Wrestlemania Count-Up – #8: Show Us The Centerfolds!

Wrestlemania 8
Date: April 5, 1992
Location: Hoosierdome, Indianapolis, Indiana
Attendance: 62,167
Commentators: Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan
Star Spangled Banner: Reba McEntire
This was an interesting entry in the series as well. You could clearly see things beginning to change in the WWF at this point. Ric Flair had arrived and was the reigning WWF Champion, Hulk Hogan was talking about retirement, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels were singles wrestlers, and a lot of the goofiness was gone. This show was billed as possibly Hogan’s farewell match which was a really strange thing to hear no matter who you were.

Hogan had been the face of the company for nearly ten years and the possibility of him leaving was a scary though. This show also was different in that it cut down the number of matches from 12-14 to 9, which cut out a lot of the mindless filler and gave more important matches more time. It was held under a dome, just like WM 3 and had a very large crowd.The WWF Title wasn’t on the line in the last match of the show but rather in the middle, which was another rarity. Anyway, on with the show! A running joke of the show is that Elizabeth allegedly dated Ric and posed for nude photographs for him which Flair promised to show. To the best of my knowledge, nothing ever came of this.We open with Reba McEntire singing the National Anthem which is a nice thing to hear again. She is eventually helped out of the ring by Tito “El Matador” Santana.Tito Santana vs. Shawn Michaels

Shawn is finally full heel after the legendary barber shop window incident. You can tell Heenan is rolling tonight as he gets in a great line almost immediately by saying he things Tito and Reba are siblings. “Sure. That’s Arriba McEntire.” I love listening to Heenan when he’s on his game and he certainly is here. We get the old school orgasm sounding music with Sherri “singing.”

Shawn has challenged the winner of the IC Title match apparently. We waste some time as Sherri de-jackets Shawn. They imply there are some heel shenanigans coming. We get started and naturally it’s fast paced. A headlock keeps Tito in control and we have a special 900 number. There is some demon child shouting in an EVIL voice at Shawn and it’s kind of creepy.

Back in and Tito is dominating for the most part. We get a LONG headlock by Tito but they somehow keep it entertaining. That’s the difference between talented guys and generic guys: talented guys keep things moving even during things like these. They’re trying to get rollups and fight out of the hold and move around. They make it a contest which gives the fans something to keep their interest. That’s very important and separates the greats from the regulars.

Tito gets knocked over the top and is all dizzy headed. Where’s Jesse to say it’s because of a bad taco? Now Shawn hits the chinlock and has Tito in trouble. Tito gets up and walks into what would evolve into Sweet Chin Music. I guess here it’s Sour Jaw Humming? The Tear Drop Suplex, Shawn’s finisher, is blocked and the forearm connects to send Shawn to the floor.

Tito beats the tar out of him on the floor and gets a slingshot forearm/shoulder to have Shawn in real trouble. Shawn’s bumping like a madman because it’s Wrestlemania. The forearm hits and Shawn goes outside again. And then we get what has to be a botched ending as Tito goes to suplex him back in but Shawn falls on him for the pin. I guess Sherri was supposed to cheat but they messed it up somehow. That’s all I can come up with for that ending.

Rating: B-. Rather solid stuff here with both guys knowing exactly what to do out there. The scary thing is that Shawn would get about ten times better in about two or three years. This was fine for an opener and it worked well for what it was supposed to do. Good stuff from two good workers.

The Legion of Doom are tired of being off center. They bring back Paul Ellering. Who’s Paul Ellering you ask? That’s the same question most of the people have. What they fail to mention is Ellering was their manager during their hottest period in the NWA. Without knowing that, this interview makes little sense.

The Legion of Doom are tired of being off center. They bring back Paul Ellering. Who’s Paul Ellering you ask? That’s the same question most of the people have. What they fail to mention is Ellering was their manager during their hottest period in the NWA. Without knowing that, this interview makes little sense.

Jake Roberts isn’t afraid of the Undertaker. This feud goes back a long way actually. Roberts and Taker had both been heels and had crashed Savage’s and Liz’s wedding. Jake and Savage had a match, after which Jake was waiting backstage to hit Liz with a chair. Taker stopped this, turning face in the process.

