July 5, 2006
WWF Wrestlemania VI
Skydome, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 1st 1990
Three years after that historic night in Pontiac, Michigan, Wrestlemania returned to the big stage in the Toronto Skydome for Wrestlemania VI. The previous two Wrestlemanias (which had taken place in Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, NJ) had been solid but they lacked the big stadium feel that had defined Wrestlemania III in 1987. Not only was Wrestlemania VI viewed as a return to the big stadium spectacle but it was also seen as a landmark and a peak in the wrestling industry, which at that point had not really slowed down. What distinguishes this Wrestlemania from others, apart from the fact that it is the first international Wrestlemania, is the fact that the main event pitted two of the company’s top baby faces against each other, which was unheard of at the time. Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior was a dream match most fans thought they would never see. The WWF had been careful to distance these two superstars during their respected runs but as the 1990s kicked off they had them collide in a fashion that made everyone’s head turn. Wrestlemania VI would ultimately spell the end of one era and the beginning of a new one.
Here we go with the Wrestlemania VI: Ultimate Challenge!
We are shown an awesome Ultimate Challenge interlude narrated by Vince McMahon, in which both Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior's figures are outlined as constellations in the sky.
Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura (who is making his final PPV broadcast appearance alongside long time colleague Monsoon) welcome us before sending it down to Howard Finkel.
The Fink introduces Robert Goulet (insert Will Ferrell SNL joke here) who sings the Canadian National Anthem.
*“The Model” Rick Martel vs. Koko B. Ware
Since Skydome is absolutely gigantic, the wrestlers enter on the same mini-ring carts that were used at Wrestlemania III. Koko B. Ware fires up the crowd with a lively entrance but it’s clear his opponent “The Model” Rick Martel is the one who is going to go over in this opener. After all, Martel is the one who is receiving the push. The Model jumps Koko during instructions but Koko comes back with a cross body and some drop kicks that send the Model out to the floor. Koko flings The Model back in but Martel sends him to the floor on a charge attempt. Rick Martel is in control as he attacks Koko on the outside. Back in, Martel continues his offence with a suplex and back breaker. It’s clear Martel in zeroing in on the back, hoping to soften it up for the Boston crab. He tries to apply it but Koko manages to block it long enough to get the rope break. Martel starts to ram Koko’s head into the turnbuckle, which Koko no sells and fights back. A blind flying cross body misses its mark though and Koko goes crashing to the mat. Martel reapplies the Boston Crab and this time he gets it on for the submission. *1/2
Match Analysis: A decent opener, which served its purpose, that being to put Martel over. The action in this match was well paced and it got the crowd into it. I think the ring psychology also deserves a nod particularly due to Koko trying to avoid Martel’s dreaded Boston crab finisher.
Mean Gene is with Bobby Heenan and the WWF Tag Team Champions The Colossal Connection. Notice that Haku is holding his WWF Tag Team belt but Bobby Heenan is holding Andre The Giant’s. Oooo! Foreshadowing!
Sean Mooney is with Ax and Smash of Demolition, who are fired up for their tag title match.
*WWF Tag Team Championship Match: The Colossal Connection (Champions) vs. Demolition (Challengers)
This is Demolition’s opportunity to three-peat and become 3 time WWF Tag Team Champions. Jesse Ventura points out the magnitude of this match, claiming that if Demolition fails to regain the titles today, it will be a very long time before they get another crack at them because of other teams wanting a title shot. For those of you that don’t know The Colossal Connection (Andre The Giant and Haku) defeated Demolition for the titles on the 12/30/89 Superstars and had been reigning ever since (although I don’t remember too many title defenses during their three month reign). The Toronto crowd pops huge and I do mean HUGE for Demolition upon their entrance. It’s scary and kind of makes you wonder if the WWF dropped the ball with the Demos after this.
Anyway, Haku and Andre waste no time jumping Demolition before the bell as they are getting their ring gear off. Haku tries to go to work on Smash but Smash fires back with some roundhouse rights and Demolition starts fast tagging over Haku. Andre tries to break their momentum by clocking Ax, but Demolition still dominates over Haku. Haku attempts to hip toss Smash but Smash counters with a back slide pin fall attempt, which Andre The Giant breaks it up in a hurry. Ax tags in and chops away on Haku but is caught off guard with a karate thrust to the throat and Haku takes control. Ax plays face in peril as Haku measures him with a back breaker and crescent kick. Bobby Heenan gets in a slap on the outside and Ax then gets caught in the wrong corner, being choked out by Andre The Giant. Smash breaks up a near pin fall but Haku continues to destroy Ax without tagging in Andre.
Ax tries to fight back but Haku stops that nonsense with a thumb to the eye. Haku slaps on a Tonga death grip and a Demolition hot tag is teased until Haku nails Smash on the apron with a kick. Smash is pissed and hits the ring in frustration, which in turn allows Andre to choke out Ax with the tag rope in the Colossal Connection’s corner. Ax starts to make a come back on Haku but it’s stopped with a well-placed kick to the hamstring. Haku still neglects to make the tag to Andre The Giant and Jesse Ventura makes note of it. A shoulder breaker gets two. An Irish whip is executed but Haku charges right into Ax’ boot and the crowd goes WILD! Ax follows up with a clothesline and begins to crawl towards his corner. A hot tag is finally made and Smash goes ballistic on Haku. Smash sends Haku in orbit with a beautiful back body drop and follows up with a cross body. Andre The Giant tries to get involved but Smash stops him with a forearm. Ax comes in to help by dropping Haku with a stiff shot, then he and Smash double clothesline Andre. The crowd is going absolutely ape shit here! The referee admonishes Ax and in the confusion Andre ties up Smash so Haku can give him a crescent kick. Haku misses and nails The Giant sending him into the ropes where he gets tied up. Demolition polishes off Haku by depositing him throat first on the top rope. Bobby Heenan gets on the apron to try and free Andre from the ropes, but it’s too late, Demolition finishes off Haku with the Decapitation and gets the win and their third (unprecedented at the time) WWF Tag Team Championship. ***1/2 The crowd pops HUGE as Demolition celebrates their three-peat.
