WWF WrestleMania VII Classic Review

Its Wrestlemania time again folks, time to dust of the Wrestlemania Videos (or DVD’s) and satisfy yourself with some great ‘Mania nostalgia in the build up to the big event. Wrestlemania has provided so many great moments and matches in its 20 year history, I always find it hard to pick a definitive moment that I can truly say is my favourite. However, one of my top ten ‘Mania moments came right here at this Wrestlemania, so without further a do, lets look at Wrestlemania VII.

wwf-wrestlemania-vii-classic-cover_0

Cert: PG

Length: (VHS) 166 Mins

The full PPV card looked like this.

Matches

  • The Rockers vs. Haku & The Barbarian
  • The Texas Tornado vs. Dino Bravo
  • The British Bulldog vs. Warlord
  • World Tag Team Championship: The Nasty Boys vs. The Hart Foundation
  • Blindfold Match: Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. “The Model” Rick Martel
  • The Undertaker vs. “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka
  • Retirement Match: Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy “Macho King” Savage w/ Queen Sherri
  • Genichiro Tenryu & Koji Kitao vs. Demolition
  • Intercontinental Championship: Big Boss Man vs. Mr. Perfect
  • Earthquake vs. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine
  • Legion of Doom vs. Power and Glory
  • Virgil vs. “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase
  • The Mountie vs. Tito Santana
  • Main Event for WWE Championship: Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter

It may seem a strange choice, but this is certainly one of my favourite Wrestlemania events of all time, I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is, but I suppose that’s why it makes it extra special; I just down right enjoyed the PPV. The main event of this Wrestlemania saw Hulk Hogan take on the WWF Champion, Sgt. Slaughter. Slaughter – The former USA loyalist had turned his back on his home country in the fallout of the first Gulf War and pledged his alliance to Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussain. Sgt. Slaughter then set his sights on the WWF Championship, which he defeated The Ultimate Warrior for at the 1991 Royal Rumble with some assistance from Randy Savage. So with an Iraqi sympathizer as WWF Champion, there could only be one man to come and defend the honour and glory of America and Old Glory, that would be Hulk Hogan.

Now, as good as Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter seems, it wasn’t the only main event of the night , well it was officially, but there was another huge match on the night, “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. The Ultimate Warrior in a retirement match. The storyline for this match came about from the Royal Rumble 1991, basically Sensational Sherri requested a Randy Savage have a WWF title match with Warrior, however Warrior refused. Later on in the evening, during the Warrior vs. Slaughter match, Savage ran in, and attacked Warrior, leading to Warrior losing the belt. Ultimately this lead to the huge match at Mania, where the losing man would have to “retire”.

The card was jammed packed with other matches, including the Wrestlemania debut of the “Deadman” The Undertaker as he fought Jimmy Snuka, plus Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. “The Model” Rick Martel in a blindfold match.

Certainly a jammed packed PPV card, with some potentially good matches, i.e. Jake Roberts vs. Rick Martel, and some potentially not so good matches i.e. Legion of Doom vs. Power and Glory.

Highs and Lows

The show kicks off with the big tag mach of Haku & Barbarian taking on The Rockers. This match starts off with Haku and Michaels in the ring, back and forth exchanges to kick off with but Haku controls it for the most part. Marty comes in and Shawn and he do a double hip toss on Haku. Big Bad Barbarian comes in and flattens both Rockers, but the duo of Janetty and Michaels come back and hit a double super kick on Barbarian. Match continues with Marty and Barbarian slugging away at each other, with Barbarian controlling most of the match. Haku comes in and continues the work Barbarian started, Barbarian does a run in, and the pair do a sling shot clothsline on the top rope on Marty. Haku and Barbarian continue to pound on Marty, until Barbarian misses a flying head butt from the top rope and Marty is able to tag Michaels in. Shawn slugs away at both big men and gains some control. The Match breaks down and all four men are in the ring, Barbarian gets knocked out of the ring and Marty hit’s a missile drop kick on Haku, followed by a high cross body by Shawn for the victory. This was your classic “team pretty boy” vs. “big, bad monster team” match here, crowd loved the match and just ate up every move The Rockers did, both teams performed well, and it gets a big thumbs up from me!

