With WrestleMania 29 coming to East Rutherford, N.J. on April 7, WrestleNewz will be counting down and ranking all the WrestleManias of yore. Remember when Mr. T had a boxing match with Rowdy Roddy Piper? Remember when Hulk Hogan took on Randy “Macho Man” Savage while Elizabeth looked on? We do. So it’s time for a stroll down memory lane.
Event: WrestleMania I
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York , N.Y.
Date: March 31, 1985
Summary: Held on March 31, 1985 in Madison Square Garden, the event drew 19,121 fans at the gate and was viewed by over a million fans through closed-circuit television. Dubbed “The Greatest Wrestling Event of All Time,” MTV partnered with the WWF to air matches on their channel leading up to the event.
Highlights: The main event featured Hulk Hogan and Mr. T, seconded by Jimmy Snuka, against Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff, who were accompanied by Cowboy Bob Orton. Muhammad Ali was the guest referee for the match; midway through the match, Hulk, Mr. T., Piper, and Orndorff all began brawling in the ring and to regain control, Ali punched Roddy Piper in the face.
Lowlights: Mr. T’s wrestling in the main event left a lot to be desired. Though he was comical, it was clear he was not very technically sound, and the bout suffered because of it.
Greatest Memory: King Kong Bundy defeated Special Express Jones in a WWF record nine seconds. He slammed Jones against the turnbuckle and belly-flopped onto his opponent, securing the pin.
What was accomplished? The event broke the mold and set the table for an annual pro wrestling pay-per-view. It became the WWF’s biggest moneymaker, and proved that pro wrestling can sell out one of the most iconic arenas in the world.
Ranking: 12th. It wasn’t bad but objectively it wasn’t great either. Relying on Mr. T. in the main event was a mistake.