Ten years…ten years of Wrestlemania had come and gone.
Ten years later, Vince McMahon had decided to hold Wrestlemania at the exact same place it has started: New York’s Madison Square Garden.
As always, a lot had gone down between Wrestlemania’s 9 and 10:
- A few months after Wrestlemania IX, Yokozuna held a body slam contest on July 4th on the deck of the USS Intrepid. Several celebs and wrestlers attempted to do it but all of them failed. As the contest came to a close, a red helicopter landed on the deck of the Intrepid…and out stepped Lex Luger, decked out in red, white and blue. He ended up slamming Zuna and then “campaigned” to get a shot at the WWF Championship. He was granted that match at SummerSlam — with the stipulation that this would be a one-shot deal. He would NOT get a rematch. Luger won by DQ and, as a result, would not win the title. Next year, at Royal Rumble 1994, Luger promised that he would win the Rumble and secure another shot at the title. Mr. Fuji would enlist several wrestlers to stop Luger but this failed. The problem was the ending: Bret Hart and Luger fell out of the ring at the same time, eliminating one another. The Rumble, for the first time, would have co-winners and BOTH men would get a shot at the title. Yokozuna would have numerous defenses of his title including one against the Undertaker in a Casket Match which Yokozuna, surprisingly, won with the help of 12 other wrestlers who attacked Undertaker, damaged his urn, and utterly destroyed him after that.
- Speaking of Bret Hart, Owen Hart had gotten sick of his brother’s perceived “mistakes” and challenged him to a match. Bret would decline each time until Owen turned up the volume and attacked Bret at the Royal Rumble. Bret would face his brother.
- Shawn Michaels did not defend his Intercontinental Title often enough and, as a result, Jack Tunney stripped him of the title which would be won by Razor Ramon in a battle royale. When Michaels returned and found out that Ramon was the champ, he had refused to acknowledge it. Ramon issued a challenge: he would bring his gold and Michaels would bring HIS gold. The two would duke it out in a first-ever “Ladder Match”. In this match, the two belts would hang high above the ring, out of the way of the two competitors. The first competitor to climb the ladder and grab both belts and then hit the floor with both would be declared the winner and undisputed Intercontinental Champion.
- Newcomers “Men on a Mission” (Mabel and Mo) would challenge “The Quebecers” (Pierre and Jacques – in his THIRD gimmick with the WWF – Rougeau) for the WWF Tag Team Championship.
- The WWF Women’s Championship FINALLY saw a return to action. A newcomer, Alundra Blayze, would win the vacant title in a tournament and defend it here against veteran Leilani Kai.
- Bam Bam Bigelow would feud with a now-face Doink the Clown and his midget clown, Dink. On his side, would be Luna Vachon.
- Crush would turn heel and support Mr. Fuji and Yokozuna. All this because Crush blamed Savage for not intervening sooner after he had lost a WWF Championship match to Yokozuna who would go on to hit three more Banzai Drops after his win. Crush would attack and injure Savage after turning heel. Savage, upon return from injury, retaliated, attacking Crush before he could even start his segment on Raw. The two would compete at Wrestlemania X in a Falls Count Anywhere match-up.
- Finally, Earthquake, god love ‘im, takes on Adam Bomb in singles competition.
We get a Wrestlemania retrospective to start, which shows clips of the first Wrestlemania ever.
Then we are LIVE from Madison Square Garden!
The first thing you will notice is the announcers…
Jim Ross was no longer in the WWF. He was apparently “fired” for having Bell’s Palsy. Not nice…Bobby “The Brain” Heenan would move on to the WCW along with Hogan, Jimmy Hart, Brutus Beefcake, and a few other wrestlers. Savage would be IN Wrestlemania X, so announcing was out of the question for him.
So, instead of the guys from last year, this event was announced by Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler.
McMahon was not really a “character” yet. He would play a sort of wimpy announcer type. Lawler was the heel here, which is weird to hear since he sounds like such a nice-guy face nowadays.
