Joel: Man we have had a bit of a roller coaster in quality these last few WrestleManias haven’t we? It seems like the past couple of higher quality events have been quickly followed by some of the harder to get through events and WrestleMania XI very much that. First of all, there were only seven matches on the card and in total, only about seventy-seven minutes of wrestling in the whole show (according to Wikipedia’s match times). The rest of the show is full, and I mean FULL of backstage skits and celebrity appearance. A rather sizable portion of the show is dedicated to trying to find Pamela Anderson who is supposed to walk Shawn Michaels to the ring, but seems to have gone missing somewhere backstage. Not to spoil the big twist for you, but she eventually appears on the arm of Diesel, Shawn’s opponent! There’s the big WrestleMania shocker for you.
WrestleMania XI is back to WrestleMania I levels of celebrity involvement, up to the point where, once again, the main event is a celebrity feud match with football player Lawrence Taylor facing off against Bam Bam Bigelow. Taylor brings the not-as-bad-as-I-expected-but-still-not-as-good-as-an-actual-wrestler-would-have-been level of skill that makes him one of the better celebrities but it’s not the type of match that should be main eventing a WrestleMania.
The thing is there’s nothing on the card to save the show. Bob Backlund and Bret Hart have an I Quit Match which is a far cry from the quality of match Bret Hart had last year. Undertaker increased his streak by beating King Kong Bundy in a match that lasted a grand total of six and a half minutes. Really, I’m just glad to get this one behind me.
Kue: Eleven wasn’t as bad as it was forgettable. And celebrity-packed. The billed main event, a clusterfuck of a match between Lawrence Taylor and Bam Bam Bigelow, had the football star going over the grappler at his own game. I’ll never understand the “celeb goes over actual wrestler” gimmick. A decent title match between Diesel/Michaels was somewhat overshadowed by their respective valets, Pam Anderson and Jenny McCarthy. Hart/Backlund was okay, but far too short. Ramon/Jarrett was too damn long for a Jarrett match. Hart and Yokozuna vs The Smokin’ Gunns was passable.
All in all, the show was pretty much in impactful.
Sanders: This was basically the “oh right, that happened” Wrestlemania because it’s full of moments that aren’t exactly important enough to remember exactly when it happened but they were momentous enough to remember that it happened. Like LT vs Bam Bam, it was kinda impressive to see LT be that involved in a match and I was about to crown him as the first celebrity to actually be involved in a Wrestlemania match but then I remembered that whole Mr. T nonsense. As much as I groan about celebrity involvement in any way with Wrestlemania, I’ve got nothing against celebrities getting into the ring and actually giving it an honest effort. And there was everything surrounding the main event and the absurd amount of celebrity involvement in that. Like Joel said, there was this entire backstage story about Pam Anderson and Jonathan Tayler Thomas was there and I just can’t deal with this stuff. It’s like Wrestlemania 27 when there was so much other stuff going on that the matches seem to be put on the back burner for the most part. Wake me up when we get to an actual wrestling event.
BD: Better than the previous 2 but still not great, WM11 actually doesn’t get enough praise. It was one of few good matches Nash has actually had, Bret had a good one against Backlund, and what also never gets said is just how good Bam Bam and LT were given that LT wasn’t a wrestler. One of the only good celebrity matches ever.
The interesting thing going through these is watching placements on the card go up and down, but with very little damage to the performer. Bret is the example here, fighting Backlund in the upper card based on a world title feud from months earlier, and not suffering for it. Guys seem to suffer when moving down the card like that these days.
Watch for Shawn to intentionally botch (according to Nash) his powerbomb in the World Title match. Nash was laughing on a shoot interview about this and said “Shawn’s my best friend and he wants my spot, so how does he try to convince McMahon? He takes the worst powerbomb in the history of pro wrestling.” He then busts out laughing and says “Shawn could STAND and take a powerbomb without anyone GIVING it to him better than he took the one from me in this match.”
Tags: Bam Bam Bigelow, clashy ring attire, Diesel, Kevin Nash, Shawn Michaels, Wrestlemania XI