WrestleMania. The Showcase of the Immortals. Where history is made and legends are born.
When it comes to the WWE's marquee event, there isn't a greater spectacle in professional wrestling. When you look through the years, there have been plenty of star-making moments — Macho Man Randy Savage winning the WWE Championship at WrestleMania IV, Shawn Michaels in the Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match at WrestleMania X, Batista and John Cena winning their first world titles at WrestleMania 21, and Seth Rollins cashing in his Money in the Bank at WrestleMania 31, just to name a few. It's a night that is anticipated all year long and is remembered forever.
The event essentially sells itself today, as it seems no matter how many gripes us fans have with certain booking decisions, or what's on the card, the event still packs stadiums and serious and casual fans alike are watching it on the WWE Network. So much has been documented about WrestleMania and many fans are well aware of the history behind it.
But at the same time, there have been plenty of interesting facts that have gone on over the 33 years of this event. Here is one historical tidbit about every WrestleMania that you probably didn't know.
32 WrestleMania I: It Was Almost Named The Colossal Tussle
In 33 years of the WWE's most prestigious event, it is hard to imagine it being called anything but WrestleMania. That wasn't, however, always the plan. In an interview with SLAM! Wrestling, George Scott — a famous Canadian wrestler from the 50s and 60s and the booker of the first two WrestleManias — claimed that the original name for the wrestling spectacle was supposed to be The Colossal Tussle. The name, of course, does not sound too good today — but back in the days when Vince McMahon had plenty of things rhyme and was open to any and all suggestions, this name was almost a reality. Fortunately for wrestling fans, the name was never meant to be. Just imagine: Colossal Tussle 33 — man does that sound bad!
31 WrestleMania II: Only Event To Be Held On A Monday
WrestleMania 2 was unique in a number of different ways. Because Vince McMahon and company wanted to capitalize and build off of the success of WrestleMania I, he decided to enlist two things that he's yet to bring back in any future events. The first was that WrestleMania was held in three different arenas — The Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, New York, the Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois, and the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California. The other change made to WrestleMania was that it was held on a Monday, something that was never done before and has yet to happen again. While the decision to do so is unknown, there is a reason why McMahon never chose to put WrestleMania on a Monday again.
30 WrestleMania III: The Last WrestleMania Hulk Hogan Successfully Defended His Championship
WrestleMania III was (obviously) the biggest event the WWE had held up to that point, and one of the biggest reasons behind that was the mega main event between Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant, one that was for the WWE Championship. While Hogan walking away with the illustrious prize wasn't a shocker to anyone, what was surprising was that it was the last time he would successfully defend his championship at the Showcase of the Immortals. Sure, Hogan did capture the belt at WrestleMania V, WrestleMania VII and WrestleMania IX, but at WrestleMania VI — where he walked into the show as champion — he didn't leave with the same distinction.
Yes, Hogan did dominate the late 1980s and early 1990s, championship belt or not — but given the way he was positioned, it is surprising that he never won any title defenses past WrestleMania III.
29 WrestleMania IV: Trump Plaza Technically Wasn't The Venue
When looking back at the history of WrestleMania, it's funny to think that a future President of the United States of America would have such a prominent part in various events. While he's most famous within WWE for his time spent in the Battle of the Billionaires during WrestleMania 23, Trump also hosted WrestleMania IV and WrestleMania V in Atlantic City, New Jersey, at Trump Plaza. There's just one small anecdote about the venue — there's no such thing as Trump Plaza. The consecutive WrestleManias were actually held at Boardwalk Hall, the home to many future WWE events.
The reason behind the name change was simple: because Trump sponsored the two events, he was also given "naming rights" from McMahon, thus renaming Boardwalk Hall as Trump Plaza on two different occasions.
28 WrestleMania V: Ted Turner Nearly Started the Monday Night Wars Almost A Decade Earlier
At this stage of wrestling history, everyone knows the Monday Night War, one that dominated the entire industry throughout the late 1990s. But what if it happened almost a decade earlier? That was almost the case during WrestleMania V, as Ted Turner wanted to book his NWA/WCW event WrestleWar opposite of the event as a retaliation to McMahon putting a three-hour episode of Prime Time Wrestling on at the same time as Turner's Chi-Town Rumble. Because McMahon didn't want to face any competition that night, he decided to take a pay cut from pay-per-view providers to ensure that they chose WrestleMania V over WrestleWar. Turner ended up holding the event two months later — and this would be only the beginning stages of their historic feud.
