The Early November (Taken with Instagram at Emerson Theater)
Fuck. I want this. (Taken with Instagram at Circle Centre Mall)
Wearing my new Larry Bird shirt courtesy of Tom Philibeck!
Reppin’ the Celtics AND Pacers in one shirt!
It’s an Indiana classic. (Taken with Instagram)
I was in attendance for this. And it was also Stone Cold’s final time winning the WWF/E Championship.
You’ll never guess where I stumbled into… (Taken with Instagram at Bankers Life Fieldhouse)
☝YES! YES! YES!☝ (Taken with instagram)
WWF WRESTLEMANIA VIII - April 5th, 1992 - “Friendship Torn Apart! / The Macho/Flair Affair!”
62,167 at The Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana
At the time, the WWF was saying that this COULD be Hulk Hogan’s fairwell match against the recently turned heel Sid Justice (AKA Sid Eudy, Sycho Sid and Sid Vicious). Also, Flair had won the vacant WWF Championship in the Royal Rumble match and his and Savage’s feud revolved around Flair saying that he had been with Elizabeth before Savage and had revealing pictures of her.
Originally, the main event was going to be Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan which was seen as a dream match for wrestling fans at the time because Ric Flair had been on top in the NWA at the same time Hogan was on top of the WWF. But, after a string of house shows, that idea was nixed after it was decided that they didn’t have good chemistry together. This was also the last stadium WrestleMania until WrestleMania X-7 in 2001 at the Houston Astrodome.
We are greeted by Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan as they welcome us to Indianapolis, Indiana (woohoo!) and Reba McEntire sang her rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Shawn Michaels (w/”Sensational” Sherri) vs. “El Matador” Tito Santana
Santana had recently changed his gimmick to a bull fighter. And Shawn Michaels had just split from The Rockers and just started doing his heel “Heartbreak Kid” gimmick. This was actually his first singles PPV match. There were quite a few rest holds in this match as Michaels was not used to being a singles wrestler or a heel. Shawn was nowhere near being the Showstopper yet (not for at least for two more years). What was really funny is that Heenan kept calling Santana’s moves things like the “Flying Jalapeno” or the “Flying Burrito.” After going for a bodyslam, Michaels fell on top of Santana and picked up the pin. A pretty weird ending, but it made since for Michaels, the up and comer, to go over the veteran on his way out.
“Mean” Gene Okerlund then interviewed the Legion of Doom with their new manager Paul Ellering as a re-introduction to the team.
The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
For the first time in a long time, Jake was playing the heel and did not bring out his snake Damien and The Undertaker (who won and then lost the WWF title a few months before this) came out to an enormous face pop. Jake was leaving the WWF for WCW shortly after this, so he was buried in this match. Roberts hit ‘Taker with two DDTs and he got up. Taker then gave Jake a Tombstone Piledriver on the floor and rolled his limp carcass back into the ring and scored with the pinfall. The Undertaker would then be 2-0 at WrestleMania. Again, the up and coming superstar went over the veteran. Good booking.
WWF Intercontinental Championship: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (c) vs. Bret “The Hitman” Hart
This was Piper’s first and only singles title in the WWF and he was defending it against Bret Hart. And this was interesting because there wasn’t very many face vs. face matches at the time, so it made the crowd to be pretty split with their decision. This was also Bret’s firs singles WrestleMania match and it had a lot of tension during the beginning because it took a little while to get started. But when they finally locked up, Piper tried to out wrestle Hart (which is something you don’t try to do). For the rest of the match, Piper would use cheap shots to attempt to retain his title. After whipping him into the turnbuckle, Hart came up bleeding. At the time, the WWF had a no blood policy but Hart told Vince McMahon that it was a legitimate cut. In his book, he later revealed that he did in fact blade. Bret ended up reversing a sleeper hold into a pin for the victory. The pace of the match was excellent and it was one of the few times where Piper was cleanly pinned. I have my doubts whether the blood was ncessary, but “The Hitman” felt that it was.
Next, there was an interview with Lex Luger promoting Vince’s newly launched WBF (World Bodybuilding Federation) and it was completely pointless. Before he was even able to appear in the WBF, he was injured in a motorcycle accident and when he had recovered, the WBF went out of business. He then joined the WWF shortly after that.
The Mountie, The Repo Man & The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobs & Jerry Saggs) (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Sgt. Slaughter, Virgil, Big Boss Man & “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
Guest ring announcer: Ray Combs
Heenan: “I’ve got a special announcement to make: Shawn Michaels has left the building.”
Gorilla: “Who cares?!?!”
This was Slaughter’s last PPV match until December 1997. And if they this event followed the four hour format like the previous WrestleMania events, all of these guys would be involved in singles matches. This match was a relatively boring match used to cool the crowd down between the Intercontinental and WWF title matches. The end came when Saggs went to hit Vigil but he ducked and ended up hitting Knobs in the face with Virgil picking up the pin. I’m glad that the Repo Man did not steal the show.
