Hola everyone, instead of your usual Cewsh, you’re getting me, Ms. Cewsh, popping my Attitude Era cherry to bring you another lovely review. While some girls get dinner and dancing on a Saturday evening, I get a Wrestlemania from elementary school and Smirnoff. That’s right intrepid readers, Cewsh and I are on board for a pre-Mania review of…Mania! XIV, that is. Picked by a complex algorithm involving my kills in Fallout, Cewsh’s diet soda intake, and the Wrestlemanias we already own, we’ve selected a show neither of us had really seen. This’ll be fun. Right?
Segment 1 – OPENING VIDEO FEVER!
Cewsh: Well here we are at Wrestlemania XIV, and watching this video I’m not overly impressed. I guess I can’t fault WWE for having sub-par production values way back in 1998, but yeah, it goes without saying that things are very, very different than what we’ve come to know today. It’s especially true when you consider how many terrible Wrestlemanias there had been in a row, prior to this. They’re slowly trying to make it a gala spectacle it is today, but they certainly aren’t there yet.
Segment 2 – The Nation of Domination (Farooq and Kuma Mustafa), The Godwins, The Nation II (Mark Henry and D Lo Brown), the Rock and Roll Express, Chains, Too Cool, D.O.A, The Headbangers, The New Blackjacks, Los Boriquas I, Los Boriquas II, Steve Blackman and Flash Funk, The New Midnight Express, Sniper and Recon, Bruno Sammartino and Verne Gagne, Abbot and Costello, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Godzilla and Mothra, The Legion of Doom w/Sunny, and probably some other guys.
– Yeah, this match is a ridiculous clusterfuck. It’s practically impossible to follow, especially since the announcers spend the entire match trying to explain who the fuck is in the match.
– Sunny is sexy as hell.
– They couldn’t have picked just one team to face the LoD? I’m not sure that D.O.A. really deserved a Wrestlemania paycheck.
– Ridiculous. Purely ridiculous.
– We popped popcorn for the show and we finished it during this match. The popcorn gets a 76. The match gets a…
21 out of 100
Ms.Cewsh: The announcers are making a huge deal out of something called the El oh dee. I guess they’re a team, and I saw Mad Max. So I’ve got this. In post-apocalyptica, Sunny will either be worshiped or sold into sexual slavery in that outfit. Maybe both.
Anyway, getting everyone to the ring takes longer than the match itself. There’s only 30 guys in the ring, but it looks more like a thousand. Total impossible to follow clusterfuck, made so much worse by a run-in. Yes, a run-in in a 30 man battle royal. JBL is the only person I recognize, and I almost didn’t with him not looking like a bloated corpse. Anyway, the LoD, Team Blue Pants, and the Hicks are all in the ring. The Hicks get tossed out and come back with buckets. Of all the weapons we keep under the rings, you could do no better than buckets? Then the LoD gets rid of Team Blue Pants, the guy from TNA is a sad panda because they’re friends, and Sunny prances around and you almost kind of get to see nipple when the camera looks down her “top”.
Ms.Cewsh: After the match, the LoD is walking towards the back while JR prattles on. Here’s a little insight into the Cewsh Household:
Cewsh: “He’s dead, you know.”Ms.Cewsh: “Who, JR? I really don’t think so.”Cewsh: “One of the members of the LoD! Yes. JR is dead.”
He’s cruel to me.
The Law: So, that’s not a very good group of tag teams. Obviously, they just wanted to get as many people as possible on the card. The winning team gets a shot at the tag titles at the next pay-per-view. Savio Vega is the first man out, and his partner Miguel Perez is forced to leave the ring due to his elimination. Barry Windham shows up and throws out Chainz, so him and Bradshaw are gone. The Quebecers are next to go, then Kurrgan. Ricky Morton gets tossed. This might be the only WWF appearance for the Express. That’s history. Mark Henry is still in there despite his partner having been eliminated. Not sure if that’s storyline or if he just didn’t know the rules of the match, or didn’t realize D’Lo was eliminated.
Final four is: LOD, Godwinns, DOA, and Midnight Express. Godwinns go out first, then DOA. Godwinns come back in and attack LOD with their slop buckets. The Express can’t take advantage and LOD gets the win.
Rating: 3/4*. Not a particularly good match, but at least it got these guys a Wrestlemania payday.
