As it’s WrestleMania week we’ve been looking back at the many, MANY events over the years, including our favourite ‘Mania as a whole, the best opening matches and more. This article is about the things you might not always see on Top Ten lists or Greatest Ever Moments. This is all about those bits from WrestleManias past that make you smile, grin and usually say ‘I can’t believe I enjoyed that so much.’
Without further ado, and in no particular order in the slightest, let’s jump in.
Gimmicks! Gimmicks Everywhere!
In 2001 WrestleMania X-7 was held in Houston, Texas. Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan called his first WrestleMania match in eight years alongside ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund and that match was the wonderful Gimmick Battle Royal. These days it’s all about the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, in 2001 it was GIMMICKS BABY.
The match featured The Bushwhackers (Luke and Butch), Duke ‘The Dumpster’ Droese, Doink the Clown, Nikolai Volkoff, Tugboat, The Goon, Earthquake, The Gobbledygooker, Hillbilly Jim, The Iron Sheik, Brother Love, Michael Hayes, Kim Chee, One Man Gang, Kamala, Jim Cornette, Repo Man, and Sgt. Slaughter. The match lasted an impressive three minutes and five seconds (the entrances lasted twice as long) and was won by the Sheik, lastly throwing Hillbilly Jim over the top rope. Wonderfully this took place on April Fool’s Day, April 1st.
Doink featured in the Gimmick Battle Royal entry above, and he also featured in a match against Crush at WrestleMania IX. And so did… Doink. Another Doink! Matt Borne was the original Doink taking on Crush in Las Vegas and as the Hawaiian almost has the match won, a second Doink appeared from under the ring and hit Crush with a plaster cast of his arm. Former FCW (Florida Championship Wrestling) President Steve ‘Skinner’ Keirn was the second Doink and had to hide under the ring for FIVE HOURS before getting his ‘Mania moment. Keirn then had to go back under the ring for a few more hours until the event was finished, which he described as ‘not too bad until the Yokozuna match. I almost went deaf from him hitting the canvas so hard.’
Peekaboo – I Don’t See You
The build up to this match at WrestleMania VII was this: Rick ‘The Model’ Martel had blinded Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts by spraying his aftershave ‘Arrogance’ into his eyes. Jake wanted Martel to feel what it was like to have your vision taken away from you, hence, The Blindfold Match. Both men had hoods over their faces and relied on crowd reactions and noise to locate the other. Some truly great comedy moments in this one, including Martel backing up to the ring post and attacking it and also getting hold of the bag containing the snake Damien and freaking out. Just a massive game of Marco Polo really but the fans in the arena absolutely loved it.
‘I Normally Last Longer. Honestly’
Daniel Bryan won the World Heavyweight Championship after cashing in his Money in the Bank contract in late 2011. Sheamus won the Royal Rumble and chose Bryan as his opponent at WrestleMania XXVIII. On the first match of the PPV, A.J. Lee gave Bryan a good luck kiss, then Bryan was met with a huge Brogue Kick from the Irishman and pinned for the title in just 18 seconds. At the time it was met with ‘why did they plan THAT?’, but watching back now it’s great to see how smug Bryan looks when you know the Brogue is coming to knock his head off.
They’re Hardcore! They’re Hardcore!
It was called a Battle Royal but it was more of a Championship Scramble match, because the championship could exchange hands an unlimited number of times during the 15 minute time limit, and the final wrestler with the Hardcore Championship would win the match and remain the champion. This match happened at WrestleMania 2000 (has there been that many?!) and featured Hardcore Champion Crash Holly defending against Bradshaw, Faarooq, Funaki, Hardcore Holly, Joey Abs, Mosh, Pete Gas, Rodney, TAKA Michinoku, Tazz, Thrasher, and Viscera. As per the aim of the match you’d think that everyone would try pin or submit the champion at the time but they didn’t really bother, just fought with whoever was closest. Hardcore Holly won the match after a sweet shot (which is a HILARIOUS thing to type because he actually hit him with a jar of sweets). In a complete mess of a finish he pinned Crash even though Crash had his shoulders up. The ref stopped counting at two, but somehow Hardcore was announced the winner.
Little And Large
King Kong Bundy main evented WrestleMania II against Hulk Hogan in a Steel Cage match for the WWF Championship. The following year at WrestleMania III he teamed with Little Tokyo and Lord Littlebrook (both popular due to their dwarfism) against the team of Hillbilly Jim and two more wrestlers with short stature, the Haiti Kid, and Little Beaver. The rules of the match were that Jim and Bundy could only fight each other and the little people could only fight between themselves. Through the match Little Beaver kept pestering Bundy until he snapped. Body slamming and delivering a big elbow to Beaver got Bundy disqualified.
I don’t think it took place at an actual WrestleMania but it DID take place at Madison Square Garden. The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael ‘P.S.’ Hayes, Terry ‘Bam Bam’ Gordy, and Buddy “Jack” Roberts) took on Greg Gagne, Jim Brunzell, and The Tonga Kid in a three-on-three tag team match. While the match was taking place an audience member got into an altercation with someone in the underground car park which turned into a sword fight, and… no wait… that’s the movie Highlander. Sorry about that.
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