April 5, 1992
Live from Indianapolis, IN
Announced attendance: 62.167 (capacity: 60.129)
PPV buyrate: 390.000 (-10.000 compared to WrestleMania VII’s 400.000)
Hey everyone and welcome to my review of WWF WrestleMania VIII, featuring ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage challenging Ric Flair for the WWF Championship and Hulk Hogan battling Sid Justice in a double main event, brother…
Yeah, exactly… Elsewhere, real-life cousins Roddy Piper and Bret Hart tussle over the Intercontinental Championship in Hart’s title rematch, recently turned babyface The Undertaker faces Jake Roberts, and much more.
Here is the list of WWF champions heading into this WrestleMania:
- WWF Champion: Ric Flair [77th day of his reign] – previous champion: Hulk Hogan, before it was vacated
- WWF Intercontinental Champion: Roddy Piper [77th day of his reign] – previous champion: The Mountie
- WWF World Tag Team Champions: Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase & Irwin R. Schyster) [58th day of their reign] – previous champions: Legion of Doom
Enjoy the review!
The hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan
Reba McEntire sings America the Beautiful this year
Shawn Michaels(w/ Sensational Sherri) vs. ‘El Matador’ Tito Santana
Bobby Heenan whistling to the rythm of Shawn Michaels’ theme song during his entrance made my day! Shoving action to start is won by Tito and the high crossbody gets two. HBK escapes a tight headlock but stops to taunt during a criss cross sequence and gets dumped with a clothesline over the top. There’s a really loud and extremely annoying Marty Jannetty fan at ringside constantly yelling at Shawn. I never thought I’d say this, but those 2002 SmackDown edited crowd noises would fit perfectly here, geez. Santana brings HBK back inside with a headlock, and avoids HBK’s quickness before going back to the headlock. Shawn keeps trying to escape, and Tito keeps putting him back in it. Smart wrestling thus far, but not exactly one of the most exciting matches. Michaels blocks the flying jalapeno and sends Tito flying to the floor, and Sherri surprisingly doesn’t cheapshot him. Back in, a Shawn backbreaker gets two. And now it’s Shawn working a headlock. Tito fights out of that but ends up walking into the superkick. HBK goes to follow up with his DEADLY BACKDROP SUPLEX OF SEXY DOOM, but Tito rakes the eyes and instead it’s the flying jalapeno sending HBK all the way to the floor. Back in, Tito hits an atomic drop followed by El Paso Del Muerte (or the Extra Hot Pace Picante, according to Heenan!!) but the move sends Shawn outside again. Tito tries to vertical suplex HBK from the apron back inside, but HBK awkwardly lands on top to steal the win at 10:38. I’m pretty sure this was supposed to be the same finish from Warrior/Rude at WM 5 with Sherri playing Bobby Heenan and tripping up Tito, but she must’ve missed her cue. The finish looked awkward.
- Rating: Solid match but you can tell Michaels was still trying to find his footing as a singles wrestler. The wrestling was decent, but there is not much more into it than that. It was a smart match with Tito constantly outsmarting and outwrestling Shawn due to his experience, but it wasn’t particularly exciting or memorable. The execution of the finish was interesting too, for the lack of a better word. Still, this was a decent opener and a good win to kick off Michaels’ singles push. **1/2
The Legion of Doom return
This is LOD’s return after losing the tag straps and some time away. They introduce Paul Ellering to the WWF, who says they’ll kick ass and take back the titles. The LOD were pretty much done by then, and soon they’d have Rocco added to the act. Yeah. They’d be gone after SummerSlam.
Meanwhile, Jake Roberts recaps the chairshot on Undertaker and the DDT on Paul Bearer. He was just having fun, man. Trust him.
