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Opinion

The Risk & Reward Of The Original WrestleMania

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Hulk Hogan WrestleMania

WrestleMania. It’s what put the world of Sports Entertainment on the map. Sports Entertainment being the keyword. If you wanted Professional Wrestling, if you were a hardcore fan, you had the NWA’s Starrcade event but that only ran in the territory. If you wanted action, drama, emotion, larger-than-life athletes, and celebrities, you had… nothing.

That was until Vincent Kennedy McMahon thought up the incredible event of WrestleMania. McMahon turned an idea into reality using his own fortune, using Cindy Lauper, using Mr. T, using MTV, and using the top athletes from each territory from around the world to make his idea of WrestleMania into the most exciting, the most captivating event in sports and entertainment history. More exciting than the Academy’s Oscars, more exciting than the MLB’s World Series, even more exciting than the NFL’s Super Bowl.

WrestleMania took every risk possible to become what it is today. It isn’t an event, it’s a feeling. A feeling that comes one week a year to anyone viewing either in-person or through PPV. This is the story of the risks taken to make WrestleMania what it is today and the story of the reward it received to have tens of thousands of average people from around the world to view the incredible spectacle dubbed as “WrestleMania Week.” 

It all started in the Summer of 1984. Vince McMahon had thought up the idea of WrestleMania: “I remember in 1984, in the Summertime, there was a meeting room, literally a little meeting room. I remember Vince said, ‘I’m gonna do this,’ and he explained his vision, what he wanted to do. We all thought he was nuts, but we all knew one thing about Vince McMahon, when he sets his mind onto doing something, he’s going to do it.” – Howard Finkel on Vince McMahon pitching the idea of WrestleMania (Source: WWF WrestleMania: The Official Insider’s History DVD). 

Now the question is, “Why?” The answer is simple: Domination. Vince Jr. had bought out the World Wrestling Federation from his father, Vince Sr., Gorilla Monsoon, and Arnold Skaaland. Vince was always known as wanting more. Well, in 1984, he sought after it. He sought after that mysterious “More” that no single promoter really understood or ever had at the time. One singular domination over the entire country is what McMahon wanted, and this was the start. 

There, of course, was an issue. No promoter wanted any performer involved in WrestleMania, or else, they’d be shunned: “This guy’s gonna piss everybody off. Vince is gonna get everybody so mad that everybody that’ll work on the WrestleMania card will be blackballed,” Hulk Hogan noted in the WrestleMania Rewind series on the WWE Network. “This was the first real move on Vince McMahon’s expansion. The promoters were telling wrestlers that if you go work for him, you may never come back again,” Bill Apter noted in WrestleMania Rewind. If WrestleMania succeeded, everyone involved would never be forgotten. If it failed, their names could’ve very well been scratched from every record book by every promoter personally. 

Now obviously, you can’t get a reward with no risk. It is well known by many insiders that Vince had put every single penny of his own fortune into his crazy idea of WrestleMania.

“It was the general consensus around the country that Vince McMahon was taking the biggest risk of his life and there was still some other wrestling companies around the country who were actually hoping that Vince would fail,” is what Jerry Lawler said on WrestleMania Rewind about Vince’s massive risk. “It was a huge gamble, the biggest gamble I’ve ever been involved with. It was a roll of the dice,” Vince said. “The risk for Vince McMahon was his entire life so to say. He had everything, all his money down on WrestleMania betting that this would make his business soar,” said Bill Apter on WrestleMania Rewind. 

Vince had to gain buzz about the event, and he did so by working two shows with MTV. The first show being “The Brawl to End It All” which went down on July 23, 1984. It featured multiple dark matches including a WWF Intercontinental Championship match which showed champion Tito Santana and Bob Orton Jr. wrestle to time-limit draw, a WWF World Heavyweight Championship match which featured champion Hulk Hogan defeated Greg Valentine in ten minutes, and WWF World Martial Arts Championship match which featured champion Antonio Inoki defend against Charlie Fulton in a little under four minutes, a WWF Tag Team Championship match which showed the incredible Adrian Adonis and Dick Murdoch defend against Sgt. Slaughter and Terry Daniels in an outstanding 17:16 bout.

