Everyday from March 1 until WWE Wrestlemania 33 on April 2, Fightful will be bringing you the Countdown To WWE Wrestlemania 33. Each day, you will be getting a top 10 list or an event preview or statistics/figures from past ‘Mania events and everything in between.
In today’s column, we will be taking a look at the ‘Mania MVP from Wrestlemania 1-8.
A ‘Mania MVP is a person, wrestler or somebody else involved in the events that played a truly vital role in that particular ‘Mania.
‘Mania 1 MVP: Vince McMahon
A lot of people believe that when Vince McMahon took over the WWE (then WWF) from his father, it was handed down to him in an inheritance-like fashion. That was not the case as Vince took out a huge loan from a bank to pay his father and a short time after ‘Mania 1, a balloon payment was coming due. Vince knew that if ‘Mania 1 failed, the WWE would die and most likely, the wrestling landscape would be very different that it is now. Vince knew he had to do something special, so he created Wrestlemania, and we know how this story ends. As ‘Mania 1 became a huge success and over 30 years later, it is the biggest wrestling event of the year.
‘Mania 2 MVP: The Production Crew
This may seem like an odd choice to you, but you have to remember that ‘Mania 2 took place in three different locations. Those three locations were Albany (New York), Rosemont (Illinois) and Los Angeles (California). That means that there were three of everything for the WWE production crew to handle, from three different commentary teams to three different camera crews to three different groups of backstage helpers to everything in between. Also, when you consider just how much technology has changed from then to the present, it makes what that production crew did look even more impressive.
‘Mania 3 MVP: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
There were a lot of great moments that happened at ‘Mania 3, but there is an interesting story that a lot of people don’t know about that happened at the show. Roddy Piper was wrestling “Adorable” Adrian Adonis at the show, it was set to be Piper’s actual retirement from pro wrestling. Until his match, every wrestler would be brought to the ring in the carts that were designed like miniature wrestling rings. Piper decided to bask in the glory of the fans and he simply walked to the ring, something that was only supposed to happen to WWE Champion Hulk Hogan. After his match concluded, an irate Hogan and Vince McMahon questioned Piper about why he broke the edict of walking to the ring. Piper, in classic Piper fashion, would tell them “what are you going to do…fire me?" Remember, ‘Mania 3 was his retirement match.
‘Mania 4 MVP: “Macho Man” Randy Savage
‘Mania 4 was an exceptionally long show, as a 14 man tournament was being held that night to crown a brand new WWE Champion. Of the 14 wrestlers who took part in that tournament, only one wrestler actually fought in every round and that was Randy Savage. This was a star making night for Savage, who would win his first WWE Championship by virtue of winning the tournament. The four wrestlers that Savage defeated in the tournament were Butch Reed, Greg Valentine, The One Man Gang and Ted Dibiase. Another interesting thing to note is that Savage and his manager Miss Elizabeth would change their wardrobes for each match in the tournament.
‘Mania 5 MVP: Donald Trump
We are putting the politics aside for a minute here because if it wasn’t for a meeting between Donald Trump and Vince McMahon, every wrestling fan who attends ‘Mania would be missing out on one key aspect of the weekend. During ‘Mania 4 and ‘Mania 5, Trump wanted something for the families who attended ‘Mania to do other than just attend the event and leave. Following a brainstorming session with Vince, the duo came up with two events in a 5K Charity Run and a brunch with WWE stars. That may not seem like much to you now when you think about it, but it would become the precursor to what we call WWE Axxess. All of those attractions, autograph signings and other stuff that takes place the weekend of ‘Mania actually started at ‘Mania 4 and it began thanks to a meeting between two extremely rich gentleman.
‘Mania 6 MVP: The Ticket Takers
This one may be a mind boggling choice to you as well, but wait to you here the story behind this jewel from our friends in Canada. ‘Mania 6 was the first ‘Mania held outside of the United States, taking place at the Sky Dome in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The company that ran the Sky Dome didn’t want the WWE to use their box offices for the fans to get their tickets and get into the building (reasons behind this are unknown). So the WWE had to not only hire their own ticket takers and sellers, but they had to create their own makeshift box offices to get the fans into the arena. Just to put this into perspective, a total of 67,678 fans attended that show and each one of them had to go through the makeshift box office created by the WWE.
‘Mania 7 MVP: Fake But Real Terrorist
If you watched the ‘Mania 6 broadcast on pay-per-view, you would’ve seen the announcement that ‘Mania 7 was to take place at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. However, a year later, ‘Mania 7 would not be taken place at the coliseum, but instead at the much smaller Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. The “official” WWE story is that due to terrorist threats arising from the ongoing war in Iraq, they would move the event to a different location. In reality, the main event between WWE Champion Sgt. Slaughter (in his Iraqi sympathizer iteration) and Hulk Hogan didn’t sell as many tickets as the WWE had hoped. In response to this, the WWE would move the show to a smaller arena and blame the situation on a real war, but with fake terrorist threats.
‘Mania 8 MVP: The Disappearing Nude Photos
‘Mania 8 had plenty of great matches on the card with Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper, Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels vs. Tito Santana. However, it was an alleged affair between Savage’s manager Miss Elizabeth and Flair that was the main storyline heading into the show (Other than the fake retirement of Hulk Hogan). In interviews preceding the event, Flair promised to show nude photos of Elizabeth on the big screens of the Hoosier Dome, even bringing some of the photos with him during an interview with Gene Okerlund at ‘Mania 8. While the match between Savage and Flair was a good one, the supposed photos never saw the light of day. In fact, once the match ended, the photos would never be brought up again, even though the feud between Flair and Savage would continue for many months to come.