WrestleMania is a professional wrestling pay-per-viewevent, produced annually in late March or early April byWorld Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) (formerly known as the World Wrestling Federation). It is considered the flagship event of WWE, as it is the most successful and longest-running professional wrestling event in the world. WrestleMania is nicknamed "The Grandaddy of Them All", "The Grandest Stage of Them All" and "The Showcase of the Immortals." The event was first produced in 1985, and, as of 2009, 25 editions have been held consecutively since then, with WrestleMania XXVI and WrestleMania XXVII to be held in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
Conceptualized by WWE owner Vince McMahon, its widespread success helped transform the professional wrestling industry and make the WWE the most successful promotion in the world. WrestleMania has facilitated the rise to stardom of wrestlers such as The Undertaker, Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, The Rock, and Triple H, amongst others. Numerous celebrities such as Muhammad Ali, Mr. T, Alice Cooper, Lawrence Taylor, Pamela Anderson, Mike Tyson, Donald Trump, Floyd "Money" Mayweather, Snoop Dogg, Raven-Symoné, Kim Kardashian, Mickey Rourke,Jenny McCarthy and others have participated or made special appearances in the events. The WWE's television shows are tailored to reach their climax at WrestleMania, which features matches for the company's championship titles, as well as specialty and gimmick matches. Participation in a WrestleMania match, and especially the main event, is considered by many wrestlers and fans alike as one of the greatest achievements and symbols of success in professional wrestling.
WrestleMania propels the worldwide commercial success of the WWE through media, merchandise and shows. All of the events produced have been sold out within a short period of time, with recent editions being sold out within minutes of tickets going on sale. The first WrestleMania was held in Madison Square Garden in New York City; the 10th and 20th editions were also held there. WrestleMania III inDetroit was the highest-attended indoor sports event in the world, with more than 93,000 fans in attendance. All but two editions have been hosted in U.S. cities—two having been held in Toronto,Canada—but the show is televised across the world via pay-per-view.
While most WrestleManias have been held in sports arenas in major cities, a number of them have been held in large stadiums; the most attended events include—WrestleMania III inPontiac (93,173 people), WrestleMania VI inToronto (67,678 people), WrestleMania VIII inIndianapolis (62,167 people), WrestleMania X-Seven in Houston (67,925 people),WrestleMania X8 in Toronto (68,237 people),WrestleMania XIX in Seattle (54,097 people),WrestleMania 23 in Detroit (80,103 people),WrestleMania XXIV in Orlando (74,635 people), and WrestleMania XXV in Houston (72,744 people.)
The format of WrestleMania is built upon the main event matches for the WWE Championship and more recently also for the World Heavyweight Championship. From 2007 to 2009, the ECW franchise had also participated at WrestleMania. A select number of other championship titles are also contested, while there are several gimmick matches and personal feud matches on the card.
Since 1993, the winner of the annual Royal Rumble match has received a guaranteed WWE Championship match at that year's WrestleMania. With the creation of the World Heavyweight Championship in 2002, the winner has since been able to choose to receive a World Heavyweight Championship match instead. With the introduction of the ECW brand the possibility for the winner to choose to receive an ECW World Championship match instead of either of the above at WrestleMania was also added in 2007, this stopped after WWE ended the ECW brand in February 2010.
As of 2005, the event has also been known for its Money in the Bank ladder match which features six to eight participants. The winner of the match receives a contract, which guarantees a match for either of WWE's two world titles at the time and place of his choosing. The contract is valid for one year up to the next year's WrestleMania.
For five of the first six, Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura served as the main commentators (the exception being WrestleMania 2, which was split among three venues and had Monsoon, Ventura, and Vince McMahon split up with guest commentators), while Bobby Heenan and others filled guest roles. For WrestleMania VII and VIII, Monsoon and Heenan were the main commentators. In the mid to late 1990s, the team was composed of Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler. Since the brand separation in 2002-03, matches from the Raw brand have been called by Ross and Lawler; theSmackDown matches called by Michael Cole, Tazz, John "Bradshaw" Layfield and Jonathan Coachmanand ECW matches called by Joey Styles and Tazz. Howard Finkel has served as the long-standing ring announcer, but since the WWE Brand Extension, Lilian Garcia, Justin Roberts, and Tony Chimel have also filled in the role.
The first WrestleMania was held by the World Wrestling Federation on March 31, 1985 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The main event was a tag-team match between the WWF ChampionHulk Hogan and Mr. T, accompanied by Jimmy Snuka against the team of Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff, who were accompanied by Cowboy Bob Orton. The financial and critical success of the event secured the company's status as the most successful promoter in the United States, rising above competitors such as the National Wrestling Alliance and American Wrestling Association. WrestleMania 2 was held the following year and took place in three venues across the country. The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, the Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois, and the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California each featured multiple matches that led up to the lead main event which saw the WWF Champion Hulk Hogan defeat the challenger King Kong Bundyin a steel cage match.
A world indoor attendance record set of 93,173 fans was set at WrestleMania III, which was also the largest paying attendance in the history of professional wrestling at the time. The event is widely considered to be the pinnacle of the 1980s wrestling boom. To make certain that every seat in the Silverdome would be filled, the World Wrestling Federation decided to exclude the entire state of Michigan from pay-per-view access to the event, which made attending the event the only way for fans in Michigan to see it. The main event featured Hogan defending the WWF Championship against André the Giant. The moment when Hogan body slammed André the Giant remains one of the most famous moments in professional wrestling history. The match between the WWF Intercontinental ChampionRandy Savage and Ricky Steamboat also gained much acclaim and popularity.
WrestleMania VI marked the first time the event was held outside of the United States. It was held at theSkyDome, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In the main event match, The Ultimate Warrior won the WWF Championship from Hulk Hogan. WrestleMania VII was originally scheduled to be held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, however, the event was moved to the adjacent Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena for security reasons due to the Gulf War. The event saw Hulk Hogan face Sgt. Slaughterfor the WWF Championship, while The Undertaker made his WrestleMania debut defeating Jimmy Snuka. Since then, The Undertaker has been undefeated in all of his WrestleMania matches.
WrestleMania IX was the first WrestleMania held at an outdoor venue. The 10th edition of the event,WrestleMania X saw its return to Madison Square Garden. The event featured Owen Hart defeating his elder brother Bret, and the event was also headlined by a ladder match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship, in which Razor Ramon defeated Shawn Michaels. Michaels defeated Bret Hart to win the WWF Championship in a 60-minute Iron Man match at WrestleMania XII. The match is considered to be one of the best matches in the history of the event.
At WrestleMania XIV, Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated Shawn Michaels to become the new WWF Champion in a match that featured Mike Tyson serve as the special enforcer. Although Tyson had been aligned with Michaels and his stable, D-Generation X, Tyson revealed to have been aligned with Austin all along as he personally counted the pinfall and declared Austin the winner. The event exemplified "The Attitude Era".
WrestleMania 2000 featured the first ever Triangle Ladder match for the WWF Tag Team Championship, involving the Hardy Boyz, the Dudley Boyz and Edge and Christian. The main event featured the WWF Champion Triple H with Stephanie McMahon successfully defending his title against three challengers:The Rock with Vince McMahon, The Big Show with Shane McMahon, and Mick Foley with Linda McMahon.
At WrestleMania X-Seven, Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated The Rock and regain the WWF Championship. The event also featured Vince and Shane McMahon in a Street Fight, while Edge and Christian won the WWF Tag Team Championship against the Hardy Boyz and Dudley Boyz in the second Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match. The event was the pinnacle of the 1990s wrestling boom, concluding The Attitude Era. It was also the first WrestleMania held after the dissolution of the company's rival, World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and the Monday Night Wars. WrestleMania X8 was the last WrestleMania to be produced under the WWF name and featured Triple H defeating Chris Jericho to win the Undisputed Championship. Steve Austin defeated Scott Hall with Kevin Nash of the nWo, while The Rock and The Undertaker defeated Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair respectively, both whom had rejoined the company after their stints with WCW.WrestleMania XIX saw Steve Austin's last match to date as he faced The Rock for a third time at WrestleMania, ending their long-running feud. Hulk Hogan defeated Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels participated in his first WrestleMania match in five years, defeating Chris Jericho. The World Heavyweight Championship was defended for the first time at the event with Triple H retaining againstBooker T, while Brock Lesnar defeated Kurt Angle to win the WWE Championship.
