Saturday, April 1, 2006

DTM BLOG Classics #20: The Orignal Ramblemania Postings

So Wrestlemania is coming in a few weeks time, eh? I'd normally state my anticipation for this event, but this year's different. Suddenly, the anticipation for this year's sports-entertainment spectacular has gone down the shitter as more of the card is revealed. Unfortunately, the build-up for the primetime return of the Saturday Night's Main Event show on NBC is far greater than that of what's supposed to be their headline show.

Has the quality of the product truly gone down or is it just our standards for what a Wrestlemania should be gone up? That's something I've often asked myself, but it's quite irrelevant, because we've had some stinkers before. According to most people (or at least most people on the Internet), the most reviled happen to be IV, IX, and XI. Well, let's see how bad these shows really are... in addition to the other 19.

(On a side note, I was actually surprised that for the Wrestlemania Rewind matches on last Monday's RAW, they used the classic WWF logo instead of their butchered logo featured on the WWE Legends thing. Nice little bit... of course, it doesn't mean the matches didn't suck.)

So let's begin this, shall we?

The original Wrestlemania pretty much set the standard for what others would follow. For the sake of history, you can't say that this was a bad show because if it was, we wouldn't be having this conversation. Plus, the main event was very much publicized and even sparked a sequel match at next year's event. As a whole, it's a worthwhile viewing to see how far we've come and gone. Match-wise, it's fairly decent, but would be outclassed by the cards of its sequels.

WRESTLEMANIA II: Three venues of DOOM!
This is the show so massive they needed three arenas to produce it. So nothing of note happened in this show (or is it these shows? My head hurts) and the fact that the multiple venues plan was only used for this show probably means that plan was a failure. Nothing considerably bad, but nothing all that great either. Then again, maybe I'm just jaded because I was a kid back then who played with his old Atari and Commodore Vic-20.

A great variety of some quality matches along with the build to the night's main event made this show the standard for which all other 'Manias wouldn't reach. Yeah, the Hogan/Andre match wasn't a great wrestling match, but no doubt people were wondering if Hulk still ruled or if the Giant would reign supreme as the champ, so it worked on that level. That and you had an undercard full of great matches (along with some duds). Definitely one of the better cards.

WRESTLEMANIA IV: World-Title Tourney Massacre
It's been said that airing an entire tournament on a single show is not only bad for your ratings and buyrates, it also makes for a very boring show. Unfortunately, IV proves to be one of those lousy shows with a single-show tourney... NOT quite what you'd want to go for in a supercard-quality show. Above all that, the majority number of matches on the show were boring as hell, with only a couple them worth the attention... no, kids. Not even the Warrior's match with Hercules Hernandez could save this show.

And for some reason, Trump Plaza played host to 'Mania for the second year in a row. I guess it would be a landmark not matched by any other 'Mania, as venues have placed host to 'Mania more than once, but never BACK-TO-BACK. Definately an improvement over the previous show; a touch of irony as Randy Savage loses the world title in the same building he won it in a year earlier. I guess we needed to remove all semblance of 'Mania IV's title tournament... including the guy who won it. 'Tis a shame: I'd rather have the Nacho Man as World champ than Hulk Hogan. Then again, anybody's a better alternative than Hulk Hogan, especially these days.

WRESTLEMANIA VI: The Ultimate Fruitcake
Taking place in Toronto, you had Hulk Hogan taking on the Ultimate Warrior. You had Warrior defeating Hogan and winning his only world title... well, if you had to do something bold and daring, it had to be in Canada. Because heaven forbid Hulk Fucking Hogan would lose a match at Wrestlemania taking place in the United States. As for the rest of the card, it was alright. Nothing awe-inspiring or anything, but watchable.

WRESTLEMANIA VII: Guerilla Warfare Tactics
Ah yes. The one where Sgt. Slaughter, long-time wrestling representative to G.I. Joe, turned into an Iraqi and became a World champ fodder to Hulk Hogan. To say that people were insulted that Vince would exploit a real war would be obvious. These days, stupidities such as that is commonplace in WWE. Originally booked at a larger arena, McMahon later came up with the excuse that they moved to a smaller venue because of a bomb threat and not because of low ticket sales. Of course, if that were the case, the bombers would probably bomb that smaller venue... now there's a sports-entertainment angle that would reel in the ratings.

