Saturday, 9 February 2013

PPV REVIEW: WWF Wrestlemania 2

WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 2 - EVENT POSTERNew York, Illinois, Los Angeles
April 7, 1986 

The late, great Gorilla Monsoon had a saying at the early Wrestlemania events which went something like this: "That was/This is a happening!"

Sadly, that's about the best thing one could possibly say about the second 'Mania event: It happened.

The first,  and indeed only, Mania to take place on a Monday, this was basically a terrible show laden with poor matches, poor booking and even worse commenting, occasionally interspersed with a decent match.

Split across three different venues in three different time zones, let's look at what happened.

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York

It should be noted that the version I'm watching for this review is an apparently heavily-edited Coliseum Home Video release which begins with a bog-standard introduction and the voice of Vince McMahon, sounding for all the world as though even he would rather be anywhere but at the event as he welcomed us to 'Wrestlemania 2, what the world has come to.'

Yes ladies and gentlemen, this is what the world has come to. You see how low we've sunk?

'Mr. Wonderful' Paul Orndorff vs. 'Magnificent' Don Muraco (w/ Mr. Fuji)

WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 2 - 'The Sinister' Mr. Fuji backs Don Muraco
As both men locked up in the center of the ring, we were treated to some pre-recorded audio clips in which Muraco claimed he could beat Orndorff because he had 'The Sinister Mr. Fuji' with him before Orndorff replied by talking about how much he'd been to the gym lately.

Mr. Wonderful gained the early advantage in the match, even taking time out to racially insult Mr. Fuji before  squaring up once again with the Magnificent one. The two locked up and Muraco gained the upperhand with what guest commentator Susan St. James referred to as 'ancient Chinese techniques' but was, in actual fact, a top wristlock.

Before long, the action spilled to the outside and both men were counted out in under five minutes, drawing a very audible 'BULLSHIT!' chant from the New York crowd.
Double count-out

If you thought that was a bad way to start the show, things were only set to get worse from there on in.

George 'The Animal' Steele vs. 'The Macho Man' Randy Savage (w/ Miss. Elizabeth)
The story here was a simple one; Savage was the dastardly heel who treated his pretty young valet Elizabeth like dirt. All the while, crazed mad man George Steele had developed something of an infatuation with Liz, drawing the jealous ire of  'The Macho Man.'

That was good enough for the two to clash at the second annual Wrestlemania, though sadly not good enough to actually produce a decent match.

If watching Savage run away from Steele for a while before the two engaged in fairly bland combat wasn't dull enough, even that was ruined by Susan St. James who uttered one cry of 'uh oh' after another whenever either man went anywhere near each other.

At first this was kind of comical, but by the end, even Vince McMahon had caught the 'uh ohs' and it became nothing more than annoying.

Things came to a close when Savage rolled up Steele and got a ropes-assisted three-count for the win.
Your Winner: 'Macho Man' Randy Savage

Afterwards, 'The Animal' ate some turnbuckle and chased a referee away. It was rubbish.

George Wells vs. Jake 'The Snake' Roberts.
If you don't remember former Canadian Football Leaguer and professional wrestler George Wells, don't worry about it, nobody else does either.

Still, the man looked kinda of awesome as he beat Roberts up and down the ring to yet more 'uh oh's from James and McMahon.

Not a good match by anybody's standards, but at least fun to watch  Jake Roberts sell like a trooper before picking up the win with a crafty DDT.
Your winner: Jake 'The Snake' Roberts

Post-match, Roberts draped his snake over Wells, causing the defeated star to foam at the mouth.

WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 2 - 'Rowdy Roddy Piper' promises to quit wrestling if Mr. T can knock him out
Following a recap of Rowdy Roddy Piper's involvement at the end of a Mr. T boxing match on Saturday Night's Main Event, we were taken to pre-recorded interviews with  both men.

Speaking first, Piper first claimed that he was cute before going on to insist that he would retire from everything in the world if T could knock him out and ending the interview by racially abusing his upcoming opponent.