World Wrestling Entertainment celebrated the 20th edition of WrestleMania at Madison Square Garden with WrestleMania XX. The event featured The Undertaker returning in his "deadman" persona to defeatKane and the World Heavyweight Championship and WWE Championship victories of Chris Benoit andEddie Guerrero respectively. The event also featured The Rock and Mick Foley versus Batista, Randy Orton, and Ric Flair of Evolution and Steve Austin as the guest referee in a match between Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg. The event saw The Rock's last match to date as well as Lesnar and Goldberg's last match with WWE. The annual WWE Hall of Fame was reintroduced with an annual induction show held the night before WrestleMania.
was introduced as a six-manladder match that featured a briefcase suspended above the ring containing a contract that guaranteed the winning Raw brand participant a world title match at any time and place of their choosing within one year up to the next year's WrestleMania. In the main events, the WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship passed on to John Cena and Batista respectively by defeating John "Bradshaw" Layfield and Triple H in their respective matches, while Kurt Angle defeated Shawn Michaels in an acclaimed match. The Money in the Bank ladder match was also held at WrestleMania 22 as a six-man interpromotional match where the winner would get a world title match of their choosing, regardless of the brand they were on. The Money in the Bank ladder match was held yet again atWrestleMania 23 as an interpromotional eight-man match where superstars from Raw, ECW, andSmackDown competed. John Cena would go on to retain his WWE Championship at both WrestleMania 22 and 23, while the same events would see Rey Mysterio and The Undertaker win the World Heavyweight Championship respectively.
At WrestleMania XXIV Shawn Michaels defeated Ric Flair in an acclaimed match, while the Money in the Bank ladder match was featured as an interpromotional match with seven participants from Raw, ECW, and SmackDown. With the ECW Championship being defended for the first time at a WrestleMania event, Kane emerged as the new ECW Champion in a record 8 seconds, while Randy Orton retained the WWE Championship and The Undertaker won the World Heavyweight Championship for the second consecutive year, defeating Edge. The event was the second WrestleMania to be held at an outdoor venue. WrestleMania XXV featured Chris Jericho defeating WWE Hall of Famers Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka, and Ricky Steamboat in a match that with appearances by Ric Flair and actor Mickey Rourke. The WWE Intercontinental Championship was defended for the first time since WrestleMania X8 with Rey Mysterio defeating John "Bradshaw" Layfield. John Cena defeated Edge and The Big Show for the World Heavyweight Championship, while Triple H retained his WWE Championship against Randy Orton.
Over the years, WrestleMania has featured many celebrity appearances with varying levels of involvement.
The main event of the first WrestleMania was littered with celebrities. The ring announcer was former Yankees manager Billy Martin, the timekeeper was Liberace, and the special enforcer was Muhammad Ali. Also, Mr. T of the TV show The A-Team competed in the main event alongside tag team partner,Hulk Hogan.
Mike Tyson appeared at WrestleMania XIV as the special guest enforcer for the WWF Championship match between Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin. Tyson made the three count, and thus wound up awarding the title to Austin.
Some celebrities have accompanied wrestlers to the ring such as Cyndi Lauper (for Wendi Richter), Ozzy Osbourne (for the British Bulldogs), Ice-T (for The Godfather and D'Lo Brown), Alice Cooper(for Jake Roberts), Pamela Anderson (for Diesel), and Jenny McCarthy (for Shawn Michaels). At WrestleMania 23, Donald Trump made his fifth WrestleMania appearance managing Bobby Lashley in a match against Umaga (managed by Vince McMahon) where the losing manager would get his head shaved.
