Wrestlemania IV


Before I start the review for this one, just a quick note about the format.  They are doing some kind of elimination tournament for the WWE Heavyweight Belt.  I think this has something to do with Hogan dropping the belt under suspicious circumstances to Andre?  I don’t quite remember.  I think it happened during a King of the Ring.

Either way, this is like a 16 man mini survivor bracket where if you win your match you go on to the next round.

 


1.  Battle Royal Invitational


Right off the top, I’m pretty excited for Wrestlemania IV because I’m pretty sure there is no Junkyard Dog or Hacksaw Jim Duggan at all.  But wait!  Who is that in the background of this Battle Royal Invitational?

Ah shit
Ah, shit

Briefly, here’s the rundown of who is in this one: Hart Foundation, The Cock Hungry Young Stallions, Seka, Dangerous Danny Davis, The Killer Bees, Bad News Brown, Sam Houston (!), The Rougeaus, Ken Patera, Outlaw Ron Bass, Junkyard Dog, The Bolsheviks, Hillbilly Jim, King Harley Race and George Steele.

So to summarize, they have taken all of my least favorite wrestlers and thrown them in the ring with the Hart Foundation.

Even Bret Hart can't believe this shit
Even Bret Hart can’t believe this shit

Bob Euker is guest commentating with Jesse and Gorilla.  The match is so dull that they spend 2 minutes talking about Vanna White.  The eliminations happen really quickly over about 7 minutes to get to the final three – Bret Hart, JYD and Bad News Brown.  Oh shit, I think JYD might win this.  Probably as sort of a “thanks for a career, here’s your stupid WM win” kind of thing.  Sort of like Scorsese and the Departed.

Wait!  JYD is eliminated!  This is great!  He didn’t get jack shit.  Sort of like Scorsese and Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Goodfellas!  The match ends when Bad News Brown throws out Hitman pretty easily.  As Brown is grabbing his trophy, Hitman drop kicks him out of the ring and I think Bret Hart is a good guy now.

Overall: Ultimately, Scorsese was robbed a bunch of times.

 


2. Round 1 Elimination Match: Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase


Well this should be something.  I don’t love Dibiase that much, but he’s at least a very talented, technical wrestler.  Hacksuck Shit Fuckhead is barely one step above a 10 year old wrestling his stuffed animals.  The match starts with some shitty moves because Hacksuck is shitty.  Dibiase keeps trying to wrestle and Hacksuck just keeps punching him in the face.  Which I guess is a pretty good strategy.

Eventually, Dibiase gets the upper hand and I – as always, when Hacksuck is being assaulted – am fully, rigidly erect.  I violently masturbate as the beating continues.

Andre ends up interfering and Dibiase gets the pin.  I ruin my pants.

Overall: Literally the best match I’ve ever seen because Hacksuck lost.  100/100

 


3. Round 1 Elimination Match: Dino Bravo vs. The (other) Rock Don Moraco


Did I just hate every wrestler in the WWE stable in 1988?  I can’t imagine enjoying this match.  Honestly, I don’t remember any of this.  I’m not even sure I’ve actually watched WM IV before.

Right off the top, this is a really clumsy match.  Moraco might be a terrible wrestler.  They’re both about a second off of their moves.

He drops like he's a soccer player
He drops like he’s a soccer player

Neither of them move very well and the action goes back and forth until they hit the sweet, sweet double clothesline.  I can never stay mad at any match that features that move.  Eventually Moraco accidentally hits the ref who for some reason disqualifies ….Dino Bravo?  It makes no sense.  That’s like a bunch of Saudi Arabians attacking your country so you launch a decade-long war on Iraq.

Too soon?
Too soon?

Overall: That ref was the Decider.  10 points for the double clothsline

 


4. Round 1 Elimination Match: Ricky Steamboat vs. Greg Valentine


Finally!  Wrestlers I like.  I will actually pay attention to this one and try not to make jokes.  The action starts off pretty standard for Steamboat.  Deep arm drag takedowns, that move where he goes over the top rope and then pulls himself up.  All pretty standard until he tries to get a pin on Valentine and… completely misses the move.

What the fuck, Wrestlemania IV.  Is there something about Trump Plaza that is throwing off the timing of your moves?

In all fairness, this picture legally counts as an abortion in 19 states.
In all fairness, this picture legally counts as an abortion in 19 states.

Steamboat is a little off his normally perfect game.  Valentine basically punches him a bunch of times and then goes for the figure four.  Steamboat kicks him away and then they chop each other for awhile.   Both Valentine and Steamboat land moves off the top rope, but neither can get the pin.

Eventually Steamboat goes for the High Cross Body off the top rope and he over rotates and ends up underneath Valentine.  I feel like Steamboat loses 90% of his matches this way.

This ends with a long, 10 second shot of Donald Trumps horrific, horrible face in the crowd.

Thanks to this picture, I can no longer distinguish right from wrong
Even in 1988 his hair looked like he had a ferret on his head

Overall: Donald Trump should classify his face as a bio-hazard

 


5. Round 1 Elimination Match: Macho Man Randy Savage vs. The Natural Butch Reed


This one starts off with Elizabeth being the hottest thing of all time.  I have no greater context for that statement, just… she’s super.

<3
Love

For anyone keeping track, here is how Butch Reed is doing so far in the PPV’s since he showed up.

1. Eliminated really quickly in the ’88 Royal Rumble

2. Eliminated by Hogan very quickly in the first Survivor Series

3. Beats Koko B Ware in WM III which is as impressive as beating Koko B Ware in WM III.

So far a pretty underwhelming start for Butch Reed, especially for a guy who was rumored to be on his way to winning the intercontinental belt.  According to Wikipedia: Reed no-showed a set of TV tapings where he was booked to win the title, resulting in the championship instead being put on The Honky Tonk Man. However, in a shoot interview, Reed has said this is untrue. In fact, when the Honky Tonk Man won the title from Steamboat in June 1987, Reed was shown celebrating with Honky and other heel wrestlers in the locker room although, in fairness, that was a taped segment

Anyway, Butch Reed beats up Macho for awhile before Macho slams him off the top rope and nails him with the flying elbow.  A pretty quick, easy match.  Butch is not on a roll

Overall: Would Butch Reed have had more or less success if he was “The Unnatural Butch Reed”?  Discuss.


 6. Round 1 Elimination Match: Bam Bam Bigalow Vs. One Man Gang


Thanks to Survivor Series ’87 and Bam Bam’s great performance, I’m really excited to see this match.  I can’t wait to see how this plays out.

< five minutes later >

What the hell was that miserable piece of shit?  Honestly, what on earth was that garbage supposed to be?  I’m so disgusted that I’m not even going to review the match

Shitty wrestling, cartwheels outta nowhere... it's that kind of Wrestlemania
Shitty wrestling, cartwheels outta nowhere… it’s that kind of Wrestlemania

Overall: Leave me.  I’m upset

 


6.5  Hogan Promo


There’s a break in the action for an entertaining promo with Hogan.  While being interviewed backstage he effectively tells everyone that Andre is so big that when he falls it will crack the fault line of the East Coast and everyone will fall in and probably die a horrible death.  For those that are lucky enough, the Hulkster will take you on his back and dog paddle you to safety

Say your prayers, do your coke.... er, eat your vitamins
Say your prayers, do your coke…. er, eat your vitamins

I guess you had to see it.


7. Round 1 Elimination Match: Ravishing Rick Rude vs. Jake The Snake Roberts


Okay, so this should be a good one, right?  Jake Roberts and Rick Rude look like a before / after fitness program picture.

You too can see fabulous results!
You too can see fabulous results!

The match starts off with an exchange of body slams before moving into what feels like 19 minutes of arm bars by Jake Roberts.  Eventually Rick Rude goes on the offense and the match heats up a little…. until he goes for the 6 minute headlock and the pace comes right back to a screaming halt.

Well this whole thing is as dull as dishwater.  My new prediction is they’re going to get to the 15 minute time limit and both get eliminated.  And they are going to make us feel every second of the entire tedious, dull 15 minutes.

The crowd starts to agree with me and the chant of “boring” starts up.  For those counting, we’ve had about 2 minutes of arm bars, 7 minutes of headlocks and about 2 minutes of actual wrestling.  Jake eventually goes on the offensive, pulls of his short clothsline, goes for the DDT but can’t nail it.

And yep, they hit the 15 minute mark and both get eliminated.

Overall: I didn’t think it was possible, but this might be worse than Wrestlemania II

 


8. Ultimate Warrior vs. Hercules Hernandez


Before this match even starts, I’m going to predict that Hercules is beaten quickly put the Warrior over

The Warrior not being one of the 12 labors
The Warrior not being one of the 12 labors

And…. I was wrong.  It’s an actual match, albeit a fairly crappy one.  It ends when Warrior falls on top of Hercules and both of them are kind of in the pin position and the ref does the three count.  Herc thinks he’s one, but it turns out he’s pinned himself by accident and the winner is Warrior.

