WrestleMania is a professional wrestling pay-per-view event, produced annually in late March or early April by WWE for Extreme (WWEFE, or just WWE) (formerly known as the World Wrestling Federation). The company regards it as 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, as of 2008, 24 editions have been held consecutively since then, with WrestleMania XXV to be held in 2009.
Conceptualized by WWE owner Vince McMahon, WrestleMania's 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, Snoop Dogg, Raven-Symoné, Kim Kardashian, 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 Garden in New York City; the 10th and 20th editions were also held there. WrestleMania III in Detroit was the highest-attended indoor sports event in the world, with 93,173 fans in attendance. The record stood until February 14, 2010 when the 2010 NBA All-Star Game broke the indoor sporting event record with an attendance of 108,713 at Cowboys Stadium. All but two editions have been hosted in U.S. cities—two having been held in Toronto, Canada—but the show is televised across the world via pay-per-view.
While WrestleMania has mostly taken place in sports arenas in major cities, a number of them have been held in large stadiums; the most attended events include—WrestleMania III in Pontiac (93,173 people), WrestleMania VI (67,678 people)& WrestleMania X8 in Toronto (68,237 people), WrestleMania VIII in Indianapolis (62,167 people), WrestleMania X-Seven (67,925 people) & WrestleMania XXV in Houston(72,744 people), WrestleMania XIX in Seattle (54,097 people), WrestleMania 23 in Detroit (80,103 people), WrestleMania XXIV in Orlando (74,635 people), and WrestleMania XXVI in Glendale (72,219 people).
WrestleMania centers around the main-event matches for the WWE Championship, the World Heavyweight Championship since WrestleMania XIX, and the ECW World Championship since WrestleMania XXIV. WrestleMania 23 also saw the TNA World Heavyweight Championship defended. 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 introduction of the World Heavyweight Championship in 2002, the winner has the option to choose between either a WWE or World Heavyweight Title match. With the introduction of the ECW brand in 2006, the Rumble winner had the 3rd option of the ECW Championship. The TNA World Heavyweight Championship was defended once, at WrestleMania 23.
WrestleMania 21 saw the introduction of a new kind of match that since has become part of WrestleMania, the Money in the Bank ladder match. This match has featured six to ten participants over the years. The participant who retrieves the briefcase suspended above the ring wins a contract, which guarantees a world title match at the time and place of the winner's choosing for up to one year, including the following year's WrestleMania.
For five of the first six WrestleMania's, Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura served as the color 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 color 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 and has appeared at every event, but since the WWE Brand Extension, Lilian Garcia, Tony Chimel, and Justin Roberts have taken over as announcers for their brand matches.
The World Wrestling Federation staged the first WrestleMania on March 31, 1985 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. 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 States, 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 Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, the Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois, and the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California 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 WWF 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.
WrestleMania VI marked the first time the event took place outside of the United States. It was held at the SkyDome, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 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 Coliseum, however, the event was moved to the adjacent Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena 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. This feat has been ranked by The Mirror as the 7th greatest winning streak in sports history (it was the only streak from professional wrestling to be ranked in the list).
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; a ladder match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship also headlined, 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 serving 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 became known for starting "The Attitude Era." The following year at WrestleMania XV, Austin defeated The Rock to regain the WWF Championship. The event featured the first of many encounters at WrestleMania between Steve Austin and The Rock in the rivalry of the two most prominent and popular stars of the Attitude Era.
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.
At WrestleMania X-Seven, Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated The Rock and regained the WWF Championship. The event also featured Vince and 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. Steve Austin defeated Scott Hall with Kevin Nash of the nWo, while The Rock and The Undertaker defeated Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair respectively, both whom had rejoined the company after their stints with WCW. WrestleMania XIX saw Steve Austin's last match to date as he faced The Rock for a third time at WrestleMania, ending their long-running feud. Hulk Hogan defeated Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels participated in his first WrestleMania match in five years, defeating Chris Jericho. The World Heavyweight Championship was defended for the first time at the event with Triple H retaining against Booker T, 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 featured The Undertaker returning in his "Deadman" persona to defeat Kane and the World Heavyweight Championship and WWE Championship victories of Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero respectively. The event also featured The Rock and Mick Foley versus Batista, Randy Orton, and Ric Flair of Evolution, and Steve Austin as the guest referee in a match between Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg. The event saw The Rock's last match to date as well as Lesnar and Goldberg's last match with WWE. The annual 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 by defeating John Bradshaw Layfield and Triple H in their respective matches. The event also featured the return of Stone Cold Steve Austin after a year long hiatus, 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 inter-promotional 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 WrestleMania 22, while the same event would see Rey Mysterio win the World Heavyweight Championship. Sold1er retained the WWE Championship, and Scorpion the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 23. With the ECW Championship being defended for the first time at a WrestleMania event, Raven retained and David Styles won the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, the only time the TNA Championship was defended at a WrestleMania event.
At WrestleMania XXIV, The Kutter Regime defeated Ashley Massaro and Eve Torres in an acclaimed match, while the Money in the Bank ladder match was featured as an interpromotional match with seven participants from RAW, ECW, and SmackDown. The Manhunter emerged as the ECW Champion, while Duke Allen won the WWE Championship and Dacia Stoker won the World Heavyweight Championship, defeating Slade Mathens. The event was the second WrestleMania to be held at an outdoor venue.
- Main article: List of celebrities involved with WrestleMania
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).
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, Nicole Scherzinger, and Fantasia Barrino 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, 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 at 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.
At WrestleManias XIV, XV and 2000, Pete Rose became 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.
Over the last few years, WrestleMania has become more than just a one night event it has become a whole weekend of events that as WWE describes it takes over the city that hosts WrestleMania. The weekend is simply known as WrestleMania Axxess. A fanfare event that lets WWE fans experience the sites and sounds of WWE like no other. From exhibits & attractions, to WWE Superstars and live matches all part of WrestleMania Axxess. Axxess is not the only event that goes on during WrestleMania weekend: there's also WrestleMania Art, a charity event where WWE Superstars show off their talent by painting pictures and having them auctioned off to raise money for local charities. There's also the WrestleMania Pro Am Golf Tournament where WWE superstars compete to see who is the best golfer. The WrestleMania Reading Challenge is an initiative by WWE to get children around the world to read more. The winners of the WrestleMania Reading Challenge get to sit front row at WrestleMania. Sine 2004 the night before WrestleMania has become the night World Wrestling Entertainment honors those who have paved the way for those of today by inducting them into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Dates, venues, and main eventsEdit
|WrestleMania||March 31, 1985||New York, New York||Madison Square Garden||Hulk Hogan and Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff|
|WrestleMania 2||April 7, 1986||Uniondale, New York|
Los Angeles, California
LA Sports Arena
|Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper in a Boxing match]]|
Battle Royal featuring superstars and athletes from the WWF and NFL
