Because of the WWE Network, fans can now watch every single WrestleMania from start to finish.
So, for 30 days leading up to WrestleMania XXX, we will take an extensive look back at each event from the very first, to the most recent.
Here's the WrestleManias we've covered so far:
Date: April 5, 1992
Venue: Hoosier Dome, Indianapolis, Ind.
Shawn Michaels def. “El Matador” Tito Santana
The Undertaker w/Paul Bearer def. Jake “The Snake” Roberts (Undertaker: 2-0)
Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Sgt. Slaughter, Virgil & Big Boss Man def. The Mountie, Repo Man, & the Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags) w/Jimmy Hart
WWE Championship – Randy “Macho Man” Savage w/Elizabeth def. Ric Flair w/Mr. Perfect
Tatanka def. “The Model” Rick Martel
World Tag Team Championship – Natural Disasrers (Earthquake & Typhoon) def. Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase & Irwin R. Schyster) w/Jimmy Hart by count-out
“The Rocket” Owen Hart def. Skinner
Hulk Hogan def. Sid Justice w/Harvey Wippleman by disqualification
- No matter what took place during this show, this WrestleMania will always be remembered for what didn’t take place, and that was a main event match between Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. It was the right time and with the right amount of hype could have made a lot of money, but for reasons that still aren’t quite clear until this day, the two biggest stars of the 1980s did not square off in the main event of this show. What we received instead was a double main event. In the first main event, Flair defended the WWE Championship against Randy Savage. In the second main event, Hogan went against Sid Justice in a grudge match, which went on last simply because Hogan was in the match.
- The main event between Hogan and Justice just seemed odd. The title wasn’t on the line, Hogan was playing up this retirement angle and Harvey Wippleman was Justice’s manager. I love Wippleman (or Downtown Bruno for you Memphis wrestling fans), but he seemed out of place. Even worse, was that the match itself ended in a disqualification, which would never fly today in the main event of WrestleMania. The return of the Ultimate Warrior kind of took people’s mind of that debacle because people were so surprised and happy to see him back, but when he and Hogan began celebrating it just seemed odd. What were they celebrating? The match ended in disqualification. Hogan didn’t win the title, but yet there were fireworks and pose downs as if he did. Not even Hogan’s star power and Warrior’s return could salvage the unfulfilling match.
- In the match that should have gone on last, Flair and Savage put on a show for the WWE Championship and had a definitive and fulfilling finish. There are two reasons why this match should have gone on last. Firstly, the title was on the line. I know that the title match hasn’t closed the show on a handful of occasions, but this shouldn’t have been one of them. This was the first time since the first WrestleMania that the WWE Championship match wasn’t the main event. Secondly, the angle was much better than the Hogan-Justice one. The story of Elizabeth being with Flair first and the photos of them two on a date was classic stuff. The match itself was better, which was not a surprise considering who were involved. Even the post-match promos from this match were great. There was only one reason I could think of as to why this wasn’t the main event: Hogan. Whether it was Hogan strong-arming his way into that spot or WWE hitching its wagon to Hogan at all costs, it was the wrong decision either way. WWE has made this mistake a couple of more times through the years, but in the other way around — where there were instances when the title match shouldn’t have gone on last.
- Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels both made their singles debuts at WrestleMania VIII. Hart defeated Roddy Piper in a great match for the Intercontinental Championship and Michaels defeated Tito Santana in the show’s opening match. These two matches along with Undertaker’s decisive win over Jake Roberts marked the beginning of the shift toward a fresh crop of talent. You could tell WWE was getting the next batch of stars ready to carry the ball for guys like Hogan and Savage to pass it to.
- It was cool to see a different side of Piper during his match against Hart. Piper was never seen as a wrestling technician like Hart, but decided to go toe-to-toe with him at WrestleMania VIII. It’s also worth noting that Piper was the Intercontinental Champion walking into this match, which was one of the few titles he held during his entire career. Piper was such a star that he never needed a titled belt. It almost looked strange on him, but it was still cool to see.
- Santana’s loss to Michaels was his seventh loss in a row at WrestleMania. Santana was in the first match in WrestleMania history against the Executioner, which was his only WrestleMania win. From there, he lost in a variety of ways. He lost one-on-one encounters, tag team matches, six-man tag team matches, battle royals. You name it, Santana lost at WrestleMania in that way over the stretch of seven years. In one respect, it’s kind of laughable as it’s the streak you don’t want to have. In another respect, it’s a testament to the consistency Santana had to be able to make eight WrestleMania cards in a row. It’s almost like the Buffalo Bills of the early 1990s. You can make fun of the Bills for losing four straight Super Bowls, but you also have to commend them because no one had ever appeared in four consecutive Super Bowls until the Bills and no one has matched that feat since.
- Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan had some great moments together, but WrestleMania VIII has to be one of their best nights together. They were on fire during this show. From Heenan calling Reba McEntire “Ariba McEntire,” to Monsoon calling out Heenan’s bias toward Flair, to Heenan losing his cool after Flair lost the title, everything they did on this show was awesome. My personal favorite part was during the Tatanka-Rick Martel match. Here’s the exchange:
Heenan: “I’m a broadcast journalist…”
Monsoon: “You’re a liar!”
Heenan: “I’m a financial consultant…”
Monsoon: “You’re a liar!”
Heenan: “and I’m going to site here and do my job like the gentleman I am…”
Monsoon: “You’re a liar!”
Heenan: “and if you don’t like it, you can get out of here and you can take your microphone and your headset and you know what you can do with it! Because you’re not going to get me upset! You understand that?”
Monsoon: “You are upset.”
Heenan: “You’re not going to get me upset!”
Monsoon: “Don’t jump. It’s a long way down.”
Heenan: “Put ‘em up! Put ‘em up!”
Monsoon: “Oh boy. The “Brain” has really lost it, folks.”
- Jimmy Hart usually wore a jacket to match whatever wrestler he was managing. Even if he were managing multiple wrestlers on one show, he’d change his entire outfit to match whomever he was walking out with. But at WrestleMania VIII, he only wore one suit that reflected the two matches he was managing in. It was kind of disappointing. I looked forward to seeing what he had thrown together for Ted DiBiase.
- WWE had Lex Luger cut a promo via satellite for its World Bodybuilding Federation. This was Vince McMahon’s attempt to mix the world of bodybuilding with all of the pomp and pageantry of professional wrestling. As most would expect, this did not last long for a number of reasons. Chief among them was the steroid scandal the company was embroiled in for the next several months.
- After a string of WrestleManias that ran over three hours, this WrestleMania was just under that mark.
- During the Savage-Flair match, Elizabeth came to the ring to cheer on her man Savage. There were a number of men in suits trying to convince to head back to the locker room. Among them, was a young Shane McMahon, the son of Vince McMahon.