Photo Credit: WWE
On March 31, 1985, the first-ever WrestleMania took place at Madison Square Garden in New York City. It was sink or swim for then-WWF head honcho Vince McMahon, who put all of his eggs in one basket, gambling his entire promotion on the idea that he could bring the worlds of pro wrestling and pop culture together to create a massive television event. Decades later, that event is now a global phenomenon, and continues to grow with each passing year.
The first-ever WrestleMania, which saw a great deal of celebrity influence, was attended by 19,121 fans and watched by over a million fans on closed-circuit television. The main event featured Hulk Hogan teaming up with actor Mr. T (accompanied by “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka) to successfully defeat “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (accompanied by “Cowboy” Bob Orton) in a tag team match. Legendary boxer Muhammad Ali and WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson served as special guest referees, adding to the grandeur of the event. And of course, the iconic moment from the show was the very first one: McMahon uttering the words that have echoed through wrestling history: “Welcome to WrestleMania.”
WrestleMania has been referred to as “The Showcase of the Immortals,” “The Show of Shows,” “The Super Bowl of Sports Entertainment,” and “The Granddaddy of Them All.” But when WrestleMania was first conceived, it supposedly had a different name entirely. Initially, McMahon wanted to call the event “The Colossal Tussle.” Can you picture McMahon in the ring uttering the words, “Welcome to The Colossal Tussle” at the inaugural event? There are darker timelines than this one.
Instead, legendary WWE ring announcer, Howard Finkel, recommended that McMahon name the event WrestleMania — a play on Beatlemania, the phenomenon that swept across the nation and the world during the 1960s, when British musical group The Beatles became the most popular people on the planet. McMahon took Finkel’s suggestion, and when the dust had settled and the last bell had been rung, the event was deemed a massive success, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Courtesy of Wrestling Inc