Bobby Heenan is irate and tears into Andre The Giant for the loss, going as far as slapping him in the face. Andre loses it and grabs Heenan and begins to beat the crap out of him before tossing him out of the ring. Haku tries to blindside the Giant with a crescent kick but Andre catches it and sends Haku out of the ring in a similar fashion as Bobby Heenan. Bobby Heenan and Haku try to leave on the cart but Andre clears them both off it and leaves on his own to a standing ovation.
Match Analysis: This was a great tag title bout. The crowd was really hot and it added a lot to this match. The wrestling was solid for the most part as Ax and Smash both put on a good performance while Haku wrestled the entire bout for The Colossal Connection. It makes sense since Andre The Giant was so deteriorated by this point that he really couldn’t wrestle. Nonetheless, Andre was booked really well in this match, which would be his swan song in the WWF. He was finally able to turn on Heenan, bid farewell to the fans as a full-fledged baby face, and gets a standing ovation. A classy finish to a remarkable career. As for Demolition, they have ultimately reached their peak here becoming the first ever three-time WWF Tag Team Champions. At the time one expected them to go on the bigger things, but as the year progress a series of changes causes them to meet a sharp decline after three years of dominating the tag ranks. The fall of Demolition will be touched on in the coming reviews, but for now they’re still the best tag team in the business.
Mean Gene is with Earthquake and Jimmy Hart.
*Earthquake vs. Hercules
Gorilla Monsoon points out that Earthquake has sent twenty-eight men to the hospital, and it doesn’t take a mathematical genius to figure that Hercules will probably be number twenty-nine. Jimmy Hart gets on the referees case about getting Hercules chain out of the ring. Earthquake tries to jump Herc but Hercules is too quick and puts his speed and agility to good use. Earthquake goes outside to regroup before getting back in and challenging Herc to a test of strength. Hercules is never one to turn down a strength test and he ends up paying for it by being on the losing end. Earthquake breaks the hold with some forearms and begins to dominate with his size. Hercules tries to knock him down in vain with some body checks and then like an idiot tries to go for his backbreaker submission. Yeah right…not going to happen! Earthquake lowers the boom and finishes him with the Earthquake splash for the east win. 1/2* After the match Quake gives Hercules an aftershock before leaving still undefeated.
Match Analysis: By no means a great match but the purpose of it was to put over Earthquake, which it did. Earthquake would move on to a big feud with Hogan in the coming months, while Hercules would continue his descent down the card until July when (under the guidance of Slick) he would turn heel and pair up with Paul Roma to form Power & Glory.
Gorilla and Jess send it over to Rona Barrett (if you don’t know who Rona Barrett is you’re not alone) who interviews the Lovely Miss Elizabeth. Liz claims she doesn’t know if she’ll return to managing or not but if she does she’ll be far more active.
Sean Mooney is with Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, who is looking over Mr. Perfect’s perfect record.
*Mr. Perfect vs. Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake
The Genius, who Brutus gave a hair cut at the Royal Rumble, introduces Mr. Perfect. Thankfully, the association between Mr. Perfect and The Genius is nearing its end here. I don’t know for whatever reason that pairing never sat well with me. Bobby Heenan made a far better manager in my opinion. Anyway, there is a lot of scores to settle in this one as Bruti is out for revenge after Perfect nearly ended his career at the Rumble. Perfect had been feuding with Hogan but was pushed to the wayside by the Ultimate Warrior. So basically he’s here to put over Hogan’s buddy Brutus fair and square. Up to this point Mr. Perfect had not lost on TV but the announcer’s are no longer playing up his undefeated streak. The reason being is that he had been putting over Hogan and The Warrior at house shows leading up to this.
Anyway, Jesse says hi to Terry, Tyrell, and Jane in Minneapolis as Perfect and Beefcake lock horns. Beefcake gets the upper hand early on and sends Hennig flying over the top then he drags him back in and dismantles him some more with an atomic drop that sends Perfect over again. Back in, they lock up again and Perfect gains control with some shots. It doesn’t last long as Bruti reverses an Irish whip that sends Hennig so hard into the corner he does a flying somersault on his way out. Brutus continues to work over Perfect, who seems to be overselling everything. He gives the sign for the sleeper but The Genius gets up on the apron and distracts Beefer long enough to hand Mr. Perfect his metal scroll. Perfect waffles Bruti with it and the tide turns drastically. A running neck snap gets two but Perfect continues to work over Beefcake. A knee lift floors Brutus and Perfect begins to taunt him while he’s down. Hennig plays the cocky arrogant heel to perfection here (no pun intended). He ends up taking him to lightly though and all of sudden, Beefcake slingshots him right into the post, knocking Mr. Perfect senseless. Bruti follows up with a pin that ends Mr. Perfect’s undefeated streak. *3/4 Perfect is still down and out as Brutus begins to motion that it’s time for a haircut. The Genius tries to make off with Bruti’s shears, but The Barber stops him in a hurry and fires him back into the ring. Perfect manages to bail but Brutus traps The Genius in a sleeper and gives him another haircut. Jesse’s ranting here is classic!
