Wednesday, June 19, 2024
EditorialWrestlemania I-XXX Series. (6/30)

Wrestlemania I-XXX Series. (6/30)

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Wrestlemania VI (1990)“The Ultimate Challenge”

Wrestlemania VI drew 67,678 fans to the SkyDome in Toronto, Canada, breaking the attendance record in the process. This was the first Wrestlemania to be produced outside of America. Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura provided commentary together for the last time at a Wrestlemania event. The Ultimate Challenge was put forward by Hulk Hogan to The Ultimate Warrior, and for the first time in WWF history, the WWF and Intercontinental Championships would be on the line in a winner takes all match.

With Wrestlemania almost always being produced in American venues, it was refreshing to hear Robert Goulet sing a rendition of O Canada before the show. The mini ring carts returned for this event, previously seen at Wrestlemania III. Before I talk about the matches, I found out after watching the show that Edge, Christian, Lance Storm and Renee Young were in attendance as fans. Here is a picture of a 16 year old Adam Copeland.

Match #1 – Rick “The Model” Martel vs. Koko B. Ware

I felt so sorry for Koko B. Ware at Wrestlemania. Rick Martel got a decent heel reaction from the Canadian fans throughout. The match was quite competitive, until Koko made a mistake which allowed Martel to capitalize with a Boston Crab. Not a bad match, a good opener. I had to laugh at Gene Okerlund in this interview with The “Colossal” connection.

Match #2 – Demolition (Ax and Smash) vs. The Colossal Connection (André the Giant and Haku) (c) (with Bobby Heenan) – WWF Tag Team Championship

If there is one thing I can take away from the Wrestlemania series so far, it’s how amazing Demolition were. Did they have a funny look? Sure … but both men could cut promos and work as a team to put on solid performances. Haku did most of the work for their team. When Andre got in he would do his part, but he was finding it difficult doing the basic moves. He couldn’t even punch or kick properly anymore. The Canadian fans surprised me with how loud they were getting, especially when Demolition attacked Andre. They went crazy when Andre got stuck in the ropes, and even more so when Demolition destroyed the lone Haku and pinned him for their third (and last) WWF Tag Team Championship.

And then Bobby Heenan got in Andre’s face and blamed him for the loss. Heenan shouted at him, poked him, and although Andre tried to explain that Haku accidentally kicked him in the face, Heenan slapped Andre in the face. The Giant’s demeanor changed immediately, and the Canadian fans went nuts as Andre wrapped his large hand around Heenan’s throat. After spending many years as a heel, he left his final match in the WWF as a babyface. He attacked Heenan with some flimsy punches, and also took Haku out

Sadly this was the last match Andre had in the WWF, his health issues were getting worse. I saw Andre come into the ring and break up a pin-fall with the weakest looking kick I have ever seen by anyone, and I wish that was an exaggeration. He wasn’t cleared to wrestle, and you could see why during the match. Regardless, It was one of the better moments of Wrestlemania VI in my opinion.

Following this we saw Earthquake for the first time at a Wrestlemania in a backstage interview. He was jiggling around .. in a mesmerizing way. Obviously he was simulating an earthquake, but there was something about his jiggling that kept my eyes glued. Maybe I have a thing for severely out-of-shape giants?

Match #3 – Earthquake (with Jimmy Hart) vs. Hercules

A rather dull match to be honest. Hercules was a great worker, and I enjoyed his previous Wrestlemania matches, but trying to work a decent match with Earthquake was like trying to tell Hogan not to eat his vitamins. I don’t want to say much more .. Hercules deserved more than this.

And then we had something different. Miss Elizabeth being interviewed by Rona Barrett. Wasn’t she lovely though? That Miss Elizabeth .. one of the most innocent looking figures in WWF history. She had to conduct an interview so her appearance later would not feel so random.

Match #4 – Brutus Beefcake vs. Mr. Perfect (with The Genius)

Mr. Perfect went into this match with a perfect win-loss record on television. He dominated the match over Beefcake, and was able to hit him with the scroll that The Genius was holding behind the referee’s back. Despite the interference and dominance, Beefcake somehow managed to pull out an upset. It was a decent match, although the abrupt finish was a bit of a buzz kill … Post-match shenanigans followed. Beefcake stalked The Genius .. forced him into the ring, then as he went after Perfect, The Genius escaped and slowly started walking away, only for Beefcake to notice and drag him back to the ring.

