[PPV Recap] ‘WWF WrestleMania VII’ – Hogan vs. Slaughter, Warrior vs. Savage

Date: March 24, 1991
Venue: Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena (Los Angeles, CA)
Commentators: Gorilla Monsoon & Various

The 7th annual WrestleMania features the FIGHT FOR AMERICA as Hulk Hogan challenges turncoat Sgt. Slaughter for the WWF Championship. Also on the show The Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage meet in a Retirement Match, Jake Roberts takes on Rick Martel in an infamous (for the wrong reasons) Blindfold Match, and also seven hundred other matches. It’s another beefy boi of a card, so strap in.

Champion Roll-Call

  • WWF Champion: Sgt. Slaughter
  • WWF Intercontinental Champion: Mr. Perfect
  • WWF Tag Team Champions: The Hart Foundation (Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart & Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart)

The Lineup

  • The Rockers vs. Haku & The Barbarian (***½)
  • Kerry Von Erich vs. Dino Bravo (*)
  • Davey Boy Smith vs. The Warlord (**)
  • The Hart Foundation [c] vs. The Nasty Boys for the WWF TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (**½)
  • BLINDFOLD MATCH: Jake Roberts vs. Rick Martel (*¾)
  • Jimmy Snuka vs. The Undertaker (*½)
  • RETIREMENT MATCH: The Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage (****¼)
  • Genichiro Tenryu & Koji Kitao vs. Demolition (*)
  • Mr. Perfect [c] vs. The Big Boss Man for the WWF INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP (**)
  • Greg Valentine vs. Earthquake (*)
  • The Legion of Doom vs. Power & Glory (NR)
  • Virgil vs. Ted DiBiase (**)
  • Tito Santana vs. The Mountie (NR)
  • Sgt. Slaughter [c] vs. Hulk Hogan for the WWF CHAMPIONSHIP (***)

*****

-After we pan the crowd and see the DORKIEST WRESTLING FANS TO HAVE EVER EXISTED, we are treated with a performance of ‘America the Beautiful’ by Willie Nelson.

-If Willie Nelson isn’t ‘MERICA enough for you, out comes ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan in a goddamn Uncle Sam costume. He’s joining Gorilla on commentary for the opening match; because when you think coherent you think Hacksaw, HOOOOOOOOO!

Sean Mooney is backstage with The Rockers. Mooney calls Haku & The Barbarian their ‘biggest match yet’, apparently forgetting WrestleMania V when they faced The Twin Towers. The Rockers don’t seem concerned for they are tag team specialists.

The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty) vs. Haku & The Barbarian [w/ Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan]

Haku catches Michaels mid-leapfrog with a bearhug and drives him into the corner. Michaels tries a float-over, Haku catches him on his shoulder. Michaels escapes and catches Haku with a shoulderblock. They trade wristlocks, Haku puts an end to the nonsense with an eye poke. Michaels ducks a clothesline, Jannetty tags in and The Rockers hit a double hip toss followed by a double elbowdrop. They kip up and Barbarian turns BOTH INSIDE OUT WITH A DOUBLE CLOTHESLINE. Beautiful. Rockers rebound with a double superkick and The Heenan Family bails to the floor to get some advice from The Brain. Barbarian powers his way into offense, bringing Jannetty to the apron. Jannetty blocks a right hand and slides under Barbarian’s legs. He attempts a sunset flip, Barbarian blocks it but misses a fist drop. Jannetty connects with a hurricanrana thanks to Michaels’ dropkick, popping the crowd. Haku tags in and connect with a double headbutt. Michaels tries to help Jannetty with another hurricanrana but this time the ref stops him and The Heenan Family slingshot Jannetty throat-first across the top rope. The future Faces of Fear use UNLIMITED POWAAAAAH and ref distractions to continue wearing Jannetty down. Haku connects with a couple of backbreakers, Barbarian tags in and covers for a two-count. Bearhug tiiiiime. Barbarian whips Jannetty into the corner, Jannetty attempts a crossbody from the middle buckle but gets countered with a POWAHSLAM. Instead of covering Barbarian heads to the top and misses a flying headbutt. DUMMY.

Michaels gets the hot tag and the arena EXPLODES. Count-a-long rights to Haku in the corner into a crossbody on Barbarian when he attempts to interfere. Michaels counters a backdrop with a neckbreaker, Haku kicks out of the lateral press and pokes Michaels in the eye. Michaels with a sunset flip attempt, Jannetty clotheslines Haku down for the 1…2…Barbarian breaks it up. Double dropkick sends him out, flying dropkick by Jannetty to Haku followed by a flying crossbody by Michaels for the 1…2…3!

The Rockers defeated Haku & The Barbarian when Shawn Michaels pinned Haku with a flying crossbody (10:35)

  • A really fun opening match, great David vs. Goliath stuff between the two teams. Nice to see a team brag about being tag team specialists and then actually use said expertise to topple their bigger opponents. Haku and Barbarian had great chemistry as a team but strangely it would take a few years and a totally different company (WCW) for them to finally team full-time. (***½)

’Mean’ Gene Okerlund is with Regis Philbin, Marla Maples, and Alex Trebek, the celebrity hosts for this year’s WrestleMania. Regis is having the time of his life hanging out with the wrestlers, except for Earthquake who terrifies him. Maples is excited for her timekeeper role; apparently she’s one of Donald Trump’s ex-wives, congratulations to her for getting out while the getting was good. Trebek and Okerlund make goofy Jeopardy jokes, he’s going to be the guest ring announcer for the main event.

