April 2, 1995
From the Hartford Civic Center in Hartford, CT
Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler
I watched the live satellite feed copy of this show as apparently, per the “Wrestling Observer Newsletter,” this had the most production issues as opposed to those who watched on Viewers Choice.
The show starts off with a video package on the prior ten WrestleMania shows, focusing primarily on the celebrities. We then see the celebrities for this WrestleMania with the current WWF Superstars. They’re really going in strong with the celebrity and NFL tie-ins as a selling point for this show.
We now have Special Olympian, Kathy Huey, sing “America the Beautiful.” This was originally going to be performed by the band Fishbone but apparently Vince McMahon was not a fan of their rendition and switched it up to showcase their affiliation with the Special Olympics.
Vince & Lawler talk about WrestleMania being the greatest spectacle.
Allied Powers vs. Jacob & Eli Blue w/ Uncle Zebekiah
As we learned on the “Action Zone” courtesy of Jim Ross, Luger & Bulldog want to be referred to as the Allied Powers. They each come out to the ring holding their respective flags. The Powers duck a sneak attack then hit stereo powerslams that saw the Brothers Blu get slammed on top of each other. That could have really ended up badly to be honest. Things settle down as Bulldog hits Eli with a delayed vertical suplex for a two count. Jacob tags but Bulldog takes them both down with a double clothesline. Vince puts over the experience edge to Jacob & Eli as we see Eli attack Bulldog from the apron. Bulldog manages to pull off a small package but the ref was tied up with Luger and it gets broken up. Jacob & Eli stay in control as Vince reminds us how Bulldog was a Tag Team champion with Dynamite Kid as well as a former Intercontinental Champion. Jacob & Eli continue to neutralize Bulldog until Jacob misses a flying elbow drop. Luger tags in and runs wild to a lukewarm crowd reaction. The match then breaks down with Zebekiah distracting Luger long enough for the switcheroo to take place. Luger covers thinking the match was won after his forearm smash but one of the Blu’s kicks out. However, Bulldog then makes a blind tag and puts Jacob away with a flying sunset flip (6:37) *. The Brothers & Uncle Zebekiah are furious and in shock as the Allied Powers celebrate then pose as Vince says it will not be the last time we see them team and will be together for a long time.
Thoughts: A completely forgettable opening match as this was designed to give the Allied Powers a push as a new team. The tag division was not a strong suit of the company at the time so Jacob & Eli while not over much were at least big and pushed as undefeated on TV so it was something to go with. However, the match itself was not well wrestled and clumsy throughout and felt like four guys going through the motions.
Jim Ross talks with the losers in the aisle. Uncle Zebekiah said he knew they would get “hornswoggled” in the “big city” as he is upset about defeat.
Nicholas Turturro is in the locker room with The Corporation. Vince says there has been some problems with Pamela Anderson. However, there are audio problems and we cannot hear anything then a smiling Jenny McCarty pops into frame with Turturro just before we cut away to show the crowd. And its not the first production issue of this broadcast.
