Showing posts with label Wrestlemania. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wrestlemania. Show all posts

It's Wrestlemania Time!

Thursday, March 31, 2022

We've had a few weeks of wrestling-themed content here on YesterYear Retro.  With this weekend being the "Grandest Stage of Them All," Wrestlemania 38, why not keep the wrestling content flowing?  

Admittedly, I've stopped watching WWE these days.  I've switched over to AEW, which reminds me more of the old days than the modern WWE.  Like many fair-weather fans, I'll still be tuning in to check out the "Showcase of the Immortals" this weekend.

I'm looking forward to seeing "Stone Cold" Steve Austin return this year.  He's only billed as "appearing" on the show, but rumor has it he's been training for some in-ring action.   

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Elvira: Mistress of the... Wrestling Ring?

Friday, September 18, 2020

As Halloween approaches, I begin to think of Elvira more often than usual.  For my wife and I, Elvira's movies, "Mistress of the Dark" and "Haunted Hills," are considered 'must-watch' movies during the month of October. I'm also reminded of her many product promotions and appearances on television around the Halloweens of my childhood during the 80s and 90s.

Cassandra Peterson created the Elvira character in 1981 when a Los Angeles based weekend cable show, "Fright Nights," auditioned for new hosts to introduce B-rated horror movies.  She quickly caught on as Elvira, using a "Valley-Girl" accent and sarcastic and often risque commentary.  Her campy sense of humor was filled with double entendres and quickly made the Elvira character a household name.  

However, before her hit film "Mistress of the Dark" made it big in 1988, did you know she joined the world of professional wrestling?  In an appearance that longtime wrestling fans will remember, Elvira left her mark on Wrestlemania 2 in 1986.  She appeared alongside Jesse "The Body" Ventura and Lord Alfred Hayes to provide commentary for the Los Angeles portion of the event on April 7, 1986.  That year, you may remember, the main event was a steel cage match between Hulk Hogan and King Kong Bundy. 

Wrestling at the Arcade: 1991's WWF Wrestlefest

Monday, March 16, 2020

Every spring, I look forward to WWE's Wrestlemania with all of its pomp and circumstance.  Unfortunately this year, with recent CDC guidelines that restrict public gatherings to under 50 people, it looks like for the first time since 1985, we won't have a Wrestlemania to enjoy this year.  Thinking about a year without Wrestlemania, it's caused me to reflect on the WWE/F and the Wrestlemania's of years gone by, and it brought to mind my all-time favorite arcade game... Technos' 1991 classic WWF Wrestlefest!

Growing up, my older brother and I both played ice hockey for a handful of teams, and it seemed like we were always at the ice rink.  My parents would often drag me along for his games when all I wanted to do was stay home and watch TV or play with my action figures.  Looking back now, I had a lot of fun at that ice rink, both on and off the ice.  During my brother's game, I'd spend my time wandering around the central lobby of the ice rink.  The central area was pretty standard with a small snack bar and a big screen TV that was always set to the local FOX station.  In the early 90s, my parents had bought the hype that The Simpsons was causing the downfall of polite society and had banned it from our house, but at the ice rink, I would often catch an episode or two of the afternoon reruns on that lobby TV.  Just to the right of the snack bar was a bank of payphones (remember those?) and a small little game corner with a couple of older arcade games and a lone pinball machine.  If an episode of The Simpsons wasn't on, I'd happily take a handful of quarters over to the arcade corner and go from one game to the next.

Then, one day I wandered over to the game corner, and among the old games that I had played a hundred times was a new one standing front and center.  It was bright, colorful, and featured professional wrestling!  From then on, I saved up all of my quarters (and begged Mom and Dad for more) and looked forward to my brother's next hockey game.  WWF Wrestlefest quickly became my all-time favorite arcade game.

Retro Wrestlemania Moment: 2014's Wrestlemania 30

Monday, March 9, 2020

Long time readers of this site know my history with professional wrestling.  For those that aren't aware, here are the Cliffs Notes:  In 1990, at 5 years old, I became a fan when I found WCW Saturday Night on TBS.  I then became a HUGE fan during the Attitude Era but trailed off right around 2000 when I was wrapping up high school, and WCW became as enjoyable as a colonoscopy.  I had a resurgence in 2004, where I became a fan again after finding the Playstation game series "Raw vs. Smackdown," but by 2007, I had already stopped watching again.  In 2013, CM Punk's infamous Pipe Bomb promo brought me back into the fold with the initial intrigue of "Was that real?"

But, by the start of 2014, I was about ready to set fire to my TV and never watch WWE again.  The show was beyond repetitive, and seemingly every fan-favorite wrestler was losing every match. Daniel Bryan, who I remember watching back in his ROH days as The American Dragon, was on the rise and had overwhelming fan support but kept losing matches and being placed in low-level and unimportant feuds.  CM Punk still had a large fanbase from his Pipe Bomb, but like Bryan, it was clear to fans that he was being shoved aside.  The Shield, made of Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins, were fresh faces to the WWE and were young tough guys running rampant, but everyone felt it was a matter of time before Vince would "screw it up."  Then, at Royal Rumble 2014, it all fell apart.

Fans "Invade" RAW during the "Hijack RAW" movement

CM Punk walked out of the Royal Rumble and quit wrestling forever.  The fans had begun to revolt and booed anything the WWE did mercilessly.  Vince McMahon brought back the long-retired Dave Batista and placed him immediately in the top spot of the promotion.  The Road to Wrestlemania started to look a little bumpy.  After the way the year started, nobody would predict that WM30 would be one of the best Wrestlemania's in history.

