(Editors Note: This review was originally posted on March 23, 2014. Extended images and commentary have been added.)
We keep on moving with WrestleMania month as I prepare to review my very next Audit, and this should prove to be the “Ultimate Challenge”. In case you haven’t guessed by now, our next stop in the Audit line is April 1st, 1990 at the SkyDome in Toronto for the battle of the two immortals. It’s WrestleMania VI, a pivotal point in the history of the WWF, and what many consider features one of the most important and historic matches in WWF/E history.
WWF WRESTLEMANIA VI
“THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGE!”
As the show kicks off we see a star chart appear on the screen as Vince McMahon begins to speak these words….
Upon the examination of the galaxies of space, images begin to appear…
Images of strange and powerful forces…
But of all the forces in the Universe…
The two most powerful….
THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR…
Prepare to explode! Champion vs. Champion! Title for Title…
IT’S THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGE!
It was April 1, 1990 from the SkyDome in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. And it’s another stacked early WrestleMania card, complete with 14 matches, and lots of other odds and ends.
* WWF Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan vs. Intercontinental Champion The Ultimate Warrior
* WWF Tag Team Champions The Colossal Connection vs. Demolition
* Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase
* Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake vs. Mr. Perfect
* Dusty Rhodes & Sapphire vs. “Macho King” Randy Savage & Sensational Queen Sherri
* “Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. Bad News Brown
* The Big Boss Man vs. Akeem
* “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan vs. Dino Bravo
* “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka vs. “Ravishing” Rick Rude
* The Rockers vs. The Orient Express
* The Hart Foundation vs. The Bolsheviks
* Hercules vs. The Earthquake
* Tito Santana vs. The Barbarian
* Koko B. Ware vs. “The Model” Rick Martel
Plus Robert Goulet, Steve Allen, Mary Tyler Moore, Rona Barrett, Rhythm & Blue to perform, and more!
I won’t bother going over the preshow here as we’ll get into the feuds deeper as the matches pop up. The preshow was mainly the build to the Ultimate Challenge, followed by promos and clips of some of the other more notable matches on the card like Jake/DiBiase, Dusty/Macho, things like that. Here’s a few images from the preshow to tickle your fancy!
* Quick note of a dark match which featured Paul Roma scoring a victory over the Brooklyn Brawler (a young Shane McMahon was referee of the match). I found this pic online, that’s all you get and probably more than you wanted.
And now we’re live from the SKYDOME! It’s Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse Ventura back to host their sixth consecutive WrestleMania event (even though they weren’t necessarily together at II)! We get the usual “welcome” deal from the Gorilla, and Jesse does his “Rolling Stones” gimmick. One thing I do like about the Home Video version of WrestleMania VI is that you can actually hear the commentators. The live version it was very hard to hear them early on because the fans were so amazingly loud. Really fired up fans as we go to the ring with Robert Goulet who sings a rendition of “Oh Canada”.
That was beautiful Robert. Actually, it’s been reported that Goulet was afraid he’d forget the words so he asked for the words to be shown on the screen in the arena. The Fink even urges the fans to “sing along”. Well, he made it through it, so I guess that’s all that matters. And now it’s off to the races. The rocking WrestleMania III ring carts are back to bring the wrestlers to and from the ring, so they’re already off to a great start. Howard Finkel is our ring announcer, and it’s time for the first contest of the night! We’ve got a LONG way to go, so let’s get started! Take it away Fink!
(Notes going in: This was during the period they were pumping out 4 hour WrestleManias and just trying to get everyone a match on the show. Years before the days of 3-ways and 4-ways, most matches were ran as singles and tag team attractions and because of so much talent, we’d end up with things like 14 matches on a card. You can imagine that might lead to some short matches, and you’d be right. Lots of the guys in the undercard matches really didn’t have any special feuds going on, these matches without any back story were usually used to groom guys who were in the midst of a push or getting ready for a big push. In this instance, Rick Martel had recently taken on the Model gimmick, and was a blooming star within the company. And when you want a solid match to start a show, you know you can go to Rick Martel. His opponent, the always energetic Birdman. Should be a fun little match.)
“The Birdman” Koko B. Ware vs. “The Model” Rick Martel
Koko has ditched the blond hair and paint by this point. Martel jumps Ware to get going, but Koko turns things around with a flying reverse body block, a pair of dropkicks, and a backdrop and Koko clotheslines Martel to the floor to get things going. Nice opening sequence. Martel brought in the hard way, but the Model disposes of Koko out of the other side of the ring. Martel works over Koko on the floor, tries to keep him outside. Ware finally rolls back in, but Martel remains in charge with a suplex for 2. The Model stays on the back of Koko, planting him with a backbreaker and attempting to lock in the Boston Crab, but Ware blocks the turn. (This is where the Coliseum Video version cuts to the Boston Crab, like Martel actually locked it on here. Surprise! He didn’t!)
Ware makes it to the ropes to prevent Rick from applying the Crab. Martel tries ramming Koko into the corner, but you can’t hurt Koko’s head! Ware fights back with some solid offense, a pair of flying headbutts. Koko FAKES a third flying headbutt, and Martel bumps anyway. HILARIOUS spot. Koko goes for another reverse cross body, but Martel ducks under and Koko crashes to the mat. Martel quickly hooks on the Boston Crab and secures the submission victory at 5:30.
Winner: The Model
(Post Match Thoughts: I’ve seen this match shit on, and given some pretty crummy ratings through the years, but that’s usually because everyone watches the chopped up version without realizing there’s a couple extra minutes of footage that are cut out which makes this match a perfectly complete opener. Great energy and work by both. *1/2)
– Mean Gene interviews who he refers to as the “Colostomy” Connection, then it’s over to Sean Mooney with Demolition, who plan to Ax and Smash their opponents! It’s next!
(Notes going in: It was Andre the Giant who first enabled Bobby Heenan’s former team The Brain Busters to capture the Tag Team Titles from Demolition in the Summer of 1989. The Demos would regain the titles prior to the Busters jumping back to the NWA, well Arn anyway. The title switch back to the Demos was a short one, as the newly formed unit of Andre & Haku would take the titles from Demolition on WWF television in the fall of ’89. The Demolition would chase the Heenan Family, specifically the aptly named “Colossal Connection”, over the course of the first quarter of 1990 until they were granted this championship rematch as a part of WrestleMania. Demolition now receive their chance to Three-peat as WWF Tag Team Champions. The Demos were SUPER OVER at this time, expect a rowdy crowd in support of the painted faced team of destruction.)
WWF Tag Team Championship Match
The Colossal Connection (Andre the Giant & Haku, with Bobby Heenan) (c) vs. Demolition (Ax & Smash)
The Connection jump the Demos and Haku starts thing off with Smash. Demolition take over and go to work on Haku. Andre steps in to fight Ax off, but the Demos remain in control of Haku. Smash & Haku fight for a backslide, Smash wins it but Andre is in to break it up before the count. Ax tags in, but takes a thrust chop into the throat from Haku. Haku lands a backbreaker on Ax and rocks back into a cradle pin for 2. Haku with a thrust kick to the chest of Ax and works him over on the mat. Heenan even gets in a cheap slap. Ax winds up in the wrong corner, and Andre plants him with a headbutt. Andre choks Ax in the corner while Haku takes some cheap shots. Haku sends Ax into a headbutt from Andre, and Smash breaks up a 3 count. Haku grabs a nerve hold to stretch this thing out, but the fans rally behind Ax. Haku lures Smash in the ring to distract the ref while Andre chokes Ax in the corner with the tag rope.
