WrestleMania 2 (sequentially known as WrestleMania II) was the second annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) (although the first WrestleMania was only on pay-per-view in select areas). It took place on Monday, April 7, 1986, making it the only WrestleMania that was not held on the customary Sunday. WrestleMania 2 took place at three venues: the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York; the Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois; and the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California.
|Tagline(s)||The Premier Sporting Event of the Year!
What the World Has Come To!
|Promotion||World Wrestling Federation|
|Date||April 7, 1986|
As with the first WrestleMania, the matches were shown on closed-circuit television across North America. The event was also the first WrestleMania to air on the national pay-per-view market. The commentating teams consisted of Vince McMahon and Susan Saint James in New York; Gorilla Monsoon, Gene Okerlund, and Cathy Lee Crosby in Chicago; and Jesse Ventura, Alfred Hayes, and Elvira in Los Angeles. The ring announcers were Howard Finkel (New York), Chet Coppock (Chicago), and Lee Marshall (Los Angeles).
Each venue had its own card. The respective final matches were a boxing match pitting Mr. T against Roddy Piper at Uniondale, New York; a 20-man battle royal involving WWF wrestlers and NFL football players at Chicago; and the main event, which featured WWF World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan defending his title against King Kong Bundy in a steel cage match at Los Angeles. Matches on the respective undercards saw Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion "Macho Man" Randy Savage defending his title against George Steele and Tag Team Champions The Dream Team (Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake) losing their titles against The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid).
The professional wrestling matches at WrestleMania 2 featured professional wrestlers performing as characters in scripted events pre-determined by the hosting promotion, World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Storylines between the characters played out on WWF's primary television programs, Championship Wrestling, All-Star Wrestling, Saturday Night's Main Event and Prime Time Wrestling.
- The main feud heading into WrestleMania 2 was between Hulk Hogan and King Kong Bundy, with the two battling over the WWF World Heavyweight Championship. Although they had wrestled occasionally beforehand, their first nationally televised encounter was on the November 2, 1985, edition of Saturday Night's Main Event where Hogan teamed up with André the Giant against André's rivals Bundy and Big John Studd. Hogan and André won the match. On March 1, Hogan defended his WWF title against The Magnificent Muraco. Just as Hogan was about to pin Muraco, Bundy ran into the ring and—with Muraco's help—initiated a 2-on-1 assault on Hogan, repeatedly crushing him with his body weight (with a move called the "Avalanche") to break his ribs. Hogan had a very serious (scripted) injury, while Bundy (gloating over his actions) challenged Hogan for the title. With revenge on his mind, Hogan decided not to heed his doctor's advice and accepted the challenge; a match was then booked between the two in a steel cage for the WWF title.
- The second feud heading into the event was between Mr. T and Rowdy Roddy Piper. Piper established himself as the top heel in the WWF in 1984, and a year later joined Paul Orndorff and Bob Orton to feud with Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. Hogan and T defeated Piper and Orndorff in the main event of the first-ever WrestleMania. The Piper-Mr. T feud restarted in 1986 after their real-life hatred for each other became known, prompting the WWF to turn their animosity for one another into a feud. Piper and others disliked Mr. T because he was an actor and was unskilled wrestling-wise. In response, Mr. T became a special WWF boxer and began competing in boxing matches. On the March 1 Saturday Night's Main Event, Mr. T defeated Orton in a boxing match. After the match, Piper distracted Mr. T, allowing Orton to attack from behind and start a 2-on-1 assault. Mr. T then demanded revenge, leading to his boxing match against Piper.
- The third main feud heading into WrestleMania was between The Dream Team (Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake) and The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid) over the WWF Tag Team Championship. On August 24, 1985, Beefcake and Valentine won the tag titles from The U.S. Express (Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo). Immediately after their title win, they were challenged by British Bulldogs for the titles. They retained their titles against Bulldogs at a house show on September 11 by getting disqualified. They defended the titles against Bulldogs again on Saturday Night's Main Event, where they emerged victorious against Bulldogs. After Bulldogs failed in winning the titles twice, Dream Team agreed to defend their titles against Bulldogs for a final time with a title match set at WrestleMania.
The other major feud heading into WrestleMania 2 was Randy "Macho Man" Savage and George "the Animal" Steele. Its genesis came after Steele, who used a Neanderthal, "missing link"-type gimmick, became smitten with Savage's manager, the beautiful Miss Elizabeth (Savage's real-life wife, although unacknowledged on television). Their first meeting took place on a Saturday Night's Main Event aired shortly before Savage won the Intercontinental Championship, and Steele would frequently be distracted by Elizabeth, which Savage used to his advantage. Along with former champion Tito Santana (who was on the Los Angeles portion of the event) Steele became one of Savage's top challengers for the title.
