by David Bixenspan | firstname.lastname@example.org | Follow @davidbix
If you haven’t seen last year’s UFC 175 pay-per-view, Fox Sports 1 is rerunning it tonight in prime time at 8 p.m. ET. The Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida fight was one of the best of the year, and cemented Weidman as a legit champion to those who saw his wins over Anderson Silva as flukey. The fight also rehabhilitated Machida as an exciting fighter as opposed to a boring counterfighter with occasional thrilling finishes as had long been his reputation.
The newest issue of Figure Four Weekly is up on the site for subscribers (subscribe here) with a look at AJ Lee’s retirement/departure from WWE, Vinny’s annual WrestleMania trip coverage, and all of the usual reviews and international news.
Also, now available for the first time on Kindle (meaning Kindle devices and anything with the Kindle app) is Fall Guys, the seminal 1937 book that has been described as being like the 1930s version of the Wrestling Observer. It was surprisingly not on Kindle already, so we put together a nice version with a full table of contents w/ chapter marks, proper formatting on everything, etc. Right now it’s available from the American, Canadian, and Australian Amazon/Kindle stores OR you can also buy it from anywhere in the world on PayHip, who will provide you with both Kindle and ePub (every other e-reader) format files, and you can either sideload them to your device or have them email it to your Kindle.
Our annual WrestleMania issue of the Observer is out right now. The new issue covers the entire show with exclusive backstage notes, full coverage of all the matches, injuries, and craziness of the week for not just WWE but all the promotions in town, the most detailed look at where the WWE Network stands, the aftermath of the death of Perro Aguayo Jr., the reaction to Roman Reigns not winning the title, full details on New Japan’s presence in the U.S. both on television and arena events and the best Raw ratings in a year.
The latest Observer: April 6, 2015 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Annual WrestleMania issue, Ronda Rousey, new WWE Champion, Brock Lesnar and more!
Website subscriptions, which include access to both current and older newsletters as well as every audio show in the history of the site as low as $9.99 per month!
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For the United States, it is $13 for 4 issues, $32 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $14.50 for 4, $35 for 12, $67 for 24, $111 for 40 and $144 or 52. In Europe, you can get the fastest delivery and best rates by sending to firstname.lastname@example.org For the rest of the world, rates are $16.50 for 4, $44 for 12, $85 for 24, $141 for 40 issues and $183 for 52.
If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.
The Wrestling Observer ranges weekly from 35,000 to 50,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA internationally. Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sties and has the most complete look at the pro wrestling and MMA business anywhere, plus history pieces available nowhere else.
Our lead story covers WrestleMania. We look at the title plans for the show, how they changed, who knew what and when, was Seth Rollins the guy for the spot and what the arguments were, next year’s WrestleMania, Vince McMahon putting over Ronda Rousey on his biggest platform, Rock & Rousey preparation for the angle, real attendance, gate claims and other records, merchandise sales, how much people paid in San Jose, why the attendance number was announced as large as it was, biggest real WWE crowds in history, who got the biggest reaction, UFC allowing its talent to do pro wrestling appearances, looking at the results of the show, arguments on HHH vs. Sting finish and the horrible commentary.
We look at who were the most popular and talked about characters on the show, booking changes, show changes and more.
We also have match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results.
We also look at the WWE Network number and what it means. We talk about why Wall Street was so negative on the stock, expanded costs and what that means to both break-even and to making the network financially viable. We look at what number of subscribers the network needs to bring the company back to where it was profitability wise and what it needs to make up for the losses of PPV and iPPV revenue.
We look at how many new subscribers the free February brought in, why WrestleMania taking in far less revenue than before is not alarming, how February free compared to November free, what the next big questions regarding the network are and when we will know the answers, the future of NXT, what Vince McMahon said about Sting, and details of lots of new WWE television shows and what it says about both the direction of the network and the relationship of the company with one of its all-time biggest stars.
We’ve also got more on Brock Lesnar’s new contract, updates on Dwayne Johnson, trouble after WrestleMania,, 2017 WrestleMania, Hall of Fame thoughts, story behind why Scott Steiner was banned from the Hall of Famer, Notes on Jimmy Jacobs to WWE, when Paul Heyman found out about Brock Lesnar signing, his thoughts on the negotiations, Daniel Bryan talks Roman Reigns, how he thinks the Reigns situation and Batista situation were different, Bryan talks Mania, Jim Ross on Bryan vs. Reigns, Bryan talks the details of his neck injury and the recovery from it.
