WrestleMania XIV – The Attitude Era Begins With Tyson

WrestleMania XIV PosterEvent: WrestleMania XIV
Date: March 29, 1998
Venue: Fleet Center (Boston, Massachusetts)
Attendance: 19,028

We’re still in the WWF days… I keep thinking we’re flipping over to WWE pretty soon.  Good intro here that’s just starting to talk about the “Attitude Era”.  Goes into the lineage of the WWF title, introduces Austin, DX, Mike Tyson, etc.  We get the announcing duo of Jerry “The King” Lawler and Michael Cole on the mic and we go right into the first match of the night with no anthem, America The Beautiful, etc.

15 – Team Battle Royal
L.O.D. 2000 (Hawk and Animal) (with Sunny) won by last eliminating The New Midnight Express (Bombastic Bob and Bodacious Bart) (with Jim Cornette)
The last team is a “mystery team” and it’s the returning L.O.D. accompanied by Sunny.  That right there makes it all worth it… damn is she hot.  They’ve got a new (silly) look which includes helmets.  Um… OK.  This is a no DQ battle royal where when one member of a team is thrown out the partner needs to go as well.  A good way for WWF to get quite a few guys on the WrestleMania card.  This is a pretty typical match with L.O.D. and the Midnight Express (Bob Holly and Bart Gunn) being the last two teams.  L.O.D. gets the win in a decent if predictable opener.  Oh yeah, did I mention that Sunny is hot?

WWF Light Heavyweight Championship
Taka Michinoku (c) defeated Aguila
Quick match for these guys.  I’m not a huge fan of this type of wrestling but I can totally appreciate how talented these guys are.  Nice looking moonsault to the outside by Aguila.  Good lord would that be difficult to do and not kill yourself.  This is definitely not a typical match but very entertaining.  I wonder if it was so short cause that’s the way it was booked or so the guys don’t kill one another by going longer?  Can’t blame the talent for getting gassed going at this pace.  Taka hits his finisher to retain after a quick yet completely entertaining match.

WWF European Championship
Triple H (c) (with Chyna) defeated Owen Hart
The DX band is in the house playing intro music all night.  Seems silly to me, but at least they get to play it a couple of times.  Commissioner Sgt. Slaughter is handcuffed to Chyna during this match to prevent any shenanigans.  Own starts off with an injured ankle but is out quick and gets the upper hand.  He then lowers his head too early for a backdrop and Hunter takes over.  Chyna is trying to get involved but Slaughter is keeping her at bay.  HHH works over Owen for a couple of minutes and then turns to the injured ankle.  Owen gets cut on the nose (probably hardway) and then makes a nice comeback to get a series of close falls for the title.  This section of the match is tremendous with some great back and forth action.  Nice spot where Owen gets into a corner and falls down and headbutts HHH in the balls.  Owen gets the Sharpshooter on HHH but Chyna helps HHH to the ropes (good job Slaughter).  Chyna then proceeds to throw salt in Slaughter’s eyes and then low blows Owen.  HHH follows up with a Pedigree for the win.  Good match for something early on the card.

Marc Mero and Sable defeated The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust and Luna
Nice recap of what’s led to this match and I’m glad cause I completely don’t remember this feud.  Goldust is in a super gay uniform and is introduced as “formerly known as”.  Mero and Goldy start out with Mero getting the upper hand.  Goldy tags in Luna which means Sable needs to come in (I’ve always hated this type of stipulation… just let them wrestle).  Luna runs from Sable and tags back in Goldust.  Good job playing the heel by Luna as there is no way in hell she’d ever run from Sable.  These inter-gender matches with that stip totally take way the concept of a “hot tag”.  Finally we get to Sable entering the ring and she clears house.  The guys are back in and Mero hits a low blow and tries for his finisher which Goldust counters.  Good stuff from the fellas during this portion of the match.  Mero hits a weak looking TKO and Luna breaks the count.  Sable in and hits the Sable Bomb on Luna and SHE kicks out.  Sable then hits a TKO on Luna (much better than Mero’s version) for the win.  Decent match at best.  Feel free to skip unless you’re a big fan of one of these participants.

