The Wrestlemania Countdown: Day Four

March 20th, 2010 by | Tags: , , , , , , ,

For the hell of it, I picked up the 2010 Wrestlemania XXVI Almanac, an overpriced magazine that features lots of facts and interviews relating to the past Wrestlemanias. A lot of it makes for good reading, but there are two things that bugged the crap out of me.

First, there’s a part where they talk about the “most evil Wrestlemania” and say that it’s Wrestlemania 24. The first reason on their list is, “Raven Symone was there. Almost reason enough.”

Yeah! Fuck that evil bitch for showing up to endorse the Make a Wish Foundation and bringing 50 kids to the show!

The other thing that gets me is this page where they show a bunch of pics from various Wrestlemanias and have you figure out which show they’re from. It’s a great idea and the choices work for the most part. Doink and Doink, Snoop Dogg clotheslining Santino, Big Show sumo wrestling, the Fink with a full head of hair, etc. But come on, guys. Can you make this just a little bit harder?

Gee… uh… hm… Summerslam ’94?


Date: April 2, 2000
Era: Attitude Era
Location: Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, California
Notable Debuts: Chris Jericho, Stephanie McMahon, The Hardy Boyz, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle, Trish Stratus, Tazz, Linda McMahon

Even with Vince Russo months gone from the WWF, this pay-per-view feels like it’s haunted by his ghost. Granted, the booking is fine for the most part, it’s just riddled with gimmick matches. Maybe I shouldn’t label them as gimmick matches but nowhere on the card is there a simple singles match. It’s tag matches and triple threat matches and catfights and fatal fourways. “Wrestlemania 16” would not suffice as a title for this show. No, instead they felt compelled to call it “Wrestlemania 2000”. Yeah, great idea! Now what are they going to call Wrestlemania in the year 3984?! McMahondroid will not be pleased.

The Atmosphere

Outside of the cool name, there’s nothing too special about Wrestlemania 2000. It starts off with an intro where the only thing epic about it is that it’s narrated by motherfucking Keith David. They kill some time here and there with looks at Fan Axxess weekend (featuring a quick appearance by Biker Undertaker before he’d appear on TV as such) and a white trash mother winning front row tickets and being flown to the show. The backstage interviews are all dedicated to the main event and aren’t anything special, outside of the Rock’s promo. There is a brief clip of Kurt Angle asking a bemused security officer to protect him from overly-excited fans for after he wins his big match. That rules. The only major celebrity appearance is Ice T for the first match, though they show a bunch of B and C-list celebrities hanging out in the crowd. Michael Clark Duncan makes things more fun by trying to get into wrestlers’ faces. He needs to be at more shows.

The Matches

When it comes to starting the show off with a “hot opener”, they drop the ball by going with vocal charisma over exciting in-ring skill. Our opening contest is The Godfather and D’Lo Brown vs. Big Boss Man and Bull Buchanon. Rapper Ice T leads Godfather and D’Lo to the ring while repeating, “Pimpin’ ain’t, pimpin’ ain’t easy, man!” over and over and over and over again while taking a second to shout stuff about bitches. Then the Godfather does his carbon copy pimp speech to liven up the crowd while adding extra emphasis on how everyone should smoke pot like him. It’s amazing how much can change in ten years. Isn’t that right, Evan Bourne?

D’Lo Brown is the most entertaining worker in this match, followed by Bull Buchanon and Big Boss Man while Godfather is a charismatic mess. For instance, he goes for a sloppy elbow drop right after Buchanon has already rolled out of the way. This doesn’t make for a good match to get the crowd excited early on. Buchanon and Boss Man, meanwhile, show some good teamwork and come off as an actual tag team. It gives the match a better gloss. It ends with a nicely booked sequence of Godfather hitting Boss Man with the Ho Train (like his only move), Buchanon pushing D’Lo off the top rope and preventing the Low Down, D’Lo going after Boss Man, running into a Boss Man Slam and Buchanon finishing him off with a legdrop off the top rope.

That looks like a classic compared to the match that follows. It’s the Hardcore Invitational Battle Royal featuring Crash Holly defending the Hardcore Championship against Hardcore Holly, Tazz, Viscera, Joey Abs, Rodney, Pete Gas, Taka Michinoku, Funaki, Thrasher, Mosh, Farooq and Bradshaw. The rules are that for fifteen minutes, everyone’s out to pin the Hardcore Champion. Pinning him makes you the champion and therefore the target. It’s a stupid match that mostly takes place around the outside of the ring in a boring mess.

