Gimmick Some Lovin': WrestleMania X8 No Disqualification Match
In each edition of Gimmick Some Lovin', we take a look at one iteration of a gimmick match available on the WWE Network. Some are iconic for their success, others for the extent to which they flopped, and some just... happened.
We defined a "gimmick match" as, in any way, adding a rule/stipulation to or removing a rule from a match, changing the physical environment of a match, changing the conditions which define a "win", or in any way moving past the simple requirement of two men/women/teams whose contest must end via a single pinfall, submission, count out, or disqualification.
Because both men have been sending shockwaves through the wrestling industry and its fanbase, as well as non-wrestling media outlets, thanks to last week's edition of 30 for 30 airing on ESPN, today, we're looking at the ten in 22-2 when we analyze the No Disqualification Match from Wrestlemania X8 pitting The Undertaker against "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair.
Big Evil or Big Hospitality?
Before we talk about the feud that led to this underrated match, let's take a look at the tweet from documentarian Rory Karpf, the doc's director, that's been turning heads for days now, inspiring this article.
On his podcast The Masked Man Show, pro wrestling journalist David Shoemaker noted that wrestling documentaries need some kind of onscreen notification for new fans, casual fans, and non-fans when something is happening onscreen that has never happened before.
In the case of Undertaker's interview for the "Nature Boy" documentary, it was the first time in over a decade, possibly the first time ever, that Booger Red has spoken candidly without an affected voice and without playing a character.
He spoke as a lifelong fan, and as an awed coworker, of the documentary's subject and, clearly, made quite the impression on the filmmaker and his crew. This is a side of Taker that fans have been clamouring for ever since his symbolic abandoning of his gear, seemingly signalling a retirement, at Wrestlemania 33.
While it's no surprise that Mark Callaway is such a friendly person (this is a man who has a tattoo dedicated to a group of pals whose uniting interest was playing dominoes backstage, after all), it was a shock to many fans' systems to pair that tweet with the gentle giant sitting quietly in a living room chair refusing to make death threats and puns.
Today, we'll turn back the clock to a time when Undertaker was a little less generous, onscreen at least, with his affections toward Ric Flair, when he was just as soon to offer a lead pipe to the skull as he was a fresh pot of coffee and snacks: his 2002 heel run as "Big Evil" and his Wrestlemania X8 battle with Flair.