WrestleMania X8 took place on March 17, 2002, at the SkyDome in Toronto, Canada. The event featured a match between The Rock and Hulk Hogan which is one of the most memorable matches in WrestleMania history. However, it did not go the way anyone thought it would.
Jonathan Coachman witnessed the change in the feud between The Rock and Hulk Hogan. The fans did not react to the match, which led to a double turn during the match itself. Coachman spoke to the Wrestling Chatter, where he revealed that the talking The Rock did with Hogan was not trash talk. He was, in fact, changing the match.
“I will say, to this day, [it] is the single greatest hour of pro wrestling and sports entertainment in the history of sports entertainment,” Coachman remarked. “And I know there has been a lot of great ones but it’s one of two or three times that I can remember, and the other one is Triple H’s return in Madison Square Garden. That I actually walked out onto the floor to watch it with my own two eyes.
“And to know the greatness of The Rock and Hogan had nothing to do with this – and I don’t mind Hogan, he’s just not my favorite person. I mean, we get along but we’ve never been friends. But to watch them work for a week and put this match together, these two mega powers in the sport of wrestling from two different generations, and then to watch the crowd turn and not do what we expected them to do. And then for having The Rock be smart enough to change it while they were standing in the ring, and people thought they were talking trash to each other. In reality, The Rock was changing it because there are certain things you can do as a babyface and you can’t do as a heel, and there are certain things you can do as a heel that you can’t do as a babyface.
“To watch the brilliance in that moment, that was not too big for him because a lot of people don’t understand when you’re on national worldwide television, you know the red light’s on, you know there’s 80,000 people there, and you know there’s millions watching at home, that can be overwhelming from an anxiety perspective, nerves. And only a few people can really handle it. For The Rock to be in the moment, to hear, and to understand, and to feel, and to be able to change it, was nothing short of remarkable. And the show should have ended right there.”
It just goes to show the unpredictability of professional wrestling and how iconic moments can be made which were never intended.