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WRESTLEMANIA RETRO LOOKS BACK AT TWENTY-SIX YEARS OF WRESTLEMANIA HISTORY

By PWInsider.com Staff on 2011-04-03 09:13:00

WRESTLEMANIA XI

April 2, 1995
Location: Hartford, CT
Arena: Hartford Civic Center
Announced Attendance: 16,305

RESULTS

*The Allied Powers, Davey Boy Smith and Lex Luger defeated The Blu Brothers. Luger went from a main event slot last year to the opening match. The Blue Brothers are Ron and Don Harris, in the midst of a short run as mountain men with their manager Uncle Zebekiah (Dutch Mantel). Davey Boy gets the pin with a sunset flip on one of the brothers. This would be Luger's final Wrestlemania appearance, as he would jump to WCW when Nitro debuted in September.

*Razor Ramon defeated WWF Intercontinental champion Jeff Jarrett via DQ when Roadie (Road Dogg Jesse Jammes in his Wrestlemania debut) interfered as Jarrett was caught in the Razor's Edge. Shawn Waltman as 1-2-3 Kid was in Ramon's corner. Ramond

*The Undertaker pinned King Kong Bundy with the heat seeking missile clothesline. It was Bundy's first Wrestlemania appearance since 3 in the Pontiac Silverdome. The storyline here was that Ted DiBiase's Corporation had stolen The Undertaker's magic urn. Paul Bearer was able to get it back, until Kama (later known as The Godfather, formerly Papa Shango) stole it back. For some unknown reason, Major League Baseball umpire Larry Young is the referee.

*Owen Hart and mystery partner Yokozuna defeated The Smoking Gunns to win the WWF Tag Team championship when Yokozuna hits a belly to belly suplex followed by a Banzai Drop. The win would prove to be the first WWF championship for Owen since his debut all the way back in 1988.

*Bret Hart defeated Bob Backlund in an I Quit Match with special mystery referee Roddy Piper. This was a rematch of Backlund defeating Bret for the WWF championship at Survivor Series 1994 when Hart's mother Helen tossed in the towel. The booking of the match was weird since the Backlund issue had been dead for some time, and then they turned around and went back to it for Wrestlemania. Bret reversed Backlund's finisher, the crossface chicken wing to force him to submit, although it sounds more like he is grunting than saying "I Quit." Backlund tells Jim Ross he's seen the light after the match. The light would eventually prove to be an angle where he announces he wants to run for President of the United States that was quickly dropped.

*WWF champion Diesel pinned Shawn Michaels with the jackknife powerbomb. Michaels was determined to steal the show again, as it was his first true Wrestlemania main event berth. He would actually end up throwing several photographers from the mainstream media around during the match when they got in his way, since they had no experience with knowing when to get out of the way of spots. Sid was back with the company with this match, working as Michaels' bodyguard. The day after the PPV, he would turn on Shawn with Diesel making the save.

*Former New York Giants superstar Lawrence Taylor pinned Bam Bam Bigelow. "I'm gonna go in there like a pack of wild dogs, and have me some fun" said Taylor at the Wrestlemania press conference and he certainly did. This was easily the greatest usage of a celebrity inside a wrestling ring to date. WCW may have had more financially successful events with Dennis Rodman, but this was the best from an in-ring standpoint. The bout was set up with an angle at the Royal Rumble where Bigelow shoved Taylor, who was heckling him from the front row after a loss. Taylor just walloped Bigelow in the ring with stiff shots (Bigelow discusses this in Taylor's recently released autobiography). Pat Patterson worked as the referee here to help lead Taylor along and Bigelow did a tremendous job carrying him. Ted DiBiase's Corporation of Nikolai Volkoff, Kama the Supreme Fighting Machine, Irwin R. Shyster, Tatanka, and King Kong Bundy were at ringside along with Taylor's NFL All-Star Team (see celebrities). Bigelow actually hit a moonsault on Taylor. Taylor hit a forearm off the ropes for the pin. Taylor was totally spent after the match and it showed that not even the top athletes from another sport could compete in "a fake sport" without expending all their energy.

