30 years ago today WrestleMania 2, one of the most infamous and controversial WrestleMania’s ever, took place. To mark the occasion Throwback Thursday on WrestlingDVDNetwork.com takes a look back at the good, the bad, and the ugly of one of the most polarizing events in WWF/E history, as seen, where else, but on the WWE Network.
WWF WrestleMania 2: What the World Has Come To (WATCH)
Date: April 7, 1986
Locations: Uniondale, New York, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum; Rosemont, Illinois, Rosemont Horizon; & Los Angeles, California, Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
Attendance: 40,085 (combined); CCTV: >319,000; PPV Buys: <250,000
Commentators: Vince McMahon & Susan Saint James (Uniondale); Gorilla Monsoon, “Mean” Gene Okerlund, & Cathy Lee Crosby (Rosemont); Jesse Ventura, “Lord” Alfred Hayes, & Elvira (Los Angeles)
CHAMPIONS AT THE TIME:
WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Hulk Hogan
WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion: “Macho Man” Randy Savage
WWF Tag Team Champions: The British Bulldogs (Dynamite Kid & Davey Boy Smith)
WWF Women’s Championship: The Fabulous Moolah
WWF Women’s Tag Team Champions: The Glamour Girls (Leilani Kai & Judy Martin)
Vince McMahon welcomes us from New York and introduces guest commentator Susan Saint James. After Ray Charles’ stellar rendition of “America the Beautiful”, “Mean” Gene, from Chicago, breaks down the New York card, after which we get a promo from Roddy Piper about the upcoming “boxing match” against Mr. T.
— Singles Match (WATCH)
“Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff vs. “The Magnificent” Don Muraco w/Mr. Fuji
Just as this match finds its pace, it’s over, and the New York fans aren’t happy about it. After Orndorff’s foot gets caught in the ropes the two brawl to a double count-out at 4:15. Afterwards chaos reigns as no one knows what’s going on.
NO WINNER declared (Double count-out, 4:15)
Next up we get a promo from Mr. T about the upcoming “boxing match” while in the background Howard Finkel announces the result of the first match.
— WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship (WATCH)
George “The Animal” Steele vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage(c) w/Miss Elizabeth
This was one of the hottest angles in the Federation at the time. This isn’t a very good match, per se, but it’s fun while it lasts. The match is notable for Steele being one of the very first to kick out of Savage’s flying elbow drop on TV. Moments later, with the help of the ropes, Savage pins Steele at 7:09 to retain the Intercontinental title.
WINNER and STILL WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion, “Macho Man” Randy Savage w/Miss Elizabeth (Pin, 7:09)
Between matches we go to Chicago for a physical promo between Bill Fralic and Big John Studd while back in New York Vince and Susan discuss snakes.
— Singles Match (WATCH)
Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. George Wells
This one isn’t much of a match. Though fast-paced and physical it’s pointless as the opener. The undefeated Roberts catches Wells coming into the ring with a knee lift and then hits a crushing DDT for the pin at 3:06. After the match Jake wraps the snake around Wells who nearly vomits in the center of the ring.
WINNER is Jake “The Snake” Roberts (Pin, 3:06)
Up next is a video package highlighting the Piper/Mr. T feud followed by a promo from Hulk Hogan in L.A. about the main event.
— “Boxing Match” (WATCH)
Special Guest Ring Announcer: Joan Rivers
Special Guest Referee: Jack Lotz
Special Guest Judges: Darryl Dawkins, Cab Calloway, & G. Gordon Liddy
Special Guest Timekeeper: Herb
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper w/Bob Orton, Jr. & Lou Duva vs. Mr. T w/Joe Frazier, Jim Connolly, & The Haiti Kid
There’s not much that can be said about this train wreck that hasn’t already been said. This main event turned into a comedy of errors and has gone down as one of the worst matches in WrestleMania history. In the end Piper bodyslams Mr. T at 1:17 of the 4th round, giving Mr. T the win by disqualification.
WINNER is Mr. T w/Joe Frazier, Jim Connolly, & The Haiti Kid (Disqualification, 1:17 Round 4)
Now we move to the Chicago portion of the event where Gorilla Monsoon, “Mean” Gene Okerlund, and Cathy Lee Crosby greet us and talk about the show.
— WWF Women’s Championship (WATCH)
Velvet McIntyre vs. The Fabulous Moolah(c)
Not much of a match here. After some dropkicks and running off the ropes Velvet misses a crossbody from the second rope, nearly lost her top, and is pinned by Moolah at :59. The Chicago crowd is not happy.
WINNER and STILL WWF Women’s Champion, The Fabulous Moolah (Pin, :59)
— “Flag Match: The Winning Wrestler Can Present His Country’s Flag” (WATCH)
Nikolai Volkoff w/Freddie Blassie (Russia) vs. Corporal Kirchner (U.S.A)
The introductions are longer than the match, which is nothing more than punches and kicks. The two brawl until the referee is knocked down and Blassie tosses the cane to Kirchner by mistake. The Corporal waffles Voloff and scores the pin at 1:36. After the match Kirchner waves the Stars and Stripes.
