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WRESTLEMANIA RETRO LOOKS BACK AT TWENTY-SIX YEARS OF WRESTLEMANIA HISTORY

By PWInsider.com Staff on 2011-04-03 09:13:00

Wrestlemania XIV

March 29, 1998
Location: Boston, MA
Arena: The Fleet Center
Announced Attendance: 19,028

*The LOD 2000 (Hawk and Animal with a new name, new gear and Sunny as a manager) won a Tag Team Battle Royal, tossing out The New Midnight Express (Bob Holly and Bart Gunn) to win. All they needed was a Scaffold and it could have been Starrcade 2000 as well. Neither team ended up taking off.

*WWF Lightheavyweight champion TAKA Michinoku pinned Mr. Aguilla (later known as Papi Chulo and Essa Rios before returning to Mexico under this name). WWF had brought in the Lightheavyweight division to combat Nitro's Cruiserweight championship which took off huge. WWF never truly got behind the championship and TAKA was eventually delegated to comedic undercard work. Aguila would later become most famous for being liked with Lita when she debuted.

*WWF European champion Triple H pinned Owen Hart. Hart was supposed to return to the company with a huge babyface run after Bret's depature but it never happened due to politics. This was a really good singles showing for both men and Hart's best Mania bout since defeating Bret at 10. It would also be Owen's final singles bout at Mania.

*Sable and Marc Mero defeated "The Artist Formerly Known as" Goldust & Luna Vachon in a mixed tag. This was Sable's in ring debut as she was one of the hottest performers in the company at the time. The crowd popped huge for Sable doing Mero's TKO finisher. A fun back and forth bout.

*WWF Intercontinental champion The Rock defeated Ken Shamrock via DQ. Shamrock actually wins via submission with the anklelock but the decision is reversed after he refuses to release it. Rocky is stretchered out, holding the belt high and above his head. A decent bout.

*Cactus Jack and Terry Funk defeated The New Age Outlaws (Billy Gunn and Road Dogg Jesse Jammes) in a dumpster match to win the WWF Tag Team championships. Funk makes his seocnd Wrestlemania appearance, after debuting at Mania 2 all the way back in 1986. Funk is powerbombed into a dumpster and a sickening bruise forms on his back from where his rear landed on a 2x4 plank that was inside the dumpster. The brawl goes to the back where they dump the outlaws in a second dumpster. The titles are actually held up due to the usage of the second dumpster (seriously) and the Outlaws win them in a Cage match the next night on Raw.

*The Undertaker pins his brother Kane with three (count them three) tombstones. Pete Rose is the special guest ring announcer and rips apart Boston. Kane ends up tombstoning him before the match in a brilliant piece of booking that sets Rose off on his way to being a proud member of the WWE Hall of Fame. This was Kane's Wrestlemania debut. The finish was surprising given he was built so strong in the months before but he would turn into a WWF workhorse and a trusted worker over the next few years.

*Steve Austin pinned Shawn Michaels to win the WWF championship. Michaels had the DX band playing the DX theme live as he entered the ring. Mike Tyson was the special guest enforcer for the bout and had turned heel and become a member of DX. He ended up counting the pin for Austin at the end, then revealing an Austin 3:16 shirt on. Michaels got in his face after the match and was "knocked out." Michaels went into the bout with a horrible back injury and busted his butt although you could see he was dying in the ring. There's a famous story that Michaels balked at cleanly dropping the belt at one point and was told by Undertaker that if he returned at any point without dropping it, Taker would be waiting for him at the curtain. Considering how banged up Michaels and Austin (neck) were at this point, this is a tremendously put together match.

Celebrities: Well, obviously Mike Tyson was involved as it was the biggest WWF news for years and helped the company shoot like a rocket to ultrasuccessful again...The Rock did a backstage interview with Gennifer Flowers, who was once Bill Clinton's mistress. The idea behind the celebrities was to have someone with a little scandal behind them to add to the "Attitude" aura....Of course, Pete Rose was mentioned above as well.

