WrestleMania 8 – Justice in the house!
Welcome everyone to yet another edition of WrestleMania Rewind, as we continue our long journey to this year’s extravaganza. I’ve taken it upon myself to watch all the past editions of WrestleMania (You have no idea how hard it is) and to review them, giving my analysis. The last edition I covered (WrestleMania 7 for those who haven’t kept count) received the highest rating so far, with the phenomenal Savage-Warrior match and the debut of the now legendary Undertaker at WrestleMania. After the Savage-Warrior bout, Savage took some time off and returned back to the company, Warrior left the WWF due to monetary issues and Hogan continued with his run as the WWF Champion a little longer before dropping it.
Now, the next edition of WrestleMania saw two huge changes. One was the Nature Boy Ric Flair debuting at WrestleMania 8, and the next was the 4 hour mega event being scaled down to 3 hours (You have no idea how happy I am right now regarding that). Anyway, Flair had won the WWF Championship at the Royal Rumble, and would go on to defend it against Randy Savage, while the other big feud going into the event was Hulk Hogan taking on Sid Justice aka Psycho Sid, who was also making his WrestleMania debut. Needless to say, the Undertaker was making his second appearance at WrestleMania.
The event took place in the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana. Shawn was also going in as a single’s competitor with Sherri as his manager. So was his long time future rival, Bret Hart, who was challenging Roddy Piper for the WWF Intercontinental title. The card also featured Undertaker taking on Jake Roberts. So without further ado, let us jump into the action.
Reba McEntire, a Country singer, opened the show by singing the National Anthem as always.
Shawn Michaels (With Sensational Sherri) defeated Tito Santana
That Shawn guy, you know, the one that became a legend going on, opened the show with Sherri by his side taking on Tito Santana. The match was decent, and also received decent amount of time, going just over the 10 minute mark. The end came when Shawn ‘outsmarted’ Tito when Tito tried to go for a bodyslam, getting the pin and the win.
Undertaker (With Paul Bearer) defeated Jake the Snake Roberts
It pains me to watch Taker coming out with Bearer now. Rest in peace Paul. Anyway, Jake was the bad guy and Taker was the good guy going into the match. This was basically to put Taker over, as Jake got in a bit of offense but never stood a chance. The end came when Taker tombstone piledrived Jake on the concrete floor, which received a massive pop from the crowd. Taker rolled Jake back into the ring and pinned him for the win. Taker goes 2–0!
Bret Hart defeated Roddy Piper to win the WWF Intercontinental title
Now this was the match of the evening. Bret had started his single’s journey in the WWF, and Piper held the WWF IC Title. These two guys went on to put on a great wrestling match, with fast pace and good action. The end came when Bret countered Piper’s sleeper hold to pin him and win the WWF IC title! It was a fantastic WrestleMania match which went upto 14 minutes. After the match, Piper gave the WWF IC title to Hart; a great way to end the bout.
Sgt. Slaughter, Virgil, Big Boss Man and Hacksaw Jim Duggan defeated The Mountie, Repo Man and The Nasty Boys (With Jimmy Hart)
One way to stack up the card with people who couldn’t make it to the card otherwise. This was a time when outrageous characters were being presented on TV by the WWF. The match was slow and boring, and went over just the 6 minute mark, when Virgil ducked a punch by Saggs who hit his partner by mistake, and Virgil covered him for the pin and the win.
Randy Savage defeated Ric Flair to win the WWF Championship
Okay, I was wrong. This was the match of the evening! What a fantastic encounter. You have one of the greatest of all time in Flair, and you have one of the best of all time in Savage. Both put on a classic that went on for nearly 20 minutes. Flair had won the WWF title at the Royal Rumble, and had started a feud with Macho, saying that Elizabeth was with him before she was with Savage. The match saw very high intensity, and was centered around Flair trying to woo Elizabeth. The end came when Savage rolled Flair up with his tights in hand for the 3 count, and to win the WWF Championship! The 60,000+ attendance roared as Savage held the title up. Flair tried to kiss Elizabeth after the match but Savage attacked him. The feud was still on for the summer.
Tatanka defeated Rick Martel
It was a boring match as no one really cared about it. Tatanka was making his WrestleMania debut as well. He won the match after dropping Martel with a crossbody.
The Natural Disasters (Earthquake and Typhoon) defeated Money Inc. (Ted Dibiase and Irwin R. Schyster with Jimmy Hart) via count out for the WWF Tag team titles
Awful match. It went on for nearly 9 minutes and I took a bathroom break while watching it. The only good thing about all of this was Heenan’s commentary. End came when Ted and Irwin walked away after getting a beating with their tag titles to get counted out, thus giving the Disasters a win. Since titles cannot change hands via count out, Money Inc. retained the tag team championships.
Owen Hart defeated Skinner
It was Owen Hart’s second WrestleMania; if you remember, he debuted in his Blue Blazer monicker the previous year. Anyway, a very short match to put Owen Hart over, which was the right way to go. Match barely went into the second minute mark as Owen got the win after a roll up.
Before the match started, Vince hyped the rumours of Hogan retiring if he lost the match. 20 years later, Hogan, crippled and old, still lingers around. It makes the whole ‘Hogan will retire’ storylines humorous.
Hulk Hogan defeated Sid Justice (With Harvey Wippleman) by DQ
It was a bad match, something you’d associate with Hogan. The finish was interesting though. Papa Shango was originally scheduled to interfere in the match as Hogan gave Sid the leg drop, but Shango missed his cue. Sid had to improvise and kick out of the leg drop! Anyway, the match did end in a DQ as Harvey interfered, giving Hogan the victory. Post match, Shango stopped pimping (Yes, he later became the Godfather) and came out to attack Hogan, only for Ultimate Warrior to return to a thunderous ovation from the 60,000+ fans. Wow, thunderous almost doesn’t do justice! The show ended with Warrior and Hogan kicking out the bad guys and posing in the ring together.
Analysis: *** ¼ (Out of 5 stars)
It was another solid PPV, and the less number of matches surely helped its case. Fantastic matches like Bret-Piper and Savage-Flair sold the PPV. Although the last match was abominable, Warrior’s return stands out as the more memorable event.
We’ll return tomorrow with the next edition of WrestleMania, as we coast towards WrestleMania 29. Till then, as a tribute to Paul Bearer, ‘Oooohhh Yeeeesss’!
Read the rest of the WrestleMania rewind series here