wrestling / Video Reviews

Kevin’s RetrospectiveMania Series: WrestleMania 2

April 27, 2019 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
WrestleMania 2
WWF WrestleMania 2
April 7th, 1986 | Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York | Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois | LA Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California | Attendance: 40,085 (combined)

After the historic first WrestleMania, the WWF returned with an ambitious endeavor a year later. Instead of trying to match the atmosphere at the historic Madison Square Garden, they would run the show at three different locations. Each had its own set of matches and main event.

Could this be better than the first WrestleMania? That’s what we’re here to find out. As a reminder, I’m reliving these WrestleManias and rating them on a 1-10 scale in these seven categories. They’ll be ranked by their total score.

• Match quality – Self-explanatory. Will always be the longest section.
• Memorability – How memorable is the show?
• Historical significance – The impact the show had on wrestling
• Booking decisions – Did the event have logical booking decisions for the stories they told
• Presentation – Things like stage setup, video packages, commentary, etc.
• Pacing/Flow – How well is the show laid out? Does it drag or move along smoothly?
• Entertainment – The non-wrestling elements like promos, celebrity interaction, concerts, etc.


Match Quality

Don Muraco vs. Paul Orndorff ~ Look at Mr. Wonderful going from the main event to the opener. It’ll be interesting to think about who else has done that. Don Muraco was associated with Bob Orton Jr., a rival of Paul Orndorff. On commentary, Susan St. James said Muraco was using a form of “slow torture” on Orndorff. Slow torture is a good way to describe this match. They fought outside and both got counted out in 4:14. The crowd hated that, chanting “bullshit.” Meanwhile, I hated this match. The saving grace was that it was short, but it sucked and had nothing of interest happen. [¼*]

WWF Intercontinental Championship: Randy Savage [c] vs. George Steele ~ The WrestleMania debut of the Macho Man. The idea behind this was that Randy Savage was scared of George Steele. Like, he knew he was a better wrestler, but Steele was too wild for him. That meant a lot of stalling and running from Savage, with bits of him outsmarting his challenger. The highlight had to be Savage’s double axe handle to the outside. Surprisingly, Steele kicked out of the elbow. He still lost when Savage used the ropes for leverage on a pin at the 5:10 mark. While the ring work was dull, I appreciated how they kept the story logical to what the feud was built around. [*½]

George Wells vs. Jake Roberts ~ Yeah. This SCREAMS WrestleMania. This felt like a squash. George Wells got in some early offense, but it was all about Jake Roberts. He did most of the damage and won with the DDT in 3:13. Right to the point. It did its job but was bland. [½*]

Boxing Match: Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper ~ This was legitimately scheduled for 10 ROUNDS. Look, I’m all for spectacle in my WrestleMania. I love that Mania aspect. But I don’t want to see boxing and that’s especially true when the boxing isn’t any good. They kind of just hugged each other a bunch. The first round was even, Piper had the advantage in the second, and Mr. T made a comeback in the third. When Piper realized he was in trouble, he shoved the referee and slammed Mr. T to get disqualified in 13:14. It’s difficult to rate this because it wasn’t really a wrestling match. However, it also wasn’t entertaining and I’ll give it the 0. [DUD]

WWF Women’s Championship: The Fabulous Moolah [c] vs. Velvet McIntyre ~ We’ve officially moved from Uniondale to Rosemont. Not off to a good start as Fabulous Moolah dominated and squashed Velvet McIntyre in 1:25. Yawn. [NR]

Flag Match: Corporal Kirschner vs. Nikolai Volkoff ~ I’ve got to admit, this one didn’t sound too good on paper either. It’s another case of America taking down an evil foreign country. It’s wild that WWE still used this kind of angle in the 2010s as a global company. Another super short match as they did some lame brawling and Kirschner won by intercepting a cane from Freddie Blassie at ringside and using it on Volkoff. That ended it in 1:39. Very rushed and very bad. [DUD]

