411’s Countdown to WrestleMania 28: WrestleMania 11

March 16, 2012 | Posted by Larry Csonka

Bret Hart had regained his title at WrestleMania X and was ridding high. But it would all end when he lost that title, and come time for WrestleMania XI he was nowhere near the title picture. That would be occupied by Diesel and Shawn Michaels, who just the year prior was opening the show. Lex Luger had gone the opposite direction, from possible world champion to opening tag match. The Undertaker would battle King Kong Bundy as part of his war with the Million Dollar Corporation and Jeff Jarrett would defend his IC Title against former champion Razor Ramon. But none of that would be the main draw, no, that would fall to big man Bam Bam Bigelow. He would battle NFL Hall of Fame star Lawrence Taylor…

* The Allied Powers (Luger and Bulldog) defeated The Blu Twins @ 6:39 via pin
* WWF IC Title Match: Razor Ramon defeated Jeff Jarrett © @ 13:00 via DQ
* The Undertaker defeated King Kong Bundy @ 6:40 via pin
* WWF Tag Team Title Match: Owen Hart and Yokozuna defeated The Smoking Guns to become the NEW WWF Tag Team Champions @ 9:42 via pin
* Submission Match: Bret Hart defeated Bob Backlund @ 9:35 via submission
* WWF Title Match: Diesel © defeated Shawn Michaels @ 20:35 via pin
* Lawrence Taylor defeated Bam Bam Bigelow @ 11:45 via pin

Arnold Furious
BEST MATCH: Diesel v Shawn Michaels [***1/2] It didn’t get to go on last and I certainly made my feelings known about that. I thought LT had no business going on last and that the title match was more important. Although you could argue Taylor drew more fans than an HBK title shot in 1995. You’d be wrong, but you could argue that. Shawn made the most of his title match by getting all of his moves in and stealing the show. It turned him face in the process, which wasn’t the brightest of moves as that wasn’t intended. Shawn & Nash had a way better match the following year at an IYH PPV. Pushing *****, if you can believe that from Nash. This is still about as good as a Diesel title defense was likely to get without help from Bret Hart. Its just not a great match to highlight Wrestlemania. But then it was a bad show.

WORST MATCH: King Kong Bundy v Undertaker [DUD] Another dreadful Undertaker match at Wrestlemania. Bundy made a WWF comeback in late 1994 because they were desperate for names. He lasted about a year but if there’s a match during that run that demonstrates how over the hill he was, it’s this one. He’s extremely sluggish and can’t take any bumps to get Taker over. He ends up jobbing to a freakin’ clothesline. Not even the chokeslam. Awful match.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE SHOW: Pamela Anderson’s tits. They used to be a glorious thing(s) to behold.

MVP OF THE SHOW: Lawrence Taylor . I hated that he went on last but I’ll be damned if LT didn’t try as hard as any celebrity wrestler in the history of celebrity wrestling appearances. And he did it years before Rodman or Leno got involved. I still don’t think it should have gone on last but that shows how bad the WWF was at the time.

OVERALL SHOW RATING: 5.0 – Most of the undercard was mediocre rather than outright bad. Bret-Backlund, Razor-Jarrett and Gunns-Owen/Yoko are all decent little matches. Nothing offensive in there. But the overall vibe of the show is quite depressing. Like the WWF knew they had nothing exciting to do on their biggest show of the year. The best they could do was a few celebrities. In retrospect I would have put Bret over at the Rumble, retain against Shawn here in a better match and keep the belt until Wrestlemania 12 where Shawn would finally get his big win.

Scott Rutherford
BEST MATCH: Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Laurence Taylor [***] The main event hovers around **** but have a look and see that you have Shawn Michaels facing off against Clique cohort Kevin Nash only being marginally better than a football player with no match experience in the ring with a good worker but by no means a miracle worker. Really, L.T and Bam Bam had NO RIGHT to even be a shitty match let along a really good one.

WORST MATCH: Bret Hart vs. Bob Backlund [*1/2] There are technically worse matches on the card (UT/Bundy) but I give it to this boring match because the participants have no good excuse as to why it sucked. Sure the end was stooooopid with Piper taking a noise as an “I Quite” but for the 9 minute before it you should have had two awesome workers putting on a great match. It never clicked like their Survivor Series classic.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE SHOW: Owen Hart and his completely over the top celebration at winner the tag team titles. Once Yokozuna walked out as the mystery partner they may as well have abandoned the match and had the Gunns hand over the titles. Even though this match ended up in the forgone conclusion file, Owen certainly made the most of his first title win and his “proving” he was as good as his brother.

MVP OF THE SHOW: Bam Bam Bigelow – I hope the payday was worth his career because that was what ultimately suffered thanks to this match. However, the true pro that he was he went out and did everything in his power to make this match come off as legit and not expose the business. You could also call Shawn Michaels the anti-MVP who showed in stark contract that using your talent to help ones self only can fuck things up for everyone.