McMahon has that great, gravelly voice and makes matches so much more intense whereas Lawler fits in well as that annoying heel who loves to cackle with glee when a heel trashes a face. It’s a decent combo.
We lead off Wrestlemania X with Little Richard singing “America, the Beautiful”. We get the WWF’s standard “America scenery” made with video stock footage. Obviously, we won’t get a “Patriotic Hogan” image at the end like we did at one of the earlier events.
Richard’s version of the song is nice and rousing, thanks to a church choir that surrounds the ring and sings with him.
The King joins McMahon after this, ranting that he’s “The King”. McMahon looks sheepish and weak. I must be in an alternate dimension.
We see Bret and Owen Hart’s build-up. I totally forgot that the Hart team at Survivor Series involved a Bret, Owen and two other Hart wrestlers. Hart and Owen look like they actually belong but the other two Harts look like their car mechanic and their gym trainer. Really silly stuff.
MATCH #1: “The Rocket” Owen Hart vs. Bret “The Hitman” Hart
Owen had a great theme. I loved the little ditty they wrote for him. Good stuff. I wish that he wasn’t trying to imitate his brother. Of course, that didn’t stop him from rocking Bret Hart shades, which he breaks to prove his, uh…”dominance”, I guess? Bret comes out next. One thing I hated: Owen’s name. “The Rocket”? Why did he even NEED a name? He could get by on just “Owen Hart”. This match works well on so many levels. Both Harts are so technically skilled and I love how personal it gets in terms of the storytelling. At one point, Owen slaps Bret in the face and two go at it for a few minutes with Bret getting the upper hand and ejecting Owen from the ring. Bret pulls him right back in and seems to ask, “Where are you going? You wanted to prove you were the best, then do it!” Owen shoves Bret and Bret slaps Owen, getting revenge for that. It’s just great stuff. Bret can snipe you when you least expect it and so can Owen. There are several times when both men get near-falls. Bret hits this full-body roll-up move, locking both of Owen’s arms. Owen hits crossbody and Bret reverses it into a near-fall. Owen suplex-pins Bret into the ring and nearly gets three. Bret evades a suplex and rolls it up into a near-fall. Bret goes for a spinning backbreaker but Owen lands on his feet and reverses into a piledriver. It’s just all well-wrestled. This is what the WWF has been missing. You would never see this with stuff involving Hulk Hogan unless you wanted to see Hulk punch somebody over and over and then take a missile to the face before hulking up and pinning somebody. At one point, Owen goes for a Sharpshooter, but Bret reverses into HIS Sharpshooter…but Owen kicks out. It’s just a nail-biter. Owen hits a Figure Four on Bret Hart, who had injured his leg. Bret reverses and turns it over, getting to the ropes. Owen continues to work on the injured knee but Bret just Enzuguri Kicks Owen in the head. Bret tries to hit a Superplex and nails it perfectly. He gets a near fall, then decks Owen in the face. Owen takes a swing, misses, Bret goes for a roll-up but Owen kicks out. Owen hits another Sharpshooter! Bret REVERSES IT! The end comes when Bret goes for a roll-up pin but falls forward and cannot flip Owen forward. Bret falls on his back and Owen gets a clean pin! What a match!
WINNER: Owen Hart via pinfall
GRADE: A+. This was a promising start to the show. Excellent match.
Post-match, Owen leaves, victorious. Bret gets up and seems to clap for his little brother.
Backstage, Owen says that he is now the best.
