40/30/20/10 is a a written series at FlagshipPatreon.com looking back at the most important and memorable wrestling matches, moments, and news stories 40, 30, 20 and 10 years ago this month.

Ask anyone about the first WrestleMania Weekend, and you may get a few different answers.

Some say the tradition began in 2005 when PWG piggybacked WrestleMania 21 with a weekend of shows (All Star Weekend). While the words “WrestleMania Weekend” weren’t uttered in coverage or press releases then, the implication was obvious. SoCalUncensored.com wrote of the 2005 All Star Weekend, “Much like many other professional sports, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla feels the need to use one special weekend per year to showcase the best our industry has to offer.”

Ask another group of fans (myself included a few years ago), and they may tell you the 2006 Ring of Honor weekend of shows piggybacking off WrestleMania 22 in Chicago is the true beginning of WrestleMania Weekend, highlighted by one of the greatest matches of all time: the infamous Dragon Gate Six-Man at the inaugural ROH Supercard of Honor. If PWG started the tradition, Ring of Honor made it a must-see wrestling weekend for more than just WrestleMania.

The 2006 weekend also featured a few other Chicago-area promotions getting in the mix, with shows in nearby suburbs. American Wrestling Association Superstars of Wrestling (rolls off the tongue) presented a show on Thursday, March 30, in Schiller Park, IL, and IWA Mid-South put on “We’re No Joke!” on Saturday, April 1, in Midlothian, IL.

The tradition of running a show to piggyback off WrestleMania began in earnest 20 years ago when Ring of Honor took over the hallowed halls of the Murphy Rec Plex in Elizabeth, New Jersey, on March 13, 2004, for ROH At Our Best.

In the March 15, 2004 Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer wrote that Ring of Honor was “expecting about 1500 fans, the biggest crowd in its history, for a 3/13 show in Elizabeth, NJ. The company had planned the show for months, thinking that being near New York on the day before Wrestlemania would enable them to get a lot of fans who traveled from around the world for the big show to attend.”

Nobody but Ring of Honor ran the weekend, so if you want to split hairs about it not being the beginning of “WrestleMania Weekend,” I’m okay with that.

Still, there is no doubt that Ring of Honor began the indie piggyback tradition here in 2004, 20 years ago this month.

But it almost didn’t happen.

Read the full column at https://www.patreon.com/posts/40-30-20-10-2004-101122745

WrestleMania Weekend Memories Archive

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