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WWE Flashback: WrestleMania X8 – Downtown With Darsie

Sunday, March 17th, 2002 – SkyDome – Toronto, Canada – The last WrestleMania under the “World Wrestling Federation” banner and the second WrestleMania to head outside of the United States! At this Mania card, we see Chris Jericho defending his Undisputed WWF Championship against the returning Triple H, as well as Icon versus Icon when the Rock does battle with “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan, and the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair faces the Dead Man, the Undertaker!

The show opened with Saliva doing one of this year’s theme songs, “Superstar.” I miss the WWE going away from bringing in live bands performing a song or two at WrestleMania. I know it’s frustrating for me trying to pay attention to the music video for it and the camera men go back and forth on showing the band with the titan tron and panning the fans.

But besides my short rant, I do feel like “Superstar” by Saliva does fit perfectly for WrestleMania, any WrestleMania for that fact.

After Saliva got done, they showed a video package hearing from guys like Undertaker, Ric Flair, Triple H, and Chris Jericho talking about what WrestleMania means to them.

Jim Ross welcomes us to WrestleMania X8! Thanks JR! Jerry “the King” Lawler joins JR at the English announcer’s booth! The greatest tag team at the annoucer’s table!

WWF Intercontinental Championship match: Rob Van Dam versus William Regal (champ)

Within a couple of minutes, Regal put a pair of brass knuckles on his hand and RVD kicked them off of his hand.

RVD missed with a 5 Star Frog Splash and Regal hit the running knee and only got a near fall.

Out of the three PPV matches that Regal has had so far in 2002, this is his best. Nothing against Edge, but Regal’s wrestling style fits a lot better with RVD. It could also be the WrestleMania feel in the crowd, but I believe Regal hits better wrestling RVD.

At the end, RVD hit the 5 Star and became the Intercontinental Champion for the first time on his WrestleMania debut!

Superstar of the match: William Regal, for putting over RVD.

Lilian interviews Christian about his match against DDP for the WWF European Championship. Christian turned on DDP because he didn’t need him after getting back on his winning way. He also said that he became a better man when he left this town (Toronto) and moved down to Florida.

WWF European Championship match: Christian versus Diamond Dallas Page (champ)

Christian is hailing from Tampa, Florida, just to get more heat from the crowd.

Another thing I just realized, just like RVD, this is DDP’s first WrestleMania where he’s having his first wrestling match. His first Mania was at Mania 6 where he drove Rhythm and Blues (Honky Tonk Man and Greg Valentine) in a pink Cadillac.

DDP almost countered the Imprettier with the Diamond Cutter, but Christian countered that. So, yes, a double counter.

Shortly after, DDP hit his Diamond Cutter, and retaining his European title, and making his debut at Mania a success. He grabbed a mic and said that it wasn’t a bad thing that he won, that it was a good thing!

Superstar of the match: DDP’s smile, because it’s a good thing! And thinking of it, DDP made Christian feel the BANG!

The Coach interviewed the Rock, saying that tonight’s the biggest night in his career and his biggest match of his career. The Rock stopped the Coach, and you could hear faint “Hogan” chants. The Rock asked the Coach if he took his vitamins, if he said his prayers, and teased him up and down for taking his vitamins but getting too busy for saying his prayers! Rock asked the Hulkster what he’s gonna do when the Rock runs wild on him.

WWF Hardcore Championship match: Goldust versus Maven (champ)

Remember: this was still when the Hardcore title was under the 24/7 rule, so this might not be much of a review of a match.

Another odd fact: this is Maven’s first WrestleMania match. First three matches at Mania we see three men debuting at Mania.

There are two golden trash cans and a golden shovel that Goldust brought in to use against Maven. How golden does it mean to Goldust to win the Hardcore title.

After both men hit each other win a trash can lid, Spike Dudley ran out and pinned Maven and won the title!

Superstar of the match: Spike Dudley for being smart. Yup.

Drowning Pool preformed “Tearing Away” for the Undisputed WWF Championship match. Honestly, this drives me nuts on when they’re doing this music video and band performance. I feel like they should have done this for the main event. Granted Drowning Pool also preformed Triple H’s theme song, but it would be even more hardcore metal if they would have done two back-to-back songs right away at WrestleMania!

Crash Holly is beating on the new Hardcore Champion Spike Dudley in back and only got a two-count. Al Snow drove a golf cart and ran into some boxes. That would be fun to do. The Hurricane flew in and took out Spike and won the Hardcore title.

