|Tagline(s)||Friendship Torn Apart! / The Macho/Flair Affair!|
|Promotion||World Wrestling Federation|
|Date||April 5, 1992|
WrestleMania VIII was the eighth annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view produced by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). It took place on April 5, 1992, at the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana.
According the "WrestleMania" section of WWE.com, this is the only edition of the event to have officially featured more than one headlining match. The card included two equally-promoted main events: in the first, WWF 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, both matches shared the official poster for WrestleMania VIII, and the event carried two taglines: "The Macho/Flair Affair!" and "Friendship Torn Apart!"
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (March 2009)|
The commentators for the event were Gorilla Monsoon and his regular sparring partner Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. After being the lead play-by-play commentator for the previous seven WrestleManias (he was a commentator for the Chicago part of Wrestlemania 2 alongside "Mean" Gene Okerlund and Cathy Lee Crosby), this would be the last Wrestlemania to feature Monsoon as a commentator.
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. Justice improvised by kicking out of the leg drop (the first time since the birth of Hulkamania in 1984 that anyone had kicked out of Hogan's leg drop). From there, Earl Hebner would disqualify Justice when his manager, Harvey Wippleman interfered (Wippleman jumped into the ring in order to get the planned DQ when Papa Shango was late. Shango had in fact just appeared running down the aisle showing how late he was). The Legion of Doom were originally supposed to be the challengers for the Tag Team Championships but Hawk was under suspension until after WrestleMania, though LOD, with their long time manager Paul Ellering in his first WWF appearance with the team, 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 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 Championship. Both Flair and Hogan had wrestled against each other in several house show matches and a televised tag match but never in a big money bout. WrestleMania VIII was changed to a double main event with Hogan wrestling Sid Justice, while Flair wrestled Randy Savage. This came about due to a clause in Sid's contract that he was to wrestle in the main event at Wrestlemania VIII. 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 in the contest. 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 Championship in the process. This would make Ric Flair only the second man to win both the WWF and NWA 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 was forced to take 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 reportedly fined several thousand dollars. Although Bret Hart also bladed in his match with Intercontinental Champion Rowdy Roddy Piper, he was discreet enough that it was considered an accident and no fine was levied.
In one of his earlier 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.
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.
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; as such, 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. Elizabeth's place in the storyline was taken by the Ultimate Warrior who had returned and challenged Savage for the title, with flair and Mr Perfect also playing prominent roles.
After appearing at the first eight Wrestlemania's, and being the winner of the very first match in Wrestlemania history (his only Wrestlemania victory), this would be Tito Santana's final Wrestlemania PPV appearance, though he did face Papa Shango in a dark match (not televised) before Wrestlemania IX. He would not appear again at the event until his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2004) at WrestleMania XX.
Although his "Model" gimmick would last for another three years, this was also Rick Martel's final Wrestlemania appearance. Martel had first appeared at Wrestlemania III as part of the Can-Am Connection with Tom Zenk when they defeated Don Muraco and Cowboy Bob Orton in the opening match of the card.
Shawn Michaels began receiving his first major push as a main-event singles competitor, as he would challenge Randy Savage for the World title in Europe, while challenging Bret Hart for the Intercontinental title in the United States, and occasionally teaming with Ric Flair in tag team matches against Hart and Savage. Michaels eventually won the Intercontinental Championship from The British Bulldog (who had since won the title) in October. Bret Hart, after dropping the Intercontinental Championship to the Bulldog at SummerSlam in London, England, would go on to defeat Flair for the World Championship in October of 1992 (Flair had regained the title from Savage in September).
Hogan and Piper both took hiatuses from the ring following WrestleMania VIII, though for a time Piper continued to provide commentary for the WWF and appeared at SummerSlam playing the bagpipes. A noticeably smaller Hogan (weighing only 270 pounds, some 30 pounds lighter than usual as a result of not using steroids in the post steroid scandal) would not return to the WWF until almost a year later in the lead up to Wrestlemania IX. Jake 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.
- "Full WrestleMania VIII Results". WWE. Retrieved 2013-02-15.
- Golianopoulos, Thomas (2012-03-29). "The 50 Greatest Matches in WrestleMania History - 15. Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper, WrestleMania VIII". Complex Sports. 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. Retrieved 2013-04-06.