WWF Championship: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (w/Mr. Perfect) vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage
This was Ric Flair’s WrestleMania debut as he had been wrestling in the NWA where he had won the NWA title several times. During the 1980’s, Ric Flair was one of the most popular and well known wrestlers in the world. This was actually Flair’s only WrestleMania title defense. This bout had a big match feel to it including the fact that Savage was refusing to grant interviews to anybody. Both of these guys were such great workers and it actually surprised me that Ric Flair got over with the WWF crowd. Flair’s execution was perfect and he was so excellent at drawing heat. The ammount of passion and emotion in this match was tremendous. After hitting his head on the steel guard rail, Flair was busted open. In all actuality, he was visibly seen blading on camera and was fined several thousand dollars. Elizabeth came down to the ring and WWF officials (including a 22 year old Shane McMahon) attempted to stop her. By this time, Flair had locked in the Figure Four Leglock on Savage. However, Savage was able to reverse it but it was soon broken by Flair. Flair began pounding on Macho Man in the corner, leans over to Liz and says, “It’s for you, baby. Woo!” Mach then blocks one of Naich’s punches, rolls him up and scores the pin by tugging on Flair’s trunks regaining the WWF Championship in the process. As Savage grabs the belt and attempts to catch his breath, Flair walks up to Liz and plants a big kiss on her. Savage then goes after Flair and WWF officials break it up. Excellent match that told an even better story.
Flair then cuts a promo backstage expressing how angry he was that Savage beat him for the title by holding onto his tights. Perfect claimed that Flair was the greatest WWF Champion of all time. And Heenan agreed with him. They then showed a replay of the finish showing Savage cheating to win.
Tatanka vs. “The Model” Rick Martel
This was Tatanka’s WrestleMania debut against Martel. This was another cool down match after the WWF title match and no one seemed to care. Tatanka would get the pin after a crossbody block. He would remain undefeated for about 19 months.
WWF Tag Team Championship: Money Inc. (c) (Ted Dibiase & Irwin R. Schyster) (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. The Natural Disasters (Earthquake & Typhoon)
“‘Natural Disasters rule!’ How ‘bout that?” - Gorilla Monsoon reading some woman’s sign
“She should be home doing the dishes. She wouldn’t have time to make stupid cards like that. Bimbo. ” - Bobby Heenan
Damn, the Disasters were fat. They were just two fat angry faces with long hair and beards. And Dibiase and I.R.S. tried their best to make this a good match, but it was impossible. Money Inc. kept themselves fresh with frequent tags, lots of double teaming and typical dirty heel tricks. When Eearthquake went for the Earthquake Splash, Money Inc. grabbed the titles and got themselves counted out on purpose.
Skinner vs. “The Rocket” Owen Hart
In Owen Hart’s second match at WrestleMania (his first being under a mask as The Blue Blazer at WrestleMania V), he performed under his real name. Skinner, who’s gimmick was a heel alligator hunter, would later make an appearance as dressing up like Doink the Clown at WrestleMania the following year and helping out the original Doink. This was another short match that had Owen getting the win with a roll up.
Sid Justice did a promo with “Mean” Gene Okerlund and called him a “fat, bald headed little oaf” and then says that he will make sure that this is Hogan’s last match because Sid is the master and ruler of the world. Hulk Hogan did a sit down interview with Vince McMahon and he said that he wasn’t sure if this would be his last match or not.
Sid Justice (w/Dr. Harvey Wippleman) vs. “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan
Wippleman took it upon himself to introduce Sid to the ring to get some heel heat. Hogan came down to the ring and attacked Sid while the music as his music continued to play. When the bell rang, Sid slowly attacked Hogan with typical heel moves. Sid made this match one of the slowest and most underwhelming WrestleMania main events in history. But he really established himself as a monster heel.
The ending of the match is highly disputed in the wrestling community. After Hogan was being beaten down the entire match and received a powerbomb from Justice, he started to “Hulk up” and hit Sid with the big boot. Sid didn’t go down, so Hogan body slammed him and then nailed him with the leg drop. When Hogan covered him, Wippleman came into the ring and Sid kicked out at two (which the announcers never acknowledged because it was allegedly unplanned). The referee then called for the disqualification and Hogan was awarded the victory.
After the bell rang, Papa Shango (AKA Kama and The Godfather) came running down to the ring. Originally, he was supposed to break up the pin attempt after the leg drop and cause the DQ and missed his cue. A rumor about the finish is that Shango intentionally missed the cue and Sid kicked out of the legdrop to make Hogan look bad. Anyways, Shango and Justice began to double team Hogan and tied him up in the ropes. Then, as Hogan was helpless, The Ultimate Warrior’s music hits and he makes his return to the WWF to save Hogan. Sid hits the Warrior with a chair but he doesn’t sell it only like the Warrior could. Sid and Shango left the ring and the event ended with Hogan and Warrior celebrating in the ring. Sid left the WWF shortly after this match and went to WCW for allegedly failing a drug screen. It’s also rumored that he left because he wasn’t pleased with his paycheck after this big match.
Hogan left the WWF until the following year’s WrestleMania. There were many steroid allegations surrounding Hogan at the time and he wanted to make movies, so he took a leave of absence from the company.
The first half of the show was great. After the Savage/Flair match, the event gradually went downhill. But, the card ended with Hogan and the Warrior standing strong to send the crowd home happy.
Match of the Card: Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage