*** Scott & Justin’s Vintage Vault Refresh reviews are a chronological look back at WWE PPV history that began with a review of WrestleMania I. The PICs have revisited these events and refreshed all of their fun facts that provide insight into the match, competitors and state of the company as well as their overviews of the match action and opinions and thoughts on the outcomes. In addition, Jeff Jarvis assists in compiling historical information and the Fun Facts in each of the reviews. Also, be sure to leave feedback on the reviews at our Facebook page. Enjoy! ***
WrestleMania VII: Stars and Stripes Forever!!!
March 24, 1991
Los Angeles Sports Arena
Los Angeles, California
Buy Rate: 2.8
Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan; Jim Duggan, Alfred Hayes & Regis Philbin sit in as well
*** Willie Nelson sings God Bless America, and Hacksaw Jim Duggan comes to ringside to commentate the first match with Gorilla. ***
Fun Fact: Since WrestleMania VI, WrestleMania VII had been announced to take place at the 100,000+ seat Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Ads ran into January 1991, but at the time of the Royal Rumble only around 16,000 tickets had been sold. The WWF made the decision to move the event to the smaller Los Angeles Sports Arena. The WWF claimed the reason for the venue change was because a bomb threat had been made against the event and they were moving the event due to security concerns. Sgt. Slaughter claims that during his time as an Iraqi sympathizer that he had numerous threats made on his life and he could not go anywhere in public without wearing a bulletproof vest and without having security personnel surrounding him.
Koko B. Ware pinned the Brooklyn Brawler
1) The Rockers defeat Haku & the Barbarian when Shawn Michaels pins Haku with a high cross body at 10:32
Fun Fact: This is Bobby Heenan’s final PPV as a manager. Over the summer he would sell the contracts of Barbarian, Haku and Mr. Perfect to the Coach, who was portrayed by wrestling legend John Tolos.
Scott: We open our Stars ‘N’ Stripes WrestleMania with a swank tag team match with two teams of contrasting styles. However, I must protest to having this person commentating this match with Gorilla: JIM DUGGAN? He’s a drooling idiot who’s going to give analysis of TAG TEAM WRESTLING? Good grief. The Rockers are coming off a five star match against the Orient Express and now face two guys who would take their tag team chemistry to WCW in a few years. Rockers dominated the early action until some ref distraction led to Barbarian and Haku dropping a huge Stun Gun on the top rope to Jannetty. Marty becomes the face in peril as the bigger guys start really giving him the business. The crowd is jacked early, which is very rare for the notoriously late-coming California crowds. Finally we get the hot tag to Shawn and they hit their finisher and get the hot victory. After never winning PPV matches over their first three years, The Rockers are 2-0 for 1991 with two great matches. Grade: ***
Justin: Well, here we are yet again, time for another WrestleMania. The show was originally supposed to be held at the mammoth LA Coliseum, but with business sagging and ticket sales sluggish, we move into a much more intimate setting. And I would argue that was a fine move, because the tight setting and red, white and blue bunting fueling the Americana throughout the building made the show feel special and unique despite the basic arena setup. With Jesse Ventura long gone and Roddy Piper involved in a major storyline later, we get the PPV commentary debut of Bobby Heenan. Well, not quite yet, as he was still managing and was busy at ringside for the opener, so Hacksaw Jim Duggan steps in for him to call this one. Barbarian has been on a hot streak since the fall and Haku was always up for a fight so on paper this looked like a very shrewd choice for an opener. After a very weak 1990, the Rockers have come on strong, so a win here would really keep that momentum going. The story of the match was laid out early with Haku thwarting Michaels and using his power to work him over. Michaels would counter with his agility and start to run around a bit to keep Haku off balance, allowing him to sneak in some strikes. Barbarian would deliver the spot of the match early on as he crushed both Rockers with a great double clothesline, sending them both twisting through the air. They would regroup and crack the big man with a double superkick, leading to Heenan regrouping with his boys. Duggan is actually doing a pretty good job going over the strategy of the bout. The back and forth would continue, mixed with some Rocker double teams, which were keeping them in the match. Just when it looked like they had things really rolling in their favor, Barbarian snuck in and hung Jannetty neck-first across the top rope. Jannetty would bump around the ring, including selling a pair of Haku backbreakers like death. That was awesome. The crowd stayed with Marty as the big men just kept hammering on him. Jannetty found daylight and took to the air, but Barbarian caught him and spiked him with a big powerslam. He made a big mistake right after, though, when he came up empty on a diving headbutt off the top, which allowed Marty to make the hot tag. And hot it was, as the crowd was buzzing while Shawn ran right through both at a frenetic pace. The double teams would flow from there capped by Michaels pinning Haku with a high cross body for the big win. For the second straight PPV, we open things up with a hot Rockers match as they continue to reestablish themselves in the tag division. Grade: ***
2) Texas Tornado defeats Dino Bravo with the Discus Punch at 3:11
Fun Fact: This is Dino Bravo’s final PPV appearance. He would float around the syndicated shows for the rest of the year before disappearing in early 1992. Unfortunately, he would be gunned down gang-land style in February 1993 due to some issues with the black market in Canada. His final PPV record is 4-9. He was 0-4 at the Royal Rumble, 1-3 at WrestleMania, 1-0 at SummerSlam and 2-2 at Survivor Series.
Scott: This is the quintessential “filler for a paycheck” match. Tornado looks so out of it coming to the ring and during this match it’s embarrassing. Bravo has reached the end of the line here, as throughout 1991 we see a bit of a roster purge. A lot of the guys that were the backbone of the mid-card from 1988-91 start to get fleshed out here, and Bravo is a prime example of that. Tornado should have been fleshed out as well because he’s a complete mess. Really not much more to see here, except Bravo eats the pin and sadly we never see him again. He will tragically die a couple of years later in a mafia smuggling mess. RIP, Canadian Strongman. Grade: *
Justin: In one of the more depressing matches early on this show, we have a match featuring two superstars who no longer would be with us just two years later. Dino Bravo has been around the company since 1987 and just when it looked like he was cooked, Earthquake came around to extend his run. However, even that hourglass has now run out, leaving him to twist in the wind until leaving the company a year later. This is his first PPV singles bout since WrestleMania VI. Tornado’s star has also dimmed quite a bit after his whirlwind debut back in August. It seemed the company knew he couldn’t be trusted thanks to his volatile lifestyle and were content to just let him be a lower card name draw. That is pretty much evidenced by this throwaway match here. Bravo wasted no time here, jumping Tornado before he even got his robe off, with action spilling to the floor. Bravo’s offense was short lived as Tornado came right back with a flurry. Bravo blocked the claw hold and then caught Tornado with a boot to the face on a charge. Bravo is actually looking pretty good here, showing some good energy and piling on Tornado hard. Tornado ducked a clothesline but Bravo cracked him with the side suplex. Hell, I would have let him win on that, he has won me over here. Tornado finally fought through it and grabbed the claw before cracking Dino with a discus punch for the win. Nice little showing for Bravo there and they packed some good energy into three minutes. Grade: 1/2*
3) The British Bulldog defeats the Warlord with a Powerslam at 8:13
Fun Fact: This show marks the PPV debut of Davey Boy Smith’s newest canine companion: Winston.
