(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)
April 5, 1992
We have finally arrived at WrestleMania VIII, but this is probably not the card you were expecting. Everyone was sure that the WWF was planning to book Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair for the WWF Title. It was the logical match because both men were the faces of their respective companies for years. However, that’s not what happened. When Flair first arrived in the WWF, they ran a series of matches between Hogan and Flair on the house shows. The problem is they put it out there with no build after years of pretending the NWA/WCW didn’t exist. WWF fans weren’t as familiar with Flair and those who were believed WCW to be an inferior product. The house show run didn’t draw the money that the WWF had hoped, so plans for a Mania match were scrapped. It also didn’t help that Hogan had decided to step away from wrestling for a while. Scandals and increasing boos from fans started to take their toll on Hogan. He realized that absence might make the heart grow fonder, so he decided to leave and focus on acting for a year, with the plan to return in 1993. To his credit, he would legitimately stay away for a full year. There was no way Hogan would agree to lose to Flair on his way out, so the WWF had to choose a different opponent for Ric at Mania. That opponent would be Randy Savage.
Jack Tunney originally announced Hogan as the #1 Contender in a mock press conference, but Sid Justice would take offense to being overlooked. Sid threw a fit, but he eventually calmed down and agreed to tag with Hogan in match against Flair & Undertaker at Saturday Night’s Main Event. However, Sid would turn on Hogan during the match, which set up a feud between the two men for Mania. Hogan agreed to forego his match with Flair to face Sid. Randy Savage was then announced as the new #1 Contender, which set-off a feud that included Flair claiming he was with Elizabeth before Randy. Flair even produced doctored photos of himself with Liz in romantic situations and threatened to show revealing photos of Liz that he took during their relationship. (Imagine this kind of storyline nowadays. It would probably involve leaking nudes on the internet.) Ric did this to get under Savage’s skin and he took it a step farther by claiming he would reveal a centerfold of Liz at Mania.
These aren’t the only changes to Mania. I will discuss the rest when I cover the matches. It’s safe to say that this event is the epitome of the card being subject to change. Quite a lot has happened since the Rumble.
The show opens with the WrestleMania logo rising over a city skyline while Vince McMahon talks about the two main events. He claims that this could be Hulk Hogan’s farewell match. Then, Gorilla Monsoon welcomes everyone to the Hoosier Dome. Bobby Heenan is with him and he keeps glancing up at the big screen, so Gorilla asks what he’s doing. Heenan says he’s looking for the centerfold of Liz, so Gorilla tells him not to start.
Next, the Fink introduces Reba McEntire to sing the national anthem. She does a pretty good job, but it had that country twang, which I don’t particularly like. (I’m surprised she didn’t sing “America the Beautiful.” I thought that was the WWF’s tradition.) Heenan then jokes that Tito’s sister did a good job. Gorilla is confused, so Bobby explains that she’s Arriba McEntire. Gorilla tells him to stop.
Shawn Michaels (w/ Sensational Sherri) vs. El Matador
You’re probably asking why isn’t this Shawn Michaels vs. Marty Jannetty. It was originally supposed to be, but Marty got fired for an altercation with the police. It will sadly be a year before we finally get the Shawn/Marty match. Meanwhile, Shawn has found himself a manager in Sensational Sherri. The story is that she’s smitten with him, but he’s rather rude towards her. He tells her what to do and where to stand and even pushes her around, but she does everything he says. She even sings his theme music. Most people are familiar with Shawn’s theme song, “Sexy Boy,” but this version has Sherri on vocals instead of him. I kind of prefer this version. During the entrances, Tito bows to Reba McEntire, so Heenan claims he was right. Also, Shawn comes to the ring wearing a jacket that says, “I’m too sexy for this crowd,” on the back. I guess this would be around the time that song was popular. I’m halfway surprised they didn’t pay the money to make that Shawn’s theme song.
Tito gets the advantage early and clotheslines him out of the ring. A fan screams bloody murder at Shawn for what he did to Marty. It’s rather amusing. Then, Tito drags Shawn back into the ring and controls him with some headlocks for a while. Both men trade pin attempts, but Tito keeps going back to the headlock. Eventually, Shawn fights back with a backbreaker and wears him down for a bit. Tito tries to fight back until Shawn hits a superkick, but it’s not his finisher yet. Shawn’s current finisher is the teardrop suplex, which he attempts, but Tito blocks it. Tito then responds with a flying forearm, but Shawn falls out of the ring. He also hits him with the El Paso Del Monte, but Shawn rolls to the floor again. Tito attempts to slam him from the apron, but Shawn holds onto the rope and falls on top of Tito for the win.
