WWF WrestleMania V
by Scrooge McSuck
The Mega Powers Explode!
- For the second year in a row (the only time in history to happen), Wrestlemania V returns to the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Last year, the beginning of the Mega Powers angle began, and this year it concludes. At the February '89 Main Event Special, Randy Savage finally turned heel on Hulk Hogan during a match of theirs against the Twin Towers, to set up the Main Event of the card.
- As usual, the broadcast team for WrestleMania is Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse "The Body" Ventura. Before the matches begin, WWF Womens Champion Rockin' Robin (some relation to Jake Roberts) comes out to sing the National Anthem... and its safe to say it's God-fucking-awful. Remember that one chick who fucked up during a Hockey game a few years ago? This is 100 times worse. Thank God WWF clipped out her fucking up the original song, which was probably even funnier. Ventura expresses my thoughts that she really sucked singing.
- Hercules vs. King Haku (w/ Bobby Heenan):
Back in October of '88, Bobby Heenan sold Hercules to Ted Dibiase, but Hercules would have none of that, and turned face in the process. This really wasn't built up on T.V., but it at least has a backstory that makes sense. To the surprise of pretty much everyone in the fucking world, this actually is a good match. For Hercules and Haku, that is. On a normal scale it's nothing more than average. Hercules keeps the match pretty energetic, and of course, Haku slows it all down with his shitty resting. At least he kept it to a minimum compared to other matches. If you read my WM IV and more specifically Hercules/Warrior, this match has the exact same finish, except Hercules lifts his shoulder up while Haku's remain down, and Hercules gets the victory at 6:37. So far so good with WrestleMania V. By the way, the Coliseum Video version clipped this match down to practically nothing, for those 2 of you that care. (**)
- The Rockers vs. The Twin Towers (w/ Slick):
(Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty vs. Big Bossman & Akeem)
No real backstory to this match, other than getting them all on the card. This is also the WM Debut of the Rockers and Big Bossman, and since WrestleMania IV, the One Man Gang had transformed into Akeem because he wanted a lengthy period of time off while he was headlining shows with Hogan. The pre-match Interview is worth noting, because Michaels and Jannetty look REALLY out of it. To my surprise, it seems like when both are high on something, they manage to work even better matches, so let them toke up for all I care. Your basic "David vs. Goliath" booking, but it's a pretty good match. The Rockers sell everything like death and the Towers show enough vulnerability to the Rockers that you think they have a chance... until Bossman plants Michaels with a spinebuster and Akeem splatters him with the Air Africa Splash at 8:04, giving the Towers the win. It's always fun watching Michaels get the bejesus kicked out of him, no matter who he's wrestling against. WM V has already surpassed WM IV in terms of workrate quality. (***)
- Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake vs. "Million $ Man" Ted Dibiase (w/ Virgil):
Another match with very little in terms of backstory. Dibiase had recently debuted the Million $ Championship belt on the Brother Love Show, and Beefcake was in limbo since his feud with Ron Bass ended, so smart booking probably means Dibiase is going over here. For this time frame, a very long and dull match. Beefcake's offense is basically all punchy-kicky, and Dibiase doesn't look to be in the mood to be carrying anyone tonight. The action finally spills outside, and wouldn't you know it, we get the first shitty finish of the night as the battle to a Double Count-Out at 9:58. After the match, Beefcake beats up poor, defenseless Virgil while Dibiase runs away. These two would meet up again on opposite tag teams at WrestleMania IX, and again they went to a lame, inconclusive finish! (*1/4)
- The Bushwackers vs. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers (w/ Jimmy Hart):
(Butch & Luke vs. Jacques & Raymond Rougeau)
