WWE WrestleMania VIII
April 5, 1992
By John Canton (@johnreport)
The eighth WrestleMania saw a return to a domed stadium as the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis played host to the event. It was a show with a double main event. The World Heavyweight Champion was Ric Flair making his WrestleMania debut as he defended the title against Randy Savage, who had been reinstated after retirement the previous year. The other main event was Hulk Hogan taking on Sid Justice, who was making his WrestleMania debut.
When Ric Flair won the World Title at the 1992 Royal Rumble, most people thought that the WrestleMania main event would be Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan. It was a dream match since Flair was the long tine NWA World Champion while Hogan had an incredibly long run atop the WWF during the same period. The story goes that they had house show matches against eachother, but management didn't feel like they were that good. They changed the matches to Flair vs. Savage and Hogan vs. Sid. The Flair/Savage feud revolved around Flair saying that he had been with Elizabeth before she was with Savage. That made the feud personal. In Hogan's case, they teased that this could be his last match. That's comical now when you think about it.
After a string of four hour shows, this event came in under three hours. That's better for me as a viewer and writer. It's better for you as a reader, I think. A lot of the stuff they did in the past to fill the time was have extra matches that were usually bad or run way too many backstage interviews. With a three hour show, they were able to cut some of the crap out. Let's see how they fared on this nine match show that I'm watching on disc off the WWE 24/7 version.
We got the standard video with Vince McMahon doing his typical yelling voiceover running down the big matches with the focus being on Flair/Savage and Hogan/Sid.
We were welcomed to the show by the announcers Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan. The previous year they were down on the floor by the ring. This time they were up in the booth.
The national anthem was sung by country music singer Reba McEntire. Heenan called her Arriba McEntire, saying she was Tito's sister. Heenan ruled.
The first match is Tito Santana vs. Shawn Michaels. Shawn had turned heel on Marty Jannetty and was getting a heel push here. His theme song was similar to his more recent one, but since it was in the early stages it was Sherri singing the song.
Shawn Michaels w/Sensational Sherri vs. Tito Santana
Michaels did a lot of taunting to start. Santana got a crossbody for two. Gorilla plugged the 900 number.. Santana hit a clothesline that sent Michaels to the floor. Michaels regrouped and tried to use his speed to get the advantage, but Santana outsmarted him. Sherri yelled a lot. The crowd wasn't as loud as the Toronto crowd two years earlier. At least not yet. Santana used a side headlock that earned him a few nearfalls. After a whip in the ropes, Santana almost got the win with a small package. Michaels whipped Santana in and then he threw Santana over the top rope to the floor. "Look at the smug look on that kisser," said Monsoon of Sherri. Back in the ring, Michaels hit a backbreaker for two. After escaping a chin lock, Santana ran the ropes and Michaels caught him with a superkick. It was not his finisher yet. Michaels went for his Teardrop Suplex finisher, but Tito fought out of it. Tito hit the flying forearm finisher that sent Michaels to the floor. He rammed Shawn's head into the steps and then rolled him back in. Santana hit a shoulderblock. Heenan called his moves things like the Flying Jalapeno and Flying Burrito. Santana hit an inverted atomic drop. Crowd cheered loudly. Santana hit another forearm shot to the head with Michaels rolling out again. They fought on the apron, Santana went for a bodyslam, Michaels went on top of him and that was enough for the win at 10:37.
Winner: Shawn Michaels
I noticed some signs in the crowd. That was a new concept here. One of them said "Bring back the Warrior." Then they focused on a sign that said "Shawn is the true rocker." Heenan predicted that Michaels would be the star of the 90s. Good prediction huh?
Analysis: **1/2 A very good opening match that saw the younger wrestler get the win over the veteran because he was the rising star. That's the right way to book it. The finish could have been better, but I'm guessing the idea was to prove that Shawn could beat him by outsmarting him, which added another dimension to his character.
