Between February 1st and March 27th I’ll be posting recaps of every WrestleMania event over at thejohnreport.net. I’ll also post some of them here. For recaps of the first six WrestleManias, use the links at the bottom of this piece. Enjoy.
March 24, 1991
Los Angeles, California
By John Canton (@johnreport)
The seventh WrestleMania was supposed to be held at the LA Memorial Coliseum where the Los Angeles Raiders used to play. Due to security reasons, they moved it to the LA Sports Arena where the Los Angeles Clippers played in the NBA. The main event featured Hulk Hogan challenging the World Champion Sgt. Slaughter, who had turned his back on America to support Iraq. This was at a time when the Gulf War was going on, so it was a very patriotic show.
This was another four hour WrestleMania. The PPVs moved to the more standard three hour format after this one, which is fine by me. Once we get to the ones after X7 I don’t mind the four hour shows as much because they are generally better. Plus, I have a few of them that I’ve already written about, so the hard part of this reviewing gig is over once I get through this one. As has been the case a few times, my version of the broadcast that I have on disc is from a WWE 24/7 showing.
We get the typical video to start with Vince McMahon yelling at the top of his lungs as pictures of Hulk Hogan & Sgt. Slaughter are shown.
Willie Nelson sings America The Beautiful. Odds that he was high here? I’d say 90%. That doesn’t mean he was bad. It just means Willie Nelson is always high.
Gorilla Monsoon welcomes us to the show. Like every year, Gorilla says it will be best WrestleMania ever. He brings out Hacksaw Jim Duggan, who will be doing commentary with him for the first match. For the majority of the show, Bobby Heenan is with him, but since his team is involved in the first match we get Hacksaw to start.
Backstage, Sean Mooney talked to The Rockers as they prepared for their match against Haku & The Barbarian. They’re ready for the match. That’s what I got out of it. It was a generic 1991 style promo. I’m not even going to make a drug joke. It was more fun for Willie.
Haku & The Barbarian w/Bobby Heenan vs. The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty)
Huge pop for the Rockers. They’re way more popular here than they were during the two previous WrestleManias. Haku starts with Shawn, whipping him into the turnbuckles until Shawn counters it with his speed and he gets a shoulderblock after a great sequence of moves. Shawn tags in Marty and they hit a double armdrag on Haku. Barbarian comes in to clothesline both guys down. The Rockers recover to hit double superkicks first on Haku and then on Barbarian. Heenan gets his guys to regroup, so Barbarian works over Marty a bit. Jannetty leaps up on the shoulders of Barbarian, so Shawn walks in and dropkicks Barbarian in the back leading to a two count for Jannetty. Haku gets the tag in. Marty is in the same powerbomb spot, the ref prevents Shawn from tagging in and Barbarian uses that advantage to pull Marty’s neck down across the top rope in a stun gun type move. Great spot there. Barbarian gets a gorilla press slam on Marty. Haku gets a tag, he hits a crossbody at the same time as Marty does and that gets two for Marty. Haku regains control with a corner whip as well as multiple backbreaker. The crowd is popping for every move here. Barbarian knocks down Marty with a clothesline. Then he slaps on the bearhug as Shawn roots his partner on. Nice “weasel” chants by the crowd. Jannetty uses his boot to block a corner charge and a crossbody attempt is countered into a powerslam by Barbarian. That was nice. Barbarian goes up top, he leaps with a headbutt and Marty moves out of the way. Hot tag to Shawn, who hits a back elbow on Haku. Barbarian attacks from behind, so Shawn hits a crossbody on him. Back to Haku, Shawn gets a neckbreaker for two. Michaels gets another two as all four guys go in the ring. Double dropkick on Barbarian. Double clothesline on Barbarian. Marty goes up to the top and hits a missile dropkick on Haku. Shawn goes up and hits a crossbody on Haku. That’s enough for the pinfall win at 10:41. The crowd popped huge for the finish.
Winners: The Rockers
Analysis: ***1/4 That’s the kind of match you want to have for an opener at WrestleMania. It was a fast paced match featuring a babyface team that got the win in an exciting manor. You could see how good Michaels already was and he showed signs of how good he was going to be. Jannetty was on his game too. They did a great job of carrying the match. Credit to Haku & Barbarian, who did a decent job as well.
Backstage, Mean Gene talked to Regis Philbin, Marla Maples & Alex Trebek, who are the celebrity guests during this show. Bad comedy.
At the announce desk, Bobby Heenan joined Gorilla Monsoon. That’s a great thing. They’re my second favorite announce team ever after the Ross & Lawler team back when Lawler was a heel announcer.
Texas Tornado vs. Dino Bravo w/Jimmy Hart
Texas Tornado was making his WrestleMania debut. You might know him also as Kerry Von Erich. He was a popular midcard babyface that was on the rise here. Bravo jumped him early, knocking him out of the ring with a clothesline that sent Tornado to the floor. Tornado fired back with punches and clotheslines. Bravo avoided the dreaded claw hold. He decks Tornado with a boot to the face followed by an atomic drop and some elbows. Bravo hits his side slam that was his finishing move. Tornado kicked out. Bravo jumped off the middle rope, Tornado slapped on the claw and that dazed Bravo. That set him up for his finishing move, which was a Spinning Tornado Punch. He hit it for the finish at 3:11.
Analysis: 1/4* A match to put over Texas Tornado, basically. This was his first and only WrestleMania match. He was out of the WWF the next year and two years after this match he died after committing suicide. Dino Bravo also wrestled his last WrestleMania match here. He also died in 1993, rumored to have been killed by the mafia.
In the locker room, Sean Mooney talked to The Warlord and his manager Slick. They talked trash about the British Bulldog with Warlord saying that nobody has ever gotten out of his Full Nelson and Bulldog wouldn’t be the one to get out of it.
In the interview area, Gene talked to Davey Boy Smith who was now going by the name of the British Bulldog since Dynamite Kid was no longer a part of the company. Bulldog said he’d powerslam Warlord to win. He also had a bulldog mascot, Winston.
British Bulldog vs. The Warlord w/Slick
It’s a power match. Warlord was never that good in the ring while Bulldog was a pretty good worker. He looks way bigger here than he did during his previous WrestleMania appearances. Needless to say neither guy was likely to pass a 2012 WWE Wellness Test. Bulldog gives him a shoulder block to send him to the floor early. Warlord takes control with his power. He got a bearhug, Bulldog came back and Warlord gave him a stun gun, which is dropping your opponent neck first across the top rope. That got him two. The crowd was loud for this as they were for most of the show, so that’s a good thing obviously. Nice belly to belly suplex by Warlord. I’m shocked that he did an actual wrestling move. Warlord put Bulldog in a chin lock, Bulldog fought out of it with elbows and hit a dropkick to put Warlord in the corner. Bulldog hit a forearm to the head and a crossbody block got him a nearfall. Bulldog went for a piledriver, Warlord powered out, got a cover, Bulldog flipped him over and got a two count of his own. After a whip to the corner, Warlord got his foot up to slow Bulldog down. This match was at a much faster pace than I ever remembered. Warlord slapped on the Full Nelson. The crowd cheered loudly in support of Bulldog. Warlord didn’t have his fingers locked in behind Bulldog’s head, so Bulldog was able to power out of it. Bulldog broke the hold and was able to put Warlord in position for his Running Powerslam. He hit it. Bulldog covers for the win at 8:15.
Winner: British Bulldog
Analysis: ** That match was better than I thought it would be. Warlord sucked. He was one of the worst workers I can ever remember. Bulldog worked his ass off to carry him, but Warlord was game too. That was a fun power match that was given the right amount of time with the right finish. Bulldog got a solid singles push after this.
In the locker room, Gene talked to the Nasty Boys with Jimmy Hart. They did a lot of yelling. Best way to sum it up. I could never understand them except they said the word “nasty” a lot.
In the interview area, Mooney talked to the Hart Foundation, who were the tag team champions here. There was a lot of yelling from Jim Neidhart. Bret said the Nasty Boys didn’t have the heart to take the titles from the Hart Foundation.
Tag Team Titles: The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart) vs. Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags) w/Jimmy Hart
They showed Macaulay Culkin watching in the front row. That’s the kid from Home Alone in case you don’t know. Crowd cheered very loudly for the Hart Foundation. Bret started off with a Thesz Press on Sags and then an atomic drop on Knobbs for good measure. He tripped up Sags and kicked him in the stomach. Knobbs talked trash to Neidhart, so the two bigger guys started brawling. The Anvil overpowered Knobbs, knocking him out of the ring with a shoulderblock. When they went back in the ring, the Nasty Boys isolated Neidhart in their corner. That didn’t last as he escaped a Sags attack and brought in Bret, who did the ten punches to the head of Sags while he was propped up on the turnbuckle. Bret hit his patented neckbreaker as well as his forearm off the middle ropes. Knobbs ran in to clothesline Bret in the back and then Sags hit him with a clothesline to send Bret to the floor. It was time for the heels to isolate Bret. Sags put Bret in a reverse chinlock. That lasted for about a minute. Then Knobbs tagged in and applied the same reverse chinlock. Sags hit a neckbreaker on Bret for two as they continued to work him over. Another reverse chinlock. Bret got back to his feet and dropped Sags with a neckbreaker of his own. Knobbs prevented a tag from taking place. Bret powered out of a Knobbs chinlock, but this time Sags prevented the tag. Bret avoided a Knobbs charge in the corner and decked Sags with a clothesline. Tag to Neidhart, but ref didn’t see it. They were doing all the little tag team heel tricks here. Jimmy threw the megaphone to Knobbs, who went after Bret with it, but he ducked and Knobbs hit Sags with it. The crowd was going wild as Bret tagged in Neidhart. The Anvil was on fire, tossing Knobbs into Sags at one point and then hitting a double clothesline. He gave Knobbs a powerslam, Sags broke it up, so Bret chased after him. Sags ran into the ring and Knobbs ended up crashing into him. There was so much going on in this match. After Bret knocked Jimmy Hart down, the Hart Foundation hit the Hart Attack clothesline on Knobbs. The ref told Bret to leave. While he did that, Sags used Jimmy Hart’s helmet to hit Neidhart in the back of the head. Ref Earl Hebner never saw it, as usual. Knobbs covered for the win at 12:10.
