Reliving Wrestlemania: Wrestlemania XIV

WrestleMania XIV
I’m not gonna bore you with details from “The Montreal Screwjob”. Google the summa bitch. Suffice to say, if it was a work, it was a damn convincing one. If it was real, then Vince McMahon is as cold-hearted as he is shrewd.

Bret was long gone to WCW as were quite a few other wrestlers.

All hope for the WWF seemed lost.

But, then the strangest irony struck: WCW had LONG teased a big dream match between “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan and Sting. Hogan’s “nWo” faction had been running all over WCW since mid-1996. Not to be forgotten as the “face” of the company, Sting had reinvented himself with a sort of “Crow” gimmick. Gone was the white hair, colorful tights and facepaint. In their place was a new Sting. He would dress in black suspender tights with a white scorpion adorned on them. His face was covered in white facepaint and black harlequin-style markings. He had long black hair. He would wear black boots and a leather trenchcoat. And he would carry a black baseball bat with him at all times, often using it to crash nWo post-match beatdowns and to attack members of the nWo as punishment for ganging up on WCW’s talent. James J. Dillon would sign the match and Hogan would accept. The two would face each other at December ’97’s “Starrcade”. The match, which saw Hogan pretty much carrying it for the most part, was anti-climatic. Hogan got a three-count when Sting’s shoulder was off the mat. It ended with Bret Hart making his WCW debut and claiming that the referee was corrupt in some sort of weird reference to the Montreal Screwjob. Bret Hart then ordered the match to restart with him as the referee. Patrick Harris, the referee assigned to the match would protest, Bret knocked him out and got in the ring. Suddenly, Sting came alive, giving the Stinger Splash and hitting his trademark Scorpion Deathlock. Hogan submitted and Sting was the new champion…however, the title was declared “vacant” after the weird finish and the subsequent rematch the next night on WCW Nitro. The fans were incensed. They had long waited for a clean finish and, instead, got this. The whole thing was officially settled at Superbrawl which also ended strangely when Sting hit a Scorpion Deathdrop on Hogan, SAVAGE entered the ring and hit Hogan with a spray can while he was already down…which makes absolutely zero sense.

The whole thing was booked horribly. Personally, and this is my opinion, I think Hogan’s fingerprints were all over this. The ego on the guy was huge. He didn’t want to lose cleanly to ANYBODY and, if he did, he HAD to hit his finisher first to show that he “tried” and almost won. It was fucking pathetic.

Sting only held the title for two more months. Hogan wanted it back but Sting refused to drop the title back to Hogan that soon. So, a booking was made so that Randy Savage would beat Sting…so that Savage could drop the title to Hogan the very next day. All the build-up was just gone.

The WWF took advantage of all of this. In December of 1997, Vince McMahon threw himself into the storyline. He was no longer the weak little face commentator. Instead, he became “Mr. McMahon”, a ballbusting prick of an owner. Instantly, he would start a slight feud with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin who had a career resurgence since being let go from WCW. He had become the new face of the company. The fans were enthralled for the first time in years.

The logo would change from the “Eagle Wing” design” to a more scratched design.

The ring ropes went from red, white, and blue to just blood-red. The women became more racy, the characters, darker. Swearing was allowed as were middle fingers.

While WCW had mega-talent, they also had issues with mega-ego. Eric Bischoff had pretty much given Hogan and Kevin Nash free reign with storylines and booking, meaning that faces rarely got victories if at all. Hogan, seemingly, would never lose matches. Sting had the title but, as mentioned before, Hogan got it right back and Sting was put right back into the background, away from Hogan.

Meanwhile, the WWF, from Wrestlemania 13 until now, had gone through changes.

