On March 31st, 1985, the WWF took their biggest gamble ever: Wrestlemania 1. If it failed, chances are the company would have gone out of business. Despite what WWE wants their fans to presume, there was a “Grand Daddy Of Them All” before Wrestlemania called Starrcade. It was a Jim Crockett Promotions’ pay-per-view to blow off the biggest feuds in the company. In contrast to Starrcade, the WWF didn’t want their show to be simply about wrestling. They wanted it to be this mixture of celebrity appearances, entertainment, and wrestling, or what McMahon would refer to it as “Sports Entertainment”. Many critics and promoters believed it would fail, but it ended up being a gigantic hit and put the WWF on its golden platform.
Two years later, the WWF took another gamble by launching Survivor Series. It was different from Wrestlemania; there weren’t any celebrities and it was based on 5 on 5 elimination matches, but this also was a major success. Then, in 1989, they took another gamble with a pay-per-view that was main evented by a 30-man battle royal with a slight twist. New wrestlers entered every 2 minutes, and this eliminated the clusterfrick that used to detriment battle royals. And, of course, this show was a success too. Lastly, Summerslam debuted to complete WWF’s “top 4″. It debuted on August 28th, 1988, with its purpose being to blow off big feuds that happened after Wrestlemania. So yes, it was Wrestlemania in the summer. However, the show lost its identity somewhere down the line, and now is practically a transitional show. Let’s look at the complete Summerslam 2006 card for an example.
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