Welcome to the second post of a series here at Blade Jobs of Steel. In the countdown to Wrestlemania XXVIII, we’ll be looking back at a few different topics related to the big event, and giving it more analysis than most sane people would give to a worked sport.
In this post, we’ll be exploring an idea first presented in 2009 by a former writer at 411mania.com, Jake Chambers, Wrestlemania Themes. He postulated that hidden in every trilogy of events there is a theme. We’ll expand this a little bit more and look at some different themes and stories that have been present in the different trilogies. In this post, we’ll look at the themes in the third trilogy.
HOGAN STRIKES BACK
After both Randy Savage and the Ultimate Warrior failed to truly transcend the industry, the company seemed to have little choice but to go back to the well once more. Royal Rumble 1990 saw a shocking title change, as Sergent Slaughter defeated the Warrior, with a little help from Randy Savage. Setting up a chance for the All-American Hero to come back to the top of the card to take on the Iraqi Turn-Coat.
The undercard of Wrestlemania VII saw the two past chosen ones of Savage and Warrior face in a retirement match. While Savage didn’t stay retired for long, the symbolism was obvious. These guys failed and it was time for one of them to step back and let Hogan take over again, which he did in perhaps the most predictable Main Event in Wrestlemania history.
Then 1991 came as a very strange year for the company. They had tried the past few years to make new stars with limited success, so instead they go out and acquire stars. They made two very high profile signings when they acquired Sid Vicious (renamed Justice) and Ric Flair from WCW. By the time Wrestlemania VIII rolled around, those two were placed in feuds with the top WWF names, Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage.
With hindsight being what it is, maybe they should have switched dance partners here, but for a variety of reasons, it was set that Wrestlemania VIII would feature Flair-Savage for the WWF Title, and Hogan-Sid in Hogan’s “Last Match”.
Despite Flair-Savage being for the Title, and being an absolute dream match, it was decided that Hogan and Sid would close the show to give the Hulkster a proper send off, and finally have the company move past him.
By the time Wrestlemania IX came, both Flair and Sid left the company, and the Main Event featured new comers to the top of the card in Bret Hart and Yokozuna. With Hogan returning from his year long retirement for a spot on the undercard. Making the last two year of Hogan Striking back a thing of the past, right?
Of course, Wrestlemania IX ended with the most confusing possible way. Yokozuna won the title over Bret Hart then lost it to Hulk Hogan less than a minute later. The company needed to have the Hulkster close the biggest show of the year, they didn’t know anything else.
But the ending of Wrestlemania IX was the bottom of the well that the WWF had gone to for so long. This was evident when Hulk Hogan signed with WCW a few months later.
With Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior both gone and Randy Savage nearing the end of his career, the company needed somewhere else to turn. Luckily for them they had a New Generation of talent to choose from. They had the very man that they nearly rendered irrelevant at the end of Wrestlemania IX, but that wasn’t all. There was the man holding the other singles title at Wrestlemania IX, a man who opened the show and was even able to stop it.
Together they would chart the course for the next trilogy.