Segment 3 – WWF Light Heavyweight Championship – TAKA Michinoku (c) vs. Aguila
Cewsh: Alright, so here we have the Light Heavyweight Championship being defended at Wrestlemania for probably the first and last time. Interesting potential mix of styles here, (Styles Clash?) so we’ll see how this goes. This match is kind of strange to watch, when you realize that this took place before high spots and high flying were at all common in the WWE. The fans clearly have no idea what to make of it. They ooh and awe every flip, but aside for that, they’re completely silent. Fans today have been conditioned to appreciate high flying wrestling, but in these days, we’re seeing the very beginning of the WWE acceptance of that style.
This match isn’t overly smooth or great or anything, but it is fun to watch for the spots and to see a young TAKA and Essa Rios. It should go without saying that this should have been the opener, and not that ridiculous tag match.
63 out of 100
Ms.Cewsh: OK, who dresses Aguila? Green, pink, gold, and white? Yick, when’s Labor Day? Cewsh warned me that this was going to by my match of the night. (He was right.)
The Law: Aguila would go on to portray Essa Rios, who is really only notable for introducing Lita. The Light Heavyweight Title was resurrected after years of inactivity in an attempt to counter WCW’s Cruiserweight Division. The WWF never really invested the time in getting their guys over, despite having some real talent in the division. As a result, it never took off.
Aguila quickly gets Taka on the floor and hits a Baseball Slide followed by a crazy Moonsault from the top rope. Taka Dropkicks Aguila out of the ring, then hits a Flying Body Press. Aguila Back Drops Taka over the top. Taka goes to the top, but gets sent to the mat with an Arm Drag. Taka goes to the floor, where Aguila hits a Twisting Senton! Back in the ring, Taka misses a Moonsault and Aguila hits his Moonsault.
Aguila gets his knees up to block a Splash, then Aguila hits a Frankensteiner! Missile Dropkick from Taka, then he counters a Hurricanrana attempt with a Powerbomb. Taka misses a Moonsault. Aguila comes off the top rope and gets Dropkicked. Michonuku Driver finishes this one at 5:46.
Rating: **1/4. Fifteen minutes of action packed into five minutes. Definitely entertaining, but there wasn’t really any selling, psychology, or story-telling to this one. I think they could have had an awesome match if given some time to build it.
Segment 4 – The Rock and Schlock Connection
Cewsh: Gennifer Flowers interviews the Rock about nothing in particular and it is pretty damn funny. It’s really awesome to see the Rock back when he was really hitting his stride. Just really good stuff to watch, though I’ll admit that it took me a little while to realize that this was 1998 and Flowers was actually relevant.
Segment 5 – WWE European Championship – Triple H (c) w/ Chyna vs. Owen Hart
Cewsh: OK, so babyfaced (but not babyface) Triple H is taking on Owen Hart in one of Owen’s last high profile performances before his death. Also, there’s a stipulation where Chyna has to be handcuffed to Sgt. Slaughter, presumably so she doesn’t get lost. All of it over a title that was irrelevant even when it was relevant. Luckily, one person here will have great success in their career. Though, to be fair, life can only get better for Slaughter, Chyna, and Owen…right?
Ms Cewsh: Hey, Chyna was on the Surreal Life!
Cewsh: Oh and for the record, the DX band is awful and the guy fronting it looks like a twat who got paid in weed and roofies. And, is it just me, or has Triple H always looked really awkward doing the crotch chop? He always held it for just a little too long with just the wrong facial expression, like he didn’t quite get what it meant. An observation, if you will.
The story of the entire match is about Chyna trying to interfere and Slaughter trying his best to prevent it. Slaughter has his hands full with the lovely lady, while Triple H has his hands full dealing with the onslaught of the challenger with ridiculously long monkey arms.
The match is pretty good, with solid work from both men, and it’s assuredly a long step up from the quality of the show so far. The stipulation is actually a bit of a distraction from an otherwise solid title match, and that will pretty much be the theme for tonight. Keep in mind, that this was in the days where competitive matches and clean finishes start to fall by the wayside in favor of wackiness. So yeah, this match was alright. A little boring, here and there, but no real complaints. The finish was wacky, but fun all the same, even if it should have probably come sooner for the sake of the match.
Question, how did Chyna know that Owen Hart’s balls hung to his knee? She hit his inner knee area with remarkable precision.
78 out of 100
Ms. Cewsh: Aw, the old sets looked so…lonely! It’s just like a curtain and some lights. And that awful band doesn’t even have a real stage. Someone just put a couple pallets together and told them to go at it.