Bill Goldberg talks about his relationship with WWE, we look at the Nikki Bella/A.J. Lee angle, Samoa Joe notes, changes on the 4/13 Raw show, Why Scotty 2 Hotty and Brian Christopher were not at the Hall of Fame with Rikishi, Phil Baroni and WWE, C.J. Parker giving notice, Ric Flair’s funny comments that made Michael Cole change the subject and two new WWE movies.
We’ve got an update on the medical examiner’s cause of death for Perro Aguayo Jr., how big the story was in Mexico, the plight this past week of Konnan and Rey Mysterio Jr., the funeral of Aguayo Jr., Dorian Roldan talks the Aguayo death, Santo talks the Aguayo death, and his doctors talk about whether he came in with a serious injury.
We also look at the NXT show in San Jose, business notes on the show, why Vince McMahon extended the time, reaction to HHH, and full coverage of the show. We also talk about what the NXT crowd showed about the plight of women performers in WWE. We also look at the NXT tournament, and future of the NXT brand.
We also have full coverage of the ROH show in Redwood City, with match-by-match coverage and star ratings.
We also look at other stars of the weekend, and the other shows, nostalgia, hot matches and new stars.
We also have an exclusive look at New Japan’s new U.S. TV deal, as well as what matches will be airing on what nights from when it starts.
The Observer is the world’s most detailed weekly pro wrestling publication, in its 32nd year of publication, and is read by the biggest names in the pro wrestling, industry, MMA industry, sports world and on Wall Street.
We also have our regular features such as the most complete look at ratings, plus results of the major house show events each week in pro wrestling and MMA, and complete inside rundowns of all the TV shows.
Also in this week’s issue:
–Former fired main eventer brought back and what it says
–Full details on Pro Wrestling NOAH’s upcoming tag team tournament
–The latest on the NOAH vs. Suzuki-gun feud
–Major news on Invasion Attack
–Update on New Japan ticket sales
–Jim Ross talks Okada
–Notes on New Japan’s big show of he week
–More on the upcoming debut of Global Force Wrestling
–More on how the Tokyo Dome show did on PPV
–More on the death of Cincinnati Red
–WWE star’s new comedy show
–Update on Mysterio and Lucha Underground
–Future of Lucha Underground
–Thoughts on the promotion touring
–End of the season notes
–More on Alberto El Patron and injuries and real fights
–More on the New Japan visit to ROH in May
–A look at other New Japan stars coming to ROH
–ROH star gives notice
–TNA inks Canadian English language TV deal
–More on thoughts regarding TNA embracing U.K. as a home promotion
–Notes on Destination America calling key shots with TNA
–Destination America changing programming
–TNA signing new overseas deals including getting a deal with a station that used to carny WWE
–Thoughts on McGregor vs. Aldo and featherweight records
–Amazing interest in the McGregor-Aldo press conference
–UFC first quarter and second quarter business notes
–UFC major executive gone
–Notes on Cris Cyborg’s deal with UFC
–This week’s UFC show
–Lots of new UFC matches
–More on commission overturning fight result
–Fourth Horsewoman signs contract
–Update on Nick Diaz
–Possible next fight for Josh Barnett
–Next Invicta show top fights
–Match of the year candidate in Bellator
–Bellator talking to a top ten ranked heavyweight boxer
–New Bellator fights
If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can get one free classic issue of your choice sent to you today. With a 40 issue subscription, you can get two free classic issues sent to you today.
New subscribers ordering 24 or 40 issues have to let us know what major stories of the past 11 years you are most interested in and we’ll send the issue with the best coverage of that story. We’ve got coverage of every major PPV event and world wide spectacular, every major star switching promotions, histories of companies like FMW, Rings and New Japan, retirement and obit issues of every major star who fits into those descriptions over the past 11 years, as well as our biggest issue every year, the annual awards issue, and our most controversial issue of every year, the Hall of Fame issue.
