Recaps (PPV/Event)WWE PPVWWE PPV 1986

‘WWF WRESTLEMANIA 2’ Recap + Thoughts – Hogan vs. Bundy, Dream Team vs. Bulldogs, 3 Venues in 3 Cities

DATE: April 7, 1986
VENUE 1: Nassau Coliseum (Uniondale, NY)
VENUE 2: Rosemont Horizon (Rosemont, IL)
VENUE 3: Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena (Los Angeles, CA)
COMMENTATORS: Various

After taking a big gamble with their first WrestleMania the year before, the WWF decided to ride their wave of popularity and one-up what they had done previously by holding the 2nd annual event in THREE venues, each with its own main event. A radical and unique idea…if you ignore the fact that NWA had done something similar with two venues the year before for Starrcade ‘85: The Gathering (aka the bloodiest show in American pro wrestling history). Anyway this is an event I have avoided doing for a long time because I don’t remember liking it AT ALL but it’s a glaring hole on the website that only I care about and I must fix it. Let’s pull the bandaid off.

CHAMPIONS

  • WWF CHAMPION: Hulk Hogan
  • WWF WOMEN’S CHAMPION: The Fabulous Moolah
  • WWF INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION: “Macho Man” Randy Savage
  • WWF TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: The Dream Team (Greg “The Hammer” Valentine & Brutus Beefcake)

LINEUP (Good Stuff in Bold)

  • Paul Orndorff vs. Magnificent Muraco
  • Randy Savage [c] vs. George Steele for the WWF INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP
  • George Wells vs. Jake Roberts
  • BOXING MATCH: Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper
  • The Fabulous Moolah [c] vs. Velvet McIntyre for the WWF LADIES’ CHAMPIONSHIP
  • FLAG MATCH: Corporal Kirchner vs. Nikolai Volkoff
  • 20 Man Battle Royal
  • The Dream Team [c] vs. The British Bulldogs for the WWF TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
  • Ricky Steamboat vs. Hercules Hernandez
  • Uncle Elmer vs. Adrian Adonis
  • Junkyard Dog & Tito Santana vs. Hoss & Terry Funk
  • STEEL CAGE MATCH: Hulk Hogan [c] vs. King Kong Bundy for the WWF CHAMPIONSHIP

*****

Vince McMahon welcomes the Nassau Coliseum (and those watching on big screens in the other two venues) to WRESTLEMANIA TWOOOOO and brings out his co-host, TV actress Susan Saint James. I have no idea who that is. McMahon then introduces Ray Charles who brings down the motherf*cking house with his rendition of “America The Beautiful” even through some technical difficulties. Ray Charles is the man. Best part is obviously the still of HULK HOGAN as the song concludes, because Hulk Hogan is a Real American who fights for the rights of every man. 

”Mean” Gene Okerlund welcomes the home audience, coming to us live from the Rosemont Horizon to hype the NFL vs. WWF battle royal.

Lou Duva hypes up “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (accompanied by Bob Orton Jr.) ahead of his boxing match with Mr. T tonight. Piper says he grew his hair long so people could tell him and Mr. T apart (hmmm), and if Mr. T can knock him out he will quit pro wrestling, tiddlywinks, and dating girls. Piper concludes by saying unlike Mr. T he’d never shave his hair like an Indian and paint himself black. WELL ABOUT THAT LAST THING HE SAID…

“Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff vs. Magnificent Muraco [w/ Mr. Fuji]

Orndorff headlined the first WrestleMania the year before, taking the pinfall loss in a tag team match against Hulk Hogan & Mr. T after Bob Orton Jr. accidentally hit him with his cast. Orndorff’s partner, Roddy Piper, blamed him for the loss and Orndorff eventually turned face against his former allies, becoming best friends with Hulk Hogan…for a few months until turning on him too but we’ll cross that bridge if I ever get a BIG EVENT recap up on JVPW.