Winners: The Nasty Boys – New Tag Team Champions
Analysis: *** That was a lot of fun. It got a good amount of time and they built up to the finish very well. The offense of the Nasty Boys was pretty bad as I remembered. I liked the booking, though. They busted out all the standard tag team tricks with false tags, distractions, a lot of great comeback spots and a well crafted finish as I mentioned. This was the last time Bret Hart would wrestle as part of the Hart Foundation at WrestleMania. He was on his own from here on out and he’d deliver some classics that we’ll get to down the road.
They showed clips to set up feud between Jake Roberts and Rick Martel. Martel had sprayed his Arrogance perfume in the eyes of Roberts, so Jake had trouble seeing. This led to the Blindfold Match here at WrestleMania 7. Prior to the match, Roberts cut a promo as the cameras focused in on his eyes.
Blindfold Match: Jake Roberts vs. Rick Martel
They have black blindfolds on their head. They cover their whole head. Jake got a thunderous pop during his entrance. When Jake points toward him, the crowd cheers loudly if it’s right. And they boo if it’s wrong. At one point Martel trips over him and Jake gets a pinfall. Martel whipped him in the ropes, but Jake ran to the side, totally missing him. That was funny. Martel throws some random kicks. Roberts isn’t even close to him. Jake walks towards him while Martel walks away. They found eachother and Martel did a bodyslam. Then he threw an elbow, but Jake already moved away. Martel went after the ref. He stopped after realizing it wasn’t Jake. A lot of searching followed. Jake clapped his hands, Martel walked towards the noise and then Jake walked behind him. He grabbed him and nothing happened. A loud “DDT” chant started up. Martel found the bag with Damien in it. He freaked out and went backwards. Roberts met him in a headlock, then he bounced into Martel’s shoulder and fell to the floor. Martel grabbed a chair and used it to try to figure out where he was. He ended up using the chair into the steel post. Jake dragged him back in the ring where Martel was able to hit a backbreaker. Martel put him in the Boston Crab. Jake powered out. Martel backed right into Roberts, who turned him around and hit the DDT for the win at 8:30.
Winner: Jake Roberts
Post match, Roberts tried to attack Martel with his snake Damien. He got it on him for a bit, but Martel was able to take off.
Analysis: 1/2* It was a different kind of match. The crowd was into it because it was a hot feud. Not a lot of action to really look at, but the DDT was built up very well.
In the locker room, Marla Maples was trying to interview the Nasty Boys, Jimmy Hart and the rest of Jimmy’s stable of wrestlers ended up celebrating. She didn’t really ask a question.
The Undertaker w/Paul Bearer vs. Jimmy Snuka
This is Undertaker’s WrestleMania debut. He was 26 at the time. He was a heel, but still got a decent pop because his character was very over with the crowd. Snuka was the babyface near the end of his career here. Undertaker starts off with punches and he gets an awesome leaping clothesline. The crowd gave an “ohhhh” for it just because you didn’t see guys his size doing moves like that. Snuka whips him in the corner, so Undertaker gets his knee up and knocks Snuka to the floor. Undertaker brings him back in with a suplex. Snuka gets a headbutt followed by some chops, but Undertaker won’t go down and he avoids a crossbody so Snuka goes crashing into the mat outside the ring. Undertaker catches a springboard attempt and gives him the Tombstone at 4:18. The Undertaker is 1-0 at WrestleMania.
Winner: The Undertaker
Analysis: 1/2* A squash, basically. Undertaker didn’t get knocked off his feet. He dominated Snuka. It wasn’t a great match, but it’s noteworthy because it was the beginning of the Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak.
They showed the events leading up to the Ultimate Warrior-Randy Savage match. Savage wanted a title match from then World Champion Ultimate Warrior at the Royal Rumble. He didn’t get it. When Warrior defended the title against Sergeant Slaughter later at the Rumble, Savage made his way to ringside and cracked Warrior in the head with the scepter – he was still the Macho King here. Slaughter beat Warrior for the title thanks to Savage’s interference.
The announcers set up the match. Gorilla pointed out it was the first ever Career vs. Career match. Heenan pointed out that Elizabeth was sitting in the crowd. Savage was still a heel here, managed by Queen Sherri. Savage made a grand entrance. Warrior didn’t run to the ring for a change. Heenan questioned it, wondering if he was too worried about the match. This is one of my favorite matches ever.
