The Steel Cage

TSC: Greatest Wrestlemania?

A few weeks back there was a poll asking which was your personal favourite WrestleMania. As usual, 17 (which is hugely overrated to me, and nothing special) won, and events like the first 6 or 7 were cast aside and pretty much buried.

Now, that”s fine, everybody has different opinions, but whats a little annoying is that they were cast aside by a lot of people who hadn”t even seen them. I vaguely remember a debate (see: argument) ensuing about whether or not you really can have a valid opinion on a poll of “Which is the best”?” when you haven”t seen every single event on the poll. How can you vote for something over something you haven”t seen, and actually use THAT very reason as your reason? Makes no sense to me at all.

Thinking back to the earlier WrestleMania”s, granted 1, 2 and 4 weren’t really good at all (although Hogan vs Bundy is vastly underrated), and 3 was memorable for sheer crowd side and a couple of matches, 5, 6 and 7 were AWESOME events.

The old formula in the World Wrestling Federation when it came to WrestleMania, was to cram pack the event with about 12-14 matches. A lot of them were short and insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but every single one had a reason for happening and a back story attached to it (something WWE don”t do these days, sadly).

Every title was on the line at WrestleMania in huge matches that were promoted as meaning something. The tag team title matches were always important, as hard as that might be to believe in 2007 and going into 2008 when the tag titles are rarely even defended at the big show and the champions usually spend most of the year losing handicap matches to Triple H.

To add to that, the Intercontinental title was always a semi-main event feeling deal, with big stars like Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior, Rick Rude, Mr Perfect etc wrestling for the title, whereas today the IC title doesn”t even get featured at WrestleMania. Its stock and value has fallen so far its not even funny.

Getting back to the topic at hand, though, WrestleMania 5, 6 & 7 are cards that I”m 100% recommend watching for people who haven”t yet seen them.

The main event of WrestleMania 5 being Hulk Hogan vs Randy Savage had one of THE greatest storyline arcs and build behind it of any match I can ever remember, and the match itself was fantastic. The PPV also featured the Intercontinental title defence of the Ultimate Warrior fending off Rick Rude, a feud which had really come into its own at the time and was pretty stiff and brutal for the era in the WWF. The tag team titles were defended by Demolition in a handicap match vs Powers of Pain and Mr. Fuji in a match that, at the time, everybody thought Demolition were going to drop. When they didn”t, I remember marking out like crazy with all my friends, it was great.

Ontop WrestleMania 6 (which a lot of people wrongly, IMO, class as a one match card) was headlined by my favourite match of all time, Hogan vs Warrior, title vs title. I remember thinking Hogan was going to unify the gold and how strange he would look holding the IC belt. When they put it on a yellow strap, I was convinced he was taking it. When he went down for the 1-2-3, I remember sitting there in complete shock. NEVER had I seen Hogan get pinned, ever. Me and my mate Leon were watching at the time and we just sat there in disbelief. One of those moments that will never come again, incredible.

Looking back, its pretty obvious Warrior was going to win, but at the time when it was “real”, I think most younger fans were thinking Hogan would Hulk Up and beat the Warrior. Never has the IC title been so important as it was that night, and that”s even while taking a back seat to the heavyweight title. Really tells how important the titles were in 1990.

On the undercard there were a ton of blowoff matches, but the main one was Demolition trying to regain the tag titles from the Collosal Connection who had beaten them months earlier, and in winning, Demolition would be the first team in WWF history to three-peat (although I”m sure Fuji and Tanaka were 3 time champs, hmmm).

With Andre tied in the ropes (AGAIN?!), Demolition pinned Haku to lift the gold in what would be their final moment of glory in the WWF.
Moving on to WrestleMania 7 and we have the main event of Hogan vs Slaughter. The matches wasn”t much cop and the build turned a lot of people off (we should have had the Ultimate Challenge Rematch in from of over 100,000 people in the LA Collesium), but that didn”t matter because on the understand, career vs career was Warrior vs Savage in a match with so much great psychology and nail biting action that it is remember to this day as probably the greatest match in the career of the Ultimate Warrior, and really his last real moment of glory in pro wrestling.

As a mark for the era and a fan of all of these older guys, I could rattle on about the virtues of these events for ages, but instead of doing that, I”d suggest if you haven”t seen them already, to get your hands on a copy and set aside a day to watch them. Even if you aren”t a huge fan of the era (or don”t think you are), watch them. You owe it to yourself to give these great cards a chance. You might be surprised.