Mean Gene interviewed Legion of Doom with manager Paul Ellering. It was his debut in the WWF although LOD had been in the company for a couple of years before this. I guess you could call it a re-introduction of the team. They lost the tag titles to Money Inc. (Dibiase & IRS) a couple of months before this. I remember a dummy named Rocco soon after this. Bad idea. This was a long promo, over five minutes long. They said a whole lot of nothing, really.
In the locker room, Sean Mooney was talking to the now heel Jake Roberts. He would be facing Undertaker here. They showed a clip of when Jake was a guest on the Funeral Parlor show, he trapped Undertaker's hand in a cast and gave a DDT to Paul Bearer. Then he attacked Undertaker with a chair to the back. Jake said he'd drive Undertaker's head to the mat with the DDT. Then ended it with: "Trust me." Evil look.
The Undertaker w/Paul Bearer vs. Jake Roberts
As mentioned, Jake's the heel here with no snake in a bag. Undertaker was a babyface. Jake hit him with punches and knocked him out of the ring with a clothesline, but Undertaker landed on his feet on the floor. Undertaker whipped him into the post. It was amazing to see an athlete of Taker's size land on his feet after a clothesline over the top. Undertaker choked him in the corner. Undertaker whipped him into the corner and then choked him again. Choking isn't a great babyface move, but he was still early in his career and obviously would develop a better move set. Taker whipped him in and hit a leaping clothesline. Undertaker lifted him up for a slam, Jake escaped and hit the DDT. Heenan was yelling that Undertaker won't wake up from that. He sat up before Jake could cover. Nobody got up from the DDT like that. That was a huge deal. Crowd loved it. Short clothesline by Jake. Another DDT. He covered, Bearer raised the urn and Jake went after him. Undertaker went outside the ring, picked Jake up and gave him the Tombstone on the floor. The crowd exploded. Gorilla: "This place has gone bananas!" Undertaker rolled him back in the ring and covered for the win at 6:37. Undertaker is 2-0 at WrestleMania.
Winner: The Undertaker
Analysis: 3/4* That's how you book a dominant win for a newer character going over a veteran. Jake got a few moves in, but he had no chance. That Tombstone on the floor drew a huge response from the crowd. Undertaker did a great job here. Jake did too. Well booked.
Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund talked to the Intercontinental Champion Roddy Piper. He was a babyface here. The IC Title was the first and only singles title he ever held in WWE after having won it from The Mountie at the Royal Rumble in January. His opponent was Bret Hart, who was a former IC Champion at this point too. Bret had a good IC title reign to end 1991. The Mountie won it at a house show and then lost it to Piper after only two days. Piper talked about how much he respected Bret's family and said that he's known Bret for a long time. He was trying to have some fun with Bret, but the Hitman was in serious mode. Bret touched the title, so Piper shoved him in the chest. Good promo to set the tone for the match.
Intercontinental Title: Roddy Piper vs. Bret Hart
There are a lot of signs for Bret in the crowd. As I said, they didn't really show signs in the crowd so I guess you could say this was the WrestleMania debut of fan signs. I remember this match as a kid. I was a huge Bret fan, but I liked Piper a lot too. There weren't a lot of face vs. face matches in this era. It was an even matchup early with each guy getting an armdrag and Bret did a leverage move to send Piper to the floor. Piper came back with a lot of energy as Bret shoved him back. The intensity picked up. Piper whipped him into the ropes, missed a clothesline and hit a dropkick. When Bret landed, he grabbed his shoulder as if he hurt it. Piper thought he was hurt, so Bret rolled him up in an inside cradle for two. Great spot! Piper slapped him hard. Bret ran at him with a crossbody that sent Piper into the ropes and they took a bump over the top rope to the floor. Piper let him back into the ring while Bret was adjusting his boot. When he did that, Piper punched him in the face. They were both faces, but they each did a heel move there. The idea was they would do anything to win. Piper whipped him into the turnbuckle. Bret came up bleeding. In his book he admitted to doing a blade job although he told Vince McMahon that it was a legit cut. The company had a no blood policy at this point, but I guess Bret felt the need for some color here. Fine by me. Piper hit a bulldog for two. Big knee lift by Piper for two. After a whip into the ropes, Hart hit a sunset flip for two. Piper continued to dominate from there. Bret hit him with a flying forearm as a desperation move. Double clothesline sends both guys down for the double KO spot. I love that spot especially in a match that's booked in an even manner like this one.
