wrestling

411’s Countdown to WrestleMania 28: WrestleMania 7

March 12, 2012 | Posted by Larry Csonka

INTRO
WrestleMania VI saw the crowning of the “Ultimate Champion.” But as the year went on the challengers were many, and at the Royal Rumble; with help from Queen Sherri and the Macho King, Iraqi turncoat Sgt. Slaughter defeated The Ultimate Warrior to win the WWF Title. With the title in enemy hands, there was only one person to turn to in order to get the title back. With Hogan challenging for the WWF Title, the Warrior would have unfinished business with the Macho King as they would put their careers on the line. Let’s meet the analysts and break down the show!

* The Rockers defeated The Barbarian and Haku w/Bobby Heenan @ 10:36 via pin
* The Texas Tornado defeated Dino Bravo w/Jimmy Hart @ 3:15 via pin
* The British Bulldog w/Winston defeated The Warlord @ 8:16 via pin
* The Nasty Boys w/Jimmy Hart defeated The Hart Foundation © to become the NEW WWF TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS @ 12:15 via pin
* Blindfold Match: Jake “The Snake” Robert defeated Rick “The Model” Martel @ 8:35 via pin
* The Undertaker w/Paul Bearer defeated Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka @ 4:21 via pin
* Retirement Match: The Ultimate Warrior defeated The Macho King Randy Savage w/Queen Sherri @ 20:47 via pin
* Genichiro Tenryu & Koji Kitao defeated Demolition w/Mr. Fuji @ 4:43 via pin
* The Big Bossman defeated Mr. Perfect w/Bobby Heenan @ 10:45 via DQ
* The Earthquake w/Jimmy Hart defeated Greg “The Hammer” Valentine @ 3:36 via pin
* The Legion of Doom defeated Power & Glory w/[email protected] 1:00 via pin
* Virgil w/Roddy Piper defeated the Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase @ 7:36 via count out
* The Mountie w/Jimmy Hart defeated Tito Santana @ 1:23 via pin
* Hulk Hogan defeated Sgt. Slaughter © to become the NEW WWF CHAMPION @ 20:26 via pin

Arnold Furious
BEST MATCH: Randy Savage v Ultimate WOYAH~! [****1/2] There’s a school of thought that Jim Hellwig never really understood wrestling. That until he faced off with Rick Rude he was completely worthless as a performer and that after that he barely understood the basics of psychology. This match could be a freak then as it’s by far the best match of Warrior’s career in terms of psychology and the most emotional by some distance. Putting careers on the line certainly made for a more entertaining experience and Randy Savage is a machine. He’s so good here that people don’t want him to lose, even though he’s the heel. There’s isn’t any hate for him when he’s lost. People are genuinely sad that they won’t see him again. You could argue Warrior’s match with Rude or Hogan was better but they weren’t. This was Warrior at his most useful and it’s almost all down to the excellence of Savage. I miss him.

WORST MATCH: Jake Roberts v Rick Martel [DUD] Blindfold matches are not hard to execute. They’re all pretty much identical. But they’re never fun to watch. Just two guys stumbling around the ring, pointing and listening for crowd reactions. The idea is to create an interactive experience for the fans. It doesn’t make it any easier to watch on PPV or DVD. Skip it.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE SHOW: The Reunion of Savage & Liz. Do I need to say anymore? It’s such an emotional moment. Savage, having lost his career, gets a shoeing from Sherri (his then manager) and his long lost love and valet Miss Elizabeth jumps the rail to save him. Randy’s realization of what’s happening sends chills down my spine as I write this. Their reunion had fans in tears. It’s almost impossible to get these reactions from fans but this was written to perfection and it’s one of the most famous happenings on any Wrestlemania. Take any wrestling out of the equation and its top, easily.

MVP OF THE SHOW: Randy Savage. Going out with a bang, Savage’s retirement didn’t last but he did drag one of the great Wrestlemania matches out of the Ultimate Warrior. I don’t think there’s anyone else who could have done that. The post-match antics just showcase his skills as a storyteller further. Yes, Liz was a major part of that storyline but its Savage who makes it and Savage who busted his ass for 20 minutes beforehand.

OVERALL SHOW RATING: 6.5 – There is a lot of filler on this card. After the Savage-Warrior match there are 7 matches on the card and only one of them (Hogan-Slaughter) goes over five minutes. You just can’t throw that much crap on PPV and expect it to work. Of course the WWF hadn’t quite perfected the PPV format by this point. The positivity comes largely because of a strong first half with Rockers and Hart Foundation in action. But the WWF crammed 14 matches onto the show. So if variety is your thing, this is your show.

