Recap – Wrestlemania VIII
Date: April 5, 1992
Location: The Hoosier Dome – Indianapolis, Indiana.
Our hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby The Brain Heenan.
A little background: “HBK” Shawn Michaels has finally, and dramatically, split off from The Rockers by super-kicking Marty Janetty through a plate-glass window during Brutus Beefcake’s talk-show segment, “The Barber Shop”. Also, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair jumped ship from WCW to the WWF, with the Big Gold Belt, and won the WWF Championship, ultimately leading to Randy Savage coming out of enforced retirement to try and win the belt back – well, that and the nekkid pictures of Miss Elizabeth that Flair said he had.
WWF Heavyweight Champion: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair
WWF Intercontinental Champion: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.
WWF Tag Team Champions: Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase & Irwin R. Shyster w/ Jimmy Hart)
Before the first match, Reba McEntire sings the Star Spangled Banner – this being back when she was a Country star, rather then a sitcom star. Frankly, I hadn’t heard her sing live, or acapella for that matter – and she’s very good.
“HBK” Shawn Michaels w/ Sensational Sherri vs. “El Matador” Tito Santana
Poor Tito. He has since gotten saddled with a Matador gimmick. As if becoming a glorified jobber isn’t enough. At least he gets a show of respect from Reba as she heads for the back. Heenan makes a few racist remarks against Tito. I miss Jesse. Jesse would just make a remark about gallantry not getting you anywhere. Apparently the WWE’s still got the rights to the original version of “Sexy Boy” (with vocals by Sherri Martel).
Michaels is really eating up his new heel status. Tito starts up pretty strong and gets a 2 count off a high cross body. Tito locks on a side headlock for a bit, before HBK breaks out. Quick running chain wrestling by both men, before Tito lariats him clean out of the ring. Tito drags HBK back in, and Tito locks on the side headlock, before HBK breaks out by pulling on Tito’s ponytail. HBK regains control with some good strikes, before Tito locks the rest hold-er-side headlock right back on.
Tito gets a series of 2-counts off a side-headlock, followed by a 2-count off a small package. Shawn finally regains control by throwing Tito clean out of the ring. Tito crawls back to the ring and ends up on the receiving end of a back breaker for 2. Shawn locks on a side-headlock, but Tito breaks out with some elbows, only to hear some Sweet Chin Music. While Shawn poses for the crowd, I might as well point out that Sherri’s outfit leaves little to the imagination, especially that skirt. Shawn goes for a Teardrop Suplex (leg-hook Saito Suplex) but gets it reversed. Tito goes for a back drop, but Shawn reverses it. Shawn sends Tito for the ride, but Tito responds with a flying forearm that sends Shawn clean out of the ring.
Tito sends Shawn back in the ring and hits a springboard flying forearm on Shawn. Tito hits an inverted atomic drop and another flying forearm that sends Shawn back out of the ring again. Shawn gets up on the apron and Tito tries to body-slam him in, but Shawn reverses it with a strike that sends Tito to the mat with Shawn on top, for the pin.
Winner: HBK Shawn Michaels with an reversed bodyslam at 10:38.
Rating: *** – Not bad – Tito got a good showing in, which considering where his career was at the time, wasn’t half bad.
After the match, we get a few shots of women in the audience, who are loving HBK. This leads to a Okerlund interview with the Legion of Doom and their manager, Paul Ellering, who is making his Wrestlemania debut. No, The Legion is not wrestling today. They’re just cutting a promo on “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart, Irwin R. Shyster (who is making his Wrestlemania debut), and “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase (who make up Money Inc.). But they’re not wrestling them. So… why are we getting this interview?
Quotable Quotes: Ellering – “We earn our money the old fashioned way… beating people for it!”
After that interview, we get Sean Mooney interview with Jake “The Snake” Roberts (who is now sporting a naked woman with a strategically placed snake airbrushed on the legs of his tights). Apparently Mooney has never heard of Damien, and has never seen Jake bring Damien to the ring. We then get a little recap of Jake’s appearance on The Funeral Parlor (Paul Bearer’s talk show) where Jake traps ‘Taker’s hand in the casket, knocks the urn away from Bearer and then hits Bearer with a DDT. Now, this is Wrestlemania, and Jake’s facing The Undertaker, so you’ve got 3 guesses to how this will turn out, and the first 2 don’t count.
