WrestleMania X comes to from Madison Square Garden, home of the first WrestleMania; and my, how times have changed in WWF in a decade. The generation that brought us WrestleManias I-IX have moved on to greener pastures and a new generation has taken over. These new superstars are young, edgy, and more nuanced than straight good guys vs bad guys. For the first time in WrestleMania history, Hulk Hogan is NOT part of WrestleMania.
The road to WrestleMania hit a bit of swerve at the 1994 Royal Rumble. Lex Lugar and Bret Hart eliminated each other. Not wanting to slight either man, WWF President Jack Tunney decided that both men would get a shot at WWF Champion Yokozuna at WrestleMania X and a coin toss was used to decide who would get first crack at the champion.
So, how does the New Generation do with the first post-Hogan WrestleMania? Let’s find out.
We start with a recap of the very first WrestleMania. An incredibly proud looking Vince McMahon is in the ring, welcoming us to WrestleMania. ‘America, the Beautiful’ is going to be sung by Little Richard. Richard sounds fantastic.
We get a recap of the Bret/Owen feud.
We have a bit of snafu with the fireworks going off prematurely, but not too bad.
Owen Hart vs Bret Hart
Owen is out first to a THUNDEROUS round of boos. Owen comes out in the Hart pink and black, even wearing Bret’s shades, which he promptly tears up.
Bret’s pop is every bit as thunderous as Owen’s. He, however, gives his shades to a young fan.
Unsurprisingly, this was a fantastic match. Despite kayfabe, the Hart brothers almost seemed to be playing with each other, much like they probably did as children in Calgary.
Winner: Owen Hart by pinfall. It’s hard to tell who’s more stunned by this. Owen rubs it in Bret’s face before going to the back. Bret’s frustrated, but he applauds for his brother.
Comments: I really liked this match. Owen got the win, but the almost fluke of the finish protects Bret.
The President (and client) of the Hair Club for Men is in the ring and tells us he’s going to introduce us to the latest success story of the Hair Club for Men: Howard Finkel. Considering that Finkel has been bald pretty much his entire career, I don’t think this is fooling anyone, but Finkel seems pleased and the crowd seems to like it too.
Mixed Tag Team Match: Bam Bam Bigelow and Luna Vachon vs Doink the Clown and Dink the Clown
Bam Bam and Luna are out first to a mixed reaction. They are an odd looking couple. Doink and Dink (a little person) are out next to a really good pop. I’m not sure how this is a mixed tag match, this is more of an intergender match since Luna is the only woman in the bunch. Doink squirts Sy (Hair Club guy) with his flower and this one is a go.
What is there to say about a match where a full grown woman wrestles a little person and it’s called ‘Mixed Tag’?
Winner: Bam Bam and Luna by pinfall. Dink’s a sore loser and kicks Bam Bam and gets a double splash for his trouble. Dink crawls away and Bam Bam goes after him(probably to keep the little dude from getting to close to the edge of the ring)
Highlights: Bam Bam’s athleticism is always amazing.
Comments: Well, that happened.
Falls Count Anywhere Match: Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savge vs Crush (with Mr. Fuji)
Macho Man is out first and gets a thunderous pop. Crush is out next, but Savage doesn’t wait for Crush to get in the ring and we are off.
This was a really good match
Winner: Macho Man after tying Crush up so he couldn’t answer the count.
Highlights: Savage shoving the salt into Crush’s face. Mr. Fuji dumping water on Crush to wake him up.
Comments: This would be Savage’s final WrestleMania. He would leave WWF under strange circumstances later in the year and never return.
WWF Women’s Championship Match: Alundra Blayze vs Leilani Kai
Leilani (who was the defending WWF Women’s Champion at the first WrestlesMania) is in the ring already to a lukewarm response. Alundra Blayze is out next to an okay response.
Winner: Alundra Blayze by pinfall
Comments: This match was an ‘eh’ for me. Both women are good athletes, but I didn’t really care who won.
WWF Tag Team Match: Men on a Mission (with Oscar) vs The Quebecers (with Johnny Polo)
Men on a Mission is out to really great pop. Oscar is rapping, I have no clue what he’s saying, but the beat is really good.
The Quebecers, the champions, come out during a segment with HBK, Rhonda Shearer, and Burt Reynolds.
This was a reasonably good match, but not a showstopper. M.O.M were really good athletes and both teams did a great job.
Winner: Men on a Mission by countout. Quebecers retain the titles, but M.O.M refuse to let them leave with the titles.
Comments: I liked this match. It’s not a fave, but it was good.
WWF World Heavyweight Championship Match: Yokozuna (with Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji) vs Lex Lugar. Special Guest Referee: Mr. Perfect
Coming out first are our first guest ring announcer and timekeeper, Donnie Wahlberg (New Kids On the Block), and Rhonda Shearer, respectively. Mr. Perfect comes out to a great pop, the crowd is legit glad to see him. Yokozuna is out next with his entourage to a lukewarm reception. Jim Cornette looks like he got dressed in the dark, as usual. Poor Mr. Fuji had some trouble getting into the ring. Lex Luger is out next to a big pop.
This was a pretty good. Yokozuna isn’t thought of as a good athlete, but he was able to hang with Luger, a very accomplished athlete for almost fifteen minutes.
