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

Sunday, 30 June 2013

PPV REVIEW: WWF Summerslam 1988

WWE/WWF SUMMERSLAM 1988: Poster for event August 29th, 1988
Madison Square Garden, New York

Fueled by success of the almighty Wrestlemania, Vince McMahon and his Titan Sports empire looked to further capitalize on the appeal of Pay Per View TV by throwing another colossal event in to the World Wrestling Federation's calendar. 

Though you may not have been able to tell at the time, Summerslam would go on to be the WWF/WWE's second biggest event after Mania itself.

Yet, much like McMahon's flagship show itself, the legend of Summerslam got off to a less than perfect start.

Here's what went down.






Things began with some fantastic opening credits introducing the ppv audience to the participants in tonight's main event. Even now, your writer has to imagine that modern day WWE events could benefit from such credits.

With that out of the way, it was on to our hosts for the evening, Gorilla Monsoon and 'Superstar' Billy Graham to welcome us to the show. Monsoon wasted no time in informing us that tonight would be 'a happening' (a phrase he would repeat at least every five or ten minutes throughout the show) whilst Graham revealed himself to a have the kind of voice which reminded this fan of Dusty Rhodes with even less bass in his voice.

The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers (Jacques and Raymond) VS. The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and The Dynamite Kid w/ Matilida) 
WWE/WWF SUMMERSLAM 1988: Gorillia Monson and 'Superstar' Billy Graham host the show
With the recently-turned Rougeaus already in the ring, Davey Boy Smith, Dynamite Kid and their dog made their way to the ring to a large cheer from a crowd already looking forward to a great opening contest.

Luckily, they weren't disappointed. 

Putting away their real-life animosity aside for the most part, both teams brawled, battled and grappled for a full twenty minutes in a text book tag match.

The Bulldogs took the advantage in the early going, thwarting their opponent's every move with a combination of speed and strength before the dastardly Rougeaus found away to turn the tide in their favor.  

As the clock ticked, all four men took turns to swap offence before the final bell rang, signalling the end on as good an opening match as you could hope to witness.
Time Limit Draw

At a certain point in time, Brutus Beefcake was in line for an Intercontinental Championship shot against long-reigning champion The Honky Tonk Man. The match, originally scheduled for tonight's show, would not take place after an episode of WWF Superstars of Wrestling  in which Bruti, about to send his latest victim to sleep, was brutally mauled by Outlaw Ron Bass, putting Beefcake out of action.

Before any further Summerslam action took place, Gorilla Monsoon promised us that we would 'see some exciting action' before we were shown footage of Bass attacking Beefcake.

WWF/WWE SUMMERSLAM 1988: Summerslam '88 came live from Madison Square Garden in New York

Bad News Brown vs. Ken Patera
Meandering in the lower echelons of the roster following his return from serving jail time, Ken Patera, squat little body and silly afro in tow, made his way to Summerslam as fodder for the rising star of Bad News Brown.

A fairly recent acquisition from Stampede Wrestling, Brown jumped his foe from the opening bell and, some short offence from Patera aside, dominated throughout this sluggish squash-fest.

Given the era at the time, it's surprising that Bad News didn't make it higher up the card during his time at Titan. Then again, if all his matches were as dull and uninspired, it's maybe little wonder he didn't/

Following several minutes of boredom, Bad News put Patera, and the audience, out of their collective misery with his Ghetto Blaster enzeguri finisher.
Your Winner: Bad News Brown

Following a brief moment of hype for the upcoming Titan-sports backed boxing match between Sugar Ray Leonard and Don Lalonde (more of which later), we were taken to the back where Mean Gene Okerlund caught up with The Mega Powers

WWE/WWF SUMMERSLAM 1988: The Mega Powers talk to Mean Gene Okerlund
In the mostly-nonsensical style which was apparently in vogue at the time, Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage talked about madness, mania, and using Miss Elizabeth as their secret weapon in their upcoming clash against The Mega Bucks. 

For the first time ever, Miss Elizabeth actually looked fairly happy.

'Ravishing' Rick Rude (w/ Bobby Heenan) VS. Junk Yard Dog
Squash bouts were apparently the order of the day on this show as Ravishing Rick Rude continued his ascent to stardom by beating Junkyard Dog around the ring in a passable contest.

As Rude punished his foe, Billy Graham raved about the JYD's head.

 'He'll headbutt a truck, he'll headbutt a Rolls Royce, he'll headbutt the side of a building my man Gorilla Monsoon brother my man!' enthused the former WWF Champion, oblivious to the fact that not once in this contest did the Dog even attempt a headbutt. 

Instead, he absorbed a bunch of punishment from the Ravishing one and lay out on the canvas as Rude scaled the ropes and pulled down his tights, only to reveal a second pair underneath bearing the face of one Cheryl Roberts. 

Naturally, this raised the ire of one Jake 'The Snake' Roberts who, after Rude had delivered a ridiculous-looking top-rope fistdrop to his opponent, raced to the ring and battered arch-rival Rude. Unsurprisingly, this cost JYD the match.
Your winner via disqualification: Ravishing Rick Rude

WWE/WWF SUMMERSLAM 1988 - The Honky Tonk Man welcomes all challengers in this promo with Mean Gene Okerlund
Though Roberts was miffed that Rude had managed to escape, a perplexed JYD didn't seem to mind to much that The Snake had cost him the match. Bizare.

Out in the back, Mean Gene Okerlund caught up with The Honky Tonk Man and Jimmy Hart.

After claiming that he knew Brutus Beefcake wouldn't have been up to challenging him for the title, the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion in the history of the world insisted that he would still defend his title tonight and, what's more, he couldn't care less who his opponent would turn out to be.

Mean Gene did try to reveal that opponent, but the ever-cocky Honky Tonk Man would hear none of it. It was an entertaining segment which served its purpose well in building the excitement for the upcoming IC title clash.

The Bolsheviks (Nikolai Volkoff and Boris Zhukov w/ Slick) VS. The Powers of Pain (Warlord and Barbarian w/ The Baron)
Led to the ring by Baron von Raschke in a druid-like hood, The Powers of Pain once again proved why they should have been a much more successful tag team as they successfully took the battle to their Russian adversaries.

In full-on babyface mode, Warlord and Barbarian were a delight to watch, combining a speed an agility which belied their large frames with a power and strength which suited them perfectly. Though hardly the greatest tag team match in the world, this was nonetheless an entertaining affair.
Your winners: The Powers of Pain

WWE/WWF SUMMERSLAM 1988 - Hacksaw Jim Duggan is not impressed with Brother Love
Offering a respite from the in-ring action, Brother Love made his way to the ring to interview, or rather, provoke Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Slowly beginning his transition from general tough-guy to Stars and Stripes waiving tough-guy, Duggan entertained the crowd before sending Love packing. 

Despite what you may read elsewhere, it was at least an entertaining segment, eliciting more than a brief flicker or a giggle from your easily-amused reviewer. 

Intercontinental Championship Match:
Intercontinental Champion The Honky Tonk Man (w/ Jimmy Hart) VS. The Ultimate Warrior
Still oblivous as to the identity of his opponent, The Honky Tonk Man made his way to the ring gushing with confidence. Shaking, rattling and rolling in the ring, Honky took to the mic to demand somebody to wrestle.

Unfortunately for Honky, he got his wish.

A hush fell over Madison Square Garden, building the tension before the familiar chords of The Ultimate Warrior's music rang out through the arena and The Warrior charged to ringside.
WWE/WWF SUMMERSLAM 1988: The Ultimate Warrior won the Intercontinental Championship from The Honky Tonk Man

Several clotheslines and a big splash later, and Honky's memorable reign as Intercontinental Champion came to an end.

