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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 2

April 7, 1986

Locations: Uniondale, New York; Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles, California
Arenas: The Nassau Coliseum, The Rosemont Horizon, The LA Sports Arena
Combined Announced Attendances: 47,688

RESULTS

For the second installment of Wrestlemania, the WWF braintrust went with three locations in three time zones, with each Arena watching the other shows via closed circuit television. Interesting to note that the California building watched the remainder of the show after their portion of the live event, while everyone else saw the show in the order of Nassau, Chicago, Los Angeles.

Uniondale Results: Don Muraco fought Paul Orndorff to a double countout....WWF Intercontinental champion Randy Savage pinned George Steele with his feet on the ropes....Jake Roberts pinned George Wells with a DDT....Mr. T defeated Roddy Piper via DQ in the fourth round of a worked boxing match. T hardly trained for the bout, leading to a horrible performance and most of the Nassau crowd chanting for Piper. Piper eventually bodyslammed T to end the New York portion of the show.

Uniondale Celebrities: Susan St. James commentated along with Vince McMahon...Lou Duva managed Piper while Smokin' Joe Frazier was T's cornerman....Ray Charles sang "America the Beautiful", starting a Wrestlemania tradition....Joan Rivers was the special ring announcer for the main event....Judges for the boxing match were jazz singer Cab Calloway, NBA player Darryl Dawkins, and G. Gordon Liddy, a political figure from the Nixon Presidential scandal.....The guest timekeeper was "Herb" a character from a Burger King ad campaign of the time which featured a hunt for the one man in the world who hadn't tasted a Whopper. Years before Where's Waldo, consumers were wondering "Where's Herb?"

Chicago Results: WWF Women's champion The Fabulous Moolah pinned Velvet McIntyre after McIntyre missed a bodypress off the top.....Cpl. Kirchner pinned Nikolai Volkoff after catching Freddie Blassie's cane and hitting him with it. The finish would avenge Blassie's use of the cane to help Nikolai attain a Tag title a year before....Andre the Giant eliminated Bret Hart to win a 20 man Battle Royal that featured wrestlers as well as NFL football players. The Battle Royal was built around Chicago Bear star William "The Refrigerator" Perry and a rivalry with Big John Studd. Studd eliminated Perry from the bout, only to be pulled over when Perry offered to shake his hand. Much of the national news telecasts that night aired the clip. Others in the bout included Bruno Sammartino (in his only Wrestlemania match), Pedro Morales (ditto), Jim Cobert, Pedro Morales, Tony Atlas, Ted Arcidi, Harvey Martin, Danny Spivey, Hillbilly Jim, King Tonga (Haku), The Iron Sheik, Ernie Holmes, The Killer Bees, Bill Fralic, Jim Neidhart, and Russ Francis....The British Bulldogs defeated Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake to win the WWF Tag Team championships in the blowoff of their feud. The finish of the bout saw Davey Boy Smith run Valentine headfirst into Dynamite Kid's head, while Kid was perched on the top rope, sending him crashing to the floor in a frightening bump to set up the pin.

Chicago Celebrities: Obviously, the NFL players who worked the Battle Royal. Cathy Lee Crosby (TV's "That's Incredible") did commentary with Gorilla Monsoon and Gene Okerlund...Claire Peller (who starred in the Wendy's "Where's the Beef?" ad campaign) was the guest timekeeper for the Battle Royal....Dick Butkus and Ed "Too Tall" Jones were the guest referee for the Battle Royal....Heavy metal singer Ozzy Osbourne was in the corner of the British Bulldogs, nearly a decade before he truly hit with the mainstream American audience as the patriarch of "The Osbournes."

Los Angeles Results: Ricky Steamboat pinned Hercules Hernandez with a flying bodypress....Adrian Adonis pinned Uncle Elmer with a splash....Terry and Hoss (Dory Jr.) Funk defeated the team of Tito Santana and The Junkyard Dog. Terry Funk was awesome here, getting bodyslammed through a table years before Tod Gordon came up with the initials ECW. Terry cracks JYD with Jimmy Hart's megaphone for the pin....WWF champion Hulk Hogan escaped a Steel Cage match to defeat King Kong Bundy, then took liberties in the cage with Bundy's manager Bobby Heenan. This was the debut of the "reinforced" blue Steel Cage that the promotion continued to use all the way until the Attitude era came about. Bundy had destroyed Hogan in a tremendous angle on NBC's Saturday Night's Main Event "injuring" his ribs in the process.

Los Angeles Celebrities: Horror TV show host Elvira commentated with Jesse Ventura and Lord Alfred Hayes....Tommy LaSorda of the Dodgers was the special guest ring announcer while Ricky Shroeder, fresh of NBC's Silver Spoons was the timekeeper.

Notes: The show was available to limited homes via PPV. It would be a year later that PPV and WWF become known hand in hand...The show marked the final Wrestlemania appearance of Paul Orndorff, who main evented the first show....The show was another huge hit in the rental stores....The show aired on cable on Showtime several weeks after the event...King Kong Bundy was a focal point of much of the media coverage building up to the event. His stature as a monster was never bigger and the match was the highlight of his career....Future Mania main eventers Randy Savage and Bret Hart made their Wrestlemania debut with this show.

