Before the big one this year, let’s look at how the first one COULD have gone.
In keeping with the Wrestlemania theme, I thought that before we take a look at the present with this year’s show, we would go back to the original event.
Despite what the WWE or Vince McMahon would have you believe, the first Wrestlemania event on March 31, 1985, was not the big spectacular the event would lend itself to be. It was held on a Saturday afternoon and the event had to be cleared out of Madison Square Garden by a certain time to allow for a set up to a Knicks game later that night. Not only was this show only 2 hours long, but the WWF had held an event at MSG literally 2 weeks before! The card was well… meh. The first few matches on the show were hardly what you’d expect from Wrestlemania in later years. Here is the actual card:
Tito Santana beat The Executioner (Buddy Rose) via submission.
King Kong Bundy pinned SD Jones.
Ricky Steamboat pinned Matt Borne.
Brutus Beefcake DCO David Sammartino.
Junkyard Dog beat WWF I-C Champ Greg Valentine via count out.
Nikolai Volkoff & Iron Sheik beat Barry Windham & Mike Rotunda to win the WWF Tag Title when Volkoff pinned Windham.
Andre the Giant beat John Studd in a “bodyslam” match. If Andre lost he would retire. If Studd lost, he would give Andre $15,000.
Wendi Richter (managed by Cyndi Lauper) pinned Leilani Kai to win the WWF Women’s Title.
Hulk Hogan & Mr. T beat Paul Orndorff & Roddy Piper when Hogan pinned Orndorff. Muhammad Ali was the special outside referee.
The first three matches were glorified squash matches, the Beefcake/Sammartino match was used s a lead to a tag match at MSG the next month, Valentine was feuding with Santana at the time and the slam match was terrifyingly bad. The first Starrcade a year and a half before was a much better show and it would take the WWF a few years to figure things out.But what if things had been different? That’s why you are reading this! Let’s say the WWF got the full 3 1/2 hours to do this show. The early Wrestlemanias typically featured between 12-16 matches. Not all of them had big convoluted feuds behind
But what if things had been different? That’s why you are reading this! Let’s say the WWF got the full 3 1/2 hours to do this show. The early Wrestlemanias typically featured between 12-16 matches. Not all of them had big convoluted feuds behind them but were there to showcase the best the roster had to offer at the show. So here is my take on what the first show would be if it was given more time and the hype the WWF would figure out over the years.
Wrestlemania. March 31, 1985, Madison Square Garden New York, New York
Ricky Steamboat V/S Buddy Rose
Steamboat was fresh from the NWA at this point and Buddy was an experienced guy from the Pacific Northwest territory. Even though he was new, Steamboat knew how to fire up a crowd and get them going, so being an opener would be a good position for him at this point and having a vet like Rose in the ring would make the match quick but still really enjoyable.
Winner: Ricky Steamboat with a top rope crossbody
Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart V/S Tony Atlas
This would be one of those big man matches Vince likes so much. The Anvil was fresh to the company at this point and after being managed by Mr. Fuji was given to Jimmy Hart when Jimmy showed up from Memphis. Tony has been around a few years and had worked for Vince’s father for a number of big shows. I’d see this as Atlas frustrating the Anvil a number of times to the point where the Anvil finally cheats by pulling tights and getting the pin.
Winner: Jim Neidhart with a scoop and a handful of tights
King Kong Bundy V/S Mr. Wrestling II
Total squash here, but it is something more meaningful. Bundy was destined to be a future opponent for Hogan so Vince made him look strong. II was brought in as part of the Georgia buyout (Black Saturday) the year before, but the WWF didn’t know what to do with him so they just jobbed him out to everyone. So f he’s gonna job, make it count right?
Winner: King Kong Bundy with the avalanche.
WWF Tag Team Titles: U.S. Express (Barry Windham/Mike Rotundo) v/s The Iron Sheik/Nikolai Volkoff
With what wrestling and Vince were doing at the time, I wouldn’t change this match from the original show, just place it differently on the card.
Winners and new champions: Sheik and Volkoff
Johnny Rodz V/S Ivan Putski
A match to pick people up from the heels winning the belts. Putski was insanely over at the time and a vet like Rodz would know how to sell like a lunatic for Putski in a short one.
