(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)
March 20, 1994
Madison Square Garden
New York City, New York
This blog moved to www.classicwrestlingreview.com
Since the first WrestleMania took place in Madison Square Garden, Vince wanted to return there for the tenth. (They would also return for Mania 20, but not 30.) They billed this event as ten years in the making, despite it only being nine years since the first Mania. (The WWF always has trouble with the difference between annual and anniversary. I don’t think they ever fully learn that lesson.) The event is headlined by not one, but two WWF title matches. The Royal Rumble ended in controversy, so Jack Tunney announced that both Bret Hart and Lex Luger would receive a title opportunity. He held a coin toss to determine who would wrestle first and Luger won. Lex would get the first crack at Yokozuna with Bret facing the winner later in the night. However, Bret also has to wrestle another match to keep it fair. His opponent was an obvious choice. Bret would face his brother Owen to hopefully settle their differences. Also, Tunney announced that both WWF title matches would have a special guest referee. All parties agreed upon the refs, but they wouldn’t be revealed to the fans until Mania. The other marquee match for this event would be a Ladder Match to determine the undisputed Intercontinental Champion. Shawn Michaels was still claiming to be the real champion, so both belts would hang above the ring and the winner would have to climb a ladder and retrieve them.
Meanwhile, there is some behind the scenes news to cover. Jerry Lawler returned to the WWF after being acquitted on statutory rape charges. He resumed his commentary role and even made an appearance on Radio WWF where Vince teased him about his troubles by asking if he had a hot date that night. (That’s a bit of poor taste.) However, Lawler wasn’t the only news regarding the commentary team. Jim Ross was released from the company. His initial contract was coming to an end and J.R. had his first bout of Bell’s Palsy. Vince didn’t think that he could put someone with partial facial paralysis on TV, so he released Jim. He would rehire him later in the year, but this firing would be a point of contention between the two men over the years. (It would even be used as part of the storyline where Ross turns heel, but we will get to that at a later date.)
The show opens with clips of the first WrestleMania set to some sappy nostalgia-inducing music. Then, the theme changes to the classic 90s Mania tune while they show shots of Bret Hart and Lex Luger looking pensive and Yokozuna looking—hungry. The words “Ten years” flash across the screen even though the date of the first Mania was on screen seconds before that.
Vince McMahon then welcomes everyone to Madison Square Garden and WrestleMania X before introducing the original wild man of Rock & Roll, Little Richard. (Vince is probably thinking, “Wait, I wanted Johnny B. Badd! Who is this guy!?”) Richard and a church choir sing “America the Beautiful”. He puts a bit of his own flair on it and adds a few extra lyrics. I thought it was a bit drawn out and overdone for my taste.
Vince praises the performance and says that Little Richard is considered the original King of Rock & Roll. He uses that as a transition to introduce his broadcast partner, Jerry Lawler. He joins Vince and tries to make a joke about Richard’s voice. He says that Little Richard’s underwear was too tight, but he stumbles over his words and Vince gives the camera an annoyed expression. Lawler then says he can’t wait to see Yokozuna retain his title.
Then, they recap the Bret/Owen feud. Todd Pettengill narrates a video package that shows clips from Survivor Series and Royal Rumble. They show Bret refusing to face Owen and then they show Owen turning on Bret at the Rumble. They also show Owen accusing Bret of holding him down his whole life. Owen says there’s no law that says being older makes you better.
Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart
The ring announcer, Bill Dunn, decides to be a bit sneaky. He begins his introduction by mentioning Calgary, Alberta, Canada, which makes the crowd think it’s Bret. However, Owen’s music plays and the cheers turn to boos. Vince says that Owen is stepping out of the shadows of the entrance, which is symbolic of him stepping out of Bret’s shadow. Owen is wearing a pair of Bret’s shades and he rips them up while posing on the turnbuckles. Then, Bret makes his entrance and we get a great camera shot of him walking down the aisle that is used in video packages for years. Bret gives his shades to a kid who sticks out his tongue, so Lawler jokes that the kid is an Owen fan.
