(Awww yeah! Another 10,000 word three-rant marathon session. Just call me Charlie Reneke.)
The Netcop Retro Rant for Wrestlemania VI
- Live from Toronto, Ontario. Original airdate: April 1/1990
- Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura.
- Opening match: Rick Martel v. Koko B. Ware.
The crowd is huge, announced at almost 68,000 people. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the ultra-cool carts that carry the guys to the ring ala WM3. Match is brutally clipped on the Coliseum video version, which is good because I saw it live on closed circuit TV and it sucked then. The version here sees a two minute Martel squash, as he finishes it with the Boston Crab. The announcers make note of a mistake made by Koko, which exposes the clipping. (I hope someone got fired for that one!) Oh well. Match was about 1/4*
- WWF tag team title match: Andre the Giant & Haku v. Demolition.
A canned Demos interview is inserted before the match. The champs don't even get an entrance, but the Demos do, and they get a mega-pop to boot. Once again a brutal clipjob, which is exceedingly good because this match blows too. Haku literally wrestles the entire match as Andre stands on the apron and Ax plays Ricky Morton. Smash gets the hot tag and destroys Haku (Andre takes one bump for old time's sake). Andre grabs Haku from behind, but the THRUST KICK OF DEATH hits Andre by mistake and Demolition Decapitation follows on Haku for the pin and the final tag title reign for the Demos. Andre does the obligatory face turn after the match. Note to WCW: Sometimes it's cool for the faces to win. (WCW learned that lesson the hard way when the WWF themselves made the big babyface comeback and Vince finished Bischoff off with the big boot and legdrop, brother.) DUD, although I was marking out for the last hurrah of Demolition at the time. Andre lays a hellacious beating on Heenan and Haku and leaves to the cheers of the fans. (That Andre babyface turn on Heenan gets me every time. Who fucks with ANDRE THE GIANT?!)
- Hercules v. Earthquake.
This was during the initial Quake buildup, which means Extra Squash with Cheese and a Side of Squash Fries. Up until now he was billed as "Canadian Earthquake", but I guess they didn't want any face heat for him here so they debuted the "Earthquake" name. I'm sure you know how this one goes. Herc does a stretcher job for good measure after two Quake splashes. DUD
- Rona Barrett interviews Elizabeth about her disappearance. Gotta love token celebrity appearances. (In retrospect, she should have stayed disappeared.)
- Brutus Beefcake v. Mr. Perfect.
Okay, if you'll remember, at Royal Rumble 90 Beefcake fought the Genius in order to transfer the heat from Hogan to Beefcake, and it worked because this match was set up for Wrestlemania. Hennig is in full overselling mood, flying over the top rope on a punch. Mucho stallo results. Another mega-bump on a chest-first charge to the corner by Perfect. This would be the last appearance of the real Beefcake on PPV, before the boating accident turned him into the talentless Hogan kiss-ass you see today. Saturday Night's Main Event booking as Hennig gets the METAL SCROLL OF DOOM from the Genius and bops Beefcake with it to take control. Another clip job as Hennig runs through his usual offense. He brings Beefcake to his knees and then slaps him around, but Beefcake grabs Hennig's legs and slingshots him into the ringpost, a move which is guaranteed to kill Hennig, each and every time it's used. (Also Dolph Ziggler, which I’m sure is absolutely no coincidence at all. Maybe they didn’t want to let Joe Hennig be Perfect Jr. because Ziggler already had that gimmick?) Beefcake gets the huge upset and the crowd goes APESHIT. See, that way Perfect keeps his heat because the match was booked as a fluke. Beefcake ends up cutting Poffo's hair. Decent enough match. * Here's an interesting quote from Jesse at the end, after Gorilla notes that the people want to see Poffo's hair cut: "Since when is the World Wrestling Federation dictated by what you and the people want?" Of course, years later, Gorilla would become WWF President and the WWF's whole direction would cater to the fans' every whim. (Of course, years later after that, the direction would cater to screwing over the fans out of spite.)
- Roddy Piper v. Bad News Brown.
This would be the match where Piper painted half his body black. He puts on a dance exhibition before the match, thus guaranteeing to offend EVERYONE in the audience, black and white. Total brawl, and a boring one at that. Piper pulls out a while glove (cf. Brown's black glove) and they fight outside the ring for a double countount. Really disappointing non-match. -*
- Steve Allen rehearses the Russian National Anthem with the Bolsheviks. Har har.
- The Hart Foundation v. The Bolsheviks.
Nikolai goes to sing the anthem and the Harts attack, then hit the Hart Attack for the pin. Bleh. DUD
- Tito Santana v. The Barbarian.
This would be the debut of the Barbarian under the tutelage of Bobby Heenan. Total squash, as Barbie manhandles Santana, who comes back with the token offense. Flying Jalapeno, but Heenan puts Barbie's foot on the ropes. Barbarian to the top and Tito takes the bump of the night with a somersault sell of the clothesline from the top, which finishes the match. Off-night for Tito. 1/4* (That was a hell of a bump from Tito and I believe I rated this match higher on the second go-around.)
- Randy Savage & Sherri v. Dusty Rhodes & Sapphire.
And wasn't the world just waiting for this one? Jesse goes off on a hilarious rant about the fact that the Cow Twins are announced at 465 total, which he estimates is at least 100 pounds low. Dusty brings out Elizabeth before we start to a huge ovation. Sherri is actually looking pretty lithe here. Sapphire uses her huge ass to dominate Sherri, and Sherri actually sells. You can always tell when Jesse hates someone in real life because of how much he cheers against them. If that's true, then he must HATE Dusty Rhodes. I mean, I would not want to be in the same room if they ever met, if his commentary here is any indication. This mess drags on and on, with Dusty playing Cow in Peril after a shot with the sceptre. Sappire and Sherri get into it, and Liz tosses Sherri back in, then grabs her by the hair and shoves her back into Sappire, which allows a rollup for the win. Really bad match. -** Better times would be ahead for Savage, thankfully. (And then much, much worse times. Sad face. Dusty Rhodes is the only one left alive in this match.)
- Hogan gives a really disturbing interview where he elevates himself to Christ-like levels by offering to "save" the Warrior and his fans by making Warrior a martyr.
- Warrior responds with an equally weirded-out interview. (I feel like I’m doing these interviews a dis-service by not recapping them word-for-word.)
- The Rockers v. The Orient Express.