Match Analysis: Maybe this seemed like a good idea at the time but in hindsight this is a perfect example of how a match can be booked totally wrong in my opinion. Sure, Beefcake was over with the fans and his career had peaked but Perfect was also at the top and should’ve gone over Beefcake here. The reason being that Perfect had been in World title contention months prior to this but Hogan took away all his steam at the Rumble and then put his buddy Beefcake over Hennig, which took away most of his momentum. Is it any wonder that after this loss (Perfect’s first nationally televised pin fall loss), that Hennig started jobbing to EVERYBODY? I know Vince gave Hennig the IC Title a month later but the plan was to drop it to none other than Brutus over the summer anyway! Perfect’s first IC title reign seemed to represent more of him being reduced to upper-mid-card from main event status. As for this match, not bad but it could’ve been way better had Hennig been in the ring with a better opponent. Perfect sells everything Beefcake dishes out at him graciously but it borders on overselling which hurts this rather lukewarm mediocre match.
A recap of the “Rowdy” Roddy Piper/Bad News Brown feud is shown with highlights from the Royal Rumble where they eliminated each other.
Mean Gene is with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper who is looking somewhat two-faced claiming to be both “The Hot Rod” and “The Hot Scot”. Piper is his usual insane self as he cuts an incomprehensible promo.
*“Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. Bad News Brown
This match can either be a great all-out brawl or an unmitigated disaster. Unfortunately, it is the latter and sure enough this match ends in a typical non-finish, which both men are well known for. As I said earlier, Piper is looking two-faced because for whatever strange reason he’s painted the entire right side of his body black. Why he did this is beyond anyone. However, to this day Bad News Brown accuses Hot Rod of being a racist for doing so. Controversy aside, this match blows and both men end up brawling to a count out. Disappointing considering how the feud was built from the Royal Rumble. DUD.
Match Analysis: It was what was expected: a brawl. However, both men were relatively tame in their fighting. No one bladed or used any real weapons and the match simply didn’t tell a very good story. This is a letdown considering the momentum this had coming in from the Rumble.
Steve Allen is in the showers (which he dubs, “an appropriate acoustic environment”) with The Bolsheviks preparing the Soviet National Anthem. This is a funny little bit here as The Bolsheviks get on Steve Allen’s case for not playing the Russian National Anthem on the piano. After a few ridiculous warm ups, Allen tries to play it but a toilet flushing in the background drowns him out. The Bolsheviks get all bent out of shape and Allen sends it back to Gorilla and Jess. Funny stuff!
*The Hart Foundation vs. The Bolsheviks
It’s amazing the Bolsheviks have managed to stay together this long. The Hart Foundation is back to being a full-time tag team here and they’ve already issued a challenge to the new WWF Tag Team Champions Demolition. The Bolsheviks enter the ring and do some stalling by demanding to sing the Soviet National Anthem. They begin to run through their usual act but The Harts don’t want to hear it and end up jumping the Bolsheviks. Nikolai Volkoff is cleared from the ring in short order and The Hart Foundation finishes off Boris Zhukov with the Hart Attack for the win in a record 18 seconds! Whoa! Of course any match like this is a definite DUD but it was cool to see the Harts destroy The Bolsheviks (who should’ve been disbanded long ago). Also, it was a squash win like this that shot the Harts backup into number one contention for the titles and again Jesse ranting here during the post-match replay is hilarious!
Match Analysis: I have a love/hate feeling with this match. I hate it because it’s a total squash on a big PPV where The Harts could’ve been used to showcase their wrestling ability (in a match against The Rockers for example). On the other hand, I love it because it was cool to see the Harts dominate so easily and it marked the start of their major comeback push after well over two years of floating aimlessly along the mid-card. The Bolsheviks are dead in the water by this point. Their manager Slick had long since abandoned them and after a few more botched TV matches they would break up and feud in a series of bouts that were painful to watch.
A promo for Wrestlemania VII from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on March 24th 1991. Yes I said the LA Memorial Coliseum! You see, back then Vince McMahon was dreaming that he could draw well over 100,000 wrestling fans to the Coliseum and he set Wrestlemania VII out to do so. Unfortunately, once Wrestlemania VII finally rolled around a year later the business was starting to decline and the event had to be moved to the LA Sports Arena. (This will be covered to greater extent in my Wrestlemania VII review.)
Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura briefly discuss Wrestlemania VII. Jesse claims he’ll definitely be there because it’s in his town Hollywood, but alas, he would not attend Wrestlemania VII.
Mean Gene is with Tito Santana.
*The Barbarian vs. Tito Santana
Shortly before Wrestlemania VI, Mr. Fuji split up the Powers Of Pain selling Warlord to Slick and The Barbarian to Bobby Heenan. Somehow Barbarian managed to get onto the Wrestlemania VI card whereas the Warlord is strangely missing in action. Regardless, this is just another mid-card match where Tito Santana is supposed to put over The Barbarian to establish him as a heel threat in singles competition. The Barbarian is still decked out in his Powers Of Pain gear here, but he is starting to grow out his hair and would undergo a transformation in the coming months.
Anyway, Gorilla and Jess go through a hilarious bit about Jesse’s navy days in Mexico. Also, Jesse goes all out with the Chico Santana jokes, which always being a smile to my face. Tito and The Barbarian lock up and Barbarian over powers him. However, Chico uses his speed to clear Barbarian out of the ring. Back in, The Barbarian delivers some vicious chops but Santana counters with a cross body for two. Tito maintains control with a headlock but doesn’t really follow up with anything. Barbarian counters with a hip lock but misses a follow up diving head butt. Chico goes for a hurricarana but is unable to get Barbarian to budge so he pounds him to the mat. Santana goes back to the headlock but Barbarian drops him with a big boot. Barbarian executes a shoulder breaker before misses the mark with an elbow from the second rope. He tries to charge Chico in the corner but misses again. Santana fires back with some fists and a couple of drop kicks. A double axe handle and flying fore arm seal the deal, but Bobby Heenan saves The Barbarian by placing his foot on the bottom rope. Tito gets distracted and bitches at Heenan. He tries to go for a roll up but ends up clotheslining himself on the top tope when Barbarian ducks out of the way. The Barbarian finishes off Santana with a flying clothesline from the top rope for the win. ** Big win for The Barbarian and a very solid (albeit short) match.
