Wrestlemania-The Matches, The Memories (I-V)

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mlev76
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Wrestlemania-The Matches, The Memories (I-V)

Post by mlev76 » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:23 pm

We're six weeks out from Wrestlemania 34 (that we've reached 34 makes me feel incredibly old) and I thought it would be fun to start up a thread a week to discuss past Manias. Since we're six weeks out, I figured the best way to do this is divide things by 6 and let everyone get a chance to reflect on their:

1) Favorite matches
2) Favorite moments
3) General thoughts


On each event for that corresponding week. Starting this out a little late, but for this week, let's talk about the first five shows, Wrestlemania through Wrestlemania V.

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Re: Wrestlemania-The Matches, The Memories (I-V)

Post by mlev76 » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:29 pm

And there's really no better place to start than the first Wrestlemania. To be quite honest, looking at the show today and remembering the build and hype for it, it's somewhat shocking the concept has lasted as long as it did. It was nine matches three squashes, two other matches that ended in screwy finishes and then the four big matches-Tag Title Match, the Bodyslam Challenge, the Women's title match and the Hogan-T/Piper-Orndorff grudge match.

By modern standards, the main event may be the only one that could be considered good. Having the women's match semi-main event the show is a bit of history you'd think they'd revisit given the emphasis on Women's wrestling, but for whatever reason, they don't want to credit Richter despite seemingly squashing the beef with her.

To me, the video tape cover with Hogan and T is probably the most memorable thing about this show as it was prominently displayed at my local video store for years after the event occurred. My fandom began a couple months before this show and I didn't see it in full till a year later, but it's clearly an incredibly important show in wrestling history if not an especially good one.

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Re: Wrestlemania-The Matches, The Memories (I-V)

Post by Joe Lanza » Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:34 pm

I was a little young for I and have no real time memories. Probably watched it via rental years after.

II I watched essentially in "real time" as I had an uncle who had a bootleg video tape copy that I assumed for years was PPV, but in hindsight I'm not even positive the show was offered on PPV. At any rate, I watched it a few days after it happened and popped big for the Bulldogs and the battle royal with the NFL dudes which as a kid I was fascinated by. I'll always remember George Wells foaming from the mouth when Jake draped the snake over him and even as a kid I thought it was odd they did a "scrub" (jobber) match on a big show. Obviously I wasn't aware at the time Wells was a pushed guy in other places and assumed he was a nobody since I'd never seen him before.

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Re: Wrestlemania-The Matches, The Memories (I-V)

Post by Joe Lanza » Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:37 pm

I've probably watched III 20+ times, and the Can-Am vs Muraco & Orton match even more because of how many times I started the tape and never finished. I remember being annoyed that Duggan did the run in because I was a big Killer Bees fan and thought he ruined the match. Even as a kid I didn't like b.s. finishes and angles, what a smark

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Re: Wrestlemania-The Matches, The Memories (I-V)

Post by Joe Lanza » Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:43 pm

IV & V I was well into superfan territory as was every kid on the block, so we are into the "gather at someone's house for a PPV" era.

I remember IV better because the tournament was a huge talking point at the bus stop and in the neighborhood. Savage wasn't really the obvious winner to us, so we weren't "smart" fans yet, which made it more fun to watch unfold. I remember everyone popping big for the Bret Hart turn after the battle royal.

In hindsight V was a much better show, but for whatever reason I wasn't hyped for it as a kid. I never liked Hogan and didn't appreciate Savage until I was an adult (I found him annoying) and the Mega Powers story didn't do it for me.

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Re: Wrestlemania-The Matches, The Memories (I-V)

Post by mlev76 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:24 am

Joe Lanza wrote:I was a little young for I and have no real time memories. Probably watched it via rental years after.

II I watched essentially in "real time" as I had an uncle who had a bootleg video tape copy that I assumed for years was PPV, but in hindsight I'm not even positive the show was offered on PPV. At any rate, I watched it a few days after it happened and popped big for the Bulldogs and the battle royal with the NFL dudes which as a kid I was fascinated by. I'll always remember George Wells foaming from the mouth when Jake draped the snake over him and even as a kid I thought it was odd they did a "scrub" (jobber) match on a big show. Obviously I wasn't aware at the time Wells was a pushed guy in other places and assumed he was a nobody since I'd never seen him before.
Mania II was the show that really revealed Vince's worst instincts for excess and doing things big just for the sake of bigness. The three city gimmick was silly and the number of celebrities they had was almost as long as the wrestlers on the show and most of them were C level or worse. I mean, they had two fast food mascots on the same show!