The featured event though was for the WWF Women’s Championship. It featured The Fabulous Moolah, accompanied by Lou Albano, defend against Wendi Richter, who was accompanied to the ring by musician Cyndi Lauper and David Wolff. The entire world was shocked when Richter had ended Moolah’s 10,000+ day reign as WWF Women’s Champion. 

The second event, “The War to Settle the Score”, occurred a month before WrestleMania. It featured many dark matches which included The U.S. Express (Barry Windham and Mike Rotunda) successfully defend their WWF Tag Team Championships against The Spoiler and The Assassin. Another title match was for the WWF Women’s Championship. Leilani Kai, accompanied by The Fabulous Moolah, had beaten Wendi Richter, who was accompanied to the ring by Cyndi Lauper, in 11:49. The Women’s Title change was aired via tape delay on the March 5th edition of Prime Time Wrestling.

The Main Event was aired on MTV, it was the set-up for WrestleMania. It featured Roddy Piper get disqualified in his match against champion Hulk Hogan for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship after Hogan was attacked. This would be the set-up for the Main Event of WrestleMania. 

The day had come: WrestleMania.

It had nine bouts. The first one showed Tito Santana defeating The Executioner (FKA “Playboy” Buddy Rose) in 4:50. The second bout showed King Kong Bundy defeat Special Delivery Jones in an astonishing twenty-three seconds! The third bout showed Ricky Steamboat defeat Matt Borne in 4:38. The fourth match was a homecoming for the Sammartino Family, as it showed Bruno Sammartino’s son, David Sammartino compete against Brutus Beefcake. Unfortunately for both competitors, that match ended in a double-DQ. The fifth match was the first title event of the night, it showed champion Greg Valentine defend the WWF Intercontinental Championship against Junkyard Dog. While JYD had beaten Valentine, it was via countout, so Greg Valentine kept his title.

The sixth bout was also a title match, this time for the WWF Tag Team Championship. It showed The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff, who was accompanied by Freddie Blassie defeat the team of The U.S. Express, which consisted of Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo, and manager Lou Albano. The seventh bout was the $15,000 Body Slam Challenge. It showed André the Giant put his career on the line against Big John Studd. If André won, he would get Studd’s $10,000. If not, Big John would have the tremendous honor of getting to say he retired the Eighth Wonder of the World. Of course, André won in 05:54. The Semi-Final Bout showed Wendi Richter with Cyndi Lauper take back the WWF Women’s Championship from Leilani Kai in 06:12.’ 

The Main Event was ready. It was promoted every second Vince McMahon could get the chance, including the night before when Hulk Hogan and Mr. T hosted Saturday Night Live. The Main Event went incredible. It featured world-class boxer Muhammad Ali and inaugural WWE Intercontinental Champion Pat Patterson as special guest referees, New York Yankees manager Billy Martin as the special guest ring announcer, and musician Liberace, accompanied by The Rockettes, as the special guest ring announcer. The Main Event consisted of every celebrity possible. It showed the team of WWF World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan and Mr. T (accompanied by Jimmy Snuka) defeat the team of “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff and Roddy Piper (accompanied by Bob Orton Jr.) after Orton had tried to hit a double-ax handle on Hogan when the ref wasn’t looking but Hogan moved away, and Orton had hit Mr. Wonderful instead. 

The Original WrestleMania had concluded, and it left a legacy no one could dare imagine. Obviously, it had succeeded. Vince McMahon went onto say this on WrestleMania Rewind, “After the event was over in Madison Square Garden, the very first one, I began to get phone calls from the rest of the Eastern Sea Board. That to was a success, now we’re onto something. What about the Midwest? Chicago came in, hey that’s working. So, at the end of the night, we had been parting quite heavily.” Hulk Hogan said on WrestleMania Rewind, “We had a guy, Vince McMahon, who believed in us and he put everything he into that night and I just knew that if everybody stepped up to their A-game, we’re onto greatness, one way or the other. Vince McMahon went onto call this the defining moment of the WWE on WrestleMania Rewind: “With the success of WrestleMania, it really put us on the map and that was the defining moment of what we know now as the WWE.” 

The legacy of WrestleMania is well documented. There have been 34 annual WrestleMania events, and one more confirmed to be happening. WrestleMania became more than a day though… now it’s a week. WrestleMania Week is home to an NXT TakeOver event, the WWE Hall of Fame, WrestleMania Axxess, ROH Supercard of Honor, and other independent shows. Thanks to WrestleMania, World Wrestling Entertainment is now a household name. Vince McMahon is now a billionaire, and the company alone is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. To think, it all started with that one meeting in the Summer of 1984. 


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Opinion

King: Plotting The Return Of Randy Orton To WWE

Chris King is back with his look at the best scenario to bring Randy Orton back to WWE, and the perfect opponent for his first big match back.

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Chris King is back with his look at the best scenario to bring Randy Orton back to WWE, and the perfect opponent for his first big match back.

I wanted to bring everyone’s attention to a superstar that’s being overshadowed right now, ‘The Viper’ Randy Orton. After RKBRO lost the Raw Tag Team Championships to The Uso’s, Orton vanished from the company. There was speculation about his serious back injury and, it wasn’t until The Viper’s wife herself posted a candid picture of Orton after successful surgery.

While the focus in WWE right now is either on The Bloodline, Bray Wyatt and Uncle Howdy, or the returning Cody Rhodes, I felt this was a good time to start plotting The Viper’s return to WWE.

Randy Orton’s Return to WWE

On the Raw-After-Mania ‘The American Nightmare’ opens the show after a tough battle over Roman Reigns to win the WWE Championship. Rhodes with tears in his eyes is giving an emotional promo about his family’s legacy, and how much this title means to him. The WWE Universe is chanting “You Deserve It,” and out comes Finn Balor flanked by The Judgement Day.

‘The Prince’ starts by congratulating the new champion for dethroning ‘The Tribal Chief’ but, now he wants his title shot. Rhodes being the resilient hero accepts Balor’s challenge for the main event. The American Nightmare and The Prince are putting on a clinic of a match, delivering multiple finishers but unable to put the other away. Judgement Day starts to interfere when Orton’s music blares throughout the arena. Orton takes out the heels and helps his former protege. Rhodes capitalizes and hits Crossroads for the 1.2.3.

The former Legacy members are celebrating and embracing with a hug as Rhodes goes to raise his newly-won title. In the blink of an eye, The Viper strikes and takes out Rhodes with an RKO Outta Nowhere! The champion is knocked out as Orton hoists the title above his head while trash-talking his now rival. Orton violently throws Rhodes out of the ring and delivers a nasty-looking draping DDT onto the floor.

The Build–And Culmination–of Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes

Orton stares giving 2009 vibes as Rhodes’ head raises, so The Viper runs and delivers a punt kick. WWE officials come out and break things up and the champion is stretchered out of the arena. The show closes with Orton grinning over the destruction he has caused to his former protege. Over the next few months, Orton and Rhodes enter into an extremely personal rivalry over the coveted prize. We finally make it to SummerSlam where both men agree to raise the stakes and do war inside HELL IN A CELL!!!!

This is how I would book The Viper’s return to WWE. If you feel like this should be written differently, I’d love to hear your thoughts!


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Opinion

AJ’s Phenomenal Opinion: Bray Wyatt

So everyone loves Bray’s return right? Right? Well the McDonald’s Sprite spicy opinions of AJ…may feel differently.

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Well, just because my work schedule changed, doesn’t mean I’m not going to drop some opinions of mine, of which, I haven’t done too bad with. I got Three out of Five for my returns right a few months back and this is going to be about the last entry on that previous list. I knew for a fact that Bray Wyatt would return to the WWE in some way shape or form and time for some… controversy.

