This was the Wrestlemania where I actually first started to care about the WWF. Everything I’ve reviewed, up until this moment, was a Wrestlemania I didn’t watch live and had actually seen once or twice.
I had been following the WWF from SummerSlam 1990 and didn’t stop until shortly after Lex Luger became a face and faced Yokozuna.
The first PPV event was bought for me and my brother by my Mom. It was the Royal Rumble in 1991 and we invited two of my friends over to watch it.
A lot was going on back then.
In August of 1990, we were getting in deep with Iraq over their invasion of Kuwait. In January of 1991, I, like many of my schoolmates, came to class to find out that we had started bombing the living shit out of Iraq for atrocities committed against Kuwait. I went home that day and turned on CNN to witness, for the first time, continuous coverage of the war. I had never seen anything like it. There was a lot of patriotism, a lot of yellow ribbons, a lot of feeling that we were actually doing the right thing…and, in my opinion, we really did.
Of course, this played right into the hands of many a businessman…and Vince McMahon was one of them.
In the late 1990’s, Sgt. Slaughter returned to the WWF with a new and very SURPRISING gimmick: he was now sympathizing with Saddam Hussein, who he claimed to be good friends with. He wore an Iraqi uniform complete with flag patch and beret. He claimed that, by accepting Nikolai Volkoff as American, the WWF and the country had gone soft. He enlisted the services of “General Adnan”, a real-life Iraqi and actual former friend of Saddam Hussein, as his manager.
Adnan Al-Kaissie, in real life, had actually been classmates with Hussein and, when he became a pro-wrestler, brought it to Baghdad to share with the Middle East. Hussein welcomed this and sanctioned a bunch of matches. Hussein, however, was getting paranoid of outside competitors and was not friendly toward the West. When Hussein started to get threatening towards friends of the West, Kaissie feared for his life. He was an American citizen and a friend to the United States. As such, he fled Iraq to go back to the United States, leaving his friends and family behind.
Even The Iron Sheik got into the act and joined Slaughter and Adnan, which I never really bought. He was the same dude, only with Iraqi clothing. Every single time I saw him, I was like, “Isn’t that Iron Sheik?”
|Either that, or a confused Frenchman.
Anyhow, he was rebranded “Colonel Mustafa” which, to me, just lacked any sort of creativity. But, I guess “Colonel Hossein” wouldn’t have worked and “Colonel Vasiri” just sounds vague.
So, anyway, Slaughter is now a bad guy with a real Iraqi dude who was once bff’s with Saddam Hussein and the Iron Sheik as a co-wrestler.
Oh yeah. Slaughter also burned a Hulk t-shirt (which is a service, trust me) and an American flag…because Vince McMahon would do ANYTHING to stir up the fans.
So much so, that Slaughter actually was refused service in several places because restaurants and retail stores took his garbage seriously. Whoops.
That about covers that.
After Wrestlemania VI, Hulk Hogan would start a feud with Earthquake that would last through a good portion of the year. Of course, he won that.
Meanwhile, The Ultimate Warrior dropped the Intercontinental Title as rules of the time stated that a single wrestler could only hold one title of his choosing and not both. The Intercontinental Title was pushed into a tournament and won by Mr. Perfect, who would end up defending that title at this Wrestlemania against the Big Boss Man.
I’m just gonna take an aside here…the Boss Man? Really? The storyline went like this – apparently Heenan was saying some nasty shit about Boss Man’s mother, causing Boss Man to take on and defeat every single wrestler in the Heenan family. Having gone through Haku, The Barbarian and Rick Rude, Boss Man was ready to take on the crown jewel of The Heenan Family and take his title.
Back to The Living Steroid: Warrior would take on Ravishing Rick Rude with the WWF Title at stake at SummerSlam in 1990. Rude lost the match and left the WWF. He would team up with Hogan at Survivor Series in 1991 in the “Sole Survivor” match. At the Royal Rumble, Hogan and Warrior’s worlds began to collide again…only this time, the two wouldn’t end up facing one another.
Prior the the Rumble, it was announced that Randy Savage was pushing to get the WWF Title back. He offered a challenge to the Warrior with Sherri delivering the message. This was an odd segment, as I remember, and had Sherri trying to seduce Warrior on live TV…which, I mean, is pretty NORMAL by today’s T & A standards but it’s still disturbing considering that Sherri is fucking ugly as sin and the Warrior is a big, dumb pile of muscles who speaks like a caveman surfer on acid.
Yeah…imagine THAT coupling…really let it sink in…
Anyhow, The Warrior screamed in Sherri’s face that Savage would NOT get a title match, which infuriated Savage something fierce.
Instead, the Warrior would face Slaughter instead.
