Rock Star Gary reflects on WWF WrestleMania VIII

Live from Indianapolis, IN

Airdate: April 5, 1992

Attendance:  62,167 (heavily papered)

Hosted by Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

Can Savage regain the WWF title from Flair? Will Bret recapture the IC title from Piper? What’s the deal with Sid? Let’s find out!

While Monsoon attempts to describe the upcoming matches, Heenan’s trying to spot pictures of Elizabeth promised by Flair.

Reba McEntire sings the national anthem. Of course, Heenan refers to her as Santana’s sister, “Arriba” McEntire. HA!

Match 1: Shawn Michaels (w/ Sensational Sherri) versus “El Matador” Tito Santana

Highlights:

  • For those unaware, Sherri originally sang Michaels’ entrance theme “Sexy Boy.”
  • Why is Sherri managing Michaels, you ask (aired 2/1, taped 1/7)?
  • Borrowing from the popularity of Right Said Fred, Michaels had some egocentric words for us.
  • Santana hit a cross body block and got 2.
  • As he reversed an Irish whip, Santana leap-frogged Michaels and clotheslined him over the top rope to the floor.
  • He then reversed a cross corner whip but ate a crescent kick on his follow-through.
  • When he gave Michaels another cross corner whip, Santana faked him out. In actuality, Michaels floated over nothing but air.
  • Santana then hooked an inside cradle for 2.
  • After Michaels sent Santana over the top rope to the floor, he delivered a backbreaker for 2.
  • He then unleashed a superkick, but that wasn’t his finishing move in ’92.
  • As Michaels attempted a leg-hook Saito suplex, Santana nailed him to escape.
  • He then hit the flying forearm, but Michaels rolled down to the floor.
  • When Santana followed him, he rammed Michaels face-first into the steps.
  • From the apron, Santana hit a springboard shoulder block.
  • He then delivered a knee lift followed by an inverted atomic drop.
  • After Santana hit another flying forearm, Michaels sought refuge outside the ring.
  • Santana then attempted to slam Michaels from the apron into the ring, but Michaels fell on top for the pin. That was odd.

Rating: *1/2

Summary:  With Marty Jannetty on house arrest, the grudge match had to be scrapped. While Texas Tornado could have been a viable substitute, he was in rehab for prescription painkillers in reparation for his forging painkiller prescription arrest on 2/8. Michaels and Santana only wrestled three times against one another during house shows leading up to this match; therefore, they couldn’t give a great performance.

After the match, Heenan states some prophetic words about Michaels’ becoming champion and a “star of the ’90s.” It’s no wonder they call him the “Brain.”

From a platform, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews the Road Warriors. Wow! Look who finally decided to show up–“Precious” Paul Ellering. While Animal cuts a promo on Jimmy Hart for costing them the WWF tag team titles, Hawk’s words always get me “we’ve been a runaway train. Nobody driving it. Scary…Gene? Scarier now, look who’s driving the train (Ellering).” Great interview!

From the gold locker room, Sean Mooney interviews Roberts who insults WWF President Jack Tunney. We then see footage from Superstars when Roberts slammed the casket on Undertaker’s hand and gave Bearer the DDT. He then WAFFLED Undertaker with a chair (aired 2/29, taped 1/28). He then tells people to trust him.

Match 2: Jake “The Snake” Roberts versus Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)

Highlights:

  • How did Undertaker become a face? Oh.
  • Roberts clotheslined him over the top rope to the floor, but Undertaker landed on his feet.
  • As he dragged Roberts to the floor, Undertaker made him HIT THE POLE.
  • Roberts climbed back into the ring and delivered a knee lift.
  • Undertaker then gave Roberts a pair of cross corner whips followed by an elbow drop.
  • After he delivered a flying clothesline, Undertaker attempted a tombstone.
  • On the other hand, Roberts escaped and delivered a DDT.
  • He then signaled to the Indianapolis faithful that it was over until Undertaker sat up.
  • As Roberts gave him a short-arm clothesline, Undertaker sat up again.
  • Roberts then delivered DDT #2 and sauntered after Bearer.
  • When Undertaker sat up a third time, he joined Roberts on the floor.
  • Roberts then attempted to steal the urn, but Undertaker PLANTED him with a tombstone on the floor.
  • GET OUT THE SPATULA!
  • Upon tossing Roberts back into the ring, Undertaker pinned him.

Rating: **

Summary: Due to Patterson’s leaving the writing team along with the rest of his WWF duties, Roberts believed he should succeed him. After Vince McMahon purposely left the job vacant until Patterson’s return, Roberts threatened to no-show this event and asked for his release. Hence, he was figuratively buried here.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews Bret and Piper. As Piper touts the Hart family while teasing him, Bret’s all business. A shoving match ensues.