Crash Holly loses the title almost immediately to Tazz… who then loses it almost immediately to Viscera. Way to give Tazz credibility, guys. Eventually, everyone goes into the back for a few minutes, but nothing of interest happens there. The title changes hands to Funaki, Rodney, Joey Abs, Thrasher, Pete Gas and then back to Tazz. For some reason, Tazz keeps going for pins even though he’s already the champ. The Hollys overcome him and Crash gets the pin. By the end of the match, Tazz has the Tazzmission locked in on Crash, but Hardcore Holly breaks a jar of candy over Tazz’s skull. There’s a big botch here as the ref counts to three but stops himself. The plan was that the clock would run out before the ref could count to three, but he starts too early. He ends up handing the belt to Hardcore Holly, confusing the hell out of everybody. Rather than move on and not pay the misstep any mind, they decide to replay the ending several times over.

That’s followed by Head Cheese (Al Snow and Steve Blackman) vs. T&A (Test and Albert). Wrestlemania, everybody! The epic series of showdowns of the year! I am a fan of Snow, Blackman and Albert and I at least have some respect for Test’s skills every once and a while. That said, there’s zero pulse in this match. Al Snow has an amusing character, but it never shows in his matches. Unlike most goofball characters, there’s rarely any real connection to Al Snow’s in-ring work to his wacky out-of-the-ring antics. That, and he practically no-sells Albert’s Baldo Bomb just so instead of rolling out of the ring, he springs back up so he can be clotheslined out over the top. I don’t like that. Test wins by hitting an elbow off the top onto Blackman.

There’s also an extra bit with this match where Al Snow tries to get Blackman over with the crowd by introducing a pigmy in a cheese costume slapping his butt cheeks to the crowd’s chanting. It’s too awkward to be truly entertaining, honestly. After the match, Al brings this guy, Chester McCheeserton, into the ring so that they can “cut the cheese” and beat down the poor little guy as if he is to blame for their loss. These are the good guys.

FINALLY, we’re rewarded. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) defend the Tag Team Championship against the Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff) and Edge and Christian in a Ladder Match. This is before they coined the Tables, Ladders and Chairs moniker, but it might as well be that match, even though I only remember one chair use. You’d think that by being the prototype for the TLC, it would be weak compared to the rest. Not so. It’s a completely fantastic match from start to finish. The spots are many and exciting. Really, the only thing I could even consider criticizing is some of the overselling by D-Von early in the match. I could also criticize Matt Hardy’s unfortunate hair dying phase, but that’s beside the point.

So many great spots. Jeff hops off of Matt’s back and slam a ladder into Bubba Ray, followed by Edge and Christian trying the same on D-Von except he throws the ladder at Christian while he’s airborne. Jeff misses a 450 Splash and lands on a ladder. Bubba Ray puts a ladder over his head and arms and spins around, taking out everyone else. Edge gets to the top rope and Spears Jeff Hardy off a ladder. Three ladders are set up with all six guys pounding on each other until they all fall to their doom. The Dudleys try to put both Hardys through tables, until Jeff reverses it and does a huge Swanton off a ladder that nails Bubba through a table. In the end, there’s two ladders set up with a table acting as a bridge. Christian and Matt duke it out until Edge shoves Matt off the platform and through a stray table, allowing Edge and Christian to gain the titles unopposed. Awesome match.

The Kat vs. Terri Runnels is a Catfight. Instead of a regular match, it’s based on who can throw the other out of the ring first. Kat has Mae Young in her corner while Terri has Fabulous Moolah. At least there’s Val Venis as the ref to make things somewhat bearable, what with his referee-striped towel. Kat keeps winning the match, but Val is constantly distracted by Mae Young, making little sense, since she’s supposed to be on Kat’s side and this doesn’t lead to any sort of heel turn for either. While Mae is kissing Val (WOW, THAT’S HILARIOUS!), Moolah grabs Kat and drags her out of the ring. Val sees that Kat’s out and ends the match. I was feeling a bit forgiving for this match for being so short and in some ways cute, but then that review is taken down a notch by seeing Mae Young give Moolah the Bronco Buster. Ugh. Also, there’s a part at the end where Kat tears apart Terri’s body stocking and reveals her thong-clad butt, making Terri act all embarrassed. Yes, it must be so embarrassing to reveal your ass despite your nipples being on display thanks to your see-through top.

