Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

WWF SUPERSTARS

WWF SUPERSTARS CIRCA 1991



Sunday, 22 December 2013

PPV REVIEW - WWF SUMMERSLAM 1990

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Poster for the event featuring Rick Rude vs. Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan vs. Earthquake
August 27, 1990
The Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

WWF Summerslam 1990 is a weird show in the sense that, despite two title changes and a steel cage match main event, it hardly felt like the show actually mattered much.

Though it wasn't a bad show, it was one that's very easy to forget. Just to jog your memory then, here's what went down.

Welcome to Philly
In a Coliseum Home Video exclusive,  men with big mullets were shown selling lots of WWF merchandise to little kids with even bigger mullets as Sean Mooney gave us the most monotone sales pitch in history. At one point, Mooney called the event a sizzling spectacular (or something to that effect) and somehow made it sound like the most mundane thing ever.

There were no such problems for Vince McMahon however. As was typical of the period, the man most casual fans knew back then as a harmless commentator let rip with a ferocious growl as he promoted tonight's double main event pitting Ultimate Warrior in a steel cage match against Ravishing Rick Rude and Hulk Hogan in a god awful clash with Earthquake.

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Vince McMahon and Rowdy Roddy Piper hosted the event
Speaking of McMahon, he was joined on commentary this year by none other than Rowdy Roddy Piper, who welcomed us to Philadelphia, PA where, according to the Hot Rod,  'bagpipes are hot and Baghdad is not.'

Yeah.

The Rockers (Sean Michaels and Marty Jannety) vs. Power and Glory (Paul Roma and Hercules w/ Slick)
With a need to write the already-injured Shawn Michaels out of the action, Power and Glory struck during the Rockers entrance and took out the future Hall of Fame Star.

This left Marty Jannetty to handle things in a make-shift handicap match.

Though hardly the finest hour for anyone involved, this was nonetheless developed into a fairly decent opener, especially when Jannetty looked as though he would score the upset.

Yet the inevitable finally happened, and Power and Glory walked away with the win.
Your winners: Power and Glory

Backstage, a still sedated Sean Mooney spoke to the Intercontinental Champion, Mr. Perfect and his manager Bobby Heenan.

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: WWF Intercontinental Champion Mr. Perfect (W/ Bobby Heenan) had some harsh words for his challenger, Texas Tornado
Perfect insisted that despite having no time to prepare for the challenge of Kerry Von Erich (stranding in for an injured Brutus Beefcake), his 'perfect record' would see him prevail. Heenan then rambled on about the Texas Tornado having his head in the clouds.

Offering a retort, the Texas Tornado, a relative newcomer to the World Wrestling Federation, made a bunch of tornado metaphors which basically equated to 'I'm going to beat you up and take your title, Mr. Perfect.'

WWF Intercontinental Championship match
World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Champion Mr. Perfect (w/ Bobby Heenan) vs. The Texas Tornado
This passable, five-minute bout saw the Tornado looking strong in the early going before the devious Mr. Perfet stole the advantage and dominated the plucky challenger.

Having absorbed several minutes of punishment from the champion, Von Erich no sold all of it, gripped Perfect with his family's famous 'claw' hold, then smashed his face in with the  Spinning Tornado Punch.
Your winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Texas Tornado

Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund gushed over the new champion before informing us that Sweet Saphire, despite having arrived at the arena, was nowhere to be found. Bobby Heenan and Mr. Perfect then arrived on the scene and had a heart attack. 'NOBODY BEATS MR. PERFECT,' said Mr. Perfect after being beaten.

Sensational Queen Sherri vs. Sweet Saphire
For reasons nobody made clear (or even mentioned), Sensational Queen Sherri dressed for her match against Saphire in an evening gown, had her face painted like a cat and wore some kind of mask.

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Sensational Queen Sherri dressed up like some kind of cat. Nobody knew why.
That was about the most interesting thing about this whole thing, even more interesting than Roddy Piper referring to Saphire as Saffur' and more interesting than the fact that Saphire failed to show up and lost the match by forfeit.
Your winner via forfeit: Sensational Queen Sheri

Out in the back, Mean Gene asked Dusty Rhodes where Saphire had gone. Dusty didn't know either, but he did know that Saphire had been receiving gifts including fur coats and mink coats from somebody, and that it worried him.

The mystery continued

The Warlord (w/ Slick) vs. Tito Santana
I'll admit, when I first saw The Warlord in the ring, I thought we were in for yet another match pitting the former Power of Pain against The British Bulldog.

Instead we were given this forgetabble, though  by no means terrible, match against former Strike Force star Tito Santana.

Santana took the early lead against his larger opponent with some lightning fast offence before finally, and to the surprise of absolutely nobody, losing the match to The Warlord.
Your Winner: The Warlord

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Demoltion three-man team ft. Ax, Smash and Crush
Vince McMahon took some time out to plug the 1990 Survivor Series before a simple-minded Sean Mooney failed to get his head around the idea that despite there being three members of Demolition, only two could compete in the upcoming match.

Hilariously, Crush refered to the Legion of Doom as 'second-rate imposters' before the World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Champions headed off to defend their titles.

After it was revealed that Crush and Smash would be representing Demolition, The Hart Foundation cut an awkward, cheesy promo in which they promised to give their opponents a Hart Attack and insisted that the champions would have to 'buy pacemakers by the truckload.'

Two out of three falls WWF Tag Team Championship match
World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Champions Demolition (Smash and Crush) vs. The Hart Foundation (Bret 'The Hitman' Hart and Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart)
In the best match of the night so far (and what would ultimately turn out to be a highlight of the whole show), The Hart Foundation captured their second tag team championship in an exciting two-out-three falls contest.

This hard-fought, high impact match saw Demolition take the first fall thanks to the Demolition Decapitation before the Harts evened the score with the Hart Attack.

In the third fall, Ax snuck into the match and replaced Smash. The referee, who was clearly an idiot, couldn't tell the difference between Smash and Ax, and let it stand.

Countering such heelish actions, Hawk and Animal came down to the even the score, and The Hart Foundation walked away with the titles.
Your winners and NEW tag team champions: The Hart Foundation

Backstage, The Legion of Doom told Mean Gene that they hadn' finished with Demolition. Bret and The Anvil then showed up to celebrate with the men who helped them win. Gene Okerlund claimed he couldn't 'make head nor tails out of half the things that went on (in the tag team title match).

Apparently Okerlund was an idiot too.

Promos galore
Up next, Sean Mooney listened in on the arguments and frustration behind the door of Demolition's locker room.

Sensational Queen Sherri gloated about her win over Sweet Saphire. Sherri claimed she'd heard rumours as to Saphire's whereabouts and started to laugh.

'I don't think a missing person is funny,' said Okerlund.
'I said she was missing, I didn't say anything about her being a person,'  laughed Sherri. It was one of the funniest lines of the whole show.

Sean Mooney interviewed Jim Duggan and Nikolai Volkoff. Volkoff, who had recently turned babyface, claimed that Duggan was his 'idol' (yes, idol) and that they were going to make a great tag team.

All this was followed by a promo from Earthquake, Jimmy Hart and Dino Bravo, hyping the mighty quake's upcoming main event clash with Hulk Hogan.

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Jake The Snake had a snake on his face
Finally, Jake 'The Snake' Roberts had trouble keeping Damian still as he cut a promo on arch-rival Bad News Brown. As Roberts tried to sound menacing, his snake continued to wrap itself around his face. It was pretty funny.

Bad News Brown vs. Jake 'The Snake' Roberts, with special guest referee, The Big Boss Man
At one point in the match, Roddy Pipper said that, for once, he was on Jake Roberts side, because he hated snakes too.

If you thought that made little sense,  wait until you see the rest of the match. If there was a reason for Big Boss Man being the guest referee, nobody mentioned it. There was a box of 'Harlem sewer rats' at ringside too, though these were barely mentioned, didn't come into play at any point in the story, and were completely unecessary.

Come to think of it, this whole match was unecessary. It was boring, dull and lifeless, and came to an end when Boss Man disqualified Bad News for using a chair.
Your winner via disqualification: Jake Roberts

Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund spoke to the former tag team champions, Demolition. Ax, Smash and Crush reacted to the word 'former' as though Mean Gene had just called them all assholes. They then swore revenge on the Legion of Doom.

The Brother Love Show, with Sgt. Slaughter
WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Sgt. Slaughter was a guest on the brother love show
If there's one thing that confuses your writer, it's that Bruce Prichard played such a great character with Brother Love, and yet every pay per view segment I've ever seen featuring that character has been a snore-fest.

