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Wrestlemania XIV

Well, nothing really important happened in this last year between Wrestlemanias that I can think of, so let's just get on with the show...

Oh wait, there was the whole Bret Hart Montreal screw-job thing.  Guess that was kind of important.

Wrestlemania XIV (March 29, 1998)

We're live in Boston at the Fleet Center.  Our hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.  Vince is nowhere in sight; he stopped announcing after the Bret Hart fiasco, as fans started getting on his ass pretty bad.  Of course, Vince had the insight to take the fans' hatred and put himself on camera as the evil owner taking on Austin, which led to the WWF winning the ratings war over WCW and the rest is history.  The DX band plays a shitty rendition of the national anthem and gets booed out of the building.  Still better than Rockin' Robin.

Match 1: 15-Team Battle Royal

God, there's like 30 guys in this freakin' thing.  And they pretty much all suck...the Legion of Doom are introduced last as the suprise 15th team, and they brought out Sunny as their new manager and wore crap that looked like it was from the props department from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. We don't need another hero, you know.  This match is like a who's who in crappy gimmicks, wrestlers, etc.  Los Bariquas?  We got all four of them!  DOA?  Check.  Truth Commission?  You know it.  Anyway, it comes down to the LOD and the "new" Midnight Express, who manager Jim Cornette debuted a few weeks before this.  And the "new" Midnight Express pretty much "sucked."  Unless the thought of Bob Holly and Bart Gunn replacing an actual great tag team works for you.  LOD win and go on to become "LOD 2000" shortly afterwards.  Yeah, they didn't even make it to the year 2000.

Match 2: Light Heavyweight Championhip: Taka Michinoku vs Aguila

Here's one of the first times they tried to actually push a light heavyweight division.  Taka was pretty cool, and Aguila went on to greater fame as Essa Rios and had the pleasure of introducing us to Lita.  But that's a few years away still.  These two have a quick mini-match of their usual longer spotty matches.  Taka wins with the Michinoku Driver.  He would later turn heel and join an army of Japanese light heavyweights and try to cut off Val Venis's dick. 

Match 3: European Championship: Triple H vs Owen Hart

Cool, a mighty battle over the coveted European title!  Owen stuck with the WWF after the Bret decacle, and became a huge fan favorite...until they turned him heel again and had him join the nation of domination for some reason.  Oh yeah, this was when Vince Russo was there.  Anyway, Chyna is handcuffed to Sgt. Slaughter for the match (who returned as "commissioner") but she's still able to interfere, nailing Owen in the junk.  Triple H hits the pedigree and it's all over.

Match 4: Marc Mero & Sable vs Goldust & Luna

Probably the coolest mixed tag match I can think of...Sable was just CRAZY over at this point.  Mero was the crazy jerk boyfriend that treated Sable like crap, but when Luna and Goldust started pushing Sable around Mero had to stick up for her I guess.  Sable pretty much kicks Luna AND Goldust's asses, and ends up pinning Luna after a TKO (Mero's finisher.)  Good match, the crowd loved it.

Match 5: IC Championship: The Rock vs Ken Shamrock

The Rock was getting ready to take over the NOD at this point, and was becoming the awesome heel that we would all know and love.  He also makes history during his pre-match interview where he busts out "if you smell what I'm cookin'" for the first time ever.  Shamrock just tears him apart too, winning the match and the title in like 5 minutes with the ankle lock.  Yeah, Shamrock made it famous before Kurt Angle started using it.  But wait!  Shamrock snaps after the match and refuses to release the hold on poor Rocky, and he takes out a few officials too, so the ref reverses the decision and gives the title back to the Rock.  Ooohhh...crowd didn't like that one.  Then, just for fun Shamrock runs out of the ring towards the Rock (as they're taking him out on a stretcher) and tips the thing over and kicks the crap out of him some more, throwing him onto the DX band's stage. 

Match 6: Tag Team Championship, Dumpster Match: New Age Outlaws vs Cactus Jack & Terry Funk

A dumpster match is pretty much like a casket match, where you have to throw your opponents inside and close the lid to win.  This was set up on Raw when the Outlaws threw Funk & Cactus in a dumpster and shoved it off the entrance stage.  It still boggles my mind that they teamed up the Road Dog and Billy Gunn for the hell of it and they ended up being one of the greatest tag teams of all time.  Well, since this match involved Cactus & Funk you know its a cool violent brawl.  A ladder gets involved, as well as a forklift!  Cactus puts the Outlaws on a forklift and Funk drives it over to a nearby dumpster backstage and deposits the Outlaws into the thing to give Cactus & Funk the titles.  Of course, they lost them back the next night when DX reformed with Triple H, the Outlaws and a returning 1-2-3 Kid (X-Pac)

Match 7: The Undertaker vs Kane

Kane was brought in a few months before this as Undertaker's burned up left-for-dead brother.  There was so many dumb little special effects and fire and junk between these two leading up to this match that I thought one of them would make the other one explode or something.  So when the two brothers simply had a slow power match back and forth it seemed...weird for some reason.  Of course, the thing that makes this match famous is the pre-match shenengans, where Pete Rose was the guest ring announcer.  He came out and ripped into Boston for some reason, and when Kane came out he TOMBSTONED him!  That was the start of a great running gag with Rose that lasted the next few years.  Anyway, Undertaker wins with three tombstones. 

Main Event: WWF Championship: Shawn Micheals vs Steve Austin

As if this wasn't a big enough main event, they had Mike freakin' Tyson out there as the "special enforcer."  Tyson's involvement gave the WWF some media attention and the new fans stayed around for the Austin/Vince stuff after this show and that's where things turned around.  Tyson joined DX a few weeks before this and was rightly booed out of the building during his entrance.  You know, Tyson might be a nut job, but he was seriously INTO this.  The guy looks like he's having the time of his life out there, with his little crotch chops and whatnots.  And he gets into a cool shouting match with Austin before the match, so the guy's definately earning his paycheck out there.  And what can you say about Micheals?  The guy's back was seriously fucked up at this point, and this ended up being his final match before his miracle comeback in 2002.  Of course, Austin's condition wasn't that much better, as he was getting over getting his neck snapped by Owen Hart that past summer.  As for Micheals though, you can tell during the match HBK can barely walk but he manages to pull out one more match, as Austin eventually hits the stunner and wins his first world title (with the help of Tyson!)  HBK is pissed at Tyson and gets in his face after the match, and Tyson ends up decking him.  Austin went on to become the most popular champion of all time.

Match of the night: Austin/HBK

Mark-out moment of the night: Seeing Pete Rose get tombstoned by Kane

Summary:  One of my favorite Wrestlemanias ever, this one had a little bit of everything.  But it also seemed so good compared to all the crap before it.  Like I wrote before, this was a huge step towards bringing the WWF back to the top o' the mountain. 


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