Last time, on ALCATRAZ…

  • In March of 1997, the WWF added a couple of new titles to the mix. The first was the WWF Light Heavyweight Title. The title had been established since the early 1980’s back in Japan and throughout Mexico but, as the WWF was in partnership with these wrestling leagues and Vince McMahon wanted to spice things up a bit by having more than three wrestling titles (World, Intercontinental, Tag Team), they would bring the title to the WWF. At In Your House, wrestler Taka Michinoku would win the tournament for the title. He would defend the belt here against Spanish wrestler, Aguila.
  • In February of the same year, the WWF would also release the WWF European Championship. It was vacant and won, at a tournament, by The British Bulldog. Several months later, Shawn Michaels defeated the Bulldog and won the title. After not defending in three months, then-WWF Commissioner Slaughter ordered that Michaels defend it against Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Michaels intentionally lost the match and Helmsley was declared the new WWF European Champion. This is, of course, ironic, since none of these guys are European. Personally, I never saw the point of the title, other than the obvious excuse of just simply having a title. A month later, Owen Hart, (who did NOT leave the WWF because Vince McMahon, in real life, wouldn’t let him out of his contract) took on Helmsley on RAW and beat him. Two months later, in a rematch on RAW, Helmsley would regain his title. Helmsley would defend the belt, one more time, against Owen Hart.
  • Speaking of Owen Hart, he would beat Rocky Maivia on RAW for the Intercontinental Title following Wrestlemania 13. For four months, he would reign as the Intercontinental Champion and enter a feud with Steve Austin. This feud culminated with Steve Austin beating him at SummerSlam for the title. However, Austin would sustain a legit neck injury and take some time off to nurse it. This meant that he would have to drop the title. A tournament was held and Hart won it — by helping Owen, much to the shock of the fans. However, Austin would explain that the ONLY reason he helped Owen was because he wanted to beat Owen for the title, himself. He would do so at the ill-fated Survivor Series in Montreal. Because Austin, at the time, was beginning to feud with Mr. McMahon, McMahon ordered that Austin defend the title against Rocky Maivia. Instead of doing this, Austin just forfeited the title to The Rock, and gave him a Stunner. The Rock would defend the Intercontinental Championship against Ken Shamrock who had stayed with the WWF (he was a legit fighter with UFC) after Wrestlemania 13.
  • The Tag Team Titles would be on the line. They would go through about ten different teams before settling with the “The New Age Outlaws”, a group that consisted of “The Badass” Billy Gunn (a former “Smoking Gunn”) and “The Road Dogg” Jesse James (formerly, “The Roadie”). They would be defended against Mick Foley’s “Cactus Jack” incarnation and Chainsaw Charlie (formerly, Terry Funk) in a Dumpster Match.
  • The big match, obviously, was the WWF Championship match. The Undertaker would be the WWF Champion for most of the year but would begin feuding with Bret Hart. McMahon would get involved and set up a match for the belligerent Hart – The Undertaker would defend the title at SummerSlam against Hart and if Hart didn’t win, he would never wrestle in the United States again. Hart took the challenge…but then McMahon made one more stipulation: Shawn Michaels would be the Special Guest Referee. Little did McMahon realize that Hart had a plan – he would bring a chair into the ring, use it on the Undertaker with Michaels’ back turned, and then pick up the chair to use it again. Michaels would take the chair away from Hart as the Undertaker got up. Hart spat on Michaels who, in his anger, swung the chair…and hit the Undertaker instead. Michaels, devastated, had to count the pin, which he did. Hart was the new champion. From there, Hart was a booking nightmare. The Survivor Series was coming up in November. Hart was in negotiations with WCW and was, legitimately, at odds with Vince McMahon. McMahon said that, since Hart was most likely leaving for WCW, he wanted Hart to drop the title at SS in Montreal. Hart refused, saying that he would drop it the next night on RAW but not in front of all the Canadian fans and NOT at a PPV event. Hart, at this point, was recalling how he felt when, instead of keeping the title and dropping to Hart at Wrestlemania 13, Michaels chose to forfeit the title because of an apparent knee injury that Michaels said was for real but Hart said that it was fake. This, along with McMahon offering a much bigger contract to Hart but not Michaels, were just a few of the sticking points between the very legitimate grudge between the two performers. When Survivor Series got close, McMahon agreed to Hart’s terms and said that the end of Survivor Series would be a disqualification. What happened was very different. The match ended with Shawn Michaels locking Hart in his own Sharpshooter move and getting a submission fall. Michaels would win the title and Hart was furious. He left the WWF that day. I’m not going to go into the rest of the drama here. Like I said, you can Google it yourself. This small bit is just to illustrate the storyline so we can move things along. In any case, Michaels now had the title…and Austin wanted it. In January, Austin won the Royal Rumble, securing the number one contender’s spot for the belt. In a skybox, sat none other than Iron Mike Tyson. At the end, Austin offered Tyson a fight and the two nearly did. McMahon, a few days later, said that Tyson would be an “enforcer” at Wrestlemania when Austin faced Michaels for the WWF Championship. As the weeks went on and the rivalry intensified, it was revealed that Tyson had an alliance to DX, Michaels, and Triple H, complicating things for Austin…
