The first installment of the extravaganza known as WrestleMania took place 35 years ago today, in 1985, at Madison Square Garden in New York City in front of 19,121 fans. It was a major turning point as Vince McMahon steered professional wrestling from regional territories where competitors by and large respected each others' boundaries into the WWF (later WWE) as a national juggernaut.
The spectacle was announced by Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse "The Body" Ventura, and the main event was a tag-team match where Hulk Hogan and Mr. T emerged victorious over Paul Orndorff and Rowdy Roddy Piper. Mr. T, of course, was by that time known for his work on the A-Team and as Clubber Lang in Rocky III.
Other celebrity appearances included Muhammad Ali, who was a special guest referee for the main event tag match. Cyndi Lauper was in the corner of Wendi Richter, who defeated Leilani Kai (with the Fabulous Moolah in her corner) in a women's title match. Former Yankees manager Billy Martin was a guest ring announcer for the main event. Finally, Liberace performed, with the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes.
Other matches on the card involved Andre the Giant defeating Big John Studd, Junkyard Dog over Greg Valentine, and wins for Tito Santana, King Kong Bundy, and Brutus Beefcake. In a tag title match, The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff (accompanied by Freddie Blassie) beat The U.S. Express (Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo with Lou Albano).