March to Mania · Pro Wrestling

MARCH TO ‘MANIA: Fantastic five

Does Wrestlemania 5 have what it takes to claim the top spot in the Wrestlemania rankings?

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Wrestlemania 5 (Results)

Date: April 2, 1989

Arena: Trump Plaza (Atlantic City, NJ)

Attendance: 18,946

SUMMARY: If you’re looking for a fine example of the WWF looking ahead, Wrestlemania 5 is it. The company began planning for Wrestlemania 5 after Randy Savage won the WWF title at Wrestlemania 4, and it paid off in a big way. The build up to get to Wrestlemania 5 was superb. In the 12 months in between Wrestlemania 4 and 5, we saw the Mega Powers reach incredible heights only to suffer the inevitable cracking that happens when you’re a tag team. The result of such masterful storytelling: a hot card that created a buzz with an steady undercard that provided a solid night’s worth of entertainment.

MY ENJOYMENT RATING: B

FAVORITE MATCH: Hulk Hogan vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage. We know Hulk Hogan is limited as a worker. It’s no question, but what he lacks in technical wrestling ability he makes up for it in other ways. In this match, it’s the backstory that hides Hogan’s limitations. The circumstances behind the match add so much intrigued and depth to the match itself. Miss Elizabeth doesn’t add a ton, but the spurts where she plays a role, her presence really establishes the face/heel dynamic. I’m glad she didn’t factor into the finish, and it was smart for the referee to eject her in time for the end of the match.

THINGS THAT MADE ME NOD IN APPROVAL: The match quality ranges from bad (Dino Bravo vs. Ronnie Garvin) to average (The Hart Foundation vs. Rhythm & Blues – Honky Tonk Man and Greg Valentine) to good (Rick Rude vs. Ultimate Warrior) to excellent (main event and Brainbusters – Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard vs. Strikeforce). I think this by far the widest range in terms of quality of matches I’ve had in the first five. Even the bad matches were easy to digest as I got through them without too much issue and asking myself if its almost over.

THINGS THAT MADE ME LOWER HEAD IN SHAME: The non-match filler. I didn’t need to see a terrible performance by Run DMC. I like Run DMC, but this is not the time or the place to have them perform, and the crowd wasn’t really into it. The Piper’s Pit segment featuring Brother Love and Morton Downey Jr. was far worse. I used this opportunity to get water. I still have a problem with the number of matches, but when guys can’t work longer than 10 minutes, it makes sense. That’s not to say it helped the card. There was also a really long intermission where we saw the backstory on the “explosion” of the Mega Powers and a promo for the still-awful movie, “No Holds Barred.”

RANDOM THOUGHT: I’ve been taking a count, and Gorilla Monsoon has said “Pearl Harbored” every year since Wrestlemania 1. The line, “Cut the electricity in the air with a knife” has been said every year since Wrestlemania 2. Also, if you were to cut the electricity in the air with a knife, it would be highly dangerous.

MY ULTIMATE WRESTLEMANIA CARD RANKING: It’s almost fitting how we get closer to the 90s, my enjoyment level is going up. By far, this was the best Wrestlemania of this first group I’ve watched. There’s no getting rid of the stuff that bogs cards down in this era, but even with that, Wrestlemania 5 claims the top spot. It was easily the most entertaining card of the first five.

  1. Wrestlemania 5
  2. Wrestlemania 3 (Review)
  3. Wrestlemania 2 (Review)
  4. Wrestlemania 4 (Review)
  5. Wrestlemania 1 (Review)
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