Quotable Quotes: Mooney – “I have to ask you about several rumors that claim that you are going to bring a snake to the ring.”
Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. The Undertaker w/Paul Bearer
‘Taker’s entrance loses some of it’s impact when it doesn’t have the lighting effects, I’ve noticed. It still has it’s effect though – the kids in the audience look scared.
I’ve noticed that ‘Taker’s original wrestling style reminds me of Michael Myers from Halloween, slow, deliberate, invincible – which makes for a nice contrast with Jake’s fast footwork. Jake pounds on Taker for a bit, before Taker sends him outside the ring and sends him into a ring post before both men return to the ring and Jake returns to beating on the Phenom. Jake goes for an Irish whip from coast to to coast, but ‘Taker resists and reverses, and then chokes Roberts in the corner. Taker continues with that one-handed choke, with the occasional strike every now and then as well.
Undertaker stops choking for a bit to hit his Big Flying Forearm of Doom. Taker goes for the Tombstone, but Jake reverses into a DDT. However, Jake doesn’t capitalize with a pin, and the Undertaker sits up! Clothesline by Taker again, and Roberts signals for the DDT, and again Roberts doesn’t capitalize, instead going out of the ring to attack Bearer, and Undertaker sits up! Undertaker follows Roberts out of the ring, and hits a Tombstone on the ringside mat! Undertaker rolls Jake in, and Roberts can Rest In Peace.
Winner: The Undertaker by pinfall with a Tombstone Piledriver at 6:41.
Rating: *** – Again, not bad. Not great. They had to contrive why Roberts didn’t win after the DDT though, with the failure to capitalize.
We then go backstage for an Okerlund interview with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Bret “Hitman” Hart, who are facing each other this evening in an IC title match. Piper brings up that he and Bret were trained by the same guy, Stu Hart (though Piper, as per usual, too a roundabout way of saying it).
WWF Intercontinental Championship: Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (c)
As Piper and Hart have a brief little staring contest in the ring, a couple fans try to put up a “Four Horsemen 4 Ever” sign in the crowd. Hart and Piper lock up – with Hart hitting an couple of arm drags before we get some great chain wrestling. They then move into a test of strength, or a “Greco-Roman knuckle lock” as Jesse Ventura would call it, before both men start trading arm wringers, before Bret locks one on that Piper can’t break out of, , ultimately turning it into an arm bar that Piper does break out of, only to end up eating a standing drop kick. Small package by Hart for 2. Hart hits a high running cross body by the ropes that sends both men rolling over to the outside.
Piper makes it back to the ring first. Piper opens the ropes to let hart in, but then cheap-shots Hart when the ref points out to Hart that his boot is untied, making for an nice twist on the oldest trick n the book. Piper hits a bulldog, and Bret is bust wide open! Piper covers for 2. Piper hits a big knee to the head of Bret for 2. Bret gets a sunset flip for 2. Piper regains control with a series of jabs for 2. Bret hits a series of slaps and a flying forearm that sends Piper to the outside of the ring. Piper gets men and both clothesline each other. Piper goes up top, but Hart stops him, hits a face slam, and inverted atomic drop and a snap suplex for 2. Russian Legsweep for 2. Bret’s wearing the crimson mask on the upper quarter of his face. Hart tries to lock on the Sharpshooter, but Piper blocks it, and Hart goes up top and goes for that measured elbow drop, but Piper gets a boot up to block it.
Piper accidentally sends Piper into the Ref and sends him out of the Ring, Piper beats up Bret outside of the ring, before sending Bret back into the ring, and grabbing the ring bell. Piper goes to clock Bret with the bell, but Piper has second thoughts and changes his mind, locking on the sleeper instead, but Bret reverses it into a float-over springboard back press for the pin.
Winner: Bret “Hitman” Hart by pinfall with a float-over springboard back press at 13:49. Bret is the new WWF Intercontinental Champion.
Rating: *** – Again, a good match – but not stellar. Now I’m wondering if ROH got me spoiled.