If this sounds like a surreal mess, it was. This was Vince at his jingoistic best: the plan was for Warrior to drop the title at the Rumble. The Warrior would be too mad at Savage to try to gain it back from Slaughter and, of course, the one “Real American” who could take Slaughter down would be Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania…because we’re not at ALL used to seeing Hogan as champ.
At the Rumble, Hogan, predictably, won the 30-man over-the-top Royal Rumble and the Warrior dropped the title after Savage interfered in the match. Hogan would be named, by Jack Tunney on Saturday Night’s Main Event, as the “Number 1 Contender” after Duggan failed to grab the title earlier that night.
The lead-up went on for weeks after that. I swear, this felt like it took forever. We got long-winded speeches with Slaughter burning flags and Hulk’s gear and massive beatdowns which left Hogan bloodied in the ring. All the crowds did was boo the whole time Slaughter would bellow about how he would beat Hogan (which he pronounced “HOOO-GON!”)…it was just an awful time.
Anyhow, Sgt. Slaughter would be “defending” against Hogan in the main event. I say “defending” because, honestly, it was so telegraphed and predictable like all of Hogan’s other matches (with the exception of Wrestlemania 6) and nobody had any skill. Honestly, I don’t even get why Slaughter didn’t keep a move like the Camel Clutch on Hogan…you know what? We’ll get to that.
Warrior, meanwhile, would face Randy Savage in a feud that ended in one of the greatest single matches in Wrestlemania history: the loser would retire from the WWF.
In other WWF news:
Virgil had a falling out at the Royal Rumble with Ted DiBiase. DiBiase had taunted him all week, telling him what to do and, if he didn’t, he’d reveal some sort of “secret” about his mother. Virgil finally ended up decking DiBiase with his own belt and then challenged him to a match at Wrestlemania with the help of Rowdy Roddy Piper who had taken over announcing duties lately.
The Nasty Boys would take on The Hart Foundation for the Tag Team Championship. This, after a Tag Team Battle Royale went awry and the Legion of Doom was about to go to Wrestlemania. The Nasty Boys won after Power and Glory interfered in the match and eliminated Hawk.
This, in turn, would give The Legion of Doom a match against Power and Glory.
The British Bulldog would return to the WWF in singles competition and feud with The Warlord who had been split up by Slick and remade into a goth warrior badass. Heenan would take the Barbarian and team him with Haku. Barbarian was remade into a Conan-esque Barbarian and even lost the stupid facepaint. Jake “The Snake” Roberts got into an ugly feud with “The Model” Rick Martel after Martel would spray Snake’s eyes with his new perfume, “Arrogance”. This supposedly blinded Jake for a pretty long time. Jake would go on to challenge Martel at Wrestlemania…only, this time, both men would be blindfolded and would wear black hoods.
For some reason, Demolition would take on two Japanese wrestlers – Tenryu and Kitao. This was never fully explained and it still isn’t to this day.
The Texas Tornado, once an Intercontinental Champion, would take on Dino Bravo in singles competition.
Earthquake would continue his domination of singles wrestlers and take on Greg Valentine after Valentine turned his back on the Hart family.
The Mountie (Jacques Rougeau – remember him?) would take on Tito Santana…
…and that brings me to the debut of The Undertaker.
Mark Callaway would make his debut in the WWF as “The Undertaker” at Survivor Series 1990. At the time, he still looked like a badass, which is how I believe he also exited his Mom’s womb:
|Awww…he’s so cuuuute.
Anyhow, The Undertaker’s debut was impressive. His gimmick was that of an undead mortician…or something like that. He was zombie-like, impervious to pain (or would no-sell everything), and was just freakin’ huge.
He would take on Jimmy Snuka in his first ever Wrestlemania match…one of many to come…
So…we all settled in?
Good, let’s start!
One of the more notable things about this Wrestlemania is that this is the first time in six years that Jesse “The Body” Ventura would NOT be helping Gorilla Monsoon on commentary. He would leave the WWF in late 1990 due to a disagreement with Vince McMahon on product licensing.
Ventura would have an interesting life, if he hadn’t had one already. In 1991, he would run for the Mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. He would win that race and serve for four years until 1995. Three years later, he would run for Governor of Minnesota and, again, he would win and serve four more years.
He would make a few more appearances in the WWE and would be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004. He would make a few more appearances after that, including one in 2009 at Tables, Ladders, and Chairs.
He is currently working on a new season of Conspiracy Theory w/ Jesse Ventura.
Wrestlemania VII starts live from the Los Angeles Memorial Arena. They were gonna have it at the giant coliseum but both weather and security were a HUGE concern, especially with Slaughter taking Iraq’s side. Officials didn’t know if they would be able to contain fans or guarantee safety in an outdoor environment.
