This is the much-anticipated sequel to WrestleMania and like many sequels to huge successes, it tried to not only live up to its predecessor but surpass it. Living up to the 80s motto that excess was good, WrestleMania II emanated from not one, but three different cities: Long Island, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Each city with its own slate of matches and its own main event, culminating in an epic cage match for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship between the Champion, Hulk Hogan and the enormous King Kong Bundy.
Part 1: Long Island
We start with Vince McMahon in the ring, welcoming us to WrestleMania. We are introduced to Vince’s co-host, Susan St. James (a soap opera actress). Next up, singing America the Beautiful, the incomparable Ray Charles. We’re having a little trouble with the mic and Ray starts the song on the second or third verse along with a picture montage of America and Americans, culminating in two pictures of Hulk Hogan.
Comments: This was a great opener, even the tribute to America was great, until they shoehorned Hogan into it, making the statement that he’s the ultimate symbol of America, instead of the flag or the bald eagle.
We cut to Mean Gene in Chicago who hypes the big Battle Royale that will be in the Chicago portion of the show. He then sends us to Roddy Piper, psyching up for his big boxing match in Long Island.
Piper is with his trainer Lou Duva and Bob Orton. Orton is massaging Piper’s shoulders. Duva’s got the mic and says Piper is the best prospect he’s seen, and that Piper’s in great shape and will end the fight with one Knockout punch.
Piper says he’s cute and he’s grown his hair long so we can tell the difference between himself and Mr. T. Piper then says people might be confused because he(Piper) has the best trainer in the world whereas Mr. T ‘only’ has Smokin’ Joe Frazier
Piper then brags about the training Duva’s given him. He blabbers on a bit more and then throws this interesting stipulation: If Mr. T can knock him out, he (Piper) will not only retire from Boxing (didn’t know he was a pro-boxer) but he will also retire from Professional Wrestling and stop dating girls. Piper then goes on to say that he’s willing to put his cute face out there because Coach (Duva) has taught him how to dodge punches.
He then calls out T for being a smart aleck and coming out in a kilt and then says that T can say what he wants but he, Piper, would never shave his head like an Indian and paint himself black. Thankfully, that’s the end of the promo.
Comments: This promo was so problematic, even by 80s standards, I’m not sure where to start. Piper’s not too subtle racism was hard to stomach, even knowing it was a work (I hope). The cracks about Smokin’ Joe had me rolling my eyes. I do like Piper’s comment about retiring if Mr. T could knock him out, but otherwise, this was not a great promo.
We cut to the ring where Finkel introduces the ‘distinguished’ manager, Mr. Fuji to a loud round of boos, which get louder for Muraco. Orndorff is introduced to a loud pop that gets louder when he takes his robe off.
Match 1: The Magnificent Muraco (with Mr. Fuji) vs Paul Orndorff
For whatever reason, they decide to air the recorded comments of Muraco and Orndorff as the match starts. Muraco says that Orndorff was the embarrassment of WrestleMania and he’s going to be the embarrassment of WrestleMania 2 because Muraco has Mr. Fuji in his corner.
Orndorff says he’s been in the gym more than ever and that Muraco is going to be his.
The match starts out slowly with both guys feeling each other out. There’s a good trade of moves, Orndorff shoots Muraco into the ropes, Muraco bodyslams him, Orndorff kicks Muraco, gets up and slams Muraco. Muraco then gets Orndorff into the corner. There’s a flurry of moves and Orndorff getting Muraco on the mat into an armbar. Muraco gets up and tries to break the hold and Orndorff manages to get him back into the armbar. Orndorff maintains control of the momentum, not letting go of Muraco’s arm.
Muraco turns the tide by getting Orndorff on his shoulders into what looks like a slow Samoan Drop. Things quickly turn into a fist fight with both men going over the ropes to the floor. Ref calls for the bell without a visible ten count.
Orndorff gets back into the ring with chair and the crowd is chanting ‘Bullshit’ at the ref.
The Winner: Both men are disqualified
Comments: This was a very good opener. Both men looked great and showed off impressive moves for such large guys. The ref’s double DQ didn’t make a lot of sense since neither man was outside for more than five seconds, but that might be due to different rules back then.
We go to Mr. T, who is with Smokin’ Joe and Haiti Kid, who are getting him ready for the fight. T says he doesn’t like to do a lot of talking before a match, he’s going to let his fists do the talking. He warns Piper that if Piper wants to fight dirty, he’ll fight dirty too. Then the promo gets hard to understand due to Finkel giving the ref’s decision.
Comments: I don’t have a whole lot to say about this promo, but I do wish Mr. T had been given a mouthpiece that could do the talking for him, but I guess since Captain Lou was going to be in Chicago, that wasn’t possible.
Match 2: Intercontinental Championship Match – ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage (with Miss Elizabeth) vs George ‘The Animal’ Steel
We start with George Steel already in the ring. Elizabeth gets a nice pop without being out there. Elizabeth and Savage have a full security detail, but especially Elizabeth.
We cut to a pre-recorded promo by Savage. Savage says that after tonight, Steel is going to know that he’s in the ring with the best in the world, the Macho Man.
