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411 Video Review: Wrestlemania 1

April 9, 2002 | Posted by Evan Zivin

– Welcome wrestling fans to the newest part of the 411Wrestling.com, the WrestlinGod’s Video Review by me, Brian Cole. This will be the first in a long series of video reviews that will hopefully some day cover every video in our archive. These reviews will cover every nook and cranny of each video. I also threw in * ratings, yeah I know it’s not original but it’s something to do. At the bottom is a summary of the show and my recommendation on the video.

– Up first, the first ever WWF WrestleMania emanating live from New York City’s Madison Square Garden with a drawing of 22,000 fans and a gate of $502,000. This event was the first of it’s kind delivered by the WWF and has since skyrocketed as the most famous Super Card held annually. With Pay Per View just getting its name out there, WrestleMania was viewed through Closed Circuit Television around the country as the major focus of revenue. CCTV seemed to work well for the McMahon’s as they drew over 380,000 fans to the venues to view this event making a little over 3.5 million dollars in the process (thanks to good friend & fellow Ohioan, Jason Campbell, for the stats. The very first WrestleMania was held on March 31, 1985 and kicked off at 8:00 PM est. time. So without further a due, I present to you the very first WG Video Review and WrestleMania 1, WWF Home Video Version.

– Live from New York…it’s WrestleManiaaaaaa !!!

– Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse Ventura introduce themselves as tonight’s commentators. The Fink then kicks off the show introducing “Mean” Gene Okerlund to sing the National Anthem. After a crowd of boo’s Gene sings and we get on with the show.

– Ah, a quick Tito Santana interview that is followed by his opponent in the very same interview area, pretty obvious Kaye Fabe didn’t attend this show “wink wink”. The Executioner exclaims he’s going to work on Santana’s leg, way to tell your opponent what you’re gunning for moron.

MATCH #1 – TITO SANTANA vs. MASKED EXECUTIONER (BUDDY ROSE)

Apparently the storyline goes this version of the Executioner is undefeated which is probably because Rose never worked as the Executioner before. Buddy is looking to be around the 218 pound mark here which he claims to still weigh even though he has gained a few hundred pounds. Looks like the “Blow Away” diet plan was working back in his hey day. Rose is used as a jobber here so that explains the mask. Anyhoo, the match starts off with a tie up & the Executioner with a headlock, Santana shoots him off and a crisscross begins. The Executioner is caught with a backdrop and then dropkicked out of the ring by Tito. Santana gains control with a side headlock take over and nearly gets the pin. After the break the Masked Rose suckers Tito into the corner with a turnbuckle smash. Rose sends Tito off the ropes and into a knee to the stomach. Rose lives up to his interview now working on Tito’s knee. Santana turns this into a cradle of sorts for a 2 count and then works on the Executioner in the corner. Tito went for his patented Mexican Jumping bean but is back dropped up & over the masked man. Rose climbs to the top rope but is caught & pressed off by Tito. Mr. Arriba goes for the splash but catches the knees. Rose begins to work on Tito’s leg again but thanks to his interview Santana knew what was up and sent Buddy to the outside. Tito then brought the Playboy back into the ring with a body slam followed by a flying forearm. Santana then slaps on the Figure Four and gets the submission win in only a few short minutes. The winner…Tito Santana (Rating: ј*)

– S.D. Jones cuts a promo (gotta’ love that accent) this is followed by a King Kong Bundy interview in the same staging area.

MATCH #2 – KING KONG BUNDY (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. S.D. JONES

Ok, this match is just the second in a series of jobber matches. With Bundy freshly brought into the WWF he needed to be pushed big time before feuding with the Hulkster. So who better to put him over than a man who has jobber more times than Al Snow, that man was Special Delivery Jones. The bell rings, Jones runs into Bundy and is thrown into the corner. Bundy follows with an Avalanche and a Splash and it’s over. The Fink exclaims this was a 9 second record time pin fall, which is untrue. The match is more around the 24 second time frame but hey this rant was longer than the match. All hale the greatest jobber of all time. Your winner King Kong Bundy (Rating: Dud)

– Woooo, Matt Borne cuts a promo wearing some styling shades, how cool. Ricky Steamboat follows with an interview himself. Ricky claims he came to this area to develop an attitude, sorry Dragon but that never worked your just to nice of a guy.

