WWF WrestleMania V
April 2, 1989
Atlantic City, NJ
The current WWF Champs were as follows:
World Champion: Randy Savage (3/27/1988)
Intercontinental Champion: Ultimate Warrior (8/29/1988)
World Tag Team Champions: Demolition (3/27/1988)
Women’s Champion: Rockin’ Robin (10/7/1988)
This is the only WrestleMania to ever originate from the same location consecutively. On a little more interesting note, the WWF once again wasn’t able to air a WrestleMania without the NWA putting on an awesome Clash of the Champions up against it. Those who decided to watch the NWA over the WWF witnessed a 2/3-falls match with NWA World Champion Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair in a 60-minute classic. That is just WRONG to air that against this show. Funny, but so wrong.
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse “The Jesse” Ventura!
WWF Women’s Champion Rockin’ Robin sings “America the Beautiful”. We’ve had Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and now Jake Roberts’ half sister? Please tell me that someone talented bailed on the WWF at the last minute here. I mean, Gene Okerlund was better than this!
- King Haku (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Hercules
Not exactly the “catch-as-catch-can”-style match to get the crowd going. Haku had beaten Harley Race back at the Royal Rumble for his crown and his robe and took over the “King” gimmick in the WWF for the time being. Haku attacks from behind to start, but Hercules turns the match around with some nice power moves before sending Haku out to the floor with a clothesline. Herc gives Haku a suplex back in and drills him with a pair of elbows. For some reason, he decides to go out after Bobby Heenan, who wasn’t doing anything to provoke him. Haku nails him from behind and drives him spine-first into the ring apron. Back in, Haku delivers a backbreaker and holds onto him for another one for 1-2-NO! Haku slaps on a bearhug. Hercules powers out, but Haku catches him with a throat thrust. Hercules comes back with a crossbody for 1-2-NO! Hercules avoids a dive out of the corner from Haku and then nails him with a knee-lift. Herc follows up with a pair of clotheslines and connects with a powerslam for 1-2-NO! Hercules comes off the top, but Haku catches him IN THE FACE with a kick on the way down. Now Haku tries something off the middle-turnbuckle, but Hercules rolls out of the way. Hercules ducks a swing and delivers a bridging back suplex for the 1-2-3. (6:53) Hercules appeared motivated and Haku was always pretty great before his WCW days. *½
- The Twin Towers (w/Slick) vs. The Rockers
This is Shawn Michaels’ WrestleMania debut match, which is an event he would always tend to shine the brightest on. Bossman starts off slapping Shawn in the corner. Bossman turns around to look at Jannetty, and then turns back around into a missile dropkick from Michaels. Shawn nails both Akeem and Bossman with forearms before Akeem receives a tag. The Rockers work his arm a bit until Akeem powers out and tags Bossman. Jannetty ends up into the arms of the Bossman after a leapfrog while Akeem comes off the ropes for a splash. The Twin Towers take turns beating the crap out of Jannetty for a while. Jannetty avoids a running splash from Akeem and makes the HOT TAG TO SHAWN! Together, the Rockers whip Akeem from corner-to-corner and then follow up with a double-flying shoulderblocks for 1-2-NO! Shawn’s hot streak ends with one HUGE clothesline from Akeem. Bossman tags and comes off the top for a splash, but there’s nobody home. Shawn covers for two. The Rockers trip up Bossman and give Akeem STEREO DROPKICKS! STEREO MISSILE DROPKICKS to Bossman! Oh man, Shawn mistimed it and that could’ve gone terribly wrong. Akeem dumps Jannetty as Shawn comes off the top, but he gets caught and takes a powerbomb to the mat! Akeem hits AIR AFRICA (diving splash) for the 1-2-3. (8:06) Nice power vs. speed match. **½
- “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase (w/Virgil) vs. Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake
Poor Teddy. He goes from the main event to the bland third match on the card all in the span of one year. This is the first time the unsanctioned “Million Dollar Belt” was ever shown on PPV, as it was debuted three weeks earlier on Saturday Night’s Main Event. DiBiase stalls a whole bunch to start, and then Beefcake knocks him back out to the floor for more stalling when he finally does get back in the ring. They try to do a match one more time as Beefcake pounds away on DiBiase, but then Virgil grabs Beefcake’s foot to give DiBiase an opening for a forearm. DiBiase chokes Beefcake down and connects with a Fist Drop for two. DiBiase connects off the middle rope with an elbow for two. He ducks low off a whip for an inside cradle for two, but then gets right back on top of Beefcake. DiBiase goes for a suplex, but Beefcake counters into one of his own. We get a double-KO spot, but DiBiase is up first and gets that suplex after all. DiBiase hooks on the MILLION DOLLAR DREAM, but quickly grabs the ropes. Beefcake comes back and slams DiBiase’s face into the turnbuckle a whole bunch and then applies the SLEEPER. Beefcake lets go of the hold and goes after Virgil as he hops up on the apron, allowing DiBiase to nail Beefcake from behind and out to the floor. Virgil pounds away on him while the ref is busy with DiBiase, but Beefcake NO-SELLS and chases Virgil. Of course, Beefcake forgets all about DiBiase, who comes up and nails him from behind AGAIN. Some people NEVER learn. They trade blows on each other for the double-countout. (10:02) It started out slow and never really went anywhere. Beefcake wants to do a little cutting afterwards, but DiBiase isn’t going to let that happen. *
- The Rougeau Brothers (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. The Bushwhackers
Jimmy’s jacket gets grabbed by the Bushwhackers in the pre-match shenanigans, but the Rougeaus pound on them for it. Once things settle, Luke starts off with Raymond. Luke misses a fist drop, but then he and Butch give Raymond the Battering Ram move. Luke covers and Jacques tries to save, but ends up giving Raymond a knee drop by accident. After some regrouping, the Rougeaus double-team on Luke while the ref seems more concerned with Butch. I mean, they control Luke for several minutes here. The Rougeaus screw up when they decide to hug and celebrate kicking Luke in the gut. They celebrate a little TOO much, as Raymond takes another Battering Ram and then the DOUBLE-GUTBUSTER for the Bushwhackers win. (5:11) I’ve seen this match listed at 9:10, but I didn’t see where the Anthology version edited anything out. This was your basic unfunny comedy match. It’s just hard to watch the Bushwhackers though after seeing them destroy the Fantastics six months earlier. ½*
- Mr. Perfect vs. The Blue Blazer
In case you care, this is the first match that Hennig started wearing a singlet instead of your basic black trunks. Kind of a sad match too, in retrospect. Perfect starts off punking Blazer around. That is, until Blazer flips out of a hiptoss and dropkicks Perfect out to the floor for a baseball slide (YEAH!). Back in, Blazer controls Perfect with some basic stuff until he comes off the top for a splash, but he hits knees. Perfect works the back with a rear chinlock, but Blazer escapes and catches Perfect charging at him in the corner with a boot. Standing powerslam by Blazer gets two, followed by a BEAUTIFUL Belly-to-Belly Suplex for another two. Next up, Blazer busts out a crucifix for another near-fall. Blazer turns away to argue with the ref and pays for it with a SICK forearm shot. PERFECTPLEX! It’s over. (5:51) Definitely the finest set of moves you’ll find on this card. **½
To prove that he’s in tip-top physical condition to compete in the tag-team handicap match, Mr. Fuji does a 5K run (in his tuxedo, top hat and cane!) and finishes at 19:30! His English not so good.
Run-DMC raps the “WrestleMania Rap”! For shizzle.