Let's play "How much drugs did the Rockers use before the match" here. I'll start the betting at 2 grams of coke and a shot of booze. Shawn Michaels plays Ricky Morton as the Express uses some nice double-teams to control. Marty gets the hot tag and the Rockers do their usual stuff, albeit slower than usual for some reason. Could it be...DRUGS? Even Gorilla notes the lethargy that Rockers seem to be experiencing. (Not like it’s tough for them to score weed in Toronto.) Jannetty ends up outside the ring and Fuji tosses salt in his eyes for the countout, a really weird ending that killed the crowd. This match was just screaming for a pinfall ending. Still, better than everything else tonight. **3/4 I never got the signing of the Orients. I assume Vince just wanted to steal Badd Company from the AWA, but couldn't get DDP to come along, and didn't think they'd be marketable without a gimmick, so he grabbed Tanaka and AWA jobber Akio Sato and left Paul Diamond to rot.
- Dino Bravo v. Hacksaw Jim Duggan.
Not much fan response here, because Bravo is Canadian but booked as a heel so the fans were unsure how to react. And Duggan has never been really over in Canada, for obvious reasons. Kick and punch match that drags until Duggan hits three clotheslines and Quake makes a nuisance of himself. During the chaos, Duggan nails Bravo with the 2x4 and pins him. DUD Earthquake adds another body to the pile tonight by destroying Duggan for good measure. Works for me.
- Million Dollar Belt match: Jake Roberts v. Ted Dibiase.
Roberts stole the belt from Dibiase on Superstars, and Ted wants it back. Speaking of drug-snorting degenerates, these two were among the worst offenders in the early 90s. We all know about Jake's sob stories during his born-again Christian years, and Dibiase did the same circuit a couple of years ago, including a stop here in Edmonton where I got to meet him. He's a great guy, btw, much more believable and likeable than Roberts. It should be noted that Dibiase continues to help charities and stay clean and sober, while Roberts is probably sleeping in a cardboard box in downtown Wichita with a bottle of cheap hooch as his only companion as we speak. (I believe it’s actually on a fishing boat now…) Anyway, libellous comments aside, this match was about 20 minutes live and clipped down to eight or so here, and they even had the audacity to cut out the Skydome doing the wave during a headlock. The clipped version is actually better than the live one, because they clipped out the restholds. We cut to Jake making the big comeback, but before he can hit the DDT Virgil pulls him out of the ring for the countout. Since the match is unsanctioned, Dibiase wins the title back. Roberts gets the DDT on Dibiase after the match. The clipped version of the match is about ***, actually, a pleasant surprise after the boring match I remembered from years ago. Roberts hands out Dibiase's money to the fans, which is really cool because each $100 bill is worth $150 up here. (Ha! The USA WISHES that was still the case. Now when I transfer Paypal money over from US funds I LOSE money on the deal. I liked it better when the Canadian dollar was worthless and the US economy was stable.) We never see Dibiase leave the ring, which becomes important for...
- Akeem v. Big Bossman.
This would be the blowoff for the Twin Towers breakup that turned Bossman face. Bossman makes his entrance and Dibiase pops up from under the ring and attacks him on the floor. See, Dibiase tried to bribe Bossman, but since he's an honest law-enforcement officer he wouldn't take the bribe, presto, insta-feud. Dibiase's beating doesn't help Akeem much, as he gets caught with a fluke Bossman slam less than a minute in for the pin. DUD
- Rhythm and Blues debut their new single, "Hunka Hunka Honky Love" but the Sheepfuckers interrupt, dressed as vendors, and attack them. Wow. "Blink and you'll miss it" moment: Diamond Dallas Page driving the car that brings Honky and Valentine to the ring.
- Ravishing Rick Rude v. Jimmy Snuka.
Steve Allen is doing color commentary here. This is the debut of the "new" Rick Rude, as he makes the transition from mid-card joke to main-event status. This is okay, as things go back and forth before Snuka misses whatever off the top and Rude hits the Rude Awakening for the pin. *1/2 (I believe this would be around the time that Tamina, daughter of WWE Legend Jimmy Snuka, was being conceived. Did you know she’s Jimmy Snuka’s daughter?)
- Main event, title v. title: Hulk Hogan v. The Ultimate Warrior.
Warrior blows up running into the ring, seriously. (Use the cart, stupid!) This is the very definition of a divided crowd, as they are almost literally 50/50 for both guys. (I bet they had Warrior do goofy comedy bits to build him up beforehand, that always works! Can you imagine Warrior putting promo notes on his wrist? It would read like the Toynbee tiles or something.) Staredown and shoving match to start, won by the Warrior, then Hogan. They do the test of strength: Warrior brings Hogan to his knees, then Hogan fights up and brings Warrior down. Crowd is absolutely rabid for every move. Hogan takes down Warrior and drops an elbow, then they do the CRISS-CROSS OF DOOM, which leads to a Hogan slam that is no-sold by Warrior. Another criss-cross, and a slam on Hogan, which Hogan sells. Warrior clotheslines Hogan to the floor, and Hulk injures his knee, and totally oversells it. Warrior stomps on it for good measure. Back in the ring and they poke each other in the eye and choke, to Jesse's delight. Warrior jaws with the referee and Hogan takes the opportunity to clothesline Warrior in the corner and basically forget about the knee injury. Hogan drops an elbow for the first two-count and applies a facelock and a small package for two. Hogan...carrying a match? Considering how long this thing was rehearsed before this show, Hogan shouldn't have to be carrying it, but whatever. Running clothesline gets two for Hogan. Backbreaker gets two. Hogan uses an ultra-weak chinlock, but drives some knees into the back to redeem it. Belly-to-back suplex gets two, then back to the chinlock. Warrior breaks free and they do the double-KO spot. Warrior shakes the ropes to hulk up, giving Hogan a taste of his own medicine by no-selling Hulk's offense. THREE CLOTHESLINES OF DOOM! RUNNING SHOULDERBLOCK OF DEATH! Is the end of Hulk? Two cross-corner whips and a suplex gets two. Oh, no, it's the dread BEARHUG OF EXCRUCIATING DISCOMFORT! Hogan breaks free and Hebner gets wiped out on the criss-cross. Warrior goes to the top with a pair of double axehandles, but Hogan drives him face-first to the mat when he tries the running shoulderblock. No ref to count, and Jesse is right on the ball as he notes the irony of this after all the times it happened to Hogan's challengers. Warrior gets a belly-to-back as Hebner...crawls...over...for....two. Crowd is on the verge of a collective heart attack. Hulk rolls up Warrior for two. Hogan with rights, and an elbow that sends Warrior to the floor, where they brawl for a bit. Back in the ring and Warrior with a clothesline and then...the Gorilla Press! Big splash...and it only gets two. Hogan makes the comeback, hulking up. Hogan no-sells the punches, delivers some of his own, then hits the Big Boot of Death. Legdrop...MISSES! Warrior hits a weak splash and gets the pin. Half the crowd is delighted, the other half is in shock. Hebner fucks up, handing the belt to the Warrior, and the camera cuts away as Warrior gives it back so Hogan can present it himself. Meltzer gave it ****, I wouldn't go that high, but it was a definite ***. It was suitably epic for the show it was carrying, and even after seeing it 200 times or so it still got my heart pounding during the ending sequence when I saw it again. That's all you can ask.
