Classic Wrestling Review: WrestleMania XI

(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)

WrestleMania XI

April 2, 1995

Hartford Civic Center

Hartford, Connecticut

News & Notes: After his confrontation with Lawrence Taylor at the Royal Rumble, the WWF ordered Bam Bam Bigelow to apologize for his actions. He refused because he felt disrespected, so they suspended Bigelow for 30-days. When he returned, Bam Bam challenged Taylor to a match at WrestleMania. The match was eventually signed and garnered mainstream media attention for the WWF. Vince knew his roster was thin, so he decided celebrities would be the way to draw eyes to his product. He loaded this Mania with them. L.T. would wrestle Bigelow. Plus, Pamela Anderson would accompany Shawn Michaels to the ring. Vince then added Jenny McCarthy to the mix as well. That wasn’t enough. He also got Jonathan Taylor Thomas from Home Improvement and Nicholas Turturro from NYPD Blue. Plus, Salt-N-Pepa were signed to do a live performance. This was all on top of the numerous NFL stars who would be in Taylor’s corner. Vince might manage to fit some of his wrestlers on this card too, but we shall see.

The other main storyline for the show is Diesel defending his WWF Title against the Rumble winner, Shawn Michaels. Shawn claimed people were gunning for him since he won the Rumble. So, he quit his temporary commentary gig and hired a new bodyguard—Sid. This is the first time we’ve seen Sid since WCW fired him for his scissor fight with Arn Anderson. He had been working in Memphis and probably playing softball. I’m both pleased to see him again and a bit apprehensive. I welcome the crazy promos, but not necessarily his main event matches we’re about to get. They would refer to him as Sycho Sid. No, that’s not a typo. They dropped the P from the word because Vince apparently loves alliteration.

The show opens with a narrator telling us the WWF has been the leader in sports entertainment for over fifty years! I’m pretty sure the WWF formed in 1963, not the 40s. Are they using Scott Steiner math to calculate the age of the company? Even if Vince counted his father’s promotion Capitol Wrestling, that still wouldn’t be accurate. It formed in the 50s. The liar then tells us the tradition of WrestleMania continues. He counts down the previous Manias and shows us highlights—of the celebrity guests. There are almost no shots of wrestlers. I get most of the former stars are now in WCW, but there are people on this card they could have featured. It gets worse as he tells us WrestleMania XI stars Pamela Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Nicholas Turturro, Salt-N-Pepa, and The All-Pro Team! Oh, and I think there are some WWF superstars in there too.

Then, we get a wide shot of the arena. A small blimp flies around the crowd while Vince stands in the ring and tries to welcome everyone. His mic isn’t working, so we get awkward silence. Sound is eventually restored as Vince introduces a Special Olympian named Kathy Huey to perform the national anthem. A band named Fishbone was originally supposed to perform, but they had to cancel. Plus, Vince wanted to promote the WWF’s work with the Special Olympics. She sings an operatic rendition of the song. Unfortunately, the mic is only working marginally better than it did for Vince. You can tell this is a company with less money than it used to have.

Next, Vince and Jerry Lawler welcome everyone. They are highly optimistic the show drew new fans, so they take a moment to explain WrestleMania. Vince calls it a symbol of excellence. Lawler says it’s Hollywood and Broadway mixed with athleticism. It’s an event fit for a king. I liked Lawler’s explanation better. I wouldn’t exactly call this particular show excellent.

The Allied Powers vs. The Blu Brothers (w/ Uncle Zebekiah)

Notes: Lex Luger and The British Bulldog weren’t doing much in early ‘95, so the WWF paired them together in a tag team. Since it was an American and a Brit, they named the team The Allied Powers. It came with a mash-up of both men’s theme songs. The song isn’t bad as far as mash-ups go. They’re facing the former Bruise Brothers/Harris Twins. They’re playing the roles of mountain men and are managed by Uncle Zebekiah (Zeb Colter/Dutch Mantel). There isn’t much build for this match other than a few minor confrontations. It’s a showcase for the Allied Powers. On a side note, I noticed the WWF thankfully made the Harris brothers cover up their Nazi tattoos.

