wrestling / Video Reviews

Kevin’s RetrospectiveMania Series: WrestleMania VIII

July 3, 2019 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
WrestleMania VIII Randy Savage Ric Flair
WWF WrestleMania VIII
April 5th, 1992 | Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana | Attendance: 62,167

1992 remains one of the most interesting years for the WWF. There was an influx of new talent like Sid Justice and Ric Flair, as well as new singles stars in Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. It also happened to be the year when the big steroid trial forced the company to change a lot as the year winded down. But we’re not quite there yet. This show featured the first WrestleMania “double” main event and the card is slimmed down to nine matches. I wonder how it’ll go.

Where will it rank among the rest of the WrestleManias so far? We’ll find out here. As a reminder, I’m reliving these WrestleManias and rating them on a 1-10 scale in these seven categories. They’ll be ranked by their total score.

I’ve enjoyed these so much that I’ll be doing more. Once the WrestleMania series is over, you can head over to patreon.com/the_kevstaaa for a new series. Becoming a Gold Tier member means you can help choose what the series will be! You’ll also get access to exclusive reviews, previews, top ten lists, and analysis of wrestling, film, and television.

• Match quality – Self-explanatory. Will always be the longest section.
• Memorability – How memorable is the show?
• Historical significance – The impact the show had on wrestling
• Booking decisions – Did the event have logical booking decisions for the stories they told
• Presentation – Things like stage setup, video packages, commentary, etc.
• Pacing/Flow – How well is the show laid out? Does it drag or move along smoothly?
• Entertainment – The non-wrestling elements like promos, celebrity interaction, concerts, etc.

Match Quality



Shawn Michaels vs. Tito Santana ~ The transition from Reba McEntire singing to Tito Santana coming out with Bobby Heenan calling her his sister ARRRIBA MCENTIRE will never not be funny. The first Mania singles match for HBK. I always liked the pairing of him and Sherri. This was a pretty good way to start the show. Michaels bumped like crazy for everything Santana did and the crowd was pretty into it. Surprisingly, Sherri didn’t get involved much. Santana went into a few too many headlocks to make for compelling offense, which held this back. Shawn shifted his weight and landed on Tito to get the three count after 10:38. That finish seemed like they missed something. [**½]

Jake Roberts vs. The Undertaker ~ Since beating Jimmy Snuka in his Mania debut, Undertaker has won and lost the WWF Title and turned babyface. It’s no secret that Jake Roberts was on his way to WCW. That means he wasn’t about to get in much offense against a star of Undertaker’s caliber. The one thing Jake did was hit the DDT, but by the POWER OF THE URN, Undertaker sat up. That was a big deal considering how deadly that move was. He hit a second but went after Paul Bearer. Undertaker Tombstoned him outside and pinned him inside at the 6:36 mark. A dominant win to give Undertaker shine. It wasn’t competitive, but it did what it had to. [*¼]


WWF Intercontinental Championship: Roddy Piper [c] vs. Bret Hart ~ Bobby Heenan said this was a street fighter against the Excellence of Execution. Pretty apt. Side note but I love this pink Bret attire. Piper opened with an arm drag as if to show he could hang in Bret’s world. Bret responded with one and sent him packing in their next exchange. Bret kept outwrestling Piper, frustrating the champion, which caused the match to get more physical. You have to love Bret feigning an injury and getting slapped for it. With the increased intensity came Bret’s blade job. The blood added so much to this one. That put this right in Piper’s wheelhouse and made you feel like Bret was in real trouble. Bret knew it too. He desperately went for flash pins and began using more aggressive offense. This was a case where the ref bump worked, as Piper got the ring bell and went to use it. Except he decided against it. And it cost him as Bret countered his Sleeper Hold by walking up the turnbuckle and turning it into a pin. That gave him the win and the title in 13:50. One of my favorite matches ever. They told an incredible story in under 15 minutes. The intensity level made sense, the wrestling was smooth, and that finish was perfect. Stellar wrestling. [****½]

