December 31, 2010
I’m pretty sure this was the first time I’ve ever watched this show. I had seen the Iron Man match before but I have no recollection of seeing anything else from this show. Mania XII was from Anaheim, California and was, in my opinion, very forgettable. I believe this was the very first, and possibly only WrestleMania that didn’t have any celebrity guest star what so ever. This show was so lack luster that it didn’t even feature an Intercontinental Title match or the Tag Team Title match, which took place during the “Free For All” pre PPV broadcast.
I suppose with an hour long main event you only have so much time on a show but there were only 6 matches in total, one of which was a complete squash, and another which was completely stupid and made no sense. This was not a good show, so let’s get to the match by match break down.
Vader, Davey Boy Smith , Owen Hart vs. Yokozuna, Ahmed Johnson, Jake Roberts:
The stipulation in this match was that if the baby faces (Yoko’s team) won, Yoko would get 5 minutes in the ring with his former manager Jim Cornette, who was now managing Vader. This match was okay but very long. They took turns getting heat on all three baby faces giving each man their own hot tag and comeback. The match only went 13 minutes but felt way longer. The finish worked for the crowd in that Jake finally hit the DDT on Owen Hart and then teased DDT’ing Cornette before Vader hit him from behind and pinned him. Good heat for Vader.
Roddy Piper vs. Goldust:
This was the Hollywood Back Lot Brawl match. This may have been the dumbest match ever. They pointed out that there were no rules in this match and thus no ref required. Okay with that said HOW DO YOU WIN? The started this match out on the lot and Piper just beats the holy hell out of Goldust and appeared to be stiffing the living shit out of him for a really long time. Finally Goldust hits Piper in the balls and gets in his car and drives into Piper hitting him with the car, and then drives off. Piper gets up and gets into a White Ford Bronco and gives Chase.
Steve Austin vs. Savio Vega:
This match was ridiculous when you consider what each guy ended up being to the company. This was a competitive match which required Stone Cold Steve Austin (still a heel here) to bump the ref and use 2 Million Dollar belt shots to beat Savio Vega. This was more just a filler match that kept getting interrupted with cut in updates of Roddy Piper. We got a cell phone call from Piper and later helicopter footage of the OJ car chase, which WWF claimed was footage of Piper. This was so lame and dumb, not to mention a year or 2 out of date.
Next we got a Diesel promo I just have to mention because it drove me crazy. Diesel was interviewed about his op coming match with The Undertaker and they showed footage of different segments where The Undertaker was playing mind games with Diesel that led up to this big encounter. Diesel completely no sold the entire angle building to this match and acted like he could care less. This killed any possible interest you could have in this match. Cool heels SUCK.
HHH vs. The Ultimate Warrior:
This was back when HHH was still Hunter Hearst Helmsley, the Connecticut Blue Blood. He had a new “Escort” with him who the said was named Sable. I believe this was her debut. HHH’s ring entrance was very long and likely much longer than this match. This was a complete squash match with Warrior taking the Pedigree, completely no selling it, blowing a comeback and pinning HHH with his knees on his chest. I doubt WWE will be highlighting this one or the Austin match on any DVDs in the near future. I popped watching Hunter jump up when Warrior clotheslined him to avoid getting hit in the throat. This was VERY BAD.
After the match, back stage they introduced The Wildman Marc Mero who HHH accidently bumped into making his way to the back, ending in a big brawl. I assume this was the start of the angle to put Sable with Marc Mero. Nothing like debuting by getting into an even fight with a dude who just got squashed in a match, 2 minutes earlier.
Diesel vs. The Undertaker:
This match was a bit slow but decent until the finish, which I hated, and again because of the “Cool Heel” attitude of Kevin Nash. These two big guys had a back and forth battle that went more than 15 minutes and finally Diesel hits his Jack Knife finished and rather than trying to win walks around stalling and acting cool. If he doesn’t care about winning why should anyone else? Taker does the big sit up spot, which Diesel doesn’t sell at all, and he goes ahead and hits another Jack Knife Power Bomb, which he again stalls and walks around after, rather than covering. They pretty much completely lose the crowd here. Taker eventually fights up after never actually being covered, and hits the Tombstone Pile Driver for the win in a very flat finish. I cant’ help but think the reaction to all of this would have been so much better if Diesel would have made a cover and had Taker kicked out, and sold what was happening in the ring like he actually cared and wanted to win the match. The last 2 minutes of this match ruined the match for me.
Next up we got the conclusion to the Piper vs. Goldust match. Both guys returned to the arena and ended up back in the ring fighting, and things just got weirder and weirder. (I’m pretty sure Russo was part of the creative team at this point and would bet money he had a hand in this mess. Again there were no rules so I have no idea what we were suppose to hope happened in this match. Goldust got heat on Piper and the story of the match was (I think) Goldust was Gay and Piper was a gay bashing homophobe baby face, who was going to beat him until he became a man (seriously). After beating on Piper, Goldust eventually kissed him, which pissed off Piper who fired up and made his comeback, which included grabbing Goldust by the balls, kissing him (I have no idea), and then stripping him out of his ring gear revealing very inappropriate lingerie. At this point Goldust just left and Piper’s msic hit and he celebrated like he won. This was awful.
Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels (WWF Title):
This was the 1 hour Iron Man Match. This match was slow by today’s standards but I liked it a lot. You could tell the crowd was not into this match for the first 30 minutes (You could even see a girl in the front row picking her nose at one point) but after that they started making covers and the crowd got into it. I liked the match the whole way through because they did a lot of good basic wrestling early which I enjoyed. This was a very solid believable match, which had a lot of little back and forth spots that you never see now days that I thought really made this match better. There was one miscommunication spot which they covered up so well I doubt many people noticed it. The big key to covering it up was they didn’t’ just go right back into it a second time but did a couple other things first before working back into the spot; great stuff. Only thing I hated about the match was Michaels hitting the nip up for his comeback at the end, after selling his back so strongly through out the match. After they went the distance and restarted the match Shawn hit a Super Kick out of no where but was unable to cover and Bret’s selling of the kick while trying to get up was quite possibly the best selling I’ve ever seen. If this match had been only 45 minutes it would have been perfect. Excellent wrestling match.
Other than the Main Event there was nothing I’d even consider really good on this show, and a lot was quite bad. Only having 1 of your 3 Championship defended on WrestleMania was a really bad idea. I don’t know how much time that Piper – Goldust fiasco took but apart from that mess and the Main Event this show only featured 41 minutes of wrestling.