WWF WrestleMania V 4/2/1989

April 2, 1989
Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Attendance: 18, 946
Closed Circuit Attendance: 175, 000
Buy Rate: 5.9
Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura

1) Hercules (Ray Fernandez) defeats King Haku (Uliuli Fifita) with a Bridge Suplex at 6:57

Fun Fact:
Hercules was one of Bobby Heenan’s loyal family members. That is until money talks. Back in late 1988, Ted DiBiase wanted a “personal slave.” Heenan sold Hercules to him. That didn’t sit well with Herc, and he turned face by attacking his former manager.

Fun Fact II:
Over the summer of 1988, the current King of the WWF, Harley Race, was sidelined with a major back injury. During that time, Bobby Heenan claimed he didn’t know if Race would ever return, so he was going to coronate a new king. During a large coronation ceremony, Heenan officially crowned Haku the new King of the WWF. Upon Race’s return, he turned face and challenged Haku for the “King” title at the Royal Rumble. In a match was left off the Coliseum Video release of the Rumble, Race put over Haku clean and retired shortly after.

This is a pretty rudimentary opener. Hercules has a limited repertoire, but Haku was able to carry Herc to a pretty good match. Herc also interacted with Heenan very well, which added to the story. Haku begins a pretty good run as a singles competitor, and will be a loyal Vince employee for the next couple of years. Hercules wins with a back suplex, and even remembers to lift one of his shoulders so as to leave no doubt who wins. Not much more to say, except it’s the start of a very long night. Grade: 2

A good opener that the crowd gets pretty into. Hercules was a good face, because he was good at selling, thus his face run is more entertaining than his plodding heel matches. Haku carries his end of the load, as always, and lays some good offense down on Hercules for most of the match. The end is good too, as Herc gets the shoulder up and picks up the big win, the biggest of his entire face run. Grade: 2


2) The Twin Towers defeat the Rockers when Akeem (George Grey) pins Shawn Michaels (Michael Hickenbottom) with a splash at 8:02

Scott: I wasn’t crazy about this match when I first watched it again a couple of years ago. I thought it was slow, plodding and dull. I watch it again, and I definitely changed my opinion of it. The Rockers were ingenious, creative, and exciting. The Twin Towers were two big, badass heels. Slick was now putting together a pretty impressive stable. Boss Man was very slowly losing the weight he had been carrying around for months. Akeem’s not losing his weight any time soon. This was of course the first Wrestlemania for Shawn Michaels, and although we didn’t know it at the time, this was the first of many matches for ol’ HBK on the big stage. The match is solid, but the Rockers have to pay their dues, and the Towers have the heat from the feud with The Mega Powers. So Michaels does the job (can’t say that much as time progresses), but both teams put on a good show. Grade: 3

The Rockers were still a few months from hitting their stride as a premier team, but they show glimpses of their greatness and put on a good match. It was fun watching the Rockers try to counter the raw power of the Towers, but as soon as they gained momentum each time, they would be squashed back down. The Rockers finally get some momentum going towards the end, but the Towers are able to counter one last time and finish things off. The Towers worked the monster heel formula to perfection, plus they were pretty good bumpers for big men, so their selling is pretty great too. The Rockers take same nasty bumps of their own, including a nasty powerbomb on Michaels from Boss Man that just murders him. Akeem finishes with the splash and picks up the win for his team. Grade: 3

3) Ted DiBiase and Brutus Beefcake (Ed Leslie) wrestle to a double countout at 10:01

Fun Fact:
This is the debut of the Million Dollar Belt. DiBiase had the belt made after his failed 1988 attempt to win the WWF World Title. In a 2004 interview, DiBiase said that the belt was $25,000, and he had to carry it around in a gold Halliburton. He said one time he lost the Halliburton at the Atlanta airport. He realized it going back to the airport from the hotel that he had forgotten it.