They lock-up to a stalemate, but Owen celebrates anyway. Then, they trade mat holds and takedowns until Bret sends Owen flying through the ropes. Owen takes exception and slaps Bret. He also tries to use his athleticism and some hair-pulling to gain control, but Bret keeps gaining the advantage. The match turns to shoving and Bret returns the earlier slap, but Owen soon surprises him with a wheel kick. He sends Bret to the floor and rams him into the post before working on Bret’s back. Owen keeps control with various suplexes and even a Tombstone. (I know Taker isn’t on the show, but that’s still odd.) However, Owen misses a flying headbutt and Bret starts hitting some of his signature moves. Both men end up reversing through Sharpshooter attempts and they fight to the floor. Bret then hits a slingshot cross body, but he hurts his knee in the process. Owen sees this and attacks the leg before locking Bret in a Figure Four. He reverses it and hits Owen with a bulldog, a piledriver, and a superplex. He also locks Owen in a sleeper, but Owen hits a sneaky low-blow and puts Bret in the Sharpshooter. Bret ends up reversing it, but Owen makes it to the ropes. Then, Bret catches Owen with a boot in the corner and goes for a Victory Roll, but Owen sits down on him and gets the three-count!!
This was an amazing match. They told a great story and set a perfect pace. Plus, they set up a plot device for later because now Owen has a rightful claim to a title match if Bret wins the belt. It was the perfect opener to a PPV. Also, it was structured in a way that made both men look strong. Owen looks like a star and now Bret has adversity to overcome later in the show.
Winner: Owen Hart (20:21)
Owen is in shock at first, but he quickly celebrates and even flips Bret the bird. Bret mouths that Owen got him and even applauds after Owen leaves. Then, Todd catches up with Owen in the back and asks how he’s feeling. Owen says he feels great and he’s on cloud nine. He says he told everyone he would win and now he’s the best there is, best there was, and best there ever will be. Todd asks if Owen thinks Bret will be able to compete in the WWF Title Match. Owen says he takes nothing away from Bret, but after the beating he gave him, he won’t be able to win the title. Then, Todd ends the segment by introducing a WrestleMania moment from Mania 2. (Owen did this entire promo with a glob of spit clinging to his mouth. It was a good promo, but poor Owen can’t seem to catch a break. You couldn’t help but notice it.)
Next, Bill Dunn introduces the president of the Hair Club for Men, Sy Sperling. He faces away from the hard cam (I guess they didn’t coach him) and introduces his newest project, Howard Finkel. The Fink finally has a head full of hair, which the fans applaud. He asks them what they think and then awkwardly waits for his cue to announce the next match.
Mixed Tag Team Match: Bam Bam Bigelow & Luna Vachon vs. Doink & Dink
This feud is sadly still going, but at least the WWF finally got Bam Bam & Luna in a mixed tag. They wanted to do one at the last SummerSlam, but that fell apart. Mixed Tag Team rules means the men face the men and the women—wait, Dink isn’t a woman. I guess since he’s a little person, that means it’s acceptable intergender wrestling. Vince jokingly says, “Boy is this ever mixed!” (Is Vince implying that dwarfism is its own gender? I’m pretty sure Dink is still a man.) When Doink & Dink enter the arena, Doink squirts Sy Sperling with his joke flower. Vince mentions that Sy said you could shower with the new hair, so it should be fine. Doink then enters the ring, but Bam Bam immediately attacks him.
