August 12, 2009
Steve Riddle

Wrestlemania 2
April 7th, 1986
Nassau Coliseum
Uniondale, New York
Guests in order of appearance: Ray Charles, Susan St. James, Joe Frazier, Lou Duva, Joan Rivers, G. Gordon Liddy, Darryl Dawkins, and Cab Calloway

Actual Show:

We see the opening intro to Wrestlemania 2. Vince McMahon welcomes us to Wrestlemania 2 and introduces his broadcast partner Susan St. James.

Ray Charles performes “America the Beautiful”.

We go to Mean Gene Okerlund in Chicago and he hypes the battle royal. We go back to New York for an interview with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.

1. “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff and The Magnificant Muraco (w/ Mr. Fuji) wrestle to a double countout at 4:43.

WM Debut #1: Don Muraco trained in his native Hawaii before coming to the AWA. After wrestling across the USA and Canada, he came to the WWF in 1981. He won the Intercontinental Title on two occasions, holding it for a combined over 300 days. His biggest feud came with “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka, which culminated in a classic steel cage match in Madison Square Garden.

WM Debut #2: Mr. Fuji started his career as a famed tag wrestler, holding the WWWF Tag Team Titles on five occasions, 3 with Toru Tanaka and 2 with Mr. Saito. Fuji retired in 1985 and became a manager, taking Muraco as his second charge (his first was George Steele). This led to some classic skits on TV, including the popular “Fuji Vice”.

Analysis: After main-eventing this event a year ago, Orndorff, now a face, meets a man who had been out of the spotlight for about a year. Muraco, who had great first half of the decade, was lost in the shuffle. This leads to a slow, boring match which ends in an bad way. Why have both get counted out if the feud didn’t continue? The fans don’t like the decision and are very vocal. Either way, both move on from each other. Bad match, horrible ending. Grade: 1.5

We see an interview with Mr. T.

2. “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth) pins George “The Animal” Steele with his feet on the ropes at 7:06 to retain the WWF Intercontinental Title.

WM Debut #1: George Steele began out of Detroit as “The Student” before taking the name of George Steele. He came to the WWWF as a crazed heel before becoming a beloved babyface.

WM Debuts #2 and 3: Randy Savage is the son of legend Angelo Poffo and the brother of jobber “Leaping” Lanny Poffo. Randy started in Memphis feuding with Jerry Lawler before coming to the WWF. He won the IC title from Tito Santana on Feburary 8 in Boston. His manager is his real life wife, Elizabeth. When he first came, he entertained offers from the different managers, eventually turning them all down for Elizabeth.

The Buildup: Steele had become enamored with Elizabeth, sending her flowers and gifts. This didn’t sit well with Savage, so the two meet here to settle the score with the IC strap on the line.

Analysis: My god, what a horrible match. To his credit, Savage will become a great wrestler and can carry anybody, but now he is resorting to his stalling tactics and Steele is nothing more than punches and biting. Savage wins, but Steele will still be a thorn in his side, as we will see next year. For now, a horrible match that is way too long. Grade: .5

We go to Mean Gene Okerlund in Chicago who interviews Bill Fralic and Big John Studd. We go back to New York to Vince and Susan.

3. Jake “The Snake” Roberts pins George Wells after a DDT at 3:05.

WM Debut: Jake Roberts is the son of legend Grizzly Smith. Jake started in Louisiana and bounced around Mid-South and the NWA Georgia, winning the TV Title in the latter territory. He was also part of the origianl Legion of Doom. He debuted in the WWF in 1985 as a heel.

Analysis: A basic squash for the Snake. I think Vince knew that Jake was going to be a major player over the next few years, and he was. It’s just a damn shame he couldn’t control his demons, but that’s for later. Now he wins and unleashes the snake on Wells, who gets his cup of coffee, but is never seen again. Jake would move on to feud with Hulk Hogan, but the fans would turn him face over the next year. Grade: 1.5

Vince and Susan comment on the match and show the history between Roddy Piper and Mr . T. We go to Los Angeles where Jesse Ventura interviews Hulk Hogan. We go back to New York for the main event. All the guests for the main event are introduced.

