House full of Maniacs
By PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun
Oh, Canada. Wrestlemania, edition X8, returned to Toronto yesterday for the first time in 12 years and it was an event covered in Canadiana.
From the Canadian flag that Toronto diva Trish Stratus walked out with -- along with a Maple Leaf emblem on her beautiful rock bottom -- to the chants of "You screwed, Bret" which the crowd directed at referee Earl Hebner for his part in the infamous Survivor Series match in Montreal in 1997, this was one coloured red and white.
Presumably, World Wrestling Federation owner Vince McMahon had to satisfy the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.
An announced crowd of 68,237 -- or what could be about half the Argos' entire crowd this season, unless consultant Garth Drabinsky is able to book a wrestling show for every game -- packed the SkyDome. Gross receipts totalled $6.1 million.
Through the generosity of fans and sponsors -- including The Toronto Sun -- more than $90,000 was raised from the four-day event, which includes three days of Fan Axxess, for Canadian Special Olympics and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The crowd was treated to many exciting moments and ear-piercing heavy metal music that no doubt will have many people hard of hearing today.
Hulk Hogan and The Rock engaged in a thrilling match, which did not have a belt on the line but was clearly the best battle of the night. Rocky won when he Rock-bottomed Hogan twice and then gave him the People's Elbow before pinning him. However, it appeared Rocky missed on the People's Elbow, either because it was just sloppily executed or possibly because Hogan is nursing a broken rib and his opponent safeguarded him. They shook hands at the end and Rocky came to Hogan's defence when his new World order mates, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, turned on him for his honour in defeat.
The legendary Hogan is still popular with fans and his match against Rocky will go down as a classic. Unfortunately, it should have been saved for the end because the final match, featuring Winnipeg native Chris Jericho against Triple H for the undisputed heavyweight title, lacked drama. Triple H used his signature Pedigree move to pin the champion for the three count.
Toronto native Edge beat Booker T with a simulated Spin-a-roni, followed by a DDT.
Fellow Torontonian Christian denounced his Canadian roots and was rewarded with the Hardcore title after losing to champion Diamond Dallas Page in the Intercontinental title match. However, Christian later lost the title to Maven because cheaters never prosper in their home town.
Kurt Angle predictably badmouthed Canada and the gold-medal win by Jamie Sale and David Pelletier. Angle said he didn't win his gold medal in wrestling in the 1996 Summer Olympics by whining and complaining.
"I won it the old-fashioned way, I earned it," Angle said. "I am the big red, white and blue machine."
The crowd didn't think so and collectively said: "You suck."
Angle has the last laugh and won his match against Kane, but cheated by using the ropes for support.
Living legend Ric Flair and Undertaker provided a thrilling, bloody match.
Flair may be more than a half a century old, but he is still the best entertainer in history.