There’s no question that Ted DiBiase is one of the most technically sound wrestlers of all time, and one of the greatest heels. For some reason, though, his Wrestlemania performances leave a lot to be desired. His matches in the tournament at IV are pretty solid, but this is the first of 5 straight Wrestlemanias that he puts a sub-par performance on. Beefcake was one of the hottest faces on the roster, but he also didn’t bring his best here. The pace is slow, and there’s too much outside posturing. There’s not enough action in the ring. Then there’s the lame double countout ending, which doesn’t help matters. I don’t remember the back-story on why this match happened, but if there was, why was there no decisive ending? It’s not like this feud went through the summertime. This was a sub-standard match with a lame ending. Grade: 1.5

In what looked like a good match on paper, this is a disappointing outing from two of the main players at the time. Beefcake was slowly but surely climbing his way up the ladder, and further into 1989, he would make his greatest strides, as he begins his on screen friendship with his long time pal Hulk Hogan. For the next year, Beefcake would usurp Hogan’s adversaries once Hogan polished them off, a role which worked for the Barber, as he would be mightily over exactly one year from the show. DiBiase has quickly been busted down the relevance chart, as he no longer is involved in major feuds or storylines, and over the course of 1989, he just kind of floats from feud to feud and match to match while still honing his character. This match is kind of slow, and never really gets cooking like it should of, and then it just ends with the double countout. A weird outing that should have been much better than it was. Grade: 1.5


4) The Bushwhackers defeat the Rougeau Brothers when Butch (Miller) pins Jacques (Rougeau) with a double stomach-breaker at 9:10

Scott: This was another match that made no sense. First off, The Bushwhackers just annoy me in general. That’s probably due to the fact they were awesome heels in other promotions, and now they’re face-licking buffoons. Second, The Rougeaus seem off their game here. They’re doing much more posturing and jawing than they were wrestling. There is a funny spot where Ray lifts Luke up for a slam, and Luke starts massaging his balls while he’s holding him up. I don’t know if it was meant for a rib, or something else. It was disturbing, like this whole match. I don’t understand why the Rougeaus were never meant for at least a PPV win, much less a world title. They job here to the double stomach-breaker, not the last time they’d job to these two jokers on PPV. Grade: 1.5

This match is a prime example of just how awesomely deep and intricate the tag division was during this time period. On this card, there are 14 matches, 5 of which are tag matches, comprised of 10 full time tag teams, which was just amazing. The tag division was just rocking at this point, and the commentators always made it seem like a win or loss could mean so much for a particular team, which was a great way to build up the belts. Despite being one of the best teams in the ring and on the stick, the Rougeaus just seem doomed to be at the bottom of the tag team food chain. Luke rubbing Raymond’s twig and giggleberries was pretty funny, in a perverse way. Equally entertaining was Jesse accusing Gorilla of hitting the “joy juice” and walking through the casino like the Bushwhackers the night before. This match was mainly a comedy affair, but still, the Bushwhackers didn’t need a win to stay over, and the Rougeaus could have used one badly. Luke and Butch actually show some decent wrestling abilities here, and they unleash their great bumping skills, and are able to hang with the Rougeaus, which is surprising. The ending happens quickly, with Butch picking up the upset win on Jacques. Grade: 2

5) Mr. Perfect (Curt Hennig) defeats the Blue Blazer (Owen Hart) with the Perfect-Plex at 5:38

Now this match was a definite hidden gem. Perfect debuts his now familiar neon singlet in this match, and his opponent shows us a sign of great things to come. Owen Hart makes his PPV singles debut here, and he makes the most of it. He and Perfect go move-for-move for close to six minutes. They should have hacked 2 minutes off that Rougeaus/Bushwhackers fiasco and put it on here. Perfect is just getting started. His character is just starting to grow. There was actually one moment where Perfect came up almost a millisecond before the 3-count. You knew that Perfect realistically wasn’t going to lose this match, but at that moment you really didn’t know. The Blazer won’t be back for a while, as Owen goes back and forth on TV for the next couple of years. Solid, but it was too short a match. Grade: 3.5

