Wrestlemania 38 is almost a month away and I decided as a hype for the event why not review every Wrestlemania to date. Let’s start with the first-ever Wrestlemania which was held in Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. By the way Fun Fact did you know that Wrestlemania was almost called The Colossal Tussle. Not kidding that was supposed to be the original name for this event.
Who Commentated on the event? – Jessie Ventura and Gorilla Monsoon
Match #1 Tito Santana vs The Executioner
The person who was under the mask as the executioner was Buddy Rose. In fact, before the match started both Tito Santana and The Executioner both cut promos. It is obvious that The Executioner clearly sounded like Buddy Rose. Important things to note in both promos Tito mentions that the Executioner was entering this match on a winning streak and The Executioner mentioned Tito Santana’s kayfabed injury.
So the match starts with a criss-cross between the too and Tito dropkicks the Executioner out of the ring. Now I am alright with criss crosses in wrestling but I am not a fan of it happening at the beginning of matches. So Santana and Executioner are back in the ring where then the Executioner goes to work on Santana’s leg. Tito then gets hit with a big boot to the corner and gets taken down with a knee to the ribs. Santana then starts to counter until the Executioner comes back with a slam and goes up, only to be slammed right back down. Santana then hits a splash that gets countered by the Executioner. Tito then kicks The Executioner to the floor and when he returns to the ring Tito hits a flying forearm. Immediately Tito locks in the Figure Four and The Executioner Submits in 4:49. This was an okay opener for the pay per view but it was not a great match. But it was a weird way to finish the match with a submission here but I am not going to complain.
My 5 Star Rating: (1.5/5)
Match #2 King Kong Bundy vs Special Delivery Jones
I am not going to go too long into this matchup as it was 23 seconds long. But this match did what it had to do and that was make King Kong Bundy look strong. I find it a bit weird that WWE recognizes this as a 9 second match in kayfabe. I understand why but watching this match it is clear that it was not a 9 second match.
My 5 Star Rating: (1/5)
Match #3 Ricky Steamboat vs Matt Borne
I was very excited to see this one as Matt Borne would later go on to be Doink The Clown which his version of it was in my opinion the best one. This was a match to make Ricky Steamboat look good as he debut not far away from Wrestlemania at the time. But in the match Matt Borne hit a beautiful suplex on Steamboat. Steamboat would later hit a top rope crossbody for the pin at 4:39. Not a terrible match and honestly I liked this match a little more than the Tito and Executioner match.
My 5 Star Rating: (1.75/5)
Match #4 Brutus Beefcake vs. David Sammartino
Both Wrestlers came into the ring with managers. Brutus Beefcake came to the ring with Johnny V. David Sammartino came down with his father the legendary Bruno Sammartino. Before the match David Sammartino was interviewed along with Bruno and I hate to say this but David can’t cut a promo. He was awful in this interview and when it ended Bruno told Johnny V to not interfiere in the match.
So both were in the ring and the matchup was so boring. It was a match filled with rest holds and more focus on the managers which later ended with a fight between both Bruno Sammartino and Johnny V once Johnny V slammed David on the outside of the ring. This match would end in a Double DQ at 11:43. I will say it would not be Wrestlemania in MSG without Bruno Sammartino and I was glad to see him as a part of the show. But This match was awful David Sammartino is not a good wrestler and this was way too long of a match.
My 5 Star Rating: (0.5/5)
Match #5 Junkyard Dog vs Greg Valentine for the Intercontinental Championship
This was another boring match that was filled with Greg Valentine working the leg and Junkyard Dog comes back. In the matchup Jimmy Hart who managed Greg Valantine gets hit and he takes a nasty fall to the floor. Greg valentine then rolls up Junkyard dog and has his feet on the ropes for the 1-2-3. Then Tito Santana comes in telling the ref what happened and the ref decides for some reason to trust Santana by restarting the match. So this match then got restarted and what happens next. Well Valentine decides to not comeback and allow the countout to happen. So Junkyard Dog wins in 6:55 but Valentine keeps his belt. I am not a fan of the ending of this matchup at all. I think it would have been better for Valentine to win the match then beat up Junkyard Dog to try and injure him in a figure four. Then have Tito Santana run out to save Junkyard Dog. But this was just a silly way to have this match end and it felt lazy to me. This match was a waste of time but at least this builds the feud between Valentine and Santana.