Kurt Angle versus Kane

Kurt grabbed a mic and said that if he would have won his gold medal like how Canada’s skaters won theirs, he’d want to show himself in the head. He didn’t have to whine to get his medal, he earned it.

Angle nailed Kane in the head with the ring bell before the bell rang. I guess it’s legal because the bell couldn’t have been rung before Kurt did that.

Angle hit an overhead belly-to-belly suplex onto Kane. That was super impressive that Kurt hit that.

Kurt also hit three consecutive rolling German suplexes. It’s weird seeing someone do that to a man the size of Kane.

Kane nailed the Chokeslam onto Angle and would have got the three count if he didn’t pin Angle right by the ropes. Kurt grabbed the bottom rope.

Within a minute, Angle hit the Angle Slam and only got a two. Kurt got angry and slapped on the ankle lock.

Kane was on top rope about to hit Angle with a top rope suplex, Angle ran up and suplexed Kane from the top rope to the mat. Angle tried with another Angle Slam, Kane countered, Angle countered Kane, rolled him up, had his feet on the ropes, and won.

Superstar of the match: Kurt Angle for outsmarting the Big Red Machine.

The Hurricane was walking around backstage and found himself in the women’s locker room. It was the Godfather’s ladies room. He ran the Hurricane out. I guess the Ho’s don’t want the Eye of the Hurricane and the Godfather doesn’t want to get hardcore with the Hardcore title.

The Undertaker versus Ric Flair

The Undertaker had to attack Arn Anderson, Ric Flair’s best friend, and David Flair, one of Flair’s sons, just to get a match with Flair at WrestleMania X8! The song playing for the video package is Renee Dupree’s theme song when he came to the WWE! Due to Ric Flair being the “co-owner” of the WWF, and competing at Mania, he got is “rights” revoked and full power given to Mr. McMahon. Vince made Flair versus Undertaker a no disqualification match.

I really like this “version” of the Undertaker, the “Biker Taker,” because it’s a version of the Dead Man where we could relate to the most. I know most people like the vintage character of the Undertaker, and that’s fine, but me personally, I enjoyed the “Biker Taker” years of the Dead Man’s career.

The fight went all the way to JR and the King within the first 90 seconds of the match, with Flair mounting the Dead Man and punching his face with the “Nature Boy” fists.

Undertaker yelled out: “We’re going to school!” But wait a second, isn’t Flair known as the “Dirtiest Player in the Game”? Wouldn’t that implied he knows what to do to get a passing grade in school, by going behind the teacher’s back?

The Undertaker hit Flair with a top-rope suplex and could have got the victory but pulled Flair up at two, just to dish out more pain to the “co-owner” of the World Wrestling Federation.

The Dead Man tried to hit the Nature Boy with Old School, but Flair pulled him off of the top turnbuckle. There is another move where I find strange for the Undertaker hitting on Flair because of the name. Flair’s been in the business longer than the Undertaker and Taker’s hitting Flair with Old School?

Ric Flair took the lead pipe that was in the Undertaker’s bike (see my WWE No Way Out 2002 review) and nailed the Undertaker with it across the forehead on the outside of the ring.

Flair hit a low blow and slapped on the Figure Four Leg Lock onto the Undertaker. The Dead Man’s screaming in pain, and the King said that it’s strange to hear him yell in pain. The Undertaker got out my chocking Flair and hitting the chokeslam. Only a near fall and the Undertaker’s surprised that Flair isn’t done due to the pain.

Arn Anderson came in and hit the Undertaker with a spinebuster. Flair tried to cover him to get the victory, but only got a two count. The Undertaker found Double A and started to do a number on him. Undertaker slapped on the Dragon Sleeper and Flair grabbed a chair and started to do a number to his back. Taker countered with a boot to the face of Nature Boy.

The Undertaker tried to give Flair a Last Ride but Flair couldn’t help to get up all the way, so the Undertaker hit him with a Tombstone Piledriver to become 10-0 at WrestleMania! That spot wasn’t that bad, because they made it a smooth transition into the Tombstone.

Superstar of the match: Double A’s spinebuster!

Michael Cole interviewed Booker T and said that Edge was questioning Booker T’s intelligence. Booker T said he’s smart for wearing glasses. Booker said that Edge isn’t better than him or smarter than him. Booker said he’ll beat Edge.

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Booker T versus Edge

Booker’s a former five-time WCW champion and a ten time tag team champion. Edge, at this moment, doesn’t have those kinds of title wins under his belt.

