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, 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 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.

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.

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.

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.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

PPV REVIEW: WWF Wrestlemania 5

April 2nd, 1989
Trump Plaza, Atlantic City, New Jersey

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 5 - Event poster
In 1988, Wrestlemania IV happened. It was an overly-long show emitting from the Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Fast forward a year, and the World Wrestling Federation gave fans a serious dose of Déjà vu with Wrestlemania V, an overly-long show emitting from the Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Headlined by the much-hyped explosion of The Megapowers, the fifth annual installment of the WWF's flagship PPV was to be the culmination of a year-long story which began the previous year with Randy Savage capturing the WWF championship.

Yet fans looking forward to seeing The Macho Man finally get what was coming to him would have to earn such a treat by sitting through no less than three hours of wrestling that ranged from fairly decent to completely bloody awful.

Here's what went down.

What the world is watching
Having finally decided that What the world has come to was quite a depressing strapline, Wrestlemania 5 opened with the classic 'The World Wrestling Federation, what the world is watching.' You know, this:

After this came your typical late-80s WWF Jazz Music Intro, complete with the trademark Vince McMahon growl telling us all, for the first of 500 times that night, how The Megapowers were going to explode!

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 5 - Rockin Robin sings America the Beautiful
Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura then welcomed us tonight's show before introducing Rockin' Robin for a tuneless rendition of America the Beautiful

God bless her for trying and all, she wasn't terrible, but there's probably a reason why this sort of thing would be left to professional singers in the years that followed Wrestlemania 5.

Finally, after all the opening shenanigans were out of the way, it was on to some honest-to-goodness pro wrestling.

King Haku (w/ Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan) vs. Hercules
Led to the ring by Bobby Heenan, the King of the WWF, Haku was carried to the ring on his platform-with-a-throne-on-it by several young chaps, ready to do battle with Heenan's former charge, the mighty Hercules.

The babyface Herc' was out for revenge against the Heenan Family in this enjoyable, if instantly forgettable opening contest.

As power-based battles go, your reviewer has definitely seen worse, though this was certainly no five-star classic, and if you die tomorrow having never seen Haku vs. Hercules, you can rest in peace forever knowing that your life was no worse off.

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 5 - Hercules battled King Haku in the opening contest
That said, it was fun while it lasted, and came to an end with a Herc-induced back suplex for the win.
Your winner: Hercules

Heading to the back, Mean Gene Okerlund spoke to The Rockers who gave their promo with their usual weird blend of forced delivery and excited energy. In essence, Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty promised to beat The Twin Towers in their upcoming tag clash.

The Twin Towers (Akeem & The Big Boss Man w/ Slick) vs. The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty)
So it turns out that your writer is watching a badly edited, post-lawsuit version of Wrestlemania 5, which means that generic stock music is obnoxiously dubbed over Slick's wonderful Jive Soul Bro theme, yet doesn't really hide it at all. The result is that we get two completely contrasting pieces of music playing at once as The Twin Towers make their way to the ring.

Anyway, that aside, the two teams engaged in a pretty fun big guy vs. little guy match up. 

Y'know, it strikes me that, since starting this wrestling reviews blog, I've yet to see a bad Rockers pay per view match. No matter the opponents, Michaels and Jannetty always managed to come up with something good, and this 'Mania bout was no exception.

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 5 - The Rockers spoke to Mean Gene Okerlund before taking on The Twin Towers
Unfortunately for your writer, the thousands in attendance at Trump Plaza and everybody who would ever watch Wrestlemania 5, either live or years down the line, this was just about the last good match on the card for a while.

In the end, Shawn Michaels got killed and lost the match for his team.
Your winners: The Twin Towers

Out in the back, The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase, flanked, as ever, by Virgil, told the incomparable Sean Mooney that he was looking forward wrestling in front of Donald Trump and his friends since they were 'his kind of people.' He also insisted he would take care of business when he met Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake.

The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase (w/ Virgil) vs. Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake
'You know, Gorillia' said Jesse Ventura, 'I understand that Donald Trump brought along five or six of the richest men in America just to watch The Million Dollar Man.'

After what felt like the longest pause ever, Gorilla turned to his broadcast colleague and quipped:

'Watch him do what?'

Call me easily amused, but that simple line really made me chuckle, especially when Ventura snapped back with 'Wrestle,' as though Monsoon had gone insane.