WWF Intercontinental Title Match: Jeff Jarrett (c) w/ The Roadie vs. Razor Ramon w/ 1-2-3 Kid
Before Razor’s entrance, we are shown how Jarrett defeated Razor to become Champion at the Royal Rumble. Also, we have 1-2-3 Kid with Razor backstage telling us he will take care of The Roadie and Razor will once again become champ. Speaking of Kid, he is making quite the fashion choice tonight. Razor runs right through all of the performers standing at ringside and into the ring to attack Jarrett. And for some reason Kid is in the ring encouraging Razor. Jarrett bails as Razor pumps up the crowd then has his fireworks display go off as the lights go out for a little bit. Jarrett returns but Razor drops him for a two count. Jarrett slides underneath Razor but gets decked again as Razor gets another two count. Razor sends Jarrett over the top rope with a clothesline as Kid keeps an eye on The Roadie. Jarrett trips up Razor before heading back into the ring then has Razor break up a sunset flip in a contrived spot that gets two. Razor decks Jarrett and that ends up knocking Roadie off of the apron for two. Razor gets Jarrett up for the Razor’s Edge but Roadie pulls Jarrett out to safety. Jarrett said he has had enough and heads up the aisle but Kid cuts him off with a martial arts pose. Kid then tosses Jarrett inside and Razor uses a school boy for a two count. Jarrett finally takes control now then distracts the ref to allow Roadie to choke out Razor as Kid was late on the save. Roadie gets up on the apron but Razor sends him into the post then tosses Jarrett outside. Back inside, Razor ducks his head and Jarrett uses a swinging neckbreaker. Jarrett struts after some offense but Razor catches a kick then ducks an enziguiri. However, Jarrett avoids an elbow drop and covers for two before applying a chin lock. Kid rallies the crowd behind Razor. Jarrett clotheslines Razor for two after the latter used a backslide for a nearfall. Razor fights back and lands a few punches until Jarrett jumps on his back for a sleeper. Jarrett works a chin lock on the mat now but Razor soon breaks that up with a back suplex as both men are down. Both men now collide and end up on the mat then get up and end up punching each other down. Razor drapes his arm across Jarrett’s chest for a two count then wins a slugfest. Razor hits a fallaway slam for a two count then knocks down Jarrett in the corner. Kid tries to crotch Jarrett against the post but gets kicked into the guardrail. Jarrett then avoids a middle rope elbow drop and hits a shinbreaker before applying the figure four. Razor refuses to give up then we see Roadie help Jarrett out on the outside. The crowd gets behind Razor, who eventually reverses the hold. Jarrett is in pain but Kid is caught helping out Razor. Jarrett escapes and limps to the corner but misses a swing and gets put on the top rope where Razor hits a super back suplex. Razor finally gets up and limps as he signals for the Razor’s Edge. Razor gets Jarrett up and is about to hit the move but this time Roadie runs in for a chop block and gets Jarrett disqualified (13:33) **3/4. Kid runs in and beats the crap out of Roadie until Jarrett cuts him off. Jarrett then puts Kid in the figure four as Roadie hammers away. Razor then pummels Jarrett until several officials run in to break up things. Jarrett runs back in to stomp Kid a few times but Razor runs through the officials to send Jarrett fleeing. Jarrett, now bleeding from the nose, holds up the title as we heads backstage to piss off the crowd. Ross now talks to Jarrett in the aisle as Jarrett says he will always be the Intercontinental Champion.
Thoughts: Good match with a crappy finish but it felt more like a RAW main event to set up a future tag match than it did an actual PPV title match. I felt like something more decisive should have happened here. And in all honesty, it wasn’t anything we haven’t seen before between these two. Kid’s post-match attack was nuts and well received by the crowd but it ended up busting Jarrett’s nose.
Back to Nicholas Turturro now as he said Pamela Anderson is nowhere to be found so he’s in The Corporation’s locker room. Jenny McCarthy is also here and all smiles. We now see Shawn Michaels & Psycho Sid talk about Shawn winning the title as Shawn said he has no idea of Pamela’s whereabouts. McCarthy is all smiles in the background as these two spoke.
Vince now cuts it to Barry Didinsky at the merchandise stand shilling some t-shirts and hats being modeled by two women. Didinsky is pointing out the WWF logo on all of the merchandise. He was slightly less annoying here than on “Action Zone” but the woman on the right was incredibly awkward throughout the segment.
Todd Pettengill is in the crowd with former Chicago Bears running back Neal Anderson, who goes into a three-point stance with Pettengill then says that Lawrence Taylor’s chances are real good and the All-Pro team will take care of business.
King Kong Bundy w/ Ted DiBiase vs. The Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer
Vince says that Undertaker has never lost at WrestleMania with Lawler pointing out how Bundy has the record for the fastest pinfall at WrestleMania. Vince also talks about the upcoming tour of Southeast Asia as both men stare each other down. We also see the referee, which is American League umpire Larry Young. DiBiase has the urn here and scared of Undertaker’s presence. Bundy fails on a sneak attack and we see Undertaker hammer away to a dead crowd. Undertaker hits his ropewalk attack now then finally drops Bundy after a few clotheslines. DiBiase is on the outside holding on to the urn then Undertaker steals the urn after landing on his feet when clotheslined over the top rope by Bundy. Undertaker gives the urn to Bearer and that pops the crowd. Undertaker hammers away back in the ring as DiBiase heads up the aisle to wave down Kama. We now see Kama boot Bearer in the gut and steal the urn. Undertaker tries to pull up Kama from the ring and take the urn but Bundy cuts him off. DiBiase orders Kama to head backstage with the urn as Undertaker stays in control. We go split screen as Kama tells Ross the urn is now his and he will melt it down to make into a chain. Bundy clotheslines Undertaker over the top rope but this time Undertaker does not land on his feet. Back inside, Bundy chokes out Undertaker with the rope. Bundy hits a slam and follows with a knee drop for two then goes with a chin lock. Bearer asks the fans to get behind Undertaker, who finally gets back to his feet. Bundy then hits an avalanche but Undertaker is not phased. Undertaker then boots Bundy and hits a slam and uses a flying clothesline for the win (6:40) 1/2*. After the match, Bundy walks away and leaves up the aisle as DiBiase is not too happy in the aisle. Vince points out how Undertaker was unable to recapture the urn.
Thoughts: As expected, a lousy match and the build to this was garbage since Undertaker appeared on TV once after the Royal Rumble PPV so there was no heat going in and the crowd reacted as such. However, we saw Kama steal the urn from Bearer here as we now transition Undertaker’s feud to Kama. Regarding Larry Young as the special guest referee it certainly did not add to the match. According to Bruce Prichard this idea came about from JJ Dillon, who was a baseball fan. He even said that Young wanted to do a arguing, chest bump shot with Undertaker, who shot that down. Prichard also added that Undertaker hated this match and seemingly did not care for Bundy and that feeling was mutual since in his shoot interview with “Pro Wrestling Diaries,” Bundy called Undertaker “sour” and claimed he frequently complained about not being at the top of the card. That’s not something I heard Undertaker ever complain about by anyone else and I’ve watched more shoot interviews than anyone needs to in their lifetime. Speaking of Undertaker, in the book “Titan Sinking” it stated how back in November there was an idea to turn Razor Ramon heel and end up facing Undertaker on this show that even got as far as filming vignettes that would have kicked off around the Royal Rumble but Vince decided to nix the idea, reportedly pissing off both men.
Once again we see Turturro trying to find Pamela Anderson. He is in front of her dressing room door and learned that she was distressed and left the building after an argument with Shawn. Makes sense given the videos leading up to the PPV where Shawn’s arrogance completely turned off Pamela. McMichael comes over with the rest of the All-Pro Team as they call out The Corporation.
Turturro then leaves and sees Bob Backlund and Jonathan Taylor Thomas playing chess in the dark for some reason. Anyway, Backlund takes umbrage over Turturro interrupting to ask about Pamela’s whereabouts. We then see Thomas win as Backlund calls him out for taking advantage of his elders and not showing respect. Backlund then quizzes Thomas, who gets everything right, as Backlund storms off because Thomas thinks he knows everything. Turturro promises to tell us when he has more news on Pamela. A dumb segment as this Backlund character is way past self-parody at this point. In the build to the show, it was said that Thomas would be interviewing the wrestlers but that never happened tonight. I don’t know if this stuff was shown on video releases but that was not seen here. And speaking of JTT as he was referred to by many at this time, Prichard told a funny story on his podcast about him. As they were going over the show, JTT was rehearsing his spot and others were around including his mom and the 1-2-3 Kid. Prichard kept referring to the 1-2-3 Kid as “kid” and JTT’s mom took offense thinking he was referring to her son. Prichard then said he told JTT’s mom who he was referring to and that was the end.
We cut backstage with Stan Lane on the Superstar Line with Razor & Kid. Razor has an ice pack on his knee with his leg elevated on a chair.
Pettengill is now in the crowd with LT’s former teammate George Martin. Pettengill asks about LT’s chances as Martin puts over LT’s heart and toughness. Pretty decent promo, actually.
Back to the hosts as Vince tells us the next PPV will take place on Mother’s Day, May 14th and they are giving away a house in Hunter’s Creek of Orlando, FL. We see the house that has a pool, garage, and membership to a golf course. This is followed by a music video as the show will be titled “In Your House.”
Owen Hart comes out to the ring. He then tells us this is the moment we have been waiting for as Lawler says he already knows who Owen picked for his partner. Owen said his partner is someone who went out and beat his brother Bret for the title and that man is……………….Yokozuna. And a much larger than before Yokozuna to boot. The Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter claimed he gained about 70 lbs since his last appearance. We then cut backstage to the Smoking Gunns as Vince wants to know their reaction. They try to remain calm over having to overcome Yokozuna and retain the titles. What a fucking awful promo from Bart here who just looked like he shit his pants in fear over the thought of having to defend the belts against Yokozuna. Or maybe it was the thought of having to cut a live promo. Either way, it was horrendous.
WWF Tag Team Title Match: Owen Hart & Yokozuna w/ Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette vs. Smoking Gunns (c)
Lawler notes that Owen made his WrestleMania debut exactly six years ago as the Blue Blazer. He did not give us the result of the match, however. Before the match, we see the French announce team of Raymond Rougeau & Jean Brassard sell the shock of Yokozuna being the mystery partner. Yokozuna waves the Japanese flag to boos as Vince notes that Yokozuna is even larger than before. Owen and Billy shove each other after a break as Vince notes Men on a Mission attacking The Gunns. We now see The Gunns work over Owen for a bit. Owen pokes Bart’s eye then tags out as Yokozuna catches Bart with a slam. Bart avoids an elbow drop then works the arm briefly until he gets chopped. Owen is back in and works the arm until Bart takes control. The Gunns hit Owen with a double leg sweep then send Yokozuna through the ropes with a double dropkick. The Gunns hit Owen with a back suplex/cutter combo that gets two and stay in control. Owen gets hit with the side slam/leg drop combo but Yokozuna distracted the ref long enough to prevent a pinfall. Lawler accuses Vince of being racist towards the Japanese just like Bret Hart but Yokozuna makes a blind tag and hits Billy with a leg drop to the back of the head. Billy rolls outside then Owen rams him into the post before sending him back into the ring. Billy tries to fight back but his punches have little effect. Yokozuna puts on a chin lock as the announcers talk about Owen selecting Yokozuna as his partner. Yokozuna holds up Billy as Owen comes off the top with a missile dropkick but Billy escapes. All three men are down as Billy finally makes the tag. Bart press slams Owen then yanks Yokozuna down by the hair. Billy tags and the Gunns appear to be doing a double-team spot but Owen low bridges Bart then Yokozuna catches Billy with a belly-to-belly suplex that actually pops the crowd. Yokozuna now drags Billy to the corner and hits the Bonzai Drop. Bart comes in to break up the pin but Yokozuna dumps him outside and now Owen tags and is about to go for the Sharpshooter but instead covers and gets the win and the titles (9:42) *3/4. Owen celebrates like a madman and hugs Yokozuna. We see a replay of the Bonzai Drop as Vince comments on the power of Yokozuna’s thighs.
Thoughts: Even before Yokozuna being announced as the mystery partner I don’t think the outcome of this match was ever in question. The match itself was pedestrian but Owen worked hard and his celebration was great. The thinking here was Yokozuna would come back after losing weight and be in a team with a workhorse like Owen then maybe gear up Yoko for a singles run.
Stephanie Wiand reports on today’s WWF Fan Festival and we see a video package on all the events and stars in attendance. Proceeds also went to the Special Olympics. We now see Adam Bomb with a few Special Olympians to hype up the events coming in Connecticut this July.
We see footage of a blimp flying around the arena giving us some camera shots.
Pettengill is now backstage with Bam Bam Bigelow. We see a clip of how the Bigelow/LT feud began and the brawl from the WWF Times Square public workout. Bigelow accused LT of attacking him and that he is in great shape and will take LT down. Pettengill notes the media hype for the match and how most of the country is behind LT, despite his lack of experience. Bigelow then said this is his world and will teach LT a lesson. Pettengill asks Bigelow about the All-Pro Team and Bigelow said The Corporation is the biggest and toughest today and will have his back. Bigelow said that LT does not have a prayer to win and will not make a fool out of him. Solid stuff from Bigelow. After this we go back to the hosts as Vince talks about Bigelow’s “overconfidence.”
