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

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