February 16, 2007
Scott Criscuolo & Justin Rozzero
March 20, 1994
Madison Square Garden
New York, New York
Announcers--Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler
Buy Rate: 1.68
Celebrity Guests: Jennie Garth, Little Richard, Burt Reynolds, Sy Sperling, Donnie Wahlberg, Rhonda Shear
The Heavenly Bodies beat the Bushwhackers when Jimmy Del Ray (James Backlund) pinned Butch (Robert Miller).
1) Owen Hart defeated Bret Hart with a roll-up reversal at 20:19
Fun Fact: After both Bret Hart and Lex Luger were declared co-winners at the Royal Rumble, Jack Tunney announced that both men should receive title shots at Wrestlemania, but to make it fair to the winner of the first Championship match, Tunney declared that the opponent in the second Title Match had to wrestle earlier in the night against a “suitable opponent.” It was then decided that there would be a coin flip on Raw. If Luger won the flip, he would face Yoko first and Bret would face Owen, however, if Bret won, he would face Yoko first and Luger would face Crush. The outcome was pretty obvious, as everyone knew Savage would be facing Crush, so the coin flip was kind of anticlimactic, but it brought us Owen-Bret, so who’s complaining.
Scott: There have been 9 previous Wrestlemanias, and countless other PPVs and special wrestling shows in WWF history, and none of those shows had an opening match like this one. This match had it all: drama, tension, the right storyline, two guys who knew each other perfectly and great commentary. Thank God Jerry Lawler came back from his legal problems in time to help commentate this show, because not only was he the heel announcer, but, because of his feud with Bret, he added credibility and pure hatred to the match. Vince, playing the typical geeky straight guy he was so good at, pushed Bret to the moon. Owen really had come into his own since the feud started at Survivor Series in November, and playing the whiny little brother was right up his alley. Now, on wrestling's biggest stage, he goes move for move with his brother: the Excellence of Execution. Usually Bret carries anybody to a good match, but in this case he doesn't even have to really try. Owen really takes the ball and runs with it, and that's why this match belongs in the top 10 list of greatest PPV matches ever. A hot opener to what will turn out to be a "diamond in the rough" of a show. Grade: 5
Justin: Well, what can you say? This is one of the greatest Wrestlemania matches ever, and is definitely the best Wrestlemania opener ever. Hell, it is one the greatest matches ever, period. The hype for this match was very high, as were the expectations, and the two brothers delivered big time. What makes this match even more memorable is that Owen won in a huge upset. I don’t think anyone in their right mind expected him to beat Bret that night, as Owen was not even seen as being in Bret’s class at the time (at least in the WWF). The Harts put on a clinic in mat wrestling, selling and psychology and would have single handedly made this show awesome (but as we will see, they had some help). Anyway, this is a must see for wrestling fans and is the match that MADE Owen a star and poured more fuel into the searing Hart Family fire. This match is the absolute definition of pure wrestling. Grade: 5
2) Bam Bam Bigelow & Luna Vachon defeat Doink & Dink when Bigelow (Scott Charles Bigelow) pinned Doink (Ray Liachelli) with a splash at 6:08
Fun Fact: This is the big blow-off to the Doink-Bigelow feud that started in the fall of ’93 when Doink tossed a pie into Bigelow’s face on Superstars.
Scott: After an unbelievable opening match, we are brought back to earth with this. Bigelow gets better with seasoning, but here must tag with his manager against the terrible face Doink and a midget. Doink lost his entire luster when Matt Borne left and Ray Apollo took over. Fans were cheering, but Justin and I are very sad, sad the mean jokes, and sick entrance music are gone. Oh well. Dink is incredibly annoying, and I wish Bigelow could have squashed him ala King Kong Bundy to Little Beaver at WM III. Obviously they needed to spell the crowd after the awesome opener, but maybe Doink/Bigelow alone would have done the trick. Grade: 2
Justin: As silly as this match was, it was probably a necessary one, as the crowd needed a goofy, slower paced match to calm them down after the awesome opener. If you put on back to back awesome matches, you risk exhausting the crowd, especially this early in the show, so the placement of this match makes sense. With that said, this match wasn’t bad by any means, as it was a fun match and the right guy came out on top. Despite the silliness, Bigelow and Doink both bust it, and I agree with Scott that a singles match may have been a better choice. Bigelow breaks away from Doink but would continue to float aimlessly until late in the summer. Anyway, just a palette cleanser here, so let’s move on. Grade: 2
3) Randy Savage (Randy Poffo) defeats Crush (Brian Adams) in a Falls Count Anywhere match when Savage beat Crush by hogtying him in the backstage area at 9:40
Fun Fact: Counting Rumbles and Survivor Series matches, Randy Savage’s final WWF PPV record is: 13-12. If you take out the Rumbles (he participated in 5 and never won one) he is 13-7. He best winning percentage was at Survivor Series, where he was 4-1 (his team won all five times, but he only survived in four of them).