And that’s the bottom line.
Let’s get on it with it since I’m running late here…
We’re given clips of old Wrestlemania events and a voiceover says that tradition has NOT left the WWF. It’s still alive and well and we’re gonna see it tonight.
Jim Ross welcomes us to Wrestlemania. He’s with Jerry Lawler.
MATCH #1: Battle Royal – L.O.D. 2000 (Hawk & Animal) (w/Sunny) vs. Los Boriquas (Savio Vega, Miguel Perez, Jr., Jose Estrada, Jr., and Jesus Castillo), The Truth Commission (Recon & Sniper), Bradshaw & Chainz, The Nation of Domination (Mark Henry, D’Lo Brown, Farooq, and Kama Mustafa), The Quebecers (Jacques Rougeau and Pierre Ouellet), The Midnight Express, The Headbangers (Mosh and Thrasher), Too Much (Scott Taylor and Brian Christopher), Disciples of Apocalypse (8-Ball and Skull), Steve Blackman & Flash Funk, and The Godwinns (Phineas & Henry)
Screw every other team. This is about L.O.D. and they look fucking AWESOME in their armor and…helmets? Yeah, they’re wearing converted hockey goalie masks with skulls pained on them. Sunny is just fucking hot. The crowd loudly chants “L.O.D.!!!” This match plays right into their hands, too. It’s nothing but dudes beating each other. I miss these guys so much. Those fucking helmet, tho. I wish they would have just ditched them. And what’s with Animal’s biker shorts?! Anyhow, damn. so many dudes in one ring. The match is your typical battle royal. Just a bunch of bodies flying around, fighting, punching, kicking. The match ends with DOA getting eliminated by the Godwinns. They leap back in and do likewise. LOD is left with Midnight Express and do a good job to double-team Hawk. Animal FINALLY gets in and destroys one of the ME. Animal hits a huge boot, then both men knock each member of ME out of the ring. My boys win.
GRADE: A+. I don’t care. I miss them. Sad story to follow.
    • The Legion of Doom…man…they only had three Wrestlemania appearances, including this one. I don’t know what it was that kept them from super stardom. Most likely, it might have been Hegstrand’s drug use. When you heard Hawk and his “WHAT A RUSH” line before their music hit, the crowd would pop BIG-TIME…they may have won this match but they didn’t win the titles after this. Sunny would leave the team and they would have a new manager in “Puke”. Don’t ask. For some reason, Vince McMahon thought it was REALLY cool to have a wrestler who could puke on command. Yes, really. There are times when I really question the man’s sanity…anyhow, they would go into an angle where Puke would pretty much become Hawk’s replacement. To add insult to storyline injury, Paul Ellering was brought back…to side with LOD’s rivals, DOA. The storyline would bring light to Hawk (Michael Hegstrand) and his real-life substance abuse. Animal would declare his drug-and-alcohol-ridden partner “unfit to wrestle”, at one point, causing Hawk to climb the giant Jumbotron on RAW and attempt to commit suicide by jumping off of it. In an extremely dark twist, after Hawk was “killed”, Puke revealed that he enabled Hawk’s drug and alcohol abuse so that he could replace him on the team. This was an angle that both of the members of LOD detested. The angle was dropped soon after the two LOD members complained about it, claiming that the angle was irresponsible and too close to home. They would come back and wrestle throughout early 1999 but left soon after that. From there, LOD would wrestle independently until Animal left for WCW to compete in a solo career while Hawk tended to his drug and alcohol addiction. LOD came back in 2003. Hawk was clean and the two made a push to, finally, be one of the premiere tag teams in the WWF…but it was not to be…Michael Hegstrand AKA Hawk would pass away in October of 2003. Hegstrand, along with his wife, were moving into a new condo in Florida and had been packing. Hegstrand told her that he was tired and would continue in the morning. When his wife went to check on him a few hours later, she found him dead of an apparent heart attack. He was only 46 years old. At the time of his death, both him and his partner, Animal, had been working on a book about their experience in the business. Animal would go on to wrestle in the WWF through 2005 and made Jon Heidenreich his new partner. The two would go on to win the Tag Team Titles in a match that Animal dedicated to Hegstrand. A month later, the new LOD would lose the titles. Heidenreich was released in January of 2006. Animal would be released a few months after. In 2011, Animal and Paul Ellering were inducted into the 2011 Hall of Fame. Animal told the hosts, that night, that the WWE was going to construct a physical hall of fame and, once they did, he was going to donate Hegstrand’s spiked shoulder pads to it. Later that year, Joe Laurinaitis AKA Animal, would finally release the Road Warriors’ book entitled, “Road Warriors: Danger, Death, and the Rush of Wrestling”.

