Ringbelles Retro: Wendi Richter, pre WrestleMania I

Wendi RichterAhead of the first WrestleMania on March 31, 1985, Vince McMahon and his WWF was doing all that it could to swell its following, expanding nationally and exposing its product to new fans. That included migrating onto Ted Turner’s SuperStation WTBS network, taking over the time slot that had been home to Georgia Championship Wrestling and its World Championship Wrestling show for 12 years. In what became known as Black Saturday, the WWF took over proceedings on July 14, 1984 – and viewers loathed it.

Thousands wrote to and called TBS complaining about the loss of their favourite names, and started switching off the show to the point that McMahon decided to get out, retaining the GCW name but selling the time slot to Jim Crockett Promotions – the promotion which eventually became WCW.

The show was used to hype up WrestleMania by showcasing some of the wrestlers who would be on the show, one of whom was Wendi Richter, who would challenge Leilani Kai to try and regain the Women’s Championship. In one of the final shows before the time slot was offloaded, Richter took on Donna Christianello on the March 9, 1985 episode in a match which featured an accidental 5-count finish by the referee. That’s what you call a decisive victory – as King Kong Bundy or Big E Langston would attest.

As a final thought, consider this: the last time there was a title match involving women at a WrestleMania was six years ago at WrestleMania 23, where Melina defeated Ashley Massaro to retain the Women’s Championship. The Divas title has NEVER been defended at a WrestleMania.

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