Wrestlemania VIII Recap

1. El Matador vs. Shawn Michaels with Sherri

Well well well.  If it isn’t our old friend Tito Santana, once again called upon to put someone over at a Wrestlemania.  I’m excited for the match, because I just mentioned in the last Royal Rumble recap that I’d love to see these two wrestle.

This event takes place in the Hoosierdome and they have a very odd setup.  Basically, they have the ring on the floor with the seats surrounding it, but then a huge gap between the floor seats and stands.

Should we sell an additional 9,400 tickets, or leave huge goddamn gaps in the floor?  Gaps you say?

Because of the setup and the impact on acoustics, I can hear individual comments from the crowd on the DVD.  It’s nuts.  It’s like they’re actually commentating the match, it’s so loud.  There are moments where it’s louder than Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan.

Aside from the very distracting, idiot crowd, this match is not the fast-paced dynamic wrestling that Tito and Michaels are known for.  It’s mostly headlocks.  The action picks up when Tito hits the sweet, sweet flying forearm…

Oh Flying Forearm.  I can’t stay mad at you

..but Michaels rolls out of the ring.  Tito goes on a pretty great offensive run, but.. kind of trips when he tries to body slam Michaels, and Michaels gets the pin.

Tito Santana fans, take note: This marks his seventh straight loss at Wrestlemanias.

Overall: A barely better than average match with a Flying Forearm

2. The Undertaker vs. Jake the Snake Roberts

Before this match starts, let’s go see who is in the audience.  Well what do you know, it’s Alia Shawkat, inexplicably time-travelling backwards from the set of Arrested Development


It’s interesting to go back and watch early Undertaker matches.  His wrestling has really evolved.  His whole moveset is just chokes.  The entire excitement comes from watching him no-sell every move.

In this case, Undertaker sits up from 2 straight DDTs and it’s electrifying.  He then finishes off Jake with a quick and easy Tombstone.  This match did a great job of selling the Undertaker as an unbeatable monster

Overall: It’s an Undertaker match, so 10/10

3. Intercontinental Championship Match: Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Bret the Hitman Heart

Great story leading into this one.  As you might recall, Bret Hart won the belt from Mr. Perfect at the 1991 SummerSlam before losing it oto the Mountie at a house show.  Piper was in his corner at the time and took the belt from the Mountie at the 1992 Royal Rumble, three days later.

That set the stage for this match – the Hitman wanted “his” belt back and the feud was on.  What made this unique for the time, is that both wrestlers were babyfaces with the crowed pretty evenly split between the two.

If anyone ever asks what people mean when they refer to Hitman a great “in ring storyteller”, tell them to watch this match.  It has a ton going on.  It’s Piper the streetfighter vs. Hitman the technician.  Both guys are wrestling a really aggressive match, consistent with the story.

In another unusual twist, Hart cuts himself wide open – he barely cuts in his matches

“anti-lol” – Bret Hart, presumably

The whole match is a complete back and forth.  The ref gets knocked out and Piper runs to the outside and grabs the ring bell with the intention of hitting Hart.  The crowd starts to boo and Piper remembers that’s he’s a “good guy” so he instead slaps on the sleeper.  Hart, showing his ring awareness, kicks off the ropes into a pinning combination.  He wins the belt!

Piper does the standard “gracious in defeat” and awards the belt to the Hitman.

Overall: What a great match.  So far this is a fantastic Wrestlemania

4. Big Boss Man, Virgil, Sgt. Slaughter, Hacksuck Jim Duggan vs. The Nasty Boys, Repo Man  and the Mountie

Since his last appearance in the ’92 Royal Rumble, Virgil has gained a new mask, apparently because his nose was broken

“Here, wear this stupid, stupid mask to protect your nose” – No doctor, anywhere

So what to expect from this match?  8 wrestlers, none of whom are that technically accomplished, at varying phases in the sunset of their careers.  And Hacksuck.  I am weary with excitement.

There’s not a ton to recap in this one.  The match ends when the one of the Nasty Boys rips off Virgil’s facemask and tries to hit Virgil with it.  He misses, and instead hits his partner with a fist full of soft, cottony bandage.  Obviously, the Nasty Boy is knocked cold and the idiots with Hacksuck with the match.

Overall: I don’t like any of the wrestlers enough to genuinely care.

5.  World Heavyweight Championship Match: Mr. Flair vs. Macho King

This Wrestlemania was billed with a “double main event”.  This match, and the later one between Hogan and Sid Justice.

