Giant

Even though he seemed a little limited at this point, Andre is just amazing to see. The crowd is super into it because Andre is Andre and they want to see if he can be slammed. As expected, this match is rather slow with multiple failed attempts to slam each other. After a little "wear down" process, Andre gets the slam on Studd to the crowds delight. Afterward, Andre tries to throw the cash to the fans. Not a great match but a nice spectacle.

Winner: Andre the Giant via slam @ 5:53 (**)

WWE Women's Championship Match

Leilani Kai (champ) w/ Fabulous Moolah vs. Wendi Richter w/ Cyndi Lauper

So this is kind of a secondary main event since Cyndi Lauper is involved. The match itself is no good at all which is to little surprise as no women's wrestling was great at this time period. The crowd just wanted to see Cyndi get her hands on Moolah. Richter gets the win on a botched roll through off a cross body by Kai (similar to the one Tito one with earlier). Terrible match that couldn't be saved by celebrity involvement.

Winner: Wendi Richter via pin @ 6:12 (1/2*)

Tag Team Match

Guest Ring Announcer: Billy Martin

Guest Time Keeper: Liberace

Guest Referees: Muhammad Ali & Pat Patterson

Rowdy Roddy Piper & "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff w/ "Cowboy" Bob Orton vs. Hulk Hogan (WWE Champion) & Mr. T w/ Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka

They had the perfect formula for the first WrestleMania main event. Hulk Hogan was the biggest star in wrestling and Mr. T was a big star outside of wrestling having just come off of Rocky 3 and being a part of the A-Team. Those two going up against two fantastic heels in Piper/Orndorff. The heels did a great job of making Mr. T look great and to Mr. T's credit, he actually hung in there with everyone and acted like he belonged. The first half the match, Hogan/T were too much so the heels resorted chair tactics. Hogan would eventually get the hot tag at the end and when everything broke down, it would be Bob Orton who accidently hit Orndorff with his trademark cast to seal the deal and allow Hogan/T to pick up the win. Everyone played their role and this was match of the night which is what you want out of your main event.

Winners: Hulk Hogan & Mr. T via pin @ 13:24 (***)

Overall Rating: 7/10

The first WrestleMania will never be remembered for the wrestling that occurred. It was the spectacle that made it what it is. This is the show that would set the mark for all shows to follow. Celebrity involvement was great. I loved Gorilla and Jesse on commentary. The only finish I really don't care for is the Intercontinental Championship match as I feel a cheap Valentine win would be better than the count out. The cheap win wouldn't have hurt JYD. The fans get sent home on a high note with Hogan and Mr. T victorious. Outside of the some rough in-ring work, this event holds up pretty solid.

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