The NY show seemed to get the shaft as all the matches were terrible (including wasting Randy Savage's first Mania on George Steele) and the main event boxing match was a gigantic clusterfuck. The Chicago part was the best of the three with the Bulldogs match and the battle royal. I was just starting to get into hard rock/heavy metal at the time and having Ozzy Osbourne with the Bulldogs was very cool. LA was decent too with the Funks match and the Hogan match. Out of the context of seeing Hogan formula matches repeatedly every month, seeing the Bundy match now makes me appreciate it more than I did then. The setup did make legitimately hate and fear Bundy as a kid who still loved Hogan.

Pretty sure this one wasn't on PPV (I think 3 was the first one), but I'm sure closed circuit tapes were distributed pretty soon afterward.

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Re: Wrestlemania-The Matches, The Memories (I-V)

Post by Ckkj14 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:44 am

Can't really say I have many memories of these shows. I'm 30 now and remember 6 as my first one and 7 was the one I must have watched 50 times as a kid. I do remember watching 2 a lot too I think though as my dad would always talk about the Fridge being in the battle royal despite him hating wrestling.

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Re: Wrestlemania-The Matches, The Memories (I-V)

Post by itsberlo » Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:59 pm

Wrestlemania III was a huge moment in my life. I was 7 at the time and my grandmother in Madison, Wisconsin had passed away a week prior. After the funeral, the plan was for my father and I to drive back to Arkansas while my mother stayed to be with family but my father had other ideas. He decided to surprise me by taking me to Pontiac Michigan to see Wrestlemania III. He thought I needed something to cheer me up and had seen me play with my Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat and "Macho Man" Randy Savage LJN figures the whole way up to Madison. Something tells me he had plotted this for a while and decided to pull the trigger sometime during the trip. We were pretty much as lower middle class as lower middle class gets so this was a very uncommon move however I think in my father's mind this had to happen.

As far as the show, I remember we were sitting really high up right behind where the entrances were. I had my Steamboat and Macho Man figures with me and was cheering for pretty much everything while the boy sitting in front of us was crying the whole time because Hogan wasn't out yet. I already disliked Hogan at the time and this just made it worse. I remember being really excited to see Piper, Jake and of course Ricky Steamboat. I know many say the Savage/Steamboat match is overrated but for me that match will always have a spot of the greatest matches ever for how much it made me happy at a pretty down time in my childhood. To this day, I still have the program my dad bought from that show. Every Mania season I open up that bad boy and read through it bringing back the memories I had as a kid reading it for the first time.

On a side note, the only other Wrestlemania I went to was WM27 in Atlanta. Safe to say the universe wanted to even out my Wrestlemania experience with that show.

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Re: Wrestlemania-The Matches, The Memories (I-V)

Post by Joe Lanza » Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:39 pm

The Funks vs Tito & JYD is a very underrated Mania match

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Re: Wrestlemania-The Matches, The Memories (I-V)

Post by mlev76 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:20 pm

Joe Lanza wrote:I've probably watched III 20+ times, and the Can-Am vs Muraco & Orton match even more because of how many times I started the tape and never finished. I remember being annoyed that Duggan did the run in because I was a big Killer Bees fan and thought he ruined the match. Even as a kid I didn't like b.s. finishes and angles, what a smark
III remains one of the best top to bottom booked Manias and was right in the midst of WWF's peak on the booking side during the 80s (which went from the summer of 1986 through the end of the Mega Powers story in 1989). There was some filler and a few fuck finish matches, but by and large, you walked away from the show with a lot of memorable thing happening (Beefcake going face, Roddy retiring, Hogan beating Andre) and some good matches (Bulldogs Tito vs. Harts Davis). And, of course, you had Savage/Steamboat which was the first truly classic Mania match.

The size of the crowd and stakes of the main event really drove the special nature of the show and the rest of the show is a great variety of what was a very fun and diverse roster at the time. And Butch Reed was on the show too, so you can't win them all.

