WWF WrestleMania V

Live from Atlantic City, NJ

Airdate: April 2, 1989

Attendance: 18,946 (17,500 paid)

Hosted by Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura

Can the dissolution of the MegaPowers lead to a worthwhile main event? Let’s find out!

WWF Women’s champion Rockin’ Robin sings “America the Beautiful.” Without question, it was infinitely shorter than Aretha Franklin’s national anthem on Thanksgiving.

Match 1: King Haku (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) versus Hercules


Rating: **

Summary: Adequate match that the Atlantic City faithful enjoyed.

Backstage, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews the Rockers. Michaels’ voice is very hoarse, but nevertheless the Rockers are ready. Perhaps Michaels should have grabbed a bloody Mary from the casino before suiting up.

Match 2: The Rockers versus the Twin Towers (w/ Slick)


Rating: **1/2

Summary: Why wasn’t this the opener? The Rockers could have used the underdog formula to rile up the crowd. Regardless, the Rockers, especially Michaels, made this match much better than I anticipated.

Holy promotional jumps, Batman! It’s Tony Schiavone! Back in the locker room, he interviews DiBiase with Virgil.

Match 3: The “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase (w/ Virgil) versus Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake


Rating: **

Summary: Horrible finish to a match with decent heat. I wonder why DiBiase couldn’t BUY a victory here.

After the match, DiBiase tries to ram Beefcake into the ring post, but he HITS THE POLE instead. Beefcake then chases after Virgil and catches him in the ring. He then gives Virgil an atomic drop followed by a clothesline. Next, Beefcake applies the sleeper, but DiBiase comes in. Sensing DiBiase’s return, Beefcake nails and slams him. When Beefcake retrieves his hedge clippers, DiBiase and Virgil head for higher ground.

At the WrestleMania brunch, Lord Alfred Hayes interviews a very hungry pair of Bushwhackers. As you would expect, they talk with their mouths full. How gauche!

Match 4: The Rougeaus (w/ Jimmy Hart) versus the Bushwhackers


Rating: *1/2

Summary: The Atlantic City faithful loved the Bushwhackers, but it seemed like the Rougeaus were just going through the motions. They must have been snubbed on a title push.

On their way back to the locker room, the Bushwhackers receive an impromptu interview from Sean Mooney. Unfortunately for Mooney, he got caught up in the Bushwhackers’ celebration and received numerous licks to the face by Luke. How unsanitary!

Match 5: Mr. Perfect versus the Blue Blazer


Rating: **

Summary: For 1989, this was a very innovative style that would extend into the 90s. In addition, this was a fun match for the up-and-coming Owen Hart. Yet Perfect’s record was still “perfect.”

Finkel introduces a “major Hollywood star”—Jesse “The Body” Ventura-- as the Atlantic City faithful chants “Jes-se.” Who’dathunkit that there would be two politicians with prominent roles in this show? If you count Linda McMahon, that would make three.

Yesterday morning on the Boardwalk, Lord Alfred Hayes described the 5k run with a notable “last-minute” entry—Mr. Fuji. Clad in his familiar tuxedo, Fuji’s ready for both the run and Powers of Pain’s title victory. After his “run,” Fuji cut a short promo on Demolition.

Run DMC tried their best to wake up the Atlantic City faithful. That proved to be “tricky.”

Next, we revisit Survivor Series when Fuji turned on Demolition and acquired the Powers of Pain. We then revisit the “Face-to-Face Special” on Prime Time Wrestling (taped 2/3) when Mr. Fuji threw salt into Ax’s eyes.

Back in Trump Plaza, Okerlund interviews Demolition.

Match 6 for the WWF tag team titles: Demolition (champions) versus the Powers of Pain & Mr. Fuji


Rating: ½*

Summary: Pedestrian big-man match with an obvious outcome. Moving along…

Backstage, Schiavone attempts to interview Savage, but the WWF Champion rebuffs him.

Match 7: Dino Bravo (w/ Frenchy Martin) versus “Rugged” Ronnie Garvin


Rating: DUD

Summary: The highlight of the match was the return of Snuka.

After the match, Garvin nails Bravo sending him between the ropes to the floor. He then gives Martin the Garvin stomp. RIP Martin.

Match 8: The Brain Busters (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) versus Strike Force


Rating: ***

Summary: Instead of a Rockers-Busters rematch, we get this. I feel cheated. Regardless, it was a good match for the Busters.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews Martel who calls Santana a “loser” and “doesn’t want to be associated with him” any longer. WE HAVE A HEEL TURN! I knew I smelled something. Next time, Santana, call your buddy when he’s laid up.

PIPER’S PIT: As Finkel makes his introduction, Brother Love comes out dressed in a kilt. Love then impersonates Piper to a tee in a faux interview. As the Atlantic City faithful chants “ROD-DY,” Finkel introduces Morton Downey, Jr. For those unaware, Downey was a talk-show host before they became a cliché.

Right off the bat, Downey runs down Love at every turn. Finkel then introduces “Rowdy” Roddy Piper who tells Love that he has “industrial disease.” HA! In another funny bit, Love tells Piper that he can’t scare him, but Piper scares the bejeezus out of him immediately thereafter. In the meantime, Downey continues to sit there and smoke.

As Piper makes fun of Love for being “Scotch,” Downey tosses cigarettes at him. Piper then rips Love’s kilt right off him sending him scurrying backstage.

Piper then turns his attention to Downey who blows smoke in his face. While they trade insults, Downey continues to blow smoke in Piper’s face. When Piper asks for a cigarette, he pulls out a fire extinguisher and douses Downey with it. What a colossal waste of time.

Backstage, Okerlund shills the movie No Holds Barred. The trailer is then shown.

At ringside, Mooney interviews Donald Trump. I’m surprised Mooney didn’t ask him about the USFL.

Ventura then cuts a promo on Hogan for invading his territory (Hollywood, not Minnesota).

We then revisit WrestleMania IV when Savage won the WWF title. Next, we revisit Summerslam ’88 as the MegaPowers defeated the MegaBucks. Following that, we revisit Survivor Series as Hogan pinned Haku. After that, we revisit SNME XIX when Savage rescued Elizabeth from the Twin Towers. As if that wasn’t enough, we get footage from Superstars when Bossman interfered in a Savage versus Akeem match (taped 1/3, aired 1/21). During the match, Hogan ran in to even the odds by slamming both Twin Towers. Lastly, we get the finish to Main Event II when the meltdown of the MegaPowers transpired.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews Hogan who rambles senselessly during his promo on Savage. Bartender, I’ll have what he’s having.

Match 9: Andre the Giant (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) versus Jake “The Snake” Roberts


Rating: *

Summary: If the crowd didn’t love Roberts, this match would get nothing and like it.

In the balcony, Mooney sits next to a fan who loves Roberts. Well, he was enjoying a Coke with a smile.

In the locker room, Schiavone interviews “Sensational” Sherri who runs down Rockin’ Robin then turns her attention toward Elizabeth.

Match 10: The Honkytonk Man & Greg “The Hammer” Valentine (w/ Jimmy Hart) versus the Hart Foundation


Rating: ***

Summary: Great showcase of Bret’s arsenal and selling ability. Also, I believe bigger things are on the horizon for the heel team going forward.

We then revisit the pose down between Ultimate Warrior and Rude from the Royal Rumble.

Match 11 for the WWF Intercontinental title: Ultimate Warrior (champion) versus “Ravishing” Rick Rude (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan)


Rating: **1/2

Summary: Wait a minute! That was the finish to the Murdoch-Orton match at Clash VI. Who stole the other promotion’s booking sheets? Anyway, Rude made Warrior look really good here and won the title in the process.

After the match, Warrior saunters after Heenan, catches him in the ring, military-presses him, and drops him like a bad habit. OUCH! Perhaps Heenan will forfeit his upcoming match due to injury.

Match 12: “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan versus Bad News Brown


Rating: *

Summary: The Atlantic City faithful loved Duggan. Otherwise, this match was worthless and unnecessary.

After the match, it’s obvious that Duggan needs some cold relief as Ventura mentions the copious amounts of snot hanging on Duggan’s mustache. YUCK!

Backstage, Okerlund interviews the Rooster. What a waste of Taylor’s talent.

Match 13: The Red Rooster versus Bobby “The Brain” Heenan (w/ the Brooklyn Brawler)


Rating: DUD

Summary: While the previous injury explained Heenan’s loss, at least this was quick and painless.

After the match, the Brawler nails Rooster with a clothesline from behind before being chased away.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews Elizabeth who states she will be in a neutral corner.

Back in the locker room, Schiavone informs us that all the wrestlers have left to watch the main event.

Meanwhile, Mooney polls the Atlantic City faithful as to the winner. I wonder what the political scientists’ thoughts were on this one.

Match 14 for the WWF title: “Macho Man” Randy Savage (champion) versus Hulk Hogan


Rating: ****

Summary: I understand that due to the release of No Holds Barred, Hogan needed to be not only WWF champion but also the face of the franchise. On the other hand, Savage wasn’t the flavor-of-the-month villain archetype because Savage’s heel turn and machinations were tremendously successful. Having said that, there’s no way WrestleMania V ends with a heel victory.

After the match, Hogan poses to the cheers from the Atlantic City faithful.

Conclusion: On a supershow scale, it’s one of the WWF’s better shows by this point in time. As the WWF’s Super Bowl/World Series, it only falls in comparison to WrestleMania III while topping I, II, and IV.

As a wrestling fan, I didn’t see this show live. Having heard the results, I was upset that Savage had lost the title because I was (and still am) a tremendous fan. With that being said, I enjoyed Clash VI more than this show for obvious reasons. I can only wonder what’s in store for pro wrestling during the rest of 1989.

Stay tuned for NWA WrestleWar ‘89!

Rating: 5.90

Comments? Suggestions? Send them to me at rsg@rockstargary.com and follow me on Twitter (@rockstargary202).

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