WrestleMania is a professional wrestling pay-per-view event put on by the World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., now known as simply the WWE. Inaugurated in 1985, WrestleMania is the preeminent professional wrestling event, and has occurred annually since then. This annual event is frequently the highest attended and most watched event on the WWE’s calendar.
WrestleMania typically takes place in the spring, usually in late March or early April. The event itself has moved from arenas to large stadiums. WrestleMania III, which pitted Hulk Hogan against Andre the Giant, is notable for being the highest attended WrestleMania, and the highest attended indoor sporting event until the 2010 NBA All-Star Game. WrestleMania’s central focus is the main event match for the WWE Championship, and as of recently, the World Heavyweight Championship as well.
The first WrestleMania took place at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York, and the success of that event propelled the WWF as it was known at that time, to its standing as the elite professional wrestling association. The first international WrestleMania took place in Toronto in 1990 during WrestleMania VI. WrestleMania IX was the first WrestleMania to take place outside, located outside of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Celebrity appearances have become a hallmark of WrestleMania’s, varying from simply attending to full fledged participation. Billy Mays appeared as an announced, while Muhammad Ali has served as an official. Lawrence Taylor faced off against Bam Bam Bigelow at one WrestleMania, and Mike Tyson appeared as a special guest enforced at another. Musical performances are another hallmark of WrestleMania’s, featuring everyone from Ray Charles to Boyz II Men performing “America the Beautiful” before the show, while Motörhead, Run-D.M.C. and others have performed during the competition itself.
WrestleMania has grown from being a self-contained event to being a full participatory event. In 1999, the first pre-WrestleMania event was held, entitled the WrestleMania Rage Party. In 2000, the first WrestleMania Axxess event was held. Since 2002, the event has expanded to three-days. The event itself features appearances by many of the wrestlers, as well as a series of attractions and events. The next WrestleMania, WrestleMania XXIX (29) is due to take place on April 7, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey at MetLife Stadium.