Mr. T is backstage, getting a massage by Joe Fraizer and “The Haiti Kid, a black midget. He talks about what he’s gonna do the Piper while we miss the announcement of the Double Countout in the background.
MATCH #2: George “The Animal” Steele (challenger) vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage (champion) (w/ Miss Elizabeth) for the WWF Intercontinental Championship
Steele chases Savage from the ring twice which kills off half the match. Vince and Susan get bored, talk about Steele’s body hair and even suggest he start dating Elizabeth if he wins. Steele chases Savage again and then bites his leg. Once in the ring, Steele lifts Savage up off the mat and slams him down. Savage comes back, tangling Steele in the ropes and then chokes and kicks at him. Savage follows with a cross body and two count and Savage gets ejected from the ring on the kick out. Steele approaches Liz and Savage attacks him from behind. Steele bites Savage’s arms and beats on him in the corner but Savage comes back with a punch, goes outside to get a bouquet of flowers and uses it to hit Steele. Steele gets the flowers and rubs them in Savage’s face. Savage is down in the corner. So Steele decides to eat the turnbuckle for some reason. He rubs the stuffing in Savage’s face. Savage leaves the ring and Steele chases. Steele stops and talks with Liz, so Savage hits him off the turnbuckle with a double axehandle. Savage slams Steele and then goes for the Macho Elbow, hitting it perfectly but Steele kicks out. Steele gets to his feet and tosses Savage into the turnbuckle. Savage trips Steele, then pins him using the ropes to retain.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Savage via cheat pin
GRADE: D+. There was a lot of chasing, a lot of dumb Steele spots and a lot of chaos and garbage here. Savage was simply better than this.
Post-match, Steele feels awful and then goes backstage.
Gene is in Chicago with Atlanta Falcons player, Bill Fralic and Big John Studd. Fralic says he can’t wait to get a hold of Studd. Studd tells Fralic that he’s ready for him. Studd begs to differ.
Back in New York, McMahon’s back with Susan Saint James and they push the next match between Jake Roberts and George Wells.
MATCH #3: George Wells vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Wells immediately goes after Roberts with punches and body drop. Roberts punches back and tosses Wells outside. After getting back inside, Wells hits Roberts with a shoulderblock and headbutt. He whips Roberts into the corner, then hits head scissors to take Jake down. He chops Jake and beats on him some more, hitting a knee lift and powerslam to top it off. He gets two and then Jake hits a punch to his eyes, a knee lift of his own and the DDT and we’re done.
WINNER: Roberts via DDT
GRADE: D+. Jake hit like three moves here. Weirdly unbalanced. I can’t believe I gave this a B+ last time out.
Post-match, Jake puts Damien around Wells’ neck as McMahon and Saint James are disgusted.
- Wells left the WWF shortly after this and wrestled independently as well as with WCCW. He retired in 1992 and currently works as one of the premiere drug counselors in Oakland, California.
We get the build-up to the boxing match between “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Mr. T.
Orton comes over and tosses water at T.
Piper shuffles around and starts with some jabs. T starts whacking at Piper and backs him into the corner. The ref backs him off but T comes back with a MEAN shot to Piper’s head and Piper’s down. The ref pushes T back and Piper’s up at 7. T, again, gets the upper hand and hits a flurry of shots to Piper’s head, then hits a HUGE hook to Piper, knocking him from the ring. He gets back in a 8. T puts Piper in the corner but Piper clinches T and the bell rings.
This time, T taunts Piper during rest time. Piper gets up and throws his rest stool at T and we begin the 4th round…
Both fighters start trading huge bombs as neither guards their own heads. Piper hits a HUGE right hand on T and T comes back with some nice lefts. Ref gets between them…but Piper shoves the ref and then body slams T and the bell rings.
Everyone’s in the ring and the wrestlers are being separated. A winner is declared…
WINNER: Mr. T via DQ in the 4th Round
GRADE: B+. This was a fun thing to watch.
- Mr. T would make a couple more wrestling appearances – one in the WWF and one in WCCW. His main career was as an actor. He would finish out The A-Team in 1987 and would star in a successful television show called “T. and T.” after that. He would make one more wrestling appearance in 1994…
Vince and Susan discuss what they’ve just seen…but, now, Vince is taking us to the second portion of Wrestlemania 2…
- Michael Penzel (AKA Corporal Kirchner) was, essentially, WWF’s answer to Sgt. Slaughter. Even the Jingoistic crowd wasn’t buying him. In 1987, the WWF let him go due to a positive drug test. He finished his career independently as well as in Japan. He’s notable for being technically declared “dead” by the media for about a full week due to a misspelling of his “real name” in 2006. Kirchner served in the United States Army as a teen and this blog fully condones and supports that, the troops, AND this country despite the mocking of the more Hawkish population.
- Blassie was a wrestling great with over 30+ years of experience in the business as both a wrestler and manager, having managed over a dozen wrestlers including greats like Peter Maivia, Jessie Ventura, The Iron Sheik, Mr. Fuji, and Hulk Hogan. His legacy is still felt all over the business. He even coined the phrase, “Pencil-necked geek”, which is one of the greatest promo insults used by a wrestler. He was inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame in 1994 and passed away in 2003.
Chet Coppock introduces Mean Gene Okerlund who gets a warm welcome from the Chicago crowd. He’s here to introduce the participants in the Battle Royal.
MATCH #7: Jimbo Covert (Chicago Bears), Pedro Morales (WWF), Tony Atlas (WWF), Ted Arcidi (WWF), Harvey Martin (Dallas Cowboys), Dan Spivey (WWF), Hillbilly Jim (WWF), King Tonga (WWF), The Iron Sheik (WWF), Ernie Holmes (Pittsburgh Steelers), The Killer Bees (WWF), Big John Studd (WWF), Bill Fralic (Atlanta Falcons), The Hart Foundation (WWF), Russ Francis (San Francisco 49ers), Bruno Sammartino (WWF), William Perry (Chicago Bears) and Andre the Giant (WWF) in a 20-Man WWF vs. NFL Battle Royale
A Battle Royal is the smoothie of the wrestling world. No matter what you put in it, it’s decent enough but you can only treat yourself to one every so often. They’re hard to rate, too. They’re not really “matches”. They’re just a gigantic showcase. Some spots are awesome and some spots are funny. Some of them just downright suck. This has some great moments. The Fridge hitting a 3-Point Stance Rush on the Harts, then getting eliminated by Studd. Fridge pulls him out of the ring much to the delight of the Chicago crowd. The Harts take Francis out and gang up on Andre. The whole thing ends when the Harts try to eliminate Andre but Andre kicks Hart away, eliminates Neidhart and then press slams Hart on top of Neidhart outside.
WINNER: Andre the Giant
GRADE: B-. This was, as I mentioned in the last review, the inspiration for the hopefully-annual “Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal” starting with Wrestlemania XXX.
- Bruno Sammartino left the WWE, retiring from active pro-wrestling, in 1988. He had HUGE problems with Vince McMahon and the Federation for years. He appeared on CNN and other talk shows, openly criticizing the “immorality” of the modern storylines as well as the lifestyles of many of stars (including their rampant issues with drug and steroid abuse) and was bitter over their treatment of his son, David. After the WWE had gone to the “PG Era” and instituted their “Health and Wellness Program”, Sammartino finally decided to buy the hatchet. He was honored by the WWE and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013 and is currently under the standard “WWE Legends Contract”.
- Dan Spivey wrestled for the WWF for one more year before re-starting his career in Japan in 1988 and going on to the NWA in 1989.
- Tony Atlas left the WWF later the same year and, four years after a battle with substance abuse, returned to the WWF in 1990, re-branded, as the infamous “Saba Simba”.
- Jimbo Covert was a Chicago Bear for 8 years until 1990. He currently works as the President and CEO of a medical company specializing in blood transfusions.
- Ernie Holmes played in the NFL for 8 years for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots. He retired in 1979. Besides Wrestlemania 2, he would appear at various wrestling shows as well as on TV in character roles. He died in a car accident in 2008 at the age of 59.
- Harvey Martin’s 10-year NFL career saw him as a lifer with the Dallas Cowboys. Following retirement in 1984, he was a commentator for NBC Sports and would make frequent wrestling appearances in WCCW as well as the GWF. Despite a busy career, Martin had issues with drugs and alcohol as well as severe emotional issues culminating with domestic abuse. In 1996, he was arrested and put in prison for Cocaine use and the beating of his live-in girlfriend. After a long rehab stint, he stayed clean and sober for his remaining years and became a motivational speaker for students and other addicts until his death, a short time later, in 2001. Martin was only 51 years old.
- Bill Fralic was active in the NFL for 9 years, playing 8 of those years with the Atlanta Falcons and finishing with the Detroit Lions. He was an outspoken critic of steroid use in the NFL and even testified about it to the United States Senate. Fralic was broadcaster for the Falcons until 1997 and currently works as a commentator for the collegiate Pittsburgh Panthers football team. He also runs Bill Fralic Insurance in Atlanta.
- William “Refrigerator” Perry was in the NFL for 10 years, playing for the Chicago Bears for a good majority and finishing with the Philadelphia Eagles. After leaving the NFL in 1994, Perry tried, unsuccessfully, for a comeback in 1996 with the London Monarchs of the World League of American Football and would retire following that season. In 2008, Perry was diagnosed with Guillane-Barre Syndrome, a chronic inflammation of nerves. He has since had issues with recovering from the disease and has also battled alcoholism.
- Russ Francis was in the NFL with a 13-year tenure. He split his time with the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers. He had a stint with the AWA as well as NWA Hawaii where he was a co-holder of their Tag Team Championship.
The guys in Chicago go back to Vince and Susan in New York. They’re with Piper who claims that Mr. T was cheating. He even repeats the “Indian” hair remark and “painting himself black” insult. Wow.
Back to Chicago…
Gene is with Jimbo Covert who claims he was cheated. Iron Sheik says wrestler better than football player, Gene Mean.
Gorilla and Cathy review all the Personified Action here. There’s more Action which has yet to be Personified.
MATCH #8: Greg “The Hammer” Valentine & Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake (champions) (w/ “Luscious” Johnny Valiant) vs. The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith & The Dynamite Kid) (challengers) (w/ Ozzy Osbourne and Captain Lou Albano) for the WWF Tag Team Championship
Smith and Hammer start out. They trade shots to begin and then Hammer trips Smith and misses a knee. Smith takes over with a wristlock. Hammer gets out and hits a hip toss but misses an elbow and the Kid is in and he gets a two count after taking Hammer to the mat. HUGE shouldeblock by the Kid, followed by stomps and a snap suplex. He tries another suplex but Hammer blocks it and tries to counter. Kid, however, manages to re-apply it and gets one instead. Hammer rolls out of the ring as Valiant consoles him. Kid tags Smith and Hammer gets back in the ring, hitting heavy forearms and a knee lift after being tossed into a corner.
Tag to Brutus who puts Smith in a wristlock but Smith counters with a HUGE press slam! He tags Kid who hits a clothesline and chop. He tries a small package pin and only gets two. Quick tag to Smith and hits a PerfectPl–uh, Fisherman’s Suplex for two. Beefcake drags Smith to the corner and tags Hammer who hits a nice axehandle off the top rope and a beautiful suplex. Hammer Elbow and headlock by Valentine. Smith gets out and tags Kid and the two trade shots. Kid hits a huge punch and Hammer goes down for two. Tag to Smith and they hit Hammer with a double shoulderblock and a pin. Brutus jumps in to double-team Kid but Kid ends up getting a Sunset Flip for two. Kid hits a backbreaker and Brutus comes in to kick Kid out of the pin.
Hammer comes back with a punch and a HUGE piledriver and gets two on a slow count. He puts Kid in a press pin but can’t get a three count. He goes for a knee drop but Kid puts his knees up and Valentine takes it in the nuts. Hammer goes up to the top rope but Kid press slams him to the mat for two! Brutus gets in the ring but Smith gets in as well and it’s a quick brawl. Hammer begins beating on Kid who manages to get to Smith for the tag. Smith hits the Powerslam for two! Smith hits a suplex but only gets two again. Smith tries to toss Hammer into the corner but Hammer reverses and Smith goes down. Tag to Brutus who hits a punch off the second rope. Smith tries to counter with a Snap Mare but Brutus lifts him up and drops him on his ass.