Next up we have The Texas Tornado Kerry Von Eric, taking on Dino Bravo. Dino Bravo starts the match of quickly by attacking Kerry, match goes to the outside, and Kerry fights back. Bravo fights back and hits an elbow and goes for a 2 count, Bravo hit’s a Sideslam and gets another 2 count. Kerry comes back on fire, hit’s the Claw followed by a Discuss Punch for the victory. This match was obviously just filling time, it was short, but unfortunately not sweet.

British Bulldog cuts a promo building up to his match with The Warlord. Action starts and both men try to out power one another, Bulldog knocks Warlord out of the ring with a running shoulder tackle. Match continues with Bulldog attempting a crucifix pin attempt, but Warlord slams him down on the mat. Warlord locks the Full Nelson on Bulldog, but Davey Boy powers out and hits the patented power slam for the victory. Crowd were yet again into this match big style, the action may have been sub standard, but the crowd love it.

We go back to the locker room as Mene Gene is with Jimmy Hart and The Nasty Boys who talk, or should I say shout about how they are going to become the next Tag Team Champions. We are also shown an interview with The Hart Foundation, Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart, who ripped on The Nasty Boys building up to the tag team match, which is next.

WWF Tag Team Championship Match is up now as I already said, its The Nasty Boys taking on The Hart Foundation for the tag team gold. Sags and Bret start off, with Sags taking control with some cheap shots. However Bret fights back with a Lou Thez Press, which leads to him disposing of Sags to the outside area. Knobs then comes in and Bret tags Neidhart, the pair lock horns and exchange lefts and right in the corner. Neidhart steamrolls over Knobs and knocks him out of the ring. Match continues with both teams going head to head with one another, The Nasties play the perfect “heel” team here and do it so well. Action continues to go back and forth, from team to team, until Bret is in the ring and he tags Neidhart, however the ref doesn’t see the tag and disallows it. Meanwhile, in the ring, Jimmy Hart throws Knobs his megaphone while Sags holds Bret, Knobs goes to hit Bret with the megaphone but he mistakenly hits Sags. Bret tags it Neidhart who pretty much steamrolls his way through The Nasty Boys yet again. Knobs is in the ring by himself and he gets The Hart Attack, however the referee won’t count the pinfall as he is chasing Bret out of the ring. While all this is happening, Jimmy Hart throws Sags his helmet and Sags uses it as a weapon to knock out “The Anvil” and get the pinfall and the WWF Tag Team Championship Belts. This was a good solid match. As you know the art of tag team wrestling nowadays in dead, well, in the WWE anyways, but back in 1991 it was very much alive and kicking. This match was a great example of that, it may not have been the best match from a technical stand point, but it was so entertaining and enjoyable. Not only did it serve the purpose of getting the belts off The Hart Foundation in a way that still gave them credibility, it was done in a way that was enjoyable. I’d like to point out that Jimmy Hart was a key instrument in this match, once again playing the perfect heel manager. As much I like Bobby Heenan, I think Jimmy Hart is my all time favourite manager.

Just on a side note, the first 4 matches all featured managers, Bobby Heenan for Haku and Barbarian, Jimmy Hart for Dino Bravo and later The Nasty Boys, and not forgetting, “The Doctor of Style” Slick who managed The Warlord. All these men helped the characters of their clients so much, WWE take heed, some of the talent on today’s roster wouldn’t be hard done to if they hard someone like Jimmy Hart in their corner. I’ll get off my soap box now.

We see a video recap of the Jake Roberts / Rick Martel feud, basic gist of the feud is that during a Brother Love segment “The Model” sprayed his fragrance “Arrogance” into Jake’s eyes and blinded him, this all lead up to the Blindfold match up next. Jake cuts a simple, yet so effective promo, you just get shivers down you spine watching it. Jake is / was one of the best promo guys in the wrestling world. Anyway, this is a blindfold match, so both men actually have hoods over their heads, which supposedly blinds them, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that both men could see out of them. I suppose that actually made it harder, surely it’s harder to act blind, than it is to be blind with a blindfold? The way this match worked is that when Jake pointed the crowd would cheer if he was going in the right direction, and boy did the crowd cheer, they loved it. Anyway, both men chase each other around the ring for awhile until they find one another.“ The Model” pounds on Jake for a bit until he goes for Irish whip into a back drop, which Jake avoids by simply moving direction. Match continues with a lot of running about and chasing around until Martel hit’s a body slam on Jake, and goes for an elbow, which he misses, Martel then accidentally grabs Damien but retreats, again little more chasing around and Martel throws Jake to the outside area. Martel goes to the outside, but Jake’s back in the ring. Martel returns to the ring, hits body slam on Jake and goes for the Boston Crab, which Jake powers out of, and Martel hit’s the turnbuckle headfirst. Martel staggers around the ring bumps into Jake, and BAM!!!!!, Jake hit’s the DDT for the 3 Count. I love the DDT, its one of my favourite wrestling moves ever, and there’s no one who does it like Jake. The match was ok; if they didn’t have the blind folds on then the match would have been a million times better, however for what it was it was ok. The ring psychology Jake has is so intense as a heel or face; I don’t think you’ll find anyone who’s like Jake Roberts in that respect.

After the match we see a segment with Jimmy Hart, Earthquake, Dino Bravo, The Nasty Boys and The Mountie celebrating the Nasties big win.

Next match is Jimmy Snuka taking on The Undertaking who makes his Wrestlemania debut, both men have a stare down and Taker attacks Snuka. Snuka gets pounded by the “Deadman” .Taker knocks “Superfly” out side of the ring, where Taker then gives Snuka a big back suplex back into the ring. Back in the ring, Snuka tries everything he has to fight back but nothing fazes Taker, the “Deadman” continues to control the match, and hit’s the Tombstone for the victory. This is pretty much a squash match, but it does its job and makes Taker look like a monster, and starts off Taker’s undefeated Wrestlemania streak.

Warrior vs. Savage “retirement” match is next!

A video montage of the Warrior vs. Savage feud, after which, Bobby Heenan points out that Miss. Elizabeth is in the crowd. Savage makes his way to the ring with Sherri, and Warrior then comes and gets a huge pop as usual. Getting down to the match, the match starts off with both men locking up and trying to out power one another. Savage gains a little advantage by going low, but Warrior comes back and knocks Savage out the ring. Once Savage is back in the ring he attacks Warrior from behind but again Warrior out powers him. Warrior hit’s a series of atomic drops on Savage and goes for a choke hold drop, Sherri runs in, and Warrior throws Savage into Sherri. Back in the ring Warrior and Savage continue to knock each other about, with Savage going up top, Savage leaps from the top but Warrior catches him, and instead of body slamming him like everyone is thinking, Warrior puts Savage down and uncharacteristically slaps him. The match continues with both men battling out with one another. Warrior controls the match dominating Savage, kicking the living day lights out of him. Warrior goes for a stinger splash in the turnbuckle but misses and Warrior goes flying to the outside, where Savage and Sherri attack Warrior. Back in the ring Savage goes for a pin but only gets two, Savage goes for a backslide but Warrior reverses it and goes for a backslide pin attempt of his own, which he only gets a two count for. Warrior goes for a running shoulder block but misses and Savage gets a two count.

Savage then applies a sleeper hold on Warrior, but Warrior powers out and goes for a series of clotheslines but after the second, Savage gets up and both men hit a double clothesline and knock one another out. While both men are getting to their feet, Sherri jumps up on the apron and gets the referee’s attention, while Warrior has Savage in a pinning position, Savage gets out of the pin when the referee turns around to do the count. Match continues and Savage dominates, while the referee is knocked out, Savage grabs Warrior and Sherri takes her shoe to hit Warrior, however she hits Savage by mistake. Sherri leaves the ring and Warrior goes after her, chasing her back into the ring, which enables Savage to grab Warrior’s trunks and roll him up for a 2 count, which Warrior powers out of.

Match continues and Savage controls the match dropping Warrior with a series of guillotine clotheslines on the top rope followed by a body slam and not one, not two, not three, not four, but five elbow drops from the top rope. Savage goes for the pinfall, but Warrior kicks out. Warrior comes back, hit’s a clothesline, followed by a press slam and concluded by a running splash. Warrior pins Savage and it looks like it’s all over, but Savage kicks out after the 2 count, much to the dismay of Warrior. Warrior looks up to the sky looking for an answer as to what’s going on, and he decides to leave the ring, however Savage knocks him off the ring apron before he can leave and attacks Warrior at ringside. Warrior fights back and comes back to the ring, Warrior hits Savage with 3 running shoulder blocks and then pins him for the 3 count and the victory.

Many people over the years have criticised both Warrior and Savage for a lot of different reasons, and too be fair much of the criticism has been deserved. However, on this night, both men were on top form, the match was unbelievably great. For the first and maybe only time Warrior worked on psychology during this match and mastered it to the up most, he showed that he can go out to the ring and work a great match, this without a doubt was his greatest match, far out weighing his match at the previous Wrestlemania with Hogan. Savage was also on top form, working with Warrior to create a fantastic match, this could be considered Savage’s best match from the 90’s, and second greatest match behind his match with Steamboat at Wrestlemania III. This match is often forgotten about when people talk about the Top 10 Wrestlemania matches, but it certainly deserves to be up there with Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold and Savage vs. Steamboat.

Anyway, after the Savage / Warrior match, Warrior heads to the back, and Savage lays knocked out on the canvas. Sherri gets in the ring and starts yelling at Savage, she then starts to put the proverbial boot into Savage, causing Elizabeth to come running down to the ring to rescue her man. She gets rid of Sherri and Savage gets to his feet. Once on his feet Savage sees Elizabeth and wonders what to do, then as the crowd go wild, the pair reunite and embrace one another as the crowd go wild. A very emotional moment in wrestling, its one of those moments that stand out. In a day and age where an awful lot of wrestling fans are “smarks”, where people don’t see wrestling as they used to, its nice to have moments like the Savage and Elizabeth reunion to appreciate what wrestling is all about, and that’s letting the superstars capture you imagination. A memorable ending to a memorable match.

Next match up is Genichiro Tenryu & Koji Kitao vs. Demolition. Pretty boring match I’m afraid to say, average tag team match with 4 big men brawling for the most part. Match ending came when Tenryu hits Smash with a power bomb for the victory. Short match thankfully, didn’t serve any real purpose, and no matter how good it could have been, it would have been in the shadow of the Warrior / Savage match.

After an interview with Big Bossman and Bobby Heenan and Mr Perfect, its time for the Intercontinental Championship match with Mr. Perfect defending the belt against Bossman. Match gets underway with the pair exchanging slaps, which Bossman gets the better of as he knocks Perfect of his feet. Bossman follows up by swinging Perfect about with his hair. Bossman dominates the rest of the match, until Bossman goes after Heenan, where Perfect attacks him from behind. Out of nowhere Andre the Giant comes down to the ring and goes after Heenan. In the ring Perfect exposes the top turnbuckle and rams Bossman into it. On the outside Andre has the IC belt and he levels Perfect with the belt. Bossman goes for the 2 count but Perfect kicks out. Out come Barbarian and Haku and match is called a DQ, as a brawl begins afterwards. Ok match for what it was, a bit of a let down because I feel it could have been better. But we did get to see Andre, who at this time was a in a real bad shape, but big kudos for the big man getting involved.

Next match is Earthquake taking on Greg “The Hammer” Valentine. Quake controls the first stretch, but Valentine battles back with a series of rights and lefts but fails to knock Quake off his feet. Hammer goes to the top rope, hit’s an elbow drop and knocks Quake down. Hammer attempts the Figure Four Leg Lock but can’ get it on, Jimmy Hart jumps on the ring apron and he distracts Valentine. Quake gets to his feet, beats down on Valentine and the hit’s the running sit down splash for the pinfall and victory.

Next match up is the Legion of Doom taking on Power & Glory, but before we see the match, Animal and Hawk pull off a classic Road Warrior interview. Anyway, to the match, and Power and Glory jump LOD before the match gets underway, Roma and Hercules try a double Irish whip on Hawk, but he hits them with a flying double clothesline. Animal’s in and he brawls with Roma while Hawk and Hercules are on the outside. Animals gets Roma up on his shoulders, and Hawk comes off the top rope, and Roma gets hit with the Doomsday Device for the victory. Very short match but it put LOD over as a team not to be messed with.

The next match is Ted Dibiase taking on Virgil, who has Roddy Piper in his corner. Virgil jumps around and Dibiase laughs it off, however Virgil hit’s a series of rights and left on Dibiase. Match continues and Virgil takes Dibiase down. However “Million Dollar Man” takes Virgil down and starts beating him down. A gut wretch suplex and Dibiase goes for the pin, only getting a two count. Dibiase throws Virgil to the outside where Piper shouts encouragement to Virgil, but Dibiase pushes Piper down (who is on crutches by the way after a motorcycle accident). Back in the ring Dibiase beats down on Virgil and goes for some short of running clothesline, but Piper pulls down the top rope with his crutch, which leads to Dibiase getting counted out. Dibiase then attacks Virgil by putting the “Million Dollar Dream” on him, but Piper comes in and rescues Virgil by hitting Dibiase with his crutch. As Piper goes for another, Sherri runs to the ring, grabs the crutch and lets Dibiase beat down on Piper, as Sherri aligns herself with Dibiase. Again a short match, would have liked to seen Dibiase have a better match, but it wasn’t too bad, and the crowd loved Virgil and Piper.

Next up is The Mountie taking on Tito Santana, this was yet another short squash match with Mounite winning with use of his trusted Tazer stick.

Its now time for the big WWF Championship Match with Hulk Hogan taking on Sgt. Slaughter, with General Adnan in Slaughter’ s corner. Match is underway and Hogan gains the early advantage by over powering Slaughter, action goes to the outside and Hogan goes after Adnan, meanwhile Slaughter is able to get a chair and goes after Hulk. Back in the ring, Slaughter works away on Hogan, but Hogan battles back. The match goes to the outside again where both men brawl with one another. Back in the ring Hogan hit’s the Axe Bomber for a two count. Match continues with Hogan really working on Slaughter, until Hogan goes up top, where he is tripped by Adnan, allowing Slaughter to slam Hogan down from the top. Slaughter works away on Hogan fighting outside of the ring choking Hogan with a cable. Back in the ring Slaughter puts Hogan in the Boston Crab hold but Hogan makes the ropes. Slaughter continues to work on Hogan and his back, Slaughter gets a chair and hits Hogan with it, he then applies the Camel Clutch seeking a victory. However Hogan powers out, but Slaughter beats down on Hogan a bit more and goes for a pinfall, and drapes the Iraqi flag on Hogan, however Hogan kicks out and comes back once more, this time with more success, as he is able to land the big leg drop on Slaughter for the win and the WWF Championship belt.

The actual angle may have been in bad taste, but the match was good, certainly one of Hogan’s better outings at Wrestlemania. Technically it was good in terms of wrestling and it certainly was good in terms of psychology as Slaughter played his role perfectly, and Hogan, well Hogan is the epitome of an American Hero. Not the best match of the night, but certainly a good way to finish of the PPV, just a shame the Hogan / Slaughter angle didn’t finish here.

Overall

I’m a huge fan of this PPV, and that’s because of the Savage vs. Warrior match, for me it just blew everything else a million miles away. It was technically a sound match, from an entertainment point a view it was great, as I said, certainly Warrior’s greatest match, and one of Savage’s. The main event was also a treat, with Hogan and Slaughter putting on a solid show. The opening match was also very good, and opened up the show in a great way.

This show has an excellent opener (Rockers vs. Haku and Barbarian), excellent middle (Savage vs. Warrior) and a solid enough main event. The matches in between were ok, but generally nothing to write home about. All in all, a Wrestlemania that is memorable for all the right reasons, and one match in particular. For me this PPV reminds me of when everything was right with wrestling, I know it doesn’t make any sense considering you had the Hogan / Slaughter storyline, but there is just something about this ‘Mania.

Points: 8/10

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