I tinkered with the idea of putting "from Ancient Rome" in the title, but I decided not to. You know, because of this show's motif.
Gorilla Monsoon introduces the show, but he's not our announcer. JIM ROSS is, and making his WWF debut to boot!
Finkus Maximus introduces Julius Caesar and Cleopatra, then our announce team. Randy Savage is accompanied by a few vestal virgins (ha), and Bobby Heenan rides a camel to the ring, backwards, of course. When he gets off, Savage pulls up Heenan's toga to reveal a pair of BVD's. Funny.
The first match on this card is Tatanka w/Sensational Sherri vs. Shawn Michaels w/Luna Vachon for the Intercontinental Championship.
Blow-by-blow: To start, both men do a little indy applause stance segment, to no applause. Shawn's hammerlock is reversed, so Shawn reverses Tatanka's hold into a top wristlock. Tatanka powers out, but Shawn takes him to the canvas with a headlock for a 2 count. Shawn tries another takedown, but Tatanka gives him a back suplex. Tatanka misses a charge to the corner, but he gives Shawn an armdrag as Shawn leaps off the top rope. He sends Shawn into the corner where Shawn goes upside down and onto the apron, then he chops Shawn down to the floor. Shawn rams Tatanka into the buckle when on the apron, and comes off the top with a sunset flip for a 2 count. Tatanka gives Shawn an inverted atomic drop, and then a DDT, before going to an armbar. A long one, at that. Tatanka then gives Shawn a shoulderbreaker, and a tomahawk chop from up top. Tatanka goes up for a third, but Shawn superkicks him on the way down. Shawn tosses Tatanka over the top and to the floor, then taunts Sherri from the ring apron. Uh...a neckbreaker from Shawn follows for a 2 count, and so does a dropkick which also gets 2. Shawn goes to the chinlock, and when Tatanka powers out, he gives Tatanka a botched victory roll for a 2 count. Don't think they were supposed to do that, as evidenced by going right back to that spot and Tatanka dropping Michaels to the canvas from his shoulders for a 2 count. Shawn gives Tatanka an axhandle from the second rope, but now, Tatanka is using POWERS OF THE SPIRITS ABOVE, so nothing's hurting him. Tatanka chops away at Shawn, and gives him a crossbody for 2. He slingshots Shawn into the ringpost, and a roll-up gets 2. he goes for the END OF THE TRAIL, but Shawn counters with a roll-up for a 2 count. Shawn goes to the top soon after, but Tatanka catches him in mid-leap and powerslams him for a 2 count. Shawn dumps Tatanka, and from the apron, he misses a crossbody, hitting the steel steps. Shawn pulls the referee out of the ring for some reason, and when Tatanka gives Shawn the END OF THE TRAIL, the bell rings. Why, whatever could be going on here? Finkus Maximus says that Tatanka wins by COUNTOUT, but he does not win the Intercontinental Title. BOO. Time was 18:16. After the bout, Luna attacks Sherri. Jim Ross says that Sherri needs help, and in response Bobby Heenan says that she always has needed help, starting with her makeup. LAWL.
Match Analysis: A good opener for WrestleMania, but a lot was missing. Namely crisp spots. Too much stuff seemed sloppy, but outside of that and the terrible finish, it was an ok match. There will be better matches, just not necessarily on this show. **1/2.
Mean Gene Okerlund is with the Steiner Brothers, giving them an interview before their match vs. The Headshrinkers w/Afa. So yeah, that.
Blow-by-blow: Bill Alfonso is the referee...thought that was of note. Fatu and Scott start the match, and Scott takes Fatu down with an armdrag. A Scott hiptoss follows, and so does a STEINERLINE. The ring fills up as both teams try to take control, and the Headshrinkers win that battle, by tossing the Steiners out of the ring. Both Steiners go to the top rope, and they clothesline the Headshrinkers on their way in. Rick and Samu have entered the match, and they both clothesline each other. Scott tags in and gives Samu a double underhook powerbomb, before giving Fatu a nice dropkick. Samu nearly kills Scott when dropping him out of the ring as most have seen before, and Afa only furthers the damage by hitting Scott with a kendo stick. Fatu gives Scott a backbreaker back on the inside, and follows it up with a flying headbutt off the 2nd rope for a 2 count. The Headshrinkers give Scott a double headbutt, but Samu misses a charge to the corner. That doesn't allow Rick to tag in, though, but Fatu does and tosses Scott out of the ring. Fatu gives Scott a thrust kick after his face is rammed into the mat, you know, because Samoans have hard heads and they don't get hurt. Fatu goes to the NERVE HOLD, but both clothesline each other. After Samu tags in and misses a flying headbutt from the top rope, Rick Steiner makes the hot tag. Rick gives everyone STEINERLINES, and tries a noggin-knocker, but obviously that isn't going to work, and the Headshrinkers give him a double front-russian leg sweep. They try for a doomsday device type move, but Rick gives Samu a powerslam out of mid-air. Yo. Scott gives Fatu a belly-to-belly as the excess makes their way out of the ring, but Samu slams him. Scott gives Samu a FRANKENSTEINER as the ropes are being ran, and that finishes Samu for the victory at 14:23.
