Friday, 6 November 2020

WWF Wrestlemania XII Review

 



Hello and welcome to another edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews, the only wrestling review series on the internet that throws in the towel every time! It’s WWF Wrestlemania XII, headlined by Shawn Michaels vs Bret Hart. Sixty Minutes, an Iron Man Match between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. Will the boyhood dream come true? We also have Diesel vs The Undertaker, two men who were destined to collide as both men cost the other the WWF Championship! Looking forward to that one based on the angle albeit its sloppy execution in the cage match. We also have Goldust against Rowdy Roddy Piper, The Ultimate Warrior vs Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Sixty minutes is a long time though, will I really enjoy this match? Will it live up? Will WWF start firing on all cylinders? Let’s find out!

 

Vader/Owen Hart/The British Bulldog W/ James E. Cornette vs Ahmed Johnson/Jake The Snake Roberts/Yokozuna


What a waste in my eyes, you have all this talent and we get a six-man tag match. I’d probably be happy with Vader destroying Yokozuna because poor Yokozuna is almost immobile at this point. The match begins with a brawl, Yokozuna takes down Vader. Ahmed dives over the top rope and planchas onto Vader, everyone is brawling on the floor now. Yokozuna and Vader go at it with a lock-up, rights from Vader but Yokozuna shakes it off. Dropkick from Owen, no effect. Elbow from Yokozuna, whip to the buckle. Bulldog pulls Owen out of the way, they put the boots to Yokozuna. Tag to Vader, cheap shot to Ahmed.

 

 

Owen chokes Yokozuna behind the referee’s back, clubbing blows from Vader. Vader rights and lefts, Vader poses for the fans. Yokozuna ducks the right hand, uranage slam and a tag to Ahmed. Ahmed decks Bulldog and Owen, powerslam from Ahmed. Vader clubs Ahmed illegally, Ahmed dodges a splash and lands a flying clothesline. Cornette is on the apron, Team Cornette pummel Ahmed in the corner. Ahmed slams Bulldog, Pearl River Plunge attempt but Owen lands a missile dropkick. Stomp to the gut and elbow drop from Owen, rights from Owen and an enzuigiri from The King of Hearts. Tag to Vader, splash from Vader. Vader Hammer wipes out Ahmed, tag to Owen. Eye rake from Owen, make it two. Clothesline from Owen before Ahmed clotheslines Owen down.

 

 

Tag to Jake, jabs from Roberts. Rights floor Bulldog and Owen, short-arm clothesline and it’s time. DDT but Owen holds onto the ropes, knee-lift from Roberts. Whip to the buckle, Roberts runs into a knee. Tag to Bulldog, Team Cornette triple-team Roberts. Bulldog maintains control before Vader comes in, big rights from Vader. Short-arm clothesline from Vader, whip to the buckle. Vader corner splash and clothesline, tag to Owen who nails a diving elbow drop for two. Stump-puller variation from Owen, in comes Bulldog. Running Powerslam for two, Roberts kicks out. Vader comes in, massive splash from Vader for two. In comes Bulldog, Roberts dodges the leg drop. Yokozuna gets the tag, Yokozuna destroys Vader in the corner.

 

 

Crowd explodes after the corner splash, clotheslines for Owen and Bulldog. Noggin-knocker, Samoan Drop from Yokozuna before a tag to Roberts. Bulldog stops the DDT, Owen and Roberts are the legal men. Owen tries a scoop slam but Roberts slips out the back. DDT on Owen, Cornette tries a sneak attack but Roberts sees it coming. DDT is blocked as Vader crushes Roberts before landing his Vader Bomb for the win.

 

 

But Owen was the legal man? Ah who cares, Owen Hart is the best part of this match. Makes everyone he works with look good, I am dying for a proper Owen Hart feud. Yokozuna did alright here, Yokozuna got one of the loudest pops when he destroyed Vader in the corner. Everyone else was rather pedestrian in this match, watching as Owen Hart took centre stage and Yokozuna got to hammer Vader at times. It was interesting to see Roberts still be so over and get to take part in the finishing sequence, Vader does get to look dominate though. Good way of building momentum for sure, I do enjoy the work of Vader and this booking has been solid so far.

