The Event: WrestleMania 14
The Date: March 29, 1998
The Place: Boston, MA
Your Host: Andy X
The History: Ever since Hogan left after WrestleMania 8, the WWF tried to push various champions as hopeful successors to Hulk Hogan. All from Randy Savage to Bret Hart had reasonable success as world champions but none could bring back the old business. In desperation, Lex Luger, Kevin Nash and Shawn Michaels were pushed as the top baby faces with disastrous results. That is until the WWF decided to change their look all together and tried the edgier, "extreme"(and no, the use of that word is no coincidence either) form of entertainment. Thus the birth of the attitude era and the end of kayfabe. Vince McMahon came on TV himself and stated that he doesn't want to offend the intelligence of fans and thus declared wrestling as more of a form of entertainment that included choreographed displays of athleticism than an actual sport. In other words wrestling was officially declared fake. There were no clear-cut faces or heels, a lot of that could be contributed to the Stone Cold character. He was someone who started off as a heel but got over as a huge face using the same heel tactics and was the challenger for the world title at Wrestle Mania 14 against champion Shawn Michaels. Shawn was of coarse the leader of the top heel stable, DX. DX has to be one of the most controversial stables in history of wrestling. Shawn Michaels along with HHH and Chyna did everything from playing strip poker to getting in everyone's face. It was an amazing concept at the time and got them over as huge heels and later the toned down version as an important face stable. Mike Tyson was bought in as the special enforcer and through out the build up looked to be a sure fire DX member.
All this came to the huge Austin-Michaels-Tyson main event.
On With the show:
The DX band performs a unique rendition of America the beautiful to kick things off. And we go on to the WrestleMania intro that still sends shivers down the spine. It goes something like this:
"The first temptation is to say that tradition has left WrestleMania that this grand spectacle, this enticing blend of celebrities and athleticism has been take hostage by a new generation of degenerates. The baddest man on the planet, the toughest SOB the reigning champion and number one degenerate. These are men determined to write their own destiny, to hell with the historians who will pen their tale. But tradition is indeed alive and well because after all despite the brash bravado it's the allure of WWF gold that has brought these men here tonight. The very belt that immortalized Andre, Hulk and Sammartino, the symbol of excellence that inspired Gorilla Monsoon, "The Big Cat" Ernie Lads, Classie Freddie Blassie, the vintage created by Vincent J. MacMahon some 50 years ago. So tonight through sacrifice and pain through breath taking displays of athleticism that defy mortal boundaries, these men that shun tradition are destined to become a part of it. Its Wrestlemania the grand daddy of spectacles the showcase of the immortals, a time to rebel in the occasion and somewhere beneath the spotlights the father of the WWF will rebel in it too"
WrestleMania music hits and for the first time since WM10 I was actually excited for a WrestleMania. At least we knew that it had to be better than WM13. Than again most backyard wrestling would probably be better than an Undertaker-Sid main event with all due respect to Undertaker and Sid fans. No wait if you are an Undertaker or Sid fan you don't deserve any respect so screw you.
We join the action with Nation of Islamanation entering. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler go all orgasmic over how cool WrestleMania is this year. Jim Ross going orgasmic now that's a scary thought. And this is our first match, the 15-team battle Royal for well nothing in particular. All I see is a whole lot of jobber teams up there so what's the dam point? Wait a minute. What a rush? Holy shit it's the LOD with Sunny. They are the surprise team for this Rumble. Ohhhkkkay now I get it. LOD come in to a huge reaction. If this happened 5 years ago I'd be marking out like crazy but this wasn't so I wasn't but it was still a cool thing. On to the match. LOD take about 6 and half hours taking off those LOD 2000 outfits. While much to the disappointment of the crowd and myself Sunny keeps hers on.
Cornette is discussing strategy with the new midnight express. And we are off. Everyone is punching everyone else and doing not much else happening. This is like Sid vs. Jim Duggans all over again. Ok maybe not that bad, Savio's out and so is his partner Miguel. Kurgan comes out and eliminates Sniper and Reekon. Bradshaw is gone. Man this guy needed serious repackaging at the time. Godwins double teaming Hawk. Brian Christopher is gone. As I fast forward to the final four teams. It's LOD, ME, DOA and the Godwins and everyone is still going around doing not a hell of a lot. DOA IS OUT, BY GAWD THEY ARE OUT. Okay. There is pin drop silence in the arena by now and I do mean pin drop silence. Godwins out and we are down ME and LOD. Needless to say LOD goes over to a huge pop from the crowd. Were they popping for the LOD or were they just glad that this was over? Probably a bit of both. Sunny comes in and the three of them celebrate with some Champaign and crack. Common one crack joke per sunny match isn't too bad is it? Common it must have CRACKED one of you up? Head on over to wrestlingvixxxens.com to check out Sunny's cr...
