FEEDBACK: Rewind-A-Wai #3 - WrestleMania X-8

This Friday, we return for a review of WRESTLEMANIA X-8 from The SkyDome in Toronto.

We are looking for your feedback to the event and any questions in relation to this show, the key programs at that time, the card itself and anything else from this time period in the WWE in 2002.

This is an Espresso Executive Producer Show, presented by: Ziggy Cao.

We made the 4 hour drive from Detroit to come see that show and hang out for the weekend. Needless to say we were blown away by the Canadian atmosphere and seeing what Mania weekend has become now for travel destinations, this event really seemed to be a good kickstart for that. Too bad there weren’t any Indy shows that we saw, so beyond WWE Access on Friday night, our Saturday highlight was that we saw Benoit by himself checking out the CN Tower. This is when he was out with the neck injury and hadn’t been on TV for a while, we asked how he was doing and he actually really appreciative that we asked. Before the doors opened up for Mania, the Hogan chants were so loud outside of the Skydome it was pretty incredible. My friends and I were totally going into this rooting for the Rock and really didn’t consider that Hogan was going to be the huge fan favorite but once we got within the surroundings of the Skydome, holy hell it was overwhelming how loud it was with tens of thousands of people chanting for Hogan.

Overall the event was pretty good…I remember the Austin vs Hall feud and match was pretty awkward and admittedly Austin said this as well. He was just in a bad place. Taker and Flair was pretty good and obviously Hogan/Rock was unforgettable but outside of those, it was pretty dull. I remember a bunch of 7-10 minute matches that weren’t that exciting. I found the huge Entrance to be very weird as well. We sat front row in the lower level seats, not the floors seats and the entrance was to our right and it was just a ton of metal, like an erector set. No crazy lights or anything, just metal, that’s all I remember. And this was an era where WWE had some awesome sets for shows like Backlash and Invasion. Needless to say we all know
The main event title match shouldn’t have gone on last as the crowd was pretty dead after going nuts for 20 minutes for Hogan/Rock.

And oh yeah, we were not allowed to bring our beers down to the seats, we had to drink them before the ushers would let us back down to our seats. Was that normal back then? That sucked. Anyways, thanks guys…really glad to be a part of this Post Wrestling Era

Hey guys, great job on everything so far, and total continued Patreon support from me. This Mania I remember watching from the Silvercity at Polo Park in Winnipeg, and it reminded me how I hated the Hardcore Division at the time with the stupid 24/7 rule, and how many finishes they had in this match…even after it was over…a rather lackluster match between Hall and Austin, but considering how Hall was at the time, it was a miracle they could have a match…of course, you have to talk about Rock and Hogan, even from a movie theatre, you could feel that energy from the Skydome, in a match where the crowd totally put over Hogan…of course, being in Winnipeg, you had the whole theatre going for Jericho, but was not surprised when HHH went over…I give this one a 7 out of 10.
Rich in East Selkirk, Manitoba

I already kind of talked about this show, but this show is a massively formative one for me and one I have one complaint about. As a young mark, watching X8 as one of my first shows ever (alongside Judgment Day 2004, both on DVD) was an amazing experience. Judgment Day was a show I liked, but from the opening video to the opening match of RVD/Regal to - yeah, even the music - I loved this show.

It’s impossible to pick a favourite. The opener was the perfect opener for the show, I thought the hardcore segments were funny and spontaneous, Angle and Kane was a match I enjoyed a lot - being introduced to Kane was really visually impressive. I know there’s a massive botch in this match, but at the time it just kind of looked like, well, a fight. I bought into it, hook, line and sinker. Really even got into Edge too, his look and his moves (and, again, also very much his music) attracted me to him immediately. Taker/Flair and Hall/Stone Cold were both matches that really got me invested into their stories and I marked out hard for all of it, especially the savage Taker/Flair match. They absolutely had me in the palm of their hands as an entire organization with this show. I was genuinely afraid of Jazz too, she was awesome - Trish as the sort of damsel in distress character really worked out well for that match, and despite it being in the popcorn match spot I really enjoyed it a lot.

Of course, if you wanna talk about matches with great stories but not much actual ring work, jesus fucking christ Rock/Hogan. The Rock and Hogan were maybe the only two people I really knew going into this show, and seeing them fight was absolutely electric. From The Rock’s promo (of which I’m decently sure I could recite by heart) to the entrances, to the reaction of the crowd, I was sitting up, completely alert, so invested in this match, so much so that this whole card imprinted on me and whenever I rewatch it, it puts me right back in that mindset.