After the match, Piper helps Bret to his feet and puts the belt on him. We then go the announce booth, where Heenan introduces us to the newest member of the World Bodybuilding Federation, and future champion… Lex Luger. Well, the WBF didn’t go anywhere, but Lex did, at least for a little bit. But again, Lex is sitting in his front room (or in a hotel room) watching TV and putting over the WBF… which isn’t showing up on this card at all. So… why isn’t this interview on WWF Superstars?
Quotable Quotes: Monsoon (to Heenan, about Lex): “You found somebody more conceited than you are!”
We then go to The Nasty Boys, Repo Man and The Mountie (Jacques Rougeau), who cut a promo on their team upcoming match against Big Boss Man, Sgt. Slaughter, Virgil, and (groan) “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. We then go to Slaughter’s team, who cuts their own promo on their “worthy” opponents. I smell a stinkburger.
Quotable Quotes: Duggan – “There ain’t gonna be no take downs! There ain’t gonna be no go-behinds.” Nor, apparently, will there be any grammar.
The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags), The Mountie, and Repo Man w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Sgt. Slaughter, Big Boss Man, Virgil and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
Both teams are introduced by special guest ring-announcer Ray Combs of “Family Feud” who stalls, delaying the inevitable. The only way, I fear, a good match could come out of this would be if it was a hardcore match, which is not the stipulations of this match. Fortunately, his stalling is funny.
Quotable Quotes: “Of 100 people surveyed here this evening… (about the Nasty Boys) they agree that they are two men sharing 1 brain… their tag team success can be summed up in 1 word – Lucky.” (At this point Ray has to roll out of the ring because the Nasty’s break free of their tag team partners).
The ref loses control right away, as the faces clean the heels out of the ring. Boss Man is wearing Corellian coward stripes (as his pants have yellow stripes on the legs). We get Duggan and Sags as the legal men. Sags takes control or a bit, before Duggan tags in Sarge, and Sags tags in Knobbs. Both men trade offense before Slaughter tags in BBM. Knobs dominates Bossman for a bit, before tagging in Repo Man. Bossman tags in Virgil after kicking Repo between the uprights. Repo manages to regain control, tags in Sags, who gets a 2-count after a pumphandle slam. Mountie comes on, goes up top, gets caught by Bossman, and things degenerate into a slobberknocker. Knobbs grabs Virgil’s face mask, and goes to clobber Virgil with it, but misses and clobbers Sags, who then gets pinned by Virgil.
Winner: The faces by pinfall because the Knobbs couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn, at 6:39.
Rating: * – I could have gone without seeing that.
We then go backstage with a Mooney interview with Flair and his executive consultant, Mr. Perfect. They promise that after they win, they’ll put up their pinup picture of Miss Elizabeth on the big screen. We then go to Okerlund who is trying to get an interview with “Macho Man” Randy Savage, but he’s not giving interviews.
World Wrestling Federation Championship: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (c) w/ “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage
If you thought Bret bled in his match, I expect Flair to be wearing the crimson mask. Savage sprints out to the ring, possibly beating Warrior’s record. Savage chases Flair around the ring before we get the bell after Savage attacks Flair in the entrance way. Perfect manhandles Savage back to the ring area, so we can properly get this match started. Flair hits those signature knife edge chops (which probably don’t hurt that much, since Savage is wearing a shirt, but Savage regains control early on. Savage beats Flair from pillar to post, before Flair reverses it with a back drop that sends Savage out to the floor.
Flair rolls out and hits those big chops, before slamming Savage into the apron, and casually walking back into the ring. Savage gets smacked around by Flair in the ring for a bit, before Flair puts him in the corner for a some turnbuckle chops, and then a vertical suplex for 2. Side suplex by Flair for 2. Flair whips Savage from coast-to-coast, before leveling him with a big chop for 2, followed by a knee drop. Savage rolls out of the ring, but Flair follows and smacks Randy around some more. Another vertical suplex from the apron in by Flair for 2. Flair pauses for a moment to remind the ref that there is in fact a number after 2 and he should be counting it.
Flair returns to serving some yummy, yummy chops up to Savage in the turnbuckle. Mmm… chops. Savage starts to build up some momentum with some forearms, capping off with a swinging reverse neckbreaker. Flair goes up top, but Savage catches him and throws him off the top with authority. Savage spits in Flair’s face., and flips Flair onto the apron. Flair goes back up again, goes for a flying clothesline, but Savage hits a clothesline of his own for 2. Flair goes for a clothesline, Save ducks it and responds with one of his own, sending Flair to the outside. Savage goes up, and hits a double axe-handle that sends Flair into the apron, and Flair is bust open. Savage beats Flair on the outside of the ring. Savage quickly breaks the count, before hitting a vertical suplex on Flair on the mat, and sends Flair back into the ring. Savage continues to ground and pound Flair, and then goes up and hits another double axe-handle for 2.
