Monday, November 25, 2013

Old School Wrestling Review: WrestleMania 7

Just look at that picture! Just look at it! You know what this show is going to be about. Yep. Hogan. Oye vey. What are we getting ourselves into...

This is a very political WrestleMania as it happened during the Gulf War. Willie Nelson sang the National Anthem and the whole pay per view as all about national pride. The whole theme was the Star Spangled Banner, as is obvious by it’s promo picture.

Hacksaw does color commentary dressed as Uncle Sam.

The Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty) vs. The Barbarian and Haku (with Bobby Heenan)

Thank goodness Haku is in the match as he can wrestle. Barbarian is so ponderous and slow against the Rockers that he needs Haku to make the match good. The Rockers do a good job selling the Barbarian's overpowered strength. They make it seem like only the Rocker’s quickness can beat the Barbarian, so Haku comes of as though his quickness is a better match against the Rockers.

It makes for an interesting combination because the heels are so different. Haku is one of those solid mid-card wrestlers like Hercules that sometimes get overlooked. It does make me wish for a Haku and Hercules versus Rockers feud. The Rockers win a solid match.

Bobby Heenan comes onto commentating and as always, it’s fun. 

The Texas Tornado vs. Dino Bravo (with Jimmy Hart)

This is a solid, but short match. Texas Tornado won.

This is the last time we see Dino Bravo on TV before he’s killed (though he does do a few house shows.) Kerry Von Erich also dies in the same year within three weeks of Dino Bravo.

Promo -
Slick does a promo with the Warlord and it’s fun. I like Slick.

Promo -
Bulldog shows off Winston, his bulldog, for the first time. Go Winston! Once you have a puppy dog as your mascot you are automatically awesome.

The British Bulldog vs. The Warlord (with Slick)

Bulldog is super over with the fans. They love him! These are two big guys against each other, but they are surprisingly quick. Warlord looks like a super steroidal version of Steve Austin.

Slick does a lot of commentating to the camera while next to the ring. This is a new thing they have started doing with managers. It makes them more interactive with the TV viewers and I like it. I’ve seen it during other matches, but Slick really uses the camera work well.

Bulldog carries this match. Warlord can do the showman stuff, but his moves are weak, so Bulldog does a great job filling the gap with his wrestling moves. Heenan’s color commentating is great because he says so many things that make so little sense that it’s fun to listen to.

Bulldog wins the match.

The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobs and Jerry Sags) (with Jimmy Hart) vs. The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) (WWF Tag Team Champions)

I’m predisposed to dislike the Nasty Boys. I just don’t like them. The Hart Foundation does a great job making the match interesting at all. Bret is methodical. He dissects each Nasty Boy like they are a disgusting bug while they’re in the ring, but Anvil is a brawler who just wants to beat them up. Neither of them quit.

The Nasty Boys just brawl and tag in and out and do the same three moves. The Hart Foundation make the Nasty Boys look good, even when it’s obvious the Nasty Boys are so limited, so it’s a huge same when the Nasty Boys win.

It’s even more of a shame when my husband informs me the Hart Foundation is broken up after this match so Bret can become a singles wrestler. I really like them as a tag team, but I know Bret Hart becomes an awesome singles guy.

Jake Roberts vs. Rick Martel

This is one of the most interesting gimmick match types I have seen. A blindfold match!

The crowd makes this match good. Jake is the face, so they start giving directions to Jake while he’s blindfolded. They cheer when Jake points at Martel and boo when he points away from him, leading him towards his opponent. The psychology of this match is so different, it makes it fun to watch. Though they don’t do many moves at all, wrestling wise, it’s fascinating to watch and I was on the edge of my seat. Jake won.

The Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) vs. Jimmy Snuka

Paul Bearer! I love him! Of course, we know Undertaker wins these. Spoiler alert, he has this whole streak thing going on at WrestleManias. Paul Bearer’s faces are funny as hell. He’s getting into his character. It’s clear he realizes how over the top his character has to be to get Undertaker over for the fans. Undertaker’s character only works if Paul Bearer makes it seem like the Undertaker really is a dead man who gains power from the urn, so Paul Bearer plays that part from the very start without hesitation. It’s amazing to see.

The match itself is pretty bad. The moves are messy, there are a few botches. It looks bad. It’s just there to show that when Undertaker gets hit, Paul Bearer clutches the urn close, and when Undertaker does well, he holds the urn out. So it’s a match to set up character development.

Poor Snuka got a match for character development.

The Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage (with Sensational Queen Sherri) in a career ending match

This is a continuation of the Royal Rumble when Sherri screwed the Warrior out of the World Title. Miss Elizabeth is in the crowd. This is also one of Savage’s most iconic outfits.

It is an intense match. Both men are very serious. You can tell Savage has really given Warrior a match straight to his strengths. Savage is known for planning his matches and it’s obvious he knows how to do it to Warrior’s style. Both men come out looking top notch and it takes the feud to the next level, even though it’s really only Warrior that has improved by leaps and bounds since he first appeared. (Savage was always a great wrestler from the moment he showed up in the WWE.)

Sherri does a great job generating heat and getting beat up as well. She plays the victim heel manager part perfectly. She’s the absolute evil queen.

Both hit their finishers and kick out, it’s done in a way to display how strong their wills are. Warrior does this whole “I’m talking to my Gods through my hands” moment. It’s silly, but it does add drama because it fits with his character.

