The Hollywood Backlot Brawl: the first cinematic match of WrestleMania
The legendary Roddy Piper spent the latter part of his career telling everyone he was in WrestleMania before there was a number. But it’s also one of so many firsts in The Showcase Of The Immortals history. The twelfth annual Show Of Shows was no different. Hot Rod, who is never afraid of controversy, got into it when he took on Goldust in a Hollywood Backlot Brawl.
Between Broken Matt Hardy and the Corona outbreak, cinematic matches became a bit more the norm for a while. Even WCW had them (not nearly the same success rate). But this WrestleMania 12 match was wild and one of the classic brawls of WWE’s The New Generation era. It’s also a match that took many different forms before landing on Goldust Vs. Roddy Piper.
Goldust was originally scheduled to face Razor Ramon at WrestleMania
Perhaps the closest iteration to the entire Goldust-Piper feud and eventual match was the proposed match between Razor Ramon and Goldust. Instead of a Hollywood Backlot Brawl, the big fight would have been a Miami Street Fight. Considering Goldie had been playing mind games with Razor for months and beating him for the Intercontinental title, this could have been a blow to their program. However, all of a sudden The Bad Guy started (and managed to) get out of the game politically. Scott Hall believed that the character of Razor Ramon would never be mixed with an androgynous character like Goldust and tried to get matches with Triple H instead. It wasn’t long before he gave his opinion, failed a drug test, and missed WrestleMania 12 altogether.
Vince Russo’s brainchild was crazy
Depending on who believes – forked tongue Vince Russo or shrewd con artist Bruce Prichard – Russo himself or Vince McMahon had an even crazier idea in store for Hot Rod at WrestleMania. One of the ideas floated was to have Roddy take on disgraced football hero OJ Simpson.
Simpson was charged and later found not guilty of murdering his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman, but was found guilty in a civil suit. If that wasn’t terrible enough, the original idea might or might not have been an actual match between Simpson and Goldman’s father, Fred, and he would have a choice of weapons to use against his son’s alleged murderer. .
The actual match was a huge WrestleMania moment for Piper
Once it was decided that the idea of The Juice was too vulgar and that Razor had no interest, Piper and Goldust reunited. The Bizarre One started wearing kilts doing everything they could to get under Roddy’s skin. Hot Rod had warned that he was coming to WrestleMania to make the androgyne a man. The battle was the first cinematic match in WrestleMania and WWE history. It was also a wild contest and spectacle, taking place over the entirety of WrestleMania. The wrestlers filmed the backlot portion of their brawl several days prior and accidentally damaged some cars and Piper broke her hand. The Hall of Fame opened its roster the day of WrestleMania, so no one wondered how Piper was repaired between the brawl, the chase all over LA, and the eventual end of the match in the arena. Ever since the OJ drama gripped the nation, WWE has gifted Piper a white bronco to jump into after Goldust in his gold Cadillac. Throughout the evening, shots of the OJ chase were shown as commentators acted as if Piper was trying to run Goldust down, even though the footage “looked familiar”.
Fans all know Roddy Piper’s legacy has far-reaching legendary status. Outside of Hulk Hogan, Piper’s story at WrestleMania is one of the best recorded. He was always willing to do whatever it took to earn a big payday and help WWE. Even against someone he hated (re: Mr. T).
But working with Dustin helped create Piper’s first real WrestleMania moment since the inauguration main event. The Hollywood Backlot Brawl also holds the unique distinction of being the event’s first ever cinematic match and the first ever for WWE. The match was exactly the kind of fight scene one would expect from something with the word “Hollywood” attached. Goldust was no slouch during this match either and considering the ending, which took place inside the arena, it was good sport to be allowed to be stripped and wear women’s clothing.
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