It's WrestleMania season again in America, and over the next month, you're gonna get a lot of stuff about the "Showcase of the Immortals" thrown at you. Most you probably already know. Some things you don't. Here, for your enjoyment, are twelve WrestleMania facts you can take with you to your viewing party. Maybe you'll win a few bucks off them.
Because ten is not enough.
1. WrestleMania wasn't always in primetime. Or, on a Sunday for that matter. Until the mid-1990s, many of WWF's PPV offerings were on Sunday afternoon (notable exceptions include the Thanksgiving Survivor Series events and early SummerSlams, which happened on the last Monday in August). Nine of the first ten WrestleManias were Sunday afternoon events. The lone exception: WrestleMania 2, taking place on April 7, 1986. If you all check your calendars, April 7 (the latest in a year a WrestleMania has been held, by the way) was on a Monday. It's also the only WrestleMania to use more than one venue (Nassau Coliseum, Rosemont Horizon, and LA Sports Arena). The first primetime Sunday WrestleMania would be the eleventh edition in 1995.
2. WrestleMania 2 was the only one to lose money. As the old saying goes, you have to pay the cost to be the boss (or become the boss). Jim Crockett Promotions' Starrcade '85 ran from two venues, so the WWF responded by going with three for their big show. Running three venues in the three largest media markets in the country was a boss play, but a costly one, as only the LA Sports Arena sold out. Nassau sold most of their seats, but there were visible empty sections, but the suburban Chicago fans could only fill about half the Horizon. Amazingly, WrestleMania 13 at the Horizon, the least-bought WrestleMania PPV ever, made money. As did WrestleManias IX and XI.
3. Lillian Garcia is the only person to perform both the National Anthem and America the Beautiful at a WrestleMania. About as reliable as the Undertaker winning a WrestleMania match is WrestleMania opening with America the Beautiful. Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, Boyz II Men, Little Richard, and Aretha Franklin (twice) did America the Beautiful, while the DX Band and Mean Gene Okerlund did The Star-Spangled Banner. But only WWE's resident ring announcer/singer can say she did both (2000 and 2012 if you're wondering).
4. WrestleMania 2000 had zero men's one-on-one matches. In fact, it had exactly one singles match in the entire card (Terri vs. The Kat in a catfight). It featured three tag team matches, a six-person intergender tag, a three-team ladder match, a triple threat match, a fatal four-way match, and the Hardcore Invitational that featured thirteen men. Including managers and valets, that's 56 members of the roster that collected a WrestleMania paycheck, by far the most for a WrestleMania (and that's not counting Ice-T and the Godfather's Hoss, which I believe would push the number to around 70). This is like letting anyone play Augusta National, whether they can play golf or not. It may be a good idea on paper, but it lowers the standards when you do.
5. There have been more Hell in a Cell matches at WrestleMania than steel cage matches at WrestleMania. The traditional cage (the one with the blue bars, no less) made its lone appearance at a WrestleMania on that Monday night in 1986 when Hulk Hogan defeated King Kong Bundy. The Hell in a Cell monstrosity has two appearances, first in 1999 against Big Boss Man (one we all like to forget about), and last year against Triple H (which, thankfully, did not feature a hanging, simulated or otherwise).
6. WrestleMania XXIX will feature the fourth rematch from a previous WrestleMania in its many years. After going WrestleManias 21-25 with no WrestleMania rematches, the 29th edition will (barring injury or other circumstance) feature the "Once in a Lifetime" rematch between John Cena and The Rock. This is right after we've seen Triple H and The Undertaker face off in the last two WrestleManias (after first meeting at X-Seven-don't pretend that didn't happen now), and Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels II from WrestleMania XXVI.
7. Jeff Hardy's WrestleMania record is 0-5. He's the current (as of this writing) TNA World Heavyweight Champion. He's one of only a few men to win every championship possible during his time in the WWF/E (and that includes the Light Heavyweight Championship). He's one of the most popular, if not most polarizing performers in wrestling history. He also happens to have a history of coming up small in the win department at WrestleMania. Despite his spectacular WrestleMania highlight reel, Jeff has lost in every WrestleMania he's appeared in: two losses in three-team ladder matches (2000 and X-Seven), a loss in a four-team elimination match (X8), a loss at Money in the Bank (23), and in an extreme rules match (25). Another absurd thing the losses all have in common: Matt Hardy was there for all of them. And, it was Matthew Moore that gave Jeffrey Nero his fifth loss.
8. Barring injury or other circumstance, The Undertaker this year will break Bret Hart's record for most consecutive WrestleMania appearances with 13. Since the Deadman reinjured himself prior to WM2K, The Undertaker has not missed an event since he rode down the aisle at the Astrodome in his hometown of Houston in 2001. His likely match with CM Punk at WrestleMania XXIX will mark his thirteenth WrestleMania appearance in a row and 21st overall of a possible 23 (the other one he missed was WrestleMania X).
9. Triple H could be holding that most WrestleManias in a row record right now. Had he not blown out his quad two months before WrestleMania 23 (and assuming everything since then remains unchanged), this year's likely encounter with Brock Lesnar will have been The Game's seventeenth WrestleMania in a row. Instead, it's just #6.
10. The Pontiac Silverdome and the Houston Astrodome, hosts to arguably the two greatest WrestleManias ever, both closed in 2006. Today, both venues remain uninhabited, though the Silverdome occasionally hosted events from 2010-2012. The Silverdome's iconic roof, which played a key part in WrestleMania III (it provided the mood lighting and kept the rain out-it rained on the day of the show), was deflated on New Year's Day, while the Astrodome remains mostly empty since Hurricane Katrina refugees vacated the facility in September 2005.
11. John Cena and Triple H have appeared in more championship matches than anyone in WrestleMania history with nine. Cena has been in eight world matches, including one in every WrestleMania from 21 to 27, and this year's upcoming WrestleMania. If you include his United States Championship match at WrestleMania XX, that makes it nine. Triple H has a similar resume, competing in eight world title matches (WM2K, 18-22, 24, and 25) and the European Championship match at WrestleMania XIV.
12. All three WrestleManias held in Madison Square Garden had a Canadian in the main event. Chris Benoit (or he-who-must-not-be-named, if you prefer) from Edmonton (though it was announced for the first time on WWE programming he resided in Atlanta) broke through with his WrestleMania XX win (it happened, WWE. There's video of it and everything), Bret Hart from Calgary...Alberta, Canada (where he lost the opener to his brother Owen, but backed into a win against Yokozuna in the main event), and Rowdy Roddy Piper (oh, you thought he was a Scot? Well, he has Scottish blood, but he was only billed from there. He's actually from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) was in the first WrestleMania in the main event tag match and refereed the WrestleMania X main event.
Even with the many, many facts, you'll hear over the next five weeks, I've presented you with some you probably won't hear on WWE programming. Enjoy making money at your WrestleMania party.
So... anyone else with an obscure WrestleMania fact?