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OO ROAD TO WRESTLEMANIA
Road to WrestleMania X-8: A Compulsive 
Fan's Guide to the Granddaddy of 'Em All
March 12, 2002

by Rick Scaia
OnlineOnslaught.com

 

An Introduction to the Compulsive Fan's Guide to the Crown Jewel of Pay-Per-View

I can honestly say that I have vividly fond memories of the final days leading into each of the WrestleManias since the very first one 17 years ago.  From the (endearingly) markish fifth grade contest to see who could name more of the WM2 Battle Royal participants that me and two friends had (and yes, I won!), to taking a weekend trip to my town of birth (Indianapolis) to see WM8 in person, to the last few years, when the countdown to WrestleMania has meant that this Online Personality has had to spend a little extra time writing big features about the history of WrestleMania...  I remember it all.

And this year, despite the easy criticisms that WMX-8 is shaping up as one of the most hastily-thrown-together and poorly promoted Manias in recent memory, there's still the thrum of anticipation...  and if the build-up has been lacking this year, all sins can still be forgiven if the show itself manages to kick ass.  If that happens, the sense of anticipation will be remembered much more vividly, and the silliness of ambulance attacks and dogs getting run over in the weeks before WM will be forgotten.

Afterall, do YOU remember the mind-numbingly bizarre interviews that preceded the showdown between Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior at WM6?  Well, OK, some of you probably do remember them.  But you don't FOCUS on them...  nope, because it's lots easier to focus on the fact that Hogan and Warrior went out and tore the house down with a tremendously dramatic match, which sort of tricks you into thinking there was some massively successful feud between the two leading into the show (which there wasn't, really...).  What the WWF delivers this Sunday will go a lot farther than our pre-show criticisms to determining just where WrestleMania X-8 stands in respect to past Manias.

And in 17 years, sure there have been some down years.  But this is not the time to harp on those.  This is the time to revel in the fact that even after the 80s wrestling boom is completely ancient history, even after the resurgence of the Monday Night Wars in the late 90s has waned, there is one event that stands apart from and above all others.  One show whose mere name sparks the fondest of memories for hardcore fans, sparks a purchase decision from casual fans, and even sparks recognition from the densest of non-fans...  that name, of course, is WrestleMania.

Whether its the promise of celebrities (a practice that has faded as the WWF has successfully turned its own performers into mainstream stars), the pay-offs to long-standing feuds, or simply the grand spectacle of seeing the biggest show of the year with the biggest crowd of the year on the biggest stage of the year, WrestleMania holds a special place in the pantheon of wrestling. 

This year's show is going to take place Sunday, March 17, at Toronto's SkyDome.  This marks the second time SkyDome has hosted WM, as the venue becomes the fifth building ever to host multiple Manias; Madison Square Garden (1 and 10), Rosemont Horizon (2 and 13), Trump Plaza (4 and 5), and the Anaheim Pond (12 and 16) can also make that claim.  This is also only the fifth time ever that WM has been held inside a dome, and the first time that the event has been hosted under a dome in back-to-back years. 

So... while we bide our time during this last few hours and days till the big show, what better could there be to prepare for WMX-8 than putting the show in historical perspective?  Just as in previous editions, this year's version of Online Onslaught's Road to WrestleMania will focus on three main historical topic areas. And then, of course, on Friday, we add a detailed preview of this year's show. 

Just choose from the items below to check out the detailed history, statistics, and trivia behind 17 past years of WrestleMania and how it all ties in to this year's big event (note: articles are being posted daily, and won't all be available until Friday, March 15):

HIGHLIGHTS: YEAR BY YEAR
There is no better way to gain an appreciation for the spectacle that is WrestleMania than to look back at the highlights, main events, and celebrity sightings at each of the past 17 WMs to date. Take yourself on a roller coaster ride where the attractions include Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Bret Hart, and many, many more. Strap in for a decade-and-a-half-in-the-making retrospective! (more...

NUMBERS: WINNERS, LOSERS, AND IRONMEN
This is it... the document that could win you a bar bet with a drunken pal this Sunday during the PPV. Who's won the most WrestleMania matches? Who's been in the most consecutive WM of the WWF's current roster? Who are the clutch main event performers and who has choked in title matches on the year's biggest show? I've got all that info and then some for you. (more...

OBSERVATIONS: THE OBSCURE AND LUDICROUS
Sometimes it's not the obvious, factual history that gives the best indicator of the true legacy and depth of the WrestleMania tradition. So you've gotta dig into the barrel and find the real connections that make this event the biggest and best of 'em all. From the best and worst 'Manias.... to the different gimmicks..... to the deceased legends.... to strange interactions, coincidences, and whatever other bizarre observations didn't really fit in elsewhere will pop up here.  (more...)

PREVIEW:  IS WMX-8 ANOTHER CLASSIC IN THE MAKING?
It's happened a few times before:  the WWF Title match at WrestleMania HAS been over-shadowed by another match as recently as WM11's Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Lawrence Taylor match.  But it's still a rarity, albeit one that plays out again this year, as the WWF returns of Hulk Hogan, Kevin "Diesel" Nash, and Scott "Razor Ramon" Hall have placed Chris Jericho vs. Triple H firmly on the back burner.  Here's a full look at how the show will play out.  (more...

If there's not enough here to satisfy your WrestleMania Jones, the WWF also maintains a website that sort of does some of the same things I'm trying to do here.  At www.WrestleManiaHistory.com, you'll find abbreviated attempts at some of the statistics and trivial observations I make here...  but the site is loaded with video and photos that put my "year-by-year" thing to shame.  I like to think I've got the market cornered on breaking down the WM trivia; but nobody serves up the multi-media like the WWF themselves! 

So...  enjoy what I provide here.  Supplement it with the WWF's fancy pictures and video.  But mostly, just do whatever the hell it takes to mark out and be a Wrestling Fan on Sunday night.  Screw this Smart Fan nonsense...  at least until Monday morning, when the OTHER WrestleMania tradition kicks in.  For as much fun as it is to cut loose in the week leading up to the big show, it's just as much fun to try to be the first to go on record with where the latest Mania fits in with all the others!

I also hope you will put that Smart Cap on briefly at some point leading up to or just after WMX-8, for a wholly other reason...  because as always, I would love to know what you think of this feature and how I can improve it for the sixth edition, which should be coming your way in about 51 weeks!  Drop me a line at rick@onlineonslaught.com to let me know what you'd like to see in future editions of The Road to WrestleMania!

Road to WM Navigation
HOME  -/-  YEAR-BY-YEAR  -/-  WINNERS & LOSERS  -/-  
OBSCURE OBSERVATIONS
  -/-  WM X-8 PREVIEW

E-MAIL RICK 
RETURN TO OO FEATURES HOME


  
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