-Bobby Heenan is now on commentary along Monsoon, beginning one of the greatest broadcast partnerships in pro wrestling history.

‘The Texas Tornado’ Kerry Von Erich vs. Dino Bravo [w/ ‘The Mouth of the South’ Jimmy Hart]

Bravo immediately attacks Von Erich, clotheslining him out to the floor while he’s still got his entrance robe on. Von Erich ducks a clothesline and connects with an atomic drop followed by a clothesline. Von Erich goes for THE CLAW but Bravo blocks it and catches a charging Von Erich in the corner with a boot. Bravo drops a couple of elbows, Von Erich kicks out of the lateral press. Von Erich ducks a pair of clotheslines but runs right into the Side Suplex for the 1…2…TORNADO KICKS OUT OF BRAVO’S FINISHING MOVE. Bravo to the middle buckle, and he jumps right into THE IRON CLAAAAW. This ain’t Texas though so Von Erich finishes instead with the Discus Punch for the 1…2…3.

Kerry Von Erich defeated Dino Bravo via pinfall with a discus punch (3:10)

  • Not very good, but at least it was short. There were too many moments of the two awkwardly standing around, like they didn’t know what to do next and the finish felt real flat as it came out of nowhere. But them’s the breaks, I guess. At least the more interesting guy won. (*)

-Sean Mooney is in the ‘locker room’ with The Warlord and Slick. Slick guarantees victory as it would take more than one dog to put Warlord down. Warlord says no wrestler has escaped the Full Nelson and The British Bulldog will not be the exception. Tremendous B-movie-level line delivery from these two, they would have made great villains on a FOX kids show.

-’Mean’ Gene is in the interview area with Davey Boy Smith and his bulldog Winston. Smith vows to break Warlord’s Full Nelson, Winston ‘tells’ Smith to say there’s no bull in the British Bulldog. WINSTON FOR PROMO OF THE YEAR.

‘The British Bulldog’ Davey Boy Smith [w/ Winston the Bulldog] vs. The Warlord [w/ ‘The Doctor of Style’ Slick]

Bulldog and Warlord are both BIG BOIS so this is one of them BIG BOI battles. This is Smith’s first WrestleMania appearance since 1988, having left the company alongside his then-tag team partner The Dynamite Kid later that year. But now he’s back, he’s a singles competitor, and he’s HUUUUUUGE.

Warlord shows his power off early, but Smith gets the last laugh after a series of shoulderblocks knocks him off his feet. Smith tries to take Warlord over with a crucifix, but Warlord counters with a Samoan drop. Warlord with a corner Irish whip into a standing bearhug (sad face). Smith quickly breaks out but has his Thesz Press countered with a stun gun. Smith and Warlord trade forearms, Warlord rakes the eyes and connects with a belly-to-belly suplex, which Slick LOVES. Smith escapes a chinlock and connects with a standing dropkick that sends Warlord into the corner. Smith connects with a right hand off the middle buckle followed by a crossbody for the 1…2…Warlord kicks out. Smith counters a backdrop with a sunset flip attempt, Warlord sits on him and poses for the 1…2…Smith finally completes the sunset flip for the 1…2…nope. Smith charges, Warlord belts him with a big boot and applies the Full Nelson, but doesn’t have the fingers locked. Smith almost fades, Warlord STILL NOT LOCKING THE FINGERS, but finds his second-wind and breaks the hold. Warlord goes for a slam, Smith escapes and connects with the Running Powerslam for the 1…2…3.

Davey Boy Smith defeated The Warlord via pinfall with the Running Powerslam (8:14)

  • In my head the match was much shorter, but it probably got clipped in the VHS release or something. A competently done power match which I’m totally okay with. Didn’t need a random chinlock spot in the middle though, it’s not like they were going full-speed and needed the break. (**)

-’Mean’ Gene is in the locker room with The Nasty Boys and Jimmy Hart. They vow to CRACK the foundation because their time is now. Knobbs and Sags blow their noses in Okerlund’s hankie and stuff it back in his coat pocket. How NASTY of ‘em.

-Sean Mooney is in the interview area with The Hart Foundation. They don’t think the Boys are Nasty, they’re SCUM. Oof I hope Knobbs and Sags have time to put cream on their burns before they head to the ring.

WWF TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
The Hart Foundation (Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart & Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart) [c] vs. The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags) [w/ ‘The Mouth of the South’ Jimmy Hart]

Knobbs and Sags are new-ish to the WWF at this point, having cut their teeth in both the AWA and WCW (including a tremendous match against The Steiner Brothers at Halloween Havoc 1990). The Hart Foundation regained the Tag Team Championship at SummerSlam 1990 over Demolition and have held onto the gold since, but this is their first PPV defense. Hey, Macualay Culkin is here!

