In the build-up to WrestleMania 32, the Flickering Myth writers look back at previous installments of the ‘Showcase of the Immortals’.
Mr. Perfect, Test & Lance Storm vs. Rikishi, Scotty 2 Hotty & Albert
IC Title Match: William Regal vs. Rob Van Dam
European Title Match: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Christian
WWF Hardcore Title Match: Maven vs. Goldust (No Contest)
Kurt Angle vs. Kane
Ric Flair vs. The Undertaker (No Disqualification Match)
Edge vs. Booker T
Scott Hall w/Kevin Nash vs. ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin
WWF Tag Titles Match: Billy & Chuck vs. The A.P.A vs. The Dudley Boyz w/Stacy Keibler vs. The Hardy Boyz (Four Corners Elimination Match)
The Rock vs. Hollywood Hogan
WWF Women’s Title Match: Jazz vs. Lita vs. Trish Stratus (Triple Threat)
Undisputed WWF Title Match: Chris Jericho w/Stephanie McMahon vs. Triple H
When you think of WrestleMania X-8, there is one disappointment that immediately springs to mind: Scott Hall vs. ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin.
There is an argument to be made that this match was never going to be good enough, with many fans still upset that they weren’t getting Austin vs. Hogan (in hindsight, the decision to opt for Rock/Hogan was probably the right one, as the Rock would be an asset to WWE for a lot longer than ‘Stone Cold’). With that being said, there’s no reason that this match couldn’t have been compelling.
Unfortunately, the two competitors just didn’t ‘click’ in the ring. Hall was a shadow of his former self, due to his long-standing personal demons (which he has thankfully since kicked), and Austin just couldn’t carry the match on his own. The decision to include Kevin Nash for most of the match was also a poor one, as the handicap situation only served to make the NWO look weak when they eventually lost.
Another WrestleMania X-8 match that was a little disappointing was the bout between Booker T and Edge. Both these men would go on to be World Champions in the WWE, as well as Hall of Famers, but this match will fail to either’s highlight reel. To be fair, they were only given 6 minutes in the ring, but considering the pedigree of the wrestlers involved, this could have been so much more.
Fortunately for fans, WrestleMania X-8 had more good than bad, including two absolute classics made up of four wrestling legends.
The first saw an epic battle between The Undertaker and ‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair. For me, this is perhaps the most underrated ‘Streak Match’ there is, and easily the best up until this point. With Flair’s advanced age and ‘Takers lacklustre physical condition, this was never going to a Savage/Steamboat-style clinic. Luckily, someone on the booking team realised this beforehand, and made this one a No Disqualification Match.
It. Was. Brutal.
Both of these men beat seven shades of hell out of each other, using a wide variety of weapons and strikes. Flair was busted open early (because it is Ric Flair), and his crimson mask only enhanced the brutality of the match. In the midst of all this senseless violence, there was some masterful story-telling from two all-time greats. There was even a killer cameo from Arn Anderson!
The second highlight on this card was the marquee match to end all marquee matches: Icon versus Icon, The Rock versus Hollywood Hogan.
Prior to this match, it seemed like an impossibility that it could ever live up to the never-ending hype. Luckily for the fans, it did just that. The Rock was at his electrifying best as the roster’s hottest babyface talent, while the iconic Hulkster had returned as the villainous head of the New World Order.
The Rock was on top form on the night delivering the high-energy proficiency for which he was known for, but perhaps the most pleasant surprise was the performance of Hogan. Like Flair in the previous match, Hogan was long-past his wrestling peak, but he really delivered the goods here, applying more effort to this single match than he did for the majority of his WCW run.
WrestleMania X-8 is often underrated by fans for two reasons. Firstly, it is sandwiched between to superior ‘Mania events (including the best of all time, WrestleMania X-Seven). Secondly, there was so much emphasis placed on the Rock vs. Hogan match that it is often the only thing people remember.
The card is really one of two halves. The first is fairly mediocre, but the show really gains some steam in the second. In addition to the two previously mentioned highlights, there was Kurt Angle vs. Kane and a great Tag Title Match. The main event was also a lot better than people tend to remember.
Jackson Ball – Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn