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Madison Square Garden – New York, NY – March 20, 1994
Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler are on commentary.
MATCH #1: Bret “Hit Man” Hart vs. Owen Hart
They start with some chain wrestling, and Owen appears to have a mental edge in the early going. Owen tries a go behind and Bret uses momentum to send his younger brother to the floor. Back in the ring Owen slaps Bret hard in the face. Momentum continues to shift as both men try to pinpoint a weakness. Bret scores the first big sequence with a nice monkey flip and a clothesline that sends Owen to the floor. Owen tries to regroup but Bret hurls him back into the ring. Bret tenaciously goes after the arm until Owen escapes and hits a nice Spinning heel kick. Owen knocks Bret to the floor and rams his back into the ring post. Back in the ring Owen focuses on the back, which is smart strategy to set up for the Sharpshooter. Owen hits a nice belly-to-belly suplex for two. He tries a turnaround cross body block but Bret rolls through for a near-fall. Owen wisely goes right back on the attack and keeps Bret grounded. A German Suplex gets another close near-fall for the younger Hart brother. Bret tries to fight back but Owen cuts him off with a Tombstone Piledriver. Owen goes up top for a diving headbutt and Bret is able to move out of the way. Back on their feet Bret has a second wind and he starts using the Moves of Doom. Owen catches Bret with an enziguiri and tries the Sharpshooter. Bret reverses to an attempt of his own but Owen breaks out of it and goes to the eyes. Owen gets a quick cradle for two and Bret kicks him off to the floor. Bret follows him out with a house show dive. He landed poorly on his knee and appears to have injured it. Owen wastes no time in attacking the injured limb like a shark smelling blood. After a few minutes Bret gives Owen a taste of his own medicine with an enziguiri. Bret goes on the attack now, even hitting a swank piledriver for a two-count. He takes Owen up for a superplex but again only gets two. Bret tries a sleeper but Owen goes to the ropes and is able to kick Bret low without the referee seeing. Now Owen locks on the Sharpshooter, and Bret reverses it. Owen reaches the ropes. Bret tries a whip but Owen reverses it. Owen charges in and Bret gets a boot up. Bret tries a victory roll but Owen drops down and is able to score the pin at 20:20! What an upset! Simply put this is one of the greatest pure wrestling matches ever put on by the WWE. They didn’t do anything overly fancy and everything they did do made sense. The drama was there, the finish was great, and this puts doubt in Bret’s mind for his WWE Championship match against Yokozuna later on. Amazing stuff here.
MATCH #2: Mixed Tag Team Match – Bam Bam Bigelow & Luna vs. Doink & Dink
Bigelow attacks right away and uses his size and power to his advantage. He even hits a dropkick! Bigelow hits a bodyslam but misses a senton and Doink takes control. Doink focuses on the arm, but Bigelow fights back with a back elbow. Bigelow misses an elbow drop and Doink makes the tag. While Dink is in the ring, Luna must also be in the ring. Dink uses his speed to outmaneuver Luna briefly, but the size disadvantage catches up to him and Luna goes to work. Luna slams Dink down and goes up top but misses a big splash. Doink and Bigelow are tagged back in. Doink tries a sunset flip but Bigelow sits down and squashes him. Bigelow charges into the corner but Doink gets a boot up. Doink connects on a huge DDT and goes up top. He misses the Whoopee Cushion and Bigelow capitalizes with some clotheslines. Bigelow goes up top and hits the Diving Headbutt for the pin at 6:11. That was short and fun enough. I do like my WrestleMania card with variety, and this provided that.
MATCH #3: Falls-Count-Anywhere Match – “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Crush
Crush has Mr. Fuji in his corner. Savage attacks Crush in the aisle and away we go. Crush survives the attack and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. He then press slams Savage onto the barricade and scores the first pin. Savage has 60 seconds to get back to the ring. He gets to the apron and Fuji hits him with the Japanese flag. Even so, Savage just barely makes it back to the ring. Crush continues to dominate, but when he goes for a handful of salt to the eyes Savage knocks it back into his face. Savage fires up, hitting an ax handle off the top rope. He slams Crush and hits the Diving elbow drop. Savage then has to roll Crush to the floor to pin him. Crush makes it back to the ring, and Savage charges him but gets backdropped to the floor. Savage throws Crush into the ring post and the steel steps. They fight through the crowd now and Crush goes for a piledriver but Savage backdrops his way out of it. Savage throws Crush through some doors to the backstage area, and he’s able to score a pin. He then hog ties Crush and hangs him upside down from some scaffolding. Crush is unable to make it back to the ring and Savage gets the win at 9:44. The “60 seconds to get back to the ring” rule is pretty dumb, but falls-count-anywhere matches were new to WWE at the time so I forgive them working out the kinks. This was another unique match for the card, and Savage’s last big match in the WWF so it has tons of cache.