 

Winner: Team Cornette over Team Yokozuna via Vader Bomb!

 

(Hollywood Backlot Brawl) Goldust vs Rowdy Roddy Piper


With Razor heading to WCW soon, Roddy Piper was inserted into this match at Wrestlemania with Piper vowing to make a man out of Goldust. Goldust shows up in a gold Cadillac, Piper surprises Goldust with a fire hose. Baseball bat shots, catering tables and trash cans, Piper bets the piss out of Goldust. Goldust has been opened up hard way, Goldust is being hosed down by Piper. Goldust is slammed off the hood of the car, scoop slam onto the hood of the car. Massive right hands from Piper, low blow from Goldust and Piper is sent into the dumpster. Goldust gets back in his car and rams into Piper who hangs precariously from the hood before Goldust shakes him off and escapes. Piper is not happy, Piper runs towards his own vehicle and pursues The Bizarre One. This match will continue so I will continue this review below!

 

Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Savio Vega


Austin jumps Vega as we begin, rights and lefts by Austin before Vega fights back with rights. Sidewalk slam and mounted punches from Savio, they roll out to the floor and these two are just beating the tar out of one another. Chops from Savio, Dibiase tries to get involved but Savio sees Austin coming. Right hand from Austin, Savio is sent into the ring-post. Polish hammer from Austin, Austin goes after the arm. Savio elbows his way out and flips over Austin, Austin ducks the first kick before nailing the second kick, two for Savio. Austin regains control sending Savio into the ring-post again. Snap-mare into a camel clutch but Savio whips off Austin. A clothesline attempt does not work for Savio as Austin shakes it off, chop block from Austin and an arm-bar.

 

 

Hammerlock from Austin, Savio tries to flip out but Austin drops Savio scoop slam style. Middle rope elbow drop from Austin, two for Austin. Irish whip, Savio ducks the clothesline and lands a crossbody for two. Lou Thesz Press from Austin, both men trade pin-falls for a number of two counts. Savio lands a kick to the gut, backslide from Savio is blocked. Austin whips Savio to the buckle, Savio answers with a spinning heel kick. Savio is on the middle rope, middle rope splash is blocked by Austin with his knees. Scoop slam by Austin is countered for a small package, two for Savio. Scoop slam by Austin, Austin goes to the top rope and Savio blocks the elbow with a boot to the face. Right hands from Savio, Austin is dropped. Irish whip and a chop, down goes Austin.

 

 

Back body-drop from Savio, clothesline from Savio. Make it two, Dibiase is on the apron, Savio measures for the Spinning Heel Kick and wham, Savio wipes out the referee. Dibiase places the championship in the ring, Dibiase distracts Savio. Savio boots down Austin but does not see Austin holding the Million Dollar Championship. Savio is laying on the apron, Austin waffles Savio a second time with the championship. Million Dollar Dream from Austin, the referee is eventually woken up and Austin wins the match.

 

 

Liked the beginning of this match for sure, Austin brings the pain with vicious looking right hands, it has such a different feel as they slug it out and then, things slow down big time. The Million Dollar Dream is not that exciting as a finish, it worked in the 80s and I think by 1996, it was done. The arm work never really goes anywhere despite Savio selling it once or twice. Finish was painfully slow too, why didn’t a new referee come down? Why did we need to wait for the referee to wake up for so long considering Austin would not release the hold to get more heat anyways? Not a great showing for either man but there was some parts where I saw flashes and glimpses of what would soon become legendary.

 

Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin over Savio Vega via Million Dollar Dream!

 

Hunter Hearst Helmsley W/ Sable vs The Ultimate Warrior


Speaking of being at home in the 80s, I don’t see this ending well. Helmsley jumps Warrior, right hands after right hands. Warrior ducks the clothesline but eats a Pedigree but Warrior no-sells it. Shaking everything off, Warrior pummels Helmsley with clotheslines. Flying shoulder tackle, military press slam and Ultimate Splash for the finish.

