Dunn's Countdown To WrestleMania: WrestleMania VII
Posted by J.D. Dunn on 03.21.2005
Hogan stands up for America, but will Savage
March 23, 1991
Live from Los Angeles, Cali.
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Hacksaw Jim Duggan.
The Barbarian & Haku (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. The Rockers.
Haku and the Barbarian were not yet the Faces of Fear. That would come in WCW. Michaels tries to avoid Haku but gets caught and slammed into the corner. He comes back with a flying shoulderblock. The Rockers deliver the double hiptoss into a double elbow drop, but the Barbarian comes in and flips them over with a double clothesline. They duck a second attempt and double sidekick him out of the ring. Nice. Marty sunset flips the Barbarian but can't get him over. He opts for a huracanrana - with an assist from Shawn. He tries it again, but the Barbarian catches him and clotheslines him on the top rope. Barbarian press slams Janetty. Marty comes back with a flying crossbody for two, but Haku stays on top of him with a pair of backbreakers. Barbarian locks in a bearhug. Janetty tries something off the top rope but gets powerslammed by the Barbarian. Janetty rolls out of the way to avoid a headbutt and makes the HOT TAG to Shawn. Shawn takes on both guys. He hits a neckbreaker on Haku and sunset flips him - with help from Marty - for two. A double dropkick sends Barbarian to the outside. Marty hits Haku with a missile dropkick, and Shawn finishes with the flying crossbody at 10:33. Unsung match ***1/2
Gene Okerlund interviews celebrity guests Regis Philbin, Marla Maples (erstwhile Trump), and Alex Trebek. SUCK IT, TREBEK! Hahahahahah! I forget how the rest goes, but your mother's a whore!
Bobby Heenan replaces Duggan on commentary.
Kerry Von Erich vs. Dino Bravo (w/Jimmy Hart).
Both of these guys were near death, although Bravo's was more of a surprise. Dino attacks at the bell and clotheslines Von Erich out. Bravo fights off the Iron Claw and delivers an atomic drop. An elbow drop gets two. Bravo hits the side suplex, but it only gets two. There's the writing on the wall for Bravo. Bravo comes off the ropes, right into the Claw. Dino makes the ropes, so Kerry finishes with the Discus Punch at 3:12. Typical squash. 1/2*
Warlord (w/Slick) vs. The British Bulldog.
This is like Jose Conseco's dream match. Bulldog uses four shoulderblocks to knock Warlord to the outside. He tries a crucifix, but the Warlord just falls back into a slam. He scoops Davey into a bearhug. Bulldog fights out of it but takes a hot shot for two. They get into a forearm battle before Warlord gets sick of that and T-Bones him. Bulldog dropkicks him into the corner and rams his head into the turnbuckle. A crossbody gets two for the dog. Warlord backdrops out of a piledriver, but Bulldog sunset flips him for two. Bulldog charges right into a boot from the big guy. Warlord stalks him and slaps on the Full Nelson. Davey Boy powers out of it and delivers the powerslam for the win at 8:15. 3/4*
WWF Tag Team Titles: Hart Foundation vs. The Nasty Boys (w/Jimmy Hart).
Neidhart looks like he's going to surgery right after this match. Saggs takes a cheapshot to dominate Bret right off the bat. Bret comes back with a Thesz Press and atomic drops Knobbs. Bret catches Saggs' foot and stomps him in the gut. Knobbs calls out the Anvil, so we get a brawl between those two. Anvil shoulderblocks him to the floor. The Harts dominate Saggs until Knobbs takes a cheapshot from behind. The Nastys work Bret over with a few chinlocks. Saggs gets two off a neckbreaker. Bret powers out of a chinlock, but the Nastys cut off a tag. Bret gets a false tag before the Nastys's cheating backfires. Bret makes the HOT TAG for real and tosses Knobbs onto Saggs. The Nasty Boys colide, and the Hart's deliver the Hart Attack. The ref tries to get Bret out of the ring, though, so Saggs takes Jimmy's megaphone and smacks an unsuspecting Neidhart with it for the win at 12:11. **3/4
Recap of Rick Martel spraying Jake Roberts in the face with his "Arrogance" perfume. This led to Jake being blinded for a few months. Of course, this leads to a blindfold match.
