Monday, May 1, 2017

WrestleMania 2: The Three-Ring Circus

William "Refrigerator" Perry
(Photo: SI.com)

WrestleMania 2 – April 7, 1986

WrestleMania was such as success that the sequel was expanded to three locations: New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Bigger isn’t always better.

The three mini-shows provided a choppy flow, with a main event level bout followed by a preliminary bout in the next location.

The show was also bloated with three times the celebrity guests and guest commentators, although the NFL players provided a lot of star power in the battle royale.

Long Island, N.Y. – Nassau Coliseum

1. Paul Orndorff vs. Magnificent Muraco (with Mr. Fuji)

Orndorff goes from main-eventing the first WrestleMania to jerking the curtain at the second. I guess turning babyface doesn’t pay. The match ends in a double-countout, so we’re not off to a good start.

2. Intercontinental title: George Steele vs. Randy Savage (champion, with Elizabeth)

Steele actually kicked out of Macho Man’s top-rope elbow, but he couldn’t survive the “feet on the ropes” trick.

3. Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. George Wells

Roberts wins with the DDT and drapes Damien the snake on his opponent. Wells starts foaming at the mouth, which is pretty scary.

4. Boxing match: Mr. T vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper

Piper said, "I'm not going to cut my hair like an Indian and paint myself black." Well, he was half right.

I love how Darryl Dawkins, G. Gordon Liddy and Cab Calloway are judging the boxing match despite being totally unqualified to do so.

Piper gamely matched up with the actor who played a boxer in Rocky III. Piper shoved the referee down and bodyslammed Mr. T, earning a disqualification. The whole New York portion of the show was weak.

Rosemont (Ill.) Horizon

5. Women’s title: Velvet McIntyre vs. Fabulous Moolah (champion)

McIntyre missed a splash off the top rope and Moolah got the pin in one minute. Velvet got robbed. Her foot was clearly on the ropes, and the announcers were like, "What a quick win for Moolah!"

6.  Flag match: Cpl. Kirchner vs. Nikolai Volkoff (with Freddie Blassie)

Blassie used his cane, since it worked so well at the first WrestleMania, but he accidentally threw it right to Kirchner.  The corporal got the win and waved Old Glory.

7. 20-Man WWF vs. NFL Battle Royale

Russ Francis of the San Francisco 49ers looked great here. The Chicago crowd went nuts for William “The Refrigerator” Perry, who was eliminated by Big John Studd before pulling Studd out after a fake handshake.

Andre the Giant won by eliminating both members of the Hart Foundation. Andre’s two WrestleMania wins provided the perfect build to his showdown with Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania III.

8. Tag team title: British Bulldogs (with Capt. Lou Albano & Ozzy Osborne) vs. Greg Valentine & Brutus Beefcake (champions, with Johnny V)

Valentine wrestled 90 percent of the match for some reason. Davey Boy rammed Valentine’s head into Dynamite, knocking him almost into the crowd. Davey Boy got the pin and the Bulldogs won the belts. The Chicago matches were better than the New York bouts.

Los Angeles Sports Arena

Lee Marshall was great as the ring announcer in LA! That's the role he should have played throughout his wrestling career.

With Herb (Burger King) and Clara Peller (Wendy's) serving as timekeepers in New York and Chicago, they should have gone with Grimace in LA instead of Ricky Shroeder.

9.  Ricky Steamboat vs. Hercules
Steamboat won a fun “speed vs. power” battle with a top-rope bodypress.

10. Uncle Elmer vs. “Adorable” Adrian Adonis (with Jimmy Hart)
Elmer dominated the early part of this superheavyweight battle. Adonis avoided Elmer’s legdrop and won with a top-rope headbutt.

11. Junkyard Dog & Tito Santana vs. Terry & Hoss Funk (with Jimmy Hart)
Best match of the night. This was all crazy action. Terry Funk is the MVP of the night for bumping all over the place before pinning JYD after a shot with Hart’s megaphone.

12. Steel cage match for WWF title : Hulk Hogan vs. King Kong Bundy (with Bobby Heenan)
Hogan was out for revenge after Bundy’s attack on his ribs on Saturday Night’s Main Event. Hogan won the bloody battle by escaping the cage and beat up Heenan to boot. This was another good way to build to the showdown with Andre at WM 3.

Next: The Big Event in Toronto

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