Triple H and Chyna come out and they make a huge deal out of Chyna being handcuffed to Sgt. Slaughter because she’s a naughty, troublemaking girl. Aaaand now I’m having flashbacks to her porn. God, it’s like Nam. You’re never really over it.
I have a crush on Triple H So where do you get those handcuffs with like two feet of chain separating them, anyway? Again, getting everyone to the ring and getting Chyna all tied up takes longer than the actual match itself. And this is where I admit that I have no idea who Owen Hart is and didn’t find him myself drawn to him in this match. The crowd clearly disagreed with me, however, as they lost their damn minds every time he even thought the words Sharpshooter. I still have a crush on Triple H. This wasn’t really the kind of match I enjoy, though, so nothing really held my attention. Chyna fought to play with the boys, but I’m sure the old, slow, fat guy holding on to her will have no trouble keeping her out of the ring.
Too be fair, she never did get in the ring. She just threw baby powder/sugar/cocaine in Slaughter’s face and low blowed Hart. It happens to the best of us.
The Law: HHH was handed the title by Shawn Michaels back in December. When Owen Hart returned from hiatus after the Montreal Screwjob, he was placed in a program with HHH. HHH is accompanied by Chyna here, but she will be handcuffed to Sgt. Slaughter to prevent her from interfering. Owen takes it to HHH off the bell. He goes for the Sharpshooter, but HHH rakes his eyes. HHH turns the tide with his Knee Jawbreaker and follows with a High Knee. A DDT by HHH gets two. HHH finally starts working on Owen’s injured ankle with a Step Over Toe Hold. Owen manages to crotch HHH on the turnbuckle and hits a Missile Dropkick. Nice Belly to Belly Suplex by Owen gets two.
HHH comes back with a Powerbomb for a close two count. Owen blocks a Superplex attempt and connects with a Cross Body. HHH goes for the Pedigree, but Owen reverses and goes for the Sharpshooter, but HHH blocks. A series of reversals ends with Owen locking in the Sharpshooter. Chyna helps HHH make the ropes, then throws powder in Slaughter’s eyes. While Slaughter is blinded, Chyna hits a low blow on Owen, allowing HHH to hit the Pedigree for the win at 11:27.
Rating: ***1/4. Good match. Exactly the quality you would expect from these two.
Segment 6 – Marc Mero and Sable vs. Goldust and Luna
Ms.Cewsh: Let’s start with the opening video. Oh my God, what the fuck am I watching? It’s like a nightmare that won’t stop, but the one thing I must address is, Luna claims she’s going to turn Sable’s face from Estée Lauder to an Andy Warhol. Andy Warhol reached his fame painting exceedingly realistic people and everyday objects. Either Luna is turning Sable into a work of art, or she meant Picasso (who also did lovely realistic people, but that’s neither here nor there). Either way, a woman with veins tattooed on the side of her dreadlocked head has probably never seen either.
Time for the ring entrances and what the FUCK am I watching?!? I can’t find a cute piece of lingerie for me, but Goldust can?
According to the video, Mero was a face who turned heel after people liked Sable more than him and then he did something with Goldust, who found someone even more physically unappealing than he in Luna. Then Mero and Sable got married, which means she’s basically working an abused wife gimmick. So then they decide to have a mixed tag match, which is built as heel/heel, but then Mero is kind of a tweener after he decides to fight for Sable, even though she’s the only person in this match who’s getting any real offence? Then Sable beats the hell out of Goldust, even though she shouldn’t and the ref got angry when Mero tried to face Luna like 2 seconds ago. And then Sable beats Luna with Mero’s finisher, thus furthering her dependence on him and their overall unhealthy relationship.
I had a dream about Sable giving Super Mutants the TKO after reviewing this match. I suffer for your amusement!
Cewsh: My God, Luna and Goldy are unappealing alone, but put them together and give them free reign of the costume department, and they become like the Voltron of Ick. Why in God’s name will no one buy Luna any pants? Hopefully her Wrestlemania check went directly to buying her some fucking emergency pants for social situations like this one.
