The eleventh WrestleMania did not have as much fanfare as its predecessor. The pageantry of Madison Square Garden was not there since the event was taking place in Hartford. What they did bring back was celebrity involvement. It was the first WrestleMania since the first one to have a celebrity wrestling in the main event of the show.
It was one of those shows where they were hoping to get by based on the WrestleMania name more than anything. Business wise, the company wasn’t doing so great and were doing everything they could to create new stars while also elevating others in hope that they would become the draws that guys like Hogan & Savage were. They upped the celebrity involvement at this show too, bringing in recently retired NFL legend Lawrence Taylor to wrestle Bam Bam Bigelow in the main event of the show. It was an angle that was started at the Royal Rumble a couple of months earlier. Taylor was one of the best defensive players in NFL history, so it was a big name that garnered a lot of attention from the mainstream media. They also brought in Pamela Anderson, who was famous for being on the TV show Baywatch and also because of her numerous Playboy appearances. This was Pamela in her prime too, so that was a pretty good get by Vince McMahon.
Meanwhile, the WWE World Title feud featured Shawn Michaels challenging his former bodyguard Diesel, who became the champion a few months earlier and the new face of the company in a lot of ways. The match was built off well thanks to Michaels having a dominant win at the 1995 Royal Rumble by winning the match after being the first entrant. Bret Hart’s role was decreased a bit, moving down from the World Title level into a feud with Bob Backlund, who had become a crazy heel.
Due to having such a thin roster (WCW was gaining a lot of steam at this time by plucking away some WWE talent), this was only a seven match card. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. It’s better than having 10 or 11 matches and sticking too much filler on the show. The other worthwhile fact relating to WWE in 1995 is that they started to do monthly PPVs after WrestleMania. It’s something that they continue to do to this day. I remember going into this one wondering what match would go on last, whether it would be the title match or the Taylor match. Let’s find out.
WWE WrestleMania XI
April 2, 1995
From the Hartford Civic Center in Hartford, Connecticut
We got a video package that focused on all the celebrities that were involved in the first ten WrestleManias. It was a good idea since Lawrence Taylor was the selling point of this event. Then they showed the celebrities that would be involved in this show. It’s interesting that two years earlier they barely had any celebrity involvement and the year before it was minimal, but they felt the need to increase the involvement here.
Special Olympian Kathy Huey sang America The Beautiful. She did well.
At ringside, Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler welcomed us to the show. This was their second year in a row as the announce team. Heel Lawler was a lot of fun while Vince was always good at putting over moments, but he wasn’t the best at calling moves. What a maneuver!
The Allied Powers (British Bulldog & Lex Luger) vs. Jacob & Eli Blu w/Uncle Zebekiah
Luger failed as a singles star in WWE, so they put him in a team with the British Bulldog. They were the faces. The Blu twins had a few incarnations in wrestling, most notably as the Harris Brothers. Luger & Bulldog hit body slams and clotheslines at the beginning. They hit a back elbow as Bulldog worked on Jacob (we think) and hit his delayed suplex to a big pop. Vince called Jacob a “big mountain man.” I guess that explains their gimmick. Bulldog hit a double clothesline. The twins cheated behind the ref’s back to get control. Bulldog got a small package, but the ref was occupied with Luger who was trying to prevent cheating. The twins hit a double boot to the face on Bulldog as they continued to isolate him. Bulldog hit a clothesline, the brothers cheated and the other one came in to hit a clothesline on Bulldog. Body slam on Bulldog as Vince busted out his first “what a match” of the show. An elbow drop on Bulldog missed, so he tagged in Luger for the hot tag. Lex hit a clothesline followed by a powerslam. Lex ran the ropes and hit his running forearm. It was deadly a couple of years earlier. Now it barely generated a pop. The other Blu brother broke up the pin. The ref got distracted, so the fresher Blu brother got in the ring without Lex knowing. Whatever Blu brother was in the ring (the idea was we never knew what one was in there) took Lex to the corner, Bulldog tagged in and hit a sunset flip off the top for the pinfall win at 6:34.