    • All four members of Los Boricuas would leave the WWF a few months after Wrestlemania. Some wrestled in Mexico as well as independently.

    • The Truth Commission pretty much disintegrated after this. Luc Poirier (Sniper) would wrestle independently after this and now works as a registered nurse in Florida. He continues to do independent wrestling shows including an upcoming show in England this year. His partner, Recon, would wrestle independently for a few months in Ohio and return to the WWF in 2000 as “Bull Buchanan”.

    • In late 1998, Brian Lee (AKA “Chainz”) was rumored to be having a real-life affair with the first wife of Mark Callaway (The Undertaker) and was let go for that reason. It is said that this pretty much ruined Lee’s career. It’s fitting, in a way – Brian Lee played the “fake” Undertaker when DiBiase brought him back as a heel in the mid-90’s. He would go on to compete in TNA Wrestling until 2003, when he left the company. He announced his retirement in 2004.

    • Charles Wright – AKA Kama Mustafa – changes gimmicks like a woman changes shoes. He was asked to bring back Papa Shango but, since the WWF already had the likes of Undertaker and Kane, that idea was scrapped. After the Mustafa idea, Wright was turned into the character of “The Godfather”, one of the worst characters I’ve ever seen in the WWF, which he would continue to wrestle as.

    • The great Jacques Rougeau and his partner, Pierre, would make one final run in WCW. Jacque would call it quits soon after this and would open a wrestling school in Montreal. He is a spokesperson and support for a suicide prevention organization and is also part of executive accounting for a trucking company. He was married in 2007 and went on to run a small community hedge fund. Pierre Ouellet was a tad different, wrestling for the next ELEVEN YEARS for WCW, IW, IWA, TNA, and for independent organizations. He expressed interest in returning to the WWE in 2008 but nothing ever came of it. He would retire in 2011.

    • The Midnight Express would leave the WWF right after Wrestlemania. They still work, independently.

    • DOA would wrestle in the WWF until Summer of 1999. After this, they would wrestle with WCW, returning as the Harris Brothers. This gimmick would follow them throughout 2005, to TNA and Independent Circuits. In 2005, both Ron and Don Harris would announce their retirements. Don would work backstage for TNA and head up security while Ron began work on his Christian music label, “Beach Street Records”.

    • Flash Funk (AKA Charles Scaggs) would leave the WWF in 1999. From 2000 to 2006, he would wrestle with Pro Wrestling Noah where he would win two titles for the organization. He would make a return to the WWE in late 2006 but leave at the beginning of 2007. He would join Booker T’s independent wrestling league the same year but leave in early 2008. He would wrestle one match in 2010 for TNA.

