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Ian Challis

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WWF WRESTLEMANIA X-8 RECAP

Well, it's been a while coming, but it's finally here for your viewing pleasure. On a side note, I'm working on a new Blown Spots column which should be ready for the end of the week. Keep your eyes open! This one's a little more interesting...

  • Before even the pay-per-view opening, Saliva introduces us with some song or other, which includes the rather confusing line "Get your ass up off your shoulders". Indeed. The lead singer looks alarmingly like Ballz Mahoney.

  • Comin' atcha liiiiiiiiiiiiiive from Toronto, your hosts are Jim "Brainbuster!" Ross and Jerry "Your Creepy Uncle" Lawler. The set is reasonably magical, although it does look as if it's been assembled from whatever happened to be lying around backstage. Oh well-it's the thought that counts.

  • Intercontinental Title Match: Rob van Dam Vs. William Regal: An interesting choice for an opener-they must have had confidence that the style clash wouldn't be a factor. This is eerily like last year-big huge dome, massive walkway, Regal in the opening match. Rob gets a quick kick and standing moonsault for two, and Regal goes straight for the knux. RVD bats 'em out to the floor, and Regal begs off, so van Dam dropkicks him. Springboard heel kick sets up an early five star, which misses. Regal running knee gets two. RVD crossbody gets two. Backslide gets two, and Regal suplexes him for two. Union Jack gets two, and Regal goes to the straightjacket hold. Boy, they sure are cramming 'em in here. van Dam breaks free, but Rolling Thunder hits knees. Regal hits the Tiger Driver for two. He goes for the Regal Stretch, but van Dam cradles for two. They're gelling surprisingly well, especially considering Regal's past few stalleriffic efforts. Regal knocks him down and waves for the fans, thus completely negating that last part about gelling and whatnot. RVD escapes a second driver and gets a monkey flip, but Regal darts out of the corner and hits a half-nelson suplex! Whoa, he FOLDED him up there. RVD rolls out immediately, making me suspect a serious injury, but Regal follows and tosses him back in. He fetches the knux but is swiftly disarmed by the ref. Like a good boy scout, Regal comes prepared, and goes for his second emergency pair. Unfortunately, all this poncing around allows RVD to recover and hits a heel kick. The five star finishes clean at 6:21, and dang, that sure was a swank six-minute match. **3/4

  • Christian promo. He makes a PATHETIC attempt at turning the fans against him. I mean, come ON, is it REALLY necessary to kill the guy's heat at this juncture? It's not like he's massively over either way, you might as well allow him a few licks of face reaction.

  • And here's a lovely camera view from the CN Tower! What a SHITTY assignment. "Uh, yeah, Phil, we'll hang round here and film the show, you go right up to the top of that big tower there! We'll call you when we're finished, honest."

  • European Title Match: Christian Vs. Diamond Dallas Page: Christian is now from Tampa. Real cute, he should hook up with D'Lo Brown. You can hear a pin drop during Page's entrance, which is sad on so many levels. Christian gets the jump on him and poses with the title belt, as JR really goes to work burying Page, noting his driving assignment at WrestleMania VI. Jesus, Ross, give it a rest. The LEAST you could do is push him as a serious European Title candidate, or is that too serious an assignment for the big bad WCW main eventer? Anyhoo, Page gets a gutwrench gutbuster and sends Christian out. Back in, and Christian gets a low blow and Snake Eyes. He tosses Page, then back inside stomps him down. Page tries a postie in the corner, but takes a bitter helping of irony and eats post himself. Christian goes to the abdominal stretch inside, then hits the backbreaker for two. Page follows him upstairs and throws him down, then hits a spinning powerbomb for two. Christian's Unprettier attempt is blocked, but he gets the slop drop for two. A tantrum beckons, but he remains calm. Attaboy, Christian! Page takes advantage with an inside cradle for two, and the Cutter finishes at 6:10. ** Page applauds Christian's calm temperament, prompting a tantrum from the man himself. Boy, doesn't this just FILL you with hope for both men's careers?

  • Rocky insults Coach's religious beliefs backstage. Damn funny interview.

