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30 Days of WrestleMania: Looking back at WrestleMania XI

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

30 Days of WrestleMania: Looking back at WrestleMania XI

Former New York Giants Lawrence Taylor, right, poses with professional wrestler Bam Bam Bigelow during a New York news conference Tuesday, Feb. 28, 1995. Taylor, signed with the World Wrestling Federation to battle the 390-pound Bigelow in a feature match at WrestleMania XI. (Marty Lederandler/AP file)
Former New York Giants Lawrence Taylor, right, poses with professional wrestler Bam Bam Bigelow during a New York news conference Tuesday, Feb. 28, 1995. Taylor, signed with the World Wrestling Federation to battle the 390-pound Bigelow in a feature match at WrestleMania XI. (Marty Lederandler/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 | WM II | WM III | WM IV | WM V | WM VI | WM VII | WM VIII | WM IX | WM X |

WrestleMania XI

Date: April 2, 1995

Venue: Hartford Civic Center (XL Center), Hartford, Conn.

Attendance: 16,305

Match Results:

The Allied Powers (Lex Luger & British Bulldog) def. Eli & Jacob Blu w/Uncle Zebekiah

Intercontinental Championship – Razor Ramon w/1-2-3 Kid def. Jeff Jarrett w/The Roadie by disqualification

Undertaker w/Paul Bearer def. King Kong Bundy w/”Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase (Undertaker: 4-0)

World Tag Team Championship – Owen Hart & Yokozuna w/Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette def. Smoking Gunns (Bart & Billy Gunn)

“I quit” match – Bret “Hit Man” Hart def. Bob Backlund

WWE Championship – Diesel w/Pamela Anderson def. Shawn Michaels w/Sid & Jenny McCarthy

Lawrence Taylor w/Ken Norton Jr., Carl Banks, Rickey Jackson, Steve McMichael, Chris Spielman & Reggie White def. Bam Bam Bigelow w/Million Dollar Corporation

Observations:

- The year 1995 was rough for the WWE and WrestleMania XI was proof of that. First, WWE’s marquee event, which had previously taken place in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York and even Toronto, was relegated to the Hartford Civic Center in Hartford, Conn. For those who don’t know, WWE’s headquarters are located in Stamford, Conn., which essentially made this a proverbial home game for WWE. Even worse was that the roster had gotten even thinner, mainly because of the number of big names that had already left for World Championship Wrestling.

- People may disagree with the decisions WWE makes when it comes to the happenings in the ring, but no one can argue that the WWE is a leader in the world of entertainment when it comes to production, which makes it so surprising to see the number of production flubs and mistakes that took place on this show. What separates WWE from other entertainment entities is its attention to detail, but even something like a functioning microphone was overlooked on this night. Also, WWE decided that it was necessary to shoot off fireworks when Lex Luger and the British Bulldog defeated Eli and Jacob Blu. There were so many things wrong with this. Firstly, it was the opening match. There’s never an opening match worthy of shooting off fireworks afterward. Secondly, Luger and Bulldog didn’t even win anything. They beat a jobber tag team in the opening match. I get that Luger and Bulldog were a patriotic tag team, but it still didn’t make any sense to me.

- Speaking of the Eli and Jacob Blu, the team was comprised of identical twins that Vince McMahon had a lot of trouble telling apart during their match. In reality, the brothers were Ron and Don Harris, who eventually made up part of the Disciples of Apocalypse faction a couple of years later. While they were the Blu twins, however, they were managed Uncle Zebekiah. If that sounds familiar, that’s because he is now known as Zeb Colter in WWE. Fans of the 1980s know Colter as “Dirty” Dutch Mantel.

- One dividend Connecticut did pay on this night was its proximity to New York, which helped it promote the Lawrence Taylor-Bam Bam Bigelow match. The match was what it was. You couldn’t have expected it to be all that stellar given Taylor had never been in a wrestling ring before, especially at WrestleMania. Taylor worked hard and deserves credit for his outing. He didn’t mail it in although he easily could have. He looked physically spent after the match. Even more kudos must go to Bigelow, who was handed the task of making a professional football player look like a good wrestler. Bigelow did his job and was very generous to Taylor during the match.

- For only the third time, the WWE Championship match was not the main event. Diesel and Shawn Michaels had probably the best match on the show, which isn’t saying a whole lot given what else took place, but the match was good nonetheless. When watching WrestleMania IX and X back-to-back, it’s amazing to see how fast Diesel rose up the ranks. Diesel went from being merely Michaels’ bodyguard at WrestleMania X to the WWE Champion and the top guy in the promotion by WrestleMania XI. Diesel’s size and look accelerated his rise and WWE put him in position to be the face of the company.

- Celebrities Pamela Anderson and Jenny McCarthy accompanied Diesel and Michaels to the ring respectively. The other celebs featured during the event were Nicholas Torturro from “NYPD Blue”, Jonathan Taylor Thomas from “Home Improvement” and the music group Salt-n-Pepa. They weren’t the most star-studded group, but it was the best WWE could put together at the time.

- There were a lot of big-name NFL players that were in the corner of Lawrence Taylor in the main event, including former Eagles defensive lineman Reggie White. Between White Ken Norton, Jr., Chris Spielman, Carl Banks, Ricky Jackson and Steve McMichael is a combined 29 Pro Bowl selections, eight Super Bowl titles and two Hall of Famers (White and Jackson). McMichael actually went on to have a wrestling career with WCW. While with WCW, he won the United States Championship and even became a member of the Four Horsemen. To the surprise of no one, he was not one of the members to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame a couple of years ago.

- Salt-n-Pepa had a performance during the show, but it was cut from the on-demand video on the WWE Network. In case anyone wanted to rush out to a purchase the DVD copy of the event, they were cut from there, too.

- Vince McMahon briefly mentioned on commentary that the Undertaker hadn’t lost at WrestleMania to that point. WWE obviously didn’t make the streak a major part of WrestleMania until about a decade later.

- Bret Hart had what he considers to be his worst WrestleMania match against Bob Backlund at WrestleMania XI. On paper, an “I quit” match between Hart and Backlund should have been great, but a number of factors got in the way of that. Firstly, Hart and Backlund could only win with a submission, which makes sense given the two men involved, but it limited the creativity in the match. It also didn’t help that special guest referee Roddy Piper kept yelling into the microphone to see if one of them had given up after every single move. It actually became comical, which was not the reaction WWE was looking for.

- Another lackluster match was Razor Ramon versus Jeff Jarrett. Both men were capable performers in the ring, but for whatever reason they just didn’t click on this night. This proved to be Ramon’s final WrestleMania match before he left for WCW. Although he was with the company through WrestleMania XII, he was serving a suspension and was left off the card. By the way, the Roadie eventually morphed into Road Dogg of the New Age Outlaws.

- Yokozuna returned after taking some time off and looked noticeably bigger than he did before. WWE monitored Yokozuna’s weight so that he wouldn’t get too big, but he put on even more when he returned to television.

- It is common to see WWE have a Spanish announce team for big events such as pay-per-views, but for WrestleMania XI, the company provided a French announce team and a German one as well. The English, French and German teams all sat at ringside together as well.

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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