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   December 21, 2014



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WrestleMania Rewind: The first five
By JOHN POWELL - SLAM! Wrestling


Hulk Hogan versus Andre the Giant from WrestleMania 3 is still epic.


If you are like me, you get all old school each year around WrestleMania time. You raid your disk library and watch some classic Mania cards, moments just to fuel your enthusiasm for the annual event. With 28 events to choose from, the desire to zero in on the most pivotal matches can be a daunting task.

This is where SLAM! Wrestling comes in.

WrestleMania Rewind is a series detailing the very best and very worst matches from each and every WrestleMania. Check out our guide and take the guess work out of scanning through all those disks.


WrestleMania


Date: March 31, 1985.
Location: Madison Square Garden in NYC.

If you ignore Mr. T's lame attempt at wrestling, the main event is actually much better than it looks on paper but with all of its back and forth action, the JYD-Valentine match would be the textbook WrestleMania match prototype for years to come and a surprise gem with tremendous effort by both superstars. To this day, Valentine remains as one of the greatest Intercontinental Champions of all time. This very first WrestleMania set the tone and the template which other editions would follow. Since there was no pay-per-view in Canada at the time, I had to wait until the video tape release to see it. Piper's entrance with all those bagpipe players is still awesome.

Must See Matches
Junkyard Dog versus Greg "The Hammer" Valentine
Nikolai Volkoff and The Iron Sheik versus The U.S. Express
André the Giant versus Big John Studd
Hulk Hogan and Mr. T versus Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff
Must Skip Matches
David Sammartino versus Brutus Beefcake
Tito Santana versus The Executioner
Event MVPs: Greg Valentine, JYD, Andre Giant, Big John Studd, Roddy Piper, Hulk Hogan and Paul Orndorff.
Overall Event Rating: 6 / 10

WrestleMania 2


Date: April 7, 1986.
Location: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, the Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois, and the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California.

The first and last Mania to be broadcast live from three different venues, WrestleMania 2 has its fair share of winners and losers. Where the event fell totally flat is the cringe-worthy commentary from Hollywood stars Susan Saint-James and Cathy Lee Crosby. If you can grit your teeth and bare it though, you are in for some great bouts. The tag team championship between The Bulldogs and The Dream Team is a classic to be sure.

Must See Matches
Battle Royal
Macho Man Randy Savage versus George "The Animal Steele
The British Bulldogs versus The Dream Team
Hulk Hogan versus King Kong Bundy
Must Skip Matches
Jake Roberts versus George Wells
Mr. T. versus Roddy Piper (Boxing Match)
Adrian Adonis versus Uncle Elmer
Event MVPs: Hulk Hogan, King Kong Bundy, The British Bulldogs, The Dream Team.
Overall Event Rating: 8 / 10

WrestleMania 3


Date: March 29, 1987.
Location: Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan.

Across the board, one of the best WrestleManias of all time. Comedy matches, technical matches, brutal brawls, tag team bouts, this WrestleMania had something for everyone. If you are going to watch one Mania in its entirety, this would be a stellar choice. After all this time, Savage versus Steamboat still rates as a masterpiece.

Must See Matches
Billy Jack Haynes versus Hercules
Hillbilly Jim, The Haiti Kid and Little Beaver versus King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo and Lord Littlebrook
Harley Race versus The Junkyard Dog
Roddy Piper versus Adrian Adonis
Ricky Steamboat versus Randy Savage
The Honky Tonk Man versus Jake Roberts
Hulk Hogan versus André the Giant
Must Skip Matches
Butch Reed versus Koko B. Ware
The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff versus The Killer Bees
Event MVPs: Hulk Hogan, Andre, Steamboat, Savage.
Overall Event Rating: 10 / 10

WrestleMania 4


Date: March 27, 1988.
Location: Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

The one night, unpredictable tournament for the World Heavyweight Title was one of the riskiest yet most intriguing Mania cards. Supported by a strong undercard, the tournament was a welcome change for fans who had been subjected to years and years of unoriginal Hogan main events. An astonishing night for Randy Savage who has to be admired for his amazing work rate that night. Another huge night for Greg Valentine. His performances proved why he is one of the most underrated wrestlers ever to lace up a pair of boots.

Must See Matches
20-Man Battle Royal
Greg Valentine versus Ricky Steamboat
Rick Rude versus Jake Roberts
Hulk Hogan versus Andre Giant
Greg Valentine versus Randy Savage
Demolition versus Strike Force
Randy Savage versus Ted Dibiase
Must Skip Matches
The Islanders and Bobby Heenan versus The British Bulldogs and Koko B. Ware
Overall Event Rating: 9 / 10

WrestleMania 5


Date: April 2, 1989.
Location: Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Returning to a Trump venue, WrestleMania 5 was all about the implosion of the Mega Powers and as many would say, a step backwards for the WWF. Riddled with many throwaway matches, this installment didn't live up to its true potential.

Must See Matches
Brutus Beefcake versus Ted DiBiase
Mr. Perfect versus The Blue Blazer
Demolition versus The Powers of Pain
The Brain Busters versus Strike Force
Rick Rude versus The Ultimate Warrior
Hulk Hogan versus Randy Savage
Must Skip Matches
The Bushwhackers versus The Rougeaus Brothers
Dino Bravo versus Ronnie Garvin
Jim Duggan versus Bad News Brown
The Red Rooster versus Bobby Heenan
Event MVPs: Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Rick Rude, Ultimate Warrior.
Overall Event Rating: 7 / 10


RELATED LINKS
  • WrestleMania Rewind: From The Ultimate Challenge to the 10th anniversary
  • WrestleMania Rewind: From an 11th stinker to the Attitude Era
  • WrestleMania Rewind: From 2000 to XX
  • WrestleMania Rewind: From Hollywood to Rock-Cena (the first time)
  • WrestleMania 29 section

    John Powell is a founding member of SLAM! Wrestling. Currently, you can follow his gaming coverage at G4 Canada and his take on Big Brother Canada and Survivor.