Hart backs Sags in the corner, ref steps in between and leaves the Hitman open to a cheap shot. Referees are so good at their jobs. Hart ducks a clothesline and takes Sags down with a Thesz Press. Knobbs runs in and gets cleared from the ring. Sags climbs to the apron to escape, Hart slingshots him back in. Hart catches a kick and sweeps the other leg, stomp to the gut. Knobbs tags in and wants Neidhart, Hart happy to oblige. Neidhart clobbers Knobbs in the corner, body blocking both Nasties to the floor as the crowd goes wild. The WWF may not have gotten the stadium they wanted, but they must have been happy with the crowd’s excitement level at least. Knobbs backs Neidhart into the Nasty corner and tags in Sags who peppers The Anvil with forearms. Neidhart counters a backdrop and tags Hart back in to keep the pressure applied. SO MANY right hands followed by a side Russian Legsweep and elbowdrop from the middle buckle. Knobbs runs in and clotheslines a distracted Hart from behind.

Sags sends Hart to the floor with a clothesline, Neidhart immediately runs to his side to prevent any cheapshotting. The Nasty Boys continue the attack, Sags moving the ring after throwing Hart into the corner. Knobbs applies a “reverse double chinlock” (pretty much a camel clutch), Hart almost escapes so Sags tags in and Knobbs holds onto Hart’s leg to prevent him from getting to The Anvil. Sags with a camel-ish clutch of his own. Hart escapes and both men are down. Knobbs quickly tags in and attacks Neidhart, then goes to the camel-ish clutch AGAIN. Hart gets to his feet and falls to his back to break it. Sags runs in and hits Neidhart to prevent the tag again. Knobbs misses a corner splash and Hart clotheslines Sags. Neidhart gets the tag but the ref didn’t see it so it’s not allowed. Knobbs tries to hit Hart with the megaphone but hits Sags instead accidentally and FINALLY Neidhart gets the for-real tag. Double clothesline to the Nasty Boys, a powerslam to Knobbs for the 1…2…Sags breaks it up. Hart chases Sags around and into the ring, Knobbs colliding into his tag team partner. Neidhart picks Knobbs up for a HART ATTACK but the ref gets distracted with Hart instead of making the count, allowing Sags to hit Neidhart in the back of the head with Jimmy’s helmet. Knobbs drapes an arm over Neidhart for the 1…2…3!

The Nasty Boys defeated The Hart Foundation [c] to win the WWF TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP when Brian Knobbs pinned Jim Neidhart (12:10)

  • It’s a Hart Foundation match so of course it doesn’t suck, but I can’t say I was super into things either. The constant chinlocks sorta ruined it for me because I’m a weak baby man. I loved The Nasty Boys getting the big win here, what a way to put them over as a new major tag team. Getting the win over WWF’s tag team of the 80s felt like a changing of the guard, which it was as the Foundation would end things soon after and Hart would go on to a crazy successful singles career. (**½)

-After a video recap of his feud with Rick Martel,, we cut to a pre-recorded (?) promo from Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts who says a snake has SIX senses. Snakes see dead people?

BLINDFOLD MATCH
Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts vs. Rick ‘The Model’ Martel

This is the big blow-off to a long feud between Roberts and Martel, which started when The Model “blinded” Roberts with his ‘Arrogance’ cologne. Roberts made the long road to recovery (because back then you could get away with having feuds last longer than a few weeks) and now they’re going to fight in the first-ever ‘Blindfold Match’ here at WrestleMania VI.

The blindfolds are full-on hoods but thanks to an itchy Roberts you can see it’s got some see-through mesh. Whoops. Bell rings and both men search the ring for the other, Roberts using the crowd to figure out where Martel is. Martel trips over Roberts, who rolls him up for a count I don’t think was administered. Martel clobbers Roberts and whips him in the ropes for a backdrop, but Roberts runs in a totally different direction and The Model is upset at his own stupidity. They back into one another but run in opposite directions, Martel hitting hard against the ropes and crashing to the mat. Martel starts throwing wild kicks as he tries to find Roberts, Roberts finds Martel who connects with a scoop slam. Roberts gets back up quickly but Martel doesn’t know and misses an elbowdrop. Martel grabs the ref by accident, but the ref quickly runs off. Roberts grabs Martel in a waistlock but Martel gets in the ropes and quickly escapes. Martel accidentally grabs the bag with Damien in it and QUICKLY runs off. Roberts and Martel collide, Roberts falls to the floor. Martel stumbles outside and grabs a chair. He backs into the post and swings, thinking it’s Roberts, but hits nothing but steel. OUCH. Roberts pulls Martel in, Martel connects with a backbreaker and applies the Boston Crab. Roberts powers out. They back into each other once more, Roberts turns and connects with a DDT. Roberts takes a second to find the body and covers for the 1…2…3.

Jake Roberts defeated Rick Martel via pinfall with the DDT (8:34)

  • This match is widely-considered to be one of the worst WrestleMania matches of all-time, and I guess I get it, but I actually sort-of enjoyed this one. Yes it runs a bit longer than it needs to given how limited the action is, but I thought Roberts did a great job in getting the crowd to participate (therefore staying invested) and the commentary was HILARIOUS. Not surprising Monsoon and Heenan would become the main announce team soon after. So yes the action isn’t great, barely exists really, but it’s an interesting idea that was executed a lot better than people give it credit for. (*¾)

After the match Roberts breaks Martel’s ‘Arrogance’ atomizer and puts Damien on Martel, who freaks out and runs to the back. Roberts poses with Damien, who looks like he’s ready to strangle his human master.

-Marla Maples is in the locker room with the celebrating Nasty Boys, surrounded by fellow stablemates Earthquake, Dino Bravo, and The Mountie. She doesn’t get to ask any questions or anything because they’re too busy spilling champagne and being nastaaay.

