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My favorite WrestleMania match: Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice

George Napolitano/Retna Ltd./Corbis

All things must end in due time.

At Wrestlemania 8 it appeared that the phenomenon known as Hulkamania had run its course. Hulk Hogan had been overwhelmed by his Main Event opponent Sid Justice with the mystical aid of the evil shaman, Papa Shango. The combination of Sid's raw ability and the paranormal voodoo of Papa Shango were too much for the Hulkster, who had been worn thin from a solid decade of defeating the mightiest challengers on Planet Earth.

Keep in mind that Sid had only recently snapped and went completely "Sycho," so this was a man who still had his wits about him, in addition to the sort of otherworldly talent that made even the Four Horsemen take notice just a few years earlier. Furthermore, the Power Bomb was still among the most devastating and novel finishing moves the sport had ever seen and the likes of which no one could withstand. If you have trouble remember what a bad dude Sid was, or you just feel like being impressed/scared, behold this:

It was with bated breath that the world watched as Hogan was laid bare, tangled in the ropes and completely at the mercy of two of the most dangerous and merciless men in the history of the WWF. (Two and a quarter men, if you want to count Harvey Wippleman!)

Just when things looked their bleakest, just when all was lost, the iconic opening riff of The Ultimate Warrior's theme cracked like thunder in the cacophonous Hoosier Dome. The crowd's roar shook the very earth. Warrior rushed the ring as only he can and saved his former rival that he fought so hard to defeat just two years prior.

Wrestlemania.VIII - Hulk Hogan Vs Sid Justice... by dido67

This was not just any run in. Ultimate Warrior was not even known to be on the WWF roster at this time. The last we saw him, he was chasing off two thirds of the Triangle of Terror back at SummerSlam's "Match Made in Hell." He was even suspected by many to have died sometime in the months leading up to Wrestlemania 8.

To put it in today's parlance, this would be the equivalent of Bray Wyatt interfering in the Main Event of Wrestlemania 31, helping Brock Lesnar to destroy Roman Reigns... and then suddenly CM Punk runs down the aisle to save the day. It was that big of a deal at the time. Oh and also, Punk had died over the holidays that year. I'm not exaggerating, that's the proper context!

Hulkamania was saved and lived on, but was this a good thing? It certainly seemed like it at the time. But remember the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. Gandalf the Grey once said of the immortal life granted by The One Ring, it's wearer "did not grow or obtain more life, but would merely continue, until every minute was an unbearable weariness."

So too it was with Hulkamania. It continued, but it was without the renewed vigor that was required to succeed as it had in the past. And within a year, it was all but gone, only to be renewed a decade later by the good graces of the fans and the sheer will of Hulk Hogan.

But that was not the story at Wrestlemania 8. For one glorious moment, at least, Hulkamania was saved, Ultimate Warrior was redeemed, and the world rejoiced... one last time.

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