For whatever reason, I decided that to celebrate the announcement of the 30 Years of Wrestlemania mode for WWE 2K14, I would go through all 29 Wrestlemania cards and pick out one match from each that I’d love to see make it in, and one that should definitely be out.
Note that for simplicity’s sake, I will be disregarding any Undertaker or Shawn Michaels matches; their careers are so inextricably linked to Wrestlemania that I wouldn’t be surprised if every one of their matches throughout the years makes it in. Second, I will disregard certain other iconic matches that will surely make the cards; everyone will expect them, so there’s no point repeating everyone else’s sentiments here. I will also disregard the final match on each card, for similar reasons. If it main evented a Wrestlemania, it obviously merits inclusion, and I’d rather focus on some other unsung matches.
King Kong Bundy def. SD Jones in 9 seconds
This is the match cited as the previous record for shortest match when Diesel beat Bob Backlund in eight seconds to kick off the New Generation era. It’s a very short match, but give Bundy herculean stats and a finisher & see if you can survive as a very low-rated SD Jones for 10 seconds to beat the record and you’ve got yourself a challenge.
David Sammartino goes to a double disqualification with Brutus Beefcake
Need I say more? These two never made it big anywhere, and the match ended with a garbage finish and STILL was the second-longest match on the card.
Randy Savage def. George “The Animal” Steele to retain the WWF Intercontinental Title
Really, really slim pickings this time around. Eliminating Hogan/Bundy from consideration, as well as the logistical impossibility that is the 20-man battle royal won by Andre the Giant really limits the name power of this Wrestlemania. The only other option was the British Bulldogs defeating Beefcake & Valentine for the WWF World Tag Team Titles, and as aforementioned, Brutus Beefcake is not someone worthy of a roster spot.
Corporal Kirchner def. Nikolai Volkoff, Flag match
A two minute flag match that ended with a pinfall, so by “Flag match” they apparently meant, “you get to wave your country’s flag after the match as well as before it” (not that Kirchner even bothered to do so; he took the American flag, got his hand raised and left). For reference, the entire match took less time than the entrances. This also includes Kathie Lee Gifford on commentary, as if it wasn’t bad enough. The things I sat through for this article.
Roddy Piper def. Adrian Adonis, Hair vs. Hair and Piper’s “retirement” match
This is the first real difficult decision of the article, as I was tempted to go with the Honky Tonk Man wrestling Jake Roberts. This one gets the nod because it does not require the inclusion of Alice Cooper the way HTM/Roberts would for the backstory. Both are decent matches, but the novelty of a hair vs. hair stipulation along with this being Piper’s “retirement” wins the day.
* Savage/Steamboat is omitted under the “Obvious Addition” stipulation.
Billy Jack Haynes goes to a double count-out with Hercules
Could there be a worse choice on this show? Fourth longest on the card, bad workers, meant nothing and had a bad finish.
Greg Valentine def. Ricky Steamboat in the WWF World Title Tournament quarter-finals
It was a good match, but the fact that it gave us Valentine/Savage instead of Savage/Steamboat 2 will go down as a missed opportunity. Back to severely limited decisions; Hogan/Andre is tempting, but a double DQ finish, and the fact that it’s confirmed to be in from Wrestlemania 3 anyway, eliminated it from my consideration.
One Man Gang def. Bam Bam Bigelow by count-out in the WWF World Title Tournament quarter-finals
Bad finish, very short match. Didn’t do anything long-term, and this is very young Bam Bam. Only served to give Savage back-to-back matches against opponents with byes the round before to hype up his eventual tournament victory.
Rick Rude def. Ultimate Warrior, winning the WWF Intercontinental Title
Spectacular match, Warrior finally loses, and this match would come into play over a year later as Rude cited himself as the only man who beat Warrior for a title & that’s why he could win (and in my opinion should have won) the WWF World Title.
Red Rooster def. Bobby Heenan
31 seconds, there for a laugh. I love Heenan, let’s not tarnish his legacy by showcasing him losing a throwaway match, especially after highlighting his managerial skill with the Rude win over Warrior.
Honorable mention goes to ESPN College Gameday’s Lee Corso defeating Iron Mike Sharpe in a dark match, if Wikipedia is anything to go by.
Not a lot of people researching Wrestlemania 5, apparently.
Demolition def. Colossal Connection for the WWF World Tag Team Titles
Andre’s final serious appearance on WWF programming featured a face turn on Bobby Heenan. I know I just mentioned preserving Heenan, but seeing Andre paintbrush him after Bobby goes just a little too far in blaming the big man for the loss is an iconic picture, only overwhelmed by Andre leaving in a sea of cheers shortly thereafter.
Roddy Piper and Bad News Brown go to a double count-out
Sense a pattern here? This match actually had some backstory with it but let’s not get into that. The bad finish ruins it.
Jake Roberts def. Rick Martel, Blindfold match
I loved this match. This is two guys who can’t see each other for 8 minutes, it had a great backstory and the match was unbelievably good considering the stipulation. Roberts is at the top of his game as the king of match psychology , and Martel more than holds his own against him.
* Savage/Warrior Career Threatening Match is omitted under the “Obvious Addition” stipulation.
Legion of Doom def. Power and Glory
Match ended in under a minute, Paul Roma sucks, at least it wasn’t a fuck finish.
Bret Hart def. Roddy Piper for the WWF Intercontinental Title
Another great storyline. Very tempted to omit this one on the same stipulation as Savage/Steamboat and Savage/Warrior, but considering I’m already eliminating nearly half the PPV as it is (Savage/Flair, Hogan/Sid Justice, HBK/El Matador and Undertaker/Roberts) I can’t afford to lose this one as well.
* Savage/Flair was billed as part of the Double Main Event, therefore it is omitted.
Owen Hart def. Skinner
I love Owen, but a 90 second match that served as a crowd calmer before Hogan/Sid Justice is not worthy of entry,. Even if it was, are we really including Skinner?
Doink def. Crush
This had a storyline, it involves heel Matt Borne Doink, a fake prosthetic arm, Steve Keirn as Doink II… and with Michaels & Taker out, along with Bret/Yoko and Hogan/Yoko being main event omissions again, my options are limited.
Razor Ramon def. Bob Backlund
This is before Backlund turned heel and actually got over with the New Generation “fans,” so here he is as someone hardly anyone recognized getting pinned clean in 4 minutes.
Check back tomorrow for the second part of this series, where I’ll cover Wrestlemania’s X through XIX.