Gorilla Monsoon and Hacksaw Jim Duggan start the broadcast on commentary, which is taking place in Los Angeles, California. According to thehistoryofwwe.com, the show drew a crowd of 15,500. The show drew an estimated buyrate of 2.8 (an estimated 400,000 buys). This was a decline from the 3.8 buyrate of WrestleMania VI, with 150,000 fewer households buying the show versus the previous year, and marked the first time that fewer fans purchased a WrestleMania than the prior edition.
Willie Nelson does a nice rendition of “America the Beautiful.”
Sean Mooney interviews the Rockers, who promise to put away Haku & the Barbarian.
Opening Contest: The Rockers (3-0) defeat Haku & the Barbarian (w/Bobby Heenan) (2-0) when Shawn Michaels pins Haku with a flying body press at 10:33:
The Rockers jerk the curtain for the second straight pay-per-view. Haku and the Barbarian do not get an entrance, not that anything is lost by that because neither guy has theme music. There is a nice spot in the beginning where the Barbarian storms into the ring and flattens the Rockers with a clothesline, leading to Michaels and Marty Jannetty to do simultaneous 360 degree sells. There is also a nice callback spot in the bout where Michaels dropkicks the Barbarian when he has Jannetty in a powerbomb position, allowing Jannetty to complete a hurricanrana. Later, when Haku has Jannetty in the same spot, the referee will not allow Michaels to enter the ring and the Barbarian takes Jannetty by the hair and hot shots him. There are times when the match gets sloppy, but it is a good showcase of the heels power versus the babyfaces’ maneuverability. The Barbarian misses a flying headbutt on Jannetty, allowing for a Michaels hot tag. The Rockers double clothesline the Barbarian to floor and Jannetty dazes Haku with a missile dropkick, allowing Michaels to pin Haku with a flying body press. Rating: ***¼
Gene Okerlund interviews Regis Philbin, Marla Maples, and Alex Trebek. Philbin is nervous about Earthquake, who he says turned over a delivery truck last night and ate all the food inside. Maples talks about how she looks forward to visiting the locker room. And Trebek befuddles Okerlund with the rules of Jeopardy!
Bobby Heenan replaces Hacksaw Jim Duggan in the announce booth, which improves the quality immediately as Heenan rants about no one giving him the proper respect on the show.
The Texas Tornado (8-0) pins Dino Bravo (w/Jimmy Hart) (0-2) with the discus punch at 3:11:
Bravo has been quickly phased out on WWF television, rarely appearing and being ineffective when he has wrestled name stars. This would be his last pay-per-view appearance for the company. He attacks the Tornado before the bell and hits his sidewalk slam finisher, but the Tornado kicks out at two. When Bravo jumps off the second rope, the Tornado applies the claw and comes off the ropes with the discus punch to win his only WrestleMania match. This was a mess, marked by the Tornado’s random and sloppy ringwork where he goes into his own world and his opponent has to work around him. Rating: ½*
Mooney interviews the Warlord and Slick. Slick tells the British Bulldog that the Warlord is about to “fix” him. The Warlord hypes that no one has escaped his full nelson so the Bulldog is guaranteed to lose when he puts it on him.
Okerlund interviews the Bulldog, who pets Winston and says that this WrestleMania Sunday is a good day for him. He promises to break the full nelson and win with the powerslam.
The British Bulldog (9-0) pins the Warlord (w/Slick) (5-1) with the running powerslam at 8:12:
This is one of the few matches on the card that featured two men who were wrestling on the house show circuit coming into the show. Heels are getting all of their entrances cut as the Warlord is in the ring for introductions. Although most of the Warlord’s matches have been plodding, this is the exception as the most features good back-and-forth action with several near-falls. The Warlord scores a two count from a stun gun, while the Bulldog’s body press off the ropes and a sunset flip garner two counts as well. After a Bulldog blind charge, the Warlord applies the full nelson but fails to lock his fingers and the Bulldog breaks it. The Warlord tries his old running powerslam finish, but the Bulldog floats over and hits his own variation to hand the Warlord his first clean loss since breaking out as a single last year. The finish looked impressive because of the Warlord’s size. Rating: ***
Okerlund interviews the Nasty Boys and Jimmy Hart. The Nasties tell the Hart Foundation that it is time for them to find out what “Nasty sensation” is all about. They also promise to crack the Foundation for good before taking Okerlund’s handkerchief and blowing snot into it.