27 WrestleMania VI: Diamond Dallas Page Makes His WWE Debut
Speaking of the Monday Night War, WCW didn't do a great job of making their own stars. One of the exceptions, however, was Diamond Dallas Page, as he was one of the most popular wrestlers during that time period who also got his start with WWE's rival company. But before he became a household name in the late 90s, Page had plenty of other jobs in the wrestling business. Amongst those were working as a manager, color commentator, and...valet at WrestleMania VI?
That's right — DDP didn't wrestle a match with the WWE until 2001 but did appear in the sixth edition of WrestleMania as the driver for The Honky Tonk Man. While he wasn't featured in any way, it must have been a cool moment for someone like DDP, who didn't seem to have a bright future at the time but proved all doubters wrong.
26 WrestleMania VII: It Wasn't Threats That Made The WWE Change Arenas...
When Vince McMahon decided to head to Los Angeles for WrestleMania VII, he had his hopes high as he chose Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the venue. The location could hold over 100,000 fans with the WWE envisioning a record-breaking attendance record, one that topped WrestleMania III. Not too long before the event, the WWE announced that they were changing the venue because they received credible threats due to Sgt. Slaughter's portrayal of an Iraqi sympathizer in the midst of the Gulf War.
According to a number of sources including Dave Meltzer, that wasn't the reason behind the switch to the smaller Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena — the true reason was due to poor ticket sales, as the WWE fell far short of the 100,000 mark. WrestleMania VII ended up bringing in a little over 16,000 fans, which was enough to fill out the new venue.
25 WrestleMania VIII: The Finish Did Not Go As Planned
WrestleMania VIII has been seen as a disappointment to many, simply because Vince McMahon and the creative team opted against an all-time great main event of Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair. In its place, of course, was Hogan going against Sid Justice, a feud that began months prior at the Royal Rumble. While many argued that the Flair/Randy Savage match should've closed the show, it was Hogan and Justice that went on last — and the contest didn't end without controversy. As the match was in its final moments, Hogan used his leg drop finisher on Justice, one that was as protected as any move in wrestling. In a surprise twist, Justice kicked out and was disqualified moments later. Justice kicking out wasn't always the plan, as Papa Shango — who went on to become The Godfather — was supposed to begin his main event heel push by running in, but was late for his cue. The character of Papa Shango was put on the shelf soon thereafter.
24 WrestleMania IX: It Was Supposed To Kick Off An Epic Feud
By the time WrestleMania IX came around, the Macho Man Randy Savage was on the downswing of his career — not because he couldn't keep going but because Vince McMahon was ready to begin his push towards the future. While McMahon decided that Savage was better off as a commentator, the Macho Man had an idea as to how he wanted to close his career out. According to his brother Lanny Poffo, Savage's plan was to make Shawn Michaels a star by putting on a two-year program with The Heartbreak Kid, one that began at WrestleMania IX and culminated in a career versus hair match.
There's no denying that a program between Savage and Michaels wouldn't have only put HBK on the map but would've been one of the greatest of all-time. Unfortunately, however, McMahon booked Michaels vs. Tatanka, all but ending any hopes of a program between two legends.
23 WrestleMania X: The Match That Never Was
When there's an event as spectacular as WrestleMania, you know the decision makers try their best to fit everyone on the card. But when matches go longer than expected, others may be cut due to time constraints. That happened for the first time at WrestleMania X, as a 10-man tag team match was supposed to have The Smoking Gunns, Bob Holly, Tatanka, and The 1-2-3 Kid go up against The Headshrinkers, IRS, Jeff Jarrett, and 'The Model' Rick Martel. Because Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon's ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship went on longer than expected, the 10 men were robbed of their WrestleMania moment.
Although unconfirmed, rumors have swirled that Randy Savage berated Michaels backstage due to his selfish nature of not ending the match when it was supposed to.