Care in point, this horrible skit involving American turncoat Sgt. Slaughter.  En route to his 1991 Royal Rumble title victory over the Ultimate Warrior, Slaughter declared Brother Love to the Greatest American Ever, then declared war on Nikolai Volkoff of all people.

'I'm going to kick your butt, Nikolai Volkoff,' said Slaughter. 'And that's an order.'

It's not though, is it?

Two cross-eyed?
Backstage, Sean Mooney spoke to Mr. Fuji and The Orient Express. Fuji muttered something about one cross eyed being better than two cross eyed (or maybe better than being too cross eyed?) before cameras caught up with Mean Gene, who had apparently found Saphire.

Not that we were going to get anything out of the polka-dot wearing diva. Instead, Saphire quickly shut herself off behind a closed door. Weirdly, it looked pretty much the same door as the one Demolition had been hiding behind earlier.

The Orient Express (Tanaka and Sato w/ Mr. Fuji)  vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Nikolai Volkoff
Before the match got started, Duggan and Volkoff let rip with a toe-curling rendition of America the Beautiful that was somehow supposed to endear them to the Philly crowd.

Things only went from bad to worse in this sloppy, thankfully short contest which the good guys won.
Your winners: Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Nikolai Volkoff

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Dusty Rhodes was all kinds of confused about Saphire
True story, the total length of the last three matches is still less time than the 15 minute tag team title match.

Anyway, back to the story of Saphire The Missing Person. Dusty Rhodes tried to coax her out from behind her door and could not, then ran off to the ring to face Randy Savage.

Before that match could take place, Savage had a few words of his own. Perched atop a wooden thrown which looked as though some kid had made in shop class, Savage promised the end of Dusty Rhodes.

Dusty Rhodes vs. Macho King Randy Savage (W/ Sensational Queen Sheri)
With both combatants in the ring, The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase turned up with Virgil in tow, and announced that he had been the one sending Saphire all those gifts. Not only that, but such gifts were apparently enough for Saphire to ditch 'common man' Rhodes and join the dark side.

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Saphire turned on Dusty Rhodes and joined The Million Dollar Man's team
Saphire arrived on the scene, wearing a long pink dress, a fair coat and a gormless expression which suggested she hadn't a clue what was going on.

This was enough to distract Dusty, who subsequently fell victim to the Macho King in less than three minutes.
Your winner: Macho King Randy Savage

Afterwards, Sean Mooney tried to find out what was going on with Saphire and the Million Dollar Man. The bad guys were having none of it, and disappeared in a limosine. Dusty Rhodes gave chase, and that was the end of that.

A second later, Sean Mooney turned up in front of a green screen hyping our two main events.

Speaking of which, we next got a promo from Hulk Hogan and Big Boss Man. His officiating duties over with, the Boss Man would be in the corner of Hogan as the Immortal one took on the mighty Earthquake in the first of our two-part main event.

Hogan went through his usual pre-match ritual and promised to dispose of  'Quake once and for all.

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Hulk Hogan locked up with Earthquake at the show
Earthquake (w/ Dino Bravo and Earthquake) vs. Hulk Hogan (w/ Big Boss Man)
If you were expecting nothing more than your typical Hogan vs. Big Man match, you'd be pleasantly surprised.

Sure, this was a Hogan vs. Big Man match, but with both men bringing their A-game, it turned into an above-average encounter that was fun to watch.

Hogan won the match count-out and both he and Quake lived to fight another day.
Your winner via count-out: Hulk Hogan

For reasons which were never fully explained, it took the WWF ring-crew almost twenty minutes to set up the steel cage for our main event, giving us plenty of time for lots more promos!

First up, Rick Rude talked about Rocky Balboa facing Apollo Creed and promised to defeat the Ultimate Warrior.

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Hulk Hogan had Big Boss Man in his corner
Dusty Rhodes yelled and screamed into Mean Gene Okerlund's microphone, expressing his upset over Saphire's betrayal.

Lord Alfred Hayes turned up from nowhere to tell us that the ring-crew were working very quickly to set the cage up. Yep, that happened.

Hulk Hogan then gave a post-match interview to Mean Gene. Looking as though he'd barely broken a sweat, Hogan vowed to become the number one contender to the WWF title once again. He then said he was going to get a new surfboard 'and a two-and-half foot skank.'

Killing more time, Vinny Mac and Roddy Piper talked about the previous match before, Earthquake challenged Hogan to a rematch. When Sean Mooney reminded Earthquake that he couldn't pin Hogan, big Earthquake only promised to inflict more damage the next time round.

Finally, Mean Gene interviewed WWF Champion Ultimate Warrior, who grunted and snorted a lot and promised to kill Rick Rude.

WWF Championship Steel Cage Match
World Wrestling Federation Champion The Ultimate Warrior vs. Ravishing Rick Rude (w/ Bobby Heenan)

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: World Wrestling Federation Champion Ultimate Warrior defended the title against Ravishing Rick Rude inside a steel cage
And so we got here at last, a main event steel cage match in which Ultimate Warrior defended his World Wrestling Federation title against long-time rival, Ravishing Rick Rude.

Upping the ante on their Summerslam 1989 encounter, the two men battled back and forth in a dramatic, hard-fought main event.

Sure, at only ten minutes long it wasn't a match of epic proportions, but for the time they were given, both men busted their backsides to deliver a compelling main event.

Unsurprisingly, The Ultimate Warrior dropped to the outside first and won the match.
Your winner and still WWF Champion, The Ultimate Warrior




All in all then, WWE Summerslam 1990 was a mixed show. The two main events plus the tag team title match remain enjoyable bouts to this day. Take those out of the equation though, and what you're left with is a show stuffed full of sub-five minute matches (most of which were nothing special) and an abundance of interviews. Pretty much like your average TNA show today then. Not the most must-see event in the world, but definitely track down the three matches mentioned above.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

PPV REVIEW: WWF Wrestlemania 8

April 5th, 1992
Hoosier Dome, 
Indianapolis, Indiana.

By 1992, the World Wrestling Federation was in a state of transition. At WWF Wrestlemania 8, the company was a different place than just the year before, though not half as different as it would be at the ill-fated Wrestlemania 9.

Hell, even by the time of that year's Survivor Series, many of the company's main players were gone, paving the way for a new generation of Superstars to lead the company into the 1990s.

If anything, Wrestlemania VIII was a passing of the proverbial torch, a fond farewell for the old guard of Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior et al, and a change for fledgling midcarders like Shawn Michaels and Bret 'The Hitman' Hart to establish themselves as the ones to watch in the years to come.

Here's what went down.

The Obligatory Vince McMahon Growl Intro
As in previous years, Wrestlemania opened with the sound of Vince McMahon growling like a man possessed over a video package introducing our main event. This year's video looked for all the world as though Ric Flair and his colleagues were guest staring in an episode of Saved by The Bell.


With such fun and games out of the way, it was down to Gorilla Monsoon (calling his last ever Wrestlemania) and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan to welcome us to the Hoosier Dome, and to Reba McEntire, who performed the best version of The Star Spangled Banner to be heard at a Wrestlemania thus far.

As Tito Santana made his way to the ring, Bobby Heenan mistook the superstar and country singer Ariba McEntire, for siblings. Hillarious.

'El Matador' Tito Santana vs. Shawn Michaels (w/ Sensational Sherri)

WWF / WWE: WRESTLEMANIA 8 - Shawn Michaels and Sensational Sherri
In as solid a choice for an opener as you could have asked for on this card, a post-rockers, pre-Showstopper Shawn Michaels took on the only man besides Hogan to have appeared at all eight Wrestemania shows.

Though hardly the greatest Wrestlemania match of all time, this was nonetheless a fun contest made all the more enjoyable by the hilarious commentary (were Monsoon and Heenan ever more on form than they were here?) and Michaels' manager Sensational Sherri looking particularly foxy at ringside.

Somewhat predictably, eventual Main Event Superstar Shawn Michaels triumphed over a Tito Santana playing out the last few years of his WWF career.
Your winner: Shawn Michaels

Gorilla Monsoon then invited us to view Mean Gene Okerlund 'in the locker room.' The only thing was, Monsoon was actually out in the arena, awaiting the arrival of his interview guests The Legion of Doom with their new/old manager Paul Ellering.

An interview with the L.O.D
WWF / WWE: WRESTLEMANIA 8 - Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby 'The Brain'' Heenan hosted the show
Ellering, who had been by the former Road Warriors side in their pre-WWF career, was freshly reunited with his charges, and insisted that he had rejoined them not for money, but for revenge. Revenge against what, or whom, he never quite said.