- WWF World Tag Team Champions Demolition vs. Powers of Pain & Mr. Fuji – 3-on-2 Handicap Match
LOD RIP-OFFS EXPLODE! This feud dates back to Survivor Series in November where Fuji turned on Demolition (the CHAMPS! What kind of manager dumps champions?) and sides with the Powers of Pain for a double-turn situation. Interestingly enough, the face turn by the Demos allowed them to carry the belts for what seemed like two reigns instead of only one, as they would go on to hold the record for the single longest tag title reign in WWE history of 478 days. According to Monsoon, this is the first time that the tag belts have been defended in a handicap match. Warlord gets pounded by the Demos to start, that is until Warlord backs Smash into his corner to tag in Barbarian. Smash fights back and tags in Ax to put the hurting on Barbarian with a neck vice. Both teams juggle control of the match for a while. Fuji tags in and chops Ax down for a diving headbutt to the groin area, then turns things back over to his Powers. They do more damage to Ax, but then Fuji tags in and misses something off the top. Warlord cuts off the tag to Smash, but then gets nailed with a forearm to set up the HOT TAG TO SMASH! While Ax dumps Barbarian, Fuji inadvertently tosses powder in Warlord’s eyes and receives the DEMOLITION DECAPITATION to give Demolition the win. (8:56) Real basic and boring stuff. ½*
- Dino Bravo (w/Frenchie Martin) vs. “Rugged” Ron Garvin
For some reason, Howard Finkel stops everything before the match to bring Jimmy Snuka out to show everyone that he has returned to the WWF. Garvin turns his back on Bravo to toss his towel out to the crowd and gets nailed from behind for it. Bravo drives some forearms in Garvin’s back and goes to the bearhug. Bravo throws him into the corner like a rag doll and then gives Garvin a bunch of shoulderblocks. Garvin fires back and smashes Bravo’s head into the buckle a few times for two. Garvin follows up with a sleeper. Once Bravo grabs the ropes, Garvin tries for a piledriver. Bravo backdrops out, but Garvin holds on for a sunset flip for 1-2-NO! They head to the corner for a ten-count corner punch, but Bravo counters out with an inverted atomic drop and hits the SIDE SUPLEX for the 1-2-3. (4:00) Well, at least Ron Garvin was motivated. Frenchie attacks Garvin after the match, but all that gets him is the GARVIN STOMP. *½
- The Brain Busters (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Strike Force
This is the Strike Force reunion, as it’s the first time they’ve teamed together since Martel was injured back in July of ’88. We get a headlock sequence by Martel and Blanchard right from the start. Martel takes a knee in the back by Arn, but Martel fights out of the ‘Busters corner. Santana comes in for a double-dropkick to send the ‘Busters out to the floor. Back in, Arn ducks low off a whip and takes a face slam for two. Arn gets a body scissors on Martel, but Martel turns it around into a BOSTON CRAB. Tully reaches in and thumbs Martel in the eye to break it up. Blanchard tags in, but then Santana grabs a blind tag and bulldogs Blanchard down to set up a FIGURE-FOUR. Arn comes in, but Martel catches him for STEREO FIGURE-FOURS. This isn’t the NWA. I love how the crowd stands up for that. Once that’s broken up, Tito wins a headlock sequence and gets a backslide for 1-2-NO! Santana blind-tags Martel and goes for the FLYING JALAPENO, but Blanchard ducks and Santana hits Martel instead. Martel rolls out to the floor and throws a tantrum while the ‘Busters take turns beating the crap out of Tito. At one point, Santana breaks free of Anderson and crawls over to tag Martel, but he refuses to tag and walks off to the back in disgust! The ‘Busters toil with Santana a little longer and then give him the SPIKE PILEDRIVER for the 1-2-3. (9:18) Match was okay, but it was all just to set up the Santana-Martel feud anyways. **
- Piper’s Pit (w/Brother Love & Morton Downey Jr.)
