Thursday 4 June 2020

WWF Wrestlemania VIII Review

WrestleMania VIII - Wikipedia

Hello and welcome to another edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews, the only wrestling review series on the internet that is tone-deaf as some of your favourite wrestlers when it comes to what’s happening in the world right now! It’s WWF Wrestlemania VIII, the pay per view where we did not get Hulk Hogan vs Ric Flair. No, it simply was not drawing on the house shows according to reports during the time so we enter Randy Savage vs Ric Flair. Flair producing photos claiming that Miss Elizabeth used to be with him, sending Savage into a downward spiral of rage and depression. Savage vows to win the WWF Championship but will The Macho Man be in the right frame of mind to cap off one of the best story-telling arcs of all-time in wrestling? We also have Sid Justice vs Hulk Hogan, former allies coming to blows with both men seeking to dominate the WWF. Hogan or Sid? Who knows who will walk out of that one! We also have the likes of Owen Hart and Shawn Michaels appearing in singles matches on the card, I sign of things to come and of course, Bret Hart vs Roddy Piper for the Intercontinental Championship. Arguably the best Wrestlemania that I covered from top to bottom was last year’s Wrestlemania VII where the big matches delivered and the older talent was phased out in favour of newer and younger talent, this might be one of the shortest Manias with an average pay per view run time, could it be a sign of things to come? Let’s find out!

El Matador Tito Santana vs Shawn Michaels W/ Sensational Sherri

Until the day I die, I shall proclaim Tito deserved better when it came to booking. Solid, reliable and over with the fans. His matches with Mr. Perfect on Saturday Night’s Main Event and his feud with Martel I will not forget. HBK is here though with Sherri singing his theme. Sherri has moved on from Dibiase to Michaels, Sherri is infatuated with The Sexy Boy which will make her trouble for Tito.

Michaels poses, feeling himself at this moment and time. Trash-talking ensues, Santana lands a massive right hand. Side headlock with Santana landing a flying crossbody for two. Another side headlock, Michaels is grounded by the veteran. To the ropes, Michaels looks for a clean break before attacking Santana but Santana leapfrogs Michaels before nailing a big clothesline to the floor. Sherri checks on Michaels on the floor, Michaels is on the apron before Santana drags him back in with a side headlock.

Michaels reaches for the hair, we are in the corner. Shoulder thrust from Michaels, right hands from HBK. Elbow to the head, Michaels leapfrogs Santana off an Irish whip to the buckle. Michaels tries it again but Santana catches the youngster, back to the headlock. Two off the headlock, Michaels rolls over for his own cover for two. Michaels looks for an atomic drop but Santana holds onto that headlock for a two. Small package from Santana before applying the headlock again, Sherri screams advice at Michaels. Michaels sidesteps Santana who is thrown to the floor, Michaels distracts the referee while Sherri looks on menacingly.

Santana on the apron, Michaels knocks him down hard. Back-breaker from Michaels for two, reverse chin-lock from Michaels. Tito fires up, elbows to the ribs. Santana runs into a thrust-kick from Michaels, teardrop suplex is avoided as Santana smashes Michaels in the face. Santana eats a boot after lowering his head off an Irish whip, Michaels tries an Irish whip. Flying Forearm from Santana, Michaels flops to the floor. Santana throws Michaels into the ring, slingshot forearm and knee-lift. Inverted atomic drop, Flying Forearm to the back of the head. Michaels is on the floor again, Santana tries a scoop slam from the apron but Michaels falls down on Santana to steal the win.

Did Sherri miss her cue? I think Sherri was meant to trip up Santana and maybe hold his legs down like Heenan and Warrior from Wrestlemania V. Questionable finish aside, you have Santana bringing the performance that always delivers where Santana has the crowd with him every step of the way. Underrated is the only word I have when it comes to Santana in the WWF, the guy is awesome. Michaels gives a good accounting of himself, a bit much on the posing side of things for me, I thought Michaels could have got more heat during the course of the match. However, as far as opening matches go, this might be one of the best in Wrestlemania history so far.

