The buildup: The departure of Hulk Hogan from the World Wrestling Federation left owner Vince McMahon in a bind, as he had to look for someone else to be the new Hogan-type character. He decided on Lex Luger, who was built up for months as being "Made in the USA" to prep him for fighting
evil Japanese foreign sumo wrestler and WWF Champion Yokozuna at Wrestlemania X.
But, test fan reactions to Luger as champ were positively anemic, and so McMahon decided to give Bret Hart the nod instead. They couldn't just bury Luger, though, because they had been building him up for ages. So, the Royal Rumble, whose winner traditionally goes on to challenge the WWF Champion at Wrestlemania, ended in a tie when Hart and Luger hit the floor at the same time. It was decided that winner #1 would fight Yokozuna, and the winner #2 would fight the winner of the first match. Winner #2 would also fight a "warm-up" match earlier in the night to make it fair—that way all three participants fought two matches and were equally tired.
Luger won a coin flip, so he won the right to fight Yokozuna first. Bret Hart would have to fight Owen Hart first, and then fight the winner of the Luger/Yokozuna match. (Fun Fact: Had Hart won the flip, he would've had to fight Crush first.)
Hey! It's WRESTLEMANIA X, LIVE from Madison Square Garden in New York City on March 20, 1994! It's Ten Years in the Making, you know.
Your hosts are Vince MacMahon (no blue suit? Dammit!) and Jerry "The King" Lawler. Lawler has a cape on, but no shirt. I'm disgusted already.
Match 1: Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart. Owen gets a face pop until the crowd realizes that it's the wrong Hart. In what would be come the norm for the night, he then gets totally ignored by the crowd. Bret comes down to a decent pop, and picks the most disinterested kid possible in the front row when giving away his neato pink sunglasses. Owen is the MASTER of drawing cheap heat from the crowd. Quite an accomplishment with this crowd, too. Mere words cannot describe the technical beauty
that is this match. Even more amazingly, both wrestlers manage to keep the crowd's attention for the duration of the match. This is before the crowd "Got It?" Two rather loudish "Let's Go Bret!" chants
during the match. As much time as Vince MacMahon took up on my television set over the past year, just be thankful he's not doing play-by-play any more. His three annoying habits (interrupting himself to avoid actually naming any moves, making every word in a sentence sound capitalized, and over-hyping near falls) produce linguistic gems such as:
"Owen With The... Oh My! Reversal By Bret Into A... Reversal Again, Owen Rolls Him Up, One, Two, Three, We Have A Wi... Oh... Two And A Half... So Close... So Very Close."
Anyway, Owen reverses a victory roll ----> pin for the surprise victory. The crowd is stunned, to say the least.
Rating: 8/10 (a full ***** for the workrate, *** for the heat)
Match 2: Bam Bam Bigalow and Luna vs. Doink the Clown and Dink. Hey, what's Bam Bam doing coming down to entrance music? Doesn't help the crowd any, as they prefer to sit quietly and recalculate Newton's Laws of Physics just for kicks. Doink and Dink wake them up. Quote of the night:
Vince: "Can you imagine what would happen if Bam Bam accidentally got stuck in the ring for a few moments with Dink?"
Lawler: "Imagine it? I've thought about it, I've DREAMED about it, MacMahon!"
Anyway, Dink is actually entertaining running circles around Vachon. Crowd is loud for the first minute of this, and then go back to researching particle physics. Bam Bam's flying head-butt on Doink ----> pin for the victory. Bam Bam and Luna kick the shit out of Dink after the match, making me a happy camper. It's about time those midgets got theirs.
Match 3: "The Macho Man" Randy Savage vs. Crush w/Mr. Fuji in a Falls-Count-Anywhere match. This is old-style brawling, where the pinned combatant has 60 seconds to return to the ring after a fall. It's also known as a SUPREMELY BAD IDEA. Savage could still work at this point, and why they put Savage in a garbage match I'll never know. Hogtie (really) ----> 60 second count to give Savage the victory on the third fall.
