WWF WrestleMania XI
by Scrooge McSuck
- I should be beating my head against the wall for deciding to review every WrestleMania (except 21), but I've invested too much time at this point to give up now. WrestleMania XI has always been my least favorite to sit through, with such a depleted roster that they were only able to book 7 matches, and one of them included a retired football player! On top of that, they bring in a retard to sing the National Anthem. No offense to the handicapped, but come on... couldn't they have sprung for Stevie Wonder or someone else to try and milk 10 more buys?
- Live from the Hartford Civic Center in Hartford, Connecticut on April 2nd, 1995 and it's one of the most boring looking sets for a WrestleMania ever. Also, for some reason there's a gaggle of photographers at ringside who constantly are in the way of spots outside of the ring. Oh yeah, commentary is handled by the duo of Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler. Jim Ross is handling interviews in the aisles. Celebrity guests include Pamela Anderson (when she was still famous), Jenna McCarthy (when she was kinda famous), Jonathon Taylor Thomas (before he vanished from the face of the earth), and Nicholas Tuturro from NYPD. Also we have Salt N Peppa singing something. Early WrestleMania reports promoted some group called Fishbone or something to sing the national anthem, but that was scrapted about a week later.
- The Allied Powers vs. The Blu Brothers (w/ Uncle Zebekiah):
(Lex Luger & The British Bulldog vs. Jacob & Eli Blu)
You open WrestleMania with THIS dog shit of a match?! No backstory either. It's a sad day in wrestling when THE FUCKING HARRIS BROTHERS get a spot on a WrestleMania that only features 7 matches. This is the debut of Luger and Bulldog as a tag team, and they also have a new theme music that combined their previous ones. Bad match all around, since Luger isn't much of a tag wrestler, the Twins of Suck are what the name I gave them suggests, and Davey Boy was way too far into his career to be able to carry a match with this much suck in it. Everything limps along at the pace of a snail until the Allied Powers don't take the fall to one of the evil Twin Switches, and Davey Boy comes off the top rope with a sunset flip on Blu Brother #2 for the three count at 6:36. At least this was short, I guess. After the match, Jim Ross tries to get an interview from the losing team. As if anyone wants to hear them talk. I said it before and I'll say it again... what a way to open WrestleMania! (1/4*)
- WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
"Double J" Jeff Jarrett © (w/ The Roadie) vs. Razor Ramon (w/ The 1-2-3 Kid):
Some minor backstory to this one: Jeff Jarrett took on the Roadie to be his... well, Roadie, but he did more than make sure Jarrett' microphone worked. At the 1995 Royal Rumble, the Roadie inserted himself into the Razor/Jarrett title match, clipping the knee of Razor, which eventually lead to Jarrett winning the belt with an ugly roll-up. I should note that before Jarrett was paired up with the Roadie, he was heatless. I'm talking Randy Orton in 2004 heatless. Dave Batista in 2002 heatless. Shane Douglas in 1991 heatless. I think I made my point... anyway, this is much better than the opener, but still, it's a barely motivated Scott Hall and JEFF JARRETT. You figure out how good this one is. All signs points to Ramon regaining the title for a third time (or did he win it for a 2 day period already at this point?), but the Roadie interferes before the Razor's Edge can be performed, and that's a lame Disqualification in favor of the Bad Guy at 13:32. If that was the finish they were going for, Jarrett working over Razor's leg all match sure was fucking pointless. After the match, The bad guys double team the babyfaces, but not before the Kid kicks Jarrett in the nose, busting his nose in the process. That's what you get for trying to be the Honkytonk Man! (**)
- The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. King Kong Bundy (w/ Ted Dibiase):
Now this is what really ticks me off. This was during the WWF's New Generation run, pushing new and exciting wrestlers... and yet, on this PPV alone, you have a World Champion pushing 40, a retired football player in the main event, and old has-beens like Bob Backlund and King Kong Bundy getting spots on the card. While Backlund was still able to "go", he's FAAAAAAAAAAAAAR from "the New Generation" that the WWF was pimping. Special Referee for the match is Larry Young, an American League Umpire (baseball was still gone thanks to a strike). Anyway, this match sucks, as you would expect. The Undertaker manages to get his urn back from Dibiase, but Kama, the Supreme Fighting Machine, steals it back 30 seconds later! The Undertaker doesn't care enough to go for it though, and quickly finishes Bundy off with a scoop slam and top rope clothesline at 6:40. This thankfully marked Bundy's last match on a WWF PPV. The "I steal Undertaker's urn" storyline would be rehashed over and over again for the next few years. (DUD)
- WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
The Smoking Gunns © vs. Owen Hart & Mystery Partner:
This dates back to the Tag Team Title Tournament (Quadruple T!), where Owen Hart (and Jim Neidhart) was disqualified for attacking his opponent (the Head Shrinkers) with his boot. Calling unfair judgment on the part of WWF officials, Owen was granted a title shot. Since Neidhart left yet again, we get the oh-so awesome "Mystery Partner" bit that always disappoints. In this case, it's Yokozuna's fat, worthless ass attempting to justify being employed despite GAINING a massive amount of weight when he was taken off the road following the 1994 Survivor Series to lose it. Despite the involvement of Yokozuna, Owen and the Gunns manage to work a somewhat good match, although the result shouldn't come as a surprise. The heels control for the most part, and the finish comes with Yokozuna squashing the future Ass-Man with the Banzai Drop, and Owen made the cover to win the Tag Titles at 9:43 (Owen's first title in the WWF). Owen and Yoko would hold on to the titles until the night after the 3rd In Your House in September of the same year. (**1/4)
- I Quit Match:
Bret "Hitman" Hart vs. Mr. Bob Backlund:
What a demotion for Hart... he won the World Title at the previous WrestleMania, and a year later is featured in a filler midcard match to end a "feud" that hasn't been built up since Survivor Series '94. Got to love that WWF booking team. I'm sure I can make a Special Olympics joke, but I won't, since I'm not that funny. Special referee for the second year in the row for a Bret Hart match is a "returning" Roddy Piper. Thank God this match didn't lead to another sucky PPV match between himself and some other washed up loser. If you've seen the Survivor Series match between the two, don't bother seeing this one. While that had a great sense of psychology and a shocking finish, this is just lukewarm and features both men phoning it in. To top it off, my PPV feed went out, so I didn't even get to see the finish! From what I heard, Bret Hart won by making Backlund "submit" to the Crossface Chickenwing at 9:40. Everyone says Backlund just mumbled, and that was good enough for the submission to Roddy Piper. Really disappointing match. (*1/2)
- WWF World Championship Match:
Diesel © vs. Shawn Michaels (w/ Psycho Sid):
Really weak build up here... last year when Diesel was still a heel, several miscommunications with Shawn Michaels lead to them splitting up as a team, and eventually to Diesel winning the World Title out of nowhere against Bob Backlund at an untelevised show at Madison Square Garden. In the biggest coincidence of the year, Shawn Michaels happend to win the Royal Rumble to earn his shot against Diesel at WrestleMania in one of the worst Royal Rumble matches of all time. For added insurance, Michaels hired a new bodyguard to interfere... I mean, protect him in his matches: Sid, back from another failed run in WCW and the 1994 Sotball Season. Very good match, but Diesel isn't very good in the babyface role, and Michaels offense at times is a bit too boring. The match seems to drag on for about 5 minutes too long until Diesel makes the Superman comeback and puts Michaels away with the Powerbomb at 20:37. After the match, Diesel celebrates in the ring with all of the celebrity guests trotted out for this match, including Pamela Anderson, who looked like she'd rather be anywhere else. Probably because of the positive response Michaels recieved from the crowd in this match, he suddenly turned face following a beatdown at the hands of the Sid the next night, and that in turn set up a Diesel/Sid PPV Feud that didn't light the world on fire, judging by the buyrates. (***1/4)
- Lawrence Taylor (w/ The All-Pro Team) vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ The Corporation):
You know your company is in the toilet when a football player is headlining the biggest show of the year. This goes back to the 1995 Royal Rumble, where Bigelow lost to the 1-2-3 Kid in the finals of a Tag Team Title Tournament. Bigelow took exception to L.T. laughing at him, and shoved him down with the power of all the hulkamaniacs. Stuff happend, and here we are. Taylor has Steve McMichael, Reggie White, Carl Banks, and a host of others with him, and Bigelow has the Lose Crew of Nickel and Dimes Volkoff, King Kong Bundy, and Tatanka (Buffalo), to name a few. Salt N' Peppa perform before the match and insult Bigelow, rightfully pissing him off. Obviously this is amatuer night at this point, but despite L.T. knowing jack shit about wrestling, he doesn't seem too out of place, and manages to keep up pretty well with Bigelow, who was only put into this spot because the money was right and he was promised a push in return for doing the job. Shawn Michaels and Company made sure that never happend, another reason to hate on that fucking piece of shit. Anyway, decent match here, with L.T. picking up the inevitable pinfall following a second rope diving forearm at 11:44. And thus ends another one of those terrible WrestleMania's that no one dares watch again incase of permanent brain-damage. Note my rating is VERY generous, and on a normal scale (not including celebrities), it would probably max out at the 1-star mark. Funny note: PWI actually ranked Lawrence Taylor in their PWI 500 issue that year, and higher than the Ultimate Warrior! (**)
Final Thoughts: Thank God this one is over. While only 2 matches really stood out as sucky, only 1 broke 3-stars, and everything else was either a disappointment or something not good enough for the biggest show of the year. I can safely say everything on this show is worth passing over. Strong Recommendation to Avoid.