It’s finally here! March 20, 1994! Tonight, the Superstars of the World Wrestling Federation celebrate a decade of the grandest stage of them all, WrestleMania! Bret and Owen Hart face off, and then Bret goes on to face the winner of the WWF Championship match between Yokozuna and Lex Luger later on tonight! Plus, the Macho Man faces Crush in a falls count anywhere match! And for the first time, the Intercontinental Championship is defended in a ladder match as Shawn Michaels faces Razor Ramon to prove who is the true Champion! All this, and much, much more! Let’s go!
The show opens with a flashback of the first WrestleMania. Vince McMahon welcomes us to Madison Square Garden and WrestleMania X. He introduces to us, here to sing “America The Beautiful,” Little Richard!
Afterward, McMahon introduces Jerry “The King” Lawler, who expects Yokozuna to walk out as WWF Champion tonight. The first match will be brother vs. brother as Bret Hart takes on Owen Hart. We re-live how this match came about, first at Survivor Series, where Owen was the only Hart eliminated from their match, and then the Royal Rumble, where Owen kicked Bret’s injured leg out from under him after a Tag Team Championship match.
Ring announcer Bill Dunn introduces Owen Hart first, who tears apart the Bret Hart sunglasses he wore to the ring. Bret gives his sunglasses to a young fan at ringside, and we’re ready to go! This is a great wrestling match between the two brothers, Owen holding his own with big brother Bret. There’s a few dirty tactics here and there, a bit of hair pulling by Owen, but mostly it’s a straightforward catch-as-catch-can wrestling match. Both men go for Sharpshooters, Owen actually locks in his, but Bret pulls his leg out from under him to get out of it, reversing it into one of his own, but Owen gets the ropes. Bret goes for a victory roll, but Owen doesn’t let Bret take him over, instead managing to cover his brother and pick up the pinfall victory in an epic opening contest!
Todd Pettengil catches Owen backstage, who says he’s going to be the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be. Owen doesn’t think Bret will be in any condition to wrestle for the WWF Championship later tonight.
Hall of Famer count: 2 (Jerry Lawler and Bret Hart)
Coliseum Video’s WrestleMania Moments – WrestleMania 2’s WWF/NFL Battle Royal.
Bill Dunn introduces Hair Club For Men President Sy Sperling. His newest creation is Howard Finkel. Fink looks good with hair, even if it is a rug. He first introduces Bam Bam Bigelow and Luna Vachon, whose opponents are Doink and Dink. Doink sprays Sy Sperling with his squirting flower. Bigelow attacks Doink before he can even get his jacket off, but his advantage doesn’t last long. Dink gets the tag, which means Luna must come in. Luna just toys with Dink, letting him miss a few moves before she starts scratching his back. She bodyslams him, then goes to the top rope, but misses the splash. So Doink gets tagged in, meaning Bam Bam has to come back in. They go back and forth, Dink gets knocked from the apron, and Bam Bam winds up winning with a top rope headbutt. After the match, Bam Bam tries to splash Dink, but he gets out of the way, but Luna gets him instead.
Hall of Famer count: 3 (Howard Finkel)
“Bill Clinton” is in the audience. Looks just like him too, quite honestly. IRS is in the booth with him. And I think that’s Jack Tunney next to him. Anyways…
Coliseum Video’s WrestleMania Moments – WrestleMania III’s staredown at the start of the main event.
The Fink tells us this match is a falls count anywhere match. Macho Man Randy Savage comes out first. Oooh yeah! Crush comes out with Mr. Fuji, and Savage attacks him in the aisle. Crush drops Savage over the guardrail and pins him. So now Savage has 60 seconds to get back in the ring. I guess that makes sense. Savage gets back in with two seconds left, and Crush goes back on offense. Fuji hands Crush some salt, but Savage pushes Crush’s hands up, sending the salt into Crush’s face. Savage hits the top rope double axe handle. Bodyslam and top rope elbow drop, but he can’t pin him in the ring, I guess, because he would be in the ring, and that would defeat the purpose of that stupid 60 second rule. Savage drags Crush out of the ring and pins him. Fuji pours water on Crush, who barely makes the 60 second count. The fight spills to the crowd, and out into the backstage area. Savage pins Crush, then ties him up to some scaffolding. Which is smart, actually. Savage knocks down Fuji in the ring, and the 60 second countdown reaches zero, so Savage wins the match.