The Undertaker(w/ Paul Bearer) vs. Jake Roberts
After waiting years for a main event run that never happened (due to Warrior leaving the previous summer) and a request at a Pat Patterson-like backstage role being rejected, Roberts cornered Vince right before this match and forced him to let him go right after this night, or otherwise he wouldn’t step through the curtain. UT no sells a few shots and corners Jake to start. He no sells a clothesline over the top as well, pulling Jake outside for a trip into the post. Back in, Jake tries to escape for his life, but UT keeps him cornered and chokes away. Taker drops an elbow and hits the flying clothesline to set up the Tombstone, which Jake reverses into the DDT… BUT UNDERTAKER SITS UP. Taker sits up after the short clothesline, but Roberts ignores him and gives him a second DDT regardless. Jake stops to go after the urn outside, though, which earns him a Tombstone on the floor. Undertaker gets the pin back inside at 6:36 to end Jake’s first WWF run.
- Rating: It told a good story and it’s definitely a big win to really launch Undertaker’s first babyface run. The match itself was it was, mostly choking and standing around like most Undertaker matches from these years, but it accomplished what it had to. *1/2
Roddy Piper goes down memory lane and remembers his memories with his younger cousin Bret Hart and his parents, but Bret’s more interested in taking back the IC title. Great little segment here with Mean Gene.
WWF Intercontinental Championship – Roddy Piper(c) vs. Bret Hart
This is a pretty interesting dynamic since it was super rare to see a babyface take on another during this time. Lockup to start is won by Piper with an armdrag, then Bret wins a second one with an armdrag of his own. A wrestling sequence ends with Piper being sent to the floor, who gets all pissed and comes back in to spit in Bret’s face. Test of strength turns into a battle over a wristlock, which Bret wins rather easily. Piper keeps trying to chop him using the other arm, but Bret keeps him in the hold and takes Piper down all the way to the mat. Nice! Piper finally escapes by going after the eyes and hair, but Bret responds with a dropkick and… hurts his shoulder? Piper stops to look after him and SYKE Bret nearly steals it with a small package! Piper bitchslaps Bret in return as this is turning more and more into a fight with every passing second, and a Bret crossbody dumps both men to the floor. Piper gets back inside first and holds the ropes for Bret to get in too and… Piper actually lets him in. The ref stops to point at Hart’s untied boots, though, and now Piper cheapshots him and busts him open. Piper rams Bret’s head into the buckle and starts playing heel-in-peril by going to work on the cut. A bulldog out of the corner gets two.
Piper bites the cut (yikes) and a kneelift gets two. Bret gets in a quick sunset flip for a great nearfall, but Piper goes back after the cut to stay in control. A series of short punches get two. Bret is just done. They get into a slugfest that ends with Bret sending Piper to the outside, then Piper comes back in for a double clothesline and a double KO spot. Piper gets up first and goes up to the top rope while Bret is still down, but once again SYKE and Bret slams Piper off the top by the hair. The story told here and these exchanges of mindgames are great to see. Atomic drop sets up a snap suplex for two. Russian legsweep gets two more. Bret hits a nasty backdrop suplex and he’s thinking Sharpshooter, but Piper does a good job of blocking it and Bret switches to an elbowdrop instead. Bret goes up but the middle rope elbow only finds Piper’s boot, and they get into another slugfest which ends with the ref getting taken down. Piper stops to go outside and grab the bell, and you can literally hear the crowd boo him and begging him to keep it clean. Wow! Meanwhile, Heenan on commentary asks him to remember that famous old saying ‘what the hell use the bell’ – haha! Piper teases it but ends up tossing it aside, and locks in the sleeper instead. However, Bret uses the turnbuckle for leverage to turn it into a pinfall for the win to get the title back at 13:51. Piper picks his bloody cousin up to his feet and presents him the belt in a show of respect afterward. It would turn out to be more than two years until the next time Piper participated in another wrestling match.