4. Mr. T (w/ Joe Frazier and the Haiti Kid) defeats “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (w/ Lou Duva and “Cowboy” Bob Orton) in a special boxing match when Piper is disqualified in the fourth round.

The buildup: Following Wrestlemania I, Piper and T continued to trade jabs at each other, leading to this match. To fuel the flames, Piper attacked T on Saturday Night’s Main Event attacking T during his boxing match with Bob Orton.

Analysis: To cap off the NY portion, a real bad boxing match, if you can call it that. It was realistic for about half of the first round. Then it’s obivous that they are simply pulling punches. By the third round they were sucking wind so bad, the first couple of rows passed out from oxygen deprivation (excuse the Jim Cornette zinger). By round four, Piper gives up and slams T ushering a DQ in a boxing match. Huh? Either way, T is done with the WWF and Piper moves on, as he actually got some face pops during the match. Grade: N/A

Vince and Susan recap the match and we go to Chicago for their portion of the event.

2nd portion of Wrestlemania 2
Rosemont Horizon
Chicago, Illinois
Guests in order of appearance: Kathy Lee Crosby, Claire Peller, Dick Butkus, Ed Jones, and Ozzy Osbourne

Your announcers are Gorilla Monsoon, Mean Gene Okerlund, and Kathy Lee Crosby.

5. The Fabulous Moolah pins Velvet McIntyre with a splash at 53 seconds to retain the WWF Women’s Championship.

WM Debut: Velvet trained in Oregon and traveled between the AWA, Mid-South, and Stampede Wrestling before coming to the WWF.

Fun Fact #1: As mentioned, Moolah (as the Spider Lady) won the Women’s Title from Wendi Richter.

Fun Fact #2: These two would trade the Women’s Title in July of 1986 in Australia.

Analysis: Boy, these first two crowds are getting the short end of the stick as far as matches. Moolah, who by this point should not have been near the belt, basically squashes Velvet in less than a minute. Velvet would recover and win the belt as mentioned above, but here a very bad match between these two. Grade: .5

The announcers pump the tag title match and the battle royal.

6. Corporal Kirschner pins Nikolai Volkoff (w/ “Classy” Freddie Blassie) in a Flag Match after a cane shot at 1:34.

WM Debut #1: Kirschner debuted in the mid-80s in the WWF. He would work in Japan and was originally going to take part in the Gimmick Battle Royal at Wrestlemania X-7, but didn’t.

Farewell: We bid adieu to one of the greatest of all time. Freddie Blassie would retire in 1987, but would sporadically appear on programming until his death on June 2nd, 2003 from heart and kidney failure. He was inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame in 1994 by Shane McMahon.

Analysis: These last two matches combined for barely under 3 minutes? That’s absurd. Either way, Kirschner gets his cup of coffee and is not seen again. Volkoff, who was getting past his prime, rolls on and will get a new manager over the next year. Terrible match. Grade:.5

Mean Gene Okerlund does the introductions for the next match.

7. Andre the Giant wins a 20-man battle royal
Wrestlers: Ted Arcidi, Tony Atlas, B. Brian Blair, “Jumping” Jim Brunzell, Bret “Hitman” Hart, Hillbilly Jim, The Iron Sheik, King Tonga, Pedro Morales, Jim “The Anvil’ Neidhart, Bruno Sammartino, Dan Spivey, and Big John Studd
NFL Players: Jim Covert, Bill Fralic, Russ Francis, Ernie Holmes, Harvey Martin, and William “Refrigerator” Perry.

