April 7, 1986
This WrestleMania has the distinction of taking place at three different locations: New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
The show starts in New York at the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, NY
Your hosts are Susan St. James and Vince McMahon
Ray Charles starts us off with “America the Beautiful.”
Gene Okerlund is in Chicago and he welcomes us back to New York with Roddy Piper and Bob Orton. Piper said he has grown out his hair so they can tell the difference between him and Mr. T. Ha. Piper said he will retire from pro wrestling and dating girls amongst other things if Mr. T knocks him out. Piper was hysterical here.
Don Muraco w/ Mr. Fuji vs. “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff
They lockup briefly as we hear promos from each guys that are not particularly good. They trade slams then Orndorff mocks Mr. Fuji by pulling up his eyes. A “beach bum” chant breaks out as Muraco backs Orndorff into the corner. Orndorff whips Muraco and hits a backdrop before working the arm for a while. Muraco eventually fights back and beats on Orndorff into the corner until they both spill outside and brawl for a double count-out. Orndorff goes into the ring with a chair as a “bullshit” chant breaks out (4:33) ¼*.
Thoughts: This match didnt work at all and the finish sucked. Another factor that hurt the match was that the lighting was very poor and you could barely see the action outside of the ring. These two guys were talented but had no direction at ths point. That would change for Orndorff but Muraco continued to slide down the card until he left the company in 1988.
We go back to Chicago where Mr. T cuts a promo on Piper, surrounded by Joe Frazier and the Haiti Kid.
WWF Intercontinental Title
George “The Animal” Steele vs. Randy “Macho Man” Savage w/ Elizabeth
Susan says that she is rooting for the Animal as he is “her guy.” The match starts with Steele chasing Savage out of the ring a few times. Steele catches Savage as he tries to enter the ring and bites his leg. Inside the ring, Steele gets Savage in a lifting chokehold. He knocks Savage down then looks at Elizabeth until Savage attacks him from behind. Savage beats on Steele as he is caught in the ropes. They have a very sloppy crossbody spot that ends with Steele pushing Savage through the ropes as he kicked out at two. Back inside, Steele briefly attacks Savage before shoving him to the floor. Again, Steele looks over at Elizabeth and that allows Savage to attack him from behind. Steele then bites Savage and uses clubbing forearms. Savage escapes and takes a bouquet of flowers but Steele takes the flowers as Savage re-enters and shoves them in Savage’s face. Steele then eats the turnbuckle and is able to shove the stuffing into Savage’s face. Savage has Steele chase him around but Steele stops to look at Elizabeth and that allows Savage to hit him from behind with a double axe handle. Savage rolls Steele inside and hits the flying elbow drop but Steele kicks out. He kicks Savage then stops to look at the referee who is yelling at him and that allows Savage to take him down and he puts his feet on the ropes for leverage and gets the pin (7:08) *1/4.
Thoughts: Not much of a match but everything made sense storyline-wise so it was not without purpose.
We are sent back to Chicago as Okerlund is with Bill Fralic and Big John Studd. Fralic rags on Studd and pushes him around. Fralic is a little taller than Studd too. He also did a pretty decent job on the mic.
George Wells vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Wells attacks Roberts to start and gets a backdrop. Roberts fights right back and tosses Wells outside. He slides out but Wells decks him and rolls him back inside. Roberts signals that he has outsmarted Wells by using a leapfrog but turns around and is taken down with a flying shoulder tackle. He whips Roberts into the corner and takes him down with a flying headscissors. Jake asks for a timeout and Wells responds with a scoop slam. He sends Roberts down with a forearm then a kneelift. Powerslam gets two. Roberts comes back with an eye rake then slides then has Wells chases him around outside of the ring. Roberts then catches Wells with a kneelift as he was going through the ropes and finishes him off with the DDT (3:06) *1/2. After the match, Roberts takes his snake out of the bag and wraps it around Wells’ neck, who sells it as being choked out then the camera shows Wells foaming at the mouth.
Thoughts: This was a fun, little match. Wells, who was barely used on TV since joining the company at the end of 1984, looked solid in the ring and did an awesome job of selling the effects of being choked out by the Snake. The purpose of the match, which was to put over Roberts, worked well and the snake spot became a must-see thing. After having made his TV debut only a few weeks before this show, Roberts was over.
