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EditorialWrestlemania I-XXX Series. (7/30)

Wrestlemania I-XXX Series. (7/30)

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 Wrestlemania VII (1991)“Superstars and Stripes Forever”

(This Has Been Edited: It Originally Included Promos, But They Were Broken A While Ago, So I’ve Decided To Keep Them Out And Keep The Text. Disregard The Mentions Of These Interviews)

Wrestlemania VII drew 16,158 fans to the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena on March 24th, 1991. The event was originally scheduled to take place in the coliseum, however WWF decided to move it to the Sports arena instead. WWF stated they did this for security reasons (due to the Sgt. Slaughter gimmick), but the real reason was their poor advanced ticket sales, meaning they were unlikely to fill the 100,000+ seats.

Gorilla Monsoon provided commentary for the event, alongside Bobby Heenan. When Heenan was needed at ringside, guest commentators filled in. They included Jim Duggan, Lord Alfred Hayes and Regis Philbin. The two main rivalries leading into the event included “Macho King” Randy Savage vs Ultimate Warrior (in a career ending match), and Sgt. Slaughter vs Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship. Sgt. Slaughter was playing an Iraqi Sympathizer during the time of the Gulf War, so the event was heavily patriotic, American flags were hung all over the arena and the ring apron and banners were colored red, white, and blue. Willie Nelson opened the show with a rendition of “America The Beautiful”.

Match #1 – The Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty) vs. The Barbarian and Haku (with Bobby Heenan) – The Rockers cut a backstage promo before the match. I was looking forward to this one, as The Rockers are 0-2 at Wrestlemania so far, and I predicted they would win after Barbarian/Haku were announced in the ring with no entrance. As always, The Rockers knew how to work an exciting tag team match, and this was a solid opener. The match was fast paced with some nicely timed spots. It highlighted how far The Rockers had come over the past few years. They thoroughly deserved a victory here. Continuing with the HBK Wrestlemania win-loss record, this was his first win at Wrestlemania. (1-2)

Match #2 – The Texas Tornado vs. Dino Bravo (with Jimmy Hart) – I was happy to see Kerry Von Erich make his Wrestlemania debut, but I was much more disappointed with this match. Dino Bravo looked out of shape and unwilling to excite an audience. The fans were going crazy for Von Erich. This was the first match I noticed the sheer volume of the L.A. crowd, and the excitement continued throughout the night. Despite their excitement, this match is rather morbid to fans who look back on this and know of the circumstances of both men’s deaths. Both Von Erich and Bravo died from being shot, (suicide for Kerry, murder for Bravo) and both died less than one month apart in 1993. Kerry did a “gun” gesture after the match as well, just to add to the coincidences.

Match #3 – The British Bulldog vs. The Warlord (with Slick) – I was surprised by this match, as I have never seen a good showing by the Warlord. He worked well, and Bulldog managed to fill in the blanks. Warlord controlled much of the match, but he was the heel so that was expected. Bulldog proved how great he was, and I believe this was the first time he had won at Wrestlemania since The Bulldogs tag team championship victory many years prior. This was the first singles victory for Davey Boy Smith at Wrestlemania.

Match #4 – The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags) (with Jimmy Hart) vs. The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) (c) – WWF Tag Team Championship – I was unaware of this, but this would be the end of The Hart Foundation. Also I have never been a big fan of The Nasty Boyz work, but damn … they were good in this match. I absolutely loved this tag team match, and by the end of it I didn’t care who won, it was just a pleasure to watch. The crowd in attendance were hot for this as well.

Match #5 – Jake Roberts vs. Rick Martel – Blindfold match – We saw the back story before the match, and another awesome (and short) promo by Roberts. So the point of this match was to prove that snakes have a “sixth sense”, and can catch their prey in the dark. Both men were forced to wear black bags over their heads and work a match. And I absolutely loved it, it was really funny. Jake got the audience involved by pointing across the ring towards Martel. If he pointed away from Martel, the fans would boo and chant “No!”, but whenever he pointed directly at Martel, the fans would go crazy and chant “Yes!”. Although the match did drag on in places, it was different, funny, and the point was proven in the end. Snakes really do have a sixth sense, and Martel played the part of the prey really well.

Match #6 – The Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) vs. Jimmy Snuka – I knew it was coming, the first match in the legendary Wrestlemania streak. And although I have seen this before, I didn’t mind seeing it again. The Undertaker’s cold stare has been with him since the beginning. The kids in attendance looked scared and confused. Superfly didn’t stand a chance, as The Undertaker no-sold more than a Hulk Hogan/John Cena match. He was invincible, powerful, agile (he performed a wicked aerial clothesline with serous height and force), mysterious, and the result was inevitable after a tombstone. Wrestlemania streak 1-0. Paul Bearer was pleased.

Match #7 – The Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage (with Queen Sherri) – Retirement match – Back story aired before the match. Miss Elizabeth was seen in attendance with a concerned look. And this match was great, arguably the best match Warrior ever had. This is probably the reason to watch Wrestlemania VII, it was one of the best matches of the night. As both men were fighting for their careers, the intensity was constant. Nearing the twenty-minute mark, Savage hit Warrior with FIVE (not kidding) elbow drops in a row, and Warrior KICKED OUT! Warrior managed to make a comeback and win the match. The fans were loving this, but it soon turned sour when Sherri took her frustration out on Savage and began attacking him! Miss Elizabeth jumped the rail, ran down to the ring, and threw Sherri out of the ring! She tried to console Savage but he kept lashing out, as he was down and was unaware it was her.

After he got up and turned around, a classic Wrestlemania moment transpired. In what can only be described as one of the most emotional moments in Wrestlemania history, the fans cheered loud for a reunion of the most loved couple ever. After some time passed, Savage and Elizabeth embraced one another, and the fans in attendance cried. You could see women crying, and Savage hoisted Elizabeth on to his shoulders, as he ended his wrestling career in the WWF as a hero once again.

Following this a bunch of backstage segments aired. They involved the celebrities, Demolition, The Undertaker/Paul Bearer, Tenryu/Kitao not saying a word, and Jake Roberts having fun with Damien.

Match #8 – Genichiro Tenryu and Kōji Kitao vs. Demolition (Crush and Smash) (with Mr. Fuji) – Disappointing. Demolition was not the same without Ax. Skipping this one. Afterwards, Big Bossman delivered a backstage promo on Perfect. I enjoyed it, and I noticed how much weight he had lost compared to previous Wrestlemania. Mr. Perfect and Heenan gave a standard heel promo.

Match #9 – Big Boss Man vs. Mr. Perfect (c) (with Bobby Heenan) – WWF Intercontinental Championship – This was good. Some great action between them, although Mr. Perfect sold too much on occasion, and Heenan was involved. It was at this moment I noticed all the deceased pairings on this PPV. As morbid as that sounds, I had seen Von Erich/Bravo, Warrior/Savage, Savage/Elizabeth, and now Bossman/Perfect so far. And then Andre came out, which was great, but he looked unhealthy. Although Bossman and Perfect used a belt on each other earlier on in the match, and were not disqualified, the referee decided to end the match when Barbarian & Haku interfered. Bossman got the victory by DQ, and celebrated with Andre afterwards.

Match #10 – Earthquake (with Jimmy Hart) vs. Greg Valentine – No! No! No! If you ever watch Wrestlemania VII, you can skip this one. After this foul match, we were treated to some familiar faces: Donald Trump, Chuck Norris, Henry Winkler, & Lou Ferrigno. Short and sweet.

Match #11 – The Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal) vs. Power and Glory (Paul Roma and Hercules) (with Slick) – LOD delivered a vintage backstage promo, Animal mentioned how they should have been the team to face The Hart Foundation earlier in the night for the titles. Hawk finished it off with promising victory tonight, and of course, “WHAT A RUSH!” As expected, the match was a complete squash. Sadly the promo was more exciting then the match.

Match #12 – Virgil (with Roddy Piper) vs. Ted DiBiase – I liked the back story behind this one. Piper was in the corner of Virgil despite having a knee injury and walking around with a crutch. The fans were hot for Virgil, and cheered for him throughout the match. Ted DiBiase went super heel, as he repeatedly attacked an injured Piper. Hot Rod was able to distract DiBiase long enough to allow Virgil to win by count-out. DiBiase was pissed, so he got Virgil in the Million Dollar Dream. Piper attacked him with the crutch, but then Sherri made a surprise appearance and helped DiBiase to attack Piper. Virgil made the save, and after DiBiase/Sherri retreated, Piper refused to be helped by referees. Virgil urged Piper to stand so he could help Piper without making him feel like less of a man. Piper stood up despite the excruciating pain. Virgil helped Piper to the back. The match wasn’t a classic, but it was entertaining.

Slaughter had a backstage interview afterwards. He was pushing the limit with this gimmick during the Gulf War, but he was still delivering solid promos. He was so easy to hate, especially when the dude next to him was a cheap Saddam Hussain knock-off.

Match #13 – The Mountie (with Jimmy Hart) vs. Tito Santana – Just a match to push The Mountie. It was forgettable, although the fans cheered loud for Santana. Yeah, lame. Following this, the annual Mean Gene/Hogan backstage interview began, and as always, Hogan was ready to win the WWF Championship once again, and bring the title back to America.

Match #14 – Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter (c) (with General Adnan) – WWF Championship – Hulk Hogan was going to win. It was obvious then, and it will always be obvious. Could you imagine the backlash if the Iraqii sympathizer walked away with the title at Wrestlemania? Hogan was never going to lose this match. And I was really surprised by Hogan, he really worked hard in this one. Slaughter didn’t do much at all, it felt like he was going through the motions, with Hogan carrying the match. It was a weak main event in comparison to previous Wrestlemania. Slaughter tried to get disqualified throughout, and he was able to bust Hogan open (with a seriously weak chair shot), but the match still turned up short. In predictable fashion, Hogan was victorious, and claimed the WWF Championship for a third time. The PPV ended with celebrations, as Hulkamania continued to live on.

Conclusion – Although this PPV had a few bad matches, the other matches were of high quality. Unlike previous Wrestlemania, there was less emphasis on drawn out celebrity segments, and no songs other than the anthem. It focused on the rivalries, and the wrestling, which is how it should be. I would recommend this PPV to anyone, it’s one of the better events. Also Bobby Heenan on commentary was a blast, he really knows how to heel it up. Aside from that, you can see the new guard beginning to creep through. With the Bret Harts, the British Bulldogs, the Shawn Michaels slowly rising through the ranks .. this Wrestlemania series is about to turn a corner.

To finish this off, you can see a Randy Savage & Miss Elizabeth backstage interview from after the match. This did not make it to air, but it was included as a bonus on a DVD. Thanks for reading.

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