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The official WrestleMania logo.
WrestleMania is a professional wrestling pay-per-view event, produced annually in late March or early April by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) (formerly known as the World Wrestling Federation). It is considered the flagship event of WWE, as it is the most successful and longest-running professional wrestling event in the world. WrestleMania is nicknamed "The Grandaddy of Them All", "The Grandest Stage of Them All" and "The Showcase of the Immortals." The event was first produced in 1985, and 25 editions have been produced as of 2009, with WrestleMania XXVI to be held in 2010.

Conceptualized by WWE owner Vince McMahon, its widespread success helped transform the professional wrestling industry and make the WWE the most successful promotion in the world. WrestleMania has facilitated the rise to stardom of wrestlers such as The Undertaker, Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, The Rock, and Triple H, amongst others. Numerous celebrities such as Muhammad Ali, Mr. T, Alice Cooper, Lawrence Taylor, Pamela Anderson, Mike Tyson, Donald Trump, Floyd "Money" Mayweather, Snoop Dogg, Raven-Symoné, Kim Kardashian, Mickey Rourke, Jenny McCarthy and others have participated or made special appearances in the events. The WWE's television shows are tailored to reach their climax at WrestleMania, which features matches for the company's championship titles, as well as specialty and gimmick matches. Participation in a WrestleMania match, and especially the main event, is considered by many wrestlers and fans alike as one of the greatest achievements and symbols of success in professional wrestling.

WrestleMania propels the worldwide commercial success of the WWE through media, merchandise and shows. All of the events produced have been sold out within a short period of time, with recent editions being sold out within minutes of tickets going on sale. The first WrestleMania was held in Madison Square Gardenmarker in New York Citymarker; the 10th and 20th editions were also held there. WrestleMania III in Detroitmarker was the highest-attended indoor sports event in the world, with more than 93,000 fans in attendance. All but two editions have been hosted in U.S. cities - two having been held in Torontomarker, Canadamarker - but the show is televised across the world via pay-per-view.

Organization

The logos used for WrestleMania from 1985-2009
While most WrestleManias have been held in sports arenas in major cities, a number of them have been held in large stadiums; the most attended events include - WrestleMania III in Pontiacmarker (93,173 people), WrestleMania VI in Torontomarker (67,678 people), WrestleMania VIII in Indianapolismarker (62,167 people), WrestleMania X-Seven in Houstonmarker (67,925 people), WrestleMania X8 in Toronto (68,237 people), WrestleMania XIX in Seattlemarker (54,097 people), WrestleMania 23 in Detroitmarker (80,103 people), WrestleMania XXIV in Orlandomarker (74,635 people), and WrestleMania XXV in Houston (72,744 people.)

The format of WrestleMania is built upon the main event matches for the WWE Championship and more recently also for the World Heavyweight Championship. Since 2007, the ECW franchise has participated at WrestleMania. A select number of other championship titles are also contested, while there are several gimmick matches and personal feud matches on the card.

Since 1993, the winner of the annual Royal Rumble match has received a guaranteed WWE Championship match at that year's WrestleMania. With the creation of the World Heavyweight Championship in 2002, the winner has since been able to choose to receive a World Heavyweight Championship match instead. With the introduction of the ECW brand the possibility for the winner to choose to receive an ECW World Championship match instead of either of the above at WrestleMania was also added in 2007.

As of 2005, the event has also been known for its Money in the Bank ladder match which features six to eight participants. The winner of the match receives a contract, which guarantees a match for any of WWE's three world titles at the time and place of his choosing. The contract is valid for one year up to the next year's WrestleMania.

Commentators

For five of the first six, Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura served as the main commentators (the exception being WrestleMania 2, which was split among three venues and had Monsoon, Ventura, and Vince McMahon split up with guest commentators), while Bobby Heenan and others filled guest roles. For WrestleMania VII and VIII, Monsoon and Heenan were the main commentators. In the mid to late 1990s, the team was composed of Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler. Since the brand separation in 2002-03, matches from the Raw brand have been called by Ross and Lawler; the SmackDown matches called by Michael Cole, Tazz, John "Bradshaw" Layfield and Jonathan Coachman and ECW matches called by Joey Styles and Tazz. Howard Finkel has served as the long-standing ring announcer, but since the WWE Brand Extension, Lilian Garcia, Justin Roberts, and Tony Chimel have also filled in the role.