Fun Fact II: This feud started over the summer of 1993, during a World Title Match on Raw between Yokozuna and Crush (Savage was commentating). Recently, President Tunney had declared that Savage had been interfering too much in matches while he was commentating, so he gave Mach an ultimatum: stop interfering or lose the commentating gig. So, Crush (who was good friends with Savage) gave Yoko a good match, but ultimately fell short. After the match, Yoko attacked Crush from behind and squashed him with 3 Banzai Drops, all while Savage looked on from ringside, unable to assist his buddy. The vicious attack kept Crush out of action for about 3 months. During his off months, Crush would occasionally give an interview via phone on Raw and each time he would blow off Savage and only talk to Vince. Finally, Savage arranged a meeting with Crush on Raw that would be called the “Savage-Crush Summit.” Strangely, when Crush came out, he was sporting a goatee and was escorted by Mr. Fuji. Savage and Crush talked things over, and Savage explained why he couldn’t help, and by the end they had shaken hands, hugged and made up. Of course, when Savage turned his back, Crush leveled him and proceeded to beat the shit out of him, including a vicious Hot-Shot type move on the guard railing. The attack left Savage on the shelf for about 1 month. Savage returned and the two feuded until this match.
Scott: This is the end of the line for one of the most charismatic, yet unstable WWF performers of all time. Randy Savage made his pay-per-view debut at a big event called the Wrestling Classic on November 7, 1985. In that time he won the WWF title twice, the IC title, and a bevy of big PPV matches. He also lost his share of big matches, yet he always rose to the occasion. In what would be his final WWF PPV match, he defeats Crush in a falls count anywhere match. Well, sort of. You won the match when your opponent couldn't get back in the ring by the count of 10 after pinning him. Savage hog ties Crush to some sort of scaffolding or something, and wins his final match. What's amazing is that in his Wrestlemania matches, he looked better losing (Steamboat at III, Hogan at V, and Warrior at VII) then he did winning (Steele at II, here). He seemed like such a respected, revered superstar at this show, as it felt like we weren’t going to see him in the WWF much longer. We'll give you records here, but when he makes his official last appearance at Summerslam, we'll elaborate fully on the WWF career of Randy Savage. Grade: 2.5
Justin: A nice send-off (wrestling-wise anyway) for Mach: a big win to blow-off a great feud at one of the biggest events in wrestling history. The match is so-so, but the crowd is jacked for Savage and gives him a great ovation when he finally defeats Crush to cap off their lengthy feud. It was nice to see Vince treat a legend as such, with a big win on a big show. Savage would continue to commentate for the next few months before deciding to take his career in a new direction. The action here is off and on as the stipulation actually tends to slow things down a bit. Savage does take his requisite big bump when Crush back body drops him over the top and to the floor. Speaking of Crush, after a solid 2 year run, his push will slowly start to circle the drain as well. He would have a pretty good house show feud with Luger after this, but would mainly put around the mid card and tag division. Anyway, a good match to finish off a hot feud and a great moment for an awesome performer. Grade: 3
4) Alundra Blaze (Debra Ann Miceli) defeats Lelani Kai (Patricia Karisma) to retain WWF Women's Title when Blayze pinned Leilani Kai with a German Suplex at 3:23
Fun Fact: Alundra Blayze won the vacant Women’s Title in a tournament final against Heidi Lee Morgan on December 13, 1993 (it was the only televised match of the tournament). The title had been vacant since 1990, with the last champion being Rockin’ Robin.
Fun Fact II: Madusa Ann Miceli started her career in the AWA where she managed Curt Hennig and in 1987 won the AWA Women’s Title. She moved on to WCW, where she managed Ravishing Rick Rude, and feuded briefly with Paul E. Dangerously.
Scott: This was no more than a novelty title match for Blaze, as Kai was WWF Women’s Champion at the first Wrestlemania, and lost to Wendi Richter, the original "diva." That's all this match really was for, but it was a title match, and that's good for a Wrestlemania. Grade: 2
Justin: Not much here as this was just a way to showcase the rebirth of the Women’s division and the crown jewel of said division, Alundra Blayze to a mass audience. The match is decent enough but Blayze would go on to have some damn good bouts as the year moves long. Grade: 1.5
5) Men on a Mission defeat the Quebecers by countout at 7:42; Quebecers retain WWF Tag Team Titles
Fun Fact: MOM and Quebecers would go on to trade the tag titles 2 weeks later in England. MOM would win the belts on March 29 in London, but would drop them right back on March 31 in Sheffield. That would be the MOM’s only tag title reign. According to internet legend, the title switch was an accident, as MOM wasn’t supposed to win the titles in that match, but Mabel fell on Pierre and the pin was unintentionally counted.
