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Dolfan Watches Every Wrestlemania On Lockdown


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As you may have heard, NYC is a total and complete shitshow right now.  I'm doing my part by staying the fuck home.  

So, what I did was to buy a new exercise bike  so I can pass the time doing some exercise.  BUT.... I refuse to watch c*ble n*ws or the like, so what I decided on was doing 45 minute bike rides and watching every Wrestlemania I to XXXVI, in order.  

So I'm not sure if this is going to be a Rippa style thoughtpiece, or an old-school Netcop type reviews (though I refuse to do star ratings),  but it will be something.  

Enjoy it while I watch and slowly lose my mind.  

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Just now, Dolfan in NYC said:

As you may have heard, NYC is a total and complete shitshow right now.  I'm doing my part by staying the fuck home.  

So, what I did was to buy a new exercise bike  so I can pass the time doing some exercise.  BUT.... I refuse to watch c*ble n*ws or the like, so what I decided on was doing 45 minute bike rides and watching every Wrestlemania I to XXXVI, in order.  

So I'm not sure if this is going to be a Rippa style thoughtpiece, or an old-school Netcop type reviews (though I refuse to do star ratings),  but it will be something.  

Enjoy it while I watch and slowly lose my mind.  

If you get through IX without thinking about going on a citywide crime spree, you can get through waterboarding or any similar torture method relatively easy.

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6 minutes ago, Zartan said:

It’s when you get to IV you will realize the error of your ways. 

I have (or had) a weird fondness for it because it came on TWO (!) tapes. However, I don't want to go back and watch that. I still haven't watched the entire AJW Big Egg Universe show. So I'm not sitting through that shit again.

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So I should confess.   Though, it's Thursday the 26th, I actually started this exercise (pun!) on Monday.  So, I'm through Mania 1, and through the New York (and half of Chicago) portion of Mania 2.   So my thoughts...

Wrestlemania (1985)

I don't know how long it had been since I'd seen the original Wrestlemania, start to finish -- if at all.  My first memories of becoming a wrestling fan was my friend Ricky in 5th grade recess telling me about this awesome guy named Macho Man. So, I remember watching the "Macho Man chooses his manager" saga and I remember thinking my friend was right and this guy was fucking awesome. Sadly, WM was before then, because I did not watch it at the time.  

So, starting with Tito vs. "The Executioner" (who I now know is Buddy Rose under a mask for some reason?) and through the first few matches, is how lighting quick the matches are.  Like, no match is anywhere near 10 minutes, and my expectations of "Wrestlemania" are largely based on what the product is today -- showcase matches where the talent (usually) gets tons of time to shine.   SD Jones got done fucking dirty too.

Speaking of which, I wonder how you pitch that to a wrestler and not demoralize them instantly.  "You're putting over Bundy"  Yeah, okay sure.  "But we want you to set the record for quickest loss ever.  Like 8 seconds." I know it's all part of the job, but damn man.  

 

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2 minutes ago, Dolfan in NYC said:

Speaking of which, I wonder how you pitch that to a wrestler and not demoralize them instantly.  "You're putting over Bundy"  Yeah, okay sure.  "But we want you to set the record for quickest loss ever.  Like 8 seconds." I know it's all part of the job, but damn man.  

 

"Wait...do I still get paid the same?"

"Yeah."

"Just tell Bundy to make sure my shoulders don't go up off the mat."

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My understanding of Rose being under a hood was they just needed dependable guys to be on the card so they brought Buddy in, but they wanted to protect a Steamboat/Rose match for a planned feud that ultimately never happened. 

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So, Brutus Beefcake vs. David Sammartino.  

This is an odd, but pre-Hogan-80's WWF defining match.  They are clearly trying to build David up as he's the first one given a true ring entrance, even though, the crowd is absolutely there to cheer for his dad, and not him.  Vince is praising Beefcake a LOT, so they clearly have plans for him.  Brutus is still in that pre-barber/pre-Dream Team phase where he's just a guy... it's just weird to see that with 2020 eyes.  

Tons and tons of pieces have been written about David and what he should have been.  He's a very handsome guy, who can't cut a promo, but seemed okay in the ring?  In the mid-80's, that's enough to get your foot in the door. But you can already tell, New York was merely tolerating him because they loved his dad.  

The match itself was fine, even if it went about 12 minutes or so and ended in a Double-DQ.  And without looking, I'm going to go ahead and guess this was to set up a tag match with Brutus/Valiant and the Sammartinos at the next MSG house show.  