Minor Debuts: “Mr. USA” cut his teeth in bodybuilding before becoming a wrestler, going to the different territories before coming to the WWF. The Killer Bees have been a mainstay tag team in the 80s, but never wore the gold. Hillbilly Jim was among the hillbilly tribe that appeared as you will see later in the show. King Tonga is a Samoan wrestler who debuted around this time, but will take a more familiar name later. Pedro Morales was the WWF’s first triple crown winner in the 70s, but makes his only PPV appearance. He would be inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame in 1995 by Savio Vega. Dan Spivey also debuted around here, but would make a bigger impact about a decade later.

WM Debuts #1 and 2: The big debuts are that of the Hart Foundation. Jim Neidhart was trained in Calgary by Stu Hart and debuted in 1984. He was married to Stu’s daughter, Ellie. His partner and brother-in-law would begin his great legacy here. Bret Hart is the ninth of twelve children, but seemed like he would be the most successful. He came in 1985, was paired with Neidhart and given Jimmy Hart as a manager.

Fun Fact: William Perry would be the second celebrity inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006. He was inducted by John Cena.

Analysis: A good battle royal as these men smack the crap out of each other. I agree that Vince should not have overloaded this event with the non-wrestling guests. Between all the announcers, referees, and such, to have six football players in a match was not real smart. The football players, though did hold their own, as the fans wanted to see there boy Perry win. But he gets tossed by Studd, but manages to get the last laugh. In the end, the Hart Foundation, who’s debut gets shadowed, get tossed by the king of the battle royals, Andre and he wins another won. It was a good moment for Andre in what would be one of his last big moments as a face. Grade: N/A

We go to New York as Vince and Susan interview Roddy Piper. We go back to Chicago and Mean Gene interviews Jim Covert and Iron Sheik.

8. The British Bulldogs (w/ Capt. Lou Albano and Ozzy Osbourne) defeat the Dream Team (w/ “Luscious” Johnny V.) when Davey Boy Smith pins Greg Valentine after a Dynamite Kid headbutt at 12:02 to win the WWF Tag Team Championship.

WM Debuts #1 and 2: The Bulldogs trained in Calgary under Stu Hart and became famous in Japan and Stampede Wrestling before coming to the WWF. Davey Boy was married to Bret Hart’s sister Diana.

Fun Fact: After losing the IC title back to Tito Santana, Greg Valentine hooked up with Brutus Beefcake to form the Dream Team and they won the tag titles in August of 1985 from the US Express.

Farewell: Lou Albano would leave wrestling for a period to focus on other projects before returning in 1994.

Analysis: Finally, a match I can actually enjoy. The young Brits go toe to toe with the champs in a really stiff match. It was good to pair Beefcake with Valentine as Greg gave Brutus some credibility and showed him the ropes. It’s funny to note that Valentine wrestled most of this match. The ending is a little iffy, but the crowd reaction was what they wanted, and they went wild when the Bulldogs won. This is arguably the best tag title match in WM history until 2000. The Bulldogs move on with the belts, and the Dream Team have to live to fight another day. Great match. Grade: 4

Gene Okerlund and Kathy Lee interviews Lou Albano, Ozzy Osbourne, and the Bulldogs. We go back to New York as Vince and Susan hype the WWF Title match. We move on to the Los Angeles portion of the show.

3rd portion of Wrestlemania 2
L.A. Sports Arena
Los Angeles, California
Guests in order of appearance: Elvira, Tommy LaSorda, and Ricky Schroder

Your announcers are Jesse “The Body” Ventura, Lord Alfred Hayes, and Elvira.

9. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat pins Hercules Hernandez with a crossbody off the top at 7:33.

WM Debut: Hercules started out in Florida and moved around the different territories under different personas and winning titles across the country. He joined the WWF in 1985 and was given this persona that would stick with him throughout his tenure.

Analysis: A good midcard match to start the LA portion. Steamboat had really come into his own and carries the green Hercules to a nice showing. Herc would go on to have a very solid midcard career as we will see, but for now has to keep up with Steamboat. Both men move on, with Steamboat achieving his greatest success in the WWF the next year. Good effort by both men. Grade: 3

10. “Adorable” Adrian Adonis (w/ Jimmy Hart) pins Uncle Elmer after an elbow off the top rope at 3:06.