This match was kind of slow and boring. There were a lot of rest holds and basic moves. I wish we could have gotten that Shawn/Marty match instead. I know the WWF gives Shawn a pretty good push throughout 1992, so you would think they’d give him a more decisive win. Tito isn’t known for being a big star, so I’m not sure why Shawn’s victory needed to be almost a fluke.
Winner: Shawn Michaels (10:38)
Mean Gene is at the interview podium and he announces to the crowd, “Get ready because here they come!” The crowd is unsure who he means until the Legion of Doom’s music plays. They make their way to the podium, but they’re not alone. Heenan sees who is with them and says, “Oh, no! Do you know who that is!?” Someone must tell him to let Gene introduce the man because Heenan goes quiet. Gene introduces him as Paul Ellering, who has returned to be their manager again. Paul calls himself the bad apple and says that need and ability brought the LOD together and propelled them to be the greatest team of all-time. Then, he says that honor and revenge have united them. He also says it’s the beginning of the end. (He’s not wrong, sadly.) He claims he didn’t come to get rich, but to get even. Next, Animal says the LOD has looked adversity in the face and beat everybody. He also calls Jimmy Hart scum for turning on his own team and vows revenge on Money Incorporated. Then, Hawk says they’ve been a runaway train with nobody driving. He calls that scary, but he says it’s scarier now that Ellering is driving. Ellering speaks again and asks the other teams if the going up is worth the coming down and says they earn their money the old fashioned way by beating people for it. He then says he came back to handle the small details that will propel them back to the tag team titles. Finally, Animal says he doesn’t care who it is because they won’t let down the little Doomers and then Hawk finishes with his signature line. (I’m sure you’re wondering why the LOD aren’t tag champs anymore. I will explain when we get to the tag title match.)
Then, Sean Mooney is backstage with Jake Roberts. Sean addresses a rumor that Jake will bring the snake to his match, but Roberts says that senile Jack Tunney banned it from ringside. Mooney also brings up Jake attacking the Undertaker on the Funeral Parlor. They show a clip of Jake closing Taker’s hand in a casket and giving Paul Bearer a DDT. Jake says that the biggest man doesn’t always win, but the smartest man does. He then laughs about his DDT to Bearer and his chairshots to the Undertaker. Jake says the DDT is where it lays and he tries to say, “Trust me,” but Mooney interrupts. Jake gives him a dirty look, but Sean speaks anyway. He says that the Undertaker kept coming despite the chairshots. Jake replies that he will put the final nail in the Undertaker’s coffin and then finally says, “Trust me.”
The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. Jake the Snake Roberts
Believe it or not, the Undertaker has turned babyface. The primary reason for this is because Taker was gaining popularity, but it also happened because Savage was moved the main event and Jake needed a feud. The Savage/Jake feud ended on Saturday Night’s Main Event. Savage beat Jake, who then went backstage and grabbed a chair. Jake vowed to attack the first person who walked through the curtain. It was going to be Elizabeth, but the Undertaker appeared and grabbed the chair at the last second. Jake then appeared on the Funeral Parlor and asked Taker whose side he was on, but Taker replied, “Not yours!” Jake responded by closing Undertaker’s hand in a casket, hitting a DDT on Paul Bearer, and then attacking Taker with a chair. He hit him repeatedly, but Undertaker kept coming. He dragged the casket down the aisle in pursuit of Jake, which was a great visual. (On a side note, I couldn’t help but notice that something seemed off about Jake during the entrances for this match. I don’t want to make assumptions, but it seemed like Jake might have been doing some early partying. I’ll explain the reasons why after the match.)
Jake starts the match by sticking and moving. He even clotheslines Taker over the ropes, but he lands on his feet and pulls Jake outside. Taker then rams Jake into the post, but Jake hits a knee-lift when they enter the ring. He then whips the Undertaker around, but Taker answers with some choking. Heenan then takes the opportunity to joke about Paul Bearer getting the urn the old fashioned way. He says he—earned it. The choking continues before Taker hits an elbow drop and a jumping clothesline. He tries to follow up with a Tombstone, but Jake drops behind him and hits a DDT. However, he doesn’t make a cover and Taker sits up, so Jake hits a short-arm clothesline. Taker sits up again, so Jake hits another DDT, but Paul Bearer tries to rally the Undertaker. Jake sees this and goes after Paul. He punches him and tries to take the urn, so the Undertaker follows and attacks Jake. He then hits the Tombstone on the floor and rolls Jake into the ring to pin him for the win.