This would mark the first appearance of Roddy Piper in the WWF since they were at the Pontiac Silverdome at WrestleMania 3, as he left to make a bunch of B-movies that you can check out Saturdays on the WB every once in a while. Brother Love “fools us all” and shows up in a kilt to do his best Roddy Piper imitation, which is actually pretty good. Morton Downey Jr. comes down next. If you don’t know who he is, he’s had his own talk show, smoked a lot of cigarettes, and hated liberals. He looks like House, except with horse teeth and he can run. Piper finally makes an appearance to make fun of Brother Love. As for Morton Downey Jr, he blows a bunch of smoke in Piper’s face and gets a fire extinguisher sprayed back in his face.
- Andre the Giant (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts (w/Damien the SNAKE~!) – Special Referee: Big John Studd
Andre is DEATHLY afraid of snakes and Big John Studd is back for revenge on Andre as a face, which is why he’s here. The turnbuckle pad is immediately gone to start, so Andre uses that to his advantage. By this point, all Andre could really do is slap, choke, and sit on you. That goes on for a good long while until Roberts fires back and Andre gets tied up in the ropes for a good choking. Jake goes after Damien, but Studd stops him, which gives Andre enough time to break free out of the ropes and choke Jake down. Andre goes for a shoulder block in the corner, but he ends up hitting him with his head instead to what appeared to be an accident. Jake comes back with a knee lift and then drives Andre face-first into the exposed turnbuckle. Andre stops that with a chop out to the floor and then continues to knock Jake off the apron to give him and Studd some confrontation time. They get into a shoving contest while DiBiase and Virgil run down to attack Jake and run off with Damien. Jake gets Damien back while Andre gives Studd a whole bunch of headbutts in the ring. Damien gets tossed in to make Andre leave him alone and we got a DQ win for Roberts. (9:39) Poor Andre. He was SO done at this point. Andre/Studd would never happen as Studd’s health began to worsen to force him into permanent retirement. CRAP
- The Hart Foundation vs. Honky Tonk Man & Greg Valentine (w/Jimmy Hart)
The Harts dominate to start. Neidhart nails Valentine with a slingshot shoulderblock from the apron for two. Bret connects with a backbreaker, but totally misses an elbow drop for the heels to take over with some methodical hammering. Honky hits the SHAKE RATTLE AND ROLL, but doesn’t cover and tags in Valentine for the FIGURE-FOUR! What? Bret claws out of it, but then gets caught with a gutbuster. Bret delivers a desperation crossbody on Honky, but that goes nowhere. Valentine tags in and blocks a rollup off the ropes, allowing Bret to roll away and make the tag to Neidhart. He’s got dropkicks for everyone! RUNNING SHOULDERBLOCK for Valentine gets 1-2-NO! Honky makes the save. Big clothesline on Valentine gets another two. Bret and Honky both tag for Bret to OWN him. Valentine runs in and nails Neidhart off the apron, so while the ref is busy getting Valentine out of the ring, Neidhart grabs Jimmy’s megaphone and tosses it in the ring for Bret to WALLOP Honky with it for the 1-2-3. (7:41) Pretty average stuff, as you might expect. *
- WWF Intercontinental Champion Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude (w/Bobby Heenan)
To set this one up, Rude attacked Warrior during a totally heterosexual pose-down at the Royal Rumble, which I guess warrants him a title shot. On a serious note, 1989 was the year Rude began to show some real improvement to becoming one of the best wrestlers of the early ’90s until his career was cut short due to an injury in 1994. Rude tries to drive his knee into the crazed Warrior to start, but Warrior still has the belt on! Warrior strips off the belt and starts shoving Rude repeatedly in the corner and then slaps on a bearhug. Rude pokes Warrior in the eyes to escape and then comes off the top with a missile dropkick! Rude covers, but Warrior NO-SELLS and presses him off of him. Warrior gives him a couple more slams and grabs the bearhug again. Would it kill you to use another move? Rude bites out of it, but Warrior returns the favor and then gives him a backdrop. Warrior goes for the GUERILLA SPLASH, but Rude brings up his knees to block it. Rude follows up with a Piledriver (!) and slowly rolls over for the cover for 1-2-NO! Rude hits a jawbreaker and tries his hip-swiveling pose, but his back hurts WAY too much to pull it over. Rude clothesline gets