MATCH #2: Bam Bam Bigelow & Luna Vachon vs. Doink & Dink the Clowns
Stupid match, all the way. Realistically, this match should have been Bam Bam vs. JUST Doink with Bam Bam squashing him. Doink was a strange idea and I loved the idea of a psycho clown with great wrestling skill but the gimmicky clown crap got old fast. The match just starts with Doink and Bam Bam sparring and then gets silly from there. When Dink is tagged in and Luna gets tagged in my Bam Bam, I just lose all respect for the WWF. We’ve come so far since the early Wrestlemania events and I am WELL aware that it can be silly as all hell, but, please. The end comes when Doink tries for, and misses, “The Whoopee Cushion”, then hits a DDT and a headbutt. He hits the flying headbutt and that’s that.
WINNERS: Bam Bam Bigelow and Luna Vachon via Flying Headbutt
GRADE: F. And just like that, this becomes your average Wrestlemania again.
Post-match, Luna and Bam Bam beat up Dink. Doink makes a save.
- After this match, Luna Vachon would be involved in trying to get the WWF Women’s Championship but would not be successful. She would leave the WWF later in the year and wrestle independently, hit WCW, and return to the WWF in 1997.
- Doink the Clown was a character played by several wrestlers. Matt Osborne, who played the first Doink, would go to ECW and play the character, who would also resurface and make random appearances from 2000 to 2010. We wouldn’t see him again at Wrestlemania for another seven years.
- Claude Giroux, who played Dink the Clown, would leave the WWF after Wrestlemania X and compete independently, but NOT as Dink.
We hear “Hail to the Chief” and we see a Bill Clinton look-alike waving to the crowd. I have NO idea why the WWF started doing this. It’s so cheesy.
We see a clip from the famous Hogan-Andre match from Wrestlemania III.
MATCH #3: “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Crush (w/ Mr. Fuji) in a Falls Count Anywhere Match
Ah, the Macho Man. He could have wrestled Dink the Clown and made it entertaining. Crush out next and, fuck it, Savage decides to attack. This ends up in Crush just kicking his ass and Gorilla Pressing him. The rule of the match is this: It’s a Falls Count Anywhere Match. If somebody is pinned outside the ring, they have 60 seconds to get to the ring or they lose which completely defeats the purpose of the original stipulation but fuck it. Anyway, Savage gets pinned by Crush and BARELY makes it back in. The match is a hate-fuck, plain and simple. Usually, these matches never end well and are rarely excited…but nobody does it better than Savage and Crush does a great job of selling the whole thing. The match ends with Savage bringing Crush outside and into the backstage area. He tosses Crush into a room with a paint rig and then pins him there. Then, Savage decides to tie Crush’s foot up and hang him upside-down. This is SO Savage. Then he kicks Crush and makes his way back to the ring. Mr. Fuji tries to interfere but Savage beats him up and sends him packing. Savage wins the match as Howard Finkel counts Crush out of the ring. Fun match.
WINNER: Savage via pinfall/countout/whatever
GRADE: B+. Enjoyable and fun. I miss Savage even more.
- “Macho Man” Randy Savage…what can you say? He would leave the WWF later in the year, in October. He would sign with WCW that same year where he would wrestle until 2000. In 2004, Savage would make his return to pro-wrestling with TNA but would leave the following year due to health concerns. He would retire the same year he left. His various projects, over the years, would be several voice spots in cartoons and movies, a cameo as “Bonesaw McGraw” in Spider-Man, and, of course, the face of the Slim Jim company where he would entice customers to “snap into a Slim Jim!” On the morning of May 20th, 2011, Randy Savage had a massive heart attack while driving with his wife, Barbara Lynn Payne in Seminole, Florida. Initial reports suggested that he was killed in the crash but both Payne and Savage were wearing seatbelts and only incurred minor injuries. Autopsy reports indicated that Savage had an enlarged heart and advanced coronary artery disease. He was unaware of having either of these issues. He had a small amount of alcohol in his system (indicating a small drink may have been had prior to driving) and a prescription pain killer. Savage was greatly admired by the wrestling community and had many fans, including myself. He was 58 years old and I will miss him dearly.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Blaze via Suplex Pin
- Leilani Kai would leave the WWF shortly after this. She would finish out her career in NWA/WCW which would end around 2003.