BLECH! I've seen enough Bushwacker/Rougeau matches in my lifetime to know this match sucks and I shouldn't even bother watching it without the trusty fast-forward button within my grasp. We get a pre-taped interview of the Bushwackers making pigs out of themselves at the special breakfast thing the WWF held the morning of the show. Poor Lord Alfred... wait, I hate him! Good for him being stuck trying to interview these idiots! Onto the match... it sucks. That's all you need to know. The Bushwackers finish off Raymond with the battering ram and double stomach buster, giving the match to the team from down under at 5:11. Now let us never speak of this match again, except in support groups for people who had to watch this shit. (DUD)
- The Blue Blazer vs. Mr. Perfect:
Once again, no backstory to this, other than to get as many people as possible onto the card. The Blazer is, of course, Owen Hart, and Mr. Perfect has no entrance music, manager, or heat. The wonderful Trump Plaza crowd strikes again! Still on Perfect... he debuted his signature singlet tights at this show. Since both men are strapped for time, they just decide to give it the old college try... lightning quick wrestling I can't keep up with, and Curt Hennig selling his ass off like he's never sold before! Not much in terms of psychology going on, and the finish comes out of nowhere, as Perfect surprises the Blazer with the Perfect-Plex while the Blazer was arguing with the referee about a possible slow count. That ends the Blazer's night and PPV run at 5:46. This marked Owen's last PPV appearence in the WWF until the 1992 Royal Rumble. Another good match, but I'm sure some fanboys will try and say this was 4-stars, simply because both men are dead. Yes, I said it. People tend to overrate everything if one of the wrestlers is dead. (**3/4)
- WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
Demolition © vs. The Powers of Pain & Mr. Fuji:
(Ax & Smash vs. The Warlord & Barbarian w/ Mr. Fuji)
Finally, a match with some backstory! Set the WAYBAC machine to November 24th, 1988, for the Survivor Series. Mr. Fuji "accidentally" cost his team the match, which lead to Demolition beating him down. Afterwards, the Powers of Pain took him on as their manager, and thus cementing one of the first double turns in PPV history. Mr. Fuji is involved in this match mainly so the PoP don't have to job by pinfall, and in storyline terms, so that Demolition can keep an eye on Fuji without worries of him trying to interfere. After all that hyping, you would probably expect this match to be good. It isn't. Not even close to it, in fact. It's pretty much all punch-punch-punch-chinlock-punch-punch-punch until the finish, were Fuji tags in and quickly gets destroyed with the Demolition Decapitation, allowing Demolition to retain the championship at 8:52. Way too fucking long and boring for what they were going for. In a weird coincidence, the Powers of Pain were rarely featured on T.V. following this, and eventually split up before WrestleMania VI the next year. Oh yeah, and heel Demolition were so much more awesome than babyface Demolition. They seemed to lack intensity, and as babyfaces, suck at selling. (DUD)
- "Rugged" Ronnie Garvin vs. Dino Bravo (w/ Frenchy Martin):
I don't think this match is going to be able to lift the spirits of everyone after the precious disaster of a match. Filler filler everywhere, but not a match that doesn't stink. In one of the most unusual and hilarious moments ever, after both men are introduced, the Fink suddenly brings out the returning Superfly Jimmy Snuka, who walks around the ring... then leaves. THE FUCK?! Your basic punch-kick match, but Garvin seems a little too motivated for a guy booked to job in a 4 minute match. Bravo makes the Canadian-Superman comeback, and finishes the Rugged one off with his signature side suplex at 3:58. After the match, Garvin takes his frustrations out on poor Frenchy Martin, and finishes the poor bastard off with THE GARVIN STOMP! That has to be one of the lamest set up moves for a finisher in the history of wrestling. This also seems to be one of the last major appearences of Frenchy Martin, as Bravo would take up Jimmy Hart as his manager not too long after this. (DUD)
- Strike Force vs. The Brain Busters (w/ Bobby Heenan):
(Tito Santana & Rick Martel vs. Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard)
