You ever have one of those days where you wake up and wonder when you became an adult? Like someone stole your Summer Vacation when you weren't looking and replaced it with boring 9-5 all day every day? Well, I had one of those days recently. I was walking through a department store making my way to the hardware department to find some part to fix some random thing that of course had broken down when I had least expected it. And then I saw it. In the Toy section, sitting on the bottom shelf of the "action figures" aisle. An Ultimate Warrior/Hulk Hogan WWF classic figurine set from their showdown at Wrestlemania 6.
|My wardrobe back to Narnia?|
So, here I am. Attempting to tap back into my childhood. Making every effort to re-create the days gone by I sit down with a medium, hand-tossed pepperoni pizza, a box of Mike & Ike's, and a Diet Mountain Dew. (Ok, I have to draw the line somewhere.) In pops the tape and I sit back to enjoy "approx. 3 hrs" of childhood bliss.
I always loved the beginning to any WWF video and the multiple commercials for the WWF action figures and ring. What kid didn't drool in his Saturday morning cereal over the action figures "so close to the real thing, its like being in the ring?" I think I had these ads memorized.
|Every kid's dream.|
Next, a WWF merchandise catalog commercial starring The American Dream Dusty Rhodes. Really?? They couldn't find anyone else to pitch their products? Maybe someone without a giant lssssssppppp. What, was Mr. Fuji double booked? Well, at least we know now what Dusty was doing when everyone else was hitting the gym.
A video montage depicting Warrior and Hogan as constellations in the stars with Vince McMahon crooning "champion vs. champion, title for title, its Wrrrreesssttttllmaaannnia!!!" I am officially geeked out.
We cut to the Toronto Skydome and a giant banner with the Wrestlemania VI logo. Because everyone knows all really cool PPVs are spelled in Roman numerals. Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse "the Body" Ventura on commentary. Does it get any better than this?
|Who's driving this thing?|
|I think even the bird is embarrassed.|
Well, we have our first title match of the evening with the Tag Team Champions, the Colossal Connection defending against Demolition. The Connection is made up of an aging Andre the Giant, a somewhat talented Haku and Bobby "the Brain" Heenan as the manager. Heenan is by far the best thing going in this match. I never really got the whole Demolition thing, great face paint don't get me wrong, but these guys really can't wrestle. Its all downhill once they hit the ring. Haku is carrying this match as he's the only guy with more than 3 moves in his arsenal...including what Gorilla tells me is a trapezius nerve hold but actually looks like an inviting deep tissue massage. Things I accepted as truth as a kid This one goes south for the Connection after Andre is accidentally kicked in the face by Haku and Demolition are your new Tag Team Champions.
Next up is the Earthquake vs. Hercules. My initial prediction is 90 seconds for this one. Let's see if Hercules can prove me wrong. He's trying desperately to win over the crowd but it isn't happening. My guess is it has something to do with the tiny undies he is sporting. I mean, c'mon I'm trying forget that what I'm watching is essentially a bunch of dudes rolling around in their skivvies.
|Hey Herc, how bout we leave a little to the imagination huh?|
I'll give the guy a little credit, he puts up a better fight than anticipated and actually lasts about 3 mins. Earthquake scores the win after his vertical splash and lands a couple more post match just for good measure.
Now I'm genuinely excited for this next match as it has one of my all-time favorite "bad guy" wrestlers (and STS top 10 wrestling heel), Mr Perfect. Even as a kid I could appreciate his gimmick. The towel, the swatting of the gum and the great tagline of "nobody beats Mr. Perfect, nobody." Tonight he gets Brutus "the Barber" Beefcake who has by far the biggest mullet in all of the WWF.
|Look at that thing!|
Gorilla comments that Beefcake comes in with tights that "looks like a hand grenade went off in his pocket." And he's wearing pink. And he hails from San Francisco. And his name is Beefcake. Could it be? Nah. This one gets off to a great start as Pefect can sell a move like no one else. He makes it look like Brutus has super-human strength, tossing him around the ring like a rag doll. Shot of Mary Tyler Moore sitting at ringside, Gorilla claims she's a big Brutus fan...I have my doubts. We're now reached the point of every Mr Perfect match where his hair looks like he stuck a finger in a light socket so I know this one is coming to its conclusion.
|Borrowing Polamalu's shampoo I bet|
|No caption needed here...|
Well, while I was away at the fridge I missed what turned out to be the fastest match in Wrestlemania history. The Bolsheviks, standing to sing the anthem of the USSR, were ambushed by the Hart Foundation and subsequently pinned. Poor communists, just can't catch a break.
Time for a change of pace. And no one changes pace like Tito Santana. Tonight he gets to lose to...er I mean wrestle the Barbarian. As the match begins Jesse suggests "Chico" should've sent the Barbarian some
|Really? I mean really?|
We cut to interviews with Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior. This is why this era of the WWF was so great. Warrior and Hogan were characters straight from the pages of a comic book. Larger than life. These two really knew how to build a character and market it to the masses. I think it still translates today.
|I mean, what's not to love?|
|You be the judge.|
|In this case a picture says two words...maybe|
In the next bout I am treated to what will surely be a clinic on the finer points of technical wrestling. Dino Bravo vs. "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan. As I watch these two in the ring, Dino running circles and Hacksaw pretending his two by four is a rifle, I can't help but wonder if there's a shorter tour bus that brings these two from city to city. Does that make me a mean person?
Dino Bravo is dubbed as the "Canadian Strongman." Whenever your gimmick is a combination of your nationality and the fact that as a professional wrestler you are strong, you know the marketing folks back at WWF headquarters didn't waste a lot of manpower on your character. Thankfully this match is pretty short with Duggan getting the win but taking a beating at the hands of Bravo's partner-in-crime, the Earthquake, after the match.
theme song. "Cause I'm the Million Dollar Man and I ALWAYS get my way!! Mwahahahaha!" The match starts with a fast pace. DiBiase delivers a great pile driver and taunts the crowd while working over Roberts. The crowd is really into this one, finally waking up from the Dusty Rhodes induced slumber (I just can't help myself). Roberts bounces back and the crowd begins to call for the DDT which has got to be one of the top 5 finishers of all time. Plus, it was delivered on many unsuspecting friends and siblings growing up...could be the reason play dates were so hard to come by. But of course that sneaky DiBiase stooge Virgil gets involved and Jake gets counted out. But Roberts gets in a post-match DDT on the Million Dollar Man and proceeds to give some of Ted's cash to fans in the front row. I wonder what the exchange rate was in 1990...
|Let's press our bellies together|
|This gimmick didn't work?|
|Tom Sellick- eat your heart out|
|Warrior with the Gorilla Press Slam!|
|Still the best.|