Welcome to the second installment of the Ins and Outs of 30 Years of Wrestlemania. For those who missed it, here’s part one.
To briefly go over the concept, I’ve gone through all 29 Wrestlemanias and picked out one match from each that I feel warrants consideration for being included in the 30 Years of Wrestlemania mode in WWE 2K14, as well as one not-so-great match that doesn’t belong anywhere near the game. To make this article somewhat interesting, I’ve given myself a few constraints:
- No Undertaker or Shawn Michaels matches. Between The Streak and Mr. Wrestlemania, a huge chunk (if not all) of these matches will make the cut. No sense discussing them.
- No main events. This is defined for my purposes as the last match on the card as well as anything that received MAJOR main event billing (Wrestlemania VIII’s Savage/Flair was billed as part of the “Double Main Event”, so it is omitted; a World Heavyweight championship match receiving very little hype as in recent WMs would not be).
- Nothing I’d consider as an obvious inclusion. This covers the Savage/Steamboats of history; iconic matches that should make it in despite not including either of the two biggest Wrestlemania participants or being the final match on the card.
Now, on to Wrestlemania’s X through XIX!
Randy Savage def. Crush under “Falls Count Anywhere, but the match only ends when someone is pinned outside the ring and cannot return to the ring within 60 seconds” rules.
Another great Savage contribution to the PPV, despite some ridiculous rules. Savage ended up tying Crush’s feet together and suspending him from a pulley apparatus before pinning him and running back to the ring (before this, Savage forgot the rules and tried to pin Crush in the ring. Savage was really good at not remembering the rules of the matches he was in).
* Bret/Owen omitted under the “Obvious Inclusion” technicality.
Earthquake def. Adam Bomb
30 second match with a clean finish, but it did nothing. Surprise return for Earthquake defending Howard Finkel’s honor from his arch-nemesis Harvey Wippleman.
In: Bret Hart def. Bob Backlund in an I Quit match
This ended their feud and is a pretty decent match despite the pretty odd finish where Backlund never intelligibly quits but guest referee Roddy Piper calls it anyway.
Lex Luger & the British Bulldog def. Jacob & Eli Blu
Despite being Zeb Colter’s Wrestlemania debut as manager of the Blu Brothers, as “Uncle Zebekiah Blu,” this match was awful. Luger used his illegal forearm implant, and it was a win by sunset flip so it’s about as unclean as a clean face win can get. Neither team did anything before, during or after.
Ultimate Warrior def. Hunter-Hearst Helmsley
Haha, eat it HHH! 100 seconds, Warrior wins in a complete squash. Really limited here, only six matches made the PPV.
Steve Austin def. Savio Vega
Austin would go places after this match; Vega would only go far, far away from relevance.
Hunter Hearst-Helmsley def. Goldust
Good mind games match, which was decent if not way too long. My options are again heavily limited.
* Hart/Austin submission match omitted under “Obvious Inclusion” stipulation.
Legion of Doom & Ahmed Johnson def. Nation of Domination in a Chicago Street Fight
What a clusterfuck this match was, and it went 11 minutes (which means it was about 8 minutes too long).
Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie def. the New Age Outlaws in a Dumpster match for the WWF World Tag Team Titles
This was a continuation of their feud, and the odd stipulation made sense: to win you had to put both of your opponents in a dumpster and close the lid. The Outlaws got a steel cage rematch the following night on a technicality, joined DX and sent Cactus Jack spiraling into Dude Love.
LOD 2000 wins a 15 team battle royal, last def. the New Midnight Express
Really, 15 teams? It’s essentially a Royal Rumble with all 30 men in the ring, and if one member is eliminated his teammate is as well. It makes sense to do nothing, which is how Bob Holly and Bart Gunn make it to the finals as they were kings of doing nothing their entire careers.
Shane McMahon def. X-Pac for the WWF European Title
Shane is far more athletic than any of us would have thought and despite the Russo-riffic clusterfuck this match became, it was actually pretty good.
Butterbean def. Bart Gunn in the Brawl that Ended it All
38 second knockout by a pseudo-professional boxer of a wrestler. Killed Bart Gunn dead in the company.
Wrestlemania 2000 (XVI)
Edge & Christian defeat the Dudleyz and Hardys in a Triple Threat Ladder match for the WWF World Tag Team Titles
The precursor to the TLC saga, this was the best match on a lackluster card. Very tempted to have awarded it auto-inclusion status but having half the match’s lineup currently in TNA means it’s highly unlikely.
Catfight between The Kat and Terri
Good lord. Mae Young and The Fabulous Moolah mattered more here than the combatants, and coming in third (STILL ahead of the competitors) would be special guest referee Val Venis.
Wrestlemania X-Seven (XVII)
Gimmick Battle Royal
Most of the old-timers are on the roster anyway, why not?
* Angle/Benoit is omitted: it would be omitted under obvious inclusions if it weren’t an obvious exclusion, and Hardys/Dudleyz/E&C TLC II is omitted under the “Obvious Inclusions” technicality.
Chyna def. Ivory for the WWF Women’s Title
2 and a half minute squash to get the belt on Chyna.
Rob Van Dam def. William Regal for the WWF Intercontinental Title
A good match with the title on the line. Both men warrant inclusion in the game and in the mode. Again, pretty limited by the card here.
* Rock/Hogan is omitted because it’s already confirmed for the game.
Edge def. Booker T
This was all about a shampoo commercial. That’s about all I have to say about it.
Team Angle def. Los Guerreros and Benoit/Rhyno to defend the WWE Tag Team Titles
Benoit finally makes an appearance, out of necessity. HHH/Booker T has no business here, and the other big matches all fall under omissions.
* Hogan/McMahon and Rock/Austin are both omitted under the “Obvious Inclusion” stipulation.
Matt Hardy def. Rey Mysterio to defend the WWE Cruiserweight Title
A decent match, but it opened the PPV and only went 5 minutes for a midcard title, which was way too short. They could have pulled five minutes out of Hogan/McMahon easy, doubled this match and made it something far more.
Come back tomorrow for the final installment, where I wrap this up with Wrestlemanias XX through XXIX!