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Thread: WWE Wrestlemania 12 Review

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    Wrestlemania 33 WWE Wrestlemania 12 Review

    Wrestlemania 12
    March 31, 1996



    Free For All

    The Bodydonnas w/Sunny vs The Godwinns w/Hillbilly Jim - WWE Tag Titles
    The finals of the Tag Team Titles Tournament. Back in late January, one half of the WWE Tag Champions, Billy Gunn, went out with a neck injury that would keep him out of action until May. As a result, an eight team tournament was created and took place exclusively on Superstars between mid Feb to literally the day before Wrestlemania 12. Thus far, The Godwinns have defeated The New Rockers and Owen Hart/Davey Boy Smith (WHAT?!) while the Bodydonnas defeated The Bushwhackers and Savio Vega/Steve Austin (More on that pairing later). Also involved in the tournament were The Million Dollar Corporation (1-2-3 Kid and Tatanka) and Hakushi/Barry Horowitz). Since they didn’t have much time for this match, only lasting just under six minutes, they told a quick, but effective story. Phineas is a wild animal, easily getting the best of both Skip and Zip to the point where Henry had to calm him down. Once Henry was in the ring, the Bodydonnas were able to double team him to gain the advantage. That built up to the hot tag with Phineas hitting a Slop Drop on Skip. Before he can make the cover, Sunny jumps on the apron, pulls up her skirt to reveal a bit of ass to distract Phineas. That allows Skip to roll Phineas up to steal the victory and become the NEW WWE Tag Champions. Not bad and the finish does play into the new storyline of Phineas’ kryptonite being his feelings for Sunny. Kinda sucks that a title match was forced to be on the Free for All, but in recent years that’s become expected, despite Wrestlemania 9 hour time length. **

    PPV

    Camp Cornette w/Jim Cornette vs Ahmed Johnson, Jake Roberts, and Yokozuna w/Mr. Fuji
    If Team Yoko wins, Yokozuna will get five minutes alone with Jim Cornette. This was originally announced to be a singles match between Vader and Yokozuna, but it was changed in the build-up. I’d imagine it’d be because Wrestlemania was a normal PPV length of just three hours and the main event was going to take up about half of that time. In order to get more stars on the PPV, this was a logical bout to add others into the match. Even though it doesn’t look like much, this was a surprisingly fun match. The heels dominate the majority of the match with all three faces taking turns playing the face-in-peril starting with Yokozuna, then Ahmed, and finishing off with Roberts. Johnson, in particular, came across as a star and seemed destined to really break out as a future mega star. The best part of the entire match though was when Yokozuna got the hot tag from Roberts and began cleaning house, including out punching Vader. It was awesome and the crowd got really into witnessing Vader pummeled by Yokozuna. It actually made me want to watch their singles match. Admittedly, the finish comes off a bit rough due to the referee needing to be distracted while Roberts has the match won on Owen after a DDT, Cornette interfering, Roberts teasing a DDT on Cornette, and Vader then attacking Roberts, killing him with a Vader Bomb. It’s a lot going on with the referee struggling not to be seen looking at the action and Vader being a little late to save Cornette. Still, this was a ball. ***


    It’s at this point in the show where the first half of the Hollywood Backlot match between Goldust and Roddy Piper takes place. However, for this review, I’m just going to watch both segments together so that it’s just one “Regular” match rather than trying to review two segments.

    Savio Vega vs Steve Austin w/Ted DiBiase
    If there’s a reason for the WWE Network to start adding Superstars, it’s for the fact that there were a lot of lowcard programs that seemed to only receive TV time on Superstars and not Raw. Austin/Vega is an example of one that seemed to receive more time on Superstars. Despite still being a new feud, these two have had a few run ins on Superstars including Austin’s name being selected to replace a suspended Razor Ramon to team with Savio in the semi-finals of the WWE Tag Titles tournament. In that match against The Bodydonnas, Austin would turn on Vega, costing his team the match. For an undercard match, this was perfectly good. Austin worked over the arm of Savio some while Vega put in an above average performance. Although it’s obviously not as good as their rematch at IYH: Beware of Dog, it does show that the two has chemistry together. Something I can’t remember Savio having much of with anyone else. A ref bump sees Savio seemingly having the match won, but he does something I don’t know if I’ve ever seen. He goes to pin Austin, but immediately gets off of Austin after realizing that the referee is still down, instead of having an idiotic moment of expecting a count. DiBiase would place the Million Dollar Title on the apron and then distract Savio, allowing Austin to attempt to lock in the Million Dollar Dream from behind, but Savio is too smart for that and lays Austin out with a big boot. That’s where the backup plan of the title being laid on the apron comes into play with Austin grabbing it and knocking Savio out with it after a couple of hits. Austin would then lock in the Million Dollar Dream while DiBiase throws a drink on the referee’s face to revive him. With Vega knocked unconscious, the referee calls for the bell awarding Austin his first Wrestlemania victory. Even though this was Wrestlemania, this match was really just designed to add heat to a new program to advance it. By that, it accomplished everything it needed to accomplish. My only negatives is that throughout the match, the commentary got on a call with Roddy Piper, who was driving on the highway in chasing Goldust. I don’t care about Goldust/Piper. I’d prefer to just concentrate on Austin/Savio. Still, a good match and one that showed promise for the future. ***

