March 13, 2011
Steve Riddle

Wrestlemania XI
April 2nd, 1995
Hartford Civic Center
Hartford, Connecticut
Celebrities in order of appearance: Nicholas Turturro, Jenny McCarthy, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Pamela Anderson, and Salt-n-Pepa

Actual Show:

We see the opening video for Wrestlemania XI.

Special Olympian Kathy Huey performs America the Beautiful.

Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler.

1. Lex Luger and the British Bulldog defeat the Blu Brothers (w/ Uncle Zebekiah) when Bulldog pins Jacob at 6:34.

Debut: Dutch Mantel began his career in 1973, wrestling mostly in the south and in the NWA. He moved to WCW in 1990 as a commentator and manager before leaving late in the year. He would also be the commentator for SMW before coming to the WWF as Uncle Zebekiah, the manager for the Blu Brothers.

WM Debuts: The Blu Brothers and Uncle Zebekiah

Analysis: The eleventh installment of WM begins with a pretty poor tag affair. Luger is about as far away from main events as you could get, and Bulldog was floating even after his Rumble performance. So they are thrown together to face the twins, who are not very high on the heel ladder. Luger and Bulldog start hot, even though the double powerslam is very sloppy. Bulldog is then isolated by the Blus, in fact I notice Bulldog is in for most of the match. He gets the hot tag and Luger cleans house, but admist the confusion the Blus pull a switcheroo, but Luger tags Bulldog who gets a sunset flip for the win. The crowd was into Luger and Bulldog, and they would stay a team for awhile. Overall, a bad match to kick off the show. Grade:1.5

Jim Ross interviews the Blus and Zebekiah, who say they were robbed.

Vince interviews Razor Ramon and 1-2-3 Kid, who says Kid will keep Roadie in check and Razor will win the IC title back.

2. Razor Ramon (w/ 1-2-3 Kid) defeats “Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/ The Roadie) by disqualification at 13:32. Jarrett retains the WWF Intercontinental Championship.

The Buildup: This stems from when Jarrett beat Ramon for the title at Royal Rumble. Ramon gets his rematch here, and said he would have the Kid in his corner to neutralize Roadie.

WM Debuts: 1-2-3 Kid, Jeff Jarrett, and The Roadie

Analysis: The rematch from the Rumble is another solid affair. Jarrett is gaining confidence as chmpion and with Roadie at his side, while Ramon was just as popular as ever. Ramon brings the Kid, in that weird karate-outfit, to help even the odds. Ramon starts off hot, taking it to Jarrett and keeping Roadie in check. Jarrett uses his technical skills to wear down Ramon, but Ramon keeps coming back. Razor attempts a bulldog, but misses and hurts his knee. Jarrett takes advantage and applies the figure-4, but Ramon won’t quit. Razor gets him up in the Razor’s Edge, but Roadie clips him again, drawing the DQ. It’s a shame the match had to end like that, but it just means another meeting between the two. Jarrett and Roadie then assult Ramon and Kid until officials break it up. In the end, a very good match that just needed a better ending, but Jarrett and Ramon have unfinished business. Grade: 3.5

Jim Ross interviews Jeff Jarrett, who says he is still the Intercontinental Champion and always will be.

Nick Turturro says he couldn’t find Pamela Anderson, but finds Jenny McCarthy who says she is having a great time. Shawn Michaels and Sid come in and says he will be the new WWF Champion.

3. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) pins King Kong Bundy (w/ “Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase) with a flying clothesline at 6:36.

The Buildup: This stems from the Royal Rumble when Bundy distracted Taker long enough for IRS to steal the urn.

Return/Repackaging: Kama is Charles Wright, the former Papa Shango. After the Shango character ended, Wright returned to bartending. It was rumored he would reprise Shango in 1994 to help Bob Backlund’s heel turn, but he wasn’t brought in as Backlund got it over himself. Wright would return as “The Supreme, Fighting Machine” a shoot fighter gimmick.

Farewell: This is King Kong Bundy’s last PPV. He would stick around mainly as a jobber until November. His last wrestling PPV was the infamous “Heroes of Wrestling”. He currently works on the independent circuit and has done a little acting as well.

Fun Fact: The special referee is MLB umpire Larry Young

Undertaker’s WM Streak: 4-0

Analysis: A very poor match to go along with a poor storyline. Bundy was never a great big man, and Taker again has to carry the load. This is the first time the streak is mentioned, but obviously it is not as impressive now as it will be in a decade. Taker controls most of the early part, including retrieving the urn from Dibiase. Dibiase then calls for his newest acquisition, Kama to reclaim the urn and he says he will melt it down into a chain. Bundy then takes advantage, but Taker comes back and actually slams Bundy. A flying clothesline later, and Taker gets the win. The crowd pops like crazy as Taker was still insanely over, giving the fans reason to get behind this ridiculous feud. Sadly, the feud with the Corporation is not over as now Taker focuses on Kama while Bundy is done. Grade: 1

Nick Turturro interviews the All-Pro team, who says they will keep the Million Dollar Corporation in check. He then walks in a room to find Jonathan Taylor Thomas defeat Mr. Backlund in a game of chess.

