WrestleMania, the Grand Daddy of them All. WrestleMania, the Showcase of the Immortals. WrestleMania, the Super Bowl of wrestling. WrestleMania, a riddle wrapped in an enigma. Alright, that last one may be a pretty massive stretch but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some facts that many long-time fans may not be aware of. For this list, we’re going to be looking at some facts about the WWE’s annual event that most fans may not be aware of.
As with, all of our shocking things list, we’re not saying that every reader will be unaware of every single fact that we touch on, as everyone’s area of knowledge is different. We are saying that we are confident that nearly every follower of the action that takes place inside a squared circle will find at least some of the information we’re about to share surprising. Without any further ado, let’s take a look at some interesting WrestleMania facts.
15. Most Bought WWE PPV Ever
In the era of the WWE Network where we’ve had the RAW announce team condescend to us several times that we must be morons if we spend our money on a pay per view. It’s easy to forget how the imperative the business once was. For the bulk of the last few decades, the WWE has been an absolute pay per view powerhouse that was raking in hundreds of thousands of buys every month. Even though they could rely on a very loyal fan base that would routinely buy their shows simply because they bared the WWE name, not all shows were created equal.
There can be only one show that reigns supreme atop the company’s buy rate resume though and it should come as a surprise to nobody that a WrestleMania holds that record. WrestleMania XXVIII (or 28 for the non-roman numeral inclined), a show that was headlined by the first main event match between John Cena and The Rock, is the event that broke every company buy rate record. The exact numbers are somewhat up for debate, the WWE claims it was 1.3 million while various online sources point to 1,253,000 purchases. Everyone seems to be in agreement that the WWE has never done better, though.
14. Famous Extras
Extras, by design, are supposed to be people that fade into the background. When an actor, or in this case, a wrestler is doing his best to entertain, it is imperative that the people who surround them don’t draw your attention. Somebody should send that info to the WWE since they have a long history of using wrestlers who aren’t contracted to their main roster to accompany their stars on the way to the ring.
Some of the most notable examples include during Triple H’s last two entrances. During HHH’s Terminator inspired entrance, NXT wrestlers Enzo Amore and Solomon Crowe appeared as masked soldiers while Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss cavorted around him the previous year. Hunter is not the only one who has been accompanied by future stars as Diamond Dallas Page drove Rhythm & Blues to the ring. Finally, the most obvious example took place at WrestleMania 22, when CM Punk posed as a Tommy Gun baring gangster while John Cena entered the arena.
13. Slammy Winning Tag Team who’ve Never made the Main Mania Card
Looking at the recent history of how the WWE books their tag teams, it seems pretty obvious to even casual observers that they aren’t seen as an integral part of the show they once were. This year during the Slammy Awards, many people were surprised that The New Day didn’t win the award for Tag Team of the Year, as The Usos received that honor instead. A popular team to be sure, they won a popular vote, so clearly the WWE has to have received the message that their fans want more of the Samoan twins, right? Looking at the upcoming Mania card, we guess not as they weren’t able to get a match on the main WrestleMania card.
The Usos were announced to be grappling with The Dudley Boyz on the pre-show, which airs, live, on the WWE Network. It’s good that they will perform at the event but being relegated to the pre-show sends a message that they’ve unfortunately received again and again. Having previously worked the pre-show at WrestleMania 31, 30 and 28, which means all of the Usos four Mania appearances were on the pre-show. At least they aren’t the only respected WWE wrestlers who haven’t made it onto Mania yet; Lance Storm, “Dr. Death” Steve Williams, Ken Patera, Brian Pillman and Superstar Billy Graham never made the main-card cut either.
12. No World Title Match
It just makes sense that the biggest event in the wrestling calendar would include a match for the most important championship in the wrestling world, right? Of course, it does. It doesn’t matter what the big belt is called that year. The WWF Heavyweight Championship, the WWF Championship, the WWE Championship, the Undisputed Championship, the name isn’t what matters, the acclaim is what matters.
It would probably surprise you that the company’s most prestigious title hasn’t always been up for grabs on WrestleMania night, though. In fact, at the show that started it all, the very first WrestleMania, Hulk Hogan’s belt couldn’t have possibly gone anywhere. Opting instead to team their biggest star with Mr. T to take on the team of Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff, the choice may baffle many people looking back. Suffice it to say, the fact that the show did gangbuster business and led to an incredible tradition proves there was some method to the madness.
11. Major Concussion Incidents: Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, The Miz
Over the last several years, education about concussions and their effects have massively changed the way the world sees sports. Understanding of just how damaging to the mind incidents of trauma to the brain can be on long term health, a great deal more effort has been put into efforts to protect the minds of athletes. Although Professional Wrestling is by no means a sport, the damage the wrestlers do to their bodies is only too real. To the WWE’s credit, they’ve put a great deal of effort into protecting the minds of the men and women who work for them.
