September 15, 2009
Steve Riddle

Wrestlemania V
April 2nd, 1989
Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Guests in order of appearance: Run DMC, Morton Downey Jr., and Donald Trump

Actual Show:

We see the opening montage for Wrestlemania V. Gorilla Monsoon welcomes us to Wrestlemania V. Rockin’ Robin performs “America the Beautiful”. Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura.

1. Hercules pins “King” Haku (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) with a back suplex bridge at 6:53.

Analysis: A pretty good match to start the show. Haku is still on the rise and puts a good beatdown on the new face. Herc never had a wide array of moves, but was great at selling so the face run was certainly a good thing for him. He takes a beating, but gets the win with a back suplex bridge, and remembers to get his shoulder up. Nice match to kick off what will be a long night of wrestling. Grade: 2.5

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews the Rockers.

2. The Twin Towers (w/ “The Doctor of Style” Slick) defeat the Rockers when Akeem pins Shawn Michaels with a splash at 8:05.

WM Debuts: Big Bossman, Marty Jannetty, and Shawn Michaels

Analysis: A suprisingly good match. The Towers were on a roll following the feud with the Mega Powers and tangle with the rising Rockers. Michaels and Jannetty were a fun team and given a nice push upon their arrival, but they do have to pay their dues and take the pin. A fun match as quickness and power squared off, and on this night, power won out. Grade: 3

Tony Schiavone interviews Ted Dibiase and Virgil.

Debut: Tony Schiavone began his announcing days in college. He would also be an announcer in minor league baseball before venturing to wrestling. He would be the main play-by-play announcer for Jim Crockett Promotions before coming to the WWF in 1989.

3. Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake and “The Million Dollar Man’ Ted Dibiase (w/ Virgil) wrestle to a double countout at 10:00.

Fun Fact: This is the debut of the Million Dollar Belt.

Analysis: A pretty disappointing match considering who was involved. Beefcake has certainly improved in ability over the last year and we all know Dibiase’s credentials. We see the Million Dollar Belt on PPV for the first time, as Gorilla rips Dibiase for not putting the belt on the line. The countout is pretty lame as the feud doesn’t progress any further. Dibiase moves on to another feud, as does Beefcake. Grade: 1.5

We see highlights form the Wrestlemania Brunch, where Lord Alfred Hayes attempts to interview the Bushwhackers.

4. The Bushwhackers defeat the Fabulous Rougeau Brothers (w/ “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart) when Luke pins Raymond after a double gutbuster at 5:11.

WM Debuts: The Bushwhackers

Analysis: Another pretty bad match. The Whackers were nothing more than a comedy act, but the Rougeaus are still in a major slump. The Whackers do have nice bumping skills, but still, they probably didn’t need the win here. Either way, they do get the win and continue marching merrily along while the Rougeaus continue to slide. Grade: 1.5

Sean Mooney attempts to interview fans in the aisle and gets licked by the Bushwhackers.

5. Mr. Perfect pins the Blue Blazer with the Perfect-Plex at 5:49.

WM Debuts: Mr. Perfect and Owen Hart

Fun Fact: Perfect debuts his trademark singlet.

Farewell: This is Owen Hart’s last PPV until 1992.

Analysis: Jesse predicts this match to be his “sleeper” match and he is right on the money. Perfect continues to hone down his character and the “Perfect streak” and we get a glimpse of the greatness Owen Hart will bring in the future. Both men put on a wrestling clinic that should have gotten a few more minutes. Blazer comes close, but falls victim to the Perfect-Plex. Owen would not be seen again for a few years while Perfect is just getting started. Grade: 3.5

Howard Finkel introduces Jesse “The Body” Ventura to the crowd. We see highlights from the Wrestlemania 5K run where Lord Alfred Hayes interviews Mr. Fuji. Run-DMC perform the Wrestlemania Rap. We see the history of the WWF Tag Team Championship match. Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Demolition.

6. Demolition defeat the Powers of Pain and Mr. Fuji in a handicap match when Ax pins Fuji with the Decapitation at 8:55 to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship.

WM Debuts: The Powers of Pain

The Buildup: This feud stems from when Fuji doublecrossed Demolition at the Survivor Series. This was just a straight up tag match, but Fuji was a last minute entry.

Analysis: A solid power match between two power teams. Demolition are now full fledged faces and face their former manager and his new charges. Demo and the POP pound the crap out of each other, while the POP only tag Fuji in at opportune times. In the end, Fuji hits the Barbarian with the salt and falls victim to Demolition. The POP would never get another shot and Demolition have now eclipsed one year as champions, their reign starting in this very building. Grade: 3

Tony Schiavone attempts to interview Randy Savage. After the introductions for the next match, “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka makes his grand return.

Return: Since departing in 1985, Snuka would appear in the AWA feuding with several stars before returning here.

7. Dino Bravo (w/ Frenchy Martin) pins “Rugged” Ron Garvin with the side suplex at 4:00.

WM Debut: Ron Garvin

Farewell: This is Frenchy Martin’s last WWF PPV. He would become a jobber until his retirement in 1990.

Analysis: Another meaningless filler match, although the next few Wrestlemanias would have matches like these. The big pop came for the return of Jimmy Snuka. Bravo is now floating in limbo, but picks up another win here. Garvin was never a big threat in the WWF, but would begin a new feud over the new year. Bravo would also move on, getting a new manager as the year progressed. Grade: 2

8. The Brainbusters (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) defeat Strike Force when Arn Anderson pins Tito Santana with a spike piledriver at 9:17.

WM Debuts: The Brainbusters

Analysis: What was a simple tag match would give birth to another big feud. This is Strike Force’s first match as a team, and the chemistry is not there anymore. The Busters were a team on the rise. Santana would hit Martel by accident and Martel would walk out on his partner. Santana would then get destroyed by the Busters, capped off with a stiff Spike Piledriver. Martel would turn heel and become a whole new character. Santana is looking for revenge, and the Busters have gold in their sights. Grade: 3

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Rick Martel. We have the return of Piper’s Pit with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and his guests, Brother Love and Morton Downey Jr.

Return: Since his retirement in 1987, Piper jumped to Hollywood, starring in the 1988 cult film, “They Live”. He is best known in the movie for his famous phrase: “I’m here to chew bubblegum and kick ass, and I’m all out of bubblegum.” This is his first event as he would return as a wrestler/announcer.

We see a preview of Hulk Hogan’s new movie, “No Holds Barred”. Sean Mooney interviews Donald Trump. Gorilla talks up “No Holds Barred”, while Jesse goes on a tirade about Hogan and briefly leaves the broadcast table before returning. We see the history of the Mega Powers. Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Hulk Hogan.

9. Jake “The Snake” Roberts defeats Andre the Giant (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) by disqualification at 9:39.

Special referee: Big John Studd

Farewell: This is Big John Studd’s last PPV. He would quit in July of that year and retire in 1990. John Studd would sadly pass away from liver cancer and Hodgkin’s disease on March 20th, 1995 at the age of 47. Big John Studd was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004 by the Big Show.

The Buildup: Bobby Heenan unleashed Andre on Jake after he finished his feud with Rick Rude. However, Jake countered with Damien, revealing Andre was deathly afraid of snakes. This was the big blowoff match.

Analysis: We get to the big climax of this feud. The story was great, the match itself was pretty bad. Andre by this point could no longer handle the load of singles matches. Studd is brought in as the ref, but the heat between him and Andre is already dead by this point. Jake tries his damnedest, but this match was destined to be horrible. Jake reaches for Damien, but is intercepted by Ted Dibiase, who runs off with Damien, but Jake catches him and unleashes Damien on Andre, who got DQ’ed for assulting Studd. Studd would never been seen on PPV again, Andre is pushed further down the card, and Jake now has the Million Dollar Man in his sights. Grade: 1.5

We see Sean Mooney in the cheap seats of the arena. Tony Schiavone interviews “Sensantional” Sherri Martel.

10. The Hart Foundation defeat Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and the Honkytonk Man (w/ “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart) when Bret pins Honky after a megaphone shot at 7:40.

Analysis: A solid tag team filler match. This PPV truly defines this era of tag wrestling, as there are 5 tag matches, meaning 10 teams on the card. Plus these teams weren’t just thrown together, they all had solid backstory and history. Back to the match, these four men bust their butts and put on a good match. Valentine and Honky are just a test run for what would be a unique gimmick in 1990. The Harts get the win and remain under the radar of the face side of the tag teams. Grade: 2.5

We see the history of the Ultimate Warrior/Rick Rude feud.