Joel Thomas
BEST MATCH: Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage, ****½. For the first time ever on PPV, the result of a match would determine the fate of a man’s career, as the intense feud between the Macho King and the Ultimate Warrior that originally began in the fall of 1989 came to a satisfying conclusion at WrestleMania VII. By far, the Career Match stole the show with its potent blend of drama, athleticism, and raw emotion as Warrior kicks out of a pin attempt after a total of five flying elbowdrops, but his confidence is shattered when Savage kicks out of his Gorilla Press/big splash finish. After asking his gods for a sign and leaving the ring, Warrior is jumped from behind by Savage and interprets this as a sign from above as he returns to action and puts Savage away for good, theoretically ending his illustrious career. Wanting to go out on a high note, the Macho Man put together a fantastic match and the result was one of the greatest and most satisfying blowoff matches of the modern era.

WORST MATCH: Texas Tornado vs. Dino Bravo, ½*. For the second year in a row, Dino Bravo was involved in the dullest, blandest match on the card and this time he was paired with the inept-but-popular Texas Tornado, a drug-addled shell of the superstar athlete that captured the NWA World Title in 1984. Since winning the Intercontinental Title at SummerSlam ’90, Kerry Von Erich’s stock had plummeted and he was given a token WrestleMania win as Bravo sleepwalked him through a meaningless undercard match. When you have to rely on Dino Bravo to carry a match, you know you’re in trouble. While others might claim that the Blindfold Match between Jake Roberts and Rick Martel was worse, I would argue that unusual encounter was more of a psychological spectacle than an actual wrestling match and the participants accomplished what they set out to do.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE SHOW: The reappearance of Miss Elizabeth and her unexpected reunion with Randy Savage. Another easy Top 5 WrestleMania Moment, the surprise appearance of Elizabeth–shown in the audience just before the Career Match–had viewers around the wrestling world buzzing and added even more emotional impact to the Savage/Warrior showdown as she looked pensive and nervous, watching her former flame fight for his very career. When she came out of the crowd after the match to rescue her Macho Man from the clutches of Sensational Sherri, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house as the First Couple of the WWF were finally reunited. The topper came when Savage held the ropes open for Elizabeth as a symbolic gesture to apologize for the years of mistreatment she had suffered at his hands. Laugh all you want and compare it to a soap opera, but this was a perfectly-realized storyline that resonated with the audience and the public at large. Although he had lost his career and his ill-gotten glory, Savage had regained his integrity and the true love of his life. Following years of bitterness and jealousy, the Macho Man had achieved redemption.

MVP OF THE SHOW: Randy Savage. Just to drive home the point that the Macho King’s Career Match with the Ultimate Warrior and his subsequent reunion with the Lovely Miss Elizabeth was the definitive highlight of WrestleMania VII, I nominate Savage in the category of MVP of the Show, not only for his ability to carry the Warrior to an all-time classic match-up, but also for the range of emotions he displayed throughout his performance. After making his usual arrogant royal entrance with the Sensational Queen by his side, Savage’s false bravado wore down and by the time he left the ring with Elizabeth, he was the WWF’s most sympathetic babyface. Even with all the backstory built into the match and angle, not just anybody would be able to make that transition in one 30-minute segment. On top of that, Savage busted his ass and put everything he had into this match, which he had originally planned to be his last at the time. Fittingly, the Macho Man went down in a blaze of glory.

OVERALL SHOW RATING: 6.5/10 – Although the overall quality of the matches was arguably better than previous years, WrestleMania VII had lost some of its luster and didn’t have the big-time aura of its predecessors. It was hampered by a comparatively weak main event, as Hulk Hogan’s title tilt with Iraqi sympathizer Sgt. Slaughter was hardly in the same league as his epic clashes with Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior, and Andre the Giant, and it was the first time that it felt like the WWF was running out of steam. After last year’s passing of the torch, Hogan was back to reclaim his spot and became the first-ever three-time WWF Champion as part of a dated, gimmicky storyline that was best left in the midcard. The void left by the lack of a main event dream match was capably filled by the Warrior/Savage showdown and the show did have its share of memorable highlights, such as the beginning of The Undertaker’s streak, the first one-on-one match between Ted DiBiase and his former bodyguard Virgil, the final WrestleMania appearance of Andre the Giant, and a surprising Tag Team Title switch from the Hart Foundation to the Nasty Boys. Also notable on the card was the lively tag team opener pitting the Rockers against Bobby Heenan’s new combination of the Barbarian & Haku, more than five years before WCW would pair them up as the Faces of Fear. However, wrestling’s boom period was most definitely over and not even the celebrity star power of Regis Philbin, Alex Trebek, and Marla (Who?) Maples could hide the fact that WrestleMania VII just didn’t feel as special as the first six events.

Colin Reinhart
BEST MATCH – Randy Savage vs. Ultimate Warrior (Retirement Match): [****1/4] Warrior’s best match and one of Savage’s very best, this match truly delivered as a memorable ‘Mania match-up.