Piper got up first and climbed to the top rope for some reason. Bret rammed his head to the mat in a DDT position. Bret hit an inverted atomic drop and a suplex for two followed by a Russian legsweep that Gorilla called a neckbreaker. Backbreaker by Bret. Bret went for the Sharpshooter, but Piper blocked the foot with his hand. Hart hit went for his elbow off the middle rope, but Piper countered that one with a boot to the face. After a tie-up, Piper threw Bret into the corner and he hit the ref, knocking him over. Roddy clotheslined Bret to the floor and rammed him head first into the steel steps. Piper grabbed the ring bell while Heenan wondered who the idiot was that was in charge of the bell. The ref was still down while Piper stood over him with the bell. Then Roddy thought better of it. He looked at the crowd. He changed his mind and threw it out of the ring. Heenan called it a sick display when he threw the bell out. Piper put him in the sleeper. Bret put his feet up against the turnbuckle, pushed back and fell back on top of Piper for the victory at 13:51.
Winner: Bret Hart - New Intercontinental Champion
Post match, Piper put the IC Title on Bret's shoulder and helped him to his feet. They hugged in the center of the ring. The crowd loved it.
Analysis: **** I really loved the pace of this match. Slow start, but then it really picked up. That's something Bret was really great at doing. I loved the intensity. It was also booked in a way where you got the feeling that either guy could win the match. I'm not sure if the blood was necessary, but obviously Bret felt it was. Great job with the finish too. The ref was down, Piper thought about cheating and then changed his mind because he respected Bret so much. He didn't want to win that way even though the old Piper would have had no problem winning that way. Then Bret won with a very impressive counter hold. Also you might remember that Bret also used that finish during a classic match against Steve Austin at Survivor Series 1996. This was definitely the best match of Piper's WrestleMania career and probably the best in his entire WWE career, at least from what I've seen. He also didn't get pinned very much. He was very old school in his thinking and, quite frankly, he was a little nuts too. Still is! I've always liked him though. Excellent match.
The announcers did a satellite interview with Lex Luger of the World Bodybuilding Federation. The WBF was a Vince McMahon idea that didn't last long.
In the locker room, The Mountie & The Nasty Boys along with my favorite bad gimmick ever The Repo Man talked trash about their opponents. We then heard from their opponents: Sgt. Slaughter (now a face), Virgil, Big Boss Man & Hacksaw Jim Duggan. All of them gave generic promos. A lot of yelling by all eight guys.
The special guest ring announcer Ray Combs of the Family Feud did the introduction for the four on four tag match. All eight guys were already in the ring. He insulted the heels using comedy.
The Mountie, The Repo Man & The Nasty Boys w/Jimmy Hart vs. Sgt. Slaughter, Virgil, Big Boss Man & Hacksaw Jim Duggan
If this show was four hours long like the previous WrestleManias they would have had a bunch of singles or tags involving these guys. Instead we got the eight man tag, which is fine by me. It's better than a bunch of filler matches. Bobby Heenan: "I've got a special announcement to make: Shawn Michaels as left the building." Gorilla: Who cares?!?!" I loved these two. Haha. They always did that for HBK. Lots of quick tags at the start here. Slaughter worked over Knobbs, setting him down with a back elbow to the gut and then Boss Man hit a big boot. Boss Man whipped Knobbs in, he moved and Boss Man went crashing in the corner. Repo Man time! He's going to steal the show. Bad joke. Deal with it. Repo Man was Smash from Demolition. Boss Man threw some punches. Boss Man was one of the best wrestlers ever at throwing punches. Virgil got a crossbody for two. He had a protective mask on his face here because he had a broken nose. On the apron, Hacksaw started a "USA" chant. He was the best at being loud without a microphone. Mountie went to the middle rope, jumped off and Bossman caught him with a spinebuster even though Virgil was the legal man. All eight guys started brawling. Sags goes to hit Virgil in the face while Knobbs was holding him, but Virgil moved and Sags punched his partner in the face. Virgil covered for the win at 6:33.