Battle Royal ~A notable match because it featured both WWF Superstars and various NFL players. When it comes to WrestleMania 2, this is always what comes to mind. I loved the black and blue gear for the Hart Foundation, my mom always got a chuckle out of the leotard worn by William “The Refrigerator” Perry, and Andre wowed me as a kid. It marks the in-ring Mania debut for guys like Bret Hart and Bruno Sammartino. Most battle royals follow the same format. Especially in this era. It was a lot of guys just hugging each other and doing false elimination spots. I thought they would have it come down to Andre and Big John Studd to recreate what happened last year. Perry was the star among NFL players and he pulled Studd over and out after getting eliminated by him. I liked that it ended up as the Hart Foundation against Andre. You’d need a 2-on-1 situation to beat him in this environment. Of course, they stood no real chance. Anvil went out with a poorly sold big boot and Andre threw Bret onto him to win in 9:13. You know what? There weren’t many cool spots or anything like that, but it was fun in a novelty sort of way. [**]

WWF Tag Team Championship: The Dream Team [c] vs. The British Bulldogs ~ The one match from this card that I’ve heard get praised in the past. Ozzy Osbourne came out with the British Bulldogs for…um…reasons. Man, it’s wild watching Dynamite Kid because you see a ton of what influenced Chris Benoit. From his offense to his mannerisms. I liked the way this match kind of went against tag formula. The babyface Bulldogs were in control for most of it. That worked because Kid was exciting in the ring and Smith brought a bunch of power offense that popped the crowd. I didn’t like how flat the finish was, with Kid getting the pin after the champs collided into each other at the 13:03 mark. The best match in the short history of Mania to this point and easily the best thing Beefcake was ever part of. [***½]

Hercules vs. Ricky Steamboat ~ We’ve officially moved over to Los Angeles for the final stage of the show. This was something of a power vs. athleticism battle. Ricky Steamboat brought all that babyface fire we love from him. His bits on offense were quite good. Hercules, while generally kind of an underappreciated power guy, didn’t do much for me here. There were a few awkward exchanges that made this a less than ideal matchup. Steamboat won with a flying cross body in a decent 7:27. There were some okay ideas in there, it just didn’t come together. Still better than most of the show. [**¼]

Adrian Adonis vs. Uncle Elmer ~ It’s an Uncle Elmer match. Do you think it was any good? With no rights to “Don’t Go Messin’ With a Country Boy,” the WWE Network just played generic banjo music for Elmer’s entrance. It went on forever. The saving grace of this match was Adrian Adonis. That dude bumped like a madman for Elmer. He put in the effort. Elmer didn’t. He missed a splash and Adonis won with a headbutt in 3:01. At least it was short. [¾*]

The Funk Brothers vs. Junkyard Dog and Tito Santana ~ Tito Santana and JYD feel like a team you’d see on a Saturday Night’s Main Event episode. Like Adonis earlier, one man in this match seemed out to make it work more than the rest. Terry f’n Funk. He threw his body around and even took a wild bump to the outside and onto the concrete floor. Seriously, where was the padding? ECW before ECW. Santana got put in the face in peril role before JYD got to come in and clean house. Those are roles both guys make the most sense in. The heels used the help of Jimmy Hart’s megaphone to knock out JYD and win in 11:42. Solid little tag match. [**¾]

WWF Championship Steel Cage Match: Hulk Hogan [c] vs. King Kong Bundy ~ Hulk Hogan came in with his ribs taped due to an attack from King Kong Bundy. Judging by the recap, they seemed to do a great job booking Bundy as a legit threat. Hogan came out hot in his quest for vengeance. He busted out the cheap tactics babyface Hogan was known for. Bundy took over and peeled off the rib tape like a good heel. I think Hogan did well in terms of selling Bundy’s offense instantly, but he would quickly get up to prevent him from escaping and shrugged off the pain. When Bundy hit the splash, the fans reacted like Hogan was dead. Of course, he Hulked up and made the comeback before escaping the cage to retain in 10:15. About as good as you could have expected here. They told a fine story, but Hogan’s selling was inconsistent and Bundy’s offense was boring. [**]