Winners by pinfall: British Bulldog & Lex Luger
Post match, Bulldog & Luger posed because they had big muscles while Vince put over the idea that they’d be teaming again in the future. It’s like he booked the show or something! Oh wait. Jim Ross at ringside tried to interview Uncle Zebekiah. It was not a good interview.
Analysis: *1/4 I always write that the best choice for an opener is a fast paced match. This wasn’t it. I thought the ending was good after Lex got the hot tag and Bulldog’s sunset flip was impressive as a finish too. As it turned out, the team didn’t last that much longer. Lex returned to WCW on the first-ever Nitro event in September of 1995. Bulldog would continue in WWE, of course.
In the locker room, Nick Turturo (of NYPD Blue) was trying to interview Jenny McCarthy. They had audio problems. They cut away.
Entering the arena next was IC Champion Jeff Jarrett along with the Roadie. The Roadie was later known as the Road Dogg. Jarrett won the IC Title at the Rumble against Razor, who was still a babyface. Backstage, the 1-2-3 Kid (later known as X-Pac) said he would be in Razor’s corner to prevent the Roadie from interfering.
Intercontinental Title: Jeff Jarrett w/The Roadie vs. Razor Ramon w/1-2-3 Kid
I loved the way Howard Finkel said Razor Ramon by rolling the R’s. Razor jumped him at the start. This was Jeff’s WrestleMania debut although he was at the previous WrestleMania. His match got cut from that show. Razor hit a clothesline early, sending Jarrett over the top to the floor. Jarrett went for a sunset flip, but Razor blocked it with a punch to the face that led to a cover for two. Razor got a rollup for two. He went for a lot of pinfalls early in the match. He had Jarrett in the Razor’s Edge, but the Roadie pulled the champ out. Jarrett tried to leave, so Kid threw him back in and Razor got another pinfall for two. Finally Jarrett got control as Vince busted out a “what a maneuver” when Jarrett whipped him into the corner. Yes, because a whip into the corner is such a crazy move. Ramon whipped Roadie’s head into the turnbuckle and then threw Jarrett outside the ring to the floor. Jarrett hit some dropkicks and the running butt splash while Razor’s neck was draped on the ropes. Razor got a backslide for two. Jarrett got a pinfall of his own. Like I said, there were a lot of attempted pinfalls in this match. Jarrett continued his offense with a hair whip to the mat leading into a chinlock. Ramon hit a back suplex. They ran the ropes and they hit eachother in the head for the double KO spot. They got up and each guy threw a punch, so they both went back down again. Razor covered for two. Razor gave him his fallaway slam for two. I loved that move. Kid tried to interfere, so Jarrett kicked him into the guard rail. Razor missed a bulldog off the middle rope, but Jarrett moved and Razor grabbed his knee. That’s the setup for the Figure Four Leglock, which Jarrett applied immediately. Razor was fighting it in the center of the ring. Razor turned it over, which meant the pressure was on Jarrett now. Razor put him on the top rope and gave him the back suplex off the top, which was another signature move of his. Razor did a good job of selling the knee injury. He went for the Razor’s Edge, so the Roadie clipped his knee from behind. The ref DQ’d Jarrett at 13:29.
Winner via DQ: Razor Ramon. Jarrett retained the IC Title
Analysis: **3/4 It was a good midcard match with a lot of nearfalls and good work by both guys. It never got into that next gear to be a special match, but they worked hard and had good chemistry. The feud continued after this.
Post match, Kid got his spin kicks on both Jarrett & Roadie. Jarrett came back with a flapjack on Kid and then put him in the Figure Four while Roadie punched him. Razor saved his little buddy. Refs broke it up to end it. The crowd was loud for the post match attack.
Jim Ross interviewed Jarrett and told him that he should be ashamed himself while JJ said there would be payback on Razor.
Backstage, Nick Turturo’s microphone issues were sorted out and Jennifer McCarthy was in the heel locker room. Shawn Michaels showed up along with Sid and they were confident about the match later. Nick was trying to find Pamela. Vince: “We’re having all kinds of fun tonight.” Perhaps that was a sarcastic shot at Sid’s awful promo. I hope so.
