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WrestleMania VII

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WrestleMania VII sequentially was the seventh WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). It took place on March 24, 1991 at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California. The main event saw Hulk Hogan defeat Sgt. Slaughter for the WWF Championship as part of a controversial storyline in which Sgt. Slaughter portrayed an Iraqi sympathizer during the United States' involvement in the Gulf War. Significant events in the undercard included The Undertaker's WrestleMania debut and the beginning of his renowned winning streak, as well as the final match of the original Hart Foundation, after which Bret Hart became primarily a singles wrestler.

Production

WrestleMania VII was originally scheduled to be held at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, but the WWF decided to move the event to the adjacent Sports Arena. The WWF's stated reason for the venue change was that it had security concerns in the wake of Sgt. Slaughter's portrayal of an Iraqi sympathizer during the Gulf War. In actuality, poor advanced ticket sales indicated the company would have major difficulty filling the estimated 100,000 seats available.

The tagline for the event was "Superstars and Stripes Forever," and is remembered for its theme of American patriotism in the wake of the Gulf War. American flags were hung all over the arena and the ring apron and banners were colored red, white, and blue, which was the basis for the main event between Hulk Hogan and Sgt. Slaughter for the WWF Championship.

This was the first WrestleMania not to feature Jesse Ventura as a color commentator. Gorilla Monsoon hosted the event with Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. When Heenan had to manage at ringside, Monsoon was joined on the commentary by Jim Duggan, and later "Lord" Alfred Hayes. In addition, Regis Philbin helped with commentary on the main event while Alex Trebek served as the ring announcer.

Willie Nelson sang a rendition of "America the Beautiful" before the show. Other celebrity guests in attendance for WrestleMania VII included Philbin, Trebek, and Marla Maples (as backstage announcers), George Steinbrenner, Paul Maguire, Macaulay Culkin, Donald Trump, Lou Ferrigno, Chuck Norris, and Henry Winkler.

The artist for the promotional poster is renowned illustrative painter Joe Jusko.

The theme song to this event, "Worldwide Spectacle", was written by WWF's internal composer, Jim Johnston.

Background

The two main feuds entering WrestleMania in 1991 were between Hulk Hogan and WWF Champion Sgt. Slaughter and The Ultimate Warrior and "Macho King" Randy Savage, and in a way both were intertwined.

The Ultimate Warrior had defeated Hogan for the WWF Championship at WrestleMania a year earlier and entered 1991 as the champion. In the meantime, Sgt. Slaughter had returned to the WWF near the end of 1990 after spending five years wrestling in the American Wrestling Association. When he returned his character was changed to become aligned with Iraq, which coincided with the United States entering the conflict in the Middle East that led to Operation Desert Storm, and he became a contender for Warrior's title. At the same time, Savage was also vying for the title that he had lost to Hogan at WrestleMania V, and began prodding the Warrior to give him a title shot. Warrior refused and instead Slaughter received the shot. At the Royal Rumble in January 1991, interference from Savage and his valet Sensational Queen Sherri cost Warrior the title as Slaughter defeated the champion by pin after Savage hit him with a scepter. Warrior left the ring to chase after Savage following his loss and over the next few weeks their feud began to build, which hit a climax when Warrior challenged the Macho King to a retirement match at WrestleMania which Savage accepted.

Meanwhile, Hogan entered the Royal Rumble match and won it for the second consecutive year. After the match, while giving an interview to Gene Okerlund, Hogan was informed that Slaughter and his manager, General Adnan, were defacing the American flag. Hogan then promised to stand up for his country and take the title from Slaughter as soon as possible, and was later named the #1 contender for the WWF title which he had not contended for since losing the title to the Warrior at WrestleMania VI.

Event

During the match between Savage and the Warrior, Miss Elizabeth was spotted in the crowd. During the course of the match cameras kept cutting to her as she grew concerned for Savage's well being. Despite taking five of Savage's flying elbow drops, Warrior won the match after hitting the Macho King with three jumping shoulder blocks and forced Savage to retire. After the match, Sherri came into the ring and attacked Savage, which prompted Elizabeth to charge into the ring and fight off the former Queen and save Savage. Shocked to see what Elizabeth had done for him, Savage had an emotional reunion with his former manager and held the ring ropes open for her so she could exit, which made the Macho Man a hero in the eyes of the fans again.

Aftermath

The event marked The Undertaker's WrestleMania debut. Backstage as Hogan was being interviewed on his victory over Sgt. Slaughter, Slaughter attacked Hogan by throwing a fireball in his face. Hogan quickly recovered from the attack and defended the belt primarily against Slaughter, largely in "Desert Storm" (i.e., no-disqualification) matches; he also had to deal with the returning Iron Shiek, who was now competing as Colonel Mustafa. Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior eventually teamed up at SummerSlam 1991, defeating Slaughter, Mustafa and their manager, General Adnan, in a two-vs.-three handicap match.

Savage returned to television in a non-wrestling role as a color commentator for the WWF's flagship syndicated program, Superstars; although a fan favorite to the crowd, much of his commentary was heel-leaning. Meanwhile, the storyline with Miss Elizabeth continued, culminating with Savage proposing to her in the ring leading to an on-air wedding at SummerSlam 1991 dubbed The Match Made in Heaven. (The wedding was kayfabe, as Savage and Elizabeth were married in real life.)

Virgil and Ted DiBiase feuded with each other until November 1991, including facing off at SummerSlam 1991 when DiBiase lost his Million Dollar Belt to Virgil. After DiBiase won his belt back in November with the help of The Repo Man (formerly Smash of Demolition), their feud ended at the This Tuesday in Texas PPV when DiBiase and Repo Man defeated Virgil and Tito Santana in a tag team match.

Genichiro Tenryu and Kōji Kitao were on loan from the Japanese promotion Super World of Sports. The WWF co-promoted several cards in Japan with the group, including two Tokyo Dome shows on March 30 and December 12, 1991. Although SWS folded in June 1992, Tenryu's follow-up promotion, WAR, co-promoted the WWF's first Japanese tour in 1994.

After WrestleMania VII, The Hart Foundation disbanded. Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart went into single competition. Bret Hart went onto singles success, defeating Mr Perfect for the Intercontinental Championship at SummerSlam 1991, and later in 1992 would win the World Championship when he defeated Ric Flair in his father's home town of Saskatoon in Saskatchewan, Canada. Neidhart would later in 1991 form a tag team called "The New Foundation" with Hart's younger brother Owen.

Results

Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
(c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.

Other on-screen talent

Commentators
Interviewers
Ring announcer
Referees

Notes

  • Willie Nelson sang a rendition of "America the Beautiful" before the show.
  • Other celebrity guests in attendance for Wrestlemania VII included Regis Philbin, Alex Trebek and Marla Maples (as backstage announcers). George Steinbrenner, Paul Maguire, Macaulay Culkin, Donald Trump, Lou Ferrigno, Chuck Norris and Henry Winkler.
  • This was the first Wrestlemania not to feature Jesse Ventura as a color commentator. Gorilla Monsoon hosted the event with Bobby Heenan. when Heenan had to manage at ringside, Monsoon was joined on the commentary by Jim Duggan and later Lord Alfred Hayes. In addition, Regis Philbin helped with commentary on the main event.
  • Since this event, The Undertaker went undefeated at WrestleMania until WrestleMania XXX when he lost to Brock Lesnar.

See also

DVD & Video Releases

External links

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History of WrestleMania
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WrestleMania
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1991 World Wrestling Federation pay-per-views
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