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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 15

March 28, 1999 Location: Philadelphia, PA
Arena: The First Union Center
Announced Attendance: 19, 514

*Bob Holly defeats Billy Gunn and Al Snow in a Three-Way to win the WWF Hardcore championship. Lots of plunder here and of course, the hardcore staple the fire extinguisher.

*WWF Tag Team champions Owen Hart and Jeff Jarrett, with Debra, defeated D-Lo Brown and Test with Ivory (then managing Brown) when Jarrett rolled up Brown for the pin. Hart and Test were the final two in a Battle Royal earlier in the night before the PPV to determine who would challenge the champions. This would prove to be Hart's final Wrestlemania match before his death in May 1999.

*Butterbean knocked out Bart Gunn in a Brawl For All match in about a minute into the first round with a series of devastating rights. Gunn's WWF career was destroyed right then and there although he continued to make a name for himself in Japan as Mike Barton. Boxer Vinnie Pazienza was the special referee and had an impromptu boxing match with the San Diego Chicken afterwards. Judges including Gorilla Monsoon, boxer Chuck Wepner, and and boxing trainer Kevin Rooney.

*Mankind defeated The Big Show to determine who would referee the main event at Wrestlemania 15. Mick Foley was hurting here and it shows in his work. Big Show is disqualified when he chokeslams Mick through two chairs. Foley is carted off. Vince McMahon gets in Show's face screaming and slaps him for messing up McMahon's plans. Show goes to chokeslam him but changes his mind. McMahon continues to berate him and is punched. Show is arrested and taken away by Philadelphia police (actually a slew of New Jersey independent wrestlers and personalities including Fanslam promoter Tommy Fierro).

WWF Intercontinental champion Road Dogg Jesse Jammes defeated Ken Shamrock, Goldust (with Rian Shamrock and The Blue Meanie) and Val Venis in a Four-Way. Shamrock accidentally tripped her man, leading to the pin while Meanie gloated that he was right about her the whole time he was warning Goldust about her.

*Kane defeated Triple H by DQ when H hit him with a chair given to him by Chyna. Kane had accidentally burned Chyna's retinas in an angle building to Raw.

*WWF champion Sable pinned Tori. Tori had been a fan following Sable around the country in the first row who challenged her after Sable turned heel. Nicole Bass debuted (showing up before she was supposed to) to interfere and attack Tori. Sable powerbombs her for the pin. Unlike the participants, This wasn't pretty.

*WWF European champion Shane McMahon pinned X-Pac after Triple H turned on Pac and joined Vince's Corporation. McMahon busted his butt bumping here and Pac worked hard too. The Mean Street Posse were in the front row and interfered by going after Pac while outside the ring. This was the shocking match of the night, mainly because no one knew what Shane was capable of going into the PPV.

*The Undertaker defeated The Big Bossman in a Hell in the Cell match with a tombstone. The streak of awesome Hell in the Cell bouts stopped here with a screeching halt. Edge. Gangrel, and Christian lower down from the roof of the Arena and hang the Bossman from the top of the Cell as it rises. He later returns unharmed in a silly moment.

*Steve Austin pinned The Rock to win the WWF championship. Vince McMahon came out to be the special referee but out comes Shawn Michaels, who announces that "It's not Wrestlemania with HBK." Michaels is the Commissioner by now and explains that only he can make the referees, so out Vince goes. This is a great back and forth match including them brawling into the crowd. Austin finally scores the pin (counted by the returning Mankind) after the Stunner as Vince stands there at ringside shocked and upset.

Celebrities: Boxer Vinnie Pazienza was the special referee and had an impromptu boxing match with the San Diego Chicken afterwards. Judges including Gorilla Monsoon, boxer Chuck Wepner, and and boxing trainer Kevin Rooney....Pete Rose returned for beating #2....Philadelphia's own Boys II Men opened the show with "America the Beautiful."

Notes: This was the first Wrestlemania released on DVD....Jim Ross returned from a bout with Bells Palsy to call the main event at Austin's request, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd. Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler handled the rest of the show....The promotion put together a "Wrestlemania Rage Party" the night before complete with workers milling around with fans and a concert featuring The Cherry Popping Daddies, Mya, Big Pun, and Isaac Hayes (who was on fire as Chef of South Park fame at the time). The concert also featured a one hour live special on the USA Network with workers cutting promos and a series of vignettes where Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco couldn't get access into the building....The great Gorilla Monsoon made his final public appearance here, as one of the judges for the Brawl For All bout. Monsoon was announced and given a huge, extended standing ovation by the crowd in a fitting farewell....Test and Brown split the aforementioned Battle Royal before the show went on the air. Also involved were Steve Blackman, Justin Bradshaw, Brian Christopher, DOA, Droz, Farooq, Gillberg, The Godfather, Jeff & Matt Hardy (Wrestlemania debut), The Legion of Doom, Midian, The Public Enemy, Tiger Ali Singh, Scott Taylor, and Viscera....Jacqueline defeated Ivory in another dark match.

