WWF WrestleMania XV
by Scrooge McSuck
Oh lord, I knew I had to come to this one sooner or later. This was during the height of Vince Russo's run as the WWF's head booker, and you can tell his finger prints are all over this baby. Swerves left and rest, illogical booking, run-in's galore, stupid finishes... IT'S WRESTLEMANIA BABY! Live from the First Union Center in Philadelphia, PA, and held on March 28th, 1999.
- Commentary is handled by Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler. For those who don't remember, Jim Ross had suffered a second spell of bells palsy, which paralyzes part of your face. Vince McMahon, class act he is, removed J.R. from television because he wasn't pretty to look at. I wonder if that sounds familiar... Before the first match begins, Boyz II Men (back when they were finishing up on making the transition)
- WWF Hardcore Championship Match:
Billy Gunn © vs. Hardcore Holly vs. Al Snow:
First match of the show and already Russo strikes. Billy Gunn, who had been chasing the Intercontinental Title for the last three months, won the Hardcore Title out of nowhere from Hardcore Holly about a week or two before this show. You can tell that the crowd is really into this one... when a hockey stick is brought in as a weapon, the crowd goes into a chant of "Lets Go Flyers!" I can understand a Canadian crowd doing that, but in America? Ouch... compared to pretty much every other Hardcore Title match ever (yes, even the ones with Steve Blackman), this one is a horrible mess with very little in terms of excitement and a super not-too-into it crowd. Stuff happens, people no sell, and Hardcore Holly wins the title for a 2nd time by pinning Al Snow at 7:06, stealing the pin fro Billy Gunn, whom he knocked out with a steel chair. What a pointless and worthless title reign for Billy Gunn. Stupid swerves... (1/4*)
- WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
Owen Hart & Jeff Jarrett © (w/ Debra) vs. D'Lo Brown & Test (w/ Ivory):
There's that Vince Russo again! For some reason, instead of booking an actual tag team to challenge, a battle royale was held on Sunday Night Heat, where the two men remaining in the ring would challenge on the PPV. Obviously, it came down to Brown and Test, who came to blows because one is a face and one is a heel. THEY'RE THE MISMATCHED PARTNERS THAT HATE EACH OTHER! I guess the biggest swerve of the match is the fact they didn't win, since the normal booking was the random partners managed to overcome their differences to win the titles. Decent for a Raw match, but has no place on Pay-Per-View, let alone WRESTLEMANIA. The challengers spend too much time arguing, allowing Jarrett to roll up Brown to retain the championship at 3:58. Brown and Test didn't feud to follow up on this, by the way, making it an even more worthless booking decision. (1/2*)
- Brawl For All Match:
Bart "The Hammer" Gunn vs. Butterbean:
This is probably the only reason to even watch this pile of crap called a Pay-Per-View. Throughout the Summer of '98, the WWF held a tournament in the form of Boxing to decide who was the toughest wrestler in the company. The participants included Marc Mero (former golden gloves boxer), Steve Blackman, Bradshaw, Mark Cantebrry, The Godfather, Dan Severn, Darren Drozdov, Road Warrior Hawk, Quebecer Pierre, Savio Vega, Brakkus, Bob Holly, Bart Gunn, and Dr. Death Steve Williams. Obviously, the whole angle was used to push Williams, who had a well known reputation of being one of the toughest men in wrestling. Sadly, a freak incident occured... BART FUCKING GUNN knocked him out, and in the process, Williams injured himself pretty badly on the way down to kiss the canvas. Williams, for those who don't know, was hired by best-friend and strong backer, Jim Ross. Bart Gunn ended up winning the whole mess, and was quickly shipped off to Japan, and used rarely on WWF Television again. And now this...
The introductions are several times longer than the actual "match." Special judges include Chuck Wepner, who the movie Rocky was based on (or was it someone else?), and Gorilla Monsoon, looking super-sick. My thoughts were confirmed, as Monsoon would pass away about 6 months later, and obviously, making his last WrestleMania appearence here. In one of THE greatest moments in PPV history, this actually is a shoot fight. And Butterbean knocks the holy hell out of Bart Gunn, KO'ing him in about 35 seconds. Seeing Bart's head bobble back-and-forth like it did was one of the funniest visuals ever. The ONLY good thing about the entire Brawl for All concept was this one "match." (N/R, but ***** for the head bobble.)
