Wrestlemania V has one of the greatest build-ups in wrestling history. Over the last year, Hulk Hogan and new WWF champion Randy Savage were fast friends, working together to form the Mega-Powers and battling Ted DiBiase, Andre the Giant, and Virgil. In the end though, their friendship frayed over the Macho Man’s wife Elizabeth. Randy Savage turned paranoid as things moved towards Wrestlemania and the match that could only be called “The Mega-Powers Explode!”
Hercules opened the show with a win over King Haku. This was immediately followed by the first appearance of Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania, as the Rockers fell to the Twin Towers (Akeem and Big Boss Man) in a surprisingly great match.
After main eventing the year before, Ted DiBiase had the ignominy to come out third tonight, as he fought to a double countout with Brutus Beefcake. By this point in time, DiBiase’s dominance of the main event scene was pretty much at an end, as he would move in to a management role as much as he did a wrestling one.
Luke and Butch, the Bushwhackers, picked up a big win next against the Fabulous Rougeaus. After that short contest, the late great Owen Hart made his debut as the Blue Blazer in a losing match against Mr. Perfect.
The first title match of the night came next as the now completely dominant Ax and Smash, a.k.a. Demolition, beat the equally face-painted Powers of Pain (Warlord and Barbarian) as well as their manager Mr. Fuji. Even in a handicap match, Demolition wouldn’t go down that easy.
A throw away match between Dino Bravo and Ronnie Garvin came next, followed by another great tag match (this period was probably the heyday of WWF’s tag division). The Brain Busters (Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard) picked up a big win over Strike Force (in their final days as a tag team) in probably the hardest hitting match of the night.
Though it came by disqualification, Jake Roberts picked up probably the biggest win of his career to this point, as he beat Andre the Giant in an overly long contest considering Andre’s poor health.
The final tag match of the night featured the Hart Foundation (clearly being featured as very solid midcarders at this point) as they beat the team of Honky Tonk Man and Greg Valentine. The second of the three title matches immediately followed. The supremely dominant, almost unbeatable Ultimate Warrior dropped his Intercontinental title to Rick Rude in probably the Warrior’s best match ever.
Two more matches, together not taking over five minutes came next, basically as a buffer between the true semi-main event and the main event. Jim Duggan and Bad News Brown wrestled to a double DW while the Red Rooster (Terry Taylor with a terrible lick of hair on his head) made short work of Bobby Heenan.
Finally it came time for the main event. Hulk Hogan faced off with WWE champion Randy Savage in a slobber-knocker. Savage pulled out everything he could from Hogan and the two men put on a surprisingly competent match as Miss Elizabeth watched from a neutral corner. Sadly, the match ended with typical Hogan no-selling. He kicked out of Randy Savage’s elbow drop finisher, Hulked up, and hit the Big Boot and Leg Drop for the win.
Wrestlemania V marks the final year of Hulk Hogan’s total dominance of WWF programming, as it would lead to his final extended run with the title. He would remain a major figure in the main event for a few more years, but the times of extended runs were in the background now. Unfortunately, he spent most of this time period battling Zeus, his opponent from the terrible feature film No Holds Barred.
But his greatest competition would come at the next Wrestlemania, as Hulkamania would meet the unstoppable force known as the Ultimate Warrior.
Wrestlemania V is now available on DVD as part of the Complete Wrestlemania Anthology Volume 1. Buy it now or at your favorite video seller. (It’s available at the Best Buy on 1st Street in Cedar Rapids.)
Wrestlemania XXVII comes to pay-per-view on April 3rd. More details are available on the WWE Wrestlemania page.
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