Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the second edition of Wretro Wrestling Wreview (brought to you by Powerbomb Post). In this original, we recap and review professional wrestling history – pay-per-view by pay-per-view. This week, we flash all the way back to the first WWE pay-per-view. We take a look back at the show that changed the business – WWF WrestleMania.
This event would emanate live from the Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York on March 31, 1985. Broadcasted on pay-per-view, commentary would be provided by the dynamic announce team of Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura. With nine matches set for this historic wrestling event, let’s dive into the first-ever mega pay-per-view – WWF WrestleMania.
Setting The Stage
Starting off this event, WWE announcer Howard Finkel introduces fellow WWE interviewer, Gene Okerlund, to sing the national anthem. Okerlund’s variation of the national anthem wasn’t bad by any means, but it really felt like he was trying to run through it as quickly as possible. Okerlund was also reading the words off of a cue card. Classy, Gene. We immediately cut to the most frightened man in the building, Lord Alfred Hayes. Hayes looked absolutely afraid to speak, and you could see his hands trembling as he spoke. He tosses to a pre-recorded backstage interview with Gene Okerlund and the competitors of our opening contest.
The Executioner vs. Tito Santana
We’re taken backstage to Mr. Gene Okerlund. Okerlund interviews Tito Santana and The Executioner, who will be competing in our opening contest. Santana says he is going to win. The Executioner also says he is going to win. Simple story. Let’s get into the match.
The bell rings, and the match is underway. Starting off, Santana and The Executioner run criss-cross on the ropes. It’s at this point that I realize just how bouncy these ropes are. That looks pretty dangerous. Santana dropkicks The Executioner to the outside of the ring, and the crowd pops like he just won the world title. I’m surprised at how over Santana is, but I digress.
Executioner is constantly adjusting his mask. He hits a bodyslam, he adjusts the mask. He bumps, he adjusts the mask. In the most exciting moment of the match, The Executioner goes to the top rope and attempts a splash, but Santana tosses him off the top rope instead. Santana goes for a splash, but The Executioner gets the legs up to block it.
In the finish of the match, Santana locks in the figure four leglock, and The Executioner taps. This match was a fun opener. I was just excited to hear the crowd popping – even if I couldn’t understand why it was for Tito Santana. (No disrespect to the man, I just thought he was some sort of perennial jobber. Maybe I need to look more into Santana’s career).
Match Result: Tito Santana defeated The Executioner via Pinfall in 4:49.
Walker’s Star Rating: 2 Star Match