The Showcase of The Immortals. The Grandest Stage of Them All. The biggest Professional Wrestling
show in the world.
It is, as Mr. McMahon would say, "The Greatest Sports Entertainment Spectacular of All Time".
In 1985, Vince McMahon
had an idea to hold a flagship pay-per-view show for his World Wrestling Federation
to counter the Starrcade
event held by rival Jim Crockett Promotions
. This show - the very first ''WrestleMania'' - was heavily cross-promoted through MTV and other popular television outlets; the WWF's mainstream success from this point on hinged on the first ''WrestleMania'' being a success.
It turned out to be a huge success; from then on out, the WWF (now World Wrestling Entertainment, or WWE) has held ''WrestleMania'' as an annual event, using the show to end major feuds and begin new ones. It is considered WWE's flagship event, and is the biggest show WWE (or any other wrestling promotion) puts on every year. In recent years, ''WrestleMania'' has become the annual Mecca of the wrestling world: since the event draws in fans from all over the world, many of the larger independent promotions hold shows in ''WrestleMania''s host city in the days leading up to the show in an attempt to expose fans to their
is not very appreciative of this, however, and has made moves in recent years to keep other wrestling shows out of the cities where ''WrestleMania'' takes place; it's rumored that part of the reason Phoenix, AZ won the bid to host ''WrestleMania'' 26
was because they agreed to prevent other wrestling promotions from holding shows in publicly-owned venues (both Ring of Honor
and Dragon Gate
USA managed to book shows in the area for the weekend of ''WrestleMania'' 26
For more, see Wall Bangers
Wrestlemania provides examples of the following tropes:
- Art Evolution: Compare WrestleMania I's lack of a stage to the small stages and mini rings of II through VIII, the outdoor setup of IX to the understated stages of X through XIV to the giant logo of XV, the double trons of 2000, the Trope Codifier of stages in X-Seven and X8 that introduced the LED Walls, the unconventional stages of XIX (baseball stadium), XX (combining old and new aspects in the 18,000+ Madison Square Garden), 21 (movie theatre-themed) and 22 (cityscape) to the return to 70-80,000+ football stadiums with 23 with sets with growing Serial Escalation leading up to WrestleMania XXX's colossal setup.
- Artifact Title: WWE shies away from even calling itself 'wrestling' these days, and the 'mania' part harkens back to Hulkamania. The name has been kept thanks to the Grandfather Clause.
- Big "OMG!": Paul Heyman's reaction to Brock Lesnar beating The Undertaker.
- Billing Displacement: Despite Randy Orton & Batista being the WWE World Heavyweight Champion & Royal Rumble winner respectively, the focus of the build to the main event of WrestleMania XXX was instead on Daniel Bryan potentially making it into a Triple Threat match. Conversely, the advertising heavily focused on Orton & Batista, with both men receiving TV spots focusing on themselves whilst Bryan was barely mentioned.
- Call Back: At WrestleMania XXX, Cesaro won the André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal by scoop-slamming The Big Show over the top rope - much like Hulk Hogan scoop-slamming Andre to hit him with the Atomic Leg Drop back at WrestleMania III. Bonus points, Big Show was billed as André's son when he first debuted.
- The Centerpiece Spectacular: Shawn Michaels's entrance at WrestleMania 12, where Shawn came to the ring on a zip line in an iconic WM moment.
- Michaels' match, a main event Iron Man Match against Bret Hart, went into overtime when the time limit expired without a single fall being scored; Michaels eventually scored the winning pinfall to dethrone Bret as the WWF Champion.
- Costume Porn: Anything from new t-shirts to glorious robes are donned for special versions of Superstar entrances.
- Dangerous Terrain: The Tables, Ladders and Chairs (TLC) matches, which started with a Triangle Ladder match at WM 16 between Edge & Christian (winners), the Hardy Boyz, and the Dudley Boyz. WM 17 had "TLC II" with the same teams; each team got a little help from a third party (Lita, Spike Dudley, and Rhino, respectively), and there were several memorable moments, including the insane mid-air Spear that Edge delivered to a dangling-from-the-belts Jeff Hardy.
- Dawn of an Era
Jim Ross [at WrestleMania XIV]:
The Austin era has begun!
- WrestleMania 21 saw the creation the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, whose winner is guaranteed a world title match before the next year's WrestleMania. Every year since, people look forward to the match to see just who's going to get a world title push. It's also the Wrestlemania where John Cena won his first WWE title.