Jesse Ventura was proved right once again, as he proclaims this match as his “sleeper pick” before it starts, and boy was he right. Perfect and the Blazer turn it up and put on a 6 minute clinic that doesn’t seem to slow down for anything. Owen makes the most of his brief opportunity before leaving his blue tights, mask and cape behind to go work on his craft overseas and in Canada. He would return in 1992, primed for the major run he so rightly deserved. There are some nasty spots here, as Perfect takes a dropkick and flies over the rope, Owen does a splash off the top and lands directly on Perfect’s knees and right before the finish, Perfect catches Owen with a nasty cheap shot punch to his face while he argues with the ref. This was a great match that should have gone an extra 4 or 5 minutes for sure. Grade: 3.5

*** Run DMC performs the “Wrestlemania Rap.” ***

6) Demolition defeats the Powers of Pain & Mr. Fuji in a Handicap Match to retain WWF Tag Team Titles when Ax (Bill Eadie) pins Fuji (Harry Fujiwara) after the Decapitation Device at 8:20

The first big show for the tag champs as faces is a rousing success against their former manager and his new team. This was originally slated for a straight up tag match, but Fuji was added at the last minute. Typical match for two big power teams: big power moves, but with added psychology, as POP tries to only tag Fuji in when they have the advantage. Gorilla and Jesse debate this point, as Jesse says it’s an advantage for the wily veteran to be in there, whereas Gorilla says he is useless dead weight. It seemed a foregone conclusion that Demolition was going to win, but the POP were worthy challengers. Fuji gets caught trying to cheat with salt, but the Demos get the advantage and finish Fuji off to win the match. Nice little tag title match, as Demolition’s popularity continues to grow. Grade: 2.5

In the big blow-off to the story arc that began at Survivor Series, Demolition polish off their former manager and his new charges to continue on their reign of terror, which officially hits the one year mark at this show. Demolition’s popularity has just steadily climbed and climbed over the past year, and would continue to do so even more over the next 12 months, culminating with the biggest moment of their tenure at Wrestlemania VI. The Powers of Pain reach their apex here, as for the rest of 1989 they just tread water and put on some solid matches with various teams. By early 1990, they would be split up and sold by Mr. Fuji and go on to have decent solo runs. As Scott said, the psychology here is pretty good, as the debate rages on over whether or not Fuji blew it by getting the ring. In a funny bit, Fuji proved he was ready to wrestle by running in the Wrestlemania 5K race…in his tuxedo…and finishing it. In the end though, Fuji costs his team the match, and as Gorilla states as the match finishes, Fuji may have been more dangerous on the outside of the ring than he was in it. A good blowoff to a hot feud, which is the most you can ask for. Grade: 2.5


7) Dino Bravo (Adolfo Bresciano) defeats Ron Garvin (Roger Barnes) with a side suplex at 3:06

A little filler match between two singles competitors. Bravo is just Bravo, there’s not much more to say about him anymore. Garvin is just an annoying babyface who must play the foil here. The big point here is the unusually timed return of Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka. They announce him right after the intros of this match, before the bell rings. This is Snuka’s first PPV appearance since Wrestlemania I. As for the match, it is quick and inoffensive. Bravo wins, and rightfully so. Grade: 2

Thankfully, this PPV marks the final time we have to see that useless sack of shit Frenchy Martin at ringside. Sadly, his final appearance is his most memorable, as he takes a stiff punch to the face from Garvin after the match, and then falls victim to the Garvin Stomp. The match itself is useless, as it is basically a Bravo squash. Bravo has been pushed pretty hard over the past year, but he never seemed poised to be anything more than a lower-mid-card heel, so the constant pushes never really seemed to work the way it was planned to. Over the summer, Bravo would hook up with Jimmy Hart and be instrumental in the arrival of a new monster heel as 1989 winds down. Garvin, on the other hand, would get involved in a lengthy storyline with Greg Valentine that kicks off over the summer. Finally, it was nice to see the Superfly back in the picture, and he makes his long awaited in-ring PPV debut at out next show. Grade: 1

