WrestleMania is not just the biggest event of World Wrestling Entertainment's calendar year, but it's also become arguably the biggest event in all of sports and entertainment. Comparable to the National Football League's Super Bowl event in magnitude and prestige, WrestleMania is known as "The Grand Daddy of Them All" and "The Showcase of the Immortals." And for good reason. All of the greatest names in the history of professional wrestling/sports-entertainment have competed at WrestleMania. Some have found glory and legendary status through victory, while others have tasted the sorrow of defeat. WrestleMania is where WWE's Superstars and Divas cement their legacies as performers, athletes, entertainers, and pop culture icons.
In the year 1985, Vincent Kennedy McMahon Jr. and his World Wrestling Entertainment, known then as the WWF: World Wrestling Federation, set out to forever change the face of professional wrestling. McMahon and the WWF wanted to do something that had never been done before. Something that most people could never even dream of. To put on a wrestling show that could be compared to the NFL's Super Bowl or the NHL's Stanley Cup. The very first WrestleMania took place on March 31st, 1985 in one of the most well-known venues in the world, Madison Square Garden in New York City. It was labeled by the WWF as being "The Greatest Wrestling Event of All Time!"
The inaugural WrestleMania featured such legends as "The Immortal" Hulk Hogan, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, Andre the Giant, The Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, and others. The event proved to be a huge success overall, which led to WrestleMania 2 the following year.
WrestleMania 2 was even bigger and more extravagant than the first WrestleMania. On April 7th, 1986, there was not just one WrestleMania event, but THREE events which took place simultaneously at three different venues across the United States: New York, Illinois, and Los Angeles..
The main event in Illinois in the Rosemont Horizon saw The British Bulldogs defeat The Dream Team. The main event in Los Angeles, California in the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena saw "The Immortal" Hulk Hogan defeat King Kong Bundy. And the main event in New York in the Nassau Coliseum saw Mr. T defeat "Rowdy" Roddy Piper in a Boxing Match by disqualification after Piper Bodyslammed Mr. T.
The first two WrestleManias were very successful, but it was WrestleMania III that forever changed the landscape of the World Wrestling Federation.
WrestleMania III took place on March 29th, 1987 in the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan in front of over 93,000 wrestling fans. This was a spectacular event which featured the likes of Harley Race, Ricky Steamboat, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, Jimmy Hart, Koko B. Ware, The Honky Tonk Man, Nikolai Volkoff, The Iron Sheik, Roddy Piper, The Hart Foundation, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, and so many other iconic wrestling Superstars. But the main event match would go down as one of the most talked-about and influential bouts in the history of not just wrestling, but all of sports.
In the main event of WrestleMania III, "The Immortal" Hulk Hogan defended his WWF Heavyweight Championship against the legendary 7'4", 500 pound Andre the Giant. After a hard-fought battle between the two, the physical strength of Hulk Hogan quite literally shook the Pontiac Silverdome, as he hoisted the Giant up into the air and delivered a Body Slam that was heard around the world. After then executing a Running Atomic Leg Drop, Hogan was able to retain the WWF Championship against the monstrous Andre the Giant.
WrestleMania III, particularly the main event match between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, has become legendary, iconic, almost mythological in its importance and overall effect on the wresting business. Following the first three WrestleManias, the World Wrestling Federation elevated to unimaginable heights in worldwide popularity. Never before, or since, has professional wrestling been so incredibly popular and well-known around the globe. The success of professional wrestling in the 1980s can largely be attributed to the tremendous success and popularity of WrestleMania.