As WWE celebrates the return of WrestleMania to the New York-Jersey area in 2019, WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon talks about the glorious past of The Showcase of the Immortals.03/16/2018 - 14:00
10 strange (but true) WrestleMania facts
From the passion and pageantry to the prizes accrued in hard-fought battles, the WWE Universe needs little prodding to put the history of WrestleMania in its proper perspective.
Yet everyone knows that the highlights of The Showcase of the Immortals involve far more than just “Which Superstar beat who?” and “Which Diva won what?” in a particular year. Every little detail helps to elevate WrestleMania from a hotly anticipated pay-per-view into the phenomenon that helped transform WWE into a revolutionary force in sports-entertainment.
What follows on these pages is dedicated to the minutiae that makes WWE’s signature event so unique. Read on to see 10 strange but ultimately accurate facts derived from the history and heroes of WrestleMania.
Diamond Dallas Page appeared at WrestleMania VI
The upstart tag team of rockabillies known as Rhythm & Blues built a great deal of excitement for their live performance at WrestleMania VI. Under the guidance of “Colonel” Jimmy Hart, the duo of The Honky Tonk Man & Greg Valentine spared no expense to ensure a successful debut of their hit song, “Hunka Hunka Honky Love,” before the capacity crowd of 67,678 fans in attendance at SkyDome on April 1, 1990.
While most revelers remember the tag team’s backup singers, “The Honky-ettes,” or their pink Cadillac, they definitely know the Rhythm & Blues chauffer the best. That’s because the non-descript wheelman later wowed fans around the world as three-time WCW Champion Diamond Dallas Page. DDP navigated the narrow aisle in SkyDome to ensure the band arrived at ringside in style, but needed to wait nearly 12 years before hearing his own name called on The Grandest Stage of Them All at WrestleMania X8.
Shawn Michaels has the most WrestleMania losses
Shawn Michaels has more classic matches on The Grandest Stage of Them All than any other performer in WrestleMania history. His bouts against rivals like Bret “Hit Man” Hart, Ric Flair and Razor Ramon set the standard for what a Show of Shows contest should be. The only thing is HBK lost most of them.
It shouldn’t take away from the fact that Michaels stole the show each of the 17 times he appeared on a WrestleMania card, but the facts are clear: HBK has lost a record 11 matches at the event. John Cena, Kurt Angle and The Undertaker (twice!) are just a few of the Superstars who got the better of Michaels on The Grandest Stage of Them All. Still, somehow even when he lost, HBK was the one Superstar every WWE fan was talking about when the show was over.
The Fink has appeared at every WrestleMania
Famed director Alfred Hitchcock, best known to movie lovers as the “Master of Suspense,” made sure to put himself in nearly all of his films — literally. Hitchcock fans knew to watch his works extra carefully because the British filmmaker made a game of casting himself in a cameo role whenever possible. Many of his fans believe new viewers can’t enjoy a Hitchcock film unless they can regularly spot the legendary auteur scurrying across the screen.
Thanks to one particular WWE Hall of Famer, WWE fans in the know have the same type of search with WrestleMania. That’s because esteemed ring announcer Howard Finkel has found his way onto The Grandest Stage of Them All in every year since the event’s debut in 1985. WWE.com’s resident historian may not be front and center before every match these days, but any sign of The Fink on the biggest day in sports-entertainment will always be a welcome one for the WWE Universe.
The inaugural WrestleMania did not have a WWE Title Match
If there’s one Superstar expected to rise to the occasion at WrestleMania, it’s a reigning World Title holder. The WWE Champion and World Heavyweight Champion historically represented the very best in WWE competition, meaning they must be required to defend that reputation to prove their worthiness at The Showcase of the Immortals. Every WrestleMania to date has included a hard-fought battle featuring these champions — except one.
Leading up to the inaugural WrestleMania, WWE Champion Hulk Hogan’s friendship with Mr. T drew the ire of “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff. Their rivalry grew so heated that it required matters to be settled in a tag team match that served as the main event on that momentous occasion in 1985. The ensuing battle proved worthy of The Show of Shows, though it also ensured that no World Titles were on the line at the first WrestleMania.
Miss Elizabeth wore four different outfits at one WrestleMania
“Macho Man” Randy Savage needed little help in grabbing the attention of the WWE Universe, but there was only one heart and mind that the fiery Superstar fought to win: Miss Elizabeth’s. When Savage stepped up to compete in the WWE Championship tournament at WrestleMania IV, it came as no surprise that the “First Lady of Wrestling” would stay by his side for the duration.