Scott: We have one of my favorite styles of match right here, with two big power hosses going at it. Bulldog came back in late-1990 after being gone for a couple of years and is ready for singles success. Slick’s promo before this match is top of the line. Watch to understand. The match is one of those that vary in grade from fan base to fan base due to the style it consisted of. If you are a fan of expert workrate and high flying technical prowess, well this is match isn’t for you. However if you like seeing two powerhouses going at a deliberate pace dropping bombs on each other, this is right up your alley. We hear Gorilla and Bobby on a big stage for the first time and the chemistry is undeniable. Sure they’ve been on house shows and of course the always awesome Prime Time Wrestling. They go back and forth until Bulldog gains the advantage and hits the big powerslam, or as Bulldog says it, “Puwer Slum”. He also avoided Warlord’s Full Nelson but that storyline will continue throughout the year. The match is fun and a perfect length for these two guys. This is the last Mania with a myriad of extraneous matches and payouts, but this one was a necessity to reintroduce Bulldog to the WWF audience. Grade: **1/2
Justin: Our next match up is a battle of power wrestlers that had been feuding over their finishers in recent weeks. Warlord had vowed he would bust up Bulldog’s neck with the dreaded full nelson, while Bulldog promised to rock the ring with his powerslam. Bulldog even had Bobby Heenan test out the full nelson on him on an episode of Prime Time Wrestling, a show that also featured Heenan brandishing a fake Queen of England, that derided the Bulldog as a disgrace. As if that weren’t enough we get two classic promos before the match, with Slick working his magic and Bulldog awkwardly talking to Winston. Bulldog gets a very warm welcome and I liked the way they were slowly working him up the card, because it was clear he had the look and cache to become a top player for them if handled right. We got some good power standoffs early, with both bulls colliding in the center of the ring before Bulldog was finally able to drive Warlord to the floor with a shoulderblock. Bulldog got a bit too excited and went for a crucifix, but Warlord kept his balance and then drove himself back, crushing Bulldog beneath him. The highlight there was Slick calling Bulldog a “big dummy” as a result. Warlord would crank on a bear hug, but the fans really got behind him, willing him to punch his way out. That spurt ended with a thud thanks to a Warlord stun gun. Bulldog took a really nice bump off of that one. Warlord kept pouring it on, including a belly-to-belly deadlift suplex! Warlord got really juiced after that, throwing his hands up to the crowd and eliciting some applause even. Awesome spot. He followed that with a reverse chinlock, which actually makes sense with Warlord targeting the neck. Bulldog’s comeback had some nice variance, including a cool standing dropkick that rocked the big man and a cross body that took him down for a near fall. The back and forth went on with Bulldog failing to hit a piledriver but turning that into a sunset flip for a two count. Warlord bounced up and drilled Bulldog with a boot to the face to stop a charge and then finally hooked in the full nelson. However, Warlord failed to lock the fingers, which allowed Bulldog to dramatically power out. And not only did he power out, but he was able to twirl Warlord around and hoist him up onto his shoulder. After setting himself, Bulldog drove Warlord hard to the mat with a powerslam that sent them both bounding into the air from the force. As the crowd went nuts, Bulldog grabbed the win. Man, what a match these guys put on. They have some sweet chemistry and that may be Warlord’s best ever singles match. Very fun power bout. Grade: **1/2
4) The Nasty Boys defeat the Hart Foundation to win the WWF Tag Team Titles when Knobbs pins Jim Neidhart after getting hit with Jimmy Hart’s motorcycle helmet at 12:08
Fun Fact I: The Nasty Boys jumped to the WWF from WCW in early 1991. They had been wrestling in WCW without a contract and Vince decided to snatch them up just as they were getting popular.
Fun Fact II: Jim Neidhart was released shortly after this match, since Vince was set to push Bret, he saw the Anvil as expendable. Shortly after this, however, Vince locked up Bret’s younger brother Owen to a deal and decided to rehire the Anvil to come and look after the youngest Hart and to form the New Foundation.
Fun Fact III: The Hart Foundation’s final tag team PPV record is 5-6. They were 1-0 at the Royal Rumble, 3-2 at WrestleMania, 1-2 at SummerSlam and 0-2 at Survivor Series.
Fun Fact IV: The Nasty Boys earned this title match by winning a tag team battle royal on the 2/16 Superstars.
Scott: This is a bittersweet moment here for longtime WWF fans, because this is the end of the line for maybe the WWF’s greatest homegrown tag team. The Pink and Black Attack was born in mid-1985 and since then were awesome babyfaces and heels and were two-time Tag Team Champions. Now it is evident that Bret Hart needs to break out on his own and the tag division needs some new teams. One of the more awkward highlights is when the camera before the match catches Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin, and Gorilla seems to reference him as a generic young fan. Then about 10 seconds later he makes a “Home Alone” reference, like someone just whispered in his ear who he actually was. The Nasty Boys were in WCW getting a push when they were scooped up by Vince. The match goes back and forth early until Bret turns face in peril and we can see what kind of offense the Nasties can deliver. It’s the usual brawling and striking stuff, but with this incredibly hot crowd everything looks good right now. We get the hot tag to Anvil and the Hart Attack is delivered, but we have a shocker. The referee is distracted before the pin and Jimmy Hart’s megaphone comes into play. Three seconds later, we have new Tag Team Champions and the Hart Foundation is no more. This was an exciting match with a shocking ending. Grade: ***
