WrestleMania X

November 13, 2010

I believe this was the first time I’ve watched this show since I watched it live 16 years ago. I was in Smokey Mountain Wrestling when I watched this show and I watched it with several of the boys at a bar or restaurant in Knoxville. We had extra interest in the show because Jim Cornette (our boss in SMW) was on the show. Coincidently the Black and Gold suit Cornette wore at Mania X was the same suit he wore at the big Night of Legends show in Knoxville later that summer when Jericho and I faced his Heavenly Bodies tag team.

I only remembered two matches from this show (Bret-Owen, Shawn-Razor) and I would imagine that will be the case again in only a week or so. This was a two match show, and at the time there was a big debate on which of the two matches was the best. Most people leaned towards the stunt themed ladder match but I always preferred the wrestling match between Bret and Owen and I think that was still the case this time around. I also thought that over time the Bret and Owen match would stand up far better, thinking that once the shock value of the stunts wore off the ladder match would lose some luster. When I get into the match by match we’ll see if that was the case. I feel compelled to mention Owen’s death looking back at this match but unfortunately there are so many people on these shows that are no longer with us, that almost every match review would have to include an obituary, so I’m just going to say that I miss everyone that is no longer with us, and wish they were still with us today.

Commentary was by Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler, which would mark the first of many WrestleManias for the King. King doing commentary in WWF was a big story when it first happened because Lawler was very outspoken against the WWF product before joining the company and at one point said that hell would freeze over before he worked for the WWF. The Wrestling Observer even started the story of The King joining the WWF with the line, “sometime over the last 7 days hell must have frozen over because Jerry Lawler signed with the WWF”.

Lost of special guests for the 10th WrestleMania, which I suppose I should mention was back at the site of the original, Madison Square Garden. The guest included Sy Sperling (President of the hair club for men, who fitted Howard Finkle with a rug for the show), Burt Reynolds, Rhonda Sheer (90’s version of the 80’s Elvira), Donny Walberg (noting his NKOTB fame), Jenny Garth (90210), and the Bill Clinton impersonator (who they never acknowledged was actually an impersonator). They also had brief “WrestleMania moments” videos highlighting a moment from each of the previous 9 WrestleManias which I thought gave the show a bit of an historic feel.

Okay let’s get to the matches:

Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart: I believe this was the first official match these to had in the battle of the brothers feud and like I said I remember it being great and 16 years later it still was. I may have even liked this match more looking back because wrestling storytelling has deteriorated a bit over the years so the strength of this match (most Bret matches for that matter) stood out even more. Bret tells great emotional stories with his matches, which almost no one does anymore. Part of the problem is that you need to have great angles and stories to tell and “storylines” get rushed through and contradicted so often now it’s hard to build the emotional invest today like Bret did so amazingly well in the past. His matches start out slower than matches do today because he takes the time to set the emotional stage and make you care. He did that again with this match so in addition to great wrestling we got to feel the emotional battle between Bret and Owen. Great match that stands up to the test of time and may have even gotten better over it. One note that time changed in this match was that Bret actually tapped out to Owen’s Sharp Shooter at one point. I remember back then it was common to bang the mat while selling and since this was way before “tapping out” became a submission. Bret hit the mat 3 times while selling the Sharp Shooter so I was stunned watching it, before I remembered tap outs were not done back then and he was only selling.

Bam Bam Bigelow & Luna vs. Doink & Dink: This was a very weird match. Luna was definitely a heel and Dink a baby face but other than that I don’t know what the heel was going on here. A very poor match, although in a mix tag match like this I’m not sure how it could be anything else. Bam Bam pinned Doink clean and strong and then they tried to do a post match thing to keep Dink strong but screwed it up. Bam Bam and Luna tried to do a double splash and Dink was to move but he didn’t’ move far enough and Luna landed right on him. It all fell a part badly at this point and the heels (I guess) rolled out and the crowd did not react at all. Very Bad.