two. Crappy Russian legsweep from Rude gets another two. Rude hooks on a modified surfboard, but Warrior quickly grabs the ropes for extra energy (because he’s weird like that) and then catches Rude with a running shoulderblock. Warrior delivers a backbreaker and then tries to lift Rude back up, but Warrior ends up dropping Rude clumsily in the ropes. Warrior whips Rude from corner-to-corner, but then he misses a splash. Rude tries for the RUDE AWAKENING, but Warrior actually powers out and clotheslines Rude out to the apron. Warrior attempts to suplex Rude back in, but then Heenan grabs his legs for Rude to fall on top of him. Heenan even grabs hold of Warrior’s leg during the pin attempt for 1-2-3! New Champ! (9:43) Warrior gives Heenan a GUERILLA PRESS SLAM after the match and then runs after Rude. Not a bad little match. Rude walked out looking like a champ. Not so much for the finish, but he looked real solid throughout. **
- Bad News Brown vs. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
Bad News gets an early start on Duggan, but then he misses a charge in the corner for Duggan to take over with more punches. Bad News decides to take a walk and comes back in for more punches. However, Bad News catches Duggan ducking low off a whip and starts driving his head into the buckle. What? Duggan NO-SELLS! Wait, who’s the REAL black guy in this match? Duggan fights back with shoulderblocks in the corner, but then turns around and gets slugged. They go to the floor where Bad News whips Duggan shoulder-first into the ringpost. Back in, Duggan avoids the GHETTO BLASTER and delivers the THREE-POINT STANCE, so Bad News gets PISSED OFF and brings a chair into the ring. Since he has the chair, Hacksaw grabs his 2×4. They start SWORD-FIGHTING and the ref throws the match out on a double-DQ. (3:48) A fairly energetic finishing sequence keeps it from total crap. It wasn’t a good match, but it wasn’t really ever boring. ½*
- Red Rooster vs. Bobby Heenan (w/Brooklyn Brawler)
Monsoon and Ventura try to sell the Guerilla Press Slam Heenan received earlier as a detriment for him for this match. Heenan cowers away immediately and pays for it with some punches. He reverses a whip out of the corner, but then charges and runs shoulder-first into the ringpost for the quick 1-2-3 to win it for the Rooster. (0:33) Brawler attacks after the bell to set up a feud for them. Hey, they got nothing else to do. CRAP
- WWF World Champion Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan
Before we dig into the match, let’s look back on the entire Mega Powers relationship throughout this 18-month period. The first on-screen mutual meeting between the two began on a SNME in November of 1987 when Hogan came to Savage’s aid, who was being brutalized by the Honky Tonk Man and the Hart Foundation. We really didn’t hear much more out of these two as a team until WrestleMania IV when Hogan once again came to Savage’s aid and helped him defeat Ted DiBiase by nailing the Million Dollar Man with a chairshot to the back unbeknownst to Savage himself. This alone shows Hogan’s not against cheating to get what he wants when an opportunity comes his way. Hogan celebrates with Savage and the “Mega Powers” are born. Of course, Hogan (or any other straight male) couldn’t help but realize that Savage has a beautiful valet/girlfriend named Elizabeth. By the end of the summer of 1988, Hogan began to get friendlier with Elizabeth by lifting her up on his shoulders after a big win. Just like how any boyfriend on the planet would feel, this wasn’t cool. However you don’t want to mention to your girlfriend or to your best friend that they’re might have something other than a platonic relationship behind closed doors. Absolutely not. So what do you do? Well, if you’re like Randy Savage, you hold it inside you until you go CRAZY. On the other side of the coin, Hogan had been without his beloved WWF championship that he had held onto for the previous four years. With Hogan back full-time after completing his movie, “No Holds Barred”, it’s became apparent that he had title fever again. When Savage turned on Hogan, Hogan didn’t blatantly come out and say he wanted his belt back until Savage challenged him for revenge at WrestleMania V. He said this quite plainly a few weeks earlier on SNME that he was going to WrestleMania V to get his belt back. This proves that Hogan not only drove Savage to a maniacal point to beat him for his title, but to take his girl away from him as well, as Elizabeth would remain in Hogan’s corner for the rest of 1989. What a great friend.
