Wrestlemania 10- As I remember It.
As most kids were in the early to mid 90s, I was obsessed with the World Wrestling Federation. I loved every bit of it; from the toys to the television programs, there was nothing, aside from maybe the Ninja Turtles or the Ghostbusters, that came between me and my wrestling. I was lured into this culture in 1989 when a man with long blonde hair told me to say my prayers and eat my vitamins (and without questions I ate his brand of vitamins).
Yeah, I was a Hulkamaniac, and soon after my bedroom looked like the inside of a Retro Fitness Gym. Yellow and red as far as the eye could see. But as time went on, I began to develop a love affair with the entire federation. It was no longer the Hulkster exclusively; It was the Macho Man, and the Ultimate Warrior. It spread from there and as the years went on, I became more fixated on it. I think it was 1993 when Hulk Hogan defected to the WCW, but I remained true to my WWF. Thankfully, the Macho Man hadnt left yet, and wrestlers such as Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, The Undertaker, Tatanka, and Razor Ramon were able to hold my attention.
I will never forget a day in 1993 when it was announced that the tenth anniversary of the legendary Wrestlemania would return to where it all began: Madison Square Garden. Being from Long Island and having the good fortune of having gone to the city before, I knew that it wouldnt take much to get to the city for the event. Unfortunately, my parents knew that I was aware of this. I begged, and pleaded with them to take me, but I had been told that the tickets were just too expensive, and that we would not be going.
As you do at the age of 7, I began to cryâ€¦hysterically. I was so sad to hear that this once in a lifetime, at least what I conceived to be a once in a lifetime, opportunity would be slipping away, leaving me at home to watch it on television. Ive lost friends, family members, and pets, and to this day, I dont think I shed as many tears for all of them combined (no offense to any of them) as I did for finding out that there would be no Wrestlemania for me. Another chance had slipped away and it hurt me more than anything else.
Well wouldnt you know it, my mother felt bad for me. She left me in my room in shambles, and came back about a minute later. Now if any of you who happen to read this know my mother, and some of you do, you know that she isnt the type to take pity on a crying kid, especially if she has the grandest of grand surprises in store, which she would prefer not to spoil prematurely. I look back on it now and I actually feel terrible about it; I must have hurt this woman so bad!
She opens her hand, and there they are. Even better: They are RINGSIDE seats. I was told to keep it between us and pretend to be surprised on Easter Sunday when I get my basket. The truth is, she didnt want my father to know that she ruined the surprise. That secret was kept quiet for 16 years, sorry Mom. Now I will never win a Super Bowl or a World Series, but I can imagine that the joy I felt was somewhat similar. At the age of 7, I found out that I would be ringside at Wrestlemania 10.
I will never forget that day: March 20th, 1994. I remember me, my father, his friend Joe, and my younger brother hopping on the Long Island Railroad and heading into the city. That trip couldnt have been any slower. At one point I thought the train was taking us east to Port Jefferson before it actually took us west to the city. In reality the trip took a little over an hour and change, but when you are that young I may as well have walked it and it would have seemed to take the same amount of time. The most exciting part of the trip, aside from the actual event, was FANFEST. It was a pre-pay-per-view event where fans could play games, buy merch, and wrestle in a ring! How exciting!
To this day I dont know how we did this, but somehow we were not able to locate the fanfest. Yeah, we never made it. Bummer. But whatever, I had plenty of toys at home, I was more interested in sitting ringside for what was to be, at that point in my life, the biggest event of all time! We went to Beefsteak Charlies for lunch, because back in those days, Wrestlemania would start in the afternoon. I ate chicken fingers, fries, and a coke. I remember sitting in the restaurant, watching tons of people walk in wearing their Wrestlemania X t-shirts. Needless to say, the begging began.
We get back to the Garden, and enter through the turnstiles: I am in heaven. My dad takes my brother and I to the merch stand. He buys he a hat (which my dog ate, but thankfully my mother repairs), and a pair of Bret Hart glasses. I wore those things to school the next day, and the day after that, just to show off that I went to the gig. I was envied. He bought my brother a Tatanka tomahawk made of foam. These days, that's politically incorrect, but hey man, this was 1994!
We get to the seats and oh yeah, it was sweet. Little Richard cames out and sings the worst version of America the Beautiful that I have ever heard. In fact, my brother and I made fun of it the entire day, and still do to this day. Then the matches begin!
First up: Bret Hart Vs. Owen Hart.
Brother Vs. Brother. This is a great opening match. It was a wonderful back and forth between the two. Bret seemed to really have control, and in an extreme turn of events, the late Owen gets Bret in some sort of small package and pins him! You're kidding right? Bret Hart LOSES to Owen to open the afternoon? That was the feeling. Little Richard could have walked back to the ring naked, and no one would have been as shocked. But whatever, we have an entire day ahead, which features Bret in a second match for the title later on.
Second Match: Bam Bam Bigelow and Luna Vachon vs Doink and Dink the Clowns.
So the point of this mixed tag was good guy vs. bad guy, very typical of wrestling in the 80s and 90s. just to make it fun, its got some freaky chick and a midget in the match. Now Doink, the fully grown clown can only fight Bam Bam. Luna and Dink can only fight each other. You know right away that theres no way that this is going to last. Either the referee will get knocked out or distracted and the massive drug addict will have his way with Dink. And thats what happened. He tossed poor Dink around like one of those wrestling buddies. Needless to say, the hokey Doink and Dink don't win this one. No one is surprised.
Third Match: Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Crush
This was an anywheres falls match. Savage was my favorite now that Hogan was gone, and I had visions of him walking up to me and having him beat up on Crush! Well, he beat up on Crush, but without my help. I remember having to watch half the match on the jumbo tron because they took the fight backstage. It was pretty cool, although with seats that close, you want to see all of the action. Somehow, Savage pins Crush, gets him hung upside down with chains, and rushed back into the ring for the win. Yeah, forgot to mention that, the stipulation was that you had to pin him outside the ring, then get back in the ring to secure the win, which he did. I was ecstatic, my favorite had won, and I believe that was his final WM. I was glad to have seen it.
Fourth Match: Alundra Blayze Vs. Leilani Kai
I dont remember much about this match because it was quick and it sucked. It was for the Women's Championship, and no one cared. This is the match where everyone gets up to use the bathroom or buy food and merch. I suppose thats why they threw it in there. I would have much rather seen the 10 Man Tag that never happened due to time constraints. It would have been IRS, The Headshrinkers, Jeff Jarrett, and The Model Rick Martel Vs. Tatanka, The Smoking Gunns, Sparky Plug and the 1-2-3 Kid. Oh yeah, and Blayze won. I honestly only remember that because I watched the tape afterwards. I think my brother and dad went to the bathroom and I flipped through a program.
Fifth Match: Men on A Mission Vs the Quebecers
This was a fun match with the fan favorites Men on A Mission, along with Oscar and those horrendous purple suits. They beat up on the Quebecers and won by a count out. Although uneventful, still fun to see the good guys win, and to sing and dance with MOAM.
Sixth Match: Yokozuna Vs. Lex Lugar.
The first of two WWF Championship matches that day. It all starts with Lex Lugar bodyslamming Yokozuna under the Statue of Liberty on what I think was the Fourth Of July in 1993 to get a shot at the title. His chance came at Wrestlemania, and the Lex Express hit the road. For those of you who remember, we all wished that this bus would stop by our town, shortly followed by the Oscar Meyer Weini-mobile. I dont know about you, but I didnt get either. Basically Lex Lugar traveled the country on a Red, White, and Blue bus, because it was cool to be patriotic, not fashionable in time of turmoil. The whole idea was Us Vs. Them, Go Lex, Rah Rah USA, etc. And wouldnt you know it, it was all for nothing. I remember thinking that as I watched this. I thought wow, Lex wasted his time. After a great fight with Yokozuna, he goes and upsets the special guest referee, the late and great Mr. Perfect, so perfect disqualifies him! I was shocked, as well as everyone else in the building. We all thought that with Perfect being back, he was sure to be partial towards Lugar. Well he wasnt and defended his actions by saying I was only doing my job, which in essence I suppose he did.but what a match to watch up close! This was an incredible site to see.
Seventh Match: Earthquake Vs. Adam Bomb
Another quick one. The head of the Hairclub for Men, who I believe was named Sterling, comes out to unveil his newest work, The Fink. And yes, Howard Finkel had hair and the place went crazy. Adam Bomb comes out with Harvey Wippleman. Wippleman has an altercation where he makes fun of the Finks hair, and tears the pocket off of his coat. Nothing pisses off the late Earthquake quite like a tattered Blazer. He come out and smashes Adam Bomb and pins him in about 15 seconds. Wow that was fast. The next thing I know, my dad points at the jumbo tron and low and behold, there we are on pay-per-view. Look closely when the camera pans the crowd: You see a talk blonde haired guy with a hideous purple/turquoise windbreaker on (yeah, it was the 90s). Thats the old man. The little runt with the hat too big for his boney head is me.
Eighth Match: Razor Ramon Vs. Shawn Michaels
The infamous ladder match. I believe one of the first, if not the first of its kind. This was the coolest match I have ever seen live. And you can only imagine how cool it was up close. Ramon and Michaels battled it out, smashing each other with the ladder and tossing each other off of it. I will never forget the sound that was made when Razor gave Michaels The Razor's Edge from the top of that ladder. Holy Crap. Its always great when the good guy wins. Intercontinental Championship goes to The Bad Guy!
Ninth Match: Yokozuna Vs. Bret Hart
Another star studded match for the WWF Championship. I wish I could tell you a lot of this match, but my father wanted to beat the foot traffic on his way out of the building. I remember the intros with the special guests, and Roddy Piper was the referee. I remember watching some of it and loving it, then being towed away prematurely. I did get to see Bret win the watch from The exits, but then we bolted.
It was an awesome event and I loved every second of it. I hope you all enjoyed the first of what I hope to be many articles from me. I always like to walk down Retro Ave.