Ax tries to fight back, but Haku stays on top with a shoulder breaker for 2. Hku whips Ax into the corner, but runs right into a boot. Ax follows out with a clothesline! Both men are down, but Ax gets the hot tag to Smash! It’s on now!
Smash all over Haku, big backdrop. and a running double axe handle, but Andre breaks up the cover. Demolition nail Andre with a double clothesline into the corner, and one for Haku. The referee forces Ax out of the ring, while Andre grabs Smash from behind and holds him for Haku’s Thrust Kick, but Smash ducks out of the way, and HAKU SUPERKICKS ANDRE! Andre falls backwards and gets caught in the ropes! Oh shit! Bobby Heenan up on the apron trying to free the Giant!
Demolition drop Haku throat first across the top rope, and finish him off with the Decapitation finisher for the 1-2-3 after 9:15! The Demolition have 3-Peated baby!
The match is over, but the action continues! Heenan is going nuts on Andre, poking at his chest and screaming “I’m the FUCKING boss” loud and clear on the camera. Heenan makes the mistake of slapping the Giant, and that was all Andre could take. Andre paintbrushes Heenan and drives him down with a punch before punting Bobby from the ring. Haku stand in wait, looking to land another Thrust Kick on the Giant, but Andre catches it, and works Haku over as well! Andre disposes of Haku from the ring as well!
But we’re not done yet! Heenan & Haku try and climb onto the ring cart, but Andre yanks them both off and tosses them to the arena floor. Andre leaves to a standing ovation, riding alone, in what would be his final sendoff as a full time wrestler with the WWF. What a great, great angle, as we see Andre stand tall on his way down the aisle.
(Post Match Thoughts: Wow, what a damn pop. When the Demolition win those belts, there’s very few pops louder than that in the history of the business. It says a lot for just how over Demolition was at the time, which puzzles me even more why Vince was so ready to bury them once the Legion of Doom signed on. Unfortunately, Ax would have some health scares shortly after this PPV, and the Demolition team would begin their slow demise to the point they were almost unrecognizable as any type of a real threat only a year later at WrestleMania VII. But let’s get back to WM6. This match. Andre was done-skies. He did what he could from the corner position, and it was enough to keep himself noticed, even if he never officially tagged into the match. Haku really held his own and Demolition did their part. Everything was on par for what you’d expect from a bunch of the bruiser style guys of the time. The stuff after the match really cemented the whole thing for me though. Andre turning face and leaving like that is the definition of a “feel-good” moment. The match gets **, if you toss in the after match stuff and call it all one big story, then the whole thing had to deserve ***. That post match angle really elevates the entire thing as a whole for me.)
– Mean Gene with Jimmy Hart & The Earthquake. Since we’re in Canada, he’s no longer referred to as “The Canadian” Earthquake. We can hear Hercules’ theme music playing in the background while Quake cuts a promo, basically talking as if he’s an actual Earthquake. That’s one way to get your character over.
(Notes going in: Earthquake is well on his way to a super push here in the WWF, stretchering everyone out of the arena up to this point, including the beloved Hillbilly Jim, and “Rugged” Ronnie Garvin. Hercules will prove to be Quake’s biggest test to date in a one on one match. Truth be told, Hercules was on the decline, his push had really stalled after the Ted DiBiase feud, but he remained popular with the fans throughout 1989. Hercules makes a good test to hand the Quake in his native country.)
“The Mighty” Hercules vs. The Earthquake (with Jimmy Hart)
Quake tries the third straight back jump of the night, but Hercules sees him coming and side steps. Herc works Quake over with a series of jabs and Quake takes a powder to talk with Hart. Jimmy alerts the Earthquake that Hercules has busted his nose. Quake reenters the ring and jumps up and down to try and intimidate Herc. The two men lock for a test of strength. Quake gets the early advantage, but when Hercules starts to power his way back, Quake drives him with a forearm in the back. Quake flexes a double bicep for fun. Quake telegraphs a backdrop and Hercules uses it to take back over. Herc with several shoulder blocks and clotheslines that start to stagger the Quake, but he isn’t going down. Finally, a clothesline gets Quakle down to a knee, and Hercules signals for the Torture Rack Backbreaker! Quake drives an elbow into the back of Hercules to block it, and then drives him with an elbow drop! Hercules is down and Hercules signals for the end, before laying Herc out with the Butt Drop of Doom and the win in 4:54!
And where there are Earhquakes, there’s usually an AFTERSHOCK! Quake lands a SECOND Earthquake buttdrop, but Hercules gets to save face. Instead of being stretchered out like everyone before him, Hercules actually fights his way to his feet after the match. I’m assuming this was WWF’s way of thanking Hercules for doing the job.
(Post Match Thoughts: Not much to write here. Hercules was the next victim in line to set the Quake up for his summer program with Hulk Hogan. Herc did his job well in this extended squash, and Quake looked just as good as he was supposed to. Not a whole lot here, but it was up tempo for the guys involved and it gets a * from me.)
Rona Barrett with a special interview with the lovely Elizabeth. Rona discusses Liz’s absence from the WWF for most of the past year. Liz says if and when she does return, we can expect her to be a far more active Elizabeth at ringside. Planting the seeds, EH?
– Sean Mooney with Brutus Beefcake, who talks about snipping Mr. Perfect’s “Perfect Record”. A little too late for that Bruti. The Genius Presents MR. PERFECT. Aww, no special WrestleMania VI poem?
(Notes going in: It was back at the Royal Rumble, that the Barber attempted to cut the hair of the Genius following a match between the two men. But Mr. Perfect would show up and work Beefcake over with a steel chair, attempting to injure his ribs in the process. Hennig had just come off a hot angle with WWF Champion Hulk Hogan and was now working with his right hand man Brother Bruti. During the pre-match interview, Beefcake claims he plans to end the Perfect streak of Mr. P, but in reality, Hennig had already done some jobs for Hogan on the house shows leading in, and a job to the Ultimate Warrior at the MSG even the month prior. The announcers don’t allude to Perfect’s streak for this match, but for the average fan at the time, as far as we knew, Hennig was walking into this match unblemished.)
Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake vs. Mr. Perfect (with The Genius)
Perfect misses a jump on Brutus to get going, and Brutus works him over in the corner, leading to a Perfect flip out of the ring. Perfect back in, and Perfect back out at the hands of an atomic drop, with more Hennig style bumping going on. Perfect gets whipped into the corner and takes a flipping bump out of the corner, and another nasty Irish whip bump taken by Hennig. Beefcake already calling for the sleeper, but the Genius disctracts and drops the Scroll for Hennig to use. Perfect whacks Beefcake with the Scroll and takes over. Quick funny between Gorilla & Jesse, where Gorilla calls Lanny Poffo an idiot and Ventura replies “he’s not an idiot, he’s the GENIUS!”. Rolling neck snap by Hennig, and it gets a near fall. Perfect punts and chops the shit out of Beefcake. Things feel really weird and slow, like these guys could be doing more, but they were told not to. Hennig with a nice kneelift, but goes right back to the ground and pound with the punches and the slapping. Not your usual Mr. Perfect stuff. Hennig delivers “The Axe” punch.
Hennig has Beefcake on his knees, slapping him around for what feels like forever, until Beefcake finally double legs Hennig to the mat and executes a Slingshot on Perfect, and Hennig flies right into the corner post. Beefcake makes the cover and gets the win in 7:47 out of nowhere. Really weird lead in, but okay. Brutus severs the “Perfect Streak” for those not in the know.
