May 25, 2010
Steve Riddle

Wrestlemania VIII
April 5th, 1992
Hoosier Dome
Indianapolis, Indiana
Celebrities in order of appearance: Reba McEntire and Ray Combs

Dark Match:
1. The Bushwhackers defeat the Beverly Brothers.

Cancellation: A scheduled match between the British Bulldog and the Berzerker was cut from the show due to time constraints.

Actual Show:

We see the opening video for Wrestlemania hyping the double main event.

Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan.

Reba McEntire performs the National Anthem.

1. Shawn Michaels (w/ “Sensational” Sherri) pins “El Matador” Tito Santana after reversing a bodyslam at 10:39.

Farewell: This is Tito Santana’s last PPV. He’s in the dark matches of Summerslam and WM IX, as well as the ’93 Royal Rumble, but this is it for him. He would wrestle for ECW, AWF, and WCW before semi-retiring. He also had a brief stint in the mid-90s as a Spanish commentator. Tito Santana was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004 by Shawn Michaels.

Analysis: A pretty solid match to get this event going. Shawn is real green, despite having been wrestling for 7 years, but now has to adapt to being a heel, which he is doing well. Having Sherri in his corner certainly helps, as she ran her course with Ted Dibiase. Tito once again does his job, and his career is winding down. Tito deserves a lot of credit for being a true company man. Shawn controls the match, with Santana doing great selling. Santana comes back, but Michaels sneaks out a win. Tito is just about done, and Shawn is just getting started. Grade: 2.5

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews the Legion of Doom, who say they now have their guiding light and they will once again be the tag team champions.

Debut: Paul Ellering was trained by Verne Gagne and had a brief run as a wrestler before an injury cut his career short. Known for his verbal skills, he became a manager, mostly managing the Road Warriors and the original Legion of Doom.

Sean Mooney interviews Jake Roberts, who claims that the coldest and smartest man always wins and that he will beat the Undertaker.

2. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) pins Jake “The Snake” Roberts with the Tombstone at 6:36.

The Buildup/Face Turn: After a match with Randy Savage on Saturday Night’s Main Event, Roberts threatened to hit either Savage or Elizabeth with a chair as they came back through the curtain. Before he could do it, Taker stopped him, turning him face. Then on the Funeral Parlor, Roberts locked Taker’s hand in a casket, beat him with a chair, and DDT’ed Paul Bearer.

Temp. Farewell: This is Jake Roberts’ last PPV until 1996. He claims that he was promised a sopt on the writing team, but was not given it when Pat Patterson resigned, as Vince didn’t fill it out of respect for Patterson. Feeling betrayed, Roberts held Vince up saying he would not compete unless he got his release, which he did.

Undertaker’s WM Streak: 2-0

Analysis: A good match to establish Taker, fresh off his face turn, and to put an end to the first part of Jake’s WWF tenure. Jake has had a great 6-year run, but his time has come, as his personal problems were becoming too much to bear. In retrospect, he probably regrets holding Vince up, but hindsight is 20/20. Taker pretty much dominates him, killing off the DDT and Tombstoning Jake on the outside. He remembers to throw Jake in the ring and gets the pin. Roberts is gone and Taker would begin a long 4-year stretch of bad matches, bad booking, and lousy opponents. Grade: 2

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Roddy Piper and Bret Hart. Piper attempts to make fun, but Hart is all business and says he will regain the Intercontinental Title.

3. Bret “The Hitman” Hart pins “Rowdy” Roddy Piper by reversing a sleeperhold at 13:50 to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship.

Analysis: What a great match. We all know that Piper is a great street fighter, but could he get down and wrestle with the Hitman? The answer is a resounding YES. Piper goes toe to toe with Hart, as they trade holds until Piper hits Bret with a vicious left hand that busted Hart open. Piper would take control until Hart regained momentum with crisp wrestling. We then get a ref bump and Piper thinks about hitting Bret with the bell, but the crowd turns on him and makes him throw the bell away. Piper tries the sleeper, but Bret counters it with a surprise pin to win the belt. Piper also does the classy thing handing the belt to Bret. This is perhaps Piper’s best match since his dog collar match with Greg Valentine, and Bret continues to build his resume. Piper drops the strap and is near the end of his run, Bret is once again champ, but would soon be shot up to the main events by the end of the year. A great hidden gem on what will become a very underrated show. Grade: 4

Bobby and Gorilla interview the newest member of the World Bodybuilding Federation, Lex Luger. Lex says that he will be the new WBF Champion.

We see the heels talk about the 8-man tag, who say they will be victorious tonight.

We see the faces talk about the 8-man tag, who say that they will stand the winners tonight.

4. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, Sgt. Slaughter, Virgil, and the Big Bossman defeat the Nasty Boys, The Mountie, and Repo Man (w/ “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart) when Virgil pins Brian Knobbs at 5:22.

Special Announcer: Ray Combs

Temp. Farewell: Aside from a dark match at Summerslam, this is the Mountie’s last PPV until 1993.

Farewell: Aside from sporadic appearances, this is Sgt. Slaughter’s last PPV. He would take on a backstage role as an agent. He would resurface as the Commishioner from 1997 to 1999 and then would make appearances here and there up to today. Sgt. Slaughter was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004 by Pat Patterson.

Analysis: This is nothing more than a filler match, the only one on this card. All eight men have been on cruise control and would all head their separate directions after this event. The highlight was Ray Combs doing his introductions of the heels, as he takes pot shots at them and gets plenty of laughs. Other than that, the faces win and we move on to our next gem. Grade: 1.5

Sean Mooney interviews Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect, who say they will humiliate Randy Savage and revel when they unveil the centerfold of Elizabeth.

Mean Gene Okerlund is outside Randy Savage’s locker room, who says Savage is not talking to anyone.

5. “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth) pins “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (w/ Mr. Perfect) with a rollup at 18:05 to win the WWF Championship.

WM Debut: Ric Flair

The Buildup: After Savage took Hulk Hogan’s place as number one contender (which will be detailed later in the review), Flair started claiming that he and Elizabeth used to be an item. He would produce pictures of him and Liz, and was saving the best one, the big centerfold, to unveil after the match. After the match, the photos were revealed to be that of Savage and Liz, and that Flair’s were doctored.

Farewell: This is Elizabeth’s last WWF PPV. After this event, she and Savage divorced and she was never mentioned on TV again. She would jump to WCW in 1996, managing the Four Horsemen and the NWO, and also managed Lex Luger, whom she also started dating. She was let go from WCW in 2000, and was never on TV again. Miss Elizabeth would sadly pass away on May 1st, 2003 from a drug and alcohol overdose at the age of 42.

Fun Fact: According to several sources, Flair was forced to pay a hefty fine for blading, as the company had a “no-blood” policy at the time.

Analysis: What a fantastic match. The story was hot, the crowd was hot, and the action was non-stop. Savage was clearly the sentimental favorite and the fans wanted to see Flair get his ass kicked. Savage jumps out early, but Flair would take control. He would put a pounding on Mach, but couldn’t put him away. Savage would retake control, and bust Flair open in the process. Some outside assistance from Perfect would give Flair control as we worked on the knee. This draws Elizabeth out to ringside as Flair and Perfect continue to double team. Out of nowhere, Savage rolls up Flair and pulls the tights, beating the heels at their own game, and becomes champ once again. Liz comes over to celebrate, but she gets kissed by Flair, only for her to slap him silly. Savage tries to get him, but is held back. Just a phenomenal match on all levels, and the commentary is spot on, as Heenan pushes Flair as hard as he can and Gorilla plays the straight man down to a T. Savage is back on top, this time without Hogan breathing down his neck, but his issues with Flair are far from over. For now, the first of the double main event is a great one. Grade: 4

Sean Mooney interviews Ric Flair, Mr. Perfect, and Bobby Heenan. Perfect and Heenan are livid, but Flair calmly says that they will regroup and he will be the champion again.

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Randy Savage, who says even though he won the title, he is not through with Ric Flair.

We see highlights of Sid Justice’s recent heel turn and the buildup to his match with Hulk Hogan.

We see the Lumbee Indian tribe perform in the ring.

Sean Mooney interviews Rick Martel, who says that he has class and style and that all Tatanka is doing is scalping tickets.

6. Tatanka pins “The Model” Rick Martel with a crossbody at 4:33.

Debut: Chris Chavis started as a bodybuilder and also played football, and received tryouts from many NFL teams. After meeting Buddy Rogers, he was trained by Larry Sharpe and debuted in the WWF in 1991. He started under his real name before taking the name Tatanka.

WM Debut: Tatanka

Analysis: A quick match to cool the crowd after the classic they witnessed, and also established a new face. Tatanka comes in and begins his long undefeated streak here against a man who is quickly fading. Martel has had a good run, but now is used to put over new talent, but he does that job well. He carries Tatanka to a decent match and puts him over. The Native American gets a big win on PPV and both men move on, although they would meet each other again later in the year. Grade: 2

Sean Mooney interviews Money Inc., who say that they will take care of the Natural Disasters.

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews the Natural Disasters, who say they will win the belts and will get revenge on Jimmy Hart.

7. The Natural Disasters defeat Money Inc. (w/ “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart) by countout at 8:39. Money Inc. retain the WWF Tag Team Championships.