Big Boss Man, Jim Duggan, Sgt. Slaughter and Virgil vs. The Mountie, The Nasty Boys and Repo Man ~ The pre-match intros from Family Feud host Ray Combs were rough. Talk about a fall from grace for Sgt. Slaughter, who was in the main event last year. Not that I’m complaining. This was mostly just a way to get a bunch of guys who were relevant thrown onto the card. It was like the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, but smaller because the company didn’t have nearly as much talent back then. There was no real structure here. Instead of telling a story, they kind of just threw guys in and had them do stuff they’re known for. It broke down into a huge brawl, eventually leaving Virgl with the Nasty Boys. Virgil ducked a shot from Saggs, who hit Knobs by mistake, and that was somehow enough to win in 6:32. A mess of a match but at least it was relatively short. [¾*]


WWF Championship: Ric Flair [c] vs. Randy Savage ~ The first time the WWF Title was in the midcard. Big time intensity to this one. Randy Savage was on fire to start, but a well-timed Ric Flair back body drop to the outside swung the momentum. The champion put the focus on Savage’s back. The crowd erupted each time Savage would get even the slightest bit of offense going. Of course, Flair reacted to everything perfectly. He made sure Savage looked incredible even if Savage didn’t need help to do so. When thrown into the guardrail, Flair bladed. I don’t condone blading, but do admit the blood added a lot here. Shenanigans ensued when Mr. Perfect got involved and Miss Elizabeth came down to ringside. She was distracting because a bunch of officials, including a young “Best in the World” Shane McMahon, tried stopping her. Savage survived a chair shot and Mr. Perfect interference, before rolling Flair up with a handful of trunks to win the title in 18:01. A great match that had exactly the kind of animosity you want in this situation. They’re two of the best to ever do it for a reason. [****¼]

Rick Martel vs. Tatanka ~ We’re early into Tatanka’s run here. Commentary didn’t care much about this, with Bobby Heenan instead focusing on what happened to Ric Flair in the last match. He did have a fair share of Indian related jokes though. This was really just a match to further establish Tatanka. He won in 4:33 with a lame cross body. It had no heat and was clearly there was a cool down after the title match. [*]


WWF Tag Team Championship: Money Inc. [c] vs. The Natural Disasters ~ Kind of crazy to see the Tag Titles be the last championship defended at a Mania. Everyone who followed my old weekly Raw reviews knows that I can’t stand IRS. Ted Dibiase is good, but IRS was the pits. The Natural Disasters didn’t do much for me either, so I wasn’t excited about this match. And I was right. Everyone kind of plodded around and did a lot of nothing. Of course, we got the classic Money Inc. finish where they just walked out and got counted out after 8:39. A dull match with a weak finish. [½*]

Owen Hart vs. Skinner ~ I’m not really sure why this was even on the card. Owen Hart won with a rollup in 1:11. Not much of a match and it didn’t exactly feel like it helped establish Owen so I don’t get it. [NR]


Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice ~ This got billed as possibly being Hulk Hogan’s last match. The build for this was all Hogan’s fault. He was a sore loser at the Royal Rumble and it rightfully set Sid off. Then he was given the WWF Title match at WrestleMania for no reason and that angered Sid more. Anyway, Hogan came out like he was the wronged party and jumped Sid. He was always such a heel. Sid eventually took over and his offense was terrible. At no point did I ever feel like Hogan was in peril. Even against Bundy, it felt like he took a beating. Here, Sid’s offense never really seemed to do anything. That made the eventual Hulk up sequence fall flat. Sid kicked out of the Leg Drop, though it looked like a mistake as Harvey Wippleman seemed to get in the ring late. That gave us the lamest of DQ finishes at 12:44. A terrible match and arguably the worst Mania main event in history. Definitely to this point. [DUD]

Talk about a two match show. Other than the WWF and Intercontinental Title matches, this show is a drag. The third best match is a wildly average Shawn Michaels/Tito Santana encounter. But man, those two matches that work are exceptional and both rank in the top five in Mania history to this point. That’s enough for me to give out a strong score in this department.

