Wrestlemania IX Recap

When I was younger, I remember thinking this Wrestlemania was fantastic. Will it hold up all these years later?


1. Intercontinental Championship Match:  Shawn Michaels vs. Tatanka


Shawn Michaels debuts another Wrestlemania, this time against the lazily racist caricature that is Tatanka.  As usual, Sherri is hovering by ringside, watching him wrestle, but not actually in his corner.  That interaction has been going on for like a year now.

Shawn Michaels does his usual bit here – petulant complaining to the ref and over-the-top falls when he sells moves.   It’s a fun match.

…or so I thought.  22 goddamn agonizing minutes later and my enthusiasm has waned.  Opening matches should be quick and high energy to get the crowd immediately excited.

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It should not be 12 minutes of chin locks

On the mic, Bobby Heenan and Macho Man say what we’re all thinking:

Macho Man: “This match should have been over by now”
Bobby Heenan:”It should have been over 30 moves ago”

Michaels barely touches the ref outside the ring and gets counted out or something?  It’s out of nowhere and it’s a crappy ending

Overall: Not a great start.  Horrible booking


2. The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott) vs. The Headshrinkers (Samu and Fatu)


Hoo boy.  Let’s get this over with.  Macho Man is more optimistic than me and says “This should be  a great match.  Even better than the last one”

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You think?

Scott and Fatu start in the ring and exchange some blows.  Scott gives Fatu a clotheline, which announcer Jim Ross calls a “Steiner Line”.  I  am briefly entertained by the thought that every move they do will be re-branded by Jim Ross to be Steiner-related.  An arm bar will become a Stein-bar.  A chin lock will be a Rick Lock.  A suplex will be a Stein-plex.

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A botched move will be a Steinicide

I am honestly not sure if Fatu fucked up there or not.  Generally the way that move works, you drop the guy on the top rope, not launch him right over the top.  Macho Man and Jim Ross actually comment on that for the next couple of minutes.

After that move, Scott is a destroyed mess and the Headshrinkers just lay on a pounding.  Eventually Scott makes the tag and Rick gets to play the hero rescue role.  Jim Ross refers to Rick Steiner as Dog Face, which is great.  Why not just call him “Fuc’t brow” or “Sea Monster”?

While I’m making jokes, Fatu puts Rick on his shoulders and when Samu goes for the clothesline, Rick catches him (on another guys shoulders) and power slams him.  It’s a very unexpected and very cool move.

Fresh on the heels of that, Scott hits a Frankensteiner and the match is over.

Overall: Not a horrible match.  It had 3 huge moves that were great


3. Doink the Clown vs. Crush


Look gang!  It’s Doink the Clown – in his SECOND Wrestlemania.  What’s that?  When was his first?  Glad you asked, hypothetical reader who talks to his computer.  He was in the very first Wrestlemania against Ricky Steamboat!

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Matt Osborne, wondering “What if Doink was one of us”

There is nothing spectacular to recap in this match.  Neither wrestler is that good, the moves are all telegraphed and clumsy and neither character is that interesting.

The ref gets knocked down, Doink gets knocked out of the ring and in the confusion a 2nd Doink comes out from under the apron.  The 2nd Doink interferes, clobbers Crush, it’s the dumbest thing I’ve seen and who cares.  Who.  Cares.

Overall: Two Doinks!


4. Razor Ramon vs. Bob Backlund


Yep.  This is an actual Wrestlemania match.  Ramon, ostensibly the heel, comes out to a huge pop, Bob Backlund comes out to what can best be classified as polite indifference.  The WWE has always been a little tone deaf when it comes to who the fans like.

I wish there was something entertaining to say about this match.  Bob Backlund goes on a tiny amount of offence and the crowd is stone cold silent.  Out of nowhere, Ramon hits a small package and gets the win

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If they can’t be bothered to come up with a match, I can’t be bothered to come up with a joke

Overall:  That was garbage


5. Tag Team Championship Match: Money Inc (Ted Dibiase and IRS) vs. The Mega Friends Powers Maniacs (Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake)


Money incorporated put their belts on the line in the second title defense of the night.  Hogan and Beefcake are sporting a black eye and stupid face mask, respectively

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It’s a toss up which looks worse

In real life, Hogan had been in a jet ski accident.  They worked the injury into the match by saying Money Inc attacked him in the dressing room backstage.

At this point of his career, Hogan has given up any pretense of actual wrestling and is just throwing haymakers.  Even Macho points out “not many wrestling holds from the Hulkster”

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Maybe I wasted my career by actually trying to be a talented wrestler?

Halfway through the match, Money Inc decides to bail on the match and go back to the dressing room.  Taking the mic, the ref lets them know that (contrary to the actual rules of WWE) “If Money Inc does not return to the ring, they will forfeit the belt”.

I think every professional sport would be improved if the ref had the ability to alter the rules of the game on the fly.

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Patriots – penalty, offside.  Also, if Tom Brady does not full-on make out with Drew Bledsoe on the 50 yard line, the Patriots are banned from the NFL forever.

The match continues and Ted Dibiase makes the cardinal mistake of putting Hogan in a choke hold.  Really surprisingly, Hogan doesn’t Hulk The Fuck Out.   Beefcake comes in and clears house, but Money Inc. regains the advantage.

Money Inc. takes off Beefcakes  mask and start punching him in the face.  Beefcake oversells every punch and I guess the gist is that his face bones are really soft and squishy now?  Because he’s healing or something?

Hogan gets the tag and then a bunch of weird things happen.  The ref is knocked out, Hogan hits Money Inc with the “titanium” face mask, the Mega Maniacs collectively pin Money Inc, Jimmy Hart reverses his jacket so it’s a referee stripes and then counts for the 3.  A new ref comes out and says Money Inc is disqualified so they keep the belts.

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Mega Maniacs triumphantly celebrate their technical loss

Overall: I think this match might have been the high point of this PPV which is really unfortunate


6. Mr. Perfect vs. Lex Lugar


The match hasn’t started and I’m already disappointed.  I’m pretty sure Perfect is going to put Lugar over.  Poor Mr Perfect.  He deserves better.

Lugar was still doing his “Narcissist” bit at this point so we are treated to 5 minutes of posing

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I thought Beefcake was in the last match?

At the start of the match, Macho Man calls Bobby Heenan “Camel breath”. I have no idea what that insult means in this context.   Normally, that’s something Jesse Ventura would say to the Iron Sheik or something.  It’s completely random.  Why not call him “Panda breath” or “Unicorn Breath”?

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Are camels even known for the quality of their breath?  While I continue to wonder about this, I guess there’s some wrestling going on in the background

Macho and Heenan basically bicker for the whole match.  They barely call the action.  I’m not sure if this is a bit or if they are genuinely irritated with each other.

More wresting continues in the background.  It’s pretty routine stuff, nothing that great.  Perfect is having trouble dragging a math out of Lugar.

It ends when Lugar reverses a back… slide… flip-pin?

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I don’t actually know what it’s called

Overall: This Wrestlemania is just dragging on and on


7. Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzalez


I have almost nothing to say about this match

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I’m going to let the disgusting flesh suit do the talking for me

Gonzalez is as much a wrestler as I am.  He quite obviously has no idea what he’s doing.  This entire match is a farce.  The whole thing is punch after punch.

It ends when Gonzalez chloroforms The Undertaker.  Sure.  Why the fuck not.

The booking in this event was abysmal.  There were so few clean wins.  We now have 7 matches and 3 disqualifications, 2 suspicious endings and 1 clean pin.  Fuck you, Wrestlemania IX.

Overall: I love the Undertaker, but this was embarrassing


8. Heavyweight Championship Match: Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna


Did I say embarrassing?  I forgot about this travesty of a match.  Rather than bother with a recap, I’ll just let Bret Hart tell you about it

Bret Hart on the Controversy behind Dropping the Belt to Hulk Hogan via Yokozuna at Wrestlemania 9 and Hogan’s Flat-out Refusal to Put Him over in a Match

“On April 2, 1993, [I] went to my room just in time to answer a call from Vince, who asked me to come to his suite to talk.I knocked on his door and he answered it with that goofy grin. We sat down, and Vince said, “This is what I want to do. I want you to drop the belt to Yoko tomorrow.”

This was not what I had expected. I sat there dumbstruck as he went on to explain how Fuji would screw me by throwing salt in my face, blinding me. After Yoko was handed the belt, Hogan would rush to my aid and in some kind of roundabout way Hogan would end up winning the belt from Yoko right then and there!

Like I was handing Vince my sword, I told him I appreciated everything he did for me and I’d do whatever he wanted. Vince said, “Don’t get bitter. I still have big plans for you.” Sound bites flashed through my mind of Vince assuring me that I was the long-term champion, and not to worry about Hogan, who still hadn’t even spoken to me yet.

As I stood up to leave, I asked, “Did you take the belt from me because I didn’t do a good enough job?”

“Of course not! I’m just going in a different direction. It’s still onwards and upwards for you. Nothing is going to change too much for you.”

I was totally crushed

As I lay in bed that night, the more I thought about what Vince had in mind for Hogan, the more I felt that it would completely backfire on both of them. The hokey finish would stink, maybe not immediately, but in the weeks to come my fans, who were the biggest contingent in Vince’s paying audience at that time, would gag on it. There was something different about my fans. They really believed in me as a person.

