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Wrestlemania XV

I can't really think of anything to write about for the year leading up to the 15th version of Wrestlemania, so I just thought I'd say that Vince Russo's a moron.

Wrestlemania XV (March 28, 1999)

We're live from Philadelphia, PA.  Our hosts are Micheal Cole (subbing for Jim Ross, who was out when his bells palsey acted up again) and Jerry Lawler.  Boys 2 Men kicks things off with "America the Beautiful."  Were they popular in 1999?  Probably not.  These days they're probably doing episodes of "I Love the 90's" and "I'm A Celebrity: Give Me A Check" on VH1.  

As a new tradition for these reviews, I'm also gonna include the location where we all got together to watch the Wrestlemanias every year, as this was the first one after I moved up to NMU.  This year's hot spot?  CW Mahyer's room, where we packed like 10 guys into his room and devoured multiple Domino's Pizzas (provided by yours truly because I had too much damn money on my food card.)  It was also on this night that Tony threw a bean bag chair on top of me and beat the crap out of me for several minutes for no reason.   Ah, college life.

Match 1: Hardcore Championship, 3-Threat Match:  Billy Gunn vs Al Snow vs Hardcore Holly

Right away we get to see the genuis of Vince Russo in action.  For months Holly, Snow and the Road Dog were in a feud for the hardcore title that would lead to this triple-threat match.  Then a couple of weeks before WM, they had Billy Gunn win the title for some reason and inserted him into the match instead of Road Dog.  Why?  No reason, just for the hell of it.  That Russo was a friggin' genius, I tells ya.  Anyway, the crowd loved this match so much they chant "Let's Go Flyers!" during it.  Holly ends up winning the title after pinning Snow.  Yeah, that's the way to kick off the biggest show of the year; have Bob Holly win a title.

Match 2: Tag Team Championship: Jeff Jarrett & Owen Hart vs D'Lo Brown & Test

Hey, even more Vince Russo magic!  They held a battle royal during the pre-show with the last two guys remaining getting the tag title shot.  So logically they have D'Lo (who was feuding with Jarret & Hart so it made sense) and...Test?  The "hired gun" of Vince's Corporation?  Okay, I give up.  Anyway, D'Lo and Test argue the whole time and Jarrett & Owen (along with Debra who was SMOKIN' back then) make quick work of them.  In retrospect it would've made SENSE to have D'Lo team up with the Godfather (former NOD members reunited) but you know, the more confusing and dumb it is, the better in Russo World.

Match 3: Brawl for All: Bart Gunn vs Butterbean

See?  They had all the scrubs on the roster compete in these tough-man boxing matches on Raw called the "Brawl for All."  It was a pretty dumb idea and a few guys got injured, but the weird thing was Bart Gunn ran through everyone and won the thing.  So they decided to stick him in there with an actual toughman boxer Butterbean for Wrestlemania.  Yeah, if you can't figure out where this is going you're never gonna.  In the time it took to write this Butterbean knocked Gunn down twice in 30 seconds, the second time knocking his ass OUT COLD.  Well, it was a nice career, Bart.

Match 4: Mankind vs The Big Show

By this time Foley had already won the world title a couple of times, as he and The Rock traded it back and forth for a few months.  The Big Show just debuted a month before coming over from WCW, the first of many over the next year or so.  The winner of this one gets to referee the main event.  After a few minutes Show gets pissy and chokeslams Mankind through a couple of chairs, getting him DQ'd.  That draws the ire of McMahon, who comes out and slaps him across the face, causing the big guy to slug him down.  So that would be face turn #1 in a series of around 100 for the Big Show throughout his WWF career.  Mankind got taken out on a stetcher, leaving doubt as to who will referee the main event.  Oh, I'm so intrigued now, someone shoot me with a damn tranquilizer gun.

Match 5: IC Championship, Fatal 4-Way: Road Dog vs Ken Shamrock vs Val Venis vs Goldust

Like the above Billy Gunn match, Road Dog won the IC title a few weeks before this and was inserted into this match for no reason.  Gunn had been feuding with Venis and Shamrock over Ken's "sister" Ryan, and Goldust was added into the mix after awhile.  But then they took Gunn out and replaced him with ol' Road Dog.  GOD!  And in the grand tradition of 4-way elimination matches, two guys (Shamrock & Venis) get counted out like four minutes into the damn thing, leaving Goldy and Road Dog.  I hate this.  Road Dog wins after a botched interferrence attempt by Ryan Shamrock.  Goldust left her for the Blue Meanie afterwards, just to keep things creepy and confusing.

Match 6: Triple H vs Kane

I had to seriously dig into my brain to figure out where Kane stood in the thick of things at this point...he was a bad guy, but he got kicked out of the corporation, but Chyna was with him, who was also bad at that point, but Kane really was misunderstood, had a heart of gold and needed guidance after Paul Bearer turned on him.  God bless Russo.  Before the match, someone dressed as the San Diego Chicken runs to the ring and attacks Kane!  Kane takes the head off to reveal...Pete Rose?  Yeah, they brought him back and yeah he got tombstoned again!  Alright, that was cool, I'll give them that.  Anyway, Kane and Triple H battle back and forth, until Chyna interferes; turning on Kane and causing the DQ.  She goes back to the arms of Triple H and DX is now whole again.  What a happy reunion, I hope it lasts a long time.

