It's often been said that if the first WrestleMania had not been a success back in 1985, not only would there not have been any more WrestleManias, but WWE would have been in serious jeopardy because of the financial risk of putting on the event.
Thanks in large part to actor Mr. T – who at the time was one of the top stars on TV – WrestleMania was a resounding success, WWE flourished and here we are 26 years later hours away from WrestleMania XXVII being presented at a sold-out Georgia Dome and before millions of fans around the world via pay-per-view.
Another big celebrity back in 1985 – pop star Cyndi Lauper – was part of a story line that led to Mr. T getting involved with WWE.
During a match between Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper that was dubbed "The War to Settle the Score and was broadcast live on MTV, Mr. T made the save when Piper and Paul Orndorff were threatening Lauper while Hogan was down. That led to a match being signed for the main event at WrestleMania the following month that pitted Hogan and Mr. T against Piper andOrndorff.
The hype for the closed-circuit event (this was in the days before pay-per-view) was unprecedented, as Hogan and Mr. T were seemingly everywhere, including on "Saturday Night Live," which they hosted the night before WrestleMania.
Mr. T did not embarrass himself in the ring, and he and Hogan emerged victorious.
The first WrestleMania solidified WWE's place in pop culture, and much like Mike Tyson did for Steve Austin more than a decade later, Mr. T gave a rub to Hogan and helped him become a household name.
Mr. T returned for WrestleMania II to face Piper in a boxing match, but it is his involvement in the inaugural event that has earned him the spot at the top of the list.
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