Wednesday, March 30, 2011

#4 - The Emotion of WrestleMania 7

Superstars and Stripes Forever ... was the catchphrase for this event. The United States was at a fever pitch in patriotism thanks to Desert Storm. So ... what does the WWF do? They re-hire the beloved patriot Sgt. Slaughter to play an Iraq sympathizer, in effort to build a credible heel for Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 7.

By the point I remember Slaughter returning to the WWF (August 1990), the Warrior experiment had failed. Vince was probably looking for someone to take the title off of Warrior to get it back to Hogan. He couldn't do the Face vs Face between Hogan and Warrior two years in a row. So, Slaughter was built over the fall, leading to a WWF title win at the Royal Rumble.

Slaughter had incredible heat at this time, with stories of death threats have become apart of WrestleMania history, thanks to it effectively causing Vince and Company to move the event from the L.A. Coliseum to the neighboring L.A. Sports Arena. Then you had Hulk Hogan ... who had once defended the United States against the Iron Sheik and saved the WWF title once before. He was called upon again to do the same against Slaughter. This storyline has been credited for making WrestleMania 7 the most emotional event in WWF history. But I wouldn't give all the credit to Hogan-Slaughter. I'm going to give you two more examples of why this event is emotional for Wrestling Fans.

Starting, in countdown fashion, the three reasons why this event was filled with emotion.

3. The Hart Foundation ends their tag team run

It was attempted in 1988 ... It was attempted in 1989 ... But in 1991, it finally happened. Bret Hart was set to become a singles star after this match.  Jim Neidhart ... well he had to find a new role. However, we didn't know this back at WrestleMania 7 and for many months after, that we had saw the last true Hart Foundation match at WrestleMania 7. It can be compared to Stone Cold's retirement match with the Rock at WrestleMania 19. It wasn't publicized that it was the finale. What was publicized was that the Harts were defending against the Nasty Boys, ultimately losing a nice match.

Unlike today, we didn't see any angle that the Hart Foundation broke up .. They just drifted away from each other, never to be seen together on TV until King of the Ring 1994 three years after this event. But for fans of tag team wrestling, it was the end of an era in WWE. Demolition was reduced to jabroni's in order to repackage them later. The Bulldogs were gone. Killer Bees ... Gone. Rougeaus ... gone. All the great teams that had ruled the WWF from 1985-1991 were disbanded and the Harts were the final ones, the Last Outlaws to use current WWE theory with the Undertaker - HHH match at WM 27.

Wouldn't it have been nice if the Harts had a chance to mutually go their separate ways on television, even with a promo after this match ... it could have lead to yet another emotional WrestleMania 7 moment, for fans to thank the Harts for the years of great tag matches that thanks to Bret's newfound relationship with WWE, we can enjoy on DVD releases!

2. Macho Man - Liz storyline

I just finished watching this angle off the new "True Story of WrestleMania" DVD (cheap plug) and started to wonder if this was where they wanted to end up when Macho and Liz first split back at WrestleMania V. Did the WWF actually have an idea that they would eventually bring them back together and have them marry? I would love to know if this was planned now or thought of in 1991 when they needed a way to turn Macho face.

Nevertheless, it was the greatest love story ever portrayed in wrestling.
  • Macho's jealousy leads to Liz leaving him back at WrestleMania V. 
  • She manages Hogan until SummerSlam 1989 when Hogan's storyline with Macho finishes. 
  • She returns to WrestleMania VI to manage Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire, helping them beat Macho and Sherri. 
  • Savage engages in a feud with the Warrior, leading to the career match.
  • Liz returns again at WrestleMania VII to watch the match between Warrior and Savage from ringside
  • After losing the career, Sherri turns on Macho, leading to Liz hitting the ring and saving Macho
  • After several intense looks and minutes, they finally embrace! Leaving the audience in tears after watching this relationship play out over
  • They bring back the Macho - Liz shoulder lift, an invention of theirs in Wrestling
  • THEN!!!! in the final story twist, Liz goes to open the ropes for Macho as she always did, when she managed him as a face or a heel ... Macho says No and opens the ropes for her. MAN! It doesn't get any better than that!
This moment is just plain amazing, and truly shows how GOOD wrestling can be when written correctly

1. Hogan vs Slaughter

When I opened this blog, I discussed the history of this match and I won't bore you with that again. But this match was where the true emotion was shown. It was properly booked, with Slaughter pulling out every stop imaginable to try and beat Hogan. Countless chairs (actually ... about three chairs I think), dirty tactics, and brutality were all used by Slaughter in this match. It also remains the one of two times Hogan bladed during a Mania match. No different then Rocky IV, Hogan played the metaphoric United States, being beaten down by his enemy, to near submission. Fans were took on the emotional roller coaster, wondering if Slaughter was too much for their American hero. You could see fans sink back into their seats after every failed Hogan comeback ... Then you see the emotion return when Hogan kicks out after having the Iraq flag draped over him. Classic Hogan finish after and you hear one of WrestleMania's bigger pops in history. I still think this match was probably the most emotional match in WrestleMania

With these three examples, it goes to show how much emotion GOOD professional wrestling can draw out of an audience. I recommend this event to anybody and to any of my friends, I got the Coliseum Video VHS if you want it. It's worth the watch!

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