MATCH #3 – RICKY STEAMBOAT vs. “MANIAC” MATT BORNE

All righty, the final in a series of jobber matches… Steamboat takes control early following the tie up sending Borne against the ropes and hits a knife-edge chop. The Dragon follows it up with a snap mare into a reverse chin lock. Ricky goes into a standing side headlock, Borne counters with a back suplex but Steamboat rolls over back into the headlock. Eventually, the Dragon throws in a atomic drop and back into the headlock. Borne counters with an inverted atomic drop. The Maniac sends Steamer into the corner but is caught with a boot and a middle rope chop. Ricky goes right back into the standing headlock, this time Borne counters with a belly to belly suplex out of the corner. Matt follows that up with a textbook suplex but only gets a 2 count. Steamboat returns with several karate chops and drops Borne. Ricky now delivers a back suplex and a swinging neck breaker. The Dragon works on Borne’s neck dropping a chop and a knee into Matt’s throat. Steamboat delivers a double thrust chop and hits the flying cross body

press for the win. The winner of the match, Ricky Steamboat. (Rating: Ѕ*)

– Bruno & David Sammartino talk (I leave the room). I return and now Beefcake & Johnny Valiant are talking some more non sense and Beefcake makes a fart noise into the mic.

MATCH #4 – DAVID SAMMARTINO (w/father Bruno) vs. BRUTUS BEEFCAKE (w/Johnny V.)

All right, hopefully I make it through this match. Beefcake is green and David Sammartino is one of those great second generation superstars that suck quite like Erik Watts and David Flair. With Bruno in his corner, David still barely got a pop but Bruno was over so that’s a plus. Here we are David gets a job via Bruno and Brutus gets a job via The Hulk. That’s right…Neither man deserves to be on this card but I mean hey when you’re related or suck ass to a big name it pays off. Brutus teases the tie up a couple times and the two finally tie up. David slaps on a go behind reversed by Bruti. Beefcake attempts to ride David but falls out of the ring. Tie up again, David with a hammerlock into a front face lock. Brutus gets to the ropes and the hold is broke. David locks on a standing arm bar but Beefcake goes for a body slam. David holds on and rolls it over into an armdrag & armbar (glad to see Bruno taught him at least one move). Beefcake with a side headlock take over but David fights up. Brutus is shot off the ropes and into a drop toe hold. Sammartino applies a double toe hold now on the Beefer and then into a spinning toe hold. Brutus breaks the hold with a thumb to the eye followed by a backdrop. Beefcake delivers some forearms and a body slam for good measure (glad to see Hogan taught Brutus one of his 3 infamous moves). Beefcake works on David in the corner & goes for an Irish whip. David reverses & hits a backdrop followed by a suplex for a 2 count. Brutus nails David with a head butt to the mid section and sends Sammartino out of the ring. Johnny Valiant body slams David on the concrete, which brings in Bruno who works over Luscious Johnny V. Finally, the crowd has erupted and all it took was a couple shots by Bruno. Why Bruno wasn’t booked in the first place is beyond me. Needless to say with all 4 men now in the ring the result of this match is a double DQ. (Rating: Ѕ*, at least they tried)

– Greg Valentine speaks out followed by the JYD.

MATCH #5 – Intercontinental Champ GREG VALENTINE vs. JUNK YARD DOG

Greg “The Hammer” is introduced with manager Jimmy Hart in the corner. “Another One Bites the Dust” hits and out comes challenger for the IC Title, the JYD. Dog goes to work on Valentine’s arm with what Monsoon called an “arm twister”. Greg shoots JYD off the ropes & goes for a boot but JYD catches the foot, spins Greg around and delivers a right hand. Valentine drops the Dog but misses an elbow and is head butted out of the ring. Back inside, a test of strength applied and the Hammer appears to be winning, Greg shoots off the ropes and delivers a forearm to the back of the neck drooping JYD. Valentine begins to work on JYD’s right leg setting up for the figure four leg lock. Dog begins to over sell dragging his body across the ring to get to the ropes. Valentine attempts the Figure Four but is kicked off by the Dog. Greg backs JYD into the corner but the Dog fights himself out with several head butts. Jimmy Hart gets up on the apron to distract the referee Dick Kroll but gets the JYD’s attention instead. The Dog moves as Valentine charges in which causes Greg to nail his own manager. As JYD came after Valentine, the Hammer scooped JYD’s legs up from underneath him and went for the cover getting the pin with his feet on the ropes. The decision is annulled after Valentine’s enemy at the time, Tito Santana, comes out and tells the referee Valentine cheated to win. The match was restarted and The Hammer was reluctant to get back in the ring and found himself outside for the 10 count. Your winner via count out, The JYD. (Rating: ѕ*, not a lot of wrestling but the match was good for what it was)

– Nikolai Volkoff & the Iron Sheik attempt to speak English, yuh ha lah. This is followed by a young team of Barry Windham & Mike Rotunda with Mario himself, Lou Albano.