Mooney gets the Foundation’s rebuttal. The Foundation say that the Nasties are scum and they will keep them at the bottom of the WWF tag team division.
WWF Tag Team Championship Match: The Nasty Boys (w/Jimmy Hart) (7-0) beat the Hart Foundation (Champions) (5-0) when Brian Knobbs pins Jim Neidhart after Jerry Sags hits Neidhart over the head with a motorcycle helmet to win the titles at 12:09:
Home Alone’s MacCaulay Culkin is shown in the crowd. Monsoon just thinks he is a young fan until Heenan corrects him. In a testament to how well the show has been booked so far, the crowd pops big for all of the Foundation’s offense, helped by the Nasties taking some nasty spills to the arena floor at various points. Bret Hart is put in peril after Knobbs clotheslines him in the back of the head and if there is one fault in the match it is that the Nasties offense is not interesting as they work the Hitman’s back with chinlocks. Bret avoids the Nasties corner splash spot but Knobbs creates a distraction for a false tag spot and there is an excellent hot finish from there. The Nasties have heel miscommunication with Hart’s megaphone, allowing Neidhart to get the hot tag and throw the Nasties around. Neidhart hits the Anvil Flattener on Knobbs, causing Sags to break up the fall. The Foundation are able to put Knobbs down with the Hart Attack moments later, but the referee gets Bret out of the ring, allowing Sags to smash Neidhart over the back of the head with Hart’s motorcycle helmet. And in a nice touch, Bret cannot make the save because Hart grabs his foot. Hart acts like a kid in a candy store after being presented with one of the tag team belts by the referee, rubbing in how the heels stole the titles. The crowd is shocked at the result, which marked the Foundation’s last pay-per-view appearance as a team. It was a helluva way to go out. Rating: ***½
A video package recaps the Jake Roberts-Rick Martel feud.
Roberts does a taped promo about how snakes do their best work in the dark.
Blindfold Match: Jake Roberts (6-0) beats Rick Martel (8-0) after the DDT at 8:34:
Martel also fails to get an entrance and his lack of a promo before this match was jarring for a feud that carried WWF television in the last few months of 1990. Attitudes about this match are polarizing as some love it and some hate it. I fall into the former camp. Martel does a great job with his body language to express panic over not being able to see and getting no help from the crowd. And the match plays to the younger WWF audience as they think they are helping their hero out by cheering him in the right direction. There is great comedy as well as Martel whips Roberts into the ropes and Roberts goes around him, causing Martel to get lost again. Then, Martel slams Roberts but cannot see and misses an elbow drop and then thinks the referee is Roberts. One of the best bits is when Martel ends up on the floor and he grabs a chair but backs up into the ring post. Freaking out that he has backed into Roberts, Martel smacks the chair into the ring post and hurts his hands. Martel is able to put Roberts in the Boston Crab, but Roberts uses the referee for leverage to push out and send Martel into the turnbuckles, grabbing him on the rebound and hitting the DDT to win the feud. The match is tough to place on a conventional five-star scale but it is easily the best version of this stipulation to present day. On the WWE Unreleased DVD set released in 2017, there is a house show variation of this match where there is a referee bump and Martel takes the hood off to cheat. Doing a finish like that would have given this more heat and best fit Martel’s gimmick, but Martel was about to take some time off so the match was largely about putting Roberts over and moving on. Rating: **
After the match, Roberts takes Arrogance and stomps it into oblivion. He gets Damien out but Martel flees before it can be thrown on him.
Marla Maples is in the locker room with the Nasty Boys and Jimmy Hart’s stable. She tries to get an interview but everyone starts popping champagne and celebrating before she can get much of a word in.
The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) (11-0) pins Jimmy Snuka (3-1) with the Tombstone at 4:19:
For the second straight year Snuka is being used to put over a heel that is on the rise. Last year it was Rick Rude and this year it is the Undertaker, who the WWF has big plans for as evidenced by his squash of Tugboat the week before this bout. The biggest blow that Snuka lands is a headbutt. The rest of the match is dominated by the Undertaker, who is settling into the deliberate offensive pace that would mark the next five years of his career. Snuka does a springboard flying body press into the ring that is supposed to lead to the Undertaker catching him for the finish, but the Undertaker does not catch him right, forcing him to set Snuka down, punch him, and then hoist him back up for the Tombstone. And thus starts the Undertaker’s WrestleMania winning streak. Rating: ¼*
A video package recaps the Ultimate Warrior-Randy Savage feud.