Scott: This was a tough match to watch, even though the Quebecers were a solid heel tag team, and Johnny Polo was a great character (he loves when he's on Coliseum Video releases talking about matches). I don't know where Vince found Mabel, Mo, Oscar, Roj, Rerun, Sanford & Son, whoever those guys are, but they suck…badly. Mo is barely a wrestler, and Mabel is just some imposing fat guy. You know how Vince pops his porksword over guys like that. The Quebecers put up their end of the bargain, but really, this is a RAW match, certainly not a Wrestlemania match. Grade: 2
Justin: A decent match that is carried 100% by one of the greatest tag teams in wrestling history: the Quebecers. They get in some high-impact offense and put on a solid match that is ruined by a stupid ending. Quebecers should have went over clean here and held the titles for longer than they eventually do. Alas, it was not meant to be. Polo is great at ringside, as usual, and I wish these three could have had a longer run than they were given, as everything they did was pure gold. MOM were pretty over with the crowd but were just so limited in the ring. In an ideal world, the Steiners would have been at this show and in this spot but they couldn’t get the deal agreed upon. Hell, even the Smoking Gunns would have made for a better match. Oh well, you can’t go back and change things now so lets just move on. Unfortunately, this would be the last time we Jacques and Pierre on PPV for nearly 4 years and it is a crime that we never see Johnny Polo on PPV again. Grade: 2.5
6) Yokozuna (Rodney Anoia) defeats Lex Luger (Larry Pfohl) by disqualification at 14:42 to retain WWF World Title; Mr. Perfect (Curt Hennig) is the special referee
Fun Fact: After the cheap ending, the crowd was pissed at the decision and was loudly chanting “bullshit,” giving Perfect huge heel heat, and Luger and Hennig were headed into a big feud. However, Perfect got cold feet and backed out at the last minute, because if he started wrestling again, he would lose his huge insurance payout on his back, and he wasn’t ready to give up free loot just yet. Crush replaced Perfect on the house show circuit, and Hennig vanished from WWF TV just a few weeks after WMX. He would return as a commentator late in 1995.
Scott: This was the official end of Lex Luger as we know it in the WWF. He might as well have quit right then and there. From this moment forward WWF fans labeled him a choker, and he could never dig himself out of it for the next year and a half. There were two special referees slated for both title matches. So out comes, Mr. Perfect. Beautiful: a guy who is more popular than most trumps Lex Luger. Remember the year before, Wrestlemania IX? Apparently Perfect did. Luger doesn't look awful in this match, but the tempo hits a big brake when Yoko puts on the Japanese nerve pinch. Nice foreign rest hold. They sit on that for about 3 1/2 minutes. Luger makes a comeback, hits the forearm, and was about to pin him, when Fuji and Cornette hit the apron. Luger hits both of them, and goes back for the pin, but Perfect doesn't make the count, he DQ’d Luger for hitting the managers, and for putting his hands on the referee. Brilliant!! “Screw you Luger” says Curt Hennig. The urban legend that Luger was slated to win the title and blabbed about it the night before is not true, as Vince had Bret winning it for over a month. Luger's window of usefulness in wrestling was from 1986-1991 in NWA/WCW. His WWF tenure, particularly as a face, was a joke. Yoko moves on to face Bret Hart later on in the night for the WWF title again. Grade: 1.5
Justin: A really boring match that is much worse than their Summerslam encounter. The hype and story are better this time around, but the match itself is miserable. Hennig as ref helps it a bit, but even he can only work so many miracles. There are just too many restholds and too much stalling here, as you can tell they are trying to preserve some of Yoko’s energy for his next match. This match solidified Luger’s standing as one of the most, if not the most, over-rated wrestlers in history. I am very glad I cheered for Bret at the Rumble, because Vince was smart enough to listen to the reaction he got, and the boos Flexy Lexy got and made the right decision. I will say a Perfect-Luger feud coming out of this match would have been pretty hot, but that just didn’t work out either. Yoko has had a good run as the big heel champ, but his reign was running on fumes and marginal guys like Luger just couldn’t carry the big man at this point. The crowd doesn’t appreciate the cheap ending, but things would pick up as the shows rolls on. Grade: 1.5
7) Earthquake (John Tenta) defeats Adam Bomb (Bryan Clark) with a splash at :33
Fun Fact: This match was supposed to feature the recently returning Earthquake face off against Ludvig Borga (who had been off TV since January due to an injury). The WWF kept plugging Borga’s presence until about one week before the show, which is when they finally realized he would not be ready in time, and thus slipped Adam Bomb into his spot. Earthquake had returned to the WWF on the 1/31 Raw. His stay would be brief, with the highlight being his Sumo Match against Yokozuna on the 5/16 Raw. Earthquake was then written out of storylines in an angle where he was crushed by Yoko on the 5/14 House Show (made to seem like it happened after the Sumo Match).