Career vs. Career Match: “Macho King” Randy Savage w/Sensational Queen Sherri vs. The Ultimate Warrior
The stipulation was that whoever loses the match must retire. The crowd was very loud from the beginning. Savage was booed for the most part while Warrior was cheered loudly. They did a lot of shots of Elizabeth in the crowd. Warrior hit a clothesline early followed by a two handed choke and an inverted atomic drop. Then he hit a regular atomic drop. He went for another two handed choke, so Sherri ran in the ring and Warrior threw Savage into her, sending her to the floor. Savage came back with a kick to the face followed by a left handed clothesline. To the top, Savage went for a crossbody. Warrior caught him, stood him on his feet and slapped him in the face. Savage threw a chair into the ring, the ref took care of it and Savage’s attack on Warrior failed because Warrior was ready for it. While Warrior kicked him in the corner, they showed Elizabeth in the crowd once again. Warrior whipped him in the corner, Savage moved and Warrior went crashing into the turnbuckle, which sent him to the floor. Savage hit him with the double axehandle off the top rope. Sherri attacked Warrior on the floor, so he shoved her down to the mat. Savage threw Warrior into the post. Back in the ring, Warrior got a backslide for two. Savage spit on him, then he bailed to the floor and Sherri distracted Warrior again. Savage’s boot got caught. Warrior hit a clothesline to knock him down. Warrior missed a shoulderblock that was never going to hit. Savage put him in a sleeper. Warrior fought out of it, hit a shoulder block and then they did a double clothesline spot that sent both guys to the spot. Nice breather there since the match was fast paced to this point.
Warrior got a small package. Sherri distracted the ref, so by the time the ref got over there he only got a two count. Savage hit his patented knee to the back that caused Warrior to accidentally knock the ref over. Savage held Warrior for Sherri, who attacked with her shoe. Warrior moved, so she hit Savage. Warrior followed her around the ring. When he got back in, Savage rolled him up for a two count. Savage worked on the throat, ramming him into the turnbuckle and then draping Warrior’s throat across the top rope. Savage continued the assault, working on the neck of Warrior with a clothesline to the back of the head and a bodyslam for two. Savage went to the top rope and he hit the Flying Elbow. He went up again and hit Flying Elbow #2 to the throat of Warrior. Savage went up again for Flying Elbow #3. That one connected too. Savage hit Flying Elbow #4. That was the best looking one of them all so far. Savage hit Flying Elbow #5. Finally he covered Warrior, everybody thought that was it and Warrior was able to kick out. Savage had a shocked look on his face. It was rare for anybody to kick out of the Flying Elbow, so for Warrior to kick out of five of them was a big deal. Savage attacked with punches, but Warrior made his way to the ropes and got his energy back. He decked Savage with punches followed by three clotheslines. Elizabeth was worried. Warrior picked him up for the Gorilla Press Slam. He ran the ropes and hit the big splash to the back of Savage. One…two…NO! I remember thinking that was it. That’s one of the best nearfalls ever. It was rare for anybody to kick out of finishers. In this match it happened twice.
Following that nearfall, Warrior looked up to the Gods wondering if this was it for him. The idea was that he was looking for an answer to know if this was the end of his career. Warrior was goofy, so it was hard to make sense of his storylines. Warrior stepped through the ropes as Monsoon figured that this meant he was leaving. Savage was still down, trying to get to his feet. He punched Warrior in the head, knocking him to the floor. Sherri held Warrior’s throat on the steel barricade, Warrior shoved her away and when Savage jumped he missed, so he crashed throat first on the barricade. Warrior rolled him back in the ring. Warrior hit the flying shoulderblock that Gorilla called a clothesline. It’s okay Gorilla I still love ya. The shoulderblock sent Savage to the floor, so Warrior had to put him back in the ring. Warrior hit him with another flying shoulderblock that sent Savage to the floor once again. Warrior hit another flying shoulderblock. He pulled Savage back to the center of the ring, put his foot on Savage’s chest and the ref counted the pinfall at 20:48.
Winner: The Ultimate Warrior
Analysis: ****1/2 One of my favorite matches ever. This match had the perfect combination of in-ring action, storytelling within the match, kicking out of big moves at points where you thought the match would be over and it ended it with a decisive win for the victor. I didn’t always like Warrior winning with three shoulderblocks, but Savage did such a good job of selling them as if he was knocked out that they worked. While Savage was the better worker of the two, without question, this wasn’t necessarily a carry job on his part. Warrior did a very good job as well. The match was laid out very well, as all major Savage matches were, and the proof of that was evident in the quality of the match. It’s one of those matches that holds up well over time too. A lot of basic wrestling moves were done, but it was mapped out in the perfect way. I love this match.
Post match, more drama. Sherri yelled at Savage for losing because it meant that her career was over too…at least in theory. She began to kick away at an injured Savage. While that was happening, Elizabeth looked on with a look of concern and she sprinted down to the ring! She grabbed Sherri by the hair and threw her out of the ring. Elizabeth went to help Randy, he threw his hand up thinking it was Sherri. When he turned around, he was shocked to see Elizabeth, not knowing that she was there. Bobby Heenan was yelling that everybody was standing in the building. You could see that a lot of them were. Elizabeth was crying. “She loves him!” Heenan was yelling. “I think he loves her! This is sickening!” Heenan rules. Then they embraced in the ring. The crowd cheered. Monsoon: “What a woman. And what a man!” Savage put her on his shoulder. They showed fans in the crowd that had tears in their eyes. Elizabeth was crying too. I bet Vince McMahon was elated when they got those shots of the crowd. Instead of Elizabeth holding the ropes for Randy, he held the ropes for her. Then he saluted the crowd. They cheered loudly thinking that this was his last match. He posed for them. They gave him a standing ovation. Perfect storytelling.
That was how you tell a story. Savage was one of the biggest jerks in wrestling for over two years. This was the reunion everybody wanted to see with Randy returning back to his babyface ways and reuniting with the lovely Elizabeth. I’m sure it likely brought in a lot of women viewers too because it had that soap opera style feel to it. I can remember being so sad because I was almost 11 years old at the time thinking my favorite wrestler Randy Savage would never wrestle again. Later in the year, Savage & Elizabeth got married (they already were married in real life) and he would be reinstated, but during this moment I was devastated because I thought this was it for the Macho Man. Thankfully he had more matches in him as we’ll get to when we do the WrestleMania 8 review.
In the interview area, Regis talked to Paul Bearer & The Undertaker, who made funny faces towards him and measured how tall he was to try to fit him into a body bag, I guess. They said nothing.
In the locker room, Alex Trebek talked to Mr. Fuji along with Smash & Crush, who had replaced Ax in the team. They don’t say much. Back to Regis, who talked to Genichiro Tenryu & Koji Kitao – the opponents of Demolition. They don’t speak any English. Bad comedy ensues.
In the locker room, Alex talked to Jake Roberts. He tells him Alex that Damien’s favorite category on Jeopardy is “Reptiles of the World.” Alex was scared of the snake. At the announce table, Heenan said he got to pick who the celebrities were interviewing, so he laughed about it.
Demolition (Smash & Crush) w/Mr. Fuji vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Koji Kitao
Demolition were heels here in case you couldn’t tell by the fact that they were managed by Fuji. Crowd didn’t know what to make of Tenryu & Kitao. It was also tough for these guys to follow the great Warrior/Savage match. Demolition dominated early with Smash hitting a nice back suplex on Kitao. Crush hit Kitao with a double axe off the top. Demolition worked them over a bit. Crowd wasn’t into this match much, probably because they had a tough time identifying with the babyface team. Plus, like I said they were following a classic. Kitao finally hit a clothesline on Smash as he tagged out to Tenryu. He got a slam on Smash and then missed a reverse elbow on Smash, who then hit Tenryu with a clothesline. Crush hit a backbreaker on Tenryu. Smash tagged back in and hit a back suplex. Smash set up Tenryu for their finisher. Smash threw Kitao out of the ring. He came back to knock Crush out. Tenryu got an enziguri on Smash and then hit a powerbomb on Smash for the win at 4:44.
Winners: Tenryu & Kitao
Analysis: 1/4* Bad match. It was an odd booking decision to have Demolition lose against a team that wasn’t around long term. (As I was informed in the first comment below, this was the end of Demolition’s run as a team. The match still sucked!)
In the interview area, Gene talked to Big Boss Man who was challenging Mr. Perfect for the Intercontinental Title. He was really sweating hard. He said that Perfect and his manager Bobby Heenan would pay for all of the things they said about him and his family. In the locker room, Perfect & Heenan said there was no way Boss Man would leave with the IC title.
At the announce table, Lord Alfred Hayes joined Gorilla Monsoon since Heenan was managing Perfect.
Intercontinental Title: Mr. Perfect w/Bobby Heenan vs. Big Boss Man
Boss Man started off with power and nailed Perfect with an awesome clothesline. Then he threw him over the top rope to the floor. Back in the ring, Perfect took over momentarily until BBM whipped him into the corner and Perfect took a huge bump coming out of the corner. BBM took his belt and whipped Perfect a few times. Perfect used the belt to punch Boss Man with it, so he was able to work over Boss Man a bit. Perfect whipped him into the corner hard, sending Boss Man to the mat. Perfect slapped on the abdominal stretch. When Boss Man fought out of it, Perfect hit a great dropkick. Perfect hit his awesome neck snap move. BBM counters the Perfectplex into a roll up. Perfect gives him a neck snap the other way. Perfect went up, so Boss Man got his foot up and that hit Mr. P in the face. Boss Man used the post as a weapon, ramming Perfect’s groin into the post. BBM hit a great uppercut that knocked Perfect to the floor. With BBM going after Heenan, Perfect attacked from behind and threw him into the steel steps. Coming down the aisle to a huge pop was Andre the Giant, who wasn’t wrestling at this point in his career. He walked down to stalk Heenan, who was busy interfering. While that was going on, Perfect exposed the steel underneath one of the turnbuckles. Perfect rammed Boss Man into the exposed steel. The cameras missed it. Perfect reached outside the ring to get the IC Title from Andre, so Andre hit him in the head with it. Ref missed all of it. Both guys were down for the count. Boss Man rolled over for the cover. Perfect kicked out. Great nearfall. Haku & Barbarian ran in to attack Boss Man. Match ended in a DQ win for Big Boss Man at 10:45.
