WrestleMania I - A Portrait in Wrestling History

From Madison Square Garden in New York, NY
March 31, 1985

To all things, a beginning. Fans weaned on the modern, well-produced WrestleManias with the Clark Griswold lighting jobs would find the setting of WrestleMania I to be rather primitive. Confined in the dimly lit, archaic atmosphere of Madison Square Garden, nine matches were on the card for the Sunday afternoon spectacular, and there was much on the line.

However, moreso than titles and pride and rite of manhood, what was really on the line was Vince McMahon’s empire. Not that Vinnie Mac had bet the WWF in a game of Texas Hold’em or anything, but McMahon was taking a huge financial risk by producing this flagship event. Over 200 closed-circuit locations across America would be airing the first WrestleMania (this pre-dated McMahon’s longstanding relationship with pay per view), and McMahon was nearing his bottom dollar. If the event failed, so might he.

Vince McMahon, as we know him, however, would hold the collective media at gunpoint if it meant even a 30 second blurb on one of their shows. A promotional maven, McMahon turned to the growing monster known as cable, and used this burgeoning medium as his platform to sell America on WrestleMania.

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