I have to say that the intro is goofy. We get a teaser for Hogan vs. Slaughter where Vince actually says the words, “World Wrestling Federation Champion, SGT. SLAUGHTER!!!” Yes, at one point, one of the worst, most gimmicky wrestlers in the WWF held this title. It’s almost surreal to think about.
Willie Nelson sings “America, the Beautiful” to lead things off. He’s actually wearing the following:
- A Wrestlemania t-shirt
- A HULK RULES bandana
- Bret Hart Sunglasses
|This goes hand-in-hand with WWF Champion Sgt. Slaughter
Gorilla Monsoon, keeping up the surreal streak, introduces his color commentator – Hacksaw Jim Duggan. If you weren’t already put off by his dumb-guy voice, he comes to the ring dressed almost EXACTLY like Apollo Creed in Rocky IV.
|I’m ALL for patriotism if it didn’t look this ridiculous.
MATCH #1: The Barbarian & Haku (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) vs. The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty)
WWF Magazine once called the first match between The Rockers and Haku & Barbarian “a mismatch on paper” but this is not only a great match, it’s the Rockers in their prime. They look like they finally gel. Every move is perfectly-timed. The Barbarian and Haku are huge dudes. I mean HUGE. There’s a great move about a quarter of the way through where Marty leaps on top of Barbarian who looks like he’s gonna powerbomb Jannetty. Michaels gets inside the ring and drop kicks Barbarian over. Jannetty flips Barbarian over and just punches him. It’s a beautiful move. Heenan is managing Haku and Barbarian and does his usual schtick of shouting when something isn’t going his way from outside the ring. This is the main reason why Duggan is in the booth with Monsoon instead of Heenan. Barbarian has always been one of my fav wrestlers. He may be huge but he has power PLUS agility. Never is it more apparent than when Jannetty leaps at Barbarian from the top rope and Barbarian just catches him and powerslams him so hard, the ring shakes. It’s an incredible move. This is one of the reason the match works. Every competitor in the ring is so good at what they do, that they play off one another perfectly. The end comes when the Rockers double dropkick Barbarian out of the ring, then double clotheline Haku. Jannetty hits a flying dropkick and then Michaels hits a nice crossbody block and gets the pin.
WINNERS: The Rockers via Crossbody Block
GRADE: A-. Good way to start the show. After this, Both Barbarian and Haku would leave the WWF and finish out their careers with WCW and Independent circuits. The Rockers would split up (having a storyline feud) and go their separate ways. Jannetty did have a short-lived feud with Michaels which culminated in one of the greatest matches in RAW history but it never got better than that. Michaels would have a hell of a career while Jannetty would struggle and be in and out of the WWF/WWE. He would have a one-night-only return as a Rocker with Shawn Michaels.
Duggan leaves the booth and it’s time for Heenan to take over. (Thank the fuck christ.)
Backstage, we have Regis Philbin, Marla Maples, and Alex Trebek with Mean Gene. Regis says that Earthquake scares him then makes a fat joke about how he ate a truck full of pizza. Gene talks up Marla Maples. She’s gonna be a “guest timekeeper” which is such a hard job to do. Trebek acts like he’s hosting Jeopardy and calls Mean Gene, “Jim”. Then the two get into a “Who’s on First” act…*sigh*…
MATCH #2: Dino Bravo (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Texas Tornado
Dino Bravo is in the ring with Jimmy Hart for his match against The Texas Tornado. I do miss Von Erich. He was a decent guy and a good wrestler. This was a slugfest with Bravo going right after the Tornado. Heenan actually says, “Tornado doesn’t look like a very violent storm, does he, Monsoon?” Monsoon says nothing which makes me wonder if he even got that joke. The end comes after the two men lock up. Tornado breaks the hold and then hits the Spinning Tornado for the win.
WINNER: Texas Tornado via Tornado Punch
GRADE: D-. Putting it bluntly, both of these men are now dead. Dino Bravo would leave the WWF shortly after Wrestlemania VII where he would wrestle, independently, in Canada. Two years later, he was found shot to death (17 bullets, 7 to the head and 10 to the chest) in his home. He was only 44. Kerry Von Erich would compete for one more year, and leave the WWF in 1993, shortly after the Royal Rumble for the vacant WWF Title. He would kill himself a month later by shooting himself in the head. He was only 33 years old.
Backstage, Sean Mooney is with The Warlord and Slick, the oddest manager/wrestler combo in years. Honestly, it’s like A Pimp Named Slickback managing a roided-out German technopunk dancer. Gene is with The British Bulldog and Matilda.