Winner: Big Boss Man via DQ
Post match, Andre took care of Perfect while Boss Man attacked Haku & Barbarian. Then Andre got some shots in on Haku & Barbarian. The Heenan Family retreated. Andre would die two years after this.
Analysis: ** Good match with a lot of heat. Crappy finish. They didn’t want to take the IC Title off Perfect, so this was a way to get out of doing that while giving Boss Man a chance to celebrate to end the match.
Once again at the announce table, Bobby Heenan returned. Alfred Hayes left.
In the crowd, Gene interviewed Donald Trump who was there. He hosted WrestleMania 4 and 5. He wanted to have another WrestleMania in Atlantic City. That didn’t happen. Gene also talked to Chuck Norris, Henry Winkler & Lou Ferrigno.
Earthquake w/Jimmy Hart vs. Greg Valentine
Earthquake was the heel obviously. Valentine was near the end of his career here. Everybody knew what the outcome of this would be. Quake hit a big bodyslam for two. Valentine avoided a charge and busted out his elbow based offense. It dazed Earthquake, knocking him down to one knee. A clothesline nearly knocked Earthquake down and then an elbow off the middle rope knocked him down. Valentine hit a headbutt to the groin followed by a Figure Four Leglock attempt that was thwarted by Jimmy Hart’s yelling. Earthquake knocked him down, hit a big elbow, started the tremors and then hit the big Earthquake Splash for the victory at 3:14.
Post match, Earthquake wanted to squash him again. Valentine avoided it by rolling to the floor.
Analysis: DUD A squash match. Literally.
Back in the interview area, Sean Mooney talked to Legion Of Doom, who were making their WrestleMania debut. They would be facing Power & Glory, who cost them a tag team title shot.
Power & Glory (Hercules & Paul Roma) w/Slick vs. Legion of Doom (Hawk & Animal)
Like usual, a massive babyface pop for LOD. Hawk hit a double clothesline on both guys. Hercules dumped him to the floor while Roma slammed Animal. Roma went to the top rope, Animal caught Roma and gave Roma a powerslam. Hawk stunned Hercules on the floor below. Animal put Roma on his shoulders, Hawk went to the top rope and finished off Roma with the LOD clothesline that looked very impressive. Animal covered for the win at 0:59.
Winners: Legion of Doom
Analysis: 1/4* A dominant win as it should have been. I loved that finishing move, by the way.
We got videos that showed the problems between Ted Dibiase and his long term bodyguard Virgil. At the Royal Rumble, Virgil hit Dibiase in the head with the Million Dollar Title. Roddy Piper was the trainer of Virgil.
Ted Dibiase vs. Virgil w/Roddy Piper
“Some might cost a little, some might cost a lot, but I’m the Million Dollar Man and you will be bought!” I loved that song. Piper walked out with a crutch since he was recovering from a motorcycle accident. The idea was that Virgil hadn’t wrestled much in his life while Dibiase was the experienced veteran. The crowd was rooting on Virgil, who decked Dibiase with a series of punches. Dibiase tried to fight it out with him, but Virgil’s punches were too quick so Ted bailed to the floor to regroup. When Dibiase went back in the ring, Virgil hit a clothesline to send him back out again. Back in the ring, Dibiase hit a clothesline of his own. Virgil got a back elbow for two. Dibiase was frustrated. Finally, Dibiase tripped him up and slowed the match down by working him over in the corner. Dibiase hit a clothesline followed by a piledriver. Virgil kicked out. Suplex for Dibiase gets another two count. He gets a gutwrench suplex. Dibiase threw Virgil out to the floor. After throwing Virgil in the ring, Dibiase shoved Piper to the ground. Powerslam by Dibiase. Virgil whipped Dibiase into the ropes, Piper used his crutch to pull down the top rope. Dibiase hit Piper again. He was standing on the apron and the ref counted to ten. That was one of the fastest ten counts ever. Virgil won via countout at 7:41.
Winner via countout: Virgil
Post match, Dibiase put Virgil in the Million Dollar Dream. Piper got into the ring under the bottom rope and crushed Dibiase in the back with one of his crutches. Sensational Sherri ran out to save Dibiase. Dibiase stole the crutch and beat on Piper’s leg with the crutch. Virgil recovered as Dibiase & Sherri escaped. She would end up being his manager. Virgil helped Piper back to his feet and helped him out of the ring. Great heat for that segment. I forgot how good the post match attack was.