Randy Savage vs. Crush (Fall Count Anywhere): Not only was this bad, this was incredibly stupid. The stips for this match were that falls counted anywhere and after the pin fall the opponent had 60 seconds to get back in the ring or he would lose. The big problem with this, apart from making for an incredibly slow match, was that it made it impossible to pin a guy IN THE RING, because he was already back inside. So fall didn’t count anywhere, they only counted outside the ring and to be honest the pins didn’t really count at all because they only set up the 60 second Count Out period. This was one of the dumbest matches I’ve ever seen and coincidentally enough the match happened the same year Vince Russo was added to the WWF creative team. This was the worst Randy Savage match I’ve ever seen, so one of the best workers of all time couldn’t even save this stupid concept match. The finish was even dumber, in that they brawled to the back where there was this completely curtained off area where inexplicably there was a scaffold set up with a rope and pulley system which Savage used to tie up Crush by the ankles and hoist into the air. This was supposed to make it impossible for Crush to return to the ring but unfortunately as soon as Savage headed back to the ring the knot he tied in the rope let go and Crush flopped back on the floor and had to sit there and get counted out. Just a complete pile of crap this match was, and what a waste of Randy Savage.

Alundra Blaze vs. Leilani Kai: This match was for the WWF Women’s Title and was actually a pretty decent match. They worked too fast IMO but on the whole all of the action was pretty good. They only went three minutes (likely why they were working so fast) but they hit everything quite well and Alundra hit a nice German Suplex for the finish. Better than most of the women’s matches you see today.

The Quebecers vs. Men on a Mission: This match was for the tag team titles and apart from Pierre Ouellette taking a few big bumps there was not much to this match. MoM where really limited and they had a clustered finish into a crowd displeasing count out, so this match was disappointing to say the least.

Yokozuna vs. Lex Luger: This was the first of two title defenses on the show for Yoko set up by Luger and Hart winning the Royal Rumble in a tie. Mr. Perfect was the ref and he wore black and white stripped shirt and sweat pants. I watched this match with my 14 year old daughter and she initially thought it was a three way and Perfect was a guy doing a prisoner gimmick. Yoko was so big and so slow that this match dragged painfully. The match went 14 minutes and felt like 14 years. Several lengthy nerve pinches, finally leading to a crappy DQ finish. Thank God this was in the middle of the show because this was brutal.

Earthquake vs. Adam Bomb: This was a 32 second squash match for Earthquake who was a baby face; a complete nothing match. I couldn’t help think they could have given these guys 5 minutes of Yoko – Lex’s time, not that I wanted to see more of these two, but it could have trimmed one or two of the long nerve pinch holds in the previous match.

Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michael: This was the famous ladder match for the IC Title and it was really great. I feared that in light of all the crazy stunts done today that this match would seem tame now but it didn’t. I preferred this to most ladder matches today because they didn’t go so crazy and sold stuff more and thus had more emotion in the match. This was however the complete Shawn show. For the most part Razor just sold and pushed over ladders while Shawn took awesome bumps. There were a ton of occasions where you could blatantly see Shawn calling spots, which did hurt the match a bit and may have been deciding factor in me thinking Bret vs. Owen was a better match. This was a really great match that held up way better than I thought it would.

Yokozuna vs Bret Hart: This was the main event and once again for the WWF Title. Roddy Piper was the ref for this one, and Piper just wore black jeans and a white Roddy Piper shirt so no prisoner gimmick three way in this match. This match was very slow but at least better than the Luger match. It was hard to get into this match because Yoko’s black belt deal kept slipping down exposing his belly button, which my daughter kept pointing out looked like “Plumber’s Crack” but in the front. Not much of a match with a very weird finish. Yoko set up for the big Banzai Drop in the corner and just lost his balance and fell back. Bret moved and covered him, 1...2...3. Title switch got a nice pop and everyone came out to celebrate with Bret so the show ended on a good note but this was one of the worst Bret Hart WrestleMania matches ever.

Truthfully this was not a very good show, if you remove Bret – Owen and the ladder match this would have been absolutely dreadful. I’d still likely give the show a passing grade based off how fantastic those 2 matches were, but if you ever get the urge to watch this show again I’d recommend skipping the other 7 matches.

Lance Storm