Howard Finkel goes over the rules for the “I Quit” match then brings out the special guest referee, Roddy Piper. He gets a strong reaction, probably the best on the entire show, as Vince teases Lawler over losing to him (at King of the Ring).
“I Quit” Match: Bob Backlund vs. Bret “The Hitman” Hart
Bret hammers away in the corner then sends Backlund into the corner. Bret fires away then tries for the Sharpshooter but Backlund fights him off. Bret sends Backlund down with an elbow smash as Piper sticks the mic in Backlund’s face to ask if he quits and pulls the mic away. Lawler asks Vince who Bret beat for the Intercontinental Title at WrestleMania VIII and Vince answers “Bulldog” so Lawler corrects him and Vince acts surprised. Bret continues to rough up Backlund, who refuses to quit. Bret once again fails to apply the Sharpshooter so settles for a figure four. Backlund not only refuses to quit but also reverses the hold. We go split screen with the German announcers as the company will be touring there in just a couple of weeks. Bret continues to work the leg as Backlund replies “no” when asks if he quits. Piper keeps putting the mic in Backlund’s face but Backlund will not quit. Backlund rakes the eyes then attacks Bret’s arm in the corner. Backlund sets up for his crossface chicken wing but Bret maneuvers himself to prevent that from happening. Backlund takes Bret to the mat and uses a hammerlock as Bret refuses to quit. Backlund once again tries for the chicken wing but Bret drops low as Backlund goes back Bret is able to slam Backlund then fights back. Bret hits a backbreaker and flying elbow drop then goes for the Sharpshooter but Backlund was able to grab the ropes. Bret misses a charge in the corner and rams his shoulder into the post as Backlund now stalks Bret and puts on the crossface chicken wing. He pulls Bret away from the ropes as Piper asks Bret if he quits. Bret refuses to quit then after a struggle reverses the hold as Piper keeps asking Backlund if he quits and then Backlund says “I” then apparently said quit afterwards as Bret wins the match by using Backlund’s own hold (9:40) *1/2.
Thoughts: Bret was game and I liked him using the crossface chicken wing to win but Backlund was pretty bad here and Piper as the special guest referee was awful. All Backlund did was tease a chicken wing and use the most basic of arm holds. Piper just asking everyone if they quit three seconds into a submission, or even before it was applied, into a hold quickly wore out its welcome. With his feud against Backlund and based on RAW his feud with his brother now over it seems like Bret’s focus will be with Jerry Lawler & Hakushi. In his autobiography, Bret called this the worst PPV match of his career.
After the match, Ross interviews Backlund in the aisle. Backlund looks around like a maniac then screams about “seeing the light” and asks if we did too. I guess the light is code for the midcard.
An excited Owen Hart with Yokozuna are with Stan Lane on the Superstar Line.
Turturro is once again backstage and says that Pamela Anderson is gone and some “celebrity changes” have been made. She’s apparently left the building. Lawler said that Shawn told him he insisted that Pamela get a tattoo and hints that might be why Pamela is gone.
Pettengill is now with Diesel but there are technical difficulties as Vince talks about these problems happening throughout the show. Things are back to normal as Diesel said he knows how Shawn thinks. Diesel then said his goal his to hold on to his belt.
Finkel introduces Jonathan Taylor Thomas as the special guest timekeeper. Thomas slaps hands with the fans as Lawler makes fun of his tuxedo, which looks quite big on him. After that, Nicholas Turturro comes out as the special guest ring announcer.
Shawn comes out with Sid and is accompanied now by Jenny McCarthy. However, when Diesel comes out, he is accompanied by Pamela Anderson. According to Bruce Prichard, Vince made the call to switch Pamela with Diesel so she would want to be with the champion. Also, when it came to Pamela, Prichard said that while she was great to work with for the Royal Rumble, she showed up not in the same condition here and was flaking out a lot prior to the show, even showing up four hours late here. She also spent most of the day in her dressing room with new husband Tommy Lee, who also according to Prichard was bombed out of his mind, and kept wanting to run everything by him too.
