Wrestlemania II (P6) Battle royal 1986 by darky-d
Best: The Boring Match That Made Me A Fan Of Battles Royal Forever
WrestleMania 2 is defined for me by battle royal that put 14 pro wrestlers in the ring with six NFL players and asked them to kinda-sorta punch each other for ten minutes. It’s one of the most boring battles royal you’re ever going to see, but it felt like the most interesting thing ever to me when I was a kid. I’ve always been drawn to the stories of wrestlers who don’t have anything important to do, and on a show where Hercules By God Hernandez gets a showcase match against Ricky Steamboat, these nerds living in Andre the Giant’s inevitable battle royal win shadow are the ultimate in “not having anything important to do.”
I urge you to watch the entire thing. The participating wrestlers are all guys you’ll recognize for one reason or another (Hillbilly Jim! The Iron Sheik! That one Killer Bee Iron Sheik wants to buttf**k! The OTHER Killer Bee!) and the football guys are all dressed like psychopaths. Russ Francis thought a wifebeater complimented a pair of black underpants. William Perry is wearing a bright red onesie (more on that later). It’s wonderfully wretched, and the exact battle royal you think of when you say “battle royal.”
Best: The ‘Where’s The Beef’ Lady Botches The One Thing She Does
Oh lord, the “Where’s The Beef” lady.
For those of you who are not 200 years old, Clara Peller got famous in the mid-80s for being an old lady on a Wendy’s commercial. She’d look at burgers from competing fast food places and yell WHERE’S THE BEEF, because she could not find those burgers’ respective beefs. Beeves?
Here, she’s the guest timekeeper, and her only job is to yell WHERE’S THE BEEF or WHERE IS THE BEEF or probably just BEEF when they point at her. They softball it right in, too, all “Clara, you look like you have something to say. DO YOU?” All she has to do is put “where’s” and “the” and “beef” into a sentence.
Instead, she yells “NOW?” at somebody off-screen. We can’t hear her, because her microphone is either off or too far from her mouth. Again, “NOW?” When three times of a guy offscreen going YES JESUS CHRIST LADY NOW proves to be enough, she throws her arms around (moving the microphone even FARTHER from her mouth) and KINDA mouths WHERE’S THE BEEF to f**king NO APPLAUSE. It’s the WORST. You had ONE JOB, Where’s The Beef Lady. ONE JOB.
Best: Bruno Sammartino! Teen Bret Hart!
There’s a lot to love in this battle royal without even worrying about the battling. Bruno Sammartino shows up to wrestle a little, a year removed from being ringside to coach his son David, who was not as good as Bruno, and was two feet and an ethnicity away from being Raja Lion.
The Hart Foundation shows up, too, in its most innocent form … Bret Hart is like 8 ½ years old, and he and Jim Neidhart don’t even have pink gear on. They’re wearing blue. Jimmy Hart KINDA yells stuff into a microphone, but not really. It’s like the off-brand Big Lots action figure versions of the Hart Foundation.
Worst: Russ Francis Gets The Ironman Push
I don’t know why, but wifebeatin’-ass Russ Francis makes it to the final four, going so far as to try and outfox the Hart Foundation by himself to stave off elimination. It’s notable because … well, I don’t know why, honestly, but the Hart Foundation and Andre the Giant are in the ring together at a WrestleMania, and they’re all trying to work around this scrambly football player who won’t stop tucking and rolling.
Worst: William ‘Refrigerator’ Perry’s Onesie
HERE we go. Check out what the Fridge is wearing. Near the end of the match his pants just give the hell up, and we’re left staring at the horrible, crimson road between William Perry’s butt cheeks.
Perry is a hero in Chicago (and rightfully so), so he gets a lot of the big spotlight moments here, including setting a battle royal precedent by eliminating someone after being eliminated himself. This would become important in … pretty much every battle royal and Royal Rumble somebody overbooked between 1986 and now. Big John Studd eliminates him fairly, Perry responds by being a poor sport and pulling him out of the ring after lying about a handshake. Studd’s the bad guy, and Fridge is a hero. In a onesie. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Best: “Mustard Man”
One of my favorite memories of this match is showing it to my girlfriend, who immediately referred to Andre the Giant as “Mustard Man.” Seriously, look at him:
Dude is enormous, doo-doo brown and wearing the most yellow boots and panties in history. He looks like a gigantic corndog. I love it.