April 13, 2013
Adam Sanders

WWF WrestleMania I
March 31, 1985 in New York, NY

Itís the first WrestleMania and Iím really excited to be embarking on an ongoing journey (or adventure, if you will) through the WrestleManiaís. Iíve seen the old ones numerous times but havenít really watched any of the more modern ones since they originally aired. This will be a ongoing series as these Mania reviews will pop up sporadically until all the Maniaís have been covered.

1. Tito Santana vs. The Executioner
The first match in Mania history and itís a vehicle to get Tito a quick win. Monsoon says that the Executioner carries ďan unblemished recordĒ, well I guess thatís true. You canít lose if you donít wrestle. Tito let Executioner get in a good bit of offense working over the leg. Everything here was pretty basic and went down nice and smooth. Executioner took a wild bump over the top toward the end that nearly took out the timekeeper and Tito got the win with the figure-four, as if to tell Greg Valentine that he has a better figure-four than him.

2. King Kong Bundy vs. S.D. Jones
Bundy and Jones was only nine seconds long, supposedly, and I loved Bundyís big splash in the corner.

3. Matt Borne vs. Ricky Steamboat
A fine little match here. Steamboat really seemed to love the headlocks early on, trying to keep that tempo slow. Borne may be known to 90ís fans as the heel Doink but watch his selling here, itís just amazing. The facials he has and the goofy wobble he did on an atomic drop was phenomenal. Second half of the match saw Borne deliver a belly-to-belly suplex. Steamboatís offense was slick like ice and the top-rope cross-body when really nice.

4. Brutus Beefcake vs. David Sammartino
This match never really did anything for me on previous viewings of this show and now, it still doesnít. Sammartino looks exactly like his dad with the hair and the big barrel chest. Beefcake looked pretty bad and at some points seemed to not have a clue. Sammartino at one point was really early on a hip-toss. Look close and you can notice it. David also really relied on the mat holds like the deathlock and front facelock. This got a lot of time, more than it should have. I probably would have rather seemed Steamboat and Borne get a few more minutes. Ending was a giant mess with Johnny V slamming David on the floor thus allowing Bruno to get involved and a big fight breaking out leading to a double DQ.

5. WWF Intercontinental Championship: Greg ďThe HammerĒ Valentine vs. The Junkyard Dog
Valentine has become something of a cult figure in my circle. Iíve seen him at least three times at low-level indy shows in this area and all I got as proof is an autographed 8x10. Anyway, I liked the hard blows thrown here, or ďclubberinĒ as Dusty Rhodes would say. Valentine did the old tree fall off a JYD headbutt. JYDís punches near the end looked terrible. The finish was beyond screwed up with Valentine getting a pin and then Tito running out to argue, leading to Valentine getting counted out. Huh? I thought the match was over after the pin. Not much to see here and really the only value this has is that it was the first ever title match at a WrestleMania.

6. WWF Tag Team Championship: The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff vs. Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo
Sheik and Volkoff get tons of heat with the Russian Anthem and anti-USA banter. Iíd go so far as to say they have more heat that a mid-July day in Phoenix. Windham to me is, and always will be, a WCW/NWA guy so to see him wrestling on the first WrestleMania defending the tag titles, seems a bit out of place for me. Rotundo worked good as a face in peril but seemed sort of bland. Captain Lou, managing the champions, looked completely ridiculous with rubber bands hanging off his face. Only impressive thing the heel team did was having Sheik whack Windham over the head with Blassieís cane while Rotundo stood on the apron like a fool watching the proceedings. I would have liked to have seen this get a bit more time and to have seen Windham get some more ring time.

7. $15,000 Bodyslam Challenge: Big John Studd vs. Andre the Giant
The rules here were if Andre were to slam Studd, then he would win $15,000. On the alternative, if Andre were to be slammed, he would have to retire. The problem with a stipulation like this is that it eliminates any type of bodyslams until itís time for the finish, which leads to a somewhat dull match. These two massive behemots just clobbered each other for the majority of the match. Andre threw a number of kicks. Stop and re-read that last line again. Yes, Andre was throwing kicks. Studd just sort of took everything and didnít really respond. Andre must have gotten bored as he just seemed to randomly slam Studd to end the match.

8. WWF Womenís Championship: Wendi Richter vs. Leilani Kai
Donít really have a lot to say about this match as, no offense to the ladies, it felt sort of boring. Iíve seen Leilani in both singles and tag matches, and I have to say that I definitely prefer her in a tag team environment as her singles matches have been pretty boring. Richter hoisted Kai up over her back and just unceremoniously dumped her right on to the canvas. Kaiís big dive off the top looked very nice, too bad the finishing roll-up by Richter wasnít as nice.

9. Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff vs. Hulk Hogan & Mr. T
Main event time and a whole cadre of celebrities including Billy Martin, Liberace, and Muhammad Ali come out to participate in the proceedings. I felt bad for Pat Patterson having to referee the match and not only having to keep Mr. T in line but also to keep a very overzealous Ali in order. Match itself from a workrate perspective was pretty much a disaster as it was disjointed and had tons of legality issues with all four running in and out as they please. Piper got a chair shot in on the floor and Orndorff did a lot of stalling. Mr. T in all honesty didnít look too terrible for a celebrity wrestling in his first match. Bob Orton and Jimmy Snuka provided interference as well, adding to the disjointed nature of the match. An OK match and certainly a fine way to close out the first Mania.

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