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. King Kong Bundy in a Steel Cage match for the WWF Championship
|WrestleMania III||March 29, 1987||Pontiac, Michigan||Pontiac Silverdome||Hulk Hogan (c) vs. André The Giant for the WWF Championship|
|WrestleMania IV||March 27, 1988||Atlantic City, New Jersey||Trump Plaza||Hulk Hogan vs. André The Giant[Note 2]|
Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase in a tournament final for the vacant WWF Championship
|WrestleMania V||April 2, 1989||Atlantic City, New Jersey||Trump Plaza||Randy Savage (c) vs. Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship|
|WrestleMania VI||April 1, 1990||Toronto, Ontario||SkyDome||Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior for the WWF and Intercontinental Championships|
|WrestleMania VII||March 24, 1991||Los Angeles, California||LA Sports Arena||The Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage in a Retirement match|
Sgt. Slaughter (c) vs. Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship
|WrestleMania VIII||April 5, 1992||Indianapolis, Indiana||Hoosier Dome||Ric Flair (c) vs Randy Savage for the WWF Championship|
Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice
|WrestleMania IX||April 4, 1993||Las Vegas, Nevada||Caesars Palace||Bret Hart (c) vs. Yokozuna for the WWF Championshi|
Yokozuna (c) vs. Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship
|WrestleMania X||March 20, 1994||New York, New York||Madison Square Garden||Yokozuna (c) vs. Lex Luger for the WWF Championship|
Yokozuna (c) vs. Bret Hart for the WWF Championship
|WrestleMania XI||April 2, 1995||Hartford, Connecticut||Hartford Civic Center||Diesel (c) vs Shawn Michaels for the WWF Championship|
Lawrence Taylor vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
|WrestleMania XII||March 31, 1996||Anaheim, California||Arrowhead Pond||Bret Hart (c) vs. Shawn Michaels in a 60 Minute Iron Man match for the WWF Championship|
|WrestleMania 13||March 23, 1997||Rosemont, Illinois||Rosemont Horizon||Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin in a No Disqualification Submission match|
Sycho Sid (c) vs. The Undertaker in a No disqualification match for the WWF Championship
|WrestleMania XIV||March 29, 1998||Boston, Massachusetts||Fleet Center||Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Steve Austin for the WWF Championship|
|WrestleMania XV||March 28, 1999||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||First Union Center||The Rock (c) vs. Steve Austin for the WWF Championship|
|WrestleMania 2000||April 2, 2000||Anaheim, California||Arrowhead Pond||Triple H (c) vs. The Rock vs. The Big Show vs. Mick Foley for the WWF Championship|
|WrestleMania X-Seven||April 1, 2001||Houston, Texas||Reliant Astrodome||Shane McMahon vs. Vince McMahon in a street fight|
The Rock (c) vs. Steve Austin in a No Disqualification match for the WWF Championship
|WrestleMania X8||March 17, 2002||Toronto, Ontario||SkyDome||The Rock vs Hollywood Hulk Hogan|
Chris Jericho (c) vs. Triple H for the Undisputed Championship
|WrestleMania XIX||March 30, 2003||Seattle, Washington||Safeco Field||Triple H (c) vs. Booker T for the World Heavyweight Championship|
Hulk Hogan vs. Vince McMahon
The Rock vs. Steve Austin
Kurt Angle (c) vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship
|WrestleMania XX||March 14, 2004||New York, New York||Madison Square Garden||Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg|
Kane vs. Undertaker
Eddie Guerrero (c) vs. Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship
Triple H (c) vs. Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels for the World Heavyweight Championship
|WrestleMania 21||April 3, 2005||Los Angeles, California||Staples Center||John Bradshaw Layfield (c) vs John Cena for the WWE Championship|
Triple H (c) vs. Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship
|WrestleMania 22||April 2, 2006||Rosemont, Illinois||Allstate Arena||Kurt Angle (c) vs Rey Mysterio vs Randy Orton for the World Heavyweight Championship|
John Cena (c) vs. Triple H for the WWE Championship
|WrestleMania 23||April 1, 2007||Detroit, Michigan||Ford Field||UnlimitedExtreme vs. Triple H|
Scorpion (c) vs Eddie Guerrero vs Kane for the World Heavyweight Championship
Raven vs Dana Shadows for the ECW Championship
Sold1er (c) vs. Rhyno for the WWE Championship
|WrestleMania XXIV||March 30, 2008||Orlando, Florida||Citrus Bowl||Genesis (c) vs The Manhunter for the ECW Championship|
Refugee Tim (c) vs Duke Allen for the WWE Championship
Slade Mathens (c) vs. Dacia Stoker for the World Heavyweight Championship
|WrestleMania XXV||April 5, 2009||Houston, Texas||Reliant Stadium||Refugee Matt vs Sold1er|
Saint (c) vs Andy Brookes for the World Heavyweight Championship
Chris Robertson (c) vs. Damien Holster for the WWE Championship
Video box setsEdit
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.