November 16, 2008
Matt Peddycord

WWF WrestleMania XI
April 2, 1995
Hartford, CT
Hartford Civic Center

The current WWF Champs were as follows:
World Champion: Diesel (11/26/1994)
Intercontinental Champion: Jeff Jarrett (1/22/1995)
World Tag Team Champions: The Smokin’ Gunns (1/23/1995)
Women’s Champion: Bull Nakano (11/20/1994)

Special Olympian Kathy Huey handles “America the Beautiful”.

Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler.

The Allied Powers vs. Eli & Jacob Blu (w/Uncle Zebekiah)

I’m actually surprised Vince didn’t put Lex and Bulldog together sooner for this ‘Allied Powers’ gimmick since he’s all about patriotism. Uncle Zeb is Memphis wrestler and booker Dutch Mantel. He’s been working for TNA since 2003 and has been given credit for creating the TNA Knockouts division. What a champ. The Allied Powers own the Blu Brothers to start. Davey Boy delivers the hourglass suplex to one of the twins for two. DBS takes a knee in the back from the apron and becomes your face in peril. They do a twin switch on Smith to maintain the advantage. One of the twins misses an elbow drop off the middle rope to allow the HOT TAG TO LUGER! Powerslam and the LOADED FOREARM connects! The twins switch on Luger as the ref tries to get Davey Boy Smith out of the ring. Blind tag to Davey Boy, one of the twins tries a piledriver too close to the babyface corner as Davey Boy Smith comes down with a sunset flip to get the 1-2-3. (6:36) Just a glorified squash to put over the new team. *

I can’t believe it! Pamela Anderson is missing and it’s all Shawn Michaels fault.

WWF Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett (w/The Roadie) vs. Razor Ramon (w/The 1-2-3 Kid)

The Kid is here to make sure what happened at the Royal Rumble isn’t repeated. They start off fast and furious with Razor clotheslining Jarrett all over the place and out to the floor. He complains about a busted nose and trips up Ramon. A sunset flip is blocked with a right hand for two. With Roadie up on the apron, Jarrett avoids getting popped in the face by his buddy, but turns around and eats a right hand that sends him into Roadie and knocks him off the apron. Razor wants the RAZORS EDGE, but he’s too close to the ropes and Roadie pulls Jarrett out to safety. Jarrett wants to get counted out, but the Kid stands in his way and puts him back in the ring. Schoolboy by Ramon gets two. Jarrett reverses a cross corner whip, but misses a Bossman straddle. Roadie swings at Razor and misses before having his head smashed into the turnbuckle connector. Jarrett charges at Ramon and gets tossed out to the floor. Back in, Razor ducks low and takes a swinging neckbreaker. Jarrett gets the Bossman straddle on the second attempt and does his strut. Razor elbows out of a chinlock and delivers a backslide for 1-2-NO! Razor escapes a sleeper, but telegraphs another backdrop and gets his head slammed backwards on the canvas. That gets two. Back to the chinlock. Ramon counters with a back suplex. Both men are down. Both men are up, and we’ve got a double-KO. Both men are up, and both men go for a punch to put them down again. Slow cover by Ramon gets 1-2-NO! Razor blocks and punches back to set up the Fallaway Slam for two. Kid tries to post Jarrett’s nuts and he’s kicked back into the guardrail. Razor crashes and burns when he tries the second-rope bulldog. That triggers the knee injury and Jarrett goes right after it with a shin breaker. FIGURE-FOUR! Roadie helps out with a little leverage as well. Razor fights it as long as he can and then reverses the pressure. Jarrett releases the hold and receives the Belly-to-Back Superplex. Here comes the RAZORS EDGE, but Roadie sneaks in and clips Razor’s knee again for the DQ. (13:33) Kid comes in and kicks both Jarrett and Roadie’s heads off. With the Kid kicking away on Roadie in the corner, Jarrett grabs the runt and whips into the ropes so he can hoist him high into the air to land hard on the mat. Kid gets the Figure-Four until Ramon dives on Jarrett and beats him until he releases the hold and gets out of dodge. We see Jarrett walking away with the belt held high and a bloody nose. Another good match from these two with a less than satisfying finish. ***