WWF World Title Match: Shawn Michaels w/ Psycho Sid vs. Diesel (c)
Lawler said that Shawn told him to expect a performance of a lifetime. Vince says that Shawn is the favorite due to his athleticism and Sid as his bodyguard. A big “Psycho Sid Rules” poster is right on the hard cam side. Shawn tries to go after Diesel before the bell and is sent flying outside with a back drop then Diesel invites Pamela Anderson into the ring and poses with the fireworks display. Pamela then leaves and sits next to McCarthy. Shawn re-enters and the match finally starts. Shawn hammers away then gets decked after going a million miles an hour as part of an Irish whip sequence. Shawn now works the arm but ends up getting tossed into the corner then again halfway across of the ring. Diesel skies Shawn with a back drop then sends him up and over in the corner to the outside where he falls on top of a photographer. Shawn drags the photographer out of the way in anger as having these photographers on the outside surrounding the ring has not been a good idea. Sid tries to distract Diesel to allow Shawn a sneak attack but that fails. Shawn keeps trying mounted punches in the corner after spitting at Diesel but is tossed away as the camera cuts to the celebrities, with Pamela Anderson looking like she wants to head backstage ASAP. Diesel knees Shawn as Shawn does not go over the top rope so he falls through the middle ropes as his feet get hooked. Sid is on the apron screaming at Diesel then Shawn gets dragged up onto the apron. Shawn rakes Diesel’s face then slides underneath his legs and hammers away. Diesel blocks a sunset flip with a lifting choke and then crotches Shawn on the ropes. Shawn slides underneath a big boot then clotheslines Diesel over the top rope and skins-the-cat back inside so he can fly out with a plancha. Shawn hammers away then takes Diesel down with a baseball slide as we go split screen to Pamela and Jenny McCarty as Pamela is quite jittery. Shawn goes outside and ducks an elbow smash after shoving a photographer back as Diesel ends up hitting the post with his ribs. Shawn hits a running splash from the apron as Diesel was clutching his ribs to sell the effects of hitting the post. Diesel finally is able to get himself back inside but Shawn targets his ribs. Shawn hammers away and kicks Diesel down before using a flying bulldog for a two count. Shawn lands more punches and eventually knocks Diesel down. Diesel sends Shawn into the corner but Shawn comes back with a flying back elbow smash that drew some cheers. The elbow smash gets two as Shawn goes back to hammering away. The crowd seems to be getting more into Shawn as he heads up top with a flying elbow drop for a nearfall. Shawn tries a suplex but Diesel tosses him away. Shawn tries again and is tossed then too. Diesel catches Shawn and tries for the snake eyes but Shawn escapes and shoves Diesel into the corner. Shawn jumps on top of Diesel’s back for a sleeper and ends up taking Diesel down to his knees. Shawn now has Diesel on the mat but Diesel eventually powers up and rams Shawn into the corner to break the hold. Diesel elbows Shawn in the corner twice and follows with a pair of clotheslines before finally hitting the snake eyes. Diesel knocks Shawn off of the apron and heads out and fires away. Shawn rolls back into the ring and begs for mercy but Diesel pulls him by the back of his tights, exposing his ass in the process, and lands more punches. Shawn rolls outside again and Diesel goes out and lands some forearm smashes. The ref apparently jumped out to prevent Sid from interfering and hurt his ankle. They go back inside and Shawn drills Diesel with a super kick and covers. Sid rolls the ref back inside and Shawn covers again but Diesel kicks out at one as the crowd boos. Sid now takes off one of the top turnbuckle pads with a knife to expose the steel but Diesel uses a back suplex as both men are down. Shawn then drapes his arm across Diesel’s chest for two then heads up to the middle but Diesel catches him and hits a side slam as both men are down again. Lawler tells Vince even he has to admit that Shawn deserves the title as Sid yells at the fans who are chanting for Diesel. Shawn is up first but Diesel uses a double leg takedown and sends Shawn into the corner but instead of the exposed steel, Shawn hits the middle turnbuckle. Diesel is back to his feet and pumping himself up before firing away. He takes Shawn down with a big boot then continues to pump up the crowd as we get another shot of Pamela looking like she wants to run away at this point and Diesel hits the Jackknife as Shawn did not care to go up for the move and that gets the win (20:36) ***1/4. After Shawn gets pinned, Sid slides him outside and Shawn hobbles up the aisle.
