Wrestlemania: Reloaded. This is not remembered as a particularly strong Wrestlemania. In fact, people don’t remember much of it at all. It’s the one where Hogan fought Bundy in the cage, Mr. T and Roddy Piper had a boxing match, and the show was split between three arenas. Does this show deserve to be remembered more than it was? We’ll have to see…
Part one of the card took place from the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York. I believe this was the best attended of the three shows, but it still wasn’t quite sold out. A big note for this show is that three locations spread the announce team thin and they used celebrity guest commentators, who were almost universally terrible.
Vince McMahon and actress Susan St. James are our hosts for the first portion of the show.
Ray Charles performs a stirring rendition of “America the Beautiful.” Much better than Gene Okerlund last year.
Paul Orndorff vs. Don Muraco
They go through a basic opening sequence before fighting to the floor and getting counted out in less than five minutes.
Rating: ½* Why do a double count out in the opening match?
Intercontinental Championship: Randy Savage (c) vs. George Steele
Savage was a relatively new champion, having taken the title off Tito Santana in January. Note that this rivalry between Savage and Steel carries over all the way to next year’s Wrestlemania. The story was that Steele was in love with Elizabeth, and would try to steal her away from Savage. Why is the big beast trying to kidnap Elizabeth the hero and her boyfriend who defends her against him the villain? I have no idea. Anyway, this match was pretty decent. My only real complaint is not only did Steele kick out of Savage’s Flying Elbow, he did it on a one count. Who does that? Not even Hogan. Savage won with a ropes-assisted roll-up.
Rating: **¼. I enjoyed the story, and Savage’s athleticism and style is such a treat in this era.
Jake Roberts vs. George Welles
Jake was new, so this was designed to establish him. Oddly, Welles dominates the match before getting hit with a DDT and pinned in 3:04. A little odd that the guy getting squashed controlled most of the squash match.
Rating: ½*. I have no problem with squash matches, though this one was a little strange.
Boxing Match: Roddy Piper vs. Mr. T
Worked boxing is always terrible, and this was no exception.
Nothing really happened until Piper snapped in the fourth round and Body Slammed T to get himself disqualified.
Rating: ½*. Just a silly match.
Maybe we’ll have better luck in Chicago? The Rosemont Horizon hosted the second left of the show. Gorilla Monsoon, Gene Okerlund, and Cathy Lee Crosby are the hosts.
Women’s Title: Fabulous Moolah vs. Velvet McIntyre
Velvet missed a Splash from the second rope a minute in and Moolah pinned her. That was the whole match. 59 seconds.
Rating: Dud. No idea what happened there.
Flag Match: Corporal Kirchner vs. Nikolai Volkoff
This lasted 90 seconds. Kirchner caught Freddy Blassie’s cane and smacked him in the face with it before pinning him. And he won the right to wave the American flag after the match. Yes, it wasn’t even a real flag match.
Rating: Dud. No point at all to that.
NFL vs. WWF Battle Royal
Participants: Jimbo Covert, Pedro Morales, Tony Atlas, Ted Arcidi, Harvey Martin, Dan Spivey, Hillbilly Jim, King Tonga, Iron Sheik, Ernie Holmes, Brian Blair, Jim Brunzell, Big John Studd, Bill Fralic, Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart, Russ Francis, Bruno Sammartino, William “Refrigerator” Perry, and Andre the Giant.
This wasn’t terribly interesting, just lots of punching and struggling against the ropes. Andre won, tossing out both the Hart Foundation members at the end. At least Bret got the rub of finishing second?
Rating: *½. Pretty standard battle royal. The NFL guys did fine, all things considered.
World Tag Team Championship: The Dream Team (c) vs. The British Bulldogs
This was the main event of the Chicago show. Also the best match of the night by a pretty good margin. Mostly a classic tag match with the Dream Team controlling and building up to hot tags by the Bulldogs. The finish was a little odd. Dynamite bent down and Davey Boy whipped Valentine into him for a headbutt and the pin. I know Dynamite used the Diving Headbutt as a finisher, but that would have looked a lot better. New tag champions, and the match of the night.
Rating: ***¼. Match of the night by a wide margin.
We head out to Los Angeles for the final leg of the show. Jesse Ventura, Lord Alfred Hayes, and Elvira are our hosts.
Ricky Steamboat vs. Hercules Hernandez
Power against speed. Decent match with Steamboat getting the win the Flying Body Press in eight minutes. Wish they had done the Steamboat/Bret match instead.
Rating: **. Steamboat was just worlds ahead of most guys in the ring at this time.
Uncle Elmer vs. Adrian Adonis
It was only three minutes, but Adonis took some ridiculous bumps for a three hundred pounder. Adonis hit a Forearm off the top for the win.
Rating: *. For Adonis bumping his ass off.
Tito Santana and Junkyard Dog vs. The Funks
If you want entertainment, look up the clip of Honky Tonk Man talking about how JYD was such a bad wrestler Terry Funk quit the WWF rather than work with him more. It’s better than this match. Actually, this match wasn’t terrible. Terry got Power Slammed onto a table on the outside, but recovered to pin JYD after a shot with Jimmy Hart’s megaphone.
Rating: **½. Tag matches were better than singles matches in this era. That’s what I’m learning tonight.
Steel Cage Match for WWF Championship: Hulk Hogan (c) vs. King Kong Bundy
The match can be won only by escaping the cage. I believe this was the first time they used the classic blue bar steel cage, in kayfabe (and probably reality) to hold Bundy’s weight. Bundy crushed Hogan on Saturday Night’s Main Event in January, breaking his ribs. He has Bobby Heenan in his corner tonight.
Hogan’s entrance is great, as he scales the cage on the way in and tears his shirt at the top. He’s psyching out Bundy, showing that he’s agile enough to climb the cage. Bundy works over Hogan’s ribs for the most of the match. He hits a Corner Avalanche, then goes for a second and hits. But Hogan Hulks Up, slams Bundy, hits the Leg Drop, and climbs out of the cage to retain. Match was about ten minutes.
Rating: *½. Nothing special, quintessential Hogan match.
Overall: Weak show. The Bulldogs vs. Dream Team match was good, but not worth wading through everything else. Way too many matches on this card. I think five or six of them were five minutes or less. Would have been much better off cutting the card down to eight matches and giving those eight some time. Not a Wrestlemania I would give a high recommendation to, although I think the three locations thing was fun.