WWF WrestleMania XIV
by Scrooge McSuck
- Originally broadcasted on March 29th, 1998, from the Fleet Center in Boston, Massachuesetts, a.k.a the city I hate most in the world (torches Red Sox cap). If that is the correct spelling, it was a lucky guess, since I have no fucking clue. Commentary is handled by Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. The Free For All is nothing special. It's just Dok Hendrix (a.k.a Michael Hayes) and Sunny (*wolf whistle*) talking about the card and all of the recap videos for the matches scheduled for the show. I should point out some faggots butcher America the Beautiful... or whatever they sang. I won't waste my time with them.
- 15-Tag Team #1 Contender's Battle Royale:
(Participants: The Quebecers (Jacques & Pierre), The Godwinns (Henry & Phineas), The Dicyples of Apocalpyse (8-Ball & Skull), The Headbangers (Mosh & Thrasher), The Truth Commission (Rekon & Sniper), The Rock N' Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson), the New Midnight Express (Bob Holly & Bart Gunn), Steve Blackman & Flash Funk, Chainz & Bradshaw, Scott Taylor & Brian Christopher, Faarooq & Kama Mustafa, D'Lo Brown & Mark Henry, Savio Vega & Miguel Perez, Jose & Jesus Castillo, Mystery Tag Team)
That's a lot of midcarders right there! And lots of filler, too. Come on... Bradshaw and Chainz!? Flash Funk and Steve Blackman!? The Mystery Team ends up being the Legion of Doom (managed by Sunny), who split up a month earlier and teased a feud. They have a new look here, but it's the same LOD... way past their primes, but I won't say going over young talent, since 90% of the people in this match suck or were released a week later. I'll try and tally up all the eliminations, but there's too many people in the ring to keep track. Savio and Miguel are gone first off camera at the 40-second mark. Kurrgan runs in to dump former stablemate Sniper at 1:31. Hawk press-slams Flash Funk out at 2:02. Barry Windham runs in next to dump Chainz at 2:10. D'Lo Brown goes off-camers around the 2:30 mark, and Jacques Rougeau is eliminated by Mosh seconds later. Animal back drops Kama out at 3:06, Henry Godwinns throws Ricky Morton out at 3:16, and the remaining members of Los Boricuas are gone off camera at the 3:30 mark. Bombastic Bob eliminates Thrasher at 3:59, and Bodacious Bart sends Scott Taylor to the showers ar 4:29. Nothing happens for a while until Henry Godwinns eliminates a DOA member at 6:07. The same DOA guy runs back in and throws out Phineas at 6:21. The NEW Midnight Express double up on Hawk for a whiel, but the LOD comeback and eliminate them both with clotheslines at 8:20. Nothing much of a Battle Royale, since it was all punch-kick-hug and no cool final sequence with the last few teams. (N/R)
- WWF Light-Heavyweight Championship Match:
TAKA Michinoku © vs. Aguila:
Filler Match. Aguila would go on to "better" fame in the WWF as Essa Rios in 2000-2001, although defeating Duane Gill for the Light-Heavyweight Title hardly counts as a big accomplishment. The crowd, as usual, is dead for these title matches, since the booking team rarely gives anyone an excuse to care, since people are thrown on these shows at random. I didn't even know who Aguila was before watching this event, which goes to show how well the WWF was promoting it. On top of that, the month before at No Way Out (of Texas), TAKA defended against some guy called Pantera (not the band). Some cool spots from both men, but the lack of psychology, selling, and crowd reaction hurts the match a lot. TAKA keeps his title reign alive by finishing Aguila off with the Michinoku-Driver at 5:59. Aguila would vanish and come back later that year as Papi Chulo for about a week. (**1/4)
- WWF European Championship Match:
Triple H © (w/ Chyna) vs. Owen Hart:
Part of the on-going feud between Owen Hart and D-Generation X until both turned about a month later... and continued feuding, although a bit more indirectly. Once again, since Owen is dead, people will try and say how he should've gotten the title in a program with Shawn Michaels. I'll just ignore the fact STEVE AUSTIN was money in the bank at the time, was penciled in months ahead of time for the title, and anyone stupid enough to push him aside for Owen Hart deserves a kick in the pants. Stipulation du Jour: Chyna is handcuffed to Sgt. Slaughter at ringside to prevent her from interfering. This, of course, guarantees us that she WILL interfere. Thanks for giving away the result, random creative team writer! Great match by the Triple H standards, since they were still booking him in straight matches, which are his weakness. Good carry job, I guess by Owen. Naturally, Chyna ruins a good match by :gasp: interfering after throwing Trip's and HBK's stash of cocaine in Sgt. Slaughters face, allowing Triple H to plant Owen with the pedigree to retain the worthless championship at 11:28. They would have a rematch the next month, with equally lame "Chyna is prevented from interfering" booking, and again she ended up running a foul of the rules. (***)
- Marc Mero & Sable vs. TAFKA Goldust & Luna Vachon:
Weird match here... Mero was technically a heel at this point, but Sable was a face. Mero and Goldust formed a short-lived tag team in February before breaking up to feud. For those that care, Sable is the only one with real heat here, since Goldust's gimmick was lame, Mero was a shell of his former 'self, and Luna is Luna. Despite all of this, it's a surprisingly fun match. Mero/Goldust work a moderately entertaining match while Sable goes all Psycho-Bitch on everyone else, and finishing off Luna with her own version of the TKO (later refined and caled the Browser Refresh) at 9:10. Sable and Luna would continue feuding until Unforgiven (then held in April), and FINALLY Sable and Mero split up at Over The Edge, when Sable lost to Marc Mero, causing her to be forced out of the WWF. Naturally, she returned three weeks later. (**1/2)
- WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
The Rock © (w/ The Nation) vs. Ken Shamrock:
More of the Shamrock/Rock feud. Worthless tidbit: Before leaving the UFC for the WWF, Shamrock's nickname was "The Rock." In their previous big show encounter, the Rock cheated to retain the championship via a Dusty Finish™ at the 1998 Royal Rumble. Rather short match here, considering it's for the second most important championship, and the card only had 8 matches to begin with. Shamrock mops the floor with the Rock for the most part, and finishes him off rather quickly with the Anklelock at 4:51... HOWEVER! Shamrock keeps the hold applied and beats up WWF officials until the announcement is made that the decision has been reversed, and the Rock is still the champion! Rocky, proud champion he is, holds up the belt in celebration while lying on a stretcher, barely concious. Not much in terms of a match, but at least it was kept short, since Rock was still feeling his way around to becoming pretty good, and Shamrock has always had a unique "ring rust" type style. (*)
- WWF Tag Team Titles; Dumpster Match:
The New Age Outlaws © vs. Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie:
About 6 weeks earlier on Raw Is War, Cactus and Charlie (a.k.a Terry Funk, making his first appearence at WrestleMania since WrestleMania 2), were having a match, until both wound up in a dumpster, and those evil New Age Outlaws dumped them off a stage while still inside it! Sure, it was filled with packing popcorn and stuff, but damn that was a cool spot back then. The only way to win this match is for someone to put both of their opponents inside of the dumpster, and close the lid! Another entertaining match, but more in the garbage brawl way with the challengers bumping their asses off trying to make the Outlaws look like credible workers. Too bad we get yet another lame finish, as the challengers manage to put the Outlaws in a dumpster to win the match and titles at around 10:00, but the next night the titles were vacated and they wrestled again in a steel cage, since the challengers used an illegal dumpster to score the victory. LAME! I dropped the rating 1/2 of a star just for the lame excuse. (**1/2)
- The Undertaker vs. Kane (w/ Paul Bearer):
Video Package leading up to WrestleMania XIV. It's pretty lengthy, recaping the entire saga from the summer of 1997, through the debut of Kane, and the events of Rumble '98. If you want bizarre, you need to see this. Kane had destroyed the Undertaker at the 1998 Royal Rumble by burning a casket with him in it. However, sometime after No Way Out, the Undertaker returned by doing the most dastardly things... cutting off Kane's pyro. THE BASTARD! Kane retaliated by chokeslamming and tombstoning the Gorilla mascot for the Phoenix Suns and setting a stunt-man on fire with a dreaded lightning bolt. Undertaker returned that by setting a casket on fire with a cut-out of Kane inside. Man, I wish I was paid to come up with these goofy ideas. Finally, we get to the... no wait, here's Pete Rose to do the introductions. He becomes my favorite person ever and #1 heel by running down the Boston Red Sox for sucking and blaming a dead person for their reason of not winning diddly-squat for (then) 80 years. Kane becomes the #1 babyface in Boston then by tombstoning Pete Rose back to the race tracks. Then to one up that, Undertaker comes out with one of the awesome entrances he only does for WrestleMania. In this case, being lead to the ring by a bunch of druids holding torches and with a cool light show. One of the times WWF booked something well. This feud had 7 months to simmer, with very little contact between the two, and little ring-time for both since the start of it.
Last time I actually reviewed the match, I was a bit too generous. Maybe they should've done more practice runs, because both men are super sloppy, including several awkward spots and botches, and generally a pace that includes both men going all over the map with no direction. There's a few cool spots, like Undertaker's suicide dive onto the spanish announcers table, and the usual top rope spots from both men. Good finish with the Undertaker barely winning following a 3rd tombstone piledriver at 16:57, but this match could've done with 4 or so minutes trimmed out, which would be enough to take out an extra long chinlock spot that killed me dead. Sadly, this would be one of their BEST matches. That goes to show how bad the rest have gotten. Obviously this feud was far, far from being over. (*1/2)
- WWF World Championship Match:
Shawn Michaels © vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin:
Special outside of the ring "enforcer" of the match is the baddest man on the planet, formerly known as Kid Dynamite, and the guy who performed the most famous bite in the history of biting, the one, the only, Iron Mike Sh... I mean Tyson! He's sporting a D-Generation X shirt to show us he's on the bad guys side... right now you should be going "oh, so he's going to turn on DX and reveal he was a good guy the whole time." Shawn Michaels had been out of action since the Royal Rumble, where he suffered a (then) career-ending back injury. Couldn't have happend to a nicer guy, if you ask me personally. Steve Austin won the Rumble to get this shot, so there. Incredibly, for two men being near crippled, manage to put on a pretty good match, but you can tell Shawn is hurt, since he's not as crisp with his signature bumping as he usually was. Naturally, we get a referee bump, since it's an Austin match post-1997. Cool finish with both men countering each others finisher a few times until Austin connects with the Stone Cold Stunner, and he, Mike Tyson himself, counted the three count (rather fast) for Austin's 1st World Championship at the 20:00 mark. After the match, Michaels gets in Tyson's face for what he did, so Tyson "knocks" Shawn Michaels out, even though it's obvious he pretty much whiffed on the punch, much like Buster Douglas did Randy Savage at the 2/90 Main Event. Austin celebrates with Mike Tyson as the show comes to an end. The Stone Cold Era has begun! (***1/2)
Final Thoughts: A strong card from top to bottom. While nothing was incredible in the workrate department, almost everything is rather entertaining. Scratch out the battle royale and Undertaker/Kane (depending on taste), and it's one of the more solid WrestleMania's around. Still, that memorable/incredible excuse comes in, so it's just your regular and boring Recommendation.
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