I consider myself a wrestling connoisseur. I believe that I can honestly say I’ve imbibed more wrestling than 85-95 percent of the rest of the world. All of that being said, I have some cracks in that resume.
That includes one that is very inexcusable.
I am proud to say that has been rectified. Along with Swoggle Squad compatriot, Rich Camillucci, I grabbed my handy pen and paper and finally watched the event that started it all (except the two Starrcades I’ve already written about.)
Let’s see what all the fuss is about, huh?
PAY PER VIEW NUMBER 3- WWF WRESTLEMANIA 1
Written on 5/20/14
THE FIRST THING YOU SEE: SKYSCRAPERS!!!! It isn’t Dan Spivey and Sid Vicious; it is images of actual skyscrapers and the WrestleMania logo appears with images previewing the entire card. God, this 1980s style music that permeates these packages is going to be the death of me. That said, this opening is effective in getting me ready for the show.
-Gorilla Monsoon’s voice is already a breath of fresh air as he introduces the show alongside Jesse Ventura. Jesse doesn’t get any words in. Neither does his pink ass tuxedo.
-Howard Finkel with hair (kinda) introduces Mean Gene Okerlund to…SING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM?!?!?! Rich immediately yells, “STOP IT!” I just imagine this was because Vince blew his money on everything else. Gene encourages everyone to join in at one point, treating the Star Spangled Banner like a parlor song.
-Once that unfortunate incident is over, he cut to another unfortunate incident: Lord Alfred Hayes backstage. He sets up our opening match as one of the participants, the Executioner, walks right by him because Hayes is standing right in front of the main entrance.
-Pre-tape with Mean Gene and Tito Santana. If you squint, he looks just like Alberto Del Rio. Try it. His promo is just as riveting as Del Rio now. Immediately after Tito wraps up, the Executioner walks in. Let’s just say I understand why Buddy Rose is known more for his Blowaway Diet vignette than his promo ability.
MATCH NUMBER ONE: The Executioner vs Tito Santana
-I love that the ring bell is used to spruce up the introductions of the wrestlers because they have nothing else to use.
-Another thing I love: a wrestler not only being listed from “Parts Unknown”, but his weight also being “Unknown”. Nobody could force him on a scale before the match?
-20 seconds into the first match in WrestleMania history: Tito Santana nails an impressive dropkick and a cameraman has already fallen down.
-It is nice to watch a WrestleMania and hear the commentators actually talk about the match and the action. Get ready for that joke to reoccur quite frequently.
-Just based on the sheer fact from above, Gorilla Monsoon is the MVP of the PPV so far.
-It is weird to hear Tito Santana referred to as a “youngster.”
-A piledriver setup elicits scared groans from Rich. In case you didn’t know, Rich gets physically bothered by watching any piledriver.
-This back and forth action has been thoroughly entertaining.
-FLYING BURRITO!!!! Followed by a straight up message!
WINNER: Tito Santana in 4:48 after making Executioner submit with a Figure 4.
FINAL WORD: Fine start to a legendary show that also furthers a current storyline (Santana vs Greg Valentine). Way to go, WrestleMania 1!
-Lord Alfred Hayes backstage. He looks absolutely terrified. His eyes keep moving back and forth like he is searching for approval from someone.
-Another Mean Gene pretape to hype the King Kong Bundy/SD Jones match. The gist of SD Jones’ promo: I think he encouraged people to buy hats? The gist of Bundy’s promo: he looks like a fat Powder that is only wearing a wristwatch.
MATCH NUMBER TWO: SD Jones vs King Kong Bundy w/ Jimmy Hart
-Jones is billed from Philly. Yeah…okay.
-Gorilla calls Bundy a mountain with arms and feet. I told you the man was good at his job.
-Bundy would severely bother Swoggle Squad member Augie because he doesn’t wear kneepads.
-Speaking of mountain…AVALANCHE!!!
-In the time it took you to read this, the match has already been over.
WINNER: King Kong Bundy in 0:24 after a big splash.
