Review: WrestleMania 2By thinksojoe · · Leave a Comment
This is it! BoredWrestlingFan’s WrestleMania week is in full swing, which kicked off with the WrestleMania 29 prediction podcast. My contribution to WrestleMania week this year will be reviews of the first six WrestleMania events, starting yesterday with 1985′s WrestleMania, and finishing up Saturday with a review of WrestleMania VI. And don’t forget to tune in to BoredWrestlingFan Radio this Sunday at 2PM Eastern as I will be reporting LIVE from Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, the site of WrestleMania XXIX!
Wow. WrestleMania 2. I often say that the first thing I ever remember seeing in professional wrestling was a promo that Hulk Hogan cut prior to this show, talking about how he’s going to get that big dude (King Kong Bundy) in a cage at WrestleMania. I don’t remember anything else between that time and WrestleMania V, but when I finally started following pro wrestling religiously, my uncle handed down some old WWF Magazines, one of which was a recap of this particular show. I have seen the show before, but that was decades ago, and I was just a kid back then, so this will be another great experience for me on this year’s proverbial Road to WrestleMania.
Well, I have a better idea today than I did when I started yesterday about how I’m going to cover this show. It’ll be mostly straightforward, unless I see a blatant opportunity for some wildly outlandish thing a la G’s SmackDown reviews. Let’s go!
WWF – The recognized world leader in sports.
WrestleMania 2 is what the world has come to. Now, Vince McMahon.
Vince McMahon welcomes us to WrestleMania. It’s his pleasure to introduce Susan Saint James, his color commentator for this broadcast. This is going to be a fantastic first hour, let me tell you. Here to sing “America The Beautiful” is Ray Charles! He’s getting a ton of feedback as he sings. No way that would happen these days in the WWE.
Mean Gene Okerlund is at the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago, where we’ll see a 20 man over the top rope battle royal. But, back in New York, Rowdy Roddy Piper is psyching up for his boxing match. Piper says he grew his hair long so we can tell the difference between him and Mr. T in the boxing match. He says if Mr. T knocks him out, he’d quit boxing, wrestling, tiddly winks, and dating girls. “Never will I shave my head like an Indian and paint myself black.” That sounds like something I may need to remember by the end of this week…
Paul Orndorff vs. Magnificent Muraco (with Mr. Fuji)
Orndorff headlined WrestleMania 1 as a heel. He’s opening WrestleMania 2 as a babyface. Muraco, in pre-recorded comments says Orndorff is about to be the embarrassment of WrestleMania 2. Orndorff says in his that Muraco will be his tonight. Exciting action early on. Orndorff on the early advantage. Mr. Wonderful works over the arm of The Magnificent one. This was apparently the first time these two have ever wrestled. Unlike half of this year’s WrestleMania card who have wrestled each other every week on RAW for the past two years. Muraco turns the tide, briefly, and then the action spills to the outside. Where there are no lights. The bell rings, probably because the referee can’t see anything. Orndorff grabs a chair and tosses it in the ring. The referee explains to ring announcer Howard Finkel what’s going on, as the crowd chants “bullshit.” And your winner is…
Hall of Famer count: 7 (Finkel, Okerlund, Piper, Cowboy Bob Orton, Orndorff, Muraco, Fuji)
Mr. T is standing by in the locker room. He doesn’t like to talk before a big fight. He’s going to hurt Piper.
