THE AUSTIN ERA HAS BEGUN!
Match 1 – 15 Team Battle Royal – Fuck naming everyone lol. Can you imagine them doing this today? WM would be like a 3 match show as they’d have to put everyone together to make up 15 teams! LOD RETURN! WITH SUNNY! YEY SUNNY! SO this is a clusterfuck. And I think the first 2 teams to be eliminated are done so through interference from people not even in the match. 2 COOL form in this match! Though it’s some time before they are called that, or are babyfaces, or act like they would end up doing. But still! LMFAO Henry is in the match for a while even after D-Lo is eliminated. LOD win. This blew. DUD.
Match 2 – Taka Michinoku Vs Aguila – Essa Rios is Aguila, right? Ahh who cares, he doesn’t even get his own entrance LOL. Light Heavyweight Title match. Monstrously massively high moonsault from Aguila to the outside. Not to be outdone, Taka does a Crossbody just as high. Match is fun, nothing more. Fast paced spot filled match, something we didn’t see often in WWF at the time. It is what it is. **.
Match 3 – Triple H Vs Owen Hart – The prestigious European Title is on the line! Chyna has to be handcuffed to Slaughter (commissioner at the time) so she doesn’t get involved in the match. LMAO they do a face to face spot… hard to tell who has the bigger chin! Wonder how Owen felt wrestling against the people who helped screw his brother Bret the year before. Nice to see him bring some HATE~! to the match while still being able to look like a good wrestler who can be smooth as anyone. So like… when did HHH get… good? Because between his WM appearances so far and his RR matches up to this point that I watched a few months ago… the guy is just so fucking DULL on offence. LMAO HHH even attacks THE WRONG ANKLE of Owen’s at one point. Owen had an ankle injury or something and apparently just had the cast off today. Not sure if it was a real injury worked into the angle or just an angle. But either way it eventually becomes the focus of HHH… and I say eventually because he spends some time on offence not doing a damn thing with it at first lol. Well… not too much of a focus for HHH. Owen makes a big comeback not too long into it, and pretty much destroys HHH for a while and pretty much stops selling the ankle until he kicks HHH in the head and randomly decides to sell it again. And then HHH DOESN’T GO BACK TO THE ANKLE. Chyna throws some powder in Slaughter’s eyes so he can’t see her hit Owen with a low blow. Pedigree and this is over. Good, because it sucked. *1/2.
Match 4 – The Artist Formally Known As Goldust & Luna Vachon Vs Marc Mero & Sable – NO.
Match 5 – The Rock Vs Ken Shamrock – IC title on the line here. Rematch from the RR where Shamrock won, but Rock HEELED IT UP and got Shamrock DQ’d after the decision and kept his title. They brawl to begin with, with Shamrock trying to murder Rock for screwing him out of the title for so long. Rock gets back in control with the use of the steel steps, and even hits a People’s Elbow… and Shamrock kicks out of it and there isn’t any kind of caring because it doesn’t appear to be a finisher yet. Shamrock fights back, a chair gets involved, ref bump, chair to Shamrock… and he kicks out again. Ankle Lock! Rock taps out! New champ! Nation jump in and attack him but he takes them all out. MARK HENRY shows up and gets a belly to belly for his trouble. Shamrock goes back to the ankle lock… Faarooq comes out and… turns back around! He ain’t helping no Rock. Awesome. Shamrock ends up having the title taken from him because he wouldn’t let go of the hold after the match and attacks a bunch of refs. Well this was… a match. *.