“Sure, why not” – drunken head writers for the WWE

Overall:  For anyone counting (me I guess), that’s now 4 matches in this event where the ending has been a variation on “Oh guy thinks he won it but OH NO HE DIDN’T HA HA”

 


9. Round 2 Elimination Match: Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant


Here we go, Wrestlemania III all over again.  We’re up to the third PPV that has milked this feud, that’s some impressive traction.

Andre attacks Hogan immediately, which is a great strategy.  You know what else is a great strategy against Hogan?  Don’t put him in a choke hold.  How do his opponents not know this?  If you’re managed by Bobby The Brain Heenan, you’ve got to know this, right?  How would the planning for a match against Hogan work?

Andre: So my plan is to use my giant fists and punch Hogan a lot, like punch him tons, right in his dumb face.

Brain: Good, good.  That’s all good.  What else?

Andre: Okay, well then I’m going to headbutt him and maybe even step on him.

Brain: That’s great stuff.  How are you going to put him away?

Andre: I’m going to slap on a choke hold and then when he –

Brain: Okay, stop.  I’m going to stop you right there.

Andre: Huh?

Brain: Listen to me.  Don’t slap a choke hold on Hogan.

Andre: Like do it after more punching?

Brain: No.

Andre: … then I should do it sooner?

Brain: No, you’re not getting this.  Do not, under any circumstances, put a choke hold on Hogan.

Andre: Why.. why not?

Brain: He’ll Hulk out.  He always Hulks out.  The choke hold makes him hulk right the fuck out.  Don’t do it.  It’s right there in his name.  Hulk Hogan.

Andre: But

Brain: Stop.  No chokes.

 Goddamnit Andre
< sigh > Goddammit Andre

Anyway, Hulk powers out of this choke hold and hulks right the fuck out.  Some things happen and Hogan and Andre end up beating each other with a chair, which seems like a pretty reasonable end.

They’re both disqualified and Hogan re-slams Andre for good measure.

Overall: Is this even a legitimate Wrestlemania?  This is terrible so far

 


10. Round 3 Elimination Match: The (Other) Rock Don Moraco vs. Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase


Okay, this one starts off with some pretty good energy with Moraco throwing out some good power moves.  They go back and forth for a bit and Diabiase wins clean.  It’s a very fast match.  I don’t have many jokes, so here is a funny strip from Dinosaur Comics

www.quanz.com
http://www.quanz.com

Overall: I would chew an entire cup filled with glass for just one semi-decent match

 


 11. Round 3 Elimination Match: Randy Macho Man Savage vs. Greg The Hammer Valentine


So before this starts, just an FYI that One Man Gang got a pass through because Hogan and Andre eliminated each other.  On with the show.  Macho comes out to a huge pop.  He was easily as popular as Hogan at this point.

I completely don’t remember this WM, as I’ve mentioned a few times, but here’s my prediction.  Macho is going to win this match, but Valentine will slap on the figure four at some point so Macho has a bad knee for the last match.  He’ll face off against Dibiase in the final round to win the title.  Let’s see what happens

Valentine gets the upper hand pretty quickly and beats up Macho for a bit.  Macho tries to show some offense but it doesn’t really take.  The beating continues and Valentine goes for the figure four.  Ha, I told you that was going to happen and –

Not so goddamn fast
Wait a second.  Not so goddamn fast

“not so goddamn fast” says Macho via the caption above.  He nails the small package for the three count.  Macho moves onto the next round with no knee problems

Overall:  Pretty decent match, if one sided

 


12. Intercontinental Match: Honky Tonk Man vs. Brutus The Barber Beefcake


Honky Tonk comes down to the ring with “Peggy Sue” who I’m pretty sure is Sherri Martel.  And credit where credit is due, she’s not a bad dancer.  Beefcake comes out to no music and a mediocre response.

Beefcake leaves everyone feeling uneasy
Beefcake leaves everyone feeling uneasy

The match starts off with a lot of posturing from Beefcake and playing up for the crowd.  The crowd barely, barely cares because Beefcake has all the in-ring charisma of Sam Houston

Hey everyone, I was actually in this Wrestlemania!
Hey everyone, I was actually in this Wrestlemania in the Royal Rumble!

Here’s something more interesting than this match. I just learned that Sam Houston is Jake Roberts’ younger brother.  Another interesting fact – Scary Sherri was trained by Donna Christanello (remember her from the ’87 Survivor Series?).

Anyway, this match – and time – continue to progress.  Eventually Brutus gets Honky in the sleeper but Jimmy Hart clocks the ref with the megaphone to get the disqualification

Overall: I feel like I’ve been watching this dumb event for 3 lifetimes

 


13. The Islanders with Bobby Heenan vs. The British Bulldogs with Koko B Ware


Oh my god.  Oh my god.  How fucking long is this stupid Wrestlemania.  Why are we having a tag match?  Please just let this end.  I can’t keep doing this.

The match is a pretty decent affair as the Bulldogs always keep the energy high.  For some reason the DVD I’m watching is blurring out the back of Koko’s tights so I focus all my energy in trying to figure out what’s written on them.

Maybe it says
Maybe it says “WCW”?

Sadly, I am never able to figure out the mystery.  Eventually Heenan pins Koko (honestly, doesn’t matter how) and the Islanders take the win

Overall:  The match ended which makes is a 10 in my book

 


14. Round 3 Elimination Match: Macho Man Randy Savage vs. One Man Gang


Alright, so Savage comes out for the third time tonight to take on the One Man Gang.  After this one, the winner is going to take on Dibiase.

It’s no exaggeration to say Macho Man is single-handedly carrying this Wrestlemania by himself. Aside from the odd one off match, this whole event has been a real Wrestlemania II.

One Man Gang mostly dominates this match, punctuated by small periods of offense from Macho Man.  The pace is interrupted when Slick threatens to slap Miss Elizabeth because late 80’s wrestling was just a different time.

The match ends with One Man Gang beating Macho Man with a cane, so Macho gets the win by disqualification

Overall:  Fine

 


15. Tag Team Title Match: Strike Force Vs. Demolition


To give Macho Man time to rest, they stick a Tag Match in.  Demolition comes into the ring, but not to their classic entrance theme: “Here comes the Ax, here comes the Smasher, the Demolition, walking disaster”.  Just some generic crud.

Interestingly, Demolition is getting some cheers throughout this match.  Jesse and Gorilla get in a fairly heated argument about a double team from Strike Force with Jesse eventually commenting that the night has been too long to keep arguing.

Such a long, long night
Such a long, long night

The match goes back and forth, with Smash eventually using Mr. Fuji’s cane on Rick Martel.  Ax gets the pin and we have new Tag Team Champions.  The win gets a fairly huge cheer from the crowd, but it could also be Stockholm Syndrome kicking in

Overall: One more.  I can do this

 


 16. Fucking finally the last fucking match.  Macho Man vs. Dibiase


I don’t give a shit.  Hogan interferes, Macho Wins the belt.  Fine.

Audience: Yaay we can go home!
Audience: Yaay we can go home!

Overall: I’m going to bed.  This was the worst Wrestlemania ever

Royal Rumble ’88


1. Ravishing Rick Rude vs. Ricky The Dragon Steamboat


Alright, here we go with the first Royal Rumble!  Starting off the action is Steamboat vs. Rude in what is billed as a grudge match.  I’m not at all clear why they have a grudge – maybe something to do with the unsatisfied ghost of a murdered child at the hands of the Rude Awakening?

I'm pretty sure Rick Rude is in this movie
I’m pretty sure Rick Rude is in this movie

We start off with a test of strength.  Yes!  Why is this the first time we’re seeing this in any PPV?  This should be a staple of every match, used as frequently as a headlock.  Steamboat eventually powers out of it and does some crazy move that I can’t explain but it’s fantastic.

Something something weird takedown Steamboat is awesome
Something something weird takedown Steamboat is awesome

Steamboat keeps the match going with some arm stuff.  At one point Jesse advocates for the ole “thumb in the eye”, to which Vince McMahon responds “Jesse come on, we have youngsters watching this program”.

I'm just going to leave this here
I’m just going to leave this here

The action continues back and forth and I’m losing interest in the match.  I may not have the patience for the longer fights.  At around the 18 minute mark, they kick it up a notch by going for 8 pins in a row.   Eventually the match comes to kind of a strange end – Steamboat goes for the flying body press off the top ropes, but Rude pulls the ref in the way.  As Steamboat is checking on the ref, Rude slaps on some submission hold and Steamboat… submits?  Rude starts celebrating and leaves the ring.  But surprise, it turns out Steamboat won by disqualification.