22 WrestleMania XI: Chris Benoit Almost Made His WWE Debut
WrestleMania XI is considered as one of the least impressive events in show history, as outside of Lawrence Taylor and the Shawn Michaels/Diesel match, there weren't many contests to get excited about. One matchup that did have people curious was the Tag Team Championship match, as The Smoking Gunns were set to defend their titles against Owen Hart and a partner of his choosing. According to Dave Meltzer, one wrestler who almost got the nod was Chris Benoit, who was a rising star in ECW and was on the cusp of stardom after wrestling overseas. But instead of bringing Benoit into the fold, Vince McMahon instead went with Yokozuna, a former WWE Champion. While many fans may have known who Benoit was at the time, it would've been interesting to see him in the mid-90s WWE.
21 WrestleMania XII: The Hollywood Backlot Brawl Was Filmed In Advance
As Vince McMahon decided to push the New Generation narrative, one of his ways to do so was to enlist realistic storylines, a precursor to the Attitude Era that was to take place a little more than a year down the line. At WrestleMania XII, the creative team put together a match that was a first for its time (and one that hasn't happened again), as Goldust went up against Rowdy Roddy Piper in the Hollywood Backlot Brawl.
The match was arguably the most entertaining on the card (outside of the Ironman Match), as a hard hitting brawl combined with an O.J. Simpson tie-in made for great television. Despite ending the match inside of the squared circle, both Goldust and Piper had taped everything that happened outside of the arena one day prior to WrestleMania XII.
20 WrestleMania 13: Ken Shamrock, New Japan Star?
As Vince McMahon was looking for an attraction for a marquee WrestleMania match, he enlisted Ken Shamrock with the duties, as his real-life credibility was counter to the WWE's cartoonish actions. In many ways, the acquisition was a predecessor to the Attitude Era and the more reality-based storylines that were to come. But in the beginning, it wasn't a guarantee that Shamrock was going to appear at WrestleMania 13. Just a week before 'Mania, New Japan Pro Wrestling announced that Shamrock would be fighting for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship just one month later, a match that he verbally agreed to. Instead, the former UFC star signed the dotted line on a WWE contract and found moderate success before leaving the company for other opportunities in 1999.
19 WrestleMania XIV: A Terrible Rendition
One of the awesome traditions that take place at each and every WrestleMania is the opening song (whether America the Beautiful or Oh, Canada) that's played beforehand. Over the years, Vince McMahon has gotten some of the hottest acts to honor America before the first match. From Aretha Franklin to John Legend, from Boyz II Men to Ray Charles, from Willie Nelson to Aloe Blacc — they've all honored the USA at the show of shows.
Unfortunately, however, choosing the house band was the wrong way to go back in 1998. At WrestleMania XIV, Vince McMahon asked the DX Band to perform the song before the show. After doing their own spin on the song (which was of poor quality), the band was booed and the footage was edited out of WWE Network footage of the event.
18 WrestleMania XV: Bart Gunn Is Punished For Winning The Brawl For All
In a continued theme with the WWE wanting to add realism in the Attitude Era, the creative team came up with the Brawl for All tournament, a boxing-like shoot fight bracket that put WWE Superstars (with no training, mind you) against one another. The plan was for Dr. Death Steve Williams to win, as he was one of the lone wrestlers in the tournament with a legitimate fighting background. With Williams on tap to be victorious, he was to become a monster heel and feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin over the summer of 1999.
To the dismay of many, it was Bart Gunn who emerged victorious. His reward, you ask? Being put into a real boxing fight with knockout artist Butterbean. To no one's surprise, Gunn was knocked out cold at WrestleMania XV and was released soon thereafter.
17 WrestleMania 2000: Just One Singles Match On The Card
When looking at past WrestleManias, the event that was held in the year 2000 is considered one of the worst in WWE history. One of the biggest reasons behind that sentiment was due to the fact that only one match was a singles match — and the match itself was nothing to remember. In that instance, The Kat took on Terri Runnels in a catfight with The Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young accompanying the two Divas and Val Venis as the special guest referee. To no one's surprise, the contest went less than three minutes.
At a show like WrestleMania, it's supposed to be the culmination of the biggest of feuds. Unfortunately, at WrestleMania 2000, that didn't appear to be the company's priority at the time.
