By: Austin Brunner of The Geekiverse
Once again, another WrestleMania PPV that I’ve likely seen clips of but never watched start to finish. However, the tournament for the WWF Championship, "undisputed" I might add, created a lot of intrigue for me.
Taking place in Atlantic City at the Trump Plaza Hotel, this WrestleMania felt much cleaner than WrestleMania 2. I would attribute that to the fact this event took place in one location, but you can also tell the crew has gotten a lot more experienced, the equipment is better, and the thought process is more proven. However, the booking decisions scream 1988 from all things I've heard and read about that wrestling era. Aka, "Hogan Must Pose." Thanks, Something to Wrestle Podcast.
• Jake Roberts vs. Rick Rude (with Bobby Heenan)
◦ This match could stand up in today's wrestling scene in my opinion. Solid ring psychology by both participants and I thought the selling was fantastic. Jake Roberts is immensely underrated as far as being able to tell a story. Rude was a great heel in this match-up. While the diversity of moves wasn't deep, each one felt like it meant something. This match kept my eyes on the screen.
• Bob Uecker looking for Vanna White the whole show
◦ Not sure why this was thrown into the event but I loved the humor of it
• Tournament breakdown and the constant updates
◦ Made the show feel important, and looking back stacked the odds against Savage without it feeling blatantly obvious
• Hulk Hogan vs. Andre felt massive
◦ While the match itself was subpar, that crowd loved Hulk Hogan. I wasn't even born at this point, but the Hulkamania phenomenon was real back then, and I could feel it through the TV screen
• Randy Savage finally wins the WWF World Heavyweight Championship
◦ Watching Savage wrestle 4 times to finally obtain the championship was amazing. Aside from one arguable dud of a match (vs. One Man Gang), the tournament cemented Savage as a world-class performer as he finally ascended to the top.
• The Ultimate Warrior vs. Hercules (with Bobby Heenan)
◦ I'm sorry Warrior fans, but this match was downright awful. Doing the research, this was actually the PPV debut for Warrior. Unfortunately, that showed. No story, slopping wrestling, and overall weird match. Somehow, this still was not the shortest match on the card, and I'm not sure how that's possible. Oh wait. I do know how it's possible.
• Bam Bam Bigelow vs. One Man Gang
◦ Two big men who can move?! Give them more time and let them have a finish! This was the shortest match on the card and it's a crying shame.
• Brutus Beefcake vs. The Honky Tonk Man (with Jimmy Hart and Peggy Sue)
◦ I still don't know what this match was or what the endgame was supposed to be. It simply didn't work for me on any level. Honky Tonk Man deserves more considering he's one of the best IC champions of all time.
From start to finish, this PPV felt fast, and I'm still not sure if that's good or bad. In some aspects, I enjoyed how quickly things progressed in the tournament. Looking back, it's obvious why some matches ended in double DQ finishes. You couldn't fit an entire tournament of that size on one PPV. And without as much TV time as WWE has now, there's no way they could've developed the tournament logically with a build-up to Mania. They built up Andre vs. Hulk which was the right thing to do there. However, if I had paid for this PPV I may have been disheartened at the time. However, Savage and Hogan were so over at the time, I think they were 1) just excited to see Hogan, and 2) stoked to see Savage wrestle 4 times and win the title. Would this hold up in 2018? Potentially.
Would this hope up in 2018?
A bit too many screwy finishes for my liking, but that happens in today's WWE as well. See Roman Reigns losing any match ever. But the tournament format on one card has potential to work in today's day and age. Especially considering how long WrestleMania is these days. Not to mention the incredible story of Macho Man making it through that entire thing and anointing him as the champion. It's a great movement that the WWF fans could get behind. Imagine if they did something with Finn Balor or Rusev or someone who is considerably over, and just hasn't had the chance to fully shine yet...
This is the fourth piece 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.