WrestleMania: history and curiosities of the most important WWE event of the year

WrestleMania: history and curiosities of the most important WWE event of the year


Adrenaline, pyrotechnic, colorful, exciting. These are the main characteristics that have made WrestleMania, the most important WWE wrestling event of the year, a show that since the 1980s has kept millions of viewers glued to the screen and generates an incredible economic inducement. Suffice it to say that edition number 35, staged in 2019 in New Jersey, brought in a total of 16.9 million dollars, surpassing the previous record of 12.3 million of WrestleMania 29 in 2013, thanks also to the "all sold out ”and the 82,265 fans present inside the stadium, coming from 68 countries around the world. And like any self-respecting great event, WrestleMania too was born from a simple idea, which later became historic.

The origins of WrestleMania

Vince McMahon, WWE boss, was the main architect of the radical change in how wrestling should be represented and advertised around the world. Unlike his father, who had limited himself to collaborating with the local federations of the United States and Canada, leaving out the “entertainment” factor, Vince wanted to create an annual event that would put more emphasis on the spectacle of Wrestling. After signing stars of the caliber of Hulk Hogan, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Iron Sheik, he succeeded in his intent.

The name WrestleMania was suggested to him by the historic ring announcer Howard Finkel, who was inspired by the media wave that accompanied the arrival of the Beatles in America in the 1960s, called "Beatlemania". A flash of genius, therefore: a crasis between Wrestling and Mania that immediately pleased the good Vince. To make the first edition a success, there was a desperate need to involve the biggest stars of the Pop world and that is why Cindy Lauper, Mr. T and Muhammad Ali took part. In short, the best of the 80s enclosed in a single event. Before the big night, Hulk Hogan and the A-Team star even presented an episode of Saturday Night Live, fueling the expectations of the spectators.

Mr. T's participation in the main event of the first WrestleMania got an incredible media coverage. Credits: WWE WrestleMania I was staged on March 31, 1985 at Madison Square Garden in New York, unanimously defined as the "Mecca" of the sports world. It was an unprecedented success, grossing over $ 12 million, and redefining the PPV (paid event) concept. The main event, or the cartel match, saw the team made up of Hulk Hogan and Mr. T clash with that made up of Roddy Piper and Mr. Wonderful. Since then WrestleMania would then become an annual event and Madison Square Garden would also host editions 10 and 20.

W restleMania and Pop Culture: an indissoluble combination

Over the years there have been many celebrities and personalities from the sports world who have actively taken part in WrestleMania. From Lawrence Taylor, former NFL star who faced Bam Bam Bigelow in the main event of the twelfth edition, to Mike Tyson, chosen as special referee for the match between "Stone" Cold Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XIV, up to the billionaire boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr, who at WrestleMania XXIV faced and defeated none other than the Big Show.

The great performance of Lemmy Kilmister and his band at WrestleMania XXI. Credits: WWE But the most shocking involvement that is still remembered today remains undoubtedly that of former US President Donald Trump, who at WrestleMania XXIII shaved Vince McMahon's hair to zero and got a Stunner from "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. And again, the most important event of the WWE saw the live musical performances of famous artists and iconic bands: from Ray Charles to Aretha Franklin, from Michelle Williams to John Legend, up to Saliva, Limp Bizkit, Living Color and Motörhead.

WrestleMania: the matches that made history

WrestleMania can be considered to all intents and purposes the "season finale" of the set of stories that entertain fans throughout the year. home. For over thirty years the WWE has always given "WrestleMania moments" still praised today: from the historic clash between Hulk Hogan and Andrè The Giant to WrestleMania III in 1987 to the unification match between Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior at the Toronto Skydome , in Canada, at the sixth edition of the PPV in 1990. And how not to mention the fantastic Ladder match between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon at WrestleMania X, in the iconic setting of Madison Square Garden, at the meeting between the Hart brothers always at the same edition , up to the iconic rivalry between “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock, which has inflamed fans on three occasions: WrestleMania XV, WrestleMania XVII and WrestleMania XIX.

Another legend that has marked the history of WrestleMania was undoubtedly The Undertaker. For over twenty years he has continuously won his matches at the PPV, giving life to a real "Streak" (streak of victories), only to be defeated in a sensational way by Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XXX in 2014. A shock moment, perhaps the most unexpected ever, which literally froze the fans inside the stadium, becoming viral in no time.

