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After the initial success of WrestleMania in 1985 it was decided that the supercard would become an annual event. But in order to differentiate it from the inaugural event it was decided that WrestleMania 2 would be held in three different cities at the same time, all combined together in a coherent event broadcast live on pay per view and closed circuit television. The plan to broadcast from three cities was not only a way to be unique, it was also a response to rival organization the National Wrestling Alliance, who just months earlier had broadcast their own supercard, called Starrcade, from both the Omni in Atlanta and the Greensboro, North Carolina Coliseum at the same time.
Each of the three cities would host four matches, with their own separate main event and undercard. In total the event would feature twelve matches for those watching on television.
The first part was held in the Nassau Coliseum in New York and was headlined by a â€œworkedâ€ boxing match between Rowdy Roddy Piper and Mr. T. The rivalry between the wrestler and the actor stemmed from the year before when Mr. T teamed with Hulk Hogan to beat Piper and his partner Paul Orndorff in the main event of the first WrestleMania. Mr. Tâ€™s involvement help establish the trend of celebrities of the day being an integral part of the WrestleMania mystique. Mr. T was even accompanied to the match by Smokinâ€™ Joe Frazier. This being wrestling of course, the boxing match did end up on the level and Piper was disqualified in the fourth round for hitting T with his corner stool.
The second act was broadcast in Chicago from the Rosemont Horizon. The fans in Chicago were essentially treated to a double main event. They saw The British Bulldogs win the WWF World Tag Team Championships from Greg â€œThe Hammerâ€ Valentine and Brutus Beefcake in what was easily the best match of the entire twelve-match show. Their true main event was a 20-man battle royal featuring 14 WWF wrestlers and six National Football League players including Jimbo Covert, Russ Francis, Bill Fralic, Harvey Martin, Ernie Holmes and hometown star of the Chicago Bears William â€œThe Refrigeratorâ€ Perry. Andre won the Giant the battle royal, last eliminating Bret â€œHit Manâ€ Hart, but it was The Fridgeâ€™s involvement that drew the most attention. Football greats Dick Butkus and Ed â€œToo Tallâ€ Jones also served as guest referees for the battle royal as well.
The final portion of the evening was in Los Angeles at the Memorial Sports Arena. The main event was Hulk Hogan defending the WWF World Heavyweight Championship against 450 lbs. King Kong Bundy inside the confines of a steel cage.
The undercards of all three events were quite bad and largely unmemorable. The event was completely sold on the three locations gimmick and the inclusion of the celebrities. Each city also had its own separate announcing and commentating team, with such guest luminaries as Joan Rivers, Tommy Lasorda, Susan St. James, Cathy Lee Crosby and Elvira. Ray Charles even stopped by to sing â€œAmerica the Beautiful.â€ Other â€œcelebritiesâ€ that made random appearances included the old â€œWhereâ€™s the Beef?â€ lady from the Wendyâ€™s commercials, that â€œHerbâ€ guy from old Burger King advertisements and little Ricky Schroeder. Keep in mind that in 1986 those names were popular and quite relevant.
WrestleMania 2, while largely unmemorable for its wrestling content was integral in setting the stage for what WrestleMania was to become. From this show it was obvious wasnâ€™t just going to be a wrestling show; it would be a destination event for celebrities, gimmicks and pageantry.
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