November 7, 1985, Rosemont, Illinois
Seven months after the inaugural WrestleMania takes place, the World Wrestling Federation presents professional wrestling’s first true pay-per-view event, The Wrestling Classic. Although WrestleMania 1 was technically available via PPV, it had been on a very limited, nearly non-existent basis and the vast majority of spectators saw the event at closed-circuit locations. Prior to The Wrestling Classic, which was offered exclusively on PPV, wrestling fans were required to travel to either an arena or movie theater to see the events. But, with the new technology of pay-per-view, viewers were able to watch from their homes by renting a PPV connector box from their local cable company. Later, of course, PPV events were accessed simply by using a cable TV remote control.
Despite having to travel in order to rent (and then return) the PPV box, it was nevertheless much easier, more convenient, and, ultimately, cheaper than viewing an event via closed-circuit. As the technology progressed, pay-per-view quickly became the primary revenue generator for both the WWF and NWA/WCW during the following twenty years, until the WWE Network essentially gutted the PPV format and network television deals became WWE’s main revenue source.
Held in front of over 14,000 fans at the Rosemont Horizon (now the Allstate Arena) in suburban Chicago, The Wrestling Classic featured a WWF title match between Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper, which Hogan won via disqualification. However, the main focus of the card was a 16 man round-robin tournament that consisted of entrants such as The Dynamite Kid, Ricky Steamboat, Terry Funk, The Iron Sheik, Don Muraco, Tito Santana, and Paul Orndorff among others. The tournament was eventually won by “Macho Man” Randy Savage when he defeated The Junkyard Dog by count-out in the finals of the event.