-The announcer says that Bundy wins in a record time of nine seconds. I know a lot of New Yorkers are awful with time, but come on! Gorilla says the original record was 23 seconds. They even messed up the legit record!
FINAL WORD: We will see you at WrestleMania 2, King Kong Bundy. We will never see you again, SD Jones.
-Mean Gene earned his pay with these pretapes. It is incredibly awkward that both superstars are in the room together as they cut these promos. When one is finished, the other walks right up. That doesn’t seem properly kayfabed to me.
-My analysis of Matt Borne’s promo: it is good to see Doink with sunglasses. My analysis of Ricky Steamboat’s promo: I am getting tired of giving analysis on Ricky Steamboat promos.
MATCH NUMBER 3: Matt Borne vs Ricky Steamboat
-Rich: “The referee looks like a fucking barber.”
-Ricky Steamboat was really born way too soon for his own good. Imagine if he was around today and knew that you could do so much cool shit in a wrestling ring now.
-Steamboat mocks Borne’s selling after an Atomic Drop. Steamboat humor!!!! Batten down the hatches!
-The chemistry of Gorilla and Jesse is palpable. They sound like butter being spread on a hot piece of toast.
-The first ever “BORING” chant in PPV history is actually just one loud, drunk New Yorker yelling it once.
-Borne just let out a piratesque yell before a suplex. He is no Paul Burchill.
-Gorilla calls it a “suplex” and not a “suplay”. I would have paid money to see Gorilla and Gordon Solie in a spelling bee.
-Ricky Steamboat is going through an actual arsenal of moves right now.
-Gorilla’s anatomy talk bewilders me, but also inspires me to research and see if anything he said even exists.
-These lower card heels are having a rough go of it.
WINNER: Ricky Steamboat in 4:37 after a flying cross body block.
-Gorilla and Jesse flawlessly call the replay. They tell the entire story of the match perfectly in seconds.
FINAL WORD: That was the Tim Duncan of wrestling segments: fundamental and great. Good, short match with excellent analysis and a story being told. Keep it coming!
-Oh, Lord (Alfred Hayes). He is clutching a WrestleMania program now. As Johnny Valiant walks by, he says something to our Lordship. We couldn’t have found any other location for Hayes to stand?
-Mean Gene with David and Bruno Sammartino. Its best purpose was allowing me to further research my Bruno impression (which will be nails eventually).
-Let’s talk about the Johnny V and Brutus Beefcake promo, huh? Valiant talks 88 miles a minute, purposely doesn’t let Beefcake talk, then tells him to talk, but stands in front of him. As Valiant moves away, Beefcake BLOWS A RASPBERRY into the microphone and Valiant rambles about something else. Rich asks if, based on his attire, Beefcake’s gimmick was “a slut.”
-Back live at MSG and Beefcake is in the ring. Why in the blue hell is he billed from “Parts Unknown?”
-Our first entrance broadcasted for the evening is David Sammartino and his dad, who gets a MASSIVE pop from the crowd. I popped massively because I enjoy watching Bruno Sammartino run in a sweater.
MATCH NUMBER FOUR: David Sammartino w/Bruno Sammartino vs Brutus Beefcake w/Johnny Valiant
-I was wondering why nothing was starting and the men were still talking to their seconds. The referee was late to the ring.
-The bells rings and Johnny V is still undressing Beefcake in the ring. Ed Leslie imagines it is Hogan undressing him.
-56 full seconds later, Valiant finally leaves the ring after a hug. That was double the time of Bundy/Jones.
-Beefcake is strutting and psyching Sammartino out so far.
-David Sammartino is one short, stout SOB
-Johnny V complains that David has grease all over him. Rich just left the room, so I’m unable make a great Italian joke.
-Jesse’s little jokes (like his subtle comment about fans getting a great view of Beefcake’s ass) are so simple and humorous. It’s a breath of fresh air compared to Lawler’s jokes that take five steps to set up and still suck.
-JESUS the shoulder block from Beefcake on Sammartino. It was loud and woke the crowd up. That was the highlight of Beefcake’s in-ring career right there.