In response, Mr. T, accompanied by Smokin Joe Frazier and The Haiti Kid, insisted that if Piper did some 'dirty stuff', T would also 'do some dirty stuff.'

And that's all there is to say about that.

Special Attraction Boxing Match:
'Rowdy' Roddy Piper (w/ Lou Duva and 'Cowboy' Bob Orton) vs. Mr. T (w/  Smokin Joe Frazier and The Haiti Kid
As boxing matches go, this one was pretty terrible and looked absolutely nothing like an actual boxing match.

As Susan St. James continued to treat us with more 'uh ohs' both men traded the advantage through several rounds of nondescript inaction before the referee took a tumble and, in one of Wrestlemania's more memorable moments, Piper got himself disqualified by bodyslamming his opponent.
Your Winner: Mr. T

With the first main event of the show over with, we were finally spared any more of Susan 'Uh Oh' St. James as the show moved on to part two.

Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois

Our commentary team for this portion of the show consisted of Gorilla Monsoon, 'Mean' Gene Okerlund and some woman called Cathy Lee Crosby who Wikipedia informs me is an actress (hey, don't judge me, I wasn't even two years-old when this show took place).

WWF Women's Championship:
WWF Women's Champion The Fabulous Moolah vs. Velvet McIntyre
WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 2 - The Fabulous Moolah celebrates her win over Velvet McIntyre
The saddest thing about this match is that, even at less than a minute long, it was actually the best match on the card to this point.

McIntyre took control throughout the contest before missing a top rope splash, allowing Moolah to roll on top and gain the pinfall.
Your winner and Still WWF Women's Champion: The Fabulous Moolah

When a minute-long match is the best thing on the show so far, you know you're in trouble.

Flag Match:
Corporal Kirchner vs. Nikolai Volkoff (w/ Classie Freddie Blassie)
Whereas the rules in most flag matches involve capturing your opponent's flag or something along those lines, the rules here were...well, they were never quite explained.

This was certainly billed as a flag match, with both the US flag and the flag of Soviet Russia resting in opposite corners, though what we actually got was a fairly nondescript encounter which ended when Freddie Blassie tossed his walking cane to Volkoff, Kirchner intercepted and struck Volkoff. The referee recovered from being knocked on his booty and made the three count.
Your Winner: Corporal Kirchner.

WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 2 - Atlanta Falcons NFL Star Bill Fralic confronts Big John Studd before they meet in a 20 man battle royale
Afterwards, Kirchner raised the USA flag and waved it above his head. Apparently the rules had been that whoever won would get to wave their flag about. Riveting.

Prior to the upcoming battle royal, Mean Gene moderated a debate between Big John Studd and NFL star Bill Fralic over whether football players or wrestlers were the superior athletes. In an interesting twist, Fralic easily outshone Studd on the mic.

20 Man Open-Invitational Battle Royale
Featuring: Big John Studd, Andre The Giant, The Hart Foundation, Dan Spivey, Bil Fralic, William 'The Refrigerator'  Perry, Russ Francis, Harvey Martin Bruno Sammartino and more.
Another of Wrestlemania's most memorable matches, and one which is included on lots of compilation tapes, let it be known that this one is memorable for the spectacle only, for it was far from a five-star classic.

OK, so few battle royals ever are, but apart from the appearance of Chicago Bears star William 'The Refrigerator  Perry who gained a huge ovation from the Illinois crowd, absolutely nothing interesting happened here.

A big, convoluted mess, this eventually ended with Andre The Giant eliminated The Hart Foundation to pick up the win.
Your Winner: Andre The Giant

Finally, we were given an out-and-out great match next in the form of Illinois' main event.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship: 
WWF Tag Team Champions The Dream Team (Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine & Brutus Beefcake w/ 'Lucious' Johnny Valiant) vs. The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith & Dynamite Kid w/ Captain Lou Albano and Ozzy Osborne)
Let's pretend rock star Ozzy wasn't present for this match, since he does nothing and achieves nothing apart from standing around shaking in a salmon-coloured suit.