- Rating: Forget about it, this bout fn’ ruled! I love how it slowly transitioned into a violent fight between two family members that used to be close, and all of their little games of one-upsmanship. It really made the Intercontinental Championship feel prestigious, and made this match one for the ages. The wrestling was great but the storytelling here is what carries this to the all-time great territory. Absolutely cracking match, definitely one of Bret’s best up until that time (up there with Perfect at SummerSlam 91) and my favorite of Piper’s whole career. ****1/2
Lex Luger’s WWF debut
Bobby Heenan interviews the debuting former WCW World Heavyweight Champion, who’s in his home promoting his upcoming run in the WBF. All the other bodybuilders of the WBF better watch out because he’s a total package. Yeah, that whole thing turned out to be one epic clusterfuck. I can’t think of any better way to make your WWF debut than by drinking a glass of milk in a cameo via satellite at a WrestleMania…
The Big Bossman, Sgt. Slaughter, Jim Duggan & Virgil vs. The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags), The Mountie & Repo Man(w/ Jimmy Hart)
Special ring announcer and Family Feud host Ray Combs mocks the heels during the introductions. He ultimately gets chased out of the ring and it’s a big melee to start, and the babyfaces clean house with a quadruple clothesline. All the heels bail and things finally settle down to Duggan/Sags back inside the ring. Duggan takes over with a series of clotheslines and an atomic drop. It’s off to Slaughter for a clothesline into a gutbuster, and the tag to Bossman for a big boot. Bossman eats buckle on a blind charge in the corner, though, and Repo Man slugs away with a few jumps to the back, until Bossman goes low to cut that off. Virgil comes in with a dropkick, wearing a protective nose mask due to an attack by Sid on television shortly before the show. Virgil goes up and a high crossbody gets two, but the Mountie comes in from behind with a clothesline to the back to put the heels in control. The Mountie goes up but ends up getting caught in the waiting arms of Big Bossman instead and that’s enough to cause a pier six. The Nasty Boys steal Virgil’s mask to set up a cheapshot during the confusion, but Sags knocks out Knobbs instead and Virgil steals the pin at 6:33.
- Rating: filler [fil-er] noun 1. a person or thing that fills; 2. a thing or substance used to fill a gap, cavity, or the like… you get the point. One half of the previous year’s WrestleMania main event was involved in this, by the way. 1/2*
Ric Flair & Mr. Perfect promise Sean Mooney that they will show the world their special picture of Elizabeth after retaining the belt later tonight. Meanwhile, Randy Savage is not in the mood to accept interviews from anyone.
WWF Championship – Ric Flair(c)(w/ Mr. Perfect) vs. Randy Savage
Macho is wasting no time tonight and chases Flair up the ramp to start. Perfect gets involved and drags Savage all the way back to ringside by the hair, where we can finally get things underway inside the ring. The pissed off Savage strikes first with a clothesline followed by the high knee to the back, and Savage slugs away in the corner. Flair tries to escape that with an atomic drop out of the corner, but it gets blocked by Savage who hits a clothesline. Back elbow smash gets two. Macho’s emotions get the better of him, however, as Flair backdrops a charging Savage all the way to the floor. There, Flair whams Savage back first onto the apron, giving him an edge. Back in, Flair further punishes the back with a vertical suplex for two. A backdrop suplex gets two. A couple of whips into the turnbuckle and chops give Flair two more. Flair adds the kneedrop and Savage rolls to the outside, but Flair follows him and runs him back first onto the apron yet again. A vertical suplex from the apron to the middle of the ring gives Flair another nearfall. Ric pounds away in the corner and unloads the chops, but Savage finally shows some life and scores with a swinging neckbreaker for a big reaction. Now it’s Savage unloading in the corner, but Flair rakes the eyes and goes up. Shockingly, he gets slammed off and starts begging!
Savage fires away with a big backdrop out of the corner into a series of clotheslines, as Flair begs off some more. Savage SPITS on him and whips him into the corner for the Flair flip, and Flair dives right into a clothesline in mid air for an epic nearfall. The crowd literally boos Ric out of the building for having the audacity to kickout of a clothesline!! Heenan is going nuts on commentary and Mr. Perfect’s visually nervous, while Savage dumps Flair and meets him there with the flying double axehandle, which sends Flair face first into the railing and busts him open. It got both wrestlers suspended and Flair was nearly fired after the show due to the no-blood policy at the time. Bret and Piper passed on as getting color the hardway earlier, even faking a confrontation when they got through the curtain, though they did secretly plan the bladejob ahead of time too! Savage smartly goes to work on the cut immediately, introducing him into the post and the steps outside, then slugging away back inside. The flying double axehandle gets another close nearfall. Powerslam sets up the Macho Elbow and it connects, but Perfect pulls Savage out of the cover and Savage is right after him for the chase. Savage finally catches Perfect inside the ring, but the referee gets involved and Perfect hands Flair brass knuckles. Flair whacks Savage with it, quietly passes it back to Perfect, and covers for the one, two… FALSE FINISH!
Perfect grabs a chair and hits Savage in the leg while Flair has the ref distracted, drawing Elizabeth down to ringside. Flair takes Savage to school by logically going to work on the injured leg. Legbreaker sets up the Figure Four with some extra leverage from Perfect, while some officials try to get Liz out of there. Savage eventually turns it over but Flair immediately releases the hold, though, and tries to go to work on the leg but instead walks into a small package for two. Flair takes Savage into the corner next to Liz, chopping away while telling Liz “it’s for you baby wooo”! Flair hits a second legbreaker as he looks to be setting up for yet another Figure Four, but Savage blocks and rolls him up with a handful of tights for the pin and the title (and a huge fuckin’ pop!) at 18:04. Flair confronts Liz afterwards and plants a kiss on her, triggering a huge brawl as both Liz and a furious Savage go after Flair and Perfect, but the heels get the final cheapshots in and get the hell out of town. Savage finally gets announced as the new champion by Finkel and the music starts playing while some pyro goes off, and Savage celebrates with Liz while still selling the leg.
- Rating: Fantastic WWF title match at WrestleMania. The two were obviously involved in a very heated feud over Elizabeth coming into this show, and it made sense for Savage to go right after Flair from the start. From there, the work throughout the match was spectacular, with Savage’s emotions ultimately getting the better of him, putting Flair in the driver’s seat while Flair went to work over the back and, later, the leg. They got a number of nearfalls in thanks to the crowd being into it big time, which helped. The finish perhaps wasn’t the best, but the match ruled. Props to Savage’s selling throughout this bout, which was top notch. Fantastic match. ****1/2
Sean Mooney gets an interview with an irate Flair, Perfect and Heenan. They show a replay of Savage holding the tights and call Savage’s win a fluke, and Flair promises to get the belt and Elizabeth back.
Meanwhile, Mean Gene looks for answers from Savage and Liz. Macho is glad that Flair challenged him for a rematch, because that kiss managed to somehow make Savage even more pissed coming out of the match than he was heading into it, and he wants some more of Ric.
We recap Sid Justice snapping in the WrestleMania press conference over Jack Tunney’s announcement of Hulk Hogan as the number one contender, turning heel on Hogan in the tag match against Flair/Taker at SNME and destroying some jobbers on TV.
Rick Martel gets an interview with Sean Mooney right before his match. Indians have no class and there might actually be no match to begin with, because Tatanka is probably still trying to find out where he is. Yeah, okay then..
Tatanka vs. Rick Martel
This is literally just a number of weeks into Tatanka’s WWF run. Tatanka goes to work on Martel in the corner and armdrags him out of the corner, while Martel bails. Heenan is so pissed over Flair’s loss that he nearly jumps Monsoon over on commentary! Martel hits the post shoulder first on a missed blind charge in the corner, and Tatanka goes to work on said shoulder. Tatanka blocks a Martel armdrag, but Martel slams Tatanka down by the hair instead and dumps him. Martel takes control with a backbreaker and he goes up, but Tatanka uses the ropes to crotch him and unloads with some nasty chops. Martel cuts off the comeback and hits a slam followed by a clothesline, but Tatanka gets a quick crossbody for the win at 4:33.
- Rating: Just an undercard match designed to let the fans cooldown after the big Savage/Flair WWF title bout, but it was quite decent while it lasted. *1/4
Money Inc and Jimmy Hart are pretty confident they’ll leave with the tag straps.
The Natural Disasters are sick of waiting to get their hands on Jimmy and Money Inc, and the titles are theirs tonight.