Winner: Shawn Michaels over Tito Santana via Pin-Fall!

Jake The Snake Roberts vs The Undertaker W/ Paul Bearer

Roberts planned on smashing Macho Man Randy Savage with a chair after their match, The Undertaker saved Elizabeth from having her face smashed by the devious Roberts. So, Roberts trapped Undertaker’s hand in a coffin and made The Deadman watch as Roberts laid out Paul Bearer with a DDT. Babyface Deadman, an unkillable beast how fun this will be for The Snake. Taker stalks Roberts, Roberts is constantly moving and backing up. Right hands from Roberts, Taker keeps walking forward. No matter what Roberts does, Taker is walking forward. Shots to the ribs, shots to the face and Taker is sent to the floor but lands on his feet.

Taker pulls out Roberts, Taker sends Roberts into the ring-post. Roberts sells the arm before hitting a knee-lift, more rights and they are starting to sting Taker. Whip to the buckle, hard goes Taker into the buckle. Taker returns the favour, Roberts hits the buckle hard. Taker chokes Roberts in the corner, another hard Irish whip. Taker chokes Roberts to the mat, elbow drop from The Deadman. Irish whip into a flying clothesline from Taker, Roberts avoids the tombstone for a DDT. Taker lays motionless, Roberts scoots away laughing at Bearer before Taker is on his feet. Taker has Roberts by the throat, knee by Roberts. Short-arm clothesline but Taker is up again.

DDT lands again, Taker is spiked hard into the mat. Roberts tells Bearer and the fans to stick it, Roberts is going after Bearer on the floor. Bearer backs away, Roberts seems to realize the urn is a source of power. Taker to the rescue, Taker Tombstones Roberts on the floor. Roberts is dragged into the ring, unconscious as Taker pins Roberts for the win, all hail The Undertaker.

Brief but powerful, this feud had a lot going for it despite how relatively short the build was for it. Taker as a babyface is so awesome, standing up for Bearer. Roberts has been sinister and despicable throughout his heel run, world championship calibre levels of heat and performance from The Snake. Taker stalking down Roberts was great stuff, you could see the fear in Roberts throughout the match. The confidence that consumes Roberts as that first DDT lands is tremendous, Roberts is on cloud-nine this match is over in his mind. The shock as Taker comes back and sits up, beautiful stuff and then, a sickening Tombstone on the floor which ends Roberts.

Winner: The Undertaker over Jake The Snake Roberts via Tombstone Piledriver!

(WWF Intercontinental Championship Match) Rowdy Roddy Piper © vs Bret Hart

A night for the young stars of the WWF to shine as we have an all-time legend Roddy Piper defending his championship against The Hitman. Friendly but deadly, these two respect one another and have fought alongside one another on a Survivor Series team but that’s in the past. Pride is on the line as this one begins, Piper’s intensity is captivating. The switch has been flicked, Piper is in game mode. The bell rings, the two lock-up. Arm-drag from The Hot Rod, lock-up again. Hart scores with his arm-drag, a third lock-up. Piper takes the back, Hart shakes off Piper who falls to the floor. Piper is irate, Piper spits on Hart. The crowd boos as Piper looks a little pissed off that he resorted to such a tactic, we have a test of strength.

Piper loses the battle, Hart works the arm. Piper chops at Hart, Hart hangs on with Piper grabbing the hair. Hart meets the buckle hard, Hart will not let go of the arm. Piper is slammed to the mat, hammerlock from The Hitman. Piper whips Hart, Hart ducks and lands a dropkick. Hart hurts his shoulder on the landing, Piper is caught in a small package. Piper slaps the shit out of Hart, Hart shoves back. The two talk shit, Piper shoves off Hart. Both men collide as Hart nails a crossbody, they tumble to the floor. Piper holds open the rope for Hart, Hart cautiously approaches, not trusting the intentions of The Hot Rod. Hart goes to tie his shoe, Piper waffles Hart with a right hand. Piper stomps all over Hart, closed fists to the head.

To the corner, Piper lands a running bulldog. Hart is bleeding from the face, unbelievable turn of events as Piper has opened up a cut on Hart’s head. Piper bites the cut, hard Irish whip from Piper. Knee-lift for two, whip off the ropes. Sunset-flip from Hart for two, Piper lands more shots to the cut. Two for Piper, Hart begins firing back at Piper. Huge clothesline from Hart, Piper is on the floor. Piper re-enters the ring, double clothesline spot with both men down. Piper is climbing to the top rope, Hart leaps to his feet. Piper is driven face first into the mat, inverted atomic drop and textbook suplex for two.

Russian leg-sweep for two, back-breaker from Hart. Sharpshooter time, Piper blocks the boot. Elbow from Hart, Bret’s Rope Elbow misses as Piper blocks with his foot. Piper is firing up now, the two are trading rights on their knees. Headbutt from Hart, Piper shoves Hart into the referee. Piper clotheslines Hart to the floor, Piper tosses Hart into the steel steps before throwing Hart into the ring. Piper grabs the ring-bell, Piper wants Hart to get to his feet. Piper looks to the crowd but cannot do it, Piper listens to the fans and throws out the ring-bell. Sleeper from Piper, Hart uses the buckle to kick off and flip Piper. Hart wins the Intercontinental Championship.

Can you say classic? Unbelievable from these two, Piper puts over The Hitman, the future ace of the company. From the beginning, both men’s pride are on display as neither man will allow the other to have the one-up. Things turn nasty though, Piper takes shortcuts, it is the old Hot Rod. Piper continues to pummel Hart, Hart blades which was illegal at the time doing so in convincing fashion, so convincing that Hart had Vince Mcmahon fooled. Piper thinks about using a ring-bell to strike down Hart but Piper looks to the fans, the people who have cheered him on throughout his career. Piper is not that man anymore who cheats his way to the top, Piper wants to beat Hart fair and square. With one last roll of the dice, Piper slaps on his Sleeper but Hart counters Piper for the win. Piper embraces the new champion and places the championship around his waist.

Winner: Bret Hart over Roddy Piper via Roll-Up!

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

We start with team babyface nailing a clothesline, seems thrown together. Duggan and Slaughter have been teaming together though, I feel Bossman has cooled off a bit since his feud with Perfect and Heenan. Duggan and Sags go at it, Sags smashes Duggan off the buckle. Duggan reverses the Irish whip, clotheslines from Hacksaw. Atomic drop from Duggan, tag to Slaughter. Sags thumbs Slaughter in the eye, tag to Knobbs. Slaughter whips Knobbs to the buckle, clothesline and gut-buster before a double stomp from Slaughter. Another whip, gut punch flips Knobbs. Tag to Bossman, big boot from Mr Hard Times.

Uppercuts and fist of fury for Knobbs, Bossman misses a corner splash. Knobbs tags Repo Man, gut punches from Repo before Bossman lands a shoulder block. Bossman misses a splash, Repo drops his weight on Bossman’s back before Bossman blocks and lands a huge right. Facemask Virgil is in, dropkick from Virgil. Diving crossbody from Virgil for two, Mountie attacks Virgil from behind. Belly to back suplex from Repo, The Nasty Boys attack Virgil behind the referee’s back. Sags is the legal man, massive pumphandle drop. Tag to Mountie, Bossman interferes and spinebusters Mountie.

Match breaks down, everyone is brawling around the ring. Slaughter meets the ring-post hard, Knobbs has Virgil while Sags has a chain wrapped around his hand. Virgil ducks the blow as Sags knocks out Knobbs and Virgil covers for the win as team babyface reign supreme.

Not much to say, it was just on the guard. Nothing memorable or special about this match, nice to see everyone get a payday.

Winners: Team Virgil over Team Team Mountie via Chain To The Face!

(WWF Championship Match) Ric Flair © W/ Mr. Perfect vs Macho Man Randy Savage W/ Miss Elizabeth

Let me some this motherfucker up right now: My favourite arc in all of wrestling! Randy Savage enters the WWF, dominates and becomes a babyface for standing up for Miss Elizabeth against The Honky Tonk Man. Savage wins the championship at Wrestlemani IV, the pinnacle for The Macho Man. A year later, Savage loses the championship and Elizabeth due to his jealousy of Hogan. Savage spirals into madness replacing Elizabeth with Sherri but Elizabeth is always there to watch Savage crumble, Savage suffers defeat at Summerslam and Wrestlemania thanks to Elizabeth being merely at ringside and in attendance. At Wrestlemania VII, Savage suffers his lowest moment losing his career and being kicked to the curb by Sherri. Elizabeth reunites with Savage as they embrace, she forgave Savage for all the horrible things he said and Savage realized that he was a colossal ass. They are married at Summerslam, they survive the devious Jake The Snake Roberts before Savage has a chance at winning the championship that he could not win without Elizabeth at his side. With Elizabeth back by his side, could Savage return to the top?.

Flair is smashed on the floor, Savage is dragged off by Perfect. In the ring, Savage clotheslines Flair. Punches in the corner, left-arm clothesline from Macho. Elbow to the face for two, Savage is intense as Flair plans on revealing pictures of Elizabeth to the whole world if he wins this match. Perfect distracts Savage, Flair back-drops Savage to the floor. Flair sends Savage into the ring apron, Flair steps on the head and back of the challenger. Flair chops Savage and lands a beautiful suplex for two, belly to back suplex from Flair for two. Big Irish whip into a chop, two for the champion. Knee drop from Flair, Savage is on the apron. Flair stomps Savage to the floor, Flair drops Savage onto the ring apron.

Flair wants the suplex in, Flair connects with it. Two for Flair, hard Irish whip to the buckle. More chops from Flair, Savage starts brawling back but Flair maintains control. Savage lands a neck-breaker dropping Flair though, jabs from Savage. Flair rakes the eyes, Flair climbs to the top. Savage recovers, Flair is yanked to the canvas. Whip to the buckle and back-drop, clotheslines from Savage. Flair begs for mercy, Flair flip out of the corner. Flair tries a diving axe handle. Savage clotheslines Flair for two, whip to the ropes. Savage ducks a chop and clotheslines Flair to the floor. Savage is on the top rope, diving axe handle to the floor. Flair smashes his face off the guardrail, Savage sends Flair into the steps and ring-post.

Flair is bleeding on the floor, suplex on the floor. Savage mounts Flair landing right hands. Savage climbs to the top rope, diving axe handle for a close two. Savage climbs to the top rope, Diving Elbow Drop connects with Perfect pulling out Savage. Unbelievable, Savage is irate. Savage has Perfect in the ring, the referee is in between them. Perfect throws something to Flair, Savage is clocked with the brass knuckles to the face. Flair covers Savage, 1….2.. Savage manages to kick out! Flair pummels Savage, Perfect has a chair. Savage is smashed in the knee, Elizabeth has seen enough.

Elizabeth is not happy, the referees are trying to stop Elizabeth. Flair starts yanking at that leg of Savage, dropping is weight on that ankle. Flair has spotted Elizabeth, shin-breaker from Flair to Savage. Figure Four from Flair, Elizabeth is screaming for Savage to escape the hold. Perfect is holding Flair for leverage, Savage continues to survive. Flair slaps Savage over and over, Savage turns the hold over. Flair is caught in a small package for two, Flair talks trash to Elizabeth. Flair has the leg of Savage, Savage smashes Flair with a right hand and a schoolboy for the roll-up win!

With Elizabeth by his side, Randy Savage is back on top in the WWF. Elizabeth was always what made Savage the man, Savage could not see it before but we believe it now ladies and gentlemen. This moment is everything for Savage, 4 years of story-telling leading to one moment. Was the match spectacular? Well, I thought the leg work was solid at the end and Elizabeth cheering on Savage in the final moments was great stuff. This moment being quickly spoiled by a pull-apart brawl was not a great choice, it leaves it open for a rematch but I am not happy with that when all is said and done. The WWF Champion deserved that moment, Elizabeth and Savage deserved that moment and even though we get it after Flair and Perfect are gone, we just needed those two in the ring alone. So, for me this match was all character work and years of story-telling being paid off, I am of the feeling that a majority of Flair matches are similar and are hard to truly appreciate unless you are in the mood.

