Vintage Vault Pre-Viewing: Wrestlemania V

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship

As we head into the fifth installment of Wrestlemania and the last one of the 1980s, you knew that this show was looked at as a highly anticipated show with a pretty loaded card. Even though for the second year in a raw the NWA was going to put on its Clash of the Champions card which featured the iconic Steamboat/Flair 2-out-of-3 falls match, this show still had plenty of juice behind it despite a lot of the matches seemingly coming out of nowhere. One match however that was not out of nowhere was the main event of the show which was going to see former friends Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan face off with the tagline of the show being “The Mega Powers Explode”. There was a lot of hype going into this match that has been building for the last year since Hogan helped Savage win the tournament to become champion, and now one year later they are going at it for that same title in the same building where they officially formed the Mega Powers.

The issues between Hogan and Savage have been building pretty much since October 1987 when Hogan saved Savage from the Hart Foundation and the Honkytonk Man which saw the two showed each other respect, and as mentioned last year Hogan assisted Savage in winning the tournament to become WWF Champion and the Mega Powers were officially formed. They would remain a unit throughout Summerslam when they defeated the Mega Bucks in the main event, but the cracks began to form at Survivor Series as Savage began to believe that Hogan had eyes for Elizabeth. The issues continued at the Royal Rumble when Hogan eliminated Savage during the match and the two nearly came to blows before shaking hands, and then things finally came to a head at the Main Event when Hogan left Savage alone after Elizabeth was wiped out. Savage would slap Hogan in the face and leave the match only for Hogan to defeat the Twin Towers by himself, and the two would have a confrontation in the back with Savage turning on Hogan by hitting him with the belt and attacking him. The two would stay apart on the house show circuit with Savage facing the Ultimate Warrior while Hogan continued his feud with the Big Bossman, and at our last SNME Elizabeth announced that she would be in a neutral corner for the match. There was a lot of anticipation behind this match and while some might think the build has been somewhat backwards in terms of who was in the right, you knew that these two were going to put on a great match.

