The year is 2002. WWF (at the time) is off one of the most ridiculous years in pro wrestling history. Vince McMahon buys his competition. They put on WrestleMania X-Seven which is one of the greatest shows of all-time. And everything falls off the cliff. Vince’s answer? Well, he brings in the nWo. Not Goldberg, not Sting, not Rey Mysterio – but the nWo. And in doing so, he makes the Icon vs. Icon match which carries WrestleMania X8. But as Big D says about 14 times per show, we’ll get there.
In part one of this two-part extravaganza (with part two out next week) Big D, GG, and Brandon Draven discuss the build up to the show on this WrestleMania X8 podcast.
They discuss the following and more:
– The collapse that is 2001
– The Invasion angle and what could’ve been
– The booking problems
– The 9/11 Smackdown that GG and Cactus Jim attended live
– The reboot show after Survivor Series
– And yes, the nWo
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
When you think of Wrestlemania X-8 in five years, you will remember one match, and only one match. You’ll be surprised to see that Edge had a match with Booker T which started because Edge swiped a commercial deal that Booker T thought he should’ve received. You’ll forget that there was Diamond Dallas Page’s one and only Wrestlemania match. You might even forget that Chris Jericho and Triple H were in the main event.
The match you will remember however is the one that pitted Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock. Hogan had just come back to the WWF with his NWO cronies Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. McMahon brought them in to come shake up the foundation of the WWF. He wanted them to “poison” his own creation as he was afraid that Ric Flair was ruining his promotion. That was the storyline. The real story was that McMahon, as always, wanted to bring in some surprises right before Wrestlemania, to make Mania the most talked about show of the year. However, what he should’ve known was that the NWO was so “five years ago” and that it wouldn’t work today unless it was brought back as a new idea. Hogan was accepted back by the fans, but Nash and Hall weren’t seen as anything more than just regular guys. Hogan is a great manipulator and he positioned himself with a match against The Rock, who already had a great buzz on him as he was finishing up The Scorpion King. The initial build-up was excellent. Rock challenged Hogan and the audience was split on who they were cheering for. What they did afterward was hogwash and unbelievable, but let’s just forget that ever happened.