Winner: Ivan Putski with the Polish Hammer
Don Muraco V/S Rocky Johnson
Muraco was a big time heel for Vince Sr. and Vince Jr. and I believe he had taken a short time off right before this show, so he wasn’t on the original card. These two were probably the biggest WWF guys who weren’t part of Wrestlemania and that is a shame. The match would be an even back and forth match, but it’s one of those deals where Vince wouldn’t have a decisive winner. It would be a good one, but the ending would be kinda disappointing.
Winner: Double count-out.
David/Bruno Sammartino V/S Brutus Beefcake/Johnny V.
THIS should have been the match at Wrestlemania, not the singles match. No one gave 2 shits about David, they just wanted to see former hero Bruno, so you might as well give it to them. Neither David or Brutus were very good at this point, but that could be hidden more in a tag match. Have Bruno put the bear hug on Johnny Valiant and get the big nostalgia pop.
Winners: Sammartinos with Bruno using the bearhug on Johnny V.
Intercontinental Title: Greg Valentine V/S Tito Santana
This feud was headlining the B house shows at the time and headlined the MSG show 2 weeks before in a lumberjack match. Make it No DQ and let these guys tear into it. Tito keeps going for Valentine’s leg in revenge from the injury that set this all up, but in the end, Valentine scores the win when Tito goes for a suplex into the ring and Jimmy Hart grabs the leg and holds it for the pin.
Winner and still champion: Greg Valentine via cheating.
The British Bulldogs V/S The Moondogs
The Bulldogs had been brought in the year before but the WWF squandered them and they quit to go to Japan, where they formed the tag team and the WWF hired them right back. They debuted on TV the weekend of the show but not on the show itself. This would have been a showcase of their ability and this stage would have been a good place to show them off.
Winners: Bulldogs with Dynamite Kid flying headbutt on Spot.
Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka V/S “Cowboy” Bob Orton
Snuka was feuding with Piper at the time, but these two had a thing as well when Snuka injured Orton’s arm (leading to the infamous arm cast angle). Throw them in the ring and let them go at it. Snuka would beat the shit out of Orton to the point where Orton would just turn around and clobber Snuka in the head with the arm cast and get himself DQed. Snuka gets busted open and is out for a few minute while Orton kicks him. Snuka then finally gets up and Orton runs for his life.
Winner: Jimmy Snuka via DQ
Bret Hart V/S Barry O
Bret was an undercard face at this point and the WWF was looking to make him a cowboy or some stupid shit. This would be a cool down match and a showcase of just how good Bret was, even at this point.
Winner: Bret Hart via Piledriver.
Andre’s career v/s $15,000 Andre The Giant/Junkyard Dog V/S Big John Studd/Ken Patera
This was the best way to get something watchable from a slowing down Andre and Studd. Patera helped attack Andre to set up the slam match, so put him in the ring and take one of the company’s most popular guys in the other. Have Andre put up his career, but choosing the Dog to be his partner. The match would end with Andre sitting on Patera for the pin.
Winners: Andre and the Dog via Andre sit-down splash
Woman’s title: Leilani Kai V/S Wendi Richter
Wouldn’t change anything from the main show. Cyndi Lauper, Fabulous Moolah and all.
Winner and new champion: Wendi Richter with a reversal pin
Hulk Hogan/Mr. T V/S Roddy Piper/Paul Orndorff
I know I’m kinda breaking my own rule by having the main event still be a tag match, but there really isn’t anything wrong with the match. It had all the hype and Mr. T was huge at the time so why not? Have Orton come down with Paul and Piper and then have Hogan wave to the back and a bandaged and MAD Jimmy Snuka come out to be in Hulk and T’s corner. Beyond that, just go with what they did on the real show.
Winners: Hulk Hogan and Mr. T when Hogan pins Orndorff after KO with Orton’s cast.
So there it is an expanded Wrestlemania card. This card was supposed to be a showcase of the WWF and I think given the time to add more to the card, this show would really do that.
Now with the first one out of the way, next time I’ll be looking at this year’s show!
You can see my published work HERE
You can contact me on my Twitter HERE
and remember, I’m a candidate for President of the United States in 2016!