Chyna and Too Cool (Grand Master Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty) take on Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko and Perry Saturn in what is probably Chyna’s best match. It’s hard not to be passable when the other five involved bring their A-game. There are fun mindgames played with Eddie Guerrero, acting like Chyna is into him despite her disgust. He’d remove his shirt and throw it in her direction and later strike at her while she’s on the outside apron. The match also has a Double Worm from Scotty from before the move lost its luster with the fans. Humorously, Chyna has a wardrobe malfunction towards the end of the match where the waist of her pants snap and her pants start to fall down. She’s able to defeat Eddie with a sleeper hold slam thing followed by a pin. Fun little match.

The next match reminds me why I was so excited about this show ten years ago: Kurt Angle defending the European and Intercontinental Championships against Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit! The idea is that they would have two triple threat rounds. The first fall is for the Intercontinental belt and the second is for the European. This doesn’t really make sense in kayfabe, since the Intercontinental Title is a higher ranking belt. These three are the best workers of the period and it’s a pleasure watching them work, albeit the match(es) should have been longer. The first fall ends with Benoit hitting the diving headbutt on Jericho and getting the pin. He becomes Intercontinental champ. After some hijinx with a knocked out ref ignoring Benoit tapping to the Walls of Jericho and Jericho then tapping to the Crippler Crossface, as well as a humorous bit where Angle misses a top-rope moonsault on both his opponents, Jericho is able to get Benoit with the Lionsault and win the European title. Benoit has a title, Jericho has a title and Angle looks good for never having been pinned despite coming out the loser. In reality, everyone wins this match.

The next exhibition is a good example of crowd pandering. It’s Kane and Rikishi vs. X-Pac and Road Dogg. Putting Kane and Rikishi together is weird, but it’s really smart booking. On one side you have two scrawny guys (and their betraying valet Tori) who everyone in the arena wants destroyed. They’re up against two different men who are not only dominant, but fan-favorites when it comes to dealing with comeuppance. For Kane, it’s through flattening the opposition with chokeslams. For Rikishi, it’s the Stink Face. He gets a lot of use out of it, rubbing his ass in the face of Road Dogg, Tori and later Peter Rose (failing to get revenge on Kane yet again). It’s a fast match, thanks to one tag team being X-Pac and Road Dogg. Together they have maybe five moves? Once they go through their respective repetoirs, it’s time for Kane to Tombstone X-Pac and call it a day.

Lawler referred to Kane as “The Big Red Retard” during the match. Even for the Attitude Era, that’s seems pretty harsh and insensitive.

The main event is a Fatal Fourway Elimination Match where Triple H defends the WWF Championship against the Rock, Big Show and Mick Foley. The added drama is that Triple H is joined by Stephanie McMahon, Rock has Vince tagging along, Big Show is buddies with Shane and Linda McMahon has brought back Mick Foley. The Foley thing bothered me back when it happened because when Foley lost to Triple H a month or so earlier, he agreed that he’d retire. Triple H specifically made mention that coming back as a different personality or any of that wouldn’t cut it. Mick would have to leave for reals. I can understand that he’d come back a year or so down the line, but a mere few weeks? Come on! Really, this is the first step of Foley losing all the credit he’s built up over the years.

Foley and Big Show are there because Rock vs. Triple H has been done to death and rather than make it a gimmick match, there isn’t too much you can do to make another round seem Wrestlemania-level climactic. Big Show himself – wearing a “Big Nasty Bastard” t-shirt to capitalize on his infamous Big Boss Man feud – only lasts less than five minutes until the other three team up and maul him. Mick Foley sticks around for another fifteen minutes, teaming up with the Rock and then changing his temporary alliance to Triple H. There’s some good stuff in there, like Foley blue-balling the Rock’s attempt at a People’s Elbow by applying the Mandible Claw mid-run and even bringing out a barbed wire bat at one point. Unfortunately, Foley does a nasty botch when he tries to dive onto the Rock and through a table. Foley’s jump from the ring apron doesn’t get enough air and he doesn’t make the hit, smashing up his ribs in the process. Eventually, Triple H gives him two Pedigrees, with the second one on a chair, to eliminate him from the match.