Justin: In our first title bout of the evening, the Hart Foundation defend their straps against the upstart Nasty Boys, making their PPV debut as a team here. They had shown up in January and less than a month later, became top contenders thanks to winning a battle royal on Superstars. The Harts have fought off all challengers, and heading in this seemed to be a bit of a mismatch tilting towards the champions. The Nasties have Jimmy Hart with them, and as usual the Mouth was looking to be a constant thorn in the sides of his former charges. Bret Hart and Jerry Sags opened things up and we were officially underway. The Nasties were pretty much straightforward brawlers, sloppy and clumsy, but in an endearing way. Sags took a beating from the Hitman and hobbled his way to the corner to tag out and regroup. Bret would honor his partner’s request and tagged in the Anvil to square off with Knobbs. Anvil picked up where the Hitman left off, again driving the Nasties to regroup to the delight of the fans. The Nasties were completely thrown off and had no chance to grab any momentum as Hart and Sags ended up back in there with Hart dominating again. It took interference from Knobbs to slow him down and that was followed by Sags clotheslining him to the floor. The Nasties turned their focus to Bret’s back with Sage wrenching in a rear seated chinlock. Bret wriggled free but the Nasties stayed focused and in control, leading right back to the chinlock again. Hart would again power out, but Knobbs was quick on his feet and busted up the Hitman’s attempt to make his desperate tag. Hart picked up two more openings, each time with the Nasties cutting him off or playing the distraction game to keep the referee blinded from the tag. Even with those saves, the Nasties couldn’t put it away, as miscommunication with Hart’s megaphone allowed Neidhart to finally make his way into the ring to clean house. Things would break down from there and the champs nailed Knobbs with the Hart Attack, but with the referee tied up with Hart, Sags pelted Neidhart with the megaphone and then dragged Knobbs on top for the upset win. I definitely remember being shocked at this outcome as the Nasties weren’t quite portrayed as legit contenders coming in. The Harts have had a great renewed run over the past year, but with that loss there it seems like the time has finally come to put a bow on their excellent run as a unit. The match was well worked with some great heat segments built in and a furious finish to cap it off. The Nasties have the gold and the end of an era is seemingly upon us. Grade: **1/2
5) Jake Roberts defeats Rick Martel in a “blindfold” match with the DDT at 8:33
Fun Fact: At the September 18, 1990 WWF Superstars taping in Toledo, Ohio, the Roberts/Martel feud began. The show that would be aired on October 6 had Roberts as the guest on the Brother Love Show. During the segment, Martel came on the show and was about to spray the bag containing Damien with his Arrogance cologne when Roberts stepped in and was sprayed in the eyes instead. This dastardly act by Martel blinded Roberts, taking him out of action for a brief period of time. When he returned, Roberts wore a white contact lens in one eye to indicate the blindness. The pair captained opposing teams in the 1990 Survivor Series, with Martel’s Visionaries team making a clean sweep of Roberts’ Vipers. Their feud heated up during the early part of 1991 as Martel eliminated Roberts from the ‘91 Royal Rumble. Their feud would culminate with this blindfold match.
Scott: When it comes to a match that needs genuine babyface sympathy, you give a storyline to one of two guys: Randy Savage or Jake Roberts. Since Savage is a heel (for now) we go to the Snake. The visual back in November of Jake’s creepy white contact lens on his damaged eye was always one of my favorite Jake visuals. And now the feud is culminated with a match where both men must be blindfolded. I never liked this match for a long time because of the lack of action and the cheesiness of the stipulation. However as time has progressed, as much as I’m still not big on the match, I will say it added some audience participation that made for some fun dynamic with Jake and the crowd. This crowd hasn’t let up since we started so they are really getting into helping Jake find the Model. Martel has developed over the past two years as one of the company’s best heels and it showed throughout this entire storyline. The match is mostly both men stalking the ring blind with hoods on, with the occasional move here and there. Martel eventually gets the Boston Crab hooked on for a few seconds but Jake kicks out and a moment later hits the DDT. Then the drama of Jake looking for a prone Martel on the mat to pin him adds the final bit of drama until the pin is executed. Jake wins what will be his final PPV match as a babyface. Grade: **
Justin: After plenty of teases over the past six months, we have finally arrived here, with Jake Roberts able to really get his hands on Rick Martel as he looks for revenge for being blinded back in October. At Survivor Series, Jake almost got to take the Model out, but things fell apart and Martel escaped. The same was true at the Rumble as well as on TV a few times. But here, both men would be blindfolded and forced to wrestle in the dark. Roberts vowed his revenge and claimed he had the advantage as snakes had the sixth sense and preferred the darkness. I always enjoyed the March to WrestleMania blindfold match the week before this show, where Martel defeated Koko B. Ware thanks to some cheating. That was to prep him for the encounter on the big stage here. We got crowd interaction right away, as Jake used the fans to help him attempt to locate Martel. Bobby Heenan was pretty funny here, begging to let Martel just close his eyes and work off the honor system. We got a couple of accidental touching to start but neither man could grab hold of the other, so things reset. Martel didn’t exactly wrestle a smart match, as at one point he slammed Roberts and then tried to drop an elbow, assuming Roberts was still there, but the Snake had moved on. It would turn into a giant game of Marco Polo, with Jake doing whatever he could to bait Martel in, but he just couldn’t grab hold for any length of time. The crowd was really into this, doing their best to will Jake on. Martel would find Damien and jolt backwards, barely dodging Jake’s grasp in the process. Both men would eventually end up on the floor, where Martel was able to locate a chair. That backfired, though, as he ended up getting spooked by the post and hurting himself when he bashed steel on steel. Jake used the sound from that to drag Martel in the ring, but Martel reversed momentum and was able to hit a backbreaker and hook the Boston Crab. Jake powered out and ended up bumping right into Martel before hitting a snap DDT. In one last cool bit, Jake had to feel around the mat before finding and covering the Model for the win. I have seen this match dumped on time and time again, and while there really isn’t much to it, it was a fun watch just for the psychology and the crowd participation that was used. The gimmick made sense and it was good revenge for the Snake. Roberts would smash the Arrogance atomizer and then dump Damien on Martel after the bell to cap off his victory. Grade: *1/2
*** Marla Maples is backstage celebrating with the new Tag Team Champions, the Nasty Boys, and the rest of the Hart Family. ***
6) The Undertaker defeats Jimmy Snuka with the Tombstone at 4:19
Fun Fact I: This is the PPV debut of Undertaker’s new manager, Paul Bearer. His real name is William Moody, but he’s more well-known by the name Percy Pringle. Pringle is well known in the World Class promotion managing heels like Al Perez and the Dark Patriot. Pringle also managed in Mid-South and a brief time in the AWA.
Fun Fact II: This is Jimmy Snuka’s final PPV singles match. He will appear in the 1992 Royal Rumble (included in this record) and make one or two other appearances in the future, but for all intents and purposes this is his final showing. His final record is 0-8. He was 0-3 at the Royal Rumble, 0-2 at WrestleMania, 0-1 at SummerSlam and 0-2 at Survivor Series.