Winners: Sgt. Slaughter, Virgil, Big Boss Man & Hacksaw Jim Duggan
Analysis: 3/4* Boring match. The booking for the finish was a little odd, but a nice babyface win makes the fans happy I guess. As it turned out the Repo Man did not steal the show.
In the locker room, Sean Mooney interviewed World Champion Ric Flair along with his executive consultant Mr. Perfect. Perfect was dealing with an injury at this point in his career although he would return. They had threatened to show pics of Elizabeth. Flair cut an awesome promo about how Savage was going to try to capture the most coveted trophy of them all. He told Randy that when it's over Randy should look at the big screen because Mr. Perfect will be showing the centerfold to the world.
Backstage, Mean Gene was standing outside of Macho Man's locker room door saying that Macho Man didn't want to talk to anybody.
There was a big entrance for Ric Flair as Heenan told lies about how expensive Flair's robe was. Even though Heenan was an announcer, he also dabbled as a manager of Ric Flair as well. He was very biased towards Flair as an announcer, which made the 1992 Royal Rumble even more fun. This of course is Flair's WrestleMania debut. Savage got a huge pop as soon as his music hit. He was pissed at Flair for what he was threatening to do regarding the photos of Elizabeth. He ran to the ring.
WWF World Heavyweight Title: Ric Flair w/Mr. Perfect vs. Randy Savage
Savage chased Flair at the beginning, attacking him up the aisle. In the ring, Savage hit a clothesline and then his knee to the back that sent Flair to the turnbuckle. Savage was relentless, countering an atomic drop into a clothesline. Savage charged in and Flair gave him a back body drop over the top rope all the way to the floor. Flair drove his back into the side of the ring apron. No sign of Elizabeth yet. Heenan was putting over the angle that Elizabeth was with Flair a long time ago. Flair hit a couple of suplexes that earned him two counts. Heenan: "Come on Ric, show me the pictures!" Flair continued the assault, kicking Savage out to the floor. He drove his back into the side of the ring again. Flair hit a delayed vertical suplex for a two count. Flair continued the beatdown, stomping on him in the corner. After getting beat up for about five minutes, Savage hit a neckbreaker. Flair used a thumb to slow him down, then Flair went up to the top and of course he got slammed off the top because that's what usually happened. It was a bigger bump than normal too. Savage hit him with a back body drop as well as a couple of clotheslines. He whipped Flair into the corner, Ric did the upside down bump, landed on his feet, ran to the other turnbuckle and leaped off only to get hit with a Savage punch to the head for a two count. That was almost comical. Savage hit a clothesline to knock Flair out of the ring again. Savage to the top and he hit Flair in the back with the double axe. Flair went into the guard rail. He came up bleeding. Flair got heat backstage for the blade job apparently. Like I said, they were told not to bleed. Savage continued the attack on the floor, ramming Flair into the post and Ric did the Flair flop on the floor. Savage hit a suplex on the floor.
