Date: March 20th, 1994
Location: Madison Square Garden
Commentary: Vince McMahon, Jerry “The King” Lawler.
Background notes: Lex Luger and Bret Hart became co-#1 contenders for the WWF Championship after they became the simultaneous final eliminations of the Rumble. Commissioner Jack Tunney ruled that both men would get a singles shot at then champion Yokozuna, with a coin toss deciding who got a shot first (Lex won). Further Bret had also been feuding with his brother, Owen, after a collision between Bret and Owen caused Owen to be eliminated at the Survivor Series the previous year. Other notable feuds were between Bam Bam Bigelow and (sigh) Doink the Clown, Randy Savage and Crush, and a feud between “HBK” Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon over who was the proper WWF Intercontinental Champion.
We start the show off with a retrospective of all Wrestlemania 1, before a lame opening video. We then get introduced by Vince McMahon, sporting his “I’m going to lose my voice by the end of the night if I keep this up” voice – which is just short of the voice of his Mr. McMahon persona, which has yet to debut. He introduces Little Richard to sing “America The Beautiful”. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
Vince introduces Jerry Lawler, who is making his Wrestlemania debut, as his broadcast colleague. Jerry, you’re not wrestling, please put on a shirt. We get a video recap of the Bret & Owen Hart feud up to this point (including a brief bit of Owen being interviewed by Scotty Polo (who, dear readers, may know as Raven).
“The Rocket” Owen Hart vs. Bret “The Hitman” Hart
This is going to be great. I want to mention that we have a much more schnazzy entrance area this time, with sliding doors. Some very nice chain wrestling right off the back, with Bret taking control early on. Owen gets Bret in a waistlock, but Bret manages to flip Owen to the outside. Owen is pissed. Owen rolls in the ring, and then slaps the spit out of Bret. We get back to some chain wrestling, focusing on the ankle and wrists. Bret manages to get a 2-count off of Owen with a nice little roll up in the corner.
We get a nice solid “Let’s Go Bret” chant by the audience. Owen breaks out of his current hold with an elbow to the chin. Owen and Bret do a running chain, with Owen getting clotheslined to the floor. Bret drags Owen back to the ring, both men get into a shoving match, with Bret slapping Owen this time, and getting a rollup for 2. Bret gains control, working over Owen’s arm. Crucifix by Bret for 2.
Owen gets control with a running spinning heel kick. Owen literally kicks Bret out of the ring. Owen picks up Bret and slams him back first into the ring post. Owen throws Bret back in the ring. Owen beats Bret from pillar to post, before hitting a backbreaker and then locking on the Camel Clutch, but Bret manages to power out. Owen hits a belly-to-belly suplex for 2. Owen gets sent for the ride, Owen hits a springboard cross body, which Bret rolls through for 2.
Owen locks on a reverse chinlock on Bret. Owen moves to picking up Bret, but Bret manages to reverse the move so that he lands on Owen for 2. Bret rolls to the outside, and when he goes back in, Owen tries to suplex him back in the ring. Bret reverses. Standing switch. Bridging German suplex by Owen for 2. Owen goes for a vertical suplex, Bret reverses to a Small Package for 2. Bret goes for a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, Owen reverses to a Tombstone and goes up top, goes for a flying splash, but Bret rolls out of the way.
Bret hits an inverted atomic drop, covers for 2. Russian leg sweep by Bret for 2. Bret hits a backbreaker and goes up, hits his measured elbow drop for 2. Owen hits a enziguri on Bret and goes to lock on the sharpshooter, but Bret tries to reverse it into one of his own, but Bret breaks out. Owen goes for a pin, 2 count. Owen rolls out of the ring, Bret hits a pescado, but appears to have injured his knee. Owen recovers first and starts working Bret’s knee over, starting with kicks, moving on to slamming it against the ring post, and then to hitting him with a Dragon Screw. Owen applies a Figure-4 leg lock on Bret, but Bret manages to roll over and reverse the hold, forcing Owen to roll to the ropes.
