History of WrestleMania with KB

Discussion in 'Old School PPV/TV Reviews' started by klunderbunker, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    For the next 24 days I'll be posting a review a day on every single Wrestlemania. I've been going back and rewatching every show, many of which I haven't seen in years. Thrown in are ratings for each match on a traditional school grading school and my recommendation for the whole show.

    If you don't like my take on a match or a show, call me out on it. The point of this is to get debate going, so say whatever you think of me. In case you've never seen or don't own any of these shows, I'm including 2-3 matches per show so there's definitely going to be something that can be debated.

    Starting today, Thursday, I'll be posting one a day until the day before WM 25 and after WM 25 I'll post my review of that to complete the set. They'll be going on chronological order as well, so off we go to 1985.

    Wrestlemania 1
    Date: March 31, 1985
    Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
    Attendance: 19,121
    Commentators: Gorilla Monsoon, Jesse Ventura
    National Anthem: Gene Okerlund

    And so it begins. Wrestlemania is here. In what was perhaps the greatest cross promotional strategy of all time, the WWF teamed up with MTV to promote the biggest wrestling show of all time in what was called the Rock N Wrestling Connection. This idea was nothing short of genius and it truly got the war going with the NWA.

    Spearheaded by the feud between Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper, this show was all about fanfare. While little happened as far as historical significance, this show goes down in history as being great simply because of what it meant in history. Never before had mainstream celebrities been mixed with wrestling on such a vast scale. Obviously the results were great and Wrestlemania was born.

    Tito Santana vs. The Executioner

    Anyway, let’s get going with the show. To begin with, in the first match in the history of Wrestlemania, we see Tito Santana vs. The Executioner, portrayed by Buddy “Blow Away” Rose. Before the match we get a pre-recorded interview (which I believe all of them are tonight) from the Executioner saying that he’s going after Santana’s leg which was already injured.

    The match is pretty much what you would expect for an 80s WWF match. Very standard stuff that’s by no means bad, but not really great either. Tito is at his best here against a random heel, and he wins in standard fashion with a forearm and the figure four.

    Rating: C. Considering it’s the first ever match at the biggest show that would ever exist, I didn’t know what to expect. It’s certainly not bad, but doesn’t really set a good first foot forward for Wrestlemania if that makes sense. This is more famous for simply being the first match in the history of the biggest wrestling series ever, but it wasn't anything special at all.

    King Kong Bundy vs. Special Delivery Jones

    The next match is I believe still the shortest in Wrestlemania history as King Kong Bundy faces Special Delivery Jones. More prerecorded comments with Bundy saying he’s mad about something or other. In less than 25 seconds, Bundy hits a pair of splashes to pin Jones. This match was the epitome of a squash match. No rating of course.

    “Maniac” Matt Borne says this is his chance to beat one of the best wrestlers in the world. Steamboat is too nice of a guy which will be his downfall.

    Steamboat says this is a big test for him. Wow he must have a bad memory if this is his biggest challenge.

    Matt Borne vs. Ricky Steamboat

    Now we get onto a solid match with the always dependable Ricky Steamboat vs. Matt Borne, who is far more famous as heel Doink. Jesse is ROCKING that pink tuxedo. Not a lot of people can get away with that big Jesse is making it work for me. What was up with the five bells after everyone’s name? Steamboat is in the basic white tights which is odd to see indeed.

    Feeling out process to start. Why can’t it ever be a feeling up process? Steamboat chops away and we get a chinlock seconds in. That’s not something you see everyday. I miss hearing Jesse call Gorilla Gino. A long atomic drop has Borne in trouble but he gets one of his own to avoid us hitting squash territory.

    Ok perhaps you should forget the lack of a squash here as it’s almost all Steamboat here. At least the right guy is doing the squashing. Borne gets a suplex for two as even Gorilla says this isn’t going to work. He throws left handed punches and Gorilla concludes that he is in fact left handed.

    We’re getting a lot of suplexes in this. Swinging neckbreaker by the Dragon gets no cover. A knee drop gets two. Steamboat speeds things up all of a sudden and there’s the flying cross body and I think you know what that means as this is 1985. Yep it’s over.

    Rating: C-. Glorified squash match here with nothing special happening at all for the most part. Steamboat is always fun to see and this was no exception here. He would get a bit higher on the card in coming years before getting his lone world title in 1989. Borne would bounce around various companies before dancing with bear cubs in WCW and becoming a clown in WWF. Nice way to see different career paths.

    David Sammartino vs. Brutus Beefcake

    Now we go on to what was little more than a reason to have the managers brawl at ringside, we have David Sammartino against Brutus Beefcake. Davide is accompanied by his father and Johnny Valiant for Beefcake. Big stall to start which is filled in by Gorilla talking about how great the crowd is, and for the time it really was. Finally we get going and Jesse cracks me up by saying that a loss for either man here could set their careers back 2 years.

    That’s nothing but priceless. Anyway, we have a nice little wrestling sequence to start with Beefcake stalling again after sliding to the floor. We’re almost 5 minutes in and nothing at all of interest has happened yet. They’re trying to do a technical match and it’s just failure. I’m quite bored as I watch this match and it’s not getting any better.

    I feel like I’m watching a house show match, but not the good kind. I feel like I’m watching a house show match that makes jobbers look good. Even the commentators sound bored here, yet for some reason the crowd is into this. FINALLY we get the managers involved and it’s a huge brawl for the double DQ.

    Rating: D-. I was so bored I almost fell asleep. Absolutely nothing at all of note and it was just done to get Bruno on the show. David had a lot to live up to and for the most part he never came close which is the case for the vast majority of the kids of major stars. If nothing else look at David Flair. This was a very bad match though as Beefcake was the top guy in the ring which sums up things rather well.

    JYD says he’ll win.

    Valentine says he’ll win.

    Intercontinental Title: Junkyard Dog vs. Greg Valentine

    No intro for Valentine as he’s just in the ring. That was far more common back then. It’s hard to imagine that the title is less than six years old at this point. Another One Bites The Dust by Queen brings Dog to the ring. I prefer Grab Them Cakes but that’s just me.

    Valentine was awesome at this point and Gorilla says he might be the best IC Champion of all time at this point and I can’t really put up that much of an argument against that. He would lose the title to Santana soon after this who would lose it to Savage before Mania II. Dog is more or less the challenger of the month at this point and was very popular as well. Why he was popular is beyond me as he tends to be annoying as hell but what do I know?

    Naturally the Dog dominates to start with punches and headbutts. Valentine misses a punch and Dog gets on all fours with the heabutts. That’s about the biggest offensive move he’s going to have so I wouldn’t expect much more than that from him. We hear about Jimmy Hart’s stable which has Jim Neidhart but no Bret. It’s so weird to hear about Neidhart being a singles guy.

    Valentine goes for the leg. He used the Figure Four as his finisher at this point which apparently he has patented. Did he file for the paperwork for it? Does he get royalties whenever Flair uses it? Dang no wonder he’s broke. Jesse says Valentine has no bones about this. I love bad puns.

    Figure Four is kicked off which is the traditional counter of course. They slug it out and surprisingly enough Dog loses. Ok never mind he doesn’t but he was for a few seconds there. Jesse says a Dog headbutt would drop an oak tree. No see you make the tree watch one of his matches and it’ll fall asleep. That is how you drop an oak tree if JYD has to be involved.

    Dog goes after Jimmy but Valentine accidently pops his own manager. Here comes the Dog with his variety pack of punches and headbutts. Valentine cheats to get the pin with his feet on the ropes and apparently gets away with it. Tito runs out to tell the referee what happened so the match is restarted. Why can’t more people do that if they can get away with it? Valentine takes a walk anyway just because he can I guess. No title change thank goodness.

    Rating: D+. Pretty boring match here with Valentine dominating for the most part. It went by rather fast though which helped a good bit. I can’t stand the Dog but Valentine is pretty good. This of course set up more of Valentine vs. Santana which helps a lot as at least we got a good feud and eventual title change out of it in a solid cage match between them.

    On a side note, the old IC Title looks far better than the one they would replace it with. It’s kind of like the NWA US Title which I’ve always been a fan of. Decent match but really just a placeholder for the most part. Granted though they had no idea what they were doing here so it’s ok I guess.

    Tag Team Titles: U.S. Express vs. Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik

    Next up we have a match that I’ve always kind of liked. For the WWF Tag Team Titles, Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik against the US Express of Mika Rotunda and Barry Windham, who at the show came out to a song called Real American. Upon further review, this match is still pretty good and likely the best match of the night so far.

    There’s not much to it but there doesn’t need to be. It’s America vs. foreigners, which is a formula that absolutely never fails. Rotunda plays a great face in peril here as he tries to out wrestle the monsters on the other team. There’s not a lot to this match but what they have is just fine. Big hot tag to Windham who cleans house, which leads to a big brawl. Blassie hands Sheik his cane which is smashed over Windham for a pinfall and a title change.

    Rating: B-. Not much here, but what they had was at least passable. It was the standard U.S. versus the evil heels which is a formula that’s hard to mess up if anyone in the match knows what they’re doing, and these people knew. The titles would change back just a few weeks later so this was to do nothing more than get a title change on the card to make it seem historic. Keep in mind that this was still in the era when title reigns were usually longer so this meant a lot more.

    Body Slam Match: Andre the Giant vs. Big John Studd

    It is now time for the first of two famous matches from this card as Andre the Giant faces off with Big John Studd in a $15,000 vs. retirement match. Studd had put out a challenge saying that no one could body slam him, and no one could. Then a man named Andre took him up on the challenge, and this right here is the result of that challenge. Andre controls early on but eventually Studd evens things out.

    The crowd is off the hook for this match behind Andre to say the least. This is really just a lot of bearhugs and big punches/forearms for about ten minutes but the crowd eats it up. Andre just goes off on the knee and then slams Studd like it’s nothing at all. He gets the money and throws the money to the crowd, prompting Heenan to steal it and run off.

    Rating: D+. The wrestling was awful, but the crowd was going crazy the whole time. Classic example of a match where the crowd played a key factor. Andre was getting to the point here where he couldn't do much. These giant vs. giant matchups were rarely good but this worked as the whole idea was to just have Andre FINALLY end the "you can't slam me" angle which he had done about a dozen times on house shows but this was the official one.

    Women’s Title: Wendi Richter vs. Lelani Kai

    In the penultimate match of the night, we get the first of the Rock N Wrestling matches with the Women’s Title on the line with Wendi Richter against Lelani Kai for the Women’s Title. At the time, Richter was the second biggest face in the company, often main eventing house shows when Hogan was elsewhere. Cyndi Lauper being in her corner didn’t hurt her at all as Lauper got into this.

    In a scene that for some reason is now famous, Lauper and Richter run down the aisle in the back of the arena as the crowd is going batshit crazy over this. For one of the only times ever in wrestling, the celebrity manager clearly wants to be doing this. This match is standard back and forth stuff with the young Richter clearly being the one that’s going to win or MSG might have been burned down. Finally Richter reverses a cross body to get the pin and the title as the fans are going insane.

    Rating: B. This match was billed as half of the double main event. Think about that for just a bit. The Women’s Title match, main eventing Wrestlemania. If that doesn’t tell you how big Lauper and Richter were, nothing will. I never really got the appeal of Richter but at this time she was main eventing the B-level house shows over the IC Title or Tag Titles. Imagine going to a show today where the main event had Michelle McCool in it.

    Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. vs. Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff

    And now for the main event, we have Mr. T and Hulk Hogan against Piper and Orndorff with Muhammad Ali himself as the guest referee. Why this wasn’t Hogan against Piper one on one is beyond me. As usual, Piper has a live bagpipes band which is always cool. The fans aren’t really booing much because they know what’s coming. Real American was already taken so instead we hear Eye of the Tiger, or at least I think we do.

    The eruption is so loud I’m not sure what I’m hearing. Your other referee is Pat Patterson. If you’ve seen one Hogan match you’ve seen them all for the most part and this is no exception. Hogan embarrasses his opponents to start and then gets beaten down with some cheating. Double teams throughout the match on both Hogan and T until finally we get the brawl we’ve all waited for. Bob Orton and Jimmy Snuka are the seconds here and they both get involved.

    Finally Orton comes off with the cast to his Hogan but catches Orndorff instead as Hogan pins him. This prompts Piper to leave him in the ring, which led to Orndorff’s face turn. Hogan and T pose as we go off the air.

    Rating: B. Basic tag match, but why was this a tag? It just made little sense and there was no drama to it at all. Hogan didn’t even win with the legdrop. Fun little match, but not for the main event of Mania. For the life of me I will never get why this wasn't Hogan vs. Piper for the title, perhaps with Piper even defending and dropping it to Hogan. Very odd choice indeed but it worked very well for what it was supposed to be.

    Overall rating: C-. This show clearly isn’t famous for the wrestling as there’s only 2-3 good matches on the card. What this show is famous for is the idea of a supercard in the biggest arena there was in the biggest city there was with celebrities, national coverage, and a huge main event. The idea was amazing but no one knew what they had here and it shows. For its time this was mind blowing. Now it’s just average at best. Watch it for the last three matches and skip the others.

    So what do you think? Am I right or am I crazier than George Steele? Let me know and let's hear your take.
     
    #1
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  2. WrestlingHistorian

    WrestlingHistorian Pre-Show Stalwart

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    For what it was at the time I still don't think the original was anything out of the ordinary compared to other house shows and special events that were taking place at the time, aside from the fact that they slapped the "WrestleMania" name on the event and invited a bunch of celebrity names to attend the event. I personally feel WM didn't really get off of the ground until WMIII, the match listing was a mile long and it featured a lot of matches that fans at the time wanted to see. I still enjoyed WM1 & WM2 but I just feel that they were not out of the ordinary when compared to other MSG shows going on at that period.
     
    #2
  3. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    That's something that I mentioned in here I think: these matches screamed house show to me often times. Why should I want to see Matt Bourne and Ricky Steamboat or Beefcake vs. David Sammartino? It's like they were just trying to fill time. The show isn't bad per se, but it's certainly nothing mind blowing.

    You'll see in my WM 3 review that I definitely agree. That was truly the first supershow WM and it's because of the main event. That wasn't something that was happening 3 nights a week but *wink* for the first time ever. That is what made Mania great.
     
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  4. Agent-67

    Agent-67 Occasional Pre-Show

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    Santana vs The Executioner is a terrible match. I give Santana credit because I think he was a great wrestler for his time. The Executioner’s interview is hallarious to me. I love weight ??? age ??? location ??? They could not even get this guy on the scale to weigh in. No feud match receives a D from me. Just for the funny interview.

    Bundy vs Jones was a squash match. But it was a good match to continue to push Bundy as a main heel. I give this match a B/C. Not great but it did what it was supposed to do.

    Steamboat vs Borne was a pointless match. Steamboat can wrestle, but no point to this one. I give it a F.

    Brutus vs Sammartino and I agree with you on this one. But you get Bruno and Valiant on the show. Match could have been much better, but who cares. I give it a D.

    JYD vs Valentine could have been a great match. If any of you have heard interviews by Valentine during this time they will drop your jaw. Not on how good they are but what he says. Like “I’m going to wipe your black face on the ring!” What the hell. Two popular names but not a great match C/D rating.

    Volkoff & Sheik vs US Express was a pretty good match. Putting the tag titles on Russians during this time was an 80’s move, but an okay one. Title change and it was halfway good. I give it a B.