And ultimately, before the final 5 matches of this show, that's what Wrestlemania really was.  A standard MSG house show.  It's amazing, that from here is where we got things like Shawn Michaels zip lining to the ring to Rusev entering in a tank to well, everything...   

This is where my first day's ride ended. 

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Back in the day, me and my best friend used to rewatch every Mania in the lead up to the new one, so I used to know those old Manias chapter and verse.  And, yeah, the shift to the “modern” Mania model of a small card of showcase matches didn’t start evolving until around 8.  Man, 5 through 7 are particularly larded up with random, short matches.  Those are all like 15 matches a piece.  (But if you were a kid checking out the back of the box at your local video store, you’d just say, “Wow, this show has EVERYBODY.”)

Of course, I feel like over the last 5 years we’ve entered a new era that combines the old and modern Mania templates:  endless cards with long-ass matches.

Edited by EVA
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Gonna write Day 2 up here, since I'm about to start Day 4.  

So JYD.  You know how they talk about the brightest flames burning out the quickest?  I think JYD definitely resembles that remark.  It's incredible to me that he was only in WWF for 4 years.  I *remember* it being longer... that as long as Hogan/Macho/Hillbilly Jim and all of those guys were around, so was he.  But nope... he was actually in NWA/WCW longer than WWF, which I cannot begin to fathom.  Anyway, they pulled a Dusty Finish out of the IC title match with Valentine, before that was even a thing.   Honestly, both of these guys should have been even higher on the card than they were, because both were just heat magnets. 

SPEAKING OF... The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff beating IRS and Barry Windham and Bray's Dad for the tag titles.  My understanding is that this was the make up for Sheik losing the WWF Championship to Hogan earlier in the year. The US Express was interesting because Windham was clearly a better singles wrestler as his later career would show, but Rotundo would always work better in tag teams. And yet, the USE seems like a team way ahead of its time, like these guys versus Demolition or the Road Warriors about 3-4 years later would have been insane to see.  As such, we have a near riot when Sheik beans Barry with Blassie's cane... and it's awesome to see.  That man sure does know how to heel.  

I'd forgotten that the $15,000 Body Slam challenge was also for Andre's career.  Not even sure why they'd throw that stip in unless there was any kind of rumor that Andre was going to NWA or Japan at the time.  Also, if any of your 40-something gay friends are into bears, Big John Studd is why.  I'll take no further questions on this. 

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18 minutes ago, EVA said:

Back in the day, me and my best friend used to rewatch every Mania in the lead up to the new one, so I used to know those old Manias chapter and verse.  And, yeah, the shift to the “modern” Mania model of a small card of showcase matches didn’t start evolving until around 8.  Man, 5 through 7 are particularly larded up with random, short matches.  Those are all like 15 matches a piece.  (But if you were a kid checking out the back of the box at your local video store, you’d just say, “Wow, this show has EVERYBODY.”)

Of course, I feel like over the last 5 years we’ve entered a new era that combines the old and modern Mania templates:  endless cards with long-ass matches.

I think that's a big part of the reason the business for Mania went down during that stretch. After watching VI not too long ago, it feels that way. Hogan/Warrior is a gigantic match, but you have to go on this never-ending journey to get there. I think they misjudged the attachment people (especially younger fans) had to wrestlers in a matches that either had little to no buildup. That was one of the bigger issues with WCW when they transitioned out of Crockett during the Herd era. There are fun squashes and many people got their first big break on some PPV in a random match, but PPVs are suppose to be where you blow feuds off and not for filler.

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Now, onto the co-main events.  

I'm gonna tell you guys, and this is again "2020 Eyes" going here, but my thought is this match is not so subtle about being Lesbians vs. Straights.  We all know the stories behind Fabulous Moolah, and I've at least heard that this extended heavily into Leilani Kai.  Whether or not they are a couple at the time of this show... I don't know.   What I do know is I see Cyndi Lauper over there and Wendi Richter, both young and spry and with David Wolff (very much a piece of shit according to Cyndi after their separation), and I see 1980's rock and roll and sexy and drugs, and yeah, that's exactly what they're going for Dolfan.  

Anyway, the match is bad.  But again, I've been spoiled by 10 years now of Beth Phoenix --> AJ Lee --> Paige --> Four Horsewomen of female wrestlers who can work.  I'll admit doing a rollover on a splash finish was an ambitious final spot, but oof it did not look great.  Some spots though were decent to good.  (Oh, and holy crap the overdubbed music that Richter came out to was so amazingly obvious, Vince just needs to buck up and pay Cyndi whatever royalty and just get the rights for this show.)  

