WrestleMania Flashback: WrestleMania IX

I really wasn’t that into WrestleMania IX at the time. But looking back at the event, and what happened after, this is really an event of transition. This is pretty much the end of the “Hulkamania” era of the WWF, and new stars are coming in, like Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. Times are a changing.

THE GOOD: The look of this show is so unique. It was the first WrestleMania to be held outside. But what really sets it apart is the unique set pieces. It was held at Cesar’s in Las Vegas, and the theming reflected the casino’s Roman look.

THE BAD: At the time, I was really bummed out that not only did Bret Hart wind up losing the WWF Championship to Yokozuna. What even made it worse for me was that Hulk Hogan wound up winning the title from Yokozuna only minutes later.

MATCH TO WATCH: The Steiner Brothers have an awesome match with the Headshrinkers. Need I say any more?

WrestleMania Flashback: WrestleMania VIII

WrestleMania VIII was an interesting show. There were a few really cool matches, and a really confusing ending. What happened?

THE GOOD: Randy Savage had a great match with Ric Flair for the WWF Championship. Flair was talking trash about Savage’s wife, Miss Elizabeth, which set up this feud. Flair was being so scummy towards her the whole time, so you really REALLY wanted him to not only beat the tar out of Flair but take away the title. And he did. Another awesome WrestleMania moment from Savage.

THE BAD: The ending of the Hulk Hogan/Sid Justice match. Sid was so awesome, and Hogan wound up costing him the Royal Rumble, which made him go crazy. Rightfully. I was so sure that Sid would end Hulkamania once and for all. Unfortunately, the next day I found out at school that Hogan one and never got around to seeing this match. I just saw this for the first time this month and it is confusing. There’s a lot of confusion, Papa Shongo and the Ultimate Warrior get involved. Just craziness.

MATCH TO WATCH: Bret Hart beating Roddy Piper to win the Intercontinental Championship is the highlight of the event, if not the best match I’ve ever seen Piper in.

WrestleMania Flashback: WrestleMania VII

WrestleMania VII took place at the end of the Gulf War and American patriotism was at a fevered pitch. This was the most Americana themed WrestleManiawith its red, white and blue themed ring and advertising. The main event had Hulk Hogan challenging everyone’s favorite wrestler turned GI Joe toy turned Iraqi sympathizer Sgt. Slaughter for the WWF Championship.

THE GOOD:  The second half of WrestleMania VII is pretty good. For some reason, there’s a match pitting Demolition against the team of Japanese wrestling legend Genichiro Tenryu and former sumo wrestler Koji Kitao. For whatever reason, I’ve always been a fan of random foreign wrestlers showing up for one-shot appearances like this.

THE BAD: Jake “The Snake” Roberts and “The Model” Rick Martel had been feuding for a while, thanks to Martel attempting to blind Roberts with his personal cologne scent called Arrogance. How cool is that? Unfortunately this wasn’t, as it was a blindfold match. The two kind of stumbled around with bags over the head and this is fast forward-able.

MATCH TO WATCH: Randy Savage and the Ultimate Warrior stole the show with their match. The loser would have to retire from the WWF, so there was a lot of drama throughout. The ending had Warrior barely winning. After the match, Savage’s manager Sensational Sherri berated him, only for his previous manager the beloved Miss Elizabeth coming to the ring to stand up for him. The crowd went nuts with the two reuniting.

WrestleMania Flashback: WrestleMania VI

WrestleMania VI was pretty forgettable, except for the Ultimate Warrior/Hulk Hogan match for the WWF Championship. But it didn’t matter, because everyone thought that the Warrior was the most amazing thing EVER in 1990.

THE GOOD: WrestleMania VI was held in Toronto and it is amazing how many future Canadian wrestlers were in attendance. BFF’s Edge and Christian were at the SkyDome that night. So was Lance Storm.

THE BAD: There were three matches that ended in a count out or disqualification. For the big showcase event of the year, you would have hoped that there were a few more definitive endings.

MATCH TO WATCH: I guess it would be the previously mentioned Warrior/Savage match. The crowd is electric for it and win Warrior claims the title is quite the moment.

WrestleMania Flashback: WrestleMania V

I really wished that Macho Man had beat Hulk Hogan. Oh well...

WrestleMania V was the big thing right around when I became hooked on professional wrestling. We had moved in with my grandmother for a bit, and this was the first time we had cable. Watching the feud between the two grow was epic.

But I’ll admit I was disappointed. When I was young I always preferred Macho Man and Roddy Piper to Hulk Hogan, so this was kind of a bummer to me.

THE GOOD: As a whole, it was decent but nothing too spectacular.

THE BAD: Did they really need to include the Red Rooster/Bobby Heenan match? It just felt like a time filler, and at most a break before the main event.