Orndorff and Muraco feel each other out as we get some pre-recorded comments from both men. None of them are particularly interesting. Muraco slams Orndorff, Orndorff kicks him away and connects with a slam of his own, showing some BABYFACE FIRE that absolutely does not fit him whatsoever. Some people are natural heels. Orndorff reverses a corner whip and connects with a backdrop, then takes him to the mat with toehold, transitioning into an armbar. McMahon tries to lead James around on commentary but it doesn’t sound like it’s working as well as he was hoping. Muraco tries to escape, Orndorff keeps control of the wrist. Susan Saint James says Orndorff is using “ANCIENT CHINESE TECHNIQUES” or some sh*t, Muraco finally escapes with a slam and rams Orndorff into the corner. Orndorff fires back with elbows and they both spill out to the floor, brawling until the ref counts them out. Oh.

Paul Orndorff & Magnificent Muraco fought to a double countout (4:14)

  • Orndorff went from the main event of the first ‘Mania to curtain jerking the second in a do nothing match with no finish, no wonder he wanted to get back to being a heel again. I think an Orndorff/Muraco match could be cool but this wasn’t it, chief. Barely anything happened and a lame finish that has not set a good tone for the night.

Orndorff wants to use the chair but the ref doesn’t let him. LOUD “bullsh*t” chants from the Nassau crowd as they realize they barely got a match. Cannot blame them whatsoever. Even McMahon sounds disappointed which is kinda funny.

Mr. T is standing by with “Smokin” Joe Frazier and Haiti Kid. Mr. T says if Piper starts doing dirty stuff he’s going to do dirty stuff back and he’s ready to go. The time for talking is done.

“Macho Man” Randy Savage [c] [w/ Miss Elizabeth] vs. George “The Animal” Steele for the WWF INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP

Steele went from “terrifying savage” to “misunderstood savage” a year prior, becoming one of the more popular wrestlers on the WWF roster to the point of where I don’t think anyone in my age group can even fathom him as a bad guy people took seriously. At some point I guess Steele and his simple mind took an interest in Elizabeth, who showed him kindness, which earned him the ire of the controlling Savage leading to this match. 

Savage tries to intimidate Steele, Steele chases him right out of the ring. Savage tries a fake-out jab, Steele doesn’t move an inch and once again chases him out. Steele eventually chases him around the ring and bites him on the calf as the crowd (and Susan Saint James) pops. Steele choke throws Savage to the canvas and connects with a right hand, then gets distracted by Elizabeth and Savage hangs him up in the ropes so he can stomp and choke him. Savage catches Steele with a sort-of flying crossbody, Steele bridges out and sends Savage to the floor. Savage crawls under the ring and knees Steele from behind, Steele responds by biting his arm. Savage rakes the eyes and hits Steele with a rogue bouquet of flowers, Steele whips him into the corner and uses the flowers on him! Susan Saint James likes Steele because he respects women even though he’s not smart. Steels bites one of the buckles open and blinds Savage with the stuffing. Steele gets distracted with Elizabeth on the floor, Savage clobbers him from behind with a top rope double axhandle. Savage rolls Steele in, connects with a slam, and follows up with a Flying Elbowdrop for the 1…2…STEELE KICKS OUT WHAT THE F*CK THEY LET HIM DO THAT?!? Steele grabs Savage by the nose and throws him into the corner. Ref gets in between to get some order, Savage sweeps the legs and jackknifes Steele with his feet on the ropes for the 1…2…3.

Randy Savage [c] defeated George Steele via pinfall to retain the WWF INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP (7:08)

  • George Steele is all spectacle so your enjoyment of this one will correlate with how much you like his goofy Animal antics. I found it entertaining enough, a little too long in the tooth for what they brought to the table, but fine. Can’t believe they let Steele kick out of Savage’s finishing move though, that’s crazy to me.

Savage quickly rolls out and makes a break for it to the back, belt and Liz in hand. Steele protests by ripping another buckle and chasing after the ref with a handful of stuffing.

”Mean” Gene Okerlund is standing by at the Rosemont Horizon, joined by Big John Studd and NFL player Bill Fralic. Fralic and Studd quickly get into a shoving match, Studd flattens a football with his bare hands and Fralic calls him “Dud”. Poetry.

-McMahon asks Saint James if she likes snakes; James is hoping Jake will lose so she won’t have to see the snake.

