It’s Wrestlemania season so what better time to have a mania themed ‘Well That Didn’t Work‘ than now? In this latest post Craig goes back in time to 1986 and Wrestlemania 2.
A year after hosting the make or break Wrestlemania 1, the WWE needed ideas how to follow that up. It was decided that the show would be split across 3 different venues the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, the Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois, and the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California, with four matches taking place at each.
However, the show ended up being the ultimate swing and a miss.
While it was never going to be a classic, the Hulk Hogan and King Kong Bundy cage match delivered and the tag titles match was excellent.
Sure, you could argue the Hogan v Bundy cage match followed a very similar format to any other Hogan vs monster heel matches that had taken place but Hogan sold so well here and you actually believed, I know I know, that Hogan’s title run was in jeopardy within the confines of the old school blue WWF steel cage.
That tag titles match, though, was really very good. It’s tag team wrestling at its finest as the British Bulldogs, with Ozzy Osbourne in their corner, defeated the Dream Team to win the tag gold. Arguably the best bit is how little Brutus Beefcake is actually involved in the match, perhaps a recognition of his lack of in-ring ability compared to the other three superstars in this match-up. It featured plenty of false finishes that got you on the edge of your seat and a nice surprise ending with the Bulldogs winning the tag gold.
Add in to that the WWF vs NFL battle royal that was far better than it was expected to be and Ricky Steamboat somehow getting a good match out of Hercules, then you can see there are a few things of some note on the card.
As for the worst match? Where do you start? Nothing stands out from the New York portion. Paul Orndorff and The Magnificent Muraco fight to a doubt DQ, the Macho Man vs George Steele bout is rubbish and more than a bit silly and Jake Roberts vs George Wells is a nothing bout. The main event boxing match was ill conceived, a poor spectacle and had a fairly predictable ending.
In Chicago, no one bar the superstars involved would have been saddened if The Fabulous Moolah vs Velvet McIntyre and Nikolai Volkoff vs Corporal Kichner hadn’t taken place. The last two Chicago matches probably made it value for money for those fans that attended but it had far too much filler and nowhere near enough killer.
LA gets a decent deal with the aforementioned Steamboat vs Hercules exceeding expectations, Terry & Hoss Funk vs Junkyard Dog and Tito Santana being a fun tag match and the main event steel cage title match being solid.
Ultimately, this show was when the WWE were still experimenting with Wrestlemania, it was spread over three cities, so each only got four matches and some closed circuit TV. It wasn’t like the Wrestlemanias that we come to expect now and was, really, not much more than a regular house show with a big main event and a handful of fairly hot undercard bouts.
However, as with many of the early Wrestlemanias, there was far too much filler here. New York was worst treated with nothing memorable, bar the dud boxing match, taking place there. The WWF v NFL battel Royal and tag titles match from Chicago and the LA card bar Adrian Adonis v Uncle Elmer saved this card from being utterly awful.
If Wrestlemania 2 had been held at one venue with 2 or 3 of the matches removed then this would have been a half decent mania in the grand scheme of things. Instead, we are left looking back at an experiment that went wrong and, bar a few matches, a show that isn’t memorable in the slightest.
You can read all previous ‘Well That Didn’t Work’ posts here.