Wrestlemania X-8 is now history, and while we leave it to others to critique the results and analyze what it all means, our focus is on how the production rated as a TV show. What follows are The Outsider's notes on the audio/visual quality of The World Series of Wrestling.
1. The show comes in at just under 4 hours. I counted 11 matches, timed out at approximately 119 minutes -- TWO HOURS of actual wrestling! That's an awful lot of padding, folks.
2. If I paid to see a wrestling pay-per-view, why am I forced to sit through a rock concert? I count 4 dreary songs performed by two dreary bands whose demeanors are supposed to "edgy" or "menacing" or possibly "satanic" but end up being merely "dull" and "slow-witted." This, my friends, is wasted time that would have been better spent by having MORE MATCHES.
3. The bands perform full-length renditions of their boring material, which means that the songs go on for what feels like forever. HHH's entrance is upstaged by just such a performance by Drowning Pool.
4. Speaking of music: Why no national anthem, "America The Beautiful," or even "O Canada"? I thought that was part of Wrestlemania tradition. Terrible job by the producers.
5. Either RVD was talking to himself, or he was calling spots so loud I could hear him over the crowd. Oh, wait, the crowd was totally dead. Never mind.
6. Once again, an RVD opponent (in this case, Regal) ends up bleeding (in this case, Regal's mouth). How many does that make that Mr. Monday Night has busted open the hard way? Can't make him very popular in the locker room.
7. The backstage shenanigans brought on by the Hardcore Title's 24-7 rule were a pleasant distraction, though sadly without imagination. Must we always be skulking down the same hallway? Nonetheless, Molly's frying-pan shot was actually pretty funny.
8. Booker T's "Einstein's Theory of Relatives." Stop it with this hilarious comedy, my sides are splitting with laughter! (NOT) Note to JR: If you have to repeat the joke, it wasn't funny the first time.
9. Kevin Nash (and, to a lesser extent, Scot Hall) has to work on his selling of the Stone Cold Stunner. I'm pretty sure the move is designed for Austin to bring the victim to the floor with him. Nash just bends from the waist as Austin slides off him, the result being that we see Austin land on his butt and Nash is still standing there. Then Nash just kind of falls down, which looks ridiculous.
10. The crowd was so dead for the tag team 4-way, I was almost hoping they'd sweeten the audio with a little something.
11. Another ruined entrance. When the Dudley Boys come out, the cameras remain on the band Saliva and we get to see not one second of Stacey Kiebler. Considering all the promos the WWF had Stacey do for the event, this is incredibly stupid.
12. With his blue-white boots, white belt and bald head, Hogan is a dead ringer for my uncle down in Miami Beach.
13. JR is woefully unprepared to convey the historical significance of Rock-Hogan. When was Hogan's last WWF match? What was Hogan's last Wrestlemania match? When was the last time Hogan performed in Toronto, or in the Sky Dome? We are told none of these things.
14. Inexcusable booking on the women's match. The match is in Toronto, Trish is wearing a hot pro-Canada outfit, AND the fans need to be goosed for the men's title match to follow. How the hell does Trish not win this? Instead Jazz retains, with the inevitable result: a completely dead crowd for HHH-Jericho.
15. Last, and most amazing: we're at the end of the show and no sign of Vince McMahon. Whoever convinced Vince to stay on the sidelines for this one, good on ya!
In conclusion, the main point is still Point # 1: I paid for a four-hour wrestling show and got two hours of wrestling. Which means that I'm pretty sure they charged me twice as much as they should have. Satan, thy name is "sports entertainment."