Friday, December 19, 2014

30 Days of WrestleMania: Looking back at WrestleMania X

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

30 Days of WrestleMania: Looking back at WrestleMania X

Bret Hart. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Bret Hart. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

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 | WM II | WM III | WM IV | WM V | WM VI | WM VII | WM VIII | WM IX |

WrestleMania X

Date: March 20, 1994

Venue: Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y.

Attendance: 19,444

Match Results:

Owen Hart def. Bret Hart

Bam Bam Bieglow & Luna Vachon def. Doink & Dink

Randy “Macho Man” Savage def. Crush w/Mr, Fuji

Women’s Championship – Alundra Blayze def. Leilani Kai

WWE Championship – Yokozuna w/Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette def. Les Luger by disqualification

Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match

Razor Ramon def. Shawn Michaels

World Tag Team Championship – Men on a Mission w/Oscar def. The Quebecers w/Johnny Polo by count-out

Earthquake def. Adam Bomb w/Harvey Wippleman

WWE Championship – Bret “Hit Man” Hart def. Yokozuna

Observations:

- The main event had the right outcome with Bret Hart winning the title, but getting there was a little strange. This was before a time where a triple threat match was the obvious way to settle a feud between three men, so for the second year in a row WWE decided to have not one, but two WWE title matches on the card. For whatever reason, it decided that Yokozuna would have to defend his title twice. He first defended against Lex Luger and Hart would face the winner, which didn’t make any sense. The whole dispute started when Hart and Luger both won the Royal Rumble. If anything, Hart should have faced Luger with the winner facing Yokozuna in the main event. If WWE didn’t want to have two babyfaces face each other in one of the bigger matches I can sort of understand, but it wasn’t like that was uncharted territory in 1994.

- The ending of the Hart-Yokozuna match was a little off as well. Yokozuna lost because he simply lost his balance while attempting the Banzai drop only to have Hart cover him right after. In hindsight, Hart didn’t do whole lot besides take advantage of the dominant champion slipping and falling. I understand that WWE wanted to keep Yokozuna strong and making him tap out to the sharpshooter was not going to be viable option here, but Hart should have been a factor in some way to pinning Yokozuna. Even if it was Jim Cornette inadvertently hitting Yokozuna with that tennis racket, I could see that more than Yokozuna simply falling down like Humpy Dumpty. It didn’t hurt Hart any in the long run, but if you look back at that match all by itself, it came off as kind of an odd way to crown your new face of the company at WrestleMania.

- The ending to the Luger-Yokozuna match was weird as well. Again, I see why it was done. It was done to keep the belt on Yokozuna without him pinning Luger, but the way it was executed was weird. Luger seemed to have the match won, but turned his focus beating up Cornette and Mr. Fuji and brought them both into the ring. After beating them up, Luger went over to cover Yokozuna. The special guest referee, Mr. Perfect, suddenly seemed so flustered by the fact that both Cornette and Mr. Fuji were laid out in the ring and didn’t do anything. Luger got upset by Mr. Perfect’s stalling and shoved. Mr. Perfect then acted very quickly in disqualifying Luger. It all came off as odd and poorly planned. What was also poorly planned was Mr. Perfect’s referee uniform, which boasted referee stripes on the shirt and the pants. It even looked bad for 1994.

- Hart was taking over as the face of the company because the previous face, Hulk Hogan, had left the company and went down to World Championship Wrestling, making WrestleMania X the first to not feature him in any capacity.

- Also conspicuous by his absence was the Undertaker, who was put into a casket by Yokozuna at the Royal Rumble a couple months prior. Since he was put into a casket, WWE felt that it was a good way to explain why he wouldn’t be on television for the next couple of months. The real reason had to do with an injury he had suffered, which needed time to heal.

- This was the second time WrestleMania emanated from Madison Square Garden since the very first one back in 1985. WWE commemorated another decade of WrestleMania in 2004 when it returned to Madison Square Garden for WrestleMania XX, but did not do so for WrestleMania XXX. That is mainly because the company wants to place WrestleMania in stadiums. Although it could have put WrestleMania XXX in MetLife Stadium like it did for WrestleMania XXIX, it had agreed to give the event to New Orleans, but did not want to follow the Super Bowl a couple of months later, so it essentially switched the events around head of time. Otherwise, it would have followed a Super Bowl in consecutive years.