Winner: The Barber
After the match, Brutus signals to cut the hair of Mr. Perfect, but the Genius steals the clippers. Brutus catches up to the Genius, but not Hennig takes off. The Genius instead becomes the sacrificial lamb. Beefcake puts the Genius to sleep and finishes the haircut he started at the Rumble! Fun ending to an odd match.
(Post Match Thoughts: This match started off right, then it just got weird. Beefcake really didn’t get in any of his signature spots, Hennig would hit a move and then screw around for 30 seconds in between. It’s like they were given more time than they needed in order to have the match they were told to have. I get not wanting to show up the remainder of the card, but these guys could have done so much more. No Perfect Plex spot, not fiery comeback Beefcake was known for, the finish just sort of came out of nowhere. And while I’m fine with surprise finishes like this one, Beefcake was just getting slapped around for what felt like minutes. It was like Hennig was just waiting for the finish. Really odd stuff and it detracted from the match. Again, the post match stuff does save it a little, they were good with that at Wrestlemania. I just don’t know what happened out there. The match maybe gets *1/2, and call the whole thing ** with the Genius haircut at the end for the payoff.)
– Mean Gene standing by with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. Roddy says he can be a bit “two-faced” as he exposes the fact that he has painted himself half black. Oh boy, here we go. Roddy insults everyone, doing everything from hip gyrations, to singing “Billie Jean”, because Michael Jackson was the pinnacle of black you know. Or maybe Roddy was singing Michael from his white side? I don’t know. Piper talks about Bad News Brown’s “big bug eyes” and “dilating nostrils”.
(Notes going in: Well this match is all kinds of racist isn’t it? According to Piper it wasn’t. While the fans were laughing at his half painted body, and Piper was mocking “black dancing” and jive talk, Roddy has claimed in interviews since that the whole idea was meant that he was embracing the black community, and that he was fighting for everyone, black, white, etc… Piper claims the whole idea of painting himself half black was to keep people from seeing color… Umm, whatever you say Hot Rod! This whole thing got started when Piper dumped Bad News from the Rumble, and Brown turned around and eliminated Piper as well. The two then battled all the way to the back. There was also an incident during an interview with Bad News, where brown incited Piper on WWF Superstars, and the two men again took to brawling. Some back and forth interviews later, and we’ve got this heated brawl ready for WrestleMania.)
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. Bad News Brown
First thing I notice is that Hot Rod’s black face paint has been reapplied from the promo shown above, as there’s a lot more space between the paint and his eye in the match. I’m sad I know. There’s a Piper for Prime Minister sign in the crowd. Wouldn’t that have been something? Piper removes the kilt to expose his entire right side of his body has been painted black. Roddy does what is apparently supposed to be “black dancing” on the right side of his body, in reality it’s just a disco move. Then Piper starts to walk around like he’s Akeem. Yeah, that’s not trying to mock anything. And now the two men go right at each other with some brawling. Piper lands a surprise cross body early on and nearly gets the 3 count. Lots of brawling from both, and the announcers don’t notice that Bad News looks like he loaded his black glove when referee Danny Davis had Piper in the corner. Brown hits Piper with the loaded glove and works him over, the announcers never even notice the loaded glove which takes away from the entire thing, but in their defense it was real subtle.
Every time Piper begins to fight back, Brown lays in a shot with the glove. Piper goes to the eyes of Bad News and begins a come back, until Brown also goes to the eyes. Brown exposes the top turnbuckle and tries to ram Roddy into it, but Piper reverses and Brown goes into the exposed corner! Piper now pulls out his own WHITE GLOVE! Piper clocks Brown with the glove and Brown goes down, repeatedly. See this makes more sense now that Bad News used one first. Piper nails Brown again with the glove and the fight goes to the floor. Bad News misses a punch and nails the steel post! Piper comes back with a steel chair and swings it, Brown ducks and Piper smashes the steel post with it. Both men are counted out at 6:47!
The fight continues as all the agents get their cameo on the show. Rene Goulet, Jay Strongbow, Pat Patterson, and others try to break up the fight as Roddy & Brown brawl all the way back into the locker room.
Winner: Draw – Double Count Out
(Post Match Thoughts: Even though after 24 years I’ve become the first man to notice the dueling “loaded gloves” story in this match, that didn’t save the match. It was just brutal. A good move here or there, but just some crappy brawling with a finish that helped nobody. Worse yet, this feud was never even resolved. Piper & Bad News were two of the popular ones when it came to PPV non-finishes though. Piper wouldn’t do a PPV job until WrestleMania VIII, and Bad News skipped out of doing a real job in all 9 of his PPV appearances. 1/2* just for the mere fact that Roddy Piper had the audacity to do this ridiculous black-face act.)
We go straight to Steve Allen… in the bathroom… with the Bolsheviks. If that’s not funny enough, Steve is supposed to play the Russian National Anthem on the piano while the Bolsheviks sing. But instead, we get Steve doing a bunch of outdated songs and jokes, and then someone flushes a toilet, and Nikolai gets mad. It’s a hell of a segment people, I promise you.
(Notes going in: Before the match even begins, Gorilla announces that the Hart Foundation have challenged the Demolition to a WWF Tag Team Title Match! The Bolsheviks have now not only gotten a backstage segment, but a full ring entrance, and a match, which is more than some of the guys on the show can say. But maybe there’s good reason, we’ll have to watch and see…)
The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart) vs. The Bolsheviks (Nikolai Volkoff & Boris Zhukov)
While Nikolai Volkoff asks everyone to rise and respect the singing of the Russian National Anthem, I’ll take this time to ask a question.
Now I want to know, JUST WHO IN THE HELL THESE HART FOUNDATION GUYS THINK THEY ARE TO BE CHALLENGING THE WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS BEFORE THEY EVEN MAKE IT PAST THE BOL…
Okay, never mind. A Hart Attack and this one’s over in 18 seconds! No Shitting.
Maybe they do deserve a title shot!
Winners: The Harts
(Post Match Thoughts: The Bolsheviks get their heel heat in, the Harts attack during the Anthem, Volkoff is tossed from the ring and Boris does the job without even getting his jacket off. Very well done. No sense in trying to have a match out of Nikolai & Boris, so why not let the Harts shine bright. Not much in the way of a match but entertaining enough not to be a dud. 1/4*. The Steve Allen segment ran longer, but this was better.)
SIGHT OF THE SUPERBOWL! THE WORLD SERIES! THE OLYMPICS! AND NOW THE SIGHT OF WRESTLEMANIA VII!!!!!
JOIN US MARCH 24, 1991 WHEN OVER 100,000 FANS WILL ATTEND WRESTLEMANIA AT THE LOS ANGELES MEMORIAL COLISEUM!!!!!!
CALIFORNIA, HERE WE COME!!!!
– Mean Gene with Tito Santana. I’m actually a bit surprised to see Tito given an interview segment here. Tito has been in every WrestleMania up through now. Santana calls Barbarian a great physical “specimem”, and says he knows to watch out for the weasel. Arriba!
(Notes going in: Like the Martel match earlier, another new push was in line for the Barbarian. The Powers of Pain had just been split, with the story going Mr. Fuji sold the Warlord to Slick, and the Barbarian to Bobby Heenan. Who better to make you look good than Tito Santana? Barbarian was the much better of the Powers of Pain, expect a good match here. Barbarian hasn’t quite turned to the fur and antlers just yet, he’s still very much in PoP gear, complete with the face paint, but he’s badass no matter what.)