WORST MATCH – Earthquake vs. Greg Valentine: [(] Basically nothing more than a squash match for Earthquake, hardly a ‘Mania worthy battle.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE SHOW – Randy Savage and Elizabeth reunite: One of the classic ‘Mania moments and yet another one featuring Randy Savage, his reunion with Elizabeth after falling short to the Ultimate Warrior was the icing on the cake that was that great match and angle.

MVP OF THE SHOW – Randy Savage: Savage once again stole the show, only this time with the Ultimate Warrior. Not to mention he reunited with Liz.

OVERALL SHOW RATING: 5.5. – Outside of the two main events on this show, there really isn’t much to see here, and even the second main event really isn’t worth checking out outside of the cheesy patriotism. This was a strange time in the WWF, they realized they couldn’t rely solely on Hogan anymore but everyone else they tried to give the ball paled in comparison to the business Hogan was doing for them. There’s a certain charm to this show, but wrestling wise it’s definitely skippable if you’ve already seen the Savage/Warrior match.

Sean Garmer
BEST MATCH: Retirement Match: Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Ultimate Warrior [****] – This was damn good, especially for not being the main event. There was a lot of outside action and some interference by Sherry but it made sense because Macho Man was trying hard to avoid his fate. Not to mention, Sherry was trying to protect her investment as she showed in her anger at his loss in the post-match. Warrior did well to keep Sherry out of it and as the face, it was nice to see him be noble by not pinning Savage after Sherry accidentally whacked him with her shoe. Each man had their moments in the match with near falls, with Warrior’s kick out after five flying elbows was the big highlight. Macho Man also got to kick out of Warrior’s finish, which didn’t happen very much back then. Warrior’s reaction where he looks up to the heavens and wonders if this may be the end because he couldn’t pin Savage, was great. The ending was sort of anti-climatic, Warrior hits three shoulder blocks and then puts a foot on Savage for three count. This match obviously doesn’t mean much nowadays because Savage didn’t stay retired, but it was the first of its kind for Wrestlemania and it certainly stands out. The post-match makes this even more memorable because it was a wonderful touching moment between Savage and Elizabeth.

WORST MATCH: Earthquake vs. Greg Valentine [DUD] & The Mountie vs. Tito Santana [DUD] – Who did Greg Valentine piss off to get put in a squash match with Earthquake? It was terrible to see such a great talent get wasted on such a crappy character like Earthquake. The Mountie was also a waste of a character that defeated another great talent WWE underused. Tito Santana deserved to at least win one Wrestlemania match during his WWE tenure, but sadly he was always the fall guy for somebody else. Two matches that could have been left off the card in my opinion and were a total waste of space.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE SHOW: The Macho Man & Elizabeth moment
This was something unique for a wrestling show and it made people cry in the arena because it was a touching moment. These two had been separated for quite a while and the fans got to see them reunite at a Wrestlemania and it once again provided another moment to remember.

MVP OF THE SHOW: Hulk Hogan – I really couldn’t think of another person here that meant more to this PPV. This was during or near the end of the Gulf War and Sgt. Slaughter received many death threats for turning heel and turning into an Iraqi supporter. Hogan really was an “American Hero” and many were really looking to him to beat the snot out of the Iraqi guy. The match was pretty good for a Hogan match-up and he took it to Slaughter as if he was really out there fighting for the nation. Slaughter and Adnad tried every heel tactic in the book to keep the title for Iraq, but the Hulkster was having none of it. Hogan waving the flag at the end was another one of those Wrestlemania moments, because of what was going on in the country at the time, Hogan’s victory was a great symbol for America.

OVERALL SHOW RATING: 8.0 – The was the first complete Wrestlemania, in my view. You really only had three throwaway bad matches on this show and the rest of it was good to great. The Retirement match was great, so was the main event, and the IC title match was a good surprise as well. Even the opener and Bulldog vs. The Warlord wasn’t bad either. I would have preferred if Virgil would have gotten a surprise win instead of the cheap countout, but it still helped further the storyline. I didn’t mind the blindfold match but I know some hate it. We also saw the Wrestlemania debuts of Undertaker and the Legion of Doom at Wrestlemania VII. I thought this PPV delivered and it is probably the best all-around Mania out of the first nine. Wrestlemania 8 may have had two great matches, but the rest of the card falls flat, and the main event ends by a stupid disqualification.

-Remember to come back tomorrow for our review of WrestleMania 8…

TWITTER

Your heart is free. Have the courage to follow it…TO CSONKA’S TWITTER!

http://www.twitter.com/411wrestling
http://www.twitter.com/411moviestv
http://www.twitter.com/411music
http://www.twitter.com/411games
http://www.twitter.com/411mma

article topics

Larry Csonka