    Andre vs Stud was a great idea. A slam match. Crowd was into it. Both guys were over. Neither could wrestle very well at that point though. But sometimes the story line can make the match. Handing out money to the fans at the end was cool too. I give it an A/B rating.

    Richter vs Kai was a great women’s match for the time. Fans were into it and Cindy was there. Not a big fan of either wrester but the match worked. I give it an A.

    Tag Main Event I thought was great. You got to showcase Hogan, Mr T, Wonderful, Piper, Snuka, & Orton. The match kept the Hogan/Piper feud going, turned Wonderful face, which will lead to a feud with Piper and then an intense one with Hogan. Mr. T was not that bad as he was very over at the time. Snuka and Orton get involved. There is a finish. I thought it is great for the time. I give it a A/B. Only negative is belt is not on the line at Mania.

    I give it an overall score of C. Not bad but not great.
     
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  5. Blade

    Blade "Original Blade"

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    In defence of WWE, I don't think it was supposed to be amazing. I think the first Mania was supposed to lay the foundation for the great wrestlemanias to come. They were gonna first build up the name as the premiere wrestling event.

    Although with such an average show, they could've blown it on the first night. But thanks to Andre and Hogan, it became as big as it was supposed to.
     
    #5
  6. KillBill

    KillBill Getting Noticed By Management

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    You serious? Didn't get off the ground til Wrestlemania 8? Your crazy lol. Umm, since a still standing record of 90,000 people were at Wrestlemania 3, which I consider 1 of the best, I think you may be off. And Wrestlemania 6 with Warrior/Hogan and 60,000, I think it was well before then. Wrestlemania may have been average, but what did people expect? It was an experiment, and there wasn't as many "big stars" as the future Mania's. I mean guys like Savage, Warriors, etc. Once they saw how well it did, it was onlt gonna get better.
     
    #6
  7. WrestlingHistorian

    WrestlingHistorian Pre-Show Stalwart

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    You may want to re-read my post, I said WMIII as in WrestleMania 3. I was using roman numerals, which was usualy the correct way of addressing WrestleMania.

    I enjoyed pretty much every WrestleMania between 1-17 minus a couple like 9, 14 and 11, which I felt lacked heavily.
     
    #7
  8. Mighty NorCal

    Mighty NorCal SHALL WE BEGIN?

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    To be honest, I think you have to rate this one on a totally different scale. It screams "house show" becuase in essence, thats what it was, more of an exhibition of sorts, made to have mass appeal. The vast majority of new fans wouldnt know of titles, and angles such as that, just celebreties, and personal vandettas. I think this was more just to jog interest and get the names and faces out there, more than anything, which is why it was set up the way it was, and why a tag match headlined. Also, this could also be show by Andre being involved in the "test of strength" type gimmicky match. It was an exhibition, not really a wrestling card. I think the same could be said about mania 2, as well. You have to veiw them, and rate them, on an entirely different scale than all the rest.
     
    #8
  9. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    Wrestlemania 2
    Date: April 7, 1986
    Location: Nassau Coliseum-New York, Rosemont Horizon-Chicago, Illinois, Sports Arena-Los Angeles, California
    Attendance: 40,085 combined for all three venues
    Commentators: New York - Vince McMahon, Susan St. James. Chicago - Gorilla Monsoon, Gene Okerlund, Cathy Lee Crosby, Ernie Ladd. Los Angeles - Jesse Ventura, Alfred Hayes, Elvira
    America The Beautiful: Ray Charles

    This show is the classic what the fuck were thinking moment from the WWF. They had made Wrestlemania the year before and they hit it so far out of the park that by the time it was Wrestlemania 2 the ball hadn’t come down yet. This was a problem though. Since the inaugural show had been such a success, Vince felt they had to do something to top it. This was his idea: what if we did Wrestlemania from 3 different places??? Think about that for a minute. How weird would that be?

    Not to mention, Vince had another idea: let’s put it on a Monday! Again, just awkward sounding. The format used was three locations, each with an undercard and then a featured match, which were a boxing match, a battle royal, and the true main event, Hulk Hogan against King Kong Bundy in a steel cage.

    The idea was odd on paper and worse in reality as it felt like watching three shows instead of one. There’s no rhythm and because it was in three locations, announcers were a rare commodity. Due to this, Vince’s last idea was to put a real commentator together with celebrities to do the commentary. What followed might be the biggest clusterfuck in company history.

    Paul Orndorff vs. Don Muraco

    We begin the show in New York City with Paul Orndorff against Don Muraco. Why are they fighting? I don’t have a freaking clue but they are so here we go. As they begin we hear comments from both and neither have anything to say of meaning.

    Orndorff is easily the face here so if he never accomplished anything else in his career, the face turn between Manias one and two was effective. As was predicted, the celebrity commentator is atrocious, with such gems like “I think he’s winning!” Orndorff controls the early part of the match but Muraco breaks it up with some power. They roll outside and we get a double count out as the crowd clearly can be heard chanting bull shit.

    Rating: D+. Fine for what it was, but the fans got it right with their chants. This is the opening match to Wrestlemania? Seriously? That's the best they could come up with? This feud more or less never went anywhere at all as Orndorff was about to get the biggest push of his career by far, resulting in him making about $20,000 a week for awhile. This was just an odd choice for an opening match but then again this was an odd choice for a show so I guess it fits.

    Intercontinental Title: George Steele vs. Randy Savage

    Next up the intercontinental title is on the line as Randy Savage defends against George Steele. This is a match that I can’t find a standalone version of so I can’t put this one in here. However, this was another chapter in the over year long feud between these two. Savage had been allegedly mistreating Liz and Steele had developed a crush on her. That led to, what else, Savage being jealous and a 15 month feud began.

    Mega stall from Savage to start as he seems afraid of Steele. Savage runs again and finally on the third time Steele goes after him. They finally lock up and Steele beats Savage up for a while with power moves and biting but Steele keeps going to talk to Liz. This was a weird period for Savage as they knew they had a gem with him but they didn’t know what to do with him. Yeah he was the IC champion, but where did they go with him from there?

    This was all they had until the next year when he and Steamboat stole the show and Savage was launched into the main event. For some reason Savage has a bouquet of flowers that he and Steele try to beat each other up with. After ripping apart a turnbuckle and eating the stuffing (not making that up) Steele gets slammed and elbowed, but he kicks out?

    Yes, George Steele is the first man to kick out of the elbow, and he pops up, beats on Savage some more and then gets rolled up and Savage uses the ropes to pin him. Steele eats more stuffing.

    Rating: C-. This was a comedy match I think with wrestling mixed in. Savage is the highlight here as he sells like crazy for Steele and it helps a lot. These two had this freaky chemistry that no one has ever been able to really figure out. They would feud on and off for the next year before FINALLY ending it with the return of Ricky Steamboat for that whole greatest match of all time thing he and Savage would have next year.

    Jake Roberts vs. George Wells

    We follow up that strange match with another somewhat strange match as Jake Roberts, still a rookie here, takes on some guy named George Wells. This match is little more than a glorified squash. Wells dominates early but doesn’t go for a pin when he has the chance. Jake recovers and DDTs him to win the match. Afterwards he unleashes Damien who causes Wells to look like he’s foaming at the mouth.

    Rating: D+. Talk about a weird choice to have on Wrestlemania. Jake was brand new at this point so they needed someone to make him look good and they pick....George Wells? There was a squash on Mania for the first two years and both times they were the least interesting match on the card. I don't get the selection here for the most part and it's pretty bad all things considered.

    Boxing Match: Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper

    We now move onto the main event of the New York portion of the show: a boxing match with Roddy Piper and Mr. T. This was built up on SNME about 2 months before hand with Mr. T. beating Piper’s friend Bob Orton in a boxing match before being beaten down by both of them. That came on from what started over a year ago in the main event of the first Wrestlemania, so this truly was a showdown that had been built up for ages.

    Factor in that T had been the World Boxing Champion in Rocky 3 just a few years ago and was on a top rated TV show where he was a bad ass. Both men have famous trainers in their corners to make it look more legit. For no apparent reason Joan Rivers does the ring announcing. This is ten three minute rounds. She introduces Orton as the Ace Comedy Bob Orvin. Nice job of handling the reading thing honey.

    They actually got Smoking Joe Frazier to be in T’s corner. One of the biggest stars in Hollywood has in his corner a former world heavyweight champion who had three of the best boxing matches in history with Muhammad Ali. He also has a midget. Well of course he does. They treat this like a real boxing match. Oh dear.

    T goes for the ribs which doesn’t work all that well for him. Piper hits him on the break which is illegal of course. There has been no mention of judges or anything like that so I guess this is destined to not go the distance. The referee has broken them up about four times now. I think these are three minute rounds. For the most part these punches aren’t landing at all but they sell them anyway of course.

    It’s not so much boxing but rather glorified grappling with the occasional punch thrown. The fans are more or less dead if you didn’t guess that. After the first round nothing has really happened. Piper has a bunch of grease on his face for the second round which is keeping the punches from T from being effective.

    This is painfully boring if I didn’t make that clear so far. Piper knocks the hell out of T with some big roundhouses and finally drops him to huge cheers because something HAPPENED for a change. The knockdown gets a count of 8. Piper keeps pounding on him as round two ends. They brawl a bit during the break and Orton throws water at T.

    Piper does the Ali Shuffle to start the third round. T gets him into the corner and pounds away with more or less open hand shots to the head and Piper is in trouble. That gets a count of 7. T gets a huge punch that I think hit so of course Piper is knocked to the floor. He gets up at 9 and then holds onto T for the last 25 seconds of the fight.

    They just trade big bombs to start the fourth round. And then he punches the referee and slams T for the DQ about a minute into the fourth round. It’s a bit brawl and T of course gets the win. Was there a reason for both that ending and also having Piper dominate a round like that? This was awful.

    Rating: F. On WRESTLEmania they had a long boxing match. This was just boring beyond belief and the boxing looked awful. They tried to make this seem legit and it failed on more than all levels. T was never seen again and Piper turned face relatively soon after taking time off for knee surgery. Boring match and awful beyond belief.

    Chicago

    Women’s Title: Fabulous Moolah vs. Velvet McIntyre

    We start with the Women’s Title on the line as Moolah defends against Velvet McIntyre. This match is just weird. Moolah dominates, Velvet comes back and then misses a splash allowing Moolah to pin her. It screams botched finish to me as even the announcers seem surprised.

    Rating: N/A. Just was nothing at all and might have gone a minute. Little to rate here so I won't even try to.

    Nikolai Volkoff vs. Corporal Kirschner

    Now we have a flag match with Nikolai Volkoff against the forgotten Corporal Kirschner. Yeah I don’t remember him either. The winner gets to have their flag waved. Other than that it’s a standard one on one match. As usual, Nikolai sings the Russian National Anthem before the match starts. Nikolai dominates early on, ramming Kirschner into the post twice and busting him open. I kid you not, Kirschner lands 7 right hands, catches Freddy Blassie’s cane and hits Nikolai with it to win the match.

    Rating: D-. This was supposed to be a brawl but it was a bad match. 7 punches and a cane shot? Give me a break. Kirschner is apparently one of the most legit tough guys in the history of the business and got thrown out of most major companies for being too rough. Based on this and his match at the Wrestling Classic I'd assume it's due to a high level of suck but that's just me. This was just barely long enough to warrant a rating and it wasn't any good at all.

    Battle Royal

    Now we get the most famous match from this show: a 20 man battle royal with ten pro football players and 10 wrestlers. This is going to go GREAT. Since most of you won’t know half the people in this I’m not going to list them all until the end. The big names are a still rookie Bret Hart, Andre the Giant, Big John Studd and Bruno Sammartino. For the most part this is a run of the mill battle royal.

    It’s little more than a bunch of punching and kicking against the ropes as we get down to the big names. Oddly enough the celebrity commentator is the only one that gets anything right. Gorilla says stuff like Studd has this guy in the corner when they’re almost in the middle of the ring, or Ernie Ladd who was a wrestler saying no one wants Andre when he’s beating someone up. Amazing.

    The only really famous thing in this match is a football player named William the Refrigerator Perry getting eliminated by Studd but then offering a handshake and eliminating him. The Iron Sheik eliminates Hillbilly Jim just as he would in the gimmick battle royal 15 years later at WM 17. The final four are the Hart Foundation, a football player and Andre. Do I need to really give the details on this? Andre beats up the Harts to win the match after launching Bret out in a press slam.

    Rating: B. It’s a bunch of football players and 80s wrestlers with a few great workers. Nothing special, but considering what they had to work with this is just fine. The football stuff didn't lead anywhere which is kind of surprising as they set up a Fridge vs. Studd thing that never happened at all that I know of. This was just ok and at least the right guy won it. Andre would of course be in the biggest match of all time the next year.

    Tag Titles: British Bulldogs vs. The Dream Team

    Now we have what is likely the best match of the whole show. It’s a classic 80s tag match with the British Bulldogs, and Ozzy Osbourne in their corner for God alone knows why to face the tag team champions of the Dream Team Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine. You can tell they’re serious here as this has a sixty minute time limit.

    The ring looks small here for some reason. Gorilla asks why Ozzy is there too which means he’s confused like I am. There are two referees here which I doubt will mean anything for the most part. Smith vs. Valentine to get up. The ring is all loud here still.

    The Bulldogs were so fast with those tags and this is no exception at all. Valentine won’t tag out for no apparent reason. He counters a backdrop though and here’s Beefcake. Small package by Dynamite get two. Fisherman’s suplex by Davey gets two. I guess he’s not perfect. After Davey gets beaten on for a bit Dynamite comes in and slugs it out with Valentine.

    The champions cheat a bit and they still can’t take over. I never got the appeal of the Dream Team but to be fair it might be that Brutus was just awful at this point. Valentine gets a Piledriver on Dynamite but falls forward so it kind of looks like a tombstone but with Dynamite’s stomach facing out. That was kind of cool looking.

    Bulldogs clear the ring as things speed up a bit. Davey gets the powerslam for two as it wasn’t a finisher but just a signature move at the time. The champions work over Davey as momentum changes hands a lot here tonight. They work over the arm, including with a shoulderbreaker from Valentine.

    However he shows his idiocy by pulling Davey up at two. Nice job you lunkhead. And there’s the idiocy coming through as for no apparent reason Dynamite gets on the middle rope and Davey rams Valentine’s head into Kid’s for the knockout shot and falls on Valentine for the pin and the titles. That ending came from NOWHERE and Dynamite is out cold from the shot which is kind of amusing for some reason. That’s Albano’s 16th title win as a manager. Hokey smoke.

    Rating: B-. Fun stuff but the ending was just so freaking random. I don’t get the ending as it was like they looked at the clock and realized they had no time left and were like oh crap we need to finish this. The Bulldogs were a good team and were a huge step up from the Dream Team. They would lose them to the Harts in about 8-9 months so the tag division was starting to roll at this point.


    Los Angeles

    Ricky Steamboat vs. Hercules Hernandez

    We move to the final and by far the worst of the three locations as we’re now in LA, beginning with Ricky Steamboat against Hercules Hernandez. This was supposed to be Bret vs. Ricky in the big showdown match for Mania. I'm not sure what the showdown would be for since for all intents and purposes they had no feud that I know of but a little face on face action never hurt anyone, even though Bret wasn't a face at the time so scratch that line.

    They start off kind of fast but not fast enough for anything to mean much. This was a different era so matches like these were really commonplace. There's no feud or anything here and Hercules is just a big power guy that had been given a fairly decent push so he's getting to fight one of the best guys in the company at one of the biggest shows of the year.

    There is almost nothing to say here though as I've been watching for a few minutes and nothing has happened at all. Well at least nothing worth talking about that is. Hercules goes for the backbreaker as this is before the Full Nelson made him the original Chris Masters. Relatively standard Steamboat match which means it’s at least passable. Herc is the big powerhouse that beats the hell out of Ricky, makes one mistake and the Dragon makes his comeback. The flying body press ends things as always.

    Rating: C-. And that's almost all for Steamboat. I liked Hercules for some reason but for the life of me I don't get the point in having him be considered a better prospect than Bret was. This was the epitome of a throwaway match with nothing special at all going on in it and nothing of note to talk about really. I sat there for minutes at a time with nothing of note so I apologize for the most history based match here.

    Adrian Adonis vs. Uncle Elmer

    Now for the odd match of the night, we have Adrian Adonis, playing a controversial gay gimmick at the time, against Uncle Elmer, a fat hillbilly character. The crowd chants a certain homosexual slur at Adonis to start the match which he prances around the ring to.

    This match is slow and mostly painful as the smaller man in the match weighs about 350lbs. When he’s your agile guy, you know this isn’t going anywhere. Elmer punches him and literally falls off his feet from it. Quite sad actually. Adonis has his dress, yes dress ripped off and it’s just hideous. Elmer beats on him some more but misses a leg drop. Adonis hits a top rope headbutt and gets the pin.

    Rating: N/A. I never got the appeal of either of these characters and thankfully Elmer wasn't around much longer. Naturally he got a tape mainly about him and his family because that's the way the 80s went.

    Junkyard Dog/Tito Santana vs. The Funks

    In the next to last match of the night, we have the Funks against JYD and Tito Santana. This is another filler match that had no point at all other than two faces against a heel team. This is a much slower paced match as they do more old school stuff in there. Terry vs. Tito starts us off so we're certainly getting things started off on the right foot here.

    You have three guys that belong in the Hall of Fame and JYD who is in there because he was popular in the 80s making him a LEGEND. I still don't like him but he's more bearable than some people I can't stand. This is definitely a different style than most are used to. I'd like a bit more explanation as to why they're fighting but I think It's 1986 is about as close as we're going to get. Tito dominates for the most part here, hammering away on both Funks. He was completely awesome at this point if you didn't get that.

    Off to the Dog now and we get some boxing. A Texas man lost a fight to a dog. Don't bother going back to Amarillo I guess Terry. Someone please explain the appeal to me of the Dog as I just don't get it at all and never have. Dory plays Ricky Morton which just sounds wrong and gets beaten on in the corner for a bit. The forearm gets two as I guess Tito didn't have it perfected yet.

    Control shifts over to the crazy men and they beat down Tito for awhile as he's really playing Ricky Morton. That still sounds wrong. After a few minutes of basic offense from the Funks JYD comes back in and everything goes nuts. Terry is thrown to the floor where there are no mats. He might have legitimately hurt his knee or ankle there and I'm not surprised at all. With the referee not looking, Terry clocks the Dog with the Megaphone (Jimmy was managing them which I forgot to mention) and the heels steal one.

    Rating: B-. Pretty fun match here with the Funks being all evil and the thrown together face team doing whatever they could to get the win. Granted that didn't happen but at least they tried. This was a better match than I remember it being and while it's still mainly formula stuff it worked rather well. I liked it and granted three of the guys being all time greats helps a bit.

    WWF World Title: Hulk Hogan vs. King Kong Bundy

    This is a cage match and the only one in Mania history if you don't count the Cell match at Mania 15 which most people don't. The story behind this is Bundy jumped Hogan at a SNME and hurt his ribs, which hadn’t healed yet. Hogan wrestled against doctor’s orders with tape all over his ribs. Simple but effective but kind of too simple as this was more or less thrown together about a month ago.

    This is a very not surprising match with Bundy going for the ribs and Hogan having to fight through the pain. It's solid because it's Hogan doing what he does best but the total and complete lack of drama or anyone really caring for the most part is hurting it. Also having Jesse as lead announcer is a very odd choice.

    Bundy rips the tape off of Hogan's ribs like a good heel and Hogan messes up as always by trying to pick Bundy up and of course he can't do it. There's nothing special going on here at all but it's working for the most part. Ah there's the Hulk Up. Very surprisingly we get a power slam here and not the traditional slam. Maybe his ribs really were hurt. He ties up Bundy and goes over the top to retain and end the show.

    Rating: B-. It’s Hogan against a monster heel not named Andre. What are you expecting here? This was his bread and butter and the fans popped for the end (only) so I guess you can call this a success. I'm a sucker for Hogan matches in the 80s so I'd say there's probably some bias in the rating but who cares? Fairly solid match but nothing unique about it at all other than the cage aspect.

    Overall rating: C+. While certainly better in the ring than the first Mania and including some storylines this time, the three venues thing is just a mess. There’s really only two or three very good matches here and I’d call maybe the tag title match Mania worthy. Other than that there’s a lot of filler and it’s more or less 1-2 big matches per location with the rest being all filler.

    This show suffers from trying to do something that had never been done before, and while they did indeed do that the overlooked one major point: the new thing they did wasn’t a good idea. It’s really not that good of a show overall. Watch the highlights if you want to, but don’t waste three hours watching it from start to end.
     
    #9
  10. Shocky

    Shocky Kissin Babies and Huggin Fat Girlz

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    Good Thread KB. Essentially I agree with the consensus of Wrestlemania I being nothing more then a glorified house show. It was, but you also have to remember, context. There was no national TV deal set, pay per view was in its infancy, and the WWF was just beginning to come around as a national power. Essentially Wrestlemania was a knee jerk reaction to the NWA creating it's supercard in Starrcade, and an attitude of anything you could do, I could do better.

    Wrestlemania I was pretty bad, nothing great, nothing terrible. I only remember Greg Valentine and JYD having a pretty good matchup for the IC title, I remember the Body Slam challenge and Heenan grasping the bag, and then I remember the clusterfuck that was known as the Main Event featuring a guy named Mr. T. Pretty much all you need to know about Wrestlemania.

    Then Wrestlemania II was the first pay per view that I remember watching "live" at least I think it was. I was 5, and vividly remmeber the Image of Hogan atop the Steel Cage ripping his shirt off with the title belt around his waste. Overall though this is the worst Wrestlemania ever to date, yes even worse then Wrestlemania 11. The only thing you can remember from Wrestlemania II that was remotely positive was Roddy Piper vs. Mr. T, but even that ended in a joke. The Dream Team vs. The Bulldogs was probalby the only solid match of the entire card. I tried to watch this again last year, and the entire pay per view was terrible. The celebrity announcers calling color comentary was horrendous, the Battle Royal was a mixture of NFL Players and Wrestlers, and the card had Uncle Elmer, that's bad.
     
    #10
  11. WrestlingHistorian

    WrestlingHistorian Pre-Show Stalwart

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    A great thread indeed.

    I felt WrestleMania II was taking risks by being held in 3 different locations, but it didnt hurt ticket sales and it gave it a "country-wide" appeal, but it definatly was an odd concept. Anyhow, the matches that stick out to me would be the main event of course, the battle royal that took place between WWF/NFL stars and the Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship match between Savage/Steele. But again, this even kind of suffered from a house show appeal at the time, but that would fade with WrestleMania III, but I did feel WM2 was a better attempt than WM1.

    The image that everyone will always remember from this event was the shot of Hogan standing on top of the cage before the match and tearing his shirt off, classic stuff.
     
    #11
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  12. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    Wrestlemania 3
    Date: March 29, 1987
    Location: Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac (Detroit), Michigan
    Attendance: 93,173
    Commentators: Gorilla Monsoon, Jesse Ventura
    America The Beautiful: Aretha Franklin

    Now we hit the big time. This is the first time when Wrestlemania was built up as the mega event and also it’s the first time we get a few Mania traditions. For one thing, it’s the first time we get the huge main event. While the tag match and Hogan/Bundy were big matches, to say they were nothing compared to Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant is the understatement of the century.

    It was also the first time we had a Mania that featured a really big midcard match in the form of what might be the greatest wrestling match of all time. There was far more backstory to these matches this time which is always a good thing as it causes far less filler. It can easily be argued that this right here is the true birth of Wrestlemania as we know it.

    Can-Am Connection vs. Bob Orton/Don Muraco

    That being said, let’s get to the first contest! Shockingly enough, it’s kind of a filler, but at the same time it really doesn’t feel like one. We have the short lived tag team known as the Can-Am Connection (Tom “Z-Man” Zenk and Rick Martel) against Bob Orton and Don Muraco, managed by Mr. Fuji. Now the CAC was an interesting team. They were kind of the Rockers before the Rockers.

    Both were young, in shape, handsome, and fast paced workers. They were in line to be the face challengers to the Hart Foundation but Zenk left after a strange argument that we’re still unclear on and Martel was paired up with Tito Santana to form one of my all time favorite tag teams in Strike Force, who went on to beat the Harts for the belts.

    But anyway onto the match. Yet again, about as basic a tag match as you can get with speed against power and that’s a combination that rarely fails. This is tag team wrestling 101 and it’s done about as well as you could ask for in a situation like this.

    CAC plays the role of the young kids that aren’t that experienced against two veterans getting their first shot on the big stage to perfection. Orton gets his arm worked on and completely no sells it less than a minute later which just made me shake my head. This match boarders on a squash as the CAC are really never in trouble at all and win with a cross body on Muraco.

    Rating: B+. The lack of selling by Orton and the absolute dominance by the CAC keep this from being a great match but for a warm up match for Wrestlemania that was designed to get the crowd into the show, this was done perfectly. I think I voted for this as best Mania opener ever, which I still think isn't a stretch.

    Hercules vs. Billy Jack Haynes

    Next up we have Hercules against Billy Jack Haynes in a battle of the full nelsons. Simple story here: two powerhouses that both use the full nelson. A few weeks prior to this, Haynes had offered to let Hercules put the hold on him to see if he could break it. Hercules, a heel, attacked him and knocked him out with the hold, leading to this match at Mania.

    The match starts off pretty fast with some hard hitting shots. Hercules takes over and all this seems to be about is getting the full nelson on the other. It’s really just a brawl which is fine as they keep it relatively short here. It’s always fun to see two big strong guys hammering on each other. Hercules has the pin and pulls him up which leads to the comeback.

    Hercules gets the hold on first but it’s not on full which lets Haynes get up. Haynes eventually gets his nelson on but Hercules launches both of them to the floor where Haynes gets the hold again but we get a double count out. Haynes chases Heenan and Hercules blasts Haynes with the chain and Haynes is busted open really deep sending blood everywhere.

    Rating: C-. Decent match between two brawlers that was given the right amount of time. It wasn’t supposed to be a classic and it wasn’t. This match was all about a single hold and that’s what ended the match. Went as well as it could have so it gets a decent grade.

    King Kong Bundy/Lord Littlebrook/Little Tokyo vs. Hillbilly Jim/Little Beaver/Haiti Kid

    There’s little story to this if any and why midget wrestlers are involved is beyond me. Bob Uecker is on commentary which is good as he’s fairly funny for someone that has no wrestling experience. The rules are simple here: big vs. big and small vs. small.

    This match if nothing else proves that Bundy against Hogan was thrown together because there was nothing left. He goes from main eventing Wrestlemania to this? WOW. This is pretty short with the midgets doing most of the work. I get the idea here is that they're supposed to be professionals and interesting but how can you argue that they're anything but a novelty?

    They go back and forth with Uecker giving some funny commentary. I'm not a fan of these kind of matches at all. They fill time here which isn't saying much until Bundy is tagged in. Hillbilly gets beaten down by him and then Bundy slams and elbows one of the midgets causing a DQ. Hillbilly carries him to the back in what is a far cry from Superman carrying Supergirl but I'll take what I can get I guess.

    Rating: F. Seriously, what were they thinking here? This match managed to get a few minutes on the biggest show of all time. I guess you could call this the final remnant of the old days when midget matches were popular, but I'm still not getting the point of this. Nothing match and a total filler if there ever was one. And again, how did Bundy fall so far in a year?

    Elizabeth Promo. This doesn’t happen as Macho comes in and says he’ll answer any questions the interviewer has. The interview never happens as Macho sends Liz away.

    Junkyard Dog vs. Harley Race

    Limited story here. Race was the King of the WWF at the time and on a SNME he had faced the JYD. JYD had said he wouldn’t bow to anyone and after Race had knocked him down he tried to force JYD’s head down to bow. The loser here has to bow to the winner. Race stalls like the true old school master that he is. Heenan gets involved and there goes Dog after him.

    Naturally this fails him completely but since Dog has a very hard head most of Race's shots have little to no effect. Race goes for a headbutt on the floor and Dog moves so Race rams his face into the floor. That can't be nice at all. Gorilla and Jesse argue about managers which is always entertaining. You could tell there was a lot of respect between them.

    Abdominal stretch goes on and Gorilla of course complains about it. Did he ever not complain about that hold? Race goes for a headbutt and nearly knocks himself unconscious in the process. Nice job there champ. On all fours now, which Gorilla says is Dog's favorite position. Heenan gets up on the apron and allows Race to recover and catch a belly to belly to win it.

    Rating: D+. Nothing special at all here as it was another four minute match. The right guy won though as Race was far better as far as wrestling talent went but it was surprising to see a guy like Dog, who was very popular, losing like this mostly clean. This was fine I guess.

    Post match Dog bows but then pops Race with the chair and steals the crown and robe like a true jerk.

    We hear from Hulk Hogan in one of the best cocaine induced promos ever. Seriously, if anyone believes that these Hogan promos aren’t drug induced then they’re far beyond what I can help. Hulk apparently thinks today is a big deal.

    Rougeau Brothers vs. The Dream Team

    Before we get a really weird promo from Johnny V and Dino Bravo on the Rougeaus. Johnny V is nuts but I like him. On with the match. The Dream Team is Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake if you were wondering. The key to this match is the Dream Team arguing for the entire match for no good reason.

    Brutus tried to break up a sleeper but hit Valentine by mistake. Rougeaus hit their finisher but Bravo comes in, hits one of them and puts Valentine on Rougeau. The other three then leave Brutus in the ring, signaling the start of his face turn that lasted until 1994.

    Rating: D+. Didn't do much as it was more for the angle than the match obviously. Not a bad match at all, but nothing mind blowing. This was another way too quick match that I couldn't get into due to simply being too short. Also the Dream Team is worthy of a major blowoff like this? Really? Pretty weak little match but technically pretty ok.

    Adrian Adonis vs. Roddy Piper

    Now we get to another of the famous matches here in Roddy Piper’s retirement match which has become a running joke in wrestling. The idea is that Piper went down with an injury and when he came back, Adonis had taken over Piper’s Pit and turned it into the Flower Shop.

    They beat on each other for awhile until Piper thought he was an actor because of They Live (I’m here to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and I’m all out of bubble gum) so he decided to retire. Since then he’s wrestled on and off for over 20 years. A key to this match is both men use the sleeper hold as their finisher. The loser is going to get a haircut apparently.

    Adrian is in his most famous gimmick here so Piper, being the MAN'S MAN that he is, hated him. There was a lot more homophobia in wrestling back then, at least in kayfabe. Well not really as any character like that is treated oddly. Those ring carts are still sweet stuff. Adonis says he'll win. Piper busts out a belt and wipes out Adrian with it before taking a few shots of his own.

