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A Wrestlemania without Hulk Hogan or Randy Savage, one that thrust a main event upon a football player who had never been in a wrestling ring before, and a co-main with the main who would be the Hulk Hogan (Diesel) and the man who he was bodyguard for the year prior (Shawn Michaels).
Hindsight won't take kindly to this, but a lot of big stars within this show were in very irrelevant roles. Undertaker's run against lumbering giants continued, this time with King Kong Bundy; Bret Hart was involved in a match with Bob Backlund that was far worse than anyone would've expected it to be, and Razor Ramon's eternal struggle to get out of the WWF mid-card continued.
The build for this show rested nearly entirely on the shoulders of Bam Bam Bigelow and Lawrence Taylor. Taylor had helped delivered a level of mainstream attention unrivaled in recent years to the company, but whether the attention would turn into buys, and whether he and Bigelow could put on a match that wasn't horrendous, would be in hope rather than expectation.
We're in Hartford, Connecticut. Vince McMahon and Jerry "The King"Lawler have the call.
Lex Luger and The British Bulldog vs The Blu Brothers (w/ Uncle Zebakiah)
A match that gave us an excuse to shovel Luger and Bulldog onto the card, but very little else. Vince McMahon (quite rightly) cannot tell the Harris Brothers apart, but keeps on raising this quandary at every available moment. A stale match with a bit of "twin magic" 15 years early. Eventually, Bulldog wins with a floatover sunset flip and he and Luger flex off in the ring to the backdrop of an unnecessarily large pyrotechnic display.
In the mean time, we cut backstage to Nick Turturro of the NYPD Blue show. He's with Jennifer McCarthy, and others, but audio difficulties mean we cannot hear them. This wasn't the only technical problem of the evening.
WWF Intercontinental Title Match - Razor Ramon (w/ The 123 Kid) vs Jeff Jarrett (w/ The Roadie)
The third best match of the show, which is perhaps all you can ask for the second match on the card. Both guys worked hard, but it wasn't quite up to the level of their Royal Rumble match, Jarrett gets on top early and works over Razor with some submissions. The Roadie gets involved, as he does, The Kid at one point randomly goes to crotch Jarrett on the ring post. Eventually, Roadie gets involved for the DQ, then The 123 Kid does a load of really cool offense that makes you wonder why he wasn't on the card for the show.
King Kong Bundy (w/ Ted DiBiase) vs The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)
Hold the phone! Vince McMahon mentions Undertaker is undefeated at Wrestlemania on commentary! Unlike his eventual streak, though, this match was awful, to put it kindly. Undertaker does his Old School stuff at the start, before the antics with the urn take over. Taker nicks it off DiBiase (who'd stolen it at the Rumble) and gives it to Bearer. Kama comes out and steals it from Bearer. Taker wins a highly forgettable match with a clothesline.
Owen Hart and his mystery partner (Yokozuna) vs The Smoking Gunns for the WWF Tag Team Titles
Yokozuna is big. Apparently when he took time off after Survivor Series he was meant to get smaller - he didn't. Anyway, he's easily the most over in this tag match, the crowd are into his offense way more than Owen or the Gunns. Yokozuna eventually hits a Banzai drop on Billy, tags in Owen who fakes to do a sharpshooter before pinning Billy. Ok match, new tag Champions.
I Quit Match - Bob Backlund vs Bret Hart with Special Guest Referee "Rowdy" Roddy Piper
Piper got a nice reaction as the surprise ref, Bret is still getting reactions. That being said, I've no idea why they went back to another submission based match after Survivor Series, but this match was death. Piper constantly asking the pair if they wanted to quit (with a wired microphone, no less) and the soft offense that comes from working a submission style. Eventually, Bret locks Backlund in Backlund's signiture chicken wing, Piper asks the question, Backlund grunts and that's enough for Piper - who presumably realised how bad this match was.
WWF Championship Match - Diesel vs Shawn Michaels (w/ Sid)
This was good. Shawn was on the offense for most of the match, and this is where he shon. With a flying crossbody block to the outside probably the highlight. During the match, the referee goes out of the ring to remonstrate with Sid, but "injures" himself doing so. Shawn nails a superkick but the ref takes to long to get back in the ring. Eventually, Diesel rallies, hits a sloppy jacknife that Shawn overrotated on, and picks up the victory, before celebrating with Pamela Anderson and Jennifer McCarthy in the ring. Decent match but tellingingly the crowd were pretty quiet for a lot of it.
Main Event: Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ Ted DiBiase, King Kong Bundy, Tatanka, Nikolia Volkoff, Kama and IRS) vs Lawrence Taylor (w/ Ken Norton, Chris Spielman, Ricky Jackson, Carl Banks, Steve McMichael and Reggie White).
Well colour me surprised. The idea behind the Million Dollar Team and the All Pro Team was to smoke and mirrors this thing to death, but in all honesty it barely needed it. Bam Bam and Taylor had clearly worked out a few major spots that Taylor did to perfection. Taylor starts with a clothesline before throwing Bam Bam to the outside - the crowd came alive for that. Taylor hits a lovely bulldog before Bam Bam is able to take control with a lot of submissions. Eventually going for a moonsault which he hits before failing to pin him - selling his knee. Taylor goes to the second rope for a clothesline and wins the match. The crowd pop.
Overall - an odd show. One that certainly won't stack up well in the annals of Wrestlemania history. The two big matches held up their end of the bargain (the main event certainly overdelivered) but a lousy undercard complete with dud matches from both Bret Hart and the Undertaker make this show a miss.
Go Back and Watch: Main event is certainly worthwhile checking out. Everything else ranges to missable to completely forgettable. The WWF title match isn't bad - but I think some will overrate it.