Match Analysis: Again the match served it purpose, which was to put the Barbarian over as a new heel threat in the Heenan family. Both guys worked a good bout, especially considering the lack of time they were given. I never saw the purpose of breaking up the Powers Of Pain (or at least I think it could’ve waited till after Wrestlemania VI). Also, how come the Warlord isn’t getting a mid-card bout to put him over here?
Recap of the Macho King/Dusty Rhodes feud, which includes highlights from The Royal Rumble, and The Ultimate Challenge special.
Sean Mooney is with “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes & Sapphire. Dusty babbles on about how Savage and Sherri are missing the “crown jewel” in their royalty.
*“The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes & Sapphire vs. “Macho King” Randy Savage & “Sensational Queen” Sherri
As far as I know this was the first time the World Wrestling Federation ever booked a mixed tag team match and all I can say is this isn’t going be pretty! Savage and Rhodes had been feuding ever since the beginning of the year and during many of their altercations Sapphire and Sherri got involved. Thus, this mixed tag team match was booked in order to settle the score. Why we couldn’t have been treated to a simple Randy Savage vs. Dusty Rhodes match is beyond me! Savage vs. Rhodes is one of those matches that always looked great on paper but never really played out all too well once in the ring. Anyway, Savage and Sherri come down the aisle on the throne, but it seems like it takes forever for them to get to ringside. I think those miniature wrestling ring carts broke down. Dusty and Sapphire enter to a huge pop. However, when ring announcer Howard Finkel announces their combined weight of 465lbs, Jesse Ventura goes all up in arms in it saying, “You’re telling me Rhodes only weighs 200? Cause I know damn well Sapphire weighs two and a half! 565 I might buy but no 465!” Classic, simply classic! In fact it’s Jesse’s commentary that saves this match from being an utter disgrace. I guess since this was his last PPV appearance he was going to go all out with the Dusty Rhodes jokes. Dusty hits the ring and chases Macho out. He then gets on the mic and introduces “the crown jewel” Miss Elizabeth to be in his and Sapphire’s corner. Macho and Sherri are pissed as Rhodes and Sapphire welcome Liz into the ring. Jesse cracks, “Ugh! Do I really have to look at Sapphire?!?” Ha!
Anyway, onto the match. Macho King and the Dream start off with Rhodes gaining easy control. Sherri comes in for a cheap shot and Rhodes goes right after her. Sherri backs off right into Sapphire clutches. Jesse isn’t happy about the camera being so close to Sapphire’s rear end and freaks out, “Any angle but that one!” Macho jumps Rhodes and goes for a double axe handle, but he ends up getting caught and tossed straight into Sherri, before clearing Savage of the ring and tagging Sapphire. Dusty heads to the outside and feeds Sherri into Sapphire. Jesse bitches with Monsoon about it being illegal while Sapphire runs through some lousy offence, which Sherri (an accomplished ladies’ wrestler) graciously sells. Sapphire drops Sherri with a sloppy looking airplane spin but only gets a one count. Sherri bitch slaps Sapphire but botches a slam. Dusty tags in and tries to corner Sherri, Savage tries to intervene but gets caught. Rhodes ties up Savage and allows Sapphire to slap him. Macho catches Rhodes with a high knee that sends the Dream onto the floor. The action heads to the outside, Sherri joins in and smacks Rhodes’ head into the apron. Gorilla complains which fires Jesse up to argue again. Macho nails Rhodes with a double axe handle from the top on the outside. Rhodes is down and out and Macho hits another double axe handle from the top. On a third attempt Sapphire blocks Savage from hitting another one, so Macho King manhandles her and hits an axe handle on Rhodes again. Savage is in total control and nails Rhodes with the scepter while the ref is tied up with Sapphire and Sherri. Macho hands off the Dream to Sherri who tries to pin him. Macho botches a double axe handle and pays for it. Rhodes makes a comeback gives Savage and Sherri a double noggin’ knocker. Dusty unloads with some elbows on the Macho King. Sherri jumps on Rhodes so the Dream backs in his corner and tags in Sapphire, who pulls the Queen off. Sapphire and Sherri have a stare down before going at it in catfight like form. Sherri is tossed to the outside and Liz throws her back in. Sensational Sherri is pissed and is distracted long enough for Sapphire to suplex her and go for a pin. Macho and Rhodes hit the ring and a brawl erupts. Sherri goes back to jawing with Liz, but she gets too close so Liz responds by shoving Sherri and she falls over Sapphire who schoolboys her for the win. Jesse yells, “That stunk! That stunk!” Can’t disagree. The match was lousy but at least mildly entertaining. * Savage and Sherri leave humiliated while Dusty, Sapphire and Miss Elizabeth celebrate by dancing to Rhodes’ theme music. Why is it every time Dusty Rhodes won he had to dance! Nobody wants to see that!
Match Analysis: In terms of wrestling this match was horrible. I gave it * because it was somewhat fun to watch but it still stunk, especially the finish. This * rating goes mainly to Gorilla and Jesse’s commentary which was excellent throughout this match. If there’s one good note about this match is that things were about to get better for Randy Savage, who had spent the last year on the back burner in pointless mid-card feuds. As for Dusty Rhodes...well it was all down hill from here but we’ll get into that in our next review.
