April 2, 1989
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse "The Body" Ventura
In 1989, Wrestlemania returned to Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey for the second year in a row. The year before we had seen Randy "Macho Man" Savage win four matches to capture the World Wrestling Federation Championship. He was aided by Megapower partner Hulk Hogan in the final match, and the Hulkster and The Macho Man celebrated with the Title as Wrestlemania came to a close. Fast forward one year later and the Megapowers have exploded. Hogan is now set to challenge Savage for the Title in the very place he helped him win it just one year ago.
WWF Women’s Champion Rockin’ Robin sings America The Beautiful. See, Lilian Garcia wasn’t the first WWF employee to do it.
Hercules vs. King Haku
Bobby "The Brian" Heenan had been Hercules’ manager for years, but Herc had turned face and ditched him to set up this match with Heenan Family member, Haku. They go back and forth for awhile and trade some decent power stuff. Herc finally takes the win when he ducks a roundhouse right and executes a bridge suplex for three at 6:37. *1/2 Nothing too special, and definitely nothing noteworthy.
Mean Gene Okerlund is backstage with the Rockers, Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty. This is the first Wrestlemania appearance for both men.
The Rockers vs. The Twin Towers
This is your classic speed and agility against power and girth match-up. The Rockers are speedy, and Boss Man and Akeem are two big dudes. Ventura mentions that they’re definitely the biggest team around unless Gorilla has a double he doesn’t know about. The Rockers control with quick tags and a fast pace until Jannetty gets squashed between the Towers. A miscommunication spot allows for the hot tag to Michaels. The Rockers use some blatant double teams to comeback until Akeem nearly takes Michaels’ head off with a clothesline. Boss Man misses a top rope headbutt and the Rockers each hit consecutive dropkicks from the top. Michaels heads upstairs again, but Boss Man catches him with a devastating powerslam. Akeem then tags in and nails a big splash for the academic pinfall at 8:05. Fun match. ***
Tony Schiavone is with the Million Dollar Man and Virgil.
Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake vs. "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase
DiBiase greets Donald Trump, who is ringside, on the way down. They’re both rich, you know. Beefcake starts off on fire, forcing DiBiase to bail and regroup. Back in, Beefcake gets the better of him again. DiBiase regroups outside once more and grabs the advantage with a cheap shot on the way in. He controls until Beefcake pulls out a suplex. A double clothesline puts both men are down. After a suplex of his own, DiBiase applies the Million Dollar Dream, but Brutus gets to the ropes. He comes back with his sleeper, but lets go when Virgil jumps on the apron. DiBiase distracts the ref and Virg tries to rough up Beefcake on the floor, but his offense has no effect. Beefcake gives chase to Virgil, allowing DiBiase to jump him from behind. A slugfest on the floor leads to a double countout at an even 10:00. *1/2. Brutus beats up DiBiase and Virgil afterwards, but doesn’t get to cut anyone’s hair. It’s a shame DiBiase went from top World Title contender to settling for a draw in the third match on the card in one year.
Lord Alfred Hayes is with the Bushwackers at the Wrestlemania brunch from earlier that morning. The idea here is that the Wackers are pigs, but we already knew that.
The Bushwackers vs. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers
The Rougeaus' All American theme has to be the best music of all time. Jesse says the Wackers look like they’re on the joy juice right about now. Hard to disagree. The Wackers take poor Jimmy Hart’s coat and Ventura says knowing them, they’ll probably eat it. Before we can find out, the Rougeaus attack. They control for awhile and hit their classic abdominable stretch/Raymond’s savate kick combo. They celebrate, but the Wackers take the opportunity to hit a double stomachbreaker for the pin at 5:11. Humiliating loss for the Rougeaus. 3/4*
Sean Mooney gets licked by the victors of the previous match.
The Blue Blazer vs. Mr. Perfect
Perfect is undefeated at this point. The Blazer, of course, is Owen Hart, before the gimmick was a joke, and nobody knew who he was. Ventura says this is his pick for sleeper match. No kidding, Jess. Ya THINK Hennig/Hart will be good? Don’t go out on that limb to far, buddy. So, are these the two best WWF wrestlers to never win the World Title? I’ve always said so. Owen hits a baseball slide about eight years before it became commonplace. Jesse says hi to Terry, Tyrell, and Jake back in Minnesota. Meanwhile, a classic Owen belly to belly gets two. So does a crucifix. Blazer breifly questions the ref about the count, but the opening is there, and Perfect capatilizes with the Perfect-Plex for the three count at 5:49. I’ll give it **3/4. Neither man was on his 'A' game, but it was still good. I’d have liked to see this one a few years later when Owen was more experienced and allowed to pull out everything in his arsenal, and Perfect became more of a seasoned veteran.
Jesse poses, just like he did last year, for the biggest pop of the afternoon so far.
