March to Mania · Pro Wrestling

MARCH TO ‘MANIA: When icons collide and make a memory

There is always a difficulty when following one of the greatest Wrestlemanias ever. Wrestlemania X-7 moved into the top spot, so where does Wrestlemania X-8 fit?

Does it match the intensity and quality of its predecessor or does it falter like Wrestlemania 11 did after Wrestlemania 10?

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Wrestlemania X-8 (Results)

Date: March 17, 2002

Arena: SkyDome (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Attendance: 68,237

SUMMARY: Fed up with how the WWF had gone with him and Ric Flair as co-owners, so Vince McMahon vowed to inject poison into the WWF. He brought back the nWo, who immediately went to war with the promotion’s biggest stars: The Rock and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. The Rock came out and challenged Hulk Hogan, while Steve Austin was lined up with Scott Hall. Triple H, meanwhile, continued his return from a career-threatening quad tear to win the Royal Rumble and move into a title match with Chris Jericho.

MY ENJOYMENT RATING: A-minus

FAVORITE MATCH: The Rock vs. “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan. Miles ahead of the other matches on the card. This match was amazing because the crowd fueled the two men to work at a high rate. The wonderful thing about this match is it’s not this technical masterpiece by any means, but what it lacks there, it makes up in emotion, storytelling and so much more. I always enjoyed the match but learning about this bit of news made me watch the match differently. I found myself trying to find the moment when the match made the turn to having The Rock work as a heel and Hogan work as a face. The added value in the switch is that Hogan is allowed to work with his heel mannerism and get cheered because of the irrational love for him. It was the simple task of adjusting a few details about the match whether it was having The Rock got after using a steel chair or taunting more. Then when Hulk began hulking up, the fans went crazy. But then something weird happened: once Hogan finished his comeback, the crowd went back to The Rock. They cheered for the People’s Elbow and returned to rooting for The Rock when the final fall happened. It was like fans were waiting for Hogan to hit his spots and then accept a victory by The Rock. The post-match stuff  was great, and having Hogan and Rock walk down the ring together and celebrate was a true Wrestlemania moment.

THINGS THAT MADE ME NOD IN APPROVAL: Ric Flair vs. Undertaker started off really slow before picking up late. I liked the match as a whole, but early on it felt like the match should have gone 12 instead of the 18 it went. The main event, minus the thing I’ll touch on in the next section, was great. Triple H and Chris Jericho worked an entertaining match with Jericho really focusing on the quad and even referencing move that Jericho used on Triple H during the match where Triple H suffered an injury. Kurt Angle performed well with Kane in a nice fun match, and the RVD vs. William Regal opening match was a great way to start the show off. The ongoing saga for the WWF Hardcore title was a nice break in between matches.

THINGS THAT MADE ME LOWER HEAD IN SHAME: I like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, but I wasn’t feeling his match with Scott Hall. It just felt out of place. Guys have off nights and this might be a case of it being one. The biggest issue I had, however, was card placement. Given how The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan match went and ended, it was asking too much of five workers after them to work after it. Nothing those five did could have resulted in a memorable moment as the crowd was emotionally spent from it. It’s a shame ,too. The Triple H vs. Chris Jericho bout was a really good match, but it was unfortunately dragged down by a tired and fatigued crowd. Also having Drowning Pool and Saliva appear was cool, but announcing Drowning Pool to “tell the story of the main event” doesn’t do anything when the narrative is based on the song that nobody really cared about. Saliva was seemingly rewarded for the use of all of their songs for all those pay-per-views, and gave us a pair of OK performances.

RANDOM THOUGHT: “These poor women. They can work one of the greatest divas matches of all time, and it wouldn’t be enough to cool down the crowd and it had to follow that great thing.”

MY ULTIMATE WRESTLEMANIA CARD RANKING: Following Wrestlemania X-7 is a difficult task, but Wrestlemania X-8 does a tremendous job in doing so. I rank it below Wrestlemania 10, but not by much. Wrestlemania X-8 was a solid card from top to bottom with a few dull moments, mainly the four performances from Saliva and Drowning Pool, which bogged down the show and felt out of place. That said there are few Wrestlemanias that can challenge Wrestlemania X-8, which will now serve as the de-facto gatekeeper to the top two in my rankings. I liked it so much more than Wrestlemania 7, which seems to be more of a nostalgia high rather than ranking it appropriately, but it’s my rankings not the end-all, be-all set. Wrestlemania X-8 isn’t Wrestlemania X-7 and Wrestlemania 10, but truthfully it gives them a run for the best Wrestlemania ever.

  1. Wrestlemania X-7 (Review)
  2. Wrestlemania 10 (Review)
  3. Wrestlemania X-8
  4. Wrestlemania 7 (Review)
  5. Wrestlemania 5 (Review)
  6. Wrestlemania 15 (Review)
  7. Wrestlemania 6 (Review)
  8. Wrestlemania 14 (Review)
  9. Wrestlemania 3 (Review)
  10. Wrestlemania 2000 (Review)
  11. Wrestlemania 13 (Review)
  12. Wrestlemania 2 (Review)
  13. Wrestlemania 4 (Review)
  14. Wrestlemania 12 (Review)
  15. Wrestlemania 8 (Review)
  16. Wrestlemania 11 (Review)
  17. Wrestlemania 1 (Review)
  18. Wrestlemania 9 (Bad Hogan Warning)

 

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