The same Wrestlemania VII promo as before.
Mean Gene is with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, who is still upset about what happened with Andre The Giant earlier tonight.
Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura are with Rona Barrett (again…who?). Rona is an investigative reporter who digs up dirt on Hollywood stars. Anyway, she goes on about how the WWF Superstars seem to all have very clean images. Clearly, Rona doesn’t know much about the WWF steroid and sex scandals that were happening around this time. Some journalist! She does however tell us that she has footage of Jesse Ventura in an adult film and she even brought the footage. Eww! Jesse stops all that nonsense in a hurry by sending it over to Sean Mooney (probably the first time Jess was ever happy to send it over to Mooney).
Sean Mooney is in the locker room with “Macho King” Randy Savage and Sensational Queen Sherri, who are totally humiliated by their Wrestlemania VI loss. Ugh! Sherri’s screams are enough to make me hit the mute button.
Mean Gene is with Demolition who are celebrating their third tag title win. Gene mentions The Hart Foundation, who have already challenged them. Ax and Smash claim that The Hart Foundation will get their shot as well as every other tag team.
The 5-minute intermission has been clipped.
We’re back and Jesse tears into Gorilla for downing several hot dogs during the break. Gorilla responds by bringing up the alleged XXX video that Jesse is in. Turns out Gorilla saw the footage during the break and it wasn’t Jess at all. Ventura seems relieved as they send it over to Mean Gene.
Mean Gene is with Hulk Hogan, who cuts a great promo. In fact this was probably one of my favourite promos Hogan ever did. However, he makes the mistake of giving away who will lose when he goes on about being “a good winner or a good loser.” Hogan did this of course to cover his own ass for his guaranteed loss later that night.
Sean Mooney with the Ultimate Warrior, who also cuts a great but really weird promo. The way Warrior treats Mooney here is definitely not becoming of a baby face WWF Champion. Warrior calls Sean “nothing but a normal” who “doesn’t deserve to breathe the same air” that Hulk Hogan and him do. What a jerk!
*The Rockers vs. The Orient Express
This Orient Express was Mr. Fuji’s newest find that debuted a month prior (on the March 3rd Superstars) to fill in the void The Powers Of Pain had left behind. This tag team match is pretty much their first major nationally televised bout and here they manage to sneak away with a victory over The Rockers. The Rockers are still crazy over with fans and had spent the last year and a half having killer matches across the country. However, The Rockers always seemed to come up short when it really counted and this match is a prime example of that.
Marty Jannetty and Tanaka lock up and Tanaka resorts to chops. Jannetty pays him back with some hard fists but gets caught by a crescent kick. Tanaka tries to follow up with something but runs into a power slam. Sato tries to interfere but Shawn Michaels hits the ring and The Rockers give him a hip toss. Tanaka gets slammed onto Sato and they bolt to the outside. The Rockers won’t let them rest though and coming soaring out of the ring with a plancha maneuver. Things settle down a bit until Jannetty takes an ugly spill onto the floor courtesy of Mr. Fuji pulling down the rope with his cane. One the outside, Fuji nails Marty with the cane and Sato rams him into the steel post. Back in, The Orient Express works over Marty Jannetty. Jannetty manages to land on his feet on a back drop attempt and makes a quick tag to Shawn Michaels, who joins Marty in super kicking Tanaka. Michaels delivers a slam and backdrop. Sato tags in and tries to gain control but ends up on the receiving end of a swinging neck breaker.
Everything seems to be going the Rockers way until Michaels is caught by a kick from Tanaka on the apron while coming off the ropes. Sato follows up with an ugly gut buster and Shawn is down and out. Tanaka tags in and floors Michaels with a flying tackle. The Orients work over Shawn in their corner as Sato drops a vicious knee from the top rope. Sato slaps on a nerve hold but Michaels toughs it out. Shawn tries to counter the momentum with a backdrop on Tanaka. The crafty Tanaka manages to roll through the maneuver but he gets his head taken off by clothesline while gloating about it. Michaels makes the hot tag to Jannetty who cleans house. Sato ends up clocking Tanaka in the melee and The Rockers deliver a mean back body drop on Tanaka as well. The Rockers head to the top rope to finish the Express off, but Mr. Fuji sticks his nose in Marty Jannetty’s business once again. Jannetty picks up Fuji’s cane (which he dropped) and goes after the devious one on the outside. Sato manages to sneak around though and nail Marty with a face full of ceremonial salt. Jannetty is blinded and eventually counted out. The Orient Express gets the tainted victory but it still is a win. **1/2
Match Analysis: Somewhat of a disappointing match, given the participants. This bout could have easily stolen the show had it been given the appropriate time and a better finish. Instead we got a half-baked match with a lousy ending. Also neither team really seemed to be running on all cylinders, as Monsoon himself stated the Rockers looked rather lethargic. Once again The Rockers come up short while The Orient Express enjoys a bit of a heel push, which unfortunately wouldn’t last all too long.
Steve Allen is in the locker room with Rhythm & Blues, who are to perform their “latest hit single” tonight. This is a hilarious bit where Allen tells The Honky Tonk Man and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine that he hasn’t been this excited about anything since he found out Pee-Wee Herman was straight.