MATCH #4: Women’s Championship Match – Leilani Kai vs. Alundra Blayze
Blayze has been the Champion since 12.13.93, and this is her second defense. In a nice nod to history, Kai was the Champion at the original WrestleMania in 1985, and defended against Wendi Richter. Blayze starts off hot but Kai is plenty aggressive enough to keep up with the Champion in the early going. Kai beats on Blayze briefly, and then Blayze comes back with a hurricanrana for two. The veteran Kai comes right back and hurls Blayze to the floor. Kai retrieves the Champion and delivers a hair mare. She follows with a butterfly suplex for two. Blayze ducks a clothesline and hits one of her own. She hits a spin kick and a vertical suplex for two. Blayze hits two hair mares for a near-fall. A German Suplex does the trick and Blayze retains at 3:25. That was certainly brisk, but they packed a lot of action into that short time.
MATCH #5: World Tag Team Championship Match – Men on a Mission vs. The Quebecers
Jacques and Pierre have been the Champions since 1.17.94, and this is their third defense. They have Johnny Polo in their corner, and the challengers have Oscar. The Quebecers attack before the bell and quickly throw Mo to the floor and take Mabel off his feet. Mabel fights back and clotheslines both Jacques and Pierre down. Mo is the legal man and he gets the momentum on his team’s side. It’s not to last though, as the Champs use some dubious tactics to reclaim control. Pierre throws Mo to the floor and then lets Jacques backdrop him right on top of Mo. The Quebecers were underrated, yo. Back in the ring Pierre covers for two. They try to keep the pressure on but eventually Mo is able to make the tag. Mabel cleans house and throws both Quebecers around the ring. He misses a charge in the corner and the Champs are able to team up to hit a vertical suplex! That looked awesome. The Quebecers hit the Quebec Crash but Mabel kicks out! Mabel fights back and drills Pierre with a leg lariat. He clotheslines Jacques down and Mo goes up top to hit the Stacked Big Splash. The managers get into a scuffle and the referee is losing control. Mabel and Mo hit Pierre with the Stacked Big Splash on the floor. Polo pulls Jacques to the floor and has his men get counted out at 7:43. This was so similar in structure and style to the Money Inc./Natural Disasters match from WrestleMania VIII, even with the same finish. It was fine but pretty unsatisfying.
MATCH #6: WWF Championship Match – Yokozuna with Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette vs. Lex Luger; Special Guest-Referee: Mr. Perfect
Donnie Wahlberg is the guest ring announcer and Rhonda Shear is the guest timekeeper. Yokozuna has been the Champion since 6.13.93, and this is his sixth defense. They stare at each other for a bit and then Luger starts off hot with a flurry of punches and a clothesline. Yokozuna cuts him off with a clothesline of his own, but then misses an elbow drop. Luger knocks Yokozuna to the floor with a punch and then follows him out. He slams Yokozuna’s head into the steel steps twice, and then rolls him back in the ring. Luger goes up top and hits a high cross body block for a near-fall. He drops a big elbow for another two-count. Luger foolishly tries a bodyslam and Yokozuna falls back on top of him. The Champion is firmly in control and he exposes one of the top turnbuckles just for fun. Yokozuna locks on the nerve pinch of extreme discomfort and Luger is fading. Luger powers his way back to his feet and breaks the hold, but Yokozuna knocks him right back down. Yokozuna goes back to the nerve hold, and it doesn’t look like Luger has much left. This goes on forever until Luger breaks it again. This time Yokozuna catches him with a belly-to-belly suplex. Yokozuna tries to ram Luger’s head into the exposed turnbuckle but Luger introduces the Champion to karma. Luger finally takes Yokozuna off his feet with a clothesline, and then he bodyslams him! He lands the Running Forearm, and Cornette and Fuji both get up on the ring apron. Luger fights them off and covers, but Perfect won’t count. Perfect is adhering to the rule book that says managers are not allowed in the ring, so he’s trying to get them out before he counts. A frustrated Luger puts his hands on Perfect and gets himself disqualified at 14:40! I swear about half of that match was Yokozuna holding Luger in the nerve hold. It had a few good moments, but was pretty dull for the most part. The finish sucked, but in the grand scheme of things it makes sense given where they were going. Luger continues to be perceived as a choke artist.