By the time I got to the dressing room the following afternoon, word that I was losing the title had leaked out to the boys. Most of them were quiet and some were angry. The Nasty Boys, Shawn, Taker and several others expressed their utter disappointment. Knowing I was losing the belt didn’t stop me from planning on having a great match. I went over everything with Yoko and designed the match so that all the best moves were left for the final minute.

Hulk arrived with his entourage: his wife, manager, Beefcake and Jimmy Hart. Clearly he’d been in the know all along, probably from the first day he came back. Now he was suddenly acting like my long-lost old pal and wearing a big smile that rightfully belonged to me.”

Overall: This match was garbage and this was a terrible event

 

 

 

Survivor Series 1991

Some history before this match starts.  After being beaten by the Ultimate Warrior in Wrestlemania VII, retiring, and then marrying his wife in SummerSlam, Macho Man was mostly on the microphone.

Then this happened:

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Yes, that’s a snake gnawing on Macho Man’s arm because Macho Man is a crazy, crazy lunatic

Macho Man was understandably irritated that Jake Roberts attacked him with a snake and as a result of the attack, Jack Tunney (then president of the WWE) reinstated him, ending his retirement.  It’s the exact same way Michael Jordan returned to basketball I think.

The whole event was slightly gruesome as yes, that was a real snake and yes, it really bit Randy Savage and yes, he really bled all over the ring and yes, I think the people watching at ringside were vaguely horrified

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Yaaay, wrestling?

On with the show!


1. The Mountie, Ted Dibiase, The Warlord, Ric Flair vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper, Bret Hart, Virgil, Davey Boy Smith


So Ric Flair finally makes his entrance into the WWE.  At the start ,Piper calls him out, but the match instead starts with Piper and Dibiase.
There’s a bunch of back and forth with Piper’s team doing most of the offence and they do a good job at keeping the excitement up.  Finally, Piper gets tagged in and takes on Flair.  It’s not stop punches and kicks and the crowd loves it

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Yaaay wrestling!

One interesting thing about this match is all about individual rivalries – it’s Dibiase vs. Virgil, Warlord Vs. Davey Boy, Piper vs. Flair and Hitman vs. The Mountie… although I’m not sure why that one is a rivalry?

Eventually Ric Flair eliminates Davey Boy, but not before Davey Boy does this to the Mountie

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Insert your own joke about Queen Elizabeth and the Canadian Parliamentary system

What follows is a long six minutes of general wrestling with a heavy emphasis on submission holds.  Piper puts the figure four on Flair, the Mountie puts the Boston Crab on Piper, Warlord puts the Full Nelson on Virgil.

The Warlord is then pinned by Piper with some help from Bret Hart.  The match ends in a quintuple disqualification when everyone gets in the ring and pisses off the ref, I guess.

With everyone disqualified, Flair wins the match

Overall: Piper, Flair and Hart kept this entire match more entertaining than it had any right to be


2. Sgt. Slaughter, Jim Duggan, The Texas Tornado, and Tito Santana vs. Col. Mustafa, The Berzerker, Skinner, and Hercules (with Mr. Fuji and General Adnan)


Who the hell is Skinner?

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An influential American psychologist?

I don’t remember him at all.  And the Beserker?  Man, 1991 sure loved it’s Warlord / Barbarian / Conan-themed wrestlers, didn’t it?

And Tito Santana has now been re-branded as “The Matador”, also spelling the beginning of the end for his career in the WWE.  And Slaughter is now a good guy after WM VII.  Man, there’s lots of stuff to catch up on here.

Anyway, let’s start this whole recap off on the right foot

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With a flying forearm BABY

Welp, I’m happy now.  I barely even care what happens in the rest of this match.

And it’s a good thing too, because you know what happens?  Nothing!  This match is boring as shit.  I entertain myself by noticing how much Sgt. Slaughter looks like Woody Harrelson’s character in Kingpin:

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Seriously, it’s uncanny

The face team knocks off the heel team one after the other.

Overall: Not even sweet, sweet Tito Santana and a flying forearm could save this stinker


Interlude


Between matches there is an interview with Jake Roberts.  It’s completely uneventful, except for one thing.  Below is the sweater he’s wearing Nov 27, 1991 when Summerslam was taped.

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This is the outfit he wore in a Brother Love segment around Feb, 1991, 10 months earlier:

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Is.. is that the only sweater Jake Roberts owns?  If not, is it his favorite sweater?  If it is – why?  Why would that be his favorite sweater?  It’s quite literally the ugliest sweater ever.

This SummerSlam is full of surprises


3. World Championship Title Match: Hulk Hogan vs. The Undertaker


I did not remember the Undertaker getting a title shot this early.  Is this the only time these two ever fought?  I think it is.

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Early Undertaker intimidated strictly through the size of his tie

While it’s kind of neat to see these two in the ring together, this is mostly a very dull match.  Hogan never mounts an offense, so it’s just 10 minutes of the Undertaker applying choke holds.

There’s some minor excitement at the end when Hogan hulks the fuck out and slams the Undertaker, but that’s about it.

Thanks to some interference by Ric Flair, Undertaker tombstones Hogan onto a steel chair and gets the pin and the belt.  Hogan would go on to get the belt back a week later under equally chaotic circumstances, leading to the belt being vacated and up for grabs for the winner of the 1992 Royal Rumble

Overall: Fun, but a very mediocre match


4. The Nasty Boyz and The Beverly Brothers (Beau Beverly and Blake Beverly) vs The Rockers and The Fucking Bushwhackers


This match has some historical significance as it directly to the events of the now-legendary Barbershop where Shawn Michaels superkicks Marty Jannetty and puts him through a plate glass window

The action in this match is pretty good.  Jannetty is on his A game and it’s just so disappointing how he ended up.   This would be his last PPV for awhile as he’d be let go from the WWE shortly after this due to an altercation with a police officer.

In the match itself, both the Bushwhackers are eliminated pretty quickly, leaving just the Rockers against both the Nasty Boyz and The Beverly Brothers.  The Rockers get absolutely creamed for 10 minutes until this happens:

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In all fairness, this is a completely legitimate reason to superkick someone through a plate glass window

With Michaels gone, Jannetty gives it his all, but he is finished off pretty quickly by one of the Nasty Boys

Overall: A pretty good match and the last time the Rockers would appear together in a PPV


5. The Road Warriors and Big Boss Man vs The Natural Disasters and IRS


So this is the final match of the Survivor Series.  There’s nothing too great about this very average match.

Big Boss Man is eliminated after about 5 minutes by IRS and then the Road Warriors just plow through the remaining team for the win

Overall: Meh. I really never liked the Road Warriors that much.  Once you get past their legitimately cool look, they’re not good enough wrestlers to be entertaining.  What did the Undertaker think?

Hogan Undertaker
Undertaker says “Hold on just a fucking second Hogan, I’m closing off this blog post”

SummerSlam ’91


1. Ricky Steamboat, The British Bulldog and Texas Tornado vs. Power & Glory with The Warlord


After a hiatus from the WWE, Ricky Steamboat makes his return. Sadly, this marks the start of his unfortunate run as “The Dragon”

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No longer metaphorical

He never hit the same level of popularity with this gimmick that he did as just plain ole’ Ricky Steamboat.  This would mark his only PPV as he quit the WWE a few months after this match.

He also appears to be a bit rusty against the Warlord

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Okay, so you breath on me and I’ll jump halfway across the ring

The only other thing interesting about this match is in one year, all of these guys are gone from the WWE.  Davey Boy lasts the longest, appearing in next years SummerSlam

Overall: This is a good match to start the event.


2. Intercontinential Match: Mr. Perfect vs. Bret the Hitman Hart


This is widely considered one of Bret’s best matches and often appears in lists for best matches of all time.  At this point, Mr. Perfect is wrestling with a broken tailbone and herniated disks, so it’s incredibly impressive he managed to pull off this kind of match.

There’s a ton of great back and forth with very few obvious rest holds.  You can really tell how much Perfect’s back is bothering him through the whole match, but he barely misses a step

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For example, this can’t be good for a broken back

The match ends with Mr. Perfect hitting a leg drop, Bret catches his leg (lying down) and converts it into a sharp shooter.  Mr. Perfect submits and Bret gets the belt.

Overall: A fantastic match


3. The Natural Disasters vs. The Fucking Bushwhackers


I’m only watching this match in the hopes that the Bushwhackers just get absolutely demolished.

And sure enough, they get destroyed by those fat assholes.  The Bushwhackers get a couple seconds of offense at the start, but it’s short lived.

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That’s probably a terrifying thing to see from the mat

Overall: Meh


4. Million Dollar Man vs. Virgil


The feud between Virgil and Million Dollar Man continues.  While the storyline behind this match was very well done, the actual wrestling itself is nothing spectacular.  The match goes on a little too long and ends with Virgil getting the pin and winning the Million Dollar Belt

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Dibiase and Virgil take a time out for a quick nap

Overall: Two very average wrestlers having a very average match that is elevated slightly by the over-the-top fan response to the action


5. The Mountie vs. The Big Boss Man


This is dubbed as a “Jailhouse Match” where the loser needs to spend 24 hours in prison.  Because they’re both officers of the law?  Sort of?  So somehow, this makes sense.

This is another mediocre match with mediocre wrestlers.  The crowd is still super pumped for the match, but I can’t generate any interest.