The match starts out with Steel chasing Savage out of the ring and Savage playing up the cowardly heel. After a few more rounds of this, Steel finally gets a hold of Savage and bites him on the calf. We finally get a lock up with Steel lifting Savage up and throwing him down. Steel punches Savage before being distracted by Elizabeth, giving Savage a chance to regroup, tangling Steel into the ropes and kicking him several times before letting him go and going to the top turnbuckle. We get a sloppy crossbody that Savage tries to turn into a pin but Steel powers out and sends Savage to the floor.
Elizabeth goes to help Savage and Savage climbs back in to the fists of Steel before being sent back outside. Steel looks for Savage, but Savage sneaks up behind him and hits him with a knee. Steel responds by biting Savage’s arm. Steel and Savage trade blows before Savage goes back outside, returning with the flowers Steel meant for Elizabeth and smacking Steel with them, Steel responds in kind before sending Savage to the turnbuckle.
Steel then starts chewing through the turnbuckle cover, Savage comes up behind him but Steel blinds him with turnbuckle fluff. After a few goes of this, Savage goes back outside, followed by Steel.
Steel chases Savage around the ring before being distracted by Elizabeth, giving Savage time to get inside the ring and doing a double ax handle from the top turnbuckle before throwing Steel back into the ring.
Savage goes to the top rope and hits his signature flying elbow drop for the pin, but to the shock of everyone, Steel kicks out. Steel then gets a hold of Savage’s nose and throws him into the corner. Steel gets distracted by the ref long enough for Savage to hit a double leg takedown and the pin, using the ropes for leverage.
Savage leaves to a quieter round of ‘Bullshit’ chants from the crowd. Steel is very upset and take it out on another turnbuckle and then tries to beat up the ref, who beats a hasty retreat.
The Winner: Randy Savage retains via pinfall, though how the ref missed his feet on the ropes is beyond me.
Comments: This was a weird but very good match. Steel was able to put on a good match with Savage while not totally breaking character. Savage was the classic cowardly heel who cheated to win, but still looked great doing it.
We are thrown to Chicago where Mean Gene is interviewing Bill Fralic and Big John Studd for the Battle Royale.
Fralic says that the talk’s over and begins to bad mouth Studd, calling him ‘The Dud’ (not a smart move, Bill). Studd gets mad and shoves are exchanged. Mean Gene tries to maintain order. Studd says Fralic has no class because he’s a football player. Studd says that he’s going to get his hands on Perry and calls Fralic a punk. He then warns Fralic that he’s not playing with a ball, and then proceeds to try and smash a football while Fralic doesn’t look impressed.
Fralic says they’ll find out in the match and continues to call Studd ‘Dud’.
We go back to Vince and Susan in Long island, who comment on the mayhem promised by the promo. Vince then asks Susan if she likes snakes. Susan says no, but that she hopes they won’t see the snake tonight. Vince won’t promise her that.
Match 3: Jake Roberts vs George Wells
George Wells is introduced to a mild pop, as does Roberts. Of course, Roberts has his slithery friend with him.
Wells gets the jump on Roberts and has the momentum at the start. Roberts whiffs a punch before sending Wells outside. Wells responds in kind and maintains momentum with punches and headbutts. We see a surprising head scissor takedown by Wells.
Roberts seems to be playing possum before raking the eyes of Wells to play for time before sliding outside, making Wells go after him before getting back into the ring and hitting a knee lift on Wells. Jake hits the DDT and it is all over.
Jake then goes for the bag and lets his buddy out, wrapping the snake around Wells. The snake constricts Wells and Wells is either vomiting or foaming because of the constrictions.
The Winner: Jake Roberts via pinfall with the DDT.
Comments: I’m not sure what was going on with this match. This seems so random now. It’s hard to tell who was supposed to get over in this. The whole snake thing really freaked me out, I can’t imagine how they sold that to Wells because it was god awful.
Vince and Susan send us a video package of the feud between Piper and Mr. T, which basically just a clip of their confrontation in Phoenix.
After that we thrown to LA with Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura interviewing Hulk Hogan.
Ventura looks like he went through some burlesque dancer’s trunk. He talks to Hogan about his injured ribs and says he can’t believe Hogan agreed to a Cage match with Bundy with injured ribs.
Hogan seems to be in a bad mood and tells Ventura that he doesn’t care what Ventura believes because he’s getting paid to ask questions. Hogan then says that he’s going to defend his title, hurt ribs or not because that’s what he believes in and that’s what his little Hulksters believe in and that Bundy’s going down. He then gives the boxing match a plug, saying that he thinks T will come out on top because he’s fighting for what he believes in, while Piper, like a lot of people (said while pointing to Ventura) take a lot of shortcuts.
Ventura’s mad now and only says that good guys don’t always finish first.
Comments: Hogan came across very poorly in this interview. He seemed to be in a bad mood and picked an argument with Ventura when Ventura was being tolerable for once.
Match 4: Boxing Match – Mr. T (with Haiti Kid and Joe Fraiser) vs Rowdy Roddy Piper (with Bob Orton and Lou Duva)
Finkel introduces the guest ring announcer: Joan Rivers. Joan actually looks normal. Joan introduces the judges: ‘Chocolate Thunder’ Darrel Dawkins of the NBA, Cab Calloway, and G. Gordon Liddy. Our guest timekeeper is Herb, whoever that is.