Rock vs. Triple H is where the match starts to truly meet its Wrestlemania potential with the two fighting all over the arena and pulling off some nice spots. There’s a part where Triple H has some steel steps pinning Rock down and he starts smashing the steps with a chair. Probably doesn’t hurt all that much, but it looks and sounds devastating with the way they sell it. Triple H even piledrives the Rock on the steel steps, which is something you’d never see these days. The brawling seems to go on for too long, but it’s still solid.

THEN COMES THE MCMAHON SHIT. God… There’s a huge chunk of the match that’s based on Vince and Shane busting each other open and punching each other in the nuts. Vince later comes into the ring and lays out the Rock with a chairshot. With no extra moves to put an exclamation point on the win, Triple H merely pins the Rock and becomes the first heel to win the finale of a Wrestlemania. I can understand that and I don’t mind him winning. I just don’t like him getting beat up for 80% of the match and then winning due to Vince’s heel turn. It doesn’t seem to matter about Triple H winning, but merely the Rock losing.

It ends on a happy note, regardless. The Rock gets to Rock Bottom Vince, Shane and even Stephanie. He nails a People’s Elbow on her to end the show.

So Rock annihilates Stephanie, Rikishi assaults Tori and Eddie Guerrero fights Chyna. Of the last four matches, only one of them doesn’t have guys beating up women… then you realize it’s the match with Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho. Sweet, sweet irony.


Date: April 7, 1986
Era: Hogan Era
Location: Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York; Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois; LA Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California
Notable Debuts: Vince McMahon, Randy Savage, Bret Hart, Jake Roberts, Terry Funk, Davey Boy Smith, Dynamite Kid, Hillbilly Jim

Wrestlemania 2 is usually mentioned in the same breath as Wrestlemania 9 in terms of being a really bad Wrestlemania. Both of them have been inducted into Wrestlecrap, at the very least. The main idea of the show is that the 12 matches are split up between three arenas in three parts of the country. What a gyp! Imagine shelling out for tickets for a huge show, only you can only get to see a third of it. The whole experiment comes off like a one-night version of the brand extension, as all the talent in the company is split up in three ways.

The Atmosphere

The productions are better than the previous year, I’ll give it that. The intro actually includes mid-80’s CGI, for one. By using three venues, they up the use of celebrities to an insane level. There’s over two dozen celebrities (some of them using the term loosely) littering the show, from Joan Rivers to G. Gordon Liddy to the “Where’s the Beef?” Lady. Since the talent is split up, that means they have to fill in the commentary gaps with celebrity commentators. With all those to choose from, I can’t imagine what we got was the cream of the crop. In New York, Vince gets to work with actress Susan St. James, whose attempts at enthusiasm are faker than an Ed Wood movie and keeps saying, “UH OH!” in response to half of the things done in the ring. In Chicago, Gorilla Monsoon and Gene Okerlund are saddled with Cathy Lee Crosby, who knows even less about what’s going on than St. James and goes for almost entire matches without saying a word. Lastly, LA has the team of Jesse Ventura, Lord Alfred Hayes and Elvira. Elvira doesn’t seem to know much about the product either, but she handles herself pretty well, in my opinion.

At one point she gets excited at the idea of possibly seeing Terry Funk’s wang. No kidding. I’m not one for following celebrity couples, but I think the world lost out with the lack of Funkvira. Think of how awesome their hardcore vampire kids would be.

Another minor thing with her I found especially funny is when Ventura is introducing her to the viewers and says, “What a pair we make!” Elvira reacts to, “What a pair,” by pointing at her chest and smirking. Ventura tries to get some Elvira action throughout their segments, but I’m glad that romantic pairing never came to be. The last thing we need is conspiracy theories about how Van Helsing was behind 9/11.

A lot of the promos are good stuff. One of the many football players whose name I can’t recall gets in Big John Studd’s face about the upcoming battle royal. Roddy Piper says that if Mr. T knocks him out, he’s going to quit being straight. And while it’s cool to see the heel Ventura do a confrontational interview with Hogan about the main event, I could have done without having to see two other Hulk Hogan promos that night. Plus there are times, like with Mr. T’s pre-match promo, where Howard Finkel talks over the promos by announcing the winners of the previous match.