Tito Santana vs. The Barbarian (with Bobby Heenan)
We’re 7 matches into the show and we get our first tie up of the night. The Barbarian takes an early time out to talk things over with the Brain. Barbarian shows off his strength early on and Tito surprises him with a body block for 2. Tito moves from a falling headbutt and catches Barbarian with a riding seated senton to the mat. Barbarian responds with a nasty BIG BOOT! Barbarian misses an elbow off the ropes, Santana blocks a Big Boot, and Santana drops Barbarian after 2 dropkicks! TITO WITH THE FLING FOREAARM! 1-2- The Brain puts the Barbarian’s foot on the rope!!!
Santana gets distracted by Heenan, Barbarian grabs Tito from behind. Tito slides over a slam attempt and tries a roll up, but Barbarian runs forward and ducks causing Tito’s face to bounce off the top rope! Barbarian then goes to the top and damn near KILLS Tito with a Flying Clothesline off the top. Great bump by Tito. Barbarian takes the win in 4:33.
(Post Match Thoughts: A good little match. Tito got off some of his usual stuff, even got to save face after hitting the Forearm with Heenan putting Barb’s foot on the ropes instead of Barbarian just kicking out. I think they wanted to push Barbarian, and they knew Tito could help make him look awesome, and that he did. Wicked crazy bump off the flying clothesline at the end. Good extended squash handled well on both ends. *3/4)
– After video footage of the Dusty/Sapphire vs. Macho/Sherri feud, we get an interview with Sean Mooney who has Dusty Rhodes & Sapphire with him. Dusty talks about Savage & Sherri missing “The Crown Jewel” in royalty. Everyone acts puzzled.
(Notes going in: This match is sold as the first man & woman mixed tag in WWF history. This angle got started at the Royal Rumble as part of a Brother Love Show featuring Sherri & Sapphire. Sherri acted as Royalty and downed the peasant Sapphire. Finally, Sapphire had enough, slapped Queen Sherri, and all hell broke loose with the Macho King & Dusty Rhodes getting involved. After a couple of months of back and forth promos and the King & Queen mocking the peasants and common folk, Dusty & Sapphire looke for revenge on behalf of the Common Man here tonight. But they’re not alone!!! During the promo before the match, Dusty Rhodes had promised the CROWN JEWEL. And just what does that mean? Find out Below!)
Well it doesn’t take long. Dusty clears the ring of the Royalty and he introduces us to the “Crown Jewel”…. MISS ELIZABETH!
Mixed Tag Team Match
“American Dream” Dusty Rhodes & Sweet Sapphire (with Elizabeth) vs. “Macho King” Randy Savage & Sensational Queen Sherri
Dusty & Macho start things off. Sherri attacks Dusty from behind and Rhodes backs Sherri into Sapphire. Macho tries to attack Dusty from behind. Savage & Sherri end up colliding. Sapphire tags in and Booty Bumps Sherri around the ring. Sherri tries to slam Sapphire but the weight falls on top of Sherri and Sapphire gets a near fall. Savage tags in with Dusty. Rhodes holds Savage while Sapphire slaps him. Sherri tries a sneak attack, but accidentally hits Macho. Sherri distracts Rhodes and Savage lands a high knee sending Dusty out of the ring!
Sherri gets in her cheap shots on Rhodes, while Macho lands a flying double axe handle on Dusty outside the ring. Jesse has some heated words with Gorilla in regards to the cheating and rules of the match. It’s pretty funny. Savage nails Dusty with a second flying double axe handle. Macho tries a third, but Sapphire blocks his shot. Savage instead tosses Sapphire across the arena floor! Back in the ring Savage suplexes Dusty for 2. Sherri runs a distraction, while Savage comes off the top rope with his scepter onto the skull of Dusty! Sherri tags in and hits a top rope SPLASH on Dusty for a 2 count.
Dusty fights back and cracks Sherri & Savage’s heads together. Dusty works Savage over with some bionic elbows in the corner. Sherri jumps on the back of Rhodes, but Sapphire snapmares Sherri off of Dusty’s back. The women are back in as the legal partners. Some hair pulling and Sapphire tosses Sherri out of the ring. And ELIZABETH throws Sherri back into the ring! Sherri reaches through the ropes to go after Elizabeth, but Liz grabs Sherri by the hair and shoves her backwards. Sherri trips over Sapphire and falls backwards as Sapphire hooks her in a school boy, or school girl, for the 1-2-3! See Elizabeth said she’d be more active!
Winners: Dusty & Sapphire
Liz joins Dusty & Sapphire in the ring for a little dancing fun after the match. Some extended “American Dream” theme music play, so I can’t complain!
(Post Match Thoughts: Lots of sloppy spots, maybe they were designed that way, it was too tough to tell. Lots of miscommunication spots by the heels. Sapphire did what she could out there and looked okay for what this was. Dusty just seemed like he didn’t care to me, and I really felt bad for Macho because I know how important it was for him to choreograph these “big matches”. I can’t imagine he pictured it being this bad. There were some fun spots in the match, but 1990 just wasn’t the year for the Macho King. He was stuck in some crappy situations, mainly with Dusty. Rhodes just wasn’t on here tonight for some reason, in my personal opinion. The Elizabeth finish really woke things up and it was nice seeing her enjoying herself after the match. Most of this was pretty bad, but there’s a couple of fun spots in there if you look close enough. *3/4)
– It’s intermission time so let’s see what interviews we can squeeze in. Mean Gene interviews Bobby Heenan about Andre the Giant. Bobby says the famous quote “You listen to me, you go to the top, you don’t listen to me, you’re never heard from again”. Bobby mentions how Andre wouldn’t tag in, and says he’s starting a NEW family, with NEW members!
– Rona Barrett joins Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse Ventura. She alludes that Ventura was in an Adult Film. Rona claims she has the film and wants to roll it, but we cut to Sean Mooney and the Macho King. Savage picks up the payphone in the background and says “you better call somebody”! Take that Road Dogg!
It’s off to Mean Gene, with the NEW WWF Tag Team Champions Demolition. They have no time to rest, as the Hart Foundation have already challenged them to a title match. Demolition tell them to bring it on!
During the break, Gorilla informs Ventura that he saw the video footage that Rona had promised, and it wasn’t Ventura in the Adult Film. What a bunch of worthless junk. I don’t even know what the point of that shit was. What a worthless “celebrity” that added nothing to the show. But that was the story of all the celebrities on this WrestleMania.
– Mean Gene interviews the Hulkster. Epic interview from the WWF Champion. Hogan sets the stage with the “It’s not if you win or lose, it’s what kind of winner or lose you are.” Then closes by saying he hops the Warrior is a good loser.
– The Ultimate Warrior punks out Sean Mooney, telling him he doesn’t deserve to breathe the same air as he or Hogan. Warrior then throws poor Sean out of the camera’s sight and continues the interview by himself. Now why couldn’t this have been Mean Gene? I would’ve enjoyed that much more. The usual Warrior stuff, he plans to bring the Warriors and Hulkamaniacs together as one. He wants to take thing to places “it shall never have been”. There’s some grammar issues there, I’m thinking.
(Notes going in: Just a pair of two good wrestling teams, getting some time on the show. The Rockers were flying high, and the Express had just recently made their WWF debut. After Fuji sold off his Powers of Pain, he acquired the Orient Express of Sato & Tanaka. Much smaller, but also much quicker, and they matched the Japanese gimmick. The Rockers know Sato & Tanaka from the AWA days, where they had plenty of great matches with Tanaka. I expect this to be yet another solid undercard match on the show. No back story? No problem! Just let them wrestle.)
