|Tagline(s)||The One and Only|
|"Tear Away" by Drowning Pool
"Superstar" by Saliva
|Promotion||World Wrestling Federation|
|Date||March 17, 2002|
|City||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
WrestleMania X8 was the eighteenth annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view produced by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). It was presented by Sour Skittles and took place on March 17, 2002, at the SkyDome in Toronto, Ontario. The event marked the final WrestleMania event under the WWF name. The event was the second WrestleMania to take place in the Toronto metropolitan area (following WrestleMania VI in 1990). The record-breaking attendance for the SkyDome of 68,237 grossed approximately $6.1 million CAD ($3.9 million USD). WrestleMania weekend also included WWF Fan Axxess at the Canadian National Exhibition's Automotive Building.
The main event was between Chris Jericho and Triple H for the Undisputed WWF Championship, which Triple H won after a Pedigree. The main matches on the undercard featured The Rock versus Hollywood Hulk Hogan in a match dubbed "Icon vs. Icon", Steve Austin versus Scott Hall, and Ric Flair versus The Undertaker in a No Disqualification match.
The main feud leading into WrestleMania X8 involved Triple H against the Undisputed WWF Champion Chris Jericho and Stephanie McMahon. At the Royal Rumble, Chris Jericho defeated The Rock to retain the Undisputed Championship on the same event where Triple H earned his opportunity to compete for the Undisputed Championship at WrestleMania by winning the 2002 Royal Rumble match, last eliminating Kurt Angle. The following night on Raw, Triple H interrupted Jericho and warned to prove him that he's worthy enough to be in the main event. Meanwhile, some hostility between Triple H and his wife Stephanie was starting to show, with the face Triple H tired of Stephanie's heel characteristics. In order to recover their relationship, Stephanie suggested on Raw that the two should renew their wedding vows on the following week. At first Triple H refused, but Stephanie revealed that she was pregnant, making him change his mind. To further prove it, the two met a doctor on the next episode of SmackDown! with ultrasound images. On the February 11 episode of Raw just before the wedding, Triple H was met with a phone call by his mother-in-law Linda McMahon, who had sent him a video tape revealing that the doctor was in fact an actor and that Stephanie was not pregnant. At the wedding, Triple H turned on Stephanie and attacked her along with her father Vince McMahon, announcing that their marriage was now over. During these weeks, Kurt Angle was given a match with Triple H's WrestleMania title shot on the line at No Way Out. In revenge for the ruined wedding, Vince granted Stephanie the chance to be the special guest referee for the match. At No Way Out with clear bias from Stephanie, Kurt Angle defeated Triple H for the title shot. The following night on Raw, WWF co-owner Ric Flair granted Triple H a rematch with Stephanie barred from the ring, enabling him to regain his title shot at Chris Jericho. On the February 21 episode of SmackDown!, Jericho met with Stephanie and put their differences in the past, ending with Stephanie accepting Jericho's proposal to be his new business partner. To further the feud, Jericho later speculated that he ended the marriage by causing Triple H's quadriceps muscle to (legitimately) tear during their WWF Tag Team titles match on the May 21, 2001 edition of Raw Is War, thus diverting Triple H's attention to his wife. In the divorce settlement for the two, it was announced that the assets would be split between them "fifty-fifty" to Stephanie's disgust. Among the assets were Triple H's first wrestling robe, Stephanie's Corvette (which Triple H later gave to her with half of it cut off) and Triple H's bulldog Lucy. Stephanie managed to win Lucy in the settlement and later on the March 11 episode of Raw sent Jericho to walk the dog. Displeased about this, Jericho tied Lucy to a limousine and ordered the unknowing driver to buy some air fresheners, running Lucy over into a critical condition by accident. Wanting retribution, Triple H stormed into the arena and tried to attack Stephanie but was met with two sledgehammer shots to his recovered leg by Jericho. On the following episode of SmackDown!, Stephanie noted that the sledgehammer shots had left Triple H's quad in a condition that one false move in his WrestleMania match could reinjure his quadriceps once again. At the end of the show, Triple H and Jericho had a brawl in the ring that almost ended with a Pedigree on Stephanie. However, Jericho saved her and locked the Walls of Jericho on Triple H, leaving the show with the advantage.