  • The Godwinns would have strange luck. Already with a cracked C7 vertebrae, Henry Godwinn would re-injure it in a match with a new gimmick in which him and Phineas were renamed “Southern Justice”. He would retire after this. The WWE claimed to have signed him to a new contract in 2006…but I can’t find any information about that.
Tired yet? I cannot believe how many wrestlers Vince McMahon lost after this.
MATCH #2: Taka Michinoku (champion) vs. Aguila (challenger) for the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship
I’ve never heard of these guys. I’m not gonna pretend I do. I’m just gonna watch the match. This match has “international” written all over it. Mexican and Japanese wrestlers are always high-flying. Aguila hits a BEAUTIFUL out-of-the-ring-top-rope Moonsault on Taka at one point. I might add that he flipped OFF the top rope fucking BACKWARDS. Aguila is knocked outside the ring. Taka runs, jumps onto the top rope and hits a splash outside the ring on Aguila. Wow. I cannot believe that the crowd is this dead in this match. The match is great. There’s a lot of flipping, a lot of dives, and incredible moves. Not even the outside is safe. Every single time a wrestler is outside, the opponent always makes some crazy move. Taka misses a moonsault and Aguila hits his perfectly. Taka hits a kick and goes to the top rope. Aguila grabs him, however and punches him but Taka punches back and goes for a splash. Flying missile dropkick by Taka. He goes for the Michinoku Driver but misses and Aguila tries for a move but Taka counters into a sitting powerbomb. The match ends with Taka hitting the Michinoku Driver and getting the pin. What a match!
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Taka via Michinoku Driver
GRADE: A-. This was awesome.
Post-match, Taka celebrates.
  • Aguila would continue wrestling with the WWF under the name “Essa Rios”. However, failing to find a major angle, he would become extremely obscure and leave in 2001 to wrestle in Japan and Mexico until 2006.
Freakin’ Gennifer Flowers, of all people, is interviewing the Rock. I’m surprised that she’s gone two seconds without attempting to fuck his brains out and then crying “rape”. Really? I understand D-list celebs, Vince, but you picked up a money-seeking idiot and called her a celebrity? (Holy fucking shit, Matt. Easy…) She asks the Rock how he would run the country. Rock says he would be a ruler. Basically, it’s him acting like an arrogant heel.
MATCH #3: Triple H (champion) (w/ Chyna) vs. Owen Hart (challenger) for the WWF European Championship
Hunter would drop the foppish snob angle and adopt a more badass angle. Commissioner Slaughter, apparently, had some sort of “authority” where he had to handcuff himself to Chyna. This was done so that she wouldn’t be able to interfere and was probably the only way Slaughter would ever be in cuffs with Chyna in his life. The match is back and forth once Owen comes into the ring, a house of fire. King: “Ever since I saw the Hart Family Tree, I’ve wanted to chop it down.” Heh. Owen delivers a helluva match here while Chyna pulls at the handcuffs like a Rottweiler on a chain. Owen hits a spinning kick, a HUGE body splash and a near Sharpshooter after Triple H tries for a Pedigree. Triple H hits a Pedigree but Owen counters into a Sharpshooter again. Chyna grabs at Triple H’s arm and places his hand on the ropes, causing Owen to break the hold. The performers need to kick out when they’re supposed to. I’ve noticed it a few times: when a ref is close to counting three, the kickout is a second too late, causing the ref to delay the count to three and looking like he didn’t count on purpose. The match ends when, Chyna, for some reason, throws a powder in Slaughter’s eyes. Owen goes to take a swipe at her, Triple H nails Owen from behind, gets lectured by the referee. Chyna leaps up on the mat, gives Owen a low blow. Triple H hits the Pedigree. Triple H wins…so…what was the point of Chyna tossing powder when she couldn’t get free?
WINNER: Triple H via Pedigree
GRADE: B-. Good match with an odd finish. That said, I never got the 103 titles the WWF decided to make. A “European” Championship? It was held, mostly, by Americans, so what was the point? It’s like allowing The Big Show to compete for a Flyweight Title.
Post-match, Chyna belts Slaughter and then gets free.
WWF may have a new attitude but they’re keeping the same idiotic early-90’s Wrestlemania theme.
MATCH #4: Marc Mero & Sable vs. Goldust and Luna
Goldust hits the ring with a facepaint job reminiscent of nWo Wolfpac. Luna looks insane. Marc Mero and Sable are out as well. I hate mixed tag matches. They’re usually fucking boring. Mero and Goldust are enough. No need to complicate it. If you want the women to fight, make them fight in their own match. Once Luna is tagged in, Sable gets in and chases Luna. Sable does nothing and tags in Mero. See? Sable back in but Luna wants no part of her and won’t tag in. Mero tags back in and starts punching Goldust. Mero hits a crossbody at one point and gets a close three-count. The crowd is actually chanting for Sable. Goldust tags in Luna. Mero tags in Sable and, FINALLY, Sable gets to take Luna apart. Then, Sable knocks Goldust the fuck out. Then she clotheslines Luna. Mero in and he takes apart Goldust, throwing him into the ring steps. Good match so far, which is a suprise. Mero hits a low blow with the ref distratced with Sable and he goes for his final move but Goldust counters into a DDT. Then he goes for a Curtain Call but Mero counters and hits a knee-lift. Mero goes to the top rope and hits a Moonsault for a close two-count. Goldust goes for a high risk move but Mero stops him and hits a HUGE Hurricarana! Mero is about to deck Luna but Goldust interferes and hits Luna instead. Mero hits the TKO but Luna interferes. Sable is tagged in and covering Goldust instead. Luna hits a splash but hits her own partner. Sable hits the Powerbomb on Luna but gets a CLOSE two! Great match! Luna goes for a Bronco Buster on the ropes but misses. Luna goes for a move but Sable counters into the TKO! Sable gets the pin! Mero and Sable win! Wow! A great mixed tag match!
WINNER: Mero & Sable via TKO
GRADE: A-. Great match. And I hate tag matches, as you well know.

Post-match, the two celebrate. Sable tries to leave early and Mero pulls her back in to celebrate again. Sable looks agitated here.

    • Luna was an interesting wrestler. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had a helluva temper at times. Her angle with Sable would continue through 1998 until later in the year when the two would patch things up. From there, she would join the Oddities. Sable would be suspended for a few months in 1999 for a legit fight with Sable backstage and would return later in the year. She was married to Gangrel and managed him for a while. She would wrestle with the WWF until 2000 when she was released for having another outburst backstage. Luna was outspoken and was against the sexualization of the WWF. For the next seven years, Luna would wrestle independently. During this timeframe, she would become a Born-Again Christian and, eventually divorce David Heath (Gangrel) in 2006. The two had kids and would remain friends. In 2010, Luna announced that she had officially retired from pro-wrestling. A few days later, she passed away from an overdose of Oxycodone and Benzodiazepine. Investigators found crushed pill residue and snorting straws all over the house which had been used even after she was in drug rehab in 2009. Luna Vachon was only 48 years old.

  • Marc Mero received one last push in 1998 and then, along with Sable, left the WWF in 1999. Due to a shoulder injury, Mero didn’t wrestle again for another 18 months, at which time, he returned to WCW…but he didn’t stay as his condition didn’t allow it. He would, instead, join the XWF in 2001 but leave the next year and, then, join TNA in 2004, but leave the next year. Shortly after leaving TNA, Mero would announce his retirement from wrestling. In 2007, after Chris Benoit murdered his family, Mero admitted to steroid use and said many other wrestlers used them as well, contributing to their early deaths and, also, went so far as to provide a list of 25 wrestlers who had died. Immediately, the WWE went on damage control. Mr. Kennedy and Dave Finlay both dismissed his comments and called him names. Real big of them. Mero would star in many anti-drug and anti-bullying commercials. He’s one of the lucky ones who’s still alive. 
Tennessee Lee is in the ring and he introduces Jeff Jarrett with the Money Whore Gennifer Flowers. She’s the special guest announcer for the next match.
MATCH #5: The Rock (champion) (w/ The Nation of Domination) vs. Ken Shamrock (challenger) for the WWF Intercontinental Championship
This match is rough. The Rock has kinda come into his own here. Gone is naive Rocky Maivia. Here’s arrogant Rock. The one who gives an eyebrow to the crowd and hits the People’s Elbow. The match, itself, is quick and kinda lame. Shamrock finally gets the ankle lock and makes Rock tap. Shamrock wins the title
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: Ken Shamrock via Ankle Lock
GRADE: C-. Ugh. Ugly all over. The worst of the night.

Post-match, NOD jumps Shamrock. But Shamrock clears the ring easily, even slamming Mark Henry. Farooq comes out to help but won’t help Rock…Shamrock, through it all, continues to apply the Ankle Lock, then FINALLY lets go. A ton of referees PLUS Shane McMahon come out to stop him but Shamrock belly-to-belly suplexes just about everyone. Rock is cut open and bleeding badly. EMT’s get to him and take him away. The referees reverse the decision and disqualify Ken Shamrock. The crowd is pissed.
GRADE: F. Way to go. That makes it better.

Post-match, Shamrock goes running for The Rock and knocks him off the stretcher which should have been in fucking Barbados by now with the Rock and, instead, was like 150 feet away near the aisle’s entrance. Shamrock grabs the belt and takes it. He gives it to The Rock and the crowd loves it.
We get a promo with a bunch of WWF wrestlers listing all the injuries that they’ve been through. Austin says, “If this isn’t real, try lacing my boots.” Nice message – “Go ahead and try what we do. You’ll totally break your neck/spine/arms. Then we’ll say that you’re an idiot.” If this is an attempt to say “Don’t Try This At Home”, you’re NEARLY there…less aggressive, more passive, please.
MATCH #6: Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie (challengers) vs. The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg Jesse James & Badass Billy Gunn) (champions) in a Dumpster Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship
Bleah. I hate these matches. Foley’s matches are hit and miss. They’re full of weapons and pretty much are just a test to see how much the other guy can take. There is ONE great part when both Gunn and Foley are on the ladder, duking it out and Funk accidentally knocks it over, sending both men into the dumpster. I think the rules state that both men have to be put into the dumpster to win. Or something. It’s like the poor man’s Casket Match. The match ends when Foley and Funk fight the Outlaws backstage. Somehow, Funk gets them on a palette attached to a forklift and lifts them into the dumpster backstage. Foley and Funk get the belts.
WINNERS AND NEW CHAMPIONS: Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie
    • After this, Foley would resume his career as a mix of Mankind and Mick Foley.