Our most requested issues in our history are:
*November 17, 1997 (full details of everything leading to the most famous wrestling match finish of modern times at the Survivor Series plus a history of in-ring double-crosses)
*December 21, 1998 (the complete Vince McMahon-Bret Hart conversation right before the Survivor Series match so you’ll know exactly what was said–the conversation played in edited form both on the inaugural broadcast of Confidential as well as in Wrestling with Shadows, but everything that was said between the two about the match that was going to take place that same night)
*August 1, 1994 (the most detailed coverage anywhere of the Vince McMahon steroid trial, an issue praised in numerous newspaper article and Sex, Lies and Headlocks)
*March 26, 2001 (death of WCW and history of pro wrestling on the Turner networks)a
*October 22, 2001 (why the adult audience has left pro wrestling in such great numbers and what needed to have been done to save them)
*July 8, 1991 (Ric Flair leaves WCW as world champion/Zahorian steroid trial)
*February 8, 1993 (the life and times of Andre the Giant)
*May 13, 2002 (the life story of the most incredible pro wrestling career ever, a look at Lou Thesz, in one of the largest issues of our history)
*January 27, 2003 (part one of the two-part series covering the career and life of The Sheik)
*February 3, 2003 (Part two on The Sheik including thoughts from people who worked with him and where he stands historically)
*March 24, 2003 (history of the WWWF title, inside behind the Sammartino, Backlund and Backlund era)
*April 21, 2003 (history of WWF continues with the expansion nationally, the death of the regional territories and the rise of Hulk Hogan)
*May 12, 2003 (The life and death of Elizabeth and the rise of fall of Lex Luger)
*June 9, 2003 (Part 1 of history of WWF vs. WCW wars and what many say was the greatest year in U.S. wrestling; plus a look at Fred Blassie)
*June 16, 2003 (Freddie Blassie through the eyes of his biggest rivals and friends)
*July 28, 2003 (Part 2 of the history of the WWF vs. WCW war and the plans to make new superstars in the early 90s, what happened, and the night where the three biggest wrestling companies in the world combined for a joint show and what happened)
*August 25, 2003 (2003 Hall of Fame issue with huge profiles on the controversial career of Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit as well as historical features on Earl Caddock and Francisco Flores)
*September 22, 2003 (Part 3 of the history of the WWF vs WCW war with the seeds that caused the collapse of the industry in the 90s, Zahorian trial, Gulf War controversy, Flair leaves WCW while holding world title and much more)
*October 27, 2003 (The fascinating life of Stu Hart plus the story of Road Warrior Hawk)
*January 19, 2004 (2003 Awards issue)
*February 2, 2004 (History of Toronto wrestling, Jack Tunney life story, Royal Rumble and Battle Royal history)
*February 23, 2004 (History of Guerrero family with Eddy’s win over Brock Lesnar)
*March 1, 2004 (History of WWF continues with the period that brought the company down in early 1992, the mistakes, the real stories and how the business changed)
*March 8, 2004 (History of Wrestlemania, its greatest matches and best and worst shows as voted both by wrestlers and non-wrestlers and Wrestlemania history books)
*July 5, 2004 (A look behind the scenes and Ric Flair’s book and his background with Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan)
*July 12, 2004 (A look at more on Ric Flair’s book and his comments on Bruno Sammartino, Bret Hart and Mick Foley)
*August 16, 2004 (History of the Olympians in pro wrestling)
*August 23, 2004 (2004 Hall of Fame issue and biggest issue of the year with huge profiles on Kazushi Sakuraba, Undertaker, Bob Backlund, Masahiro Chono, Ultimo Dragon, Kurt Angle and Tarzan Lopez–this counts as one issue if you are asking for a free issue, but ordered separately, due to size, is $6 in North America and $7 overseas)
*October 4, 2004 (the life and times of Big Bossman; as well as details of the life and times of one of the most influential men world wide in pro wrestling history, Jim Barnett)
*November 15, 2004 (the full story of what happened between Kurt Angle and Daniel Puder, plus coverage of the most important week in the history of TNA)
*January 24, 2005 (2004 Awards issue, Rock and WWE part company)
*March 14, 2005 (the 50 biggest money players in the history of WWF and a look at their Hall of Fame)
*May 9, 2005 (the life and times of Chris Candido)
*June 20, 2005 (The full story behind Paul Heyman and the death of ECW, as well as coverage of One Night Stand, Hardcore Homecoming and behind the scenes of both shows)