OK, so it wasn't a match, but it was certainly  an incredible scene. With the crowd as wild as the Warrior himself, it was one of those moments that always serves to make wrestling worth watching.
Your Winner and NEW intercontinental champion: The Ultimate Warrior


Following The Warrior's epic win, we were subject to a lengthy intermission. 

First, Monsoon shilled the upcoming Survivor Series for all his worth, promising us 'exciting action like this...' whilst showing us the dullest moments of Survivor Series 1987.

Then came the boxing.

Remember earlier I said there'd be more on the Leonard/Lalonde PPV bout? Well there was, about 20 minutes more.

Since the match was promoted by Titan Sports, we were given lengthy interviews and clips of both men to try and encourage us to buy it. 

Sitting here now, I'm grateful for the fast-foward button, and can only feel sorry for fans who were watching live at the time without that option.

WWE/WWF SUMMERSLAM 1998: Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan invades the commentary booth
Heading back to the action at last, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan interupted Monsoon and Graham to tell us that, whilst Andre the Giant was reading The Wallstreet Journal, The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase was counting his money and Virgil was, well, just kinda standing there, their opponents The Mega Powers were hiding scared in their dressing room.

Heenan then stuck around for the next match.

Dino Bravo (w/ Frenchie Martin) vs. Don 'The Rock' Murraco 
As it turned out, Heenan's involvement in the match turned out to be one of the best things about it.

Not that the in-ring action itself was particularly atrocious or anything. The Rock and Bravo did at least engage in some decent action, but for the most part, their short battle was entirely forgettable.

Thankfully, Heenan's banter with Graham made up for the lack of excitement, whilst Gorilla Monsoon's insistence that Frenchie Martin should go back to France and that a particularly irate member of the audience would 'give him half the fare to get there' was especially funny.

Alas, by the time Dino Bravo walked away with the win, your life was really no better nor any worse than it was before.
Your winner: Dino Bravo


In a pre-recorded segment, Sean Mooney quizzed Jesse 'The Body' Ventura on his role as the special guest referee in the upcoming fight betwen The Mega Bucks and The Mega Powers, particularly his acceptance of several hundred dollars slipped into his pocket by The Million Dollar Man.

WWF Tag Team Championship Match: 
WWF Tag Team Champions Demolition (Ax and Smash, w/ Mr. Fuji and Jimmy Hart) VS. The Hart Foundation (Bret 'The Hitman' Hart and Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart)
It's no secret that the World Wrestling Federation's tag team scene was thriving in the 1980s. That said, it always comes as a nice surprise that a show like Summerslam 1988 can feature four completely different tag team matches and have each one entertain in its own way.

This tag team championship clash was no exception.

WWE/WWF SUMMERSLAM 1988: Demolition prepare to defend their titles against The Hart Foundation
With former manager Jimmy Hart routing for their opponents, The Hart Foundation took the fight to the champions in a dramatic match.

Before long, Ax and Smash took charge, pummeling The Hitman around the ring and controlling the contest. Eventually, The Anvil made the inevitable hot tag and cleaned house.

Yet just when it looked like the titles would change hands, Mr. Fuji distracted the referee, allowing Demoltion to take out Bret with Jimmy Hart's megaphone and ultimately steal a win.
Your winners: Demoltion

Backstage, a crowd of heels tried in vain to console an irate Honky Tonk Man. Sending them packing, Honky vowed to Mean Gene Okerlund that he would, come hell or highwater, get his belt back.

The Big Boss Man (w/ Slick) vs. Koko B. Ware
Looking younger than this writer ever recalls, The Big Boss Man went toe-to-toe with a nimble Koko B. Ware in another decent yet ultimately forgettable contest.

Indeed, whilst this one was certainly watchable, you can't help but think that, had Sunday Night Heat been around at the time, this is exactly the kind of match that would make filler content for that show.

The end came when Bossman picked up the three count, and we all moved on with our lives.
Your winner: The Big Boss Man

WWE/WWF SUMMERSLAM 1988: The Ultimate Warrior celebrates his victory in an interview with Sean Mooney
Out in the back, new Intercontinental Champion The Ultimate Warrior, flanked by the British Bulldogs and a throng of babyfaces, was interviewed by Sean Mooney.

In typical fashion, Warrior spoke mostly about flying spaceships from Parts Unknown and insisted he wouldn't back down from a challenge from the Honky Tonk Man.



Hercules vs. Jake 'The Snake' Roberts
With his manager Bobby Heenan conspicuous by his absence, the mighty Hercules wrestled Jake 'The Snake' Roberts in yet another filler-bout.

I'd go in to detail about this match, but absolutely nothing happened beyond a couple of prolonged chin-locks and some punches for what seemed like several millenia.

The end of this massively dull affair saw a win for Roberts with a DDT.
Your winner: Jake 'The Snake' Roberts

Finally, it was on to our main event.

First, we were given a decent recap of the story that brought Dibiase, Andre, Virgil, Heenan, Hogan, WWF Champion Randy Savage and Elizabeth together in a tag team match with Jesse 'The Body' Ventura as the special guest referee.

It was a story which went something like this:


The Mega Bucks ('The Million Dollar Man' Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant w/ Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan' and Virgil) VS. The Mega Powers (Hulk Hogan and World Wrestling Federation Champion 'Macho Man' Randy Savage w/ Elizabeth) with special guest referee Jesse 'The Body' Ventura

Donned in jeans, sneakers and a white shirt and looking entirely unlike referee in the history of wrestling, special guest referee Jesse Ventura asserted his authority in the early going. Ordering managers and seconds to the apron and switching the tag ropes (remember them?) to neutral corners, Ventura looked to be playing things firm but fair.

It was an approach he took as the action finally began before a New York crowd who were hot for every blow.

As both teams traded the advantage under the watchful eye of a referee who seemed content to let both teams do whatever they liked, an MSG audience who had already been into most of the matches, were even louder than ever.

They ate up everything the two teams could give them, and they gave them plenty.

WWE/WWF SUMMERSLAM 1988: Miss Elizabeth stuns Ted Dibiase and Andre the Giant by taking her dress off
Once again proving that, when they wanted to, the WWF could do tag team wrestling incredibly well, this was a wildly entertaining match made all the more exciting by the sheer star power involved.

The end came when Elizabeth, who had been hyped by the Mega Powers as their 'secret weapon' hopped up onto the apron and pulled away her dress, revealing shapely pins which distracted the heels long enough for her men to get the win.

It says something about the innocence of the time that the sight of Elizabeth, wearing the top half of her dress over a swimsuit, should elicit such a response. In the modern era, most women would have worn less clothes to begin with and nobody would have battered an eyelid.
Your winners: The Mega Powers

Predictably, Savage, Hogan and Elizabeth celebrated before the crowds to bring the first annual Summerslam to a close.






And that was that. Though hardly the greatest professional wrestling event of all time, the first annual Summerslam at least saw signs of promise for things to come. If you take away the filler bouts and concentrate purely on the tag team action and the IC title change, this was a fun show that did exactly what it was supposed to; entertain. Shame about all the boxing though. 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

PPV REVIEW: WWF Survivor Series 1993

WWF / WWE Survivor Series 1993: Poster
November 24th, 1993
Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

By late 1993, the World Wrestling Federation was hanging on for dear life. 

Rocked by the steroid scandal, failed drug tests, injuries, and that thing with Jerry Lawler, a series of events outside the ring rendered the seventh annual Survivor Series show a show barely worthy of pay per view status.

Prior to kick off, everyone’s favourite perma-grinned host, Todd Pettengill brought us the Survivor Series Countdown, introducing us to the Boston Garden, its fans (who he comically referred to as “the fans of the world,”) and tonight’s matches.

It was Pettingill’s job to explain to us why The Undertaker had replaced Tatanka in the All Americans  team, Crush had replaced Piere on the opposing Foreign Fanatics squad, and why Shawn Michaels had returned from suspension to fill in for Jerry Lawler in a battle against The Hart Family.





WWF / WWE Survivor Series 1993: Todd Pettingill in the Survivor Series countdown
It was also up to our mate Todd to pay a visit to Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan at the commentary booth, and to Jim Ross and Gorilla Monsoon, doing play-by-play duties for the short-lived WWF Radio.

As Pettingill stirred yet more drama between Monsoon and Heenan (the former would later go on to eject the latter from the building, and the WWF as a whole, a month down the line), all five men completely ignored the dark match between Brooklyn Brawler and one of the Smoking Guns taking place in the ring.

Come to think of it, so did the majority of the audience.

With such a waste of time masquerading as excitement out of the way, it was on to a night of traditional Survivor Series matches.

Irwin R. Schyster, Diesel, Rick ‘The Model’ Martel and Adam Bomb
VS.
Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon, 1-2-3 Kid, Marty Jannetty and ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage

Mr. Perfect was originally scheduled to tag with Razor Ramon and his buddies, yet depending on who you believe he fell victim either to injuries or Titan Sports’ ongoing drugs and steroid problems and had left the organisation a week or two earlier.

WWF / WWE Survivor Series 1993: Team Razor vs. Team Diesel
Thus, before the match began, we had The Bad Guy inform us that Hennig was ‘such a perfect partner, he chose to tag out before the match,’ prompting a replacement in the form of Randy Savage. As the story had it, Macho would have done anything to get in the same building as arch-rival Crush, meaning his last-minute addition to this match at least made some semblance of sense.

As for the match itself, well, it was pretty good.

OK, not five-star classic good, but for a match featuring a an assorted collection of mid-carders with little else to do, it was a surprisingly entertaining affair.

There was plenty of drama and action to keep this one interesting thanks to Razor seeing off threats from potential Intercontinental challengers Rick Martel and IRS, dissension in the ranks of the heel squad (mostly caused by Martel’s squabbles with Adam Bomb’s manager, Harvey Wippleman), and of course, Crush sticking his nose in, causing Savage to get counted out.

Naturally, Savage proceeded to storm backstage and was shown storming about the place in an awkward search for his rival. For reasons which still elude this writer, the entire segment came across as entirely uncomfortable.

WWF / WWE Survivor Series 1993: Razor Ramon addresses the crowd
Still, back in the ring, things were much better.

An exchange between Clique buddies Diesel and 1-2-3 Kid (probably over who had the best mullet) provided one of the bout’s more memorable moments, as the mammoth Diesel tossed his smaller foe about the ring like the proverbial ragdoll.

Still, it was Diesel who would be sent to the showers before the end of the match, and with everyone else gone, the unlikely tandem of the ‘Kid and Marty Jannetty triumphed as sole survivors after Jannetty stole a pin from Adam Bomb.
Your winners and sole survivors: Marty Jannetty and 1-2-3 Kid

Backstage, Todd Pettingill caught up with a recently reinstated Shawn Michaels.

Despite being stripped of the Intercontinental championship some months ago (the fictional excuse being his lack of title defences over a thirty day period, the actual excuse being a drug test dispute), Michaels bore the title around his waist and claimed to still be the undisputed champion.

WWF / WWE Survivor Series 1993: Todd Pettingill interviews Shawn Michaels
Yet that was simply a precursor to the main subject at hand; trying to justify Michaels' last-minute gig as Jerry Lawler's replacement in a battle against the Hart Family.

(Lawler, in case you hadn't heard, had taken time off to deal with an accusation that he raped a teenage girl).

Drawing loosely on the Michaels/Hart WWF Championship bout from the previous year's Survivor Series, we were first provided with some pre-recorded comments from theHart Family.

As Bruce Hart stood in the background, adorned in sunglasses he stole from a blind man and exuding all the charisma of a constipated teapot, Bret and his other brothers Owen and Keith pretended like all the troubles they'd been having with Jerry Lawler over the last few months, they'd actually been having with Michaels.

WWF / WWE Survivor Series 1993: Bret Hart and Bruce 'Too Much Charisma to Handle' Hart
Cutting back to the future Hall of Famer, Michaels played up to the rivalry to such an extent that, by the time the whole thing was over, you were convinced Shawn had been feuding with the Hart family the whole time, and that Jerry Lawler had never once entered the equation.

Still somewhere in the backstage area, Razor Ramon heaped congratulations on surviving team members Jannetty and 1-2-3 Kid before insisting that Savage had gone loco and leading his men off on a search party.

Back in the ring, Family Feud host wasted everybody's time by telling a series of awful jokes about Shawn Michaels family before finally, and in the most long-winded fashion possible, introduced the man himself to the ring.

Shawn Michaels and The Knights (or Barry Horrowitz, Greg Valentine and Jeff Gaylord in crap masks)
VS.
Bret, Bruce, Owen and Keith Hart (w/ Stu Hart)

By most existing reports, the first part of this year's 'double main event' was a dismal affair.

At first glance, it's easy to see why.

The pairing of Shawn Michaels and four 'knights' made little sense despite the WWF's best pre-match efforts, nor did the former Intercontinental champion particularly mesh all that well with his squad.

Add to the damage the fact that the Boston crowd could not have cared less about the match unless Shawn, Bret or Owen were involved, and what you were left with was barely worth getting excited about.

Yet what on the surface looked like a sure-fire fail played out rather well in the ring.

WWF / WWE Survivor Series 1993: Shawn Michaels begs off from Owen Hart
Bret and Owen were on usual form, whilst Keith, and even Mr. Charisma himself, Bruce showed flashes of, if not quite brilliance, then at least a decent amount of skill.

Besides, could you ever possible fathom a match featuring The Hitman, The Rocket and the future Heartbreak Kid that wasn't at least  mildly entertaining?

The highlights of the lengthy battle included the Black Knight being surrounded by Harts before Owen put him out of his misery thanks to a swift missile dropkick,

Shawn Michaels taking a suckerpunch from Stu Hart and selling it like he'd just been stabbed, and both the Red and Blue knights succumbing to sharpshooters courtesy of Bret and Owen respectively.

Yet the climax ultimately came as Michaels, left without teammates, battled Owen in the ring. An irish whip caused the younger Hart to collide with Bret, who had been nursing his wounds on the apron, with the distraction enough to allow Michaels to score a pinfall on the Rocket.

Enraged, Owen blasted his older, clearly hurting brother, before storming off to the locker room, only to return after Bret finally put his rival to pasture.
Your winners and sole survivors: Bret, Bruce and Keith Hart.

The celebrations among the three remaining Harts was short lived. A bitter Owen took out his frustrations on his siblings, claiming that he didn't need them and was sick and fed up of not getting any recognition.

All the while, Hart family matriarch, Helen, sat at ringside and feigned tears with a face which more suggested she was desperate for the toilet.

WWF / WWE Survivor Series 1993: Gorilla Monsoon threatens to beat up Bobby Heenan
Thus began the transformation of 'The Rocket' into 'The King of Harts' and the start of one of the most memorable feuds of the 1990s.

As Owen made his way backstage, the ever-persistent Pettingill tried to bag a few words with the family traitor, yet Owen insisted he didn't want to talk about it, leaving the show to focus instead on banter between McMahon, Heenan, Monsoon and Ross.

In a sign of things to come on WWF TV, Monsoon threatened to knock Heenan's block off, only to decide it really wasn't worth the effort, and instead joining Ross to do PPV commentary for the upcoming Smokey Mountain Wrestling contest.

Smokey Mountain Wrestling Tag Team Championship
Smokey Mountain Wrestling Tag Team Champions The Rock 'n' Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson)
VS.
The Heavenly Bodies (Dr. Tom Prichard and 'Gigolo' Jimmy Del Ray w/ Jim Cornette)

WWF / WWE Survivor Series 1993: Smokey Mountain Tag Team Champions The Rock 'n' Roll Express
It comes to something when arguably the best match on your show comes courtesy of four men who don't even work for you.

Alas, such was the case with this interpromotional feature match as aging veterans Morton and Gibson defended both Smokey Mountain Wrestling's gold and it's reputation as purveyors of excellent wrestling, in a match against the Heavenly Bodies.

Coming as part of the deal which saw Jim Cornette take up managerial duties in Titan land, the match was classic tag team wrestling at its finest.

From unique spots, compelling action and enough flips, dives and moonsaults as anyone could ask for, this tag match stood out as being unlike anything else on the card, and benefited greatly for it.

At least it would have been, had anyone in the audience paying attention.

Suffering the same fate as the previous match, there was a real lack of star power in the contest which hurt it, though between the ropes, this was a flawless contest.

In the end, the Doc hit a moonsault to earn the win, and the titles, for his team.
Your winners and NEW Smokey Mountain Wrestling Tag Team Champions: The Heavenly Bodies

Watching this show back, you really have to feel for Bam Bam Bigelow. Undoubted star of the inaugural Survivor Series' main event, here he finds himself some years later stuck in an abysmal comedy match, and I use the term match loosely.

Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ Luna Vachon), Bastion Booger and The Headshrinkers (w/ Afa)
VS:
The Bushwhackers (Luke 'Doink' and Butch 'Doink') and Men on a Mission (Mo 'Doink', Mabel 'Doink' and yes, Oscar 'Doink')

WWF / WWE Survivor Series 1993: Bam Bam Bigelow
'I thought this was supposed to be four Doinks, not the Bushwhackers and Men on a Mission,' said Bobby Heenan as this travesty got underway, echoing the sentiments of everyone in the Gardens and no doubt the pay per view audience.

Indeed, this one was originally billed as Bam Bam and his buddies against Doink and Three Other Doinks until the original wrestling clown, Matt Borne wound up on the wrong side of a drug test.

Instead, what we were left with was this, perhaps the only time in history that a wrestling audience (or any audience for that matter), had felt compelled to shout

'We! Want! Doink!'

As if this show wasn't in enough trouble already, chants for Doink the Clown certainly didn't do it any favours.

What also didn't help was...well...everything else.

From a Bushwhacker distracting his opponent by riding around the ring on a scooter, Bastion Booger distracting *himself* with a banana, and a Headshrinker succumbing to a three count after slipping on the peel of said banana.

WWF / WWE Survivor Series 1993: "Mabel Doink" - Freaky
The latter of which caused Bobby Heenan to claim that it gave 'whole new meaning to the term 'slipping on a banana peel,' which in turn caused this writer to wonder what other meanings beyond, you know, actually slipping on a banana peel, Heenan knew of.

Anyway, none of that, nor anything else, mattered in what was essentially a bad slap-stick comedy routine complete with Nelson Fraizier looking horrific in a clown mask (honestly, if you thought the man was scary as Big Daddy V, wait until you seem him complete with clown make-up)

In the end, Bam Bam fell victim to one of the faux-Doinks after which he and 'main squeeze' Luna Vachon were mocked by the 'actual' Doink on the video screen.
Your Winners: Mo, Mabel, Luke and Butch

Backstage, Doink joined his hired men in a a rendition of Men on a Mission's favourite tune, Whoomp, there it is.

From there it was back to Pettingill and a pre-match promo from the Foreign Fanatics.

WWF / WWE Survivor Series 1993: The Foreign Fanatics
More accurately, it was a promo from Jim Cornette, who explained the strategy his men would employ to defeat the All Americans in a fashion that was a gripping and compelling as this writer has ever heard. Sure, Cornette delivered better speeches before and after this one, but raging on the mic on Thanksgiving Eve, ol' James E. was on fire.

Finally, we were treated to a cringe-worthy video package in which Vince McMahon compared The All Americans' upcoming wrestling match to the Boston Tea Party, complete with nonsensical lines from each member of said team.

After what seemed like an eternity then, it was on to our main event of the evening:

The Foriegn Fanatics
World Wrestling Federation Champion Yokozuna, Ludvig Borga, Crush and Jacques (w/ Johnny Polo, Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette)
VS:
The All Americans
Lex Luger, The Undertaker and The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott Steiner)

Given who was involved, there was absolutely no need for our main event contest to last as long as it did.
WWF / WWE Survivor Series 1993: Yokozuna dominates Lex Luger

Alas, it did, and for nigh on thirty minutes we were subject to long moments of tedium interspersed with the occasional flash of something mildly interesting.

At least the match had this going for it; almost all the interesting things that happened did so to create or develop feuds which would take us on to better contests by the time 1994 rolled around.

Among them, Randy Savage finally caught up with Crush (sort of) by rushing down the ilse only to be stopped by a host of officials and, curiously, The Smoking Guns. By the time Savage finally got his hands on the Hawaiian, it was enough to make Crush miss his ten count and be eliminated from the match.

Further count-outs followed when WWF Champion Yokozuna and The Undertaker were having so much fun brawling on the outside that they too failed to heed to the referees count and joined Crush, Jacques and The Steiners in the locker room.

Ultimately, and rather predictably, it was Lex Luger who emerged as the sole survivor after taking out Ludvig Borga with an elbow smash.
Your winner and sole survivor: Lex Luger

As the show came to a close, Luger was left to celebrate with none other than Santa Claus himself.





And so ended the WWF's final pay per view of 1993. Without the benefit of hindsight, it would have been hard to fathom Vince McMahon and his clan ever bouncing back from such a dire state of affairs. Yet we all know they did, and what started tonight would carry on into the new year with memorable clashes between Bret and Owen, Yoko and Undertaker and Crush and Savage. That however, is another story for another time.

Monday, 25 February 2013

PPV REVIEW: WWF Wrestlemania 4

WWF / WWE Wrestlemania 4 Review - Event Poster
March 27, 1988
Trump Plaza, Atlantic City, New Jersey

In Wrestlemania III, Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation presented us with the biggest professional wrestling event of all time, the repercussions of which were still being felt a year later as Wrestlemania IV rolled into Atlantic City.

To recap; Wrestlemania 3 saw Hulk Hogan defeat a recently-turned Andre the Giant after a controversial nearfall early in the match.

It was this controversial fall, which Andre swore had won him the match, which led the two to a second encounter at the February 1988 installment of Saturday Night's Main Event. There, Andre pinned Hogan for a three count (despite Hulk's shoulder being off the mat), won the title, then promptly handed the World Wrestling Federation Championship over to The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase.

This raised the ire of WWF President Jack Tunney, who then declared the title vacant, with a new champion to be crowned in a 14-man elimination tournament at the fourth annual Wrestlemania extravaganza.






WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 4: The live Wrestlemania crowd
Throw in two title matches, a battle royal and a couple of other matches in between the tournament bouts, and wrestling fans were in for one long night in New Jersey.

Here's what went down.

Welcome to the show
Following the usual intro graphics and a welcome from Mean Gene Okerlund, we got a patriotic sing-a-long from Gladys Knight and a friendly greeting from everybody's favourite commentary duo, Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse 'The Body' Ventura. 

With that out of the way, it was on to the action.

20 Man Battle Royal featuring: Bad News Brown, The Hart Foundation, Sam Houston, Junkyard Dog, Hillbilly Jim, Harley Race, The Killer Bees and more.
In a move typical of the 'get everybody on the card' mentality which usually leads fans to fantasy booking of seven multi-man matches on a single card (all of which would suck if they were to ever actually happen), we tonight's card got underway with a fairly pointless battle royal match.

Much like all battle royals, this one wasn't particularly interesting until the finish.

Bodies toppled over the top rope until only Junkyard Dog, Bad News Brown and Bret Hart remained. The latter two agreed to join forces to eliminate the former, then proceeded to celebrate as though both were co-winners.

