WWE Wrestlemania VII
Mar. 24, 1991
The Rockers vs Haku and The Barbarian w/ Bobby Heenan
This is the twilight of the Heenan Family. Before the next PPV, Heenan would retire from managing due to a neck injury. With so few members left, the WWE randomly threw Haku and The Barbarian together as a part-time tag team while, Mr Perfect remained the only important member of the Heenan family.
Jannetty starts off the match with Barb. Nice hurricana, but Barb catches him a second time and Haku assists an Alley Oop (Big Show's temporary finisher in 2001), causing Jannetty to land on the top rope choking himself. Nice spot. Jannetty finally gets the tag, and he and Shawn hits a double hip toss on Haku.
They both get up and walk right into a Barbarian double clothesline. Very nice spot. Marty hits a missal dropkick to Haku, which gives way to a Michaels top rope cross body to give the Rockers their first and only Wrestlemania win.
A surprisingly solid tag bout. The Rockers were always reliable to come up with some fun spots while Haku and Barbarian were were creative big men. They all blended nicely together. Sadly, Haku and Barbarian never did much as a tag team in the WWF. Both guys would leave in '92. To WCW's credit, putting them back together was a good move. This is probably my favorite WM opener behind Hart vs Hart for the first 10. 11 Minutes. 3-1/4 Stars.
The Texas Tornado vs Dino Bravo w/ Jimmy Hart
Von Erich had lost the IC title back in November, so he wasn't doing much. However, he was still getting some good wins. Bravo had settled into his role of JTTS. Bravo hits his Side Slam (Finisher), but that only gets a two. Von Erich locks in the dreaded Iron Claw, but Bravo gets to the ropes. Von Erich settles on just hitting the Tornado Punch (I think it was called something like that, anyways it's just a Discus Punch). Von Erich gets the win after a short match. Short meaningless squash match. For what it was, it wasn't too bad. A few more minutes would of made this a nice little match. Four Minutes. 1.5 Stars.
The British Bulldog vs The Warlord w/ Slick
Not sure when they two started feuding (I do know they were in Jan), but they feuded pretty much nonstop for the entire year. Total power match. Bulldog tries a Crucifix Pin, but Warlord samoan drops him. Warlord puts Bulldog in a Full Nelson. Monsoon and Heenan wonders if the fingers are locked though.
Bulldog powers out of it and Warlord looks stunned. Bulldog hits his running powerslam to pick up the win.
I like the idea of the match. Bulldog being out powered and somehow finding a way around that and finally winning. However, by time they started featuring it, it ended a few minutes later. Just adding a few extra minutes could of did wonders for the match. I'm not really a fan of The Warlord, but for him, this was a damn fine match. Eight Minutes. Two Stars.
The Hart Foundation (c) vs The Nasty Boys w/ Jimmy Hart - Tag Team Titles Match
The Nasties earned this shot winning a tag-team battle royal (more on that later). Jimmy Hart, of course, was the manager of the Hart Foundation a few years before. Your typical Nasty Boys match here with a lot of cheating. And like most Nasties match, the faces get a tag, but the ref doesn't see.
Bret finally gets the hot tag and Harts take over. Hart Attack to Knobbs, but when the ref gets Bret out of the ring, Sags hits Neidhart with the megaphone. With that, we have new tag team champions.
If you've seen one Nasty Boys WWF match where they won, you've seen them all. They did all of the same spots in the same exact order. Even adding a great team like the HF into it, all you're going to get is a better version of the same exact match. At the time, the WWE had three talented heel tag teams that would of made for a better champions than the Nasties. On the plus side, without the tag titles, Bret was free to start his singles push. 13 Minutes. 2-3/4 Stars.
Jake Roberts vs Rick Martel - Blindfold Match
Ah yes, the infamous blindfold match. This had been building since October '90, when Martel sprayed his cologne, Arrogance, into the eyes of Roberts on The Brother Love Show. Roberts started wearing some contacts that made his eyes look horrible.
With Roberts healed now, the idea was to take eyesight out of the equation all together. So in comes the black bags over the heads and the first ever PPV blindfold match begins.
From the get go, Jake uses the fans to tell him where Martel was. Roberts would point and the fans would cheer if he was pointing at his opponent. Whenever Martel tried it (Hey...I thought they couldn't see?!) the fans wouldn't help him. Not much action occurs in this match though.