    Hart gets involved a few times as this is little more than a comedy match for the most part. He finally gets something right though as he pulls Piper's leg to give Adonis the advantage. Piper gets sent into the table and it's all Adonis here. Back in the ring now with Piper saying bring it on.

    Jimmy sprays perfume in Piper's eyes and Adrian gets Good Night Irene, his sleeper finisher, and Piper goes down fast. He drops twice but Adrian lets go before the third drop, thinking he's won. Brutus Beefcake runs down to wake Piper up (Adrian had accidentally cut Beefcake's hair recently so it makes sense) and Piper gets his own sleeper to end this.

    Rating: C+. It’s a standard Piper match which is always fun. This was just a comedy match but at the end of the day piper's career was never about what he did in the ring so how can I really complain here? This was no classic or anything but it was fine and the fans cheered a lot because of it. PIper didn't wrestle again for over two years so Piper lived up to his word for a good while at least.

    Post match Beefcake cuts Adonis' hair. A fan runs in as he leaves.

    Hart Foundation/Danny Davis vs. Tito Santana/British Bulldogs

    This match is pretty much all backstory. Danny Davis used to be a referee but he would cheat for the heels. He cheated Tito out of the IC Title and gave it to Macho Man and cheated the Bulldogs out of the tag titles and handed them to the Harts. He was banned “for life plus ten years”, which lasted about a year or so and he was back again as a referee. The idea here is that he’s completely inept at wrestling and all of his opponents want to kill him and Jimmy Hart, including the Bulldogs’ bulldog Matilda.

    Davis will run in and kick someone maybe twice and then bail, more or less making this a 3 on 2 handicap. Hearing the commentators sing Bret’s praises is nothing but amazing as his singles push wasn’t coming for at least another year and a half and his real singles push was almost 3 years away. The kid really had talent and you can see it here.

    Before the match Jesse went down to ringside to be introduced to the crowd so we have Gorilla, Bob Uecker and the host of Entertainment Tonight so the commentary is just bad right now. Uecker has some good one liners but the woman is just mindblowingly annoying. Davis misses a splash letting Tito get tagged in and he nearly kills Davis. The faces alternate with just beating the living fuck out of him including a tombstone from Davey which was just odd to see for some reason.

    The ending of the match was just awful though. Davis gets the hell beaten out of him taking all three of the faces’ finishers with the last being the powerslam. Bret breaks up the pin, and less than 10 seconds after getting powerslammed, Davis gets the megaphone tossed to him and drills Davey with it for the pin.

    Rating: C. The ending was just horrible to me as Davis, a referee, no sells a tombstone, the forearm and the powerslam? With guys like the Bulldogs, Santana and Hart in there, this should have been great. At best it was ok and the ending lost that for them.

    Heenan and Andre do a promo here with Andre looking absolutely creepy by not moving an inch. Weirdest part of this interview: Heenan is at least 4 inches taller than Okerlund.

    Butch Reed vs. Koko B. Ware

    Remember how I said there was less filler on this show? This is some of that filler. There’s no reason at all here for this match other than to let Reed get a squash here and then the post match attack. The best part of the pre match stuff is a shot of Jesse and Gorilla in the broadcast booth which is at least a few hundred feet away from the ring with Jesse showing off his Wrestlemania 3 t-shirt.

    As he shows it off he starts showing off his bicep and the way he talks about it is just funny. Anyway, on with this waste of time. If there has ever been a match of a weird combination this is it. Koko is the epitome of a jobber. What did he ever win in his whole career? Reed on the other hand is a great example of someone that had it all but never could put it together. He was even lined up to be a member of the Horsemen.

    He had the look, the name, the power, everything you could want but he never could put it all together and I’ve never been sure why. Anyway, this is a pretty bland match as Reed reverses a bad cross body and uses the tights to win. After the match Slick beats up Koko with the cane until Tito runs out and beats up Slick for some reason and rips up his suit.

    Rating: N/A. This match was a bad squash. It had no point and the match was just boring. Easily the worst match on the show.

    Savage rants about how he's going to end this tonight.

    Steamboat says the Dragon is going to scorch Savage's back.

    Intercontinental Title: Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat

    I think I now know why the previous match was in the place it was. There’s nothing I can really say about this match that hasn’t already been said. In case you don’t know the backstory, here it is. About 3 months before Savage had been defending the title against Steamboat and during the match had put Steamboat’s throat over the guard rail, went up top and landed a double axe handle, driving him throat first into the rail.

    Steamboat had a crushed larynx and allegedly his career was over. Savage had a match on Superstars and Steamboat’s music hit and the crowd went insane. Epic staredown ensues and the match was made for Mania. Between then and Mania, George Steele kidnaps Liz to continue their year long feud so Steele was in Steamboat’s corner.

    Savage can't keep up with him to start and Steamboat dominates with armdrags and then a big old choke. Steamboat works the arm and Savage is in trouble early. Savage throws him to the floor though and now it's Ricky in trouble. Very nice back and forth stuff to start. Savage goes for the throat which is the part of Steamboat that he hurt earlier so there's your reasoning.

    They keep going back and forth with Steamboat hammering away to get Savage caught in the ropes. They're moving rather fast out there and Dragon keeps throwing out that armdrag. Ton of near falls in a row for both guys. Dragon Skins the Cat but gets knocked back to the floor. Savage hits a knee to the back of Steamboat to send him over the table and into the crowd.

    Jesse yells at Gorilla for saying Steele helping Steamboat back in is cheating and calls Gorilla out of being hypocritical when another heel manager helped his guy back in early. Double axe to the back of the head of Steamboat on the floor and the count is on. Gorilla wants Savage disqualified for some weird clothesline thing. That was odd.

    Savage gets a gutwrench suplex for two. Here comes Steamboat again though and he sends Savage over the top with a beautiful bump to the floor. He jumps OVER the referee to hit a big chop on Savage for two. They crank it up again for more near falls all over the place. Savage eats post on a slingshot and that only gets two. He manages to grab Steamboat and send him into the post shoulder first.

    And there goes the referee. Savage gets the elbow but there's no referee for the count. Randy goes out to get his trust bell but Steele shoves him off the top and his head cracks into the bell. Both guys are down though. Savage picks him up and in the famous ending, Steamboat rolls through into a small package for the pin and the title to blow the roof off the place.

    Rating: A+. As I said before, likely the greatest match of all time. Nothing but an A+ the whole way with these two beating the living hell out of each other and never slowing down a bit. Apparently all of these spots were planned out months in advance in Savage's house in Florida which worked very well as there are zero bad spots here that I can think of. Excellent match and something everyone should see at least once if not more than once.

    Jake Roberts vs. The Honky Tonk Man

    This all started on Jake’s interview segment the Snake Pit where Honky hit him with a real guitar. See today, the guitars Jeff Jarrett uses are fake. They’re made to explode the way they do. The one Honky used was a real one and didn’t break.

    Some of the material legitimately got stuck in Jake’s neck and allegedly that’s what got him addicted to alcohol and drugs to alleviate the pain. Believe that if you want to. Anyway, that more or less started Jake’s face turn and for God knows what reason, rocker Alice Cooper is in Jake’s corner. Also factor in that Jimmy Hart is deathly afraid of snakes.

    There’s really not much here. It’s about 7 minutes long so it gets some time but Honky really hadn’t established the character that made him legendary yet, so this isn’t what you’d expect. It’s a very slow paced match that was I think designed to give the people a breather after the IC Title match. They go back and forth for awhile but Jake goes for the DDT and Jimmy grabs his foot. Honky rolls him up and grabs the rope for the pin. After the match, Jake and Alice torment Jimmy with the snake to end things.

    Rating: C. It’s nothing special and is little more than a breather for the fans between the two mega matches. This was allegedly a double turn according to some people but that is just stupid as both guys already were in their more famous roles. This was a pretty ok match but dude, they're following Savage vs. Steamboat. Like anyone cares about what happened here.

    We get Gene Okerlund to announce the world attendance record of 93,173. No matter what you think of the show, that’s freaking amazing. This also gets you the beginning of the long running joke with Jesse and Gorilla of Jesse wondering whether or not he and Gorilla are counted in that.

    Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff vs. Killer Bees

    More or less the same review of the previous match but in tag team version. This is another filler to bridge the gap between the two big matches. As Volkoff is singing, Jim Duggan runs out with the 2x4 and stops the song. This is a really dull match with the Bees using fast moves against both big guys but eventually getting caught.

    Duggan is on the floor playing cheerleader throughout the whole thing. Duggan starts chasing Volkoff for some reason while Sheik has one of the Bees in the camel clutch. They go into the ring and Duggan looks at Sheik and for no reason at all, blasts him over the back with the board. Even the commentators are at a loss for why he hit him. It just made absolutely no sense at all.

    Rating: D. This match was boring as hell and the ending made less sense than an Iron Sheik promo. Again this was just filler and a way to get the crowd all fired up for that whole biggest match of all time thing coming after it. There was very little thought in this one as the buildup was weak on Superstars. All that being said though as I said in the previous rating, dude they're right before Hogan vs. Andre.

    World Title: Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant

    This match has been called the biggest match in the history of professional wrestling and that very well may be true. It was the first true super main event in Wrestlemania history. Here’s the story: Hogan and Andre used to be friends and even tag partners. They celebrated together when Hogan won the belt over 3 years ago. Hogan ran in to save Andre a few times from being beaten up by Bundy and Studd.

    Fast forward a year and Hogan is being given a trophy for being World Champion for three years. Andre is given a slightly smaller trophy for not losing a match in 15 years. He looks at the trophies and just walks away. A few weeks later, they have a face to face interview on Piper’s Pit. Andre tilts Hogan’s head up at him and says “Look at me when I’m talking to you. I’m here for one reason: to challenge you for a world championship match at Wrestlemania.”

    Hogan is stunned and says he can’t do it. Andre grabs Hogan’s shirt and the cross he wears and rips them off, stunning Hogan. Piper asks him if he’ll fight him and Hogan screams YES!!! You really have to understand how big this was at the time. Andre was like Taker as far as mystique goes, but 10x moreso. This would be like Hulk Hogan coming back today and challenging John Cena to a match.

    Hogan cuts one of the most famous promos of his career before the match, saying that the world is going to fall at his feet after the match. Hogan always had that little hint at implying he was God in his promos but never flat out said it.

    Andre comes out and the booing is mindblowing. In something that I find funny, he waves to the fans on the way down to ringside. Jesse gives the tale of the tape, which is all of Andre and Hogan’s measurements, showing that as big as Hogan is, Andre is so much bigger. Bob Uecker is the guest announcer and after introducing Andre, says three simple words: and, his opponent. After that, the fans just lose it. Hogan’s music hits and nothing else matters at all.

    Gorilla puts it best by saying “The roof of the Silverdome is about to explode here!” In a great camera shot, you get a wide angle shot of the arena with the spotlight on Hogan which really shows how this whole show has been building to this one moment. Hogan gets in the ring and it’s on. I won’t go into detail here either as I’m sure you’ve all seen this at one time or another. Every word of commentary is famous here as I can almost quote the whole match to you.

    Within 15 seconds, Hogan goes for a slam and we nearly get a pin. That is a point that is used for over a year as Hogan might not have gotten his shoulder up in time. The way the camera is set up you really can’t tell if he did or not. This was something that a lot of people, Hulk included, were worried about going into this match. See, today in wrestling, no one would ever change the ending to a match. In this case, Andre had agreed to lose.

    The problem that Hogan had was if he did a single thing during the match to offend Andre, Andre would pin him and there wasn’t a damn thing Hogan could do if Andre chose to do that. That’s how big and strong Andre truly was. There wasn’t a man in wrestling that could legitimately beat him in a real fight at the time.

    He easily could have turned it into a shoot and annihilated Hogan. That’s where the controversy came from: when Andre landed on Hogan, Hogan literally couldn’t kick out. Andre shifted his weight at the last second and Hogan got a shoulder up just in time, but it was so close that it looked like the match lasted 15 seconds.

    The in ring work here is really pretty bad, but no one cared. This match was all about the meaning of what was going on and the truly epic nature of the match. No one really knew who was going to win here and it was a legitimate possibility that Hogan would lose. Andre more or less beats the living fuck out of Hogan the whole match until the very end. Hogan gets some shots in here and there that do some damage and Andre is clearly worn out at the end of it.

    The crowd is almost stunned that Hogan is being dominated. They brawl on the floor for a bit and then head back into the ring. Andre misses a boot and Hogan clotheslines him, knocking him down. The fans go insane at the sight of this. Hulk Hulks Up and he has the crowd in the palm of his hand at this point. In what might be the most mous scene in the history of wrestling, Hogan slams Andre in a completely unplanned spot.

    Even the commentators are in awe at this point as Hogan drops the leg and wins the match. Andre was so bit at the time that Hogan ripped his ab muscles to pieces slamming him and was out for a few months. The music plays and Heenan and Andre get into the cart that takes them to the back as Heenan has his head in his hands, wondering what just happened. Hogan poses as we close the show with the fans absolutely going nuts.

    Rating: A. The match itself is pretty bad but the historical significance is second to absolutely nothing. Now I've seen a lot of people (including his majesty Mr. Meltzer) say this was a horrible match and all that jazz. In short: SCREW YOU ALL. Get the damn sticks out of your asses and have some damn fun for once. If you don't get chills watching the staredown and the slam, then go watch something else.

    You have Hogan and Andre who can barely move at all. What are they supposed to do out there? The entire idea here was to have a major showdown and that's exactly what they did. THis match was epic, still is epic and will always be epic. Anyone that says this wasn't a great match that did exactly what it was supposed to do is a fool, and i don't care who I have to argue this with.

    Overall Rating: B+. I went back and forth between B+ and A- here. This is the first truly historic Wrestlemania and the first to truly be the spectacle that is has become today. Easily the two biggest matches are the singles title matches that are still incredibly famous today. There’s far less filler than before and the matches have much more solid stories to them.

    This show is more famous for its historical aspect than the in ring stuff and that’s just fine. It’s not the best Mania of all time, but it’s up there. Definite recommendation to see this if you never have, or if you just haven’t watched it in awhile, if nothing else just for the history lesson
     
    #12
    IrishCanadian25 and NSL like this.
  13. Mighty NorCal

    Mighty NorCal SHALL WE BEGIN?

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    WM3 was ridiculous. From the amazing size of the crowd, to the epic showdown, THIS is what wrestlemania is all about. Never after have we seen a showdown of this magnitude, although I personally feel it could be argued that Ultimate Warrior Vs Hulkster in front of 68 thousand at the SkyDome could be argued as equal. Regardless. There is just no way to describe Hulk Hogans entrance, how load and chaotic it was. Hulkamania running wild by the strength of very nearly 100,000 people.

    The staredown at the beginning of that match was the stuff legends are made of. truly cinematic. Awesome.
     
    #13
  14. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    Norcal is right. The sight of Hogan coming into the Silverdome with the long walk down the aisle and the spotlight on him is absolutely amazing. The fans had been waiting all night long for one single moment and this was it. Andre and Hogan looked like good versus evil and it came off perfectly. Nothing else mattered at that moment and the match came off as well as it could have. Absolutely sweet show and amazing moment.
     