WM Debut #1: Adonis got his start in the AWA, teaming with Jesse Ventura as the East-West Connection. The duo won the AWA Tag Titles and held them almost a year. In the early 80s, Adonis came to the WWF and again won tag team gold, this time with Dick Murdoch. After that, Adonis became the Adorable One, wearing dresses and makeup as he ballooned up to 300 pounds.

WM Debut #2: Uncle Elmer started around the Gulf Coast and wrestled in the AWA and NWA under a variety of gimmicks before coming to the WWF under this gimmick. The Hillbillies consisted of Elmer, Hillbilly Jim, and Cousins Luke and Junior. Elmer even got married on an episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event. After this event, the hillbilles disappeared, with only Hillbilly Jim remaining. Elmer retired in 1990 and sadly passed away from kidney failure on June 30th, 1992 at 52 years old.

Analysis: God, and things were just looking up, but I guess the LA crowd needed a dud too. Adonis, who is way out of shape and getting worse, tangles with an even older and bigger Elmer. It’s been said Adonis was given this gimmick as a punishment, but he seemed to enjoy the gimmick. Either way, this is thankfully short, but still painful to watch. Grade: 0

Lord Alfred Hayes interviews Hulk Hogan.

11. The Funks (w/ Jimmy Hart) defeat Tito Santana and the Junkyard Dog when Terry pins JYD after a megaphone shot at 11:42.

WM Debuts #1 and 2: Terry and Hoss (real name Dory Jr.) Funk are the sons of wrestling legend Dory Funk Sr. Both brothers had successful singles careers, with both becoming world heavyweight champion. The duo also won several tag team titles across the country. This would be their only PPV appearance as a team. Both would leave, but would return a decade later.

Analysis: We get back on track with this nice tag team match. The Funk brothers go toe to toe with the good friends Santana and JYD. It’s a shame the Funks didn’t stick around longer, but oh well. JYD jobs again, a role he fits nicely nto, as well as Santana. The Funks depart in the summer, but would each return a decade later and would help change the landscape of wrestling forever. Good match to get the crowd ready for the main event. Grade: 3

We see the ring crew bring out the steel cage for the main event. We see the history behind the main event. Jesse Ventura interviews King Kong Bundy and Bobby Heenan. Elvira sends us back to New York as Vince and Susan hype the main event. We go back to LA for the main event.

12. Hulk Hogan defeats King Kong Bundy (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) in a steel cage match by escaping the cage at 10:16 to retain the WWF Championship.

The buildup: During a title defense against the Magnificant Muraco on Saturday Night’s Main Event, Hogan was ambushed by Bundy and doubleteamed by Bundy and Muraco, having his ribs injured.

Fun Fact: This is the debut of the blue bar steel cage that would be used for the next several years, and this is to date the only steel cage match in Wrestlemania history.

Analysis: Good match to end the night. Bundy was built up as the next challenger over the last year, and seemed like a serious threat to the title. The heat was great, as the fans wanted to see Hogan give Bundy his just desserts and he does. Hogan even assults Heenan in the cage after the match. Bundy would never come this close to the title again, and Hogan and Heenan were just getting started as Heenan has a new challenger for the Hulk. Nice match, and even a blade job by Bundy, ends a strange night. Grade: 3.5

In New York, Vince thanks us and we close with Hulk posing in the cage.

Final Analysis: A real badly booked Wrestlemania. Match quality, it was about the same as last year’s event, but because that was the first it got a pass, this doesn’t. It’s obivous that the LA crowd got the better matches with 3 good matches and one dud, Chicago got half and half, and the NY crowd got all duds, although it did see the debut of Jake Roberts. I also think the three venue idea, while creative, was too much to handle. Not to mention it was basically done to counter Starrcade in 1985 which was held in Greensboro and Atlanta. But back to now, while there have been worse Wrestlemanias, this is low on the pole. But we will go from the worst to the best within a year. Final Grade: D+

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