There was a certain point in time where Wrestlemania was becoming like the Star Trek movies, where one year is great, then the next one is bad, then the next one is great, then the next one is bad. So last year’s Wrestlemania was bad, obviously this one had to be good. This is the smallest amount of matches in a single Wrestlemania card, only 6 ‘Mania matches (not including the dark match) all because the main event was an Iron Man match that’s going for an hour in length. The last thing they need is a wrestlemania that goes over 3 hours like Wrestlemania 4 did and just focus on once again Wrestlemania moments and great and memorable matches. But there’s on thing that everybody forgot about this Wrestlemania is the absence of Razor Ramon. I really wished he was booked in this Wrestlemania but since he got suspended, somehow his face still got on the cover power (power to the Kliq). Though this show was indeed small, it still felt huge and felt like a Wrestlemania. While this Wrestlemania couldn’t get bigger here in the 1990s, let’s see if bigger means better.
Camp Cornette (Vader, Owen Hart and The British Bulldog) (with Jim Cornette) vs. Yokozuna, Jake Roberts and Ahmed Johnson (with Mr. Fuji) – As stated we couldn’t’ have too many matches because the 60 minute Iron Man match needed enough time for airing so instead of giving all of these men single, WWF given these six men in a single six man match. It was a fantastic opening match where the technicality and power housing that the wrestlers where offering in this match filled with sheer talent. The fans were really into this match and it was great to finally see Jake “The Snake” Roberts return to Wrestlemania since his defeat at Wrestlemania VIII with Undertaker. Though Jake has really aged terribly at this point, he was used as a punching bag just dragging till he tags the babyface team. Because Jake Roberts no longer was a big intimidating threat in the wrestling world, he’s the reason why he cost Yokozuna’s team’s defeat when Big Van Vader squashed him. Overall, it was a decent opening match in a Wrestlemania.
Match Score: 4/5
Stone Cold Steve Austin (with Ted DiBiase) vs. Savio Vega – This was a great booking to put a highly promising Superstar like Austin who was in the company for a couple of months and delivered a great match with his favorite feud. We had a decent technical-brawl type of match that was making that Stone Cold character grow in a certain way. Although this match was a bit of a drag, I can honestly say that this was the slowest and most underwhelming match on Wrestlemania 12. I think it has to be because how much stamina they both were loosing towards the match and it was an underwhelming finish when Austin knocked Vega out with a Million Dollar Dream. Though I would have made this match end a lot better, this is where the WWF gotten better in building better stars in their roster and years later Stone Cold Steve Austin will be a household name.
Match Score: 3/5
The Ultimate Warrior vs Hunter Hearst Helmsley (with Sable) – Anybody, who’s anybody can say that this match was too short and Warrior was too egomaniacal enough to bury a rising star, but I love this match for what it represents. For years, Hunter Hearst Helmsley was pushed down our damn throats for being such a great star and he was undefeated, but here comes Warrior beating Triple H in under 2 minutes. This is where Triple H fully understands that there are Kliq politics (he was a member of the Kliq) and those who are above the Kliq and Warrior certainly was those guys. It was fantastic to see Warrior get back up after that Pedigree was applied and Warrior gave Triple H three closelines, impressive guerrilla press slam, and an ultimate splash for a pinning victory. Triple H can say that Warrior was the most “unprofessional” guy he’s ever been in the ring… how would you know? You were in there for like a minute and a half. If anything that sounds completely professional. Warrior may have took Triple H’s Wrestlemania moment, but the only significance this match made was to teach Hunter a lesson and give Sable her debut in the WWF. I’m a type of wrestling fan that’s sick of Triple H’s political power backstage, but I always love coming to this match to see his biggest failure to calm me down whenever Helmsley pisses me off.