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Re: Wrestlemania-The Matches, The Memories (I-V)

Post by mlev76 » Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:24 pm

itsberlo wrote:Wrestlemania III was a huge moment in my life. I was 7 at the time and my grandmother in Madison, Wisconsin had passed away a week prior. After the funeral, the plan was for my father and I to drive back to Arkansas while my mother stayed to be with family but my father had other ideas. He decided to surprise me by taking me to Pontiac Michigan to see Wrestlemania III. He thought I needed something to cheer me up and had seen me play with my Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat and "Macho Man" Randy Savage LJN figures the whole way up to Madison. Something tells me he had plotted this for a while and decided to pull the trigger sometime during the trip. We were pretty much as lower middle class as lower middle class gets so this was a very uncommon move however I think in my father's mind this had to happen.

As far as the show, I remember we were sitting really high up right behind where the entrances were. I had my Steamboat and Macho Man figures with me and was cheering for pretty much everything while the boy sitting in front of us was crying the whole time because Hogan wasn't out yet. I already disliked Hogan at the time and this just made it worse. I remember being really excited to see Piper, Jake and of course Ricky Steamboat. I know many say the Savage/Steamboat match is overrated but for me that match will always have a spot of the greatest matches ever for how much it made me happy at a pretty down time in my childhood. To this day, I still have the program my dad bought from that show. Every Mania season I open up that bad boy and read through it bringing back the memories I had as a kid reading it for the first time.

On a side note, the only other Wrestlemania I went to was WM27 in Atlanta. Safe to say the universe wanted to even out my Wrestlemania experience with that show.
Such a cool story. Thanks for sharing it!

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Re: Wrestlemania-The Matches, The Memories (I-V)

Post by mlev76 » Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:31 pm

IV was the very first pay-per-view I was allowed to buy. I still remember waiting for it to start and seeing the same preview for Revenge of the Nerds II being shown every five minutes. I was either that excited for the show or that bored that I didn't watch anything else.

One show tournaments are tough and WWE really has never figured out how to do them. The lack of a ton of 'workhorses' type wrestlers and more than a few guys being gassed up certainly didn't help the match quality. On top of that, TBS was showing the first Clash at the same time and they had great wrestling going on at the very same time. I definitely watched as much if not more of the Clash that day.

Savage vs. Dibiase was a solid main event and was probably the right call to push Randy over the top. The fact that he and Hogan would face off the following year made this a key part of a large story WWE was telling.

Battle royal was fun and the tag title change was cool even though I was a big Strike Force fan and was sad to see anyone manage by Mr. Fuji succeed.

Overall, probably the weakest show in the best storytelling run WWF would go on during the 80s golden age. Having it at Trump Plaza likely made the crowd weaker than it could have been though they were considerably better the next year (show was better too).

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Re: Wrestlemania-The Matches, The Memories (I-V)

Post by Rich Kraetsch » Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:00 pm

The first two Manias I always inevitably go back to when I do the yearly rewatch but I really shouldn't, they just don't offer a ton of substance. III on the other hand holds up and is one of the better top-to-bottom shows the company has ever done. Great booking throughout, well paced matches, the atmosphere is unlike anything they've ever replicated and of course you get Savage/Steamboat as a bonus. A GREAT show that is required viewing each year around this time. Holds up remarkably well for a show as old as yours truly.

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Re: Wrestlemania-The Matches, The Memories (I-V)

Post by mlev76 » Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:54 pm

I'm still relatively gobsmacked by the decision to do V at Trump Plaza again after IV, but I can only assume they made the deal before IV. I watched this early last year right after the Golden Turd took office and he was all over the show and you can see him prominently at ringside with what I presume was Don Jr.

Format wise, they got back somewhat to what worked with III with having high points sprinkled throughout (the Title matches and the Andre/Jake match) and had some fun random undercard matches (Rockers/Twin Towers, Strike Force/Brain Busters, Perfect/Blue Blazer). I remember being super hyped for Piper coming back and don't recall how I felt about the segment live, but on rewatch, it is absolute shit. I wonder what those who don't remember the Morton Downey show think about having him there. That has definitely not held up.

What can you say about the main event? Probably the best mix of a great story, good action and a fine ending you'll see out of a main event in WWF for years to come. Hogan definitely comes off as a total asshole who didn't have his buddy's back when watching everything play out, but it did lead to Savage and Sherri and ultimately the great ending at VII, so it all worked out in the end.

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Re: Wrestlemania-The Matches, The Memories (I-V)

Post by Rich Kraetsch » Sat Mar 03, 2018 1:49 pm

IIRC it was a two-year deal and WWE wasn't about to turn down money if Trump was willing to pay for the event. We take it for granted now with cities pitching to get the event but in those days getting someone to hand you a bag of money to run your show at their venue, damn right you're going to take it.

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