We do get several comedy spots such as Martel whipping Roberts for a backbody drop, but when Roberts runs back, he runs past Martel. Jake also claps his hands and uses other tricks to lure Martel. Late in the match, Martel ends up outside of the ring. Back in, Roberts finally finds Martel and hits the DDT to pick up the pinfall.
Even with the severe lack of action, the match was all about storytelling and the fans were into the match the entire time. This is the one match Roberts was really made for. If you would of put any other face in there, it could of been a real disaster (Hi AMW ) Seeing how wrestling is about creating emotion, this match succeeds where action packed matches sometimes don't. Nine Minutes. Three Stars.
Randy Savage w/ Sherri vs The Ultimate Warrior - Retirement Match
Like the previous match, this feud had been going ever since October. Basically, Savage wanted a title shot from then-champion, The Warrior. Savage had a few matches with Warrior (Including an entertaining steel cage match at MSG) but could never beat the champ.
At the Royal Rumble, Savage did the next best thing, he cost Warrior the title. So now, this is no longer about the title, but rather it's a bitter feud. To illustrate the point, the back of Warrior's tights has a picture of the World Title with the words "This Means More Than This." Before the match begins, Bobby Heenan spots Miss Elizabeth in the crowd. Sherri tries interfering early on in the match, but Warrior just shoves her off.
Warrior slaps Savage, showing that he means business. Oh...It's on now.
Ref bump when Savage knees Warrior into Hebner and Sherri tries to interfere again. Except this time she hits Savage. After some chasing by Warrior, Savage gets in a sneak schoolboy for a two count. Savage hotshots Warrior. Savage does the unthinkable and hits not one...not two...not three...not four...but FIVE Flying Elbow Drops to Warrior. Okay honestly, it has to be over. ONE...TWO...NO, Warrior somehow kicks out. Warrior gets in his zone and Warriors Up and hits his Press Slam and Splash. ONE...TWO...NO...SAVAGE KICKS OUT.
I believe the only other person to do this was Hulk Hogan. It seems as if Warrior has forgotten about that, and he begins to doubt himself. In fact, he begins talking to his hands and the Gods above. Warrior does what anyone would do when your opponent kicked out during a retirement match...he tries to leave. Err...you do know that this isn't a normal match right Jim? But that's meaningless as Savage attacks him on the apron. Sherri tries holding Warrior's throat over the steel railing and Savage gets on the top turnbuckle. He's going to Steamboat Warrior~!
Warrior moves out of the way and Savage crash and burns on the railing. Warrior throws Savage back in the ring and hits a Flying Shoulder Block. Savage falls out of the ring. Warrior throws him back in the ring to repeat. Savage falls out again. Warrior does it again with the same results.
After three or four of these, Warrior just rolls Savage back in and covers him with one boot. ONE...TWO...THREE~! The Ultimate Warrior wins and Savage must now retire forever.
Warrior once again (Third time in a row) puts on an amazing match at Wrestlemania. These two worked very well together and Savage was able to get more than one good match out of Warrior (Hi Hogan ).
I wish Savage wouldn't have hit five Elbow Drops, since all it did was really hurt the value of the move though. Three would of been enough to make Warrior kicking out seem like a big deal without hurting Savage too much.
I loved the repetitiveness of the finish. Savage looked dead, but even in his "Final" match, he was made to look good. It may not be as famous as Hogan vs Warrior, but it belongs in the company of one of the biggest matches of WM history. 21 Minutes. Four Stars.
After Warrior left, Sherri is shown very upset in the ring. Now that her man must retire, she has to find a new way to make some money. To get out her frustrations, she kicks Savage in his ribs over and over. The camera keeps cutting back and forth to the action and Miss Elizabeth in the crowd. Finally, Liz can't watch anymore and she hops the railing (Hello security...are you awake?) and heads to the ring.
Once inside, she kicks Sherri out of the ring and watches over her former man. She tries comforting Savage, but Savage with his face to the mat keeps pushing away the person who keeps touching him. Savage finally looks and sees Elizabeth teary eyed in the ring. Savage gets a confused look on his face not knowing what to think. On the outside, an insane Sherri is still yelling at him.
