This Smark Wrestlemania Rant by Scott Keith is part of a series of reposts counting down to this year’s Wrestlemania. They are re-published “as is” with relative commentary from when they were written. Enjoy!
The Netcop Retro Rant for Wrestlemania 2, the only one not to use roman numerals. This is also the debut of the floating WWF logo (“What the world is watching”) that is the WWF’s equivalent of the THX opening.
– Dumbest idea ever: This is live from three different locations.
– Live from Uniondale, New York.
– Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Susan Saint James. For those of you who have tuned out the 80s completely, Susan gained fame on a sitcom called “Kate & Allie”, although her initial celebrity push came from a show called “MacMillan and Son”. She has no connection to wrestling that I know of.
– Opening match: Magnificent Muraco v. Paul Orndorff. Orndorff hasn’t turned on the Orange Goblin yet at this point, but he’s getting close. Orndorff holds a wristlock for a couple of minutes, but Muraco dumps him over the top to escape and they fight to a double countout. And that’s our first DUD of the night…
– Intercontinental title: Randy Savage v. George Steele. Susan recaps the feud in two sentences. “He has this beautiful manager, he treats her like dirt. Animal is in love with her.” There ya go. Savage still doesn’t have the Memphis heel flushed out of his system yet, so he runs around the ring to escape Steele right away. And runs. And runs. Finally Steele catches him, but Savage runs away again. He brings back a bouquet of flowers and they beat each other up with that. No, really. Savage even sells it. Steele bites open the turnbuckle and rubs stuffing in Savage’s face, and Savage sells that too. More running, but Steele gets distracted talking to Liz (and I mean, really, who wouldn’t?) and Savage gets the double axehandle and big elbow, but Steele kicks out at two. Savage lures him into the corner and does the Ric Flair pin on him to retain the title. We’ll be generous and go -*
– George Welles v. Jake Roberts. Welles is some football player turned wrestler, and not a very good one at that. This is during the Snake’s initial heel push in the WWF. Welles is like a bulkier Virgil (or Vince, as the case may be). Welles decimates Roberts with some basic stuff (slams, forearms, a flying headscissors and powerslam) before a ringside chase leads to a Roberts kneelift as Welles comes back in. DDT and it’s over. Roberts got no offense before the finish. Welles gets the Damian treatment, of course. *
– Boxing match: Mr. T v. Rowdy Roddy Piper. This was set up by Saturday Night’s Main Event, as Piper and his, ahem, longtime companion Bob Orton pearl-harbored Mr. T during another boxing match. Piper gives a funny interview as he promises to quit boxing, wrestling, tiddlywinks and dating girls if T knocks him out. He pledges to keep Orton around, though. OOOOOOOO-kay, Roddy. Round one is pretty decent. I wonder if the actual boxing before the goofy ending was a shoot? Probably not. Round two sees them visibly pulling their punches, with Piper absolutely walloping T to the point where he’d be unconscious if it were real. Crowd actually starts chanting “Rowdy Roddy” for the mega-heel Piper. Piper knocks T down again at the bell. Piper is super-cocky in round three, goofing around to start. T of course takes advantage and slaughters Piper in the corner. T hits a phantom punch and Piper rolls out of the ring to recouperate, pretty much giving it away as a work right there. Of course, it’s being promoted by a guy who once fixed a Karate Fighters tournament, so it’s hardly surprising. Round four begins and they start wailing away with roundhouse shots that would kill the other guy if it was a shoot. Finally Piper has enough and he shoves the referee down and bodyslams Mr. T to draw the DQ. I don’t rate boxing matches (does rec.sport.boxing use a five-star system? I’ve never checked) but this was a pretty good fight for the first three rounds.
The Bottom Line: Well, that sucked. But the boxing match was pretty good.
– Live from Chicago, Illinois.