-What is happening? Beefcake is hitting kicks and tackles that sound like Young Bucks’ superkicks! Don’t make me make you MVP of the PPV, Brutus Beefcake!!!
-Meanwhile, I’m pretty sure David Sammatino only knows wrestling holds.
-They keep showing an inset video of Bruno watching the match. He doesn’t look interested at all.
-Rich returns from the bathroom and is stunned that Beefcake is still wrestling. He also exclaims, “WHAT A MIDGET!” at David Sammartino.
-I think a schmoz is coming! Valiant bodyslams David on the cement floor. Bruno jumps in. Yep…full blown schmoz.
WINNER: Double DQ in 11:43
-A big brawl breaks out in the ring. Da Brune gets the crowd all worked up as the Sammartinos clear the ring and celebrate.
FINAL WORD: When Brutus Beefcake carries the match, I think I know what you are getting.
-Gorilla and Jesse recap the show thus far…not on camera. We just have a wide shot of the crowd and the ring. I’d love to see those awful suits again.
-We finally cut to Lord Alfred Hayes. That being said, shut up, Lord Alfred Hayes.
-Mean Gene interviews Greg Valentine and Jimmy Hart. Greg Valentine still resembles a lesbian from Lilith Fair to me. Their promo is boring and Junk Yard Dog enters. I love JYD’s voice, but I fear that he thinks he is actually a dog.
-No champion’s advantage for Greg Valentine, as he enters the arena first wearing his green ass championship belt. Every championship in 1985 looked like elaborate dinnerware.
-JYD enters with a dubbed Grab Them Cakes. I love Another One Bites the Dust, but I’m A-OK with this change.
MATCH NUMBER FIVE: INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH- Greg Valentine (Champion) w/Jimmy Hart vs Junk Yard Dog
-Jesse commentates on JYD’s “shucking and jiving”. I don’t think you could get away with that today.
-JYD literally punched Valentine in the armpit.
-JYD’s headbutts are utterly ridiculous.
-Valentine’s extensive leg work during this match is making Rich and I not speak.
-So, let me get this straight…Samoans and black men who think they are dogs have abnormally hard hears.
-Jimmy Hart took a rough ass bump off the apron. His legs sort of stayed on the apron, but his back slammed onto the hard floor.
-Well, it looks like cheaters prosper.
WINNER: Greg Valentine in WAIT
-We are restarting the match because Tito Santana said so?!?!?!
-WINNER: Junk Yard Dog in 6:55 by countout after Valentine rolls up JYD with feet on the ropes, the referee restarts the match and Valentine refuses to return to the ring. Valentine retains.
-Why didn’t JYD go retrieve Valentine? Was it because he wasn’t a newspaper?
-Rich notices that the referee looks like Mr. Roto himself, Matthew Berry.
-We finally get a replay of Jimmy Hart’s wicked bump. Rich nominates Jimmy Hart as the NEW MVP of the PPV. I agree.
FINAL WORD: What an overbooked, boring mess. Valentine’s good work with chains on PPV ends.
-I’m starting to feel a little bad for Lord Alfred Hayes. He just called the USA Express “athlutes.”
-Mean Gene interviews Freddie Blassie, Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik. God, the Sheik was insane even then. I love it.
-Capt. Lou Albano enters with Barry Windham and Mike Rotunda. Only Capt. Lou could cut a promo with rubber bands on his face and the funny thing about it be THE BEER IN HIS HAND.
-Nuclear heat for the heels as Volkoff starts his Soviet anthem bit. Trash is being thrown into the ring like the end of Nitro in 1996. Sheik says his “Iran #1” catchphrase and Rich muses that nobody has explained a ranking system to Sheik.
-USA Express were the first ones to enter to Derringer’s Real American. Yet, they edited that out? Hogan is protective of his shit!
-Letterman could have a feel day with the “Rotunda” or “Rotundo” dilemma that has plagued wrestling for 30 years.
MATCH NUMBER SIX: TAG TITLE MATCH- The USA Express (Champions) w/Capt. Lou Albano vs Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff w/Classy Freddie Blassie
-Barry Windham looks pretty. Can I just say that?
-Sheiky baby is a bump machine! 16 WrestleManias later, he will barely be able to get into the ring. HE JUST THREW A DROPKICK!!!!
-In the middle of the match, they cut to a full screen replay of Sheik’s dropkick. Is this TNA?
-Was Nikolai Volkoff ever any good? Rich theorizes that his trunks are so big, there is a filing system and a secretary somewhere inside of there.
-Gorilla announces a “clothesline job.” Ewwwwwwww….
-It is weird to think that Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas are inside Mike Rotunda’s balls in this match.
-Rich notices that we have had a bloodless hour of PPV wrestling finally. Thank God!
-Windham gets the hot tag and delivers a dangerous looking bulldog, mostly because Volkoff sucks.
-Is this Cheatamania?
WINNERS: Volkoff pins Windham in 6:54 to win the titles after Sheik hits Windham with Blassie’s cane behind the ref’s back.
-Volkoff is such a dolt that he doesn’t realize the referee is trying to raise his hand in victory for a full minute. It feels like an hour. Screw you, Nikolai. LVP of the PPV so far.
-FINAL WORD: I would have lost money if you told me the Iron Sheik would outshine Barry Windham and Mike Rotunda in a wrestling match.
-LIVE interview backstage with Mean Gene and the new champs. I could listen to Sheik talk for hours. I’m not letting his partner drag him down. Sheik and his crazy ass quotes (like calling Okerlund “Gene Mean”) pulls him in front for MVP of the PPV.
-Can someone give Lord Alfred Hayes the sunglasses Frankenstein used in Big Daddy, please?
-Pretape with Mean Gene, Big John Studd and Bobby Heenan. Studd and Heenan reveals a gym bag full with a shitload of stripper cash. Besides that, this promo is full of lowlights like Studd’s hairy ass arm and Heenan’s normal suit.
-Right on cue, we return to MSG live and Heenan is wearing one of his classic colorful jackets. Rich and I debate Studd being the first guy to step over the top rope in wrestling when the bell accentuation completes every one of the Fink’s sentences. Mark Yeaton is lazy.
-No one really ever talks about how big Andre the Giant was.
MATCH NUMBER SEVEN: $15,000 Bodyslam Challenge with Andre’s Career on the Line- Big John Studd w/Bobby Heenan vs Andre the Giant
-Gorilla has a liberal definition of a “briefcase.” That is a bag.
-Why is the referee counting when only a bodyslam can end this match?
-Andre is choking Big John Studd like he is wearing a Rihanna mask.
-Rich refuses to disparage Andre’s bearhug. Even in death, Rich is terrified of the man.
-Okay, I think Andre fell asleep in this bearhug.
-This inset Heenan cam would be a lot more entertaining if they had Heenan mic’ed up.
-Big John Studd’s offense doesn’t exist in this match.
-Daniel Bryan has got nothing on Andre’s kicks! Call him the Jiu-Jitsu Giant!
-Yeah, it is pretty apparent Andre didn’t like Studd that much.
WINNER: Andre the Giant in 5:52 after bodyslamming Big John Studd
-Andre begins to throw money into the crowd. Heenan, surely on Vince’s orders, grabs the bag seconds after Andre starts.
-Andre shakes the Fink’s hand. That hand is still broken.
FINAL WORD: It was missing the Shooting Star Press we all know and love from Andre. In other words, plodding says it all.
-Another live interview with Mean Gene, this time with Andre. He is pretty unintelligible beyond thinking that Mean Gene is legitimate with his teasing that Andre that he should retire anyway.
-Lord Alfred Hayes does his usual spiel and the Fabulous Moolah and Leilani Kai kiss him. Yeah, that won’t frazzle him more or anything.
