March 29, 2011
Crunching some WrestleMania stats: Debuts, championships, title wins
By BOB KAPUR - SLAM! Wrestling
|Trish Stratus, seen here before WrestleMania X8, wrestled in nothing but title matches at the big show. SLAM! Wrestling file photo.
In writing the recent series examining the WrestleMania records of some of the veteran WWE superstars competing this year, I noted that every one of John Cena's previous matches at the annual spectacle were for a championship -- and that this trend would continue this year as he squares off against The Miz for the WWE Championship. I wondered if this feat was unique to Cena.
Besides Cena, 19 other people have wrestled exclusively in title matches at WrestleMania. Cena has had the most, with championship gold being on the line for all of his past seven matches.
About the same time, I received an e-mail from a SLAM! Wrestling reader, surmising about Alberto del Rio's chance against Edge. The reader asked if anyone had ever won a championship in their WrestleMania debut.
As I do anytime I'm faced with a difficult question, I looked to someone else for the answers, in this case the SLAM! Wrestling official statistician. He/she (nobody has ever seen the official statistician in person) was able to find all this out, and it's presented here for anyone else that's curious.
People whose WrestleMania matches have all been title matches
Trish Stratus comes in next, with all four of her matches being for the Women's Championship. This will come to an end this year, as she's currently scheduled to compete in a tag team match with no titles at stake. But for now, she's tied with with The Dudley Boys, who interestingly lost all four times they competed on the grand stage, and Billy Gunn, who lost as a member of the Smoking Gunns, the New Age Outlaws, and as a singles competitor, before finding success (and love) as part of a tag team with Chuck Palumbo.
Viscera and IRS both underwent name changes (from Mabel and Mike Rotundo, respectively) over their Mania tenures, which comprised three title matches for each of them.
The others, whose Mania careers included only two title matches are Lelani Kai, Jeff Jarrett, Ken Shamrock, Jesse James, Taka Michinoku, Bob Holly, Test, Funaki, William Regal, Jazz, Molly Holly, Chavo Guerrero, and Charlie Haas.
The Miz, making his Mania debut, and The Big Show at WrestleMania 26 in Phoenix. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea
Wrestlers whose WrestleMania debut was in a title match
Over the years, 105 superstars made their WrestleMania debut in a title match. Chronologically, the first two people to be on this list are Greg "The Hammer" Valentine and the Junkyard Dog, who battled for the Intercontinental (IC) championship at the first WrestleMania. The last people to be added are The Miz and R-Truth, who both competed in the Tag Team championship match last year (Miz and his partner The Big Show retained their belts over R-Truth and John Morrison).
Of the 105: 24 were males in a singles match; 43 were males in a tag team match, involving one or multiple other teams; and 22 were males in a multi-person singles match. There were 15 females who debuted competing for a women's singles title, and one female (Molly Holly) who debuted competing for a primarily men's title -- she competed for -- and won! -- the Hardcore Title at WrestleMania X8.
For 41 of those people, their title match was their only match ever at Mania. Surprising names in this category include: The Fabulous Moolah (lost to Wendi Richter at WM 1); Tatanka (challenged Shawn Michaels for the IC title at WM 9 and lost); Val Venis (was involved in a 4-corners match for the IC title at WM 15, which Jesse James won); Lita (Jazz beat her and Trish Stratus in a three-way for the Women's title at WM X8; Diamond Dallas Page (beat Christian to retain the European title at WM X8; Mr. Fuji (with the Powers of Pain, lost the Tag Team titles to Demolition at WM 4); and the members of the Mean Street Posse (okay, not necessarily surprising, but the SLAM! Wrestling official statistician loves any chance to mention these guys).
45 of the people went on to have matches at future WrestleManias that may or may not have been for a title. For example, Brock Lesnar made his debut at WM 19, facing Kurt Angle for the Heavyweight Championship; the next year, he wrestled Goldberg. Similarly, Randy Savage debuted at WM 2, defending his IC belt against George Steele. Over the years, Savage had many other matches, some of which were for titles and some of which weren't.
Wrestlers who won a championship in their WrestleMania debut
Only 10 people have won a title in their first WrestleMania outing. Of those, only two of the wins were for the World Heavyweight Championship (Yokozuna at WM 9 and Brock Lesnar at WM 19). In other words, Alberto will be in seriously lofty company if he can dethrone Edge this year. In fact, he will have to do what his opponent did at WrestleMania 16 -- Edge, along with Christian, captured the Tag Team Championship in his first time out.
Rob Van Dam crossbody blocks WWF Intercontinental champion William Regal at WrestleMania X8 in Toronto. Toronto Sun file photo.
The other superstars that won the gold in their Mania debuts are: Bob Holly (Hardcore title at WM 15); Chris Jericho (European title) and Chris Benoit (IC title), who competed in a three-way match with Kurt Angle, who dropped both belts; Rob Van Dam (IC title at WM 18); Cena (US title at WM 20); and Mickie James (Women's title at WM 22).
More on WrestleMania 27
WrestleMania 27 photo galleries
Bob Kapur can crunch more than numbers. Take Cap'n Crunch, for example. E-mail him your crunch jokes at firstname.lastname@example.org.