  • Because of the above, the legendary Terry Funk (Chainsaw Charlie) left the WWF in the summer of 1998. He would wrestle in WCW and ECW as well as independently for the next seven years. He would make a one-time return to the WWE in 2006 before returning to wrestle in the independent circuits. In 2011, he would wrestle, independently, against Jerry “The King” Lawler.
MATCH #7: The Undertaker vs. Kane (w/ Paul Bearer)
Between Wrestlemania 12 and 13, Paul Bearer would turn on the Undertaker, telling him that he had killed his brother. Or something. It was revealed that his brother, Kane, was still alive. He would challenge the Undertaker to a fight. Then they would reunited for a short time as a tag team…but then Kane would lock the Undertaker in a casket and burn it. WWF officials were unable to find the Undertaker and he would return to accept Kane’s challenge. Before the match, Pete Rose is hired to announce the match. Rose says that the last time he was in the city, Cincinnati kicked their ass. He introduces Kane who comes out with pyro going off repeatedly. Rose and Bearer exchange glances. Then Kane grabs Rose and tombstones him, much to the crowd’s delight. The crowd pops HUGE. The Undertaker is out next…he had Druids with torches standing on the sides of the aisle with the opera piece, O Fortuna, playing. Undertaker walks down the aisle, wearing a cloak. Lightning strikes. This is badass theatricality. This is like a repeat of Undertaker vs. Undertaker. Kane no-sells like the Undertaker’s early days. Kane shows some early power by picking up the Undertaker and holding him in a Tombstone position before slamming him, back-first, into the turnbuckles. Kane manhandles the Undertaker for the first part of the match and the Undertaker realizes this may be the match of his life. The match then turns into many of the Undertaker’s latest matches – slow as fuck and deliberate. The formula, to me, is almost like Hogan’s and I am glad that they changed it. The Undertaker, once Kane is outside, tries a great high-risk move where he dives outside to tackle Kane. Instead, he misses and hits the announce table which collapses big-time. Somehow, while falling backward, Jim Ross keeps his Stetson on. It gets interesting near the end. The two men exchange blows befor The Undertaker goes for a Tombstone. Kane reverses! TOMBSTONE! Kane goes for the pin and gets two! The Undertaker starts to pepper Kane with some punches, then hits a huge clothesline. Kane springs up and tries to fight back but the Undertaker hits a HUGE Chokeslam. He calls for the Tombstone and, this time, he hits it! He folds up the arms…and gets two. The Undertaker gets up and hits a legdrop but Kane gets right back up again. The Undertaker hits ANOTHER Tombstone, folds up the arms and STILL cannot get the pin. Kane gets up. The Undertaker hits the top rope and hits a flying clothesline. Kane, however, sits right up. The Undertaker, again, hits a THIRD Tombstone…he hooks the leg…and this time, he gets the pin.
WINNER: The Undertaker via Tombstone
GRADE: I still don’t know how to rate this one. On the one hand, you have a great match with evenly-matched guys. On the other, Kane was like Jason friggin’ Voorhees and doesn’t stay down, even after three tombstones. How does the Undertaker get the win here if his brother seems more powerful? Oh well. I’d say B-. That’s generous. The Undertaker, at this point, was 6-0 at Wrestlemania.
Post-match, Bearer tosses a chair into the ring, knocks out the ref, then starts beating on The Undertaker. Then he chokes him with his boot. Bearer goes to Kane and tells him to help out. Undertaker hits Bearer and knocks him down! Kane gets the chair and clubs the Undertaker with it. Kane wants more and, at first, Bearer holds him back but then lets him go. Kane hits the Tombstone on the chair. This time, Bearer tells Kane to go back to the backstage area. Kane’s music plays but the Undertaker sits up.
We get a promo about the WWF’s old-timers cheering for the new breed of “Attitude” wrestlers. I’d like to think this is in response to people who said that wrestling wasn’t what it was.
We get the lead-up to Austin/Michaels. There is an uncomfortable amount of “crotch-chopping” in these clips. Including clips of Triple H appearing to dry-hump Mike Tyson from behind while he crops at Tyson’s crotch. Alrighty then.
MATCH #8: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (challenger) vs. Shawn Michaels (champion) (w/ Triple H & Chyna) with special ring enforcer Mike Tyson for the WWF Championship