Match Analysis: Much better than I remembered it being. After all, thinking about it, all matches between late 80's era NWA tag teams should be fun. **.
If you cannot stomach bad wrestling, quit watching the show right here. Seriously.
Mean Gene is with Doink for an interview, see, Doink drew on a statue of Julius Caesar, so Okerlund feigns outrage. We flash to when Doink attacked Crush with a prosthetic arm...laughable, ain't it?
So now, we have Doink vs. Crush. Reasons for this are stated above.
Blow-by-blow: Bobby Heenan is still pushing the "Doink is some wrestler that we've seen before" thing...when did that end? Doink squirts Crush with the flower on his coat, causing Crush to chase, and eventually slam Doink on the outside. Crush rams Doink into the ringpost, guardrail, and back into the ring, before giving Doink a neckbreaker. A backbreaker follows, but Doink uses the rope as help and gives Crush an axhandle off the top rope. Doink goes to the 2nd rope twice and gives Crush a few punches, before giving him a PILEDRIVER. Doink eats a boot on his way down from the top, and Crush gives Doink a powerslam from the 2nd rope. This is bad. And it has no heat. Crush clotheslines Doink over the top, which causes Doink to LOOK UNDER THE RING! Oh no. Crush prevents Doink from crawling under the ring, then sends him inside, for a gorilla press slam. He now applies the HEAD CRUSH, but Doink makes it to the ropes. When Crush turns around he hits the referee with his elbow, so now he's out cold. Doink tries to go UNDER THE RING, but Crush prevents him again, to give him the HEAD CRUSH. Back in with that, and a 2ND DOINK comes out from UNDER THE RING, to hit Crush with a prosthetic arm, giving Doink the oomph he needed to get the pinfall at 8:29. I didn't forget to mention that both Doinks did this little mirror-image routine that was super-retarded, of course, before the pinfall. Bill Alfonso comes to ringside to point out that there was a second Doink, and when looking under the ring, referee Joey Marella seemingly busted his noggin or something. He's acting like a malaria patient. Guess that constitutes an angle in those days.
Match Analysis: You know, I was ready to give it a DUD, until Joey Marella started acting like he had a headache. That was brutal. Just a simple -*. Wrestling was horrid (in the sense that Crush is terrible, and did not belong in the ring), but that can easily be forgiven if spots are not botched and with a simple ending to the match. Retardedness cannot be forgiven.
Todd Pettingill is in the crowd, asking about this Doink situation. Thankfully this is short, and ignorable.
Bob Backlund vs. Razor Ramon is our next contest, and Razor enters to a...favorable reaction. Heh.
Blow-by-blow: Razor tosses the toothpick at Backlund, to another favorable reaction. A big "Razor" chant begins, as Backlund trips Razor a few times. Razor slams Backlund twice in response, as Randy Savage talks about Lex Luger knocking out Bret Hart at the brunch earlier. They did that to set up a little run on the house shows, as you can see by checking thehistoryofwwe.com. Backlund gives Razor two hiptosses and a dropkick, before following that up with a double underhook suplex. Backlund gives Razor an atomic drop, causing Razor to bail out, cause Backlund's in SUPREME CONTROL. Backlund brings Razor in the hard way, but Razor rolls Backlund up for the victory at 3:44.
Match Analysis: Well, I suppose they weren't trying to make Razor look good. He looked anything but. 1/2*. I didn't really understand that match.
Money Inc. are with Mean Gene for an interview, and see, Gene thinks that the Mega Maniacs are going to have their numbers. On RAW, Brutus Beefcake was attacked with Money Inc's briefcase, so now, he has to wear a mask. Jimmy Hart tried to help even though he was Money Inc's manager, but he unable to do anything. IRS says that they're facing the "Mega Morons" and that Hogan was attacked at a gym last night, so his face is all screwed up. We'll see about that.
WHOA, LOOK AT HOGAN'S FACE.
Quite obviously, the Mega Maniacs w/Jimmy Hart are facing Money Inc. for the WWF Tag Team Titles.
