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WWF WrestleMania VIII
April 5th 1992
Hoosier Dome, Indianapolis, Indiana
Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan
WrestleMania returned to a dome stadium as the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis hosted the event. This edition of WrestleMania was headlined by two main events! The WWF Champion Ric Flair, who was making his WrestleMania debut, was defending the title against Macho Man Randy Savage. The other main event was Hulk Hogan going against Sid Vicious, who was also making his WrestleMania debut.
When Ric Flair won the WWF title at the 1992 Royal Rumble, many people thought the WrestleMania main event would have been Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair. It was a dream match since Flair was a long time NWA Champion and Hulk was the poster boy of the WWF. The story goes, the match was tested at house shows but management didn’t think it was well done so they changed the match. The Flair/ Savage storyline was centred on an alleged past relationship Flair had with Elizabeth which made the feud more personal. Flair also claimed that he’ll be posting “personal photos” on the giant screens inside the Hoosier Dome. As for Hogan, it was heavily rumoured that this would be his farewell match. The 5 year old version of Andy Sheriff was hoping it wasn’t true, thankfully it wasn’t (see what I did there?).
We get the always present video package. The presentation in these videos has greatly improved. Vince McMahon does his typical yelling voiceover with the focus being on the double main events. We got a wide shot of the Hoosier Dome. It isn’t exactly WrestleMania 3 standards but it’s an impressive sight nonetheless. Monsoon & Heenan welcome us to the show. Reba McEntire performs America the Beautiful.
“El Matador” Tito Santana vs. Shawn Michaels /w/ Sherri
Is it just me or did Santana look embarrassed whenever you seen him under the El Matador gimmick? Shawn was in the early stages of his singles run. He was such an awesome cocky heel! There was a little stalling by Michaels at the start of the match, giving him to work the crowd and get them against him and in the corner of Santana. A testament to the abilities of Michaels and Santana, the crowd was very into this one, more so because of Michaels’ heel work as the crowd really hated him when he was in charge of the match. Michaels’ blended seamlessly between the cocky, arrogant Michaels in control, and the crybaby, begging-off heel when on the defensive. During the match, obviously, there was interference from Sherri, which got the crowd even more against Michaels and on the side of Santana. Near the end of the match, Michaels hit his Superkick, which Santana kicked out of, but nevertheless it was Michaels who went over, with the finish being that Santana attempted to suplex him back into the ring from the apron, only for Michaels to fall on Santana in-ring and get the three count. Post-match, Sherri laid down in front of Michaels while he did his crouching taunt, which worked too good heel effect.
Winner: Shawn Michaels via pindfall
Rating: ** ½
A great showcase for HBK in his WrestleMania debut as a singles star. Santana was coming towards the end of his career and was mainly used to help put over new talent so it made sense for the younger guy to get the victory here.
Mean Gene brings out the Legion of Doom, alongside them, is their long-time manager Paul Ellering who was making his WWF debut. They lost the tag titles to Money Inc. (DiBiase & IRS) a couple of months before this. I also remember a dummy named Rocco soon after this. This was a long promo, over five minutes long and I still have no idea what they were saying!
Backstage, Sean Mooney is with Jake Roberts. Roberts is now a heel and a damn good one too. They played clips of Roberts attacking Undertaker with a steel chair. “Trust me”. Evil Jake rules.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. The Undertaker /w/ Paul Bearer.
This was basically a glorified squash match, with Undertaker no selling everything Jake threw at him, including two DDT’s, from which Undertaker did his ‘sitting up’ horror movie monster shtick. Jake delivers a punch sending Taker over the top to the floor, but Taker pulls Jake out with him and posts him. Jake rolls back in, and Taker follows, running into a knee lift. Jake whips Taker into the corner, but Taker quickly fires back with a right hand a whip of his own. Taker continues to choke out Jake in the corner, before another whip and more choking. Open handed upper cut is delivered to Jake, before another whip. Taker continues to choke, and then delivers an elbow drop. Taker comes off the ropes with a flying clothesline, and follows up with a tombstone attempt. Jake counters and DDT’s Taker out of nowhere. Taker sits up from it so Jake gives him a short clothesline and a DDT again. Again Taker is right back up. Jake goes out after Paul Bearer, but Taker stalks him and gives him a tombstone on the floor. Taker fires Jake back inside and pins him
Winner: The Undertaker via pinfall
Rating: * ½
Both guys did really well. Jake got some offence in but he had no chance. That Tombstone on the outside drew a loud response from the crowd. Jake left the WWF after this show, he’ll return for WrestleMania 12. Undertaker is now 2-0 at WrestleMania.
Mean Gene Okerlund is with the Intercontinental Champion, Rowdy Roddy Piper and the challenger to the title, Bret Hart. The Intercontinental title is the only championship Piper had ever held in the WWF. 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.
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper ©
The two started the match with a clear idea of telling a story thru the match, as they hadn’t been involved in an extensive program prior to locking-up. They started slow, using arm-drags, collar and elbow ties ups etc, then slowly Piper started using a more brawling style which worked the crowd greatly. The crowd was 50/50, without hyperbole, until Piper started brawling more and using a few cheap tricks like slapping Hart across the face and spitting his chewing gum at him. The basic story early on was that Piper couldn’t out-wrestle Hart, so he resorted to heel tactics and short cuts, which Monsoon played up to help get Hart over even more. At around the 8:44 mark, the referee pointed to Hart’s boot, as if something was amiss, to which Hart responded by reaching for his boot, only to have Piper nail him with a sucker punch right hand. The deal was, Piper was reaching for the blade for the impending blade job. Hart has never been a good blader, and this was no exception, although it worked to a certain extent because WWE didn’t feature many bloody matches around this time period. By this point in the match, Piper officially the heel of the match, with him getting roundly booed by the vast majority of the Dome. It was clear from midway thru the match that Hart was going over in this one, as he was built up great by Piper as the heroic babyface challenger, and add to that the way Piper was wrestling. It was a little disheartening to see a ref bump as part of the home shot, when Bret had Piper in a headlock, and Piper shot Hart into the ref. With Hart down, Piper to the chance to go to the outside and get the ring bell, with intentions of losing Hart a few brain cells. With the crowd now 90% against him, Piper teased levelling Hart, but eventually tossed the bell ringside, and instead applied his Sleeper finish, only for Hart to kick up against the turnbuckle, and flip backwards with the Sleeper still on, and get the three count from the revived referee. Piper hands over the IC Title to Bret. The pop when he won was big, but that’s understandable when he had Piper doing everything to get him over and wrestling heel for large parts of the match. Post match, Piper snatched the I.C title from the ref, and teased a heel turn, but instead placed the title on the shoulder of the bloodied Hart on the mat, and helped him up. The two walked to the back together.
Winner & NEW WWF Intercontinental Champion: Bret Hart via pinfall
Rating: **** ½
I really enjoyed the pace of this match. They started off slow and build to a faster pace. That was something Bret was always good at; it would be a trademark for many of his matches. It was important for Roddy to get heelish so Bret will get some sympathy from the crowd. The spot where Piper was going to hit Bret with the ring bell was done perfectly. The old Piper would have had no problem resorting to devious ways but Piper was fighting with his conscience and eventually in the end, he just couldn’t bring himself to do it because he had too much respect for Bret. This match was booked to get Hart over, and it did that to its fullest extent, and Piper should be credited as being a big help to establishing him a major singles force. Like Undertaker/Roberts, one man’s WWE career was ending, while another was just beginning.
The announcers did a live satellite interview with Lex Luger of the WBF (World Bodybuilding Federation). The WBF was one of many bad ideas from Vince McMahon (XFL anyone?). Pretty bad segment with Luger flexing his muscles.
In the locker room, The Mountie, The Nasty Boys and 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.
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 Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Saggs), The Mountie & Repo Man /w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Big Boss Man, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Sgt Slaughter & Virgil.
This six man was a card-filler, which had a little history to it, as Virgil was wearing a nose protecting mask after the Nasty Boys had broken his nose in a working fashion. . Bobby Heenan: “I’ve got a special announcement to make: Shawn Michaels as left the building.” Gorilla: Who cares?!?!” I loved these two. Family Feud host Ray Combs handles the ring introductions for this one. He tells a series of lame jokes directed at the heels until they attempt to attack him. The faces come to the rescue and deliver a quadruple clothesline sending all the heels to the floor. Finally things settle down and Duggan starts with Sags. Sags fires Duggan into the buckle, but comes off the ropes into a clothesline. Atomic drop from Duggan is followed by a tag to Slaughter. Sags gets a shot in allowing a tag to Knobs. Slaughter whips Knobs into the corner and delivers a clothesline and gutbuster. Double stomp and back elbow follow for Sarge before a tag to Bossman. He whips Knobs into the corner, but Knobs moves out of the way of a charge allowing him to tag in Repo Man. Repo comes in and whips Bossman to the ropes. Shoulderblock from Bossman connects, but he misses a big splash. Repo tries to come down on Bossman, but Bossman gets his fist up for a low blow. Tag to Virgil who delivers a dropkick and flying crossbody for two. Knobs breaks up the cover. Repo delivers a side suplex and tags in Sags. Slam from Sags gets two and he tags in Mountie. Mountie goes off the second rope but runs into a spinebuster from Bossman. All eight guys end up in the ring as things break loose. Everyone ends up on the floor except for the Nastys and Virgil. Knobs holds Virgil for Sags, but Virgil ducks out of the way and Sags nails Knobs allowing Virgil to pick up the pin for the face team
Winners: Big Boss Man, Virgil, Hacksaw Jim Duggan & Sgt Slaughter via pinfall
Rating: ½ *
As I said before, this was a filler match before the Flair/ Savage match. A babyface win which left the fans happy. 5 of the 8 men involved would not compete at WrestleMania again.
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.
Ric Flair © /w/ Mr Perfect vs. Macho Man Randy Savage
Starting out at a hectic pace, Savage was working the proverbial man possessed chasing the Nature Boy all around ringside, and quickly gaining the upper hand in the ring. The two had the crowd behind everything, with Flair showing why he’s considered the greatest ever, using psychology to its fullest, and Savage reacting to everything Flair created. At moments, it was hard to believe that both had had fifteen year careers prior to this match, and it was rather like going back to when Flair was the NWA champion, and when Savage was an awesome worker for various different promotions in the South. Mr Perfect was also a key to the greatness of the match, interjecting himself at crucial moments, tweaking the match and working the crowd into more of an frenzy in the process. This one was booked as the classic ‘babyface overcoming all the odds stacked against him to the win the title’ match, and told a story via the match. Savage and Flair throughout the match Flair worked over Savage’s knee, using more psychology, and stacking even more odds against the challenger. Savage sold the knee awesomely as well, making the fans believe it was only a matter time before Flair slapped on the his patented Figure Four Leglock finish.
Near the finish of the match, the gorgeous Elizabeth came to ringside, electing a big reaction from the Hoosier Dome faithful, and was followed by a horde of road agents and referees trying in vein tell her to go back to the dressing room. She refused, and the crowd heat was upped umpteen amount of times as chaos ensured with all the agents (one of whom was a young Shane McMahon) and refs yelling at Elizabeth to go to the back, while Flair had Savage in danger in-ring, with Savage’s wife looking on and cheering for her husband. Right near the finish, Mr Perfect utilised some blatant interference, including Savage chasing him around ringside and into the ring, and grabbing hold of his tie, with referee Earl Hebner sandwiched in-between allowing the ‘Executive Consultant’ to throw his downed charge Flair a foreign object. The end result, Flair levelled Savage with the object, to which he only gets a (dramatic) two-count, to a massive pop. The finish proper came when Flair grabs Savage’s left while both are standing, and throws a right hand at his challenger’s knee, to which Savage blocks, nails Flair with a right hand of his own, which makes Flair spin showing his back to Savage, and the hero babyface challenger uses a Schoolboy on Flair for the one-two-three, and WWE title. 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.
Winner & NEW WWF Champion: Macho Man Randy Savage via pinfall
Rating: **** ½
The intensity was very high in this match that featured two of the absolute best in the business. Flair was tremendous at drawing heat, focusing on Savage’s knee and getting reactions from the crowd. As for Savage, his selling was top class. He truly made you feel that he broke his leg. The finish wasn’t great but the result of this match was something all the fans could enjoy.
Sean Mooney interviews Flair and Perfect. Both of whom are mad as hell. Flair says that Macho got lucky this time but it won’t last.
Okerlund is standing with WWF Champion, Macho Man, who is still doing an Oscar worthy performance of selling his knee injury, and Elizabeth. 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. The Flair-Savage feud would carry most of ’92.
“The Model” Rick Martel vs. Tatanka
Tatanka was the face here making his WrestleMania debut. He was on a winning streak at the time. 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; they were burnt out from the previous match. 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.
Winner: Tatanka via pinfall
Rating: ½ *
Boring match with no heat. Crowd weren’t into it.
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 faces here, previously managed by Jimmy Hart who turned on them. They were looking for revenge.