Owen keeps working over Bret’s knee. Bret finally regains control with an enziguri of his own, and he beats his brother from pillar to post. Guillotine legdrop for 2. Bulldog by Bret for 2. Bret connects with a piledriver again for 2. Bret sets Owen up on the top rope. Vertical superplex! Bret can only get 2! Owen finally regains control and locks on the sharpshooter! Bret manages to break out (officially – though he does tap the mat 3 times, loudly) and lock one of his own, but Owen reaches the ropes. Bret goes for a victory roll, but Owen reverses it for 3!
Winner: “The Rocket” Owen Hart by pinfall through a reversed Victory roll at 10:24.
Rating: **** – Bret and Owen put on a clinic. I’m not sure what’s going to top this. I hope that Owen got a title shot later (and it’s a shame he never won a WWF Championship reign). Particularly since Owen got a clean pin.
We’re backstage with Todd Pettingill with Owen for an interview. Owen declares himself “The Best There Is, The Best There Was, and The Best There Ever Will Be.” We go to the ring to Sy Spirling, president (at that time) of the Hair Club For Men, to introduce his newest success story – Howard Finkle! That’s right ladies and gentlemen, he’s got a dashing head of hair.
Mixed Tag Match: Bam Bam Bigelow & Luna Vachon vs. Doink The Clown and Dink The Clown
No good can come of this. Doink and Bam Bam start. Bam basically levels Doink with a series of shoulder blocks and a drop kick. Doink gains control when Bam Bam misses a leg drop. Doink gets the tag to Dink, and Dink wants a shot at Bam Bam, but Bam Bam must tag in Luna. Dink basically makes Luna look like an idiot (poor Luna). Luna finally gets control and finally pounds the crap out of Luna. Dink gets control when Luna misses a top rope splash.
Bam Bam and Doink get tagged in. Doink goes for a sunset flip but Bam Bam reverses it. Doink regains control though. Doink goes up top, goes for a flying leg drop but misses. Bam Bam regains control, and while he’s bouncing off the ropes, he “accidentally” hits Dink with his elbow. Bam Bam goes up and hits a flying headbutt for 3.
Winner: Bam Bam Bigelow with a flying headbutt at 6:10.
Rating: ** – Meh. I’m glad Doink didn’t win.
After the match, we get “Hail To The Chief” over the PA system, revealing that Bill Clinton is attendance this evening, by which I mean a Clinton Impersonator.. Sitting right behind him is Irwin R. Shyster. A fan hands a sign to “Bill”, who holds it up – it appears to be a Bret Hart sign. Whatever.
Falls Count Anywhere: “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Crush (w/ Mr. Fuji)
Randy jumps the bell, with Randy and Crush brawling in the entrance way. Crush slams Randy throat first on the railing for 3. According to Finkle (who didn’t get a chance to finish giving the stipulation) when a pin or submission occurs, the pinned wrestler has 60 seconds to get from wherever he was pinned to the ring. So it’s more like a modified Texas Death Match. Fuji smacked Savage in the back with his Japanese flag, but Savage manages to respond the count at the last second.
Crush continues working over Savage. Crush ties Savage in the Tree Of Woe, and works him over a bit, Crush gets some salt slipped to him by Fuji (covertly). Crush tries to throw it into Savage’s face, but Savage reverses it, and continues working over Crush. I will mention that aside from the salt and Fuji’s flagpole no foreign objects were employed. Savage hits the flying elbow, slides crush outside of the ring and gets the pin, but Crush makes it at the last second as well (thanks to Mr. Fuji with a pitcher of ice water.
Savage tries to finish Crush, but he gets back-dropped to the outside. Savage regains control there, and slams Crush against the ring post, the ring steps, and then clotheslines him over the rail. Savage. Crush regains control with a super kick. Crush goes for a piledriver on the concrete, but Savage reverses it into a back drop. Savage takes crush towards the backstage area.. yep, we’re backstage. Is it too early for an ECW chant? Whatever, I’m doing it anyway. Savage gets the pin in some area that’s under construction. I have no idea how he’s going to make this back. Just to make sure Crush doesn’t make it back. Savage ties Crush up by his ankles, and hangs him up by his feet. Let’s see you make the 60 second count now, bitch! And he doesn’t!
Winner: “Macho Man” Randy Savage by pinfall at 9:44 after Crush failed to respond after 1 minute.
Rating: *** – Decent match, but I must admit I got spoiled by the Falls Count Anywhere matches that would come later from the likes of Mick Foley, and the various and sundry people who came through ECW.