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 5 - The Million Dollar Man (with Virgil) gets ready to battle Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake
Sadly, the commentary was the best thing going for this otherwise bland, unmemorable contest between Dibiase and Beefcake.

Again, it wasn't a bad match per se, just bland, uninspired, the kind of match that requires real effort to stay interested in. 

Much like with the opening contest, if you die having never seen Dibiase versus Beefcake, you won't have missed anything.

The end came thanks to a miserable double-countout, after which Beefcake chased after both The Million Dollar Man and Virgil hoping, yet failing, to do a little haircutting.
Double count-out.

The show next went to a pre-recorded clip of the annual pre-Wrestlemania brunch where, in a failed attempt at comedy, Lord Alfred Hayes attempted to interview The Bushwhackers.

The supposed comedy came from the fact that the 'Whackers were busy chowing down on some grub, and every time His Lordship asked them a question, they would speak with a mouth full of food, rendering their answers unintelligible. 

Oh the hilarity! Or not, as was the case in this instance.

The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers (Jacques and Raymond Rougeau w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Bushwhackers (Luke and Butch)
WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 5 - The Bushwhackers celebrate their victory over The Fabulous Rougeaus
We're all American Boys...If the commentary was the best thing about the Dibiase/Beefcake, the Rougeau Brothers' theme music was about the only good thing this otherwise horrible tag team contest.

That, and the fact that it was thankfully over pretty quickly with a win for The Bushwhackers thanks to what Ventura called 'A...erm....Double stomach breaker, I guess.'
Your winners: The Bushwhackers

Afterwards, Luke and Butch celebrated by licking Sean Mooney's head.

Mr. Perfect vs. The Blue Blazer
Had this match taken place just year or two later between a post-IC title Perfect and a post-Blazer Owen Hart, you'd have to imagine that the two men could have delivered an all-time classic.

Instead, what we got was a fairly short yet thrilling encounter which only hinted at what could have been.

Looking at other pro wrestling review blogs, it seems like some reviewers give this match far too much credit based simply on the assumption that a match between Curt Hennig and Owen Hart would be naturally incredible.

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 5 - Mr. Perfect gets ready to face 'The Blue Blazer' Owen Hart
Don't get me wrong, it was good, one of the best matches of the night by a long mile, but it was just a little bit too short to be five-star amazing.

The end came thanks to the Perfect plex.
Your winner: Mr. Perfect

Intermission time next, as Jesse Ventura kept the crowd's happy by posing and showboating and generally being the all-round legend that the body was, and yes, still is.

This was followed by more pre-recorded footage, this time of Mr. Fuji completing a WWE-sponsored 5K run as part of the Wrestlemania Weekend festivities.

Run DMC showed up, performed a God awful Wrestlemania Rap then left again. Nobody cared.

There was then a recap of Survivor Series 1988 when, for no logical reason, Fuji turned on Demolition (making Ax and Smash, formerly heels, now babyfaces) and sided with Powers of Pain (making Warlord and Barbarian the bad guys).

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 5 - Mr. Fuji is interviewed by Lord Alfred Hayes about his participation in the Demolition vs. Powers of Pain WWF Tag Team Title match
Still enraged by such events months later, Ax and Smash had a pre-match promo with Mean Gene, in which they refered to Mr. Fuji as 'Fooj' the Stooge' half a dozen times in two minutes and claimed they would demolish their opponents, because they were on top of the mountain.

Three-on-two handicap match for the WWF Tag Team Championship:
World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Champions Demolition (Ax & Smash) vs. The Powers of Pain
Another dodgy overdub job, with what sounded like a demo version of Big Boss Man's heel theme replacing the classic Rick Derringer Demolition theme as the tag team champions marched on to ring side in full bondage gear.

This painfully slow, beyond boring contest saw Demolition win 'against the odds' (hey, to his credit, Mr. Fuji did look good) and retain their titles.
Your winners: Demolition

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 5 - Demolition talk about their upcoming tag team title match against The Warlord, The Barbarian and Mr. Fuji
Out in the back, Tony Schiavone tried to get an interview with 'Macho Man' Randy Savage, only for the World Wrestling Federation champion to storm out of his locker room, push over a camera man and storm off screaming after Hulk Hogan. Typical savage, then.

Dino Bravo (w/ Frenchy Martin) vs. 'Rugged' Ronnie Garvin
As it turned out, the most memorable moment in a match between Dino Bravo and Ronnie Garvin had nothing to do with either man.