WWF Intercontinental Championship
The Rock (c) (with Kama Mustafa, Mark Henry and D’Lo Brown) defeated Ken Shamrock by disqualification

Tennessee Lee in the ring announces Jennifer Flowers and Double J.  She then announces the participants.  Rock is with the Nation of Domination and gets a huge “Rocky sucks” chant from the crowd.  Even back then Rock is a heat machine.  Shamrock out and on fire quickly.  Apparently if Rock is DQd he’ll lose the match and the title.  I can’t decide if I prefer Rock as a heel or a face better… either way he’s damned awesome.  The “Rocky sucks” chant continues throughout the match.  Shamrock in charge completely until Rock uses the tights to pull him to the outside.  Rock hits what will become The People’s Elbow for a two count.  Apparently Rock is at odds with the Nation at this point (I don’t remember the storyline).  Shamrock brings a chair into the ring and pushes the ref down.  Rock picks it up and WAILS on Shamrock’s head.  Wow… talk about a stiff chair shot.  Shamrock kicks out, no sells the shot and takes over.  WTF.  Shamrock “snaps” and hits a power slam and hooks in the ankle lock for the win.  Weak ending.  The Nation comes in and Shamrock takes them out.  Shamrock keeps going back to the ankle lock.  Farooq out to help Rock and then turns his back on him.  Officials into the ring and Shamrock “snaps” again suplexing all of them.  Stretcher out to help Rock to the back and the “Rocky sucks” chants continue.  Damn… this was a bad beating for the Rock.  The referee reverses the decision because Shamrock wouldn’t release the ankle lock.  Shamrock snaps again and goes after Rock knocking him off the stretcher.  They’re totally playing up the Crazy Ken / World’s Most Dangerous Man angle.  Question here… why in the FUCK would they reverse the decision for something that happened after the match?  Lame.

Dumpster Match For The WWF Tag Team Championship
Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie defeated The New Age Outlaws (c) (Billy Gunn and Road Dogg)
Oh you didn’t know?  Your ass better CALLLLLL somebody!  Out comes the Outlaws to one of my favorite themes of all time.  No DQ, no pins, no count outs.  To win you’ve got to put your opponents in the dumpster and close the top.  Think casket match with a garbage can.  This is a tough match to follow as there’s a ton going on both inside and out of the ring.  Mick Foley (Cactus Jack) goes for a dive on Road Dog and misses and hits the dumpster… ouch.  Terry Funk  (for those of you that don’t know that’s Chainsaw Charlie) back body dropped into the dumpster.  Good spot with Cactus and Charlie getting their heads slammed in the dumpster.  Cactus in the dumpster and works out with a double Mandible Claw spot.  Funk is amazing here and it’s even more obvious when Ross points out that he was a WrestleMania 2.  Finally we get in the ring and Cactus/Funk are in charge.  Cactus off the apron with an elbow drop on Billy.  Out comes a ladder and the ECW chants start.  Cactus and Gunn up on the ladder.  James whacks Funk in the head who proceeds to fall into the ladder and Jack/Gunn fall off the ladder into the dumpster.  Nice spot for sure.  Gunn then power bombs Funk into the dumpster off the apron.  The Outlaws take Cactus backstage and beat the hell out of him.  Mick makes a comeback with a chair and some DDTs.  Both Outlaws on a fork lift and they are deposited into another dumpster.  Cactus/Charlie close the lid for the win and the titles.  A clusterfuck to watch but rather entertaining.