What an odd end.

Overall: Great kick off to the event, Steamboat.  You’re the best!   The match was too long


2. Dino Bravo vs. a 700-pound bench press


Wow, I totally forgot about this.  Dino Bravo, in an effort to establish himself as the strongest man in wrestling, decides to bench 700 pounds with the help of Jesse Ventura.

As they are introducing the match, Bravo’s manager “Frenchie Martin” provides some mic work for Mean Gene – in french.  Just an FYI, this match takes place in Hamilton, Ontario.  For people unfamiliar with Canada, speaking French in Hamilton would be like speaking Hindi in Mississippi.   It… doesn’t go over well

Anyway, Dino does a bunch of bench pressing.  It’s actually pretty impressive.  All I remembered about this was him barely doing 700.  I completely forgot where he did 4 sets of 400 – 600 pounds, pretty effortlessly.

Wrestling!
Wrestling!

3. The Glamour Girls vs. The Jumping Bomb Angels


Eat shit, Tom
Ugh

Didn’t I already watch this match during the Survivor Series?  Why look at that, I sure did!

The most fantastic part of this match is Jesse and McMahon openly admitting they have no idea what the names of the individual bomb angels are.  McMahon admits he “doesn’t speak Japanese” and kind of verbally shrugs “well what are you going to do” before starting to call them “pink” and “red” after the colors of their tights.

Orndorff, pictured here in a rare instance of racial insensitivity in the WWE
Paul Orndorff doesn’t see a problem with this

Their names are Noriyo Tateno and Itsuki Yamazaki.

Overall:  I’m not watching this twice!

 


4. The Royal Rumble


The first 10 minutes: 1. Bret Hart / 2. Tito Santana / 3. Butch Reed / 4. Jim Neidhart / 5. Jake Roberts / 6. Harley Race / 7. Jumping Jim Brunzel / 8. Sam Houston

The WWE was finding their footing with this first Royal Rumble.  It takes a while to get going as McMahon is explaining all the rules and stipulations of the match, it drags on so long that they camera guy actually zooms in on a kid who gives a “I can’t hear what the fuck is going on, what the hell is taking so long, let’s get this started” kind of look.  When it does finally get going, we have Bret and Tito starting off in the ring together, as opposed to the more familiar method of coming in one at a time.  Bret gets some decent cheers from the local Canadian crowd in Hamilton while him and Tito keep the action level high.  Let me clarify though, there is very little wrestling moves going on at this time, mainly punches, leg stomps and moving around the ring to get a feel for each other – obviously.  Hart manages to find the top rope and drop an Elbow on Tito to get things rolling when all of a sudden….

Butch Reed draws the #3 spot and comes in to a tepid reaction.  The extent of this interaction between Hart, Tito and Butch consists of Reed working over Santana while Hart looks for his contact lens on the mat.  Reed manages to get Santana over to the ropes and Bret Hart decides that he’ll just wrestle the match with one good eye and tries to help.  Santana of course counters and smashes the skulls of Reed and Hart together.  As the action continues, Jesse Ventura tries to do his standard shtick with McMahon that he used to do with Gorilla where he would chastise Gorilla for opening calling the match more favorably for the “face”.  McMahon is having none of it and essentially ignores every time Jesse tries to get into that interplay.  As an example:

Jesse: You know, I like this, because this allows for double teaming, and you can’t complain about it.

Vince: .  Look at this… there’s a double team effort!

Jesse: And it’s legal!

Vince: ..yes.

Jesse: And you can’t complain!

Vince: Santana might be complaining now!

Butch Reed has ruined so many relationships
Butch Reed has ruined so many relationships

Neidhart comes to the ring next and now it’s a triple-team against Tito.  It looks like it’s all over when Jake the Snake comes out, quickly eliminates Butch Reed (who sucks) and beats up the Hart Foundation.  The elimination itself was poor, just a flip over the top rope, almost like Reed made his $50 and decided to go hit the local bar.  The crows loses their collective mind and immediately start asking for the DDT because it’s the greatest finisher in time.  They really need to find a better wrestler to get behind, this is worse than the love the current fans give to Bryant, imagine if Hogan learned how to do the DDT – He would have never dropped his belt – ever!

The King Harley Race is next and action slows down because now there is a senior citizen in the ring.  They all take it easy, but Roberts takes the brunt of it as apparently Harley Race hates Jake the Snake Roberts more than Damian (his snake).  The next two in are Jumping Jim Brunzel of the Killer Bees, followed by… Sam Houston?

Sam Houston: Here's my shtick Mr. McMahon. I'll wear a red bandanna around my neck. In no time, I'll be the next Hulk Hogan! Vince: Fine. I don't care, we just need a body. Try not to die.
Sam Houston: Here’s my shtick Mr. McMahon. I’ll wear a red bandanna around my neck. In no time, I’ll be the next Hulk Hogan!
Vince: Fine. I don’t care, we just need a body. Try not to die.

The Highlight of this matchup so far has to be when Roberts does the devastating “beard pull” on Neihart, which is far better than the DDT he was actually going to do.

Minutes 10 – 20: 9. Danny Davis / 10. Boris Zhukov / 11. Don Moraco / 12. Nikolai Volkhoff / 13. Hacksaw Jim Duggan / 14. Ron Bass

Sam Houston runs in to the collective apathy of 17,000 fans wondering why bass player for Dexy’s Midnight Runners is now a wrestler.  As Tito is distracted trying to remember any other song of theirs outside of “Come On Eileen”, the Hart Foundation capitalizes and tosses him over the top.

It's a trick question! They had no other hits and aahhhhhhh!
It’s a trick question! They had no other hits and aahhhhhhh!

Danny Davis is announced next and for some reason a woman in the front row mistakes cheering with having a seizure.  So far, this Royal Rumble is chalk full of surprises

This is fantastic! Please get me some phenobarbital!
This is fantastic! Please get me some phenobarbital!

Boris Zhukov is in next.  Don Moraco and Nikolai Volkhoff come out at the same time and Nikolai just… waits outside the ring for his turn to enter.  There seems to be no point to this – due perhaps to genuine language and cultural barriers, Nikolai honestly misunderstood the entrance pattern and fucked up.

Somewhere along the way Boris Zhukov and the King Harley Race are both eliminated by the Rock to help thin the crowd in the ring and make room for some more decent stars.

Let’s super quick check in our favorite ringside fan and how she is reacting to the action.  She’s yelling obscenities at Harley Race and WWE security is telling her to settle the fuck down.   At this point, I’m more entranced by the action outside

Who are you, lunatic Canadian woman?
Who are you, lunatic Canadian woman?

Next up is…. ah, Jesus Christ.  It’s goddamn Hacksaw.  Fine.  Let’s just get through this.  Maybe the next participant will bring it around and…. nope.  Outlaw Ron Bass.  Still better than Harley Race and Zukov.

Minutes 21 – 30: / 15. B. Brian Blair / 16. Hillbilly Jim / 17. Dino Bravo / 18.  Ultimate Warrior / 19. One Man Gang / 20. Junkyard Dog

Volkvoff eliminates one Killer Bee, only to have another take it’s place as that is the nature of killer bees.  Neidhart is then eliminated by Hillbilly Jim as that is the nature of Hillbillies.  Sam Houston demonstrates his in-ring savvy by getting up on Ron Bass’s shoulders for a quick ride.  The safest place to be in a Royal Rumble is precariously perched atop another man.  He is tossed out, absurd bandanna and all, by Hacksaw.

Look at me Vince! I'm a complete moron!
Look at me Vince! I’m a complete moron!

Dino Bravo runs in, followed by… the Ultimate Warrior?  I’m surprised, I thought he didn’t pop up until later.  During the mayhem, Bret Hart is unceremoniously eliminated by Don Moraco.  He lasted 25 minutes, a record that would stand until the next Royal Rumble in 1989.  Great work Bret!

The last two in the ring are One Man Gang and Junkyard Dog.  All the participants are in and we’re down to the end of the match.  One has to wonder how Danny Davis is still in this matchup and why they didn’t push Bret to go down to one of the last 4 or 5.  I guess they gave him enough of a push to get him away from just a tag run but not enough of a push to have him be “the man” yet.

Match Close

The next quick round of eliminations are B Brian Blair, Jake the Snake, Nikolai Volkvaff, Hillbilly Jim, Danny Davis, Ultimate Warrior, Junkyard Dog and Ron Bass.  Nothing notable about any of these eliminations except for the fact that Warrior was tossed so quickly.