Tag to Hammer who hits a Shoulderbreaker, then pulls up on the pin before getting the three-count and mocks the crowd. He picks up Smith but Smith throws Hammer into Kid who just belts Hammer, taking a HUGE bump. Smith pins for the titles as Brutus trips over the bottom rope.
WINNERS AND NEW CHAMPIONS: Bulldogs via pinfall
GRADE: B-. Not bad, though the ending was a bit odd.
Post-match, Gene interviews Albano who loves what he’s seen. Ozzy’s stoned as fuck, declaring “British Bulldogs, FOREVEEEEEER!” Smith thanks America while the Kid is fucking unconscious and “unable to talk”, according to Gene.
We see clips of what happened and then Monsoon kicks us back to New York with Vince and Susan. Vince plus the final segment of WM2 and the Hogan match. Vince asks Susan who she thinks will win. Susan says it’s Hulk
We go to L.A….
We are LIVE from Los Angeles!
Your announcers are Jesse “The Body” Ventura, Lord Alfred Hayes and Elvira because boobs.
MATCH #9: Hercules Hernandez vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
Hercules actually LOOKS like Hercules of legend with the long, bushy hair and leather chaps. It’s hard to complete the effect when the ring announcer says you hail “from Florida”. Hercules attacks Steamboat but Steamboat hits his trademark arm drags and a wristlock. Hercules gets free and whips Steamboat into the ropes and tries to grab at him for a backbreaker but Steamboat counters it and hits a kick to Hercules’ stomach. Another arm drag and wristlock by Steamboat. Steamboat turns it into an armbar. Steamboat tosses Hercules into the ropes and hits a nice back elbow and a huge suplex. He puts Hercules into yet, ANOTHER armbar but, this time, Hercules counters by tossing Ricky’s head into the buckle and then hitting a HUGE clothesline. Ricky is draped on the bottom rope and Hercules drops knees to his head. Hercules puts Steamboat into the ropes and drops his neck on the ropes. He chokes Steamboat as the crowd chants for him to rally. He starts to fight back but Hercules falls on him when he tries to slam Hercules. Two count. Hercules puts Steamboat into the ropes and hits a back elbow and a couple of elbow smashes. Hercules pins and gets a close three and, again, Steamboat chops at Hercules but Hercules punches back and hits a HUGE press slam on Steamboat. He goes for another and hits it easily. Hercules goes to the top rope for a splash but Ricky puts the knees up and Hercules is in pain. Steamboat jumps up, hits the top ropes and gets the Dragon Splash for the win.
WINNER: Steamboat via Dragon Splash
GRADE: B-. Not bad. Hercules is a good worker and Steamboat is fun to watch.
MATCH #10: “Adorable” Adrian Adonis (w/ “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart) vs. Uncle Elmer
Adonis is, basically, a guy who cross-dresses to look like your Grandma and a giant female baby. He’s taking on a giant hillbilly who looks like Bear Hugger from Super Punchout!…and after chasing Adonis out of the ring, the match starts. This is gonna be a Five-Star production. I just know it. Elmer tosses Adonis into the buckle and punches him and Adonis is back outside again. Adonis finds his way back in but Elmer just knocks him out of the ring again. Adonis cries or something. Elmer grabs him and tears at his dress, then yanks him back in the ring. Elmer ties Adonis up in the ropes but manages to get free, punches Elmer and then tries to toss him into the corner. Elmer reverses and hits an Avalanche in the corner. Elmer misses a legdrop and Adonis climbs the ropes and hits a headbutt and we’re done.
WINNER: Adonis via Flying Headbutt
GRADE: F. This was pointless, boring nonsense.
Post-match, Adonis and Hart dance around the ring together and then Adonis gets an extra shot on Adonis. Elmer tries to get up but Adonis kicks him.
- Stanley Fraizer (AKA “Uncle Elmer”) quit the WWF after Wrestlemania 2 and would wrestle in the AWA alongside the likes of Jerry “The King” Lawler. After the AWA, he would wrestle with the CWA in 1988 and retire from wrestling in 1990. Fraizer would get by, running side businesses like a shoe store and also sold cheap Rolex replicas. He would pass away, in 1992, due to kidney failure stemming from complications related to Diabetes and his weight. Fraizer was only 54 years old.
Lord Alfred Hayes is backstage with Hulk Hogan who says he’d fight Bundy tonight even if he dragged himself to the ring.
MATCH #11: Terry & Hoss Funk (w/ “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart) vs. Tito Santana & The Junkyard Dog
Ventura still calls Tito, “Chico”, which continues to get on my nerves. Hoss starts with JYD. Hoss goes for the Irish Whip but JYD tosses Hoss into Terry and then slams both guys as the fight spills onto the floor. Back in the ring, Tito tags in so Hoss tags Terry, who goes into the ropes and ends up getting tied up in them. Tito clotheslines him out, then dropkicks Hoss who comes in to fight. Terry gets back in the ring and Tito tags JYD. They get into a fist-fight but JYD just grabs Terry and rams his head into the buckle about a dozen times and pins for two. JYD tosses him outside the ring. Terry tags in Hoss and JYD tags Tito after putting Hoss in a headlock. Tito continues that but Hoss hits some uppercuts. Hoss tossed into the ropes and he nails the Flying Forearm…but Terry interferes with the pin.
Tito punches away at Terry who leaves the ring. Tito drags Hoss back in and the men go into a Criss-Cross and Tito gets hit in the back by Terry outside and rolls out of the ring. Hart stomps on Tito but JYD chases him off. Terry hits a HUGE suplex and NEARLY gets a pin which pisses off Terry. He shoves the ref who shoves Terry back. Terry tries another suplex but Tito’s too heavy and he falls on Terry. Terry goes into the ropes and two run into each other. Tito gets the worst of it as Terry tags in Hoss. Hoss hits a beautiful Double Arm Suplex and gets two. Tito tries to reach for a tag but Hoss holds him back and then tags in Terry. The brothers hit a double clothesline and Terry hits a Legdrop and NEARLY gets a fall. He tries again but Terry misses. Tito tries to get to his corner but Terry gets to him, getting a huge headbutt. Terry tries to follow up but Tito squirms away from him several times and hits the hot tag to JYD.
JYD is a house-a-fire, clearing the ring until Terry grabs the tag rope and chokes JYD with it. JYD breaks out and slams Terry onto a table outside. EXTREME! Tito beats on Hoss. JYD and Terry get into the ring as JYD grabs Hart and belts him in the mouth. Terry attacks and JYD hits a small package. Hoss and Tito get involved and Tito hits the Figure Four…the ref deals with that as Hart tosses the megaphone to Terry who nails JYD with it and we’re done on the cheap finish.
WINNERS: The Funk Bros. via Megaphone Screwjob
GRADE: B+. I enjoyed this one. It was fun. I even love that patented Megaphone Finish.
Post-match, the crowd chants “BULLSHIT” as Tito helps JYD up.
- Terry would leave the WWF shortly after this and resurface in the NWA in 1989.
We take a long break as the steel cage is set up by the ring crew. This was the 80’s steel cage with blue bars.
We get a video package(!) showing the build-up for the match.
Meanwhile, Hogan works out, lifting an impressive 40 pounds or so. His “doctor” says he told Hogan not to wrestle because his ribs are all taped up thanks to Bundy’s attack before Wrestlemania. Hogan puts a 100-pound dumbbell around his neck and then does chin-up. Gene can’t believe his eyes and asks “Dr. Bob” (yes, that’s his name) if this is healthy. Dr. Bob’s allowing it because what the fuck’s he gonna say? Hogan says Bundy’s all his…
Ventura has Heenan and Bundy backstage. Heenan says that Bundy’s gonna be champion soon. They’re the dominant force in this industry. Heenan says they’re gonna take Hogan apart. Heenan says it’s gonna be Bundy-Mania after this match. Bundy says they’re even gonna party after they win the title.
Elvira’s boobs say we’re going back to Vince and Susan back in New York. Susan can’t believe that Bundy’s gonna win tonight.
Main event is coming up…
Chet Coppock is in the ring and introduces Tommy Lasorda as our ring announcer.
Lasorda introduces our officials:
- Timekeeper Ricky Schroder
- Referee Robert Conrad
Wait…are we having a match or watching a disaster flick? Where’s George Kennedy?
We’re continuing our “Revisiting Wrestlemania” tour with a look at Wrestlemania II.
As WCW promised to continue with Starrcade, the WWF decided to continue with Wrestlemania. Vince McMahon, however, wanted to do it bigger and better each time.
Instead of one venue, Wrestlemania II would be held in THREE:
Nassau Coliseum in New York, Rosemont Horizon in Chicago, and the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles.
Each venue would have one big main event with a small undercard and each one would have their own team of commentators:
In New York, it would be Vince McMahon and Susan Saint James. In Chicago, we would hear Gorilla Monsoon, Gene Okerlund, and Cathy Lee Crosby. In Los Angeles, we would have Jesse Ventura, Lord Alfred Hayes and Elvira.
A lot had changed since the first Wrestlemania – we had new Tag Team Champions. After winning the titles at Wrestlemania, The U.S. Express got the titles back three months later only to lose them to The Dream Team which consisted of Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine. They would feud with The British Bulldogs.
Greg Valentine lost his Intercontinental Champion to Tito Santana but Valentine would get it back, only to lose it again to Randy Savage.
Andre and Studd would renew their rivalry and Hulk Hogan fought aside Andre during the feud…but King Kong Bundy, Bobby Heenan’s new protege would stop Hogan from interfering in Studd’s business. The two would face off for the WWF World Championship at Wrestlemania II.
Meanwhile, Roddy Piper began training Bob Orton as a boxer. He would go up against Mr. T on Saturday Night’s Main Event and lose. After the match, Piper ambushed T, leading to a match between the two at Wrestlemania II…
And, so, the stage was set for Wrestlemania II!
We kick off with some nice 80’s Title CGI. From New York’s Nassau Coliseum, a very young Vince McMahon welcomes the crowd to Wrestlemania! McMahon welcomes Susan Saint James to the ring.
Vince welcomes the late, great Ray Charles to the ring to sing America, The Beautiful. This is great. Charles sings it as only he can. This, by the way, is my favorite version of the song. Absolute favorite. It’s intercut with American imagery.
At the end, they show Hogan with fireworks…that makes me want to puke.
Mean Gene says that it’s great to be in Chicago. Backstage, Piper says he’s cute and he cut his hair so that you can tell the difference between him and T. Piper says if he gets knocked out, Piper will retire from boxing, wrestling, tiddlywinks and dating…girls…huh? This is all given in Piper’s trademark frentic, goofy voice.
IN NEW YORK:
MATCH #1: “The Magnificent” Don Muraco (w/ Mr. Fuji) vs. “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff
Orndorff and Muraco look great here. They look like they have equal strength in this match. Orndorff and Muraco have little sound clips of themselves, pre-match, as we watch the action. It’s weird to hear Susan on the mic. Her voice is so gentle compared to Vince. Muraco with some knees in the corner. Reversal of an Irish Whip and a back body drop by Orndorff. Drop toe hold by Orndorff and an armlock. This is still some non-fancy stuff. The ring is simple and there still looks to be very little space outside the ring. All that time it took me type that, however, Orndorff spent with Muraco in an armlock. There’s a lot of armlocking and holds. Clearly, this is very strategic, old-school wrestling. Saint James says that Orndorff looks like he uses “ancient Chinese techniques”. Yeah, that’s what he’s doing, Susan. Muraco fights back. The outside HAS cleared out a bit. There’s about five feet of space. The bell rings. I think there was a double countout here. The crowd chants, “bullshit”. That was anti-climatic. The final announcement takes forever.
WINNER: Double countout.
GRADE: D+. A countout is boring. Double countouts are like the Kiss of Death in wrestling.
Standing by, in Chicago, is Mr. T in his locker room. Mr. T says it’s not his idea to talk before a fight. Joe Fraizer is massaging Mr. T’s shoulder. As he talks, Finkel announces a double countout.
Wrestlemania II feels really disorganized so far.
WWF Intercontinental Championship
MATCH #2: “Macho Man” Randy Savage (Champ – w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. George “The Animal” Steele
The late, great Savage. I miss the guy. George Steele is still alive. I half-expected him to be dead. He looks like a huge ape here. He chases Savage out of the ring. There are, by the way, NO MATS on the outside of the ring. No wonder nobody wants to play out there. The match got off to a slow start. Susan Saint James says she wants Steele to win because Savage seems to hate women. Steele keeps chasing Savage around. It’s amusing, at one point, where Steele gets a hold of Savage’s leg and begins biting it. Saint James cheers it and says “Yeah! EAT HIS LEG!” Elizabeth did the distraction thing so well with those freakin’ Disney eyes of hers. She distracts Steele at one point and causes him to get wrapped up in the ropes. The match is, for the most part, kinda goofy. It’s a lot of Steele acting like an ass and Savage being chased around. Savage actually uses a bouquet of flowers as a weapon. At least it’s not Cyndi Lauper’s towel, so I guess we’re moving up in the world. The chairs, by the way, aren’t the “chairs” we’re used to as weapons. They’re the giant plastic chairs you’d find in an office in the 60’s and 70’s. Steele eats the turnbuckle at one point – literally. As an aside – nobody flew off the top rope like Randy Savage. His elbow drop is majestic. Not even CM Punk can do it right. (Punk can do it right but it’s just not the same.) He hits Steele with one and only gets a two-count on Steele. The match ends after Savage cheats and puts his feet on the ropes during a pin on Steele.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: “Macho Man” Randy Savage
GRADE: C-. Another crap match. Savage needed one more year to find his stride while Steele was pretty much on his way out.
Post-match, Steele eats another turnbuckle. Steele looks like Kane after drinking a body hair growth potion.
So a heel wins and a double countout match. Not a good vibe out there.
In Chicago, Gene interviews an Bill Fralic from the Atlanta Falcons and WWF’s John Studd. They tease the big battle royale that’s going to take place soon.
Back in New York, Vince and Susan sit in rather comfy-looking chairs. Vince asks Susan if she likes snakes and Susan actually goes into a slight analysis of this. Verdict – no, she does not. In fact, she wonders aloud if George Steele likes snakes.
MATCH #3: George Wells vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Jake Roberts is one of the best wrestlers I’ve ever seen. This is pretty so far. Jack and George trade shots. Wells realy takes initiative in this match and just beats Roberts left and right. I like the speed. Definitely a change from the first two matches. Wells has SO much wrestling talent. This match makes it as evident as I’ve ever seen. It’s a shame he got into drugs. Snake and that DDT. They really could have pushed Wells here. He loses after Jake hits a DDT. Wells shows so much savvy. Post-match, he releases Damien, his Python, and drags it all over George.
WINNER: Jake “The Snake” Roberts
GRADE: B+. Well-wrestled.
Jake is a heel here, as well. Cleanly won, but the crowd has to be wondering what’s going on here with all the heels winning the matches.
We see clips from Saturday Night’s Main Event where Piper and Orton jump Mr. T.
Body interviews Hulk Hogan who is defending his title against Bundy. Busted ribs or no busted ribs, he’s gonna do it for all those “Little Hulksters” because it’s “American”. Yes, whenever I celebrate July 4th, I think about Hogan defending the title against Bundy with broken ribs.
In ring, Finkel introduces Joan Rivers as the Special Guest Ring Announcer.
She introduces the judges first. New Jersey Nets’ Darryl Dawkins is introduced first. The next judge is Cab Calloway. Why? Because it’s Wrestlemania, that’s why. G. Gordon Liddy is the next judge and he gets more boos than cheers.
The timekeeper is Herb from Burger King. No, I’m not lying. Yes, I wish I was lying. If you don’t know that story, Click Here.
Piper is introduced first after the referee. Mr. T is introduced next to a nice pop. Smokin’ Joe Fraizer is with him.
MATCH #4: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. Mr. T
The ref tries to give the rules and Piper and T are nose to nose and nearly tee off on one another.
So, T and Piper start off. This is actually pretty convincing. The two throw some great jabs and T throws some good body blows. T gets a nice uppercut in there that looks like it really rung his bell. Piper has some pretty quick fists. Piper connects with one to the head. The ref spends a LOT of time trying to break them up. Near the end of Round One, it almost becomes a wrestling match. Piper has really aged.
Piper gets some great shots to start here. T is dead silent. I expected more trash-talking. Piper likes to be aggressive and shoot his mouth off. Piper has T in the corner and really starts to punish T. Some great headshots and a body blow. Piper absolutely levels him with a headshot. The match loses some realism when Piper tries to kick T while he’s down. The crowd actually chants “Roddy”, I think. At least it sounds like that. Round 2 ends with Mr. T down on the mat. He looks tired.
Before Round 3, Orton throws water on Mr. T. I would think that would serve to wake T up. Piper begins imitating Ali, dancing all over the ring. T gets some great shots in and then backs Piper in the corner, eventually knocking him down in the corner. He absolutely TAGS Piper with a headshot and the referee counts to seven. Good action. This is the first real fun match of the day. The crowd chants “T” but it’s short-lived. T shoves Piper, then tags him with a HUGE headshot and Piper falls out of the ring. Piper gets up at nine this time. T tries for a TKO but Piper won’t let it happen. Round 3 ends with a lock-up and the two competitors rest. The crowd is into this one.
Pre-round, Piper throws his stool at Mr. T and really does catch his leg. Now it becomes more than a match. The two just trade shots. Piper really backs T into the ropes but T fights back. Piper knocks T’s mouthpiece out but T retaliates with fury and puts Piper in the corner. Piper shoves the ref, then bodyslams T. The bell rings. It’s a DQ.