The Bottom Line: Weeeeeeeeeeeeeellllllllllll....
On one hand, the main event was huge and the crowd was hot and the booking was great (FACES GO OVER!), but on the other 90% of the show sucked dick. I mean, WCW would get crucified for putting on his dog today. I think people have unreasonably boosted popular opinion of this one thanks to fuzzy feelings rather than actual enjoyment of the show. I mean, it was a very "send the fans home happy" show, but other than that there weren't many redeeming qualities.
But maybe that's just me.
The SmarK Retro Re-Rant for Wrestlemania VI
- Once again, this is the hacked-up Coliseum video version from 1990, not the complete version from the Attitude collection or whatever it was called. (Oh sweet jeebus, another three-version rant? I’m skipping ahead to the modern one.)
- Live from Toronto, ON.
- Your hosts are Jesse Ventura & Gorilla Monsoon.
- Opening match: Koko B. Ware v. Rick Martel.
Bigtime mullet on Martel here. Well, it was 1990, what can ya do. Martel attacks to start and hammers away in the corner, but Koko comes out of the corner with a high cross for two. Dropkicks and Martel is staggered, so Koko backdrops him and dumps him with a clothesline. Quick edit, and Koko slingshots him back in, but Martel dumps him on a charge, and we have another edit. At least they picked the right matches to hack. Martel stomps away back in the ring and gets a backbreaker, and that sets up the Boston crab at 2:04 for the submission. Trimmed WAAAAAY down from the original airing. They actually edited from the start of one Crab attempt to the finish of another. ½*
- WWF tag team titles: Haku & Andre the Giant v. Demolition.
In a rather forgettable end to Andre’s career, he got his one and only tag title before going into permanent retirement after this. Demolition was close to the end in 1989, but with the Road Warriors on the way in, I assume Vince wanted to rebuild them for the eventual feud. Andre & Haku attack to start and pound on Smash, and Andre leaves for the apron and never gets in legally again. Smash slugs away on Haku and brings in Ax, who pounds on him, but eats a thrust blow to the throat and becomes Super Machine In Peril. Backbreaker gets two. Superkick and Haku beats on Ax in the corner and goes to the VULCAN NERVE PINCH OF DOOM. Ax fights up, so Andre chokes him with the tag rope to end that rally. Ax fights back again, but Haku goes to the knee to stop him, and a shoulderbreaker gets two. He makes a blind charge and hits boot, however, and it’s hot tag Smash. He gets a back elbow on Haku and backdrop for two. Andre comes in and gets popped by Smash, and Demolition clothesline him into the corner and pound the shit out of Haku, but Andre grabs Smash. Haku hits Andre by mistake, Andre is tied up, and the Demos finish Haku with Decapitation at 5:25 to win their third and final tag team titles. Andre turns babyface by beating on Heenan to end his career, and it was a nice way to let him go with dignity. *1/4
- Hercules v. Earthquake.
This was the debut of the shortened version of Quake’s name (he was the Canadian Earthquake before that – maybe they thought Toronto would turn him face?) and his monster push was building for a run against Hogan later in the year. Quake tries to charge Herc, but misses, and Herc slugs away in the corner. Quake misses another charge and Hercules keeps fighting, but goes after Jimmy Hart and Quake is allowed to take a breather. Back in, Quake wants a test of strength, and he wins that quickly and pounds Hercules down. Obvious editing there. Quake sends him into the turnbuckles and pounds away in the corner, but he puts his head down and Herc makes the comeback. He overpowers him with clotheslines, but he won’t go down. For some reason he calls for the torture rack, but Quake casually elbows him down and squashes him into mint jelly with the butt splash at 4:08. Just punching. ½*
- Brutus Beefcake v. Mr. Perfect.
Perfect goes for the attack to start and they slug it out in the corner, and Beefcake slugs him over the top. Beefcake was getting quite good by this point. Back in, Perfect puts his head down and gets booted, and an atomic drop sends him over the top again. He’s a bump machine tonight. Back in, Hennig knees him in the gut and pounds him down, but Beefcake whips him into the corner for ANOTHER crazy somersault bump. Slam gets nothing for Beefcake. Beefer pounds him in the corner, and it’s another crazy bump into the corner for Perfect, setting up a clothesline. No spin on the sell, so I can’t rate it on the Jannetty scale. Lanny Poffo gets involved, which allows Perfect to grab the scroll and nail Brutus to take over. Necksnap and kneelift, and Hennig gives him the verbal spanking and slugs away on the prone Beefcake, but Brutus suddenly slingshots him into the corner, knocking him out for the upset pin at 6:16. Kind of an oddly-booked match, with the finish totally out of nowhere and no real effective heat segment. I don’t remember the live version being much better, at any rate. *1/2
- Bad News Brown v. Roddy Piper.
And now your one giant step for racial harmony, as Piper comes out with one side painted in blackface and the other side white. They tussle to start and fight on the mat, but the ref keeps separating them. What is this, the UFC? Piper slugs away and does some biting the corner, but Brown lays him out from behind and gets a fistdrop for two. Slam and elbowdrop get two. Piper pokes him in the eye and slugs away in the corner, but Brown returns the favor by thumbing him in the eye, and he pulls apart a turnbuckle. Piper whips him into it, as irony proves to be just as ironic in Canada as in the US, and Piper pulls a white glove out of his tights. Presumably loaded. Piper slugs away with it and goes up with a fistdrop, then knocks Bad News out of the ring and they brawl to a double-countout at 4:44. This didn’t go anywhere, but it booked more as a teaser for a future house show feud than as a WM blowoff. *
- The Hart Foundation v. The Bolsheviks.
Nikolai Volkoff takes forever singing the Russian national anthem, so the Harts attack him and get the quick pin on Zukhov with a Hart Attack at 0:25. DUD
- I would be remiss in not mentioning the ad for Wrestlemania VII that airs at this point, as Vince talks about 100,000 fans packing the LA Memorial Stadium. Darn bomb threats! (Why hasn’t he run that stadium for a Wrestlemania now that he could actually sell it out, I wonder? Is the terrorist element still that much of a concern?)
- Tito Santana v. Barbarian.