Tyson is out first. Then Austin. The glass shatters. The place goes NUTS. Quite the change from his debut, no? Austin does his posing on the turnbuckles. Then, him and Tyson goes nose to nose and argue and trash-talk. The crowd loves it. Here come Michaels, Triple H, and Chyna. Rage Against the Machine plays their theme live. The three enter and Michaels gets up on their stage and rocks out, then walks to the aisle. This crowd is RABID. This is like Hogan/Andre. Tyson takes a swipe at Austin but misses. Austin walks it off. Shawn taunts Austin and Austin just flips him off. Michaels hits a sucker punch and Austin recovers. Then he does it again. Austin recovers and faces off again. This time, Michaels escapes from the ring but Austin finally gets him and clotheslines him. Then he shoves him into the turnbuckle. Then pulls his tights down, exposing his ass (again). Then he flips him out of the ring where he accidentally hits Triple H. Helmsley goes right after him and tosses him into the crowd barriers. The ref backs him off then tells him to get out. The announcer says that Triple H and Chyna are to go back to the dressing room. Chyna whispers into Tyson’s ear before leaving. Meanwhile, Austin is busy kicking Triple H’s ass before Michaels steps in and interferes. The two fight ouside and Michaels throws Austin in a nearby dumpster. Then Shawn just continues to beat on Austin before throwing him back into the ring. Michaels tries a high risk move but Austin catches him. He tosses Shawn, like a doll, into the turnbuckle. Then he hits an inverted atomic drop. Two-count. Then he hits a slight arm bar submission and really turns up the pressure. Michaels counters out of it but Austin hits a clothesline using the ropes. Two-count. Austin tries a Stunner but Michaels escapes and gets out of the ring. Austin helps him by kneeing him out. Austin goes for his elbow drop with middle fingers and gets a series of two-counts. Then applies a submission move. Michaels gets to his feet and powers out of it. He moves Austin’s legs to the ring post to try and damage his knee but Austin yanks Michaels into it with his legs. Austin takes Michaels and just slaps him around near the security railing. He tries to run at him but Michaels dumps him over into the crowd. Austin gets up but Michaels hits him with the ring bell. Tyson consoles Michaels. Austin gets up and Michaels puts him into the ring. He hits Austin with a double axehandle then uses a series of punches on him. Michaels is in obvious pain here. He had legit injuries at this point in his career. Michaels throws Austin’s head into the turnbuckle. Then he beats on him before snapmaring him for a two-count. Michaels hits a kick to the gut, then turns and flips off the crowd. Austin runs at him and attacks, punching him while on the ground! Then he tosses him from the ring. Michaels finally grabs Austin’s damaged leg and runs it into the ringpost. Then he does it again. Then he does it again. In the ring, he bashes Austin’s knee into the mat and taunts the crowd. Austin gets to a turnbuckle but Michaels is right there, kicking him. Michaels tries to put on a move but Austin kicks him away then wraps him up for a quick two-count! Michaels recovers and continues to work on the damaged leg, using the ropes as leverage. Austin is outside with Tyson. Michaels baseball slides at him and kicks him. Tyson crotch-chops at him. Tyson just tosses him back in the ring. Austin gripes at him but Michaels hits a Chop Block then hits a Figure Four in the middle of the ring. As the ref is distracted by a pained Austin, Michaels holds the ropes. Quick two-count. Michaels continues to cheat and holds the ropes again. Austin just drags Michaels back so he can’t hold the ropes…then he turns the F4 over! Michaels breaks the hold and gets to the ropes. Austin takes over and punches Michaels. Catapult by Austin! Two count! Austin tosses Michaels into the ropes. Reversal and Michaels hits a Sleeper! Austin backs Michaels into the turnbuckle but accidentally catches the ref, knocking him out. Michaels runs at Austin who dumps his head into the turnbuckle. He throws Michaels into two turnbuckles, then stomps a mudhole in Michaels. Austin with an Irish Whip and body drop. Austin tosses Michaels into the ropes and Michaels hits Austin with a forearm! Michaels quick-flips up to his feet! He gets to the top rope, then hits a flying elbow drop! He gets to a corner and stomps the mat to ready Sweet Chin Music. Austin gets to his feet. Michael MISSES! Austin tries the Stunner but Michaels dodges! He shoves Austin into the ropes! Sweet Chin Music MISSES AGAIN!!! Austin holds his leg, turns him around AND HITS THE STUNNER!!! No ref! So Tyson gets in the ring and counts three!!! Austin has won the WWF Championship!!! What a match!
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin via Stunner
GRADE: A-. This match had it all – drama, power, reversals, everything.
Post-match, Austin celebrates and calls for some Austin 3:16 shirts. He throws one to Tyson and Tyson celebrates with it. Michaels wakes up and yells at Mike Tyson, taking the shirt away. Tyson tries to get it back but Michaels won’t let him have it. He tosses the shirt and punches Tyson but Tyson blocks it quickly and just belts Michaels, knocking him out! Tyson raises Austin’s arm again. Austin flips Michaels off. Confetti bursts. Tyson lays an Austin shirt over Michaels’ face. Austin gets the belt and leaves with Tyson.
We see replays of what happened. Then more crowd-shots.
This was a solid Wrestlemania. Great event.

GREAT?! This was A+ all the way. One of the best Wrestlemanias — albeit some terrible spots but they were kept to a minimum.

Tomorrow: Wrestlemania XV!

— Matt

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