Honestly, that got off to a terrible start. After six matches there were two DUDs and the highest rating was *½. That’s like, worst show ever territory. Thankfully, the second half of the show was an improvement. The Tag Title match is the best in Mania history through two shows and four other matches got at least two stars. It isn’t a show that wowed me by any means, but I was surprised that it picked up and ended up surpassing the first Mania in this category by a bit.

SCORE: 3.5




Two things come across as really memorable on this show for me. One is the battle royal and the other is the novelty of running the show in three different venues. And the latter didn’t go over well, so it was never done again. Other than that, this is a mostly forgettable show. You seldom hear this brought up when people are discussing the greatest WrestleManias ever and it doesn’t include anything I would consider a special moment.

SCORE: 2.0



Historical Significance


Ultimately, this show didn’t seem to have much of an impact on anything. I researched the aftermath and most of it is insignificant. The champions moved on with their titles, while Andre The Giant took his battle royal win and began slowing down his consistent in-ring appearances. However, that all could have happened without this show. It is one of the most insignificant WrestleManias ever.

SCORE: 2.0



Booking Decisions

I’d say most of this show was handled well. I thought the Bulldogs winning the Tag Titles was the highlight. They were way over, got the big babyface victory, and it was a nice turn on how the heels won the titles a year earlier. Andre going over in the battle royal, Savage retaining the Intercontinental Title, and Hogan winning in the main event were all good choices. Some of the lesser matches had less than stellar or unimportant results. That finish to Piper/Mr. T felt lame and the same goes for the opener.

SCORE: 7.0





Though a year older, this WrestleMania lacked some of the presentation aspects that worked in the first. For example, the microphone sounded rough at points during “America The Beautiful.” That’s no Bueno. Intercutting it with random shots of the country was also way too heavy-handed, especially when it ended with a picture of Hulk Hogan. The usual commentators like Vince McMahon and Gorilla Monsoon were reliable, but the celebrity guests didn’t do well and came across very awkwardly. I liked the way they built up the main event. Lots of talk about how it’s a special cage to house Bundy’s strength and selling the hell out of Hogan’s injury with a special interview. A fair amount of the other promos and interviews didn’t click.

SCORE: 5.0





I praised the first WrestleMania for mostly flowing smoothly. They would do a match, interviews with the next set of competitors, and then the match. Wash, rinse, repeat. Here, a lot of interviews overstayed their welcome and it made parts of the show drag. That’s a problem because the in-ring stuff was pretty rough for most of the show. The show didn’t feel overly long, but it took me a few tries to finish it because I found myself bored at points.

SCORE: 4.5





Ray Charles singing “America The Beautiful” was undoubtedly a step up from Mean Gene singing the previous year. I liked the little bits like having Joan Rivers as a guest ring announcer and Daryl Dawkins as the guest judge for the boxing match, as well as having the NFL players in the battle royal. It was a way to get celebrities involved in the flow of the show. That did mean that there wasn’t a lot of non-wrestling related stuff to focus on. The stars who had to talk, like the commentators, were pretty bad.

SCORE: 5.0





While I do feel this was a slight uptick from the first WrestleMania in terms of match quality, everything else lacked. It didn’t have that special feel we got from the original. The three venue idea was interesting, but it didn’t work. It’s one of those WrestleManias that rarely gets talked about because nothing of note happened. It’s not a memorable show and remains one of the most unimportant Manias in history.

TOTAL: 29/70


WrestleMania Rankings
1. WrestleMania 1 – 50/70
2. WrestleMania 2 – 29/70

article topics :

Wrestlemania 2, Kevin Pantoja