WWF WrestleMania V Review (Hogan vs. Savage)

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Welcome everyone to my review of the fifth WrestleMania. The Ultimate Warrior puts his IC title on the line against ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude. The Mega Powers explode over the World crown and Miss Elizabeth. Roddy Piper makes his return for the first time in two years. That and much more.

The points system will be in effect in this show as usual.

Before starting the review, these were the champions in the WWF heading into this show:

  • WWF Champion: Randy Savage
  • Intercontinental Champion: The Ultimate Warrior
  • Tag Team Champions: Demolition (Ax & Smash)
  • Women’s Champion: Rockin’ Robin

Enjoy the review!

The hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse Ventura

Live from the Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, NJ

– Opening the show to sing America the Beautiful is Rockin’ Robin, the reigning Women’s Champion. Well, she had to be on the show somehow…

King Haku(w/ Bobby Heenan) vs. Hercules

Yes, a match between two guys who weren’t feuding opened a WrestleMania. Well, technically Heenan sold Hercules to Ted DiBiase as a slave in late 1988 while Haku is a Heenan guy, so you can say they have a reason to be wrestling in case you’re in a good mood. That still doesn’t make it interesting, as Hercules spent the last few months feuding with DiBiase. Big and long night for Heenan here, who’s involved in five matches at this show. Haku cheapshots Herc to take control but a clothesline to the floor quickly turns things around for Hercules. Back in, Herc hits a suplex and a number of elbows. Another cheapshot allows Haku to take back control as he hits a backbreaker for two. Haku puts on a bearhug, which Herc powers out of but Haku chokes him on the ropes to stay on top. Haku cuts off a Hercules comeback with an elbow only to miss a bodypress. Hercules goes up only to eat a superkick, but Haku misses the flying headbutt and a backdrop suplex is enough to give the slave the win at 6:57.

  • Analysis: As a match, I guess you could say it’s watchable. Nothing wrong with it. However, there’s just nothing to it emotionally. Hercules beating DiBiase up would probably get him more over as a babyface. Haku is just a random guy managed by Bobby Heenan. What would be the difference if Hercules faced another random one instead, like Brooklyn Brawler? None. *

– Backstage, The Rockers are with Mean Gene and they have the Twin Towers on their mind. By just looking at their eyes, you can bet they had a few more things on their mind… and body. Good thing drug tests didn’t exist at the time.

The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty) vs. Twin Towers (Akeem & The Big Bossman)(w/ Slick)

Michaels starts with Bossman and tries to use his speed to take on both heels. He catches Bossman with a dropkick and even mocks Akeem’s dancing. The Rockers use quick tags to work over the heels, but Jannetty eventually gets caught and plays drunk-in-peril. The big guys take turn splashing Jannetty over and over again, which sounds like pretty good strategy to me. Jannetty finally ends up moving out of the way and Akeem takes out Bossman instead, allowing Jannetty to bring in HBK for the hot tag. Quick double flying shoulderblock by the Rockers gets two. Michaels moves out of a clothesline by Akeem, but ends up turning around into another MASSIVE one that connects. Good lord. Bossman comes in but misses a splash and ends up taking a double missile dropkick by the Rockers. Michaels goes up, only to fly right into an awesome powerbomb by Bossman. Akeem comes in, adds a splash and that’s all she wrote at 8:02.

  • Analysis: You can tell Shawn Michaels was more than motivated to take this another level. He made both Akeem and Bossman look like million bucks, particularly when taking Akeem’s clothesline and Bossman’s powerbomb. It didn’t quite reach that next level, but it was fine, mostly thanks to Michaels. **1/2

– Backstage, Ted DiBiase talks about Trump and rich people while addressing Brutus Beefcake.

Ted DiBiase(w/ Virgil) vs. Brutus Beefcake

As I already mentioned in the opening match, DiBiase had been feuding with Hercules. So this is another match that will be weird to see. DiBiase recently introduced the million dollar title belt, about a month before this show. It’s not on the line here. Beefcake runs wild to start while DiBiase bails after taking a backdrop. A cheapshot turns things around and DiBiase chops away in the corner before taking a few more seconds to regroup once Brutus slams him out of the corner. Back in a slugfest is won by Beefcake, so finally Virgil has to get involved as he trips up Brutus, allowing DiBiase to follow up with some choking. DiBiase pounds away and the million dollar fistdrop gets two. Middle-rope elbow gets two, but so does a Brutus cradle. A battle over a suplex is won by Beefcake before a double clothesline takes both guys down for the double KO spot. DiBiase ends up hitting a suplex of his own to set up the Million Dollar Dream, but Brutus quickly makes it to the ropes. Beefcake sends DiBiase into the turnbuckle to set up his own sleeper, but Virgil gets involved and both guys end up taking the fight to the floor for the lame double count-out finish at 10:01.