- Mankind vs. The Big Show:
The winner of this match gets to be the Special Referee for tonight's Main Event, featuring the Rock and Steve Austin. I really have nothing to say about this match. It's pretty bad, with Big Show sucking wind and Mankind being a bit too past his prime to make a good match out of this. Show dominates, but Foley keeps fighting back, until Show crushes Mankind under neath him, and then chokeslams him across several steel chairs, giving Mankind the win by Disqualification at 6:50. Big Show continues punishing Mankind, who is eventually taken out on a stretcher. Vince McMahon comes out to get in Show's face for the loss, so Show punches him for being a shithead. Vince would have Big Show arrested moments later. How will this effect tonight's main event?! Tune into the rest of WrestleMania to find out! (DUD)
- WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
"Road Dogg" Jesse James © vs. Goldust (w/ Blue Meanie & Ryan Shamrock) vs. Ken Shamrock vs. Val Venis:
Same idea here as for the Hardcore Title situation... Road Dogg had been part of a feud over the Hardcore Title, including a decent reign, since January, and on the same show that Gunn won the Hardcore Title, the Road Dogg won the Intercontinental Title. If this makes sense to anyone not-named Vince Russo, give me a Hell Yeah (*crickets chirping*). This is held under Elimination Rules, so the last man standing will walk out of the show as the Champion. A total mess of a match... Shamrock and Venis, the only ones who were actually feuding leading up to this show, are counted out while brawling, leaving the two guys who weren't near the levels of the IC Title or were sent packing a month later. Ryan Shamrock (the on-air sister of Ken Shamrock, and then-backstage love interest) tries to interfere, but she accidentally costs Goldust the match, allowing Road Dogg to retain the championship at 9:47. Goldust would go on to win the title the next week, then lose it to the most deserving champion of all time a few weeks after... THE GODFATHER. I couldn't book this shit even if I tried my worst. We're now 4 official matches into the show, and nothing has even broken the 1-star mark. Fucking sad, if you ask me. (3/4*)
- Triple H vs. Kane:
Copy and Paste Time™, since even I can't stomach watching and reviewing this match for a second time. From WrestleMania XV (new note: DUH!), and part of the completely retarded angle about Kane hooking up with Chyna and Chyna turning on D-X because they were "holding her back", despite never actually showing any signs of importance within the company other than lacky to Triple H. I forgot... Russo. How silly of me. Before the match, the San Diego Chicken attacks Kane... but of course, Kane won't sell, and unmasks him to be Pete Rose. If you saw WrestleMania XIV (or read earlier in the review), you know what happens. So that's two mascots Kane got to beat down on television. Uh... why is Kane's music playing again? HE JUST ENTERED THE RING FOR HIS MATCH! Trips comes in through the crowd and low blows Kane before the bell. Kane shoves Triple H off from the corner, but we get more punching from HHH. Kane with a boot to the head, but Triple H back drops him out of the ring. Kane drags Trips out and hammers away. Kane misses a short-arm clothesline, wrapping his arm around the ring post in the process. HHH whips Kane hard into the ring steps. Trips with a running high knee knocks Kane back to the outside, and a baseball slide sends Kane crashing into the security wall. Triple H rams Kane into stuff and they go back into the ring. Irish whip is reversed and Kane with a big boot. Trips gets dumped over the top WITH AUTHORITY! Jesus, this match is boring. Trips goes to the ring steps, so Kane choke lifts him off and crotches Trips across the security wall. Kane clotheslines Triple H into the crowd, onto the Mean Street Posse. Kane slams HHH's back into the ring post a few times... please, end this. Once again back into the ring, and the pace slows down even more. HHH sells being whipped into the corner like it really hurts. Kane pounds Trips down to the canvas, and at this point, I can go through websites inbetween each notable move. More punching and kicking, more ignoring from me. Triple H comes back with punches, but Kane choke throws him over the top rope. Kane with a plancha, but Trips, champion of the year he is, doesn't know where to stand, so Kane pretty much misses but doesn't. See: Undertaker from No Way Out 2003. Back into the ring, and Trips throws Kane off the top rope by the arm to break the momentum of Kane. Trips tries another comeback, and it takes two knees to the face to put Kane down. Out comes Chyna, because we need runnning in from someone. Kane goes for a Tombstone, but Trips slips free and goes for the Pedigree. Kane escapes with a double leg sweep and drops an elbow across the chest. Chyna puts the ring steps into the ring for no reason. Kane grabs the steps, giving him a chance to have them kicked back into his face. Drop toe hold onto the steps by Triple H. Does this match have ANY actual flow to it? Trips clotheslines Kane out of the ring, and we again play ring-around-the-ring. Stuff happens, I don't care. Back-back-back into the ring, and Kane nails the Chokeslam. Chyna brings a chair into the ring now, and in a swerve everyone saw coming, she bashes Kane with it, drawing the DQ at 11:34, and turning face in the process. Kane doesn't sell of course. If by reading this review you have no idea what the hell happend during this match, you're not alone. I wrote it, watched the match, and still don't. 1/4* Because I have a heart, and don't want to give out a DUD rating here. Trips push-kills Kane onto the steel chair for good measure. (1/4*)
- WWF Womens Championship Match:
Sable © vs. Tori:
Please end this horse shit! Tori was doing a "stalker" Gimmick until Sable turned heel and beat the shit out of her... or something. The fuck if I can remember any of this garbage from 1999. Sable's ego was way out of control at this point though, and she was shown the door not too long after (and someone took a shit in her gym bag. Probably Shawn Michaels.). About as bad as a match you would expect, but even worse! Sable was never that good to begin with unless in there with male wrestlers to help cover up her stink, and Tori wasn't exactly "known" in storylines, and was botching moves left and right. This drags on until NICOLE BASS (the she-man who no doubt inspired Chyna) runs in and casuall lays out Tori with a Powerbomb, allowing Sable to retain the worthless championship at 5:06. The Bass/Sable relationship would last until Sable's final appearence, which couldn't come soon enough. 6 matches now, and still nothing has broken the 1-star barrier. (-*)
- WWF European Championship Match:
Shane McMcahon © vs. X-Pac:
It's time now for more over-booked messes. Shane McMahon, a Non-Wrestler, stole the belt from X-Pac in a lame Tag Match that had special stipulations, so naturally we should've all seen Shane winning the belt coming. Before the match, X-Pac takes out the Stooges, but Test comes out to back Shane. Also, the Mean Street Posse are in the crowd, and it appears to be more than just Rodney and Pete Gas in attendance. As mentioned, this is nothing more than an over-hyped, over-booked, glorified "gimmicky" match, with constant interference from Test, a lot of offense revolved around a leather strap, and X-Pac's gay Bronco Buster. Stuff happens with X-Pac dominating, until Triple H and Chyna come down to ringside... and turn on X-Pac. 20 minutes AFTER Chyna just turned face. Yeah, this is SO a Russo-booked show. You can smell it getting off the toilet bowl. Shane McMahon retains the belt at 8:41 and would retire the belt for about a week before giving it to another deserving champion, the pig farmer formerly known as Phineas Godwinn, MIDEON! Oh boy... This PPV really fucking sucks. (*1/2)
- Hell in a Cell Match:
The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. the Big Bossman:
Who the hell booked two HEELS in a Hell in a Cell Match? Oh wait.... of course. Part of the "Undertaker is too into his character" gimmick, when he was feuding with Vince McMahon's corporation. Easily the worst Hell in a Cell Match ever, since the crowd is D-E-A-D dead and the commentary team do a piss poor job of putting the match over. Michael Cole, the genius he is, said the most dangerous thing that can happen to you is getting your finger caught in the cage... ahem. I guess I'll forgot Mick Foley dying twice in the same match being thrown off the top of the cell, or Shawn Michaels being whooped like a dog until he was bleeding all over the place in the first ever match. Thankfully this one is a bit shorter, but it's not out of the negative star zone. The Undertaker wins with the Tombstone Piledriver at 9:49, but the fun has just begun. The Brood (Gangrel, Edge, and Christian) repel from the top of the arena, and drop a noose into the cage. Yes, this is the infamous "Bossman gets hung on the Hell in the Cell, only to return a week later showing no signs of injury" angle. WHO THE HELL BOOKED THIS CRAP!?!?! Easily one of, if not THE, worst matches in WrestleMania history. No wonder the WWF ignores this match ever happend. (-***)
- WWF World Championship Match:
The Rock © vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin:
To solve the problem between Mankind and Big Show, Vince McMahon named himself the special referee for the match. But here' Shawn Michaels to swerve us again, saying McMahon ISN'T going to be the referee, and out comes common referee Mike Chioda again. This has mild undertones dating back to the Deadly Games Tournament, when the Rock first won the World Title, and the McMahon's screwed Austin once again. At this point of the show though, I just want to get it over with. Your usual match between Austin and the Rock, with plenty of brawling around the ring, Rocky over-selling like his name was Curt Hennig, and a bunch of referee bumps. After about three of them, Vince McMahon tries to referee, but Shawn Michaels DOESN'T return to stop him. I guess he was too busy taking a trip down Triple H's Hershey Highway to care. No, instead Mankind returns from a medical facility to beat up McMahon, and makes the official three count, giving Steve Austin his 3rd World Championship at 16:52. Austin celebrates by dumping a beer on McMahon and sharing a drink with Earl Hebner. Feh.... Austin/Rock had about a million matches better than this one, but it's still pretty good. (***1/2)
Final Thoughts: Worst. WrestleMania. Ever. End of Story.
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