 

As much as we would all come to hate Triple H, this was such a terrible thing for him to have to do, Helmsley had been rising the ranks in the WWF and stood out like a sore thumb as a future big name so for this to happen was ridiculous. On top of that, Warrior and Roberts? Mid-90s WWF is such an odd time.

 

Winner: The Ultimate Warrior over Hunter Hearst Helmsley via Ultimate Splash!

 

The Undertaker vs Diesel


Big Daddy Cool and The Deadman have been destined to collide since Royal Rumble where Diesel cost The Undertaker the WWF Championship. Undertaker returned the favour at Rage In The Cage, Undertaker turned up the mind games for Wrestlemania season with continuously messing with the mind of Diesel. They meet in the middle of the ring, both men trade right hands before Diesel lands a knee and a corner clothesline. Elbow in the corner from Diesel, whip to the opposite buckle. Taker blocks with a boot, clothesline but Diesel dodges the elbow drop. Clothesline to the floor but Taker lands on his feet, Diesel is dragged out to the floor. Rights and lefts from Taker, Diesel returns the favour on the floor. Taker bounces Diesel’s head off the steel steps, Diesel is in the ring but lowers his head off an Irish whip, Taker wants a tombstone but Diesel shoves off Taker. Crossbody from Taker for two, Taker wants Old School. Old School connects, Taker wanted a flying clothesline but Diesel ducks. Hot-shot from Taker, right hand and uppercut from Taker. Diesel is on the floor, Diesel is rammed into the ring-post. Taker has a chair, Diesel ducks the chairshot.

 

 

Diesel sends Taker into the guardrail, Diesel rams Taker spine-first into the ring-post. Diesel does it a second time before stalking Paul Bearer, Irish whip into a big boot. Diesel is admiring his own handy work, measured forearm from Diesel. Diesel does it again, Taker is dropping to his knees. Sidewalk slam for two, snake eyes from Diesel. Diesel drops a leg across the back, Diesel calls for the finish. Knees in the corner, whip to the opposite buckle but Taker comes back with massive right hands before both men fall after a big boot. Diesel lands a Polish hammer to the spine, whip to the buckle and a bearhug from Diesel. Taker ear-claps his way out of the hold, side headlock from Diesel. Undertaker lands a huge belly to back suplex, diving clothesline from The Undertaker.

 

 

1…2… Diesel manages to kick out! Knee from Taker, Irish whip and Taker lowers his head. Clubbing blow from Diesel and massive Jacknife Powerbomb, Diesel stands by the rope and admires his hard work. Diesel taunts Paul Bearer, Diesel kicks at Taker asking him to rise. Taker sits-up, a second Jacknife Powerbomb while mugging the camera for all the fans in attendance. Diesel tries to cover but Undertaker grabs Diesel by the throat, Diesel is almost choked out as Taker begins to rise. Diesel hammers Taker, Diesel lands a desperation suplex on Taker. Taker is up, knees and rights from Diesel but Taker is winning that war. Flying clothesline from Taker, Chokeslam connects on Diesel. Tombstone Piledriver and The Undertaker wins the match!

 

 

So the action was nothing to write home about but the story-telling was great for me, I’ve said it already but Diesel as a prick in late 1995/early 1996 is one of my favourites in wrestling during that period. Diesel is cool and confident, attacking Taker time after time, dropping Taker with the powerbombs and feeling like there is no way for Taker to come back into the match yet, The Deadman does it time and time again. Diesel’s confidence slowly being eroded is a great watch as Big Daddy Cool is obliterated by Undertaker by the time the finish comes. So, as a match I wasn’t blown away or impressed but I did enjoy the story these two men told so this is alright in my book.

 

Winner: The Undertaker over Diesel via Tombstone Piledriver!

 

Hollywood Backlot Brawl Rowdy Roddy Piper vs Goldust Continued


So they recreate the OJ-Police chase throughout the night before they make their way to ringside. Goldust is running away with Marlena but Piper has managed to track down The Bizarre One. Goldust is begging for mercy while Piper continues to charge Goldust. Piper pummels Goldust before Goldust lands some kicks to the leg of Piper. Goldust takes out the knee of Piper, Piper is in the corner. Goldust slaps the face of Piper, leg-drop to the groin. Goldust wants a piledriver but puts his hands all over Piper’s ass. Goldust strips Piper and chokes Piper with the shirt. Piper begins firing up, Goldust uppercuts Piper and beings rubbing himself and Piper before landing massive right hands. Goldust attempts to kiss Piper, Piper survives and Goldust climbs to the top rope. Piper crotches Goldust, Goldust kisses Piper who cracks. Piper pummels Goldust, Piper grabs Goldust by the groin.