*July 18, 2005 (death of Shinya Hashimoto and his records with a look at the fall of New Japan, the Matt Hardy angle, tons of WWE firings, Cornette firing in detail as well as problems of a WWE developmental territory in our biggest news issue of the year which is a double-sized issue and would be $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*August 24, 2005 (2005 Hall of Fame issue with career profiles of Paul Heyman, HHH and Freebirds plus debut of MMA Hall of Fame)
*September 12, 2005 (History of Mid South Wrestling)
*October 10, 2005 (Life and Times of the Ultimate Warrior)
*November 21, 2005 (Life and Times of Eddy Guerrero and Crusher, double issue $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*December 5, 2005 (The Eddy Guerrero special issue, double issue $6 on its own, $7 overseas)
*January 9, 2006 (The life and times of Superstar Billy Graham, plus New Year’s Eve 2005 coverage)
*January 16, 2006 (2005 Awards double issue, $6 or $7 overseas)
*April 3, 2006 (Story of Ann Calvello and the history of Roller Derby–many called this the best issue of the Observer ever)
*April 10, 2006 (Behind the scenes at the 2006 Wrestlemania/Hall of Fame week)
*July 24, 2006 (The History of the Von Erichs and World Class Championship Wrestling–the most unreal story ever in wrestling)
*September 4, 2006 (The Rise and Fall of Kurt Angle; 2006 Hall of Fame inductions of Eddie Guerrero, Paul Bowser, Masakatsu Funaki, Aja Kong and Hiroshi Hase including tons of wrestling history around the world from the 20s through the 60s, the evolution of working to not working in Japan, and a look at Guerrero in hindsight, double issue $6 or $7 overseas)
*October 9, 2006 (A look back nine years later at the life and legacy of Brian Pillman with tons of inside information about what made him tick as his real objectives)
*November 15, 2006 (History of WCW part one, Eric Bischoff’s book and how the industry was changed forever)
*November 20, 2006 (History of WCW part two, Why Jim Ross left WCW, How Bischoff changed the company, signing of Hulk Hogan, Beginning of Nitro, Jesse Ventura, Brian Pillman, Chris Jericho and signing Wrestlemania planned celebrity away)
*November 27, 2006 (History of WCW part three, When Bischoff challenged McMahon to fight; Truth and fiction around Bret Hart signing with WCW and why it didn’t click)
*December 6, 2006 (details behind Pride’s offers to sell promotion and Part four of History of WCW part four, Hogan-Goldberg match and why there was no rematch, WCW loses NBC network deal in 1999 and the real reasons the company fell apart)
*January 22, 2007 (2006 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*February 14, 2007 (Life and Times of Bam Bigelow)
*March 5, 2007 (WWE begins plans that will change the business)
*March 12, 2007 (Life and Times of Mike Awesome)
*March 19, 2007 (Life and Times of Ernie Ladd)
*April 4, 2007 (Life and Times of Badnews Allen Coage–which many are calling one of the best issues in history)
*July 2, 2007 (Part one of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 5, 2007 (Part two of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 10, 2007 (Part three of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 19, 2007 (Part four of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 23, 2007 (Part five of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 25, 2007 (Part six of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*August 15, 2007 (The legend of the God of Japanese wrestling and his influence on MMA, Karl Gotch)
*October 15 (2007 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas including inductions of The Rock, Tom Packs and the original Strangler Lewis)
*November 12, 2007 (Life and times of Fabulous Moolah and history of U.S. women’s wrestling) .
*December 31, 2007 (History of Ric Flair and the heyday of wrestling at the Greensboro Coliseum)
*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
*March 24, 2008 (Life and times of Gary Hart)
*April 10, 2008 (Farewell to Ric Flair; My thoughts, Shawn Michaels talks of Flair’s meaning to him; Hall of Fame; Wrestlemania double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*August 11, 2008 (Ric Flair leaves WWE; Updated history of pro wrestlers and MMA fighters who went to the Olympics)
* September 8, 2008 (2008 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas; part one of Killer Kowalski bio)
* September 15, 2008 (Life and Times of Evan Tanner)
* September 22, 2008 (The amazing career of Killer Kowalski, one of our most in-depth bios)
You can also order any of these issues on their own for $4 in North America or $5 overseas.