The Matches

The New York show starts off with ”Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff vs. “The Magnificent” Muraco. Muraco has Mr. Fuji in his corner, which leads to Orndorff briefly doing the slant-eyes thing at Fuji as a taunt. Remember, Orndorff is the face here. Commentator Susan St. James doesn’t have a clue, at one point forgetting which wrestler Fuji is representing.

Outside of that, it has the making for a fantastic match. Both guys appear in their prime and are full of piss and vinegar. The crowd is completely into it. It’s hitting a lot of great notes. Then, only four minutes into the match, the two grapple and roll out of the ring together. Orndorff gets a chair and Muraco gets Fuji’s cane. They have a stand-off and the ref counts them both out. Within 10 minutes of this show starting, the crowd is loudly chanting, “BULLSHIT!” That isn’t a good sign.

Randy “Macho Man” Savage defends the Intercontinental Championship against George “The Animal” Steele. The belt isn’t so important. It’s more about Steele’s affection for Elizabeth. Savage plays off Steele’s gnarly persona by being freaked out by him. Steele’s fighting stance and behavior is so weird that Savage regularly tries to escape him, getting chomped on the ankle for his troubles. Steele would normally dominate until getting distracted by Elizabeth and Savage capitalizing. One of the better moments has Savage escape to the outside and crawl under the ring. With Steele confused, Savage crawls out the other side, climbs back into the ring and knees him in the back.

There are hijinks, naturally. The two get in a slap fight with a bouquet of flowers. Not only does Steele feed on the insides of a turnbuckle pad, but he forces Savage to eat some of it too. Surprisingly, they have Steele kick out of Savage’s top-rope elbow drop, but Savage pins him a moment later by putting his legs on the ropes.

Up next is George Wells being fed to Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Jake is the new heel and is undefeated. It’s pretty good for what is essentially a glorified jobber match. Jake sells well as a heel and the two have enough speed and energy to keep you enthralled. Wells presses the advantage for a bit, but this isn’t his match to win. Jake thumbs him in the eye, gives him a knee to the head and hits a DDT. After the match, he wraps Wells in his python Damien. This part rules due to Wells going the extra distance and foaming at the mouth.

Sorry, that was the best picture I could find.

Mr. T and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper go at it in a Boxing Match. Hoo boy, a worked boxing match. That’s fun. They try. I’ll give them that. They do try. Piper plays up his heelishness by screaming, “Look at me as I’m talkin’ to you!” when facing T prior to the bell. He constantly gets on the ref’s nerves and gets caught using salve on his face to protect him from T’s punches. It looks well-choreographed in the beginning when the match is still fresh and they haven’t tired themselves out.

If either guy is knocked down three separate times, he loses. Mr. T has a close call, falling down after the round ends and then Piper getting a cheapshot in. T gets back at Piper and knocks him down a couple times. One of those times involves Piper being knocked out of the ring, too. They start pounding on each other back and forth until Piper gets desperate, shoves the ref, bodyslams Mr. T and gets himself disqualified. Both sides brawl and the New York part of the show is over.

If I had tickets to that part of the show, I think I’d be pretty pissed.

Let’s take it to the Chicago set, where Fabulous Moolah defends the Women’s Championship against Velvet McIntire. Ah, what a match this is. Moolah attacks Velvet from behind and Velvet is quick to fight back. Velvet looks pretty impressive for this brief spurt, but then goes to the top and misses a splash. Moolah goes for the pin and Velvet makes no attempt to kick out. She loses the match in a bit over a minute. Why so short? You see why when Moolah celebrates her win. Velvet’s in the background, fiddling with her outfit. It seems the impact of missing that splash caused the strap of her top to snap, so she had to end the match in desperation.

Speaking of short matches, we have Nikolai Volkoff vs. Corporal Kirchner in a Flag Match. This means that the winner gets to wave their respective flag around. Big deal. I can wave an American flag around and I haven’t won shit. See, I’m doing it right now! Whee! …Okay, I don’t actually have a flag with me. I’m just waving around a tube of reduced fat Pringles. Happy? I still didn’t have to wrestle for it.