WINNER: Mr. T via disqualification
GRADE: B-. I enjoyed this although it’s obvious that neither man knew shit about boxing even if it was all scripted.
Post-match, both sides get into a free-for-all.
So, that’s it for the first third of Wrestlemania II. We go for Chicago.
Gorilla on the mic, which is a welcome change. Vince gets tiresome after awhile. Monsoon introduces Cathy Lee Crosby who sticks out like Susan Saint James.
Chet Coppock will take the place of Howard Finkel.
WWF Ladies Championship
MATCH #5: Velvet McIntrye vs. The Fabulous Moolah (Champion)
So, I guess Moolah won her title back following Wrestlemania I. Moolah is incredibly good, whipping Velvet around the ring like a rag doll. Moolah has some weight on her but has some great strength. The pace of this match is a welcome change. The two wrestlers are incredible. Moolah wins after Velvet misses a body splash off the top ropes.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: The Fabulous Moolah
GRADE: C+. It was quick, well-wrestled, but far too short.
Still, I can’t believe this is over that quick. Gorilla says that Moolah left Velvet gasping for breath. That’s not what it looks like to me. Velvet’s mouth is open like she’s in the throes of orgasm.
I like Crosby’s commentary. She fits very well with Monsoon and Mean Gene.
MATCH #6: Nikolai Volkoff (w/ Classy Freddy Blassie) vs. Corporal Kirschner
Before the match, Volkoff sings the Soviet National Anthem which is interrupted by his opponents music. Apparently, the winner of this match will get to raise their country’s flag. Seeing as though Vince probably didn’t want death threats, I’m pretty sure the Corporal will win this match. If you thought Sgt. Slaughter was nauseatingly patriotic, Corporal Kirschner makes him look like a Socialist. Blassie looks tired here. Especially when he tries to get out of the ring. Volkoff has some strength but so does Kirschner. Kirschner accidentally hits the referee with his elbow and, while the ref is out, Blassie tries to fork his cane over to Volkoff to use. It’s intercepted by Kirschner. He uses it to knock out Volkoff and gets the pin. Another lousy match.
WINNER: Corporal Kirschner
GRADE: F. With Theme Matches, you always risk turning off your audience. This was one of those times. Kirschner, reportedly, had a bad attitude and even injured a few wrestlers. Then he was pretty much booted from the WWF due to drugs. That is a recurring theme.
MATCH #7: WWF vs. NFL Battle Royale – Jimbo Covert (Chicago Bears), Pedro Morales (WWF), Tony Atlas (WWF), Ted Arcidi (WWF), Harvey Martin (Dallas Cowboys), Dan Spivey (WWF), Hillbilly Jim (WWF), King Tonga (WWF), The Iron Sheik (WWF), Ernie Holmes (Pittsburgh Steelers), The Killer Bees (WWF), Big John Studd (WWF), Bill Fralic (Atlanta Falcons), The Hart Foundation (WWF), Russ Francis (San Francisco 49ers), Bruno Sammartino (WWF), William Perry (Chicago Bears), Andre the Giant (WWF)
Mean Gene introduces the timekeeper, Claire Peller, from the “Where’s the Beef” commercials. What’s next? Ronald McDonald and the Hamburglar as announcers?! Dick Butkis is a referee. Too Tall Jones is also a ref. Gene introduces all the wrestlers. It’s interesting to note: The Hart Foundation is dressed in blue and black, not pink and black. This is The Hitman’s first Wrestlemania. Cathy Crosby is beside herself. She cannot believe all these men in one ring is even possible. Tonga and Covert go first. Battle Royales are kinda like buffets – everything you get is just okay and the ending is usually not what you want. Perry is a BIG guy. He actually eliminates Tony Atlas at one point and I can’t imagine that would be easy. Bruno goes and that leaves six men. Giant’s knees are really not well here. At one point, Perry vs. Studd gets a HUGE pop. When Studd eliminates him, the crowd is upset. He goes for a handshake and Studd falls for it, getting pulled out of the ring. Love it. Giant is destroying the entire ring. The 49ers’ Russ Francis…I cannot believe he’s still in there. He looks like he’s wearing black boxers and a wife-beater. The match ends with Andre the Giant vs. The Heart Foundation. Neidhart tosses Bret right into Giant’s boot. That had to hurt. It ends with Neidhart on the floor and Andre tossing Bret out right on top of him.
WINNER: Andre the Giant
GRADE: B-. I like Andre. This, by the way, is the big “Battle Royale” Hulk Hogan was referring to when he wanted the “Andre Memorial” Battle Royale. Hopefully, it’s good.
Andre is still a face here. Bret, Jake the Snake are not. Interesting.
Back in New York, Vince interviews Piper. Piper claims that Mr. T cheats. Piper gets incredibly racist saying that he doesn’t cut his hair like an Indian or dye himself black. No, but Piper does do that at Wrestlemania 6…but we’ll get to that. Piper whines a lot.
Iron Sheik is interviewed. He continues to push Iran and Russia over the U.S….and he still calls Mean Gene, “Gene Mean”. Gotta love the stereotypes.