Blow-by-blow: The champions instantly attack the Maniacs, but much like all other Hogan matches, he and Beefcake manage to clear the ring. Beefcake looks like a big douche with all this red and yellow and the mask he's wearing too, so to start the match, it'll be him and IRS. DiBiase quickly comes in to work on Beefcake, the height of that being a back elbow. IRS comes in for the double team and stays in, with a few punches for Beefcake before tagging back out. DiBiase tries to punch Beefcake in the face, but Beefcake's mask is keeping the punch from doing damage. Beefcake gets rammed into the buckle which also does nothing, so Beefcake returns the favor and tags in the HULKSTER. He gives Ted a 10 punch in the corner and a clothesline, before Beefcake comes in and they give DiBiase a double big boot. Hogan gives DiBiase an axhandle from rope #2, and clotheslines him over the top, bringing IRS in. Money Inc. want to leave when IRS gets tossed over the top rope, but the referee does the whole, "you better come back by the count of 10 or you'll lose your titles" thing, so of course, they come back. DiBIase and Hogan are in the ring, so DiBiase chokes Hogan a whole lot. The last three minutes have been non-sense, and once the MILLION DOLLAR DREAM gets slapped on, we can make that five minutes of nearly nothing at all. Hogan doesn't power out or anything, but the referee gets taken out of the picture or something and Beefcake gives DiBiase a sleeper, getting him to break the hold. Beefcake tags in now with the referee alive and well, and he gives IRS a high knee. DiBiase gets atomic dropped out, but after Beefcake punches IRS, DiBiase comes in and hits Beefcake in the back with the briefcase. Mongo blatantly stole that gimmick, in case you were thinking about it. DiBiase rips Beefcake's mask off, so he can go to work. The referee gets bumped when Beefcake puts the sleeper on IRS, so Hogan's able to make his way in, un-impeded. Hogan hits both champions with Beefcake's mask and both pin the champions at 18:14 w/Jimmy Hart counting the fall...but the bell is rung, and the match is over. The Mega Maniacs celebrate like morons, but a new referee comes into the ring and raises Money Inc's hands. Haha. The champions try to hit the Maniacs after the match with their tag belts, but it doesn't do anything. Jimmy Hart tosses Danny Davis over the top, Hogan poses, and they give money from Money Inc's briefcase to the crowd. Whoop-de-doo. The crowd went nuts when Hogan had the money, that being the only positive thing to come out of this.
Match Analysis: Like I said, this was the worst tag title match at WrestleMania. It was absolutely terrible. 18 minutes of fast-forward material for sure, and it's clear to see why. When Beefcake has to help carry a match, the match sucks. DUD.
For 24/7 viewers, now we're on Part 2. Todd Pettingill asks Natalie Cole a few questions, thankfully, that's just a fluff piece.
Now, Mr. Perfect has a promo, in which he gets his words confused with one another. Poor guy.
Mr. Perfect vs. LEX LUGER is next...
Blow-by-blow: One of my favorite characters, this version of Lex Luger. Too bad it didn't last. You'd figure that with some of the great matches Luger has had, this would be one of them, Hennig being a participant and all. Perfect gives Luger a kneelift and a dropkick, but Luger quickly responds with an elbow before Perfect takes him to the canvas. Perfect works on Luger's leg with a spinning toehold, but Luger makes it to the ropes. Perfect tries to kick away, but Luger sends Perfect to the corner and tosses him over the top. Luger gives Perfect a backbreaker on the inside for a 2 count, and when Perfect misses a charge to the corner, Luger covers him for 2 while putting his feet on the ropes. Luger gives Perfect a powerslam for 2, but Perfect responds with a sunset flip for 2. Perfect applies a sleeper, but Luger rams him right into the buckle. Perfect gives Luger an inside cradle for a 2 count, and a backdrop to boot. Perfect then gives Luger three clotheslines, which get a 2 count, and a swinging neckbreaker, which also gets 2. Perfect comes off the top with a missile dropkick for 2, but Luger pins Perfect with a backslide for a 3 count with Perfect's feet on the ropes at 10:56. That looked as weird as it sounded. Soon as the decision is announced, Luger gets up and hits Perfect with the LOADED FOREARM. Poor Perfect.
Match Analysis: Not good. Not good at all. Perfect did his best, but it just wasn't working for me, nor was it working for the live crowd. *.
After the match, Mr. Perfect heads to the back, obviously to fight Lex Luger. What he doesn't know is that Shawn Michaels is talking to Luger, and Michaels is not going to put up with Perfect's shit. Shawn beats down Perfect, until officials break it up. How embarassing.
Heenan and Savage nearly fight when talking about Luger's forearm, and then, Gorilla Monsoon hypes the rest of the show. And boy, do these matchups ever need the hype.
