The second WrestleMania was unique in that it emanated from three different cities: Long Island (New York), Chicago and Los Angeles with each city getting one hour of live action.
For fans in the arenas, they got to see one hour of the show live and then they watched the rest of it on giant screens that were lowered to create a movie type atmosphere. It was a unique PPV concept that frankly didn’t work out too well. Thankfully it was an idea that wasn’t repeated. The event was also held on a Monday, which is a little-known fact. Of course, as I’m sure you all know the other ones have each been on a Sunday.
WWE WrestleMania II
April 7, 1986
Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York
Rosemont Horizon in Chicago, Illinois
L.A. Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California
We start off in Nassau Coliseum. The announcers for this portion were Vince McMahon and celebrity commentator Susan St. James, who was known for being on the TV show Kate & Allie. Thankfully I was too young to have watched that show because it sounds awful. Needless to say, a celebrity commentator calling the action was a bad idea.
Paul Orndorff vs. Don Muraco
Orndorff was a babyface here while Muraco was the heel managed by Mr. Fuji. As it’s about to begin, we get pre-match comments from both guys. Orndorff got control early with a bodyslam and he followed it up with some mocking of Mr. Fuji’s eyes. Susan tells us that it will only get Fuji mad. Thanks for the insight. Orndorff hit a back body drop, arm drag, step over toe hold and then an armbar in a nice flurry of action. Wow, that armbar lasted way too long. Did they get tired after a whole minute of action? Muraco countered with a Samoan Drop and whipped him into the turnbuckle. Orndorff came back with punches, then they brawled out to the floor and continued brawling leading to a double countout at 4:10.
No winner due to a double countout
After the match, they continue to brawl until the ref breaks it up. The crowd was hot for this and they even started up a “bullshit” chant as Vince said the fans did not like the outcome of this one. Yeah Vince because the booking sucked.
Analysis: DUD Brutal. Why even book a double countout finish when a match is so short? The crowd was right to chant “bullshit” for that one.
Intercontinental Title: “Macho Man” Randy Savage w/Elizabeth vs. George “The Animal” Steele
Macho is an arrogant heel that treats Elizabeth poorly while Steele is in love with her. Susan offers some relationship tips that were about how Randy should treat Elizabeth better. Well aren’t we lucky to have her in the booth for that? Macho runs away from him a lot at the beginning of the match. Steele finally grabs him and bites him on the back of his calf. Steele tosses him down with a double choke. Susan: “Kind of changes things there a little bit huh?” What a thrilling observation again. Steele was looking at Elizabeth, so Savage trapped him in the ropes. Macho to the top and he gets a sloppy crossbody for two. Steele tosses him out to the floor. Savage gets back in, so George throws him back out and Macho crawls under the ring. He pops up on the other side to attack Steele. George no sells it, Savage gets an eye gouge and bails again. Savage gets a bouquet of flowers. He hits Steele in the face with them. George whips him into the turnbuckle and then he beats on him with flowers. Yes, flowers are a weapon. George ate one of the turnbuckles. That was his gimmick if you don’t know. He shoved some turnbuckle padding into Macho’s face. Macho bailed again. He came face to face with Elizabeth, who Susan realizes is a good weapon for Macho Man. She’s such a genius. Anyway, Savage attacks George from behind, throws him back in, hits a body slam and the top rope elbow for only two. It wasn’t the deadly finisher that it would later become. Animal grabs his face and then whips him into the corner. The ref pulled him back, Macho tripped him up and pinned him by putting his feet on the ropes at 5:10.
Winner: “Macho Man” Randy Savage
Post match, George ate another one of the turnbuckles. He also chased after a ref when he told him to stop. What a gimmick.
Analysis: 1/2* The idea was that Macho Man was scared of him, so he kept running away. George kicked out of his finisher, but Savage was resourceful enough to find another way to get the victory. The crowd was hot for most of it. The WrestleMania debut of the great Randy Savage did not give us a memorable match, but there’d be plenty of those down the road.