The secondary feud built up in the lead to the event pitted The Rock and Steve Austin against the New World Order (Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall). The Rock's involvement with the nWo started after his win over The Undertaker at No Way Out, when a photo request from Hogan for his son turned into a trade of insults. On the following episode of Raw, The Rock interrupted Hogan's address to the crowd and challenged Hogan to a match at WrestleMania. When Hogan accepted and shook hands with his future opponent, The Rock kept the hold on and hit the Rock Bottom on Hogan. Before The Rock could leave the arena, Hall and Nash ambushed Rock and spray painted the nWo initials on The Rock's back. With medics attending to The Rock and loading him into an ambulance van, the nWo furthered the attack by chaining up all possible exits and driving a truck through the van with The Rock trapped inside. Steve Austin's involvement also commenced at No Way Out, when after having their gift of beer refused, the nWo interfered with Austin's Undisputed Championship match against Chris Jericho, helping Jericho to retain the title before spray painting the nWo initials on Austin's back. Austin finally got his revenge on the February 21 edition of SmackDown! when he chased the nWo out of the ring with a tire iron. Austin manages to catch Hall and attack him with the tire iron but Hogan and Nash saved Hall from being run over by Austin's pickup truck. After the nWo found their limousine spray painted "What?" by Austin, Stone Cold kidnapped Hall and closed the show by embarrassing him in the middle of the ring with "3:16" spray painted on his back. On the following episode of Raw, Hall challenged Austin to a match at WrestleMania which Austin accepted afterwards. The feud between Austin and the nWo continued back and forth for the next couple of weeks with Austin attacked by Hall twice with a cinder block and a wrench, while Austin fired a netgun at Nash before beating down Hall. On the March 7 episode of SmackDown!, The Rock made his return and immediately challenged Hogan for a fight. Nash and Hall held Hogan back, leaving Hall to challenge for a match instead. Rock's match with Hall ended in a three-on-one attack by the nWo. The nWo's attack was stopped by Stone Cold, however, who saved The Rock with the aid of a steel chair. On the March 11 edition of Raw, Rock and Austin took on the nWo in a Handicap match, resulting in Hogan pinning The Rock after a leg drop.
Another major feud for WrestleMania X8 was the rivalry between The Undertaker and the WWF co-owner, Ric Flair. The feud started over The Undertaker's ambush on The Rock during the buildup to No Way Out, with Undertaker giving The Rock a Chokeslam and a Tombstone Piledriver onto a car. Shortly afterwards, Ric Flair openly detested The Undertaker's actions. At the No Way Out event, Flair interfered with Undertaker's match against The Rock, finally hitting Undertaker with a lead pipe to aid The Rock in victory. Far from pleased over this result, The Undertaker challenged Flair to a match at WrestleMania. Flair refused, stating that he is an owner and no longer a wrestler. However, Undertaker tried to convince Flair by attacking select members of Flair's friends and family. Following a match on the February 25 edition of Raw, Flair's friend Arn Anderson was ambushed by The Undertaker during his road agent duties. The Undertaker followed this the following week by attacking Flair's son David, threatening that the rest of Flair's children would follow. Upon this attack, Flair accepted the match on the March 7 edition of SmackDown!. Later that night, the two ended up brawling into the audience, resulting in Flair punching out a fan by accident. As a result, Flair was arrested to Undertaker's delight. On the March 11 episode of Raw, Flair's rival co-owner Vince McMahon asked for an emergency board meeting with the WWF board of directors citing that Flair's attack of a fan was unacceptable and that either he or Flair should have absolute authority and power over the company. With Flair still keen on taking on Undertaker at WrestleMania, CEO Linda McMahon had no choice but to give Vince total control over the company. Despite this, Linda also stated that the ownership situation will also be reviewed after WrestleMania with a final decision. To add further insult, Vince McMahon booked David Flair in a match against The Undertaker on the March 14 episode of SmackDown!. The Undertaker almost gave David a Last Ride, but was stopped by Ric Flair who saved his son with some steel chair shots.
|Carlos Cabrera (Spanish)|
|Hugo Savinovich (Spanish)|
|Ring announcer||Howard Finkel|
Before the event aired live on pay-per-view, a six-man tag team match was aired on Sunday Night Heat between the team of Mr. Perfect, Lance Storm and Test and the team of Rikishi, Scotty 2 Hotty and Albert. Rikishi won the match for his team after pinning Mr. Perfect following a Banzai Drop.