    #14
  15. Steamboat Ricky

    Steamboat Ricky WZCW's Living Legend

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    Mania III definitely stood apart from I and II. Mania I was cramped and tight around the ring, much like a traditional boxing match. I found this to be very distracting from the in-ring stuff. Mania II was just kind of a chaos...essentially Wrestlemania I in 3 different locations. It was definitely a crazy idea, but I think it took away from the event. Mania III, however, indeed was the beginning of Wrestlemania as we know it today. The attendance record itself shows the direction that the WWF was taking with the show...in that it was to be far more than just an ordinary wrestling show. It was a wrestling show combined with an awards ceremony and the Super Bowl.
     
    #15
  16. WrestlingHistorian

    WrestlingHistorian Pre-Show Stalwart

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    This is the WrestleMania that put the world on it's ear, and from coast to coast and all over the world all eyes were on the main event. I remember I was 9 at the time I believe, and I can remember adults, kids and teenagers all over the place were talking about who was going to win and apparently there were even bookies taking bets on the title match according to my dad. It was really big stuff at the time. I watched it live with my parents and I remember being crushed when Steamboat beat Macho Man because Randy Savage was my favorite wrestler at the time, but looking back it's not so bad now and it was a classic bout. I loved the fact that there was so many people there and the card was like 16 or 17 matches, thats what a WrestleMania should be about, showcasing matches and doing it in front of a massive live audience. This was wrestling gold people.
     
    #16
  17. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    Wrestlemania 4
    Date: March 27, 1988
    Location: Trump Plaza, Atlantic City, New Jersey
    Attendance: 18,165
    Commentators: Gorilla Monsoon, Jesse Ventura
    America The Beautiful: Gladys Knight

    This show was in a way a turning point and in a way a step backwards for the WWF. There was no way that Wrestlemania 3 was going to be topped. The problem was, after Hogan had beaten Andre the previous year, there was no one left to challenge him that would be seen as a legitimate contender. The only option was a rematch with Hogan and Andre, but Andre was hurting badly here and would need time off after the match.

    Also, the title had to be taken off of Hogan for awhile to refresh his character. Now this whole show is based around one incident that took place two days after I was born on a live broadcast called The Main Event. After everyone had seen Hogan allegedly get pinned the previous year, we all needed a rematch. In between there was a new PPV developed called the Survivor Series that was established solely to continue Hogan and Andre’s feud. Now that is a sign of a huge feud.

    So, on February 5, 1988, we got one. Hulk Hogan against Andre the Giant for the World’s Heavyweight Championship on free television. You may hear about Raw getting a 4.3 and it being huge. This show got a 15.8. That is a record that has never even been remotely approached and never will be. Anyway, this time around Andre had Ted DiBiase in his corner. Hogan knocks Andre down and leg drops him, but there’s no referee because of Virgil, DiBiase’s body guard.

    Hogan goes after Virgil as Andre gets up. Andre headbutts Hogan a few times and lands a butterfly suplex and covers him. Hogan clearly gets his shoulder up at two but the referee doesn’t stop his count. Andre is declared the champion and immediately hands the belt to DiBiase, who had spent months trying to buy the title from Hogan. Immediately after this, another referee comes down that is literally identical to the referee that just called the match.

    It’s the Hebners, that no one ever knew were identical twins. On Sunday, the President of the WWF Jack Tunney declares the title vacant and announces a one night, single elimination, 14 man tournament to determine the undisputed champion. Hogan and Andre both get byes into the second round as they were the two that started all this.

    If you can handle anymore history about this show, this was also one of the first true battles in what would become WCW vs. WWF. WCW (the NWA but for the sake of sanity we’ll call it what it would become), had a PPV in November called Bunkhouse Stampede. Vince had come up with the Survivor Series and wanted to force WCW out of the spot.

    He threatened to not allow the PPV companies to air Wrestlemania if they didn’t air the Survivor Series instead of Bunkhouse Stampede. The PPV companies gave in and a huge majority aired Survivor Series while only a handful aired WCW’s show, which they had initially agreed to show. Fast forward five months and it’s time for Wrestlemania 4. WCW is still ticked off about November.

    One thing you have to factor in is PPV was a VERY different thing back then. In 1986 there was 1 WWF PPV which was Wrestlemania 2. In 87 there were two, 88 had 3 with the introduction of Summerslam and 89 had 4 which I believe was the standard until 1991 or 1992. It wasn’t until about 1996 that the PPV schedule became what it is today. But anyway, WCW had to retaliate so they came up with what was called the Clash of the Champions.

    What this was more or less was a PPV on free television. Beginning at the same time as WM 4 but ending almost two hours earlier, COTC clearly pulled away a lot of viewers. It was headlined by Sting vs. Ric Flair for the World Title in what just about everyone agrees was the night Sting established himself as a legitimate superstar. The war was on and it would heat up soon but we’ll get to that later. Let's get to it.

    20 Man Battle Royal

    Boris Zhukov, Brian Blair, Danny Davis, George Steele, Harley Race, Hillbilly Jim, Jacques Rougeau, Jim Brunzell, Jim Neidhart, Jim Powers, Junkyard Dog, Ken Patera, Nikolai Volkoff, Paul Roma, Bad News Brown, Raymond Rougeau, Ron Bass, Sam Houston, and Sika.

    After that long winded explanation, the show is underway in a completely unrelated 20 man battle royal. There’s a huge trophy for the winner which just looks out of place in a wrestling match. Before the match Bob Uecker joins up with Gorilla and Jesse for the first match. Also on the show is Vanna White but she won’t be seen until later. Anyway back to the match.

    Big names in this include Bret Hart, Bad News Brown who I always was a mark for, JYD and Harley Race. It’s really a who’s who of the midcard and not much more. This is the first of 16 matches on the card so this is going to be a LONG night. A subplot in this match is George Steel who is in the match but never actually gets in the ring. Pretty standard battle royal with various people punching and kicking each other as people are randomly eliminated.

    The final three are the JYD, Bad News Brown and Bret Hart. The heels team up on JYD and eventually eliminate him. The pair agree to split the winnings but Bad News hits an enziguri on Bret and throws him out. Post match, Bret comes in and beats up Brown before destroying the trophy.

    Rating: C. It’s hard to rate battle royals as it’s really just waiting until the end. Not much here but the post match stuff is fun to see. It’s time for the first match of the tournament which has time limits of 15 minutes. Robin Leech reads a proclamation that no one cares about to kick us off.

    First Round Match: Jim Duggan vs. Ted DiBiase

    Before the match, Jesse explains that only winners advance and that in the case of a draw both are eliminated. First round matches have 15 minute time limits, second are 20 minutes, third are 30 minutes, and the final has no limit.

    DiBiase has Andre and Virgil with him for this match. Pretty simple match as we have a power brawler against a technician. Pretty back and forth which is fun but you knew the way this was ending before it starts. Duggan goes for his finisher and Andre grabs his foot and punches him as DiBiase hits him with a knee and pins him to advance.

    Rating: C-. Fine for what it was, but predictable. Duggan was more or less a walking definition of cannon fodder here as DiBiase was destined to go on to the finals here and continue to be the top heel in the company. This was a decent enough match but it really wasn't anything special at all.

    Beefcake talks about winning the IC title tonight.

    First Round Match: Don Muraco vs. Dino Bravo

    Bravo has Frenchy Martin with him who was a pointless manager that was around for a year or two. Muraco has Billy Graham who has him wearing tye dye. This leads to Jesse continuing one of his running jokes that Graham stole the idea from him. Gorilla counters with “Graham was world champion once too.”

    Jesse says that he never went for it that hard and Graham beat a weak champion. Funny antics always. Anyway, this is power vs. power here and not incredibly great. They trade power moves and holds for awhile until Muraco starts to get the advantage. End comes when Muraco hits the ropes and Bravo pulls the referee in leading to the DQ.

    Rating: D+. Nothing of note here in a rather boring match. Muraco was again just filling in space and not really worth much. Bravo was floundering around for the vast majority of his WWF career and this was certainly no exception. Pretty boring match and it never went anywhere at all.

    Bob Uecker is with the Honky Tonk Man who says Brutus isn’t going to cut any hair tonight.

    First Round Match: Ricky Steamboat vs. Greg Valentine

    Now this match is a match that changed Steamboat’s career. Allegedly he asked for some time off to be with his newborn son and Vince said no way. Dragon was gone a few months later and was in the NWA again, although he would up as a world champion there, so take it however you want it.

    What are you expecting here? Of course the match is solid. It’s back and forth all match with Dragon chopping the hell out of Valentine and then bumping like a madman. We see a shot of Donald Trump at ringside. Dragon and Valentine go back and forth and put on a solid match with Dragon pulling away at the end. He goes up for a high cross body but Valentine rolls through it and uses the tights for a pin.

    Rating:C. Not bad but not great, could have been very good with another 7-8 minutes. These two are the epitome of old school and the match more or less was as well. Valentine could have been something very special if not for Hogan coming in and changing wrestling for all time. Steamboat was gone very soon after this.

    Bulldogs and Koko have trained Matilda to be a weasel dog. Heenan’s nickname was Weasel in case that made no sense at all.

    First Round Match: Randy Savage vs. Butch Reed

    Reed has a great chance for the upset here don’t you think?

    *steps on all the crickets*

    Reed was supposed to be a big deal but that never came to pass. He was even scheduled to be a Horseman but again it didn't happen. I never got the appeal of him but that's just me. Liz looks GREAT in blue. Reed struts to start and Savage can't get anything going for the most part. Again I ask those that say Savage was a power guy: when was this ever the case? I've never seen it.

    Jesse and Gorilla agree that Steamboat losing to Valentine is an upset. That's rather odd indeed. This is rather boring to put it mildly. Reed hits a fist drop off the middle rope for no cover as it's all Reed here. Savage gets some punches in but gets his head taken off with a clothesline. Reed goes up to the top like an idiot and talks FOREVER before getting slammed off. Elbow sends Savage to the semis.

    Rating: D. Too short to get anything going but the elbow is always as sweet as hell. Reed's jawing was just kind of stupid and I don't get the point in having him dominate the vast majority of this one only to have a pair of moves end this. It wasn't horrible but it needed more going on than what it had if that makes sense.

    Heenan and the Islanders say that they’re not worried about Matilda or the Bulldogs.

    First Round Match: One Man Gang vs. Bam Bam Bigelow

    I can feel Irish’s jaw hitting the floor from here. Bigelow has Oliver Humperdink with him while Gang has Slick. Those might be the best manager names ever. Gang continues to be one of the worst big men of all time. Bammer is impressing me here, even throwing up a cross body block. For a guy weighing 393, that’s damn impressive. Bam Bam dominates and is going for something but Slick pulls the rope down sending him to the floor for a count out in a cheap finish.

    Rating: N/A. Decent clash of titans but the ending was just awful. Bigelow was supposed to get a huge push soon after this and it just never came, which I believe was due to a knee injury. Again though with less than three minutes, how into it can I get when almost a minute of that is brawling on the floor?

    Hulk Hogan then says that he’s going to slam Andre in one of the most insane promos I’ve ever seen. He talks about the fault line breaking off and everyone falling into the ocean and how Donald Trump would be smart enough to let go of his materialistic possessions and dog paddle with his wife and kids to safety.

    Then Hogan talks about taking all of the Hulkamaniacs on the largest back in the world and dog paddling and backstroking all the way to safety. If they’re on his back and he backstrokes, wouldn’t they kind of drown? God bless cocaine.

    First Round Match: Rick Rude vs. Jake Roberts

    Rude is about as perfectly evil as you can be and he plays it beautifully. Jake’s music was just awesome always. This match is solid but a tad boring. One of the great things about it though was you had no idea at all who was going to win it which to me is what makes a match better. What’s the point in watching a predictable match barring being a diehard fan of either person in it?

    There was a red hot feud between these two a few months before this and it didn't ever get the proper blowoff that it should. This match is about fifteen minutes long and maybe 5 minutes or more is chinlock. Jake escapes and goes for the DDT but can't get it and then back to the chinlock. The draw is clearer than any draw should possibly be. They might as well just have a big sign advertising it.

    These two go back and forth but the pace is just too slow. Crowd breaks out a boring chant more than once. Jake keeps wanting the DDT the whole match and Rude keeps trying to get out of it. Finally we get down late in the match and the draw looms over us. After a much better ending, we get to that point and the One Man Gang is in the semifinals.

    Rating: D. Solid ending but getting there was a bit painful. I think this match is 40% chinlock. Don’t like the draw either. There were stretches of probably five minutes where I had ZERO to talk about due to it being nothing but bare basics and chinlocks. The crowd is officially dead now so hopefully we get something to perk them up again.

    We go to a big bracket to see Vanna White give her limited thought on the tournament. Nothing special here. Vanna looks better with straight hair.

    In case you got lost, here’s the updated brackets

    Hogan vs. Andre

    Dibiase vs. Murago

    Savage vs. Valentine

    Gang gets a bye and is into the third round already

    Ultimate Warrior vs. Hercules

    Nothing special to this feud at all as they're simply fighting over who is stronger than who. Nothing more to it than that. No entrance for Herc here. Warrior is nothing special at all here and is just a guy that destroys jobbers and runs to the ring. They ram into each other which gets them nowhere and then lock up.

    Three clotheslines from Hercules take down Warrior which stuns Jesse. This is a lot of striking and the occasional power move. In short, it's very boring indeed. They fight on the floor and tease a countout but get back in in time.

    Warrior gets the punches in the corner but Herc gets an atomic drop out of the corner. Full nelson goes on mostly but Hercules can't get the fingers locked so Warrior can walk up the turnbuckle and drop backwards before shooting a shoulder up for the pin. Warrior clears the ring with the chain post match.

    Rating: D. Oh man this was bad. Neither guy was worth a damn thing but at least it was short. This was a rather boring match and somehow Warrior would be in the big undercard match the following year and the main event the year after that. This was pretty bad though but like I said it was only about five minutes long.

    REALLY long recap of the Hogan Andre feud.

    Second Round Match: Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant

    Andre has DiBiase and Virgil with him for this. Much faster pace than last year’s match which to me is an improvement. Andre just goes off to start this match. Hogan breaks it up with some running punches/forearms but DiBiase gets on the apron. Hogan rams them together with the all time best name move: the Double Noggin Knocker. Andre’s offense here is just so simple that it’s great.

    This is one of those matches where you can tell Andre just has nothing left so they're going with REALLY basic stuff to make it look like he's still awesome when he can barely move. It says a lot that he wrestled at two more Manias and appeared at #7.

    Hogan gets in control, Andre chokes him. Hogan gets knocked down, Andre sits on him. Hogan starts running, Andre turns his back to him and Hogan falls down. It’s so simple yet so effective. Hogan comes back and signals for a slam but DiBiase cracks him with a chair as the ref is distracted. Hogan nails Andre with the chair, Andre hits Hogan with it in one of the worst chair shots I’ve ever seen. Not because of how Andre swung but Hogan just looks awful taking it.

    Someone with Hogan swinging first it’s a double DQ and both men are eliminated, meaning the winner of DiBiase and Muraco is in the finals. Hogan hits a running chair shot to knock Andre down then chases off Virgil and DiBiase before going back to slam Andre and pose.

    Rating: C. These two getting together is always awesome and the faster pace made it a lot better this time. That being said, the match wasn't much at all. Andre was DONE at this point and everyone knew it. He was trying though so I'll give him a ton of credit for that. The ending was the only real way to get rid of both of them to set up a new champion so that’s fine too. Just not long enough to be a great match though.

    Randy Savage says good things about Hogan but says one of the Mega Powers will win the title.

