TORONTO — It was not one for the aged, that’s for sure. The elder legends of professional wrestling, namely “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan and “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair went down to defeat at WrestleMania X8 from the SkyDome in Toronto, Ontario. Instead, it was young lions like Triple H – who defeated Canada’s Chris Jericho to become the new WWF World Heavyweight Champion – and Rob Van Dam – who won the WWF Intercontinental Title from William Regal – ascended that lofty ladder of fame and fortune.
The three-and-a-half hour event broke WWF attendance records as 68,237 were on hand to take in the spectacle resulting in gross receipts of approximately $6.1 million CDN ($3.9 U.S.).
Making his first WrestleMania appearance since 1993, Hogan strolled to the ring to the strains of the NWO theme, soaking in the ovation from the crowd. “Hogan” and “Rocky” chants threatened to blow the roof of the Dome as the two superstars had a long, pronounced stare-down in the middle of the ring. Finally, the bell rung and they circled each other like two prizefighters. Hogan immediately pulled out his old posing moves and then mocks The Rock with some of his signature mannerisms. Hogan grabbed Rock in a pathetic headlock (it showed so much light) as the crowd chants “Rocky Sucks”.
Every move Hogan executed, be it a punch or clothesline, was met with loud cheers from the fans. As The Rock began to take advantage, he was instantly booed out of the building. (Thought I’d never live to see the day). It was downright eerie.
Only four minutes in and its clear this match is about style over substance. The wrestling is atrocious as Hogan moves around the ring slowly and his offence looks sloppy. He plays to the crowd masterfully as he pulls out his old classic spots, which are eaten up by the crowd. With The Rock on the mat, Hogan executes the single worst choke in wrestling history. He looks even worse in selling for Rock. Rock continues to get booed out of the building before Hogan throws him over the top rope to a thunderous ovation.
The action spills to the floor as they battle by the announcer’s table. Hogan throws a lame looking clothesline before tossing the Rock back into the ring. The referee takes a bump after Hogan whips the Rock into him. With the ref down, The Rock gets Hogan in the sharpshooter as fans boo and encourage Hogan to escape.
Hogan eventually escapes and nails the Rock with the Rock Bottom. Hogan takes off his belt and starts whipping the Rock with it. Rock hits the Rock Bottom and scores a near-fall.
Hogan does the classic comeback with the shaking and the finger pointing followed by the signature boot to the face and leg drop. The crowd becomes unglued!
Rock kicks out though and they go toe to toe again.
Now it’s time for the Rock’s big comeback and he beats Hogan down with two Rock Bottoms and executes the People’s Elbow to score the pin.
After the match, Hogan shakes Rock’s hand in the middle of the ring and points to the Rock as if to signify he is the true wrestling icon (similar to how Hogan put over the Ultimate Warrior 12 years ago at WrestleMania).
Nash and Hall come out and attack Hogan but Rock runs back into the ring for the save. After Hogan and Rock clear the ring, they challenge Nash and Hall to get back into the ring as Hogan’s stunned that they would turn on him (whatever happened to being NWO for life?) With Nash and Hall gone, Hogan does the old cupping of the hand and posing routine and plays to the crowd. Rock gets in on the fun and they have a joint pose down before they leave the ring together and down the ramp into the sunset. Quite the image!
With Hogan now firmly established as a babyface, it appears it will be only a matter of time before he and The Rock team up at a future WWF pay-per-view.
Like The Rock, Triple H overcame a home crowd to take the WWF World Heavyweight Title away from Chris Jericho in a hotly contested encounter, which was easily ranked as the match of the night.
Triple H took that walk down the aisle with his leg bandaged up selling the sledgehammer attack on Smackdown! Stephanie (in a slinky body suit) accompanied Jericho to the ring as Triple H paced inside of it. After the two locked up, Jericho went after the injured knee. Triple H defended it well hurling Jericho for a high back body drop. Jericho though soldiered attacking the knee at any opportunity.
Triple H shoved Jericho off the ring apron to the fence and followed up by throwing him into the announcer’s desk. As they went back in the ring, Stephanie barked instructions at Jericho telling him to stay on THAT leg in that melodic voice of hers.