MATCH #6- WWF Tag Champs U.S. Express vs. Nikolai Volkoff & Iron Sheik

Russia #1, Iran #1, USA, hock tooowa…Thanks Sheiky. And here they come, the champions, U.S. Express (Rotunda & Windham) to Bruce Springstein’s “Born in the USA”. Fred Blassie & Lou Albano are the respective managers in this match. Sheik with a side headlock and is shot off by Rotunda. Sheik shoulder blocks Mike down Sheik goes for another off the rope attack but Rotunda gets in a monkey flip and follows it up with series of moves, the hip toss, the body slam and the side headlock take over. Windham is tagged in and delivers an elbow to the Sheik and drops a leg to the mid section. Windham with a standing headlock and is backed into enemy territory. Nikolai grabs Barry and Sheik hits the rope. As Sheik runs in Barry moves and HOLY SHIT!!! The Iron Sheik with a DROPKICK!!!, but to his own partner. Okay this was already done tonight in the last match, come up with something new guys. Windham with a quick tag to Rotunda who hits and moves and then makes another quick tag right back to Barry. Sheik at this point had tagged in Nikolai. Barry rings the arm of Nikolai and tags back in Mike. Mike allows Volkoff to tag the Sheik back in. Sheik comes in and hits a backdrop on Rotunda (has their been a match where the backdrop wasn’t utilized yet other than S.D.’s match?). Sheik gets a 2 count and applies the abdominal stretch. Mike eventually counters this with a hip toss and both men make hot tags. Windham goes to work on Nikolai with several right hands and a dropkick. Windham delivers his finisher, the bulldog but the Sheik stops the count. All 4 men are in the ring now as Rotunda dropkicks the Sheik to the outside. As the ref gets Mike out of the ring, Sheik hits Windham from behind with Fred Blassie’s cane and Nikolai covers for the win. Your winners and new WWF Tag Team Champions Nikolai Volkoff & The Iron Sheik. (Rating: ѕ* Far too quick to rate any higher)

– An interview with new WWF Tag Champs The Sheik & Volkoff. Gorilla & Jesse talk for a couple minutes followed by John Studd & Bobby Heenan talking about the Body slam match. Damn shame Andre is the only guy on the entire card that doesn’t get an interview, those things rule.

MATCH #7 – Andre the Giant vs. Big John Studd “$15,000 Slam Match”

Funny how it was Studd’s $15,000 vs. Andre’s career yet it was just titled the $15,000 Slam Match. Almost a given on whose winning. They say Andre had a lot of control backstage at this time and hated few men but one of them was Studd. This comes to play as Andre allows Studd very little to no offense this entire match. Studd starts off pounding Andre in the corner, but the true Giant no sells and sends Studd out of the ring. Andre chokes Studd out in the corner and hits some butt rams in the corner. Studd fights his way out of the corner and goes for a slam to no avail. Andre puts on a bear hug and the crowd goes nuts chanting “SLAM!” repeatedly. Studd breaks out of the hold but Andre begins to deliver right hands & a head butt. Andre shoots John off the ropes and Studd goes for a boot, but Andre caught the boot and sends Studd into the corner. Andre begins kicking away at Studd, picks up Big John and slams him like nobodies business. Just like that this match is over and the crowd goes nuts. Andre begins throwing the money to the crowd & Heenan sneaks from behind & steals the money. Andre continues to celebrate. Your winner and the only true giant, Andre the Giant. (Rating: Ѕ* just because Andre brings life to all of his matches)

– Wait a minute I spoke to soon, woooo, Andre the Giant does an interview…this was a pretty sweet WrestleMania after all. Here we go Cyndi Lauper & Wendy Richter cut a promo. Moolah & Lei Lani Kai follow with an interview of their own.

MATCH #8 – Women’s Champ LEI LANI KAI vs. WENDY RICHTER

No offense, I’ll still call it down the middle but man I hate women’s wrestling unless it’s Japanese. BORING!!! Tie up by the two and Kai fires Richter across the ring, Richter comes back with a take down & a grounded hammerlock. Kai comes back with an armbar of her own, working on Wendy’s arm. A hand full of hair by Kai brings Wendy back down to the mat. Wendy fights her way back up but Kai grabs the hair and delivers a snap mare. Richter comes back with a body scissors and another take down for a 2 count. Thanks to Wendy’s long hair, Kai takes Richter down again but Wendy comes back kicking Kai to the mat. The girls start a catfight and almost fall out of the ring as Lauper pushes them back in. Kai delivers a boot but Richter fires back with a fireman’s carry of sorts for another 2 count. Kai gets up and hits a back breaker and nearly gets the win. Kai with a body slam and goes up for a top rope body press. Richter attempts to use momentum but that doesn’t work so Kai just rolls on over for her and Wendy gets the 3 count. Your winner & new Women’s Champion Wendy Richter. Richter & Lauper continue to dance around like mid 80’s chicks. (Rating: It was ok for an 80’s women’s match I give it a *)

– Argh, Cyndi Lauper screeches along with Wendy Richter backstage about the win.