 

 

Knee to the groin, Goldust is in a bad, bad way. Goldust is spanked by Piper, Piper kisses Goldust and disrobes The Bizarre One who is wearing women’s underwear and more. Piper is not done though, knee to the groin and that will spell the end of this match for Goldust who runs to the back.

 

 

Three of the biggest pops on this night were for Jake, Warrior and Piper. While the WWF did not have a lot of celebrities to spoil this Wrestlemania, they sure did have a lot of older talent. Poor Piper does not look as good as he did two years ago at King of The Ring but Piper is as popular as ever. Goldust ramps up the well how do I even describe that without being offensive? Getting heat for Goldust’s character is acting as homosexual as possible to mess up their opponents. This was a good brawl though, I enjoy Piper’s brawling and the crowd despise Goldust so that works fine for me. An entertaining brawl, Goldust is turning it around for me now with two good matches behind him now.

 

Winner: Rowdy Roddy Piper over Goldust!

 

(WWF Championship Sixty-Minute Iron Man Match) Bret Hart © vs Shawn Michaels


Will the boyhood dream come true? Michaels comes in from the top of the arena in a moment that nobody would ever forget. Sixty minutes, two of the best going at it in the main event of Wrestlemania. Bret and Shawn are super popular, both men have pulled out great matches time after time when I had to suffer through awful mid 90s WWF. Everything Michaels did in 1995 is for this moment, only one man can be the WWF Champion.

 

 

The WWF knew what they had in these two, they had to have one of the best matches of all-time. Lock-up with Bret shoving Michaels to the corner, clean break from Bret. Hammerlock from Michaels, Hart escapes and grabs the hold before Michaels escapes. Lock-up, side headlock from Bret but Michaels brings down Bret. Lock-up, Michaels brings down Bret again. Wristlock from Michaels, Bret reverses and grabs a side headlock, Michaels tries his counter from the last two times but Bret latches on this time, no escape for Michaels. Michaels tries to create separation but Bret continues to hold onto the headlock. Side headlock takedown from Bret for two, Michaels tries a belly to back suplex but Bret continues to hold onto the head of Michaels.

 

 

Hip-toss from Michaels, Bret kicks away Michaels. Side headlock takedown from Bret, Michaels slowly tries to break the hold and transitions into a wristlock. Michaels trips Bret but Bret squirms out to apply a front chancery, Michaels and Bret drop-down before Michaels lands two arm-drags and applies an arm-bar. Bret escapes and pushes off Michaels, drop toehold from Bret but Michaels escapes and applies an arm-bar to The Hitman. Both men feeling one another out, both men learning new things about the other. They are pacing themselves for sure, neither man taking too many risks in this match. Bret pushes Michaels to the corner, Bret does not break clean instead driving shoulders into the ribs of Michaels. Michaels lands some big right hands and delivers a headscissors to Bret who ends up on the floor.

 

 

Bret takes some time to re-evaluate before Michaels lands a firemen’s carry in the ring, Bret side-steps Michaels but Michaels skins the cat and applies an arm-bar. Bret shoves off both and knees Michaels, headbutt to the ribs from Bret. Leg drop form the champion, Bret clamps on a reverse chin-lock. Jaw-breaker counter from Michaels, leg drop from HBK. Fujiwara arm-bar from Michaels, Bret manages to escape the hold and apply a headlock before slamming Michaels in an attempt to apply the sharpshooter. Michaels makes it to the ropes before Bret clotheslines Michaels to the floor. Michaels sends Bret into the ring-post, Bret falls on Tony Chimel. Sweet Chin Music on Chimel as Bret ducks, unbelievable. Bret throws Michaels in the ring, big elbow from The Hitman. Bret continues to keep Michaels grounded, Michaels shakes off Bret and lands a clothesline. Irish whip but Bret reverses and clotheslines Michaels, Bret clamps on the reverse chin-lock again. Michaels escapes and lands a dropkick before applying an arm-bar, Michaels drives knees into the ribs of Bret. Bret backs Michaels to the corner, elbows to escape the hold from The Hitman. Michaels reverses an Irish whip and knees Bret before sending The Hitman into the ring-post. Michaels sends Bret’s arm into the ring-post, shoulder-breaker from Michaels. Diving axe handle and a hammerlock scoop slam from Michaels, hammerlock Irish whip from Michaels. Bret fires off some big right hands before Michaels lands a single arm DDT. Cross arm-breaker from Michaels, Bret begins to counter the hold and steps on the face of Michaels.