We got a great video package highlighting the entirety of this relationship and Hogan gives a great promo as he vows to once again become champion, and we also get a good promo from Elizabeth as she prays that both men won’t be seriously hurt. Savage was red hot as a heel though he still did get a few cheers and Elizabeth even gets her own entrance, and Hogan gets a big pop from the crowd as Jesse flips out about Savage coming out first despite being champion. Speaking of Jesse, he has been on fire throughout this feud as he completely on Savage’s side and spews his vitriol for Hogan and even Elizabeth to an extent by calling her a gold digger. The two men square off to start the match with Savage retreating outside to stall before returning to the ring, and they lock up with Hogan shoving Savage to the mat and Savage retreats to the apron to stall before returning to the ring. They lock up again with Savage hooking a headlock until Hogan whips him off and knocks him down, and Savage rolls outside again to regroup before returning to the ring as they lock up again with Savage going back to the headlock and he gets a shot in. Savage continues to grind down on Hogan with the headlock until Hogan whips him off only for Savage to avoid a shot by again rolling outside to regroup, and Hogan chases Savage around the ring until Savage uses Elizabeth as a shield to stop him as both men return to the ring. They lock up with Hogan hooking a headlock and he goes behind Savage before hitting a drop toehold and he hooks a front facelock on, and he transitions into a headlock only for Savage to escape with a back suplex though Hogan avoids the elbow. Hogan pounds on Savage and knocks him down before going to work on the arm until Savage rakes the eyes and he kicks at Hogan, and Savage goes up top and hits an axehandle on Hogan for a two count before working on the arm. Hogan gets to his feet only for Savage to yank him back to the mat by his hair and he continues to work the arm, and Hogan fights to his feet again only for Savage to again yank him to the mat by the hair and he continues to work the arm while driving the knee into the throat. Hogan again fights to his feet and Savage again grabs the hair only for Hogan to hold his ground and Savage keeps control, but then Hogan grabs at Savage’s tights and pulls him into the ropes with Savage falling to the outside. Hogan goes outside and throws Savage back into the ring as he rams him into the buckles before hitting a clothesline, and he drops a pair of elbows on Savage before raking his boot across Savage’s face only for Savage to catch him ducking with a kick. Savage hits a hooking clothesline on Hogan for a two count and hooks a submission on as we see Hogan is bleeding above the eye, and Hogan fights to his feet only for Savage to pull him back down to the mat and he maintains control with the submission. Hogan fights to his feet again and breaks the hold before knocking Savage down and then he catches a kick attempt, and he hits an atomic drop on Savage only to miss the elbow and Savage hits a high knee to the back that sends Hogan into the corner. Savage hooks a rollup while grabbing the tights for a two count and he hits an axehandle before ramming Hogan into the buckle, and he whips Hogan hard into the other corner with Hogan falling to the mat and grabbing at Savage’s leg as Savage pounds on him. Savage whips Hogan hard into the corner again and stomps on his hand before slapping him in the face, but Hogan starts to fire up as Savage yells at Elizabeth and Hogan rams him into the buckle repeatedly. He pounds on Savage in the corner and whips him into the other corner before splashing him though he looks to have hurt his arm, and then he hoists Savage up and dumps him over the top to the floor in a nasty spot. Elizabeth comes over and checks on Savage only for Savage to shove her away as he trips Hogan up and pulls him outside, and he pounds on Hogan only for Hogan to block a ram into the post though Savage rakes the eyes. Hogan blocks a ram into the guardrail and Savage rakes the eyes again only for Hogan to block a ram into the apron as he rams Savage into the apron, and he hoists Savage up and looks to ram him into the post only for Elizabeth to block his path which allows Savage to slide off and he rams Hogan into the post. Savage returns to the ring as Elizabeth checks on Hogan until Savage goes outside and pulls her away, and he gets in her face and grabs at her chin until the ref forces him back and he ejects Elizabeth from ringside as she heads to the back. Savage stomps on Hogan and returns to the ring as he goes up top and hits an axehandle which drives Hogan’s throat into the guardrail, and he throws Hogan back into the ring and then he leaps over the top rope as he hotshots Hogan on the top rope. Savage returns to the ring and slams down on Hogan’s back before going outside and driving the elbow into the throat, and he returns to the ring and hits a slam on Hogan before dropping a knee on him for a two count. Savage takes the tape off of his elbow and chokes Hogan with it before continuing to choke him as he takes Hogan to the mat, and then he goes up top and hits the flying elbow only for Hogan to kick out before three and he starts to hulk up. Hogan no-sells Savage’s shots and stalks him before hitting a series of punches and the big boot, and then he hits the legdrop which gets the three and we have a new champion. After the match, Hogan puts the belt around his waist as Savage is beside himself before heading to the back, and Hogan poses for the fans as the show goes off the air.

The match itself was great as both men worked hard and put on a pretty fun main event that might be to this point the best in-ring main event in Wrestlemania history. It should come as no surprise that these two would have a great match as they had their great series of matches towards the end of 1985 and into 1986, and this match was right on par with them as Savage was a much better worker now and Hogan had pretty much gotten down his way of doing matches. The story going into this match was so hot despite how confusing the booking of it might have been, but you knew it was going to pay off in spades with a great match and it did just that. The only qualm I have is that they seem to focus on Elizabeth a bit too much even though she was one of the main cruxes of the feud, but they were smart to only have her get involved late in the match and get ejected quickly. The commentary was also top notch as Jesse was in full support of Savage and sounded like he wanted to be at ringside to assist him, and Gorilla got his support in for Hogan though he did seem overwhelmed by Jesse at times. The ending of the match was pretty obvious as well since you knew that Hogan was probably going to win at the end, but they kept Savage pretty strong even though he lost. The crowd was pretty hot for the whole match and at times were a bit split between both men, but they did pop big for Hogan when he won. Hogan is once again the WWF Champion as he ends Savage’s reign in the same building it began, but this issue is not over yet.

Final Grade: ****

Author: Steve Riddle

I have been a wrestling fan since 1993 and that is probably my biggest love, with movies being a close second due in part to being employed at a movie theater for over 9 years.