WWF World Tag Team Championship – Money Inc (Ted DiBiase & Irwin R. Schyster)(c)(w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Natural Disasters (Earthquake & Typhoon)
Earthquake overpowers DiBiase to start, and it’s an early double noggin knocker to the champs already, who bail. Quake turns an IRS wristlock over into his own and he goes to work on the arm, before bringing in Typhoon for an armdrag. The big man grabs IRS by the tie and rams his head into the buckle a number of times for fun, but then eats buckle himself on a missed avalanche in the corner. DiBiase comes in but ends up getting caught in the babyface corner, only for Typhoon to miss a blind charge and knock himself over the top rope and onto the floor, where he’s met by IRS with a tax-free ride into the steps. A double clothesline from Money Inc (with an absolutely terrible bump by Typhoon) gives IRS two back inside. IRS cuts the ring in half for a while with a front facelock and the ref eventually misses Quake’s hot tag, allowing DiBiase to keep the heels in control until they collide on a double clothesline. IRS comes in and Quake gets the hot (actually more like warm) tag this time around, cleaning house. Typhoon splash knocks out IRS while Quake dumps DiBiase. Quake sets up for the INFESTED BUTTDROP OF DOOM, but Jimmy & Ted pull IRS out of the ring and… they take a walk at 8:38. Really?
- Rating: Even though it was far from being a good match, it was far from being the worst, but then the finish completely buried it. Slow tag title match with a lame non-finish. *
Mean Gene is in the back with “one of the all-time greats”, Brutus Beefcake. Haha, sure. Spending your entire career kissing some Terry Bollea ass does ultimately pay off, I guess. Anyway, regardless of this being Hogan’s last match or not, he’ll always be the number one Hulkamaniac in the world because Hulkamania will live forever and Hogan is such a good friend and he’s been there for him through the good and the bad and yada yada yada WHAT-E-EVER. Awful and cringe as always.
Skinner vs. Owen Hart
Outside of his loss as the ‘Blue Blazer’ to Mr. Perfect at WrestleMania V, this is Owen’s WrestleMania debut. At least as himself. You get it! Skinner spits some tobacco in Owen’s eyes before the bell, taking over with a shoulderbreaker to start. Skinner pounds away and an inverted DDT gets two. Skinner dumps Owen, or so he thinks as Owen pulls a Ricky Steamboat and skins the cat back inside, before catching Skinner with an O’Connor roll for the quick win at 1:36. Owen dropkicks Skinner out after the bell.
- Rating: A one minute match with three wrestling moves. Needless to say, Owen Hart would have much better matches in his WWF career down the road. N/R (no rating)
Sid Justice claims “a barn burner it won’t be”, quite possibly the understatement of the 90s.
We then take a minute to recap Vince McMahon interviewing Hulk Hogan about this being his last match, who just won’t have an answer until he comes out of the ring. Vince still thanks Hogan on behalf of everyone for the inspiration, for the memories and for Hulkamania. Talk about hard selljobs.
Back to Mean Gene and Sid in the dressing room, who doesn’t care about the memories of Hulkamania. All that matters is that he’ll be the one taking out Hulk Hogan because he rules the world.
(Alleged) Main Event – Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice(w/ Harvey Wippleman)
Harvey does the introduction for Sid while Heenan & Gorilla call him ‘psycho Sid’. Just take out the initial P and there’s a strong marketing opportunity right there, pal. Hogan comes in second and beats up Sid for nearly a minute with his shirt on while his song still plays the whole time, and then still has time to rip the shirt and finish his entrance. Because of course he does. Bell sounds and Sid takes over with a knee to the gut, and he pounds away. Crowd’s really loud for this one. Hogan turns things around on a criss cross and he dumps Sid, who takes a powder while the crowd gets even louder. Sid wants the test of strength back inside, and Hogan takes a second to ask the fans before eventually accepting. Advantage Sid who takes Hogan down on his knees, as Hogan seems to stay there forever. Hogan/Warrior this is not. The people are still yelling like crazy, though, so who am I to say? Sid releases the hold before Hogan can turn it around and overpower him, but Hogan meets him with a corner clothesline. Harvey gets involved, however, and Sid hits the one-hand chokeslam. Sid stops to speak to the camera, saying do unto the man as he would do unto you, but do it first. This would be great and intimidating and all that good stuff if he followed up on it with anything. Instead he goes back to kicks, punches and walking around, so it isn’t.