Returning the favour, Triple H began to work on Jericho’s leg. He put a figure-four and a knee breaker to use. Stephanie came to Jericho’s aid and began choking out HHH. Hunter got his hands on Stephanie inside the ring but just as he was about to Pedigree her, Jericho hit him with a drop kick.
Jericho and Stephanie tag teamed Hunter by wrapping his damaged knee around a ring post several times. Jericho stole a page out of Bret Hart’s book and put a figure four on Triple H outside the ring and around the post. Triple H hit his trademark knee to the gut on Jericho but immediately felt the pain and hobbled around the ring. Triple hit the concrete floor with a sickening thud as Jericho Irish Whipped him over the top rope. Jericho attempted to put the figure four on Triple H as they both stood on the announce table. Triple H spun and kicked out of that. He lined-up Jericho for a Pedigree though it was not to be. Jericho back dropped him through the Spanish Announce table.
Jericho locked on the Walls in the middle of the ring. Triple H shook and fought with all of his might inching ever closer to the ropes and salvation. However, Jericho heaved him back into the middle. Triple H went another route powering out with his arms and to the ropes to finally break the punishing hold. Jericho sought some assistance from a steel chair. Triple H was ready though and disarmed him rather quickly. Stephanie then tried her hand and was disarmed by the ref. Standing toe to toe with Triple H didn’t serve Stephanie well. She was Pedigreed by Triple H. As he turned around after the dirty deed, Jericho clocked him with a steel chair to the head for a two count.
Jericho attempted a Pedigree. No luck. Triple H tried to turn it into the Walls Of Jericho. No dice. Triple eventually won the WWF World Heavyweight Title by catching Jericho off the top rope and Pedigreeing him down to the canvass.
WrestleMania X8 Results
- Rockers ‘Saliva’ kicked off the show performing live as a canned video package aired. Fans popped for Hogan and The Rock pretty much evenly during it.
Rob Van Dam (challenger) versus William Regal (champion) (WWF Intercontinental Title Match)
- William Regal tried to go for the brass knuckles early but had them kicked out of his hands by RVD. Regal took exceptionally long to get the knuckles out of his trunks in the first place as he fumbled around. We guess that the string on his shorts was done up too tightly. Regal was busted open and bled from the mouth once again. It might be time for Regal to invest in a mouth guard. Failing once, Regal goes for the knucks again. This time RVD kicks him in the chops and hits the Five Star Frog Splash for the pin.
- Winners: and new WWF Intercontinental Champion…Rob Van Dam. .
- Match Rating: 6.5 / 10.
- Christian is interviewed about his upcoming match against Diamond Dallas Page. Christian says he dumped DDP as his mentor and Toronto for the same reason, they were second-rate. He is glad he moved to Florida. Doesn’t anyone else find it ironic that a guy from Orangeville packed his bags for Florida? Just checking.
Christian (challenger) versus DDP (champion) (WWF European Championship)
- Twelve years ago, DDP was driving the Honky Tonk Man and Greg Valentine to the ring at WrestleMania 6. My, how things have changed. Christian and DDP put on not a half bad show but it ends just as it was getting going. After getting the pinfall, DDP tells Christian over the house mike that he is proud that Christian didn’t lose his temper despite losing the match.
- Winner: and still WWF European Champion…Diamond Dallas Page at 6 minutes and 12 seconds .
- Match Rating: 5 / 10.
- The Rock cuts a promo on Hulk Hogan. The Rock says he wants Hulk-A-Mania to run wild on him. The Rock asks Coach if he took his vitamins and said his prayers. The Rock makes Coach say his prayers…like he has never said them before. Disgusted with The Rock tells Hogan that he will smell what The Rock is cooking. The Rock referred to himself 20 times in the promo.
Goldust (challenger) versus Maven (champion) (WWF Hardcore Championship)
- They start brawling on the outside where Goldust takes control before the action spills back into the ring. Kind of sloppy as Maven mistimed a dropkick in the ring that barely dented the garbage can Goldust was holding at the time (the signature Rob Van Dam spot). Out from nowhere, Spike Dudley runs down to the ring and pins Maven, taking advantage of the “24/7” rule. Real lame finish. Crash Holly ran down to the ring and chased after Spike into the crowd. As soon as he jumped the ring barrier, Spike was knocked down to the ground by some fan.
