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This Day in Wrestling History (Mar. 31): Welcome to Wrestlemania!

31 years ago today, WWF presented Wrestlemania (WWE Network link) from Madison Square Garden in New York City. 19,121 fans were in attendance, with 398,000 homes watching on closed-circuit television. At the time, it was the most watched event in closed-circuit television history.

Match ratings are from Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Newsletter as recorded in the Internet Wrestling Database. All ratings are out of a possible five stars.

  • Tito Santana defeated The Executioner by submission. (2.5)
  • King Kong Bundy defeated Special Delivery Jones. (0)
  • Ricky Steamboat defeated Matt Borne. (3.25)
  • David Sammartino and Brutus Beefcake fought to a double countout. (2)
  • The Junkyard Dog defeated Greg Valentine by countout in a WWF Intercontinental Championship match. (0.5)
  • Nikolai Volkoff and The Iron Sheik (w/Freddie Blassie) defeated The US Express (Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham) to win the WWF Tag Team Championship. (1)
  • André the Giant defeated Big John Studd in a $15,000 Body Slam match. Had Andre lost, he would have been forced to retire. (3)
  • Wendi Richter defeated Leilani Kai to win the WWF Women's Championship. (-2)
  • Hulk Hogan and Mr. T defeated Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff. Former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali was the special enforcer. (no rating)

27 years ago today in Atlanta, Georgia, Sting defeated Mike Rotunda to win the NWA World Television Championship and $10,000.

22 years ago today in Sheffield, England, The Quebecers (Jacques and Pierre) defeated Men on a Mission (Mo and Mabel) to win the WWF Tag Team Championship just two days after losing the titles in London.

20 years ago today, WWF presented Wrestlemania XII (WWE Network link) from the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, California. 18,853 were in attendance, with 290,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down from 340,000 forWrestlemania XI.

The show's hook was a one-hour Ironman match, a first for the WWF (televised, anyway), between champion Bret Hart and challenger Shawn Michaels.

  • In a preshow Free for All match, The Bodydonnas (Skip and Zip) defeated The Godwinns (Henry and Phineas) to win the vacant WWF Tag Team Championship.
  • Camp Cornette (Vader, Owen Hart and British Bulldog) defeated Yokozuna, Jake Roberts and Ahmed Johnson (w/ Mr. Fuji). (2.5)
  • Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated Savio Vega. (2)
  • The Ultimate Warrior defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley. This was Warrior's first match for the WWF since leaving the company in 1992. (0)
  • The Undertaker defeated Diesel. (2.25)
  • Roddy Piper vs. Goldust ended in a no contest in a Hollywood Backlot Brawl. In a side nugget, portions of the match featured footage from the infamous low-speed chase involving Los Angeles police and OJ Simpson from June 1994. (no rating)
  • Shawn Michaels defeated Bret Hart 1-0 in a one-hour Ironman match to win the WWF Championship. The score was tied at zero when the time expired, but then-WWF President Gorilla Monsoon ordered a sudden death overtime to determine the winner. (4.25)

13 years ago today on RAW from San Jose, California (WWE Network link), Kane and Rob Van Dam defeated Lance Storm & Chief Morley and The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) in a three-team elimination match to win the World Tag Team Championship. It would be the eighth tag title reign for Kane, but the first for Van Dam.

On the same show, Goldberg made his WWE debut by spearing The Rock and declaring that he was next.

8 years ago today, Ric Flair reunites with Four Horsemen members Tully Blanchard, JJ Dillon, Arn Anderson, and Barry Windham in his farewell address on RAW. This would be their only televised reunion until exactly four years later when the group was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Those were just four of dozens who came out in salute of The Nature Boy's legendary career.

1 year ago today at a Smackdown taping in Fresno, California (WWE Network link), Sheamus defeated Daniel Bryan via countout. It would turn out to be Daniel Bryan's last singles match ever. Two weeks later, Bryan would once again land on the disabled list when he is injured on WWE's annual European tour. Bryan would forfeit the Intercontinental Championship he'd won at Wrestlemania 31 in May before retiring from in-ring competition last month.

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