Hey, look! Teddy Long’s the ref for this match! Go Smackdown!

Here is another person, Booker T making his debut at WrestleMania.

To be honest, I’m starting to feel like this match, so far at WrestleMania X8, might be the worst match of the card. As you can tell, there isn’t much in this match where I feel like there’s much to mention. It might be because this match is right after the awesome Ric Flair/Undertaker match, and giving it some thought, I think that might be the reason why.

Edge won with the DDT.

Superstar of the match: Teddy Long, because he’s done it all in the business.

The Hurricane is in the parking garage and the Coach tried to interview him. The Hurricane said he isn’t a perv, and Molly Holly used a skillet to knock out the Hurricane and became the new Hardcore champ! Go Mighty Molly!

Stone Cold Steve Austin versus Scott Hall

It all started the month before at No Way Out 2002 where the nWo cost Stone Cold Steve Austin the Undisputed WWF Championship against Chris Jericho. I remember the nWo trying to offer Steve Austin a 6-pack of beer but he throwing it over his shoulder saying he wasn’t thirsty. There was some great comedy there.

I’m happy that Tim White’s the ref in this match. Tim White’s one of my favorite referee’s during this period in the World Wrestling Federation.

Steve Austin started the match before Scott Hall was able to take off his nWo vest.

Kevin Nash took off the top turnbuckle pad from the outside and Hall countered Stone Cold with a Irish whip into the exposed buckle.

Austin hit the Stone Cold Stunner on Hall and got the two then Kevin Nash pulled the ref out of the ring and took him out. After, Nash came in and took out Austin. Nash put Austin in a full nelson and Hall grabbed a chair. Austin hit Nash with a low blow and gave both Hall and Nash Stunners and this was the second time he should have got the victory. Nash took out the new ref (Jack Doan).

About five refs came out and ejected Nash from ringside.

Hall hit Austin with a Stunner and only got a two. Hall tried again but Austin pushed Hall into the exposed turnbuckle and hit him with two Stunners and picked up another victory at WrestleMania X8!

Superstar of the match: Tim White, with all the bumps he took in the match, he deserves it.

We see a video package of WWF Excess. The backstage interaction for the fans of the WWF who went to WrestleMania X8 is shown. If I ever go, I’d love to meet the Undertaker and Chris Jericho at one of those events. I’d love to get their autograph and get my picture taken with them. I’ve been vocal about being a huge Jericholic but I’m a huge Undertaker fan as well. I know with his character these days he won’t be at one of those events, which is super sad, but if I could, I’d love to shake his hand, get his autograph, and get my picture taken with him. He’s a true legend in the business.

Four Corners Elimination match for the WWF Tag Team Championship: Dudley Boys versus APA versus the Hardy Boys versus Billy and Chuck (champs)

The Dudleys had Saliva sing them down to the ring.

I always enjoyed Billy and Chuck’s theme song. I did because I feel like it was a spoof off of the boy bands that were huge around this time.

Right when JBL hit Billy with the Clothesline from Hell, the Dudleys hit him with the 3D and got eliminated. DAMN!

One thing I can’t figure out is why the Hardy Boys always take their shirts off and why the crowd cheers. Shouldn’t the men boo them because their girlfriends or wives or daughters are lusting over the Hardys? I know if I had any of them when the Hardys were huge, I would totally had them look the other way, or change the channel when the Hardys are on.

Bubba got eliminated when Matt hit him with the Twist of Fate and Jeff hit him with the Swanton Bomb. Poor Dudleys. Pack up your bags and head down to Orlando, you’ll find work there.

Billy grabbed one of the tag title belts and nailed Jeff and Chuck picked up the victory! YES!

Superstar of the match: Billy and Chuck’s theme song!

Scott Hall is venting to Kevin Nash, saying that Stone Cold got lucky. Nash said that the Rock won’t get lucky either. Hogan came up and said that he needs to do this by himself and needs to prove to himself that he’s the better man over the Rock.

Molly is trying to get out and got nailed by the top half of the door, and Christian pinned her and became the new Hardcore champion!

“Hollywood” Hulk Hogan versus the Rock

When the nWo theme started to play, the crowd went wild! The crowd went even louder when the Hulkster walked through the certain.

The match started with a tie-up and Hogan out-powered Rock and shoved him down and posed. The crowed popped even louder than when Hogan came out!

With the ref down, Rock slapped on the sharpshooter on Hogan and Hogan got to the ropes, but the Rock pulled him back to the middle of the ring, and then Hogan started to tap out. The Rock let go of the move to check the ref, and came back to Hogan and got low blowed and got nailed by the Rock Bottom and Hogan only got a two-count.

The Rock hit the Rock Bottom on Hogan and got a two-count, then the Hulkster Hulked Up. After a Big Boot and the Leg Drop, the Rock kicked out and Hogan doesn’t know what he needs to do to the Rock to defeat him. Hogan got another Big Boot but Rock moved to miss the Leg Drop and gave Hogan a Rock Bottom. The crowd boos. Suck it fans! Rock picks Hogan back up and hits him with another Rock Bottom. Nip up and the Rock connects with the People’s Elbow and the Rock wins it!

Superstar of the match: the fans!

After Hogan got up to his feet, he extended his hand and shook hands with the Rock.

Hall and Nash came out and attacked Hogan for losing to the Rock and not letting them come out to help Hogan against the Rock. The Rock came back and defended Hogan. Hogan and the Rock cleaned house against Hall and Nash.

The Rock stopped Hogan on leaving and asked him to pose for the crowd.

The Fink announces that they set a record of 68,237 people in the SkyDome! Wooo!

Women’s Championship match: Jazz (champ) versus Lita versus Trish Stratus

Probably the highlight of the match is how dead the crowd is compared to the match we seen before this wit Hogan/Rock. It seems like the crowd burnt themselves out with that match.

Jazz also hit the Fisherman Suplex on Lita off the second rope and got the victory and retained her title.

Superstar of the match: the bathroom, because this was a good bathroom break match.

Christian tried to leave the SkyDome but Maven school boyed him and became the Hardcore champion and took his cab! This is the second time Christian threw a temper tantrum.

Undisputed World Wrestling Federation Championship match: Triple H versus Chris Jericho (champ)

Drowning Pool preformed Triple H’s theme song from the WWF Forceable Entry album that came out not that long before Mania 2002. This is the second back-to-back Mania where Triple H had a band sing him out to the ring. The year before, WrestleMania X7, Motorhead brought out Triple H when he fought the Undertaker down in Houston.

Walking into WrestleMania X8 as the first Undisputed World Wrestling Federation Champion, for me this has to be one of Chris Jericho’s highlights in his wrestling career. Walking into a WrestleMania in Canada in the main event spot as World Champion must be huge.

We’re told that Triple H’s quad is being held by a wire. The announcers are trying to put an ounce of doubt in our mind that Triple H might not last the whole match, giving Jericho a heads in the match. If they wanted to give Jericho a strong push into WrestleMaina, they should have had him go clean over the Rock at the Rumble and Austin at No Way Out.

You know, I always wondered why they made Jericho carry around the WCW and WWF titles when he was the Undisputed Champion, especially when within two weeks of being champion, they made a new title for Triple H, not having him carry around both belts. I find that as a joke.

Jericho put Triple H up on the English Announcers table to slap on the Walls but Triple H got put, then Triple H tried to hit the Pedigree but Jericho backdropped the challenger through the Spanish Announcers table. Jericho put the Game back in the ring and hit the Lionsault and only got a two-count. That really blows.

Shortly thereafter, Triple H was turned to his belly and Jericho clamped on the Walls of Jericho! Earl Hebner checked Triple H’s arm and it only fell twice. Stupid Triple H. He got to the ropes and Hebner was forced to make Chris Jericho let go of the hold.

In the end, Triple H hit the pedigree and won the title. Yeah. JR put Triple H over. My emotions aren’t

Superstar of the match: Chris Jericho for his title reign coming to an end and having to put Triple H over after coming back from an injury.

This was a decent WrestleMania. The Taker/Flair, Hogan/Rock, and HHH/Jericho matches are matches that I would suggest if you never watched this Mania before. But if you have about four hours you’re wanting to waist, check out the whole WrestleMania X8 card. I thought the whole thing was pretty awesome for a WrestleMania, especially coming off of the year before WrestleMania.

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Eric Darsie

Eric Darsie is known as a ‘common-man’ among his peers, at least he thinks so. He works hard with his hands in the heart of Minnesota and on his free time, he thugs and a bugs with his family and friends. Whenever he doesn’t do that, he’s found to be writing. Now more of a rare thing, he’s gems could be found here. If you would like to see more of Eric’s work outside of the professional world, check him out at http://vintagedarsie.wordpress.com/, http://www.writerscafe.org/Darsie/writing/.

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