*“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan vs. Dino Bravo
Not much of a build up for this match, which isn’t any different than any other of Duggan’s suck-fests. Dino Bravo and Jim Duggan did have a feud at one point, but that was in 1988 and by this time (1990) the feud was long dead. Earthquake appears in Dino Bravo’s corner along with manager Jimmy Hart and Gorilla Monsoon bitches about it because Quake does not have a managers’ license. Duggan, being the moron that he is, tries to get a U-S-A chant going with the Canadian crowd! Ugh! Duggan parades around the ring with his 2X4 and stalls a lot. This is a standard Jim Duggan crap match that happens to be blessed with classic commentary by Monsoon and Ventura. Duggan mops the canvas with Bravo for the most part but he misses a corner charge and Dino gains control. Meanwhile, Jess rags on Gorilla for eating seven hot dogs and says, “ya got mustard all over your lapel…look at you…you’re a mess Monsoon!” Ha! Dino ties up the referee while Earthquake attacks Duggan on the outside. Duggan makes a comeback but it’s halted with a kick to the head. Bravo catches a knee on a corner charge and Duggan cleans house again. Duggan goes for the football tackle finisher but gets tied up with Earthquake. Dino Bravo goes for the 2X4 but Duggan beats him to it, waffles him with it while the ref isn’t looking, and picks up the pin fall win. 1/2* Earthquake hits the ring afterwards and delivers three Earthquake splashes in order to establish him as a monster heel.
Match Analysis: One crappy match, but its purpose was to give Earthquake a bit of a nudge towards the main event by having him squash super over baby face Duggan like a bug.
A recap of the classic Jake “The Snake” Roberts/”Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase feud.
Mean Gene is with Jake “The Snake” Roberts, who cuts an excellent promo as usual.
*Million $ Belt Match: Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase
A bitter feud that is reaching its climax is showcased in this match. Ted Dibiase’s classic theme music “It’s All About The Money” debuts during his entrance here. Skydome pops big for Jake Roberts and he and Dibiase waste no time in locking horns. A slugfest breaks out with no clear winner. Lots of fast paced action in the early goings and Roberts almost catches Dibiase with the DDT. Ted bails to the outside to regroup and comes back in to try and mount some offense. He is caught with a hip toss but Jake misses the follow up elbow. Dibiase misses an elbow of his own and Jake tries to go for a DDT again but fails. The Million Dollar Man stalls on the outside but Jake drags him back in and goes to work on his arm. Roberts catches Dibiase in a hammerlock and drives the knees into the back. The crowd is really into this match despite the rest holds. Dibiase reverses the hammerlock, but Roberts uses a leverage move that sends Dibiase onto the floor once again. Dibiase tries to bail but Jake goes right after him and tosses him back in. A distraction from Virgil causing Jake to hesitate a bit and Dibiase capitalizes on that by driving an elbow into the back of Jake neck when he puts his head down.
Jake really sells the blow as Dibiase Irish whips him into the turnbuckle. Million Dollar Man charges right into a knee but when Jake tries to follow up with his patented knee lift he misses entirely and goes crashing to the mat. Jake is down and out. Dibiase mounts some slow offense by driving knees and elbows into the back of Jake’s neck. The crowd is going wild here! Dibiase goes for a wear down hold to soften Jake Roberts up. Jake tries to get to his feet as the crowd rallies behind him. Dibiase breaks the hold and nails Jake to the outside. He follows up by pulling Jake shoulder first into the post. Back in, Dibiase stalls before going for a piledriver. He executes it and it looks like it’s all over for Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Dibiase goes for a nonchalant pin and Jake counters it with a pin of his own that nearly seals the deal. Dibiase goes back to driving knees into Jake’s neck and Roberts lays motionless on the mat. Million Dollar Man slaps on The Million Dollar Dream and Jake is in serious trouble. Roberts manages to get the rope break. Dibiase drags him into the centre of the ring and goes for the pin but Jake still kicks out!
Ted is pissed and goes to the second rope for a double axe handle. Jake catches him in mid-air with a well-placed fist to the breadbasket. Jake makes a come back with a clothesline, an inverted atomic drop, and another clothesline for good measure. It’s clear Jake is still hurting but he manages to send Teddy in orbit with a backdrop. Jake starts to set up the DDT with the short-armed clothesline. Jake stalls a bit and then signals for the DDT. Virgil manages to grab a hold of Jake from the outside and pull him to the floor. The Snake responds by slamming him but Ted Dibiase manages to slap on the Dream again on the outside. Jake counters it by sending Ted crashing into the post. Virgil manages to save the day for The Million Dollar Man by tossing him back into the ring. Jake doesn’t beat the count back in and is counted out. ***1/4 Pretty good match but a lousy blow off for a yearlong feud. Dibiase and Virgil celebrate with the Million Dollar belt but Jake hits the ring and double clotheslines both of them. The Snake cleans house and Virgil bails back to the locker room with the Million Dollar belt while Dibiase tries to work over Roberts. Jake finally nails the DDT on Dibiase and the crowd goes WILD! Jake celebrates a moral victory by handing out the Million Dollar Man’s money to the fans at ringside, including one Mary Tyler Moore. Jesse accurately states, “Yeah as if she needs it!” Gotta love Jesse! Jake heads back to the ring and stuff a bill into Dibiase’s mouth before unleashing Damien. Virgil comes back to make the save and Jake chases after him.
Match Analysis: I enjoyed this match. The wrestling was solid, the psychology was excellent, and the crowd was REALLY into it. That being said though a yearlong feud such as Jake Roberts vs. Ted Dibiase deserves a better blow off than this. It is the finish that takes this match down a notch. It would’ve made more sense for Dibiase to get the pin fall win over Roberts rather than an empty count out victory.
Sean Mooney is in the locker room his Akeem and his manager “The Doctor Of Style” Slick.
Mean Gene is with The Big Bossman, who is making his PPV debut as a baby face. Bossman cuts a promo on Ted Dibiase, Akeem, and Slick. The latter of which he calls a “skinny pimp-like manager.” Ha!