George Wells vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts

Wells is a former CFL player turned pro wrestler who had been in the business for about ten years at this point, mainly in various NWA territories and Stampede Wrestling. Roberts is relatively fresh to the WWF as well, his most recent stint being as a headliner for Mid-South down in…erm in the mid-south area. Wow that sentence sucked, but I’m leaving it in because whatever.

Wells gets the first few shots in, including a backdrop, Roberts tosses him out to the floor to create separation. Roberts leapfrogs Wells, Wells drops him with a shoulderblock and connects with a headscissors. Roberts begs for a time-out, Wells gives him a bodyslam instead. Same thing, really. Wells almost gets the win off a powerslam, Roberts goads Wells to chase him back into the ring and hits him with a kneelift (his original finisher in the Mid-Atlantic days) followed by a DDT for the win.

Jake Roberts defeated George Wells via pinfall (3:06)

  • Honestly this was a lot more fun than I was expecting. Roberts is an all-time master, one of the greatest to ever wrestle, so that’s not surprising but Wells kicked ass here too. His ring attire did him no favors and I’m not sure they ever let him talk but I kinda wanna seek out more George Wells matches now. Huh.

Roberts immediately unleashes Damian (Damien?) from the snake bag and wraps it around Wells, causing him to spew up white foam. 

  • George Wells should get more credit for making this into a truly memorable WrestleMania moment.

-A video recaps the feud between Mr. T & Roddy Piper.

Jesse “The Body” Ventura interviews Hulk Hogan from the Los Angeles location. Hogan will defend the WWF Championship despite his busted ribs and predicts that Mr. T is going to beat Roddy Piper.

Howard Finkel introduces Joan Rivers as the Special Guest Ring Announcer for the Nassau main event. Oh LORD. Rivers introduces the boxing judges: “Chocolate Thunder” Darryl Dawkins of the NBA (not a boxer), legendary musician Cab Calloway (also not a boxer), & G. Gordon Liddy (I have no idea who that it is but I assume not a boxer). Rivers then introduces the Special Time Keeper: Herb, from the 80s Burger King ad campaign “Where’s Herb?”. The crowd loves him the most, those fat f*cks.

BOXING MATCH
Mr. T [w/ “Smokin” Joe Frazier, John Connelly, & Haiti Kid] vs. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper [w/ “Cowboy” Bob Orton Jr. & Lou Duva]

Piper gets an early knockdown on Mr. T but Mr. T bounces back and knocks Piper down twice. Round 4 starts and the two trade bombs but realizing he can’t win Piper knocks the ref over and slams Mr. T, causing a DQ.

Mr. T defeated Roddy Piper by DQ in Round 4 (13:20 total)

  • The final round was fun and I appreciate the build toward Piper getting frustrated until finally giving up and falling back on his wrestling move set but OH BOY I DON’T CARE ABOUT A FAKE BOXING MATCH IN MY PRO WRESTLING SHOW. 

Piper and Mr. T’s cornermen pull the two apart, Mr. T is announced as the winner but Piper attacks him again anyway and leaves with his head held high. 

Gorilla Monsoon welcomes everyone to the Rosemont Horizon portion of WrestleMania 2, joined by “Mean” Gene Okerlund. They hype the battle royal then Monsoon introduces Cathy Lee Crosby as Monsoon’s guest co-commentator. WHO IS THIS?

The Fabulous Moolah [c] vs. Velvet McIntyre for the WWF LADIES’ CHAMPIONSHIP

Moolah attacks McIntyre from behind, throwing her around the ring by the hair. Moolah clubs McIntyre with a forearm, McIntyre leapfrogs Moolah and connects with a pair of one-footed dropkicks. McIntyre slams Moolah but misses a second-buckle splash and Moolah covers for the 1…2…3! McIntyre’s feet were on the ropes but whatevs.

The Fabulous Moolah [c] defeated Velvet McIntyre to retain the WWF LADIES’ CHAMPIONSHIP (0:58)

  • Moolah famously stole the championship from Wendi Richter in a precursor to the Montreal Screwjob. This match didn’t have a lot going for it but McIntyre did look pretty good, she definitely had more energy and was more exciting. Too bad Moolah had the women’s wrestling industry by the neck and could do whatever the f*ck she wanted.

