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

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.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

EVENT REVIEW: WWF Battle Royal at the Royal Albert Hall

WWF / WWE: Battle Royal at the Albert Hall: Video cover featuring the Legion of Doom
October 3rd, 1991
Royal Albert Hall, London, England

As a kid living in the north of England, this was one of those shows that I always wanted to see and yet, for whatever reason, I never quite got the chance to.

Fast forward almost 21 years after I first started watching professional wrestling, and I finally made it up to my inner-child by sitting down to watch this 1991 UK exclusive show.

Needless to say, my inner-child now hates me, for this was truly one terrible show.

Broadcast on Sky Movies in October 1991, the Battle Royal from the Royal Albert Hall saw a bunch of meandering undercard bouts featuring combatants who would later return to the ring for the eponymous over-the-top-rope main event.

Here's what went down.

Welcome to the show
As the camera panned over a sea of British fans, most of whom delighted in waving Hulk Hogan yellow foam fingers (despite the Hulkster being nowhere near London at the time) Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon welcomed us tonight's show.

The Nasty Boys (Jerry Sags & Brian Knobbs w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty) 
There are some things that happen in professional wrestling which work far better with the live crowd than they do when viewed on television. This opening match between The Rockers and The Nasty Boys is certainly one of those times.

WWF / WWE: Battle Royal at the Albert Hall: The Nasty Boys took on The Rockers in the opening contest
Both teams stalled for what felt like forever, each taking turns to play to the London audience and get them hyped up for tonight's event.

What was obvious was that this did work, live. With each raised arm of a Rocker or jeering yell of a Nasty Boy, the crowd grew hotter and hotter. Your writer can only imagine how intense that must have been at the time.

Many years later and watching on video however, it just seems to drag, and drag, and oh yeah, drag.

Still, once the action did finally get away, this actually turned into a fairly enjoyable opening contest.

Aside from a spot in which Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty continuously swapped places behind the referee's back, not a great deal happened in this match that was all that memorable but, looking back, it was good for what it was and was certainly better than half the crap that would follow.

In the end, Jimmy Hart induced shenanigans led to a win for  the Nasties.
Your Winners: The Nasty Boys

WWF / WWE: Battle Royal at the Royal Albert Hall: 'Real World's Champion' Ric Flair talks to Mean Gene Okerlund
Backstage, Ric Flair spoke to Mean Gene Okerlund in front of a backdrop which looked like it had been left over from the 1970s. In usual Flair fashion, The Nature Boy hammered home his claim to be The Real World's Champion and hyped his feud with Rowdy Roddy Piper, promising punishment for Piper when they met in the night's main event battle royal.

Tito Santana vs. 'Nature Boy' Ric Flair
It was the combination of our opening tag team contest and this fairly good match between a Big Gold Belt carrying Naitch and a post-Strike Force, Pre-El Matador Tito Santana that almost led your writer to believe Battle Royal at the Albert Hall was going to be a good show.

Indeed, despite neither man expending quite the amount of effort they were capable of, both worked hard to deliver a perfectly good match that could have been incredible given a proper build and the write amount of motivation from Santana and Flair.

The Nature Boy hit all his trademark spots whilst Santana bumped and flew around the ring like a trooper, only to succumb to a cheap roll up shortly after the quarter of an hour mark.
Your Winner: Ric Flair

WWF / WWE: Battle Royal at the Royal Albert Hall: Jimmy Hart and Earthquake talk to Mean Gene Okerlund
Keeping up with the format of match-promo-match, Mean Gene Okerlund next spoke to Big Boss Man about his upcoming clash with Earthquake. In an otherwise unremarkable promo, the man from Cobb County, Georgia claimed that the United Kingdom fell under his jurisdiction and that he was there to serve law and order. Yep.

Offering a retort, of sorts, Earthquake and Jimmy Hart made their way to Mean Gene Okerlund's famous interview platform. There, 'Quake managed to top his opponent's ridiculous boasts by insisting that both he and his partner, Typhoon would win the every-man-for-himself battle royal later on in the show.

Big Boss Man vs. Earthquake (w/ Jimmy Hart)
By this point in the card, pretty much anything good that was going to happen had already happened.

In a 15-minute match that was at least 14 and half minutes too long, Boss Man and 'Quake plodded around the ring to the delight of absolutely noone.

