Wrestlemania Countdown: 6

(Awww yeah!  Another 10,000 word three-rant marathon session.  Just call me Charlie Reneke.)  The Netcop Retro Rant for Wrestlemania VI – Live from Toronto, Ontario. Original airdate: April 1/1990 – Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura.Opening match: Rick Martel v. Koko B. Ware. The crowd is huge, announced at almost 68,000 people. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the ultra-cool carts that carry the guys to the ring ala WM3. Match is brutally clipped on the Coliseum video version, which is good because I saw it live on closed circuit TV and it sucked then. The version here sees a two minute Martel squash, as he finishes it with the Boston Crab. The announcers make note of a mistake made by Koko, which exposes the clipping. (I hope someone got fired for that one!) Oh well. Match was about 1/4* – WWF tag team title match: Andre the Giant & Haku v. Demolition. A canned Demos interview is inserted before the match. The champs don’t even get an entrance, but the Demos do, and they get a mega-pop to boot. Once again a brutal clipjob, which is exceedingly good because this match blows too. Haku literally wrestles the entire match as Andre stands on the apron and Ax plays Ricky Morton. Smash gets the hot tag and destroys Haku (Andre takes one bump for old time’s sake). Andre grabs Haku from behind, but the THRUST KICK OF DEATH hits Andre by mistake and Demolition Decapitation follows on Haku for the pin and the final tag title reign for the Demos. Andre does the obligatory face turn after the match. Note to WCW: Sometimes it’s cool for the faces to win. (WCW learned that lesson the hard way when the WWF themselves made the big babyface comeback and Vince finished Bischoff off with the big boot and legdrop, brother.)  DUD, although I was marking out for the last hurrah of Demolition at the time. Andre lays a hellacious beating on Heenan and Haku and leaves to the cheers of the fans.  (That Andre babyface turn on Heenan gets me every time.  Who fucks with ANDRE THE GIANT?!)  Hercules v. Earthquake. This was during the initial Quake buildup, which means Extra Squash with Cheese and a Side of Squash Fries. Up until now he was billed as “Canadian Earthquake”, but I guess they didn’t want any face heat for him here so they debuted the “Earthquake” name. I’m sure you know how this one goes. Herc does a stretcher job for good measure after two Quake splashes. DUD – Rona Barrett interviews Elizabeth about her disappearance. Gotta love token celebrity appearances.  (In retrospect, she should have stayed disappeared.)  Brutus Beefcake v. Mr. Perfect. Okay, if you’ll remember, at Royal Rumble 90 Beefcake fought the Genius in order to transfer the heat from Hogan to Beefcake, and it worked because this match was set up for Wrestlemania. Hennig is in full overselling mood, flying over the top rope on a punch. Mucho stallo results. Another mega-bump on a chest-first charge to the corner by Perfect. This would be the last appearance of the real Beefcake on PPV, before the boating accident turned him into the talentless Hogan kiss-ass you see today. Saturday Night’s Main Event booking as Hennig gets the METAL SCROLL OF DOOM from the Genius and bops Beefcake with it to take control. Another clip job as Hennig runs through his usual offense. He brings Beefcake to his knees and then slaps him around, but Beefcake grabs Hennig’s legs and slingshots him into the ringpost, a move which is guaranteed to kill Hennig, each and every time it’s used. (Also Dolph Ziggler, which I’m sure is absolutely no coincidence at all.  Maybe they didn’t want to let Joe Hennig be Perfect Jr. because Ziggler already had that gimmick?)  Beefcake gets the huge upset and the crowd goes APESHIT. See, that way Perfect keeps his heat because the match was booked as a fluke. Beefcake ends up cutting Poffo’s hair. Decent enough match. * Here’s an interesting quote from Jesse at the end, after Gorilla notes that the people want to see Poffo’s hair cut: “Since when is the World Wrestling Federation dictated by what you and the people want?” Of course, years later, Gorilla would become WWF President and the WWF’s whole direction would cater to the fans’ every whim.  (Of course, years later after that, the direction would cater to screwing over the fans out of spite.)  Roddy Piper v. Bad News Brown. This would be the match where Piper painted half his body black. He puts on a dance exhibition before the match, thus guaranteeing to offend EVERYONE in the audience, black and white. Total brawl, and a boring one at that. Piper pulls out a while glove (cf. Brown’s black glove) and they fight outside the ring for a double countount. Really disappointing non-match. -* – Steve Allen rehearses the Russian National Anthem with the Bolsheviks. Har har. – The Hart Foundation v. The Bolsheviks. Nikolai goes to sing the anthem and the Harts attack, then hit the Hart Attack for the pin. Bleh. DUD – Tito Santana v. The Barbarian. This would be the debut of the Barbarian under the tutelage of Bobby Heenan. Total squash, as Barbie manhandles Santana, who comes back with the token offense. Flying Jalapeno, but Heenan puts Barbie’s foot on the ropes. Barbarian to the top and Tito takes the bump of the night with a somersault sell of the clothesline from the top, which finishes the match. Off-night for Tito. 1/4*  (That was a hell of a bump from Tito and I believe I rated this match higher on the second go-around.)  Randy Savage & Sherri v. Dusty Rhodes & Sapphire. And wasn’t the world just waiting for this one? Jesse goes off on a hilarious rant about the fact that the Cow Twins are announced at 465 total, which he estimates is at least 100 pounds low. Dusty brings out Elizabeth before we start to a huge ovation. Sherri is actually looking pretty lithe here. Sapphire uses her huge ass to dominate Sherri, and Sherri actually sells. You can always tell when Jesse hates someone in real life because of how much he cheers against them. If that’s true, then he must HATE Dusty Rhodes. I mean, I would not want to be in the same room if they ever met, if his commentary here is any indication. This mess drags on and on, with Dusty playing Cow in Peril after a shot with the sceptre. Sappire and Sherri get into it, and Liz tosses Sherri back in, then grabs her by the hair and shoves her back into Sappire, which allows a rollup for the win. Really bad match. -** Better times would be ahead for Savage, thankfully.  (And then much, much worse times.  Sad face.  Dusty Rhodes is the only one left alive in this match.)  – Hogan gives a really disturbing interview where he elevates himself to Christ-like levels by offering to “save” the Warrior and his fans by making Warrior a martyr. – Warrior responds with an equally weirded-out interview.  (I feel like I’m doing these interviews a dis-service by not recapping them word-for-word.)  The Rockers v. The Orient Express. Let’s play “How much drugs did the Rockers use before the match” here. I’ll start the betting at 2 grams of coke and a shot of booze. Shawn Michaels plays Ricky Morton as the Express uses some nice double-teams to control. Marty gets the hot tag and the Rockers do their usual stuff, albeit slower than usual for some reason. Could it be…DRUGS? Even Gorilla notes the lethargy that Rockers seem to be experiencing. (Not like it’s tough for them to score weed in Toronto.)  Jannetty ends up outside the ring and Fuji tosses salt in his eyes for the countout, a really weird ending that killed the crowd. This match was just screaming for a pinfall ending. Still, better than everything else tonight. **3/4 I never got the signing of the Orients. I assume Vince just wanted to steal Badd Company from the AWA, but couldn’t get DDP to come along, and didn’t think they’d be marketable without a gimmick, so he grabbed Tanaka and AWA jobber Akio Sato and left Paul Diamond to rot. – Dino Bravo v. Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Not much fan response here, because Bravo is Canadian but booked as a heel so the fans were unsure how to react. And Duggan has never been really over in Canada, for obvious reasons. Kick and punch match that drags until Duggan hits three clotheslines and Quake makes a nuisance of himself. During the chaos, Duggan nails Bravo with the 2×4 and pins him. DUD Earthquake adds another body to the pile tonight by destroying Duggan for good measure. Works for me. – Million Dollar Belt match: Jake Roberts v. Ted Dibiase. Roberts stole the belt from Dibiase on Superstars, and Ted wants it back. Speaking of drug-snorting degenerates, these two were among the worst offenders in the early 90s. We all know about Jake’s sob stories during his born-again Christian years, and Dibiase did the same circuit a couple of years ago, including a stop here in Edmonton where I got to meet him. He’s a great guy, btw, much more believable and likeable than Roberts. It should be noted that Dibiase continues to help charities and stay clean and sober, while Roberts is probably sleeping in a cardboard box in downtown Wichita with a bottle of cheap hooch as his only companion as we speak. (I believe it’s actually on a fishing boat now…)  Anyway, libellous comments aside, this match was about 20 minutes live and clipped down to eight or so here, and they even had the audacity to cut out the Skydome doing the wave during a headlock. The clipped version is actually better than the live one, because they clipped out the restholds. We cut to Jake making the big comeback, but before he can hit the DDT Virgil pulls him out of the ring for the countout. Since the match is unsanctioned, Dibiase wins the title back. Roberts gets the DDT on Dibiase after the match. The clipped version of the match is about ***, actually, a pleasant surprise after the boring match I remembered from years ago. Roberts hands out Dibiase’s money to the fans, which is really cool because each $100 bill is worth $150 up here. (Ha!  The USA WISHES that was still the case.  Now when I transfer Paypal money over from US funds I LOSE money on the deal.  I liked it better when the Canadian dollar was worthless and the US economy was stable.)  We never see Dibiase leave the ring, which becomes important for… – Akeem v. Big Bossman. This would be the blowoff for the Twin Towers breakup that turned Bossman face. Bossman makes his entrance and Dibiase pops up from under the ring and attacks him on the floor. See, Dibiase tried to bribe Bossman, but since he’s an honest law-enforcement officer he wouldn’t take the bribe, presto, insta-feud. Dibiase’s beating doesn’t help Akeem much, as he gets caught with a fluke Bossman slam less than a minute in for the pin. DUD – Rhythm and Blues debut their new single, “Hunka Hunka Honky Love” but the Sheepfuckers interrupt, dressed as vendors, and attack them. Wow. “Blink and you’ll miss it” moment: Diamond Dallas Page driving the car that brings Honky and Valentine to the ring. – Ravishing Rick Rude v. Jimmy Snuka. Steve Allen is doing color commentary here. This is the debut of the “new” Rick Rude, as he makes the transition from mid-card joke to main-event status. This is okay, as things go back and forth before Snuka misses whatever off the top and Rude hits the Rude Awakening for the pin. *1/2  (I believe this would be around the time that Tamina, daughter of WWE Legend Jimmy Snuka, was being conceived.  Did you know she’s Jimmy Snuka’s daughter?)  Main event, title v. title: Hulk Hogan v. The Ultimate Warrior. Warrior blows up running into the ring, seriously. (Use the cart, stupid!)  This is the very definition of a divided crowd, as they are almost literally 50/50 for both guys. (I bet they had Warrior do goofy comedy bits to build him up beforehand, that always works!  Can you imagine Warrior putting promo notes on his wrist?  It would read like the Toynbee tiles or something.)  Staredown and shoving match to start, won by the Warrior, then Hogan. They do the test of strength: Warrior brings Hogan to his knees, then Hogan fights up and brings Warrior down. Crowd is absolutely rabid for every move. Hogan takes down Warrior and drops an elbow, then they do the CRISS-CROSS OF DOOM, which leads to a Hogan slam that is no-sold by Warrior. Another criss-cross, and a slam on Hogan, which Hogan sells. Warrior clotheslines Hogan to the floor, and Hulk injures his knee, and totally oversells it. Warrior stomps on it for good measure. Back in the ring and they poke each other in the eye and choke, to Jesse’s delight. Warrior jaws with the referee and Hogan takes the opportunity to clothesline Warrior in the corner and basically forget about the knee injury. Hogan drops an elbow for the first two-count and applies a facelock and a small package for two. Hogan…carrying a match? Considering how long this thing was rehearsed before this show, Hogan shouldn’t have to be carrying it, but whatever. Running clothesline gets two for Hogan. Backbreaker gets two. Hogan uses an ultra-weak chinlock, but drives some knees into the back to redeem it. Belly-to-back suplex gets two, then back to the chinlock. Warrior breaks free and they do the double-KO spot. Warrior shakes the ropes to hulk up, giving Hogan a taste of his own medicine by no-selling Hulk’s offense. THREE CLOTHESLINES OF DOOM! RUNNING SHOULDERBLOCK OF DEATH! Is the end of Hulk? Two cross-corner whips and a suplex gets two. Oh, no, it’s the dread BEARHUG OF EXCRUCIATING DISCOMFORT! Hogan breaks free and Hebner gets wiped out on the criss-cross. Warrior goes to the top with a pair of double axehandles, but Hogan drives him face-first to the mat when he tries the running shoulderblock. No ref to count, and Jesse is right on the ball as he notes the irony of this after all the times it happened to Hogan’s challengers. Warrior gets a belly-to-back as Hebner…crawls…over…for….two. Crowd is on the verge of a collective heart attack. Hulk rolls up Warrior for two. Hogan with rights, and an elbow that sends Warrior to the floor, where they brawl for a bit. Back in the ring and Warrior with a clothesline and then…the Gorilla Press! Big splash…and it only gets two. Hogan makes the comeback, hulking up. Hogan no-sells the punches, delivers some of his own, then hits the Big Boot of Death. Legdrop…MISSES! Warrior hits a weak splash and gets the pin. Half the crowd is delighted, the other half is in shock. Hebner fucks up, handing the belt to the Warrior, and the camera cuts away as Warrior gives it back so Hogan can present it himself. Meltzer gave it ****, I wouldn’t go that high, but it was a definite ***. It was suitably epic for the show it was carrying, and even after seeing it 200 times or so it still got my heart pounding during the ending sequence when I saw it again. That’s all you can ask. The Bottom Line: Weeeeeeeeeeeeeellllllllllll…. On one hand, the main event was huge and the crowd was hot and the booking was great (FACES GO OVER!), but on the other 90% of the show sucked dick. I mean, WCW would get crucified for putting on his dog today. I think people have unreasonably boosted popular opinion of this one thanks to fuzzy feelings rather than actual enjoyment of the show. I mean, it was a very “send the fans home happy” show, but other than that there weren’t many redeeming qualities. But maybe that’s just me. The SmarK Retro Re-Rant for Wrestlemania VI – Once again, this is the hacked-up Coliseum video version from 1990, not the complete version from the Attitude collection or whatever it was called.  (Oh sweet jeebus, another three-version rant?  I’m skipping ahead to the modern one.)  – Live from Toronto, ON. – Your hosts are Jesse Ventura & Gorilla Monsoon. – Opening match: Koko B. Ware v. Rick Martel. Bigtime mullet on Martel here. Well, it was 1990, what can ya do. Martel attacks to start and hammers away in the corner, but Koko comes out of the corner with a high cross for two. Dropkicks and Martel is staggered, so Koko backdrops him and dumps him with a clothesline. Quick edit, and Koko slingshots him back in, but Martel dumps him on a charge, and we have another edit. At least they picked the right matches to hack. Martel stomps away back in the ring and gets a backbreaker, and that sets up the Boston crab at 2:04 for the submission. Trimmed WAAAAAY down from the original airing. They actually edited from the start of one Crab attempt to the finish of another. ½* – WWF tag team titles: Haku & Andre the Giant v. Demolition. In a rather forgettable end to Andre’s career, he got his one and only tag title before going into permanent retirement after this. Demolition was close to the end in 1989, but with the Road Warriors on the way in, I assume Vince wanted to rebuild them for the eventual feud. Andre & Haku attack to start and pound on Smash, and Andre leaves for the apron and never gets in legally again. Smash slugs away on Haku and brings in Ax, who pounds on him, but eats a thrust blow to the throat and becomes Super Machine In Peril. Backbreaker gets two. Superkick and Haku beats on Ax in the corner and goes to the VULCAN NERVE PINCH OF DOOM. Ax fights up, so Andre chokes him with the tag rope to end that rally. Ax fights back again, but Haku goes to the knee to stop him, and a shoulderbreaker gets two. He makes a blind charge and hits boot, however, and it’s hot tag Smash. He gets a back elbow on Haku and backdrop for two. Andre comes in and gets popped by Smash, and Demolition clothesline him into the corner and pound the shit out of Haku, but Andre grabs Smash. Haku hits Andre by mistake, Andre is tied up, and the Demos finish Haku with Decapitation at 5:25 to win their third and final tag team titles. Andre turns babyface by beating on Heenan to end his career, and it was a nice way to let him go with dignity. *1/4 – Hercules v. Earthquake. This was the debut of the shortened version of Quake’s name (he was the Canadian Earthquake before that – maybe they thought Toronto would turn him face?) and his monster push was building for a run against Hogan later in the year. Quake tries to charge Herc, but misses, and Herc slugs away in the corner. Quake misses another charge and Hercules keeps fighting, but goes after Jimmy Hart and Quake is allowed to take a breather. Back in, Quake wants a test of strength, and he wins that quickly and pounds Hercules down. Obvious editing there. Quake sends him into the turnbuckles and pounds away in the corner, but he puts his head down and Herc makes the comeback. He overpowers him with clotheslines, but he won’t go down. For some reason he calls for the torture rack, but Quake casually elbows him down and squashes him into mint jelly with the butt splash at 4:08. Just punching. ½* – Brutus Beefcake v. Mr. Perfect. Perfect goes for the attack to start and they slug it out in the corner, and Beefcake slugs him over the top. Beefcake was getting quite good by this point. Back in, Perfect puts his head down and gets booted, and an atomic drop sends him over the top again. He’s a bump machine tonight. Back in, Hennig knees him in the gut and pounds him down, but Beefcake whips him into the corner for ANOTHER crazy somersault bump. Slam gets nothing for Beefcake. Beefer pounds him in the corner, and it’s another crazy bump into the corner for Perfect, setting up a clothesline. No spin on the sell, so I can’t rate it on the Jannetty scale. Lanny Poffo gets involved, which allows Perfect to grab the scroll and nail Brutus to take over. Necksnap and kneelift, and Hennig gives him the verbal spanking and slugs away on the prone Beefcake, but Brutus suddenly slingshots him into the corner, knocking him out for the upset pin at 6:16. Kind of an oddly-booked match, with the finish totally out of nowhere and no real effective heat segment. I don’t remember the live version being much better, at any rate. *1/2 – Bad News Brown v. Roddy Piper. And now your one giant step for racial harmony, as Piper comes out with one side painted in blackface and the other side white. They tussle to start and fight on the mat, but the ref keeps separating them. What is this, the UFC? Piper slugs away and does some biting the corner, but Brown lays him out from behind and gets a fistdrop for two. Slam and elbowdrop get two. Piper pokes him in the eye and slugs away in the corner, but Brown returns the favor by thumbing him in the eye, and he pulls apart a turnbuckle. Piper whips him into it, as irony proves to be just as ironic in Canada as in the US, and Piper pulls a white glove out of his tights. Presumably loaded. Piper slugs away with it and goes up with a fistdrop, then knocks Bad News out of the ring and they brawl to a double-countout at 4:44. This didn’t go anywhere, but it booked more as a teaser for a future house show feud than as a WM blowoff. * – The Hart Foundation v. The Bolsheviks. Nikolai Volkoff takes forever singing the Russian national anthem, so the Harts attack him and get the quick pin on Zukhov with a Hart Attack at 0:25. DUD – I would be remiss in not mentioning the ad for Wrestlemania VII that airs at this point, as Vince talks about 100,000 fans packing the LA Memorial Stadium. Darn bomb threats! (Why hasn’t he run that stadium for a Wrestlemania now that he could actually sell it out, I wonder?  Is the terrorist element still that much of a concern?)  Tito Santana v. Barbarian. Tito hammers away on him in the corner, so Barbarian bails and consults with Heenan. Back in, Barbarian overpowers him, but puts his head down and Tito gets a crossbody for two. Tito works a headlock, but walks into the big boot. Barbie pounds on him, into a shoulderbreaker, and goes up with that elbow that always misses. Santana uses speed to come back, slugging away, but Barbarian won’t go down. Two dropkicks do the job, however, and Tito goes up with a double axehandle and flying jalapeno. That gets two. Santana goes for a rollup, but Barbarian blocks and goes up, finishing with a top rope clothesline, as Tito takes a SICK backwards bump off the move, at 3:41. Fun little squash for Barbarian. *1/2 – Randy Savage & Sherri Martel v. Dusty Rhodes & Sapphire. Dusty brings out Elizabeth, to piss off Savage. Dead people count in this match: Two. (Three.  Sad face.)  The fact that Dusty actually got this gimmick over consistently blows my mind in retrospect. Sherri is looking quite hot here, kind of a proto-Victoria. Dusty starts with Savage and elbows him down, so Sherri gets in his face. Savage goes up, but gets caught and tossed into Sherri, and Dusty elbows him down again. Dusty brings in Sapphire, so it’s the girls turn. Sapphire shoves her into Savage and uses her butt to knock her down (hey, use what ya got) and gets a half-assed airplane spin for two. Sherri slugs her down, however, and tries a slam, but Sapphire falls on top for two. Dusty comes back in again, so that brings Macho in, but Dusty holds him for a slap from Sapphire. The heels collide and Dusty shoves Sherri around, but that allows Savage to hit him from behind with a high knee. Out on the floor, Savage slugs away and Sherri gets a cheapshot, setting up the double axehandle to the floor from Savage. Sherri gets in more abuse and Savage drops another axehandle to the floor, but Sapphire puts herself in the way to prevent any more. Savage gets rid of her and tosses Dusty back in, then follows with another double axehandle for two. Suplex gets two. Savage grabs his scepter and nails Dusty with it (“Ding!” says Jesse), setting up Sherri for a flying splash that gets two. Rhodes makes the comeback on his own, lacking a real partner and all, and rams the heels together. It’s BONZO GONZO and Sapphire snapmares Sherri for two. Sherri goes after Liz, and gets slapped, allowing Sapphire to roll her up for the pin at 7:31. All in good fun. **1/4 – The Rockers v. The Orient Express. Tanaka hammers on Marty to start and gets a back kick, and Sato whips him in with an elbow. Marty comes back with a powerslam and the Rockers do some double-teaming, sending the Express running. The Rockers follow with stereo topes. Marty works a headlock on Tanaka, but Fuji pulls him out of the ring and Sato sends him into the post. Marty is staggering around like he’s drunk! Oh, wait. Back in, Tanaka slugs away on him and the Express take turns on him, but Shawn makes the blind tag and the Rockers hits Tanaka with a double superkick. Shawn backdrops him, so he tags out to Sato. They take over on Shawn as Tanaka gets a double-chop, and Sato comes off the top with a kneedrop for two. Sato goes to the VULCAN NERVE PINCH OF DOOM, but Shawn fights out, so they keep on him in the heel corner. Shawn comes back with a clothesline on Tanaka, and makes the hot tag to Marty. He slugs everyone down and dropkicks Tanaka, and it’s the dreaded double-noggin knocker for two. Double dropkick puts Sato on the floor, and they double-backdrop Tanaka and go up for the flying fistdrops, but Fuji trips up Jannetty, breaking up the move. Sato tosses salt in his face, and he accidentally snorts it all up, apparently confusing it for something else, and passes out in the front row while trying to hit on a girl there. It’s a countout at 7:37. Never really got going, but once Sato was replaced with Paul Diamond, they would have some KILLER matches. **1/2 – Hacksaw Duggan v. Dino Bravo. Duggan, brain surgeon and rocket scientist all rolled into one, waves the US flag around the ring. Bravo overpowers him on a lockup to start, and they slug it out, resulting in Duggan getting an atomic drop. He pounds away in the corner and Bravo clotheslines him a few times and gets an inverted atomic drop to set up some thrilling chokes. Elbowdrop gets two. Duggan makes the comeback, but Bravo boots him down again, but Duggan gets his clotheslines and sets up for the finish. He stops to go after Earthquake, and Jimmy tosses the 2×4 in for Bravo, but Duggan uses it for the pin at 3:21. Earthquake destroys Duggan to set up the next feud. DUD – Ted Dibiase v. Jake Roberts. This is for the Million Dollar Belt, as they had been headlining C-shows since Wrestlemania V. (The storyline was that Roberts stole the Million Dollar belt, but Dibiase hired Bossman to repossess it back again.  Luckily he retrieved it before Jake pawned it for crack and snake food.  Actually, I think Jake taking the belt onto Pawn Stars and negotiating with Rick Harrison would be pretty awesome.)  They slug it out to start and Jake overpowers him and gets a quick kneelift, but Dibiase bails. Back in, Dibiase elbows Jake down and charges, but walks into a knee and Jake tries another kneelift, but whiffs on it and lands on his head. Piledriver from Dibiase gets two, but Jake reverses to a sunset flip for two. Dibiase works on the neck with kneedrops and gets the Million Dollar Dream, but Jake falls into the ropes to break. Dibiase gets two anyway. Back to the middle, and Dibiase gets two again. Elbow off the middle rope is blocked with a shot on the way down, and Jake comes back with a clothesline and atomic drop. Another clothesline and a backdrop follow, and the short clothesline looks to set up the DDT, but Virgil pulls Jake out and gets slammed on the floor for his troubles. Dibiase sneaks up on Jake with another Dream, but a shot to the post breaks it up. Virgil tosses his boss back in to beat the count at 5:50. Roughly half the match was cut here, including all of Dibiase’s heat segment. It was faster-paced, but didn’t tell as good of a story. **1/4 – Big Bossman v. Akeem. This was the start of Bossman’s big babyface push, beginning with a feud against Dibiase, who never actually left the ringside area after the last match, as we discover when he pops out and lays out Bossman. The match begins proper with Akeem pounding on Bossman and getting a corner splash for two. He elbows away on Bossman and abuses him in the corner, but Bossman powers out of there in an ugly sequence and makes the comeback, ramming him into the turnbuckles a few times and clotheslining him down. Bossman Slam finishes at 1:47, and it was off to WCW for Akeem. ¼* – Blink and you’ll miss it moment, as Rhythm & Blues do a musical number, and DDP is the driver of the car that brings them to the ring. – Jimmy Snuka v. Rick Rude. More new beginnings, as Rude’s new killer uppercard heel act debuts, prepping him for a run with Warrior. The permed hair is replaced with slicked-back hair, and it would soon be cut off for good. Rude attacks to start and pounds on him, but misses a dropkick, and Snuka faceplants him. Backdrop and headbutt to the ribs follow, and a dropkick puts Rude on the floor with a nice bump. Rude catches him with a sunset flip back in, but Snuka blocks it and slugs away. Rude hits him with a suplex, however, and starts working on the back, hammering on it and backdropping Snuka. Snuka comes back with a faceplant, but Rude overpowers him and they criss-cross into a headbutt from Snuka. Snuka goes up, but misses, and they have an awkward bit out of a whip in the corner. Snuka goes up again and misses again, and it’s a Rude Awakening for him at 3:29. Rude was REALLY good from this point on. *1/2  (Thankfully Snuka recovered enough from this beating to produce Tamina, his daughter, who learned everything she knows from him.)  WWF title v. Intercontinental title: Hulk Hogan v. Ultimate Warrior. Forget all the rest, this was the match that sold out the Skydome and the match that the whole card was judged on. The heat for this is UNREAL, with the crowd divided 50/50. Staredown to start and they do the shoving match, and then the lockup, which Warrior wins to start. Another lockup, and Hogan wins that one. The crowd is popping for everything. Warrior wants a test of strength, so they do that, and Warrior gets the advantage, but Hulk fights up from one knee and powers him down again. Warrior fights it off, so Hogan legsweeps him and drops an elbow for one. They do the CRISS-CROSS OF DOOM and Hogan slams him, but Warrior no-sells it. So they try it again, and this time Warrior slams him, and Hogan stays down. Clothesline to the floor, and Hogan whines to Hebner about hurting his knee. Hulk Hogan: Bumping Maniac. The selling is Oscar-worthy material. Warrior smartly goes right after the knee, as Hogan bravely fights off the fake pain and they head back in. Warrior goes for the knee, but Hogan rakes the face to hold him off, and they choke each other as the knee injury disappears for good. Hogan slugs Warrior from behind and clotheslines him in the corner, then hammers away on him. Hogan drops a pair of elbows for two. Front facelock, as Warrior is now blown up and Hogan has to carry the match. Let me repeat that: HOGAN has to CARRY a match. He gets the small package for two and hits the chinlock. He hammers on Warrior while down there, and then slugs away in the corner and chops him down. Axe Bomber gets two. Shoulderbreaker gets two. Back to the chinlock, as Warrior is sucking wind. Hogan works on the back and gets a backdrop suplex for two. Back to the chinlock, as we wait patiently for Warrior to join us back in the world of oxygen-breathing mammals again. Warrior fights out with elbows and they clothesline each other and both guys are out. Warrior is the first up, as he shakes the ropes to recharge his batteries, and Hogan is FLUMMOXED. Warrior slugs away on him and gets the THREE CLOTHESLINES OF DEATH and some chops in the corner, and Hogan is begging for mercy. Suplex gets two. Guess he’s feeling better. And now it’s bearhug time. But man, once you’re not watching it live with a coliseum full of people on closed-circuit TV, the drama is reduced a lot. Ref is bumped on another criss-cross, and Warrior goes AERIAL, baby, hitting Hogan with a double axehandle. He misses a shoulderblock, however, and Hogan faceplants him, but there’s no ref. Warrior recovers with a backdrop suplex, and the ref is still out. Man, criss-crosses are a hazard to referees everywhere. The ref finally recovers and Warrior gets two. Hogan gets a rollup for two. Hogan slugs away and elbows him out of the ring, and they brawl outside. I was getting visions of a double-countout at this point in 1990, but it just ends with Hogan hitting the post as they head back into the ring. Warrior hits him with a clothesline and botches the gorilla slam (I mean, how do you screw that up?) and the big splash gets two, as it’s Hulk Up Time. Punch punch punch, big boot…but the legdrop misses, and Warrior splashes him for the pin and both titles at 22:46. I can actually appreciate Hogan’s efforts in carrying Warrior moreso than both the original viewing and the original rant in 1999, and really the rest spots don’t hurt it that much compared to the awesome drama of Pat Patterson’s intricately booked spots here. ***1/2 Hogan, however, should have left to go make a movie or whatever, but he DIDN’T, and Warrior’s reign was immediately sabotaged because he was stuck in the shadow of Hogan and left as #2 babyface, even when he was supposed to be drawing on top. That’s why Hogan was champion again in 1991, and why he was the smartest dude in wrestling for so long. The Bottom Line: I still like this show a lot, actually, with a good mix of light and heavy stuff throughout, and there was certainly nothing horrible on here. And the main event absolutely delivers, as Hogan losing is always good for a recommendation. Recommended. The SmarK Retro Rant for WWF Wrestlemania VI – Anthology Edition! – So after years of only having the Coliseum version of this show, I finally got the Wrestlemania Anthology, giving me the full bloated PPV versions of 6-10 on five glorious double-sided DVDs. I actually did see this show live on the big screen in Edmonton at the arena, which was the last time WM was available in that form. So I was taken aback when the tape came out and several matches were several minutes shorter than I remembered. I think they actually remastered the video for these as well, because it’s far crisper than the VHS versions, even considering the superior DVD format. So prepare for another couple of weeks of Wrestlemania redos! – Live from Toronto’s Skydome, with the AWESOME ring carts that they need to bring back again. – Your hosts are Gorilla & Jesse. – Robert Goulet sings the Canadian national anthem to start, so you know it’s the full version.  (“Your agent says to shut up!”  “Gladys said that?”)  Rick Martel v. Koko B. Ware Koko is using “Piledriver” here, but it’s the dubbed version of Fink’s intro (synched very well to his past self) so I dunno what the hell the music situation was. Gorilla and Jesse talk freely over the music so it must be the original track and maybe Fink just sounded weird. Anyway, Martel attacks to start, but runs into a boot in the corner, and Koko gets a bodypress out of the corner for two. He follows with a pair of dropkicks and a backdrop, and Martel bumps to the floor. Slingshot back in and Koko tries shoulderblocking him, but ends up on the floor as a result. Back in, Martel stomps away and gets a suplex for two. Martel pounds the back with an axehandle off the middle rope, then goes for the Boston crab. The original Coliseum video slickly cuts from this attempt into the actual finish, but Koko makes the ropes here. Martel rams Koko into the turnbuckle, but Gorilla notes that Martel “didn’t do his homework”, which I guess means he should have known in advance that all black people have hard heads. Koko makes the comeback and tries another bodypress out of the corner, but whiffs on it and Martel finishes with the Boston crab at 5:27. Nothing special. *1/2 Makes you wonder, though — how come Koko is a hall of famer and Martel isn’t?  (Also:  Why has Martel never been a judge on America’s Next Top Model?)  WWF World tag team titles: Haku & Andre the Giant v. Demolition Andre and Haku don’t even get an entrance here, instead getting to be “in the ring to my right”. Ouch. And unbelievably, “Demolition” is edited out and replaced with a generic rock song. They couldn’t even use the original theme instead of the Derringer song? Haku attacks Smash to start, but the Demos trap him in the corner and hammer him down. Ax and Haku slug it out and Haku goes down, but comes back on Smash with a thumb to the eye. They fight over a backslide and Smash gets two, but Andre breaks it up. Back to Ax, but Haku hits him with the POLYNESIAN MARTIAL ARTS~! Haku with a backbreaker for two and a thrust kick, and Haku chokes away on the ropes. Andre gets a cheap headbutt from the apron and Haku gets two. More double-teaming in the corner gets two for Haku, as Andre is limited to standing on the apron for the match. Haku headbutt gets two. Ax tries to fight back and Haku thumbs him in the eye again and goes to the nerve hold. Ax fights up again and Haku pounds him down and gets a shoulderbreaker for two. Even the announcers are wondering now why Andre won’t tag in. Blind charge misses and Ax comes back with a clothesline, and it’s hot tag Smash. Elbow and backdrop for Haku and a crossbody gets two. The Demos double-clothesline both of the heels, pound Haku down, and that finally brings Andre in. The double-team misses, however, Andre gets tied in the ropes, and the Demolition elbow gives them their third tag titles at 9:09. Gigantic pop for that, although it’s less impressive with the music dubbing and the terrible new Finkel call. You don’t mess with the Fink’s “NEEWWWWWW!” Pretty decent for a glorified handicap match. ** Bobby Heenan gives Andre the gears afterwards and gets beaten up as a result, turning Andre face one last time to end his career. Andre casually catching Haku’s thrust kick and then beating the hell out of him as well is great stuff.  (Much respect to Andre.)   Earthquake v. Hercules Herc evades the Quake to start and slugs away in the corner, so Earthquake bails and consults with Jimmy Hart. Funny to think of the time when John Tenta was the hottest heel in the company. Back in, Quake wants the test of strength, and Herc obliges him but loses. Quake pounds him in the corner and works him over with shoulderblocks, but puts his head down and gets caught. Herc comes back with shoulder tackles and clotheslines that have little effect, and he stupidly goes for the backbreaker. What universe would THAT work in? Quake casually elbows him down and squashes him dead to finish at 4:50. This was actually a fairly entertaining little match. **1/4 I love the camera work where they make sure to shake it in time with Earthquake’s “tremors”. Meanwhile, Rona Barrett interviews Elizabeth, who promises that she’ll get more physically involved should she ever return to ringside. Mr. Perfect v. Brutus Beefcake This is a bit of a rarity for the early Wrestlemanias, an honest-to-goodness midcard blowoff match instead of a random matchup or a silly non-finish. Perfect jumps him in the corner and they slug it out there, with Perfect winning that one before Beefcake makes the comeback and we get our first Perfect bump over the top. Back in, Beefcake gets an atomic drop and Perfect goes flying out again. Perfect gets a cheapshot and hammers away, but Beefcake whips him into the corner and we get another great bump from Mr. P. Brutus slugs away and Perfect bumps out of the corner AGAIN, so Brutus clotheslines him (complete with overblown sell from Hennig) and goes for the sleeper. The Genius distracts him and gives Perfect the SCROLL OF DEATH, which Perfect uses for a quality shot to the face to take over. Perfect stomps away and gets the rolling necksnap for two. Perfect pounds him down as Jesse and Gorilla get into a funny discussion about the difference between “doing a 360” and “doing a 180”, which is one of the nice touches you’d get with them. Perfect with a SWEET kneelift (done, well, you know) and he fires away on the fallen Beefcake, but the trashtalk takes too long and Beefcake catapults him into the corner. Perfect hits the post and Beefcake gets the upset win at 7:47. Great bumps from Perfect here, although the finish was stolen almost frame-for-frame from the Jerry Lawler match in 1988. But it’s a great finish, so huzzah. **3/4 This really marked Beefcake coming into his own as a worker and would have set up the rematch for the IC title at Summerslam 90 before the boating accident almost ended Beefcake’s career. Rowdy Roddy Piper v. Bad News Brown This should have been one hell of a crazy brawl, but instead it goes down in history for Piper dressing in half-blackface. A detail I just noticed — in the pre-match interview, Piper’s blackface covers the entire side of his face, but here there’s a circle left uncovered around his eye, so I guess the interview was pre-taped in advance of the show. Way to shatter my illusions, WWF production crew. They brawl to start and the ref keeps separating them for some reason, and finally Bad News gets a cheapshot from behind to take over. He rams Piper into the turnbuckles, but apparently blackface also gives you a hard head (you might want to remember that in case of an emergency, readers) because Piper no-sells it. Brown goes to the nerve hold, but Piper slugs out of it and no-sells a headbutt, but Bad News puts him down and drops a fist for two. Bad News elbow gets two. Piper uses the EYEPOKE OF DOOM and comes back for the slugfest, but Bad News also goes to the eyes and undoes a turnbuckle. Irony strikes again as Piper whips him into the STEEL bolt, and then produces a white glove from his tights. Presumably loaded. He slugs Brown down and goes up with a fistdrop from the middle rope, and Bad News bumps to the floor. They fight outside and brawl for the lame double countout at 6:44. This was all potential and no payoff. * Meanwhile, Steve Allen is in the bathroom with the Bolsheviks and can’t quite get the Russian national anthem right. The Hart Foundation v. The Bolsheviks The Harts attack during the singing of the Russian anthem and finish Boris at 0:25, which of course sets them up as the next challengers for Demolition. DUD The Barbarian v. Tito Santana This was the beginning of Barbarian’s epic singles run that went nowhere. Tito tries to overpower him and gets nowhere, so he goes with a bodypress for two instead and works a headlock. Barbarian levels him with a boot, however, and follows with a shoulderbreaker, but misses an elbow off the second rope. Tito hits the flying forearm for two, but Bobby puts the foot on the ropes. Tito goes after him, but Barbarian finishes with the flying clothesline at 4:28. You need a guy to do a somersault bump off a clothesline and make your heel look like a killer? Call Tito. Kind of sad to watch Tito get destroyed here given my recent new appreciation for his work. * If Barbarian had fuzzy boots I’d go higher because they’re clearly the key to any good heel’s success, but he doesn’t yet. Randy Savage & Queen Sherri v. Dusty Rhodes & Sapphire Amazingly, “Common Man” is edited out and replaced here. Was this DVD released during a period when they were pissed off at Jimmy Hart, too? Dusty elbows Savage down to start and gets an earful from Sherri, but sends the heels into each other and out of the ring. Over to Sapphire, who of course makes the current Divas look like Trish Stratus as far as ring skills go, and she gets an airplane spin on Sherri for two. Sherri comes back with a slam, but Sapphire falls on top for two. Back to Dusty (thankfully, and when would I ever say THAT otherwise?) and he holds Savage for a slap from Sapphire, but falls victim to a knee from behind. Savage pounds away on the floor and drops the axehandle from the top, but Sapphire comes over and begs for mercy. Savage gives NO MERCY and throws her down because he’s the friggin’ MACHO MAN, then hits the flying axehandle in the ring for two on Dusty. Suplex gets two. Savage grabs his scepter and nails Dusty from the top (Jesse: “Ding!”) but stalls instead of covering and tags Sherri in. She gets a flying splash for two and Dusty makes the comeback, elbowing Savage in the corner, and Sapphire comes in with a snapmare on Sherri for two. Sapphire gets all fired up and Sherri is amused by it, but Sherri leaves the ring and gets thrown back in by Elizabeth for two. Sherri mouths off at Liz again and Sapphire rolls her up for the pin at 7:30. Goofy but fun, and they kept the Sapphire portions short. **1/4 I try not to think about how all three women are dead now, because that kind of brings it down. Meanwhile, Mean Gene interviews a shaken and sweaty Bobby Heenan about Andre leaving the Family, although that’s a pretty big continuity glitch because he was out there for Barbarian’s match and looked fine. Bobby promises to replace Andre with new members who will listen to him, and that of course proved prophetic and brought him the Intercontinental title. It must be intermission time, because we get further interviews from Rona Barrett, Randy Savage, Demolition, Gorilla and Jesse, Hulk Hogan, … OK gotta stop here and talk about Hogan’s promo, as he talks about offering Warrior the chance to live forever by saving his Little Warriors with the training and vitamins and breathing his last breath into Hogan’s mouth. That’s a tad svengali-ish. And then we jump to the other dressing room for Warrior’s insane reply, as he points out that no one can actually live forever, that’s just not physically possible! The darkness is nothing to fear, it’s about taking a leap of faith and accepting all challenges, and merging the power of Hulkamania with the power of the Warriors. I’ve been watching this shit too long because these promos are actually starting to make sense to me. The Orient Express v. The Rockers What music could the Orients have possibly been using that needed editing? They already had the most generic Asian-themed elevator music possible! Now it’s some sort of weird Polynesian tribal music. At least the Rocker theme is intact, so Jim Johnston hasn’t been erased from history. Yet. Funny to see “Mr. Wrestlemania” in this kind of nothing filler match. This is the shitty Akio Sato version of the Orient Express, for those who have forgotten. This was supposed to be the show-stealing classic, I’m thinking, but Shawn and Marty were REALLY messed up here after a night of partying according to most accounts, including Shawn. The Orients try the double-team to start, but the Rockers elbow them down and out, and follow with stereo dives. Marty grabs a headlock on Tanaka and gets dumped as a result, and Sato sends him into the post. Back in, the Express works Marty over in the corner, but Shawn comes in for a sloppy superkick on Tanaka. It’s pretty funny to hear Jesse going on about how the Express speaks “a little bit of English” when only the markiest marks didn’t know that Tanaka is from the US and had been cutting perfectly normal-sounding promos for his entire career, including the AWA gig that got him this job. Like, I never got that attitude — why sign guys based on a run elsewhere and then totally ignore everything that got them over? If you want to ignore history, then just sign some no-name indy guy and build a gimmick around them, ala Mark Callaway. Shawn falls victim to a cheapshot and Tanaka gets a flying forearm to take over, then Sato comes off the top with a kneedrop for two. Shawn just looks totally fried and disinterested out there. Even Gorilla points out how shitty the Rockers look here. Hot tag Marty and they try the double fistdrop on Tanaka, but Fuji trips up Marty and Sato throws salt in his eyes for the countout at 7:33. That was a giant disappointment from a workrate perspective, even in the days when I had no idea what a good worker and a bad worker were. Still, hungover and bored Rockers are still better than many other teams at 100%. **1/2 Meanwhile, Steve Allen introduces the world to Rhythm and Blues, as Valentine’s dignity hits rock bottom. Funny line here as Greg says “We’re on our way to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame” and Steve gets the exit line with “I’ll call ahead and warn them you’re coming.” This was definitely cut from the home video release. Dino Bravo v. Hacksaw Jim Duggan At least there’s no music to cut here. Duggan slugs away to start and backdrops Bravo, then clotheslines him out of the ring. Back in, he slugs away in the corner, but Bravo fires back to put him down and chokes away on the mat. Elbowdrop gets two. Duggan slugs back, but puts his head down and gets stomped down. Bravo charges and hits knee, but Jimmy Hart gets involved, allowing Quake to tussle with him at ringside. Jimmy tosses in the 2×4, but Duggan hits Bravo with it and gets the pin at 4:15. DUD Amazingly, they STILL pushed Bravo as a main event heel after this, which made for some of the most boring house shows you’d ever have the misfortune of attending. Jake Roberts v. Ted Dibiase This was another hot blowoff back in the day, as Jake stole the Million Dollar Belt this match was the first sanctioned one for it. I don’t get why they don’t make a new one and give it to Randy Orton’s version of Ted Dibiase, because god knows ANYTHING would make him a more interesting wrestler than he is now. (Didn’t they end up doing that, in fact?  Still didn’t work, I don’t think.)  It’s not like you could fault him for ripping off the gimmick, it’s HIS DAD! But I digress. Some guy holding the REALLY old version of the Canadian $20 bill at ringside kind of dates this show. I prefer the current one myself. They’re much more fun to play with using the UV banknote testers. But I digress again. Jake goes for a quick DDT and Dibiase slips out, then grabs a headlock. Jake escapes with a hiptoss and tries another DDT, but Dibiase slips away again. Another try, and Dibiase slides out of the ring. Back in, Roberts takes him down with a hammerlock and works on the arm, then reverses Dibiase out of the ring again. Back in, Jake puts his head down and pays for it, but Dibiase charges and hits knee. Jake tries the kneelift, but Dibiase was goldbricking him and moves out of the way to put Jake on his ass. The crowd is giving this one a HHH-Orton reaction, which isn’t surprising because it’s pretty dull going so far. Dibiase pounds the neck and hooks a facelock, which gives us the only notable part of the match (which was cut out of the home video) as the Skydome does THE WAVE~! Jake and Ted are smart enough to let this one ride itself out, and they continue with the resthold while the crowd amuses themselves. The wave is actually a very interesting social phenomenon if you stop to think about it for a few minutes (which we’ve got) as it requires a great deal of coordination amongst tens of thousands of people. Otherwise it can just look silly. Dibiase shifts into the Million Dollar Dream, but Jake makes the ropes and Dibiase gets two. Dibiase drags him to the middle and gets two. He goes up and gets caught coming down, as usual, and Jake comes back with a clothesline and the short clothesline that sets up the DDT. Jake stops to do the wrestling equivalent of monologuing and gets yanked out by Virgil as a result, which gives Dibiase the chance to attack from behind and beat the count back in at 11:50. Two countout finishes on a major show? Since this isn’t an official title, it changes hands on a countout and Dibiase gets it back. So boring I had a chance to download images of Canadian currency to kill time. **1/2 I should also note the following awesome exchange between Gorilla and Jesse: Gorilla: “He doesn’t deserve that belt, Jesse!” Jesse: “But he paid for it!” Gorilla: “Doesn’t matter.” Jesse: “So people don’t deserve what they pay for?!” Classic Jesse, and he’s got a point. Big Bossman v. Akeem NOT JIVE SOUL BRO! You bastards! This was quite the piece of business, as Dibiase had hidden under the ring from the last match and attacked Bossman to catch everyone off-guard and kick off their feud. “Hard Time” is now replaced by Bossman’s 1998 theme, which is just so bizarre and sad. So anyway, Dibiase kicks the crap out of Bossman, giving Akeem a distinct advantage to start, and he gets a corner splash for two. Akeem runs him into the corner and slugs away, but Bossman gets a horrible atomic drop to come back and clotheslines him. Bossman Slam finishes at 1:45. I’ve seen worse. 1/2* Rhythm & Blues debut their new song (complete with an amused DDP acting as chauffeur for the Cadillac) and sadly they don’t edit it out and replace it with a good song. The Bushwackers interrupt and smash the instruments to wrap up side one. PLEASE FLIP OVER THE DISC TO CONTINUE THIS RANT. Fuck this is a long show in unedited form. Side one was three hours and there’s still two matches to go. Ravishing Rick Rude v. Jimmy Snuka Rude’s got the slicked back hair here instead of the perm, the first sign of a change in his character. They even cut Snuka’s theme out. Without “Su-su-superfly” he might as well just be a midcard jobber! Hmm, bad example. (Good thing they didn’t edit out his daughter, Tamina!)  Snuka slugs away to start and gets a pair of backdrops and a headbutt to the abs, which shouldn’t have any effect. Rude bails and comes back in with a sunset flip, but Snuka blocks, so Rude suplexes him and shows him how to properly swivel. They criss-cross and Snuka headbutts him down as commentator Steve Allen notes that he likes Snuka because he’s wearing his wife’s underwear. Gorilla: “He is? How nice.” Snuka goes up and then changes his mind and slams Rude instead, only to miss the eventual flying headbutt. Rude Awakening ends it at 3:48. And so Rude goes from comedy heel to main event threat, just like that. * And finally… WWF World title v. Intercontinental title: Hulk Hogan v. Ultimate Warrior Unlike some OTHER Wrestlemania main events, this is the one that lived up to every bit of the hype and gave the fans exactly what they wanted to see. The heat for this is UNREAL, with the crowd divided 50/50. Staredown to start and they do the shoving match, and then the lockup, which Warrior wins to start. Another lockup, and Hogan wins that one. The crowd is popping for everything. Warrior wants a test of strength, so they do that, and Warrior gets the advantage, but Hulk fights up from one knee and powers him down again. Warrior fights it off, so Hogan legsweeps him and drops an elbow for one. They do the CRISS-CROSS OF DOOM and Hogan slams him, but Warrior no-sells it. So they try it again, and this time Warrior slams him, and Hogan stays down. Clothesline to the floor, and Hogan whines to Hebner about hurting his knee. Hulk Hogan: Bumping Maniac. The selling is Oscar-worthy material. Warrior smartly goes right after the knee, as Hogan bravely fights off the fake pain and they head back in. Warrior goes for the knee, but Hogan rakes the face to hold him off, and they choke each other as the knee injury disappears for good. Hogan slugs Warrior from behind and clotheslines him in the corner, then hammers away on him. Hogan drops a pair of elbows for two. Front facelock, as Warrior is now blown up and Hogan has to carry the match. Let me repeat that: HOGAN has to CARRY a match. He gets the small package for two and hits the chinlock. He hammers on Warrior while down there, and then slugs away in the corner and chops him down. Axe Bomber gets two. Shoulderbreaker gets two. Back to the chinlock, as Warrior is sucking wind. Hogan works on the back and gets a backdrop suplex for two. Back to the chinlock, as we wait patiently for Warrior to join us back in the world of oxygen-breathing mammals again. Warrior fights out with elbows and they clothesline each other and both guys are out. Warrior is the first up, as he shakes the ropes to recharge his batteries, and Hogan is FLUMMOXED. Warrior slugs away on him and gets the THREE CLOTHESLINES OF DEATH and some chops in the corner, and Hogan is begging for mercy. Suplex gets two. Guess he’s feeling better. And now it’s bearhug time. But man, once you’re not watching it live with a coliseum full of people on closed-circuit TV, the drama is reduced a lot. Ref is bumped on another criss-cross, and Warrior goes AERIAL, baby, hitting Hogan with a double axehandle. He misses a shoulderblock, however, and Hogan faceplants him, but there’s no ref. Warrior recovers with a backdrop suplex, and the ref is still out. Man, criss-crosses are a hazard to referees everywhere. The ref finally recovers and Warrior gets two. Hogan gets a rollup for two. Hogan slugs away and elbows him out of the ring, and they brawl outside. I was getting visions of a double-countout at this point in 1990, but it just ends with Hogan hitting the post as they head back into the ring. Warrior hits him with a clothesline and botches the gorilla slam (I mean, how do you screw that up?) and the big splash gets two, as it’s Hulk Up Time. Punch punch punch, big boot…but the legdrop misses, and Warrior splashes him for the pin and both titles at 22:46. I can actually appreciate Hogan’s efforts in carrying, and really the rest spots don’t hurt it that much compared to the awesome drama of Pat Patterson’s intricately booked spots here. And after all these years it’s still one of my personal favorite matches of all-time, regardless of the star rating. ***1/2  (The more astute readers in the audience may notice that I just copied the text for this match review from the previous version.  And there’s a perfectly good explanation for that, but … HEY LOOK OVER THERE!) The Pulse: Although the show is a tad more bloated in the full version, it doesn’t hurt things as much as Wrestlemania V did and I still really like this one and can watch Hogan do a clean job over and over again without ever losing any of the magic. Good mix of stuff on the show, nothing horrible, great stadium atmosphere…it’s definitely one of the better of the early WMs.

Wrestlemania Countdown: 5

(And now for your reading pleasure, THREE different versions of the same crappy show!) The Netcop Retro Rant for Wrestlemania V – Live from Atlantic City, New Jersey, just like the year before, original airdate April 2/1989. (Memories of this show:  Sitting in the upper deck of the PNE Coliseum in Vancouver with a bored crowd only there to see Hogan v. Savage.  As I recall, they didn’t even have extra screens set up for this, they just showed it on the scoreboard screens.) – Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura.Opening match: King Haku v. Hercules. Haku was still being semi-pushed and Hercules was in his eternal state of limbo. It goes back and forth for about two minutes and then Herc hits a belly-to-back for the pin. This was severely clipped because I remember it being longer and more boring while watching it live in 89. The clipped version was pretty watchable. **1/2  (That was some succinct recapping right there.  And yeah, turns out the full version really was terrible.)  The Rockers v. Big Bossman & Akeem. The Rockers were hungover like shit here, and Jannetty was stoned. (Shawn’s brutally honest recollections of this match, and especially the night before, on his various shoot interviews are all pretty funny.)  Rockers stay out of the way with quick moves until Jannetty gets caught with a bearhug and pounded by the Towers. Michaels gets the hot tag and the Rockers double team Akeem with a double shoulderblock. Akeem catches Michaels with a deadly clothesline that draws “OOooohs”. Rockers come back with a double dropkick from the top on Bossman, but Michaels takes another shitkicking and gets powerbombed off a rana attempt, then splashed and pinned by Akeem. Fun big v. little match. **  (I find it weird that they really didn’t have any specific plans for the Towers after their part in the Megapowers split.  They went over so strong here that it should have been a tag title push as a result, and they just kind of tooled around the midcard as house show challengers for Demolition before breaking up.)  Brutus Beefcake v. Ted Dibiase. Stalling to start, then a slugfest and Dibiase takes over and destroys Beefcake. Beefcake escapes the Million Dollar Dream and comes back, hooking his own sleeper. Virgil baits him out of the ring, Dibiase chases, and we have a double-countout. Standard PrimeTime Wrestling main event. *1/4 Virgil gets beat up after the decision. This really had no place on PPV except to remind everyone that both guys are still around.  (1989’s Kane v. Orton, in other words, except that we didn’t get three rematches with escalating stips on the next PPVs afterwards.)  The Fabulous Rougeaus v. The Sheepwhackers. Case in point, this match. Gorilla and Jesse have a hilarious discussion about which of them was retired first. Rougeaus double-team Luke right off the bat and control for most of the match. Luke does something vaguely resembling selling. Jacques tries to start a “USA” chant but the crowd isn’t buying. Rougeaus celebrate after their abdominal-stretch/superkick combo and Butch sneaks in and they do the battering ram and stomach breaker on Jacques for the upset win. 1/4*  (Not really an upset since the Rougeaus weren’t winning much at this point anyway.)  Curt Hennig v. The Blue Blazer. This was the debut of the style of tights Hennig still wears to this day. (Well, not anymore.  Sad face.)  Hennig pulls out the first MAN-SIZED bump, going over the top on a dropkick, then Blazer baseball slides him. Back in and Owen with some more wrestling sequences to keep control. Nasty spot as Owen goes for a Money Shot but lands, unsupported, right on Hennig’s knees. Match is clipped to Owen getting a crucifix for two, but Hennig gets the Perfectplex for the win. Good match. ***1/2  (Eh, not that good.)  – Gratuitous washed-up celebrity appearance: Run DMC does a song. I’ve got that damn DX remix stuck in my head yet again now. (Exactly what this bloated show needed:  Pop culture footnotes using up TV time to rap for no reason.  Run DMC at least ended up coming back years later and even got into the Hall of Fame [Rock N Roll, not WWE], but they were definitely last year’s news at this point.  Now Tone Loc, that’s what all the kids were into in 1989.)  WWF World tag team title, handicap match: Demolition v. The Powers of Pain & Mr. Fuji. The Demos were at the height of their power and popularity here. The match itself was set up by the Demos getting double-crossed by Fuji at the Survivor Series. (More evidence of the decompressed nature of the time, as this came five months after their initial angle.)  Standard Demos-Powers match, with Fuji of course getting cheap shots in now and then. Crowd doesn’t care about this one. Fuji misses a big move off the top ad Ax makes the hot tag to Smash. Chaos erupts and Fuji goes for the CEREMONIAL SALT OF DOOM, which misses, and Fuji is left alone with the Demos. Mr. Fuji, RIP. Demos retain. 1/4* – Dino Bravo v. Ronnie Garvin. After the intros, Finkel introduces Jimmy Snuka, who wanders out, takes a bow, then leaves. Well, that was pointless.  (Indeed, what a weird interlude that was.  However, I’d like to think that somewhere teenaged Michael Cole was getting excited that Snuka had a daughter named Tamina.)  Much like this match, as Bravo proceeds to squash Garvin. Garvin comes back with some token offense but Bravo inevitably gets the side suplex for the pin. Not horrible or anything. *  (Yes it was!  Geez, 1999 Scott, this is WRESTLEMANIA!  Step up the snark!)  The Brainbusters v. Strike Force. Martel had his ass kicked by Demolition so severely that he was put on the shelf for 10 months, and this is his comeback match. Fantastic little NWA-style match to start, as Strike Force pulls out some great double-teams and get their finishers on the Busters early. Santana accidentally hits Martel and knocks him off the apron, and Rick proceeds to do a 5-minute melodramatic oversell of a shot to the head. But there would be a point. Tito takes an absolute shitkicking from the heels as they cheat outrageously. Tito slams Arn off the top and crawls over with his last breath to tag Martel…who promptly walks out on him, drawing a huge heel pop. The result is academic, as the Busters finish Tito with a SWEET spike piledriver for the pin. Bitchin match. ***3/4 – Piper’s Pit with Brother Love. Piper is introduced first with a huge introduction from Finkel, but Brother Love comes out wearing a kilt, and proceeds to do the best Piper imitation I’ve ever heard, “interviewing” himself. Morton Downey Jr. comes out next and runs down Brother Love while puffing on cigarettes non-stop. If you don’t know who Downey is, don’t worry, you’re not alone — his fifteen minutes of fame were up faster than John Wayne Bobbit’s. (That was a timely reference in 1999, more or less.)  Piper finally comes out and takes over, humiliating Love and ripping off his kilt, which sends him scurrying back to the dressing room. That leaves Downey, who has been throwing cancer sticks at Piper the whole time. Downey gets a wicked verbal jab in at Piper. Piper: “Why do you call yourself Morton Downey Jr.?” Morton: “That’s the name your mama gave me.” More sparring, and after a bunch of smoke being blown in Piper’s face, Piper finds a fire extinguisher and sprays it on Downey. Pretty funny stuff.  (But again, what was the fucking POINT?) – Jake Roberts v. Andre the Giant. This was during the “Andre is afraid of snakes” period. John Studd is the special referee. They lumber around for a while and then overbooking takes over as the snake gets pulled out and Ted Dibiase runs in. Studd brawls with Andre and Dibiase brawls with Roberts and the whole thing is a big wash. DUD – The Hart Foundation v. Greg Valentine & Honky Tonk Man. Another filler match. Things go back and forth aimlessly for a bit and then a pier-six erupts, during which Bret gets the megaphone and bops HTM for the pin. Bleh. 1/2* – Intercontinental title match: The Ultimate Warrior v. Rick Rude. (I was totally not buying Rude as any kind of a contender at this point, which is probably why it was such a masterstroke to put him over Warrior.)  Longer than usual match for Warrior, as he misses a splash and hits Rude’s knees, giving Rude control. BEARHUG OF DOOM bores the crowd before Warrior makes his superman(iac) comeback, clotheslining Rude over the top rope. He suplexes Rude back in, but Heenan pulls out the most cliched cheap screwjob in history (although I’d never seen it at the time), hooking Warrior’s leg and resulting in a Rude pinfall, much to the disgust of the crowd. Who would have EVER thought that Warrior would lose at that point? Heenan gets clobbered by the Warrior after the match, which comes back to haunt him later. 1/2* – Hacksaw Duggan v. Bad News Brown. The infamous “snot hanging out of his nose” match, so named because Duggan has, well, I’m sure you can guess. A typical Duggan brawl, once again to fill time in an already bloated PPV, which ends in both guys grabbing weapons for a double DQ. Whatever. DUD  (Sadly this should have been pretty awesome given the brawling abilities of both guys.  As a house show main event with 10 minutes and a bunch of garbagy spots, they could have had something.)  Bobby Heenan v. Terry Taylor. Because Heenan was beat up by Warrior, the match lasts 10 seconds as Heenan misses a charge and gets pinned by Taylor. DUD. The Brooklyn Brawler attacks Taylor after the match.  (Did we REALLY need this here?  Would the bored casino zombies have rioted if they only got 120 matches instead of 121?)  WWF World title match: Randy Savage v. Hulk Hogan. Miss Elizabeth is in a neutral corner. And one year after winning the title in his building, it all comes full circle as Savage defends against Hogan. Btw, the champion should NEVER enter first. Jesse points that out, too, a couple of minutes after I typed that. Savage is just drawing unreal heel heat. He’s my hero. Chase erupts during the feeling out period, and Savage hides behind Liz. I’m surprised Hogan didn’t hit her. (I think I was confusing him with Lex Luger.)  Hogan tries some wrestling (!) and Savage cheats like a motherfucker to take over. Hairpulling, thumb to the eye, you name it. Scott Steiner, take note, that is the proper way to work it in. Savage works on the arm until Hogan tosses him out of the ring to break. Hogan comes back with his limited offense but puts his head down and Savage clobbers him, and Hogan blades. Another mini-comeback by Hogan fails and Savage knees Hogan into the corner. Jesse is in his glory cheering for Savage. Hogan hulks up and does the corner comeback, but his arm is still hurting. Savage takes a MAN-SIZED bump as Hogan slams him over the top to the floor. Liz helps him up and Savage takes a swing at her. Hogan and Savage brawl on the floor, and Hogan tries to do a battering ram job on Savage into the post. Liz blocks his path and Hogan ends up getting shoved into the post. Savage starts jawing with Liz, and Hebner finally has had enough and sends her back to the dressing room. Savage drops the double-axehandle to Hogan, ramming his head into the barricade. Crowd is getting into Savage. Necksnap and elbow on the apron throatfirst to work on the neck, then a kneedrop. Only gets two. Back to the Memphis stuff as Savage chokes Hulk out with the tape. Again, if used in moderation, it works. Savage chokes Hulk out, and then drops the big elbow…but Hogan no-sells. Hulk up. THREE PUNCHES OF DOOM, then the big foot, and the STINKY GIANT-KILLING LEGDROP and Hogan has his precious title back for a second time. “The crowd goes nuts” is putting it mildly. I was totally upset by this match the first time I saw it, but the more I watch it from a distance, the more I like it. I think it stands as one of Hogan’s best matches. **** Jesse goes off on a shoot-like rant during the posedown about what an egomaniac Hogan is and how he’ll stoop to any level to get his own way. Amen, Jess. The Bottom Line: Hey, cut out the filler and you’ve got three killer matches and some fun stuff. A truly epic show to end the year-long Megapowers storyline and send everyone home happy. Hogan *had* to go over, no other ending would be justifiable. (Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Savage was on fire as a heel, they should have had Liz’s involvement lead to the DQ finish so that Savage could continue running roughshod with the title.  Then Hogan could get his big win at Summerslam instead.)  I liked the show, others disagree. I’m sure I’ll get disagreement for my Wrestlemania VI rant, which is coming up in the next few days, too. Recommended show. (And now, a SECOND version of the Coliseum video rant done a few years later, as I’m now doing proper match times and recaps.)  The SmarK Retro Re-Rant for Wrestlemania V – This is the hacked-up Coliseum Video version I’m reviewing, for those who like to keep track of these things and may wonder why the matches are shorter than they remember. – Live from Atlantic City, NJ. – Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse Ventura. – Opening match: King Haku v. Hercules. Kind of an odd choice for an opener. Hercules was coming off his face turn after being “bought” by Ted Dibiase and started sucking up to the Megapowers for the rub, until they self-destructed. Whoops. Haku attacks from behind to start, but Herc comes back with a hiptoss and a slam. Faceplant and he goes after Heenan, but of course gets jumped. Back in, he comes back with a kneelift and some clotheslines, making me think that Haku’s whole heat segment was edited out. Powerslam gets two. Herc goes up but gets superkicked on the way down, and Haku follows with a flying headbutt that misses. Herc finishes with a backdrop suplex at 2:52. This was edited down to nothing, basically. ½* – Big Bossman & Akeem v. The Rockers. We’ll just steer clear of the whole “Twin Towers” name, for obvious reasons of good taste. This was Shawn’s Wrestlemania debut. The Rockers dodge the big guys to start and then knock them off the apron with elbows. Shawn claimed in a shoot interview that he was stoned and drunk off his gourd for this match. Bossman powers Shawn up to the top, but Marty distracts him and allows Shawn to hit a missile dropkick. Shawn uses speed to hit both heels, and Marty comes in to work on Akeem’s arm. Akeem makes the blind tag to Bossman, who catches Marty in a bearhug, and they sandwich Marty with a splash. Ouch. Bossman gets the rope straddle and Akeem splashes Marty on the ropes and gets…funky? Bossman splashes Marty in the corner, and then Akeem splashes Bossman for added weight. That’s pretty innovative. Bossman pounds him down and rings his ears, and Akeem comes in, but hits Bossman by mistake. Hot tag Shawn, and he slugs away on Akeem. The Rockers do some double-teaming as they whip Akeem around the ring and hit a double-shoulderblock for two. Akeem shrugs it off and hits Shawn with a vicious clothesline, but Bossman misses a top rope splash and Shawn gets two. Shawn goes for a rana, and Marty trips up Bossman to help with the move, and the Rockers both go up for a double dropkick. That gets two. Akeem finally tosses Marty for lack of anything better to do with him, and Bossman reverses another rana attempt from Shawn with a powerbomb, and Akeem kills him dead with a splash at 6:58. Fun, fast-paced big v. little match with some crazy bumping from the Rockers. ** – Ted Dibiase v. Brutus Beefcake. Dibiase’s Million Dollar Belt was the consolation prize for not winning the WWF title at Wrestlemania IV. I’m sure that helped him sleep at night. Beefcake’s push was somewhat stalled at this point, as he was floating aimlessly in the midcard. Much like most of the people on this show. Beefcake gets a cheapshot to start and backdrops Dibiase twice, and Ted bails. Back in, they slug it out, and Beefcake wins that fairly handily until Virgil trips him up. Dibiase does some choking as Jesse, future leader of a state, declares that “if you can’t win fair, cheat”. Somehow you KNEW he’d end up as a politician. Fistdrop gets two. Clothesline sets up an elbow off the middle rope that takes FOREVER. That would have been an easy edit. That gets two. He puts his head down, however, and Beefcake gets two off a cradle. Dibiase comes back with a suplex and gets the Million Dollar Dream, but Beefcake makes the ropes. Dibiase won’t break, so the ref pulls him off, and Beefcake makes the comeback. Dibiase eats some turnbuckle and Beefcake follows with the sleeper, but Virgil distracts him and they brawl outside for the double countout at 6:26. LAAAAAAAME. Poor Ted, in the World title finals one year and fighting a barber third from the bottom the next. It was actually going along fine before the rather abrupt finish. *3/4 – The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers v. The Bushwhackers. The Bushwhackers were actually fairly new and novel at this point in terms of their usage in the WWF. Bushwhackers go after Jimmy’s coat to start, but the Rougeaus save it. Whew. They quickly lay out Luke and double-team him on a Boston crab, then bring him into their corner and Ray whips Luke into the corner. He goes up to the middle with a double sledge, and Jacques comes in with a back elbow, and the Rougeaus get something vaguely resembling a double clothesline. A double elbow sets up Jacques’ abdominal stretch, which is aided by Raymond’s superkick to the gut. The Bushwhackers break up their celebrating with a battering ram, and the double gutbuster gives Luke the pin at 3:57. Next, please. ½* – Mr. Perfect v. The Blue Blazer. If there was one gimmick I never wanted to see again, it’s the Blazer. Such is life. Perfect starts with some chops, but Blazer reverses a hiptoss into a pair of slams and a dropkick that puts Perfect on the floor. Blazer follows with a baseball slide and they head back in. Blazer dodges him in the corner and gets a hiptoss and another slam. Another dropkick sets up a backbreaker, for two. Armbar takedown gets one. Blazer goes up, but hits knees on a splash, and we have an obvious edit. Blazer gets a crucifix for two, but Perfect lays him out with a clothesline and it’s the Perfectplex to finish at 3:16. Brutally clipped, but the full version is a really good match. *1/2  (That’s quite the drop in match rating from my original rant.)  – We’ll skip over the Run-DMC appearance. Man, another dead person making an appearance. – WWF tag titles: Demolition v. The Powers of Pain & Mr. Fuji. This was the peak for Demolition’s popularity, after the double-turn with the Powers at Survivor Series. Warlord starts pounding on Ax, but gets it back in spades. Smash comes in and it’s CLUBBERING TIME. Warlord powers him into the heel corner, however, necessitating Smash fighting out. No problem, however. Back to the Demo corner, as Ax comes in with a clothesline on Barbarian, but Barbarian wins a slugfest with Smash. Back to the heel corner, as Warlord uses the CLUBBING FOREARMS, but gets nowhere, with Demolition quickly getting a double-team clothesline on him. However, Ax turns his back on Fuji and gets attacked by the Powers, and he’s YOUR face-in-peril. Fuji comes in and they work Ax over with a variety of clubbing moves. Barbarian gets a shoulderblock, and Warlord boots Ax down for two. Barbarian powerslams him and tags Fuji in, but he misses an elbow from the top. Warlord cuts off any potential tag, however, with a slam. Ax fights back, however, and makes the hot tag to Smash. Punches fly and Smash slams both Powers, and the Demos get a double-team necksnap on Warlord for two. It’s BONZO GONZO and Fuji throws salt at Smash, but misses and hits Warlord, and the Demos finish with Decapitation on Fuji at 7:13. Punchy kicky crappy. *1/4 – Dino Bravo v. Rugged Ron Garvin. Weird moment as Jimmy Snuka is re-introduced out of nowhere and does a lap of the ring after the ring introductions of these guys. (Fun fact:  Snuka now has a daughter who wrestles as a WWE sports entertainer, and her name is Tamina.)  Bravo lays out Garvin to start and drops an elbow, and goes to work on the back, then clubs him down. He goes to the bearhug and overpowers him for two. Garvin blocks a powerbomb and falls on top for two, however. Hands of Stone gets two. Garvin lays in chops and another knockout punch gets two. Sleeper, but Bravo makes the ropes. Piledriver is reversed by Bravo, but Garvin hangs on with a sunset flip for two. Garvin hits him with chops and pounds away in the corner, but Bravo comes out with an atomic drop and the sideslam finishes at 3:42. Who forgot to tell Garvin that Wrestlemania used to be about dogging it and blowing up 30 seconds in? Match wasn’t any GOOD, but Garvin actually seemed motivated for some bizarre reason. * – Strike Force v. The Brainbusters. Martel was returning here after getting put out of commission by Demolition a year earlier. Martel starts with Tully and they work off a headlock, but Arn quickly knees Martel in the back. Martel fights out of the corner and Strike Force cleans house with dropkicks. Arn comes in and puts his head down, and Martel faceplants him for two. They do a knucklelock and Martel holds him on the mat, but Arn turns it into a bodyscissors. Martel turns him over into a Boston Crab, however, which is a nice counter. Tully thumbs him in the eye to break it up, drawing instant approval from Jesse. Santana tags in for a figure-four, and it’s the old double figure-fours spot. Yeah, but Martel & Santana are SO not the Rock N Rolls. Santana and Tully do a pinfall reversal sequence, but Arn saves. Tito cradles Tully for two. Martel comes in and Tito hits him with a flying forearm off a blind tag, by accident, and Martel is out on the floor. The Brainbusters now take over, as Arn pounds Tito and they work him over in the corner. Tito fights them off and goes for the tag, but Arn cuts it off. Sunset flip by Tito, but Arn tags Tully to escape and Blanchard gets two. Tito comes back with a cross body out of the corner for two, but the heels cut off the tag again. Arn goes to the rear chinlock, but Tito fights out, then charges and hits boot. Arn goes up, but gets slammed off, and Tito finally crawls over to his corner…but Martel is still selling the “injury”. Typical Quebecer drama queen. Tully keeps pounding on Tito, as Martel decides to take a walk, and the Busters kick the crap out of Santana and finish with the spike piledriver at 7:45. Felt like they were trying for an NWA-ish angle, but the match wasn’t long enough and there wasn’t enough heat on Santana for it to work within the context of the match. Martel turned heel in the post-match interview and became the Model soon after. **1/2  (Another conspicuous quality drop following a redo of the rant. ) – We blissfully skip past the dated and now-painfully unfunny segment with Roddy Piper, Brother Love, and Morton Downey Jr. Many of you are likely asking who Downey Jr. is, which would explain why it’s so dated. Bruce Pritchard’s Piper imitation is the only really funny thing there. The big joke revolves around Downey’s obnoxious chain-smoking and his refusal to quit. Piper sprays him with a fire extinguisher to show him the error of his ways, but lung cancer finished the job in 2001. Sometimes there’s just no fire extinguisher large enough, I guess.  (I think this was one of the rare cases where even the celebrities were dead only a few years after the show.)  Andre the Giant v. Jake Roberts. This was the charming “Andre is afraid of snakes” storyline, and John Studd was the referee. This was going to lead to a big push for the returning Studd, with Andre presumably putting him over, but health problems forced Studd back into retirement again, and he died in 1993, along with Andre. Man, this is quite the depressing show, isn’t it? Not to mention Jake’s problems since then. Andre attacks Roberts to start and sends him into an exposed turnbuckle, then chokes away in the corner. Jake slugs back and Andre gets tied up in the ropes, as he was wont to do, allowing Jake to lay in some punishment. Andre escapes with a choke, and headbutts Jake down. He pounds away in the corner, but sells a knee that didn’t happen, and Jake comes back. That was weird. Andre goes down, but still slugs Jake out to the floor from his knees. Andre keeps knocking him off the apron, so Jake grabs the snake, triggering a fight between Studd and Andre. Then, to make it dumber, Ted Dibiase runs out and steals the snake, while Andre beats on Studd. Jake sneals his snake back and makes the save, and it’s a DQ win at 5:29. Andre was so sad to watch in these final years. -* – The Hart Foundation v. Honky Tonk Man & Greg Valentine. Talk about your filler matches. Bret starts with Honky and they fight over a lockup, and Bret slugs away on him and rolls him up for two. Atomic drop, both ways, and Honky retreats to tag Valentine. Hitman rolls him up, but Hammer blocks, so Bret tags Anvil in and he cleans house with shoulderblocks. That gets two on Valentine. Clothesline gets two. The Harts switch off on Honky and Bret drops the elbow, and suplexes him for two. Jimmy Hart distracts the ref, so the Harts grab his megaphone in retribution, nail Honky with it, and Bret gets the pin at 3:00. Like I said, filler. ¾* – Intercontinental title: Ultimate Warrior v. Rick Rude. This was the start of Rude actually being something worthwhile as a worker, to the shock of many. Warrior charges in with a shoulderblock, as Rude tried a knee to the gut, only to hit the belt. Warrior tosses him into the corner a few times, as Rude bumps like a freak. Warrior goes to a bearhug for god knows what reason, but Rude fights out by biting him. Warrior does the same right back. Backdrop and he goes for the splash, but Rude gets the knees up to block. Piledriver gets two. Jawbreaker, but Rude is too injured to swivel. Clothesline gets two. Rude goes to a surfboard, but Warrior powers out of it and clotheslines him. Warrior whips him around the ring, but misses a charge and splats in the corner. Rude goes for the Rude Awakening, but Warrior powers out of it and clotheslines him. Rude bails to escape, but Warrior tosses him back in again. He clotheslines Rude out again and tries a suplex back in, but Heenan hooks the leg and Rude wins the title at 6:19. Pretty decent power match with a finish that was still innovative in terms of never being done on PPV before and thus new to the fans. ** Rude & Warrior would actually have WAY better matches later, including a great one at Summerslam 89, where Warrior regained the belt. – Bad News Brown v. Hacksaw Duggan. It’s the show that never ends! Just like the song, except with more steroids. Can you imagine booking this many matches these days? Bad News hammers away to start, but misses a charge and Duggan slugs back. Brown takes a walk, so Duggan slingshots him back in. Brown casually pounds him down again and headbutts him, but Duggan’s head is impervious to punishment and he stays up. There are times when I yearn for hardcore rules, and this is one of them. A garbage can would really break up the monotony right about now. Brown slugs him down and Duggan bails, so Brown whips him into the post. Back in, he goes for the Ghetto Blaster, but Duggan ducks and hits the three-point stance clothesline. Brown bails, totally no-selling it, and grabs a chair, but Duggan gets the board and it’s a duel for a double-DQ at 3:46. Yay, it’s OVER. DUD – Bobby Heenan v. Terry Taylor. Heenan is still injured from Warrior beating him up after the Rude match, so it’s a quick pinfall for Taylor at 0:30 after a whip into the corner. DUD Brooklyn Brawler attacks afterwards to kick off THAT epic opening-match C-show feud. – WWF title: Randy Savage v. Hulk Hogan. Jesse’s pre-match rant for Savage and against Hogan is awesome stuff. Savage bails to start and plays some headgames, but loses a lockup. He bails again and simmers, and back in tries a headlock, but gets overpowered. He takes out his frustrations with a tirade on Elizabeth, which sets off Jesse again. Back to the headlock, but Savage decides to duck out again. Hogan chases him this time, so Savage hides behind Liz. Hogan thinks it’s unfair, but then this coming from the guy who beats up women and has no problem using weapons in a sanctioned match. Hogan now does a bit of chain wrestling to take Savage down with a headlock, but Savage suplexes out of it. Hogan pops up and starts punching, then starts on the arm, but Savage goes to the eye and heads up. Double axehandle gets two. Savage grabs an armbar and keeps Hogan on the mat, but he fights up, so Macho uses what little hair there is to regain control. Hogan pulls the tights to dump Savage, and then tosses him back in. Jesse is so on the money here, jumping all over every little thing Hogan does. Hogan rams him into the turnbuckles and clotheslines him to set up the elbowdrops. Savage kicks him in the head to come back and gets the lariat for two, however. We hit the chinlock as Hogan starts bleeding. Hulk fights out and overpowers Savage, then follows with an atomic drop, but misses the elbow. Savage nails him from behind with a knee, into a rollup for two. He whips him around as Hogan bleeds, and then stomps on the hands for good measure. Hogan revives and rams Savage into the turnbuckle, then slugs away in the corner. Corner clothesline, but he hurts his arm on the move. Psychology? In a HOGAN MATCH? He javelins Savage over the top, which draws a sympathetic Liz over to tend to him. Savage offers her a backhand, however. That’ll learn her. They brawl outside as Savage keeps on the cut, but Hogan comes back and tries to ram Savage into the post. Liz prevents it, so Savage does it to Hogan. That’s thinking. The ref has had enough of Liz, so she gets sent to the back. Savage, meanwhile, hits Hogan with the double axehandle to the floor, driving him into the railing. Back in, he necksnaps him and chokes him on the ropes, working the throat with an elbow. Kneedrop gets two. Savage moves onto the wrist tape to choke him down (impressing Jesse greatly) then just uses his hands to put him out. Hogan is dead, so Savage goes up to finish him off with the flying elbow…but Hogan kicks out at two. Shit, every time I watch it, it’s the same thing. But I can keep hoping. Hulk up, three punches, big boot, legdrop, and Hogan wins his second title at 17:53. Not really as good as the initial drama made it seem to be, but still filled with good old fashioned pro wrestling dramatics and the like. Would have been nice to get a longer heat segment for Savage and REALLY make Hogan out to be toast, however. *** The Bottom Line: Most people remember 9 as the runaway winner of worst WM ever, but this one is pretty bad, and incredibly long, filled with literally nothing but filler matches and the occasional big angle. It was like a house show from hell or something. The main event is quite good for a Hogan match, so if you’ve never seen it, it’s worth a look. The rest, not so much, except as a historical curiosity. Recommendation to avoid. (So now it’s getting worse with a redo.  What will happen when I review the FULL atrocity?  Find out now!) The SmarK Retro Re-Rant for WWE Wrestlemania V – For those who remember the fourth Wrestlemania as the WWE’s version of Heaven’s Gate in terms of length and money made, it’s got nothing on the fifth one for sheer length. It didn’t seem so long back when I first watched it, probably because I was only 15 and I had a much longer attention span for stuff like this back then. I originally ranted off the hacked-up Coliseum video version, which was missing an HOUR of stuff, so it’s nice to finally have the full PPV version in all its 220 minute glory. The length might be taxing the storage systems of 24/7, however, because there’s some pixellization every few seconds that’s kinda annoying. – By the way, if there’s formatting issues with this rant, it’s because I had to re-install OpenOffice when I upgraded to Vista this weekend, and I’m still working out the kinks and trying to get it back exactly the way I had it when I left it.  (The formatting issues are also because this is a crappy new format rant, a stylistic decision that I have since regretted more than Miz deciding not to catch R-Truth that one time.  I also regretted upgrading to Vista, although I’m cheap and don’t want to bother going to Windows 7 at this point so I’ve been using it ever since.)  – Live from Atlantic City, NJ, at Trump Plaza, owned by some guy who we probably will never hear from again. – Your hosts are Gorilla & Jesse Opening match: King Haku v. Hercules Haku gets an attack from behind to start and slugs Herc into the corner, but Jesse has no sympathy for him. Herc quickly comes back with a slam and faceplant, and a clotheslines puts Haku on the floor. Suplex back in and Herc drops elbows. Hercules, who was adopted by the MegaPowers shortly before they exploded, is like the poor kid left out in the cold in a divorce proceeding. I blame his eventual death on the angst caused by his abandonment. WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE GREEK GODS? (Man, Hercules as the third Megapower.  That was right up there with Disco Inferno joining the nWo as far as stupid ideas went.)  Anyway, Haku comes back with a cheapshot and gets a backbreaker for two. He goes to a bearhug that I know for a fact was edited out of the home video version, so already it’s like watching the director’s cut of Alexander, as I appreciate the true genius of what they were trying to say with it already. It’s like Hercules is life, and the bearhug is modern society, squeezing the breath out of us every day, man. (In all fairness, I’ve been told the director’s cut of Alexander is somewhat more worth watching than the one version I did sit through, but I’ll never spend the 4 hours to find out.)  Herc powers out and Haku chokes him on the ropes, although I’m not sure what the allegory is supposed to be there. Herc comes back with a crossbody for two, but Haku cuts off the comeback with an elbow, but then whiffs on a bodypress attempt of his own. Hercules slugs back and gets a powrslam for two, but goes up and lands on a superkick. Haku goes up and misses his own move, and Hercules finishes with a backdrop suplex. (Hercules d. Haku, suplex — pin, 6:55, **) They actually bothered editing that down for home video? Not a bad opener, but this crowd is not wrestling fans, it’s gamblers and businessmen.  (Maybe they should fly them in for John Cena matches, it might get him over.  He already tells jokes like a bad motivational speaker anyway, so this is the kind of crowd that might actually cheer for him with enough booze.)  Backstage, the coked-up Rockers give their motivational interview before they get squashed. Shawn’s voice is so wasted from partying the night before that he can barely talk. The Twin Towers v. The Rockers For some reason, “Jive Soul Bro” is edited out. Were they dumb enough not to secure the rights to their OWN music? The Rockers run away to start, and opt for a sucker punch before Shawn starts with Bossman. Bossman puts him on the top and bitchslaps him, but gets dropkicked for his troubles and Shawn hits both of them and runs away again. Over to Akeem, as Shawn mocks his dancing and then the Rockers trade off and work on the arm. Shawn has said in previous interviews that he was so drunk that he could barely stand up here, so I’d say he’s doing remarkably well thus far. The Rockers keep switching off on the arm, but Bossman gets the blind tag and they sandwich Marty to take over. Bossman gets the running choke and Akeem avalanches him on the ropes, which is ugly but effective offense. And now the Towers are all about the tag team continuity, switching off and splashing Marty in the corner in tandem. Marty fights back, but Bossman clobbers him down again and it’s over to Akeem, who accidentally runs into Bossman to allow the hot tag to Shawn. He fires away in the corner and the Rockers team up for a nice double shoulderblock that gets two on Akeem. Shawn walks into a clothesline and does a 180 sell off it, as Shawn is out to single-handedly steal the show tonight. Bossman misses a flying splash and Shawn reverses a powerbomb attempt with the help of Marty, and the Rockers team up for a pair of missile dropkicks on the Bossman as well. Shawn goes up again, but this time he falls prey to the powerbomb on the way down, and Akeem splashes him to finish. (The Twin Towers d. The Rockers, Akeem splash — pin Shawn Michaels, 8:02, **) Shawn may have been wasted, but even at 25% he’s still got enough to carry things by bumping for three.  (This rating has been remarkably consistent across all three versions, oddly enough.)  Ted Dibiase v. Brutus Beefcake Odd that they never did a full-on feud with these two, as they seemed like they’d have a good dynamic together. (Or they could team up as The Wealthy Barber!)  Brutus attacks and hiptosses Dibiase to start, and follows with a backdrop that sends Ted out of the ring to regroup. Back in, Dibiase opts for the cheapshot and throws some chops in the corner, but Beefcake comes back with slams and it’s another trip to the floor. Back in and Dibiase tries slugging it out with Beefcake, but quickly loses that battle, and it’s Plan C: Virgil trips him up and Dibiase chokes him down. Well, as Jesse would say, win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat. Dibase pounds away in the corner and elbows him down as the crowd dozes, and the fistdrop gets two. Elbow off the middle rope gets two, but Beefcake gets a quick cradle for two. They fight over a suplex and Beefcake gets that, and they clothesline each other for the double KO. Dibiase recovers first with a suplex and it’s time for the Million Dollar Dream, but Brutus makes the ropes right away. Brutus comes back and rams him into the turnbuckles, and now irony strikes Dibiase as he falls prey to a sleeper. Truly epic. Virgil distracts him and Beefcake gives chase, which results in a brawl on the floor until the inevitable double countout. (Ted Dibiase draw Brutus Beefcake, DCOR, 9:58, **) Technically fine, but the crowd was dead and there wasn’t any real flow to the match. Meanwhile, Lord Al Hayes interviews the Bushwackers at the annual brunch, and hilarity ensues. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers v. The Sheepfuckers Jesse accuses the Bushwackers of being on “the juice”, although he’s referring to booze in this case. Still, there’s an out-of-context remark for you. Rougeaus attack to save Jimmy Hart’s jacket, but they get whipped into each other and bail. Raymond offers a handshake to Luke and then jumps him, so Butch runs in and returns the favor. Battering Ram for Ramond, but Jacques saves and they bail again. The crowd won’t even respond to the Bushwackers, which at least shows they’re intelligent. The Rougeaus get a quick double-team on Luke and Ray hits him with an axehandle off the middle, and we get a quick double-team clothesline for two. They do the abdominal stretch / superkick spot, and that gets no reaction from the crowd of corpses either. Bushwackers sneak in with a Battering Ram and double gutbuster while they celebrate. (The Bushwackers d. The Rougeaus, Luke gutbuster — pin Raymond, 5:10, DUD) Wasn’t even much of a comedy match. Mr. Perfect v. The Blue Blazer Debut of the classic tights for Hennig here, as he had been wearing short ones up until this point. Perfect grabs a headlock to start and hiptosses the Blazer, and they trade slaps in the corner. Blazer reverses out of a hiptoss attempt and slams him, and dropkicks him to the floor, following with a baseball slide. To the floor as Blazer throws some forearms out there, and he works the arm back in the ring. Perfect tries his own hiptoss reversal, but Blazer does his classic block-and-reverse of THAT, and a dropkick and backbreaker gets two. Northern Lights suplex gets two. To the top, but a flying splash hits knees, and Perfect goes to work on the back. Perfect charges and hits boot, and Blazer follows with a powerslam for two and gets the nice belly to belly for two. Crucifix gets two. He argues with the ref, however, and Perfect clobbers him and finishes with the Perfectplex. (Mr. Perfect d. The Blue Blazer, Perfectplex — pin, 5:51, **1/4) Not the classic I remembered as a kid.  (Yup, that one keeps dropping too.)  And now, just because the show wasn’t going to run long enough as it is, Jesse stops to pose for the fans. I have no idea what the point of this was. Speaking of pointless, let’s take you back to the annual 5K run, which Mr. Fuji cheats to win. Well, that’s why the good lord invented fast forward. And speaking of fast-forward, here’s Run DMC, and there they go. World tag team titles: Demolition v. The Powers of Pain & Mr Fuji Oh good grief, we’ve apparently lost all the songs from the Piledriver record, as “Demolition” is wiped from history, too. OK, who sued and won this time? Ax pounds on Warlord to start, finally getting a teenie reaction from the crowd, and the Demos add a double-team beating and Smash chinlocks him. Ax adds his own chinlock. You know, they must have sweetened the video version’s crowd noise, because I don’t remember the show being this dead. I mean, this crowd isn’t popping for ANYTHING. Barbarian comes in and gets smashed by Smash, and axed by Ax. Smash elbows him down and they add a double-elbow, and Ax goes to the neck vice. Barbarian comes back with a chop to Smash, but Warlord can’t follow up, which results in the champs hitting him with a double clothesline. Ax goes after Fuji, however, and gets hit from behind to turn the tide. Fuji finally tags in and chops Ax down, then adds his falling headbutt. Over to Barbarian, who starts working the back and boots Ax down. Jumping clothesline and Warlord comes in and stays on the back, choking him down for two. Barbarian powerslams him into a Fuji flying splash, but it misses and it looks like the hot tag until Warlord cuts it off. Smash gets it anyway, although the crowd doesn’t care, and he clotheslines everyone. They clothesline him on the top rope and Smash gets two, but Fuji comes in, armed with salt. And maybe pepper, I’m not sure. However, it goes awry, and Demolition Decapitation ends it. (Demolition d. The Powers of Pain & Fuji, Ax Decapitation — pin Fuji, 8:45, *) Well, this was watchable, I suppose. I can definitely understand the crowd apathy to the guys punching and kicking each other for 8 minutes, however. Dino Bravo v. Ronnie Garvin Jimmy Snuka makes an utterly pointless appearance after the introductions. (Don’t forget that Tamina is his daughter!)  Bravo attacks to start and chops Garvin down, and grabs a quick bearhug. Shoulderblock gets two. Garvin blocks a powerbomb attempt by slugging Bravo down, and a splash gets two. Sleeper and piledriver get two, and he throws chops in the corner. He slugs away in the corner, and Bravo brings him out with an atomic drop, and the sideslam finishes quick. (Dino Bravo d. Ronnie Garvin, sideslam — pin, 3:55, 1/2*) Garvin seemed game, but this was going nowhere fast. The Brainbusters v. Strike Force Martel grabs a headlock on Tully to start, and then fights off a double-team attempt in the heel corner. Strike Force adds a double dropkick to put the heels on the floor, but Arn quickly regroups. Martel faceplants him for two and they fight over the knucklelock, but Arn catches him with a bodyscissors. Martel wisely tries to turn him over into the Boston Crab, but Tully pokes him in the eyes to break it up. Jesse’s all about that one. Tito comes in and it’s old double figure-four spot, which the Busters quickly escape from. Tully and Tito do a bridge/backslide spot, which gets two for Tito, and he cradles Tully for two. Blind tag, but Tito hits Martel with the forearm by mistake, and Tully dropkicks Tito to take over. Arn comes in and elbows him in the gut, but Tito fights them off and goes for a tag…but Martel is being a drama queen and selling the “injury”. Tito keeps fighting with a sunset flip on Arn for two, but Tully breaks it up and gets two. Tito gets a bodypress for two, but Arn slows him down with a rear chinlock. Tito fights out and goes for the tag again, but Martel isn’t feeling it and walks away from the tag. And the match. Typical Frenchman, running away from a fight. The Busters go to work on Tito. Tito fights them off, but goes for a monkey flip on Tully and gets splatted as a result, and it’s ye olde Spike Piledriver to end his comeback. (The Brainbusters d. Strike Force, Anderson piledriver — pin Santana, 9:13, **1/2) This crowd is really bringing me down, man. This one actually seemed better in clipped form, with better crowd reactions dubbed in. It’s late and I’m tired, so I’m skipping through the Piper/Brother Love/Morton Downey Jr. trainwreck. Hey, it’s my column. This was definitely 15 minutes that could have been excised quite easily from the show. And now, a sneak preview of No Holds Barred. Thank god this is cut out of the video version. Sean Mooney interviews Donald Trump, back when he was all wooden and couldn’t act. Oh, wait. Apparently we’re in an intermission now, because we go into time-filler overdrive with a recap of the Megapowers angle and a rather lengthy Hogan interview. Jake Roberts v. Andre The Giant Special ref here is John Studd. Andre attacks to start and rams Jake into a conveniently missing turnbuckle, and quickly tries choking him out. Jake goes for the snake, but Andre grabs him in a chokehold again. Jesse has a funny line here, noting that David beat Goliath with a foreign object. That’s a wrestling mentality for you. Andre leans on Jake in the corner, which is about as lazy as you can get, offensively speaking. More choking and Andre uses his butt as a weapon, and chokes away again. Jake slugs back and Andre gets tied in the ropes as a result, which allows Jake to do his own choking. But not for long, because Andre is the master of choking. And choke he does! And did I mention the choking? Because there’s quite a lot of it. Jake comes back with punches and sends Andre into the bare turnbuckle, but Andre chops him right out of the ring. Andre won’t let him in, and the camera’s closeup of the ring apron reveals that they were so cheap as to recycle the skirts from Wrestlemania IV, simply by removing the “I” from the roman numeral. Studd and Andre get into a shoving match, while Ted Dibiase steals the snake, and Andre attacks Studd to draw the rather obvious DQ and set up the big feud that never happened. The recovered snake sends Andre fleeing. (Jake Roberts d. Andre The Giant, DQ, 9:39, DUD) Studd’s face turn just didn’t work, and Andre was pretty far gone by this point. The Hart Foundation v. Honky Tonk Man & Greg Valentine Jimmy Hart’s team were not yet Rhythm & Blues, and this was just thrown together as yet another in the endless parade of matches to fill time before the main event. Bret starts with Honky and rolls him up for two, and follows with an atomic drop both ways to send him scurrying back to the corner. Hammer comes in and takes the atomic drop, and Bret dropkicks him, which sets up the pinball spot in the face corner. Nice timing as Bret whips Hammer and then slingshots Anvil in on the rebound for a shoulderblock, which gets two. Bret with the backbreaker and middle rope elbow, but it misses and Valentine drops his own elbows. They do some choking in the corner and Honk drops a fist and a series of elbows, and it’s over to Hammer for a top rope forearm and an elbow to the back of the head. He gets his own atomic drop and Honky adds Shake Rattle N Roll, but he allows Valentine to try the figure-four instead of pinning him. Bret thumbs the eye to block, so Hammer keeps coming with a gutbuster and brings Honky back in. Bret fights back with a crossbody for two, but lands on the floor when Honky kicks out, and it’s back to Hammer again. Bret tries a rollup, but actually just fakes him out and makes the hot tag to Neidhart instead. Shoulderblock on Valentine gets two. Nice clothesline gets two. Hammer thumbs the eyes to stop the offense, but Honky misses a fistdrop and the Harts go to work on him, as Bret drops his elbow and adds a suplex for two. Valentine saves and cleans house, but Neidhart steals the megaphone and Bret nails Honky Tonk with it to finish. Bret screwed Wayne Ferris! (The Hart Foundation d. Honky Tonk & Valentine, Bret megaphone — pin Honky, 7:39, **1/2) This was actually quite a solid tag match in its uncut form, although the finish should have been stronger. WWF Intercontinental title: Ultimate Warrior v. Rick Rude Common sense at the time said that Warrior squashes him like a bug, but in hindsight Rude needed to go over in order to get to the next level. Rude tries to knee Warrior in the gut on the way in, but Warrior is still wearing the belt and thus outsmarts him. Warrior tosses Rude around like a ragdoll as Rude is all about the bumps tonight, and the crowd FINALLY wakes up. Warrior smartly opts to whip Rude into the corners without following up by charging, and then calmly bearhugs him. He’s thinking for once. Rude goes to the eyes to break and then scoots up top with a missile dropkick, but Warrior no-sells and slams him instead. Man, Rude is just bouncing around out there like a superball tonight. Back to the bearhug, but this time the ref prevents Rude from going to the eyes,which offends Jesse on several levels. Finally Rude slugs out on his own merits, so Warrior bites him and adds a backdrop. Big splash hits knee, however, and Rude takes over. Piledriver gets two for Rude. Sadly, his back is so injured that he can’t even swivel. Clothesline gets two. Russian legsweep gets two. Rude goes to a surfboard, but Warrior fights to the ropes and hulks up. Shoulderblock and faceplant set up a backbreaker, and he follows with a clothesline after a weird blown spot in the corner. He goes back to whipping Rude around, this time following up with a charge, and missing as a result. Rude goes for the Rude Awakening, but Warrior powers out of it and clotheslines him again. Rude bails and Warrior sends him back in, then dumps him with a clothesline. He suplexes Rude back in, but Heenan grabs the foot for the famous finish, and we have an upset, to the delight of Jesse. (Rick Rude d. Ultimate Warrior, outside interference — pin, 9:41, ***) They would have better matches, but this was the first sign that Rude was more than the pretty boy arrogant heel in the ring, as he more than carried his end of the match and actually got the crowd into it. Bad News Brown v. Hacksaw Jim Duggan To put this in perspective, we are now at the three hour mark for the show, which is beyond all sanity for a crowd this dead with an undercard this meaningless. Brown attacks to start, but Duggan slugs back and clotheslines him out of the ring. Brown regroups and lays Duggan out with a forearm back in the ring, and slugs away in the corner. Duggan fires back with shoulders in the corner, so Brown slugs him down again. They brawl outside as Jesse notes that if one of them tries a hold, they might win it. Brown wins that fight and tries the Ghetto Blaster, but Duggan comes back with the three-point stance and they fight outside again, as Brown grabs a chair and Duggan grabs his 2×4. (Jim Duggan draw Bad News Brown, DDQ, 3:46, 1/2*) C’mon, just get to the main event already. Red Rooster v. Bobby Heenan One last quickie before the match people actually paid to see. I think someone should sue and make them dub out the Rooster’s ridiculous theme song. Rooster whips Bobby into the corner and pins him. (Red Rooster d. Bobby Heenan, corner whip — pin, 0:28, DUD) This was what it was. WWF World title: Randy Savage v. Hulk Hogan This of course was the biggest match in the history of history at that point, drawing millions of dollars on PPV after being built up for years. Savage dodges Hogan and plays some mindgames to start, and Hogan overpowers him on the lockup. Savage grabs a headlock, but gets overpowered again and bails. As any good man would do, he hides behind Liz, and Jesse approves. Back in, Hogan takes him down with a drop toehold to meet his wrestling quota for the night, but Savage suplexes out of his headlock. Hogan quickly recovers and slugs away, and starts working on the arm, so Savage goes to the eyes and drops the axehandle for two. Savage takes it to the mat with an armbar. Some really slick hair-pulling behind the ref’s back follows, but it’s wasted when Hogan dumps him to break the hold. That was some quality cheating by Savage. Back in, Savage eats turnbuckle and Hogan drops him with a clothesline, into the elbows, but Savage clotheslines him for two. Savage grabs a chinlock while Hogan bleeds, but he fights out and blocks a big boot with an atomic drop. Hogan misses the elbow and Savage sends him into the corner with a high knee, and that gets two. Savage goes to work on the cut and stomps on the fingers, but that just gets Hogan mad, and he comes back with some shots in the corner and the corner clothesline. Hogan, sportsman, dumps Savage over the top and Liz tries to assist him, but Savage is an independent guy and doesn’t want help. Hogan follows him out for the brawl, showing he was probably in cahoots with Liz all along, and she prevents him from sending Savage into the post, which allows Savage to turn the tables and give Hogan the same treatment. Liz keeps getting involved, so the ref sends her back to the dressing room as we hit a dead spot. With no more distractions, Savage gets down to business, dropping Hogan with the axehandle to the floor before they head back in. Necksnap and Savage goes to work on the throat, choking him on the ropes and adding an elbow to the throat. Kneedrop gets two. Savage goes for broke, choking him out with the tape, and things look bad for the challenger. He goes with the straight choke and heads up to finish with the big elbow, and really I can’t stand to finish the review because it just hurts every damn time I watch it. (Hulk Hogan d. Randy Savage, legdrop — pin, 17:53, ***) It was somewhat epic, but the crowd was just so dead and they couldn’t live up to the hype no matter what they went with. This one was such a heated feud that it needed something more akin to the current main event brawling style, and really they just went out there and did a Hogan match. Of course, at the time it made perfect sense to put Hogan over clean and send Savage down a different path with Sherri, but my god, Savage was on such a hot streak as a heel that they could have drawn MILLIONS by screwing Hulk out of the belt here and building up the chase to the rematch at Summerslam. But hindsight is 20/20 and all that. The Pulse: Wow, editing really is important, because the home video version is eons better than the ultra-dull and seemingly endless live PPV version, which stretches 3 hours and 40 minutes and feels like it’s never going to end. Still, bless 24/7 for at least giving fans to see the uncut version for themselves. Probably one of the worst Wrestlemanias in this form, although the shorter version that used to be more widely available is quite enjoyable for the most part. Strong recommendation to avoid.