WRESTLEMANIA VIII: Hulk Hogan retires... for one year
Ric Flair defends his title against Randy Savage... a situation the Macho Man had to win if he didn't want perverted wrestling fans to see certain pictures... a title match that ISN'T the main event. Instead, the main event is a snoozefest featuring Hulk Hogan in a retirement match against Sid. The wrestling undercard was pretty good. Some stinkers here and there, and of course, the return of the "self-destructive" personality. Not that it helps or anything. Still, you can't go wrong with this show.

WRESTLEMANIA IX: Wrestlecrap Inductee? I'm SOLD!
You've heard a lot about this show? Unfortunately, none of it is good. Will this be any different? No... it won't. Actually, yeah it will. I won't write anything. If Wrestlecrap reposts their induction on this show, I'll let you read that instead. Because nothing I say can do the utter atrociousness of this show any justice. It just isn't that good at all. Nothing interesting or even average. Hogan's hotshot title win after a 90-second Yoko-reign just put a damper on things.

WRESTLEMANIA X: Ten years in the making? I don't think so.
The tenth iteration ranks in most people's lists as one of the best of the 'Manias. Truthfully speaking, there was only a few quality matches here and there, but even the bad matches aren't as putrid as most tend to be. Of course, it has the ladder match that people seem to like, the first of many Bret-vs-Owen fights, and a few other hidden gems. Still, let's not spoil the moment; anyone who can appreciate quality matches can sit through the mediocre stuff and watch the title matches, ladder match, and opening match more than make up for it.

WRESTLEMANIA XI: And you though David Arquette as WCW champ was bad...
And once again, a WWF World title match is NOT the designated main event. Instead, we have Bam Bam Bigelow fighting against football great Lawrence Taylor... now I thought the match was servicable, but certainly not enough for it to be main event caliber (especially considering the title match was better, even though it had Kevin Nash in it... but at least he didn't hurt himself!) As for the rest of the show... it was the heyday of the WWF's New Generation era and a Kevin Nash title reign; most "experts" and otherwise would consider this the Dark Age of McMahon's utopia and this show clearly illustrates the road of mediocrity the promotion was headed.

WRESTLEMANIA XII: One-hour Tony Stark match
This show lacked celebrities of any kind - mostly likely because they've seen the past year of WWF shows and decided against being associated with the company. That's not an exaggeration; most of these Diesel-headlined shows were awful and was clear, concrete reasoning as to why WCW kicked McMahon's ass in the ratings. In any case, you could ignore the undercard - which wasn't all that great to begin with - because the show was really about one match - a match that made Shawn Michaels' career and marked the beginning of Bret Hart's downward spiral. Some people called this a technical clinic, but I thought it was a little slow paced, even for these guys. Still, it's a good match and would be recommended viewing.

Like the previous show, 13 lacked celebrities and a decent card... in fact, this was also a one-match show... and unfortunately, the match wasn't even the main event - it was a submission match that made Steve Austin's career and forever destroyed the career of Bret Hart... okay, maybe not, but it did make Austin.

WRESTLEMANIA XIV: The Austin Era Has Begun!
The one that got me into watching this stuff... so there's extra points there. The Austin/Michaels match that drove HBK into 4-year retirement was kinda good and there were some decent undercard matches, but you had to know where this was headed. Nothing spectacular, but worth viewing.

Welcome to Part 3 of Ramblemania. For this edition, we're looking at No. 15 to 21 of the Wrestlemania series, leaving Part 4 for a detailed review of Wrestlemania 22. From the looks of things, the reviewing is getting to be the fun part...

WRESTLEMANIA XV: The Road Ragin' Cajun Climax
This show is like the village idiot: filled with such stupid shit and yet you can't help but laugh at its plight or pleasure. The show has its share of dumb ideas and absurd matches, but the main event between Austin and Rocky was well done. This was during the height of the Attitude era, back when Vince on TV as a dispicable asshole was pure genius and not a tiresome attempt at past glory... but that didn't excuse the number of stupid ideas scattered here. The cage match is somewhat disturbing, the boxing match was pathetic, and to top it all off, we had another she-male show up... because Chyna wasn't bad enough.

