Man, did this match ever prove how much the fans control wrestling! The WWE tried their hardest to make Hollywood Hulk Hogan the heel in this match but it couldn't happen. This match holds specialness for me because I was at WrestleMania X8. You hear people talk all the time about moments they'll never forget ... this was one of those times for me. My pop took me to Toronto for the event.
Here's a time line of my own Road to WrestleMania
- September 2001 - The WWF announced that WrestleMania 18 would be in Toronto at the Skydome
- November 3rd 2001 - Spent one full hour on the phone, attempting to buy tickets, only to find out that the event had been sold out! The dream was on hold
- December 2001 - WrestleZone had a headline that said "More WrestleMania tickets released". I quickly called my mom and within 20 minutes, the dream became a reality...
I was going to WrestleMania!
- January 2002 - I believe I heard from Lee Fleming that I should read an article on TSN.ca ...
It was the announcement that Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash had signed with the World Wrestling Federation ... I would get to see Hulkamania live and in person!
- February 18th 2002 - Hulk Hogan is challenged by the Rock for a match at WrestleMania ... I was going to see history!
- March 11th 2002 - After visiting a bed-ridden Chris Harris a few days prior, I woke up in the middle of the night, vomiting as I had caught the stomach flu. I spent the day on the couch, eating Popsicles and watching RAW
- March 12th 2002 - Still sick but drove to St. John's to fly to Toronto
- March 17th 2002 - The dream becomes true ... I walked down the many stairs to the floor of Skydome. Where Joe Carter won the world series for the Bluejays. Where the Ultimate Warrior defeated Hulk Hogan some 12 years before. People talk about times in their lives that felt like time stood still. I remember walking down the stairs and just looking around and realizing that ten years of watching wrestling was culminating that night. It's hard to explain what it's like to know that one of your life goals had been accomplished!
This match has become legendary for the fan reaction. Hulk was written to play the heel but the fans in the SkyDome had a different idea. We wanted Hulkamania ... one more time! The Rock, probably the biggest face in wrestling during that time, was forced to become a heel for one night to satisfy the 67 237 in attendence. This match, again, didn't do anything flashy because well, Hogan was wore out. He had knee replacements in 2001. But the psychology of the match was amazing. Everything just seemed to click and Hulk gave us one more WrestleMania moment.
7. Shawn Michaels vs Bret Hart - WrestleMania 12
It was the first televised and promoted one hour match, and both men delivered a career highlight. For a fan in 1996 that I was, being 7 years old at the time, to keep my attention for 60 straight minutes was simply amazing. I sat there, watching every second of the match. This match should be shown to anybody who doubts wrestlers as athletes because there never has or will be a performance like this match again.
8. The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels - WrestleMania 25
In the previous WrestleMania matches the Undertaker had ... there has been only two men who seemed like they could beat the streak
- Randy Orton @ 21,
- Batista @ 23
Shawn Michaels made us believe that he could beat the Streak ... so much that the fans demanded an encore the next year. The match remains the only match ever to be repeated on back to back WrestleMania cards. This match may have been the greatest match of the 2000's ... and that is saying a great deal about this match. The match felt like a never ending roller-coaster of high spots, high energy and great psychology. These three elements was then mixed with the commentary of genius of Jim Ross and we got a match that I can only compare this match to the first Rocky movie. You weren't expecting a hit but damn, did they knock the ball out of the park.
9. Ric Flair vs Terry Funk - Clash of the Champions IX
To quote Jon Parsons, this match looked like a real fight. It was violent and brutality at it's finest. For those who trash the PG era, they should go watch this match. There was no blood. Funk or Flair didn't utter a foul word during their promos or their match. There was no massive chair shots. This match was built upon psychology. I personally think that this match is the prototype for the blowoff to a feud. Its amazing actually that while WWF was giving us Hulk-Zeus, Flair-Funk were tearing apart the NWA. They didn't do a lot of wrestling in this match but they told a story that has been unmatched, even to this day!
10. Triple H vs Cactus Jack - Royal Rumble 2000
I sat in on seminar on pro wrestling psychology held by Scott "Raven" Levy a few weeks ago which is probably why I chose most of these matches for their psychology. This match/feud is a great example of what Raven spoke about. Both Triple H and Mick Foley told a great story. The story was that Mick Foley was pushed to his mental limits and resorted to bringing his Cactus Jack persona back to fight Triple H. This match proved to be very violent and bloody but unlike ECW, it wasn't violent for the sake of being violent. The story of Cactus being sadistic and the violence he intended on administering to Triple H to become the WWF Champion was nothing short of amazing. A match that showed what two talented workers could do when given the right material to work with!
Those are my top ten matches that all fans should watch before stating that they are a Wrestling fan ... Some of you may disagree with me because I put a nice few matches on here from WrestleMania's but I leave you with a quote from Chris Jericho when interviewed for the new "True Story of WrestleMania" dvd.
"You can have a match in Peoria, Illinois in front of 4000 people and tear the house down. But the next day, it's like it never happened. You can have a match on RAW in front of 4 Million people, it lasts alittle longer but at WrestleMania ... WrestleMania is where classic matches are made"