- Winners: … and new WWF Hardcore Champion… Spike Dudley in 3 minutes and 12 seconds .
- Match Rating: 1 / 10.
- Drowning Pool performed live. As they were playing, the video screen played a recap of the HHH-Jericho feud.
- They cut back to the back where Crash and Spike are fighting for the Hardcore Title. After Al Snow crashes a gold cart trying to run them over, The Hurricane appears from out of nowhere and pinned Spike to win the Hardcore Title. (And the continued devaluation of titles in the WWF continues!!!)
Kurt Angle versus Kane
- Deafening “You suck” chant for Angle as he made his way down to the ring. Angle was priceless on the mic, saying he earned his Olympic gold medal, unlike Canada’s figure skating duo that “cried” and “whined” at the recent Winter Olympics in Utah. You just knew he was going to bring that one up. Angle was amazing in the ring, hitting some nice German suplexes before Kane caught Angle with a clothesline as he was coming off the top rope, shifting the momentum of the match. Kane choke slammed Angle and scored a near fall when Angle grabbed the ropes. After pulling at Kane’s mask, Angle executed a perfect Olympic Slam on Kane and followed it up with the Ankle Lock. After kicking out twice, Kane mounted the top rope only to have Angle run up and execute a stunning version of the Olympic Slam. Nice spot. As Kane went for another choke slam, Angle turned it into a reverse roll up for the pin, using the ropes for leverage. Real sloppy ending as Angle had a difficult time locking Kane’s leg for the pin. Real good match.
- Winner: … Kurt Angle at 10 minutes and 5 seconds .
- Match Rating: 7.5 / 10.
- Skulking around in the backstage area, The Hurricane – your new Hardcore Champion — bumbles into a dressing room used by the Godfather’s ladies. Hurricane sits behind a curtain listening and watching the Godfather’s girls show off and chat about their parts until he is discovered. The Godfather chases The Hurricane off and comforts his women. Lucky him. Lucky them.
The Undertaker versus Ric Flair (No DQ Match)
- This match is like a game of Rock n’ Sock ‘Em Robots. Punches. Punches. And more punches. Flair takes it to The Undertaker beating him up and over the announce table. Taker is stunned by the onslaught but gains the advantage back after slamming Flair’s back into the ring post. It pretty much turns into a boxing match with Flair and Taker socking it to each other in the corners. Flair and Steamboat this is not. His cheek cut open, Taker sits Flair at ringside and pummels him some more. At 4 minutes and 34 seconds, Flair is busted open. Taker super-plexes Flair at 8:07 to execute the first move of the match. Taken then drapes Flair over the ring apron and hits Flair with a running leg drop. The Undertaker takes over. He batters Flair around some more. Taker goes to do his catwalk – punch deal. Flair yanks him down regaining the momentum. Flair and Taker fight out of the ring to Taker’s bike. Flair secures the pipe and winds up on The Undertaker like Babe Ruth. Taker bleeds badly from the forehead. Flair wallops Taker with a metal “Keep Off” sign back into the ring. Flair locks Taker in the Figure Four. Taker powers his way out of it and choke slams Flair for a two count. In a pretty cool move, Arn Anderson does a run-in and gives a Spinebuster to Taker. The Dead Man wins back the advantage by taking out the ref. Taker gives Flair a Tombstone Piledriver for the win and then lays out the ref.
- Winner: The Undertaker at 18 minutes and 43 seconds .
- Match Rating: 7.5 / 10.
- Booker T. cuts a promo wearing a pair of glasses. He tries to talk all smart like. It doesn’t work. An embarrassed Booker says he will kick Edge’s ass.
Booker T. versus Edge
- Edge mocks Booker by badly imitating his Spinaroonie and then later lays him out with a jumping DDT. Decent match though it was too bad that Edge didn’t have a bigger stage at WrestleMania in his hometown.
- Winner: Edge at 6 minutes and 22 seconds .
- Match Rating: 5 / 10.
- Coachman catches up with Hurricane. Molly sneaks up on Hurricane nailing him with a frying pan in the head to pin him for the Hardcore Title. Your new Hardcore champion, Molly.