Hawk and Animal then joined in, expressing their general dislike of Money Inc. and vowing to beat them for the tag team championships,  thus pretty much telling everybody how the upcoming tag team title match between Money Inc. and the Natural Disasters was going to end.

This was a good, engrossing promo for the first few minutes. Then all three men continued to ramble on for so long that everything ceased to make sense and your writer was bored beyond belief.

The Snake is ready
Backstage, Sean Mooney spoke to the villainous Jake 'The Snake' Roberts about his upcoming match against The Undertaker.

Long time fan-favourite Roberts was, for this fan's money, always more suited to playing the bad guy, and he excelled on the mic here.

Unfortunately, he wouldn't fair so well in the ring.

Jake 'The Snake' Roberts vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)
With Jake on his way to World Championship Wrestling in order to spin the wheel and make the deal with Sting, it was unlikely he'd be getting past the man who would go on to become one of the WWF's most respected superstars.

Yet whilst the outcome may have been somewhat telegraphed, what was surprising was just how much Roberts was killed by 'Taker.

The Dead Man beat up on Jake, sat up from a DDT, absorbed another DDT, had a breather whilst Roberts went outside to beat up on Paul Bearer, got up again, tombstoned his opponent on the outside, rolled him in the ring and scored the win.

In terms of action, this was neither good nor bad.
Your winner: The Undertaker

WWF / WWE: WRESTLEMANIA 8 - Rowdy Roddy Piper and Bret 'The Hitman' Hart exchange a few final words before their classic Intercontinental Championship match
Backstage, Mean Gene stood by with both Intercontinental Champion 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper and his challenger Bret 'The Hitman' Hart. 

Piper poked fun at a stone-faced Hitman in hysterical fashion before Hart had enough and warned Piper to keep his hands to himself. The two almost came to blows before Hart stormed off, ready for one of his most memorable Wrestlemania encounters.

Now that was awesome.

WWF Intercontinental Championship match:
World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Champion 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper vs. Bret 'The Hitman' Hart
Everything you've heard about this match is true. Unless you heard that it was a pile of crap or something, in which case it's not true at all.

Mixing crisp wrestling with wild brawling and a good dose of passion and raw emotion, this well-paced title felt special right from the opening bell, and both men worked hard to ensure it was.

Piper teased a return to his heelish ways of old (at one point threatening to clock The Hitman with the ring bell before having a change of heart) and beat on Hart with the kind of wild-eyed intensity which made him a star.

Bret, for his part, became a star with this match, absorbing some wicked punishment before finally counting a Piper suplex attempt to reclaim his title.

For the third match in a row, the long-time veteran was pinned by the rising star.
Your winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

Post-match, Piper wrapped the championship belt around the waist of a battered and bloody Bret 'The Hitman' Hart, symbolic of the continuation of the torch-passing taking place at Wrestlemania VIII.

Lex Luger promotes the World Bodybuilding Federation
Former WCW star Lex Luger, who couldn't compete as a wrestler in the WWF for reasons which now escape your review, was instead competing in Vince McMahon's short-lived bodybuilding promotion, the WBF.

In a pre-recorded segment masquerading as a live-satellite link-up, Luger belittled his fellow World Bodybuilding Federation stars and promised to win his next bodybuilding event.

 All the while, Bobby Heenan gushed over Luger and begged him to take his shirt off. It was, at least, not quite as erotic as the exhange the two would have when Luger debuted as The Narcissus at the following year's Royal Rumble.

Eight man tag time
WWF / WWE: WRESTLEMANIA 8 - Sgt. Slaughter and Virgil teamed up with The Big Boss Man and Jim Duggan in an eight-man tag match
Prior to our next contest, we got some pre-recorded comments from the competitors. Backstage, Repo Man, The Mountie and The Nasty Boys, who cackled wildly like the evil beings they were and yet ultimately said nothing you could remember a second later.

Offering a retort, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, a face-mask wearing Virgil, The Big Boss Man and Sgt. Slaughter (you know, the guy who headlined the previous years' Wrestlemania as a bad guy) yelled a lot of nonsense about how they were going to beat up their opponents. Nothing they said could be remembered a second later, either.

Eight man tag team match
The Mountie, The Repo Man and The Nasty Boys (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Virgil, The Big Boss Man and Sgt. Slaughter
Before the action got underway, Family Feud host Ray Combs took advantage of his role as special guest ring announcer to make some unfunny gags at the heels' expense. When one of his jabs finally pushed Brian Knobs and Jerry Sags too far, the bad guys went after Combs, who promptly ran out of the ring, not to be seen again until Survivor Series 1993.

The match itself was at least a little better than you might expect; a short slug-fest designed to give the crowds a breather between two epic title matches.

In previous years, when Wrestlemanias ran for up to four hours and were stuffed so full of filler that you began to lose the will to live half way through, the eight men involved here would have probably been doing battle in at leas three separate matches.

Instead, we got a quick little contest which served its purpose well.

In case you cared, the good guys won.
Your winners: Jim Duggan, Virgil, Big Boss Man, Sgt. Slaughter

WWF / WWE: WRESTLEMANIA 8 - The Nature Boy Ric Flair after his defeat at the hands of Randy Savage
Backstage, Mr. Perfect and WWF Champion Ric Flair promised to destroy Randy Savage, not only by defeating him in their upcoming title clash, but by placing an apparently revealing picture of Miss. Elizabeth.

Mean Gene, standing outside the challenger's dressing room, then informed us that Savage would not be granting interviews, leaving Okerlund to instead hype our big title fight.

WWF Championship match
World Wrestling Federation Champion 'The Nature Boy' Ric Flair (w/ Mr. Perfect) vs. Macho Man Randy Savage
With The Nature Boy making his way to ringside, an over-excited Bobby Heenan rambled on about being fair to Flair' until Gorilla Monsoon finally yelled 'WILL YOU STOP!?!' Trust me on this one, it was hilarious.

Randy Savage then raced to the ring moments later and chased the champion half way up the isle, only for Perfect to intervene on behalf of his charge and drag Savage back to ringside.

Eventually, both men wound up back in the ring and proceeded to make magic together.

Indeed, you'd be hard pressed to ever see a match featuring two all-time greats without thinking it was good, but this was beyond good, it was awesome.

Both champ and challenger gave it their all for the best part of twenty minutes in a compelling contest which featured much interference from Perfect.

To the delight of the Hoosier Dome faithful, Savage finally overcame the odds, not to mention the weeks of being harassed by Flair and Perfect leading up to the match to roll-up Flair with a handful of tights and claim his second world title.
Your winner and NEW World Wrestling Federation Champion: The Macho Man Randy Savage

Afterwards, an irate Flair yelled at Miss. Elizabeth, who had made her way down to the ring towards the end of the match, despite the insistence of a handful of officials (including a young Shane McMahon), causing Savage to attack.

WWF / WWE: WRESTLEMANIA 8 - Sid Justice battled Hulk Hogan in the main event
Flair and Perfect then got the upperhand again, and Savage's big title victory seemed unimportant compared to the ongoing rivalry between himself and Flair.

Backstage, Ric Flair refused to get upset and promised Sean Mooney that he would get his belt back and finish Savage once and for all.

The new champion, for his part, relented to giving Gene Okerlund and interview and, in his usual bat-shit crazy fashion, insisted he would fight Flair on the parking lot if that's what it took to finish off The Nature Boy.

The whole thing was so epic that Wrestlemania VIII should have ended there and everybody would have been happy.

Instead, we were presented with a lackluster second half.

Hype for the main event
Before we went any further, we were reminded of how the feud between Hulk Hogan and Sid Justice, which had been teased at the 1992 Royal Rumble came to be in place of the originally planned Hogan/Flair clash.

An interview with 'The Model' 
As Tatanka's tribe danced in the middle of the ring, the native American's arch nemesis, Rick 'The Model' Martel mocked and scorned them in a backstage interview. Martel, who seemed more comfortable in his role as the cocky model than he had at previous shows, claimed he would have to infect the ring with his Arrogance cologne before battling Tatanka.

Tatanka vs. Rick 'The Model' Martel
Not even the announce team gave much of a damn about this one, instead spending most of the contest discussing the ramifications of the previous bout.

Still, at just under five minutes long and with enough decent action between the ropes, it wasn't too offensive.