  • Analysis: Another technically fine match, but with no storyline at all and an awful crowd that doesn’t help. *3/4

– Meanwhile, The Bushwhackers eat like animals and lick each other in the face. Isn’t it such good shit?

The Fabulous Rougeaus (Jacques & Raymond)(w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Bushwhackers (Butch & Luke)

During the Bushwhackers’ entrance, Jesse Ventura says on commentary ‘these guys look like they’re on some kind of juice’. Make up your own jokes. The Bushwhackers steal Jimmy Hart’s jacket and try to eat it or something, but the Rougeaus come in and take over. The geeks go for the Battering Ram (double headbutt) on Raymond, but Jacques saves him and they bail. The crowd is just scary dead. No wonder Vince took ‘Mania to Toronto the following year. Raymond drops a flying axehandle on one of the geeks, and the Rougeaus make quick tags to get some heat. Only there’s no heat because this crowd sucks. They hit a double superkick and stop to celebrate, before the geeks finally hit their Battering Ram followed by a double gutbuster for the win at 9:10. And then the geeks lick Sean Mooney on their way to the back because this company hates me.

  • Analysis: Bad Vince McMahon comedy + ridiculously long + no heat + a couple of handicapped idiots beating an over heel team with a funny heel gimmick who could be putting someone good over instead of doing this bullshit = DUD

Mr. Perfect vs. The Blue Blazer

The Blue Blazer is Owen Hart, only he’s blue (da ba dee da ba daa). The crowd is once again ridiculously dead for everything and really bringing this show down. What an awful viewing experience. Perfect with a headlock into a hiptoss to start before they slap each other in the corner. Blazer catches him on another hiptoss attempt with a slam, dumps him with a dropkick before meeting him on the outside with a baseball slide. Back in, Perfect tries to reverse Blazer’s own hiptoss, but Blazer reverses Perfect’s reversal and follows it up with a quick dropkick. Backbreaker gets two. Northern lights suplex gets two more. Blazer goes up for a flying splash that only finds Perfect’s knees, but Perfect eats boot on a charge and Blazer hits a belly-to-belly for two. Blazer catches him with a quick crucifix for two, before Perfect finally catches him with the Perfectplex to put him away at 5:38.

  • Analysis: Good little match with (again) a terrible crowd that didn’t care about anyone or anything, thus bringing this match way down. I would just like to know who thought it was a good idea to give these guys five minutes of in-ring action and the Bushfuckers nine. **1/4

– Meanwhile, filler and filler and filler and more filler because this show isn’t long enough. Mr. Fuji cheats to win a run. Run DMC with the WrestleMania rap. Finally, Demolition address Mr. Fuji & the Powers of Pain.

Handicap Match – WWF Tag Team Championship: Demolition (Ax & Smash)(c) vs. The Powers of Pain (Warlord & Barbarian) & Mr. Fuji

Ax and Warlord start and Demolition take turns chinlocking the heel. Barbarian comes in, but gets double-teamed as well and eats an axehandle by Ax. Double-team elbow by Demolition. Barbarian finally gets some offense on the champions, but Warlord comes in only to get double-clotheslined. Fuji distracts Ax and allows the heels to take over, even getting in the ring for some shots and a headbutt. Barbarian comes in for a jumping clothesline and some choking. He powerslams Ax to set up a Fuji splash that misses, only for the heels to prevent the hot tag from happening. Ax ends up getting the hot tag to Smash anyway, who cleans house before only Fuji is left alone. Fuji tries to get some ceremonial salt in, but it misses and the Demolition Decapitation gets the win to retain at 8:20.

  • Analysis: Again, I don’t want to sound repetitive, but this crowd distracts the viewer from anything going on inside the ropes. They react to nothing at all. I remember punches and axehandles from this match. That’s it. But well, at least there was a story and Demolition got their revenge on Fuji. *

Dino Bravo(w/ Frenchy Martin) vs. Ronnie Garvin

Before the bell rings, though, Jimmy Snuka makes his return to the WWF. Right, THIS crowd gets the announced return of Piper + a surprise return from Snuka. And they are still dead. Anyway, Snuka leaves and these two wrestle a boring Superstars-level match. I apologize for my lack of enthusiasm, but it should tell you a lot about this show. Bravo gets a bearhug followed by a shoulderblock for two, before Garvin hits a splash for two. He hits a piledriver for two, before Bravo connects with an atomic drop followed by the sideslam for the win at 3:06. Garvin stomps Martin afterwards and cleans the ring. To no reaction, obviously. Fuck this crowd.