Tito hammers away on him in the corner, so Barbarian bails and consults with Heenan. Back in, Barbarian overpowers him, but puts his head down and Tito gets a crossbody for two. Tito works a headlock, but walks into the big boot. Barbie pounds on him, into a shoulderbreaker, and goes up with that elbow that always misses. Santana uses speed to come back, slugging away, but Barbarian won’t go down. Two dropkicks do the job, however, and Tito goes up with a double axehandle and flying jalapeno. That gets two. Santana goes for a rollup, but Barbarian blocks and goes up, finishing with a top rope clothesline, as Tito takes a SICK backwards bump off the move, at 3:41. Fun little squash for Barbarian. *1/2
- Randy Savage & Sherri Martel v. Dusty Rhodes & Sapphire.
Dusty brings out Elizabeth, to piss off Savage. Dead people count in this match: Two. (Three. Sad face.) The fact that Dusty actually got this gimmick over consistently blows my mind in retrospect. Sherri is looking quite hot here, kind of a proto-Victoria. Dusty starts with Savage and elbows him down, so Sherri gets in his face. Savage goes up, but gets caught and tossed into Sherri, and Dusty elbows him down again. Dusty brings in Sapphire, so it’s the girls turn. Sapphire shoves her into Savage and uses her butt to knock her down (hey, use what ya got) and gets a half-assed airplane spin for two. Sherri slugs her down, however, and tries a slam, but Sapphire falls on top for two. Dusty comes back in again, so that brings Macho in, but Dusty holds him for a slap from Sapphire. The heels collide and Dusty shoves Sherri around, but that allows Savage to hit him from behind with a high knee. Out on the floor, Savage slugs away and Sherri gets a cheapshot, setting up the double axehandle to the floor from Savage. Sherri gets in more abuse and Savage drops another axehandle to the floor, but Sapphire puts herself in the way to prevent any more. Savage gets rid of her and tosses Dusty back in, then follows with another double axehandle for two. Suplex gets two. Savage grabs his scepter and nails Dusty with it (“Ding!” says Jesse), setting up Sherri for a flying splash that gets two. Rhodes makes the comeback on his own, lacking a real partner and all, and rams the heels together. It’s BONZO GONZO and Sapphire snapmares Sherri for two. Sherri goes after Liz, and gets slapped, allowing Sapphire to roll her up for the pin at 7:31. All in good fun. **1/4
- The Rockers v. The Orient Express.
Tanaka hammers on Marty to start and gets a back kick, and Sato whips him in with an elbow. Marty comes back with a powerslam and the Rockers do some double-teaming, sending the Express running. The Rockers follow with stereo topes. Marty works a headlock on Tanaka, but Fuji pulls him out of the ring and Sato sends him into the post. Marty is staggering around like he’s drunk! Oh, wait. Back in, Tanaka slugs away on him and the Express take turns on him, but Shawn makes the blind tag and the Rockers hits Tanaka with a double superkick. Shawn backdrops him, so he tags out to Sato. They take over on Shawn as Tanaka gets a double-chop, and Sato comes off the top with a kneedrop for two. Sato goes to the VULCAN NERVE PINCH OF DOOM, but Shawn fights out, so they keep on him in the heel corner. Shawn comes back with a clothesline on Tanaka, and makes the hot tag to Marty. He slugs everyone down and dropkicks Tanaka, and it’s the dreaded double-noggin knocker for two. Double dropkick puts Sato on the floor, and they double-backdrop Tanaka and go up for the flying fistdrops, but Fuji trips up Jannetty, breaking up the move. Sato tosses salt in his face, and he accidentally snorts it all up, apparently confusing it for something else, and passes out in the front row while trying to hit on a girl there. It’s a countout at 7:37. Never really got going, but once Sato was replaced with Paul Diamond, they would have some KILLER matches. **1/2
- Hacksaw Duggan v. Dino Bravo.
Duggan, brain surgeon and rocket scientist all rolled into one, waves the US flag around the ring. Bravo overpowers him on a lockup to start, and they slug it out, resulting in Duggan getting an atomic drop. He pounds away in the corner and Bravo clotheslines him a few times and gets an inverted atomic drop to set up some thrilling chokes. Elbowdrop gets two. Duggan makes the comeback, but Bravo boots him down again, but Duggan gets his clotheslines and sets up for the finish. He stops to go after Earthquake, and Jimmy tosses the 2x4 in for Bravo, but Duggan uses it for the pin at 3:21. Earthquake destroys Duggan to set up the next feud. DUD
- Ted Dibiase v. Jake Roberts.
This is for the Million Dollar Belt, as they had been headlining C-shows since Wrestlemania V. (The storyline was that Roberts stole the Million Dollar belt, but Dibiase hired Bossman to repossess it back again. Luckily he retrieved it before Jake pawned it for crack and snake food. Actually, I think Jake taking the belt onto Pawn Stars and negotiating with Rick Harrison would be pretty awesome.) They slug it out to start and Jake overpowers him and gets a quick kneelift, but Dibiase bails. Back in, Dibiase elbows Jake down and charges, but walks into a knee and Jake tries another kneelift, but whiffs on it and lands on his head. Piledriver from Dibiase gets two, but Jake reverses to a sunset flip for two. Dibiase works on the neck with kneedrops and gets the Million Dollar Dream, but Jake falls into the ropes to break. Dibiase gets two anyway. Back to the middle, and Dibiase gets two again. Elbow off the middle rope is blocked with a shot on the way down, and Jake comes back with a clothesline and atomic drop. Another clothesline and a backdrop follow, and the short clothesline looks to set up the DDT, but Virgil pulls Jake out and gets slammed on the floor for his troubles. Dibiase sneaks up on Jake with another Dream, but a shot to the post breaks it up. Virgil tosses his boss back in to beat the count at 5:50. Roughly half the match was cut here, including all of Dibiase’s heat segment. It was faster-paced, but didn’t tell as good of a story. **1/4
- Big Bossman v. Akeem.
This was the start of Bossman’s big babyface push, beginning with a feud against Dibiase, who never actually left the ringside area after the last match, as we discover when he pops out and lays out Bossman. The match begins proper with Akeem pounding on Bossman and getting a corner splash for two. He elbows away on Bossman and abuses him in the corner, but Bossman powers out of there in an ugly sequence and makes the comeback, ramming him into the turnbuckles a few times and clotheslining him down. Bossman Slam finishes at 1:47, and it was off to WCW for Akeem. ¼*
- Blink and you’ll miss it moment, as Rhythm & Blues do a musical number, and DDP is the driver of the car that brings them to the ring.
- Jimmy Snuka v. Rick Rude.