16 WrestleMania X-Seven: Shawn Stasiak's Gigantic Mess Up
After coming off arguably the hottest year in WWE history, Vince McMahon took his company to even higher territories as he bought out his two remaining competitors in WCW and ECW. With the WCW acquisition fresh in everyone's mind, it would've been smart for the WWE to bring their new talents into the fold on the biggest stage of them all, WrestleMania X-Seven. As fans now know, that never ended up happening — but that wasn't always expected to be the case.
In the street fight between McMahon and his son Shane (who "bought" WCW), the new talents were supposed to do a run-in and cost the elder McMahon the match. But when Shawn Stasiak decided to let the media know of creative plans just 24 hours before 'Mania, the idea was scrapped. Imagine if WCW debuted at WrestleMania X-Seven? The entire Invasion angle could've played out a lot differently.
15 WrestleMania X8: Hulk Hogan Almost Donned His Classic Colors
When thinking of the early years of WrestleMania, there is one name that is synonymous with the event — Hulk Hogan. Whether it was saying prayers and taking vitamins, going up against the likes of Macho Man Randy Savage, Andre the Giant, The Ultimate Warrior, and countless other Hall of Famers, or his iconic red and yellow attire, Hogan and WrestleMania were one in the same. Speaking of his colors, WrestleMania X8 was the first (and only time) he didn't wear red and yellow, instead wearing black and white for his Hollywood Hulk Hogan nWo gimmick. Hogan claimed in his autobiography that McMahon asked him to bring his red and yellow tights to the event, just in case they wanted to throw in a dose of nostalgia. While Hogan had his red and yellow gear with him, it was ultimately decided that the time wasn't right to bring in his old colors.
He may have entered Toronto as a bad guy but the WWE Universe wanted none of it. It was shortly after the 18th edition of WrestleMania when Hogan reverted back to his famous colors.
14 WrestleMania XIX: John Cena Was Supposed To Battle Rap a Hip-Hop Heavyweight
Like Hulk Hogan goes hand in hand with the early days of WrestleMania, John Cena is the current man for the job. The true face of the WWE has done everything one possibly can at the showcase of the immortals, as his accolades further that narrative. WrestleMania XIX, however, was his first 'Mania, before he broke out as a legitimate star. Cena didn't wrestle at the event but was pegged to partake in something very special. What's that, you ask? A rap battle with famed rapper Fabolous. Unfortunately, however, the New York-based rapper ran into legal trouble weeks before the event which forced the WWE to change their plans.
Instead, Cena rapped at cardboard cutouts of Dr. Evil and Mini Me from Austin Powers with Jay-Z and Fabolous' faces glued on. I'd say Cena's career worked out just fine but imagine if he went one on one on the microphone with the hip-hop heavyweight?
13 WrestleMania XX: Rebranding?
WrestleMania XX is famous for many things. It was the 20th addition of the show. It was the last to be held at the famous Madison Square Garden, where the first and 10th WrestleMania's took place. It featured the culmination of the incredible in-ring careers of Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero. WrestleMania XX also went by the tagline, "Where it all begins again," and many speculated what that really meant for the company.
While unconfirmed, many have stated that Vince McMahon and company were going to rebrand the WWE, as a new logo and changes to the company were expected to be made. As you can tell, those alleged plans never came to fruition — but it's interesting to think what a facelift of the WWE could have been.
12 WrestleMania 21: Edge Wanted No Part Of Money In The Bank
Edge was on the cusp of stardom for nearly a year and becoming the first ever Money in the Bank winner capped off his career at that time and put him in the main event scene for the rest of his career. But if was up to the Rated R Superstar, it would've never been. While on Chris Jericho's podcast called Talk Is Jericho, the concept of Money in the Bank came up. Edge claimed that he was originally supposed to wrestle in a three-way submission match, despite not having a submission move to use. Edge then lobbied to stay off the WrestleMania card altogether, only to be convinced to join the ladder match. It's safe to say Edge doesn't necessarily regret the decision.