11. “Ravishing” Rick Rude (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) pins the Ultimate Warrior when Heenan trips Warrior and holds his foot on the pin at 9:42 to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship.

The Buildup: After Rude assulted Warrior at the Rumble during the posedown, this match was made.

Analysis: A real solid title match. Rude was reaching his apex as a heel and Warrior continues to grow in popularity as the months go on. The crowd is rabid to see Rude get his ass kicked, while Jesse is praying and begging for an upset. Warrior dominates most of the match, but Rude and Heenan manage to outsmart the Warrior, using the art of cheating to steal the IC title. Warrior gets at Heenan and assults him, which is cruical for later in the show. Rude walks out the champ, but the issue between him and Warrior is far from over. Grade: 3.5

12. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and Bad News Brown wrestle to a double disqualification at 3:47.

Analysis: God, what a terrible match. Two guys with similar styles just pounding each other to no end. Jesse makes a great call saying the first to use a wrestling hold will win, but that doesn’t happen. Brown and Duggan get weapons, a chair and the 2x4 respectively, and both get DQ’ed. Jesse then rips Duggan apart for the snot hanging out of his nose. Great commentary, bad match which is the trademark of useless filler matches. Grade: 1

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews the Red Rooster.

13. The Red Rooster pins Bobby “The Brain” Heenan (w/ the Brooklyn Brawler) after Heenan hits the post at :32.

Debut: Steve Lombardi debuted in the WWF in 1983, working mostly as an enhancement talent before being repackaged as the Brooklyn Brawler and joined the Heenan family.

The buildup: After weeks of embarrasing losses by the Rooster, Heenan finally fired the Rooster on Prime Time. Rooster turned face and challenged Heenan here.

WM Debuts: Red Rooster and Brooklyn Brawler

Analysis: One last quick filler match before our main event. Heenan is still bruised up after the beating from the Warrior, so Rooster makes quick work of him. Rooster would have his greatest moment here, but even so he gets assulted by the Brawler, which leads nowhere as Brawler would quietly leave the Heenan Family and go back to being a jobber. Grade: .5

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Miss Elizabeth. Tony Schiavone is in the locker room mentioning the superstars are awaiting the main event. Sean Mooney polls fans to see who will win the main event.

14. Hulk Hogan pins “Macho Man” Randy Savage with the legdrop at 17:54 to win the WWF Championship.

The buildup: After the Rumble, everything came unglued at the Main Event. During a match with the Twin Towers, Elizabeth got hurt inadvertnetly by Savage. Hogan took her to the back, leaving Savage alone. When Hulk came back, Savage slapped him and left him. Hogan would go on to win the match. Afterwards in the trainer’s room, Savage and Hogan argued, which led to Savage hitting Hogan with the belt, setting up this match. Elizabeth announced she would be in a neutral corner for this match.

Analysis: After the formation a year ago in this very building, the Mega Powers finally explode. Other reveiws have mentioned the inept of the feud and who was the heel and face, so I won’t get into these details. The match itself is very solid as Savage as grown into a great talent that can carry anybody to a great match. This is a prefect example, as he carries Hulk to a great match. Both men trade momentum back and forth, until Savage gets the advantage after Hogan sustains a cut above his eye. Elizabeth remains neutral until close to the end when she is finally ejected by the ref. In the end, Hulk regains the advantage and wins his second WWF Championship. Savage would not get close to the title for 3 years while Hulkamania is once again running wild. Grade: 4

Gorilla thanks us for watching Wrestlemania V.

Final Analysis: Overall, this is a very long and drawn out show. There are some good matches and hidden gems, as the tag division is showcased at its height in the 80s, but the majority of the card are useless filler matches, as more guys were on to get that big WM payday. The next two WMs would also be like that before filler matches are eliminated. Hulk Hogan is back on top, Rick Rude is on top of the midcard, and Demolition rule the tag division. Other talent is elevated (Perfect, Martel) and we see a few returns (Snuka, Piper). As for where this WM ranks among others, it’s probably among the Top 15. It is a good show, but you will need patience to get through it. Final Grade: B

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