The event has also featured live musical performances. Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Robert Goulet, Willie Nelson, Reba McEntire, Little Richard, The DX Band, Boyz II Men, Ashanti, Boys Choir of Harlem, Michelle Williams, John Legend and Nicole Scherzinger have each had their turn singing "America the Beautiful" before the show (except for Goulet, who performed "O Canada" at WrestleMania VI). Meanwhile acts such as Motörhead, Limp Bizkit, Saliva, The DX Band, Run–D.M.C., Salt-n-Pepa,Ice-T, Drowning Pool and P.O.D. have also performed theme songs for the wrestlers live. Triple H has notably had his entrance theme performed live four times, by the DX Band, Motörhead (twice) and Drowning Pool.
On occasions, the celebrities themselves may participate in the matches. One of the three main events at WrestleMania 2 was a 20-man battle royal pitting several NFL superstars against the wrestling superstars including the eventual winner, André the Giant. Lawrence Taylor faced Bam Bam Bigelow in a singles match and won after a forearm off the second rope. Mr. T had two matches, first teaming up withHulk Hogan against Paul Orndorff and Roddy Piper at the inaugural WrestleMania, followed by a Boxingmatch at WrestleMania 2 against Roddy Piper. Mr. T won both matches with the second by disqualification. Professional boxer Butterbean was challenged to a (legitimate) Brawl for All Boxing match by Bart Gunn at WrestleMania XV. Butterbean knocked Gunn out in about 30 seconds. The Big Show faced sumo wrestling champion Akebono in a sumo contest at WrestleMania 21. Big Show also fought professional welterweight boxer Floyd "Money" Mayweather at WrestleMania XXIV.
At WrestleManias XIV, XV and 2000, Pete Rose was involved in a short feud with Kane with each appearance ending with Rose receiving a Tombstone Piledriver or Chokeslam from Kane. The San Diego Chicken was also used during this feud.
As a part of their appearances at WrestleMania, both Pete Rose and William "Refrigerator" Perry (who participated in the WrestleMania 2 battle royal) were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame under their celebrity wing.
At WrestleMania XXV, Mickey Rourke attended the event as a spectator for the Handicap Elimination matches involving Chris Jericho against WWE Legends. After Jericho defeated the three legends, Rourke was called in to the ring by Jericho. Rourke knocked down Jericho with a left jab straight to the jaw. The event also feature a 10-minute mini-concert by Kid Rock, who performed a medley of his songs.Product Codes
Dates, venues, and main event
|Event||Date||City||Venue||Main Event[Note 1]|
|WrestleMania||March 31, 1985||New York, New York||Madison Square Garden||Hulk Hogan and Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper andPaul Orndorff|
|WrestleMania 2||April 7, 1986||Uniondale, New York|
Los Angeles, California
LA Sports Arena
|Hulk Hogan (c) vs. King Kong Bundy in aSteel Cage match for the WWF Championship|
|WrestleMania III||March 29, 1987||Pontiac, Michigan||Pontiac Silverdome||Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Andre The Giant for the WWF Championship|
|WrestleMania IV||March 27, 1988||Atlantic City, New Jersey||Trump Plaza||Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase in a tournament final for the vacant WWF Championship|
|WrestleMania V||April 2, 1989||Atlantic City, New Jersey||Trump Plaza||Randy Savage (c) vs. Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship|
|WrestleMania VI||April 1, 1990||Toronto, Ontario||SkyDome||Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior for theWWF and Intercontinental Championships|
|WrestleMania VII||March 24, 1991||Los Angeles, California||LA Sports Arena||Sgt. Slaughter (c) vs. Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship|
|WrestleMania VIII||April 5, 1992||Indianapolis, Indiana||Hoosier Dome||Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice|
|WrestleMania IX||April 4, 1993||Las Vegas, Nevada||Caesars Palace||Bret Hart (c) vs Yokozuna for the WWF Championship[Note 2]|
Yokozuna vs. Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship
|WrestleMania X||March 20, 1994||New York, New York||Madison Square Garden||Yokozuna (c) vs. Bret Hart for the WWF Championship|
|WrestleMania XI||April 2, 1995||Hartford, Connecticut||Hartford Civic Center||Lawrence Taylor vs. Bam Bam Bigelow|
|WrestleMania XII||March 31, 1996||Anaheim, California||Arrowhead Pond||Bret Hart (c) vs. Shawn Michaels in a 60 Minute Iron Man match for the WWF Championship|
|WrestleMania 13||March 23, 1997||Rosemont, Illinois||Rosemont Horizon||Sycho Sid (c) vs. The Undertaker in a No Disqualification match for the WWF Championship|
|WrestleMania XIV||March 29, 1998||Boston, Massachusetts||Fleet Center||Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Steve Austin for the WWF Championship|
|WrestleMania XV||March 28, 1999||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||First Union Center||The Rock (c) vs. Steve Austin for the WWF Championship|
|WrestleMania 2000||April 2, 2000||Anaheim, California||Arrowhead Pond||Triple H (c) vs. The Rock vs. The Big Showvs. Mick Foley in a Fatal Four-Way Elimination match for the WWF Championship|
|WrestleMania X-Seven||April 1, 2001||Houston, Texas||Reliant Astrodome||The Rock (c) vs. Steve Austin in a No Disqualification match for the WWF Championship|
|WrestleMania X8||March 17, 2002||Toronto, Ontario||SkyDome||Chris Jericho (c) vs. Triple H for theUndisputed WWF Championship|
|WrestleMania XIX||March 30, 2003||Seattle, Washington||Safeco Field||Kurt Angle (c) vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship|
|WrestleMania XX||March 14, 2004||New York, New York||Madison Square Garden||Triple H (c) vs. Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels in a Triple Threat match for theWorld Heavyweight Championship|
|WrestleMania 21||April 3, 2005||Los Angeles, California||Staples Center||Triple H (c) vs. Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship|
|WrestleMania 22||April 2, 2006||Rosemont, Illinois||Allstate Arena||John Cena (c) vs. Triple H for the WWE Championship|
|WrestleMania 23||April 1, 2007||Detroit, Michigan||Ford Field||John Cena (c) vs. Shawn Michaels for the WWE Championship|
|WrestleMania XXIV||March 30, 2008||Orlando, Florida||Citrus Bowl||Edge (c) vs. The Undertaker for the World Heavyweight Championship|
|WrestleMania XXV||April 5, 2009||Houston, Texas||Reliant Stadium||Triple H (c) vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship|
|WrestleMania XXVI||March 28, 2010||Glendale, Arizona||University of Phoenix Stadium||TBD|
|WrestleMania XXVII||April 3, 2011||Atlanta, Georgia||Georgia Dome||TBD|
^ 1. This refers to the final match on the card. On three occasions, the match listed as the headline event in promotional materials took place earlier: Hulk Hogan vs. André the Giant at WrestleMania IV, Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock at WrestleMania X8 and Hulk Hogan vs. Vince McMahon at WrestleMania XIX
^ 2. Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna was the scheduled main event, but an impromptu match between Yokozuna and Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship occurred after it.
Video box sets
- In 1994, a VHS set with WrestleManias 1-X was released.
- In 1997, a VHS set with WrestleManias 1-13 was released.
- In 1998, a VHS set titled "WrestleMania: The Legacy" with WrestleManias 1-XIV was released. The set was re-released in 1999, this time including XV.
- In 2005, a DVD set titled "WrestleMania: The Complete Anthology" with WrestleManias 1-21 was released; this marked the first time WrestleManias 1-XIV were released on DVD in Region 1. The set was re-released in 2006, this time including WrestleMania 22.
- In 2007, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the event, WWE released a special "Championship Edition" DVD of WrestleMania III. The two-disc set includes the event itself, another version of the event that includes pop-up facts, and pre-event interviews and extra matches from notable shows such as Saturday Night's Main Event.