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  • Connor Ewens

Fantasy Booking: Wrestlemania I

We are on the road to Wrestlemania (trademark) and it is a big one this year, the 40th edition of the largest event in wrestling. In celebration of 40 years of Wrestlemania, I am going to be posting a daily fantasy booking of how I think each Wrestlemania should have went down. The grandaddy of them all is far from a perfect show and each year there is always something in hindsight that would have been a better idea. Today, we start where it all began. 1985, Madison Square Garden in New York City. As a brief reminder, here is the card we had on the night:

Tito Santana vs The Executioner

King Kong Bundy vs Special Delivery Jones

Ricky Steamboat vs Matt Borne

Brutus Beefcake vs David Sammartino

Greg Valentine (c) vs Junkyard Dog, IC Championship

The US Express (c) vs Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff, Tag Championships

Andre the Giant vs Big John Studd, $15,000 Body Slam Challenge

Leilani Kai (c) vs Wendi Richter, Women's Championship

Hulk Hogan & Mr T vs Paul Orndorff & Roddy Piper

It's a lot harder to re-book these older Wrestlemania shows because of how different the audience was back then. I have to keep in mind when I make changes, I'm looking for something that would be entertaining 40 years ago but still holds up now. I'll give it a college try though. Here is how I would book Wrestlemania I.

A booked singer of the American national anthem failed to appear which meant Gene Okerlund ended up singing the rendition. It's not great but keep it in because it is very endearing.

The opening match of the first ever Wrestlemania is a number 1 contender match to determine a challenger for Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine's IC Championship, later on the same night. It will be Tito Santana vs Ricky Steamboat. Tito is the former champion, losing the belt in September and clamouring for revenge. Steamboat doesn't have anything going on in particular. These two are capable of having a very hot opening match. Competitive face vs face action, Steamboat just manages to steal a flash pinfall. Both men shake hands after the bell, a wholesome start with undoubtably a good match.

Next up, I would keep King Kong Bundy vs SD Jones but only change one detail. DON'T LIE ABOUT HOW LONG THE MATCH IS! Don't say it was 9 seconds when it was actually 24, just make it 9 seconds! Jones is hyping the crowd in the corner as the bell rings, he turns around and is splashed immediately by KKB for the quickest win in Wrestlemania history which would last for over 30 years.

Following that we have a random match I am adding in here, because we need better workers so why not make use of the recent purchase of Stampede Wrestling. A showcase match of 4 new talents recently hired by the WWF. The British Bulldogs teaming up against Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart. Bret & Jim wouldn't form the Hart Foundation for another 4 months, however they're both heels and can be a random pairing here to face the British boys. Give these lads 10 minutes, have the Harts really heel it up and they'll go from obscurity to making a name. I'd put over the Bulldogs since they're an existing team.

Let's talk about the Sammartino's. Truth is, David was never really any good. He was fine, but he lacked in almost every category that made his father Bruno such an awe-inspiring legend. The fans did not care about David, however they came unglued for Bruno getting involved. Bruno & David worked as a father-son tag team after this show, so why not do it here? For the first time in 4 years, we will see Bruno Sammartino wrestle inside the squared circle. He supports his son David in his feud with Brutus Beefcake and his manager Jimmy Valiant. This probably won't raise the quality of the match by too much, but at least Bruno (the only actual draw here) gets a better feature alongside his son. He and David double team Valiant as Beefcake hightails it out of there. The father-son duo get a huge victory which should pop the crowd.

Greg Valentine defends his IC title against Ricky Steamboat. Give them 10 minutes and we'll have a fun technical battle for the gold. Steamboat channels his babyface fire but he is too fatigued to counter every heel move. Valentine manages to steal a pinfall over Ricky. A post-match attack is prevented by Santana who runs out to Steamboats aid.

The final match before the main event matches is unchanged. The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff winning the tag titles was the best match on the original show so it deserves to stay. Huge heel heat for the foreigners getting the win over the Americans. I love it.

Another unchanged match is the Body Slam challenge. Yes it wasn't too great but Andre is a huge draw, the match was a big draw plus I liked the moment of Andre throwing money into the crowd because it was unscripted and it pissed off backstage people.

Wendi Richter is still gunning for revenge, trying to win back her title from Leilani Kai. She has Cyndi Lauper in her corner. This match was pretty bad, so I'm going to change the booking of this a bit. During the build, Leilani should big up that she was mentored by the greatest woman ever, the Fabulous Moolah. With her training, she will reign as champion forever and Wendi isn't worth the same oxygen they breath. Anytime Richter tries to force a confrontation, Kai runs away and hides behind Moolah. So, come match time, that is what Kai does again. She runs and hides but this time Cyndi is there to help. With the referee distracted Cyndi flails her arms at Moolah, temporarily stunning her. Kai grabs at Cyndi, but Richter is there to roll her up for a 1-2-3. It's still not going to be a great match but hopefully the segment is more enjoyable to watch because the story is good and Lauper is another one of the huge draws on the show.

So, main event time. Same match, slightly different outcome. Hulk Hogan & Mr T are still flanked by Jimmy Snuka. Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff are with Bob Orton. It is quite the aggressive brawl. We get the spot where Bob Orton jumps from the top with his cast on his arm as a weapon, however instead this time it is Mr T in the ring and Bob Orton lands it. Piper slides in for the 1-2-3 and is about to ring the bell until special ring enforcer Muhammed Ali steps up. He explains to the referee Pat Patterson what happened, he gets up in Orton's face and a huge argument/brawl breaks out. Ali steps in and KOs Orton with a punch and sends Roddy Piper out with a punch too. Orndorff has the full nelson on Hogan, but Mr T runs in with a huge punch and Hogan pins Orndorff to win the big main event. You can have the usual promos from everyone after the match. I would include a promo from an irate Roddy Piper who says he was cheated out of the match, threatening to beat up Mohammed Ali.

That is it, the first ever Wrestlemania rebooked. I like mine a lot more, but I guess I am biased. Here is a quick recap:

Tito Santana vs Ricky Steamboat to earn the right to challenge for IC Championship

King Kong Bundy w/Jimmy vs Special Delivery Jones

British Bulldogs vs Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart w/Jimmy Hart

David & Bruno Sammartino vs Brutus Beefcake & Jimmy Valiant

Greg Valentine (c) w/Jimmy Hart vs Ricky Steamboat, IC Championship

US Express (c) vs Iron Sheik & Nikolai Vokoff w/Freddie Blassie, Tag Championships

Andre the Giant vs Big John Studd w/Bobby Heenan, $15,000 Body Slam Challenge

Leilani Kai (c) w/Fabulous Moolah vs Wendi Richter w/Cyndi Lauper

WWF Champion Hulk Hogan & Mr T w/Jimmy Snuka vs Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff w/Cowboy Bob Orton

Did you hate it? Did I cook? Let me know and thank you for reading. Come back here tomorrow where we will look at Wrestlemania 2: Electric Boogaloo.


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