Scott: No one thought about it at the time, but on this night in Los Angeles, “The Streak” began. The former phenom of the WWF took on the future Phenom of the WWF. The crowd hushed during the entrance of the heel Undertaker. We also see the PPV debut of manager Paul Bearer, who walks Taker to the ring. Snuka has all-time credibility so he was a natural choice to be the first fed to the Deadman here. The match is pretty much a Superstars-esque squash, and the crowd is in total awe. If there was ever a character for this time that nobody could wrap their head around, this was it. There’s nothing more to say here, except Taker’s Mania record: 1-0. With more to come. Grade: *1/2
Justin: The parade of matches continues as we get a passing of the torch between eras. Jimmy Snuka has been the resident WWF phenom, and has been a mainstay on PPV over the past two years since his return. As he was set to start being phased out, he is lined up here to be the first WrestleMania victim of the Undertaker. Taker has been on a steady roll since his debut, mowing through his competition, but this was one of his first real challenges. Taker also now has Paul Bearer with him, and he was a much better fit than Brother Love. Many fans still didn’t know what to make of Taker, sitting in hushed silence as he glided to the ring. Taker immediately took control, methodically working over the Superfly in between busting out some big moves, including a leaping clothesline. Snuka got an opening by reversing an Irish whip, but he caught a boot on a charge and tumbled to the floor. Gorilla repeatedly calling Bearer a “sick individual” made me laugh each time. Taker hoisted Snuka back into the ring with a perfect suplex but came up empty on an elbow drop. Snuka pissed away his opening by wildly diving at Taker. As the Deadman dodged him, Snuka bounced off the top rope and flopped to the floor. He tried to slingshot his way back inside, but Taker just caught him and eventually Tombstoned him for the dominant win. Good job by Snuka to put over the new monster heel and fine job by Taker to look impressive in doing so. Grade: 1/2*
7) The Ultimate Warrior defeats Randy Savage in a Retirement Match with three shoulder blocks at 20:46
Fun Fact: One memorable moment leading into the match was the demise of Brother Love. On Superstars leading into the show, Brother Love pissed off the Warrior during an interview. Well, Warrior finally gave Brother Love what many had been wanting to since he debuted in 1988. He beats the shit out of him, drags him to the ring, lays him out with a Press Slam and Splash, then goes back to the Brother Love Show set and decimates it.
Scott: We have come to the first big match of this show, and one with so much emotion that the crowd is palpable. We go back to Miami in January when Savage’s scepter cracked Warrior in the head and cost the WWF Champion his title to Sergeant Slaughter. Now we go well beyond titles, and talk about careers. Our first “Loser Leaves Town” match if you will occurs here. Savage (like Jake a couple of matches before) brought total emotional investment to a storyline, whether you loved him or hated him. You get a feeling where this entire story is going when Bobby catches Elizabeth sitting in the crowd, almost incognito. I’m not sure if Bobby was supposed to see her or not but it did bring something to the table and may have tipped the result here. I love that Warrior walked slowly to the ring instead of his usual running on full blast and spazzing out on the ropes. He would shake the ropes once he got on the apron but otherwise he was very deliberate. The match is fantastic, as the crowd is completely invested and both men go all out. Savage gets his shots in and takes over after an initial Warrior flurry and Macho King would wear Warrior down with a sleeper. Then we get some referee knockdowns and interference from Queen Sherri which gets Warrior distracted and saves Savage from a pin. The climax of this match may be the greatest storytelling ever. Savage has Warrior down, and then proceeds to drop five straight top rope elbows. Was the match over? Warrior is down…and it’s 1…2…and Warrior kicked out. I was stunned, absolutely stunned. This crowd is off the chain right now, and already this match is going down in WrestleMania lore. Then Warrior takes over the match and hits his clotheslines, press slam and splash. Then Warrior goes for the pin, and he gets a 1…2…and Savage kicks out. Wow this is incredible. Warrior then hesitates and looks up to the stars, he then walks out of the ring. The place is becoming unglued. Warrior then gets the “sign” from above and then Warrior hits clotheslines, and a bevy of shoulderblocks that toss Macho King all over the ring. Then he puts his foot on Savage’s chest, and gets the three count. Randy Savage’s career is over and that was some of the best combination of workrate, psychology and crowd energy ever seen in wrestling. You put that all together and this is a five star package, no doubt. However, the story doesn’t end with the pinfall. Warrior quietly walks out of the ring, but then Sherri chucks the referee out of the ring and starts berating the fallen Savage and kicking him in the chops. Elizabeth then runs from her seat and chucks Sherri out of the ring. Savage and Elizabeth are staring at each other. Elizabeth is crying, and then she and Savage hug. Fans are crying…Jesus Christ CRYING at their seats. There may not be a better overall package of a storyline/match in wrestling history. You actually forget Warrior won the match. Unbelievable, and this moment makes Savage a WWF legend. Grade: *****
Justin: As we reach the midpoint of the show, we reach arguably the biggest bout on the card. It was really hard to fathom that one of these men would be retired after this match as both have meant so much to the promotion over the past handful of years. The feud had been great all throughout the build, especially with the epic Savage assault at the Royal Rumble. Warrior had been screwed out of his title and wanted revenge by retiring the King. Before the bout, Heenan uses his fantastic vision to notice Miss Elizabeth a few rows back at ringside. He was great in ripping her, assuming she was there to see Macho lose. Savage and Sherri had their usual regal entrance, and it left you to wonder if it would be the final time we saw it. After a lot of starts and stops with the crown, Savage really took it to a new level, and made it seem cool instead of kind of goofy. Even Harley Race looked a little silly with the whole regalia, but with Savage it was bad ass. Warrior took the opposite of his usual entrance approach as instead of sprinting to the ring, he slowly walked out, conserving his energy for what lie ahead. Savage came out with a game plan, but even Sherri getting involved didn’t help as Warrior started chucking him around the ring with abandon. Sherri would get bumped again and Savage took advantage, but the King got caught coming off the top rope. Instead of slamming Macho, Warrior just placed him down and slapped him across the face. Great booking already and we are just getting started. You can feel the tension and stakes in the air here and Gorilla and Bobby are assisting as well, really putting everything over as such a big deal. Warrior’s dominance came to a screeching halt when he missed on a shoulderblock and popped up over the top turnbuckle and out to the floor. Sherri got a couple of licks in before Savage cracked him with a double axe handle off the top rope. Savage and Sherri would both work Warrior over on the floor and on the edge of the apron until Savage chucked him inside and started to focus on getting this win. Warrior made a brief comeback but again whiffed on a shoulderblock, which led to a near fall and a chinlock from Macho. Warrior again made a comeback and was set up for a win before Sherri again got involved, distracting the referee long enough for Savage to recover.