WWF Tag Team Championship
Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase & Irwin R. Schyster)©/w/ Jimmy Hart vs. The Natural Disasters (Earthquake & Typhoon)
With the size of Earthquake and Typhoon, the match was of a slow pace as is expected, and this was not a classic tag match, it wasn’t even of an average fare. Disasters had recently turned face after Jimmy Hart sold their title shot to Money, Inc. Quake starts with DiBiase, and fires him into the corner. DiBiase goes for an armbar, but gets shoved down. DiBiase gives Quake a knee, but gets fired into the ropes and gets a clothesline. IRS comes in and gets a clothesline of his own. Typhoon comes in and it’s the dreaded double noggin knocker for the champs as they bail to the floor. Back inside and IRS takes his chances with Quake. Quake grabs an armwringer and tags in Typhoon. He delivers a hiptoss to IRS, and IRS tries to bail, but Typhoon stops him by stepping on his tie. Typhoon rams IRS into the buckle 10 times and goes for an avalanche, but IRS moves out of the way and tags in DiBiase. Typhoon quickly gains control of DiBiase, and hits the ropes for a crossbody, but DiBiase moves and Typhoon goes flying over the top. IRS fires him into the steps on the outside as Money, Inc. take control. DiBiase tags IRS and they deliver a double clothesline for two. DiBiase tags back in and gets some shots in. After another quick tag to IRS they send Typhoon into the ropes and hit a double back elbow. Front facelock is applied by IRS, and Typhoon is able to push into the corner getting the tag to Quake. Unfortunately the referee is tied up with DiBiase and doesn’t see it. DiBiase tags in himself and continues to pound on Typhoon. Finally a double clothesline spot allows the hot tag to Quake who drives the shoulders into IRS. All four men end up in the ring and the Disasters whip the champs into each other. IRS gets hit with the Typhoon splash and that sets him up for the Earthquake splash. DiBiase pulls IRS out of the ring, and DiBiase takes the belts and the intentional count out to save the titles. On the biggest WWE show of the year, the tag champs walked out cheating the fans out of a decisive finish either way. Why even bother booking a title match on a show if you don’t give a clean finish?
Winners: The Natural Disasters via countout
Awful match. DiBiase and Irwin worked hard but it was limited as to what the Natural Disasters could do. They deserved better!
Mean Gene Okerlund is standing with “one of the all-time greats”, Brutus Beefcake. Yes, he actually said that. He talks about being Hulk Hogan’s best friend and that Hulkamania will live forever.
Skinner vs. Owen Hart
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.
Winner: Owen Hart via pinfall
Too short to give a rating to. Complete filler before the big main event.
Mean Gene Okerlund is with Sid Justice and Harvey Whippleman. Sid refers to Okerlund as a “fat, bald headed little oaf” and he’ll make sure this is Hulk Hogan’s last match. The camera cuts to pre-recorded footage of an interview with Vince McMahon asking Hulk Hogan if this will be his final match. Hogan, who isn’t in full on “Hulk-a-rant” mode but rather a normal person, says just thinking about that was scary and how he has all these different ventures with Movies going on in his personal life. Hogan finishes off saying that he won’t know until the match is over whether or not this was his final match. Vince thanks him for the memories, for the inspiration and for Hulkamania.
Back to Sid, he says that he doesn’t care about the memories of Hulkamania and that he curses every Hulkamanic. As a Kid, I was shit scared when he said that because I was a massive Hulkamanic.
Back in the ring, Dr. Harvey Wippleman introduced Sid Justice. 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 jumps him as he enters the ring, and they do a quick sequence with Hogan’s Real American music still playing all the while. Hogan sends Sid to the floor with a few right hands and then rips off his shirt to the delight of the crowd. Sid tries to get back in, but Hogan nails him off the apron three times. He poses, alone in the ring, with his music still playing. It finally stops, the bell rings, and Sid climbs back in. The crowd gets very loud with a big “Hogan” chant. Sid and Hulk do the staredown in the middle of the ring and Sid kicks him in the gut. He punches and kicks away, but Hogan puts him back on the floor with some punches. Sid comes in and demands a test of strength, to which Hogan obliges. Sid wins it and holds Hogan in it for a few minutes, but Hogan regains his vertical base and breaks the hold. He whips Sid into the corner and follows in with a clothesline, but Harvey Wippleman distracts him, and Hogan walks right into a Sid one-handed chokeslam. Sid puts him on the floor and nails him with Harvey’s doctor’s bag while Harvey distracts the referee. Gorilla and Heenan aren’t really arguing here since there’s nothing left to argue about, and this is being implied as what is potentially Hogan’s last match. They’re actually doing an excellent job of calling the match. Back inside the ring, Sid goes to a nerve hold. Hogan battles out, but Sid side suplexes him. He goes for the Powerbomb to finish things off, and hits it, but Hogan kicks out at two in classic Hulk fashion, and starts to hulk up. The crowd goes crazy as Hogan scores with three fists and takes Sid’s head to two opposite turnbuckles. He whips him in and hits the big boot, but Sid doesn’t go down. Hogan bodyslams him, then drops the leg and covers, as Harvey gets on the apron. Sid kicks out at two, to the shock of everyone, including Hogan. Hogan roughs up Harvey and throws him at Sid, as Hebner rings the bell for the DQ. Sid and Hogan brawl, and Papa Shango of all people comes down to help Sid beatdown Hogan, two on one. Sid goes to get a steel chair, and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, the Ultimate Warrior’s music starts playing. To say that the entire crowd was shocked would be an understatement. Warrior runs down the aisle and clotheslines Shango out of the ring as the crowd goes insane. Sid nails the Warrior with a chair, but Hogan saves on another chairshot attempt, and clears the ring of Justice. The smoke clears and everyone realizes what just happened. Hogan acts as surprised as everyone else. The Warrior had been gone for six months and had returned to save the man that he’d wrestled against two years ago at WrestleMania. Hogan’s music starts to play, and Hogan and the Warrior embrace, then do some posing for the crowd. Hogan grabs a sign from a ringside fan that reads “Bring Back The Warrior”. Fireworks go off, as the show comes to a close.
Winner: Hulk Hogan via DQ
Rating: ½ *
A boring match which wasn’t of the typical Hogan mould that we’re used to. Hogan got a big reaction from the fans, but it wasn’t the pop we were used to in the past. His popularity was fading. Warrior’s return was totally unexpected and the fan’s reaction proved that. That was by far the biggest and best surprise ending there had ever been. Absolutely no one expected that, and it was a terrific moment for all to see. Hogan would take a long break from wrestling after this whiles Sid & Warrior left the company later in the year.
Hulkamania and Hulk Hogan are alive and well, and not only did we not lose a hero, but we gained one back as well. The show ends with Hogan and Warrior doing some poses.
Best match: Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage – No question about it, this was simply flawless.
Worst match: Money Inc. vs. Natural Disasters – Boring. It’s a shame a talented team like Money Inc were involved in this.
WrestleMania moment: Warrior’s return – Completely unexpected. However, Warrior wouldn’t last long as he was fired (again) later in the year.
Top 5 Superstars.
1. Macho Man Randy Savage – It was a toss-up between him and Bret but I gave it to Savage because of his awesome selling.
2. Bret Hart – Awesome match. He’d go on to main-event Summerslam and win his first World title.
3. Ric Flair – An excellent WrestleMania debut, will have to wait 10 years exact for his second appearance.
4. Roddy Piper – Did an amazing job in his match with Bret. It meant a lot to Bret that he did the clean job.
5. Gorilla Monsoon – His final WrestleMania as a play by play announcer. He’d make a few appearances at WrestleMania but never as a commentator. I dare say, if he lived beyond 2001, he would have commentated on the gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania 17.
Updated rankings chart:
Macho Man Randy Savage – 28pts
Hulk Hogan – 25pts
Ricky Steamboat – 10pts
Bret Hart – 8pts
Ultimate Warrior/ Roddy Piper – 7pts
Dynamite Kid/Rick Rude/ Ted DiBiase – 5pts
Terry Funk- 4pts
Tito Santana/Andre the Giant/ Ric Flair- 3pts
Sgt Slaughter/ Gorilla Monsoon – 1pt
Overall Show Rating (Out of 10): 7
It’s the same rating as WrestleMania 3 but I’m going to put it just ahead of it because of the two awesome matches involving Flair, Savage, Bret and Piper. The opener was good and there were less bad matches then previous ‘Manias. Another reason why I put this ahead of WrestleMania 3 is because of Warrior’s return. That was a massive surprise. On the True Story of WrestleMania DVD, they talked about this event as if it were some sort of failure. Not me though. WrestleMania 8 was a great show and very entertaining too.
WrestleMania Rankings so far:
WrestleMania 8 – 7
WrestleMania 3 – 7
WrestleMania 7 – 6.5
WrestleMania 6 – 6
WrestleMania 1 – 4.5
WrestleMania 5 – 4
WrestleMania 4 – 3.5
WrestleMania 2 – 3
Up Next: It’s the world’s largest toga party at the first outdoor WrestleMania, it’s WrestleMania IX