Welcome to day two of our comprehensive 31 Wrestlemanias in 31 days through the month of March. Today we’re going to take a look at Wrestlemania 2 which was final Wrestlemania to take place prior to my birth as I was born later this year in October of 1986. When I think about Wrestlemania 2 the first thing that comes to mind was the fact that this show took place over 3 venues. The first four matches on the show took place in New York (Nassau Coliseum actually) than the next four matches took place in Chicago and then the final four matches took place in Los Angeles. It was an interesting idea at the time and a pretty ingenious way to make money. Production for this event had to be wild in order to pull that off. There are so many things that can go wrong with live event production when broadcasting from one venue, let alone three. I always thought that this could be an interesting idea to try again but it will never happen this day in age where Wrestlemania takes over a city that has been bidding on it for, sometimes, years.
The way that this was that each venue had their own “Main Event” and then the fans would stay in the venue and watch the rest of the show on big screen monitors. The first venue was New york and was headlined by a boxing match between Roddy Piper and Mr. T. From there the Chicago portion was main evented by the tag title match between the British Bulldogs and The Dream Team. (Before you correct me, I know that the 20 man battle royal was more of the headline match in Chicago and is often remembered as Chicago’s main event but the tag title change ended the Chicago Portion of the show. Lastly, the Los Angeles portion of the show featured the main event of the entire Wrestlemania, Hulk Hogan defending the world title in a steel cage against King Kong Bundy.
This was also during the time period in which celebrities played such a big part of Wrestlemania. As with today’s Wrestlemanias you might hear a casual fan who hasn’t been watching in quite sometime ask what the top matches at Wrestlemania are, those same casual fans had to have been asking which celebrities were going to be at Wrestlemania. I mean on this Wrestlemania alone, if you include the NFL players who participated in the Battle Royal, there were over 25 celebrities who appeared at this Wrestlemania. It was absolute who’s who of celebrities which featured everyone from Ozzy Osbourne to Joan Rivers and even the old Burger King guy, “Herb”! What we did get out of this was, however, was my personal favorite rendition of America The Beautiful ( and also the first time in which America The Beautiful was performed at Wrestlemania all together) ever performed at Wrestlemania, that by the late great Ray Charles!
The One Match You Should See:
For me the answer here is the battle royal (I love battle royals), and it’s tough because the tag title match between the British Bulldogs and the Dream Team is a great match with a finish that the crowd absolutely loved. That said when you mention Wrestlemania 3, the thing that immediately come to mind would be the involvement of the NFL players, especially members of the Chicago Bears in Chicago fresh off winning a superbowl. It’s crazy to go back and think about the fact that you had active, pro bowl caliber players like Refrigerator Perry in a battle royal with hall of fame level WWE Superstars like Andre The Giant. Could you imagine if in the Andre The Giant Memorial BattleRoyal you had JJ Watt and Demarcus Ware? It would never happen! The crowd was so hot for the Chicago Bear players that I actually think the WWF should have made the call to have Refrigerator Perry win the match outright, even if this would mean that Andre would lose a battle royal for the first time ever. The crowd would have just went completely wild for a Perry win. What this did lead to for Perry was a memorable moment of him dumping Big John Studd and would later lead to his induction into the celebrity wing of the WWF Hall Of Fame (an induction, mind you, that John Cena presented Perry with leading to the first time I can really remember a crowd completely turning on him). One last note on the Battle Royal, this was the only match in Wrestlemania history that WWE legends/ hall of famers Pedro Morales and Bruno Sammartino competed in.
Well that’s going to do it for today but I’ll be back real soon with my look back at WrestleMania 3!