The pay-per-view started with a live performance of "Superstar" by rock band Saliva. The first match of the event had Intercontinental Champion William Regal defending his title against Rob Van Dam. Twice in the match, Regal tried to use brass knuckles to set up the Power of the Punch on RVD, but on both occasions Van Dam kicked them away. RVD won the match after a Five-Star Frog Splash to win his first Intercontinental Championship.
A European Championship match between the champion Diamond Dallas Page and Christian followed. Near the end of the match, Christian successfully hit DDP with a neckbreaker but it only netted a two-count, causing Christian to nearly throw a tantrum. DDP tried to roll Christian up for a pin but also only achieved a two-count. Page finally won the match after a Diamond Cutter for a three-count fall, leaving Christian in a tantrum.
The Hardcore Champion Maven defended his title next against Goldust in a Hardcore match. The match ended up short with Goldust standing on the ring apron, preparing to hit a downed Maven with a trash can lid. However on his turn, Maven had his own can lid to use on Goldust, effectively knocking each other out. With Maven down and Goldust outside of the ring, Spike Dudley came out and pinned Maven for a three count. Under the title's 24/7 rules, Spike became the new Hardcore Champion. His celebration was short lived when Crash Holly came out and chased Spike through the crowd with Maven and Goldust shortly following the two. In a promotion for the show's main event, rock band Drowning Pool made a live performance of "Tear Away" with a video package playing in the background. After the performance, the show cut to backstage where Crash Holly and Spike Dudley continued to fight. Al Snow tried to interfere by driving a golf cart (along with referee Teddy Long) towards the two but ended up crashing into some boxes. Spike successfully fought off Crash by throwing him into a steel door, but ended up getting kicked by The Hurricane who swung off a rope. Hurricane then pinned Spike to become the new Hardcore Champion under 24/7 rules.
The fourth match was Kurt Angle versus Kane. During the match, Angle successfully hit Kane with Kane's signature flying clothesline. Confidently, Angle tried another but Kane countered with a clothesline of his own. Later on, Kane lifted Angle up for a Tombstone Piledriver but Angle grabbed a hold of Kane's mask, distracting him enough for Angle to hit an Angle Slam. Angle locked on the ankle lock on Kane, which was stopped when Kane reached the ropes. With Angle still holding the foot, Kane used the other foot to hit an Enzuigiri. A top rope attack by Kane was prevented when Angle rushed to the corner and hit a belly to belly suplex on him. Kane tried to go for a Chokeslam but Angle reversed it into a roll-up and with the ropes as leverage, Angle won the match.
Ric Flair took on The Undertaker afterwards in a No Disqualification match. The match started with a brawl outside the ring with Flair's back getting smashed into the ring post. Undertaker tried his Old School maneuver on Flair, but Flair retaliated by pulling him off the top turnbuckles. Later on in the ring, Flair locked Undertaker in a figure-four leglock. Undertaker, however, countered it by holding Flair's throat and hitting a Chokeslam. Near the end of the match, Arn Anderson dashed out into the ring and hit a Spinebuster on The Undertaker. Despite this, the move only gave Flair a two-count and soon after, Undertaker locked Anderson in a Dragon sleeper. Flair broke them up with a few chair shots on Undertaker's back. The Undertaker retaliated with a big boot and failing a Last Ride attempt, Undertaker hit the Tombstone Piledriver on Flair and pinned him to increase his WrestleMania winning streak to 10–0.