Bam Bam dropkicks and slams Doink, but he misses a Senton Splash and an elbow drop. Doink uses the opening to tag Dink, who threatens Bam Bam. Luna enters the match, but Dink slaps her on the butt. She answers by choking him on the ropes and hitting a running attack, but she misses a second one. Dink then runs circles around her until she kicks him in the chest. Then, she misses an elbow and Dink misses a flying—something. Luna attempts to splash Dink off the top rope, but she also misses that. Dink finally tags Doink again and Bam Bam clotheslines him out of the ring, so Dink distracts Bigelow and Luna to buy Doink some time. Doink returns and attempts a sunset flip, but Bam Bam sits on him. Bam Bam then charges at Doink, but he boots Bigelow and hits a DDT. He also attempts the Whoopie Cushion, but he misses and Bigelow hits some clotheslines. Then, Bam Bam is distracted when he runs into Dink on the apron, but he manages to reverse a back suplex. Bigelow follows that up with some headbutts on the mat and from the top rope for the win.
It’s nice to see Bigelow finally get a win in this feud, but this wasn’t much of a match. There were some amusing moments, but it was largely forgettable. It was a weak blow-off to a rivalry that had gone on longer than it should. I’m glad they kept it short. (I think even the WWF realized this had run its course.) Perhaps Bam Bam can move on to better things now.
Winners: Bam Bam & Luna (6:09)
After the match, Dink starts kicking Bam Bam, so Luna attacks him. Both Bam Bam and Luna go for a splash, but Dink moves. Luna hits her splash, but Bigelow misses. Doink then manages to run them off while he checks on Dink, but then “Hail to the Chief” begins playing. Vince is confused until they show a Bill Clinton impersonator in one of the private boxes. You can see both Jack Tunney and IRS with him. Then, Vince introduces another Mania moment from WrestleMania III. They talk about the attendance record and Hogan vs. Andre. (I’m almost surprised Vince even showed Hogan since he’s in the middle of talks with WCW now.)
Falls Count Anywhere Match: Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Crush (w/ Mr. Fuji)
The rules of this one are a bit strange. You can pin your opponent anywhere in the building, but then they have sixty seconds to return to the ring or the match ends. (Falls don’t actually count anywhere if you can’t pin them in the ring. This stipulation makes no sense.) Savage makes his entrance to a great ovation and shakes hands with Vince, who says it doesn’t get any better than that right there. (Then why is Vince only using him in a limited capacity? He doesn’t even have Savage doing commentary anymore. Randy was suspended from commentary during this feud for attacking Crush.) Crush then enters the arena with Mr. Fuji, but Savage jumps Crush in the aisle.
Crush quickly gains the advantage with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and then press slams Randy onto the guardrail for the first pin. Savage crawls back, but Fuji hits him with the Japanese flag and Randy barely makes it into the ring before the count. Crush then hangs Savage in a tree of woe and attacks him before Fuji hands Crush some salt. However, Randy knocks the salt into Crush’s face and hits a flying axehandle. He also slams him and hits the flying elbow, but he has to push him to the floor for the pin. (That’s awkward.) Fuji slaps Crush to try and wake him. It doesn’t work, so he dumps a pitcher of water on him instead. Crush rolls inside just in time, but Savage continues his attack. They fight to the floor and over the rail, but Crush hits a thrust kick. He then attempts a piledriver, but Savage back drops him and they continue brawling. The fight spills backstage and Savage rams Crush through a door. He then pins Crush next to a scaffold and turns to leave, but he gets an idea. Randy takes some rope and ties Crush’s legs to the scaffold. He hangs Crush upside down and leaves. Crush slumps to the floor after a few seconds, but it’s enough to prevent him from answering the count.
This match didn’t have enough time to build any momentum and the stipulation made it awkward. If they had done a regular Falls Count Anywhere Match, it might have been decent. Savage has the intensity to make such a match good. However, this match fell flat and was over so quickly that it didn’t amount to much. It didn’t feel like a proper end to a heated feud that has been building for months. This was disappointing.