Also, as a question for those who have the DVD. Check at 1:01:16. The blond in the lower left corner of the screen – is that Miss Elizabeth? Meanwhile, Todd Pettingill interviews “President Clinton”, with Irwin R. Shyster getting a bit of dialog in. We then get a video package about the WWF Fanfest. We then go to a promo with Savage at the Paramount theater. Is it Intermission already? Nope, guess not.
WWF Woman’s Championship: Lelani Kai vs. Alundra Blayze (c)
This is Blayze’s Wrestlemania debut. She’s previously wrestled in WCW and in All Japan. Kai takes control early on. Interesting (in a bad way, mix of styles here. Lelani doesn’t have much wrestling ability, but Alundra could probably keep up with most luchadors, due to her Joshi experience. The two women trade near-falls, before a scratch on the DVD keeps me from watching the rest of the match. Damn! Ditto with Men On A Mission vs. The Quebecers (Jacques Rougeau and Pierre) for the Tag Team Titles (which would be Scott “Raven” Levy and Pierre’s Wrestlemania Debut), and Lex Luger vs. Yokozuna for the WWF Championship.
So, in short. Blayze beats Kai, Men On A Mission win by count-out, so The Quebecers retain the belts, and Lex Luger gets himself DQ’d, so Yokozuna retains the belt, and will face Bret for the Title in the main event. This leads us into intermission, which is a few recap videos and promos, leading us into…
Ladder Match for the WWF Intercontinental Title: “HBK” Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon w/ Diesel
Now, to win, you have to retrieve not one, but 2 belts, as when the title holder was disputed, both Michaels and Razor were carrying title belts a claiming that they were the legitimate champion. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that this is Diesel’s Wrestlemania Debut, putting all 3 current members of the Kliq in the ring at the same time (albeit briefly).
We start off with some chain wrestling between Razor and Shawn, capping off with a chokeslam by Razor. Another fast sequence capping off with a neckbreaker by Michaels. More wrestling with Razor getting thrown to the outside. Diesel clotheslines Razor, leading to Diesel being ejected from the building. This gives Razor time to recover and regroup. Razor takes control, smacking Shawn around inside and outside the ring. Razor takes a little too much time outside the ring, taking up some of the mats by the ring (to expose the concrete), allowing Shawn to regain control for a bit. Razor levels Shawn with a big right hand, and goes for the Razor’s Edge, (his powerbomb finisher), only to have it reversed into a backdrop over the top rope, that leaves Razor sprawled on the concrete (oh, the irony).
HBK goes for the ladder, but Razor manages to get back to his feet, across the ring, and then floors Michaels (who was takng his sweet time. Razor sets the ladder on the apron, but HBK baseball slides the ladder into Razor! ECW! ECW! ECW! Razor painfully slides into the ring, and gets to his feet, only to have HBK nail Razor in the gut with the ladder like a battering ram. Michaels then slams the ladder on Razor’s gut, and then smacks him a few more times for good measure. Michaels finally sets up the ladder and starts climbing. Razor manages to grab HBK’s ankle, then the back of his tights, and we have a full moon in New York City, and the ladies in the audience are going wild! We get a full shot of muscular buttocks, briefly, as Michaels (who has his priorities straight, I guess) drops an elbow off the ladder on Razor, and then corrects his clothing. I haven’t heard squeeing of the like since the first time Jeff Hardy took off his shirt.
HBK then sets the ladder up in the corner, slams Razor, and goes back up again, and hits a big splash on Razor. Michael sets the ladder back up on the right place, and goes back up the ladder again. Razor shoves over the ladder, and Michaels gets flapjacked on the top rope. Michaels recovers about the same time as Razor, and they get a few more pieces of chain wresting togeather, before they run into each other and nearly knock each other out. HBK sets the ladder up in the corner, and goes to whip Razor into the corner, but Razor reverses it and HBK eats the ladder and goes flipping over to the outside. Razor takes the ladder outside the ring, and repays Shawn in kind for his ladder strikes earlier, and with interest. Razor sets up the ladder now, but Michaels recovers and goes up the turnbuckle, and manages to take down Razor – but the ladder falls on HBK. Physics is apparently not HBK’s friend right now.
Razor sets up the ladder and both men start climbing the ladder at the same time. The two men trade blows on top of the ladder, with Razor getting the better hand and hip-tossing Michaels, but the ladder buckles. Razor climbs up the twisted ladder, reaches the belts, but Michaels dropkicks the ladder, knocking off Razor. HBK drags Razor to his feet, whips him, and then hits a Sweet Chin Music! Finally, Michaels goes for the Razor’s Edge, but he can’t lift him all the way, so he piledrives him instead. Michaels gets on the top turnbuckle with the ladder, and rides it down on Razor. These guys have done everything with the ladder short of Pillmanizing each other and suplexing the thing.
Michaels sets the ladder up over Razor (smart idea) and Michaels goes up, but Razor recovers, and shoves the ladder over, and Michaels gets crotched on the top rope, with his ankle tied in the rope. Razor sets up the ladder, and HBK can only look on as Razor retrieves the belts.
Winner: Razor Ramon by retrieving the belts at 19:49. Ramon is the Undisputed WWF Intercontinental Champion.
Rating: **** – Excellent match. This match basically wrote the book on the modern ladder match.
We then get a very, very brief vignette backstage establishing that we’re not having the 5-on-5 tag team match, as the Heels can’t decide on a team captain (allowing Jeff Jerret to get his Wrestlemania Debut).. This then leads to a vignette between the Bill Clinton impersonator, Todd Pettingill, and “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. Finally, a vignette on the Hitman/Yokozuna feud. Finally, we’re introduced to our guest timekeeper, Jenny Garth, and our guest ring announcer, Burt Reynolds (again, oh how the mighty have fallen). Burt basically phones it in for doing the announcements, showing slightly less enthusiasm than Ben Stein would show. Burt first introduces our special guest Ref – “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, and the crowd (and I) go nuts.
WWF Championship: Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. Yokozuna (c) w/ Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette
Jim Cornette is making his Wrestlemania debut. Yokozuna jumps Bret before the bell. Both men trade blows in the ring, with Yokozuna taking control. Bret tries in vain to knock the mighty oak of Yokozuna down, with Yokozuna finally taking control. Yokozuna repeatedly hits Bret in the head (with Bret still selling his kayfabe leg injury from earlier in the night). Bret ultimately manages to regain control with some brawling (which is unusual for Bret).
Bret finally floors Yokozuna and goes for the pin, but Cornette drags Piper out of the ring. Not a bright one, that boy. Piper kind of shrugs, goes “what can I do” and levels Cornette. However, Yokozuna finally gets a chance to recover and regain control, throwing Bret out of the ring. Yokozuna waits for the count, but Bret manages to respond. Yokozuna whips Bret into the corner and goes for the big splash but misses. Bret manages to hit a bulldog and goes for the pin, but only gets 2. Bret goes up and hits the measured elbow drop for 2. Bret and Yokozuna return to their feet, with Bret continues working over Yokozuna. Lariat by Bret for 2. Bret goes up, and goes for a flying forearm, but Yokozuna catches him and hits a belly-to-belly suplex. Yokozuna drags Bret to the corner and goes up. Yokozuna goes for the Banzai Drop, but Yokozuna loses his balance and falls back, and Bret rolls out of the way. Bret makes the cover and gets the 3.
Winner… and NEW WWF Champion: Bret “The Hitman” Hart by pinfall at 10:32.
Rating: *** – Perfectly Acceptable Match.
After the match, Yokozuna doesn’t take kindly to Piper having counted three, and he chases Bret to the back. Lex comes out to the ring, and Lex and Bret shake hands. Piper returns, as does the rest of the faces (and Burt Reynolds) who celebrate with Bret, allowing the Sean Waltman (as the 1-2-3 Kid) to make his Wrestlemania debut, as well as Bob Holly (as Sparky Plugg) and Billy and Bart Gunn (as The Smoking Gunns). Owen then comes out, and doesn’t celebrate, simply looks on from the entrance way in disbelief and anger. The Owen-Bret feud is far from over.
Overall Rating: **** – Hell of an opener, and the ladder match was great. Alas, I wasn’t able to see many of the other matches on the card due to damage to the disk. All in all, though, the event was enjoyable, and I would recommend picking it up.