The match quickly ends up outside the ring, where Kirchner is repeatedly knocked into the post. It gets back into the ring, Kirchner pounds on Volkoff in the corner and accidentally decks the ref. Volkoff’s manager Freddie Blassie tosses in his cane, which Kirchner intercepts and uses on Volkoff. He wins and gets to wave his flag around. For the two minutes the match goes on for, it’s passable. I don’t get why they didn’t eat up some more time, considering Velvet McIntire’s potential nipple exposure saved some time.

At this point in my viewing I was sure that Wrestlemania 2 was going straight to the bottom of my list. So far most of the matches have been ultimately terrible. But the thing to remember is that Wrestlemania 2 is the Harvey Dent of PPVs. The show has hit the halfway point and everything from here on out is going to be okay.

Like the 20 Man Battle Royal featuring wrestlers Andre the Giant, Pedro Morales, Tony Atlas, Ted Arcidi, Danny Spivey, Hillbilly Jim, King Tonga, The Iron Sheik, B. Brian Blair, Jim Brunzell, Big John Studd, Jim Neidhart, Bret Hart and Bruno Sammartino, as well as NFL football players Jimbo Covert, Harvey Martin, Ernie Holmes, Bill Fralic, Russ Francis and William “Refrigerator” Perry. I dig the whole concept of using NFL guys to fill in the last five spots. It lets them work in the ring, but they’re only doing light battle royal work. That, and there’s a lot of hype for the super-popular “Refrigerator” Perry.

That’s right, Perry is the first GI Joe member to show up at Wrestlemania. Suck it, Slaughter.

It starts with all the wrestlers going for the Fridge, but his football buddies help him out. Fridge and Studd go at it in the corner. It’s a good ol’ battle royal with the dead weight being taken out before too long. The Iron Sheik succeeds in getting both B. Brian Blair and Hillbilly Jim. Blair is lucky that being eliminated from a battle royal is the only thing Sheiky did to him. Big John Studd gets rid of Bruno Samartino, adding to his heel heat. Things wind down and Fridge is the only football player left. He rushes the Hart Foundation and plows through them both. It’s so awesome. Bret and Neidhart each go flying in different directions. Fridge runs into Studd’s elbow and then gets thrown over the top. Fridge offers his hand in respect, which Studd then shakes, only to get pulled out of the ring.

I don’t mean to get weird here, but for anyone else who’s recently viewed this match: am I the only one who was disturbed by what appeared to be the Fridge wearing a thong one-piece? Anyone?

It’s down to Andre the Giant and the Hart Foundation. Andre’s on the ropes, but wakes up for a moment to boot the Anvil in the face. Neidhart sells it badly by practically running over to the ropes and hopping out on his own volition. Bret goes to the top rope, but Andre grabs him and throws him onto his partner. Andre wins the match.

The main event for this arena is The Dream Team (Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine) defending the Tag Team Championship against The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid). The Bulldogs have Ozzy Osborne in their corner, but he does absolutely nothing. Monsoon asks Okerlund on commentary about what Ozzy has to offer and he doesn’t even attempt to answer that. He’s there because he’s famous and from England.

This is easily the match of the night and I can’t imagine too many disagreeing with me. A lot of great work from all four competitors. A lot of it involves Valentine being the one punished, which is all good, since he makes a great heel in these kinds of situations. When all four guys are in the ring together and Beefcake is thrown out of the ring, Valentine simply plays it safe and escapes to the outside rather than suffer the same fate. When Valentine does get the advantage and has a chance to win the match, he refuses to pin Davey Boy for the sake of being a jerk. Dynamite Kid crouches down on the top rope and Davey Boy is able to grab Valentine and force him into the corner so that he and Dynamite collide cranium-to-cranium. Bulldog pins Valentine and they win the titles.

Post-match, their manager Captain Lou and Ozzy take up the interview time while the Bulldogs are exhausted as all hell on the outside of the ring. Great job, Ozzy. You really saved the day.

We move the show to LA and continue with Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs. Hercules Hernandez. It’s a pretty good match, which shouldn’t be a surprise with Steamboat involved. Hercules gives it his all and is a lot of fun as he seems to have fully enveloped himself in the idea that he really is THE mythical Hercules. Whenever he’s winning, he shows a ton of charisma. Steamboat is able to stay a step ahead of him for the first half of the match, but Herc is able to turn it around. He gets Steamboat with a press slam, goes to the top and tries a splash. Steamboat counters by putting his knees up then climbs to the top and hits a crossbody for the pin. Definitely an understated part of the show.

