WrestleMania: A Look Back at WrestleManias 8 and 18, and Forward to 28
WrestleMania 28 is, without a doubt, one of the most star-studded cards in pay-per-view history.
There are already several matches that are highly anticipated and we still have a few weeks to round out the card with a couple last minute additions.
Whenever WrestleMania rolls around people get nostalgic, especially on the tenth and twentieth anniversaries.
With the attention always being paid to the numbered events ending in zero, I thought it would be a nice change to look back at the events which end in eight in honor of WrestleMania 28.
While each WrestleMania has its standout moments, the events which took place for WrestleMania 8 and 18 will always be two of my favorites.
WrestleMania 8 was to be the big showdown between Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair, but the event was instead changed to feature a double main event.
The night had nine matches in total and 26 wrestlers were featured in the ring, and looking back on the card, it was obvious that WWE did not have as much main-event talent as they do today, but they had plenty of guys who would get to that point down the line.
Shawn Michaels had one of his less memorable matches at the event against El Matador and Undertaker defeated an already spiraling Jake Roberts in one of his first few Mania wins.
An eight-man tag match was featured which saw Big Boss Man, Virgil, Jim Duggan and Sgt. Slaughter defeat The Nasty Boys, The Repo Man and The Mountie with the host of Family Feud, Ray Combs, serving as the special guest ring announcer.
The Natural Disasters defeated Money Inc. in a tag match and Tatanka defeated Rick Martel in another mid-card singles match.
Both of the Hart brothers were in action on this night as well. Owen Hart defeated Skinner while older brother Bret defeated Roddy Piper in a very memorable match to become the intercontinental champion.
The two main events were Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice and WWE champion Ric Flair defending his title against Macho Man Randy Savage.
The Hogan-Sid match actually had a botched ending from most accounts, as Sid was not supposed to kick out of Hogan's leg drop.
According to WWE's True Story of WrestleMania DVD, the planned ending was that Papa Shango was to have done a run-in and broken up the match while attacking Hogan.
Sid was disqualified when his manager, Harvey Whippleman, jumped up on the apron and tried to get involved.
The WWE title match ended up having a much better set of talents in the ring together and they ended up churning out one of the besttitle matches of all time.
Flair and Savage put each other through the ringer in this match and when it was all over, Savage was victorious while Flair was left in a pool of his own blood.
According to rumors, Flair was actually fined thousands of dollars for being caught blading on camera since WWE had a "no blood" policy at the time similar to what they have in place today.
While most of the card seemed like filler matches to make time go by, there were two classics which have always stood out to me.
The Savage-Flair match was a great showcase of the talent the two men had, while the Piper-Hart match showed how both men were the future of WWE at the time.
If you have never seen the event, I do not think watching the whole thing is necessary, but the two matches mentioned above are required watches for anyone who fancies themselves a wrestling fan.
Ten years after the WWE tore down the house in Indianapolis, they took their brand of in-ring excitement north of the border into Canada to the Toronto SkyDome.
If you compare WrestleMania 8 and 18, it is clear that WWE had way more wrestlers who were considered big names when this night rolled around.
The night featured 11 matches and a total 29 men and women competing in the ring with six different titles on the line.
As far as non-title matches go, we were treated to five singles matches, all of which contained a former world champion.
Both of the Brothers of Destruction were in action, as Kurt Angle defeated Kane and Undertaker defeated Ric Flair for yet another notch in his WrestleMania belt.
Edge would defeat Booker T in a great match and Stone Cold Steve Austin would go on to beat Scott Hall with Kevin Nash at ringside.
The only other non-title match on the card may have had most of the hype behind it, as two of the biggest names in wrestling faced off in what was thought to be a dream match we would never see.
Hulk Hogan was defeated by The Rock in what is still one of those matches which I love to watch, despite not having the best in-ring action.
These two rocked the wrestling world and at the end of the night, we saw Hogan re-embrace his babyface roots and turn on his NWO brethren.
Rob Van Dam would go on to defeat William Regal for the intercontinental title, DDP retained the european title against Christian and Maven and Goldust fought over the hardcore title to a no-contest.
Reigning tag champs Billy and Chuck defeated The Hardys, The Dudleys and The APA in a four corners tag match which had lots of excitement and four great tag teams, which is more than WWE has right now.
Women's champion Jazz retained her title in a triple-threat match against Lita and Trish Stratus in a match that makes me miss the days of great women's wrestling.
The main event of the evening would see Chris Jericho lose his coveted undisputed championship to Triple H in a hard-fought match.
Looking at the ten matches which featured male wrestler,s it is hard not to notice that every single match had at least one person who had been a world champion or would become one down the line.
On top of that, all three women who competed were former world champions as well.
Of the 26 men who competed that night the one who held world titles were DDP, Christian, RVD, Angle, Kane, Taker, Flair, Edge, Booker, Austin, Ron Simmons, JBL, Jeff Hardy, Rock, Hogan, Jericho and Triple H.
This was a star-studded night that has been hard to top over the years since.
This year's event is shaping up to be just as big, if not bigger, than both of the previously mentioned events.
With The Rock returning to the ring for only the second time in seven years, the event had received a lot of mainstream coverage, which is good for everyone involved.
The Rock and Cena have been promoted for almost a year now, but the other matches on the card look to be the ones some of the more pure wrestling fans are looking forward to.
The WWE title will be contested in a very personal match between Chris Jericho and CM Punk. Jericho returned to take back his title of "Best in the World" and the WWE title this past January, but the straight-edge superstar is bound to give him a good fight.
The world title will be on the line as the Vegan Vermin, Daniel Bryan, takes on the Great White Sheamus. Both men are talented and bring a different style to the match, so this should be a very interesting encounter.
The Big Show will be trying to shut up the loud-mouthed Cody Rhodes and take his intercontinental title when they go head to head.
The Undertaker will try and extend his winning streak to 20-0 when he goes up against Triple H inside Hell in a Cell.
The rest of the card has yet to be rounded out, but there is a reasonable chance that some kind of match between Teddy Long and John Laurinaitis will take place.
Whether the match is between them, two designated representatives or two handpicked teams is unknown, but with how much time this feud has been getting on TV lately I think it is safe to say it will have some screen time at WrestleMania as well.
Santino is the new U.S. Champion and if he is able to keep the belt until Mania, then we could see him defend against someone like former champion Jack Swagger or the man who keeps flirting with being fired, Drew McIntyre.
The tag champs may end up with a match on the card, and if recent shows are any indication, they could be facing Kofi and R-Truth for the belts if the team stays together until Mania.
The Divas have yet to have a match added, but with the impending return of Kharma we could see some kind of showdown between her and Beth Phoenix at some point in the night.
Let's not forget that WWE has guys like Alberto Del Rio and Christian ready to return as well as names like Miz, Kane and Orton who have yet to get a match of their own.
Kane and Orton may end up in a match if they continue to attack each other like they have for the past week.
Overall, I am thinking that this year's Mania will have a hard time disappointing anyone given the caliber of the matches we already know about and the possibilities of the other matches that could be added later.
Out of the three years events, WrestleMania 8, 18 and 28 which do you think will go down in history as the best of the three?