This was very disappointing. Jake didn’t seem motivated at all and the Tombstone on the floor was kind of weak looking. However, it’s probably for the best they kept it short. Jake clearly didn’t care at this point because he was on his way out of the company. He had approached Vince about winding down his career and joining the creative team, but Vince said no. Jake was frustrated, so he demanded to be released from his contract. Vince didn’t want to, so Jake threatened to no-show Mania unless he was released. Vince gave him what he wanted and Jake started negotiating with WCW, but I’ll discuss that in detail down the road. I certainly hope that Jake wasn’t intoxicated for this match, but given the situation, it wouldn’t shock me.
Winner: The Undertaker (6:36)
Next, Mean Gene is backstage with both Roddy Piper and Bret Hart. Gene says it’s the first time the two men have met for the Intercontinental Title. Then, Piper tells Bret he loves his family and talks about how he’s known Bret since he was little. Roddy then makes a few jokes about Bret’s childhood and pinches Bret’s cheek, so Bret bats away his hand and tells him to keep his hands to himself. Piper calls him a hot-shot, but Bret says he only cares about taking back his title. Bret pats the belt, so Piper slaps his hand away and tells him to also keep his hands to himself. Tensions heat up, but Piper says why fight back there when he can have millions of people watch him rip off Bret’s head. Roddy then turns to leave, but Bret grabs him and raises his fist while saying he would have had him. Piper responds by wrapping a belt around his own fist and saying, “No, you wouldn’t have!” They almost come to blows, but Bret finally leaves, so Piper clutches his belt and yells, “She be mine!” (I love when they do these face-to-face promos. They should do more of them. It’s much more intense.)
Intercontinental Title Match: Bret Hart vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper (c)
While Bret makes his entrance, they show a sign in the crowd that says, “Goodbye, Roddy.” Piper is taking time off after this match, but I didn’t realize it was common knowledge. How did a fan in 1992 know this information? I’m guessing he subscribed to a newsletter. Before the match, the two men go nose-to-nose, while the ref gives instructions. I’m guessing the ref knows they weren’t listening because he starts listing off the parts of his face. You can see him say something about his eyes, nose, and mouth. Did he also ask if they washed behind their ears?
The two men do some mat wrestling to start and Bret ends up sending Piper through the ropes. Roddy gets frustrated and spits in Bret’s face before calling for a test of strength. It turns into traded arm wringers and Bret ends up latching onto Piper’s arm with an iron grip. Piper finally breaks free, but Bret hits a dropkick, only to sell that he hurt his shoulder. Piper looks concerned until Bret surprises him with a roll-up for a 2 count. Piper takes offense to the trick and slaps him, so Bret responds with a cross body that takes them both over the ropes. Piper is the first inside and he opens the ropes for a hesitant Bret, but he lets him through unscathed. However, Piper cheap shots Bret after telling him to tie his boot. Piper follows up with a stiff punch and a bulldog and we see that Bret is bleeding from the head. Piper pounces on this opportunity and attacks the cut, but Bret fights back with a sunset flip and a running forearm before both men go down to a double clothesline. Bret soon takes back control with some of his signature spots and goes for a Sharpshooter, but Piper blocks it. He then attempts a bulldog, but Piper shoves him into the ref. With the ref down, Piper grabs the ring bell, but he’s hesitant to use it. Heenan likes the move and yells, “What the hell. Use the bell!” Piper finally decides not to do it and throws the bell out of the ring before trying a sleeper hold instead, but Bret pushes off the turnbuckles with his feet and lands on top of Piper for a 3 count.
This was a great match. I love the story they told, especially with Piper’s behavior. It ties back to his comments at the Rumble about not having integrity. That’s amazing character work. This was an excellent blend of good wrestling and good storytelling. The blood added to the story they told and they masterfully pulled off making it look like an accident. The WWF had a no blading policy at this time. (Remember that for later.) Bret was able to convince Vince that he was busted open the hard way.
Winner: Bret Hart (New Champion) (13:51)
After the match, Piper grabs the belt from the ref and you think he’s going to attack Bret, but he hands him the title and hugs him. The Fink announces Bret as the new champion and the two men celebrate, but Heenan says he’s sick of that. He would rather talk about his surprise.
Bobby introduces the newest member of the World Bodybuilding Federation, Lex Luger. He’s watching WrestleMania at home and he commends Heenan for his excellent broadcasting, but he calls Gorilla the fat guy. Luger then says it must be a thrill for everyone out there to see Luger in living color from his own home. Heenan asks Lex what will happen when he competes on stage. Lex replies by calling himself the most genetically gifted and anatomically perfect human being on the face of the Earth. He also asks how the WBF could have a best body contest without him. (Well, he will find out because Luger never ends up competing. I’ll discuss why in a later review.) Luger then name drops the other competitors and calls them a plethora of well-built guys, but he pronounces it, “Pleh-thoora.” Then, Heenan asks Lex for a peek at his body, so Lex removes his shirt to reveal a WBF tank-top. He poses for a moment before snapping his fingers and a woman brings him a goblet of milk. Luger downs it in one long gulp before telling Heenan he will see him on June 13th. Gorilla then jokes that Heenan managed to find someone more conceited than himself.
