WrestleMania XI – The Lawrence Taylor Debacle

WrestleMania XI (1995)Event: WrestleMania XI
Date: April 2, 1995
Venue: Hartford Civic Center (Hartford, Connecticut)
Attendance: 16,305

The opening montage talks about the special guest stars that will be in attendance at the event including Pamela Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, etc.  Looking like the WWF is starting to REALLY branch out into “sports entertainment” at this point.  We get a Special Olympian’s rendition of America The Beautiful.  She’s over singing BIG time complete with the waggle in her voice.  I don’t care if she’s “special” – she sucks.

The Allied Powers (Lex Luger and The British Bulldog) defeated The Blu Brothers (Jacob and Eli) (with Uncle Zebekiah)
The Blu twins look like Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds.  Great character in a movie… not a great gimmick for a wrestler in my opinion.  Then again, I never was a big Hillbilly Jim fan either so I’m not a big fan of the whole “mountain man” thing.  Luger and Bulldog in charge early allowing Bulldog to show off with a HUGE suplex on one of the twins.  Cause they look alike, the twins pull the whole “change with no tag” spot.  Come on guys… leave that to the Killer Bees.  Hot tag to Luger who hits a lame looking power slam.  He then hits a flying forearm with no mention of the plate in his arm.  Guess that’s only for when he’s a heel.  The twins pull the no-tag switch again so he’s able to kick out of the loaded forearm.  One of the twins go for a pile driver on Luger and Bulldog comes off the top for a sunset flip and the win.  Bulldog and Luger pose after the match with music and lighting.  So so to kick off the show.

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Razor Ramon (with The 1-2-3 Kid) defeated Jeff Jarrett (c) (with The Roadie) by disqualification

We get a promo of Razor and Kid backstage… Christ, these guys have been together forever! Good recap of how JJ won the title which is good cause I had no idea – interference by the Roadie in case you were wondering. Razor is in charge early with JJ playing the heel to perfection. Razor whips JJ into the corner and totally fucks up – he’s working moves that just aren’t there. Hilarious. Razor goes for his finisher and Roadie pulls JJ out to save him. As I watched this I realized that I’ve never been a big fan of “outside interference” matches. Let the guys wrestle… tell the story in the ring. I don’t mind a little bit, but when the crux of the story is outside the ring it gets to be a bit much for my liking. On top of it all, this is a very sloppy match. We then go into a portion of the match where both guys keep hitting moves on the same time and both keep going down (same time punch, etc.). JJ hooks the figure four in the middle of the ring. Razor has JJ up for the Razor’s Edge once again and Roadies comes in to cause a DQ. Cluster fuck after the match with Roadie, Kid and referees. Ehhh..

The Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) defeated King Kong Bundy (with Ted DiBiase)
Bundy vs. Taker for the urn??? I’ve never liked that prop even though Taker is my favorite wrestler of all time. Absolutely love the purple outfit that Taker’s in here. For some odd reason we get an American League baseball umpire as the referee in this match. Doing some Wiki searching I realize that baseball was actually on strike during this time (ironically, the strike ended the day of this event). About a minute or so in, Taker walks out and grabs the urn from DiBiase. Ted then calls Kama out to ringside and he grabs it back and takes off… um, OK. He says he’s going to melt it and make a chain out of it. Remember, this is pre-Ho Train Kama/Godfather here so now we know where he got some of his bling. Bundy is in charge with some rest holds until he hits an Avalanche and the Undertaker stands straight up completely no selling it. Big slam on Bundy (was he going to try for a Tombstone?) and Taker adds to the streak.

WWF Tag Team Championship
Owen Hart and Yokozuna (with Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette) defeated The Smoking Gunns (c) (Billy and Bart)

Yoko is a surprise as they interview the Gunns. Right off the bat you know they’re gonna lose the titles. Yoko is absolutely HUGE. I’ve always been impressed with the way Yoko moves for such a big man. Pretty typical stuff here with some good double team stuff thrown in by the Gunns. Vince starts to talk about how the Smoking Gunns have been having issues with Men On A Mission. Are we going to see them do a run in? Billy’s playing the face in peril here and finally works for a hot tag to Bart. Gunns go for a double team but Yoko gets a belly to BIG belly on Billy. He then follows that up with the Banzai Drop. Bart breaks up the tag, but Owen gets tagged in and makes the cover for the win and the straps. Outcome was obvious as soon as Yokozuna was announced as the partner.