Wrestlemania Countdown: 5

(And now for your reading pleasure, THREE different versions of the same crappy show!) The Netcop Retro Rant for Wrestlemania V – Live from Atlantic City, New Jersey, just like the year before, original airdate April 2/1989. (Memories of this show:  Sitting in the upper deck of the PNE Coliseum in Vancouver with a bored crowd only there to see Hogan v. Savage.  As I recall, they didn’t even have extra screens set up for this, they just showed it on the scoreboard screens.) – Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura.Opening match: King Haku v. Hercules. Haku was still being semi-pushed and Hercules was in his eternal state of limbo. It goes back and forth for about two minutes and then Herc hits a belly-to-back for the pin. This was severely clipped because I remember it being longer and more boring while watching it live in 89. The clipped version was pretty watchable. **1/2  (That was some succinct recapping right there.  And yeah, turns out the full version really was terrible.)  The Rockers v. Big Bossman & Akeem. The Rockers were hungover like shit here, and Jannetty was stoned. (Shawn’s brutally honest recollections of this match, and especially the night before, on his various shoot interviews are all pretty funny.)  Rockers stay out of the way with quick moves until Jannetty gets caught with a bearhug and pounded by the Towers. Michaels gets the hot tag and the Rockers double team Akeem with a double shoulderblock. Akeem catches Michaels with a deadly clothesline that draws “OOooohs”. Rockers come back with a double dropkick from the top on Bossman, but Michaels takes another shitkicking and gets powerbombed off a rana attempt, then splashed and pinned by Akeem. Fun big v. little match. **  (I find it weird that they really didn’t have any specific plans for the Towers after their part in the Megapowers split.  They went over so strong here that it should have been a tag title push as a result, and they just kind of tooled around the midcard as house show challengers for Demolition before breaking up.)  Brutus Beefcake v. Ted Dibiase. Stalling to start, then a slugfest and Dibiase takes over and destroys Beefcake. Beefcake escapes the Million Dollar Dream and comes back, hooking his own sleeper. Virgil baits him out of the ring, Dibiase chases, and we have a double-countout. Standard PrimeTime Wrestling main event. *1/4 Virgil gets beat up after the decision. This really had no place on PPV except to remind everyone that both guys are still around.  (1989’s Kane v. Orton, in other words, except that we didn’t get three rematches with escalating stips on the next PPVs afterwards.)  The Fabulous Rougeaus v. The Sheepwhackers. Case in point, this match. Gorilla and Jesse have a hilarious discussion about which of them was retired first. Rougeaus double-team Luke right off the bat and control for most of the match. Luke does something vaguely resembling selling. Jacques tries to start a “USA” chant but the crowd isn’t buying. Rougeaus celebrate after their abdominal-stretch/superkick combo and Butch sneaks in and they do the battering ram and stomach breaker on Jacques for the upset win. 1/4*  (Not really an upset since the Rougeaus weren’t winning much at this point anyway.)  Curt Hennig v. The Blue Blazer. This was the debut of the style of tights Hennig still wears to this day. (Well, not anymore.  Sad face.)  Hennig pulls out the first MAN-SIZED bump, going over the top on a dropkick, then Blazer baseball slides him. Back in and Owen with some more wrestling sequences to keep control. Nasty spot as Owen goes for a Money Shot but lands, unsupported, right on Hennig’s knees. Match is clipped to Owen getting a crucifix for two, but Hennig gets the Perfectplex for the win. Good match. ***1/2  (Eh, not that good.)  – Gratuitous washed-up celebrity appearance: Run DMC does a song. I’ve got that damn DX remix stuck in my head yet again now. (Exactly what this bloated show needed:  Pop culture footnotes using up TV time to rap for no reason.  Run DMC at least ended up coming back years later and even got into the Hall of Fame [Rock N Roll, not WWE], but they were definitely last year’s news at this point.  Now Tone Loc, that’s what all the kids were into in 1989.)  WWF World tag team title, handicap match: Demolition v. The Powers of Pain & Mr. Fuji. The Demos were at the height of their power and popularity here. The match itself was set up by the Demos getting double-crossed by Fuji at the Survivor Series. (More evidence of the decompressed nature of the time, as this came five months after their initial angle.)  Standard Demos-Powers match, with Fuji of course getting cheap shots in now and then. Crowd doesn’t care about this one. Fuji misses a big move off the top ad Ax makes the hot tag to Smash. Chaos erupts and Fuji goes for the CEREMONIAL SALT OF DOOM, which misses, and Fuji is left alone with the Demos. Mr. Fuji, RIP. Demos retain. 1/4* – Dino Bravo v. Ronnie Garvin. After the intros, Finkel introduces Jimmy Snuka, who wanders out, takes a bow, then leaves. Well, that was pointless.  (Indeed, what a weird interlude that was.  However, I’d like to think that somewhere teenaged Michael Cole was getting excited that Snuka had a daughter named Tamina.)  Much like this match, as Bravo proceeds to squash Garvin. Garvin comes back with some token offense but Bravo inevitably gets the side suplex for the pin. Not horrible or anything. *  (Yes it was!  Geez, 1999 Scott, this is WRESTLEMANIA!  Step up the snark!)  The Brainbusters v. Strike Force. Martel had his ass kicked by Demolition so severely that he was put on the shelf for 10 months, and this is his comeback match. Fantastic little NWA-style match to start, as Strike Force pulls out some great double-teams and get their finishers on the Busters early. Santana accidentally hits Martel and knocks him off the apron, and Rick proceeds to do a 5-minute melodramatic oversell of a shot to the head. But there would be a point. Tito takes an absolute shitkicking from the heels as they cheat outrageously. Tito slams Arn off the top and crawls over with his last breath to tag Martel…who promptly walks out on him, drawing a huge heel pop. The result is academic, as the Busters finish Tito with a SWEET spike piledriver for the pin. Bitchin match. ***3/4 – Piper’s Pit with Brother Love. Piper is introduced first with a huge introduction from Finkel, but Brother Love comes out wearing a kilt, and proceeds to do the best Piper imitation I’ve ever heard, “interviewing” himself. Morton Downey Jr. comes out next and runs down Brother Love while puffing on cigarettes non-stop. If you don’t know who Downey is, don’t worry, you’re not alone — his fifteen minutes of fame were up faster than John Wayne Bobbit’s. (That was a timely reference in 1999, more or less.)  Piper finally comes out and takes over, humiliating Love and ripping off his kilt, which sends him scurrying back to the dressing room. That leaves Downey, who has been throwing cancer sticks at Piper the whole time. Downey gets a wicked verbal jab in at Piper. Piper: “Why do you call yourself Morton Downey Jr.?” Morton: “That’s the name your mama gave me.” More sparring, and after a bunch of smoke being blown in Piper’s face, Piper finds a fire extinguisher and sprays it on Downey. Pretty funny stuff.  (But again, what was the fucking POINT?) – Jake Roberts v. Andre the Giant. This was during the “Andre is afraid of snakes” period. John Studd is the special referee. They lumber around for a while and then overbooking takes over as the snake gets pulled out and Ted Dibiase runs in. Studd brawls with Andre and Dibiase brawls with Roberts and the whole thing is a big wash. DUD – The Hart Foundation v. Greg Valentine & Honky Tonk Man. Another filler match. Things go back and forth aimlessly for a bit and then a pier-six erupts, during which Bret gets the megaphone and bops HTM for the pin. Bleh. 1/2* – Intercontinental title match: The Ultimate Warrior v. Rick Rude. (I was totally not buying Rude as any kind of a contender at this point, which is probably why it was such a masterstroke to put him over Warrior.)  Longer than usual match for Warrior, as he misses a splash and hits Rude’s knees, giving Rude control. BEARHUG OF DOOM bores the crowd before Warrior makes his superman(iac) comeback, clotheslining Rude over the top rope. He suplexes Rude back in, but Heenan pulls out the most cliched cheap screwjob in history (although I’d never seen it at the time), hooking Warrior’s leg and resulting in a Rude pinfall, much to the disgust of the crowd. Who would have EVER thought that Warrior would lose at that point? Heenan gets clobbered by the Warrior after the match, which comes back to haunt him later. 1/2* – Hacksaw Duggan v. Bad News Brown. The infamous “snot hanging out of his nose” match, so named because Duggan has, well, I’m sure you can guess. A typical Duggan brawl, once again to fill time in an already bloated PPV, which ends in both guys grabbing weapons for a double DQ. Whatever. DUD  (Sadly this should have been pretty awesome given the brawling abilities of both guys.  As a house show main event with 10 minutes and a bunch of garbagy spots, they could have had something.)  Bobby Heenan v. Terry Taylor. Because Heenan was beat up by Warrior, the match lasts 10 seconds as Heenan misses a charge and gets pinned by Taylor. DUD. The Brooklyn Brawler attacks Taylor after the match.  (Did we REALLY need this here?  Would the bored casino zombies have rioted if they only got 120 matches instead of 121?)  WWF World title match: Randy Savage v. Hulk Hogan. Miss Elizabeth is in a neutral corner. And one year after winning the title in his building, it all comes full circle as Savage defends against Hogan. Btw, the champion should NEVER enter first. Jesse points that out, too, a couple of minutes after I typed that. Savage is just drawing unreal heel heat. He’s my hero. Chase erupts during the feeling out period, and Savage hides behind Liz. I’m surprised Hogan didn’t hit her. (I think I was confusing him with Lex Luger.)  Hogan tries some wrestling (!) and Savage cheats like a motherfucker to take over. Hairpulling, thumb to the eye, you name it. Scott Steiner, take note, that is the proper way to work it in. Savage works on the arm until Hogan tosses him out of the ring to break. Hogan comes back with his limited offense but puts his head down and Savage clobbers him, and Hogan blades. Another mini-comeback by Hogan fails and Savage knees Hogan into the corner. Jesse is in his glory cheering for Savage. Hogan hulks up and does the corner comeback, but his arm is still hurting. Savage takes a MAN-SIZED bump as Hogan slams him over the top to the floor. Liz helps him up and Savage takes a swing at her. Hogan and Savage brawl on the floor, and Hogan tries to do a battering ram job on Savage into the post. Liz blocks his path and Hogan ends up getting shoved into the post. Savage starts jawing with Liz, and Hebner finally has had enough and sends her back to the dressing room. Savage drops the double-axehandle to Hogan, ramming his head into the barricade. Crowd is getting into Savage. Necksnap and elbow on the apron throatfirst to work on the neck, then a kneedrop. Only gets two. Back to the Memphis stuff as Savage chokes Hulk out with the tape. Again, if used in moderation, it works. Savage chokes Hulk out, and then drops the big elbow…but Hogan no-sells. Hulk up. THREE PUNCHES OF DOOM, then the big foot, and the STINKY GIANT-KILLING LEGDROP and Hogan has his precious title back for a second time. “The crowd goes nuts” is putting it mildly. I was totally upset by this match the first time I saw it, but the more I watch it from a distance, the more I like it. I think it stands as one of Hogan’s best matches. **** Jesse goes off on a shoot-like rant during the posedown about what an egomaniac Hogan is and how he’ll stoop to any level to get his own way. Amen, Jess. The Bottom Line: Hey, cut out the filler and you’ve got three killer matches and some fun stuff. A truly epic show to end the year-long Megapowers storyline and send everyone home happy. Hogan *had* to go over, no other ending would be justifiable. (Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Savage was on fire as a heel, they should have had Liz’s involvement lead to the DQ finish so that Savage could continue running roughshod with the title.  Then Hogan could get his big win at Summerslam instead.)  I liked the show, others disagree. I’m sure I’ll get disagreement for my Wrestlemania VI rant, which is coming up in the next few days, too. Recommended show. (And now, a SECOND version of the Coliseum video rant done a few years later, as I’m now doing proper match times and recaps.)  The SmarK Retro Re-Rant for Wrestlemania V – This is the hacked-up Coliseum Video version I’m reviewing, for those who like to keep track of these things and may wonder why the matches are shorter than they remember. – Live from Atlantic City, NJ. – Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse Ventura. – Opening match: King Haku v. Hercules. Kind of an odd choice for an opener. Hercules was coming off his face turn after being “bought” by Ted Dibiase and started sucking up to the Megapowers for the rub, until they self-destructed. Whoops. Haku attacks from behind to start, but Herc comes back with a hiptoss and a slam. Faceplant and he goes after Heenan, but of course gets jumped. Back in, he comes back with a kneelift and some clotheslines, making me think that Haku’s whole heat segment was edited out. Powerslam gets two. Herc goes up but gets superkicked on the way down, and Haku follows with a flying headbutt that misses. Herc finishes with a backdrop suplex at 2:52. This was edited down to nothing, basically. ½* – Big Bossman & Akeem v. The Rockers. We’ll just steer clear of the whole “Twin Towers” name, for obvious reasons of good taste. This was Shawn’s Wrestlemania debut. The Rockers dodge the big guys to start and then knock them off the apron with elbows. Shawn claimed in a shoot interview that he was stoned and drunk off his gourd for this match. Bossman powers Shawn up to the top, but Marty distracts him and allows Shawn to hit a missile dropkick. Shawn uses speed to hit both heels, and Marty comes in to work on Akeem’s arm. Akeem makes the blind tag to Bossman, who catches Marty in a bearhug, and they sandwich Marty with a splash. Ouch. Bossman gets the rope straddle and Akeem splashes Marty on the ropes and gets…funky? Bossman splashes Marty in the corner, and then Akeem splashes Bossman for added weight. That’s pretty innovative. Bossman pounds him down and rings his ears, and Akeem comes in, but hits Bossman by mistake. Hot tag Shawn, and he slugs away on Akeem. The Rockers do some double-teaming as they whip Akeem around the ring and hit a double-shoulderblock for two. Akeem shrugs it off and hits Shawn with a vicious clothesline, but Bossman misses a top rope splash and Shawn gets two. Shawn goes for a rana, and Marty trips up Bossman to help with the move, and the Rockers both go up for a double dropkick. That gets two. Akeem finally tosses Marty for lack of anything better to do with him, and Bossman reverses another rana attempt from Shawn with a powerbomb, and Akeem kills him dead with a splash at 6:58. Fun, fast-paced big v. little match with some crazy bumping from the Rockers. ** – Ted Dibiase v. Brutus Beefcake. Dibiase’s Million Dollar Belt was the consolation prize for not winning the WWF title at Wrestlemania IV. I’m sure that helped him sleep at night. Beefcake’s push was somewhat stalled at this point, as he was floating aimlessly in the midcard. Much like most of the people on this show. Beefcake gets a cheapshot to start and backdrops Dibiase twice, and Ted bails. Back in, they slug it out, and Beefcake wins that fairly handily until Virgil trips him up. Dibiase does some choking as Jesse, future leader of a state, declares that “if you can’t win fair, cheat”. Somehow you KNEW he’d end up as a politician. Fistdrop gets two. Clothesline sets up an elbow off the middle rope that takes FOREVER. That would have been an easy edit. That gets two. He puts his head down, however, and Beefcake gets two off a cradle. Dibiase comes back with a suplex and gets the Million Dollar Dream, but Beefcake makes the ropes. Dibiase won’t break, so the ref pulls him off, and Beefcake makes the comeback. Dibiase eats some turnbuckle and Beefcake follows with the sleeper, but Virgil distracts him and they brawl outside for the double countout at 6:26. LAAAAAAAME. Poor Ted, in the World title finals one year and fighting a barber third from the bottom the next. It was actually going along fine before the rather abrupt finish. *3/4 – The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers v. The Bushwhackers. The Bushwhackers were actually fairly new and novel at this point in terms of their usage in the WWF. Bushwhackers go after Jimmy’s coat to start, but the Rougeaus save it. Whew. They quickly lay out Luke and double-team him on a Boston crab, then bring him into their corner and Ray whips Luke into the corner. He goes up to the middle with a double sledge, and Jacques comes in with a back elbow, and the Rougeaus get something vaguely resembling a double clothesline. A double elbow sets up Jacques’ abdominal stretch, which is aided by Raymond’s superkick to the gut. The Bushwhackers break up their celebrating with a battering ram, and the double gutbuster gives Luke the pin at 3:57. Next, please. ½* – Mr. Perfect v. The Blue Blazer. If there was one gimmick I never wanted to see again, it’s the Blazer. Such is life. Perfect starts with some chops, but Blazer reverses a hiptoss into a pair of slams and a dropkick that puts Perfect on the floor. Blazer follows with a baseball slide and they head back in. Blazer dodges him in the corner and gets a hiptoss and another slam. Another dropkick sets up a backbreaker, for two. Armbar takedown gets one. Blazer goes up, but hits knees on a splash, and we have an obvious edit. Blazer gets a crucifix for two, but Perfect lays him out with a clothesline and it’s the Perfectplex to finish at 3:16. Brutally clipped, but the full version is a really good match. *1/2  (That’s quite the drop in match rating from my original rant.)  – We’ll skip over the Run-DMC appearance. Man, another dead person making an appearance. – WWF tag titles: Demolition v. The Powers of Pain & Mr. Fuji. This was the peak for Demolition’s popularity, after the double-turn with the Powers at Survivor Series. Warlord starts pounding on Ax, but gets it back in spades. Smash comes in and it’s CLUBBERING TIME. Warlord powers him into the heel corner, however, necessitating Smash fighting out. No problem, however. Back to the Demo corner, as Ax comes in with a clothesline on Barbarian, but Barbarian wins a slugfest with Smash. Back to the heel corner, as Warlord uses the CLUBBING FOREARMS, but gets nowhere, with Demolition quickly getting a double-team clothesline on him. However, Ax turns his back on Fuji and gets attacked by the Powers, and he’s YOUR face-in-peril. Fuji comes in and they work Ax over with a variety of clubbing moves. Barbarian gets a shoulderblock, and Warlord boots Ax down for two. Barbarian powerslams him and tags Fuji in, but he misses an elbow from the top. Warlord cuts off any potential tag, however, with a slam. Ax fights back, however, and makes the hot tag to Smash. Punches fly and Smash slams both Powers, and the Demos get a double-team necksnap on Warlord for two. It’s BONZO GONZO and Fuji throws salt at Smash, but misses and hits Warlord, and the Demos finish with Decapitation on Fuji at 7:13. Punchy kicky crappy. *1/4 – Dino Bravo v. Rugged Ron Garvin. Weird moment as Jimmy Snuka is re-introduced out of nowhere and does a lap of the ring after the ring introductions of these guys. (Fun fact:  Snuka now has a daughter who wrestles as a WWE sports entertainer, and her name is Tamina.)  Bravo lays out Garvin to start and drops an elbow, and goes to work on the back, then clubs him down. He goes to the bearhug and overpowers him for two. Garvin blocks a powerbomb and falls on top for two, however. Hands of Stone gets two. Garvin lays in chops and another knockout punch gets two. Sleeper, but Bravo makes the ropes. Piledriver is reversed by Bravo, but Garvin hangs on with a sunset flip for two. Garvin hits him with chops and pounds away in the corner, but Bravo comes out with an atomic drop and the sideslam finishes at 3:42. Who forgot to tell Garvin that Wrestlemania used to be about dogging it and blowing up 30 seconds in? Match wasn’t any GOOD, but Garvin actually seemed motivated for some bizarre reason. * – Strike Force v. The Brainbusters. Martel was returning here after getting put out of commission by Demolition a year earlier. Martel starts with Tully and they work off a headlock, but Arn quickly knees Martel in the back. Martel fights out of the corner and Strike Force cleans house with dropkicks. Arn comes in and puts his head down, and Martel faceplants him for two. They do a knucklelock and Martel holds him on the mat, but Arn turns it into a bodyscissors. Martel turns him over into a Boston Crab, however, which is a nice counter. Tully thumbs him in the eye to break it up, drawing instant approval from Jesse. Santana tags in for a figure-four, and it’s the old double figure-fours spot. Yeah, but Martel & Santana are SO not the Rock N Rolls. Santana and Tully do a pinfall reversal sequence, but Arn saves. Tito cradles Tully for two. Martel comes in and Tito hits him with a flying forearm off a blind tag, by accident, and Martel is out on the floor. The Brainbusters now take over, as Arn pounds Tito and they work him over in the corner. Tito fights them off and goes for the tag, but Arn cuts it off. Sunset flip by Tito, but Arn tags Tully to escape and Blanchard gets two. Tito comes back with a cross body out of the corner for two, but the heels cut off the tag again. Arn goes to the rear chinlock, but Tito fights out, then charges and hits boot. Arn goes up, but gets slammed off, and Tito finally crawls over to his corner…but Martel is still selling the “injury”. Typical Quebecer drama queen. Tully keeps pounding on Tito, as Martel decides to take a walk, and the Busters kick the crap out of Santana and finish with the spike piledriver at 7:45. Felt like they were trying for an NWA-ish angle, but the match wasn’t long enough and there wasn’t enough heat on Santana for it to work within the context of the match. Martel turned heel in the post-match interview and became the Model soon after. **1/2  (Another conspicuous quality drop following a redo of the rant. ) – We blissfully skip past the dated and now-painfully unfunny segment with Roddy Piper, Brother Love, and Morton Downey Jr. Many of you are likely asking who Downey Jr. is, which would explain why it’s so dated. Bruce Pritchard’s Piper imitation is the only really funny thing there. The big joke revolves around Downey’s obnoxious chain-smoking and his refusal to quit. Piper sprays him with a fire extinguisher to show him the error of his ways, but lung cancer finished the job in 2001. Sometimes there’s just no fire extinguisher large enough, I guess.  (I think this was one of the rare cases where even the celebrities were dead only a few years after the show.)  Andre the Giant v. Jake Roberts. This was the charming “Andre is afraid of snakes” storyline, and John Studd was the referee. This was going to lead to a big push for the returning Studd, with Andre presumably putting him over, but health problems forced Studd back into retirement again, and he died in 1993, along with Andre. Man, this is quite the depressing show, isn’t it? Not to mention Jake’s problems since then. Andre attacks Roberts to start and sends him into an exposed turnbuckle, then chokes away in the corner. Jake slugs back and Andre gets tied up in the ropes, as he was wont to do, allowing Jake to lay in some punishment. Andre escapes with a choke, and headbutts Jake down. He pounds away in the corner, but sells a knee that didn’t happen, and Jake comes back. That was weird. Andre goes down, but still slugs Jake out to the floor from his knees. Andre keeps knocking him off the apron, so Jake grabs the snake, triggering a fight between Studd and Andre. Then, to make it dumber, Ted Dibiase runs out and steals the snake, while Andre beats on Studd. Jake sneals his snake back and makes the save, and it’s a DQ win at 5:29. Andre was so sad to watch in these final years. -* – The Hart Foundation v. Honky Tonk Man & Greg Valentine. Talk about your filler matches. Bret starts with Honky and they fight over a lockup, and Bret slugs away on him and rolls him up for two. Atomic drop, both ways, and Honky retreats to tag Valentine. Hitman rolls him up, but Hammer blocks, so Bret tags Anvil in and he cleans house with shoulderblocks. That gets two on Valentine. Clothesline gets two. The Harts switch off on Honky and Bret drops the elbow, and suplexes him for two. Jimmy Hart distracts the ref, so the Harts grab his megaphone in retribution, nail Honky with it, and Bret gets the pin at 3:00. Like I said, filler. ¾* – Intercontinental title: Ultimate Warrior v. Rick Rude. This was the start of Rude actually being something worthwhile as a worker, to the shock of many. Warrior charges in with a shoulderblock, as Rude tried a knee to the gut, only to hit the belt. Warrior tosses him into the corner a few times, as Rude bumps like a freak. Warrior goes to a bearhug for god knows what reason, but Rude fights out by biting him. Warrior does the same right back. Backdrop and he goes for the splash, but Rude gets the knees up to block. Piledriver gets two. Jawbreaker, but Rude is too injured to swivel. Clothesline gets two. Rude goes to a surfboard, but Warrior powers out of it and clotheslines him. Warrior whips him around the ring, but misses a charge and splats in the corner. Rude goes for the Rude Awakening, but Warrior powers out of it and clotheslines him. Rude bails to escape, but Warrior tosses him back in again. He clotheslines Rude out again and tries a suplex back in, but Heenan hooks the leg and Rude wins the title at 6:19. Pretty decent power match with a finish that was still innovative in terms of never being done on PPV before and thus new to the fans. ** Rude & Warrior would actually have WAY better matches later, including a great one at Summerslam 89, where Warrior regained the belt. – Bad News Brown v. Hacksaw Duggan. It’s the show that never ends! Just like the song, except with more steroids. Can you imagine booking this many matches these days? Bad News hammers away to start, but misses a charge and Duggan slugs back. Brown takes a walk, so Duggan slingshots him back in. Brown casually pounds him down again and headbutts him, but Duggan’s head is impervious to punishment and he stays up. There are times when I yearn for hardcore rules, and this is one of them. A garbage can would really break up the monotony right about now. Brown slugs him down and Duggan bails, so Brown whips him into the post. Back in, he goes for the Ghetto Blaster, but Duggan ducks and hits the three-point stance clothesline. Brown bails, totally no-selling it, and grabs a chair, but Duggan gets the board and it’s a duel for a double-DQ at 3:46. Yay, it’s OVER. DUD – Bobby Heenan v. Terry Taylor. Heenan is still injured from Warrior beating him up after the Rude match, so it’s a quick pinfall for Taylor at 0:30 after a whip into the corner. DUD Brooklyn Brawler attacks afterwards to kick off THAT epic opening-match C-show feud. – WWF title: Randy Savage v. Hulk Hogan. Jesse’s pre-match rant for Savage and against Hogan is awesome stuff. Savage bails to start and plays some headgames, but loses a lockup. He bails again and simmers, and back in tries a headlock, but gets overpowered. He takes out his frustrations with a tirade on Elizabeth, which sets off Jesse again. Back to the headlock, but Savage decides to duck out again. Hogan chases him this time, so Savage hides behind Liz. Hogan thinks it’s unfair, but then this coming from the guy who beats up women and has no problem using weapons in a sanctioned match. Hogan now does a bit of chain wrestling to take Savage down with a headlock, but Savage suplexes out of it. Hogan pops up and starts punching, then starts on the arm, but Savage goes to the eye and heads up. Double axehandle gets two. Savage grabs an armbar and keeps Hogan on the mat, but he fights up, so Macho uses what little hair there is to regain control. Hogan pulls the tights to dump Savage, and then tosses him back in. Jesse is so on the money here, jumping all over every little thing Hogan does. Hogan rams him into the turnbuckles and clotheslines him to set up the elbowdrops. Savage kicks him in the head to come back and gets the lariat for two, however. We hit the chinlock as Hogan starts bleeding. Hulk fights out and overpowers Savage, then follows with an atomic drop, but misses the elbow. Savage nails him from behind with a knee, into a rollup for two. He whips him around as Hogan bleeds, and then stomps on the hands for good measure. Hogan revives and rams Savage into the turnbuckle, then slugs away in the corner. Corner clothesline, but he hurts his arm on the move. Psychology? In a HOGAN MATCH? He javelins Savage over the top, which draws a sympathetic Liz over to tend to him. Savage offers her a backhand, however. That’ll learn her. They brawl outside as Savage keeps on the cut, but Hogan comes back and tries to ram Savage into the post. Liz prevents it, so Savage does it to Hogan. That’s thinking. The ref has had enough of Liz, so she gets sent to the back. Savage, meanwhile, hits Hogan with the double axehandle to the floor, driving him into the railing. Back in, he necksnaps him and chokes him on the ropes, working the throat with an elbow. Kneedrop gets two. Savage moves onto the wrist tape to choke him down (impressing Jesse greatly) then just uses his hands to put him out. Hogan is dead, so Savage goes up to finish him off with the flying elbow…but Hogan kicks out at two. Shit, every time I watch it, it’s the same thing. But I can keep hoping. Hulk up, three punches, big boot, legdrop, and Hogan wins his second title at 17:53. Not really as good as the initial drama made it seem to be, but still filled with good old fashioned pro wrestling dramatics and the like. Would have been nice to get a longer heat segment for Savage and REALLY make Hogan out to be toast, however. *** The Bottom Line: Most people remember 9 as the runaway winner of worst WM ever, but this one is pretty bad, and incredibly long, filled with literally nothing but filler matches and the occasional big angle. It was like a house show from hell or something. The main event is quite good for a Hogan match, so if you’ve never seen it, it’s worth a look. The rest, not so much, except as a historical curiosity. Recommendation to avoid. (So now it’s getting worse with a redo.  What will happen when I review the FULL atrocity?  Find out now!) The SmarK Retro Re-Rant for WWE Wrestlemania V – For those who remember the fourth Wrestlemania as the WWE’s version of Heaven’s Gate in terms of length and money made, it’s got nothing on the fifth one for sheer length. It didn’t seem so long back when I first watched it, probably because I was only 15 and I had a much longer attention span for stuff like this back then. I originally ranted off the hacked-up Coliseum video version, which was missing an HOUR of stuff, so it’s nice to finally have the full PPV version in all its 220 minute glory. The length might be taxing the storage systems of 24/7, however, because there’s some pixellization every few seconds that’s kinda annoying. – By the way, if there’s formatting issues with this rant, it’s because I had to re-install OpenOffice when I upgraded to Vista this weekend, and I’m still working out the kinks and trying to get it back exactly the way I had it when I left it.  (The formatting issues are also because this is a crappy new format rant, a stylistic decision that I have since regretted more than Miz deciding not to catch R-Truth that one time.  I also regretted upgrading to Vista, although I’m cheap and don’t want to bother going to Windows 7 at this point so I’ve been using it ever since.)  – Live from Atlantic City, NJ, at Trump Plaza, owned by some guy who we probably will never hear from again. – Your hosts are Gorilla & Jesse Opening match: King Haku v. Hercules Haku gets an attack from behind to start and slugs Herc into the corner, but Jesse has no sympathy for him. Herc quickly comes back with a slam and faceplant, and a clotheslines puts Haku on the floor. Suplex back in and Herc drops elbows. Hercules, who was adopted by the MegaPowers shortly before they exploded, is like the poor kid left out in the cold in a divorce proceeding. I blame his eventual death on the angst caused by his abandonment. WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE GREEK GODS? (Man, Hercules as the third Megapower.  That was right up there with Disco Inferno joining the nWo as far as stupid ideas went.)  Anyway, Haku comes back with a cheapshot and gets a backbreaker for two. He goes to a bearhug that I know for a fact was edited out of the home video version, so already it’s like watching the director’s cut of Alexander, as I appreciate the true genius of what they were trying to say with it already. It’s like Hercules is life, and the bearhug is modern society, squeezing the breath out of us every day, man. (In all fairness, I’ve been told the director’s cut of Alexander is somewhat more worth watching than the one version I did sit through, but I’ll never spend the 4 hours to find out.)  Herc powers out and Haku chokes him on the ropes, although I’m not sure what the allegory is supposed to be there. Herc comes back with a crossbody for two, but Haku cuts off the comeback with an elbow, but then whiffs on a bodypress attempt of his own. Hercules slugs back and gets a powrslam for two, but goes up and lands on a superkick. Haku goes up and misses his own move, and Hercules finishes with a backdrop suplex. (Hercules d. Haku, suplex — pin, 6:55, **) They actually bothered editing that down for home video? Not a bad opener, but this crowd is not wrestling fans, it’s gamblers and businessmen.  (Maybe they should fly them in for John Cena matches, it might get him over.  He already tells jokes like a bad motivational speaker anyway, so this is the kind of crowd that might actually cheer for him with enough booze.)  Backstage, the coked-up Rockers give their motivational interview before they get squashed. Shawn’s voice is so wasted from partying the night before that he can barely talk. The Twin Towers v. The Rockers For some reason, “Jive Soul Bro” is edited out. Were they dumb enough not to secure the rights to their OWN music? The Rockers run away to start, and opt for a sucker punch before Shawn starts with Bossman. Bossman puts him on the top and bitchslaps him, but gets dropkicked for his troubles and Shawn hits both of them and runs away again. Over to Akeem, as Shawn mocks his dancing and then the Rockers trade off and work on the arm. Shawn has said in previous interviews that he was so drunk that he could barely stand up here, so I’d say he’s doing remarkably well thus far. The Rockers keep switching off on the arm, but Bossman gets the blind tag and they sandwich Marty to take over. Bossman gets the running choke and Akeem avalanches him on the ropes, which is ugly but effective offense. And now the Towers are all about the tag team continuity, switching off and splashing Marty in the corner in tandem. Marty fights back, but Bossman clobbers him down again and it’s over to Akeem, who accidentally runs into Bossman to allow the hot tag to Shawn. He fires away in the corner and the Rockers team up for a nice double shoulderblock that gets two on Akeem. Shawn walks into a clothesline and does a 180 sell off it, as Shawn is out to single-handedly steal the show tonight. Bossman misses a flying splash and Shawn reverses a powerbomb attempt with the help of Marty, and the Rockers team up for a pair of missile dropkicks on the Bossman as well. Shawn goes up again, but this time he falls prey to the powerbomb on the way down, and Akeem splashes him to finish. (The Twin Towers d. The Rockers, Akeem splash — pin Shawn Michaels, 8:02, **) Shawn may have been wasted, but even at 25% he’s still got enough to carry things by bumping for three.  (This rating has been remarkably consistent across all three versions, oddly enough.)  Ted Dibiase v. Brutus Beefcake Odd that they never did a full-on feud with these two, as they seemed like they’d have a good dynamic together. (Or they could team up as The Wealthy Barber!)  Brutus attacks and hiptosses Dibiase to start, and follows with a backdrop that sends Ted out of the ring to regroup. Back in, Dibiase opts for the cheapshot and throws some chops in the corner, but Beefcake comes back with slams and it’s another trip to the floor. Back in and Dibiase tries slugging it out with Beefcake, but quickly loses that battle, and it’s Plan C: Virgil trips him up and Dibiase chokes him down. Well, as Jesse would say, win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat. Dibase pounds away in the corner and elbows him down as the crowd dozes, and the fistdrop gets two. Elbow off the middle rope gets two, but Beefcake gets a quick cradle for two. They fight over a suplex and Beefcake gets that, and they clothesline each other for the double KO. Dibiase recovers first with a suplex and it’s time for the Million Dollar Dream, but Brutus makes the ropes right away. Brutus comes back and rams him into the turnbuckles, and now irony strikes Dibiase as he falls prey to a sleeper. Truly epic. Virgil distracts him and Beefcake gives chase, which results in a brawl on the floor until the inevitable double countout. (Ted Dibiase draw Brutus Beefcake, DCOR, 9:58, **) Technically fine, but the crowd was dead and there wasn’t any real flow to the match. Meanwhile, Lord Al Hayes interviews the Bushwackers at the annual brunch, and hilarity ensues. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers v. The Sheepfuckers Jesse accuses the Bushwackers of being on “the juice”, although he’s referring to booze in this case. Still, there’s an out-of-context remark for you. Rougeaus attack to save Jimmy Hart’s jacket, but they get whipped into each other and bail. Raymond offers a handshake to Luke and then jumps him, so Butch runs in and returns the favor. Battering Ram for Ramond, but Jacques saves and they bail again. The crowd won’t even respond to the Bushwackers, which at least shows they’re intelligent. The Rougeaus get a quick double-team on Luke and Ray hits him with an axehandle off the middle, and we get a quick double-team clothesline for two. They do the abdominal stretch / superkick spot, and that gets no reaction from the crowd of corpses either. Bushwackers sneak in with a Battering Ram and double gutbuster while they celebrate. (The Bushwackers d. The Rougeaus, Luke gutbuster — pin Raymond, 5:10, DUD) Wasn’t even much of a comedy match. Mr. Perfect v. The Blue Blazer Debut of the classic tights for Hennig here, as he had been wearing short ones up until this point. Perfect grabs a headlock to start and hiptosses the Blazer, and they trade slaps in the corner. Blazer reverses out of a hiptoss attempt and slams him, and dropkicks him to the floor, following with a baseball slide. To the floor as Blazer throws some forearms out there, and he works the arm back in the ring. Perfect tries his own hiptoss reversal, but Blazer does his classic block-and-reverse of THAT, and a dropkick and backbreaker gets two. Northern Lights suplex gets two. To the top, but a flying splash hits knees, and Perfect goes to work on the back. Perfect charges and hits boot, and Blazer follows with a powerslam for two and gets the nice belly to belly for two. Crucifix gets two. He argues with the ref, however, and Perfect clobbers him and finishes with the Perfectplex. (Mr. Perfect d. The Blue Blazer, Perfectplex — pin, 5:51, **1/4) Not the classic I remembered as a kid.  (Yup, that one keeps dropping too.)  And now, just because the show wasn’t going to run long enough as it is, Jesse stops to pose for the fans. I have no idea what the point of this was. Speaking of pointless, let’s take you back to the annual 5K run, which Mr. Fuji cheats to win. Well, that’s why the good lord invented fast forward. And speaking of fast-forward, here’s Run DMC, and there they go. World tag team titles: Demolition v. The Powers of Pain & Mr Fuji Oh good grief, we’ve apparently lost all the songs from the Piledriver record, as “Demolition” is wiped from history, too. OK, who sued and won this time? Ax pounds on Warlord to start, finally getting a teenie reaction from the crowd, and the Demos add a double-team beating and Smash chinlocks him. Ax adds his own chinlock. You know, they must have sweetened the video version’s crowd noise, because I don’t remember the show being this dead. I mean, this crowd isn’t popping for ANYTHING. Barbarian comes in and gets smashed by Smash, and axed by Ax. Smash elbows him down and they add a double-elbow, and Ax goes to the neck vice. Barbarian comes back with a chop to Smash, but Warlord can’t follow up, which results in the champs hitting him with a double clothesline. Ax goes after Fuji, however, and gets hit from behind to turn the tide. Fuji finally tags in and chops Ax down, then adds his falling headbutt. Over to Barbarian, who starts working the back and boots Ax down. Jumping clothesline and Warlord comes in and stays on the back, choking him down for two. Barbarian powerslams him into a Fuji flying splash, but it misses and it looks like the hot tag until Warlord cuts it off. Smash gets it anyway, although the crowd doesn’t care, and he clotheslines everyone. They clothesline him on the top rope and Smash gets two, but Fuji comes in, armed with salt. And maybe pepper, I’m not sure. However, it goes awry, and Demolition Decapitation ends it. (Demolition d. The Powers of Pain & Fuji, Ax Decapitation — pin Fuji, 8:45, *) Well, this was watchable, I suppose. I can definitely understand the crowd apathy to the guys punching and kicking each other for 8 minutes, however. Dino Bravo v. Ronnie Garvin Jimmy Snuka makes an utterly pointless appearance after the introductions. (Don’t forget that Tamina is his daughter!)  Bravo attacks to start and chops Garvin down, and grabs a quick bearhug. Shoulderblock gets two. Garvin blocks a powerbomb attempt by slugging Bravo down, and a splash gets two. Sleeper and piledriver get two, and he throws chops in the corner. He slugs away in the corner, and Bravo brings him out with an atomic drop, and the sideslam finishes quick. (Dino Bravo d. Ronnie Garvin, sideslam — pin, 3:55, 1/2*) Garvin seemed game, but this was going nowhere fast. The Brainbusters v. Strike Force Martel grabs a headlock on Tully to start, and then fights off a double-team attempt in the heel corner. Strike Force adds a double dropkick to put the heels on the floor, but Arn quickly regroups. Martel faceplants him for two and they fight over the knucklelock, but Arn catches him with a bodyscissors. Martel wisely tries to turn him over into the Boston Crab, but Tully pokes him in the eyes to break it up. Jesse’s all about that one. Tito comes in and it’s old double figure-four spot, which the Busters quickly escape from. Tully and Tito do a bridge/backslide spot, which gets two for Tito, and he cradles Tully for two. Blind tag, but Tito hits Martel with the forearm by mistake, and Tully dropkicks Tito to take over. Arn comes in and elbows him in the gut, but Tito fights them off and goes for a tag…but Martel is being a drama queen and selling the “injury”. Tito keeps fighting with a sunset flip on Arn for two, but Tully breaks it up and gets two. Tito gets a bodypress for two, but Arn slows him down with a rear chinlock. Tito fights out and goes for the tag again, but Martel isn’t feeling it and walks away from the tag. And the match. Typical Frenchman, running away from a fight. The Busters go to work on Tito. Tito fights them off, but goes for a monkey flip on Tully and gets splatted as a result, and it’s ye olde Spike Piledriver to end his comeback. (The Brainbusters d. Strike Force, Anderson piledriver — pin Santana, 9:13, **1/2) This crowd is really bringing me down, man. This one actually seemed better in clipped form, with better crowd reactions dubbed in. It’s late and I’m tired, so I’m skipping through the Piper/Brother Love/Morton Downey Jr. trainwreck. Hey, it’s my column. This was definitely 15 minutes that could have been excised quite easily from the show. And now, a sneak preview of No Holds Barred. Thank god this is cut out of the video version. Sean Mooney interviews Donald Trump, back when he was all wooden and couldn’t act. Oh, wait. Apparently we’re in an intermission now, because we go into time-filler overdrive with a recap of the Megapowers angle and a rather lengthy Hogan interview. Jake Roberts v. Andre The Giant Special ref here is John Studd. Andre attacks to start and rams Jake into a conveniently missing turnbuckle, and quickly tries choking him out. Jake goes for the snake, but Andre grabs him in a chokehold again. Jesse has a funny line here, noting that David beat Goliath with a foreign object. That’s a wrestling mentality for you. Andre leans on Jake in the corner, which is about as lazy as you can get, offensively speaking. More choking and Andre uses his butt as a weapon, and chokes away again. Jake slugs back and Andre gets tied in the ropes as a result, which allows Jake to do his own choking. But not for long, because Andre is the master of choking. And choke he does! And did I mention the choking? Because there’s quite a lot of it. Jake comes back with punches and sends Andre into the bare turnbuckle, but Andre chops him right out of the ring. Andre won’t let him in, and the camera’s closeup of the ring apron reveals that they were so cheap as to recycle the skirts from Wrestlemania IV, simply by removing the “I” from the roman numeral. Studd and Andre get into a shoving match, while Ted Dibiase steals the snake, and Andre attacks Studd to draw the rather obvious DQ and set up the big feud that never happened. The recovered snake sends Andre fleeing. (Jake Roberts d. Andre The Giant, DQ, 9:39, DUD) Studd’s face turn just didn’t work, and Andre was pretty far gone by this point. The Hart Foundation v. Honky Tonk Man & Greg Valentine Jimmy Hart’s team were not yet Rhythm & Blues, and this was just thrown together as yet another in the endless parade of matches to fill time before the main event. Bret starts with Honky and rolls him up for two, and follows with an atomic drop both ways to send him scurrying back to the corner. Hammer comes in and takes the atomic drop, and Bret dropkicks him, which sets up the pinball spot in the face corner. Nice timing as Bret whips Hammer and then slingshots Anvil in on the rebound for a shoulderblock, which gets two. Bret with the backbreaker and middle rope elbow, but it misses and Valentine drops his own elbows. They do some choking in the corner and Honk drops a fist and a series of elbows, and it’s over to Hammer for a top rope forearm and an elbow to the back of the head. He gets his own atomic drop and Honky adds Shake Rattle N Roll, but he allows Valentine to try the figure-four instead of pinning him. Bret thumbs the eye to block, so Hammer keeps coming with a gutbuster and brings Honky back in. Bret fights back with a crossbody for two, but lands on the floor when Honky kicks out, and it’s back to Hammer again. Bret tries a rollup, but actually just fakes him out and makes the hot tag to Neidhart instead. Shoulderblock on Valentine gets two. Nice clothesline gets two. Hammer thumbs the eyes to stop the offense, but Honky misses a fistdrop and the Harts go to work on him, as Bret drops his elbow and adds a suplex for two. Valentine saves and cleans house, but Neidhart steals the megaphone and Bret nails Honky Tonk with it to finish. Bret screwed Wayne Ferris! (The Hart Foundation d. Honky Tonk & Valentine, Bret megaphone — pin Honky, 7:39, **1/2) This was actually quite a solid tag match in its uncut form, although the finish should have been stronger. WWF Intercontinental title: Ultimate Warrior v. Rick Rude Common sense at the time said that Warrior squashes him like a bug, but in hindsight Rude needed to go over in order to get to the next level. Rude tries to knee Warrior in the gut on the way in, but Warrior is still wearing the belt and thus outsmarts him. Warrior tosses Rude around like a ragdoll as Rude is all about the bumps tonight, and the crowd FINALLY wakes up. Warrior smartly opts to whip Rude into the corners without following up by charging, and then calmly bearhugs him. He’s thinking for once. Rude goes to the eyes to break and then scoots up top with a missile dropkick, but Warrior no-sells and slams him instead. Man, Rude is just bouncing around out there like a superball tonight. Back to the bearhug, but this time the ref prevents Rude from going to the eyes,which offends Jesse on several levels. Finally Rude slugs out on his own merits, so Warrior bites him and adds a backdrop. Big splash hits knee, however, and Rude takes over. Piledriver gets two for Rude. Sadly, his back is so injured that he can’t even swivel. Clothesline gets two. Russian legsweep gets two. Rude goes to a surfboard, but Warrior fights to the ropes and hulks up. Shoulderblock and faceplant set up a backbreaker, and he follows with a clothesline after a weird blown spot in the corner. He goes back to whipping Rude around, this time following up with a charge, and missing as a result. Rude goes for the Rude Awakening, but Warrior powers out of it and clotheslines him again. Rude bails and Warrior sends him back in, then dumps him with a clothesline. He suplexes Rude back in, but Heenan grabs the foot for the famous finish, and we have an upset, to the delight of Jesse. (Rick Rude d. Ultimate Warrior, outside interference — pin, 9:41, ***) They would have better matches, but this was the first sign that Rude was more than the pretty boy arrogant heel in the ring, as he more than carried his end of the match and actually got the crowd into it. Bad News Brown v. Hacksaw Jim Duggan To put this in perspective, we are now at the three hour mark for the show, which is beyond all sanity for a crowd this dead with an undercard this meaningless. Brown attacks to start, but Duggan slugs back and clotheslines him out of the ring. Brown regroups and lays Duggan out with a forearm back in the ring, and slugs away in the corner. Duggan fires back with shoulders in the corner, so Brown slugs him down again. They brawl outside as Jesse notes that if one of them tries a hold, they might win it. Brown wins that fight and tries the Ghetto Blaster, but Duggan comes back with the three-point stance and they fight outside again, as Brown grabs a chair and Duggan grabs his 2×4. (Jim Duggan draw Bad News Brown, DDQ, 3:46, 1/2*) C’mon, just get to the main event already. Red Rooster v. Bobby Heenan One last quickie before the match people actually paid to see. I think someone should sue and make them dub out the Rooster’s ridiculous theme song. Rooster whips Bobby into the corner and pins him. (Red Rooster d. Bobby Heenan, corner whip — pin, 0:28, DUD) This was what it was. WWF World title: Randy Savage v. Hulk Hogan This of course was the biggest match in the history of history at that point, drawing millions of dollars on PPV after being built up for years. Savage dodges Hogan and plays some mindgames to start, and Hogan overpowers him on the lockup. Savage grabs a headlock, but gets overpowered again and bails. As any good man would do, he hides behind Liz, and Jesse approves. Back in, Hogan takes him down with a drop toehold to meet his wrestling quota for the night, but Savage suplexes out of his headlock. Hogan quickly recovers and slugs away, and starts working on the arm, so Savage goes to the eyes and drops the axehandle for two. Savage takes it to the mat with an armbar. Some really slick hair-pulling behind the ref’s back follows, but it’s wasted when Hogan dumps him to break the hold. That was some quality cheating by Savage. Back in, Savage eats turnbuckle and Hogan drops him with a clothesline, into the elbows, but Savage clotheslines him for two. Savage grabs a chinlock while Hogan bleeds, but he fights out and blocks a big boot with an atomic drop. Hogan misses the elbow and Savage sends him into the corner with a high knee, and that gets two. Savage goes to work on the cut and stomps on the fingers, but that just gets Hogan mad, and he comes back with some shots in the corner and the corner clothesline. Hogan, sportsman, dumps Savage over the top and Liz tries to assist him, but Savage is an independent guy and doesn’t want help. Hogan follows him out for the brawl, showing he was probably in cahoots with Liz all along, and she prevents him from sending Savage into the post, which allows Savage to turn the tables and give Hogan the same treatment. Liz keeps getting involved, so the ref sends her back to the dressing room as we hit a dead spot. With no more distractions, Savage gets down to business, dropping Hogan with the axehandle to the floor before they head back in. Necksnap and Savage goes to work on the throat, choking him on the ropes and adding an elbow to the throat. Kneedrop gets two. Savage goes for broke, choking him out with the tape, and things look bad for the challenger. He goes with the straight choke and heads up to finish with the big elbow, and really I can’t stand to finish the review because it just hurts every damn time I watch it. (Hulk Hogan d. Randy Savage, legdrop — pin, 17:53, ***) It was somewhat epic, but the crowd was just so dead and they couldn’t live up to the hype no matter what they went with. This one was such a heated feud that it needed something more akin to the current main event brawling style, and really they just went out there and did a Hogan match. Of course, at the time it made perfect sense to put Hogan over clean and send Savage down a different path with Sherri, but my god, Savage was on such a hot streak as a heel that they could have drawn MILLIONS by screwing Hulk out of the belt here and building up the chase to the rematch at Summerslam. But hindsight is 20/20 and all that. The Pulse: Wow, editing really is important, because the home video version is eons better than the ultra-dull and seemingly endless live PPV version, which stretches 3 hours and 40 minutes and feels like it’s never going to end. Still, bless 24/7 for at least giving fans to see the uncut version for themselves. Probably one of the worst Wrestlemanias in this form, although the shorter version that used to be more widely available is quite enjoyable for the most part. Strong recommendation to avoid.

Wrestlemania Countdown: 5

(And now for your reading pleasure, THREE different versions of the same crappy show!) The Netcop Retro Rant for Wrestlemania V – Live from Atlantic City, New Jersey, just like the year before, original airdate April 2/1989. (Memories of this show:  Sitting in the upper deck of the PNE Coliseum in Vancouver with a bored crowd only there to see Hogan v. Savage.  As I recall, they didn’t even have extra screens set up for this, they just showed it on the scoreboard screens.) – Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura.Opening match: King Haku v. Hercules. Haku was still being semi-pushed and Hercules was in his eternal state of limbo. It goes back and forth for about two minutes and then Herc hits a belly-to-back for the pin. This was severely clipped because I remember it being longer and more boring while watching it live in 89. The clipped version was pretty watchable. **1/2  (That was some succinct recapping right there.  And yeah, turns out the full version really was terrible.)  The Rockers v. Big Bossman & Akeem. The Rockers were hungover like shit here, and Jannetty was stoned. (Shawn’s brutally honest recollections of this match, and especially the night before, on his various shoot interviews are all pretty funny.)  Rockers stay out of the way with quick moves until Jannetty gets caught with a bearhug and pounded by the Towers. Michaels gets the hot tag and the Rockers double team Akeem with a double shoulderblock. Akeem catches Michaels with a deadly clothesline that draws “OOooohs”. Rockers come back with a double dropkick from the top on Bossman, but Michaels takes another shitkicking and gets powerbombed off a rana attempt, then splashed and pinned by Akeem. Fun big v. little match. **  (I find it weird that they really didn’t have any specific plans for the Towers after their part in the Megapowers split.  They went over so strong here that it should have been a tag title push as a result, and they just kind of tooled around the midcard as house show challengers for Demolition before breaking up.)  Brutus Beefcake v. Ted Dibiase. Stalling to start, then a slugfest and Dibiase takes over and destroys Beefcake. Beefcake escapes the Million Dollar Dream and comes back, hooking his own sleeper. Virgil baits him out of the ring, Dibiase chases, and we have a double-countout. Standard PrimeTime Wrestling main event. *1/4 Virgil gets beat up after the decision. This really had no place on PPV except to remind everyone that both guys are still around.  (1989’s Kane v. Orton, in other words, except that we didn’t get three rematches with escalating stips on the next PPVs afterwards.)  The Fabulous Rougeaus v. The Sheepwhackers. Case in point, this match. Gorilla and Jesse have a hilarious discussion about which of them was retired first. Rougeaus double-team Luke right off the bat and control for most of the match. Luke does something vaguely resembling selling. Jacques tries to start a “USA” chant but the crowd isn’t buying. Rougeaus celebrate after their abdominal-stretch/superkick combo and Butch sneaks in and they do the battering ram and stomach breaker on Jacques for the upset win. 1/4*  (Not really an upset since the Rougeaus weren’t winning much at this point anyway.)  Curt Hennig v. The Blue Blazer. This was the debut of the style of tights Hennig still wears to this day. (Well, not anymore.  Sad face.)  Hennig pulls out the first MAN-SIZED bump, going over the top on a dropkick, then Blazer baseball slides him. Back in and Owen with some more wrestling sequences to keep control. Nasty spot as Owen goes for a Money Shot but lands, unsupported, right on Hennig’s knees. Match is clipped to Owen getting a crucifix for two, but Hennig gets the Perfectplex for the win. Good match. ***1/2  (Eh, not that good.)  – Gratuitous washed-up celebrity appearance: Run DMC does a song. I’ve got that damn DX remix stuck in my head yet again now. (Exactly what this bloated show needed:  Pop culture footnotes using up TV time to rap for no reason.  Run DMC at least ended up coming back years later and even got into the Hall of Fame [Rock N Roll, not WWE], but they were definitely last year’s news at this point.  Now Tone Loc, that’s what all the kids were into in 1989.)  WWF World tag team title, handicap match: Demolition v. The Powers of Pain & Mr. Fuji. The Demos were at the height of their power and popularity here. The match itself was set up by the Demos getting double-crossed by Fuji at the Survivor Series. (More evidence of the decompressed nature of the time, as this came five months after their initial angle.)  Standard Demos-Powers match, with Fuji of course getting cheap shots in now and then. Crowd doesn’t care about this one. Fuji misses a big move off the top ad Ax makes the hot tag to Smash. Chaos erupts and Fuji goes for the CEREMONIAL SALT OF DOOM, which misses, and Fuji is left alone with the Demos. Mr. Fuji, RIP. Demos retain. 1/4* – Dino Bravo v. Ronnie Garvin. After the intros, Finkel introduces Jimmy Snuka, who wanders out, takes a bow, then leaves. Well, that was pointless.  (Indeed, what a weird interlude that was.  However, I’d like to think that somewhere teenaged Michael Cole was getting excited that Snuka had a daughter named Tamina.)  Much like this match, as Bravo proceeds to squash Garvin. Garvin comes back with some token offense but Bravo inevitably gets the side suplex for the pin. Not horrible or anything. *  (Yes it was!  Geez, 1999 Scott, this is WRESTLEMANIA!  Step up the snark!)  The Brainbusters v. Strike Force. Martel had his ass kicked by Demolition so severely that he was put on the shelf for 10 months, and this is his comeback match. Fantastic little NWA-style match to start, as Strike Force pulls out some great double-teams and get their finishers on the Busters early. Santana accidentally hits Martel and knocks him off the apron, and Rick proceeds to do a 5-minute melodramatic oversell of a shot to the head. But there would be a point. Tito takes an absolute shitkicking from the heels as they cheat outrageously. Tito slams Arn off the top and crawls over with his last breath to tag Martel…who promptly walks out on him, drawing a huge heel pop. The result is academic, as the Busters finish Tito with a SWEET spike piledriver for the pin. Bitchin match. ***3/4 – Piper’s Pit with Brother Love. Piper is introduced first with a huge introduction from Finkel, but Brother Love comes out wearing a kilt, and proceeds to do the best Piper imitation I’ve ever heard, “interviewing” himself. Morton Downey Jr. comes out next and runs down Brother Love while puffing on cigarettes non-stop. If you don’t know who Downey is, don’t worry, you’re not alone — his fifteen minutes of fame were up faster than John Wayne Bobbit’s. (That was a timely reference in 1999, more or less.)  Piper finally comes out and takes over, humiliating Love and ripping off his kilt, which sends him scurrying back to the dressing room. That leaves Downey, who has been throwing cancer sticks at Piper the whole time. Downey gets a wicked verbal jab in at Piper. Piper: “Why do you call yourself Morton Downey Jr.?” Morton: “That’s the name your mama gave me.” More sparring, and after a bunch of smoke being blown in Piper’s face, Piper finds a fire extinguisher and sprays it on Downey. Pretty funny stuff.  (But again, what was the fucking POINT?) – Jake Roberts v. Andre the Giant. This was during the “Andre is afraid of snakes” period. John Studd is the special referee. They lumber around for a while and then overbooking takes over as the snake gets pulled out and Ted Dibiase runs in. Studd brawls with Andre and Dibiase brawls with Roberts and the whole thing is a big wash. DUD – The Hart Foundation v. Greg Valentine & Honky Tonk Man. Another filler match. Things go back and forth aimlessly for a bit and then a pier-six erupts, during which Bret gets the megaphone and bops HTM for the pin. Bleh. 1/2* – Intercontinental title match: The Ultimate Warrior v. Rick Rude. (I was totally not buying Rude as any kind of a contender at this point, which is probably why it was such a masterstroke to put him over Warrior.)  Longer than usual match for Warrior, as he misses a splash and hits Rude’s knees, giving Rude control. BEARHUG OF DOOM bores the crowd before Warrior makes his superman(iac) comeback, clotheslining Rude over the top rope. He suplexes Rude back in, but Heenan pulls out the most cliched cheap screwjob in history (although I’d never seen it at the time), hooking Warrior’s leg and resulting in a Rude pinfall, much to the disgust of the crowd. Who would have EVER thought that Warrior would lose at that point? Heenan gets clobbered by the Warrior after the match, which comes back to haunt him later. 1/2* – Hacksaw Duggan v. Bad News Brown. The infamous “snot hanging out of his nose” match, so named because Duggan has, well, I’m sure you can guess. A typical Duggan brawl, once again to fill time in an already bloated PPV, which ends in both guys grabbing weapons for a double DQ. Whatever. DUD  (Sadly this should have been pretty awesome given the brawling abilities of both guys.  As a house show main event with 10 minutes and a bunch of garbagy spots, they could have had something.)  Bobby Heenan v. Terry Taylor. Because Heenan was beat up by Warrior, the match lasts 10 seconds as Heenan misses a charge and gets pinned by Taylor. DUD. The Brooklyn Brawler attacks Taylor after the match.  (Did we REALLY need this here?  Would the bored casino zombies have rioted if they only got 120 matches instead of 121?)  WWF World title match: Randy Savage v. Hulk Hogan. Miss Elizabeth is in a neutral corner. And one year after winning the title in his building, it all comes full circle as Savage defends against Hogan. Btw, the champion should NEVER enter first. Jesse points that out, too, a couple of minutes after I typed that. Savage is just drawing unreal heel heat. He’s my hero. Chase erupts during the feeling out period, and Savage hides behind Liz. I’m surprised Hogan didn’t hit her. (I think I was confusing him with Lex Luger.)  Hogan tries some wrestling (!) and Savage cheats like a motherfucker to take over. Hairpulling, thumb to the eye, you name it. Scott Steiner, take note, that is the proper way to work it in. Savage works on the arm until Hogan tosses him out of the ring to break. Hogan comes back with his limited offense but puts his head down and Savage clobbers him, and Hogan blades. Another mini-comeback by Hogan fails and Savage knees Hogan into the corner. Jesse is in his glory cheering for Savage. Hogan hulks up and does the corner comeback, but his arm is still hurting. Savage takes a MAN-SIZED bump as Hogan slams him over the top to the floor. Liz helps him up and Savage takes a swing at her. Hogan and Savage brawl on the floor, and Hogan tries to do a battering ram job on Savage into the post. Liz blocks his path and Hogan ends up getting shoved into the post. Savage starts jawing with Liz, and Hebner finally has had enough and sends her back to the dressing room. Savage drops the double-axehandle to Hogan, ramming his head into the barricade. Crowd is getting into Savage. Necksnap and elbow on the apron throatfirst to work on the neck, then a kneedrop. Only gets two. Back to the Memphis stuff as Savage chokes Hulk out with the tape. Again, if used in moderation, it works. Savage chokes Hulk out, and then drops the big elbow…but Hogan no-sells. Hulk up. THREE PUNCHES OF DOOM, then the big foot, and the STINKY GIANT-KILLING LEGDROP and Hogan has his precious title back for a second time. “The crowd goes nuts” is putting it mildly. I was totally upset by this match the first time I saw it, but the more I watch it from a distance, the more I like it. I think it stands as one of Hogan’s best matches. **** Jesse goes off on a shoot-like rant during the posedown about what an egomaniac Hogan is and how he’ll stoop to any level to get his own way. Amen, Jess. The Bottom Line: Hey, cut out the filler and you’ve got three killer matches and some fun stuff. A truly epic show to end the year-long Megapowers storyline and send everyone home happy. Hogan *had* to go over, no other ending would be justifiable. (Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Savage was on fire as a heel, they should have had Liz’s involvement lead to the DQ finish so that Savage could continue running roughshod with the title.  Then Hogan could get his big win at Summerslam instead.)  I liked the show, others disagree. I’m sure I’ll get disagreement for my Wrestlemania VI rant, which is coming up in the next few days, too. Recommended show. (And now, a SECOND version of the Coliseum video rant done a few years later, as I’m now doing proper match times and recaps.)  The SmarK Retro Re-Rant for Wrestlemania V – This is the hacked-up Coliseum Video version I’m reviewing, for those who like to keep track of these things and may wonder why the matches are shorter than they remember. – Live from Atlantic City, NJ. – Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse Ventura. – Opening match: King Haku v. Hercules. Kind of an odd choice for an opener. Hercules was coming off his face turn after being “bought” by Ted Dibiase and started sucking up to the Megapowers for the rub, until they self-destructed. Whoops. Haku attacks from behind to start, but Herc comes back with a hiptoss and a slam. Faceplant and he goes after Heenan, but of course gets jumped. Back in, he comes back with a kneelift and some clotheslines, making me think that Haku’s whole heat segment was edited out. Powerslam gets two. Herc goes up but gets superkicked on the way down, and Haku follows with a flying headbutt that misses. Herc finishes with a backdrop suplex at 2:52. This was edited down to nothing, basically. ½* – Big Bossman & Akeem v. The Rockers. We’ll just steer clear of the whole “Twin Towers” name, for obvious reasons of good taste. This was Shawn’s Wrestlemania debut. The Rockers dodge the big guys to start and then knock them off the apron with elbows. Shawn claimed in a shoot interview that he was stoned and drunk off his gourd for this match. Bossman powers Shawn up to the top, but Marty distracts him and allows Shawn to hit a missile dropkick. Shawn uses speed to hit both heels, and Marty comes in to work on Akeem’s arm. Akeem makes the blind tag to Bossman, who catches Marty in a bearhug, and they sandwich Marty with a splash. Ouch. Bossman gets the rope straddle and Akeem splashes Marty on the ropes and gets…funky? Bossman splashes Marty in the corner, and then Akeem splashes Bossman for added weight. That’s pretty innovative. Bossman pounds him down and rings his ears, and Akeem comes in, but hits Bossman by mistake. Hot tag Shawn, and he slugs away on Akeem. The Rockers do some double-teaming as they whip Akeem around the ring and hit a double-shoulderblock for two. Akeem shrugs it off and hits Shawn with a vicious clothesline, but Bossman misses a top rope splash and Shawn gets two. Shawn goes for a rana, and Marty trips up Bossman to help with the move, and the Rockers both go up for a double dropkick. That gets two. Akeem finally tosses Marty for lack of anything better to do with him, and Bossman reverses another rana attempt from Shawn with a powerbomb, and Akeem kills him dead with a splash at 6:58. Fun, fast-paced big v. little match with some crazy bumping from the Rockers. ** – Ted Dibiase v. Brutus Beefcake. Dibiase’s Million Dollar Belt was the consolation prize for not winning the WWF title at Wrestlemania IV. I’m sure that helped him sleep at night. Beefcake’s push was somewhat stalled at this point, as he was floating aimlessly in the midcard. Much like most of the people on this show. Beefcake gets a cheapshot to start and backdrops Dibiase twice, and Ted bails. Back in, they slug it out, and Beefcake wins that fairly handily until Virgil trips him up. Dibiase does some choking as Jesse, future leader of a state, declares that “if you can’t win fair, cheat”. Somehow you KNEW he’d end up as a politician. Fistdrop gets two. Clothesline sets up an elbow off the middle rope that takes FOREVER. That would have been an easy edit. That gets two. He puts his head down, however, and Beefcake gets two off a cradle. Dibiase comes back with a suplex and gets the Million Dollar Dream, but Beefcake makes the ropes. Dibiase won’t break, so the ref pulls him off, and Beefcake makes the comeback. Dibiase eats some turnbuckle and Beefcake follows with the sleeper, but Virgil distracts him and they brawl outside for the double countout at 6:26. LAAAAAAAME. Poor Ted, in the World title finals one year and fighting a barber third from the bottom the next. It was actually going along fine before the rather abrupt finish. *3/4 – The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers v. The Bushwhackers. The Bushwhackers were actually fairly new and novel at this point in terms of their usage in the WWF. Bushwhackers go after Jimmy’s coat to start, but the Rougeaus save it. Whew. They quickly lay out Luke and double-team him on a Boston crab, then bring him into their corner and Ray whips Luke into the corner. He goes up to the middle with a double sledge, and Jacques comes in with a back elbow, and the Rougeaus get something vaguely resembling a double clothesline. A double elbow sets up Jacques’ abdominal stretch, which is aided by Raymond’s superkick to the gut. The Bushwhackers break up their celebrating with a battering ram, and the double gutbuster gives Luke the pin at 3:57. Next, please. ½* – Mr. Perfect v. The Blue Blazer. If there was one gimmick I never wanted to see again, it’s the Blazer. Such is life. Perfect starts with some chops, but Blazer reverses a hiptoss into a pair of slams and a dropkick that puts Perfect on the floor. Blazer follows with a baseball slide and they head back in. Blazer dodges him in the corner and gets a hiptoss and another slam. Another dropkick sets up a backbreaker, for two. Armbar takedown gets one. Blazer goes up, but hits knees on a splash, and we have an obvious edit. Blazer gets a crucifix for two, but Perfect lays him out with a clothesline and it’s the Perfectplex to finish at 3:16. Brutally clipped, but the full version is a really good match. *1/2  (That’s quite the drop in match rating from my original rant.)  – We’ll skip over the Run-DMC appearance. Man, another dead person making an appearance. – WWF tag titles: Demolition v. The Powers of Pain & Mr. Fuji. This was the peak for Demolition’s popularity, after the double-turn with the Powers at Survivor Series. Warlord starts pounding on Ax, but gets it back in spades. Smash comes in and it’s CLUBBERING TIME. Warlord powers him into the heel corner, however, necessitating Smash fighting out. No problem, however. Back to the Demo corner, as Ax comes in with a clothesline on Barbarian, but Barbarian wins a slugfest with Smash. Back to the heel corner, as Warlord uses the CLUBBING FOREARMS, but gets nowhere, with Demolition quickly getting a double-team clothesline on him. However, Ax turns his back on Fuji and gets attacked by the Powers, and he’s YOUR face-in-peril. Fuji comes in and they work Ax over with a variety of clubbing moves. Barbarian gets a shoulderblock, and Warlord boots Ax down for two. Barbarian powerslams him and tags Fuji in, but he misses an elbow from the top. Warlord cuts off any potential tag, however, with a slam. Ax fights back, however, and makes the hot tag to Smash. Punches fly and Smash slams both Powers, and the Demos get a double-team necksnap on Warlord for two. It’s BONZO GONZO and Fuji throws salt at Smash, but misses and hits Warlord, and the Demos finish with Decapitation on Fuji at 7:13. Punchy kicky crappy. *1/4 – Dino Bravo v. Rugged Ron Garvin. Weird moment as Jimmy Snuka is re-introduced out of nowhere and does a lap of the ring after the ring introductions of these guys. (Fun fact:  Snuka now has a daughter who wrestles as a WWE sports entertainer, and her name is Tamina.)  Bravo lays out Garvin to start and drops an elbow, and goes to work on the back, then clubs him down. He goes to the bearhug and overpowers him for two. Garvin blocks a powerbomb and falls on top for two, however. Hands of Stone gets two. Garvin lays in chops and another knockout punch gets two. Sleeper, but Bravo makes the ropes. Piledriver is reversed by Bravo, but Garvin hangs on with a sunset flip for two. Garvin hits him with chops and pounds away in the corner, but Bravo comes out with an atomic drop and the sideslam finishes at 3:42. Who forgot to tell Garvin that Wrestlemania used to be about dogging it and blowing up 30 seconds in? Match wasn’t any GOOD, but Garvin actually seemed motivated for some bizarre reason. * – Strike Force v. The Brainbusters. Martel was returning here after getting put out of commission by Demolition a year earlier. Martel starts with Tully and they work off a headlock, but Arn quickly knees Martel in the back. Martel fights out of the corner and Strike Force cleans house with dropkicks. Arn comes in and puts his head down, and Martel faceplants him for two. They do a knucklelock and Martel holds him on the mat, but Arn turns it into a bodyscissors. Martel turns him over into a Boston Crab, however, which is a nice counter. Tully thumbs him in the eye to break it up, drawing instant approval from Jesse. Santana tags in for a figure-four, and it’s the old double figure-fours spot. Yeah, but Martel & Santana are SO not the Rock N Rolls. Santana and Tully do a pinfall reversal sequence, but Arn saves. Tito cradles Tully for two. Martel comes in and Tito hits him with a flying forearm off a blind tag, by accident, and Martel is out on the floor. The Brainbusters now take over, as Arn pounds Tito and they work him over in the corner. Tito fights them off and goes for the tag, but Arn cuts it off. Sunset flip by Tito, but Arn tags Tully to escape and Blanchard gets two. Tito comes back with a cross body out of the corner for two, but the heels cut off the tag again. Arn goes to the rear chinlock, but Tito fights out, then charges and hits boot. Arn goes up, but gets slammed off, and Tito finally crawls over to his corner…but Martel is still selling the “injury”. Typical Quebecer drama queen. Tully keeps pounding on Tito, as Martel decides to take a walk, and the Busters kick the crap out of Santana and finish with the spike piledriver at 7:45. Felt like they were trying for an NWA-ish angle, but the match wasn’t long enough and there wasn’t enough heat on Santana for it to work within the context of the match. Martel turned heel in the post-match interview and became the Model soon after. **1/2  (Another conspicuous quality drop following a redo of the rant. ) – We blissfully skip past the dated and now-painfully unfunny segment with Roddy Piper, Brother Love, and Morton Downey Jr. Many of you are likely asking who Downey Jr. is, which would explain why it’s so dated. Bruce Pritchard’s Piper imitation is the only really funny thing there. The big joke revolves around Downey’s obnoxious chain-smoking and his refusal to quit. Piper sprays him with a fire extinguisher to show him the error of his ways, but lung cancer finished the job in 2001. Sometimes there’s just no fire extinguisher large enough, I guess.  (I think this was one of the rare cases where even the celebrities were dead only a few years after the show.)  Andre the Giant v. Jake Roberts. This was the charming “Andre is afraid of snakes” storyline, and John Studd was the referee. This was going to lead to a big push for the returning Studd, with Andre presumably putting him over, but health problems forced Studd back into retirement again, and he died in 1993, along with Andre. Man, this is quite the depressing show, isn’t it? Not to mention Jake’s problems since then. Andre attacks Roberts to start and sends him into an exposed turnbuckle, then chokes away in the corner. Jake slugs back and Andre gets tied up in the ropes, as he was wont to do, allowing Jake to lay in some punishment. Andre escapes with a choke, and headbutts Jake down. He pounds away in the corner, but sells a knee that didn’t happen, and Jake comes back. That was weird. Andre goes down, but still slugs Jake out to the floor from his knees. Andre keeps knocking him off the apron, so Jake grabs the snake, triggering a fight between Studd and Andre. Then, to make it dumber, Ted Dibiase runs out and steals the snake, while Andre beats on Studd. Jake sneals his snake back and makes the save, and it’s a DQ win at 5:29. Andre was so sad to watch in these final years. -* – The Hart Foundation v. Honky Tonk Man & Greg Valentine. Talk about your filler matches. Bret starts with Honky and they fight over a lockup, and Bret slugs away on him and rolls him up for two. Atomic drop, both ways, and Honky retreats to tag Valentine. Hitman rolls him up, but Hammer blocks, so Bret tags Anvil in and he cleans house with shoulderblocks. That gets two on Valentine. Clothesline gets two. The Harts switch off on Honky and Bret drops the elbow, and suplexes him for two. Jimmy Hart distracts the ref, so the Harts grab his megaphone in retribution, nail Honky with it, and Bret gets the pin at 3:00. Like I said, filler. ¾* – Intercontinental title: Ultimate Warrior v. Rick Rude. This was the start of Rude actually being something worthwhile as a worker, to the shock of many. Warrior charges in with a shoulderblock, as Rude tried a knee to the gut, only to hit the belt. Warrior tosses him into the corner a few times, as Rude bumps like a freak. Warrior goes to a bearhug for god knows what reason, but Rude fights out by biting him. Warrior does the same right back. Backdrop and he goes for the splash, but Rude gets the knees up to block. Piledriver gets two. Jawbreaker, but Rude is too injured to swivel. Clothesline gets two. Rude goes to a surfboard, but Warrior powers out of it and clotheslines him. Warrior whips him around the ring, but misses a charge and splats in the corner. Rude goes for the Rude Awakening, but Warrior powers out of it and clotheslines him. Rude bails to escape, but Warrior tosses him back in again. He clotheslines Rude out again and tries a suplex back in, but Heenan hooks the leg and Rude wins the title at 6:19. Pretty decent power match with a finish that was still innovative in terms of never being done on PPV before and thus new to the fans. ** Rude & Warrior would actually have WAY better matches later, including a great one at Summerslam 89, where Warrior regained the belt. – Bad News Brown v. Hacksaw Duggan. It’s the show that never ends! Just like the song, except with more steroids. Can you imagine booking this many matches these days? Bad News hammers away to start, but misses a charge and Duggan slugs back. Brown takes a walk, so Duggan slingshots him back in. Brown casually pounds him down again and headbutts him, but Duggan’s head is impervious to punishment and he stays up. There are times when I yearn for hardcore rules, and this is one of them. A garbage can would really break up the monotony right about now. Brown slugs him down and Duggan bails, so Brown whips him into the post. Back in, he goes for the Ghetto Blaster, but Duggan ducks and hits the three-point stance clothesline. Brown bails, totally no-selling it, and grabs a chair, but Duggan gets the board and it’s a duel for a double-DQ at 3:46. Yay, it’s OVER. DUD – Bobby Heenan v. Terry Taylor. Heenan is still injured from Warrior beating him up after the Rude match, so it’s a quick pinfall for Taylor at 0:30 after a whip into the corner. DUD Brooklyn Brawler attacks afterwards to kick off THAT epic opening-match C-show feud. – WWF title: Randy Savage v. Hulk Hogan. Jesse’s pre-match rant for Savage and against Hogan is awesome stuff. Savage bails to start and plays some headgames, but loses a lockup. He bails again and simmers, and back in tries a headlock, but gets overpowered. He takes out his frustrations with a tirade on Elizabeth, which sets off Jesse again. Back to the headlock, but Savage decides to duck out again. Hogan chases him this time, so Savage hides behind Liz. Hogan thinks it’s unfair, but then this coming from the guy who beats up women and has no problem using weapons in a sanctioned match. Hogan now does a bit of chain wrestling to take Savage down with a headlock, but Savage suplexes out of it. Hogan pops up and starts punching, then starts on the arm, but Savage goes to the eye and heads up. Double axehandle gets two. Savage grabs an armbar and keeps Hogan on the mat, but he fights up, so Macho uses what little hair there is to regain control. Hogan pulls the tights to dump Savage, and then tosses him back in. Jesse is so on the money here, jumping all over every little thing Hogan does. Hogan rams him into the turnbuckles and clotheslines him to set up the elbowdrops. Savage kicks him in the head to come back and gets the lariat for two, however. We hit the chinlock as Hogan starts bleeding. Hulk fights out and overpowers Savage, then follows with an atomic drop, but misses the elbow. Savage nails him from behind with a knee, into a rollup for two. He whips him around as Hogan bleeds, and then stomps on the hands for good measure. Hogan revives and rams Savage into the turnbuckle, then slugs away in the corner. Corner clothesline, but he hurts his arm on the move. Psychology? In a HOGAN MATCH? He javelins Savage over the top, which draws a sympathetic Liz over to tend to him. Savage offers her a backhand, however. That’ll learn her. They brawl outside as Savage keeps on the cut, but Hogan comes back and tries to ram Savage into the post. Liz prevents it, so Savage does it to Hogan. That’s thinking. The ref has had enough of Liz, so she gets sent to the back. Savage, meanwhile, hits Hogan with the double axehandle to the floor, driving him into the railing. Back in, he necksnaps him and chokes him on the ropes, working the throat with an elbow. Kneedrop gets two. Savage moves onto the wrist tape to choke him down (impressing Jesse greatly) then just uses his hands to put him out. Hogan is dead, so Savage goes up to finish him off with the flying elbow…but Hogan kicks out at two. Shit, every time I watch it, it’s the same thing. But I can keep hoping. Hulk up, three punches, big boot, legdrop, and Hogan wins his second title at 17:53. Not really as good as the initial drama made it seem to be, but still filled with good old fashioned pro wrestling dramatics and the like. Would have been nice to get a longer heat segment for Savage and REALLY make Hogan out to be toast, however. *** The Bottom Line: Most people remember 9 as the runaway winner of worst WM ever, but this one is pretty bad, and incredibly long, filled with literally nothing but filler matches and the occasional big angle. It was like a house show from hell or something. The main event is quite good for a Hogan match, so if you’ve never seen it, it’s worth a look. The rest, not so much, except as a historical curiosity. Recommendation to avoid. (So now it’s getting worse with a redo.  What will happen when I review the FULL atrocity?  Find out now!) The SmarK Retro Re-Rant for WWE Wrestlemania V – For those who remember the fourth Wrestlemania as the WWE’s version of Heaven’s Gate in terms of length and money made, it’s got nothing on the fifth one for sheer length. It didn’t seem so long back when I first watched it, probably because I was only 15 and I had a much longer attention span for stuff like this back then. I originally ranted off the hacked-up Coliseum video version, which was missing an HOUR of stuff, so it’s nice to finally have the full PPV version in all its 220 minute glory. The length might be taxing the storage systems of 24/7, however, because there’s some pixellization every few seconds that’s kinda annoying. – By the way, if there’s formatting issues with this rant, it’s because I had to re-install OpenOffice when I upgraded to Vista this weekend, and I’m still working out the kinks and trying to get it back exactly the way I had it when I left it.  (The formatting issues are also because this is a crappy new format rant, a stylistic decision that I have since regretted more than Miz deciding not to catch R-Truth that one time.  I also regretted upgrading to Vista, although I’m cheap and don’t want to bother going to Windows 7 at this point so I’ve been using it ever since.)  – Live from Atlantic City, NJ, at Trump Plaza, owned by some guy who we probably will never hear from again. – Your hosts are Gorilla & Jesse Opening match: King Haku v. Hercules Haku gets an attack from behind to start and slugs Herc into the corner, but Jesse has no sympathy for him. Herc quickly comes back with a slam and faceplant, and a clotheslines puts Haku on the floor. Suplex back in and Herc drops elbows. Hercules, who was adopted by the MegaPowers shortly before they exploded, is like the poor kid left out in the cold in a divorce proceeding. I blame his eventual death on the angst caused by his abandonment. WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE GREEK GODS? (Man, Hercules as the third Megapower.  That was right up there with Disco Inferno joining the nWo as far as stupid ideas went.)  Anyway, Haku comes back with a cheapshot and gets a backbreaker for two. He goes to a bearhug that I know for a fact was edited out of the home video version, so already it’s like watching the director’s cut of Alexander, as I appreciate the true genius of what they were trying to say with it already. It’s like Hercules is life, and the bearhug is modern society, squeezing the breath out of us every day, man. (In all fairness, I’ve been told the director’s cut of Alexander is somewhat more worth watching than the one version I did sit through, but I’ll never spend the 4 hours to find out.)  Herc powers out and Haku chokes him on the ropes, although I’m not sure what the allegory is supposed to be there. Herc comes back with a crossbody for two, but Haku cuts off the comeback with an elbow, but then whiffs on a bodypress attempt of his own. Hercules slugs back and gets a powrslam for two, but goes up and lands on a superkick. Haku goes up and misses his own move, and Hercules finishes with a backdrop suplex. (Hercules d. Haku, suplex — pin, 6:55, **) They actually bothered editing that down for home video? Not a bad opener, but this crowd is not wrestling fans, it’s gamblers and businessmen.  (Maybe they should fly them in for John Cena matches, it might get him over.  He already tells jokes like a bad motivational speaker anyway, so this is the kind of crowd that might actually cheer for him with enough booze.)  Backstage, the coked-up Rockers give their motivational interview before they get squashed. Shawn’s voice is so wasted from partying the night before that he can barely talk. The Twin Towers v. The Rockers For some reason, “Jive Soul Bro” is edited out. Were they dumb enough not to secure the rights to their OWN music? The Rockers run away to start, and opt for a sucker punch before Shawn starts with Bossman. Bossman puts him on the top and bitchslaps him, but gets dropkicked for his troubles and Shawn hits both of them and runs away again. Over to Akeem, as Shawn mocks his dancing and then the Rockers trade off and work on the arm. Shawn has said in previous interviews that he was so drunk that he could barely stand up here, so I’d say he’s doing remarkably well thus far. The Rockers keep switching off on the arm, but Bossman gets the blind tag and they sandwich Marty to take over. Bossman gets the running choke and Akeem avalanches him on the ropes, which is ugly but effective offense. And now the Towers are all about the tag team continuity, switching off and splashing Marty in the corner in tandem. Marty fights back, but Bossman clobbers him down again and it’s over to Akeem, who accidentally runs into Bossman to allow the hot tag to Shawn. He fires away in the corner and the Rockers team up for a nice double shoulderblock that gets two on Akeem. Shawn walks into a clothesline and does a 180 sell off it, as Shawn is out to single-handedly steal the show tonight. Bossman misses a flying splash and Shawn reverses a powerbomb attempt with the help of Marty, and the Rockers team up for a pair of missile dropkicks on the Bossman as well. Shawn goes up again, but this time he falls prey to the powerbomb on the way down, and Akeem splashes him to finish. (The Twin Towers d. The Rockers, Akeem splash — pin Shawn Michaels, 8:02, **) Shawn may have been wasted, but even at 25% he’s still got enough to carry things by bumping for three.  (This rating has been remarkably consistent across all three versions, oddly enough.)  Ted Dibiase v. Brutus Beefcake Odd that they never did a full-on feud with these two, as they seemed like they’d have a good dynamic together. (Or they could team up as The Wealthy Barber!)  Brutus attacks and hiptosses Dibiase to start, and follows with a backdrop that sends Ted out of the ring to regroup. Back in, Dibiase opts for the cheapshot and throws some chops in the corner, but Beefcake comes back with slams and it’s another trip to the floor. Back in and Dibiase tries slugging it out with Beefcake, but quickly loses that battle, and it’s Plan C: Virgil trips him up and Dibiase chokes him down. Well, as Jesse would say, win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat. Dibase pounds away in the corner and elbows him down as the crowd dozes, and the fistdrop gets two. Elbow off the middle rope gets two, but Beefcake gets a quick cradle for two. They fight over a suplex and Beefcake gets that, and they clothesline each other for the double KO. Dibiase recovers first with a suplex and it’s time for the Million Dollar Dream, but Brutus makes the ropes right away. Brutus comes back and rams him into the turnbuckles, and now irony strikes Dibiase as he falls prey to a sleeper. Truly epic. Virgil distracts him and Beefcake gives chase, which results in a brawl on the floor until the inevitable double countout. (Ted Dibiase draw Brutus Beefcake, DCOR, 9:58, **) Technically fine, but the crowd was dead and there wasn’t any real flow to the match. Meanwhile, Lord Al Hayes interviews the Bushwackers at the annual brunch, and hilarity ensues. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers v. The Sheepfuckers Jesse accuses the Bushwackers of being on “the juice”, although he’s referring to booze in this case. Still, there’s an out-of-context remark for you. Rougeaus attack to save Jimmy Hart’s jacket, but they get whipped into each other and bail. Raymond offers a handshake to Luke and then jumps him, so Butch runs in and returns the favor. Battering Ram for Ramond, but Jacques saves and they bail again. The crowd won’t even respond to the Bushwackers, which at least shows they’re intelligent. The Rougeaus get a quick double-team on Luke and Ray hits him with an axehandle off the middle, and we get a quick double-team clothesline for two. They do the abdominal stretch / superkick spot, and that gets no reaction from the crowd of corpses either. Bushwackers sneak in with a Battering Ram and double gutbuster while they celebrate. (The Bushwackers d. The Rougeaus, Luke gutbuster — pin Raymond, 5:10, DUD) Wasn’t even much of a comedy match. Mr. Perfect v. The Blue Blazer Debut of the classic tights for Hennig here, as he had been wearing short ones up until this point. Perfect grabs a headlock to start and hiptosses the Blazer, and they trade slaps in the corner. Blazer reverses out of a hiptoss attempt and slams him, and dropkicks him to the floor, following with a baseball slide. To the floor as Blazer throws some forearms out there, and he works the arm back in the ring. Perfect tries his own hiptoss reversal, but Blazer does his classic block-and-reverse of THAT, and a dropkick and backbreaker gets two. Northern Lights suplex gets two. To the top, but a flying splash hits knees, and Perfect goes to work on the back. Perfect charges and hits boot, and Blazer follows with a powerslam for two and gets the nice belly to belly for two. Crucifix gets two. He argues with the ref, however, and Perfect clobbers him and finishes with the Perfectplex. (Mr. Perfect d. The Blue Blazer, Perfectplex — pin, 5:51, **1/4) Not the classic I remembered as a kid.  (Yup, that one keeps dropping too.)  And now, just because the show wasn’t going to run long enough as it is, Jesse stops to pose for the fans. I have no idea what the point of this was. Speaking of pointless, let’s take you back to the annual 5K run, which Mr. Fuji cheats to win. Well, that’s why the good lord invented fast forward. And speaking of fast-forward, here’s Run DMC, and there they go. World tag team titles: Demolition v. The Powers of Pain & Mr Fuji Oh good grief, we’ve apparently lost all the songs from the Piledriver record, as “Demolition” is wiped from history, too. OK, who sued and won this time? Ax pounds on Warlord to start, finally getting a teenie reaction from the crowd, and the Demos add a double-team beating and Smash chinlocks him. Ax adds his own chinlock. You know, they must have sweetened the video version’s crowd noise, because I don’t remember the show being this dead. I mean, this crowd isn’t popping for ANYTHING. Barbarian comes in and gets smashed by Smash, and axed by Ax. Smash elbows him down and they add a double-elbow, and Ax goes to the neck vice. Barbarian comes back with a chop to Smash, but Warlord can’t follow up, which results in the champs hitting him with a double clothesline. Ax goes after Fuji, however, and gets hit from behind to turn the tide. Fuji finally tags in and chops Ax down, then adds his falling headbutt. Over to Barbarian, who starts working the back and boots Ax down. Jumping clothesline and Warlord comes in and stays on the back, choking him down for two. Barbarian powerslams him into a Fuji flying splash, but it misses and it looks like the hot tag until Warlord cuts it off. Smash gets it anyway, although the crowd doesn’t care, and he clotheslines everyone. They clothesline him on the top rope and Smash gets two, but Fuji comes in, armed with salt. And maybe pepper, I’m not sure. However, it goes awry, and Demolition Decapitation ends it. (Demolition d. The Powers of Pain & Fuji, Ax Decapitation — pin Fuji, 8:45, *) Well, this was watchable, I suppose. I can definitely understand the crowd apathy to the guys punching and kicking each other for 8 minutes, however. Dino Bravo v. Ronnie Garvin Jimmy Snuka makes an utterly pointless appearance after the introductions. (Don’t forget that Tamina is his daughter!)  Bravo attacks to start and chops Garvin down, and grabs a quick bearhug. Shoulderblock gets two. Garvin blocks a powerbomb attempt by slugging Bravo down, and a splash gets two. Sleeper and piledriver get two, and he throws chops in the corner. He slugs away in the corner, and Bravo brings him out with an atomic drop, and the sideslam finishes quick. (Dino Bravo d. Ronnie Garvin, sideslam — pin, 3:55, 1/2*) Garvin seemed game, but this was going nowhere fast. The Brainbusters v. Strike Force Martel grabs a headlock on Tully to start, and then fights off a double-team attempt in the heel corner. Strike Force adds a double dropkick to put the heels on the floor, but Arn quickly regroups. Martel faceplants him for two and they fight over the knucklelock, but Arn catches him with a bodyscissors. Martel wisely tries to turn him over into the Boston Crab, but Tully pokes him in the eyes to break it up. Jesse’s all about that one. Tito comes in and it’s old double figure-four spot, which the Busters quickly escape from. Tully and Tito do a bridge/backslide spot, which gets two for Tito, and he cradles Tully for two. Blind tag, but Tito hits Martel with the forearm by mistake, and Tully dropkicks Tito to take over. Arn comes in and elbows him in the gut, but Tito fights them off and goes for a tag…but Martel is being a drama queen and selling the “injury”. Tito keeps fighting with a sunset flip on Arn for two, but Tully breaks it up and gets two. Tito gets a bodypress for two, but Arn slows him down with a rear chinlock. Tito fights out and goes for the tag again, but Martel isn’t feeling it and walks away from the tag. And the match. Typical Frenchman, running away from a fight. The Busters go to work on Tito. Tito fights them off, but goes for a monkey flip on Tully and gets splatted as a result, and it’s ye olde Spike Piledriver to end his comeback. (The Brainbusters d. Strike Force, Anderson piledriver — pin Santana, 9:13, **1/2) This crowd is really bringing me down, man. This one actually seemed better in clipped form, with better crowd reactions dubbed in. It’s late and I’m tired, so I’m skipping through the Piper/Brother Love/Morton Downey Jr. trainwreck. Hey, it’s my column. This was definitely 15 minutes that could have been excised quite easily from the show. And now, a sneak preview of No Holds Barred. Thank god this is cut out of the video version. Sean Mooney interviews Donald Trump, back when he was all wooden and couldn’t act. Oh, wait. Apparently we’re in an intermission now, because we go into time-filler overdrive with a recap of the Megapowers angle and a rather lengthy Hogan interview. Jake Roberts v. Andre The Giant Special ref here is John Studd. Andre attacks to start and rams Jake into a conveniently missing turnbuckle, and quickly tries choking him out. Jake goes for the snake, but Andre grabs him in a chokehold again. Jesse has a funny line here, noting that David beat Goliath with a foreign object. That’s a wrestling mentality for you. Andre leans on Jake in the corner, which is about as lazy as you can get, offensively speaking. More choking and Andre uses his butt as a weapon, and chokes away again. Jake slugs back and Andre gets tied in the ropes as a result, which allows Jake to do his own choking. But not for long, because Andre is the master of choking. And choke he does! And did I mention the choking? Because there’s quite a lot of it. Jake comes back with punches and sends Andre into the bare turnbuckle, but Andre chops him right out of the ring. Andre won’t let him in, and the camera’s closeup of the ring apron reveals that they were so cheap as to recycle the skirts from Wrestlemania IV, simply by removing the “I” from the roman numeral. Studd and Andre get into a shoving match, while Ted Dibiase steals the snake, and Andre attacks Studd to draw the rather obvious DQ and set up the big feud that never happened. The recovered snake sends Andre fleeing. (Jake Roberts d. Andre The Giant, DQ, 9:39, DUD) Studd’s face turn just didn’t work, and Andre was pretty far gone by this point. The Hart Foundation v. Honky Tonk Man & Greg Valentine Jimmy Hart’s team were not yet Rhythm & Blues, and this was just thrown together as yet another in the endless parade of matches to fill time before the main event. Bret starts with Honky and rolls him up for two, and follows with an atomic drop both ways to send him scurrying back to the corner. Hammer comes in and takes the atomic drop, and Bret dropkicks him, which sets up the pinball spot in the face corner. Nice timing as Bret whips Hammer and then slingshots Anvil in on the rebound for a shoulderblock, which gets two. Bret with the backbreaker and middle rope elbow, but it misses and Valentine drops his own elbows. They do some choking in the corner and Honk drops a fist and a series of elbows, and it’s over to Hammer for a top rope forearm and an elbow to the back of the head. He gets his own atomic drop and Honky adds Shake Rattle N Roll, but he allows Valentine to try the figure-four instead of pinning him. Bret thumbs the eye to block, so Hammer keeps coming with a gutbuster and brings Honky back in. Bret fights back with a crossbody for two, but lands on the floor when Honky kicks out, and it’s back to Hammer again. Bret tries a rollup, but actually just fakes him out and makes the hot tag to Neidhart instead. Shoulderblock on Valentine gets two. Nice clothesline gets two. Hammer thumbs the eyes to stop the offense, but Honky misses a fistdrop and the Harts go to work on him, as Bret drops his elbow and adds a suplex for two. Valentine saves and cleans house, but Neidhart steals the megaphone and Bret nails Honky Tonk with it to finish. Bret screwed Wayne Ferris! (The Hart Foundation d. Honky Tonk & Valentine, Bret megaphone — pin Honky, 7:39, **1/2) This was actually quite a solid tag match in its uncut form, although the finish should have been stronger. WWF Intercontinental title: Ultimate Warrior v. Rick Rude Common sense at the time said that Warrior squashes him like a bug, but in hindsight Rude needed to go over in order to get to the next level. Rude tries to knee Warrior in the gut on the way in, but Warrior is still wearing the belt and thus outsmarts him. Warrior tosses Rude around like a ragdoll as Rude is all about the bumps tonight, and the crowd FINALLY wakes up. Warrior smartly opts to whip Rude into the corners without following up by charging, and then calmly bearhugs him. He’s thinking for once. Rude goes to the eyes to break and then scoots up top with a missile dropkick, but Warrior no-sells and slams him instead. Man, Rude is just bouncing around out there like a superball tonight. Back to the bearhug, but this time the ref prevents Rude from going to the eyes,which offends Jesse on several levels. Finally Rude slugs out on his own merits, so Warrior bites him and adds a backdrop. Big splash hits knee, however, and Rude takes over. Piledriver gets two for Rude. Sadly, his back is so injured that he can’t even swivel. Clothesline gets two. Russian legsweep gets two. Rude goes to a surfboard, but Warrior fights to the ropes and hulks up. Shoulderblock and faceplant set up a backbreaker, and he follows with a clothesline after a weird blown spot in the corner. He goes back to whipping Rude around, this time following up with a charge, and missing as a result. Rude goes for the Rude Awakening, but Warrior powers out of it and clotheslines him again. Rude bails and Warrior sends him back in, then dumps him with a clothesline. He suplexes Rude back in, but Heenan grabs the foot for the famous finish, and we have an upset, to the delight of Jesse. (Rick Rude d. Ultimate Warrior, outside interference — pin, 9:41, ***) They would have better matches, but this was the first sign that Rude was more than the pretty boy arrogant heel in the ring, as he more than carried his end of the match and actually got the crowd into it. Bad News Brown v. Hacksaw Jim Duggan To put this in perspective, we are now at the three hour mark for the show, which is beyond all sanity for a crowd this dead with an undercard this meaningless. Brown attacks to start, but Duggan slugs back and clotheslines him out of the ring. Brown regroups and lays Duggan out with a forearm back in the ring, and slugs away in the corner. Duggan fires back with shoulders in the corner, so Brown slugs him down again. They brawl outside as Jesse notes that if one of them tries a hold, they might win it. Brown wins that fight and tries the Ghetto Blaster, but Duggan comes back with the three-point stance and they fight outside again, as Brown grabs a chair and Duggan grabs his 2×4. (Jim Duggan draw Bad News Brown, DDQ, 3:46, 1/2*) C’mon, just get to the main event already. Red Rooster v. Bobby Heenan One last quickie before the match people actually paid to see. I think someone should sue and make them dub out the Rooster’s ridiculous theme song. Rooster whips Bobby into the corner and pins him. (Red Rooster d. Bobby Heenan, corner whip — pin, 0:28, DUD) This was what it was. WWF World title: Randy Savage v. Hulk Hogan This of course was the biggest match in the history of history at that point, drawing millions of dollars on PPV after being built up for years. Savage dodges Hogan and plays some mindgames to start, and Hogan overpowers him on the lockup. Savage grabs a headlock, but gets overpowered again and bails. As any good man would do, he hides behind Liz, and Jesse approves. Back in, Hogan takes him down with a drop toehold to meet his wrestling quota for the night, but Savage suplexes out of his headlock. Hogan quickly recovers and slugs away, and starts working on the arm, so Savage goes to the eyes and drops the axehandle for two. Savage takes it to the mat with an armbar. Some really slick hair-pulling behind the ref’s back follows, but it’s wasted when Hogan dumps him to break the hold. That was some quality cheating by Savage. Back in, Savage eats turnbuckle and Hogan drops him with a clothesline, into the elbows, but Savage clotheslines him for two. Savage grabs a chinlock while Hogan bleeds, but he fights out and blocks a big boot with an atomic drop. Hogan misses the elbow and Savage sends him into the corner with a high knee, and that gets two. Savage goes to work on the cut and stomps on the fingers, but that just gets Hogan mad, and he comes back with some shots in the corner and the corner clothesline. Hogan, sportsman, dumps Savage over the top and Liz tries to assist him, but Savage is an independent guy and doesn’t want help. Hogan follows him out for the brawl, showing he was probably in cahoots with Liz all along, and she prevents him from sending Savage into the post, which allows Savage to turn the tables and give Hogan the same treatment. Liz keeps getting involved, so the ref sends her back to the dressing room as we hit a dead spot. With no more distractions, Savage gets down to business, dropping Hogan with the axehandle to the floor before they head back in. Necksnap and Savage goes to work on the throat, choking him on the ropes and adding an elbow to the throat. Kneedrop gets two. Savage goes for broke, choking him out with the tape, and things look bad for the challenger. He goes with the straight choke and heads up to finish with the big elbow, and really I can’t stand to finish the review because it just hurts every damn time I watch it. (Hulk Hogan d. Randy Savage, legdrop — pin, 17:53, ***) It was somewhat epic, but the crowd was just so dead and they couldn’t live up to the hype no matter what they went with. This one was such a heated feud that it needed something more akin to the current main event brawling style, and really they just went out there and did a Hogan match. Of course, at the time it made perfect sense to put Hogan over clean and send Savage down a different path with Sherri, but my god, Savage was on such a hot streak as a heel that they could have drawn MILLIONS by screwing Hulk out of the belt here and building up the chase to the rematch at Summerslam. But hindsight is 20/20 and all that. The Pulse: Wow, editing really is important, because the home video version is eons better than the ultra-dull and seemingly endless live PPV version, which stretches 3 hours and 40 minutes and feels like it’s never going to end. Still, bless 24/7 for at least giving fans to see the uncut version for themselves. Probably one of the worst Wrestlemanias in this form, although the shorter version that used to be more widely available is quite enjoyable for the most part. Strong recommendation to avoid.

Wrestlemania Countdown: 5

(And now for your reading pleasure, THREE different versions of the same crappy show!) The Netcop Retro Rant for Wrestlemania V – Live from Atlantic City, New Jersey, just like the year before, original airdate April 2/1989. (Memories of this show:  Sitting in the upper deck of the PNE Coliseum in Vancouver with a bored crowd only there to see Hogan v. Savage.  As I recall, they didn’t even have extra screens set up for this, they just showed it on the scoreboard screens.) – Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura.Opening match: King Haku v. Hercules. Haku was still being semi-pushed and Hercules was in his eternal state of limbo. It goes back and forth for about two minutes and then Herc hits a belly-to-back for the pin. This was severely clipped because I remember it being longer and more boring while watching it live in 89. The clipped version was pretty watchable. **1/2  (That was some succinct recapping right there.  And yeah, turns out the full version really was terrible.)  The Rockers v. Big Bossman & Akeem. The Rockers were hungover like shit here, and Jannetty was stoned. (Shawn’s brutally honest recollections of this match, and especially the night before, on his various shoot interviews are all pretty funny.)  Rockers stay out of the way with quick moves until Jannetty gets caught with a bearhug and pounded by the Towers. Michaels gets the hot tag and the Rockers double team Akeem with a double shoulderblock. Akeem catches Michaels with a deadly clothesline that draws “OOooohs”. Rockers come back with a double dropkick from the top on Bossman, but Michaels takes another shitkicking and gets powerbombed off a rana attempt, then splashed and pinned by Akeem. Fun big v. little match. **  (I find it weird that they really didn’t have any specific plans for the Towers after their part in the Megapowers split.  They went over so strong here that it should have been a tag title push as a result, and they just kind of tooled around the midcard as house show challengers for Demolition before breaking up.)  Brutus Beefcake v. Ted Dibiase. Stalling to start, then a slugfest and Dibiase takes over and destroys Beefcake. Beefcake escapes the Million Dollar Dream and comes back, hooking his own sleeper. Virgil baits him out of the ring, Dibiase chases, and we have a double-countout. Standard PrimeTime Wrestling main event. *1/4 Virgil gets beat up after the decision. This really had no place on PPV except to remind everyone that both guys are still around.  (1989’s Kane v. Orton, in other words, except that we didn’t get three rematches with escalating stips on the next PPVs afterwards.)  The Fabulous Rougeaus v. The Sheepwhackers. Case in point, this match. Gorilla and Jesse have a hilarious discussion about which of them was retired first. Rougeaus double-team Luke right off the bat and control for most of the match. Luke does something vaguely resembling selling. Jacques tries to start a “USA” chant but the crowd isn’t buying. Rougeaus celebrate after their abdominal-stretch/superkick combo and Butch sneaks in and they do the battering ram and stomach breaker on Jacques for the upset win. 1/4*  (Not really an upset since the Rougeaus weren’t winning much at this point anyway.)  Curt Hennig v. The Blue Blazer. This was the debut of the style of tights Hennig still wears to this day. (Well, not anymore.  Sad face.)  Hennig pulls out the first MAN-SIZED bump, going over the top on a dropkick, then Blazer baseball slides him. Back in and Owen with some more wrestling sequences to keep control. Nasty spot as Owen goes for a Money Shot but lands, unsupported, right on Hennig’s knees. Match is clipped to Owen getting a crucifix for two, but Hennig gets the Perfectplex for the win. Good match. ***1/2  (Eh, not that good.)  – Gratuitous washed-up celebrity appearance: Run DMC does a song. I’ve got that damn DX remix stuck in my head yet again now. (Exactly what this bloated show needed:  Pop culture footnotes using up TV time to rap for no reason.  Run DMC at least ended up coming back years later and even got into the Hall of Fame [Rock N Roll, not WWE], but they were definitely last year’s news at this point.  Now Tone Loc, that’s what all the kids were into in 1989.)  WWF World tag team title, handicap match: Demolition v. The Powers of Pain & Mr. Fuji. The Demos were at the height of their power and popularity here. The match itself was set up by the Demos getting double-crossed by Fuji at the Survivor Series. (More evidence of the decompressed nature of the time, as this came five months after their initial angle.)  Standard Demos-Powers match, with Fuji of course getting cheap shots in now and then. Crowd doesn’t care about this one. Fuji misses a big move off the top ad Ax makes the hot tag to Smash. Chaos erupts and Fuji goes for the CEREMONIAL SALT OF DOOM, which misses, and Fuji is left alone with the Demos. Mr. Fuji, RIP. Demos retain. 1/4* – Dino Bravo v. Ronnie Garvin. After the intros, Finkel introduces Jimmy Snuka, who wanders out, takes a bow, then leaves. Well, that was pointless.  (Indeed, what a weird interlude that was.  However, I’d like to think that somewhere teenaged Michael Cole was getting excited that Snuka had a daughter named Tamina.)  Much like this match, as Bravo proceeds to squash Garvin. Garvin comes back with some token offense but Bravo inevitably gets the side suplex for the pin. Not horrible or anything. *  (Yes it was!  Geez, 1999 Scott, this is WRESTLEMANIA!  Step up the snark!)  The Brainbusters v. Strike Force. Martel had his ass kicked by Demolition so severely that he was put on the shelf for 10 months, and this is his comeback match. Fantastic little NWA-style match to start, as Strike Force pulls out some great double-teams and get their finishers on the Busters early. Santana accidentally hits Martel and knocks him off the apron, and Rick proceeds to do a 5-minute melodramatic oversell of a shot to the head. But there would be a point. Tito takes an absolute shitkicking from the heels as they cheat outrageously. Tito slams Arn off the top and crawls over with his last breath to tag Martel…who promptly walks out on him, drawing a huge heel pop. The result is academic, as the Busters finish Tito with a SWEET spike piledriver for the pin. Bitchin match. ***3/4 – Piper’s Pit with Brother Love. Piper is introduced first with a huge introduction from Finkel, but Brother Love comes out wearing a kilt, and proceeds to do the best Piper imitation I’ve ever heard, “interviewing” himself. Morton Downey Jr. comes out next and runs down Brother Love while puffing on cigarettes non-stop. If you don’t know who Downey is, don’t worry, you’re not alone — his fifteen minutes of fame were up faster than John Wayne Bobbit’s. (That was a timely reference in 1999, more or less.)  Piper finally comes out and takes over, humiliating Love and ripping off his kilt, which sends him scurrying back to the dressing room. That leaves Downey, who has been throwing cancer sticks at Piper the whole time. Downey gets a wicked verbal jab in at Piper. Piper: “Why do you call yourself Morton Downey Jr.?” Morton: “That’s the name your mama gave me.” More sparring, and after a bunch of smoke being blown in Piper’s face, Piper finds a fire extinguisher and sprays it on Downey. Pretty funny stuff.  (But again, what was the fucking POINT?) – Jake Roberts v. Andre the Giant. This was during the “Andre is afraid of snakes” period. John Studd is the special referee. They lumber around for a while and then overbooking takes over as the snake gets pulled out and Ted Dibiase runs in. Studd brawls with Andre and Dibiase brawls with Roberts and the whole thing is a big wash. DUD – The Hart Foundation v. Greg Valentine & Honky Tonk Man. Another filler match. Things go back and forth aimlessly for a bit and then a pier-six erupts, during which Bret gets the megaphone and bops HTM for the pin. Bleh. 1/2* – Intercontinental title match: The Ultimate Warrior v. Rick Rude. (I was totally not buying Rude as any kind of a contender at this point, which is probably why it was such a masterstroke to put him over Warrior.)  Longer than usual match for Warrior, as he misses a splash and hits Rude’s knees, giving Rude control. BEARHUG OF DOOM bores the crowd before Warrior makes his superman(iac) comeback, clotheslining Rude over the top rope. He suplexes Rude back in, but Heenan pulls out the most cliched cheap screwjob in history (although I’d never seen it at the time), hooking Warrior’s leg and resulting in a Rude pinfall, much to the disgust of the crowd. Who would have EVER thought that Warrior would lose at that point? Heenan gets clobbered by the Warrior after the match, which comes back to haunt him later. 1/2* – Hacksaw Duggan v. Bad News Brown. The infamous “snot hanging out of his nose” match, so named because Duggan has, well, I’m sure you can guess. A typical Duggan brawl, once again to fill time in an already bloated PPV, which ends in both guys grabbing weapons for a double DQ. Whatever. DUD  (Sadly this should have been pretty awesome given the brawling abilities of both guys.  As a house show main event with 10 minutes and a bunch of garbagy spots, they could have had something.)  Bobby Heenan v. Terry Taylor. Because Heenan was beat up by Warrior, the match lasts 10 seconds as Heenan misses a charge and gets pinned by Taylor. DUD. The Brooklyn Brawler attacks Taylor after the match.  (Did we REALLY need this here?  Would the bored casino zombies have rioted if they only got 120 matches instead of 121?)  WWF World title match: Randy Savage v. Hulk Hogan. Miss Elizabeth is in a neutral corner. And one year after winning the title in his building, it all comes full circle as Savage defends against Hogan. Btw, the champion should NEVER enter first. Jesse points that out, too, a couple of minutes after I typed that. Savage is just drawing unreal heel heat. He’s my hero. Chase erupts during the feeling out period, and Savage hides behind Liz. I’m surprised Hogan didn’t hit her. (I think I was confusing him with Lex Luger.)  Hogan tries some wrestling (!) and Savage cheats like a motherfucker to take over. Hairpulling, thumb to the eye, you name it. Scott Steiner, take note, that is the proper way to work it in. Savage works on the arm until Hogan tosses him out of the ring to break. Hogan comes back with his limited offense but puts his head down and Savage clobbers him, and Hogan blades. Another mini-comeback by Hogan fails and Savage knees Hogan into the corner. Jesse is in his glory cheering for Savage. Hogan hulks up and does the corner comeback, but his arm is still hurting. Savage takes a MAN-SIZED bump as Hogan slams him over the top to the floor. Liz helps him up and Savage takes a swing at her. Hogan and Savage brawl on the floor, and Hogan tries to do a battering ram job on Savage into the post. Liz blocks his path and Hogan ends up getting shoved into the post. Savage starts jawing with Liz, and Hebner finally has had enough and sends her back to the dressing room. Savage drops the double-axehandle to Hogan, ramming his head into the barricade. Crowd is getting into Savage. Necksnap and elbow on the apron throatfirst to work on the neck, then a kneedrop. Only gets two. Back to the Memphis stuff as Savage chokes Hulk out with the tape. Again, if used in moderation, it works. Savage chokes Hulk out, and then drops the big elbow…but Hogan no-sells. Hulk up. THREE PUNCHES OF DOOM, then the big foot, and the STINKY GIANT-KILLING LEGDROP and Hogan has his precious title back for a second time. “The crowd goes nuts” is putting it mildly. I was totally upset by this match the first time I saw it, but the more I watch it from a distance, the more I like it. I think it stands as one of Hogan’s best matches. **** Jesse goes off on a shoot-like rant during the posedown about what an egomaniac Hogan is and how he’ll stoop to any level to get his own way. Amen, Jess. The Bottom Line: Hey, cut out the filler and you’ve got three killer matches and some fun stuff. A truly epic show to end the year-long Megapowers storyline and send everyone home happy. Hogan *had* to go over, no other ending would be justifiable. (Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Savage was on fire as a heel, they should have had Liz’s involvement lead to the DQ finish so that Savage could continue running roughshod with the title.  Then Hogan could get his big win at Summerslam instead.)  I liked the show, others disagree. I’m sure I’ll get disagreement for my Wrestlemania VI rant, which is coming up in the next few days, too. Recommended show. (And now, a SECOND version of the Coliseum video rant done a few years later, as I’m now doing proper match times and recaps.)  The SmarK Retro Re-Rant for Wrestlemania V – This is the hacked-up Coliseum Video version I’m reviewing, for those who like to keep track of these things and may wonder why the matches are shorter than they remember. – Live from Atlantic City, NJ. – Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse Ventura. – Opening match: King Haku v. Hercules. Kind of an odd choice for an opener. Hercules was coming off his face turn after being “bought” by Ted Dibiase and started sucking up to the Megapowers for the rub, until they self-destructed. Whoops. Haku attacks from behind to start, but Herc comes back with a hiptoss and a slam. Faceplant and he goes after Heenan, but of course gets jumped. Back in, he comes back with a kneelift and some clotheslines, making me think that Haku’s whole heat segment was edited out. Powerslam gets two. Herc goes up but gets superkicked on the way down, and Haku follows with a flying headbutt that misses. Herc finishes with a backdrop suplex at 2:52. This was edited down to nothing, basically. ½* – Big Bossman & Akeem v. The Rockers. We’ll just steer clear of the whole “Twin Towers” name, for obvious reasons of good taste. This was Shawn’s Wrestlemania debut. The Rockers dodge the big guys to start and then knock them off the apron with elbows. Shawn claimed in a shoot interview that he was stoned and drunk off his gourd for this match. Bossman powers Shawn up to the top, but Marty distracts him and allows Shawn to hit a missile dropkick. Shawn uses speed to hit both heels, and Marty comes in to work on Akeem’s arm. Akeem makes the blind tag to Bossman, who catches Marty in a bearhug, and they sandwich Marty with a splash. Ouch. Bossman gets the rope straddle and Akeem splashes Marty on the ropes and gets…funky? Bossman splashes Marty in the corner, and then Akeem splashes Bossman for added weight. That’s pretty innovative. Bossman pounds him down and rings his ears, and Akeem comes in, but hits Bossman by mistake. Hot tag Shawn, and he slugs away on Akeem. The Rockers do some double-teaming as they whip Akeem around the ring and hit a double-shoulderblock for two. Akeem shrugs it off and hits Shawn with a vicious clothesline, but Bossman misses a top rope splash and Shawn gets two. Shawn goes for a rana, and Marty trips up Bossman to help with the move, and the Rockers both go up for a double dropkick. That gets two. Akeem finally tosses Marty for lack of anything better to do with him, and Bossman reverses another rana attempt from Shawn with a powerbomb, and Akeem kills him dead with a splash at 6:58. Fun, fast-paced big v. little match with some crazy bumping from the Rockers. ** – Ted Dibiase v. Brutus Beefcake. Dibiase’s Million Dollar Belt was the consolation prize for not winning the WWF title at Wrestlemania IV. I’m sure that helped him sleep at night. Beefcake’s push was somewhat stalled at this point, as he was floating aimlessly in the midcard. Much like most of the people on this show. Beefcake gets a cheapshot to start and backdrops Dibiase twice, and Ted bails. Back in, they slug it out, and Beefcake wins that fairly handily until Virgil trips him up. Dibiase does some choking as Jesse, future leader of a state, declares that “if you can’t win fair, cheat”. Somehow you KNEW he’d end up as a politician. Fistdrop gets two. Clothesline sets up an elbow off the middle rope that takes FOREVER. That would have been an easy edit. That gets two. He puts his head down, however, and Beefcake gets two off a cradle. Dibiase comes back with a suplex and gets the Million Dollar Dream, but Beefcake makes the ropes. Dibiase won’t break, so the ref pulls him off, and Beefcake makes the comeback. Dibiase eats some turnbuckle and Beefcake follows with the sleeper, but Virgil distracts him and they brawl outside for the double countout at 6:26. LAAAAAAAME. Poor Ted, in the World title finals one year and fighting a barber third from the bottom the next. It was actually going along fine before the rather abrupt finish. *3/4 – The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers v. The Bushwhackers. The Bushwhackers were actually fairly new and novel at this point in terms of their usage in the WWF. Bushwhackers go after Jimmy’s coat to start, but the Rougeaus save it. Whew. They quickly lay out Luke and double-team him on a Boston crab, then bring him into their corner and Ray whips Luke into the corner. He goes up to the middle with a double sledge, and Jacques comes in with a back elbow, and the Rougeaus get something vaguely resembling a double clothesline. A double elbow sets up Jacques’ abdominal stretch, which is aided by Raymond’s superkick to the gut. The Bushwhackers break up their celebrating with a battering ram, and the double gutbuster gives Luke the pin at 3:57. Next, please. ½* – Mr. Perfect v. The Blue Blazer. If there was one gimmick I never wanted to see again, it’s the Blazer. Such is life. Perfect starts with some chops, but Blazer reverses a hiptoss into a pair of slams and a dropkick that puts Perfect on the floor. Blazer follows with a baseball slide and they head back in. Blazer dodges him in the corner and gets a hiptoss and another slam. Another dropkick sets up a backbreaker, for two. Armbar takedown gets one. Blazer goes up, but hits knees on a splash, and we have an obvious edit. Blazer gets a crucifix for two, but Perfect lays him out with a clothesline and it’s the Perfectplex to finish at 3:16. Brutally clipped, but the full version is a really good match. *1/2  (That’s quite the drop in match rating from my original rant.)  – We’ll skip over the Run-DMC appearance. Man, another dead person making an appearance. – WWF tag titles: Demolition v. The Powers of Pain & Mr. Fuji. This was the peak for Demolition’s popularity, after the double-turn with the Powers at Survivor Series. Warlord starts pounding on Ax, but gets it back in spades. Smash comes in and it’s CLUBBERING TIME. Warlord powers him into the heel corner, however, necessitating Smash fighting out. No problem, however. Back to the Demo corner, as Ax comes in with a clothesline on Barbarian, but Barbarian wins a slugfest with Smash. Back to the heel corner, as Warlord uses the CLUBBING FOREARMS, but gets nowhere, with Demolition quickly getting a double-team clothesline on him. However, Ax turns his back on Fuji and gets attacked by the Powers, and he’s YOUR face-in-peril. Fuji comes in and they work Ax over with a variety of clubbing moves. Barbarian gets a shoulderblock, and Warlord boots Ax down for two. Barbarian powerslams him and tags Fuji in, but he misses an elbow from the top. Warlord cuts off any potential tag, however, with a slam. Ax fights back, however, and makes the hot tag to Smash. Punches fly and Smash slams both Powers, and the Demos get a double-team necksnap on Warlord for two. It’s BONZO GONZO and Fuji throws salt at Smash, but misses and hits Warlord, and the Demos finish with Decapitation on Fuji at 7:13. Punchy kicky crappy. *1/4 – Dino Bravo v. Rugged Ron Garvin. Weird moment as Jimmy Snuka is re-introduced out of nowhere and does a lap of the ring after the ring introductions of these guys. (Fun fact:  Snuka now has a daughter who wrestles as a WWE sports entertainer, and her name is Tamina.)  Bravo lays out Garvin to start and drops an elbow, and goes to work on the back, then clubs him down. He goes to the bearhug and overpowers him for two. Garvin blocks a powerbomb and falls on top for two, however. Hands of Stone gets two. Garvin lays in chops and another knockout punch gets two. Sleeper, but Bravo makes the ropes. Piledriver is reversed by Bravo, but Garvin hangs on with a sunset flip for two. Garvin hits him with chops and pounds away in the corner, but Bravo comes out with an atomic drop and the sideslam finishes at 3:42. Who forgot to tell Garvin that Wrestlemania used to be about dogging it and blowing up 30 seconds in? Match wasn’t any GOOD, but Garvin actually seemed motivated for some bizarre reason. * – Strike Force v. The Brainbusters. Martel was returning here after getting put out of commission by Demolition a year earlier. Martel starts with Tully and they work off a headlock, but Arn quickly knees Martel in the back. Martel fights out of the corner and Strike Force cleans house with dropkicks. Arn comes in and puts his head down, and Martel faceplants him for two. They do a knucklelock and Martel holds him on the mat, but Arn turns it into a bodyscissors. Martel turns him over into a Boston Crab, however, which is a nice counter. Tully thumbs him in the eye to break it up, drawing instant approval from Jesse. Santana tags in for a figure-four, and it’s the old double figure-fours spot. Yeah, but Martel & Santana are SO not the Rock N Rolls. Santana and Tully do a pinfall reversal sequence, but Arn saves. Tito cradles Tully for two. Martel comes in and Tito hits him with a flying forearm off a blind tag, by accident, and Martel is out on the floor. The Brainbusters now take over, as Arn pounds Tito and they work him over in the corner. Tito fights them off and goes for the tag, but Arn cuts it off. Sunset flip by Tito, but Arn tags Tully to escape and Blanchard gets two. Tito comes back with a cross body out of the corner for two, but the heels cut off the tag again. Arn goes to the rear chinlock, but Tito fights out, then charges and hits boot. Arn goes up, but gets slammed off, and Tito finally crawls over to his corner…but Martel is still selling the “injury”. Typical Quebecer drama queen. Tully keeps pounding on Tito, as Martel decides to take a walk, and the Busters kick the crap out of Santana and finish with the spike piledriver at 7:45. Felt like they were trying for an NWA-ish angle, but the match wasn’t long enough and there wasn’t enough heat on Santana for it to work within the context of the match. Martel turned heel in the post-match interview and became the Model soon after. **1/2  (Another conspicuous quality drop following a redo of the rant. ) – We blissfully skip past the dated and now-painfully unfunny segment with Roddy Piper, Brother Love, and Morton Downey Jr. Many of you are likely asking who Downey Jr. is, which would explain why it’s so dated. Bruce Pritchard’s Piper imitation is the only really funny thing there. The big joke revolves around Downey’s obnoxious chain-smoking and his refusal to quit. Piper sprays him with a fire extinguisher to show him the error of his ways, but lung cancer finished the job in 2001. Sometimes there’s just no fire extinguisher large enough, I guess.  (I think this was one of the rare cases where even the celebrities were dead only a few years after the show.)  Andre the Giant v. Jake Roberts. This was the charming “Andre is afraid of snakes” storyline, and John Studd was the referee. This was going to lead to a big push for the returning Studd, with Andre presumably putting him over, but health problems forced Studd back into retirement again, and he died in 1993, along with Andre. Man, this is quite the depressing show, isn’t it? Not to mention Jake’s problems since then. Andre attacks Roberts to start and sends him into an exposed turnbuckle, then chokes away in the corner. Jake slugs back and Andre gets tied up in the ropes, as he was wont to do, allowing Jake to lay in some punishment. Andre escapes with a choke, and headbutts Jake down. He pounds away in the corner, but sells a knee that didn’t happen, and Jake comes back. That was weird. Andre goes down, but still slugs Jake out to the floor from his knees. Andre keeps knocking him off the apron, so Jake grabs the snake, triggering a fight between Studd and Andre. Then, to make it dumber, Ted Dibiase runs out and steals the snake, while Andre beats on Studd. Jake sneals his snake back and makes the save, and it’s a DQ win at 5:29. Andre was so sad to watch in these final years. -* – The Hart Foundation v. Honky Tonk Man & Greg Valentine. Talk about your filler matches. Bret starts with Honky and they fight over a lockup, and Bret slugs away on him and rolls him up for two. Atomic drop, both ways, and Honky retreats to tag Valentine. Hitman rolls him up, but Hammer blocks, so Bret tags Anvil in and he cleans house with shoulderblocks. That gets two on Valentine. Clothesline gets two. The Harts switch off on Honky and Bret drops the elbow, and suplexes him for two. Jimmy Hart distracts the ref, so the Harts grab his megaphone in retribution, nail Honky with it, and Bret gets the pin at 3:00. Like I said, filler. ¾* – Intercontinental title: Ultimate Warrior v. Rick Rude. This was the start of Rude actually being something worthwhile as a worker, to the shock of many. Warrior charges in with a shoulderblock, as Rude tried a knee to the gut, only to hit the belt. Warrior tosses him into the corner a few times, as Rude bumps like a freak. Warrior goes to a bearhug for god knows what reason, but Rude fights out by biting him. Warrior does the same right back. Backdrop and he goes for the splash, but Rude gets the knees up to block. Piledriver gets two. Jawbreaker, but Rude is too injured to swivel. Clothesline gets two. Rude goes to a surfboard, but Warrior powers out of it and clotheslines him. Warrior whips him around the ring, but misses a charge and splats in the corner. Rude goes for the Rude Awakening, but Warrior powers out of it and clotheslines him. Rude bails to escape, but Warrior tosses him back in again. He clotheslines Rude out again and tries a suplex back in, but Heenan hooks the leg and Rude wins the title at 6:19. Pretty decent power match with a finish that was still innovative in terms of never being done on PPV before and thus new to the fans. ** Rude & Warrior would actually have WAY better matches later, including a great one at Summerslam 89, where Warrior regained the belt. – Bad News Brown v. Hacksaw Duggan. It’s the show that never ends! Just like the song, except with more steroids. Can you imagine booking this many matches these days? Bad News hammers away to start, but misses a charge and Duggan slugs back. Brown takes a walk, so Duggan slingshots him back in. Brown casually pounds him down again and headbutts him, but Duggan’s head is impervious to punishment and he stays up. There are times when I yearn for hardcore rules, and this is one of them. A garbage can would really break up the monotony right about now. Brown slugs him down and Duggan bails, so Brown whips him into the post. Back in, he goes for the Ghetto Blaster, but Duggan ducks and hits the three-point stance clothesline. Brown bails, totally no-selling it, and grabs a chair, but Duggan gets the board and it’s a duel for a double-DQ at 3:46. Yay, it’s OVER. DUD – Bobby Heenan v. Terry Taylor. Heenan is still injured from Warrior beating him up after the Rude match, so it’s a quick pinfall for Taylor at 0:30 after a whip into the corner. DUD Brooklyn Brawler attacks afterwards to kick off THAT epic opening-match C-show feud. – WWF title: Randy Savage v. Hulk Hogan. Jesse’s pre-match rant for Savage and against Hogan is awesome stuff. Savage bails to start and plays some headgames, but loses a lockup. He bails again and simmers, and back in tries a headlock, but gets overpowered. He takes out his frustrations with a tirade on Elizabeth, which sets off Jesse again. Back to the headlock, but Savage decides to duck out again. Hogan chases him this time, so Savage hides behind Liz. Hogan thinks it’s unfair, but then this coming from the guy who beats up women and has no problem using weapons in a sanctioned match. Hogan now does a bit of chain wrestling to take Savage down with a headlock, but Savage suplexes out of it. Hogan pops up and starts punching, then starts on the arm, but Savage goes to the eye and heads up. Double axehandle gets two. Savage grabs an armbar and keeps Hogan on the mat, but he fights up, so Macho uses what little hair there is to regain control. Hogan pulls the tights to dump Savage, and then tosses him back in. Jesse is so on the money here, jumping all over every little thing Hogan does. Hogan rams him into the turnbuckles and clotheslines him to set up the elbowdrops. Savage kicks him in the head to come back and gets the lariat for two, however. We hit the chinlock as Hogan starts bleeding. Hulk fights out and overpowers Savage, then follows with an atomic drop, but misses the elbow. Savage nails him from behind with a knee, into a rollup for two. He whips him around as Hogan bleeds, and then stomps on the hands for good measure. Hogan revives and rams Savage into the turnbuckle, then slugs away in the corner. Corner clothesline, but he hurts his arm on the move. Psychology? In a HOGAN MATCH? He javelins Savage over the top, which draws a sympathetic Liz over to tend to him. Savage offers her a backhand, however. That’ll learn her. They brawl outside as Savage keeps on the cut, but Hogan comes back and tries to ram Savage into the post. Liz prevents it, so Savage does it to Hogan. That’s thinking. The ref has had enough of Liz, so she gets sent to the back. Savage, meanwhile, hits Hogan with the double axehandle to the floor, driving him into the railing. Back in, he necksnaps him and chokes him on the ropes, working the throat with an elbow. Kneedrop gets two. Savage moves onto the wrist tape to choke him down (impressing Jesse greatly) then just uses his hands to put him out. Hogan is dead, so Savage goes up to finish him off with the flying elbow…but Hogan kicks out at two. Shit, every time I watch it, it’s the same thing. But I can keep hoping. Hulk up, three punches, big boot, legdrop, and Hogan wins his second title at 17:53. Not really as good as the initial drama made it seem to be, but still filled with good old fashioned pro wrestling dramatics and the like. Would have been nice to get a longer heat segment for Savage and REALLY make Hogan out to be toast, however. *** The Bottom Line: Most people remember 9 as the runaway winner of worst WM ever, but this one is pretty bad, and incredibly long, filled with literally nothing but filler matches and the occasional big angle. It was like a house show from hell or something. The main event is quite good for a Hogan match, so if you’ve never seen it, it’s worth a look. The rest, not so much, except as a historical curiosity. Recommendation to avoid. (So now it’s getting worse with a redo.  What will happen when I review the FULL atrocity?  Find out now!) The SmarK Retro Re-Rant for WWE Wrestlemania V – For those who remember the fourth Wrestlemania as the WWE’s version of Heaven’s Gate in terms of length and money made, it’s got nothing on the fifth one for sheer length. It didn’t seem so long back when I first watched it, probably because I was only 15 and I had a much longer attention span for stuff like this back then. I originally ranted off the hacked-up Coliseum video version, which was missing an HOUR of stuff, so it’s nice to finally have the full PPV version in all its 220 minute glory. The length might be taxing the storage systems of 24/7, however, because there’s some pixellization every few seconds that’s kinda annoying. – By the way, if there’s formatting issues with this rant, it’s because I had to re-install OpenOffice when I upgraded to Vista this weekend, and I’m still working out the kinks and trying to get it back exactly the way I had it when I left it.  (The formatting issues are also because this is a crappy new format rant, a stylistic decision that I have since regretted more than Miz deciding not to catch R-Truth that one time.  I also regretted upgrading to Vista, although I’m cheap and don’t want to bother going to Windows 7 at this point so I’ve been using it ever since.)  – Live from Atlantic City, NJ, at Trump Plaza, owned by some guy who we probably will never hear from again. – Your hosts are Gorilla & Jesse Opening match: King Haku v. Hercules Haku gets an attack from behind to start and slugs Herc into the corner, but Jesse has no sympathy for him. Herc quickly comes back with a slam and faceplant, and a clotheslines puts Haku on the floor. Suplex back in and Herc drops elbows. Hercules, who was adopted by the MegaPowers shortly before they exploded, is like the poor kid left out in the cold in a divorce proceeding. I blame his eventual death on the angst caused by his abandonment. WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE GREEK GODS? (Man, Hercules as the third Megapower.  That was right up there with Disco Inferno joining the nWo as far as stupid ideas went.)  Anyway, Haku comes back with a cheapshot and gets a backbreaker for two. He goes to a bearhug that I know for a fact was edited out of the home video version, so already it’s like watching the director’s cut of Alexander, as I appreciate the true genius of what they were trying to say with it already. It’s like Hercules is life, and the bearhug is modern society, squeezing the breath out of us every day, man. (In all fairness, I’ve been told the director’s cut of Alexander is somewhat more worth watching than the one version I did sit through, but I’ll never spend the 4 hours to find out.)  Herc powers out and Haku chokes him on the ropes, although I’m not sure what the allegory is supposed to be there. Herc comes back with a crossbody for two, but Haku cuts off the comeback with an elbow, but then whiffs on a bodypress attempt of his own. Hercules slugs back and gets a powrslam for two, but goes up and lands on a superkick. Haku goes up and misses his own move, and Hercules finishes with a backdrop suplex. (Hercules d. Haku, suplex — pin, 6:55, **) They actually bothered editing that down for home video? Not a bad opener, but this crowd is not wrestling fans, it’s gamblers and businessmen.  (Maybe they should fly them in for John Cena matches, it might get him over.  He already tells jokes like a bad motivational speaker anyway, so this is the kind of crowd that might actually cheer for him with enough booze.)  Backstage, the coked-up Rockers give their motivational interview before they get squashed. Shawn’s voice is so wasted from partying the night before that he can barely talk. The Twin Towers v. The Rockers For some reason, “Jive Soul Bro” is edited out. Were they dumb enough not to secure the rights to their OWN music? The Rockers run away to start, and opt for a sucker punch before Shawn starts with Bossman. Bossman puts him on the top and bitchslaps him, but gets dropkicked for his troubles and Shawn hits both of them and runs away again. Over to Akeem, as Shawn mocks his dancing and then the Rockers trade off and work on the arm. Shawn has said in previous interviews that he was so drunk that he could barely stand up here, so I’d say he’s doing remarkably well thus far. The Rockers keep switching off on the arm, but Bossman gets the blind tag and they sandwich Marty to take over. Bossman gets the running choke and Akeem avalanches him on the ropes, which is ugly but effective offense. And now the Towers are all about the tag team continuity, switching off and splashing Marty in the corner in tandem. Marty fights back, but Bossman clobbers him down again and it’s over to Akeem, who accidentally runs into Bossman to allow the hot tag to Shawn. He fires away in the corner and the Rockers team up for a nice double shoulderblock that gets two on Akeem. Shawn walks into a clothesline and does a 180 sell off it, as Shawn is out to single-handedly steal the show tonight. Bossman misses a flying splash and Shawn reverses a powerbomb attempt with the help of Marty, and the Rockers team up for a pair of missile dropkicks on the Bossman as well. Shawn goes up again, but this time he falls prey to the powerbomb on the way down, and Akeem splashes him to finish. (The Twin Towers d. The Rockers, Akeem splash — pin Shawn Michaels, 8:02, **) Shawn may have been wasted, but even at 25% he’s still got enough to carry things by bumping for three.  (This rating has been remarkably consistent across all three versions, oddly enough.)  Ted Dibiase v. Brutus Beefcake Odd that they never did a full-on feud with these two, as they seemed like they’d have a good dynamic together. (Or they could team up as The Wealthy Barber!)  Brutus attacks and hiptosses Dibiase to start, and follows with a backdrop that sends Ted out of the ring to regroup. Back in, Dibiase opts for the cheapshot and throws some chops in the corner, but Beefcake comes back with slams and it’s another trip to the floor. Back in and Dibiase tries slugging it out with Beefcake, but quickly loses that battle, and it’s Plan C: Virgil trips him up and Dibiase chokes him down. Well, as Jesse would say, win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat. Dibase pounds away in the corner and elbows him down as the crowd dozes, and the fistdrop gets two. Elbow off the middle rope gets two, but Beefcake gets a quick cradle for two. They fight over a suplex and Beefcake gets that, and they clothesline each other for the double KO. Dibiase recovers first with a suplex and it’s time for the Million Dollar Dream, but Brutus makes the ropes right away. Brutus comes back and rams him into the turnbuckles, and now irony strikes Dibiase as he falls prey to a sleeper. Truly epic. Virgil distracts him and Beefcake gives chase, which results in a brawl on the floor until the inevitable double countout. (Ted Dibiase draw Brutus Beefcake, DCOR, 9:58, **) Technically fine, but the crowd was dead and there wasn’t any real flow to the match. Meanwhile, Lord Al Hayes interviews the Bushwackers at the annual brunch, and hilarity ensues. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers v. The Sheepfuckers Jesse accuses the Bushwackers of being on “the juice”, although he’s referring to booze in this case. Still, there’s an out-of-context remark for you. Rougeaus attack to save Jimmy Hart’s jacket, but they get whipped into each other and bail. Raymond offers a handshake to Luke and then jumps him, so Butch runs in and returns the favor. Battering Ram for Ramond, but Jacques saves and they bail again. The crowd won’t even respond to the Bushwackers, which at least shows they’re intelligent. The Rougeaus get a quick double-team on Luke and Ray hits him with an axehandle off the middle, and we get a quick double-team clothesline for two. They do the abdominal stretch / superkick spot, and that gets no reaction from the crowd of corpses either. Bushwackers sneak in with a Battering Ram and double gutbuster while they celebrate. (The Bushwackers d. The Rougeaus, Luke gutbuster — pin Raymond, 5:10, DUD) Wasn’t even much of a comedy match. Mr. Perfect v. The Blue Blazer Debut of the classic tights for Hennig here, as he had been wearing short ones up until this point. Perfect grabs a headlock to start and hiptosses the Blazer, and they trade slaps in the corner. Blazer reverses out of a hiptoss attempt and slams him, and dropkicks him to the floor, following with a baseball slide. To the floor as Blazer throws some forearms out there, and he works the arm back in the ring. Perfect tries his own hiptoss reversal, but Blazer does his classic block-and-reverse of THAT, and a dropkick and backbreaker gets two. Northern Lights suplex gets two. To the top, but a flying splash hits knees, and Perfect goes to work on the back. Perfect charges and hits boot, and Blazer follows with a powerslam for two and gets the nice belly to belly for two. Crucifix gets two. He argues with the ref, however, and Perfect clobbers him and finishes with the Perfectplex. (Mr. Perfect d. The Blue Blazer, Perfectplex — pin, 5:51, **1/4) Not the classic I remembered as a kid.  (Yup, that one keeps dropping too.)  And now, just because the show wasn’t going to run long enough as it is, Jesse stops to pose for the fans. I have no idea what the point of this was. Speaking of pointless, let’s take you back to the annual 5K run, which Mr. Fuji cheats to win. Well, that’s why the good lord invented fast forward. And speaking of fast-forward, here’s Run DMC, and there they go. World tag team titles: Demolition v. The Powers of Pain & Mr Fuji Oh good grief, we’ve apparently lost all the songs from the Piledriver record, as “Demolition” is wiped from history, too. OK, who sued and won this time? Ax pounds on Warlord to start, finally getting a teenie reaction from the crowd, and the Demos add a double-team beating and Smash chinlocks him. Ax adds his own chinlock. You know, they must have sweetened the video version’s crowd noise, because I don’t remember the show being this dead. I mean, this crowd isn’t popping for ANYTHING. Barbarian comes in and gets smashed by Smash, and axed by Ax. Smash elbows him down and they add a double-elbow, and Ax goes to the neck vice. Barbarian comes back with a chop to Smash, but Warlord can’t follow up, which results in the champs hitting him with a double clothesline. Ax goes after Fuji, however, and gets hit from behind to turn the tide. Fuji finally tags in and chops Ax down, then adds his falling headbutt. Over to Barbarian, who starts working the back and boots Ax down. Jumping clothesline and Warlord comes in and stays on the back, choking him down for two. Barbarian powerslams him into a Fuji flying splash, but it misses and it looks like the hot tag until Warlord cuts it off. Smash gets it anyway, although the crowd doesn’t care, and he clotheslines everyone. They clothesline him on the top rope and Smash gets two, but Fuji comes in, armed with salt. And maybe pepper, I’m not sure. However, it goes awry, and Demolition Decapitation ends it. (Demolition d. The Powers of Pain & Fuji, Ax Decapitation — pin Fuji, 8:45, *) Well, this was watchable, I suppose. I can definitely understand the crowd apathy to the guys punching and kicking each other for 8 minutes, however. Dino Bravo v. Ronnie Garvin Jimmy Snuka makes an utterly pointless appearance after the introductions. (Don’t forget that Tamina is his daughter!)  Bravo attacks to start and chops Garvin down, and grabs a quick bearhug. Shoulderblock gets two. Garvin blocks a powerbomb attempt by slugging Bravo down, and a splash gets two. Sleeper and piledriver get two, and he throws chops in the corner. He slugs away in the corner, and Bravo brings him out with an atomic drop, and the sideslam finishes quick. (Dino Bravo d. Ronnie Garvin, sideslam — pin, 3:55, 1/2*) Garvin seemed game, but this was going nowhere fast. The Brainbusters v. Strike Force Martel grabs a headlock on Tully to start, and then fights off a double-team attempt in the heel corner. Strike Force adds a double dropkick to put the heels on the floor, but Arn quickly regroups. Martel faceplants him for two and they fight over the knucklelock, but Arn catches him with a bodyscissors. Martel wisely tries to turn him over into the Boston Crab, but Tully pokes him in the eyes to break it up. Jesse’s all about that one. Tito comes in and it’s old double figure-four spot, which the Busters quickly escape from. Tully and Tito do a bridge/backslide spot, which gets two for Tito, and he cradles Tully for two. Blind tag, but Tito hits Martel with the forearm by mistake, and Tully dropkicks Tito to take over. Arn comes in and elbows him in the gut, but Tito fights them off and goes for a tag…but Martel is being a drama queen and selling the “injury”. Tito keeps fighting with a sunset flip on Arn for two, but Tully breaks it up and gets two. Tito gets a bodypress for two, but Arn slows him down with a rear chinlock. Tito fights out and goes for the tag again, but Martel isn’t feeling it and walks away from the tag. And the match. Typical Frenchman, running away from a fight. The Busters go to work on Tito. Tito fights them off, but goes for a monkey flip on Tully and gets splatted as a result, and it’s ye olde Spike Piledriver to end his comeback. (The Brainbusters d. Strike Force, Anderson piledriver — pin Santana, 9:13, **1/2) This crowd is really bringing me down, man. This one actually seemed better in clipped form, with better crowd reactions dubbed in. It’s late and I’m tired, so I’m skipping through the Piper/Brother Love/Morton Downey Jr. trainwreck. Hey, it’s my column. This was definitely 15 minutes that could have been excised quite easily from the show. And now, a sneak preview of No Holds Barred. Thank god this is cut out of the video version. Sean Mooney interviews Donald Trump, back when he was all wooden and couldn’t act. Oh, wait. Apparently we’re in an intermission now, because we go into time-filler overdrive with a recap of the Megapowers angle and a rather lengthy Hogan interview. Jake Roberts v. Andre The Giant Special ref here is John Studd. Andre attacks to start and rams Jake into a conveniently missing turnbuckle, and quickly tries choking him out. Jake goes for the snake, but Andre grabs him in a chokehold again. Jesse has a funny line here, noting that David beat Goliath with a foreign object. That’s a wrestling mentality for you. Andre leans on Jake in the corner, which is about as lazy as you can get, offensively speaking. More choking and Andre uses his butt as a weapon, and chokes away again. Jake slugs back and Andre gets tied in the ropes as a result, which allows Jake to do his own choking. But not for long, because Andre is the master of choking. And choke he does! And did I mention the choking? Because there’s quite a lot of it. Jake comes back with punches and sends Andre into the bare turnbuckle, but Andre chops him right out of the ring. Andre won’t let him in, and the camera’s closeup of the ring apron reveals that they were so cheap as to recycle the skirts from Wrestlemania IV, simply by removing the “I” from the roman numeral. Studd and Andre get into a shoving match, while Ted Dibiase steals the snake, and Andre attacks Studd to draw the rather obvious DQ and set up the big feud that never happened. The recovered snake sends Andre fleeing. (Jake Roberts d. Andre The Giant, DQ, 9:39, DUD) Studd’s face turn just didn’t work, and Andre was pretty far gone by this point. The Hart Foundation v. Honky Tonk Man & Greg Valentine Jimmy Hart’s team were not yet Rhythm & Blues, and this was just thrown together as yet another in the endless parade of matches to fill time before the main event. Bret starts with Honky and rolls him up for two, and follows with an atomic drop both ways to send him scurrying back to the corner. Hammer comes in and takes the atomic drop, and Bret dropkicks him, which sets up the pinball spot in the face corner. Nice timing as Bret whips Hammer and then slingshots Anvil in on the rebound for a shoulderblock, which gets two. Bret with the backbreaker and middle rope elbow, but it misses and Valentine drops his own elbows. They do some choking in the corner and Honk drops a fist and a series of elbows, and it’s over to Hammer for a top rope forearm and an elbow to the back of the head. He gets his own atomic drop and Honky adds Shake Rattle N Roll, but he allows Valentine to try the figure-four instead of pinning him. Bret thumbs the eye to block, so Hammer keeps coming with a gutbuster and brings Honky back in. Bret fights back with a crossbody for two, but lands on the floor when Honky kicks out, and it’s back to Hammer again. Bret tries a rollup, but actually just fakes him out and makes the hot tag to Neidhart instead. Shoulderblock on Valentine gets two. Nice clothesline gets two. Hammer thumbs the eyes to stop the offense, but Honky misses a fistdrop and the Harts go to work on him, as Bret drops his elbow and adds a suplex for two. Valentine saves and cleans house, but Neidhart steals the megaphone and Bret nails Honky Tonk with it to finish. Bret screwed Wayne Ferris! (The Hart Foundation d. Honky Tonk & Valentine, Bret megaphone — pin Honky, 7:39, **1/2) This was actually quite a solid tag match in its uncut form, although the finish should have been stronger. WWF Intercontinental title: Ultimate Warrior v. Rick Rude Common sense at the time said that Warrior squashes him like a bug, but in hindsight Rude needed to go over in order to get to the next level. Rude tries to knee Warrior in the gut on the way in, but Warrior is still wearing the belt and thus outsmarts him. Warrior tosses Rude around like a ragdoll as Rude is all about the bumps tonight, and the crowd FINALLY wakes up. Warrior smartly opts to whip Rude into the corners without following up by charging, and then calmly bearhugs him. He’s thinking for once. Rude goes to the eyes to break and then scoots up top with a missile dropkick, but Warrior no-sells and slams him instead. Man, Rude is just bouncing around out there like a superball tonight. Back to the bearhug, but this time the ref prevents Rude from going to the eyes,which offends Jesse on several levels. Finally Rude slugs out on his own merits, so Warrior bites him and adds a backdrop. Big splash hits knee, however, and Rude takes over. Piledriver gets two for Rude. Sadly, his back is so injured that he can’t even swivel. Clothesline gets two. Russian legsweep gets two. Rude goes to a surfboard, but Warrior fights to the ropes and hulks up. Shoulderblock and faceplant set up a backbreaker, and he follows with a clothesline after a weird blown spot in the corner. He goes back to whipping Rude around, this time following up with a charge, and missing as a result. Rude goes for the Rude Awakening, but Warrior powers out of it and clotheslines him again. Rude bails and Warrior sends him back in, then dumps him with a clothesline. He suplexes Rude back in, but Heenan grabs the foot for the famous finish, and we have an upset, to the delight of Jesse. (Rick Rude d. Ultimate Warrior, outside interference — pin, 9:41, ***) They would have better matches, but this was the first sign that Rude was more than the pretty boy arrogant heel in the ring, as he more than carried his end of the match and actually got the crowd into it. Bad News Brown v. Hacksaw Jim Duggan To put this in perspective, we are now at the three hour mark for the show, which is beyond all sanity for a crowd this dead with an undercard this meaningless. Brown attacks to start, but Duggan slugs back and clotheslines him out of the ring. Brown regroups and lays Duggan out with a forearm back in the ring, and slugs away in the corner. Duggan fires back with shoulders in the corner, so Brown slugs him down again. They brawl outside as Jesse notes that if one of them tries a hold, they might win it. Brown wins that fight and tries the Ghetto Blaster, but Duggan comes back with the three-point stance and they fight outside again, as Brown grabs a chair and Duggan grabs his 2×4. (Jim Duggan draw Bad News Brown, DDQ, 3:46, 1/2*) C’mon, just get to the main event already. Red Rooster v. Bobby Heenan One last quickie before the match people actually paid to see. I think someone should sue and make them dub out the Rooster’s ridiculous theme song. Rooster whips Bobby into the corner and pins him. (Red Rooster d. Bobby Heenan, corner whip — pin, 0:28, DUD) This was what it was. WWF World title: Randy Savage v. Hulk Hogan This of course was the biggest match in the history of history at that point, drawing millions of dollars on PPV after being built up for years. Savage dodges Hogan and plays some mindgames to start, and Hogan overpowers him on the lockup. Savage grabs a headlock, but gets overpowered again and bails. As any good man would do, he hides behind Liz, and Jesse approves. Back in, Hogan takes him down with a drop toehold to meet his wrestling quota for the night, but Savage suplexes out of his headlock. Hogan quickly recovers and slugs away, and starts working on the arm, so Savage goes to the eyes and drops the axehandle for two. Savage takes it to the mat with an armbar. Some really slick hair-pulling behind the ref’s back follows, but it’s wasted when Hogan dumps him to break the hold. That was some quality cheating by Savage. Back in, Savage eats turnbuckle and Hogan drops him with a clothesline, into the elbows, but Savage clotheslines him for two. Savage grabs a chinlock while Hogan bleeds, but he fights out and blocks a big boot with an atomic drop. Hogan misses the elbow and Savage sends him into the corner with a high knee, and that gets two. Savage goes to work on the cut and stomps on the fingers, but that just gets Hogan mad, and he comes back with some shots in the corner and the corner clothesline. Hogan, sportsman, dumps Savage over the top and Liz tries to assist him, but Savage is an independent guy and doesn’t want help. Hogan follows him out for the brawl, showing he was probably in cahoots with Liz all along, and she prevents him from sending Savage into the post, which allows Savage to turn the tables and give Hogan the same treatment. Liz keeps getting involved, so the ref sends her back to the dressing room as we hit a dead spot. With no more distractions, Savage gets down to business, dropping Hogan with the axehandle to the floor before they head back in. Necksnap and Savage goes to work on the throat, choking him on the ropes and adding an elbow to the throat. Kneedrop gets two. Savage goes for broke, choking him out with the tape, and things look bad for the challenger. He goes with the straight choke and heads up to finish with the big elbow, and really I can’t stand to finish the review because it just hurts every damn time I watch it. (Hulk Hogan d. Randy Savage, legdrop — pin, 17:53, ***) It was somewhat epic, but the crowd was just so dead and they couldn’t live up to the hype no matter what they went with. This one was such a heated feud that it needed something more akin to the current main event brawling style, and really they just went out there and did a Hogan match. Of course, at the time it made perfect sense to put Hogan over clean and send Savage down a different path with Sherri, but my god, Savage was on such a hot streak as a heel that they could have drawn MILLIONS by screwing Hulk out of the belt here and building up the chase to the rematch at Summerslam. But hindsight is 20/20 and all that. The Pulse: Wow, editing really is important, because the home video version is eons better than the ultra-dull and seemingly endless live PPV version, which stretches 3 hours and 40 minutes and feels like it’s never going to end. Still, bless 24/7 for at least giving fans to see the uncut version for themselves. Probably one of the worst Wrestlemanias in this form, although the shorter version that used to be more widely available is quite enjoyable for the most part. Strong recommendation to avoid.