WWF Intercontinental Championship Match: “Macho Man” Randy Savage (with Elizabeth) (c) vs. George “The Animal” Steele
Savage gets an entrance. The first one of the night. Susan Saint James is rooting for George Steel. Randy Savage earlier in the night said that by the end of tonight, Steele will call him the greatest in the world. I’m still waiting for the results of that first match. I honestly have no idea what the hell happened. Steele chases Savage out of the ring early on. Wikipedia, BTW, tells me the first match was a double count out. George Steele is the first guy tonight whose LJN action figure I had. Steele finally catches up with Savage, and starts to try to chew through the boot of the Macho Man. Steele sends Savage to the canvas, but allows himself to get distracted by Elizabeth at ringside. Steele gets momentum back and tosses Savage to the floor. Savage crawled under the ring and tried to attack The animal from behind, but that doesn’t quite work as Steele starts to bite him again. Savage takes a bouquet of flowers from ringside and uses it to attack Steele, to no effect. In fact, The Animal takes them away and wails away on Savage with them. He allows himself to get distracted again, eating the turnbuckle. He then stuffs the padding in Savages face. The ring is a complete mess. Savage takes off, circling the ring. Steele stops to try to plead with Elizabeth, allowing Savage to hit a diving axe handle. Back in the ring, Savage hits the flying elbow drop – but only scores a two count. Steele sends Savage into the buckle. The referee admonishes him, and Savage manages to take Steele down and pin him – with his feet on the ropes.
Winner and still Intercontinental Champion: “Macho Man” Randy Savage
Hall of Famer count: 8 (Adding Geroge “The Animal” Steele)
Standing by in Chicago is Mean Gene Okerlund. He’s with Big John Studd and Bill Fralic of the Atlanta Falcons. Fralic says he’s looking forward to getting his hands on Big John Dudd – which leads to the two shoving each other. Studd squashes a football.
Vince McMahon uses his favorite pickup line on Susan Saint James – “Do you like Snakes?” Actually, he’s referring to Jake “The Snake” Roberts, who will take on George Wells in the next match.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. George Wells
Wells attacks Roberts as soon as he gets in the ring. Roberts tosses him to the outside, and this match spills out to the floor. Wells tosses Roberts back into the ring. Roberts with a leapfrog, a shoulder block by Wells. Who was apparently a Canadian football player. Wells whips Roberts around the ring, and hits a hurricanrana. In 1986. Wells is in firm control of this match. Roberts manages to hit Wells in the eye, giving him a second to catch a breather. He leads Wells on a chase around the ring, hitting him with a knee lift as Wells tries to get back in the ring. Roberts nails the DDT, and this one is over.
Winner by pinfall: Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Roberts unleashes a python on his fallen opponent, wrapping it around him. Wells spits up on himself. I wouldn’t say he “puked,” more like spat.
Hall of Famer count: 8 (though, how Jake Roberts isn’t in the Hall of Fame is beyond me.)
We get a video package of Mr. T and Roddy Piper. Yes, a 1986 WWF video package. Which is pretty much just a clip of Saturday Night’s Main Event, where Piper and Bob Orton attacked Mr. T.
Standing by, it’s WWF Champion Hulk Hogan, and Jesse “The Body” Ventura in Los Angeles. Ventura can’t believe Hogan will face Bundy in a cage with busted up ribs. Hogan says Bundy’s going down, it doesn’t matter about the ribs. Hogan predicts that Mr. T will come out on top. Ventura says good guys don’t always finish first.
Howard Finkel introduces the guest ring announcer, the premiere comedienne in the world today, Joan Rivers. Rivers is thrilled to be here. She’d like to introduce the judges. First, from the New Jersey Nets, “Chocolate Thunder” Darryl Dawkins. My wife loves Joan Rivers. I need to show her this tomorrow. Anyways, the second judge is Cab Calloway. The third judge is G. Gordon Liddy, who was apparently involved in the Watergate scandal. The timekeeper for the match is Herb.
This is Herb.
And now it’s time for our main event. A scheduled 10 rounds of boxing. On a wrestling pay-per-view. Roddy Piper is out first. Mr. T follows, Joan Rivers gets the ring introductions completed, and we’re ready to go!
Boxing match: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (with “Cowboy” Bob Orton and Lou Duva) vs. Mr. T (With Joe Frazier and The Haiti Kid)
Round 1: I’ve never covered a boxing match before. Hell, aside from this one, I don’t think I’ve ever watched a boxing match before. Brawl 4 All doesn’t count. Piper throws jabs to keep T at bay. The referee has to force a couple breaks in the first minute. T gets Piper backed into the corner. Piper throws punches, but T avoids them. Piper slows his pace down, but he’s still throwing more punches than T. I’d give the first round to Piper if I were one of the judges.
They keep fighting after the bell.
Round 2: The referee notices a lot of grease on the face of Piper and wipes it off of him. Piper starts wailing away at Mr. T, who finally starts to fight back, but the referee has to break them up as they wind up in the corner. It’s all Piper this round, as he has T covering up in the corner. Piper knocks T down with 1 minute left in the round. Piper kicks him while he’s down. The referee gets up to 8, and Mr. T says he’s good to go with 20 seconds left in the round. The crowd is actually chanting “Roddy, Roddy.” Piper knocks T down again at the end of the round, but T was saved by the bell. Definitely giving that one to Piper if I was a judge.
Bob Orton throws water towards Mr. T’s corner during the break.
Round 3: Piper starts off very cocky. T starts hitting body shots on Piper, then jaws him. Piper goes down. He gets up at 8. Piper tells T to bring it. Piper avoids a few shots, but T regains the advantage. He clocks Piper, who falls right out of the ring. Piper gets back in, and on his feet, at 9. With 25 seconds left, the bout resumes, but both men are exhausted, and the round ends. I’d give that one to Mr. T.
T gets on Piper’s case, and Piper throws his stool in the vicinity of Mr. T’s corner.
Round 4: Piper and T exchange rights as the round begins. Piper gets the advantage, but T fights back into it. Piper DRILLS T, but T comes back and fights back into this thing. The referee gets knocked down, and Piper bodyslams Mr. T
Winner by disqualification: Mr. T
All hell breaks loose after this match. Officials finally get Piper subdued and out of the ring as Mr. T is announced as the winner.
Hall of Famer count: 8 (we seen all the HOFers in this match earlier on in the night)
We’re sent to Chicago for the second portion of WrestleMania 2, which is hosted by Gorilla Monsoon, who is with Mean Gene Okerlund as he introduces his guest commentator, Cathy Lee Crosby. She’s happy to be in Chicago, and this is her first time seeing wrestling in person.
Chet Coppick is our ring announcer, and we’re set for Ladies wrestling!
WWF Ladies’ Championship: The Fabulous Moolah (c) vs. Velvet McIntyre
The Rosemont Horizon is lit so much better than the Nassau Colosseum on this show. McIntyre is in control early, but she misses a top rope splash, and Moolah pins her.
Winner and still WWF Ladies’ Champion: The Fabulous Moolah
Well, that didn’t take long.
Hall of Famer count: 10 (adding Monsoon and Moolah)
Before our next match, Nikolai Volkoff would like us to stand and be quiet as he sings the Soviet National Anthem.
Flag match: Nikolai Volkoff (with Freddie Blassie) vs. Corporal Kirchner
The only thing I know about Kirchner is that he’s not dead. Right, Michael Cole? Volkoff goes on the offense early. Kirchner finally turns the tide, but not before being busted open. The referee gets knocked down, Blassie tries to send the cane in to Volkoff, but it’s intercepted by Kirchner, who nails Volkoff with it and picks up the win. So Kirchner gets to hold up his flag.
Winner: Corporal Kirchner
Hall of Famer count: 12 (adding Blassie and Volkoff)
Short matches in Chicago. In fact, it’s apparently time for Chicago’s main event, apparently. Okerlund takes over ring announcing duties for this battle royal. The officials for the battle royal are timekeeper Clara Peller…
She’s the “Where’s The Beef” lady.
… Guest referee Dick Butkus, and Ed “Too Tall” Jones.