Another rising star defeated a veteran performer as Tatanka walked away with his famous winning stream intact.
Your winner: Tatanka

WWF / WWE: WRESTLEMANIA 8 - Money Incorporated (Ted Dibiase and IRS) defended their titles against The Natural Disasters
Backstage, tag team champions Ted Dibiase and I.R.S, along with their manager Jimmy Hart, hyped their upcoming battle with the Natural Disasters. The three put on their best evil laughs as they insisted Earthquake and Typhoon would be no match for them.

The challengers felt differently, and responded with a promo in which they basically yelled and slobbered all over the place and said nothing of note.

WWF Tag Team Championship match
World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Champions Money Incorporated (Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase and I.R.S w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Natural Disasters (Earthquake and Typhoon)
Other reviewers out there on the web seem to have looked at this match, with its over-sized challengers and count-out finish, and immediately dismissed it as no good.

That doesn't seem very fair (to Flair, or anybody else), since if you actually watch the the match, it turns out to be pretty entertaining.

OK, so we're not talking Hart Foundation/British Bulldogs brilliant, but then, this wasn't supposed to be that kind of match.

This was supposed to be the dastardly Money Inc. finally getting what was coming to them at the hands of the mighty Natural Disasters, only to take the cheap way out twhen they knew there was no chance of coming out on top..

That's exactly what we got too, and the results were fairly enjoyable.
Your winners via count-out: The Natural Disasters (Money Inc. retain the titles)

WWF / WWE: WRESTLEMANIA 8 - The Natural Disasters were irate about not winning the titles Money Incorporated (Ted Dibiase and IRS)
Backstage, Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake, out of action due to a facial injury, played up his friendship with Hulk Hogan and gave an interview to Gene Okerlund in which he essentially served as Hogan's hype man. Hulkamania will live forever, oh yeah!

'The Rocket' Owen Hart vs. Skinner
Making his second Wrestlemania appearance (his first was as The Blue Blazer at Wrestlemania 5), The Rocket made short work of swamp-man Skinner.

In fact, this match was so short that, at the opening bell, your writer receieved a text message. By the time I'd replied (it was a short conversation), the match was over.

Owen picked up the win in just over 60 seconds.
Your winner: The Rocket Owen Hart

As we edged closer to our main event, we went back to the locker room again for final comments from Sid Justice and his manager, Harvey Wippleman.

Between Sid's insane ramblings and an earnest, pre-recorded segment with Vince McMahon and Hogan, the idea was played up that Hogan may well have been retiring. This storyline had been trotted out ina  failed attempt to boost buy-rates. As history would go to show, Hogan wouldn't retire from active competition for almost 20 years.

Sid Justice (w/ Harvey Wippleman) vs. Hulk Hogan
When you've seen one Hulk Hogan main event, you've seen them all, and this was none different than any number of Hogan classics.

The two played to their strengths, pitting strength against strength in a match which wasn't that bad if you kept your expectations low.

After thirteen minutes of action, Hogan nailed the Legdrop of Doom. Justice kicked out of the pin attempt, only to lose the match by DQ when Wippleman leapt into the ring.

WWF / WWE: WRESTLEMANIA 8 - The Ultimate Warrior embraces Hulk Hogan after coming to his aid against Sid Justice and Papa Shango
The confusing finish came about as a result of Papa Shango's late arrival. Originally supposed to interfere in the finish, the voodoo warrior (better known in later years as The Godfather) instead got involved in a post-match beatdown, helping Sid lay waste to Hogan.
Your winner via disqualification: Hulk Hogan

Just when you thought it was all over for Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior made his return to the World Wrestling Federation, clearing house and joining Hogan in a pose-down to end the show.




And so it was that WWF Wrestlemania 8 came to an end and the torch was passed. By the end of the year, Sid, Warrior, Piper and Flair would be gone, Hogan would take a leave of absence in the wake of the WWF Steroid Scanal, Randy Savage would be demoted back to commentary (not withstanding an in-ring cameo at 1993 Survivor Series) and long time veterans like Tito Santana and Rick Martel would find themselves dwelling in the lower regions of the card.
In their place, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart and a new generation of performers would rise to the top, bridging the gap between the Hogan era and the Attitude era. 
In that case, Wrestlemania 8 was the end of an era, and the beginning of a brand new one.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

PPV REVIEW: WWF Wrestlemania 7

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania VII: Event poster pitting WWF Champion Sgt. Slaughter and his challenger, Hulk Hogan March 24th, 1991
Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, Los Angeles, California

Wrestlemania 7 found the World Wrestling Federation in full-blown patriotic mode. With the Gulf War in full-efect and American turncoat/Iraqi-sympathizer Sgt. Slaughter riding high as the WWF Champion, it was up to The Immortal Hulk Hogan to wage war on behalf of the United States and bring the title home.

Luckily, he had the red, white and blue on his side. The whole of the LA Sports Arena was adorned in the Stars and Stripes and the crowd were ready for what would turn out to be one of the better Wrestlemania shows in recent years.

Here's what went down.

Welcome to Wrestlemania!
As per the Wrestlemania tradition, Wrestlemania 7 began with Vince McMahon growling his head off over a series of graphics, this year's depicting both WWF Champion Sgt. Slaughter and challenger Hulk Hogan snarling at each other against a Star-spangled backdrop.

We then went quickly to Willie Nelson for a rendition of America The BEautiful which at least trumped Rockin' Robin's effort of a few years prior. Wilson, decked out in an array of WWF Merchendise, then left the ring as our host fotr the evening, Gorilla Monsoon, picked things up.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 7: The Rockers speak to Sean Mooney before their match against Haku and The Barbarian
Monsoon was joined for the opening contest by Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Adorned in complete Uncle Sam garb, Hacksaw Jim Duggan was visibly pumped up for 'the big one.'

An interview with The Rockers
Before their opening match against Haku & Barbarian, Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty gave an interview to Sean Mooney.

If you'd heard one Rockers ppv promo, you'd essentially heard them all, and this was no exception. The Rockers reminded everybody that they were 'tag team specialists' and that they were ready for their opponents.

Haku & Barbarian (w/ Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan) vs. The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty)
And so the seventh annual Wrestlemania show got underway with Bobby Heenan's makeshift team tearing up the ring with perennial crowd-pleasers, The Rockers.

I've said before that I'm yet to see a bad pay per view match featuring Michaes and Jannetty,  and this opening contest certainly keeps up that tradition.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 7: Mean Gene Okerlund speaks to two of the celebrities at Wrestlemania VII This was a thrilling opening match in which Heenan's family members pitted their size and strength and against the speed and agility of The Rockers to create an exciting, exhillerating bout which got the crowds pumped up and ready for more.

After 10 minutes of solid back and forth action, The Rockers went over for the win.
Your winners: The Rockers

Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed our three celebrity guests for the show; Regis Philbin, Alex Trebek, and Marla Maples.

Philbin claimed to be scared of Earthquake after he saw him, and I quote 'tip over a pizza hut delivery truck and eat everything inside', Marla Maples tried to keep her massive jaw from touching the floor, and Trebek stumped Okerlund with a Jeopardy-themed question.

It was neither good nor particularly bad, just one of things that McMahon liked (and still) likes to use to kill up time on his pro wrestling shows.

Dino Bravo (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Texas Tornado
WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 7: Jimmy Hart made multiple appearances at Wrestlemania VII
If things had turned out very differently, Kerry Von Erich could (and probably should) have been a huge star on a par with Hogan or Ultimate Warrior, if not at this stage of his career, then certainly within a year or two.

Instead, he was trapped in a slow, sluggish, though thankfully short enounter with a Dino Bravo who had long since stopped doing anything useful in the WWF.

Several minutes from the opening bell, the Tornado put away his opponent with the Spinning Tornado Punch, and that was all she wrote.
Your winner: The Texas Tornado

Backstage, Sean Mooney spoke to The Warlord and his manager, Slick. Both men claimed that The British Bulldog would fall victim to Warlord's impressive Full Nelson finisher when they met in the next matchup.

Offering a retort, Davey Boy Smith, accompanied by his pet bulldog Winston, promised that not only would he break out of the Full-Nelson, but he would powerslam his rival into oblivion. He then conferred with Winston and came out with the line 'There's no bull...in this bulldog' before grinning from ear-to-ear as though that were the smartest thing he'd ever said in his life. Judging by clips like this, it probably was.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 7: The Warlord and his manager, Slick, cut a promo before facing The British Bulldog
The Warlord (w/ Slick) vs. The British Bulldog
I seem to remember that Davey Boy Smith spent most of 1991 battling The Warlord. They would certainly meet again at This Tuesday in Texas, and I'm almost certain that, in the course of writing these pro wrestling reviews, I'll review at least one more Bulldog/Warlord clash before all is said and done.