King Kong Bundy on Main Eventing Wrestlemania 2: It was exciting, being in the main event with Hogan. It was a good match, a lot of fun...But if you check the tape, you'll see that my feet hit the floor first - I never lost! I should have been the champion! (March 2003, Slam! Wrestling)

Dory Funk Jr. on Working Wrestlemania 2: Wrestling Trivia - Wrestlemania 2 was the only Wrestlemania represented by the number 2 as opposed to Roman numerals. Wrestlemania 2 originated from Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City. Terry and I were in Los Angeles. Marti and my daughter Penny traveled with us to Los Angeles for the show and together for the first time shopped on Rodeo Drive and visited Saks Fifth Avenue and the Gucci store. The match was Terry Funk and myself against Tito Santana and The Junkyard Dog. (Tito's real name is Merced Solice and he comes from the same West Texas State University the same university Terry and I played football at.  It is little known in wrestling that Tito was an outstanding receiver for West Texas State University.) With his reputation as a football player, I could not understand why he would change his name, but why would I ever wrestle as Hoss Funk? In Los Angeles, Terry and I were on next to last. The main event was Hulk Hogan against King Kong Bundy. Tito and Junkyard Dog were a hot team. Tito being the great worker and Junkyard Dog the character personality. This was the final match for a feud that began with Terry and Junkyard Dog and was enhanced when the Booker, George Scott called and asked if I would come in for WWF and work a program. My first match ever for WWF was at the TV taping in Poughkeepsie where I interfered in a Terry/Junkyard match and beat the Hell out of Junkyard Dog. This began a program that culminated in the Wrestlemania 2 match.  My time working with WWE was challenging because of the work schedule. (At one stretch we did 46 shows in a row.) At the end of the year I had 38 different state tax returns to fill out. It was also a fun time in my life. The money was good and I was able to travel with my wife Marti and at times bring other family members. Being a part of Wrestlemania is an honor, It gives you a unique place in history.  It is like being able to say, "I played in the Super Bowl." It would be nice if in the future WWE would give out Wrestlemania Rings. For me, it was one of my biggest paydays working in the wrestling business.

Velvet McIntrye on Wrestlemania 2: The biggest thing that stands out about that is I wanted to go to Kuwait, but I got WrestleMania II instead. There was a trip for the girls to Kuwait, and I always liked to go where I hadn't been. But I was told, 'Nope, you get to stay here and do Wrestlemania', so I was pretty bummed out about that. I didn't really care for my opponent. (March 2003, Slam! Wrestling)

Dave Scherer: There are two things that I recall about Mania 2, and really two things only. One was the ambitious way that they did the show from three locations. It was a logistical nightmare, but also a very interesting idea that was worth trying. I also think that they made a great choice by never doing it again. It was not a good concept. The other thing I remember, from sitting in the building where I watched on closed circuit TV (and I am sure most of you don't even remember such a thing) was that the show was pretty dull and there was nothing memorable on it. At this point in time, I loved actual wrestling and the WWF didn't give us much of that.

Mike Johnson: I can recall waiting weeks to find a copy of the show on video and being completely underwhelmed once I watched it. There were very few highlights of the show with the best matches being The Bulldogs vs. Dream Team, and The Funks vs. Tito Santana & JYD. The Battle Royal was a fun spectacle, making Andre look like a monster to begin the build for the biggest Wrestlemania match of all time, Andre's challenge of Hulk Hogan. The boxing match was beyond awful. This isn't one of the best showings for the Wrestlemania event, period. The idea of the three sites was one that made sense on paper but when you were paying top price for a third of a show, it must have been hell on the fans live.

Jess McGrath: I had similar feelings to Mike's when I saw it. They tried too hard to make this feel "special". And they went overboard in downplaying the wrestling, instead hyping the three locations and the 25 celebrities. The reason for doing three locations was that Starrcade, the NWA's big show, in 1985 was done in two sites (Greensboro and Atlanta), so Vince of course had to top that. New York fans got the shaft big-time when it came to what they saw live vs. the other sites. Jake Roberts vs. George Wells was really a squash match. Aside from some quick finishes and gimmicky matches like Terry Taylor vs. Bobby Heenan at WM 5, they really did away with the concept of Wrestlemania squash matches after this one. The T-Piper stuff bored me at the time, and the "match" was just terrible. Chicago got the battle royal and the tag title match, both of which were entertaining. I remember the women's title match and Kirchner-Volkoff being really short and essentially a total waste. Los Angeles was the best of the shows, Adrian Adonis-Uncle Elmer notwithstanding. The Funks vs. Santana & JYD was pretty much the highlight of Mania.

Buck Woodward: This was a weird show, in that some of the undercard matches had a storyline (Kirschner-Volkoff, Funks-Santana & JYD, Savage-Steele) and others had none at all (McIntyre-Moolah, Steamboat-Hercules, Roberts-Wells). ... The split sites definitely hurt them, as the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago wasn't even close to full, even though that was the site of the heavily hyped battle royal with William Perry, who was a god in Chi-town at the time. ... I recall hearing that there were many in WWF that felt Savage-Hogan should have been the main event, given their fantastic feud from a few months earlier, but McMahon stuck with his plan to have Bundy-Hogan. ... I remember loving the Bulldogs-Dream Team bout, the Funks vs. Santana & JYD, and the battle royal, but being extremely disappointed with the rest. Seven out of the twelve matches on the show went under six minutes, and the whole event seemed rushed to me. ... I recall the whole inside cover of the program was devoted to the celebrities, and I recall a friend of mine remarking "Hogan is more popular than all these people, why do they bother with them?" ... The announcing for this was horrendous. The three best announcers in the company at the time (Monsoon, Ventura and McMahon) were spread amongst the three locations, and as a result, none of the bouts had good overall commentary. ... For some reason, they had Fred Blassie on one edition of Wrestling Spotlight saying he would be at all three locations, which would have been impossible, and ridiculous, since he had no charges in New York (Volkoff and Sheik were in Chicago, Hercules in L.A.). ... Russ Francis was the last football player in the battle royal, lasting until it was just him, Andre and the Hart Foundation. He would later work some matches for the AWA. ... I believe this was also the first time Jake Roberts used his snake following a match. Prior to this, he had just been bringing the bag to ringside, without taking it out.


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