    Second Round Match: Ted DiBiase vs. Don Muraco

    Winner goes to the finals. Muraco tries hard here but absolutely no one thinks he has a chance in this match. This is one of those matches that you could easily have cut out and no one would have really cared at all. It's ok and Muraco used to be awesome. The problem is that now he's nothing special at all and everyone knows it.

    DiBiase gets dominated early on but catches Muraco in the corner with a slingshot kind of move to break the momentum. Matches like this show me just how good DiBiase is in the ring. He’s simply a master out there. His bumping is just amazing. I wish he would have gotten a run with the title around this time as he certainly was at the top of his game as a heel.

    I'm still trying to figure out why this match is getting PPV time. Do we need five minutes for this match? It's Don Muraco for crying out loud. Muraco charges at him but is picked up and lands a great stun gun to get the three count. Good finish.

    Rating: C+. As short as it was I liked this match. It showed what DiBiase could do when he was on his own and that he really was indeed a solid wrestler. Muraco is a great foil for him as he’s trying hard but is just outmatched. Fun little match all around and very few if any mistakes in it. Really liked it.

    Mr. Fuji and Demolition don’t like Uecker or Strike Force. Demolition was just awesome in all regards. Their promos were no exceptions at all.

    The Fink reminds us that because Snake and Rude went to a draw that the Gang is in the semifinals already.

    Second Round Match: Greg Valentine vs. Randy Savage

    Same idea here as in Steamboat and Valentine. Do you really expect a bad match from these two? The battle of the elbows begins and it’s pretty solid the whole way though. There’s almost no wasted movement in this match which is just awesome. As expected, it’s all Valentine to start.

    Hammer was a guy that could have been a lot better and something really special if not for the whole Hogan changes wrestling forever deal. He was that good back in the day and a world title contender. Time passed him by though and it showed badly.

    He works over all of Savage without much of an emphasis on the knee. Valentine was the resident Figure Four dude at this time so it would make sense for him to go after. I guess that's why he's going to lose here.

    Savage just starts going off on him from out of nowhere which is just kind of cool for some reason. It’s finally broken up when Savage goes for an axe handle from the top and gets punched in the stomach. Savage reverses the figure four into a small package even with Valentine’s should clearly up.

    Rating: C+. Seriously, what did you expect here? Of course it’s a solid match. Fast paced with a good ending means a good grade. It was a bit too short to get anything going but they tried at least. Savage would obviously go onto bigger things but Valentine's career had pretty much peaked by this point.

    Vanna White is back again. She’s still annoying.

    Intercontinental Title: Brutus Beefcake vs. Honky Tonk Man

    Standard Honky Tonk match with him just getting beaten to death as the face looks like there’s no way he can lose. Here’s a few reasons why Honky is miles ahead of Santino. The commentators talk about how he’s the luckiest wrestler alive. He also gets some offense in. A big reason is because Santino tries to be funny. Honky tries to be serious and comes off as funny. Subtle, yet a key difference that made Honky better.

    Finally, Honky had a signature move that won him matches. Honky was just much more believable as IC champion and this is a prime example of it. Brutus runs Honky around to start and nothing comes out of it. Jimmy gets involved and Honky takes over. His offense was shall we say limited? This goes on for far longer than it's possible to stay interested for. Gorilla and Jesse crack jokes to fight the boredom.

    Brutus puts on the sleeper but Hart hits the ref with the megaphone. Peggy Sue, Honky’s girlfriend (played amazingly by Sherri Martel) pours water on Honky to wake him up after Brutus chases Jimmy Hart under the ring and is seriously looks as if he’s trying to rape Hart. Just a bad image. He pins him down to the stairs and cuts his hair. Honky wakes up and runs with Hart.

    Rating: D+. Decent match, but standard for Honky. He never really got away from that one formula of his which is kind of good actually. It worked, so why change it? When you blow the roof off the Garden like they did when he finally lost the title you must be doing something right. Match was nothing you wouldn't expect from a Honky IC Title defense.

    In for some reason one of the most famous promos of all time, Andre runs into Bob Uecker and reveals that DiBiase’s master plan centered around Andre eliminating Hogan. Uecker tries to mention something and Andre chokes him in what I believe was an unplanned spot.

    Islanders and Heenan against Koko B. Ware and the British Bulldogs

    Backstory-the Islanders had dog napped Matilda a few weeks ago for no good reason. This is the Bulldogs’ chance to get revenge. Koko is there because they needed a third face that could fill up a spot. Heenan comes out in an attack dog handler’s outfit which looks like an untied straight jacket. Cool idea actually.

    This is more or less seven and a half minutes of this: the heels beat down a face, Heenan gets in like two kicks, the face gets up because Heenan only got in like two kicks, Heenan runs and tags out, we repeat that.

    Pretty bland match here that is a filler. Heenan does a little but nothing of significance. Islanders launch Heenan into the air to slam him down onto Koko for the pin. Exact same thing they did last year with the Bulldogs.

    Rating: D+. Filler that was the same match that happened in the previous year’s six man. Did they really think that little of the Bulldogs? Can you tell I'm getting bored with this show? This is another great example of a match that had no business being on this show. It wasn't any good anyway and the dog did nothing between the beginning and ending.

    Jesse Ventura poses for the crowd. DiBiase is announced as having a bye into the finals.

    Semi-Final Match: Randy Savage vs. One Man Gang

    You know the drill by now. Savage gets beaten up, comes back, gets beaten up a little more, Slick throws in the cane, ref sees it, DQ.

    Rating: D. This match was more or less nothing. We knew almost as soon as Hogan and Andre got eliminated what the finals would be. Why should I care about this match when there’s not even an elbow?

    For some reason we see Vanna White talking about the tournament AGAIN and still no one cares.

    Tag Titles: Strike Force vs. Demolition

    Strike Force had been champions for six months at this point but are somehow still considered transitional champions. Demolition had been around a little over a year at this point but were just now the dominant force that they became famous for being. Martel and Smash start us off. Jesse thinks that the Boston Crab, the move that won the titles for Strike Force, won't work on Demolition because they're too big. The hold beat Jim Neidhart though. That's kind of an odd statement to make Mr. Governor.

    Jesse can't tell Demolition apart. We get a big brawl seconds in and finally get back to the starters. Does that make Tito the first guy off the bench? Strike Force hits double teaming to start which causes Jesse and Gorilla to fight a bit. Tito plays Ricky Morton for a bit as the big guys pound on him.

    Tito gets the forearm out of nowhere to put Axe down. Jesse says he learned that in the MFL: the Mexican Football League. I give up. Off to Martel who cleans house. He manages to get the Boston Crab on Smash who is screaming. Fuji gets up to distract the referee and drops the cane, which promptly is wrapped around Martel's cranium. Smash crawls on top to win the titles.

    Rating: C-. This was about as formula based as you could get but the pop at the end sends it over the peak a bit. Demolition looked awesome here and would go on to hold the titles for a mind blowing year and a half which is never going to be touched. Strike Force was more or less done here as they lost the rematch and Martel was out for about 8 months and he turned heel in his first match back with Santana. Nothing great here, but certainly historic.

    WWF World Title: Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase

    This was a very interesting match at the time because no one knew who was going to win it. That to me will always make a match better. From what I’ve heard the original plan was to have Hogan get to the finals with DiBiase and lose thanks to Andre, eventually getting the title back at Summerslam while Savage would win the IC title from Honky either here or at Summerslam. However, Honky refused to do it and they made this the plan. I like the first one better I think.

    Anyway, Andre and DiBiase are here against Savage and Liz. Andre keeps cheating so Savage whispers to Liz and everyone knows what’s coming as for about two minutes no one is watching the ring. This is about as simple of an explanation as you could ask for regarding the problems that would plague Savage's reign.

    What possible reason do we need Hogan out there for? Rather than having him out there and taking part of the spotlight, why not have Savage make the Superman comeback and get the title on a rollup when Andre can't make the save? Instead we have Hogan coming out there, making himself the focus or at least half of it. This right away makes Savage look like a weak champion because Hogan made the save and Savage would have lost without him.

    This is the kind of stuff that Savage would be paranoid about and have big delusions over over time. They’re proven right as Hogan comes through the curtain to even the odds. Savage looks dead in the ring which is what he’s supposed to do. The fans are all looking at him now because he's the new thing they see out there. Anyway, DiBiase mostly destroys Savage with nothing too special as Savage is just dead.

    Great false finish as Savage goes for the elbow and the place goes nuts but he misses it. Million Dollar Dream and Savage tries to get to the ropes but Andre pulls it back. Ref warns him and Hogan comes in and nails DiBiase with a chair leading to the elbow and a new champion! Post match sees something very interesting as Hogan, Savage and Liz celebrate. For those that can read lips, you can see Savage say to Hogan, “Please let me have my moment.” Hogan doesn’t leave, and that my friends, started the real life feud between these two.

    Rating: B. We had seen these guys WAY too much tonight which is the problem with tournaments. We just get sick of these guys. Savage had 4 matches at this show. He’s one of the best ever but four times in a show is just too much.

    Overall Rating: D+. The big problem is how predictable it is once Andre and Hogan are gone. After that you knew it would be Savage or DiBiase. Overall, this Mania is just too long. Ringing in at about 4 hours, there just isn’t enough here to warrant such a time. Savage winning was indeed mind blowing at the time and this show sets up a year’s worth of feuds including the first ever Summerslam where Hogan and Savage faced DiBiase and Andre.

    The main issue here is that there were sixteen matches on this. Think about that for a minute. SIXTEEN MATCHES. That's the vast problem here. Did we really need to see guys like Muraco and Bravo in the tournament? Or did we need to have the six man? This show really could have used 30-60 minutes cut out of it and then it would have been far more watchable.

    The other thing this leads to is Hogan and Savage trying to share the spotlight as the Mega Powers which ultimately leads to their split and the main event of next year’s Wrestlemania. Other than that, not a lot really comes out of this show. It’s a decent PPV if you want to see just about every 80s wrestler alive perform but if you’re looking for solid matches, just watch a handful of them or you’ll be asleep by the middle of the show.
     
    #17
  18. NSL

    NSL Life's A Bitch, And Then You Mosh

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    This just came up on WWWE 24-7 today, so I made my son sit down with me and watch it. It wasn't as great as the first time I saw it, and I understand what you mean by "glorified house show". He totally marked out though. Interesting...

    I'd agree here. Santana looked amazing, but there really wasn't much chemistry going on here, and it brought it down a little. To anyone who has only started wrestling recently, please watch this match, and see Santana execute a picture perfect dropkick. It was pretty. Pretty enough that I hit rewind and watched it again.

    Yep. That's about it. Bundy's promo was interesting, and SD was definitely way too hyped up to get squashed. Three avalanches isn't worth putting on a WrestleMania. Hindsight is 20/20 I suppose.

    This match was the first time Zack went nuts. He loved seeing Steamboat in the ring, and even I was flashing back to being 5 years old and seeing him wrestle. He's a true ring technician, and it showed here. Borne wasn't bad, but his job was basically to sell anything Ricky did.

    I think you rated this too high. David didn't do anything special the entire match, and didn't even do much once Johnny V and Bruno hit the ring. Brutus looked great, but it was odd not seeing him as "The Barber" yet.

    This match had me scratching my head. the ending was horrible, and the match really didn't look good. Valentine did his part, and JYF looked good when he kept it to punches and kicks, but the headbutts threw me off. I know it was the gimmick, but it looked really stupid, and had me regretting being a fan of his. Even my son said "What the heck is he doing?", when JYD was on all fours and charging at Valentine.

    This match kind of surprised me. I didn't remember it at all from previous viewings, but it was really good. Rotundo and Windham were pretty impressive, and Sheik and Volkoff played a good heel throughout the match. The crowd was even into it, which makes me wonder why the current WWE treats the tag titles like the red-headed stepchild.

    I can't help but agree here also. The wrestling was pretty bad, and we all knew the slam was coming. There was no way that Andre was going to lose, and Studd was hated way too much for people to not want to see him slammed. It was pretty unexpected how it happened thouh. Match was slow, and the slam came quick.

    Lauper was great here. Richter put on a good show in the ring, but Lauper really sold this as a main event to me. Richter's promos were great, and Lauper's energy was excellent. We all knew who would win, but it was fun to watch anyway.

    The match itself was a little hokey, and didn't scream "WrestleMania main event" to me. Piper's entrance was great, and his heat was amazing. I can't help but be stunned that so many people forget what a great heel he was. He was main-eventing the first ever WrestleMania, getting a ton of heat, and played his gimmick as great as ever. Orndorff was pretty basic here. Mr. T was a lot better than I remember, and sold the match well. Hogan wasn't at his best, but he didn't need to be. The ending baffled me a little. If WrestleMania was meant to make Hogan a star, how could they let an Orton mishap decide the outcome? And, no hulking up? No leg drop? It was all just odd. And, Liberace crepped me out a little.

    I agree with just about everything you've siad here. Except, anyone watching needs to watch Tito and Steamboat's matches as well. They weren't either of their bests, but they were great in the ring, and no one should miss an opportunity to take it in.
     
    #18
  19. TheOneBigWill

    TheOneBigWill [This Space for Rent]

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    I almost feel remotely guilty and bad, because you wrote a huge ton on this Pay per view and you have amazing review ability.. and I'm gonna shit all over it, because of this one tiny paragraph.

    Bottomline.. it's shit. The match, yes, absolutely was horrid. But the historical significance is honestly just as bullshit. In the end, I'm sorry, it will always be Andre the Giant (more or less, just that, a 'random' Giant) against the mega star of the Company.

    It's like David against Goliath more or less. Only, I think more people felt David was honestly going to die, and I doubt anyone even back then, felt Hogan had any chance of losing.

    You said it was unplanned for Hogan to bodyslam Andre, but how do you know? Because kayfabe said so? Were you there? That spot couldn't of seemed more planned to be the mega portion of the match. And Hogan tears something, to add to it. IN the end, the "biggest historical moment" is honestly the worst put together piece of shit in the history of the company.

    It's surrounded by a horrible match, a Giant that was truly beginning to have a hard time moving around in general, and a guy that (as you said, that I never knew) hurt himself by merely bodyslamming someone, that apparently he wasn't suppose to, to begin with. (which means, he broke away from what was meant to happen) One of the W.W.F's greatest moments was arguably one of their worst, and the ONLY.. I repeat, ONLY thing that makes it worth remembering.. was the fans reaction. Because back then, they weren't who we are, now.

    WrestleMania III might of been better than I and II, but not because of this match. Because the fans interacted a billion times better, to most of the whole show.

    This Mania truly does recap what all WrestleMania's have strived to become. Entertaining, through mirrors and magic tricks. (so to speak) Savage/Steamboat was about the only match, actual match, that was worth remembering for being great in-ring work. But in the end, especially in today's industry.. it's not really about in-ring work anymore, so much as storylines that build up the match itself.

    The funny thing is, Hogan/Andre isn't in all honesty as big as Hogan/McMahon, through a "historical standpoint". But because the time span between those Mania's are so different, Hogan/McMahon barely causes a ripple, while Hogan/Andre caused a fucking Tsunami. It's all in how the fan's interacted.. and the fans from that era, will never be matched, especially to the IWC filled arenas of this era.
     
    #19
  20. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    Have to disagree on Hogan/Andre, as I already did and I was hoping someone would go here.