Roddy Piper w/ Bob Orton & Lou Duva vs. Mr. T w/ Joe Frazier & Haiti Kid
Celebrity guest ring announcer, Joan Rivers, announces the three judges: NBA player Darryl Dawkins, Cab Calloway, and G. Gordon Liddy. Guest timekeeper is Herb from the Burger King commercials, who was part of the Burger King ad campaign as the only guy to never ate a Whopper. Herb was portrayed as a nerd.
Piper and Mr. T almost go after each other before the bell. Both guys go at each other as the ref frequently steps between them. Piper throws a barrage of punches that Mr. T ducks. They tie up against the ropes as the referee steps between them. They fight in the corner and continue even after the bell rings as Frazier steps between them.
Piper knocks Mr. T against the ropes as St. James accuses Piper of pulling his punches. Piper goes back on the attack after the ref broke them up. Piper lands a haymaker then lays into Mr. T in the corner, eventually knocking him down. That drew a good amount of cheers from the crowd. Piper even kicks Mr. T as he is down but he was able to get up at the eight count. Piper continues to hammer Mr. T right up until the bell as Mr. T falls down again. Piper lands a cheapshot before going back to his corner. Orton then throws a bucket of water towards Mr. T.
Piper mimics the “Ali Shuffle” as Mr. T starts to show some life. He backs Piper into the corner and lands a few body shots until the ref steps in between them. Mr. T comes right back and drops Piper with a left, who gets up at eight. Mr. T backs him into the corner again and eventually drops him with a hook that knocks Piper out of the ring. That looked terrible by the way as Mr. T is gassed. Piper gets back in at the eight count and they tie up against the ropes to end the round. The crowd applauds, but that was because a ring girl with a nice ass entered the ring to hand someone a golden boxing glove.
The round started after Piper whipped his stool across the ring, hitting Mr. T on the leg. They then begin to trade punches, with Piper connecting with a hook. Mr. T lands a few body shots then backs Piper into the corner, who responds by shoving the referee then body slams Mr. T, for the DQ (10:17). Piper jumps on top of Mr. T then everyone runs in to break it up. Not a whole lot of applause for Mr. T when he was announced as the winner.
Thoughts: I have no idea what to rate this match but it was a failure. Mr. T was gassed and the crowd didnt give a shit about him, either. After having the crowd go crazy for Mr. T a year ago, they were quiet for him. This just didnt work out. Not much else to say other than that. The poor crowd at Nassau got the shaft with the matches they had to sit through.
Live from Chicago, IL at the Rosemont Horizon
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon, Gene Okerlund, and Cathy Lee Crosby, who is very, very hot.
WWF Women’s Championship
Velvet McIntyre vs. Fabulous Moolah (Champion)
Moolah attacks McIntyre before the bell and uses several hair-pull snapmares. After nearly falling down after a leapfrog, McIntyre comes back with a few dropkicks. She catches Moolah with a back elbow smash then slams her but misses a top rope splash, almost spilling out of her top, then Moolah covers for the win (0:59) DUD.
Thoughts: Awful and a waste of time. I have no idea why this was even added to the card to be honest.
Nikolai Volkoff w/ Freddie Blassie vs. Corporal Kirchner
Volkoff hits Kirchner with a spin kick then tosses Kirchner through the ropes. He follows him outside and rams Kirchner into the post then bites his forehead. Blassie yells at Kirchner to get back inside of the ring and he does. Kirchner fights back as he is bleeding from the forehead and accidentally knocks down the ref. Blassie throws in the cane but Kirchner catches it and hits Volkoff, getting the pin (1:35) DUD. Kirchner walks around the ring with the American flag.
Thoughts: Another bad match and the finish looked terrible as Blassie clearly threw the cane at Kirchner as Volkoff was nowhere in sight. Kirchner tried but he really sucked and didnt warrant the push he was getting. Volkoff was lazy, as usual.
20 Man Battle Royal
Jimbo Covert, Pedro Morales, Tony Atlas, Ted Arcidi, Harvey Martin, Danny Spivey, Hillbilly Jim, King Tonga, Iron Sheik, Ernie Holmes, B. Brian Blair, Jim Brunzell, Big John Studd, Bill Fralic, Brett Hart, Jim Neidhart, Russ Francis, Bruno Sammartino, William “Refrigerator” Perry, and Andre the Giant
The guest timekeeper was Clare Peller, the “Where’s the Beef” lady from the Wendy’s commercials. Peller looks on the verge of death. The guest referee’s are Dick Butkus and Ed “Too Tall” Jones, who at one point was billed as a participant in this match. Ernie Ladd joins the announcers on commentary. Some of the wrestlers attempt to toss Perry but a few football players intervene. Covert tries to toss Tonga outside and both men end up getting eliminated by Francis. Fralic then laughs as he tries to kick Covert. Fralic had a natural heel charisma and if he became a wrestler, might have been pretty entertaining. Ernie Holmes gets tossed by Sammartino. The Hart Foundation eliminates Brunzell then shortly after that, Perry eliminates Atlas as the crowd goes wild. Perry and Studd battle in the corner as Morales and Martin eliminate each other. Arcidi gets dumped by a few guys then Sheik tosses Spivey. Blair and Hillbilly Jim are eliminated by the Sheik. Fralic gets tossed by Studd and the Sheik then Bruno tosses the Sheik. Bruno goes to work on Studd in the corner but he gets tossed. Studd then clotheslines Andre in the corner. The crowd goes nuts as Perry almost eliminates the Hart Foundation by himself. He then faces off against Studd and knocks him into the corner but Studd elbows him then eliminates Perry with a hip toss. Perry offers Studd a handshake and when he goes for it, Perry pulls him outside, eliminating him from the match. The final four are Andre the Giant, Russ Francis, and the Hart Foundation. Its pretty obvious who is going to win. The Hart Foundation tie up Andre in the ropes after a double dropkick then eliminate Francis, who nearly snaps his neck off of the bottom rope. The Harts beat on Andre in the corner but he fights them off. Hart eats boot off of a charge as Andre grabs him and Neidhart, by the goatee, for the double noggin-knocker. Andre boots Neidhart over the top rope in a spot that was flat-out terrible then wins the match after he press slams Hart over the ropes an on his partner (9:03) **.
Thoughts: Not bad at all for a battle royal. The pace was quick and the football players did not embarrass themselves. The Hart Foundation got a bit of a rub here being the last two in with Andre. They looked good.
We go back to New York where Vince McMahon and Susan St. James sit down with Roddy Piper, who denies any cheating took place between his boxing match against Mr. T. He also says that he has plenty of fight left in him.
Back to Chicago, as Jimbo Covert feels cheated after Russ Francis took him out from behind.
WWF Tag Team Championship Match
The Dream Team w/ Johnny Valiant vs. British Bulldogs w/ Capt. Lou Albano & Ozzy Osborne.
Davey starts by overpowering Valentine. Dynamite tags and knocks down Valentine for a two count. He sends Valenitne flying into the corner with a shoulder block then hits a snap suplex before tagging out. Davey wins a fight over a suplex and gets two as Valentine ducks outside and chats with Valiant before heading back inside. Valentine counters a backdrop attempt with a forearm smash and tags Beefcake, who works the arm. Davey fights out and hits a press slam then tags Dynamite. He chops Beefcake down and gets a nearfall with a small package. Fisherman’s suplex gets two. Beefcake makes a blind tag and Valentine comes off the second rope with a forearm smash onto Dynamite. Suplex gets two then Valentine works a headlock. They trade forearm smashes and Dynamite wins that battle. He rams Valentine into the corner then shoves him down. The Bulldogs use a double shoulderblock but Beefcake’s runs in and attacks Dynamite from behind. Dynamite comes back with a sunset flip and a backbreaker on Valentine for nearfalls. Valentine fights back and spikes Dynamite with a wicked piledriver that gets two. Dynamite catches Valentine low as he went for a bridge then slams him off of the top rope as both men are down. The match breaks down as Valentine escapes when the Bulldogs went for their finisher. Back inside, Davey hits Valentine with a running powerslam for two. Suplex gets two. Valentine is able to reverse an Irish whip and send Davey’s shoulder into the post. He stomps away then tags Beefcake, who picks up Davey from the hammerlock position and just slams him down in a cool spot. Beefcake stomps and taunts Davey before tagging Valentine. He spits at Davey then hits him with a shoulderbreaker for two. Davey is then able to whip Valentine into the corner and he rams heads with Dynamite, who was perched on the corner, then Davey covers for the win and the titles (12:03) ***1/2. Davey tries to help up Dynamite from the floor as Okerlund interviews Albano and Osborne in the ring. Davey is able to make it into the ring and tells the fans they are going to stay in the United States because they won the tag team titles.