In a nutshell, this was every Bulldog/Warlord match they ever had; better than you'd expect until Warlord slapped on his Full Nelson and Davey Boy predictably broke it off after both men stood there, selling the hold for a thousand years.

Don't let that put you off though, this was an entertaining contest which showed the Bulldog to be a fine pro wrestler with a talent to be envied by his less skilled contemporaries.

Much like he often would, the Bulldog scored the win with the Powerslam following eight minutes of solid action.
Your winner: The British Bulldog


WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 7: The British Bulldog, his dog, Wiinston and Mean Gene Okerlund
Backstage, The Nasty Boys told Gene Okerlund that they were going to 'rock the foundation' when they met The Hart Foundation for the WWF Tag Team Titles. They also said the word nasty  n aful lot and blew their nose on Okerlund's hankerchief.

This was your typical Nasty Boys promo, complete with lots of shouting and little sense.

Offering a retort, WWF Tag Team Champions Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart warned Brian Knobs and Jerry Sags that they didn't have what it took to dethrone them.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship match
WWF Tag Team Champions The Hart Foundation (Bret 'The Hitman' Hart & Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart) vs. The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobs & Jerry Sags w/ Jimmy Hart)
The crowd (including then very-young Home Alone star, Macaulay Culkin) were on fire for this fast-paced, hard-hitting battle bettween two of the WWF's most popular tag teams.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 7: The Nasty Boys gets nasty with Mean Gene and Jimmy Hart
Though you'd imagine most of the credit for this high-octane bout going to future superstar The Hitman, it has to be said that all four men worked hard to deliver a highly entertaining, completely engrossing battle which came to an end with a loss for The Hart Foundation.

After the champions struck Knobs with The Hart Attack, the referee, Sags came in with Jimmy Hart's helmet, struck The Anvil and stole the tag team titles from the Hart Foundation in what would be their final pay per outing.

After Wrestlemania, the Harts would go their separate ways. The Anvil would eventually form The New Foundation with Owen Hart and as for The Hitman..well, let's just say he didn't do too badly.
Your Winners and NEW WWF Tag Team Champions: The Nasty Boys

Before our next contest, we were treated to a recap of the feud between Jake 'The Snake' Roberts and Rick 'The Model' Martel, all of which revolved around Martel spraying a little bit of perfume in Roberts' eyes and Roberts subsequently being blind for the next several months.

All of this, of course, led to one of the more infamous matches in Wrestlemania history.

Blindfold match:
Rick 'The Model' Martel vs. Jake 'The Snake' Roberts
WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 7: Jake 'The Snake' Roberts battled 'The Model' Rick Martel in a blindfold match

Chances are, you've heard more bad things about this match than you've heard good. You've probably been told how awful it was, how little action there was, or what a complete waste of time this whole debacle really was.

In all honesty, it's really not that bad.

OK, so it is. As a television viewer, there's only so much fun you can have watching Jake Roberts walk around the ring with a bag on his head, occasionally pointing around the ring and getting the crowd to help him find Martel.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 7: Rick The Model Martel
As a live spectacle though, you have to imagine that those in attendance at Wrestlemania VII had a blast as they played a pivitol role in helping Roberts, the hero, finally defeat the dastardly Rick Martel.

And defeat him he did, using his patented DDT after eight minutes of walking around the ring and pointing.
Your winner: Jake 'The Snake' Roberts

Afterwards, Roberts 'put his snake on' Martel and frightened The Model away.

Backstage, Marla Maple's jaw attempted to interview new tag team champions The Nasty Boys. Instead, the new champs yelled and screamed and poured champagne everywhere along with the rest of Jimmy Hart's clan (namely The Mountie, Earthquake and Dino Bravo). Maple and her epic chin got not a word in.

Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)
And so it begins...

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 7: Paul Bearer leads The Undertaker into battle to begin his famous Wrestlemania winning streak
There was nothing much to see here. Undertaker annihilated Jimmy Snuka in a short, decent-for-what-it-was squash match which would be entirely forgetabble where it not for historical significance.

After four-plus minutes, Superfly ate a Tombstone Piledriver and The Undertaker was 1-0 at Wrestlemania.
Your winner: The Undertaker

Up next, we got a look back at the rivallry between The Ultimate Warrior and Macho King Randy Savage, a rivallry which began on an episode of Saturday Night's Main Eventi bac in November 1990, carried on through the 1991 Royal Rumble when Savage cost Warrior his WWF title, and led us to tonight, in an unforgettable Retirement Match.

Retirement Match
Macho King Randy Savage (w/ Sensational Queen Sherri) vs. The Ultimate Warrior
Right from the very outset, every single detail of this match told you it was important, beyond important, epic on a grandscale and possibly the most important thing to ever happen in a pro wrestling ring.

As we were preparing the arrival of the combatants, Bobby Heenan pointed out Miss. Elizabeth, no seen since Wrestlemania VI, sitting in the crowd.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 7: The Ultimate Warrior battled Randy Savage in a retirement match
Then came Savage and Sensational Queen Sherri, sitting on two thrones on a platform and carried to the ring by a group of jobbers.

Ultimate Warrior's music struck and, rather than bombing his way to ringside at the speed of lightning, he walked, slowly and deliberately to the ring, selling the importance of what was billed as a career-ending match for one of the two combatants.

With the excitement, the tension and the electricity all threatening to spill over, out of the ring, out of the arena and onto the streets of LA, the bell rang, and one of the greatest Wrestlemania matches of all time was officially underway.

Though it would be tempting to place all of the credit squarely on the shoulders of the always-flawless Macho King, that just wasn't the case in this thrilling, dramatic affair.

All three stars, Savage, Warrior and Sherri worked tirelessly to create an engrossing, completely captivating match which could have easily taken the place of Hogan/Slaughter in the main event.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 7: Macho King Randy Savage and Sensational Queen Sherri were carried to the ring by WWF jobbers
Having been battered and beaten by Savage, and struck with not one, not two, but five of the Macho King's patented top-rope elbow drops, Warrior still kicked out, mounted a comeback and hit his rival with his gorilla press slam/big splash combo.

To the shock and awe of the LA faithful, Savage kicked out.

Questioning the Gods above, convinced that there was not hing more he could possibly do to win the match, Warrior contemplated leaving, only to be attacked by Savage and brought back into the match.

It was the beginning of the end.

Savage battered Warrior, Warrior battled back, regained control, drilled Savage with three devastating shoulder tackles, and pinned him for the three count.
Your winner: The Ultimate Warrior 

Yet the drama wasn't over yet. Sherri made her way into the ring and began kicking the hell out of Savage, distraught at having lost her meal ticket in the World Wrestling Federation.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 7: The Ultimate Warrior prepares to press Randy Savage
Having seen enough, Miss Elizabeth raced from the crowd to the ring, tossed Sherri out, and had an emotional reunion with the Macho Man which left not a dry eye in the house.

Cut to camera shots of people crying in the crowd, hugs between Savage and Liz, and you had the very definition of a Wrestlemania moment.

Even your usually hard-hearted writer will admit to getting choked up by the ending of this one. It was perfect.


Intermission
Heading to the back, Regis Philbin attempted to interview The Undertaker and Paul Bearer. Neither man said anything, instead they took their interviews measurements, presumably for a coffin.

Cutting to Alex Trebeck and  Demolition V2.0 (with Crush in place of Ax), the tag team spent most of their interview putting over Mr. Fuji

Philbin then attempted to interview Genichiro Tenryu and Kōji Kitao, again, silence.

Back to Trebeck and interview with Jake Roberts. The man with the microphone was scared of Roberts' pet snake, Damien.

The words horrible comedy spring directly to mind.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 7:  Demolition Smash and Crush with Master Fuji
Demoltion (Smash and Crush w/ Mr. Fuji) vs. Genichiro Tenryu and Kōji Kitao
There are few people who could have entered the ring following that epic Savage/Warrior clash and completed in an enjoyable match.

Sadly, Smash, Crush, Tenryu nor Kitao were such people.

What we got here was a short, forgetabble nothing match with a win for the imports from the shortlived Super World of Sports promotion.
Your Winners: Tenryu and Kitao

Backstage, a svelte-looking Big Boss Man said that Mr. Perfect had hurt his momma's feelings by insulting him (aww) and that he was going to get revenge by taking Perfect's Intercontinental Championship.

