30 years ago: The aftermath of the first WrestleMania

As we wind down pro wrestling’s big season, I wanted to look back at the aftermath of the first WrestleMania 30 years ago.

I’ve previously blogged about the original WrestleMania’s build up, it’s preliminary matches, and the main events on the show.

Sure, the success of the inaugural Mania opened the door for the annual card to continue, from 1985 right to WrestleMania 31 this year. They’ve been mainly good shows, with some great cards as well and a few stinkers. But had the first Mania flopped, while it’s possible Vince McMahon would have attempted another supercard, it would not have been under the WrestleMania name.

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I also remember the immediate months after WrestleMania 1 because a new show debuted called Saturday Night’s Main Event. This program offered free matches pitting major stars against each other on network TV, as it substituted several times a year for Saturday Night Live on NBC. Saturday Night’s Main Event offered great action for those of us who grew up with the idea that big WWF matches only happened during the house shows, although these days the program wouldn’t seem so special.

I’ll be looking more in detail at the 30th anniversary of the first Saturday Night’s Main Event soon, but suffice to say without the success of Mania in 1985, NBC probably would have been very cool to the idea of wrestling on network TV.

Cyndi Lauper’s involvement with wrestling waned after WrestleMania, and in fact Wendi Richter was gone within a year, never to show her face again until her WWE Hall of Fame induction in 2010. Mr. T resurfaced at WrestleMania 2 to fight Rowdy Roddy Piper in a worked boxing match, but without Hogan as support, the bout was pretty awful.

Nonetheless, it wasn’t until Mike Tyson’s involvement with WrestleMania XIV in 1998 that celebrities like T and Lauper played such an important role in WWE angles.

McMahon was already strongly into his expansion at the time of the original WrestleMania in 1985, but the event’s success – particularly in pop culture circles – helped fuel the notion from the national media the WWF was the only wrestling game in the country worth paying attention too. It’s a status that the organization has largely enjoyed straight through today.

McMahon’s gamble with the original WrestleMania paid off big time.

One comment

  1. Beantown Wring Wrat

    Similar to the day after Christmas or almost as if your nursing that hangover from New Years Eve, the days and weeks after WrestleMania tend to be that of somber times in the wrestling world. With the months of hype, the storylines, the attendance records all in the rear view mirror, we look at this time as if it were similar to spring training. Like a new season that is upon us. No doubt WrestleMania 31 was true to form. Great matches and great storylines. Sting and Triple H proved father time wrong! Although personally, I felt as if there could have been more celebrity involvement (they were in California after all). Just like 30 years ago after the first WrestleMania, this time of year was that of change. Like you had mentioned in this post, that the WWE kicked off its Saturday Night’s Main event series. This was no doubt due to NBC Executive Dick Ebersol’s relationship with Vince McMahon. Mr. Ebersol devoted one Saturday Night Live time slot a month to the WWE. And boy did Vince take advantage of that. But one thing always stood out to me. The disappearance of MTV’s involvement. It was MTV that helped create the Rock and Wrestling connection. MTV was very instrumental in orchestrating the first annual WrestleMania. Cyndi Laupers involvement catapulted a plethora of rock and roll stars as well as Hollywood A-list stars. All of which culminated at the first WrestleMania. Lets not forget the MTV’s “Brawl to End it All” in July of 1984 kicked off its partnership with WWE. Also a perfect example of MTV’s involvement was the “War to Settle the Score” which was broadcasted live on MTV just weeks before WrestleMania. This 3 hour long event created the main event at the first WrestleMania. Who can also forget the back stage interviews with such stars as Joe Piscopo, Danny DeVito, as well as Mean Gene Okerlund speaking with Andy Warhol. This was huge national exposure for the WWE back then. But what about the days after WrestleMania One? To this day I do not recall any MTV involvement with the WWE. It is well known now that Vince and his family took a big gamble with WrestleMania. But without the success of MTV’s involvement with Vince’s business WrestleMania may have never taken place.

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