In the back, NYPD Blue’s Nick Turturro can’t find Pamela Anderson, so he’s hanging out with the Million Dollar Corporation instead. Jenny McCarthy is here! She doesn’t seem to mind being here unlike Pamela. Shawn Michaels and Psycho Sid is there too. Shawn’s convinced Pamela will walk him down the aisle, because nothing can be better than that. The only thing better is walking out with Shawn Michaels as the NEW WWF champion. One thing’s for sure though, Sid is way too loud. Turturro seems to be a bit awkward too.

The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) vs. King Kong Bundy (w/Ted DiBiase)

When all else fails, just steal the urn. American League umpire Larry Young is the guest referee for this match. Not sure how being an umpire constitutes being a wrestling referee, but who said a boxer could be a referee either? Taker avoids a charge from Bundy and goes Old Skool on his oddly shaped body. It takes about three more lariats to put Bundy on his backside. UT eyes DiBiase to retrieve the urn and Bundy helps him out with a clothesline that lands him on his feet. Taker grabs the urn away from DiBiase and returns it to DiBiase. The lid comes off and a light shines up to the heavens! DiBiase isn’t going to let that happen so easily, and calls Kama the Supreme Fighting Machine down to kick Bearer down and take back the urn. UT grabs Kama, but Bundy nails him from behind allowing Kama’s getaway. JR stops Kama in the aisleway and reprimands him for taking things that don’t belong to him. What a buzz kill you are, Jimmy. Kama tells us he’s going to melt the urn down and make jewelry out of it. Well he will need a pimp chain one of these days. Meanwhile in the ring, Bundy is in total control of UT. Taker may be dead, but he can come alive out of chinlocks. Bundy hits him with the AVALANCHE anyway. Taker NO-SELLS and slams Bundy. Jumping Lariat gets the 1-2-3. (6:40) And Undertaker’s feud with the Million Dollar Corporation continues. *

Nick Turturro is standing outside Pamela Anderson’s dressing room, but she’s nowhere to be found. LT’s buddies like Steve McMichael, Reggie White and others are standing around waiting for the Million Dollar Corporation to strike them first. They don’t want none!

WWF World Tag Team Champions The Smokin’ Gunns vs. Owen Hart & Yokozuna (w/Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette)

Still obsessed with Bret, Yokozuna is Owen’s mystery partner because Yoko pinned Bret at WrestleMania 9. It was rumored that Chris Benoit was going to be Owen’s partner. Can you IMAGINE? Instead, Benoit stayed with ECW. We haven’t seen Yoko since his casket match with Undertaker back at Survivor Series. He’s sporting a new douche beard now. Billy and Bart work on Owen’s arm to start. Owen’s watched some Tiger Mask and knows how to escape an arm wringer, so he does just that and tags in Yokozuna. Yoko catches Bart off a crossbody for a slam and tags Owen again. The Gunns give Owen a Double Russian Legsweep and a double dropkick to Yoko puts him on the floor. Owen receives a Reverse 3D for 1-2-NO! That was pretty cool. Bart whips Owen in for the chest-first bump his big brother does for two. Side slam/Famouser to Owen! Yoko comes in to distract the ref and avoid a pin. Finally, it gets two. Blind tag to Yoko as Billy goes down to a drop toehold/LEGDROP combo. Billy rolls out to the floor and gets his back slammed into the ringpost from Owen. Back in, Yoko grabs a nerve hold to kill some time. If you’re tired Yoko, why not just tag Owen? Yoko holds Billy for a missile dropkick from Owen, but Billy moves and Yokozuna gets nailed. HOT TAG TO BART! Owen gets dumped after a press slam, allowing the Gunns to double-team Yoko. As Bart comes off the ropes, Owen pulls the top rope to send Bart to the floor. Meanwhile, Billy runs into a Belly-to-Belly Suplex. Belly-to-Billy? BANZAI DROP! Bart breaks up the pin, but gets dumped out. Owen tags and teases the Sharpshooter. Instead he just covers Billy and gets the 1-2-3. (9:42) NEW CHAMPS! Owen wins his first title in the WWF! He celebrates like he just beat Bret. Even Diesel for that matter. Basically a glorified squash as the crowd was more into Owen and Yoko than the cowboys. **