MATCH #3: The Warlord (w/ Slick) vs. The British Bulldog
The Bulldog came back to the WWF even better than before. The Warlord had been in the WWF for a couple of years and it was eventual that these two guys would eventually collide. The two wrestlers match well here. Bulldog hits a crucifix at one point but Warlord just retaliates by dropping Bulldog. It’s that kind of match. There are so many great moves and so many reversals – not something you usually see between guys like these. The thing that sets them apart from every other is skill. Heenan’s commentary here is sharp and brilliant. It makes me miss him something fierce. One of his best lines: “The Queen of England can’t stand the Bulldog. They sent him to the Gulf crisis and the Queen sent him right back.” Warlord his the Full Nelson but the Bulldog powers out and breaks free. The end comes when Warlord attempts to powerslam the Bulldog but Smith reverses it and powerslams the Warlord instead.
WINNER: British Bulldog via Powerslam
GRADE: B-. Not a bad match. The Warlord would leave the WWF in 1992 and go on to wrestle in WCW as well as independently.
Backstage, The Nasty Boys are with Jimmy Hart and Mean Gene. The two rant and shout and play with Gene until they leave. Sean Mooney has the Hart Foundation and they says they’re gonna protect the titles.
MATCH #4: The Nasty Boys (Knobbs & Scaggs) (challengers) (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Hart Foundation (Bret “The Hitman” Hart & Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart) (champions) for the WWF Tag Team Championship
Jimmy Hart is wearing a biker helmet because reasons. Freakin’ Macauly Culkin is in attendance! LOL…Heenan says that Culkin tried to upstage him and Heenan had him thrown off the set. The Nasty Boys were just as their names say: nasty. They came from WCW with a gimmick of being punk rockers who could brawl. They had a very questionable reputation as being shit-disturbers behind the scenes and would also be very “stiff” wrestlers in the ring. “Stiff” is an industry term much like “Kayfabe”, “Face”, “Heel”, and “Shoot”. Stiff meant that you hit your moves hard on purpose or accidentally and that you were very sloppy with your performance. (I’m so smart.) The match is a lot of brawling and skill. The Harts, by now, were incredibly talented and accomplished wrestlers. There are times when you think that Brian Knobbs is really taking it to Bret Hart. Knobbs, earlier in that match, decked Hart with a punch that looked like it really hurt him. Hart, later, retaliated with one that knocked Knobbs down. Knobbs, in retaliation, dove at Hart hit him from behind – and he was’t even the “legal” man in the ring. It makes for an incredible match because Hart is known for taking so much punishment. Hart comes back with a reverse neckbreaker after a hold by Jerry Sags. The end comes when Hart makes a hot tag to Neidhart. Neidhart hits the ring but the ref doesn’t see the tag. Jimmy Hart tosses his megaphone to Knobbs who, accidentally, clocks Saggs with it. Neidhart battles both Boys at once leading to a huge brawl inside the ring between all four fighters. Somehow, the Boys collide and Neidhart and Hart set up the Hart Attack. Neidhart tries for the pin but the ref doesn’t count it because Hart is still in the ring and won’t leave. The ref backs Hart off and ANOTHER attempt is given to Knobbs to use the megaphone. This time, he belts Neidhart who doesn’t even see it coming. Boys get the win.
WINNERS AND NEW CHAMPIONS: The Nasty Boys via Hart screwjob
GRADE: B-. A match that plodded to begin and got good near the end. The Hart Foundation would split up and go their separate ways. We will cover Bret Hart some more but Neidhart didn’t have the type of success that Hart had. He would go on a short singles career before teaming with Owen Hart for The New Foundation and then leaving the WWF in 1992. He’d have stints in Japan, WCW and would be in and out of the WWE before wrestling independently. He’s the father of Natalya, one of the WWE Divas. The Nasty Boys lost the Tag Titles to The Legion of Doom a few months later at SummerSlam. They would turn face in 1992 but not get the titles back. They would go back to WCW in ’93 and stay there until they retired.
I really don’t understand why the Boys got the belts, but I guess the Hart Foundation had their run.
MATCH #5: “The Model” Rick Martel vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts in a Blindfold Match.
These gimmick matches are hit-or-miss for me. This is no exception. There’s no skill and is comprised of Jake and Martel wandering the ring, looking for one another, occasionally finding each other, hitting a quick move, and then losing each other all over again. Martel puts the Boston Crab on Jake at one point but Jake gets out of it. The match ends when, after Jake breaks out of the Crab, Roberts quickly finds Martel and hits a quick DDT to get the pin.
WINNER: Jake Roberts via DDT
GRADE: C+. Glad that angle ended. Ugh.
Post-match, Jake breaks Martel’s Arrogance container and then chases Martel away with Damian, his python.