Offering a retort, Perfect and manager Bobby Heenan scoffed at Bossman's threats with Perfect listing the things that made him the perfect champion. This was an awesome promo from the two.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship match
WWF Intercontinental Champion Mr. Perfect (w/ Bobby Heenan) vs. Big Boss Man
With Heenan at ringside managing the champion, Gorilla Monsoon was joined at the commentary booth by Lord Alfred Hayes for this match. Thankfully, Hayes was much more animated here than he was at Wrestlemania 1.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 7:  Mr. Perfect and Bobby Heenan talk about Perfect's Intercontinental Championship match against Big Boss Man
As for the match itself, what we got here was another forgettable contest in which both champ and challenger fought tooth and nail over the WWF's secondary title.

Towards the finish, Andre the Giant, still at odds with Heenan and his family, waddled to ringside and too hold of the Intercontinental belt, walking around ringside with it as he stalked 'The Brain.'

 The finish came when Haku and Barbarian ran in and attacked Bossman, giving the win to the challenger via DQ.
Your winner via disqualification: Big Boss Man (Mr. Perfect retains the title)

In the post-match shenanigans, Mr. Perfect fell over and Big Boss Man celebrated with Andre.

Celeb time
Question: What do Donald Trump, Chuck Norris, The Fonz and The Incredible Hulk all have in common?

Answer: They were all sitting together at Wrestlemania Seven and were interviewed by Mean Gene as Earthquake made his way to the ring for the next match.

Earthquake (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine
WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 7:  Animal of the Legion of Doom
Having broken away from Rhythm & Blues, Greg Valentine was working as a babyface during a period of career that nobody remembers.

They probably don't remember it for good reason, for it was during this period that Valentine had atrocious matches like this short, sloppy squash match against the Big Earthquake.

Quake won in less than four minutes by sitting on his adversary.
Your winner: Earthquake

Out in the back, Sean Mooney spoke to The Legion of Doom. Both Hawk and Animal were cross the Power & Glory had cost them a shot against the Hart Foundation for the tag titles, and were out for revenge.

Power & Glory (Hercules & Paul Roma w/ Slick) vs. The Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal)
And revenge they got, in a short and sweet squash match lasting less than one minute.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 7:  Power and Glory (Paul Roma and Hercules) were destroyed by the Legion of Doom
50+ seconds into proceedings, Hawk and Animal struck a Doomsday Device on Paul Roma, and this one was all over.
Your Winners: The Legion of Doom

Up next, we got a look back at the break up of The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase and his bodyguard Virgil, and how Rowdy Roddy Piper somehow managed to get himself involved.

The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase vs. Virgil (w/ Rowdy Roddy Piper)
Piper, on crutches following a motorcycle accident, came out before Virgil, then introduced his man to the LA crowd. Needless to say, Piper was infinitly more over than the man he was tasked as seconding, and would remain so throughout the encounter.

That's not to say that Virgil didn't get any love from the Los Angeles crowd.

In the opening moments, as he rattled Dibiase around the ring with rights and lefts, the crowds were firmly behind him.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 7:  Power and Glory (Paul Roma and Hercules) were destroyed by the Legion of Doom
Dibiase, for his part, did a wonderful job of selling for his former bodyguard, helping to create an entertaining, if hardly spectacular bout.

Towards the finish, Piper once again rose to his feet to steal the spotlight, and was responsible for The Million Dollar Man being counted out.
Your winner via count out: Virgil

In the post-match, Dibiase attacked Virgil. Piper came to the rescue, only for Sensational Sherri to head to the ring, attack Piper and join forces with the Million Dollar Man.

Virgil then came to the rescue, and Piper slowly crawled to his feet to the delight of the audience, stealing the thunder from both Virgil and Dibiase, and giving the crowds their first real reason to go nuts since Savage/Warrior.

Before we got back to the ring, we got some final pre-match words from Sgt. Slaughter and his rambling mad man of a manager, General Adnan.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 7:  Sgt. Slaughter and General Adnan talk about the upcoming WWF title defense against Hulk Hogan
Slaughter claimed that he was playing by his own rules, and even threatened to get himself counted out in order to retain his championship belt.

The Mountie (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Tito Santana
This lasted less than 90 seconds and was entirely pointless. The Mountie won.
Your winner: The Mountie

Offering a response to the champion, number one contender Hulk Hogan, complete with Stars and Stripes bandana, cut a scathing promo in which he promised to defeat Slaughter and reclaim the title.

World Wrestling Federation Championship match
WWF Champion Sgt. Slaughter (w/ General Adnan) vs. Hulk Hogan

Though Hogan had fought in better Wrestlemania main events (see Wrestlemania 5 and Wrestlemania 6 for example), this was none the less a solid, well-paced match that delivered that all-important big match feel.

Following a long, hard-fought slog which saw Hogan get busted open and don the proverbial crimson mask, slaughter's rain as WWF Champion came to an end at the hands of the Immortal One.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 7:  Hulk Hogan talks to Mean Gene about his upcoming title match against Sgt. Slaughter
A good, entertaining brawl which capped off one of the better Wrestlemania shows in the first ten years of its existence with Hogan's hand once again raised.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Champion: Hulk Hogan

Afterwards, Hogan celebrated with his new title to send the crowds home happy.





Wrestlemania VII was arguably a show of two halves. Everything up to the conclusion of Savage/Warrior was strong, enjoyable and exactly what a big-time pay per view should be. In fact, if the seventh annual Showcase of the Immortals ended with Savage and Miss. Elizabeth walking off into the sunset, you could say this was the perfect show.
Instead, we then got a second half, a half full of squash matches, dud matches and other filler that nobody cared about and even less remember, all of which killing time until Hogan and Slaughter met in a bloody, hard-hitting brawl.
The crap in the second half spoiled things a little, but this is still a good pay per view worth watching for Savage/Warrior, the tag team title match and the Rockers' opening match if nothing else.


Thursday, 7 November 2013

PPV REVIEW: WWF - Wrestlemania 6

April 1st, 1990
Toronto Skydome, Toronto, Canada

In 2013, we are all used to the WWE's Wrestlemania event being a spectacular beyond compare. Yet, looking back over the first several years of its existence, it hardly seemed like the company's flagship show was anything more than your slightly-more-important-than-average WWF houseshow.

In this writer's mind, all that began to change with Wrestlemania VI. The first WWF Wrestlemania to be held outside the United States of America, the sixth installment of the pay per view came across as something really larger-than-life, a true spectacle if ever there was one.

Maybe it was the arena (Toronto's Skydome seemed enourmous), maybe it was the return of the motorized wrestling rings driving the combatants to the ring, or maybe it was the idea that this show was headlined by the two biggest stars of the time.

Whatever it was, Wrestlemania 6 came across as a bonafide BIG DEAL.

Here's what went down.

Hogan and Warrior are STARS
The first thing anybody watching Wrestlemania 6 saw was a graphic of the constellations in the night sky, with Vince McMahon growling about how those stars might have been big, but they were nothing compared to Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior. 

Don't believe me? Here, watch this.


After this, our commentators for the evening, Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse 'The Body' Ventura welcomed us to the show, and to Robert Goulet singing Oh, Canada.

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 6 - Jesse Ventura and Gorilla Monsoon welcomed us to the show
Koko B. Ware vs. Rick 'The Model' Martel
Our opening contest saw two perennial midcarders going at it in an enjoyable, if instantly forgettable battle. 

Both men traded the advantage several times before Rick Martel hooked in his Boston Crab for the win.
Your winner: Rick Martel

Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund spoke to The Colossal Connection and Bobby Heenan.  Poking fun at the heels, Okerlund introduced his guests as The Colostomy Connection, much to the chagrin of Heenan and his men. Still, the tag team champions brushed off Okerlund's childish antics and vowed to destroy their upcoming challengers, Demolition.

Offering a retort, Ax and Smash told Sean Mooney exactly what they would do to Haku and Andre The Giant, mainly beating them up a whole bunch and taking their titles back.

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 6 - The Colossal Connection (Andre The Giant and Haku w/ Bobby Heenan) are interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund
World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship Match
WWF Tag Team Champions The Colossal Connection (Andre The Giant & Haku w/ Bobby Heenan) vs. Demolition (Ax and Smash)
For the second Wrestlemania in a row, the WWE overdubbers have attacked the footage and Demolition head to ringside without the classic Rick Derringer theme. 

When they arrived, they were thrown right into what was effectively a two-versus-one handicap match pitting Demolition against Haku.

Indeed, you only need to know a little bit about wrestling history to know that, by the end of his WWF run, Andre The Giant''s in-ring mobility was quickly and quietly slipping away.

