Backstory: The Ultimate Warrior was an extremely popular Intercontinental Champion, and Hulk Hogan was the wrestling icon of the 1980s and had held the WWF Championship ever since defeating Randy Savage the previous year for it at Wrestlemania V. The two started teaming together but showed an inability to work as a cohesive unit—Hogan accidentally eliminated Warrior from the '90 Royal Rumble, and then all hell broke loose when they teamed together at a Saturday Night's Main Event later that month. So, the challenge was issued—Hogan's WWF Championship and Warrior's WWF Intercontinental Championship both on the line, winner take all, at Wrestlemania VI.
And we're LIVE from Toronto, Ontario on April 1, 1990 at the Skydome. The crowd is HUGE, at 68,000 people. The hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura.
Match 1: Rick Martel v. Koko B. Ware. The stadium is big enough for them to whip out the little mini-rings they used at Wrestlemania III again. Martel squashes Koko, finishing it with the Boston Crab. Bad choice for an opener.
Match 2: Andre the Giant & Haku v. Demolition for the WWF Tag Team Championship. The champs (Andre and Haku) get a jobber's entrance for some baffling reason. Demolition is still way over here. The match is clipped on my version, but for a match this bad that's a good thing. Miscommunication among the heels let Demolition get the Demolition Decapitation and regain the tag team belts (for the final time). Frustrated with the loss, Andre kicks the crap out of Bobby Heenan and Haku after the match—effectively turning face for the first time since before Wrestlemania III. He wouldn't be seen on WWF programming again for a long time.
Match 3: Hercules v. Earthquake. Ahhh, Earthquake. He had just debuted a little while before this, so they fed him Hercules to ram the point home of him being a monster. This is the first time he's introduced as "Earthquake" instead of "Canadian Earthquake". I love watching 'Quake jump around and make the ring shake before his final butt-splash. Hercules does a stretcher job just in case you didn't get the point that Earthquake is a BAD BAD PERSON. The match itself is as bad as you'd expect.
Match 4: Brutus Beefcake v. Mr. Perfect. This is one of the last appearances of Ed Leslie (Beefcake) before the boating accident that put him out of commission for years. He was never the same, lamely following best friend Hulk Hogan around for years as a talentless hack. Compare to here, when he was actually half-decent (ehhh, that's pushing it—quarter-decent) and still improving a little each match. Beefcake gets the huge upset after he slingshots Perfect into the ringpost—and the crowd goes APESHIT. See, that way Perfect keeps his heat because the match was booked as a fluke. Beefcake ends up cutting The Genius' hair for good measure. Decent enough match.
Match 5: Rowdy Roddy Piper v. Bad News Brown. This is only three years after Piper's first retirement, ha ha! If there's any buildup to this match, I don't remember it at all. Doing his best Ted Danson impression, half his body is painted black. And, just to put the nail in the coffin, he puts on a DANCE EXHIBITION before the match. Uh, okay. The match sucks too. Ends in a double count-out.
—Steve Allen rehearses the Russian National Anthem with The Bolsheviks.
Match 6: The Hart Foundation v. The Bolsheviks. Here's the whole match: Nikolai Volkoff goes to sing the Russian national anthem; the Harts sneak attack and get the pin.
Match 7: Tito Santana v. The Barbarian. Gahhhhhh. Barbarian is in his initial super-mega heel push, and squashes Santana easily (with help via interference from manager Bobby Heenan).
Match 8: Randy Savage & Sherri Martel v. Dusty Rhodes & Sapphire. THERE BE A CLUBBERING, TONY! THERE BE A CLUBBERING! Awful, awful, awful match. Thumbs down, negative stars, and any other synonyms you'd like to throw in yourself would all be appropriate. Thank god they'd finally do something important with Savage soon after this.
—Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior compete see who can give the weirdest interview of the night.