The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty) vs. The Orient Express (Akio Sato & Pat Tanaka with Mr. Fuji)
Jannetty & Tanaka get things going, but the Rockers soon take it to some double team maneuvers, dropping Sato, throwing Tanaka on top, and landing a pair of stereo planchas onto the floor. Things get back in the ring, and Fuji hooks the top rope as Marty is coming off and Jannetty takes a spill to the floor. Sato holds Marty while Fuji cracks him with the cane across his back outside, and the Orients take over with the heat. Jannetty lands on his feet during a backdrop attempt by Tanaka, and tags to Shawn. Michaels with a big backdrop on Tanaka, and Sato tags in. Michaels counters a Sato backdrop with a swinging neckbreaker. Shawn comes off the ropes, but takes a kick in the back from Tanaka on the apron! Stomach breaker by Sato on Michaels. Tanaka with that beautiful over the shoulder flying forearm attack he did so well. Tanaka slams Shawn in the corner and Sato comes off the top with a knee for 2.
The fans rally behind the Rockers, while Sato locks in the dreaded nerve hold. Tanaka lands on his feet when Shawn tries a backdrop, but Michaels turns him inside out with a clothesline and both men go down. Hot tag to Marty! Spinning back elbow on Tanaka, double noggin knocker on the Orients, Sato elbowdrops his own partner! Rockers double dropkick Sato from the ring, and a DOUBLE BACKDROP on Tanaka sees Tanaka twisting every which way in the air! Both Rockers go up for the Double Fist Drop finisher, but Fuji whacks Jannetty in the ankle with the cane. Marty drops off the top rope and goes after Fuji at ringside, but Sato sneaks up and tosses salt into the eyes of Jannetty! In a comical scene, Shawn walks right past Marty, taps him on the shoulder and Jannetty trips right over the guard rail and falls into the crowd, where he is counted out. The Orients take a count out victory in 7:36.
Winners: The Orients via Count Out
(Post Match Thoughts: Nothing like their classic Rumble ’91 match, but it was still a good way to get both teams on the show. They certainly match each other pretty well with the style and size. Lame finish as the Rockers shouldn’t have done the job, but the Orients were brand new and jobbing them out wouldn’t have been smart business. The count out seemed like a good out as there was only one screwy finish up until now on the show, which is pretty damn good for a WWF WrestleMania over the past few years of this era. Match was good, did it’s job, not as good as they could have been and the finish also takes away, but even still a solid **1/2 for going out there and making it look easy.)
– Another “comedy” segment with Steve Allen, now with Rhythm & Blues. More comedy from Allen while Valentine insists they’re on their way to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame!
(Notes going in: USA vs. Canada… In Canada.. And somehow Hacksaw is still the face! You figure it out! Just keep it short.)
“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan vs. Dino Bravo (with Jimmy Hart & The Earthquake)
Duggan starts off hot, and a clothesline to the back of Bravo sends Dino to the floor. Back in the ring, Duggan with an atomic drop, but misses a charge into the corner and Bravo takes over. Inverted atomic drop by Bravo, and Earthquake with some cheap shots behind the officials back. Bravo drops an elbow for 2, while Jimmy Hart’s megaphone irritates the masses. Duggan starts to no sell the offense and battles back, until Bravo counters a backdrop attempt with a kick to the face. Bravo charges Duggan in the corner but takea a boot. Duggan comes back with a series of clotheslines and signals for the three point stance, but Earthquake grabs his leg. Duggan pulls Quake up onto the apron, causing a distraction for the referee while Jimmy Hart throws Bravo the 2×4. While the referee gets Quake down off the apron, Duggan stomps the hand of Bravo and intercepts the 2X4, cracking it across the back of Dino for the pin in 4:15!
Following the match, Earthquake drops Duggan from behind and plants him with a pair of big Butt Splashes to further cement his new monster push. Tough luck for the tough guy.
(Post Match Thoughts: Hacksaw looked more lethargic here than Bravo. If anything, Dino looked like he was actually trying. And while that isn’t saying much, Duggan just looked like he was off tonight, which is bad considering he didn’t have to do much. Duggan picks up the hero win in a match where it didn’t hurt anyone, and Earthquake continues to get over as needed. Nothing to see here, move along. 1/4*)
(Notes going in: This feud goes back an entire year, you can take it back to WrestleMania V, when DiBiase tried to steal Damien from ringside during the Jake vs. Andre match. Shortly after WM5, an angle was done where DiBiase injured the neck of the Snake to keep Jake off TV for a while due to a legit neck surgery. Roberts would eventually return and steal the Million Dollar Title from DiBiase, and keep it in the sack with Damien for safe keepings. Attempts would be made to recover the title from the bag, but all failed. Tonight, DiBiase gets his chance at getting his Million Dollar Title back at WrestleMania. These two guys could have a hell of a match if they’re given the time.)
– Mean Gene stands by with Jake Roberts. The Snake cuts probably one of the best promos I’ve ever heard. I’ve had it memorized for a good 20 plus years, it’s that good. I’m not going to type it up here, but if/when you watch this show you need to treat yourself to this promo, it’s just THAT great. Longfellow couldn’t have said it better!
For the Million Dollar Championship
Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase (with Virgil)
This match is for the Million Dollar Championship. With all the heat behind this one, these two get right into it. Jake tries for the DDT early and DiBiase bails out twice. Jake drags Ted back inside and works the arm. DiBiase reverses a hammerlock, but Jake uses his own momentum to send Ted through the ropes to the floor. Jake brings Ted back in but telegraphs a backdrop and DiBiase lowers the boom. Ted whips Jake into the corner, but catches a kneelift. Jake rushes DiBiase for another kneelift but Ted sidesteps it and Roberts lands upside down in the corner. The fans entertain themselves with THE WAVE, while DiBiase works a front facelock. DiBiase boots Jake to the floor and posts his shoulder. DiBiase lands a piledriver, but makes a cocky cover, kneeling over Roberts and Jake turns it into a sunset flip pin for 2. The wave has finally died down and the fans are supporting the Snake. Ted locks in the Million Dollar Dream! The fans get behind Jake as he tries to reach the ropes. DiBiase takes Jake down to his back, but the Snake gets his foot on the bottom rope to break the Dream sleeper. Ted drags Jake to the center and comes off the second rope, but Jake catches him with a punch in the gut! Clothesline by Jake! A second clothesline! Big backdrop and the Shot Clothesline! Jake is sucking wind hard as he calls for the DDT. Jake goes after Ted by the ropes, and the referee gets tangled in between the two, and Virgil reaches in and pulls Roberts to the floor by his tights.
Jake works over Virgil outside the ring, while DiBiase sneaks up from behind and applies the Million Dollar Dream on the outside! Jake rushes forward and rams Ted face first into the post to break the hold! Both men are down outside as the referee counts, but Virgil rolls DiBiase back inside just before the ten count, and DiBiase wins the match on a count out in 11:53. With the Million Dollar Title being an unsanctioned WWF Title, the belt can change hands on a count out, so DiBiase gets his belt back.
Winner: Ted DiBiase on a Count Out
Following the match, DiBiase & Virgil celebrate the return of the belt, but Jake attacks! Virgil runs off with the belt as Jake lands the DDT ON DIBIASE!
Jake takes the money left laying around the ring and hands it to ringside fans, including the penniless Mary Tyler Moore. As Jake goes to the bag to unleash Damien, Virgil returns and helps DiBiase escape from the Snake. Jake chases Virgil to the back with Damien wrapped around his neck.