More filler, but at least everyone in this match is a good wrestler. This is Strike Force's first match together since Demolition "injured" Rick Martel on an episode of PrimeTime Wrestling back in July of 1988 with a Decapitation on the outside of the ring. Rick Martel returned in time for the Royal Rumble, but had been wrestling exclusively in singles matches. Very good match, with a hint of the old NWA style formula added by Anderson and Blanchard. Midway through the match, Face Miscommunication occurs, as Santana hits Martel with the Fyling Jalupeño after a blind tag. Martel spends the rest of the match standing around on the apron until finally walking off, leaving Santana to the wolves. From there, it's basically a Brain Busters Butt-kicking on Santana until they send him back to Tacoland following a Spike Piledriver at 9:13. After the match, Martel cuts a very not good promo, which is ruined by his not-so-vicious french-canadian accent. This would set up the never-ending feud between Santana and Martel. I'm surprised the WWF hasn't brought both men back for one night only to wrestle again. (***1/4)
- Jake "The Snake" Roberts vs. Andre The Giant (w/ Bobby Heenan):
Special referee for this match is Big John Studd, who had a "blink and you'll miss him" return in 1989. This was the blowoff to the "Andre is afraid of Snakes" angle which began at the October '88 episode of Saturday Night's Main Event. Much like my comment about Andre in the WrestleMania IV review, he just kept getting worse in the ring due to his health, and by this point, he was unable to even work a match without leaning onto the ropes the entire time. If you need detailed PBP for this, here you go: Jake fails at a lot of DDT attempts and Andre chokes him a lot. This goes on for about a hundred or so years until Andre gets caught in the ropes, to the surprise of no one. Roberts decides NOW IS THE TIME to unleash Damian on the poor guy, but Ted Dibiase runs in before that could happen, and steals Damian! Meanwhile in the ring, Andre is beating up on Studd for no reason, and chokes him down with his singlet. Meanwhile Part II, Roberts has the snake bag back, and scares off Andre with Damian. Studd awards the match to Roberts by Disqualification at 9:37. Easily the worst match in WrestleMania history at this point. Just THAT fucking bad. Roberts would take time off for the next 5 months, either because of an injury, lawsuit, or combination of both. You be the deciding factor! (-***)
- The Hart Foundation vs. The Honkytonk Man & Greg Valentine (w/ Jimmy Hart):
It's the never-ending "Hart Foundation vs. Jimmy Hart" feud, which never really ended until Jimmy started managing just tag teams and Bret Hart became a singles wrestler. A few months back on SuperStars, The future-Rhythm & Blues beat up on the Foundation and busted a guitar over the head of Hart. KABONG! Nothing much of note other than that in terms of storylines. Painfully dull match, which can also be contributed to the dead crowd for the second straight year. The heels control for a while, doing very little... and that's all really. With Honky eating up most of the ring time, you don't expect this to be very good. After all hell breaks loose, Jim Neidhart intercepts the Megaphone of Jimmy Hart, and Bret Hart bashes the Honkytonk Man good with it to pick up the victory at 7:39. Damn, the Foundation couldn't even get a clean win over a guy who was jobbing out to everyone on the planet since losing the Intercontinental Championship to the Ultimate Warrior at SummerSlam. I'm sure this is another match clipped up by Coliseum Video. (3/4*)
- WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
The Ultimate Warrior © vs. "Ravishing" Rick Rude (w/ Bobby Heenan):
We're coming down to the final few matches, and once again, I'm bored out of my skull going through all of these matches. I'm kind of glad they cut the shows to under 3 hours in 1992, because 14+ matches is way too much to sit through without going "Boring." Lame build-up for this match, set up at the 1989 Royal Rumble. The Warrior was "winning" a posedown challenge, and naturally Rick Rude beat the tar out of him with some kind of thing-a-ma-bob that I can't put my finger on. Warrior no-sold that, of course, and here we are, waiting for the match to begin. Very long and dull match, as usual for these two. I still go by my statement that either everyone and their mother overrated the hell out of their match at SummerSlam '89, or that there was something in the Trump Plaza water that made this match suck. Warrior pretty much squashes Rude for the entire match until Rude manages to get in some cheating tactics. Warrior won't sell anything, of course. Warrior breaks out of a Rude Awakening attempt and they brawl outside of the ring. Warrior tries to suplex Rude back into the ring from the apron, but Bobby Heenan makes his move, sweeping the leg from under Warrior, and Rude lands on top for the three count at 9:41, and winning the Championship. This was, I believe, Warrior's first pinfall loss on WWF Television. After the match, Warrior beats up the Brain, then drops him wrong with a press slam. That Warrior... always being an unsafe worker who only cared about himself. ( * )