 

 

Michaels charges Bret in the corner, elbow from Michaels. Snap-mare into an arm-bar, Bret tees off with right hands and stun-guns Michaels. Michaels is catapulted into the ring-post, two for Bret. Michaels sends Bret into the buckle twice, Michaels misses a crossbody in the corner. Bret boots Michaels three times, targeting the ribs. Inverted atomic drop and massive clothesline for two, running bulldog from Bret. Bret is on the top rope, Michaels meets Bret but Bret drives his knee into Michaels and the referee is down. Bret wakes up the referee, Irish whip with Michaels landing a major powerslam for two. Irish whip with Michaels lowering his head, Bret kicks HBK and lands a piledriver for a close two.

 

 

Bret climbs high once more, Michaels does yank Bret off the top rope. Hurricanrana with right hands from Michaels, Michaels lands some huge elbows before a rib-breaker for two. Bret rolls out of the ring to avoid the superkick, Bret is booed for his actions with Michaels climbing to the top rope and diving to the floor to wipe out the champion. Michaels puts Bret in the ring, Michaels lands a diving crossbody but Bret rolls through for a close two. Right hands by Bret, Michaels reverses the Irish whip but Bret wants the backslide. Michaels flips over and small packages Bret for a close two, gut punch from Michaels. Perfect-Plex for two, Michaels has the sleeper but Bret backs Michaels into the corner. Michaels will not give up though, sleeper is applied once more.

 

 

Bret is thrown to the buckle by Michaels, sleeper again from Michaels. Elbow from Michaels, Bret is kicked away. Irish whip to the buckle, Bret back-drops Michaels to the floor over the ring-post. Bret breaks the count and rams Michaels into the ring-post. Hard Irish whip from Bret, Bret’s Rope Elbow drop to the spine. Back-breaker from Bret, leg drop from The Hitman. Bret stomps the back of Michaels over and over, Bret drops all his weight on the spine of Michaels. Michaels flips out of the corner, super back suplex from Bret. 1…2.. Michaels kicks out! Camel clutch from Bret, Michaels begins fighting back with a sunset flip for two. Bret hammers the spine, Russian leg-sweep from Bret for two.

 

 

Irish whip to the buckle with Bret whipping Michaels so hard, Michaels flies to the floor and knocks down Jose Lethario. Bret whips Michaels into the steel steps, knocking down Jose once more. Belly to belly suplex from Bret for two, Michaels fires back but Bret works the back once more. Uppercuts from Bret, O’Connor roll counter from Michaels for two. Bret shoves off Michaels who tumbles to the floor, Bret takes time to recover while Michaels is slow to move. Suicide dive from Bret, Bret tries a suplex from the apron into the ring but Michaels slides out, German attempt from Michaels but no Bret counters for his own German suplex for a close two. Michaels is on his knees, firing off at the champion. Bret throws massive rights to stagger Michaels, headbutt from Bret who is feeling the effects of this match too.

 

 

Camel Clutch from Bret, elbows from Michaels. Clothesline with both men going down, Michaels is landing forearms. Bret goes for a kick, Bret wants a superplex. It connects, Bret wants the sharpshooter but Michaels kicks off Bret with vicious kicks. Bret applies a single leg Boston crab, Michaels holds onto the ropes. Back-breaker from Bret, Bret wants his middle rope elbow but Michaels lands a massive boot to the face of The Hitman. Dropkick from Michaels, Bret is whipped to the buckle hard. Bret takes his sternum bump, Michaels kips-up after a forearm. Stomp to the face, Irish whip and flying reverse elbow from HBK.