Savage goes back up again and hits the Flying Elbow but Perfect drags Savage out of the ring before he can get the 3-count. Savage chases Perfect, but as Perfect goes past Flair, he drops a pair of knucks to Flair, who waffles Savage for 2. Maybe it’s just me, but Flair’s hair always makes his bleeding seem much worse then it really is. While the ref is chewing out Flair, Perfect nails Savage with a chair. Elizabeth is on her way out to the ring now. Meanwhiles, Flair connects with a knee breaker and locks on the Figure Four Leglock, but Savage manages to reverse the hold, forcing Flair to break it. Savages reverses a slam into a small package for 2, and then hits a few strikes before getting a roll-up for the pin.
Winner: “Macho Man” Randy Savage by pinfall with a roll-up at 18:04, and is
Rating: **** – Very good match. Even thought I knew how it ended (from a previous Wrestlemania thingie I read), I really got into this match.
After the match, Flair tries to kiss Elizabeth – mistake! Savage snaps and chokes the crap out of Flair. These two aren’t done – if they have anything to say about it. Perfect gets a few shots in as well. Eventually, security breaks both groups up, and Flair and Perfect head to the back, while Savage and Elizabeth celebrate. We then go to the back with Mooney, who interviews Flair… again. Bobby “The Brain” Heenan comes out to argue on Flair and Perfect’s behalf. Flair demands a rematch. You know, Flair, Perfect, Heenan. We’ve almost got the Horsemen. We then go to Okerlund with Savage and Elizabeth. Savage is still selling that leg – either he’s really that dedicated, or he’s really injured. Either way, cut him some slack, and get him a crutch or a chair as a prop, jeez. Oh, and while Savage is a face, and is treating Elizabeth with respect, she still doesn’t get any promo time.
As we’re still in Intermission, we then go to the Wrestlemania VIII press conference, where Hogan was named Number 1 Contender over Sid Justice (later known as Sycho Sid, and then Sid Vicious), and generally recapping the Hogan/Sid Justice feud. As we finish up the Intermission, we have Native Americans of the Lumbee tribe (which is Tatanka’s tribe), before we go backstage to Sean Mooney and an interview with “The Model” Rick Martel.
“The Model” Rick Martel vs. Tatanka
This is Tatanka’s Wrestlemania Debut. Tatanka and Martel lock up, with Martel taking control early on, before Tatanka turned it around, while Heenan loses his temper in the ring. Tatanka is pretty much dominating this match. Martel manages to get Tatanka on the outside briefly – very briefly. Martel hits a gut-breaker and goes up top, but gets caught by Tatanka who chops the crap out of them, followed by a big back drop. Note – Tatanka’s tights make him look like he’s wearing a thong. That’s not a good thing. Anyway, Tatanka hits a high-cross body for the pin.
Winner: Tatanka by pinfall with a high cross body at 4:32.
Rating: ** – Martel, you were not berried in this match, but I suspect that’s because you were berried in a previous match that I haven’t seen yet. That said, since this is not your berrial match, I’ll refrain from posting any pictures of fruit.
After the match we go backstage to Money Inc. who cut a promo on the Natural Disasters – Earthquake and Typhoon. We then go to Okerlund with the Natural Distasters, who cut a promo of their own.
WWF Tag Team Championship: Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase & Irwin R. Shyster w/ Jimmy Hart) (c) vs. The Natural Disasters (Earthquake and Typhoon)
While I’m waiting for the Natural Diasters to enter the ring, I’d like to mention that I rather like DiBiase’s entrance music. This is the Wrestlemania Debut of Typhoon. Shyster has previously appeared at Wrestlemania, but as a Face, under his real name of Mike Rotunda, as part of the U.S. Express at Wrestlemania 1, where they lost the Tag titles to the Iron Shiek and Nikolai Volkoff.