This match is purely to highlight Sable. She was getting so over by this point, that they clearly realized that they needed to put her in some matches to take advantage of it. She isn’t any good in the ring, as you might expect, but it doesn’t really matter because the crowd explodes for her every gesture. An odd thing here is that the build for this match clearly portrays Mero as a heel and a terrible husband, but he plays a complete face for the entire match and seems really genuinely supportive of Sable. It seems odd, but I guess it makes sense seeing as Mero, of all people, has to carry the majority of this match. Yes, that’s right, this is a match that MARC MERO carries on his back. But again, it doesn’t matter. The crowd wanted Sable, they got Sable, and all’s well that ends well. For them. For me, it would have ended better if the ring had opened up and dropped everyone in it into the darkest circles of hell.
35 out of 100
Sable and Mero Over Luna and Golddust Following a TKO From Sable to Luna.
The Law: Sable and Luna have been going at it for awhile at this point. Mero and Goldust both feel as if they have been overshadowed by their women. No one seems to know the rules here, as JR says the women and men can’t fight, but they continuously tag in and out. Sable levels Goldust with a Roundhouse Kick. Mero and Goldust go back and forth for a bit while the crowd chants for Sable. The women tag in, Sable takes down Luna, and the crowd goes wild. Sable might have been more over than anyone on the roster other than Austin at this point. Mero tags in and Goldust takes over. Mero goes low, but Goldust blocks the TKO and hits a DDT. Mero blocks the Curtain Call and connects with a Moonsault. Goldust gets crotched on the top and Mero hits a Frankensteiner. Mero hits the TKO, but Luna breaks up the pin. Sable tags in and Powerbombs Luna, which for some reason doesn’t end the match. Sable hits a TKO better than the one Mero performed earlier and gets the win at 9:05.
Rating: **1/4. Not a technical classic, but some fun stuff here.
Segment 7 – WWF Intercontinental Championship – The Rock (c) vs. Ken Shamrock
Cewsh: Tennessee Lee shows up to do the ring announcing for Jeff Jarrett and Gennifer Flowers, who show up to do the ring announcing for the Rock/Shamrock match. For no reason. Oh Jeff, so much shiny. It’s honestly hard to square these memories of old time Double J with the current founder of TNA. He’s come a long way, and watching this incarnation of Jeff, I have no idea how he made it this far. Also, Gennifer Flowers flubs some lines. She seems to be a good sport about the whole thing, so I guess I can’t fault her for trying.
The story line here seems to be this: there is dissent in the Nation of Domination between the Rock and Farooq over who will lead the Nation, and Shamrock has been feuding with the group since Survivor Series. The Nation is at ringside, so the smart money is on interference of some sort. The match starts and they go back and forth for awhile. Out comes the chair and Shamrock takes an insane chair shot to the face. No sells it completely, slaps the ankle lock on the Rock, and well…
68 out of 100
Ms. Cewsh: This match and the whole show leave me with a lot of questions. What is Jeff Jarrett doing out here? Why is he escorting someone who once screwed a governor, who then became President, thus making her a C (at best) grade star? Why is the Rock leading a Black Panthers-esk group that he’s clearly far above? Why are there so many boxing/MMA/”real” fighters and gimmicks on this show? Why doesn’t Cewsh have Ken Shamrock’s abs? Why have I been reviewing this show for 3 hours and we’re only on segment 7? (Answer, because Cewsh writes very slowly.)
There’s a match and then shitfuck, Rock taps to the ankle-lock. Fastest tap ever. I don’t think Shamrock had it locked in before Rock starts tapping.
Rock was in the midst of a very Honky Tonk Man-esque title reign. He was awarded the title after Steve Austin refused to defend it against him. He proceeded to keep it by ridiculous means. At the Royal Rumble Shamrock beat him to win the title, but was then disqualified because The Nation had planted a foreign object on him. Tonight, the stipulation is that if Rock is disqualified Shamrock wins the title. Shamrock hits the ring and pummels Rock. Rock tries to walk away, but Shamrock chases him down and drags him back to the ring. Rock manages to get control and whips Shamrock into the steps. Rock slams Shamrock and hits the People’s Elbow.
Shamrock tosses Rock out and grabs a chair. Shamrock shoves the referee out of the way, but Rock gets hold of the chair and waffles him with it. Stiff unprotected shot to the head. Something you thankfully wouldn’t see in WWE today. Shamrock kicks out at two, then revs up and Powerslams Rock. Shamrock applies the Ankle Lock and Rock taps out at 4:49.