Scott Hall versus “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
- Surprisingly, The Rattlesnake walked that aisle first. Maybe that says something about Austin’s troubles backstage…maybe not. Maybe it says something about McMahon making the now his new “pet project”. Maybe not. Austin is wearing a new leather biker vest, which says…”Alcohol Fuelled” on the back. Nash comes out with Hall. Thesz Press. Head smashes against the turnbuckle. The running elbow drop. All in the first two minutes? Aren’t Austin’s matches becoming a little bit predictable? Kevin Nash interferes, often taking shots at Austin whenever he can. A pretty strong Razor chant brakes out at one point. Nash takes out the ref just as Austin hits The Stunner. Nash beats on Austin inside the ring. Austin escapes Hall and Nash trying to double-team him with a steel chair. Hall tried for the Razor’s Edge and is back-dropped out of the ring. A Hogan chant springs up. A squad of WWF officials come down and force Nash to leave the ring. Hall got a huge pop when he Stunnered Austin. Austin stunned Hall twice to get the win.
- Winner: … Steve Austin at 10 minutes and 12 seconds .
- Match Rating: 6 / 10.
- A video package of the past few days at Axxess airs. Waaaay too long.
The Dudleys (w/ Stacey Kiebler) versus Billy and APA versus The Hardy Boyz versus Billy and Chuck (champions) (WWF World Tag Team Championship – Four-way Elimination match)
- Drowning Pool performs live again as the Dudleys and Stacey made their way to the ring. Bradshaw and Chuck start off before they both tag out to their partners. Devon pinned Bradshaw in 3:12 with 3D. Stacey tries to distract Jeff Hardy by showing off her butt. Jeff didn’t seem too impressed as he pushed her off the apron after kissing her and spanking her behind. (Lucky guy). Dudleys and Hardys stayed in for a long period of time, exchanging holds and spots while Billy and Chuck stood in the corner and watched. Devon went through a table on the floor after being pushed off the top rope by Billy while Matt pinned Buh Buh in 11:36. Billy nailed Matt with the belt behind the referee’s back and scored the pin to retain the titles.
- Winner: … and still WWF World Tag Team Champions…Billy and Chuck at 13 minutes and 38 seconds .
- Match Rating: 5 / 10.
- They show Nash and Hall backstage where they vow revenge of Austin and the Rock. Hogan comes out and tells them he wants to do it on his own so he can finally prove who the biggest icon really is.
- Molly is backstage with the Hardcore Title when all of a sudden a door swings open and nails her in the head and knocking her to the floor. Christian emerges from the other side of the door and says “there’s a new champion in town” before pinning Holly for the strap.
- A video package of the Hogan-Rock feud airs.
Hulk Hogan versus The Rock (Icon versus Icon)
- Winner: … The Rock .
- Match Rating: 7 / 10.
Jazz (champion) versus Trish Stratus (challenger) versus Lita (challenger) (WWF Women’s World Heavyweight Title Match)
- Though Trish Stratus is the Toronto favourite, she spends half the match knocked out on the floor. Jazz poleaxes Lita for the win.
- Winner: … and still WWF Women’s World Heavyweight Champion…Jazz At 6 minutes and 23 seconds .
- Match Rating: 1 / 10.
- Maven steals a win over Christian in the parking lot area to take back the Hardcore Title. Christian throws a hyper fit.
Chris Jericho (champion) versus Triple H (WWF World Heavyweight Title Match)
- Winner: … and new WWF World Heavyweight Champion…Triple H at 18 minutes and 42 seconds .
- Match Rating: 8 / 10.
Sunday Night Heat happenings
- Fans did not see Heat as it was not broadcast inside the Dome. On the screens, a WrestleMania promo played over and over.
- It was announced that Monday Night Raw on May 13 will be broadcast from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Tickets go on sale this Saturday for the event.
Test, Curt Hennig and Lance Storm versus Scotty Too Hotty, Albert, Rikishi (special guest ref: Jackie)
- Rikishi did the ass-sit from the second ropes to drive Curt Henning into the mat.
- Winner: … Scotty Too Hotty, Albert, Rikishi at two minutes and 52 seconds .
- Match Rating: 2 / 10.
- Total Event Time: Three hours and 45 minutes.
- Overall Event Rating: 7 / 10.