Next, they go backstage for some pre-taped comments from the competitors in the upcoming eight-man tag. First, the Mountie is with the Nasty Boys and he says he’s been talking to some local cops. They told him there’s no better place to serve hard time than Indianapolis. However, he says the only one who will serve is Virgil. Then, the Repo Man emerges from behind a locker, so the Mountie says he scared him. Repo says this will be the biggest repossession in Mania history. Sags speaks next and says they will nastysize their opponents, the Mountie will electrify them, and then Repo will tow away the carcasses. Knobbs also yells some nonsense, while the Mountie repeats, “Tell them, champ!” (How is Knobbs a champ?)
Next, they go to Sgt. Slaughter, Big Boss Man, Jim Duggan, and Virgil, who is wearing an amusing faceguard. Sarge tells the Nasty Boys to get ready to be slaughterized. (Come on. He’s just stealing their catchphrase.) Then, Boss Man says judgment day is here and they better eat their last meal. Next, Virgil says his nose will be protected, but who is going to protect their opponents’ noses? Finally, Duggan says there won’t be any take-downs or go-behinds, but he does give away their strategy. He says it’s, “Attack, attack, attack!” (I would say it’s silly for Duggan to give away their game plan, but it’s not like he said much.)
Big Boss Man, Jim Duggan, Sgt. Slaughter, & Virgil vs. The Mountie, Repo Man, & The Nasty Boys (w/ Jimmy Hart)
This is one of those matches where they’re trying to get everyone a Mania payday. Some storylines are going into this, but nothing so important to warrant a singles match. Before the match, the Fink introduces Family Feud host, Ray Combs, to be the special ring announcer. He claims he surveyed the crowd about the Mountie’s team and makes some jokes at their expense. He says the Mountie doesn’t know the meaning of the word fear, but he also doesn’t know the meaning of most words. Then, he says the Repo Man can’t be called two-faced because if he were, he would darn sure be wearing the other one. Finally, he says the Nasty Boys are two men sharing one brain and says the only word that would describe their success so far is, “Lucky.” The heels try to attack Ray, so he bails out of the ring and everyone brawls.
The face team cleans house and then triple-team Repo until the Mountie’s team regroups. While they’re resting, Heenan announces that Shawn Michaels has left the building, so Gorilla replies, “Who cares!?” Sags returns and jumps Duggan until Jim fires back with a clothesline and an atomic drop. Knobbs then tries his hand against Slaughter, but Sarge hits a clothesline and a gutbuster. Then, Boss Man whips Knobbs around until Boss misses a corner charge. He also misses a splash on Repo, so Repo begins attacking Boss Man’s back. He jumps on him until Boss turns and raises a fist into Repo’s crotch. Heenan jokes that he Repo’d himself. Virgil then tags in and hits a flying cross body, but the heels double and triple-team him. Sags hits a pumphandle slam and the Mountie climbs the turnbuckles. He yells, “I AM THE MOUNTIE,” but he dives into the arms of Boss Man and everyone brawls again. The Nasty Boys then remove Virgil’s faceguard and try to hit him with it, but Sags accidentally hits Knobbs. This opens the door for Virgil to make the cover for the win.
This wasn’t much of a match, but they kept it short and didn’t let it become dull. It was a harmless cool-down match, so it served its purpose. There were also enough amusing moments to prevent me from hating it.
Winners: Boss Man, Duggan, Slaughter, & Virgil (6:33)
Sean Mooney is backstage with Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect, who is holding a poster. They don’t show it to the camera, but Flair and Perfect laugh about it. Mooney attempts to speak, but Perfect tells him to shut up and says they’re going to show the picture of Liz on the big screen. They joke that they removed all the flaws and she’s as close to perfect as she’s going to get. Then, Flair says that tonight is all about the bright lights, big city, and long limousines. He also says it’s Savage’s attempt to walk the aisle and defend the honor of his lady while trying to capture the WWF championship. Flair then tells Savage that when he’s on his back, he can look up and see Perfect waving around the fold-out of Liz and she will be all the way live! He also tells Elizabeth that it’s her last chance to ride Space Mountain, so Perfect asks if he can come along this time. Mooney looks utterly disgusted at the thought.
