Let me start off this review with some amazing information. Two actual pieces of amazing information.
Amazing info piece number 1: Kurt Angle wrestled in the main event with a broken freaking neck.
Amazing info piece number 2: The night before the show, Stone Cold Steve Austin was in the hospital after feeling adverse affects from stress, working out, and drinking high energy ephedrine laced drinks. He thought he was having a heart attack.
Those two guys sucked it up, and for the sake of the show, for the sake of the WWE, and for the sake of their boss, Vince McMahon, they wrestled their matches. But, Hulk Hogan vs. Vince McMahon was seen as the top match and all the advertising was based around this match which would be marketed as “20 Years In The Making”.
Most of the WWE created hype surrounded the match that wanted to be the answer to the question of who created Hulkamania. It turned out to be a good match, but wasn’t close to the efforts that some of the other wrestlers provided.
Kurt Angle found out about a month before this Wrestlemania that he had a broken neck and was probably not going to be able to wrestle at Mania. He was going to need neck surgery and would likely miss over a year of ring time. He decided to tough it out and wrestle Brock Lesnar at Mania and defend his WWE Title. There was a ton of worry that Kurt would hurt his neck and become paralyzed. However, Kurt took the advice of a doctor that said he couldn’t do much worse in hurting his neck in the match and decided to go on and compete, albeit with reservation. The reservation was because Brock Lesnar had become the most dominant big man in the game and he wasn’t in there throwing the soft stuff. The match turned out to be a true classic, and in the end it wasn’t Kurt that everyone was worried about.
When you think of Wrestlemania X-8 in five years, you will remember one match, and only one match. You’ll be surprised to see that Edge had a match with Booker T which started because Edge swiped a commercial deal that Booker T thought he should’ve received. You’ll forget that there was Diamond Dallas Page’s one and only Wrestlemania match. You might even forget that Chris Jericho and Triple H were in the main event.
The match you will remember however is the one that pitted Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock. Hogan had just come back to the WWF with his NWO cronies Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. McMahon brought them in to come shake up the foundation of the WWF. He wanted them to “poison” his own creation as he was afraid that Ric Flair was ruining his promotion. That was the storyline. The real story was that McMahon, as always, wanted to bring in some surprises right before Wrestlemania, to make Mania the most talked about show of the year. However, what he should’ve known was that the NWO was so “five years ago” and that it wouldn’t work today unless it was brought back as a new idea. Hogan was accepted back by the fans, but Nash and Hall weren’t seen as anything more than just regular guys. Hogan is a great manipulator and he positioned himself with a match against The Rock, who already had a great buzz on him as he was finishing up The Scorpion King. The initial build-up was excellent. Rock challenged Hogan and the audience was split on who they were cheering for. What they did afterward was hogwash and unbelievable, but let’s just forget that ever happened.