WrestleMania,”The Ultimate Thrill Ride”, Is Today
It really is one of the best events of the Spring. WrestleMania. This will be the 35th WrestleMania in WWE history. The WWE has turned WrestleMania from a 9 bout wrestling PPV at Madison Square Garden in 1985 into a 5 day event that is now a true pilgrimage of fandom for wrestling nerds like myself.
I have seen every single WrestleMania. Not because of the WWE Network but because I am old enough to remember WrestleMania I. I did not, however, see it live. I had to wait for it to be released of VHS and then make my dad take me to the video store to rent it. The next year, he purchased WrestleMania II on PPV and there were not many that we missed for the next 9 years. In college, I would either have to go somewhere that showed WrestleMania or talk my roommates into purchasing the "Show of Shows".
I don't remember when I first started to watch professional wrestling. I do know I got hooked right before WrestleMania I. You see, I was an MTV kid. I watched MTV non stop. When Cindi Lauper got involved in the pro wrestling scene and sports entertainment crossed over into music entertainment. I was hooked.
In 1986, I found the National Wrestling Alliance on WTBS every Saturday night for 2 hours. So my weekends for the next 4 years consisted of 2 hours of NWA wrestling of Saturday night, 1 hour of WWF Superstars on Sunday morning and another hour of NWA on Sunday nights. Every once in awhile you could sprinkle in a Saturday Night Main Event.
I continued to watch wrestling through the NWA change to World Championship Wrestling and continued to watch wrestling from afar through my early 20s. And then wrestling became cool...
In 1996, the NWO was formed in WCW and the Monday Night Wars started. Wrestling was mainstream and everywhere in pop culture. There was a strong civil war of loyalty between wrestling fans- WCW or WWE. You could watch both but had to align with one. I choose WWE.
The Monday Night Wars were the acme of professional wrestling and they were the apex of my wrestling fandom. I still try to watch wrestling and also try to make my kids watch it- to give me an excuse to watch more of it. But real life happens and I don't follow as much as I used to. But when I do get back into it, I fall back into the old ways of following all the storylines, predicting storylines and match outcomes and fantasy book matches.
That is the beauty of professional wrestling, you can be a die hard fan or a relaxed fan and no matter how much effort you put into watching/following, you can always catch up with the current product in a very fast time.
So wether you are a HUGE wrestling fan or just along to watch your yearly entertainment on "the greatest stage of them all", enjoy today, enjoy the show and just enjoy the good times- it is a nice break from all this nonsense we call "real life".
MY TOP 5 FAVORITE WRESTLEMANIA MATCHES:
5. The Rock vs. “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan (WrestleMania X8)
4. Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair — Career-Threatening Match (WrestleMania XXIV)
3. Bret Hart vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin — Submission Match (WrestleMania 13)
2. “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat — Intercontinental Championship Match (WrestleMania III)
1. Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels — 60-Minute WWE Iron Match for the WWE Championship (WrestleMania XII)