Bret Hart vs. Bob Backlund – “I Quit” Match

Roddy Piper is *your* special referee. Bret punishes Backlund to start and goes for the Sharpshooter way early, but Bob turns out of it. Hart chokes Backlund in the ropes as Piper asks if he wants to give it up. No sir. Bret can’t get the Sharpshooter on the second attempt, so he hooks on a Figure-Four. Backlund won’t say he quits and then reverses the hold. Bret doesn’t give up either. Backlund kicks out of a legbar and starts working the arm to set up for the Crossface Chickenwing. The crowd lets Bret know when Backlund’s coming up behind him. Bret will not give up in the Fujiwara armbar and slams out of a stepover armbar. Bret comes back with a backbreaker/flying vertical elbow drop combo, but Backlund rolls into the ropes to escape the Sharpshooter. Bret runs his shoulder into the post and that gets him set up nicely for the CROSSFACE CHICKENWING. Backlund can’t get Hart on the mat to fully cinch it in though. Bret counters into the Crossface Chickenwing of his own and pulls Backlund down for the submission. (9:34) Well Bob technically says “yes” and not “I quit.” Actually it was more like, “YEEEEEESSSSSSS!!!” But anyways. This was rather disappointing, but they still pulled off a decent match with the measly time they were allowed. Now that Backlund’s feud with Bret is over, he can run for president of the United States! **½

WWF World Champion Diesel (w/Pamela Anderson) vs. Shawn Michaels (w/Jenny McCarthy & Psycho Sid)

Our guest timekeeper is Jonathan Taylor Thomas from Home Improvement and our guest ring announcer is Nick Turturro from NYPD Blue. Vince ~ “He can’t find Pamela Anderson, but he can somehow find the ring.” Apparently Shawn stayed in character around Pamela Anderson and her new husband at the time Tommy Lee, which caused Tommy to get irritated over a comment Shawn made about knowing Pamela before he did and they had to make a quick switch to keep Pamela away from Shawn. Pretty funny stuff. Whether that story is true or not, only those involved know. Michaels tries a hit and run on Diesel to start and gets wiped out at every turn, including landing on a ringside photographer and sliding him out of the way. Shawn goes to the eyes to avoid a press slam, but can’t suplex Diesel and takes one instead. Diesel won’t go down to a sunset flip, so he hoists Shawn up by his throat and crotches him real good. Michaels ducks a Big Boot and clotheslines Diesel out. He kicks it up a notch and comes down on top of Diesel. Shawn misses a baseball slide and moves away from Diesel to let him smash his ribs on the ringpost. Michaels delivers a running splash off the apron to the floor. Sid inches closer to Diesel while Shawn has the ref’s attention, but nothing ever happens. Back in, HBK kicks and jabs at the ribs before nailing Diesel with a bulldog off the second rope. That gets two. “Diesel” chants start up as Michaels hits a back elbow out of the corner. Shawn delivers a GREAT looking flying elbow drop to the ribs for 1-2-NO! Diesel backdrops out of a pair of front headlock attempts and goes for Snake Eyes, but Shawn shoves him off into the corner and tries to take Diesel back down with a sleeper. That proves successful until Diesel stands up and backs Shawn into the corner to break it. Diesel hits a couple corner clotheslines and the Snake Eyes connects, followed by the Bossman straddle. They brawl out to the floor where ref Earl Hebner jumps out in front of Sid to keep him from getting involved and sprains or twists his ankle or something off-camera. Shawn gets away long enough from Diesel to catch him with the SWEET CHIN MUSIC. It shows good continuity from SummerSlam AND puts over Shawn’s finisher. He covers, but Hebner’s nursing his ankle. We’ve got a REALLY slow count for 1-2-NO! Now it gets serious. Sid takes off a turnbuckle pad just as Diesel takes Shawn over with a back suplex. With both guys out of it, Shawn still covers Diesel for 1-2-NO! Shawn dives at Diesel from the middle rope, but he’s caught in mid-air for the Side Slam. Pretty cool. Diesel catapults Michaels into the second turnbuckle, which avoids the exposed turnbuckle for him. Big Boot connects and the JACKKNIFE POWERBOMB finishes Michaels off for the 1-2-3. (20:36) On the way to the dressing room, Sid vows that Shawn is not finished with Diesel while the celebrities all celebrate with the champ. It’s plain and simple: Shawn Michaels outshined the WWF champion and that got him over big time. But instead they decided to continue pushing Diesel and Sid anyways until they finally understood that they had it backwards the whole time. Very good match that was later upstaged by their ‘Good Friends, Better Enemies’ no holds barred match in April 1996. ***¾