Lord Alfred Hayes was on the boardwalk yesterday morning for the 5K run. Mr. Fuji enters the race to prove he’s in shape for his upcoming match. He apparently finishes it in 19:30, wearing his suit and carrying his cane the entire time. Pretty funny sutff.
Run DMC is in the ring and they perform the Wrestlemania rap. Eleven years later they’d be back with the WWF to do the DX theme song for the WWF Agression CD. Only difference: In 1989 they were still relatively popular.
We're shown a video package of the Demolition/Powers Of Pain feud. At Survivor Series, Fuji, then Demolition’s manager, cost them the match, and when Demolition beat the crap out of him for it, the Powers made the save and took him on as their own manager.
Mean Gene is with Demoltion and Smash delivers his classic "kick their stinkin’ teeth in" line.
Tag Team Titles: Demolition (Champions) vs. The Powers Of Pain & Mr. Fuji
This is a three on two handicapped match, but it's for the Tag Titles nonetheless. Demolition had won the gold at last years’ Wrestlemania and hadn’t looked back since. They were on top of the world at this point. Fuji enters only when his Powers of Pain have the match in full control. The heels work over Ax until he catches the Warlord with a clothesline. Hot tag to Smash. A brawl erupts and Fuji goes for the old salt in the eyes, but misses Demolition and blinds the Warlord instead. Demolition nails the Decapitation on Fuji for the pin to retain the Titles at 8:56. Match wasn’t anything overwhelming. *
Schiavone can’t get into Macho’s locker room for a word with the Champ because he won't let him in. Savage seems, uh, restless. Hey, I don't blame him. Think about it: if you were the WWF Champion, would you want Tony Schiavone in your locker room? I didn't think so.
"Rugged" Ronnie Garvin vs. Dino Bravo
Jimmy Snuka is introduced to the crowd before the match... for no reason whatsoever. Well, really he was coming back to wrestle in the WWF, but why he had to be introduced here remains a mystery to me. Slugfest of a match ensues, and Dino Bravo hits the Side Suplex for three. 3:59. I would say it’s the only time he’s actually pinned a non-jobber with the Side Suplex, but some would argue that Ronnie Garvin IS a jobber. 1/2* Garvin goes from pinning Ric Flair for the NWA Title to jobbing to Dino Bravo. Ouch. Afterwards, sore loser that he is, Garvin nails Bravo and Garvin Stomps Dino’s manager, Frenchy Martin. For those that don’t know, the Garvin Stomp was a ridiculous move in which Garvin would start at his opponent’s chest, then stomp his entire body, moving around to his arm and his stomach, then his legs, then back around again, basically just spinning himself around 360 degrees, while kicking his opponent. Really sad, actually.
Strike Force vs. The Brainbusters
Strike Force hasn’t teamed up in almost a year since Rick Martel was injured by Demolition. Martel starts off hot early and gets a Boston Crab on Arn Anderson. Tully Blanchard interferes with a thumb to the eye to break the hold, prompting Tito Santana to come in and lock him up in a Figure Four. Martel does the same to Arn, and the Busters are in trouble until each breaks the others’ hold. Tito and Tully do a nice wrestling sequence and Arn comes in twice to break up pinfall attempts. Santana tags Martel and then goes for the Flying Forearm on Tully, but Tully ducks and Tito hits Martel with it. Martel crashes to the floor, and the Busters work on Santana. Martel slowly climbs back on the apron, still selling the injury from the Forearm. Tito catches Anderson on the top, slams him, and crawls towards Martel for the hot tag. When he gets there, Martel refuses the tag, drops off the apron, and walks away. He leaves Tito high and dry, and the Busters make short work of Santana, finishing what has essentially become a handicapped match with the Spike Piledriver at 9:17, ***1/4. Good match.
As a heel, Martel would become The Model, while the win for the Busters would propel them to a Tag Title Match against Demolition, in which they would capture the gold. I’d have put the Busters over the Rockers clean at this show instead, because this two on one win seemed to slight them a little. Strike Force then could have broken up in a match against the Towers, who’d already been instrumental in the Megapowers split. But the Busters did beat former Champs in Strike Force, and we got two good matches out of it anyway, so it doesn't really matter.
Mean Gene is with Martel, who cuts a heel promo on Santana. Hard to sound like a bad guy with that French Canadian accent.
Next up is the famous Piper’s Pit skit with Brother Love and Morton Downey Jr. Some funny stuff, as Piper belittles Love, then "extinguishes" Downey.
We're shown a Megapowers highlight package. They’re rolling through the competition, united at Wrestlemania IV, Summerslam and Survivor Series. Then on Saturday Night’s Main Event, it was Hogan, not Savage, who came to rescue Elizabeth from the evil Big Boss Man. Later, during a tag match between the Towers and Powers, Savage went off the ropes and accidentally hit Elizabeth. Hogan, not Savage, took her backstage to receive medical attention, and later Savage became enraged that Hogan was stealing his woman, and attacked him with the Title belt.
