Event: WrestleMania V
Date: April 2, 1989
Venue: Trump Plaza (Atlantic City, New Jersey)
For the second year in a row, WrestleMania is being held at the Trump Plaza. This is also the second event in the anthology that goes to two DVDs. After a WrestleMania IV card that had 16 matches, the WWF followed up with a 14 match card… that seemed to last FOREVER. That’s not to say that there aren’t any gems in here cause there are. Unfortunately we get off a really rocky start with current WWF Women’s Champion Rockin Robin singing America The Beautiful. Two words… fucking brutal.
Hercules defeated King Haku (with Bobby Heenan)
The opening bout is former Heenan Family member Hercules vs. King Haku. Bobby Heenan gets on the mic before the match begins and tells the crowd to get on their feet for the King. My response to this is if he’s so damn good why the hell is he in the opening match? This isn’t a bad match for what it is. Pretty clean throughout and Hercules seems to have learned from his slip-up at WrestleMania IV and bridges out of a double pin at the last second to get the victory.
The Twin Towers (Akeem and The Big Boss Man) (with Slick) defeated The Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty)
Up next is the first time that Mr. WrestleMania Shawn Michaels is on a WrestleMania card as part of the Rockers. Akeem is absolutely laughable. The “African Dream”? Really? Who at the WWF thought turning the One Man Gang into a jive talking African Queen was a good idea? In any case, the Rockers actually put up a decent fight for a good long while with some great quick tag team wrestling. The end comes very quickly though when Shawn Michaels goes off the top rope and gets power bombed. Holy shit. Throw in a splash from the over sized Akeem and I’m surprised he ever got up from that one.
Brutus Beefcake and Ted DiBiase (with Virgil) fought to a double countout
Beefcake is the “Barber” at this point and I could never get over how bad his HAIR was. I suppose that’s the definition of irony huh? In any case, Brutus is having a bad hair day against the well coiffed Million Dollar Man. I do have to say that I LOVE me some double clothesline. Every time I see one I geek out like a total mark. DiBiase gets the Million Dollar Dream on Beefcake but he makes it to the ring and we get a pretty weak double countout. Beefcake the proceeds to get Virgil in the sleeper to end the madness. Waste of time.
The Bushwhackers (Luke Williams and Butch Miller) defeated The Fabulous Rougeaus (Jacques and Raymond) (with Jimmy Hart)
Before the next match, we get a package where we’re shown Luke and Butch eating like a couple of idiots. I suppose this is in here to show us just how “crazy” they are but it’s a complete waste of time. The match isn’t much better either. The Rougeaus are now heels going against the “power” that is the Bushwhackers. Ho hum. There’s one pretty humorous moment here when Butch (or Luke I can never tell which) gets body slammed and grabs a handful of one of the Rougeaus’ nut sack. Hilarious. A couple of minutes later the Rougeaus celebrate prematurely and get beaten by the Bushwhackers finishing move… a double stomach buster. Um… kay.
Mr. Perfect defeated The Blue Blazer
Mr. Perfect makes his way down to the ring with no music which sucks cause his music is one of my favorite themes of all time. He actually slips on his way down to the ring which is ironic seeing that he’s “perfect”. The Blazer looks awesome here in the early going. Damn do I miss Owen. Blazer has the advantage and goes to the top for a big splash. Perfect brings the knees up at the last second for a BRUTAL looking collision. Not sure how you can “fake” that one. Even after that mishap, Blazer manages to take control over most of the match. After a really close call, Blazer pleads with the ref and turns around right into a Henning forearm. Perfect follows up wit the Pefect-plex for the victory.
WWF Tag Team Championship
Demolition (Ax and Smash) (c) defeated The Powers of Pain (The Warlord and The Barbarian) and Mr. Fuji
Before the match gets started we’re shown a vignette of Fuji running a 5k. We follow that up with Run DMC and the “WrestleMania Rap”??? Gorilla says that a little bit of rap goes a long way. In this instance I have to totally agree with him. The WWF typically does some sort of “filler” during the big show but this is crazy. The match itself is about what you’d expect from 4 big guys and a run down Master Fuji. Some good back and forth between Demolition and P.O.P. with Fuji only getting involved when Demolition is completely beat down and then out quickly. The end comes when Fuji goes to the good ol ceremonial salt in the eyes gimmick and it backfires when he gets his own man. Demolition takes advantage and hits their “finisher that wouldn’t hurt but looks cool” on Fuji for the win to retain their titles.