‘Superfly’ Jimmy Snuka vs. The Undertaker [w/ Paul Bearer]

Snuka returned in 1989 and has been jobbing for everybody since then, despite looking like he’s in the best (artificial) shape of his life. He’s even wrestling in BOOTS now, like some sort of normie. Boo-urns. The Undertaker debuted at Survivor Series 1990 with Brother Love as his manager, but Paul Bearer has taken over those duties since then. Having an urn that can control undead zombie wrestlers does put you at the front of the line for the job.

Snuka stupidly turns his back on Taker, leaving him open to a sneak attack. Taker drops Snuka with a leaping clothesline, which is more like a fist to the throat but it’s the thought that counts. Snuka reverses an Irish whip but runs right into a big boot, spilling out onto the floor much to the enjoyment of Bearer. Taker suplexes him back in but misses an elbowdrop. Snuka mounts a comeback which Taker no-sells really, since he’s dead and feels no pain. Snuka misses a crossbody and bounces off the top rope and onto the floor, the Superfly Special if you will. Snuka tries a springboard splash, Taker (sort-of) catches him and connects with a Tombstone for the 1…2…3.

The Undertaker defeated Jimmy Snuka via pinfall with the Tombstone (4:20)

  • Blah blah start of the streak blah blah. Essentially a squash win for The Undertaker over an established name, albeit an established name who the WWF always told us was a big deal but never really won a match after returning to the company. Most of his success was before a lot of fans of this era had even started watching and we all just took the WWF’s word for it. Undertaker is sticking with a gimmick so he didn’t do anything all that impressive but props to Snuka for taking that bump to the floor after bouncing off the top rope. A flashy sell, and one of my favorite sells from any pro wrestler. (*½)

-Video recap of the feud between Warrior and Savage.

-Heenan points out a worried-looking Miss Elizabeth in the crowd. I wonder if that’ll be something later. Eh probably not. Just a nice shout-out, I think.

RETIREMENT MATCH
The Ultimate Warrior vs. ‘The Macho King’ Randy Savage [w/ Queen Sherri]

Warrior wouldn’t give Savage a WWF Championship match so Savage cost him the title at Royal Rumble 1991. Loser of this one has to “retire”, which is as meaningless as a comic book character’s death in the world of pro wrestling but hey let’s do it anyway. Warrior walks to the ring instead of his usual run, conserving his energy for the contest ahead. For some reason it makes this match feel even MORE important; if a psycho like the Warrior is changing up his whole routine it’s gotta be a big deal. Warrior’s even got special airbrushed tights for this one, proclaiming this match is more important than the WWF Championship. WELL-THEN.

Savage rakes the eyes and clubs Warrior in the back, Warrior drops him with a shoulderblock and the King bails to the floor. Sherri distracts Warrior, Savage attacks from behind but Warrior quickly fights back with the best-looking clothesline I’ve ever seen him throw. NICE. Warrior connects with an inverted atomic drop and a regular atomic drop, yelling at Savage to get up. Warrior goozles Savage, Sherri runs in so he throws him into her to the joy of the crowd. Savage gets his arms trapped in the ropes and Warrior peppers him with kicks. Savage counters a backdrop with a kick and drops him with a running clothesline. Savage heads to the top but gets caught in mid-air by Warrior, who puts him on his feet and slaps him, egging him in. Savage bails from the ring and throws a chair in to distract everyone. Savage attacks Warrior from behind, Warrior easily fights him off with clubbing blows. Warrior’s paint is ALREADY coming off, must be hot as sh*t in that arena. Warrior charges at Savage, Savage dodges and he flies out to the floor. Savage distracts the ref and Sherri cheapshots Warrior right in the throat, then Savage drops him with a flying double axhandle from the top. Sherri with more cheapshots until Warrior shoves her down, Savage quickly attacking him from behind. Savage tries a neckbreaker, Warrior counters with a backslide for the 1…2…nope. Sherri distracts Warrior again but this time Savage is caught when he tries to cheapshot. Warrior tries to do the running shoulderblock but Savage never really gets up so he goes for a splash instead and Savage uses his own momentum to send him crashing to the mat for the 1…2…Warrior kicks out and Savage applies a sleeperhold. Sherri climbs halfway in the ring, banging on the mat, the ref pushes her out. Warrior escapes and both men crash to the mat with a double clothesline.

Sherri shakes Savage, desperate to wake him up and take advantage. Warrior cradles Savage with a small package but Sherri distracts the ref long enough to prevent the three-count. Warrior argues with the ref, Savage sends them colliding into one another with a high knee to the back. Savage holds Warrior, Sherri climbs to the top but accidentally hits Savage instead with her high-heel shoe. Warrior stalks Sherri to the floor and back into the ring. She tries to leave, Warrior grabs her, Savage grabs the tights and rolls Warrior up for the 1…2…NO. Warrior belts Savage with a pair of rights, Savage sends him crashing head-first into the buckles. Savage goes to work and covers after a scoop slam but Warrior barely kicks out. Savage with the Flying Elbow, followed by another, AND ANOTHER, AND ANOTHER, AAAAAAAND ANNNNOOOOTHER for the 1…the 2…the WARRIOR GETS HIS SHOULDER UP AND SAVAGE CAN’T BELIEVE IT. Warrior revvs up and mounts his comeback. Clothesline after clothesline after clothesline, gorilla press, and WARRIOR SPLASH for the 1…2…SAVAGE KICKS OUT!!! Warrior can’t believe it, looking to the sky to talk to his Gods (Monsoon accidentally calling him the Warlord). Warrior exits to the apron, talking to his hands while the ref tries to tell him not to make this mistake. Savage clobbers Warrior, who crumples to the floor. Savage drapes Warrior over the barricade and heads to the top but Warrior catches him on the way down with a right to the gut. Warrior WILL NOT LISTEN TO HIS GODS and will continue fighting. First running shoulderblock sends Savage to the floor. Warrior brings him back in and hits a second running shoulderblock, Savage flying out to the floor once again. Sherri tries to revive him, Warrior chases her away and rolls him back into the ring for a THIRD running shoulderblock. Savage rolls to the floor, Warrior immediately pulls him back in and covers him with his foot for the 1…2…3.