The last four in the ring are Moraco, One Man Gang, Dino Bravo and Hacksuck Shit Fuckhead – HOOOOOO.  Moraco gets eliminated by One Man Gang, it what was a poor show.  He was tossed over and sat on the apron holding the ropes, could have climbed back in but decided that he didn’t want to spend another minute with the One Man Gang and just let go.  So now it’s 2 on 1 against Hacksuck.  They beat him up for awhile and I am solidly erect through the whole thing.  I watch the beating and drink it in like water.

There is a fetish for everything on the internet.
There is a fetish for everything on the internet.

Sadly, the match ends with Hacksuck as the victor and I fear I shall never be aroused again.

Overall: What a fun match and a great PPV.  I hate Hacksuck though.

Survivor Series 1987


Survivor Match #1 – Team Macho Man (Macho Man, Ricky Steamboat, Brutus Beefcake, Jim Duggan, Jake Roberts) vs Team Honky Tonk (Honky Tonk Man, Harley Race, Hercules, Ron Bass, Danny Davis)


Finally, after covering three separate Wrestlemania’s, we get to recap the first Survivor Series.  This was originally held on Thanksgiving Day (in the US) and I’m really looking forward to it.  The rules are simple, there’s two teams of five superstars that face off against each other (ok, maybe like 4 superstars and a token ‘first to get tossed out filler’).

Hey everybody! It's me, Butch Reed! Inexplicably in a Wrestlemania!
Hey everybody! It’s me, Butch Reed! Inexplicably in a Survivor Series!

If a participant gets eliminated then another team member gets in the ring until that team is completely eliminated.  First to eliminate all participants on the other team wins the match.

You’re probably asking what counts as an elimination? I’m glad you asked, and if you didn’t, you should have because this is 1987.   Don’t presume you know all the rules based on watching some Survivor Series PPV’s in the last few years!   A wrestler is eliminated based on one of the following reasons:
1) Pinfall – pretty straight forward
2) Submission – they have to tap out or pass out
3) Count Out – they don’t get back in the ring after a count of 10 – yes it’s a real 10 count, not a slow 10 count that lasts 45 seconds
4) Disqualification – pretty much doing something that the ref doesn’t like or if you keep doing something after he tells you to stop
5) Unable to continue to compete due to injury at the discretion of the ref – yep, the ref can just decide that someone can’t continue – bet you didn’t know this one!

The best part about survivor series matches is that the momentum doesn’t really waiver, there’s enough guys in and around the ring that there’s always something to watch and keep you entertained.

Elimination 1: Harley Race / Hacksaw Jim Duggan double count out

I despise both these morons.  I am so glad they get eliminated early.

Elimination  2& 3: Ron Bass eliminated by Brutus Beefcake / Beefcake gets eliminated by Honkey Tonk

Continuing on with four wrestlers a side, Macho Man and Brutus the Barber Beefcake team up to eliminate Ron Bass (again someone else that no one cares about) when Beefcake hits him with a high flying knee and a quick pin for the 3 count. Beefcake gets rewarded for that victory when the Honky Tonk man nails his Shake Rattle and Roll finisher to even the odds back at 3.

What I find jarring about this whole thing is Ricky Steamboat wrestling beside Macho Man.  It’s a mere 6 months after Wrestlemania, and only 2 days in my own real viewing time.  Macho literally tried to murder Steamboat half a year ago and now they’re partners.

Any of this ringing a bell?
Any of this “ringing a bell?”.  Ha.  Get it?  Because Macho hit him with… you know what, forget it

Elimination 4 & 5: Jake Roberts eliminates Danny Davis / Macho Man eliminates Hercules

Still with me?  It’s at this time in the match that Jake the Snake Roberts enters and the crowd goes absolutely nuts – the decibel level in the arena seriously goes up a notch.  He screws around for awhile and then hits Danny Davis with the sweet, sweet DDT

Danny Davis, seconds before forgetting how to chew and stand unassisted
Danny Davis, seconds before forgetting how to chew and stand unassisted

Next, Hercules comes in and gets eliminated by Macho Man (oh yeah he’s in this match).  The crowd applauds, but not standing in their seats applause, more like a yeah this is good but it’s not “Jake the Snake Roberts good” applause.

Is this nearly over? I came to watch the women's match
Is this nearly over? I came to watch the women’s match

Elimination 6: Honkey Tonk says “fuck this”

Honky Tonk man finally gets fed up for all the love that Roberts is getting, so he just walks out of the ring, grabs his IC title and heads to the back getting himself counted out.

To summarize, team Macho Man ends up with only 2 guys getting eliminated while taking out the team led by the Honky Tonk Man and Survivor Series is well on its way.

Overall: A pretty satisfying opening match to Survivor Series.  6 / 10


Survivor Match #2 – Women’s Match: Team Moola (Moola, Rockin’ Robin, Velvet McIntryre, Jumping Bomb Angels) vs Team Sherri (Sensational Sherri, Glamour Girls, Donna Christianello, Dawn Marie)


a853be09-0f0d-4a34-8c72-13d0dc68c3dc

I don’t normally watch women’s matches and this one is no except…. ah, never mind.  If I skip this, the review will be too short.

Elimination 1: Donna Christianello eliminated by Velvet McIntyre

We get off to a roaring start with Velvet going to work early on Team Sherri. This match is full of many hair pulling flips and running clotheslines early on and those thunderous moves are echoing throughout the stadium – echoing because most of the fans are outside taking a smoke or lining up for more beer and nachos. (I wonder if they sold Nacho Man hats full of Nachos like Homer Simpson had.  Man, now I really want some nachos). Finally after some brief moments of actual athleticism from the Bomb Angels, we have our first elimination – Donna Christianello courtesy of Velvet.

I'm assuming this is Ric Flair's Mother
78 is the new 35

Elimination 2 through 5:

Dawn Marie elimnated by Rockin’ Robin
Rockin’ Robin elimnated by Sensational Sherri
Fabulous Moolah eliminated by Judy Martin
Sensational Sherri eliminated by Velvet McIntyre
Velvet McIntyre eliminated by Leilani Kai

After 5 minutes of watching this match I am having a really hard time getting past the outfits that the glamour girls are wearing. Gold and Black with a little heart – I don’t know why but it’s just hideous.  I’m surprised.

I'm not sure why you're surprised
Although given it was the 80’s, I’m not sure what I expected

The hair doesn’t help either. I could overlook some of this if the match itself was actually any good. Moola should never have been in this match as any momentum comes to a grinding halt when she gets involved and I’m pretty sure Rockin’ Robin was just one of costume girls in the back that they threw in the ring.

McMahon - Quick! Can you wrestle? Robin - No, I'm an accounta- McMahon - Perfect! Put on this bathing suit! Match starts in 8 minutes!
McMahon – Quick! Can you wrestle?
Robin – No, I’m an accountant and – 
McMahon – Perfect! Put on this bathing suit! Match starts in 8 minutes!

The fact that she has no muscle definition or actual wrestling skills is surprisingly keeping my attention just to see if she will get seriously injured – but no, the WWF had one job and they screwed that up.  She actually eliminates someone and then get’s eliminated herself from a normal suplex – good job… said no one ever!

Elimination 6 /7 : Leilani Kai and Judy Martin eliminated by the Bomb Angels

The only entertaining part of this match (aside from writing this kick ass review) is the Jumping Bomb Angels. They display some nice agility and pull off some decent moves while just screaming incoherently the whole time.  In the end they manage to get the teams down to a classic 2 on 2 tag match with the Bomb Angels and the Hideous Glamour Girls facing off before the Bomb Angels manage to drop some high risk moves off the top rope to pick up the victory.

The real highlight of the night is when one of the Jumping Bomb Angels actually drop kicks Jimmy Hart off the apron. The guy literally falls backwards so that his head would hit the floor first a la pile driver style.  I’m sitting here wondering if he’s unconscious, dead, paralyzed and really if they cut to another match or promo I could have been left with my own imagination and come up with tons of scenarios but no, he just gets up and walks away. Sigh.

You'd think he'd know how to take a hit by now
You’d think he’d know how to take a hit by now

Overall: 3/10 but only because Jimmy Hart broke his neck


Survivor Match #3 – Tag Team Match: The Killer B’s, The British Bulldogs, Strike Force, The Young Stallions, The Rougeaus vs. The Islanders, The Dream Team, The Bolsheviks, The Hart Foundation, Demolition


This match is a 5 on 5, tag team event – 10 tag teams, 20 men.  If one member of the tag team get pinned (or equivalent) then the whole team is out.  Narratively, I have no insight into what has happened in the 6 months since Wrestlemania 3 since we’re only watching the Pay Per Views.  I am confused on a few points:

– The Bolsheviks?  What happened to the Iron Sheik?

– Strike Force?  Wasn’t Rick Martel just in the Can Am Connection?  Did he drop Tom Zenk already?  He barely gave him a chance!

