WrestleMania V (1989 TV Special)
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Hercules v Haku: Hercules won his only Wrestlemania match with a belly to back bridge (which was how he lost to Ultimate Warrior the previous Wrestlemania). At this stage in Hercules's career I would consider this an upset. 4/10
Rockers v Twin Towers: The writing was on the wall for this before the match took place though The Rockers did have most of the offence (despite Shawn clearly missing a double dropkick attempt off top rope). The match ended when Akeem squashed Shawn Michaels for the pin. 4/10
Brutus 'Barber' Beefcake v 'Million Dollar Man' Ted Dibiase: What should have been a great match ended with both Beefcake and Dibiase getting counted out. A choppy formulaic encounter by both men not helped by a very weak ending. 4/10
Bushwhackers v Fabulous Rougeaus: The battering ram AND a double stomach-breaker by Bushwhackers seals the pin on Raymond (even though Jacques clearly interrupts before the count). Probably considered an upset at the time and one The Rougeaus wouldn't recover from. 4/10
Blue Blazer v Mr Perfect: Owen Hart fights under a mask against Mr Perfect and he puts up a creditable performance with reversals, standing dropkicks and a crucifix pin attempt. However, Blazer gets ensnared in the Perfect Plex. Probably would have been match of the night if allowed to continue a bit longer. 6/10
Demolition v Powers of Pain and Mr Fuji - Handicap match for the WWF tag team titles: This is another case where a handicap match means nothing because the extra member is a weak link (in this case Mr Fuji). Pretty dire stuff with the majority of the match showing Ax getting beat down by kicks, punches and clotheslines. It finally ends when Mr Fuji gets caught in the Demolition Device for the pin. 3/10
'Rugged' Ronny Garvin v Dino Bravo: For some bizarre reason, 'Superfly' Jimmy Snuka decides to make a ring entrance just before the bell starts the match. When the match starts the crowd were pretty much dead as Bravo applies the Side Suplex for the pin. Ronny gets mad and nails Bravo's manager Frenchy Martin with the Garvin Stomp. The sad fact is Garvin barely gets over doing that. 2/10
Strike Force v Brainbusters: Probably an appropriate end to Strike Force as they didn't seem in synch with each other. Martel quits the match during a tag-team accident which allows the Brainbusters to beat on him handicap-style climaxing with the spike piledriver for the pin. Martel is convincing in his post match promo and turns heel eventually becoming 'The Model'. Tito from here would spiral downwards. Okay stuff but we see better things from Brainbusters in the next PPV. 5/10
Jake 'The Snake' Roberts v Andre the Giant (with special guest referee 'Big' John Studd): What a mess! We can see Andre's health deteriorating rapidly, tagging with partners on future PPVs from here to disguise this. The match ends in disqualification in Roberts's favour though Jesse and Monsoon aren't quite sure why. The commentators suggest the disqualification was because Ted came to the ring and took Jake's snake when the logical reason for the disqualification was because Andre was beating up the ref. 2/10
Hart Foundation v Greg Valentine and Honky Tonk Man: A match showing one team rising from the bottom and another on the way down. I guess this was to gauge whether Valentine and Honky could work as the tag team 'Rhythm and Blues'. Despite the match being average, it's a shame that the Hart Foundation weren't given better competition. 5/10
Ultimate Warrior v 'Ravashing' Rick Rude for the Intercontinental title: Warrior throws Rude around like a rag-doll and there is some lovely psychology in the match. Despite Warrior's botched back-breaker that sends both men into the ropes half way through, most of the moves executed here were flawless (including Rude's scintillating dropkick off the top rope). The match ends when Warrior attempts to suplex Rude into the ring but Bobby Heenan grabs hold of Warrior's legs and Rude falls on top of him for the pin. An upset that leads to a great match at the next PPV. 6/10
'Hacksaw' Jim Duggan v Bad News Brown: After some ugly brawling both men get disqualified for using weapons in the ring. Absolute waste of time and what's worse we are treated to Duggan's running nose at the end of the match. 1/10
Red Rooster v Bobby Heenan: What a shame to call this Terry Taylor's finest moment with the WWF, rolling up an injured manager in seconds. The Brooklyn Brawler beats up Rooster after the match. 0/10
Hulk Hogan v 'Machoman' Randy Savage - WWF title match: At the start it is noticed that, despite Hogan being the challenger he came to the ring last. Egomania is running wild! Everything here was decent with Hogan even attempting a little chain wrestling while Elizabeth gets sent to the back for getting in the way. Hogan blades for no good reason and also kicks out of Savage's flying elbow, countering with the big boot and leg drop for the pin. The match was good but I didn't like how the year long angle was booked as Hogan came across as the heel. It almost buried Savage's career, taking a year and a half for him to make an impact again. 7/10
Overall, too many matches at Wrestlemania V (some rated less than 3 stars) with wrestlers hitting their prime but underachieving. Despite having a 14 match card, there was a banal Run DMC Wrestlemania rap and a drawn out segment of Piper's Pit that misses more than it hits (Morton Downey Jnr who?). The promos could have been cut short, some of the filler matches removed and gave more match time to Blazer and Perfect which could have been classic.
Some of the highlights of Wrestlemania V include:
-A great tag match featuring Demolition vs. The Warlords (what a power display!) -The Hart Foundation finally getting a big "babyface" response instead of being "heels". -Jake "The Snake Roberts" pulling out Damien on Andre The Giant (I've never seen the big guy move so fast). -Seeing Bobby "The Brain" Heenan getting bounced around the ring a little bit (!). -The debut of Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig, as well as the Ultimate Warrior finally becoming a huge force in the industry.
Of course, the Hulk Hogan vs. Randy "Macho Man" Savage main event is the most entertaining match of the night. Savage was always such a great wrestling personality and showman that his big build-up matches always seem to really "pop".
Overall, though, Wrestlemania V to me was just a little bland coming off the big tournament a year before. 3.5 stars would be my exact rating. Some matches really entertained me, while others were snoozers. If you really enjoy tag-team action then you'll probably think more highly of it than me, as for some reason the WWF at this time had a huge "tag" push going on in the industry.
2. The Twin Towers Vs. The Rockers - Blah, these two cetaceans, (that can't bend themselves) won. Terrible. Poor Michaels. 5/10 only for Rockers.
3. Ted Dibiase Vs.Brutus Beefcake - Another idiot, Beefcake, God, this man sucks :-( I appreciate he hasn't got one of his gay-outfits, but his gloves for cleaning toilet. Double DQ. 4/10
4. The Rougeau Brothers Vs. 2 Mentally Ill Individuals - Bushcrackers wins and i Must give my one of my lowest ratings 2/10
5. Mr. Perfect Vs. The Blue Blazer- Finally, somebody who does worth for. 7.5/10
6. World Tag TItles Match: Champs The Demolition Vs. The "we aren't Road Warriors adaptation" Powers of Pain 5/10
7. Ronnie Garvin Vs. Dino Bravo 5.5/10
8. Strike Force Vs. THe Brainbusters 6/10 Piper's Sketch -5/10
9. André The Giant Vs. Jake Snake Roberts. Poor Jakie. Andre is maybe legend, but he's also really bad wrestler...This match sucks and Jake isn't Guilty. 3/10
10. Bobby Heenan Vs. The Rooster? - WTF? This show aspirates on worst WWF show I've ever seen. Less than one minute match 3/10
11. Greg Valentine/Honky Tonk Man Vs. The Hart Foundation 6/10
12. IC Title match: Rick Rude Vs. Champ The Ultimate (idiot) Warrior Sorry to Beefcake :D , this is really bad. Lol, Rude won. Good things so. 3.5/10
13. Bad News Browwn Vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan - Now this is sick, DUggan, another annoying stiff. This is really bad event. WWF had abnormal bunch of clowns in 1989. And DQ in addition. 3/10
14. World Heavyweight Title match: Champ Randy Savage Vs. Hulk Hogan - Classic from these two, but that doesn't mean much... 4/10
Like I said before: This is really bad event. WWF had abnormal bunch of clowns in 1989.
But before we get there, there is an undercard, and despite the large number of matches, this one delivered some cool stuff.
The night started off with Hercules pulling out a victory over Haku, despite the presence of his former manager Bobby Heenan at ring side. Good fun, with Heenan interfering. "The Brain" was one of the finest wrestling personality of the late eighties and could sell any match. He was fun whether he won and bragged obnoxiously about it, or lost and whined like a baby.
Our next match was again a lot of fun as the Twin Towers Akeem and the Big Bossman, who had been such a formidable rival for the Mega Powers in late 1988, defeated The Rockers Shawn Micheals and Marty Janetty, making their first Wrestlemania appearance.
Ted Dibiase and Brutus Beefcake fought to a double count out in their match despite the interference of DiBiase's bodyguard Virgil. The Bushwackers, making their first Wrestlemania appearance then defeated the Fabulous Rougeaus Jacques and Raymond after they wasted valuable time celebrating a nice move. And next up Mr Perfect Curt Hennig defeated the Blue Blazer Owen Hart in a short match which was also an absolute scorcher. Perfect remained undefeated as a result of the win.
