How the First WrestleMania Saved the WWE – Cheddar Examines


Even if you’re not a fan of the WWE, you owe a lot to its success. Perhaps no league has permeated into every aspect of our society as much as WWE. I have to go back and do the other job that you have to do while being Governor. Because each other has got internship. I am the calvary. I’m going to put Ronda Rousey in her place. If you are a fan, we don’t have to tell you how big it’s become. But none of this would have been possible if it weren’t for one moment, one decision, one roll of the dice by Vince McMahon. Prior to 1982, the worlds of professional wrestling was defined by geography. The US was informally broken into territories, each with their own wrestling leagues. The WWE as we know it today was founded in 1952 by Jess McMahon and Toots Mondt, as Capital Wrestling Corporation. For the next 30 years, the league was restricted to promoting matches in the northeastern US. Throughout his life, Vince McMahon Jr. watched his father and grandfather promote matches, in this strictly regional format. But the young McMahon had much bigger goals. Global Goals. In 1982, Vince McMahon bought Capital Wrestling from his father. He immediately began expanding. These established boundaries were the first to fall. McMahon recognized the power of cable TV and worked to get his programming on syndicated television across the United States. Next, he got some big partners, USA Network, and MTV. Together with MTV, McMahon created a concept which revolutionized the wrestling business. Something which was known as rock in wrestling. WWF was airing on MTV, and McMahon was doubling down on entertainment value. So, now you have this cool hip young audience, watching pro-wrestling, for some of them they’re young it’s the first time they’ve been exposed to it. It’s also a different sort of take on pro-wrestling where it wasn’t the big burly guys all beating each other up it’s more color and pizzazz and more character based stuff. Oh! And all the while he was assembling one hell of a team. They hired Hulk Hogan. Then he went and he took Gino Guerlain to Bobby the Brain Héenan, who is the top manager. He had his core group of guys and women that were already part of his company but he started pilfering from other areas and other territories and built the super roster. But all this expansion came at a cost. For McMahon to truly turn WWF into a national obsession, he needed to have WWF touring the entire United States. But their touring schedule and budget, were not sustainable. The belief is and especially among people in the businesses I’m with, this has to end, he’s going to run out of money, he’s going to hit the wall. But McMahon knew this wall was coming, and had a plan to break through. What he needed was capital and fast. So in 1985, he proposed an all or nothing gamble, a one night Mega Event, WRESTLE MANIA. For McMahon, it was the definition of go big or go home, and go big he went. It’s Wrestle Mania, get your ticket for the greatest sport entertainment for circuit TV spectacular for full time. He booked the most famous venue in the world. Next, he sought and signed some of the biggest stars of the time. Cindy was a hot star of the time. Mr. T, let’s get Billy Martin. We’re in New York, all right, let’s get the rock hits, and then we want glitz and glamour, we want over the top, we want large and live personalities, in that time period, who’s more large and live than Liberace. With all these celebrities involved, the media latched on. The hype was building. This is Wrestle Mania. This is the thing of today. Hulkamania is running wild. March 31, 1985, the event was spectacular. It was everything McMahon imagined, glitz, drama, chaos. Over 19,000 fans filled Madison Square Garden. But the truly important numbers came from outside for Pennsylvania Plaza. The event was seen by over one million viewers through closed circuit television. It was the largest pay per view wrestling event in the history of the US at the time. Between their marketing and their promotion, Hogan being involved and Mr. T, they were able to really draw people in to go see this. It was an event. It was wrestling presented at a higher level than it had ever been presented on a national level. All these factors just meshed together. Wrestle Mania solidified them as an entity, and once they were solidified, then the NBC deal came, then the paper videogame, then the talking became bigger, then the licensing became bigger. Wrestle Mania was the springboard. They leaped onto that platform, and with Wrestle Mania they jumped off, and that’s what really shot them to the stratosphere. For the next 14 years, WWF’s hold on the market tightened. In 1999, the newly renamed WWE went public. In 2004 WWE had a net revenue of $375 million, and by 2018 that net revenue shot up to $801 million. Today, when you think of wrestling, you think WWE. Just take a look at the WWE presentation techniques the Super Bowl has incorporated. So, whether you are a fan or not, WWE defined the sports entertainment and crossed into innumerable aspects of our daily lives. All of that comes from Wrestle Mania, because March 31, 1985, they either were going to hit the wall, or they were going to burst through it. They burst through it. But when you look back at that day, that could have been the death of the pro-wrestling industry as people know it, and instead it really was the beginning. Leave a comment, and don’t forget to like and subscribe.

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