April 4, 2009
Alexander Settee

Championship Wrestling, March 30, 1985
Taped March 5, 1985, Mid Hudson Civic Center, Poughkeepsie, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Bruno Sammartino

It’s Wrestlemania weekend 2009 and now that we’ve seen all the final hype for this year’s show, let’s go back 24 years to the first ever Wrestlemania weekend and see what kind of final push that show received.

Vince and Bruno open things up by hyping a video package of Hulk Hogan and Mr T. training in New York that we’re going to see later on, as well as run down some of the names that we’re going to see in action later on.

Opening match: Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo (w/Lou Albano) vs. Jim Haley & Playboy Buddy Rose

Fink announces Rose at 275 lbs, but Rose then corrects him saying that his actual weight is 227 lbs, and Fink just goes with it. Windham and Rotundo are the reigning Tag Team Champions, and are set to defend those belts against Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik at Wrestlemania. Rotundo and Rose start out. Rose gets a wristlock, reversed by Rotundo. Rose sends him off and gets a drop toe hold, but Rotundo quickly moves to a hammerlock. Rose gets up and trips Rotundo, then comes off the ropes with a cartwheel and struts a bit. He then gets Rotundo with an elbow. Rose sends him off and Rotundo tries a sunset flip, but he gets nailed. Rose whips him to the corner, and then slams him. He goes to the 2nd rope, but Rotundo gets the knees up. Both guys tag. Windham hits a dropkick on Haley, and then tags Rotundo right back in. Rotundo slams him, drops and elbow. He hooks an airplane spin, then drops Haley and covers for 3 at 3:29. ½* In addition to the Tag Title defense for Windham and Rotundo, Buddy Rose was also on him way to Wrestlemania where he would work in the first ever match under a mask as The Executioner.

It’s time now for Update with Lord Al Hayes, which focuses this week on Junkyard Dog. We see some footage of JYD dancing with some kids in the ring following a match. The kids actually pull out some break dancing moves that JYD obviously has no hope of keeping up with. Hayes wraps it up by saying he anticipates JYD will take the IC Title from Greg Valentine this Sunday.

King Kong Bundy (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Paul Roma

Bundy is pretty new to the company here and comes to the ring wearing a vampire cape which looks kinda corny. Bundy basically just hammers Roma at will. He pulls Roma up at 2 after a kneedrop. Clothesline, Avalanche, and another kneedrop then get the 5 count at 1:49. DUD Bundy will be taking on SD Jones at Wrestlemania, but that fact never actually gets mentioned here.

In a sign of just how important Wrestlemania actually is, all the segments that would normally be used to hype upcoming house shows are instead used to talk about that show. Mean Gene runs down the main matches while a list of closed circuit venues scrolls on the screen. He then interviews Cyndi Lauper regarding the Women’s Title match.

Ricky Steamboat vs. Rick Savage

Just like Bundy, Steamboat is another newcomer to the WWF who will be working a prelim match on the big show, but once again that match receives no mention. Steamboat starts out by taking Savage down, but Savage makes the ropes. Steamboat then gets him with a knee off the ropes and an armdrag into an armbar. Savage gets up and punches out. He gets a corner whip, but a 2nd try is reversed and Steamboat follows up with a hiptoss and armdrag. Savage makes the ropes again and then cheapshots Steamboat on a subsequent lockup. He hits an elbow and a knee, but Steamboat then comes back with the chops. After taking Savage down, Steamboat goes up and finishes with the flying bodypress at 3:39. ½*

Back to Gene as he lists of the celebrities that will be participating in Wrestlemania, and also mentions that it will be seen in 24 foreign countries. That can’t be right. They had barely finished their expansion through the United States at this point. In what other countries besides Canada were they seen in 1985? Anyways, Andre the Giant is his guest this time and they talk about the $15,000 bodyslam match. Andre promises that he won’t retire, but that he will use the money to take a vacation. Then after a commercial break we see Gene in New York with Liberace and they basically say nothing more then that he’ll be there.

Magnificent Muraco vs. Jim Powers

Muraco would be the only name wrestler featured here today that will not be participating in Wrestlemania, but I believe he was being setup for an MSG program with Hogan afterwards. Muraco jumps Powers and then catapults him throat first into the ropes. Vince takes this opportunity to clear up for us that Wrestlemania will not be seen on home TV as many people are apparently mistakenly believing, unless you happen to be one of the very few people who have access to Pay Per View at this point. So for all intents and purposes the only way to see Wrestlemania is on closed circuit at a local theatre or arena. Back to the match as Powers tries and fails at a rollup. Muraco then misses an elbow and Powers gets him with a dropkick. Muraco sends him off the ropes, but Powers ducks and gets a slam, followed by an armdrag into an armbar. Muraco knees out, hits a swinging neckbreaker, and them finishes with the Tombstone at 2:39. ½*

Piper’s Pit has Paul Orndorff as the guest and is of course all about the main event of Wrestlemania. They have a Hogan/Mr.T Wrestlemania poster hanging on the set. Piper covers them with a toilet seat, and then they smear it with bananas and eggs. These guys must have been on something good. Piper then asks Orton how the arm is doing and he proceeds to use the cast to knock the entire set over.

And then for the other side of the issue, we go to footage of Hulk Hogan and Mr. T training in New York. They go to Central Park and beat up some muggers (not actually shown), train in the gym, meet some fans at the train station, and finally visit an empty Madison Square Garden for their final preparations.

Greg “The Hammer” Valentine vs. Paul Pompay

Valentine controls with a rear chinlock, but then gets backed to the corner. Pompay sends him across, but Valentine gets the knees up and tosses him outside. After some forearms on the apron, Valentine gets him back in and takes him down with a snapmare. Pompay gets up and they trade shots, but Valentine knees him. Suplex gets 2 as Valentine pulls him up. Gutbuster leads to some work on the leg. He then uses a backbreaker and elbow from the 2nd rope to lead into the figure four which gets the submission at 4:36. DUD As was hyped during the Update, Valentine will be putting his IC Title on the line against Junkyard Dog this Sunday at Wrestlemania.

Once more to Mean Gene who has Lou Albano, along with Tag Champs Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo with him. They talk about the Title defense against Sheik and Volkoff and how they’re ready for it.

Vince and Bruno wrap the show up with one last mention of Wrestlemania on Sunday, as well as the announcement the next week’s show will feature the debut of the British Bulldogs.

Well, there was nothing special here in terms of in ring, but that’s not the important part here. I definitely came out of this with the feeling that Wrestlemania was a huge deal as they talked about it constantly and nearly everything was focused on making you want to see it. Good stuff here, so it’s a thumbs up for Championship Wrestling, March 30, 1985.

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