Wrestlemania Countdown: 5

(And now for your reading pleasure, THREE different versions of the same crappy show!) The Netcop Retro Rant for Wrestlemania V – Live from Atlantic City, New Jersey, just like the year before, original airdate April 2/1989. (Memories of this show:  Sitting in the upper deck of the PNE Coliseum in Vancouver with a bored crowd only there to see Hogan v. Savage.  As I recall, they didn’t even have extra screens set up for this, they just showed it on the scoreboard screens.) – Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura.Opening match: King Haku v. Hercules. Haku was still being semi-pushed and Hercules was in his eternal state of limbo. It goes back and forth for about two minutes and then Herc hits a belly-to-back for the pin. This was severely clipped because I remember it being longer and more boring while watching it live in 89. The clipped version was pretty watchable. **1/2  (That was some succinct recapping right there.  And yeah, turns out the full version really was terrible.)  The Rockers v. Big Bossman & Akeem. The Rockers were hungover like shit here, and Jannetty was stoned. (Shawn’s brutally honest recollections of this match, and especially the night before, on his various shoot interviews are all pretty funny.)  Rockers stay out of the way with quick moves until Jannetty gets caught with a bearhug and pounded by the Towers. Michaels gets the hot tag and the Rockers double team Akeem with a double shoulderblock. Akeem catches Michaels with a deadly clothesline that draws “OOooohs”. Rockers come back with a double dropkick from the top on Bossman, but Michaels takes another shitkicking and gets powerbombed off a rana attempt, then splashed and pinned by Akeem. Fun big v. little match. **  (I find it weird that they really didn’t have any specific plans for the Towers after their part in the Megapowers split.  They went over so strong here that it should have been a tag title push as a result, and they just kind of tooled around the midcard as house show challengers for Demolition before breaking up.)  Brutus Beefcake v. Ted Dibiase. Stalling to start, then a slugfest and Dibiase takes over and destroys Beefcake. Beefcake escapes the Million Dollar Dream and comes back, hooking his own sleeper. Virgil baits him out of the ring, Dibiase chases, and we have a double-countout. Standard PrimeTime Wrestling main event. *1/4 Virgil gets beat up after the decision. This really had no place on PPV except to remind everyone that both guys are still around.  (1989’s Kane v. Orton, in other words, except that we didn’t get three rematches with escalating stips on the next PPVs afterwards.)  The Fabulous Rougeaus v. The Sheepwhackers. Case in point, this match. Gorilla and Jesse have a hilarious discussion about which of them was retired first. Rougeaus double-team Luke right off the bat and control for most of the match. Luke does something vaguely resembling selling. Jacques tries to start a “USA” chant but the crowd isn’t buying. Rougeaus celebrate after their abdominal-stretch/superkick combo and Butch sneaks in and they do the battering ram and stomach breaker on Jacques for the upset win. 1/4*  (Not really an upset since the Rougeaus weren’t winning much at this point anyway.)  Curt Hennig v. The Blue Blazer. This was the debut of the style of tights Hennig still wears to this day. (Well, not anymore.  Sad face.)  Hennig pulls out the first MAN-SIZED bump, going over the top on a dropkick, then Blazer baseball slides him. Back in and Owen with some more wrestling sequences to keep control. Nasty spot as Owen goes for a Money Shot but lands, unsupported, right on Hennig’s knees. Match is clipped to Owen getting a crucifix for two, but Hennig gets the Perfectplex for the win. Good match. ***1/2  (Eh, not that good.)  – Gratuitous washed-up celebrity appearance: Run DMC does a song. I’ve got that damn DX remix stuck in my head yet again now. (Exactly what this bloated show needed:  Pop culture footnotes using up TV time to rap for no reason.  Run DMC at least ended up coming back years later and even got into the Hall of Fame [Rock N Roll, not WWE], but they were definitely last year’s news at this point.  Now Tone Loc, that’s what all the kids were into in 1989.)  WWF World tag team title, handicap match: Demolition v. The Powers of Pain & Mr. Fuji. The Demos were at the height of their power and popularity here. The match itself was set up by the Demos getting double-crossed by Fuji at the Survivor Series. (More evidence of the decompressed nature of the time, as this came five months after their initial angle.)  Standard Demos-Powers match, with Fuji of course getting cheap shots in now and then. Crowd doesn’t care about this one. Fuji misses a big move off the top ad Ax makes the hot tag to Smash. Chaos erupts and Fuji goes for the CEREMONIAL SALT OF DOOM, which misses, and Fuji is left alone with the Demos. Mr. Fuji, RIP. Demos retain. 1/4* – Dino Bravo v. Ronnie Garvin. After the intros, Finkel introduces Jimmy Snuka, who wanders out, takes a bow, then leaves. Well, that was pointless.  (Indeed, what a weird interlude that was.  However, I’d like to think that somewhere teenaged Michael Cole was getting excited that Snuka had a daughter named Tamina.)  Much like this match, as Bravo proceeds to squash Garvin. Garvin comes back with some token offense but Bravo inevitably gets the side suplex for the pin. Not horrible or anything. *  (Yes it was!  Geez, 1999 Scott, this is WRESTLEMANIA!  Step up the snark!)  The Brainbusters v. Strike Force. Martel had his ass kicked by Demolition so severely that he was put on the shelf for 10 months, and this is his comeback match. Fantastic little NWA-style match to start, as Strike Force pulls out some great double-teams and get their finishers on the Busters early. Santana accidentally hits Martel and knocks him off the apron, and Rick proceeds to do a 5-minute melodramatic oversell of a shot to the head. But there would be a point. Tito takes an absolute shitkicking from the heels as they cheat outrageously. Tito slams Arn off the top and crawls over with his last breath to tag Martel…who promptly walks out on him, drawing a huge heel pop. The result is academic, as the Busters finish Tito with a SWEET spike piledriver for the pin. Bitchin match. ***3/4 – Piper’s Pit with Brother Love. Piper is introduced first with a huge introduction from Finkel, but Brother Love comes out wearing a kilt, and proceeds to do the best Piper imitation I’ve ever heard, “interviewing” himself. Morton Downey Jr. comes out next and runs down Brother Love while puffing on cigarettes non-stop. If you don’t know who Downey is, don’t worry, you’re not alone — his fifteen minutes of fame were up faster than John Wayne Bobbit’s. (That was a timely reference in 1999, more or less.)  Piper finally comes out and takes over, humiliating Love and ripping off his kilt, which sends him scurrying back to the dressing room. That leaves Downey, who has been throwing cancer sticks at Piper the whole time. Downey gets a wicked verbal jab in at Piper. Piper: “Why do you call yourself Morton Downey Jr.?” Morton: “That’s the name your mama gave me.” More sparring, and after a bunch of smoke being blown in Piper’s face, Piper finds a fire extinguisher and sprays it on Downey. Pretty funny stuff.  (But again, what was the fucking POINT?) – Jake Roberts v. Andre the Giant. This was during the “Andre is afraid of snakes” period. John Studd is the special referee. They lumber around for a while and then overbooking takes over as the snake gets pulled out and Ted Dibiase runs in. Studd brawls with Andre and Dibiase brawls with Roberts and the whole thing is a big wash. DUD – The Hart Foundation v. Greg Valentine & Honky Tonk Man. Another filler match. Things go back and forth aimlessly for a bit and then a pier-six erupts, during which Bret gets the megaphone and bops HTM for the pin. Bleh. 1/2* – Intercontinental title match: The Ultimate Warrior v. Rick Rude. (I was totally not buying Rude as any kind of a contender at this point, which is probably why it was such a masterstroke to put him over Warrior.)  Longer than usual match for Warrior, as he misses a splash and hits Rude’s knees, giving Rude control. BEARHUG OF DOOM bores the crowd before Warrior makes his superman(iac) comeback, clotheslining Rude over the top rope. He suplexes Rude back in, but Heenan pulls out the most cliched cheap screwjob in history (although I’d never seen it at the time), hooking Warrior’s leg and resulting in a Rude pinfall, much to the disgust of the crowd. Who would have EVER thought that Warrior would lose at that point? Heenan gets clobbered by the Warrior after the match, which comes back to haunt him later. 1/2* – Hacksaw Duggan v. Bad News Brown. The infamous “snot hanging out of his nose” match, so named because Duggan has, well, I’m sure you can guess. A typical Duggan brawl, once again to fill time in an already bloated PPV, which ends in both guys grabbing weapons for a double DQ. Whatever. DUD  (Sadly this should have been pretty awesome given the brawling abilities of both guys.  As a house show main event with 10 minutes and a bunch of garbagy spots, they could have had something.)  Bobby Heenan v. Terry Taylor. Because Heenan was beat up by Warrior, the match lasts 10 seconds as Heenan misses a charge and gets pinned by Taylor. DUD. The Brooklyn Brawler attacks Taylor after the match.  (Did we REALLY need this here?  Would the bored casino zombies have rioted if they only got 120 matches instead of 121?)  WWF World title match: Randy Savage v. Hulk Hogan. Miss Elizabeth is in a neutral corner. And one year after winning the title in his building, it all comes full circle as Savage defends against Hogan. Btw, the champion should NEVER enter first. Jesse points that out, too, a couple of minutes after I typed that. Savage is just drawing unreal heel heat. He’s my hero. Chase erupts during the feeling out period, and Savage hides behind Liz. I’m surprised Hogan didn’t hit her. (I think I was confusing him with Lex Luger.)  Hogan tries some wrestling (!) and Savage cheats like a motherfucker to take over. Hairpulling, thumb to the eye, you name it. Scott Steiner, take note, that is the proper way to work it in. Savage works on the arm until Hogan tosses him out of the ring to break. Hogan comes back with his limited offense but puts his head down and Savage clobbers him, and Hogan blades. Another mini-comeback by Hogan fails and Savage knees Hogan into the corner. Jesse is in his glory cheering for Savage. Hogan hulks up and does the corner comeback, but his arm is still hurting. Savage takes a MAN-SIZED bump as Hogan slams him over the top to the floor. Liz helps him up and Savage takes a swing at her. Hogan and Savage brawl on the floor, and Hogan tries to do a battering ram job on Savage into the post. Liz blocks his path and Hogan ends up getting shoved into the post. Savage starts jawing with Liz, and Hebner finally has had enough and sends her back to the dressing room. Savage drops the double-axehandle to Hogan, ramming his head into the barricade. Crowd is getting into Savage. Necksnap and elbow on the apron throatfirst to work on the neck, then a kneedrop. Only gets two. Back to the Memphis stuff as Savage chokes Hulk out with the tape. Again, if used in moderation, it works. Savage chokes Hulk out, and then drops the big elbow…but Hogan no-sells. Hulk up. THREE PUNCHES OF DOOM, then the big foot, and the STINKY GIANT-KILLING LEGDROP and Hogan has his precious title back for a second time. “The crowd goes nuts” is putting it mildly. I was totally upset by this match the first time I saw it, but the more I watch it from a distance, the more I like it. I think it stands as one of Hogan’s best matches. **** Jesse goes off on a shoot-like rant during the posedown about what an egomaniac Hogan is and how he’ll stoop to any level to get his own way. Amen, Jess. The Bottom Line: Hey, cut out the filler and you’ve got three killer matches and some fun stuff. A truly epic show to end the year-long Megapowers storyline and send everyone home happy. Hogan *had* to go over, no other ending would be justifiable. (Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Savage was on fire as a heel, they should have had Liz’s involvement lead to the DQ finish so that Savage could continue running roughshod with the title.  Then Hogan could get his big win at Summerslam instead.)  I liked the show, others disagree. I’m sure I’ll get disagreement for my Wrestlemania VI rant, which is coming up in the next few days, too. Recommended show. (And now, a SECOND version of the Coliseum video rant done a few years later, as I’m now doing proper match times and recaps.)  The SmarK Retro Re-Rant for Wrestlemania V – This is the hacked-up Coliseum Video version I’m reviewing, for those who like to keep track of these things and may wonder why the matches are shorter than they remember. – Live from Atlantic City, NJ. – Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse Ventura. – Opening match: King Haku v. Hercules. Kind of an odd choice for an opener. Hercules was coming off his face turn after being “bought” by Ted Dibiase and started sucking up to the Megapowers for the rub, until they self-destructed. Whoops. Haku attacks from behind to start, but Herc comes back with a hiptoss and a slam. Faceplant and he goes after Heenan, but of course gets jumped. Back in, he comes back with a kneelift and some clotheslines, making me think that Haku’s whole heat segment was edited out. Powerslam gets two. Herc goes up but gets superkicked on the way down, and Haku follows with a flying headbutt that misses. Herc finishes with a backdrop suplex at 2:52. This was edited down to nothing, basically. ½* – Big Bossman & Akeem v. The Rockers. We’ll just steer clear of the whole “Twin Towers” name, for obvious reasons of good taste. This was Shawn’s Wrestlemania debut. The Rockers dodge the big guys to start and then knock them off the apron with elbows. Shawn claimed in a shoot interview that he was stoned and drunk off his gourd for this match. Bossman powers Shawn up to the top, but Marty distracts him and allows Shawn to hit a missile dropkick. Shawn uses speed to hit both heels, and Marty comes in to work on Akeem’s arm. Akeem makes the blind tag to Bossman, who catches Marty in a bearhug, and they sandwich Marty with a splash. Ouch. Bossman gets the rope straddle and Akeem splashes Marty on the ropes and gets…funky? Bossman splashes Marty in the corner, and then Akeem splashes Bossman for added weight. That’s pretty innovative. Bossman pounds him down and rings his ears, and Akeem comes in, but hits Bossman by mistake. Hot tag Shawn, and he slugs away on Akeem. The Rockers do some double-teaming as they whip Akeem around the ring and hit a double-shoulderblock for two. Akeem shrugs it off and hits Shawn with a vicious clothesline, but Bossman misses a top rope splash and Shawn gets two. Shawn goes for a rana, and Marty trips up Bossman to help with the move, and the Rockers both go up for a double dropkick. That gets two. Akeem finally tosses Marty for lack of anything better to do with him, and Bossman reverses another rana attempt from Shawn with a powerbomb, and Akeem kills him dead with a splash at 6:58. Fun, fast-paced big v. little match with some crazy bumping from the Rockers. ** – Ted Dibiase v. Brutus Beefcake. Dibiase’s Million Dollar Belt was the consolation prize for not winning the WWF title at Wrestlemania IV. I’m sure that helped him sleep at night. Beefcake’s push was somewhat stalled at this point, as he was floating aimlessly in the midcard. Much like most of the people on this show. Beefcake gets a cheapshot to start and backdrops Dibiase twice, and Ted bails. Back in, they slug it out, and Beefcake wins that fairly handily until Virgil trips him up. Dibiase does some choking as Jesse, future leader of a state, declares that “if you can’t win fair, cheat”. Somehow you KNEW he’d end up as a politician. Fistdrop gets two. Clothesline sets up an elbow off the middle rope that takes FOREVER. That would have been an easy edit. That gets two. He puts his head down, however, and Beefcake gets two off a cradle. Dibiase comes back with a suplex and gets the Million Dollar Dream, but Beefcake makes the ropes. Dibiase won’t break, so the ref pulls him off, and Beefcake makes the comeback. Dibiase eats some turnbuckle and Beefcake follows with the sleeper, but Virgil distracts him and they brawl outside for the double countout at 6:26. LAAAAAAAME. Poor Ted, in the World title finals one year and fighting a barber third from the bottom the next. It was actually going along fine before the rather abrupt finish. *3/4 – The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers v. The Bushwhackers. The Bushwhackers were actually fairly new and novel at this point in terms of their usage in the WWF. Bushwhackers go after Jimmy’s coat to start, but the Rougeaus save it. Whew. They quickly lay out Luke and double-team him on a Boston crab, then bring him into their corner and Ray whips Luke into the corner. He goes up to the middle with a double sledge, and Jacques comes in with a back elbow, and the Rougeaus get something vaguely resembling a double clothesline. A double elbow sets up Jacques’ abdominal stretch, which is aided by Raymond’s superkick to the gut. The Bushwhackers break up their celebrating with a battering ram, and the double gutbuster gives Luke the pin at 3:57. Next, please. ½* – Mr. Perfect v. The Blue Blazer. If there was one gimmick I never wanted to see again, it’s the Blazer. Such is life. Perfect starts with some chops, but Blazer reverses a hiptoss into a pair of slams and a dropkick that puts Perfect on the floor. Blazer follows with a baseball slide and they head back in. Blazer dodges him in the corner and gets a hiptoss and another slam. Another dropkick sets up a backbreaker, for two. Armbar takedown gets one. Blazer goes up, but hits knees on a splash, and we have an obvious edit. Blazer gets a crucifix for two, but Perfect lays him out with a clothesline and it’s the Perfectplex to finish at 3:16. Brutally clipped, but the full version is a really good match. *1/2  (That’s quite the drop in match rating from my original rant.)  – We’ll skip over the Run-DMC appearance. Man, another dead person making an appearance. – WWF tag titles: Demolition v. The Powers of Pain & Mr. Fuji. This was the peak for Demolition’s popularity, after the double-turn with the Powers at Survivor Series. Warlord starts pounding on Ax, but gets it back in spades. Smash comes in and it’s CLUBBERING TIME. Warlord powers him into the heel corner, however, necessitating Smash fighting out. No problem, however. Back to the Demo corner, as Ax comes in with a clothesline on Barbarian, but Barbarian wins a slugfest with Smash. Back to the heel corner, as Warlord uses the CLUBBING FOREARMS, but gets nowhere, with Demolition quickly getting a double-team clothesline on him. However, Ax turns his back on Fuji and gets attacked by the Powers, and he’s YOUR face-in-peril. Fuji comes in and they work Ax over with a variety of clubbing moves. Barbarian gets a shoulderblock, and Warlord boots Ax down for two. Barbarian powerslams him and tags Fuji in, but he misses an elbow from the top. Warlord cuts off any potential tag, however, with a slam. Ax fights back, however, and makes the hot tag to Smash. Punches fly and Smash slams both Powers, and the Demos get a double-team necksnap on Warlord for two. It’s BONZO GONZO and Fuji throws salt at Smash, but misses and hits Warlord, and the Demos finish with Decapitation on Fuji at 7:13. Punchy kicky crappy. *1/4 – Dino Bravo v. Rugged Ron Garvin. Weird moment as Jimmy Snuka is re-introduced out of nowhere and does a lap of the ring after the ring introductions of these guys. (Fun fact:  Snuka now has a daughter who wrestles as a WWE sports entertainer, and her name is Tamina.)  Bravo lays out Garvin to start and drops an elbow, and goes to work on the back, then clubs him down. He goes to the bearhug and overpowers him for two. Garvin blocks a powerbomb and falls on top for two, however. Hands of Stone gets two. Garvin lays in chops and another knockout punch gets two. Sleeper, but Bravo makes the ropes. Piledriver is reversed by Bravo, but Garvin hangs on with a sunset flip for two. Garvin hits him with chops and pounds away in the corner, but Bravo comes out with an atomic drop and the sideslam finishes at 3:42. Who forgot to tell Garvin that Wrestlemania used to be about dogging it and blowing up 30 seconds in? Match wasn’t any GOOD, but Garvin actually seemed motivated for some bizarre reason. * – Strike Force v. The Brainbusters. Martel was returning here after getting put out of commission by Demolition a year earlier. Martel starts with Tully and they work off a headlock, but Arn quickly knees Martel in the back. Martel fights out of the corner and Strike Force cleans house with dropkicks. Arn comes in and puts his head down, and Martel faceplants him for two. They do a knucklelock and Martel holds him on the mat, but Arn turns it into a bodyscissors. Martel turns him over into a Boston Crab, however, which is a nice counter. Tully thumbs him in the eye to break it up, drawing instant approval from Jesse. Santana tags in for a figure-four, and it’s the old double figure-fours spot. Yeah, but Martel & Santana are SO not the Rock N Rolls. Santana and Tully do a pinfall reversal sequence, but Arn saves. Tito cradles Tully for two. Martel comes in and Tito hits him with a flying forearm off a blind tag, by accident, and Martel is out on the floor. The Brainbusters now take over, as Arn pounds Tito and they work him over in the corner. Tito fights them off and goes for the tag, but Arn cuts it off. Sunset flip by Tito, but Arn tags Tully to escape and Blanchard gets two. Tito comes back with a cross body out of the corner for two, but the heels cut off the tag again. Arn goes to the rear chinlock, but Tito fights out, then charges and hits boot. Arn goes up, but gets slammed off, and Tito finally crawls over to his corner…but Martel is still selling the “injury”. Typical Quebecer drama queen. Tully keeps pounding on Tito, as Martel decides to take a walk, and the Busters kick the crap out of Santana and finish with the spike piledriver at 7:45. Felt like they were trying for an NWA-ish angle, but the match wasn’t long enough and there wasn’t enough heat on Santana for it to work within the context of the match. Martel turned heel in the post-match interview and became the Model soon after. **1/2  (Another conspicuous quality drop following a redo of the rant. ) – We blissfully skip past the dated and now-painfully unfunny segment with Roddy Piper, Brother Love, and Morton Downey Jr. Many of you are likely asking who Downey Jr. is, which would explain why it’s so dated. Bruce Pritchard’s Piper imitation is the only really funny thing there. The big joke revolves around Downey’s obnoxious chain-smoking and his refusal to quit. Piper sprays him with a fire extinguisher to show him the error of his ways, but lung cancer finished the job in 2001. Sometimes there’s just no fire extinguisher large enough, I guess.  (I think this was one of the rare cases where even the celebrities were dead only a few years after the show.)  Andre the Giant v. Jake Roberts. This was the charming “Andre is afraid of snakes” storyline, and John Studd was the referee. This was going to lead to a big push for the returning Studd, with Andre presumably putting him over, but health problems forced Studd back into retirement again, and he died in 1993, along with Andre. Man, this is quite the depressing show, isn’t it? Not to mention Jake’s problems since then. Andre attacks Roberts to start and sends him into an exposed turnbuckle, then chokes away in the corner. Jake slugs back and Andre gets tied up in the ropes, as he was wont to do, allowing Jake to lay in some punishment. Andre escapes with a choke, and headbutts Jake down. He pounds away in the corner, but sells a knee that didn’t happen, and Jake comes back. That was weird. Andre goes down, but still slugs Jake out to the floor from his knees. Andre keeps knocking him off the apron, so Jake grabs the snake, triggering a fight between Studd and Andre. Then, to make it dumber, Ted Dibiase runs out and steals the snake, while Andre beats on Studd. Jake sneals his snake back and makes the save, and it’s a DQ win at 5:29. Andre was so sad to watch in these final years. -* – The Hart Foundation v. Honky Tonk Man & Greg Valentine. Talk about your filler matches. Bret starts with Honky and they fight over a lockup, and Bret slugs away on him and rolls him up for two. Atomic drop, both ways, and Honky retreats to tag Valentine. Hitman rolls him up, but Hammer blocks, so Bret tags Anvil in and he cleans house with shoulderblocks. That gets two on Valentine. Clothesline gets two. The Harts switch off on Honky and Bret drops the elbow, and suplexes him for two. Jimmy Hart distracts the ref, so the Harts grab his megaphone in retribution, nail Honky with it, and Bret gets the pin at 3:00. Like I said, filler. ¾* – Intercontinental title: Ultimate Warrior v. Rick Rude. This was the start of Rude actually being something worthwhile as a worker, to the shock of many. Warrior charges in with a shoulderblock, as Rude tried a knee to the gut, only to hit the belt. Warrior tosses him into the corner a few times, as Rude bumps like a freak. Warrior goes to a bearhug for god knows what reason, but Rude fights out by biting him. Warrior does the same right back. Backdrop and he goes for the splash, but Rude gets the knees up to block. Piledriver gets two. Jawbreaker, but Rude is too injured to swivel. Clothesline gets two. Rude goes to a surfboard, but Warrior powers out of it and clotheslines him. Warrior whips him around the ring, but misses a charge and splats in the corner. Rude goes for the Rude Awakening, but Warrior powers out of it and clotheslines him. Rude bails to escape, but Warrior tosses him back in again. He clotheslines Rude out again and tries a suplex back in, but Heenan hooks the leg and Rude wins the title at 6:19. Pretty decent power match with a finish that was still innovative in terms of never being done on PPV before and thus new to the fans. ** Rude & Warrior would actually have WAY better matches later, including a great one at Summerslam 89, where Warrior regained the belt. – Bad News Brown v. Hacksaw Duggan. It’s the show that never ends! Just like the song, except with more steroids. Can you imagine booking this many matches these days? Bad News hammers away to start, but misses a charge and Duggan slugs back. Brown takes a walk, so Duggan slingshots him back in. Brown casually pounds him down again and headbutts him, but Duggan’s head is impervious to punishment and he stays up. There are times when I yearn for hardcore rules, and this is one of them. A garbage can would really break up the monotony right about now. Brown slugs him down and Duggan bails, so Brown whips him into the post. Back in, he goes for the Ghetto Blaster, but Duggan ducks and hits the three-point stance clothesline. Brown bails, totally no-selling it, and grabs a chair, but Duggan gets the board and it’s a duel for a double-DQ at 3:46. Yay, it’s OVER. DUD – Bobby Heenan v. Terry Taylor. Heenan is still injured from Warrior beating him up after the Rude match, so it’s a quick pinfall for Taylor at 0:30 after a whip into the corner. DUD Brooklyn Brawler attacks afterwards to kick off THAT epic opening-match C-show feud. – WWF title: Randy Savage v. Hulk Hogan. Jesse’s pre-match rant for Savage and against Hogan is awesome stuff. Savage bails to start and plays some headgames, but loses a lockup. He bails again and simmers, and back in tries a headlock, but gets overpowered. He takes out his frustrations with a tirade on Elizabeth, which sets off Jesse again. Back to the headlock, but Savage decides to duck out again. Hogan chases him this time, so Savage hides behind Liz. Hogan thinks it’s unfair, but then this coming from the guy who beats up women and has no problem using weapons in a sanctioned match. Hogan now does a bit of chain wrestling to take Savage down with a headlock, but Savage suplexes out of it. Hogan pops up and starts punching, then starts on the arm, but Savage goes to the eye and heads up. Double axehandle gets two. Savage grabs an armbar and keeps Hogan on the mat, but he fights up, so Macho uses what little hair there is to regain control. Hogan pulls the tights to dump Savage, and then tosses him back in. Jesse is so on the money here, jumping all over every little thing Hogan does. Hogan rams him into the turnbuckles and clotheslines him to set up the elbowdrops. Savage kicks him in the head to come back and gets the lariat for two, however. We hit the chinlock as Hogan starts bleeding. Hulk fights out and overpowers Savage, then follows with an atomic drop, but misses the elbow. Savage nails him from behind with a knee, into a rollup for two. He whips him around as Hogan bleeds, and then stomps on the hands for good measure. Hogan revives and rams Savage into the turnbuckle, then slugs away in the corner. Corner clothesline, but he hurts his arm on the move. Psychology? In a HOGAN MATCH? He javelins Savage over the top, which draws a sympathetic Liz over to tend to him. Savage offers her a backhand, however. That’ll learn her. They brawl outside as Savage keeps on the cut, but Hogan comes back and tries to ram Savage into the post. Liz prevents it, so Savage does it to Hogan. That’s thinking. The ref has had enough of Liz, so she gets sent to the back. Savage, meanwhile, hits Hogan with the double axehandle to the floor, driving him into the railing. Back in, he necksnaps him and chokes him on the ropes, working the throat with an elbow. Kneedrop gets two. Savage moves onto the wrist tape to choke him down (impressing Jesse greatly) then just uses his hands to put him out. Hogan is dead, so Savage goes up to finish him off with the flying elbow…but Hogan kicks out at two. Shit, every time I watch it, it’s the same thing. But I can keep hoping. Hulk up, three punches, big boot, legdrop, and Hogan wins his second title at 17:53. Not really as good as the initial drama made it seem to be, but still filled with good old fashioned pro wrestling dramatics and the like. Would have been nice to get a longer heat segment for Savage and REALLY make Hogan out to be toast, however. *** The Bottom Line: Most people remember 9 as the runaway winner of worst WM ever, but this one is pretty bad, and incredibly long, filled with literally nothing but filler matches and the occasional big angle. It was like a house show from hell or something. The main event is quite good for a Hogan match, so if you’ve never seen it, it’s worth a look. The rest, not so much, except as a historical curiosity. Recommendation to avoid. (So now it’s getting worse with a redo.  What will happen when I review the FULL atrocity?  Find out now!) The SmarK Retro Re-Rant for WWE Wrestlemania V – For those who remember the fourth Wrestlemania as the WWE’s version of Heaven’s Gate in terms of length and money made, it’s got nothing on the fifth one for sheer length. It didn’t seem so long back when I first watched it, probably because I was only 15 and I had a much longer attention span for stuff like this back then. I originally ranted off the hacked-up Coliseum video version, which was missing an HOUR of stuff, so it’s nice to finally have the full PPV version in all its 220 minute glory. The length might be taxing the storage systems of 24/7, however, because there’s some pixellization every few seconds that’s kinda annoying. – By the way, if there’s formatting issues with this rant, it’s because I had to re-install OpenOffice when I upgraded to Vista this weekend, and I’m still working out the kinks and trying to get it back exactly the way I had it when I left it.  (The formatting issues are also because this is a crappy new format rant, a stylistic decision that I have since regretted more than Miz deciding not to catch R-Truth that one time.  I also regretted upgrading to Vista, although I’m cheap and don’t want to bother going to Windows 7 at this point so I’ve been using it ever since.)  – Live from Atlantic City, NJ, at Trump Plaza, owned by some guy who we probably will never hear from again. – Your hosts are Gorilla & Jesse Opening match: King Haku v. Hercules Haku gets an attack from behind to start and slugs Herc into the corner, but Jesse has no sympathy for him. Herc quickly comes back with a slam and faceplant, and a clotheslines puts Haku on the floor. Suplex back in and Herc drops elbows. Hercules, who was adopted by the MegaPowers shortly before they exploded, is like the poor kid left out in the cold in a divorce proceeding. I blame his eventual death on the angst caused by his abandonment. WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE GREEK GODS? (Man, Hercules as the third Megapower.  That was right up there with Disco Inferno joining the nWo as far as stupid ideas went.)  Anyway, Haku comes back with a cheapshot and gets a backbreaker for two. He goes to a bearhug that I know for a fact was edited out of the home video version, so already it’s like watching the director’s cut of Alexander, as I appreciate the true genius of what they were trying to say with it already. It’s like Hercules is life, and the bearhug is modern society, squeezing the breath out of us every day, man. (In all fairness, I’ve been told the director’s cut of Alexander is somewhat more worth watching than the one version I did sit through, but I’ll never spend the 4 hours to find out.)  Herc powers out and Haku chokes him on the ropes, although I’m not sure what the allegory is supposed to be there. Herc comes back with a crossbody for two, but Haku cuts off the comeback with an elbow, but then whiffs on a bodypress attempt of his own. Hercules slugs back and gets a powrslam for two, but goes up and lands on a superkick. Haku goes up and misses his own move, and Hercules finishes with a backdrop suplex. (Hercules d. Haku, suplex — pin, 6:55, **) They actually bothered editing that down for home video? Not a bad opener, but this crowd is not wrestling fans, it’s gamblers and businessmen.  (Maybe they should fly them in for John Cena matches, it might get him over.  He already tells jokes like a bad motivational speaker anyway, so this is the kind of crowd that might actually cheer for him with enough booze.)  Backstage, the coked-up Rockers give their motivational interview before they get squashed. Shawn’s voice is so wasted from partying the night before that he can barely talk. The Twin Towers v. The Rockers For some reason, “Jive Soul Bro” is edited out. Were they dumb enough not to secure the rights to their OWN music? The Rockers run away to start, and opt for a sucker punch before Shawn starts with Bossman. Bossman puts him on the top and bitchslaps him, but gets dropkicked for his troubles and Shawn hits both of them and runs away again. Over to Akeem, as Shawn mocks his dancing and then the Rockers trade off and work on the arm. Shawn has said in previous interviews that he was so drunk that he could barely stand up here, so I’d say he’s doing remarkably well thus far. The Rockers keep switching off on the arm, but Bossman gets the blind tag and they sandwich Marty to take over. Bossman gets the running choke and Akeem avalanches him on the ropes, which is ugly but effective offense. And now the Towers are all about the tag team continuity, switching off and splashing Marty in the corner in tandem. Marty fights back, but Bossman clobbers him down again and it’s over to Akeem, who accidentally runs into Bossman to allow the hot tag to Shawn. He fires away in the corner and the Rockers team up for a nice double shoulderblock that gets two on Akeem. Shawn walks into a clothesline and does a 180 sell off it, as Shawn is out to single-handedly steal the show tonight. Bossman misses a flying splash and Shawn reverses a powerbomb attempt with the help of Marty, and the Rockers team up for a pair of missile dropkicks on the Bossman as well. Shawn goes up again, but this time he falls prey to the powerbomb on the way down, and Akeem splashes him to finish. (The Twin Towers d. The Rockers, Akeem splash — pin Shawn Michaels, 8:02, **) Shawn may have been wasted, but even at 25% he’s still got enough to carry things by bumping for three.  (This rating has been remarkably consistent across all three versions, oddly enough.)  Ted Dibiase v. Brutus Beefcake Odd that they never did a full-on feud with these two, as they seemed like they’d have a good dynamic together. (Or they could team up as The Wealthy Barber!)  Brutus attacks and hiptosses Dibiase to start, and follows with a backdrop that sends Ted out of the ring to regroup. Back in, Dibiase opts for the cheapshot and throws some chops in the corner, but Beefcake comes back with slams and it’s another trip to the floor. Back in and Dibiase tries slugging it out with Beefcake, but quickly loses that battle, and it’s Plan C: Virgil trips him up and Dibiase chokes him down. Well, as Jesse would say, win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat. Dibase pounds away in the corner and elbows him down as the crowd dozes, and the fistdrop gets two. Elbow off the middle rope gets two, but Beefcake gets a quick cradle for two. They fight over a suplex and Beefcake gets that, and they clothesline each other for the double KO. Dibiase recovers first with a suplex and it’s time for the Million Dollar Dream, but Brutus makes the ropes right away. Brutus comes back and rams him into the turnbuckles, and now irony strikes Dibiase as he falls prey to a sleeper. Truly epic. Virgil distracts him and Beefcake gives chase, which results in a brawl on the floor until the inevitable double countout. (Ted Dibiase draw Brutus Beefcake, DCOR, 9:58, **) Technically fine, but the crowd was dead and there wasn’t any real flow to the match. Meanwhile, Lord Al Hayes interviews the Bushwackers at the annual brunch, and hilarity ensues. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers v. The Sheepfuckers Jesse accuses the Bushwackers of being on “the juice”, although he’s referring to booze in this case. Still, there’s an out-of-context remark for you. Rougeaus attack to save Jimmy Hart’s jacket, but they get whipped into each other and bail. Raymond offers a handshake to Luke and then jumps him, so Butch runs in and returns the favor. Battering Ram for Ramond, but Jacques saves and they bail again. The crowd won’t even respond to the Bushwackers, which at least shows they’re intelligent. The Rougeaus get a quick double-team on Luke and Ray hits him with an axehandle off the middle, and we get a quick double-team clothesline for two. They do the abdominal stretch / superkick spot, and that gets no reaction from the crowd of corpses either. Bushwackers sneak in with a Battering Ram and double gutbuster while they celebrate. (The Bushwackers d. The Rougeaus, Luke gutbuster — pin Raymond, 5:10, DUD) Wasn’t even much of a comedy match. Mr. Perfect v. The Blue Blazer Debut of the classic tights for Hennig here, as he had been wearing short ones up until this point. Perfect grabs a headlock to start and hiptosses the Blazer, and they trade slaps in the corner. Blazer reverses out of a hiptoss attempt and slams him, and dropkicks him to the floor, following with a baseball slide. To the floor as Blazer throws some forearms out there, and he works the arm back in the ring. Perfect tries his own hiptoss reversal, but Blazer does his classic block-and-reverse of THAT, and a dropkick and backbreaker gets two. Northern Lights suplex gets two. To the top, but a flying splash hits knees, and Perfect goes to work on the back. Perfect charges and hits boot, and Blazer follows with a powerslam for two and gets the nice belly to belly for two. Crucifix gets two. He argues with the ref, however, and Perfect clobbers him and finishes with the Perfectplex. (Mr. Perfect d. The Blue Blazer, Perfectplex — pin, 5:51, **1/4) Not the classic I remembered as a kid.  (Yup, that one keeps dropping too.)  And now, just because the show wasn’t going to run long enough as it is, Jesse stops to pose for the fans. I have no idea what the point of this was. Speaking of pointless, let’s take you back to the annual 5K run, which Mr. Fuji cheats to win. Well, that’s why the good lord invented fast forward. And speaking of fast-forward, here’s Run DMC, and there they go. World tag team titles: Demolition v. The Powers of Pain & Mr Fuji Oh good grief, we’ve apparently lost all the songs from the Piledriver record, as “Demolition” is wiped from history, too. OK, who sued and won this time? Ax pounds on Warlord to start, finally getting a teenie reaction from the crowd, and the Demos add a double-team beating and Smash chinlocks him. Ax adds his own chinlock. You know, they must have sweetened the video version’s crowd noise, because I don’t remember the show being this dead. I mean, this crowd isn’t popping for ANYTHING. Barbarian comes in and gets smashed by Smash, and axed by Ax. Smash elbows him down and they add a double-elbow, and Ax goes to the neck vice. Barbarian comes back with a chop to Smash, but Warlord can’t follow up, which results in the champs hitting him with a double clothesline. Ax goes after Fuji, however, and gets hit from behind to turn the tide. Fuji finally tags in and chops Ax down, then adds his falling headbutt. Over to Barbarian, who starts working the back and boots Ax down. Jumping clothesline and Warlord comes in and stays on the back, choking him down for two. Barbarian powerslams him into a Fuji flying splash, but it misses and it looks like the hot tag until Warlord cuts it off. Smash gets it anyway, although the crowd doesn’t care, and he clotheslines everyone. They clothesline him on the top rope and Smash gets two, but Fuji comes in, armed with salt. And maybe pepper, I’m not sure. However, it goes awry, and Demolition Decapitation ends it. (Demolition d. The Powers of Pain & Fuji, Ax Decapitation — pin Fuji, 8:45, *) Well, this was watchable, I suppose. I can definitely understand the crowd apathy to the guys punching and kicking each other for 8 minutes, however. Dino Bravo v. Ronnie Garvin Jimmy Snuka makes an utterly pointless appearance after the introductions. (Don’t forget that Tamina is his daughter!)  Bravo attacks to start and chops Garvin down, and grabs a quick bearhug. Shoulderblock gets two. Garvin blocks a powerbomb attempt by slugging Bravo down, and a splash gets two. Sleeper and piledriver get two, and he throws chops in the corner. He slugs away in the corner, and Bravo brings him out with an atomic drop, and the sideslam finishes quick. (Dino Bravo d. Ronnie Garvin, sideslam — pin, 3:55, 1/2*) Garvin seemed game, but this was going nowhere fast. The Brainbusters v. Strike Force Martel grabs a headlock on Tully to start, and then fights off a double-team attempt in the heel corner. Strike Force adds a double dropkick to put the heels on the floor, but Arn quickly regroups. Martel faceplants him for two and they fight over the knucklelock, but Arn catches him with a bodyscissors. Martel wisely tries to turn him over into the Boston Crab, but Tully pokes him in the eyes to break it up. Jesse’s all about that one. Tito comes in and it’s old double figure-four spot, which the Busters quickly escape from. Tully and Tito do a bridge/backslide spot, which gets two for Tito, and he cradles Tully for two. Blind tag, but Tito hits Martel with the forearm by mistake, and Tully dropkicks Tito to take over. Arn comes in and elbows him in the gut, but Tito fights them off and goes for a tag…but Martel is being a drama queen and selling the “injury”. Tito keeps fighting with a sunset flip on Arn for two, but Tully breaks it up and gets two. Tito gets a bodypress for two, but Arn slows him down with a rear chinlock. Tito fights out and goes for the tag again, but Martel isn’t feeling it and walks away from the tag. And the match. Typical Frenchman, running away from a fight. The Busters go to work on Tito. Tito fights them off, but goes for a monkey flip on Tully and gets splatted as a result, and it’s ye olde Spike Piledriver to end his comeback. (The Brainbusters d. Strike Force, Anderson piledriver — pin Santana, 9:13, **1/2) This crowd is really bringing me down, man. This one actually seemed better in clipped form, with better crowd reactions dubbed in. It’s late and I’m tired, so I’m skipping through the Piper/Brother Love/Morton Downey Jr. trainwreck. Hey, it’s my column. This was definitely 15 minutes that could have been excised quite easily from the show. And now, a sneak preview of No Holds Barred. Thank god this is cut out of the video version. Sean Mooney interviews Donald Trump, back when he was all wooden and couldn’t act. Oh, wait. Apparently we’re in an intermission now, because we go into time-filler overdrive with a recap of the Megapowers angle and a rather lengthy Hogan interview. Jake Roberts v. Andre The Giant Special ref here is John Studd. Andre attacks to start and rams Jake into a conveniently missing turnbuckle, and quickly tries choking him out. Jake goes for the snake, but Andre grabs him in a chokehold again. Jesse has a funny line here, noting that David beat Goliath with a foreign object. That’s a wrestling mentality for you. Andre leans on Jake in the corner, which is about as lazy as you can get, offensively speaking. More choking and Andre uses his butt as a weapon, and chokes away again. Jake slugs back and Andre gets tied in the ropes as a result, which allows Jake to do his own choking. But not for long, because Andre is the master of choking. And choke he does! And did I mention the choking? Because there’s quite a lot of it. Jake comes back with punches and sends Andre into the bare turnbuckle, but Andre chops him right out of the ring. Andre won’t let him in, and the camera’s closeup of the ring apron reveals that they were so cheap as to recycle the skirts from Wrestlemania IV, simply by removing the “I” from the roman numeral. Studd and Andre get into a shoving match, while Ted Dibiase steals the snake, and Andre attacks Studd to draw the rather obvious DQ and set up the big feud that never happened. The recovered snake sends Andre fleeing. (Jake Roberts d. Andre The Giant, DQ, 9:39, DUD) Studd’s face turn just didn’t work, and Andre was pretty far gone by this point. The Hart Foundation v. Honky Tonk Man & Greg Valentine Jimmy Hart’s team were not yet Rhythm & Blues, and this was just thrown together as yet another in the endless parade of matches to fill time before the main event. Bret starts with Honky and rolls him up for two, and follows with an atomic drop both ways to send him scurrying back to the corner. Hammer comes in and takes the atomic drop, and Bret dropkicks him, which sets up the pinball spot in the face corner. Nice timing as Bret whips Hammer and then slingshots Anvil in on the rebound for a shoulderblock, which gets two. Bret with the backbreaker and middle rope elbow, but it misses and Valentine drops his own elbows. They do some choking in the corner and Honk drops a fist and a series of elbows, and it’s over to Hammer for a top rope forearm and an elbow to the back of the head. He gets his own atomic drop and Honky adds Shake Rattle N Roll, but he allows Valentine to try the figure-four instead of pinning him. Bret thumbs the eye to block, so Hammer keeps coming with a gutbuster and brings Honky back in. Bret fights back with a crossbody for two, but lands on the floor when Honky kicks out, and it’s back to Hammer again. Bret tries a rollup, but actually just fakes him out and makes the hot tag to Neidhart instead. Shoulderblock on Valentine gets two. Nice clothesline gets two. Hammer thumbs the eyes to stop the offense, but Honky misses a fistdrop and the Harts go to work on him, as Bret drops his elbow and adds a suplex for two. Valentine saves and cleans house, but Neidhart steals the megaphone and Bret nails Honky Tonk with it to finish. Bret screwed Wayne Ferris! (The Hart Foundation d. Honky Tonk & Valentine, Bret megaphone — pin Honky, 7:39, **1/2) This was actually quite a solid tag match in its uncut form, although the finish should have been stronger. WWF Intercontinental title: Ultimate Warrior v. Rick Rude Common sense at the time said that Warrior squashes him like a bug, but in hindsight Rude needed to go over in order to get to the next level. Rude tries to knee Warrior in the gut on the way in, but Warrior is still wearing the belt and thus outsmarts him. Warrior tosses Rude around like a ragdoll as Rude is all about the bumps tonight, and the crowd FINALLY wakes up. Warrior smartly opts to whip Rude into the corners without following up by charging, and then calmly bearhugs him. He’s thinking for once. Rude goes to the eyes to break and then scoots up top with a missile dropkick, but Warrior no-sells and slams him instead. Man, Rude is just bouncing around out there like a superball tonight. Back to the bearhug, but this time the ref prevents Rude from going to the eyes,which offends Jesse on several levels. Finally Rude slugs out on his own merits, so Warrior bites him and adds a backdrop. Big splash hits knee, however, and Rude takes over. Piledriver gets two for Rude. Sadly, his back is so injured that he can’t even swivel. Clothesline gets two. Russian legsweep gets two. Rude goes to a surfboard, but Warrior fights to the ropes and hulks up. Shoulderblock and faceplant set up a backbreaker, and he follows with a clothesline after a weird blown spot in the corner. He goes back to whipping Rude around, this time following up with a charge, and missing as a result. Rude goes for the Rude Awakening, but Warrior powers out of it and clotheslines him again. Rude bails and Warrior sends him back in, then dumps him with a clothesline. He suplexes Rude back in, but Heenan grabs the foot for the famous finish, and we have an upset, to the delight of Jesse. (Rick Rude d. Ultimate Warrior, outside interference — pin, 9:41, ***) They would have better matches, but this was the first sign that Rude was more than the pretty boy arrogant heel in the ring, as he more than carried his end of the match and actually got the crowd into it. Bad News Brown v. Hacksaw Jim Duggan To put this in perspective, we are now at the three hour mark for the show, which is beyond all sanity for a crowd this dead with an undercard this meaningless. Brown attacks to start, but Duggan slugs back and clotheslines him out of the ring. Brown regroups and lays Duggan out with a forearm back in the ring, and slugs away in the corner. Duggan fires back with shoulders in the corner, so Brown slugs him down again. They brawl outside as Jesse notes that if one of them tries a hold, they might win it. Brown wins that fight and tries the Ghetto Blaster, but Duggan comes back with the three-point stance and they fight outside again, as Brown grabs a chair and Duggan grabs his 2×4. (Jim Duggan draw Bad News Brown, DDQ, 3:46, 1/2*) C’mon, just get to the main event already. Red Rooster v. Bobby Heenan One last quickie before the match people actually paid to see. I think someone should sue and make them dub out the Rooster’s ridiculous theme song. Rooster whips Bobby into the corner and pins him. (Red Rooster d. Bobby Heenan, corner whip — pin, 0:28, DUD) This was what it was. WWF World title: Randy Savage v. Hulk Hogan This of course was the biggest match in the history of history at that point, drawing millions of dollars on PPV after being built up for years. Savage dodges Hogan and plays some mindgames to start, and Hogan overpowers him on the lockup. Savage grabs a headlock, but gets overpowered again and bails. As any good man would do, he hides behind Liz, and Jesse approves. Back in, Hogan takes him down with a drop toehold to meet his wrestling quota for the night, but Savage suplexes out of his headlock. Hogan quickly recovers and slugs away, and starts working on the arm, so Savage goes to the eyes and drops the axehandle for two. Savage takes it to the mat with an armbar. Some really slick hair-pulling behind the ref’s back follows, but it’s wasted when Hogan dumps him to break the hold. That was some quality cheating by Savage. Back in, Savage eats turnbuckle and Hogan drops him with a clothesline, into the elbows, but Savage clotheslines him for two. Savage grabs a chinlock while Hogan bleeds, but he fights out and blocks a big boot with an atomic drop. Hogan misses the elbow and Savage sends him into the corner with a high knee, and that gets two. Savage goes to work on the cut and stomps on the fingers, but that just gets Hogan mad, and he comes back with some shots in the corner and the corner clothesline. Hogan, sportsman, dumps Savage over the top and Liz tries to assist him, but Savage is an independent guy and doesn’t want help. Hogan follows him out for the brawl, showing he was probably in cahoots with Liz all along, and she prevents him from sending Savage into the post, which allows Savage to turn the tables and give Hogan the same treatment. Liz keeps getting involved, so the ref sends her back to the dressing room as we hit a dead spot. With no more distractions, Savage gets down to business, dropping Hogan with the axehandle to the floor before they head back in. Necksnap and Savage goes to work on the throat, choking him on the ropes and adding an elbow to the throat. Kneedrop gets two. Savage goes for broke, choking him out with the tape, and things look bad for the challenger. He goes with the straight choke and heads up to finish with the big elbow, and really I can’t stand to finish the review because it just hurts every damn time I watch it. (Hulk Hogan d. Randy Savage, legdrop — pin, 17:53, ***) It was somewhat epic, but the crowd was just so dead and they couldn’t live up to the hype no matter what they went with. This one was such a heated feud that it needed something more akin to the current main event brawling style, and really they just went out there and did a Hogan match. Of course, at the time it made perfect sense to put Hogan over clean and send Savage down a different path with Sherri, but my god, Savage was on such a hot streak as a heel that they could have drawn MILLIONS by screwing Hulk out of the belt here and building up the chase to the rematch at Summerslam. But hindsight is 20/20 and all that. The Pulse: Wow, editing really is important, because the home video version is eons better than the ultra-dull and seemingly endless live PPV version, which stretches 3 hours and 40 minutes and feels like it’s never going to end. Still, bless 24/7 for at least giving fans to see the uncut version for themselves. Probably one of the worst Wrestlemanias in this form, although the shorter version that used to be more widely available is quite enjoyable for the most part. Strong recommendation to avoid.