The participants in this match are Chicago Bears’ Jimbo Covert, Pedro Morales, Tony Atlas, Ted Arcidi, Dallas Cowboys’ Harvey Martin, Dan Spivey (he’s a simple man), Hillbilly Jim, King Tonga, The Iron Sheik, Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ernie Holmes, B. Brian Blair, Jumpin’ Jim Brunzell, Big John Studd, Atlanta Falcons’ Bill Fralic, Bret “Hitman” Hart, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, San Francisco 49ers’ Russ Francis, Bruno Sammartino, Chicago Bears’ William “Refrigerator” Perry, and Andre The Giant.
20 Man Battle Royal
Ernie Ladd is a guest commentator on this. Should be interesting. Lots of guys in the ring, and I don’t know who half of them are. Tonga and Covert are out first. Ernie Holmes goes. Brunzell goes. Atlas goes. Blair and Sheik go at it in the corner. I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere. Martin and Morales go. Arcini goes. Spivey goes. Blair and Hillbilly Jim go. Fralic goes. Sheikie goes. Sammartino goes. Perry and Studd go at it, with Perry getting the advantage, but Studd eliminates him. Refrigerator offers a handshake to Studd. Studd accepts, but Perry pulls him right over the top rope. The last football player in the ring is a San Francisco 49er. Take that, other NFL teams! The Hart Foundation get Andre tied up in the ropes, and go after Russ Francis. They dump him over the top rope, and it’s 2-on-1 as the Hart Foundation work over Andre The Giant. Andre fights them off, hitting a big boot on the Hitman. He grabs The Anvil by the goatee, then boots him over the top rope. Hitman tries to go to the top, but Andre catches him and tosses him out onto the Anvil, and picks up the victory!
Winner: Andre The Giant
Hall of Famer count: 20 (adding Morales, Atlas, Sheik, Studd, Hart, Sammartino, Perry, and Andre The Giant)
Back in New York, Vince McMahon and Susan Saint James are with Roddy Piper, who says he came to fight. He says T and Refrigerator Perry are both cheats. Saint James says that’s a bunch of malarney, whatever that is. Piper says that hitting T on his head didn’t do a lot of damage.
Back in Chicago, Okerlund is with Jimbo Covert. Covert says he got cheated when Fralic snuck up from behind him and threw him out. Iron Sheik says wrestlers are better than football players and if Nikolai Volkoff was there they’d have won.
More filler. More! More!
WWF Tag Team Championship: The Dream Team (w/ Johnny Valiant) (c) vs. The British Bulldogs (w/ Captain Lou Albano & Ozzy Osbourne)
So essentially, Ozzy’s just there to look pretty? Looks like Davey Boy Smith and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine kicking things off. Dynamite Kid gets tagged in and wow is this dude fast. I definitely see where Benoit got his style from. Smith gets tagged back in, and he and Valentine trade suplex attempts, but it’s Smith that manages to finally pull one off. Hammer goes out of the ring and regroups with Luscious Johnny Valiant. Back in the ring, Valentine and Smith lock up, and Valentine takes advantage before tagging in Brutus Beefcake. Smith press slams Beefcake. Davey Boy scores a couple of near falls on Beefcake before tagging Dynamite back in. Kid locks in a front face lock, but Beefcake backs up far enough for Valentine to reach him for a tag. Valentine comes in and takes control back for the Dream Team. Hammer makes the same mistake Dynamite did with allowing his opponent to reach his corner while in a submission hold. Davey Boy comes in and takes control of the match back for the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs start using quick tags to their advantage. “Ozzy Osbourne is shaking at ringside.” Drugs. Valentine drops Kid with a piledriver, but only scores a two. Davey Boy hits the running powerslam on Valentine but only scores a two. Beefcake comes in and starts working over the arm of Smith, and it’s the Tag Team Champions in control of this one. Valentine has a chance to win, but he pulls Smith’s shoulders up, taunting Dynamite. Kid goes up to the top rope, and Smith sends Valentine directly in to Kid, then covers him for the win, and the titles!