WrestleMania 2 emanated from three arenas: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, the Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois and the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles.
Next was a WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship match between Macho Man Randy Savage and George "The Animal" Steele. Savage was seconded by his real-life wife Miss Elizabeth. He pinned Steele with a roll-up and put both of his feet on the ropes for leverage. As a result, Savage retained the Intercontinental Heavyweight Title. Late in the match Steele became the first man to ever kick out of Savage's signature elbow from the top turnbuckle.
The third match from the Coliseum was between Jake Roberts and George Wells. Roberts hit a DDT on Wells and pinned him to win the match. After the match, Roberts allowed his snake Damian to slither over Wells, who vomited.
The last match was a boxing match between Mr. T and Rowdy Roddy Piper. T was seconded by boxer Joe Frazier while Piper was seconded by boxing trainer Lou Duva. Piper was disqualified for bodyslamming T at 1:15 in the fourth round.
The first match from the Chicago portion of WrestleMania 2 was a WWF Women's Championship match between The Fabulous Moolah and Velvet McIntyre. McIntyre attempted a splash on Moolah from the second turnbuckle, but Moolah sidestepped and McIntyre missed the move. Moolah took advantage and pinned McIntyre to retain her title.
The second match was a flag match between Corporal Kirchner and Nikolai Volkoff. Volkoff was seconded by Freddie Blassie. Blassie threw his cane to Volkoff but Kirchner caught it and hit Volkoff with it and then successfully pinned Volkoff for the victory.
The third match was a 20-man battle royal involving WWF wrestlers and National Football League players; NFL players included Jimbo Covert, Bill Fralic, Russ Francis, Ernie Holmes, Harvey Martin and William "The Refrigerator" Perry, while WWF stars included André the Giant, Ted Arcidi, Tony Atlas, The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart), The Killer Bees (B. Brian Blair and Jim Brunzell), Hillbilly Jim, The Iron Sheik, King Tonga, Pedro Morales, Bruno Sammartino, Danny Spivey and Big John Studd. In the end of the match, André the Giant and both members of the Hart Foundation were the final three participants. André first eliminated Neidhart and then Hart to win the battle royal.
The last match was a WWF Tag Team Championship match between The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid) and The Dream Team (Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake). Bulldogs were seconded by ex-Black Sabbath lead singer Ozzy Osbourne and Lou Albano. Smith pushed Valentine into the corner where Valentine knocked heads with Dynamite Kid. Kid fell to the floor while Smith pinned Valentine to win the tag titles and end Dream Team's seven-month reign.
Ricky Steamboat faced Hercules in the first match from Los Angeles. Hercules tried to hit a flying bodypress but missed it. Steamboat followed by hitting a flying bodypress of his own for a successful pinfall victory.
The Funk Brothers faced Junkyard Dog and Tito Santana in a tag team match.The Funk brothers were accompanied by Jimmy Hart. The referee was distracted by Hoss Funk Hart took advantage and gave his megaphone to Terry Funk, who hit it on JYD and then pinned him to get the win.
Next was the main event of WrestleMania 2: a WWF World Heavyweight Championship steel cage match in which Hulk Hogan defended his title against King Kong Bundy. Hogan's ribs were heavily taped due to an assault by Bundy on March 1, 1986 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event. Bundy was seconded by Bobby Heenan. In the beginning, Bundy removed the tape from Hogan's ribs. However, Hogan fought back and rammed Bundy's head into the steel cage. He tried to hit a scoop slam on Bundy but missed it. Bundy hit an avalanche and a big splash on Hogan. However, Hogan "Hulked up" and hit a power slam on Bundy followed by a leg drop. He climbed the steel cage but Bundy caught his legs. Hogan kicked Bundy and climbed over the top of the steel cage and climbed on the floor to win the match and retain the title. After the match, Hogan caught Heenan inside the cage; as Bundy was reeling from the match, Hogan rammed Heenan's head into the cage before atomic dropping him outside.
Macho Man Randy Savage and George The Animal Steele continued their feud with each other throughout 1986, leading to two rematches for the WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship on Saturday Night's Main Event in early 1987, both times with the Intercontinental title on the line and the second time with Elizabeth on the line; Steele lost both times. Savage also feuded intensely with Hogan, but was unsuccessful in winning the WWF World Heavyweight Championship from him.
The new WWF Tag Team Champions The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid) prepared to face challenging tag teams. On the October 4, 1986 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, they defeated former champions Dream Team (Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake) in a two out of three falls match to retain the titles.