However, in a dastardly heel move, Bad News double-crossed The Hitman and hurled him out of the ring.
Your Winner: Bad News Brown

Returning to the ring, an enraged Hart beat down on Brown and destroyed his trophy, making his long-awaited babyface turn in the process.

Cutting up the commentator's table, Bob Uecker, in his second year as Wrestlemania-goofball-in-residence,  raced off to find fellow celebrity guest, Wheel of Fortune star, Vanna White. Much as he was at WM3, Bob Uecker was quite awesome here, and would continue to be so throughout the show.

WWF Championship Tournament: Round 1 - Match 1
'Hacksaw' Jim Duggan vs. 'The Million Dollar Man' Ted Dibiase (w/ Virgil and Andre The Giant)
And so the man who's greed-driven actions resulted in this whole tournament taking place took to the ring for the first opening round match against Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

Both men went through your pretty standard match without ever really raising the bar very high. Still, it was fairly entertaining for a throwaway match and resulted in a first round win for Dibiase.
Your Winner: Ted Dibiase
WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 4: Mean Gene Okerlund talks about Brutus Beefcake's "package"Cutting to the backstage area, Mean Gene Okerlund had some pre-recorded words with the number one contender to the Intercontinental Championship, Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake. 

In his opening line, Okerlund literally pointed at Beefcake's crotch and said 'what a package.'  I swear down announcers in the late 1980s made as many thinly-veiled references to Bruti's sexuality as JR would do with Pat Patterson a decade later.

Beefcake's impressive bulge aside, the man marked the first anniversary of his transformation into 'The Barber' by vowing to cut some hair and kick some ass.

WWF Championship Tournament: Round 1 - Match 2
Dino Bravo (w/ Frenchie Martin) vs. Don 'The Rock' Muraco (w/ 'Superstar' Billy Graham)
Round one continued with another passable outing, this time between the man who sent everybody to sleep at the first ever Royal Rumble, Dino Bravo, and Mr. Fuji's former buddy, Don Muraco. 

This wasn't the worst match in the world, and was actually a pretty decent effort by the two musclebound combatants. That said, it won't make any difference in your life if you never see this match.

The whole thing ended on a DQ when Bravo pulled the referee in front of him to stop The Rock from hitting Canada's Strongest Man.
Your Winner: Don Muraco  


WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 4: Honky Tonk Man & Jimmy Hart torment Bob Uecker
Back in the interview area, the ever-hillarious Bob Uecker waffled on about finding Vanna White for so long that The Honky Tonk Man and Jimmy Hart, both of whom had dne a terrible job of hiding off screen, interupted the baseball legend to offer a response to Brutus Beefcake.

Honky, in the midst of his Longest Intercontinental Championship Reign Ever promised victory in his upcoming match against The Barber.

WWF Championship Tournament: Round 1 - Match 3
Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine vs. Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat
Yes, this is the one where Steamboat came to the ring carrying a young baby who would grow up to become  Richie Steamboat.

Unsurprisingly given who was involved, this opening round contest actually evolved into the best in-ring encounter of the whole card.

A compelling contest from bell to bell, Steamboat and Valentine made putting on a good math seem effortless, and did so right up to the point at which The Hammer scored the victory.
Your Winner: Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine

In a nice post-match moment, an NWA-bound Steamboat waved goodbye to the World Wrestling Federation fans.

WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 4: The British Bulldogs, Matilda and Koko B. Ware
Backstage once again, The British Bulldogs and Koko B. Ware told Mean Gene that the Bulldogs' mascot, Matilda was now a certified 'Weasel Dog' (which to this writer sounds like some kind of botched mutation) and that they would all be going on a weasel hunt when they faced Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan and The Islanders in six-man action later on in the show.

WWF Championship Tournament: Round 1 - Match 4
'Macho Man' Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth) vs. 'The Natural' Butch Reed (w/ Slick)
Ah, so many matches, so few ways to say 'yeah, this wasn't bad, but it wasn't anything special'

Alas, that was definitely the case with this final first round matchup as Reed dominated most of the bout before eventually sucumbing to the Macho Man a few minutes in.
Your Winner: Randy Savage
WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 4: The Islanders hype their upcoming match against The British Bulldogs and Koko B. Ware

In the back, Bob Uecker caught up with Bobby Heenan and The Islanders ahead of their six-man outing later in the show. The only thing of note from this was that Heenan promised to bring a surprise to ringside with him.

WWF Championship Tournament: Round 1 - Match 5
The One Man Gang (w/ Slick) vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ Oliver Humperdink)
Not a good match at all, which was surprising given that Bigelow was a particularly gifted big man and his popularity in the WWF at this time was off the charts.


Still, perhaps the bizare ending had something to do with it;

After Slick pulled the top rope down in front of the referee, Bam Bam toppled over the ropes and, when he tried to re-enter, was beaten down on the apron by OMG, leading to his count-out defeat.
Your Winner: The One Man Gang

Back in the interview area, Mean Gene caught up with former champion Hulk Hogan ahead of his much-anticipated Wrestlemania III rematch against Andre The Giant.

In one of the most demented promos ever, The Hulkster went from vowing to slam Andre the Giant to going swimming with Donald Trump (owner of The Trump Plaza) in a matter of seconds.


Honest to God, people make fun of The Ultimate Warrior's nonsensical promos, but I don't think many realise that Hogan was often even more insane than Warrior when it came to the microphone.

WWF Championship Tournament: Round 1 - Match 6
'Ravishing' Rick Rude (w/ Bobby Heenan) vs. Jake 'The Snake' Roberts
WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 4: 'Ravishing' Rick Rude gets ready for battle against Jake 'The Snake' Roberts
When the announcers spend as much time talking about the 'short' (ie: 15 minute) time-limit of a match as Gorilla and 'The Body' did here, it's a fairly safe bet that they've just given away the ending.

Low and behold, they did. From the early moments of the match it was clear that we were heading for time-limit draw, and thus both men wrestled accordingly.

This was not the greatest match the two could have produced given a different set of circumstances. Indeed, the abundance of chin locks drew a noticeable 'Boring!' chant from the New Jersey crowd at one point mid-match. That said, it wasn't half as bad as some critics would have you believe and was -unlike a number of matches on the same card- at least captivating from start to finish.
Time Limit Draw
WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 4: Mean Gene Okerlund w/ Wheel of Fortune star Vanna White
Backstage, Mean Gene had better luck then fellow interviewer Uecker in catching up with the lovely Vanna White, as the Wheel of Fortune star assisted Okerlund in recaping the tournament results so far. As nice as White may have been, she did some across as a little dimwitted, especially when Okerlund asked her for her pick between Hogan and Andre, and she merely pointed to Hogan's name and mumbled 'Hulk' with a perfectly stupid grin.

The Ultimate Warrior vs. Hercules (w/ Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan)
Making his pay per view debut, Ultimate Warrior 'treated' fans to a break from the WWF Championship tournament by taking on the mighty Hercules in a fairly dull affair which continued the Warrior's never-ending feud against various members of the Heenan Family.

Following several minutes of inaction, Warrior countered Herc's full nelson attempt by pushing off the middle rope, causing his aggressor to slam down with a German Suplex. With both men's shoulders pinned to the mat, Warrior got his arm up just in time to claim a victory.
Your Winner: The Ultimate Warrior

Prior to the next match, we got a great look back at the rivalry between Hogan and Andre.

WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 4: Andre The Giant battles Hulk Hogan in Wrestlemania's first rematch
WWF Championship Tournament: Quarter Finals - Match 1
Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant (w/ The Million Dollar Man and Virgil)
With both men getting a pass directly to the quarter finals for reasons which were never fully explained at this event, Hogan and Andre finally met in their much-hyped Wrestlemania rematch.