– It’s time for the Main Event of the night. I wish they had feud video packages back then. Out first is special guest ring announcer, the late great Bill Martin, a baseball legend. Out next, yet another late star to play Time Keeper, a musician be the name of Liberace who dances with the Rockets, and you wonder why people didn’t know he was gay. Here he comes, the Special guest outside referee, the Greatest Boxing Heavyweight Champion of all time, Muhammad Ali. Oh yeah, the inside ref for the match is Pat Patterson. Patterson & Liberace in the same building, yeah I could make a few dozen jokes but it’s way to easy.

MATCH #9 – HULK HOGAN & MR. T vs. RODDY PIPER & PAUL ORNDORFF

Piper & Orndorff are out first with a whole host of bag pipers & drum players, pretty sweet for 1985. Bob Orton escorts Rod & Paul to the ring. Out next, lead to the ring by corner man Jimmy Snuka, the team of Hulk Hogan & Mr. T to “Eye of the Tiger” as you see several of the WWF superstars dressed in street clothes in the aisle way including the Iron Sheik, still no sign of Kaye Fabe J. The crowd is so hyped it sends chills down my spine to this day. Ok, and the homosexual Liberace rings a gay little bell and we’re underway. It looks like we’re going to start off with Hogan & Orndorff but Piper & T are tagged in. Piper spits on T, T slaps Piper, Piper waste locks T to the mat and rides him for a minute before T gets him off. Tie up and T shoves Piper back. Lock up again and T goes into a fireman’s carry and drops Roddy to the mat and we got all 4 men in the ring for a wild brawl. Piper & Orndorff retreat to the outside and are nearly counted out before the duo return to the ring. All 4 men back in and Piper & Wonderful collide. Hogan with an Irish whip on Piper & follows in with a clothesline followed by an atomic drop. Hogan tags in T and they deliver a double clothesline on Roddy. Mr. T slams Piper followed by a hiptoss on Orndorff. T drops Wonderful and sends Piper into Hogan’s knee. The Hulk is tagged back in and Hogan boots Piper over the top rope to the floor. Orndorff nails Hogan from behind and sends him out of the ring. This enables Piper to nail Hulk with a chair on the outside. Piper brings Hogan back into the ring and a double team by the heels in the corner with a double atomic drop. Muhammad Ali gets in the ring to restore some order. Orndorff in the mean time is tagged in and hits a suplex on Hogan. Piper comes in & holds Hulk while Paul hits an elbow from the top rope and then a back breaker. Paul tries for a flying something or another but misses. Orndorff tags in Piper and Hogan makes the hot tag as well. The heel team takes over on Mr. T using a double team. Piper rides T on the mat with a front face lock. T powers out & tags in the Hulkster. Hogan hits the double noggin’ knocker. Hogan with a side headlock on Paul but Wonderful turns it into a back suplex. Bob Orton enters the ring but is quickly head butted out by the Superfly. With the ref distracted in the corner, Orndorff slaps Hogan in the full nelson & Orton climbs to the top to hit Hulk with the cast. Hogan moves and Orton hits Wonderful instead thus beginning Paul’s baby face turn. Snuka sends Orton back out of the ring and Hogan makes the cover on Paul for the win. Your winners Hulk Hogan & Mr. T (Rating: Taken into fact Hogan & T can’t wrestle I give this match * 3/4)

– After the match Piper & Orton leave ringside with Paul still unconscious in the ring. After Paul comes to he is confused and wants to nail the Hulkster, T, Snuka etc… Orndorff thinks otherwise and leaves the ring clutching his head. Hogan & T continue to celebrate with the celebrities.

– Hulk Hogan, Jimmy Snuka & Mr. T do a quick interview backstage and Gorilla & Jesse wish us goodnight as we watch video stills of the show while listening to the “Beverly Hills Cop” theme.

– SUMMARY: 3 Jobber matches, a woman’s match, a body slam competition aren’t my ideal matches on a super card. The Hogan match was good for what it was, definitely the best match on the show due to time restraint on the other matches. Valentine & JYD was a plain out kick & punch fiasco. The Tag Title match had potential, as did the Steamboat/Borne match given more time. David Sammartino should be shot and Beefcake is just Beefcake. But hey, I got to see Bruno, Andre, Piper, Windham & Rotunda so I’m a happy camper as long as I don’t have to sit through that again. Seriously, that video moves a lot quicker when you’re keeping score, thank God.

Match of the Night: Hulk Hogan & Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff

Overall Rating: *

– RECOMMENDATION: For historical purposes or to complete your collection I highly recommend this video, but if you’re looking for work rate and entertaining ring action there isn’t a match on here I’d rate over 2*’s. Eh, but what do you expect from the boys up north in 1985.

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Evan Zivin
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