Match 6 – The New Age Outlaws Vs Terry Funk & Cactus Jack – DUMPSTER MATCH for the tag titles! This match reminds me of the Chicago Street Fight from WM 13, in that it’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect. It’s a DUMPSTER match involving CACTUS JACK AND TERRY FUNK. Some sick spots that all likely legitimately hurt, lots of weapons and just overall CRAZINESS. Terry and Cactus no doubt take the most vicious bumps, but props to Billy and Dogg for some of the stuff they take too. Amazing that Terry takes the bumps he does at 53 years old. And he’d probably take them again today if they asked him to lol. Funk using a forklift to drop the Outlaws into a dumpster for the win is just classic FUNK awesomeness. New tag champs! Though they would be stripped the next night on Raw because they didn’t use the right Dumpster. Then we’d get an awesomely violent cage match between them where the Outlaws join DX. This was tons of fun. **3/4.
Match 7 – The Undertaker Vs Kane – Damn, where do I even begin with this one? IMO, the feud between The Undertaker and Kane is the greatest of all time. I loved every minute of the epic build up to this one match, and that build up lasted ONE YEAR. Yep, an entire year of build up for just one match (similar to Hogan/Sting I guess, except this one delivered). Ok, I’ll try and summarise this one as best I can without writing too much :p. Hmm… now I think about it, I guess the whole thing really started in 1996, when Paul Bearer turned on The Undertaker. But I’ll start off from when the feud really kicked off, which was at WrestleMania 13, when The Undertaker won the WWF Title. Bearer had left The Undertaker the year before, but now he was the champion, Bearer wanted to manage him again. The Undertaker refused, until Paul Bearer blackmailed him, threatening to reveal a dark secret from The Undertaker’s past. Reluctantly, The Undertaker agreed to let Paul manage him once again. It wasn’t too long though, before The Undertaker had finally had enough of Paul, so Paul revealed the secret; The Undertaker was a murderer! He had burnt down his home as a child, killing his parents, and supposedly his younger brother Kane. However, Bearer revealed that Kane was alive, and he had been taking care of him all these years, and he would soon arrive in the WWF to take revenge! Paul Bearer would constantly show up to tell The Undertaker that Kane was coming, but it was a couple of months still before we eventually saw him. During the first ever HIAC match against Shawn Michaels, Kane made his debut, ripping off the cell door, and Tombstoning The Undertaker! Week after week, Kane would come out and attack The Undertaker, who refused to fight back because of a promise he made to his parents years ago. Then, in January 1998, it seemed that Kane and The Undertaker had worked out their problems, as Kane came out to help The Undertaker against DX, and agreed to join him at ringside for the casket match between ‘Taker and HBK at the Royal Rumble! It was at the Royal Rumble that we discovered the whole thing was a set up, as Kane and Paul Bearer locked The Undertaker in the casket, and set it on fire! However, when the casket was opened, The Undertaker was nowhere to be seen. A few weeks later, while Bearer and Kane were in the ring, the familiar sound of The Undertaker’s gong hit the area, and a casket appeared on the stage. Lighting stuck it, and out came The Undertaker! Apparently the fire did nothing to The Undertaker, and his absence was explained by him going to visit the graves of his parents, so he could apologise to them for doing what he promised he would never do… And so a match between the Brothers of Destruction was made for WrestleMania 14! A couple of awesome things happened before the match even started, first with Kane attacking Pete Rose, which got him a pretty decent pop despite Kane being a big time heel. The second was The Undertaker’s epic entrance. This was the first time he received a special entrance at WrestleMania, and to this day it is still one of his absolute best. Druids came out with torches (flame on a stick, not those battery operated things!), which made a tunnel of fire for The Undertaker to walk through. And then there was his costume, which has been referred to as a “Bat Man” style outfit, which made him look even more dangerous. The Undertaker starts things off with huge rights and lefts to the face of Kane, but Kane doesn’t seem to feel them. They go back and forth for a few minutes, just punching and kicking each other until Kane gains the advantage. Kane even gets the chance to Tombstone The Undertaker in the early going, but instead opts to slam him into the corner and pummel him some more. This match isn’t about winning or losing, it’s about two brothers wanting