I try to ignore the fact that HHH/Jericho happened. I thought HHH looked like a jerk from the first time I watched it and that is not an opinion that has changed. I get, in hindsight, that the babyface is supposed to win at Wrestlemania, but, uh, I didn’t like this match. Not then, not now. This match and the big the tag match are the only ones that I never got into. But those are two very small low points when compared to something as fucking incredible as Rock/Hogan.

10/10. It’d be 11/10 if HHH/Jericho had not been what it was.

Thoughts of this show… Stacy Keibler was hot af dancing with that rock star…

I hated all the Hardcore title skits… they were goofy.

Undertaker and Flair had a really fun build up and match, highlighted by a David Flair beating and an Arn Anderson Mania Spinbuster.

Hogan and Rock was a fun match but with Hogan attempting to murder the Rock with a semi truck in the weeks leading up, Rock marking out for him post match was stupid.

Austin getting such a low end match with Scott Hall was sad and set the table for the walk out to come.

THE main was lame, as it felt like Jericho got the title just to drop it to Trips… completing his injury recovery storyline… defeating the guy he wrestled when he blew his quad… and to make it even “better” they added on the extra layer of McMahon family drama with Stephanie.

And how,sad was it with how hot TBD was in the summer and fall to be relegated to the opening… albeit with an awesome opponent but still… not what it should have been.

And what was that Edge-booker feud… over a Japanese shampoo commercial… that’s a mania program. That shit was embarrassing.

i actually watched this show a few months back and after seeing the go home show raw and smackdown for this show i realized that it didnt look good on paper. the whole show came off as a bland soldout show in a huge stadium,.
2 questions
1, is is true that Ken Shamrock, Bret Hart, and Sting were talked about as being a part of this show or coming back to the company at this time?

  1. do you guys think it would have help this show if rock/ austin happened at this show and not the year after in seattle. i ask because it was teased on the smackdown before royal rumble 2002.

1st off John & Wai love the site, keep up the great work!

I started watching wrestling 7 months before Mania X8 and was excited to hear that it was coming to Toronto, i had a chance to attend the biggest show of the year. The 1st wrestling event i ever attended would be Wrestlemania! as a young child that memory would last a lifetime! Sadly i was one of many Torontonians that wasn’t able to get tickets since they sold out quickly and ticket prices on the secondary market were high, i begged my family to try to get tickets but to no avail. Instead i went to one day of Axxess which was at The Exhibition and Raw at the ACC less than 3 months later.

I enjoyed watching the show even though i was heartbroken that i wasn’t there live, Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock had one of the best crowds ever. After that i vowed that one day i’ll go to Wrestlemania and 15 years later i was able to do that for Mania 33.

In awe. I had wanted to watch the Rock vs Hogan match for a long time, and this finally got me to do it. The fact that they managed to keep the Sky Dome at a quiet roar or louder for a 15+ minute match, while realistically doing very little, is a testament to both men’s ability to work a crowd and also read the reactions they were getting. That match reminded me of John talking about the value of a great promo guy, especially in today’s WWE. These men didn’t do that many moves, but because they cut great promos and developed characters that the fans were invested in, anything they did blew the roof off the building. This match made me want another Mania in Toronto even more. Solid show overall, 7/10

This show is remembered for 2 things in my view. Hogan & Rock having the best atmosphere resulting in it being the match you need to watch from this show and it’s also remembered for Jericho & Hunter not being able to follow it at all. I remember being so disappointed because I love Jericho and wanted his main event push to go well. I personally really liked Flair/Taker as well, felt it was a good brawl and it had a Double A spinebuster! Overall it wasn’t a bad show at all, just feels random looking back on it.

I finally watched this show a few months back…and it was a struggle. I think it took me 4 sittings to finally finish it. If it weren’t for the Hogan/Rock match this may have been one of the worst Wrestlemania’s of all time. The year prior every match seemed to have purpose and a reason to have the match. This show all seemed to just have matches tossed together to get guys on the card. I found myself looking forward to the Hardcore Championship segments because those were at least kept short and were halfway entertaining. Overall I only give this a 4/10. Hard show to get through with only one match that made it feel like Wrestlemania.