Back in the ring, Savage didn't want to cover him. He beat on Flair with punches. Savage went to the top and hit a great double axehandle for two. Savage hit a body slam and then went up for the Flying Elbow. He hit the elbow to a thunderous ovation. As he went for the cover, Mr. Perfect pulled Savage out of the ring. The ref didn't see it. Savage chased him and they went into the ring. Perfect threw brass knucks to Flair while the ref was distracted. Flair punched Savage in the face and then he threw it back to Perfect. One...two...no. I remember thinking that was it when I was a kid. Gorilla: "What a match!" Indeed. With Flair distracting the ref, Perfect grabbed a steel chair and jabbed Savage in the left knee with it. At this point, Elizabeth came running the down the aisle although she was stopped by officials including Shane McMahon. He was 22 years old at this time. A bunch of other officials emerged to tell Elizabeth to go to the back. Flair worked over Savage's knee and applied the Figure Four Leglock. Flair cheated with Perfect because Earl Hebner was staring at Savage only. I don't know if Earl Hebner was the best ref ever, but he was the best at looking like a dumbass. Savage turned over the Figure Four, which put the pressure on Flair. They got back up to their feet, Flair went for a slam, Savage turned it into a small package and I thought that was it too. Nope. Flair kicked out. The suits continued to tell Elizabeth to leave. She did not. Heenan was saying that Liz was there to cheer on Flair. "It's for you baby," yelled Flair to Liz. Flair hit a knee breaker. Savage blocked a punch, rolled him up and hooked the tights for the 1...2...3 at 18:02.
Winner: Randy Savage - New WWF World Heavyweight Champion
The reaction to Savage's win was a loud ovation by the 60,000+ people. Amazing noise when the ref's hand hit the mat for the third time. Elizabeth went into the ring to celebrate. The blood was in Flair's hair looking like only he can look...woo! Flair went up to Elizabeth and forced a kiss on her. She slapped him repeatedly. Macho attacked him. He almost knocked Liz over when he went after Flair. The officials helped Savage to his feet. He was still selling the knee injury. The feud would continue into the summer.
Analysis: ****1/2 The intensity was very high in this match that featured two of the greatest wrestlers ever. In terms of having all the tools as an overall performer, few were better than Flair & Savage. The emotion displayed in the match was tremendous. You could really break it down into three acts with Flair dominating early, Savage brutally assaulting him leading to the blood and then finally the conclusion when Elizabeth made her way to ringside. Flair was fantastic in terms of drawing heat, focusing on the knee of Savage and doing everything he could to rile up the crowd. Savage was the perfect babyface here, showing tremendous courage and doing what he had to in order to win. It was a great story that wasn't finished by any means, but the result of this match was something the fans really enjoyed.
When I was a kid I wondered why they would have the World Title match so early. When you see what happens in the main event it makes sense, but this would have been a fine way to end the show too. There was even a fireworks celebration that probably made my good friend Sean happy, who was in attendance at this show. He wanted a shoutout, so he got one.
In the locker room, Mooney interviewed Perfect and Flair. "Shut up Mooney!" Perfect said it the other time he talked to Mooney too. I agree with Perfect. He complained about Savage having his tights. All of a sudden, Bobby Heenan showed up from the booth and mentioned Savage holding the tights. Flair said that he got lucky this one time, but it won't last. Perfect called Flair the greatest WWF Champion of all time. They replayed the finish. Savage definitely held the tights. Flair said he was going to beat him bad and every time he sees Elizabeth he's going to kiss her on her moist lips. Did he use those same lines on the four wives he accumulated over the years?
Backstage, Mean Gene talked to Macho Man with Elizabeth and the World Title. He was still selling the knee injury. Savage basically said he proved that he would do anything to win. Gene asked Elizabeth if she felt vindicated. Savage gave Liz the title saying it's for her and went on a rant saying that his fist is for Flair. Not the greatest Savage promo, but still good.
They showed the WrestleMania 8 press conference where Jack Tunney named the #1 contender for the World Title. He said Hulk Hogan. Sid Justice was mad about it. They were in a tag match on Saturday Night's Main Event and Sid didn't tag in when Hulk reached out to him. Brutus Beefcake yelled at Sid and Sid told him that Hulk could help himself. Sid was a guest on Beefcake's talk show and he destroyed his set with a chair. It led to the comical moment of Sid hitting a fire extinguisher with the chair and then the substance from the extinguisher was on Sid's face. The videos concluded with clips of Sid destroying some jobbers.