MATCH TO WATCH: Mr. Perfect and the Blue Blazer (a masked Owen Hat) have a really good match that is so different from anything else that was in the WWF at that time.

WrestleMania Flashback: WrestleMania IV

WrestleMania IV is awesome because the whole show is built around a one-night tournament for the vacant WWF title. Being that this is from 1988, you would assume that Hulk Hogan or Andre the Giant would be the winner. But in an amazing swerve, the two of them were eliminated in the first round!

THE GOOD: When I re-watched this for the first time in years, I had no idea how the tournament played out, save for the Andre/Hogan match. The unpredictable nature of a tournament really helped make this a fun show to watch.

THE BAD: Don Muraco versus Dino Bravo wasn’t so hot. I would have liked to see more Rick Rude, but those are the breaks. On the bright side, it gave us that awesome Rude/Jake Rogers feud.

MATCH TO WATCH: The final match of Randy Savage versus Ted DiBiase for the championship is great, and the crowd goes insane when Andre and Hogan get involved in the finish.

WrestleMania Flashback: WrestleMania III

Ricky Steamboat takes on Randy Savage.

Like anyone who was a kid in 1987, WrestleMania III is remembered as the time Hulk Hogan beat Andre the Giant. That, and it was the WrestleMania that had Entertainment Tonight’s Mary Hart on it.

It was held at the Silverdome in Detroit and it really has the big event feel. There was literally 90,000 people packed into the stands at this football stadium. The dressing room was so far away that the wrestlers came to and from the ring in these funky looking little carts that were made to look like tiny wrestling rings.

From the wide cast of characters to the big went feel, this is really a textbook example of what professional wrestling should be–a huge spectacle.

THE GOOD: Rightfully so, everyone always talks about how awesome the Ricky Steamboat/Randy Savage match was. It might be the best WrestleMania match ever.

THE BAD: There’s nothing really terrible on this event. Andre/Hogan isn’t as good as the Steamboat/Savage match, but the storytelling aspect carries it.

MATCH TO WATCH: Most people would recommend either of the two previously mentioned matches, but they have been discussed to death over the years. I’m going to go with Roddy Piper versus Adrian Adonis in a hair match. The feud between the two was great to watch unfold and is an appropriate conclusion.

WrestleMania Flashback: WrestleMania II

"Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Mr. T duke it out at WrestleMania II.

 

WrestleMania II is unique for two reasons:

  1. It was the only WrestleMania to happen on a Monday.
  2. It was the only WrestleMania to be held at three different locations, Chicago, Long Island and Los Angeles, thanks to the magic of television satellites.

Those logistics alone make it impressive. As for the show itself, it felt pretty average. There was some good stuff on the event, but as a whole it felt like it went on for far too long. I do have a short attention span you know. None of the matches were over 15 minutes, but the show as a whole time felt like a chore to get through.

THE GOOD: Roddy Piper and Mr. T’s “boxing” match was pretty fun.

THE BAD: The Velvet McIntyre/Fabulous Moolah match wasn’t that good at all. And this is on an event with an Uncle Elmer match!

MATCH TO WATCH: The British Bulldogs win the Tag Team titles from Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake in an awesome match. How awesome? The Bulldogs don’t only have longtime manager Captain Lou Albano in their corner, but Ozzy Osbourne!

WrestleMania Flashback: WrestleMania I

Mr. T hip tosses "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorf

Just as much as I love comics, I probably love professional wrestling. It seems the two go hand in hand. Some of the top guys in pro wrestling these days–like CM Punk–are avid comic book fans. Anyway, the biggest day in the wrestling world is coming up next week, WrestleMania 28. Thanks to my own collection and the local public library, I’ve been going through the past 27 events.

WrestleMania I was the first back in 1984. Watching this now just doesn’t seem that it was that big of a deal. The matches kind of blur together, and nothing really sticks out. The total time of the matches is approximately an hour. By today’s standards, is about the same in-ring time of an episode of Raw.

It just goes to show what a marketing juggernaut the WWF was back then. With a lot of celebrity involvement and promotion, they mad this the event for wrestling fans that year. If your sentimental for the early 1980s, you’ll enjoy this. Otherwise, it’s pretty skippable.

THE GOOD: Everyone involved acted like it was important, which helped make WrestleMania special.

THE BAD: The whole thing feels so dated. Not only the way the wrestlers perform, but even the celebrity guests. With the big names in attendance (and involvement) being Cyndi Lauper and Mr. T, it just feels so far removed.

BEST MATCH: Hands down, the main event which pitted the team of Hulk Hogan and Mr. T against “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorf. Ric Flair might have been having much better matches at the time, but this works well for what it is. Piper and Orndorf are cowardly villains, and the crowd loves it when Hulkamania goes wild at the end.