Boss Man wins with a power slam and the Mountie is taken to prison.

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Uh… what are we actually going to charge him with?

Overall: This SummerSlam is taking a real shitty turn for the worse


5. Tag Team Match: The Road Warriors vs. The Nasty Boyz


WWE had an incredibly shallow Tag Team pool in 1991.  Demolition was on the way out, Hart Foundation split… the only other team of note was the Rockers.

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And God forbid they ever get a title

Legion of Doom pretty effectively takes apart the Nasty Boyz, and wins the title, making them the only Tag Team to win the belt in all three major promotions (WWE, WCW and NWA).

Overall: I’m going to start skipping through this garbage PPV.  This is as bad as Wrestlemania II


5. IRS vs. Greg Valentine


Aw, come on. I don’t need to watch this match again, I already watched Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham wrestle the Dream Team of Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake in 1985.

This is the introduction of Mike Rotundo as Irwin R. Schyster aka IRS – a wrestler-slash-accountant obsessed with paying taxes.

Accountant
You mean I could have been a wrestler?

After 9 minutes of boring wrestling, IRS beats Valentine clean with a small package

Given the absolute horrible garbage most of this card is, I’d like to point out who the WWE chose to leave in the dressing room in favor of these matches – Undertaker, The Rockers, Tito Santana and Jake Roberts.

Overall: Please, just end this stupid PPV


6. Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior vs. Sgt. Slaughter, Col. Mustafa and General Adnan with Sid Justice as guest referee


This match is mostly remembered for the controversy that followed. As the story goes, Warrior had told McMahon if he didn’t get a raise, he was going to no-show this event.  Having no choice, McMahon reluctantly agreed to his demands and Warrior wrestled the match.  As soon as it was over, he was fired on the spot.

The Warrior has disputed this version of events saying he quit, but at the post-match celebration in the ring, Warrior is nowhere to be seen.

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Unless he’s the dude outside the ring with the camera? I don’t know, it’s tough to tell what he looks like without his facepaint

Anyway, obviously Hogan won this, and to celebrate he posed down with the officiator, which is standard at most sporting events.

Overall: This entire Summerslam was just a miserable, exhausting experience.


7. Bonus event: Macho Man vs. Miss Elizabeth


Summerslam 1991 was also remembered for the marriage of Macho Man to Elizabeth, even though they had already been married since 1984.  But as my wife reminds me, a marriage isn’t official until Vince McMahon says so

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Hey, is this feather on my hat goddamn ridiculous?

Overall: A very strange end to a very uneven Summerslam

Survivor Series ’90


1. The Perfect Team – (Demolition [Ax, Smash, Crush] and Mr. Perfect) vs. The Ultimate Team – (Legion of Doom, Ultimate Warrior and Texas Tornado)


So.  The World Wrestling Champion is in a kickoff match in a PPV.  I literally cannot think of one other time when this has happened.  This really is a signal of how fundamentally the Warrior’s Championship run did not work out the way WWE / Vince McMahon intended.

On the other hand, skipping ahead to the final match tells me that the Warrior is in that one as well.  So… yeah.  That kind of steps all over my original point.  This is awkward.

Early on in the match, the Ultimate Warrior ducks under a clothesline that Ax did not throw.  I will always provide a gif of the Warrior fucking up in the ring, because he’s a terrible, terrible wrestler.

The script says I duck, so you better believe I'm going to goddamn duck
The script says I duck, so you better believe I’m going to goddamn duck

Let’s be clear about why I pick on the Warrior so much, and what I mean about him being a terrible wrestler.  It’s not that he has a limited arsenal of moves (although he does), it’s not that his matches are the same matches every time (they are) and it’s not that he doesn’t know how to sell a move (he doesn’t).  I mean that technically, he is a terrible wrestler.  He does not understand how to do pull off the moves, his timing is horrible and he is always out of synch with the other guy in the ring.  More than any other wrestler in history, he makes wrestling look fake.

Anyway, he pins Ax.

Hawk comes in for a long run after that.  As he’s about to pin Smash, the rest of Demolition jumps in and Animal comes in as well.  They mix it up for too long and the ref disqualifies them both.  It’s now just Mr. Perfect vs. Ultimate Warrior and Texas Tornado

Ohhhhhh what a rus- shit, I'm disqualified?
Ohhhhhh what a rush- shit, I’m disqualified?

Perfect goes against the Tornado and after some good back and forth ends up pinning him clean with the Perfect Plex.  Now it’s just Warrior and Perfect.

Perfect takes early control, but limits himself to punches and kicks, keeping the match at the Warriors skill level.  Eventually, for no reason, the Warrior comes to life, throws two shoulder blocks and pins Perfect, just like he always does

Just so I'm clear, we hate it when a wrestler always wins with the exact same moves, right?
Just so I’m clear, we hate it when a wrestler always wins with the exact same moves, right?

Overall: A really shitty match and a pretty crummy kickoff to the Survivor Series


2.  The Dream Team (Dusty Rhodes, Koko B Ware, Hart Foundation) vs. Million Dollar Team (Honky Tonk Man, Greg Valentine, Ted Dibiase and THE FUCKING UNDERTAKER)


Holy shit, the Undertaker!!  The first PPV with the Undertaker!!

!!!!!!
!!!!!!

The goddamn Undertaker.  The Undertaker!  The match starts and UNDERTAKER!

!!!!
!!!

Koko B Ware and so long because the Undertaker.

!!!!
!!!!

Then some non-Undertaker stuff happens and Honky Tonk is eliminated and then Neidhart.

Honestly, who gives a shit
Honestly, who gives a shit

Eventually, more Undertaker!!  Dusty Rhodes!  So long loser!

!!!
!!!

Sadly, more non-Undertaker wrestling.  He chases Dusty Rhodes to the dressing room and gets counted out.  So there is now no more Undertaker in this match, so… why am I even here?  I mean, Hart manages to eliminate Greg Valentine and it’s awesome.  And sure, he has a great finishing match against Dibiase.  And I guess it’s kind of cool how Dibiase manages to squeeze out a legitimate win.

But still.  None of this is Undertaker-related.

Overall: Too little Undertaker


3. The Vipers  (Jake “The Snake” Roberts, The Rockers, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka”) vs. The Visionaries (“The Model” Rick Martel, Hercules and Paul Roma [Power and Glory] and the Warlord)


I’m immediately biased against this match because it stars the Warlord.  The very same Warlord that beat my favorite wrestler, Tito Santana at the last PPV.  On the other hand, it also has the Rockers, with my very favorite wrestler Marty Jannetty

As I write this, it’s about 3 months after Snuka was arrested for the murder of his girlfriend.

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How unexpected

As he enters the ring, Gorilla calls him the Phenom.  I wonder how many wrestlers he tried that title on before it stuck with the undertaker.

Jannetty starts this match against the Warlord and is awesome.  He’s just so quick and high energy that’s it’s hard not to be entertained.   Really, there’s just a ton of talent in this match.

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For example whatever this move is

This era is notable for the WWE’s attempt to turn Rowdy Roddy Piper into a commentator.  It feels like it should work, he was one of the more gifted guys on the mic.  Sadly, he couldn’t convert the talent.  He is simply horrible, horrible commentator.  Most of it is:

“YEESSS!  GO SHAWN MICHAELS!  WOO! THIS GUY IS AWESOME!  YES!  GET HIM!”

As I’m typing, Jannetty goes for a flying cross body against the Warlord who catches him and coverts it to a power slam.  Jannetty is eliminated.  Some more action and then Warlord throws Shawn Michaels 32 feet into the air

Back Drop
Wheee!

There’s some less exciting back and forth after that, and the Model gets a cheap pin on Snuka.  It’s now 4 to 2 for the heels.

The lopsided beating continues, eventually culminating in Power and Glory hitting their finisher, the “Power Plex”.  It’s actually pretty cool, Hercules suplexes Michaels off the top rope and just as they hit the mat, Roma nails the splash off the top rope.

Power Plex
This.  They do this

Now it’s just Jake left and I have to tell you, I don’t like his chances.  He manages to hit Warlord with the DDT, but the refs back was turned.  He chases Martel out of the ring with his snake and gets counted out.  The Visionaries win the match

Overall: Not a bad little match


4. The Natural Disasters (Earthquake, Dino Bravo, The Barbarian and Haku) vs. The Hulkamaniacs (Tugboat, Hacksuck Fuck Shithead, Big Boss Man and Hulk Hogan)


Big Boss man has made so many heel / face turns you’d think he was a runway model.  A fat, racist runway model.

The match starts off with Hacksuck and I refuse to recap anything else while he is in the ring.  God, I hate him so much.

Hacksuck finally tags out and the match starts with Big Boss Man vs. Haku.  Haku is eliminated in no time flat as Big Boss man hits the side suplex.  Then the Barbarian comes in.

At this point in the WWE, they had the Warlord, the Barbarian, Hawk, Animal, Smash, Crush and Ax.  They really wanted to explore every possible facet of the “crazy, brawling, face painted, lunatic” didn’t they?

Hacksuck comes in and he’s awful.  Jimmy Hart interferes so Hacksuck goes for the 2×4 and is disqualified.  Jesus fucking Christ.  How many matches end with that stupid, stupid asshole getting disqualified?  Hold on, I’m going to go check the records:

Survivor Series 87 – Eliminated by count out
Wrestlemania IV – Beaten by Dibiase
Survivor Series 88 – Disqualified due to 2×4
Royal Rumble 89 – Win due to 2×4
Wrestlemania V – Double disqualification (no 2×4)
SummerSlam 89 – Win due to 2×4
Survivor Series 89 – Win due to 2×4
Royal Rumble 90 – Win due to getting hit with a nightstick from Big Boss Man
Wrestlemania VI – Clean loss to Earthquake

Well isn’t that interesting.  As it turns out, going for the 2×4 is literally Hacksucks best chance to win a match.  He has literally no clean wins under his belt.  Like not one legitimate pin in 10 PPV’s.  He.  Is.  The.  Worst.

Hogan comes out to wrestle Earthquake.  We just saw this exact same match at SummerSlam, so there’s not a ton of excitement to this.  Bravo tags in and Hogan hits him with the small package for the pin.

Okay, this was actually unexpected
Okay, this was actually unexpected

Next, Big Boss Man take on Earthquake.  Boss Man goes to the top rope and hits Earthquake with a flying body press that… Earthquake catches.  That’s actually really goddamn impressive.  He caught like 280 pounds in the air.  After that he just takes Big Boss Man apart and gets the pin.  We’re down to Hogan / Tugboat against Earthquake / Barbarian.

Tugboat has literally not stepped foot in the ring at this point.

Hogan comes back out to take on Earthquake and keeps going for the body slam.  It’s a mistake and he collapses under the weight of all that ham.

He makes a dramatic tag to tugboat who finally squares off against Earthquake…. for all of like 11 seconds.  They get dragged outside the ring and everyone gets counted out.

Weird, it's almost like carrying 380 extra pounds of fat doesn't add to your stamina
Weird, it’s almost like carrying 380 extra pounds of fat doesn’t add to your agility to climb in and out of the ring

So now it’s just Hogan and Barbarian and I’m going to finish the recap here.  You know what happens, Hulk will hulk the fuck out and get the pin.

Shocking!
Shocking!

Overall: Really dull, predictable match


5. The Alliance (Nikolai Volkoff, Tito Santana, and The Bushwhackers) vs The Mercenaries (Sgt. Slaughter, Boris Zhukov, and The Orient Express )


The only reason I am going to bother watching or recapping this match at all is on the off chance Tito Santana hits someone with the sweet sweet flying forearm

You got it buddy!
You got it buddy!

Wow, right off the bat, Tito eliminates Boris Zhukov.  And in like the next 30 seconds, one of the Bushwhackers eliminates one of the Orient Express.  Man, the only thing that would make this match better is Tito hitting another sweet, sweet flying forearm

No problem!
No problem!

Now it’s just Slaughter vs. everyone.   I’m going to guess this match ends pretty quickly.  I wonder if the previous matches ran long and they told the gang to speed this one up?

As Slaughter gets the upper hand, the crowd starts chanting “USA!  USA!”.  Good job crowd!  That chant will really get the Mexican, the 2 Australians and the Russian fired up!

Some really uneventful wrestling follows, none of which involves Tito Santana, so I don’t care.  In a very surprising turn of events, Slaughter ends up eliminating both Volkoff and the Bushwhackers, making a match of this.  What the hell is this, why isn’t this match over?

Wait, when did Slaughter face Hogan in Wrestlemania?

Oh, there you go, it was Wrestlemania VII, the next one coming up.  So this entire match is to show how dominant and unstoppable Slaughter is so the match against Hogan isn’t a total joke.

Tito Santana nails a third flying forearm and is about to win, but some interference gives Tito the win by DQ.

Overall: This match had three Tito Flying Forearms.  It is unquestionably the greatest match in all of WWE history.


6. The Face Team (Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, and Tito Santana) vs The Heel Team (Ted DiBiase, Rick Martel, The Warlord, and Power and Glory)


I guess the way this worked is that the previous survivors fight in this final match.  But it only applies to the previous 3 matches, not the previous 5.  I’m… really confused, but whatever.

Before the match starts, they cut to Mean Gene standing in front of a giant egg.  The egg hatches and this pops out

I disprove the existence of God
I disprove the existence of God

The turkey-monster grabs Mean Gene to the middle of the ring to dance while “Turkey in the straw” plays over the loudspeaker.

What the hell is even happening?

The antics go on for like 10 minutes.  Okay, they obviously needed to give everyone some more time to prep in the dressing room.

The match starts and before you can blink, Tito hits the Warlord with the sweet, sweet Flying Forearm and gets the pin.

Holy shit!
Holy shit!

The audience barely has time to react, it happened so fast.  Dibiase comes in and gets another quick elimination on Tito.  This match is unrolling at a clip.

Hogan gets the sand pounded out of him for awhile, until Power and Glory hit the Power Plex.  Hogan kicks out and pins Roma.  Hogan and Warrior take turns beating on the Model, who eventually leaves the match and runs back to the dressing room.  It’s now Hogan / Warrior against Dibiase and Hercules.

Hogan faces off against Dibiase and just demolishes him.  He pins him clean and then it’s time for Warrior to jump in and take out Hercules.  Just like that, the match is over.

Cena Forever!!
Cena Forever!!

Overall: A very abrupt end to a very uneven Survivor Series

 

 

SummerSlam ’90

Before we start reviewing SummerSlam, let’s all take a moment to mourn the passing of Rowdy Roddy Piper.  He is commentating on this one with Vince Mcmahon, and as they kick things off, Piper spends the entire segment eye-fucking the camera harder than anything.  He’s the best.

This picture is so sexy, looking at it made my Mom pregnant
This picture is so sexy, looking at it made my Mom pregnant

Anyhoo, on to the matches


1. The Rockers vs. Power (Hercules) and Glory (Paul Roma)


So.  Power and Glory, huh?  At Wrestlemania, Hercules was a face, so I guess he turned.  Or Roma for that matter.  Well, whatever.

Before the bell, Hercules attacks Shawn Michaels with his chain and leaves him beaten outside the ring.  Marty Jannetty is left to fight by himself.

This is the match that made me really start to respect Marty Jannetty and think he was dramatically under-rated in the WWE.  Michaels never gets up from the Hercules attack, so Jannetty needs to wrestle in essentially a handicap match.  He carries this whole match by himself and gives an unbelievable performance.  This is one of my favorite, favorite matches.  If Roma and Hercules were more dynamic or technical wrestlers, I really believe this would have gone down as a classic.

For example, here's Jannetty being thrown 9 feet into the air.
For example, here’s Jannetty being thrown 9 feet into the air. < yawn >

They beat Jannetty pretty quickly, unsurprisingly, but still.  Good stuff.  This starts to setup the inevitable Rockers breakup.

Overall: Great start to the event


2. Intercontinental Championship Match – Mr. Perfect vs. Texas Tornado


Wikipedia tells me that after Wrestlemania VI, the Ultimate Warrior vacated the belt and Perfect won it during some tournament.

Kerry Von Erich makes his WWE PPV debut here.  I’m looking forward to a pretty good match.  It starts off entertaining, with Perfect going on offense pretty quickly and playing with Von Erich.

Then this happens
Then this happens

If you can’t tell from the picture, that’s the Texas Tornado grabbing Mr. Perfect’s head.  I don’t know what that move is called.  I call it “Stupid, Dumb Head Grab”.  After that garbage, he spin-punches Perfect and gets the pin.  Texas Tornado is the new champion.

Overall: Not a perfect match


3. Sensational Queen Sherri vs. Sapphire


“What in the world is that” – Vince Mcmahon

Well, I’m not actually going to dignify this match with a review.  This is 100% a comment on the farce of putting an actual wrestler like Sherri against a nothing like Sapphire.  Apparently Sapphire agrees as she refuses to come to the ring.  After announcing her twice, she never shows up.  Sherri wins by forfeit

Overall: That farce of an ending still beats an actual match


4. Tito Santana vs. The Warlord


I have a sinking feeling that Tito is again going to be used to put over another wrestler on his way to the top.  Roddy begins the match by reassuring us that he’s not going to call Tito a bean eater.  That’s… great to know Roddy.

Warlord takes control of this match really quickly.  I expect Tito is very distracted by how much he looks like Stone Cold Steve Austin

If Stone Cold opened cans of HGH instead of whoop ass
If Stone Cold opened cans of HGH instead of whoop ass

Tito eventually manages to mount some offense and shit, we know what’s coming!

Flying Forearm BABY
Flying Forearm BABY

It’s not enough though.  Warlord kicks out of the pin and gives him the ole power slam for the pin.

Overall: Ah Tito.  Will you ever win?


5. Tag Team Title Match – Demolition vs. Hart Foundation


We now enter the phase when Crush joins demolition.  Wikipedia lets me know that the reason they added Crush was because Bill Eadie had developed an allergy to shellfish (which he attributed to his frequent trips to Japan) which hospitalized him, and McMahon wanted to add a third member to the team just in case the illness put Eadie out of action for an extended period of time.

This is a 2 out of 3 falls match, always great to see them switch it up a little.

The match starts with a ton of great action.  Neidhart ends up getting hurt outside the ring.  Bret Hart does a great job of fending off Smash and Crush but eventually gets pinned after a double team, so Demolition takes the first fall.

Bret continues to get beaten up in the ring and nearly gets pinned a few times, but eventually makes the tag to Neidhart who comes in a house of fire.  After some beatings, the Bret goes for the pin, Demolition throws the ref out of the way, and Hart Foundation get the pin by DQ.  It’s tied at a fall apiece.  During the melee, Ax runs out to the ring and hides under the apron.

Hart Foundation start the last sequence in control with Bret Hart dominating Smash.  Pulling an old Killer Bees trick, Smash runs out outside the ring, Ax crawls out from under the apron and starts wrestling.  The Ref can’t tell them apart.  Ax is totally fresh, so manages to turn the tide on Bret Hart pretty quickly.

Refs are the only group of people for whom this disguise actually works
Refs are the only group of people for whom this disguise actually works

Then the Road Warriors…. oh wait, that’s the Legion of Doom.  Sorry.  The LoD come out to interfere and throw the right guy (Smash) in the ring.  Or Crush.  Or whoever.  I can’t tell any of them apart.  In the confusion, the Hart Foundation get the pin, the win and the belt!

Yes! Fuck! Yes!
Yes! Fuck! Yes!

Overall: Really good match with a great crowd pop when the Hart Foundation got the pin


6. Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Bad News Brown  with Big Boss Man as Guest Referee


I despise “guest referee” matches.  You’re almost always guaranteed a fairly crummy match with a ref-based disqualification finish, where one guy ends up fighting the ref.  Bleh.

I’d love to see this applied in any other sport.  Because the implication of these matches is that the refs are so terrible at their jobs, you need an actual wrestler in the ring to keep control.  They should have football players officiate NFL games and have Serena Williams ref every tennis match from now on.

Why even stop there?  Why not have Bon Jovi as the first base coach at the world series and then you could have President Obama ref the Stanley Cup.

Oh look, while I was typing, Bad News Brown was disqualified by Big Boss Man and they ended up fighting.  Surprise

As shocking as the ending to the 6th sense!!

Overall: This is a very up and down SummerSlam


7.  Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Nikolai Volkoff vs. The Orient Express


Yeah, like I said in Wrestlemania VI, I refuse to cover Hacksuck Jim Fuckhead matches anymore.  I don’t even give a shit why Nikolai is a good guy now

Overall: Don’t care


8. Dusty Rhodes vs. Macho Man Randy Savage


There’s no reason why this shouldn’t be a good match.  Both these guys are great performers in the ring.

As a side spectacle, before the match starts Ted Dibiase comes out and grabs the mic.  This whole thing is has a backstory where Sapphire was bought by Ted Dibiase, betraying Dusty Rhodes.  For those keeping score at home on their racist-ometer, Ted Dibiase, a rich, white man, has a character where he buys black people and he now owns two.

< sigh >

Ah, WWE.  You do make it hard to defend you.

Anyway, as all this stupid, stupid bullshit goes on, Macho Man attacks Dusty from behind to start the match.  They go back and forth a bit and Sherri interferes, prompting Dusty to seize the moral high ground from Dibiase by threatening to assault a woman.

< sigh >

Well this match is certainly filled with just a metric fucking ton of moral ambiguity.  Macho man hits Dusty with an iron-filled purse and gets the quick pin

Overall: Lots of feelings here


9. Earthquake (with Dino Bravo) vs. Hulk Hogan (with Big Boss Man)


This is literally the first PPV since 1984, that Hogan hasn’t headlined.

For anyone counting, that’s like 16 main event PPVs in a row.  I wonder if that’s a record even John Cena beats?  I think that’s pretty impressive.

Rather than recap this match, I’m just going to go back and watch Wrestlemania II and watch Hogan / Bundy.  Because seriously, this is basically the same match.  Lots of Hogan-can’t-get-Earthquake-down-oh-my-god-he-got-him-down followed by oh-my-god-Hogan-won’t-get-up-from-that followed by Hogan hulking the fuck out after two splashes.  Honestly, really standard stuff.

The only part of the match that is a deviation is that Jimmy Hart interferes and the action spills outside and Earthquake gets counted out.

Boom
Boom

Overall: Of course he slammed Earthquake


10. World Heavyweight Championship Cage Match: Rick Rude vs. Ultimate Warrior


I guess Vince McMahon agrees with what I said in my recap of Wrestlemania V and SummerSlam ’89.  Rick Rude is one of the few people that can make Ultimate Warrior look like an actual wrestler.

So a cage match, huh?  This is the 2nd cage match we’ve seen at a PPV, the first one being Hogan / Bundy in Wrestlemania 2.

Rude and Warrior get right into it and spend the first 5 minutes throwing each other into the cage.  Rude gets busted open right away.  I rewatched, but I couldn’t see the cut.  The Warrior follows right after him with a cut of his own.

I feel like Rick Rude was trying to prove something in this match, but I don’t know what.  For example, here he is jumping off the top of the cage, which is a level of acrobatics somewhat out of character for him

Who do I think I am? Rick Snuka?
Who do I think I am? Rick Snuka?

Warrior unsurprisingly pulls out the win after beating up Heenan for awhile and then climbing out of the cage

Overall: Third time’s the charm.  I remain very impressed by Rude’s ability to pull an actual wrestling match out of the Ultimate Warrior

Wrestlemania VI

This is the first Wrestlemania to take place out of the US borders!  Toronto, Canada at the Skydome hosts this one.  Due to a recent corporate buyout, it’s now called the Rogers Center, FYI.


1. Koko B Ware vs. The Model Rick Martel


How.  How is Koko B Ware in the leadoff match for Wrestlemania VI?

As far as bird-themed gimmicks go, I'm barely better than the Red Rooster
As far as bird-themed gimmicks go, I’m barely better than the Red Rooster

Is it possible that this whole match exists just to put over the Model?  Koko starts off on offense really quickly with some bird-based moves – a few dropkicks (after the mighty ostrich), a back body drop (pigeon) and a clothesline (pigeon again).

Martel quickly regains the upper hand, and the two finish off a very serviceable match that ends with Koko submitting to a Boston Crab

Overall: I guess crabs always beat birds?


2. Tag Team Championship: Andre The Giant and Haku vs. Demolition


With Andre as immobile as he is, this match is basically Haku vs. Demolition with occasional assistance from Andre.  As always, I am confused by the entrance theme, because Demolition enters to some generic rock music.  A random Facebook page informs me that on Colosseum video DVD’s they sometimes overdub the music.  Well, this match is ruined.

Unsurprisingly, Haku kicks off the match.  He quickly gains the upper hand.  Him and Ax mess around for about 8 minutes or so, and it’s all pretty slow and plodding.

For example, this is actually a gif on a 30-second loop
For example, this is a gif

Smash eventually comes in and goes nuts.  Him and Ax double team the Colossal Connection for awhile, knock Andre over and get the pin on Haku.  Demolition take the belts for the third time.

At the match close, Bobby Heenan yells at Andre for being a slow, fat giant, and Andre gives him the old Giant punch for his troubles and then beats up Haku as an added bonus.  Andre is a good guy again!  He leaves the ring to cheers and accolades.

It occurs to me that Andre’s Wrestlemania record is 0-3 since he turned heel.

Overall: Andre was in the match for maybe 10 seconds.


3. Hercules vs. Earthquake


Earthquake makes his Wrestlemania debut, while Hercules makes his 5th.  A quick scan shows that Herc is 2-2-1; lets see if he can pull off a win.  I doubt it, I think this was when they were building Earthquake up as an unstoppable monster

A sweaty, disgusting, unstoppable pie monster
A sweaty, disgusting, unstoppable monster made out of pie

Earthquake does not have a ton of stamina, so this match ends pretty quickly.  Hercules does an okay job of putting up a fight, but Earthquake sits on him and gets the clean win.  A close up looks like Herc must have caught Earthquake with a decent punch at some point in the match as Earthquake is bleeding

Or I just ate an entire cow before this match started
Or, he just ate an entire cow before this match started

Overall: These are really tame starting matches.


4. Mr Perfect vs. Brutus the Barber Beefcake


I’m looking forward to seeing Perfect make this match watchable.

Carol Burnett and Bob Saget's younger brother agree
Carol Burnett and Bob Saget’s younger brother, inexplicably watching from ringside, agree

Brutus gets the quick upper hand on Perfect, but the tide turns after some interference from Lanny Poffo.  Perfect really takes his time and spends a lot of the match slapping and pushing Beefcake.  Out of nowhere, Beefcake does a slingshot into the turnbuckle and knocks Perfect unconscious.   Beefcake (ugh) gets the pin.  Then he drags Lanny Poffo into the ring, slaps on the sleeper and gives him a haircut.

Overall: Another quick, fast paced match.  At least there’s not as much time to get bored


5. Roddy Piper vs. Bad News Brown


This is the match set up at Royal Rumble 90.   Piper paints his body half black and I’m not quite clear what the message is here.  Maybe it’s just that he’s a huge fan of the original Star Trek?

That feels right
That feels right

Do you think the crowd understands whatever point he’s trying to make?

Anyway, there is nothing even close to wrestling in this match.  They exchange a bunch of punches and kicks and bites.  It’s a total street fight.

Bad News is wearing the boxing gloves
Bad News is wearing the boxing gloves

The match ends quickly with a double disqualification, and they brawl all the way back to the dressing room.  Fun story – the body paint on Piper wouldn’t come off for three weeks

Overall: Meh.  Interestingly, the longest fight has been just under 10 minutes.  They are really keeping these bouts moving quickly.  I wonder if they learned their lesson from the horrible Wrestlemania IV which seemed to last forever?


6. The Hart Foundation vs.  The Bolsheviks 


What I’m finding interesting about re-watching all these matches is how terrible my memory is.  I really thought Bret Hart was a singles wrestler much earlier than this, but here we are 6 years after WM 1 and he’s still paired with Neidhart as a tag combo.

So while I was typing the above paragraph, the Hart Foundation won the match in like 17 seconds

This happened
This happened

Overall: Just when I thought the matches couldn’t get any faster…


7. The Barbarian vs. Tito Santana


Yes!  Tito, my man!  Against the Barbarian as a solo act – when did the Powers of Pain break up?   I sure hope this match isn’t an excuse to put the Barbarian over as a singles wrestler.  A wrestler of Tito’s caliber shouldn’t be used like that.

A quick scan shows me that while this is Tito’s 6th Wrestlemania, it’s actually only his 2nd singles match.  He’s historically been with a tag team (JYD in WM2, Hart Foundation in WM 3) or in a Battle Royal (WM 4).

Tito starts off by teasing me with what I thought was going to be an awesome Flying Forearm….

Ariba!
Ariba!

.. but it turns out it was just a high cross body.  But like three minutes later….

Ariba!
Ariba!

.. he nails it perfectly.  Tito goes for the pin but Bobby Heenan interferes.  Barbarian nails Tito with a flying clothesline off the top rope, nearly killing Tito and getting the win.

Overall: That was a great match, easily the best of Wrestlemania because it was Tito


8. Macho Man / King Randy Savage and Magnificent Sherri vs. Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire


Is this what Macho Man has been reduced to?  A mid-card, co-ed match against Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire?  Oh, how the mighty have fallen.  As the match is starting, they announce Elizabeth and the crowd loses their minds.  I guess she’s on the side of Dusty.  Fine.

Just to be clear, any time the woman are in the ring, the match grinds to a screaming halt.  Sherri (who is an actual wrestler) does a very admirable job trying to keep this looking like a real wrestling match, but this is what she’s dealing with:

BAH GAWD KING! SHE ALMOST TOUCHED HER
BAH GAWD KING! SHE ALMOST TOUCHED HER

The rest of this match is barely worthwhile recapping.  It’s garbage and I’m sad for Randy Savage.  Even the commentating is weirdly horrible for Jesse and Gorilla, they spend half the match arguing about who double teamed who first.  Anyway, Dusty and Sapphire get the win with the help of the Elizabeth and the stupid crowd loves it

Overall: This match was the low point of Wrestlemania VI


9. The Orient Express (Sato and Pat Tanaka) vs.  The Rockers


Well I have no idea who these two gentlemen with Mr. Fuji are.  I’m sure the Rockers also have no idea, but gamely enter the match anyhow.

Lots of faced paced action to start off the match, with standard Rockers high-energy moves.  They get the upper hand for a few seconds before Fuji interferes and the Orient Express have an offensive run on Marty Jannetty and then another one on Shawn Michaels.  This match has so far been 100% Orient Express.

Eventually the Rockers get the upper hand and have another great run of high profile moves that the crowd is fairly apathetic to.  Stupid, boring Canadian audience.

This one ends with a sweet hit of Fuji Dust.  Man, I haven’t seen that in ages.

Poof.
Ariba!

The Rockers get counted out after that.  The Orient Express get the win

Overall: I’m generally underwhelmed by all these matches, but happy they’re so quick


10. Dino Bravo vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan


Okay, I’m at the point where I refuse to recap matches with Hacksuck.  I’ve suffered enough I think.  Watching these two clumsy morons wrestle is like watching two monster trucks smash into each other, but with less elegance.

Hacksuck manages to hit Dino with a 2×4 and gets the win.  Jokes on him though as Earthquake comes into the ring to double team him.  Him and Dino beat up Hacksuck for awhile and Earthquake gives him a bunch of fat splashes and it’s wonderful.  I hope they turn his ribs to calcium powder

Maybe this is where Fuji dust comes from?
Maybe this is where Fuji dust comes from?

Overall: I sincerely can’t wait for Hacksucks last PPV


11. Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Ted Dibiase


Jake and Ted.  Ted and Jake.   One likes money, the other likes snakes.  You add a peppy 70’s era Billy Joel song and you’ve got a classic sitcom right there.

Now on must-see Thursdays
Now on must-see Thursdays

This match is “electrifying”.  So much so, that the Toronto audience entertains themselves by doing the wave for about 2 minutes.  Jesse and Gorilla stop commentating on the match entirely and actually start covering that action in the audience instead.  The crowd is deafening and I’m pretty sure none of them are watching the match.

Dibiase actually stops in mid-match to yell at the crowd for ignoring him
Dibiase actually stops in mid-match to yell at the crowd for ignoring him

After some more routine back and forth, the match ends with Virgil interfering which results in Jake getting counted out.  Jake comes in afterwards and nails the DDT, but it’s too little, too late.

Overall: Really unsatisfying ending


12.  Akeem vs. Big Boss Man


Huh.  Akeem vs. The Big Boss Man.  Is… is this meant to give the crowd a breather so they’re not out of energy?  Like just book the shittiest match you can think of so everyone has time to grab drinks and hit the washroom?

Why are we cheering for the Big Boss Man now?

Oh and before the match starts, Dibiase beats him up for some reason
Oh and before the match starts, Dibiase beats him up for some reason

Holy smokes, this is a super long Wrestlemania.  As always, I’m impatient for the main event.  Come on you fat assholes, wrestle faster.

And as I type this, Boss Man pulls off the clean win with a side slam.

Overall: Hogan!  Warrior!  Coming up next!


13. Rick Rude vs. Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka


Nope, not Hogan and Warrior.  There’s still one more match.  Jesus, this never ends.  Before this match started,  they have Honky Tonk Man come in and sing a song with Jimmy Hart and Greg Valentine in a wig

Sadly, I had to watch the whole thing to get the perfect screencap
Sadly, I had to watch the whole thing to get the perfect screencap

Rude and Snuka to a pretty decent job in this match and keep the pace nice and quick, but it’s too much at this point.  The matches are feeling pretty rushed as everyone impatiently waits for Hogan / Warrior to start.  After about 5 minutes, Rude hits the Rude Awakening and gets the pin.

Overall: Good match, but there’s too many in this one


14. Intercontinental / Heavyweight Championship – Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior


Here’s what you need to know about this match. Hogan wasn’t convinced that Warrior should get the belt and that Warrior “possessed even less wrestling ability than Hogan”.  Most importantly, a very young Adam Copeland was live in the Skydome to watch this unfold

This guy
This guy

This ends up being entertaining on the strength of personalities.  The early match is all posturing – tests of strength, pushing, etc.  This entire match reminds me of the Warrior / Rick Rude feuds from earlier in the earlier PPV’s.  Warrior does okay when he has someone more talented carrying him

The match is designed to play to each of their talents.  Lots of big, high impact power moves, coupled with a ton of rest holds – reverse chin locks, bear hugs, etc.  Hogan’s Charisma mostly keeps this one entertaining – on the wrestling alone it’s a pretty dull match.  It’s a 22 minute match and about 12 minutes are holds.

Interestingly, both men were technically “faces” at the time and the crowd started pretty evenly split between the two.  While Warrior was getting his cheers, as the match progressed, the crowd was cheering louder and louder for Hogan

The match culminates with a series of near pins and no-counts after the ref was knocked out.  The most surprising part is the ending where Hogan lost clean.  No tricks, no cheats, no interference, just a clean pin for the Warrior

Holy crap this fat blonde bastard is heavy
Holy crap this fat blonde bastard is heavy

Overall: One of the great Wrestlemania matches

Survivor Series ’89


1. Big Boss Man / Bad News Brown / Rick Martel / Honky Tonk Man vs. Tito Santana / Brutus Beefcake / Red Rooster / Dusty Rhodes


I am simply ridiculous
I am simply ridiculous

Well this sure is a murderers row of c-list talent.  AND Tito Santana.  And Tito is still wearing his strike force tights.  He simply cannot let go of his breakup with Rick Martel.  Listen Tito, Tom Zenk feels the same way

"He told me this picture was just for him!" - A betrayed Tom Zenk
“He told me this picture was just for him!” – A betrayed Tom Zenk

Tito starts things off.  Him and Honky go at it, followed by a tag to Rick Martel.  Because he’s fantastic, Tito keeps the pace up with a series of high impact movies.  Next up, Dusty comes out to take on Big Boss Man.  Some good back and forth and then they tag in Brutus and the match immediately shifts to low gear.

Fortunately the heat picks up once the goddamn ridiculous Red Rooster comes in.  He gets off like two moves and then Honky Tonk tags in to start beating him up.  I expect this beating to last awhile, so I settle in with some popcorn.

Tito and Martel eventually make it in the ring together and have a fantastic 4 minute run.  Unfortunately the Model gets the pin and Tito is eliminated.

Like this
Like this

After Tito leaves, Rooster comes in and gets beaten by everyone for a solid 7 minutes.  It culminates with Big Boss Man accidentally hitting Bad News Brown when Rooster ducks away from a move.  Bad  News ends up leaving.  I wonder when we’ve seen this before?

Honky and Beefcake go at it next.  It’s about 4 minutes of wrestling and then quite strangely, Brutus hits a high knee and gets a clean pin on Honky.  It’s now 3 against 2.  Martel comes in to face Beefcake and has all the momentum.   Against all odds, Beefcake manages to hit a reverse sunset flip and gets the pin on Martel.

It’s just the Boss Man left by himself.  Rooster comes in and Boss Man demolishes him in about 30 seconds flat and pins him quickly.

Rooster, regretting every aspect of his life leading to this point
Rooster, regretting every aspect of his life leading to this point

Dusty comes in next and hits Boss Man with a high cross body.  He gets the pin and the match is over.  Unfortunately for Dusty, Boss Man grabs his nightstick and beats everyone senseless.

Dusty Rhodes, victorious
Dusty Rhodes, victorious

Overall: Good start to the PPV


2. Macho Man / Greg Valentine / Dino Bravo / Earthquake vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan / Ronnie Garvin / Bret Hart / Hercules


Earthquake makes his debut in a PPV as the “Canadian Earthquake”.   I’m going to predict this match somehow ends with Hacksaw hitting someone with a 2×4.  The only reason I’m excited for this match is the potential to see Macho Man against Bret Hart.  They never really faced off one on one, so this is my only chance to see them.

The action starts off with a ton of tags, and a bunch of guys in the ring, but no Macho against Hart, so I don’t care.  Earthquake sits on Hercules and gets a fast pin.  Garvin and Valentine end up in the ring together and because they’re having a feud it’s supposed to be exciting, but it’s not.  Hacksaw gets a tag behind Valentine’s back, hits him with a clothesline for the 1-2-3.  It’s now a 3 on 3 match.

Still no Macho vs. Hart.

More wrestling happens and nobody, anywhere cares because why isn’t Macho wrestling Bret Hart.

Then finally it happens and the crows goes absolutely insane.  Literally just getting them in the ring together is enough to bring everyone to their feet.

This picture alone is so hot it should be flagged NSFW
This picture alone is so hot it should be flagged NSFW

They trade a few moves back and forth, and after about 45 seconds, Macho tags out.  Well that was a bit of a tease.  Dino Bravo ends up in the ring with Ronnie Garvin and nails my colleague’s favorite move, the side suplex.  He gets an easy pin and Garvin is gone.

Another couple of tags and it’s Macho against Bret again!  They exchange some moves, with Bret keeping the upper hand.  Macho tags out and the momentum shifts against Hart.  Bravo, Macho Man and Earthquake take turns against him.

Then this happens
Then this happens

Macho hits the flying elbow, and Bret is eliminated.  It’s Hacksuck on a 3 against 1.  Honestly, I barely care what happens now.  Hacksuck wrestles for awhile, falls out of the ring when Sherri interferes and gets counted out.  Then Hacksuck hits people with his 2×4.  As predicted.  The end.

Overall: Please, let this be Hacksaws last PPV

 


3. Ted Dibiase / Zeus / The Powers of Pain Barbarian and Warlord vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts / Demolition Ax and Smash / Hulk Hogan


Interesting that Hogan is not the main event for the first PPV since we’ve started recapping these events.  It’s a measure of how ungodly popular the Ultimate Warrior was.  And hey, it’s still Zeus!

Did.. did he paint on a unibrow?
Did.. did he paint on a unibrow?

We kick off with Hogan and Zeus and a complete repeat of SummerSlam with Zeus no-selling every move Hogan puts on him.  Zeus starts to choke Hogan.  The ref can’t get him off, so he disqualifies him.  At first I think it’s an incredibly strange way to start the match, but then Jesse mentions that Hogan and Zeus are meeting in “No Holds Barred” a one-time PPV held in December.  So it makes sense they wouldn’t spoil the match now.

This match is a pretty boring affair.  The crowd is pretty quiet and even Jesse and Gorilla go blank on commentary for long stretches.  Barbarian (or Warlord, whatever) gets a pin on Ax thanks to some outside interference by Mr. Fuji.

At this point my DVD goes kind of wonky.  I wonder if this is fate telling me something about how dull this match is?  I skip ahead just as Smash is getting eliminated by The Warlord (or Barbarian, whatever).

Hogan has a pretty decent run against the Powers of Pain, which culminates in double team and a spike piledriver, which is a move you don’t see to often.

Why yes, our Insurance does in fact cover neck injuries, why do you ask Mr. Hogan?
Why yes, our Insurance does in fact cover neck injuries, why do you ask Mr. Hogan?

The ref then disqualifies both of the Powers of Pain for the double team, which is something you never see.  Now it’s Hogan and Jake against Dibiase.  Dibiase manages to eliminate Jake with the help of Virgil, but Hogan hulks the fuck out and gets the win.

Overall: So so.  Decent mid-card match


4. Mr Perfect / The Rougeaus / Rick Rude vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper / Jimmy Snuka / The Fucking Bushwhackers


I just realized that Rick Rude would be perfect to play OmniMan aka Nolan Grayson from the Invincible comics if they ever turned it into a movie

I'm sure most of the fans of late 80's WWE are also fans of Robert Kirkman's Invincible
I’m sure most of the fans of late 80’s WWE are also fans of Robert Kirkman’s Invincible

I gotta come clean gang. I’m not really going to pay attention to, or recap this match.  I just hate the Bushwhackers too much and I’ve already sat through a match with Hacksuck.  I’m going to be really factual on this one

Superfly eliminates Jaques
Piper eliminates Raymond
Perfect eliminates one of the fucking bushwhackers
Rude eliminates the other fucking bushwhacker
Piper and Rude get double counted out
Perfect eliminates Snuka

Overall: Despite not providing details, this actually wasn’t a bad match once the Bushwhackers were eliminated.  The final run between Perfect and Snuka was actually quite exceptional and one of the highlights of the whole PPV

 


5. Andre the Giant / Haku / Arn Anderson / Bobby Heenan vs.  Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart / Shawn Michaels / Marty Jannetty / Ultimate Warrior



The match starts off before the Warrior even enters.  Neidhart bravely attacks Andre the Giant and gets absolutely pounded for his problems, when Warrior runs in, knocks Andre over the top and gets him counted out.

Huh.  It’s like 30 seconds into the match.  So now we have Arn Anderson and Haku (and Bobby Heenan) against 4 guys.  What a strange main event.  Andre finally comes to and wants to discuss his elimination with the ref

< incoherent gibberish >

While this action is going on outside, Haku takes advantage of the situation and gets the upper hand on Neidhart.  A quick kick to the back of the head and Neidhart is eliminated

Everyone loves Quick Kick
Everyone loves Quick Kick

Jannetty comes in for some action and the momentum is all with Haku and Arn Anderson.  Another quick kick to the face of Jannetty and they tag in Heenan to get the pin.  It’s now 2 on 3.

Some things happen after that, but none of them matter because at around the 15 minute mark, Shawn Michaels uses Arn Anderson’s face as a vacuum cleaner

This is the greatest gif ever created
This is the greatest gif ever created

I’m not at all clear why or how that’s a move, but I don’t care.  Eventually Michaels ends up on the top rope where Ultimate Warrior basically throws him at Haku for the high cross body.

"I don't remember ordering a flying Shawn Michaels" - Haku, seconds before the pin
“Since when could Shawn Michaels fly?” – Haku, seconds before the pin

Michaels gets the pin and it’s technically 2 on 2, even though one of those is Bobby Heenan.  Arn and Michaels go at it for a really entertaining run, that sadly does not end with another Arn Anderson vacuum.  It does however end with Michaels getting pinned and it’s now just the Warrior left.

Warrior makes pretty quick work of Arn Anderson and then it’s just Bobby Heenan against the Warrior.  The crowd thrills to the excitement of a 280 pound body builder assaulting a man half his size with no fighting ability!

Ho hum, Warrior gets the pin

Overall: Not a bad little match and a very okay Survivor Series!

 

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

Wrestlemania I Recap


1.  Tito Santana vs. The Executioner (Buddy Rose)


I'm sad. So very, very sad.
I’m sad. So very, very sad.

And here we go.  The very first match of the very first Wrestlemania.  A very solid, standard work by both Santana and The Executioner to kick off what would would become the WWE’s signature Pay Per View event.  The match itself is nothing special, with some very standard back and forth, but there are some elements of the match that just seem very quaint and charming compared to wrestling in 2015:

  • No entrance, both competitors start in the ring.  They continued with this trend almost right through Wrestlemania 3.  It took them 4 years to get the hang of the entrance and the understanding about how that component of the match is almost as fun as the match itself
  • They dub the executioner as “parts unknown, weight unknown”.  The implication being he literally refused to participate in the weigh in and they couldn’t eyeball it.  I guess he also got paid in cash if he wouldn’t reveal where he’s from?  What does the “from” in wrestling signify anyways?  Where you born, or where you currently lived?  Why would the executioner be from parts unknown?  I’d hazard a guess that he’s American, but couldn’t they take a stab at that either?
  • “I have not seen of late this particular executioner”.  Man, Gorilla Monsoon is the best.  After The Executioner headbutts Tito, he follows up with this comment: “Might we one of his forte’s, we really can’t tell at this time”.  They are really playing up the angle that they have no idea who this wrestler is.  It’s fantastic.  How would that booking even realistically work?  Did he show up backstage in the mask, just say “I’m one of several Executioners, I want to wrestle at your signature event.”?  I guess they shrugged and said sure?  This is why wrestling is the greatest sport on Earth.
  • Absolutely no room outside the ring.  This carries through all of Wrestlemania – the action really stayed in the ring.  There is almost no outside match to speak of.
  • Tito’s Flying forearm was a great finisher and he really sold the move.  It just goes to show that you don’t need something absurdly complicated (I’m looking at you Sister Abigail) to have a great finisher.  It also shows how a great wrestler can sell a really simple move and how terrible wrestlers can’t (I’m looking at you Superman Punch)

Overall: A very good start to both WWE Replay and Wrestlemania: 16 out of 22

 


 2. Special Delivery (SD) Jones vs. King Kong Bundy


Mere seconds before my destruction
Mere seconds before my destruction

There is so little to stay about this match.  The entire thing existed to put Bundy over as an unstoppable monster.  Bundy wins in 8 seconds.

Here’s a fun fact (citation needed): after the match was over, SD Jones was so disillusioned by wrestling that he immediately quit the sport to play football as “Special Delivery” Eddie Jones – a white running back who played for the Chicago Bears in 1941.  This required him to build a functional time machine, which he fashioned out of old watch parts and a calculator.  This would eventually prove to be the inspiration for the hit show, Quantum Leap which aired just 4 years later.  SD Jones was never credited with its creation.

Edgar_Jones,_Cleveland_Browns_running_back,_in_1948
Him. He became this guy

Overall: Ultimately Quantum Leap was a brilliant series, marred by a very disappointing finale.  4 / 12


3. Ricky Steamboat vs. Matt Borne


Sup ladies
Sup ladies

I don’t think it’s possible for Steamboat to have a bad match.  I really don’t.  What I find kind of interesting is when I was a kid watching this, I thought Steamboat was a “small” guy.  But look at him!  He’s jacked!  I think it’s just a measure of how fast he was that he could be considered as one of the smaller wrestlers.  Alternately I have a horrible memory.  Either or.

Generally, nothing wrong with this match at all.  It’s great to see some of the moves that you don’t see anymore, specifically the atomic drop.  No one does those anymore, but why?  It’s a great move!

Steamboat ends the match with what I thought was called a “high cross body” but that Jesse Ventura calls “A beautiful flying… tackle.. off the top rope, a la Jimmy Snuka” or “ABFTOTTRALJS”.

Overall: Fun fact: Matt Bourne is “Doink the Clown”!  18/21


4. Brutus Beefcake vs. David Sammartino


I'm a fat piece of shit
I’m a fat piece of shit

Wow, what a total piece of garbage this match is, that I am completely not excited for.  Here’s a question though – why did they list Brutus Beefcake as parts unknown?  I thought they only did that for guys with masks.

The only mystery here is why he thought

This match is really, really slow.  Just a lot of jockying for position, arm locks and a series of amateur takedowns.  Sammartino is a plodding, slow wrestler.  He moves with all the speed of an amateur screenwriter finishing a coffee in starbucks.  If he was continental drift, I’d be typing this from Africa.  His attacks are as gently ineffective as an occupy movement.  Philosophy majors find meaningful employment faster than he can land a headlock.

The one bright light in this otherwise horrific match is that it ends

Overall: Obviously, I hated this match.  0 / 10

 


5. Junkyard Dog vs. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine


Thump
Thump

Gorilla calls him “The Juker”.  Was that a thing we were ever doing in 1985?  I can’t stress enough how much I dislike the Junkyard Dog.  For example, if him and David Sammartino were forced into a kissing contest, I would not be turned on.

Here’s the challenge with JYD.  His entire in-ring persona was based on his spectacular  charisma.  The crowd absolutely loved the guy, and he rose to be an insanely popular mid-card solely on the strength of his personality.  His actual wrestling skills – at least to the extent they were displayed in the WWE – were virtually non-existent.  So to be a fan of his, you have to fine him entertaining for himself.  Which I don’t.  <Shrug>.  Different strokes I guess.

This match ends with Valentine putting his feet on the ropes for the pin.  Before the match can end, Tito Santana runs out and sets the ref straight.  The ref agrees with the random Mexican stranger who interrupts the match to explain what he saw from the dressing room 300 meters away and appropriately decides to change his own decision without going to the replay, the timekeeper, any of the photographers at ringside or the commentators.

Fun fact about Greg Valentine – this entire page of insanity

Overall: Another match bites the dust. 2 / 72

 


6. Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff vs. Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo


Teach us, magical wrestling icons, about complicated international politics!
Teach us, magical wrestling icons, about complicated international politics!

Here are some things I apparently cannot spell.  Sheik, Nikolai, Volkoff, Windham, Rotundo.  This match is a challenge to recap for me.

Volkoff singing the Russian anthem before the match has to be one of the best heel moves in the history of wrestling, followed by the Sheik’s cutting geopolitical punditry: “Russia!  Number One!  Iran!  Number One!  USA!  Ha-phooey!”.

I love Windham and Mike Rotundo as a tag team, and I don’t know why.  While they were not the most exciting duo, they ushered in an era of –

Wait, is their entrance version of “Born in the USA” a weird, elevator-music instrumental only version?  Holy crap, it is.  Why aren’t they using the real version?  Also, why do half the pages list Mike Rotundo’s name as “Rotunda”?  A Rotunda is any ground building with a circular floor plan, not one half of the (eventual) USA Express.

The point is – this is a pretty decent match.  Sheik and Volkoff were a great heel tag team and Rotundo and Windham really did work well together.  The arm drag by Rotundo on the Sheik is gorgeous.  The crown pops through the whole match and it’s a lot of fun.

Overall: USA!  USA!


7. Andre The Giant vs. Big John Studd


Spoilers in the above picture I guess
Spoilers in the above picture I guess

It’s a shame that by the time the WWE really hit the mainstream in the 80’s Andre was already a few years past his prime.  For anyone whose only impression of Andre is the Wrestlemania 3 matches, go back and watch some of his stuff from the 70’s.  He could move for a guy his size.

Sadly, by the time WM1 came around we had this Andre – a poor man nearly crippled by acromegaly.   He gives it his all in this match, but he didn’t really have many moves left at this point.  A match consisting entirely of punches and kicks.  John Studd does a great job with what he has.

The match ends with the slam and despite his condition, Andre scoops up Studd like a child.

Overall: Anybody want a peanut?


8. Lelani Kai vs. Wendy Richter


You wouldn't know it, but in real life Lelani Kai is not a dwarf
You wouldn’t know it from this picture, but in real life Lelani Kai is not a dwarf

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

Overall: ??


9. Hulk Hogan & Mr. T vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper & Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff


Obvious, fool-pitying joke here
Obvious, fool-pitying joke here

Here we go, the main event!  Hogan!  Piper!  S..Snuka?  Funny, I thought in Wrestlemania 1 Hogan was still using Eye of the Tiger as his entrance music.  For anyone who doesn’t remember this, before the days when the WWE commissioned all their songs (and thereby avoided pesky licensing fees) they used to use actual music.  Hogan originally came into Eye of the Tiger by Survivor.  While “Real American” has grown into it’s cultural significance, it really can’t compare to the pop he used to get.  Check out the difference.

Well that’s interesting.  Now thanks to Garfunkel and Oates, when I hear “Eye of the Tiger” all I can think of is “Sports, Go Sports

Hogan and Piper are just filthy with Charisma.  For the first minutes of this match it’s just Hogan and Piper posturing for the crowd and it’s literally the most exciting thing I’ve ever seen.  The crowd agrees with me, they’re on their feet for basically the whole match.  The first few minutes is all heat and it’s fantastic.  Piper and Hogan were incredible in a way that wrestlers today just aren’t.

I have spent a lot of time trying to understand why Hogan works and Cena doesn’t.  Because essentially they’re the same wrestler – big, good looking guys with incredibly limited repertoires of moves who win their matches by being indestructible.  Same matches every time.  Here’s what I’ve come up with, and it boils down to sweat.  Bear with me.

In order for the Hogan / Cena match template to work, they need to create a suspension of disbelief with the crowd – namely that they might actually lose.  We know they’re not actually going to lose, but they need to sell us on the concept, and the degree they’re successful doing that is how well they sell moves.  Hogan is not necessarily better at selling moves than Cena, but within 4 minutes of any match, Hogan is just absolutely bathed in sweat.  His hair is soaking wet and he’s actually glistening.  This really helps give the impression that Hogan is struggling.  Whereas with Cena – he’s too athletic and really in shape.  He’s just a fantastic athlete who glides effortlessly through the matches.  He never feels like he’s in any danger, so it’s tough for the crowd to really get invested.  Whereas with Hogan you think “Christ, this 40 year old man might actually die of a heart attack”.

Anyway, this entire match is a fantastic end to to the show.  Hogan, Piper and Orndorff are all at the top of their game.  The match has great flow and the crowd is over the top for the whole thing.  The match ends when Bob Orton misses Hogan with the cast off the top ropes and hits Orndorff instead.   In the 80’s I would estimate that 75% of matches ended by either the heel hitting his own partner with a foreign object, or small package out of nowhere.

Overall: Sports, Go Sports!  9/5/11