Backstage, Rick "The Model" Martel talked trash about Tatanka. That match was next.
Tatanka vs. Rick Martel
Tatanka was the face here making his WrestleMania debut. Gorilla and Heenan were arguing a lot because Bobby was still mad about Flair's loss. Tatanka had control early, but then Martel took over by throwing him out to the floor. Martel hit a backbreaker. The crowd wasn't into this one too much. Martel went to the top and Tatanka knocked him off. Tatanka hit a back body drop, but Tatanka came back with a kick to the face. He whipped Tatanka in the ropes, Tatanka hit a cross body block and he covered to win the match at 4:30.
Analysis: 1/2* Boring match with no heat. Crowd didn't care. Neither did I.
In the locker room, Mooney talked to Ted Dibiase & IRS along with Jimmy Hart. They didn't say too much.
Backstage, Mean Gene talked to Earthquake & Typhoon. They were babyfaces here, previously managed by Jimmy Hart. They were very fat. I don't know what else to say about that interview. I've heard better, that's for sure.
Tag Team Titles: Money Inc. (Ted Dibiase & Irwin R. Schyster) w/Jimmy Hart vs. The Natural Disasters (Earthquake & Typhoon)
The announcers kept talking about Savage vs. Flair. This wasn't going to be a technical wrestling clinic, that's for sure. Earthquake used his power on Dibiase early. He got some clotheslines on Ted and one for Irwin too. Typhoon joined the fun as the two of them did a DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER~! on the tag champs. The champs regrouped. Typhoon hit an arm drag on IRS. Of the two Disasters, Earthquake was more successful than his partner, who also went by the name Tugboat. He was also the infamous Shockmaster in WCW too! Typhoon missed a charge on Irwin in the corner so Irwin tagged in Dibiase who quickly got overpowered. Looks like they missed a spot as Ted held onto the ropes. Then Typhoon charged in, Ted ducked and Typhoon slowly went over the top to the floor. That was a delayed bump. Money Inc hit a double clothesline leading to a two count. Double back elbow for Money Inc. The heels isolated Typhoon, who was the natural disaster in peril. Double clothesline with Dibiase & Typhoon. Heenan: "They're both down or has the big guy fallen asleep." Hot tag to Earthquake. Crowd didn't care too much. He gets clotheslines on both Money Inc. guys and then the Disasters whip Dibiase into Irwin. They throw Dibiase out. Typhoon gets a splash on IRS. Earthquake starts the tremors, but Dibiase & Hart pull Irwin out of the ring. They grabbed the tag titles and walked away. The Natural Disasters stand in the ring doing nothing. Countout win at 8:38 with Money Inc. retaining the titles.
Winners: The Natural Disasters via countout
Analysis: DUD Awful match. The crowd didn't care much for the Natural Disasters. The finish sucked. Dibiase & Irwin worked hard, but they couldn't do much with these guys. Worst match of the night so far.
Backstage, Mean Gene talked to Brutus Beefcake who was out of action with a face injury after a boating accident. He talked about how he was one of Hulk Hogan's best friends. He said Hulkamania would live forever.
Skinner vs. Owen Hart
This is Owen's second WrestleMania, but the first as himself wrestling in a babyface role here. At WrestleMania 5 he wrestled as the Blue Blazer. Skinner was the heel. Skinner is a heel. He is Steve Keirn, who is the head trainer at WWE's developmental company FCW. Skinner gets a shoulderbreaker early. He gets a reverse DDT about a minute in. Owen showed off his athleticism by skinning the cat back in after a whip over the top rope and then rolled him up to win at 1:10.
Winner: Owen Hart
Analysis: 1/4* Way too short. At least the right man won.
In the locker room, Gene talked to Sid Justice. He called himself the master. Sid promised it would be Hogan's last match.