-Cathy Lee Crosby apparently picked the NFL players to win the battle royal initially but has reversed course and picked the pro wrestlers to win the pro wrestling match. 

FLAG MATCH
Corporal Kirchner vs. Nikolai Volkoff [w/ “Classy” Freddie Blassie]

Kirschner was brought in by the WWF to replace Sgt. Slaughter after the two parties had a following out regarding G.I. Joe or some petty bullsh*t. Kirchner didn’t find a lot of success in the WWF outside of this appearance and an action figure but would go on to some success in Japan as Leatherface, based on the movie character you think it’s based on. 

Volkoff attacks Kirchner, sending him into the ringpost and distracting the ref so Blassie can taunt him. A bloodied Kirchner fights back with rights, Blassie tosses his cane in but Kirchner intercepts and hits Volkoff with it for the 1…2…3.

Corporal Kirchner defeated Nikolai Volkoff via pinfall (1:36)

  • The runtime of this show says 3 hours, how the hell are they getting to 3 hours WHEN ALL THESE MATCHES ARE LIKE 2 MINUTES LONG?!? Not that I should complain I guess, if this one had gone ten minutes I would’ve thrown my laptop out the window, but it’s just weird. Nothing really happened in this one besides some real phony-looking right hands from Kirchner so let’s just shrug and move along.

Kirchner raises the American flag in celebration, his reward for winning the Flag match.

”Mean” Gene Okerlund gets handed the reins to do ring introductions for the 20 man battle royal. Officials are announced first: timekeeper Claire Peller (the Where’s the Beef? lady), referee Dick Butkis (NFL/Chicago legend), referee Ed “Too Tall” Jones (also an NFL legend but he played for the Cowboys so the Chicago crowd boo him). Okerlund then runs down the participants:

  • Jimbo Covert (Chicago Bears)
  • Pedro Morales
  • “Mr. USA” Tony Atlas
  • Ted Arcidi
  • Harvey Martin (ex-Dallas Cowboys)
  • “Golden Boy” Dan Spivey
  • Hillbilly Jim
  • King Tonga
  • The Iron Sheik
  • Ernie Holmes (ex-Pittsburgh Steelers)
  • The Killer Bees (B. Brian Blair & “Jumpin” Jim Brunzell)
  • Big John Studd
  • Bill Fralic (Atlanta Falcons, 1985 NFL Rookie of the Year)
  • The Hart Foundation (Bret “The Hitman” Hart & Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart)
  • Russ Francis (San Francisco 49ers)
  • Bruno Sammartino
  • “The Refrigerator” William Perry (Chicago Bears)
  • Andre The Giant

20 MAN BATTLE ROYAL

“Big Cat” Ernie Ladd, a former NFL player himself, joins Monsoon on commentary. Jimbo Covert and King Tonga are eliminated first. Out goes Ernie Holmes, courtesy of I think Sammartino. Andre and Studd, who did battle in a Bodyslam Challenge at last year’s event, clobber one another. Dan Spivey…does nothing, while Jim Brunzell gets eliminated. Perry gets an elimination, tossing Tony Atlas out! Pedro Morales and Harvey Martin eliminate one another, Ted Arcidi gets tossed out as well. Sheik ducks a clothesline and out goes Dan Spivey, while Hillbilly Jim and B. Brian Blair also find themselves gone from the match. Studd eliminates Bill Fralic, disgusted at what’s happened, The Iron Sheik gets eliminated and lands on his head. Sammartino almost eliminates Studd but Studd pokes the eye and out goes Bruno Sammartino. Perry catches The Hart Foundation with a double tackle, crowd goes NUTS. Perry tackles Studd into the corner, then charges again but runs into an elbow and out goes William Perry. Perry offers a handshake, Studd falls for it and gets pulled out so Big John Studd is eliminated! AW SNAP.