Match Rating: *, Just an excuse to put LOD over.
Hey look it's the Honky Tonk Man. It's the Honky Tonk Man shilling the 1900 WWF line. Those stupid things still around?
Jim Ross keeps us entertained by telling us that this broadcast is going live to Most of the world including some African countries who are keeping themselves entertained through watching WM14 while they wait for the UN food planes to arrive. Which reminds me this is just about time for me to order a pizza. I haven't eaten in ages.
A whole lotta WrestleMania promotions are shown. Hey there is Flash Funk. Who?
This should be a good one. Of coarse the crowd decides to take a nap. They pull out some eye-popping high spots, too numerous to list here. There is no history between the two and no psychology either. They go from one spot to another. Aguila does an amazing off the top rope dive onto TAKA as the two go from on spot to another to a third one. Kewl. Actually I was a wrong. Not a good match at all. Just a whole bunch of high spots being hit, still very watchable. TAKE gets him with a Michinoku driver. I guess they were told to wrap it up.
Match Rating: **1/2, Good little spot fest killed by the crowd and the lack of psychology.
Jennifer Flowers interviews the Rock. Funny shit. If I was rating promos that was an easy ****.
HHH comes out to huge heel heat and the crowd is officially alive again. Chyna is looking as beautiful as always. To put it in other words Chyna is to beauty what Undertaker is to selling. Yea that bad. But it didn't matter because Chyna was supposed to be portraying what she was and quite honestly it was a good character. It wasn't until she started going all teary eyed over her being beautiful and NOT a freak that she started pissing me off. Anyway Owen Hart comes out to a decent pop. Chyna reluctantly gets handcuffed to Sergeant Slaughter aka "Chins". Both guys are at the top of their game here. Owen goes outside and Chyna tries to interfere but to no avail as Sergeant Chins stops her. Trips gets some good offense in as Owen bleeds legit from the nose and Trips works on Owen's knee. Sarge is still trying to hold Chyna back. Owen with some offense and goes to the sharpshooter but with Chyna's help HHH breaks free. Powder in Sarge's face, you show him big guy. Low blow to Owen, Pedigree and HHH is the European champ and your soon to be DX leader.
Match Rating: ***1/2, Pretty good match with good crowd heat and the right booking. RIP Owen, we'll miss ya.
I officially declare that its time for a beer. How the hell am I supposed to sit through this? Sable comes out to a huge pop. And I am talking huge. This is the time when Sable was probably the number 2 or 3 face in the company based on these pops. Than again her tits might have been the 2 or 3 face in the company. I hope she makes a porno soon.
Goldest gets the crap beaten out of him by everyone as Luna decides she doesn't want to fight Sable. I guess because Sable was too pissed off or something. Hot tag to Sable and she shows some actual wrestling skills. Hey this shit isn't too bad actually. Mero does a TKO on Goldust but Luna breaks it up. Hot tag to Sable. Power bomb and a good one too. TKO on Luna and this one is history. Sable acts like a bitch afterwards and doesn't let Mero celebrate with her.
Match Rating: ***1/4, Interesting match to say the least, Sable was hugely over at the time.
Jeff Jarret and Jennifer Flowers are your ring announcers? Ok. Rock comes out with Nation of Domination. Shamrock pretty much dominates the match. Shamrock gets into a little confrontation with the ref while Rock gets a chair. Man Rocky are you trying to piss this guy off or something? Which is exactly what he just did. Shamrock into the Zone. Ankle lock on the Rock as he submits and we have a new Intercontinental champ. The next match on the card is...but wait Shamrock doesn't let go. About 3 million refs come out to break it. But Shamrock doesn't care and they do the Lawler-Bret ending from Summer Slam 93 where the ending is reversed due to the submission hold not being released. Farooq came out to make the save but decided against it and Rock is still the IC champ. Rock does the stretcher job but Shamrock goes after him to a huge pop.