And then the main event... now, I get having star power of Mr. T there, but Jesus, this should have been Piper vs. Hogan solo for the title.   One more thing I can't get over, is EVERYONE at ringside.  There are literally 50 cameramen around -- STILL PHOTOGRAPHY Cameramen -- which is just crazy overcrowded and gives the performers literally zero room to do anything.  

Was great seeing a younger Muhammad Ali (even though he clearly had lost at least a step at this point).  I think he legit clocked Piper on one exchange, and I think Piper told him so later.  The match itself was a HUGE mess.  As they had one guy who doesn't know how to work, a trillion people ringside, and Piper and Hogan who are two supernovas of heat.  I'm surprised they got the final spot off as well as they did with Orton hitting Orndorff, beginning his face turn.  

And it was very cute seeing Hogan clearly stopping Mr. T trying to reach out to Orndorff after Piper and Orton abandoned him in the ring.  I think I even caught him saying something like "not yet man."  

So, yeah, Wrestlemania.  I'm shocked it's come this far.   Onto 2...

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32 minutes ago, Dolfan in NYC said:

Gonna write Day 2 up here, since I'm about to start Day 4.  

So JYD.  You know how they talk about the brightest flames burning out the quickest?  I think JYD definitely resembles that remark.  It's incredible to me that he was only in WWF for 4 years.  I *remember* it being longer... that as long as Hogan/Macho/Hillbilly Jim and all of those guys were around, so was he.  But nope... he was actually in NWA/WCW longer than WWF, which I cannot begin to fathom.  

It makes all the sense cause everyone who talks about JYD said he was brought in because they thought they could still make money with Dog.

2 minutes ago, Curt McGirt said:

Looking it up that has 23 MATCHES?! No wonder! 

I watched several matches out of order just through random viewing, but never seen the show from start to finish.

Edited by Elsalvajeloco
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1 hour ago, Elsalvajeloco said:

I have (or had) a weird fondness for it because it came on TWO (!) tapes. However, I don't want to go back and watch that. I still haven't watched the entire AJW Big Egg Universe show. So I'm not sitting through that shit again.

Yes. It’s not necessarily a bad show just long with like 45 matches. 

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5 minutes ago, Zartan said:

Yes. It’s not necessarily a bad show just long with like 45 matches. 

What I'm saying is if I am not going to sit through one of the greatest wrestling shows probably ever put on just because it's way too long, I am certainly not going to sit through a long show that isn't great at all.

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AJW Big Egg Wrestling Universe is a legit 10 hours long. I watched it all in one day once, right after the VHS made it to England.

The first three hours are pretty skippable. Lots of Shootboxing matches that aren't very good.

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WRESTLEMANIA 2 

I'm going to get one thing out of the way instantly.  Susan St. James.  Until I looked it up today, I did not know who she was and/or why she was there.  Turns out she's Dick Ebersol's wife (still is!).  Ebersol ran NBC at this point, and the WWF's showcase TV show was Saturday Night's Main Event on... NBC.  So, yeah..

Anyway.  The worst thing about her, isn't that she doesn't know the wrestlers' names, the moves, the psychology, or generally where she is... It's that everything that I hate about modern announcing is present here.  Every time Corey/Beth/Byron say "UH OH!!!", we can thank Susan St. James.   That is her contribution to the WWE.  Take a bow Susan.  

 

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2 minutes ago, Dolfan in NYC said:

WRESTLEMANIA 2 

I'm going to get one thing out of the way instantly.  Susan St. James.  Until I looked it up today, I did not know who she was and/or why she was there.  Turns out she's Dick Ebersol's wife (still is!).  Ebersol ran NBC at this point, and the WWF's showcase TV show was Saturday Night's Main Event on... NBC.  So, yeah..

Kate and Allie was also in its second or third at this point. 

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So Day 3 of my riding starts with:

Uniondale, NY

God, even in 1986, you can see what a complete shithole Nassau Veterans' Memorial Colosseum is.  It's amazing. Anyway, I'm not going to look it up, but I'm guessing Vince pitched the idea of three venues to MSG and whichever Dolan was in charge at the time told him to go to hell.  Vince took that literally, apparently. 