Thoughts: This was a good match I thought but really cannot give it much more praise. I’m probably down on it more than most. The story heading in was Shawn having the advantage because of his unmatched athleticism and Psycho Sid as a bodyguard. Shawn bumped around like a madman here and showed off his athleticism but in the process made himself the babyface of the match. And the end was not too good with Shawn not hitting the top turnbuckle and whatever the fuck he did with the powerbomb. Plus, the crowd was not into this as much with the psychology of the feud not clicking mainly because Shawn has been getting better reactions than Diesel at this point in the company. Diesel’s run being handled like complete shit was a factor as well. Diesel getting booed after kicking out of the super kick at one was something both guys told Vince they should not do prior to the match, as it would come across that Diesel was being pushed too hard down the fans throats, then when they went backstage, Vince told them they were right. Shawn even said it was his idea to have Diesel hit a back suplex afterwards then he would cover Diesel for a nearfall and that did bring the crowd back into it a bit. In his many interviews, Diesel did say that Shawn was pissed that Vince would not go with him as a top guy so he was determined to steal the show so to speak and try and blow him up. Diesel even said he was not mad as at this point they are all sharks at the top of the card.
Ross catches up with Shawn & Sid in the aisle. Sid tells Shawn its not over as Diesel is shown inviting all of the celebrities at ringside into the ring for a celebration as Vince says Diesel is the leader of the WWF New Generation. Vince does not believe we have seen the last encounter between Diesel and Shawn then plugs the In Your House PPV.
Another video package on the In Your House PPV followed by an address to send a postcard to enter the win a house contest. Vince says its a $140,000 house.
Pettengill is now backstage with Shawn & Sid. Shawn said he had Diesel beat and was going to be champion as we see the replay of him hitting the “sweet chin music” and how he would have won if not for the referee. Sid then tells Diesel he will pay the price and that Shawn is not finished. Shawn said he is sick of talking and if Diesel is half the man he says he is then he’ll grant a rematch. You’d think the direction here would be a rematch to headline the PPV. However, after this show ended, Vince came into the limo where Prichard & Pat Patterson were and said “god dammit, we have a babyface on our hands and why am I the only one who sees these things” while referencing Michaels. And after several months of telling Vince how Shawn was getting cheered at the arenas only to be told that he would never be a babyface, Prichard & Patterson were livid over what Vince just said. We will get more into that when I review RAW tomorrow.
Salt ‘N Pepa sing a special rendition of “Whatta Man” specifically tailored for Lawrence Taylor. Actually, thought this was quite good and a nice touch to the show.
Now, the members of The Corporation and All-Pro teams each get a separate entrance that is announced by Vince. The All-Pro team comes out to the “Monday Night Football” theme as Vince puts over each member’s accomplishments in the most Vince way possible.
Bam Bam Bigelow w/ The Corporation vs. Lawrence Taylor w/ All-Pro Team
Before the bell, we get a staredown that ends with Bigelow shoving LT. Pat Patterson is the referee here as Patterson, along with Bigelow, ending up training LT for this match. LT then slaps Bigelow right before the bell and tosses him to the ground before sending over the top rope with a clothesline. Bigelow regroups with The Corporation as Lawler tells us about the lavish victory celebration that DiBiase has planned for Bigelow. LT bulldogs Bigelow for a two count then peppers him with forearm smashes against the ropes. Bigelow bails after getting tossed down then LT hops over the top rope to the outside and we almost get a fight between The Corporation and the All-Pro team. Back in the ring we finally see Bigelow take control of the match. He hammers away and keeps cutting off any comeback attempt by LT. Bigelow now chokes out LT with his boot in the corner then hits a slam. LT rolls away from a falling headbutt then comes back with a clothesline. LT tries something but gets caught and rammed into the corner. Bigelow rams LT into the corner again and chokes him out with the middle rope. LT continues to fight back but Bigelow uses his veteran heel tactics to maintain control of the match. Bigelow puts LT in a Boston Crab after a struggle. Bigelow now switches to a leg lock as the All-Pro team rallies the crowd behind LT, who is able to grab the ropes. Bigelow pulls LT to the middle of the ring and grounds him with another leg lock. The announcers talk about how embarrassing it would be for DiBiase and the rest of The Corporation if Bigelow lost the match. Bigelow works a headlock now but LT breaks that up with a back suplex as both men are down. Bigelow sends LT back down with a double axe handle then lands a pair of falling headbutts. Bigelow then goes up for a moonsault but rolls off of LT after a one count as he is clutches his knee. Bigelow covers again and gets two as the crowd does not react to that whatsoever. Bigelow ducks his head and LT hits a cross between a messed up powerbomb or a gutwrench suplex that gets two. Bigelow comes back with an enziguiri and a few more falling headbutts before taunting the All-Pro team. Bigelow takes a breather then goes up top for the flying headbutt but that only gets two. Bigelow yells at the ref for counting slow and upset the match is not won. LT gets up and starts drilling Bigelow with forearm smashes. LT fires up and gets in a stance to hit a few more forearm smashes and then heads up the middle rope for another forearm smash and gets the win (11:45) **1/2. The All-Pro team celebrates with LT And lifts him on his shoulders as we then see LT hug his son as Salt ‘N Pepa sings once again.