With the referee down, Sherri tried to use her shoe, but Warrior ducked and she clobbered Macho. Warrior couldn’t take advantage as Savage again ducked a charge and yanked Warrior into the top buckle to rattle him. I love how whenever Savage was able to take control, it was always due to using Warrior’s momentum against him. This time, Savage tried to make it count as he would drop five big elbows on the prone Warrior. Five! And Warrior would kick out, officially burying Macho’s once lethal finisher. As much as it made Savage’s finisher look weakened, I love that Savage went so crazy in trying to pile it on for the win here. Warrior came right back from that, running through Savage with clothesline after clothesline, followed by a press slam and big splash…of which Savage kicked out! This whole match has been insane. As Savage writhed on the mat, Warrior started staring at his hands and looking to the skies, asking his gods what he should do. Warrior would continue his trance and start to walk away and it began to look like his destiny was to end his own career and head off into the sunset. Before he could make that decision, Savage clobbered him from behind and knocked him to the floor. Savage tried to hit that same axe handle from the top, but Warrior dodged him and Savage crashed into the barricade. Warrior got a new message from his overlords, tossed Savage into the ring and mangled him with clotheslines, each one sending Macho crashing back to the floor. Finally, after one last flying shoulderblock and pitch back into the ring, Warrior placed one foot on Savage’s chest and ended his career in the three seconds that followed. What a match. Warrior would put his robe back on, celebrate and then walk off victorious, having successfully gained revenge on his nemesis.
As Savage recovered in the ring, Sherri hopped in and started smacking him around, pissed that her posh gig was flushed down the toilet. After a minute of that abuse, Miss Elizabeth decided she finally had enough. She hopped the railing and charged to the ring, where she grabbed Sherri and pitched her to the floor. She would help Savage to his feet, but Savage almost decked her out of confusion. Once he pieced it together, we got the reunion that many had waited years for. As the first couple of the WWF embraced, the water works started to flow around the wrestling world. This was such a tremendous storyline and angle and brings their whole WWF career full circle, capping off what had started in 1985, when Savage was the maniacal, manipulative asshole, right through the Megapowers aligning and exploding and Savage’s whole relationship with Sherri. As men and women in the crowd wept, the regal couple paraded around the ring for one last bask in the fans’ adulation. In a beautiful capper to this whole saga, Savage would hold the ropes open for Liz to exit first instead of the other way around. Any match that elicits THAT level of emotion from fans has done its job and then some. What a match. What a story. What a perfect WrestleMania moment. One of the best segments and matches in company history from top to bottom. Grade: *****
8) Genichiro Tenryu & Koji Kitao defeat Demolition when Tenryu pins Smash with a powerbomb at 4:41
Fun Fact: The bastard version of Demolition is now once again managed by Mr. Fuji, who last turned on the Demolition name in 1988. Gone are the big pops, awesome theme music and respect from the fans, as we now have generic evil heel music, cheap mask tricks and nothing more than a glorified job team masquerading as one of the greatest tag teams of all time. This would also sadly be the final PPV appearance for the team. Their final record is 6-5, including 3-1 at WrestleMania including 2 wins for the tag team titles, 1-3 at Survivor Series and 2-1 at SummerSlam. They never wrestled a tag match at a Royal Rumble but individuals were in the Rumble matches each time, winning none.
Fun Fact II: Koji Kitao became known in Japan initially as a sumo wrestler, a sport he started in at the age of 15. He won multiple championships during his sumo career. After disputes with the Sumo Federation, he was expelled and turned to professional wrestling. He was trained at the New Japan Pro Wrestling Dojo and debuted in February 1990. His stay in NJPW was short before moving on to Super World of Sports, where he began teaming with Genichiro Tenryu. Tenryu had also started his career in sumo wrestling before transitioning to pro wrestling at the age of 26. He was scouted by Giant Baba and was sent to train with Dory Funk, Jr. and Terry Funk in Texas. His biggest success was in a series of matches with Jumbo Tsuruta over the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship, the highest wrestling title in All Japan Pro Wrestling, culminating in Tenryu winning the title in 1989 in a match considered by Japanese publications to be Match of the Year.
Scott: After the tension and drama of the previous match we hit some filler stuff. Demolition is cooked and here they job to a pair of Japanese imports. Gorilla and Bobby are hilarious as the Brain keeps butchering the Japanese names. “Fred Kitao?” makes me laugh every time. Bobby follows that up with “I smell Kikkoman”, referring to the soy sauce brand. Demolition hits some heel offense but it’s all for naught as the visitors from the Far East take the match. Tenryu ran the Super World of Sports promotion and he had a deal worked out with Vince to cross-promote. The WWF heads to Japan a few times throughout 1991. That was the real reason for this match. Oh and the final burial of Demolition. Three years earlier they were the #1 tag team in the company. No longer. Grade: **
Justin: Where has my Demolition gone? Ax is persona non grata, Smash & Crush are with Fuji, the awesome theme music is gone. This is not my Demolition. And even more confusing is that we don’t see them battle Legion of Doom here, in what would have been a great passing the torch moment. Instead, they battle a couple of stars from Japan’s SWS promotion. The two companies had a working relationship going on and would co-promote a show in Japan later in the spring. So, this was basically just a chance to introduce them to the American fans and give the show a bit of a unique feel. Heenan wasted no time getting racist, butchering Kitao’s name by calling him “Hand Towel” and claiming he was a “big fortune cookie”. Smash and Crush attacked off the bell but Kitao fired right back and laid in some forearms on Crush. Fuji would get involved, smacking the big man with his cane, giving his boys control. Crush has improved a bit and really has the Demolition style down pat after struggling initially. The former champs double teamed a bit as they continued to work Kitao over. From there we get the epic back and forth between Gorilla and Bobby that ends with the Brain thinking Kitao’s name was “Fred Kitowel”. He also claimed to be smelling Kikkoman. Tenryu would get the tag and clear out both Smash and Crush but Smash caught him with a forearm to stop him in his tracks. Crush followed that with a backbreaker but before they could go for the Decapitation Device, Kitao broke things up and shoved Crush to the floor. The Japanese contingent worked together, allowing Kitao to kick Smash in the back of the head and then finish him off with a powerbomb for the win. Demolition got way more offense than you would have expected in that one. The match was nothing more than a curiosity and a sad farewell for Demolition. We will always have the SkyDome, my friends. Grade: *
9) Big Boss Man defeats Mr. Perfect by disqualification at 10:26; Mr. Perfect retains WWF Intercontinental Title
Fun Fact: This is the final WrestleMania appearance for Andre the Giant. He had been initially announced as a Royal Rumble entrant back in January but injuries kept him from competing.