Andre The Giant, Russ Francis, & The Hart Foundation remain. Foundation double dropkick Andre, tying him up into the ropes, then work Francis over before tossing him out. The Hart Foundation try to double team Andre but he outsmarts and outmuscles them, catching Bret Hart with a big boot and grabbing Jim Neidhart by the heard for a double noggin knocker. Neidhart goes out with a big boot, Andre peels Bret off the top buckle and tosses him onto Neidhart to win!

Andre The Giant won the 20 Man Battle Royal, last eliminating Bret Hart (9:08)

  • That was certainly a battle royal! The William Perry stuff had the crowd MOLTEN, WWF should’ve sucked it up and had him win the whole thing. Nowadays that’s totally what they would’ve done. There were some moments here and there I guess but most of the time everybody looked lost and biding their time. 

A very visibly blown up Andre is announced as the winner. 

-Back to New York where Vince McMahon and Susan Saint James interview “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. Piper spouts off some vaguely racist cocaine-fueled nonsense, McMahon takes it to a clip of Piper blatantly cheating. 

-Back to the Rosemont Horizon where Okerlund is with an angry Jimbo Covert. Covert says he was cheated by Bill Fralic, who tossed him out from behind. Out goes Covert in comes The Iron Sheik who says…stuff I guess. 

The Dream Team (Greg “The Hammer” Valentine & Brutus Beefcake) [c] [w/ “Luscious” Johnny Valiant] vs. The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith & The Dynamite Kid) [w/ Captain Lou Albano & Ozzy Osbourne] for the WWF TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP

The Bulldogs beat The Dream Team in a non-title match a few months prior on TV, presumably earning themselves this opportunity. This is glam rock-era Ozzy so The Bulldogs don’t get the cool metal one, which is a shame because I think he’d be WAY more helpful in that form.

Smith starts for his team, quickly and easily throwing Valentine to the mat off a lockup. Valentine takes Smith to the mat but misses an elbowdrop and Smith takes control of the wrist. Valentine connects with a hip toss, Smith dodges a fistdrop and tags in Kid who sends him crashing to the mat for a two-count. Smith tags in and connects with a delayed vertical suplex for the 1…2…Valentine kicks out and begs off to the floor to regroup. Smith reverses a corner whip, Valentine counters a backdrop with a forearm and tags out to Beefcake. Beefcake controls the wrist momentarily but Smith easily power counters into a press slam, Kid tags in and drops him with a chop for a two-count. Kid rolls Beefcake up with a small package for the 1…2…Beefer kicks out again. Smith tags in, Fisherman’s Suplex for the 1…2…Beefcake kicks out! Beefcake holds Smith’s legs, Valentine gets the tag and connects with a fist from the middle buckle and follows up with a suplex for a two-count. Valentine slows it down with a rear-chinlock as we get an inset shot of Osbourne and Albano cheering the Bulldogs on. Kid tags in and trades forearms with Valentine, winning the shootout and following up with rapid shoulderblocks to the midsection. Valentine goes timber, Kid covers for the 1…2…not yet. Bulldogs bowl Valentine over with a double shoulderblock, Kid covers for the 1…2…Valentine kicks out. Beefcake runs in to help his partner, ref forces him out, Kid gets Valentine over with a sunset flip for the 1…2…Valentine escapes. Kid cracks Valentine with a backbreaker for the 1…2…Beefcake makes the save. 

Valentine dazes Kid with a forearm and drills him with a kneeling piledriver for the 1…2…Kid kicks out! Valentine grabs the wrists and tries to keep Kid’s shoulders down but he continues to power out, countering a bridge with a pair of knees. Valentine heads to the top, Kid slams him off and covers for the 1…2…Valentine kicks out. Valentine goads Kid into chasing him back in the ring and makes him pay with a series of knees. Smith tags in and drills Valentine with a Running Powerslam and the 1…2…Valentine kicks out again! Smith with a vertical suplex for the 1…2…Valentine will NOT go down. Valentine sends Smith shoulder-first into the post, Beefcake tags in and counters a snapmare attempt with a slam that pops the crowd. Valentine tags back in and connects with a shoulderbreaker for the 1…2…VALENTINE PULLS SMITH UP, THE HUBRIS. Kid climbs the buckles, Smith sends Valentine into him and they knock heads, Smith covers for the 1…2…3!