Cewsh: Post match Shamrock snaps, much to the crowds’ approval, and destroys the Nation and slaps the ankle lock back on Rock. Farooq runs down to make the save, but SWERVE he doesn’t! He walks off and leaves the Rock to get his ass kicked. Then Shamrock snaps MORE, if that’s possible, and assaults every referee and agent in a ten-mile radius. It’s worth mentioning that even though Shamrock looks totally lost in the ring through the entire segment, the crowd comes totally unglued for his character.
And then DOUBLE SWERVE, the Rock retains the title because Shamrock snapped and wouldn’t break the hold. Then the Rock gets his ass kicked, again. Poor Rock, maybe you should’ve been nicer to your friends.
Ms.Cewsh: After Shamrock goes crazy and kills everyone, the ref announces that they’re overturning the ruling and he didn’t actually win. Which begs another question, if you’re going to go with the DQ, why not do it after the ref-bump when Shamrock got the chair? It was in no way accidental, the ref knew it, but he let the match go on, only to rule that the finish didn’t count because Shamrock didn’t let up on the submission. What was the point? There are some shenanigans with the Nation of Domination and Farooq and then Shamrock steals Rock’s belt. This show so zany.
Another interlude into the Cewsh home:
Ms.Cewsh: “Wait, Shamrock was the face?”
Cewsh: “Yes, he was.”
Ms.Cewsh: “ Wasn’t the Rock the one getting beaten into the stairs? Didn’t Shamrock get a chair and then beat up the refs?”
Ms.Cewsh: Ouch, was Funk ever young? I swear pieces are falling off him now. And why do they call him Chainsaw Charlie? The announcers call him Terry at least a dozen times. The jig is up.
My first thought on the match is, oh goodie. This is one of those where the camera zooms way out so you can “see” everyone. Luckily that stops pretty quickly once everyone begins their love affair with the dumpster. Matches like this don’t work because everyone is always stalling. If, for some zany sitcom-like reason, you were in a fight where you had to put the other guy in a dumpster, do you a) put him in the dumpster and then preen for the crowd while he crawls away, b) get out a ladder and climb to the top of it, c) fight AWAY from the dumpster or, d) PUT HIM IN THE DAMN DUMPSTER AND GET ON WITH IT ALREADY?
If you answered anything but d), you’re ready to be in WWE. Mick gets a ladder and before I can even finish making note of it, he and one of the Outlaws (I can’t tell them apart) have gone into the dumpster from the top of it. From the way the lids hang sadly inside the dumpster now, I’d say they broke it. Does that mean this match will never end? Please tell me we have a backup dumpster.
So the four men brawl to the back. They end up in a room the size of an aircraft hanger, filled with carts full of cookie sheets, a pallet piled high with giant Poweraid bottles (someone was a sponsor!), a forklift, and oh yes, a backup dumpster. Where the hell are we, seriously? Anyway, after a very convenient end, Mick and Funk win and get the tag-titles…
Except Cewsh just informed me that that’s overturned on Raw the next day. So we’ve had two matches, two title changes, and two decisions overturned in a row? WHY DID THESE MATCHES EVEN HAPPEN?!
Cewsh: Christ. I want to love Funk and Foley, I really do, and I want to respect how over and entertaining the Outlaws were at their peak, but this match is just fucking random. A dumpster match? Really? You take two out of shape hardcore wrestlers, two low quality but entertaining wrestlers, and a bad gimmick match, and what do you get? A dead crowd, a bunch of injuries, and a match that should never have happened. I expect that I’ll get shit for thinking poorly of a well known match from these days of wrestling’s history, but I’d like to make it clear right now that I believe that there is an art to hardcore wrestling, as well as a time and place. This match is hardcore for the sake of hardcore, and it is insulting as it is irrelevant.
I know that this match is credited for helping get the Outlaws over, separate from DX. Maybe it did, but is there really nothing better that they could’ve found for these guys, than to have them risk their rising careers by falling off ladders into dumpsters to no reaction from the crowd?
I expect this from Foley. He’s made a career out of doing unnecessary harm to himself for the bare minimum of justification, but this match was a mess. Then, to have the match annulled on Raw the next day, is simply a slap in the face to anyone who spent 20 minutes of their life watching this, much less the ones who paid to see it. This match did not need to happen.
