For the 10th WrestleMania, WWE returned to where it all started. This pay-per-view sold out MSG in seconds and was primarily about the WWE title thanks to a controversial finish at the 1994 Royal Rumble.
The winner of the Royal Rumble match earned a title match at WrestleMania and for the first time in Rumble history there were co-winners, Bret “Hitman” Hart and Lex Luger.
WWE champion Yokozuna was technically scheduled to defend the title twice, first against Luger and then the winner of that match would take on the Hitman in another title bout later in the night.
The first match of the pay-per-view was brother vs. brother when the late Owen Hart faced his older brother, Bret. This was one of the best wrestling matches at any WrestleMania with some going so far as to say that it was the absolute best at WWE's biggest event.
I can't disagree.
Owen upset Bret, which added additional intrigue to the brotherly rivalry. This outcome provided Bret, who would win the title later in the evening, with a viable, opponent in his brother, Owen. A duel that always delivered as WWE was inching toward more of an emphasis on the bell-to-bell aspect of their product.
Yokozuna was managed by Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji. The masterful manager Cornette was one of the best on the mic while Fuji legitimately took care of many of the 600-pound Yoko's personal needs on the road.
Another memorable bout at WM X was the Intercontinental title ladder match featuring Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon. This was a groundbreaking match and was one of the most exciting presentations that WWE fans had seen on pay-per-view in years.
Two of wrestling's brightest minds were essentially left to their own devices in deciding how the match would be executed and they nailed it. Both men entered MSG claiming to be the Intercontinental champion, which added to the depth of the story line.
In one of my most unique assignments in WWE, I did a news feature on the deck of the aircraft carrier Intrepid on July 4, 1993, to begin the storyline pitting Luger vs. Yoko in a body slam challenge. WWE had a long-term plan to attempt to establish Luger as its “next big thing,” and to groom him to eventually become champion – in essence, the next Hogan.
The “Lex Express” never quite finished the race but it certainly was no fault of WWE as it did all it could to recreate the magic of the Hulkster, but to no avail.
Some fans will remember that at WM X Little Richard sang “America the Beautiful” and that Hall of Fame ring announcer Howard Finkel had a “NEEEEW” head of hair thanks to Sy Sperling, president for the Hair Club for Men.
Thanks to Owen vs. Bret, Bret eventually winning the WWE title in his long overdue “WrestleMania Moment” and Heartbreak Kid vs. The Bad Guy Ladder Match, WM X was one of the better in-ring WWE extravaganzas to date.
More importantly, it enhanced Bret Hart and Michaels’ star power, which would lead to WWE featuring a more improved-in ring product than it had featured in years.
With WM XI a year away would WWE continue to feature more “steak” than “sizzle” or provide a little of both?