WRESTLEMANIA 2000 (XVI): The Most Disfunctional PPV in History!
The triangle ladder match for the tag-team belts was the precursor to TLC matches, which have died a slow, painless death in past years as high-risk, daredevil tactics are replaced with a slower-pace style that suits the heavyweights more. There was a couple of other matches here worth watching, but I hated the main event, which was a 4-way title bout. I had always believed (and still do, actually) that a 'Mania title match should be a one-on-one affair, not only to legitimize the Royal Rumble as a stepping stone to a title bout, but also to give it that special element of a big time main event. As a pay-per-view alone, it's not as weak as people make it out to be. In fact, it's a pretty good show for a regular PPV. But this is Wrestlemania, where higher standards were expected and weren't achieved as a result. Still, I enjoyed it.

One of the better 'Manias in my opinion, with several quality outings. There's an Angle/Benoit wrestling clinic, the TLC II flip-flop tag-title match, a decent HHH/Taker match that didn't suck, and of course, Austin vs Rock II and its twist ending. The gimmick battle royal was also a high point. Sadly, though, this show did nothing to reflect on the changing of times... it was a few scant days after WCW was bought out by the WWF and it would have been nice if the purchase was given merit rather than be the catalyst to a cornball wrestling storyline which drove away fans (the opposite of what a true WCW vs WWF feud would have done IF DONE PROPERLY!!!) Other than that little piss-off, this stands as one of the better shows.

WRESTLEMANIA X-8: The Scorpion King vs. Mr. Nanny
It was 2002. Roughly a year after anyone cared, the original nWo (Hogan, Hall, and Nash) were brought in to spread poison throughout the WWF. Unlike in WCW, where the nWo ran the company to the ground, the rogue organization was put down like the Brooklyn Brawler. Austin beat Scott Hall in an undercard match, while Rocky beat Hogan (and got booed in the process) in a match that can only be described as... yet another Hogan match. Years later, the awe of such a "dream match" would wear off and that's my view on the match. Plus, it would be the first of many "dream matches" that would do less money than it should have... But I digress. This show is a fairly solid one and while not as good as 17, it still has its moments.

WRESTLEMANIA XIX: Take Me Out to the Ballpark
Remember that talk about "dream matches" and the like? Hogan/McMahon is not one of them... and sadly HBK/McMahon isn't either, but that's what we're getting this year. XIX was a really strange deal, aside from taking place in a baseball field. There's a few decent matches here and there, including Austin's final match (so far) and the horrific Lesnar/Angle title bout... horrific in the sense that one guy has a broken neck, one guy ALMOST broke his, and still came out with a fairly good match. Not as great as other 'Manias, but maybe Hogan/McMahon has me jaded or something. A good offering, nonetheless.

WRESTLEMANIA XX: Where It All Begins Again... And Again...
Just like WMX, MSG hosts No. 20. The first viewing was so drawn out and so long that my brother fell asleep when we were watching this one (can't say I blame him). While they had some solid matches (the two World title matches were simply a joy to watch) and moments (the show's ending and the rabid audience turning against Brock Lesnar and Goldberg during their match), I feel as though this was a pretty underwhelming card. A shame really, since they had the chance and the oppurtunity to really push this show into something meaningful and worthwhile like they did with No. 10.

WRESTLEMANIA 21: The Movie Trailers were good, at least.
If there's anything memorable about this iteration, it's the movie trailers that aired prior to that. Those were pretty funny. Other than that, this was your standard fare at four hours - two new champs who made it up until 2006 with their titles intact (and in the case of one - got it back some time after losing it). This is a fairly entertaining show for the most part, but the selling point for the DVD was the trailers and Hall of Fame presentation. Good stuff.

So that's it for the past. The next and final chapter of this opus will be a review of this year's Maniacal offering. Of course, I'll be including predictions for that one on the day of the PPV. That's about it, really.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Keep it real and keep it clean.