WrestleMania 18 is much like its other Canadian brethren WM 6 in that is seen as a one match show thanks to Hulk Hogan. However it is a good WM that is seen as less than good thanks to being sandwiched between the usual two picks for best mania in 17 and 19. While Hogan/Rock is the best match on the show, I really liked Taker/Flair and consider it one of the more underrated streak matches. The rest of the card is ok, nothing great but there is nothing awful on the card either. While not a top 10 mania, WM 18 is still on the better side of manias and gets 7 Molly door shots out of ten.

Question: If Austin did not have the disastrous heel turn in 2001 and had his popularity wane, would Austin/Hogan have been a bigger WM match in your opinion?

A few thoughts about this Wrestlemania:

It was strange to see Austin this low on the card against Scott Hall.

After Double A hit the spine buster on Taker, I thought Flair was going to win the match. A great false finish before “the streak” was heavily promoted.

I could never believe in Jericho as THE champion during this time. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one which is a reason why the main event was so flat.

Enjoyed Rock/Hogan and the affect the crowd had on the match. Was this always the plan or was Austin/Hogan ever a possibility?

The one thing that I remember about this event was how angry I was with myself that I didn’t made the trip to go see it live when it happened because it felt like I awesome show to be live at.

I also remember thinking how they made a mistake by having Jericho vs HHH as the main event since Hogan vs rock was clearly the main event of the show.

Lastly, I was at the raw after mania in Montreal, and seeing how Hogan was received and lesnar’s debut was the highlight of the weekend.

This was the second time I watched WM X8 and I’m surprised how much I enjoyed it. There was nothing great on the card bar Hogan Vs Rock, but nothing that was offensively bad either. I’d argue that WM X8 was better than the last few Wrestlemanias in terms of quality control.

That said, Hogan Vs Rock should have gone on last. I think HHH Vs Jericho would have been better received had it occurred earlier in the show as the crowd had peaked in terms of interest after Hogan Vs Rock.

All in all, an average show with one great match. 6 Super Fisherman Busters out of 10.

1 Like

Alexander from Portland

This was my first time seeing this show, as I got into wrestling more near WrestleMania XX. Seeing the likes of The Undertaker, Kane, Kurt Angle, The Hardyz, and Triple H wrestle in 2002 was neat seeing as how they’ve all wrestled in 2017 (and not excellently). I also greatly enjoyed hearing the music. The nu metal gave me a nostalgia trip, and it’s very different from the music we hear nowadays on WWE (La Resistance’s future theme being used for the Flair/Taker video was interesting). When it comes to WrestleManias as of late, the music and performances have been incredibly uninteresting to me, but the music of this show was befitting and energizing. Saliva was very welcome, where I bet less than half of attendants of recent WrestleManias didn’t care at all about Pitbull or Flo Rida.

I’m curious which match was more advertised as the main event, Rock/Hogan or Triple H/Jericho. I played the Hogan Bump Challenge for his match (guessed four bumps, counted nine). I’ll echo everyone else here and say Rock/Hogan definitely should have main evented. My main takeaway from this show was that it was just okay. No awful matches, no blowaway matches, everything was just fine. 6/10

Question: Can you tell me a bit about the Biker Taker character? Who came up with the idea, and how was he debuted? It seems very odd to me that a mystical, magical character like The Undertaker would turn into a motorcycle riding guy coming out to Limp Bizkit.

I still remember to this day the reaction the crowd gave to Hulk Hogan during his match with the Rock, and the way the two of them looked out at the crowd. Definitely was an iconic moment. The match itself wasn’t anything to write home about.

The rest of the card was decent. I remember Austin being less than enthused to work with Scott Hall. Given Hall’'s issues, one could understand why.

Keep entertaining us, guys. Doing a great job.

Mike in upstate NY

Going to Wrestlemania X-8, just a few weeks before my 20th birthday, was probably the peak of my Wrestling Fandom.

This was I think my first proper experience watching Wrestlemania, so I just enjoyed the show as a whole, no matter the quality of the matches. I was sitting way up in the 500s of the Skydome and while it was initially a bit off-putting watching the show from an extreme distance, I eventually got used to it an enjoyed the experience overall. At least it was better from a house show I went to at Skydome in 1999, where I had seats in the 100 level, but was in the opposite side of the stadium from where the ring was.

I also believe, the night of Wrestlemania X-8 was the first time I listened to The Law, since the father of the friend I went to the show with put it on as he was driving us home.