Match Score: 5/5
The Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) vs Diesel – Diesel really is the most overrated wrestler of all time and his ‘Mania match with Shawn Michaels last year was certainly overrated. This however was actually a much better match than last year’s Wrestlemania for both of them. This is actually where Undertaker met his equal and didn’t have to face guys who were twice as big as Undertaker making it tough to pull his iconic moves like Chokeslam and Tombstone. This match as a fast paced technical brawl that was a great watch. In terms of ‘Taker’s first five Wrestlemania matches, this one is his best out of the first five because Diesel was able to keep Taker down and it was convincing to see whether or not the streak (that was already building) was about to end. At the same time, we’ve never seen Kevin Nash to be dominated by the Undertaker. Both men were equally giving and receiving damage from one another and it looked like a fantastic chemistry to these two against each other. Undertaker was given two Jackknife Powerbombs and did everything to keep ‘Taker down. Kevin tries his best to outsmart ‘Taker, but he keeps coming back up on his feet to give him a wondrous tombstone. This was the first time any of us ever seen Taker deliver a Tombstone on a guy literally bigger than him. Diesel certainly was a hell of a competitor for Undertaker and ‘Taker showed the damage that Diesel delivered on him. This was the ‘Taker match that started getting good in the streak if you follow its history. It’s one of the best matches on the card, but it’s just getting better
Match Score: 5/5
Roddy Piper vs Goldust (with Marlena) – Hollywood Backlot Brawl – Back in 1994, the infamous the OJ Simpson chase was huge! It got media press everywhere when it happened and the OJ Simpson trial was the biggest trail of the century. The OJ Simpson incident and trial went on for over a damn year. This was everywhere where it dominated American pop culture and it’s a huge inspiration for this match. The Hollywood Backlot Brawl was a parody of the OJ Simpson White Bronco chase where the fight began after the Cornette Camp vs. Yokozuna’s team where it lead to a car chase, that’s similar to OJ’s chase. The rivalry between Piper and Goldust was intense because Goldust had a huge “thing” for someone as manly as Piper and Piper was so sick of it that he wants to make a man out of him by beating the life out of him. Throughout Steven Austin vs. Savio Vaga’s match, Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawer at commentary got phone calls of Piper while he was chasing down Goldust by car, only to have them perfectly comeback to the Wrestlemania event that start the whole match. This match was chaotic, it was brutal, physical, and the kind of stuff that you get a chance to see in the attitude era. This was a certainly different direction for the WWF to do that certainly amazed everyone watching. Of course if you had this match in Wrestlemania 15, 16, 17, or 18 when Attitude era and hardcore wrestling was still around, this would of been another one of those matches that blends well with the them of the show, but when we’re talking about having a hardcore match during the New Generation Era, it was not only innovative for the WWF, but it was a precursor of what will be the standard of the Attitude Era’s hardcore wrestling. They both brought the fight all the way to the ring where the fight finished. I loved this match because it was dynamic and the built-up towards this match more than just delivered, it came beyond expectations. This was our very first hardcore wrestling match in the WWF. Although it was bizzard to see Piper rip-off Goldust’s attire and revile that he’s wearing a lingerie underneath (for humiliation purposes), it didn’t have a proper finish, but it didn’t need to. After that brutal beatdown, it’s obvious who won the fight. It was an impact for Wrestlemania that was the steppingstones to the Attitude Era the following year and for it to be a first time ever done in the WWF, it was historic!
Match Score: 5/5
Bret Hart (c) vs. Shawn Michaels – 60 Minute Iron Man Match – This match is important, not to just show the talent between HBK and “The Hitman” but instead it was to shift away from the steroid wrestling to show smaller guys wrestling a very physical match that lasted in the entirety of third half the show. WWF has got an infamous reputation as a sporting event that was using Steroid scandals for each of their wrestlers and finally it was time to show that there are talent in the wrestling world that doesn’t need super physique star to run the show. This all of the sudden became the way of the future in wrestling today all because of this very match. Even though the New Generation Era has done a lot of damage to the company, 60 Minute Iron Man Match showed that there are some good in this era. Though the whole purpose of this match was to have the most pitfalls or submissions within within 60minutes till it reaches 0, none of the two had any falls for either men. It was babyface vs. babyface (first time since Hogan vs. Warrior at Wrestlemania VI) and they’ve wrestled a very technical and physical match. But because the match is an hour long and we all know that none of the pitfalls or submissions were made within 60 minutes makes it tough to sit though, I still recommend in watching it just to see how much does it take to be the best wrestler because it takes stamina, impact, strength, speed, and endurance to last that long. The great thing about Bret and Shawn is that they’re two phenomenal performers that did everything to make themselves and each other look good. I’ll have to admit that the match was very slow paced, there wasn’t much to expect knowing that there aren’t any falls, the audience was falling asleep leaving in silence, and Bret forgotten to sell the damage on his arm, but this was a unique match. The highlight of this very show is of course the last couple of minutes as Shawn made a mistake in doing a flying move and Bret reversed it into a sharpshooter, but Shawn didn’t give up the submission all the way to the end of the count. I would have appreciated it if this match just ended with Bret leaving the match with his WWF Championship and make a rematch in the next Wrestlemania, but Gorilla Monsoon came in and said that the made should restart in overtime because there must be a fall. It made all of us hoping that his match could just end because going over an hour is already almost half the show, but that last Sweet Chin Music made Shawn Michaels victory and became the new WWF Champion. This is why Shawn Michaels acquired the nickname ‘Mr. WrestleMania.’ He has been involved in so many iconic matches at WrestleMania and the 60 minute ‘Ironman Match that went on longer than 60 minutes was one of those matches. Both Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels were in their prime and they started a new era of wrestling where smaller guys became a standard in pro wrestling. But due to the fact that this match went way longer than it should, there was not that many surprises during this match, it was incredibly slow paced, and I still would have had Bret Hart to win the match instead of the Heartbreak Kid. But on the other hand, it’s a double edge sword where Shawn Michaels deserved to be the big star of the company by winning the match, that the WWF has talented stars that doesn’t use steroids, and show the definition of in-ring work in this very match was needed. The only thing that could have been better with the finish was to have Shawn and Bret shake hands, but their lack of sportsmanship and level a hatred they both had with each other shows in their body language and facial expression. You can see Shawn acting like a bitch telling the ref to get Bret out of the ring while Bret left in sheer disappointment. It’s always tough to see the tension between the two that carried throughout the years, but at least none of them killed each other, that’s for sure. Though I can’t see myself watching this match many times over, but it still was an impressive match on the card and a great finish nonetheless.
Match Score: 5/5