Vince interviews the Smoking Gunns, who says despite not knowing who Owen Hart’s partner is, they will be victorious.

4. Owen Hart and Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette) defeat the Smoking Gunns when Hart pins Billy at 9:42 to win the WWF Tag Team Championships.

WM Debuts: The Smoking Gunns

Title Change: The Gunns defeated Bob Holly and the 1-2-3 Kid on the 1/23 RAW to win the tag titles.

The Buildup: After the Gunns won the straps, Owen started demanding a title shot. The Gunns would give him one, and he said his partner was someone that defeated Bret Hart for the WWF Title, that being Yokozuna.

Analysis: Our second title match is another solid affair. Owen was clamoring for some gold and targeted the tag titles held by the Gunns, who were gaining steam as a team. Owen brings in Yoko, who hasn’t been seen since Survivor Series. The Gunns try to keep Owen in the ring, and work him over with crisp doubleteam moves. Eventually Yoko isolates Billy and wears him down with his trademark nerve hold. Owen goes for a missle dropkick, but hits his partner by mistake. The Gunns take over until they try a doubleteam on Yoko, which Owen prevents and Billy suffers the Banzai Drop. Then in a nice little touch, Owen makes sure he gets the cover and the win. The celebration is cool as Owen celebrates like he won the World Title. Owen gets his first taste of gold and this rejuvenates Yoko as well after main eventing WM last year. The Gunns take a loss, but would always be in the hunt for the rest of the year. For now, a big win for Owen and Yoko on the grandest stage of all. Grade: 3

Todd Pettengill interviews Bam Bam Bigelow, who says he won’t lose to a football player and that LT will regret stepping into a WWF ring with him.

5. Bret “The Hitman” Hart defeats Bob Backlund in a submission match at 9:34.

One-Time Return/Temp. Farewell/Special Referee: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper makes his return here as the guest ref. He would disappear after KOTR in June of ’94 and makes a one night appearance here. He wouldn’t be seen again until 1996.

Farewell: Aside from the 1996 and 2000 Royal Rumbles, this is Bob Backlund’s last PPV. He would spend the rest of 1995 doing vignettes claiming to run for President, but nothing came of it. He would be the manager of the Sultan during his 96-97 run and also briefly manage Kurt Angle in 2000. He would delve into politics when he ran for Congress in Connecticut in 2000, but lost. After a brief run in TNA in 2007, Backlund made his most recent WWE appearance during the battle royal at RAW’s 15th Anniversary.

The Buildup: After their altercations at the Royal Rumble, another submission match between the two was made. Unlike last time, this match could only end when one man says “I Quit”.

Analysis: Our last undercard match before the main events is a good affair, but not nearly as good as their last encounter. All the heat from the Survivor Series match is gone, plus Backlund’s heat is all but gone, though he got loud boos on his entrance. Bret, luckily is just as over as he ever was. We also get a nice moment with Roddy Piper returning, as this marks the second year in a row he referees a Bret Hart match. Bret goes to work on Backlund’s leg early, while Backlund works on Bret’s arm. Piper does get annoying after a while, and it doesn’t help the michorphone has a long cord to constrict everything. Bret makes his comeback, but rams his shoulder into the post. Backlund puts on the crossface chickenwing, but Bret reverses it and puts the hold on Backlund. Backlund then submits, but it’s hard to tell as he just sounds like he garbles something, but Piper interprets it as “I Quit”. Overall, a good match as Backlund is done, and Bret would be forced to hang in the midcard for the next several months. Grade: 2.5

Jim Ross interviews Bob Backlund, who says that he saw the light.

Nick Turturro says that Pamela Anderson has left the building and changes have been made.

Todd Pettengill interviews Diesel, who says that he doesn’t care about Sid and will walk out the WWF Champion.

Howard Finkel introduces Jonathan Taylor Thomas as the guest timekeeper and Nick Turturro as the guest ring announcer.

6. Diesel (w/ Pamela Anderson) pins Shawn Michaels (w/ Jenny McCarthy and Sid) with the Jackknife at 20:35 to retain the WWF Championship.

Return: Sid makes his return to PPV. Since WM VIII, Sid returned to WCW and teamed with Vader against Sting. He was fired in October after getting into a fight with Arn Anderson in a UK hotel, which resulted in Anderson being stabbed repeatedly by a pair of scissors. Sid would spend 1994 in USWA, feuding with Jerry Lawler before returning shortly before this event.

