wrestling / Video Reviews

Kevin’s RetrospectiveMania Series: WrestleMania VII

June 19, 2019 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
WrestleMania VII
WWF WrestleMania VII
March 24th, 1991 | Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California | Attendance: 16,158

This is such an interesting WrestleMania in terms of how we got to this point. The show was originally set for the larger LA Memorial Coliseum. The company said that was canned for security purposes after Sgt. slaughter turned on America, but most people feel it was due to poor ticket sales.
Where will it rank among the rest of the WrestleManias so far? We’ll find out here. 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


The Barbarian and Haku vs. The Rockers ~ Just the kind of match that is perfect for the Rockers. It gives them the big man vs. little man dynamic they thrive in. It helps that Barbarian and Haku were all about playing their roles to perfection. The Rockers got in a fair amount of athletic and fun offense that the crowd ate up. Marty Jannetty took on the role of the face in peril. He was game to bump and his opponents took joy in throwing him around. Shawn’s hot tag got a great response and he came in on fire. You could see a singles star was on the horizon. Shortly after his tag, the Rockers won with a missile dropkick followed by a cross body in 10:32. The best Mania opener to this point. A fun match where fiery underdogs took on big brutes in front of a hot crowd. [***½]


Dino Bravo vs. Texas Tornado ~ It feels like Dino Bravo has been on all of these shows and has yet to make an impression. Texas Tornado got attacked before he could even get his entrance jacket off. Man, his gear was so similar to Ultimate Warrior’s. He weathered a storm of Bravo offense, including a side slam, before applying the CLAW. With Bravo fading, he hit the Tornado Punch to win in 3:11. Mostly a squash to put Tornado over and it wasn’t a good one. [½*]

British Bulldog vs. The Warlord ~ The idea of this match was two power guys going at it. Supposedly, British Bulldog couldn’t break Warlord’s full nelson. In other words, NOBODY EVER BROKE THE WARLORDLOCK. Get it? A Chris Masters reference. Anyway, they played up the power battle early, as it took Bulldog around five tries to knock Warlord down with shoulder blocks. Warlord went to some dull rest holds until Bulldog powered out with shots to the BREAD BASKET! He got put in the full nelson and broke it to a great reaction from commentary. A running powerslam followed and Bulldog won it in 8:13. Better than I expected. It told the story it had to, though it was a bit dull at points. [**½]

WWF Tag Team Championship: The Hart Foundation [c] vs. The Nasty Boys ~ A year after a squash, the Hart Foundation are champs. This was like a lot of Hart Foundation tags. It started pretty well and the fans went mental when the Foundation cleaned house. The middle portion dragged as Bret took the heat. He did a good job selling, but the offense of the Nasty Boys was never even remotely compelling. Once the hot tag to Jim Neidhart came, it picked up again. The Hart Foundation led to a great false finish before Jimmy Hart used the megaphone as a weapon to give his guys the titles after 12:08. A solid tag match that would’ve scored higher had a better tag team been on offense for most of it. The beginning, ending, and Bret’s selling were enough to make it recommendable. [***]

Blindfold Match: Jake Roberts vs. Rick Martel ~ A lot of build for this one. It’s an infamous match that a lot of people hate. I’ve seen reviews in the negative stars for it. There’s next to no action but it’s all about fan participation. They are 100% invested. It’s kind of fun to watch Jake Roberts use their sounds to find Rick Martel. Little spots like Martel accidentally finding Damien were enjoyable. Roberts eventually found him, hit the DDT, and won at the 8:32 mark. A novelty match and nothing more. [*½]


Jimmy Snuka vs. The Undertaker ~ History! It’s the WrestleMania debut of The Undertaker and the start of “The Streak.” Unfortunately, like a lot of early Undertaker Mania matches, it wasn’t any good. Jimmy Snuka was way past his prime and the whole point of this was just to mostly be a squash. Undertaker got off to a 1-0 start with a Tombstone after 4:18. It succeeded in making Taker look like a killer and that’s it. [*]