With much of the spectacle of their previous 'Mania outing diminished, what we had here instead was basically a bunch of stuff which killed time towards the finish, when both men struck each other with steel chairshots, earning a double DQ.
Double Disqualification

After the match, Hogan chased after Ted Dibiase and Virgil, suplexing Dibiase's bodyguard onto the concrete and ensuring that Virgil would not be seen again for the rest of the night (he would eventually turn up years later in a New York subway). Hogan then posed for the live crowd for the next thousand years as though he'd just won the match, the title, a million dollars and everything that could ever be won on the face of Planet Earth.

WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 4: 'Macho Man' Randy Savage cuts a promo en route to his championship tournament win
Out in the back, Randy Savage gave an interview to Mean Gene Okerlund. Curiously, Savage spent more time talking about Hulk Hogan in his promo than he did his own chances of winning the competition.

WWF Championship Tournament: Quarter Finals - Match 2
Don Muraco (w/ 'Superstar' Billy Graham) vs. Ted Dibiase 
With Virgil nowhere in sight, I'll admit I was expecting some kind of surprise run in from the man who would one-day be known as Curly Bill.

Alas, Virgil was nowhere in sight as his boss got his ass handed to him by The Rock before finally coming up with the goods to claim victory in a forgettable encounter.
Your Winner: Ted Dibiase 

Backstage, Demolition interrupted Bob Uecker from pining over Vanna White by promising to beat up Strike Force in their upcoming match.

WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 4: One Man Gang is happy with getting a bye to the semi-final
Back at ringside, it was then announced that the One Man Gang would have a bye into the semi-finals as a result of the Roberts/Rude time-limit draw. Thus, 'Gang would face the winner between our upcoming contest.

WWF Championship Tournament: Quarter Finals - Match 3
Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Randy 'Macho Man' Savage
Not quite up to par with Valentine's prior effort against Steamboat, this was nonetheless a good match between two men who were arguably already considered veterans at this stage in the game.

After a seesaw battle, Savage snared victory from the jaws of defeat to advance to the next round and end another good Wrestlemania performance.
Your Winner: Macho Man Randy Savage

Out in the back, Mean Gene and Vanna White ran through the tournament standings to this point, informing us that Ted Dibiase now had a bye straight to the final due to the shenanigans in the Hogan/Andre match.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship 
WWF Intercontinental Champion The Honky Tonk Man (w/ Jimmy Hart & Peggy Sue) vs. Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake
For Peggy Sue, see Sensational Sherri in an awful blonde wig.

Anyway, in this IC title match, we basically had a great example of two men who were insanely over at this point in their career despite not being anything remarkable between the ropes.

The match they gave us here was thus typical of such a calibre of athlete, both champ and challenger doing their all to keep the crowd riled up throughout the match.

Towards the finish, the referee took a dive thanks to shenanigans from Honky, Bruti put the champion to sleep and gave Hart a haircut.

Finally, an official had the sense to end the match and gave the result, though not the title, to the flamboyant hairdresser.
Your Winner by disqualification: Brutus Beefcake
WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 4: Andre The Giant with Bob Uecker
You know that scene you've seen a thousand times in which Andre The Giant chokes out some old guy? That happened next when The Giant interrupted Bob Uecker (still worried about Vanna White's whereabouts), claimed that he'd done exactly what Dibiase had paid him to do (keep Hogan out of the tournament) then choked out Uecker and yelled something incomprehensible at him.

Six Man Tag
Koko B. Ware & The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith & Dynamite Kid) vs. Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan & The Islanders (Haku & Tama)
For the second year in a row then, the Bulldogs found themselves in a part-comedy six man match. Much like last year's outing involving Tito Santana, The Hart Foundation and Danny Davis, this was actually a pretty fun, enjoyable outing by all involved.

Heenan's big surprise turned out to be an 'attack dog handler's outfit' to stop him being attacked by the rather docile Matilda (an actual Bulldog, who acted as the mascot of Davey Boy and Dynamite). It must have somehow worked for The Brain, as he was able to pick up the three count over Dave Boy following several fun minutes of action.
Your Winner: Bobby Heenan and The Islanders

Recouping pretty quickly, The Bulldogs, Matilda and Koko chased off the bad guys.

WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 4: Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura
For absolutely no reason, Jesse 'The Body' Ventura was given a grand introduction from Howard Finkle before indulging in a pose down for the Atlantic City crowd. It may have been entirely pointless, but it's hard to deny that Ventura was insanely over in Trump Land.

The Million Dollar Man was then introduced to officially receive his pass in to the finals, before we went back to the action for our semi final match.

WWF Championship Tournament: Semi Final
'Macho Man' Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth) vs. One Man Gang (w/ Slick)
Despite a fairly short exchange, Savage and Gang managed to pull off a pretty entertaining match, though if you haven't figured it out already, the outcome was pretty inevitable.

Another disqualification came around when the referee caught OMG using Slick's cane on Savage.
Your Winner by Disqualification: Macho Man Randy Savage

In a brief respite from the in-ring action, Mean Gene looked back over the tournament brackets before Bob Uecker turned up once again looking for Vanna White. Even when this show began to sag at times, Uecker always came good with the entertainment.


World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions Strike Force (Tito Santana & Rick Martel) vs. Demolition (Ax & Smash w/ Mr. Fuji)
This is one of those matches that, on paper, has 'dull' written all over it. Yet when these two teams met up to battle over the tag belts, what actually transpired was a pretty good match in which Martel & Santana used their speed and wrestling prowess to overcome the brute force of Demolition.

Alas, for the second match in a row, a walking cane led to the finish. This time, the weapon in question belonged to Mr. Fuji and allowed Demolition to counter a Rick Martel boston crab with a cane-shot. Smash made the cover and we had new tag team champions.
Your Winners and NEW WWF Tag Team Champions: Demolition

And so began Demolition's dominance over the WWF tag ranks which would last for the rest of the 1980s.

Finally, with Uecker as our guest ring announcer and White as our guest timekeeper, along with some guy called Robin Leach (from Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous) as the Guy Who Will Present the Title, it was on to our final.

WWF Championship Tournament: Final
'Million Dollar Man' Ted Dibiase (w/ Andre The Giant) vs. 'Macho Man' Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth)
WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 4: Hulk Hogan and Elizabeth help Macho Man randy Savage celebrate his title victory
After what felt like an eternity then, we were finally down to our final match, in which a four-match weary Savage tried to hold his own against a two-matcher in Dibiase and Official Outside Interference Runner, Andre.

Unsurprisingly, Savage spent most of the match getting his ass kicked by Dibiase thanks to The Giant's interference before beckoning Elizabeth to go and fetch Hulk Hogan.

Dressed in red tights, The Hulkster made his way out to ringside to even the scores, and even helped Savage pick up the win by planting Dibiase with a chairshot behind the referees back.
Your Winner and NEW World Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Champion: Macho Man Randy Savage

Afterwards, Savage, Hogan and Elizabeth celebrated for several millennia.






And there goes the show you never thought would end. Seriously, there's probably nothing wrong with a wrestling pay per view running nigh on four hours, but when about three and a half of those hours don't actually feature much in the way of entertainment, it often feels like you've spent your entire weekend just watching this one show.
A good one for the historians then, though casual fans will get little enjoyment from an event which legitimately felt like a chore to watch.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

PPV REVIEW: WWF Wrestlemania 3

WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 3 EVENT POSTER
Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan
March 29, 1987


The stars were aligned and shining down bright on Vince McMahon and his Sports Entertainment Revolution that fateful night in March 1987. With a record breaking crowd, a commentary team unrivaled anywhere in the business and a stacked card leading up to the biggest professional wrestling match of, well, all time, Wrestlemania III looked set to live up to all of its hype and then some.

And boy did it ever.

Twenty-six years later, Wrestlemania III lives on as the one to beat, the standard bearer by which all other installments of WWE's flagship event are judged.

Why? Let's find out, shall we?






Welcome everyone!
Resplendent in a typical 1980s' styled tuxedo and with his trademark growl ringing out across Michigan, Vince McMahon took to the center of the ring to welcome everybody to Wrestlemania III before introducing soul legend Aretha Franklin to the capacity crowd for a rendition of America the Beautiful.


WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 3 - Vince McMahon welcomes everyone to the show
Music out of the way, it was on to our commentary team for the evening, Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse 'The Body' Ventura, accompanied for our introductions by baseball legend Bob Uecker and TV beauty Mary Hart.

The Can-Am Connection (Tom Zenk & Rick Martel) vs. Don Muraco & 'Cowboy' Bob Orton (w/ Mr. Fuji) 
And so after spending the last two Wrestlemanias as Roddy Piper's lackey, 'Cowboy' Bob Orton finally  got to see in-ring action at the big event.

Teaming with muscleman Muraco to take on the fresh young babyface duo of Zenk & Martel, Orton's first wrestling contribution to Wrestlemania was a great way to start the show.

Though hardly the longest match on the card, all four men worked hard within the time they had to deliver an entertaining opening bout which really kicked off the night's action in the right fashion.

Following  a good burst of back-and-forth action, Martel splashed The Magnificent One to pick up a win for the good guys.
Your Winners: The Can-Am Connection.
WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 3 - Hercules cuts a pre-match promo with Bobby Heenan

Up next, fans were treated to a recap of the ongoing saga between Hercules and Billy Jack Haynes, a story largely centered around which man's full nelson submission hold was superior. This took us backstage to the Wrestlemania Interview Center, where Mean Gene Okerlund hoped to get a few words from Hercules and his manager, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan.

In a curious comment, the brutish grappler claimed that he wasn't just Hercules, he was the Hercules. You know, son of Zeus, legend of Greek mythology? You've got to admit, Herc looked pretty good for being thousands of years old.

Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules (w/ Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan)
When the two Full Nelson Masters finally met between the ropes, the result was a fun, enjoyable big man brawl.

Both men (though Haynes in particular) looked like surefire headliners-in-the-making as they beat each other around the ring before toppling to the outside, where Haynes locked in the 'nelson and ignored the official as the ten count crept upon them.

Hardly the best professional wrestling match that ever took place, this was nonetheless great fun from start to finish.
Double Count-out

In the post-match shennanigans, Herc' used his trademark chains to bust Billy Jack wide open.

WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 3 - Hillbilly Jim holds up Haiti Kid & Little Beaver like they're his kids
Heading back to the interview center for more pre-recorded comments, King Kong Bundy -with  pint-sized partners Little Tokyo and Lord Littlebrook by his side- threatened, quite typically, to squash his upcoming opponents, Hillbilly Jim, Haiti Kid and Little Beaver.

Offering a response, Hillbilly claimed he wasn't scared of Bundy, but did worry about his 'two little buddies.' Throughout the brief interview, Jim treated his partners not as the adults they were, but as little children, even going so far as to scoop up both Haiti and Beaver as a mother would her young offspring. It was quite weird.

Six-Man Mixed-Tag Match:
King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo & Lord Littlebrook vs. Hillbilly Jim, Haiti Kid & Little Beaver
The rules for this one were simple. As Gorilla Monsoon so eloquently put it 'the small guys will fight the small guys, the big guys will fight the big guys.'

Speaking of Monsoon, he and Ventura were joined on commentary for this one by Bob Uecker, who was arguably the best thing about the whole match.

That's not to say this was terrible (though to be fair it wasn't very good either), and for what it was, it was at least watchable, but your life won't be seriously ruined if you never see this match.

WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 3 - King Kong Bundy with Little Tokyo and Lord Littlebrook
The end came when Bundy beat up on Little Beaver, earning a disqualification as a result.
Your Winners by Disqualification: Hillbilly Jim, Haiti Kid & Little Beaver

Cutting once more to the backstage area, Mary Hart attempted an interview with the ever-lovely Miss Elizabeth, only for Intercontinental Champion 'Macho Man' Randy Savage to interrupt proceedings and order Elizabeth to start making her way down the isle.

The Wrestlemania Interview Center must have been based in a different city or something; it would be at least half an hour before Savage's match against Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat took place. Either that or Liz was a really slow walker.

After a look at the feud between 'King' Harley Race and The Junkyard Dog over Race's reign as king, we returned to the Interview Center where Mean Gene caught up with The King, manager Bobby Heenan and, for no reason that was ever made quite apparent, The Fabulous Moolah. 

Your standard heel promo ensued, with everyone declaring that JYD would bow to the king by the end of the match. It was decent mic work from all involved, though not nearly as entertaining as guest commentator Uecker's reaction to the sight of Moolah.

'Moolah's here? No wonder you guys are here all the time!' the baseball legend enthused, totally ignoring the fact that Monsoon and Ventura were probably there 'all the time' since that was their job.

'I gotta get with Moolah!' he continued, taking off to apparently go find the former women's champion. That alone was hilarious enough to make watching Wrestlemania 3 worth it.

Loser Must Bow Match
The Junkyard Dog vs. 'King' Harley Race (w/ The Fabulous Moolah & Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan)
WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 3 - The JYD Junkyard Dog has some choice words for 'King' Harley Race
Playing up the whole regency schtick, the laws here stated that whoever lost the match would be forced to bow before his victor.

Before that however, we were treated to a decent little match in which Race bumped all over Michigan for his opponent before finally stealing a win with a release belly-to-belly suplex.
Your Winner: Harley Race

Afterwards, Race took his rightful place on the throne (ie: a fold-up chair) and, as stipulated, JYD curtsied before the king. All was not finished however, as the Dog beat up his rival some more to the delight of the record-breaking crowd.

Heading backstage once more World Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan spoke with Vince McMahon about his upcoming main event battle against Andre the Giant. The Hulkster gave a fairly nonsensical promo in which, I think, he promised to beat the giant.

In yet another pre-taped interview, The Dream Team of Greg Valentine, Brutus Beefcake and Luscious Johnny Valiant were asked by Mean Gene Okerlund why they would need an extra man in their corner in the form of Dino Bravo. 

Johnny V replied, though I legitimately have no idea what he said apart from it having something to do with scrambled eggs.


The Rougeau Brothers (Jacques & Raymond Rougeau) vs. The Dream Team (Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine & Brutus Beefcake w/ 'Luscious' Johnny Valiant and Dino Bravo)
Back in the days before Jacques and Raymond became 'Fabulous', here we see them at their bland babyface best as they took the action to their larger foes in the early going.

For a four minute match, this one turned out to be pretty decent with barely a dull moment in sight. After shenanigans involving Dino Bravo, the The Hammer scored the pinfall to give his team the victory.
Your Winners: The Dream Team

Yet whilst the match itself was great, the post-match angle made about as much sense as Johnny V's pre-match promo. For reasons that this writer still hasn't been able to figure out despite watching this match four times (two of those with the sole purpose of trying to work this out), Johnny V, Valentine and Bravo all took off, leaving Bruti alone in the ring. A face turn was approaching for Beefcake, though for what reason I guess we'll never know.

Prior to the next contest, we were given a recap of the rivalry between Rowdy Roddy Piper and Adorable Adrian Adonis,  all stemming from Adonis turning the Piper's Pit into The Flower Shop, and the faux-Scotsman not being best pleased with it.

Piper gave his pre-match promo first, insisting that he wasn't afraid of 'a man in a dress' before Adonis blurted out something rather unintelligible (noticing a theme here anyone?) which seemed to swear that he would cut Piper's hair by the end of the match.

Hair vs. Hair Match
Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Adorable Adrian Adonis
Billed as Piper's last stand, Roddy would take off to make movies for a couple of years following this match though, as history has since proven, this wouldn't quite be the end of Hot Rod's in-ring career in quite the way it was advertised.