Jake had been a guest on Taker’s show, The Funeral Parlor. He had locked Taker’s hand in a casket and DDTed Paul Bearer before attacking Taker with a chair. This did absolutely nothing though. Taker says Jake needs to be ready to meet his maker. It’s Jake’s last match as he would go to WCW and fight Sting for awhile in a totally forgotten feud.

Undertaker vs. Jake Roberts

Talk about a contrast between the previous match and this one. This likely isn’t going to be anything special at all to put it mildly. Bobby suggests Jake has a chance here. That’s so cute. We hit the floor almost immediately with Taker dominating. He’s the face here if I didn’t mention that.

Pure dominance here as we get Munsters and Addams Family references from Heenan, who feels like he has two brilliant minds on occasion. This match is meandering pretty badly here. DDT out of NOWHERE and the crowd is stunned. Could the Streak be over at one??? Taker sits up before Jake gets to his feet which is unthinkable.

Short arm clothesline and Taker is up again. Jake PLANTS him with another DDT and goes after Paul. Taker sits up again. If those had been KB DDTs he would have stayed down. Taker goes after Jake and a Tombstone on the floor ends Jake’s WWF run in emphatic style. The pin is of course academic.

Rating: D+. Nothing that great here but I’ve seen worse. They were still going for ways to make Taker look awesome as they had no idea what to do with him. They knew he was something special and he’s a former WWF Champion but at the same time, what do you do with him? It was a problem they had until a guy named Mankind showed up.

Brutus Beefcake is here for some reason.

We see a double interview with IC Champion Roddy Piper and challenger Bret Hart. Bret is serious and Roddy isn’t. This doesn’t sit well with Bret and we’re ready to go. There are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches mentioned, making me hungry.

Intercontinental Title: Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper

Staredown to start as this should be awesome to put it mildly. Arm drag by Piper to start which surprises Bret to put it mildly. Bret does the same and down goes Piper. This is shaping up well. Gorilla gives his strategy for the match from both perspectives. Heenan: I’d nail them out back with a tire iron.

After some nice amateur stuff Piper spits at Bret to make sure everyone knows he’s the heel. Test of Strength which is odd to see from guys like this. Bret grabs the arm and Piper can’t fight out of it. Gorilla lists off some of the countries that are watching Mania which is always cool to hear.

Bret hurts his shoulder on an armdrag and of course was faking as Heenan predicted. It results in a small package for two and Piper is hot. Bret gets a cross body and we hit the floor. Back in and Hart adjusts his boot, allowing Piper to lay in an uppercut to be the definite heel in this. That’s certainly the right choice at least. STIFF punch to the face follows.

Bulldog puts Bret down and he’s in trouble. Bret is busted BAD which was an unauthorized blade job but Bret lied and said it was hardway to avoid a fine or suspension. Flair bladed later on and nearly got fired over it. Bret gets a sunset flip out of nowhere to break Piper’s momentum but it just ticks him off and the beating continues.

Heenan again suggests going to get a chair and blast Bret with it. Bret gets a forearm out of nowhere to send Piper to the floor as the demon child from the Shawn match is at it again, this time in the pink corner. Both guys go down and Piper’s head is on Bret’s stomach but it’s not classified as a cover for no apparent reason. Heenan counts anyway but it doesn’t count of course because that’s not the finish.

Piper goes up so Bret drags him down by the hair. FREAKING…..nah it wasn’t that bad. Snap suplex gets two. Bret unleashes the Five Moves of Doom but the Sharpshooter is blocked. Well of course it was as he didn’t go for the elbow yet. He tries it out of order and gets caught by a boot. They slug it out from their knees and Bret takes control again.

Down goes the referee as we set up the ending. Bret eats steps and it’s all Piper here. Piper grabs the bell but can’t bring himself to swing it, thus preserving his face status. Heenan: “USE THE BELL! HIT HIM! WAFFLE HIM WITH IT! GIVE IT TO ME I’LL HIT HIM WITH IT!” Piper opts for a sleeper instead but Bret climbs up the ropes and backflips onto Piper for the pin to regain the title.

