After weeks of build and months of speculation, Wrestlemania VI is officially in the books after broadcasting live on Sunday to over 66,000 fans in Toronto and millions world wide. In the main event, dubbed The Ultimate Challenge, Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior went toe to toe in a spectacular match that saw The Ultimate Warrior's hand raised in the end as the Intercontinental, and new WWF Heavyweight Champion. It was the first clean pinfall loss that most have ever seen Hulk Hogan suffer, and the former champion raised The Ultimate Warrior's hand in an unscripted moment before fading in to the distance while the new champion celebrated his crowning moment. The audience seemed split for both competitors, and was shocked when a new champion was crowned.
Wrestlemania VI was an enormous success, drawing 67,287 fans for a gate of $3,490,857, which easily made the super show the biggest gate in North American history. Closed Circuit revenue was approximately $600,000, down from the 2.3 million dollars and 175,000 tickets sold for last year's Wrestlemania, though shown on far fewer screens this year as the closed circuit concept continues to become a thing of the past. Wrestlemania VI drew a 4.5 buyrate on live pay-per-view, meaning that 4.5% of households that are pay-per-view capable ordered the event.
The show opened with a dark match that saw Paul Roma defeat The Brooklyn Brawler. In the first pay-per-view match, Rick Martel defeated Koko B. Ware with a Boston Crab. Demolition defeated Andre the Giant and Haku, and Andre turned on Bobby Heenan to the delight of the live crowd. The Canadian Earthquake was simply billed as The Earthquake in his squash of Hercules, likely to prevent fans from cheering for someone the WWF is banking on to be a major heel in upcoming months. Brutus Beefcake defeated Mr. Perfect in what has to be considered an upset, and in the following match Roddy Piper painted his body half black in a strange match with Bad News Brown that would end in a double count-out. The Hart Foundation defeated The Bolsheviks, and The Barbarian destroyed Tito Santana to launch his singles push. In a mixed tag team bout, Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire defeated Randy Savage and Sherri. The Rockers vs. The Orient Express ended in a count out when Mr. Fuji tossed salt in Marty Jannetty, who was unable to make it back to the ring before the ten count. Jim Duggan defeated Dino Bravo before being ambushed by The Earthquake. Ted Dibiase defeated Jake Roberts in the third count out finish of the afternoon, and The Big Bossman made short work of Akeem. Rick Rude defeated Jimmy Snuka, and of course in the main event, WWF Intercontinental Champion The Ultimate Warrior defeated WWF Champion Hulk Hogan by pinfall with a big splash.
The Ultimate Warrior made several media appearances to promote Wrestlemania in the days leading up, the most notable being on The Arsenio Hall Show. The Ultimate Warrior was the final guest of the night, and made his entrance by running through the crowd and around the studio at full speed and tossing around furniture all over the building. The audience --most of whom didn't appear to know who the wrestler was --looked stunned by his strange behavior. When Arsenio asked him if he wanted to be called "Ultimate" or "Warrior", The Ultimate Warrior claimed that only those who have "made the sacrifice" are allowed to call him by name. Hall looked confused, and made facial expressions suggesting that his guest was off of his rocker.
Steve Planamenta, manager of media relations for Titan Sports, made statements this weekend indirectly taking a dig at the National Wrestling Alliance. Planamenta stated that while other companies primary audience is 18-24 year old males, the World Wrestling Federation has a much broader, Disney like appeal. He mentioned that 38% of the WWF's audience is comprised of women, and that children make up a big percentage of the companies fan base as well. Planamenta also mentioned that The Ultimate Warrior is the favorite of younger fans, who will be the future ticket buyers for the WWF, and stressed the importance of this character being used properly to keep these younger fans involved in the product.
The Wrestlemania VI outcome has caused problems in the relationship between the WWF and Japan. The main event of the joint show on April 13rd has been promoted as Terry Gordy meeting The World Wrestling Federation Champion Hulk Hogan, with some upset in Japan that the WWF didn't tell them ahead of time about the planned title change as it significantly decreases interest in a match between the two stars. There is no word on just what Hulk Hogan will be doing in the future, but for the net two months he is booked on house shows facing The Earthquake. Many believed that Hogan would serve to establish The Earthquake as a threat for a feud with The Ultimate Warrior, but Hogan destroyed him in Syracuse at a house show the Tuesday after Wrestlemania.
In a scary sign for The WWF, when Rick Rude met The Ultimate Warrior on the same show in Syracuse, a good part of the crowd was cheering for Rick Rude to defeat the new champion.
While the WWF was flying high with their Wrestlemania extravaganza, things continue to go wrong for the NWA. In a sign of how bad things really have become, the company's champion Ric Flair was rumored to be in Toronto meeting with Vince McMahon over the Wrestlemania weekend. Flair's contract is running out in around a month, and the NWA continues to play hardball with him as those in power see him as a relic of the past who needs to be moved down the card and kept there. Flair was reportedly wined and dined by WWF management after Wrestlemania VI, and was given a solid monetary offer to join the World Wrestling Federation family. These rumors have yet to be confirmed, and should be taken as such.
Rumors have Danny Spivey being re-hired and re-fired, Buzz Sawyer getting his walking papers, and The Midnight Express looking all but gone. Scott Norton and Bam Bam Bigelow are expected soon, along with Abdullah the Butcher who will work a short program with Norman the Lunatic.