Originally, the main event was supposed to be Flair vs. Hogan, but Hogan was planning to leave the WWE in 1992 to pursue acting (or whatever) and McMahon didn’t want to put the belt back on him (more on that in the Hogan match later on in this post)

This match has a ton of great heat.  In the weeks leading to the match, Flair taunted Savage by telling him he slept with his wife (!!!).

jerk store
Costanza would have the perfect comback for that

Flair goes on an early, and prolonged offense against Savage.  It’s about the first 12 minutes of the match.  Savage eventually fights back to a nice pop from the crowd.  It’s been awhile since Savage has been in the ring and you can tell.  His moves are about a 1/2 beat off and some end up a little clumsy.

Eventually the match goes to the floor and Flair cuts himself.

Right here

This is two blade jobs in one event, making this the bloodiest Wrestlemania in history.  The ref gets knocked out and Flair hits Savage with brass knuckles, but Savage manages to kick out.  During another distraction (jesus McMahon, hire some decent refs!), Perfect hits Macho in the leg with a chair.

Fed up, Elizabeth runs out from the back and the officials flaccidly try to stop her, primarily with wild gesticulating

Someone do something!  She’s 105 pounds and very, very pretty!  We are powerless

When she gets to the ring, she essentially does nothing.  Meanwhile, Flair applies the Figure Four on Savage.  Savage barely manages to reverse it and wins with a very abrupt rollover pin.

Overall: Great match

6. Tatanka vs. Rick Martel

This Wrestlemania is the perfect mirror for how thin the WWE’s pool was in 1992.  They had some incredible talent (e.g. Undertaker, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair) and then they had garbage.  This PPV alternates between the two.

The only bright spot of this match is how quick it is.  It’s mostly one-sided offense for Martel who eventually gets pinned by an out-of-nowhere high cross body

As opposed to a completely expected high cross body, I guess

Overall: Would have been a fine warm up match, but not a latter-half of a PPV match

7. Tag Team Championship Match: The Natural Disasters (Tugboat and Earthquake) vs. Money Inc. (Ted Dibiase and IRS)

Why on earth are the Natural Disasters good guys now?  Wikipedia tells me it has something to do with Jimmy Hart arranging for Money Inc. to get the belt and not them.  Got it.

Have I mentioned before that I hate fat guy matches?  I find their limited arsenal of fat-based power moves very… well, limited.  And they’re usually pretty horrible wrestlers that miss a ton of spots

Case in point

After a very serviceable match, the Natural Disasters are about to get the pin, but Jimmy Hart pulls IRS out of the ring and Money Inc. leaves the match.  Natural Disasters win by count out, but Money Inc. keeps the belt

Overall: Does this mean we’ll see this match again?  I hope not.

8. Skinner vs. Owen Hart

The apathy in the audience is just palpable.  I guess the crowd needed time to get a beer.  The match is about 58 seconds long, and Owen Hart wins with a rollup pin.

Note to caption writer: Add a fart joke

Overall: Those last three matches have made for a very underwhelming lead up

9. Not at all a Championship match: Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice

This just goes to show you what McMahon thought about Hogan at this point.  Doesn’t matter if he has the belt, he’s the main event.  If this was any other booking, this match would have been the mid-card and Macho / Flair would have been the main event.

I’ll let Buzzfeed describe the lead up:

Ric Flair showed up, newly defected from WCW, and looked to set up a storyline showdown of epic proportions between the Flair as the face of WCW and Hogan as the face of the WWF.  Then Hogan-Flair matches failed to inspire much interest at house (non-televised) shows and WWF management got cold feet about whether the match really worked as a main event.  Around the same time, Hogan decided to retire so he could pursue a career in acting.

For anyone counting (me) this makes 4 tag team partners who have turned on Hogan: Paul Orndorff, Andre the Giant, Macho Man, and now Sid Justice.  Hey gang, maybe Hogan is the worst?

Look how happy Andre was choking him to death!

This match is nothing spectacular.  It’s a pretty by-the-books Hogan affair that is surprisingly quick, clocking in at just over 10 minutes.  Hogan gets beaten up for awhile and then hulks the fuck out after Sid gives him the power bomb.

The ending is odd as hell.  Sid kicks out of Hulk’s big leg thanks to help from Harvey Whippleman.  Sid is disqualified and then Papa Shango runs out for no goddamn good reason.  To add on to the randomness, the Ultimate Warrior runs out and clears house and saves Hogan.  The rumor is Papa Shango was supposed to interfere earlier, but missed his spot so Sid was forced to kick out of the leg.

Overall: This was a fairly terrible match, featuring people who were all mostly on their way out of the WWE.  Still not the worst Wrestlemania ever through