After moments of looking back and forth at the two former women in his life, Savage opens his arms for Elizabeth. Both teary eyed, the two finally reunite more than three years after they broke a part. Shots of women crying while everyone is clapping. Liz goes to hold open the ropes as she used to do for years, but Savage objects. Instead, Savage opens the ropes for Elizabeth, showing that he has finally realized the respect Elizabeth deserves.
This is by far one of the most memorable moments of the 1990s. As cheesy as this may sound, it's a moment that can cause even the toughest of men to weep a little. If this was a match, it would be five stars.
Demolition w/ Mr Fuji vs Koji Kitao and Genichiro Tenryu
By this point, Ax was gone from Demolition, as was Demolition's badass theme song. Instead, Demo has a very generic "Evil" music. Kitao and Tenryu are from Japan's SWS company. The WWE and SWS worked together for a little while both in the states and in Japan (Can you say Misawa vs Hart?).
The big man Kitao starts off. Koji is pretty big and outweighs and is taller than Crush. Tenryu makes a tag and busts out some badass chops. Demolition regains control with Smash setting Tenryu up for the Demolition finisher. Koji keeps Crush busy for a few moments.
Even with Koji out of the picture, Crush takes his time going outside of the ring to climb the ropes. Seeing Smash in the position of the Demo finish with Tenryu for minutes on and is fairly funny. Koji stops the finisher and knocks Crush out of the ring. Ghetto Blaster by Tenryu to Smash is followed up by the Wrestlemania Debut of the Power Bomb by Koji. With that, the match is over.
Such a meaningless match sadly. Demolition was really just weeks away from being done for good, while Tenryu and Koji never did do much in the WWF. The history of Koji is a bit more interesting though. He would continue to work for the WWE for the next couple of months. However, during a match with Earthquake, he decided not to sell anything.
After the match, he got on the mic and was screaming how wrestling was fake. The other Japanese wrestlers had to come down to shut him up. Needless to say, he never worked for the WWE again. As for this match, it was pretty cool to see Tenyru at Wrestlemania. If you want to see more of Tenryu in the WWE, find a copy of the '94 Royal Rumble. Five Minutes. 1.5 Stars.
Mr Perfect (c) w/ Bobby Heenan vs The Big Boss Man - IC Title Match
This was really a part of the Heenan vs Boss Man storyline that was originally with Rick Rude. After Rude left, Boss Man starting feuding with all of the Heenan family members. After beating The Barbarian at the Royal Rumble, there was only one left.
Before the match, Perfect slaps Boss Man, which just pisses Boss Man off. Boss Man starts whipping Perfect with his belt. Perfect is somehow overselling belt shots, including being sent over the top rope by one. Heenan tries distracting Boss Man, but that brings out Andre the Giant.
Andre starts stalking Heenan around the ring while the action inside the ring comes to a screeching halt. Perfect starts complaining about Andre holding the IC belt. Without even looking at Perfect, Andre nails him with the belt.
Before Boss Man can win though, Haku and The Barbarian hits the ring and attacks BBM, drawing the DQ. Postmatch has Andre and Boss Man clearing house.
Between Perfect's overselling and all of the distractions, this just never got off of the ground. The site of one of the greatest IC title matches ever, is also the PPV of so many rather poor ones. This one fits in with the latter. 11 Minutes. One Star.
Earthquake w/ Jimmy Hart vs Greg Valentine
Valentine had recently left Jimmy Hart's camp and with Honky Tonk Man leaving the WWE, Earthquake was placed with Valentine. A lot of power moves which does nothing to create any excitement. Valentine tries hooking on the Figure Four, but Quake's legs are too big.
Jimmy Hart distracts Valentine while Earthquake pearl harbors Valentine. Earthquake Splash finishes this off for the big man. 'Quake is now 2-0 at Wrestlemania.
It had a story of Valentine trying to figure out how to beat Earthquake, but it just didn't have the time to be anything more than a squash-like match. Valentine wasn't a very good face and was nothing more than a JTTS. Earthquake was just waiting until he could squash Damien and have a short lived feud with Jake Roberts before teaming with Tugboat as The Natural Disasters. As a result, this is a forgettable match that could have been good. Four Minutes. One Star.
Power and Glory w/ Slick vs The Legion of Doom
During the previously-mentioned tag-team battle royal, it came down to Nasty Boys, LOD, and Power and Glory. P&G were eliminated and LOD was setting up a Doomsday Device to one of the Nasties. With Hawk on the top rope, Paul Roma pushed Hawk off and onto the floor. Nasties won and we now have this match.