– Your hosts are Mean Gene, Gorilla Monsoon and Cathy Lee Crosby (from “That’s Incredible”)
– Opening match, Women’s title: Fabulous Moolah v. Velvet MacIntyre. This lasts about a minute, with Velvet missing something off the top rope and Moolah getting the pin. DUD
– Flag match: Nikolai Voloff v. Cpl. Kirschner. Winner gets to wave his country’s flag. Volkoff rams him into the post and then blades Kirschner right ON CAMERA while under the pretense of biting him. You can then see Volkoff putting the blade back into his tights. Kirschner rolls back and shoves the ref out of the way, then intercepts the cane tossed in by Freddie Blassie and nails Volkoff with it for the pin. Lasted all of a minute. DUD
– Bill Fralic and John Studd jaw at each other during an interview.
– 20 man football player/wrestler battle royale. Claire “Where’s the Beef” Peller is the guest timekeeper and Dick “Pat Patterson’s favorite wrestler” Butkus is the guest referee. Jimbo Cobert, Pedro Morales, Tony Atlas, Ted Arcidi, Harvey Martin, Dan Spivey, Hillbilly Jim, King Tonga (Meng), The Iron Sheik, Ernie Holmes, B. Brian Blair, Jim Brunzell, Big John Studd, Bill Fralic, Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart, Russ Francis, Bruno Sammartino, William “Refrigerator” Perry and Andre the Giant are the entrants, and if you haven’t heard any of those names that’s probably because they’re the football players. Andre and Studd go right to it, of course. Squint and Spivey looks like Hogan. Cobert and Tonga eliminate each other to start. Bruno dumps Ernie Holmes. Jim Brunzell gets triple teamed and knocked out. The Harts work together of course. Andre dumps Tony Atlas. Studd and Fridge are pounding on each other for a good chunk of this thing. Old man Bruno is holding his own pretty good. Morales and Harvey Martin go at the same time. Ted Arcidi tries to dump Blair, but he slips underneath and knocks out Arcidi. Spivey gets dumped by Hillbilly Jim, who is in turn dumped by Blair, who is dumped while doing the dumping by the Sheik. Fralic gets tossed by Studd. Bruno dumps the Sheik. Bruno works over Studd while the Hart Foundation double-teams Perry. Studd tosses Bruno. Studd and Perry do the big showdown, with the Fridge running into Studd’s elbow and getting tossed. Fridge offers Studd a handshake in friendship, and of course proceeds to pull Studd out. This leaves Andre, Russ Francis and the Hart Foundation. The Harts double-dropkick Andre into the ropes and then beat on Francis and dump him. They do the double-whip-tackle to soften him up, but on the second try Bret gets a foot in the face and Andre cleans house. Anvil gets the big boot and sells it so dramatically that he goes flying over the top rope, and then Bret comes off the top rope but gets caught and thrown out, giving the win to Andre. I don’t rate battle royales, but this wasn’t very good and way too fast.
– WWF tag team title match: The Dream Team v. The British Bulldogs. the Bulldogs have Ozzy Osbourne in their corner. The Bulldogs had been chasing the Dream Team all over hell’s half-acre for months prior to this, and this would be the last title shot for them. You know how much people worship Chris Benoit today? Benoit will NEVER be as good as Dynamite Kid. That’s what kind of talent the world lost to Dynamite’s back injury. Davey Boy is the Marty Jannetty of the Bulldogs, the one who wasn’t supposed to get the singles push, but did by default. It staggers the mind what Dynamite could have done in good health at this point in his career. Bulldogs just destroy Valentine and Beefcake with an awesome array of crisply delivered suplexes and clotheslines, but Beefcake lures Smith into the corner and Hammer comes off the top with a cheap shot to turn the tide. Bulldogs quickly reclaim it, but Valentine piledrives Dynamite (with a NASTY one, too) to get a couple of two counts. A pier-six erupts and Davey Boy comes in with a running powerslam for two. Hammer is actually playing a kind of heel in peril, taking a lot of punishment from the Bulldogs, presumably to showcase their offense to the casual fans. Davey Boy misses a charge to the corner and f*cks up his shoulder, putting him in the Ricky Morton role. Insane move as Brutus hammerlocks Davey Boy and then drops him right on his arm. Smith is insane to sell that crazy shit. Valentine hits a shoulderbreaker, but picks him up at two. Dynamite climbs to the top rope, and Smith shoves Valentine into Dynamite’s head and pins him out of nowhere to claim their first and only tag team title. ***1/2 Best match of the show, duh.