Hall of Famer count: 4 (Mr. Fuji)
Todd Pettengil is with “Bill Clinton” who says there’s nothing like the World Wrestling Federation and he wouldn’t miss this for all the money in the world. Pettengil asks about IRS. Clinton says Irwin is going to fix his problems. IRS thanks Clinton for raising the taxes, because it’s time the tax cheats out there started paying their fair share. Pettengil kicks it to a video of WWF FanFest.
Coliseum Video’s WrestleMania Moments – Randy Savage wins the WWF Championship in a tournament at WrestleMania IV.
Leilani Kai is in the ring, and she will be challenging Alundra Blayze for the WWF Women’s Championship. Alundra Blayze wins. Fabulous Moolah and Nikolai Volkoff watch from ringside.
Hall of Famer count: 6 (Moolah & Volkoff)
Coliseum Video’s WrestleMania Moments – WrestleMania V’s Piper’s Pit.
We’re set for a WWF Tag Team Championship match pitting challengers Men on a Mission against the champs, The Quebecers. Before we have the match, Rhonda Shear from USA’s Up All Night is with Todd Pettengil. Shawn Michaels comes in to hit on her, but Burt Reynolds comes in and steals his thunder.
So while all this is going on, The Quebecers – you know, the WWF Tag Team Champions – make their way to the ring, and the match gets underway. The Tag Team Champs show why they have the titles as they keep the smaller Mo away from Mabel, but they can’t maintain that and Mabel fights off both Jacques and Pierre at the same time. Well, he does until they manage to drop him with a double suplex, much to the delight of manager Johnny Polo. They hit a big tag team move on Mabel but only score a two. The Men on a Mission hit a big double team splash, but Polo is distracting the referee. They hit the same move on the other Quebecer on the outside. But apparently, that was the legal man, because Men On A Mission win by count out, so they don’t win the WWF Tag Team Championship. Men on a Mission take the title belts and celebrate with them like they won them or something. Oh well, Whoomp! There it is!
Hall of Famer count: still 6
Coliseum Video’s WrestleMania Moments – WrestleMania VI’s Ultimate Challenge.
Fink introduces guest timekeeper Rhonda Shear, and guest ring announcer Donny Wahlberg of NKOTB. That’s New Kids On The Block for those who didn’t know (and for an extra keyword for the search engines, says 2014 Joe, breaking both character and fourth wall). Mr. Perfect is announced as the guest referee for this match. Yokozuna is introduced first for some reason, even though he’s the WWF Champion. Hey, this is three consecutive title matches! Anyways, Yoko is with Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette. Lex Luger, the challenger, comes out and gets some red, white, and blue fireworks when he gets to the ring.
Luger takes it to Yokozuna in the early going. I notice that they didn’t make him where a forearm pad like they did back at SummerSlam. He scores a two with a cross body from the top rope. Luger tries to slam Yoko, but it doesn’t work this time around. Yoko removes the cover from one of the turnbuckles as Jim Cornette distracts Mr. Perfect. He doesn’t try to use it right away though, instead working over Luger and using his enormous weight to his advantage. Luger finally makes a comeback, taking Yokozuna down with the forearm, then bringing Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette into the ring, taking them down. Mr. Perfect checks on the fallen managers, leading Lex Luger to shove Mr. Perfect, who disqualifies him, awarding the match to Yokozuna. The fans chant “bullshit” as Todd Pettengil questions Mr. Perfect backstage. He says Luger has no right to put his hands on an official. Luger comes back and questions Perfect himself. Perfect tells him he’s got no problem with him, but you don’t touch an official.
Hall of Famer count: 8 (Mr. Perfect & Yokozuna)
Coliseum Video’s WrestleMania Moment – WrestleMania VII’s blindfold match between Jake Roberts and Rick Martel.
The Fink introduces Harvey Wippleman, who berates Finkel. He rips Howard’s tuxedo. Adam Bomb comes out after Fink shoves down Wippleman. Earthquake comes in to make the save. A suplex, a bodyslam, and an Earthquake Splash later, and this one is over. Earthquake with the quick and easy victory.
Hall of Famer count: still 8
Backstage, Todd Pettengil is in Yokozuna’s locker room. Pettengil says Yokozuna was down and out. Cornette asks who’s got the belt. It won’t be a question of if Bret Hart wins the title tonight, but whether he leaves with his health in tact. Cornette points out that they noticed Hart injuring his knee in the opening match.