8) The Brainbusters defeat Strike Force when Arn Anderson (Marty Lunde) pinned Tito Santana (Merced Solis) after a spike piledriver at 9:17

The first real swerve of Wrestlemania came with a major push of ½ of the greatest heel faction in wrestling history. Strike Force, the former tag team champions, came back together to face Bobby Heenan’s prized tag team. Unfortunately, the chemistry from 1987 just isn’t there. Tito goes for his flying forearm, and whacks Rick Martel accidentally. Martel falls out of the ring, and it takes him what seems like hours to get back to the apron. Meanwhile, Santana’s getting the shit kicked out of him by Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard. When Tito finally gets to his corner, Martel blows him off, then leaves. He walks out on him, officially turning heel. The rest of the match is Tito being systematic dissected by Anderson and Blanchard. Beaten down, shall I say…Horsemen-style? Allow me to say that again. Santana is systematically dissected Horsemen-style. A smile purses my lips as I type that sentence. All that’s needed is Ric Flair breaking Tito’s leg with the Figure-Four while Ole Anderson stomps on his head, and all is right in the world. Sorry, went on a tangent there. Martel’s interview after the match is priceless, as he calls Tito a loser, and claims that he had been carrying his sorry ass for a while. He does a complete makeover from happy-go-lucky face, to arrogant pretty-boy heel. Good swerve, an even better heel beatdown. Grade: 2.5

A fun 10 minute old school dissection of Tito Santana, who plays his role to perfection and sells like a champ. The first few minutes is a hot non-stop pace filled with double team action and some nifty wrestling. The second part starts after Tito accidentally nails Martel with the Forearm, and the Busters start their long beatdown on Santana. Finally, Martel walks out to the chorus of boos, and despite a few attempts at a comeback, Tito is polished off with a nasty Spike Piledriver. Martel officially turns heel after the match, and kicks off one of the longest running rivalries in WWF history between he and Santana. This show also marks the official moment that Santana becomes nothing more than a jobber to the stars, a role that he played perfectly. The Busters pick up a huge win and would have a very busy rest of 1989, filled with very high peaks and very low valleys. Grade: 3

*** This PPV also marks the return of “Rowdy” Roddy Piper to the WWF, after a 2 year absence. We receive a special Piper’s Pit with Brother Love and Morton Downey, Jr. Piper would get back in the ring, and would remain active as a wrestler and commentator until early 1992. ***


9) Jake Roberts (Aurelian Smith, Jr.) defeats Andre the Giant (Andre Rousimoff) by disqualification at 9:44

This feud has reached its zenith. After Andre pounded the hell out of Jake at the Survivor Series, Jake got revenge by tossing him out at the Royal Rumble. However, Jake does have the wild card. That wild card is Damien, who Andre is deathly afraid of. Our guest referee is Big John Studd, who won the Royal Rumble. I don’t know why that makes him the ref here, but OK. The heat between Studd and Andre hasn’t been fresh for 4 years. You can tell it doesn’t add anything to the match. Speaking of the match, it’s not that great. Andre is losing his battle with Giant Man’s Disease every day, and he just can’t get around the ring anymore. Jake for some reason can’t do much to make this match better. His quickness and basic offense doesn’t plug into an Andre match. Studd is calling it down the middle. In the end, Andre and Studd get into a skirmish which ends the match, and Jake goes to get Damien. Suddenly Ted DiBiase comes from out of nowhere and takes Damien. Jake chases him, grabs the snake and tosses it in the ring. This chases Andre off. I really think Andre should have turned face here. The whole year was a mess for him, as he really couldn’t do much. Now he’s afraid of snakes? That made no sense whatsoever to me. By the end of the year, they had to write matches around Andre not being able to move around. As for Jake, he wins this feud and moves on. This first shot over the bow by the Million Dollar Man begins a year-long feud. Grade: 2