The Match: All four men brawl and the Powers hit stereo powerslams. Luger almost plants his guy on top of Bulldog. Davey then shows off his strength for a bit until one of the twins knees him in the back. The brothers take over with double-teaming and ref distractions. They even use twin magic to switch places. This continues until they miss a diving elbow and Bulldog tags Luger. He cleans house with clotheslines and nails a running forearm, but the ref is distracted again. The twins swap once more and take control of Luger. They set him up for a piledriver, but Davey makes a blind tag. He enters the ring with a flying sunset flip and gets the win.

Thoughts: This was a pretty basic match, but it was decent enough for an opener. It did well in establishing the styles of the two teams. Plus, it was short enough to not overstay its welcome. The win helps the Allied Powers look strong, but it was enough of a fluke to not make the Blu Brothers seem weak. It’s a shame neither team is that interesting. It might be a wasted effort.

Winners: The Allied Powers (6:34)

The Allied Powers celebrate and pose in the ring while Jim Ross interviews an angry Zeb in the aisle. It’s so dark we can barely see them. I would provide a picture, but it would essentially be a black screen. Zeb claims they were hornswoggled because the Powers pinned the wrong man. Wait, they pinned Hornswoggle? I didn’t know he was in the WWF at this point! Zeb then calls it an injustice and walks away, so Ross sends it back to Vince.

Then, Vince sends it to Nick Turturro. He’s supposed to be in Pamela Anderson’s dressing room. Unless Pam is dressing with the Million Dollar Corporation, I doubt he’s in the right place. Nick’s mic doesn’t work. There’s a shock! He welcomes Jenny McCarthy, but Vince gives up on the segment because of the technical issues. He and Lawler fill time by making jokes about football. Meanwhile, Jeff Jarrett arrives for his match. I can’t help but notice the ring is surrounded by photographers. It wasn’t noticeable during the first match, but now you can see the ringside area is crowded with them.

They recap how Jarrett won the Intercontinental Title at the Rumble before going to Razor Ramon and the 1-2-3 Kid for some words. The Kid looks like he’s ready for his shift at a fancy Chinese food restaurant. Razor looks like he doesn’t want to talk, so the Kid makes an attempt. I say that because he too is using a shoddy microphone. I think he says something about Razor being psyched and ready. The mic finally works in time for Kid to tell the Roadie not to stick his nose in their business. That’s a bit of unintentional foreshadowing for the post-match antics. Razor eventually walks off in frustration and says, “Let’s go. Let’s go!”

Intercontinental Title Match: Razor Ramon (w/ The 1-2-3 Kid) vs. Jeff Jarrett (c) (w/ The Roadie)

Notes: Not much has happened since the Rumble other than Jarrett getting victories on TV with the Roadie’s help. Razor decided to counter the Roadie’s presence with the 1-2-3 Kid. Razor enters the arena and poses before rushing the ring. He practically runs over some photographers in the process. Jarrett attacks him, but Razor and the Kid send Jeff and The Roadie packing. He needed some space, so he could pose with his massive sparkler pyro. Also, I have to point out the Intercontinental Title is now on white leather. It will stay that way for a while.

The Match: Razor keeps catching Jarrett with punches and sends him to the floor. Jeff trips him, but Ramon blocks a diving sunset flip and thwarts some Roadie interference. However, the Roadie saves Jeff from a Razors Edge. Jarrett then attempts leaving, but the Kid stops him and rolls him into the ring. Eventually, the Roadie’s constant meddling earns Jarrett control of the match. Jeff lands a neckbreaker and some dropkicks before strutting. He also uses chinlocks and a sleeper hold, but Razor recovers. Both men end up colliding before Razor gives Jarrett a fallaway slam. Then, Jarrett has to fend off the Kid’s interference and dodges a diving bulldog from Razor. He tweaks his knee, so Jarrett pounces and puts Ramon in a Figure Four. The Kid helps Razor reverse it, so Ramon nails a super back suplex and signals for the end. He attempts the Razors Edge, but the Roadie clips Razor’s knee and causes a DQ.