We’re told that this match is 10 rounds of boxing. Guest ref: Jack Lutz. Piper comes out with his crew to loud boos. Mr. T comes out next with Smokin’ Joe, and Haiti kid, along with others.
I don’t know enough about boxing to give a decent recap. There was plenty of trash talk by Piper during the instructions.
The Winner: Mr. T by Disqualification due to Piper bodyslamming him in the fourth round.
Comments: This was not a great match on either side. T missed the punch that was supposed to send Piper out to the floor. To the best of my understanding, Piper only had a few months of training for this fight, and it showed. The celeb judges were baffling to me. I have no idea why any of these people were asked to judge a boxing match.
Part 2: Chicago
We’re thrown to Chicago and Gorilla Monsoon and Mean Gene. The Battle Royale is heavily hyped. Our guest commentator, Cathy Lee Crosby.
Match 5: Women’s Championship Match – The Fabulous Moolah vs Velvet McIntyre
There isn’t a lot to say about this match, it lasted less than two minutes. Moolah dominated from the start, but this was not a great effort from either woman.
The Winner: The Fabulous Moolah via pinfall after rolling out of the way from McIntyre’s splash from the top turnbuckle.
Comments: As a huge fan of women’s wrestling, this match was a horrible disappointment. The match just seemed to be a space filler.
We’re told that there’s going to be two referees for the tag title match. Okerlund asks Crosby who she’s got picked for the Battle Royale, NFL or WWF and Crosby admits that she did have the NFL picked but after meeting the wrestlers, she’s changing her pick.
Match 6: Flag Match – Corporal Kirchner vs Nikolai Volkoff (with Freddie Blassie)
This is the ‘USA vs USSR’ portion of the show. Volkoff starts the Soviet National Anthem but is interrupted by Kirchner coming out to what sounds like ‘The Caisson Song’. Kirchner is clad in Army fatigues and gets a good pop and a chorus of ‘USA’ chants.
Volkoff dominates from the start, but Kirchner gets the upper hand before stealing Blassie’s cane and KOing Volkoff with it after the ref had been pushed down.
The Winner: Kirchner via pinfall
Comments: As always, I admire Volkoff’s guts in singing the Soviet National Anthem in incredibly hostile crowds. Kind of strange that WWF would book the American to win in a shady way.
Match 7: Battle Royale – NFL Players vs WWF Superstars
Okerlund gives us the rules for the Battle Royale: Over the top rope and onto the floor for elimination and introduces us to the guest officials for this match.
- Guest Timekeeper: Clare Peller (If you remember Wendy’s ‘Where’s the Beef’ campaign, she was the lady who asked where the beef was).
- Guest Referees: Dick Butkus, Ed ‘Too Tall’ Jones.
- Guest Commentator: ‘The Big Cat’ Ernie Ladd
Due to the chaos of the Battle Royale, I won’t try to keep up.
The Winner: Andre the Giant by eliminating Bret Hart.
Comments: There was a good mix of 80s wrestling and 80s football. The NFL guys did pretty good, but I think there should’ve been a more even matchup of NFL to WWF.
We’re thrown back to Vince and Susan, and they’ve been joined by a very sweaty Piper (or he’s just taken a shower). Vince confronts Piper about his conduct. Piper says that if he’d wanted a picnic, he would’ve packed a lunch. He then claims that he came to fight, but Mr. T cheated by rubbing his hair in Piper’s eye. Piper repeats his vow of retiring if T knocked him out and berates T for having Frazier come out in a kilt. Vince asks Susan for a comment and Susan says what Piper is claiming is a load of ‘blarney’. We cut to the end of the match. Piper says that dropping T on his head didn’t do much damage, that was why Duva had him go for the body. This promo becomes increasingly borderline racist, even for 1986, so we’re sent back to Chicago.
Comments: This promo was even worse than the first one, if that was possible. Piper is making the usual heel excuses for his behavior, but it comes across very badly and makes Piper look terrible.
Okerlund is interviewing a very sour looking Jimbo Covert. Covert says he got cheated because he came to Refrigerator Perry’s aid and threw out King Tonga (Haku/Meng), and it sounds like he’s accusing Refrigerator of eliminating him and that he got cheated. Guess Mean Gene should’ve emphasized ‘Every Man for himself’.
Okerlund calls Iron Sheik over and asks him about wrestling the football players. Iron Sheik cuts an incomprehensible promo and then poses.
Monsoon and Crosby discuss the Battle Royale and Monsoon hopes the NFL guys got a real education about Professional Wrestling.
Match 8: Tag Team Title Match – The Dream Team (Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine with Johhny Valiant) vs The British Bulldogs (with Lou Albano and Ozzy Osborne)
The Tag Team Champions are already in the ring with Johnny Valiant. Bulldogs are out next and they are accompanied by Captain Lou and Ozzie Osborne (Yeah, THAT Ozzie Osborne, pre-The Osbornes). Monsoon is a little perplexed about why Osborne is there. We are reminded again that there will be two referees to keep everything kosher and make sure BOTH managers stay out of it.