Okay! Elizabeth is at ringside, but she’s here for both men tonight. Savage stalls to start. They tie up and Hogan shoves him off to the mat. Hulk shoves off a headlock and nails Savage with a shoulderblock to send him out to the floor for more stalling. Back in, Savage grabs another headlock and pounds Hulk in the face. Hogan shoves it off again, but Savage grabs the ropes and heads back out to the floor. Hogan chases Savage around the ring to Elizabeth, who he hides behind so Hogan won’t pop him. Interestingly enough, Hogan would do the same thing seven years later in WCW. Savage gets back in the ring and taunts Hulk a bunch. Hogan pulls off some CHAIN WRESTLING and goes from a headlock to a drop-toe hold to a front headlock, but Savage stands up out of it and counters with a back suplex. Savage comes back with a double-ax handle to a nice pop from the crowd for two. Savage works an armbar for a while until Hogan yanks Savage out to the floor by his tights. Back in, Hogan delivers some buckle smashing and follows up with the running clothesline to set up a pair of elbow drops before grinding his boot across Savage’s face. That’s some 1997 Hollywood Hogan stuff there. Hogan ducks low off a whip and goes down to a clothesline for two. Savage hooks on a rear chinlock and we see Hogan is cut open. Hogan elbows out and connects with an atomic drop, but then he misses an elbow drop. Savage nails him with a running high knee into the corner and rolls Hulk up for one. Savage whips Hogan from corner to corner until Hulk ends up grabbing at Savage’s feet. Savage starts posing too much and allows Hogan to get back to his feet. Hogan comes back with punches a corner clothesline before lifting Savage up and tossing him out to the floor! Elizabeth runs over to check on him, but Savage pushes her away and tells her that he doesn’t need her help! Hogan gets pulled out, but Hulk won’t let Savage ram his head into anything! Hogan lifts Savage up on his shoulders again, but this time he wants to ram Savage into the ringpost. Elizabeth stands in his way, preventing him from seriously hurting Savage. This allows Savage to slip off and shove Hogan into the ringpost, as Elizabeth scurries out of the way just in time. Elizabeth checks on Hogan, but Savage pulls her away from him and tells her to get out of here. Ref Dave Hebner has had enough of this Elizabeth foolishness and sends her to the dressing room for good. While Hogan tries to stand up using the guardrail, Savage seizes the moment and gives Hulk a TOP-ROPE DOUBLE-AX on the floor! Back in, Savage delivers the Running Hotshot and follows up with the Bossman Straddle. He does MORE damage to the throat by driving his elbow into Hogan’s throat from the apron. Savage hits the standing knee drop for two. To set up for the MACHO ELBOW, Savage simply CHOKES Hogan down to the mat! He connects with the MACHO ELBOW for 1-2-NO! Hogan HULKS UP, hits his usual (punches, big boot, leg drop) and wins his 2nd WWF Championship. (17:55) Typical Hogan finish aside, this is one of his top five best matches of his entire career. ***½
Final Thoughts: Much like the early WrestleManias (3, 6, and 7), there’s a TON of filler on these cards in between the good stuff. There are some okay matches on here, but nothing aside from the main event is must-see. I have to go with thumbs down for WrestleMania V, as you can check out the Hogan/Savage match on his newest DVD.