Winner: Randy Savage (9:49)
Meanwhile, Todd Pettengill is in the Presidential Box with “Bill Clinton”. Todd says he’s nervous, but he asks the Clinton impersonator how he’s enjoying the show. Bill says he’s always been a wrestling fan and he wouldn’t miss this show for the world. Todd then asks if Bill is aware that Irwin R. Schyster is there. Bill says he’s had his problems with the IRS, but they’re going to work on it. IRS then thanks Clinton for the opportunity, praises his work, and congratulates Clinton on raising the taxes. He says it’s about time the tax cheats pay their fair share. (You know Vince was chuckling to himself through this entire segment. He probably thought he was really clever.)
Next, they show clips of Fanfest. They had a dunk tank with Doink the Clown, action figure stands, autograph and photograph opportunities, and even a chance for fans to call a match. They also had a display of the Undertaker’s caskets. (Paul Bearer was there, but I didn’t see Taker.) There was even another clown on stilts that Pettengill calls Happy Jack. (This guy was nightmare fuel. I mean Happy Jack, not Todd. Although, Todd is nightmare fuel too.) Then, they also show Savage celebrating in the Paramount Theater before Vince introduces the Mania moment from WrestleMania IV. They show Savage winning the tournament to become WWF Champion.
Women’s Title Match: Alundra Blayze (c) vs. Leilani Kai
In late 1993, Vince decided to revive the women’s division. He hired the former Madusa from WCW and renamed her Alundra Blayze. (Madusa had trademarked her name, but Vince didn’t want to pay her to use it.) Alundra won the title in a tournament, but this is the first time it appears on PPV. She is defending it against a veteran of the first Mania, Leilani Kai, who is already in the ring after the previous segment. (Lawler jokes that Leilani is quite the looker, but he mocks Alundra for her looks.) Blayze gets some pyro for her entrance, so they’re taking this seriously—for now. (We will see how long that lasts.) However, the production truck gets confused and puts Owen Hart’s name on screen while they show Alundra. (I get that they both have long blonde hair, but that’s ridiculous.)
Leilani hits a shoulder block, but Blayze uses her quickness to surprise her with two variations of the sunset flip. Kai answers with a choke-lift, a headbutt, and a slam, but Alundra responds with a hurricanrana. Leilani tries to buy some time by throwing Blayze to the floor and then whips Alundra around by the hair. She follows that with a butterfly suplex, but Alundra fires back with a clothesline, a spin kick, and a vertical suplex. Then, Blayze returns the favor by whipping Leilani around by the hair and catches Kai in a bridging German suplex for the win.
This was a solid but short bout. It did a good job showcasing Alundra’s moves. She looked impressive in the win and beating a women’s star of the past is a good way to make her look important. I think both women performed well. I don’t know how long it was since Leilani wrestled, but she didn’t do too badly. However, they’re going to need to bring in more current women to make the division work. We shall see if that happens.
Winner: Alundra Blayze (3:20)
Alundra celebrates her win while they show some legends in the audience. Moolah, Mae Young, Nikolai Volkoff, Lou Albano, and Freddie Blassie all seem impressed. Then, Vince introduces the Mania moment from WrestleMania V. They show the clip of Piper’s Pit where Piper uses a fire extinguisher on Morton Downey Jr. (I guess they didn’t want to show too many Hogan clips.) Next, Oscar raps Men on a Mission to the ring for their match, but he sounds almost immediately out of breath. He kind of mumbles and I swear he said something about Simon Cowell. (I probably misheard that.)
Before the match starts, Todd Pettengill is backstage with the host of USA network’s Up All Night, Rhonda Shear. However, Shawn Michaels interrupts and sends Todd packing. He tries to get a picture with Rhonda, but Burt Reynolds shoves the photographer away and takes Shawn’s place. Shawn takes exception and asks Burt if he minds, but Reynolds tells Shawn to go shave his chest because it’s gross. Michaels unzips Burt’s jacket to see what he’s got, but he only finds a dress shirt underneath. Shawn then leaves in frustration while Burt flirts with Rhonda. Burt says he wants to go to Fanfest, so Rhonda asks him to take her too. He then says he will take her anywhere she wants to go, which causes her to faint. (That was an odd but amusing segment. Also, I noticed Burt was wearing a Florida State jacket. I wonder if he was disappointed to find out Ron Simmons isn’t in this company—yet.)