19 out of 100
The Law: This came about after the Outlaws locked Foley and Funk in a dumpster and pushed it off the stage on an episode of Raw. The match is won by locking your opponents in the dumpster at ringside. It’s a pure brawl from the beginning, as all four men go at it in the ring and on the floor. Funk is Back Dropped into the dumpster, as Road Dogg hits a Russian Leg Sweep that slams Cactus against the side of the dumpster. The Outlaws both get Cactus and Funk into the dumpster, but Cactus stops them from closing it and locks the Mandible Claw on both men. Cactus pulls a ladder out from under the ring. He and Gunn climb it, fight at the top, and then end up falling off into the dumpster when Road Dogg knocks Funk into it. Nasty bump there.
Gunn and Road Dogg Double Powerbomb Funk off the apron and into the dumpster. Cactus and the Outlaws fight back through the curtain. It actually takes some time for the camera to catch up with them, which is a nice realistic touch. When we find them, the Outlaws are beating down Cactus. Cactus gets a chair and levels both Outlaws with it. Cactus hits a Double Arm DDT onto a pallet, at which point Funk shows up, fires up a forklift, and dumps the Outlaws into a dumpster.
Rating: ***. Fun brawl.
Segment 9 – The Undertaker vs. Kane
Cewsh: It’s funny to look at Kane before Katie Vick, the “psychological burns”, and all the rest of the shenanigans that ruined him as a character. Here, the story between these two is still kind of interesting, if entirely over the top. With any luck, the epic opening video will help to dull the pain of the parade of no-selling to come.
Ms.Cewsh: You’ve worked in the medical industry too long when you’re less interested in the ricockulous story and more interested in figuring out how many bypasses Paul Bearer is going to need. Also, I don’t miss 90s special effects. Do you?
Cewsh: Ah Pete Rose, you have to imagine that Glen Jacobs sends Rose a Christmas card every year thanking him for giving Kane his one Wrestlemania moment. It is wacky though that the heel is the one to get the huge face pop, at Rose’s expense.
Ms.Cewsh: Do we have ring announcers on the payroll? Kane’s the heel here, but he demolishes some baseball guy who has nothing to do with the match and gets a huge pop. Could someone please act in character? Please?
Cewsh: First, for the record, the Undertaker’s entrance is terrific right up until he comes out dressed like the gayest wizard this side of Dumbledore. Seriously, do they not have wardrobe people in Death Valley? Or mirrors?
Ms.Cewsh: Well since JR thinks Taker and Kane are mirror images of each other, and the same height and weight, maybe there are no mirrors in Boston either.
Cewsh: Alright, this match is a big man brawl. It’s as good of one as you can reasonably expect from the circumstances. The Undertaker, bless his heart, bounces all over the ring trying his best to make this an entertaining match to watch. Despite his efforts, it comes down to a lot of punching, a lot of kicking, and a lot of no-selling. No real surprises here. We all know the ending is in no doubt, looking back, and we also know this is only the beginning of this epic feud.
Eleventy-hundred tombstones later and the Undertaker is 7-0.
75 out of 100
Ms.Cewsh: Hey wow! Taker used to move! And jump! And not be bald! I applaud him for trying to sell, even after Kane completely missed the stair shot by a half-foot. I haven’t been the most…positive Taker reviewer, but I have nothing but nice things to say about him in this match. I actually gasped when he flew into the announce table.
Of course he wins, we had the one/two shot of Kane’s pyro pre-match and the fact that it’s Wrestle-fucking-mania. Bearer grabs a chair and hops into the ring for a bit of a go at him while he’s down. In his two seconds of ring time, Bearer manages to botch a kick to the head. Bravo. Then Kane sets Taker up for a Tombstone onto a chair, which would’ve been devastating if the chair had been 6 inches to the right. Maybe it’s not their fault. Undertaker is maaaaaaaagic after all.
The Law: So we’ve come to the sub-main event. The seeds for this match were planted almost a year before, when Paul Bearer began mentioning a horrible secret from Undertaker’s past. Bearer threatened to reveal the secret if Undertaker did not allow Bearer to become his manager once more. Undertaker refused, at which point Bearer revealed that Undertaker had set a fire which killed his brother Kane and their parents. Eventually, it was revealed that Kane was in fact alive. And at Badd Blood in October Kane debuted, costing Undertaker his match against Shawn Michaels. Kane proceeded on a rampage for the next few months as Undertaker refused to fight his brother. At Royal Rumble, Kane cost Undertaker the WWF Championship in a Casket Match against Shawn Michaels and then lit the casket Undertaker had been locked in on fire. When Undertaker returned weeks later, he finally accepted Kane’s challenge for a match at Wrestlemania. And as cheesy and ridiculous as this all was, everyone watching at the time was into it.
Pete Rose is the guest ring announcer for this match. He gets on the mic and slams Boston and the Red Sox. Kane makes his entrance and Tombstones Rose! Which gets a big pop. Thus begins Kane’s years long rivalry with Rose. Neither man gets much advantage early, as they both shrug off the offense they take. Kane gets the advantage and methodically works over Taker. Kane sends Taker to the floor with his Diving Lariat. Kane hits Undertaker with the steps on the floor. Paul Bearer’s antics at ringside are the highlight so far. Back in the ring, Kane Chokeslams Undertaker. He has the pin, but pulls Undertaker up. Undertaker Atomic Drops Kane onto the top rope to break out of a long chin lock, then goes for the No Hands Plancha, but Kane is ready and slams him through the announce table! Nasty, nasty bump there.
Kane hits the Flying Clothesline again. They slug it out until Undertaker goes for a Tombstone, which Kane reverses into a Tombstone of his own! Undertaker kicks out at two. Taker recovers with jabs and a Clothesline, then a Chokeslam! Tombstone gets two. Undertaker keeps his cool and hits a second Tombstone. Kane kicks out again. Undertaker hits a nice Flying Clothesline, then delivers a third Tombstone for the win at 16:37.
Rating: **3/4. First ten minutes pretty much sucked, but business picked up after the long chin locks. This was probably the best match these two ever had, and they had a lot of them over the years.
Segment 10 – Sad Old Men Who Are About to Die
Ms.Cewsh: Immediately after the match, WWE plays the saddest, most depressing video package I’ve ever seen. I may have teared up. Congrats on dragging the mood of the entire show down WWE.
Segment 11 – WWF Heavyweight Championship – Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin w/ Special Referee Mike Tyson
Cewsh: Man, there is so much going on here.
You’ve got Austin’s rise to the top, taking the company to the top with him. You’ve got Michaels and his back hanging by a thread. You’ve got Tyson and all the hype that came with him, having sided with DX to stack the odds against Austin. All of this stuff combines to create a very strange atmosphere around this match. There’s almost an eerie feeling watching Michaels trying to wrestle with the injury that “ended” his career.
If you can get past the extra bits of this match, there is actually a really good contest here. Michaels sells his ass off, despite the pain, and plays the cocky douchebag to perfection. Meanwhile, Austin’s every move is causing the crowd to have a collective aneurysm. Tyson even does a good job of being the wild-card. These guys exhibit great chemistry and push all of the other factors aside to prove they are two of the best wrestlers who ever wrestled.
The ending has been shown a million times and will live on in WWE clip videos forever. It still stands up today, thought, and it was really the only way to end this match. Austin looks like an enormous deal, Tyson makes his money, and Michaels gets one last Wrestlemania moment before he hangs it up for good. All I can say is, thank God this match was good, because it’s the only reason to re-watch this show.
83 out of 100
Cewsh’s Seal of Approval
Ms. Cewsh: I also have a crush on 90s Shawn Michaels. How did I miss the Attitude Era? Austin pulling his pants off was a true highlight for me. Mmmman ass.
DX is at ringside with Tyson, but then the ref makes a huge deal of them being thrown out. Austin abuses them on their way to the back, Michaels comes too, there’s some play with the dumpster, (where are the ring techs? Lazy bastards.) What are the stipulations on this match? I hate it when I don’t know. The ref throws out DX so they won’t interfere but then no one seems to mind when Michaels introduces Austin’s head to the ring bell. DQ? No DQ? Does it matter?
The crowd is absolutely creaming for Austin, but I cannot keep my eyes off Michaels. I’ve felt that way a lot on this show; one guy is a million time more entertaining to watch than his opponent. That’s not a bash on Austin; it’s just that other than the Stunner, I can’t get into any of his moves. Michaels is always electric for me. Add to the fact that JR can’t stop misspeaking, something I find very distracting, and this is a very off-putting match. Entertaining, but not really working at the same time.
Steve Austin Over Shawn Michaels Following the Stone Cold Stunner.