As my favorite ratings winner of 83 Weeks once said, Controversy Creates Cash and boy HOWDY… Do I have something to get off my chest here so sit back, order some Chairshot Merch and lets get on with Adam’s… Rants for a bit.

Initial Thoughts

Bray coming in and making a return to the WWE was an inevitability. Death, Taxes and I guess WWE Returns are always guaranteed anymore and maybe we could get some new creativity with a supernatural gimmick. Bray has always had that supernatural to him ever since he had the Wyatt Family in Erik Rowan, the late Luke Harper and in the end, Braun Strowman. The Wyatt’s had a control like no other and were beloved for a moment in the WWE.

Bray did a lot to make sure things were in motion but for some reason any massive feud he had, he failed. Following a bunch of injuries to the rest of his family and even releases later on, he seemed to at least get some traction going for him. WWE Champion, somehow got Randy Orton with him, Universal Championships and got those big match wins that eluded him in the Wyatt Family beginnings. Let me also say this as well, I actually liked the Firefly Funhouse Match with Cena as a “This is Your Life” match of sorts. I was tickled and entertained… Then much like Bray in character, something changed.

Dark and Terrible Lurk with Fiends

We had a lot to figure out during the Pandemic. Like A WHOLE HELL OF A LOT. Through it all though, WWE figured it out but the person that helped these types of ideas, soured them drastically. Lets go back to the WWE Championship run in 2017. Randy Orton won the Royal Rumble that year and he wouldn’t betray Bray, right? Well he does and Mania for the two is set, Orton against Wyatt for the WWE Championship and it was… terrible. Random images of maggots and decay (Not the IMPACT Stable) popping up into the ring as the match goes on and Randy still wins. Through head game attempts, Bray comes up short in the big match moment. That’s odd but maybe it will be a bigger pictu– and Jinder Mahal wins the Championship. Okay.

Wyatt returns as this Mister Rogers character and has a darkness inside of him with The Fiend. Now we had this amazing theory or maybe that’s what happened but the story was, anyone The Fiend fought, they revert back to their best selves. The Miz returned to be the A Lister, the guy who grabs a microphone that you love to hate. Finn Balor doesn’t have the Demon Gimmick anymore because after his loss, he’s the Prince again. The cocky guy that walks around because he is the best, he gives no care in the world. Seth Rollins, who he took the WWE Universal Championship from, went from a dorky sweetheart back to the asshole taking every opportunity that he could get because he’s that much of a weasel and when he lost… He lost to Goldberg. The one guy that has been the same since 1997. Drums, Pyro Bath, Spear, Jackhammer, “Who’s Next?” and during that time, he sucked at points. One of those Rollins matches was in a Hell In A Cell match, the red cage with the red lighting. Match ending with a Stoppage from the referee… INSIDE OF A HELL IN A CELL (I think Sean Waltman said it best… Why did the match stop? It’s supposed to be Hell?) and it’s one of the rare times that I agreed with wrestling’s favorite Uncle… That was Negative Stars for a match.

After Goldberg, he didn’t have a commanding presence. He recruited Alexa Bliss who was already over whether she was a Heel or Face and made everything so unbelievably… boring. Alexa had to carry that idiotic demon gimmick and doll, not having anything really supernatural. Just some wrestling and Brock Lesnar cleaning up everything faster than a Chop Shop in main events and segments. He tried to return and make his grand return, beating the Universal Champion Braun Strowman at Summerslam just to falter a literal week later to Roman Reigns, who proceeded to never look back from that win. Bray gets fired after and no more supernatural ideas. Undertaker isn’t around really and retires, Kane is a mayor. Paul Bearer is no longer with us and everything is just… normal.