Thoughts: Easily the match of the night. Valentine worked most of the match on the heel side and he looked great. The Bulldogs were on a roll at this point and easily the most popular tag team in the company. This was the right time for the title change to occur.
Los Angeles, CA
Your hosts are Jesse Ventura, Lord Alfred Hayes, and Elvira.
Hercules Hernandez vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
Hercules attacks Steamboat before the bell. Steamboat slides underneath Hercules twice then hits an armdrag and goes to work on the arm. A sloppy exchange leads to Steamboat flipping out of a side slam attempt and hitting Hercules with a super kick. Steamboat goes back to the arm until Hernandez powers out. Steamboat is able to catch Hercules with a back elbow smash after a pair of leapfrogs. He hits a suplex then goes back to the arm. Hercules breaks that up with a turnbuckle smash then nails Steamboat with a clothesline. He stomps away on Steamboat then uses a stun-gun as the crowd chants for Steamboat, who fights back. He tries a slam but fails and Hercules falls on top of him for a nearfall. Hercules uses a pair of elbow drops then flexes before covering Steamboat but only gets two. Steamboat uses a few wicked chops to fight back but gets take down with a clothesline. Hercules uses a pair of press slams then heads to the top rope for a splash but Steamboat gets his knees up then climbs up top himself and finishes off Hercules with a flying body press (7:34) **1/2. After the match, Hercules gets pissed and shoves the referee.
Thoughts: Solid match. Steamboat was fantastic and Hercules was competent here and actually moved around so it was fun. The crowd dug Steamboat too, who along with Santana made the best babyface comebacks in the company.
“Adorable” Adrian Adonis w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Uncle Elmer
Holy shit does Elmer look miserable as he walks down the aisle. He sure did telegraph the outcome of this match. Elmer “chases” Adonis and Hart out from the ring. Adonis comes back in and Elmer catches him with a some awful looking punches. Elmer actually falls down after throwing a punch and Adonis backpedals three-quarters of the way across the ring and falls through the ropes. Adonis continues to oversell Elmer’s offense in the most overexaggerated way humanly possible. Elmer slingshots Adonis back into the ring then tries to tear off his dress. Adonis gets caught in the ropes a few times but fights back. Adonis then slips out of his dress and tries to whip Elmer into the corner but fails. Elmer goes for his leg drop but misses then Adonis heads up to the middle rope and hits a headbutt for the win (3:04) -*1/2.
Thoughts: This was fucking terrible. Uncle Elmer was as uselss as you could get and was fired a few weeks later at the “Saturday Night’s Main Event” taping. I believed he no-showed a bunch of events after this and according to Dave Meltzer, just about pissing off everyone in the locker room.
Hayes us with Hulk Hogan. He asks Hulk about his injuries putting him at a disadvantage. Hogan says that Hulkamania will live forever and he will step into that cage and take away Bundy’s pride and will climb out of the cage and win the match.
