Event: WrestleMania VIII
Date: April 5, 1992
Venue: Hoosier Dome ( Indianapolis, Indiana)
This show was billed as having a “double main event” which rarely (if ever) works out. I believe that this is the first Mania event that I watched live on PPV. We get Gorilla and Bobby Heenan on the mic here which is a good lineup. Reba McEntire sings the national anthem. It seems weird that the WWF can never make up its mind. National anthem or America The Beautiful?
Shawn Michaels (with Sensational Sherri) defeated El Matador
Tito’s gone “El Matador” on us which is just so sad. Shawn is heel at this point and really coming into his own as a singles wrestler (even though he’s leading off this card against an aging Tito). Tito in charge early and sends HBK to the outside. He yanks him back in and goes directly into a side headlock (rest) that lasts WAY too long. Come on guys… you can’t be gassed yet can you? Small package? Side headlock. Whip to ropes hop over? Side headlock. Shawn gains the upperhand when Tito goes to the ropes and Shawn sidesteps him and throws him over the top. HBK is sporting a beautifully fluffed mullet at this point. Very slow match. HBK hits his super kick which is not yet named “Sweet Chin Music” but rather the more mundane “crescent kick”. He goes for his side suplex finisher but Tito catches him with a forearm and follows up with his flying forearm and sends Shawn to the outside. Tito brings him back and and Shawn scores a pin out of nowhere for the win. No replay on that one. Pretty weak match.
Before the next match we get an interview the Legion of Doom and Paul Ellering. “We’re the best blah blah blah”, “We’re not here to mess around blah blah blah”. “Ooooo, what a rush…”
The Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) defeated Jake Roberts
Pre-match we get a Sean Mooney interview with Jake where he’s talking about how Jack Tunny says that he can’t bring a snake to the ring. After that we get a nice recap package of this feud. Undertaker is a face by the point but is still doing the very methodical/plodding thing in the ring. Jake is doing the quick strike approach keeping his distance in the ring. Jake hits a clothesline which sends Taker over the top 360 style but he lands on his feet. Back in the ring, Jake continues with the upper hand until Undertaker takes over with some blatant choke holds. Taker breaks out the heavy artillery and hits some big moves (elbows, clotheslines, etc.) Jake hits the DDT out of nowhere and Taker sits right up. Jake plants him HARD with a second one and Taker stays down. Instead of going for the win, Jake goes outside and grabs Paul. This of course allows Taker time to grab Jake on the outside and hit the Tombstone on the concrete. He rolls Jake in and covers him for the win. Once again we get no recaps here. Pretty slow match, but great for vintage Undertaker fans out there.
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Bret Hart defeated Roddy Piper (c)
One of my Top WrestleMania Matches of all time and watching it again reaffirms that it was a good choice to be put on the list. Before the match we get an interview with both champ and challenger at the same time. Once we get in the ring we get right to it with a slew of arm drags. Bret uses some leverage and tosses Roddy to the outside. He gets pissed and proceeds to spit on Bret. Strength test followed by a great spot where Bret grabs onto Roddy’s arm and won’t let go for like two minutes. Hitman then “hurts his shoulder” and when Piper gets close enough he goes for a small package in the center of the ring… nice. Piper hits a bulldog on Hart and Bret blades. Not the best blade job of his career but it gets the job done and he’s bleeding like a stuck pig. Roddy’s in control until we get a classic double clothesline. Piper goes to the top (WTF???) and Bret catches him and turns it into his “5 Moves Of Death” – inverted atomic drop, suplex, Russian leg sweep, neck breaker and back breaker but can’t get the Sharpshooter on. A while later we get a ref bump. Piper grabs the bell and does the “good guy” thing and decides not to use it. He slaps a sleeper on Bret and Bret uses the turnbuckle to flip over. Piper doesn’t release the hold and gets pinned. Piper presents the belt to Hitman and they hug it out. Outstanding match.
Next up we get an interview with Lex Luger sitting at home pimping the World Bodybuilding Federation. He drinks a milkshake. If that sounds pretty pathetic and boring it’s cause it is.
The Big Boss Man, Virgil, Sgt. Slaughter, and Jim Duggan defeated The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags), Repo Man, and The Mountie (with Jimmy Hart)
Before this match gets started, we get interviews with the participants. The interviews include so many wrestling cliches it’s not even funny. Actually, it is kind of funny. Ray Combs (of Family Feud fame) is announcing and trying to be clever. I’ve just got to say… an 8 man? Really? Did I stumble into Survivor Series? Pretty standard 8 man match here and nothing really noteworthy. The end comes when Big Boss Man catches Mountie off the second rope and slams him. A melee ensues. One Nasty Boy holds Virgil while the other winds up to hit him. Naturally, Virgil ducks and one Nasty knocks the other out. Good guys win. Recommendation? Fast forward.