The British Bulldogs defeated The Dream Team [c] via pinfall to win the WWF TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (12:08)

  • Great match, feels like an oasis of what’s been a pretty meh show so far. This one holds up to modern times as well as it’s chock full of dramatic nearfalls and The Bulldogs were so ahead of their time they could easily waltz into the current era of tag team wrestling and be on top. Valentine costing his team the match out of pure arrogance seems like something that’ll cause some friction going forward, as was Beefcake barely being given a chance to wrestle. Hammer tried to do it all himself and failed miserably and now we’ve got an exciting team as the champs.

Okerlund interviews Albano, who celebrates his 16th Tag Team Championship as a manager. Osbourne yells “BRITISH BULLDOGS FOREVER”. Crosby tries to interview too but that didn’t go anywhere. Davey Boy Smith speaks for his team (Dynamite KId is still stunned on the floor), saying if they became Tag Team Championship they would stay in the United States so it looks like they’re sticking around.

-Back to Vince McMahon and Susan Saint James who celebrate The Bulldogs’ win and hype up the Los Angeles portion of WrestleMania 2. James obviously picks Hulk Hogan to win in the main event tonight.

Jesse “The Body” Ventura is joined at ringside in Los Angeles by Lord Alfred Hayes and…ELVIRA, MISTRESS OF THE DARK. That…feels random but I love it. Ventura and Hayes hype the card, Elvira is real pumped to be around all the violence.

Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs. Hercules Hernandez

Hernandez gets the jump on Steamboat with a high knee and a series of forearms. Steamboat slides under Hernandez’s legs and takes him to the mat with a pair of deep armdrags into an armbar. Steamboat ducks a clothesline, Hernandez leapfrogs him but gets dropped with a superkick (or “crescent kick” in 80s-speak) and we’re back to the armbar. Hernandez escapes and connects with a right, Elvira calls Steamboat a wimp for having a scarf on his knee. Jeez. Steamboat drops Hernandez with a back elbow and follows up with a vertical suplex. Hernandez rams Steamboat into the buckles and connects with an AWESOME lariat. Hernandez drills Steamboat with a pair of knees and hangs him out to dry with a hot shot. Steamboat tries a slam but Hernandez shifts his weight and lands on top for the 1…2…close one. Hernandez takes too long posing and Steamboat easily kicks out of a lateral press, Steamboat lights him up with a pair of chops but Hernandez ducks the third and connects with a clothesline for the 1…2…Dragon kicks out. Steamboat counters a top rope splash with a pair of knees and then comes off the top himself with a Flying Crossbody for the 1…2…3!

Ricky Steamboat defeated Hercules Hernandez via pinfall (7:34)

  • Bulldogs/Dream Team is probably the objective match of the night on this show but I think Steamboat/Hercules might be my personal favorite. This match kicked all kinds of ass, great pace and both men looked tremendous. 

Uncle Elmer vs. “Adorable” Adrian Adonis [w/ “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart]

After a solid run as a tag team wrestler both in the AWA (alongside Jesse Ventura) and the WWF (alongside Dick Murdoch), Adonis’ weight ballooned and somehow he got saddled with one of the most homophobic gimmicks of all-time. Just real embarrassing bullsh*t but Adonis did what he could to make it work. Uncle Elmer got his gig thanks to the sudden Hillbilly boom in the WWF courtesy of Hillbilly Jim’s popularity. His claim to fame was getting for real married on the second episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event while Ventura relentlessly mocked him and his wife on commentary. 

Elmer goes right on the attack, turning Adonis inside out in the corner and connecting with a right so hard he falls over. Elmer connects with another right, Adonis oversells it by ramming his shoulder into the post and flopping to the floor. Elmer rips Adonis’ moo moo or dress or whatever and slingshots Adonis back in. Elmer misses a legdrop and Adonis connects with a flying splash/forearm/headbutt for the 1…2…3.