With that in mind, Andre spent the majority of this fairly decent match stood on the apron, chipping in with dodgy heel shots whenever possible, but basically leaving Haku to pick up the slack until late on in the match, when he stepped into the ring and straight into the oh no, Andre's tied up in the ropes spot that the big man did in every single WWF match he was ever involved in. 

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 6 - Demolition are interviewed by Sean Mooney about their tag team title shot against The Colossal Connection
With Andre tied up, Ax and Smash were able to 'decapitate' Haku and pick up their third WWF Tag Team Championship.
Your Winners and NEW World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Champions: Demolition

Afterwards, an irate Bobby Heenan berated Andre and even dared to slap his long-time charge. Standing for none of it, Giant struck back, then turned his attentions to beating up his now-former partner, Haku.

With the crowds roaring their approval, a babyface Andre The Giant rode out of the ring alone, ready to wind-down his in-ring career copletely.

A word with Earthquake
WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 6 - Andre the Giant turns on Bobby Heenan, becoming a crowd favorite once again
Backstage, Mean Gene spoke to Earthquake and Jimmy Hart about the former's upcoming battle with Hercules. 

A fat, hairy and seemingly very sweaty Earthquake bounced up and down as Jimmy Hart promised big Herc' that he would fall victim to the mighty Earthquake.

Hercules vs. Earthquake (w/ Jimmy Hart)
Ah the athleticism on display in the late 80s/early 90s WWF. That said, Hercules nomally came up with the goods on pay per view, and Wrestlemania VI was no exception. 

As it was, this was good, entertaining four minute match which saw Hercules succumb to Earthquake, though not before busting 'Quakes nose.
Your winner: Earthquake

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 6 - Earthquake (w/ Jimmy Hart) speaks to Mean Gene Okerlund about his upcoming match against Hercules
Cutting to a pre-recorded segment, some woman called Rona Barrett conducting an appallingly awkward interview with Miss Elizabeth, who claimed that she had been working for the WWF in an advisory role since we last saw her, but that she would be returning to ringside before we knew it.

Barrett ended the interview by saying 'Back to you, Sean'

Sean Mooney then completely ignored her,  and instead went straight into his backstage interview with Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake, who promised to end Mr. Perfect's 'perfect record.'

Mr. Perfect (w/ The Genius) vs. Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake
WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 6 - Miss Elizabeth gives an interview in which she suggests she'll return to the ring
We rejoined the action in the arena as The Genius was finishing up with an ode to Mr. Perfect (at least, I assume that's what his poem was about) before Perfect himself made his way to the ring to face Beefcake.

Following the trend of this particular show, Perfect and Beefcake engaged in a short, enjoyable battle which was fun to watch without being actually blowing you away. 

After taking a battering from Perfect for the bulk of the match, Beefcake eventually struck Perfect with an incredibly clumsy catapult into the corner. 

Perfect hit the post with his chest, then got his leg tangled in the ropes as he fell to the mat, yet somehow this was enough to knock him out, and Brutus Beefcake handed Mr. Perfect his first loss.
Your winner: Brutus Beefcake

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 6 - Brutus Beefcake gets crazy about his upcoming match against Mr. Perfect
In the post-match shenanigans, Beefcake had planned on giving Perfect a haircut yet, being the sneaky, devious little heel that he was, The Genius attempted to steal Beefcake's hedge clippers, only to receive his comeuppance and be the one to get a haircut courtesy of The Barber.

Sadly that would be the Barber's last pay per view match for a long while. After suffering an injury, he was out of action for a long time, and wouldn't return to WWF PPV until Wrestlemania 9.

Roddy Piper 'blacks up' 
Yup. First, we were shown clips of how Rowdy Roddy Piper and Bad News Brown first took a disliking to one another at the 1990 Royal Rumble, after which Bad News Brown told Piper to shave his legs on an episode of WWF Superstars (or Wrestling Challenge, I forget which).

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 6 - Mr. Perfect beats up Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake
We were then taken to a backstage promo in which Piper revealed that he had painted one entire side of his body black, apparently as some kind of unspoken racial taunt against his adversary.

Bad News Brown vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper
Piper began the match by stripping out of his kilt and t-shirt and dancing like he was in Saturday Night Fever.

Honestly, only in a pro wrestling review (or possibly porn) would you ever read something so random and ridiculous.

As for the match itself, it was less a match and more an out-and-out brawl. 

Both men threw caution to the wind as they traded lefts and rights, battering one another inside the ring and out until referee Danny Davis (remember when he wrestled?) counted them both out.
Double count-out

Undeterred, Brown and Piper both brawled their way backstage.

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 6 - Rowdy Roddy Piper painted half his body black to fight Bad News Brown. Nobody asked why.
Whatever the point in all that was, it was certainly lost on this fan.

Sing-a-long with the Bolshevieks
In another pre-taped segment, some doofus called Steve Allen messed with The Bolshevieks, promising to play the Russian national anthem, then playing something else instead. It was dull.

The Hart Foundation (Bret 'The Hitman' Hart vs. The Bolshevieks (Nikolai Volkoff & Boris Zhukov)
Carrying on the tradition of Wrestlemania matches which were over before they really began (the one that started with King Kong Bundy vs. Special Delivery Jones at the first Wrestlemania), this one was over in less than 20 seconds.

The Russians began to sing their national anthem, only to be attacked from behind by the Canadians. Zhukov, still in his ring jacket, then fell to the Hart Attack, and was put away by The Hitman.
Your Winners: The Hart Foundation

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 6: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart and his partner Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart defeated The Bolshevieks
Afterwards, they announced that Wrestlemania VII would take place the following year at the Los Angeles Memorial Colliseum. Jesse Ventura was very excited about this, especially as all his Hollywood friends would be in attendance.

Tito will SURVIVE!
After his opponent The Barbarian had already made his way to the ring, Tito Santana gave a backstage interview to Mean Gene Okerlund. As enthusiastic as ever despite his epic Wrestlemania losing streak, Tito promised that he would survive against The Barbarian. 

He didn't say he would win. He didn't say that he would kick some ass or beat up The Barbarian or anything like that. He simply vowed to survive. Hardly the most confident pre-match promise in the world, is it?

Tito Santana vs. The Barbarian
Having broken away from former Powers of Pain partner, The Warlord, the big Barbarian went at it with Chico in a fairly forgettable contest which could have been so much better.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 6: Tito Santana didn't think he could beat The Barbarian, but he did promise to SURVIVE
After all, Tito was a solid performer, and the Powers of Pain were a decent team capable of having good matches. Yet for some reason this didn't seem all that fun, and though not necessarily bad, was by far the most boring match on the card so far.

The Barbarian won when he took Chico's head off with a top-rope flying clothesline.
Your winner: The Barbarian

Prior to our next contest, we got a recap of the feud between Dusty Rhodes & Saphire and Randy Savage & Sensational Sherri. It started when the two tussled at the 1990 Royal Rumble, continued on an episode of Wresting Challenge and would culminate in the upcoming mixed tag team contest.

Before any actual wrestling took place however, we got a barely comprehensible promo from Rhodes and Saphire in which Rhodes promised that they would deliver 'the crown jewel', a fairly obvious hint at what was to come.

Mixed tag team match:
Randy 'Macho King' Savage and Sensational Queen Sherri vs. Dusty Rhodes and Saphire (w/ Miss. Elizabeth)
For whatever reason, Rhodes' Common Man theme had been overdubbed here much like Demolition's theme earlier in the show. Unlike Demolition however, Rhodes' theme had been replaced with, I kid you not, the theme from the UK version of Wheel of Fortune.

I'm not making that up, look:


Anyway, after getting their funk on to the Wheel of Fortune theme, Rhodes and his partner then revealed their crown jewel to be none other than Miss Elizabeth, who rode to the ring to back them up in this weird mixed tag team  match.

It was weird because, whenever Rhodes was in the ring, either against Savage or Sherri, things were actually entertaining. Not good in a technical, five-star classic kind of way, but entertaining, in a 'this is putting a smile on my face' kind of way.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 6: Dusty Rhodes and Saphire faced Randy Savage and Sensational Sherri. Rhodes' face says it all
Add Saphire into the mix, watch her do nothing more than smash her big butt into Sensational Sherri, and the results were pretty terrible.

Speaking of results, the end came when Sherri reached through the ropes to attach Elizabeth, only for Liz to push Sherri backwards into a Saphire-sized roll-up, giving the win to the good guys.
Your winners: Dusty Rhodes and Saphire

As if watching Rhodes and Saphire dancing to the Wheel of Fortune theme wasn't weird enough, watching Miss. Elizabeth join in during the post-match celebrations was even weirder. Still, that happened.

