No individual wrestling show has had as profound an impact on the industry's fortunes as WrestleMania I.
Taking place on March 31, 1985, Mania was Vince McMahon Jr.'s first major step towards marrying the worlds of professional wrestling and mainstream celebrity culture. He did it not only by booking some of the biggest wrestlers in the world, but utilising guest stars like Mr. T and Muhammad Ali. After pouring a huge chunk of his personal fortune into the event, McMahon's gamble paid off.
The sport's popularity soared, and WWE were at the forefront of the industry -and popular culture itself. Since then, wrestling has gone through a number of different phases, and WWE have experienced a number of peaks and valleys. Business took a big hit following the Mania-induced Golden Age, recovered through the Attitude Era, then took another decline when McMahon's WCW buyout eliminated competition in America.
WWE have assumed many different identities since 1985, and the product is barely recognisable 32 years later. This time period can be easily split into seven individual eras, with each bringing their own sets of positives and negatives to the table.
Disclaimer: This article focuses primarily the product's all-round quality - but does not altogether neglect business...
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