More new beginnings, as Rude’s new killer uppercard heel act debuts, prepping him for a run with Warrior. The permed hair is replaced with slicked-back hair, and it would soon be cut off for good. Rude attacks to start and pounds on him, but misses a dropkick, and Snuka faceplants him. Backdrop and headbutt to the ribs follow, and a dropkick puts Rude on the floor with a nice bump. Rude catches him with a sunset flip back in, but Snuka blocks it and slugs away. Rude hits him with a suplex, however, and starts working on the back, hammering on it and backdropping Snuka. Snuka comes back with a faceplant, but Rude overpowers him and they criss-cross into a headbutt from Snuka. Snuka goes up, but misses, and they have an awkward bit out of a whip in the corner. Snuka goes up again and misses again, and it’s a Rude Awakening for him at 3:29. Rude was REALLY good from this point on. *1/2 (Thankfully Snuka recovered enough from this beating to produce Tamina, his daughter, who learned everything she knows from him.)
- WWF title v. Intercontinental title: Hulk Hogan v. Ultimate Warrior.
Forget all the rest, this was the match that sold out the Skydome and the match that the whole card was judged on. The heat for this is UNREAL, with the crowd divided 50/50. Staredown to start and they do the shoving match, and then the lockup, which Warrior wins to start. Another lockup, and Hogan wins that one. The crowd is popping for everything. Warrior wants a test of strength, so they do that, and Warrior gets the advantage, but Hulk fights up from one knee and powers him down again. Warrior fights it off, so Hogan legsweeps him and drops an elbow for one. They do the CRISS-CROSS OF DOOM and Hogan slams him, but Warrior no-sells it. So they try it again, and this time Warrior slams him, and Hogan stays down. Clothesline to the floor, and Hogan whines to Hebner about hurting his knee. Hulk Hogan: Bumping Maniac. The selling is Oscar-worthy material. Warrior smartly goes right after the knee, as Hogan bravely fights off the fake pain and they head back in. Warrior goes for the knee, but Hogan rakes the face to hold him off, and they choke each other as the knee injury disappears for good. Hogan slugs Warrior from behind and clotheslines him in the corner, then hammers away on him. Hogan drops a pair of elbows for two. Front facelock, as Warrior is now blown up and Hogan has to carry the match. Let me repeat that: HOGAN has to CARRY a match. He gets the small package for two and hits the chinlock. He hammers on Warrior while down there, and then slugs away in the corner and chops him down. Axe Bomber gets two. Shoulderbreaker gets two. Back to the chinlock, as Warrior is sucking wind. Hogan works on the back and gets a backdrop suplex for two. Back to the chinlock, as we wait patiently for Warrior to join us back in the world of oxygen-breathing mammals again. Warrior fights out with elbows and they clothesline each other and both guys are out. Warrior is the first up, as he shakes the ropes to recharge his batteries, and Hogan is FLUMMOXED. Warrior slugs away on him and gets the THREE CLOTHESLINES OF DEATH and some chops in the corner, and Hogan is begging for mercy. Suplex gets two. Guess he’s feeling better. And now it’s bearhug time. But man, once you’re not watching it live with a coliseum full of people on closed-circuit TV, the drama is reduced a lot. Ref is bumped on another criss-cross, and Warrior goes AERIAL, baby, hitting Hogan with a double axehandle. He misses a shoulderblock, however, and Hogan faceplants him, but there’s no ref. Warrior recovers with a backdrop suplex, and the ref is still out. Man, criss-crosses are a hazard to referees everywhere. The ref finally recovers and Warrior gets two. Hogan gets a rollup for two. Hogan slugs away and elbows him out of the ring, and they brawl outside. I was getting visions of a double-countout at this point in 1990, but it just ends with Hogan hitting the post as they head back into the ring. Warrior hits him with a clothesline and botches the gorilla slam (I mean, how do you screw that up?) and the big splash gets two, as it’s Hulk Up Time. Punch punch punch, big boot…but the legdrop misses, and Warrior splashes him for the pin and both titles at 22:46. I can actually appreciate Hogan’s efforts in carrying Warrior moreso than both the original viewing and the original rant in 1999, and really the rest spots don’t hurt it that much compared to the awesome drama of Pat Patterson’s intricately booked spots here. ***1/2 Hogan, however, should have left to go make a movie or whatever, but he DIDN’T, and Warrior’s reign was immediately sabotaged because he was stuck in the shadow of Hogan and left as #2 babyface, even when he was supposed to be drawing on top. That’s why Hogan was champion again in 1991, and why he was the smartest dude in wrestling for so long.
The Bottom Line:
I still like this show a lot, actually, with a good mix of light and heavy stuff throughout, and there was certainly nothing horrible on here. And the main event absolutely delivers, as Hogan losing is always good for a recommendation.
The SmarK Retro Rant for WWF Wrestlemania VI - Anthology Edition!
- So after years of only having the Coliseum version of this show, I finally got the Wrestlemania Anthology, giving me the full bloated PPV versions of 6-10 on five glorious double-sided DVDs. I actually did see this show live on the big screen in Edmonton at the arena, which was the last time WM was available in that form. So I was taken aback when the tape came out and several matches were several minutes shorter than I remembered. I think they actually remastered the video for these as well, because it's far crisper than the VHS versions, even considering the superior DVD format. So prepare for another couple of weeks of Wrestlemania redos!
- Live from Toronto's Skydome, with the AWESOME ring carts that they need to bring back again.
- Your hosts are Gorilla & Jesse.
- Robert Goulet sings the Canadian national anthem to start, so you know it's the full version. (“Your agent says to shut up!” “Gladys said that?”)
Rick Martel v. Koko B. Ware
Koko is using "Piledriver" here, but it's the dubbed version of Fink's intro (synched very well to his past self) so I dunno what the hell the music situation was. Gorilla and Jesse talk freely over the music so it must be the original track and maybe Fink just sounded weird. Anyway, Martel attacks to start, but runs into a boot in the corner, and Koko gets a bodypress out of the corner for two. He follows with a pair of dropkicks and a backdrop, and Martel bumps to the floor. Slingshot back in and Koko tries shoulderblocking him, but ends up on the floor as a result. Back in, Martel stomps away and gets a suplex for two. Martel pounds the back with an axehandle off the middle rope, then goes for the Boston crab. The original Coliseum video slickly cuts from this attempt into the actual finish, but Koko makes the ropes here. Martel rams Koko into the turnbuckle, but Gorilla notes that Martel "didn't do his homework", which I guess means he should have known in advance that all black people have hard heads. Koko makes the comeback and tries another bodypress out of the corner, but whiffs on it and Martel finishes with the Boston crab at 5:27. Nothing special. *1/2 Makes you wonder, though -- how come Koko is a hall of famer and Martel isn't? (Also: Why has Martel never been a judge on America’s Next Top Model?)
WWF World tag team titles: Haku & Andre the Giant v. Demolition
Andre and Haku don't even get an entrance here, instead getting to be "in the ring to my right". Ouch. And unbelievably, "Demolition" is edited out and replaced with a generic rock song. They couldn't even use the original theme instead of the Derringer song? Haku attacks Smash to start, but the Demos trap him in the corner and hammer him down. Ax and Haku slug it out and Haku goes down, but comes back on Smash with a thumb to the eye. They fight over a backslide and Smash gets two, but Andre breaks it up. Back to Ax, but Haku hits him with the POLYNESIAN MARTIAL ARTS~! Haku with a backbreaker for two and a thrust kick, and Haku chokes away on the ropes. Andre gets a cheap headbutt from the apron and Haku gets two. More double-teaming in the corner gets two for Haku, as Andre is limited to standing on the apron for the match. Haku headbutt gets two. Ax tries to fight back and Haku thumbs him in the eye again and goes to the nerve hold. Ax fights up again and Haku pounds him down and gets a shoulderbreaker for two. Even the announcers are wondering now why Andre won't tag in. Blind charge misses and Ax comes back with a clothesline, and it's hot tag Smash. Elbow and backdrop for Haku and a crossbody gets two. The Demos double-clothesline both of the heels, pound Haku down, and that finally brings Andre in. The double-team misses, however, Andre gets tied in the ropes, and the Demolition elbow gives them their third tag titles at 9:09. Gigantic pop for that, although it's less impressive with the music dubbing and the terrible new Finkel call. You don't mess with the Fink's "NEEWWWWWW!" Pretty decent for a glorified handicap match. ** Bobby Heenan gives Andre the gears afterwards and gets beaten up as a result, turning Andre face one last time to end his career. Andre casually catching Haku's thrust kick and then beating the hell out of him as well is great stuff. (Much respect to Andre.)
Earthquake v. Hercules
Herc evades the Quake to start and slugs away in the corner, so Earthquake bails and consults with Jimmy Hart. Funny to think of the time when John Tenta was the hottest heel in the company. Back in, Quake wants the test of strength, and Herc obliges him but loses. Quake pounds him in the corner and works him over with shoulderblocks, but puts his head down and gets caught. Herc comes back with shoulder tackles and clotheslines that have little effect, and he stupidly goes for the backbreaker. What universe would THAT work in? Quake casually elbows him down and squashes him dead to finish at 4:50. This was actually a fairly entertaining little match. **1/4 I love the camera work where they make sure to shake it in time with Earthquake's "tremors".
Meanwhile, Rona Barrett interviews Elizabeth, who promises that she'll get more physically involved should she ever return to ringside.
Mr. Perfect v. Brutus Beefcake
This is a bit of a rarity for the early Wrestlemanias, an honest-to-goodness midcard blowoff match instead of a random matchup or a silly non-finish. Perfect jumps him in the corner and they slug it out there, with Perfect winning that one before Beefcake makes the comeback and we get our first Perfect bump over the top. Back in, Beefcake gets an atomic drop and Perfect goes flying out again. Perfect gets a cheapshot and hammers away, but Beefcake whips him into the corner and we get another great bump from Mr. P. Brutus slugs away and Perfect bumps out of the corner AGAIN, so Brutus clotheslines him (complete with overblown sell from Hennig) and goes for the sleeper. The Genius distracts him and gives Perfect the SCROLL OF DEATH, which Perfect uses for a quality shot to the face to take over. Perfect stomps away and gets the rolling necksnap for two. Perfect pounds him down as Jesse and Gorilla get into a funny discussion about the difference between "doing a 360" and "doing a 180", which is one of the nice touches you'd get with them. Perfect with a SWEET kneelift (done, well, you know) and he fires away on the fallen Beefcake, but the trashtalk takes too long and Beefcake catapults him into the corner. Perfect hits the post and Beefcake gets the upset win at 7:47. Great bumps from Perfect here, although the finish was stolen almost frame-for-frame from the Jerry Lawler match in 1988. But it's a great finish, so huzzah. **3/4 This really marked Beefcake coming into his own as a worker and would have set up the rematch for the IC title at Summerslam 90 before the boating accident almost ended Beefcake's career.
Rowdy Roddy Piper v. Bad News Brown
This should have been one hell of a crazy brawl, but instead it goes down in history for Piper dressing in half-blackface. A detail I just noticed -- in the pre-match interview, Piper's blackface covers the entire side of his face, but here there's a circle left uncovered around his eye, so I guess the interview was pre-taped in advance of the show. Way to shatter my illusions, WWF production crew. They brawl to start and the ref keeps separating them for some reason, and finally Bad News gets a cheapshot from behind to take over. He rams Piper into the turnbuckles, but apparently blackface also gives you a hard head (you might want to remember that in case of an emergency, readers) because Piper no-sells it. Brown goes to the nerve hold, but Piper slugs out of it and no-sells a headbutt, but Bad News puts him down and drops a fist for two. Bad News elbow gets two. Piper uses the EYEPOKE OF DOOM and comes back for the slugfest, but Bad News also goes to the eyes and undoes a turnbuckle. Irony strikes again as Piper whips him into the STEEL bolt, and then produces a white glove from his tights. Presumably loaded. He slugs Brown down and goes up with a fistdrop from the middle rope, and Bad News bumps to the floor. They fight outside and brawl for the lame double countout at 6:44. This was all potential and no payoff. *
Meanwhile, Steve Allen is in the bathroom with the Bolsheviks and can't quite get the Russian national anthem right.
The Hart Foundation v. The Bolsheviks
The Harts attack during the singing of the Russian anthem and finish Boris at 0:25, which of course sets them up as the next challengers for Demolition. DUD
The Barbarian v. Tito Santana
This was the beginning of Barbarian's epic singles run that went nowhere. Tito tries to overpower him and gets nowhere, so he goes with a bodypress for two instead and works a headlock. Barbarian levels him with a boot, however, and follows with a shoulderbreaker, but misses an elbow off the second rope. Tito hits the flying forearm for two, but Bobby puts the foot on the ropes. Tito goes after him, but Barbarian finishes with the flying clothesline at 4:28. You need a guy to do a somersault bump off a clothesline and make your heel look like a killer? Call Tito. Kind of sad to watch Tito get destroyed here given my recent new appreciation for his work. * If Barbarian had fuzzy boots I'd go higher because they're clearly the key to any good heel's success, but he doesn't yet.
