WrestleMania is the grandest stage of them all, the biggest event in sports entertainment that brings together wrestling fans from around the world. But beyond the matches, the pyrotechnics, and the larger-than-life personalities, there are untold stories and controversies that have shaped the history of WrestleMania. In this article, we’ll explore 10 of the lesser-known tales and scandals that have made WrestleMania the iconic event it is today.
1. The First WrestleMania: A Hail Mary Pass
The inaugural WrestleMania event in 1985 was a huge gamble for Vince McMahon and the WWF. McMahon had sunk millions of dollars into promoting the event, and if it failed, it would have been catastrophic for the company. Fortunately, WrestleMania was a huge success, drawing over 19,000 fans to the historic Madison Square Garden in New York City and launching a new era of sports entertainment.
2. The Ultimate Warrior’s Contract Negotiations
The Ultimate Warrior was one of the biggest stars of the late 1980s and early 1990s, but his contract negotiations with the WWF were often contentious. Warrior famously held out for more money before WrestleMania VI, which was set to feature a historic match between him and Hulk Hogan. Warrior eventually got what he wanted, but his relationship with McMahon and the WWF was never the same.
3. The Montreal Screwjob
The Montreal Screwjob is one of the most infamous incidents in wrestling history. In 1997, Bret Hart was set to leave the WWF for rival promotion WCW, but he refused to lose his championship to Shawn Michaels at the Survivor Series event in Montreal. In a controversial move, McMahon and others conspired to have the match end with Michaels winning the title, leaving Hart stunned and angry.
4. WrestleMania X-7: The Greatest Show on Earth
WrestleMania X-7 in 2001 is widely regarded as one of the greatest wrestling events of all time. The event featured a main event match between The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin, and it drew over 67,000 fans to the Reliant Astrodome in Houston, Texas. It was a landmark moment in the history of the WWF and WrestleMania.
5. The Undertaker’s Streak
The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania is one of the most legendary achievements in sports entertainment. From WrestleMania VII in 1991 to WrestleMania XXX in 2014, The Undertaker won 21 consecutive matches at WrestleMania, cementing his legacy as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.
6. The Death of Owen Hart
The death of Owen Hart at the 1999 Over the Edge event is one of the darkest moments in WrestleMania history. Hart, performing under the Blue Blazer persona, fell from the rafters of the Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri, in a tragic accident that stunned the wrestling world.
7. The Limp Bizkit Performance
The performance by rock band Limp Bizkit at WrestleMania XIX in 2003 was highly controversial. The band played their hit song “Rollin'” as wrestler The Undertaker made his entrance, but the song’s lyrics and themes clashed with The Undertaker’s character and the wrestling product as a whole.
8. The Retirement of Shawn Michaels
Shawn Michaels’ retirement at WrestleMania XXVI in 2010 was a poignant moment for wrestling fans. Michaels, one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, had announced that the match against The Undertaker would be his last. The match itself was a classic, but it was Michaels’ emotional farewell speech that left fans in tears.
9. The Women’s Evolution
WrestleMania has been at the forefront of the women’s wrestling revolution in recent years. At WrestleMania 32 in 2016, WWE debuted the Women’s Championship, signaling a new era of respect and equality for female wrestlers. The following year, the women’s division headlined WrestleMania for the first time, with a match between Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, and Ronda Rousey.
10. The Pandemic Era
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives, and WrestleMania is no exception. In 2020, WrestleMania 36 was held without fans in attendance for the first time in the event’s history. Despite the unusual circumstances, WWE pulled off a successful event that showcased the resilience and adaptability of the wrestling industry.
WrestleMania is more than just a wrestling event; it’s a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imaginations of fans around the world for decades. From its humble beginnings in 1985 to its current status as a global entertainment juggernaut, WrestleMania has had its share of triumphs and controversies. But through it all, it has remained a celebration of the art of professional wrestling and the larger-than-life personalities that inhabit it.
- Who won the first WrestleMania?
The main event of the first WrestleMania saw Hulk Hogan and Mr. T defeat Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff.
- How long is the WrestleMania event?
WrestleMania typically lasts between four and six hours, including pre-show matches.
- What is the attendance record for WrestleMania?
The attendance record for WrestleMania is 101,763, set at WrestleMania 32 in 2016 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
- Who has the longest winning streak at WrestleMania?
The Undertaker holds the record for the longest undefeated streak at WrestleMania, with 21 consecutive wins from WrestleMania VII to WrestleMania XXX.
- What is the biggest controversy in WrestleMania history?
The Montreal Screwjob at the 1997 Survivor Series is widely regarded as the biggest controversy in WrestleMania history.