We now have available personally autographed copies of Tributes II, our latest book, as well as a DVD that comes with it talking more about the subjects in the book. The book covers the life stories of Lou Thesz, Wahoo McDaniel, Elizabeth, Fred Blassie, Road Warrior Hawk, Andre the Giant, Curt Hennig, Johnny Valentine, Davey Boy Smith, Terry Gordy, Owen Hart, Stu Hart, Gorilla Monsoon, The Sheik and Tim Woods..
To get all of those biographies as back issues of the Observer would be a $60 value today. This is a collection of some of the best Observer articles of the past several years in a hardcover, full-color format that is 239 pages. There is also a foreword by Bret Hart. The book price is $12.95 plus $3.50 for shipping costs in the U.S., $20 for shipping costs to Canada and $25 for shipping costs outside North America. You can order the book the same way you order the newsletter.
Tuesday Daily Update
Elsewhere on the site, we have notes about the two big stories of the day:
SmackDown moving to USA Network in 2016, Tough Enough debut date – It was announced at USA Network upfronts that not only is USA Network getting a new season of Tough Enough on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. starting June 23rd, but SmackDown is moving to USA from sister network Syfy in the first quarter of 2016, making USA “the exclusive cable home to WWE marquee properties.’ No word yet on if SmackDown will stay on Thursday nights. It wouldn’t necessarily conflict with any original programming, as sometimes (including right Thursdays at the moment), USA only runs original programming in the 10 p.m. hour.
Bellator got an injunction preventing Quinton “Rampage” Jackson from fighting for the UFC, meaning his fight with Fabio Maldonado on the 25th at UFC 186 in Montreal has been cancelled. No replacement opponent has been announced for Maldonado as of yet. The co-main event is now Michael Bisping vs. C.B. Dolloway under the Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson vs. Kyoji Horiguchi main event. The show had previously lost the original main event of T.J. Dillashaw vs. Renan Barao when Dillashaw was injured, leading to th Johnson-Horiguchi fight being moved up.
Since Josh Nason’s original post, Benson Henderson offered on Twitter to take a welterweight fight on about two weeks’ notice to help save the show. On this short notice, if the UFC wants to take him up on his offer, he’d most likely have to face a welterweight already on the card or another lightweight moving up. The featured prelim fight on the card is a welterweight fight between local favotite and long-time French language UFC commentator Patrick Cote and Joe Riggs, who’s a teammate of Henderson at The MMA Lab. If they could make it work, there are certainly worse ideas than changing it to Henderson vs. Cote. The only other welterweight fight on the card is a Fight Pass prelim between Nordine Taleb and Chris Clements.
Also check out Ryan Frederick’s main event preview of this weekend’s UFC Fight Night 64: Gonzaga vs Cro Cop II
Late last night, TMZ posted a story about the Scott Steiner/Hulk Hogan issues, which has a few more details than we had last week. What led to Steiner being banned from the Hall of Fame ceremony, to the point his photo was posted at all entrances, was that at the San Jose airport’s baggage claim, he told Hogan’s wife Jennifer (who flew in before Hulk) that he was going to “kill Terry” as soon as he landed. Hogan took the next flight into San Jose and went to the police station with her to file a report for “felony terrorist threats.” Apparently, airport surveillance video does show Steiner confronting Jennifer. Steiner’s official, on the record comment to TMZ was “Typical Hogan. He’s just a punk.” Steiner had previously had issues in WCW with Diamond Dallas Page and his then-wife Kimberly that led to her leaving the company.
Per Fox Sports among other sites, Bill Goldberg is going to be the “pre-race host” of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 on Sunday, April 19th in Bristol, Tennessee. It seems like they’re trying to tie pro wrestling into the Bristol tradition of the drivers getting individual entrances with theme songs, etc.
Global Force Wrestling announced that they’re partnering with Bandit Lites to do the lighting and effects at their Las Vegas tapings.
Some articles about the death of Steve Rickard:
Greg Oliver has a detailed obituary at Slam Wrestling. It’s well worth taking your time to read this one.
Radio New Zealand: Wrestling pioneer was ‘straight-shooter’
The New Zealand Herald: Kiwi pro-wrestling legend fights final bout
The Dominion Post: New Zealand wrestling legend Steve Rickard dies
There are a couple episodes of the Rickard-hosted “On The Mat” shows on YouTube:
July 29, 1980
March 17, 1981
Dave’s usual Fortunes Changed for Five UFC postmortem, covering Saturday’s card in Fairfax, Virginia, is now up at MMAFighting.com, and it focuses on the controversial decision in the Jorge Masvidal vs. Al Iaquinta fight.