Randy Savage & Queen Sherri v. Dusty Rhodes & Sapphire
Amazingly, "Common Man" is edited out and replaced here. Was this DVD released during a period when they were pissed off at Jimmy Hart, too? Dusty elbows Savage down to start and gets an earful from Sherri, but sends the heels into each other and out of the ring. Over to Sapphire, who of course makes the current Divas look like Trish Stratus as far as ring skills go, and she gets an airplane spin on Sherri for two. Sherri comes back with a slam, but Sapphire falls on top for two. Back to Dusty (thankfully, and when would I ever say THAT otherwise?) and he holds Savage for a slap from Sapphire, but falls victim to a knee from behind. Savage pounds away on the floor and drops the axehandle from the top, but Sapphire comes over and begs for mercy. Savage gives NO MERCY and throws her down because he's the friggin' MACHO MAN, then hits the flying axehandle in the ring for two on Dusty. Suplex gets two. Savage grabs his scepter and nails Dusty from the top (Jesse: "Ding!") but stalls instead of covering and tags Sherri in. She gets a flying splash for two and Dusty makes the comeback, elbowing Savage in the corner, and Sapphire comes in with a snapmare on Sherri for two. Sapphire gets all fired up and Sherri is amused by it, but Sherri leaves the ring and gets thrown back in by Elizabeth for two. Sherri mouths off at Liz again and Sapphire rolls her up for the pin at 7:30. Goofy but fun, and they kept the Sapphire portions short. **1/4 I try not to think about how all three women are dead now, because that kind of brings it down.
Meanwhile, Mean Gene interviews a shaken and sweaty Bobby Heenan about Andre leaving the Family, although that's a pretty big continuity glitch because he was out there for Barbarian's match and looked fine. Bobby promises to replace Andre with new members who will listen to him, and that of course proved prophetic and brought him the Intercontinental title. It must be intermission time, because we get further interviews from Rona Barrett, Randy Savage, Demolition, Gorilla and Jesse, Hulk Hogan, …
OK gotta stop here and talk about Hogan's promo, as he talks about offering Warrior the chance to live forever by saving his Little Warriors with the training and vitamins and breathing his last breath into Hogan's mouth. That's a tad svengali-ish.
And then we jump to the other dressing room for Warrior's insane reply, as he points out that no one can actually live forever, that's just not physically possible! The darkness is nothing to fear, it's about taking a leap of faith and accepting all challenges, and merging the power of Hulkamania with the power of the Warriors. I've been watching this shit too long because these promos are actually starting to make sense to me.
The Orient Express v. The Rockers
What music could the Orients have possibly been using that needed editing? They already had the most generic Asian-themed elevator music possible! Now it's some sort of weird Polynesian tribal music. At least the Rocker theme is intact, so Jim Johnston hasn't been erased from history. Yet. Funny to see "Mr. Wrestlemania" in this kind of nothing filler match. This is the shitty Akio Sato version of the Orient Express, for those who have forgotten. This was supposed to be the show-stealing classic, I'm thinking, but Shawn and Marty were REALLY messed up here after a night of partying according to most accounts, including Shawn. The Orients try the double-team to start, but the Rockers elbow them down and out, and follow with stereo dives. Marty grabs a headlock on Tanaka and gets dumped as a result, and Sato sends him into the post. Back in, the Express works Marty over in the corner, but Shawn comes in for a sloppy superkick on Tanaka. It's pretty funny to hear Jesse going on about how the Express speaks "a little bit of English" when only the markiest marks didn't know that Tanaka is from the US and had been cutting perfectly normal-sounding promos for his entire career, including the AWA gig that got him this job. Like, I never got that attitude -- why sign guys based on a run elsewhere and then totally ignore everything that got them over? If you want to ignore history, then just sign some no-name indy guy and build a gimmick around them, ala Mark Callaway. Shawn falls victim to a cheapshot and Tanaka gets a flying forearm to take over, then Sato comes off the top with a kneedrop for two. Shawn just looks totally fried and disinterested out there. Even Gorilla points out how shitty the Rockers look here. Hot tag Marty and they try the double fistdrop on Tanaka, but Fuji trips up Marty and Sato throws salt in his eyes for the countout at 7:33. That was a giant disappointment from a workrate perspective, even in the days when I had no idea what a good worker and a bad worker were. Still, hungover and bored Rockers are still better than many other teams at 100%. **1/2
Meanwhile, Steve Allen introduces the world to Rhythm and Blues, as Valentine's dignity hits rock bottom. Funny line here as Greg says "We're on our way to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame" and Steve gets the exit line with "I'll call ahead and warn them you're coming." This was definitely cut from the home video release.
Dino Bravo v. Hacksaw Jim Duggan
At least there's no music to cut here. Duggan slugs away to start and backdrops Bravo, then clotheslines him out of the ring. Back in, he slugs away in the corner, but Bravo fires back to put him down and chokes away on the mat. Elbowdrop gets two. Duggan slugs back, but puts his head down and gets stomped down. Bravo charges and hits knee, but Jimmy Hart gets involved, allowing Quake to tussle with him at ringside. Jimmy tosses in the 2x4, but Duggan hits Bravo with it and gets the pin at 4:15. DUD Amazingly, they STILL pushed Bravo as a main event heel after this, which made for some of the most boring house shows you'd ever have the misfortune of attending.
Jake Roberts v. Ted Dibiase
This was another hot blowoff back in the day, as Jake stole the Million Dollar Belt this match was the first sanctioned one for it. I don't get why they don't make a new one and give it to Randy Orton's version of Ted Dibiase, because god knows ANYTHING would make him a more interesting wrestler than he is now. (Didn’t they end up doing that, in fact? Still didn’t work, I don’t think.) It's not like you could fault him for ripping off the gimmick, it's HIS DAD! But I digress. Some guy holding the REALLY old version of the Canadian $20 bill at ringside kind of dates this show. I prefer the current one myself. They're much more fun to play with using the UV banknote testers. But I digress again. Jake goes for a quick DDT and Dibiase slips out, then grabs a headlock. Jake escapes with a hiptoss and tries another DDT, but Dibiase slips away again. Another try, and Dibiase slides out of the ring. Back in, Roberts takes him down with a hammerlock and works on the arm, then reverses Dibiase out of the ring again. Back in, Jake puts his head down and pays for it, but Dibiase charges and hits knee. Jake tries the kneelift, but Dibiase was goldbricking him and moves out of the way to put Jake on his ass. The crowd is giving this one a HHH-Orton reaction, which isn't surprising because it's pretty dull going so far. Dibiase pounds the neck and hooks a facelock, which gives us the only notable part of the match (which was cut out of the home video) as the Skydome does THE WAVE~! Jake and Ted are smart enough to let this one ride itself out, and they continue with the resthold while the crowd amuses themselves. The wave is actually a very interesting social phenomenon if you stop to think about it for a few minutes (which we've got) as it requires a great deal of coordination amongst tens of thousands of people. Otherwise it can just look silly. Dibiase shifts into the Million Dollar Dream, but Jake makes the ropes and Dibiase gets two. Dibiase drags him to the middle and gets two. He goes up and gets caught coming down, as usual, and Jake comes back with a clothesline and the short clothesline that sets up the DDT. Jake stops to do the wrestling equivalent of monologuing and gets yanked out by Virgil as a result, which gives Dibiase the chance to attack from behind and beat the count back in at 11:50. Two countout finishes on a major show? Since this isn't an official title, it changes hands on a countout and Dibiase gets it back. So boring I had a chance to download images of Canadian currency to kill time. **1/2 I should also note the following awesome exchange between Gorilla and Jesse:
Gorilla: "He doesn't deserve that belt, Jesse!"