Jake Roberts vs. George Wells
I don’t have much info on Wells. I looked him up and honestly didn’t even remember this match happened on this card. Roberts is the heel here. Wells starts out on fire, but Roberts throws him to the floor. Wait, he slithered out to the floor according to Vinny Mac. Back in, Wells hit him with a shoulderblock. Wells whipped him into two turnbuckles and then gave him a headscissors across the ring. I was surprised he could even do that. Wells gets a bodyslam followed by a punch to the mouth. Wells whipped him in and dropped him down hard with a powerslam. Roberts slithered again, according to Vince. This time to the floor. They went back in the ring, Roberts hit him with his knee lift and then finished it off with the DDT for the win at 3:15.
Winner: Jake Roberts
Post match, Jake goes for his bag with the snake in it. Jake wraps the snake around the body of Wells, as well as his throat. George starts frothing at the mouth. Jake got good heel heat here.
Analysis: 1/2* It was basic booking. Wells got a lot of offense in early, Roberts outsmarted him and then knocked him out with the DDT. The match played to Jake’s strengths so it worked in that sense. It was a good match to get over Roberts’ character.
They show a video package highlighting the feud between Roddy Piper and Mr. T. It was built off of WrestleMania 1. They had an altercation on Saturday Night’s Main Event a few months before this. Bob Orton attacked T from behind so they double-teamed him to set up this match.
Backstage, Piper did a promo with Lou Duva and Bob Orton saying if Mr. T knocked him out he would quit boxing, wrestling and everything. He said he was in the best shape of his life. Then they cut to Mr. T doing a promo. He had Joe Frazier with him as well as a midget named the Haiti Kid. We go straight to the match.
Boxing Match: Roddy Piper vs. Mr. T
They have boxing gloves on. The rules are that it would be a match with ten rounds of boxing. I remember watching this only once because it wasn’t pretty. Each round would be three minutes. Three minute rounds and it was very slow.
Round One: Mr. T got a bit of a flurry in round one. Susan thinks Roddy will wear himself out. There’s no better boxing expert than a woman that starred in a TV show named “Kate & Allie” huh? The three minutes end with T dominating him in the corner while everybody comes in the ring to break them up.
Round Two: “Well Susan, who would you give the first round to?” Yes, Vince asked that actual question. She didn’t really answer. Piper started out on fire, swinging wildly, but ultimately not doing a whole lot of damage. Vince started yelling saying Mr. T was in trouble because Roddy had him propped up in the corner. Piper continued to get shots in. A big right hand knocked Mr. T down. Piper kicked him while he was down as the ref counted T down. The man named Mister got back to his feet at the eight count. The fight continued. As the bell sounded to end round two, Mr. T collapsed to the mat. That was probably the booking to have him fall after the bell, which makes sense because they wanted Piper to cheat even more. Piper stomped on him. “What did he do that for?” asked Susan. Because he’s a jerk. That’s his role. Thanks for coming, Susan.
Round Three: It was time for Mr. T to show some life. He pounded on Piper until Roddy was in the corner, sitting down on his butt. The ref counted him down. Roddy got back up for the eight count. They look really winded by this point, which isn’t a surprise. Piper got shoved into the corner, T hit him with the left hand and Roddy took a bump out to the floor. If you look at it again you can tell that he barely hit him there. The biggest punch of the match was the most worked of them. Piper got back in for the eight count again. The round ended with them at a standstill again.
Round Four: To start the round, Piper threw his stool at Mr. T. The ref started the round anyway. They threw unprotected punches at each other with each man looking incredibly winded. T’s mouthguard came out. The ref threw it away. If that happens in a real fight you’re supposed to put it back in. Worst boxing ref ever. They continued to exchange punches. Piper shoved the ref down and gave Mr. T a bodyslam. The ref rang the bell for a disqualification at 13:14. Susan claims she knew this would happen. She’s such a genius.
Winner via disqualification: Mr. T
After the fight ended, the brawl continued with everybody trying to break it up. When the ref raised Mr. T’s hand, Piper attacked him one more time. Piper left the ring to major heel heat.
Analysis: I’m not rating it with star ratings. The first round was slow, Piper won the second and then Mr. T won the third. It was a typical “even-steven” type of booking. Then Piper got mad, so he got himself DQ’d. It was fine as a boxing exhibition although not something they should do too often and thankfully they understood that. I thought Mr. T was better at WrestleMania 1 than he was here. This match didn’t show off his personality as much as he should. Piper was a great heel, but better as a wrestling heel than a boxing heel because of all the little things he can do right in the ring.