Retro Wrestlemania Moment: 1994's Wrestlemania 10

Monday, March 2, 2020

Wrestlemania 10 has so much to offer when you go back and watch.  Brother vs. Brother.  The culmination of Lex Luger and Bret Hart vying for the WWF World Heavyweight Title.  The not-so-great Randy Savage "Falls Count Anywhere" match against Crush.  The end of Lex's run at the top... but it's the ladder match between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon that will forever be first and foremost in the hearts and minds of wrestling fans when they consider Wrestlemania 10. 

In March of 1994, Wrestlemania returned to the home of the very first 'Mania for its 10th edition of the tent-pole event.  WM10 is notable for being the first Wrestlemania for the WWF without Hulk Hogan.  Hogan had since left for Hollywood and WCW, and the focus of the WWF and "The New Generation" fell on Bret Hart's shoulders.  Hart was featured heavily here at Wrestlemania 10, not just in the Main Event against Yokozuna for the World Heavyweight Title, but in a major month's long storyline that involved his younger brother Owen.  Wrestlemania 10 would also be the last match for Randy Savage in the WWF before his departure to WCW.

Retro Wrestlemania Moment: 1989's Wrestlemania 5

Monday, February 24, 2020

I often complain to my wife that storytelling doesn't exist in pro wrestling anymore.  I mean TRUE storytelling.  With hints and small gestures that "plant seeds" into the minds of fans that eventually blossom into something that lasts for months or even a year.  Watching wrestling today, I feel like there is just so much available content that they don't have time for storytelling. They just throw a pair of wrestlers together, after a brief scripted promo that basically reads "I don't like you, let's fight," and they'll have the blowoff match a week or so later at the monthly Pay-Per-View and then the two move on to some other feud.  Then, not even a year later, they run out of new matchups, and they return to the original dispute and often pretend it didn't happen in the first place using the same "your a meanie" trope.

But back in the late '80s, the WWF's storytelling was bar none.  Who as a fan, past or present, hasn't heard of what I consider one of if not the best storytelling... the Mega Powers exploding at WM 5, and that's our latest stop on the Retro Road to Wrestlemania here at YRM.

Retro Wrestlemania Moment: 2004's WrestleMania 20

Monday, February 17, 2020

2004's Wrestlemania 20 was the first Pay-Per-View event I ever paid for with my own money.  My parents had mostly refused to pay the $40 price tag during the Attitude Era but would occasionally graciously agree to pay for the most significant events of the year.  I don't mean for that to come off as ungrateful, I have ZERO complaints about my childhood, and I was happy to be able to pay in 2004 for a PPV such as Wrestlemania myself.

Between 2000 and 2004, I had largely given up on wrestling.  During the boom period of the 90s, there was no bigger fan than myself, but by the time WCW began to die, I had nearly stopped watching altogether.  Things like graduating high school and just regular teenage life got in the way of watching shows that had stopped being good anyway.  By the start of 2004, though, I had gotten back into wrestling in a big way.  For whatever reason, I had seen an advertisement for the new RAW vs. Smackdown Playstation game, and something told me I had to have it.  So, one day after class, I took a ride to go buy it with my best friend and a girl that I had pretty much just met.  That girl became my wife years later!  Anyway, as far as the game goes... the guys in my dorm and I suddenly became big fans.  We played that game for hours and we eventually started watching wrestling again.

Wrestlemania 20 is probably most memorable to most fans for seeing the underdog finally get its day.  For many fans, seeing Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit finally get their moment in the sun was almost like Vince McMahon and the company not only acknowledged these two and their amazing ability... but they were acknowledging US for supporting them.

Retro Wrestlemania Moment: 1993's Wrestlemania 9

Monday, February 10, 2020

On our first stop through our Retro Wrestlemania Moments series, I figured we'd take a look at Wrestlemania 9 from 1993!  WM9 is probably my all-time favorite Wrestlemania, as a kid or an adult.  This was one of the shows my parents wouldn't order on Pay-Per-View so I was forced to live and die through the video clips and pictures shown on the syndicated "WWF Week in Review" shows until finally, it was available on VHS.

What's not for a kid to love about Wrestlemania 9?  Hulk Hogan returned after a year's hiatus and defeated the evil Yokozuna in a surprise match.  (I bet Yoko and Bret Hart were REALLY surprised!)  Taking place at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, the WWF went all out with the theming, wardrobes, and graphics.  Legendary announcer Jim Ross' made his WWF debut here at WM9 and who could forget Hulk Hogan's mysterious black eye?!

Favorite Retro Royal Rumble Moments

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The very first time I laid eyes on the Royal Rumble was in 1988.  I was 5 years old and was playing Nintendo over at my neighbor's house because he was THAT kid on the block that had every toy you could dream of.  His older brother was watching the USA Network when the very first Royal Rumble aired free for anyone who got basic cable at the time.  This annual Pay-Per-View event, one of the "Big Four," was originally aired for free to take away viewers from rival promotion NWA/WCW's Bunkhouse Stampede PPV.

With the Royal Rumble starting the "Road to Wrestlemania" every year, I thought it would be a good time to think back on some of my favorite Royal Rumble memories.  The Royal Rumble has always been a favorite of mine... most years I find it more exciting and enjoyable than Wrestlemania itself.  The constant count-down clock and the anticipation of "who's next?" is always so exciting!  Could it be a returning injured superstar or a legend getting one last shot in the spotlight?  Back in the day, it could even be a giant surprise debut from "the other company."  It's also always fun to see who can stay in the ring the longest and who has the fastest exit.