We start with Davey Boy and Valentine. This match quickly turns into a slug fest and then we get back to wrestling. Davey Boy and Valentine match move for move before Dynamite Kid is tagged in and takes it to Valentine. It doesn’t look like Dynamite kid is pulling those kicks, and Davey Boy is tagged in. After blocking and counter-blocking bodyslam attempts, Davey Boy hits a vertical suplex on Valentine and Valentine rolls outside. For whatever reason, Valentine doesn’t tag in Beefcake but gets the jump on Davey Boy before finally tagging in Beefcake.
Beefcake looks to have the advantage before being overpowered by Davey Boy and press-slammed before tagging in Dynamite. Dynamite and Davey Boy are trying to end this quickly and seem to view Beefcake as the weak link of the Dream Team, but Beefcake tags in Valentine, who hits a single ax handle on Davey Boy. Davey gets Dynamite in and he takes it to Valentine. Beefcakes comes in but the ref throws him out. Dynamite tries to hit the Sunset Flip and then a backbreaker, but the pin is broken up by Beefcake.
Valentine hits the piledriver for a two-count on Dynamite. Dynamite accidentally got a low blow on Valentine, who tries to rally by going to the top turnbuckle but gets caught and slammed. The match quickly breaks down and both teams go outside. The Bulldogs grab Valentine and toss him back into the ring, but Valentine gets the advantage but makes the mistake of doing it in the Bulldogs’ corner and Davey Boy tags in and powerslams Valentine.
Valentine starts stomping the mudhole and tags in Beefcake, who hits the double ax handle and then does a kind of powerbomb on Davey Boy. Dream Team start really working over Davey Boy. Valentine hits the shoulder breaker and goes for the pin but pulls Davey up. That turns out to be a mistake, because Davey sends him into the Bulldogs’ corner where he knocks heads with Dynamite Kid and gets Davey the three-count before Beefcake can make the save.
Captain Lou and Ozzie are holding up the belts and smiling. Crosby gets in the ring too to celebrate, along with Okerlund. Dynamite Kid is still seeing stars, so while we wait for them, Okerlund interview Captain Lou who has now managed his sixteenth Tag Title win. Captain Lou said he knew this would happen and then things get hard to understand.
The Winner: The British Bulldogs via pinfall
Okerlund interviews Ozzie who simply says ‘British Bulldogs Forever!’.
Bulldogs are still outside the ring, Dynamite doesn’t look like he knows what day it is, so we’re hearing from Cathy Lee Crosby. She asks Ozzie if he’ll come back to be in the Bulldogs’ corner, which Ozzie says he will.
Okerlund sees to the Bulldogs, Davey Boy gets in the ring, Okerlund asks Crosby if she’s ever seen anything like this before, and she says she hasn’t. Davey Boy says that they told the US fans that if they won the Tag Titles, they would stay in the US and that’s what they’re going to do. They’ve given up on getting anything out of Dynamite, so we’re going back to Monsoon.
Comments: Monsoon and Okerlund got shut down by Crosby briefly. They assumed that Crosby never watched wrestling before and wouldn’t know who Johnny Valentine was, only to be told by Crosby that while she’s never been to a live wrestling show, she grew up watching wrestling because her grandfather loved it. (Commenter: Tell ‘em, Cathy!)
This was the best match of the night so far. Both teams looked tremendous. Valentine and Beefcake were a great team and the match easily could’ve gone either way.
We’re thrown back to Vince and Susan. Susan is excited by the Tag Team match and says Hogan is definitely winning. They discuss the match with Vince saying that Bundy could go through the cage, but Hogan could prevail by going over the top of the cage and onto the floor.
Part 3: Los Angeles
We are greeted by Ventura, who is being joined on commentary by Lord Alfred Hayes and Elvira. We get a preview of the card. Not sure if the pop is for Steamboat’s unseen arrival or Elvira’s boobs.
Match 9: Ricky Steamboat vs Hercules Hernandez
Hernandez and Steamboat are already in the ring. Steamboat looks more like his normal size. Hernandez looks amazing.
Hernandez hits Steamboat with a high knee during introductions and we’re off. Hernandez is extremely dominant at the start, but Steamboat quickly recovers and turns the tables. It is now all Steamboat, though Hernandez tried to reassert himself.
Hernandez tries again to reassert himself, with a little more success with some punches to the face, but Steamboat again manages to regain control.
Hernandez tries for the third time to regain control and succeeds by ramming Steamboat’s head into the turnbuckle and then kicks him while he’s on the mat. We then get an Irish whip and Hernandez catches Steamboat in a brief, elevated bear hug before slamming him back to the mat and kicking him.
Hernandez makes a mistake by backing off of Steamboat, who tries, with a little success to regain his momentum, but Hernandez nips that and gets into a pinfall situation, which Steamboat quickly kicks out of.
Hernandez flat out punches Steamboat and Steamboat looks like he’s on Rubber Leg Street. Hernandez rams Steamboat’s head into the turnbuckle then whips him into the ropes before hitting him with a back elbow, then a couple of elbow drops and a pose before going for the pin, which Steamboat again kicks out of.