*The Big Bossman vs. Akeem The African Dream
The Twin Towers explode! The story behind this match was that Ted Dibiase paid off Slick for the services of The Big Bossman. On the February 3rd Superstars, Big Bossman attacked Jake Roberts, hand cuffed him to the ropes, and stole back the Million Dollar belt. When they appeared on the Brother Love Show, Bossman realized Dibiase paid off Slick for the correction officer’s dirty work. Bossman responded to this by uncuffing Jake and returning the belt to him and claiming he stood for law and order. Thus, Big Bossman turned face but Slick was not pleased so he sent Bossman’s former partner Akeem after him and hence the reason for this match.
The crowd pops big for The Big Bossman upon his entrance. However, before Bossman can get into the ring, Ted Dibiase jumps him from behind. Apparently Dibiase never left ringside after the match with Jake “The Snake”. Dibiase does a number on The Bossman on the outside and rams him into the steel post before feeding him in to Akeem. Akeem works over The Big Bossman but can’t put him away. Bossman continues to get his clock cleaned but he manages to come back with an inverted atomic drop and a big boot to the head. Bossman gives Akeem some rough turnbuckle treatment before dropping him with a clothesline. He then hits the Bossman slam out of nowhere and picks up the easy three count. DUD After the match, Bossman pays Slick some long overdue hard time.
Match Analysis: Not much to say here. The Big Bossman makes very short work of his former partner Akeem, who is sadly making his final PPV appearance here. It would seem a match with a back-story like this should not be a total squash, but Akeem was on his way out and the WWF wanted to quickly build towards a Bossman/Dibiase feud.
Sean Mooney is in the crowd with some fans. He tells us the crowd is anticipating the performance of Rhythm & Blues. Right, I’m sure that’s the sole reason why all 65,000 fans bought a ticket! The basic gist here is that kids don’t like Rhythm & Blues. Wow! Mooney manages to catch up with Mary Tyler Moore, who has no clue about anything involving wrestling but she seems to be having a good time.
The Fink introduces Rhythm & Blues, who are here to sing their new hit single “Hunka Hunka Hunka Honky Love.” Jimmy Hart, The Honky Tonk Man, and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine enter in a pink Cadillac, which is being driven by none other than Diamond Dallas Page (the commentators don’t note it). Rhythm & Blues breaks into “Hunka Hunka Honky Love.” Honky tries his best to butcher the song by being off time and all that. Greg Valentine rocks it on the guitar…well sort of…Valentine is a great wrestler…but he sucks at playing air guitar and his singing is just sad. Anyway, Rhythm & Blues finishes their little song and dance but Honky notices something fishy about two vendors at ringside. They turn out to be The Bushwhackers, who clear the ring of Rhythm & Blues and start to smash their guitars. Well that was sort of pointless except for Monsoon’s classic line at the end of the segment, “if you hung The Hammer for being a good singer, you’ve hung an innocent person!”
The same Wrestlemania VII at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (yeah right…)
Howard Finkel announces the attendance record at 67,678. Apparently the largest attendance in Skydome at that time.
*“Ravishing” Rick Rude vs. “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka
This match is essentially the deep breath before the main event. Rick Rude had basically been in limbo ever since his feud with Rowdy Roddy Piper was blown off at the end of 1989, and here he is booked to go over credible competition in “Superfly” Snuka. Steve Allen joins commentary for this match and is really a riot with Gorilla and Jess. Jesse accuses Monsoon of being a social climber since he is Steve Allen’s buddy all a sudden. Steve Allen points out the contrast of looks between Rude and Snuka claiming Rick is very handsome but Jimmy Snuka is really ugly. He says Jimmy Snuka “is so ugly that one time a vampire bat flew into his bedroom took one look at him and bit the bed post.” Ha! Rude jumps Snuka before the bell but misses a drop kick and comes crashing down on the back of his head. Superfly sends Rude in orbit with a few backdrops before mimicking his hip swivel. Snuka clears Rude from the ring but the Ravishing one manages to sunset flip back in. Rude can’t get the leverage and Snuka remains in control. Rude manages to counter with a short suplex. Rick works over Snuka with some mediocre offense but Jimmy plants his face into the canvas. Steve Allen pipes that Jimmy Snuka is wearing his wife’s underwear. Weird! Finally the match kicks up a notch with a criss-cross sequence that ends with Snuka connecting with a flying head butt. Jimmy goes for the Superfly splash but thinks better of it. He instead slams Rude and tries to go for a diving head butt, but he misses. Rude finishes Snuka off with The Rude Awakening for the win. *
Match Analysis: Standard squash to put Rude over as a force to be reckoned with. Not much else to say. Steve Allen’s commentary did lighten this match up a bit.
The whole entire recap of The Ultimate Challenge and the build towards it is shown.
*The Ultimate Challenge: (WWF World Champion) Hulk Hogan vs. (Intercontinental Champion) The Ultimate Warrior
Make no mistake about it. This match was a landmark in the industry at the time. Never had two super-over baby faces with equal popularity been pitted against one another in a match of this magnitude. Hogan had been on a roll every since Wrestlemania III and had never looked back. Warrior had also been moving up the ladder ever since Summerslam ’88. However, during both these superstars rise to prominence, never had they been mentioned in the same sentence nor had they ever crossed paths. Now, as the 1990s began the two superstars, that had dominated the WWF wrestling landscape for the past couple of years, were going head-to-head in a title for title match. There was really an aura of mystique surrounding the whole affair. The reason? Neither man had turned heel to set up this match, and the fan base was split down the middle. It made for a classic confrontation that was sure to make heads turn and it did.
The Ultimate Warrior races down the aisle and begins to shake the ropes as he awaits Hulk Hogan’s entrance. Both men get a standing ovation but once the bell rings everyone’s eyes are focused on the centre of the ring where Hogan and The Warrior have a stare down. The crowd is still roaring here as referee Hebner runs through the rules. Warrior starts things with a shove and Hogan returns the favour. The two lock up and Warrior shoves Hogan into the corner. Another lock up and Hogan shoves Warrior into the corner. Yeesh! Everything is down the middle here! Warrior asks for a test of strength and Hogan obliges. Warrior gets the upper hand early on but Hogan fights back to his fee and reverses it. The intensity of this match is outrageous. Warrior tries to fight back but Hogan floors him with a hold and drops an elbow for a one count. The two collide and no one budges. A criss-cross sequence and Hogan catches the Warrior with a scoop slam. Warrior no sells it and we get another criss-cross sequence, in which Warrior catches Hulkster with a slam.
Hogan is hurt and Warrior clotheslines him to the floor where he falls on his knee funny. Hulk sells the left knee injury and Warrior goes to the outside and zeros in on the knee. The Ultimate Warrior tosses Hogan back in and continues to work on the knee. Warrior resorts to choking and the ref breaks it up. All of a sudden Hogan is back to running on all cylinders and beats the crap out of the Warrior. Guess the knee injury heeled in those two minutes! Another slam and Hogan drops a couple of elbows before getting a two count. Small package only gets two as well. Hogan goes to a wear down hold with a reverse chin lock. Hogan is relentless as he drops the Ultimate Warrior with a clothesline. I’ve noticed the commentary is right down the middle here too. Hell, even Jesse Ventura seems to be unbiased although I sense he leans a bit to Hogan’s side, which is a rarity but then again he’s in their with the Warrior, whom we all know The Body never liked much. A Hogan backbreaker gets two again, so he resorts to another wear down move. The crowd is still chanting like mad! Hogan starts to work on Warrior’s back deliver several knees to it and then a back suplex. He still can’t put the Warrior away though.
Warrior manages to get the adrenaline flowing and makes a come back by breaking the hold. When he finally breaks free though both guys end up double clotheslining each other. Both Hogan and The Warrior lay motionless in the center of the ring, but Warrior is the first to get to his feet and the match swings in his favour. Warrior starts to no-sell everything Hogan dishes out at him and begins to run over the Champion with a series of clotheslines. A vertical suplex only gets two, so Warrior slaps on a bear hug. Hogan tries to fight the hold but is slowly being worn down. Hogan makes his own come back and breaks the hold. We get a criss-cross again and Warrior collides with referee Hebner. The match roars on as Warrior drops a double axe handle form the top. Warrior tries to finish Hulkster off with a spear tackle but Hogan gets out of the way in time. Now Hulk goes for the pin but the referee is still down. Warrior catches Hogan with a back suplex and goes for the pin…the referee is still down! Finally Hebner comes to and groggily makes the count but Hogan kicks out! Hogan and Warrior exchange a few two counts before Hogan clotheslines Warrior out. The match goes to the floor where the two men brawl. Warrior whips Hogan into the post and tosses him back in to polish him off. Warrior goes for his gorilla press slam and splash combo finisher, but Hogan kicks out and begins to Hulk-up! Hogan runs through his usual bit of no selling Warrior offence. Hulkster makes his comeback with several blows before dropping Warrior with a big boot. He then goes for the atomic leg drop…but he MISSES IT! Warrior slips out the back door and follows up with a splash for the pin! Just like that The Ultimate Warrior CLEANLY pins Hogan’s shoulders to the mat 1-2-3! Unbelievably crazy intense match! ****1/4 Warrior celebrates a glorious victory while Hogan leaves the ring a defeated man. A shocked and dejected Hogan grabs the WWF World Title and heads back into the ring, where he presents it to the Ultimate Warrior and they embrace out of respect. The crowd goes wild as the fireworks go off. The torch has been passed…for now. Warrior continues to celebrate while Hogan salutes him as he exits Skydome.
Match Analysis: Apparently, almost every move in this match was planned out. While usually I’m against move-for-move choreographed bouts, I’ll make an exception for Hogan/Warrior (anyone remember their awful WCW match in 1998?). The WWF was smart to draw out this match or it probably would’ve tanked. Instead this bout ends up being the epitome of a main event for Wrestlemania. The story was excellent, the crowd was hot throughout and both guys worked a pretty good match. Unfortunately, the aftermath of this bout would not be as wonderful. The WWF did an excellent job of building towards Warrior's title win but neglected to plan out his actual reign. So Warrior was left holding the belt while Hogan took some time off. Despite the circumstances that followed this match, the WWF has managed to do it again.
Jinsell’s Bottom Line: Wrestlemania VI marked the end of one era and the beginning of another. The WWF product had ultimately reached its peak in terms of popularity and in the coming years a slow decline would follow. It would be a long time before the WWF ever re-achieve the big event atmosphere that Wrestlemania VI possessed. From an objective point of view, the wrestling in Wrestlemania VI can be topped easily by other shows. However, like Summerslam ’88 this event holds a nostalgic place in most wrestling fans hearts. I myself will admit that Wrestlemania VI is probably my favourite Wrestlemania, simply because it was the first one I saw. Sure, it suffers from being overbooked with 14 matches (many of them squashes) and the wrestling isn’t exactly a clinic. We also sadly have to bid farewell to Jesse “The Body” Ventura, who makes his final PPV appearance (he would be gone by the Summer). On the other hand, the crowd is hot, the commentary is classic, and most of the matches are fairly solid. This show is an entertaining watch on it’s own and certainly deserves the acclaim it receives. Highly recommended!