WrestleMania XV – The Brawl For All Of 35 Seconds

WrestleMania XV PosterEvent: WrestleMania XV
Date: March 28, 1999
Venue: First Union Center (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Attendance: 20,276

We’re greeted with Boyz II Men doing their version of America The Beautiful.  We then get the outstanding “Old School” promo followed by the “Showcase of the Immortals”.  This stuff absolutely gives me the chills.  I’m a dork and I don’t care who knows it.  Wow… awesome.  Announcing team of Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler – is this where JR had his stroke?

WWF Hardcore Championship
Hardcore Holly defeated Billy Gunn (c) and Al Snow
This is an interesting little opener with Al Snow is his first Mania, Bob Holly and Bad Ass Billy Gunn.  The crowd pops huge for the “Oh you didn’t know” line from Billy’s intro.  This is pretty typical stuff for a triple threat hardcore match with a TON of action.  The problem with these types of matches is that there’s TOO much going on to really follow it all.  All 3 guys are working hard here and making it a good match.  A hockey stick comes out and the “Let’s go Flyers” chant starts from the Philly crowd.  Lots of weapons here including a broom handle, garbage can and chairs.  Chair shots and guys going through tables setting the tone nicely for the rest of the night.  End comes when Billy hits his finisher (The FamAsser) on Snow and goes for the cover.  Holly then hits Billy with a chair and covers Al for the win.  Solid opener that is definitely worth watching.

WWF Tag Team Championship
Owen Hart and Jeff Jarrett (c) (with Debra) defeated Test and D’Lo Brown (with Ivory)
D’Lo and Test won a battle royal earlier in the evening on Heat which got them into this match.  Announcers keep asking if D’Lo and Test will be able to keep it together and work well enough as a team to grab the straps.  Deborah looks absolutely SMOKING.  This is the 10th WrestleMania for Owen (RIP sir) which is just crazy.  Power moves in the early going from Test but after a while we get Owen going for the Sharpshooter and D’Lo breaks it up to save the match.  JJ and Owen working very well together and we’re reminded once again that D’Lo and Test aren’t a tag team and can they keep it together.  D’Lo goes for his finisher on Jarrett.  Owen follows that up with a missile dropkick and Jarrett wraps up D’Lo for the win to retain the titles.  Jackie and Teri come out (as part of PMS?) and begin to mess with Deborah.  I’m biased against tag team wrestling cause I think most of it sucks, but I’d say you can pass on this one.

Brawl for All Match
Butterbean defeated Bart Gunn
Christ… I forgot all about this one and for good reason.  They go the boxing route here and do a bunch of introductions for guest referees.  The best part of this match is a guy in the crowd with a sign that says, “I have to poop”.  Hilarious.  So we’ve got a guest referee and 3 refs outside of the ring.  The intros take WAY longer than the “match” itself.  Butterbean’s down to the ring first.  Want to know what happened to this dude?  Check it out here.  One word… fat.  Not much of a match to recap here.  Butterbean rocks Gunn in the first 10 seconds of the bout and Bart manages to get to his feet at the 9 count.  After the break, Butterbean hits a MASSIVE shot and knocks Gunnout cold.  So much for that match.  I’m guessing it wasn’t supposed to go down quite like that (with the WWF guy getting smoked).  The California Chicken (WTF) gets in the ring with Vinnie Pazienza and begins to taunt him.  Vinnie hits him with an uppercut.  Super gay.

Referee Match
Mankind defeated The Big Show by disqualification
We’re shown some footage of Big Show (here still called Paul White) and Mankind getting into it.  Stipulation here is the winner of this match gets to be the special guest referee in the Rock/Austin main even later in the show.  Show is in the corner of Vince’s corporation.  Big Show in charge early here with his power moves.  Mankind manages to fight back and get Show out of the ring.  As Big Show makes his way back in Mankind slaps on Mr. Socko for the first time in the match.  Big Show gets out of it (twice) and Mick continues to go back to it.  Big Show down to one knee and they do the “drop the arm” spot.  Arm goes down once but Big Show is back up and hits a BIG back slam on Foley.  God DAMN that would hurt.  Show grabs a chair and slams Foley with it.  He then sets up 2 chairs in the middle of the ring and choke slams Mankind through them.  Big Show is DQ’d and Foley will be the special ref for the main event.  McMahon is out and all kinds of pissed off.  He berates Show for losing.  Show picks up Vince for a choke slam but thinks better of it and puts him back down.  Vince continues to yell at and slaps Show (big mistake).  Show knocks him out with one punch.  Foley is taken out on a stretcher.  Will he be back for the main event?  Not looking like it at this point…