Next, Gene is outside Savage’s locker room. He says that Flair might not be at a loss for words, but Savage is not granting interviews to anybody. Gene speculates on whether Savage is concentrating on regaining the title or preoccupied with regaining Elizabeth’s honor. He also says that Savage could be consumed with thoughts about the centerfold. Finally, Gene says it will be one of the greatest title bouts in WWF history. (Don’t jinx it, Gene!)
WWF Title Match: Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair (c) (w/ Mr. Perfect)
Since there are two main events, they had to put this in the middle of the show. Hogan isn’t about to give up that main event slot, especially if he’s taking off for a while. While Flair makes his entrance, Heenan starts rambling about being fair to Flair, so Gorilla yells at him to stop. Savage then makes his entrance, without Liz, and runs to the ring, so Flair bails outside. Randy is having none of that, so he jumps over the ropes and chases Flair down the aisle.
They brawl, but Perfect pulls Savage away from Ric. Savage chases Perfect, so Flair pulls him into the ring. They fight back and forth and the ref has to try and calm Savage, which opens the door for Ric to back drop Randy over the ropes. He then suplexes Savage back inside and Flair pokes the eyes, but he climbs to the top and gets slammed. Randy whips Ric into the corner for his signature bump and even clotheslines Flair on a flying axehandle attempt. This gains Savage a close 2 count that nearly gives Heenan a heart attack. Then, Randy sends Flair into the guardrail and Ric visibly blades. (I love Flair, but he is never subtle about blading.) Savage attacks the cut and hits Flair with both a flying axehandle and even the flying elbow drop, but Perfect pulls Savage out of the ring. Perfect tosses an object to Flair while the ref is distracted and Ric uses it on Savage. Perfect also attacks Savage’s knee with a chair, so Elizabeth arrives to help. Officials, including a young Shane McMahon, try to stop her. Meanwhile, Flair attacks the leg and locks Randy in a Figure Four, while using Perfect for leverage. Savage eventually reverses the hold, so Flair goes back to attacking the leg. He yells, “This is for you, baby,” at Liz, but Savage blocks a punch and rolls Flair up with a handful of tights for the surprise win.
This was a really good match with some great intensity. Savage’s selling was amazing, as usual, which added to the match. Flair claims he doesn’t like this match, but I don’t see why. I thought it was great. I even liked the finish because it shows that Savage can beat Flair at his own game and it leaves the door open to continue the feud. (On a side note, Vince was furious about the blade job. Unlike Bret/Piper, Flair couldn’t hide that he bladed.)
Winner: Randy Savage (New Champion) (18:04)
After the match, Heenan leaves the announce table in disgust, while Flair yells, “What about me,” at Liz. Ric then kisses her, so she slaps him and Savage attacks. Officials have to separate the two men, but they inadvertently leave Randy open to attacks by Flair and Perfect. Finally, they’re able to convince Flair to leave and the Fink announces that Savage is the new champion. He poses with his belt and fireworks explode, which startles Elizabeth.
Sean Mooney tries to get a word with Flair and Perfect, but Perfect tells him to shut it. Perfect then calls it an injustice because Savage had a handful of trunks. Bobby Heenan then arrives and starts yelling about everyone seeing what happened. Then, Flair says that Savage will walk around claiming to be the real world’s champion (how ironic) and a two-time WWF champion, but he will also claim the love of that Jezebel, Elizabeth. Flair then says they don’t cry over spilled milk. They reassemble the team. He also says that Savage did it once, but he dares him to do it again because one loss doesn’t mean much in his career. Next, Perfect echoes Flair’s words and tells Savage he’s damaged goods, just like Elizabeth. He also claims that Flair has never taken a short-cut as Savage did. They show a clip of the end of the match and both Perfect and Heenan call Randy a cheater, like Elizabeth. Finally, Flair threatens to both beat up Savage and kiss Elizabeth on her moist, wet lips.
Meanwhile, Gene is with the new WWF champion, Randy Savage and Elizabeth. Gene says that some might call it a questionable victory, but Savage says he doesn’t care. He says he took a piece of Flair by taking what makes him tick. Then, Savage yells, “YOU HAVEN’T BEEN BEAT UP PROPERLY!” He follows that up by saying he wants the whole Nature Boy and the whole Flair package. (Oh, my!) He vows to get the rest of Flair for what he did to Liz and says he will do anything to win. If he didn’t prove it tonight, he will prove it next time. Then, Randy tries to leave, but Gene says, “Wait a minute. If I may.” Savage replies, “You may what!?” Gene asks if Savage feels vindicated after all Flair said. Randy then hands the WWF title to Liz and tells her to go before threatening to give Flair his fist and telling Ric that he can have all of Randy. (Oh, my—again. This promo is quite different when taken out of context.) Finally, he tells Mr. Perfect that no one is perfect and then Randy leaves.