Rating: A. This match is as solid as they come. There’s very little that I find wrong with it aside from possibly the ending. Piper not using the bell was perfect, but after that it’s like they were told they had to end it immediately, which to me wasn’t good. Aside from that brief moment though, this was an excellent match.

Piper gives Bret the belt post match.

Bobby Heenan has a surprise, and he introduces via satellite, Lex Luger. Lex is a totally arrogant bastard here and he does it perfectly. This takes far longer than it should have.

Duggan, Slaughter, Virgil and Bossman make generic insults to their opponents.

The Nasties, Repo Man and Mountie counter with even weaker promos.

Jim Duggan/Sgt. Slaughter/Virgil/Big Bossman vs. Nasty Boys/Repo Man/The Mountie

Good night who picked these teams? It’s like a great garbage sandwich of the undercard. This match is introduced by Ray Combs who was a popular game show host at the time. He makes some bad jokes at the expense of the heels. One decent line: “Repo Man was an unwanted child. His parents were hoping for a boy.”

My goodness how far have these guys fallen since last year? Nastys were tag champions, Mountie had been the IC Champion earlier that year, Bossman was in the IC Title match last year and Virgil had a fairly high profile match. Quadruple clothesline takes down everyone not named Repo Man. There are going to be WWF guys on Family Feud against World Bodybuilding guys.

Duggan vs. Sags starts us off officially. It’s a huge trainwreck of course with no real reason for anyone to be in there against anyone as none of these people were feuding at all. Everyone fights everyone for a little bit and nothing stands out whatsoever. Everything goes insane of course and the Nasties screw up, allowing Virgil to pin Knobbs.

Rating: F. No one cared and the match was a mess. This has to be a sold out crowd now with as much filler as we just saw. Awful match and at least it was short.

We recap Flair vs. Savage. Flair had arrived in November with the WCW Title, which is one of the most complicated stories in wrestling history so I’ll stay out of why he was allowed to have it, and claimed he was the REAL world champion. Due to him helping Taker beat Hogan for the WWF Title and the controversial way that Hogan won it back, the title was declared vacant. The winner of the 92 Rumble would be the new champion. Flair wins after Sid eliminated Hogan and Hogan pulls out Sid.

Flair and Perfect have a picture that is allegedly Liz from photos that she gave him before she met Macho. They had threatened to put these up on the big screen for everyone to see. This had been built up for months as the main feud in the company with neither one really having a clear advantage.

Flair had all these stories about he and Liz and some clearly doctored photos of the two, but nothing ever concrete. Macho Man won’t talk to Gene. However he will talk for a Coliseum Video exclusive. He says nothing of note.

This was supposed to be Hogan vs. Flair. Why that match never took place has never really been answered for sure, but the common answer is that the WWF started a real steroid policy and Hogan knew he was in trouble. After this show he took a near 8 month hiatus from the company, which even furthers that theory.

WWF World Title: Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage

What makes this match work even better is Heenan’s completely biased announcing. He doesn’t even pretend to be fair and it’s great. Savage jumps him in the aisle but Perfect makes the save. Totally personal feud here and even more proof that Hogan wasn’t needed to have a dramatic and great storyline for the world title. Savage no sells an atomic drop and hits a clothesline to take over.

Savage is even more insane here than usual if you can imagine that. Flair manages to backdrop Savage over the top to break his momentum though as Heenan cheers him on. There’s no Liz in sight at the moment. Flair chops away and Savage is in some trouble. Heenan is drooling over the thought of seeing the centerfolds of Liz that Flair promised.

Flair sends him to the floor and keeps working on the back. Total dominance here as Savage is sent back in. Savage gets a punch in and the fans pop huge just for that. A neckbreaker out of nowhere puts Flair down. Heenan needs a drink. He must have never been thirsty in WCW. Flair is slammed off the top with Savage stepping onto the bottom rope which isn’t something I’ve ever seen before.

Savage unleashes the clotheslines and even gets one as Flair is coming off the top for a long two. Heenan nearly had a heart attack off of that one. Savage sends him to the floor and hits the double axe to send Flair into the railing. He CLEARLY blades on camera which was a huge ordeal backstage as it wasn’t authorized at all and they nearly fired him over it. It’s a good one too.