Winner: Randy Savage over Ric Flair over Roll-Up!

Tatanka vs Rick The Model Martel

I feel I have not seen The Martel in forever, nice to see the man in a feud once more. However, I do not think things will be going well for Martel as other new star to our screens for pay per view is here, it’s Tatanka. Lock-up, Martel smashes Tatanka with his knees. Tatanka reverses an Irish whip with Martel smashing into the buckle. Hip-toss and scoop slams before Martel bails, Martel whips Tatanka to the buckle. Martel misses a corner spear, Tatanka lands a massive chop on Martel. Martel slams Tatanka down, choke hold from The Model.

Tatanka is tossed to the floor, Martel lands clubbing blows. Martel climbs to the top rope, Tatanka is on his feet. Martel is crotched on the top rope, chops from Tatanka. Whip to the buckle and back body-drop, more chops from Tatanka. Martel is whipped off the ropes, Tatanka lowers his head. Boot from Martel, scoop slam from Martel. Clothesline takes down Tatanka, Martel misses a clothesline and Tatanka lands a flying crossbody for the win.

Another new star gets a win, not much of an exciting match though. Martel has been a delight throughout the years so hoping that he gets something more meaningful in the future.

Winner: Tatanka over Rick Martel via Flying Crossbody!

(WWF Tag Team Championship Match) The Natural Disasters vs Money Inc © W/ Jimmy Hart

Former associates of Jimmy Hart are coming for the gold, odd to see Money Inc. as champions because I feel the LOD reign meant nothing just like The Hart Foundation’s reign after the classic with Demolition. Regardless, Typhoon and Earthquake are coming after Dibiase and IRS. Earthquake and IRS to start, Dibiase wants to start against Earthquake. Lock-up, Earthquake shoves back Dibiase. Dibiase gets shoved twice, Dibiase tries a key-lock but Earthquake shoves him down. IRS talks strategy with Dibiase, whip from Earthquake into a clothesline, clotheslines for both champions. Typhoon and Earthquake slam the heels’ heads together.

 IRS takes the arm, Earthquake reverses it and smacks the arm of IRS. Tag to Typhoon, Typhoon lands a hip-toss. IRS backs up big time, Typhoon whips IRS hard. IRS is bounced off the buckle, Typhoon misses a corner splash. Tag to Dibiase, chops from Dibiase. Typhoon stops that quickly, Dibiase eats headbutts from Typhoon. Typhoon tries a clothesline and lands on the floor. IRS slams Typhoon into the steps, knees from Dibiase. Tag to IRS, whip to the ropes. Double clothesline, quick tags by Money Inc. Double elbow from Money Inc, front chancery from IRS. Earthquake almost comes in but the referee misses the tag, Dibiase whips Typhoon. Typhoon ducks and we have a double clothesline, the referee begins counting.

Earthquake receives the luke-warm tag, headbutts and shoulder thrusts, clotheslines for Money Inc. Dibiase is on the floor, Typhoon splashes IRS. Earthquake wants to splash IRS, Dibiase and Jimmy Hart pulls out IRS to safety. It seems Money Inc. are walking away, a count-out at Wrestlemania?

Ok, it felt like filler which should not be the case for the tag team championships, not really feeling a rematch between the two either because while I like a lot of the performers in this match, this did not come together on this night. Probably the most disappointing match on the card.

Winners: The Natural Disasters over Money Inc. via Count-Out!

Skinner vs Owen Hart

Skinner jumps Hart, shoulder-breaker and right hands from Skinner. Headbutt from Skinner, Skinner wrenches Hart over the ropes. Gut punch from Skinner, falling reverse DDT from Skinner for two. Headbutts from Skinner, Hart skins the cat. O Connor roll for the win, Skinner has been beaten. Quick match, another young star goes after and I am all for it.

Winner: Owen Hart over Skinner via Roll-Up!

