In the latest episode of WrestleMania 30 For 30, Jason, Big D and GG discuss in WrestleMania VIII in heavy detail.
WrestleMania VIII featured the double main event of Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice and Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair. But it wasn’t scheduled to be like that. Originally, Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair was the scheduled main event, but Vince McMahon changed his mind and went with two big main events rather than just one.
Right call? Wrong call? We’ll discuss the entire thing in detail.
WrestleMania VIII is also one of our favorite WrestleManias of the early era. In early 1992, WWF had an amazing roster. Soon thereafter, it wouldn’t be the case.
If you’ve missed any of our WrestleMania 30 For 30 podcasts, just click on the WrestleMania 30 For 30 tag to find them.
Let us know what you think!
Here’s our WrestleMania VIII review:
We’re down to the top ten.
10. Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit – Wrestlemania X-Seven
The first 5 minutes of this match were surreal. You had two “smaller” wrestlers on Wrestlemania in front of 50,000-plus (really over 67,000) WWF fans, doing nothing but amateur wrestling. It was hold and counter hold….. AND IT GOT OVER…. it got over huge. I don’t think anything like that would have been envisioned in 1987. Heck, it wouldn’t have been envisioned in 1997. But Angle and Benoit were just that good, and while they would go on to have better matches, this remains a technical classic. It was the first time we witnessed their display of countering each other’s finishers which became a staple of their matches, and at the time that was really really cool. The finish was perhaps not what you’d ideally want from these two, but it’s non-conclusiveness left things open for rematches.
Winner: Kurt Angle
9. Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle – Wrestlemania XIX
At one point in this match, I thought to myself that I was watching one of the greatest matches I’d ever seen in my life. In fact, as the match was going on, I thought this could possibly be the greatest match in Wrestlemania history. Kurt Angle was injured going into the match and there was worry that he wouldn’t be able to work. But this is Kurt Angle. You knew he’d be there. And he went on to have a fabulous performance. Brock Lesnar held his own and it was a match mixed with fast and hard hitting action. It fell off near the end as Brock tried a shooting star press and nearly broke his neck. There was a bit of a breakdown as Lesnar was in a fog, but Angle led him through to the finish. While the ending didn’t allow it to achieve its full greatness, it’s still one of the greatest Mania matches of all time.
Winner: Brock Lesnar
If you missed our introduction which mentions how we rated the matches and which ones just missed the top 25, check it out now.
We are counting down the top 25 greatest matches of Wrestlemania and we’re starting with match 25 on our list.
25. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock – Wrestlemania XV
Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock would go on to have better matches. In fact, two of them would be at two of the next four Wrestlemanias. But that doesn’t mean that this match doesn’t deserve its place on the list. It was a pure out and out slobber knocker as JR and Jerry Lawler would go on to say. The finish was a bit overbooked as there were two ref bumps and Vince McMahon and Mankind both figured into the outcome. But if you heard the crowd pop, they didn’t care. Austin and Rock showed some early magic and after shunning The Rock Bottom, Austin hit the stunner and the Rock looked up at the lights. Vince McMahon’s face after the match was over was priceless.
Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin
24. Triple H vs. The Undertaker – Wrestlemania X-Seven
Big D says:
This was an interesting match because a huge portion of the super hardcore fans weren’t looking forward to it despite it being two of the best workers ever. The build-up began shortly after No Way Out and it was simple – “You never beat me, stop talkin’ trash.”
Prior to the match, a lot of wrestling journalists such as Dave Meltzer thought this would be the perfect match for Taker to lose his streak in. Triple H was hot off a big win over Austin in the 3 stages of Hell match and was set to feud with Stone Cold after this show and through the summer, but Taker ended up getting the duke.
I remember the match going on second to last and it being a tremendous back and forth match with the highlights being Triple H using a sledgehammer to pop Taker mid-powerbomb, Taker choke slamming Trips over a balcony, and Taker winning with the Tombstone Piledriver.
Winner: The Undertaker
Vince McMahon had it right on his plate. The biggest dream match in the history of professional wrestling. And he flinched.
In the summer of 1991, Ric Flair was unhappy with what was going to be a pay cut with WCW. He was scheduled to lose to Lex Luger at the Great American Bash, but was then subsequently fired as he didn’t want to drop the title without a new contract. Instead, Luger faced Barry Windham in a cage match with very little buildup and started a very forgettable championship reign. Across WCW arenas around the world, the loudest chants weren’t for Sting, or the newly crowned champ. The loudest chants were for Ric Flair. I went to a WCW event in the fall of 1991 and throughout most of the show was a chant of, “We want Flair”. But Flair was gone. He showed up on WWF television in the fall and had the old ten pounds of gold with him. Immediately, fans expected he and then WWF Champion Hulk Hogan to battle. It was a dream match that everyone had been wanting to see for at least 8 years. He started to become a thorn in Hogan’s side immediately. When Hogan lost the belt to the Undertaker at the Survivor Series, Flair was in the middle of it. And then on This Tuesday In Texas, which was just 5 days later on PPV, Hogan supposedly won the title back, but it was the held up. The title would be decided at the Royal Rumble. Ric Flair won the match by wrestling for close to one hour and outlasting everyone. It would seem that the logical challenger would be Hulk Hogan. Vince McMahon could then show the world that his champion was better than the old NWA champion. And it could be decided on the biggest stage in wrestling. Wrestlemania VIII was held at the Indiana Hoosier Dome. It could have been perfect. But McMahon flinched.
There were a couple of reasons why Vince would’ve flinched. For one, they went to Hogan vs. Flair very soon around the house show circuit and after a few runs, it wasn’t special anymore. And also, Vince has always been about pushing bigger guys. He saw a star in Sid Justice, formerly Sid Vicious. Sid was a huge guy with a jacked up physique who was supposed to be someone WCW was going to try and utilize as a top heel. He had one title match against Sting, but didn’t win it in an odd finish that saw Barry Windham dressed up as Sting and taking the pin. But the real Sting came out and then pinned Vicious. Yes, it was hoaky. But Vince came calling and Sid left WCW for New York. Initially, Vince put Sid with Hogan after SummerSlam 1991. Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior beat the team of the Iron Sheik who was at the time Colonel Mustafa, Sgt. Slaughter and their manager, General Adnan. Sid Justice was the referee. When Hogan and Warrior won, it was Hogan and Justice celebrating in the ring with Warrior no where to be found. If McMahon was going to flinch on the Flair vs. Hogan deal, this would be his backup. But who would Flair then wrestle?
In a hokey, but still effective storyline, Ric Flair promised the fans that he “had” Elizabeth before Randy Savage married her. The line was, “She was mine, before she was yours,” as if Elizabeth was some sort of property. Flair then showed pictures of himself with Elizabeth to further “prove” he was with Elizabeth before Savage was. Mean Gene Okerlund showed some investigative journalism later to prove that the pictures of Flair and Elizabeth were in fact doctored. Talk about going a long way for a storyline. Curt Hennig and Bobby Heenan promised to show some risque pictures of the lovely Elizabeth at Wrestlemania where Flair would defend his belt and against Savage. Talk about bait and switch. There were no pictures of Elizabeth. Instead of giving the WWF fans their dream match, Vince decided that Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice was a better fit.