Thoughts: This was a pretty solid match, but the finish was disappointing. I would rate the action slightly better than their Rumble match. These two work well together. I get they want to extend the feud, but Mania should be a culmination of storylines. This was merely another step. This show needed some more decisive victories. It’s lacking the feeling of importance enough as it is.

Winner: Razor Ramon (by DQ) (13:32)

After the bell, the Kid enters the ring and nails Jarrett and the Roadie with spin kicks and wheel kicks. He cleans house and busts open Jeff’s nose in the process. He warned the Roadie earlier. Maybe he should have said it to Jarrett instead! I swore I saw Kid do a crotch chop at one point, but Jarrett attacks him and presses Kid into the air. He then puts Kid in a Figure Four while Roadie punches him. Ramon and the officials stop the attack, so Jarrett and the Roadie finally leave.

Jim Ross meets Jarrett in the aisle and thankfully there is some light. Ross tells Jeff he should be ashamed for his actions. Jarrett ignores that and says he’s still the Intercontinental Champion. He also tells Razor and the Kid they’re nothing. Jarrett ends his promo by saying payback is a you-know-what, so Ross calls him shameful again.

Next, they do a second attempt at the Nick Turturro segment from earlier. Vince still says he’s in Pamela Anderson’s dressing room, despite already knowing he isn’t. Nick says he couldn’t find her, so he went to the green room. He welcomes Jenny McCarthy, but Kama starts hitting on her. I’m sure he was thinking she’d make a fine addition to his future business practice. Then, Shawn Michaels and Sid arrive. Nick asks Shawn about Pamela’s whereabouts. Shawn says don’t worry because she’ll walk him down the aisle and he’ll walk out as the WWF Champion. Sid then shouts his promo while Jenny plugs her ears and laughs. He screams about Diesel being afraid and says, “All your dreams have now become to nightmares!” Oh, Sid. Your grasp of the English language is impeccable. It’s like you have half a brain or something. Nick calls him intense and promises Vince he will help in any way he can tonight. He should try solving their technical issues.

The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. King Kong Bundy (w/ Ted DiBiase)

Notes: The Undertaker’s problems with the Million Dollar Corporation continue. Bundy’s attack on Taker at the Rumble led to this match. The Corporation still possesses the urn, so Ted decided to hire a new wrestler to insure his prize. He introduced Kama the Supreme Fighting Machine. This is the former Papa Shango and future Godfather (Charles Wright). The gimmick was supposed to play off the rising popularity of UFC, but Kama doesn’t do any martial arts.

For some reason, baseball umpire Larry Young is the special ref. I guess he needed something to do because of the baseball strike. Also during Bundy’s entrance, Pettengill interviews former Chicago Bear, Neil Anderson. He makes Neil get into a three-point stance for no reason and asks him about L.T.’s match. Neil says the All-Pro Team will make sure it’s fair, and L.T. will take care of business. Then, Taker enters the arena while Lawler insults everyone from Vince to Paul Bearer. Vince laughs and then talks about the upcoming world tour. You can tell even Vince realizes this match will be a dud.

The Match: Taker sidesteps Bundy’s Avalanche and nails Old School. He also floors him with multiple clotheslines. Bundy answers with one of his own and sends Taker to the floor, but he lands on his feet. Taker uses the opportunity to retrieve the urn from DiBiase and give it back to Paul Bearer. Then, Taker and Bundy fight at the ropes while DiBiase calls for help. Kama emerges from the back and kicks Bearer before stealing the urn. Taker attempts stopping him, but Bundy attacks.

Jim Ross catches Kama in the aisle. He makes no effort to take back the urn. He simply admonishes Kama for stealing. Kama says he’s going to melt the urn and make it into a necklace. Ross says it doesn’t belong to him, but Kama doesn’t care.

Meanwhile, Bundy takes control of the match with slams and clotheslines. He also uses chokes and chinlocks and eventually hits the Avalanche. Taker shakes off the move and slams Bundy before hitting a jumping clothesline for the win.

Thoughts: This was awful. It was slow and dull. The urn storyline was the main focus. Everything else was a backdrop. It’s yet another match that only furthered or setup a different storyline. Now, Taker is involved in a feud with Kama. Nothing feels decisive or important on this show. This could have been a match on RAW for what it’s worth.

Winner: The Undertaker (6:36)

DiBiase is furious with Bundy after the match. Taker is equally angry, but Bearer restrains him from following DiBiase. Paul pleads forgiveness for letting the urn get away again, so Taker calms down and poses in the ring.

They head backstage again where Nick is outside Pamela’s dressing room. He says she’s not there because she had a disagreement with Shawn and stormed away in anger. Nick decides to look for her, but he finds Steve Mongo McMichael instead. That’s a terrible trade-off. Nick asks him about Pamela, but Mongo would rather discuss Kama. He calls him a cream puff and says he’s right here if Kama wants to fight. The rest of the All-Pro Team arrive and all cut similar promos. They call out each member of the Corporation and tell them they’re right there waiting. It’s so odd seeing Mongo on WWF TV.

Next, Nick enters a room and finds Bob Backlund playing chess with Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Backlund yells at Nick for interrupting and says pushy people with cameras are what’s wrong with America. Nick asks about Pamela, but Bob has no idea who she is. The distraction allows Jonathan to win the chess game, so Bob accuses him of taking advantage of his elders. He decides to quiz Jonathan about history and current events, but J.T.T. gets every answer correct. Backlund freaks out and says that’s what’s wrong with the world. Everyone thinks they know it all. Backlund storms away, so Nick jokes Bob is distressed. This was great! Backlund was absolute gold in this segment.

Tag Team Title Match: Owen Hart & ???? vs. The Smoking Gunns (c)

Notes: The Smoking Gunns defeated The 1-2-3 Kid & Bob Holly on the RAW after the Rumble. They won the tag titles and defended them against Men on a Mission. M.O.M. failed, but they attacked the Gunns afterward to turn heel. I’ll speak more on that in a later review. That wasn’t the Gunns feud for Mania. They were challenged by someone else. Owen Hart wanted to match his brother’s accomplishments, so he requested a Tag Title Match. However, he wouldn’t reveal the identity of his partner. It was a mystery that would be solved at Mania.

Owen comes to the ring and introduces a man who defeated his brother for the WWF Title. His partner is—Yokozuna! He took time off since Survivor Series to supposedly lose weight. He looks bigger than ever. Vince decided to bring him back anyway, and Yoko is still accompanied by Fuji & Cornette. Meanwhile, The Smoking Gunns cut a quick promo. Billy calls it a big surprise, but he’s sure they will keep their belts. Bart then stumbles through his words. He keeps looking at his hands because he clearly has his lines written there. Lawler mocks him for being scared.

The Match: Owen and Billy start the match by slapping each other. The Gunns attempt double-teaming, but Yoko puts an end to it. Owen & Yoko attempt it as well, but Bart catches Owen in a few arm drags. The Gunns take control with a double Russian leg sweep and even hit a standing Sidewinder. However, Yoko distracts the ref. He and Owen then take control when Owen holds Billy for a Yoko leg drop. Owen also attacks Billy on the floor, and Yoko puts him in a nerve hold. Billy almost forgets raising his arm on the third drop when the ref checks. Then, Owen accidentally nails Yoko with a missile dropkick, so Bart enters the match. He cleans house, and the Gunns do more double-teaming until Owen low-bridges Bart. This opens the door for Yoko to nail a belly-to-belly and nearly kill Billy Gunn with a Banzai Drop. I think I heard Billy’s spirit leave his body. Yoko is too gassed to lean down for a pin, so he tags Owen. He feigns a Sharpshooter but decides to simply pin the dead Billy Gunn instead.

Thoughts: This was an enjoyable match. A tag team is a good use of Yoko. He’s clearly not in the shape to wrestle singles, but he can be effective with a partner to carry the weight. That is an intentional pun. It was nice to see Owen finally win a title and this match did a lot to make the team look strong. Plus, Owen’s celebration after the match is hilarious. He looks so pleased with himself.