Backstage, Marla Maples is backstage with The Nasty Boys and Jimmy Hart and The Mountie and Earthquake as they celebrate the Tag Title win.
MATCH #6: “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)
It is amazing…The Undertaker gets a HUGE pop when the bell tolls…after that, the crowd is almost dead silent. Undertaker almost annihilates Snuka here. Undertaker is an incredible wrestler. He had it all – skill, size, strength, agility…that’s mainly why he was called “The Phenom”. He hits a HUGE suplex at one point where he practically RUNS BACKWARD with Snuka in his grasp. Snuka, at this point his career, was just becoming a jobber to get other stars over. This match is no exception. Tombstone. Three-count. The Streak begins…
WINNER: The Undertaker via Tombstone
GRADE: D+. One letter grade up because this is the first notch in his Wrestlemania belt. After this match, Snuka wrestled independently until going into semi-retirement in 1996, when he was inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame. Snuka had a very tumultuous personal life which prevented him from being anything more in the WWE. He would make one more Wrestlemania performance 18 years later but mainly wrestle independently and in ECW, where he’d have more success.
MATCH #7: “Macho King” Randy Savage (w/ Sensational Queen Sherri) vs. The Ultimate Warrior in a Retirement Match
Savage was out first being carried out on his “throne”. At this time, Heenan points out that Miss Elizabeth is in the crowd. I have to say, Savage and Warrior are two most outrageously-dressed wrestlers. This is NOT an exception. This is the only pic I could find. You should see them BEFORE the match began. Savage with his pseudo cowboy outfit, stetson and streamers hanging from his arms. Warrior in a coat with his face and body all over it complete with dozens of colorful tassels.
This is one of my favorite matches. It’s just incredible. Savage has always been great and the Warrior, a fan favorite, have great storytelling and acting skills as far as pro-wrestling is concerned. The match is a pure brawl and it well should be. The amount of hate and build-up was incredible. Nobody does that intensity like Savage and nobody does energy like the Warrior. Sherri gets involved more than once, slapping Warrior around like a rag doll outside the ring. The crowd is into it big-time, though I lost respect for them when they start to chant for Hulk Hogan. The match is back and forth with Warrior nearly succumbing to a pinfall after Warrior misses a shoulderblock. At one point, both men double clothesline each other. After Sherri interferes, Warrior hits a small package which WOULD have seen Savage losing. He only gets a two count. The ref gets yelled at by Warrior and ends up getting knocked down. At this point, Sherri comes into the ring with a shoe but misses Warrior with it and decks Savage instead. This NEARLY leads to his demise as Savage pulls Warrior into a pin and nearly gets the win. Warrior dives at Savage and misses and Savage takes over. After Savage sets up for the Flying Elbow, he hits it. Then again. And again. AND AGAIN. AND AGAIN!!! Five straight elbow drops. Savage FINALLY goes for the pin and ONLY gets two. The crowd was beside themselves at this point. This was incredible. After this, Warrior goes apeshit and hits his clotheslines, his press slam and then hits his big splash! He covers…and gets TWO. Warrior cannot believe it! The crowd cannot believe it! Warrior looks to the skies and begins to walk away from the ring. Savage takes advantage of this and drives Warrior out of the ring. Outside the ring, Sherri holds onto the Warrior and Savage leaps off the top rope but MISSES the axehandle! Warrior tosses Savage back into the ring. He hits the huge clothesline, knocking Savage from the ring. Warrior throws him back in the ring. He hits ANOTHER spear, knocking Savage from the ring. He retrieves Savage and tosses him back in. He hits another spear and Savage retreats. The Warrior drags him back in again, turns him over, and simply stands with one foot on top of Savage’s chest, winning the match.
WINNER: The Ultimate Warrior via Shoulder Tackle
GRADE: A-. Incredible match. Long, drawn out with a great crowd. This kind of match is what Wrestlemania is all about.
Post-match, Warrior celebrates. Sherri looks on, disgusted, the gets in the ring and starts kicking Savage while he’s down. Elizabeth looks on and, after Sherri bashes Savage’s head against the mat, Elizabeth goes “oh no you di’in’t” and rushes the ring, tossing Sherri out. Savage gets up and sees Liz for the first time in a year…Sherri pounds the mat in disgust, shouting at Savage. Elizabeth tells Savage that she cares. Savage doesn’t know what to do and looks around at the crowd. The two FINALLY embrace much to the crowd’s delight. Savage puts Liz on his shoulder.
The girls in the stands actually cry. I wish I was making that up. Good storytelling, I guess. Savage celebrates, pointing to the crowd as he does.
After a much-needed intermission, Heenan and Monsoon talk about Mr. Perfect facing The Big Boss Man. Heenan says he knows how to handle dumb hicks.
