This month marks BRM's Monthly "This Day in Wrestling History" Review Series' first anniversary, and there is no show that screams "big anniversary" to me like WrestleMania X, emanating from "the world's most famous arena" Madison Square Garden, which hosted the very first WrestleMania.
OPENING VIDEO PACKAGE - Fine for what it was
BRET HART vs. OWEN HART - a PERFECT 10/10!
Wonderful emotion, wonderful selling, wonderful psychology, and wonderful booking for the future. The only possible valid negative thing anyone can say about this match is that it means that this show will be all downhill from here.
TODD PETTENGILL INTERVIEWS OWEN HART - Good promo by Owen
HOWARD FINKEL HAS HAIR! - Courtesy of Sy Sperling, president of the Hair Club For Men. This was fun.
MIXED TAG TEAM MATCH:
Bam Bam Bigelow & Lucha Vachon vs. Doink The Clown & Dink The Clown - 3/10
It was what it was going to be, but at least it was short. Dink- yes, Dink- tried to start trouble after the match that wound up with Bam Bam missing a splash on him, making Bam Bam look silly. This is not a feud that should be continuing, so what was the point of this?
They showed a pretty decent Bill Clinton impersonator in the crowd.
FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE, 60-SECOND COUNT MATCH:
"Macho Man" Randy Savage vs. Crush (w/Mr. Fuji) - 3/10
The way this match worked was that after you got a pin, your opponent then had sixty seconds to make it back to the ring, and if he didn't make it, you'd win. Unfortunately, they explained this to us AFTER the first fall had happened, so when Savage got pinned in the aisle I figured he had lost. Then when Vince said there were sixty seconds to make it back to the ring, I assumed it was Crush who to get back into the ring, and when he got back to the ring I was confused as to why he wasn't declared the winner.
This was also announced as being "no holds barred" but all of the cheating happened behind the referee's back, anyway. Was there some sort of miscommunication somewhere?
The match started out decently well but then went downhill, getting lamer and lamer as time went on. This all culminated in a finish that consisted of Savage throwing Crush threw a double-door backstage, after which Crush stumbled towards a conveniently placed... something. It was some sort of piece of equipment whose purpose was indecipherable to me, made even more mysterious by the fact that it had a conveniently-placed pulley attached. Savage pinned Crush after said stumbling through the doors, the tied his feet up with the pulley, gave him some completely unnecessary kicks, and then headed back to the ring where he was both declared the winner and then beat up Mr. Fuji just because.
TODD PETTENGILL TALKS TO THE BILL CLINTON IMPERSONATOR - He's much less convincing from up close (the impersonator, I mean. Not Pettengill). IRS was sitting behind Clinton and they had apparently been talking. IRS praised Clinton for raising taxes. Was it stupid? Yes. But I will admit that I still laughed.
WWF WOMEN'S TITLE MATCH:
Alundra Blayze(c) vs. Leilani Kai - 1.75/10
While these two were circling each other, an Owen Hart graphic appeared on the screen. I'd say that this was a mistake... but there is definitely a facial resemblance between Owen and Alundra that makes me think it might well have been a very inappropriately-timed rib rather an a mistake. They did what they could in three minutes, but this was Alundra trying to drag a Moolah-style wrestler through a non-Moolah-style match.
BACKSTAGE SILLINESS - Todd Pettengill, Rhonda Shear, Shawn Michaels, & Burt Reynolds were involved. We skipped the champions' entrance in the world tag team title match to see this, which involved the guy whose gimmick is that he's very attractive get dumped for an even more attractive man who did not work for the company, making Shawn look like a chump. Even in 1994 were they skipping entrances for dumb backstage crap. I'm also angry we didn't get to hear much of The Mountie's theme.
WWF WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
The Quebecers(c) (w/Johnny Polo) vs. Men on a Mission (w/Slick) - 5.5/10
The Quebecers jumped the bell on Men on a Mission. This was a fine standard tag team match for the time it got, but we wound up with a frustrating count-out finish that didn't seem to have any purpose other than to not change the titles. Despite this, Men on a Mission wound up celebrating with the belts afterwards while Oscar rapped happily, seemingly unaware that his team had pretty much been screwed out of the titles. This whole thing was made even more curious by the fact that they did a quick switch and switch back of the belts just over a week later on a tour of the UK. Why not do one title change at Mania (in Men on a Mission's kayfabe home town, and Mo's actual home town), then change the belts back on the UIK tour?