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Road Dogg Jesse James (c) defeated Ken Shamrock, Goldust (with The Blue Meanie and Ryan Shamrock) and Val Venis
Road Dogg out and does his “Outlaws” intro which is always enjoyable.  Val in and starts in on his “Hello ladies…” shtick full of sexual innuendo.  This is the “Attitude Era” at its finest.  I completely had forgotten about Ryan Shamrock but damn was it good to see her here.  So hot.  Road Dogg and Shamrock start out in a weird type of match where 2 guys are in the ring at either time and can tag any other guy in.  Val hits a bulldog off the top rope on Goldust and follows that up with a Perfectplex for a close call.  Shamrock and Road Dogg in and do a nice double DDT spot on Goldust and Val.  Road Dogg in charge taking out all three competitors.  Val manages to hit a suplex off the top to turn the tide.  Shamrock gets an ankle lock on Venis.  A while later, Shamrock runs toward Venis and they go over the top rope.  Shamrock is counted out.  Stupid.  Shamrock “snaps” and it’s belly to belly suplex time for Goldust and Road Dogg.  Ryan Shamrock trips Goldust for some outside interference.  Goldust goes for a slam on Road Dogg and somehow Dogg ends up on top of Goldust for the pin.  WTF?  Ending out of nowhere.  If it sounds like the recap is a little disjointed it’s cause the match was as well.  That said, it was entertaining.

Kane defeated Triple H by disqualification
Kane out and is attacked by the San Diego Chicken… yeah, that Chicken.  Lo and behold it’s Pete Rose continuing his “feud” with Kane for some reason.  For his efforts Pete gets himself another Tombstone.  Retarded.  After that, this is a pretty typical Kane match which means it’s slow and methodical.  He’s wearing his mask at this point and you can totally hear him breathing through it.  That must be BRUTAL on him.  Kane in charge big time here and we spill outside the ring for a while.  Later, Kane goes up top and HHH pulls him off and begins to mount some offense.  Chyna’s down to ringside (story line wise she’s with Kane at this point) and puts the ring steps into the ring.  Drop toe hold by HHH onto the stairs.  They fight back outside the ring and HHH is back dropped on the mat.  Back in and Kane delivers a choke slam.  Chyna is up on the apron now with a chair asking to hit HHH.  Naturally, she smacks Kane and turns on him.  HHH hits Kane with the chair and then hits a Pedigree on the chair.  Chyna is back with DX.  Looking back on it now it was painfully obvious that Chyna was going to turn on Kane but I remember watching this show and actually being surprised by that turn.

We go backstage with Kevin Kelly and he’s talking to Vince about who’s going to be the special referee with Mick in the hospital.  Vince says that HE is going to be the ref.

WWF Women’s Championship
Sable (c) defeated Tori
This is during Sable’s Playboy run so you pretty much know there’s no way she’s going to lose.  Tori loooks like she’s in the cast of Cats which is to say absolutely ridiculous.  Sable is playing the”bitch” here which to give her credit she does quite well.  She busts out a great heel quote here, “This is  for the girls that want to be me and the guys that come to see me”.  At one point Sable goes for a cross body from the ring to the outside which is really weak.  The crowd is totally behind Tori here which talks to how well Sable is playing the heel.  Toward the end, we get a bridge/pin combo attempt which is nice but out of place.  Why are they showing “wrestling” in this match?  I don’t get it.  We get a ref bump followed by a Sable Bomb with they completely botch.  According to the announcers Tori “countered it” and then hit Sable in midsection.  Um… OK.  Nicole Bass in and press slams Tori.   Sable follows that up with a Sable Bomb to retain her title.  Fucking terrible.

WWF European Championship
Shane McMahon (c) (with Test) defeated X-Pac
Before the match we get a DX promo in back where X-Pac drops the classic line,  “Shane, get ready for some pain.”  Who writes this shit?  I can’t for the life of me remember how Shane got the Euro title.  No recap available on the show.  Brisco/Patterson attack X-Pac before match only to be thwarted and X-Pac makes his way to the ring to wait for the champ.  Once the match starts, Shane’s running from X-Pac.  Shortly into the match, X-Pac has Shane set up for the Bronco Buster but Test rescues him and pulls him out of the ring.  Shane gains control of the match and goes for the Corporate Elbow but misses.  He hits a low blow and then goes to work on X-Pac with a belt.   Action dumps to the outside and X-Pac takes out the Mean Street Posse who happens to be sitting in the first row.  Test with another cheap shot turns the tide of the match again and Shane’s back in control.  X-Pac hits a superplex but Test pulls Shane out.  X-Pac grabs the strap and whips the hell out of Shane.  X-Pac goes for another Bronco Buster and hits it this time.  Test back in and smacks X-Pac in the face with the belt.  X-Pac kicks out.  Shane now goes for a Buster of his own but X-Pac moves out of the way.  He proceeds to hit Test with a Buster and DX makes their way to the ring.  HHH hits a Pedigree on X-Pac?   Huh?  Swerve ending and Shane wins to retain the title.  So HHH and Chyna are now with the Corporation?  New Age Outlaws come out and HHH and Chyna beat them down as well.  The lights in the arena go dark and here’s Kane chasing HHH and Chyna out.  Bad booking.  Shane’s a good worker for not being a wrestler but the ending of this one is just terrible.