His men however, did a great job as they worked mostly with Greg Valentine to produce a compelling match which eschewed the usual tag formula to stand out a mile as the best match on the card.

Following an entertaining performance, the Bulldogs captured the titles after Davey Both Smith pinned Valentine.
Your Winners and NEW WWF Tag Team Champions: The British Bulldogs

WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 2 - The commentary team for the LA portion of the show included Jesse 'The Body' Ventura, Lord Alfred Hayes and TV star ElviraFinally, it was on to the Los Angeles portion of the show.

Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, Los Angeles, California

For the last part of the show we were led through the action by
Jesse 'The Body' Ventura (looking like an Egyptian pharaoh in drag), sexy vampire TV host Elvira and Lord Alfred Hayes who, despite not saying much throughout the broadcast, at least came across as less nervous than he had the previous year

Ricky Steamboat vs. Hercules Hernandez
A relative newcomer at the time, Hercules Hernandez (still with last name in tact) went one-on-one in arguably one of the best patches he would have for the World Wrestling Federation.

WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 2 - Ricky Steamboat takes it to Hercules Hernandez
Of course, that had much to do with the always-awesome Ricky Steamboat, who probably never had a bad match in his life.

OK, so this wasn't the greatest match of all time, nor did it quite live up to the previous tag team title encounter, but it was nonetheless an enjoyable affair which reached its conclusion when Steamboat nailed Herc' with a bodypress for the three count.
Your winner: Ricky Steamboat

What happened next likely caused deep emotional scars for many who saw it.

Adorable Adrian Adonis (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Uncle Elmer
So yeah. Here with a big fat man in a granny dress and make-up getting the stuffing beaten out of him by an even bigger fat man dressed like a special needs kid on a day outing.

WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 2 - Uncle Elmer vs. 'Adorable' Adrian Adonis..yep, this happened
Adonis bumped around for a while without a single blow of offence, before something happened that nobody cared about, and Adonis quite literally fell off the top rope, landing on Elmer and pinning him.

This. was. awful.
Your Winner: Adrian Adonis
Your loser: Everybody who saw this match

Thankfully, things picked up with our next match.

Tito Santana & Junkyard Dog vs. Terry & 'Hoss' (Dory) Funk (w/ Jimmy Hart)
Somewhere along the line there was a decent back-story to just how this match came to be, but that isn't as important as the fact that this was all kinds of fun.

With Hoss Funk and Chico taking on most of the actual wrestling work, JYD dealing with his usual smash-mouth offence and Terry Funk (who actually didn't look like an old man in 1986) bumping all over the place in his usual crazy fashion, what we had here was a match that was enjoyable from start to finish.

Following an all-out riot of a bout, Terry Funk smashed JYD with Jimmy Hart's megaphone to win the match for his team.
Your Winners: Terry & Hoss Funk.

At last, it was down to our main event

World Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Championship Steel Cage Match
WWF Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan vs. King Kong Bundy (w/ Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan)
The story came from Bundy interfering in Hogan's title defence against Don Muraco, the two heels destroying the champion in the process and injuring his ribs.
WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 2 - King Kong Bundy dominates WWF Champion Hulk Hogan in their WM2 Steel cage match

With said ribs all bandaged up, Hulk Hogan nonetheless stepped inside The Big Blue Cage to gain revenge on King Kong Bundy.

The result was a surprisingly entertaining brawl which ended an otherwise lackluster show on a high note.

Both men played their parts perfectly before Hogan predictably 'Hulked up' and escaped the cage.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Hulk Hogan

Following the match, Hogan dragged Bobby Heenan into the ring and beat him up too.

Whilst Wrestlemania I had the historical relevance thing working in its favor, and whilst future shows would have, you know, being decent shows on their side, Wrestlemania 2 had absolutely nothing going for it beyond a couple of decent tag matches and Elvira's boobs. 
Nothing important happened, there are no matches on the card that will change your life, nothing. Skip it, and go watch Wrestlemania III.


Bulldogs vs Dream Team and Hogan vs Bundy were the only good matches!

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Retro Pro Wrestling

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