Tag Team Title Match: Men on a Mission (w/ Oscar) vs. The Quebecers (c) (w/ Johnny Polo)
They return to the arena to find the Quebecers in the middle of their entrance. (Neither team got a full entrance. They had to make sure they did the Burt Reynolds segment instead.) Vince mistakenly calls them the Mounties, but he quickly corrects himself. Also, Lawler makes a joke about helping M.O.M. lose weight. He says they’d never want to eat again if he showed them Alundra Blayze’s face. (He spent all of the last match and the entrances for this one making fun of her. I hope it wasn’t Vince who told him to do that.)
The Quebecers immediately jump Men on a Mission and throw Mo to the floor. They double team Mabel until he hits a double clothesline. Then, Mo and Pierre officially begin the match. M.O.M. quickly gain control and double team Pierre while Lawler jokes that Mabel was baptized at Sea World. Jacques enters the match illegally to stop the attack and then distracts the ref so Pierre can choke Mo with the tag rope. Jacques then back drops Pierre onto Mo both in and outside the ring. They also give Mo a double team hotshot. Mo almost makes a tag after a rolling kick, but he finally gets it when Pierre misses a flying leg drop. Mabel cleans house with a back drop and a sidewalk slam, but he misses a corner charge. The Quebecers try to capitalize with a double suplex, but they hurt their backs and argue with each other. However, they get it on the second try. They also hit the Cannonball, but Mabel kicks out at two! They try to follow up with more double teaming, but there’s a miscommunication and Mo rides on Mabel’s back for an assisted splash. Mabel goes for a cover, but the ref is distracted by Oscar and Polo fighting. The match then spills to the floor where M.O.M. hit another assisted splash, but it causes Pierre to be counted out for the loss.
The match was fairly fun. It had some nice spots, but that finish was disappointing. I get that they want to continue the feud, but this is Mania. There should be a more decisive finish on this stage. You could tell that ending deflated the crowd. They were into the match before that. This feud would continue and M.O.M would win the tag titles on a house show. However, they weren’t supposed to. Mabel apparently knocked the wind out of Pierre on a splash and he didn’t kick out in time. They would drop the titles back to them on another show, but it is an amusing footnote.
Winners: Men on a Mission (by Count Out) (7:41)
After the match, Men on a Mission grab the belts despite not winning them. Polo and the Quebecers complain, but they end up leaving without their titles. Then, Vince introduces the Mania moment from WrestleMania VI. They show clips of Hogan/Warrior, but Gorilla Monsoon makes sure to point out that it proved no one is unbeatable. (There’s the dig. I knew Vince wouldn’t let it go that Hogan is flirting with the competition.)
WWF Title Match: Yokozuna (c) (w/ Jim Cornette & Mr. Fuji) vs. Lex Luger
Before the match, Fink introduces the celebrity guests. Donnie Wahlberg is the ring announcer and Rhonda Shear is the timekeeper. (The production truck screws up again by showing Donnie’s name while Rhonda is on screen.) Then, Donnie introduces the special ref for the match—Mr. Perfect. He’s wearing a full black and white striped outfit that looks a bit ridiculous. Lawler accuses Luger of hand-picking Perfect, but Vince says everyone agreed on the decision. Yoko enters first and then Luger enters to a new theme. (It’s kinda generic, but I like it better than “Stars & Stripes Forever”.) Vince starts marking out over Luger and says the fans are ready for a new WWF Champion. (He’s not wrong, but I don’t think they want Luger.)