- WrestleMania 30 saw Daniel Bryan's ascension to the top of the card, and the end of The Streak.
- Decoy Protagonist: The Royal Rumble winner got the main event match at WrestleMania but starting from 2006, it's become common for them to sometimes be put as a co-main event.
- Defeating the Undefeatable: Anyone who tries to end "The Streak" of The Undertaker, which is explicitly stated time and time again as a greater accomplishment than winning a world title and a guaranteed one-way ticket to the WWE Hall of Fame. If someone ever managed it, they'd be able to brag about it for the rest of their career. The issue, however, is actually ending it.
- Played shockingly straight at WrestleMania XXX when Brock Lesnar ended the streak.
- Demoted to Extra: WrestleMania 29 was an example of several WWE wrestlers being left off the card in order to give more time for the three main events (John Cena vs. TheRock, Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar, and CM Punk vs. Undertaker). This also marked the first time in 16 years that there was no Divas match.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Generally the case for WrestleMania main events, usually involving a face wrestler finally achieving his dream in front of a grand stage. Look no further than Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 12, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin at WrestleMania 14 and John Cena and Batista at WrestleMania 21 for some notable examples.
- Chris Benoit at WrestleMania 20 definitely qualifies. However, real-life events tainted this.
- WrestleMania 22: Rey Mysterio, in honor of his dear friend Eddie Guerrero, surviving a triple threat match against Randy Orton and Kurt Anglenote and against all odds became "The Ultimate Underdog" to achieve the World Heavyweight Championship.
- WrestleMania XXX: Daniel Bryan after slugging through all of 2013 and up to the beginning of 2014 against the Authority, Randy Orton and Batista, had to fight Triple H in a 25+ minute slobberknocker just to even get a chance to fight Orton and Batista and then had to survive everything thrown at him: the Authority, being taken through a table, sledgehammers, to the point that he had to be taken out on a stretcher—yet he still made Batista tap to the Yes! Lock and won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
- End of an Age:
- Follow the Leader: In an interview, Stephanie McMahon wanted two clashing fanbases (Team Cenation and Team Bring It) for the build-up of the John Cena vs. The Rock match at WrestleMania XXVIII, not too dissimilar to Team Edward vs. Team Jacob in Twilight.
- Heroic Resolve: The big match at WrestleMania 13 was the Submission Match between "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Bret Hart. Busted open, bleeding like crazy, and locked in Hart's signature Sharpshooter submission hold, Austin refused to tap out; instead, he passed out from the pain in a puddle of his own blood rather than submit to Hart. If King of the Ring 1996 was Austin's breakout moment, this was the moment that catapulted him into superstardom.
- History Repeats: WrestleMania featured a lot of rematches. Sometimes thrice.
- The Undertaker had the most rematches. So far, he fought and defeated Triple H three times, while Kane and Shawn Michaels both lost to him twice.
- The very first WrestleMania trilogy is of course, The Rock vs. Stone Cold. While the former only won at their third encounter, it was the latter's last match in his career.
- Other wrestlers who fought in this event twice are; Hulk Hogan and André the Giant, Bret Hart and Yokozuna, the three-way rivalry of Edge and Christian, the Hardy Boyz and The Dudley Boys, and Sheamus and Daniel Bryan.
- Some wrestlers who actually fought at this event twice were in a triple-threat match involving someone else. Namely; Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle (fought in a three-way with Chris Jericho at WM 2000 before competing one-on-one in the following year), John Cena and The Big Show (competed one-on-one at WM 20 before squaring off in a three-way with Edge at WM 25) and Cena again, this time with Triple H (competed in a one-on-one match at WM 22 before competing in a three-way with Randy Orton two years later).
- Invincible Hero: The Undertaker's track record at WrestleMania is likely never to be topped: he was not defeated in 21 of the 22 (to date) matches he has wrestled at the event. Undertaker and Shawn Michaels pulled out perhaps 2009's Match of the Year at WrestleMania 25, 'Taker's first one-on-one victory over Michaels, and at WrestleMania 26 they pulled out another instant classic as Undertaker preserved his streak and ended the 25-year career of Michaels in the show's main event. At WrestleMania 27, he survived three Pedigrees and a Tombstone from Triple H, then Undertaker slipped Hell's Gate on a sledgehammer-wielding Triple H, who tapped, ensuring the 19-0 streak lives on. Then, at 28, against Triple H one last time, Taker kicks out of The Tombstone, and reverses it to achieve the final score of 20-0.