(Post Match Thoughts: The year long feud comes to an end. DiBiase retrieves his Million Dollar Belt, but Jake gets to leave with his head held high as he DDT’s Ted and hands out cash to the ringside fans. Would have been nice to see a real finish, but you got this a lot in Ted DiBiase & Jake PPV matches back then. This was a lot like Piper & Bad News in the fact that you have two more guys who didn’t always do the job on the PPV scene. Still, the finish sent the fans home happy and it brought everything back to square one for both men to move on into other feuds, DiBiase with Boss Man, and Jake with Bad News. It’s too bad we didn’t get to see Damien until the very end. The match itself was on par with “okay”, it was given more time than any other match on the card, save for Warrior/Hogan, so there were a few rest holds thrown in. Not their best. **1/2)
(Notes going in: This split sort of came out of nowhere. It was shortly after the Royal Rumble that the Big Boss Man went in and bravely retrieved the Million Dollar Title from Jake’s snake bag, and handed it back to Ted DiBiase on the set of the Brother Love Show. Only the Boss Man didn’t like it when he found out that Slick and the Twin Towers were being PAID for the Boss Man’s services. Somehow the BBM considered it a bribe, and you know how honest of a law man the Boss Man has been up to this point! He don’t take no bribed! The Boss Man takes the Million $ Belt back and gives it BACK to Roberts, turning face in the process. So let me get this straight, the Boss Man does all these nasty heel things, like beating defenseless people cuffed to the ropes, and everything else that goes with it, but getting paid to retrieve something that truly was technically STOLEN? That’s where he draws the line? This guy has one crazy idea of justice. Doesn’t mean he wasn’t an entertaining face though. Akeem was really starting to fall off, so they needed to get the Boss Man away from him. Now the epic Twin Towers will explode!)
– Sean Mooney standing by with Akeem and the Slickster. Slick is happy the Million Dollar Man has gotten back his title, and now Ted DiBiase has given Slick and Akeem “thousands of reasons” to put an end to the Big Boss Man tonight.
– Big Boss Man responds, calling Ted rich scum. BBM says he’s poor, but proud. He’s wrestling for the WWF and he’s poor? What does that say for their pay scale? Boss Man take some digs at his former manager and partner, pointing out that Akeem is “too fat to fit on the pot”. Hard Times are coming for the African Tribal Reject and his “pimp-like” manager. Boss Man says he’s proud to be an American, again on a Canadian based show.
As the fans remind us that the “Boss Man Can’t Be Bought”, except that time when DiBiase purchased one of the Twin Towers numbers at the 1989 Royal Rumble, we see that the Million Dollar Man still hasn’t left ringside from the previous match. DiBiase lays in wait as the former prison guard makes his way around ringside. And when the time is right…
DiBiase lays the BOOM on the Boss Man! Ted lays BBM out on the floor, slamming him down and doing a number on the Boss Man before the match with Akeem can even get going. How’s that for a little payback? Boss Man will start this match off at a clear disadvantage. Ted just put a nice little beating on the BBM.
The Big Boss Man vs. Akeem (with Slick)
Akeem immediately takes advantage, crushing Boss Man in the corner for a 2 count. Akeem smashes BBM into the corner and mounts him for punches, Boss Man tries to power out with an inverted atomic drop. Boss Man slings Akeem from corner to corner and a big clothesline takes the African Dream down. Akeem ducks a back elbow from the Boss Man, but runs right into the BOSS MAN SLAM, and this thing is over in no time, 1:50.
(Post Match Thoughts: If one thing was clear after this match, it’s that Akeem was all but through as any type of a serious, or even half-serious threat. I liked the DiBiase jump before the match, we didn’t see that a lot, if at all, back in those days and I thought it added to the match. I was upset way back then that Boss Man/Akeem only had a couple of minutes to work with, I felt ripped off, but when I go back and watch this, I realize it was probably for the best. Akeem wasn’t in his “One Man Gang” prime here. They got BBM through Akeem, and set up the house show feud with DiBiase that was on the horizon, job well done on all cylinders here. The pre-match attack helped the match a little, but Akeem didn’t do it any favors. 1/4* all together. Better things to come for the BBM.)
– Sean Mooney sneaks an interview with Mary Tyler Moore at ringside. Mary clearly has NO IDEA who any of the wrestlers are, which makes me question why the hell she’s sitting ringside for the event. Mooney coaches her into saying the Honky Tonk Man looks like Elvis. When asked who Greg Valentine reminds her of, Mary does the smart thing and guesses Elvis too. Bad guess. Waste of a couple minutes, but they had to get those celebs on the show.
– Now it’s time! It’s Rhythm & Blues headed to the ring to sing their new hit “Hunka, Hunka, Honky Love”. It’s already gone gold, and it hasn’t even been released yet! Holy Wowzers. Honky Tonk, Valentine, Jimmy Hart, and a couple of “Honkettes” are driven to the ring in what else, but a Pink Cadillac, owned and driven by none other than Diamond Dallas Page. No foolies. You can see Page getting into his cameo role.
Now it’s time for the performance! Catchy tune on tape, but this live version is terrible. Honky is rushing through the lyrics and is not staying with the music. He’s not a very good live performer. Greg Valentine with a guitar solo under color changing lights. Pick that gee-tar Hammer.
The song ends, but Honky wants to play it again! But wait, out on the floor, there’s two souvenir guys shilling goods, but Honky wants them to know, we’re only selling Honky Tonk Man memorabilia tonight!
Hey wait a minute. Those aren’t concession guys, that’s Luke… and Butch… The Bushwhackers!
Oh SHIT! The jig is up! The Bushwhackers toss down the souvenirs and hit the ring, running off Rhythm & Blues before pretending to play their instruments and ultimately smashing them into pieces. This was a little payback after Hammer & Honky left the Bushwhackers laying recently on TV.
Howard Finkel announces that we have set a new record at the SkyDome, today’s attendance record is 67,678 fans! Give yourself a round of applause!
(Notes going in: Did Rick Rude crack a coconut over Snuka’s head? Nope. Did Snuka interrupt one of Rick’s “Rude Awakenings”? Nuh-uh. Did these two have a TV match that led to an indecision? Not even close. There’s nothing here to set this match up, it’s just another match thrown on the card, that could have been something good, given a back story or maybe a little time in the ring. Given the way it’s presented, complete with Steve Allen making jokes throughout the entire match, this is clearly on the show as a way to get one of the two men over at the expense, and the de-push, of the other. You figure out which is which.)
“Superfly” Jimmy Snuka vs. “Ravishing” Rick Rude
Steve Allen joins for commentary, and doesn’t take anything seriously. Rude jumps Snuka while the Superfly is adjusting his kneepad in the corner. Rude whips Snuka into the ropes for a dropkick, but Jimmy holds on and Rude misses. Snuka tosses Rude into the air and Rick comes down on his stomach, Snuka mimics Rick’s swiveling hips pose. Snuka with a backdrop and he swivels his hips again to mock Rude. Snuka dropkicks Rude to the floor, but Rick comes back in and counters a backdrop with a suplex. Rick now mocks Snuka back with the swiveling hip pose. Rude with a backdrop, but Snuka counters a second one with a face slam. Some back and forth running the ropes by both and Snuka hits a flying headbutt. Jimmy goes to the top rope, but Rude rushes to the corner, Snuka jumps over top of him and remains in control, dropping Rude with a slam in the center. Snuka goes to the second rope for a diving headbutt, but Rude moves out of the way! Rick quickly unleashes the Rude Awakening Neckbreaker for the win in 3:51.