Mean Gene is with Hogan. What a difference a year makes.
Jake "The Snake" Roberts vs. Andre The Giant
The issue is simple: Andre’s afraid of snakes. Big John Studd, former Andre rival, is the Special Guest Ref for this one. Andre takes off the turnbuckle pad before the match even starts and rams Jake’s head into it. Not much happens after that. Andre gets caught in the ropes as usual. He then recovers and chokes out Jake. Roberts is sent to the floor where I casually look at the Wrestlemania ring banner. It says Wrestlemania V, of course, since that’s where we are... except I notice that the banner used to say Wrestlemania IV. The ‘I’ is merely rubbed off. Why that’s resourceful. Eventually, DiBiase and Virgil run in and grab Jake’s snake, Damien (who is still in the bag). Jake gives chase down the asile, and gets the snake back while Andre begins to headbutt and choke Studd in the ring. Abusing the ref is reason for DQ, folks, and Jake takes home the victory at 9:40. 1/4*. Jake charges the ring and lets Damien out of the bag to clear Andre out of the ring.
Sean Mooney is in the Bob Uecker seats. He interviews an intelligent fan who can say only that "Jake’s the best."
Schiavone is with Sensational Sherri.
The Hart Foundation vs. Rhythm ‘N Blues
It should be noted that Gorilla did coin the pharse Excellence of Execution for Bret, as he uses it to describe him even here, in 1989. Gorilla was actually saying that about Bret and others as early as 1986, but it wasn’t until Bret became a singles standout that the nickname stuck. Pat Patterson’s name comes up, and Jesse comments on how that’s a name out of the past. Twelve years later and it’s out of the present. Cute, huh? Anvil intercepts Jimmy Hart’s megaphone and tosses it to Bret, who nails Honky with it (in the shoulder?) to pick up the victory for the Harts at 7:40. Average, standard match. **
Highlights of the Rude/Warrior feud are shown. Rude beat down the Warrior at the Royal Rumble during their posedown.
Intercontinental Title: The Ultimate Warrior (Champion) vs. "Ravishing" Rick Rude
Rude takes off his robe to reveal a design of the IC Title on his tights, propmting Ventura to say, "Look, Monsoon, he’s the Inetrcontinental Champ already." Don’t think it works that way, Jesse. Warrior charges the ring like the insane fool that he is, runs the ropes and Rude tries to catch him with a knee to the gut. Only problem is Warrior’s still wearing the Title belt. Ouch. From there, Warrior is in control, manhandling to start. A bearhug is broken only by a thumb to the eye. Rude hits a dropkick off the top, but Warrior comes right back with two bodyslams. Another bearhug. At least he went back to it. That resmebles some psychology, I guess. That’s, dare I say, a smart move. Heenan is shown outside the ring reaching into his pocket. Gorilla grows suspicious, and Ventura wisely explains that we’re at a casino and he probably just has some loose change in there. Warrior reverts to the science that is professional wrestling and bites Rude. He follows it up with a backdrop, but Rude brings up the knees on a splash attempt. A jawbreaker and a clothesline get two for Rick. Warrior hulks up. Shouldertackle, backbreaker, clothesline. Poor execution by Warrior. Rude dodges a charge and goes for the Rude Awakening, but Warrior powers out and clotheslines him. Rude bails, and Warrior throws him back in. Clothesline over the top and Rude is on the floor again. Warrior tries to suplex him back in, but Heenan grabs Warriors’ foot, causing Rude to collapse on him, and get the three count. Rick Rude is the new Intercontinental Champion. Well, Jesse had been calling it the whole show. This is Bobby Heenan’s first gold; he’d soon see the Tag Titles with the Busters as well. The Ravishing One takes the belt and bails, leaving Warrior to Gorilla Press Slam Heenan, albeit weakly. Oh yeah, the match was 9:42, *1/2.
My two cents: Rude built the Warrior’s popularity to what it was. Warrior wasn’t quite over on a special level until they put the IC Title on him, and the Rude feud defined his reigns with that Title. The pop when Warrior regained the Title from Rude at Summerslam was unbelievable, and it was only then that Warrior was ready to move up into Hogan territory.
"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan vs. Bad News Brown
Can you say brawl? Let's see: Punch, punch, punch, whip, charge, miss, punch, punch, punch, whip, clothesline. Brown bails. Back in. Punch, punch, punch. Bad News now- Punch, punch, punch, buckle, headbutt, punch, buckle, buckle. "Ho" is screamed at various intervals by one Hacksaw Duggan. Punch for Duggan, punch for Brown... at the same time. Way to mix it up, boys. Kick, punch, headbutt. Duggan to floor. News posts him. Punch. Back in. Punch. Ghettoblaster misses. Three point clothesline hits, sending Brown to the floor. He grabs a chair and climbs back in. Duggan gets his two by four. They hit each other with their foreign objects of choice simultaneously. Double DQ. Duggan wins the slugfest after the match and proudly smiles for us all... with this huge piece of snot stuck in his beard. Disgusting, and Jesse lets Gorilla know it. 3:49, DUD.