The match starts with shoving and punching until they trade clotheslines. Yoko misses an elbow and Lex knocks him to the floor where they brawl. Then, they head back inside and Luger hits a flying cross body and an elbow drop. Yoko tries to fight back, but Luger stops him and attempts a slam. However, Yoko falls on him. Cornette then distracts the ref and Yoko removes a turnbuckle pad. He doesn’t use it immediately. He chooses to use a nerve hold instead. In fact, he keeps returning to the nerve hold multiple times. (You can hear the crowd begin to groan around the third time.) Luger keeps fighting back until Yoko catches him in a belly-to-belly and finally decides to use the exposed buckle. However, Lex reverses the move and knocks Yoko down with clotheslines. He then successfully slams Yoko and hits the running forearm, but Cornette and Fuji both climb up on the apron. Luger pulls both of them into the ring and attacks them before going for a cover. Unfortunately, Mr. Perfect focuses on Fuji and Cornette instead of counting. Luger becomes frustrated and shoves Perfect, so Perfect has enough and calls for the bell.
Much like their SummerSlam match, this had a hot start and then slowed to a crawl. The endless nerve holds killed this match. Yoko needs to be in the ring with someone with good conditioning to have a decent match and Luger isn’t that person. It also didn’t help that the match had a lame finish. This was not good. I get they weren’t going to put the title on Lex, but they could have done better. (This was supposed to lead to a Luger/Perfect feud, but Perfect’s back problems prevent that from happening.)
Winner: Yokozuna (by DQ) (14:40)
The Fink announces the result and some fans applaud. (You can tell they want Bret to win the title instead.) However, some fans also start a bullshit chant. Pettengill stops Perfect backstage and asks for an explanation. Perfect says you never put your hands on an official. Then, Luger storms backstage and demands one good reason for Perfect’s decision. Perfect tells him you don’t throw managers in the ring and you don’t touch an official. Luger accuses him of having a problem with him and tells him his decision is bogus. They yell at each other, but officials prevent them from fighting. Vince says Luger was robbed, but Lawler thinks it’s great. Vince then surprisingly draws attention to the bullshit chant. Vince also introduces the Mania moment from WrestleMania VII, which is the Blindfold Match.
Earthquake vs. Adam Bomb (w/ Harvey Wippleman)
The Fink introduces Harvey Wippleman before the match, but Harvey snatches the mic and mocks Fink. He calls Finkel a piece of Yankee garbage and makes fun of his looks. He then rips Fink’s suit, so Finkel shoves Harvey to the mat. Adam Bomb runs to the ring to defend his manager, but Earthquake follows closely behind him. Bomb threatens Fink, but Quake attacks him.
Quake gives Bomb a belly-to-belly suplex and then hits a powerslam. Then, he stomps around the ring and hits the Earthquake Splash for the quick victory.
That wasn’t long enough to even call a match. I guess they’re pressed for time. I also have to wonder if Adam Bomb was in the doghouse. He went from being their new monster to getting squashed in seconds. Quake had only recently returned to the company after some time in Japan. This was time-filler and nothing more. Most fans probably forgot about it within a week. (Vince makes sure to mention that Quake and Yoko might face someday, so I guess that’s why they wanted Quake to look strong.)
Winner: Earthquake (0:35)
Meanwhile, Todd is backstage waiting for Yokozuna. He talks about the Luger match until Cornette enters the room. Todd mentions the controversy, but Jim reminds him that Yoko is still champion. Yoko then arrives and shoves Todd while Cornette compares Luger to a purring kitten. He then says that he who made kittens also put snakes in the grass. Jim says that Perfect did a great job as an official and then Cornette addresses Bret Hart. He calls him a punk and questions whether he will come out of the match with his health and career intact. He mocks Bret for losing to Owen and brings up the knee injury. Then, Jim compares Yoko to a sleeping giant and a shark. He says Bret is the blood in the water that will kick off the feeding frenzy. Yoko then yells banzai to finish before Todd introduces a Mania moment from WrestleMania VIII, which is simply the appearance of the Undertaker. (I guess they didn’t want to mention Hogan again and they certainly weren’t mentioning Flair.)