My 5 Star Rating: (0.5/5)
Match #6 The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff vs The U.S. Express (Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo) for the Tag Team Championships.
Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff were managed by Classy Freddie Blassie in this matchup and they are taking on The U.S. Express who are managed by Captan Lou Albano. This was a very solid matchup where both the U.S. Express and The Iron Sheik plus Nikolai Volkoff looked very well. It was full of back and forth moments and my favorite part of the matchup is the ending. What happened was the Iron Sheik took Freddie Blasse’s cane and hits Barry Windham in the head while the ref was distracted. Volkoff then pinned him and as a result the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff wins the Tag Team Championships. The Ending was great the matchup was pretty so-so, but overall thumbs up.
My 5 Star Rating: (2.5/5)
Match #7 Andre the Giant vs Big John Studd in a Bodyslam Challenge (Career vs 15,000 dollars)
For this match the stipulation was that André the Giant had to body slam Big John Studd in order to win $15,000, and if he did not he has to retire. I actually thought this match was solid. I mean it wasn’t the best but this match logically made sense. Andre the Giant knew that he had to wear down Big John Studd and had to make him weak in order to slam him. He did and well Andre actually slammed Big John Studd thus winning the match. That slam was a beautiful one too by the way. Andre then gave the money to the crowd until Bobby Heenan out of nowhere yanks the money from Andre and takes it to the locker room.
My 5 Star Rating: (2.25/5)
Match #8 Wendi Richter defeated Leilani Kai for the Women’s Championship.
This match was hyped up as Cyndi Lauper who was another celebrity pop start cam out to manage Wendi Richter to help deal with the Fabulous Moolah who was managing Leilani Kai. It did happen as Moolah did get involved in this matchup and Lauper made the save stopping Moolah. Lelani who hit a smooth backbreaker and crosbody but Richter rolls her up for the win.. This was mainly a squash match here. That was way too long at 6:14. But overall not a great match but it did it’s job.
My 5 Star Rating: (1.5/5)
Match #9 Hulk Hogan and Mr. T defeated Paul Orndorff and Roddy Piper
It is Main Event Time. This match had a ton of celebrity involvement including Muhammad Ali as the guest refferee out of the ring, New York Yankees manager Billy Martin as the Guest ring announcer, and Liberace was the time keeper. Don’t forget that Mr.T also wrestled in this matchup as well. Roddy Piper had a fantastic entrance where bagpipes and drums were being played live and it was excellent. Piper and Orndorff came down the ring with Cowboy Bob Orton. Hulk Hogan and Mr.T came down to the ring with Jimmy Snuka. By the way was not a fan of what Jimmy Snuka was wearing in this matchup as a manager. To me it really did not fit his gimmick wearing that weird shirt. But This match was pretty good and I got to say Mr.T looked pretty good in this matchup. The End of the match came when Paul Orndorff locked Hogan in a full nelson and Bob Orton would attempt to knock Hogan out with his cast and Orton accientaly hit Orndoff. Hulk would then pin Orndorff for the win.
My 5 Star Rating: (3/5)
Final Review of Wrestlemania I
There is no question how important Wrestlemania I is to WWE and I doubt that WWE would be around longer if Wrestlemania I was a flop as Vince invested a lot of money in this. Luckily for him it was a success. However the event as a whole was not a great PPV. One of the biggest issues I have with this Wrestlemania I was that there was way too many Jobber/Squash matches. Another issue I had with Wrestlemania I was some of the finishes were very uninspiring like the Intercontinental Championship match. While I had more issues with the event there are some bright spots was the Celebrity involvement was handled well. Might have been an over reliance but I will let it slide as this was needed in order for Wrestlemania to be a success. There were some solid matches in this PPV though and the commentary crew was great in this PPV.
Overall I am going to give the Final Grade of Wrestlemania I a C-.