Steamboat’s had enough and start laying out the backhand chops, but Hernandez quickly regains control and goes for successive pin attempts. Hernandez lifts Steamboat into a gorilla press and slams him, then does it again because it’s fun, I guess. Then he goes to the top turnbuckle for a splash but Steamboat gets his knees up and then it’s Steamboat’s turn to go to the top rope and shows Hernandez how it’s done. Steamboat hits the flying crossbody into a successful pinfall
The Winner: Ricky Steamboat by pinfall after hitting a flying crossbody.
Hernandez is furious and protests to the ref, who just shrugs at him.
Comments: This was an excellent start for the LA portion of the show. Steamboat and Hernandez looked great and put on a great match. Also, if you’re keeping score, Steamboat is 2-0 at WrestleMania.
Match 10: Adrian Adonis (with Jimmy Hart) vs Uncle Elmer
We go directly into the next match with bad Gorgeous George knock off, Adrian Adonis, who looks like a Monty Python ‘squawking housewife’ reject, along with Jimmy Hart. Both are greeted with loud boos.
Uncle Elmer (aka Plowboy Frazier) comes out with generic ‘Backwoods Music’ to a nice pop.
Uncle Elmer dominates from the start, sending Adonis outside twice. Adonis gets back on the apron and Elmer tries to rip the ugly dress off of him, but Adonis uses that to gain the advantage and, thankfully, gets out of the dress.
ow it seems we’re getting down to business, sort of. Elmer misses a leg drop, Adonis goes to the top rope for a flying fist drop and it’s all over.
The Winner: Adrian Adonis via pinfall after a flying fist drop.
As Adonis and Hart celebrate, Elmer gets up, only to be attacked by Adonis before Adonis and Hart leave.
Comments: This seems to be a palate cleanser match, or I hope it was because it is a mystery to me why this is on a WrestleMania card. I have to say, though, I admire Adonis for being man enough go out there to wrestle in an ugly dress and bad makeup. I’m guessing he did the makeup himself.
We’re thrown to Lord Alfred, who is with Hogan, who seems to be in a slightly better mood than earlier. Lord Alfred again mentions the injured ribs and hints that Bundy might have a psychological edge on the Hulkster. Hogan tells ‘Awful Alfred’ that there’s a lot of rumors going around the Hulkster being busted up and laid up, but so what. The World Heavyweight Title is on the line and living in Hulkamania is one day at a time, and because of all the new followers, Hulkamania will live forever. Hogan says that even if he only had one good arm, he’d still get in the cage and defend the World Title like a man.
Hogan admits to thinking about his trip in the ambulance after Bundy hurt his ribs and how angry he was about it. And all the anger and aggressiveness he’s feeling and with so many people watching, he feels sorry for King Kong Bundy. He’s going to take away Bundy’s pride and put it back in the World Title. He also asks Heenan to stick his nose in. I don’t think he’ll have to ask twice.
Alfred ends the interview by wishing Hogan luck.
Comments: Hogan came across a lot better in this promo, but there’s still something off about his demeanor. I guess they were trying to play up that he’s angry about what Bundy did to him, but it’s not coming across very well.
Match 11: Hoss Funk(Dory Funk, Jr) and Terry Funk (with Jimmy Hart) vs Junkyard Dog and Tito Santana
We’re thrown back to the ring and the Funks are already starting trouble and shoving the hapless ring announcer. The crowd doesn’t really seem to be feeling the Funks, they’re greeted with a round of boos.
Junkyard Dog and Santana come out to a nice pop and chase the Funks out of the ring, which makes Terry so mad, he starts throwing chairs into the ring.
After that, this match gets crazy very quickly, as you would expect when Terry Funk is involved.
The Winner: The Funks via pinfall after Terry knocks out Junkyard Dog with Jimmy Hart’s megaphone.
Comments: If this match was meant to showcase the Funks’ talent as set them up as a heel tag team, it didn’t really work. Terry’s ring work was incredibly sloppy and silly looking with a few good spots that reminded you that he’s a former NWA World Heavyweight Champion. Dory distinguished himself by being better technically than Terry, but not enough to save this match. Neither team looked good in this mess, which is a shame because it sounded like a good match on paper.
Now it is cage match time and they’re bringing the cage in by hand instead of lowering it down.
We go to Mean Gene, with Hogan lifting weights, bad ribs and all and we’re getting a recap clip of Bundy attacking Hogan.
Going back to Mean Gene, he asks Hogan’s ‘doctor’ about Hogan’s ribs and the doctor says he’s advised Hogan to not do WrestleMania and that he could have a possible herniated disc in his back, and that it could result in permanent injury and surgery for the Hulkster.
Mean Gene gives Hogan his third interview of the night and asks Hogan about this news. Hogan replies that he doesn’t get to call in tired from being WWF World Heavyweight Champion just because he’s sick. Hogan seems to be in a lot pain, to the horror of Mean Gene. Hogan again states that he’s going to defend his title so he won’t disappoint his Hulkamaniacs. He starts doing ‘heavy chins’, chin ups with a 100lb dumbbell hanging around his neck. Mean Gene gets Hogan to stop the heavy chins. Hogan again says that in the steel cage, Bundy is his.
Comments: I have no idea why they felt the need to do three interviews with Hogan that basically repeated the same thing. They could’ve just done Mean Gene interview and maybe put in a couple of more matches.