This one should be good. You have power vs. power with Animal and Hercules, and then Roma and Hawk to keep things fresh. P&G attacks LOD, but is quickly overcome by the Roadies. Powerslam to Roma while Hercules is sent outside of the ring. DOOMSDAY DEVICE to Roma. ONE...TWO...Three. Roadies win in their WM debut.
Well then. So a match with actual backstory and a potentially good matchup is given a 58 second squash. Pathetic. Roadies would go on to feuding with the tag team champions in the Summer while P&G would break up before the next WM. Sound familiar? They did the same exact match and booking last year. One Minute. 1/4 Star.
Ted DiBiase vs Virgil - Million Dollar Title Match
After years of being DiBiase's loyal manservent, Virgil had enough at the Royal Rumble and ditched DiBiase. With Roddy Piper training him, Virgil is now a full time wrestler.
Piper comes out using crutches (he just had surgery I believe). At the start of the match, Virgil is trying to be all Ali-like by keeping his feet moving and punching. Once DiBiase catches him, Virgil is treated like a jobber.
Piper uses his crutch to (sorta) pull down the top rope sending DiBiase out of the ring. On the outside, Piper hits DiBiase with his crutch. DiBiase has enough of this and shoves the barely walkable Piper down. Back inside, Virgil gets a school boy to pin the surprised Million Dollar Man. Postmatch has Sherri coming out in a new dress to attack Piper. Virgil is able to scare the new team of Sherri and DiBiase out of the ring.
Virgil, for whatever reason was very over at this point. I'd like to think it was just because of DiBiase's heat. With that being said though, Virgil still was horrible in the ring. DiBiase's skills weren't good enough to get anything good out of Virgil tonight. They would continue the feud until the end of the year though. Eight Minutes. One Star.
Tito Santana vs The Mountie w/ Jimmy Hart
The Mountie had debuted at the previous PPV, defeating Koko B. Ware. Now it was time to beat someone with a little more value. Early on, Jimmy Hart gives Jacques the cattle prod and he stuns Santana with it. A quick cover is all for this match. Jacques is now 2-0 on PPV with his new gimmick. Short, forgettable, but it at least had the purpose of pushing The Mountie more. Given more time, this could of been a very good match. Two Minutes. 1/2 Star.
Sgt Slaughter (c) w/ General Adnan vs Hulk Hogan - WWE World Title Match
With the Desert Storm war going on in '90, the WWE started pushing towards an Iraqi turncoat Slaughter vs the All-American, Hogan. Only problem was by time this PPV was set to happen, the war was over. A lot of interference by Adnan with Slaughter cheating whenever he can by choking Hogan. Slaughter works over Hogan's back.
A chair shot busts Hogan open. (Second time in WM history there's blood in the main event). Slaughter only gets a two count after covering Hogan with the Iraq flag. That's enough to get Hogan to Hulk up. Big Boot, Legdrop, and it's all over for Slaughter with Hogan winning back the World Title.
Amazingly, this feud would continue until the end of the summer. A huge letdown compared to the previous two Hogan matches at WM. Slaughter was well past his prime and really had no business even being World Champion.
Why the WWE didn't decide to push someone like The Barbarian instead of Slaughter is beyond me. To be fair though, I wouldn't blame the match on Hogan though. It certainly didn't help matters that the sales for the PPV were so horrible that they had to move the show into the tiny 15k LA Sports Arena instead of the 90k coliseum. Times were now down for the sport and wouldn't get hot again for several years. Warrior vs Savage should have been the main event. 20 Minutes. 2 Stars.
This WM was really shaping up to be pretty good. However, after Savage vs Warrior, it's all downhill. The biggest problem is the fact that there was too many short matches. Very few matches were able to have time to do anything. Had they cut out 3-4 matches, this could of been a much better show.
It is, however; a step up from the year before. But without a huge match like Warrior vs Hogan, it fails in being remembered for anything besides the one match. Check this out for Warrior vs Savage, the uniqueness of the blindfold match, Tenryu in the WWE and a forgotten gem in Barbarian/Haku vs The Rockers.
Best Match: The Ultimate Warrior vs Randy Savage
Worst Match: Power and Glory vs The Legion of Doom
Overall Grade: C
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