Terry & Hoss Funk w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Junkyard Dog & Tito Santana
Hoss goes after JYD as Terry jumps into the ring but JYD whips Hoss into his brother then slams then around until the Funk’s regroup outside. Back inside, Tito and Terry tag into the match and Terry chops him against the ropes. Tito comes back and sends Terry over the ropes with a clothesline then hits Hoss with a pair of dropkicks. JYD tags and he decks Terry then uses the ten turnbuckle smash spot as Funk falls down. He hits him with several more smashes before tossing him over the top rope, where one fan yells at him to “go back to the NWA.” Hoss tags in and JYD backs him into the corner then tags Tito. Hoss catches Tito with a knee and a European uppercut but Tito comes back with a flying forearm and Terry runs in for the save. They use a criss-cross spot and that ends with Terry catching Tito with a knee in the back. JYD helps up Tito outside, chasing away Hart, but Terry stomps Tito from the apron. Hart kicks Tito and JYD chases him away. JYD then rolls Tito back into the ring and Funk hits him with a suplex for a nearfall. He tries another one but Tito blocks that and hits a suplex of his own as both men are down. They get up and collide but Terry is able to make the tag. Hoss hits a suplex then puts Tito in a front facelock. The Funk’s hit Tito with a double clothesline then Terry gets two off of a leg drop. Tito rolls away from a second leg drop as both men are down. Terry is able to send Tito to the mat with a headbutt but Tito crawls around and is able to tag JYD, who runs wild on the Funk’s. Terry uses a rope to choke out JYD but he is able to escape and toss Terry over the ropes. JYD goes outside and slams Terry onto a table. In the ring, JYD kicks out Funk’s leg then grabs Hart, who was on the apron. JYD then gets Hoss in a small package and Tito comes in and puts him in the figure four. The ref breaks that up and orders Tito back on the apron and that allows Hart to toss Terry his megaphone and he hits JYD and rolls around while clutching his knee for a second before he makes the cover and gets the win (11:43) ***.
Thoughts: Good match, mostly due to Terry. It got the Funk’s over but Hoss never really got over here and by aligning with him, Terry lost some of his heel heat.
As they put up the steel cage, we are shown a video package of the events that have led up to the main event. I thought this did a great job hyping the match.
WWF World Heavyweight Championship Match
King Kong Bundy w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan vs. Hulk Hogan (Champion)
Tommy Lasorda is the guest ring announcer and introduces the guest timekeeper, Ricky Schroeder, and the referee, Robert Conrad. This is also the debut of the blue steel-bar cage in the WWF that would be used throughout the decade. The match starts with both guys going at each other. Hogan chops Bundy against the ropes then hammers away. He hits a corner clothesline then tries to knock him down but Bundy targets the ribs. He stomps Hogan and continues to focus on the ribs. Bundy slams Hogan then tries to leave through the door but Hogan grabs his leg. Bundy is able to pick up Hogan and drive him into the cage and tries again to get through the door but Hogan is able to stop him. Bundy tears off the tape around Hogan’s ribs, which excites Elvira, then uses it to choke out Hogan. He then uses it to tie Hogan to the ropes and tries to get out the door but Hogan gets up and pulls him back by his face. He hammers away on Bundy then rams him into the cage, knocking him down and busting him open. Hogan opens him up then rakes Bundy’s back before ramming him into the cage repeatedly. Hogan tries to climb out of the ring but decides to choke out Bundy instead. He tries a slam but Bundy falls on top as both men are down. Bundy is up first and heads to the door but Hogan grabs his tape and chokes out Bundy, who manages to escape. Bundy then hits Hogan with the avalanche then the splash and he crawls towards the door. Hogan grabs his legs and Bundy whips him into the corner and hits another avalanche but Hogan completely no-sells the move then catches Bundy in a powerslam and hits a leg drop. He climbs up the cage and kicks down Bundy as he attempted to stop him. Heenan tries to stop Hogan but that fails and Hogan climbs out and lands on the floor before Bundy could make it through the door and retains the title (10:18) **. After the match, Hogan gets Heenan in the cage and slams him around for a little bit until Heenan falls through the door.
Thoughts: The match was alright. Bundy, who was competent enough in the ring, just wasnt that big of a star. They did a fine job building him up but it just wasnt there. He was really just a generic big guy. The no-sell of the second avalanche came across as being ridiculous though.
Final Thoughts: As a stand alone show, it was pretty bad. But, as far as going along with the current product, it wasn’t too terrible. They put over new talent/characters like Roberts and Adonis that were featured heavily after this show. The Tag Title match was awesome and the Funk’s tag match and Hercules/Steamboat were solid but there were too many bad matches but overall and having it at three separate venues with about twenty celebrities ended up being way too excessive.