The Ultimate Warrior defeated Randy Savage via pinfall after three running shoulderblocks (20:48)

  • A lot of folks think this is better than Hogan/Warrior from WrestleMania VI but I wholeheartedly and emphatically disagree. You expect Savage to pull a good match out of somebody but Hogan/Warrior pulled off a near-MIRACLE the year before and had a match that stands as one of the greatest main events in WrestleMania history. Not even close. That being said this is still a TREMENDOUS match with a lot of drama, and I loved Warrior’s whole ‘talking to the gods’ thing after Savage kicked out of the move he has defeated everybody with since his debut in 1988. It was a nice touch and a nice story beat, a rare moment of self-doubt from the enigmatic superhero. It really did feel like both men were fighting for their careers and I appreciated that a lot. I doubt it’ll get much better than this on the show but I would love to be surprised. (****¼)

Sherri berates a recovering Savage, going physical with a series of kicks. The ref tries to break it up but she doesn’t listen. Having seen enough Miss Elizabeth runs to the ring, IN BIG ASS HIGH HEELS, and tosses Sherri out. Savage wakes up and is shocked to see Elizabeth standing before him. Sherri yells at Savage from the referee, calling him a loser. The ref finally shoos her away, Elizabeth starting to cry. Savage finally relents and they hug as Savage’s theme starts playing and the crowd goes CRAZY, some even crying. Savage lifts Liz on his shoulder like old times and this time holds the ropes open for HER as they exit the ring. So good. So so so good. One of the best moments in WrestleMania history. Goodbye Macho Man, thanks for all the mem-oh wait he’s going to be around for another nine years? Nevermind!

-Monsoon and Heenan talk about the major matches still to come, Moonsoon damn near losing his voice.

-Regis is joined by The Undertaker and Paul Bearer. Regis says it’s a great day to be alive, Undertaker starts measuring Regis for a casket, reading out the numbers to Bearer. THIS IS GREAT.

-Alex Trebek is in the locker room with Demolition (Smash & Crush) and their manager Mr. Fuji. Smash says the only person that has all the answers is Master Fuji, not Trebek.

-Back to Regis, who’s now with Genichiro Tenryu and Koji Kitao. They don’t speak English apparently so Regis starts naming Japanese brands to get them interested. They want Kathy Lee, but she’s not here. Uhhhh mildly racist.

-Trebek is now with Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts and Damien. Roberts says Damien is a big Jeopardy fan and wants to ask if he can be a contestant. Trebek runs away, afraid of snakes, and Roberts tells Damien he’ll have to settle for the home version of Jeopardy instead.

-Cut to Monsoon and Heenan. Heenan set up those interviews for his own amusement. HA!

Genichiro Tenryu & Koji Kitao vs. Demolition (Smash & Crush) [w/ Mr. Fuji]

I can’t tell if Demolition had new music at this point or if it’s a Network dub; it sounds like generic scary music you’d get on a cheapo CVS Halloween CD. Ax is long gone at this point, leaving Smash to team with Crush in the first of his MANY opportunities in the WWF. They really tried to make Crush happen and it never really worked. Tenryu & Kitao are from Tenryu’s Japanese company SWS, whom WWF partnered with for some Tokyo Dome shows so that’s why they’re on the show.

Demolition attack from behind to get control early. Lots of empty seats can be seen as people are still taking a restroom/concession/merch stand break. Fuji uses his cane on Kitao while the ref is distracted with Tenryu. Some lady can be heard SCREAMING HER HEAD OFF like she’s getting murdered. Will someone help her?!? Heenan thinks Kitao’s name is ‘Fred the Towel’ because ignorance and semi-racism. Kitao takes a bunch more punishment until catching Smash with a clothesline. Tenryu tags in and goes to work, but misses a stage dive elbow and Demolition are back in control. They set up for Demolition Decapitation but Kitao gets involved. Crush tosses him out while Smash keeps Tenryu in position. Crush goes to the top, Kitao knocks him off. Smash attacks Kitao, Tenryu hits Smash with an enzuigiri followed by a power bomb for the 1…2…3.

Genichiro Tenryu & Koji Kitao defeated Demolition when Tenryu pinned Smash following a power bomb (4:42)

  • A pointless match to me but maybe it mattered more to the Japanese fans/press. Demolition broke up shortly after this, with Crush getting repackaged 2384238472394 times over 7 years and Smash becoming the infamous Repo Man before leaving for WCW a few years later. That’s it. That’s all I got to see, let’s keep this recap going. (*)

-’Mean’ Gene is standing by with The Big Boss Man. Boss Man says he will be the next Intercontinental Champion at the end of the night, but more importantly he’ll have his revenge for all the insults The Heenan Family has hurled at his mom. What a dork.