SCORE: 6.5

 


 

Memorability

 


I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’ve remembered a lot from this WrestleMania. Three things stand out above the rest. The image of a bloody Bret Hart battling Roddy Piper. Macho Man Randy Savage capturing his second WWF Championship. The Ultimate Warrior returning at the end of the show. Those are all pretty memorable and they’re all big moments. That means this section of the show ranks at least pretty high.

SCORE: 7.0

 


 

Historical Significance

 


Similar to the memorability section, a few things stood out. For one, Macho Man became the second person to ever win the WWF Title at two different WrestleManias, joining Hulk Hogan. It also marked a rare instance where a guy made his WrestleMania debut and it was in the main event. You get the first singles matches in Mania history for both Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, as well a big title win for Hart. There’s also win number two for The Undertaker.

SCORE: 7.0

 


 

Booking Decisions

 


Honestly, for a vast majority of this event, the booking was almost perfect. Rising stars like Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker won their matches. Bret Hart beating Roddy Piper was a big deal as it was a rare clean job by Piper. Randy Savage winning the WWF Title over Ric Flair was a good move, especially considering the conquering hero story it told. Tatanka remaining unbeaten was also fine. It fell apart afterwards. A cheap countout Tag Team Title match finish, an Owen Hart win that did nothing for him, and a terrible DQ ending to the main event. Still, most of it worked.

SCORE: 8.0

 


 

Presentation

 


A huge step up from last year. The Hoosier Dome is a cool looking venue. The big crowd made the show feel special and I think the ceiling color looks unique. We got a fine little opening video package and some decent match graphics. The commentary team was arguably the best we’ve had so far. Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon are one of the best duos ever and they played so well off each other throughout this show. My one major gripe was that the entrance setup was lame. I know special stages weren’t a thing here, but just using the generic neon entrance felt lackluster.

SCORE: 8.0

 


 

Pacing/Flow

 


There wasn’t a lot of non-wrestling related fluff to bog down the show. I can always appreciate that. The first half of this show is paced incredibly well. Even with an overly long Legion of Doom promo and the awkward Lex Luger WBF promo, matches moved along nicely and there were two bangers to help things along. The show hit some bumps after the WWF Title went on. The matches aren’t good and the two title fights drag. Still, the majority of this flows smoothly.

SCORE: 7.0

 


 

Entertainment

 


To get the bad out of the way, I hated the Ray Combs intro for the eight man tag. Non-stop bad jokes. I also didn’t like the interviews with the Legion of Doom and Lex Luger. Save that stuff for your TV shows. Especially the Luger stuff since it didn’t even pertain to wrestling. However, the rest of the promos were pretty damn good. The shining moments were the pre-match promo between Roddy Piper and Bret Hart, as well as the post-match stuff with Ric Flair and Randy Savage. Those were great and really added to the matches, as well as the entertainment section. Reba McEntire was also a solid choice to handle the opening music. And even with the miscues on timing, the Ultimate Warrior return was cool. Good stuff here.

SCORE: 7.0

 


 

Overall

 


This is a WrestleMania I mostly held in high esteem. Honestly, it still has plenty to like, which is why it ranks second in the current standing. However, it did ultimately disappoint me. The card lacks outside of the two great matches. It gets helped by strong presentation, good work in non-wrestling segments, and some memorable moments. A pretty damn good WrestleMania.

TOTAL: 50.5/70
WrestleMania Rankings
1. WrestleMania III – 55/70
2. WrestleMania VIII – 50.5/70
3. WrestleMania I – 50/70
4. WrestleMania VII – 46/70
5. WrestleMania VI – 44/70
6. WrestleMania V – 39/70
7. WrestleMania IV – 32/70
8. WrestleMania II – 29/70

article topics :

WrestleMania VIII, Kevin Pantoja