History of WrestleMania
Digest EDITION
Part 1: WM 1-6
07.04.2003 by Big D

The best of the best!

Welcome to a special mini-history of WrestleMania. You all know about the prestige and unrivaled spectacle of this, the biggest show of the wrestling year. Screw SuperBrawl or anything else that WCW tried to promote, this is the one that most people know by name!

WrestleMania

Madison Square Garden
New York, NY
I have to admit that I haven't ever seen the full version of the show, just the clipfest that Colisuem Video released. I don't know if that diminishes my opinion or anything, but then again, I don't care enough to find a copy.

This show is pretty much required viewing, at least from a historical standpoint. However, most of the wrestling isn't worth writing home about. However, they weren't actively bad either. The Andre/Studd bodyslam is bad, but worth noting, and the main is the only tag main in WM history. A unique roster of celebrities makes for an interesting experience, and make sure you check out Tito Santana's only WM win, as he compiled a staggering 1-7 record. And check out Matt Bourne before the Doink gimmick took over his life.

Best match: Hogan/T vs. Piper/Orndorff
Worst match: King Kong Bundy vs. SD Jo

WrestleMania 2

3 different arenas
Uniondale, NY/Chicago, Ill, Los Angeles, CA
Well, I have to give them credit for trying to increase their gate by increasing the number of locations. However, due to the overwhelming technology back in the day, it didn't work nearly as well as they would have liked. Besides, I would have loved to plunk down money for a ticket when I was going to be watching 2/3 of the show on TV. Wrestling-wise, it was a little better than WM1, but that's not saying much. The WWF/NFL battle royal is pretty famous, although it was kinda obvious that Andre was going to win, especially by today's standards, as he ends up in there with the with a very young Hart Foundation (even pre-pink tights). The tag title match is historic, and the IC title match is the original blowoff for the Steele/Savage feud. Also see Piper at his heelish best as he loses after bodyslamming Mr.T in a boxing match. Stop before the main event, though...

Best match: Valentine/Beefcake vs. British Bulldogs
Worst match: Uncle Elmer vs. Adrian Adonis (not even his classic heel mannerisms could save it)

WrestleMania III

Pontiac Silverdome
Pontiac, MI
If you haven't seen this one yet, you'd sure as hell better! This is absolutely the biggest show in wrestling history, topped off by the biggest match in history and arguably the best match ever. The booking here is top-notch, with all the right people going over. Savage/Steamboat is just tremendous, Hogan/Andre blows anything with Rock/Austin/HHH away any day (not from a wrestling-wise standpoint, mind you). The Piper retirement (part 1) is played out perfectly, and anything else on the card does a good enough job of telling a story. Although the attendance record varies depending on who you ask, the facility is really cool, especially with the undercard taking place in daylight, and ends up dark for the main event. Either way, it's the most people I've ever seen in one place ever (indoors, at least). I can't say enough good things about this show.

Best match: Savage/Steamboat (like you had to ask)
Worst match: Hogan/Andre (but for historical reasons, there's none better)

WrestleMania IV

Trump Plaza
Atlantic City, NJ
Well, if you don't know the backstory of the tournament, let me know. The result of these actions was a 14-man tournament, 1 night. Hogan and Andre got a bye to the second round, where they were promptly double DQed. I know this show tends to get a bad rap due to its length and the number of sub-par matches, but IT'S NOT THAT BAD! And besides, the way they got Savage to the end was probably the best storytelling job I've ever seen, except for Hogan having to be there in the end, too. I mean, Savage wrestles in the first round, then the second, while the One Man Gang gets a bye, so he's fresh, but Savage beats him there. And DiBiase got a bye in the 3rd round, so he's fresh for the final. But Savage still prevails. And the extended version of Savage's theme kicls ass. In other action, the seeds for Bret's face turn are sown as he gets doublecrossed by Bad News and gets his revenge. The Islanders and Heenan beat the Bulldogs and Koko B. Ware in a cute match, and Warrior debuts in a bad match against Hercules. And although Strike Force is one of my favorite teams, they had to job to Demolition, since their star was on the rise. And Beefcake falls short against Honky, but gets his revenge on Jimmy Hart. I love the venue, it's really classy.

Best match: Savage/DiBiase
Worst match: Bigelow/One Man Gang

WrestleMania V

Trump Plaza
Atlantic City, NJ
Since the Trump kicks so much ass, they have it there again. The card is kinda packed, with 14 matches on the card. However, the matches weren't that bad, and most had some redeeming qualities, even the Rougeaus/Bushwhackers, if not for comic relief. Make sure you check out the WM debut of Shawn and Owen. Both ended up jobbing, but their matches were great, and even if their first match was against the Twin Towers, the Rockers tore it up. I don't know why, but this is my personal favorite WM, even though Strike Force split during their match, in a classic angle that didn't really do anything for either guy. And the match was damn good. And if you hate Bobby Heenan, he gets his ass whipped by Terry "Red Rooster" Taylor, although the match was pretty short. And Ventura and Monsoon are totally on a roll, and it adds a ton to the atmosphere. It may be the best card I've heard them call.

Best match: Perfect/Blue Blazer
Worst match: Jake Roberts/Andre (I'll give them credit for continuity for working Studd in there, but it didn't work out so well)

WrestleMania VI

SkyDome
Toronto, ON, CA
Well, all good things had to come to an end, even the Trump WM streak. And this one was kind of a transition for the company, as they were about to get a few new stars, along with improved production. At least they brought back the ring carts from WMIII. Having gone back and watching the main, Hogan/Warrior wasn't as good as I remembered. However, it was pretty epic for the time, and they worked well to build drama, including perhaps the most famous double-clothesline in history. They also were still struggling with overloading the card. However, there were still some pretty good moments on the card, as Demolition secured their last tag title, beating Andre/Haku in Andre's last WM match, and Beefcake pulling a MAJOR upset, defeating Perfect in a fluke. Look for DDP driving a pink Cadillac, and watch Barbarian's last match before finding the cape and antlers and losing his talent. Good booking here, and some cute stuff. I hate to say it, but even though I hate mixed tag matches, this one wasn't bad, and I can still see Savage's expression when Dusty brings out Elizabeth. Savage had the coolest tights in history here too. And check out the Hart Foundation going over on the Bolsheviks in about 5 seconds. Oops, almost forgot, but the DiBiase/Roberts match actually went pretty good, although I don't know why they didn't give Jake the "Million Dollar Belt".

Best match: Hogan/Warrior or Beefcake/Perfect (although neither were really good)
Worst match: Hacksaw vs. Dino Bravo (the only reason Piper/Brown didn't win was because of Piper's body paint job...)

Up next: WM VII-XII!

Comments? You know where to send 'em.

This is my old project, THROWDOWN.

A group of friends and I put together this little project in 2003 as an outlet of out collective rage and anger about the subjects that each of us cared about. I was the editor-and-chief and games writer back then.

It was a blast to do and it to be involved in a great collaborative effort using the strengths of my friends was simply amazing. I hope you have fun reading our work as much as we had in creating it.

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