Continuing on with the WrestleMania Flashback series, we find ourselves at the Hartford (CT) Civic Center for WrestleMania XI. This was a star-studded event, held April 2, 1995 and featured the return of a former champion and an NFL star getting revenge on a member of the Million Dollar Corporation.
For weeks, Owen Hart had been promising a "mystery partner" that would join him at WrestleMania XI as he challenged The Smokin' Gunns for the WWF Tag Team titles. But nobody could've expected it to be former WWF Champion Yokozuna, who had swelled to nearly 600 pounds since anybody had last seen him four months earlier at the Survivor Series.
Fans were shocked, because Yokozuna had not been seen since he was defeated in San Antonio in a Casket Match at the hands of The Undertaker. But he returned bigger and more vicious than ever. Billy Gunn found that out in the middle of the match, when a massive leg drop came crashing down across him. Yokozuna later hit a Bonzai Drop, and tagged in Owen to make the pin. Owen and his new partner celebrated as they held their new tag team titles.
At the 1995 Royal Rumble, an incident happened between Bam Bam Bigelow and NFL star Lawrence Taylor. That night, Taylor was invited to sit in the front row by WWF Champion Diesel. After Bam Bam was pinned in a tag team match, Taylor poked fun at Bigelow and then offered a handshake. But Bigelow took it as an insult and shoved Taylor to the floor.
It set up the first-ever one-on-one match at WrestleMania involving an NFL star. Bigelow came to the ring accompanied by members of the Million Dollar Corporation (King Kong Bundy, Tatanka, IRS, Kama, and Nikolai Volkoff). Taylor came to the ring with members of an "All Pro Team" consisting of Ken Norton Jr, Chris Spielman, Rickey Jackson< Carl Banks, Reggie White, and Steve "Mongo" McMichael.
Bam Bam having the obvious experience advantage dominated the majority of the match. He spent a good portion of the encounter working on Taylor's back, even locking in a Boston Crab submission. But it wouldn't be enough to keep the All Pro linebacker down, as later in the match, Taylor was able to make his way to the middle turnbuckle and connect with a flying forearm smash. He covered Bigelow and picked up the biggest upset win in WrestleMania history.
And of course what WrestleMania would be complete without a WWF Championship match? A title that had changed hands three times in the previous two WrestleMania events. Diesel walked into the event ready to face the winner of the 1995 Royal Rumble and his former best friend, Shawn Michaels. At the Rumble, Michaels became the first man in WWF history to enter the Rumble match at #1 and outlast 29 other superstars.
Michaels wouldn't come to the ring alone though, as he had replaced Diesel with a bodyguard by the name of Sid. Fans hadn't seen Sid in the WWF in a few years, and he was one of the most unstable people on the roster. Sid's unpredictability came back to haunt Michaels though, when he distracted the ref and injured the ref's ankle. The incidental result of the distraction gave Diesel the chance to turn things around and hit a Jackknife powerbomb to win the match and retain the WWF Championship.
The next night on Raw, Michaels blamed Sid for the loss and said he wouldn't be needed when Michaels and Diesel scheduled a rematch. This didn't sit well with Sid, who attacked Michaels and hit him with several powerbombs. The assault kept Michaels out of action for a couple of months but it reunited him with Diesel, who came out to make the save.
There were also celebrities galore at WrestleMania XI. Aside from the NFL stars, here is a list of the Hollywood stars that were in attendance
- Pamela Anderson - accompanied Diesel to the ring
- Jenny McCarthy - accompanied Shawn Michaels to the ring
- Johnathan Taylor Thomas - Guest time keeper
- Nick Tuturo - backstage interviewer
- Salt-'Peppa - musical trio that performed "What A Man" for Lawrence Taylor
- Larry Young -MLB umpire, refereed the Undertaker vs. King Kong Bundy match
- Allied Powers def. Jacob & Eli Blu (with Uncle Zebekiah)
- Razor Ramon (with The 1-2-3 Kid) def. Jeff Jarrett by DQ
- The Undertaker def. King Kong Bundy (Larry Young as special referee)
- Owen Hart & Yokozuna def. The Smokin' Gunns to win the WWF Tag Team titles
- Bret Hart def. Bob Backlund in an I Quit Match (Roddy Piper is special referee)
- Diesel def. Shawn Michaels to retain WWF Championship
- Lawrence Taylor def. Bam Bam Bigelow