Match 3 for the WWF Intercontinental title: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (champion) versus Bret “Hitman” Hart

Highlights:

  • As Bret shoved him, Piper spat in his direction.
  • Bret then delivered a dropkick and feigned a shoulder injury.
  • When Piper bought it, Bret hooked an inside cradle for 2. SNEAKY!
  • Piper then slapped the taste out of Bret’s mouth.
  • After both men spilled over the top rope to the floor, Piper tasted the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Big Texan at Kilroy’s Bar & Grill.
  • He then entered the ring first and held the ropes open for Bret. Sportsmanship!
  • As Bret re-entered the ring, he adjusted his boot. That enabled Piper to deliver an unprotected left jab. Dirty pool!
  • Bret was BUSTED OPEN!
  • When Piper delivered a bulldog, he got 2.
  • He then gave Bret a HARD cross corner whip injuring the back.
  • After administering a knee lift, Piper got another 2.
  • Bret came back with a sunset flip for 2.
  • As Bret hit a flying forearm, Piper spilled outside the ring.
  • Upon Piper’s return, a double clothesline put both wrestlers down on the mat.
  • Piper then mounted the top turnbuckle, but Bret caught and face-planted him.
  • When he gave Piper an inverted atomic drop, Bret followed with a vertical suplex for 2.
  • He then delivered a side Russian leg sweep for another 2.
  • After a backbreaker, Bret attempted the Sharpshooter.
  • However, Piper blocked it only to eat an elbow smash.
  • Bret then mounted the second turnbuckle, leaped, but ate boot.
  • As Piper countered a side head lock by shoving Bret into the anonymous referee, he clotheslined Bret down to the floor.
  • He then joined and rammed Bret face-first into the steps.
  • When he tossed Bret back in, Piper grabbed the bell from the timekeeper.
  • Ominously, Piper threatened a heel turn but reconsidered thanks to the support of the Indianapolis faithful. In the meantime, Heenan coined this gem: “What the hell, use the bell.” HA!
  • After Bret missed a haymaker, Piper hooked a sleeper.
  • Meanwhile, the anonymous referee was still OUT COLD.
  • Bret then countered the sleeper by walking the turnbuckles and flipping over Piper’s shoulders.
  • Do we have a new champion?
  • 1-2-3.
  • WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!

Rating: ****

Summary:  Yes, folks, it took Bret Hart to pull a **** match out of Piper. Great story, historical title change, and a match remembered to this day. Fantastic work, gentlemen! Also, the WWF had a strict no-blood policy. While Bret informed Vince that his bleeding was hardway, he revealed the truth that he actually bladed in his book.

After the match, Piper presented the belt to Bret. In essence, he passed the torch to him.

Heenan then interviews the latest newcomer to the WBF—the “Total Package” Lex Luger. Well, it didn’t take long for Luger to reappear. In a funny moment, Luger denigrates Monsoon by calling him the “fat guy.” He then states that he’s “head and shoulders above” the rest of the WBF competitors and removes his sweater. To say the least, Luger is JACKED. He then receives a big glass of milk and says “see you June 13.”

From the gold locker room, Mountie and the Nasty Boys cut a promo on Virgil. Suddenly, Repo Man appears and is ecstatic about the upcoming match. Perhaps he’ll use his WrestleMania payoff to buy a new snow blower.

Backstage, Slaughter, Duggan, Bossman, and Virgil cut promos on the heels. Virgil wears a protective face mask thanks to Sid (aired 3/14, taped 2/17).

Match 4 (eight-man): The Nasty Boys, Mountie, & Repo Man (w/ Jimmy Hart) versus “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, Big Bossman, Sergeant Slaughter, & Virgil

Highlights:

  • The special guest ring announcer for this match was Ray Combs from Family Feud.
  • As all eight men brawled in the ring, Bossman gave Knobbs a back elbow.
  • The babyfaces then quadruple-clotheslined the heels in a neat spot.
  • When Duggan reversed an Irish whip, he clotheslined Sags.
  • He then gave Sags an atomic drop and tagged in Slaughter.
  • After Knobbs tagged in, Slaughter reversed a cross corner whip and clotheslined him.
  • He then gave Knobbs a gutbuster and tagged in Bossman.
  • As he delivered a big boot, Bossman gave Knobbs a cross corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
  • Repo Man tagged in and evaded a Bossman splash.
  • When Virgil tagged in, he dropkicked Repo Man, mounted the top turnbuckle, and hit a cross body block for 2.
  • Repo Man then gave Virgil a belly-to-back suplex with barely any hang time.
  • While Duggan distracted referee Danny Davis, the heels gave Virgil the business.
  • Sags tagged in and delivered a pumphandle slam to Virgil for 2.
  • After Mountie tagged in, he mounted the second turnbuckle, yelled “I am the Mountie,” leaped, but got caught by Bossman.
  • Speaking of Bossman, he gave Mountie a spinebuster.
  • All eight wrestlers were in the ring, and Mountie made Slaughter HIT THE POLE.
  • As the Nasty Boys had some miscommunication, Virgil pinned Knobbs.

Rating: *1/2

Summary:  Comedy match that was necessary after the great IC title match.

Back in the gold locker room, Mooney interviews Flair with Mr. Perfect. While Perfect clamors over the alleged revealing pictorial of Elizabeth, Flair zestfully promotes his upcoming match. He then cuts a promo on Savage.

Outside Savage’s dressing room, Okerlund’s unable to obtain an interview.

Match 5 for the WWF title: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (champion w/ Mr. Perfect) versus “Macho Man” Randy Savage

Highlights:

  • At the onset, Savage followed Flair and nailed him in the aisle.
  • He then rammed Flair face-first into the floor until Perfect grabbed him.
  • When the match moved to the ring, Flair missed a chop and ate a clothesline.
  • Savage then put a knee into Flair’s back sending him face-first into the top turnbuckle.
  • As he gave Flair the ten-punch count-along, Savage blocked an inverted atomic drop and delivered a second clothesline.
  • He then gave Flair a cross corner whip followed by a back elbow for 2.
  • After Savage argued with referee Earl Hebner, Flair backdropped him over the top rope to the floor. While in WCW, that would have earned Savage a victory by DQ, the match continues here.
  • Flair then joined and rammed Savage back-first into the apron.
  • As Flair gave Savage a delayed vertical suplex, he got 2.
  • He then delivered a belly-to-back suplex for another 2.
  • While Heenan clamored for “the pictures,” Flair gave Savage a pair of HARD cross corner whips.
  • He then chopped him but couldn’t get 3.
  • When Flair delivered a knee drop, Savage sought respite outside the ring.
  • Flair then joined and rammed Savage back-first into the apron again.
  • With Savage on the apron, Flair suplexed him back into the ring for 2.
  • He then gave Savage another cross corner whip, but Savage came back with a swinging neckbreaker.
  • After Flair mounted the top turnbuckle, Savage caught and slammed him down to the mat.
  • He then gave Flair a cross corner whip followed by a back drop.
  • As he delivered a pair of clotheslines, Savage gave Flair another cross corner whip resulting in a Flair flip.
  • Flair caught himself on the apron, mounted the adjacent turnbuckle, but ate yet another clothesline for 2.
  • When Flair reversed an Irish whip, Savage clotheslined him over the top rope to the floor.
  • He then mounted the top turnbuckle, delivered a double axe handle, and made Flair taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the El Guapo at Ralston’s Drafthouse.
  • Although his back was to the camera, Flair bladed and was BUSTED OPEN.
  • Savage then rammed Flair face-first into the steps and made him HIT THE POLE.
  • After a Flair flop, Savage suplexed him on the floor.
  • Back in the ring, he mounted the top turnbuckle and hit another double axe handle.
  • Do we have a new champion?
  • 1-2-NO!
  • As Savage slammed him, he mounted the top turnbuckle and hit the big elbow.
  • Due to interference by Perfect, he only got 2.
  • While he distracted Savage and Hebner, Perfect tossed a foreign object to Flair.
  • He then continued to distract Hebner so that Flair could ANNIHILATE Savage with it.
  • Will Flair retain?
  • 1-2-NO!
  • When the Indianapolis faithful chanted “Mach-o,” Flair distracted Hebner so that Perfect could CREAM Savage’s left knee with a steel chair. How dastardly!
  • Suddenly, Elizabeth tried to run to ringside, but road agent Dave Hebner prevented her.
  • As Shane McMahon joined the posse to stop Elizabeth, Flair gave Savage a knee crusher.
  • He then hooked the figure-four leg lock until Savage reversed it.
  • When Flair attempted a slam, Savage countered with an inside cradle for 2.
  • Flair then gave Savage a second knee crusher but got nailed.
  • As Savage grabbed him by the trunks, he rolled Flair up.
  • 1-2-3.
  • WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!
  • The Hoosier Dome ERUPTED!

