Sunday, April 9, 2017

WWF WrestleMania VIII

There's no Wayback Playback for this one - I just felt like watching it during a bit of a Mania marathon. Vince runs down the card's major matches with very early '90s neon graphics, dating this presentation quite a bit. Gorilla and Bobby are in the stadium for commentary, with Bobby looking to the sky for the photos of Liz that Ric promised. HBK comes out to face Tito while Gorilla lies about the crowd being less than full due to a traffic jam. Sherri's ass grab is pretty risque for the era.



They proceed to a have a functional, but pedestrian match. Superkick hits as a counter off the ropes. It's amazing to see that not being a finisher given how over it eventually got. Flying forearm from Tito sends HBK to the floor. An inverted atomic drop sends HBK into a flip mid-ring - now that's comedy. Tito goes for the forearm again, but I love this - it's different because HBK is leaning over. It's almost like a decapitation shot, and looks really violent. Someone needs to take that post-haste. HBK grabs the rope and gets a win with a shitty slam drop-down. Well, that kind of win didn't help him.


The LOD and Paul Ellering come out, with this being Ellering's debut. Ellering is pretty awesome in this role, just giving them a hell of a brain instead of just having the brawn. This is an outstanding promo, but having it in cartoon land with them just rattling off the names of these gimmick teams hurt it - but it's still great stuff overall. Sean Mooney interviews Jake, who has a nude snake-clad woman on his gear. We get shots of the Funeral Parlor with Jake slamming a casket on Taker's hand, DDTing Paul Bearer, and then kicking the urn away while he slinks away from Bearer. Just beautiful. Jake's theme is great, but the second the bell sounds, Taker gets a huge pop. They have a slow, plodding match. DDT doesn't work. Tombstone on the floor ends it.

 


Roddy chats with Bret and insults him for not being potty trained until he was 7. He brags about Helen making ALL DEM SAMICHES! They have a good, realistic intensity here and an argument that starts civil and then escalates. Piper is out looking heelish, and his hair is quite feathered. This is the best Piper has looked cosmetically ever in the WWF. He's lean, ripped, and fast. If this was his last actual match, he'd have gone out even greater instead of hurting his legacy a bit with the loony '94 stuff and...okay, maybe the Goldust stuff was good in '96, but that was about it in the WWF until the 2010 promo with Cena.



They wrestle back and forth before Piper gets offended and things resort to more physicality. A Bret crossbody leads to them being sent out and Bret not trusting Piper to hold the ropes open, but Piper is honest there. THEN PIPER TELLS HIM HIS SHOE'S UNTIED AND SLUGS HIM. Perfect - he built up the trust, and took advantage of it. Is Piper a heel? Sorta - but not really. It's not his fault Bret was a moron. Bret goes down and comes up bloody. How he ever convinced anyone he didn't blade, I have no idea, but hey, he did it. Roddy punches him and hits a really shitty bulldog for 2. Heenan asks if he's bloody and Gorilla says maybe. Well, he's been bleeding for a minute and the canvas and his tights have blood, so yeah.


Bret gets 2 off a sunset flip and Piper hits more punches. They fight back and forth on their knees many years before that would get to be a regular spot. Ref bump leads to a lariat awkwardly sending Bret out. Piper grabs the bell leading to a great Heenan call - WHAT THE HELL, USE THE BELL! GIVE IT TO ME, I'LL HIT HIM! Piper gets the sleeper and Bret reverses it to win the title. I love the story of the match, and it's held up well - and made better with Piper putting the belt around Bret after it.

Heenan introduces Lex Luger TO THE WBF, AND THE NEXT WBF CHAMPION. Lex is fucking enormous here. Jesus. Lex calls himself the Total Package and it's amazing how much of a star he seems like here versus how he'd be in '93. Lex talks about if anyone has had a TV for six years, or has seen a magazine, they've seen his body. Lex shows off in a tanktop before sipping milk after snspping his fingers. Heenan jokes around with Gorilla.



Mountie and the Nastys chat with Repo about their nothing mid-card tag. Slaughter, Virgil, Duggan, and Bossman chat too. Boy is this a thing. Ray Combs does the survey and insults the heels, who are offended greatly. The heels are morons and cost themselves the match. Combs was shockingly great here.Flair is interviewed and he brags about Liz. He comes out, then Savage, and Savage jumps him right away. Flair uses the speed to attack the back and slow things down. Flair flip leads to a chop being met with a punch for 2. Savage hits the sledge off the top and Ric bumps into the guardrail and blades.

The flying elbow hits mid-ring, but Perfect pulls Randy out. Perfect bonks the ref between he and Randy and throws knux to Flair. Perfect grabs a chair and hits Savage. Liz comes down while an agent in sneakers and a suit wants her to stay in the back. A long figure four with cheating gives Flair an edge  A cradle gives Savage hope and Savage uses cheating to get the win via a schoolboy using the trunks. A post-match brawl breaks out and we go backstage with Flair saying that Savage will claim to be the REAL WORLD'S CHAMPION. Flair says YA DID IT ONCE, BUT DO IT AGAIN! Savage cuts a crazier promo about if he didn't prove things tonight, he'll do it next time!



We get a wacky press conference with Sid being mad and jealous about Hogan. Sid turns his back on Hogan and then beats up the barber shop with a chair. Sid destroys the set and of course is covered in baby powder. We see clips of his theme and a montage of him just kicking tons of ass. The only flaw in this idea, other than the baby powder, is having Sid put the guys on a stretcher and toss them onto a staircase wall. Tatanka's tribe celebrates before the match, he beats Martel in a nothing match, and then more wardancing. Money Inc. promo on the Disasters. The fat guys chat and Money Inc. has the rare black-text Reggie Parks belts.

Heenan talks about the condition of the athletes here in a NATURAL DISASTERS MATCH. The heels are chickenshits and eat a beating before losing via a voluntary countout. This is a bullshit finish, but one that paid off a year later with them trying it again a year ago and then it's decided that they'd lose the titles doing that. Gene and Brutus, and his feathered blonde mullet chat about how friendly he is with Hogan. He says that Hulkamania will live forever.

Owen beats Skinner in a nothing match where Skinner gets all the offense, including his finish, but an O'Connor roll ends it. Sid cuts an intense promo on Hogan. Hogan chats with Vince about Hogan having ventures outside of wrestling and how people act if he can beat Sid. He says he won't know if it's his last match until he gets out there. Vince thanks him for everything, and Hulkamania. It's amazing to see Hogan treated as the past in '92. Then HARVEY WIPPLEMAN in a powder blue suit introduces Sid. Harvey fucking Wippleman is in the main event of WrestleMania. Sid is the heel in theory, but he has a lot of signs in the crowd here.


A brawl breaks out with Hogan winning that and sending him to the floor. Sid eats a lariat, but CHOKESLAMS HIM WITH ONE HAND! Sid locks on a long nerve hold. Falling powerbomb hits, but Hogan telegraphs the kickout like always and it gets 2. Punches, boot, slam, and the legdrop gets 2.5. Harvey comes in and gets tossed into Sid, then Papa Shango comes down. A super-slim Warrior makes the save. Warrior looks maybe 250 here, but leaned out, he's still got a body and his physical charisma is off the charts. It's a shame he didn't just keep this physique because he'd probably be alive today, but oh well. Hogan let Warrior do his posing routine and actually did a better job of giving him the spotlight here than he did at WM 6 when he made it all about himself.











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