Both men were introduced, made their way to the ring and then just stood there, like a couple of jobbers as, for apparently no reason whatsoever, Howard Finkle introduced 'one of the all-time greats' Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka

Snuka (who in this post-dubbed world didn't have his Super-Super-Super FLY theme) made his way to the ring, posed, and then left, never to be seen or heard of again for the rest of the show.

It was just weird.

Anyway, after that, Garvin and Bravo had a match, Dino Bravo won, and nobody cared.
Your Winner: Dino Bravo

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 5 - Dino Bravo (with Frenchy Martin) celebrates his win over Rugged Ronnie Garvin
Afterwards, Ronnie Garvin showed himself to be a sore loser by beating up Frenchy Martin.

The Brain Busters (Arn Anderson &  Tully Blanchard w/ Bobby Heenan) vs. Strike Force (Tito Santana & Rick Martel)
'You're gonna see some great wrestling in this one,' promised Jesse Ventura. 

And we did. This match between The Brain Busters and Strike Force was almost as good as you'd imagine. The first couple of minutes were by far better than most of the dross on this card, then it essentially became another handicap match as Chico Santana accidentally nailed Rick Martel with the flying jalapeno, causing Martel, after hanging around on the apron for a while, to leave the ring.

Left to the mercy of Anderson and Tully, Tito Santana quickly ate a pin.
Your winners: The Brain Busters

Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund was absolutely outraged by Martel's betrayal. Martel, for his part, simply said that Santana was a loser. 

Brother Love's Pit
If it was ever possible to die from boredom, it would be whilst watching the next segment. 

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 5 - The show came live from Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey
In a nutshell, it was a Piper's Pit segment at first hijacked by Brother Love in a kilt, featuring some guy called Morton Downey Junior and with Roddy Piper desperately trying to save the thing by being his usual brilliant self.

He couldn't.

This long, boring segment achieved nothing, went nowhere and simply served to send the already quiet crowd completely to sleep.

No Holds Barred
When the horrible Piper's Pit segment was over, Gorilla Monsoon promised us some "Very exciting news." from Mean Gene Okerlund. Unfortunately, Okerlund revealed Monsoon to be a liar, and instead of exciting news, introduced us to a trailer for No Holds Barred.

This was followed by a unusually nervous Sean Mooney interviewing Donald Trump about nothing in particular, and an awesome promo from Jesse Ventura, scolding Hogan for venturing into Hollywood which was, of course, Ventura's domain.

It says something when one of the best bits of mic work on the whole show comes from  your commentator.

Hogan in the House
A lengthy video package came next, highlighting the year-long friendship-turned-rivallry between Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. 

It started at Wrestlemania 4, continued at the first ever Summerslam, rolled on through Survivor Series '88 and on into 1989 on the road to Wrestlemania.

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 5 - Jesse Ventura and Gorilla Monsoon were our commentators for the evening
This took us nicely into a Hogan promo. With Mean Gene pointing the mic at his face, The Hulkster gave his usual wild, half-crazed interview in which he claimed that Savage 'couldn't handle the load' and 'twisted this whole beautiful thing around.' indeed.

Things got even more crazy when Hogan claimed that he was Donald Trump, insisted that Trump had 'hired a team of seismologists' to measure the impact of Hogan and Savage colliding, then told Trump himself not to worry about the Hulkmaniacs. 

I'm sure trump felt better after Hogan put his mind at rest about that one.

Seriously, this promo was so insane it was brilliant.

Andre The Giant (w/ Bobby Heenan) vs. Jake 'The Snake' Roberts (w/ Big John Studd as special guest referee)
If you've read any of my past wrestling reviews and are starting to think that this Wrestlemania 5 review is far from my best work, I do apologise.

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 5 - Hulk Hogan talks to Mean Gene about his WWF title match against Macho Man Randy Savage
Truth is, watching this show is making me lose the will to live, and matches like Jake Roberts against a barely mobile Andre The Giant are hardly helping things.

The match itself was dull and forgettable and far too long. It got kind of interesting when Andre and special referee Big John Studd got into it, and Roberts' other rival, Ted Dibiase, came down to ringside to steal Roberts' snake, Damian.

A split-screen gave us a view of all the action, leading to Studd regaining control and disqualifying Andre for putting his hands on the referee.
Your winner by disqualification: Jake Roberts

Afterwards, Sean Mooney interviewed some excitable guy in the crowd who clapped his hands and repeated 'JAKE IS THE BEST' over and over. Yeah.