History

1980s

The first WrestleMania was held by the World Wrestling Federation on March 31, 1985 at Madison Square Gardenmarker in New York Citymarker. The main event was a tag-team match between the WWF Champion Hulk Hogan and Mr. T, accompanied by Jimmy Snuka against the team of Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff, who were accompanied by Cowboy Bob Orton. The financial and critical success of the event secured the company's status as the most successful promoter in the United Statesmarker, rising above competitors such as the National Wrestling Alliance and American Wrestling Association. WrestleMania 2 was held the following year and took place in three venues across the country. The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseummarker in Uniondale, New Yorkmarker, the Rosemont Horizonmarker in Rosemont, Illinoismarker, and the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arenamarker in Los Angeles, Californiamarker each featured multiple matches that led up to the lead main event which saw the WWF Champion Hulk Hogan defeat the challenger King Kong Bundy in a steel cage match.

A world indoor attendance record set of 93,173 fans was set at WrestleMania III, which was also the largest paying attendance in the history of professional wrestling at the time. The event is widely considered to be the pinnacle of the 1980s wrestling boom. To make certain that every seat in the Silverdome would be filled, the World Wrestling Federation decided to exclude the entire state of Michigan from pay-per-view access to the event, which made attending the event the only way for fans in Michigan to see it. The main event featured Hogan defending the WWF Championship against André the Giant. The moment when Hogan body slammed André the Giant remains one of the most famous moments in professional wrestling history. The match between the WWF Intercontinental Champion Randy Savage and Ricky Steamboat also gained much acclaim and popularity.

1990s

WrestleMania VI marked the first time the event was held outside of the United Statesmarker. It was held at the SkyDomemarker, in Torontomarker, Ontariomarker, Canadamarker. In the main event match, The Ultimate Warrior won the WWF Championship from Hulk Hogan. WrestleMania VII was originally scheduled to be held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseummarker, however, the event was moved to the adjacent Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arenamarker for security reasons due to the Gulf War. The event saw Hulk Hogan face Sgt. Slaughter for the WWF Championship, while The Undertaker made his WrestleMania debut defeating Jimmy Snuka. Since then, The Undertaker has been undefeated in all of his WrestleMania matches.

WrestleMania IX was the first WrestleMania held at an outdoor venue. The 10th edition of the event, WrestleMania X saw its return to Madison Square Garden. The event featured Owen Hart defeating his elder brother Bret, and the event was also headlined by a ladder match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship, in which Razor Ramon defeated Shawn Michaels. Michaels defeated Bret Hart to win the WWF Championship in a 60-minute Iron Man match at WrestleMania XII. The match is considered to be one of the best matches in the history of the event.

At WrestleMania XIV, Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated Shawn Michaels to become the new WWF Champion in a match that featured Mike Tyson serve as the special enforcer. Although Tyson had been aligned with Michaels and his stable, D-Generation X, Tyson revealed to have been aligned with Austin all along as he personally counted the pinfall and declared Austin the winner. The event exemplified "The Attitude Era".

2000s

WrestleMania 2000 featured the first ever Triangle Ladder match for the WWF Tag Team Championship, involving the Hardy Boyz, the Dudley Boyz and Edge and Christian. The main event featured the WWF Champion Triple H (with Stephanie McMahon) successfully defending his title against three challengers: The Rock (with Vince McMahon), The Big Show (with Shane McMahon), and Mick Foley (with Linda McMahon).

An attendance record setting 74,635 fans at the Citrus Bowl for WrestleMania XXIV
At WrestleMania X-Seven, Austin aligned himself with his long-time nemesis Vince McMahon to defeat The Rock and regain the WWF Championship. The event also featured Vince McMahon and his son Shane McMahon in a Street Fight, while Edge and Christian won the WWF Tag Team Championship against the Hardy Boyz and Dudley Boyz in the second Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match. The event was the pinnacle of the 1990s wrestling boom, concluding The Attitude Era. It was also the first WrestleMania held after the dissolution of the company's rival, World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and the Monday Night Wars. WrestleMania X8 was the last WrestleMania to be produced under the WWF name and featured Triple H defeating Chris Jericho to win the Undisputed Championship. In a memorable match billed as "Icon vs. Icon", The Rock defeated Hulk Hogan, who had rejoined the company after his 6-year stint with WCW. WrestleMania XIX saw Steve Austin's last match to date as he faced The Rock for a third time at Wrestlmania, ending their long-running feud. Billed as a match 20 years in the making, Hulk Hogan defeated Vince McMahon. In this card it would feature Shawn Michaels first WrestleMania in five years as he went on to defeat Chris Jericho. Triple H defeated Booker T to retain the World Heavyweight Championship, while Brock Lesnar defeated Kurt Angle to win the WWE Championship.

World Wrestling Entertainment celebrated the 20th edition of WrestleMania at Madison Square Garden with WrestleMania XX. The event bore the slogan "Where It All Begins...Again", celebrating the legacy of WrestleMania. The focal points of the night were the return of The Undertaker back to his deadman persona to defeat Kane and the World Heavyweight Championship and WWE Championship victories of Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero respectively. The WWE Hall of Fame was reintroduced with an annual induction show held the night before WrestleMania.