to beat the living shit out of each other for different reasons, which is why it makes perfect sense for them to not go for a cover or a finisher so early, and for them to brawl throughout this match. The Undertaker even starts to cover his face to avoid those massive punches from Kane, something The Undertaker had NEVER done up to this point. That one little thing shows just how much of a threat Kane was to The Undertaker at the time! Great athleticism from The Undertaker has he leaps onto Kane’s shoulders to beat his head in, but Kane just throws him off and continues his assault on his older brother. Bearer even distracts the referee allowing Kane to use the steel steps a couple of times. I wish this match had been No DQ tbh, because they could have done a lot with the stipulation. The Undertaker tries his best to make a comeback, but ends up walking right into a Chokeslam from Kane! Kane covers, but lifts up The Undertaker after a 2 count! Again, these guys are just showing that it isn’t about the victory, it’s about the destruction, and I fucking love it! One of the more memorable spots in the match comes when The Undertaker does his dive over the ropes, only for Kane to move, forcing The Undertaker to crash right through the announcer’s table! Now THAT was a great spot! I mentioned how I would have liked this to have been No DQ, but tbh they do an awesome job of getting in spots like that without the stipulation lol. The Undertaker is far from done though, but is still overwhelmed by his brother, who continues to beat the living shit out of him. They exchange plenty of punches, before The Undertaker manages to set Kane up for a Tombstone, only for Kane to reverse and land his own! Poor ‘Taker, that’s two years in a row that has happened to him! Just like last year, he manages to kick out, and this epic fight continues! The Dead Man catches his first break with a massive Chokeslam, which Kane gets right back up from, only to walk into a Tombstone from The Undertaker! He covers, but Kane kicks out! This would mark the first time ANYONE had ever kicked out of the Tombstone! Not only that but Kane gets right back up, only to receive ANOTHER Tombstone! Paul Bearer looks like he is about to have a heart attack, until Kane kicks out AGAIN! The Undertaker is on a roll now, but Kane refuses to stay down, until The Undertaker hits a THIRD Tombstone, which only just keeps Kane’s shoulders down for the 3. The Undertaker may have won the match, but Kane and Paul Bearer destroyed him after the match, just like he was destroyed during the match. This is not a technical classic whatsoever. But if anyone on this planet was expecting it to be, then they need to have their head examined. This was a personal and fierce rivalry, which called for a brawl, and that is exactly what we got. Both guys went into the match with the intention of destroying the other, and that is basically what we got, and it was awesome. Kane lost, but looked far stronger than The Undertaker. This is now The Undertaker’s best WrestleMania match! ****.
Match 8 – Shawn Michaels Vs Steve Austin – Mike Tyson is the special enforcer on the outside, and also a member of DX, despite the fact his favourite wrestler is Cold Stone Steve Austin LOL. So Shawn’s back is fucked at this point, and would retire from wrestling until 2002 (well, he had a match in 2000 in his own company that he ran for a little while down in Texas). Shawn frustrates Austin early on, jabbing him in the face… so Austin gets fucked off and chases Shawn down and just beats the fuck out of him lol. Painful to watch HBK take any kind of back bumps here, knowing the condition of his back at the time. Hell, even Austin wasn’t in too good health at the time, having only been back from his neck injury that happened at SummerSlam a couple of months now. HHH and Chyna cause some distractions, forcing the ref to eject them from ringside, but Austin goes after HHH for the hell of it and ends up causing another distraction unintentionally lol. LOL, fans chant “Holyfield” half way through the match. Commentators pretend they can’t make out what they are chanting. HBK works over the knee of Austin, nothing groundbreaking or particularly good in all honesty. Nice finish with the superkick and stunner counters leading to a Stunner that connects and wins Austin the match. Eh, this wasn’t that good. Better than it had any right to be given the condition of both men. That post-WM press conference is included on the DVD (was it on the Anthology one too?), and Tyson at least explains that him joining DX then helping Austin win the title was all planned from the beginning. Thank fuck he said that because I was always confused about it until now. LMFAO TYSON CALLS HIM COLD STONE AGAIN. BILL APTER! Hi Bill! **3/4.