Next, they recap the Hogan/Sid feud. They show the press conference where Hogan was announced as the #1 Contender. Sid takes exception to the announcement and comically tries to tear some papers. He can’t, so he simply crumples them instead. Later, he calls Jack Tunney’s decision bogus. He says, “Jack Tunney, this is the most BOGUS thing you have ever pulled!” Then, they show the footage of Sid turning on Hogan at Saturday Night’s Main Event. They also show Sid tearing apart Beefcake’s Barber Shop set. (That poor set is always getting demolished, isn’t it?) He threatens to rearrange Brutus’ face before smashing the set with a chair. In a funny moment, he smacks a can of shaving cream and it explodes in his face. He no-sells it and cuts a promo with white powder all over him. Next, the video shows a montage of Sid beating up jobbers while his theme music plays.
They go back to the ring to see some Native Americans from the Lumbee tribe doing a rain dance. Gorilla says they’re a part of Tatanka’s home tribe. (I can’t help but notice one of them is carrying a small Canadian flag. That’s odd.)
Then, they go back to Sean Mooney, who is with Tatanka’s opponent, Rick Martel. Sean says that Tatanka is planning on making it Martel’s last stand. Rick replies that he has some—reservations about that and gives the camera a wink. He then claims that the Indians have no class, style, or sense of fashion and he says he will have to disinfect the ring with Arrogance. He also says there might not be a match because Tatanka is still outside—scalping tickets. Martel then leaves and Mooney looks disgusted with the promo. (Sean is really good at making that disgusted face.)
Tatanka vs. Rick the Model Martel
Tatanka (not to be confused with Tanaka) is a newcomer to the WWF. He has legitimate Native American heritage, so the WWF played off of that. As far as ethnic gimmicks, this one is pretty tastefully done, but it doesn’t change the fact that Tatanka is kind of dull. Before the match, Heenan returns to commentary. Gorilla mocks him for losing his meal ticket, but Heenan tries to remain calm. He vows they will regroup and take out Savage, so Gorilla pokes him some more. He calls Heenan a liar repeatedly until Bobby loses his cool. Bobby eventually calms himself enough to make some bad Indian puns during the match. My particular favorite is when he says the proper way to greet Tatanka is to say, “Hey how are ya. Hey how are ya. Hey how are ya!” He says this in the same cadence as a Native American chant.
Tatanka catches Martel with a hip toss and a slam early, so Rick bails outside. Gorilla keeps calling him Ric Flair during the match and eventually blames it on having Flair on the brain. Martel gets the advantage by ramming Tatanka into the corner, but he misses a charge and hits the post. Tatanka attacks the arm until Martel hits a chokeslam and throws him out of the ring. He then focuses his attack on Tatanka’s back, but Martel gets crotched on the top rope and falls to the mat. Tatanka answers with some chops and a back drop, but he ducks and Martel kicks him. Rick then hits a slam and a clothesline, but Tatanka surprises him with a cross body for the win.
This was a very basic match. I guess it’s a good win for Tatanka, but the finish was so weak that Tatanka even seemed surprised by it. This didn’t make him look very strong. Sadly, this feud will continue for a few months, so we’re not done.
Winner: Tatanka (4:33)
Sean Mooney is backstage with Tag Team Champions, Ted DiBiase & IRS, with Jimmy Hart. Sean introduces them, but Jimmy reminds him that they’re known as Money Incorporated. Hart also says that he knows all of the Natural Disasters’ weaknesses. Mooney replies with a bad joke about the Disasters making a sizable withdrawal by taking the belts. DiBiase gives him a hearty fake laugh and says you don’t tug on Superman’s cape, spit in the wind, or write checks that you don’t have the funds to cover. Then, IRS says it’s tax time and time to pay. He also says they aren’t taking the Disasters lightly, but they are taking them. (Everyone needs to work on their phrasing tonight.)
Then, Mean Gene is with the Natural Disasters. Gene brings up Jimmy Hart, so Typhoon calls him a beady-eyed little cockroach and says they have a big surprise for him. (Spoiler alert: They don’t.) He also tells IRS if he thought an audit was bad, then he hasn’t dealt with the Natural Disasters. Quake then yells about getting what’s rightfully theirs before the Disasters slap each other on the chest. They nearly knock the microphone out of Gene’s hands, which causes Gene to laugh. (Gene is corpsing! Send for the man!)
Tag Team Title Match: The Natural Disasters vs. Money Inc. (c) (w/ Jimmy Hart)
You’re probably a bit confused right now, so let me explain. First, the Legion of Doom lost the tag titles to the new team of DiBiase & IRS (Money Inc.) on a house show. The reason for the switch, from what I understand, was Hawk had failed a drug test. The LOD was suspended until just before Mania, so that’s why they’re not booked in a match on this show. Since the LOD was being punished, the Disasters were turned babyface to be the new contenders. The turn was done by having Jimmy Hart sell the Disasters’ title shot to Money Incorporated. He saw them as a better investment, so the Disasters dumped Hart and turned face.