We cut to Ventura, who is with Heenan and Bundy. Ventura says to Heenan that this has to be the biggest day of his life. Heenan agrees because in a very short time, he’s going to be packing the gold because King Kong Bundy will beat Hulk Hogan.
Ventura turns to Bundy and says he’s worried because Bundy’s beautiful face will be on the line in a cage match. Bundy says that Ventura’s worries are unfounded because historical fact proves that anytime King Kong Bundy and Hulk Hogan are in the same ring, Hogan comes out on the losing end. He also says to get the ambulances fired up because Hogan is going back to the hospital and King Kong Bundy is going to be WWF World Heavyweight Champion, like it or not.
We go back to Heenan who says the doctors in LA will have quite a job putting Hogan back together after Bundy’s through with him and instead of Hulkamania, we’re going to have Bundymania.
Ventura says he thinks Bundy is ready and Hogan’s going to have the fight of his life and Bundy vows to turn LA on its ear when he wins the title.
Comments: This promo was very good. Bundy played the arrogant, over-confident heel to perfection. Heenan was in his element, as was Ventura. They came across much better in this one interview than Hogan did in two of the three he did.
Elvira comes on to send us to New York so we can hear Vince and Susan discuss the main event. Susan doesn’t like the sound of ‘Bundymania’.
Match 12: Steel Cage Match For the WWF World Heavyweight Championship – Hulk Hogan vs King Kong Bundy (with Bobby Heenan)
King Kong Bundy comes out to a HUGE round of boos. All three of our guest officials seem intimidated by Bundy. The pop for Hogan starts the minute Lasorda says ‘And his opponent’.
The pop for Hogan is so loud, you can barely hear ‘Real American’. Hogan gives the cage a good shake before he climbs to the top to rip off his shirt. Hogan’s got that wild look in his eyes and tosses the belt into the center of the ring. Non-combatants clear the ring, and take the belt, and we are off!
This match starts as a slugfest with Hogan taking control early on, knocking Bundy into the cage and landing a big boot. Bundy tries, half-heartedly to escape, but Hogan stops him and keep whaling on him; problem is that Bundy isn’t going down.
Hogan tries to ram Bundy’s head into the cage one time too many and Bundy counters and tries to ram Hogan’s head into the cage, Hogan counters, so Bundy takes a shot at the injured ribs and gains control of the match.
Bundy is focusing on Hogan’s ribs and back. Bundy makes a more determined effort to escape through the door, but Hogan stops him and gets rammed into the cage and body slammed for his trouble. Bundy goes for the cage door again, and Heenan is trying to help him get out.
Bundy decides to stop Hogan by unwrapping the injured ribs and using the bandage to choke Hogan, much to Heenan’s approval. Again, Bundy tries to escape but Hogan stops him…again.
Hogan RAMS Bundy’s head into the cage and finally knocks the Walking Condominium off his feet. Heenan gets on Bundy immediately, trying to get him back his feet.
Hogan tries to decide whether he wants to try and escape or keep beating up Bundy. He decides to beat up Bundy and draws some blood. Bundy manages to get to his feet, gets punched some more, his back raked, and rammed into the cage some more for his trouble.
Hogan gets on the ropes and chokes Bundy with the ropes before punching Bundy some more. In fact, he punches him so much, he hurts his hand.
Unfortunately, Hogan gets ahead of himself. He tries to slam Bundy but, in an eerie precursor to next year’s WrestleMania, can’t lift the big man and gets squashed instead.
Bundy’s more vertical than Hogan, but it’s hard to tell who’s really in control here since both men are gasping for air.
Both men are trying to get to their feet. Bundy tries one more for the door, but Hogan grabs the bandage and begins to choke Bundy. Bundy gets loose, shoots Hogan to the corner, hits the Avalanche and the Big Splash, but it means nothing here.
Heenan’s getting desperate and tries to pull Bundy out of the cage by the straps on his singlet, but again, Hogan stops him. Bundy shoots into the corner, hits another Avalanche, but now Hogan’s getting his second wind and starts Hulking up.
He no-sells everything Bundy gives him and manages to body slam and Leg Drop the big man. Now Hogan starts getting out of the cage, but Bundy’s up and after him. They’re fighting in on the ropes and Hogan’s half out. Bundy heads for the door, but Hogan drops to the floor, retaining his WWF Championship, and the crowd goes wild.
Now that Hogan’s dealt with Bundy, he wants to…talk to Mr. Heenan. We watch Hogan chase Heenan around the ring before Heenan bolts into the cage and shuts the door. Hogan grabs the door and, because Heenan is clutching the door for dear life, gets pulled into the turnbuckle. Hogan gets into the cage while Heenan tries to escape. Hogan beats up on Heenan a little before giving him an atomic drop that sends him outside to King Kong Bundy. Lasorda makes the official announcement and everyone not named Ventura, Bundy, and Heenan are happy.
The Winner: Hulk Hogan retains by escaping the cage.
Comments: This match was surprisingly good considering that neither man is known for their technical skill. The story about Hogan’s injured ribs was played to the hilt, and made Bundy look like a monster. Hogan’s win protected Bundy by making it more about luck than skill.