Celebrities: NYPD Blue's Nicholas Turturro was roaming around in the back doing interviews, where a storyline began that Pamela Anderson (scheduled to walk Shawn Michaels to the ring) was missing. In a case of reality following the storyline, Anderson was late for the show when difficulties getting her out of the hotel adjacent to the building occurred, forcing them to bring her through a throng of fans outside waiting to get into the show. Anderson ended up walking Diesel to the ring, while Shawn was escorted by then-Playboy centerfold Jenny McCarthy, who would go on to star on MTV, films, and TV. Diesel left with both lovely ladies...Jonathan Taylor Thomas from Home Improvement was also a guest on the show, including a funny vignette where he was playing chess with Bob Backlund...For the Michaels vs. Diesel match, Thomas was the timekeeper while Turturro was the ring announcer Of course, Lawrence Taylor worked the main event with future WCW star Steve McMichael, Reggie White, Chris Spielman, Ken Norton, Rickey Jackson, and Carl Banks appearing as his NFL All-Star Team....Rap group Salt N' Pepa did a revamped version of their pop hit "Whattaman" with new lyrics written for Taylor and performed the song live at the show.

Notes: The Lawrence Taylor match led to tons of mainstream publicity and lots of crticism for Taylor. Taylor actually told the media at one point that if his WWF debut hurt his career, then his NFL career meant nothing....The decision to hold the event in CT was so there was an event promoted in the company's home state, in part so employees and their families could attend the show....The entrance to the Arena was actually a mall that was connected to a hotel. A huge balloon of the Undertaker was positioned in the center of the mall for the entire weekend....The second ever Fanfest took place during the weekend as well with autograph signings. Exhibits of different talk show sets, a Hall of Fame display, a display of different championship belts and more. Attendees were also given a coupon book for discounts on videos, free stuffed animals and more....Although Roddy Piper was unadvertised for the I Quit match, he was around the hotel all weekend in full view of the fans....The promotion did a lot of work for the Special Olympics in conjunction with this PPV....There were a number of production problems with the show, which was apparent live on PPV and even the later video tape release....They promoted the show live in the middle of Times Square (just a few feet away from what would eventually become the World complex years later) with LT having a workout in a wrestling ring, running a number of angles during the workout including a brawl between Taylor and Bigelow....Funk band Fishbone were scheduled to do America the Beautiful but didn't do the show....The show was announced by Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler....This show featured the first Wrestlemania where the WWE championship hadn't changed hands since Wrestlemania 4.

Mike Johnson: I attended this show live and wow what a letdown it was. Beyond Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel which was fun and LT vs Bigelow being better than it had any right to be, this was a poorly received and produced show coming off the previous year's event. Bret Hart was completely misused on the undercard and there were a number of performers who it felt like were just slapped anywhere on the card. There was no sense of this being anything but just another house show in terms of booking and way too much attention to the other celebrities as well. The company was trying to find itself and it really wouldn't until the rise of Steve Austin two years later. This was a Wrestlemania I would rather forget. Out of all of the shows I've attended live, this was the least entertaining.

Jess McGrath: This was one of the lowlights in the Wrestlemania series. There was really only one great match on the show, Diesel vs. Michaels. LT vs. Bigelow was far better than anybody expected it to be, and it was something to see as far as the spectacle of such a top NFL star in a wrestling match (before WCW had what seemed like monthly matches with athletes from other sports) ... but for the wrestling fan, there was just something wrong with Lawrence Taylor headlining Wrestlemania. It was an attempt at turning business around that didn't work. I give them credit for trying, and Taylor did a phenomenal job with the entire angle, but I'd prefer to forget this one.

Dave Scherer: When the best match on the show is LT vs. Bigelow, that says it all about Mania. The WWF was definitely drifting down into the muck that defined their product in the mid-90s by this time. Diesel as champ? The failed Luger push? It was no wonder I was going to the ECW Arena every three weeks at this time! ... As Mike wrote in the recap, boy Lex Luger sure did fall in the course of a year didn't he? ... I had forgotten about the stolen magic urn and reading this, I had to go and remember it again. I sure don't miss the super hokey stuff that WWE used to do. Thank God the change in their product was only a few years away.

Buck Woodward: This would be the second, and last, Wrestlemania I would attend live. After the fun I had going to Wrestlemania X, me and a couple of friends made the trip up to Connecticut for this event. I wish we had stayed home. The most memorable things about the show to me were: 1) No WWF Ice Cream bars. 2) A fan with a sign made to look like a giant pair of scissors with "Arn" and "Sid" written on the blades. 3) Seeing a huge forest fire on the side of the road as we drove home. ... The undercard was boring, there were no dark matches, and Bret vs. Backlund wasn't nearly as good as I thought it would be. ... Diesel vs. Shawn was a good match, and Bigelow led Taylor to a match that was better than it ever should have been. ... The thing that really ticked me off about the show was that there were only seven matches. There was less than 80 minutes of actual match time on a three hour PPV. That's pathetic for a show called WRESTLEmania. ... Oh, and LT is the greatest defensive player in the history of football (Hey, I'm a Giants fan, you think I wasn't going to mention that?).


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