Career Ending Match: The Ultimate Warrior (0-1) defeats Randy Savage (w/Sensational Sherri) after three flying shoulder blocks at 20:48:
Savage, a former WWF champion and Intercontinental champion, endured a rough 1990, jobbing around the country to Dusty Rhodes and losing another WWF title match to Hulk Hogan on a special Main Event telecast in February. However, things started to look better for him by SummerSlam as he defeated Rhodes to get the last laugh in their feud and began feuding with the Warrior on house shows for the WWF Championship.
Before the match, Heenan identifies that Elizabeth, Savage’s former manager, is sitting in the crowd by the entrance. In a nice display of how serious the match is, the Warrior walks to the ring rather than do his traditional run. He also has nice ring gear, wearing a spray-painted image of himself and Savage on his kneepads and of each of them on his ring jacket. As the match progresses, Monsoon puts over how the WWF has set a pay-per-view viewership record, a ridiculous claim because the WWF had no idea how many people had purchased the show in real time. Savage takes a beating throughout the match from the Warrior’s power offense and is saved by a Sherri distraction ten minutes in, which allows him to escape a small package. The referee is bumped but that leads to heel miscommunication when Sherri comes off the top rope with her shoe. The Warrior gets too preoccupied with her and that allows Savage to go on the offensive, dropping five flying elbow drops on the former WWF champion. However, the Warrior kicks out and starts shaking the ropes. However, Savage kicks out of the Warrior’s gorilla press drop-splash to the back combination. And the best part is that finisher kickout aids the match because the Warrior has a conversation with his gods, wondering if this is a sign he is meant to walk out. The referee implores him to reconsider, but Savage settles the question by knocking the Warrior to the floor. Savage takes one risk too many, though, as a flying ax handle sends him into the guardrail and after that things are academic as the Warrior finishes Savage with three flying shoulder blocks, pinning him with one foot. The finish was flat for the crowd, but this match still told an amazing story and was one of the best, if not the best of the Warrior’s career. Rating: ****½
After the match, an irate Sherri attacks Savage. This prompts Elizabeth to hop the ringside guardrail and run into the ring, stopping the attack and throwing Sherri out of the ring. Heenan says that Elizabeth did that because she is in love with Savage. A confused Savage rises to his feet and, after taking a few moments to put things together, embraces his former manager as the crowd applauds. Fans are shown crying in the audience for the greatest “WrestleMania moment” ever.
Intermission treats fans to the instant replay debate between New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and NBC NFL analyst Paul McGuire. Since Bob Costas bowed out of the show, Vince McMahon moderates. The whole segment is silly as it does not constitute much of a debate and then the Bushwhackers get crazy with replay angles.
Regis Philbin interviews the Undertaker and Paul Bearer. The Undertaker measures a nervous Philbin and does not respond to his questions.
Alex Trebek interviews Demolition and Mr. Fuji. Demolition put over how Fuji’s knowledge and how he is going to get them ready for their Japanese opponents.
Philbin talks to Genichiro Tenryu & Koji Kitao, who do not talk to him either except when he mentions Toyota. They want to know where Kathy Lee is.
Trebek chats with Jake Roberts, who says that Damien loves Jeopardy! Trebek is nervous when Roberts tries to put Damien in his face.
Heenan laughs at ringside, telling Monsoon that he set all of the previous interview segments up, expecting them to backfire on the celebrity guests.
Genichiro Tenryu & Koji Kitao defeat Demolition (w/Mr. Fuji) (2-1) when Tenryu pins Smash after a powerbomb at 4:41:
Tenryu was a former sumo wrestler who was trained by Texas legends Dory Funk, Jr. and Terry Funk and began his career in 1976. He became a big star for Giant Baba’s All Japan Pro Wrestling, where he feuded with Jumbo Tsuruta, a former tag team partner, over the promotion’s Triple Crown Championship. In 1990, Tenryu left All Japan to form his own promotion, Super World of Sports (SWS) and brokered a talent agreement with the WWF, which was a reason for his participation on this show.