Sid Justice W/ Harvey Wippleman vs Hulk Hogan

Hulk Hogan’s last match, Sid promises it is the end for Hulkamania. This all started at The Royal Rumble, Sid eliminated Hogan as it was every man for himself but Hogan was not happy, Hogan pulled at Sid’s arm and this allowed Ric Flair to win the rumble and the WWF Championship. Sid jumps Hogan to start, no messing around here. Hogan lands huge rights on Sid, Sid is knocked to the floor. Sid tries entering the ring, Hogan smashes Sid in the ribs. Clothesline takes down Sid, Sid recovers before coming back into the ring. Hogan and Sid engage in a war of words and a stare-down, knees from Sid.

Sid rips at the face of Hogan, whip off the ropes. Hogan tricks Sid and knocks Sid to the floor, Hogan is all fired up for tonight. Sid slowly walks towards Hogan, talking more trash. Sid wants a test of strength, Sid has Hogan down on his knees. Hogan fires up, Sid continues to dominate. Knees in the corner, Hogan whips Sid to the buckle. Corner clothesline, Sid chokeslams Hogan after a distraction from Wippleman. Sid poses for all the fans, Sid batters Hogan in and out of the ring, Hogan is beaten down with a doctor’s bag from Wippleman.

Shoulder claw from Sid, Hogan fades before fighting back. Sid shuts that down with a sidewalk slam, Sid calls for a powerbomb. Powerbomb from Sid, Hogan kicks out at two. Hogan begins Hulking Up, right hands from Hogan. Sid meets the buckle, then the opposite buckle. Big Boot from Hogan, scoop slam and Atomic Leg Drop! 1…2.. Sid kicks out, Wippleman is thrown at Sid. Sid catches him, here comes Papa Shango. Shango attacks Hogan, Hogan is tied up in the ropes. Here comes The Ultimate Warrior, we have not seen him in months. Shango is clotheslined to the floor, Sid cracks Warrior with the chair. Hogan saves Warrior, happy ending for all as Shango & Sid leave as Hogan & Warrior celebrate.

Ok your main event ended in DQ…… Let’s just move on from that, Sid was great throughout this match. Menacing and dominate, believable and downright evil. The Ruler of The World took great glee in going after The Hulkster, wishing to end Hulkamania at Wrestlemania. Hogan did all his regular spots, selling for the big man. Props for the chokeslam and powerbomb spot, they were fantastic, loved the Sid promo before the match too. Shango missing his cue is hilarious while Warrior’s run-in is unexpected but the match is over by this point so it’s impact is lost on me. I see huge potential in Sid, the guy is just insane while losing Hogan will be a big loss to the WWF. I can’t imagine this being the match Hogan wanted to go out on but that’s what we had at the time and I guess it will do.

Winner: Hulk Hogan over Sid Justice via DQ!

That was WWF Wrestlemania VIII, another good Wrestlemania in my books. Wrestlemania VII & VIII have been the strongest when it comes to booking for me and matches that have not sucked the absolute life out of me which is really a problem when looking at the earlier Manias. Big performances from the future of the company in Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart and The Undertaker. The opening match was solid, a bit of a messy finish but Michaels is getting there in terms of character and in-ring work. Bret Hart vs Piper is a classic, the torn Piper and the one-upmanship throughout the match is fantastic, Piper sinking low resorting to closed fists and busting Bret open only for Bret to come out on top is great drama and excitement. Undertaker vs Roberts is a very enjoyable match, loved Roberts as a heel and the two work a very entertaining match with Undertaker coming out the victor. The establishing of new stars continues with victories for Tatanka and Owen Hart, no problems here while the only real drag on the show is the tag team match for me. I just could not get behind it, do not look forward to the possibility of a rematch. The main event is entertaining due to Sid being awesome, it’s a regular Hogan match beyond that with a screwy finish. Not what I imagined for the main event of Mania, that could be off-putting for many which is understandable. However, despite Wrestlemania ending in a DQ, I would call this a successful show for the WWF. We are entering a new era though with younger stars, let’s see what they can do! Thanks for reading and remember: there’s always another night!

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