Match Rating: ****, Shamrock was put over huge without actually winning the title. Rock-Farooq feud continues. All round good booking.
The rules are that you have to dump your both opponents in a dumpster to win. Some amazing bumps are taken all round as a ladder is bought in. All 4 guys take turns getting into the dumpster with the end being teased. The action goes backstage. Terry Funk dumps both the Outlaws in another dumpster in the backstage area with the help of a forklift. The Funk-Cactus Jack celebration has to be seen to be believed. Hard to describe match but it was a hell of a lot of fun to watch. It had lots of stuff never seen before on WWF TV.
Match Rating: ****1/4, Great bumps, innovative match.
Wake me up when this is over. My favorite celebrity ever to grace the WWF Pete Ross is there to do the ring intros. And much to the surprise of everyone cuts a killer heel promo on the crowd. Funny shit but Kane comes in and piledrives him. This is the sort of stuff that makes WWF so dam good. Great surprise bookings. Vince Russo take note or maybe its too late for that now. The Undertaker takes about 8 days and 3 hours to get in. Huge entrance for the big man.
Has anyone ever noticed that the crowd always goes crazy during his entrance but after that almost always falls asleep? Couldn't be a coincidence. Anywho this match isn't too bad at least for an Undertaker match. Undertaker does what he hasn't done before and never has since and makes his opponent look good. After about 14 minutes or so Kane goes for a tombstone, Undertaker reverses and needs about 3 of his own to BARELY get a win.
Match Rating: *3/4, Pretty decent considering the fact that I used this match to take a leak, mow the lawn and clean my place when I was watching it live. In other words much better than expected. We are shown a package containing all the mainstream media attention WWF attracter with the involvement of Tyson. This is what put WWF back on the map. Even though it couldn't have happened without Shawn being such a huge heel or Austin's popularity but make no mistake about it Tyson was a huge factor of getting the attention back on WWF.
This has to be the biggest WWF main event Since Warrior vs. Hogan.
Mike Tyson comes out the DX theme wearing a DX shirt and doing really bad acting. Stone Cold is shown walking towards the entrance to a very big crowd pop. His music hits and the crowd goes nuts and I mean NUTS. Austin gets in Tyson's face and tells that ear biting son of a bitch that he should take some acting lessons. Shawn Michaels is next ofcoarse, out to the live DX band. Drawing huge huge heat. That theme kicks ass.
Before we get into the match, it should be noted that Michaels was going in with a career ending back injury. His back is a legit factor throughout the match.
Austin and Michaels do a nice starting sequence until both men end up outside. HHH tries to interfere but Tyson stops that. Chyna and Trips are thrown out of the match.
The male stripper and toughest SOB fight on the outside. Michaels is taking some huge bumps. You gotta respect this guy for that.
Tyson has been pretty much a non-factor thus far apart from that confrontation with HHH. Michaels takes control and works on the knee. Figure four reversal results in a near fall for Austin. Michaels finally gets the figure four on but Austin of coarse breaks free and takes control. Ref is taken out. Baaaaaack body drop as Austin whispers something in Michaels' ear. They do a rope sequence where Michaels hits Austin with a flying forearm only it was more of a walking forearm. This used to Michael's finisher a long time back. Michaels to the top rope and hits Austin with an elbow off the top rope. Michaels signals the sweet chin music and misses. Austin tries a stunner but he misses too. Austin to the ropes. Michaels tries another super kick but Austin reverses Kick!Wham!Stunner! Tyson comes in and makes the count and Austin is finally the mega face champion Vince spend years and millions searching for.
Jim Ross declares the start of the Austin era. Tyson celebrates with Austin. Michaels wakes up all pissed off at Tyson and gets the lamest punch ever by the lamest actor ever who also happens to be the baddest man ever. The punch is sold by Shawn like he was hit by a train or something. Tyson should have bitten Shawn's ear off, that would have been seriously funny. Austin and Tyson celebrate more as Tyson lays an Austin 3:16 T-Shirt on Michaels. Beer time for me, thanks for watching folks.
Match Rating: ****1/4, 5 star match if you consider the historical importance but the back injury to Micheals pulled the ratings of the actual match back a bit. Nonetheless great effort by both men.
As far as the match quality goes, we have a few very good matches with even the stuff that was supposed to suck, didn't. Everyone put on an extra special effort for this one an it shows.
Average Match Rating: ***
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