Retirement Match: Randy Savage vs. Ultimate Warrior ~ Just before the match, Elizabeth was shown in the crowd. Almost immediately, this felt special and different from the rest of the night. Talk about a big fight feel. Every single thing they did was met with incredible anticipation and response from the crowd. Both Randy Savage and Ultimate Warrior tell an amazing story with little things like looks and mannerisms. Sherri kept trying to get involved, but it made sense. Savage knew he was outmatched in terms of sheer power, so he had a plan. And it mostly failed as Sherri continually got thwarted. The drama twists and turns. Sherri accidentally hit Savage with her shoe, but instead of that being where Warrior wins, Savage quickly regained control. In a memorable moment, Savage reeled off FIVE STRAIGHT ELBOW DROPS and Warrior still kicked out. Warrior fired up and hit his finisher, only for Savage to kick out. This was before kicking out of finishers was common, so it came across fantastically. After Savage missed a double axe handle to the outside and crashed on the guardrail, Warrior added three shoulder blocks to win in an emotional 20:46. An incredible match totally built on drama and emotion. It was captivating and the fans ate up every little thing they did. A classic. [****½]


Demolition vs. Genichiro Tenryu and Koji Kaito ~ Following a much needed intermission of interviews, we’re back to the action. This is the bastardized version of Demolition. Crush is in and the awesome theme song is gone. Why even watch them? The crowd didn’t care and the guys in the ring didn’t seem to either. Tenryu got the win with a powerbomb in 4:41. A nothing match. [¾*]

WWF Intercontinental Championship: Mr. Perfect [c] vs. Big Boss Man ~ The idea of this match was that Big Bossman was bigger and tougher than the champion. It gave this the odd dynamic of the heel being the underdog. Of course, Perfect combated his disadvantages by using all sorts of dirty heel tactics. He was really something special and one of the best to ever lace up a pair of wrestling boots. Bossman had his babyface comeback ruined by Bobby Heenan interference, which triggered the arrival of Andre the Giant. As he kept Heenan at bay, Bossman really got going. However, the Heenan Family hit the ring and attacked Bossman to cause a DQ at 10:26. That was quite good. Solid work from both guys up until the cheap finish. [**¾]


Earthquake vs. Greg Valentine ~ Shit. Another extended squash and another that wasn’t even remotely interesting. A distraction win for Earthquake in a terrible 3:16 match. Bad all around. [DUD]

The Legion of Doom vs. Power and Glory ~ In a pre-match interview, the Legion of Doom basically guaranteed they’d run through Power and Glory. They did just that, winning with the Doomsday Device in 0:58. Effective stuff. [NR]


Ted Dibiase vs. Virgil ~ This feud was red hot. Fans love to get behind someone who is treated poorly by a great heel even if they aren’t interesting without that heel (see: Riley, Alex). Roddy Piper was at ringside for Virgil. He had crutches because of a motorcycle accident, or as Heenan put it, “a tricycle accident when his skirt got stuck in the bike chain.” Anyway, the match is really a lot of nothing. Even with Dibiase leading the way, there wasn’t much Virgil could do. The cameraman focused way too much on Piper’s struggles to get up, so they missed the end of the match. As Dibiase kept toying with Piper, he got counted out at 7:25. Mostly dull and with a cheap finish, but it had some decent moments. [*¾]

The Mountie vs. Tito Santana ~ Ah, it’s about that time for another squash. At least somewhat. Tito Santana was treated as the better wrestler, but this was clearly here to get the Mountie over. He won after using the shocker in 1:21. Basically a squash. [NR]


WWF Championship: Sgt. Slaughter [c] vs. Hulk Hogan ~ Given how controversial this angle was, it came as no surprise that the crowd was molten for it. The heat was off the charts. That added a ton to the atmosphere. Hogan started this by beating the hell out of Slaughter. ‘MURICA! He took a Flair bump when he tried going up top that changed the tide. Why would he try a top rope move? While this wasn’t a No DQ match, Slaughter used a steel chair and choked Hogan at ringside without any stoppage from Earl Hebner. After a shot to the skull, Hogan provided us with one of the most obvious blade jobs in history. The bloody face did make for a cool visual while he was in the camel clutch. Hogan survived and HULKED UP. You know where that led. The Leg Drop finished this in 20:22. Surprisingly good. It was a bloody fight and Slaughter on offense was better than expected. [***]

Four matches clocking in with at least three stars and two more at **½ or higher. That’s six matches I’d say are at least solid. Most of the stuff that didn’t work was kept at under five minutes, so it never overstayed its welcome. I appreciate that.