Money, Inc has a little discussion on who will start. Ultimately, DiBiase and Earthquake start out. Earthquake blocks all DiBiase strength moves. So, DiBiase tries brawling and striking moves without success. The Disasters manhandle Money Inc. I just happened to notice that Hart is sticking with just one suit this Wrestlemania. Normally he’s wearing a different suit for every match. Not so this Wrestlemania. Typhoon is now the legal man. Shyster gets tagged in and finds himself playing Heel In Peril. Shyster gets into the turnbuckle but quickly evades a turnbuckle splash, and tags in DiBiase, who gets a few strikes in before getting, (*ahem*) squashed.
DiBiase manages to get Typhoon on the outside and Shyster smacks his head against the steps, before throwing him back in. Money Inc gets some very nice tag team wrestling in, as well as some good technical wrestling, and ultimately making Typhoon face-in-peril. Earthquake manages to get control and goes for the big splash, but Hart drags Shyster (currently the legal man) out of the ring, and Money Inc, heads for the back, accepting the count-out, but retaining the titles.
Winners: The Natural Disasters by count-out at 8:35. Money Inc. retains the title.
Rating: ** – (Chanting) Bull-shit! Bull-shit! (/chanting)
We then go to Okerlund who interviews Brutus Beefcake about his boating accident that lead to his facial reconstruction surgery, and about the Hogan/Justice feud.
“The Rocket” Owen Hart vs. Crush
This is Skinner’s Wrestlemania debut. Skinner jumps Owen at the bell. Shoulder-breaker by Skinner, leading to a ground-and-pound. Owen’s outfit is hideously gaudy, blue with checkerboard suspenders and checkerboard patches on the legs. Skinner hits a reverse DDT but Owen kicks out. Skinner throws Owen out of the ring, but Owen skins the cat and rolls up Skinner for the pin.
Winner: Owen Hart with a roll-up at 1:09.
Rating: Dud – Squash match – Owen is talented, why not put him in a longer match?
We then go backstage to Okerlund with Sid Justice and his manager, Harvey Wippleman, who cuts a promo on Hulk Hogan, swearing to end Hogan’s career.
Quotable Quotes: Justice – “ (*screaming*) Curse you! I curse you Hogan, and every Hulkamaniac! (*quiet-but-intense*) Because I rule the world.”
Sid Justice w/ Dr. Harvey Whippleman vs. Hulk Hogan
So, we’re at our real main event… and it’s not a title match. Yeah, Hogan puts asses in the seats, but you’d think you’d want the Championship match in the second half in the show, rather then the top of the first half.
Hogan and Justice duke it out in the ring, with Justice taking control early on. Hogan regains control by knocking Justice out of the ring with two punches. Justice regroups outside of the ring, and challenges hogan to a Test of Strength. Justice forces down Hogan, but he manages to get back up briefly after hulking up, before getting forced back down again. Hogan hulks back up again, getting back to a vertical base, but Justice forces Hogan into the corner. Mistake. Hogan regains control and whips Hogan into the corner. Hogan sends Justice coast to cost and then hits a corner splash. Justice responds with a choke slam, but doesn’t capitalize, instead choosing to mug for the camera. Hogan gets back to a vertical base, so Justice beats him around again. Justice hits a sidewalk slam (which Monsoon mis-calls a Side-Suplex) and hits a sit-out power bomb and covers, but Hogan kicks out at 2 and Hulks up properly. Hogan hits the 3 Moves of Doom, but Justice kicks out, and Whippleman comes in and lays hands on Hogan, getting the DQ.
Winner: Hulk Hogan by DQ at 12:27.
Rating: * – Bull-shit!
After the match, Papa Shango (who you may remember as the Godfather) runs in and he and Justice tie Hogan up in the ropes and attack Hogan. Then, enter The Ultimate Warrior to make the save. Warrior clotheslines Shango out of the ring, but takes a chair shot to the back by Justice – but as Warrior’s holding the ropes it does precisely jack and shit. Warrior sends Justice out of the ring, and Warrior and Hogan celebrate after the match. This event feels like Russo on a good day – Interviews by people who don’t have matches, forwarding storylines that don’t show up on this event, and a messy, over-booked finish in the main event.
Overall: ** – Until the last half of the show, I would have given this three starts, but the last half of the show cost this a whole star. Meh.