As an agnostic I can't have missions from God if I'm not even certain he/she/it exists, and if there were a God I'm not sure having me watch every Wrestlemania in order would be on his/her/its priority list for me. So here we are, a mission from "Big Bang"- me watching every one of the "Grandaddys of Them All" in order.
downloaded legally obtained, every Wrestlemania this past January in preparation for 'Mania season. I was just going to watch them randomly but decided to give it a chronological feel, just to see and hear the evolution of the event. I just got done with WM 14 so I figured now would be a good time to write up a synopsis of the first half of Manias.
WM1: New York, NY - Not really all that great of a mania, probably was appreciated more because of the hype it received than the actual event. Interesting tidbit: Jesse the Body wasn't quite full on heel announcer yet, leaned towards heel but wasn't quite full. Not sure if that was how he was at that time or if McMahon told him to tone it down for their first huge event. Best Match: Andre vs Big John Studd
WM2: NY/CHI/LA - Much better and more entertaining event, with a much better main event. Interesting tidbit: you can see early stages of a Bret Hart push, as Gorilla Monsoon sells his technical ability quite a bit throughout the battle royale he participates in. Best Match: British Bulldogs vs "Dream Team"
WM3: Detroit, MI - Vince ups the ante with this event, with classic 80's excess this is the one that most casual fans would point to if they were asked to remember a Wrestlemania. Interesting tidbit: Bob Euker is actually pretty decent at wrestling announcing, not that it surprises me, just wonder if it surprised Jesse, Gorilla, and Vince a bit. Best Match: Steamboat vs Savage
WM4: Atlantic City, NJ - Great concept for Wrestlemania, one I wish they'd use more often, a championship tournament all taking place within one pay-per-view. '98 Survivor Series is the only other one I can think of. Interesting tidbit: By far the most amount of matches in any Wrestlemania, it gets confusing and I think they wanted it that way. Best Match: Savage vs Dibiase
WM5: Atlantic City, NJ - Why they chose to return to the same venue? I'm not sure. Why that bothers and/or took away from the event? I'm not sure either, but it did for me. Interesting tidbit: Gorilla Monsoon no-selling Run DMC, that really made me laugh. Ya know Vince shilled out decent cash for a rap group that was pretty popular at the time, so when Gorilla says "A little of that goes a long way with me" you can just see Vince shaking his head and quoting GOB Bluth "COME ON!" sorry hypotheticals make me laugh. Best Match: Hogan vs Savage
WM6: Toronto, ON - Other than the headliner, this event seemed thrown together quickly. There are a few highlights like Jake Roberts amazing promo on Dibiase, but most of the event falls flat. The main event seems better in your mind than it does when you watch it. Interesting tidbit: Jesse Ventura's last Wrestlemania, and that's a shame, because if you watch these first 6 you can see how amazing Ventura and Monsoon were together. Best Match: Jake Roberts vs Ted Dibiase
WM7: Los Angeles, CA - If you watched 6 you noticed they announced this WM would be taking place at LA Coliseum, which it wasn't. Part of the problem was WWF's waning popularity and not being able to sell even half the the Coliseum's capacity within two months of the event. They moved the event to the LA Sports Arena, and the venue totally sucked. I don't know what it was about the venue but it looks like crap when you compare it to the previous year's venue of Skydome. Interesting tidbit: Undertaker's streak begins here. Best match: Randy Savage vs Ultimate Warrior
WM8: Indianapolis, IN - This one is odd in that it has some really high points and some really lows. It was the first WM to use the "Double Main Event" format, although we all know the last match of the show is the main event, period. This one is proof of Vince's love of big bodies, Sid Justice had no business being involved in a match with Hulk Hogan for a main event, and it shows, how he got another chance to headline a 'Mania is beyond me. Interesting tidbit: the main event that could've been for this (Hogan vs Flair) would've put this event over the top and probably would've been considered one of the biggest events in pro wrestling history, oh you crazy egos. Best Match: Randy Savage vs Ric Flair, honorable mention: Bret Hart vs Roddy Piper
WM9: Las Vegas, NV - A fun event even if ending was totally stupid. There was quite a bit to take in from this event, overbooked and underthought, had it not had the toga theme would've been considered the worst WM of all-time. Interesting tidbit: JR, Macho, and Heenan called this one, an odd but entertaining trio, it was also Hulk Hogan and Bobby Heenan's last WM with the company for awhile. Best Match : Shawn Michaels vs Tatanka