Sid dumps Hogan to the floor for some, you guessed it, kicking and punching and walking around. But it’s on the floor this time, so it counts as versatility, you see. Sid takes Hogan back inside, where he locks in the DEADLY NERVE HOLD OF EXCRUCIATING PAIN. Or a nice massage, I’ll leave it for you to decide, dear readers. We stay there for at least a minute before Hogan finally starts fighting out of it, only for Sid to take him back down with a sideslam and call for the Powerbomb. He hits it but it only gets two and it’s Hulk Up time. The big boot doesn’t take Sid down, but the big powerslam does. Hulk/Andre this is not. Hogan follows it up with the Legdrop, but Papa Shango misses his cue and Sid’s forced to kickout at 2, and Harvey improvises by running in to cause the lame DQ at 12:28. Fucking hell… Papa Shango finally does appear about a decade and a half plus two or three gimmick changes late for the beatdown, but then this happens.
The Ultimate Warrior returns
Warrior, making his first WWF appearance since SummerSlam, runs down and helps Hogan clear the ring. Less than two minutes after Warrior’s return, he’s celebrating to Hulk Hogan’s music and doing Hogan’s poses, because of course he is. Basically Ultimate Warrior’s career in a nutshell. Allegedly.
- Rating: Well well. Oh well. This was definitely something, huh? What a big mess the whole main event was, with the entire “Hogan leaving” narrative not helping, especially so soon after the WWF had already done it (and better, might I add) less than two years earlier in Hogan’s feud with Earthquake in 1990. As far as the match itself, it followed the usual Hogan formula, but slower, with lots of walking around between the hundreds of kicks and punches. Add the botched ending and, in spite of the crowd’s reaction, there’s just no possible way for me to defend this. It’s easily the worst WrestleMania main event up until then, and one of the worst of all time still to this day. It would turn out to be Hogan’s final WWF appearance of 1992, as he shifted his attention to other endeavours more and more. Knowing what awaits us at the following year’s WrestleMania, maybe THIS should’ve been the end of his first WWF run, right… Needless to say, this was some godawful stuff. DUD
END OF THE SHOW
Final thoughts: If you count only the first two hours or so, then this WrestleMania is an absolute all-timer. We had the start of Shawn Michaels’ singles push with a big victory over established veteran Tito Santana, Jake Roberts passing the creepy torch on his final night to young Undertaker, and two classic singles title matches in the form of Piper/Bret and Flair/Savage, both with amazing stories. Then it all went south faster than Lex Luger in 1995, with either filler or slow and plain bad matches with questionable finishes, and a horrible main event. Ultimate Warrior’s big return in the end somewhat saves it, but it was still one giant clusterfuck. Regardless, the good outweighs the awful final 30-40 minutes of this show, with the WWF and IC title matches obviously being the highlights. Highest of recommendations up to Flair/Savage, then turn it off and find something better to do. 7/10
Now it’s your time to speak. What are your thoughts on this WrestleMania? And on this review? Let me know using the following feedback form.
Click here to know more about my point system
|Wrestler||Star rating||Result||Main eventing||Extras||Total|
|4.5||1||–||+2 for winning a title||7.5|
|Virgil||0.5||1||–||+0.5 for winning the fall||2|
|4.5||-1||–||-2 for losing a title||1.5|
|Money Inc||1||-0.5||–||+1 for retaining a title||1.5|
|Brian Knobbs||0.5||-1||–||-0.5 for losing the fall||-1|
And that’s it, we’ve reached the end of yet another year on the ‘WWF calendar’. I’d like to thank you for your time and support as always, I really appreciate it. Make sure you don’t miss the next reviews here on SmarKdown, including an extra on WWF’s UK Rampage, featuring a rare WWF title match between Randy Savage and Shawn Michaels. After that, WCW’s WrestleWar featuring WarGames. See you all, have a great week!