Winners: Owen & Yokozuna (New Champions) (9:42)

Next, Todd Pettengill is with Bam Bam Bigelow. He shows him footage from Royal Rumble. Bam Bam says Taylor disrespected him and he’s not going to allow that. Then, Todd shows a clip from the public workout. Bam Bam attacks Taylor again, so Todd calls him out for it. Bam Bam claims Taylor attacked him, but that’s fine. It’s an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Todd then talks about the media hype and says the fans are on Taylor’s side. Bigelow says he doesn’t care about any of that. He won’t be the man known for losing to Lawrence Taylor. I have bad news for him. Todd follows up by asking if Bam Bam is concerned about Taylor’s friends. Bigelow answers he’ll watch his back, but he trusts DiBiase and the Corporation to take care of them. He also calls Taylor a flash in the pan and claims he doesn’t have a prayer of winning. Todd thinks the newspaper articles will say differently regardless of the outcome. Way to remain unbiased, Todd.

I Quit Match: Bret Hart vs. Mr. Bob Backlund

Notes: After the Rumble, Bret Hart’s issues with Bob Backlund continued. They were set to face each other at Mania, so Bret could seek revenge. Backlund began claiming he wouldn’t release the Chickenwing unless his opponents said I quit. Jerry Lawler was interviewing him and mistakenly thought he was an exception to that rule. Backlund proceeded to put Jerry in the move and he said I quit. When Vince mocked him, Lawler claimed he was saying he quit the interview. Because of Backlund’s actions, the match with Bret was made into an I Quit Match.

Before the match, The Fink explains the rules. He accidentally calls it a Submission Match, but he gets the rules correct. You have to make your opponent say I quit to win. Remember that. He also announces there will be a special referee for this match—Rowdy Roddy Piper. Lawler isn’t happy about it. I’m not either because Piper is beyond obnoxious in this.

The Match: Bret gets the early advantage and keeps attempting the Sharpshooter. Piper continually sticks the mic in their faces and yells, “What do you say!?” He does this whether they’re doing holds or not. Both men answer with no or even hell no. Since the Sharpshooter isn’t working, Bret uses a Figure Four. They reverse through the hold while Piper continues being a pest. Backlund finally takes over and works on Bret’s arm and shoulder. He stalks him and uses multiple arm holds. You can hear Bret becoming pissed at Piper for his constant questions. He eventually fights back and nearly grabs a Sharpshooter. However, Bret crashes into the post on a missed charge. Bob pounces and comes close to grabbing the Chickenwing. Just when you think he has it locked, Bret reverses it. He puts Backlund in his own hold and takes him to the mat. Piper sticks the mic in Bob’s face and Backlund yells, “YEAHHHHRGHHH!” That is apparently enough for Roddy. He calls for the bell.

Thoughts: This was not good. It was slow and dull, and Piper ruined it. He was so annoying he killed any drama this match might have had. Even Bret admits this is one of his worst matches. I get the story they were trying to tell, and the finish was a nice touch. I like the idea of Bret beating him with the Chickenwing. However, Backlund didn’t say I Quit. I’m unsure what they were going for with that. You would think they would follow up on that as a storyline, but it’s barely mentioned going forward.

Winner: Bret Hart (9:34)

Jim Ross meets Backlund in the aisle and says he can’t believe Bob quit. He asks for Backlund’s thoughts, but he’s staring off into space. Bob finally says, “I saw the light! Did you see the light!?” Ross has no clue what he means. Bob wanders away, so Ross sends it back to Vince. If you’re wondering about this, it’s not what you think. He didn’t have a near-death experience. He saw the light and decided—to run for president. Yes, I’m serious. Backlund would begin a crazy politician gimmick after this.

Next, Nick Turturro says he still can’t find Pamela. He claims she left the building, so there have been some celebrity changes. Lawler can’t understand what she’s upset about, but he thinks Shawn might have insisted she gets a tattoo. I’m guessing that’s a reference to the tattoos she and Tommy Lee got.

Then, Todd is with the WWF Champion, Diesel. He asks Diesel about his frame of mind after Shawn’s earlier comments. Diesel doesn’t believe Sid won’t get involved because he’s played that role. He knows how Shawn thinks and his game plan. He tells Shawn if he wants a war, he’s got one. Diesel then tries to say he came to hold onto his belt, but he stumbles over his words and starts yelling. He tells Shawn he will walk that aisle and show everybody why he’s the WWF Champion. Todd is apparently excited too because he loudly echoes Diesel’s sentiments before sending it back to Vince.

