WrestleMania 2 – Let’s Try That Again

WrestleMania 2 (1986)Event: WrestleMania 2
Date: April 7, 1986
Venue: The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York, The Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois, and The Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California
Attendance: 40,085 (combined)

As you can see above, this is the first (and I believe only) WrestleMania event to come to us from different locations.  Essentially we get 3 “main events” – one from each of the locations.  On the mic we get Vince McMahon and Susan Saint James (really WWF – this is the best “celebrity” you could come up with?) from New York.  In Chicago we get Gorilla Monsoon, Gene Okerlund, and Cathy Lee Crosby (of That’s Incredible fame) and Jesse Ventura, Lord Alfred Hayes, and Elvira follow up from LA.  Ray Charles starts things off with a rendition of America The Beautiful which wouldn’t really be noteworthy except for one thing.  During the performance they ran some patriotic photos on screen.  Again… this wouldn’t be noteworthy until the last two shots.  The first was Hogan pointing to the American flag.  The second and final shot in the montage was just Hogan.  I know this was the beginning of Hogan being “The Real American” but come on WWF.  With Hogan being in the main event did ANYONE see him losing after this?

Results from the Nassau Coliseum

Prior to this match we get an interview with Piper.  He’s his typical self going so far as to say he’ll retire if Mr. T beats him.  One thing that I found hilarious was when he says he’ll never shave his head and paint himself black.  Ironic seeing as Piper ended up doing just that at WrestleMania VI for his match up with Bad News Brown.  The WWF can’t seem to get their shit together as these comments are running right over the first match.

Paul Orndorff and The Magnificent Muraco (with Mr. Fuji) fought to a double count out
This is a pretty piss poor start to the event.  Anything that ends with a double count out can’t be all that great.  Apparently since last year’s WrestleMania Orndorff has gone from heel to baby face as the crowd is loving him.  Muraco looks in great shape here.  Vince is clearly struggling to pull Susan Saint James along on the commentary and is forced to give us stuff like, “And Moraco is sweating profusely”.  After about 4 minutes this one mercifully comes to an end with a double count out.

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Randy Savage (c) (with Miss Elizabeth) defeated George Steele

More technical confusion after the match as we get Howard Finkel talking over a pre-taped interview with Mr. T.  The next match up is an I.C. title match with Savage defending.  This is back in the day where Savage was still a heel and George Steele is playing his face.  Steele (if you’re not familiar) has a shtick where we would “eat” the turnbuckles during his match.  During this feud he was more interested in Miss Elizabeth than he was the title.  Essentially Steele is the “Eugene” character that we’ve been given in recent years (IE, a little slow).  George is obviously terrible in the ring and Savage has to work really hard to put on a decent match with him.  To his credit Savage does just that playing the heel to perfection.  Running in and out of the ring, using Liz to his advantage and playing the coward well.  George actually kicks out of the Savage elbow during this match which I did NOT remember.  Macho pulls off the heel victory with a “foot on the ropes” pin.  A step above the previous match but still pretty damn terrible.

Jake Roberts defeated George Wells
This is early in Jake’s career as he’s still undefeated in the WWF.  He’s got his snake in toe but it’s never referred to as Damien.  Jake’s matches are never all that exciting athletically but Jake in the ring is a master of the cerebral stuff.  This is more of the same with Jake “slithering” in and out of the ring.  Wells is essentially one step above a jobber here as I believe this is his last appearance in a WWF ring.  He’s actually got the upper hand through quite a bit of the match (a fact that Vince and Susan continue to point out).  Out of nowhere comes the DDT to give Jake the victory which we all knew was coming.  Damien is placed over the prone Wells who promptly foams from the mouth.

Boxing match
Mr. T (with Joe Frazier and The Haiti Kid) defeated Roddy Piper (with Bob Orton and Lou Duva) by disqualification
We’re treated to a couple of guests prior to this first main event.  Joan Rivers looks worse at this event than she does now… some 23 years later.  This feud has been going on since WrestleMania and T and Piper are here to end things.  They obviously can’t straight up wrestle so we get a boxing match.  I wouldn’t call this “real” boxing but I found myself rather entertained while watching this match.  The first round is pretty uneventful with no knockdowns.  T goes down in the second round and Pipe goes down twice in round three.  They’re both completely punch drunk and the arms are getting REALLY tired and Piper puts an end to things by slamming T in the middle of the ring getting himself disqualified.

Results from the Rosemont Horizon

WWF Women’s Championship
The Fabulous Moolah (c) defeated Velvet McIntyre

This is really weak.  Its obviously a filler match to get something additional on the card but the fans would have been better served if they were given Iron Mike Sharpe vs.  Barry O.  Luckily this one is over after only about a minute and a half with Moolah getting a pin out of absolutely no where.  Feel free to fast forward right the fuck over this one.

Flag match
Corporal Kirchner defeated Nikolai Volkoff (with Freddie Blassie)

This one is slightly better than the previous crapfest, but not much.  So apparently the contestants in this match really care about their flags cause the winner gets to fly theirs.  Um… OK.  Kirchner defeats Volkoff in about 2 minutes and gets to fly his flag.  I tell you what.  If I was a the Rosemont for this event I’d be PISSED at this point.  They’ve seen two matches for a total of about 3 minutes of match time.  Snooze.

Twenty-man battle royal
André the Giant defeated 19 other participants by last eliminating Bret Hart

The guest hosts aren’t getting any better here as now we’re given the “Where’s the Beef” chick.  Talk about a blast from the past.  Luckily for the folks in attendance they finally get themselves a decent match.  We’ve got a smattering of NFL stars and wrestlers with William Refrigerator Perry getting the biggest pop (hilarious that they listed him at 304 lbs).  The Hart Foundation (dressed in blue) work well together and make it to the final 3 with Andre the Giant only to be overtaken by the big man.

WWF Tag Team Championship
The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and The Dynamite Kid) (with Ozzy Osbourne and Lou Albano) defeated The Dream Team (Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake) (c) (with Johnny Valiant)

I’ve always considered myself a big Beefcake fan and for the life of me I don’t ever remember him winning a title.  Obviously I’m wrong as he’s defending here with Valentine.  The Bulldogs are being accompanied by Ozzy Osbourne which is only made weirder by the fact that Ozzy is wearing a pink suit – no shit.  Gorilla Monsoon keeps referring to Beefcake as “The Beefer” and it consistently cracks me up.  This is absolutely outstanding tag match!  Tons of tags and quick action in and out of the ring.  It sounds silly but the Bulldogs really do show what tag team wrestling is all about.  The ending is kind of weird as Dynamite sticks his head into the ring and knocks Valentine out cold while knocking himself clear to the floor and busting himself open.

Results from the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena

Ricky Steamboat defeated Hercules Hernandez
Lord Alfred Hayes is back again for a second WrestleMania and unfortunately he’s not much better from a commentary standpoint.  This is a pretty standard Steamboat match complete with chops, crisscrossing in the ring and body blocks.  Hernandez does some typical “strong man” stuff and the end comes when Steamboat hits his cross body block off the top rope.  Not great but far and away the best opening match of any of the venues.

Adrian Adonis (with Jimmy Hart) defeated Uncle Elmer
First thought: how did Adrian get a job?  Dude is so out of shape it’s not even funny.  The only possible answer is that they wanted someone to play the dress wearing fag and no one else would do it.  He’d never have a chance in modern day WWF (though that’s true for quite a bit of the WrestleMania 2 roster.  Adonis is in this match (that I coined the Battle Of The Bad Gimmicks) against Uncle Elmer who’s essentially a bad Hillbilly Jim ripoff.  One thing I will say is Adonis knows how to sell and does so like a master.

Terry Funk and Hoss Funk (with Jimmy Hart) defeated The Junkyard Dog and Tito Santana
I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again but I’m not a huge fan of tag team wrestling.  That said, this is a pretty solid match (even though this seems like a totally thrown together match up).  There’s some GREAT heel in peril action here with Tito getting hammered.  The funks take Jimmy Hart’s megaphone to JYD’s head for the victory.  Terry Funk is selling a knee injury like it’s his job (which I suppose it is 😉 )

Steel cage match for the WWF Championship
Hulk Hogan (c) defeated King Kong Bundy (with Bobby Heenan)

We get a little vignette of Hogan training and we’re shown footage of where Bundy injured Hogan’s ribs a couple of weeks back.  This training montage takes about 9 minutes and is obviously just thrown in to give them an opportunity to put the cage together.  They go into great lengths to show that Hogan is going “against doctor’s orders” with this title defense.  This is a great cage match even though it’s the “old style” cage.  Hogan takes the advantage giving Bundy a pretty good beating.  Bundy turns the tide and starts working over Hogan’s injured ribs.  We go back and forth for a while with each guy getting the upper hand.  Finally Hogan rams Bundy against the cage busting him open.  After a failed slam attempt Hogan looks in bad shape as Bundy gives him the avalanche and a splash.  However, after the next avalanche Hogan “Hulks Up” and proceeds to power slam and leg drop Bundy.  He makes his way over the top of the cage to retain the world title.  Then of course we get the Hogan / Bobby Heenan show in the cage with Heenan obviously coming out on the short end.  All in all a very entertaining main event.

General Thoughts

  • The multi-location thing didn’t work.  I tell you, I’m sure they showed the other locations up on the big screens but I’d be PISSED if I paid for a ticket and then saw only 4 matches live.
  • I’d have to say that each event got better by location.  The first two Rosemont matches were the weakest on the card but the battle royal and the outstanding tag match redeemed it.
  • I wish they’d have the “lead in” material on these DVDs.  This stuff is 25 years ago and hell if I can remember why feuds started.
  • Overall I’d say this is a better show than the original WrestleMania.  It would have been MUCH better if they’d had it it one location and cut out some of the filler matches.

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