Analysis: 1/2* Boring match. Virgil was limited. It showed. They didn’t want to put Virgil over clean, so countout was the right call I guess.
They showed clips of events leading up to the Sergeant Slaughter/Hulk Hogan match. The clip they showed was Slaughter burning a Hulk Hogan shirt. Sean Mooney interviewed Slaughter & his manager General Adnan. Slaughter referred to Hogan’s fans as Pukeamaniacs. That’s a good name.
The Mountie w/Jimmy Hart vs. Tito Santana
The Mountie was a heel of course. He used to go by Jacques Rougeau. Heenan made a Mexico joke even before the bell rang. Santana hit his flying forearm early. He went to the floor where he rammed Mountie’s head into Hart’s for the DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER~! Santana hit an atomic drop followed by a punch to knock Tito down. The ref told Tito to back away from Mountie when he was in the ropes, so Mountie got his taser and zapped Tito in the stomach. He covered for the win at 1:20.
Winner: The Mountie
Anaysis: DUD Really short. Crowd didn’t care for any of it. They were ready for the main event.
Back at the interview area, Mean Gene interviewed Hulk Hogan who had the USA colors on his bandana. He said that Slaughter didn’t know what kind of battle plan Hogan had in place. They showed more clips that focused on Slaughter’s attack from a week earlier. Hogan ripped off his shirt during the interview.
Before the match, Howard Finkel announced Alex Trebek, calling him the “co-host” of Jeopardy. Co-host? He’s the only host. He also introduced Marla Maples and Regis Philbin. They entered to the generic WrestleMania theme song. Regis joined the announce table.
The World Heavyweight Champion Sergeant Slaughter entered first. He was joined by General Adnan. They were waving the Iraqi flag. The crowd hated them of course. Hogan gets a loud pop as usual. He ripped his shirt upon his entrance. Gorilla called him the national here. I forgot how loud this pop was, but it was a huge pop for the Hulkster. Marla rang the bell so the match began.
World Heavyweight Title: Sgt. Slaughter w/General Adnan vs. Hulk Hogan
The announcers commented on the crowd with Gorilla saying it was unbelievable. I guess he’s forgetting the dome crowds at WrestleMania 3 and 6 although like I said this was a great crowd. Hulk controlled it early with a headlock. This was Slaughter’s first WrestleMania appearance, by the way. He was 42 years old here. Hulk knocked him out to the floor and beat on Slaughter with punches. Adnan attacked Hogan from behind, which led to Slaughter hitting Hogan in the back with a steel chair. That looked like the weakest chairshot I’ve ever seen. Slaughter begged for mercy and countered with a finger to the eye. Slaughter hit a back elbow. Philbin wondered why Heenan was rooting for Slaughter. Heenan said because he didn’t like Hogan. Hogan came back with a clothesline. Hogan hit an atomic drop for two. Hulk hit a forearm to the head. Hogan got a back body drop. He whipped Slaughter into the corner and Slaughter took the bump chest first. Hulk did the Randy Savage knee to the elbow to put him down again. Hulk gave him a slingshot into the ring post. Hogan gave him a clothesline in the corner. Hulk threw him into the corner. That got him a two count. Hulk went to the middle rope where he got a double axe that was sloppy because Slaughter wasn’t in the right spot for it. Lots of offense for Hogan at this point. Hulk dropped him with a bodyslam and climbed to the top rope. What is he doing there? Adnan grabbed his foot, so Slaughter slammed Hogan off the top rope. You knew that spot wouldn’t work because Hogan never went to the top rope. Slaughter gave him a clothesline to send him out to the floor. Slaughter hit Hogan in the back with a chair. He did it again. The ref saw it. Didn’t do anything. Slaughter choked him with a cable. We assume that the ref is counting to ten, but it’s been way more than ten seconds to this point.
They rolled back in the ring with Slaughter still in command, working over the back of Hogan. A backbreaker got two for Slaughter, who was surprised that it only got him a two count. Slaughter put Hogan in the Boston Crab. Hogan was right by the ropes. Hulk took about one minute to power out of it as Regis wondered why he didn’t just grab the rope. Finally he got the rope. Why would you take so long to get the rope? Slaughter kneed him to the back a couple of times. Slaughter went to the top rope and hit a knee to the kidney. While Slaughter was pinning him, Adnan was yelling at the ref. Why would you do a spot where the heel’s manager is distracting the ref while his guy had a pinfall? Then Slaughter walks outside the ring, grabs a chair and hits Hulk in the head with it. I assume the ref was with Adnan again. Hogan was bleeding. Slaughter put him in the Camel Clutch. The crowd wasn’t freaking out as much as you’d expect. After about a minute, Hulk powered out. Slaughter rammed him face first into the turnbuckle. Slaughter grabbed the Iraqi flag and covered Hulk with it. It’s Hulk Up time as Hogan ripped the flag. You know the drill. Punches to the head by Slaughter, Hulk feels the power of Hulkamania, the finger poke, the punches and then the big boot. He followed that up with the big leg drop for the pinfall victory at 20:24. Slaughter kicked out right after the three count.