- As of Wrestlemania XXX, Undertaker now reads 21-1, thanks to one Brock Lesnar.
- It's the Best Whatever, Ever!: Every WrestleMania is billed as the best, most historic WrestleMania ever. Until next year.
- Just One Little Mistake: Attempting to give the fans a WrestleMania Moment, Brock Lesnar attempted a Shooting Star Press (a diving backflip splash off the top rope) at WM 19 against Kurt Angle. He hadn't performed this dangerous maneuver since his time in WWE's feeder league OVW, did not complete the rotation, and landed squarely on his head, but luckily ended up with only a mild concussion (and later became known as the Shooting Star Neck Breaker, Shooting Star Self-Piledriver, or Shooting Brock Press). Angle quickly led the dazed Lesnar into an improvised finish to the match.
- Kurt Angle's well-known neck problems were flaring up going into WrestleMania 19, and it was believed that his insistence on performing at the event anyway could lead to the end of his career. Ironically it was Lesnar who nearly broke his neck at the event. Actually, Brock had placed Angle too far from the corner, and though he did in fact rotate perfectly for the press, Angle's distance resulted in Brock almost breaking his own neck ON ANGLE.
- Once a Season: The Undertaker takes on a legend or main event superstar and wins, an honor perhaps greater that being a eleven time World Champion. He has never lost at the event, against the likes of Jimmy Snuka, Jake Roberts, King Kong Bundy, Sycho Sid, Kane, Triple H, Ric Flair, Batista, Edge, Randy Orton, Shawn Michaels, CM Punk and others. And then Wrestlemania XXX came...
- Passing the Torch:
- The Ultimate Warrior defeating Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 6 to win the WWF Championship, seen as a "passing the torch" moment (even if it didn't fully work out).
- WMXXX is full of thus with Cesaro winning the Andre The Giant Battle Royal, Brock Lesnar ending The Undertaker's streak and Daniel Bryan winning the main event.
- Pay-Per-View Blindness: WrestleMania 27 was extremely lackluster, with many last minute changes, including scrapping the Daniel Bryan vs Sheamus match so they could give The Rock a 20-minute promo (it also reduced the length of the other matches). A large amount of time was spent making skits; people joked that someone accidentally switched ''WrestleMania''s script for the next Raw script.
- Real Song Theme Tune: ''WrestleMania'' often has at least one live musical guest. Usually a singer performs America The Beautiful, and sometimes a band gives a wrestler an Entrance Music Power-Up, e.g. Motörhead, who've appeared twice, playing Triple H's music (full list), and P.O.D, who appeared at ''WrestleMania'' 22 playing Rey Mysterio's music.
- Mondegreen: Motörhead hasn't correctly sung the lyrics to Triple H's theme yet.
- Also, the Honky Tonk Man and Greg "The Hammer" Valentine embarrassing themselves at Wrestlemania VI, pretending to be an actual group called "Rhythm and Blues." May very well be the worst musical performance ever to be recorded.
- Retired Badass: Stone Cold Steve Austin, the guest referee of Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg at WrestleMania 20. What should have been a dream matchup was ruined by Lesnar's surprise decision to quit WWE to try out for the NFL, and Goldberg seemed to think the whole match was a joke. The only cheering was for Austin, who delivered a Stunner to both Lesnar and Goldberg after the match.
- Similarly, at WM 27 Austin was guest ref for Jerry Lawler vs Michael Cole. Cole spent close to 10 minutes beating on Lawler. To say that the crowd did not enjoy this would be an understatement. The end of the match then had the Raw general manager retroactively disqualify Lawler because Guest Referee Austin got involved in the match. Booker T and Josh Mathews also got Stunners without doing anything - likely just an excuse to get J.R. and King back together on commentary for the rest of the show.
- Rivals Team Up: WrestleMania 16 is the only WrestleMania to never have a true one-on-one singles match on its card. The main event featured four wrestlers, with a member of the McMahon family in each corner of a WWF Championship match: the champion, Triple H, had Stephanie McMahon in his corner; The Rock had Vince McMahon backing him; The Big Show was backed by Shane McMahon; and surprise entrant Mick Foley, who had been "retired" the month prior in a Hell in a Cell Match by Triple H, had the backing of Linda McMahon. In the end, Vince turned on The Rock and allowed Triple H to win, letting Triple H retain the WWF Championship against staggering odds, and made history as the first heel to win at a ''WrestleMania'' main event.