Scott: This feud goes all the way back to November when a former Heenan Family member (Rick Rude) ripped Boss Man’s mother. Rude leaves the company so the rest of the Family incurs Boss Man’s wrath. He’s taken out Haku, he’s taken out Barbarian, and now he faces the Crown Jewel of the promotion. With the tag straps already switched, and the likely switch in the main event, I didn’t think Perfect was going to drop the strap here. He’s been champion since November and has taken on all comers. Boss Man is like Jake Roberts in that he really doesn’t need a title to get over and his character doesn’t really match up with gold. Perfect dominated the action early, but Boss Man makes the heroic comeback until Bobby distracts him and Perfect throws him into the stairs. I’m not sure if Perfect’s back injury that plagued him throughout the summer has happened yet but he’s not moving as gingerly as he would. The crowd then goes crazy when one year after turning face in Toronto, Andre the Giant comes down to freak Bobby out to a big pop. Andre is moving very gingerly as his wrestling days are clearly over. Andre grabs the IC belt and cracks Perfect in the head with it and both men are down in the ring. The match ends when the rest of the Heenan Family comes down to attack Boss Man, leading to the disqualification. Chaos ensues but Perfect keeps his title even though he lost the match. That was a fun match and even though Perfect kept his title, Boss Man wins the war with the Heenan Family, which as it turns out is the last time we will say that. More in our next review. Grade: **1/2
Justin: After a long simmering feud, Big Boss Man finally gets his chance to stick the dagger through the heart of the Heenan Family. He has battled through Haku and Barbarian and was indirectly credited for driving Rick Rude from the promotion and now he can knock off the Family Kingpin and take his gold as well. In their prematch promo, Heenan and Perfect reference Rodney King, which was topical and actually made sense with the feud. Boss Man was really looking good here, having slimmed way down, especially compared to what he looked like just two years earlier in Trump Plaza. With the Brain at ringside, Lord Alfred Hayes steps into the WrestleMania booth for the first time since 1986. Perfect plays some mind games early, slapping Boss Man across the face and then bailing to the floor, but Boss Man didn’t fall for anything and went right at Perfect, even whipping him around by his hair. Boss Man was moving at a manic pace, just mowing through the champ with abandon. The crowd was really amped, cheering on the challenger and chanting “Weasel” at Bobby as Perfect regrouped outside. This match and moment really feels like Perfect’s peak in the company, entering into the ring with gold on his waist and portrayed as the king of the premier stable in the company. Perfect finally stops Boss Man’s attack and begins targeting the back, even locking in a nice abdominal stretch. Boss Man wouldn’t say die, landing a strike in wherever he could, but he didn’t have enough gas to capitalize just yet. Perfect would land a beautiful neck snap but Boss Man blocked the Perfectplex with a small package for two. Perfect pounced up and hit a reverse neck snap (!) bending Boss Man at a nasty angle. The champ made a crucial error, though, as he took too long on the top rope and Boss Man was able to catch him coming off. It didn’t matter much as Perfect chucked Boss Man to the floor and ran him into the steps. As Heenan stomped away on Boss Man, Andre the Giant emerged to a huge pop, coming out to even the odds as had been teased a week earlier on the March to WrestleMania special.
Andre would grab the IC title and stalk around the ring, distracting Perfect, who completely stopped paying attention to the Boss Man and couldn’t stop bitching about the Giant. As Heenan was arguing with the referee, Perfect went to confront Andre, but got a face full of gold as a result. Boss Man would get a near fall, but before things could escalate further, Barbarian and Haku got involved, drawing the DQ. After the match, Andre and Boss Man wiped out the Family and stood tall. However, while Boss Man has won his battle, Perfect won the war as he still owns the gold. I really enjoyed the match but things fell apart when Andre showed up, with everything getting choppy as they tried to hit their spots. With this feud in the bag, we can look back and see that this was the feud to really establish Boss Man as a strong player in the upper mid card. Grade: **
*** Gene Okerlund interviews Donald Trump, Chuck Norris, Henry Winkler and Lou Ferrigno in the crowd. Bobby Heenan wins the night by wondering how Ferrigno can talk with “fifteen pounds of crackers in his mouth. ***
10) Earthquake defeats Greg Valentine with the Earthquake at 3:16
Scott: Another filler match to reward an old school Vince stalwart with a nice paycheck. The Hammer has been here since 1984, and immediately was a top heel. He’s endured many feuds and battles and now as a babyface takes on his former manager’s big charge. Earthquake’s lost a little steam since being eliminated by Hulk Hogan at the Rumble. Bobby’s back in the seat after Lord Alfred covered during the last match and he’s gloating over his man keeping the IC Title. This is the first show where Gorilla and Bobby really show their chemistry and how they are very different at the big shows than Gorilla was with Jesse Ventura. Imagine Jesse in the Savage/Warrior match? Totally different dynamic. In any event, Valentine tries but Quake wins to try and regain some heat. Grade: **
Justin: The Hart Family has split at the seams a bit here, with Greg Valentine having ditched the Mouth of the South in January to kick off his first face run in his WWF career. In his first major singles PPV match on that side of the ledger he has a major test ahead of him, having to attempt to topple the still dominant Earthquake. Even though he ostensibly lost the feud with Hulk Hogan, Quake was still set up as a top flight star. Quake dominated right away, hitting a splash for a near fall. Hammer chopped his way back into things, and would rattle Quake quite a bit with clotheslines and elbows before finally getting him off his feet with an elbow hammer off the second rope. He immediately went for the figure four, but Hart hopped on the apron for the distraction. Hammer should know better after all these years. Quake caught him from behind and quickly polished him off from there. Nothing doing here, just a match to reestablish Quake with a strong win. Grade: 1/2*
11) Legion of Doom defeats Power & Glory when Hawk pins Paul Roma with the Doomsday Device at :58
Fun Fact I: There actually was a story here, as Power and Glory cost the LOD a title shot by eliminating them from the Number One Contender Tag Team Battle Royal after they had already been tossed out.
Fun Fact II: Paul Roma has since revealed that he had suffered an arm injury the night before this match. You can see that his arm is heavily taped here. Also, he mentioned that Hercules was competing with a torn groin. If you watch the match, you can see Hercules grabbing the side of leg throughout the bout. It is possible that these injuries dictated the match length here.
Scott: Similar to the Hart Foundation crushing the Bolsheviks at WrestleMania VI, the LOD are here to stake their claim as the #1 contender to the Nasty Boys’ tag straps. The difference is poor Power & Glory had to eat the squash here. The Bolsheviks were a dying loser unit, but P&G still had plenty of juice as a great tag team. This match isn’t as definitive as the Harts’ squash last year but the match is still finished in under a minute. The LOD has one thing in mind: Being the first team to win the tag titles in all three major North American promotions. They’ve already been NWA and AWA tag champs. One hurdle left to jump. Grade: DUD
Justin: We couldn’t have scrapped the poor injured Power & Glory and the SWS crew and just had LOD vs. Demolition? Or just let the SWS boys squash P&G if you need them out there. I don’t get it. I love P&G so much, but this does nothing for them at all, so what’s the point. However, I will say it does accomplish one thing well, and it harkens back to a year ago in SkyDome. It was then that the Hart Foundation laid a challenge out to Demolition before waxing the Bolsheviks in under a minute. Tonight, the LOD levied a challenge to the Nasty Boys and then made quick work of P&G. After a very brief brawl, Animal snapped Roma over with a powerslam before finishing him off with the Doomsday Device for the quick squash. LOD moves on, with gold in their crosshairs. I go cry myself to sleep. Grade: DUD
12) Virgil defeats Ted DiBiase by countout at 7:35
Fun Fact: After Virgil broke free at the Royal Rumble, Roddy Piper began training him and preparing him for his big WrestleMania match. On the 2/17 Prime Time Wrestling, we saw the classic interview with Piper and Virgil, where Piper was screaming at him and then asked him how to spell “MAN.” Virgil responded “V-I-R-G-I-L!” On the 2/23 Superstars, Virgil won a big singles match against Haku with help from Piper. Then Piper interviewed DiBiase on the Superstars and Stripes Forever special one week before the PPV. Piper made fun of DiBiase’s tear away suit, and when DiBiase began threatening him, Virgil came out and got in DiBiase’s face, driving him to the back. Finally, on Superstars the day before WrestleMania, Virgil came down during DiBiase’s match with jobber Kevin Greeno, distracted DiBiase and got him counted out in an embarrassing loss.