Winner: Yokozuna by disqualification after Mr. Perfect disqualifies Luger for shoving him. Understandably upset, Luger goes to confront Perfect and the officials try to keep them apart.
Highlights: Mr. Perfect turning heel. Luger trying to throw Yokozuna into the ring and only half succeeding. Luger hitting a flying crossbody on Yokozuna and nearly getting a pinfall.
Comments: I have said before that Luger always struck me as phony, and while that worked well when he was the Narcissist, it doesn’t work as well when he’s supposed to be an All-American babyface. I like the way they did Perfect’s turn. He turned heel by enforcing the rules, it was perfect(pardon the phrase) for the evolving attitude of WWF.
Earthquake vs Adam Bomb (with Harvey Whippleman)
Whippleman is in the ring and insults Finkel and his lovely rug. After Whippleman rips off the pocket of Finkel’s tux, the normally even tempered, long suffering Finkel’s had enough and shoves Whippleman, to the crowd’s delight. Adam Bomb comes out and accosts poor Fink, but Earthquake comes in, hits a belly-to-back suplex, a power slam, and the Earthquake Splash, and it is over.
There’s not much to say about this match. The real match was between Finkel and Whippleman, and Finkel won.
WWF Intercontinental Championship Match: Razor Ramon vs Shawn Michaels (with Diesel) – Ladder Match
HBK and Diesel are out first, in all of their mulleted glory, to a good pop. HBK won’t walk under the ladder. We get another example of HBK’s terrible dancing. Razor is out second to a much better pop. Razor’s too cool to be superstitious, and walks under the ladder.
Winner: Officially: Razor Ramon. Unofficially: Generations of WWF/E fans and superstars who would make careers off of ladder matches.
Comments: This is one of the most hyped matches in WWF/E history, and with good reasons. The excitement this match created spawned off two match concepts that WWF/E fans still enjoy today: TLC and MitB. There’s a reason that people remember the match and not the outcome: It was so good that who took home the dueling belts didn’t matter. This is often mistaken for the first ladder match in WWF/E; actually, the VERY first WWF/E ladder match took place in 1992 between Bret Hart and HBK on Wrestling Challenge. The Razor/HBK match is the first one on WWF/E PPV.
We get a recap of Bret and Yokozuna’s respective paths to WrestleMania X, but no explanation is given.
WWF World Heavyweight Championship Match: Yokozuna (with Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji) vs Bret Hart
Our guest timekeeper is Jennie Garth from the ORIGINAL ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ and the guest ring announcer is Burt Reynolds. Burt Reynolds announces that our guest referee is none other than Roddy Piper. The crowd is ecstatic to see Hot Rod back in the place where he main evented the very first WrestleMania. Yokozuna is out next to boos, which is a little unfair since it wasn’t his fault Luger was DQ’d. Bret Hart’s pop is fantastic. Bret is limping but has a determined look on his face.
This was a really good match. Bret winning because of Yokozuna slipping protects Yokozuna and gave us a plausible pinning situation.
Winner: Bret Hart by pinfall after Yokozuna slipped and missed the Banzai Drop. Yokozuna is furious and chases (yes, CHASES) Piper out of the ring.
As Bret celebrates, Luger comes to the ring and, after a tense minute, shakes Bret’s hand and raises Bret’s hand in victory. Piper has eluded Yokozuna and comes back to raise Bret’s hand.
Soon, the rest of the babyfaces come out to congratulate Bret on his hard-fought road back to the championship. They are joined by the celebrities, and Gorilla Monsoon. Bret is lifted onto Razor and Luger’s shoulders as the crowd cheers.
Owen comes out, but doesn’t join the celebration. He just stands in the aisle and glares at his big brother, who has stolen the spotlight again.
Highlights: Yokozuna going for what looked like a standing frog splash on Bret, only for Bret to, wisely, roll out of the way. Piper KOing Cornette after Cornette pulled Piper out of the ring. Yokozuna chasing Piper.
Comments: I really liked this match. The sentiment of the fans and the boys seemed legit. They were really happy that Bret was champion again.
So, how did the New Generation do in the first post-Hogan WrestleMania? Overall, they did a pretty good job. This match wasn’t as historic or precedent-setting as the previous ones. There’s wasn’t a history making attendance record, or a huge ‘WrestleMania Moment’, but it was a good show. The waves of the Ladder match are still rippling through WWE, almost a quarter century after the event.
In celebration of ten years of Vince’s greatest gamble, recaps of the previous nine WrestleManias were shown between matches.
Celebrities: I was ‘eh’ on the celebrities. They were alright, but I wasn’t really excited about them being there, though 11-year old me would’ve thrilled to see Donnie from NKOTB. The best one was the Bill Clinton impersonator. Also, many alumni from previous WrestleManias were in the audience.
Stinkers: Mixed Tag Team Match. I don’t know whose idea that was, but it was terrible.
Match of the Night: Normally, I would say ‘Ladder Match’, but that’s too easy and obvious. Hart vs Hart, Hart vs Yokozuna, and Luger vs Yokozuna are my picks
Odd Moment: There was supposed to be an eight-man tag match on this show, but it got scrapped at the last minute, but they aired a backstage segment about it anyway.
Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this show. It was a good first WrestleMania for the post-Hogan WWF.