Adrian Adonis defeated Uncle Elmer via pinfall (3:02)

  • Adonis sold beautifully but this match sucked sh*t both because of that gimmick and because Uncle Elmer was about one of the most phony-looking pro wrestlers of the era. The dude couldn’t even hit a punch without falling over, COME ON. The hillbilly gimmick helped turn that negative into a positive I guess, make him a bumbling fool instead of uncoordinated, but goddamn. This was towards the end of Elmer’s career though so maybe he was a lot better in the territories.

Lord Alfred Hayes interviews Hulk Hogan, his second of the evening. Hogan has been thinking about the ambulance King Kong Bundy put him in and vows victory tonight in the main event, hoping Bobby Heenan gets involved so he can get his hands on him.

Junkyard Dog & Tito Santana vs. The Funk Brothers (Terry & Hoss Funk) [w/ “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart]

I can’t believe the WWF managed to rope in Terry Funk for a few months during their big 80s boom. For some reason that’s hilarious to me. He & Hoss (aka Dory Funk Jr.) are both former NWA World Champions but at this point were in the FED to get those big money paydays from a national company that they’d never gotten before. Can’t blame them. A cursory Google search revealed to me that the main feud is between Terry Funk & JYD, Santana and Hoss are just window dressing.

JYD whips Hoss into Terry and gives them both slams, Santana joins in and the faces clear the ring of the heels. Terry backs Santana into the corner and connects with a series of chops, Santana clotheslines him out to the floor. Hoss runs in, Santana connects with a dropkick and once again the Brothers are on the floor trying to find their bearings. JYD tags in and lays into Terry with a series of rights and count-along buckle shots. Hoss prevents a pin, Santana runs in and attacks, JYD throws Terry all the way the f*ck to the floor. Hoss tags in, Santana connects with a flying forearm for the 1…2…Terry makes the save. Funk Brothers take control after Terry hits Santana from behind, Hart gets a cheap shot in but takes off when JYD walks over. Back in the ring Terry connects with a vertical suplex and floats over but Santana kicks out and Terry almost attacks the ref for a slow count. Santana counters a suplex with one of his own and both men are down. Both men knock heads, Hoss tags in and connects with a butterfly suplex for the 1…2…Santana gets the shoulder up. Santana rolls out of the way of a legdrop, Terry almost landing on his feet, Santana scrambles around him and gets the hot tag to JYD. Double noggin knocker for the Funk Brothers, clothesline to Terry and right hand to Hoss that drops him from the apron. Terry tries to choke JYD with the ring rope, JYD fights him off and backdrops him clean to the floor. GODDAMN. JYD slams Terry on a table, Santana belts Hoss with a series of rights. Terry stumbles back into the ring, JYD pulls Hart to the apron just to knock him off. Hoss breaks up a small package attempt, Santana puts him in the Figure Four but neither are legal. Hart throws Terry the megaphone, he cracks JYD in the back of the head and covers for the 1…2…3!

The Funk Brothers defeated Junkyard Dog & Tito Santana via pinfall (11:43)

  • A wild match that felt unlike anything else I’ve seen on this show so far. Terry Funk is unbridled chaos and his mere presence in the WWF both shakes things up and also makes him stick out like a sore thumb. He’d be gone a few months later, leaving Hoss to team with their fake brother Jimmy Jack Funk until he also left the company. Terry Funk took some great bumps in this one, the backdrop to the floor and the slam on the table being highlights. Imagine if the WWF let Terry Funk actually get as wild as he could. Kids would have been scarred for life.

-Ventura and Hayes vamp for a bit as the baby blue steel cage is set up around the ring. The story is that this cage was specially-built to handle the girth of the two men involved in the main event but the WWF would go on to use this one right up until 1998 or so. Guess they fell in love with it. I prefer the mesh fence version of a cage myself but baby blue has its benefits.

-VIDEO: King Kong Bundy attacks Hulk Hogan, Magnificent Muraco holds Hogan flush against the corner so Bundy can deliver a series of devastating Avalanches, injuring his ribs.

-VIDEO: “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Hulk Hogan’s doctor and Hillbilly Jim while Hogan tries to work out to overcome his rib injury, putting a weight around his neck and doing pull-ups. Hogan feels no pain and fears no man.

-Ventura interviews King Kong Bundy and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Heenan says he’s going to be packing the WWF Championship in Bundy’s luggage at the end of the night. Bundy says whenever he and Hogan are in the ring together it’s Hogan who ends up being the one lying flat in the ring so he is unconcerned about his chances tonight.

-Elvira takes it to New York where Vince McMahon and Susan Saint James discuss the upcoming main event. 

Lee Marshall brings out Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda to handle the guest ring announcer duties for the match. Ricky Schroder of Silver Spoons is announced as the guest timekeeper, Robert Conrad (Wild Wild West actor I guess?) is introduced as the special guest referee.

STEEL CAGE MATCH
Hulk Hogan [c] vs. King Kong Bundy [w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan] for the WWF CHAMPIONSHIP

Hogan and Bundy waste no time throwing bombs, Hogan connects with a big boot and chokes Bundy with his own singlet to prevent him from escaping (you can only win by escaping through the door or over the top). Bundy blocks a cage shot and goes after Hogan’s taped ribs, directing all of his strikes to the area and slamming him to the canvas. Bundy goes for the door, Hogan grabs the leg to prevent it and Bundy makes him pay by squashing him into the cage wall. Bundy tries to leave again, Hogan grabs hold and pulls him back in. Bundy rips the tape off Hogan’s ribs and chokes him with it. Heenan tries to help Bundy out the door but Hogan uses the tag rope to prevent his escape. Hogan clotheslines Bundy in the corner and sends him skull-first into the iron bars, busting him open. Hogan batters the wound, opening it up even more. Hogan continues laying in rights but in his hubris tries to go for a slam but can’t get him up and Bundy lands right on top. Bundy stumbles towards the door, Heenan yelling directions, Hogan grabs his rib tape and wraps it around Bundy’s throat to pull him back in. Bundy fights him off and squashes Hogan in the corner with an Avalanche followed by another splash on the canvas, causing Hogan to do his goofy spasm sell. Bundy tries to crawl out through the door, Hogan prevents it once more. Bundy hits another Avalanche, Hogan NO-SELLS it and connects with a powerslam out of the corner followed by the Big Legdrop. Hogan starts climbing the cage, Bundy climbs the ropes but gets dropped with a right. Hogan climbs over the top and climbs down, hitting the floor before Bundy can crawl through the door.

Hulk Hogan [c] defeated King Kong Bundy to retain the WWF CHAMPIONSHIP (10:17)

  • Cage Matches with escape-only win conditions are pretty much a summer camp/Field Day competition instead of a wrestling match. Sometimes they can be compelling, sometimes they’re Hogan vs. Bundy. Did not care for this one bit.

Heenan tries to hide in the cage from Hogan, Hogan pulls the door open and throws Heenan into the cage followed by an atomic drop that sends the Brain through the ropes and to the floor. BOBBY HEENAN IS THE NEW WWF CH-oh right the match is over. Lasorda officially announces Hogan as the victor and he poses for the crowd as they go absolutely insane for him. Future generations will not understand why this balding dude with a Dad mustache was the biggest star of the 80s and honestly I can’t blame them.

*****

FINAL THOUGHTS: Emboldened by their popularity and success the WWF wanted to go all out for WrestleMania 2 and try something different and I can respect that. However they should have tried it with maybe a better lineup because OH MAN most of this show sucks. There are some standouts, Bulldogs/Dream Team and Steamboat/Hernandez being my picks, but when you’ve got sh*t like Uncle Elmer vs. Adrian Adonis taking up space it’s hard to keep the excitement going. I will say I did like this better than the first WrestleMania though all things considered which is weird because I’m sure I gave that one better marks when I recapped it years ago. Eh opinions change. Consistency is for nerds. Skip this one except for the matches I bolded in the lineup.

  • FAVORITE MATCH: Ricky Steamboat vs. Hercules Hernandez
  • FAVORITE MOMENT: Elvira being REAL HORNY about all the wrestlers the entire time on commentary while Ventura and Hayes had work around her to call the actual wrestling.

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