Wrestlemania Countdown: 5

(And now for your reading pleasure, THREE different versions of the same crappy show!) The Netcop Retro Rant for Wrestlemania V – Live from Atlantic City, New Jersey, just like the year before, original airdate April 2/1989. (Memories of this show:  Sitting in the upper deck of the PNE Coliseum in Vancouver with a bored crowd only there to see Hogan v. Savage.  As I recall, they didn’t even have extra screens set up for this, they just showed it on the scoreboard screens.) – Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura.Opening match: King Haku v. Hercules. Haku was still being semi-pushed and Hercules was in his eternal state of limbo. It goes back and forth for about two minutes and then Herc hits a belly-to-back for the pin. This was severely clipped because I remember it being longer and more boring while watching it live in 89. The clipped version was pretty watchable. **1/2  (That was some succinct recapping right there.  And yeah, turns out the full version really was terrible.)  The Rockers v. Big Bossman & Akeem. The Rockers were hungover like shit here, and Jannetty was stoned. (Shawn’s brutally honest recollections of this match, and especially the night before, on his various shoot interviews are all pretty funny.)  Rockers stay out of the way with quick moves until Jannetty gets caught with a bearhug and pounded by the Towers. Michaels gets the hot tag and the Rockers double team Akeem with a double shoulderblock. Akeem catches Michaels with a deadly clothesline that draws “OOooohs”. Rockers come back with a double dropkick from the top on Bossman, but Michaels takes another shitkicking and gets powerbombed off a rana attempt, then splashed and pinned by Akeem. Fun big v. little match. **  (I find it weird that they really didn’t have any specific plans for the Towers after their part in the Megapowers split.  They went over so strong here that it should have been a tag title push as a result, and they just kind of tooled around the midcard as house show challengers for Demolition before breaking up.)  Brutus Beefcake v. Ted Dibiase. Stalling to start, then a slugfest and Dibiase takes over and destroys Beefcake. Beefcake escapes the Million Dollar Dream and comes back, hooking his own sleeper. Virgil baits him out of the ring, Dibiase chases, and we have a double-countout. Standard PrimeTime Wrestling main event. *1/4 Virgil gets beat up after the decision. This really had no place on PPV except to remind everyone that both guys are still around.  (1989’s Kane v. Orton, in other words, except that we didn’t get three rematches with escalating stips on the next PPVs afterwards.)  The Fabulous Rougeaus v. The Sheepwhackers. Case in point, this match. Gorilla and Jesse have a hilarious discussion about which of them was retired first. Rougeaus double-team Luke right off the bat and control for most of the match. Luke does something vaguely resembling selling. Jacques tries to start a “USA” chant but the crowd isn’t buying. Rougeaus celebrate after their abdominal-stretch/superkick combo and Butch sneaks in and they do the battering ram and stomach breaker on Jacques for the upset win. 1/4*  (Not really an upset since the Rougeaus weren’t winning much at this point anyway.)  Curt Hennig v. The Blue Blazer. This was the debut of the style of tights Hennig still wears to this day. (Well, not anymore.  Sad face.)  Hennig pulls out the first MAN-SIZED bump, going over the top on a dropkick, then Blazer baseball slides him. Back in and Owen with some more wrestling sequences to keep control. Nasty spot as Owen goes for a Money Shot but lands, unsupported, right on Hennig’s knees. Match is clipped to Owen getting a crucifix for two, but Hennig gets the Perfectplex for the win. Good match. ***1/2  (Eh, not that good.)  – Gratuitous washed-up celebrity appearance: Run DMC does a song. I’ve got that damn DX remix stuck in my head yet again now. (Exactly what this bloated show needed:  Pop culture footnotes using up TV time to rap for no reason.  Run DMC at least ended up coming back years later and even got into the Hall of Fame [Rock N Roll, not WWE], but they were definitely last year’s news at this point.  Now Tone Loc, that’s what all the kids were into in 1989.)  WWF World tag team title, handicap match: Demolition v. The Powers of Pain & Mr. Fuji. The Demos were at the height of their power and popularity here. The match itself was set up by the Demos getting double-crossed by Fuji at the Survivor Series. (More evidence of the decompressed nature of the time, as this came five months after their initial angle.)  Standard Demos-Powers match, with Fuji of course getting cheap shots in now and then. Crowd doesn’t care about this one. Fuji misses a big move off the top ad Ax makes the hot tag to Smash. Chaos erupts and Fuji goes for the CEREMONIAL SALT OF DOOM, which misses, and Fuji is left alone with the Demos. Mr. Fuji, RIP. Demos retain. 1/4* – Dino Bravo v. Ronnie Garvin. After the intros, Finkel introduces Jimmy Snuka, who wanders out, takes a bow, then leaves. Well, that was pointless.  (Indeed, what a weird interlude that was.  However, I’d like to think that somewhere teenaged Michael Cole was getting excited that Snuka had a daughter named Tamina.)  Much like this match, as Bravo proceeds to squash Garvin. Garvin comes back with some token offense but Bravo inevitably gets the side suplex for the pin. Not horrible or anything. *  (Yes it was!  Geez, 1999 Scott, this is WRESTLEMANIA!  Step up the snark!)  The Brainbusters v. Strike Force. Martel had his ass kicked by Demolition so severely that he was put on the shelf for 10 months, and this is his comeback match. Fantastic little NWA-style match to start, as Strike Force pulls out some great double-teams and get their finishers on the Busters early. Santana accidentally hits Martel and knocks him off the apron, and Rick proceeds to do a 5-minute melodramatic oversell of a shot to the head. But there would be a point. Tito takes an absolute shitkicking from the heels as they cheat outrageously. Tito slams Arn off the top and crawls over with his last breath to tag Martel…who promptly walks out on him, drawing a huge heel pop. The result is academic, as the Busters finish Tito with a SWEET spike piledriver for the pin. Bitchin match. ***3/4 – Piper’s Pit with Brother Love. Piper is introduced first with a huge introduction from Finkel, but Brother Love comes out wearing a kilt, and proceeds to do the best Piper imitation I’ve ever heard, “interviewing” himself. Morton Downey Jr. comes out next and runs down Brother Love while puffing on cigarettes non-stop. If you don’t know who Downey is, don’t worry, you’re not alone — his fifteen minutes of fame were up faster than John Wayne Bobbit’s. (That was a timely reference in 1999, more or less.)  Piper finally comes out and takes over, humiliating Love and ripping off his kilt, which sends him scurrying back to the dressing room. That leaves Downey, who has been throwing cancer sticks at Piper the whole time. Downey gets a wicked verbal jab in at Piper. Piper: “Why do you call yourself Morton Downey Jr.?” Morton: “That’s the name your mama gave me.” More sparring, and after a bunch of smoke being blown in Piper’s face, Piper finds a fire extinguisher and sprays it on Downey. Pretty funny stuff.  (But again, what was the fucking POINT?) – Jake Roberts v. Andre the Giant. This was during the “Andre is afraid of snakes” period. John Studd is the special referee. They lumber around for a while and then overbooking takes over as the snake gets pulled out and Ted Dibiase runs in. Studd brawls with Andre and Dibiase brawls with Roberts and the whole thing is a big wash. DUD – The Hart Foundation v. Greg Valentine & Honky Tonk Man. Another filler match. Things go back and forth aimlessly for a bit and then a pier-six erupts, during which Bret gets the megaphone and bops HTM for the pin. Bleh. 1/2* – Intercontinental title match: The Ultimate Warrior v. Rick Rude. (I was totally not buying Rude as any kind of a contender at this point, which is probably why it was such a masterstroke to put him over Warrior.)  Longer than usual match for Warrior, as he misses a splash and hits Rude’s knees, giving Rude control. BEARHUG OF DOOM bores the crowd before Warrior makes his superman(iac) comeback, clotheslining Rude over the top rope. He suplexes Rude back in, but Heenan pulls out the most cliched cheap screwjob in history (although I’d never seen it at the time), hooking Warrior’s leg and resulting in a Rude pinfall, much to the disgust of the crowd. Who would have EVER thought that Warrior would lose at that point? Heenan gets clobbered by the Warrior after the match, which comes back to haunt him later. 1/2* – Hacksaw Duggan v. Bad News Brown. The infamous “snot hanging out of his nose” match, so named because Duggan has, well, I’m sure you can guess. A typical Duggan brawl, once again to fill time in an already bloated PPV, which ends in both guys grabbing weapons for a double DQ. Whatever. DUD  (Sadly this should have been pretty awesome given the brawling abilities of both guys.  As a house show main event with 10 minutes and a bunch of garbagy spots, they could have had something.)  Bobby Heenan v. Terry Taylor. Because Heenan was beat up by Warrior, the match lasts 10 seconds as Heenan misses a charge and gets pinned by Taylor. DUD. The Brooklyn Brawler attacks Taylor after the match.  (Did we REALLY need this here?  Would the bored casino zombies have rioted if they only got 120 matches instead of 121?)  WWF World title match: Randy Savage v. Hulk Hogan. Miss Elizabeth is in a neutral corner. And one year after winning the title in his building, it all comes full circle as Savage defends against Hogan. Btw, the champion should NEVER enter first. Jesse points that out, too, a couple of minutes after I typed that. Savage is just drawing unreal heel heat. He’s my hero. Chase erupts during the feeling out period, and Savage hides behind Liz. I’m surprised Hogan didn’t hit her. (I think I was confusing him with Lex Luger.)  Hogan tries some wrestling (!) and Savage cheats like a motherfucker to take over. Hairpulling, thumb to the eye, you name it. Scott Steiner, take note, that is the proper way to work it in. Savage works on the arm until Hogan tosses him out of the ring to break. Hogan comes back with his limited offense but puts his head down and Savage clobbers him, and Hogan blades. Another mini-comeback by Hogan fails and Savage knees Hogan into the corner. Jesse is in his glory cheering for Savage. Hogan hulks up and does the corner comeback, but his arm is still hurting. Savage takes a MAN-SIZED bump as Hogan slams him over the top to the floor. Liz helps him up and Savage takes a swing at her. Hogan and Savage brawl on the floor, and Hogan tries to do a battering ram job on Savage into the post. Liz blocks his path and Hogan ends up getting shoved into the post. Savage starts jawing with Liz, and Hebner finally has had enough and sends her back to the dressing room. Savage drops the double-axehandle to Hogan, ramming his head into the barricade. Crowd is getting into Savage. Necksnap and elbow on the apron throatfirst to work on the neck, then a kneedrop. Only gets two. Back to the Memphis stuff as Savage chokes Hulk out with the tape. Again, if used in moderation, it works. Savage chokes Hulk out, and then drops the big elbow…but Hogan no-sells. Hulk up. THREE PUNCHES OF DOOM, then the big foot, and the STINKY GIANT-KILLING LEGDROP and Hogan has his precious title back for a second time. “The crowd goes nuts” is putting it mildly. I was totally upset by this match the first time I saw it, but the more I watch it from a distance, the more I like it. I think it stands as one of Hogan’s best matches. **** Jesse goes off on a shoot-like rant during the posedown about what an egomaniac Hogan is and how he’ll stoop to any level to get his own way. Amen, Jess. The Bottom Line: Hey, cut out the filler and you’ve got three killer matches and some fun stuff. A truly epic show to end the year-long Megapowers storyline and send everyone home happy. Hogan *had* to go over, no other ending would be justifiable. (Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Savage was on fire as a heel, they should have had Liz’s involvement lead to the DQ finish so that Savage could continue running roughshod with the title.  Then Hogan could get his big win at Summerslam instead.)  I liked the show, others disagree. I’m sure I’ll get disagreement for my Wrestlemania VI rant, which is coming up in the next few days, too. Recommended show. (And now, a SECOND version of the Coliseum video rant done a few years later, as I’m now doing proper match times and recaps.)  The SmarK Retro Re-Rant for Wrestlemania V – This is the hacked-up Coliseum Video version I’m reviewing, for those who like to keep track of these things and may wonder why the matches are shorter than they remember. – Live from Atlantic City, NJ. – Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse Ventura. – Opening match: King Haku v. Hercules. Kind of an odd choice for an opener. Hercules was coming off his face turn after being “bought” by Ted Dibiase and started sucking up to the Megapowers for the rub, until they self-destructed. Whoops. Haku attacks from behind to start, but Herc comes back with a hiptoss and a slam. Faceplant and he goes after Heenan, but of course gets jumped. Back in, he comes back with a kneelift and some clotheslines, making me think that Haku’s whole heat segment was edited out. Powerslam gets two. Herc goes up but gets superkicked on the way down, and Haku follows with a flying headbutt that misses. Herc finishes with a backdrop suplex at 2:52. This was edited down to nothing, basically. ½* – Big Bossman & Akeem v. The Rockers. We’ll just steer clear of the whole “Twin Towers” name, for obvious reasons of good taste. This was Shawn’s Wrestlemania debut. The Rockers dodge the big guys to start and then knock them off the apron with elbows. Shawn claimed in a shoot interview that he was stoned and drunk off his gourd for this match. Bossman powers Shawn up to the top, but Marty distracts him and allows Shawn to hit a missile dropkick. Shawn uses speed to hit both heels, and Marty comes in to work on Akeem’s arm. Akeem makes the blind tag to Bossman, who catches Marty in a bearhug, and they sandwich Marty with a splash. Ouch. Bossman gets the rope straddle and Akeem splashes Marty on the ropes and gets…funky? Bossman splashes Marty in the corner, and then Akeem splashes Bossman for added weight. That’s pretty innovative. Bossman pounds him down and rings his ears, and Akeem comes in, but hits Bossman by mistake. Hot tag Shawn, and he slugs away on Akeem. The Rockers do some double-teaming as they whip Akeem around the ring and hit a double-shoulderblock for two. Akeem shrugs it off and hits Shawn with a vicious clothesline, but Bossman misses a top rope splash and Shawn gets two. Shawn goes for a rana, and Marty trips up Bossman to help with the move, and the Rockers both go up for a double dropkick. That gets two. Akeem finally tosses Marty for lack of anything better to do with him, and Bossman reverses another rana attempt from Shawn with a powerbomb, and Akeem kills him dead with a splash at 6:58. Fun, fast-paced big v. little match with some crazy bumping from the Rockers. ** – Ted Dibiase v. Brutus Beefcake. Dibiase’s Million Dollar Belt was the consolation prize for not winning the WWF title at Wrestlemania IV. I’m sure that helped him sleep at night. Beefcake’s push was somewhat stalled at this point, as he was floating aimlessly in the midcard. Much like most of the people on this show. Beefcake gets a cheapshot to start and backdrops Dibiase twice, and Ted bails. Back in, they slug it out, and Beefcake wins that fairly handily until Virgil trips him up. Dibiase does some choking as Jesse, future leader of a state, declares that “if you can’t win fair, cheat”. Somehow you KNEW he’d end up as a politician. Fistdrop gets two. Clothesline sets up an elbow off the middle rope that takes FOREVER. That would have been an easy edit. That gets two. He puts his head down, however, and Beefcake gets two off a cradle. Dibiase comes back with a suplex and gets the Million Dollar Dream, but Beefcake makes the ropes. Dibiase won’t break, so the ref pulls him off, and Beefcake makes the comeback. Dibiase eats some turnbuckle and Beefcake follows with the sleeper, but Virgil distracts him and they brawl outside for the double countout at 6:26. LAAAAAAAME. Poor Ted, in the World title finals one year and fighting a barber third from the bottom the next. It was actually going along fine before the rather abrupt finish. *3/4 – The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers v. The Bushwhackers. The Bushwhackers were actually fairly new and novel at this point in terms of their usage in the WWF. Bushwhackers go after Jimmy’s coat to start, but the Rougeaus save it. Whew. They quickly lay out Luke and double-team him on a Boston crab, then bring him into their corner and Ray whips Luke into the corner. He goes up to the middle with a double sledge, and Jacques comes in with a back elbow, and the Rougeaus get something vaguely resembling a double clothesline. A double elbow sets up Jacques’ abdominal stretch, which is aided by Raymond’s superkick to the gut. The Bushwhackers break up their celebrating with a battering ram, and the double gutbuster gives Luke the pin at 3:57. Next, please. ½* – Mr. Perfect v. The Blue Blazer. If there was one gimmick I never wanted to see again, it’s the Blazer. Such is life. Perfect starts with some chops, but Blazer reverses a hiptoss into a pair of slams and a dropkick that puts Perfect on the floor. Blazer follows with a baseball slide and they head back in. Blazer dodges him in the corner and gets a hiptoss and another slam. Another dropkick sets up a backbreaker, for two. Armbar takedown gets one. Blazer goes up, but hits knees on a splash, and we have an obvious edit. Blazer gets a crucifix for two, but Perfect lays him out with a clothesline and it’s the Perfectplex to finish at 3:16. Brutally clipped, but the full version is a really good match. *1/2  (That’s quite the drop in match rating from my original rant.)  – We’ll skip over the Run-DMC appearance. Man, another dead person making an appearance. – WWF tag titles: Demolition v. The Powers of Pain & Mr. Fuji. This was the peak for Demolition’s popularity, after the double-turn with the Powers at Survivor Series. Warlord starts pounding on Ax, but gets it back in spades. Smash comes in and it’s CLUBBERING TIME. Warlord powers him into the heel corner, however, necessitating Smash fighting out. No problem, however. Back to the Demo corner, as Ax comes in with a clothesline on Barbarian, but Barbarian wins a slugfest with Smash. Back to the heel corner, as Warlord uses the CLUBBING FOREARMS, but gets nowhere, with Demolition quickly getting a double-team clothesline on him. However, Ax turns his back on Fuji and gets attacked by the Powers, and he’s YOUR face-in-peril. Fuji comes in and they work Ax over with a variety of clubbing moves. Barbarian gets a shoulderblock, and Warlord boots Ax down for two. Barbarian powerslams him and tags Fuji in, but he misses an elbow from the top. Warlord cuts off any potential tag, however, with a slam. Ax fights back, however, and makes the hot tag to Smash. Punches fly and Smash slams both Powers, and the Demos get a double-team necksnap on Warlord for two. It’s BONZO GONZO and Fuji throws salt at Smash, but misses and hits Warlord, and the Demos finish with Decapitation on Fuji at 7:13. Punchy kicky crappy. *1/4 – Dino Bravo v. Rugged Ron Garvin. Weird moment as Jimmy Snuka is re-introduced out of nowhere and does a lap of the ring after the ring introductions of these guys. (Fun fact:  Snuka now has a daughter who wrestles as a WWE sports entertainer, and her name is Tamina.)  Bravo lays out Garvin to start and drops an elbow, and goes to work on the back, then clubs him down. He goes to the bearhug and overpowers him for two. Garvin blocks a powerbomb and falls on top for two, however. Hands of Stone gets two. Garvin lays in chops and another knockout punch gets two. Sleeper, but Bravo makes the ropes. Piledriver is reversed by Bravo, but Garvin hangs on with a sunset flip for two. Garvin hits him with chops and pounds away in the corner, but Bravo comes out with an atomic drop and the sideslam finishes at 3:42. Who forgot to tell Garvin that Wrestlemania used to be about dogging it and blowing up 30 seconds in? Match wasn’t any GOOD, but Garvin actually seemed motivated for some bizarre reason. * – Strike Force v. The Brainbusters. Martel was returning here after getting put out of commission by Demolition a year earlier. Martel starts with Tully and they work off a headlock, but Arn quickly knees Martel in the back. Martel fights out of the corner and Strike Force cleans house with dropkicks. Arn comes in and puts his head down, and Martel faceplants him for two. They do a knucklelock and Martel holds him on the mat, but Arn turns it into a bodyscissors. Martel turns him over into a Boston Crab, however, which is a nice counter. Tully thumbs him in the eye to break it up, drawing instant approval from Jesse. Santana tags in for a figure-four, and it’s the old double figure-fours spot. Yeah, but Martel & Santana are SO not the Rock N Rolls. Santana and Tully do a pinfall reversal sequence, but Arn saves. Tito cradles Tully for two. Martel comes in and Tito hits him with a flying forearm off a blind tag, by accident, and Martel is out on the floor. The Brainbusters now take over, as Arn pounds Tito and they work him over in the corner. Tito fights them off and goes for the tag, but Arn cuts it off. Sunset flip by Tito, but Arn tags Tully to escape and Blanchard gets two. Tito comes back with a cross body out of the corner for two, but the heels cut off the tag again. Arn goes to the rear chinlock, but Tito fights out, then charges and hits boot. Arn goes up, but gets slammed off, and Tito finally crawls over to his corner…but Martel is still selling the “injury”. Typical Quebecer drama queen. Tully keeps pounding on Tito, as Martel decides to take a walk, and the Busters kick the crap out of Santana and finish with the spike piledriver at 7:45. Felt like they were trying for an NWA-ish angle, but the match wasn’t long enough and there wasn’t enough heat on Santana for it to work within the context of the match. Martel turned heel in the post-match interview and became the Model soon after. **1/2  (Another conspicuous quality drop following a redo of the rant. ) – We blissfully skip past the dated and now-painfully unfunny segment with Roddy Piper, Brother Love, and Morton Downey Jr. Many of you are likely asking who Downey Jr. is, which would explain why it’s so dated. Bruce Pritchard’s Piper imitation is the only really funny thing there. The big joke revolves around Downey’s obnoxious chain-smoking and his refusal to quit. Piper sprays him with a fire extinguisher to show him the error of his ways, but lung cancer finished the job in 2001. Sometimes there’s just no fire extinguisher large enough, I guess.  (I think this was one of the rare cases where even the celebrities were dead only a few years after the show.)  Andre the Giant v. Jake Roberts. This was the charming “Andre is afraid of snakes” storyline, and John Studd was the referee. This was going to lead to a big push for the returning Studd, with Andre presumably putting him over, but health problems forced Studd back into retirement again, and he died in 1993, along with Andre. Man, this is quite the depressing show, isn’t it? Not to mention Jake’s problems since then. Andre attacks Roberts to start and sends him into an exposed turnbuckle, then chokes away in the corner. Jake slugs back and Andre gets tied up in the ropes, as he was wont to do, allowing Jake to lay in some punishment. Andre escapes with a choke, and headbutts Jake down. He pounds away in the corner, but sells a knee that didn’t happen, and Jake comes back. That was weird. Andre goes down, but still slugs Jake out to the floor from his knees. Andre keeps knocking him off the apron, so Jake grabs the snake, triggering a fight between Studd and Andre. Then, to make it dumber, Ted Dibiase runs out and steals the snake, while Andre beats on Studd. Jake sneals his snake back and makes the save, and it’s a DQ win at 5:29. Andre was so sad to watch in these final years. -* – The Hart Foundation v. Honky Tonk Man & Greg Valentine. Talk about your filler matches. Bret starts with Honky and they fight over a lockup, and Bret slugs away on him and rolls him up for two. Atomic drop, both ways, and Honky retreats to tag Valentine. Hitman rolls him up, but Hammer blocks, so Bret tags Anvil in and he cleans house with shoulderblocks. That gets two on Valentine. Clothesline gets two. The Harts switch off on Honky and Bret drops the elbow, and suplexes him for two. Jimmy Hart distracts the ref, so the Harts grab his megaphone in retribution, nail Honky with it, and Bret gets the pin at 3:00. Like I said, filler. ¾* – Intercontinental title: Ultimate Warrior v. Rick Rude. This was the start of Rude actually being something worthwhile as a worker, to the shock of many. Warrior charges in with a shoulderblock, as Rude tried a knee to the gut, only to hit the belt. Warrior tosses him into the corner a few times, as Rude bumps like a freak. Warrior goes to a bearhug for god knows what reason, but Rude fights out by biting him. Warrior does the same right back. Backdrop and he goes for the splash, but Rude gets the knees up to block. Piledriver gets two. Jawbreaker, but Rude is too injured to swivel. Clothesline gets two. Rude goes to a surfboard, but Warrior powers out of it and clotheslines him. Warrior whips him around the ring, but misses a charge and splats in the corner. Rude goes for the Rude Awakening, but Warrior powers out of it and clotheslines him. Rude bails to escape, but Warrior tosses him back in again. He clotheslines Rude out again and tries a suplex back in, but Heenan hooks the leg and Rude wins the title at 6:19. Pretty decent power match with a finish that was still innovative in terms of never being done on PPV before and thus new to the fans. ** Rude & Warrior would actually have WAY better matches later, including a great one at Summerslam 89, where Warrior regained the belt. – Bad News Brown v. Hacksaw Duggan. It’s the show that never ends! Just like the song, except with more steroids. Can you imagine booking this many matches these days? Bad News hammers away to start, but misses a charge and Duggan slugs back. Brown takes a walk, so Duggan slingshots him back in. Brown casually pounds him down again and headbutts him, but Duggan’s head is impervious to punishment and he stays up. There are times when I yearn for hardcore rules, and this is one of them. A garbage can would really break up the monotony right about now. Brown slugs him down and Duggan bails, so Brown whips him into the post. Back in, he goes for the Ghetto Blaster, but Duggan ducks and hits the three-point stance clothesline. Brown bails, totally no-selling it, and grabs a chair, but Duggan gets the board and it’s a duel for a double-DQ at 3:46. Yay, it’s OVER. DUD – Bobby Heenan v. Terry Taylor. Heenan is still injured from Warrior beating him up after the Rude match, so it’s a quick pinfall for Taylor at 0:30 after a whip into the corner. DUD Brooklyn Brawler attacks afterwards to kick off THAT epic opening-match C-show feud. – WWF title: Randy Savage v. Hulk Hogan. Jesse’s pre-match rant for Savage and against Hogan is awesome stuff. Savage bails to start and plays some headgames, but loses a lockup. He bails again and simmers, and back in tries a headlock, but gets overpowered. He takes out his frustrations with a tirade on Elizabeth, which sets off Jesse again. Back to the headlock, but Savage decides to duck out again. Hogan chases him this time, so Savage hides behind Liz. Hogan thinks it’s unfair, but then this coming from the guy who beats up women and has no problem using weapons in a sanctioned match. Hogan now does a bit of chain wrestling to take Savage down with a headlock, but Savage suplexes out of it. Hogan pops up and starts punching, then starts on the arm, but Savage goes to the eye and heads up. Double axehandle gets two. Savage grabs an armbar and keeps Hogan on the mat, but he fights up, so Macho uses what little hair there is to regain control. Hogan pulls the tights to dump Savage, and then tosses him back in. Jesse is so on the money here, jumping all over every little thing Hogan does. Hogan rams him into the turnbuckles and clotheslines him to set up the elbowdrops. Savage kicks him in the head to come back and gets the lariat for two, however. We hit the chinlock as Hogan starts bleeding. Hulk fights out and overpowers Savage, then follows with an atomic drop, but misses the elbow. Savage nails him from behind with a knee, into a rollup for two. He whips him around as Hogan bleeds, and then stomps on the hands for good measure. Hogan revives and rams Savage into the turnbuckle, then slugs away in the corner. Corner clothesline, but he hurts his arm on the move. Psychology? In a HOGAN MATCH? He javelins Savage over the top, which draws a sympathetic Liz over to tend to him. Savage offers her a backhand, however. That’ll learn her. They brawl outside as Savage keeps on the cut, but Hogan comes back and tries to ram Savage into the post. Liz prevents it, so Savage does it to Hogan. That’s thinking. The ref has had enough of Liz, so she gets sent to the back. Savage, meanwhile, hits Hogan with the double axehandle to the floor, driving him into the railing. Back in, he necksnaps him and chokes him on the ropes, working the throat with an elbow. Kneedrop gets two. Savage moves onto the wrist tape to choke him down (impressing Jesse greatly) then just uses his hands to put him out. Hogan is dead, so Savage goes up to finish him off with the flying elbow…but Hogan kicks out at two. Shit, every time I watch it, it’s the same thing. But I can keep hoping. Hulk up, three punches, big boot, legdrop, and Hogan wins his second title at 17:53. Not really as good as the initial drama made it seem to be, but still filled with good old fashioned pro wrestling dramatics and the like. Would have been nice to get a longer heat segment for Savage and REALLY make Hogan out to be toast, however. *** The Bottom Line: Most people remember 9 as the runaway winner of worst WM ever, but this one is pretty bad, and incredibly long, filled with literally nothing but filler matches and the occasional big angle. It was like a house show from hell or something. The main event is quite good for a Hogan match, so if you’ve never seen it, it’s worth a look. The rest, not so much, except as a historical curiosity. Recommendation to avoid. (So now it’s getting worse with a redo.  What will happen when I review the FULL atrocity?  Find out now!) The SmarK Retro Re-Rant for WWE Wrestlemania V – For those who remember the fourth Wrestlemania as the WWE’s version of Heaven’s Gate in terms of length and money made, it’s got nothing on the fifth one for sheer length. It didn’t seem so long back when I first watched it, probably because I was only 15 and I had a much longer attention span for stuff like this back then. I originally ranted off the hacked-up Coliseum video version, which was missing an HOUR of stuff, so it’s nice to finally have the full PPV version in all its 220 minute glory. The length might be taxing the storage systems of 24/7, however, because there’s some pixellization every few seconds that’s kinda annoying. – By the way, if there’s formatting issues with this rant, it’s because I had to re-install OpenOffice when I upgraded to Vista this weekend, and I’m still working out the kinks and trying to get it back exactly the way I had it when I left it.  (The formatting issues are also because this is a crappy new format rant, a stylistic decision that I have since regretted more than Miz deciding not to catch R-Truth that one time.  I also regretted upgrading to Vista, although I’m cheap and don’t want to bother going to Windows 7 at this point so I’ve been using it ever since.)  – Live from Atlantic City, NJ, at Trump Plaza, owned by some guy who we probably will never hear from again. – Your hosts are Gorilla & Jesse Opening match: King Haku v. Hercules Haku gets an attack from behind to start and slugs Herc into the corner, but Jesse has no sympathy for him. Herc quickly comes back with a slam and faceplant, and a clotheslines puts Haku on the floor. Suplex back in and Herc drops elbows. Hercules, who was adopted by the MegaPowers shortly before they exploded, is like the poor kid left out in the cold in a divorce proceeding. I blame his eventual death on the angst caused by his abandonment. WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE GREEK GODS? (Man, Hercules as the third Megapower.  That was right up there with Disco Inferno joining the nWo as far as stupid ideas went.)  Anyway, Haku comes back with a cheapshot and gets a backbreaker for two. He goes to a bearhug that I know for a fact was edited out of the home video version, so already it’s like watching the director’s cut of Alexander, as I appreciate the true genius of what they were trying to say with it already. It’s like Hercules is life, and the bearhug is modern society, squeezing the breath out of us every day, man. (In all fairness, I’ve been told the director’s cut of Alexander is somewhat more worth watching than the one version I did sit through, but I’ll never spend the 4 hours to find out.)  Herc powers out and Haku chokes him on the ropes, although I’m not sure what the allegory is supposed to be there. Herc comes back with a crossbody for two, but Haku cuts off the comeback with an elbow, but then whiffs on a bodypress attempt of his own. Hercules slugs back and gets a powrslam for two, but goes up and lands on a superkick. Haku goes up and misses his own move, and Hercules finishes with a backdrop suplex. (Hercules d. Haku, suplex — pin, 6:55, **) They actually bothered editing that down for home video? Not a bad opener, but this crowd is not wrestling fans, it’s gamblers and businessmen.  (Maybe they should fly them in for John Cena matches, it might get him over.  He already tells jokes like a bad motivational speaker anyway, so this is the kind of crowd that might actually cheer for him with enough booze.)  Backstage, the coked-up Rockers give their motivational interview before they get squashed. Shawn’s voice is so wasted from partying the night before that he can barely talk. The Twin Towers v. The Rockers For some reason, “Jive Soul Bro” is edited out. Were they dumb enough not to secure the rights to their OWN music? The Rockers run away to start, and opt for a sucker punch before Shawn starts with Bossman. Bossman puts him on the top and bitchslaps him, but gets dropkicked for his troubles and Shawn hits both of them and runs away again. Over to Akeem, as Shawn mocks his dancing and then the Rockers trade off and work on the arm. Shawn has said in previous interviews that he was so drunk that he could barely stand up here, so I’d say he’s doing remarkably well thus far. The Rockers keep switching off on the arm, but Bossman gets the blind tag and they sandwich Marty to take over. Bossman gets the running choke and Akeem avalanches him on the ropes, which is ugly but effective offense. And now the Towers are all about the tag team continuity, switching off and splashing Marty in the corner in tandem. Marty fights back, but Bossman clobbers him down again and it’s over to Akeem, who accidentally runs into Bossman to allow the hot tag to Shawn. He fires away in the corner and the Rockers team up for a nice double shoulderblock that gets two on Akeem. Shawn walks into a clothesline and does a 180 sell off it, as Shawn is out to single-handedly steal the show tonight. Bossman misses a flying splash and Shawn reverses a powerbomb attempt with the help of Marty, and the Rockers team up for a pair of missile dropkicks on the Bossman as well. Shawn goes up again, but this time he falls prey to the powerbomb on the way down, and Akeem splashes him to finish. (The Twin Towers d. The Rockers, Akeem splash — pin Shawn Michaels, 8:02, **) Shawn may have been wasted, but even at 25% he’s still got enough to carry things by bumping for three.  (This rating has been remarkably consistent across all three versions, oddly enough.)  Ted Dibiase v. Brutus Beefcake Odd that they never did a full-on feud with these two, as they seemed like they’d have a good dynamic together. (Or they could team up as The Wealthy Barber!)  Brutus attacks and hiptosses Dibiase to start, and follows with a backdrop that sends Ted out of the ring to regroup. Back in, Dibiase opts for the cheapshot and throws some chops in the corner, but Beefcake comes back with slams and it’s another trip to the floor. Back in and Dibiase tries slugging it out with Beefcake, but quickly loses that battle, and it’s Plan C: Virgil trips him up and Dibiase chokes him down. Well, as Jesse would say, win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat. Dibase pounds away in the corner and elbows him down as the crowd dozes, and the fistdrop gets two. Elbow off the middle rope gets two, but Beefcake gets a quick cradle for two. They fight over a suplex and Beefcake gets that, and they clothesline each other for the double KO. Dibiase recovers first with a suplex and it’s time for the Million Dollar Dream, but Brutus makes the ropes right away. Brutus comes back and rams him into the turnbuckles, and now irony strikes Dibiase as he falls prey to a sleeper. Truly epic. Virgil distracts him and Beefcake gives chase, which results in a brawl on the floor until the inevitable double countout. (Ted Dibiase draw Brutus Beefcake, DCOR, 9:58, **) Technically fine, but the crowd was dead and there wasn’t any real flow to the match. Meanwhile, Lord Al Hayes interviews the Bushwackers at the annual brunch, and hilarity ensues. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers v. The Sheepfuckers Jesse accuses the Bushwackers of being on “the juice”, although he’s referring to booze in this case. Still, there’s an out-of-context remark for you. Rougeaus attack to save Jimmy Hart’s jacket, but they get whipped into each other and bail. Raymond offers a handshake to Luke and then jumps him, so Butch runs in and returns the favor. Battering Ram for Ramond, but Jacques saves and they bail again. The crowd won’t even respond to the Bushwackers, which at least shows they’re intelligent. The Rougeaus get a quick double-team on Luke and Ray hits him with an axehandle off the middle, and we get a quick double-team clothesline for two. They do the abdominal stretch / superkick spot, and that gets no reaction from the crowd of corpses either. Bushwackers sneak in with a Battering Ram and double gutbuster while they celebrate. (The Bushwackers d. The Rougeaus, Luke gutbuster — pin Raymond, 5:10, DUD) Wasn’t even much of a comedy match. Mr. Perfect v. The Blue Blazer Debut of the classic tights for Hennig here, as he had been wearing short ones up until this point. Perfect grabs a headlock to start and hiptosses the Blazer, and they trade slaps in the corner. Blazer reverses out of a hiptoss attempt and slams him, and dropkicks him to the floor, following with a baseball slide. To the floor as Blazer throws some forearms out there, and he works the arm back in the ring. Perfect tries his own hiptoss reversal, but Blazer does his classic block-and-reverse of THAT, and a dropkick and backbreaker gets two. Northern Lights suplex gets two. To the top, but a flying splash hits knees, and Perfect goes to work on the back. Perfect charges and hits boot, and Blazer follows with a powerslam for two and gets the nice belly to belly for two. Crucifix gets two. He argues with the ref, however, and Perfect clobbers him and finishes with the Perfectplex. (Mr. Perfect d. The Blue Blazer, Perfectplex — pin, 5:51, **1/4) Not the classic I remembered as a kid.  (Yup, that one keeps dropping too.)  And now, just because the show wasn’t going to run long enough as it is, Jesse stops to pose for the fans. I have no idea what the point of this was. Speaking of pointless, let’s take you back to the annual 5K run, which Mr. Fuji cheats to win. Well, that’s why the good lord invented fast forward. And speaking of fast-forward, here’s Run DMC, and there they go. World tag team titles: Demolition v. The Powers of Pain & Mr Fuji Oh good grief, we’ve apparently lost all the songs from the Piledriver record, as “Demolition” is wiped from history, too. OK, who sued and won this time? Ax pounds on Warlord to start, finally getting a teenie reaction from the crowd, and the Demos add a double-team beating and Smash chinlocks him. Ax adds his own chinlock. You know, they must have sweetened the video version’s crowd noise, because I don’t remember the show being this dead. I mean, this crowd isn’t popping for ANYTHING. Barbarian comes in and gets smashed by Smash, and axed by Ax. Smash elbows him down and they add a double-elbow, and Ax goes to the neck vice. Barbarian comes back with a chop to Smash, but Warlord can’t follow up, which results in the champs hitting him with a double clothesline. Ax goes after Fuji, however, and gets hit from behind to turn the tide. Fuji finally tags in and chops Ax down, then adds his falling headbutt. Over to Barbarian, who starts working the back and boots Ax down. Jumping clothesline and Warlord comes in and stays on the back, choking him down for two. Barbarian powerslams him into a Fuji flying splash, but it misses and it looks like the hot tag until Warlord cuts it off. Smash gets it anyway, although the crowd doesn’t care, and he clotheslines everyone. They clothesline him on the top rope and Smash gets two, but Fuji comes in, armed with salt. And maybe pepper, I’m not sure. However, it goes awry, and Demolition Decapitation ends it. (Demolition d. The Powers of Pain & Fuji, Ax Decapitation — pin Fuji, 8:45, *) Well, this was watchable, I suppose. I can definitely understand the crowd apathy to the guys punching and kicking each other for 8 minutes, however. Dino Bravo v. Ronnie Garvin Jimmy Snuka makes an utterly pointless appearance after the introductions. (Don’t forget that Tamina is his daughter!)  Bravo attacks to start and chops Garvin down, and grabs a quick bearhug. Shoulderblock gets two. Garvin blocks a powerbomb attempt by slugging Bravo down, and a splash gets two. Sleeper and piledriver get two, and he throws chops in the corner. He slugs away in the corner, and Bravo brings him out with an atomic drop, and the sideslam finishes quick. (Dino Bravo d. Ronnie Garvin, sideslam — pin, 3:55, 1/2*) Garvin seemed game, but this was going nowhere fast. The Brainbusters v. Strike Force Martel grabs a headlock on Tully to start, and then fights off a double-team attempt in the heel corner. Strike Force adds a double dropkick to put the heels on the floor, but Arn quickly regroups. Martel faceplants him for two and they fight over the knucklelock, but Arn catches him with a bodyscissors. Martel wisely tries to turn him over into the Boston Crab, but Tully pokes him in the eyes to break it up. Jesse’s all about that one. Tito comes in and it’s old double figure-four spot, which the Busters quickly escape from. Tully and Tito do a bridge/backslide spot, which gets two for Tito, and he cradles Tully for two. Blind tag, but Tito hits Martel with the forearm by mistake, and Tully dropkicks Tito to take over. Arn comes in and elbows him in the gut, but Tito fights them off and goes for a tag…but Martel is being a drama queen and selling the “injury”. Tito keeps fighting with a sunset flip on Arn for two, but Tully breaks it up and gets two. Tito gets a bodypress for two, but Arn slows him down with a rear chinlock. Tito fights out and goes for the tag again, but Martel isn’t feeling it and walks away from the tag. And the match. Typical Frenchman, running away from a fight. The Busters go to work on Tito. Tito fights them off, but goes for a monkey flip on Tully and gets splatted as a result, and it’s ye olde Spike Piledriver to end his comeback. (The Brainbusters d. Strike Force, Anderson piledriver — pin Santana, 9:13, **1/2) This crowd is really bringing me down, man. This one actually seemed better in clipped form, with better crowd reactions dubbed in. It’s late and I’m tired, so I’m skipping through the Piper/Brother Love/Morton Downey Jr. trainwreck. Hey, it’s my column. This was definitely 15 minutes that could have been excised quite easily from the show. And now, a sneak preview of No Holds Barred. Thank god this is cut out of the video version. Sean Mooney interviews Donald Trump, back when he was all wooden and couldn’t act. Oh, wait. Apparently we’re in an intermission now, because we go into time-filler overdrive with a recap of the Megapowers angle and a rather lengthy Hogan interview. Jake Roberts v. Andre The Giant Special ref here is John Studd. Andre attacks to start and rams Jake into a conveniently missing turnbuckle, and quickly tries choking him out. Jake goes for the snake, but Andre grabs him in a chokehold again. Jesse has a funny line here, noting that David beat Goliath with a foreign object. That’s a wrestling mentality for you. Andre leans on Jake in the corner, which is about as lazy as you can get, offensively speaking. More choking and Andre uses his butt as a weapon, and chokes away again. Jake slugs back and Andre gets tied in the ropes as a result, which allows Jake to do his own choking. But not for long, because Andre is the master of choking. And choke he does! And did I mention the choking? Because there’s quite a lot of it. Jake comes back with punches and sends Andre into the bare turnbuckle, but Andre chops him right out of the ring. Andre won’t let him in, and the camera’s closeup of the ring apron reveals that they were so cheap as to recycle the skirts from Wrestlemania IV, simply by removing the “I” from the roman numeral. Studd and Andre get into a shoving match, while Ted Dibiase steals the snake, and Andre attacks Studd to draw the rather obvious DQ and set up the big feud that never happened. The recovered snake sends Andre fleeing. (Jake Roberts d. Andre The Giant, DQ, 9:39, DUD) Studd’s face turn just didn’t work, and Andre was pretty far gone by this point. The Hart Foundation v. Honky Tonk Man & Greg Valentine Jimmy Hart’s team were not yet Rhythm & Blues, and this was just thrown together as yet another in the endless parade of matches to fill time before the main event. Bret starts with Honky and rolls him up for two, and follows with an atomic drop both ways to send him scurrying back to the corner. Hammer comes in and takes the atomic drop, and Bret dropkicks him, which sets up the pinball spot in the face corner. Nice timing as Bret whips Hammer and then slingshots Anvil in on the rebound for a shoulderblock, which gets two. Bret with the backbreaker and middle rope elbow, but it misses and Valentine drops his own elbows. They do some choking in the corner and Honk drops a fist and a series of elbows, and it’s over to Hammer for a top rope forearm and an elbow to the back of the head. He gets his own atomic drop and Honky adds Shake Rattle N Roll, but he allows Valentine to try the figure-four instead of pinning him. Bret thumbs the eye to block, so Hammer keeps coming with a gutbuster and brings Honky back in. Bret fights back with a crossbody for two, but lands on the floor when Honky kicks out, and it’s back to Hammer again. Bret tries a rollup, but actually just fakes him out and makes the hot tag to Neidhart instead. Shoulderblock on Valentine gets two. Nice clothesline gets two. Hammer thumbs the eyes to stop the offense, but Honky misses a fistdrop and the Harts go to work on him, as Bret drops his elbow and adds a suplex for two. Valentine saves and cleans house, but Neidhart steals the megaphone and Bret nails Honky Tonk with it to finish. Bret screwed Wayne Ferris! (The Hart Foundation d. Honky Tonk & Valentine, Bret megaphone — pin Honky, 7:39, **1/2) This was actually quite a solid tag match in its uncut form, although the finish should have been stronger. WWF Intercontinental title: Ultimate Warrior v. Rick Rude Common sense at the time said that Warrior squashes him like a bug, but in hindsight Rude needed to go over in order to get to the next level. Rude tries to knee Warrior in the gut on the way in, but Warrior is still wearing the belt and thus outsmarts him. Warrior tosses Rude around like a ragdoll as Rude is all about the bumps tonight, and the crowd FINALLY wakes up. Warrior smartly opts to whip Rude into the corners without following up by charging, and then calmly bearhugs him. He’s thinking for once. Rude goes to the eyes to break and then scoots up top with a missile dropkick, but Warrior no-sells and slams him instead. Man, Rude is just bouncing around out there like a superball tonight. Back to the bearhug, but this time the ref prevents Rude from going to the eyes,which offends Jesse on several levels. Finally Rude slugs out on his own merits, so Warrior bites him and adds a backdrop. Big splash hits knee, however, and Rude takes over. Piledriver gets two for Rude. Sadly, his back is so injured that he can’t even swivel. Clothesline gets two. Russian legsweep gets two. Rude goes to a surfboard, but Warrior fights to the ropes and hulks up. Shoulderblock and faceplant set up a backbreaker, and he follows with a clothesline after a weird blown spot in the corner. He goes back to whipping Rude around, this time following up with a charge, and missing as a result. Rude goes for the Rude Awakening, but Warrior powers out of it and clotheslines him again. Rude bails and Warrior sends him back in, then dumps him with a clothesline. He suplexes Rude back in, but Heenan grabs the foot for the famous finish, and we have an upset, to the delight of Jesse. (Rick Rude d. Ultimate Warrior, outside interference — pin, 9:41, ***) They would have better matches, but this was the first sign that Rude was more than the pretty boy arrogant heel in the ring, as he more than carried his end of the match and actually got the crowd into it. Bad News Brown v. Hacksaw Jim Duggan To put this in perspective, we are now at the three hour mark for the show, which is beyond all sanity for a crowd this dead with an undercard this meaningless. Brown attacks to start, but Duggan slugs back and clotheslines him out of the ring. Brown regroups and lays Duggan out with a forearm back in the ring, and slugs away in the corner. Duggan fires back with shoulders in the corner, so Brown slugs him down again. They brawl outside as Jesse notes that if one of them tries a hold, they might win it. Brown wins that fight and tries the Ghetto Blaster, but Duggan comes back with the three-point stance and they fight outside again, as Brown grabs a chair and Duggan grabs his 2×4. (Jim Duggan draw Bad News Brown, DDQ, 3:46, 1/2*) C’mon, just get to the main event already. Red Rooster v. Bobby Heenan One last quickie before the match people actually paid to see. I think someone should sue and make them dub out the Rooster’s ridiculous theme song. Rooster whips Bobby into the corner and pins him. (Red Rooster d. Bobby Heenan, corner whip — pin, 0:28, DUD) This was what it was. WWF World title: Randy Savage v. Hulk Hogan This of course was the biggest match in the history of history at that point, drawing millions of dollars on PPV after being built up for years. Savage dodges Hogan and plays some mindgames to start, and Hogan overpowers him on the lockup. Savage grabs a headlock, but gets overpowered again and bails. As any good man would do, he hides behind Liz, and Jesse approves. Back in, Hogan takes him down with a drop toehold to meet his wrestling quota for the night, but Savage suplexes out of his headlock. Hogan quickly recovers and slugs away, and starts working on the arm, so Savage goes to the eyes and drops the axehandle for two. Savage takes it to the mat with an armbar. Some really slick hair-pulling behind the ref’s back follows, but it’s wasted when Hogan dumps him to break the hold. That was some quality cheating by Savage. Back in, Savage eats turnbuckle and Hogan drops him with a clothesline, into the elbows, but Savage clotheslines him for two. Savage grabs a chinlock while Hogan bleeds, but he fights out and blocks a big boot with an atomic drop. Hogan misses the elbow and Savage sends him into the corner with a high knee, and that gets two. Savage goes to work on the cut and stomps on the fingers, but that just gets Hogan mad, and he comes back with some shots in the corner and the corner clothesline. Hogan, sportsman, dumps Savage over the top and Liz tries to assist him, but Savage is an independent guy and doesn’t want help. Hogan follows him out for the brawl, showing he was probably in cahoots with Liz all along, and she prevents him from sending Savage into the post, which allows Savage to turn the tables and give Hogan the same treatment. Liz keeps getting involved, so the ref sends her back to the dressing room as we hit a dead spot. With no more distractions, Savage gets down to business, dropping Hogan with the axehandle to the floor before they head back in. Necksnap and Savage goes to work on the throat, choking him on the ropes and adding an elbow to the throat. Kneedrop gets two. Savage goes for broke, choking him out with the tape, and things look bad for the challenger. He goes with the straight choke and heads up to finish with the big elbow, and really I can’t stand to finish the review because it just hurts every damn time I watch it. (Hulk Hogan d. Randy Savage, legdrop — pin, 17:53, ***) It was somewhat epic, but the crowd was just so dead and they couldn’t live up to the hype no matter what they went with. This one was such a heated feud that it needed something more akin to the current main event brawling style, and really they just went out there and did a Hogan match. Of course, at the time it made perfect sense to put Hogan over clean and send Savage down a different path with Sherri, but my god, Savage was on such a hot streak as a heel that they could have drawn MILLIONS by screwing Hulk out of the belt here and building up the chase to the rematch at Summerslam. But hindsight is 20/20 and all that. The Pulse: Wow, editing really is important, because the home video version is eons better than the ultra-dull and seemingly endless live PPV version, which stretches 3 hours and 40 minutes and feels like it’s never going to end. Still, bless 24/7 for at least giving fans to see the uncut version for themselves. Probably one of the worst Wrestlemanias in this form, although the shorter version that used to be more widely available is quite enjoyable for the most part. Strong recommendation to avoid.