    I've been watching the mid 90s Manias lately and Bret is on top at this point. Over his career he's said that the reason his time on top wasn't as successful was mainly due to one thing: no one gave him the rub. I think he's got a great point here. We all knew how great he was in the ring and no one is going to argue that. However, he has the same issue that JBL had when he was thrown into the main event: neither man had the big win to put them there. Bret never beat Hogan, Warrior or Savage to give him that moment that people could look at and say, "Bret Hart just got the defining win of his career." That really hurt his early time with the belt because he wasn't looked at as a main event player for a long time but as a very good midcarder that was in over his head. At WM 9 he is defending the title and is viewed as a huge underdog. had he beaten been rubbed the right way, that might not have been the case and the mid 90s could have been different.

    My point to this is simple: Hogan beating ANdre was that rub. I definitely agree that the match is shit because it is. However, this match is all about the significance of what happened. It cememted Hogan as the undisputed top guy around. Until then, people could point to Andre and say he could have a claim to the title. When Hart was on top people could say "who did he ever beat." Had hogan not beaten Andre, people could have said who did he ever beat? His biggest feud for the title at that point had been with who, Orndorff and Bundy? (the Piper feud was rarely over the belt that I remember). Hogan needed the huge title win and that's what Andre gave him.
     
    #20
  21. TheOneBigWill

    TheOneBigWill [This Space for Rent]

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    I suppose that could be possible, but even at best that's a stretch to me. Why? Because Hogan had been the top guy within the company for like what, 2-3 years prior to that, as their Heavyweight Champion already.

    So clearly, he already WAS the top guy, and people rallied behind him long before the monster opposition in Andre. What's more, Andre, to my knowledge, wasn't even a big factor in the W.W.F until right before that big feud. I could be wrong, because I didn't watch a ton of wrestling from that era. I've tried, and I try to lock my hands on anything I can get ahold of.. but from a Pay per view, mega television stand-point.. I seen NO Andre, except for something I recall with Big John Studd, that may or may not have happened pre-Hogan/Andre.

    And all in all, if Hogan was half as great and big as everyone blows loads over claiming he is.. then he never needed "that one defining match", because his entire career roughly from beginning to end, was it in general. Hogan's look, his charisma, his character, his overall presense was what pushed Hogan over. Not Andre, and not 3 years after they'd decided to surround the entire company around Hogan.
     
    #21
  22. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    Andre was kind of like Taker is now. No he wasn't really a factor in the title hunt, but no one forgot that he was there. A big part of the buildup to the match was Andre was finally deciding to ask for the title shot. It was like everyone knew he could be champion if he wanted to but he just never went for it. Right now, Taker could be put into the title picture and hardly anyone would complain, but he doesn't need to be.

    It's true that Hogan was teh top guy, but so was Bret for a few years before he began to get the respect he deserved. It wasn't until he put on the mind blowing matches with Shawn, Austin, Owen and Taker that people started treating him like the true superstar that he was. Had he beaten Hogan or one of the other big stars at the beginning of his time on top, Hart would have been viewed as a legit main eventer far earlier than he already was. It was like he was a main eventer in training for his first two years or so on top.
     
    #22
  23. NSL

    NSL Life's A Bitch, And Then You Mosh

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    I have to disagree here. Andre was huge in the company before Vincent K bought it from his dad. When Hogan started as a heel, it was against Andre, and he used to get his ass handed to him on a routine basis at MSG. Andre wasn't just another big guy in the WWF. He was the big guy in the company, and dominated the squared circle until the Hulk Hogan we know and love arrived.

    KB got it right. The Hogan v. Andre match is important because without it, we don't have Hogan like we do today. Andre could've went shoot on him and ended it, and possibly derailed his career. He could've won any other way, and it would've been boring. But, because he slammed Andre, on the grandest stage of them all, he was solidified as the man to beat.

    Like Flair always said, "To be the man, you've got to beat the man." Hogan ebat the man at WrestleMania 3.
     
    #23
  24. WrestlingHistorian

    WrestlingHistorian Pre-Show Stalwart

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    WrestleMania IV was special to me because I have always been a Randy Savage fan and to see him go through some great talent to win the World's Championship was a thrill and an honor for me! A lot of people dislikes WM4 but it still stands out as one of my favorite ones ever, maybe even top 5, and I will never forget being 8 years old and jumping up and down when Randy pinned DeBiase for the big win. Those days are solid gold to me....
     
    #24
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  25. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    Wrestlemania 5
    Date: April 2, 1989
    Location: Trump Plaza, Atlantic City, New Jersey
    Attendance: 18,946
    Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon, Jesse Ventura
    America The Beautiful: Rockin Robin

    This show is more or less the WWF waking up and realizing that not announcing your main event until 20 minutes before it happens isn’t really a good idea. The tagline for this show was very simple: The Mega Powers Explode! Simple concept that’s as old as wrestling itself: Hogan helps Savage become champion, Hogan gets the spotlight even without the belt, Savage’s jealousy gets the best of him and he snaps over a certain incident.

    In this case, the incident was on my first birthday in a tag match with Akeem and Big Boss Man against the Mega Powers. Savage got tossed through the ropes and landed on Elizabeth. Hogan carried her back to get help and Savage was left all alone. They argue in the back with Savage cutting the best promo of his life as all of the anger he had stored up inside him erupts and he attacks Hogan to set up this showdown for the gold. Liz says she’s going to try to remain neutral in the main event.

    The Women’s Champion sings America the Beautiful and does an ok job at it. Kind of a bland voice though.

    Haku vs. Hercules

    This match is part of a very unnoticed storyline where Hercules was part of the Heenan Family but was then “sold” to Ted DiBiase. This upset him and Hercules said he was a free man. He went on a small war with Heenan’s stable and I guess you’d call this the climax of that. The feud was nothing at all and it went nowhere as Hercules just wasn’t over at all. This is a power vs. power match that pleasantly surprised me as it has a fair amount of solid wrestling on it and not just all power.

    The powder blue tights just don’t do it for a guy with the name of Hercules. Donald Trump is in the front row again which makes sense as he owns the place. Haku is really getting outworked here. Hercules’ offense is a lot more diverse as opposed to chops and bearhugs with a kick thrown in here and there. That’s kind of the storyline of this whole match too and you can see that in the ending.

    Haku is the King of Wrestling here and for some reason that isn't on the line in this match. It was an odd kind of semi-title where you would be proclaimed king and get to wear a crown and have a bunch of muscle jobbers bring you out on a throne but other than that it never really went anywhere. Savage got it and held it for like a year or so and it more or less died after that.

    This is about as bland as you can get but it's surprisingly decent. Hercules worked better as a face because here he has something to fight for in his own pride. Back when he was a heel he had nothing special about him and was just a generic henchman. He's more interesting and well rounded here though which is what a turn is supposed to accomplish.

    Hercules lands a belly to back suplex into a bridge but shoots his shoulder up to avoid the double pin, which was exactly the same thing he lost to the year before. That’s a very subtle touch to his character that a lot of people don’t realize. It shows that he’s capable of learning something new and has adapted a new style over the last year.

    Rating: C-. There’s a story here and there’s some decent action, but at the end of it all it’s just not that great. Good and not boring, but not great. This wasn't much at all from a ring work standpoint but it was surprisingly good. I'm not sure why I like this match but I kind of always have and while it's certainly an odd choice to open Wrestlemania with, it's not bad.

    In the back we see a team called the Rockers. This Marty Jannetty guy is a freaking STUD. I could see this guy winning something like the IC title, maybe some tag titles or something like that. His partner just does nothing for me though as he’s bland as hell.

    Twin Towers vs. The Rockers

    Twin Towers are Big Bossman and Akeem, aka the One Man Gang in case you weren’t sure. Rockers had been around for a few months at this point but as they would wind up doing for their whole run they were still trying to find themselves as a team.

    This is about as simple of a story as you can get: power vs. speed and it works fairly well here. Akeem seriously may be the greatest gimmick of all time. For those of you that don’t know, One Man Gang and his manager Slick found out that he was of African descent, despite being the palest Caucasian you’ll ever find.

    He starts embracing his African roots and doing these weird dances and wearing weird outfits. To see him doing this is just hilarious and something that you should check out for a good laugh and I’d like to give whoever thought it up a ham sandwich.

    Cool spot where Bossman has Jannetty up in a bear hug position and Akeem just slams into him. Simple yet effective. Jannetty gets his ass handed to him the majority of the match. Slick screaming about how a black referee would count faster and wouldn’t cheat is just such a great touch when his wrestlers are whiter than snow.

    Becca shouldn’t watch this match as Akeem just about kills Shawn with one of the best clotheslines I’ve ever seen. Bossman kills him even worse with a spinning powerbomb and then a splash by Akeem and Shawn is finally given a break as the pin goes down.

    Rating: C. This was a solid performance by the Rockers but they really didn’t stand much of a chance. Some good spots make this quite passable though. What's with the back to back generic matches to start off the biggest show of the year though? Is this really the best they could find?

    Ted DiBiase is rich and likes to talk about it. He’s also got a new belt that he likes showing off.

    Ted DiBiase vs. Brutus Beefcake

    Hearing DiBiase having different homes for each season is just a perfect touch to the gimmick that makes him so much more fun to hate. Still say he’s the best heel of all time. Brutus finally has his awesome music here. Jesse describes Brutus’ pants perfectly: it looks like a grenade went off in his pockets. Ted talks to Trump before we start.

    What exactly did Brutus expect to do with those huge hedge clippers? This is a balance of the sleepers. According to Gorilla this is one of the reasons the fans are here for. Something tells me that's not the case. DiBiase cheats almost immediately as the heel he is. What a fall he's taken in a year. From the main event to this. Wow.

    We get a pretty nice back and forth sequence to start as both guys are moving pretty well out there. Jesse drops some names as they slug it out. It's turned into a standard kick and punch match which isn't interesting or anything but it fills in time pretty well I suppose.

    DiBiase gets a nice shot off the middle rope but doesn't cover or anything. Why do that anyway? No one gets pins off moves like those anyway. Brutus gets a small package for two. Double clothesline and Ted gets up first. There's the Million Dollar Dream but Beefcake gets the rope. More kicking and punching sets up Beefcake's sleeper. Virgil gets Beefcake on the floor and DiBiase follows, leading to a double countout. Gorilla kind of scoffs at the ending.

    Rating: D+. They were just kind of there. Pretty boring too. Nothing interesting here at all. I’ve always loved the falling punch DiBiase used. Just something sweet about it. This is power versus technician but it just doesn’t come off that way. Beefcake was supposed to be a power guy I think but he wasn’t that good at it. It’s also not a power move to use a sleeper. Yeah this match was pretty weak.

    There used to be a thing called the Bagels and Biceps Brunch. What the point of this was, I’m not sure but it apparently was a tradition. The Bushwackers, one of which licked my face at a house show, are about to face the Rougeaus.

    Bushwackers vs. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers

    The Rougeau’s music of We’re All American Boys is nothing short of bad ass. Just an awesome song and one of Jimmy Hart’s great touches. The Bushwackers are just out there even by today’s standards. How these guys lasted nearly 6 years in a completely different gimmick than they started with is beyond me.

    The Battering Ram is one of the dumbest yet most awesome moves I’ve ever seen. Now this is a match that I remember only one thing about. During a scoop slam, Luke of the Bushwackers clearly rubs Ray Rougeau crotch. It’s not on accident either. He puts his hand there and rubs up and down. Just a disturbing sight.

    Other than that this is nothing but a comedy match. The 80s were so awesome in the area of tag wrestling that they even managed to have jobber tag teams on a regular basis. There's nothing going on here with the Bushwackers running around for a minute, the Rougeaus controlling for two minutes and the finish. To end this in a hurry, Bushwackers win with their rib breaker move.

    Rating: D-. The crotch rub never fails to surprise me. Just not something I want to think about. The match completely sucked though and just never went anywhere at all. What is with all these fillers? DiBiase vs. Beefcake is by far the biggest matchup so far and even it is nothing special and could have been on any house show that year. Weak show so far and a weak match here.

    Sean Mooney, one of my all time favorite broadcasters gets licked by a Bushwacker while talking to some fans in a pointless segment.

    Mr. Perfect vs. The Blue Blazer

    Yes that’s Owen Hart under the mask. This is another match that is more or less just there for the sake of being there but it should be pretty good. Perfect is still undefeated here. Jesse thinks this is going to be tremendous. Hennig gets a nice hiptoss to start.

    He slaps the Blazer and doesn't get drilled as a result for some reason. Ah there's the slap and Owen speeds things up a bit. And then we slow them right back down. Baseball slide hits Perfect. Owen was WAY ahead of his time here as he could move like no one else could and was busting out Japanese and European stuff which was unheard of in America at this time.

    Blazer is dominating here as Perfect has no idea what to do with him. BIG top rope splash eats knees though. That looked awesome as he got way up in the air and nailed the knees perfectly. Jesse has a surprise for Gorilla.

    Powerslam by Blazer gets two and a belly to belly gets two as well. Jesse thinks Perfect has Mania jitters. Crucifix gets two for Blazer. And then a big shot gets Perfect the advantage. Perfectplex gets the easy pin.

    Rating: B-. Pretty solid little match here with both guys moving very well. It was speed/flying vs. technical style out there and it worked very well. It helps having two guys that can work a variety of styles. Perfect hit two moves the whole match which hurts this though. Still solid stuff and Owen looked awesome in this.

    Yet again, Jesse is introduced to the crowd as a “major Hollywood star” (he had done some supporting roles in some fairly big movies like Predator). There was apparently a 5K run with Mr. Fuji, in tuxedo and bowler hat, running in a decent time. He’s in the handicap tag title match later on if you’re wondering what the hell this is for. He finishes without even breathing hard and Lord Alfred Hayes suspects shenanigans.

    Now for something just completely out of place, Run DMC performs the Wrestlemania Rap. This thing goes on and on and on.

    Tag Titles: Mr. Fuji and Powers of Pain vs. Demolition

    Storyline on this: Demolition was by far and away the most dominant tag team the late 80s had ever seen. They held the titles for about a year and a half which is still the longest amount of time ever. They were brought in as heels around Wrestlemania 3 and won the belts at Wrestlemania 4. Sometime between 3 and 4, they got Mr. Fuji as a manager.

    Over the course of the summer, the fans realized how truly bad ass Demolition was and they began to cheer them. Around the same time, the Powers of Pain, comprised of the Warlord and the Barbarian debuted as faces. The problem was more people liked Demolition than the PoP. So what was the solution you ask? The answer was the incredibly difficult and even rarer double turn.

    At the 1988 Survivor Series, the teams had been feuding over the tag belts and were captains of their respective Survivor Series teams. Late in the match, Fuji pulled the top rope down and Smash fell over the ropes and landed on the floor. Ax got in Fuji’s face about it and Fuji answered with I’m The Boss! Demolition beat up Fuji and were counted out. The Powers of Pain helped him up and soon thereafter he was their manager.

    So all of that leads us here to the showdown with Fuji and his team in a 3-2 match with Demolition for the tag titles. Fuji does what Heenan did last year with a shot here and a shot there, but at least with Fuji he had a very successful tagging career, including a reign that at the time was the longest in the history of the title. This match is what you would expect from it.

    The formula is exactly what you would expect in a match like this. Demolition beats down the Powers, they beat them back, Fuji comes in and beats them up a bit, which is to say he kicks them twice, and then he runs away. This isn't anything we haven't seen a thousand times before and it's not particularly entertaining. Naturally it gets about 9 minutes.

    Demolition holds their own but eventually gets beaten up by all three, until Fuji makes a mistake. He misses an elbow from the top rope which is impressive in its own right, then eventually throws salt that was his trademark but misses. He’s then hit with the Demolition Decapitation, which might be the worst double team move of all time, and pinned.

