|Promotion||World Wrestling Federation|
|Date||April 5, 1992|
|Tagline(s)||Friendship Torn Apart!|
The Macho/Flair Affair!
WrestleMania VIII was the eighth annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE). It took place on April 5, 1992, at the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The card included two main events, both of which shared the official promotional poster. In the first, WWF World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair defended his title against Randy Savage, and in the second, Hulk Hogan faced Sid Justice. As a consequence of the double main event, WrestleMania VIII carried two taglines rather than the usual one, those being "The Macho/Flair Affair!" and "Friendship Torn Apart!" WrestleMania VIII would also be the first time since the inaugural WrestleMania that the closing match was not contested for the WWF Championship.
Notable matches on the undercard included WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion Roddy Piper defending against Bret Hart, and WWF Tag Team Champions Money Inc. defending against The Natural Disasters.
WrestleMania is considered World Wrestling Federation's (WWF, now WWE) flagship event, having first been held in 1985. It has become the longest-running professional wrestling event in history and is held annually between mid-March to mid-April. It was the first of WWF's original four pay-per-views, which includes Royal Rumble, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series, which were eventually dubbed the "Big Four". It eventually became described as the Super Bowl of sports entertainment.
The commentators for the event were Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan. After being the lead commentator for the previous seven WrestleManias (he was a commentator for the Chicago part of WrestleMania 2 alongside Gene Okerlund and Cathy Lee Crosby), this would be the last Wrestlemania to feature Monsoon as a commentator and it would also mark the first and only Wrestlemania PPV that Monsoon and Heenan called the entire event. Monsoon and Heenan had been the commentators for Wrestlemania VII the previous year, but at the time Heenan was still managing in the WWF and for two matches on the card when he was required to be at ringside he was replaced in the booth by Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Lord Alfred Hayes respectively.
A scheduled match between The British Bulldog and The Berzerker did not take place due to time constraints. The finish to the Justice-Hogan match actually did not occur as planned. The original plan was for Hogan to hit the leg drop on Justice and for Papa Shango to do a run in and break up the pin causing a disqualification. However, Papa Shango either missed or misjudged his cue and was late in getting down to the ring causing Justice to have to improvise by kicking out of the leg drop. From there, Earl Hebner would disqualify Justice when his manager, Harvey Wippleman, interfered. The Ultimate Warrior made a surprise return at the show's conclusion, saving Hogan from an attack by Justice and Shango. The Legion of Doom were originally supposed to be the challengers for the Tag Team Championships but Hawk was under suspension until after WrestleMania (LOD, with their long time manager Paul Ellering, appeared at WrestleMania for an interview with Gene Okerlund). The Legion of Doom were replaced in the Tag Team title match by The Natural Disasters (Earthquake and Typhoon).
The original plan for the main event was the long-awaited bout between Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship, the meeting between the two legends was even promoted on television in a mock press conference where WWF President Jack Tunney had announced Hogan as the number one contender to Flair's WWF World Heavyweight Championship. Both Flair and Hogan had wrestled against each other in several house show matches and a televised tag match, but not in a televised main event singles match. WrestleMania VIII was changed to a double main event with Hogan wrestling Sid Justice, while Flair wrestled Randy Savage. For storyline purposes, Sid Justice lobbied to wrestle Hulk Hogan due to tensions starting between the two at that year's Royal Rumble, where Hogan was eliminated by Sid Justice. This maneuver on Sid's part led Hogan to helping rival Ric Flair eliminate Justice and then win not only the Royal Rumble but the WWF World Heavyweight Championship in the process. This would make Ric Flair only the second man to win both the WWF and NWA World Heavyweight Titles, the first being the original "Nature Boy", Buddy Rogers.
The Hulk Hogan-Sid Justice match was also billed as Hogan's "last match", when in actuality, Hogan took a hiatus, due to the steroid scandal which was beginning to emerge in the news media.
At the time the company had a "no blood" policy. Nonetheless, Ric Flair was caught blading directly on camera and was fined several thousand dollars. Although Bret Hart also bladed, he was discreet enough that it was considered an accident, and no fine was levied.
In one of his first appearances in the WWF, Shane McMahon was one of the backstage officials who attempted to keep Miss Elizabeth away from ringside during the Flair/Savage match. He then restrained Savage in the ensuing brawl after the contest.
Savage's primary opponent during the spring and summer of 1992 was Ric Flair, with the storyline over Flair's alleged past relationship with Elizabeth continuing to play a major factor. It was revealed later in WWF Magazine that the photos that Flair had shown of himself with Elizabeth were fakes, and that they were actually of Savage and Elizabeth. In real life, Savage and Elizabeth were about to separate, and did, with Elizabeth making her final WWF appearance on April 19, 1992 at the UK Rampage pay-per-view. WrestleMania VIII marked Elizabeth's last major pay-per-view appearance in the United States for the WWF.
Although Savage and Flair continued feuding, the Elizabeth aspect was dropped from the storyline, and the former couple's divorce was finalized in September 1992. Savage briefly addressed the divorce in an issue of WWF Magazine, but it was otherwise not mentioned in kayfabe.
Shawn Michaels began receiving his first major push as a main-event singles competitor, as he would challenge Randy Savage for the World Heavyweight Title in Europe, while challenging Bret Hart for the Intercontinental title in the United States, while occasionally teaming with Ric Flair in tag team matches against Hart and Savage. Michaels eventually won the WWF Intercontinental Championship from The British Bulldog (who had won the title from Hart at the SummerSlam event in London, England in August) in October.
Hogan and Piper both took hiatuses from the ring following WrestleMania VIII. Roberts left the company and would return four years later, using a "born-again Christian" gimmick. Sid Justice was largely unsuccessful in post-WrestleMania matches against the Ultimate Warrior and The Undertaker and eventually left the company, returning in 1995.
Critics praised the Intercontinental Championship match between Piper and Hart. Thomas Golianopoulos of Complex Sports ranked it at number 15 in his list of the 50 Greatest Matches in WrestleMania History, describing it as "A stiff match that veers from amateur wrestling to all-out street fight with a great finish." Golianopoulos also ranked the Flair vs. Savage match at number 19 on the same list, praising the in-ring psychology despite an abrupt finish. On the other hand, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter gave the Hogan/Justice main event negative two stars, citing their lackluster performance and the late entry of Papa Shango, which necessitated a hastily rewritten ending.
Other on-screen personnel
- "Full WrestleMania VIII Results". WWE. Archived from the original on 2013-02-19. Retrieved 2013-02-15.
- "WrestleMania 29 press conference brings WWE to Radio City Music Hall". WWE. Archived from the original on April 7, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
... WWE's flagship event lights up MetLife Stadium ... WrestleMania
- Ian Hamilton. Wrestling's Sinking Ship: What Happens to an Industry Without Competition (p. 160)
- Gelston, Dan. "WrestleMania is Super Bowl of sports entertainment". Associated Press. Archived from the original on March 31, 2014. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
- Cawthon, Graham (2013). the History of Professional Wrestling Vol 2: WWF 1990 - 1999. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ASIN B00RWUNSRS.
- Golianopoulos, Thomas (2012-03-29). "The 50 Greatest Matches in WrestleMania History – 15. Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper, WrestleMania VIII". Complex Sports. Archived from the original on 2012-04-05. Retrieved 2013-04-06.
- Golianopoulos, Thomas (2012-03-29). "The 50 Greatest Matches in WrestleMania History – 19. Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair, WrestleMania VIII". Complex Sports. Archived from the original on 2013-05-13. Retrieved 2013-04-06.