Double axe off the top gets two. Crowd is WAY into this. The elbow hits but Perfect dives in for the save at the last possible second. Hebner doesn’t throw it out though and all three of the heels are furious. Perfect throws Flair an illegal object and Savage is knocked out cold….FOR TWO! The place erupts on the kickout and Heenan is beside himself.

Perfect grabs a chair and drills Savage in the knee (although it looked like he hit the knee that Savage isn’t holding) and the challenger is in trouble. Here comes Liz! A group of suits try to stop her, and one of them looks like a big dollar sign. As he’s coming down the aisle, he looks like money. You would be able to say HERE COMES THE MONEY. (It’s Shane McMahon if you have no idea what I’m going on aboug).

Flair goes after the knee like a shark smelling a big pile of Shark Chow and the Figure Four goes on. Like an IDIOT, Flair slaps Savage for not staying down. After literally being in the hold for over a minute Savage turns him over as Perfect cheats for the second time in the hold. Flair goes for a slam but Savage grabs a small package for two as the crowd is losing their collective mind.

Flair WOOs at Liz and hammers away even more. Knee Crusher (to the wrong leg) but Savage spins around and grabs a rollup with a handful of trunks (as we see Flair’s trunks pulled down AGAIN) to win the title again and blow the roof off. Post match Flair hits on Liz and she slaps the taste out of his mouth. Perfect and Flair beat the tar out of Savage post match.

Rating: A+. I don’t love it as much as IC does, but this was amazing stuff. It went on forever and never got boring. The main big thing about this match is simple: there was a huge feud and title match, without Hulk Hogan. That hadn’t happened in almost 10 years and it proved that the WWF could live without him.

That being said, this is a totally underrated classic with both guys going insane and Savage fighting through impossible odds to win the title that he deserved. This was great stuff and of course it goes on halfway through the show as a world title change pales in comparison to Hogan vs. a monster right? Go watch this match as it’s awesome on a ton of levels.

Post match we get two of the best promos I’ve ever seen. You need to see these.

This feud was absolutely amazing on a ton of levels and the matches being great only pushed that further.

We see a clip from the Wrestlemania “press conference” where the #1 contender to the world title was named. Hogan was named the challenger and Sid was furious. He turned on Hogan in a tag match on SNME in a bad match where Hogan managed to beat Flair and Taker on his own afterwards.

Sid destroyed the Barber Shop set and got shampoo all over his face in a typically bad Sid bit. He destroyed a bunch of jobbers to bad 80s music apparently. And that of course transitions us to this.

Tatanka vs. Rick Martel

We get a pure filler here. Heenan’s commentary here is great as he’s trying to be deadly serious but any mention of Flair sets him off. Tatanka has Native Americans with him, despite no one caring at all. Martel just doesn’t care at all here and I can’t say I blame him at all.

If you ever want a textbook example of going through the motions, look right here. Neither care and while they’re not being lazy per se, there’s no story or spark in this match. It’s literally two guys performing moves on each other. Tatanka gets a roll up for the pin. I know that’s short but seriously, NOTHING happened here and there was no point to it being here.

Rating: D. They were kind of trying, but it kind of sucked. Nothing great here at all and just a filler after the title changing hands. Boring match and no one could have cared less. Well ok they probably could but it wouldn’t have been by much.

We see Money Inc. saying that they’re ready for the Natural Disasters. DiBiase is completely different than he was just a year ago, but it works just fine all the same.

The Natural Disasters are coming for the belts.

Tag Titles: Natural Disasters vs. Money Inc.

Heenan is still pissed and it’s still funny. Gorilla singes the praises of the challengers (the big fat guys) which more or less secures their loss here. Quake and IRS start but DiBiase comes in soon afterwards. The challengers overpower DiBiase who runs of course like a scared little girly man.

The big guys dominate as you would expect them to with Quake shoving DiBiase all over the place and then doing the same to IRS for awhile. Typhoon comes in and due to his high level of suck the champions beat him down pretty easily. This isn’t really going anywhere at all.

False hot tag to Earthquake gets us nowhere as we’re waiting to get to the ending so we can get to the “main event” because Hogan has to close out Mania right? Not much of a match going on here with a totally dead crowd. Finally we get the tag to Earthquake, the fat guys dominate and the champions leave to take the countout loss.

Rating: D-. Bad, bad match that no one wanted to see. The whole thing felt like it was weighed down by more weight than half of the Disasters weight multiplied by two. This went nowhere at all. The Disasters would get the titles eventually at a house show.

Brutus Beefcake reaffirms Hogan’s divineness.

Owen Hart vs. Skinner

This might last 90 seconds. Skinner hits a reverse DDT that does nothing. Hart rolls him up using the ropes and pins him. This was nothing.

Rating: N/A. Nothing at all here and a waste of time that could have gone to a real match.

Want to join the WWF Fan Club? Actually it does look pretty sweet.

Sid Justice is just hilarious. Anyone that calls Gene a fat blubbering stupid oaf is nothing but sweet.

We see an interview with Hogan and Vince from a week ago as Hulk teases that he’s retiring soon. Sid swears.

The point of this match is simple: Sid threw Hogan out of the Rumble and Hogan then pulled Sid out of the Rumble, giving Flair the belt. On a SNME, they teamed up to face Flair and Taker. Sid bailed on Hogan, who somehow still won the match. That brings us here. Hogan has talked about retiring, so this could be his last match. Sid jumps Hogan while his music is still playing. Hogan comes back to his music which is really pretty sweet.

Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice

The match is about what you would expect from these two. Hogan jumps Sid to start and beats him up while the music is playing. We finally slow things down with Sid taking over using, you guessed it, power moves. It’s all either guy can do so that’s what they went with of course.

We go back and forth to start, Sid takes over for awhile, and then Hogan comes back. Test of Strength gets us nowhere. Sid lands a move that I don’t think anyone had seen before in the WWF. It’s like a slam while he’s choking him. I can’t think of a name to use for it though. Anyone have any ideas?

Sid pounds away on Hogan for a good while as you would expect him to. We head to the floor for a bit and nothing happens at all. Now we hit the EVIL nerve hold that doesn’t really do anything. Hogan has had that put on him by people far more useless than Sid though so this gets Sid nowhere at all. Sidewalk Slam gets Sid out of trouble.

Hogan kicks out of Sid’s powerbomb, which was also a very rare move at the time. Hogan makes his standard comeback leading to the boot and slam. Sid kicks out of the legdrop! Sid’s manager Harvey WHipleman interferes causing the DQ, when all of a sudden Papa freaking Shango comes out for the double team.

As they beat on him, for absolutely no good reason the Warrior returns for the first time since about June for the save. This was a legitimate shock as no one believed that he was coming back. It definitely worked though and is a great surprise to end Mania, but it set up no more contact between Hogan and Warrior as far as I can remember. Double pose down to end the show.

Rating: D. It’s Hogan at Mania so it’s at least watchable. The original ending was Hogan has Sid beaten and Shango breaks up the pin for the DQ, but Shango missed his cue. Sid wasn’t being uncooperative when he kicked out. He simply didn’t have another option. The ending made little sense though. It led to Warrior vs. Shango (which I was at the blowoff match), yet why Shango attacked was never explained.

As for the match, this was pretty freaking bad. No one bought this as the real main event but it’s Hogan so he has to go on last. The Warrior returning was a great thing but at the end of the day it should have been overshadowed by Savage and the title change. I’m not surprised though. After all it is Hogan.

Overall Rating
: B-. It’s certainly not bad, but it’s nothing epic. Why, in Hogan’s last match, wouldn’t he go over clean? The Warrior returning meant nothing at all either. However, the rest of the show has some absolute gems in it. Make sure you see the IC and World Title matches as both are classics.

This show led to Savage holding the title over the Summer yet rarely defending it. Flair would win it back in the Fall before dropping it to Bret Hart just under a year later. Shawn’s singles debut is obviously a big deal and the fillers go by quick. Of the 9 matches, 6 are pretty good if not great so this is an obvious recommendation


  1. NightShiftLoser says:

    Is this really the only review for 8? I think I know where my vote is going, come time to pick a WrestleMania to redo…

    klunderbunker Reply:

    I’d have redone it for the book.