Scott: The second of three emotion-based matches on our card pits a former employee against his evil employer. After almost two years of being Ted DiBiase’s bitch, Roddy Piper was finally getting in Virgil’s ear that he should be his own man. So at the Royal Rumble after putting up with enough crap he walked away and started spelling man VIR…GIL! So we get the match here. We never really knew what kind of ability in the ring Virgil had. While Virgil hits single moves to frustrate DiBiase, Bobby is talking about a big post-WrestleMania party in Las Vegas that following Tuesday on Prime Time Wrestling. If I remember correctly, this show was on Palm Sunday. The match was not long and DiBiase took Virgil to school for the end of the match. DiBiase gets distracted by Piper, who’s outside on crutches (in kayfabe it was a motorcycle accident, in real life he had hip surgery) and Virgil wins by countout. Piper and Virgil are beaten down by DiBiase and his new manager, Sensational Sherri, who finds herself a new meal ticket. This feud continues with a big blow off in August at the Garden. The match wasn’t much but the feud continues. Grade: **
Justin: Well, things have certainly escalated since the Royal Rumble. All of a sudden, Virgil feels like a legit threat. He is standing up for himself, speaking out, training with Roddy Piper and outsmarting his former boss. It was a turn that needed to happen and they certainly were doing a nice job of making it count to this point. Piper was in Virgil’s corner here, but was a bit hobbled as he had recently undergone hip surgery. They covered for it on air by saying he was in a motorcycle accident, but in reality his hips were just shot. Virgil gets a nice ovation and the crowd was whipped into a frenzy for him and Piper as we got underway. Virgil opened up with some strong right hands, driving his former boss to the floor to shake it off. With Piper seated in a chair at ringside, Virgil just mauled DiBiase, sending him over the top to the floor for a third time. He made a rookie mistake though, as he tossed Ted back in and then slowly came in behind him, allowing DiBiase to clobber him. After another Virgil flurry, DiBiase took back over, smashing Virgil’s face into the mat and then working him over in the corner. DiBiase would taunt the gimpy Piper as he worked over Virgil, including a perfect piledriver, really adding fuel to the fire for the fans. DiBiase’s offense was strong here and his dismissive attitude as he laid it in really added to everything. Things spilled to the floor for a moment, just long enough for DiBiase to shove Piper to the floor. Back inside, he turned over a great powerslam but Piper got revenge as he hooked the top rope when DiBiase charged them, causing Ted to tumble outside. DiBiase would slug Piper again, but as he was laying in a kick, the bell rang, signifying a Virgil countout win. After the bell, DiBiase hooked in the Dream, wearing Virgil down. Piper would drag himself into the ring and crack DiBiase with the crutch, but before he could do any more damage, Sensational Sherri charged to the ring and stopped him. With Piper on one leg, DiBiase and Sherri worked him over, punishing his leg. Virgil would finally recover and run them off, but the damage was done. Piper would refuse any help and would end up jamming his crutch into the sack of poor Danny Davis as a result. That seemed unnecessary. Virgil would repay the motivational favor for his mentor, demanding him to stand up like a man. The Hot Rod would and the two embraced and walked off as equals. That match was pretty damn good but the abrupt ending really killed it right when it was getting good. I also think they should have separated this from the IC title match a bit more due to the similar finishes. It was clear that things weren’t quite done between them just yet. Grade: **
13) The Mountie defeats Tito Santana after shocking him with the Cattle Prod at 1:20
Fun Fact: This is Tito Santana’s seventh consecutive WrestleMania match, tying him with Hulk Hogan for most appearances to date.
Scott: We have another holdover match to get us ready for the main event. Tito is the quintessential Vince employee. He’s always there when needed, win or lose. For the second WrestleMania in a row he’s in charge of putting over a new heel. The Mountie took out fellow Vince guy Koko B. Ware at the Royal Rumble and now will get the win over the former IC and Tag Champion. Mountie cheats with the cattle prod and in less than 90 seconds Mountie gets the win. He will move up the ladder quickly from here. Grade: *
Justin: The Mountie continues to slowly climb his way up the ladder, still a bit aimless as far as feuds go, but still picking up wins in the lower mid card. After knocking off Koko B. Ware at the Rumble, he steps up and gets the Mania veteran Tito Santana here. It’s good to see Bobby picking up where Jesse Ventura left off as far as making Mexican jokes about poor Chico. He would strike first and fast, hammering Mountie with the flying forearm, but Mountie was able to roll outside to avoid defeat. Tito worked him over a bit more but thanks to some deception, Mountie was able to jab his cattle prod into the gut of Tito, shocking him long enough to steal the win. They were clearly crunched for time here, so this had to be an express line job. See you next year, Tito. Grade: DUD
14) Hulk Hogan defeats Sergeant Slaughter to win WWF World Title with a leg drop at 20:22
Fun Fact I: This is Sgt. Slaughter’s WrestleMania debut. He is the first wrestler to make his WrestleMania debut as World Champion since Hulk Hogan.
Fun Fact II: The heat for this match was hitting an all-time high, as Americana was in there air, and the American Hero Hulk Hogan was set to rescue the World Title from the evil Iraqi sympathizer. Slaughter did his best to weaken Hogan on the road to WrestleMania, as he would beat him down at any chance he had, with the biggest beat down occurring on the Superstars and Stripes Forever show. Hogan was facing General Adnan, when Slaughter interfered and beat Hogan down and locked him the Camel Clutch. Hulkamania was running hot and wild, and the crowds were rabid to see Hogan regain the gold that eluded him all year long.
