25 Years Ago Today It All Began...WrestleMania!
Sunday afternoon March 31, 1985 Madison Square Garden, New York City the very first WrestleMania!
19,121 pack the Garden and over 1 million more around the country watch in arenas, theatres, and other venues across the country on closed circuit TV (making this the biggest closed circuit event in history at that time) to see what has now become the "Super Bowl" of pro-wrestling.
By today's standards this event has less spectacle than a current WWE house show!
No pyro, special lighting, banners, etc. but what it did have was the magical spark that has ignited 24 more in the years since.
The celebrities were there in abundance! Everyone from Ali, to Liberace, and of course the pop queen of the time Cyndi Lauper and TV hero of the day Mr.T!
So what made this event so special and turned it into what it is today?
Three things really, all revolving around the best bad guy perhaps of all time, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper!
His feuds with Cyndi Lauper, Hulk Hogan and Mr.T is really what made it all happen.
Roddy Piper began speaking out against the recent "rock n wrestling" connection between the WWF and MTV which started in 1983/1984 with a friendship between Lauper and wrestling manager Capt. Lou Albano.
Albano appeared in many of Lauper's music videos and then Lauper began showing up at wrestling events and eventually began managing female wrestler Wendi Richter.
Eventually Piper would attack Albano (live on MTV) leading to Hulk Hogan seeking revenge for his friends, also live on MTV, during an event labeled "The War To Settle The Score" on 2/18/85.
Hogan was already somewhat of a celebrity outside of the wrestling world thanks to his role in Rocky III where he befriended Mr.T.
For his match with Piper, Hogan came to the ring accompanied by Lauper, Albano and Mr.T.
Piper brought along Cowboy Bob Orton and Paul Orndorf. Hulk Hogan won the match by DQ but he, Lauper, and Mr.T were attacked in the ring after the match with Piper going so far as to kick Lauper in the head!
The build for WrestleMania was unlike anything pro wrestling had ever seen! Hulk Hogan and Mr. T's mainstream popularity put them all over TV in the weeks prior to the event, even hosting Saturday Night Live the night before!
All this lead of course to the main event of the inaugural WrestleMania, Hulk Hogan teaming with Mr.T to face Piper and Orndorf.
Hogan and T won, and the rest of course is history, and it all happened 25 years ago today!
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