Wrestlemania Countdown: 5

(And now for your reading pleasure, THREE different versions of the same crappy show!) The Netcop Retro Rant for Wrestlemania V – Live from Atlantic City, New Jersey, just like the year before, original airdate April 2/1989. (Memories of this show:  Sitting in the upper deck of the PNE Coliseum in Vancouver with a bored crowd only there to see Hogan v. Savage.  As I recall, they didn’t even have extra screens set up for this, they just showed it on the scoreboard screens.) – Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura.Opening match: King Haku v. Hercules. Haku was still being semi-pushed and Hercules was in his eternal state of limbo. It goes back and forth for about two minutes and then Herc hits a belly-to-back for the pin. This was severely clipped because I remember it being longer and more boring while watching it live in 89. The clipped version was pretty watchable. **1/2  (That was some succinct recapping right there.  And yeah, turns out the full version really was terrible.)  The Rockers v. Big Bossman & Akeem. The Rockers were hungover like shit here, and Jannetty was stoned. (Shawn’s brutally honest recollections of this match, and especially the night before, on his various shoot interviews are all pretty funny.)  Rockers stay out of the way with quick moves until Jannetty gets caught with a bearhug and pounded by the Towers. Michaels gets the hot tag and the Rockers double team Akeem with a double shoulderblock. Akeem catches Michaels with a deadly clothesline that draws “OOooohs”. Rockers come back with a double dropkick from the top on Bossman, but Michaels takes another shitkicking and gets powerbombed off a rana attempt, then splashed and pinned by Akeem. Fun big v. little match. **  (I find it weird that they really didn’t have any specific plans for the Towers after their part in the Megapowers split.  They went over so strong here that it should have been a tag title push as a result, and they just kind of tooled around the midcard as house show challengers for Demolition before breaking up.)  Brutus Beefcake v. Ted Dibiase. Stalling to start, then a slugfest and Dibiase takes over and destroys Beefcake. Beefcake escapes the Million Dollar Dream and comes back, hooking his own sleeper. Virgil baits him out of the ring, Dibiase chases, and we have a double-countout. Standard PrimeTime Wrestling main event. *1/4 Virgil gets beat up after the decision. This really had no place on PPV except to remind everyone that both guys are still around.  (1989’s Kane v. Orton, in other words, except that we didn’t get three rematches with escalating stips on the next PPVs afterwards.)  The Fabulous Rougeaus v. The Sheepwhackers. Case in point, this match. Gorilla and Jesse have a hilarious discussion about which of them was retired first. Rougeaus double-team Luke right off the bat and control for most of the match. Luke does something vaguely resembling selling. Jacques tries to start a “USA” chant but the crowd isn’t buying. Rougeaus celebrate after their abdominal-stretch/superkick combo and Butch sneaks in and they do the battering ram and stomach breaker on Jacques for the upset win. 1/4*  (Not really an upset since the Rougeaus weren’t winning much at this point anyway.)  Curt Hennig v. The Blue Blazer. This was the debut of the style of tights Hennig still wears to this day. (Well, not anymore.  Sad face.)  Hennig pulls out the first MAN-SIZED bump, going over the top on a dropkick, then Blazer baseball slides him. Back in and Owen with some more wrestling sequences to keep control. Nasty spot as Owen goes for a Money Shot but lands, unsupported, right on Hennig’s knees. Match is clipped to Owen getting a crucifix for two, but Hennig gets the Perfectplex for the win. Good match. ***1/2  (Eh, not that good.)  – Gratuitous washed-up celebrity appearance: Run DMC does a song. I’ve got that damn DX remix stuck in my head yet again now. (Exactly what this bloated show needed:  Pop culture footnotes using up TV time to rap for no reason.  Run DMC at least ended up coming back years later and even got into the Hall of Fame [Rock N Roll, not WWE], but they were definitely last year’s news at this point.  Now Tone Loc, that’s what all the kids were into in 1989.)  WWF World tag team title, handicap match: Demolition v. The Powers of Pain & Mr. Fuji. The Demos were at the height of their power and popularity here. The match itself was set up by the Demos getting double-crossed by Fuji at the Survivor Series. (More evidence of the decompressed nature of the time, as this came five months after their initial angle.)  Standard Demos-Powers match, with Fuji of course getting cheap shots in now and then. Crowd doesn’t care about this one. Fuji misses a big move off the top ad Ax makes the hot tag to Smash. Chaos erupts and Fuji goes for the CEREMONIAL SALT OF DOOM, which misses, and Fuji is left alone with the Demos. Mr. Fuji, RIP. Demos retain. 1/4* – Dino Bravo v. Ronnie Garvin. After the intros, Finkel introduces Jimmy Snuka, who wanders out, takes a bow, then leaves. Well, that was pointless.  (Indeed, what a weird interlude that was.  However, I’d like to think that somewhere teenaged Michael Cole was getting excited that Snuka had a daughter named Tamina.)  Much like this match, as Bravo proceeds to squash Garvin. Garvin comes back with some token offense but Bravo inevitably gets the side suplex for the pin. Not horrible or anything. *  (Yes it was!  Geez, 1999 Scott, this is WRESTLEMANIA!  Step up the snark!)  The Brainbusters v. Strike Force. Martel had his ass kicked by Demolition so severely that he was put on the shelf for 10 months, and this is his comeback match. Fantastic little NWA-style match to start, as Strike Force pulls out some great double-teams and get their finishers on the Busters early. Santana accidentally hits Martel and knocks him off the apron, and Rick proceeds to do a 5-minute melodramatic oversell of a shot to the head. But there would be a point. Tito takes an absolute shitkicking from the heels as they cheat outrageously. Tito slams Arn off the top and crawls over with his last breath to tag Martel…who promptly walks out on him, drawing a huge heel pop. The result is academic, as the Busters finish Tito with a SWEET spike piledriver for the pin. Bitchin match. ***3/4 – Piper’s Pit with Brother Love. Piper is introduced first with a huge introduction from Finkel, but Brother Love comes out wearing a kilt, and proceeds to do the best Piper imitation I’ve ever heard, “interviewing” himself. Morton Downey Jr. comes out next and runs down Brother Love while puffing on cigarettes non-stop. If you don’t know who Downey is, don’t worry, you’re not alone — his fifteen minutes of fame were up faster than John Wayne Bobbit’s. (That was a timely reference in 1999, more or less.)  Piper finally comes out and takes over, humiliating Love and ripping off his kilt, which sends him scurrying back to the dressing room. That leaves Downey, who has been throwing cancer sticks at Piper the whole time. Downey gets a wicked verbal jab in at Piper. Piper: “Why do you call yourself Morton Downey Jr.?” Morton: “That’s the name your mama gave me.” More sparring, and after a bunch of smoke being blown in Piper’s face, Piper finds a fire extinguisher and sprays it on Downey. Pretty funny stuff.  (But again, what was the fucking POINT?) – Jake Roberts v. Andre the Giant. This was during the “Andre is afraid of snakes” period. John Studd is the special referee. They lumber around for a while and then overbooking takes over as the snake gets pulled out and Ted Dibiase runs in. Studd brawls with Andre and Dibiase brawls with Roberts and the whole thing is a big wash. DUD – The Hart Foundation v. Greg Valentine & Honky Tonk Man. Another filler match. Things go back and forth aimlessly for a bit and then a pier-six erupts, during which Bret gets the megaphone and bops HTM for the pin. Bleh. 1/2* – Intercontinental title match: The Ultimate Warrior v. Rick Rude. (I was totally not buying Rude as any kind of a contender at this point, which is probably why it was such a masterstroke to put him over Warrior.)  Longer than usual match for Warrior, as he misses a splash and hits Rude’s knees, giving Rude control. BEARHUG OF DOOM bores the crowd before Warrior makes his superman(iac) comeback, clotheslining Rude over the top rope. He suplexes Rude back in, but Heenan pulls out the most cliched cheap screwjob in history (although I’d never seen it at the time), hooking Warrior’s leg and resulting in a Rude pinfall, much to the disgust of the crowd. Who would have EVER thought that Warrior would lose at that point? Heenan gets clobbered by the Warrior after the match, which comes back to haunt him later. 1/2* – Hacksaw Duggan v. Bad News Brown. The infamous “snot hanging out of his nose” match, so named because Duggan has, well, I’m sure you can guess. A typical Duggan brawl, once again to fill time in an already bloated PPV, which ends in both guys grabbing weapons for a double DQ. Whatever. DUD  (Sadly this should have been pretty awesome given the brawling abilities of both guys.  As a house show main event with 10 minutes and a bunch of garbagy spots, they could have had something.)  Bobby Heenan v. Terry Taylor. Because Heenan was beat up by Warrior, the match lasts 10 seconds as Heenan misses a charge and gets pinned by Taylor. DUD. The Brooklyn Brawler attacks Taylor after the match.  (Did we REALLY need this here?  Would the bored casino zombies have rioted if they only got 120 matches instead of 121?)  WWF World title match: Randy Savage v. Hulk Hogan. Miss Elizabeth is in a neutral corner. And one year after winning the title in his building, it all comes full circle as Savage defends against Hogan. Btw, the champion should NEVER enter first. Jesse points that out, too, a couple of minutes after I typed that. Savage is just drawing unreal heel heat. He’s my hero. Chase erupts during the feeling out period, and Savage hides behind Liz. I’m surprised Hogan didn’t hit her. (I think I was confusing him with Lex Luger.)  Hogan tries some wrestling (!) and Savage cheats like a motherfucker to take over. Hairpulling, thumb to the eye, you name it. Scott Steiner, take note, that is the proper way to work it in. Savage works on the arm until Hogan tosses him out of the ring to break. Hogan comes back with his limited offense but puts his head down and Savage clobbers him, and Hogan blades. Another mini-comeback by Hogan fails and Savage knees Hogan into the corner. Jesse is in his glory cheering for Savage. Hogan hulks up and does the corner comeback, but his arm is still hurting. Savage takes a MAN-SIZED bump as Hogan slams him over the top to the floor. Liz helps him up and Savage takes a swing at her. Hogan and Savage brawl on the floor, and Hogan tries to do a battering ram job on Savage into the post. Liz blocks his path and Hogan ends up getting shoved into the post. Savage starts jawing with Liz, and Hebner finally has had enough and sends her back to the dressing room. Savage drops the double-axehandle to Hogan, ramming his head into the barricade. Crowd is getting into Savage. Necksnap and elbow on the apron throatfirst to work on the neck, then a kneedrop. Only gets two. Back to the Memphis stuff as Savage chokes Hulk out with the tape. Again, if used in moderation, it works. Savage chokes Hulk out, and then drops the big elbow…but Hogan no-sells. Hulk up. THREE PUNCHES OF DOOM, then the big foot, and the STINKY GIANT-KILLING LEGDROP and Hogan has his precious title back for a second time. “The crowd goes nuts” is putting it mildly. I was totally upset by this match the first time I saw it, but the more I watch it from a distance, the more I like it. I think it stands as one of Hogan’s best matches. **** Jesse goes off on a shoot-like rant during the posedown about what an egomaniac Hogan is and how he’ll stoop to any level to get his own way. Amen, Jess. The Bottom Line: Hey, cut out the filler and you’ve got three killer matches and some fun stuff. A truly epic show to end the year-long Megapowers storyline and send everyone home happy. Hogan *had* to go over, no other ending would be justifiable. (Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Savage was on fire as a heel, they should have had Liz’s involvement lead to the DQ finish so that Savage could continue running roughshod with the title.  Then Hogan could get his big win at Summerslam instead.)  I liked the show, others disagree. I’m sure I’ll get disagreement for my Wrestlemania VI rant, which is coming up in the next few days, too. Recommended show. (And now, a SECOND version of the Coliseum video rant done a few years later, as I’m now doing proper match times and recaps.)  The SmarK Retro Re-Rant for Wrestlemania V – This is the hacked-up Coliseum Video version I’m reviewing, for those who like to keep track of these things and may wonder why the matches are shorter than they remember. – Live from Atlantic City, NJ. – Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse Ventura. – Opening match: King Haku v. Hercules. Kind of an odd choice for an opener. Hercules was coming off his face turn after being “bought” by Ted Dibiase and started sucking up to the Megapowers for the rub, until they self-destructed. Whoops. Haku attacks from behind to start, but Herc comes back with a hiptoss and a slam. Faceplant and he goes after Heenan, but of course gets jumped. Back in, he comes back with a kneelift and some clotheslines, making me think that Haku’s whole heat segment was edited out. Powerslam gets two. Herc goes up but gets superkicked on the way down, and Haku follows with a flying headbutt that misses. Herc finishes with a backdrop suplex at 2:52. This was edited down to nothing, basically. ½* – Big Bossman & Akeem v. The Rockers. We’ll just steer clear of the whole “Twin Towers” name, for obvious reasons of good taste. This was Shawn’s Wrestlemania debut. The Rockers dodge the big guys to start and then knock them off the apron with elbows. Shawn claimed in a shoot interview that he was stoned and drunk off his gourd for this match. Bossman powers Shawn up to the top, but Marty distracts him and allows Shawn to hit a missile dropkick. Shawn uses speed to hit both heels, and Marty comes in to work on Akeem’s arm. Akeem makes the blind tag to Bossman, who catches Marty in a bearhug, and they sandwich Marty with a splash. Ouch. Bossman gets the rope straddle and Akeem splashes Marty on the ropes and gets…funky? Bossman splashes Marty in the corner, and then Akeem splashes Bossman for added weight. That’s pretty innovative. Bossman pounds him down and rings his ears, and Akeem comes in, but hits Bossman by mistake. Hot tag Shawn, and he slugs away on Akeem. The Rockers do some double-teaming as they whip Akeem around the ring and hit a double-shoulderblock for two. Akeem shrugs it off and hits Shawn with a vicious clothesline, but Bossman misses a top rope splash and Shawn gets two. Shawn goes for a rana, and Marty trips up Bossman to help with the move, and the Rockers both go up for a double dropkick. That gets two. Akeem finally tosses Marty for lack of anything better to do with him, and Bossman reverses another rana attempt from Shawn with a powerbomb, and Akeem kills him dead with a splash at 6:58. Fun, fast-paced big v. little match with some crazy bumping from the Rockers. ** – Ted Dibiase v. Brutus Beefcake. Dibiase’s Million Dollar Belt was the consolation prize for not winning the WWF title at Wrestlemania IV. I’m sure that helped him sleep at night. Beefcake’s push was somewhat stalled at this point, as he was floating aimlessly in the midcard. Much like most of the people on this show. Beefcake gets a cheapshot to start and backdrops Dibiase twice, and Ted bails. Back in, they slug it out, and Beefcake wins that fairly handily until Virgil trips him up. Dibiase does some choking as Jesse, future leader of a state, declares that “if you can’t win fair, cheat”. Somehow you KNEW he’d end up as a politician. Fistdrop gets two. Clothesline sets up an elbow off the middle rope that takes FOREVER. That would have been an easy edit. That gets two. He puts his head down, however, and Beefcake gets two off a cradle. Dibiase comes back with a suplex and gets the Million Dollar Dream, but Beefcake makes the ropes. Dibiase won’t break, so the ref pulls him off, and Beefcake makes the comeback. Dibiase eats some turnbuckle and Beefcake follows with the sleeper, but Virgil distracts him and they brawl outside for the double countout at 6:26. LAAAAAAAME. Poor Ted, in the World title finals one year and fighting a barber third from the bottom the next. It was actually going along fine before the rather abrupt finish. *3/4 – The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers v. The Bushwhackers. The Bushwhackers were actually fairly new and novel at this point in terms of their usage in the WWF. Bushwhackers go after Jimmy’s coat to start, but the Rougeaus save it. Whew. They quickly lay out Luke and double-team him on a Boston crab, then bring him into their corner and Ray whips Luke into the corner. He goes up to the middle with a double sledge, and Jacques comes in with a back elbow, and the Rougeaus get something vaguely resembling a double clothesline. A double elbow sets up Jacques’ abdominal stretch, which is aided by Raymond’s superkick to the gut. The Bushwhackers break up their celebrating with a battering ram, and the double gutbuster gives Luke the pin at 3:57. Next, please. ½* – Mr. Perfect v. The Blue Blazer. If there was one gimmick I never wanted to see again, it’s the Blazer. Such is life. Perfect starts with some chops, but Blazer reverses a hiptoss into a pair of slams and a dropkick that puts Perfect on the floor. Blazer follows with a baseball slide and they head back in. Blazer dodges him in the corner and gets a hiptoss and another slam. Another dropkick sets up a backbreaker, for two. Armbar takedown gets one. Blazer goes up, but hits knees on a splash, and we have an obvious edit. Blazer gets a crucifix for two, but Perfect lays him out with a clothesline and it’s the Perfectplex to finish at 3:16. Brutally clipped, but the full version is a really good match. *1/2  (That’s quite the drop in match rating from my original rant.)  – We’ll skip over the Run-DMC appearance. Man, another dead person making an appearance. – WWF tag titles: Demolition v. The Powers of Pain & Mr. Fuji. This was the peak for Demolition’s popularity, after the double-turn with the Powers at Survivor Series. Warlord starts pounding on Ax, but gets it back in spades. Smash comes in and it’s CLUBBERING TIME. Warlord powers him into the heel corner, however, necessitating Smash fighting out. No problem, however. Back to the Demo corner, as Ax comes in with a clothesline on Barbarian, but Barbarian wins a slugfest with Smash. Back to the heel corner, as Warlord uses the CLUBBING FOREARMS, but gets nowhere, with Demolition quickly getting a double-team clothesline on him. However, Ax turns his back on Fuji and gets attacked by the Powers, and he’s YOUR face-in-peril. Fuji comes in and they work Ax over with a variety of clubbing moves. Barbarian gets a shoulderblock, and Warlord boots Ax down for two. Barbarian powerslams him and tags Fuji in, but he misses an elbow from the top. Warlord cuts off any potential tag, however, with a slam. Ax fights back, however, and makes the hot tag to Smash. Punches fly and Smash slams both Powers, and the Demos get a double-team necksnap on Warlord for two. It’s BONZO GONZO and Fuji throws salt at Smash, but misses and hits Warlord, and the Demos finish with Decapitation on Fuji at 7:13. Punchy kicky crappy. *1/4 – Dino Bravo v. Rugged Ron Garvin. Weird moment as Jimmy Snuka is re-introduced out of nowhere and does a lap of the ring after the ring introductions of these guys. (Fun fact:  Snuka now has a daughter who wrestles as a WWE sports entertainer, and her name is Tamina.)  Bravo lays out Garvin to start and drops an elbow, and goes to work on the back, then clubs him down. He goes to the bearhug and overpowers him for two. Garvin blocks a powerbomb and falls on top for two, however. Hands of Stone gets two. Garvin lays in chops and another knockout punch gets two. Sleeper, but Bravo makes the ropes. Piledriver is reversed by Bravo, but Garvin hangs on with a sunset flip for two. Garvin hits him with chops and pounds away in the corner, but Bravo comes out with an atomic drop and the sideslam finishes at 3:42. Who forgot to tell Garvin that Wrestlemania used to be about dogging it and blowing up 30 seconds in? Match wasn’t any GOOD, but Garvin actually seemed motivated for some bizarre reason. * – Strike Force v. The Brainbusters. Martel was returning here after getting put out of commission by Demolition a year earlier. Martel starts with Tully and they work off a headlock, but Arn quickly knees Martel in the back. Martel fights out of the corner and Strike Force cleans house with dropkicks. Arn comes in and puts his head down, and Martel faceplants him for two. They do a knucklelock and Martel holds him on the mat, but Arn turns it into a bodyscissors. Martel turns him over into a Boston Crab, however, which is a nice counter. Tully thumbs him in the eye to break it up, drawing instant approval from Jesse. Santana tags in for a figure-four, and it’s the old double figure-fours spot. Yeah, but Martel & Santana are SO not the Rock N Rolls. Santana and Tully do a pinfall reversal sequence, but Arn saves. Tito cradles Tully for two. Martel comes in and Tito hits him with a flying forearm off a blind tag, by accident, and Martel is out on the floor. The Brainbusters now take over, as Arn pounds Tito and they work him over in the corner. Tito fights them off and goes for the tag, but Arn cuts it off. Sunset flip by Tito, but Arn tags Tully to escape and Blanchard gets two. Tito comes back with a cross body out of the corner for two, but the heels cut off the tag again. Arn goes to the rear chinlock, but Tito fights out, then charges and hits boot. Arn goes up, but gets slammed off, and Tito finally crawls over to his corner…but Martel is still selling the “injury”. Typical Quebecer drama queen. Tully keeps pounding on Tito, as Martel decides to take a walk, and the Busters kick the crap out of Santana and finish with the spike piledriver at 7:45. Felt like they were trying for an NWA-ish angle, but the match wasn’t long enough and there wasn’t enough heat on Santana for it to work within the context of the match. Martel turned heel in the post-match interview and became the Model soon after. **1/2  (Another conspicuous quality drop following a redo of the rant. ) – We blissfully skip past the dated and now-painfully unfunny segment with Roddy Piper, Brother Love, and Morton Downey Jr. Many of you are likely asking who Downey Jr. is, which would explain why it’s so dated. Bruce Pritchard’s Piper imitation is the only really funny thing there. The big joke revolves around Downey’s obnoxious chain-smoking and his refusal to quit. Piper sprays him with a fire extinguisher to show him the error of his ways, but lung cancer finished the job in 2001. Sometimes there’s just no fire extinguisher large enough, I guess.  (I think this was one of the rare cases where even the celebrities were dead only a few years after the show.)  Andre the Giant v. Jake Roberts. This was the charming “Andre is afraid of snakes” storyline, and John Studd was the referee. This was going to lead to a big push for the returning Studd, with Andre presumably putting him over, but health problems forced Studd back into retirement again, and he died in 1993, along with Andre. Man, this is quite the depressing show, isn’t it? Not to mention Jake’s problems since then. Andre attacks Roberts to start and sends him into an exposed turnbuckle, then chokes away in the corner. Jake slugs back and Andre gets tied up in the ropes, as he was wont to do, allowing Jake to lay in some punishment. Andre escapes with a choke, and headbutts Jake down. He pounds away in the corner, but sells a knee that didn’t happen, and Jake comes back. That was weird. Andre goes down, but still slugs Jake out to the floor from his knees. Andre keeps knocking him off the apron, so Jake grabs the snake, triggering a fight between Studd and Andre. Then, to make it dumber, Ted Dibiase runs out and steals the snake, while Andre beats on Studd. Jake sneals his snake back and makes the save, and it’s a DQ win at 5:29. Andre was so sad to watch in these final years. -* – The Hart Foundation v. Honky Tonk Man & Greg Valentine. Talk about your filler matches. Bret starts with Honky and they fight over a lockup, and Bret slugs away on him and rolls him up for two. Atomic drop, both ways, and Honky retreats to tag Valentine. Hitman rolls him up, but Hammer blocks, so Bret tags Anvil in and he cleans house with shoulderblocks. That gets two on Valentine. Clothesline gets two. The Harts switch off on Honky and Bret drops the elbow, and suplexes him for two. Jimmy Hart distracts the ref, so the Harts grab his megaphone in retribution, nail Honky with it, and Bret gets the pin at 3:00. Like I said, filler. ¾* – Intercontinental title: Ultimate Warrior v. Rick Rude. This was the start of Rude actually being something worthwhile as a worker, to the shock of many. Warrior charges in with a shoulderblock, as Rude tried a knee to the gut, only to hit the belt. Warrior tosses him into the corner a few times, as Rude bumps like a freak. Warrior goes to a bearhug for god knows what reason, but Rude fights out by biting him. Warrior does the same right back. Backdrop and he goes for the splash, but Rude gets the knees up to block. Piledriver gets two. Jawbreaker, but Rude is too injured to swivel. Clothesline gets two. Rude goes to a surfboard, but Warrior powers out of it and clotheslines him. Warrior whips him around the ring, but misses a charge and splats in the corner. Rude goes for the Rude Awakening, but Warrior powers out of it and clotheslines him. Rude bails to escape, but Warrior tosses him back in again. He clotheslines Rude out again and tries a suplex back in, but Heenan hooks the leg and Rude wins the title at 6:19. Pretty decent power match with a finish that was still innovative in terms of never being done on PPV before and thus new to the fans. ** Rude & Warrior would actually have WAY better matches later, including a great one at Summerslam 89, where Warrior regained the belt. – Bad News Brown v. Hacksaw Duggan. It’s the show that never ends! Just like the song, except with more steroids. Can you imagine booking this many matches these days? Bad News hammers away to start, but misses a charge and Duggan slugs back. Brown takes a walk, so Duggan slingshots him back in. Brown casually pounds him down again and headbutts him, but Duggan’s head is impervious to punishment and he stays up. There are times when I yearn for hardcore rules, and this is one of them. A garbage can would really break up the monotony right about now. Brown slugs him down and Duggan bails, so Brown whips him into the post. Back in, he goes for the Ghetto Blaster, but Duggan ducks and hits the three-point stance clothesline. Brown bails, totally no-selling it, and grabs a chair, but Duggan gets the board and it’s a duel for a double-DQ at 3:46. Yay, it’s OVER. DUD – Bobby Heenan v. Terry Taylor. Heenan is still injured from Warrior beating him up after the Rude match, so it’s a quick pinfall for Taylor at 0:30 after a whip into the corner. DUD Brooklyn Brawler attacks afterwards to kick off THAT epic opening-match C-show feud. – WWF title: Randy Savage v. Hulk Hogan. Jesse’s pre-match rant for Savage and against Hogan is awesome stuff. Savage bails to start and plays some headgames, but loses a lockup. He bails again and simmers, and back in tries a headlock, but gets overpowered. He takes out his frustrations with a tirade on Elizabeth, which sets off Jesse again. Back to the headlock, but Savage decides to duck out again. Hogan chases him this time, so Savage hides behind Liz. Hogan thinks it’s unfair, but then this coming from the guy who beats up women and has no problem using weapons in a sanctioned match. Hogan now does a bit of chain wrestling to take Savage down with a headlock, but Savage suplexes out of it. Hogan pops up and starts punching, then starts on the arm, but Savage goes to the eye and heads up. Double axehandle gets two. Savage grabs an armbar and keeps Hogan on the mat, but he fights up, so Macho uses what little hair there is to regain control. Hogan pulls the tights to dump Savage, and then tosses him back in. Jesse is so on the money here, jumping all over every little thing Hogan does. Hogan rams him into the turnbuckles and clotheslines him to set up the elbowdrops. Savage kicks him in the head to come back and gets the lariat for two, however. We hit the chinlock as Hogan starts bleeding. Hulk fights out and overpowers Savage, then follows with an atomic drop, but misses the elbow. Savage nails him from behind with a knee, into a rollup for two. He whips him around as Hogan bleeds, and then stomps on the hands for good measure. Hogan revives and rams Savage into the turnbuckle, then slugs away in the corner. Corner clothesline, but he hurts his arm on the move. Psychology? In a HOGAN MATCH? He javelins Savage over the top, which draws a sympathetic Liz over to tend to him. Savage offers her a backhand, however. That’ll learn her. They brawl outside as Savage keeps on the cut, but Hogan comes back and tries to ram Savage into the post. Liz prevents it, so Savage does it to Hogan. That’s thinking. The ref has had enough of Liz, so she gets sent to the back. Savage, meanwhile, hits Hogan with the double axehandle to the floor, driving him into the railing. Back in, he necksnaps him and chokes him on the ropes, working the throat with an elbow. Kneedrop gets two. Savage moves onto the wrist tape to choke him down (impressing Jesse greatly) then just uses his hands to put him out. Hogan is dead, so Savage goes up to finish him off with the flying elbow…but Hogan kicks out at two. Shit, every time I watch it, it’s the same thing. But I can keep hoping. Hulk up, three punches, big boot, legdrop, and Hogan wins his second title at 17:53. Not really as good as the initial drama made it seem to be, but still filled with good old fashioned pro wrestling dramatics and the like. Would have been nice to get a longer heat segment for Savage and REALLY make Hogan out to be toast, however. *** The Bottom Line: Most people remember 9 as the runaway winner of worst WM ever, but this one is pretty bad, and incredibly long, filled with literally nothing but filler matches and the occasional big angle. It was like a house show from hell or something. The main event is quite good for a Hogan match, so if you’ve never seen it, it’s worth a look. The rest, not so much, except as a historical curiosity. Recommendation to avoid. (So now it’s getting worse with a redo.  What will happen when I review the FULL atrocity?  Find out now!) The SmarK Retro Re-Rant for WWE Wrestlemania V – For those who remember the fourth Wrestlemania as the WWE’s version of Heaven’s Gate in terms of length and money made, it’s got nothing on the fifth one for sheer length. It didn’t seem so long back when I first watched it, probably because I was only 15 and I had a much longer attention span for stuff like this back then. I originally ranted off the hacked-up Coliseum video version, which was missing an HOUR of stuff, so it’s nice to finally have the full PPV version in all its 220 minute glory. The length might be taxing the storage systems of 24/7, however, because there’s some pixellization every few seconds that’s kinda annoying. – By the way, if there’s formatting issues with this rant, it’s because I had to re-install OpenOffice when I upgraded to Vista this weekend, and I’m still working out the kinks and trying to get it back exactly the way I had it when I left it.  (The formatting issues are also because this is a crappy new format rant, a stylistic decision that I have since regretted more than Miz deciding not to catch R-Truth that one time.  I also regretted upgrading to Vista, although I’m cheap and don’t want to bother going to Windows 7 at this point so I’ve been using it ever since.)  – Live from Atlantic City, NJ, at Trump Plaza, owned by some guy who we probably will never hear from again. – Your hosts are Gorilla & Jesse Opening match: King Haku v. Hercules Haku gets an attack from behind to start and slugs Herc into the corner, but Jesse has no sympathy for him. Herc quickly comes back with a slam and faceplant, and a clotheslines puts Haku on the floor. Suplex back in and Herc drops elbows. Hercules, who was adopted by the MegaPowers shortly before they exploded, is like the poor kid left out in the cold in a divorce proceeding. I blame his eventual death on the angst caused by his abandonment. WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE GREEK GODS? (Man, Hercules as the third Megapower.  That was right up there with Disco Inferno joining the nWo as far as stupid ideas went.)  Anyway, Haku comes back with a cheapshot and gets a backbreaker for two. He goes to a bearhug that I know for a fact was edited out of the home video version, so already it’s like watching the director’s cut of Alexander, as I appreciate the true genius of what they were trying to say with it already. It’s like Hercules is life, and the bearhug is modern society, squeezing the breath out of us every day, man. (In all fairness, I’ve been told the director’s cut of Alexander is somewhat more worth watching than the one version I did sit through, but I’ll never spend the 4 hours to find out.)  Herc powers out and Haku chokes him on the ropes, although I’m not sure what the allegory is supposed to be there. Herc comes back with a crossbody for two, but Haku cuts off the comeback with an elbow, but then whiffs on a bodypress attempt of his own. Hercules slugs back and gets a powrslam for two, but goes up and lands on a superkick. Haku goes up and misses his own move, and Hercules finishes with a backdrop suplex. (Hercules d. Haku, suplex — pin, 6:55, **) They actually bothered editing that down for home video? Not a bad opener, but this crowd is not wrestling fans, it’s gamblers and businessmen.  (Maybe they should fly them in for John Cena matches, it might get him over.  He already tells jokes like a bad motivational speaker anyway, so this is the kind of crowd that might actually cheer for him with enough booze.)  Backstage, the coked-up Rockers give their motivational interview before they get squashed. Shawn’s voice is so wasted from partying the night before that he can barely talk. The Twin Towers v. The Rockers For some reason, “Jive Soul Bro” is edited out. Were they dumb enough not to secure the rights to their OWN music? The Rockers run away to start, and opt for a sucker punch before Shawn starts with Bossman. Bossman puts him on the top and bitchslaps him, but gets dropkicked for his troubles and Shawn hits both of them and runs away again. Over to Akeem, as Shawn mocks his dancing and then the Rockers trade off and work on the arm. Shawn has said in previous interviews that he was so drunk that he could barely stand up here, so I’d say he’s doing remarkably well thus far. The Rockers keep switching off on the arm, but Bossman gets the blind tag and they sandwich Marty to take over. Bossman gets the running choke and Akeem avalanches him on the ropes, which is ugly but effective offense. And now the Towers are all about the tag team continuity, switching off and splashing Marty in the corner in tandem. Marty fights back, but Bossman clobbers him down again and it’s over to Akeem, who accidentally runs into Bossman to allow the hot tag to Shawn. He fires away in the corner and the Rockers team up for a nice double shoulderblock that gets two on Akeem. Shawn walks into a clothesline and does a 180 sell off it, as Shawn is out to single-handedly steal the show tonight. Bossman misses a flying splash and Shawn reverses a powerbomb attempt with the help of Marty, and the Rockers team up for a pair of missile dropkicks on the Bossman as well. Shawn goes up again, but this time he falls prey to the powerbomb on the way down, and Akeem splashes him to finish. (The Twin Towers d. The Rockers, Akeem splash — pin Shawn Michaels, 8:02, **) Shawn may have been wasted, but even at 25% he’s still got enough to carry things by bumping for three.  (This rating has been remarkably consistent across all three versions, oddly enough.)  Ted Dibiase v. Brutus Beefcake Odd that they never did a full-on feud with these two, as they seemed like they’d have a good dynamic together. (Or they could team up as The Wealthy Barber!)  Brutus attacks and hiptosses Dibiase to start, and follows with a backdrop that sends Ted out of the ring to regroup. Back in, Dibiase opts for the cheapshot and throws some chops in the corner, but Beefcake comes back with slams and it’s another trip to the floor. Back in and Dibiase tries slugging it out with Beefcake, but quickly loses that battle, and it’s Plan C: Virgil trips him up and Dibiase chokes him down. Well, as Jesse would say, win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat. Dibase pounds away in the corner and elbows him down as the crowd dozes, and the fistdrop gets two. Elbow off the middle rope gets two, but Beefcake gets a quick cradle for two. They fight over a suplex and Beefcake gets that, and they clothesline each other for the double KO. Dibiase recovers first with a suplex and it’s time for the Million Dollar Dream, but Brutus makes the ropes right away. Brutus comes back and rams him into the turnbuckles, and now irony strikes Dibiase as he falls prey to a sleeper. Truly epic. Virgil distracts him and Beefcake gives chase, which results in a brawl on the floor until the inevitable double countout. (Ted Dibiase draw Brutus Beefcake, DCOR, 9:58, **) Technically fine, but the crowd was dead and there wasn’t any real flow to the match. Meanwhile, Lord Al Hayes interviews the Bushwackers at the annual brunch, and hilarity ensues. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers v. The Sheepfuckers Jesse accuses the Bushwackers of being on “the juice”, although he’s referring to booze in this case. Still, there’s an out-of-context remark for you. Rougeaus attack to save Jimmy Hart’s jacket, but they get whipped into each other and bail. Raymond offers a handshake to Luke and then jumps him, so Butch runs in and returns the favor. Battering Ram for Ramond, but Jacques saves and they bail again. The crowd won’t even respond to the Bushwackers, which at least shows they’re intelligent. The Rougeaus get a quick double-team on Luke and Ray hits him with an axehandle off the middle, and we get a quick double-team clothesline for two. They do the abdominal stretch / superkick spot, and that gets no reaction from the crowd of corpses either. Bushwackers sneak in with a Battering Ram and double gutbuster while they celebrate. (The Bushwackers d. The Rougeaus, Luke gutbuster — pin Raymond, 5:10, DUD) Wasn’t even much of a comedy match. Mr. Perfect v. The Blue Blazer Debut of the classic tights for Hennig here, as he had been wearing short ones up until this point. Perfect grabs a headlock to start and hiptosses the Blazer, and they trade slaps in the corner. Blazer reverses out of a hiptoss attempt and slams him, and dropkicks him to the floor, following with a baseball slide. To the floor as Blazer throws some forearms out there, and he works the arm back in the ring. Perfect tries his own hiptoss reversal, but Blazer does his classic block-and-reverse of THAT, and a dropkick and backbreaker gets two. Northern Lights suplex gets two. To the top, but a flying splash hits knees, and Perfect goes to work on the back. Perfect charges and hits boot, and Blazer follows with a powerslam for two and gets the nice belly to belly for two. Crucifix gets two. He argues with the ref, however, and Perfect clobbers him and finishes with the Perfectplex. (Mr. Perfect d. The Blue Blazer, Perfectplex — pin, 5:51, **1/4) Not the classic I remembered as a kid.  (Yup, that one keeps dropping too.)  And now, just because the show wasn’t going to run long enough as it is, Jesse stops to pose for the fans. I have no idea what the point of this was. Speaking of pointless, let’s take you back to the annual 5K run, which Mr. Fuji cheats to win. Well, that’s why the good lord invented fast forward. And speaking of fast-forward, here’s Run DMC, and there they go. World tag team titles: Demolition v. The Powers of Pain & Mr Fuji Oh good grief, we’ve apparently lost all the songs from the Piledriver record, as “Demolition” is wiped from history, too. OK, who sued and won this time? Ax pounds on Warlord to start, finally getting a teenie reaction from the crowd, and the Demos add a double-team beating and Smash chinlocks him. Ax adds his own chinlock. You know, they must have sweetened the video version’s crowd noise, because I don’t remember the show being this dead. I mean, this crowd isn’t popping for ANYTHING. Barbarian comes in and gets smashed by Smash, and axed by Ax. Smash elbows him down and they add a double-elbow, and Ax goes to the neck vice. Barbarian comes back with a chop to Smash, but Warlord can’t follow up, which results in the champs hitting him with a double clothesline. Ax goes after Fuji, however, and gets hit from behind to turn the tide. Fuji finally tags in and chops Ax down, then adds his falling headbutt. Over to Barbarian, who starts working the back and boots Ax down. Jumping clothesline and Warlord comes in and stays on the back, choking him down for two. Barbarian powerslams him into a Fuji flying splash, but it misses and it looks like the hot tag until Warlord cuts it off. Smash gets it anyway, although the crowd doesn’t care, and he clotheslines everyone. They clothesline him on the top rope and Smash gets two, but Fuji comes in, armed with salt. And maybe pepper, I’m not sure. However, it goes awry, and Demolition Decapitation ends it. (Demolition d. The Powers of Pain & Fuji, Ax Decapitation — pin Fuji, 8:45, *) Well, this was watchable, I suppose. I can definitely understand the crowd apathy to the guys punching and kicking each other for 8 minutes, however. Dino Bravo v. Ronnie Garvin Jimmy Snuka makes an utterly pointless appearance after the introductions. (Don’t forget that Tamina is his daughter!)  Bravo attacks to start and chops Garvin down, and grabs a quick bearhug. Shoulderblock gets two. Garvin blocks a powerbomb attempt by slugging Bravo down, and a splash gets two. Sleeper and piledriver get two, and he throws chops in the corner. He slugs away in the corner, and Bravo brings him out with an atomic drop, and the sideslam finishes quick. (Dino Bravo d. Ronnie Garvin, sideslam — pin, 3:55, 1/2*) Garvin seemed game, but this was going nowhere fast. The Brainbusters v. Strike Force Martel grabs a headlock on Tully to start, and then fights off a double-team attempt in the heel corner. Strike Force adds a double dropkick to put the heels on the floor, but Arn quickly regroups. Martel faceplants him for two and they fight over the knucklelock, but Arn catches him with a bodyscissors. Martel wisely tries to turn him over into the Boston Crab, but Tully pokes him in the eyes to break it up. Jesse’s all about that one. Tito comes in and it’s old double figure-four spot, which the Busters quickly escape from. Tully and Tito do a bridge/backslide spot, which gets two for Tito, and he cradles Tully for two. Blind tag, but Tito hits Martel with the forearm by mistake, and Tully dropkicks Tito to take over. Arn comes in and elbows him in the gut, but Tito fights them off and goes for a tag…but Martel is being a drama queen and selling the “injury”. Tito keeps fighting with a sunset flip on Arn for two, but Tully breaks it up and gets two. Tito gets a bodypress for two, but Arn slows him down with a rear chinlock. Tito fights out and goes for the tag again, but Martel isn’t feeling it and walks away from the tag. And the match. Typical Frenchman, running away from a fight. The Busters go to work on Tito. Tito fights them off, but goes for a monkey flip on Tully and gets splatted as a result, and it’s ye olde Spike Piledriver to end his comeback. (The Brainbusters d. Strike Force, Anderson piledriver — pin Santana, 9:13, **1/2) This crowd is really bringing me down, man. This one actually seemed better in clipped form, with better crowd reactions dubbed in. It’s late and I’m tired, so I’m skipping through the Piper/Brother Love/Morton Downey Jr. trainwreck. Hey, it’s my column. This was definitely 15 minutes that could have been excised quite easily from the show. And now, a sneak preview of No Holds Barred. Thank god this is cut out of the video version. Sean Mooney interviews Donald Trump, back when he was all wooden and couldn’t act. Oh, wait. Apparently we’re in an intermission now, because we go into time-filler overdrive with a recap of the Megapowers angle and a rather lengthy Hogan interview. Jake Roberts v. Andre The Giant Special ref here is John Studd. Andre attacks to start and rams Jake into a conveniently missing turnbuckle, and quickly tries choking him out. Jake goes for the snake, but Andre grabs him in a chokehold again. Jesse has a funny line here, noting that David beat Goliath with a foreign object. That’s a wrestling mentality for you. Andre leans on Jake in the corner, which is about as lazy as you can get, offensively speaking. More choking and Andre uses his butt as a weapon, and chokes away again. Jake slugs back and Andre gets tied in the ropes as a result, which allows Jake to do his own choking. But not for long, because Andre is the master of choking. And choke he does! And did I mention the choking? Because there’s quite a lot of it. Jake comes back with punches and sends Andre into the bare turnbuckle, but Andre chops him right out of the ring. Andre won’t let him in, and the camera’s closeup of the ring apron reveals that they were so cheap as to recycle the skirts from Wrestlemania IV, simply by removing the “I” from the roman numeral. Studd and Andre get into a shoving match, while Ted Dibiase steals the snake, and Andre attacks Studd to draw the rather obvious DQ and set up the big feud that never happened. The recovered snake sends Andre fleeing. (Jake Roberts d. Andre The Giant, DQ, 9:39, DUD) Studd’s face turn just didn’t work, and Andre was pretty far gone by this point. The Hart Foundation v. Honky Tonk Man & Greg Valentine Jimmy Hart’s team were not yet Rhythm & Blues, and this was just thrown together as yet another in the endless parade of matches to fill time before the main event. Bret starts with Honky and rolls him up for two, and follows with an atomic drop both ways to send him scurrying back to the corner. Hammer comes in and takes the atomic drop, and Bret dropkicks him, which sets up the pinball spot in the face corner. Nice timing as Bret whips Hammer and then slingshots Anvil in on the rebound for a shoulderblock, which gets two. Bret with the backbreaker and middle rope elbow, but it misses and Valentine drops his own elbows. They do some choking in the corner and Honk drops a fist and a series of elbows, and it’s over to Hammer for a top rope forearm and an elbow to the back of the head. He gets his own atomic drop and Honky adds Shake Rattle N Roll, but he allows Valentine to try the figure-four instead of pinning him. Bret thumbs the eye to block, so Hammer keeps coming with a gutbuster and brings Honky back in. Bret fights back with a crossbody for two, but lands on the floor when Honky kicks out, and it’s back to Hammer again. Bret tries a rollup, but actually just fakes him out and makes the hot tag to Neidhart instead. Shoulderblock on Valentine gets two. Nice clothesline gets two. Hammer thumbs the eyes to stop the offense, but Honky misses a fistdrop and the Harts go to work on him, as Bret drops his elbow and adds a suplex for two. Valentine saves and cleans house, but Neidhart steals the megaphone and Bret nails Honky Tonk with it to finish. Bret screwed Wayne Ferris! (The Hart Foundation d. Honky Tonk & Valentine, Bret megaphone — pin Honky, 7:39, **1/2) This was actually quite a solid tag match in its uncut form, although the finish should have been stronger. WWF Intercontinental title: Ultimate Warrior v. Rick Rude Common sense at the time said that Warrior squashes him like a bug, but in hindsight Rude needed to go over in order to get to the next level. Rude tries to knee Warrior in the gut on the way in, but Warrior is still wearing the belt and thus outsmarts him. Warrior tosses Rude around like a ragdoll as Rude is all about the bumps tonight, and the crowd FINALLY wakes up. Warrior smartly opts to whip Rude into the corners without following up by charging, and then calmly bearhugs him. He’s thinking for once. Rude goes to the eyes to break and then scoots up top with a missile dropkick, but Warrior no-sells and slams him instead. Man, Rude is just bouncing around out there like a superball tonight. Back to the bearhug, but this time the ref prevents Rude from going to the eyes,which offends Jesse on several levels. Finally Rude slugs out on his own merits, so Warrior bites him and adds a backdrop. Big splash hits knee, however, and Rude takes over. Piledriver gets two for Rude. Sadly, his back is so injured that he can’t even swivel. Clothesline gets two. Russian legsweep gets two. Rude goes to a surfboard, but Warrior fights to the ropes and hulks up. Shoulderblock and faceplant set up a backbreaker, and he follows with a clothesline after a weird blown spot in the corner. He goes back to whipping Rude around, this time following up with a charge, and missing as a result. Rude goes for the Rude Awakening, but Warrior powers out of it and clotheslines him again. Rude bails and Warrior sends him back in, then dumps him with a clothesline. He suplexes Rude back in, but Heenan grabs the foot for the famous finish, and we have an upset, to the delight of Jesse. (Rick Rude d. Ultimate Warrior, outside interference — pin, 9:41, ***) They would have better matches, but this was the first sign that Rude was more than the pretty boy arrogant heel in the ring, as he more than carried his end of the match and actually got the crowd into it. Bad News Brown v. Hacksaw Jim Duggan To put this in perspective, we are now at the three hour mark for the show, which is beyond all sanity for a crowd this dead with an undercard this meaningless. Brown attacks to start, but Duggan slugs back and clotheslines him out of the ring. Brown regroups and lays Duggan out with a forearm back in the ring, and slugs away in the corner. Duggan fires back with shoulders in the corner, so Brown slugs him down again. They brawl outside as Jesse notes that if one of them tries a hold, they might win it. Brown wins that fight and tries the Ghetto Blaster, but Duggan comes back with the three-point stance and they fight outside again, as Brown grabs a chair and Duggan grabs his 2×4. (Jim Duggan draw Bad News Brown, DDQ, 3:46, 1/2*) C’mon, just get to the main event already. Red Rooster v. Bobby Heenan One last quickie before the match people actually paid to see. I think someone should sue and make them dub out the Rooster’s ridiculous theme song. Rooster whips Bobby into the corner and pins him. (Red Rooster d. Bobby Heenan, corner whip — pin, 0:28, DUD) This was what it was. WWF World title: Randy Savage v. Hulk Hogan This of course was the biggest match in the history of history at that point, drawing millions of dollars on PPV after being built up for years. Savage dodges Hogan and plays some mindgames to start, and Hogan overpowers him on the lockup. Savage grabs a headlock, but gets overpowered again and bails. As any good man would do, he hides behind Liz, and Jesse approves. Back in, Hogan takes him down with a drop toehold to meet his wrestling quota for the night, but Savage suplexes out of his headlock. Hogan quickly recovers and slugs away, and starts working on the arm, so Savage goes to the eyes and drops the axehandle for two. Savage takes it to the mat with an armbar. Some really slick hair-pulling behind the ref’s back follows, but it’s wasted when Hogan dumps him to break the hold. That was some quality cheating by Savage. Back in, Savage eats turnbuckle and Hogan drops him with a clothesline, into the elbows, but Savage clotheslines him for two. Savage grabs a chinlock while Hogan bleeds, but he fights out and blocks a big boot with an atomic drop. Hogan misses the elbow and Savage sends him into the corner with a high knee, and that gets two. Savage goes to work on the cut and stomps on the fingers, but that just gets Hogan mad, and he comes back with some shots in the corner and the corner clothesline. Hogan, sportsman, dumps Savage over the top and Liz tries to assist him, but Savage is an independent guy and doesn’t want help. Hogan follows him out for the brawl, showing he was probably in cahoots with Liz all along, and she prevents him from sending Savage into the post, which allows Savage to turn the tables and give Hogan the same treatment. Liz keeps getting involved, so the ref sends her back to the dressing room as we hit a dead spot. With no more distractions, Savage gets down to business, dropping Hogan with the axehandle to the floor before they head back in. Necksnap and Savage goes to work on the throat, choking him on the ropes and adding an elbow to the throat. Kneedrop gets two. Savage goes for broke, choking him out with the tape, and things look bad for the challenger. He goes with the straight choke and heads up to finish with the big elbow, and really I can’t stand to finish the review because it just hurts every damn time I watch it. (Hulk Hogan d. Randy Savage, legdrop — pin, 17:53, ***) It was somewhat epic, but the crowd was just so dead and they couldn’t live up to the hype no matter what they went with. This one was such a heated feud that it needed something more akin to the current main event brawling style, and really they just went out there and did a Hogan match. Of course, at the time it made perfect sense to put Hogan over clean and send Savage down a different path with Sherri, but my god, Savage was on such a hot streak as a heel that they could have drawn MILLIONS by screwing Hulk out of the belt here and building up the chase to the rematch at Summerslam. But hindsight is 20/20 and all that. The Pulse: Wow, editing really is important, because the home video version is eons better than the ultra-dull and seemingly endless live PPV version, which stretches 3 hours and 40 minutes and feels like it’s never going to end. Still, bless 24/7 for at least giving fans to see the uncut version for themselves. Probably one of the worst Wrestlemanias in this form, although the shorter version that used to be more widely available is quite enjoyable for the most part. Strong recommendation to avoid.

Brock v. Taker

” I’m pretty sure that WWE knew that Brock was leaving, but it’s just that WE didn’t.  So I don’t think there were any plans for him. “
I’ve heard that McMahon had a hard on for matching up Lesnar with the Undertaker. Lesnar and Undertaker were planned to feud after Wrestlemania XX. Lesnar was sick of working with the Undertaker due to his reluctance to job and general difficulty working together. Lesnar was also fed up with other workers such as Undertaker getting lighter schedules when Brock was expected to work the full tilt schedule. The two had a confrontation after a UFC event if you recall.

Um…you know that “confrontation” was a work, right?  And if they really disliked each other, they wouldn’t be setting up a worked pro wrestling match.

Brock v. Taker

” I’m pretty sure that WWE knew that Brock was leaving, but it’s just that WE didn’t.  So I don’t think there were any plans for him. “
I’ve heard that McMahon had a hard on for matching up Lesnar with the Undertaker. Lesnar and Undertaker were planned to feud after Wrestlemania XX. Lesnar was sick of working with the Undertaker due to his reluctance to job and general difficulty working together. Lesnar was also fed up with other workers such as Undertaker getting lighter schedules when Brock was expected to work the full tilt schedule. The two had a confrontation after a UFC event if you recall.

Um…you know that “confrontation” was a work, right?  And if they really disliked each other, they wouldn’t be setting up a worked pro wrestling match.

Brock v. Taker

” I’m pretty sure that WWE knew that Brock was leaving, but it’s just that WE didn’t.  So I don’t think there were any plans for him. “
I’ve heard that McMahon had a hard on for matching up Lesnar with the Undertaker. Lesnar and Undertaker were planned to feud after Wrestlemania XX. Lesnar was sick of working with the Undertaker due to his reluctance to job and general difficulty working together. Lesnar was also fed up with other workers such as Undertaker getting lighter schedules when Brock was expected to work the full tilt schedule. The two had a confrontation after a UFC event if you recall.

Um…you know that “confrontation” was a work, right?  And if they really disliked each other, they wouldn’t be setting up a worked pro wrestling match.

Brock v. Taker

” I’m pretty sure that WWE knew that Brock was leaving, but it’s just that WE didn’t.  So I don’t think there were any plans for him. “
I’ve heard that McMahon had a hard on for matching up Lesnar with the Undertaker. Lesnar and Undertaker were planned to feud after Wrestlemania XX. Lesnar was sick of working with the Undertaker due to his reluctance to job and general difficulty working together. Lesnar was also fed up with other workers such as Undertaker getting lighter schedules when Brock was expected to work the full tilt schedule. The two had a confrontation after a UFC event if you recall.

Um…you know that “confrontation” was a work, right?  And if they really disliked each other, they wouldn’t be setting up a worked pro wrestling match.

Brock v. Taker

” I’m pretty sure that WWE knew that Brock was leaving, but it’s just that WE didn’t.  So I don’t think there were any plans for him. “
I’ve heard that McMahon had a hard on for matching up Lesnar with the Undertaker. Lesnar and Undertaker were planned to feud after Wrestlemania XX. Lesnar was sick of working with the Undertaker due to his reluctance to job and general difficulty working together. Lesnar was also fed up with other workers such as Undertaker getting lighter schedules when Brock was expected to work the full tilt schedule. The two had a confrontation after a UFC event if you recall.

Um…you know that “confrontation” was a work, right?  And if they really disliked each other, they wouldn’t be setting up a worked pro wrestling match.

Brock v. Taker

” I’m pretty sure that WWE knew that Brock was leaving, but it’s just that WE didn’t.  So I don’t think there were any plans for him. “
I’ve heard that McMahon had a hard on for matching up Lesnar with the Undertaker. Lesnar and Undertaker were planned to feud after Wrestlemania XX. Lesnar was sick of working with the Undertaker due to his reluctance to job and general difficulty working together. Lesnar was also fed up with other workers such as Undertaker getting lighter schedules when Brock was expected to work the full tilt schedule. The two had a confrontation after a UFC event if you recall.

Um…you know that “confrontation” was a work, right?  And if they really disliked each other, they wouldn’t be setting up a worked pro wrestling match.

Brock v. Taker

” I’m pretty sure that WWE knew that Brock was leaving, but it’s just that WE didn’t.  So I don’t think there were any plans for him. “
I’ve heard that McMahon had a hard on for matching up Lesnar with the Undertaker. Lesnar and Undertaker were planned to feud after Wrestlemania XX. Lesnar was sick of working with the Undertaker due to his reluctance to job and general difficulty working together. Lesnar was also fed up with other workers such as Undertaker getting lighter schedules when Brock was expected to work the full tilt schedule. The two had a confrontation after a UFC event if you recall.

Um…you know that “confrontation” was a work, right?  And if they really disliked each other, they wouldn’t be setting up a worked pro wrestling match.

Woo woo whatever

By the way, can we now all agree once and for all that the Zack Ryder thing was not him getting a main event rub or quality TV time or setting up a big Wrestlemania comeback or any of the other million silly theories that the apologists were throwing out?  It was clearly a complete and total burial of the character.  He lost his girl, lost his title, got beaten up like a ragdoll on several occasions until he was nothing more than a punchline, got no revenge on anyone and even needed Cena to fight his battles against a woman for him, and now he’s feuding with the woman who was already soundly rejected and trashed by Cena.  To quote Slick, turn out the lights, the party’s over.  Woo woo woo, you’re a jobber again. The sad thing is that Miz is only faring slightly better because at least he gets to wrestle every week, even if he’s losing every match.  Perhaps Ryder should go heel and team with Miz, because that dynamic would probably work, actually.  

Woo woo whatever

By the way, can we now all agree once and for all that the Zack Ryder thing was not him getting a main event rub or quality TV time or setting up a big Wrestlemania comeback or any of the other million silly theories that the apologists were throwing out?  It was clearly a complete and total burial of the character.  He lost his girl, lost his title, got beaten up like a ragdoll on several occasions until he was nothing more than a punchline, got no revenge on anyone and even needed Cena to fight his battles against a woman for him, and now he’s feuding with the woman who was already soundly rejected and trashed by Cena.  To quote Slick, turn out the lights, the party’s over.  Woo woo woo, you’re a jobber again. The sad thing is that Miz is only faring slightly better because at least he gets to wrestle every week, even if he’s losing every match.  Perhaps Ryder should go heel and team with Miz, because that dynamic would probably work, actually.  

Woo woo whatever

By the way, can we now all agree once and for all that the Zack Ryder thing was not him getting a main event rub or quality TV time or setting up a big Wrestlemania comeback or any of the other million silly theories that the apologists were throwing out?  It was clearly a complete and total burial of the character.  He lost his girl, lost his title, got beaten up like a ragdoll on several occasions until he was nothing more than a punchline, got no revenge on anyone and even needed Cena to fight his battles against a woman for him, and now he’s feuding with the woman who was already soundly rejected and trashed by Cena.  To quote Slick, turn out the lights, the party’s over.  Woo woo woo, you’re a jobber again. The sad thing is that Miz is only faring slightly better because at least he gets to wrestle every week, even if he’s losing every match.  Perhaps Ryder should go heel and team with Miz, because that dynamic would probably work, actually.  

Woo woo whatever

By the way, can we now all agree once and for all that the Zack Ryder thing was not him getting a main event rub or quality TV time or setting up a big Wrestlemania comeback or any of the other million silly theories that the apologists were throwing out?  It was clearly a complete and total burial of the character.  He lost his girl, lost his title, got beaten up like a ragdoll on several occasions until he was nothing more than a punchline, got no revenge on anyone and even needed Cena to fight his battles against a woman for him, and now he’s feuding with the woman who was already soundly rejected and trashed by Cena.  To quote Slick, turn out the lights, the party’s over.  Woo woo woo, you’re a jobber again. The sad thing is that Miz is only faring slightly better because at least he gets to wrestle every week, even if he’s losing every match.  Perhaps Ryder should go heel and team with Miz, because that dynamic would probably work, actually.  

Woo woo whatever

By the way, can we now all agree once and for all that the Zack Ryder thing was not him getting a main event rub or quality TV time or setting up a big Wrestlemania comeback or any of the other million silly theories that the apologists were throwing out?  It was clearly a complete and total burial of the character.  He lost his girl, lost his title, got beaten up like a ragdoll on several occasions until he was nothing more than a punchline, got no revenge on anyone and even needed Cena to fight his battles against a woman for him, and now he’s feuding with the woman who was already soundly rejected and trashed by Cena.  To quote Slick, turn out the lights, the party’s over.  Woo woo woo, you’re a jobber again. The sad thing is that Miz is only faring slightly better because at least he gets to wrestle every week, even if he’s losing every match.  Perhaps Ryder should go heel and team with Miz, because that dynamic would probably work, actually.