Hell In A Cell
The Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) defeated The Big Boss Man
After his standard “longer than humanly possible” entrance, Taker in charge early.  Boss Man manages to hit a knee lift and gets a pin attempt.  Lots of back and forth with both guys getting run into the cage.  At one point, Bosss Man handcuffs Taker to the cage and goes to work on him with the nightstick.  Undertaker falls down and the cuffs rip apart (terrible prop).  Taker is busted open and has a decent amount of blood flowing.  Undertaker in control now and grabs a chair from under the ring.  A question… why are there always chairs under the ring?  He sends Boss Man face first into the cage and he’s busted open.  Taker goes “old school” and Boss Man crotches him on the top rope.  Well done Boss Man.  I’ve never understood why more people don’t do that when Taker walks the ropes.  Taker’s my all time favorite but that move always boggled my mind.  After that we get a punch fest in the middle of the ring until Taker hits a Tombstone and gets the win.  After the match, Gangrel, Edge and Christian come down to the top of the cage from the rafters.  They string a noose through the cage and proceed to lift the cell while Boss Man gets hung from the cell.  Michael Cole keeps saying “Is it symbolic?”  Um… no it’s a dude getting hung.  Probably the worst Hell In A Cell match I’ve seen.

WWF Championship
Steve Austin defeated The Rock (c)
Vince walks out and based on events earlier in the show he’s going to be the ref for this contest.  Shawn Michaels makes his way to ringside (he’s the commissioner at this point I gather… totally forgot about that) and starts into his shtick.  “Vin man… we can’t have a WrestleMania without HBK”.  There are a couple of “WWF” references muted out on my copy which is getting a tad bit old honestly.  HBK says that according to the rule book HE is the only one that can appoint a referee.  He then says that the Corporation is barred from ringside for this match.  He follows that up by telling Vince to hit the bricks.  Rock is introduced first and as always it pisses me off when the champ doesn’t get the respect of coming out last.  The glass breaks and here comes Austin to a HUGE pop.  They get into it right away and are outside the ring. Rock in charge early until Austin turns the table and throws him back out of the ring.  They go into the crowd for quite some time as it’s a no DQ  match. Why do we have a ref out there?  It’s not a falls count anywhere match so all they’re really doing is hanging out.  At one point Austin has Rock on a table and hits an elbow. Pretty sure the table was supposed to break but didn’t.  So….Austin hits him again to get the table spot in. Back in the ring and Rock hits a Rock Bottom out of nowhere.  Austin kicks out.  Rock brings a chair in and Austin fucking nails the ref when Rock pulls him in front.  Rock takes over and beats on Austin’s knee.  Chair shot to the head and Austin makes a kick out at 2.  Replacement ref in to the ring.  Austin fights back but Rock still in charge big time.  Rock puts the Rock Bottom on the ref for absolutely no reason.  Austin hits the Stunner and naturally there’s no ref to make the count (oh… that’s the reason for the Rock Bottom).  Another ref in and Rock kicks out.  McMahon out to taunt Austin.  Vince takes out this ref and Vince and Rock beats the hell out of Austin.  Mankind returns from the hospital and now is the ref.  Rock Bottom and Rock goes for Peoples Elbow.  Misses.  He goes for another Rock Bottom and misses.  Stunner, 3 count and new champion!  Vince is absolutely beside himself.  There’s a TON going on in this match both in the ring and storyline wise.  Looking back it’s not quite as awesome as I remember but still a very entertaining main event.  Beers for Austin which I never get sick of seeing.  Absolutely love it.  Earl Hebner in drinking with Austin which is a bit out of place but I’ll say, “Oh hell yeah.”  Vince yells that it’s his belt and that Austin doesn’t deserve it.  Punch, Stunner and a beer bath for Vince.  More beers for Steve.  The Rattlesnake poses with a foot on Vince’s chest to end the show.

General Thoughts

  • On Heat before the show there were 2 dark matches – Jacqueline beat Ivory and D’Lo and Test won a 21 man battle royal.  This lead to their pairing in the second match on the card.
  • Jim Ross comes out to announce the main event only and it’s clear that he’s in bad shape.  This must have been just after his stroke.  Gotta give it to the man for being such a professional to continue to do his job.  He’s the best ever in my book.
  • Has anyone ever seen the WWF’s rule book?
  • Is putting the ring steps INTO the ring ever a good idea for anyone involved?
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