Randy Savage (with Miss Elizabeth) defeated Ric Flair (c) (with Mr. Perfect)
Flair out first. I’ll say it again, the champ should ALWAYS come out last. Randy’s jogging to the ring. When the hell did he get un-retired? No Liz by his side. Savage comes out on fire and takes control. Bobby is going crazy but this lasts only until Savage gets back dropped to the outside. Flair takes over with typical moves – chops, suplex, etc. Savage getting his ass kicked for a good 8-9 minutes. Ric going very slow and cocky… classic Flair. Strut, beat, strut, beat. Savage finally comes out of a corner and mounts some offense. Flair goes up to the top (never a good sign) and naturally gets caught/slammed. Double axe handle off the top to the outside from Savage. “Flair flop” on the outside after getting rammed on the post. Flair blades bad and is busted open. Not sure where I read it, but Flair was fined quite a bit for this move as this was during a “no blood” period of the WWF. Savage nails the elbow but Perfect stops the count. Perfect then gives Flair a foreign object who proceeds to drill Savage with it. Flair is REALLY bloody here. We get a good spot with Flair sinking in the figure four on Savage and he’s got to really work to get out. Out of nowhere, Savage goes for a rollover, pulls the trunks and gets the win and the title. Post match, Flair kisses Liz (who’d made her way to ringside during the match) and she slaps him. Classic Flair/Savage interviews post match in the dressing room. Good stuff. This is the version of Flair that I love (a cocky heel) and also my favorite version of the Macho Man (a little bit crazy).
Tatanka defeated Rick Martel
Christ. Tatanka comes to the ring with some dancing indians. This is worse than the opening to the Olympic games. Bobby Heenan and Gorilla continue to talk about the Savage/Flair match WELL into this one (which tells you what you need to know about this match). Martel playing the heel and Bobby Heenan being so un-PC it’s hilarious. “Hey how are ya, hey how are ya.”. Wow. Model goes up and gets crotched on the top. Tatanka hits a cross body out of nowhere for the win. Lame.
WWF Tag Team Championship
The Natural Disasters (Earthquake and Typhoon) defeated Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase and Irwin R. Schyster) (c) (with Jimmy Hart) by countout
Earthquake now has a clone named Tugboat… ugh. If you’ve been reading these recaps you know that I’m not a big fan of Earthquake, so you can imagine how much I’d like ANOTHER fat dude that can’t wrestle. DiBiase and Schyster are good wrestlers, but even they can’t carry the Disasters along through this sloppy match. Earthquake goes for his “balls to the face” finisher but Jimmy Hart sneaks in and pulls IRS out. The champs walk out of the arena to get counted out.
Owen Hart defeated Skinner
Owen does a back flip into the ring and Skinner spits in his face to start the match. After only a minute or so, Owen goes for a sunset flip and it’s over. I simply do not understand why matches like this are on a WrestleMania card. Save this shit for the Saturday morning shows or Raw. I love Owen, but stuff like this is a complete waste of time and does nothing except piss off the fans.
Hulk Hogan defeated Sid Justice (with Harvey Wippleman) by disqualification
Pre-match we get an interview with Hogan and Vince where Hogan is asked if this is his “last match”. In retrospect this is just laughable. Sid does an interview complete with his “rule the world” bit which always kind of bored me. “Real American” hits and the crowd goes wild. Sid attacks before the bell rings and Hogan fights him off while the music continues to play. The crowd is fucking HOT right now. After a great opening this match slows down considerably. Lots of time on the outside of the ring for Sid. Back in we get a test of strength which is nothing more than a rest hold. Sid hits a choke slam out of nowhere and then proceeds to talk to the camera rather than going for a pin. When he returns, he goes straight into another rest hold (the shoulder pinch of doom) and Hogan’s hand falls twice. Hogan powers out and Side regains control with a side suplex and shortly thereafter hits his power bomb finisher. The power bomb actually looked pretty good. I don’t remember Hogan taking that many big moves. Hogan kicks out and “Hulks Up” hitting the boot, body slam and the big leg drop. Sid kicks out! Very happy to see this as that damn move always put people out. I remember watching this not knowing what the hell was going to happen now. Wippelman in and causes the DQ. Papa Shango (WTF) comes out and starts beating on Hogan with Sid. Hogan’s tied in the ropes and the Warrior’s music hits! Warrior flies to the ring and clears house. He and Hogan pose down to end the show.
- In a dark match, the Bushwackers defeated The Beverly Brothers. Thank God for dark matches.
- Apparently there was a match scheduled between The British Bulldog and The Berzerker which had to be scrapped due to time constraints. Not really sure why as the match times only run just over an hour and a half.
- Heenan says, “I’m Indiana’s favorite Bobby.” Absolutely hilarious seeing as this is prime time Bobby Knight country and point in his career.
- Heenan is now known as a “broadcast journalist” – a title which would follow him for quite a few years.
- Saw a couple of Horsemen banners in the crowd. I still wish the WWF would/could have brought that stable in. Woo!
- Warrior looked much smaller than when he left the WWF. This no doubt fueled the rumors that this was a “new” Ultimate Warrior and that the original had died.