Wyatt’s Six (Reasons I Tune Out)

In 2022, Vince retires seemingly from everything and Triple H is at the helm, could he bring balance to everything? He makes a bunch of returns that people love seeing. Johnny Gargano, Dakota Kai, Tegan Nox, Bronson Reed, Dexter Lumus just to name a few and of course, the big one that everyone wanted. Bray Wyatt.

Bray makes this heartfelt return and everything seems great. We get him as him, he makes this weird build to a Wyatt 6, assuming we think it’s the Firefly Funhouse and he’s just talking, building. Alright well who is going to be these six figures because they are more than just puppets this time around. A masked man named Uncle Howdy that people think is Vincent Marseglia or maybe a bearded Bo Dallas who is Bray’s real life brother and he……… pops in and out to confuse people. Okay… (1)

Alexa might return to the 6 because of all the segments and gets darker and a heel. Alright that is perfectly fine but, WHY IS VINCENT DALLAS HERE AGAIN TO JUST INTERFERE WITH RANDOM THINGS? Okay… fine. (2) Alexa has a Women’s Championship match against Bianca Belair, that will make sense of thi– it’s a clean finish… Why is it clean? No Howdy, No Wyatt just a random VHS tape like I’m watching The Ring about her being dark after the match. Okay…… (3)

Oh Wyatt finally gets a feud for his return. I almost forgot about that! Who will be this first victim? LA Knight.

…Okay…… (4)

Maybe this will be good. They are both great on the microphone, maybe Bray has new moves that he can do and I know all too well how good LA Knight is, I have been an Eli Drake/Shaun Ricker fan for years. This could be a great match that they have, they announced it for the Royal Rumble so it’s going to be big and it’s a… Pitch Black Match presented by Mountain Dew.

O…okay…… (5)

The Royal Rumble is upon us, the Men’s Rumble starts the show and we all have adrenaline in our soul for it and now is this weird Pitch Black Match and it’s not a cinematic match. It’s in the ring, No Count Outs and No Disqualifications. LA Knight comes out in his iconic Yellow Attire and Wyatt is talking… with a mask on. The lights turn off and the ropes are glowing a neon greenish-yellow… with an announce table spot that… has Nickelodeon Slime inside of it when they break it? Okay fine… I knew the match was going to be dumb and gimmicky from the Mountain Dew Sponsorship. Bray wins, yay. LA Knight comes back with a Kendo Stick and… we get invulnerable Bray again… they don’t hurt. Lets go to this crash pad and Bo Marseglia shows up from somewhere and just elbow drops him from maybe fifteen to twenty feet with pyro and the Firefly Funhouse Puppets appear at the top, to watch a fire… And there is number six…

Actual Thoughts on Current Bray Wyatt, Post Rumble

I absolutely hate it.


This was awful. You build whatever insignificant thought process of the Wyatt 6 has going for it when Uncle Howdy does the best Cap’n Shane O elbow drop for a hellfire effect. At least the pyro was better than the AEW Explosion Match I guess…

Regardless, how does LA Knight come out of all of this moving forward? He lost an idiotic gimmick match and looks presumed dead. This just makes me think that whoever in whatever interview said Bray Wyatt is a creative mastermind needs to put whatever they have down before we hear about their T.O.D. posted somewhere. This Pitch Black Match is somehow worse than that Rollins Hell in a Cell Match and that takes talent. At least a good amount of alcohol lulled that from my brain but this made me remember that and enjoy the thought of that match happening with its finish. The best way I can picture how this was pitched was Burnt Dogshit, wrapped in a Kerosine Blanket with… sorry had to look at what I wrote, not putting that on websites but… people saw a Creative Quesadilla and when we got the actual product, it gave Salmonella poisoning and E Coli at the same time.

I really don’t want to see another Bray Wyatt match… again. Whoever gave him creative, take it away immediately. As much steam as Bray Wyatt gets in promos or possible matches in the past, the only steaming he gets at the end, is steaming piles of shit. You can say, he’s getting paid millions where I’m a little troll on the internet with typing power and I really don’t care but to me, Triple H… you finally got your first failing grade with something in your leadership role in WWE.


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