It was time for Undertaker’s match. King Kong Bundy was the opponent managed by Ted Dibiase, who had the Undertaker’s urn in his possession. Dibiase’s Million Dollar Corporation stable had stolen it at the Royal Rumble. They put over Bundy’s record win at WrestleMania that they say was 9 seconds even though it was really 23 seconds. Who am I to argue with WWE “facts” like that? In the crowd, Todd Pettengill talked to former Chicago Bears running back Neal Anderson in the crowd. Undertaker got a huge babyface pop for his entrance.
The Undertaker w/Paul Bearer vs. King Kong Bundy w/Ted Dibiase
Undertaker hit his “old school” walking the ropes clothesline early in the match. It would get a bigger pop in his later years. Undertaker hit him with three clotheslines to knock Bundy down. Bundy came back with a clothesline over the top that Undertaker sold by landing on his feet. Then he took the urn from Dibiase, giving it to Bearer. That drew a huge reaction from the crowd. The fight continued in the ring while Dibiase yelled for Kama the Supreme Fighting Machine to run down to ringside. He booted Bearer and took the urn. Undertaker tried to get it, but Bundy hit him in the back. Kama took the urn to the back. In the aisle, Ross interviewed Kama who said he would melt the urn and turn it into a chain that he’d wear across his neck. Bundy gave Undertaker a clothesline that sent him to the floor. In the ring, Bundy hit a body slam followed by a knee drop for two. Bundy slapped on a chinlock. Bundy whipped him into the corner and hit a splash. Undertaker popped right up, booted him in the face and gave Bundy a body slam. Undertaker hit a leaping clothesline. That was enough for the pinfall win at 6:36. Bundy kicked out right after the three count and then he walked out of the ring. He didn’t sell at all. Lame. The Undertaker is 4-0 at WrestleMania.
Analysis: DUD I’m sure a lot of people were surprised by the finish, but it’s not like Taker could have given a Tombstone to a really fat man like Bundy. I love Undertaker, but that match sucked. His first four WrestleMania wins were all bad matches especially this one and the Giant Gonzalez match at WM9. He’d have a better match the next year.
Backstage, Turturo tried to find Pamela Anderson. Instead, he found the NFL All-Pros that would be in Taylor’s corner. They all cut promos on members of the Million Dollar Man’s Corporation. Nick found Bob Backlund playing chess with Jonathon Taylor Thomas, who was a child actor on the TV show Home Improvement. Backlund: “Who’s Pamela Anderson?” Bob complained that kids today know everything and Thomas answered some random questions of Backlund. That was a poorly acted segment.
The tag titles were up next. Owen was the King of Harts here after winning the 1994 King of the Ring. He had a mystery partner to challenge the Smoking Gunns, who were the tag champs. Owen picked somebody that beat his brother Bret. His partner? Yokozuna, who entered along with Jim Cornette & Mr. Fuji. Prior to the match, the Gunns talked about how they were confident that they could win the match.
WWE Tag Team Titles: Smoking Gunns (Billy & Bart Gunn) vs. Owen Hart & Yokozuna w/Jim Cornette & Mr. Fuji
The Gunns were not really brothers, but they were a mildly popular babyface team complete with cowboy attire. Owen started with Billy, who was not yet an ass man. Billy tagged in Bart, who would not brawl for it all yet. Yoko got a tag and missed a big elbow drop. Yoko looked bigger here than he was the previous two years. I have no idea if that’s a fact, but it looked that way to me. The Gunns hit a double Russian legsweep on Owen and then a double dropkick on Yoko sent him to the floor. Lawler kept putting over how it was Owen’s fate to be a champion because prior to this he hadn’t held any gold in WWE. Gunn hit a nice neckbreaker on Owen. Bart whipped Owen into the corner and he did the sternum first bump that Bret was more known for. Billy hit an impressive legdrop while Bart dropped Owen in a side slam, which was good for two. Owen tagged in Yoko and the big guy dropped a leg drop to the back of Billy’s head. Behind the ref’s back, Owen rammed Billy back first into the ring post. Owen to a fan: “I’m a king. You all love me.” Yep. Yoko put on his trapezius nerve hold of boredom. Owen went for a missile dropkick while Yoko held Billy, but Billy moved and Owen accidentally hit Yoko with the dropkick. Hot tag to Bart, who hit a slam on Owen and he knocked Yoko down with a hair whip. The champs tried to double team Yoko, but Owen pulled the rope down while Bart was running and Yoko hit Billy with a beautiful belly to belly suplex. Yoko hit the Banzai Drop. Bart hit Yoko in the back of the head and then Yoko gave him a back body drop to the floor. Owen got the tag, thought about the Sharpshooter and changed his mind as he went for a pinfall. That was enough for the win at 9:42.
