Monday, March 4, 2013

Old School Wrestling: WrestleMania V

WrestleMania 5!

This took place in 1989. It was one of the better WrestleMania's we've seen. It took place at the Trump Plaza and it was a huge arena, very dark, and so some of the camera work was a little harder to see. I wish they had brightened up outside the arena a little bit. It wasn't as dark as WrestleMania 1, thank goodness.

So it started out with Hercules vs. King Haku. I was really surprised with this match. It was a fantastic match for an opening match. I've seen some doozies to start out pay per view's so far. It wasn't main event quality or anything, but it was really fun. I wasn't expecting anything from Hercules or Haku, however they got the crowd into their feud from the start, and kept the momentum going till the end. It was a welcome surprise.

The next match was The Twin Towers (Akeem and the Big Boss Man) vs. The Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty). The Rockers are at a seeming disadvantage from the start of this match, the Twin Towers are big guys and the Rockers are small, but the Rockers were very over with the crowd. It's a great second match because it keeps the momentum going from the first match. I can tell the style of tag team matches is starting to change with the introduction of the Rockers. They are bringing in an active tag team style, where instead of one vs. one, it's turning into using both parters at the same time more often. Jessie Ventura comments on this constantly and keeps trying to make the Rockers seem like they're doing a bad thing, but since he's a heel commentator, it only makes the Rockers get over better. It makes for a very exciting match. These days seeing a tag team match where both parts of a team don't do a combined move at some point is strange, but back then, the teams didn't do tandem moves as often. As I watch the next two pay per view's, I've started to take note of the number of tandem moves, they are more frequent and the crowd really pops for them.

The next is Brutus the Barber Beefcake vs. Million Dollar Champion Ted DiBiase. I'm sorry, but I have no clue why The Barber is so over. I think he's incredibly silly. He's not a bad wrestler or anything, but I think his gimmick is just impossible to get behind, especially as a good guy. I suppose it really helps that he keeps going against such good villains. I mean, he's feuding with one of the best villains of this time period, the Million Dollar Man. I've come to the personal conclusion that the reason people like Brutus the Barbar is because he keeps being put against the best villains and his promos are so weird. The match was decent. Barber showed a little Hogan tendencies to act a little too tough, so it was hard to get into his match. It just felt silly how he would no-show some of the bumps. I'm glad DiBiase gets to drop Brutus after this. Also, I wish someone told Brutus to stop cutting holes and putting mesh in his tights. Those stupid tights just drive me crazy, and not in a good way.

Ok, onto the next match. The Bushwhackers (Luke Williams and Butch Miller) vs. The Fabulous Rougeaus (Jacques and Raymond). The Rougeau Brothers looked like they hadn't been working out or something, so the match was dull. For the first five minuts the Rougeaus were stumbling around like they had no idea what was going on and the Bushwhackers were doing their best to be silly to make up for it. I'm very glad the Bushwhackers won.

There was some good cartoon moments with Slick at the beginning of the match, though. It makes me miss good managers that add a lot of humor. The point of a manager isn't always to be serious business  sometimes it is to add humor to a match and break tension. I mean, Vickie Guerro is funny sometimes, but she's not nearly as funny as Slick. (Slick ended up in the middle of a Rougeau Brother sandwich, and he acted completely crazy. It was comedy gold.)

Next up is The Blue Blazer vs. Mr. Perfect. Here my husband pointed out the Blue Blazer is Owen Hart. The match was exciting and fun, lots of flipping moves. It was a very good match after the last match. Worth a watch if you can find it. I can see how the more energetic match style is becoming more common as the Wrestlemanias progress. There was a good mix of technical moves and acrobatics in this singles match. It's a shame Owen isn't seen for quite a few pay per view's after this.

The next few matches were quick. Demolition vs. Powers of Pain (The Warlord and The Barbarian) and Mr. Fuji. It was fun to see Mr. Fuji wrestle, but the match was simple and to the point. A good mid-pay per view match. Dino Bravo and Ron Garvin were up next, and it was another quick match.

