By: Austin Brunner of The Geekiverse in collaboration with our 34 days of WrestleMania project
To one-up the very first Wrestlemania, WWF (at the time) decided to have the second installment in three separate locations.
I have to admit, I’ve never seen a Wrestlemania from start to finish before X8. I know, I’m a bad wrestling fan. But I never bought pay-per-views as a kid. I would go to my grandma's house and look up the results with my cousin over the summer, and every other time I would find out the results on TV. Needless to say, going through the archive and seeing Wrestlemania 2 with those old-school graphics, the standard-definition cameras and the wrestlers of old, I was in for quite a ride. Since there were 3 different cards for the 3 different venues, I've got to break it down by location.
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, New York
• Intercontinental Championship Match: Macho Man Randy Savage vs. George the Animal Steele
• Rowdy Roddy Pipper is money. “If he beats me, I’ll quit wrestling, I’ll quit tiddlywinks, I’ll quit dating girls!”
• Jake the Snake bringing out the python at the end of his match
• Orndorff vs. Muraco
• Some mic issues after Orndorff/Muraco
• Boxing match with Mr. T and Piper
You have to look at this PPV in a microscope of the time, and that is hard to do considering where we are now in wrestling. Even still, you can't deny how entertaining both Macho Man and George Animal Steele are. They put on quite a show, even if it's not your most technically sound wrestling match.
Rowdy Roddy Piper is one of the best on the microphone to this day. His promos were absolutely money regardless if he was serious, funny, or a combination of both. It's unfortunate they wasted time on a boxing match in a wrestling promotion, but Piper still found a way to shine before, during, and after match, even if it had nothing to do with the boxing.
Rosemont Horizon, Illinois
• WWF Tag Team Championship Match: The British Bulldogs vs. The Dream Team
• WWF vs. NFL Battle Royal
◦ Andre tossing Bret Hart on top of Jim the Anvil Neidhart
• WWF Women's Championship Match: The Fabulous Moolah vs. Velvet McIntyre
• Flag Match: Corporal Kirchner vs. Nikolai Volkoff lasted 2 minutes
Solid tag team wrestling all around between The British Bulldogs and the Dream Team. Old school wrestling fans will enjoy this match immensely. It felt like there was an actual psychology in the movements and decision making throughout the match. While I didn't watch the build-up to this, ending a 7-month reign for the Dream Team at the time probably got the crowd even more hyped.
The Fabulous Moolah and Velvet McIntyre simply needed more time. This is going to be a theme for all the older Wrestlemania PPV's unfortunately. Women wrestlers didn't get the same amount of time as the male counterparts. Different time back in the 80's. Thankfully, I am looking in the past here, and I know the talent on the women's roster does get their chance to shine.
Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, California
• WWF World Heavyweight Championship Match: Hulk Hogan vs. King Kong Bundy in a Steel Cage
• Hulk Hogan build-up with Bundy
• Adrian Adonis vs. Uncle Elmer (simply because it was so short)
• Not much to complain about for this 1/3 of the PPV.
This entire third of the show was pretty legit. Hulk Hogan and King Kong Bundy tore the house down. That crowd loved Hulk Hogan, and he could do no wrong. Even the cheesy promo got me hype for a match where I knew the winner. Ricky Steamboat and Hercules Hernandez put on a more technical match (shocking for Steamboat right?), Adonis and Elmer were entertaining albeit silly, and the Funks vs. Junkyard Dog and Tito Santana was solid throughout. This portion of the show was solid.
Going this far back was tough for a wrestling fan like myself who wasn't even born yet when this aired. However, there were parts here that I enjoyed. Savage vs. Steele was wildly entertaining. The WWF Tag Team Championship match is one that modern wrestlers should learn from. And Hogan vs. Bundy, despite being pretty cheesy, had decent ring psychology with the cage. This definitely will not be my favorite Wrestlemania, I know that. As far as trying to be a true historian of the game? I loved being able to see this! Thanks, WWE Network (insert cheesy grin emoticon here).
Would this hope up in 2018?
Probably not. Roddy Piper had some rather racist remarks when cutting promos on Mr. T. While modern technology would allow WWE to carry a broadcast at 3 different venues, fans today would never buy it. Paying for an hour of entertainment with only 4 matches? The cost would have to be astronomically lower than what PPV's run for today. Great Mania to go back and reflect upon, but definitely not one of the best I've seen.
This is the second in a Court of Nerds and Geekiverse collaboration that will present “34 Days of WrestleMania” as we look back on each Showcase of the Immortals as we lead you into WrestleMania 34. Keep an eye out for a couple of podcasts in the near future from Austin Brunner and Benjamin Raven as we break down each decade in podcast form.