- Scenery Porn: See Art Evolution.
- Season Finale: Serves as one for the WWE.
- Sequel Hook: The WrestleMania 27 main event between The Miz and John Cena was a slow, boring match that lead to a double countout. The Rock came out and ordered the match to continue, but it ended again about 5 seconds later with The Rock hitting the Rock Bottom on Cena and Miz retaining. The Rock then gave Miz the People's Elbow so the night ended with a semi-retired wrestler standing over Cena, WWE's currently most popular wrestler. It's nothing more than a Sequel Hook for the main event for WrestleMania 28, Rock vs. Cena.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad:
- WrestleMania 25 should have seen the Colón Brothers defeating John Morrison and The Miz to become the first Unified Tag Team Champions. However, their victory was relegated to taking place before the actual card, to make room for a song performance by Kid Rock (worse, the concert was taken out of the DVD release of the event).
- And the following Divas' battle royal had several older past divas returning such as Sunny, Molly Holly, Torrie Wilson and Victoria. But the divas had no entrances for that match and came out dancing to Kid Rock, so no introductions for the past divas.
- The Royal Rumble winner should get a title shot at WrestleMania's main event, but John Cena has stolen this spot every year since 2006, except in 2009 (Rumble winner Randy Orton vs. champion Triple H) and ironically 2008, when Cena himself won the Rumble but didn't headline WM 24.
- Occasionally a non-title match will headline and/or close out the show. The most notable in recent years is the rematch between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker XXVI (which would be Shawn's retirement match), and when John Cena faced The Rock for the first time at XXVIII.
- Stunned Silence: The audience of Wrestlemania 30, when Brock Lesnar broke The Streak clean.
- Trope 2000: WrestleMania 2000 (aka WrestleMania 16).
- Unexplained Recovery: WrestleMania 15 featured The Undertaker defeating The Big Boss Man in a plodding, boring, forgettable Hell in a Cell match. After the match, Undertaker had The Brood (Gangrel/Edge/Christian, then members of the Undertaker's Ministry Of Darkness) slip a noose down through the roof of the Cell so he could "hang" Boss Man. To top it all off, Big Boss Man suddenly showed up on Raw the next night as if nothing happened, and the whole thing was never mentioned again. Undertaker's Ministry Of Darkness attire and entrance was probably the best part of the whole thing.
- Wham Episode: It's had its moments.
- Where It All Began: The tagline for Wrestlemania 20 and its return to Madison Square Garden, "Where It All Begins Again"
- Worked/Unworked Shoot:
- The boxing match (yes, at Wrestlemania) between Butterbean and Bart Gunn was real, but easily the least entertaining and the most pointless match of WM 15. There was little build-up and it transformed almost instantly from Unworked Shoot to Very Bad Shoot when Bart Gunn was knocked out two minutes in. Roddy Piper and Mr T worked a better boxing match at ''WrestleMania'' 2, and that's saying something - that one was fake, however (video).
- The match between Brock Lesnar & the Undertaker at WrestleMania XXX had elements of this - referee Chad Patton wasn't told the finish & was instead ordered to treat every pinfall as if it was the match finish & to count to three unless there was a kick-out. When he counted the three count that ended the Streak, Patton was so shocked that he didn't call for the bell.
- X Makes Anything Cool: The thinking behind naming the 17th and 18th installments WrestleMania X-Seven and WrestleMania X-8.
- You Fail Mathematics Forever: When Undertaker was set to face HHH at WM 27, they pretended that HHH and 'Taker had never wrestled before. 'Taker said that he had "beaten 19 men" at ''WrestleMania'', when he had faced Kane and Shawn Michaels twice.
- He had been counting the streak like that for a couple of years ('Taker even says "18 men have come...." on the promo the previous year).
- It was accurate up until the second time he faced Michaels, with his two matches against Kane being balanced by the fact that one of his matches was a two on one handicap.
- When promoting a WrestleMania Milestone Celebration, they forget that the number of the WrestleMania doesn't actually indicate how many years it's been since the first one. WrestleMania 25 wasn't actually the 25th anniversary of the first WrestleMania, it was the 24th anniversary. If you wanted to mark the 25-year anniversary of WM 1, you had to wait until WrestleMania 26.