Winners by pinfall and New Tag Team Champions: Owen Hart & Yokozuna
Analysis: ** A solid tag match carried by the awesome work of Owen Hart, who was at the top of his game in these days. The Gunns worked well together as a team, had good offensive moves and sold everything perfectly. The tag title change was a good move.
Backstage, Pettengill interviewed Bigelow. He talked trash about Taylor saying that he wouldn’t lose to a guy like LT. Bigelow spoke about how the Million Dollar Corporation would watch his back if LT’s All-Pros got involved. He said it’s his world and Taylor’s just a flash in the pan. Todd spoke about the media hype.
In the ring, Howard Finkel explained the rules of the next match: A submission match where the loser had to say “I Quit” into the microphone. The special referee? Roddy Piper. They always used Piper in this kind of setting. He got a legends babyface pop. There really was a lot of press at ringside, snapping photos. Mr. Bob Backlund entered next with no theme song. He was in his mid-40s here and had turned heel after being a babyface for a long time. At Survivor Series 1994, Backlund won the World Title from Bret thanks to Owen Hart. He had a short title reign that didn’t even last a week thanks to Diesel beating him. This was Bret’s chance at revenge.
“I Quit” Submission Match: Bret Hart vs. Bob Backlund
As mentioned, Roddy Piper is the referee here. Bret started off dominating the match and went for a quick Sharpshooter, but Backlund fought out. Piper asked them if they quit far too often. After an attack on the floor, Bret went for the Sharpshooter again. Then he went for a Figure Four Leglock, which he successfully applied. Piper asked him if he quit. Bob: “Ahhhh!” I guess that’s a no. Backlund reversed it and then got to the ropes. We listened to the German announcers as Lawler said their announcers had the face for radio. Bret worked on the leg some more. Backlund fought back with a shot to the face and then worked on Bret’s left arm, which was a setup for his Crossface Chickenwing submission. Hard whip into the corner by Backlund on Bret. Backlund took him down with an armbar. Piper was annoying with how often he was asking them if they quit. Backlund had him in the armbar for about two minutes. Bret fought back with a bodyslam and then a backbreaker followed by the elbow drop off the middle rope. Bret put on the Sharpshooter. Bob made it to the ropes quickly. Bret charged at him in the corner, Bob moved and Bret hurt his left shoulder. The crowd was freaking out because they knew Bob could put him in the Chickenwing. Backlund put him in the hold and Bret tried to fight out of it. Then he put Backlund in the Chickenwing. Bret took him down. Backlund quit although I couldn’t really tell if he said “I quit” or “yeah” when asked if he would quit. Bret won via submission at 9:34.
Winner: Bret Hart
Analysis: *1/2 I love Bret as one of my favorite wrestlers ever, but this match wasn’t the high-quality match you’d expect from him. You could see on his face that he wasn’t too thrilled about it even though he won. It was a tough match concept to get over. They worked hard, but it didn’t work. I know Bret didn’t speak highly of the match in his book either.
After the match, Ross tried to talk to Backlund. Bob’s craziness continued as he said: “I saw the light! Did you see the light?” He was nuts to say the least.
Backstage, Turturo said he couldn’t find Pamela Anderson. The story was that she didn’t want to accompany Shawn because he was such a jerk.
Backstage, Todd Pettengill talked to World Champion Diesel. They had audio difficulties the whole show. They continued here. Diesel was Kevin Nash for those that don’t know although I’m sure most of you know. He cut a pretty generic promo, which was standard for him as a babyface. His promos as a heel were much better.