All hail the mighty Zenk
Martel does not return my texts.  The mighty Zenk just wants to talk!

Elimination 1: Bolsheviks eliminated by flying forearm from Tito

The match kicks off and the Bolsheviks are eliminated pretty quickly with a beautiful flying forearm by Tito.  That move is spectacular.  The action continues through a series of quick tags and the crowd is pretty quiet through the whole thing.  You know what, maybe they can’t see the action with that many guys around the ring.

There's no "maybe" about it.
There’s no “maybe” about it.

Elimination: Jaques Rougeau gets eliminated by Ax after missing a move like a moron

I find it very fitting that the Rougeau Bro gets eliminated by being terrible.  It’s appropriate, because the Rougeaus are also terrible.  To be clear, the Rougeaus are sometimes randomly terrible, but at other times, they’re specifically terrible.  Anyway, Frenchie misses a move and Ax capitalizes.  We’re 6 minutes into the match and I’m underwhelmed.

Elimination 3: Smash (Demolition) eliminated by randomly assaulting the ref

We keep going, and the match so far is mostly just punching and tags, punching and tags, punching and tags.  Paul Roma is in there a lot, and that guy has no idea how to sell a move.  It looks like wrestling a log.

Out of nowhere, Ax is eliminated for assaulting the ref, for no apparent reason.  That was really clumsy.  I’m not even sure the crowd gets what happened.

Elimination 4: Tito (Strike Force) eliminated by pin from Bret

11 minutes into the match and Bret Hart finally enters the ring.  This is another very abrupt elimination that I had to rewind to figure out what happened.  Neidhart gets nailed with Tito’s flying forearm.  Tito goes in for the pin and Bret breaks the count.  Then <scene deleted> and Strike Force is eliminated.  Weirdly shitty camera cuts prevent me from seeing what actually happened.

It's essentially like trying to deconstruct the Zapruder film
It’s like trying to deconstruct the Zapruder film

Elimination 5: Dynamite Kid (British Bulldogs) taken down by massive kick from Haiku

Now comes the dark period of this match.  10 incredibly dull minutes where nothing of any consequence happens.  Holy moly, this is a really uneven, boring event.  Eventually Dynamite headbutts Haku, which leads to Haku kicking him in the face, followed by the pin.  Makes sense.

Elimination 6: Valentine (Dream Team) eliminated by Sunset Flip from Paul Roma

It’s at this point I realized that Dino Bravo and Valentine have barely been in this, nor have the Killer Bees.  It’s a ton of Young Stallions though.  That has to be just about one of the worst names because it’s so obviously the name of a gay porno which makes talking about them awkward.  I’m not even joking, click here to buy the video from http://www.buygay.com.  And now I need to explain to my wife why I’m browsing gay videos.  

Just to be clear, I have no problem with the porno being gay, just that it’s so obviously a porno name.  It would be like a female tag team called the “Slut Hungry Dykes” or “Cum Addled School Sluts”.  I would absolutely watch that team perform, so maybe Vince knows exactly what he’s doing.

It's called "brand synergy"
It’s called “brand synergy”

Anyhow!  It’s actually a great Sunset Flip off the top rope to eliminate the Hammer

Elimination 7: Bret (Hart Foundation) eliminated by Killer B through a series of absurd circumstances

Another pretty dull stretch of wrestling.  The time between these pins is really tedious.  Eventually the Hart Foundation are eliminated by a weird move where Niedhart ends up drop kicking a killer B who ends up on top of Bret for the pin.  Honestly, it’s a weird finish.  The crowd hardly reacts.

Elimination 8: Islander eliminated by Killer B through another series of absurd circumstances

You know, this whole match feels like it was set up to put over the Cock-Starved Young Stallions.  Now we just have the Islanders left and another tedious 6 minutes of wrestling.  You’d think they’d use the momentum to slip in a quick pin, but not.  They just.  Keep.  Wrestling.

The match finally ends when the killer B’s throw on their masks and make themselves indistinguishable to the refs.  The illegal man comes into the ring without the tag, gets the quick pin with a move off the ropes and it’s all over.

Bees!
                                      Bees!

Overall:  This match was pretty terrible and uneven.  0 / 20


Survivor Match #4 – Team Andre (Ravishing Rick Rude, King Kong Bundy, “The Natural” Butch Reed, One Man Gang, Andre The Giant) vs. Team Hogan (Ken Patera, Bam Bam Bigalow, Paul Orndorff, Don Moraco, Hulk Hogan)


Well I’m confused again.  When did Paul Orndorff and Moraco become good guys?  I don’t remember Moraco ever turning face.  This is the problem with only watching the PPV’s, there is a ton of stuff I don’t remember.

Here’s something else – Bundy and One Man Gang are exactly the same size.  In fact, they might be the same person.  When Bundy needs to wrestle as One Man Gang, he just straps a mowhawk to his head.  I’m positive this is the case.  Just consider – when have you ever seen them in a match together?

Aside from this exact second I mean
Aside from this exact second I mean

Elimination 1: Hogan eliminates Butch Reed

Jesus Christ, “The Rock” Don Moraco is just jacked. What is it with guys named the Rock?

Can you smell what either Rock is cooking? Hint - It's insane amount of steroids.
Can you smell what either Rock is cooking? Hint – It’s insane amount of steroids.

The match starts off with a bunch of tags and guys jumping in and out of the ring.  Rick Rude gets beaten up for awhile and the crowd is on their feet as the intensity and excitement of this match is ramped up to 10+.  For example, Bam Bam presses Rude, which is… really surprising.  I didn’t think Bam Bam had it in him.

I'm sure Rick Rude was also unhappily surprised
I’m sure Rick Rude was also unhappily surprised

Then Ken Patera tags in and the crowd sits back down and goes to the concession for Nacho hats. Butch reed comes in, things happen, Hogan drops the leg and we have our first elimination of the match. That was a great start – tons of power moves, lots of action.

Take note, horrible Tag Team match that has already happened.

Elimination 2: One Man Gang eliminates Ken Patera
Andre comes in to take care of business and starts off against Ken Patera. This doesn’t even need a snappy analogy – this matchup is exactly as lopsided as Andre The Giant fighting Ken Patera. Andre says fuck this and in comes Bundy.  More offense from Team Hogan and we have some back and forth from the group. Eventually Patera ends up with One Man Gang and the crowd starts chanting.  I honestly can’t make out what they’re saying – it sounds like “Front Face Lock” which is exactly the move Gang is giving Patera.  That.. that can’t be right?

No, it's not right. They're chanting "Andre Sucks".
No, it’s not right. They’re chanting “Andre Sucks”.

Regardless, none of this is particularly helpful to K.P. Eventually the Gang more or less falls on Patera and gets the pin. Front Face Lock indeed.

Then One Man Gang just kind of... sits down.
Then One Man Gang just kind of… sits down.

Elimination 3 & 4 & 5: Rick Rude eliminates Paul Orndorff / Moraco eliminates Rick Rude / One Man Gang eliminates Moraco

The next few eliminations happen in pretty quick succession. These guys are doing a fantastic job keeping the energy up. The crowd is on their feet for most of the match and the pace is pretty frantic. Rude and Orndorff square off for a bit, and Rude nails him with a small package.  Hogan jumps in to keep the fight going and him and Moraco take turns beating on Rude like he was Danny Davis.  Moraco hits Rude with a power slam for the pin and we’re down to 3 on 3.  Moraco keeps going against Bundy before mixing it up with One Man Gang.  Moraco goes for the slam, can’t pull it off and gets pinned.

Elimination 6: H.. Hogan?
Next up is the fat battle, with Gang and King Kong taking turns putting it to Bam Bam.

It's called "brand synergy"
With these guys, that sentence has a different context

They can’t bring in Andre because he can barely move.  Bam Bam carries the match by himself, just acting as a throw cushion for the beating he’s taking.  Finally Andre comes in, misses a move and the tag is made to Hogan.  The crowd explodes as WM3 repeats itself.  Hogan beats up everyone before being pulled out of the ring by Bundy.  More mayhem ensues with Hogan slamming both Bundy and One Man Gang before getting counted out of the ring.

The crowd is not happy.

Elimination 7 & 8: Bam Bam eliminates Bundy and One Man Gang.
It’s just Bam Bam vs. everyone.  I did not see this coming.  Bam Bam does what he can to keep the momentum going by eliminating Bundy, but it just takes too much out of him.  Gorilla is in on the gag too, and says “One Man Gang having a field day.. as Bam Bam is wide open”.

It's called "brand synergy"
Heh

Jokes aside, I’m really impressed by Bam Bam’s performance this match. I was always indifferent to him, but this bout may have changed my mind.  He is doing a great job carrying the action.  One Man Gang misses off the top rope (which is an odd sentence to type) and Bam gets the cover.  Holy shit!  It’s Bam Bam vs. Andre!  This going to be….