Match 9: The Rockers v. The Orient Express. Hey, it's Wrestlemania, the Rockers must be all fucked up on drugs! Actually, they don't look that bad this year. At Wrestlemania V they were just completely out of it. They're a little slow tonight, but that's about it. Yet another screwjob, as Mr. Fuji tosses salt in Marty Janetty's eyes outside the ring for a count-out, of all things. A decent enough match, but the ending made no sense.
Match 10: Dino Bravo v. Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Evil Canadian versus Good American, as was typical for the time period. The end of the Cold War did not bode well for Duggan's career, as he went from feuding with Russians to Canadians. Also, this Wrestlemania is in TORONTO. You'd think they'd be a LITTLE smarter about the booking. It'd get a little better the following year after the Gulf War took off. Duggan's probably the only guy who could get a foreign crowd to chant "USA!", but it's half-hearted to say the least. Duggan gets the pinfall after nailing Bravo with his trusty 2x4. Earthquake comes out and destroys Duggan after the match, just 'cuz.
Match 11: Jake Roberts v. Ted Dibiase for the Million Dollar Belt. Roberts stole the belt from Dibiase, and Ted wants it back. Works for me. The Million Dollar Belt was a bone that the WWF threw to DiBiase after deciding not to give him the WWF Championship at Wrestlemania IV as had originally been planned. DiBiase controls for most of the match, but Roberts makes the Super Babyface 1980s Comeback of DOOM and goes for the DDT, but Virgil pulls Ted out of the ring to force the count-out. Roberts steals DiBiase's money and hands it out to the crowd in retaliation.
Match 12: Akeem the African Dream vs. The Big Bossman: THE TWIN TOWERS COLLIDE! This turned Bossman face. Dibiase pops up from the ring (he had never left after the previous match) and attacks Bossman on the floor, as DiBiase had unsuccessfully tried to bribe Bossman earlier. This whole interference segment is rendered pointless by the fact that Bossman still wins the match in under a minute.
—Honky Tonk Man and Greg Valentine ("Rhythm and Blues") drive out to the ring in a pink Cadillac (with Diamond Dallas Page driving the car!!!) and sing their new "hit" single, "Hunka Hunka Honky Love" until the Bushwhackers run out and beat them up. Yay, I guess.
Match 13: Ravishing Rick Rude v. Jimmy Snuka. Steve Allen is on color commentary for this match. This was the beginning of a big push for Rude, and he wins easily with the Rude Awakening after Snuka misses the Superfly Splash from the top.
Match 14: Hulk Hogan v. The Ultimate Warrior for the WWF Championship and the WWF Intercontinental Championship (Title vs. Title). Wow. One of the only times you'll actually see a crowd split right down the middle between two babyfaces, as usually one of them will be the bigger crowd favorite and the other one will immediately be treated as a heel. The fans really just don't know who to root for here. The match is actually pretty good, which is a MAJOR fucking miracle considering the two guys involved. Apparently they had actually choreographed the whole match and run through it several times in the week preceding the event. Usually only a few key sequences of a wrestling match will be planned in advance, with the rest being made up on the fly. Anyway, the Ultimate Warrior pulls off the upset, as the Big Orange Goblin misses the Big Stinky Legdrop and Warrior hits a splash for the pinfall. Hogan raises his shoulder just after the pin. Post-match, Hebner fucks up by giving the belt to Warrior, who then has to give it back as the camera cuts away so that Hogan can make the dramatic presentation of the belt to Warrior himself. It's wasn't the greatest match in the world, but it was certainly good enough for it to still be etched in my memory as a historic match, even ten years later.
This was the first attempt the WWF made to pass the torch away from Hulk Hogan, but it failed miserably as Warrior manifested a complete inability to put fans in the seats. His heat plummeted, ticket sales fell dramatically, and the WWF was forced to take the belt off of him much earlier than expected.
The card itself is pretty rancid aside from the main event—the right people go over, but the matches themselves are awful. I'd recommend this card only if you've never seen the main event.