The surging popularity of professional wrestling in the mid ’80s led World Wrestling Federation head Vince McMahon to take a chance on producing a super-card called Wrestlemania on closed-circuit television in 1985. It followed the lead of Starrcade, a successful endeavor by the National Wresting Alliance on Thanksgiving the previous two years.

Unlike the rival NWA, which made its event available to view at venues in the Mid-Atlantic and Southern region where the organization regularly put on shows, McMahon pressed forward with his determination to do away with the territory system in pro wrestling by making his event available across the country. Broadcast from New York City’s Madison Square Garden, the signal went out as closed-circuit mass viewings at arenas, theaters and high school gymnasiums, as well as a pay-per-view event in select markets on Mar. 31, 1985.

Though the first iteration of what has become a premier sports entertainment spectacle was a decidedly no-frills operation, it drew more than 1 million viewers and became a yearly affair, changing the business forever. Wrestlemania I, as it has retroactively become known, gave fans the opportunity to see the biggest stars in the WWF along with some mainstream celebrities who had been asked to take part in the proceedings.

Below, we take a look at all those who were a part of that first show, what happened to them afterward and where they are now.





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