Dino Bravo (with Frenchy Martin) defeated Ronnie Garvin
Next up is Garvin and Bravo with a random appearance by Jimmy Snuka. He’s on his way back to the fed and apparently Vince wants to send him out so folks can remember what he looks like. The match itself is a good fair match. Garvin is going crazy with the cradles… inside cradle, sunset flip attempts, etc. At one point Bravo goes for the gayest looking bear hug in the history of wrestling. Bravo hits a side suplex out of nowhere for the win. After the match, Ronnie gets the “Garvin Stomp” on Frenchie in a typical “face loses but has to get revenge on the manager” moment.
The Brain Busters (Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard) (with Bobby Heenan) defeated Strike Force (Rick Martel and Tito Santana)
Even after all of these years, its still weird to see Blanchard and Anderson in the WWF – they’ll always be WCW guys (and Horseman at that) to me. Strikeforce is back together for the first time in quite a while but have everything running smoothly at the beginning of the match. Nice little side by side dropkicks send the Busters to the floor. A while later Strikeforce gets a double figure four right in the middle which is really cool visually but Arn breaks up with a rake to the eye. Tito fucks up and hits Martel with the flying burrito (forearm) which sends Martel outside. Martel selling it like Tito took his head off. Time for a totally telegraphed heel turn. Tito is getting double teamed and Martel is still on the outside hurting. Martel refuses to extend the arm to take the tag and eventually leaves Tito in the ring to fend for himself. Tito gets his ass kicked for another couple of minutes before getting hit with a spike piledriver. I’ve got to say that Tito pretty much carries the match here. Well done Chico. We get a post match interview with Martel who’s always been terrible on the mic and this is no exception.
At this point we get an in-ring segment with Brother Love, Morton Downey Jr. and Roddy Piper. Downey is smoking on the way to the ring which is king of funny. Downey and Brother Love go at each other for a couple of minutes and then Piper makes his way to the ring. Brother Love just kind of disappears. This ends with Downey blowing smoke in Piper’s face, Piper getting pissed and spraying him with a fire extinguisher. I remember this being much cooler than it was.
After the Piper/Downey thing we’re shown a preview of the Hulk Hogan “classic” No Holds Barred. We might as well rename it the “Hulk Hogan Federation” at this point. I mean, is there ANY chance in hell that he’s going to lose the main even with Vince so far up his ass? Gene nearly laughs when he says how this movie is going to be a “blockbuster”. After that segment, Jesse Ventura is all fired up about how Hogan is coming to Hollywood because it’s “his” town.
We get a pretty decent recap of the Mega Powers at this point. Nothing out of the ordinary, but one really interesting nugget here. During Hogan’s interview they actually overdub his voice when he says “WWF” so it says “WWE”. Are you kidding me?
Jake Roberts defeated André the Giant (with Bobby Heenan) by disqualification
Big John Stud is the special guest referee for this match. Andre is still a heel at this point after his WrestleMania III and WrestleMania IV Hogan encounters. Looking at this now it’s really sad. I’ve always been a big Jake fan but this seems like a big step down for Andre. Andre is really looking bad at this point in his career as he can barely move around the ring. At one point Andre gets hooked in the ropes (as he always does). If there’s ever been a signature move in wrestling, this is it. The entire match Jake is going for the bag to try and get Damien. The end of this match turns into a complete clusterfuck. Andre and Stud get into it, DiBiase grabs the bag and hightails it, Jake goes after DiBiase, blah blah blah. Damien finally makes his appearance and Andre takes off out of the ring. Pussy. Seriously are we supposed to believe that Andre is scared of a snake? Dude would eat it in like two bites.
The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) defeated The Honky Tonk Man and Greg Valentine (with Jimmy Hart)
This is pre “Rhythm & Blues” for Honky and Hammer but in retrospect you can see it coming. Even after all of these years Honky sells an atomic drop better than anyone in history. The Foundation is running on all cylinders with some great tag wrestling. Hart slingshots Anvil in over the top right into the bad guys. Actually Anvil looks incredible here and actually pulls out a standing drop kick?!?!? I don’t care what you say, that’s damn impressive for a guy that size. The end comes when Anvil throws Jimmy Hart’s megaphone to Bret who nails Honky with it. Here’s a question… what do you think the lifetime average of the megaphone is? Might be time to leave that one in the locker room there Jimmy.