MATCH #7: Earthquake vs. Adam Bomb
Bomb’s manager Harvey Whippleman makes fun of Howard Finkel, and when The Fink stands up for himself by shoving Whippleman down on his keester, Bomb comes out to manhandle the ring announcer. Earthquake comes out to make the save and the match is on. It doesn’t take long for Earthquake to hit a belly-to-belly suplex, a powerslam, and then the Earthquake Splash to get the pin at 0:36. Squash.
MATCH #8: Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship – Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon
Ramon has been the champion since 10.11.93, and this is his fourth defense. Ric Flair basically describes this match as “Shawn Michaels wrestling a ladder while Scott Hall was there.” Sometimes Ric Flair doesn’t know what he’s talking about. They start with some pretty basic wrestling and Michaels throws Ramon to the floor, where Diesel levels him with a clothesline. Unfortunately for the challenger, the referee saw him do it and throws him out! Ramon is invigorated by his good fortune but it doesn’t last. He tries the Razor’s Edge but he’s too close to the ropes and Michaels back drops him to the floor. Michaels goes after the ladder, and winds up kicking it into Ramon’s midsection. It’s all Michaels now, as he creatively uses the ladder as a weapon. Michaels tries to climb the ladder, and we wind up seeing his ass instead. He gets a few more moves before Ramon can make a comeback. Now it’s all Ramon, and he too finds creative ways to use the ladder as a weapon. They go back and forth with the crowd getting louder with each new and awesome move. Michaels gets knocked off the ladder and gets tied up in the ropes, and Ramon takes the opportunity to climb up and grab the belts at 18:49. That’s another match that holds up remarkably well, as the psychology remain sound and Ramon’s selling for his smaller opponent was perfect. And what else can be said about Shawn Michaels? I also disagree with Flair; I think Ramon did his part, and there’s really no shame in being outshone by Shawn Michaels.
MATCH #9: WWF Championship Match – Yokozuna with Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette vs. Bret “Hit Man” Hart; Special Guest Referee: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
The Bret Hart video package that used to have Tom Petty’s “Makin’ Some Noise” is now some crappy generic instrumental rock track. Even worse, it doesn’t change to something menacing when the video shifts focus to the Champion. Burt Reynolds is the guest ring announcer, and Jennie Garth is the guest timekeeper. Yokozuna has been the Champion since 6.13.93, and this is his seventh defense. Bret gets attacked before he even gets all the way in the ring and Yokozuna has the early advantage. The Champion is dominant, and easily cuts off Bret’s comeback attempts. Yokozuna misses a big splash, buying Bret some time. Back on their feet Bret unloads with some right hands and foolishly goes for a headbutt. Both men go down from that. Back on their feet the tenacious Hit Man hammers Yokozuna down. Bret covers and Cornette pulls Piper to the floor. Piper decks Cornette to take him out of the equation. Yokozuna is able to reclaim control and he squashes Bret with a huge legdrop. He continues the abuse, but misses a charge in the corner. Bret follows up with a bulldog off the second rope but only gets a two-count. He goes to the second rope and drops the elbow for another near-fall. Bret takes Yokozuna off his feet with a big clothesline for two. He goes to the second rope and jumps right into a belly-to-belly suplex. Yokozuna drags Bret over to the corner for the Banzai Drop. Bret moves out of the way and Yokozuna crashes onto the mat. That’s enough for Bret to get the pin and win his second WWF Title at 10:39. Being the second match of the night for both of them, I think they did the best they could. They worked in some good spots and Bret looked great in felling the gargantuan Champion.
All the babyfaces and celebrities get in the ring to celebrate with the new Champion. Owen Hart comes out to watch, and just stares daggers through his older brother. Great ending.
Tags: Bret Hart, Lex Luger, WrestleMania, WWE, Yokozuna