The most shocking moment ever in WrestleMania history. The Undertaker streak is ended by Brock Lesnar. Credits: WWE Always The Undertaker was the protagonist of one of the most beautiful matches ever against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 25: a mixture of storytelling, adrenaline and emotions that witnessed the skill of two sacred monsters of the ring. The legendary face off between Hulk Hogan and The Rock at WrestleMania X8 also entered the story. On that occasion, the fans cheered Hogan so much that they forced the two superstars to switch roles: in this way he became the "face" of the situation, that is the darling, while Rock the "heel", the superstar to whistle. Clear testimony of how wrestling cannot exist without the frame of the public.

Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker at WrestleMania 25: voted by many as the best match in the history of the event. Credits: WWE But WrestleMania also saw the consecration of stars of the caliber of John Cena and Dave Batista. Both became SmackDown and Raw champions at WrestleMania 21, in 2005, beginning the climax of the Ruthless Aggression Era. Superstars undoubtedly remembered by the Italian public since in those years the WWE was broadcast in the clear on Italia Uno, grinding record ratings and filling the arenas throughout Italy.

WrestleMania, a symbol of female emancipation

Who said women can't have their say in the ring? In WWE, even female superstars have been the protagonists of incredible moments, proving to be like athletes. At WrestleMania 32, in 2016, WWE renamed the Divas Division as the Women's Division, establishing a new title, that of Women’s Champion. Since then, the evolution of women in WWE has taken the limelight, displaying great storylines and in-depth character development, able to showcase their charisma, athleticism and star power.

At WrestleMania 35, in 2019, fans witnessed a historic event: for the first time the PPV ended with an entirely female main event, which saw the then champion Ronda Rousey, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch. The edition ended with the victory of the latter, which crowned the dream of a lifetime.

Becky Lynch is the winner of the WrestleMania 35 main event, crowning her lifelong dream. Credits: WWE The Irish superstar is currently out of the picture after giving birth to a gorgeous baby girl, but she has already promised WWE fans to expect great things from her return. The women's division of Raw, in short, is warned.

WrestleMania: the Top 10 of the attendance records

The edition that saw the greatest number of spectators was the 32, in Texas, with a whopping 101,763 fans. An absolute record that broke the previous one held by WrestleMania III: 93,173 fans attended that event. The third place is instead occupied by WrestleMania 35 with 82,265 fans.

WrestleMania 29 follows with 80,676 fans, the 23rd edition with 80,103 spectators, the 28th with 78,363 and the 34th with 78,133. Closing the rankings in the last three positions are WrestleMania 31 with 76,976 fans, WrestleMania 33 with 75,245 fans and number 30 with 75,167 spectators.

WrestleMania Week: the most anticipated weekend by fans

In 1994 WWE organized the first “Fan Fest”, a weekend of WrestleMania related events to allow fans to fully immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the great PPV. Encounters with your favorite superstars, autograph sessions, the chance to purchase official merchandise. To all intents and purposes it turned out to be the precursor of WrestleMania Axxess, which has now become a four-day event, similar to a Comic-Con. It is usually organized in a building adjacent to the stadium where the PPV is broadcast.

In addition to the Axxess, we cannot talk about WrestleMania without mentioning the WWE Hall of Fame. A real ark of glory that from 1993 to today has honored the greatest legends of this sport-entertainment. The first to be introduced was Andre The Giant and there are currently over 200 superstars who have received the grand honor.

The Hall of Fame pays homage to the names that have left a great impact within WWE and wrestling in general. Credits: WWE WWE then created a wing of the Hall of Fame dedicated to celebrities who over the years have collaborated with the Company, called the "Celebrity Wing", and introduced the "Warrior Award", an award inspired by the late Ultimate Warrior. and dedicated to all the personalities who with strength and courage have faced any kind of adversity in the course of their lives.

The future of WrestleMania

This year's edition of WrestleMania, number 37 to be precise, will take place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida and will be divided in two evenings: Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 April. An experiment tested by WWE in 2020 and which will be repeated this time too.

This is a particularly awaited edition because it will be the first to welcome the public back in attendance after the outbreak of the pandemic. Fans will obviously be spaced out, equipped with masks and will respect the current protocols. The event will be available in America on the Peacock TV streaming platform and in other countries around the world, including Italy, on the WWE Network.

The official logo, with a pirate design, of this year's edition of WrestleMania. Credits: WWE WWE has moved forward two years, announcing that the 38th edition will be staged Sunday, April 3, 2022 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and the number 39 will be broadcast live from SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., Sunday, April 2, 2023. The latter will be a particularly anticipated edition because, according to the first rumors, it should see the return to the ring of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who has now become the highest paid actor in Hollywood.

You can see WrestleMania and all the original content offered by WWE, from weekly shows to documentaries, up to podcasts, exclusively on the WWE Network. You can subscribe, at an affordable price, here.

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