  • Analysis: Filler. DUD

The Brain Busters (Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard)(w/ Bobby Heenan) vs. Strike Force (Tito Santana & Rick Martel)

This is Strike Force’s first tag match in almost a year. The babyfaces run wild to start and send Arn to the floor with a double dropkick. Arn gets a bodyscissors on Martel to turn the tables, though, and once Martel tries to turn him over for the Boston Crab near the heels’ corner, Tully quickly rakes his eyes to break. Nice. Both teams get tags and Tito comes in on fire, getting a couple of quick nearfalls on Tully but the flying forearm hits Martel instead by mistake. That allows Tully to get Arn back in to take back control, while Martel can’t get the tag. Santana tries to make his own comeback with a sunset flip and a bodypress for two, but the Brain Busters catch him and double-team him. Santana crawls for the tag, but Martel walks away from him. With no partner to tag, Santana tries to make the comeback himself again anyway, but they quickly put him away with the double spike Piledriver at 9:17.

  • Analysis: It would be better if the crowd reacted to the story these guys were telling, but it was solid anyway. Not even Santana desperately crawling like a true babyface could make this crowd care, though. Have I mentioned they suck and are bringing everything on the show down already? **1/4

– In the back, Rick Martel makes his heel turn official.

Piper’s Pit/Brother Love Show: Roddy Piper, Brother Love & Morton Downey Jr.

I really wanted to enjoy this more, but it was way too long and the crowd only reacted to Roddy Piper’s sexual jokes. By reacted I actually mean a two-second “OOH” before going back to silence. Piper beat up both guys as expected, but he deserved a much better return.

– Meanwhile, Sean Mooney interviews Donald Trump. No Holds Barred trailer featuring Hulk Hogan. OH NO, NOT THIS!

Andre the Giant(w/ Bobby Heenan) vs. Jake Roberts

The special ref is Big John Studd. One of the turnbuckles is magically exposed before the match even starts, and Andre rams Roberts into it to take over before choking away. Roberts tries to get Damien involved but he can’t escape Andre. Andre chokes some more and squashes Roberts using his ass. And then chokes. A lot. Roberts eventually sends Andre into the exposed turnbuckle, but quickly sends Roberts flying to the floor with a chop. He wants the snake but Ted DiBiase appears and steals it from him, while Andre touches Studd for the lame DQ loss at 9:44. And then he runs away from the snake as Roberts stands tall.

  • Analysis: I’ve always mentioned how this feud has done nothing but kill Andre’s mystique. Add the fact that Andre can barely do anything in a wrestling ring at this point in his life, apart from choking, plus a non-finish and you do the math. DUD

The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart) vs. The Honky Tonk Man & Greg Valentine(w/ Jimmy Hart)

Another match with no storyline at all, apart from “Jimmy Hart is the Foundation’s former manager and they’re facing a couple of Jimmy Hart guys in a tag”. Bret starts with Honky and scores with a quick roll-up for two followed by an atomic drop as Honky runs away from him. Valentine tries his luck but ends up taking Bret’s atomic drop too followed by a dropkick. Neidhart comes in with a shoulderblock for two. Back to Bret with the backbreaker, but the middle-rope elbow misses and Valentine takes over. The heels double-team Bret and Honky catches him with an elbow to the back of the head. Honky atomic drops him and follows it up with Shake Rattle & Roll, but brings in Valentine instead of going for the cover. Valentine wants to add the figure four, but Bret desperately goes to the eyes to break only to eat a gutbuster. Honky gets back in and Bret almost steals it with a quick crossbody, but Honky sends Bret flying on the kickout. Valentine tags in and Bret fakes a roll-up, tagging in Neidhart instead. Neidhart cleans house and gets two with a massive clothesline, while Valentine has to rake the eyes to stop him. Honky comes in but misses a fistdrop and a Bret suplex gets two. Everyone gets in and it’s quickly BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA, while Jimmy Hart leaves the megaphone in the corner. Honky crawls his way there, but Neidhart gets it away from him at the last possible second before throwing it at Bret, who’s behind Honky. Honky turns around to eat a shot and that’s it at 7:40.

