March 1, 2009
Wrestlemania VIII, April 5, 1992, Hoosier Dome, Indianapolis, IN
Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
On now to Wrestlemania VIII, featuring the double main event of Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice in what might possibly be Hogan’s retirement match, and Ric Flair defending the WWF Championship against Randy Savage with the issue of who had Elizabeth first as a backdrop. This show could be cited as the official end of the 80’s wrestling boom. The stadium wasn’t even close to sold out, showing that the popularity level of the company was falling and indeed it would be many years before the rediscovered the confidence to try a stadium show again. A lot of the old guard was phased out around this time, with this show alone seeing the end of extended runs for Hogan, Piper and Jake Roberts while a new guard led by Bret Hart, Undertaker and Shawn Michaels was gradually taking their place. It was an interesting time, if nothing else. On with Wrestlemania VIII.
Opening Match: El Matador Tito Santana vs. Shawn Michaels (w/Sensational Sherri)
Shawn turned heel on Marty Jannetty a few months back, but Jannetty left very soon after and they weren’t able to go into any kind of feud. Instead, Shawn gets to have his first major PPV singles match against that always reliable veteran Tito Santana, who is now into his El Matador gimmick. Shawn starts off with some stalling, and then we get a shoving match. Tito blocks a shot and nails him. To a side headlock, with Tito getting fired off, but he comes back with a bodypress for 2. Back to the headlock, and this time Shawn can’t fire him off the ropes. To the ropes, where Shawn nails a cheapshot on the break. His Irish whip is reversed and Tito clotheslines him to the floor. Tito drags him back in, but Shawn uses another cheapshot to control. His corner whip is reversed, but Shawn goes over and nails Tito. He tries it a second time, but this time Tito stops short and nails him. Side headlock take down gets 2 and the work off that for awhile with both of them getting a few near falls. Shawn makes it up and fires Tito off, but puts the head down and gets small packaged for 2. Back to the headlock briefly before Shawn sends Tito to the ropes again and tosses him to the floor on the rebound. Back in, a backbreaker gets 2 and then he goes to a rear chinlock. Tito elbows out, but runs into the Superkick. That’s not yet the finisher though, so Shawn goes for the Teardrop suplex, but Tito nails him as a counter. Tito sends him off, but puts his head down and gets kicked. Shawn now sends Tito off, but Tito comes back with the Flying Jalapeno. Shawn goes to the floor where Tito sends him to the stairs. Back in, Tito connects with a slingshot shoulderblock. Kneelift and inverted atomic drop set up El Paso Del Muerte, which hits, but sends Shawn to the floor. Back on the apron Shawn rakes the eyes. Then when Tito goes to slam him into the ring, Shawn just kind of falls on top and gets 3 at 10:39. From the looks of things, something was botched on that finish, possibly Sherri missing her mark on interfering. This was an alright opener, but not really anything special. *1/2
The Legion of Doom returns here from a short absence, accompanied by their new, or old depending on your perspective, manager Paul Ellering. They put all the other teams on notice that they’re back, and they’re gunning for the belts.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer)
Taker had been becoming increasingly popular throughout 1991, and his face turn was pretty much a formality. The pulled the trigger by having him prevent a backstage attack on Randy Savage and Elizabeth by his former ally Jake. This led to a confrontation on the Funeral Parlor where Jake locked Taker’s hand in a casket and DDT’d Paul Bearer, with Taker then stalking Jake off the set dragging the casket behind him. Jake uses speed to avoid Taker and picks out a few shots, although they have little to no effect. He then knocks Taker to the floor, but gets dragged right out with him. Jake gets sent to the post, but coming back in he catches Take with a kneelift. Corner whip hits but a second one is countered by Taker who traps him and chokes away. More choking takes Jake down and then Taker drops an elbow. Irish whip sets up the flying clothesline, but then Jake slips out of a Tombstone and hits the DDT. Normally that would be curtains for anyone, but Taker sits up. The short clothesline hits, but Taker sits up again. Second DDT puts Taker down again, but now Jake goes for Bearer instead. Taker sits up yet again, rescues his manager and Tombstones Jake on the floor. In the ring, that gets 3 at 6:42. Slow and dull, but it was an effective way of killing off Jake Roberts, which was good as he was on the way out anyways. ½*
Intercontinental Championship Match: Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Bret “Hitman” Hart
