Sunday, April 8, 2018

Wacky Wrestling VHS Boxes #9: Another WrestleMania Edition

It's WrestleMania Sunday and you know what that means .... time once again for a trip back in the time machine to look at some old WWF VHS boxes! I found a bunch more scans online and picked out a bunch more of WrestleMania VHS covers to examine. 

WrestleMania 2 (1986)

Scan credit: VHS Wasteland
I know I actually used to own this tape sometime back in the early 2000s but I can't remember exactly when. It had to have been around 2001 because I clearly remember making a homemade VHS cover for my copy of WrestleMania 17 I taped off pay-per-view based on this box. Anyway, when I first watched this show, I thought it was kind of boring but it's a show that has definitely grown on me.

The unique thing about this show is that it's the first (and only) time that the WWF broadcast a show on pay-per-view from three different venues. I always thought that the first half of the show is pretty dull with all the undercard matches from the New York being four minutes or less and the Roddy Piper vs. Mr. T boxing match being pretty boring, but the matches got better starting with the NFL vs. WWF battle royal in Chicago and the British Bulldogs vs. Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake match, which seems to get overlooked at lot. The LA portion has some really fun matches with Ricky Steamboat against Hercules, The Funk Brothers against Tito Santana and the Junk Yard Dog, and, of course, the main event of Hulk Hogan against King Kong Bundy, which I always thought was a bit of an odd choice.

WrestleMania IV (1988)

Scan credit: The Canadian Collection

I don't know why, but there's something I've always kind of liked about this particular WrestleMania. Maybe it's the setting in the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City (called Trump Plaza by the WWF), maybe it the funky opening graphic with the casino slot machine, maybe it's the fact it's got a little bit of everything from a 16-man tournament, to a battle royal, to completely random undercard bouts. It's just a fun show to watch. This being the first WWF show that was nearly four hours long, when it was released it was split into two tapes, and look at that price ... $59.95 for two tapes? Sign me up! Plus, how could you not love the fact there was a pop-up Hulk Hogan in the middle of the case. Don't believe me?

Scan Credit: The Canadian Collection

I rented this show when I was a kid from the local Blockbuster Video and I remember being fascinated with the show. So much, in fact, that I built a set and an entrance ramp out of K-NEX toys for my wrestling figures. In the realm of the WWF, this show started the year-long Mega Powers storyline with Randy Savage winning the tournament to capture the WWF Championship with the help of Hulk Hogan. Over the next year, the two teamed together with the seeds of jealousy slowing being sewn here and there. Finally, near the beginning of 1989, on an episode of Saturday Night's Main Event if I'm not mistaken, Savage turned heel and attacked Hogan in the locker room as Hogan was looking after and injured Miss Elizabeth in the locker room. Savage's attack on Hogan cemented him a a bona-fide heel which led into the main event of WrestleMania V. Speaking of which ...

WrestleMania V (1989)

Scan Credit: The Canadian Collection

As much as I like WrestleMania IV, that's how much I really don't like WrestleMania V. From the first shot inside the arena, it feels like it's just a hand-me-down show. To start with, it's held in the exact same venue as the year before and, something I don't think anyone else has ever picked up on, they used the exact same banners but just put tape over the "I" in IV. To me, that just sort of screams low rent. The card itself has a ton of random undercard matches, but there are a few decent ones including a fun Rockers vs. Twin Towers match, the first in the Ultimate Warrior/Rick Rude series which would carry on through the summer, and Owen Hart's first WrestleMania match as the Blue Blazer against Mr. Perfect.

The box itself is a mystery to me too. The front is a full-bleed design with barely a mention of Coliseum Video, except for the lower left corner. It's also a normal sized box at a time when Coliseum Video was putting all it's tapes out in oversized boxes. I always though that was kind of strange as everything before and after was in the oversized boxes (except for WrestleMania IV but that was two tapes long) up until late 1992. The front has a generic fire background with Hogan and Randy Savage and the back is pretty basic with a black background, the WrestleMania logo and the long list of all the matches on the show. I remember watching this when I first rented it and it felt interminable and it still does to this day. It ranks second on my list of worst WrestleManias, just ahead of WrestleMania XI.

WrestleMania IX (1993)

Scan Credit: The Canadian Collection

I think this show gets a lot of unnecessary grief but if you sit down and watch it and actually give it a chance, then it's not a bad show at all. Sure, it's cheesy with the Roman coliseum get-up, announcers dressed in togas, and other wacky stuff, but there are some pretty fun matches, especially the Headshrinkers vs. Steiners match, the WWF debut of Jim Ross on commentary (and the banter between him an Bobby Heenan is great), and it's got Bret Hart's first WWF Championship match at WrestleMania. The thing that makes a lot of people mad though at the end of this show is the fact that Hulk Hogan swoops in at the end of the show and beats Yokozuna in 90 seconds in an impromptu match to win the WWF title. That doesn't really bother me though as this is a fun show I really enjoy watching from time to time.

Let's look at the box though, the front is all kinds of crazy with Caesar's Palace in the background, representing the bright lights of Las Vegas, Bret Hart and Yokozuna because they face each other in the main event, Brutus Beefcake and Hulk Hogan because their in the co-main event, and ... Jimmy Hart? Not sure what warrants him being on the cover but oh well. The back is about what you would expect from a WWF tape with the match listing and some studio photos. One match that's listed that didn't take place is Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Kamala, which is a shame as I would've liked to have seen that.

WrestleMania XV (1999)
Scan Credit: The Canadian Collection
Normally I try to keep these posts in the Coliseum Video era but this particular show is special for me as it's the first wrestling pay-per-view event I ever ordered. It was the spring of 1999 and I was at the tail end of eight grade. I remember always asking my mom if I could order a pay-per-view show. Eventually, she said I could but I would owe her the price of the show, which was $30. I agreed and I ordered the show. To me, it was a new experience as I had never seen any pay-per-view event before let alone a wrestling show.

The main draw on this show was definitely Austin vs. Rock. It was the first meeting ever between the two and it had all the appeal of the Mega Powers a generation before, the two top names in the company battling it out for the top prize in the industry. Sure, there were parts of the show I was disappointed in such as the Undertaker vs Big Boss Man Hell in a Cell match and Big Show's first match for the WWF on pay-per-view but overall, I enjoyed the show and to this day it's a show I still like to revisit from time to time just to bring back the thrill of seeing my first pay-per-view all over again.

That wraps up another edition of Wacky Wrestling VHS Boxes. I know I focused more on nostalgia this time around that the actual VHS boxes themselves but sometimes this stuff just writes itself. WrestleMania this year looks like a really interesting show. I haven't had time to watch a lot of Raw and Smackdown leading into it but I've been checking out the highlights and I'm pretty excited. With the return of Daniel Bryan, the debut of Ronda Rousey, A.J. Styles fighting Shinsuke Nakamura, and Roman Reigns battling Brock Lesnar (again), it should be a fun show.

Enjoy WrestleMania everyone!


  1. I vividly remember having the first three of these at one point in time. Long gone as I can't recall what garage sale they were sold away at, but at this point, wouldn't mind still having them again!

  2. My buddy would always talk his parents into signing up for PPV. I don't remember which ones I watched over at his house... but there were a few. Good times.