Match 4: Men on a Mission w/Oscar vs. The Quebecers w/Johnny Polo for the WWF Tag Team Championship. Hello, Raven! Hello, Viscera! Now THAT'S what a heel's theme music should be
like. I don't know what's weirder, thinking of Mabel as Viscera or thinking of Viscera as Mabel. Either way you cut it... WHOOOMP THERE IT IS!!!!!!! I've seen this once too many times (once), so suffice it to say I found something better to do until this one was over. Standard Fat Man match (I hit you, I hit you, I hit you, I hit you, I miss you, you sit on me, I'm dead). Crowd is reviewing Heisenberg's
Uncertainty Principle to check for mistakes. A count-out lets The Quebecers retain the titles. This was telegraphed by the fact that there's NO WAY IN HELL one of those belts would fit around Mabel's waist.
Match 5: Lex Luger vs. Yokozuna w/Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji for the WWF Championship. The champion comes out first, just to irritate me. He gets zero heat, Luger gets a decent pop. Nothing like he should be getting for a championship match, though. Guess that Lex Express failed :) Mr. Perfect is the special guest referee. The lowlight of this match comes when 'Zuna decides to enthrall us all with a ten-minute neck pinch. No joke. That effectively buried the *** crowd reaction that was progressing nicely through the first five minutes. Is it just me, or does Luger's LOADED NUCLEAR FOREARM OF DOOM look mysteriously like a clothesline? Perfect is a prick
----> DQ to allow Yokofatass to retain the title.
In the backstage argument between Luger and Perfect, you can see Dave and Earl Hebner in the same shot. Neato!
Not-really-a-Match 6: Adam Bomb w/Harvey Whippleman vs. Earthquake. Howard Finkel gets the third biggest pop of the night by slapping Whippleman after the Whipster says some not so nice things about his toupee. Bomb comes out, Earthquake comes out, and about thirty seconds later we have the butt splash ----> pin for Earthquake.
Match 7: Shawn Michaels w/Diesel vs. Razor Ramon in a Ladder Match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship. Ahhh, the good ol' days, when this was one of two matches with any special stipulations at all on the entire card. What can I possibly add to this match? I just put down my pen and watched the masterpiece. Michaels falls off ladder, gets tangled in ropes ----> Ramon climbs and gets the belts to retain the IC belt. This is considered one of the two or three
greatest professional wrestling matches of all time.
Rating: 9.5/10... if you don't like this match, there's something wrong with you.
We get a BAD video recap of the Yokozuna/Hart feud. It's bad because there ISN'T any feud, hence the first half is Hart walking and the second half is Yokozuna butt-splashing people (I still cheer when he does it to Hulk Hogan). For those of you who don't know the story, Luger was scheduled to win the title in the first championship match from Yokofatass, and then to lose it to Hart here. Luger, however, got piss drunk the night before the show and blabbed to some reporter that he was slated to win the title the next night. It made the New York papers, and Vince McMahon was NOT HAPPY. As punishment, they changed the booking so that Yoko would retain in the first match and lose it to
Hart later on. The WWF video people had to scrape together a Hart/Yoko tape at the last minute, and that's why it sucks compared to their usual title feud recaps.
Match 8: Yokofatass w/Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji vs. Bret Hart for the WWF Championship. Yokofatass comes out first AGAIN. Let's play "Count How Many Steps Yokozuna Takes To The Ring Before He Starts Sucking Wind Again." One... two... three... fo—there we go. Three and a half. Bret is still selling the knee injury from his match with Owen. God bless him. Rowdy Roddy Piper is the special referee, getting a decent pop from the crowd. I can almost SEE Yokozuna trying to set Hart up for a nerve pinch and Hart telling him not to, knowing it'll kill the crowd. Crowd comes alive for the endgame—it's Wrestlemania, most of THEM even know what's coming. :) Missed butt-splash ----> Pin to give Bret Hart the WWF Championship.
Rating: 4/10. It's Yokozuna, you were expecting greatness?!
After the match: Lex Luger comes down and he and Hart do the Babyface Embrace. Practically the entire face locker room follows and celebrates in the ring. For the record, it's Hart, Luger, 1-2-3 Kid, Razor Ramon, Bob Holly, Tatanka, Randy Savage, Gorilla Monsoon, Burt Reynolds, that ditz from Up All Night, Donnie Wahlberg, and Vince MacMahon. Owen Hart stands in the entranceway to pout, and we're out.
Recommended for the two mind-blowing matches, but I did not like this show overall as much as everyone else does. Still pretty recommended, though.