SCORE: 6.5

 


 

Memorability

 


The Macho Man and Elizabeth story. Truly something special and a lot of it is explained at Manias. You have jerk boyfriend at WM 2. Conquering couple standing tall at WM IV. Jealous ex at WM V. Man with his new woman at WM VI. And then this. Elizabeth hopping the guardrail to save Savage from an assault at the hands of Sherri, followed by a tearful embrace and reunion. It is perfect and remains one of the greatest moments in WrestleMania history. The tears were real and they were earned. The rest of the show didn’t feature much memorable outside of Undertaker’s first Mania win but this moment is enough to score high.

SCORE: 8.5

 


 

Historical Significance

 


There are three things that really made this show historic. One was the WrestleMania debut of The Undertaker. Nobody knew it at the time, but they had just witnessed the beginning of something unbelievable. The Streak has begun. The second notable bit is that this marked the final Mania appearance for Andre the Giant. Lastly, small as it may be, this show was the final time that Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels worked a Mania as tag guys before breaking out into singles roles. Throw in another WWF Title victory for Hogan, which made him the second man to become a three time champion, and you’ve got a show with some historical value.

SCORE: 8.0

 


 

Booking Decisions

 


For the most part, I think this show got a lot of their booking decisions right. Up and comers like the Rockers, British Bulldog, Texas Tornado, and The Undertaker won. The Nasty Boys were established as a new top tier tag team, while Hogan winning back the title was the right call. I do think there were missteps, though. A weapon like the shocker used in a relative squash? Demolition losing to a team that was barely around afterwards? A lame DQ finish to the Intercontinental Title match? Not egregious mistakes, but costly ones.

SCORE: 7.0

 


 

Presentation

 


Here’s where the show really struggled. WrestleMania always feels special in a big stadium. This venue looked cheap, especially when compared to stuff like the Skydome. At least Trump Plaza had some aspects that looked nice. The overly patriotic theme was also something I didn’t care for. There were American flags all over and it was way too much. Commentary not being consistent throughout the show was a weird call. When it was Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan together, it worked. But we had guests like Jim Duggan and that was terrible. On the plus side, we did get our first bit of true match graphics. They threw them up on screen a few times.

SCORE: 3.0

 


 

Pacing/Flow

 


As noted earlier, none of the bad stuff on this show overstayed its welcome. Only two matches that didn’t at least get ** went over five minutes and both of those went under ten. That makes for some good pacing. There also wasn’t much in terms of non-wrestling stuff that hurt the flow. However, I do have to point out that 14 matches is too many when a few of them are just to get one guy over. If you’re going to load up on matches, make sure they all matter. That can cause a show to drag.

SCORE: 6.5

 


 

Entertainment

 


Honestly, I feel rather indifferent about this section. This was a case where they didn’t do too much in terms of non-wrestling segments or celebrity involvement. Willie Nelson did a good job singing at the start. People like Regis Philbin and Alex Trebek were used for interview segments. Chuck Norris, Donald Trump, Henry Winkler, and Lou Ferrigno got interviewed in the crowd. It didn’t do much to add or take away from the show, so I was going to split the different and go down the middle. But, the Savage/Elizabeth segment does count as non-wrestling and in this section, so it gets a slight bump.

SCORE: 6.5

 


 

Overall

 


It didn’t look nearly as pretty, but it looks like WrestleMania VII has a slight edge over WrestleMania VI. The only section it didn’t score well on was presentation. Everything else got at least an average score. We got arguably the best card so far from an in-ring standpoint and some truly memorable moments.

TOTAL: 46/70

 

WrestleMania Rankings
1. WrestleMania III – 55/70
2. WrestleMania I – 50/70
3. WrestleMania VII – 46/70
4. WrestleMania VI – 44/70
5. WrestleMania V – 39/70
6. WrestleMania IV – 32/70
7. WrestleMania II – 29/70

 

article topics :

WrestleMania VIII, Kevin Pantoja