WM10: New York, NY -They packed a lot in to a little amount of time in this one. The event only lasted about two and a half hours, with about 15 minutes of recapping previous 'Manias there was only little over 2 hours of action. This was probably my favorite of the ones I've watched so far, the great opening match between the Harts set the tone for the rest of the event. Clearly not wanting to pit Luger vs Hart, they came up with some tournament-but-not-really type scenario for this one, the last act of Jack Tunney's evil reign over the WWF. Interesting tidbit: Burt Reynolds acting like the quintessential pampered star, even when that wasn't a gimmick they gave him. Best Match: Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon, honorable mention: Bret Hart vs Owen Hart
WM11: Hartford, CT - Yikes, this one was pretty brutal, and not just from a wrestling standpoint. Clearly on the decline, Vince tried whoring himself out to Hollywood and getting celebrities all over this motha. From football to NYPD Blue, there was no shortage of star-power at this event. There was however, a shortage of entertaining wrestling. Having Lawrence Taylor headline an event sounded like a good idea, but something just seems off with his match with Bam Bam. Interesting tidbit: Jerry Lawler unplugging audio cables caused havoc on the interviews and you can see and hear Vince becoming very pissed, while still trying sell the action hard. Best Match: Bret Hart vs Bob Backlund (only cuz I had to, this match isn't that great either.)
WM12: Anaheim, CA - Some really good, some really bad. Moments of Hart and Michaels are breathtaking, though I refuse to give the match the unbelievable hype that WWE wants us to give to it. The first half hour of that match is pretty boring, and the lack of falls sort of bugs me for unknown reasons. Diesel and Taker has it's moments but doesn't fully deliver, and Piper and Goldust's street brawl is nearly laughable. Interesting tidbit: This is an intersting time for WWF, they are about as low as they get, and they relied on actual wrestling for the main event, not just hype like years' past. I tip my hat to Vince and co. for that at least. Best Match: Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels
WM13: Chicago, IL - You can see the seeds being planted for the Attitude Era during this event. I watched this the other night and really noticed the biggest jump so far on a one year basis was WM12 to WM13. I do believe Undertaker deserved a Wrestlemania title victory, I just wish they had executed it better. They tried making Hart the villain by having him complain he deserved the main event, and by the end of the show, I actually ended up siding with Hart, kayfabe and all. I don't mean to trash Psycho Sid, ok yeah I do a little, but he just doesn't do shit, outside of his powerbomb his move set is extremely limited, and his speaking is incoherent, the volume and cadance don't line up and it's rambling. The Hart vs Austin match however makes up for all of that. When Bret puts a modified figure four on SCSA at the ring post, you can just stop and appreciate the art of wrestling and what it's all about. Interesting tidbit: Shortly after Hart/Austin, McMahon apologizes for the blood and says they are "embarassed" that they had to show that, Vinny bro, that match was the best WM match you've had since Flair/Savage, no apologies needed. Best Match: Bret Hart vs Steve Austin
WM14: Boston, MA - This event had potential and a few highlights, unfortunately Michaels' injury took away from what could've been an all-time classic main event. Already on the upswing, this was the event that sent WWF back into prominence in the entertainment scene in America. With the Rock, Austin, Undertaker, and DX all performing in this event, you knew where we were going, and you loved it, admit it. Interesting tidbit: the light heavyweight championship formula they used in this one seemed like a carbon copy of how WCW was booking their cruiser-weight matches. Best Match: Triple H vs Owen Hart, honorable mention: Undertaker vs Kane
Overall my favorite match is still Savage/Steamboat, one match that took me by surprise was Savage/Flair from WM8, I either didn't recall that one at all or it got pushed to the back of my brain, because that was a classic. Ventura and Monsoon was my favorite commentary combination, although Heenan/Monsoon and JR/Lawler are right behind. Oddly back to back years provided my favorite and most hated. 10 was my favorite from these and 11 was my least favorite event.
Well there's the first 14, if I don't go insane I'll let ya know about the other 14 in a week or so. I may have to resort to Clockwork Orange type eye restraints to get through the next 14.
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