That’s the end of the Nassau portion of the show. Dear Susan St. James, you were awful.
Next up is the Chicago part. The announcers for this part are Gorilla Monsoon (love him), Gene Okerlund (rare to hear him on commentary) and Cathy Lee Crosby, who was most famous for a TV show called That’s Incredible. If you’ve never heard of it then I guess it wasn’t that incredible after all, huh?
Ladies Title: The Fabulous Moolah vs. Velvet McIntyre
Moolah dominated the match. She hit a succession of snapmares and then a sloppy clothesline. McIntyre came back with some dropkicks followed by a back elbow and bodyslam. She missed a splash off the middle ropes. Moolah covered her. That’s good enough for the pin at 0:59.
Winner: The Fabulous Moolah
Analysis: -* That’s it? It’s probably for the best that it was so short. The finish was very poor.
Corporal Kirchner vs. Nikolai Volkoff w/Freddie Blassie
There were flags in the corner of each guy with Kirchner representing America while Volkoff represented the Soviet Union. They fought outside the ring with Volkoff dominating him. They went back in with the Corporal coming back. He accidentally knocked the ref down with a punch. Blassie threw his cane to Volkoff, Kirchner intercepted it and he hit Volkoff with it. The ref recovered (he’s such a badass that he recovered quickly), counted the pin and Kirchner won at 1:40.
Winner: Corporal Kirchner
Analysis: DUD It was very rushed. Kirchner didn’t last in WWE too long after this. I don’t think he was missed very much.
Mean Gene Okerlund went into the ring to explain the rules for the 20 man over the top rope battle royal. The guest referee was Chicago Bears legendary middle linebacker Dick Butkus, who has the one of the best names ever. Another guest referee is Dallas Cowboys legend Too Tall Jones. The participants get introduced by Mean Gene individually. It features WWE wrestlers and also many NFL players.
20 Man Battle Royal: Jimbo Covert (Chicago Bears), Pedro Morales, Tony Atlas, Ted Arcidi (strongest man in the world), Harvey Martin (Dallas Cowboys), Dan Spivey, Hillbilly Jim, King Tonga (later known as Haku/Meng), Iron Sheik, Ernie Holmes (Pittsburgh Steelers), B. Brian Blair, Jim Brunzell, Big John Studd, Bill Fralic (Atlanta Falcons), Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart, Russ Francis (San Francisco 49ers), Bruno Sammartino, William “Refrigerator” Perry (Chicago Bears) and Andre The Giant
They had Ernie Ladd join the announce team. Covert and Kid Tonga got eliminated. It’s weird seeing Andre The Giant in gold shorts. Ernie Holmes is next to be eliminated. Giant and Studd went at it. Those two would be considered the favorites because each guy won a lot of battle royals in their careers. Jim Brunzell is out. The Fridge eliminated Tony Atlas, so the crowd went nuts. The crowd was going nuts for Fridge fighting with Studd. He was a very popular player at that time, especially in the city of Chicago where this took place just a few months after their Super Bowl victory. Pedro Morales and Harvey Martin were next to be eliminated. Ted Arcidi and Dan Spivey got eliminated, then Hillbilly Jim and B. Brian Blair soon followed. If I miss people…well…it’s just not that exciting. Fralic was out followed by Iron Sheik, who probably should have lasted longer. “He took a bump right on his head,” yelled Ernie Ladd in the broadcast booth. Bruno Sammartino was next. His career was near the end by this point. The crowd went nuts as Perry went after Bret & Anvil, but they held on. He charged at Studd, but Studd elbowed him and threw him out. Fridge wants a handshake on the floor, so he pulled him out to eliminate him. The crowd loved that. Fridge was over huge. They’re down to four with Andre, Anvil, Bret Hart and Russ Francis of the San Francisco 49ers. Hart Foundation throws Russ out so it’s those two versus Andre, who is a very popular babyface at this point in his career. He gets the boot up to knock Bret down and then he rams Anvil’s head into Bret for the “double noggin knocker” as Gorilla calls it. Andre boots Neidhart and he takes a nice dive over the top. He’s eliminated. Bret goes to the top, Andre throws him over the top rope where he crashes onto Anvil on the floor. Andre wins at 9:13.
Winner: Andre The Giant
Analysis: * A very boring battle royal, but that’s how they usually were in this time period. They booked a lot of them in this era with either Andre or Studd emerging as the winner because they were the biggest guys. Do you think it was easy for Andre to take a bump over to the top to the floor? Hell no. The Studd/Perry spots were the best of the match, but that’s not saying much. This was Bret Hart’s WrestleMania debut. He’d have many more that were a lot more memorable than this.
Finally, we have a good match up next!
WWE Tag Team Titles: The Dream Team (Brutus Beefcake & Greg “The Hammer” Valentine) vs. The British Bulldogs (The Dynamite Kid & Davey Boy Smith)
The Bulldogs have Captain Lou Albano and Ozzy Osbourne with them while the heel champions have Johnny Valiant with them. I was such a mark for the Bulldogs as a kid and when I got older I watched some Dynamite Kid tapes from when he was in Japan. He was one of the best workers in the world. Now he’s in a wheelchair. The Bulldogs start in control early, making quick tags and Smith hit his patented delayed vertical suplex. In case you don’t know, Davey Boy’s son is Harry Smith, who was a former tag champion in WWE named DH Smith. The crowd was really hot for the match because the challengers were chasing the champs for a long time. Smith ducks after a whip in the ropes, Valentine chops him and hits a headbutt to the stomach. Beefcake gets a tag in, Smith fights him off and hits a press slam. He tags in Kid who gets a chop and cradle on Beefcake for two. Smith hits a Fisherman’s suplex (later known as a Perfectplex) for two. That was a sweet move. Beefcake was able to get a tag to Valentine, who hit Smith with an elbow to the back of the head. He hits a suplex for two. He grabs Smith in a headlock, but he fights it off and tags in Kid. He beats up Valentine in the corner, so Valentine does a Flair flop face first bump. Bulldogs do a double shoulder tackle. Beefcake evens the odds for Valentine, Kid comes back again and gets a sunset flip for a great two count. It seemed like there was some confusion there. Backbreaker by Kid gets two as Beefcake makes the save.
Gene offers this on commentary: “Ozzy Osbourne is shaking at ringside.” I guess that means he’s excited. They barely showed Ozzy. Valentine hit a piledriver on Kid for a very good nearfall. Kid gets the double knees up to counter another attack. Valentine to the top, Kid throws him off as Hammer takes the Flair bump off the top. Flair was heavily influenced by Hammer’s dad Johnny Valentine too, so it’s not like he stole the spots from Ric. The Bulldogs go for a double team press slam, but Valentine rolls to the floor. Back in the ring, he dominates Kid. Davey Boy gets the tag and he hits his running powerslam that would be his finisher in later years. Suplex by Smith. Valentine counters a whip and Smith takes it hard, right on his shoulder. Beefcake gets the tag. He slams Smith down, right on the left arm that Smith hurt in the corner. Tag to Valentine, who gets another elbow to the head. I always remember Valentine as the guy that uses his elbows a lot. He went for a pin, but pulled Smith up. Kid was perched up on the top rope, so Smith grabbed Valentine by the head and rammed him headfirst into Kid, who bumped all the way to the floor! Smith covered for the pinfall and victory at 13:03.
Winners and New Tag Team Champions: The British Bulldogs
The crowd went nuts for the finish. This was a big deal because of how well it got built up and the Bulldogs were very popular.
Analysis: *** It was a strong tag match for this time period. The booking wasn’t that traditional because the faces were on offense for about 70% of the match. On the heel side, Valentine worked the majority of the match while Brutus only had a few moments because The Hammer was the better worker of the two. Brutus was never that good in the ring. He got over because of his charisma, but also because he was close to Hogan. Dynamite Kid was one of the best workers ever. If you ask most people in the business they would tell you that. Sadly, soon after this match he would hurt his back so bad that he was never the same again. He’s confined to a wheelchair now. I’ve read his book. It’s very gripping and raw, but also very honest as well. Anyway, the match was very solid and I liked the unique finish too. It was a great moment for the Bulldogs, who were one of my favorite teams of all time.
We move on to the third and final part of the show which took place in Los Angeles. The commentators were Lord Alfred Hayes, Jesse Ventura and the celebrity guest this time was Elvira. Jesse says “What a pair we make” because well….she liked to show off her chesticles. I could have used a lot of words. I went with chesticles. They set up the final hour of matches at ringside with Steamboat vs. Hercules up next. I should add that Jesse is in full heel mode here. A year earlier he wasn’t a heel announcer. He’s much better in this role.
Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs. Hercules Hernandez
Steamboat was a babyface of course. He was always the babyface. Hernandez had the name shortened to just Hercules in later years. He was a power guy, with a shade similar to Sheamus and Steamboat was one of the best workers ever. Lots of high-flying offense by Steamboat early as he used his speed. Steamer (consider that a nickname) hit one of his patented arm drags to ground Hercules, working on his left arm. Steamboat had the best arm drag in wrestling, no doubt about it. I don’t think Elvira has said anything for the first two minutes of the match, which makes her my favorite of the guest commentators. Finally, she joins Jesse in mocking the attire of Steamboat because he had a red string around his knee. Ricky continued with the offense until Hercules stopped him with a huge clothesline. Nice stun gun by Hercules. That was always one of my favorite moves in wrestling. It’s dangerous if you mess it up. Steamboat went for a slam, but Hernandez fell on top for a count of two. Hernandez gets a back elbow and drops a couple elbows on Ricky’s chest for a count of two. Back to his feet, Ricky hit a couple of chops. Hercules hits a clothesline for a couple of two counts followed by a slam. He hits another slam, this time more of a Gorilla Press slam. Hercules went to the top rope, went for a splash and Ricky got his knees up in his face. Ricky goes up, the crowd cheers loudly and he hits the flying crossbody block for the victory at 7:27.
Winner: Ricky Steamboat
Analysis: **1/4 A solid match, which isn’t a surprise with Steamboat involved. I thought it would have been better if he did more of a comeback before the finish. It seemed rushed. Still, the crowd popped for the finish. Hercules was a decent worker. Not as bad as some of the big guys in that he could move a bit. Steamboat was on the rise here. A year later he’d have a classic match that I’m sure you all know about. I’m looking forward to watching that one again.
“Adorable” Adrian Adonis w/Jimmy Hart vs. Uncle Elmer
I barely remember Uncle Elmer, which is a good thing I think. Adonis was famous mostly for his over the top gimmick. He was the heel of course. Elmer starts out on fire, whipping Adonis into the corner and he takes a Flair corner bump. He goes back in the ring, so Elmer whips him into the corner again. Adonis takes another bump to the floor. Elmer, the country boy, rips off Adonis’ pink shirt (he also had makeup on his face). Elmer hits Adonis with his gut, so Adrian takes a bump that sees him end up tied up in the ropes. Adonis takes off his shirt/dress as Elvira wishes he put the dress back on. Elmer hits a big splash in the corner. He goes for a leg, but that misses. Adonis goes to the top rope and hits an awkward-looking splash for the pin at 3:01.
Winner: Adrian Adonis
Analysis: DUD That was pretty bad. I’m glad it was short. That’s the best thing I can say about it.
Tito Santana & Junkyard Dog vs. Dory Funk Jr. (Hoss Funk) & Terry Funk w/Jimmy Hart
The Funks are brothers of course. They called him Hoss for the match, but I’m going with Dory. JYD and Santana were popular babyfaces with JYD always getting a lot of support from the fans. Dory and JYD start it off. JYD overpowers, then Terry runs in so JYD gives bodyslams to both of them multiple times until they retreat. Terry and Tito tag in. Terry got whipped in the ropes, took a bump against the ropes on his stomach and then Tito knocked him out of the ring. Then he hit a dropkick on Dory to send him out of the ring too. Jimmy Hart does not stop talking outside the ring, hence why he’s called the “Mouth of the South.” JYD tags in, he unloads on Funk by ramming his head into the turnbuckle ten times. Then he does it in another turnbuckle. A headbutt leads to a pin, but Dory saves his brother. JYD threw Terry over the top rope. Lots of bumping to the floor by the Funk brothers. Dory gets control on Tito with some uppercuts to the jaw. Tito comes back with the flying forearm for two. The first five minutes of the match is all about the Santana/JYD team dominating the action.
The Funks take control after Hart distracts the ref and Terry hits a cheap knee to the back of Tito. “It looks like he’s really hurt there,” says Elvira. Yes Elvira that’s kind of the point of wrestling. Then she questioned why Jimmy Hart was kicking Tito on the floor. So much for Elvira being a heel announcer. Back in the ring, Terry hit a suplex on Tito for two. Santana countered with a suplex while Elvira wonders if they are wearing strong trunks so that they don’t break away. Then Santana & Terry bump heads, but Terry is close to his corner so he tags in Dory who gets a butterfly suplex by two. The Funks get a double clothesline on Tito as they isolate on Santana, who is the babyface in peril here. Eventually, Tito tags in JYD after he crawled around the mat to avoid Terry from grabbing. The crowd goes wild as JYD enters the match. He punches both Funks and then rams their heads together for the dreaded DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER~! He gets a clothesline on Terry Funk. Funk tries to choke JYD with a rope, but he powers out of it and gives Funk a backdrop over the top rope all the way to the floor. Wow what a bump by Terry Funk, who was in his early 40s around this time. JYD attacks them on the floor. He gives Terry a bodyslam on a table although it’s not like a table you’d see in today’s WWE. It was more of a white plastic type of table, not a breakable one. Back in the ring, JYD knocked Jimmy Hart down with a punch and knocked Dory down as well. JYD gets a small package on Terry, but Dory saves his brother before the three count. Santana gets a figure four leglock on Dory just for the hell of it. With Dory out of the hold, JYD goes after Dory while the ref tries to restrain Tito and that allows Jimmy Hart to throw the megaphone to Terry, who crushes JYD in the head with it. That’s enough for the pinfall win for the Funk Brothers at 11:42.
Winners: Terry Funk & Dory (Hoss) Funk Jr.
Analysis: **3/4 That was a tag team match that had all of the tricks that make tag team wrestling good. The faces started on fire, the heels isolated on Santana, JYD was great on offense after getting the hot tag (he wasn’t great at much in the ring) and the finish was well done with the Funk Brothers outsmarting them for the win. The standout star of the match was Terry Funk, who took some crazy bumps going over the top to the floor several times.
They show a video that shows why we’re having the main event match in the cage. Hogan was against Don Muraco. King Kong Bundy showed up and hit him in the corner with three consecutive Avalanche splashes. Then Bundy hit the splash in the center of the ring. Then he hit the splash onto Hogan’s back.
WWE World Heavyweight Title in a Steel Cage: Hulk Hogan vs. King Kong Bundy w/Bobby Heenan
They are using the blue steel cage for this one. It’s “escape the cage” rules, so no pinfalls or submissions here. Hogan is the babyface WWE Champion while Bundy’s the gigantic heel challenger. Hogan starts off with punches and then hits a boot to the face. The crowd is going crazy for Hogan. He was ridiculously over at this point in his career, which isn’t really news because everybody knows that. Hogan hit a clothesline that almost knocked Bundy down, but he couldn’t do it. Bundy blocked Hogan’s attempt to throw him into the cage and he countered with shots to the ribs. Bundy worked over the ribs, which were taped up due to the attack at Saturday Night’s Main Event prior to this. Bundy asked for the door to open. Hogan grabbed him by the leg to prevent it. Bundy picked up Hogan and slammed him against the cage. Hogan prevented another escape. Bundy took the tape off Hogan’s ribs and choked Hulk with it. Then he tied Hogan to the ropes with the tape. Hulk fought out of it to prevent another escape attempt by Bundy. Hulk attacked with right hands of his own as well as a hard whip into the turnbuckle. He rammed Bundy into the “iron bars” according to Hayes while Jesse called them “iron steel.” Meanwhile, Bundy is bleeding. The camera was on him while he was blading. Oops. Bad job by the director there.
Hogan works on the wound of Bundy with big right hands to the cut. Hulk’s offense? The dreaded back rake of death. Elvira wonders why they can’t stop this as Jesse explains it can only happen when they exit the cage. Elvira sucks…possibly literally. I’m just talking about the commentary here. Hogan continues to attack Bundy, using the cage as a weapon. Hogan goes for a body slam, but Bundy’s too big and he crashes on top. Bundy tries to leave through the door. Hogan stops it by using the tape to choke him. Bundy rakes him in the eyes and hits the big Avalanche splash in the corner. Then he gets the Big Splash in the middle of the ring. The crowd gasps because that’s his finishing move. Bundy tries to crawl out, but Hulk has the energy to bring him back in. Bundy does the Avalanche again, Hogan no sells it and it’s HULK UP~! time. Hogan hits a big powerslam on Bundy, which was a big deal at this time because Bundy was a very fat man. Then he gets the leg drop. Hogan tries to climb out. Heenan’s blocking him. Bundy grabs his leg. Hogan kicks him off. Hogan climbs over the cage and touches down at 10:15 for the win as Bundy almost gets out the door.
