With WrestleMania 29 upon us, I got the sudden urge last week to dig into my DVD collection and watch WrestleMania 2. It’s not the most popular Mania of all time, but it was a big deal back in 1986.
The first time I watched this event was in the early 90’s when I rented it from a mom and pop video store that had a massive wrestling collection. I believe this was the first time I had watched it since and boy, did I forget a lot about this event! In fact, I forgot so much of what happened that I almost turned in my wrestling fan card.
Things I forgot about WrestleMania 2:
- Paul Orndorff’s racist gesture towards Mr. Fuji that would guaranteed a speedy trip to the unemployment line in today’s PG Era.
- The fact that George Wells wrestled on this card
- The three celebrity judges in the Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper boxing match which were Cab Calloway, Darryl Dawkins, and G. Gordon Liddy
- The existence of Burger King’s Herb, who was a guest time-keeper.
- Dan Spivey and Tony Atlas being in the Battle Royal featuring the NFL players. Side note: I was impressed with the way Russ Francis moved around in there.
- The “Where’s the Beef?” lady from the Wendy’s commercials. I’m kind of embarrassed I forgot this one
- Ricky Schroeder as the guest time-keeper for the Hogan vs. Bundy cage match in Los Angeles
- Dory Funk being called “Hoss” instead of Dory
- Fabulous Moolah vs. Velvet McIntyre
On the DVD release, The British Bulldogs vs. Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake was the main event in Chicago. I thought I was completely off my rocker as there was no way I could have possibly forgotten this. Wasn’t the Battle Royal Chi-towns featured attraction? After looking at conflicting reports online, I dusted off my old Coliseum Home Video cassette with the soft clam shell case, and the Battle Royal was indeed the main event. I wouldn’t have such a problem with forgetting all of this stuff, but I’ve always had a photographic memory when it comes to wrestling.
As it related to the “Where’s the beef” lady, the company should have gone for the fast food trifecta and made some sort of arrangement with McDonald’s. Imagine Hamburglar, in the corner of George “the Animal” Steele yelling “Rubble, Rubble” in response to a verbal assault from the Macho Man Randy Savage? I know, it sounds ridiculous but the funny thing is, if Vince could have pulled this off, he would have done it back in 1986.
WrestleMania 2 should have been called Celebrity Mania since there were 15 celebrities which is the most in the history of the event. Also, I’m not sure, but I think Corporal Kirschner might have left the ring side area too soon after besting Nikolai Volkoff in their 2 minute flag match. No flag was really raised. The Corporal just walked back to the locker room while holding the up the flag. Couldn’t he have done that without a stipulation?
The Funk Brothers vs. Tito Santana and Junkyard Dog was my favorite match on the card and even though history is not kind to the main event between Hulk Hogan and King Kong Bundy, I was fine with it. They told a story, they had the crowd, and they exploded when Hogan escaped the cage with injured ribs and all.
Ricky Steamboat vs. Bret Hart was originally on the docket for the Los Angeles card. Both men confirmed this in prior interviews and were extremely disappointed when the match was scrapped. Steamboat would have probably gone over since he was the bigger attraction at the time but the company probably didn’t want anything stealing the main event’s thunder. Steamboat ended up working with Hercules Hernandez while Hart was in the battle royal and made it to the very end where he was eliminated by the winner, Andre the Giant.
This was the first and only WrestleMania to emanate from three separate locations of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. It must have sounded like a cool idea at the time and there were no productions problems of note but I don’t think this concept would work today since tickets are more expensive than ever before, and due to the fact that it hasn’t been tried since. Overall, this was not the best Mania, but it wasn’t the worst, either. In my opinion, that distinction belongs to WrestleMania 27.