Regis interviews Paul Bearer and The Undertaker. They measure Regis for a suit for his coffin and don’t say a word.
Alex Trebek has Demolition and Mr. Fuji with them for their match with Tenryu and Kitao.
At this point, Axe had left Demolition and Crush had taken over for him, so now it was just Smash and Crush.
Regis is with Tenryu and Kitao. They don’t say a word because they’re Japanese. He goes the racist route and says “Do you speak any Ingleso?” Then he says “Toyota? Isuzu? Columbia Pictures?” They talk and he starts speaking like he’s Tarzan: “Me, Regis. You, Tenryu…you, Kitao…” Oh…dear…
Then Alex Trebek is with Jake Roberts who scares Trebek away with the snake.
MATCH #8: Demolition (Smash & Crush) (w/ Mr. Fuji) vs. Tenryu & Kitao
For no reason, Demolition was wrestling two unknown Japanese wrestlers. Kitao is noticeably disinterested and pretty much no-sells half the moves put on him as well as punches. Meanwhile, Heenan talks about noodles, soy sauce and chopsticks, which is really not cool. The end would come with Kitao hitting a huge power bomb on Smash.
WINNERS: Tenryu and Kitao via Powerbomb
GRADE: F. This was fucking boring and went nowhere quick. Demolition’s best days were behind them and the Japanese guys were just not into anything. After this, Demolition would break up and go their separate ways. Smash would wrestle again as “Repo Man”, with his gimmick being that of a car thief. He was instrumental in helping Ted DiBiase getting his Million Dollar Belt back from Virgil who would win it from him at SummerSlam after Wrestlemania. Crush would go face and become a surfer dude type character. He would turn heel again and face off against Savage for the remainder of his career. Both men would wrestle with WCW as well as independently. Tenryu would leave in 1994 after making two more appearances in two Royal Rumble matches. Kitao was something else…the WWF had teamed with a Japanese wrestling stable called Super World of Sports where Kitao, following this match, would take on a former sumo wrestler in Earthquake. Part-way through the match, Kitao began to no-sell Earthquake’s moves and attacks, then shot through the rest of the match, grabbing the mic at the end and declaring that wrestling was fake. He was restrained by many of his colleagues and never wrestled with SWS or WWF again.
Mean Gene is with The Big Boss Man before his match with Mr. Perfect. Boss Man says that there are no more chances for appeal. He’s coming for Heenan’s most prized possession.
Sean Mooney talks to Bobby Heenan and Mr. Perfect.
MATCH #9: Mr. Perfect (champion) (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) vs. The Big Boss Man (challenger) for the WWF Intercontinental Championship
I liked Perfect, as I said, but he never seemed to lose that damn belt. I really thought he would drop it here but that might have been as bad as “World Champion Sgt. Slaughter”. I might add that Lord Alfred Hayes comes out to take Heenan’s place at the mic as Heenan had to tend to Perfect’s match. The match is actually fairly good. Boss Man shows off some agility early when he’s tossed from the ring. He lands on his feet, runs around the corner and dives right back in, attacking Perfect. Not a bad move at all. He also reverses the Perfect Plex into a small packages and nearly gets a cover. The match is a great back-and-forth affair. At one point, Andre the Giant makes his way to the ring after Heenan and Perfect get the best of Boss Man. Andre chases Heenan around the ring, but then grabs the IC Title and uses it to lay out Perfect. Boss Man, however, is also unconscious, and is unable to get the pin. When he finally DOES come to, Boss man NEARLY gets the fall but is IMMEDIATELY attacked by Haku and Barbarian, spoiling the match. Boss Man wins via DQ but the title stays with Perfect.
WINNER: The Big Boss Man via DQ
After this match, Andre would be involved in a couple more storylines before going back to Japan to wrestle. He would pass away from a heart attack in 1993 due his size. Andre was the very first inductee of the WWF Hall of Fame where he was inducted the same year as his death. He is sorely missed. It was recently announced that there will be a 30-Man Over the Top Battle Royal in his memory at Wrestlemania XXX.
Post-match, Boss Man rids the ring of the Heenan Family and him and Andre celebrate.
Meanwhile, Gene interviews Donald Trump, Henry Winkler, Chuck Norris and Lou Ferrigno.
MATCH #10: Greg “The Hammer” Valentine vs. Earthquake (w/ Jimmy Hart)
Valentine and Quake was pretty much a mismatch. Quake hit a HUGE powerslam early and just tossed Valentine around like a ragdoll. Valentine does take over for a few minutes but cannot overcome the power of Earthquake. Valentine does get a nice few elbow shots in and even a Figure Four. But, of course, Hart interferes, Quake takes over, hits a HUGE elbow smash, then the Quake Splash. Forget it. Quake wins.
