Wrestling / WrestleMania

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/887eb72fa7c0e243e4e80215376bf58d.png

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".

WrestleMania is a professional wrestling pay-per-view event, produced annually between mid-March to early April. It was first produced in 1985, when 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 shownote  in an attempt to expose fans to their product. WWE 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, Arizona won the bid to host WrestleMania XXVI 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 XXVI, however).

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. WWE documented the evolution through 31 here.
  • 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.
  • 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 André 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 XII, where Shawn came to the ring on a zip line in an iconic WM moment, which came before a main event 60-minute 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 WrestleMania 2000 between Edge & Christian (winners), the Hardy Boyz, and the Dudley Boyz. WrestleMania X-Seven had "TLC II" with the same teams; each team got a little help from a third party (Lita, Spike Dudley, and Rhyno, 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:
    • WrestleMania XIV and XV saw the true rise of the Austin Era (and the Attitude Era in general), as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin won the WWF Championship at both shows.
      Jim Ross [at WrestleMania XIV]: The Austin era has begun!
    • WrestleMania 21 saw the creation of 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 Championship.
    • WrestleMania XXX 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: "The Streak" of The Undertaker was explicitly stated time and time again as having been a greater accomplishment than winning a world title and a guaranteed one-way ticket to the WWE Hall of Fame, and that if someone ever managed it, they'd be able to brag about it for the rest of their career. And then, at WrestleMania XXX, Brock Lesnar shockingly did end 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. The Rock, Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar, and CM Punk vs. The 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:
    • Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XII, winning the WWF Championship after a long (and by "long" we mean over an hour long) match.
    • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin winning the WWF Championship at both WrestleMania XIV and IV, with the latter even having Austin literally standing over Vince McMahon.
    • Chris Benoit at WrestleMania XX definitely qualifies. However, real-life events tainted this.
    • John Cena and Batista both winning world titles (the WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship, respectively) at WrestleMania 21.
    • 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:
    • WrestleMania X: The first Mania post-Hulkamania and the beginning of the New Generation.
    • WrestleMania X-Seven: The end of the Monday Night Wars and the Attitude Era.
    • The Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania XXVIII between Triple H and The Undertaker was billed as "The End of an Era", building on the fact that they are the last, largest wrestlers from the Attitude Era still actively competing, and acknowledging the possibility that they may both retire soon; 'Taker due to injuries and old age and Hunter due to his backstage responsibilities.
    • At WrestleMania XXX, The Undertaker's Streak was finally broken, and it was referred to by the announce team as "truly the end of an era."
  • Face–Heel Turn: Since WrestleMania is considered the final episode of that yearly chapter, one can expect some changes in characters:
    • V: Rick Martel, who had recently returned after a several-month-long absence note  and reunited with old tag-team partner and longtime friend Tito Santana (they called themselves Strike Force) for a match against Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard (aka the Brain Busters). The reunion didn't last, as after a mistimed move by Santana sent Martel sprawling to the mat, Martel threw up his arms in frustration and walked out on Santana, turning a competitive match into a Curb-Stomp Battle with Santana on the losing end. After the match, Martel explained that he was tired of having Santana ride his wave of success ("I'm sick and tired. Sick and tired of him. I was doing great as a singles wrestler, but Mr. Tito wants to ride my coattails some more").
    • 13: Bret Hart. Technically a double-turn. Austin as a heel that time was given more cheers and Bret Hart decided to attack him after the match, solidifying himself as a heel. Backstage, Bret Hart didn't feel comfortable about the idea due to his established babyface character, but did it for the love of the business.
    • XV: Triple H, leader of DX, turning on his own group to join the Corporation. Fans believe that this was the biggest impact on his career as it solidifed himself out of Shawn Michaels' shadow.
    • 2000: Vince McMahon turning on The Rock to give Triple H a defending victory for the title.
    • X-Seven: Stone Cold Steve Austin selling his soul to the devil Vince McMahon to win the title. Despite being considered one of the best matches, fans never expected this to happen. Austin's heel turn didn't go so well and ended after Survivor Series. This also was the closing the Attitude Era that Austin was a part of for years.
    • XX: Trish Stratus turning to Christian instead of Chris Jericho.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Much like the Face–Heel Turn, WrestleMania has brought the best out in one-time fearsome, nefarious characters:
    • The first WrestleMania provided the impetus for "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff to turn good, after ally Bob Orton accidentally hit Orndorff in the head and caused him and Roddy Piper to lose their main-event match to Hulk Hogan and Mr. T.
    • III: Brutus Beefcake, who had been part of a successful tag team with Greg "the Hammer" Valentine (as the Dream Team), having been former Tag Team champions before hitting a slump by late 1986. With Beefcake becoming increasingly popular with fans despite being a heel, a storyline was devised where, on camera the two began spatting and newcomer Dino Bravo was starting to show more chemistry with Valentine. The straw that really broke the camel's back was during a televised match where a miscommunication led to "Adorable" Adrian Adonis cutting Beefcake's hair by mistake. While Beefcake helped Valentine defeat the The Rougeau Brothers at the pay-per-view, the team had an argument and Beefcake was left in the ring while Valentine and Bravo left with manager Jimmy Valiant. Beefcake was portrayed as sympathetic and solidified his status as a good guy when, later in the show, he returned to ringside for Adonis' match against Roddy Piper, allowing Piper to score the win by preventing Jimmy Hart from interfering; afterward, Beefcake gleefully cut Adonis' hair, per a pre-match stipulation. Beefcake earned the nickname "The Barber" and quickly became hugely popular with fans.
    • VI: André the Giant, in his last major pay-per-view match of his career, after he and tag team partner Haku had lost the Tag Team Championship back to Demolition (after Haku's superkick accidentally nailed Andre instead of Smash). Bobby Heenan was so upset at Andre that he (foolishly) slapped the big guy in the face ... and "the Brain" paid dearly (and so did Haku, who tried a sneak attack that Andre immediately stopped).
    • VII: Randy Savage, after losing his "retirement" match with the Ultimate Warrior, had a very emotional reunion with Miss Elizabeth; Liz stopped Savage's manager, the Sensational Sherri, from kicking and beating on him post-match.
    • 13: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, as part of the double-turn with Bret Hart.
  • 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.
  • Invincible Hero: The Undertaker's track record at WrestleMania is likely never to be topped: he was not defeated in his first 21 matches he wrestled at the event. (In an odd reversal, Undertaker and Shawn Michaels' match at WrestleMania XXV, which was perhaps 2009's Match of the Year, was 'Taker's first one-on-one victory over Michaels.) Of course, after WrestleMania XXX, Undertaker's record read 21–1, thanks to one Brock Lesnar. As of WrestleMania 32, Taker's record stands at 23–1.
  • 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 WrestleMania XIX against Kurt Angle. He hadn't performed this dangerous maneuver since his time in WWE's feeder league OVW, placed Angle too far from the corner, and though he did in fact rotate perfectly for the press, Angle's distance resulted in Lesnar landing squarely on his head, almost breaking his own neck on Angle, 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. Ironically, going into the event it was Angle who had raised concern over getting injured as his well-known neck problems were flaring up, and it was believed that his insistence on performing at the event anyway could lead to the end of his career, when actually it was Lesnar who nearly ended breaking his neck at the event.
  • Once a Season: The Undertaker takes on a legend or main event superstar and wins, an honor perhaps greater that being World Champion multiple times. Until 2014, he had never lost at the event, defeating the likes of Jimmy Snuka, Jake Roberts, King Kong Bundy, Diesel, Sycho Sid, Kane, Triple H, Ric Flair, Randy Orton, Batista, Edge, Shawn Michaels, CM Punk and others. And then WrestleMania XXX came...
  • Passing the Torch:
    • The Ultimate Warrior defeating Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI to win the WWF Championship, seen as a "passing the torch" moment (even if it didn't fully work out).
    • WrestleMania XXX was full of this: Cesaro winning the André the Giant Battle Royal, Brock Lesnar ending The Undertaker's streak and Daniel Bryan winning the main event.
    • Bray Wyatt invoked this during the buildup to his match with The Undertaker at WrestleMania 31, saying that due to his loss last year, the latter can no longer be WWE's personification of fear. Taker definitely proved him wrong.
  • 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 (though Motörhead's lead singer Lemmy hadn't correctly sung the lyrics to Triple H's theme in either of his two appearances), and P.O.D, who appeared at WrestleMania 22 playing Rey Mysterio's music. Here's a full list.
    • 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 XX. 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 WrestleMania XXVII 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 2000 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: Most of the stages from 1999 onwards invoked this. Beforehand, the Roman theme of WrestleMania IX is probably the most well-remembered part of the event.
  • Season Finale: WrestleMania serves as one for WWE.
  • Sequel Hook: WrestleMania XXVII/XXVIII seemed to like this trope a lot:
    • The WrestleMania XXVII 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 The Miz, WWE Champion, and Cena, WWE's currently most popular wrestler. It was nothing more than a Sequel Hook for the main event for WrestleMania XXVIII, Rock vs. Cena.
    • The Undertaker refused to let his Pyrrhic Victory over Triple H at XXVII be his lasting memory, thus demanding a second rematch at XXVIII.
    • World Heavyweight Championship contenders Sheamus and Daniel Bryan also had a match at XXVII that was demoted to DVD Bonus Content and led to a no-contest.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad:
    • WrestleMania XXV had an example that affected two matches: the event 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 at 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 XXX, when Brock Lesnar broke The Streak clean.
  • Trope 2000: WrestleMania 2000 (aka WrestleMania 16).
  • Unexplained Recovery: WrestleMania XV 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. 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: Mania has certainly had its moments.
  • Wham Shot: At WrestleMania XXX, the graphics displaying the Undertaker's WrestleMania record of "21-1".
  • Where It All Began: The tagline for WrestleMania XX and its return to Madison Square Garden, "Where It All Begins Again."
  • Worked Shoot:
    • The boxing match between Butterbean and Bart Gunn was real, and thus an aversion, but easily the least entertaining and the most pointless match of WrestleMania XV. For a little context: earlier in the year, WWE staged the Brawl for All tournament, a set of legit shootfighting matches long thought to have been a way to reintroduce seriously legit tough guy "Dr. Death" Steve Williams. Bart Gunn didn't get the memo and knocked Williams out in the quarterfinals, eventually winning the tournament. Several WWE performers have gone on to state that the match against Butterbean (a five-time World Toughman champion and the reigning IBA Superheavyweight boxing champion) was a punishment, as it transformed almost instantly from Unworked Shoot to Very Bad Shoot when Bart Gunn was knocked out two minutes in. That theory is bolstered by the fact that WWE released him not long after (and if some accounts are to be believed, right after Gunn returned to backstage). Luckily for him, Williams had a huge following as a legit tough guy in Japan, so Gunn was able to have a long run there. All in all, Roddy Piper and Mr. T worked a better boxing match at WrestleMania II, and that's saying something - that one was worked, however (video).
    • The match between Brock Lesnar and the Undertaker at WrestleMania XXX had elements of this - referee Chad Patton wasn't told the finish and was instead ordered to treat every pinfall as if it was the match finish and 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. It very well might have been that, at ringside at least, only Lesnar and Undertaker knew the finish; once Patton made the three-count, the announcers were stunned into silence, and even Paul Heyman, Lesnar's manager, had his jaw on the floor.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math:
    • When Undertaker was set to face Triple at WrestleMania XXVII, they pretended that Triple H 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 said "18 men have come..." on the promo the previous year, which 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, they forget that the number of the WrestleMania doesn't actually indicate how many years it's been since the first one. WrestleMania XXV 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 the first WrestleMania, you had to wait until WrestleMania XXVI.
  • "X" Makes Anything Cool: The thinking behind naming the 17th and 18th installments WrestleMania X-Seven and WrestleMania X-8.

Alternative Title(s): Wrestle Mania

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Wrestling/WrestleMania?from=Main.WrestleMania