Scott: I have no comment on this match, because I have no idea why they even did it. I guess it was to give the loyal John Tenta a payday, but otherwise if Borga wasn’t ready, they should have scrapped it altogether. Grade: 1
Justin: The show was already running long here, with the ladder match and the World Title match still to come, so this got chopped down to 33 seconds. I think they left it in there so the crowd didn’t have to go straight from the BS result of the World Title match straight into the Ladder Match. The pre-match nonsense with Howard Finkle and Harvey Wippleman lasts longer than the action. These two would actually have a longer rematch on the 4/4 Raw to make up for this mess here. Grade: 1
8) Razor Ramon (Scott Hall) defeats Shawn Michaels (Michael Hickenbottom) in a ladder match to retain WWF Intercontinental Title when he climbed the ladder and retrieved the belts at 18:46
Fun Fact: This match was made to unify the real I-C Title (Razor’s) and the fake I-C Title (Michaels’). These two had been engaged in a brutal feud since Michaels returned in November and were on a collision course at this point. The feud also featured the Kid and Diesel in prominent roles and helped those two guys get over as a result as well. Shawn was actually planning on leaving the WWF after this show, as WCW had offered him a fat contract to jump ship (and since Flair was booking at this point and WCW was huge on wrestling at this period, it made sense), so this was supposed to be his swan song. However, shortly after the event, Hogan signed with WCW and HBK decided to stick with Vince rather than go south and play Hogan’s political games again. Shawn was given five months off to heal up and recharge his batteries, and from late-March to July he stayed on TV as Diesel’s manager, even guiding him to an I-C Title win in April. Michaels wrestled his return match against Razor on the August 1st edition of Raw and the rest is history.
Scott: I really don't know what to say about this match that everyone reading this doesn't already know. Next to Steamboat/Savage at WM III, this is the greatest Intercontinental Title match in WWF history, and no doubt in the top 10, maybe the top 5 matches of the modern PPV era. You have two men whose potential is ready to explode, put a ladder in the mix, and the chemistry these two gain as Clique members, and you have a grade A off the charts match. There are at least 6 spots in this match where you can actually say "Shit that hurts!!" In fact, at one point, there were 4 straight shots Shawn gives to Razor with the ladder that have to be seen to be believed. There were probably about 14 moments where Shawn was a fingernail away from winning the title, only to have Razor push the ladder aside. Finally, Shawn gets tangled in the ropes and the Bad Guy retains the WWF IC Title. The crowd was on their feet and quite loud for the entire match, and every time either man was within an eyelash of grabbing the belts the other would push the ladder over. This was a match for the ages that made the careers of both men, in particular Michaels, whose attitude and work ethic was in question going into this match. Not anymore. Grade: 5
Justin: What more can you say? This match has it all: athleticism, wrestling, drama, tension, historical meaning and was just flat out entertaining. If you haven’t seen it, see it and if you have, see it again. This match helped WWF turn the corner and start to reinvent itself. While the rejuvenation of the WWF would not take place until a few years later, this match became the template for the renaissance: two young, athletic risk takers giving it their all and putting on a stellar match in the process. The two used each other to go out on the biggest stage there is, steal the show and make each other stars. Reports say that the two rehearsed parts of this match at various House Shows leading up to the event, meaning they would take one segment and perfect it before practicing the next segment in another city. Anyway, the best compliment I can pay this match is to go see it, now. Grade: 5
***There was supposed be a 10-man tag match here, but due to time constraints, the match was cut out. They quickly showed the heel team in the back arguing over who was the Team Captain, and since they couldn’t decide, Vince announces that the match has been canceled. The match was supposed to be: Jeff Jarrett, Rick Martel, IRS and the Headshrinkers vs. Tatanka, Sparky Plugg, Smoking Gunns and the 1-2-3 Kid. The match actually ended up taking place on the April 4th edition of Raw. ***
9) Bret Hart defeats Yokozuna to win WWF World Title when Yoko falls off the ropes attempting a Bonsai Drop at 10:30; Roddy Piper was the special referee
Fun Fact: This was the first time that the same match headlined two Wrestlemanias, and the only time the same match headlined back-to-back Wrestlemanias. Andre and Hogan main-evented at WM III, but fought in the mid-card at WM IV.