What a mess this match was. The story was pretty good, but Andre was in no shape to be wrestling in major singles matches anymore. He was just too slow and broken down, and his main offense has now been relegated to slapping and chokes. Thankfully, as 1989 wore on Vince put Andre in brief singles matches or tag matches, as this match showed he had nothing left in the tank. I can’t imagine they were considering a re-hash of the Andre vs. Studd feud, but it sure seemed like it. Thankfully it never happened, as there is no way that would have ever worked. Jake gives his all here, but it just wasn’t happening. The match picks up when DiBiase comes down and tried to steal Damien, which leads to the intense Roberts-DiBiase feud. That interference is the only thing that saves this mess whatsoever. Grade: 1

10) The Hart Foundation defeat Honky Tonk Man (Wayne Ferris) and Greg Valentine (John Wisniski, Jr.) when Bret Hart pinned Honky Tonk Man after a megaphone shot at 7:40

This was just a filler tag match to give all 4 guys a paycheck. The pink and black attack continues to just float along one show at a time. The next year will have success and failure. As for Honky and the Hammer, this would be a test match for what would be a very cheesy gimmick in early 1990. Not a bad match, as the Hart Foundation always bring their ‘A’ game, Valentine’s always a solid worker, and Honky’s just, well there. This time, Honky can’t avoid the pin, as he ends up looking at the lights after heel miscommunication and a megaphone shot. The Foundation’s feud with Jimmy Hart has now reached almost 8 months. (Credit to my brother for the “looking at the lights” reference) Grade: 2.5

Not much here, as the Harts are still buried behind Demolition on the face side of the tag division. Since losing the straps to Strike Force in 1987, they have really been an afterthought, but that would finally change as the decade ends. Honky is lucky to be involved on such a major show at this point, as he is still being jobbed out in return for the wins he received last year. Valentine is putting around, moving from match to match with no direction. That all changes for the Hammer, and he gets into his final memorable feud over the summer of 1989. The Harts get the win, and continue to battle their way up the tag team ladder. Grade: 2.5

11) Rick Rude (Richard Rood) defeats the Ultimate Warrior (Warrior) to win WWF Intercontinental Title after Bobby Heenan (Ray Heenan) trips Warrior and holds his foot during a suplex attempt at 9:36

The crowd is rabid for this match, as this has been brewing since the pose down competition at the Rumble. Rude was reaching top notch heel status, and with Bobby Heenan as his manager he’s garnering even more heat. The Ultimate Warrior has captured the fans attention with his crazed entrance music and energetic way he enters the ring. This was his first real feud, and everyone expected Warrior to mow through Rude easily. Jesse was pumping up the possibility of an upset. He was also pumping up the chance that Heenan would finally win WWF gold. Alas, after Warrior pretty much dominated most of the match, Heenan makes his move. Warrior puts Rude up for a suplex, but Heenan trips him and Rude falls on him. Heenan holds the leg down, and the ref counts 3. Rude is the new IC champ and the crowd is stunned. I was sure stunned when I saw it. Obviously most fans know this isn’t Heenan’s first title. He managed AWA World Champion Nick Bockwinkel in the 70’s. This is his first WWF gold. Warrior is outsmarted, but this feud only gets better as time progresses. Solid match between two guys you’d least expect to see be solid. Grade: 3

After 4 years and dozens of charges, Bobby Heenan finally manages to get his hands on some WWF gold. Unable to overpower the insane Warrior, Heenan and Rude use their brains, and outsmart the champ with some blatant cheating. The match was a fun power affair with the usual great selling by Rude mixed in. Warrior takes a sick piledriver at one point that looks like it should have snapped his neck. Once again, color man Jesse Ventura takes things to the next level with his commentary, begging and pleading for Heenan and Rude to come out on top and celebrating like crazy when they do. After the match, Warrior brutalizes Heenan, which plays a role later in the show. Rude wins in the big upset and goes on to have a fun title reign and these two would top themselves at our next PPV outing. Grade: 3