Winner: Ravishing Rick
(Post Match Thoughts: Steve Allen had no business out there. I know he has a background in wrestling announcing, but that’s not what this was. He was there for pure comedy relief, but it didn’t work for me. He was making jokes and the announcers were remaining serious. It was like we had wrestling announcing, with a guy telling jokes in between. Bad, old, jokes. Sort of reminded me of Rob Bartlett on Raw, only Allen knew better. He laughed off everything in the match, and didn’t take the announcer’s comments seriously. Snuka was showing his age, but was still in great shape and you could pull a good match out of him. Rude certainly wouldn’t have had an issue bringing Snuka to that possibility here. These guys could have had a good little match had they been given a little more time and got to work the crowd/tell a story. Instead, it was just a backdrop fest leading up to the finish. Not a terrible match, but not very good either, it left a lot to be desired. It was done to get Rude in position for his next push, so it did that much. *1/4)
(Notes going in: The Warrior had spent the last two years slowly rising to the top of the WWF, and before you knew it, he was the first man to come near the same level of popularity as the Hulkster. It was evident and clear that THIS would be the biggest match you could present as part of WrestleMania, and as things were starting to slow down for Hogan, he was wanting to do his movies, it was felt this was a good time to try and “pass the torch”. The angles started with Hulk “accidentally” eliminating the Warrior at the Rumble, then the two teaming up on SNME against the Genius & Mr. Perfect leading to Warrior accidentally nailing the Hulkster. Both men would also come to each other’s rescue during individual altercations with the Earthquake, in order to prevent the other from being injured prior to the Ultimate Challenge. Jack Tunney would make the match official, there would be a contract signing, both championships were announced as being on the line. Champion vs. Champion, Title for Title. For all the people who love to bash the Warrior, the guy has always delivered in the big matches, and this is no different. Get ready for an epic showdown of two of the top stars in the HISTORY of professional wrestling. Like it or not, I’m telling it how it is, we don’t get many of these, and the way things go now, we barely ever will again. So enjoy this classic piece of history, because matches like this are what it’s truly all about. Enjoy!)
– Just before the match we’re treated to a brief video, highlighting some of the issues mentioned above, and that brings us right to where me are! As the video ends and we return to the arena, the Warrior’s music begins to play and we know there’s no turning back. As the Hulkster makes his epic entrance into the SkyDome it becomes evident, his match IS going to happen. The Ultimate Challenge…..is NOW!
“THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGE”
WWF World Heavyweight Championship vs. WWF Intercontinental Championship (Title vs. Title)
WWF Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan vs. Intercontinental Champion The Ultimate Warrior
While both wrestlers definitely have their fan base, neither wrestler is booed, which makes this entire situation unique. You had your “Hulkamaniacs”, but you also had you “Warriors”. I’d venture to say there were plenty of fans, especially kids, that were both. If Gorilla Monsoon’s old saying “the electricity is so thick, you could cut it with a knife” were the least bit possible, it couldn’t be any more true than in this match. We have two of the biggest larger than life characters squaring off in what deserves the title “The Ultimate Challenge”. This would really mean everything for both men. Would Hogan continue his reign as THE MAN, or would we see him dethroned from his position at the top for a new King to be given the spot?
Hogan hands off the World Title belt off to Earl Hebner, the bell sounds, and we’re all set to go! The two men get face to face, and Warrior shoves the Hulk back! Ooooohhhh! Hogan doesn’t take it lightly, and he shoves the Warrior right back! Aaaahhhh!
The two men lock up for the first time, with the Warrior overpowering Hogan and driving him back into the corner! Warrior calls for the power of his Warriors, and they respond! They lock up a second time, and it’s Hogan who wins the war this time by tossing UW back into the corner, almost knocking Warrior off his feet! Hogan poses for his Maniacs, and they reply with a loud ovation. And now the Warrior wants a test of strength. GRECO ROMAN KNUCKLE LOCK, as the two superstars locks hands and bump chests while trying to overpower the other. The Warrior shocks the world when he drop the Hulkster TO HIS KNEES! Rather than attempt any type of offense, the Warrior just stands there with Hogan on his knees, until the power of Hulkamania helps Hogan fight his way back to his feet and DRIVE THE WARRIOR TO HIS KNEES! UW fights his way back up, but Hulk counters with a top wrist lock and a back leg trip to take the Warrior down. Hogan follows up with an elbow, but only gets a one count before Warrior pops back up to his feet. The fans cheer on, while their minds trap to wrap around what they just saw… Hulk Hogan doing wrestling moves? in succession? Everything is on the line, brother!
It’s the old ‘irresistible force’ meeting the ‘immovable object’ when the Warrior comes off the ropes and collides into the Hulkster. Nobody moves! The two men begin to crisscross the ropes, Hogan drops down and catches the Warrior in a scoop slam, but UW pops up while Hogan celebrates. Hulk turns around to see the Warrior raising his arms in the air, and UW slams Hogan right back! So far it’s been tit for tat. And then the Warrior clotheslines Hogan over the top rope to the floor!
Hogan sells his knee outside and collapses, unable to return to the ring. When it looks like the Warrior might come out to help, UW actually stomps the Hulkster and climbs back in the ring. Awesome! Rather than count Hogan out, Earl Hebner jumps out of the ring to check on Hulk. Warrior finally has enough of the waiting and tosses Hogan back into the ring. Warrior kicks at the bad leg of Hogan, and Hulk starts fighting back with champion like finger rakes to the chest and face of UW. The referee gets in between the two when things get heated, and Warrior shoves Hebner to the site. While Warrior is busy with the referee, Hogan does a semi-Hulk Up. Warrior turns around into some right hands from Hogan, and Hulk completely forgets his leg was hurt 5 seconds ago as he stops selling the knee injury completely. Hogan whips Warrior into the corner and follows in with a clothesline, then a big slam and a pair of elbows for a 2 count.
Hogan goes to the front facelock and turns it into a small package for 2! Hulk locks the Warrior in a rear chinlock. Hogan works UW over in the corner and hits a big running clothesline, but takes forever to cover and only get two. Hulk continues to play the workhorse of the match, hitting a backbreaker for two before going back to the chinlock. When it looks like UW may be fighting his way out, Hulk drives several knees into his back and takes the Warrior down with a back suplex for a near fall. Sooo close, but Warrior kicks out shortly before the three count. And it’s Hogan right back to the reverse chinlock. But this time, the Warrior fights his way up to his feet and breaks free of the immortal chinlock. UW runs off the ropes, Hogan drops down, and the two men end up colliding with a DOUBLE CLOTHESLINE! Yes, the epic double clothesline spot.
Earl Hebner begins to count both men down, when the Warrior sits up with seconds to spare. Hogan follows shortly after. Warrior makes his way to the ropes, and UW BEGINS TO SHAKE THE ROPES! Aww Shit, it’s on now! Hogan beats on the Warrior but UW just shrugs it off. Warrior blocks a couple of shots from Hulk and takes the Hulkster to town. Warrior works Hogan over, a trilogy of clotheslines, and whips Hulk from corner to corner. Hogan falls to his knees at the feet of the Warrior. Great spot as the fans just erupt with Hogan laying at the feet of the Warrior. You see, not ever spot needs to feature a 870 degree flip or someone’s head going into the mat like a lawn dart. Something that simple is over so huge.
Warrior lands a vertical suplex on Hulk for two. UW puts Hogan in the bearhug! Hulk weakens and it looks like he’s a goner. The Warrior squeezes the life out of Hogan as the referee raises Hulk’s arm, and it falls! Raises the arm a second time, it falls again! On no! Hebner raises Hulk’s arm a third time, but Hogan is STILL ALIVE! Hulk comes fighting back, drilling UW with punches to escape the bearhug. Warrior runs off the ropes, Hulk misses a clothesline, and for the THIRD time in the match Hogan does a drop down. Talk about working overtime! Warrior jumps over Hulk but crashes right into the referee, and Earl Hebner goes down! Oh shit, now the ref is out of it.