They cut to an interview with Vince McMahon talking to Hulk Hogan asking him if this is going to be his last match. Hulk says he won't know if it's his last match until he gets out there. Vince thanked him for the memories, for the inspiration and for Hulkamania. Twenty years ago they were talking about this as if it could be Hogan's last match. Did anybody really believe it? Doubt it.
Back to Sid, he said he didn't care about the memories of Hulkamania. Sid: "I curse you! I curse you and every Hulkamanic!" Then he said he was the ruler of the world. He's certainly not the ruler of promos.
Dr. Harvey Wippleman introduced Sid Justice. He got decent heat, but it wasn't overwhelming. He wasn't that over as a heel. Gorilla mentioned calling him Psycho Sid. That would be his name a few years later. Big pop for Hogan of course, who is still rocking the American flag on his shirt.
Sid Justice w/Harvey Wippleman vs. Hulk Hogan
Sid jumped him early. Hogan fought him off with punches. His music was playing during all of it. That sure woke the crowd up after the last two matches were terrible. They had the big staredown, which was common in every Hogan match. Sid's strength was that he had an intimidating look to him. He was terrible in the ring, though. One of the worst in-ring performers ever, really. Sid had control briefly, but Hulk knocked him out with punches again and Sid walked outside the ring a bit. They did the test of strength. Sid dominated it early, Hulk was on his knees and then he got back to his feet. Sid drove him in the corner. Five minutes of "action" and nothing has happened. Hulk hit a clothesline. He went after Wippleman. When he turned around, Sid gave him a move that we would come to know as a chokeslam. He didn't put his left hand on the back of Hulk, but with his right slam he did the chokeslam. Instead of covering, Sid walked over to the camera to talk trash. Wippleman distracted the ref, so Sid hit Hulk in the back with Harvey's doctor bag without the ref seeing it. Sid grabbed a hold of Hulk's trapezius to slow the action down even more. Sid was yelling: "Give it up Hulk. Give it up." I wish he did so this match would be over. The ref raised Hulk's arm twice and of course it didn't drop three times. Sid cut off the comeback with a side suplex, which was the most technical wrestling hold that Sid could do. Sid hit the powerbomb and covered for two. Hulk powered out doing the usual Hulking Up routine. The crowd loved it as Hogan nailed Sid with punches and threw Sid into both turnbuckles. Hulk hit the big boot. Sid didn't go down. Hulk hit the body slam. Hulk hit the leg drop. Sid kicked out as Harvey went into the ring. A kick out of the leg drop? That wasn't supposed to happen. The ref DQ'd Sid because Wippleman went into the ring. Hogan won by DQ at 12:28.
Winner: Hulk Hogan via DQ
After the bell rang, Papa Shango ran down to the ring. As far as I know, he missed his cue. I guess he was busy pimping some ho's because pimping ain't easy. Yes folks, Shango was later known as Kama and also the Godfather. He was supposed to come out when Hogan hit the big leg. By not coming out, Sid kicked out of Hogan's finisher which was a big no-no. Shango & Sid double teamed Hogan. All of a sudden, the Ultimate Warrior's music started up. He ran down to the ring to a thunderous ovation. I'm talking really loud. Wow. I remember it as one of the biggest pops ever, but it was even bigger than I remembered. This was his return after leaving the company in the summer of 1991 over some money disputes.
Warrior entered the ring and clotheslined Papa Shango out of the ring. Sid hit Warrior in the back with a chair. Hulk saved Warrior from another attack. Warrior shook the ropes. The crowd went wild as Hogan & Warrior posed in the ring together.
Analysis: 1/2* Bad match. I think that rating might be too nice. I thought Sid's offense was awful. The Hulk Up sequence was okay, but not as impactful as normal because Hogan didn't take a lot of punishment here. Sid wasn't very good. He was out of the company soon after this. I'm not sure if it's because this match sucked so bad or if there was another reason. I agree with the decision, though. He would come back, of course. Warrior's return was a lot of fun. It genuinely surprised a lot of us at the time. Still, the mistake by Papa Shango in not breaking up the pinfall was a big error because Sid had to kick out of the leg drop, which is something that never happened and made Hulk look weak. The announcers didn't put it over, of course, because it was unplanned.