-Sean Mooney is in the locker room with Mr. Perfect and Heenan, who has left the commentary booth to be with his prized Heenan Family member. Heenan references the Rodney King incident in vague terms, Perfect says he won’t let Boss Man take 50 swipes at him like that other guy did (WHAT THE F*CK, MAN) because he’s tougher and cooler than that. What a real trashbag thing to cut a promo on, f*ck these guys.

WWF INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Mr. Perfect [c] [w/ Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan] vs. The Big Boss Man

Boss Man has been feuding with The Heenan Family for awhile now, with Heenan constantly insulting his mom and getting under his skin. I believe Rick Rude was supposed to be Boss Man’s actual feud but he booked it out of the company before that led to any matches so he traded up to an Intercontinental Title shot. And yes they’re presenting a BABYFACE COP in Los Angeles after the Rodney King assault, the WWF victims of bad timing. ‘Lord’ Alfred Hayes joins Monsoon on commentary for this one. That’s a pretty big downgrade.

Boss Man wipes his butt with Perfect’s towel (OVER THE PANTS) and throws it at him. Perfect slaps Boss Man and quickly bails from the ring. Boss Man follows and slaps back, which Perfect obviously oversells by doing a front flip. Back in the ring Boss Man throws Perfect around by the hair and shows off some speed by dodging Perfect and belting him with a right hand. I always forget how fast this dude was given his size. Perfect gets sent to the floor, the ‘WEASEL’ chants begin. Boss Man misses a corner splash and Perfect chops him HARD through the shirt. Boss Man reverses a corner Irish whip and Perfect flip-sells once again. Boss Man grabs one of his straps and WHIPS PERFECT WITHOUT ANY COMPLAINT FROM THE REF. Perfect belts Boss Man with a right hand and connects with a pair of kicks to the ribs. Another LOUD chop, Boss Man fights back with right hands until a kick stops his momentum. Perfect with an abdominal stretch, breaking it for a dropkick and lateral press that Boss Man kicks out of. Perfect connects with the neck snap and goes for the Perfect Plex, but Boss Man counters with an inside cradle for the 1…2…Perfect kicks out. Perfect connects with a standing Blockbuster on a kneeling Boss Man for a two-count. NICE. Perfect heads to the top, his splash countered with a boot from the Boss Man. Boss Man with the comeback, Perfect with the overselling. Boss Man sends Perfect to the floor with an uppercut but gets distracted with Heenan, allowing Perfect to send him into the ring steps. Heenan gets in some cheap shots when suddenly out comes ANDRE THE GIANT to even the odds. Andre grabs the Intercontinental Championship for some reason and stalks Heenan. Andre levels Perfect with said belt behind the ref’s back, but Boss Man is also out. Boss Man finally wakes up and covers for the 1…2…Perfect kicks out. Haku and The Barbarian show up and attack Boss Man, forcing the ref to call for the bell.

The Big Boss Man defeated Mr. Perfect [c] via DQ when Haku & The Barbarian interfered; Mr. Perfect retains the WWF INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP (10:45)

  • Well that was a cheap but easy way to end the match, eh? Perfect was the star here, be it on offense with his HARD AF chops or overselling the hell out of Boss Man’s offense. One man show really. Andre showing up got the crowd all riled up but he looked really frail here and I got more sad than anything. Actually now that I think about it everybody involved (Perfect, Boss Man, Heenan, Andre, referee Joey Marella) in this match are now dead. Oof. Maybe I need to take a break or something before the next match. (**)

Andre levels Perfect on the floor as Boss Man fights off Barbarian and Haku.

Earthquake makes his entrance for the next match, we cut to the crowd where ‘Mean’ Gene has a pointless interview with Donald Trump (GROSS). Chuck Norris, Henry Winkler, and Lou Ferrigno also get a chance to say random pro-WWF stuff.

Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine vs. Earthquake [w/ ‘The Mouth of the South’ Jimmy Hart]

Valentine turned babyface for the first time earlier in the year, turning on his manager Jimmy Hart, and now Earthquake is here to get revenge on behalf of his diminutive manager. I assume anyway. Heenan has rejoined Monsoon on commentary.

Earthquake attacks Valentine in the corner and connects with a powerslam for a two-count, taking too long posing to get the full count. Valentine dodges a corner splash and connects with a series of chops and elbows. Valentine finally brings Quake to the mat with an elbow from the middle buckle, then drops another for emphasis. Valentine connects with a headbutt to the gut and signals for the Figure Four. Hart distracts Valentine, causing The Hammer to break the hold. Quake attacks from behind and wins in short-order with the Earthquake Splash.

Earthquake defeated Greg Valentine via pinfall with the Earthquake Splash (3:16)

  • A quick win for Earthquake, and another nail in the coffin to Valentine’s WWF career. He’s got one PPV to go before leaving the company for good on a full-time basis. (*)

Earthquake wants to splash Valentine again, but he bails out of the ring before it can happen.

-Sean Mooney is with The Legion of Doom. They’re going to turn Power & Glory into Sour & Gory. Hawk is such a poet. They also announce they are going after the Nasty Boys and their Tag Team Championship.