Match 7: Women's Championship: Sable vs Tori

Oh god, not Tori.  That would be the low speaking, creepy body-suit wearing Tori, not Torrie Wilson damnit all.  So this was after Sable's Playboy hit the stands, and she turned into a egomaniacal heel who was a complete bitch to everyone.  And her character was pretty dispicable, too!  This match blows by the way.  Sable wins with the Sablebomb after interference from Nicole Bass.  Don't even ask who "she" was, it's not worth it.

Match 8: European Championship: Shane McMahon vs X-Pac

Sadly, this is the first good match of the night and it involves Shane McMahon, what does that tell you?  Shane had a couple short matches on Raw before this, but this match was pretty much his first actual big match.  And these two work well together; Shane-O-Mac always could bump like a champ.  X-Pac takes out the awesome Mean Street Posse, who are sitting at ringside for this.  I wasn't being sarcastic this time, I actually liked the Posse.  X-Punk has Shane-O down when Triple H & Chyna hit the ring...and attack X-Pac.  Wow, Chyna's face turn lasted all of twenty minutes.  RUSSO RULES!  Triple H takes X-Puke out with the pedigree and Shane gets the win.  Triple H & Chyna join McMahon's corporation to the delight of no one.  But it did lead to Triple H's main event push, if you consider that a good thing. 

Match 9: Hell in a Cell: The Big Bossman vs The Undertaker

Whoa, it's the HIAC match that NO ONE talks about anymore.  Seriously, anytime they do a history package about the cell match, they never show any second of this.  And there's a damn good reason, it sucks.  The Undertaker was in the middle of his "ministry of darkness" phase that was set up to be the ultimate heel group.  So they had him target...Vince McMahon and the Corporation?  The most evil prick they had?  Yeah, the fans will LOVE that.  And since it's two heels in a cell for fifteen minutes, the crowd pretty much shits on the match.  Undertaker wins with a tombstone.  But wait, now the fun begins.  The Brood (Edge, Gangrel & Christian) drop from the ceiling and lower a noose into the ring from the top of the cell.  So Undertaker ties it around Bossman's neck, they raise the cell and the Bossman's hung.  Wow, I can't believe they KILLED a guy on a live PPV!  Oh wait, he showed up the next night on Raw like nothing happened?  Oh yeah, Vince Russo was writing the shit. 

Main Event: WWF Championship:  The Rock vs Steve Austin

The Rock was the current Corporate Champion; proud exectuer of the Corporate Elbow as well as the Corporate Eyebrow.  Austin got screwed out of the title (storyline wise) so this is his big rematch.  Before we begin though, Vince names himself as the guest referee.  This brings out Shawn Micheals (commissioner at the time) and tells Vince to take a hike and brings out the special referee...Mike Chioda?  Alright then.  Austin and Rock have their typical awesome match, and multiple refs get taken out.  Vince then enters the mayhem and together with the Rock they stomp Austin down, only to bring back Mankind...back from the "hospital" and ready to be the referee.  Foley takes McMahon out, Austin hits the stunner...new champion.  Great match, and they would have even better ones later...

Match of the night: Austin/Rock

Mark-out moment of the night:  Well the Pete Rose thing was suprising I guess.

Summary: Not a very good Wrestlemania at all.  I know I took a few shots at Russo for this, and I do realize that while he was the main writer, Vince McMahon was still the boss so everything had to go through him...but GODDAMN Russo was out of control during this time.  He only lasted another half a year or so and then bolted to WCW to "turn around" the company ("turn around" must really mean "destroy" in the Russo universe.)  Anyhoo, Russo was good for a few cool things here and there and he did make WCW interesting, in a train wreck sort of way.  But this Wrestlemania will be remembered as the one Russo & company smoked too much crack.


comments (4) 03-16-2007

The People's Comments:


I don't know Carson.

It seems to work for me.


Nope, the marathon was the next year. 12 hours in Jason Paul's room watching wrestling. Smell the excitement!

Damn it, Justin! Fix the comments to recognize carriage returns already!

Wasn't this the Wrestlemania that had the 24-hour marathon before it, where they showed EVERY Wrestlemania if you'd pre-ordered it? I don't have any way to remember if it was, because all I remember was that I'd done a 30-something-hour trivia marathon the night before that didn't end until that morning, so, I missed nearly all of the Wrestlemania marathon. Also, if I remember the HIAC match correctly, when the Brood are lowered into the cage, you can see Edge have trouble undoing his harness. I've long guessed that this "wardrobe malfunction" is the reason that Owen Hart was wearing a quick-release harness on the night of his unfortunate death.

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