Blindfold Match: Jake Roberts vs. Rick Martel.
Really nothing to recap here. Just a lot of pointing and walking around, pretending like they can't see. Brain gets mad because the fans are helping Jake. Jake accidentally schoolboys him for two. Martel catches him with a slam, but Jake gets out of the way of an elbowdrop. Martel goes after the referee, briefly. Jake claps his hands, making Martel think he's in one place, then Jake sneaks around and jumps him from behind. PSYCHOLOGY~! Martel accidentally happens upon Damien. They collide, and Jake falls through the ropes to the outside. Martel follows him out and smashes his own fingers against the ringpost as he tries to use a chair. Back in, Martel gets the Boston Crab. Jake forces out of it and drops Martel with a DDT for the win at 8:33. A lot of people think of this as the worst match in the history of WresteMania (and perhaps wrestling), but what it lost in actual wrestling, it made up for in tension and crowd participation. I'm curious to see what Eddy Guerrero could do with the same type of match. **1/2
Marla Maples interviews the (Jimmy) Hart Family, who celebrate their tag title win.
The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Jimmy Snuka.
The crowd is already in love with the Undertaker, despite his being a heel. Snuka turns his back, so Taker attacks him. Taker delivers the flying clothesline. Snuka whips him to the corner and charges, but Taker boots him over the top. Back in, Taker misses an elbow. Superfly misses a charge and goes over the top rope. Snuka tries to springboard onto him, but Taker reverses to a Tombstone for the win at 4:20. Undertaker is now 1-0. 3/4*
Recap of the Macho Man/Ultimate Warrior feud.
Retirement Match: The Macho King Randy Savage (w/Queen Sherri) vs. The Ultimate Warrior.
Bobby points out Miss Elizabeth in the crowd. Lots of preening to start. Savage tries a shoulderblock but just bounces off him. Sherri distracts Warrior long enough for Savage to attack from behind. Warrior shrugs him off and levels him with a clothesline. Warrior delivers a pair of atomic drops and a chokelift. Sherri tries to break it up, so Warrior throws Savage into her. Savage gets tied in the ropes and takes a few shots. Savage goes up and gets caught. Warrior sets him down in his feet and slaps him in the face. RUDO WARRIOR~! Savage brings in a chair to distract the referee. Warrior again no-sells and stomps a mudhole on Savage in the corner. Finally, Warrior misses a charge and goes over the top rope. Sherri slaps him in the face for good measure. Savage comes out with a double ax-handle. Sherri starts raking Warrior's back, so he pushes her down. Savage jumps him from behind. Back in, Savage gets two off a kneedrop. Warrior counters a snapmare to a backslide for two. Savage spits at him. Warrior tries a flying shoulderblock, but Savage spikes his face to the mat. Savage with the sleeper. Warrior elbows out of it, and they clothesline each other. Warrior counters a slam to a small package. Sherri's got the ref distracted, though! Crowd is pissed at Earl Hebner. Savage knees Warrior into Hebner. Sherri and Mach try to doubleteam Warrior, but Sherri accidentally hits her own man with her high heel. Oops. The Warrior stalks her around the ring but gets schoolboyed for two. Savage hotshots him and necksnaps him on the top rope. ELBOW DROP! That's not enough, though. Savage wants to KILL him. He goes up and drops FOUR MORE ELBOWS! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Warrior kicks out of five elbow drops! Macho King can't believe it. FOKE WARRIOR! FOKE! Warrior hulks up and delivers a series of clotheslines. PRESS SLAM! SPLASH! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Savage kicks out! Crowd is going crazy. Warrior is already crazy, so he gets some advice from Lofor, God of the Arena Ceiling. Savage blindsides him while Warrior feels the rapture. Sherri holds Warrior's neck over the railing while Savage attempts a double ax-handle. Warrior shrugs her off, and Savage winds up hitting his face on the railing. Back in, a shoulderblock sends Savage back out. Warrior retrieves him and knocks him right back out again. And again! Warrior pulls him back in and casually pins him with a boot to the chest at 20:47. Probably the second best-booked match in Mania history behind Hart-Austin at WM13. ****1/2
After the match, it finally sinks in to Sherri what has happened. She gets in and kicks Savage like a dog for losing. She berates him verbally and kicks him a few more times. All of this prompts Elizabeth to jump the rail and throw Sherri out on her ass. Savage recovers and blames Elizabeth until he sees the refs dragging Sherri back to the dressing room. Liz asks him what it's going to be. Savage, after a moment of tense soul-searching, scoops his woman up in his arms in a tearful hug. Liz opens the ropes for Randy, like she always used to do, but Savage refuses and holds the ropes for her. Nice touch. Savage goes out on top in spite of losing. If you can drop all your cynicism and thoughts of what came after, this is one of the greatest moments in WrestleMania history.