The Legion of Doom (Hawk & Animal) vs. Power & Glory (Hercules & Paul Roma) [w/ ‘The Doctor of Style’ Slick]

Power & Glory cost LOD a chance to challenge for the Tag Team Championship on this show, so Hawk and Animal are looking for revenge.

And revenge they get, fighting off a sneak attack to win in short order with the Doomsday Device on Roma.

The Legion of Doom defeated Power & Glory when Animal pinned Paul Roma following a Doomsday Device (1:00)

  • Poor Hercules, he deserved better than this. (NR)

-Recap of the feud between Ted DiBiase and his former employee Virgil.

Virgil [w/ ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper] vs. ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase

DiBiase arrived to the WWF in 1988, employing Virgil as his employee/servant. After subjecting him to humiliating task after humiliating task Virgil finally had enough and turned on him at Royal Rumble 1991, picking up ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper as a mentor/trainer in the process. Piper gets his own entrance, heading to the ring on a crutch due to a motorcycle accident. Virgil doesn’t have his awesome theme yet but the crowd is HOT and chants his name so that’ll do.

Virgil shows off some fancy footwork and a series of jabs that surprise DiBiase and force him to the floor to reconsider his game plan. DiBiase climbs back in, Virgil once again sends him reeling with a series of jabs. Piper shakes Virgil’s hand, proud of his protege, DiBiase stares him down and Virgil slingshots him back into the ring. More jabs and a clothesline out to the floor. DiBiase connects with a clothesline but runs into a back elbow and Virgil covers for two. A frustrated DiBiase once again retreats to the floor, stalling for time and trying to cut off the momentum. This stalling is at least more interesting that Mike Rotunda-level stalling. DiBiase takes Virgil to the mat with a drop toehold and repeatedly slams his head into the canvas. DiBiase works his former employee over, connecting with a piledriver for a two-count and hitting a couple of suplex variants that also can’t put Virgil away. DiBiase tosses Virgil to the floor in front Piper. Piper struggles to his feet and watches as DiBiase chops Virgil and rolls him back in the ring. DiBiase shoves the injured Piper to the floor, the crowd didn’t like that one bit. Piper struggles to get back to his feet and uses the crutch to send DiBiase out to the floor. DiBiase belts Piper with a right hand and climbs the apron but keeps getting distracted with the Hot Rod and the ref calls for the bell!

Virgil defeated Ted DiBiase via countout (7:39)

  • A hot crowd for a hot angle, but the match itself was pretty basic and Virgil had to pretend he doesn’t know how to wrestle leading to mostly jabs and Muhammad Ali-like shuffling. Piper did a good job adding to the drama, though he did take the focus off things a bit. (**)

DiBiase attacks Virgil and locks him in the Million Dollar Dream. Piper gets back to his feet and rolls in, breaking the hold with his crutch. Out comes Queen Sherri who prevents Piper from hitting DiBiase again, and DiBiase attacks from behind. DiBiase takes the crutch and repeatedly bashes the injured left knee, ripping away the protective covering. Virgil grabs the crutch and wildly swings at Sherri, who dodges in the nick of time and she leaves with her new meal ticket, The Million Dollar Man. Piper refuses the help as Virgil grabs the mic (?). Virgil motivates Piper to GET UP, the same way Piper taught him. Piper gets to his feet and Virgil grabs him before he can fall again, Piper finally accepting help.

-Sean Mooney takes it to a video recap of Sgt. Slaughter lighting Hulk Hogan’s t-shirt on fire in effigy. Back live in the locker room Mooney is joined by the WWF Champion and General Adnan. Adnan speaks in a foreign tongue (not sure if it’s Arabic, Kurdish, or another dialect). Slaughter says everyone plays by his rules, and we go to footage of Slaughter beating Hogan up with a steel chair. Slaughter teases that he’ll get himself counted out so he can keep the title. LOTS OF CARTOONISH EVIL LAUGHTER. Should be noted the Gulf War ended a few months before this show, so the gimmick is already past its expiration date.

Tito Santana vs. The Mountie [w/ ‘The Mouth of the South’ Jimmy Hart]

Slaughter counters a hip toss with the Flying Forearm, but Mountie quickly bails to the floor to avoid getting pin. Double noggin knocker for Mountie and Hart. Mountie tries to escape the ring again, Santana grabs him and connects with an atomic drop followed by a wound-up right hand. Santana tries to drag Mountie in, ref breaks it up, Hart gives Mountie his cattle prod and THE REF LOOKS AWAY FOR SOME REASON so he can use it on Santana for the 1…2…3.

The Mountie defeated Tito Santana via pinfall after shocking him with the cattle prod (1:21)

  • Way too quick to rate, but also really dumb and probably for the best it didn’t last longer. Poor Tito, the only way things could get worse for him is if they give him a Matador gimmick for no apparent reason. (NR)

-’Mean’ Gene is with Hulk Hogan. Hogan says Slaughter will not be getting the last laugh tonight, and says this is the Hulk Hogan of 1991 and he’s got all sorts of secret weapons and battle plans. Cut to footage of Slaughter beating Hogan down with the WWF Championship and putting him in a Camel Clutch while Adnan taunts him with the belt. Back live Hogan says he’s a complete 360 from who he used to be after that attack, and things are going to POP OFF.