- This was the final WrestleMania appearance of Randy Savage. After competing in main event matches and great storylines through the first nine, his final match at the big show was against Crush in a very odd falls count anywhere match. It was a far cry from Hogan, Ultimate Warrior and Ric Flair. The rules of the match were that you could pin someone anywhere in the arena, but after the fall was counted the person who was pinned had 60 seconds to get back in the ring. If said person got back in the ring, the match continued. If they didn’t the match ended. None of this made any sense to me. Why have a falls-count-anywhere match if the point of it is to find your way back to the ring? Why wouldn’t one fall be enough to win the match unless it’s an ironman match where the match is set for 60 minutes regardless? It was just silly. Savage left WWE for WCW later in the year, but not before having one of the greatest WrestleMania resumes of anyone to ever step foot on that stage.

- With Hogan gone and Savage on his way out, the WWE roster was suddenly very thin. It severely lacked star power and WrestleMania X showed it. Sure, Bret Hart, Yokozuna and Luger were big names and Owen Hart, Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon were on the cusp of the main event, but other than that, there wasn’t much to work with. Anytime Men on a Mission versus the Quebecers was a match for the tag team titles, you know the talent pool was thin. It was a transition period for the company and WWE wasn’t necessarily prepared for it at that point. WWE eventually turned it around, but that didn’t happen for another couple of years.

- Speaking of Owen Hart, he and his brother Bret had the best opening match in WrestleMania history in Madison Square Garden that night. It was a true wrestling classic with a great story around it. The outcome of Owen Hart winning worked as well, as he wanted so desperately wanted to step from out of his brother’s shadow. When Bret Hart won the WWE Championship later in the show, there was a great visual of Owen Hart standing in the aisle looking at his brother with envy, as he was once again in his brother’s shadow. There was some great storytelling here.

- Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels tore the house down during the first ladder match in WrestleMania history. By today's standards, this match was pretty tame. However, at the time this match was revolutionary. Michaels and Ramon did things no one had ever seen on a large stage to that point and was the inspiration for future ladder matches to come. Ladder matches have pushed the boundaries further, but they all tried to live up to this one.

- Vince McMahon created WrestleMania, but had not called play-by-play on the show until WrestleMania X. McMahon was joined at the announce desk by Jerry “The King” Lawler, who was making his WrestleMania debut.

- Although this was Johnny Polo’s only WrestleMania appearance, it was not Scott Levy’s only appearance. Levy, the man playing the Polo character, left WWE later that year for Extreme Championship Wrestling where he became Raven. As Raven, Levy eventually returned to WWE in 2001 and appeared at WrestleMania X-Seven as the Hardcore Champion.

- The women’s title was defended on the show for the first time since WrestleMania II. Alundra Blayze was positioned as the top woman in the company and defeated Leilani Kai, who competed for the women’s title at the first WrestleMania. Blayze eventually left WWE to become Madusa in WCW. Despite a great career in the ring, she is mostly remembered for dropping the WWE women’s title belt into a trash can live on WCW television upon her arrival with the promotion.

- WWE ran video packages throughout the night showcasing the biggest moments of the previous nine events with Gorilla Monsoon doing the voiceover for them. These were a nice touch. It was just funny to think that there only nine to choose from at the time. Now, there’s 29.

- When WWE goes back through the great WrestleMania moments for this year’s event, it will not choose the horrid segments from WrestleMania X with the Bill Clinton impersonator. These skits were bad and unnecessary. Who would really believe that the current president of the United States would be seated in a private box with Irwin R. Schyster and Ted DiBiase sitting right behind him? The segments weren’t funny and Todd Pettengill pretending to be awestruck by the president was just annoying. Come to think of it, Pettengill was kind of annoying in general. Another odd segment was Sy Sperling, the man behind Hair Club for Men, boasting how he gave Howard Finkel his hair back. Sperling may have been a big name at the time, but who really cared about him helping Finkel delay his baldness?

- There was 10-man tag during the show, but it was cut due to time constraints. WWE explained this on television in a rather silly fashion as the heel team of Schyster, the Headshrinkers, Rick Martel and Jeff Jarrett could not agree on who was going to be the captain of the team. Really? That was the reason why the whole match didn’t happen. I guess we have to believe that.

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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