Keeping the momentum firmly on the side of the bad guys, Earthquake picked up the win after The Mountie ran in and cost his rival, Big Boss Man, the match.
Your Winner: Earthquake

Afterwards, The Big Boss Man chased The Mountie to the back. It was the fastest either man had, or would, move for the rest of the night.

WWF / WWE: Battle Royal at the Royal Albert Hall - Mean Gene Okerlund shows off the Royal Samovar Trophy
Mean Gene's next guest was none other than Kerry Von Erich, The Texas Tornado. 

Before speaking to the Tornado, Okerlund showed off The Royal Samovar Trophy, essentially a giant Russian tea urn that would go to the winner of the much-hyped battle royal.

Naturally, the 'Tornado promised to win said trophy and take it all the way back to Texas, but only, of course, after beating The Mountie.

The Mountie replied in an on-the-platform interview with Mean Gene,

Kerry Von Erich vs. The Mountie (w/ Jimmy Hart)Making his third appearance of the evening, Jimmy Hart led The Mountie in the night's second deadly dull encounter as the former Fabulous Rougeau took on the Texas Tornado.

Following 10+ minutes of action, all of which looked like it enthralled the live audience back in 1991 than it did your video-watching writer in 2013, the Mountie scored the cheap win with his foot on the ropes for leverage.

Chalk up another win for the heel contingent.
Your Winner: The Mountie

In place of the usual Mean Gene promo, we next had a special makeshift edition of Paul Bearer's Funeral Parlour segment.

Here, Bearer and The Undertaker muttered the usual garbage about lost souls and the darkside, all of which apparently spelled the end for 'Taker's upcoming opponent, Hacksaw Jim Duggan. 

WWF / WWE: Battle Royal at The Royal Albert Hall - The Phantom of the Opera played The Undertaker's theme music
The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. 'Hacksaw' Jim Duggan
The coolest thing about this match was The Phantom of the Opera (or rather, a dude in a mask) playing 'Taker's theme music on the Albert Hall's grand organ.

Apart from that, this was pretty much everything you'd expect. The Undertaker no-sold everything, Duggan yelled Hooooooooooo!  an awful lot and the fans in London, England chanted USA! USA! a great deal.

I'll say that again. The fans in London, England chanted USA! USA! a lot.

The match ended the way at least 90% of all Jim Duggan matches ended; Hacksaw hit his opponent with the 2x4 and got himself disqualified.

5-0 to the heels then.
Your Winner via disqualification: The Undertaker

Heading once more to the back, Gene Okerlund spoke to Rowdy Roddy Piper about the night's proceedings. Piper replied to Ric Flair's earlier verbal jabs and promised to head right for the many-time NWA Champion as soon as the battle Royal got underway.

Typhoon, accompanied by Jimmy Hart, also had a few words for Gene. Those words were essentially the same as his partner, The Earthquake's: The Natural Disasters would somehow win the Battle Royal.

WWF / WWE: Battle Royal at the Albert Hall - Power and Glory talk tactics with Mean Gene Okerlund
More promos followed. Paul Roma and Hercules (Power & Glory) promised to dethrone The Legion of Doom in their upcoming tag team title match, before Animal and Hawk promised that the opposite would happen.

WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
WWF Tag Team Champions The Legion of Doom (Animal & Hawk) vs. Power & Glory (Paul Roma & Hercules)

Much like the Rockers/Nasties clash that kicked off this whole thing, both teams spent the first thousand years of this match stalling and getting the crowd fully involved.

Though not quite on a par with the opening tag contest, the L.O.D/Power & Glory title match was at least mildly entertaining, and though it isn't exactly saying much, it was at least the third most entertaining match on an otherwise abysmal card.

Predictably, the champions retained their gold when Animal caught Roma coming off the top rope and powerslammed him into oblivion.
Your Winners and Still Tag Team Champions: The Legion of Doom

Backstage, Gene Okerlund spoke to crowd favourite Davey Boy Smith about his upcoming match against The Barbarian and, of course, the Battle Royal itself.

The British Bulldog vs. The Barbarian
Our special guest ring announcer for this match was none other than His Lordship himself, Lord Alfred Hayes.

WWF / WWE: Battle Royal at the Royal Albert Hall - The British Bulldog defeated Barbarian
For the first, and probably only time ever in his career as a North American star, The British Bulldog was announced from his actual hometown of Golborne, Lancashire (instead of Manchester, which is close to Golborne, or Leeds, which isn't). If you're wondering, Golborne is basically the asshole end of nowhere, sandwiched between Wigan and the equally as unknown town of St. Helens.

I would apologise for the geography lesson, but trust me, even that relatively uninteresting piece of information is more riveting than anything that happened between Davey Boy and The Barbarian.

The live crowd, naturally, loved it, but the rest of us suffered a match where absolutely nothing of note happened until Davey Boy picked up a predictable win.
Your Winner: The British Bulldog

In our final pre-match promo, The Nasty Boys hyped their appearance in the main event and promised us that things were 'going to get nasty.' I'm sure that, as a kid, I wouldn't snickerr at such things.

Prior to our main event, Alfred Hayes joined Monsoon and Heenan on commentary.

20-man Battle Royal for the Royal Samovar Trophy featuring: Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, British Bulldog, The Nasty Boys, The Legion of Doom, The Natural Disasters, Power & Glory, Barbarian, Texas Tornado, The Undertaker, 'Hacksaw' Jim Duggan, The Rockers, The Mountie, Tito Santana, Big Boss Man.

WWF / WWE: Battle Royal at the Royal Albert Hall - Paul Roma tries to eliminate one of Legion of Doom
Unlike many battle royals your writer has witnessed, this one had each wrestler receive their own introduction (complete with music) as they made their way to the ring for tonight's main event.

With the ring almost full, Roddy Piper was the last man to enter the ring, going straight after arch-rival Ric Flair. The two toppled through the ropes and brawled around the outside as the remaining 18 combatants battled inside the ring.

Slowly but surely, bodies spilled from the ring until only Boss Man, Bulldog, Mountie and Typhoon remained.

"These men have been in this since the beginning," said Gorilla Monsoon, pointing out the obvious for the benefit, apparently, for those of us who hadn't been watching.

After the Boss Man was thrown out, Jimmy Hart's men Typhoon and Mountie attempted a double-team against The British Bulldog. Unsurprisingly, Davey Boy tossed Mountie, and then Typhoon, to win the match.
Your Winner: The British Bulldog

WWF / WWE: Battle Royal at the Royal Albert Hall - Andre the Giant comes to British Bulldog's rescue
As Lord Alfred Hayes talked about the overwhelming emotion in the Albert Hall and sold The British Bulldog's victory as though he'd just overcome a three-on-one handicap and won the world title in the main event of Wrestlemania, The Natural Disasters returned to the ring and attacked The Bulldog.

Eventually, none other than Andre The Giant, walking crutch in hand, limped to ringside and saw off the heels.

And so the show I always wanted to watch as a kid was over, and now that I've finally seen it, I need never see it ever again.

The first two matches were enjoyable, and if you have nothing better to do, are worth checking out, but as for sitting through 150 plus minutes of WWF Battle Royal at the Royal Albert Hall? I really wouldn't recommend it.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

PPV REVIEW: WWF - This Tuesday in Texas (1991)

WWF / WWE - This Tuesday in Texas - logo graphic
December 3rd, 1991
Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas

Quite what Vince McMahon had in mind when he decided to experiment with a Tuesday pay per view mere days after one his flagship shows, we'll probably never know. 

Yet for whatever reason, McMahon clearly thought it would be a good idea. After all, why else spend the whole of the Survivor Series 1991 pay per view shilling another pay per view?

Nor do we really know why, with a calendar littered with events like Wrestlemania and Royal Rumble, the best name they could possibly come up with for their new pay per view outing was This Tuesday in Texas.

I mean really. Nothing about that name sounds good, does it. Though to be fair, if it was a toss between that and This Wednesday in Wisconsin or This Monday in Minnesota, I may have picked the Texas option too.

Lackluster titles aside, This Tuesday in Texas wasn't actually that bad a show.

Here's what went down.

The Undertaker promises to bury Hulkamania
In case you missed what happened at Survivor Series 1991 (in which case, here's the review of that show), the basic premise was this:

The Undertaker defeated Hulk Hogan for the World Wrestling Federation title after Ric Flair came down to ringside and stuck his nose in. WWF President, Jack Tunney was very unhappy about this and ordered a rematch for This Tuesday in Texas.

Prior to tonight's show kicking off proper, we get a recap of the promo The Undertaker cut at the end of Survivor Series 1991 in which he claims that, having killed Hulkamania at Survivor Series, he will proceed to bury Hulkamania this Tuesday in Texas.

WWF / WWE - This Tuesday in Texas 1991 - Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan were our commentators for the event
At one point in the promo, The Dead Man urged Mean Gene Okerlund to look inside a nearby coffin. Gene did so, only to reveal that the coffin actually contained a fully-working video camera which just so happened to be filming. What, did Quentin Tarantino direct this or something?

With that out of the way, we were greeted by our favourite commentary team of Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon before the action really got under way with an Intercontinental Championship match.

Intercontinental Championship Match:
Intercontinental Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart vs. Skinner
Admittedly, at the first mention of the name Skinner, your writer's heart sank a little. Surely nothing good could come of this, right?

Alas, it did.

For seconds later, Intercontinental Champion Bret Hart showed up in fighting mode and took the contest to his challenger in an exciting opening match.

WWF / WWE - This Tuesday in Texas - Intercontinental Champion Bret Hart sets Skinner up for a suplex
Though it would be easy to give all the credit here to The Hitman, Skinner (better known these days as WWE development main man Steve Keirn) played his part well, providing a steady-paced aggressive counter to Hart's hard-and-fast technical assault.

Both men traded the advantage several times, with Skinner gaining the upperhand thanks to a cheapshot with his trusty crocodile claw (or was it an alligator claw? Who knows? Who cares?) before finally succumbing to the champion's deadly Sharpshooter.
Your Winner and still WWF Intercontinental Champion: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

Heading to the back, Jake 'The Snake' Roberts continued his now legendary feud with Randy 'Macho Man' Savage in a chilling promo. Roberts first insisted that he was looking forward to seeing the fear stricken across the pretty eyes of one Miss. Elizabeth before addressing the Jack Tunney-imposed stipulation that no snakes could be in the corner for the upcoming match. Grinning a sinister grin, Roberts claimed that was fine, that anything that happened out in the ring would now be on the head of the WWF President, and that, above all, we had to trust him.

WWF / WWE - This Tuesday in Texas 1991 - Jake 'The Snake' Roberts cut a chilling pre-match promo against Randy Savage
Offering a retort, a wild-eyed Randy Savage claimed that not only did he not trust Roberts, but he didn't even trust himself, and as soon as the Macho one heard Robert's music blaring somewhere in the arena, he was off and after his bitter rival.

Jake 'The Snake' Roberts vs. Randy 'Macho Man' Savage
Jake began his way to the ring, only to be attacked half-way there by a livid Randy Savage.

Randy battered his foe into the ring, around the ring and outside the ring, all while decked in his pre-match garb. There are many sights this reviewer has seen in his nearly 25 year love affair with professional wrestling, but the sight of Randy Savage flying off the top rope, landing a forearm and then continuing to walk around, all whilst wearing the most ridiculous of hats, is certainly one of the more amusing.

As for the match itself, this was a short, sharp burst of violence and aggression. Both men tore into each other with a passionate hatred, making the animosity between the two legendary grapplers seem as a real as anything ever carried out in a professional ring.

After not very long at all, Savage flew off the top, struck his enemy with the famous flying elbow drop and earned himself a three count.
Your Winner: Randy 'Macho Man' Savage

Yet Savage's trip to the pay windah that night would be far from short.

WWF / WWE - This Tuesday in Texas 1991 - Randy Savage offers a few words for Jake 'The Snake' Roberts
Roberts made a full recovery and attacked his rival, drilling him with a DDT and pummelling him into submission before revealing that he had a snake hidden beneath the ring all along.

As referee Earl Hebner made the most feeble of attempts to stop him, Jake continued his threats to unleash his snake from a black bag which clearly had no snake in it at all.

Still, that little niggle aside, the drama was intense.

Miss Elizabeth ran to ringside and practically begged Roberts to leave Savage alone. Then, after toying with the couple for some time, Jake finally dragged Liz up by the hair and clouted her round the chops, prompting a rush of WWF personnel to hit the ring and break up arguably one of the most intense, believable angles ever seen in the WWF/E.