    Rating: C-. I liked this match but then again I like Demolition. Fuji actually knew how to wrestle and was only in his early 50s at the time so he still could go in the ring to an extent. Demolition is a simple team at heart: beat the hell out of their opponents. That’s hard to mess up and they did it as well as any team ever did. The lack of drama hurts it a good deal though and it shows.

    Tony Schiavone tries to talk to Macho Man but gets thrown out.

    Ronny Garvin vs. Dino Bravo

    Umm, ok? What the point to this match is I have no idea, but after the introductions, Jimmy Snuka is introduced to the crowd for some reason. Literally, they announce Bravo and Garvin, and then the Fink says there is a special guest tonight. Snuka comes out in full apparel and to his music and gets in the ring and poses. He has absolutely nothing to do with this match and isn’t seen again all night.

    Anyway onto the match. I have never liked Ronny Garvin. The man just absolutely bores me to tears in the ring. How he became the NWA Champion and even defended it at Starrcade 87 is beyond me. Bravo was ok in the ring but just never really did it for me either. As I say that, Garvin puts on a sleeper which is perfect because I’m falling asleep watching this.

    In a strange ending (Thank God) Garvin is up in the corner punching Bravo but gets caught with an atomic drop and is side suplexed to pin him. Garvin gets up and hits Bravo and then uses what has to be the stupidest finisher of all time on Bravo’s manager, the Garvin Stomp. Randy Orton I believe has used this recently. He starts at the arm and goes around the body stomping the opponent. Just looks bad.

    Rating: F. I was bored to tears and don’t like either one. This is a biased rating and I could care less. This is a Ronnie Garvin match and therefore it sucks.

    Strike Force vs. The Brainbusters

    Strike Force (a breath of fresh air after that awful match that just aired) is teaming together for the first time in a long time. Martel was injured by Demolition and was gone for almost a year. In the time off, Santana wrestled in singles matches. Upon Martel’s return, he asked Tito to reform Strike Force which he eventually did. This is their first match back against Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard. After this match, the Busters would go on to feud with Demolition over the tag belts.

    It sounds wrong to hear Gorilla talking about a Horsemen match and calling them a couple of really tough dudes. Jesse and Gorilla bickering is always funny. it says a lot when Martel is by far the worst technician in a match. Big brawl to start and surprisingly Strike Force wins it.

    Martel gets a very nice counter from a body scissors into the Boston Crab. That was impressive. Everything breaks down and Strike Force gets a pair of Figure Fours which has to be at least a mini-rib on the Horsemen.

    And now we get the meat of the match as Tito accidentally drills Martel with his flying forearm and down he goes onto the floor. After about a minute Martel gets back up but he's all shaken up. The Busters work the referee and the tag rules like the masters that they are.

    Santana keeps trying to come back and finally does by slamming Arn off the top. Yeah that has to be a rib. Tito finally gets away and goes for the tag but Martel won't tag and then leaves, heading to the dressing room.

    Arn yells at Santana WHERE'S YOUR PARTNER to just be a dick. The ramp/aisle is really long here so it takes Martel like two minutes to get back. Tito fights back as well as he can but he's outnumbered and after a few minutes the spike piledriver ends it.

    Rating: B-. Half tag and half handicap so it’s unique if nothing else. I always liked both teams and I like what I see here. The post match promo is solid too so it gets a good grade. Very interesting here as this obviously causes the split between the two. They would feud on and off for nearly two years after this with neither one really winning the feud. What’s forgotten in this is the Brainbusters. They are their usually great selves and but on a solid match.

    Martel blames Tito and says it was Tito's idea to reform the team and all that jazz. This is his heel turn if you didn't get that. He wouldn't be a face again for like 8 years until he was in WCW.

    Piper’s Pit

    This gets one of the biggest pops of the nights. One of the funniest lines I’ve heard in a long time from the Fink: I am pleased to introduce to you a man who needs no introduction. We get a really long intro for Piper and out comes the man that creeped me out more than anyone else as a kid: Brother Love.

    Seriously, the guy had a red face. That’s just incredibly scary looking to a two year old. Throw in his voice and it’s just scary. His character was based on high energy Christian televangelists such as Jimmy Swaggert. You all might know him better as Bruce Pritchard who was a creative team member until a few months ago.

    Love then says his guest on the Brother Love show is Rodney Piper. He then imitates Piper in something that is either dead on or awful and I can’t tell which. He asks questions as Love and takes his glasses off and changes chairs to be Piper. Then out comes the guest, Morton Downey Jr.

    This show aired nearly 20 years ago and until I looked him up just seconds ago, I had no freaking clue who this guy was and I’ve seen this PPV at least 30 times. Turns out he was a talk show host that was the inspiration for Springer, Maury etc. His show was viewed as amazingly Right Wing based and he would often berate anyone that disagreed with him. He was later replaced by Rush Limbaugh.

    Anyway, Downey is smoking a cigarette which Gorilla refers to as weed. This made my jaw drop. Gorilla said he was puffing on weed. Gorilla Monsoon isn’t supposed to talk about weed damn it! Downey trash talks with Brother Love until they’re interrupted by the Fink who says Piper really is here. Out comes Piper for his first WWF appearance in 2 years.

    Piper talks down to Love because of the kilt that Love is wearing. He asks him questions but keeps pulling the mic away saying he doesn’t want to know that badly. I’d forgotten how funny Piper was in his prime. He turns his attention to Downey who is still smoking and keeps blowing smoke into Piper’s face which Piper doesn’t approve of. Downey keeps using the standard insults.

    My favorite line: Piper mentions that Downey used to have warts all over his face. Piper: What did you with the warts? Downey: I gave them to a homeless warthog. Piper: (without missing a beat) I didn’t know your girlfriend was homeless. Downey calls Piper is a transvestite before blowing more smoke in his face.

    Piper asks for a cig for himself. Downey turns to light it and for no reason at all, Piper has a fire extinguisher under his chair. In probably his second most famous bit after the coconut, Piper sprays him down and leaves.

    About as appropriately as possible, Downey would die of lung cancer in 2001.

    BREAKING NEWS-Hulk Hogan is making a movie! It’s called No Holds Barred. That movie truly was nine kinds of awesome.

    Sean Mooney is talking to Donald Trump. Apparently WM 4 and 5 have been successes.

    Jesse is PISSED OFF. Hogan is invading his territory because after he loses to Macho he needs a job. Jesse says he can drive his limo and storms off. Gorilla plugs the movie again and recaps the show so far. We get a video recapping the Mega Powers rise to glory and their split.

    Hogan says he can’t believe how this all came about in just a year. He goes into another of his insane promos about everyone being swallowed up by the Earth when the Trump Towers fall apart. Makes little if any sense. Then he talks about winning the title.

    Andre the Giant vs. Jake Roberts

    Big John Studd is the referee here for no apparent reason. He comes out to what would become Jim Duggan’s music oddly enough. No real reason is given as to why he’s the referee here. Andre is back with Heenan. The point of this match is Andre is terrified of snakes.

    This resulted in a scene on television where Andre had a “heart attack” when Jake put the snake on him, yet he’s wrestling again just a few months later. Remarkable. Around this time, Jake was insanely popular, arguably the third biggest face in the company after only Hogan and Warrior.

    Somehow before the match starts one of the turnbuckle pads is off and Roberts gets slammed into it. Gorilla says that Jake is like David against Goliath and Jesse says David had to use a foreign object to beat him which makes me want to write the Bible from a wrestling perspective one day. In a funny bit Andre chokes Jake in the corner and Studd goes to count Andre and you literally can’t see Jake other than his feet. Jake stood 6’5.

    It's your standard Andree match from this era. He just could not move to save his life at this point and was a complete shell of his former self. They do the tied up in the ropes spot and Andre is reeling. More pain and punishment goes in until Heenan gets the arm loose and here comes your unfriendly and not likely from your neighborhood Giant.

    Something happens in this match that I’ve never been sure of. Andre is throwing shoulders to Jake’s ribs in the corner and falls backwards and down to one knee. He doesn’t hit his head on anything that I can see. Always thought that was just odd. Andre and Studd finally fight while DiBiase of all people runs out and steals the bag with the snake in it. Roberts catches him and throws the snake in the ring to get rid of Andre. Jake wins via DQ.

    Rating: D. This is just a strange combination. Andre just didn’t mesh well with most because he was too damn big. Roberts tried his best but it didn’t go that well. Studd served no real purpose here at all either. They tried but it didn’t work that well.

    Sherri will get the title back apparently and doesn’t like Liz at all.

    Rhythm and Blues vs. The Hart Foundation

    The newly face Harts face off with their old manager’s new team of Honky Tonk Man and Greg Valentine. To me this was just before Bret’s prime. He’s so smooth in the ring that I’m gaining a new respect for him. The announcers refer to Pat Patterson as a relic. That’s just amusing.

    This is the most basic of basic tag matches I can remember in a long time. I mean NOTHING happens here. The faces start in control, the heels take over and dominate for a bit, then we get a hot tag and the finish begins.

    Honky hits the Shake Rattle and Roll on Bret but he tags in Hammer for the figure four which clearly is a mistake. Back and forth and Jimmy tosses in the Megaphone which is intercepted. After a solid shot to Honky’s shoulder Neidhart pins him.

    Rating: D+. Bret makes this one pretty good for a glorified squash. This went nowhere at all and it's MORE FILLER. We've had ONE match break ten minutes tonight: the Beefcake match got up to 10:01. That's saying a lot. Just another match that went absolutely nowhere at all.

    We get a recap of the Warrior/Rude feud. It involves a posedown and a lot of talking.

    Intercontinental Title: Rick Rude vs. Ultimate Warrior

    The idea of this is the two competed for who had the best body. They had a pose off at the Royal Rumble and Rude attacked the Warrior with a steel exercise bar. Not much of a story but this was the second biggest match on the card.

    For some reason that God alone knows, these two had freaks chemistry together. It’s rare to ever see a bad match between them. I have no idea why this is the case but that’s how it always was with them. To have one of the worst workers ever and another who’s character was great but in the ring wasn’t great but wasn’t bad either be able to put on such solid matches really is a strange thing.

    Warrior beats the hell out of Rude early on. This is a damn good beating and Rude sells it like there's no tomorrow. Warrior works the back with some very powerful whip ins and a BIG bearhug. It looks like it's going to be a quick little match but a piledriver slows Warrior down and it’s Rude in control.

    Rude’s back is injured but he stays in the game as long as he can. Rude beats on him for nearly four or five minutes as he becomes one of the only people to actually beat down the Warrior and have success at it.

    And so much for that as Warrior makes his comeback but as he’s trying to suplex Rude back in Heenan hooks his leg and holds it for the pin and the huge upset. Heenan gets beaten up by Warrior afterwards and because Warrior was so bad in the ring he legitimately hurt Bobby in this.

    Rating: B. While not the best workers and a weak story, they again manage to put on a good match. I didn’t give it the description it deserves but that’s really all there was to it. Very well done though. The freaky chemistry these two had continue and I have never gotten it at all.

    Jim Duggan vs. Bad News Brown

    This is the epitome of a filler. Nothing of note happens here at all as it’s a brawl that the announcers don’t care about at all. It’s about 3 minutes long and ends in a chair vs. 2x4 duel that Duggan wins.

    Rating: F. No one cared and they knew it.

    Red Rooster vs. Bobby Heenan

    Backstory: Rooster, who has what to me is the worst gimmick of all time, (he literally acted like a rooster, complete with going cock-a-doodle-doo and strutting like one. He passed up the Mr. Perfect gimmick and got this instead) used to work for Heenan but Heenan said he wasn’t that good. This is the Rooster trying to get revenge.

    Heenan comes out with the Brooklyn Brawler. This match literally doesn’t last a minute. Heenan jumps the Rooster and whips him into the corner. Rooster gets out of the way and Heenan hits the post and is covered for the pin. Brawler comes in and beats up Rooster who fights back and wins. Wow.

    Rating: N/A. This was a total waste of time. But hey, the Brooklyn Brawler got PPV time!

    We recap the WWF Title match. Hogan helped Savage win it a year ago and then more or less stole the spotlight for the next year. Liz got involved and Savage thought she was sleeping with Hogan. He went off on him on February 3 (I was turning 1) and turned heel, setting this up.

    Hogan says Savage went crazy. That's just amusing. This is the promo where Hogan absolutely loses his mind and goes on a rant about the building being swallowed up by the Earth or something and Donald Trump being worried about falling into the ocean.

    WWF Title: Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage

    They were trying to make this the second coming of Hogan/Andre but there was far less mystery of who was going to win. Liz is at ringside as an independent observer and she actually does just that: nothing. This match has the big match feel to it but looking back it was obvious which way it was going. Savage comes out first if that tells you anything.

    Liz gets her own entrance and Jesse says she'll leave with whoever wins. Gorilla says that sounds smart to him. To say this match is huge is a dramatic understatement. Jesse: this is what the term main event is used for. This is the main event. He's absolutely right too as this drew INSANE money as they had built up the mega match between these two forever.

    Hogan shoves Savage with ease and there he goes. The announcers argue about managers which is kind of funny. Savage keeps running in fear from Hogan and it's basic stuff so far. He throws Liz in front of a Hogan punch but Hulk stops in time.

    There's Hogan's wrestling quota for the year as he uses a four move combination to break down Savage and get a front facelock. Savage overpowers him in a surprise by backdropping him. Savage takes over a bit by getting a top rope double axe in. The champion works the arm for some reason. LONG sequence with the arm and then a headlock as we fill in time.

    Hogan gets an atomic drop to counter but misses an elbow drop. Hogan's eye was cut earlier on and it gets rammed into the buckle to open it up even worse. Savage slaps him and here comes Hulk. He slams Savage to the floor and Liz helps him up. They fight on the floor and Hogan gets rammed into the post.

    Now Liz helps Hogan up. I guess she wants a double team later on. Hebner, the cock blocker that he is, throws Liz out. Savage hits the double axe off the top to send Hogan's throat into the railing. Steamboat was out for three months because of that. It doesn't even get two on Hogan. Savage slams him and there's the big elbow. Hogan shoves him off, three punches, big boot, big leg, you know the drill I think. Lots of posing ends the show.

    Rating: C+. Well it's not bad, but the problem here is that it is completely underwhelming. This was supposed to be the biggest match ever and it's just pretty standard fort he most part. Hogan wins the title again and shrugs off Savage's best move. Not a fan of that at all but it's the 80s so what are you going to do?

    Overall Rating: D+. This is the first of the second era of Wrestlemanias that follows the now traditional Wrestlemania formula. There’s some ok stuff on here and it probably has the oddestok card yet. Pretty much every big star is here, the titles have good matches, the midcard matches are bad, and you have the WM main event.

    This show also has the first instance of setting the stage for the future. 1989 was the first year of the big four PPVs so there were other feuds that would be needing to be closed at big shows. Feuds like Hogan and Perfect which sparked Hogan and Warrior, Roberts against DiBiase, and the continuation of Warrior and Rude which led to Warrior against the Heenan Family all spawned from this.

    You could arguably call this the first standard Wrestlemania, and I would just barely give it that name over WM 3. Overall this is pretty weak show and the problem with it is mainly the match lengths. TWO matches broke ten minutes and one went past 10:01. I used to really like this one but it doesn't hold up at all. Pretty bad show but it's watchable I suppose. That's about it.
     
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