Kitao was also a former sumo wrestler who reached the rank of yokozuna, the highest ranking in the sport. However, he did not a top division championship and was expelled after an argument with his stable boss in 1987. Kitao wrestled in 1989 for the AWA as Monster Machine and underwent training at a New Japan Pro Wrestling dojo, making his debut at the Tokyo Dome in February 1990 and defeating Bam Bam Bigelow. He was fired from New Japan after allegedly showing disrespectful behavior toward Riki Choshu and was signed by SWS in November.
The match is a mess as Kitao does not want to sell for Demolition and when he does, he does so awkwardly. The bout also has no heat because the crowd has been given no introduction to Tenryu and Kitao on television leading into the show and have no reason to care about them. After Tenryu misses a flying elbow drop, Demolition goes to do Demolition Decapitation but Kitao knocks Crush off the top rope. Smash is then double teamed, or Kitao tries to do so with Tenryu and that does not work well, and an enzuigiri and powerbomb from Tenryu put the match away. This match marked the end of the line for Demolition as this was their last televised appearance in the WWF. Rating: DUD
Okerlund interviews the Big Bossman, who says he has mowed down all the members of the Heenan Family except for Mr. Perfect. He adds that Perfect will make the perfect example that crime does not pay.
Mooney talks with Perfect and Heenan, who references the Rodney King incident and says that Perfect will not take a beating like that.
Intercontinental Championship Match: The Big Bossman (9-0) beats Mr. Perfect (Champion w/Bobby Heenan) (7-1) via disqualification when Haku and the Barbarian interfere at 10:44:
With Heenan on manager duty, Lord Alfred Hayes stops by to call the match with Monsoon. The Bossman was on a tear in the midcard, so he was a slight favorite going into this bout. As expected, Perfect bumps well for the Bossman’s offense. He seizes a late advantage by sending the Bossman into the ring steps and when Heenan gets in a few cheap shots, Andre the Giant comes out to back up the Bossman. Instead of adding to the match, though, it distracts from it. Andre blasts Perfect with the Intercontinental Championship Belt but the Bossman is incapacitated for too long to take advantage. Then, Haku and the Barbarian run in to create a disappointing disqualification. Why wait for the run-in until Perfect kicked out? Rating: **½
After the bell, Andre beats up Perfect on the floor and takes out the Barbarian and Haku when the Bossman knocks them out of the ring. The Bossman and Andre shake hands and Andre raises the Bossman’s hand on their way back to the locker room.
Okerlund interviews Donald Trump, who is sitting in the front row. Trump says he is having a great time and hopes to bring WrestleMania back to Atlantic City. Chuck Norris crashes the segment, makes reference to Gorgeous George and Antonino Rocca, and says he is impressed with the athletes. Then, Henry Winkler is spotted and talks about how he is happy the Ultimate Warrior won. And former Mr. Universe Lou Ferrigno argues that WrestleMania is more significant than the Olympics.
Earthquake (w/Jimmy Hart) (5-1) defeats Greg Valentine (4-1-1) after the Earthquake Splash at 3:16:
According to Valentine, this match was supposed to go at least twelve minutes but they got cut down because the pay-per-view was running long. Due to that, both men work at a faster pace and Valentine knocks Earthquake off his feet with a lot of forearms. He goes to apply the figure-four but Hart hops on the apron. The distraction allows Earthquake to hit Valentine in the back, drop an elbow, and hit his finisher. The result confirms that Valentine is going to be another Tito Santana in the midcard, used to put over heels that are needed for stronger programs later. Rating: *
After the bell, Earthquake tries to do another Earthquake Splash but a frustrated Valentine rolls out of the ring.
Mooney interviews the Legion of Doom, who say that they are going after the Nasty Boys after they get done with Power & Glory. Hawk has a nice line about how they going to turn Power & Glory into “sour & gory.”
The Legion of Doom (5-0) defeat Power & Glory (w/Slick) (3-0) when Animal pins Paul Roma after the Doomsday Device in 59 seconds:
Power & Glory were snake bit by injuries going into this show. Hercules had recently torn his groin and Roma had an elbow injury that he claims was so serious that he could have lost his arm. Considering this, it would have been better to do an angle and not run the match because the result is to make Power & Glory look like jabronis and lose all the credibility they had built since the previous summer.
A video package recaps the Virgil-Ted DiBiase feud.