And to mark the occasion, Miss Elizabeth made sure to stay camera-ready throughout that night in 1988. She accomplished the feat by donning a different dress for each of Savage’s four matches, from a blue, feathered gown in the opening round to the iconic white cocktail dress that she wore for the finale. Savage made history by winning the tourney and the WWE Title, but his run at WrestleMania IV also helped morph the lady on his arm into a true WWE style icon.
Five Intercontinental Champions have retained while losing
Though the spotlight may shine brightest on the WWE World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania, the Intercontinental Title bearer hardly gets relegated to afterthought status. From Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat’s epic battle with “Macho Man” Randy Savage at WrestleMania III to Big Show’s big win in 2012, many memorable moments have occurred when the Intercontinental Championship was up for grabs.
Yet there’s a strange phenomenon that has occurred over the history of Intercontinental Championship matches at WWE’s marquee event. Five different titleholders — Shawn Michaels, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, The Honky Tonk Man, Mr. Perfect and Jeff Jarrett — retained their championship gold at WrestleMania despite losing the match. That’s due to the rule stating that a title cannot change hands due to a disqualification or count-out win by the challenger. So the next challenger to the Intercontinental Title should take care in considering the merits of a No Disqualification or No Count-out match stipulation before stepping in the ring with the reigning champion.
The Undertaker beat every member of Evolution
The Undertaker’s 21-match undefeated Streak at WrestleMania remains one of the most impressive accomplishments in WWE history. The Phenom’s unprecedented run of success at The Showcase of the Immortals stands as a testament to his longevity, toughness and ability to overcome any challenge with a performance that always leaves the WWE Universe in awe.
It’s not like the trail of defeated opponents that The Deadman left in his wake are a bunch of ham-and-eggers, either. Just ask the faction of generational greats known as Evolution, who each attempted to topple the vaunted undefeated Streak at WrestleMania. Triple H was the first to face him, and he eventually came up short three different times. Ric Flair fell in defeat one year after The Game’s first attempt, while Randy Orton just barely lost to The Phenom at WrestleMania 21. Batista endured a loss two years later to complete The Undertaker’s sweep of Evolution.
WrestleMania 2 happened on a Monday
The WWE Universe is well accustomed to welcoming WrestleMania on a Sunday in the spring, but fans in 1986 didn’t know what to expect from the fledgling Show of Shows. So they likely didn’t bat an eye when they learned that April 7, 1986 — the date of WrestleMania 2 — fell on a Monday.
That scheduling choice makes the ’86 edition the only one to not take place on a Sunday. The Showcase of the Immortals returned to Sunday one year later, while WWE embraced the idea of Monday night fights nine years later with Raw, the longest-running weekly episodic program on television.
Rob Van Dam is now the unofficial holder of the WrestleMania streak
With The Undertaker’s legendary Streak now over following his loss to Brock Lesnar, the one active competitor with the most impressive run of wins is now Rob Van Dam.
RVD currently has four victories with zero losses on The Grandest Stage of Them All, with each coming in a high-pressure situation. His first, at WrestleMania X8, saw him capture the Intercontinental Championship. He also successfully defended a title at the Show of Shows, prevailing with Booker T at WrestleMania XX to retain their World Tag Team Championship. In his last WrestleMania (23), Van Dam preserved the honor of ECW alongside fellow originals Tommy Dreamer, Sabu & The Sandman.
His biggest achievement came at WrestleMania 22, however, when he became just the second Superstar to win the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. The victory would lead RVD to coin the title “Mr. Money in the Bank,” and allow him to become the first of only five Superstars to win both the ECW and WWE Championships.
The Undertaker has another streak going
Although his legendary WrestleMania Streak is now shattered, The Undertaker can still boast about having appeared at WWE’s premier pay-per-view in 13 consecutive years from 2001 through 2014 — a record that he seized at WrestleMania 29 from WWE Hall of Famer Bret “Hit Man” Hart. The Deadman's match against Bray Wyatt this year will make it a staggering 14 events in a row.
Is anyone on pace to last longer than The Phenom? John Cena, Randy Orton and Kane each have competed on The Grandest Stage of Them All every year since WrestleMania XX, which makes them all tied for second place. WrestleMania 31 will represent 12 consecutive appearance at The Show of Shows for the three Superstars. They will all surge ahead of Triple H, who also had 11 matches in a row before his streak stopped after WrestleMania 22.