Back in January, a sick Bret Hart lost the IC Title at a house show to the Mountie. Piper then subbed for Bret in the rematch at the Royal Rumble and won the belt himself. Now here we get the showdown between Bret and Piper. They start with a staredown, and then they trade armdrags to establish parity. Piper with a waistlock takedown, but Bret sends him to the floor. Back in, Piper spits at him, so Bret shoves him back and they have a standoff. Test of strength is next, but doesn’t last lone before Piper goes to a wristlock. Bret reverses, so Piper goes with some punches, but can’t break it. He does use the hair to escape, but Bret gets right back to it. Piper fires him off, but Bret connects with a dropkick. He appears to hurt himself though so the ref holds Piper back, but he was actually goldbricking and small packages Piper for 2. Now it’s on as Piper smacks him and then Bret fires back. Bret gets fired off the ropes and comes back with a bodypress, but they both go tumbling over the top to the floor. Piper is quickly back in and holds the ropes open for Bret, who is wary of him, but Piper does nothing yet. Once they’re in, he points out an issue with Bret’s boot and then nails him. He rams Bret to the buckle and hits a bulldog for 2. Bret has been busted open, so Piper nails a kneelift for another 2 count. Irish whip sees Bret come off with a sunset flip for 2, but Piper then gets right back on him, nailing several punches on the mat and covering for his own 2. They trade shots until a forearm from Bret sends Piper to the floor. Back in, they clothesline each other. Heenan points out that Piper is actually on top of Bret in what could be considered a cover while they lay there, but Monsoon puts an end to that line of thought. Piper goes up top, but Bret drags him back down. He hits an inverted atomic drop, followed by a suplex for 2. Russian legsweep also gets 2. Backbreaker sets up the Sharpshooter, but Piper blocks it. Bret nails him anyways and goes to the 2nd rope, but Piper gets the boot up as he comes off. Bret gets fired to the corner, but the ref gets bumped in the process. Piper clotheslines Bret to the floor and sends him to the stairs. He puts Bret back in the ring and grabs the bell, which he considers using for a bit, but ultimately he decides not to. He hooks the sleeper instead, but Bret pushes off the ropes, falls back and holds Piper down for 3 to win back the IC Title at 13:52. Piper straps the belt on the new champ and they walk out together. Great match. ****
Bobby Heenan introduces us to the newest star of the WBF, Lex Luger. He was released from his WCW contract, but still had a no compete clause in place for wrestling, so this is what they figured they would do with him in the interim.
The Mountie, Repo Man, & The Nasty Boys (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. The Big Boss Man, Sgt. Slaughter, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, & Virgil
This is just your standard “get some guys on the card” match here. The late Ray Combs, who was hosting Family Feud at the time, does the introductions, but quickly gets chased out when the heel team objects to some of the things his survey said about them. The face team then attacks and clears the ring. But before we can get on with this match, we have some Breaking News……. Shawn Michaels has left the building! Now I can sleep at night. Duggan and Sags start off the match for real, with Duggan getting attacked as he plays to the crowd. Irish whip is reversed, and Duggan nails a clothesline, followed by a second one. He then hits an atomic drop and tags Slaughter. From main eventer, to just lucky to be on the card. Sags rakes the eyes and tags Knobbs who works Sarge over in the corner. Sarge comes back with a clothesline out of the corner and a gutbuster. He nails an elbow off an Irish whip and then tags Boss Man. Sarge whips Knobbs off the ropes so that Boss Man can connect with a big boot. Corner whip, but Boss Man misses the charge and Knobbs tags Repo. He sends Boss Man off the ropes, but takes a shoulderblock. Boss Man’s splash misses though and Repo works him over. He gets a little too vocal about his intentions though and Boss Man is able to crotch him and knock him down. Tag to Virgil (who is wearing a protective mask following a run in with Sid Justice) who nails a dropkick. Bodypress from the top gets 2 and then Mountie nails him from behind. They draw the face team in and make the illegal switch to Sags who hits a sort of gutwrench powerbomb for 2. Tag to Mountie who goes to the 2nd rope, but Boss Man comes in, catches him coming down and hits a spinebuster. Now it breaks down into an eight way brawl. Sags has Virgil’s mask and goes to nail him while Knobbs holds him, but Virgil moves and Knobbs gets hit. Virgil covers and gets the 3 count at 6:32. Short and inoffensive, but not that good or anything. *
WWF Championship Match: Ric Flair (w/Mr. Perfect) vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage
This feud kicked off with the revelation by Flair that he “had” Elizabeth years ago before she ever met Savage. To prove his point, Flair had several pictures of himself and Liz printed in WWF Magazine. Savage had his own versions of the same pictures printed to show that Flair’s were fakes. That seemingly settled that controversy, but Flair and Perfect also claimed to have one more, implied to be a nude photo of Liz, that they were going to put up on the big screen as part of their victory celebration. They do have a poster sized picture with them in the pre match interview, but we don’t see it and it never actually gets mentioned again. Savage charges right in, but Flair runs away. Savage finally catches him in the aisle, but get dragged off by Perfect. Now Savage wants a piece of him, but that lets Flair take advantage. He gets an Irish whip, but Savage ducks and comes back with a clothesline. Savage with knees in the corner and then he mounts Flair for punches. Flair uses an inverted atomic drop out of the corner, but Savage no sells and nails a clothesline. Corner whip and elbow get 2, but now the ref gets Savage back. He charges back at Flair, but gets backdropped out to the floor. Flair runs him to the apron and then gets him back in. Delayed suplex gets 2, as does a back suplex. He whips Savage to the corner, and then chops him down for another 2. He hits a kneedrop and then Savage goes to the floor where he gets rammed to the apron once again. Flair suplexes Savage back in, which gets 2 and keeps working him over. Finally he puts his head down on an Irish whip and Savage gets him with a neckbreaker. Flair rakes the eyes to keep control and goes up, but Savage slams him off. Corner whip sets up a backdrop by Savage. Another whip leads to the Flair Flip, but Savage nails him coming down off the top and covers for 2. Irish whip is reversed, but Savage ducks and clotheslines Flair to the floor. Savage goes up, and drops the double ax to the floor, and then rams Flair to the stairs. Flair has now been busted open. Savage follows with a suplex on the floor and then gets him back in. He connects with punches on the mat, the goes up and drops another double ax for 2. Slam sets up the top rope elbow, which hits and he covers, but Perfect makes the save and pulls Savage off at 2. Perfect gets in the ring, with Savage trying to get at him, and the ref trying to get him out, and in the confusion he passes some brass knux off to Flair. Savage turns his attention back to Flair, but gets nailed with the knux. Flair covers, but it only gets 2. After some choking on the mat, Flair ties up the ref so Perfect can wallop Savage in the leg with a chair. Savage sells it good, limping the rest of the match. Now Flair can go to work on the leg, but by this point Elizabeth has seen enough and makes her way to ringside to give Savage some moral support. The figure four gets hooked (with leverage from Perfect, of course), but after a few 2 counts, Savage finally manages to turn it over and get the break. Flair goes for a slam, but Savage gets a small package for 2, in a callback to Wrestlemania III, but Flair still controls. He works the leg some more until Savage blocks a shot, spins Flair around, rolls him up and hooks the tights to get the 3 count and win his second WWF Championship at 18:03. Flair gets on Liz’s case and then kisses her, so she responds by slapping him repeatedly until Savage jumps back on him too. The brawl continues for a bit until Flair and Perfect clear out leaving Savage to celebrate his win. Great job by everyone here and I loved it all. ****
“The Model” Rick Martel vs. Tatanka
This was just a match for the sake of a match as the feud over the eagle feathers would start after this and end up lasting most of the year. It’s also hurt a bit by Monsoon and Heenan basically ignoring it in favour of talking about the previous match, but it’s not like this was gonna be a classic anyways. They lockup and then Martel knees him in the corner. Corner whip is reversed and Tatanka gets a hiptoss, followed by a couple of slams and a chop to send Martel to the floor. Back in, Tatanka goes to send him to the corner, but it’s reversed. Martel charges, but Tatanka moves and Martel hits the post. Tatanka controls with an armbar, but gets fired off. Martel can’t get a hiptoss, but does get something vaguely resembling a chokeslam. He tosses Tatanka and briefly works him over on the floor before getting him back in. He hits a backbreaker and goes up, but Tatanka shakes the ropes and crotches him. Tatanka uses a backdrop, followed by a tomahawk chop, but puts his head down on an Irish whip and gets kicked. Martel slams him and then nails a clothesline. Another Irish whip sees Tatanka duck and come back off with a crossbody for 3 at 4:29. Nothing match, made worse by the misfortune of getting stuck in the death slot. DUD
WWF Tag Team Championship Match: Money Inc. (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. The Natural Disasters