Edge versus Booker T was the sixth match for the night. Booker T gained the advantage early on in the match. However, Edge recovered by countering Booker's top rope attack with a Hurricanrana. Edge followed this by going up on the top ropes again and connecting a spinning heel kick on Booker T. Later on, Booker T tried to defeat Edge with the Scissors Kick but only gained a two-count, leaving Edge to regain his momentum. After performing his own version of Booker's Spinaroonie, Edge won the match with an Edgecution. Backstage, a cautious Hurricane was interviewed by Jonathan Coachman. The Hurricane's sidekick, Mighty Molly, shortly appeared and suggested the two should go to their Hurri-Cycle. Just as Hurricane headed to that direction, Molly smashed a frying pan onto the back of his head and pinned him to become the new Hardcore Champion under 24/7 rules.
The seventh match was between Steve Austin and Scott Hall. With Kevin Nash in Hall's corner, Austin was left having to fend off both wrestlers. The nWo's teamwork enabled Hall to give Austin an Irish whip into a turnbuckle Nash exposed. Austin hit a Stone Cold Stunner on Hall but as the referee counted, Nash pulled the referee out of the ring to break up the count and beat Austin down. Austin returned with a Stunner to both Nash and Hall but another pin attempt on Hall was prevented when Nash elbow dropped the second referee. Hall's Razor's Edge attempt was reversed by Austin into a back drop onto the outside of the ring. Eventually, Nash was forced to leave the stadium by a group of WWF officials. Hall then hit Austin with his own Stunner for a two-count, but Stone Cold retaliated with two quick Stunners of his own for the win.
The eighth match was a Four Corners Elimination match for the Tag Team Championship between the champions, Billy and Chuck, against the APA, the Dudley Boyz and the Hardy Boyz. For the Dudleys' entrance, Saliva made a live performance of their theme, "Turn the Tables". The APA were quickly eliminated when D-Von Dudley pinned Bradshaw following a 3D from both Dudleys. The Dudleys then followed to set up a table outside. Stacy Keibler, valet for the Dudley Boyz, tried to distract Jeff Hardy, but Jeff spanked and kissed her before shoving her off the ring apron. The Dudleys tried to go for a Whassup headbutt but Billy pushed D-Von off the top ropes, sending him crashing into the outside table. Bubba Ray Dudley was then given a Twist of Fate by Matt Hardy followed by a Swanton Bomb from Jeff. Matt then covered Bubba Ray to eliminate the Dudley Boyz. Billy and Chuck retained their titles when Billy hit Jeff with one of the tag team title belts, enabling Chuck to pin him for a three-count. Backstage, the battle for the Hardcore Championship continued again when Mighty Molly ran straight into the top half of a dutch door shutting. The person revealed himself to be Christian, who then pinned her under 24/7 rules to win the title.
The match between The Rock and Hollywood Hulk Hogan was dubbed "Icon vs. Icon", was next. Despite the portrayals by Rock and Hogan as the face and heel for the match respectively, the Canadian crowd cheered Hulk Hogan over The Rock instead. During the match, The Rock locked on the Sharpshooter, causing Hogan to tap out. However, the referee was down and unable to acknowledge the submission. The Rock let go of the hold and tried to revive the referee, but Hogan gave him a low blow followed by his own version of The Rock's finisher, the Rock Bottom for a two-count. The two tried their respective finishers, the Rock Bottom and the leg drop but each kicked out. After two more Rock Bottoms and a People's Elbow, The Rock pinned Hogan and won the match. After the match, the two shook hands in respect. As The Rock left the ring, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall came and attacked Hogan, therefore ending Hogan's involvement in the NWO. The Rock returned and saved Hogan from further attack. As a sign of respect, The Rock stopped Hulk from leaving the ring and asked him to pose for the crowd, turning Hogan back into a face again. Hogan gave an interview in 2013 which indicated that he and The Rock changed the thrust of the match on the fly based on the crowd's response.