Notes: This was billed as Wrestlemania DX-Rated during the build to the show....It would prove to be Michaels' last Wrestlemania for 5 years....Referee Earl Hebner was in the hospital with an aneursym and missed the PPV. Michaels tells the camera, "This is for you Earl" before he heads to the ring. WWF had wired Hebner's hospital room in order for him to be able to see the PPV....Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross hosted the PPV....There were plans to do a Mick Foley vs. Terry Funk exploding ring match at the Double Cross Ranch for this show and air it "via satellite" but they were dropped once Tyson became involved.

Kevin Kelly on Wrestlemania 14: What a difference a year made, with 13 seeming like a regular TV taping and 14 having Pete Rose and Shawn Michaels getting his own dressing room. I remember everyone being on pins and needles about Shawn not dropping the belt. Hunter was with him the whole day, probably to insure he "did the right thing". Ironic that he had been the man Vince needed to take the belt off of Bret just 4 months earlier. After the show, there was a press conference with Tyson and Austin and Vince. Shawn was obviously miffed that he wasn't invited so he lingered out in the hall and then started to make his way into the room. hane McMahon was at the head table standing off to the side and was quickly dispatched to let Shawn know that this moment was for Steve and Tyson and to leave.

Mike Johnson: This is a fun show. The crowd was so into Steve Austin, it was incredible. Plus, for me, Terry Funk and Mick Foley teaming on the biggest stage of the year was fun to watch. There is just a lot of hard work on the show as the company revamped itself and felt the freshest it had since Wrestlemania 10. The Rock, Sable, Owen, and Helmsley all worked hard here as well. This show was the show that showed not only was the company on the right path, but they knew it and were running with it.

Buck Woodward: To me, this show is symbolic of a few good moves, and several lousy ones. ... The idea of repackaging the Legion Of Doom and having a "new" Midnight Express was atrocious. Although, I did dig Sunny's outfit. ... TAKA Michinoku vs. Mr. Aguila is a reminder of WWF's occasional half-hearted attempts at pushing Light Heavyweights. It never lasted. ... Owen Hart losing to Triple H is a reminder of how the clique abused their power. Owen should have had a huge headlining feud with Shawn Michaels over the Montreal Screwjob, and they kicked it off with a great angle at the DeGeneration X PPV, but then HBK pulled a powerplay, and we see Owen at Wrestlemania doing the job. ... Mixed tags tend to blow chunks, and watching Sable do a powerbomb was not going to save this one. ... I hated the finish with Shamrock and Rock. The whole "he won't release the hold, so he is disqualified" but is annoying, especially when a title is on the line. ... Cactus & Funk vs. The New Age Outlaws was an example of something done right. This match set up the bout the next night at Raw where DX laid out Cactus & Funk. The fans chanted for Austin instead of Funk or Foley, which led to a great Mick Foley promo about not being appreciated, and set the stage for the Dude Love heel turn. ... I was very surprised they gave Undertaker such a dominating win over Kane in their big match. I think it hurt Kane, as he had been built to be such a monster prior to the bout. ... Mike Tyson gave the show a big publicity boost, and showed how a celebrity, used properly, can get you attention. ... Shawn Michaels actually did the job to Austin, which was amazing, and necessary. Of course, he still had to be Shawn, which is why, after Mike Tyson knocked him out, HBK could be seen laying on the mat chewing his gum. ... I was told that Undertaker actually took a chair and sat in front of a monitor by the entranceway, taping his hands, and telling everyone "If he doesn't drop the strap, I'm dropping him". When Triple H and Chyna were sent to the back during the match, they quickly distanced themselves from Taker.

Jess McGrath: I wouldn't call this a great Wrestlemania, but it definitely was a fun one. The Mike Tyson angle was very well done in the weeks building up to the show, and with the crowd so into Austin and wanting to see him finally win the title, it played out great as well. Undertaker-Kane was another angle they built for months that had a good payoff. And the New Age Outlaws-Funk & Cactus match was a good brawl. There were a few duds on the undercard (LOD 2000, the light heavyweight division), but generally there was more good than bad here. They began to turn it around with the in-ring product by this point.

Dave Scherer: This show was a lot of fun. It was nice to see the new direction play out over the course of the year. The guys worked hard and the company finally started to realize that good wrestling was a draw to some fans. Attitude was off and running.


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