Intermission
Taking things into intermission, we first had Bobby Heenan losing his mind over the fact that Andre the Giant had cost The Colossal Connection the tag team titles, Ronda Barrett claiming to have x-rated footage of Jesse Ventura and an irate King and Queen of the WWF venting their frustrations to Sean Mooney.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 6: Randy Savage was irate about the return of Miss Elizabeth and his loss to Dusty Rhodes and Saphire
Demolition then gave a post-match interview with Gene Okerlund, talking about how good it felt to win their third tag team championship, then the show went back to Monsoon and Ventura. Monsoon told us the show was going 'back to ringside,' by which he meant a backstage promo from Hulk Hogan, who promised to destroy The Ultimate Warrior.

Offering a retort, Warrior sent Sean Mooney packing before cutting a promo on 'Hoke Hogan,' promised that his Warriors and Hoke Hogan's Hokamaniacs could come 'together as one.'  and insisted they would feel the strength of 'The Wari-ass and the Hokamaniacs' combined.

The Orient Express (Sato and Pat Tanaka w/ Mr. Fuji) vs. The Rockers (Marty Jannetty and Shawn Michaels)
If there was ever a trully bad Rockers match, this writer has never seen it. Though they would certainly have better matches, this textbook tag bout against Fuji's men that was just great to watch.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 6: Hulk Hogan had some harsh words for the Ultimate Warrior before they met in the main event
With a masked Paul Diamond in the place of Sato, The Rockers and The Orient Express would have an even better match at the 1991 Royal Rumble show, but still, this was a good midcard bout indeed.
Your winners via countout: The Orient Express

Wasting no time in getting right back to the action, we were next presented with one of Wrestlemania's more awkward moments.

Dino Bravo (w/ Jimmy Hart and Earthquake) vs. 'Hacksaw' Jim Duggan
Heading into the Skydome in Toronto, Canada, Jim Duggan waved the flag of the United States of America and chanted 'USA! USA! USA!'
90% of the crowd stared back at him in dead silence. The other 10% roundly booed him. 'Listen to this ovation for Hacksaw Jim Duggan' swooned Gorilla Monsoon, clearly listening to a different crowd altogether.

At least the crowd (who, to be fair, were hot all night) eventually cheered up when the action got underway, even if that action was nothing to write home about.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 6: The Ultimate Warrior called the WWF Champion 'Hoke Hogan' in his reply promo
This pretty sloppy brawl ended with a 2x4-assisted win for Hacksaw Jim Duggan.
Your winner: Hacksaw Jim Duggan

Afterwards, Duggan was beaten down by Earthquake and a ticked-off Dino Bravo.

Backstage, Jake 'The Snake' Roberts cut a compelling promo against arch-rival Ted Dibiase as the two prepared to do battle over theMillion Dollar Title.

Million Dollar Championship match
'The Million Dollar Man' Ted Dibiase (w/ Virgil) vs. Jake 'The Snake' Roberts
Having been at war since the previous summer, Roberts and Dibiase finally clashed in a match every bit as good as you'd imagine it would be.

Moving at a steady pace, the two waged war in an intense, psychological battle that was entirely captivating from bell to bell.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 6: Shawn Michaels watches over Pat Tanaka in the Rockers/Orient Express match
After a lengthy fight, the two men brawled on the outside, only for Virgil to help his man back into the ring to break the count of ten.
Your winner and Million Dollar Champion: Ted Dibiase

Following the match, Jake Roberts chased off Virgil then nailed Dibiase with the DDT, grabbed several $100 bills that Virgil had left lying around, and handed them to members of the crowd, including Mary Tyler Moore. 

Backstage, Akeem The African Dream and his manager, Slick talked about their rivallry with Akeem's former Twin Towers partner, The Big Boss Man.

Apparently, none other than Ted Dibase himself had attempted to pay the Twin Towers to help him out with something, only for Boss Man to refuse the money.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 6: Dino Bravo battled Jim Duggan in a terrible match
This was reason enough for Boss Man and Akeem to fight, and for 'Keem and Slick to say 'mon-ay' a lot in the promo. yeah.

Not to be outdone, The Big Boss Man gave a reply. First, he insisted that he didn't mind being poor (because we were supposed to believe that a police officer who moonlighted as a professional wrestler had no money), then he said he was proud to be an American, apparently hoping his patriotism would endear him to the Canadian crowd.

Because clearly that worked so well for Hacksaw Duggan.

Akeem (w/ Slick) vs. The Big Boss Man
WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 6: Jake 'The Snake' Roberts cut an awesome pre-match promo on The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase
Before the match could even get underway, Boss Man was attacked by Ted Dibiase, who apparently had hidden at ringside after his losing effort and lain in wait for the Boss Man's arrival.

Regaining his composure, the Law Enforcement Officer overcame a beating from Akeem and put his former partner away in an unremarkable match lasting less than two minutes.
Your winner: The Big Boss Man

What happened next was the biggest pile of awkward ever seen in professional wrestling.

Rhythm & Blues
First up, Sean Mooney attempted to interview Mary Tyler Moore. Moore, who clearly didn't know much at all about professional wrestling, was constantly cut off by Mooney, probably because she had almost nothing to say for herself.

Rhythm & Blues (Honky Tonk Man & Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine) rode to the ring in a pink Cadillac driven by a pre-fame Diamond Dallas Page. They were accompanied by Jimmy Hart and two women known as the 'Honkyettes.'

Entering the ring, they tried to sing a song called Hunka Hunka Burning Love, with Honky on lead, the girls and Jimmy Hart on backing and Greg Valentine on shuffle-around-looking-awkward-and-completely-out-of-place duty.

This was beyond terrible.

Things got even worse when Valentine and Hart attempted to share lead vocal on a verse yet found their microphone wasn't working properly.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 6: Jake 'The Snake' Roberts cut an awesome pre-match promo on The Million Dollar Man Ted DibiasePoor Greg Valentine. There are no words in the English language to describe how utterly uncomfortable he looked in this abomination of a segment.

When the song was over, Honky Tonk spotted The Bushwhackers flogging merchandise at ringside and yelled at them to go away.

Instead, Luke and Butch entered the ring and cleaned house, ending this skit to the delight and relief of everyone who would ever have to watch it for the rest of time.

Ravishing Rick Rude (w/ Bobby Heenan) vs. Superfly Jimmy Snuka
Jimmy Snuka at least got his own match this year, much better than randomly walking in at the start of somebody else's match for no reason, such was his fate at Wrestlemania 5.

Sadly (perhaps) for Snuka, the match he had was one nobody really cared about.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 6: The Ultimate Warrior prepares to face Hulk Hogan
To be fair, he and Rick Rude did have a decent little match, but the crowd, who had been pretty vocal throughout the show, were finally starting to wain, and this came across as exactly what it was: A little bit of filler before our main event.
Your winner: Rick Rude

Finally, it was on to the one we'd all been waiting for, champion vs. champion, title vs. title, Warrior vs. Hogan, The Ultimate Challenge.

Title vs. Title match 
WWF Intercontinental Champion The Ultimate Warrior vs. WWF Champion Hulk Hogan
From the moment The Ultimate Warrior raced to the ring, eschewing the ring-carts used by his colleagues throughout the show, the intensity surrounding the Wrestlemania 6 main event grew to such a fever pitch that you have to wonder how anybody in the Skydome could contain themselves.

Hogan followed suit, the bell rang, and this match between the World Wrestling Federation's two biggest stars was underway.

And what a match it was.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 6: The Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan stare down before making history in a classic main event

Undoubtedly one of the best Wrestlemania matches of all time, Warrior vs. Hogan was a dramatic, emotional affair between two superstars who made every single thing they did count.

Both men were shown to be equal to one another as they fought valiantly towards the conclusion, which saw Warrior land his big splash and capture the World Wrestling Federation title.
Your winner and NEW World Wrestling Federation Champion, The Ultimate Warrior

Post-match, Hogan handed the title to Warrior and sulked away looking very upset. Of course, the cameras were still on him, so Hogan looked as important in defeat as he ever did in victory.

Then, as the arena darkened and fireworks errupted, The Ultimate Warrior celebrated winning the WWF Title.

And so after several years of slog, Wrestlemania finally delivered a fun show. Wrestlemania VI didn't drag half as much as Wrestlemania's V and IV did, and though there was still an awful lot on this card, most of the matches ranged from watchable to decent. Then you add in that main event, that dramatic, emotional, incredible main event, and what you have is a show that's very much worth checking out. Providing of course, that you can fast-forward past the Honky Tonk Man stuff.


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Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.