There was another tag match, Brain Busters (Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard) vs. Strike Force (Tito Santana and Rick Martel). In this match, the big ending was Tito accidentally hits Rick Martel, and Martel turns on his partner and leaves the ring, thus ushering in a heel turn for Martel. This is pretty interesting for me because there's been quite a few times in these shows that the faces have acted like heels.

Jake the Snake and Andre the Giant fought next. Andre looked like he'd lost some weight and was moving better than he had at the last pay per view. It was nice to see. I always have sympathy for him, I just feel like he looks like he's huffing and puffing so bad because he's so out of shape. It was a relief to see Andre actually be able to get through a match without being totally gassed. I like Big Show because he's a huge guy and he's really athletic and I know he is, so I don't have to feel quite so bad for him. Anyway, the match was good, but not revolutionary. I've been following current day Jake the Snake as he's been getting his life clean from drugs, so seeing his older matches has been a treat.

The tenth match, yes, there are a ton of matches, was Hart Foundation vs. Honky Tonk and Greg the Hammer Valentine. I have really enjoyed watching Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart a lot. They work so well together. Bret is good at doing the technical side and Jim is so crazy and a powerhouse. When Neidhart laughs his crazy laugh I just giggle and can't help but get excited.

This was another match where I noticed the attitude era would have fit right in. The Hart Foundation used the megaphone from the Mouth of the South (Jimmy Hart) to knock out the Honky Tonk man. Normally such antics would be a heel move. Using foreign objects to knock out your opponent while the referee's back is turned is considered a bad thing to do, but since Jimmy Hart is considered a heel manager, and the Honky Tonk Man is such a bad guy, it ended up being a good thing.

It's funny to me now to listen to people say that in the attitude era it was so revolutionary for the good guys to do things that only bad guys did because in these pay per views, the good guys constantly threw temper tantrums and constantly used objects during their matches and regularly would attack the heels after the matches if the heels won. See every Hulk Hogan match he ever lost.

Next up, Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude. Basic match. Ryback needs to learn a few things from the Ultimate Warrior. He can be a powerful guy who no-sells so many moves, yet still have a decent match. I can see why people really liked Warrior, but I still like Rick Rude. I tend to like the heels more, which is kind of funny. I think it's because it feels a little like the faces get shoved down your throat around this time period. Rick Rude is just so obnoxious I have to like him. Oh, and Rude has some of the most awesome tights. Whoever makes Rude's tights is an airbrushing god.

Next match. Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs Bad News Brown. My one and only note on this match is this is an extreme match before extreme matches existed. Seriously, it was pretty brutal for the time. Chair shots and 2x4's were used. It was a short match, but it was nice to see something a little more raw for it's time.

Last match and the main event!

Macho Man vs. Hulk Hogan

So this is supposed to be super explosive. They've had so many promos for this match it's crazy. I have high hopes, but I know... I just know. It's Hulky. He's going to screw Macho Man. I haven't been told anything going into the match per my husband's instructions. So here's what I got out of the match.

So yeah. Hulk Hogan gets beaten up for 15 minutes, gets totally destroyed and any other decent wrestler would have sold the hell out of what Macho Man did to him, but the Hulkster can't sell worth crap and can't let any of his precious ego get in the way. So instead of doing his so called best friend a solid and pretending to be hurt for a little while, Hulk stands up after the 15 minutes of awesome beat down by Macho Man and acts like it was all nothing and beats Macho Man in, like, three moves. It was terrible. Lame ass win for Hulk Hogan. Totally expected.

The best part of the match is listening to Jessie Ventura. Jessie spouts off his mouth through the whole match about how terrible Hulk is, how Hulk is stealing Elizabeth from Macho Man, and how he's the worst friend ever to the Macho Man. Everyone at the time before the internet probably thinks Jessie's just being a typical heel commentator  but knowing what I know now about the Hulkster, Jessie's probably just saying a bunch of the truth, which makes it even more hilarious to listen to. It's awesome.

So that's WrestleMania V. 

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