-Mean Gene pretape with Cyndi Lauper and Wendi Richter. Richter’s accent is so deeply entrenched in Texas, it executed a retarded person. Moolah and Kai’s interview is hard to focus on because of Moolah’s gawdy dollar sign glasses. All I know is Lelani Kai needs to hurry up because she looks like she is going to be late with that bowtie pasta her two kids are waiting for at home.
-Of course Vince didn’t pay for Girls Just Want to Have Fun. The babyfaces run to the ring and all I notice is how much David Wolf looks like Mitch Hedberg.
-The ref is a little too thorough, in my opinion, in his prematch check of the competitors.
-Jesse says that someone “can’t grow grass on a busy street.” Was that a vagina joke?
-Is this match going to hurry up and start?!?! Kidman is going NUTS backstage.
MATCH NUMBER EIGHT: WOMEN'S TITLE MATCH- Leilani Kai (Champion) w/Fabulous Moolah vs Wendi Richter w/Cyndi Lauper and David Wolf
-We aren’t 30 seconds in and I’m already appreciating the Bella Twins and Kelly Kelly more than I ever have.
-Rich slays me with a Booker T “KIMURA LOCK” call during an armbar.
-These ladies are just basically wearing swimsuits.
-Women’s wrestling in the 80s was essentially hair pulling, choking and other homoerotic stuff.
-I don’t recall seeing a championship belt. We complain about the butterfly; I think Kai’s lei was the title.
-For an ass in the 80s, Rich likes Wendi Richter’s.
-Cyndi Lauper tries to fight off Moolah. In real life, that would end poorly for her (and possibly leading to servitude).
-Richter hits a REVERSE ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT. That was the best move on the PPV by far. It naturally led to a near fall.
-A brief 69! That’s how you get a happy ending, if you know what I mean.
WINNER: Wendi Richter in 6:13 to win the title after reversing a top rope cross body by Kai.
-Putting women’s wrestling on the map, Gorilla announces “HE got it!”
-Richter and Lauper dance, celebrate and generally act like women about the whole thing.
FINAL WORD: That was two different matches. One of them was actually decent. The other was pretty crappy. Sounds like women’s wrestling to me.
-Mean Gene backstage with Richter, Wolf and Lauper. Lipstick is totally winning the battle against Lauper’s teeth. Rich notices Capt. Lou behind Lauper and immediately claims that his finger is up her butt.
-The Fink announces Billy Martin as the guest ring announcer. Martin gets his glasses out to read his lines and Fink still coaches him through the whole process.
-Liberace enters with the Rockettes. I ask Rich who won the “Worst Surprise Award” regarding their sexuality: Liberace or George Michael (especially in his WHAM days). Liberace’s kick line with the Rockettes sways Rich’s vote.
-I ask Rich “how much Liberace ate Pat Patterson”, who is the ref in this match by the way. Rich answers 60 percent. I answer “to the colon.” We giggle.
-Muhammad Ali enters as the special guest enforcer because Joe Frazier’s stint at Starrcade 1984 went SO WELL. As the greatest sports talker of all time, Ali doesn’t come close to touching a microphone.
-Bagpipes are so easy to hate. An entire band leads Piper into the arena. Oh yeah, Paul Orndorff is there, too.
-THERE is Real American (dubbing over Eye of the Tiger, I believe). The fans go, to quote Pat Patterson, “banana.” Hogan and Mr. T enter and everyone is ready to fight in the ring already. There appears to be a janitor on the apron because, as Rich notes, “this match is literally a mess.”
-With all of the hullaballoo in the ring, it’s still easy to notice that 75 people, give or take, are surrounding the ring. How did they operate under those crazy conditions? It looks like a lumberjack match.
MATCH NUMBER NINE: Hulk Hogan and Mr. T w/Jimmy Snuka vs Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff w/Bob Orton Jr.
-Rich: “Whose dick did Orndorff kiss to get into this match?”
-90 seconds into the match: zero offensive maneuvers. 2 tags.
-Piper wasn’t lying in all of his interviews. He isn’t letting Mr. T do anything.
-Piper and Mr. T have the chemistry of a wrench and brussel sprouts.