They brought out the celebrities: Jonathon Taylor Thomas of Home Improvement was the timekeeper. He was 13 years old here. Nick Turturo of NYPD Blue was the guest ring announcer. Shawn Michaels entered first along with his bodyguard Sid and Jenny McCarthy, who was in Playboy and on MTV as well. He was supposed to have Pamela Anderson, but instead, he had Jenny. She was gorgeous. The World Heavyweight Champion Diesel entered next. As he made his way down the aisle, he signaled for somebody to join him…Pamela Anderson. She entered in a white dress that showed off her spectacular…um…physique. It’s not like she was famous for her acting. She knew it too, so God bless her for it. She is one of Canada’s greatest exports.
WWF World Heavyweight Title: Diesel vs. Shawn Michaels w/Sid
Michaels tried to jump him before the bell, so Diesel gave him a backdrop over the top to the floor. Then he posed in the ring with Pam. They did a fast exchange early that ended with Diesel decking Shawn with an elbow to the face. Diesel gave him a hip toss and a back body drop followed by a whip into the corner that Michaels solid by going over the top to the floor. Then he shoved a photographer from ringside because he landed on him. Good shot of Pam & Jenny’s cleavage at ringside. Thank you for that. Shawn spit on him, so Diesel charged and Michaels avoided it. Shawn threw punches at him, but then Diesel caught him with an elbow. Michaels avoided a Gorilla Press slam, went for a suplex and Diesel was able to counter it for one of his own. Diesel hit him with a knee that sent Shawn to the floor although HBK struggled to fall out of the ring. Shawn poked him in the eye and then slid under the ropes. A sunset flip didn’t work because Diesel was too strong and he crotched HBK on the top rope. After a win, Diesel missed a big boot and Shawn clotheslined him over the top to the floor. Then Shawn did the skin the cat back in the ring followed by a crossbody block off the top to the floor. What an awesome sequence of moves by HBK. Baseball slide dropkick by Shawn. Lawler asked for a shot of Pamela, who was waving to a fan at ringside while barely watching the match. Shawn got angry with a photographer again. Diesel went for an elbow, Shawn moved and Diesel hit the ring post. On the outside, Michaels hit him with a splash from the apron onto the floor where Diesel was on his back. Lawler said Diesel should have stayed with basketball. He would have if he was good enough. Diesel was grabbing at his words. I wonder if Diesel was hurt legit there a bit because he was selling for a little too long there. In the ring, Michaels worked him over with a bulldog off the middle rope. That’s not a move Michaels did very often. It worked, though. That got him a two count. Diesel tried to come back, but Michaels hit a back elbow off the middle ropes.
The crowd was chanting for Shawn, which is not the response Vince probably wanted, but that’s what they were getting. Shawn went to the top rope and hit a flying elbow to the ribs of Diesel for a count of two. Michaels went for a front facelock twice, but Diesel powered out of it both times. Michaels avoided a powerslam by shoving Diesel into the corner and then he slapped on a sleeper by jumping on Diesel’s back. He took him all the way down to the mat with the sleeper. Diesel powered out by ramming his back into the turnbuckle. Diesel connected with clotheslines in both turnbuckles. He did the snake eyes in the corner followed by a running butt splash while Shawn was draped over the middle rope. Michaels did the Flair bump in the corner. Diesel stopped selling the ribs that were being worked on for the last five minutes. Diesel hit him with forearms to the face. They fought on the floor and ref Earl Hebner tried to prevent Sid from interfering. Vince said Earl hurt his ankle. Back in the ring, Shawn hit Diesel with the superkick. Shawn covered. He had him down for the three count. When Hebner got back in the ring, Michaels covered again and Diesel kicked out at two. Sid took the top turnbuckle off, exposing the steel. Diesel came back with a back suplex. They were both out. Michaels put his left arm on him for a count of two. Michaels went to the middle rope for another bulldog, but Diesel caught him and put him down with a side slam. They continued to sell as if they were both in a lot of pain. Diesel launched him to the corner with a slingshot. Michaels hit the middle turnbuckle because he was too far to reach the top rope. They messed up the turnbuckle spot because they were too far away from the ropes. Diesel whipped him in and hit a big boot to the face. He showed a lot of babyface fire as the crowd supported him. Both girls at ringside were clapping. Diesel went for the Jackknife Powerbomb. He hit it, but not very well. He covered anyway for the win at 20:35.