Perfect didn’t bother to save him as Beefcake cut his hair … And then this happened. Was it racist to have Piper paint himself half-black and claim to have split personality? He would “try” to dance like a black guy when his other personality kicked in. Bad News Brown had little charisma or personality, so you could say Piper had nothing else to target, he did this to make their feud somewhat memorable. Nevertheless, if the shoe was on the other foot, and it was Bad News Brown who painted himself half-white, would it have been accepted? I believe Piper is the only guy to ever get away with something like this on a wrestling show: Piper Promo

Match #5 – Roddy Piper vs. Bad News Brown

This was a fight, pure and simple. You won’t find many wrestling holds in this one, it was all about the brawling. As always, the fans were firmly behind Piper, and giving hardly any reaction for Brown. Half way through the match, Piper went one step further by introducing a white glove he wore on his right hand; the black painted side. Ventura claimed it was a Michael Jackson glove, just to further the gimmick introduced by Piper. And then yeah .. just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, the match ended with a count-out draw. I’m really starting to miss the Piper/Adonis match from Wrestlemania III. Luckily we saw a funny segment with Steve Allen and The Bolsheviks, which ironically lasted longer than the next match! Sadly, I cannot find a video of it anywhere.

Match #6 – The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) vs. The Bolsheviks (Nikolai Volkoff and Boris Zhukov

In Canada you would expect a showcase of The Hart Foundation. Did we got one? Well .. no, because this match lasted 19 seconds. The Hart Foundation won of course, but I found myself asking an important question, the question which begins with a “W” and ends in a “Y”. I guess Vince hated seeing the Hart Foundation at Wrestlemania, even in Canada in front of 67k+ fans.

 Match #7 – The Barbarian (with Bobby Heenan) vs. Tito Santana

The Barbarian had split from the Powers of Pain, and this match was booked to establish him as a singles competitor. It was a decent, yet short contest. It ended well, but I have spoiled too many results so far. so swiftly moving on.

Match #8 – Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire (with Miss Elizabeth) vs. “Macho King” Randy Savage and Queen Sherri

As I am watching the Anthology set, watching Dusty and Sapphire make their entrance with the Wheel of Fortune theme music completely threw me off. Then I remembered that Vince is cheap and doesn’t like to pay for entrance themes so they get dubbed over by something cheap. Gorilla plugged this match as a special event because there had never been a mixed tag team match before in the WWF. This was the first time any women’s wrestlers were involved in a match at Wrestlemania since Wrestlemania II.

Dusty and Sapphire were announced at a combined weight of 465 Ibs, which made Ventura question whether Dusty is 200 Ibs or not, seen as Sapphire must be at least 250. Gorilla agreed with him. Dusty introduced his crown jewel to be Miss Elizabeth, she made her entrance and Savage went nuts in the ring. The general theme from commentary throughout this match was Gorilla arguing with Jesse over the rules of the match. Gorilla said at the beginning that men would fight the men, and women would fight the women. This didn’t happen, as Ventura got angry over Dusty putting his hands on Sherri. Jesse would argue with Gorilla over the rules of the match throughout (as the rules continued to be broken), and I found it rather funny how he had corrected Gorilla once again.

This was a low-point for Savage, Dusty and Sherri’s careers. I couldn’t be certain if Sapphire was a wrestler or not, she was that bad. The whole match was horrible, it’s one of those you can skip or try to forget. What a difference a year makes. And then we had a flood of interviews. Originally I had a few posted, but I’ll only include Warrior’s and Hogan’s after the edit.

Hogan’s interviews get stranger from year-to-year. Warrior always delivered the most intense promos, so I was looking forward to it. Listening to both, Warrior made the most sense, but not by much. Two babyfaces against one another, they complimented each other, but also promised victory for different reasons. Hogan was fighting for the Hulkamaniacs, and Warrior was fighting for the Warriors and the Hulkamaniacs, so they could come together as one. I preferred Warrior’s, as he was fighting for everyone on this occasion.

Match #9 – The Orient Express (Sato and Pat Tanaka) (with Mr. Fuji) vs. The Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty)

It was an acceptable match, but I didn’t get any back-story so it was hard to care for it. I will say that Marty doesn’t get enough credit for Shawn’s early career, he’s always been a great worker whenever I see him, he set a good example at a time when Shawn needed it. I won’t say much more about this, but I will say that Shawn picked up two losses in a row at Wrestlemania.

Afterwards we saw an interview with Rhythm N’ Blues. Valentine’s never looked so charismatic!

Match #10 – Jim Duggan vs. Dino Bravo (with Jimmy Hart and Earthquake)

Dino Bravo was introduced, and despite being Canadian, received a fairly weak heel response. Much to Ventura’s surprise, Duggan carried a USA flag down to the ring. Jesse called Duggan stupid at one point. As Duggan does, being in Canada doesn’t mean he can’t do the “HOOOOO!” and “USA” chants .. the Canadians loved the “HOOOO”, but did not react to the “USA” chants.

The match was filler. Nothing special about this, as Duggan somehow managed to pick up the win despite interference, and Earthquake squashed him afterwards. Then we saw the promo of the night from the smooth talker himself, Jake Roberts. If you are going to watch any interviews in the article, this should be one of them.

Match 11 – Ted DiBiase (c) (with Virgil) vs. Jake Roberts – Million Dollar Championship

I loved this. You know any match involving these two is going to be good. But it wasn’t just the match that was entertaining, we also witnessed one of the biggest Mexican waves in WWF history. Ventura was loving this, and at one point two separate Mexican Waves were going on in different levels of the SkyDome. I don’t think it was done to disrespect the wrestlers, it was a spontaneous thing which lasted for a while. Sadly the match ended in a count-out loss for Roberts after Virgil threw DiBiase into the ring. The Million Dollar Championship could change hands (as Gorilla explained it was a non-sanctioned belt) on a count-out, so DiBiase regained his belt.

Match #12 – Big Boss Man vs. Akeem (with Slick)

Despite DiBiase ambushing Bossman before the match, Akeem still ate a Bossman Slam and lost the match within two minutes. Not much else to say about this one.

Sean Mooney got some words with Mary Tyler Moore. Then we had to sit through the most epic song in Wrestlemania history, Hunka, Hunka, Hunka, Honky Love. Not sure whether the Canadians bought the old Elvis Presley act in 1990, but I found it just as cringing as the Wrestlemania rap from the previous year. Which one was worse? You decide.

Match #13 – Rick Rude (with Bobby Heenan) vs. Jimmy Snuka

You could see Rude on the verge of main event status here. I enjoyed the match, but it was rather short. Rude had an easy night as he picked up the win with the Rude Awakening.

Match #14 – The Ultimate Warrior vs. Hulk Hogan – WWF Championship / Intercontinental Championship

The atmosphere was electric. You could see all the Hulkamaniacs and Warriors in the crowd, and the Canadians were excited through the whole thing. It was no technical masterpiece, it relied on simple moves, but the pacing was spot on. The running of the ropes was bizarre, but it didn’t matter, the fans were eating this up. Hogan rolled to the outside at one point, holding his knee. You could clearly hear him tell the referee his knee was gone, but two minutes later the injury disappeared. Both men no-sold moves on occasion .. it was like watching two super heroes.

After 22 minutes, Hogan missed a leg drop, and Warrior countered with a splash. Warrior pinned Hogan clean for the victory (Hogan still kicked out after the three count), the only time in Hogan’s first WWF tenure he would lose without interference. A sad-looking Hogan walked around ringside, picked up his WWF Championship, climbed into the ring, and presented Warrior with the belt. They hugged it out and Hogan raised Warrior’s arm. Hogan left Warrior to celebrate with both championships, as Wrestlemania VI came to a close. The fans loved every minute of it.

Conclusion – Wrestlemania VI failed to deliver a good mid-card, many of the good matches were tainted with screwy finishes. The Hart Foundation, Savage, and Piper were wasted in the booking. I enjoyed the Andre face turn, the return of Elizabeth, and Roberts vs DiBiase. They had many match possibilities, Hart Foundation vs The Rockers would have been sweet. Mr Perfect vs Piper also.

You could see the talent, but they were paired up poorly. The main event is the reason to watch, just for the atmosphere. It’s hard to describe how excited the fans were. I would like to end this article by praising the loud Canadian fans at the SkyDome, because without them, this Wrestlemania would have been one to forget. I enjoyed the show overall, and I would recommend it to any Ultimate Warrior fan.

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