  • Hardcore Title Match: Goldust Vs. Maven: Oh, come ON. It's nice giving the rookie a spot, but PUH-LEAZE. Al Snow must be pissed at THIS match. Goldie has a funky new robe, and his usual array of gold weapons. The usual Maven match follows, as "wily veteran" Goldust pounds the shit out of him, including an elbowdrop across the guard rail. Back inside, Maven hits the Best Damn Dropkick In HWA for two, and I think a trash can was supposed to be involved there but eh, who knows. It gets two at any rate. Maven cradle gets two. Goldie neckbreaker gets two-wasn't that his new finisher? Gourdbuster, and 'Dust fetches a gold shovel and jams it into Maven's ribs, then tosses him into a trash can for two. Each guy nails the other with a trash can lid, and Spike Dudley comes in with his own ref, getting the pin at 3:17. Spike makes a quick exit, pursued by Crash, 'Dust and Maven. Pointless time-filler, something which could have been avoided by putting Snow in Goldust's place. DUD

  • Well, lookie, it's Drowning Pool with a REALLY BAD SONG. That's five minutes that I'll never get back.

  • The Hardcore Saga continues backstage, as Hurricane swoops in on Spike(literally) to claim the title.

  • Kurt Angle Vs. Kane: Angle immediately puts me in a good mood by ripping on the Canadian's gold medal woes. He furthers his heel heat by clubbing Kane with the bell before the, er, bell, making me laugh even more. They slug it out to start, and Angle wastes no time in German suplexing Kane out of his boots. Bonza. Kane catches him of-guard with a double choke-lift, and tries a chokeslam, but Kurt grabs the ropes to block. Kane clothesline him down anyway, but Angle gets the overhead belly-to-belly. I want a Steiner/Angle match RIGHT NOW, dammit. He clotheslines Kane down, and hits a belly-to-back for two. Front chancery, but Kane muscles out and slams Angle off. Sidewalk slam, but Angle escapes a suplex and gets the rolling Germans for two. Kinda ironic, an American Hero using German suplexes as a signature part of his repertoire. He clotheslines Kane from the top, but tries again and takes one himself. Slugfest, and Kane gets a backdrop. Tilt-o-whirl slam gets two, and the chokeslam looks to finish, but Angle grabs the ropes at two. Kane makes the International Sign Of The Tombstone, but Angle escapes and claws at the mask. Kane frantically pulls it down, allowing Angle the Angle Slam for...two. Whoa. Ankle lock time, but Kane makes the ropes. Angle won't break, so Kane nails the enzuiguri. He goes up top, but Angle nails the climb-up armdrag to bring him down. Damn, the ring moved six inches on that. He tries the Angle Slam one more time, but Kane escapes. Chokeslam attempt, but Angle rolls into an INCREDIBLY botched schoolboy for the pin at 10:46. Not sure who's fault that was, although it looked like Angle went for a legbar instead of the planned finish. Blown ending aside, this was somewhere between their two television matches in terms of quality. ***

  • Hurricane pervs on the ho's, aided by that bastion of comedy, the silhouette dressing screen.

  • No-Disqualification Match: The Undertaker Vs. Ric Flair: Ric's robe is nice. Shame about what it's covering. He comes out swinging, and they fight out to the floor and over the announce table. Flair's a house afire, but Taker fights back and knocks him down. Back in the ring, and Ric boxes Taker's ears. Taker bails and posts Ric, as JR tells of Flair's plane crash and broken back in the 70s. Just when you think his announcing skills are all gone, he goes and pulls that out of his hat. God bless ya, Jim. Taker drags him back inside and beats the shit out of him. Flair goes HARD back-first into the corner, in what looked like an aborted Flair Flip. My suspicions are confirmed when they repeat the spot and Flair pulls it off. Taker, now bleeding hardway from the cheek, boots him off the apron. He lays into Flair around the announce booth, and Flair slices his head open good and proper. Back inside, and Flair treats us to the Flair Flop. He comes back with some chops, and Taker sells it like he's been shot in the chest. Nice. Of course, that good will disappears when he clotheslines Flair out of his trunks seconds later. Taker beats Flair down in the corner, spattering blood over the camera. That's very ECWish. He sits Flair up top-and there's a SUPERPLEX! Jesus, they'll break a hip, nyuk nyuk nyuk. Both guys down.