Winner by pinfall: Diesel
Analysis: ***3/4 A very good match that was given a lot of time. It was an interesting dynamic because the 7 footer was the face here, yet Shawn was the one getting a lot of cheers too. Michaels bumped his ass off and showed off his incredible athleticism like he always did. Diesel held up his end well too. He did stop selling the rib injury a little early, but that’s nitpicking a bit I guess. Shawn turned babyface soon after this thanks to Sid hitting him with a number of powerbombs. A year later at the April 1996 In Your House event “Good Friends, Better Enemies” they had an excellent brawl that Michaels won as the babyface champion against Diesel, who left for WCW after that match.
Post match, Ross tried talking to Shawn & Sid. Sid yelled about things not being done with Diesel. In the ring, Diesel welcomed all the celebrities into the ring. Vince called him the “new generation leader.” Not really, but Vince sure tried to put it over.
In the locker room, Shawn complained about how he hit the Sweet Chin Music and the ref wasn’t there to count the pinfall. They showed the replay of it. Sid was yelling about how it wasn’t fair that there was only one referee involved in the match.
Analysis: The next night on Raw, Sid attacked Michaels with multiple Powerbombs and it would turn Shawn into a face for a few years.
They aired a video package highlighting the Taylor/Bigelow feud including a press conference.
It was main event time. They introduced everybody in the Million Dollar Corporation first: King Kong Bundy, Tatanka, Nikolai Volkoff in a ridiculous outfit, Kama, Irwin R. Schyster and Ted Dibiase. The female pop group Salt N Pepa sang their hit song “What a Man.” I remember that tune. I loved the music of the 90s.
(This is edited off WWE Network/Peacock probably because they’d have to pay for a music performance now.)
They announced the All-Pro NFL players in Taylor’s corner: Ken Norton Jr., Chris Spielman, Rickey Jackson, Carl Banks, Steve McMichael (before his WCW run) & Reggie White. I’m a big NFL fan, so I knew all of these guys well. White & Jackson are NFL Hall of Famers while the others were all-star caliber players. I applaud them for bringing in quality NFL guys rather than just picking random guys. They did a spot where the All-Pros were in the ring, the wrestlers jumped on the apron and the NFL guys knocked them down.
The referee for the match was Pat Patterson. They likely did that because he probably put the match together (that was something he did well) and could be there to talk to Taylor if they needed him to do that. Bam Bam Bigelow entered to good heat. Taylor got a big pop for his entrance. Taylor retired from the NFL in 1993 and he was 36 years old going into this match, so he was still in great shape. I remember rooting for Taylor a lot. Even though his New York Giants often beat my Los Angeles Rams, I was always a Taylor fan.
Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Lawrence Taylor
Taylor had “LT” on the front of his jersey and his NFL jersey number 56 on the back. Taylor decked him with him with a hard slap and a forearm. Then Taylor gave him a clothesline over the top that Bigelow sold tremendously well. Back in the ring, Taylor avoided a charge and hit a nice bulldog. LT gave him a hip lock as Bigelow retreated to the floor. Taylor leaped over the top rope and shoved Bigelow. Finally, Bigelow got control, beating down Taylor with fists. Bigelow hit a body slam and then he missed a headbutt. LT nailed him with a clothesline. Bigelow blocked a clothesline by catching him and threw him into the turnbuckle. He drove him into the corner again. Bigelow tried to put him into a Boston Crab. Taylor tried fighting it, but Bigelow was able to apply it as Taylor tried to fight it off. Bigelow didn’t get the hold on very good likely because Taylor couldn’t sell it right, so he tied up LT by his left leg until LT made it to the ropes. Back to their feet, more forearms by LT and then he dropped Bigelow with a back suplex. The crowd popped huge for that because lifting up a guy as big as Bigelow wasn’t that easy. Bigelow came back with a leg drop to the head. Bigelow went to the top and hit his version of the moonsault. Very impressive move for somebody that weighed over 350 pounds like Bigelow. He wanted to cover, but was grabbing at his knee. I assume that was done because they didn’t want Taylor kicking out of that move after an immediate pin. After about ten seconds, Bigelow covered and Taylor was able to kick out. Bigelow whipped him into the ropes, ducked his head and Taylor gave him a gutwrench suplex. Vince called it a Jackknife, saying that Nash taught him that, but it wasn’t Nash’s finisher. It was still a very impressive move. Bigelow came back with an enziguiri to the head. Bigelow hit a headbutt off the top. Taylor kicked out. Good nearfall there too. Taylor came back with forearms and some shoulderblocks. Taylor hit him with two forearm shots to the chin. Taylor went to the middle ropes and hit him with a leaping forearm to the chin for the win at the 11:42 mark.