Adrian Adonis faces Uncle Elmer. Just as the show was getting really good. Elmer’s side of things is garbage, pure and simple. He’s too big and clumsy and even falls over after punching Adonis. The one thing that keeps this match from being as bad as it should be is Adonis. For a man his size, he sells like the economy is back on track. The guy bounces around like a ping-pong ball. I could do without the “hate me because I’m really gay!” heel heat, but that’s what it was all about at the time. The match is only three minutes long, anyway. Elmer hits an Avalanche in the corner and misses a splash follow-up. Adonis goes to the top rope and hits a headbutt, allowing him to get the pin. He puts a pink bow on Elmer and pounds on him after the bell.

The team of Terry Funk and Hoss Funk take on Junkyard Dog and Tito Santana. To remind us who he is, Terry Funk throws a couple chairs into the ring. Ah, that’s our Terry. The Santana/JYD team is a good way to complement their respective styles. Junkyard Dog has the larger-than-life personality, Santana has the top-of-the-line in-ring abilities and Gavok has the complete-overuse-of-hyphens.

The Funks go for some early double-teaming against Junkyard Dog, but he overcomes it by throwing the two into each other. He starts slamming Terry’s head into the turnbuckle a couple times, hits a headbutt and flings him out of the ring. Santana gets to play the face in peril for a moment or two, but gets the tag to Junkyard Dog by quickly crawling around past Terry Funk. You’d think people in that situation would try that more often these days.

Terry tries to strangle Junkyard Dog with a string, but he’s able to power his way out of it and take the fight to the outside. Junkyard Dog bodyslams Terry into a table, which is like one of the few tastes of hardcore wrestling you’d see in the early days of Wrestlemania. The ring clears up towards the end and Santana’s forced out. This allows the Funks to get Junkyard Dog with Jimmy Hart’s megaphone and get the pin.

I don’t see why Tito Santana didn’t tell the referee about that and get the decision overturned. It worked like gangbusters last time.

That leaves Hulk Hogan defending the WWF Championship against King Kong Bundy in a Steel Cage Match. Weeks prior, Bundy had injured Hogan’s ribs, so Hogan goes in covered in tape. Being in a match with no disqualification, Hogan is able to be as dastardly as possible and the fans will still eat it up. For instance, strangling Bundy with his own singlet straps. Bundy gets the advantage a few times and tries to walk out the cage, but Hogan keeps bringing him back in. Bundy tears off Hogan’s tape and uses that to strangle him back.

It goes back and forth some more. Hogan whips Bundy into the cage and busts him open. With everything more or less taken care of, he tries for a bodyslam… with injured ribs. He gets crushed instead. Bundy hits the Avalanche and a splash, but Hogan has just enough strength to grab onto Bundy’s leg and keep him from escaping the cage. Bundy hits another Avalanche, but this time Hogan goes into no-sell mode and starts Hulking up. He powerslams Bundy and climbs out the cage as Bundy weakly crawls for the door one last time. Hogan gets out only seconds before Bundy can make it, retaining the title. He grabs Heenan and forces him into the cage, where he flings him around like a ragdoll.

I am really surprised by how much I liked this match based on all the ingredients. Regular cage matches are a crapshoot, Hogan matches tend to not be so good and I don’t expect much from Bundy. Yet, they pull it off. Good for them.

Day One (#25-24)
Day Two (#23-22)
Day Three (#21-20)
Day Four (#19-18)
Day Five (#17-16)
Day Six (#15-14)
Day Seven (#13-12)
Day Eight (#11-10)
Day Nine (#9-8)
Day Ten (#7-6)
Day Eleven (#5-4)
Day Twelve (3-1)

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3 comments to “The Wrestlemania Countdown: Day Four”

  1. LOL! Thanks for that Sheik joke. Took a while for me to spot it.

    Break back… make humble!

  2. “Of the last four matches, only one of them doesn’t have guys beating up women… then you realize it’s the match with Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho.”

    Let’s not forget Kurt Angle’s troubles, as well.

  3. “My heart is on fire…. for Funkvira! Giddyup..”

    Awesome, awesome stuff.