Fun Fact II: This is Roddy Piper’s first PPV appearance since playing the bagpipes at Summerslam 1992.
Fun Fact III: Leilani Kai, Howard Finkel, Roddy Piper and Mike Rotundo (for the 2 minutes he was arguing in the back) are the only four people to appear at Wrestlemania I and X on camera. Scott: This is what Vince McMahon calls an apology. He realized dicking Bret over in 1993 was wrong, and this was his way to say sorry. After a grueling, legendary 20 minute match with his brother Owen, Bret sells the bum knee very well from that match, and takes a good beating from the champ. The big pop came from who the special referee was for this match. Cue the bagpipes, baby. Rowdy Roddy Piper comes out to be the special referee, and the crowd goes wild. Ten years after being the hated heel in the main event of the first Wrestlemania, he returns a hero and a fan favorite. This wont be the last time he refs a Bret Hart Wrestlemania match. Here, Yokozuna goes for his Banzai Drop, but mysteriously loses his balance, and falls. Bret jumps on him, hooks the leg and gets the win, and his second world title. Afterwards, all the big faces come out to congratulate the new champ, and Luger and Razor even put Bret on their shoulders. You can see two men in particular who care about Bret the most (Randy Savage and Gorilla Monsoon) really enjoying the moment. Owen Hart adds a nice capper to the night, stalking down the aisle, seething with rage and jealousy at his older brother. Knowing he beat Bret earlier in the night and now big brother’s the champ. This was awesome psychology and a great way to set things up for the next few months of storylines. As for the Hitman, this is one of the crowning moments of his career to this point. The match itself was better than their IX encounter, and capped off a surprisingly great night of wrestling. Grade: 3
Justin: An OK match that is carried to levels of awesomeness due to the circumstances around it. Piper as ref, the WM IX rematch, Bret getting his payback, the celebration and Owen staring jealously at Bret make this one of the most memorable PPV main events ever. Vince definitely owed Bret for his loyalty, and he pays him back big time here in one of the happiest moments in WM history. You can’t help but feel good watching the end of this show, and they added a nice touch by having Owen staring down Bret from the aisle as it made sense, kicked their feud into the highest gear, and yet it wasn’t over-done and it didn’t ruin the ending…because it was nice and subtle. This was just a great moment, and probably one of the two biggest highlights of Bret’s career. The match may not be the greatest of all time, but similar to the Main Event ten years prior, the excitement and drama carry the whole thing to a higher level. Grade: 3
Scott: Wow. Everyone thought 1994 starting the trend of average characters and anti-septic wrestling shows in the WWF. Not evident here. You have a hot NY crowd, great matchups, and not one, but two 5-star matches. It would be a while before we’ll ever see that again, 2 bona-fide classics in one show. Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, and Owen Hart jumped into the stratosphere with this show, and Bret Hart cemented his legacy as one of the all-time greats, again doing double duty. Wrestlemania VI received an A+ because of the excitement, the Toronto crowd, and the compelling storylines. This Wrestlemania will receive the same grade simply because it was wrestled well. Sure there were a couple of duds here, but that is covered up by two of the greatest matches ever and the last WWF moment for a true legend, Randy "Macho Man" Savage. Congrats to Vince for wiping the slate clean of has-beens and most losers, and putting on an unbelievable show. Final Grade: A+
Justin: Great show. It wasn’t solid all-around, but the greatness overshadows the shoddy undercard by leaps and bounds. Add in the hype and pageantry and you have yourselves a big winner. This was the essential blow-off show, as only two heels went over where necessary (Bigelow and Yoko), and the faces all won the big showdowns. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to give this an A+ because the show only features two (maybe three, if you want to count Savage-Crush) good matches, however, those two matches are off the charts awesome…so I think it all balances out in the end. And how can I, in good conscience give Wrestlemania VI an A+, and not this show? This show seemed like it was the start of a new direction with a new leader, but unfortunately things would change again by the end of the year. For now, though, go find a copy and watch, and find out how awesome Vince can be when he really wants to be. Final Grade: A+
MVP: Owen Hart, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon (tie)
MVP Runner-Up: Vince McMahon (for booking this show)
Honorary MVP: Randy Savage
Non-MVP: Lex Luger