-I think Mr. T invented Wade Barrett’s Wasteland.
-Rich was right. This thing is a freaking mess. Everyone keeps jumping in the ring and fighting clumsily. Ali starts swinging at everything. Snuka stands on the top rope and does nothing.
-Piper tells everyone to fuck off and attempts to leave. I almost want him to succeed. Hogan, being the great babyface that he is, threatens to punch the ref for continuing to count/doing his job.
-Celebrities love doing hip tosses!
-Piper uses a chair on Hogan right in front of Pat Patterson. RULES!
-This match is going to induce a Ritalin addiction in me.
-Mr. T doesn’t understand the ref’s instructions at all. Ali jumps back in the ring for no good reason. There have been 38 DQs not called thus far.
-The only rule Mr. T has followed is holding the tag rope.
-This is the first time Gorilla has busted out his Pearl Harbor reference. I love it when Michael Cole calls it a “9/11 Job”.
-Ali is standing on the apron like he is on Hogan’s team now.
-There is no rhythm to this match whatsoever.
-Snuka just ran into the ring. Why? To headbutt Orton. He also isn’t in the match. I imagine reading this is incredibly confusing. Don’t worry; you are ahead of the curve somehow.
WINNERS: Hogan pins Orndorff in 13:24 after Orton accidentally hits Orndorff with his cast off the top rope.
-There were 3 people in the ring during the pinfall that weren’t official participants in the match.
-New York smart crowd my ass. They are eating this up.
-Patterson is knocked down by Piper who leaves with Orton. Orndorff starts to stir and freaks out while Mr. T tries to check on him. Hogan REFUSES to let Mr. T show sportsmanship to Orndorff with a handshake. He was never a face.
-Hogan makes his boobs bounce. He can do that with his penis, too.
-Mr. T was trained well. He bows to every side of the ring like he just got done wrestling in the Tokyo Dome.
FINAL WORD: I know what WrestleMania main events are coming up, but it’s going to be really hard to be worse than that.
-Mean Gene is backstage with Hogan and Friends, which sounds like a future Nick at Nite show. Rich is so flustered by the last match that he confuses Jimmy Snuka for Howard Stern. Mr. T looks so gassed and Hogan finally begins working for the evening AKA cutting a promo. Too bad it’s lacking any substance at all.
-Gorilla and Jesse are shown at ringside and they say goodbye as 80s techno blares with photo stills from earlier in the evening.
-They roll credits and Rich reads them as Vince Russo. That is how you end WrestleMania 1.
THE LAST IMAGE: Hulk Hogan and Mr. T
THE WRAP UP
FINAL MVP of PPV: In this case, Iran is #1. The Iron Sheik was thoroughly entertaining with his promo work and shocking with his in-ring effort.
FINAL LVP of PPV: In this case, Russia HACKTAUI! Nikolai Volkoff let Sheik do all the work and bored me to tears. This was because I couldn’t single anyone out of the worst match.
MY FAVORITE MATCH: Ricky Steamboat vs Matt Borne
MY LEAST FAVORITE MATCH: Hulk Hogan and Mr. T vs Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff
WWE HALL OF FAMERS IN ACTION: 14 (Tito Santana, Ricky Steamboat, Greg Valentine, Junk Yard Dog, Barry Windham, Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, Big John Studd, Andre the Giant, Wendi Richter, Hulk Hogan, Mr. T, Roddy Piper, Paul Orndorff)
DEARLY DEPARTED IN ACTION: 6 (The Executioner, SD Jones, Matt Borne, Junk Yard Dog, Big John Studd, Andre the Giant)
FINAL THOUGHT: As refreshing it was to experience a WWF show after two Starrcades in a row, there wasn’t any match I’d watch ever again nor was there anything that got me excited. It might have been the first WrestleMania, but there was a lot of work to do. MULLET DOESN’T RECOMMEND.
NEXT TIME: The Wrestling Classic. I’ve always wanted to watch it, but I’ve heard some things. I heard things about WrestleMania 1, too.