Nonetheless, Piper received the largest ovation of the night to this point as he took the belt from his kilt and began whipping his nemesis around the ring.

WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 3 - The birth of Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake
Adonis soon returned the favour, and the two proceeded to entertain the fans with a riotious slap-stick brawl.

There was nothing good about this match from a technical wrestling standpoint, but for pure showmanship and a lesson on how to really work a crowd, this is a must-see match.

Six minutes from the opening bell, Piper slapped on the sleeperhold and won the match, thus 'retiring' on a high note and keeping his hair.
Your Winner: Rowdy Roddy Piper

As per the stipulations of the match, Adonis was forced to have his head shaved. Yet rather than Piper do it, Brutus Beefcake returned to the ring and took the sheers to Adonis' blonde locks as Piper held manager Jimmy Hart to the mat.

Again, no explanation was given for why Beefcake had any involvement in the match, though I'm sure it made sense to somebody back in 1987 and, even if not, we can all say we just witnessed the birth of one of pro wrestling's most memorable gimmicks; Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake.

In a quick, pre-recorded promo hyping the upcoming match, Jimmy Hart and The Hart Foundation put over Danny Davis as their new teammate. As The Mouth of the South did what he still does best, former referee Davis hung on the shoulders of Bret and Jim and smirked like a special needs patient having his photograph taken with his favourite wrestlers.

Six Man Tag Team Match
WWF Tag Team Champions The Hart Foundation (Bret 'The Hitman' Hart & Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart) and 'Dangerous' Danny Davis w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith & The Dynamite Kid) and Tito Santana 

For no reason whatsoever, Jesse Ventura was introduced to the live crowd before this thrilling six-man tag team match which came about as a result of Davis costing both The Bulldogs and Santana their respective titles (The Bulldogs the tag belts to the Harts and Santana the IC strap to Savage).

Though they had less than ten minutes to do their thing, The Harts and The Bulldogs did what they did best and started to tear the house down. With the ever-reliable Chico also flying around the ring, this had all the makings of a classic, though instead it became mostly a good match built to put over Davis as a new wrestler.

Indeed, the former official scored the pinfall over Davey Boy Smith to earn victory for his team.
Your Winners: The Hart Foundation and Danny Davis
WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 3 - Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan with Andre The Giant and Mean Gene Okerlund
Heading to the back for more pre-recorded thoughts, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan claimed that the butterflies were in his 'stomachs' (all of them?) as he was looking forward to Andre the Giant defeating Hulk Hogan in tonight's main event.

'The Natural' Butch Reed (w/ Slick) vs. Koko B. Ware 
So yeah. This happened.

Both men traded the offence in a decent, if entirely forgettable content which was over before it even really got started.

Following a few short minutes, Butch Reed put away Koko for a short, painless victory.
Your Winner: Butch Reed

Following the bell, Tito Santana ran down to the ring for unexplained reasons and started to tear of Slick's suit. Yep.

Up next, we got a review of the rivalry between Ricky Steamboat and Randy Savage, before both men exchanged words in anticipation of their upcoming Intercontinental Championship match.

WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 3 - Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat has some choice words for 'Macho Man' Randy Savage before their classic match
I will say one thing, the theme music WWE's production crew overdubbed for Steamboat gave the upcoming clash an altogether dramatic feel which was entirely fitting.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship Match.
WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion 'The Macho Man' Randy Savage (w/ Miss. Elizabeth) vs. Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat (w/ George 'The Animal' Steele)
You know all about this match already, don't you? If you've been a wrestling fan for more than a day, you know about this match.

You've heard how great it was, how it still stands the test of time as a five-star classic, a moment for the ages, a battle which many have tried to match and few have ever surpassed, and you're thinking 'but was it really that good?'

In a word, yes.

Though modern indie fans weened on a diet of American Dragon vs. Samoa Joe may not agree, the Savage/Steamboat encounter was everything you could want in a professional wrestling match and then some. From bell to bell, both men grabbed your attention and kept you hooked all the way through, delivering an absolute gem of a match which saw Steamboat bag the pin, the win and the title.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Intercontinental Champion: Ricky Steamboat

Heading once again to the backstage area, Jake 'The Snake' Roberts, flanked by some anorexic grandmother who looked a bit like shock-rocker Alice Cooper, promised to destroy The Honky Tonk Man when they met in the ring later that night.


In retort, Honky Tonk vowed to nail The Snake with Shake, Rattle and Roll. 

Jake 'The Snake' Roberts (w/ Alice Cooper) vs. The Honky Tonk Man (w/ Jimmy Hart)
And so when all the words were spoken, the only thing left to do was brawl. And brawl they did.

By and large, this followed a similar path to many of tonight's bouts; hardly a wrestling classic yet entertaining enough from start to finish. Nothing truly memorable happened, but this was at least a watchable contest which came to an end when Honky cheated his way to victory.
Your Winner: The Honky Tonk Man

Gaining a measure of revenge, Roberts and Cooper then ganged up on the far-outmatched Jimmy Hart and threatened to put Damian on him.

After the match, Mean Gene Okerlund announced that together, everybody in the building had set a new indoor attendance record of 93,000+, a record which wouldn't be broken for 13 years.

The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff (w/ Slick) vs. The Killer Bees (B. Brian Blair and Jim Brunzell) 
Slick, still in his Chico-torn clothes, led his foreign fanatics down to ringside before asking Howard Finkle to introduce Nikolai Volkoff for another heat-seeking rendition of the soviet national anthem.

Before the burly Russian could get more than a few lines in however, 'Hacksaw' Jim Duggan raced to the ring in his street clothes and claimed that Volkoff could no longer sing his country's anthem because America was the 'land of the free.'

So yeah, go work that one out.

WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 3 - WWF Champion has words for Andre The Giant before they met at WM III
When the action finally commenced it was fun yet entirely forgettable, with nothing of note happening until Hacksaw stormed the ring and cost The Killer Bees the match by taking out The Iron Sheik with his trusty 2x4.
Your Winners by Disqualification: The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff 

Finally, the only thing we had left was our main event, the reason those 93,000 and something fans packed into the Silverdome, the biggest match in professional wrestling even today; Hogan vs. Andre.

Following a few last words from both champ and challenger, it was down to ringside.

World Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Championship Match
WWF Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant (w/ Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan)
Bob Uecker (yes, him again) was our guest ring announcer and Mary Hart was our guest timekeeper, but nobody cared about that.

WWF / WWE WRESTLEMANIA 3 - Andre The Giant and Bobby Heenan are carried to the ring for their WM III clash with Hulk Hogan
Indeed, they were all here to see the biggest wrestling match that had ever existed. Even today in 2013, no wrestling match in history has quite generated the kind of fervent response that Hogan/Andre I did in 1987. Say what you want about Austin/Rock, Hart/Michaels or any other storied rivalry of the modern era, they all paled in significance compared to this one.

It was the match upon which everything was focused  the bout that built the foundations of today's WWE, and it was, well, your typical Hulk Hogan match.

The champion took the blows to the challenger in the early going, only for Andre to block a bodyslam attempt by toppling onto his former friend for a near fall. The Giant then beat Hogan around the ring until the champion Hulked Up, hit The Bodyslam Heard Round The World, and scored the three count.
Your Winner: Hulk Hogan

Following the bell, Hogan celebrated by posing for the crowd for what felt like fifty years.





And so, that was the card of cards, the Wrestlemania of all Wrestlemanias, and even now, it was an awesome show. Hogan/Andre lived up to the spectacle, Savage/Steamboat stole the show with an incredible performance and ever match before and in between entertained in its own way. Indeed, you won't find a card full of technical wrestling classics here, but you will find as solid, complete a show as you're ever likely to see.
The first truly good Wrestlemania and the one against which all others are judged, this is essential viewing.

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.