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Rick Rude (with Bobby Heenan) defeated The Ultimate Warrior (c)
Before this match we’re shown footage of the Rude/Warrior pose down at the Royal Rumble that set this match up. God damn is Rude ripped up. Rude’s got some sweet tights complete with the IC title already on them. Warrior hits the ring and we’re off and running. Warrior is manhandling Rude whipping him into the corners really hard. Rude selling like a motherfucker. Warrior goes right into a bear hug to slow things down. Remember people… Warrior’s got all kinds of charisma, but can’t wrestle worth a shit. Rude breaks the hold with fingers to the eyes and follows up with a huge dropkick off the top that looks great. Warrior powers out before the one count and goes into multiple body slams followed by another bear hug. Warrior goes for a big splash in the middle of the ring and Rude gets his knees up right in the breadbasket. Rude tries to swivel his hips a couple of time and just can’t do it cause his back is injured. End comes when Rude gets dumped out of the ring. Warrior goes to suplex him back into the ring. Mid-suplex, Heenan grabs the Warrior’s leg which causes Rude to fall on Warrior. Bobby holds on to the Warrrior’s leg so he can’t kick out and Rude gets the title. Beat down on The Weasel post match.
Jim Duggan and Bad News Brown fought to a double disqualification
This is essentially a throwaway match and I’m shocked that it’s so late on the card. There’s essentially not one wrestling hold here at all and by the time the match is over we’ve got bats and chairs in the ring. Are we really supposed the believe that Bad News is a bad ass? Not so much.
The Red Rooster defeated Bobby Heenan (with The Brooklyn Brawler)
If the last match was “essentially” a throwaway then this one is completely a throwaway. My only question is who in the hell did Red Rooster piss off to be booked against Bobby Heenan? Actually, I’ve got another question as well. Who did he blow to be booked second to last on the card? This one is nothing that you wouldn’t expect. Rooster pins Heenan a couple of minutes in and then for some reason celebrates. Not sure why he’s happy. Perhaps no one told him he’s got a red mohawk and is wrestling as a farm animal. Brooklyn Brawler beats on Rooster after the match.
Hulk Hogan defeated Randy Savage (c)
This one made my list of Top 10 WrestleMania matches and watching it again totally validated that pick. Savage comes out first complete with theme music and pose down. Liz gets her own entrance with music as she’s not supposed to be in either man’s corner (though she still has Macho’s music). Ventura points out that the champ should enter the ring last I being the old school dork I am I completely agree with him. The crowd is totally behind Hogan from the get go. Hogan starts out with the dreaded “closed fists” and Savage follows up with his standard double axe handle. Hogan takes over after throwing Savage out of the ring. He follows up with a couple of elbow drops (though not the Savage variety) and an eye rake. A few minutes later, Savage takes over and Hogan is bleeding above the eye. I’ve seen this match a hundred times and I just didn’t remember Hogan bleeding here. Savage does some showboating and allows Hogan back into it. Hogan slams Savage over the top and Liz goes over to help. Savage playing the heel shrugs her off. Hogan gets the advantage again and goes to slam Savage against the post on the outside and Liz steps in the way. A few moments later Hogan is down and hurt and Liz comes to HIS aid. Finally the bullshit love triangle ends and referee Dave Hebner sends her away from ringside. Time to get down to some wrestling. Savage hits the double axe handle on Hogan as he’s draped across the guardrail. Hogan chokes a la Rick Steamboat. Macho then continues with the choking tactics using tape from his wrists. Macho then hits the HUGE elbow right in the middle of the ring. Hogan “Hulks up” out of nowhere: block, punch, shake head, point, punch, punch, punch, slam, leg drop victory. Real American and the crowd goes home happy. A-W-E-S-O-M-E!
- This is a LONG show. This wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for so much throwaway garbage that we’ve been given. These backstage vignettes have GOT to stop. I’d much rather have a 3 hour show full of action rather than a 4 hours show with an hour of crap thrown in for filler.
- If I was in the arena I’d be pissed. If you don’t count the Piper/Downey segment there was over a half hour between in ring action. That’s unacceptable.
- With the exception of Perfect/Blazer and Savage/Hogan this is a pretty lackluster show. That said, if you’re at all an old-school Hogan fan, you NEED to see this one.