Paul McGuire and George Steinbrenner debate the virtues of instant replay in the WWF.
Elsewhere, Undertaker measures Regis for a casket.
Alex Trebek catches up with Jake. What is a giant crackhead, Alex?
Demolition (w/Mr. Fuji) vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Koji Kitao.
This was part of Vince's brief alliance with SWS. Ax has been phased out (as has the kick ass Rick Derringer entrance music). Crush (Brian Adams) is now a full-fledged member of the Hollis crew. As a result, Demolition isn't over. No one knows Tenryu or Kitao, so they're not over either. Kitao uses the power of sumo to hit a high knee. Fuji hits him with a caneshot behind the ref's back. Demoltion dominates with their usual but without the personality and charisma that made them legendary. Finally, Kitao counters a charge with a clothesline and tags Tenryu. Tenryu misses his back elbow on Smash. Crush delivers a backbreaker on Tenryu. Demolition goes for the Decapitation, but Kitao breaks it up. Smash goes after him, so Tenryu delivers the enzuigiri and a stacked powerbomb for the win at 4:43. The Japanese didn't get to do much, and Demolition had nothing left. In fact, Demolition would be split up immediately after this. Smash (Barry Darsow) move on to the Repo Man gimmick while Crush would disappear before coming back as the Hawaiian Crush. 1/2*
Lord Alfred Hayes replaces Brain on commentary.
Intercontinental Championship: Mr. Perfect (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. The Big Bossman.
This is part of Bossman's revenge tour. Heenan started making fun of Bossman's mother, so Bossman tore through the Heenan Family one-by-one, including Barbarian at the 1991 Royal Rumble. Bossman throws Perfect's towel back in his face and spits on him. Perfect slaps him in the face and bails. Bossman comes back with RIGHTEOUS VENGEANCE~! He slaps Perfect in to a flip and swings him around by his hair. Bossman slides under the ropes to counter a whip reversal. He slides back in and tosses Perfect over the top. Back in, Perfect takes the Hennig bump off a reverse whip. Bossman takes his belt off. "C'mon, baby, daddy's gonna be kind." Perfect gets the belt away from him and uses it against the Bossman. Perfect locks in an abdominal stretch. Heenan calls for the bell, but that doesn't count, of course. Perfect drops the hold and dropkicks him. Perfect gets the neck snap and goes for the Perfectplex. Bossman counters to a small package for two. Perfect then does a reverse necksnap! Ouch! Perfect goes up, but Bossman gets a boot up to counter him. Bossman bounces Perfect's face off the turnbuckle pad and crotches him on the ringpost. An uppercut sends Perfect sailing over the top. Heenan distracts him long enough for Perfect to jump him from behind. Heenan kicks Bossman while he's down until Andre the Giant wanders down and chases Heenan around ringside. Meanwhile, Mr. Perfect takes the turnbuckle pad off and rams Bossman into the exposed buckle. Andre grabs the title belt and casually WHACKS Perfect with it, knocking him out. Bossman wakes up and gets two. That's enough for Haku and The Barbarian to run down and attack Bossman, saving the title by DQ at 10:45. Andre and Bossman beat back the Heenan Family. **1/2
Okerlund collects thoughts from Donald Trump, Chuck Norris, Henry Winkler and Lou Ferrigno.
Brain reassumes his broadcast position.
The Earthquake (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Greg Valentine.
Valentine was winding down his WWF career as a babyface for the first time since early in his career. Earthquake manhandles Valentine and powerslams him. Valentine avoids an avalanche. He gets in a few good elbows and finally knocks Quake down. Valentine goes for the figure-four, but Jimmy distracts him. Quake recovers and delivers the running vertical splash for the pin at 3:14. Valentine at least had a good strategy. 3/4*
The Legion of Doom vs. Power & Glory (w/Slick).