The Bottom Line: Tag title match is great, the rest is a pass.
– Live from Los Angeles, California.
– Your hosts are Jesse Ventura, Lord Alfred Hayes and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.
– Opening match: Ricky Steamboat v. Hercules Hernandez. Hernandez was nothing at this point. Well, he had a big afro, but that doesn’t count for much. Steamboat armdrags him into oblivion, thus showing where his early-RSPW nickname of “Armdragon” came from. Steamer does his usual double-leapfrog/elbow combo to a big pop, and back to move #193 (ARM-bar). Herc elbows out and stunguns Steamboat, but doesn’t follow up. Steamboat is totally carrying this thing, setting up Herc’s moves for him and selling melodramatically. Herc is terrible, plodding around and hitting the occasional power move. He stupidly goes to the top rope and runs into Steamboat’s knees, allowing Steamer to do the same and finish it with a flying bodypress. *1/2
– Adrian Adonis v. Uncle Elmer. Hey, hillbillies. Alright. Elmer is some big fat guy, who I believe wrestled in Japan as Kamala II or something. He batters Adonis with his bulk, but misses the big fat legdrop, allowing Adonis to go to the top for a big fat splash for the pin. DUD
– Tito Santana & Junkfood Dog v. Terry & Dory Funk. This is the final blowoff for the JYD v. Terry Funk feud that put Funk over as a crazy Texan. Terry was a spry 42 or so at this point, a mere lad compared to his decrepid state today. Funk does his goofy selling for Santana. Mucho stalling. JYD beats up Terry for more goofy selling. He goes over the top rope two or three times for good measure. Dory comes in with some uppercuts on Tito, but Tito hits the Flying Jalapeno out of nowhere to send the Texans scurrying to regroup. Santana gets kneed in the back and becomes Ricardo Morton. The Funks do some great old-school suplexes and general heel punishement on Santana. Terry misses a legdrop, which allows Santana to make the hot tag to JYD. Terry takes a wicked backdrop out of the ring. JYD even slams Terry through a table outside! He’s hardcore! JYD makes the mistake of going after Jimmy Hart, however, which allows Terry to get the megaphone and bop JYD for the winning pin. Good little match. ***
– Main event, WWF Title, cage match: Hulk Hogan v. King Kong Bundy. The deal is simple: Bundy kicked the crap out of Hogan on SNME and Hogan wants revenge. The “can he win it?” factor: Hogan’s ribs are taped from the initial attack. Hogan blitzes Bundy to start, but Bundy is Just Too Big ™ and delivers the usual punishment to Hogan. Dare I ask why Lee Marshall is at ringside for this? Interesting trivia note about this match: RSPW urban legend Steve DiSalvo was one of the guys who set up the cage. Bundy of course rips off the tape around Hogan’s ribs and chokes him out with it. Bundy gets rammed to the cage and blades. On camera. Hogan with the BACK SCRATCHES OF DOOM and more face-ramming. Sadly, the BODYSLAM OF DEATH doesn’t work on the first try. Bundy with the Avalanche and Big Fat Splash, but Hogan does the big hulk-up job. Another Avalanche and Hulk no-sells. Hulk inadvertantly expands his repretoire by powerslamming Bundy on a botched bodyslam, then he drops the leg and climbs out to retain the title. And being the sportsman that he is, he beats up poor Bobby Heenan after the match. Call it about *
The Bottom Line: Surprisingly good Funks match, the rest is a definite pass.
The Bottom Bottom Line: Nothing terribly historically significant about this show, and there’s a couple of good matches, but overall I wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
Tags: Scott Keith, SmarK Rant