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30 Days of WrestleMania: Looking back at WrestleMania II

Because of the WWE Network, fans can now watch every single WrestleMania from start to finish.

30 Days of WrestleMania: Looking back at WrestleMania II

The Bears´ William "Refrigerator" Perry is sandwiched between Big John Studd, left and an unidentified wrestler during a Wrestlemania II Battle Royal bout on April 8, 1986 in Rosemont, Illiniois. (Charlie Bennett/AP file)
The Bears' William "Refrigerator" Perry is sandwiched between Big John Studd, left and an unidentified wrestler during a Wrestlemania II Battle Royal bout on April 8, 1986 in Rosemont, Illiniois. (Charlie Bennett/AP file)

Because of the WWE Network, fans can now watch every single WrestleMania from start to finish.

So, for 30 days leading up to WrestleMania XXX, we will take an extensive look back at each event from the very first, to the most recent.

Here's the WrestleManias we've covered so far:

WM I |

More coverage

WrestleMania II

Date: April 7, 1986

Venue: Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, N.Y., Rosemont Horizon (Rosemont, Ill.), Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (Los Angeles, Calif.)

Attendance: Nassau Coliseum: 16,585, Rosemont Horizon: 9,000, Los Angles Memorial Coliseum: 14,500. Total attendance: 40,085

Match Results:

“Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff vs. “Magnificent” Don Muraco w/ Mr. Fuji went to double count-out

Intercontinental Championship – “Macho Man” Randy Savage w/ Elizabeth def/ George “The Animal” Steele

Jake “The Snake” Roberts def. George Wells

Boxing match – Mr. T w/ Joe Frazier and the Haiti Kid def. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper w/ Cowboy Bob Orton via disqualification

Women’s Championship – Fabulous Moolah def. Velvet McIntyre

Flag Match – Corporal Kirchner def. Nikolai Volkoff w/ Classy Freddie Blassie

Andre the Giant won NFL Battle Royal

World Tag Team Championships – The British Bulldogs w/ Captain Lou Albano and Ozzy Osbourne def. The Dream Team  (Brutus Beefcake & Greg “The Hammer” Valentine) w/ Luscious Johnny Valiant

Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat” def. Hercules

“Adorable” Adrian Adonis w/ Jimmy Hart def. Uncle Elmer

Terry & Hoss Funk w/ Jimmy Hart def. Tito Santana & Junkyard Dog

Steel Cage Match for WWE Championship – Hulk Hogan def. King Kong Bundy w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

Observations:

- The late great Ray Charles sung a great rendition of “America the Beautiful” to kick off the show, which was accompanied by a video of so-called American things. At the end of the video, Hulk Hogan is shown pointing at the American flag and then shown with fireworks blaring behind him as Charles wrapped up the song. I understand that Hogan was the man and that he was real American and all, but man was that cheesy. Maybe it’s just me.

- This is the first and only time WrestleMania took place in multiple venues. For whatever reason, Vince McMahon thought it was a good idea to bulk up the marquee event from one venue all the way to three. So, he presented one for each major market in each part of the United States. The show started in Uniondale, N.Y., then made its way to Chicago before the event ended in Los Angeles.

- Having one show take place in three different time zones would be hectic even with today’s technology, but it was even more difficult back in 1986. Because of this there were a lot more production issues than usual from a WWE run event. There were some occasional microphone hiccups and just plain confusion overall with what was supposed to happen next. After watching this show, you’ll see why WWE has not attempted such a feat since.

- Celebrities and WrestleMania go hand-in-hand, but WWE went way overboard with its usage for this event. Celebrities are nice when they are occasionally sprinkled in, but WWE had to learn this the hard way with WrestleMania II. Everywhere you turned there was a celebrity guest ring announcer, commentator, timekeeper, official, popcorn vendor. You name it; there was a celebrity involved. The worst was the commentary. Instead of listening to Gorilla Monsoon, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, Lord Alfred Hayes, “Mene” Gene Okerlund and Vince McMahon, we got the occasional clueless remark from a celebrity guest commentator. The worst was probably Susan Saint James, as she told George “The Animal” Steele to eat “Macho Man” Randy Savage’s leg at one point.

- Speaking of Hayes, I don’t remember hearing him call play-by-play on matches before I watched this show. He may have, but I don’t necessarily remember. The reason he was put in that role for this show was because WWE needed three different commentary teams. Hayes was stationed in Los Angeles with Ventura and celebrity guest Elvira, who wasn’t terrible. In Chicago, we got Monsoon and Okerlund, who were joined by Cathy Lee Crosby and in New York we were treated to the wonderful tandem of McMahon and Saint James. As far as Hayes is concerned, I thought he did a great job calling the matches, especially since he got the main event between Hogan and King Kong Bundy.

- The main event for the Chicago portion was a 20-man battle royal that put professional wrestlers in the same ring with professional football players, including Chicago Bears William “The Refrigerator” Perry and Jimbo Covert. The match itself was a standard battle royal, but what struck me was that you had Andre the Giant, Pedro Morales, Bret Hart and Bruno Sammartino all in the same ring at the same time. You talk about some all-time greats. They are definitely in that conversation. Granted, Hart wasn’t quite the star he would become at that point, but it was still cool to see. Another funny thing about that match was the final four came down to Andre the Giant, Hart, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart and San Francisco 49ers tight end Russ Francis, who for some reason thought it would be smart to attack Andre the Giant all night.

- The best match of the night in my opinion was the British Bulldogs beating Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and Brutus Beefcake. The match itself had a lot of action and unique finish. What’s interesting is that this match went on in Chicago after the battle royal, which was advertised as the main event. This was actually common back then, as the main event would go on before intermission while the tag teams would close the show with an exciting match.

- Hogan and Bundy was the first time WWE used the blue-bar steel cage. It was supposed to be a reinforced cage because of the size and mass of Bundy. WWE used this style of cage for the next decade or so, but eventually went back to the cyclone fence for a cage mainly because it’s safer. The blue bars don’t have much give and is a lot more painful to get tossed into. The fence, however, has plenty of give and is easier on the body.

- Fabulous Moolah was a beast and could probably beat up most men if they tried. I know I wouldn’t have.

Vaughn Johnson Sports Producer
About this blog
The Squared Circle is a one-stop shop of pro wrestling news, recaps and observations. You can also enjoy interviews with some of your favorite stars from the world of professional wrestling both nationally and locally. Reach Vaughn at vjohnson@philly.com.

Vaughn Johnson Sports Producer
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