-Alex Trebek, Marla Maples, and Regis Philbin head to the ring to do their main event duties. Trebek is guest ring announcer, Maples is guest timekeeper, and Philbin will be joining the commentary team.

WWF CHAMPIONSHIP
Sgt. Slaughter [c] [w/ General Adnan] vs. ‘The Immortal’ Hulk Hogan

Slaughter’s theme is a neverending drum roll, and as a drummer I both love it and am also embarrassed because there’s no way I could hold a roll that long. I was never really good at it. Hogan, meanwhile, makes his way out with the AMERICAN FLAG, because he’s going to win this one for AMERICA, BROTHER.

Loud ‘USA’ chants as the bell rings and Hogan chases Slaughter and Adnan into the ring. Slaughter doesn’t have the EVIL MIDDLE EASTERN POINTY BOOTS which is disappointing. After about two minutes they finally lock up, walking around the ring as they jockey for position. The ref tries to separate them but gets shoved aside. Hogan knocks Slaughter on his ass, Slaughter complains of a hair pull. Pfft he’s barely got hair. Hogan with a shoulderblock that Slaughter oversells, bailing to the floor to regroup. Hogan doesn’t feel like waiting though and goes on the attack. Adnan clobbers Hogan, who no sells it and goozles him. Slaughter hits Hogan from behind with a steel chair, Hogan feels NOTHING and stalks his prey. Slaughter gets rolled in and immediately bails to the corner begging for mercy. Hogan charges in, Slaughter pokes him in the eye. Slaughter with a back elbow off an Irish whip and a concealed closed fist. Slaughter misses an elbowdrop, Hogan with a pair of rights and an AXE BOMBER off the Irish whip. Adnan climbs the apron, Hogan knocks him off. Hogan gets a two-count off an atomic drop, Slaughter bails to the floor and Hogan quickly rolls him back in. Hogan connects with a running elbow and covers, but Slaughter kicks out at two. Irish whip into the corner and a backdrop, Heenan says Slaughter had to be 10-12 feet up in the air but I highly doubt that. Hogan whips Slaughter face-first into the buckles then sends him back in with a high knee to the spine, Macho Man-style. Hogan follows up with a slingshot and Slaughter “hits the post”. Hogan doesn’t go for a pin and instead keeps the punishment going with a corner clothesline and count-a-long rights. Hogan covers for the 1…2…Slaughter still kicks out.

HOGAN CLIMBS THE MIDDLE TURNBUCKLE and goes for a double axhandle but Slaughter catches him with a right. Hogan easily shakes it off and slams him, dropping a pair of elbows. HOGAN GOES TO THE TOP TURNBUCKLE, Adnan grabs his leg and Slaughter slams him off. Slaughter clotheslines Hogan to the floor and rams him into the pole. Slaughter grabs another chair and uses it on the Hulkster, then chokes him with a TV cable. Ref isn’t calling for a DQ though. Slaughter rolls Hogan in and focuses his attack on the back, jack, weakening it in anticipation of the Camel Clutch. Slaughter thinks he has a pinfall after a backbreaker, but the ref tells him otherwise and they argue for a moment. Slaughter with a Boston Crab right next to the ropes, Adnan helping to add pressure. Regis asks why Hogan isn’t going for the rope next to him, and I AGREE. Hogan does too and finally forces a rope break. Slaughter once again thinks he’s won but nah. Slaughter connects with a flying stomp from the top rope and covers, getting the visual pin, but Adnan distracts the ref FOR ABSOLUTELY NO REASON, and by the time the ref sees what’s happening he only gets a two-count. That was dumb.

Slaughter grabs yet another chair and cracks Hogan in the skull with it, covering for the 1…2…NOPE. Hogan is busted open and Slaughter punches at the wound to make it worse. Camel Clutch applied to the crimson masked Hulkster. Hogan gets to his feet, Slaughter on his back, but gets rammed into the buckles when he tries to break the hold. Slaughter grabs the Iraqi flag and drapes it over Hogan, covering for the 1…2…HOGAN KICKS OUT AND RIPS THE FLAG AS HE HULKS UP. Punch, punch, punch, big boot, Legdrop for the 1…2…3.

Hulk Hogan defeated Sgt. Slaughter [c] via pinfall with the Big Legdrop to win the WWF CHAMPIONSHIP (20:23)

  • A lot better than I was expecting, props to the WWF for letting all these weapon shots go. And props to Hulk Hogan as well, who changed up most of his routine and in turn became a far more interesting wrestler at least for this match. The match dulled a bit with Slaughter on offense, lots of back stomps, but the ending of Hogan ripping the flag and doing his Hulk routine to victory was a fun finish. Color me surprised. (***)

Hogan celebrates, belt around his waist, the American flag waving. He poses for the crowd to close the show, sending the fans home happy.

*****

OVERALL THOUGHTS: An overstuffed event to be sure, but WrestleMania VII has a lot of good matches, with a better than expected main event and a certified classic in Warrior/Savage. They might have been dipping in popularity and forced to move their biggest show of the year to a smaller venue but the WWF still put on a great show, and the Los Angeles crowd was CRAZY HOT from start to finish. An easy recommendation from me, especially if you fast forward through some of the filler.

 

  • MATCH OF THE NIGHT: The Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage
  • MOMENT OF THE NIGHT: Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth reunite and causes half the crowd to legitimately start crying in happiness.

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s