It looks like Quake and IRS will start, but DiBiase asks for a tag. Quake easily shoves Ted around, despite DiBiase going after his arm. Soon, all four men brawl and Money Inc. regroup outside. IRS returns, without a tag, and the Disasters throw him around for a bit. He tries to bail again, but Typhoon steps on his tie. He does manage to tag DiBiase after Phoon misses a corner splash, but Typhoon takes control. However, Typhoon misses a splash and awkwardly falls out of the ring. IRS then rams him into the steps and Money Inc. begin double-teaming him. They wear down Phoon with some holds and use ref distractions for more double-teaming until Typhoon and DiBiase go down to a double clothesline. Then, Quake and IRS face-off, but soon everyone is brawling again. The Disasters whip Money Inc. into each other and clothesline DiBiase out of the ring. Typhoon then hits a splash, but he’s not the legal man. Quake follows up by attempting the Earthquake Splash, but Jimmy pulls IRS out of the ring and Money Inc. leave with their belts. The ref has no choice but to count them out and give the Disasters the win. Thankfully, the Disasters have read up on their rules since the Rumble and realize they didn’t win the belts.
This was an okay match until the finish. I don’t like it when they do non-finishes at WrestleMania. This is supposed to be the biggest show of the year. I realize that house shows were still the primary money-maker at that time, but it’s still disappointing. I’m okay with Money Inc. retaining, but it should have been an actual victory through cheating if they wanted to continue the feud.
Winners: The Natural Disasters (by Count Out) (8:38)
Next, Mean Gene is backstage with Brutus the Barber Beefcake. (I realize that Brutus has a distinct style, but it’s a bit odd that he’s wearing his ring gear when he hasn’t wrestled in two years and won’t wrestle again for another year.) Gene talks about Brutus’ career being cut short by a boating accident, which seems to make Brutus sad. (Way to bring down the mood, Gene.) He then asks Brutus about his friendship with Hogan. Brutus says they’ve been to the top and to the bottom. He says he’s seen Hogan down low and up high, but Hogan has never dropped his head and has kept his dignity. He also says that Hogan is a giving man. (Okay, is there some sort of rib going on here? Did the wrestlers make a bet on who could make the most double-entendres in their promos? Everyone sounds filthy out of context on this show.) Then, Beefcake says he’s there to add his voice to the thousands who are behind Hogan, regardless of whether or not it’s his final match. He then finishes by saying Hulkamania will live forever, so Gene gives him an amen!
Owen Hart vs. Skinner
Unfortunately, Jim Neidhart has gotten himself fired, so Owen is going solo now. He will have a new team by the end of the year, but for now, he’s working as a singles competitor. It is nice to see him get on the card, but it feels like this match might have been trimmed down due to time constraints.
Owen enters the ring with a backflip and Skinner immediately spits tobacco juice in his face while Owen takes off his jacket. He then whips Owen around and hits a shoulderbreaker. He follows that up with some headbutts and hits the Gator Breaker, but he only gets a 2 count. (Does he ever beat anyone with that move?) Then, he hits some more headbutts and tries to throw Owen out of the ring, but Owen skins the cat and does an O’Connor Roll for the win.
This wasn’t much of a match, but it’s nice to see Owen get a decisive win at Mania. You can tell the show is running a bit long. In fact, there was also supposed to be a match between the British Bulldog and the Berzerker, but it was cut due to time.
Winner: Owen Hart (1:36)
Gene is backstage with Sid Justice and his new manager, Harvey Wippleman. Gene talks about the main event and says it will be a barn-burner. Sid apparently has a bad history with burning barns because he takes offense to that statement. He yells, “NO! SHUT UP YOU FAT, BALD-HEADED LITTLE OAF!!” He then tells Hogan that it will be his last match and he will see to that. He also tells Hogan that he’s the master and Hogan is but the learner. Gene questions whether it will be Hogan’s last match because Hogan never specifically said that. He then introduces a clip of Vince McMahon interviewing Hogan.
Vince asks Hogan if it will be his last match and Hogan says that question makes him sweat. He says everyone has been asking if he will retire and asking if he will get by Sid. He says the thought chills him to the bone, but he claims he will put those thoughts out of his mind. He also says he’s the only one who can make the decision, but he won’t know until after the match is finished. Vince then says that if it’s his last match, then thanks for the memories, inspiration, and Hulkamania. Hogan replies, “Thank you,” and shakes Vince’s hand.