Rating: *****

Summary:  For the second time, Savage is WWF champion. While it isn’t a technical masterpiece, the story told is flawless and grabs the wrestling fan by the hand on a fantastic journey. Since Flair’s blade job was caught on camera, Vince chewed him out, and Flair was fined heavily.

After the match, Elizabeth joins her husband in the ring, but Flair confronts her. Upon asking her “what about me,” Flair kisses Elizabeth. Shocked, Elizabeth slaps and shoves Flair down. An irate Savage then attacks Flair while officials separate them. Barely able to stand, Savage wants a piece of Flair but gets restrained.

To cap off the moment, fireworks explode as Savage and Elizabeth share this great moment in wrestling history.

Back in the gold locker room, Mooney interviews Flair with Perfect. Rightfully, Perfect claims Savage pulled Flair’s trunks to steal the title. Heenan joins them and corroborates Perfect’s claim. While Flair dispels Savage’s claim to both the WWF title and Elizabeth, Perfect refers to her as “damaged goods” and a “cheater.” Flair then promises to beat Savage as well as kiss Elizabeth on “those moist, wet lips.” Talk about a great way to antagonize an exceedingly jealous husband.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews the NEW WWF champion Savage with Elizabeth. Savage wants “the whole Ric Flair” who pissed him off. When Okerlund asks Elizabeth about vindication, Savage hands her the belt, rips apart his shirt, and wants another shot at Flair.

We then revisit the WrestleMania VIII press conference when Sid objected to Hogan’s title shot. Following that, Sid’s bitter at Tunney. We then revisit SNME XXX when Sid turned on Hogan. Afterward, on Wrestling Challenge, Sid destroys the Barber Shop (aired 2/16, taped 1/27). We then see a montage of destruction by Sid.

Prior to the next match, Mooney interviews Martel who makes a joke about Tatanka allegedly scalping tickets.

Match 6: The “Model” Rick Martel versus Tatanka

Highlights:

  • The Lumbee Native American tribe danced in the ring prior to the match.
  • As Tatanka reversed a cross corner whip, he hip-tossed Martel.
  • He then slammed Martel twice before he sought refuge outside the ring.
  • In case you’re curious, Heenan returned to the broadcast table extremely exasperated.
  • Martel then reversed a cross corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
  • When Tatanka blocked a hip toss, Martel used a chokeslam to take him down.
  • He then tossed Tatanka over the top rope to the floor and nailed him afterward.
  • Back in the ring, Martel delivered a backbreaker, mounted the top turnbuckle, but Tatanka crotched him.
  • After he gave Martel a cross corner whip, Tatanka backdropped him.
  • Martel came back with a slam followed by a clothesline.
  • As Tatanka hit a cross body block, he pinned Martel.
  • Tatanka won.

Rating: *

Summary: Pure definition of a popcorn match while its purpose was to showcase newcomer Tatanka.

Back in the gold locker room, Mooney interviews Money, Inc. with Hart.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews the Natural Disasters.

Match 7 for the WWF tag team titles: Money, Inc. (champions w/ Jimmy Hart) versus the Natural Disasters

Highlights:

  • Earthquake reversed an Irish whip and clotheslined DiBiase.
  • When IRS came in, he received a taste of the same medicine.
  • All four wrestlers were in the ring, and Money, Inc. received a double noggin knocker.
  • As Typhoon tagged in, he reversed an Irish whip and hip-tossed IRS.
  • He then gave IRS a HARD cross corner whip to injure the back.
  • Next, he gave IRS the ten-top-turnbuckle count-along.
  • With IRS in the corner, Typhoon attempted an avalanche but came up empty.
  • DiBiase tagged in, but Typhoon reversed a cross corner whip sending him HARD into the corner.
  • While DiBiase leaned against the ropes, Typhoon charged but bounced on and then over the top rope to the floor.
  • DiBiase then distracted referee Joey Marella so that IRS could ram Typhoon face-first into the steps. Nefarious!
  • When IRS tagged in, Money, Inc. double-clotheslined him.
  • IRS then hit an elbow drop for 2.
  • Shortly after, Money Inc. gave Typhoon a double back elbow.
  • As a false tag occurred, DiBiase mounted the second turnbuckle and lowered the boom on Typhoon for 2.
  • DiBiase then missed a clothesline while a double clothesline put both wrestlers down on the mat.
  • Lukewarm tag Earthquake.
  • After Earthquake gave IRS a cross corner whip, he followed with a clothesline.
  • DiBiase came in and earned himself one as well.
  • Again, all four wrestlers were in the ring. The Natural Disasters then whipped Money, Inc. into each other.
  • As Earthquake clotheslined DiBiase over the top rope to the floor, Typhoon slammed IRS.
  • He then splashed IRS to the awe of the Indianapolis faithful.
  • When Earthquake attempted the Earthquake senton splash, Hart pulled IRS out of the ring. Clever!
  • The champions then took their belts and left.
  • BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
  • After Marella called for the bell, the Natural Disasters won by count-out.
  • Money, Inc. retained.