    The Ultimate Warrior vs Triple H w/Sable
    Warrior’s first match in the WWE since late 1992. Hunter ends up attacking Warrior during his entrance, laying in on him before delivering the Pedigree. Warrior no sells the Pedigree and goes through his trademark series of spots before beating Hunter with a running splash to kick off his third and least successful WWE run. These days, it seems as if many makes a big deal out of Warrior kicking out of Triple H’s finisher, but you have to look at it with March 1996 eyes. Triple H was nothing more than a lowcard heel. It’d be like objecting to CM Punk returning to the WWE and no selling whatever Curtis Axel’s finisher is these days. One person really matters while the other is there just to be fodder. Just because Hunter eventually became someone who matters doesn’t mean it was wrong to have Warrior no sell the Pedigree. A fun squash though. SQUASH.


    Backstage, Todd Pettengill is with the newest WWE superstar - Wildman Marc Marrow. Literally the first time that Mero gets mentioned on WWE TV and Pettengill had to botch his name. Mero cuts a promo about being ready to wrestle all of the top guys in the WWE when Triple H bursts in and stumbles into Mero. Triple H then randomly berates Sable before Mero objects to Hunter’s actions leading to the two brawling. With that, Mero’s first WWE program has begun.

    Diesel vs The Undertaker w/Paul Bearer
    In late 1995, Diesel had lost the WWE World Title and began displaying a new attitude as result. Meanwhile, after being away from the title hunt for two years, Taker made it clear that he wanted the belt. Onto Royal Rumble ‘96 and Diesel screwed Taker out of winning the WWE Title. As payback, Taker returned the favor by costing Diesel a WWE Title match at In Your House 6: Rage in a Cage. The nice thing about this match is that it’s always been one that was way better than it had any right to be. At the time, neither guy was known for having good matches. Yet, here they are, putting on a good little big man match. Taker took a lot of punishment, something not entirely common at the time. Both men refused to work the slow, sluggish style that you’d expect from them. Taker even busted out Kane’s top rope lariat. After Diesel took over for his period on offense, his new attitude ended up biting him in the ass. Diesel would hit a Jackknife, but rather than going for the pinfall, he just gloated until Taker recovered enough to get back to his feet. Once Taker was hit with a second Jackknife, Diesel would once again play to the crowd for far too long. This time though, he would attempt a cover, but Taker had recovered enough to grab Diesel by the throat. One short comeback later and Taker delivers a single Tombstone to win the match to extend the Streak to 5-0. Obviously, Taker would end up having plenty of great Wrestlemania matches, but this would be his first good Streak match. I have no idea how they managed to have a good match, but they did it. ***


    Roddy Piper vs Goldust - Hollywood Backlot Brawl
    This was originally planned to be another match in the Goldust/Razor Ramon program, but after Razor objected and found himself suspended, everything was randomly shifted towards acting WWE President, Roddy Piper. The actual buildup isn’t anything interesting. It’s just Goldust playing his sexual mind games while Piper wasn’t cool with it, but tried to remain calm due to his role as acting WWE President. Eventually, Goldust went too far and Piper snapped, setting up this match. If you can even call it a match. The first half of this took place in the actual backlot in what was secretly a taped segment, having taken place a few days before. Goldust shows up in a gold car and proceeds to get his ass kicked by Piper. Goldust manages to get back into his ca and hit Piper on his way away from the building. Piper would follow in his white Ford Bronco so that the WWE could parody the OJ Simpson chase footage between the two segments of the match. Once they arrived to the arena, we’re live as they battle out to the ring. This time around, it’s Goldust’s chance to be in full control, often using his sexual taunts on Piper. Piper gets in a bit of offense before ripping off Goldust’s ring gear to expose the fact that Goldust wears women’s lingerie. Goldust, feeling self conscious, gets shielded by Marlena, who wasn’t involved in the first part of the match, as they run to the back, ending whatever the hell this was. A big part of why it’s hard to call this a match is that there wasn’t a referee and at no time did you know what the rules were. Was there a way to technically win this match? Who knows! At the same time, it’s not all bad. It’s easily the second most memorable match from this show. It’s certainly different, which can be fun at times. It’s a weird spectacle that ends up being more entertaining that nearly every Goldust 1996 match. It’s a 1996 oddity for sure though. ** ½

    Bret Hart © vs Shawn Michaels - 60 Minute Iron Man Match - WWE World Title
    My second time watching this match. The first time I saw it in 2003, I struggled to remain awake. Fifteen years later, the same thing happens with difficulty to stay awake. I honestly don’t understand how approx 50% of all wrestling fans believe this is some 5 star classic. Right away, one of the clear issues is that it’s face vs face. In most iron man matches, you have the simple story of the heel cheating to rake up the falls and the face having to make a comeback. You can’t do that when it’s face vs face. They even failed to go with the typical face vs face story of one of the wrestlers showing signs of being a heel. Sure, a couple of times the commentators tried to state that Bret is showing a new attitude, but he never really showed it. The lack of story was made worse by the fact that the entire first half had nothing of value inside of the ring. Nothing. Bret kills a ton of time with a headlock and HBK stalls with arm holds that A) Sees Bret not selling and B) Even if Bret had sold, it’s not as if Michaels has any arm moves to utilize then. The only highlight of the first half is Michaels attempting a super kick on the outside, but Bret moved out of the way, causing the timekeeper to take it instead. Great spot, but once they were back in the ring, it was back to killing time with meaningless holds. Things do slowly pick up starting at the halfway point and improves from there closer to the end, but even then, it’s never exciting. The really frustrating thing is that this is Bret Hart and Shawn f’n Michaels. They certainly know how to have a great match. I don’t know if it was just that they were concerned about blowing up, but they spent an hour not doing anything. The crowd reactions aren’t even strong either. Then there’s the other problem of the lack of falls. One full hour and not a single pinfall or submission? Way to ensure that the viewer wouldn’t be entertained. Ending the match with Michaels trapped in the Sharpshooter for a minute is painfully dull. Once it was decided that the match must go to sudden death, this very short period is the best part of the match since things actually happens. Bret shows aggression in wanting to eliminate this challenge, but Michaels counters a charge in the corner with a surprise super kick. HBK is so exhausted that he can’t capitalize on the super kick, with Bret getting to his feet first. It’s okay though as Michaels is able to get to his own feet and nail a second super kick to pin Bret to become the NEW WWE World Champion. Even though, by some, the match is incredibly overrated and certainly dull, I can’t deny that the end result does feel like a huge deal. Still, if I never have to watch this dull as fuck match ever again, I will be completely alright with that. *


    Overall
    Looking back, some of these mid 90s Wrestlemanias are so odd. They’re typically held in a smaller building so there’s less fans, after a few lengthy Wrestlemanias they were back down to being three hours or less, and it doesn’t always feel like the biggest matches are happening outside of the main event. To me, the only things that seem to be talked about from this Wrestlemania is the Iron Man match and the Hollywood Backlot Brawl. To this day, I still believe the Iron Man match is the most controversial match in Wrestlemania history. I said it before, but you either think it’s one of the best matches ever or you’re bored to tears by it. Your opinion on the main event will play a gigantic role in your overall opinion of Wrestlemania 12. For me, I’m not a fan of it so the show now lacks that one must see match. At the same time, I imagine I’m a bigger fan of the undercard than the average viewer. The six man tag, Savio/Austin, and Diesel/Taker are all good three star range matches. None of the three are good enough to make up for the disappointment that was Bret/Michaels, but it keeps it from resembling a show like Wrestlemania 6 that doesn’t have much value outside of the main event. I do find it disappointing that on the actual PPV, there’s only one title on the line. Without even double checking, I would assume that’s the only, and will remain so, time that that has happened. Considering Goldust was such a dud as IC Champion, particularly on PPV, I wished they could have found a different match to be the IC Title, even if it just means Savio/Austin. Even though it was such a short show and the main event ate up half of the time, having the Tag Titles match on the Free For All really exposed the fact that neither the Godwinns nor the Bodydonnas were much of stars. Had the tournament gone a different way, a possible finals would have been Owen Hart and British Bulldog vs Razor Ramon and Savio Vega. That certainly feels more like a PPV worthy finals. Even though I did enjoy some of the undercard matches, the Savio/Austin IYH rematch would be a lot better. Owen’s last PPV match at IYH 6 against HBK was better than the six man tag, and Taker would have a couple of better PPV matches in 1996. Even the mega return of the Ultimate Warrior falls a bit flat due to Warrior not doing anything of value before leaving again. Overall, Wrestlemania 12’s short time length allows it to go by quickly (Before the main event), but it’s a disappointing Wrestlemania for sure.