Winners and new WWF Tag Team Champions: The British Bulldogs
This is the 16th time Captain Lou has managed Tag Team Champions. Ozzy says British Bulldogs forever! Meanwhile, the Dynamite Kid is still trying to get up after colliding heads with Greg Valentine. Davey Boy says they’re going to stay in the United States because they won the Tag Team Championships.
Hall of Famer count: 23 (adding Valiant, Valentine, and Captain Lou)
Back in New York, Vince and Susan talk about how great the Tag Team Championship match was. Susan says Hogan will win the main event in Los Angeles.
In Los Angeles, Jesse Ventura is with Lord Alfred Hayes and Elvira.
Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs. Hercules Hernandez
Hernandez attacks Steamboat right at the bell. The ropes seem more loose in LA than they did in Chicago or New York, and the lighting is better than it was in NY, but not as good as Chicago. Steamboat turns things around and starts using his quickness to his advantage. It’s a good back and forth match, and it’s already gone longer than the first two Chicago matches combined. Hercules gets Steamboat down but he doesn’t capitalize right away. Steamboat battles back with chops, but gets clotheslined down. Hernandez tosses Steamboat around like a rag doll. He goes to the top rope, but Steamboat gets his knees up into the gut of Hernandez. The Dragon hits a cross body from the top rope, and picks up the victory!
Winner by pinfall: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
Hall of Famer count: 25 (adding Ventura and Steamboat)
“Adorable” Adrian Adonis (with Jimmy Hart) vs. Uncle Elmer
I’ve seen Adrian Adonis before. In fact, I’ve read about him extensively, as he’s featured in the great book “Bodyslams In Buffalo” by Dan Murphy. But it’s still crazy how much of a freak this dude is. Uncle Elmer is all over Adonis early on in the match. Elmer rips Adonis’ dress off. Adonis finally manages to turn the tide as Elvira pleads with him to put the dress back on. Adonis misses the avalanche, Elmer misses a legdrop, and the WrestleMania 2 main event’s finishing moves have already been missed. Adonis nails a flying headbutt and picks up the victory.
Winner by pinfall, “Adorable” Adrian Adonis
Adonis kicks Elmer a couple more times after the match.
Hall of Famer count: 26 (adding Jimmy Hart)
Alfred Hayes is standing by with World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan. Hogan says we live Hulkamania one day at a time. Even if he only had one arm, he’d still get in there and wrestle Bundy.
Back in the ring, the Funk brothers are pushing around the ring announcer.
Terry & Hoss Funk (with Jimmy Hart) vs. Tito Santana and Junkyard Dog
The Funks throw chairs into the ring as JYD is in there with his chain. The referee gets the foreign objects away from the competitors, and Hoss kicks things off with JYD. It’s all JYD and Chico Santana (as The Body calls him) in the early going. Hell, a few minutes in and it’s all JYD/Santana. I don’t think the Funks have gotten a move in yet. Finally, Hoss gets tagged in and starts turning the tide, but gets hit with a flying forearm by Santana. The Funks take control back, and with Santana down on the outside, Jimmy Hart comes over and puts a couple boots to him as well. The Funks dominate until Santana gets the tag to JYD, sending the crowd into a frenzy. Terry Funk gets slammed on a table outside of the ring. I’m sure that was the last time that’s happened to him. Jimmy Hart takes a shot from JYD as well. Santana locks Hoss in the figure four, even though neither of them are legal. As the referee is admonishing Santana, Funk nails JYD with the megaphone and picks up the victory!
Winners by pinfall: Terry & Hoss Funk
Hall of Famer count: 30 (adding Santana, JYD, Terry Funk, and Dory “Hoss” Funk, Jr.)
The ring crew comes out to put up the big blue cage, which became iconic over the years, but this was, I believe, the first time this was used.