WWF Title Match: Diesel (c) vs. Shawn Michaels (w/ Sycho Sid)

Notes: The Fink introduces the celebrity guests. Jonathan Taylor Thomas is the timekeeper and Nick Turturro is the ring announcer. Lawler mocks both of them for their tuxedos. Nick takes over from Fink and introduces Shawn Michaels. He comes to the ring with Jenny McCarthy and Sid. Diesel then enters the arena, but he stops and beckons out—Pamela Anderson. She looks like she couldn’t care less. He escorts her to ringside and she sits beside Jenny McCarthy. Lawler wants them to cat fight. Shawn tries attacking Diesel when he enters the ring, but Diesel back drops him over the ropes and invites Pamela to join him in posing.

The Match: Shawn attempts ducking and moving, but Diesel catches him with a forearm. He then whips Shawn around and out of the ring where Michaels lands on a photographer. Shawn throws a fit and shoves the man. He’s lucky he didn’t get sued. HBK then returns and tries pissing off Diesel by spitting, but Diesel sends him to the floor again. Eventually, Shawn ejects Diesel from the ring and nails a flying cross body. He also does a baseball slide and pushes more photographers. Diesel attempts an attack, but he misses and hits the post. His ribs are hurt, so Shawn attacks them. He gives Diesel a diving bulldog and a flying elbow to the ribs. Then, he fends off a comeback and puts Diesel in a sleeper hold. However, Diesel recovers, and they brawl to the floor once more. Earl Hebner tries to follow them, but he twists his ankle.

Shawn and Diesel return to the ring and Shawn nails a superkick. Sid slides Hebner into the ring and he counts, but Diesel quickly kicks out of the attempt. The fans boo. That’s not a good sign for Diesel. Then—oh god, Sid has a knife! Everyone run! Oh, he used it to cut off the turnbuckle pad. Shawn tries capitalizing, but Diesel catches him in a sidewalk slam. He then catapults Shawn toward the exposed buckle, but Shawn misses and hits the middle one. Diesel signals for the end and nails a big boot and Jackknife. Shawn over-rotates and lands on his ass, but it’s enough for the win.

Thoughts: This was a pretty good match. It was slow at times, but it was fairly decent. However, it accomplished the opposite of what it should. This was supposed to make Diesel look good, but Shawn came out looking better. The fans even started cheering Michaels during the match. It was Vince’s idea to have Diesel kick out quickly after the superkick and Vince admitted he was wrong. He would have no choice but listen to the reactions, and Shawn would turn babyface the next night on RAW. Many believe Shawn purposefully tried to outshine Diesel. Even Kevin Nash thinks Shawn botched the Jackknife to make him look bad. I guess even Shawn’s buddies aren’t immune to his antics.

Winner: Diesel (20:35)

Jim Ross catches Shawn & Sid in the aisle and asks for Shawn’s thoughts. Sid answers for him and says Shawn isn’t through with Diesel. Meanwhile, Diesel celebrates in the ring with all the celebrities. Lawler can’t believe Jenny is with Diesel. He says you can’t trust women. Vince says the WWF and New Generation are running on Diesel Power.

Todd is with Shawn & Sid. He gets more out of Michaels than Ross. Shawn says he had Diesel beat because he was out cold after some chin music. Is that the first time Shawn called the superkick that? Sid starts yelling there should be more than one ref. He calls Hebner a bumbling fool for blowing out his knee. He also tells Diesel he was close to losing his title and Shawn isn’t through with him. Finally, Michaels tells Diesel to give him a rematch if he’s half the man he claims to be. Lawler agrees and calls Shawn the uncrowned champion. I missed crazy Sid promos. That’s one of the reasons I’m sort of glad he returned.

On the original broadcast, there was a performance by Salt-N-Pepa here. They had to cut it due to licensing issues. They sang “What a Man” with some altered lyrics to fit the event. On the network, they cut to the introductions for the main event.