12) Bad News Brown (Allen Coage) and Jim Duggan wrestle to a double disqualification at 3:49

I can’t imagine what the bookers were thinking when they put this one together. Bad News is part of the quartet of non-finishes (along with Ted DiBiase, Jake Roberts and Roddy Piper), something we will track as we move along. Brown was settling into his role nicely as a loner and a mean motherfucker. Duggan continues to be a very popular character, except of course with me. The match is sloppy and rough to watch, and both men come into the ring with weapons to end with a double-DQ. Oh joy. Duggan chases Bad News off, and then one of many tirades of the night from Jesse. Duggan turns to the camera, and he has a gigantic snot hanging out of his nose. Jesse just rips into him, saying he’s a low class bum with snots hanging out of his nose. Absolutely awesome. Thank god the match was only about 4 minutes. Grade: 1.5

A complete clusterfuck here between two street fighters that don’t sell for anyone or anything. The match had no buildup, and led no where afterwards, so this is the exact definition of a useless filler match. Duggan was still mightily over with the crowd, as the cheap wins or DQ-losses never affect his popularity. Bad News was another mid-carder floating aimlessly with no direction, and with the I-C Title now on a heel, there wasn’t much for him to do outside of random feuds with guys like Duggan. Sadly, the highlight of this match is the Jesse Ventura snot incident, which says a lot. Grade: .5

13) The Red Rooster (Terry Taylor) defeats Bobby Heenan (Ray Heenan) when Heenan goes shoulder-first into the ring post at :32

Fun Fact:
The Brooklyn Brawler was portrayed by perennial jobber Steve Lombardi. Lombardi was repackaged into the Brawler and hired by Bobby Heenan to take out the freshly turned Red Rooster. On one memorable Prime Time Wrestling, the Brawler assaulted the set and nailed Gorilla Monsoon with a chair, causing chaos to break out.

Just a quick filler before the main event, but even this match had a back story. Heenan berated Rooster at the Survivor Series after Rooster was the first man eliminated. He continued the berating on Superstars over the next couple of months until Rooster bolted. Heenan comes out with his one jobber family member, the Brooklyn Brawler. Bobby was a little sore after the Ultimate Warrior knocked him around earlier in the night. So in quick order the Rooster wins the match, but the Brawler beat the hell out of him afterwards. This is probably the biggest moment of Terry Taylor’s WWF career. How much of a raise did he get to have that red Mohawk anyway? Grade: 0

Not much going on here at all. Rooster makes the most of this rare opportunity, as he even receives a pre-match promo. By this point, the “rooster” thing is out of hand, as he claims that he is from the barnyard, he has a red Mohawk and he constantly clucks. He makes quick work of his former mentor, who is still reeling from behind beaten down by the Warrior. The Brawler attacks him after, but that goes nowhere, as expected. Grade: 0


14) Hulk Hogan (Terry Bollea) defeats Randy Savage (Randy Poffo) to win WWF World Title with the Leg Drop at 17:54

Fun Fact: After what happened at the Royal Rumble, everything finally comes to a head on February 3 in Milwaukee. It was the second edition of the Main Event, and the big match was the Mega Powers against the Twin Towers. At one point, Savage is tossed over the ropes and lands on Elizabeth. Elizabeth is down and Savage gets back in the ring and gets the crap kicked out of him. Hogan leaves the apron and picks Elizabeth up and takes her to the back, leaving Savage in the ring alone. When Hogan comes back to the apron, Savage is ready to tag him. He does tag him, by pimp-slapping him right across the face and walking out on him. Hogan eventually wins the match. He goes backstage to check on Elizabeth and Savage berates him, saying if he wanted a shot at the title he should have asked, but “that would have been too easy.” As Hogan tells Elizabeth to reason with him, Savage pastes him with the title belt.