Elimination 9: Andre wins!
… over in 2 minutes.  This isn’t much of a surprise. Bam Bam is pretty exhausted at this point and Andre can barely move, so the end comes quickly. Andre does some weird combination side suplex / arm bar / collapse for the pin.

MRAGGLAUghhhh. So tired
MRAGGLAUggghhhhhhh. So tired

To the surprise of no one, Hogan runs back into the ring, chases Andre out and then poses for a bit.

Overall: I was pleasantly surprised by this match. 9/14

 

Wrestlemania III


1. Rick Martel and Tom Zenk (The Can Am Connection) vs Don Muraco and Cowboy Bob Orton


Can Am Connection: Forever blurring the line between wrestlers and underwear models
Can Am Connection: Forever blurring the line between wrestlers and underwear models

I am super excited for this.  Wrestlemania III!  The big one!  Widely considered one of the top five Wrestlemania’s.  Almost impossible to be worse than Wrestlemania II!  So let’s get started!

At the time, Rick Martel was regarded as the best technical wrestler the WWE had ever signed, but had no tag partner who could keep up with his explosive speed and raw, animal power (citation needed)

Enter Tom Zenk.  Zenk was designed to be the ultimate WWE tag partner.  Under the direction of Gorilla Monsoon,  McMahon combed the tombs of the greatest evil leaders in history to find cells with DNA traces. These long-dead genetic blueprints were combined to produce a clone with the genius of Napolean, the ruthlessness of Julius Ceaser, the daring of Hannibal and the shrewdness of Attila the Hun.  He then cloned them and engineered Tom Zenk in a lab (citation needed)

All hail the mighty Zenk
All hail the mighty Zenk

The result was the Can Am connection, and this match.

Overall: Yo Joe!  And trust me, that recap was more entertaining than the match


2. Billy Jack Haynes vs Hercules Hernandez


The Rock starring in 2014's "Hercules", based entirely on this match
The Rock starring in 2014’s “Hercules”, based entirely on this match

WM3 reportedly broke an indoor attendance record with 93,000 on hand to watch the event.  The great thing about this is that every match – no matter how theoretically terrible – manages to crank the excitement up to 11.

It’s great because all the wrestlers are bringing their best game to the table.  For example, this one should have been a really dull affair.  Neither of these guys are too technically interesting, but man, do they ever put on a solid show.

For example, this is 45 goddamn seconds into the match
For example, this is 45 goddamn seconds into the match

It’s a theme through the whole event.  Mediocre matches are elevated to fantastic matches.

This one ends with a double count out.  Shrug.  They do a decent job at keeping the energy high and Haynes gets cut after the match is over from repeated shots from Herc’s chain.  I looked pretty closely, but I couldn’t see the cut, but Haynes got himself pretty deep it looks like.

Normally with a post-match beating by a heel, a superstar would normally come out and save the babyface, but there is no one who wants to save Haynes.  I guess he is a loser?

Overall: Better match than it should have been.  3.5 / 5


3. Hillbilly Jim vs King Kong Bundy


Hey gang! Me again! Still perfectly goddamn round, just like a giant gobstopper
Hey gang! Me again! Still perfectly goddamn round, just like a giant gobstopper

I do not have high hopes for this match.  Neither Bundy or Hillbilly Jim are very talented wrestlers, so I’m going to imagine this will be pretty dull.  Also, has there ever been this significant a drop in booking from one wrestlemania to the next?  Bundy went from the headline event at Wrestlemania 2 to this filth

As expected, this is not a great match.  It ends with Bundy attacking one of the little people and a disqualification.  The first mis-step in an otherwise good PPV, if you don’t count the creation of the horrible, horrible Tom Zenk

All hail the mighty Zenk
None shall survive the terrible mercy of Zenk

Overall: Awful idea that provided one minute of amusement. 2/10


4. Harley Race vs Junkyard Dog


Fuck you so much, JYD
Fuck you so much, JYD

Oh god. Damn.  It.  My nemesis JYD against the septuagenarian Harley Race.  JYD is too terrible to wrestle well and Race is too old.  There is nothing to like about this one.

This isn't a move; just Harley Race randomly falling out of the ring
This isn’t a move; just Harley Race randomly falling out of the ring

Inevitably, JYD manages to get down to the mat for his patented head butts which allows for Gorilla Monsoon to unleash the quote of the PPV “Dog on all fours – that’s his favorite position”, I would have expected that from Jesse Ventura so well done Gorilla…well done.

Here's what you do Gorilla, you grab yourself a tape recorder, you just record yourself for a whole day...
Here’s what you do Gorilla, you grab yourself a tape recorder, you just record yourself for a whole day…

The match has everything you’d expect from a JYD match.  Shitty wrestling, headbutts, terrible selling of moves and dancing.  I am delighted that this is the Dog’s last Wrestlemania.  I am also delighted that Race beats him clean with a belly to belly suplex.  Fuck you Dog.

Overall: Ha ha Dog sucks.  3 /1 4


5. Dream Team Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine vs Rougeau Brothers


 

We get our strength from bags of milk and lays chips, eh?
Us Canadians get our strength from bags of milk and lays chips, eh?

I’m kind of confused, I really remember liking WM3 a lot more but I can’t think of why.  This is another match where I’m kind of “meh” on the participants.  I generally like a match with the Dream Team, but I never found the Rougeau’s very dynamic.  Having said that, I do enjoy their signature move, the Canadian Crotch Catch

Boom! Wiff that crotch. Wiff all of it
Boom! Wiff that crotch. Wiff all of it

The match ends with Brutus turning face because… for no real reason.  Like I can’t tell at all what happened.  It’s probably the clumsiest turn in in WWE history.  What do you think Tom Zenk?

All hail the mighty Zenk
That subpar heel turn enrages the mighty Zenk

Overall: Come on WM3, turn it around.  6/20


6. Rowdy Roddy Piper vs Adorable Adrian Adonis – Hair match


Here to turn this Wrestlemania around
Here to turn this Wrestlemania around

Piper!  Yes!  I cannot dislike a Piper match.  This has been billed as a retirement match and the crowd is fired up and on their feet.  For the first time, you really get how deafening it is when 90,000 people are on their feel screaming.  It’s a fantastic ovation and Piper loves it.

The match doesn’t have much actual wrestling, just a lot of punching and kicking and whipping with belts.  The crowd is on their feet and screaming for every move and it generates more excitement than the match deserves.  Ultimately Piper gets hit with a spray of perfume and Adonis slaps on the sleeper hold, or as he calls it “Good Night Irene”.  That’s… that’s actually kind of a great name.  Good work Adonis.

Adonis drops the move too soon and Brutus comes out of nowhere to revive Piper.  I guess this entire match was to set up Brutus as the Barber when he comes out to cuts Adonis’s hair.  What a weird character that was, although I guess no more odd than a magic wrestling Zombie who got power from bottled dust

Me. He's talking about me.
Me. He’s talking about me.

The best part of the match is the fan who comes out to hug Piper….

I wish this would last forever!
I wish this would last forever!

… and then gets immediately set on by security.

Oh god, why won't this end?
Oh god, why won’t this end?

I am stunned he made it to the ring

Overall: Piper!  Awesome!  89/10


7. Hart Foundation with Danny Davis vs British Bulldogs and Tito Santana


We're awesome and we love valentine's day!
We’re awesome and we love valentine’s day!

Finally!  A Hart Foundation match!  Why did we go three entire Wrestlemania’s before giving these guys their own match?  I love Bret Hart, and anything these two do against the Bulldogs is fantastic, so I’m ready to settle in for a great match

This is technically a six man bout, with Tito Santana joining up with the Bulldogs and disgraced Referee Danny Davis teaming with the Hart Foundation.  A professional wrestler and a 170 pound referee.  That seems fair and even.

Gorilla reminds us that Danny Davis cannot be a ref anymore, he’s been suspended for life + 10 years.  I guess Gorilla thinks Danny Davis is immortal?   I think this was foreshadowing that Danny Davis was originally supposed to be the Undertaker?

Nope
Nope

This match is a great combination of excellent technical wrestling and seeing Danny Davis being beaten within an inch of his life.  Davey Boy hits him with a jumping piledriver that would be literally illegal today.  Like, 10 different types of banned.

It is no longer acceptable to try to drive a mans head into his own torso
It is no longer acceptable to try to drive a mans head into his own torso

The match obviously ends with the old megaphone-me-do and the quick pin and the Hart Foundation chalk up the win.  Just a great match.

