You know a show is a total bust when the owner of a sports entertainment outfit, who tends to defend everything, will allow his worker to bust freely on said show in a documentary.
Wrestlemania 2 is that show.
What made it a bust exactly? The horribly short matches? The triple venue disaster? King Kong Bundy in the main event? Surely it’s a little of everything, although I really thought the Hogan-Bundy build was fine and they did everything possible to make people think Bundy could win.
Anyway there was little doubt as to which match I was going to do which sort of gets to the rating of this match. I don’t believe everything should be rated on the same premise. I can’t look at a Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper boxing match the same way I look at Savage-Steamboat. The former is clearly gimmicked and is trying to get me to smile and be entertained while the latter is there to amaze me with their timing, athleticism and performance.
So when I watched this match I judged my own level of entertainment and realizing that this isn’t there to try and bring back memories of the Thriller in Manila. And I was very entertained.
Wrestlemania 2: What the World is Watching
From the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York
Hosted by Vince McMahon and Susan St. James
Boxing Match: Roddy Piper vs. Mr. T
Backstory is simple. They hate each other. And in many cases where perception is reality, Piper said that he wasn’t crazy about Mr. T off the script either. The reasons he gave in his DVD were a little disjointed. He didn’t like the fact that Mr. T came to the arenas with his entourage and in a limousine. I understand him not being impressed but it’s pretty silly too because Mr. T wasn’t a wrestler. He wasn’t one of the boys in the back. He was quite a TV star at the time and he probably didn’t think anything of it as he traveled tons of places by limo and with his little crew. And he’s hanging out and doing the promotional tours with Hogan, who probably traveled the same way and didn’t really explain the culture of the locker room. Piper was also angry about Mr. T trying to make certain demands on the match and that I understand, that definitely isn’t his place, but the other part seemed a little silly. Mr. T wasn’t a wrestler and shouldn’t be expected to understand their culture. He was paid and promoted like a star and his involvement made them all plenty of money so really Piper should be over it by now.
So Round 1 begins. Piper’s stance isn’t one of what I would expect from a former amateur guy because he’s leaving himself open. Mr. T has more of a closed, defensive stance that I would expect from a novice. It looks better. Piper does have good hand speed considering and lays in some dirty shots off the break. Piper backs Mr. T on the ropes but swings wildly and gets caught with counter punching. It’s a little funny because Piper is somewhere in between trying to do what he knows is correct form and what he’s expected to do as a performer. In the final minute they brawl and Piper does more dirty boxing in between landing a couple of good clean shots. They continue to fight about a minute after the bell and everyone has to separate them. Luckily they didn’t try to goad Joe Frazier into the theatrics because if he landed a legit punch it would be over. Piper talks trash during the break.
Round 2 and Piper has to wipe the grease off his face. Mr. T works to the body while Piper tees off to the head with both connecting. Piper backs Mr. T up to the corner again and clocks him about a half dozen times and Mr. T falls to a huge face pop. It was this match that Piper basically started a face time. Piper awesomely kicks Mr. T while he’s down. Mr. T gets up at 8 and he’s ready to go. Piper continues pressuring Mr. T as the round ends with the crowd solidly behind him. Piper lands another rabbit punch well after the bell. During the rest period Orton runs over and dumps a bucket of water on Mr. T and Frazier. This is hilarious.
Round 3 starts and Piper is feeling it. He starts working the jab but Mr. T counters and starts drilling him in the body. Mr. T in the corner and smothering Piper. Ref breaks them but Mr. T comes back with a ridiculous haymaker that would have killed him if this were a shoot. Piper collapses but rises at 8. With a minute and a half left in the round the fighters continue to battle with Mr. T holding the upper hand and then knocking Piper square out of the ring. It’s clear that Mr. T is completely blown up at this point so Piper’s theatrics are probably part improvisation. They brawl some more for the rest of the round and its clear both guys are exhausted. Frazier has to almost carry Mr. T back to the corner after the round. Mr. T talks a little trash to Piper so Roddy picks up his stool and tosses it across the ring. Wow that was pretty dangerous actually.
Round 4 and they just stand in the center of the ring and exchange haymakers as the entertainment level is increasing by the second. Roddy knocks Mr. T mouthpiece out and Mr. T returns the favor and hits Piper about six more times. Piper finally shoves the referee and bodyslams Mr. T to get disqualified. A huge brawl starts as Mr. T is announced the winner. Awesome stuff here in terms of entertainment. Or I’m just easier to please as I get older.
(Mr. T def. Piper, disqualification, ***1/4 on the entertainment rating scale, this was classic good guy vs. bad guy stuff and Piper was awesome in his role. Oddly enough he was so good in trying to be the ultimate bad guy Piper heard the cheers, knew he wanted to get into movies and figured it was time to turn. Smart man as he put as much passion into being the biggest babyface as he did when he was a heel and the people loved him.)