Ladder Match for the Undisputed Intercontinental Title: Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels (w/ Diesel)
This was not the first Ladder Match in the WWF. It sometimes gets treated as if it is, but Bret and Shawn had one in ‘92 that was released on home video. Stampede Wrestling invented the Ladder Match in the 80s and Bret brought the idea to Vince. The ‘92 match was a trial run, but this is the first time the WWF put a Ladder Match on PPV. Both belts are already hanging above the ring before the entrances. Shawn makes his entrance and steps around the ladder rather than tempt bad luck. He’s wearing a pair of flip-down shades with targets on the lenses, but he’s also wearing new tights. (He’s switched from the animal print to his classic heart logo.) Razor enters next, but he has no issue walking under the ladder, which Lawler thinks has sealed his fate.
They trade reversals and punches to begin until Shawn sends Razor to the floor. Diesel clotheslines him, but Earl Hebner notices and yells at him. Diesel claims Earl didn’t see anything, but Hebner is having none of that and ejects Diesel from ringside. Meanwhile, Razor and Shawn fight in and out of the ring and Razor pulls up the mats to expose the concrete. However, it’s Razor that lands on it when Shawn reverses a Razors Edge into a back drop out of the ring. Shawn then grabs the ladder, but Razor stops him and places it on the apron. Shawn answers by baseball sliding into the ladder, which knocks it into Razor’s ribs. Shawn also rams it into Razor’s gut and drops it on his back. Michaels then climbs the ladder, but Razor stops him by grabbing the tights and exposing Shawn’s butt. Michaels kicks him away and hits an elbow drop before slamming Razor and hitting a flying splash off the ladder! Shawn tries to climb again, but Razor pushes the ladder. Ramon finally takes control after a collision and he keeps sending Shawn to the floor. He hits him with the ladder and catapults him into it before climbing for the first time. However, Shawn stops him with a flying axehandle. Both men then end up climbing and Razor slams Shawn off the top, but the ladder buckles. Then, Shawn stops another attempt by dropkicking the ladder. He follows that up by hitting a superkick and a piledriver before riding the ladder down onto Razor’s body. Next, Shawn sets up the ladder over Razor and climbs, but Ramon shoves it over and Shawn is crotched on the ropes. Unfortunately, his leg gets tangled and he watches in horror as Razor begins climbing. Shawn tries to get free, but his arm gets caught and Razor retrieves the belts.
This was absolutely great. I think it still holds up to this day even though ladder matches have evolved. There weren’t as many high spots as there are in today’s ladder matches, but the spots they did looked good. Also, the fact that there was only one ladder added to the tension. When the ladder bent, you genuinely wondered how they would continue. They did a good job of weaving a story into a gimmick match. Plus, the finish was inventive.
Winner: Razor Ramon (18:47)
There was supposed to be a Ten-Man Tag Match next, but they go backstage to find IRS, Jeff Jarrett, Rick Martel, the Headshrinkers arguing over who is team captain. They can’t agree, so Vince says they’re not going to have the match. (The match was cut due to time constraints. The Ladder Match went long because Shawn and Razor ignored the call to go home. Randy Savage reportedly yelled at Shawn Michaels because of it and called him selfish.)
Next, Todd is with “Bill Clinton” again and he points out that Ted DiBiase is with them. DiBiase says it’s a pleasure to meet him, but everyone has a price for the Million Dollar Man. Bill seems nervous and says he doesn’t want to get into politics. He’s there to have a good time. (You could tell DiBiase thought this was stupid. He was very unmotivated in this segment.) After that, they show the Mania moment for WrestleMania IX, which is Yoko beating Bret for the title. Gorilla calls it a miscarriage of justice.
Then, they show a video package about Bret Hart. It’s filled with clips of Bret’s childhood and his career. (It was originally set to “Makin’ Some Noise” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, but it’s been dubbed over with a generic knock-off on the network.) It also includes footage of some of Bret’s big title wins over the years. However, there’s a record scratch and it transitions into footage of Yokozuna squashing people. (It includes Yoko beating Hogan.)
