From the UK Special: Wrestlemania’s Greatest Upsets

Yes I knew I said I was doing Wrestlemania X-Seven today but recently Matthew Michaels gave me the all clear to do this column so I thought I would to add to Rumblemania that’s been going on throughout March here on Pulse Wrestling. I originally had this one in mind a while back but it was put to the back burner for other projects. However, Matthew said it would be okay for me to post it so here we go.

What really qualifies for a Wrestlemania upset? To do this column I took into account both storyline and backstage reasons for a match result and how that would effect the outcome. For instance, if SD Jones had beaten King Kong Bundy at Wrestlemania 1 then that would definitely had been an upset because he was a total jobber and Bundy was a monster heel. However, if Shawn Michaels had beaten Steve Austin at Wrestlemania XIV that could be classed as an upset because his back was falling to pieces and Austin’s star was on the rise. I decided to pick 5 results that I think you could classify as a Wrestlemania upset. Feel free to send me your own and disagree with me.

5 – L.T. actually beats Bam Bam Bigelow at Wrestlemania XI

Come on anyone who thought that L.T. would actually win this is a bare faced liar. I mean he was a footballer with pretty much no experience facing cagey veteran Bigelow. Of course you could argue that it was clear L.T. would win because it was the result that would create the most buzz but COME ON! He’s a footballer. I’ll say that again. HE’S A FUCKING FOOTBALLER! Footballer he is. Bigelow is a wrestler, a scary big wrestler with a tattoo on his head. What f*cking chance did L.T. have? First time I saw this show I expected Bammer to eat L.T. alive in 5 minutes. However, L.T. pulled off the upset and not only beat Bigelow 1,2,3 but actually did it rather convincingly. You’d expect some shenanigans in his victory but he pretty much beat Bigelow clean as a sheet with no excuses. That’s an upset in my book.

4 – Hulk Hogan doesn’t make it past round 1 in the Championship Tournament at Wrestlemania IV

Again, you could be arsey and say “Come on Mike there’s no way Hogan was winning that tournament. It was Savage’s tournament to lose”. To that I say “Shut your mouth Jive Soul Bro” or something to that effect anyway. Even if Hogan wasn’t to win the tournament after all he certainly was one of the favourites going in, and even so you’d expect him to get past Andre and at least get a match with Ted Dibiase. Granted, the whole Double DQ thing was a good piece of storytelling that added to the drama of everything but, when you get down to the nitty gritty of things, Hogan should have dispatched Andre with relative ease. I mean he beat him at Wrestlemania III and it took a dodgy ref for Andre to beat him the other time. If you totalled all their major matches together Hogan beat Andre many a time more than Andre beat Hogan. So, the fact that Hogan went out in round 1 is a bug upset in my mind. You can tell by the shocked Trump Plaza’s response that they felt Hogan was a shoo-in to advance and face his mortal foe Dibiase. He didn’t, Andre stopped him, even when his chances looked slim. What an upset huh?

3 – Jeff Jarrett somehow escapes Wrestlemania XI with his Intercontinental Championship

At the 1995 Royal Rumble Jeff Jarrett beat Razor Ramon by the skin of his teeth to become the IC Champion. It was an absolute fluke that could be credited mainly to the interference of his annoying Roadie Jesse James. Yes, BG James was playing Jarrett’s bitch and almost single-handedly won him the belt by clipping Ramon’s leg. Wrestlemania XI was the show where Razor would get his revenge and he even had his buddy 1-2-3 Kid to watch his back and take care of the pesky Roadie. That, in a wrestling scenario, is normally a sign that the paper champion heel will finally get pummelled by his baby face nemesis and all will be right with the world. Not so this time my young padawan. You see, against nearly every law of wrestling logic, Double J, the fluke champ, managed to get himself DQ’ed and saved himself from his deserved defeat. I think every fan in the universe expected Razor to beat Jarrett from pillar to post and smash him with the Razor’s Edge and end the joke of a title reign that Jarrett was on. However, Jarrett was like a resilient shit stain on your favourite pair of boxer shorts and escaped with his belt once again by not just the skin of his teeth but by his teeth’s shoes, hats, caps and fancy trousers that it would wear on special occasions, like a funeral or bar mitzvah. Flukey Jeffrey managed to survive once again, pulling a major upset along the way.

2 – Rick Rude beats Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania V and becomes a legit upper card attraction

Come on, who honestly thought that Rick Rude could pull off the big upset and beat Warrior for his belt? Warrior looked invincible around this time frame, and actually pummelled Rude to pieces during most of the match, yet Rude was still able to get the win. Granted, he did it in the screwiest way possible, needing assistance from his manager Bobby Heenan to keep Warrior’s shoulders down for three, but a wins a win as they say. This wasn’t just a win though, it was one of the biggest upsets of the whole year of 1989 in the WWF and it happened at the biggest show of the year. I think if you really want to talk about Wrestlemania upsets then this one has to rate up there. Most fans expected Warrior to eat Rude alive but Rude proved them all wrong and got the big W on his record, and the shiny belt that came with it. Definitely a Wrestlemania upset that we won’t forget any time soon.

1 – Yokozuna beats Bret Hart to win the WWF Championship at Wrestlemania IX

Now I know Yokozuna was a big freak of nature, in the nicest way possible of course, but even most fans would have had to be shocked to see him actually beat Bret Hart, one of the companies top baby faces, at the show where face’s generally triumphed against insurmountable odds. Bret was popular with the crowd and was respected as a wrestling technician. Despite being much smaller than Yoko most of the fans still thought that the Hitman should be able to retain his title. Indeed he would have if Mr. Fuji hadn’t interfered. The fact that Yoko looked so weak in winning the belt, needing salt in the eyes from his diminutive manager to get the pin, has to make his title win an upset. Indeed, Bret had him cut, drawn and pasted before the dastardly manger got involved. To this day I still think this is Wrestlemania’s biggest upset because it generally made no sense and led to washed up Hulk Hogan getting the belt again. Jobbing your top baby face to your novelty act heel isn’t a good business move and Yoko winning the belt must surely be classed as Wrestlemania’s biggest upset.