1st Mania for Vince & Lawler commentating, end of an era, no Monsoon or Heenan, def. a lack in quality of broadcasting. WWE's celebrities have always been riding their 15 minutes of fame- Cy Sperling of the Hair Club for Men? Really? But this one's in MSG, so it does have a special feeling to it. Let's see if that's just too much cheesecake in my stomach.
1) Owen Hart v. Bret Hart- 9
2) Bam Bam Bigelow/ Luna Vachon v. Doink the Clown/ Dink- 3
3) Randy Savage v. Crush (Falls Count Anywhere Match)- 4
4) Alundra Blayze v. Lelani Kai (WWF Women's Title Match)- 3
5) The Quebecers v. Men on a Mission (WWF Tag Team Title Match)- 4
6) Yokozuna v. Lex Luger (WWF Title Match w/ Mr. Perfect as Guest Referee)-4
7) Adam Bomb v. Earthquake- 1
8) Razor Ramon v. Shawn Michaels (WWF Intercontinental Title Ladder Match)- 7
9) Yokozuna v. Bret Hart (WWF Title Match w/ Roddy Piper as Guest Referee)- 3
Our opener could be categorized as perhaps the greatest technical opening match that has ever taken place. Don't think either guy could know each other better; also see Owen's future character for years to come develop in a big way here. Every fall somehow they managed to get a near fall situation out of that the crowd bought and paid for. High German on Bret was great; then followed by the reversal into a tombstone was as smooth as anal gel; guess since Taker's not on the show they can use it. They pull out every pinfall attempt in the book during the middle part. Owen knows so many ways to work over the knee, really well schooled in that area and as far as selling pain, don't think Bret has a match. OH STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKES! Owen outdid Bret on the sternum turnbuckle bump- please re-watch this and see! Bret wasn't as limited as people think, had a fantastic real looking piledriver and loved to take a chance on that top rope superplex. Ending blew minds and loads then and still has a resonant quality now. Absolute classic- structure, emotion and actual wrestling. Next is our "mixed" tag after we stop over at Bubba Clinton's Presidential Box where they asked IRS more questions than the Prez. Huh??? Anyways, Doink had a good punch and pulls off the Mickie James DDT pretty well too. For comedy, Luna and Dink have some good spots, i like that she doesn't get all fake with it too; when she swings at him, she catches the little shit and doesn't lay him down nice and easy on slams. Kind of wanted to see both of these matches singlely. Ending and aftermatch turned into a badly planned community theater production of a bad Benny Hill romp.
Savage pinned w/in 1 min? from a sick guardrail shot to the throat. Rules of this match define logic; need an example? Savage hits the flying elbow for a sure 3 count, but first has to roll the large meathead outside to the floor, where he gets the 3. But all Crush has to do is stand up and roll back in, which incredibly takes the whole minute to do so. Gotta love that crumpled body sell of Savage's- sure we'll see plenty on his upcoming DVD. Ending didn't come off how they planned, Crush was too much babyfat to be held up by that dinky rope that could have held a fishing boat to a dock. Nice moment for Randy though.
Kai is hideous, but enjoy the Nakano-like eye makeup that no woman wears regularly. Bull should have had her own Revlon line. Kai didn't take it lying down nor show her age, which i believe was about 49 at the time (tongue in cheek, no, not her tongue!) She was really aggressive, but a spin kick slowed that down. Vince snickered when mentioning she was at Mania 1- a German wins but looks like a Play-Do figurine compared to the Statue of David next to Owen's from the opener.
Tag match was fine for what it was, but had some flaws. Pierre had Indy Wrestling Syndrome because he kept doing nonsensical flips every chance he got. MOM on offense aren't impressive in the least, but Mabel knows how to throw his weight around pretty well; liked his belly to belly suplex. Pace stayed quick though and their double team move where Mo rides Mabel's back like a dying bear down for a splash was fun in a mid-90's kind of way. Yoko and Lex stuck to a very safe formula which was probably best for them, but circumstances considered, I thought it came off better than Yoko and Bret later on. Luger got hot off the bat with big moves and Yoko had improved leaps and bounds from Mania 9. He always does his rest hold drawn out spots for much of the middle which was no different here, with the nerve hold. Built up Lex drawing power from the fans but the finish came quickly after that, didn't get them built up enough. Mr. Perfect provided foil for Lex screw job and the crowd was actually chanting "bullshit" which Vince delightfully pointed out to stroke his puppetmaster ego. Earthquake squashered Bomb rather quickly which was just a finale to a Wimppleman-Fink fued that I think lasted about 10 years in the company and never earned a single dollar.
Okay, so to me, to do a Ladder Match right, you need several components: 1) is to actually seem like you're trying to accomplish the goal, which is to climb the ladder to win something; not to just climb up and halfhearthedly swipe at the belt or whathave you, but to make an effort. 2) to use the ladder in either high risk or painful ways; doesn't have to be erected into a complicated structure, just a good old fashioned shot to the back will do or a simple splash from the top of it. 3) Tell a story; the struggle to gain the prize is the story so make sure it's conveyed to the audience; with the notion of these 8 person Ladder Matches at Mania's of late and 10 men TLC matches, the art of storytelling can be lost, or never attempted just in place of a wild brawl with some big spots, which are fun once in a while too but they're probably not going to be remembered. This match is still very well done and it was fun to relive it; sure crazier stuff has been done with the format now, but the crux of the match is still intact to make it a Mania classic. Hall's punches are like skin covered shotguns going off on Shawn's face. Hall is also just giving his body for abuse, takes a deathly back drop outside, repeated ladder shots to the back. They use the ladder mostly for a weapon not a set piece which I like. Michaels also puts on a show, making his stuff a little more bumpy than Hall's by the end, but I liked Razor's performance more, thought it was the solidarity that the match needed even though, attributed to a slingshot outside, where Shawn obviously was calling a lot of the spots here. The big desperation slam off the top should have ended Shawn's career even earlier and the sprint to the end was done well.
Really disappointed with this match overall, I think maybe Mania 9 was even better. It's not really their faults though; both men already gave most of what they had in earlier matches, Bret in an all time classic with Owen and Yoko in a mostly forgotten Title match. Bret just plays wounded animal mostly, with not a lot of fire on his comebacks. Yoko's instincts had improved leaps and bounds, can do a cutoff at the right moment. The crowd was deflated from the previous match, both men were gassed and the pace was slower than waiting for Keith Richards to die. Bret took a legdrop that should by all accounts have forced him to facial reconstruction and also a nice belly to belly right at the end. Yoko's near fall kick outs are never near enough to make you believe them; just too much mass. Such a silly ending too, almost as insulting as the salt finish from the previous year; Bret doesn't do anything to win the match; Yoko just falls off the buckle from his own stupidity before the Banzai splash, which probably never happened before or after and Bret rolled him up. Historic title change but i think the double duty really took it out of both men, who otherwise are top notch performers.