Scott: Our main event is dripping with the colors Red, White and Blue. Although by this time Desert Storm was winding down and we kicked Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, it didn’t matter. Patriotism was at an all-time high and it shows here in Los Angeles. The heel heat for Slaughter may not quite match Andre’s four years earlier, but the face pop for Hogan blows the roof off the place. Plenty of bobbing and weaving by Slaughter early on but Hogan really takes control for the beginning of this match and just drops bombs over and over. The chemistry between Bobby, Gorilla and Regis Philbin is great, with Bobby saying that Kathie Lee is married to Red Grange. Slaughter takes control due to Adnan’s interference and Slaughter whacks Hogan with a plastic (although everybody says steel, it clearly isn’t) chair. Bobby makes the good point that he’s trying to get intentionally disqualified. Then we get some psychology as Slaughter starts working over Hogan’s back from the beating he gave the Hulkster the week before. Slaughter slaps on a Boston Crab and this crowd hasn’t gone quiet all show long. Hogan fights out but gets busted open and Slaughter cranks the Camel Clutch and blood is pouring out of Hogan’s head. Normally we don’t see that in the Federation Era, but getting busted open added so much to the match. Slaughter then drapes the Iraqi flag over the prone Hogan, but when he goes for the two count, guess what? You got it, big kick out. Then the hulking up, tearing of the flag, punches, big boot, leg drop and our first three time WWF Champion. The place went completely bonkers. Hogan, busted open and tired, wearing the World Title and waving Old Glory is a lasting visual. It is also probably the last truly great moment in Hulk Hogan’s career during the Federation Era. I really liked this match as the psychology was solid, the battle was tough and the crowd was completely entrenched into it. I may be overgrading this match but I don’t care. It capped off a fun show with a lot of energy and the unlikeliest of California crowds. Grade: ****
Justin: After months of Sgt. Slaughter terrorizing the company and our country with his wicked evil ways, it was time to pay the piper. Since winning the World Title at the Rumble, Slaughter really amped up the hate, playing by his rules and mangling Hogan whenever he could, especially a week earlier when Sarge viciously beat him down. Despite all the Warrior/Hogan II rumors, this really was the way to go. They did a fine job building Slaughter up as a major threat to us all, and definitely built up to the point where we all wanted Hogan to wreck him and take back the title. Before the match, the celebrity cohosts come out, with Marla Maples set to ring the bell, Alex Trebek to handle ring introductions and Regis Philbin to join in the commentary booth. Man, did Regis look young here. And he was pretty damn old already. Regardless of how you feel about the jingoism and leaching onto real world events, seeing Slaughter and Adnan march to the ring with the World Title and Iraqi flag in tow felt like a damn big deal. Sarge deserves full credit for dragging himself up to becoming a credible Champion after a shaky first few months back in the company. Hogan gets a mega pop, natch, and we were ready to rock and roll. The “USA” chants were deafening as the two locked up and Hogan sent Sarge flying to the mat. The match would spill outside, where Sarge tried to use a chair after a distraction from Adnan, but it was to no effect as Hogan shook it off and kept rolling. Sarge would land a shot here and there but he just could not get on track at all, as Hogan was just a man possessed out there. I liked Regis here, as he laid out for the most part but added an air of importance, like this was such a big match that this top celebrity needed to be involved in the call of it. Sarge was really bumping around like a madman for Hogan’s offense, making the challenger look fat out dominant. It was great comeuppance after months of torture. In a desperate move, Adnan hooked Hogan’s leg as he went up top, allowing Sarge to slam him to the mat and methodically take over the match with a clothesline to the floor. That was a hell of a start to this match, though, with Hogan straight up destroying the champ.
Outside, Sarge would finally get his chair shots in, right in front of the referee, who decided to push the envelope a bit, it seems. In the ring, Sarge worked the back to soften up Hogan for the Camel Clutch, hitting a backbreaker for a near fall. The fans chanting “Hogan” as their hero tried to fight through the pain, but Sarge kept laying in the boots before turning Hogan over into a Boston crab. In an odd decision, though, Sarge hooked the hold right next to the ropes. They were so close that it was comical that Hogan didn’t reach for the ropes and instead tried to power out. Even Regis was asking why he didn’t go for the rope and the cameramen were clearly trying to play the optical illusion game by making it look like they weren’t that close. Hogan would finally grab the rope, but Sarge kept working the back with a big stomp to the kidney off the top rope. For some stupid reason, Adnan was distracting the referee while Sarge had Hogan covered for like seven seconds. Sarge would slither back outside and pelt Hogan in the head with another chair, but, while it did bust the challenger open, that still wasn’t enough to finish him off. A moment later, Sarge hooked in the Camel Clutch and as the bloody Hogan suffered, it looked like the evil champion may retain. In a nice touch, Sarge broke the hold and stomped on Hogan’s back a few times before going right back to the hold. The crowd started to buzz as Hogan’s leg shook, driving him to his feet with Sarge on his back to break the hold. Sarge would shove Hogan into the corner and then make the mistake of draping the Iraqi flag over his prone body. That fueled Hogan’s comeback and seconds later Sarge ate the big boot and legdrop, giving Hogan his third World Title. The crowd erupted as Hogan was handed back the gold he lost a year earlier. The reign of terror was over. This was a really well worked match with a red hot opening segment that transitioned into a solid heat segment capped but a good strong finish. It was probably way better than it had any right to be, but these were two old pros that knew exactly what needed to be done. Kudos to Slaughter for a surprisingly solid title run, but the Hulkster is back on top of the mountain. And it was such a decisive victory, that Gorilla felt the need to proclaim the war to officially be over. Grade: ***1/2
Scott: This was a very entertaining WrestleMania top to bottom, with some real good matches, a classic mid-show story being told and a pretty solid main event. Would Warrior/Hogan II had made the show any better? I would say no, as they wouldn’t have been able to match what they did last year in Toronto. No doubt the lasting image of this show will be the tearful reuniting of Randy Savage and Elizabeth and his almost immediate face turn. He will still act very heelish when he joins commentary over the next few months, but the “Macho King” days are over. The rest of the undercard was pretty good with a couple of flat squashes to fill the show and give some veterans a payday. Hulk Hogan is back on the top of the mountain, but the WWE landscape will change dramatically over the next 6-8 months. That change will be for the better, much better. Final Grade: B+
Justin: Another long WrestleMania card is officially in the books and the Era of Hulkamania is ushered back in as the World Title is back around the Hulkster’s waist. This was a pretty fun card top to bottom and despite the length of the show and the depth of the card, it mostly moved pretty quickly. Plus, the crowd was molten hot for everything, which added to the cool theme and look of the event providing a level of intangibles into the mix. Included in the fourteen matches were some really memorable moments, two titles changes and a five star, all time classic in the Retirement Match. There were a few questionable finishes, but mostly because they were booked into corners in them. As far as large supercards go though, it is hard to argue that this didn’t deliver just about across the board. Even if the main event was pretty predictable, it was still really fun and it was the right way to go. If you are looking for a dash of Americana, a hot crowd, some really fun commentary, memorable sound bytes and moments and some fun early 90s wrestling, this is the show for you! Final Grade: B+