Live from New York, NY

Airdate: March 31, 1985

Attendance: 19,121

Hosted by Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura

Here we are--the very first WrestleMania that has spawned over three decades for the WWF/WWE. Let’s dig in to how the WWF got to this point:

Before he put his name to “Tutti Frutti” on the Wrestling Album “Mean” Gene Okerlund graced us with the national anthem including an “Everybody.” It had to be one of the quickest renditions I’ve ever heard.

Backstage Lord Alfred Hayes hypes the first match.

In a pre-taped interview, back in the dressing room, Gene interviews Santana. Immediately thereafter he interviews the Executioner who claims to be a “big-leaguer.”

Match 1: Tito Santana versus the Executioner


Rating: **

Summary: While the outcome wasn’t in much doubt this was a decent opener.

Hayes previews the upcoming Bundy-Jones match.

Back in the dressing room Gene interviews a very excited S.D. Jones. Afterward Bundy takes up my entire screen and promises a five-count.

Match 2: S.D. “Special Delivery” Jones versus King Kong Bundy (w/ Jimmy Hart)


Rating: DUD

Summary: While Monsoon and Jesse (wearing a pink tuxedo) contemplate a record time of nine seconds (announced by Howard Finkel) the match actually lasted 23 seconds. Impressive squash for the monster Bundy. I wonder if he celebrated by climbing the Empire State Building.

Back in the dressing room Gene interviews Matt Bourne. Unfortunately he’s not wearing clown makeup. Recent WWF acquisition Steamboat is ready to show some “meanness” in the WWF.

Match 3: Ricky Steamboat versus “Maniac” Matt Borne


Rating: **1/2

Summary: Good showcase match for Steamboat. He should have a bright future here in the WWF.

While holding the WrestleMania program Hayes previews the Beefcake-Sammartino match.

Gene interviews David with Bruno then Beefcake with Valiant who accused Bruno of being a pickpocket.

Match 4: David Sammartino (w/ Bruno Sammartino) versus Brutus Beefcake (w/ “Luscious” Johnny Valiant)


Rating: *1/2

Summary: This was very early in David’s career, but it was also a good effort to involve Bruno at this show. If I had been in attendance this would have been the bathroom break match.

After the match the Sammartinos clear Valiant and Beefcake from the ring.

Hayes previews the upcoming Intercontinental title match.

Gene interviews Valentine then JYD.

Match 5 for the WWF Intercontinental title: Greg “The Hammer” Valentine (champion w/ Jimmy Hart) versus the Junkyard Dog


Rating: *1/2

Summary: This was a battle between a wrestler and a sports-entertainer. The wrestler got the better of the SE’er this time. Or did he?

Santana, already showered and dressed, runs into the ring and informs referee Dick Kroll of Valentine’s chicanery. Kroll then restarts the match and counts Valentine out. Both men are fresh acquisitions to the WWF so it makes sense that JYD wins. As Valentine is apoplectic the crowd chants “Tito.”

Hayes previews the WWF Tag Team title match.

Back in the dressing room “Gene Mean” interviews the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff with Blassie. Afterwards Albano provides a generic babyface promo.

Match 6 for the WWF Tag Team titles: The US Express (champions w/ Capt. Lou Albano) versus the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff (w/ “Classy” Freddie Blassie)


Rating: ***

Summary: With only two titles being defended here you’d have to think one of them is changing hands here. And you’d be right in this case. Solid tag match with heel shenanigans prevailing in this case.

Backstage “Gene Mean” interviews the NEW champs with Blassie. While the previous interviews were pre-taped this exchange was live.

Hayes previews the battle of two giants for $15,000. He states that if Andre doesn’t slam Studd he’ll be forced to retire.

Back in the dressing room Studd brags about Heenan’s money and beating Andre while Gene tries to fill his pockets.

Match 7 (body slam challenge): Andre the Giant versus Big John Studd (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan)


Rating: *

Summary: This was more of a feature than a match. The crowd ate it up with a spoon.

After the match Andre opens the bag of money and tosses money into the crowd. Immediately Heenan grabbed the bag and high-tailed it backstage.

Backstage Gene interviews Andre. He states that he’s not ready to retire. Jesse coins the ending of the previous match as “the slam heard ‘round the world.”

Backstage Hayes…wait a minute…both Moolah and Kai kiss Hayes on their way to the ring.

Back in the locker room Gene interviews Lauper and Richter. Lauper sounds like a true angry New Yorker. Meanwhile Gene then interviews Moolah with Kai.

Match 8 for the WWF Women’s title: Leilani Kai (champion w/ the Fabulous Moolah) versus Wendi Richter (w/ Cyndi Lauper)


Rating: **

Summary: My very generous rating is mostly due to the crowd appeal of Lauper. The skill level of these women wasn’t high whatsoever. Without the celebrity involvement, this match either misses the card or is scheduled much lower.

After the match, Lauper attacked Moolah again. As Finkel announced the new champion, the crowd ERUPTED.

Backstage Gene interviews the NEW Women’s champion Richter who, with her Texan accent, was fired up. In stark contrast with her Queens accent, Lauper was happy for her champion.

Before the main event, Finkel introduces the guest ring announcer–former New York Yankee #1 Billy Martin. Unlike his meeting with Okerlund setting up his appointment, the volatile manager appears to be quite sober. He announces the guest timekeeper Liberace who enters the ring with four Rockettes and proceeds to dance a number with them. Next, Martin announces the guest referee–Muhammed Ali–who will be outside the ring. Finally, Pat Patterson will officiate the match inside the ring.

Match 9: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff (w/ “Cowboy” Bob Orton) versus Hulk Hogan and Mr. T (w/ “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka)


Rating: ***1/2

Summary: Despite being a celebrity and not a full-time wrestler, Mr. T’s involvement didn’t hinder this match whatsoever. While very much a sports-entertainment type of match, it came off beautifully. An extra star was added for reasons I explain below.

After the match Piper wallops Patterson, flips off the crowd, and heads to the dressing room. Mr. T checks on Orndorff until he wakes up dazed and confused.

Hogan poses before heading backstage.

An ecstatic Gene interviews the champ, Mr. T, and Snuka. Hogan truly sells this as a team effort. Who knew?

Conclusion: THIS card is the reason I became a wrestling fan back in 1985. Without any doubt, this show defines the term spectacular. To combine the extremely high level of celebrity with the showcasing of the WWF’s wrestling superstars make this show golden. In case you aren’t sure how popular this event was, over one million viewers watched this show on closed-circuit. If you have a friend on the fence about being a wrestling fan, this card just might do the trick to convert them.

See you for the 2nd annual David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions!

Buyrate: NONE

Comments? Suggestions? Send them to me at rsg@rockstargary.com and follow me on Twitter (@rockstargary202).

Custom Search

web counter
web counter