This wasn’t a great sequel to WrestleMania. It was way too full and seemed to be trying to do too much. The Piper vs Mr. T boxing match was awful. The one major highlight was the Tag Team Match, which was easily Match of the Night, though the Savage/Steel match is a close second. The Battle Royale was pretty decent and had the right ending of a WWF guy winning.
Hogan/Bundy was a pretty good effort from both men, great work playing up Hogan’s ribs and back. We got lots of back and forth and we also got to see Hogan gets some retribution on Heenan.
The celebrities were very hit and miss. Other than Ernie Ladd, who’d actually worked in Professional Wrestling, the celebrity commentators weren’t very good. Susan St. James and Cathy Lee Crosby both made great efforts, but neither of them really had much knowledge outside of what they’d seen on TV; Elvira just seemed to be there for her cleavage.
I’m still perplexed by the reason behind having Ozzie Osborne with the British Bulldogs. I get that they’re all from Manchester, but Ozzie did nothing but stand there. He could’ve supported the Bulldogs from the audience.
Overall, this was an okay sequel to WrestleMania. It didn’t surpass the first one, but it did a good job building on the legacy of the first one. I think Vince learned something from this because he’s never done the three-city show again.
Chairshot Classic: Andrew’s 2019 AEW Double or Nothing Ratings & Analysis
Take a look back at AEW’s first PPV effort, the 2019 Double Or Nothing in Andrew’s Retro Ratings and Analysis!
Take a look back at AEW’s first PPV effort, the 2019 Double Or Nothing in Andrew’s Retro Ratings and Analysis!
With AEW Double Or Nothing–the 2022 edition–on the horizon, enjoy this trip down memory lane as Andrew Balaz reviewed the inaugural Las Vegas AEW pay-per-view…spectacular?
Well this is history boys and girls. Good, bad or indifferent, it’s the first show of the IWC’s favorite t-shirt company. What becomes of Hangman since he’s injured and PAC cancelled? What surprises will we get?
We all sit here with bated breath. Some want it to fail, many want it to succeed. Me? I just want it to not suck.
Let’s see what we got!
- Casino Battle Royal: Hangman Page wins @10:45 – **
- Sammy Guevara vs Kip Sabian: Sabian wins Argentine Facebuster @9:55 – ***
- So Cal Uncensored vs Strong Hearts: SCU wins via Best Meltzer Ever @14:00 – *** 1/2
- Britt Baker vs Nyla Rose vs Kylie Rae vs Awesome Kong: Britt Bakers wins via Kneecap Brainbuster @11:05 – ***
- Best Friends vs Angelico & Jack Evans: Best Friends win via Strong Zero @12:55 – ** 1/2
- Riho, Hikaru Shida & Ryo Mizunami vs Aja Kong, Yuka Sakazaki & Emi Sakura: Hikaru wins via Three Count @13:10 – *** 1/4
- Dustin Rhodes vs Cody Rhodes: Cody wins via Crossroads @22:35 – *****
- AAA Tag Team Championship: The Young Bucks (c) vs Lucha Brothers: Bucks retain via Meltzer Driver @25:00 – *****
- Kenny Omega vs Chris Jericho: Jericho wins via Judas Effect @23:50 – **** 1/4
This was definitely a mess. A few spots, a bunch of messy spots and just generally awkward moments. Flying Brian Jr had a few decent spots, Luchasaurus looked good and Orange Cassidy is awful. Hangman being the 21st entrant made a lot of sense, but probably already upset a few people since it wasn’t CM Punk or Jon Moxley. Of course Page won. He can fight with a bum leg, cause he has three of them. So yeah, not an awful match, but it had a lot of issues.
Sabian looked tremendous in this match. Guevara definitely did too much. Shooting Star onto Sabian draped over the outside barricade, a bad double Moonsault and standing Shoot Star hurt the match a little. But Sabian’s technically proficient, charismatic and can hang in the air a bit too. So Sabian was the star here. Solid match.
Well now, this was great. Strong Hearts trio pulled off some great fluid offense and SCU did fantastic. This was just a great match, I can’t really accurately describe more than great match. Best Meltzer Ever is a little dumb when it comes to names, but damn was this a good match.
So Brandi comes out in her gear to swerve us that she’s adding herself to the match, but instead she adds Awesome Kong! So the Triple Threat turns into a Fatal 4 Way and it’s not bad. A lot of the early portion is focused on taking out Kong, then Nyla becomes the target. Britt and Kylie are the ones left in the ring after the collateral damage. Kylie looks to be firing up for a finish, but Britt catches her in a Kneecap Brainbuster (Adam Cole’s Last Shot in ROH).
Excessive spots, excessive near falls, I knew to expect it to a degree with these four, but that doesn’t make it better. This was definitely an ‘Indie style” match, but the crowd seemed to enjoy it. There was a lights out attack on both teams from…some team, with masked minions. The “Who Are You” chant kicks up and commentary doesn’t lend any information. So that’s really not helpful.
Everyone got their stuff in, we got to see a lot of personality from the different women and the action was solid. I also appreciated Emi Sakura trying to rally momentum doing We Will Rock You stomps (since she was dressed as Freddy Mercury). Save for the big mess up with the bell ringer calling the end of the match when the referee obviously held up 2 and said 2, just messed up the flow and gave away the finish since Hikaru’s music played. Not bad, just the ending did kind of take the air out of a pretty good match.
Wow. Dustin and Cody brought it, Dustin bladed pretty deep, I think even Dusty would’ve blushed. New moves from Dustin like the Misawa style Apron Senton, a Code Red and a few classics. The blood, the desire to keep fighting, this was everything wrestling should be. It made sense for Cody to win the match of course, but wow after the match was a beautiful moment. Also call of the night might have to go to Excalibur when Cody hit a Pump Kick aka Bicycle Kick and you hear him say something like ” He hit him with a BICYCLE”. In a huge homage to Dustin and Dusty’s Heart to Heart promo, Cody tells Dustin he can’t retire, because he needs a partner. He doesn’t just need a partner, he needs his big brother. This was a great way cap off such a hard hitting personal match. Wow.
Belt reveal with a few extra curricular and Bret Hart. Much like Bret Hart, the belt doesn’t do anything for me. It looks a lot like Big Gold, but it’s so ostentatious it’s hard to love it. Just too shimmery or whatever. It’s not bad, but I in no way love the belt.
I’m very happy there was the unveiling ceremony between the Rhodes match and this one. Cause this was a great match and moving it out too quick could’ve hurt the crowd immersion. Great tandem moves, a decent thread of the ring rust playing a part against the Young Bucks early on and just generally great spots. There definitely was a lot of stuff, big spots and it was “spot monkey” style, but it all worked. The Lucha Brothers pulled out crazy moves to try and get the AAA belts back and the Bucks were trying to prove they still had it with most of the year off. Just really really good.
Well now Jericho and Omega pick back up where they left off. Referee Paul Turner allows for a lot of out of the ring shenanigans. Jericho busts Omega open, tries to use a table as a shield, but Omega still throws himself at Jericho.Jericho focuses on Omega’s face with the Triangle Dropkick, a Lionsault went high and this was pretty damn solid. A few missteps and Jericho not countering the first One Winged Angel was car crash worthy, but aside from that, this was nice. Multiple Codebreakers followed by the new Judas Effect, leave Omega laying for the 1, 2, 3.
Jericho says AEW is for him not for fans, and he deserves a thank you. When the crowd pops, Jericho thinks it’s for him, but Jon Moxley makes his debut through the crowd! Almost as if it were a reference to Lex Luger showing up on the first Nitro, it looks like Jericho basically says “You don’t work here”. Dirty Deeds to Jericho, Dirty Deeds to referee Paul Turner and Omega manages a burst of energy to brawl for a little bit. They end up on the poker chips, Moxley hits Dirty Deeds and then just dumps him off, onto some other stage item.
Overall Score: 8.5/10
Well damn, I was skeptical since All In didn’t rate as highly for me as other fans, but this was great. Aside from a few personal gripes, and not really enjoying the cluster that was the Battle Royal, this was one of the better shows of the year thus far. Good surprises like Awesome Kong, Bret Hart and Jon Moxley. Jericho winning the main event breaks up The Elite getting the clean sweep, so that shows it’s not as predictable as All In.
Oh and yes, I can’t express how good the Rhodes match was. The match itself, the story it told, the promo after, everything was just beautiful. That is my number 1 match of the year personally, cause it was just too damn poignant.
Good job AEW. Great show, and the symbolic moment where Cody used the sledgehammer to break the replica throne Triple H used for his WrestleMania 22 entrance. It was awesome.
Chairshot Classics: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock from WWE Backlash 1999
Ahead of WrestleMania Backlash, Chris King takes a stroll back to WWE Backlash 1999 as Stone Cold Steve Austin defends his WWE Championship against The Rock.
Ahead of WrestleMania Backlash, Chris King takes a stroll back to WWE Backlash 1999 as Stone Cold Steve Austin defends his WWE Championship against The Rock.
Let’s set the scene for a minute, you’ve got “The Texas Rattlesnake” and Corporate Rock going one-on-one at WrestleMania XV. Austin wins the championship and the McMahon family is livid. Stone Cold wants his Smoking Skull Championship belt back, and Vince and Shane McMahon are trying to keep it from him by hook or by crook.
Damn, things were different during the Attitude Era, The Rock threw Stone Cold over a bridge and held a funeral for his rival. The storytelling was captivating and exciting, and it kept you guessing what would happen next. Keep in mind this match was conclusively built around a championship belt, something that would never work in the current product.
It was a high-octane no disqualification match with Shane as the special guest referee for their latest encounter. Austin began the match running straight into the ring for a brawl which spilled out all over the arena. I miss how exciting these two superstars were. Rock hit a vicious Rock Bottom through the Spanish announce table and then got on commentary to talk some smack.
The arrogant challenger took the camera to talk trash while Austin laid on the other announce table, and ate a Stunner through the table. Man, the WWE Universe was on fire throughout the entire match. I feel like both superstars can’t put on a bad match because they have such strong in-ring chemistry.
The finish of the match came when Austin had Rock set up for the three-count but Shane refused to count. Vince came down and struck Shane with the Smoking Skull belt. Austin hit another Stunner and decked the challenger with the belt for the victory. Vince then tossed his rival his precious Smoking Skull Championship.
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