Warrior goes up top and hits a flying double axe handle, and a second double axe handle off the top on Hogan, but Hulk won’t take a bump, just dropping to his knees. Warrior sets Hogan up for the flying shoulder tackle, but Hogan steps to the side of the tackle and uses Warrior’s momentum to drive UW down into the mat! Warrior missed the tackle and he’s down. Hogan sees the referee is out, but he makes the cover anyway, counting the three for himself. Sorry buddy, that doesn’t count. Earl Hebner screws you again. Come to think of it, why would Hogan trust Earl Hebner? What an idiot!
Anyway, Hogan counts the three himself twice, but the official is still down. While Hogan panders around the ring all distraught, the Warrior hooks him from behind with a back suplex. UW covers, but Hebner is still down. Warrior now makes the three count for himself as Hebner starts to move around. The referee starts to crawl towards the cover. The Warrior has Hogan pinned. ONE, TWO, HOGAN KICKS OUT.
Hulk lands some kind of a cheap shot behind the ref’s back and school boys the Warrior for two. Hulk tosses Warrior into the ropes and catches him with an elbow that sends UW to the floor. Hogan tries to post Warrior on the floor but UW reverses and Hulk tastes the steel. Back in the ring, the Warrior begins to ‘feel the power’, landing a couple of clotheslines on the WWF Champion before dropping him with the GORILLA PLESS SLAM! Down goes Hogan! And the Warrior off the ropes with the BIG SPLASH! This one is over, there’s ONE, there’s TWO, and there’s THREE!
NO THE HULKSTER KICKED OUT OF THE WARRIOR’S FINISHER, but that’s not all. HE’S HULKING UP! The Warrior did it now. There’s no coming back from this shit. Hogan is Hulking Up and the Warrior isn’t sure what to do. Hogan no sells the Warrior’s offense, and UW looks confused. Hulk gives Warrior the finger point of doom! Now shit’s gunna hit the fan!
Warrior throws a punch, HOGAN BLOCKS! Hogan fires back with three big punches and shoots the Warrior off the ropes into the BIG BOOT!
Hogan bounces off the ropes for the big LEGDROP, but Warrior moves out of the way! HOGAN MISSES. God help me for the first time ever, Hogan misses the legdrop! Inconceivable at the time. Hogan misses the legdrop and takes a bump on the mat. Warrior is already back up and coming off the ropes, BIG SPLASH CONNECTS on the Hulkster. ONE, TWO, THREE!
THE WARRIOR WINS! 22:50
Winner: The Ultimate Warrior
After the match the fans go wild as the new era of the WWF is set to begin, but things go quiet when the Hulkster leaves the ring to retrieve what WAS his WWF Title belt. What is he going to do? A hush falls over the SkyDome as Hogan enters the ring with the WWF Title. Would he do the right thing? Hulk indeed does present the championship to the Warrior and hugs the new champion. This would be the only time, even as a face, that Hulk would go out a good loser. The Warrior celebrates to fireworks and his theme music while repeated shots of Hulk sulking in the ring cart on his way to the dressing room are splices in intermittently. Hogan steals a little of the spotlight with that show, I almost felt sorry for him. ALMOST. Warrior wins and all is right in the world for tonight. Great, great half hour of entertainment there.
(Post Match Thoughts: What more can I say? It was the Ultimate Challenge. The match delivered on all levels and ended up being much better than anyone expected as far as the in ring product goes. The fans were HOT, the story was done really well, and both guys were the epitome of what a super human should come off feeling like. It felt like we were watching the battle of two comic book super heroes. This match didn’t even seem possible, and then it was signed. And even then there were a ton of questions left to be asked. How would it end? What would happen? Would one man turn heel? Would the finish be clean? The WWF delivered on all cylinders in this one, leaving both men top stars, and giving us the clean finish we deserved. It was time for Hogan to show he wasn’t invincible, as the undefeated thing was getting old. Good shit from top to bottom ****1/2 for the intensity and everything this match brought to the table. Not the most classic wrestling match, but damned if it didn’t still deliver.)
THE FINAL AUDIT: It’s the epitome of what the WWF was all about at the time. Lots of characters, lots of entertainment value, great production, and maybe not so much “good wrestling”, but it was still a very enjoyable PPV from top to bottom. You start off with a hot fast paced opener that was fun for me, and you close it with the Ultimate Challenge. So many memories come out of this PPV, from the Demolition’s insane pop for three-peating as champions, to moments later Andre the Giant making his baby face turn in what would be his final WWF match. Lots of guys were getting set up for major runs here, including Earthquake, Rick Rude, and the Hart Foundation. Some feuds were ended, while others were just getting started, new faces were showcased from the Orient Express to the Barbarian’s new singles push. This show was sold on ONE MATCH, and that match did it’s job and lived up to everything it should have been. Not many matches of that magnitude can say that (e.g. Sabu vs. Taz). Everything else on the show was just the icing, and most of it was good. The stuff that wasn’t good was kept short for the most part. Sadly, this would be Jesse Ventura’s final WWF PPV, he always added a lot to PPV’s for me, especially WrestleMania, so it was great to have him working beside Gorilla for this show. The stuff from Duggan on started to drag, the show was just starting to go on too long and the fans weren’t as attentive as they awaited the Ultimate Challenge match. Don’t get me wrong, this show, by no means, dragged like WrestleMania IV, or even WrestleMania V. This was a fun show, even in the final hour.
Short Rant: Over the years, I’ve seen this PPV receive some pretty bad reviews on the net. Obviously the entire point of reviews are to entertain and observe, as the actual recommendations are strictly subjective to the person doing the reviewing. But bad reviews for this WrestleMania truly bewilders me. I’m not saying it was great, but it certainly doesn’t deserve poor marks. I can only assume that most who trash this show weren’t alive during this period, or became fans after this era. I’ve also noticed a pattern of many reviewers following the views of a certain “Netcop” who shall remain nameless, rather than forming their own opinion. That’s usually how it goes, these young kids fresh out of college these days want to focus on how many **** matches are on a show, and in this instance there was only one. But the same can be said for WrestleMania III, yet it still gets rave reviews because of years of praise on the internet. In the “Warrior” era, and honestly even today, the WWF/E has been about entertainment value, and they gave us plenty to be entertained by throughout the course of this show. Perhaps Roddy was a bit tasteless, and yes Honky was way off key, but there was a lot to enjoy as well.
WrestleMania VI gets a strong 7.5 out of 10 rating from me, that’s a good B rating. As far as recommendations go? Thumbs up on a fun show. You’ve got 14 matches, something like 40 superstars appear on the show, plenty of surprises, most of the matches were at least decent, if not surprisingly good, and then you have the huge, emotionally driven, battle of the ultimate vs. the immortal. The show was FUN, the show was ENTERTAINING, it had some good matches, and one great match. I think up until this point, WrestleMania VI delivered the best WrestleMania of the first half dozen produced. The high energy from both the talent, and the fans, made this show feel extra special, as well it should. I approve this Audit of WrestleMania VI, it has passed the Review of this IRS man.
Another WrestleMania Audit in the books, and another one on it’s way this week as we dive deeper into the 1990’s and tackle WrestleMania VIII from the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis! Remember to send in your requests for the month of April as it’s national “Request Month”. Til’ next week, this has been the REAL I.R.S., Ian R. Singletary, catchya later, tax cheats!