Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mania Memories: Touchdown!

LT vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (WWE)
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

By the time the eleventh installment of Wrestlemania rolled around, the WWF had a different look.  Top stars like Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan, and the Ultimate Warrior were long gone.  The company was banking on guys like Diesel, Shawn Michaels, and Bret Hart to carry the torch and take the WWF to the next level.

While these guys were in some cases still proving themselves, there were no bonafide top tier guys like we'd seen with Hogan and Savage and Warrior (at least in my view).  So the WWF looked outside the ring and to the gridiron for that push.  They found it in Lawrence Taylor.  The NFL linebacker found himself in the main event of Wrestlemania 11, facing off against Bam Bam Bigelow.  For what it's worth, this was probably one of the better celebrity matches I've seen.  LT and Bam Bam told a great story, especially when you consider Taylor hadn't wrestled before. I take my hat off to Bigelow for agreeing to the match and putting over a non wrestler.  It could have really hurt him in the long run, and while I don't think it necessarily helped him, it certainly showed he's a team player.  It was a gamble making the match the main event, behind the world title match between Diesel and Michaels and Hart's match with Bob Backlund (not that I would consider it a main event)

HBK vs. Diesel (WWE)
Eleven was also Shawn's first bid for the WWF title.  He came up short against his former bodyguard, but essentially set himself up to become a baby face and one of the biggest stars in the history of the business.  Hart beat Backlund in a submission rematch from the 1994 Survivor Series.  Roddy Piper again served as the guest referee for this contest.

Bundy vs. Undertaker
Bret's younger brother Owen finally got WWF gold by teaming up with Yokozuna to beat the Smoking Gunns.  It was an odd combo, but the two of them worked well together.  Razor Ramon nearly regained the Intercontinental title from Jeff Jarrett when he beat the champ by disqualification.  Undertaker made his return to Wrestlemania keeping his streak alive by beating King Kong Bundy.

In what may have been the biggest case of "look what a difference a year can make" Lex Luger appeared in the opening match with partner British Bulldog as the pair beat the Blu Brothers (not to be confused with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd).  It was a light card for sure, but this was a time when talent was jumping ship to WCW and the WWF was doing what it could to stop the bleeding.  I think Wrestlemania 11 may be one of the more "plain Jane" manias in the rich history of the event.  They used a little star power from LT and brought in Pam Anderson and Jenny McCarthy to be in Diesel and Shawn Michaels' corners respectively.

What did you think of Wrestlemania 11?  Post your comments here or on Facebook.  Thanks for reading, and subscribe to My 1-2-3 Cents on YouTube!

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