Warrior decides he can’t retire, despite what the Gods are telling him, he screams at his hands, and beats up Savage for the win. Savage thus retires. (Well, sort of, he comes back later.)

Sherri beats up Savage for losing. Elizabeth comes running out from the audience and beats up Sheri. This is one of Savage’s greatest face turns. He ‘retires’ for about a year as a face with Elizabeth.

He started the match being booed as a heel, but ends the match being cheered as a face. What a turn!

Promo -
Regis interviews the Undertaker. It’s full of dead puns. Trebek has a cute interview as well. Regis then tries to interview Genichiro Tenryu and Kōji Kitao, who only speak Japanese. Trebek interviews Jake the Snake and Damien (his snake) and runs away from the snake in fear. Apparently, though, Damien loves Jeopardy!

Genichiro Tenryu and Kōji Kitao vs. Demolition (Crush and Smash) (with Mr. Fuji)

This is a one time deal with a Japanese duo. It was a concession match. Ok, but nothing exciting and little story. Tenryu and Kaitao win.

The Big Boss Man vs. Mr. Perfect (Intercontinental Champion) (with Bobby Heenan)

Boss Man is thin! Alfred Hays is on color commentating. As Perfect walks to the ring he is so hated people throw popcorn at him. Now that’s some good heat. He does a lot of selling of Boss Man’s moves and Perfect takes some really hard belt whips to the back. So Perfect retaliates by giving Boss Man some very hard chops. In this time frame, it’s a brutal match when it comes to using a real belt.

I can really see where Dolph Ziggler gets his overselling from, he does a lot of moves just like Mr. Perfect. For all that Mr. Perfect sells the moves from Boss Man, he does dish out some hard moves back.

Andre the Giant comes out to mess with Heenan, and he looks a lot better than he used to now that he’s not wrestling. He needed some rest and relaxation.

Andre ends up hitting Perfect in the head with the Intercontinental Championship title so hard that it cracks the title belt, so they have to replace it. Obviously Perfect spends the rest of the match stumbling around after that big crack to the head. The Heenan family of wrestlers come out and cause a disqualification so Perfect retains the title. A good match, and brutal for the time.

They have a break to show Donald Trump, Chuck Norris (who apparently loves wrestling), Henry Winkler (The Fonnz) and the Incredible Hulk, Lou Ferrigno.

Earthquake (with Jimmy Hart) vs. Greg Valentine

This is a very quick match and pretty dull. It’s the bathroom break match.

The Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal) vs. Power and Glory (Paul Roma and Hercules) (with Slick)

Legion of Doom squashed Power and Glory in less than five minutes. It’s a short, obviously to the the point, push for Legion of Doom.

Virgil (with Roddy Piper) vs. Ted DiBiase

Virgil has split from his former manager after too much humiliation and proving that not everyone can be bought by the Million Dollar Man. Rowdy Roddy Piper is ringside with Virgil. He’s on crutches after a motorcycle accident.

Virgil dominates the beginning of the match with boxing type moves. Then Dibiase starts dominating with wrestling moves. He generates some cheap heel heat by beating up the injured Piper, but he takes too long and ends up being counted out.

Dibiase wails on Piper’s leg that is still ‘injured’ from the motorcycle accident (obviously it’s healed, but Piper does a great job selling it). Sherri comes out, so Sherri gets a new gig.

Virgil gets them off Piper, and we get another feel good moment with Virgil getting Piper to stand up. Obviously feel good moments are a big deal during this show.

Promo - Sgt. Slaughter has a promo. It’s full of U.S.A. is actually the U.S. of Hogan. Ha!

The Mountie (with Jimmy Hart) vs. Tito Santana

Another short match. Jimmy Hart proves yet again he has so many different outfits! A cattle prod is used to win for the Mountie. The match is pretty short and pointless. It’s filler.

Promo - Hogan’s promo is ok. Obviously political and about the war. Brother!

Main Event!

Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter (WWF Champion) (with General Adnan)

Of course Hogan enters second even though he’s not the champion. He’s the so called National Hero! There are a ton of USA chants during the entire match.

Slaughter oversells all of Hogan’s moves like crazy, while Hogan doesn’t sell any of Slaughter’s moves. For example, Hogan does a back rake on Slaughter, but one, Hogan has no nails and two, Slaughter has two shirts on, so it makes no sense to rake the back, but Hogan does it, and Slaughter sells it like it was a cat’s claws.

Hogan dominates a good portion of the match, then Slaughter does with some help from a chair and some camera cables, and Hogan just looks gassed. Not beat up, just exhausted. But then, the match has been slow, so it makes no sense that their star should be exhausted yet.

Then Slaughter’s manager distracts the referee while Slaughter pins Hogan? It makes no sense. There’s more chairs involved and Hogan gets busted open and bleeds like a pig. Once the Iraq flat starts being part of the match, Hogan rips it. I know at this point, Hogan’s three moves of Doom are coming and low and behold, they are. Hogan wins. Really? I expected this.

To be honest, the match was really crappy, if watched objectively. There’s a lot of wasted time and wasted moves. “And now the War is officially Over!” What the heck, because Hogan won WrestleMania 7 our foes are going to just surrender? The match was crap! Also, Hogan steals an American flag during the ending celebration and wipes his snotty, bloody face with it, and just tosses it back to the poor fan. Yuck.

Once the Savage/Warrior match was over with, the show took a nose dive down in quality.

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