On April 3, 2016, over 100,000 fans will make a pilgrimage to AT&T Stadium in Dallas, TX for the biggest wrestling event of the year: Wrestlemania. Since its premiere in 1985, a Wrestlemania appearance has been the dream of almost every up-and-coming professional wrestler.
There have been 31 Wrestlemaniae so far, with approximately 10 matches per event. That’s a lot of matches. That’s a lot of wrestlers. To keep track of it all and get some perspective, let’s take a look at some of the more interesting numbers for Wrestlemania.
Number of Wrestlers Who Won Their First Mania Match: 139
There have been a total of 325 matches in Mania‘s 31-year history. Out of those matches, 139 people won in their debut matches. Tito Santana won the very first Wrestlemania match back in 1985, and WWE Diva Paige was the most recent superstar to win their Mania debut.
Wrestler With the Most Losses: Shawn Michaels
Making his Mania debut at Wrestlemania V as part of the “Rockers” tag-team, Shawn Michaels suffered his first defeat at the hands of the “Twin Towers” Akeem and the Big Boss Man. Since then, Shawn went on to become “The Heartbreak Kid,” win multiple world titles and main event Wrestlemania on several occasions. While his performance at this event usually steals the show and has earned him the moniker “Mr. Wrestlemania,” the nickname was for performance, not win-loss record. Shawn lost a total of 11 matches, more than half of his 17-match Wrestlemania career. Some of his most notable defeats were at the hands of Razor Ramon, Kurt Angle, John Cena, and in Shawn’s last-ever match, the legendary Undertaker.
It’s weird how Michaels has the most losses — he has the coolest finishing move. Wrestlers can do flips off the top rope all they want. Nothing says ouch like a good old fashioned kick to the face.
Number of Times the Undertaker Won via the Tombstone Piledriver: 16
The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania record is 22-1. That winning record is so far above any other wrestler, I will be long-gone by the time that record is tied, let alone broken. Of those 22 wins, 16 of those were via his finishing move, the Tombstone piledriver.
Piledrivers must be executed perfectly or they will cause serious (sometimes deadly) injuries to the other wrestler. The Undertaker and his “brother” Kane are the only WWE superstars currently trusted to perform this move safely. If you’ve never seen it before, the WWE has graciously helped to get you caught up thanks to this video chronicling Every. Tombstone. Ever.
Number of Matches NOT Won via Pinfall or Submission: 68 (21%)
Wrestlemania is regarded as the “season finale” of the WWE’s year, whether you are comparing it to the Super Bowl, or the anger-inducing cliffhanger of your favorite TV show. All of the current major storylines and feuds culminate at this event, and new ones start. When people see matches at Mania, they want a true winner or loser, winning via pin or submission (not some cheap win via disqualification or count out). Even though I’m a huge wrestling fan, I was surprised that over a fifth of the total Wrestlemania matches had been won via either disqualification or count out. For non-wrestling fans, a match ending like that at Wrestlemania is akin to the anger, frustration, or confusion you felt watching the Lost or Sopranos finale.
Number of Title Changes: 60
There have been various WWE championship titles over the years (as many as eight at one time and at the least two). At Wrestlemania, 60 new champions have been crowned over the last 31 years. The most recent win was by Seth Rollins, who cashed in his “Money in the Bank” contract (giving him the right to fight for any title at any time) to defeat Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 31. That night two other titles also changed hands, but the Wrestlemania with the most title changes is Wrestlemania 17 (the greatest Wrestlemania of all time, of course) with five new champions. Wrestlemania 27 in 2011 is the only one where all the champions survived with their titles intact.
Total Number of Unique Wrestlers: 418
418 unique competitors have fought at Wrestlemania. This includes “dark matches,” which take place before the TV broadcast to get the crowd warmed up. Think of dark matches like warm-up comedians. You may have noticed that I labeled this category as “unique” competitors. That’s because of the next category.
Number of Wrestlers that Fought Under Different Gimmicks: 55
A “gimmick” is a wrestler’s character. If Bryan Cranston was in the WWE, Heisenberg or Hal from Malcolm in the Middle would be his gimmick. Over the years, wrestlers change their characters in an attempt to get better crowd responses. When crowds respond poorly to a character, wrestlers often try to reinvent themselves. Cody Rhodes wrestled multiple times as an arrogant and brash punk. More recently, he has taken on a persona more akin to an X-Men villain, Stardust:
That’s an example of one wrestler with two gimmicks at different Wrestlemanias. The record though goes to wrestler Charles Wright, who has fought as four different characters over the years: The voodoo priest Papa Shango, the MMA fighter Kama, the Godfather (look at the picture. In 2016, this would not have worked), and the censorship-loving Goodfather.
Tag Team Partners that Teamed and Fought: 5
Because tag team partnerships often end in a fierce rivalry, the first question usually asked is, “who’s going to turn on whom?” At Wrestlemania, five different tag team members fought together, only to fight against each other years later. The first was the Twin Towers, Akeem and the Big Boss Man. Most recently, The SHIELD, a three-person group consisting of Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns, had consecutive dominant performances at Wrestlemania, only to have Rollins betray his teammates and go on to defeat Reigns last year to become the World Heavyweight Champion.
Location hosting the most Wrestlemanias: Tied
While nowadays Wrestlemania is breaking attendance records by being held in football or baseball stadiums, that wasn’t always the case. Smaller venues (15-20K as opposed to 60K and above) were where Wrestlemania originally got its start. Of those venues, two of them have hosted Wrestlemania three times each: Madison Square Garden in NYC, and the Allstate Arena (formerly the Rosemont Horizon) in Chicago. Most wrestlers say that the Rosemont is their all-time favorite arena because the acoustics make the crowd noise almost deafening. I wonder what it will be like in Dallas, with over 100,000 expected to attend.
Biggest Attendance: Pontiac Silverdome, 93,173
In 1987, almost 94,000 people packed the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit MI to witness Hulk Hogan defeat Andrè the Giant in the main event of Wrestlemania III. That event held the Guinness indoor attendance record until 2010’s NBA All-Star Game held in, coincidentally, AT&T stadium. Could this be the year the WWE gets their crown back?
The smallest attendance was Wrestlemania VII in 1991, with 16,158 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. This event was originally supposed to be held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, but due to death threats against Sgt. Slaughter, who was portraying an Iraqi sympathizer character at the time, the event was moved to the smaller arena for better security. Who knew bad mouthing your country during the middle of a war would cause people to get angry?
Farewell matches: 7
Final matches at Wrestlemania are a mixture of planned events, like Ric Flair’s and Shawn Michaels’, and unfortunate outcomes, like Edge’s final, who after his match at Wrestlemania XVII had to retire due to a neck injury. AJ Lee, JBL, and arguably the most popular wrestler of all time, Stone Cold Steve Austin (yes, I know who Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson is. That’s why I said arguably) have all had their last matches at Wrestlemania, the “Showcase of the Immortals.”
That’s a lot of info. Then again, there have been a LOT of Wrestlemanias. Now go forth and amaze your friends at your viewing party of Wrestlemania on April 3rd.
So what do you think? Which facts surprised you? Were there any you wish were listed here? Let me know on Twitter or jump off the top turnbuckle onto the steel chairs and let me know your Wrestlemania facts in the comments below.
IMAGES AND VIDEOS: WWE