Jesse: "But he paid for it!"
Gorilla: "Doesn't matter."
Jesse: "So people don't deserve what they pay for?!"
Classic Jesse, and he's got a point.
Big Bossman v. Akeem
NOT JIVE SOUL BRO! You bastards! This was quite the piece of business, as Dibiase had hidden under the ring from the last match and attacked Bossman to catch everyone off-guard and kick off their feud. "Hard Time" is now replaced by Bossman's 1998 theme, which is just so bizarre and sad. So anyway, Dibiase kicks the crap out of Bossman, giving Akeem a distinct advantage to start, and he gets a corner splash for two. Akeem runs him into the corner and slugs away, but Bossman gets a horrible atomic drop to come back and clotheslines him. Bossman Slam finishes at 1:45. I've seen worse. 1/2*
Rhythm & Blues debut their new song (complete with an amused DDP acting as chauffeur for the Cadillac) and sadly they don't edit it out and replace it with a good song. The Bushwackers interrupt and smash the instruments to wrap up side one.
PLEASE FLIP OVER THE DISC TO CONTINUE THIS RANT.
Fuck this is a long show in unedited form. Side one was three hours and there's still two matches to go.
Ravishing Rick Rude v. Jimmy Snuka
Rude's got the slicked back hair here instead of the perm, the first sign of a change in his character. They even cut Snuka's theme out. Without "Su-su-superfly" he might as well just be a midcard jobber! Hmm, bad example. (Good thing they didn’t edit out his daughter, Tamina!) Snuka slugs away to start and gets a pair of backdrops and a headbutt to the abs, which shouldn't have any effect. Rude bails and comes back in with a sunset flip, but Snuka blocks, so Rude suplexes him and shows him how to properly swivel. They criss-cross and Snuka headbutts him down as commentator Steve Allen notes that he likes Snuka because he's wearing his wife's underwear. Gorilla: "He is? How nice." Snuka goes up and then changes his mind and slams Rude instead, only to miss the eventual flying headbutt. Rude Awakening ends it at 3:48. And so Rude goes from comedy heel to main event threat, just like that. *
WWF World title v. Intercontinental title: Hulk Hogan v. Ultimate Warrior
Unlike some OTHER Wrestlemania main events, this is the one that lived up to every bit of the hype and gave the fans exactly what they wanted to see. The heat for this is UNREAL, with the crowd divided 50/50. Staredown to start and they do the shoving match, and then the lockup, which Warrior wins to start. Another lockup, and Hogan wins that one. The crowd is popping for everything. Warrior wants a test of strength, so they do that, and Warrior gets the advantage, but Hulk fights up from one knee and powers him down again. Warrior fights it off, so Hogan legsweeps him and drops an elbow for one. They do the CRISS-CROSS OF DOOM and Hogan slams him, but Warrior no-sells it. So they try it again, and this time Warrior slams him, and Hogan stays down. Clothesline to the floor, and Hogan whines to Hebner about hurting his knee. Hulk Hogan: Bumping Maniac. The selling is Oscar-worthy material. Warrior smartly goes right after the knee, as Hogan bravely fights off the fake pain and they head back in. Warrior goes for the knee, but Hogan rakes the face to hold him off, and they choke each other as the knee injury disappears for good. Hogan slugs Warrior from behind and clotheslines him in the corner, then hammers away on him. Hogan drops a pair of elbows for two. Front facelock, as Warrior is now blown up and Hogan has to carry the match. Let me repeat that: HOGAN has to CARRY a match. He gets the small package for two and hits the chinlock. He hammers on Warrior while down there, and then slugs away in the corner and chops him down. Axe Bomber gets two. Shoulderbreaker gets two. Back to the chinlock, as Warrior is sucking wind. Hogan works on the back and gets a backdrop suplex for two. Back to the chinlock, as we wait patiently for Warrior to join us back in the world of oxygen-breathing mammals again. Warrior fights out with elbows and they clothesline each other and both guys are out. Warrior is the first up, as he shakes the ropes to recharge his batteries, and Hogan is FLUMMOXED. Warrior slugs away on him and gets the THREE CLOTHESLINES OF DEATH and some chops in the corner, and Hogan is begging for mercy. Suplex gets two. Guess he’s feeling better. And now it’s bearhug time. But man, once you’re not watching it live with a coliseum full of people on closed-circuit TV, the drama is reduced a lot. Ref is bumped on another criss-cross, and Warrior goes AERIAL, baby, hitting Hogan with a double axehandle. He misses a shoulderblock, however, and Hogan faceplants him, but there’s no ref. Warrior recovers with a backdrop suplex, and the ref is still out. Man, criss-crosses are a hazard to referees everywhere. The ref finally recovers and Warrior gets two. Hogan gets a rollup for two. Hogan slugs away and elbows him out of the ring, and they brawl outside. I was getting visions of a double-countout at this point in 1990, but it just ends with Hogan hitting the post as they head back into the ring. Warrior hits him with a clothesline and botches the gorilla slam (I mean, how do you screw that up?) and the big splash gets two, as it’s Hulk Up Time. Punch punch punch, big boot…but the legdrop misses, and Warrior splashes him for the pin and both titles at 22:46. I can actually appreciate Hogan’s efforts in carrying, and really the rest spots don’t hurt it that much compared to the awesome drama of Pat Patterson’s intricately booked spots here. And after all these years it's still one of my personal favorite matches of all-time, regardless of the star rating. ***1/2 (The more astute readers in the audience may notice that I just copied the text for this match review from the previous version. And there’s a perfectly good explanation for that, but … HEY LOOK OVER THERE!)
Although the show is a tad more bloated in the full version, it doesn't hurt things as much as Wrestlemania V did and I still really like this one and can watch Hogan do a clean job over and over again without ever losing any of the magic. Good mix of stuff on the show, nothing horrible, great stadium atmosphere…it's definitely one of the better of the early WMs.
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