The Undertaker defeated Kane (with Paul Bearer)
Good recap of Kane/Taker to this point.  Totally shows how “supernatural”‘ the WWF was back then (lightning, etc.)  Pete Rose out in a tux to be the guest ring announcer.  He’s playing the heel and says something to the effect of, “Last time I was here, we kicked your ass.”  Gay.  Here comes “hell fire and brimstone” (IE Kane) to give Pete a Tombstone.  Stretcher ride for Pete and Undertaker makes his way to the ring.  God DAMN does the man take forever to get to the ring.  Kane plays the bad ass early totally no selling everything Taker throws at him.  Remember that Kane at this point has been built into a MONSTER heel.  I do have to say that it does get a tad bit repetitive to be told their brothers again… and again… and again.  We go outside and Kane is really working over Taker with the ring steps.  Back in and Kane still in charge.  Choke slam and Kane picks him up rather than trying for the win (never a good idea).  Goes into a rest hold and Taker tries to fight back only to have Kane continually beat him down.  Taker knocks Kane outside and then proceeds to leap over the top rope onto Kane but goes right through the Spanish announce table.  Apparently (according to the announcers) Kane sidestepped him.  Looked to me like Taker fucked up.  Back in the ring, Taker goes into his Rope-a-dope cover up.  Taker manages to try for a Tombstone but Kane reverses it and hits it.  Undertaker kicks out and Kane is finally weakening a bit.  Taker hits a choke slam and calls for a Tombstone.  He hits it, crosses Kane’s hands over his chest and goes for a cover which Kane kicks out of.  WOW.  He hits a second Tombstone, crosses the hands and Kane kicks out again!  Awesome.  I totally don’t remember this.  Taker hits a HUGE clothesline and Kane no sells it and sits up.  Taker hits a 3rd Tombstone, hooks the leg and gets the win.  Paul Bearer in with a chair and beats on Taker.  Kane grabs the chair and wails on Taker.  Tombstone on the chair and Taker is left laying in the middle of the ring.  Good stuff here in the original “Brothers of Destruction” Mania match.

WWF Championship
Steve Austin defeated Shawn Michaels (c) (with Triple H and Chyna)
HUGE pop for the glass breaking on Austin’s entrance (which is my cell phone ring tone in case you care).  Love me some Rattlesnake.  Ross refers to HBK as “the greatest champion of all time”.  That may be a stretch, but you could probably put him in the conversation.  The DX band has been playing all night and this is one more chance for them to rock it out.  Early in the match, Michaels is doing the “jab and run” tactic which is clearly pissing Austin off.  When Austin finally catches him, we get the obligatory Michaels “moon the crowd” shot.  DX beats the hell out of Austin and eventually they’re barred from ringside.  HBK/Austin start battling outside the ring, on the band stage, the dumpster, etc.  Back in the ring and Austin takes over.  Good spot where Austin punches off the apron into the announce table.  Back outside and into the crowd.  Tyson to this point is remaining impartial.  Shawn nails Austin with the title belt and he flies into the first row.  Michaels really favoring his back at this point in his career (which is astounding as he kept wrestling YEARS after this).  HBK slows it down for a change and is in control.  He flicks off the crowd and Austin greets him with a Lou Thez press.  HBK regains the upper hand and works the knee of Austin.  Ross/King talk about Tyson and the officiating.  Ironically, Tyson has done nothing to this point other than throw Austin back in the ring one time.  Figure Four in the middle of the ring which is reversed (why does the reversal hurt?)  Austin catapults HBK into the corner and gets a near fall.  HBK follows up with a sleeper and we get a ref bump setting up Tyson’s involvement.  Austin back in charge and stomps a mud hole in Shawn.  HBK with a flying forearm and does his flip up.  He “tunes up the band” for the super kick but misses.  Austin tries for the Stunner but it’s blocked.  HBK goes for the kick again but Austin grabs his foot and hits the Stunner for the 1-2-3 by Tyson for the win.  Post match, HBK gets in Tyson’s face and slaps him.  Tyson levels him with one punch to send the crowd home happy.

General Thoughts

  • WWF debuted one of the best promos I’ve ever seen at this show which I’ll refer to here as the “I’m not a real athlete” spot.  These were absolutely AWESOME and give me chills to this day.  If you’ve never seen it please check it out.
  • Ross/King then mention the gross take of the event at one point.  I can’t ever remember hearing this before or since.  Weird.
  • Whatever happened to Kane’s disfigurement?
  • In addition to the “I’m not real” promo, the WWF busted out the “Oldtimers” promo as well.  Phenomenal.
  • How the hell does HBK chew gum while he wrestles?
  • Mike Tyson has the worst “DX chop” in history.

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