In the back with Todd Pettingell, Shawn and Sid say they proved to the world that HBK could beat Diesel. If he has to do it again, so be it.

Bam Bam Bigelow (w/Million Dollar Corporation) vs. Lawrence Taylor (w/various All-Pro NFL players)

Despite having flames tattooed on his head, this would prove to be the biggest moment of mainstream exposure Bam Bam Bigelow would ever receive. There’s so many people around ringside, you’d think this was a lumberjack match. When I say various All-Pro NFL players, I just mean guys from different teams. The most notable are future WCW U.S. champion and Four Horsemen member Steve McMichael and Reggie White. The bell is rang after LT throws a forearm at Bigelow’s face and puts him out on the floor with a clothesline. Back in, Taylor avoids a corner charge and hits a running bulldog for two. A hiptoss puts Bigelow back on the floor to regroup with the Million Dollar Corporation. I just noticed that the back of Nikolai Volkoff’s tuxedo shirt says “Property of the Million Dollar Corporation”. Does that mean he doesn’t even own that lame shirt? LT gets sick of waiting on Bigelow and heads out erupt what could be a HUGE fight between the NFL and the MDC, but Bigelow jumps back in the ring to lead Taylor into a stomp on the head. Bigelow chokes and headbutts LT for a while. Now Bigelow decides he wants to make LT submit with leg holds, but Taylor keeps reaching the ropes. LT counters a headlock with a back suplex, but Bigelow answers back with diving headbutts to set up a MOONSAULT! Bigelow hits his knee hard on the mat on the way down and can’t capitalize on the quick cover. Bigelow winds up ducking low off a whip and takes a powerbomb that looks like a gutwrench suplex that Vince calls a Jackknife Powerbomb. Slow cover gets two. Bigelow connects with the enziguri and a FLYING HEADBUTT for 1-2-NO! Bigelow discuss the order numbers come in with Ted DiBiase as LT rises from the mat and shoulder butts him in the corner. Taylor hits Bigelow with another pair of forearms, including a FLYING FOREARM from the middle rope! Cover, 1-2-3. (11:46) Not bad for a celebrity match. Of course, WCW saw this and incorporated several professional sports star meets professional wrestler matches for their PPV main events over the next few years. But it didn’t always come out as nice as this match did. **¼

Final Thoughts: Other than having a boat load of celebrities, this show had no wow factor to it that made it feel like a WrestleMania. If you’re not a football fan, you probably don’t care too much about Lawrence Taylor fighting Bam Bam Bigelow. To be fair though, there is some decent matches on here and nothing that just plain out sucked, but nothing to really get you excited about. Especially in retrospect when the only good matches on the show were done better elsewhere. Thumbs down for WrestleMania 11 – a letdown from last year’s show.

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