After months of teasing and posturing and question dodging, the Mega Powers finally explode. The commentary here is top notch as Jesse is slamming Hogan, calling him two-faced and “Lust Hogan” for going after Savage’s woman instead of asking man-to-man for a title shot. Gorilla does everything he can as the babyface announcer to try and defend Hogan. When you’re a kid and a full-blooded Hulkamaniac like I was, you fall for it. Now that I’m older and wiser, well, sorry Gorilla, but it doesn’t fly. This angle was written very poorly, as Hogan definitely looks like the greedy, selfish, and horny bastard. Unfortunately, it’s Savage that will forever look like the chump. He lays down in what is a pretty good match, as Hogan sells for most of Savage’s offense. Gorilla and Jesse continue to defend their guys. As for Elizabeth, it depends on your point of view. On the one hand, she’s a harmless manager torn between the two guys she represents. On the other hand, you can see her as a quiet, devious, goldigging slut as Jesse makes her out to be. The fact that she doesn’t go back to Savage in the long run proves some people’s point that she was made out to be a goldigger. If she wasn’t “Elizabeth”, with her beautiful gowns and squeaky clean image, the fans may have turned on her. In any event she really becomes an albatross in this match, and Dave Hebner finally gets rid of her midway through. The end is typical, as Savage hits his elbow, Hogan kicks out at 2, finger wave, 3 punches, yadda yadda yadda, and Hogan is champ for the second time. This is where the more intelligent fans may see the holes in Hogan’s persona, and how it’s tough to write storylines for him without making him look like a wimp. As for Savage, he begins one of the worst 18 months of his career. He main events the next show, but it quickly shunted down the card and further embarrassed. Solid title match with a predictable ending. Grade: 3

Well, after 12 months of build, the moment is finally upon us, as the two biggest stars in the WWF face off for the World Title. We have chronicled this feud from the start, and as Scott said, the writing clearly made Hogan out to be the heel, but Savage is the one who was turned, as such was life in 1989. It is quite disappointing to see Savage have such an awesome run in this 12 month run, only to see him be shunted down to the mid-card after the show. Over the summer, he continues to feud with Hogan, but his character is transformed into a psychotic weirdo who is obsessed with magic spells and other bizarre shit. The match itself is pretty damn good, however, as Savage gets his licks in and nails his finisher before Hogan does the inevitable. Elizabeth plays her role well, and it is a cool moment to see Dave Hebner get so fed up with her being in the way that he throws her out of the match. She would vanish for a while, but would resurface from time to time at major events. Hogan wins his second World Title, a reign that would last exactly one year. Over this year, his pops would slowly start to weaken and the first cracks in Hulkamania would start to show, as his overall shtick would start to piss people off more than Vince or Hulk would have ever expected. Grade: 3.5


This Wrestlemania had a little bit of everything, from screwjobs to upsets to title changes. Even though the card is long and we’re in the era of filler matches at PPVs, almost every match at this show had some kind of back story. The matches that didn’t (Brainbusters/Strike Force) ended up starting storylines and creating new characters. The length of this show can be a bit draining, but unlike the year before there wasn’t any dull, uninteresting spots during the middle. Savage is back to being a heel, but has definitely lost a lot of his luster since he last was a heel in 1987. Hogan is back on top, and Hulkamania is runnin’ wild. As objective analysts, though, you start seeing through the façade. By the end of the year he really gets under your skin. Elsewhere, Demolition is still the best tag team, two big heels have stepped forward (Rick Rude and Rick Martel), and Bobby Heenan has ½ of the Horsemen in his family. The copy I watched of the show was from the legacy box set that came out in late-1999, and the return of Piper’s Pit with Morton Downey Jr. was taken out. Piper was back after a 2-year absence, and would return to regular TV. This is also the last time Jim Crockett Promotions tried to put a show on opposite a WWF show, as he had a Clash of the Champions on TBS the same night. Other than the absolutely GOD-LIKE Ric Flair-Ricky Steamboat 2-out-of-3 falls NWA World Heavyweight Title match (considered by some the greatest televised wrestling match of all time), the rest of that show was fairly awful. Ratings and attendance at the Superdome in New Orleans tanked, so it was the last time either promotion attempted to steal thunder. As a whole the show is solid, with only a few low points. In the catalog of Wrestlemanias, it’s in the top half. Final Grade: B