Lawrence Taylor (w/ The All-Pro Team) vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ The Million Dollar Corporation)

Notes: The Million Dollar Corporation is introduced and runs to the ring like a football team. Even King Kong Bundy jogs. I was surprised by that. I’m sure he had to catch his breath. Then, the All-Pro Team enters to the NFL Films theme music. I’m surprised they still had the rights to that. The team consists of Ken Norton, Chris Spielman, Rickey Jackson, Carl Banks, Steve McMichael, and Reggie White. Two of those names would end up in WCW at some point. The two teams argue with each other while special ref Pat Patterson tries to maintain control.

Bam Bam then enters the arena and tries intimidating Salt-N-Pepa. Pepa looks ready to kick him. He enters the ring and does a cartwheel. Taylor then enters. They dubbed over the music he originally used, but I can’t remember what it was. I think it was the NFL on FOX theme, but I might be wrong. Pat Patterson explains the rules while Bam Bam and L.T. shove each other. Then, Taylor slaps him.

The Match: Taylor catches Bam Bam off-guard with forearms and sends him to the floor. Taylor also catches him in a bulldog and a hip toss. The two teams outside argue as the men brawl in and out of the ring. Bigelow eventually gains control with headbutts and forearms. He stops Taylor from fighting back and puts him in a Boston Crab. It quickly turns into a Half Crab, but L.T. reaches the ropes. Bigelow continues attacking the legs until Taylor surprises him with a back suplex. It’s not enough and Bam Bam ends up landing a moonsault. Unfortunately, he hurts his knee in the process. He also makes the mistake of ducking, and Taylor does a—Jackknife? That’s what Vince calls it, but it looked more like a gut-wrench suplex. Bigelow answers with an enziguri and a flying headbutt, but Taylor kicks out at two. Bigelow is in disbelief, so L.T. surprises him with forearms. He nails Bigelow multiple times and finishes with a diving forearm off the second rope for the win.

Thoughts: This was far better than expected, but that’s not saying much. Taylor did pretty well for a non-wrestler. You can tell they worked with him quite a lot. It was decent enough for what it was, but the WWF Title Match should have closed the show. It doesn’t show much confidence in Diesel to put this match over his. Also, I kind of feel for Bam Bam. Sure, this is good exposure for him. Sadly, it’s the peak of his career. Certain others didn’t take too kindly to him being in the Main Event. I don’t think I have to tell you who I mean. They would make sure Bam Bam’s WWF career never reached this height again.

Winner: Lawrence Taylor (11:42)

After the match, the All-Pro Team put L.T. on their shoulders. He’s exhausted and looks ready to collapse. While they celebrate, Ross tries getting a word with Bigelow. He doesn’t want to talk, but DiBiase has plenty to say. He tells Bam Bam he embarrassed the corporation and berates him all the way down the aisle. Taylor continues celebrating with his son while Vince says he did the impossible.

The Good:

– The Tag Title Match was good.

– It was nice seeing Owen win a title.

– Some of the Nick Turturro segments were amusing.

– The Intercontinental Title Match was decent other than the finish.

The Bad:

– Taker/Bundy was bad.

– Roddy Piper ruined the I Quit Match.

– Not much felt important on this show.

– Little was resolved.

Performer of the Night:

I’m giving it to Owen Hart. He was good in the Tag Title Match. Plus, his performances before and after were great.

Final Thoughts:

Is this the worst WrestleMania ever? No, I don’t think it is. It’s certainly the most lackluster one I’ve covered. Some might argue that 9 is worse, but that was at least amusingly bad. This one was more boring than anything. I would personally still rank 27 as worse because it left a more sour taste in my mouth. However, this Mania would rank as second worst. It stands as a testament to how weak the company was at this time. I’ll give Vince credit for doing all he could to get eyes on his product, but it didn’t help much.

Thank you for reading. My next review will be ECW’s 3-Way Dance ‘95. Look for it next Saturday!

 

Written by Paul Matthews

I am chronologically reviewing all the pre-network era WWF/WCW/ECW PPVs from Starrcade '83 to WrestleMania 30. Join me on this journey every Saturday!
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