WWF TITLE MATCH WITH MR. PERFECT AS SPECIAL GUEST REFEREE:
Yokozuna(c) (w/Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette) vs. Lex Luger - 4.25/10
An incredibly boring heat segment, followed by a Luger comeback that peaked with a very underwhelming-looking bodyslam, followed by an extremely frustration f*ck finish, which wouldn't lead to anything.
LUGER CONFRONTS MR. PERFECT BACKSTAGE - Lex not punching Mr. Perfect out was completely incomprehensible to me. Hennig would eventually explain that he screwed Luger because he was unhappy about the referee blowing a call in his match with Luger at least year's WrestleMania, which just made Luger look dumb for agreeing to let Perfect referee this match in the first place.
EARTHQUAKE vs ADAM BOMB (w/Harvey Wippleman) - squash
There were pre-match shenanigans involving Wippleman insulting Howard Finkel.
JIM CORNETTE (& YOKOZUNA & MR. FUJI PROMO) - Was great, but it wound up dragging on too long.
LADDER MATCH FOR THE WWF INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE:
Razor Ramon(c) vs. Shawn Michaels (w/Diesel) - 9.25/10
Razor was the officially recognized champion, but Shawn's own belt was up there was well. Diesel got ejected from ringside even though this match has no disqualifications.
These two had a fantastic match that both made excellent use of the stipulation and built extremely well. This is an iconic match for a reason... but it's not quite up there with the greatest matches of all time. Their second attempt would be much closer.
RICK MARTEL, JEFF JARRETT, THE HEADSHRINKERS, & IRS ARGUE OVER WHO GETS TO BE CAPTAIN OF THEIR TEAM - Because they can't decide, their scheduled match against Tatanka, , The Smoking Gunns, Sparky Plugg, & 1-2-3 Kid is unable to take place. That's some f*cknig bullsh*t right there, especially because someone being the "captain" has no actual bearing on the rules.
TED DIBIASE MEETS THE BILL CLINTON IMPERSONATOR - I stopped paying attention
BRET/YOKOZUNA VIDEO PACKAGE - Not having these before the Luger/Yoko match but having them here isn't very fair to Luger. Also, setting Bret's to his entrance music was a mistake because it didn't really match the tone of most of the clips.
WWF TITLE MATCH WITH "ROWDY" RODDY PIPER AS SPECIAL GUEST REFEREE:
Yokozuna(c) (w/Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette) vs. Bret Hart - 6/10
I guess the reason Mr. Perfect was wearing both a striped shirt and striped pants was because he knew Piper wouldn't be wearing any striped attire at all. That really irked me, as he seemed like just a third guy in the ring.
Yokozuna jumped the bell on Bret. The match was slow-paced, which would have been fine if it got enough time, but it went less than eleven minutes. They also could have made Bret's knee a bigger factor, as the whole "had to wrestle twice" thing never really felt like it mattered. This was definitely starting to get good by the end, but I hated the finish (Yokozuna missed a Bonzai Drop and hit his head, then Bret crawled on top and pinned him) because I thought it made Yokozuna look bad rather than making Bret look strong. This was very disappointing for a freakin' WrestleMania main event and especially one which was to be- as Vince called it, "the beginning of a new era."
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Fine. Luger came out and there was a tense moment but he then congratulated Bret. Then guest ring announcer Burt Reynolds congratulated Bret, then a bunch of the other babyfaces came out to do so as well.
This was a pretty disappointing show from the WWF. It has two classic matches, and then a whole lot of crap. Bart of the reason for this was some very bad time allotment. There was no reason to give so much time to Yoko/Luger (almost fifteen minutes) if we were going to get such a sh*tty finish. Another source of time-wasting was all of the celebrity stuff, as well as their "WrestleMania moments" clips, during which they would show us such moments as The Undertaker's entrance from WrestleMania VII. If you don't know what was so special about Taker's entrance at WrestleMania VII, join the club. They just decided to show it to us. Add in time wasted with the Clinton impersonator, and time wasted on stuff that didn't need to happen at all like Adam Bomb vs. Earthquake and the associated pre-match stuff (you can start your Fink vs. Wippleman feud at some other show), and Prince singing America The Beautiful didn't need to take as long as it did. This was a show that could have been a lot better if they cut out the bullsh*t to give more focus to the good stuff, and hadn't gone so heavy on the f*ck finishes (two of our five title matches had them, and one of the clean finish title matches didn't even go three and a half minutes).
So yeah. I once again failed to pick a great show, even though I managed to pick one with two matches at 9.25+/10. I swear I'm not meaning for this to become a gimmick, but I'm worried it might wind up as one and this whole thing will blow up in my face. Speaking of things blowing up, join us next month when we'll see something explode!