To end the show, Hogan & Warrior celebrated together. The crowd loved it as more fireworks went off. Everybody loved fireworks. Heenan: "What else can happen here?" More posing.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
- I've seen the Savage/Flair match dozens of times prior to this writing. I still enjoyed it a lot. I felt like writing about it made me appreciate it even more because like I said they really had three different stages of the match. It worked. The surprising finish was done to allow the feud to continue. They had a lot of matches later in the year with Savage dropping the title to Flair later in the fall, but this one at WrestleMania is the one people will remember the most. Great work in the ring combined with an interesting story and a hot crowd helped to make this one a classic.
- You didn’t see a lot of face vs. face matches during this time period. Obviously the Hogan/Warrior match at WM6 was the biggest face vs. face match ever, but Hart/Piper was very good. I can remember thinking that Piper would turn heel because he was so great as a heel. In the end, though, they both stayed babyface and each guy looked like a winner after it was over. I love how this was booked.
- The Warrior return was really well down. I wonder if it would have been leaked onto the internet if it was around in no days. We had no idea. That's what made the pop from the crowd so special. They were genuinely surprised. Those are the best kinds of surprises.
- Can you tell I didn't like Sid very much? Awful performer. I'm glad I don't have to review another one of his stinkers for a few years.
- I loved the performance of Monsoon & Heenan on commentary. This was their last time doing a WrestleMania together. Heenan did one more before going to WCW while Monsoon didn't call another WrestleMania again. They were a lot of fun, though, as always.
Best Match: Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair - Loved this match and the drama involved.
Worst Match: Money Inc. vs. The Natural Disasters - Boring. It's a shame a talent like Dibiase was involved in this one.
Most Memorable Moment: Ultimate Warrior returns - The main event was awful, but Warrior's return was a great moment. His return didn't even last a year, though.
1. Randy Savage - It wasn't the last time Savage wrestled at a WrestleMania, but the last time I'd consider him the first star. He was the first star of 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 in my opinion. I'm probably biased a bit because he was my favorite wrestler when I was growing up, but I think most would agree that he was incredible on these shows.
2. Ric Flair - Did an excellent job in his WrestleMania debut. His second WrestleMania match would be ten years later.
3. Bret Hart - Awesome match. He'd go on to win his first World Title later in the year.
4. Roddy Piper - One of his best matches ever, no question about it. It meant a lot to Bret that he did the clean job.
5. Gorilla Monsoon - His last WrestleMania as the main play by play announcer. He called the first eight. Listening to him call these shows again made me appreciate how much I enjoyed his work. I need to use more Gorilla Monsoon lines in my everyday life.
Show rating (out of 10): 7
This gets the same rating as WrestleMania 3 although I'm going to put it ahead of it in the rankings just because there were two really good matches at this one. Those matches were of course the Savage/Flair and Hart/Piper matches. The opener was pretty good too. There were also less bad matches than there were on the previous Manias because the show was an hour shorter. The main event didn't give us a Hogan match as good as some of his previous ones, but the ending with the Ultimate Warrior returning made it a lot of fun.
Should they have done Flair vs. Hogan here? Perhaps. However, with Hogan's future in serious doubt I believe they made the right call in not involving him in the World Title. Plus we got the awesome Savage/Flair rivalry that carried the company in 1992. I'm glad we didn't get Flair/Hogan here. In 1994, WCW did the feud and it did very well for that company.
On the True Story of WrestleMania DVD, when they talked about this show they spoke as if this was a poor event. It was not. It was very good. I'm sure there's some political reason behind that feeling. From an entertainment standpoint I'd consider WrestleMania 8 a success.
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John Canton firstname.lastname@example.org