WWF Wrestlemania X8 took place on this day in 2002 in front of a record-breaking crowd of 68,237 at the SkyDome in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Ryan Pratt takes a look back at a legendary event and a memorable, historic evening for the World Wrestling Federation.
Opening the show was a live music performance from rock band Saliva with their hit song ‘Superstar’. This was an appropriate way to start the event with the wealth of superstars that would be on show this evening. Opening up the show was a match for the Intercontinental Championship. English-born champion William Regal took on Rob Van Dam. Despite trying to use brass knuckles on his opponent multiple times, Regal was thwarted by Van Dam, who kicked away the brass knuckles, as ‘The Whole Dam Show’ hit his famous Five Star Frog Splash to win his first Intercontinental Championship, with the SkyDome crowd getting behind Van Dam’s celebrations.
A European Championship match followed this, with ‘Captain Charisma’ Christian challenging Diamond Dallas Page. Christian impressed and dominated the first three-quarters of this match, before Page hit the Diamond Cutter to win the match and retain his title to the dismay of Christian who threw a tantrum in the middle of the ring after the match in the year that Brazil won their fifth World Cup beating France in a 2-0 win with thanks to striker Ronaldo who popped up with a brace on the biggest footballing stage in Yokohama, Japan.
Next up was a Hardcore Title defense under 24/7 rules between Maven and Goldust. This match finished when both Maven and ‘The Bizarre One’ knocked each other out with trash can lids, only for Spike Dudley to run in and pin Maven for the three count. After a performance from Drowning Pool singing ‘Tear Away’, Crash Holly and Al Snow, doing strange Al Snow shenanigans and driving a golf cart, attempted to attack the new Hardcore Champion Spike Dudley, who managed to get away, but was kicked from out of nowhere by The Hurricane who swung off a rope and pinned Dudley to steal the title.
Next, Olympic Gold Medallist Kurt Angle faced 'The Big Red Machine' Kane. Angle came out on top in this competitive exchange using the ropes to gain leverage on a roll-up.
Following on from this match, The Undertaker extended his Wrestlemania streak to 10-0 in a No Disqualification match with ‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair, overcoming the odds when ‘Double A’ Arn Anderson interfered mid-match and delivered a massive spine buster to the Deadman at the time when the popular animated film ‘Ice Age’ premiered in cinemas and theatres. E
Edge would defeat Booker T in the next match performing the Edgecution on the ‘Five Time, Five-Time, Five-Time, Five-Time, *exhales*, Five-Time WCW World Heavyweight Champion’ after Edge did his own version of a Booker T Spinaroonie.
Backstage after the match was Hardcore Champion The Hurricane being interviewed by Jonathan Coachman. The Hurricane’s sidekick Mighty Molly joined them, suggesting that she and the champ should go on their Hurri-Cycle, before smashing a frying pan over Helms’ head and then pinning him backstage to win the Hardcore title.
We then had ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin go up against Scott Hall, flanked by NWO stablemate Kevin Nash in his corner. There was a lot of outside interference by the former Diesel. At times this match seemed like a two on one handicap match, before Nash was ejected from the stadium when he continued to attack Austin, WWF officials and referees. Hall and Austin had a back and forth before the Rattlesnake hit the Stone Cold Stunner twice to put away Scott Hall for the win.
After that, Billy and Chuck retained their WWF Tag Team Championships in a four corners elimination match against The APA, The Hardy Boyz and The Dudley Boyz.
Meanwhile, the free for all battle for the Hardcore Championship went on as Christian pinned Mighty Molly to win the strap after the 2021 Hall of Fame inductee ran into the top half of a dutch door shutting.
Next up was Icon versus Icon, The Rock versus Hollywood Hulk Hogan. The crowd was rocking for this match. Despite The Rock being the face and Hogan being the heel, the crowd opted to cheer for Hogan and boo The Rock. The atmosphere was electric as both men kept hitting their respective finishers, only for their opponent to kick out. It took two more Rock Bottoms and a People’s Elbow for The Rock to finally pin the Hulkster for the three count. The two giants of sports entertainment shook hands after the match to show a sign of respect. As ‘The Great One’ left the ring, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, Hogan’s NWO teammates, came out and attacked Hulk, leading The Rock to come back out to help Hogan from further attack and fend off Hall and Nash. Rock and Hogan ended the segment by posing for the crowd, gaining a huge reaction.
The penultimate match of the evening was a Women’s Championship Triple Threat match, with Jazz retaining her title against Lita and Trish Stratus by pinning Lita after delivering a fisherman suplex. Before the main event, cameras went to the parking lot, where Christian was about to enter a taxi with the Hardcore Championship, when all of sudden Maven surprised Christian with a roll-up and pinned him to regain the title he lost earlier in the night as he jumped into the taxi and rode off into the sunset with the belt, leaving a distressed Christian on his knees in the car park of the SkyDome.
The main event was for the Undisputed WWF Championship. The first-ever Undisputed Champion ‘Y2J’ Chris Jericho defended his championship against 2002 Royal Rumble winner ‘The Game’ Triple H, who won the Rumble after eight months out with a torn quadriceps muscle that required surgery. Jericho, accompanied by his business partner, Triple H’s wife Stephanie McMahon, focused his attack on the bandaged quadriceps muscle Triple H had injured, with McMahon also playing her part in the match, getting involved in attacking her husband and also taking some bumps when colliding with the combatants in the middle of the melee. When going for a Pedigree through the announce table on Jericho, Helmsley had the move countered and was put through the Spanish announce table by a back body drop from Y2J. The match was riddled with controversy with the use of a steel chair by Jericho on HHH when referee Earl Hebner was distracted by Stephanie McMahon, but the heel antics didn’t prevent Triple H from gaining retribution, as he hit the Pedigree and pinned the Champion to win the title in front of a wild Toronto crowd on this day 19 years ago to end one of the most popular, star-studded and entertaining Wrestlemania events in history.
Ryan Pratt is a feature writer for WNS, looking back at some of the most memorable events and moments in pro-wrestling history. You can find his work on WNS under the hashtag #TDIWH, or follow him on Twitter @RyanPratt01.
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