As noted, MSG Networks is airing a special feature on WrestleMania I tomorrow night at 10:30pm EST.
The episode touches on the cultural phenomenon known as WrestleMania that was born at The Garden on March 31, 1985. In one of Sports Entertainment’s most iconic moments, Hulk Hogan and Mr. T claimed a dramatic win over “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff in the main event, which also featured Muhammad Ali as the special guest referee and Liberace as the special guest timekeeper.
Interview subjects include Vince McMahon, Hulk Hogan, the late Roddy Piper, Cyndi Lauper, Mean Gene Okerlund and more.
MSG Network issued the following press release on the special:
New York, NY (February 11, 2016) – MSG Networks (NYSE: MSGN) continues the special 20-part television event “The Garden’s Defining Moments” presented by SAP with – “WrestleMania I.” The event that launched the WWF (now WWE) into the stratosphere and married sports and entertainment for the first time, set a then record for pay-per-view buys in the United States.
“The Garden’s Defining Moments: WrestleMania I,” narrated by Ben Stiller, premieres Friday, February 12 at 10:30 pm on MSG Network, following MSG’s telecast of the Rangers \ Kings game. Interview subjects include Vince McMahon, Hulk Hogan, the late Roddy Piper, Cyndi Lauper, Mean Gene Okerlund and more.
The cultural phenomenon known as WrestleMania was born at The Garden on March 31, 1985. In one of Sports Entertainment’s most iconic moments, Hulk Hogan and Mr. T claimed a dramatic win over “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff in the main event, which also featured Muhammad Ali as the special guest referee and Liberace as the special guest timekeeper.
Vince McMahon on Madison Square Garden hosting WrestleMania:
“There was only one place for this event, WrestleMania, only one. No other location was even considered. Madison Square Garden was the mecca of what we did, the mecca of WWWF—and there was no question. It had to be in Madison Square Garden, it had to be in New York City, no other place in the world.”
Vince McMahon on guests for WrestleMania:
“I am going to bring in people from all forms of entertainment and set the stage for what later became sports entertainment. Cyndi (Lauper) was already with us, so I had the music world coming in. From a sports standpoint, Muhammad Ali was a guest referee. Billy Martin was our guest ring announcer. And then from there I said ‘this is a great cast of characters from all walks of life but I need one more, I need someone who no one would be thinking of. I know who it is, Liberace.’”
Roddy Piper on getting a ticket to WrestleMania:
“The tickets were gone. They were gone, you couldn’t get a ticket for your grandma, I mean she would’ve had to stand.”
Roddy Piper on fighting Mr. T:
“Mr. T wanted to come in and bang heads together and then go back to the “A Team” and laugh about what a good time he had playing wrestling. I got so angry…I was going to take him out in the match…for good. But I didn’t do it.”
Hulk Hogan on WrestleMania:
“It was the hottest ticket in town– and good luck getting one. It was just amazing to see how many of these super stars in other industries wanted to come to the dance to see us perform that night.”
Hulk Hogan on Mr. T being late to WrestleMania:
“We were really on pins and needles because Mr. T kind of pulled a disappearing act. I got the call upstairs that Mr. T had twenty-five or thirty people with him and security wasn’t allowing them in, so he was leaving. I got on my high horse and took the service elevator down and told Vince he wasn’t going anywhere.”
Hulk Hogan on the main event:
“The one thing I was really not sure of was Piper and Paul Orndorff if they were going to behave out there. I thought for sure they may try to break Mr. T’s leg or hurt him because he really wasn’t a wrestler. Nobody was selling anything, everybody was in it for themselves fighting and going crazy.”
About MSG Networks Inc.
MSG Networks Inc. is an industry leader with two award-winning regional sports and entertainment networks, MSG Network (MSG) and MSG+, as well as the live streaming and video on demand platform, MSG GO. The networks are home to nine professional sports teams, delivering live games of the New York Knicks; New York Rangers; New York Liberty; New York Islanders; New Jersey Devils; Buffalo Sabres; Major League Soccer’s Red Bulls and the Westchester Knicks, and exclusive non-game coverage of the New York Giants. Each year, the networks collectively telecast approximately 700 live sporting events – which also include college football and college basketball from top conferences – along with a full schedule of critically-acclaimed original programming. The gold standard for regional broadcasting, MSG Networks has won 129 New York Emmy Awards over the past eight years. More information is available at www.msgnetworks.com.