The Buildup: The match was made after HBK won the Royal Rumble. On an episode of RAW, he announced he had gotten a new bodyguard as he claimed everyone was out to get him. He introduced Sid as his new bodyguard.

Fun Fact: This match was named PWI’s 1995 Match of the Year.

Analysis: Our first main event is a great affair between two Clique members. Diesel was gaining momentum as champion, and Shawn was slowly being groomed as well. The wild card here is Sid, who made his return as Shawn’s muscle. Shawn promised the performance of a lifetime, partly due to feeling shafted that they weren’t the main event, and he delivers big time on his promise. Diesel uses his power early to his advantage, as Vince keeps saying Shawn’s the favorite and Diesel’s the underdog. Shawn puts Diesel in the post and works on his ribs, including a sweet elbow drop to Diesel’s back from halfway across the ring. Diesel won’t stay down and regains control, and in the confusion, the ref hurts his ankle jumping to the floor. Shawn hits SCM on Diesel, but the ref is hurt and when Sid gets him in the ring, Diesel kicks out. Sid then takes the turnbuckle pad off, only for Shawn to get slingshotted into it, or tried to as he ends up hitting the middle buckle because he was too far away. Diesel hits the big boot and Jackknife and retains the title. A great performance all around and you know Shawn was a player, as there were several “Let’s Go Shawn” chants during the match. Sid would play a big factor in this situation the next night. For now, Diesel is still champ and Michaels would have an attitude change. Grade: 4

Jim Ross interviews Shawn Michaels and Sid, and Sid says Shawn isn’t finished with Diesel.

Todd Pettengill interviews Shawn Michaels and Sid, who says he should be Champion and will get another shot at Diesel.

Salt-n-Pepa perform a song about the main event, set to the tune of their hit song “Whatta Man”.

Vince McMahon introduces the Million Dollar Corporation, consisting of King Kong Bundy, Tatanka, Nikolai Volkoff, “Supreme Fighting Machine” Kama, Irwin R. Schyster, and “Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase.

Vince then introduces LT’s All Pro Team, consisting of Ken Norton Jr., Chris Spielman, Rickey Jackson, Carl Banks, Steve McMichael, and Reggie White.

7. Lawrence Taylor (w/ the All Pro team) pins Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ the Million Dollar Corporation) with a flying forearm at 11:42.

The Buildup: This stems from the Royal Rumble, when Bigelow confronted LT thinking he was laughing at him, and then shoved LT to the floor. Bigelow was forced to apologize for his actions and did, but then challengd Taylor to a match, which Taylor’s agent refused. After repeated demands by Bigelow, Taylor finally accepted and a match was made for WM.

Analysis: Our main event is actually a pretty decent affair, considering one of the combatants was a football player. Bam Bam was at his peak as a heel and was making mainstream news due to this feud. LT was training hard for this, and obviously put the time in to learn the ropes. He definetly took this match seriously and was respectful of the business to do so. Having the two teams at ringside added to the hoopla. It’s funny seeing Steve McMichael here knowing he would compete with WCW the following year. LT starts strong against Bam Bam, but Bigelow then takes advantage and tries to humiliate LT. He throws everything at him, including the moonsault and flying headbutt, but can’t put him away. LT comes back and gets the win with a crisp forearm off the middle rope.A good match to end the show, as Bigelow was headed for an attitude change, as he was promised a huge face run if he put LT over clean, which he did. Most say this was the wrong thing to do, but it really was the only option, and again LT came across as respectful and legit, so it works out in the end. Plus the crowd was solidly behind LT, so it also worked out in that aspect. Grade: 2.5

Jim Ross interviews the Corporation, who says they are embarrased that Bigelow lost to a football player.

LT and the All-Pro Team celebrate in the ring as we go off the air.

Final Analysis: For a long time, this show has been given the dubious honor of the worst WM in history, but truthfully it’s not as bad as its reputation. This was during one ot the weakest years in WWF history, with a shallow talent pool and dropping buy rates. It doesn’t help that the production wasn’t the best as there were audio problems all night. But looking back at 1995, this was actually one of the better PPVs. It’s still low on the WM food chain, but not the very bottom. The action is pretty solid with only a few duds in there. Diesel and Jarrett retain their belts, while Owen and Yoko are now on top of the tag ranks. Bret Hart and Undertaker win, but would spend the rest of the year in the midcard. The main event is not terrible as Bigelow puts LT over clean. One complaint I have is the celebrity overload in this event and all the media surrounding the ring, as it made things cluttered. Sure Vince probably needed the media blitz, but it could’ve been moderated. In any event, an average WM that would have been better off as a secondary event. Final Grade: C

wordpress stats plugin