Next match was a big man handicap tag match between Demolition Ax and Smash and The Powers of Pain and Mr Fuji. Managers are always fun in handicap matches and Fuji cost his boys the tag team championship here, getting destroyed by Smash and then pinned by Ax to win the match for Demolition. Demolition are considered by many to be a rip off of popular NWA Tag Team the Road Warriors. If that's the case they were one of the finest rip offs in wrestling history. Fun match.
Next up we had a match borne out of the Royal Rumble two months before as Jake Roberts took on Andre the Giant with Big John Studd, who'd won the Rumble match, as the guest referee. Andre had eliminated himself from that match after Roberts had bought his pet snake Damien to the ring. But Andre had it covered this time, enlisting the help of Ted DiBiase and Virgil to grab the snake. Chaos ensues and Andre head butts our guest ref Studd. Can't do that son. Roberts by DQ.
The Hart Foundation Bret hart and Jim Neidhart defeated Rhythm and Blues Honky Tonk Man and Greg Valentine, Bret Hart using R&B manager Jimmy Hart's megaphone to knock out Tonky and get the win. A sweet moment for the Harts as Jimmy Hart had been their manager a year earlier.
Next up comes a major upset as Rick Rude ends the undefeated streak of the Ultimate Warrior, winning the Intercontinental Championship with the help of his manager Bobby Heenan who held Warrior's feet down so he couldn't kick out of the pin attempt.
Incredibly we have two more matches before the main event. Bad News Brown and Hacksaw Jim Duggan fight to a double DQ and in one of the few wrestling matches I've ever given five and a half stars, Red Rooster defeated Bobby Heenan in about half a minute.
This, at long last, following a dozen matches, brings us to the main event with the Mega Powers colliding. Savage looked like he had the match as he hit the flying elbow, but, inspired by the power of Hulkamania, Hogan hulks up, hits the leg drop and gets the win and the WWE Championship. That'll teach ya Randy Savage! Despite having far too many matches, this was a ridiculously entertaining show. The Ultimate Warrior had his winning streak ended, Heenan got his comeuppance. Hulkamania returned with a Vegeance, Owen Hart made his Wrestlemania debut and had a screamer. A great night, never to be forgotten, and just about the gold standard in how to build a PPV. Few have ever been done better.
For starters, Roddy Piper returned to the WWF in 1989 at this event and he was as charismatic as ever. He was the best speaker in the WWF ever and was rivaled only by Hulk Hogan in my opinion.
The matches were good too. The Ultimate Warrior and the late Rick Rude put on an entertaining match for the Intercontinental Title. The late Blue Blazer faced Mr. Perfect in a gem of a match. Demolition battled The Powers of Pain in a brutal match. There were many great matches here especially Hulk Hogan VS Macho Man Randy Savage. Hogan and Savage had chemistry together. They first fought around 1986 and their last major feud took place in WCW in the late 90's. These guys could always put on a good match wherever and whenever they wrestled. And they did that at WrestleMania V.
Looking at this card, it appears to be great. But all the matches were just a little on the unspectacular side.
Most WrestleManias were filled with mismatches, but not this one. All of the competitors were well-matched, making for unpredictable outcomes. This also made for some upsets, like Rick Rude beating the Ultimate Warrior, and the Bushwhackers stampeding over the Rougeaus. The talented tag team, fresh out of a feud with the Hart Foundation, really did the job to Luke and Butch.
Speaking of the Harts, it's hard to believe there were so many years between their title reigns. They destroyed Honky Tonk Man and Valentine, in the best match of the night. Pretty much all the tag team matches were better than the one-on-one encounters. The Rockers were totally overpowered, but they really gave Bossman and Akeem a run for their money. This was the first in a long string of high-profile losses for Marty and Shawn, who are now inexplicably remembered as one of the most successful tag teams ever. The Strike Force-Brain Busters match could have been a Match of the Year candidate, if not for Martel leaving so quickly.
And let's not forget the last tag team match in a pay-per-view we saw the Powers of Pain in. Do you realize they only won one of their feuds (against the Rockers, of course)?
The biggest mismatch was Jake vs. Andre, but it was done well. And it sparked what could have been a great feud between Jake and Ted DiBiase, if not for the neck injury.
While it was obvious Hogan would beat Savage, Savage was really impressive and dominant, especially considering the fact that he was under a lot of pressure, including dangerous surgery and steroid allegations.
Worth a look, but not one of the great WrestleManias. Those were still years away.
This one took place in the same building as the bloated and boring Wrestlemania IV. Trump smelled money and made a small fortune off of this one. The Macho Man carried Hogan through a watchable match. But one of the best things about this event was the Piper's Pit with "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Brother Love and Morton Downey Jr. Classic stuff and I highly recommend the main event match (that's how you end a feud) and the Piper's Pit segment.