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!