Giant Gonzales w/Harvey Wippleman vs. The Undertaker w/Paul Bearer is our shitty match du-jour...
Blow-by-blow: Talk about a freakshow. Yeesh. Taker gets wheeled to the ring in a chariot of death or something, accompanied by a vulture. Both men have a staredown, and then they choke each other. Taker gives Gonzales OLD SCHOOL, but Gonzales comes back with a running clothesline. Gonzales selling is so funny...you just have to see it. Gonzales beels Taker before going to the chinlock, and then, he tosses Taker out of the ring. He rams Taker into the steel steps, and brings him back in, for a headbutt. Gonzales gets knocked down after a few Taker punches, and then Taker focuses his attention on Harvey Wippleman, who he chokes. Gonzales hits Paul Bearer, and smothers Taker with a chloroform soaked rag, for the DQ at 7:33. Gonzales gives Bill Alfonso a chokeslam, which causes the crowd to chant for Hulk Hogan. Thank God we never had an epic matchup between Hulk Hogan and Giant Gonzales. Taker gets taken to the back on a stretcher, he has risen from the dead, and he clotheslines Gonzales to the ground, causing Gonzales to leave.
Match Analysis: Not as bad as most would have you believe, but still. Horrendous angle, horrendous wrestling, selling, and everything else. My dad was laughing at Gonzales selling when he got home and watched part of the match, so yeah, it was that bad. -***.
Next we see a video of Hacksaw Jim Duggan getting destroyed by Yokozuna, and the contract signing of Bret vs. Yoko that's currently on 24/7. Hulk Hogan has an interview, and he talks about how the HULKAMANIACS ARE WITH BRET, BROTHER. He challenges either Bret or "the jap" to a match, and he guarantees that the title will be staying in the United States. Why, whatever does he mean?
Todd Pettingill's in the crowd, his teeth look rotten, and I couldn't even pay attention to what he said.
Bad matches have killed the crowd before the main event, which features Yokozuna taking on Bret Hart for the World Wrestling Federation Championship.
Blow-by-blow: Bret gives Yoko a dropkick right at the start, but his go-behind doesn't work, and Yoko gives him a shoulderblock. Bret catapults himself in from the outside and punches away, before going to the 2nd rope and giving Yoko a nice elbowdrop. Bret clotheslines Yoko twice although he can't put him down, but a Yoko clothesline in response ends Bret's little rally. Yoko slams Bert and gives him a big legdrop, before going to his favorite hold, the nerve hold. Bret takes Yokozuna to the canvas from the 2nd rope after a missed Yoko charge, but Yoko gives Bret a thrust kick and goes back to the nerve hold. Another Yoko missed charge comes, and Bret gives Yoko a bulldog from the 2nd rope, for a 2 count. A 2nd rope elbow from Bret follows for 2, and a clothesline from the 2nd does good work as well. Bret clotheslines Yoko to the canvas, and on a 10 punch, he rips the turnbuckle pad off. Bret rams Yoko into the exposed buckle and gives him the SHARPSHOOTER, but...Mr. Fuji throws powder or salt into Bret's face. That puts Bret down for the three count, at 8:56. Boo on that.
Hulk Hogan runs down to the ring, which gives Mr. Fuji the gall to issue a challenge. If Hogan wants to face his Yokozuna, they can do it, RIGHT NOW. Bret tells Hogan to accept, so Hogan jumps in the ring. Fuji misses a salt toss and blinds Yokozuna on accident, so our new champion is in trouble. Clothesline, DROP THE FUCKIN' LEG, pinfall and Hogan's a 5 time WWF Champion. Crowd goes nuts and Hogan poses to end the show. Really, when thinking about it, that was the only way to send the crowd home happy. The match didn't have a whole lot of heat, and Bret didn't get a huge reaction when entering the ring, so, I'm for it, now.
Match Analysis: I'm only rating the Bret/Yoko match. Simply put, a * affair. Terrible idea for a finish, much like the entire rest of the show. That's sad. I'm glad Yoko got the belt back, as for some reason, I thought he was a worthy champion.
Rating: Terrible. Simply put, the worst show I've watched in years. The only moments where a face got the better of the heels were when the Steiners won, and when Hogan beat Yoko. I don't think that the Maniacs got the better of Money Inc., because the heels held onto their gold. Can you believe that they were going to do Kamala vs. Bam Bam Bigelow as well? That would've made the show even worse.
Best Segment: HBK vs. Tatanka. By a fair margin the best match, but no finish makes this one taste sour.
Worst Segment: Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzales. Doink vs. Crush is close, for the utter stupidity of the referee possibly having brain damage or whatever it was.
RAW and Nitro from 6/23/97 are next.