Overall: Davey Boy nearly killed a man!  8/12


8. Natural Butch Reed vs Koko B Ware


Hey everybody! It's me, Butch Reed! Inexplicably in a Wrestlemania!
Hey everybody! It’s me, Butch Reed! Inexplicably in a Wrestlemania!

What is it with Wrestlemania 3 screwing up the entrance music?  Isn’t Koko supposed to enter to “Love hits you like a piledriver“?  Why is he coming down to what sounds like a song that is “Wow!  Hallelujah!”?

Okay, Jesse is unbelievably racist in calling this one.  He starts with “You know Gorilla, the B stands for Buckwheat.  He told me he has another brother named Stymie.”  He continues with “And what’s with the glove?  I mean, Michael Jackson wears a glove, but Buckwheat don’t”.

Jesus Christ Jesse, you racist motherfucker.

The most interesting part of this match is the ending.  Butch Reed gets a contested win by grabbing a handful of tights and guess who is down there telling the ref he made a mistake and correcting the wrongs?  Tito Santana!  Dude loves jumping into matches!

Overall: Honestly Tito, mind your own business. 2/139


9. Ricky the Dragon Steamboat vs Macho Man Randy Savage


Ladies
Ladies

This is widely regarded as one of the greatest wrestling matches of all time, and I can’t disagree. It’s unbelievable.  The lead up to this match generated insane heat, with Savage fracturing Steamboat’s Larynx with a ring bell.

There has been about a million words written about this match, so I don’t have much new to add.  One thing I learned recently, apparently this isn’t Steamboats favorite match, due to how scripted it was.  Savage was known to be a very detailed planner, and both wrestlers spent 3 months leading up to this match planning literally every single beat.  The story goes that Steamboat preferred more fluid matches where you call the moves in real time.

Despite what Steamboat thinks about planning, this entire match is brilliant.  The excitement goes through the roof, especially around about minute 7 when they go for about 10 pins in a 2 minute period.  I don’t think there is one wrestler active today who could have pulled off this match.

Overall: No jokes, just a brilliant, brilliant match.  10/10

The Mighty Zenk also approves!
This match is kickass!  Also, kneel before Zenk!

10. Jake the Snake Roberts vs Honky Tonk Man


Sorry gals. Just by looking at this picture, you are now all pregnant
Sorry gals. Just by looking at this picture, you are now all pregnant

I didn’t remember this at all, but this match had quite a bit of heat leading up to it.  It was a result of Honky hitting Jake with a guitar in a segment of pipers pit.

What would be the draw to appear on Pipers Pit if you were a wrestler?  The chances of being randomly attacked were like 70%.  I guess it was no different than Jerry Springer.  So just counting, three matches in this Wrestlemania were as a result of Piper’s Pit: this match, the Andre / Hogan match and the actual Piper / Adonis match.

Did you get twosies?
Did you get twosies?

This match is a pretty tame affair, with some decent moments, but nothing too great.  Some standard back and forth that sees Honky winning with the ropes.  Jake Roberts and Alice Cooper pause briefly to throw a heavily drugged python at a small man with a megaphone.  That is the 4th time in my life I have written that exact sentence, but never once in the same context.

Overall: Ho hum: 6.4/11


11. Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff vs the Killer Bees


The Sheik and Volkoff against the Killer Bees!  I could not be less excited.  The match starts – as always – with the Russian national anthem being sung by Volkoff and oh god here comes Hacksaw Jim Shithead Duggan.    I was wrong, I can be less excited and now here I am.

The crowd is pretty mellow considering this is the next to final match.  There’s a couple decent pops, but nothing great.  The one nice this about this one is how quickly it ends.  The Sheik and Volkoff have the win pretty much clean when Hacksaw jumps in and shits all over everything and gets the bees disqualified.  The crowd barely, barely cares.

Overall:  Apparently I despised a great many wrestlers from the 80’s.  Weird.  2/16


12. Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant


Man, we should just keep getting high. What were we even fighting about?
Man, we should just keep getting high. What were we even fighting about?

Here we go, the big one.  Arguably the most famous match in all of wrestling history.  There’s so many stories about this one.  I like the mythology but I don’t buy some of them:

– Hogan said Andre was closer to 700 pounds than 500.  I call bullshit on that.  He’s not a fucking SUV, he’s a human man.

– Hogan said he didn’t actually know if he was going to win the match.  What I do believe is that if Andre didn’t want to be slammed, then Andre wasn’t getting slammed.   I think more what Hogan meant is he didn’t have pre-match commitment from Andre on the match, but I have trouble believing McMahon would have let the match go if he wasn’t sure Hogan was going to win

Anyway, the match is so lousy with mythology that it’s still entertaining to watch for the spectacle, although the match itself is nothing special.  Lots of great posturing and the actual moment when Hogan slams Andre is one of the biggest pops you’ll hear in wrestling.  Hogan drops the big leg and it’s 1-2-3 all over.  A great end to a great (although not that great, on re-watch) Wrestlemania.

Overall: 9/10 for the history, 2/10 for the match

Wrestlemania II

Christ, here we go.  I am not looking forward to this one, as I recall WM2 is terrible.  Will it have aged like a fine wine?  Or soured like a fine ballsack?


 1. Mr Wonderful Paul Orndorff vs. Don Moraco


Orndorff, pictured here in a rare instance of racial insensitivity in the WWE
Orndorff, pictured here in a rare instance of racial insensitivity in the WWE

For Wrestlemania 2, they made a couple of terrible decisions, which, combined with the lackluster matches, conspired to sink the show before it began.  Bad decision #1 – splitting the venue.   Bad decision #2 – guest commentators.  For this match we have the “electric” duo of Vince McMahon and Susan St. James.  Unsurprisingly, they’re terrible together.  He is still finding his rhythm and I don’t believe she has ever watched wrestling.  She might think that it’s boxing – not sure. This match is a pretty quick affair – they exchange some moves and then get counted out.  Meh.

Overall: I am too apathetic to provide a rating


2. Randy “Macho Man” Savage vs. George “The Animal” Steele


First impression is that Macho Man was so lean and tiny compared to the last time I saw him as the Bone Saw guy in Spiderman 1.

Humans are supposed to look like they're about to explode, right?
Humans are supposed to look like they’re about to explode, right?

Ugh.  I do not like George Steele.  The shtick really gets old fast, and it’s not entertaining enough to last a match.   Macho does the best he can here, but he’s really working against a stacked deck.  The entire thing is punches, bites, flowers, turnbuckles.  The only bright side is this exchange:

Susan St. James: He may not be smart, but he has respect for women!

Vince: Indeed he does!

Way to set that bar pretty frigging low, gang.  George’s respect for women has been to stare at Elizabeth like a piece of chocolate.  His only advantage over Macho Man is that he’s not openly physically abusive.  Note – at this point, Susan St. James was married to Dick Emersol.  Is there a deeper meaning here?

Ho hum, Macho hits flying elbow, Steele kicks out, Macho gets pin using ropes.  Dull, terrible match.

Overall: two crummy matches for two


3. George Wells vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts


Pictured: George Wells
Pictured: George Wells

How is this the buildup match for the venue?  George Wells is introduced to a tepid smattering of applause and Jake enters to no music to and complete, apathetic silence.  The match itself has a decent pace to it, with both guys keeping the speed up….fjsoeirfslnfsouf9f9f999999999 Wow, sorry about that.  I blacked out on my keyboard due to sarcastic boredom.  The only highlight of this match is you can start to see some of the signature Jake the Snake moves that he’d incorporate into his routine:

Jakeisms

A. Pointing to his head showing how smart he is after ducking a move

B. Sprawled askew on the ropes

C. Sexually uncomfortable and inappropriate pin technique

Overall:  Vince refers to the DDT as a “oh no, he dropped him right on his head!”.  Fuck this match and fuck George Wells . 1/20


4. Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Mr T


Fan reaction to watching this match
Fan reaction to watching this match

Here’s how I would assume the conversation went the day after Wrestlemania 2 in Long Island:

Guy 1: Hey man, how was that massive pile of shit you paid money to eat last night?

Guy 2: Long and horrible!  But at least I got to hear the soothing, shrieking voice of Joan Rivers announce the ringside judges for the Piper / T match.  And goddamn if she wasn’t drunk.

Apparently in boxing it is common to have ringside judges.  For this match they had NBA star “Chocolate Thunder” Darryl Dawkins.  Cab Callaway… Herb…. what is even happening right now?

“No, even I don’t know who the frig Herb is” – sincerely, 1986

She finishes by announcing “Our third judge, one of my favorite Watergate judges – G. Gorden Liddy”.  What does that mean?  What could that possibly mean?  How drunk is she?

Seriously, she confused him with this guy, which is like confusing Kenneth Lay for Sim Lake. Not one single person is going to get that joke.
Seriously, she confused him with this guy, which is like confusing Kenneth Lay for Sim Lake. Not one single person is going to get that joke.