This is a weird show to grade, as it is jam packed with matches and is fairly entertaining to watch. However, when you step back and look at it, there just way too many filler matches, and many of those matches are close to 10 minutes, pushing this show pretty close to 4 hours. It was nice to see the depth of the tag team division showcased, but they could have easily had Hart Foundation vs. Rougeaus (finally polish off that feud) and scrapped the two matches they had instead. They also could have lost Bad News vs. Duggan and no one would have cried. The show definitely has its fair share of memorable moments, but also has many parts that are flat out forgettable. The Mega Powers story ends the only way it realistically could, but it is sad knowing that Savage would be shunted down into mediocrity following the match, similar to the way DiBiase was after Wrestlemania IV. A fun show to go back and watch, but I am not sure if it is a top half Wrestlemania by any means. Grade: B-

MVP: Hogan vs. Savage
Runner Up: Rick Rude
Non MVP: Ted DiBiase (dropping so low in one year)
Runner Up: Powers of Pain

All Time PPV Active-Wrestler Roster

Tito Santana
Buddy Rose
“Special Delivery” Jones
King Kong Bundy
Ricky Steamboat
Matt Borne
Brutus Beefcake
David Sammartino
Greg Valentine
Junkyard Dog
Barry Windham
Mike Rotundo
Iron Sheik
Nikolai Volkoff
Andre the Giant
Big John Studd
Leilani Kai
Wendi Richter
Paul Orndorff
Roddy Piper
Mr. T
Hulk Hogan
Don Muraco
Randy Savage
George Steele
George Wells
Jake Roberts
Fabulous Moolah
Velvet McIntyre
Corporal Kirschner
Ted Arcidi
Tony Atlas
Brian Blair
Jim Brunzell
Bret Hart
Jim Neidhart
Hillbilly Jim
King Tonga (Haku)
Pedro Morales
Bruno Sammartino
Danny Spivey
Jim Covert
Russ Francis
Bill Fralic
Ernie Holmes
Harvey Martin
William Perry
Davey Boy Smith
Dynamite Kid
Uncle Elmer
Adrian Adonis
Terry Funk
Dory Funk, Jr.
Rick Martel
Tom Zenk
Bob Orton
Billy Jack Haynes
Hillbilly Jim
Haiti Kid
Little Beaver
Lord Littlebrook
Little Tokyo
Harley Race
Jacques Rougeau
Raymond Rougeau
Danny Davis
Butch Reed
Koko B. Ware
Honky Tonk Man
Jim Duggan
Ron Bass
Judy Martin
Dawn Marie
Donna Christanello
Sherri Martel
Noriyoi Tateno
Itsuki Yamazaki
Rockin’ Robin
Boris Zhukov
Jim Powers
Paul Roma
One Man Gang
Rick Rude
Ken Patera
Bam Bam Bigelow
Ultimate Warrior
Sam Houston
Bobby Heenan
Big Boss Man
Marty Jannetty
Shawn Michaels
Arn Anderson
Tully Blanchard
Conquistador Uno
Conquistador Dos
Blue Blazer
Mr. Perfect
Scott Casey
Red Rooster
Rockin Robin
Ronnie Garvin
Bushwhacker Butch
Bushwhacker Luke
Mr. Fuji

PPV Rest in Peace List

“Playboy” Buddy Rose (Wrestlemania I)
“Special Delivery” Jones (Wrestlemania I)
Uncle Elmer (Wrestlemania II)
Adrian Adonis (Wrestlemania III)
Haiti Kid (Wrestlemania III)
Little Beaver (Wrestlemania III)
Junkyard Dog (Summerslam 1988)
Big John Studd (Wrestlemania V)

Next Review: Summerslam 1989

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