    Taker covers, but pulls Flair up at two. Flair takes advantage and fires off some more chops, but Taker clubs him down and drops a leg across the apron. That gets two, but Taker pulls him up AGAIN. Idiot. He misses an elbowdrop, and Flair throws some chops at him. Taker tries Old School but gets crotched, and Flair tosses him. Back in, and Taker gets a sidewalk slam for two. He crotches himself on a big boot, and Flair chops him to the floor. Flair fetches the lead pipe from Taker's bike, and hits the most pussed-out, weak weapon shot I've ever seen. Period. It's enough to trigger a bladejob from Taker, however. Flair whales away with the pipe, and nails Taker with a "Keep Away" sign. Inside, Flair hits glorious low blow and hooks up the Figure Four, and Taker SELLS it. Whoa. It gets a two-count, but Taker promptly pops up and grabs Flair round the throat. CHOKESLAM! TAKER SELLS THE LEG! Damn. He covers for two, then arbitrarily decides to kill the ref. He goes outside and grabs the pipe, but Flair nails and Arn Anderson appears from nowhere, giving him an absolutely GORGEOUS spinebuster. Just awesome. Unfortunately, it only gets two. Taker take Arn to the floor and wipes the mat with him, allowing Flair some chair shots. Taker simply bats it away after three or four, and tries the Last Ride. Flair's dead weight, so Taker scoops him up-TOMBSTONE! That, naturally, gets the pin at 18:47. Taker counts off his wins and slaughters the ref one more time. Call it nostalgia, call it markishness, call it whatever, I LOVED this match. ***

  • Booker cuts an incredibly dumb promo backstage, wearing Homer Simpson half-moon specs. What the Hell is wrong with these people?

  • Booker T Vs. Edge: JR is incredulous that this feud revolves around shampoo. He's not the only one. Edge throws some forearms to start, then hits a dropkick and his swanky facebuster for two. JR deepens the stupidity of this rivalry, detailing both men's "Weakest Link" history. All we need is a blow off match with Anne Robinson as a troubleshooting referee. Booker get the Harlem sidekick for two and clotheslines Edge to the floor. Back in, and a missile dropkick gets two for the bookerman. He stomps Edge down, and spinebusts him for two. Edge crotches Booker up top, and completely blows a Frankensteiner, dropping Booker on his head and damn near killing the both of them. Both guys go down. Edge is up first, and he hits a heel kick and a pair of clotheslines. Booker misses an axe kick, allowing Edge the Edge-O-Matic for two. Top rope heel kick gets two for the Edgester. Booker rolls him up for two, and Edge catapults him into the corner. he misses a charge and eats post, allowing a Booker side kick. Spinerooni sets up the axe kick, for two. They need to re-establish that as a finisher, get Booker some cred. Edge blocks the Bookend and spears him for two. Edge pulls off a BAD spinerooni, then dodges another sidekick and finishes things with the Edgecution at 6:33. Well, that was a big waste of time and Booker. **

  • Mighty Molly waylays her gallant Hurricane backstage to take the Hardcore Championship. Curiously, not the first female Hardcore Champion-that honour belongs to "Ho #2".

  • Stone Cold Steve Austin Vs. Scott Hall w/Kevin Nash: The video package details the crappy buildup in all it's entirety. The spanky nWo entrance is ruined somewhat when Nash misses his cue, leaving Scott standing there like a dumbass for a minute or so. When he arrives, Nash is dressed for combat-hmm. Austin shoots out of the blocks, beating the shit out of Hall. Thesz Press, and Hall eats turnbuckle. He bails, and Austin plays peek-a-boo with Nash on the floor, then beats Hall all around the ring. Back inside, Hall clotheslines Austin for two. Nash removes a turnbuckle as Hall beats on Austin, and Austin goes back-first into the TINY STEEL RING OF DEATH. He rolls outside, and Nash whomps him. Hall gets the fallaway slam for two in the ring. Clothesline gets two, and we go to the choking. Nash works in a couple of cheapshots, but Austin gets his goofy spinebuster and both guys go down. Hall is up first and taunts Austin, but gets Stunned. It gets two, but Nash yanks the ref out and clobbers him. Thankyou for that small favour, Kev, I don't think I could have taken that finish. The Outsiders set about double teaming Austin, but he dodges a chair shot and Stuns both men. Oh, joy. He covers Hall as another ref arrives, but Kev interferes again, crushing poor li'l Jack Doan with an elbow drop. Austin clotheslines him out, then sends Hall to the floor with a backdrop. The Cult Of Hebner swarm down to the ring and force Nash to the back, allowing Hall to hit a Stunner for two-amazingly, the kickout gets BOOED. Crazy Canucks. Austin pops up and quickly dispatches Hall with not one but two Stunners at 9:53. * Thanks to Austin's rampant selfishness and childish demands, what could have been an intriguing and innovative match was reduced to a cookie-cutter Austin squash. Welcome to Hell, Austin-you've become the one thing you were campaigning against.

  • It's Fan Axxess! There's a very scary Undertaker fan! RVD's stoned again! Aww, Booker made that kid cry! Fun for all the family!

  • Four Corners Match For Tag Team Titles: Dudley Boyz w/Stacy Vs. The APA Vs. Hardy Boyz Vs. Billy & Chuck: As if one song weren't enough, Saliva get a SECOND airing, this time playing the Duds out. It does allow Stacy to bump 'n' grind, though, so there is some merit. The crowd is deader than a very very dead thing. Big ol' brawl to kick off, duh, and Billy gets a neckbreaker on Bradshaw, who completely ignores it and hits the fallaway slam on Chuck. Tag to Faarooq, who gets clotheslines by Chuck. Billy comes in and chokes him down for two, then gets powerslammed by Faarooq. Tag to Bradshaw, who DDTs Billy for two. Billy scarpers and tags in D-Von, and the APA dodge 3D with a well-placed spinebuster. Billy chews on the Clothesline From Hell, but Bradshaw turns right round into the 3D, eliminating the APA at 3:26. That was as chaotic and disjointed as it sounds.

    The Hardys jump in immediately and brawl with the Duds, and it settles down into Jeff against D-Von. Chuck interrupts, and gets double DDTed for his troubles, and the Duds set up a table outside. The Hardys follow with stereo dives, and Bubba and Jeff get down to it back in the ring. Whisper In The Wind, and Jeff removes the shirt. Ewww, he is WHITE. Even JR and King notice it. Stacy uses her ass as a distraction, which Jeff is oddly unaffected by. Hmm...It does, however, allow Bubba and Billy to nail him with a Dudleyville Device, putting him into white-boy-in-peril mode. Okay, so I'll make you a deal. If want to know the play by play for the next five minutes or so, you can go read my Survivor Series report, or my Unforgiven rant, or one of CRZ's numerous transcripts. Because not only has this been seen before, it's been done into the ground that I'm actually going to fall asleep recapping it. 'Kay? 'Kay. Highlights include Bubba standing on Jeff's groin and a nice flying back elbow from D-Von. Jeff finally turns it around with a vicious-looking inverted DDT on D-Von, and both teams make the stone cold tag. Matt's a house a-something vaguely resembling fire, and he tosses D-Von then knocks both champs off of the apron. Bubba sneaks in with a belly-to-back, but misses his senton, and Matt's second rope legdrop gets two. Bubba slams him and calls for Wazzup, but Billy wisely interjects himself, shoving D-Von off the top and through the table on the outside. This allows Matt to Twist Bubba's Fate, and Jeff flies in with a swanton for the pin at 11:49. OH MY GOD! BUBBA DID THE JOB! What's more, it leaves us with the gayest tag team title match since the days of Demolition.

    Chuck pounces on both Hardys (not like that, you pervs) and Jungle Kicks Matt for two, then Billy tosses Jeff (geez, so many double entendres).Matt blocks his cobra slam and hits a sleeper drop, and the Hardys hit Poetry In Motion on both guys. Twist Of Fate/Swanton puts Chuck down, but Billy sneaks in a PoundAsser on Jeff. Chuck covers for two, so Billy comes back in and smashes Jeff with his title belt. Chuck hooks the leg for the winning pin at 13:51. Not actively BAD or anything, but God was it boring. **

  • Scott and Kev discuss WWF politics backstage. Hogan interrupts and displays his comically large feather boa.

  • And Christian proves he's not entirely a loser by beating up a defenceless girl to win the Hardcore Title. We still believe in you, Christian!

  • Hollywood Hulk Hogan Vs. The Rock: Well my friends, this is, as we say, it. JR and King do a masterful job of selling the significance of this match. The two men exchange a minute-long staredown, and Chioda finally rings the bell. The crowd heat is just off the charts-it's like a sea of noise, with waves crashing into the ring every other second. They lock up, and Hogan pushes Rock down, to a megapop. Just insane. Hogan tells the Rock to Just Bring It, and the crowd couldn't be happier. Hulk slaps on a headlock, then hits a shoulderblock and poses, and the roof damn near blows off the joint. Right hands and a clothesline, but Rock ducks another and hits his flying clothesline, to BOOS. Jesus, that's cold. Hulk's bandanna is finally off, and Rocky returns the favour to Hogan, calling for him to JBI. Shoving match, and Hogan bails off of a spit punch. Rock gives chase, and they slug it out inside. Rock clotheslines Hogan down and sets up the Rock Bottom, but Hogan elbows out ("expertly reversed", sayeth Jr-HA!)and hits a running elbow. There's a trio of elbow drops, and a big clothesline in the corner. Rock's selling Hogan's offence like a million bucks here. He spears Hogan and rains down rights, but Hogan gets a belly-to-back for two. Abdominal stretch, and a rollup(!)gets two. Hogan's got his working boots on tonight, har har. He beats up Rock in the corner, and Rock reverses and does some chops, to MORE boos. He charges out of the corner-into a Bossman Slam(!!). Where the Hell is the real Hulk Hogan? He chokes Rocky down-ah, he's back-but Rock fights up, so Hogan tosses him. Outside, and Hogan throws Rocky around, but Rock counters and slams Hogan into the announce table a few times. He grabs a chair, but the ref disarms him, allowing Hogan a clothesline. Back in, and Rocky runs right into the ref. Spinebuster puts both guys down, and Rock hooks up the Sharpshooter. The Canadians are booing the Sharpshooter! What is wrong with them? Hogan taps, but there's no ref so Rock breaks. He kicks at the ref, and Hogan sneaks in a low blow-then a Rock Bottom! It gets a heart-in-mouth two count, so Hogan removes his belt and tans Rock's hide. Rocky DDTs him and returns the whipping, then hits the REAL Rock Bottom...for two. Crowd goes NUTS. Hulk jumps up-and there's the Hulk-Up! Waggling finger, three punches, big boot OHHHHHH THE LEGDROP gets...two! This is crazy! Rocky dodges a second legdrop, and THERE'S a second Rock Bottom! And a third! There's the set-up...People's Elbow! And there's the three count at 16:24. What a great fucking moment. Well, that's a two-star match with five-star memories, so I'll split it and go *** I think Our So-Called Sport said it best-workrate, moveset and psychology may be important parts of wrestling, but what our great sport boils down to is entertaining the fans. And that was a DAMN entertaining match. Rock poses for the masses (now back on his side) and Hulk offers his hand, looking decidedly humble while doing so. oh, but wait, heeeeeeeere's Nash and Hall, and they don't look happy-already? Jeez, talk about a fast-track break-up. Anyhoo, Rocky saves Hogan from an nWo tagging, then plays Sid to Hogan's, er, Hogan, watching on incredulously as Hogan pops the crowd beyond belief with his poses. Just freaking awesome.

  • Well, everything else seems academic after that, but whatever.