- Debra Miceli, AKA Alundra Blayze, was Madusa in the WCW before she came to the WWF. She left the WWF in 1995, after having a falling out with Vince McMahon, and went to WCW for the rest of her career at “Madusa”. She would, later, express regret in wrestling for the WCW, saying that she wouldn’t have done it had Eric Bischoff not coerced her into doing it. She never returned to the WWF even after McMahon would go on to purchase WCW. In an interview, she stated that the reason she didn’t return was because, with McMahon, it was less about a woman’s ability and more about showing skin as well as scheduling bra and panties matches. She would retire from wrestling in 2001. In 2011, she married a US Army Sergeant and announced, in 2012, in a YouTube video, that, “officially”, she still held the WWF Women’s Championship. She said she would be happy to come back and defend it against Beth Phoenix.
Post-match, we see five members of Wrestlemania 1 are at ring-side: Classy Freddie Blassie, Captain Lou Albano, Nikolai Volkoff, The Fabulous Moolah, and Mae Young.
King says he is more impressed with the Fabulous Moolah still kicking around.
WINNERS: MOM via countout
GRADE: D-. This sucked.
- After this, The Quebecers would break up. Jacques would FINALLY retire…but be seen wrestling in WCW in 1996. He would return, with Pierre, in 1997, and the two would be seen at Wrestlemania 14.
- Johnny Polo left the WWF in 1994 and went to ECW for a couple of years where he would bulk up and become wrestler, Raven, a depressed, anti-social punk-type. He would continue with this gimmick in WCW in 1997 to 1999 and back in the ECW from 1999 to 2000. He would return to the WWF shortly after this.
- Men on a Mission would turn heel about a year later and become “King Mabel and Sir Moe”. Moe wouldn’t wrestle much anymore, instead, becoming a sortuva “manager” for Mabel who would go on to challenge Diesel for the WWF Championship. Shortly after this feud, Mo would leave the WWF and finish his career in the USWA. Mabel would leave the WWF in 1995, only to return, for a couple of years, in 1998. He would be reintroduced as one of the Undertaker’s “Ministry” as “Viscera” in 1999 and return to Wrestlemania in 2000.
|Yes…take a good, STEAMY look…|
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Yokozuna via DQ
GRADE: D-. I’m overjoyed Luger didn’t win shit but let’s get a real match.Post-match, Mr. Perfect tells Todd Pettengill he doesn’t understand. Perfect yells that he did what was right. Luger comes back to where Perfect is. He tells Perfect to give one good reason why he did what he did, saying it was the wrong decision. Perfect says the managers were still in the ring and that Luger put his hands on him. The two scuffle while the crowd chants “BULLSHIT”.
King and McMahon argue about Luger getting screwed. The crowd is still chanting “bullshit” and McMahon tells King to listen to it. King says the crowd is rude.
We get clips of the Blindfold Match from Wrestlemania VII because that when you think about #7, you don’t even begin to think of Warrior and Savage.
MATCH #7: Earthquake vs. Adam Bomb (w/ Harvey Whippleman)
Pre-match, Howard Finkel introduces Harvey Whippleman who pushes Finkel around and calls him names. Finkel shoves Whippleman, much to the crowd’s delight. Adam Bomb arrives and pushes Finkel around. Earthquake comes in and makes the save, gut suplexing Bomb. Earthquake hits a huge powerslam and then hits the Quake Splash. Forget it.