It wasn't over just yet.

Backstage, Roberts an evil figure as he laughed at his physiological torture of Savage and Liz, even going so far as to insist that hitting Elizabeth felt so good, he'd be prepared to pay for it.

As far as effective heels went, Jake 'The Snake' Roberts really had no equal back in the early 90s. Everything he did on this show was chilling.

The British Bulldog vs. The Warlord (w/ Harvey Wippleman)
At a time when the World Wrestling Federation was toning down on it's giant powerhouse stars and beginning the very-slow shift towards solid grapplers, a match between the humongous Warlord and a British Bulldog (who had seriously bulked up since his time in the tag ranks) probably wasn't the best way to go.

Still, this was a mostly enjoyable match. Slower paced than our last two bouts, sure, but perhaps all the better for it.

WWF / WWE - This Tuesday in Texas (1991) The Warlord bearhugs The British Bulldog to death
Indeed, the change of pace was much welcome, and suited both men well as they delivered a match that was at least watchable.

That is, until the Warlord slapped on a bearhug, and then a full nelson, both of which seemed to last for several centuries and succeeded in draining the life not only out of his opponent, but out of every fan in San Antonio and, indeed, your writer.

Somehow, Davey Boy recovered and put us all out of our collective misery, hitting his trademark crucifix and, for probably the first and only time ever, actually scoring a three count on it.
Your Winner: The British Bulldog

Backstage, a hysterical Macho Man collapsed in a heap, blaming himself for what happened to Elizabeth in the earlier fracas with Jake Roberts. Seriously, everything involving those two men reached a new level of awesome on this show.

Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase & Repo Man (w/ Sensational Sherri) vs. Tito Santana & Virgil 
Here's how this one worked:

Summerslam 1991 saw Virgil upset his former boss, Ted Dibiase and capture the Million Dollar Championship. Embarrassed, Dibiase then hired former Demolition member turned hunchbacked crook The Repo Man to help him erm, well, repossess the gold.

That happened, Tito Santana came along to make up the numbers, and we had ourselves a fun, enjoyable tag team contest that really struck a nerve with a Texas crowd who, admittedly, had already been on fire for most of the evening.

Both teams performed their roles well; the conniving heels going up against the courageous babyfaces in a match that may not stand out as a classic, but is definitely worth a watch if you feel like being entertained for a short while.

In the end, the bad guys scored the win, and left Tito and Virgil with a one-way ticket to Jobbersville for the remainder of their WWF careers.
Your Winners: Ted Dibiase and The Repo Man

WWF / WWE - This Tuesday in Texas (1991) - Hulk Hogan cuts a pre-match promo against The Undertaker
Prior to our main event, challenger Hulk Hogan spoke to Mean Gene about his upcoming match with The Undertaker.

Among other things, Hogan made numerous references to his "teeny tiny Hulksters" and claimed that Jack Tunney had awarded him a rematch against 'Taker not because it was fair, not because they needed a main event for the Tuesday PPV, but simply because "we believed in ourselves."

Right you are then.

World Wrestling Federation Championship match
WWF Champion The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. Hulk Hogan
It's hard to know what to say about this match beyond stating the obvious. This was a match in which The Immortal Hulk Hogan battled an Undertaker who was still in that early heel mode of no-selling everything and moving around like he had planks of wood attached to the back of his limbs.

If that sounds like your idea of great match, it was a great match, if it sounds like hell on earth to you, that's how it will seem when you watch it.

In reality, the main event was neither good nor bad. It was just a typical early-90s WWF main event; Hogan being beaten down by a big heel, making a comeback and beating his foe around the ring.

The only difference this time happened at the end.

In what can only be described as a clusterfuck finish, Ric Flair got involved, Hogan struck him with a chair so that The Nature Boy fell on top of Jack Tunney, Paul Bearer got involved. Hogan stole the urn, tipped it on the floor, scooped up some of the ashes, blinded 'Taker with them, then rolled up the champion, scored a quick pinfall, and reclaimed the title.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Champion: Hulk Hogan

Alas, Hogan's reign as champion would this time be short lived. The World Wrestling Federation title would be held up until the 1992 Royal Rumble. And we all know what happened there.

What's that you say? You don't know what happened at the 1992 Royal Rumble. You're in luck my friend. Here's the review.

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.