Virgil (w/Roddy Piper) (1-0) beats Ted DiBiase (4-1) via count out at 7:39:
Virgil is over with the crowd, who work up a large chant for him at the opening bell. The match is average, with the crowd’s interest dying when Virgil’s offense is revealed to be basic and DiBiase takes a few powders early on. DiBiase gets easy heat when he pushes Piper over in a chair at ringside and Piper uses his crutch to pull down the top rope, causing DiBiase to fall to the floor. DiBiase and Piper get into it some more and the distraction does not send DiBiase back into the fight, allowing Virgil to get a cheap win. Rating: *½
After the match, DiBiase puts Virgil in the Million Dollar Dream. Piper gets into the ring and blasts DiBiase with his crutch, leading to a run-in by Sensational Sherri, who is now aligned with DiBiase. They double team Piper until Virgil recovers and forces them to leave. Then, Virgil gets on the house mic and encourages Piper to get back on his feet, helping his friend to the locker room.
After a replay of Sergeant Slaughter burning a “Hulk Rules” shirt on Superstars two weeks ago airs, Mooney interviews WWF Champion Sergeant Slaughter and General Adnan. Slaughter reminds Hulk Hogan that he is playing by Slaughter rules. He floats the concept of getting disqualified or counted out so he can protect the WWF Championship.
The Mountie (w/Jimmy Hart) (7-0) pins Tito Santana (4-0) after hitting him with a cattle prod at 1:20:
Santana catches the Mountie with the flying forearm twenty seconds in, but the Mountie falls to the floor and that denies Santana his first WrestleMania win since the first edition. When the Mountie gets back in, he blasts Santana with the cattle prod and wins a nothing match.
Okerlund interviews Hulk Hogan, who says he is new and improved, hyping a “secret battle plan” to regain the WWF Championship.
For the main event, Alex Trebek serves as guest ring announcer. Marla Maples is guest ring announcer. And Regis Philbin is tasked with guest commentary.
WWF Championship Match: Hulk Hogan (1-0) defeats Sergeant Slaughter (Champion w/General Adnan) (4-1) with a leg drop to win the title at 20:24:
Slaughter and Adnan are back in Iraqi military uniform to stick with the Gulf War angle because they have already gone headlong into it so why stop now. The heels heat is not as nuclear as in Miami for The Royal Rumble but the crowd works up loud “USA” chants throughout to encourage Hogan. At first the match is nothing great because Hogan swallows Slaughter up for the first ten minutes, working basic moves as he shrugs off all of Slaughter’s offense. Adnan grabs Hogan’s leg after the challenger goes to the top rope and Slaughter finally gets his time to shine, working the back. In an unusual departure from the Hogan formula, Slaughter lands a flying knee drop to the back for a visual pin on the challenger but Adnan gets on the apron for reasons known only to him and delays the count. Hogan blades after a chair shot to the head and Slaughter locks in the Camel Clutch. However, in another baffling decision he breaks the hold and rams Hogan into the turnbuckles, draping an Iraqi flag over him for the cover. That cues Hogan’s comeback, which leads to Slaughter’s demise after the leg drop. While that happens, Adnan stands at ringside like an idiot rather than trying to save his charge and the title. This is an underrated WrestleMania main event but it was hurt by a predictable conclusion. Rating: ***
After the bell, Hogan flies the American flag and poses for the crowd.
The Last Word: This was a much more well-rounded card than the last few WrestleManias as there was a match that exceeded that quality of the main event, the opener was better, and the tag team title match was stronger. The first half of the show was stronger than the second half, and the show dragged because of loading the card with too many matches. Still, fans were hot for most of the show. Relocating to a smaller venue probably helped with that since only the most dedicated fans were buying tickets to the Los Angles Memorial Coliseum before the switch. Overall, this was a better WrestleMania outing than the previous year, and the best WrestleMania since WrestleMania III, but the company is going to have big holes to fill going forward. Randy Savage is now sidelined from future competition and the tag team ranks were decimated on this show as the Hart Foundation is wrapping up their run, Demolition is finished, and Power & Glory looked weaker than the Orient Express. How the company responds to these challenges will make or break the rest of the year and beyond.
Backstage News*: The WWF is glad that WrestleMania is over since it was a logistical disaster to move venues and the show will generate less revenue than expected. They failed to sellout the Los Angeles Sports Arena, coming up short by 200 fans.
*Backstage news is provided courtesy of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer for April 3.
Up Next: Prime Time Wrestling for March 26!
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