 

 

Scoop slam from HBK, Michaels lands a diving double axe handle for two. Suplex from Michaels, diving elbow drop from Michaels for two. Irish whip, Dr. Bomb from HBK. Michaels is on the top rope, diving moonsault for two. Irish whip but Bret reverses, Michaels boots Bret. Diving hurricanrana for two, another scoop slam from HBK. Michaels is on the top rope, the dropkick misses as Bret catches Michaels. Sharpshooter from Bret, 30 plus seconds left but can Michaels hang on? Michaels does not tap!

 

 

Gorilla Monsoon orders the match to continue under Sudden Death rules, Bret is irate with this decision. Bret comes back to the ring angered by the call of Monsoon. Bret goes after the spine once more, big right hands to the spine of Michaels. Michaels is in a heap on the canvas, knees from Bret. Back body-drop from Bret, back-breaker from Bret. Irish whip to the buckle, Michaels leap-frogs Bret and lands Sweet Chin Music. Both men are down but Bret is less fatigued than HBK, Bret is rocked but Bret is moving while Michaels is yet to move. There is life in Michaels, Bret is completely rocked. Michaels lands a second Sweet Chin Music and covers Bret for the championship!

 

 

Great WWF Championship match, the first twenty minutes are going to be pivotal for a lot of people re-watching this match. Why? Because the first twenty is at a slow pace and much of the work put in here is nowhere near as important as what comes after, that being that huge bump to the floor that Michaels take, this is where the match switches into the next gear for me. Bret has been heeling it up with his mixed reactions in the Taker & Diesel matches but Bret goes all in for this match. Bret viciously goes after HBK’s spine with headbutts, knees, right hands and back-breakers. Bret just owns when it comes to working a body part and Michaels sells the exhaustion and the desperation is there, I am on edge for every near-fall and counter. Michaels’ comeback is explosive and HBK is just feeding off the crowd’s energy and then comes the finish. Michaels smoothly leaps over Bret and lands that Sweet Chin Music, Bret sells it perfectly. Bret is rocked, Michaels did not have enough to take him down but Bret’s legs are shaking, Bret can barely stand and that makes it so much sweeter when Michaels realizes he nailed Bret but it’s not enough. So, Michaels digs deep and takes off Bret’s head with a second kick to end the match with a dramatic slow count from Earl Hebnar to top it off. The last 35 minutes of this match is an absolute masterclass in drama that just delivers perfectly, one of my favourite matches I have ever covered, no wonder they gave these two sixty minutes, they nailed it!

 

Winner: Shawn Michaels over Bret Hart via Sweet Chin Music!

 

That was WWF’s Wrestlemania XII, a solid show from the WWF with a tremendous main event. The opening tag match is fine, I do think Owen Hart, Ahmed Johnson and even Bulldog were wasted in a match like this. Owen deserved a big match as did the explosive Ahmed Johnson. However, we put more heat on Vader I am happy with that, surprised that we did not get the faces’ winning though as there was the classic five minutes with the manager stipulation. Warrior vs Helmsley is a squash and not one I agree with, I think Helmsley deserved better.  Austin vs Vega has glimpses of fun stuff with the brawling but it’s rather boring when you take the brawling away and the finish is painfully slow, Million Dollar Dream just does not do it for me anymore. Undertaker vs Diesel is fun from a story-telling point of view with Diesel’s confidence being chipped away by Taker’s refusal to die. You also have the rare situation where there is someone as big and as bad as The Deadman so there’s the belief that Undertaker could indeed lose which helps the match too. Goldust vs Piper is a spectacle more than a match but its’ entertaining, Goldust is delivering now while the crowd loves Piper. Finally, the main event is intense and everything I wanted once it hits about 30 minutes into it, Bret goes after Michaels with this meanstreak and the near-falls suck you in until we have that incredibly satisfying ending that sends the fans home happy. Thanks for reading and remember: there’s always another night!

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