WM Debut: Typhoon

Title Change: The new team of Ted Dibiase and IRS, dubbed Money Inc., defeated the Legion of Doom on February 7th at a house show to win the tag team titles. According to sources, Hawk had failed a drug test and the decision to switch the belts was made that night.

Face Turn: The Disasters turned face after learning Hart had sold their title shot to Money Inc. They took the LOD’s spot in this match after the LOD left.

Analysis: A pretty poor title match. The Disasters were always better as the dominating heels, but having to play faces in peril at their size means their opponents must be pretty damn good. Money Inc. fits that role perfectly, but for some reason this match is just subpar. The Disasters dominate most of the match, with Dibiase and IRS only cheating to take advantage. In the end, the champs take a walk and retain the belts. The Disasters win, but their issues are far from over. Grade: 1.5

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Brutus Beefcake, who says that he will watch his friend Hulk Hogan defeat Sid Justice.

8. “The Rocket” Owen Hart pins Skinner with a rollup at 1:11.

WM Debuts: Skinner, Owen Hart

Farewell: Aside from an appearance in the 1993 Royal Rumble and at WM IX, this is Skinner’s last PPV. Keirn would have a brief run in WCW in 1994 before retiring. He currently works as an agent and helps oversees FCW. He reprised Skinner at RAW’s 15th Anniversary battle royal.

Analysis: What could have been a good match is cut short due to time constraints. Owen was now on his own and gets a big win, but would not get a major push for over a year. Skinner has been a solid midcarder for a few months, but he is now on JTTS status. Blink and you might miss this one, as Skinner goes for the finish early, but Hart surprises him for a pin. Too bad that this match had to be so short because it could have been a nice match. Grade: 1

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Sid Justice, who says that he will end Hulkamania tonight.

9. Hulk Hogan defeats Sid Justice (w/ Dr. Harvey Wippleman) by disqualification at 12:44.

WM Debuts: Sid Justice and Harvey Wippleman

The Buildup/Heel Turn: After the Royal Rumble, Jack Tunney held a press conference to announce the number one contender for Wrestlemania. He chose Hogan, which infuriated Sid, as he was the runner-up in the Royal Rumble. Sid attempted to apologize and tagged with Hogan in a match against Undertaker and Ric Flair on SNME, but Sid walked out on Hogan, turning heel. He would later pick up Harvery Wippleman as his manager. Hogan gave up the title shot for a match with Justice, and there were strong hints that this could be Hogan’s last match.

Debut: Charles Wright began as a bartender before being noticed and sent to be trained by Larry Sharpe. He got his start in the USWA and also competed in Japan. He came to the WWF first as Sir Charles before becoming Papa Shango, a voodoo witch doctor. Aside from his appearance in the 1993 Royal Rumble and a few dark matches, this is his only PPV appearance as Shango. He would not be seen on PPV again until 1995.

Temp. Farewell #1: This is Sid’s last PPV until 1995. He was set to feud with the returning Ultimate Warrior, but walked out later in the month.

Temp. Farewell # 2: This is Hulk Hogan’s last PPV until 1993.

Analysis: Our second of the double main event, though this should have been in the middle of the card and Savage-Flair should have ended it, but it is Hogan so he has to get the main event. Then again, we should have seen Hogan-Flair, but I digress. We get this match, which is slow and plodding, but Sid does have good energy, more than he would have in 1995, but that’s for later. He dominates most of the match, and is still getting face pops, but Hogan would make his comeback, hits the leg drop, but Sid gets DQ’ed for Wippleman jumping in the ring, but not before Sid kicked out of the leg drop, something never done before. Then a debuting Papa Shango comes out to help Sid, until we get a true “Holy Shit” moment when the Ultimate Warrior makes his grand return. Sid loses, but looks strong, though he would bail out before the end of the month. Damn shame, as he could have had a decent feud with Warrior. Warrior would end up having a feud with Shango, which was creatively great, but horrible in workrate. As for Hogan, he will step away for awhile, but would he be accepted when he comes back? For now, he wins his last match, though it could have been a better ending. Grade: 2.5

Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior pose for the crowd as we go off the air.

Final Analysis: Holy Underrated Wrestlemanias. This was much better than I originally thought. The filler matches of the previous Wrestlemanias are gone as each match either has a story or establishes a new star. All the right stars went over and the crowd was pretty hot for most of the show. The old guard from the 80s (Hogan, Roberts, Santana, Martel) is ushered out and a new wave of superstars (Bret, Owen, Taker, Tatanka, Michaels) place their stamp on the company. We get a big return in the Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage is on top for one last time. A very solid Wrestlemania as Vince now looks to the future without Hogan as his meal ticket. Final Grade: B

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