“I Quit” Match
Bret Hart defeated Bob Backlund

Can someone please tell me why Bob Backlund is in this high profile of a match this late in his career? He’s got the charisma of a folding chair. Piper’s the special guest referee and quite honestly is completely annoying. He grabs the mic every two seconds when someone’s in a hold asking them if they give up. Hart gets a figure four on and is totally in charge early. Both Hart and Backlund do a good job telling the story here as Hart’s working on Backlund’s leg and Backlund’s working on Hart’s arm. I’ll say it again… I know it’s a submission match, but Piper needs to shut the fuck up. Bret whips Bob into the corner and follows him in getting posted on his shoulder. This sets up Backlund to go for his finisher the Cross Face Chicken Wing. Bret reverses the hold and beats Backlund with his own move though in all honesty Backlund never said “I Quit”. More of a “Arggghhshshshdhg” type sound. Good match here that from a historical perspective is a great precursor to the Hart/Austin match at WrestleMania 13.

WWF Championship
Diesel (c) (with Pamela Anderson) defeated Shawn Michaels (with Sid and Jenny McCarthy)

HBK accompanied to the ring by Jenny McCarthy. Wow. Have to say that I absolutely love the HBK mullet here as it’s in full effect. Diesel comes out and the motions to the back. Here comes Pam who’s been missing all evening and was supposed to come out with Shawn. I remember this match specifically because it showed me what a great worker Shawn is with any size opponent. He takes some AMAZING bumps including a huge back body drop. At one point, he’s tossed over the top and lands on a photographer and get legitimately pissed at the guy. Pretty funny to see wrestlers break character like that. Shawn’s great at carrying the big men and it never ceases to amaze me how FAST he is in the ring. Some good stuff with Shawn attacking Diesel outside the ring here. Shawn’s in charge for a good few minutes mid match. Shawn hits the elbow off the top to Diesel’s ribs and follows that up with a sleeper that puts Diesel down for quite a while. Diesel works out and mounts some offense. I know HBK is the “Boy Toy” and all, but must he ALWAYS show his ass? The official is out of position at one point (twisted ankle) and Shawn hits Sweet Chin Music but doesn’t have a ref to get the cover. Shawn goes up to the 2nd rope and Diesel catches him in a sidewalk slam. Diesel hits the Jackknife (though a terrible one) for the win and retains the title. Good match that should have been the main event. Diesel leaves with both Pam and Jenny on his arm. I have absolutely no desire to watch Bam Bam and L.T. at this point.

Lawrence Taylor defeated Bam Bam Bigelow (with Ted DiBiase)
Money Inc. and the All Pro Team are introduced. They star jawing pre-match though we KNOW that there’s no way in hell L.T. is going to lose this match. This was such a bad idea from the get go it’s not even funny. What DID Bam Bam do to deserve this? I’d love to see a celebrity actually lose one of these matches… has that ever happened? In any case… Taylor hits Bam Bam with a HUGE forearm to start the match and follows up with a clothesline over the top. I’ll give him credit – L.T. is really taking it to Bam Bam early on. Bam Bam takes over and we get a bunch of forearms and head butts from both guys. Taylor is just terrible and unfortunately Bam Bam isn’t good enough to carry him (though I’m not sure anyone would have been). Bigelow slaps on a Boston Crab and Taylor works his way out. Bam Bam goes up and hits a splash moonsault off the top. He goes for a cover and rolls off after a 1 count. Apparently he’s “hurt his knee”. Taylor hits a “Jackknife” because apparently he’s been training with Diesel and gets a 2 count. Bam Bam works back into it and manages to hit his patented head butt off the top rope and Taylor kicks out. L.T. gets a 2nd (or 3rd, or 4th) wind and hits Bigelow with 2 forearms and the follows that up with a flying forearm off the second rope for the win. After the match L.T. looks like he’s injured himself. Absolutely awful way to end the show.

General Thoughts

  • They’re having a ton of technical difficulties throughout the show.  What the hell guys… it’s not like this is your Super Bowl or anything.  Guessing someone lost a job over it.
  • Nicholas Turturro is in Pam Anderson’s dressing room with Jenny McCarthy.  DAMN is she hot.
  • The “celebrities” of this event are incredibly weak.  We’re getting back stage interviews with L.T.’s All Pro team calling out wrestlers and Bob Backlund playing chess with the kid from Tool Time.  Ouch.
  • Bam Bam gives an interview part way through the show saying that he won’t be known as the man who lost to L.T.  Um… yeah you will.  I feel bad for you Bam Bam.  You deserved better.

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