P&G attack at the bell, but Hawk comes back with a double clothesline. Roma and Animal wind up in there together. Animal catches him and powerslams him. He hoists him up for the Doomsday Device at :58. 1/4*
Piper has an injured hip, so he's not much help other than shouting encouragement. Virgil starts out with fancy footwork. He lays in some jabs. Dibiase bails out. Back in, more of the same. They repeat this pattern for 2-3 minutes. Dibiase drop toeholds him and rubs his face in the mat. A Dibiase piledriver gets two. A suplex gets two more. A gutwrench suplex gets two. Dibiase throws him to the outside where Piper tries to help him up. Dibiase shoves Piper down. WE HAVE A PIPER DOON! Back in, Dibiase powerslams Virgil. Piper staggers back up and yanks the ropes down, spilling Dibiase to the floor. Dibiase and Piper argue long enough for Dibiase to be counted out at 7:36. Sensational Sherri runs down, making a very quick rebound. They beat down Piper and Virgil until Virgil gets a hold of Piper's crutch and makes his own save. *
Recap of Sgt. Slaughter burning a Hulk Hogan T-Shirt. I can't believe Congress hasn't outlawed that yet. That ain't no flag, that's a rag!
The Mountie (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Tito Santana.
It must be one of those French Canadian things where they get lazy right as they're getting their singles push. It happened with Martel — who wasted marvelous potential, Jacques Rougeau —who never amounted to more than a fluke IC Title reign, and Rene Dupree — who has yet to live up to his physical potential. Anyhoo, Tito gets the flying forearm early, but Mountie is in the ropes. Jimmy Hart tosses the cattle prod in to the Mountie and distracts the ref. Mountie shocks Tito and earns his per diem money at 1:21. 1/4*
Hogan says he's done a 360-degree turn since getting a taste of Slaughter's regime. As Jesse Ventura would point out, that means he's back where he started. Btw, I guess since Jesse's not here this year, I have to be the one to say "hi" to Terry, Tyrell, Jade, and Jeremiah.
WWF Heavyweight Title: Sgt. Slaughter (w/General Adnan) vs. Hulk Hogan..
Hogan dominates as usual, but slaughter goes to the eyes to come back. Slaughter takes over from there. Not much happening other than a few knees and elbows. Hogan dodges an elbow and clotheslines him. An atomic drop gets two. A running elbow gets two more. Hogan tosses him into the ringpost and delivers a backdrop. Hogan whips him into the turnbuckle and slingshots him up to the post. Hogan gets two off some mounted punches. Slaughter catches him coming off the top, but Hogan no-sells and drops a series of elbows. Hogan goes up again and again gets caught. This time, Slaughter slams him off the top rope. Slaughter hits him with a chair and chokes him with an electrical line. A backbreaker gets two. Slaughter thinks he's won. Boston Crab by Slaughter. Hogan wants to power up but has to grab the ropes to break. Slaughter goes up now and delivers a stomp to Hogan's kidneys. Adnan inadvertently distracts the referee while Slaughter covers. It only gets two. Slaughter hits him in the head with a weak chairshot. It only gets two. Hogan is bleeding. Slaughter locks him in the Camel Clutch. Hogan…powers…out…but gets run into the turnbuckle. Slaughter covers him with the Iraqi flag for two. Hogan hulks up and tears the flag in two. Big boot. Legdrop. Hogan wins his third title at 20:24. I never really bought Slaughter as being on Hogan's level (or even Warrior's), so this was pretty unexciting for me. It wasn't as horrible as I remembered, though. **
Final Thoughts: Much better than I'd remembered (and than it gets credit for). One reason would be the lack of real star power. Savage's popularity had waned after being stuck in the mid-card for two years. Warrior's failed title run took his luster away. Hulk's drawing power dropped after WM6 and didn't pick up again until the nWo. Moreover, it just reeks of early nineties WWF. The stench just overwhelms you, even if the wrestling is okay. A great Warrior vs. Savage match, and a few other solid matches make this an easy recommendation, though.
Solid recommendation, especially for Savage-Warrior.