Rating: ½*

Summary:  Heatless match for the most part with a crappy ending. I understand the other two titles already changed hands, but cheat to win or get disqualified in the process for cryin’ out loud.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake who touts his support for the Hulkster.

Match 8: The “Rocket” Owen Hart versus Skinner

Highlights:

  • Skinner attacked Owen at the onset, gave him a cross corner whip, and followed with a shoulder breaker.
  • Upon putting a boot into Owen’s midsection, Skinner hit the Gatorbreaker for 2.
  • When Skinner tossed him over the top rope, Owen skinned the cat back into the ring.
  • He then rolled up Skinner and pinned him.
  • Owen won.

Rating: DUD

Summary: Showcase match for Owen.

After the match, Owen dropkicks Skinner out of the ring.

From the gold locker room, Okerlund interviews Sid with Wippleman who cuts a promo on Hogan.

In a pre-recorded interview with Vince, Hogan replied to retirement match rumors with distinct uncertainty. As Vince thanked Hogan, they shook hands.

Sid then rebuts by “cursing” Hogan. Perhaps he’ll summon the services of a voodoo witch doctor.

Match 9: Hulk Hogan versus Sid Justice (w/ Harvey Wippleman)

Highlights:

  • Despite failing a drug test for steroids, Sid still got to main event WrestleMania.
  • Much to Howard Finkel’s chagrin, Wippleman performed the ring announcing for his charge.
  • Sid attacked Hogan at the onset, but Hogan nailed him out of the ring.
  • Meanwhile, “Real American” kept playing.
  • Shortly after, Hogan nailed Sid again sending him to the floor.
  • As the Indianapolis faithful chanted “Ho-gan,” their hero reversed a cross corner whip and followed with a corner clothesline.
  • Wippleman then distracted him so Sid chokeslammed Hogan.
  • Is Hogan’s career over?
  • No, in lieu of pinning him, Sid basked in his glory.
  • He then kicked Hogan out of the ring, joined, and WALLOPED him with Wippleman’s bag.
  • At the same time, Wippleman distracted referee Earl Hebner.
  • Back in the ring, Sid tried to put me to sleep with a LONG rest hold.
  • Sid then delivered a sidewalk slam and signaled for the powerbomb.
  • When he gave Hogan a powerbomb, he only got 2.
  • It’s Hulk-up time!
  • Upon giving Sid the big boot, Hogan slammed Sid.
  • He then hit the leg drop, but Wippleman got up on the apron.
  • 1-2-NO!
  • Sid kicked out!
  • No one had ever kicked out of the leg drop.
  • With Wippleman in the ring, Hebner called for the bell.
  • Hogan won by DQ.

Rating: *

Summary:  Despite the historical kick-out, only Hogan’s immense popularity meant anything to this match.

Afterward, Hogan gorilla-presses Wippleman and tosses him at Sid. Better late than never, Papa Shango lumbers to the ring and attacks Hogan. Sid and Papa Shango then double-team Hogan until…

Oh. My. God! The Ultimate Warrior’s music plays, and he sprints to the ring to rescue Hogan. Upon entering the ring, he clotheslines Papa Shango over the top rope to the floor. Sid then WAFFLES him in the back with a steel chair. When he tried to put Warrior’s lights out, Hogan swiped the chair from Sid. Hogan and Warrior then embrace to celebrate Hogan’s victory. Fireworks explode as Warrior and Hogan pose for the Indianapolis faithful to end the show.

Was Papa Shango egregiously late for his run-in? Was Sid supposed to kick out at 2? Did Sid go into business for himself knowing he’d failed a drug test? Or was it just supposed to end in a schmozz? Let the debate begin.

Conclusion:  Main event controversy aside, this show is chock full of not only fun goodness but historical goodness as well. The Bret and Savage victories are spectacular matches every wrestling fan should enjoy. If you want to see a young Undertaker destroy slimy heel Roberts, it’s here too. Gather your friends and family and relish in what could be considered the last WrestleMania of the golden era of professional wrestling.

See you for WCW WrestleWar ‘92!

Buyrate: 2.30

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