This look back at WWE WrestleMania 1 appears here, taken from it’s original form from Tiffany MC’s post at The Chairshot. Despite everything going on, it’s still WrestleMania and still the biggest day of the wrestling year!
I’m going to preface this by admitting that I was two years old when the first WrestleMania happened, so most of my information comes from research and listening to stories about it.
The opener to WrestleMania was very mid-80s in terms of music and graphics and reminds me of the opener to ‘Night Court’. It’s still a little unnerving to see the Twin Towers, even after all these years. They’re giving photo previews of the card during the opening, which is cool. The photo of Moolah and Kai does not do either of them any favors. We’re also getting pictures of the celebrities that are supposed to be part of the show.
We open in a very dark MSG with Gorilla Monsoon welcoming us to ‘The Wrestling Extravaganza of All Time, WrestleMania’.
Howard Finkel gives us the official ‘Welcome to WrestleMania’ as only the Fink can do, and then asks us to rise for the National Anthem. For whatever reason, the person singing is Mean Gene Okerlund. Gene needs all the help he can get from the audience because his singing is not great and he’s having to read the lyrics off a piece of paper. He’s not as bad as Roseanne, but he’s the best they could do in a pinch. Jesse Ventura, with what sounds like a straight face, tries to claim that Okerlund sounds like Robert Goulet, instead of totally off key.
WrestleMania Match 1: Tito Santana vs The Executioner
Mean Gene is conducting the promos. Santana cuts a very good promo about not knowing much about the Executioner, but states that he’s got goals and that no one is going to keep him from achieving them, including the Executioner. He also throws a little shade at the Executioner, commenting that the Executioner hasn’t been in the big leagues for very long. (Commenter: Ouch.)
The Executioner (Playboy Buddy Rose in a generic, badly fitting Luchador mask) cuts an awkward promo where he claims everyone’s going to know about him after he takes out Santana and swears he’s going after Santana’s knee that was injured by Greg Valentine during their Intercontinental Title feud.
This was a very good match, but not much of a story being told. It felt like the Executioner’s unblemished record was played up to make him look ridiculous in the end. However, Santana looked like a million bucks and showed why Vince trusted him with opening this card.
Winner: Tito Santana by submission with the Figure Four Leglock.
Comments: As someone who really only remembers Tito Santana as El Matador, it’s easy to not realize that he’d been one of Vince’s top guys for years. From what I drew from the commentators, this match seems to have been simply to continue Santana’s feud with Greg Valentine over the Intercontinental Belt without having them actually have a match over it at WrestleMania, which I find odd. It’s also funny to remember that the Figure-Four was not considered the exclusive move of Ric Flair, as Tito wins this match with that hold.
The obviousness of the Executioner’s identity was pretty funny, especially watching Mean Gene try very hard to play up not knowing who this guy was, considering that they’d worked together in the AWA for years. In Playboy’s defense, the mask was probably to keep Verne Gagne from killing him for appearing on the WrestleMania card.