In the build-up to WrestleMania 32, the Flickering Myth writers look back at previous installments of the ‘Showcase of the Immortals’.
Hercules vs. King Haku w/Bobby Heenan
The Twin Towers vs. The Rockers
Ted Dibiase w/Virgil vs. Brutus Beefcake (Double Count-Out)
The Rougeau Brothers w/Jimmy Hart vs. The Bushwhackers
Mr. Perfect vs. The Blue Blazer
WWF Tag Title Match: Demolition vs. The Powers of Pain
Dino Bravo vs. ‘Rugged’ Ronnie Garvin
The Brain Busters w/Bobby Heenan vs. Strike Force
Andre the Giant w/Bobby Heenan vs. Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts (Special Guest Referee: Big John Studd)
The Hart Foundation vs. The Honky Tonk Man & Greg Valentine w/Jimmy Hart
IC Title Match: Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude w/Bobby Heenan
‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan vs. Bad News Brown (Double DQ)
The Red Rooster vs. Bobby Heenan w/Brooklyn Brawler
WWF Title Match: Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage
This one is more of a wasted opportunity than a genuine ‘low-point’. The match between Ted Dibiase and Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake was never going to be a classic, technical bout due to the latter’s lack of in-ring proficiency.
With that in mind, it seems pretty strange that the bookers let this one run as long as 10 minutes. Not only that, but at the end of an exhaustive and clunky match, there was a confusing and anticlimactic finish of a double count-out.
Credit where credit is due though, Dibiase really put in a great effort trying to salvage something from the match (as did Virgil out at ringside).
The main event was one of the best up until this point, perhaps second only to Hogan/Andre at ‘Mania III. This match didn’t quite have the same excitement and magic, but it more than made up for that fact with technical prowess.
As is usually the case at a WrestleMania, Savage was the obvious MVP here, but Hogan deserves ample credit here as well. This was arguably The Hulkster’s finest in-ring performance at a ‘Mania show. Both men put on a match worthy of the foregoing hype, with the only issue being that it never really seemed viable that Hogan could leave without the gold.
Elsewhere on the card, fans were treated even more quality matches, including a great bout for the Intercontinental Title. The Ultimate Warrior was red-hot going into this match, while Rude was a terrific heel. Warrior made a couple of clumsy blunders during the match, but thanks to the incredible work of Rude, the overall outcome was a bout that had the crowd in a frenzy.
On an interesting, if a little depressing side-note, our WrestleMania Retrospective has already highlighted a massive decline in prestige for WWE’s secondary title. Of the first 5 ‘Manias, 4 have had great IC Title matches that have rivalled the main event; Legends like Savage, Warrior, Steamboat and Valentine have all competed for the gold. Compare this to the recent IC Title scene, and it makes for an unflattering comparison.
Overall, this was a massive improvement on the resoundingly bad WrestleMania IV. The booking decisions put a much higher emphasis on storylines and feuds, rather than clumping random wrestlers together in a series of dull matches.
This event also had ‘new dawn’ sort of feel to it, thanks mainly to the vast array of new talent making their ‘Mania debuts. This was the year that saw the likes of The Rockers, Mr. Perfect, Big Boss Man, Owen Hart (The Blue Blazer), Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard all made their introductions to the ‘Show of shows’.
The main event was suitably spectacular, and supported by an above-average undercard. WrestleMania V really got the event back on the right tracks after its disappointing predecessor.
Jackson Ball – Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn