WrestleMania Flashback: WrestleMania VIII

WrestleMania VIII was an interesting show. There were a few really cool matches, and a really confusing ending. What happened?

THE GOOD: Randy Savage had a great match with Ric Flair for the WWF Championship. Flair was talking trash about Savage’s wife, Miss Elizabeth, which set up this feud. Flair was being so scummy towards her the whole time, so you really REALLY wanted him to not only beat the tar out of Flair but take away the title. And he did. Another awesome WrestleMania moment from Savage.

THE BAD: The ending of the Hulk Hogan/Sid Justice match. Sid was so awesome, and Hogan wound up costing him the Royal Rumble, which made him go crazy. Rightfully. I was so sure that Sid would end Hulkamania once and for all. Unfortunately, the next day I found out at school that Hogan one and never got around to seeing this match. I just saw this for the first time this month and it is confusing. There’s a lot of confusion, Papa Shongo and the Ultimate Warrior get involved. Just craziness.

MATCH TO WATCH: Bret Hart beating Roddy Piper to win the Intercontinental Championship is the highlight of the event, if not the best match I’ve ever seen Piper in.

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WrestleMania Flashback: WrestleMania V

I really wished that Macho Man had beat Hulk Hogan. Oh well...

WrestleMania V was the big thing right around when I became hooked on professional wrestling. We had moved in with my grandmother for a bit, and this was the first time we had cable. Watching the feud between the two grow was epic.

But I’ll admit I was disappointed. When I was young I always preferred Macho Man and Roddy Piper to Hulk Hogan, so this was kind of a bummer to me.

THE GOOD: As a whole, it was decent but nothing too spectacular.

THE BAD: Did they really need to include the Red Rooster/Bobby Heenan match? It just felt like a time filler, and at most a break before the main event.

MATCH TO WATCH: Mr. Perfect and the Blue Blazer (a masked Owen Hat) have a really good match that is so different from anything else that was in the WWF at that time.

WrestleMania Flashback: WrestleMania IV

WrestleMania IV is awesome because the whole show is built around a one-night tournament for the vacant WWF title. Being that this is from 1988, you would assume that Hulk Hogan or Andre the Giant would be the winner. But in an amazing swerve, the two of them were eliminated in the first round!

THE GOOD: When I re-watched this for the first time in years, I had no idea how the tournament played out, save for the Andre/Hogan match. The unpredictable nature of a tournament really helped make this a fun show to watch.

THE BAD: Don Muraco versus Dino Bravo wasn’t so hot. I would have liked to see more Rick Rude, but those are the breaks. On the bright side, it gave us that awesome Rude/Jake Rogers feud.

MATCH TO WATCH: The final match of Randy Savage versus Ted DiBiase for the championship is great, and the crowd goes insane when Andre and Hogan get involved in the finish.

WrestleMania Flashback: WrestleMania I

Mr. T hip tosses "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorf

Just as much as I love comics, I probably love professional wrestling. It seems the two go hand in hand. Some of the top guys in pro wrestling these days–like CM Punk–are avid comic book fans. Anyway, the biggest day in the wrestling world is coming up next week, WrestleMania 28. Thanks to my own collection and the local public library, I’ve been going through the past 27 events.

WrestleMania I was the first back in 1984. Watching this now just doesn’t seem that it was that big of a deal. The matches kind of blur together, and nothing really sticks out. The total time of the matches is approximately an hour. By today’s standards, is about the same in-ring time of an episode of Raw.

It just goes to show what a marketing juggernaut the WWF was back then. With a lot of celebrity involvement and promotion, they mad this the event for wrestling fans that year. If your sentimental for the early 1980s, you’ll enjoy this. Otherwise, it’s pretty skippable.

THE GOOD: Everyone involved acted like it was important, which helped make WrestleMania special.

THE BAD: The whole thing feels so dated. Not only the way the wrestlers perform, but even the celebrity guests. With the big names in attendance (and involvement) being Cyndi Lauper and Mr. T, it just feels so far removed.

BEST MATCH: Hands down, the main event which pitted the team of Hulk Hogan and Mr. T against “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorf. Ric Flair might have been having much better matches at the time, but this works well for what it is. Piper and Orndorf are cowardly villains, and the crowd loves it when Hulkamania goes wild at the end.

WWE and Comics: Perfect Together

Let’s face it; professional wrestling and comic books are very thematically similar. Pro wrestling is a lot like comics coming to life, filled with heroes and villains (clad in over the top costumes) battling for supremacy. Even their fanbases overlap; they’re both constantly criticized for liking something many disregard as something you should have given up by the time you turn seven.

Over the years, comics and wrestlers have crossed over many times. Some of today’s best grapplers, guys like AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Samoa Joe and Shane Helms, are all devoted comic readers. Wrestlers like Rey Mysterio and Nova have worn many comic inspired outfits to the ring. ECW’s Raven and the Sandman spent the majority of the 1990s wearing t-shirts featuring art from Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. Even Hulk Hogan’s name is a reference to a certain gamma powered monster…

Anyway, it’s no surprise that the professional wrestling world would be represented at Comic Con last week. Both WWE and Impact Wrestling were out in full force. But WWE took it one step further, expanding one of their angles (wrestling speak for “storyline”) during one of their panel presentations.

During the presentation, wrestler HHH (who now runs the WWE in story) gets interrupted by WWE champion CM Punk, who himself is an avid comic book fan.

In the WWE storyline, Punk won their championship on his last night wrestling for the company and is keeping the title high-jacked. The question is when—or will—he return to the WWE, and by having him harass it’s on-screen chairman only keeps this moving. It was a nice little way to make those in attendance feel like they’re part of the story.