WrestleMania V

April 14, 2010

This was the second WrestleMania that I attended live as a fan. I was in my first year of University when Mania V rolled around and our decisions to go see it was fairly last minute. Well last minute in that it was made all of a sudden the day tickets went on sale. I was at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo and most of my wrestling fan buddies from High School were just down the road at Waterloo University. I think we all figured it would be difficult to make the trip this year but, like I said at the last minute, John Dooley (one of our friends who did not make the trip the previous year) volunteered to do the driving. I think John was more interested in the adventure of the trip than the wrestling we would be watching but Dennis (who made the trip the previous year) and I didn’t care why he was making the trip just that he had a car and would drive.

It was just the three of us this year and because we didn’t want to miss classes we made the trip non-stop and didn’t not stay over or sleep anywhere during the trip. We did the 11 hour drive to Atlantic City arriving the afternoon before the show, attended WrestleMania, and then got right back in the car and drove the 11 hours back, to make classes on Monday. My God were we stupid. The trip down was easy but the trip back was brutal. I got very sick for the drive back, and spent the majority of the trip curled up in the back seat wanting to sleep but feeling far too shitty to do so. I don’t think Dennis had a driver’s license, which left poor John trying to drive all night on no sleep.

I remember at one point John pulled off to the side of the road and looked scared as hell. When we asked him what was up he said he just saw a truck explode right in front of him on the highway. I guess John was so exhausted at the wheel he had either fallen asleep and was dreaming while driving or out right hallucinating, neither option seemed good. Sick or not I figured making John drive any further was a bad idea so I drove the rest of the way home. We got back early Monday morning and we were all far too tired to make any classes. I crashed as soon as I got back to my room (I stayed in residence that year) and slept all day. Many of my floor mates said they tried very hard to wake me but I literally was sleeping like the dead.

As for the show I remember loving it. We upgraded out seats from the previous year and got ring side seats on the floor. That sounds better than they were because “ring side” was an entire section not just seats beside the ring. The section was a big square area that was about 10 or 12 rows deep, and we were in the last row in the far back corner. This pretty much shattered our hopes of getting on camera during the show and sure enough when we watched the show back we were located just off the back left corner of the hard camera shot. Oh well we didn’t make camera but they were still pretty good seats.

As for the show itself, I remember loving it at the time. We debated after the show whether it was the best Mania yet, even beating out WrestleMania III and I think I was leaning toward liking this show more. Watching it again now I still thought it was a damn fine show.

Like past Mania reviews I’m not going to break it down match by match, because I don’t want to turn this into me rating other guy’s work. One of the first things that stuck out to me was how much stuff was on this show. There were 14 matches, and 2 major promo type segments. That’s 16 segments on 1 show which is amazing and even more amazingly there were 5 tag matches on the show. This year’s WrestleMania had only 1 tag team match and one of those teams were put together just for that show in order to have a tag match on the card.

As much as I liked this show my God there were some bad matches on it. The Rougeaus vs. Bushwhackers match was atrocious with the only highlight being the “We’re All American Boys” theme song of the Rougeaus. That song was so amazingly brilliant, I still laugh every time I hear it. If you are too young to have heard it, search it out on YouTube. With lyrics like, “We don’t like heavy metal, we don’t Rock & Roll, all we like to listen to is Barry Manilow”, how can you go wrong? This song ruled!!!!!

Some of the other stink fests on the show were Dino Bravo – Ron Garvin, Andre – Jake Roberts, and Bad News Brown – Jim Duggan. I’d include the Red Rooster – Bobby Heenan match in this but thankfully it was only 30 seconds long. Actually both those guys were good workers so if you ditched the Red Rooster gimmick (had to have been the worst gimmick of all time) they could have actually had a good match. There were a lot of crap finishes on the show too which didn’t help matters but bad finishes were quite common back then. The Piper’s Pit segment was brutal as well. It went almost 20 minutes and as much of a fan of Piper’s as I was back then I thought this segment died.

Highlights on the show were the Twin Towers – Rockers tag match which was real good and told one of the best Big Guy – Little Guy stories I’ve seen in forever. Shawn took some amazing bumps in this match too. Mr. Perfect – The Blue Blazer was fun, although I swear Curt was ribbing Owen by constantly tugging on his mask so he couldn’t see. Both of these guys were big ribbers and way too talented to have that continually happen by mistake. Rick Rude did an amazing job of carrying The Ultimate Warrior to a good match. This match was great to watch knowing what I do now about carrying an opponent. It was great to see how Rick structured the match and pulled this performance out of Warrior. As a fan back then Rude actually convinced me that Warrior knew what he was doing and could wrestle.

I also thought Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura were awesome on commentary. They added so much and were so good together. They talked about the matches like they were real sporting contests and best of all despite one being a heel and the other a face they often agreed on points that were obvious and thus came off so much more credible. I guess the difference was they sounded like sportscasters describing the action and giving insight, where today announcers often come off like company shills trying to sell the product to you. It’s a small point but constant use of terms like, “WWE Universe” sound unnatural and just remind me, as a viewer, that the wrestlers and the announcers are all part of the same con and just trying to sell the product to me, where back then it felt more like a real sport, and Jesse and Gorilla were part of a broadcasting team and more independent of the storylines and angles.

The Main Event was of course The Mega Powers Exploding with Randy Savage defending the WWF Tile against Hulk Hogan. This was a fun match even today with a good story being built up with Miss Elizabeth on the outside. Hogan even did some mat wrestling to start, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. It was a good back and forth emotional battle and my God Savage was great. They only had one near fall the entire match which was Hulk Hogan kicking out of the top rope elbow drop by Savage, which I hated at the time. I hated Hulk Hogan when I was a fan, and thought him kicking out and Hulking up after that move was BULLSHIT.

All in all a very good WrestleMania at least by the standards of the time; 4 or 5 really good matches, 4 or 5 pretty solid matches, and of course 4 or 5 really bad ones. I guess that makes for a well rounded show. I’ll get to WrestleMania VI from Sky Dome as soon as I can. I attended that show live too, and will have a different perspective because this was right before I broke into the business so I watched this show not as a fan but as a soon to be wrestler.