This match was a terrible idea.  I am astounded this is the main event.  Every single element of this match is handled terribly.  Here is what Piper has to say about it.  I have helpfully underlined the sentances where I do not understand one single goddamn word of what Piper is saying.

“It was one of the worst matches of my life. Why?  In that match with Mr. T, they didn’t trust me.  I had done some boxing.  I trained for 5 weeks for this fight.  They taped my fists up solid and then put it in the gloves.  He was scared.  At the end of the day it was my fault, let’s make that clear.  Those boxing gloves are thumbless.  Mr. T was supposed to throw a left-cross.  They asked me for a little show-business.  So when he threw the left, I was supposed to go through the ropes to the floor.  But when he threw it, he missed.  He was all tired.  They really protected him.  We got an old saying, I would rather you punch my teeth down my throat then throw a popcorn punch!

Overall: I feel very sorry for Long Island.  1 out of a million


 5. Velvet McIntyre vs Fabulous Moola


Welcome to Chicago!
Welcome to Chicago!

I don’t normally watch women’s matches.  This one is no exception.

Overall: ??

 


6.  Nikolai Volkoff vs. Corporal Kirchner


Sigh. Fine
Sigh. Fine

The rumor is that this match was originally supposed to be against Sargent Slaughter.  As the story goes, Slaughter was scheduled to appear in a non-televised match a couple weeks earlier.  Prior to the match starting he told Vince he was not going to wrestle without a raise.  Vince agreed, the match happened and then he immediately fired Slaughter when the match was over.  This left Vince with a hole for Wrestlemania 2, so Kirchner was a last minute stand in. What I think is fantastic is a Corporal is the literal rank below a Sargent.  Presumably if Kirchner had not worked out, they would have gotten Specialist Mitchell, then PFC Fernandez, eventually topping out at Private Wrestler.

Featured: Private Wrestler and his unexpectedly massive coin sack
Featured: Private Wrestler and his unexpectedly massive coin sack

The match is boringly indifferent.  Kirchner is not a talented wrestler, and Nickolai is only as decent as his opponent.  The match ends quickly as Kirchner nails Volkoff with a cane thrown by Freddie Blassie.  1-2-3, another dull mid-card bites the dust

Overall: This match – Ha-Phooey!  


7. Battle Royal


No, not this one
No, not this one

Lots of “classic” wrestlers in this match who were absent from Wrestlemania 1.  King Tonga, Pedro Morales, Hillbilly Jim, Danny Spivey.. what a miserable group!  But it’s the first Wrestlemania for Bret Hart!  I have no idea what the thought was for adding football players to this.  Did this decision somehow boost their attendance?  Were Iron Mike Sharpe and Steve Lombardi booked and they couldn’t fill the ring?

I remember thinking this match was the greatest thing I’d ever seen when I first watched it as a kid.  It does not really age well.  It’s kind of an interesting affair, but mostly you’re just waiting for the ring to clear out to get down to the final four.  There are some mildly interesting eliminations, specifically the Big John Studd putting the Fridge over the top. My favorite part of this match was seeing the Hart Foundation against Andre.  It’s the only time we’d see that particular match up.  Some great moves at the end, and it finishes with Andre throwing Bret Hart right onto Neidhart.

Overall: A great match for what it was at the time.  20 man / 40 man


 8. British Bulldogs vs. Brutus Beefcake and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine


Pre-crank days
Pre-crank days

This remains one of my favorite tag matches of all time.  This is to tag matches was Macho Man vs. Steamboat is for singles matches.  This one event might single-handedly save all of Wrestlemania 2 and make the it worthwhile.

I'm terrible!
On the other hand….

This match has incredible moves with really great back and forth between the teams.  Brutus and Valentine were a great heel team and this was the Bulldogs at the top of their game.  Dynamite Kid could really move for a dude his size.  The teams pull out all the stops, both sides just coming up with some fantastic and unexpected bumps

Like this one, for example
Like this one, for example

Brutus does this fantastic move to Davey Boy where he puts him in a hammer lock and picks him up and throws him on his back.  I had literally never seen that move before, and it was just incredible

Honestly, just a thing of beauty. Davey Boy's back may disagree
Honestly, just a thing of beauty. Davey Boy’s back may disagree

The match has one of the all-time great endings, with Dynamite Kid perching on the ropes and Davey Boy ramming Valentine’s head against it.  He falls on top of him for the pin, and the bell ringer goes insane, hitting the bell about 40 times in 3 seconds.  The crowed loses their minds.  Great end to a great match

Overall: 10/10


 9. Hercules Hernandez vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat


Sup ladies
Sup again, ladies

I’ve said it before, Steamboat can’t have a bad match.   The match is generally fine, with some pretty decent moves  Hercules noticeably has trouble keeping up with the pace Steamboat is trying to set.   A few of the moves are visibly sloppy, with Hercules needing more time to lumber into the move setup. Steamboat dominates almost all of this match.  Herc launches a little offense, but nothing too significant.  Steamboat does a great job selling everything Herc is throwing at him.  The match does was it’s supposed to and gets the crowd warmed up. It ends with Steamboats High Cross Body and a great start to the third venue.  Shit, maybe this entire Wrestlemania is really starting to find its footing

I'm terrible!
Nope

Overall: Not a terrible followup to the tag match but really not a big match you would expect at WM2. 4.10


 10. Uncle Goddamn Elmer vs. Adorable Adrian Adonis


Uncle Elmer looks exactly like Louis CK, just fatter
Uncle Elmer looks exactly like Louis CK, just fatter

I hate both these wrestlers, so I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this match.  Adrian Adonis wasn’t that bad as a wrestler, but his entire shtick rings as grotesquely mean-spirited in 2015 and it’s pretty uncomfortable to watch.   The match itself is a piece of shit.  The only surprise is that Adonis wins clean without cheating. At least we’re back to completely horrible matches that Wrestlemania 2 is known for.  God forbid it got decent for even a half second

I'm terrible!
Not on my watch!

 Overall: 2 / 47


 11. Tito Santana and Junkyard Dog vs. Terry and Hoss Funk


The Funktabulous Funk Brothers, Funking it up, taking no Funk
The Funktabulous Funk Brothers, Funking it up, taking no Funk

Well okay, a couple things here.  For starters, we’ve already had the best tag match of all time tonight, so these guys have a pretty high bar to hit.  Secondly, this was the penultimate match of Wrestlemania 2?  The Funking Funk brothers and JYD? I have incredibly low expectations for this match.

I can’t remember why they did it, but I feel like they just crammed JYD and Santana together in the hopes that their combined popularity would result in magic.  Mission not accomplished. Part of the problem with this match is that Terry Funk and Santana are fantastic wrestlers.  JYD is not.  He fucks up the pace of the match every time he enters the ring.  He’s overwhelmingly the more popular wrestler, but there is no accounting for the fans in 1986.  They’re idiots. The match ends because time rolls inexorably forward, it’s relentless march making fools of all as we dance futilely in the hourglass of the years.  For every season, turn, turn, turn.

So are the days of our lives
So are the days of our lives

Overall: Matches with JYD make me understand my own mortality.  7/12


12. Hulk Hogan Vs. King Kong Bundy


The Pre-match promos feature Hogan working out in his “private gym”

Not only that, the guy in the tank top is Hogan's Doctor. The guy in the tank top. And how did Hillbilly Jim get there, wasn't he in Chicago for the Battle Royale? How did he get to LA so quickly?
How did Hillbilly Jim get there, wasn’t he in Chicago for the Battle Royal? How did he get to LA so quickly?

Not only that, the guy in the tank top is Hogan’s Doctor.  The guy in the tank top.  The implication is that Hogan, before receiving medical attention, forced his personal doctor to wear his branded merchandise.

The recap for this match features one of my favorite moments from wrestling of all time.  In the workup, Bundy attacks Hogan on Saturday Night’s Main Event and avalanches him a bunch of time.  Hogan collapses, pretending to be unconscious and leads to this exchange:

McMahon: He looks unconscious!

Jesse: (quiet, awed) I believe you’re right.  I believe he is unconscious.

It is the best acting Jesse has ever done in his life…

Literally
Literally

..and led to years of me and my friends using that line whenever one of us failed at anything –  “I believe you’re right.  I believe he is unconscious”. Anyhow!  This match is a pretty dull affair.  It was pretty great at the time but after decades of Hell in a Cell and TLC matches it seems pretty tame.  The biggest surprise is Bundy cutting himself open, it’s a nice touch for a Wrestlemania. I have to say, I’m pretty exhausted by this point.  It was just such a shitty PPV, not even a Hogan match can save it for me.  I’m just glad this is over.

Overall:  Finally!  Bed time!  3/122