If you go back far enough you'll find that 10 of the performers from the first Wrestlemania aren't with us anymore, and that doesn't include the special celebrities! Wrestling is a tough racket. No it's not a sport, it's entertainment pure and simple, but it's a special form, it's physical, it's demanding and it's fun to watch. But it's high time that SOMETHING be done to protect the performers. Whether it's expanding the rosters so that individual workers don't have to work so much and be on the road so often, or it's unionizing the talent so that they can get better health care and protections, something needs to be done.
I've been to three live shows over the years I've been a fan, all three WWF shows, even though when I went to RAW and Wrestlemania I was a bigger WCW fan, I figured I should go anyway. Here's the cards I've seen live (I still have the tickets and programs):
WWF Presents Superstars of Wrestling
San Diego Sports Arena, San Diego CA - September 16, 1989
* Bret "The Hitman" Hart fought Mr. Perfect to a draw
* WWF IC Champion the Ultimate Warrior pinned Andre the Giant
* Demolition (Ax and Smash) over WWF Tag Team Champions Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard via disqualification
* Dino Bravo over Jim Neidhart
* Akeem over Hillbilly Jim
* Dusty Rhodes over the Big Bossman
* Boris Zhukov over Mark Young
World Wrestling Federation "Raw is War"
Staples Center, Los Angeles CA - November 29, 1999
* Big Boss Man & Viscera d. Kane & The Big Show
* Edge pinned Matt Hardy
* Steve Blackman pinned The Godfather
* Too Cool (Grandmaster Sexay and Scotty Too Hotty) d. The Hollys (Crash and Hardcore)
* Test pinned Triple H
* Kurt Angle pinned Val Venis
* D-Generation X (Billy Gunn, Road Dogg & X-Pac) d. Kane, Mankind and The Rock via DQ
This show also had the "wedding" of Stephanie McMahon and Test.
A full synopsis is here
World Wrestling Federation WRESTLEMANIA 2000 (aka WM XVI)
Arrowhead Pond, Anaheim CA - April 2, 2000
* Big Boss Man & Bull Buchanan d. The Godfather and D'Lo Brown
* Hardcore Holly was the last champion in the Hardcore Battle Royal (which featured 10 title changes)
* Test and Albert w/Trish Stratus d. Al Snow and Steve Blackman
* Edge and Christian won the Tag Team Championship from champions The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) and the Hardys (Matt and Jeff) in the first ever Triangle Ladder Tag Team Match
* Terri Runnels w/the Fabulous Moolah d. The Kat w/Mae Young
* Too Cool (Grand Master Sexay and Scotty Too Hotty) and Chyna d. the Radicalz (Eddie Guerrero, Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko)
* In a Two-Fall Triple Threat Match Chris Benoit pinned Chris Jericho to become the WWF Intercontinental Champion and Jericho then pinned Benoit for the European Championship. Both falls featured dual champion Kurt Angle.
* Rikishi and Kane w/Paul Bearer d. D-Generation X (X-Pac and Road Dogg) w/Tori
* Triple H Retained in Fatal Four-Way Elimination for the WWE Heavyweight Championship. The Rock eliminated the Big Show, Triple H eliminated Mick Foley and then The Rock to retain. A McMahon family member was in each corner (Triple H had Stephanie, Rock had Vince, Mick had Linda and Big Show had Shane).
That first show in 1989, yes it was 25 years ago, but of the 16 wrestlers who appeared, five of them are no longer with us:
Only 3 of the performers from that RAW show in 1999 have passed away
BUT SEVEN of the performers on Wrestlemania 2000 are gone.
Hmm...I saw Big Boss-Man - aka the late Ray Traylor wrestle three times!