WWF Title Match: Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna (c) (w/ Jim Cornette & Mr. Fuji)
Before the match, Bill Dunn introduces the celebrity guests. Burt Reynolds is the ring announcer and Jennie Garth (from 90210) is the timekeeper. (Burt has his hand in a cast. Vince mentions something about muggers. I’m not sure what the story is behind that.) Burt says he’s happier to be there than the fans and then introduces the special referee—Roddy Piper. (Lawler reacts with disgust and says he hates him. Don’t worry, that’s going somewhere. Actually—maybe you should worry.) Yoko and Bret make their entrances and Bret limps to the ring, but Yoko jumps him immediately.
Yoko and Bret trade punches, but Yoko gets the advantage and slams him. Yoko keeps cutting off Bret’s comebacks with choking and cheating, so Piper warns him. (His five-count is ridiculously fast. Has Piper ever paid attention to how referees work?) Cornette complains about Piper, so Roddy takes a swing at him. Then, Yoko misses a splash and Bret throws punches, but he hurts himself on a headbutt. He finally takes Yoko down with punches and forearms, but Cornette pulls Piper out of the ring on a pin attempt. Roddy has enough and punches Jim, but Yoko takes control of the match in the meantime. He gives Bret a leg drop, but he doesn’t go for a cover. He chooses to throw Bret to the floor instead, but Bret manages to beat Piper’s fast count. Yoko tries to continue the attack, but he misses a corner charge and Bret hits a bulldog. He also hits a diving elbow and a clothesline, but Yoko catches him in a belly-to-belly. He then drags Bret to the corner for a Banzai Drop, but Yoko loses his balance and lands on the back of his head. Bret then covers a dazed Yoko for the three-count.
This wasn’t good, but it got them where they needed to go. Having Yoko wrestle twice and control most of this match probably wasn’t a good idea. He was limited in what he could do and it hurt the bout. It also doesn’t help that the finish was kind of lame. I guess Vince wanted to slightly protect Yoko for the future. The match might have sucked, but it’s good to see Bret regain the title and he will go on to do much better in ‘94.
Winner: Bret Hart (New Champion) (10:38)
Fireworks explode as Yokozuna chases Piper backstage. Bret recovers and celebrates with his title until Lex Luger arrives. They stare at each other before Luger shakes his hand and raises his arm. Burt Reynolds even gives Bret a hug. Then, other wrestlers arrive and lift Bret onto their shoulders. The other celebrities join the celebration and Randy Savage hugs Bret. However, Owen Hart then emerges from the back and stares at his brother. He refuses to enter the ring and simply mutters to himself in disbelief that Bret won. The officials eventually convince him to leave, so Bret continues celebrating as the show ends.
– Bret/Owen was an amazing opener.
– The Ladder Match was a classic.
– The storyline work for Bret/Owen was well done.
– Bret finally regained the WWF Title.
– Lawler was pretty good on commentary.
– Some of the finishes were disappointing.
– Luger/Yokozuna was boring.
– The Clinton impersonator thing was silly.
Performer of the Night:
I’m torn on this one. It’s hard to pick one person. I’m going to give it to Bret, Owen, Razor, and Shawn because I think all four made this show memorable. I know that might seem like a cop-out, but I honestly believe they all deserve it.
This is certainly a two-match show, but those matches were outstanding enough to improve the overall quality. Plus, there was still some good storyline work throughout the event. Only the two Yoko matches were bad, but the second one at least had a good outcome. I would still say this is altogether a solid Mania. As a whole, it’s an entertaining and memorable watch. Plus, it continues the awesome Bret/Owen feud, which is one of the things that hooked me on wrestling.
My next review will be WCW’s Spring Stampede ‘94. Look for it next Saturday!