The fight between the WWF and the NWA to sign Paul Heyman continued this week. The talk is that the NWA wants Heyman back to serve as a manager for Mark Callas, who'll be returning shortly from a stint in Japan.
The Ultimate Warrior has continued to be booed on the road for the last week after defeating Hulk Hogan for the World Wrestling Federation Championship, and the fear is that the fans who were so hot for a top level babyface vs. babyface program may now resent The Ultimate Warrior for unseating the long reigning and iconic Hulk Hogan. The Ultimate Warrior has been scheduled to work an extended tour with Rick Rude, a man WWF officials hope is unlikable enough to warm the crowd to the new WWF Champion. The Ultimate Warrior will also work with The Warlord and The Barbarian, both of which will be given heavy pushes in the upcoming weeks.
The heavy rumor circulating is that Hulk Hogan will shoot an injury angle at the hands of The Canadian Earthquake on a Saturday Night's Main Event special sometime in the upcoming weeks, the purpose of which will be to allow Hulk Hogan to take some time off to potentially film No Holds Barred II, and to give The Earthquake a huge boost before being programmed with The Ultimate Warrior.
Late rumors out of Wrestlemania VI in Toronto had Vince McMahon going to extremes to keep word of the outcome of the main event from getting out to the press, as many closed circuit locations were showing Wrestlemania on a delay. In the press box for the event, Vince McMahon refused to allow phones to be present and kept the lights out for the entire show so that no one could phone results in to radio or television stations.
The new biggest order of business for The World Wrestling Federation is the super show in Japan scheduled for this Friday, which will see another crowd over over 60,000 fans gather to watch the stars of the WWF perform. The main event of the event is turning in to a political nightmare, with Terry Gordy --a heavy favorite to win the All Japan Triple Crown in the next few months --no longer feeling as though he should have to lay down for Hulk Hogan, as the only reason he agreed to losing was because there was no other choice with Hogan holding the World Wrestling Federation Title. Talk is that someone may have to replace Gordy in the main event, with the top name rumored to be Dusty Rhodes.
Professional boxer Michael Dokes met with WWF officials in Toronto over Wrestlemania weekend, and will be starting with the company soon as a wrestler. He will be working under the ring name Dark Destruction. Andre the Giant is on his way out of the World Wrestling Federation. With a broken down body and a contract expiring in two months, Andre will no longer be working the WWF. Rumors are circulating that he may work a small number of matches for All Japan before retiring for good.
The World Wrestling Federation taped a match this week that saw The Orient Express losing to Roddy Piper and Jesse Ventura. Piper and Ventura are currently working together on the pilot for a sitcom called "Tag Team", that both ABC and NBC are said to be interested in. The match will play a part in first episode of the show, which sees Ventura and Piper as law enforcement officers who moonlight as professional wrestlers.
In the National Wrestling Alliance, The Midnight Express are expected to stay together for at least a little longer. The current plan is rumored to see Jim Cornette lease the services of The Midnight Express to Ric Flair. Bobby Eaton will assimilate well with The Horsemen, and eventually become a member, while Stan Lane will question Flair's ways and potentially feud with Bobby Eaton. Jim Cornette will then transition to the broadcast booth, where he will serve as the new color commentator for the NWA, a position the company has wanted Cornette or Paul E. Dangerously to fill for quite some time.
The political situation involving the NWA World Heavyweight Championship continues to be a mess this week. Ric Flair, no longer under contract, had a provision written into his contract that gave him the right to choose who would succeed him as the NWA champion. This man has always been Sting for Ric Flair, but with Sting sidelined with injuries and no other real options available to take the title off of the current champion, the NWA has allowed Ric Flair's contract to expire while he still holds the World Championship. At this point, Ric Flair has so much leverage that he doesn't have to drop the title until he is absolutely certain that the timing is right. If the NWA has a problem with this, Flair isn't bound to anyone and can jump to Titan on a moments notice. If Flair does agree to drop the title, he is not currently under contract, so the NWA board of directors could immediately push him down the card, or stop using him altogether. As of this point, it is in the best interest of Ric Flair professionally to hold on to the NWA World Championship indefinitely. Lex Luger is said to know that Sting is the chosen one going in to the future, so he doesn't want the title either, knowing he will be little more than an interim champion.
The future of Ric Flair in the NWA continues to be uncertain, with rumors intensifying by the week that he is headed to New York. Though Wrestlemania VII is still a year away, one of the biggest matches in wrestling history will be needed to draw 100,000 fans to the Los Angeles Olympic Coliseum as the WWF is promising. The belief as of this point is that unless someone unexpected catches fire, a rematch between Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior or --more favorably -- the first ever meeting between Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan will be needed to sell that many tickets to a wrestling event, even under the Wrestlemania banner.
On behalf of The Pro-Wrestling Chronicle, thank you for being a part of the Fourteen Weeks of 1990 series. Additional material on the series was made available here earlier today, with three newspaper peices detailing Wrestlemania VI and the individuals behind it reprinted below, word for word as the originally appeared in the spring of 1990. There is a possibility that in the upcoming weeks, a follow up series on the weeks following this period will appear on The Pro-Wrestling Chronicle. All news and information credited to The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, The Pro-Wrestling Torch Newsletter, Herb Kunze and various books and biographies on professional wrestling.