The penultimate match for the night was a Triple Threat match between the Women's Champion Jazz, Trish Stratus and Lita. Near the end of the match, a Stratusfaction attempt from Trish on Lita was prevented when Lita threw Trish into the corner and out of the ring. With Lita by the corner, Jazz followed and hit a then climbed the top turnbuckle and delivered a Fisherman's Superplex, allowing her to pin Lita and remain Women's Champion. At the parking lot, Christian gets ready to leave the stadium in a taxi. However, Maven pulled Christian out and quickly pinned him to win the Hardcore Championship. Maven then hopped into the taxi and left, leaving him the final Hardcore Champion for the night and Christian in another tantrum.
The main event of the night was the Undisputed WWF Championship match between Chris Jericho and Triple H. For his entrance, Triple H had Drowning Pool perform their version of his theme song, "The Game", live. With Triple H's leg bandaged, both Jericho and Stephanie McMahon gave numerous shots at the leg during the match. Triple H outsmarted the two by dodging Jericho's attack, causing him to collide with Stephanie who was standing on the apron. Outside the ring, Triple H went for the Pedigree on Jericho through the announcers' table. However, Jericho reversed it into a back drop, sending Triple H through the Spanish announcers' table. Stephanie tried to hit Triple H with a steel chair but had it removed by referee Earl Hebner. Stephanie pushed Hebner aside but then, she was met by a Pedigree from Triple H. Jericho tried his own Pedigree on Triple H but ended up having it reversed into a catapult. Triple H then hit the Pedigree on Jericho and pinned him to become the new Undisputed Champion.
After WrestleMania, the WWF board of directors made their final decision over the control of the company. Due to the conflicts between Vince McMahon and Ric Flair making bad business, Linda McMahon proposed a brand extension, essentially splitting the entire WWF roster into two separate entities. Vince took control of the SmackDown! brand while Flair controlled the Raw brand. A draft was held with each owner would get a total of thirty picks between the wrestlers. The draft was held on the March 25 edition of Raw, while the brand extension officially began on April 1.
Triple H's feud with Stephanie would conclude on the March 25 episode of Raw when he defeated her and Jericho in a Triple Threat match for the Undisputed Championship. By pinning her, Stephanie was forced to leave the WWF by accordance to the match stipulations. Triple H's feud with Jericho would continue with Jericho and The Undertaker interfering with Triple H's championship match at Backlash against Hollywood Hulk Hogan and costing him the Undisputed Championship. Their feud would finish with a Hell in a Cell match at Judgment Day and at King of the Ring (2002).
Until the brand extension separated both parties, The Rock and Hulk Hogan feuded with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. On the final SmackDown! before the brand extension, the team of Rock, Hogan and Kane defeated Nash, Hall and new nWo member X-Pac in a six-man tag match. The Rock left shortly after the WWF draft for three months to go on a media tour to promote his movie, The Scorpion King.
After being drafted to the Raw brand, Steve Austin would get himself involved in the feud between The Undertaker and Ric Flair, fighting Undertaker at Backlash for an Undisputed Championship shot. The storyline itself evolved into a feud between Austin and Flair, with the nWo's involvement on Flair's behalf.
WrestleMania X8 was met with generally positive critical reception. Writing for SLAM! Wrestling, John Powell gave the overall event 7 out of 10 stars, which was a lower rating than the previous year's event. The main event between Chris Jericho and Triple H for the WWF Undisputed Championship received the highest rating out of all the matches on the card of 8 out of 10 stars, the match between The Rock and Hulk Hogan received a rating of 7 out of 10 stars, the match between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Scott Hall received a rating of 6 out of 10 stars, the No disqualification match between The Undertaker and Ric Flair was rated 7.5 out of 10 stars and Four Corners Elimination match for the WWF Tag Team Championship between Billy and Chuck, The APA, The Hardy Boyz and The Dudley Boyz being rated 5 out of 10 stars. Robert Leighty Jr of 411mania gave the event a score of 6.8 out of 10.0 and cited how "This show is remembered for one match, and one match alone, but damn if it wasn't an Epic match. The Main Event and a good showing from Taker/Flair add to the depth of the show, but everything else was hurt by a lack of time. This felt like the early marathon Manias where you had to sit through a lot of filler to get to the high points."
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