  • Analysis: Despite having no story, these two wrestled a solid tag match with a lot of action in just seven minutes. Plus, the crowd actually reacted to the finish of the match. I take my hat off to them for that! **1/2
WWF Intercontinental Championship: The Ultimate Warrior(c) vs. Rick Rude(w/ Bobby Heenan)

Rude hits Warrior with a cheap knee to the gut while he’s still making his entrance, but he ends up hurting himself as Warrior was still wearing the belt. That’s a brilliant touch. Warrior throws Rude around as Rude literally FLIES all over the place bumping for Warrior. Warrior whips him into the corner a number of times before putting him in a bearhug. Rude goes to the eyes to break and follows up with a missile dropkick, but Warrior no-sells and slams him. Warrior goes back to the bearhug and Rude tries to go after the eyes again, but the ref prevents him from doing so this time around. Rude ends up escaping anyway before biting Warrior, so Warrior bites him in return. The Warrior Splash hits Rude’s knees, though, and a piledriver gets a close two. Ventura notices how Warrior isn’t exploding out of the cover now, which is a very nice touch. Now Rude is confident, but he can’t do his pose due to his injured back. Rick Rude is fantastic. Rude clotheslines Warrior for two. Russian legsweep gets two more. Warrior finally grabs the ropes and starts making the superman comeback with the usual. He ends up botching a backbreaker badly, though, and clotheslines him instead for two. Warrior misses a charge and Rude tries to put him away with the Rude Awakening, but Warrior powers his way out of it and starts running wild again. Warrior dumps Rude with a clothesline to the floor, but when trying to bring him back in with a vertical suplex, Heenan grabs Warrior’s feet while Rude lands on top of Warrior for the win and the title at 9:36. Warrior beats up Heyman after the match to get his heat back.

  • Analysis: This was easily the best thing on the show so far. The crowd was FINALLY alive for Ultimate Warrior, while Rick Rude did everything he could and then some to put Warrior over, taking some crazy bumps for him. Warrior lost for the first time, yes, but Rude is the perfect person to get him even more over than he was before, even in defeat. Warrior’s first good match… well, ever. ***

Jim Duggan vs. Bad News Brown

I feel for these two poor guys for having to follow the Ultimate Warrior’s match. Brown goes after Duggan to start but gets clotheslined to the floor. Brown takes control back inside the ring. He goes for the Ghetto Blaster but misses, while Duggan hits the Three Point Stance but sends Duggan flying to the outside. Brown grabs a chair while Duggan grabs his 2×4, and they hit each other for the lame double DQ at 3:49.

  • Analysis: There’s literally nothing to say here apart from “at least it was short”. DUD

Bobby Heenan(w/ The Brooklyn Brawler) vs. The Red Rooster

Heenan comes out selling Warrior’s attack. He hides from Rooster in the corner, but Rooster whips him into the other turnbuckle to win at 00:31.

  • Analysis: Nothing as a match, but it was nice to see Heenan getting his comeuppance after taking the IC Title off Warrior earlier. DUD

Main event – WWF Championship: Randy Savage(c) vs. Hulk Hogan

This is finally the match that everyone watching this show paid to see, and the one that finally wakes up the crowd for real. This did awesome business after an entire year of brilliant storytelling. Miss Elizabeth is obviously at ringside, but in a neutral corner, and she even gets to make her own entrance. Savage constantly runs away from Hogan, playing mind-games with him to start. He finally gets in to fight over a lockup, which is obviously won by Hogan so Savage bails again. Hogan goes after him and Savage uses Elizabeth as a shield. Back in, Hogan takes Savage down with a drop toehold (check out the moveset, brother!) into a headlock, but Savage escapes it with a suplex. Hogan is still fighting back, so Savage rakes the eyes and drops the double axehandle for two. He puts Hogan in the armbar, and keeps constantly pulling Hogan’s hair everytime the ref looks away just to be a dick. Randy Savage is the best. Hogan ends up breaking the hold, sending Savage into the turnbuckle before hitting a clothesline for two. Savage fights back with his own clothesline, and as he puts Hogan in a chinlock we can see Hogan is bleeding. He fights his way out of Savage’s chinlock with an atomic drop, but misses an elbow and Savage connects with a high knee for two. Savage pounds away on Hogan’s cut in a brilliant touch, and even stomps on his fingers just to make sure we all know how much he hates Hogan. That ends up doing nothing but waking up Hogan, who goes after Savage with a clothesline before sending Savage flying to the floor. Liz is concerned but Savage wants nothing to do with her. Hogan comes after him and tries to send him into the post, but Liz doesn’t want to see that and gets in between them and the post, so Savage escapes and ends up sending Hogan into the post himself. Liz checks on Hogan, and the ref sends her to the back since she’s a distraction to both wrestlers. Once she leaves, Savage drops the flying double axehandle on Hogan to the floor. Back in, Savage snaps Hogan’s neck on the ropes and goes to work on that part of Hogan’s body. He elbows Hogan right in the throat on the apron before choking him on the ropes. He drops a knee on the throat and proceeds to use his tape to choke Hogan all the way down to the floor. Hogan is down and out in the middle of the ring, and Savage goes up for the Macho Elbow. He connects and covers but Hogan hulks up at two. And from there, you know the deal. No no no, punch punch punch, whip, big boot, big leg, new champion at 17:54.

  • Analysis: This match is not only a financial success in history, but also a fantastic wrestling match. Savage’s cheating was superb, looking like he actually wanted to hurt and humiliate Hogan more and more with each and every shot. Everything he did screamed “I hate you” and felt realistic. Hogan bleeding added a lot to the match and generated even more sympathy for him, while his comeback was hot as always. This was a fantastic match and still, to this day, one of the greatest main-events in the history of WrestleMania. ****


  • Final thoughts: The things you already know are awesome, are awesome. As far as the rest goes, you can forget about it. Maybe apart from the Rockers’ and the Harts’ tag matches, maybe. But the rest is incredibly forgettable. The show is bad with an awful crowd, and it’s a real struggle to get through it. Take into consideration the show is over three hours long and you’ll understand. Watch the things that are good, but do yourself a favor and avoid this show. 3/10

The points for WrestleMania V:

  • Hulk Hogan: 7 points (4 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win + 2 for winning a title)
  • Rick Rude: 6 points (3 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win + 2 for winning a title)
  • Akeem: 4 points (2.5 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win + 0.5 for winning the fall)
  • Bret Hart: 4 points (2.5 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win + 0.5 for winning the fall)
  • Arn Anderson: 3.75 points (2.25 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win + 0.5 for winning the fall)
  • Big Bossman: 3.5 points (2.5 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win)
  • Jim Neidhart: 3.5 points (2.5 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win)
  • Ax: 3.5 points (1 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win + 1 for successfully defending a title + 0.5 for winning the fall)
  • Tully Blanchard: 3.25 points (2.25 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win)
  • Mr. Perfect: 3.25 points (2.25 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win)
  • Smash: 3 points (1 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win + 1 for successfully defending a title)
  • Hercules: 2 points (1 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win)
  • Ted DiBiase: 1.75 point (for star rating)
  • Brutus Beefcake: 1.75 point (for star rating)
  • Marty Jannetty: 1.5 point (2.5 for star rating – 1 for pinfall loss)
  • Greg Valentine: 1.5 point (2.5 for star rating – 1 for pinfall loss)
  • Bushwhacker Luke: 1.5 point (1 for pinfall win + 0.5 for winning the fall)
  • Blue Blazer: 1.25 point (2.25 for star rating – 1 for pinfall loss)
  • Rick Martel: 1.25 point (2.25 for star rating – 1 for pinfall loss)
  • Randy Savage: 1 point (4 for star rating – 1 for pinfall loss – 2 for losing a title)
  • Bushwhacker Butch: 1 point (for pinfall win)
  • Shawn Michaels: 1 point (2.5 for star rating – 1 for pinfall loss – 0.5 for losing the fall)
  • Honky Tonk Man: 1 point (2.5 for star rating – 1 for pinfall loss – 0.5 for losing the fall)
  • Dino Bravo: 1 point (for pinfall win)
  • The Red Rooster: 1 point (for pinfall win)
  • Tito Santana: 0.75 points (2.25 for star rating – 1 for pinfall loss – 0.5 for losing the fall)
  • Jake Roberts: 0.5 points (for DQ win)
  • Ultimate Warrior: 0 points (3 for star rating – 1 for pinfall loss – 2 for losing a title)
  • Jim Duggan: 0 points
  • Bad News Brown: 0 points
  • King Haku: 0 points (1 for star rating – 1 for pinfall loss)
  • Warlord: 0 points (1 for star rating – 1 for pinfall loss)
  • Barbarian: 0 points (1 for star rating – 1 for pinfall loss)
  • Andre the Giant: -0.5 points (for DQ loss)
  • Mr. Fuji: -0.5 points (1 for star rating – 1 for pinfall loss – 0.5 for losing the fall)
  • Ronnie Garvin: -1 point (for pinfall loss)
  • Bobby Heenan: -1 point (for pinfall loss)
  • Jacques Rougeau: -1 point (for pinfall loss)
  • Raymond Rougeau: -1.5 point (-1 for pinfall loss – 0.5 for losing the fall)

Thank you for reading!