Backstage, Sensational Sherri said what we'd all been thinking a couple of hours ago, Rockin' Robin was a terrible singer.

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 5 - Bobby Heenan leads Andre The Giant to ringside for a match against Jake 'The Snake' Roberts
In a sign of things to come, Sherri also had some harsh words for Miss Elizabeth.

Rhythm & Blues (Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine & The Honky Tony Man w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Hart Foundation (Bret 'The Hitman' Hart and Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart)
So, here's something to think about. When I watch this event on my computer, it gives me a total running time of three hours, thirty eight minutes and thirty seconds.

It already feels like we've been watching Wrestlemania 5 forever, and part way through this decent exchange between the Harts and the Ryhtym and Blues, we're at two hours, thirty five minutes.

Somebody. Shoot me. Now.

Not the worst match in the world by a longshot, but the amount of crap on this card had rendered your writer, and everybody in attendance, so full of fatigue that it was hard to care.

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 5 - Tony Schiavone interviews Sensational Sherri
The end came when Bret Hart botched a megaphone shot, hit Honky Tonk Man in the arm with it, and scored a victory.

I'll remind you that The Hart Foundation were the good guys here.
Your winners: The Hart Foundation

A recap of the Super Posedown at the 1989 Royal Rumble between Rick Rude and The Ultimate Warrior led us nicely into an Intercontinental Championship match between the two men.

WWF Intercontinental Championship match:
World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Champion The Ultimate Warrior vs. 'Ravishing' Rick Rude (w/ Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
Finally, something to get excited about. Yes, this match is as good as you've heard.

There's not an awful lot to talk about here, it was just  really fun Intercontinental Championship match in which both champ and challenger traded the offence until Rude's manager, Bobby Heenan helped him win his first, and only, WWF title.
Your winner and New Intercontinental Champion: Ravishing Rick Rude.

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 5 - Ravishing Rick Rude stalks The Ultimate Warrior in their classic Wrestlemania 5 match
After the bell, Warrior got some kind of revenge by planting Heenan with a gorilla press slam, then running off after Rude. 

Bad News Brown vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan
If the last match as as good as you'd heard, then this match is just about as blah as you can imagine.

Hacksaw Jim Duggan didn't have theme music because Big John Studd was still using it at the time, but it didn't matter. The hairy patriot still did his best to entertain to wake up the dead crowd whilst at the same time killing them further in a boring match against Bad News Brown.

As with every Jim Duggan match ever, this one ended when Duggan brought his 2x4 in and got disqualified. The only difference here was that Brown also brought a chair in the ring, so both men got disqualified.
Double DQ

Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed The Red Rooster about his upcoming match with Bobby Heenan. The Rooster cut a cringe-worthy promo in which he promised to sink his claws into Heenan.

Bobby Heenan (w/ The Brooklyn Brawler) vs. The Red Rooster

This was over in 30 seconds. It was crap.
Your winner: The Red Rooster

Brooklyn Brawler beat up Rooster afterwards.

Just to drag this thing out further, Miss. Elizabeth gave an incredibly forced promo in which she said that she hoped neither Savage nor Hogan got seriously injured, Tony Schiavone stood in an empty locker room for no reason, and Sean Mooney said the fans were split on who they wanted to win.



It happened.

After hours and hours and hours of bad, boring matches, we finally got to our main evennt.

WWF Championship match:
World Wrestling Federation Champion 'Macho Man' Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan (w/ Miss. Elizabeth in a neutral corner)
WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 5 - Hulk Hogan regained the WWF title from Macho Man Randy Savage
Apart from the Intercontinental Championship match, this was the only other bout that seemed to matter on the card, and indeed one of only a handful of matches that felt as though the men involved actually had an issue to settle.

It was this animosity between champ and challenger, this high level of passion and emotion that made Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage at Wrestlemania 5 such an enthralling, memorable encounter.

Both men battled for their lives in what turned out to be  one of the best Wrestlemania main events ever. 

A true classic which, if you haven't figured out already, came to an end with a win, and a second championship, for The Immortal Hulk Hogan.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Champion: Hulk Hogan

And so it was finally over. An overly-long show crammed full of nothing matches. Definitely get your hands on the main event, and if you can check out the IC title match, but on the whole, give Wrestlemania Five a wide berth. For the most part, this was long, dull, boring and not worth your time.

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.