Coliseum Video’s WrestleMania Moment – The Undertaker’s entrance at WrestleMania VIII
Hung above the ring are the two Intercontinental Championships. Bill Dunn is the ring announcer again. Basically, the way this match works, is that one of these guys has to climb the ladder and take down both belts to win. Michaels refuses to walk under the ladder on his way to the ring with his bodyguard Diesel. Razor Ramon, however, walks under the ladder as he heads toward the ring. The referee catches Diesel clotheslining Razor Ramon and ejects him from ringside. Razor tears up the mats on the outside of the ring, looking to drop Michaels on it, but Michaels gets back in the ring. Razor goes for a Razor’s Edge, but Michaels backdrops him over the top rope and to the exposed concrete below. Michaels grabs the ladder. Michaels doesn’t try for the belts, instead using the ladder as a weapon and attacking Razor Ramon with it. He goes to climb but Ramon stops him. Michaels takes him down again, tries to climb, and Razor pushes the ladder over! Michaels sets up the ladder in the corner of the ring. He tries to Irish Whip Ramon into it, but it’s reversed. Razor opts to go after Michaels with the ladder, much as Michaels did to him earlier. Ramon finally goes for the titles. Michaels gets up, climbs the ropes, and hits Ramon with a flying axe handle to knock him off of the ladder. The ladder falls down on top of Michaels. Both men get up around the same time and start climbing each side of the ladder. Ramon suplexes Michaels from the top of the ladder, then falls off when the ladder collapses out from under him. He sets it back up, only to get dropkicked off. Michaels uses a superkick, and follows it up with a piledriver. He grabs the ladder, climbs the turnbuckle, and jumps off, putting all of his and the ladder’s weight into the chest of Razor Ramon. Michaels sets up the ladder over the fallen body of Razor Ramon, who gets up and knocks the ladder over. Michaels winds up getting tangled in the ropes. Razor climbs the ladder and grabs the belts, becoming the undisputed WWF Intercontinental Champion!
Hall of Famer count: 10 (Michaels and 2014 inductee Razor Ramon)
Backstage, Jeff Jarrett, IRS, The Headshrinkers and Afa, and Rick Martel are arguing over who the captain of their team is, and apparently that match is no longer going to happen because of it. Ted DiBiase sucks up to “Bill Clinton.”
Coliseum Video’s WrestleMania Moment – The World’s Largest Toga Party that was WrestleMania IX, where Yokozuna cheated to win the WWF Championship from Bret Hart.
Hey, speaking of Bret Hart and Yokozuna, they have some history. We get an un-narrated video package showing it.
Burt Reynolds is the guest ring announcer for this match, and Jennie Garth from Beverly Hills 90210 is the guest timekeeper. The special guest referee is “Rowdy” Roddy Piper! Once again, the Champion, Yokozuna, enters first. Yokozuna attacks at the start of the match and takes it right to him. Hart gets Yokozuna down, but Cornette pulls Piper out of the ring. So, Piper knocks him out. Yoko quickly regains his advantage. Hart finally gains some momentum and takes Yokozuna down with a bulldog for a two count. He drops the top rope elbow for another two. Bret gets caught in mid air and slammed with a belly to belly suplex by Yokozuna, who drags him to the corner and goes for the Banzai Drop. He winds up losing his balance, falling to where Bret had moved from, and Bret covers him for the three count to become the new World Wrestling Federation Champion! Yokozuna runs off Roddy Piper as fireworks light up Madison Square Garden. Lex Luger gets in the ring. He shakes Bret’s hand, and several other Superstars come out, including Roddy Piper, Tatanka, The Steiner Brothers, Razor Ramon, Burt Reynolds, the 1-2-3 Kid, Thurman Sparky Plugg, Rhonda Shear, Macho Man Randy Savage, Donny Wahlberg, and Vince McMahon. They hoist Bret up on their shoulders and celebrate with him. Gorilla Monsoon is out there as well. Owen comes out to the arena, but he just stares up at his brother from the aisle.
Hall of Famer count: 14 (Afa, DiBiase, Piper, and Monsoon)
Thoughts: Much better than the previous year. I remember them doing a coin toss after the Royal Rumble, where if Bret won, he’d face Yokozuna first while Luger faced Crush, or if Lex won, Hart would face Owen while Lex faced Yoko first. Obviously Lex won the coin toss, but it took me 20 years to finally figure out why the loser had to wrestle an extra match. It’s because whoever the champion was by the second match will have also wrestled a second match. I feel like an idiot for not realizing that sooner. But in any event, this was a pretty solid show. I’ve seen the Owen/Bret match probably hundreds of times, and I think we’ve all seen the Michaels/Ramon match hundreds of times. Even in a small arena like MSG, this event just felt like the biggest thing in professional wrestling. Let’s see if WrestleMania XXX can make us feel that way this Sunday.
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