This year marks the 30th anniversary of WrestleMania 2, a lousy card that took place on April 7, 1986.
I’m not sure what to say about this show. Having just rewatched it recently on the WWE Network, Mania 2 was just as bad today as I remembered it back in the day. Even by 1980s standards, the matches felt rushed and there was no showstealer that you’d expect to see today.
This may have been the worst WrestleMania ever, with the only possible competition being WrestleMania IX.Embed from Getty Images
The event — which took place on a Monday night — emanated from three arenas: Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, NY; Rosemont Horizon (now the Allstate Arena) outside of Chicago; and Los Angeles Sports Arena.
Vince McMahon — who clearly believed Continue reading
In my prior post, I looked at the seeds planted in 1984 that began the push towards the original WrestleMania, as well as the build-up for the main event. Now let’s remember the actual card as we approach March 31, 2015, which will be 30 years after the first Mania.
The show took place at Madison Square Garden, beginning (ahem) at the ripe time of 1 p.m. Yes, you’d be home for dinner after the first WrestleMania. Here’s a rundown of the preliminary matches on the card:
- In a surprise that I forgot about until I recently rewatched the event on the WWE Network, Mean Gene Okerlund sung the National Anthem. That’s quite a gap between Okerlund and Aretha Franklin two years later.
- Tito Santana defeated the Executioner – These days, it seems so odd that a WrestleMania opened with a series of jobber matches, but times have changed. The funny part about this match is that the Executioner was actually the late Playboy Buddy Rose under a hood. The mystery of this strange masked man was explained in Rose’s obit in the Wrestling Observer: Apparently Rose was set to come back to the WWF to feud with Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat with Bobby Heenan as his manager, so the WWF didn’t want Rose losing as himself at WrestleMania. Unfortunately for Rose, shortly before he was to shoot an angle with Steamboat after Mania, officials found him passed out in a dressing room, and he got canned.
Yes, you could argue about the historical veracity of the WWE’s Hall of Fame. No Lou Thesz. No Jim Londos. No Ed “Strangler” Lewis.
But Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Vince McMahon, Sr.’s driver, James Dudley, have gotten the nod.
Those arguments aside, within the WWE’s own history book, until recently no names were bigger omissions in the hall than Bruno Sammartino and Randy “Macho Man” Savage. Sammartino finally got his due in 2013 after Triple H personally interceded to break the deadlock between Bruno and Vince McMahon, Jr.
And now, nearly four years after his death, the WWE will induct Savage.
Sammartino long resisted overtures into the Hall of Fame, and Savage also indicated he was against going in unless Continue reading
This post is a long time coming, but luckily nostalgia knows no boundaries, ha, ha.
A while back, I heard a Stone Cold Steve Austin podcast during which he interviewed Bret “Hitman” Hart. It was a great discussion between two of the biggest WWE stars ever. A surprise came, however, when Austin brought up a match Hart fought against Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat in the old Boston Garden.
The match took place on March 8, 1986, just a few weeks before WrestleMania 2. A huge crowd of 16,000-plus fans was in attendance in Boston that night.
Hart had been in the WWF for about a year and was hitting his stride with Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart as the Hart Foundation tag team. Steamboat was already one of the top performers in wrestling in the midst of his first WWF run after making his mark in the NWA.
Austin told Hart Continue reading
I don’t want to be a shill for the WWE, but I have to say, I am enjoying the WWE Network — I haven’t even checked out a single pay-per-view or any of the wrestling themed spin-off programs on the network.
Instead, I’ve been spending my time reliving some great memories from the house show cards of the 1970s and ‘80s (they’re under the Vault heading as old school matches on the network’s menu).Embed from Getty Images
For those of you who attended the Boston Garden shows way back then or watched the matches live on NESN, the WWE Network really does offer a trip back in time.
It was so great to watch the December 1985 WWF card from the old Boston Garden, a matinee show that Continue reading
This year’s WWE Hall of Fame announcements have already served as a strong nod to the 1980s wrestling scene, and as such, I’ve been thinking a lot about Jake “The Snake” Roberts’ nomination.
Roberts is one of the most memorable stars to come out of that period for anyone who grew up watching WWF wrestling at the time — those memories are despite him never holding a title in the federation or even being a great worker in the ring.
But Jake had a lot of things going for him: Continue reading
In my real-life job last week, a 28-year-old co-worker died unexpectedly. Many of us in the office were shell shocked for days, and this gal was buried on Monday morning.
When my colleagues and I got word of her death, work basically ceased that day. Grief counselors were brought in. Former employees were invited by our CEO to join everyone for lunch. People started writing on the office walls of our fallen co-worker.
So how do pro wrestlers cope these days when their colleagues, current and former, die? We learned last week that Continue reading
Back in 1986, the WWF did not have mats around ringside. Actually, few – if any – promotions put in those mats to help wrestlers break their falls doing moves on the floor, which in most cases are concrete or wood.
Those exposed floors had come into play during prior angles with memorable results, such as when Ray Stevens gave Jimmy Snuka two piledrivers on the concrete or Greg Valentine delivered a vertical suplex on the floor to Pedro Morales.
But perhaps no other incident at ringside could match what Jake “The Snake” Roberts did to Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat in May 1986. The two were scheduled to compete on Saturday Night’s Main Event, which was an NBC show that Continue reading
The Art of Wrestling podcast had a tremendous interview with Steve Lombardi, a.k.a. the Brooklyn Brawler, who is one of those competitive prelim wrestlers everyone remembers from the 1980s.
The interview was conducted by well-known independent wrestler Colt Cabana, and as such, had plenty of behind-the-scenes Continue reading
It’s hard to believe that Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat held a championship in the WWF for only about three months.
He won the Intercontinental Title in the famous match with Randy “Macho Man” Savage at WrestleMania III in March 1987, but then lost it almost immediately to the Honky Tonk Man in June 1987.
I seem to recall that Steamboat took some time off for personal reasons at the time he lost the belt, so that likely explains the short reign. But how is it that a guy who held the NWA World Title and had classics with Continue reading