At WrestleMania 21 the concept of the Money in the Bank ladder match was introduced as a six-man ladder match that featured a briefcase suspended above the ring containing a contract that guaranteed the winning Raw brand participant a world title match at any time and place of their choosing within one year up to the next year's WrestleMania. In the main events, the WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship passed on to John Cena and Batista respectively, while Kurt Angle defeated Shawn Michaels in an acclaimed match. The Money in the Bank ladder match was also held at WrestleMania 22 as a six-man interpromotional match where the winner would get a world title match of their choosing, regardless of the brand they were on. The Money in the Bank ladder match was held yet again at WrestleMania 23 as an interpromotional eight-man match where superstars from Raw, ECW, and SmackDown competed. John Cena would go on to retain his WWE Championship at both WrestleMania 22 and 23, while the same events would see Rey Mysterio and The Undertaker win the World Heavyweight Championship respectively.

At WrestleMania XXIV the professional wrestling career of Ric Flair came to an end as he faced Shawn Michaels in an acclaimed match. The Money in the Bank ladder match was featured as an interpromotional match with seven participants from Raw, ECW, and SmackDown. With the ECW Championship being defended for the first time at a WrestleMania event, Kane emerged as the new ECW Champion in a record 8 seconds, while Randy Orton retained the WWE Championship and The Undertaker won the World Heavyweight Championship for the second consecutive year. The event was the second WrestleMania to be held at an outdoor venue.

WrestleMania XXV was marketed as the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania (while actually being the 24th anniversary). To make this seem fit, Chris Jericho defeated three superstars that took place in many of the first WrestleManias. These included, Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka, and Ricky Steamboat. John Cena won the World Heavyweight Championship in a triple threat match against champion Edge and The Big Show. Triple H retained his WWE Championship against Randy Orton in the main event. The Undertaker also defeated Shawn Michaels to extend his undefeated streak to 17-0 in an acclaimed match.

Celebrity involvement

Over the years, WrestleMania has featured many celebrity appearances with varying levels of involvement.

The main event of the first WrestleMania was littered with celebrities. The ring announcer was former Yankees manager Billy Martin, the timekeeper was Liberace, and the special enforcer was Muhammad Ali. Also, Mr. T of the TV show The A-Team competed in the main event alongside tag team partner, Hulk Hogan.



Mike Tyson appeared at WrestleMania XIV as the special guest enforcer for the WWF Championship match between Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin. Tyson made the three count, and thus wound up awarding the title to Austin.

Some celebrities have accompanied wrestlers to the ring such as Cyndi Lauper (for Wendi Richter), Ozzy Osbourne (for the British Bulldogs), Ice-T (for The Godfather and D'Lo Brown), Alice Cooper (for Jake Roberts), Pamela Anderson (for Diesel), and Jenny McCarthy (for Shawn Michaels). At WrestleMania 23, Donald Trump made his fifth WrestleMania appearance managing Bobby Lashley in a match against Umaga (managed by Vince McMahon) where the losing manager would get his head shaved.

The event has also featured live musical performances. Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Robert Goulet, Willie Nelson, Reba McEntire, Little Richard, The DX Band, Boyz II Men, Ashanti, Boys Choir of Harlem, Michelle Williams, John Legend and Nicole Scherzinger have each had their turn singing "America the Beautiful" before the show (except for Goulet, who performed "O Canada" at WrestleMania VI). Meanwhile acts such as Motörhead, Limp Bizkit, Saliva, The DX Band, Run-D.M.C., Salt-n-Pepa, Ice-T, Drowning Pool and P.O.D. have also performed theme songs for the wrestlers live. Triple H has notably had his entrance theme performed live four times, by the DX Band, Motörhead (twice) and Drowning Pool.

On occasions, the celebrities themselves may participate in the matches. One of the three main events at WrestleMania 2 was a 20-man battle royal pitting several NFL superstars against the wrestling superstars including the eventual winner, André the Giant. Lawrence Taylor faced Bam Bam Bigelow in a singles match and won after a forearm off the second rope. Mr. T had two matches, first teaming up with Hulk Hogan against Paul Orndorff and Roddy Piper the inaugural WrestleMania, followed by a Boxing match at WrestleMania 2 against Roddy Piper. Mr. T won both matches with the second by disqualification. Professional boxer Butterbean was challenged to a (legitimate) Brawl for All Boxing match by Bart Gunn at WrestleMania XV. Butterbean knocked Gunn out in about 30 seconds. The Big Show faced sumo wrestling champion Akebono in a sumo contest at WrestleMania 21. Big Show also fought professional welterweight boxer Floyd "Money" Mayweather at WrestleMania XXIV.