WINNER: Earthquake via Earthquake Splash
GRADE: F. Valentine deserved better but whatever. After this match, Valentine would wrestle for about one more year before doing a short stint in WCW. He would return, for a short time, to the WWE as a masked wrestler before wrestling independently elsewhere. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004.
Post-match, Hart orders Quake to squash Valentine again and he does.
Sean Mooney. He has the Legion of Doom. They are badass.
MATCH #11: The Legion of Doom (Hawk & Animal) vs. Power & Glory (Hercules & Paul Roma) (w/ Slick)
When the Legion of Doom were in WCW, they were known as The Road Warriors. They were so popular, Vince McMahon would create Demolition. Animal, in fact, is the brother of John Laurinaitis, formerly Johnny Ace and one of RAW’s most infamous GM’s. They were set to face the Hart Foundation for the Tag Titles but the Harts didn’t want to drop the titles to other faces, so the Nasty Boys were set to get them instead. The match starts with P & G attacking Hawk who hits a nice double clothesline. Hawk is tossed from the ring while Animal is slammed inside but Animal catches Roma on a top rope move and slams him. He sets Roma up for the Doomsday Device and that’s that.
WINNERS: The Legion of Doom via Doomsday Device
GRADE: F. This match was the Legion of Doom’s Wrestlemania debut and, honestly, they deserved better than a minute-long squash against a dying tag team like Power & Glory. The Legion of Doom, strangely enough, would win the Tag Titles at SummerSlam the same year and would keep them until 1992 before leaving the WWF for a while. Upon their return, they were managed by Paul Ellering who had a dumb-looking puppet named “Rocco”. This gimmick caused Hawk to leave the WWF in disgust over the new storyline while Animal stuck around. They would return in 1996, getting a fair amount of action…but we wouldn’t see the LOD return to Wrestlemania for another seven years. Power & Glory teamed with Slick and the Warlord to form a new three-man tag team but were beaten at SummerSlam in 1991. Both would leave the WWF a few months later. While Roma would go on to wrestle with WCW as a Horseman for the next couple of years, he wouldn’t really do much after that. He now runs a wrestling training school in Connecticut. Hercules would wrestle with WCW and the AWF for the next 7 years. He would pass away from heart disease in 2004. He was only 47 years old. Slick would leave the WWF a few months after this, after being powerslammed by The British Bulldog. He would return to the WWF as a face who had found religion (he was actually born-again in real life) and went on to train and manage Kamala. He would retire shortly after that and became an ordained minister in Texas after graduating from Trinity Valley Bible College. He would make one short Wrestlemania appearance at Wrestlemania 23, dancing with old school Superstars.
After the match, we get clips of the lead-up to DiBiase vs. Virgil…including a clip of Virgil massaging DiBiase’s toes. *Shiver*
One of my most favorite moments in the lead-up is DiBiase getting clocked in the face by Virgil with the Million Dollar Title. That never gets old. How many employees have ever wanted to do something like that to their boss?
MATCH #12: Virgil (w/ “Rowdy” Roddy Piper) vs. “Million Dollar Champion” “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper comes out on a crutch for his broken leg or foot or…hell, he broke something. That’s all I remember. Piper introduces his man, Virgil, saying that it’s time to fight. Virgil comes out in spandex boxer’s trunks and dancing around like Muhammad Ali. Unlike Sapphire, however, he actually can move and box and punches DiBiase, eventually knocking him down. Heenan: “He has more steps than the Temptations!” Heh. The match is kinda out DiBiase’s realm. Whereas DiBiase is a technical wrestler, Virgil is a total brawler. Still, it’s a pretty high energy match. The crowd is not fond of DiBiase and loves Virgil but it’s wholly apparent that Virgil just doesn’t have the same wrestling skills as DiBiase. At one point, Virgil DOES show some skills with a combination takedown. That is, until DiBiase hits a nice legsweep and starts punishing Virgil for it. DiBiase takes over for much of the match and carries poor Virgil. Hell breaks loose when DiBiase attacks Piper and pushes him over. Piper can’t get up. Inside the ring, DiBiase has Virgil where he wants him and goes to bounce off the ropes but Piper pulls down the top rope. He clocks Piper and kicks him. DiBiase, however, spends all that time on Piper and ends up getting counted out. Meh.
WINNER:Virgil via Countout.
GRADE: D+. This match is a dud, watching it again. Virgil is embarrassing and that’s a shame. He had a decent following but that was about it. And I think this is one of the only times I’ve ever seen DiBiase job.
Post-match, DiBiase applies the Million Dollar Dream to Virgil and nearly has him out but Piper makes the save, knocking him away with the crutch. Sensational Queen Sherri runs to DiBiase’s rescue and the two kick and beat Piper with the crutch. DiBiase beats on Piper’s injured knee while Sherri deals with the refs. Finally, Virgil grabs the crutch and chases the two out. Piper tries to get up and uses the crutch but the ref pulls it from him. Piper uses the crutch and pounds one of the refs in the knee with it. He can’t get up so Virgil grabs a mic and tells Piper to get up and fight the pain. Piper finally does it and Virgil holds him up as both men celebrate inside the ring.
We see some of the lead-up with Sgt. Slaughter burning the HULK RULES t-shirt. It’s amazing to me just how flammable that shirt was, unless they dipped it in Kerosene beforehand. Then we get to see Sgt. Slaughter slobber and shout into a camera…this is just terrible. Slaughter says he doesn’t care about rules or being counted out and losing. He says he would be the champ no matter what. Here’s what confuses me: WHY wouldn’t you make this a no-holds-barred match? Because, you’ll see why when the match happens…
MATCH #13: The Mountie (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Tito Santana
Poor Tito Santana. He had like one win in his entire Wrestlemania career. Not here, however, against The Mountie. The Mountie is out first and Tito out next. The match is a short little affair and only used as a warm-up for the crowd before Hogan’s match. Tito DOES hit the Flying Forearm but Mountie escapes to the outside. Santana hits a couple more moves as the Mountie does absolutely nothing before zapping Santana with the cattle prod. Good god…I forgot just how awful this match was. What does Rougeau do here other than take a beating and use a weapon? How low did Tito have to go?
WINNER: The Mountie via cheating.
GRADE: F. Has any Hart wrestler or stable except Earthquake and Dino Bravo ever won a match clean?
Hogan is with Mean Gene backstage. It’s time to growl and shout into the camera again. Hogan says that Slaughter has “no idea” what kind of “secret plans” he has for Slaughter. We see a clip from when Hogan faced Adnan at Superstars and was beaten for like five straight minutes. The crowd is giving so much heat to Slaughter, it’s unbelievable.
The guest ring announcer is Alex Trebek. Marla Maples is the guest timekeeper. Regis Philbin is a guest ring announcer with Heenan and Monsoon.
Slaughter is out first. He and Adnan wave the Iraqi flag when they get there. Hulk out next with the American flag, a flag bandana and flag tights and flag boots and flag…just making sure you were really reading this. I think that Hogan’s song is the ONLY one that actually utilizes the word, “Jesus”. Interesting.
MATCH #14: Hulk Hogan (challenger) vs. Sgt. Slaughter (champion) (w/ General Adnan) for the WWF Championship
This match is really boring. I understand being patriotic and jingoistic but I just wish the major face and villain had more skill. This is Wrestlemania 4/5 levels of awful. It just consists of shoving and punching and headlocks and shoulderblocks. Outside the ring, it’s more of the same. Adnan interferes and the ref doesn’t DQ Slaughter. Then Slaughter uses a chair…but, again, no DQ. See what I mean? This just shows favoritism and comes off weird. Why not just say “no holds barred”? That’s what war is, isn’t it? The rest of the match is more of the same – weak, lazy punches, kicks, elbows and clotheslines. Just so slow and basic. Slaughter keeps running. Hogan keeps chasing. Then Hogan just keeps beating him up using sloppy-looking moves. This idiotic-looking clothesline that looks like Hogan is using two forearms instead of his whole arm. The match goes on forever. Hogan should have won seven minutes in but Slaughter has to get the upper hand. Slaughter gets a chair and whacks Hogan with it twice but the ref doesn’t DQ him. Then Slaughter uses a wire to choke Hogan. Again, no DQ. This match really highlights just how dumb Slaughter was as a villain. He’s like a cheating version of Hogan if Hogan knew no moves whatsoever and wore an Iraqi uniform. Slaughter uses a Boston Crab *yawn* and then punches some more *meh* and then goes for another chair shot. This match is horrible. The end comes when Slaughter uses the Camel Clutch which Hogan gets out of. Slaughter uses the the Iraqi flag to cover Hogan up and pin him but Hogan, of course, Hulks out, hits the big boot, the legdrop and he’s champion again.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: Hulk Hogan via Atomic Legdrop
GRADE: F. A HUGE step down from his match at last year’s event. It only got worse.
Post-match, Hogan puts on the belt and celebrates with the American flag.
Overall, a decent event although I’m getting sick and tired of seeing Hogan win it all in the end. It’s really annoying. He really slows everything down. The only great WM match he’s been in was against Andre at WM 3 and the Warrior at WM 6.
I’d give this one a C-, at best.
Until WM 8!