WINNER: Earthquake via Earthquake Splash
GRADE: F. Heyman didn’t mention Earthquake in his “streak” speech to Undertaker on RAW in 2014. What a disservice. 🙂
- Shortly after Wrestlemania X, Earthquake vanished from the WWF. After personal financial difficulties would arise, John Tenta (his real name) would contact WCW, looking for a job. Hulk Hogan had been a long-time friend of Tenta’s and lobbied for him to join the organization. He would wrestle there for three full years before leaving in 1997. In 1998, he would return to the WWF. By this time, Tenta had lost a significant amount of weight, thus there was no actual return of “Earthquake”. Instead, he would return as “Golga” and wear a mask and a t-shirt. His character was obsessed with South Park’s Eric Cartman. He was part of a bunch of “freak” wrestlers called “The Oddities” which also consisted of The Insane Clown Posse, Luna Vachon, and George “The Animal” Steele, among others. In 1999, with flagging popularity, Tenta was released from his contract along with all the other Oddities. He would return to Wrestlemania one last time, seven years later…
- A year after Wrestlemania, Bryan Clark (AKA Adam Bomb) would leave the WWF, having walked out on a promo spot when he wasn’t supposed to. He would wrestle in the WCW from 1997 to 2001, getting injured just before the WWF purchased the WCW. Bomb would return to the WWF but was soon sent down to the WWF’s minor leagues to work off some obvious ring rust. Clark refused to be sent down and was immediately released from his contract. In 2002, he would wrestle independently but this was short-lived because Clark wanted to become a professional boxer in 2003. Shortly after this, he announced his retirement from professional wrestling. He would undergo back surgery in 2006.
Backstage, Todd Pettengill is about to interview Yokozuna. Cornette and Zuna do show up. Cornette says Perfect called the match fair and square. He says it’s now time for Bret Hart to be beaten. He says Hart should already be embarrassed because his brother already beat him.
We get a clip from the Undertaker’s match in Wrestlemania VIII.
MATCH #8: Razor Ramon (champion) vs. Shawn Michaels (also “champion”) (w/ Diesel) in a Ladder Match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship
THIS. WAS. A. GREAT. MATCH. One of the best matches in Wrestlemania history. I remember watching this with my younger brother. Him and I were on two different sides at the time. Michaels was the first heel that I thought was great. Ramon was my brother’s favorite and was incredibly tough. Both men claimed to be champion. This was, essentially, me versus my brother. The “Ladder Match” angle was a new thing. The first person to climb the ladder and grab both belts and hit the floor was the undisputed champ. There were no pinfalls or DQ’s or countouts. At one point, Diesel helps Michaels by roughing up Ramon but the referee sees it. He sends Diesel to the back. King says that we need Mr. Perfect to ref this match, too. Heh. The subtraction of Diesel was a HUGE plus. Keeping him there as a cheating enforcer would have ruined this classic. Once the ladder enters the match, all hell breaks loose. Both of these guys have great skill…but that ladder just makes everything ten times cooler. Michaels takes full advantage of it and just uses it to nail Ramon with shots to his stomach and back. The first ladder climb, alone, is memorable. Not just because the fans were screaming for Ramon to stop Michaels but because Scott Hall (Ramon) accidentally grabs the back of Michaels’ tights…and pulls them down to show his ass to the audience. I am STILL not sure if the web, on the whole, even noticed this:
|“Why isn’t Vince telling everybody to look at my hips and thighs???”|
What does Michaels do about this?
|Bare-assed, kicking ass.|
Yes, that’s right. Michaels boots him off, KNOWS he’s exposing his ass and STILL goes for a bare-assed elbow drop before calmly pulling his tights back up. The match could have just been Ramon and Michaels using the ladder as a weapon but it was also used as a TOOL. Michaels hits an INCREDIBLE body splash from the top rung and then goes to the top of the ladder again. When Ramon knocks him off, it’s incredible. Michaels flies off the ladder, hits a rope and springs off of it onto the mat. Even when the ladder ISN’T used, the intensity just doesn’t stop. The two men just continue to beat each other to a pulp. There’s one part where Ramon just tosses Michaels, upside-fucking-down, over his head, from the ladder. I’ve never heard the fans so loud in my life. The match ends with Michaels climbing the ladder and getting the belts but Ramon knocks Michaels over…and Michaels gets his foot lodged in the ropes. Michaels can’t get his foot free and fights to stand back up. Michaels gets out but cannot get to his feet and Ramon grabs the belts. Michaels makes a futile dive toward the ladder but Ramon hits the floor with both titles to get the win. What a match.