With the sudden departure of LOD back in February, the Tag Team Titles were put on the team of Ted Dibiase and IRS, soon to become known as Money Inc. They story was that Jimmy Hart had switched a Title shot that was supposed to go to the Disasters, and gave it to his new team instead. This resulted in a face turn for the Disasters, and the Title match that we now have here. Money Inc. makes two tags before any contact is even made resulting in Dibiase and Quake starting things off. Quake keeps shoving him down to establish the power advantage. After a conference in the corner, Dibiase gets him with a knee, but his Irish whip is reversed and he takes a clothesline. The Disasters then clear the ring forcing the champs to regroup. Now IRS tries with Quake, using a wristlock, but Quake reverses and tags Typhoon. Typhoon gets him with a hiptoss and rams him to the buckle ten times, but then misses an avalanche. Tag to Dibiase who works Typhoon over with chops. Typhoon sends him off the ropes, but he holds on. Typhoon charges and gets sent to the floor when Dibiase drops down. IRS sends him to the stairs, and then gets him back in where Dibiase goes back to work. Tag to IRS and the champs hit a double clothesline. He drops an elbow for 2 and then a couple of quick tags lead to a double elbow with IRS back in again. He holds a front facelock, with Typhoon powering his way to the corner and tagging, but the ref was distracted by Dibiase and he won’t allow it. That lets the champs switch off and Dibiase comes in with a double ax from the 2nd rope for 2. Irish whip sees Typhoon duck and then they clothesline each other. Both guys tag with Quake dominating IRS. Dibiase comes in and Quake takes both down with clotheslines. Typhoon joins the party and Money Inc. gets whipped into each other. Dibiase gets clotheslined to the floor, while IRS gets slammed and splashed by Typhoon. Quake goes for the Quake Splash, but Dibiase and Hart rescue IRS by dragging him to the floor. The champs the walk away for the count out loss at 8:38, but they hold on to their Titles. The Disasters were horribly miscast as babyfaces and this match was pretty much a train wreck with a really terrible ending for the biggest show of the year. DUD
Skinner vs. Owen Hart
Owen backflips off the top during his entrance, but gets a face full of Skinner’s chewing tobacco. Shoulderbreaker, headbutt, and kneelift set up the Gatorbreaker, but Owen kicks out at 2. Skinner tries to toss him, but Owen skins the cat and rolls him up for 3 at 1:10. This match was the victim of time constraints, much like the Bulldog/Berzerker match which was cancelled entirely. DUD
Main Event: Sid Justice (w/Dr. Harvey Wippleman) vs. Hulk Hogan
Hogan had originally been named number one contender to Ric Flair at this show, but Sid objected to that. He turned on Hogan in a tag match on SNME and then challenged Hogan to face him here instead. It was strongly hinted at, although never outright said, that this would be the last match of Hogan’s career. He was scheduled to take a sabbatical anyways following the show, as he had been taking a lot of heat from the media during the steroid scandal, so in any case this would be the last time we would see him for a while. Sid attacks Hogan as he enters, but quickly gets knocked to the floor, and then knocked off the apron when he gets back up. All that happened while Hogan’s music was still playing. We start the match for real with an epic staredown, and then with Sid hitting a knee to take control. He works Hogan over for a bit, but then gets knocked to the floor yet again on a Hogan comeback. Sid wants a test of strength which Hogan obliges. Sid controls it and takes Hogan back down once, but when he powers up again, Sid takes him to the corner and hits a knee. Corner whip is reversed and Hogan follows him in with a clothesline. He makes the mistake of going after Wippleman though and ends up taking a chokeslam. Sid boots Hogan to the floor, and even gets in a couple of shots with Wippleman’s doctor bag. Back in the ring, Sid goes to a nerve hold which lasts quite a long time. The arm finally drops twice, so Hogan gets up and elbows out, but walks into a side slam. Powerbomb only gets 2, and now it’s Hulk Up time. Hogan punches him, and then rams him to the buckle a couple of times. He hits the big boot, but Sid is still on his feet. Slam sets up the legdrop, but it only gets 2. Wippleman gets in the ring now, and the DQ is called for on Sid at 12:28. Papa Shango runs in and the double team is on, but then the Ultimate Warrior makes his surprise return to make the save with he and Hogan clearing the ring and celebrating together to end the show. If Shango was supposed to break the pin on the legdrop as the story has been told for many years, he was way off the mark. He wasn’t even through the curtain when the legdrop hit. Regardless it came off as a totally lame finish to a match that was dull and boring, albeit very heated, to begin with. ½*
Well, not much clicked on this show, but what did click, clicked bang on. We have two **** matches in Piper/Hart and Flair/Savage, but everything else was pretty much crap. The only other saving grace is the commentary team of Monsoon and Heenan, who up the entertainment value of any show they’re on, with this one being no exception. Having two matches as good as they did is no small feat, but with the rest of the show dragging it down I can only really call it a thumbs in the middle. You can certainly watch it, but you may as well shut it off after Savage’s win because it really goes downhill from there.