ESPN.com is now straight-up pushing WWE.com features, in this case Major League Baseball style logos for teams based on WWE stars’ personas.
Speaking of WWE.com, as of right now, Neville’s profile has his home country listed as “Engand.” There’s photographic evidence for whenever it gets fixed.
AVClub has a video interview with John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats where he talks about his new song about the death of Bruiser Brody.
The Japan News has an article about the increase in female attendance at Japanese wrestling shows. The main focus is on DDT, which has held “women only” shows for a few years, though New Japan did comment on the female portion of their crowds going up from about 10% five years ago to about 30% as of late. NJPW head of publicity Takahiro Yamamoto told them that “We owe it to an increase of good-looking wrestlers. Also, we put more emphasis on selling goods using the images of popular characters such as Mickey Mouse and Hello Kitty to attract female fans.”
Article writer Etsuko Sagawa also noted that “Some women practice ‘prowrestling training’ for fun.” What exactly does that consist of, The Karl Gotch bodyweight exercises they teach at the dojos? Oddly, there’s nothing about Dragon Gate in the article even though they’ve carved out their niche as the number two promotion in the country by targeting women with handsome young wrestlers, a fast-paced, high-flying style, etc.
Meanwhile, Nippon.com has an article from Mexican photographer Rodrigo Reyes Marín about being a lucha libre fan as a child, losing track of it when it was banned from television in Mexico City, and a move to Japan reigniting his fandom. It was originally written in Spanish, but it was translated very well. Good article with a bunch of interesting details like the hurdle of the Japan National Press Club making it difficult to arrange shooting photos at a NJPW show, learning how to shoot pro wrestling, and more.
Jill Adams of The News-Sentinel in Fort Wayne, Indiana wrote a column about taking her son to a WWE house show a few hours away in Milwaukee (the March 14th show) so he could see John Cena wrestle live (the next Fort Wayne house show show is in June and is not the Cena-led crew). The best part is when she panics during the opener because John Cena isn’t there and her son calmly explains that there are more matches and Cena will be wrestling later. In the end, she kind of concludes that pro wrestling is awesome.
Ray Steele of WIBC radio (93.1 FM) in Indianapolis has a nice article giving four reasons why he supports indie wrestling.
If you’re attending tonight’s SmackDown/Main Event tapings in Dallas, please send reports/spoilers to email@example.com.
Some today in history notes for April 7th;
WrestleMania 2 was 29 years ago today. The only WrestleMania to take place on a Monday, it was held at three arenas: The Nassau Coliseum in Uniondake, NY, the Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, IL (now the Allstate Arena), and the Los Angeles Sports Arena. Only Nassau (billed on TV as “New York” the same way Rosemont is “Chicago”) sold out, with the other two arenas bing noticeably darkened for TV. While the first WrestleMania did air on pay-per-view in a small handful of markets, it was primarily a closed circuit affair. This show had much wider PPV distribution, though it wasn’t until WrestleMania III that PPV really started to take over.
The show itself is not considered one of the best of the early WrestleManias. Unlike Starrcade ’85 the previous Thanksgiving, which alternated between Greensboro and Atlanta for each match, WrestleMania 2 featured miniature cards, each with its own main event, and the live crowd sat there watching the CCTV presentation before and/or after their live card. There were a number of production problems thanks to juggling the satellite feeds, and not much in the way of good matches until later in the card.
They also went way overboard with celebrities, finding a role for everyone who they could get to do the show, including color commentary since their own teams were spread so thin: Susan St. James (wife of Saturday Night’s Main Event producer Dick Ebersol) was Vince McMahon’s color commentator in New York, Cathy Lee Crosby joined Gorilla Monsoon and Gene Okerlund in Chicago, and Elvira was teamd with Jesse Ventura and Lord Alfred Hayes in Los Angeles. All told, including New York main eventer Mr. T and the football players in the Chicago battle royal, there were 25 celebrity guests. All criticism aside, it’s actually an interesting show to watch with a unique atmosphere, and it moves along quickly thanks to the short matches.
In a somewhat obscure piece of trivia, replaymons of the show aired on Showtime starting a few weeks after it took place, and it seems like it was in their programming rotation for several months.