- "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan vs. Bad News Brown:
SHOOT ME! SHOOT ME NOW! Bad News was a decent worker, but definitely one of the most overrated by the Smark community. Outside of his matches with Bret Hart in '88 and Randy Savage, he had very little in terms of good matches, and generally just punched people as 90% of his offense. This was way before the imaginary "WWF Style" phrase came into the world. Short and painful match, with lots of crappy brawling until Duggan brings his 2x4 in the ring and Brown gets a steel chair. Yup, we get one of those lame Double Disqualifications at 3:46, where both men bring weapons into the ring and fail to hit each other with them. After the match, Duggan scares Brown off, probably because of the giant booger in his beard. Jesse Ventura helpfully points it out for those of us trying to keep our lunch down. (DUD)
- The Red Rooster vs. Bobby "The Brain" Heenan (w/ The Brooklyn Brawler):
Terry Taylor must try hard to block this part of his career out of his mind. For several months, Heenan was managing the Rooster, who he described as being an average wrestler who only he could guide to championship glory. After the Rooster's loss to Tito Santana at the January '89 Saturday Night's Main Event, Heenan chewed out the Rooster, and the Rooster in turn beat up Heenan to turn face. After that, Heenan took on the services of Steve Lombardi, newly dubbed the Brooklyn Brawler, to beat up the Rooster for him. Onto the match... The Rooster pins Heenan in 31 seconds after Heenan misses a charge to the corner. Afterwards, the Brawler kicks the Roosters ass for another 30 seconds before the Rooster sends him off. Waste of time! (DUD)
- WWF World Championship Match:
"Macho Man" Randy Savage © vs. Hulk Hogan:
Lots of backstory to this. The Mega Powers formed at the October 1987 Saturday Night's Main Event when Hogan saved Savage from a three-on-one beatdown from the Honkytonk Man and Hart Foundation. At WrestleMania IV, Savage won the Vacant World Championship by winning 4 matches in one night, but not without a little help from Hogan. Over the next several months, Savage became increasingly paranoid about Hogan's "friendship" with Elizabeth, which lead to the Main Event special back in February. After Savage took a bump to the outside, landing on Elizabeth, Hogan walked out on the match to take her backstage for medical attention. Following the match (which Hogan won against TWO MEN), Savage laid into Hogan with accusations of lusting over Elizabeth, then kicked Hogan's ass. And now you know the rest of the story.
With all of that out of the way, it's time to get to the main event! Ventura quickly has a fit, complaining about Savage entering first, and constantly calls Hogan "Lust Hogan." Your usual good match between these two, as Hogan does his best to keep uo with Savage, and Savage brings everything else to the table, no doubt laid out in detailed form before the match to the exact second. Elizabeth, who had become a factor into the match, causes a few interferences until referee Dave-Earl Hebner throws her out. In the meantime, Hogan seems to have done a shitty blade job. To the finish... Savage continues kicking Hogan's ass, but his signature elbow drop from the top rope only gets a two count. HULK UP TIME! Punch-punch-punch-big boot-leg drop and Hogan wins only his 2nd of an eventual 6 WWF World Championships at 17:53. Savage once again puts on one of the best matches in WrestleMania history, but they've had some better matches during Savage's early run in late '85/early '86. Hogan poses for about 5 minutes, while Ventura throws insults at him the entire time. I guess Ventura really hated Hogan, since even Heenan wasn't this vicious on PBP. (***1/2)
Final Thoughts: Yet another disappointing WrestleMania. While a few tag matches and the main event were pretty good, all the filler in between drags down the enjoyment one would get from those matches. Unless you fast forward through about 9 of these matches, this is another WM that can go in the scrap yard. Mild Recommendation to Avoid for those that don't care about having every WrestleMania on tape.
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