Winner by pinfall: Lawrence Taylor
Analysis: **3/4 The pop for the win was good. It was not a sustained pop though. Taylor put on a very good performance considering it was his first time in the ring. His go to offensive move was the forearm to the jaw, which is fine because he made it look good. It’s better to do moves that you look good even if you are repeating them. I think they should have had him do the Spear as a finisher because as a linebacker it’s a natural move for him to use. I was okay with the forearm finisher though. As for Bigelow, he was amazing. He carried the match in every aspect, bumped very well and his offense was believable. Taylor deserves credit for working his ass off and performing at a high level, but Bigelow is the one that did more of the work. This was about as good of a match as you could expect from these guys. It was well done.
The other players put Taylor on their shoulders and he celebrated. Meanwhile, up the aisle Ted Dibiase was interviewed by Ross. Dibiase was yelling at him for losing to a football player. Bigelow would turn face after this. The pop to end the show was good, but not great. That was it.
This event had a runtime of 2:25:34 on WWE Network.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
– Lawrence Taylor impressed me. I think I enjoyed the match more on this viewing than I did when I was a kid because when you learn to appreciate how they put a match together you notice the little things more. Taylor’s timing was very good, he hit some true wrestling moves including a few suplexes and he had very good chemistry with Bigelow. Taylor was worth every penny.
– Too many celebrities. Like I said in the open, the roster was really thin at this point so they had to use the celebrities to make it better, but there were too many of them. They could have given the Hart/Backlund match another ten minutes and changed the stip so it could have been better. That Nick Turturo dude was really annoying. The All-Pros were okay to have out there, but they really did nothing.
– During the WM10 writeup, I mentioned how much of an Owen Hart fan I was. When he won his first title at this event I was so happy for him. His over the top celebration was awesome too. I’m always sad when I think of Owen because of how he died, but after watching WM10 and WM11 in recent days it made me smile to see him in these happier times.
– I think ending the show with Taylor/Bigelow instead of Diesel/Michaels was done because they felt that Taylor was the main reason people were going to be ordering the event. I think ending it with Diesel would have been fine, but ending with Taylor was probably the right call.
– It’s still shocking that Bret Hart could have a match that went over 10 minutes that wasn’t very good. That’s what happens when the booking of the match prevents it from being a good match. Sometimes it’s not on the talent. If they are saddled with a bad gimmick even the best like Bret Hart can’t carry a match.
Best Match: Diesel vs. Shawn Michaels – It’s no surprise that Shawn had a great match. I give credit to Diesel for doing a very good job as well. It was one of his better matches.
Worst Match: Undertaker vs. King Kong Bundy – The good news for Undertaker fans is that the matches would get better.
Most Memorable Moment: Taylor pinning Bigelow – Big moment. It got the company a lot of press.
1. Shawn Michaels – A bumping machine. He did not like photographers getting involved in matches apparently.
2. Bam Bam Bigelow – He had better matches, but this was the most important one.
3. Lawrence Taylor – Did better than most were expecting, I think.
4. Diesel – Worked hard. He stopped selling the rib injury, though.
5. Owen Hart – He won his first title here. I think the smile on his face was genuine. I was always such a huge fan of his.
Show rating (out of 10): 5
This wasn’t the kind of WrestleMania that blew me away in terms of its content. It was a very average show. There weren’t any all-time classic matches on the card, but Diesel/Michaels was very good, the IC title match was a lot of fun and the main event exceeded expectations with Bigelow working well with a non-wrestler like LT. I was expecting more from the Hart/Backlund match, so that was a disappointment.
That’s all for me. Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Thanks for reading.
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