The Law: A lot going on here. Shawn had been champion since the Montreal Screwjob back in November. He busted up his back in the Casket Match against Undertaker at Royal Rumble and hasn’t wrestled since. Austin won the Royal Rumble in January to earn his title shot and was clearly the top guy in the company at this point. He had a budding feud with Vince McMahon, who Austin hit with the Stunner on an episode of Raw back in September. The pieces are all set on the chessboard for the storylines that were going to push the WWF into the lead in the Monday Night Wars. And one more wrinkle: Mike Tyson is the special ringside enforcer for this match. Tyson and Austin had a memorable confrontation on Raw in January and Tyson subsequently revealed himself as a member of DX. The eyes of the wrestling world were on Boston this night, and they wouldn’t be disappointed.
Tyson is out first to the DX theme. Austin is out second to a monster pop. And Michaels is third, played out live by the DX band. JR is already setting the stage for a huge match here, putting it over as one of the biggest moments in the history of the industry. First blood goes to Austin, as he Back Drops Shawn over the top onto Triple H. HHH goes after Austin and slams him into the guardrail. The referee sees it and ejects Triple H and Chyna. Austin and Michaels fight their way up the ramp, where Michaels hits Austin with the cymbal from the band, then throws Austin into the dumpster from the tag match. Austin retakes the advantage when they go back to the ring and Shawn takes his signature accordion corner bump. Michaels blocks a Stunner attempt and then gets knocked out of the ring.
Michaels tries for a ringpost Figure Four, but Austin slams him into the post. Michaels manages to Back Drop Austin into the crowd to slow him down, then hits him with the ring bell. Shawn’s back is clearly hurting and the next segment is pretty slow. Austin makes a comeback and sends Shawn over the top to the floor. Shawn goes to work on Austin’s knee on the floor and in the ring. This culminates with a Figure Four in the middle of the ring. Austin eventually manages to turn it over and escape. Michaels goes to a Sleeper. As Austin tries to escape, the referee gets sandwiched in the corner and is knocked out. Michaels hits a forearm and kips up, then goes to the top and hits a Flying Elbow. Michaels tunes up the band and goes for Sweet Chin Music, but Austin ducks. Austin goes for the Stunner, but Michaels pushes him off and goes for Sweet Chin Music again. Austin catches his foot, spins him around, and hits the Stone Cold Stunner as Tyson slides in to count the pin at 20:01.
Analysis: ***1/2. A good match, but not the classic we would hope for. Shawn’s back was really messed up and he just couldn’t go at the pace he would normally. These two had a much better match back at King of the Ring 1997 when they were both relatively healthy. This was still good, but these two would have put on a classic if they weren’t both injured.
Austin hands Tyson a “Austin 3:16” t-shirt and Tyson holds it up for the crowd. He didn’t understand that in wrestling, you have to put a t-shirt on for it to have meaning. Michaels gets in Tyson’s face and Tyson decks him with a right hand. Austin celebrates with Tyson as JR exclaims that the “Austin era has begun.” And indeed it had.
Ms. Cewsh: I know many will disagree, but I found Tyson added nothing to the main event. Not even his knock-out of Michaels, afterwards, worked for me. I think it was the fact that who benefits from having Tyson change allegiances? Austin certainly didn’t need the help.
That’s the real problem with this show. No one gains anything from it. We have two title changes, that don’t count in the end; two C-list “ring announcers”, just getting a fat paycheck; at least three performers acting against their heel/face nature for the sake of a cool “moment”; and an enforcer who is a notorious heel in real life turning face to get…Austin? over. There were good moments but in the end, nothing worked together.
No kitties; how do you rate a show 11 years after the fact, when you don’t know half the performers or any of the story?
Cewsh’s Final Thoughts:
Cewsh: This was a one match show, and it really reflects the period where WWE was obviously shifting their product and Wrestlemania in particular in an entirely new and unfamiliar direction. They had over people, but seemed at a loss as to how to use them. Luckily, as would be the case throughout the era, Austin was there to save the day and give the fans their moneys worth.
The Law: A borderline great show that demonstrates why the WWF was getting so hot. Austin, Undertaker, Kane, DX, and Foley were all super over. How many Hall of Fame level performers were on this show? Austin, Michaels Undertaker, Kane, Foley, Funk, Outlaws, Road Warriors, Triple H, Owen Hart, Goldust. And for the most part they were being put in positions to succeed. Obviously, Austin took the ball and ran with it after this show. And Shawn disappeared, as he ended up not wrestling again for over four years due to his back injuries. This was one of the most important Wrestlemanias in history, and a major turning point in the Monday Night Wars. The WWF was on the verge of pulling ahead for the first time since mid-1996.