Thoughts: Hats off to Bigelow for carrying this to a solid match. Sure, there were rough spots, but nothing close to an embarrassment or anything. However, it did not exactly get reaction I think Vince was expecting. In his shoot interview with RF Video, Bigelow said that LT was just in this for a “pay day” and completely blown up at the end of the match but did credit LT for putting him over and said they became friendly afterwards. There was also a correspondence report in the “Wrestling Observer Newsletter” months later where a fan asked LT about the match and LT replied he regretted wrestling. Whether or not that happened, who knows, but LT faced a ton of criticism in the sports media for wrestling on this show. LT himself did say on Ric Flair’s podcast back in 2015 that this show was a great experience and enjoyed the atmosphere.
Ross is in the aisle with DiBiase yelling at Bigelow for embarrassing The Corporation and losing to a football player.
Chris Spielman & Reggie White carry LT up the aisle as LT is completely gassed. They carry him to the stage where Salt ‘N Pepa are singing as Vince plugs the In Your House PPV on Mother’s Day.
Final Thoughts: With an ice cold product, Vince thought he could garner interest and start a boom by loading up on celebrities and bring in NFL players. However, that did not translate with PPV buys as football fans did not become wrestling fans as the show had 80,000 less fans than the year prior. And while celebrities can boost a hot act ready to take off like it did at WrestleMania 1 and later on at WrestleMania XIV, they alone cannot magically make the product hot. This reminded me of WrestleMania 1 in a way where they had a lot of pageantry added to what was essentially a MSG house show lineup. However, the celebrities here were not as popular as those and while Nicholas Turturro did a decent enough job running with him as some sort of big celebrity get is really sad. You can see the desperation to get any sort of momentum going from Vince.
The atmosphere in the building was poor and I cannot really blame the fans because the product was cold and the show was mundane. I felt a lot of the wrestlers were not “on” tonight and in “Titan Sinking” they recall how the night before the show, Vince sent out a memo for an all hands on deck early morning meeting and everyone showed up except Vince, who sent JJ Dillon to the meeting and wish everyone good luck on his behalf. Now, a lot of wrestlers here had a rule of coming in hungover into the big shows as a way to make you keep focus but with the early meeting no one was in that type of shape. I have to wonder if Vince intentionally did this since the pill problem in the locker room was starting to become an issue and he did not want any embarrassments with all of the celebrity involvement.
Another thing about the show is there was not much left to be in suspense about. They seemed to set up Shawn vs. Diesel as the In Your House main event and I can’t imagine anyone caring about Undertaker/Kama feud. The celebrity won his match and that was supposed to send the fans home happy.
Overall, it was a below average show but is it the worst WrestleMania ever or even the worst at this point? Tough to say as the wrestling here wasn’t as bad as something like WrestleMania IV but it lacked a moment like Savage winning the title or the red hot main event of WrestleMania I. WrestleMania IX was not particularly good either. And later shows like WrestleMania 27 and 32 were terrible as well. I’ll let you guys debate that in the comments.