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Wrestlemania VII

We've made it to 1991 now.  Remember anything interesting that happened in 1991?  Before you all say "Vanilla Ice" I was talking about the Gulf War.  And what would a war be without a wrestling company to milk it for all it was worth?

During most of the previous year The Ultimate Warrior was the reigning champion.  Vince decided to bring back aging chin warrior Sgt. Slaughter for another run in the company.  Only this time, they decided to make him an evil drill sargeant who supported Iraq and had a despicable Iraqi manager General Adnan.  Well, it worked before with the Iron Shiek and Nikolai Volcov, why not?  The only thing missing was the sarge singing a stirring rendition of the Iraq national anthem before every match.  Actually if you think about it, how funny would that have been?

Anyway, the Gulf War broke out in early 1991 and Vince apparently saw dollar signs everywhere so he put the title on Slaughter over the Warrior at the '91 Royal Rumble.  Then they announced the big title match at Wrestlemania with Slaughter defending against...Hulk Hogan.  Of course it was the Hulkster, the American hero.  Vince took a lot of criticism from people saying they were exploiting for war just to make money for themselves.  And of course that was true, but it's not like every news channel wasn't doing the same thing.  "Hey look at us!  We got the best war coverage anywhere, please watch our station!" 

Another funny story before we get going...throughout the entire year the WWF advertised that this Wrestlemania would be taking place at the LA Memorial Colliseum, which I think is where USC plays?  Anyway, they spent the entire year talking about how it would "shatter all past attendance records" by jamming more than 100,000 people in the open stadium.  Damn, I couldn't wait for it to happen; what a spectacle that would be...

Wrestlemania VII (March 24, 1991)

Alright, this is gonna be sweet!  A cool outdoor show with over 100,000 fans going nuts!  Hmm...wait a minute.  This looks suspiciously like a generic indoor arena with like 15,000 people!  Uhh...what the hell's going on here?  Our host is Gorilla Monsoon, who welcomes us to the...LA Sports Arena?  Oh, okay.  And don't bother explaining why you're not in the colliseum, that's okay.  (the "official" reason that the WWF tells us these days is that due to the war and Slaughter in the main event, there were "bomb threats" made so they moved to the indoor arena.)  Sooo...what happened to all those people that supposedly bought tickets when it was at the colliseum?  They could only jam 15,000 or so people into the Sports Arena.  Were the other 90,000 people just waiting in line the whole time and couldn't get in?  Probably not.  I'm pretty sure "bomb threat" was WWF-speak for "lack of ticket sales."

Willie Nelson opens things up with "America the Beautiful."  This being 1991, I'm pretty sure he was only doing this to make a quick buck and pay off the IRS.  We're then joined by Hacksaw Jim Duggan, who will do commentary with Monsoon for this first match, with Bobby Heenan doing the rest of the commentating duties for matches he wasn't involved in.  Duggan's in his element here, with all the red, white and blue colors and flags everywhere.  By this point the war was pretty much over, but that didn't stop them from acting like it wasn't I guess.

Match 1: The Rockers vs Barbarian & Haku

Heenan's team would go onto greater fame in WCW as the Faces of Fear, which was a nickname they apparently stole from me and my ex-girlfriend when we used to look at each other.  The Rockers were getting near the end as a tag team, as Shawn Micheals was almost ready for a singles push and Marty Jannetty was almost ready to get fired and rehired about ten different times.  Good entertaining match between these two teams, as Haku & Barbarian kept up with all the Rockers fast-paced stuff.  In fact now that I think about it, this may be the best opening match in Wrestlemania up to this point anyway.  The Rockers win with a Micheals body press off the top.

Match 2: Texas Tornado vs Dino Bravo

Creepy, these two would both end up dead within a year or so after this.  The Tornado (Kerry Von Erich) from killing himself, and Bravo from an alleged mob hit after a cigarette smuggling scam.  And no, I'm not kidding.  Tornado wins after a few minutes with the spinning tornado, which was just a punch after he turned around a few times.

Match 3: British Bulldog vs The Warlord

Hey, the Bulldog's back!  Well, Davey Boy Smith is, anyway.  And he came back with corn rows for some reason.  And this was 1991, were black people even wearing them yet?  Anyway, these two have a suprisingly good power match.  The Bulldog wins with the powerslam.

Match 4: Tag Team Championship: Hart Foundation vs The Nasty Boys

The Nasties were in WCW in a great feud with the Steiner Brothers, but WCW was so stupid that they never signed them to an actual contract.  So Vince snapped them up and put them over for the tag titles!  They win after hitting The Anvil with manager Jimmy Hart's ultra dorky motorcycle helmet he wore to the ring.  This was pretty much the Hart Foundation's last hurrah, as Bret FINALLY started his singles career after this while Neidhart first went to commentary, then teamed back up with a returning Owen Hart, and finally settled in on a career of eating chili dogs and watching Iron Eagle movies.  But I have no proof of that.

Match 5: Blindfold Match: Jake Roberts vs Rick Martel

This was setup after Martel "blinded" Jake with his cologne junk.  Roberts then wore weird looking contact lenses that made his eyes look like they had no color.  Alright, I'll play along.  Both men had to wear these black hoods during the match, so the entire thing consists of them crawling around and trying to find each other.  Martel provides a couple of funny moments though, as he finds Jake and slams him, then tries to drop an elbow that misses by like 5 feet.  He also tries to get the crowd to help him find Roberts (as the snake has been doing the whole match) but when they don't he gets angry and starts stomping the mat!  Anyway, Jake eventually finds him and takes his ass out with the DDT.  I don't think they ever did one of these again.