WINNER is Corporal Kirchner (Pin, 1:36)
— “Pro Football vs. Pro Wrestling 20-Man Over-The-Top-Rope Battle Royal” (WATCH)
Special Guest Time Keeper: Clara Peller
Special Guest Referees: Dick Butkus & Ed “Too Tall” Jones
Special Guest Commentator: Ernie Ladd
Featuring, in order of entry: Jimbo Culvert (Chicago Bears), Pedro Morales, Tony Atlas, Ted Arcidi, Harvey Martin (Dallas Cowboys, retired), Dan Spivey, Hillbilly Jim, King Tonga, The Iron Sheik, Ernie Holmes (Pittsburgh Steelers, retired), B. Brian Blair, Jim Brunzell, Big John Studd, Bill Fralic (Atlanta Falcons), Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart, Russ Francis (San Fransico 49ers), Bruno Sammartino, William “Refrigerator” Perry (Chicago Bears), & Andre the Giant
This isn’t that bad of a match, and in terms of a “Battle Royal” it’s one of the better high profile incarnations. Clearly the intention was to put Andre over but Bret Hart was arguably the biggest star coming out of this match. Bruno Sammartino, meanwhile, looks lost for much of the match. In the end Andre tosses Bret Hart on top of Neidhart for the win at 9:11.
WINNER is Andre the Giant (9:11)
Next we go back to New York for a classic promo from Roddy Piper then back in Chicago for promos from Jimbo Culver and The Iron Sheik about the outcome of the “Battle Royal”.
— WWF Tag Team Championship (WATCH)
The British Bulldogs (Dynamite Kid & Davey Boy Smith) w/Capt. Lou Albano & Ozzy Osbourne vs. The Dream Team (Brutus Beefcake & Greg “The Hammer” Valentine)(c) w/Johnny Valiant
One of the best tag team matches in WrestleMania history, this one doesn’t depend on old-school tag team psychology to tell a great story. This is the match that saved this event to be sure. After Valentine collides with Dynamite in the corner Davey Boy scores the pin at 12:28, winning the first and only WWF Tag Team title for The Bulldogs (a 294 day reign) and ending The Dream Team’s lone WWF Tag title reign at 226 days.
WINNERS and NEW WWF Tag Team Champions, The British Bulldogs (Dynamite Kid & Davey Boy Smith) w/Capt. Lou Albano & Ozzy Osbourne (Pin, 12:28)
After promos from Capt. Lou, Ozzy, Davey Boy, and Cathy Lee Crosby we go back to New York where Vince and Susan Saint James send us to Los Angeles for the final portion of the card where Jesse “The Body” Ventura, “Lord” Alfred Hayes, and Elvira welcome us.
— Singles Match (WATCH)
Hercules Hernandez vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
This is the best of the meaningless matches of the night. Both Hercules and Steamboat look great, and their prime positioning on the card and the booking of the match suggest that Vince McMahon was more than high on both men at this time. After a solid back-and-forth match Hernandez catches Steamboat’s knees coming off the top allowing “The Dragon” to hit the flying crossbody for the pin at 7:34.
WINNER is Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat (Pin, 7:34)
— Singles Match (WATCH)
“Adorable” Adrian Adonis w/Jimmy Hart vs. Uncle Elmer
This is the comedy portion of the show. Adonis’ “Adorable” gimmick was relativity new, and groundbreaking for the time. Uncle Elmer, on the other hand, was all but done with the WWF, leaving after the May 3rd SNME VI. After the antics and whatnot Elmer misses a leg drop allowing Adonis to climb to the top and land a splash for the pin at 3:05.
WINNER is “Adorable” Adrian Adonis w/Jimmy Hart (Pin, 3:05)
Up next we get another vintage Hulk Hogan promo with “Lord” Alfred Hayes about the upcoming “Cage Match” main event.
— Tag Team Match (WATCH)
The Funk Brothers (Terry & Hoss (Dory Funk, Jr.)) w/Jimmy Hart vs. The Junkyard Dog & Tito Santana
Though the Funks had been making life for JYD difficult there wasn’t all that much of a story leading into this one. Unlike the tag title match this is more of a traditional “rasslin'” tag team match with Terry Funk going all-out. After a back-and-forth battle Terry Funk brains JYD with Hart’s megaphone to score the pin at 11:43 in a bout that if not for the tag title classic would be the match of the night. This really is a helluva match.
WINNERS are The Funk Brothers (Terry & Hoss) w/Jimmy Hart (Pin, 11:43)
As we see the ring crew struggle to bring out the big blue cage (created specifically for this match) we take a look back at the history of the Bundy/Hogan feud before hearing from Heenan and Bundy. Back in New York Vince and Susan Saint James discuss the main event and the possibility of “Bundy-Mania”.
— WWF World Heavyweight Championship – “Steel Cage Match” (WATCH)
Special Guest Ring Announcer: Tommy Lasorda
Special Guest Timekeeper: Ricky Schroder
Special Guest Referee: Robert Conrad
King Kong Bundy w/Bobby Heenan vs. Hulk Hogan(c)
This match is often cited as one of the worst WrestleMania main events ever. The match, however, isn’t nearly as bad as many make it out to be. Violent, bloody and short, this match delivered the perfect blow-off to the Hogan/Bundy angle. It’s not perfect, but the match delivers in terms of action and was the key reason 40,000 fans in three time zones left their homes to see it. After power slamming Bundy and kicking the big man away, Hogan scales the cage and escapes with the WWF title at 10:15. After the match Hogan bounces Heenan around the cage and celebrates until the show abruptly cuts to black.
WINNER and STILL WWF World Heavyweight Champion, Hulk Hogan (Escape, 10:15)
WrestleMania 2 is often grouped with WrestleMania’s VII, IX, XI, and XXVII as the worst WrestleMania’s of all-time. And while the show is a mess, in and out of the ring, WrestleMania 2 was the first WrestleMania to capture the big event feel we have grown accustomed to today. While the first half of the show was a huge disappointment, the second half of the show features several good to great matches that more than makeup for the lackluster first half. It’s not perfect nor is it a classic, but WrestleMania 2 actually isn’t nearly as bad an many make it out to be.
That’s all for TBT this week – thanks again for reading! So, are you a WWE Network subscriber? Then check out WrestleMania 2, see the event for yourself, and let us know what you think.
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Until next week, see ya at ringside!
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