WINNER AND UNDISPUTED CHAMPION: Razor Ramon
GRADE: A+. This is one of the best matches, NOT ONLY in Wrestlemania history, but WWF/WWE history.
Post-match, Ramon climbs the ladder and celebrates with both titles in his hands.
Back in the dressing room, IRS, Jeff Jarrett, Rick Martel and The Headshrinkers argue about being “captain”. There was supposed to be a ten-man tag team match but it’s not gonna happen, apparently.
Todd Pettengill is in the box with Faux Clinton and Ted DiBiase. DiBiase offers to buy Clinton but Clinton refuses.
We get a clip from last year: Wrestlemania IX and it’s “Roman” setting. Bret Hart loses the title…which leads into the Main Event.
We get clips from the build-up. Or not. It’s a sizzle reel of Hart over the years, kicking ass and severely, almost perverted, clips of Stu Hart making kids wrestle in a “shack” sorta thing. :-/
Then we get a sizzle reel of Yokozuna’s “career”. Like all YEAR of it. Luckily, we see no video of him in Stu Hart’s Kiddie Porn Wrestling Dungeon Shack Thing.
Burt Reynolds and Tori Spelling are out first. Because Tori is a woman and obviously can’t speak or do anything men can do, she will be the bell-ringer. Reynolds will be the ring announcer because he’s the man and men are better than women.
I’m being sarcastic for those not playing the home game.
Reynolds says that the special guest referee…IS ROWDY RODDY PIPER!
He looks spectacular. Aged a bit but great.
MAIN EVENT: Bret “The Hitman” Hart (challenger) vs. Yokozuna (champion) (w/ Mr. Fuji & James Cornette) for the WWF Championship with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper as the special guest referee
Bret has what appears to be a busted knee. The match is what it is. Yokozuna’s only positive is that he’s freakin’ big. Piper takes no guff from Zuna though it looks like Hart is in pain for most of the match and can’t really wrestle. The one thing that Zuna has in his favor (besides his weight) is Cornette AND Fuji at ringside…and that leads to one of the best parts – Cornette pulls Piper from the ring as he’s about to count to three. Cornette starts to give Piper crap and smirks at him like “you can’t count him down”. Piper just laughs…and decks Cornette, knocking him out. The match speeds up mid-way through as Hart takes over, hits a bulldog for a two-count, then hits his forearm from the ropes for two. It comes to an end when Yokozuna catches Hart off the ropes and belly-to-belly suplexes him to the mat. He sets Hart up for the Banzai Drop…but loses his balance and falls on his head. Piper counts three. Hart is the new champion.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: Bret Hart via pinfall
GRADE: C+. An improvement over Wrestlemania IX’s match but not great by any means.
Post-match, Yokozuna is agonized. Hart is practically unconscious with the belt laid across his chest. Piper tries to help Hart up but Yokozuna interferes and chases Piper to the dressing room. I say “chases”. I am not lying. Yokozuna actually runs after Piper. Hart stands up and celebrates…until Luger gets in the ring. Luger stands and stares, then shakes hands with Hart and helps him celebrate.
Luger, by the way, looks fucking ridiculous in the American tights. Then Piper and Burt Reynolds come out and a few of the faces do too. Then Rhonda Shear. Then Savage and the 1-2-3 Kid. They prop Hart on their shoulders and the place goes nuts. Then Owen Hart comes out next and Gorilla Monsoon holds the ring ropes open. Hart raises his arms as Owen stares at his brother and points.
Good Wrestlemania. The WWF still hasn’t mastered their main event matches all the way but they will get there…
OVERALL: B-. Some crap but some of the matches land beautifully.
Until next time!