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    Re: WWE Wrestlemania 12 Review

    I never thought I see the day when someone would give the Hollywood Backlot Brawl a higher rating than the Bret vs Shawn Iron Man Match. I agree that the Iron Man Match was a bit slow and boring with no falls for an hour, but it's got to be worth a 3-star rating. The Hollywood Backlot Brawl was more stupid than anything. One star at best.
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    Re: WWE Wrestlemania 12 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by BattleKat View Post
    I never thought I see the day when someone would give the Hollywood Backlot Brawl a higher rating than the Bret vs Shawn Iron Man Match. I agree that the Iron Man Match was a bit slow and boring with no falls for an hour, but it's got to be worth a 3-star rating. The Hollywood Backlot Brawl was more stupid than anything. One star at best.
    The Hollywood Backlot Brawl is something different and there's certainly always action going on. Unlike that main event dud, you also don't have to reserve much time to watch either segment of the Piper/Goldust fight. Is it a stupid match? Perhaps, but it's a fun stupid and a stupid that I'm capable of remaining awake while watching.

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    Re: WWE Wrestlemania 12 Review

    Since it was the first televised iron man match in WWE, I can forgive the boring first half it was a new concept etc etc.

    I don't care so much that there were no submissions or pinfalls until the end. I can watch an hour match like that ( basically a normal match that goes an hour) but they should of just done that instead of the iron man stipulation. It's the same thing if there no falls during the match up.


    1 star....thats a bit harsh. I'd go 2 3/4. Survivor Series 92 and 97 destroy this match
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    Re: WWE Wrestlemania 12 Review

    The crowd died in the Iron Man Match which made it seem worse then it was.
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    Re: WWE Wrestlemania 12 Review

    According to Bruce Prichard, which of course could always be a lie. Roddy Piper broke bones in his hand during the brawl, and had to go to the hospital. He even said they were concerned that they'd be able to have him wrestle. Of course Piper being Piper, no way he was missing a Wrestlemania payout.

    Also, I think I remember Bruce saying that Vince gave Piper the Bronco.

    Bruce also stated that Scott Hall was the only wrestle to ever object to working a program with Goldust.

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    Re: WWE Wrestlemania 12 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Necro View Post
    According to Bruce Prichard, which of course could always be a lie. Roddy Piper broke bones in his hand during the brawl, and had to go to the hospital. He even said they were concerned that they'd be able to have him wrestle. Of course Piper being Piper, no way he was missing a Wrestlemania payout.

    Bruce also stated that Scott Hall was the only wrestle to ever object to working a program with Goldust.
    Pipers talked about that before too. I don't know to what extent, just that he needed a cast but because it was prefilmed, he couldn't wear one for the second part so they had him tape it up on the way to the ring.

    Also, yeah, that's dumb by Hall. But it was a different time, I guess.

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    Re: WWE Wrestlemania 12 Review

    I was waiting for you to do this Wrestlemania Show Jim for quite awhile now buddy. I have Shawn Michaels vs Bret Hart in the Iron Man Match as probably in my top favorite WM Matches of all time. I didn't mind the slow pace of the Match, because they eventually picked up and in my opinion it felt like a style of Wrestling go back decades before to where you had to go 60 mins and you had to a pace like that and the last two minutes or so it picked up. You had the Champion retain or the Challenger win either way it was that type of style and to me of all the guys who could of pulled this off in the WWE to this degree was Bret and Shawn not standing Owen and Davey who I have high regard for even more than Bret and Shawn. Also during the Match their were little moments like a Time Keeper getting KO'ed, even Lothario getting knocked down as well. We saw Bret's evil side more than ever, obviously showing the teaser of what WWE had planned for him when he returned, all of that I loved it.

    I remember in 96 maybe a few months prior when I was 8 years old, my Mother buying me the Bone Crunching Figures from WWE and the two guys I got was Bret and Shawn. It was hard to choose who I wanted more to win and I think they pulled off a wonderful Match in my opinion. I just wished they had a return Match that wasn't from Survivor Series because I think I remember hearing they had planned to have Bret vs Shawn again at the next WM, but I might be wrong on that.

    As for Piper vs Goldust love the chaos we saw in the Match and I still get a chuckle when Piper is dragging Goldie around the ring with him showing his goods for all to see. Taker vs Diesel was a good bout too, Taker always has good matches with Diesel and this one was entertaining for sure. Back then I had no knowledge of Scott and Kevin leaving eventually, looking back on it I should of cherished them more when they were with the WWE more around that time.

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