Mean Gene is with the Red Rooster.
The Red Rooster vs. Bobby "The Brain" Heenan
See, Heenan used to manage Taylor, but they got frustrated with each other and the result was a Rooster face turn. Brain comes to the ring with the Brooklyn Brawler, still selling the rib injuries he sustained at the hands of the Warrior just minutes ago. Heenan wears mini-Andre tights. Rooster corners Brain. Heenan reverses a whip, misses a charge, and Taylor pins him at 0:31. Just like that. DUD The entrances were four times as long as the match. Brawler attacks Taylor, but the Rooster comes back and clears the ring. Lose-lose situation for Taylor. Sure, Heenan didn’t humiliate him by beating him here, but he still had to wrestle Bobby Heenan at Wrestlemania!
Gene is with Elizabeth, who only hopes that neither man is seriously injured in the upcoming Main Event.
WWF Title : Hulk Hogan vs. "Macho Man" Randy Savage (Champion)
The Champ, Savage, enters first, which Jesse takes offense to. I have a problem with it as well. It makes the World Champ look bad when he comes out first, especially with Hogan’s big entrance second. It makes it seem as if he’s just waiting to be defeated.
Match is underway, and Macho jaws at Liz, who is in a neutral corner. On the outside, he physically uses her to shield himself from Hogan. Back inside, Hogan does some wrestling, eventually ending up with a front facelock, but Mach counters with a back suplex. He misses an elbow drop, and Hogan resorts to fists. That’s more like it, Hulk. No, wait- Hogan goes to an arm ringer. What the hell’s going on here? Savage rakes the eyes and hits a quick axe-handle from the top to get a two count. Arm bar. Savage works on the arm and Hogan CHEATS, using Macho’s tights to gain leverage and throw him to the arena floor. Jesse is pissed and so am I. Hogan controls in the ring, but puts his head down and gets caught. The MACHO CLOTHESLINE gets two for Savage. Hogan blades. Savage goes to a chinlock, and Hogan bleeds from a cut above the left eye. Of course we all know that a cut above the eye is worse than one below it, because from above the blood will flow into the eye. Hogan elbows out of the hold, and uses an atomic drop, but then misses an elbow. A Savage high knee followed by a quick rollup gets two. Macho pounds ferociously at the cut. Hogan battles back with punches and a clothesline, and slams him over the top to the floor. Liz checks on him, and he shakes her off, then confronts her. Hogan is now on the floor and picks up Savage, preparing to ram him back-first into the ring post. Liz stands in the way and won’t let him, so Macho counters and shoves Hogan into the post anyway. Liz now tends to Hogan and Macho puts a finger in her face. Hebner has had enough and makes Liz leave ringside. Jesse and I applaud. Macho connects with an axe-handle from the top rope all the way to the arena floor. Back in the ring, he uses the top rope to clothesline Hogan’s throat. This is vintage Macho Man Savage. A bodyslam and a kneedrop follow. He chokes out Hulk with the tape from his wrists, but the ref somehow doesn’t see it. Savage chokes him down and goes up top. He hits the FLYING ELBOW and covers. Like an idiot, Hogan makes the big kickout at about one, not two, thus nearly killing Macho’s finisher. He hulks up and delivers several fists followed by the Big Boot and the Leg Drop. 1-2-3. New World Champion. 17:55, ****
Jesse, in reference to Hogan, says, "There’s a guy that’ll stoop to any level to get what he wants." OK... that made NO sense pertaining to storylines, so I wonder how Ventura really feels about the guy. Sadly, Macho’s year-long reign is over. For some reason, he was nestled in the midcard opposite people like Beefcake and Dusty Rhodes, and wouldn’t see gold again until 1992, three years later. In the same period of time, Hogan continued his stranglehold on the industry, and it was only when he took a hiatus that Savage actually did regain the gold again.
This show is pretty good, albeit nothing special. Hogan/Savage is a good way to blow off the Megapower storyline, and there are some good matches sprinkled throughout the rest of the card as well. Rick Martel's heel turn, and Rude's IC Title win are the only other real noteworthy occurances, but overall it's an enjoyable card.
Wrestlemania V Key Stats Matches: 14
Total Wrestling: 107:21
Average Match: 7:40
Average Match Rating: *1/2
Top Moments: Hogan regaining the Title, Piper outmouthing Brother Love, Rude upseting Warrior, Martel turning on Tito