Back in the ring, we get our next match:
WWF TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
MATCH #8: The Dream Team (CHAMPS – Brutus Beefcake & Greg “The Hammer” Valentine w/ “Luscious” Johnny Valiant) vs. The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith & Dynamite Kid w/ Captain Lou Albano & Ozzy Osbourne)
Brutus was still a heel at this point as was Greg Valentine. Valentine is one of my favorite wrestlers of all-time. The Bulldogs come out to the ring with Ozzy Osbourne. Gorilla actually asks Gene to tell him what “Ozzy Osbourne can do for the British Bulldogs”. There’s a mic malfunction and dead silence after the question. It’s either that or Gene was laughing his ass off, turned off his mic and asked Gorilla, “ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS WITH THIS?” Ozzy must have done some serious drugs in the next 25 years. He actually looks sane and with it here. I miss Davey Boy Smith. He died young as a lot of wrestlers tend to do when they go. Smith was just 39 years old when he died of a heart attack. He was a user of anabolic steroids but that wasn’t the official reason. Doctors attributed it to stress, although Bruce Hart said that Smith used HGH and Steroids to the point where it was just too much for his heart. I missed his first go-round in the WWF but grew up with his singles career in the early 90’s. This is a much better match for Valentine than last year. Last year, Hammer faced The Junkyard Dog in a match that was terribly coreographed. Some quick tags in this match by the Bulldogs. I forgot just how strong Smith is. That effortless-looking suplex and press slam look incredible in this match. Hammer and Beefcake have nothing in common. Most tag teams, at this point, wear matching tights but this was a thrown-together team as most modern teams are now. At one point in this match, Gene complains that there was a pin but no hooking of the leg during the pin. Gene says “this is fundamental wrestling”. Well, I’ve seen wrestlers hook the leg before and that doesn’t really work either. This is a good match but Hammer does most of the work. I don’t know if it’s because Beefcake lacks skill or what but Hammer hasn’t really tagged him in much. It’s been both Bulldogs vs. Hammer. When Brutus finally gets a tag, he hits a HUGE slam on Smith, stomps him for a few and Hammer gets right back in. The match ends unexpectedly when Hammer gets thrown at the Dynamite Kid and Smith scores a pin. That actually lit the crowd up. A decent match.
WINNERS AND NEW CHAMPIONS: The British Bulldogs
GRADE: B-. Not bad, though Beefcake just sucks rocks.
Post-match, Captain Lou Albano slobbers, Ozzy slurs and looks like Don Johnson and Gene, for some reason, asks Crosby if she’s “ever seen a match like this” even though, several times before, she says she has NEVER seen a wrestling event. So how could she POSSIBLY see “a match like this”?
So, that’s it for Chicago. We’re off to Los Angeles!
Back in New York, Vince McMahon, Susan Saint James and the comfy chairs talk about the last four matches in Los Angeles. Vince asks Saint James who she thinks will win Hogan’s match. Saint James says it’s Hogan, all the way. Vince tries to plant seeds of doubt but Saint James isn’t buying it. Vince has a look like, “Can you just play along?”
In Los Angeles, we’re introduced to Jesse “The Body” Ventura, Lord Alfred Hayes and Elvira. Why Elvira? Because it’s Wrestlemania. And Elvira has nice tits. That’s why. (Boy, I was sexist here. Sorry about that.)
Lee Marshall is the ring announcer in Los Angeles and introduces the next match:
MATCH #9: Hercules Hernandez vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
So far, Elvira is quiet. She only speaks when Body tries to get her to speak and that’s when she finally begins filling in some color. I do like the idea, however, of having a woman in each arena doing color commentary. You can call it a cheap attempt at gaining a new audience but this is actually a good idea. This is a good, tough match. What Hercules matches in skill, he makes up for in strength and he draws heat very well. Body points out that Hercules didn’t “hook the leg” while pinning. Perhaps the wrestlers are wrong. They don’t need finishing moves. All they need to do is slam their opponent and pin while hooking the leg. That should win every match. Steamboat gets the pin after his Dragon Splash. But I don’t think that’s what won. If you watch closely, you’ll see that Dragon hooked the leg.
WINNER: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
GRADE: C+. Steamboat had the match of the year the very next year.
Body tells Hayes, post-match, that the referee’s count was really fast.
MATCH #10: “Adorable” Adrian Adonis (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Uncle Elmer
This is one of those matches you look at and you wonder just what the hell Vince McMahon was thinking when he thought these guys up. On one end, you have a big dude in women’s clothing and, on the other, you have a effeminate hillbilly. Oh, and both these men are no longer with us. Adonis died in a car accident along with a few of his friends and Elmer is dead from diabetes. Both men, as is common, were young. There’s no skill in this match. It’s just two big dudes acting like morons. Early on, Adonis gets tossed from the ring and looks like he hurts himself. This match is really disturbing. Elmer tears off Adonis’s clothing like he’s trying to rape Adonis. We’re one Ned Beatty away from telling Adonis to squeal like a pig. The best moment is when Adonis strips down to his trunks and Elvia yells, “Put the dress back on! PUT THE DRESS BACK ON!!!” This leaves Body speechless and he laughs to himself, obviously amused. The end comes when Adonis gets a splash off the top ropes and gets the pin.
WINNER: “Adorable” Adrian Adonis
GRADE: F. The first sentence in the above paragraph just says it all.
Adonis prances around the ring, post-match, then decks Elmer. Hart has his megaphone, a prop which would be his trademark.
Backstage, Lord Alfred Hayes interviews Hulk Hogan. I think Hogan ad-libs and calls Hayes “Awful Alfred”. Yes, yes, he does. He does realize that Hayes has a nickname already, right? Hogan yacks about how Hulkamania is gonna run wild and blah, blah, blah.
MATCH #11: The Funk Brothers (Terry and Hoss Funk) w/ Jimmy Hart vs. The Junkyard Dog and Tito Santana
The Funk Brothers are out first, pushing the ring announcer around. Hart is with them. Santana and the Dog come out next. Dog looks ready to kick ass. JYD is strong, Tito is skilled and this is a match that is well worked. JYD really looks improved here, drawing a nice pop with an Irish Whip collision. Dog is another wrestler that’s no longer with us. He died in a single car accident, driving home from his daugther’s high school graduation. Allegedly, he fell asleep at the wheel. Interesting post-script to this: his daughter died thirteen years later. No cause was given. She was talking on the phone. Interesting. Anyhow, Dog really has some fun here and the crowd does love him. Terry is a legend and is a tough wrestler just like Mick Foley. He can take an obscene amount of punishment. Tito is a wrestler I’ve always had great respect for, even when he went all stereotype on our asses and became “El Matador”. He’s just a great wrestler with pure talent and a happy ending. He teaches Spanish in New Jersey and is happily married with children. Elvira actually says that she hopes that the wrestling tights are strong because if they break, then they’ll be nude. Body tells her that she’ll get a real show. Elvira is giddy at this thought. This is a hard-fought match but I’m not that much into tag team matches. I don’t know what it is. Eventually, a hot tag is made to JYD after Tito takes some punishment. JYD starts to clean house and Irish Whips and clotheslines Terry Funk. He nails Hoss and prevents Jimmy Hart from trying to interfere. JYD slams Terry into the table outside. There’s a lot of room out there this time around but still no padding. JYD takes out Hart when he gets back into the ring, as well as Hoss. He goes for a small package but Hoss makes the save. Tito interferes and hits a Figure Four but Hoss isn’t legal. As chaos continues to break out, Hart tosses his megaphone to Terry Funk and Funk uses it to clock JYD in the head. He gets the pin.
WINNER: The Funk Brothers
GRADE: C+. Ah, the classic Hart screwjob at the end…
That damned megaphone. That’s what I would say each time Hart would use it to cheat his way to victory. The crowd chants “bullshit”. That’s something else you don’t really hear anymore. Crowds, these days, seem to be beaten and afraid.
So, the cage is being constructed for the Main Event. This was back in the day when the cage was built out of blue steel bars. We’ve since gone to chain-link fencing because of easier construction, portability, and cheaper cost.
According to an interview with Mean Gene, Hulk Hogan may be really risking his career by defending the title with those “broken ribs”. Hulk does a bunch of ludicrous exercises that no sane person would do with broken ribs and back spasms, including pull-ups with a dumbbell attached to his necklace.
Meanwhile, Jesse Ventura interviews Bobby Heenan and King Kong Bundy. Heenan says Hulkamania is gonna die and Bundy is gonna send Hulk to the hospital. I swear, all of Hulk’s heels are required to say this before they face him.
After those interviews, Elvira says that she’s staring at the Giant Steel Cage…but I’m not listening. Because I’m staring at her giant boobs.
She sends us back to NYC and Saint James cannot believe that “Bundymania” is a new term. Vince tries to put doubt in her mind. Saint James goes off-script and talks about Elvira being “strange”. Vince laughs, not expecting that.
WWF WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP STEEL CAGE MATCH
MATCH #10: King Kong Bundy (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) vs. Hulk Hogan (Champ)
Lee Marshall announces the main event. The guest ring announcer for this match is Tommy Lasorda. He gets a nice ovation and some booing, too. Lasorda introduces the officials for the main event. The timekeeper is Ricky Rick Schroder. The referee will be Robert Conrad. This is like watching an episode of Celebrity Apprentice 20 years early. Lasorda says the only way to win this match is to go over the top of the cage or through the door. I als thought that a pinfall counts but what do I know? Bundy and Heenan enter first. Massive heat as he enters. Bundy, as it turns out, wrestles independently and is also a bit of a comedian. Hogan makes his entrance next. The title belt had not changed to the next design yet and was still a giant oval with a strap:
The crowd, not yet sick of Hogan, gives him a rousing ovation. All event long, Hogan has been biting his own headband. He even talks with it in his mouth. The entire crowd is buzzing. The two lock up and exchange punches. Elvira tries for a joke about flesh inside of a steel cage and how she hasn’t seen this since Vegas but it really isn’t worth elaborating on. Hogan has the early advantage but can’t seem to knock Bundy down. Bundy turns it around and the crowd is all over Bundy for doing so. Hogan looks like he’s in pain. He sells that well. Heenan is trying to help the ref open the cage door. The ref keeps telling him to back off. Heenan goes, “I WAS JUST TRYING TO HELP!!!” His humor here is so understated. Elvira cackles with glee as Bundy removes Hulk’s bandages and thinks they’re “clothes”. Hogan has no wrestling talent whatsoever. It’s just a lot of punching. That’s all it is. Ruh-roh…Hogan Hulks out after ramming Bundy into the steel cage. Hogan just rams Bundy into the steel bars and then continues to punch with all the orange fury he can muster. Hulk, at one point, tries to slam Bundy but Bundy’s weight is too much. The door is open again and tries to escape the cage. Hogan has the bandages and uses them to choke Bundy. Bundy hits the Avalance in the corner and then hits the Big Splash. Hogan is shaking. Bundy goes for the door again. But Hogan wakes up and keeps him away. Another Avalanche in the corner but Hogan does his “no-sell” bullshit:
Hogan hits a HUGE running powerslam, drops the legdrop and announces he’s leaving the cage. Bundy gets up and pulls on Hogan but Hogan knocks him back down. Heenan climbs the cage too, to stop Hogan but that doesn’t work. Hogan escapes and the match is over.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Hulk Hogan
GRADE: D+. The first of many opponents to fire missiles at Hogan, run him over with a car, drop him from a 70-story building, and then set him on fire and he still manages to win. That was the formula. And we all loved it.
Post-match, Heenan tries to escape Hogan and gets in the cage. Hogan breaks in and grabs Heenan. He pulls Heenan down, hits him, then rams him into the steel cage. Then Hogan atomic drops him and Heenan dives awkwardly out of the cage. Tommy Lasorda announces Hogan is the winner.
Post-match, Hogan poses like he always does and his music plays a couple hundred times. Elvira is all horny over Hulk’s muscles.
THINGS ELVIRA GOT HOT OVER:
Bandages being removed
Tights being torn off fat dudes
So, I guess that’s that.
Oh, wait, no, we’re going back to Vince and Susan in NYC. Vince thanks everyone who watched Wrestlemania II and then they quit.
Well, I have to say that I enjoyed this Wrestlemania over the last one but it still gets a C+. The pacing was better overall but most of the matches were just lacking.
Favorites: Savage/Steel, Mr. T/Piper, Bulldogs/Dream Team, Steamboat/Hercules, Funk Brothers/Santana & JYD, Hogan/Bundy
Hated: Ladies Title Match, Volkoff’s match, Orndorff’s match, Elmer/Adonis, Wells/Roberts, Battle Royale
The ladies title match was a squash, the flag match is just plain stupid and endlessly and pointlessly macho, Orndorff HAD potential but a bad ending killed it, Wells and Roberts was boring, the Battle Royale wasn’t very exciting and too quick and are you KIDDING me with Elmer and Adonis?
Revised grade: Boy…I’d say about the same. Wrestlemania really needed one more year to come into its own.
See you during the next ‘Mania!