OVERALL SHOW RATING: 6/10 – Not actively crappy but certainly this PPV was under whelming for the most part. A couple of good matches close it out and you had a bunch of so-so matches underneath that with nothing totally terrible either. It’s a PPV that’s just there and nothing else.

Colin Reinhart
BEST MATCH – Diesel vs. Shawn Michaels: [***3/4] A bit of a lackluster ‘Mania that got a nice boost from this world title match even if it wasn’t the actual main event of the show, HBK and Nash worked hard to get this one over and while it’s not on the level of their infamous No Holds Barred match, it is a worthy ‘Mania title match in it’s own right. Really good stuff.

WORST MATCH – Undertaker vs. King Kong Bundy: [DUD] Another horrifyingly bad Undertaker vs. generic monster heel Wrestlemania match here, this one was truly sad to see because of how far gone Bundy was.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE SHOW – LT vs. Bam Bam: While it wasn’t a technical classic or anything, LT actually did a great job in this match and helped put over an angle that at the time was pretty big for the WWF in the mainstream press. Not sure why you’d have the biggest show of the year headlined by a football player, but hey, I’m not Vinnie Mac.

MVP OF THE SHOW – Shawn Michaels: This was the first of a string of Wrestlemania appearances that were good enough for Shawn to coin himself “Mr. Wrestlemania”, and this year he really earned it by busting his ass in the title match.

OVERALL SHOW RATING: 5.0 – Along with 9 this is generally considered the worst of the early Manias here, but there are a few solid matches on the undercard before the celebrity main event so I always had a soft spot for this, but after a great show like Wrestlemania X, yeah it’s hard to recommend this one.

Sean Garmer
BEST MATCH: Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel [***1/2*] – This was pretty good from both men here, Michaels was flopping around everywhere to make Nash look good and Nash did his typical stuff. They pulled out all the stops in this match and I really felt you get the best from both of them. I loved the spot where HBK had it won with the Superkick but Sid actually inadvertently cost his guy the match. There were some lulls in here because Nash obviously doesn’t have the ability to keep up with Michaels. However, it was never anything that hurt the match really, I’m glad there wasn’t much interference either, and they both just got to go out there and perform. I do not understand at all why this couldn’t have been the main event, but whatever. I don’t care if LT has all these football players here for him and all the celebrities are out there. This is still a wrestling show and HBK vs. Diesel should have ended the show, the crowd would still have gone home happy. Either way, the wrestling main event delivered, but it was really the only above average match on this entire card.

WORST MATCH: Razor Ramon vs. Jeff Jarrett [*] – This match had a few things wrong with it. First, there was way too much outside interference from a young Road Dogg and a young X-Pac. The announcers kept talking about Ramon having a bum knee and considering that at the time, Jarrett’s finisher was the Figure Four, it made a whole lot of sense to go after it. Instead, we get Jarrett doing a bunch of silly moves, Ramon doing a whole lot of nothing, and Jarrett does nothing about Ramon’s injured leg until about the end of the match. Then we get a stupid DQ ending because I guess this was the last straw with the constant interference. The match wasn’t terrible, but when Ramon’s only offense is his Fallaway Slam and a bunch of punches and elbows, and Jarrett is carrying the match, that tells you this is going nowhere.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE SHOW: Celebrity Star Power and LT – This was the first Wrestlemania, since Wrestlemania 1, that really went all out on the celebrities and stars. LT was the main attraction and even though he shouldn’t have been in the main event, he delivered in his role. Pamela Anderson and Jenny McCarthy were huge at this point and even the guy from NYPD Blue played a part because the show was big as well. Then you had Salt N Pepa who were a big act in the 90’s hip-hop scene and the football players on the All-Pro team. Anderson and McCarthy played a part in the wrestling main event and the football team was present during the LT main event too. This was the first glimpse of the sports-entertainment direction of WWE and I think it helped this Wrestlemania standout for non-hardcore fans.

MVP OF THE SHOW: Lawrence Taylor – I know Wrestlemania is about wrestling and I thought Shawn Michaels put on a standout performance. However, Lawrence Taylor is still the best celebrity WWE has ever had because he went out there and had a pretty decent match. Bam Bam Bigelow I feel is underrated as a big man, he did a great job of doing enough to make the match interesting. LT actually did some moves and even got on the second rope and did a flying forearm to end it. LT trained for the match, and I think that is a testament to how great of an athlete he was. Sure, the guy has his share of personal problems, but for a celebrity, he looked like he knew what he was doing in the ring.

OVERALL SHOW RATING: 6.0 – The wrestling main event and the celebrity main event delivered, but everything else on the show was a whole lot of nothing. Sorry, I’m not a big Bob Backlund fan, I find his whole ordeal boring. His match with Bret Hart was good but it still wasn’t anything spectacular. There wasn’t anything on this show that was downright terrible, but there wasn’t anything totally outstanding outside of HBK vs. Diesel. This may have had a lot of celebrity involvement, but the wrestling on the show wasn’t memorable. It was an average show built around two matches and thankfully for everyone involved those two matches were good.

-Remember to come back tomorrow for our review of WrestleMania 12…


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Larry Csonka