That doesn’t mean that their workers haven’t suffered major concussions at WrestleMania. In fact, three major matches have been marred by competitors having their bells rang hard enough that they have since said they have no memories of large parts of their matches. Brock Lesnar, while attempting to land a shooting star press on Kurt Angle knocked himself silly. The Miz has spoken publicly of having his one Mania main event missing from his recollection after he was tackled to the concrete, hit his head and was concussed. Worst of all, during arguably the most notorious match in wrestling history, The Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar, where the vaulted streak came to an end, The Undertaker reportedly was largely mentally absent. Rushed to the hospital immediately after the bell rang and he made his way to the back, Taker’s health was very closely watched in the coming days. Who knows how many more men and women have been affected by similar mental clouding during Mania matches.
10. Eleven Second ECW Championship Match
During the height of The WWE’s brand extension, somebody had the terrible idea that they should make a WWE version of ECW, without giving Paul Heyman, the spice that made the company, any real control. Before long, despite those letters’ hardcore history, the show began to feature champions that had zero connection to the ethos of the original company. Champions like Bobby Lashley, Mark Henry, Jack Swagger, Ezekiel Jackson and worst of all, Vince McMahon, began to turn the title into a joke but it may as well have been flushed down the toilet after WrestleMania 24.
Held by Chavo Guerrero during the build-up to the event, it was revealed that he would defend his championship against the winner of a battle royal that would begin the show. Won by The Big Red Machine, Kane, a dedicated Smackdown wrestler at the time, The Devils favorite Demon would take on the Latino superstar. A match that would last eleven seconds, the two competitors’ entrances took far, far longer than the chokeslam and pin that made up the actual match.
9. Hall of Famer’s 7 Consecutive Loses
Tito Santana was a Latino superstar for the WWF, during a period where the roster was sorely lacking men of his heritage. A perennial fan-favorite who possessed incredible charisma, he would win both the tag team championship and intercontinental championship twice and reign supreme as the King of the Ring in 1989. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004, the first year the hallowed hall of the mind returned after several years of inactivity.
An obviously heavily respected performer, it seems all the more incredible that he managed to lose seven years in a row at the show of shows. After defeating The Executioner during the event’s first iteration, Tito began to lose during a tag team match the following year. Losing to Terry and Hoss (Dory Jr.) Funk, The Hart Foundation, Demolition, The Brain Busters, The Barbarian, The Mountie, and Shawn Michaels over seven straight years earned him this dubious record.
8. Nearly Catastrophic Pyro Accident at WrestleMania XXIV
Pyro, the explosive fireworks that go off while many popular performers make their way to the ring adds a hell of a lot to the showmanship that makes up modern wrestling. The fact that every major WWE show features these explosive elements has made them less mundane than they ever should have been. In actuality, the pyrotechnics are actually very controlled explosions that a group of talented individuals have meticulously planned to awe and impress without hurting anyone.
The danger pyro actually presents was never made clearer than at WrestleMania 24. At the conclusion of the event that took place at Orlando’s Citrus Bowl, The Undertaker stood tall after defeating Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship. Surrounded by thousands of fans while pyro was set off all around them, a hot cable snapped and fell among fans in the upper bowl. Injuring 45 people, some of whom were treated in hospital, the incident was quickly swept under the rug in the following days.
7. Main Eventers to Tag Team Throwaways: King Kong Bundy & The Miz
There is zero debate amongst wrestlers or fans that there is no honor higher in the company and more-so in the industry as a whole than working in the main event of WrestleMania. When you get tapped by Vince McMahon and company to headline the biggest show of the year, it is akin to them saying that they believe you will sell more tickets and merchandise than your peers. Yet somehow there are two very notable instances of wrestlers who’ve been involved in one of the show’s main events being relegated the very next year to a throwaway match.
King Kong Bundy, a massive man who strikes a very imposing shadow, wrestled Hulk Hogan in a steel cage for the Heavyweight title in WrestleMania 2’s main event. The following year, during WrestleMania 3, Bundy, Little Tokyo and Lord Littlebrook took on Hillbilly Jim, The Haiti Kid and Little Beaver in a match that lasted a mere three minutes and twenty-five seconds. Twenty-four years later at WrestleMania 27, The Miz took on John Cena and walked out of the event holding onto his WWE Championship after an assist from The Rock. After mingling with two of the biggest wrestling stars of all time, the following year at WrestleMania 28, The Miz was one of five men representing Team Johnny against Team Teddy in an overstuffed tag match. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
6. 1 Wrestler, 2 WrestleManias, 4 World Title Matches
In a previous entry we underlined the fact that during the very first WrestleMania event, oddly enough, Hulk Hogan’s WWF Heavyweight Championship wasn’t up for grabs. We all might find that surprising but the fact that at both WrestleMania IX and X, the belt was defended twice is equally surprising. All the more unexpected, during each event, the massive wrestler Yokozuna, worked in both title matches.