They go back to Sid, who says he doesn’t give a damn and curses Hogan and every Hulkamaniac before saying that he rules the world.
Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice (w/ Harvey Wippleman)
Before the match, the Fink introduces Harvey Wippleman. You can hear the disgust in Finkel’s voice. (The feud between Fink and Wippleman is one of those that drag on for years.) After Sid turned heel, he hired his real-life friend, Wippleman, as his manager. Harvey took on the gimmick of Dr. Harvey Wippleman. He would use a stethoscope to listen to jobbers’ hearts after Sid destroyed them. They would also load their victims onto stretchers and sometimes Sid would send the stretchers flying. Sid was known for being quite rough with enhancement talent. Also, I have to point out that both Gorilla and Heenan refer to Sid as, “Psycho Sid,” during his entrance. (Hmm, I wonder if that name will stick. Maybe they should drop the “p” for the sake of alliteration.)
Sid attacks Hogan when he enters, but Hulk’s music keeps playing until he clears the ring and tears his shirt. Finally, they calm down and get face-to-face, so Sid kicks Hogan around the ring. Hulk crawls, so Heenan jokes that he’s begging. However, Hogan clears the ring again in almost the same spot as earlier and Sid takes a breather. Sid returns and calls for a test of strength that goes on for a while. Hogan surprisingly never gets the advantage and Sid backs him into a corner. Hogan fights back, but Wippleman distracts him and Sid hits a chokeslam before posing for the crowd. He takes a moment to tell the camera, “Do unto the man as he would do unto you, but do it first!” Then, Sid attacks Hogan’s back and uses a ref distraction to hit Hulk with Harvey’s doctor bag. He follows that up with a long nerve hold. Hogan recovers, but Sid hits a side slam and then the powerbomb. However, Hogan kicks out like usual and hulks-up. Hogan punches Sid, rams him into the corners, and hits a big boot, but Sid doesn’t fall. Hogan continues with a slam and hits the leg drop, but Sid kicks out! Wippleman then climbs onto the apron, so Hogan pulls him into the ring and the ref calls for the bell. (Well, that ending was botched!)
This was not a good match, even before the screwed up ending. There was too much stalling and long rest holds for my taste. To their credit, they never lost the crowd, but it still wasn’t good. The ending was supposed to be Papa Shango (the voodoo witch doctor) interfering to cause a DQ, but he missed his cue. He has said in interviews that he was talking with the Undertaker backstage and lost track of time. Shango had been threatening Hogan for weeks with vignettes where he burned a Hogan action figure in a ritual. They had been hinting at his interference, but he screwed up his one job.
Winner: Hulk Hogan (by DQ) (12:28)
Papa Shango finally makes his way to the ring. You can see the look of horror on his face at his mistake, even with the face paint. He and Sid attack Hogan and tie him in the ropes, so Sid goes to collect a chair, but familiar music begins playing. The crowd erupts because out comes—
—The Ultimate Warrior! He has returned and he cleans house by clotheslining Papa Shango out of the ring. Sid responds by hitting Warrior with a chair, but he shakes it off and Hogan pulls the chair away from Sid before sending him packing. The Fink then announces Hogan as the winner, so Hogan and the Warrior celebrate and pose for the crowd while fireworks explode. Gorilla claims the DQ was because of Shango’s interference. You would think they would tell Monsoon to change up his line because of the mistake, but he didn’t. Heenan says everyone is crazy and asks what else will happen, but Gorilla ignores him, so Heenan leaves. Monsoon then says goodnight to everyone as the show ends. (On a side note, Warrior has clearly stopped using steroids. He looked thirty pounds lighter and had a haircut, which led some people to believe it was a different person. This is how the rumors of multiple Ultimate Warriors began, but it’s definitely Jim Hellwig.)
– Bret/Piper was amazing.
– The WWF Title Match was good.
– There were some good promos on this show.
– Heenan put in another great commentary performance.
– There was a lot of wasted potential with this show.
– Some of the matches weren’t good or were filler.
– The finish of the Tag Title Match was disappointing.
Performer of the Night:
I’m going to give it to Bret Hart because his wrestling was great, but he also managed to pull off a subtle blade-job without getting caught. That’s how you do it, Flair.
This is a two-match show. The rest was pretty disappointing. Imagine what this card would have been if we had gotten Hogan/Flair, Savage/Roberts, Shawn/Marty, and LOD/Disasters. Undertaker could have faced Sid, even though that would have probably sucked. This show could have been so much more than it was. For what we got, it was decent, but not great.
My next review will be WCW’s WrestleWar ‘92, featuring one of the best War Games of all-time.