  • Triple Threat Match For Women's Title: Jazz Vs. Lita Vs. Trish: Trish wears the national colours, but they're burnt out beyond repair for the night. Oh well, it's the thought that counts. Brawl to start, and Trish and Lita stomp Jazz. She fights them both off, and puts a hurtin' on Trish with a nasty half crab. Double chickenwing lift for Lita, and a BIG legdrop for two. Butterfly suplex on Lita, and she tosses Trish. Lita gets her goofy Blue Thunder Bomb, for two, and Jazz tries a superplex, but Trish rolls her up for two. Trish rolls through a Lita crossbody for two, then bulldogs her for two. Jazz splashes Lita for two, then gives Trish the Jazz Stinger for another two. Trish slop drops Jazz for two, and Lita and Trish fight. Twist Of Fate puts Jazz down, and Lita sets both opponents up for the Litasault, but it hits knees. Trish rollup #2 gets two. Jazz is up, and Trish backslides her for two. Jazz gets put outside, and Lita blocks Stratusfaction then goes upstairs. Jazz crotches her, and finishes things with a top-rope Jazz Stinger at 6:17. As exciting as it sounds, and now that Jazz has finished off both major competitors in one match the division is dead again. *

  • Christian celebrates being a winner backstage, but Maven sneaks up and schoolboys him to win his title back. Then-get this-he steals Christian's cab! What a no-good bastard!

  • Undisputed Title Match: Triple H Vs. Chris Jericho w/Stephanie McMahon: Drowning Pool BUTCHER Trip's entrance theme. The crowd is lukewarm at best, and really, who can blame them? Trip is also wearing the comically large thigh bandage-he might as well be wrestling wearing a big chalkboard with "HIT ME IN THE LEG" written on it. The two guys scrap in the corner, and Jericho sets the trend for the match by-you guessed it-going for the leg. Trip stays in charge with a backdrop, then clotheslines Jericho out of his boots. He gets the high knee, but remembers that his leg is all sore and belatedly sells it. Nice. Jericho backdrops him to the floor and poses atop the turnbuckles, but Trip pops up and slams him down to the floor. Suplex, but Jericho goes back to the leg. Back inside, and Trips spears him and goes for JERICHO'S leg. That's a novel twist. Figure four, but Steph rakes Trip's eyes to break it up. He grabs her, and Jericho accidentally nails her off of the apron. Ouch, he coulda knocked himself out on those plastic boobies. Trip pulls Steph in the ring and sets up the Pedigree, but Jericho hits a missile dropkick to break it up. He goes back to the leg, working it around the ringpost. He takes it outside-and there's the ringpost figure four! Nice homage to Bret, there. He breaks and take Trip back inside, applying an Indian deathlock. Old-school marvellous. Spinning toe-hold! Jericho grabs the ropes for leverage! Stupendous! Trip boots him into the corner to break, and hits a neckbreaker, then clotheslines him for two. The facebuster hurts Trip's leg, however, but he dodges Jericho's charge and hits a spinebuster for two. He pounds Jericho, but gets whipped into the corner and does the Shawnesque flip to the floor. Jericho follows and goes for the Walls on the table, but Trip fights up and sets up the Pedigree. It's all for nought, as Jericho backdrops him through the Spaniard's table. Nice bump by Roidzilla there. Jericho drags him back in and hits the LionSault for two. Jericho tries the Walls, which is countered to the Pedigree, which is in turn countered back to the Walls. Trip, not surprisingly, makes the ropes. Jericho gets all pissy and grabs a chair, but in his haste gets DDTed onto it, for a two count. Steph comes in and, finally, gets Pedigreed. The crowd wakes up for THAT. Jericho takes the opportunity to chair Trips for a two count, but the Pedigree finishes moments later at 18:42. Heatless, but damn good. ***

    Final Thought: Well, geez, that was a pretty good show. I mean, there were plenty of things working against it, ie. the nonsensical match order and stupid musical interludes, but for the most part I was entertained. The Rock/Hogan match was one for the history books-probably as Hogan's last good match-and the Taker/Flair and Trips/Jericho matches upped the star quotient too. Obviously it would have been nice to have a little sizzle to the steak-perhaps a Shawn Michaels appearance, or an unexpected swerve. But those are added things. This may not have been a blow-away WrestleMania, but it worked for me. Mild thumbs up, unless you are particularly biassed against Hogan, Nash and/or Hall.

    Ian Challis
    R.I.P The Shooters

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