We see highlights of what led up to this match, including Bundy injuring Hogan’s ribs on SNME. Hogan is working out, and Mean Gene asks Hogan’s doctor what he recommends. He says Hogan shouldn’t participate in WrestleMania. Hogan insists. Hogan does chinups with a 100-lb dumbell strapped around his neck. Hogan says Bundy is his in the steel cage.
Jesse Ventura is with Bobby Heenan and King Kong Bundy. Heenan says he’s going to be packing the World Heavyweight Championship Belt in King Kong Bundy’s luggage. Ventura says Bundy’s beautiful face is on the line in the cage. Bundy says history says that when Bundy and Hogan get in the ring, Bundy sends Hogan to the hospital. Heenan says it’s Bundymania from now on.
Elvira throws it back to New York. Susan Saint James says there’s zero future for Bundymania. Vince throws it back to Jesse, Elvria, and Lord Alfred in Los Angeles, where the cage has been constructed. We’re introduced to our guest ring announcer for the main event, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda. He introduces the timekeeper, Ricky Schroder, and the referee, Robert Conrad.
WWF Championship Steel Cage Match: Hulk Hogan (c) vs. King Kong Bundy (with Bobby Heenan)
Hogan enters by climbing over the cage. His ribs are heavily taped. Hogan hits a big boot early on, but to no effect. Bundy tries to walk out the door, but Hogan stops him. It’s all Hogan early on, but Bundy finally gets a shot at Hogan’s ribs, instantly giving him control of this match. He gets the Champion down, and goes for the door again, but Hogan manages to stop him again. Bundy rams Hogan’s back against the steel cage, but again Hogan stops an escape attempt, much to the chagrin of Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Bundy pulls the tape off of Hogan’s ribs, and starts to choke him with it before taping him to the middle rope. Bundy goes for the door, but Hogan still manages to stop him. Hogan starts to mount a comeback, driving Bundy head first into the steel cage. Rather than escaping, Hogan continues the assault. It’s about payback now. Bundy is bleeding profusely from the forehead, and Hogan sends him into the cage a few more times. Hogan tries to slam Bundy, but collapses under the weight of the much larger challenger. Bundy goes for the door, but Hogan stops him by choking him with the tape Bundy pulled off of his ribs earlier. Bundy hits the avalanche and the big splash. Bundy rolls to the door, but Hogan manages to grab hold of his leg. Elvira says the blood is making her hungry. Bundy hits the avalanche again, but Hogan no sells it. He slams the big man, then drops the leg. Hogan climbs the cage, but he’s distracted by Heenan. Hogan kicks Bundy down from the middle rope, then climbs out and to the floor, retaining his title.
Winner and still Champion: Hulk Hogan
Hall of Famer count: 32 (adding Hogan & Heenan)
After the match, Hogan chases Heenan into the cage, then goes in after him. He sends The Brain head first into the cage, then atomic drops him out of the ring.
Jesse says goodnight, and they throw it back to Vince and Susan in New York. Vince says he hopes everybody enjoyed WrestleMania 2.
ThinkSoJoE’s Thoughts: It’s really remarkable how well these old WrestleMania events hold up. The three city concept of this one was intriguing, but I’m really not surprised they haven’t gone back to it. As much as I pay to travel to WrestleMania, I’d probably be pissed if I had to watch 2/3 of it on TV. Most of the show was pretty entertaining, and it was great to see guys like Sammartino, Sheik, and Andre, who were in the twilight of their careers at this point, in the ring with guys who were just starting out like Bret Hart in the battle royal. Susan Saint James, Cathy Lee Crawford, and Elvira didn’t really come across as badly on commentary as I’d expected, very professional, and all of them seemed to have at least a basic knowledge of the product, which a lot of the celebs they bring in these days clearly lack. Pretty good show, it’s available on Google Play as of the time I write this for $1.99, so pick it up.
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