At WrestleManias XIV, XV and 2000, Pete Rose was involved in a short feud with Kane with each appearance ending with Rose receiving a Tombstone Piledriver or Chokeslam from Kane. The San Diego Chicken was also used during this feud.

As a part of their appearances at WrestleMania, both Pete Rose and William "Refrigerator" Perry (who participated in the WrestleMania 2 battle royal) were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame under their celebrity wing.

At WrestleMania XXV, Mickey Rourke attended the event as a spectator for the Handicap Elimination matches involving Chris Jericho against WWE Legends. After Jericho defeated the three legends, Rourke was called in to the ring by Jericho. Rourke knocked down Jericho with a left jab straight to the jaw. The event also feature a 10-minute mini-concert by Kid Rock, who performed a medley of his songs.

Dates, venues, and main events

Event Date City Venue Main Event
WrestleMania March 31, 1985 New York, New Yorkmarker Madison Square Gardenmarker
WrestleMania 2 April 7, 1986 Uniondale, New Yorkmarker

Rosemont, Illinoismarker

Los Angeles, Californiamarker
Nassau Coliseummarker

Rosemont Horizonmarker

LA Sports Arenamarker
WrestleMania III March 29, 1987 Pontiac, Michiganmarker Pontiac Silverdomemarker
WrestleMania IV March 27, 1988 Atlantic City, New Jerseymarker Trump Plazamarker
WrestleMania V April 2, 1989 Atlantic City, New Jersey Trump Plaza
WrestleMania VI April 1, 1990 Toronto, Ontariomarker SkyDomemarker
WrestleMania VII March 24, 1991 Los Angeles, California LA Sports Arena
WrestleMania VIII April 5, 1992 Indianapolis, Indianamarker Hoosier Domemarker
WrestleMania IX April 4, 1993 Las Vegas, Nevadamarker Caesars Palacemarker
WrestleMania X March 20, 1994 New York, New York Madison Square Garden
WrestleMania XI April 2, 1995 Hartford, Connecticutmarker Hartford Civic Centermarker
WrestleMania XII March 31, 1996 Anaheim, Californiamarker Arrowhead Pondmarker
WrestleMania 13 March 23, 1997 Rosemont, Illinois Rosemont Horizon
WrestleMania XIV March 29, 1998 Boston, Massachusettsmarker Fleet Centermarker
WrestleMania XV March 28, 1999 Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamarker First Union Centermarker
WrestleMania 2000 April 2, 2000 Anaheim, California Arrowhead Pond
WrestleMania X-Seven April 1, 2001 Houston, Texasmarker Reliant Astrodomemarker
WrestleMania X8 March 17, 2002 Toronto, Ontario SkyDome
WrestleMania XIX March 30, 2003 Seattle, Washingtonmarker Safeco Fieldmarker
WrestleMania XX March 14, 2004 New York, New York Madison Square Garden
WrestleMania 21 April 3, 2005 Los Angeles, California Staples Centermarker
WrestleMania 22 April 2, 2006 Rosemont, Illinois Allstate Arena
WrestleMania 23 April 1, 2007 Detroit, Michiganmarker Ford Fieldmarker
WrestleMania XXIV March 30, 2008 Orlando, Floridamarker Citrus Bowlmarker
WrestleMania XXV April 5, 2009 Houston, Texas Reliant Stadiummarker
WrestleMania XXVI March 28, 2010 Glendale, Arizonamarker University of Phoenix Stadiummarker
1. This refers to the final match on the card. On three occasions, the match listed as the headline event in promotional materials took place earlier: Hulk Hogan vs. André the Giant at WrestleMania IV, Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock at WrestleMania X8 and Hulk Hogan vs. Vince McMahon at WrestleMania XIX


 2. Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna was the scheduled main event, but an impromptu match between Yokozuna and Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship occurred after it.


Video box sets

Several VHS and DVD box sets have been released over the years:
  • In 1994, a VHS set with WrestleManias 1-X was released.
  • In 1997, a VHS set with WrestleManias 1-13 was released.
  • In 1998, a VHS set titled "WrestleMania: The Legacy" with WrestleManias 1-XIV was released. The set was re-released in 1999, this time including XV.
  • In 2005, a DVD set titled "WrestleMania: The Complete Anthology" with WrestleManias 1-21 was released; this marked the first time WrestleManias 1-XIV were released on DVD in Region 1. The set was re-released in 2006, this time including WrestleMania 22.
  • In 2007, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the event, WWE released a special "Championship Edition" DVD of WrestleMania III. The two-disc set includes the event itself, another version of the event that includes pop-up facts, and pre-event interviews and extra matches from notable shows such as Saturday Night's Main Event.


References



Further reading



External links




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