So Orndorff is in the first match against Magnificent Muraco, who's a guy who 10 year old me very much had a crush on, but I did not have the words to describe it then.  Shame this match was awful ending in a Double Countout (!) which the crowd was loudly calling bullshit on. (more on crowd chants in the LA portion...)

Savage/Steele was a shockingly quick and bad match. Macho Man you can already tell has got it.  The man exudes as RuPaul says, Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent.  And man, I did not remember George Steele being so bad in the ring, but yeah... those kid memories are very rose-colored because, yikes.  Macho did everything he could.

I don't know why I thought Jake the Snake came in later than this, but nope, there he was obliterating George Wells.   Was very odd to see the unnamed "DDT" just being a headlock-piledriver.   SSJ is in overdrive here because she apparently doesn't like snakes and is either very uncomfortable or is selling amazingly.  I will say, Wells, for his part is a goddamned trooper as I pretty clearly heard him say "wrap it" and Jake obliges while I think the ref gives him Alka-Seltzer to really sell this.  

 

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Now, while they clean up and set up the boxing match (ugh), there's the highlight of the show so far...  an AWESOME quick interview segment between Hogan and Ventura:

 

Just watch and enjoy two guys clearly at their promo peak dueling for 60 seconds.  It's a damned shame we never got a Ventura-Hogan program that shit would have been BANANAS.  

Speaking of shit though...  God, this boxing match.  It's weird because the first two rounds are very clearly Mr. T walking Piper through a fake boxing match, and the last two are Piper walking Mr. T through a wrestling match.  Anyway, the less said about this the better.  

CHICAGO

Fabulous Moolah destroying Velvet McIntyre opened the second portion here and it just seems so random.  Even in 86 I was thinking "who is this?"  And I'm guessing this was supposed to be Richter, but... you know things happened.  

OOOH ... Leatherface!  Reading about Kirschner now is fun knowing where he ended up.  If you didn't know, he was supposed to get a mega-push, but he was a stiff, roid-head who nobody wanted to work with.  He got suspended for drugs in mid-1980's WWF (lol) and quit.   Volkoff absolutely should have gone over here, but Vince is a coward. 

This was the end of Day 3.  

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DAY 4

The WWF vs NFL Battle Royale happened next and... HOLY SHIT!  It's MENG!   I'd completely forgotten a very young Meng was in this.  And you should too because he was the FIRST PERSON ELIMINATED (!!!).  Jesus.  Bruno is in it and clearly looks like he's there as a coach, walking people through their spots, until he get booted about 2/3 of the way through.  Bill Fralic of the Falcons was featured a lot so I'm wondering if he was testing the waters for a post-football career that just never came.  And Andre wins after eliminating the Hart Foundation and looks *very* much the worse for wear.   But I'll just say, this was nowhere as bad as it could have been -- or as even I remember it being.  Good pacing, good spots (Fridge/Studd double-cross is still great), and good result.  

Bulldogs vs. Dream Team match was the wrap up for Chicago and boy oh boy, this match.  First of all, it's weird to see Ozzy as a youngster again.  Next, I'm genuinely shocked by how FAST Dynamite Kid was.  I know this is the 80's and everyone is slower then but jfc that motherfucker could MOVE.  There's one leapfrog spot where Valentine *barely* gets up in time and I think even he is surprised by how fast Dynamite was in getting there.  

The match itself was good though odd.  They didn't work a Face In Peril style which was interesting. The Bulldogs were in control for most of the match, which sort of changed the dynamics of what was happening. The Dream Team was getting overwhelmed and eventually couldn't hold back the tide any more.  As I think about it, it could be they were basically hiding the worst wrestler (Beefcake) as much as possible and letting Valentine do the heavy lifting. 

But the finish... okay, so it did seem to come from out of nowhere, so I don't know if one of the guys was legit hurt or what... but Dynamite climbs to the top for what looks like a splash or something, Valentine gets thrown at the corner and they violently collide.  The Kid gets sent to about Row F, and a quite quick count and we have new champs. 

After the match, an interview with the new champs is supposed to happen...

I was a little annoyed by seeing Capt. Lou take all the credit and Ozzy being Ozzy.  But I realized, oh no, Kid appears to have a legit concussion, as he can barely stand after the match. Mean Gene is trying his damnedest to get the Bulldogs in the ring, but only Davey Boy can drag himself into the ring and barely cut a tiny promo.  The Kid is STILL hanging on the ring apron and clearly has the 1000 yard stare as he's being almost dragged to the back.  

Seeing this through 2020 eyes is fucking terrifying.  

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