11 WrestleMania 22: Handshake Snub
This fact didn't take place at WrestleMania 22 itself, but it did happen during the week-long extravaganza. After almost 10 years of hatred towards the WWE, Bret Hart returned to the company to accept his place in the WWE Hall of Fame. While he was all smiles on stage, it wasn't the same behind closed doors. At WrestleMania IX, Hart infamously lost in the main event, only to see Hulk Hogan come out and capture the WWE Championship to close the show. The original plan was for Hogan to hold the belt until SummerSlam, where he was going to drop it to Hart in a passing of the torch moment. Instead, Hogan didn't believe Hart was main event material and refused to do the job. Hart never forgot this — so when Hogan approached him and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin at the ceremony, neither man extended their hands when Hogan offered a handshake.
10 WrestleMania 23: The Replacement
Remember when John Cena was just getting his start at WrestleMania XIX? By the time WrestleMania 23 rolled around, he was WWE's marquee star. In 2007, Cena entered the show as champion and the plan was for him to defend his title against Triple H. Unfortunately, however, Triple H ended up tearing his quad in January, which forced the creative team to scramble and figure out a replacement. The logical decision was made to feature Shawn Michaels — Triple H's partner at the time — and it couldn't have gone any better. While Triple H was a good guy at the time, he wasn't as beloved as Michaels, making the atmosphere that much better. In addition, both Cena and Michaels put on an amazing main event, which capped off the show in grand fashion.
9 WrestleMania XXIV: Florida Citrus Bowl Receives A Major Facelift
When Vince McMahon decided to bring WrestleMania XXIV to Orlando, Florida, he set his sights on having the event fully outdoors for the first time since WrestleMania IX. With attendances growing by the year, the Florida Citrus Bowl — a football stadium — was chosen as the location. The venue, however, looked like a dump in the months leading up to the event, according to Chris Jericho on The True Story of WrestleMania documentary. The company spent north of $2 million to make the stadium as up to date as possible. The spendings included faux palm trees around the stadium, fireworks, massive screens, a sound system, and the roof for the ring, and also accounted for the stage set-up. The money was well invested as the WrestleMania XXIV set-up remains one of the best in event history.
8 WrestleMania XXV: Mickey Rourke Brings Backup...And It Doesn't Phase Vince McMahon
When Chris Jericho was scheduled to partake in a physical confrontation with Mickey Rourke at WrestleMania XXV, the actor believed that Jericho was serious when he was speaking of beating up Rourke at 'Mania. Because of this, Rourke brought UFC fighters with him just in case anything went down. After the air was cleared, Jericho informed McMahon of the narrowly-avoided incident. Let's let Jericho himself explain it. "After about a half hour of going over the punch spot a dozen times, Mickey was happy and he left ringside with his posse in tow. I went over to Vince and told him what had almost happened." Jericho wrote in his book, The Best in the World: At What I Have No Idea. 'You know, Rourke hired those guys to kick my ass if I tried to double-cross him.' Vince stared down the rampway at Rourke's gang. 'Are you kidding me? Those guys?!' He laughed.
He motioned at Dean Malenko and Fit Finlay, who were talking at ringside. 'You, me, Finlay, and Malenko would've beat the s*** out of them. I mean look at that one guy. . . . He's a midget!' The "midget" Vince was referring to was Frank Shamrock, the multiple-time UFC champion. I smiled at Vince and said, 'Well, if anything goes down, I'll take Rourke and you take the midget.' 'Damn right I will,' he murmured and swaggered out of the ring."
7 WrestleMania XXVI: The Final Money In The Bank At 'Mania
At WrestleMania 21, it was Chris Jericho's idea to create and feature the Money in the Bank ladder match at the grandest stage of them all. Between WrestleMania 21 and WrestleMania XXVI, it was typically the show-stealer on the card as the match featured plenty of awe-inspiring moments and catapulted stars to the next level. With the match being so successful, the WWE decided that it was best to create a Money in the Bank pay-per-view, an event that still goes on to this day. The final Money in the Bank ladder match saw Jack Swagger, Christian, Dolph Ziggler, Kane, Shelton Benjamin, MVP, Matt Hardy, Evan Bourne, Drew McIntyre, and Kofi Kingston, with Swagger coming away with the briefcase at the event.
6 WrestleMania XXVII: Sting Gets An Offer He Can Refuse
When the WWE began to mysteriously hype the date of 2/21/11, many believed that it would eventually lead to Sting's long awaited WWE debut. A lot of times fans' imaginations run wild, as they predict something that's beyond farfetched. But when it came to these vignettes, it was Sting who the company intended on revealing at that time. Unfortunately, however, Sting still had trust issues with the company and decided to turn down the offer. But not only did he turn down a WrestleMania appearance, he turned down a match with The Undertaker and an induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in WCW's stomping grounds of Atlanta.
The one dream matchup everyone wanted to see was Sting and 'Taker, and to think it was close to happening gets fans mad and excited at the same time. Sting eventually debuted four years later but didn't have as big of an impact as many had hoped.
5 WrestleMania XXVIII: First Time For Everything
No, the "First Time For Everything" title doesn't have to do with the "Once In A Lifetime" tagline that the WWE used much more than fans would've liked. At WrestleMania XXVIII, John Cena was — once again — featured in one of, if not the top match on the card. But for the first time in his WrestleMania career, Cena did not wrestle for a championship. But it doesn't seem like that bothered him much — after all, the historic one-on-one encounter with The Rock gave the WWE its highest gate in company history at that time and it was considered one of the top moments in WrestleMania history. At some points, dream matchups are more important than championships (case in point, WrestleMania X8). Vince McMahon made the right decision by putting this match on last.
4 WrestleMania XXIX: Chris Jericho Wanted To Put Another Young Superstar Over
When Chris Jericho made one of his many returns to the WWE in 2013, he wanted to spend his time establishing younger stars instead of collecting wins on his future Hall of Fame resume. When looking up and down the roster, Vince McMahon gave the distinction to Fandango, and Jericho gladly did the job at WrestleMania XXIX. But if it was up to Y2J himself, he would've chosen another young star to lose to — Ryback. At that time, Ryback looked like a legitimate main event player, as his physique and athleticism were something McMahon loved.
Instead of defeating Jericho, Ryback oddly lost to Mark Henry in a match that disappointed the WWE Universe. While it didn't necessarily hurt him in the long run, Ryback could've been in a better position right away if he was to defeat Jericho at the showcase of the immortals.
3 WrestleMania XXX: Daniel Bryan and Sheamus, The Trilogy
At WrestleMania XXVII and WrestleMania XXVIII, Daniel Bryan and Sheamus faced off in matchups with little fanfare and lackluster build up. For one reason or another, Vince McMahon and the creative team decided that the duo should complete their trilogy in an undercard match at WrestleMania XXX. The only problem was that Bryan was no longer a mid card talent and the entire WWE Universe wanted to see him in the main event of the show. Once the WWE finally caught wind of the YES! Movement (and because CM Punk quit), it was decided that Bryan would indeed capture the WWE World Heavyweight Championship to close out WrestleMania XXX, a moment that is considered by many as one of the best in the history of WrestleMania.
2 WrestleMania 31: Modernizing The Show
WrestleMania 31 was one of the better WrestleMania events in recent memory. A deep card, a variety of legends, and an absolute shocker of an ending combined for an event that won't be forgotten anything soon. The WrestleMania that took place in 2015 did, however, see a noticeable change — the WWE decided to stop putting numbers on the event. The reason behind the decision is simple — Vince McMahon felt that the growing number combined with roman numerals made WrestleMania feel old, so he decided to scrap numbers altogether.
While most fans didn't — and still don't — have a negative opinion on the numbers. But what the big man says, goes — and it doesn't look like numbers will ever return to WrestleMania, as they've haven't used any since.
1 WrestleMania 32: The Divas Revolution Becomes The Women's Revolution
From the summer of 2015 up until today, the WWE has pushed their Divas Revolution — now the Women's Revolution - and rightfully so. Not only was it a matter of time before the WWE focused on in-ring action for their female talents, but they also have enough competent women to make a deep and interesting division. When looking up and down both Raw and SmackDown Live's rosters, Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch are considered the top three of the class, so it only made sense that the threesome were the semi-main event of WrestleMania 32. But it wasn't just the placement of the match that showed the WWE was serious about pushing their women. The triple threat match for the newly christened Women's Championship went on over 16 minutes, way longer than any other women's match in WWE history.