Working against Bret Hart at WrestleMania IX, Yoko’s manager Mr. Fuji threw salt in the Canadian competitor’s eyes which allowed Yoko to pin his opponent. As quickly as the bell rang, The Hulkster made his way out to check on Bret and after Fuji challenged him, he won the belt in a supposedly impromptu match. The following year, Yokozuna had two challengers for his title announced in the build up to the event since both men had been awarded controversial wins at that year’s Royal Rumble.
5. Stars Who’ve Never Won
Just being nominated for an award is an honor and just getting to compete at WrestleMania means you’re one of the best wrestlers alive. Still, it sure seems like it would be fun to have your hand raised in triumph in front of the most rabid wrestling fans assembled every year. It was an immense surprise to us that so many respected wrestlers over the last few decades have never triumphed at WrestleMania.
There are WWE Hall of Famers, like Jimmy Snuka and Koko B. Ware who both lost three times at the annual event. Tag Team Champs like R-Truth, The Dudleys, MVP, Goldust, and Crush are also winless while a legend and future hall of famer Finlay, as well as WWE and World Champion Jeff Hardy, have failed time and time again. It is mind blowing to think that such accomplished wrestlers have won as many matches at WrestleMania as you or I have.
4. Actual Attendance Numbers
The mentality of professional wrestling promoters at times seems to be, that since the outcomes of their matches are predetermined, they can decide the outcome of almost every element of their shows. Perhaps the most highly contested figures the WWE releases to the public regularly are the supposed amount of people who actually attend their events. They seem perfectly happy to just make up a number out of absolutely nowhere, tell the world that’s how many people showed up and forever stick by their insanely specific numbers.
The most famously touted and equally refuted attendance number to date, originated at WrestleMania III. A truly impressive happening, in the words of Gorilla Monsoon that was attended by legions of people, it seems like inflating the number of attendees was entirely unnecessary. According to the WWE, the event was attended by 93,173 but Dave Meltzer, arguably the most respected wrestling journalist ever, says the figure lies closer to 78 thousand. Over the years, practically every announced number of Mania attendees has been highly debated and we suggest you take any number you hear with a grain of salt. Suffice it to say, each event will be attended by a lot of people and we should all be impressed.
3. HBK & HHH’s Win-Loss Records
At various times in their careers, the two men who have served as the cornerstones of the Kliq and D-Generation-X have had larger than life reputations as backstage politicians. Men who have resorted to pleading their case to have match finishes, they don’t like, changed by whining in the ear of Vince McMahon again and again. When Hunter married into the family, any previous rumors that his prominence was earned through wheeling and dealing instead of skill were cemented in the eyes of some.
Sometimes numbers fly in the face of conjecture and rumors though and the fact that Hunter and Shawn have lost at WrestleMania more than anyone else proves that point. Although Trips has beaten men like Sting, Brock Lesnar, and others, he has also been beaten by Daniel Bryan, The Undertaker (three times), Randy Orton and others on the way to a record of six wins to 10 loses. Shawn Michaels, Hunter’s mentor is the only man to beat him, having lost eleven times, despite being call Mr. Wrestlemania.
2. Anniversary Issues
This one may be a bit obvious if you reflect upon it but we had to include it since it drives us nuts every single year. Whoever it is in the WWE power structure that is behind their marketing doesn’t seem to understand exactly how anniversaries actually work. This year’s upcoming show is the thirty-second annual WrestleMania but it isn’t the thirty-second anniversary of the event. There is a reason those two words exist as they are, in fact, not the same thing.
Totally putting aside the fact that the first Mania was held on March 31st and this year’s event will take place on April 3rd, WrestleMania 32 marks the 31st Anniversary of the show. The second annual WrestleMania, for instance, marked the first anniversary of the initial event, and so on and so on. The most egregious example of the company’s lack of understanding of how these terms work, in our eyes, was WrestleMania 25, where the show was called the 25th Anniversary on all of the marketing materials.
1. Accolades of Taker’s Foes
Championships come and go but the streak The Undertaker racked up was the most impressive accolade in the history of wrestling, up until the day Brock Lesnar put it to an end. Although it makes sense that Taker, the man who put together a career respected enough that he was able to win so many times, is more focused on, his opponents are an impressive group.
Jimmy Snuka, Jake Roberts, Diesel, The Big Bossman, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels & Edge are all men who were defeated by Taker at Mania and later inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Of course, not everyone Taker has beaten has been inducted into the Hall, as of yet, but that isn’t the only accolade that matters. Of the other wrestlers who he beat before the streak ended, only three men, A-Train, Giant González and King Kong Bundy never won a Heavyweight title, although Bundy main evented a Mania. The Undertaker has beaten former world champs Sycho Sid, Diesel, Kane, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, The Big Show, Ric Flair, Randy Orton, Mark Henry, Batista, Edge and CM Punk.