Winner: Hulk Hogan
Post match, Hogan chased Heenan into the steel cage. Bundy was outside the ring, still reeling from the beating. Hogan threw Heenan into the cage and then hit an atomic drop as Bobby took the bump all the way outside the ring.
Analysis: *1/4 A typical Hogan match although the Hulking Up part wasn’t set up the same way it would be set up in every match down the road. I don’t think anybody expected Bundy to win here. They had good heat for much of it, which was typical of every Hogan match especially at WrestleMania.
After it was over, guest ring announcer Tommy Lasorda announced Hogan as the winner of the match.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
– I’m sure that the idea of doing this show from three different venues sounded like a good idea on paper to Vince McMahon, but it was not effective in terms of producing a quality program. Of the three crowds, I’d say Los Angeles and Chicago were a lot better than Nassau although the matches in the Nassau part were not very good either.
– The commentating was awful from all three venues. The only one that was decent was the LA part because Jesse was trying to involve Elvira. The other guest announcers were brutal to the point that they made me want to hit mute repeatedly. Another bad idea, Vince. Thankfully the traditional pairing of a play by play announcer with a heel color commentator is the format that would be the common theme for future WrestleMania events.
– Roddy Piper did everything right in terms of riling up fans. I think any current heel wrestler would be doing themselves a favor by watching tapes of Piper in the mid to late 80s. It wasn’t his fault that the boxing match with Mr. T was a disaster. Piper looked to be in shape while Mr. T looked gassed by the third round. Roddy’s one of the best ever
– This was the first WrestleMania for Randy Savage and Bret Hart, two guys who would go on to become two of the five best WrestleMania performers of all time in my opinion.
– Hulk Hogan was ridiculously popular with the fans. I know it goes without saying, but the reactions to everything he did was on a different level than everybody else. It’s amazing considering he does offensive moves like raking his nails across the back of his opponent. Can I tell I find that move ridiculous? It is. Still, it worked for Hulk. Less is more.
Best Match: British Bulldogs vs. The Dream Team – The match with the Funks was good too, but this one told a better story. The finish was unique. It worked very well.
Worst Match: Fabulous Moolah vs. Velvet McIntyre – I don’t understand why this was even on the card. It was worse booking than a 2011-12 WWE Divas match. That’s how bad it was. Other matches like Orndorff/Muraco, Roberts/Wells, Piper/T, Kirchner/Volkoff and Adonis/Elmer were all really bad too.
Most Memorable Moment: The tag title win by the Bulldogs stands out because it was their only reign as champions. They were chasing the champs for a while, so when they finally won it was a big deal.
1. Terry Funk – He was amazing in that tag match, bumping like a madman and carrying the action.
2. British Bulldogs – I’m cheating it by giving it to two people. They were an incredible team here with fast tags and terrific chemistry.
3. Randy Savage – Showed flashes of brilliance in his first WrestleMania even working against a limited opponent like George Steele.
Show rating (out of 10): 4
Every one of the big matches on the show was a disappointment from the Hogan/Bundy cage match, the battle royal and the Piper/Mr. T boxing match. If the big matches are that poor it hurts the whole show. The two tag matches carried by the Bulldogs and Funk Brothers respectively were the highlights of this one. Still, as good as those matches were they can’t overshadow the fact that 8 of the 12 matches were really bad. Having twelve matches is an obvious issue too. That was far too many although I understand why since they had four matches at each venue.
The best way to sum up the first two WrestleManias is to say that they felt more like a Saturday Night’s Main Event TV special instead of a big event like the WrestleManias we know today. The first one was about getting WrestleMania on the map. The second one did a lot of similar things although they did a lot of things wrong too like the multiple venues, too many matches and the guest commentators that had little product knowledge. Thankfully for us, the third WrestleMania got them back on the right track again in a huge way.