Winner: Hulk Hogan – New World Heavyweight Champion
Analysis: **1/2 A well booked match. There were some slow parts, but they got a good amount of time and told the kind of story you expect in a Hogan match. There were some silly spots like Adnan distracting the ref during a Slaughter pin, Hogan going to the top rope even though he never did that and the ref seeing chair shots right in front of him. They could have done a better job of doing the heel moves. Otherwise, I give both guys credit for working hard. Slaughter was old and Hogan didn’t have a lot of great matches, but it was better than I remember.
The show ended with Hogan posing for the fans, which is an ending we were all too familiar with during this era.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
– What else can I say about that Savage/Warrior match? It was a fantastic match, but also one of the best stories in the history of wrestling. The booking was phenomenal. The storytelling was perfect. The look on Randy’s face when he realized it was Liz in the ring with him was priceless. Everybody involved in this match did a fabulous job. It’s a shame that Randy, Elizabeth & Sherri have all left of us too soon. They had amazing chemistry together.
– I’m glad that the Slaughter/Hogan match was better than I remembered. They worked hard. Neither guy was a great athlete, but they were smart workers. It wasn’t an epic main event. It was fine, though. A typical big Hogan match…with a little blood thrown in.
– That Undertaker kid might have a bright future? You think? His red hair makes me laugh. Pale face. He’s come a long way. I think it’s important to see somebody at the start of their career to see how much they change. It was very cool to re-watch the WrestleMania beginnings of the Undertaker.
– The Blindfold Match was fun when I was a kid. It was boring when I watched it for this review. A nice concept on paper, I’m sure. However, it was poor in execution.
– One thing I really liked was that the booking was really good up and down the card. The short matches should have been better. The longer matches were generally good, especially the two that got over 20 minutes. I really liked the tag match to open the show. It was a well put together show.
Best Match: Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage – An absolute classic in every way. If you haven’t seen it do yourself a favor and give it a look.
Worst Match: Genichiro Tenryu & Koji Kitao vs. Demolition – The crowd didn’t care. Neither did I.
Most Memorable Moment: Randy Savage reuniting with Elizabeth – The Hogan match was memorable, but nothing topped the reuniting of Randy & Elizabeth. They had people crying in the crowd. It was real emotion. Like I said storytelling doesn’t get much better than that.
1. Randy Savage – After a year without him in the list, the king reclaims his throne as the top star.
2. Ultimate Warrior – Came up huge for the second WrestleMania in a row. It was downhill from here.
3. Bret Hart – Another example of Bret carrying a tag match.
4. Hulk Hogan – Good effort. The blood was a nice touch.
5. Sgt. Slaughter – He was sloppy a bit, but still had a solid showing for himself in his WrestleMania debut.
Show rating (out of 10): 6.5
This one gets a 6.5, just ahead of the 6 that I gave WrestleMania 6. Prior to re-watching WrestleMania 7, I didn’t remember how good some of the midcard matches were. Thanks to some awesome tag matches featuring the Rockers & Hart Foundation the midcard was represented very well. Much like WrestleMania 3, this one will be remembered mostly for the Hogan match in the main event and the Savage match in the middle of the card.
It may not get that much fanfare, but I’ll remember WrestleMania 7 as a fun event from start to finish. If they cut out some of the interviews (there were too many) and some of the matches, then it would be even better. It’s another one of those shows that would have been better at three hours instead of four. Thankfully the three hour format would begin for WrestleMania 8.
Here’s a Randy Savage promo after he lost his match. It was on the Coliseum Video version of WrestleMania 7.
I hadn’t seen that before until I did some searching on youtube. Thank you youtube. Like I said many times, the Savage/Elizabeth reunion was one of the best moments in wrestling history.
Previous recaps listed in order with main event and ranking out of 10:
WrestleMania 3 – Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant (7/10)
WrestleMania 7 – Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter (6.5)
WrestleMania 6 – Ultimate Warrior vs. Hulk Hogan (6/10)
WrestleMania 1 – Hogan/Mr T vs. Piper/Orndorff (4.5/10)
WrestleMania 4 – Randy Savage vs. Ted Dibiase (4.5/10)
WrestleMania 5 – Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage (4/10)
WrestleMania 2 – Hulk Hogan vs. King Kong Bundy (4/10)
You can check out all of my WrestleMania Reviews here too.
WrestleMania 8 on Friday – Yay.
WrestleMania 9 on Monday – Boo.
WrestleMania 10 on Wednesday – Yay.
John Canton – email@example.com