In the build-up to WrestleMania 32, the Flickering Myth writers look back at previous installments of the ‘Showcase of the Immortals’…
The Rockers vs. Haku & The Barbarian w/Bobby Heenan
Dino Bravo vs. The Texas Tornado
The British Bulldog vs. Warlord w/Slick
WWF Tag Title: The Hart Foundation vs. The Nasty Boys w/Jimmy Hart
Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts vs. Rick Martel (Blindfold Match)
Undertaker w/Paul Bearer vs. Jimmy Snuka
Randy ‘Macho King’ Savage w/Queen Sherri vs. The Ultimate Warrior (Retirement Match)
Demoliton vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Koji Kitao
IC Title Match: Big Bossman vs. Mr Perfect w/Bobby Heenan (Win by DQ)
Earthquake vs. Greg Valentine
Power & Glory w/Slick vs. Legion of Doom
Virgil w/’Rowdy’ Roddy Piper vs. Ted Dibiase (Win by Count-Out)
Tito Santana vs. The Mountie w/Jimmy Hart
WWF Title Match: Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter w/General Adnan
For the casual viewers of professional wrestling, or perhaps those of you have never seen WrestleMania 7, you’re probably looking at the above card and thinking ‘Wait, Blindfold Match?’. Well, you’d be right to be confused because, despite the obvious flaws apparent from just the title, Vince McMahon and company decided to go ahead with the gimmick. The resulting match was unbelievable… and not in a good way.
Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts and ‘The Model’ Rick Martel were both greatly respected competitors in the wrestling industry, so to see them stumbling around inside a WrestleMania ring is something of a travesty. The match came about when Martel kayfabe-blinded Roberts (yes, really). Fast-forward to ‘Mania and you’ve got the pair of them with dark hoods on, as Jake haplessly points around the ring so the corwd can cheer when he’s headed in the right direction. That’s right: Jake Roberts, Rick Martel and 16,000 fans in giant game of ‘Marco Polo’. Nice work Vince!
On a mediocre card, there is one undeniable stand-out match and no, this time it isn’t the main event. Hogan vs. Slaughter was a fine enough match-up (despite the tasteless storyline surrounding it), but the real reason to check out this ‘Mania is the ‘Retirement Match’ between The Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage.
Both competitors were out to steal the show, with Warrior even walking to the ring instead of his legendary run. It’s almost like he realised using up his cardiovascular capacity before the match wasn’t the best idea!
The in-ring action is surprisingly restrained given the athletes involved. It’s refreshing to see Warrior doing something other than acting like a lunatic. Savage is, as per usual, fantastic on storytelling duties. As the arrogant heel, he takes the match for granted in the early goings, but slowly loses his temper as Warrior continues to frustrate him. Also, having the villainous Sherri on the outside adds an extra dynamic.
It’s not all perfect though, as towards the end of the match, Savage has his finisher completely buried. The ‘Macho King’ drops no less than FIVE Flying Elbow Drops on his opponent, before Warrior kicks out at 2. Despite this being a ‘Retirement Match’, it was always the intention of the bookers to have Savage return, so having his premier manoeuvre depleted like this was a mistake.
Despite that minor issue though, the finish is explosive, and rounds off a great bout. The crowd seemed much more engaged with this match than the main event that followed it, and it’s not particularly difficult to see why.
WrestleMania VII is often considered a forgettable edition of the event, but I think that’s a little harsh. First of all, there’s a legitimate classic on the card thanks to Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage. That match alone is worth giving the show a chance.
Secondly, the rest of the card isn’t terrible. Sure, there are some bum-notes, and the blindfold match is hilariously awful, but there quite a few moments to enjoy elsewhere. The Rockers vs. Haku & The Barbarian was a high-octane opener that got the crowd on their feet early on, while the Tag Title match also delivered great thrills. On top of that, the main event between Slaughter and Hogan was fairly decent, all things considered.
The bad reputation that ‘Mania VII receives might be unjust; there is still plenty here worth a revisit.
Jackson Ball – Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn