Remember the good ‘ol days of pro wrestling? You’re probably too young. But if you’re old like me, maybe it takes you back to a happier time. Ah, I miss those good days. Days when performers wouldn’t overkill the roster. And what I mean by that is that in today’s pro wrestling product, there is no room for imagination. There is no room to daydream and fantasy book. There is no room for the excitement of a dream match.
I guess that’s what made this year’s Wrestlemania so special. You had a match that was built up for a year and there was no physical activity that would take away from the magic of two opponents locking up and exchanging moves for the first time in their careers. It was a never before seen moment, and it successfully drew and audience and profits.
When wrestlers are wrestling each other EVERY SINGLE WEEK, over and over again – you have nothing left to crave. There is no want. If anything, you just want it to be over! This video gives you the sense of what it was like to see something that you have never seen before. Something that was different to the eye and to the senses.
At the time, The Ultimate Warrior was the most popular wrestler in the company. Any match he was in held an automatic interest. Would The Warrior squash his opponent in seconds like he did to The Honky Tonk Man for the Intercontinental title at SummerSlam 88? Or would the opponent go toe to toe with the face-painted maniac? But in this case, there was another element that added to the magic.
Tully Blanchard was a seasoned veteran. One who made his name while competing in the NWA and as one of the key members of the legendary Four Horsemen. His arrival in the WWF along with tag team partner Arn Anderson was a happening that real wrestling fans clamored. I grew up in Brooklyn, NY and we didn’t get NWA programming. I had learned about the Four Horsemen from the thousands of wrestling magazines I had stacked in my room. Those magazines spoke volumes of how good they were, yet all I had were black and white photos of them in action – never getting the chance to see how good they were in real form.
So when they finally arrived in the WWF scene under the guidance of Bobby Heenan, it was a moment for me to finally see what they hype was all about. And in their matches with The Rockers, I can confidently say that I have never seen better tag team matches in history of the entire business…today included!
Sure, Tully had success as a singles competitor in the NWA while holding multiple championships. But my real exposure to him was in his tag team matches when he paired up with Arn. Although it was a dark match, hearing that Tully was tapped for a singles match against The Ultimate Warrior in the WWF completely blew my mind. I would see Tully tough it out on his own without the assistance of a partner. yeah, he had Heenan in his corner – but the best heels in the business had him too. “The Brain” was part of the magic.
Tully could have faced anyone in a singles match and I would have been happy. But The Ultimate Warrior was different. Yes, I knew the Warrior was going to win the match, but I didn’t have any interest in the final result. Even at a ripe young age, I knew The Warrior was limited in his ring work. After he shook the ropes, what was left? Would this be yet another squash match because WWF fans only knew Tully as a tag team competitor, so they automatically assumed he couldn’t cut it on his own, thus later using the excuse that he’s not accustomed to not being able to tag out? Or was Tully planning on running circles around this jacked up fool. Was he about to expose The Warrior for what he really was – an over hyped, brilliantly marketed character from the inner McMahon vision? Was Tully going to stretch The Warrior since it was a non-televised event? How would the Warrior respond to the scholar ring psychology that made masterpieces with Shawn Michaels in tag action? How would The Warrior respond to a match that actually made sense?
The answer is in the play button. Click it and enjoy. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section with your thoughts on the match!
Filed under: Toddy D Blog