WM PPV Countdown: #13 – WrestleMania V

In the old days when pay per views were few and far between they were treated as a very special thing and thus it was easier to create a supercard that was memorable for all the right reasons. It’s been said that Vince McMahon used to book a year at a time, starting at the next year’s WrestleMania and then worked backwards for the year to make the plan a reality. WrestleMania V is the perfect example of such a practice. From the moment Randy Savage won the WWF Championship at the WrestleMania IV the seeds were sown for the eventual Savage-Hogan showdown a year later.

The story went that Hogan and Savage had been friends and partners since WrestleMania IV, nearly a year earlier, but they had been getting into fights recently and were not really on the same page. The Mega Powers finally exploded in February ’89 on The Main Event during a match against The Twin Towers (Big Boss Man and Akeem.) The Twin Towers were in control of the match and ended up throwing Savage outside of the ring where he landed unintentionally on Miss Elizabeth. Savage came back into the ring to continue the match while Hogan jumped down to help Elizabeth. He ended up carrying her to the back for medical attention while Savage continued to get pounded by Akeem & Boss Man. Hogan soon returned to ringside to help out Savage. When Savage regained his composure he went over to his corner for a tag. He slapped Hogan in the face and walked off. Hogan put himself into a rage and took out both opponents.

But that was only the beginning of the story. After the match Hogan went to the backstage area where Elizabeth was still being looked after. Savage was there as well and accused Hogan of trying to steal Elizabeth. The two men got into a brawl backstage with Savage getting the upper hand. This officially signaled Savage’s return to being a bad guy and kicked off huge moneymaking storyline for the pair.

The match was one of Hogan’s best at the time, as Savage was notorious for pre-planning his big matches down the last detail. He was perfect to lead the showman-like Hogan through a great, hate-filled match that was desperately needed to “sell” the storyline. Miss Elizabeth stood in a neutral corner for the match, not cheering for either man. When the smoke cleared after almost twenty minutes, it was Hogan who stood tall, bleeding as he celebrated with his second WWF World Heavyweight Championship.

While WrestleMania V was clearly built on the backs of Hogan-Savage, even going so far as subtitling the event “The Mega Powers Explode,” there were plenty of other marquee matches that made the event memorable. Demolition, who were in the midst of their record breaking WWF World Tag Team Title reign beat their former manager Mr. Fuji and his new team of face painted monsters, The Powers of Pain, in a handicap match to retain the gold.

In the other Title match of the evening, the buzzsaw Intercontinental Champion Ultimate Warrior ran into arguably his greatest opponent of all time, Ravishing Rick Rude, and lost the Intercontinental Championship in the process. The two men would feud off/on for over a year after this but this was the opening salvo in the war, and not only produced one of Ultimate Warrior’s best matches but opened many people’s eyes to the kind of worker Rude was as well.

Plus Jake “The Snake” Roberts ended his long-standing rivalry with the legendary Andre the Giant based on the Giant’s fear of snakes. That factor helped equalize the two men as Andre’s size and experience would normally be enough to crush a guy like Roberts, but the fear of the python helped make the match seem more even. Roberts has gone on record as saying that he knew he had made it in the business when he got to work with Andre on such a grand stage as this, as he commented that only the main event guys got to work with Andre.

In addition to those marquee matches the show kept the WrestleMania celebrity tradition alive as rap icons Run DMC performed live, Rowdy Roddy Piper and Morton Downey, Jr. had a war of the words mid-ring and Donald Trump made an appearance, being that the event was hosted in his Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City.

Match Results:
– Hercules pinned King Haku.
– The Twin Towers (Akeem & The Big Boss Man) beat The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty).
– Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake fought to a double count out with “Million $ Man” Ted DiBiase.
– The Bushwackers (Luke & Butch) beat Jacques & Raymond Rougeau.
– Mr. Perfect pinned The Blue Blazer.
– Demolition (Ax & Smash) (c) beat Mr. Fuji and The Powers of Pain (Warlord & Barbarian) in a handicap match for the WWF World Tag Team Championships.
– Dino Bravo pinned Rugged Ronnie Garvin.
– The Brain Busters (Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard) beat Strike Force (Tito Santana & Rick Martel).
– Jake “The Snake” Roberts beat Andre the Giant by disqualification. Big John Studd was the special guest referee.
– The Hart Foundation (Bret “Hit Man” Hart & Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart) beat The Honky Tonk Man & Greg “The Hammer” Valentine.
– Ravishing Rick Rude pinned The Ultimate Warrior (c) to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship.
– Hacksaw Jim Duggan went to a double disqualification with Bad News Brown.
– The Red Rooster pinned Bobby “The Brain” Heenan.
– Hulk Hogan pinned “Macho Man” Randy Savage (c) to win the WWF World Heavyweight Championship.

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