Match 6: Jimmy Snuka vs The Undertaker

And the streak is born.  The Undertaker debuted a few months before this and the fans were in awe of this character.  And he was such a bad ass creepy villian at this point, like a horror movie monster that kept coming at you.  And Snuka was well...Snuka.  I think he was like 65 by this point.  Undertaker wins with the tombstone of course.  And the crowd pops.  Vince must've been climaxing in his pants at the thought of how much money he could make off this guy.

Match 7: Career-Ending Match:  Ultimate Warrior vs Randy Savage

Savage cost Warrior the title at the '91 Royal Rumble, so naturally Warrior wants to hurt him real bad.  They billed this as a career ending match, where the loser would retire forever.  So try to forget that little tidbit when you read the next year's Wrestlemania review.  Anyway, these guys have an instant classic here.  Warrior kicks the crap out of Savage for the first half, but Savage comes back with the help of Queen Sherry, who interferes as much as humanly possible.  Then, in one of the coolest, yet dumbest things I've ever seen, Savage goes to finish the Warrior off with the flying elbow.  He hits is, and then procedes to drop FOUR more!  Five freaking elbow drops from the top!  And the Warrior kicked out!  Wow, that was a little unbelievable, as in not believable.  Anyway, the Warrior comes back and nails Savage with three flying tackles for the win.  Savage, career now over, is then attacked by Sherry!  Then, in one of the most memorable moments in wrestling history, Elizabeth runs into the ring, throws Sherry out, and her and Savage reunite with a giant hug in the middle of the ring!  Savage gets an awesome send-off with Liz in a stunning display of emotion for a wrestling show.  Seriously, there were tons of people literally CRYING in the audience.  Now that's a good storyline.

Match 8: Tenyru & Kitao vs Demolition

The crowd's understably deflated after that last match, so they throw these guys in there.  The Japanese team weren't even a part of the WWF, they just brought them in for no reason.  Demolition were finally outliving their usefullness here, and at this point the team consisted of Smash & Crush (future coconut smashing Hawaiian legend.)  The foreigners win after Tenyru hits a powerbomb.

Match 9: IC Championship:  Mr. Perfect vs Big Bossman

Speaking of great storylines, this one was set up when Bobby Heenan started making fun of the Bossman's mother.  And that was pretty much it.  The Bossman went through the Heenan family until he got to the champ here.  And since Heenan's at ringside, we get to hear the soothing sounds of Lord Alfred Hayes on commentary.  This one gets chaotic, as Andre the Giant makes his way down to ringside after Heenan and Perfect cheat a little too much.  Andre lumbers down, picks up the IC belt, and hits Perfect with it, but then Haku & the Barbarian run down to attack the Bossman for the DQ.  Then PANDAMONIUM breaks out with everyone involved. 

Match 10:  Greg Valentine vs Earthquake

Valentine turned on Jimmy Hart so the mouth of the south threw Earthquake at him.  This was during Valentine's awesome face run that everyone cared so much about.  Oh, I mean no one cared about it.  Sorry for the confusion.  Anyway, the quake wins after violently sitting on the hammer.  Wait, what did I just say?

Match 11: Legion of Doom vs Power & Glory

Hey, it's time for the yearly minute-long squash match at Wrestlemania!  The LOD make their Wrestlemania debut by defeating P&G (Hercules & Paul "greatest Horseman ever" Roma) with the doomsday device.  Man that sucks, Power & Glory weren't that bad.

Match 12: Virgil (w/Roddy Piper) vs Ted Dibiase

After years of being Dibiase's lowly bodyguard, we've finally come to this.  Virgil, encouraged by Piper for months, finally snapped and leveled Dibiase with his million dollar belt to set this up.  Piper comes to the ring on crutches, but I can't remember or care why.  Virgil mat wrestles Dibiase pretty well, but Dibiase takes the upper hand eventually.  He then goes after Piper, leading to a count-out and a Virgil victory.  Dibiase then gets back in the ring, slaps Virgil in the million dollar dream, only to have Piper limp into the ring and LEVEL Dibiase with his crutch!  Out of nowhere, Sensational Sherry runs down to the ring, joining Dibiase in a complete beatdown of Piper's leg.  Sherry would go on to manage Dibiase while Virgil would go on to manage a local K-Mart.

Match 13: Tito Santana vs The Mountie

Tito makes his 7th consecutive appearance wrestling at a Wrestlemania.  Only one other guy did the same thing, and he's up next, brother.  But of course, Tito's main duty was to put over new heels, and even though the Mountie (Jacques Rougeau) was there before, he had a new gimmick so that counts I guess.  I actually liked the Mountie, I thought it was a funny character ("I AM DA MOUNTIEEEE!") but others thought it was pretty hokey.  Anyway, Mountie wins by "shocking" Santana with his cattle prod.  I'm guessing that wasn't legally allowed in the match.

Main Event: WWF Championship:  Sgt. Slaughter vs Hulk Hogan

Can the Hulkster win it for America??  Our guest ring announcer was Alex Trebek, guest timekeeper is Marla Maples, best known for banging Donald Trump.  Sadly that's a better resume than my shitty one.  And Regis Philbin is guest commentator along with Gorilla and Bobby.  Hogan and Slaughter suprisingly have a good match, and Hogan BLEEDS BUCKETS.  Of course he ends up hulking up, big boot, leg drop, 3-time WWF Champion.  And all is right in the world. 

Match of the night:  Warrior vs Savage

Mark-out moment of the night:  Tie between Savage dropping five elbows on the Warrior, and Liz running into the ring and tossing Sherry out.

Summary:  This one was better than I remembered it being, with a few great matches and several good ones.  Still would've been cooler if there wasn't a "bomb threat" and that had to move venues like they did.  Stupid lying lyers.

****


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