Hulk Hogan continued his WWF World Heavyweight Championship reign. In addition to Savage, his top competition during 1986 included "Adorable Adrian" Adonis, Hercules Hernandez and, in his biggest feud of the year, Paul Orndorff. With Orndorff, a storyline was developed focusing on the friendship between Hogan and Orndorff, with Adrian Adonis eventually starting trouble between the two and causing the face Orndorff to turn against Hogan. Bundy, meanwhile, would team with Big John Studd on occasion (and enter into his feud with The Machines), and would also challenge Hogan on-and-off for the World Heavyweight Championship during the next 1 1/2 years, until leaving the WWF in early 1988.
Following his battle royal win, André the Giant's career was at a crossroads. Not yet evident to fans, André was beginning to suffer the health effects of his terminal illness known as acromegaly; the syndrome that resulting from an excessive production of growth hormone and resulted in his gigantic size. Because of his health, a planned tour of Japan and accepting a starring role in the movie The Princess Bride, André took a brief hiatus from the ring. To explain the absence, a storyline was devised to have André no-show for a tag team match pitting him and a partner of his choosing against longtime rivals Big John Studd and King Kong Bundy, and then have André suspended (at the insistence of manager Bobby Heenan). André would return, but competed under a mask as part of a new team called The Machines. Studd and Bundy insisted – but were never able to prove – that André and "The Giant Machine" were the same person.
WrestleMania 2 marked the last major pay-per-view appearance for Roddy Piper during his initial heel run. Shortly before the event, he taped four weeks worth of "Piper's Pit" segments that would air on the WWF's syndicated programs in April, and then took a four-month hiatus from the ring. When Piper returned to the WWF in August, he became a face and began a violent feud with Adonis, who had in the meantime started his own "Piper's Pit"-type talk show called "The Flower Shop". Jesse "the Body" Ventura also took a leave of absence after WrestleMania 2; like Piper, he filmed several weeks worth of his talk show segment, "The Body Shop", to air in the coming weeks. Afterward, The Magnificent Muraco would be the "fill-in host" of the segment until the final installment, aired August 30, 1986. In late August, Ventura returned for television tapings of the first WWF Superstars of Wrestling, continuing his role as a heel-favoring color commentator.
This was the only WrestleMania to be held on a Monday.
Ray Charles sang a rendition of "America the Beautiful" before the show at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. Celebrity guests in attendance for the New York portion of WrestleMania 2 included Cab Calloway, Darryl Dawkins, G. Gordon Liddy, Joan Rivers, Joe Frazier, Lou Duva, Mr. T, Ray Charles, Herb and Susan Saint James. Celebrity guests in attendance for the Chicago portion of WrestleMania 2 included Clara Peller, Dick Butkus, Ed Jones, Ozzy Osbourne, Bill Fralic, Ernie Holmes, Harvey Martin, Jim Covert, Russ Francis, William Perry, and Cathy Lee Crosby. Celebrity guests in attendance for the Los Angeles portion of WrestleMania 2 included Ricky Schroder, Robert Conrad, Tommy Lasorda, and Elvira.
Rob McNew of 411Mania gave the boxing match 1 star out of 5 stars, stating "Big pull apart brawl afterward. Absolute crap that took way too long and ended in a non-finish." On the WWF Tag Team Championship match, McNew said "Tremendous match that breaks the streak of suck that had been this show thus far. One of the things that I really liked about this match was it seemed to break from the traditional tag team formula. There was no extended face in peril sequence nor was there a hot tag at any point. Easily the match of the night." He awarded it 3 1/2 stars. He gave the steel cage match between Hogan and Bundy 2 stars, saying it "felt more like a Saturday Night Main Event match than a WrestleMania main event." McNew awarded the entire event a score of 2 out of 10, and said: "It lacks the historical significance of WrestleMania I to even watch it for that purpose. This was three hours of pain I'd love to have back. Thankfully the WWF would redeem themselves in a huge way the next year, but for this show, huge disappointment."
- The other participants included were: Jimbo Covert (NFL player - Chicago Bears), Pedro Morales, Tony Atlas, Ted Arcidi, Harvey Martin (Former NFL player - Dallas Cowboys), Danny Spivey, Hillbilly Jim, King Tonga, The Iron Sheik, Ernie Holmes (Former NFL player - Pittsburgh Steelers), B. Brian Blair, Jim Brunzell, Big John Studd, Bill Fralic (NFL player - Atlanta Falcons), Jim Neidhart, Russ Francis (NFL player - San Francisco 49ers), Bruno Sammartino, and William "Refrigerator" Perry (NFL player - Chicago Bears).
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