Kevin Kelly on Wrestlemania 15: Billy Gunn and I predicted the KO of Dr. Death, as we knew Bart was a Toughman winner in his younger career. But with weeks of training, how could he lose to Butterbean? Aside from the main event, to me, the show was dreadful. How did Mick Foley get conned out of the main event spot at Mania? Back in February, Shawn Michaels of all people politicked to Vince to keep it Stone Cold vs The Rock at Mania. Austin was always paranoid and he went to Shawn to help get him in that one-on-one match, having to go over and get the belt at Mania. On the road to Mania, remember how Austin beat the Big Show just after the big man's debut? How come nobody remembers that classic derailing moment? And they talk about HHH being a bad guy behind the scenes. That was also the show where a still-facially paralyzed JR went to both Austin and the Rock, wanting them to talk to Vince about allowing JR to call their main event match. Few moments in his career have bothered Michael Cole more... or me for that matter. Totally classless but not unexpected.

The Blue Meanie on Wrestlemania 15: Wrestlemania 15 meant a lot to me. On a professional and personal level, Wrestlemania is something you strive to reach. Wrestlemania cements you in wrestling history. Another special note behind working Wrestlemania 15 was that it was in Philadelphia. Philadelphia is where I was born, Philadelphia is where I debuted for ECW. It's where I debuted for the WWF and Philadelphia is where I made it to THE show, Wrestlemania.

Bart Gunn on Fighting Butterbean at Wrestlemania 15: "I'd like to say it was a work but to be totally honest [it wasn't]. I give the utmost respect to boxers. They're tough sons-of-a-gun. Their training is unbelievable. Going into that fight, Butterbean had 40 professional fights. I myself had never boxed before, except in the back alleys and as a kid growing up. I never put gloves on, and I did this Brawl For All. I went and actually trained for five weeks before Wrestlemania at a gym in upstate New York where I actually learned how to box. I changed my whole strategy, learned how to box, how to hold my hands, throw punches, and it totally took me out of my comfort zone. I wasn't the same person in that fight as I was in other fights." (Wrestling Digest Interview, August 2001)

Buck Woodward: Maybe the least memorable Wrestlemania for me. Other than my old pal The Blue Meanie getting on the show, and seeing Gorilla Monsoon getting a huge ovation, nothing really stood out. ... Correction, one this did stand out. I thought it was absolutely fantastic that Jim Ross returned to the booth and called the main event. Michael Cole was absolutely horrible as an announcer at the time (he has since improved greatly), and having JR back was great. Ross doesn't get the credit he deserves for battling back from his Bell's Palsy to reclaim his position as the top announcer in the business. ... The three ways and four ways were boring clusters ... Shane McMahon took a lot of nice bumps, and showed he belonged in a ring. ... I was thinking Bart Gunn should go for a double leg takedown, rather than try to punch it out with Butterbean, since the rules allowed him to do so. Unfortunately, he never got the chance. ... That Hell in a Cell match was so horrible that WWE never mentions is in magazine pieces or recaps on the match. ... Austin was so obviously going to win the title, it was hard for me to get into the match. ... Sorry, but I don't even remember anything about the other matches, which should tell you all you need to know about them.

Jess McGrath: Like several Manias before it, this was a one-match show, and that match delivered. Austin and Rocky had a very good match. It didn't have the aura around it that some other Mania main events before it did, as Rock was nowhere near the star he was the following year, but it was a good one. The other really good match of the night was Shane and X-Pac. This had been a well done storyline. Much of the undercard felt thrown together. Probably because it was. I don't remember D-Lo and Test ever being a regular team before they won the battle royal.

Mike Johnson: Wow, this show was full of WWF storyline twists and Vince Russo-esque swerves. I attended this show live in Philadelphia and with the exception of the main event, was completely bored. The show translated much better on screen. The Shane McMahon performance was shocking given his level of experience and the Mean Street Posse gimmick was just awesome. That Hell in the Cell still gives me nightmares. Austin and Rock had a great match, the first of three at Mania and really, the only bout that had headlined Mania twice. Just awesome work by the two of them. There were two many swerves on the show for me, but that was typical Russo.

Dave Scherer: I was at this show too and Mike is right on the money. In fact, at one point Ed Ferrara and Vince Russo came out during the main event and watched the booking go down. It was so much fun being at the show and again, watching the Attitude era's year culminate was great as well.


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