March to Mania · Pro Wrestling

MARCH TO ‘MANIA: Goodbye Shawn. Hello Steve.

If Wrestlemania 13 was got the small Attitude Era snowball rolling down the hill, then Wrestlemania 14 was the giant at the bottom of it.

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Wrestlemania 14 (Results)

Date: March 29, 1998

Arena: FleetCenter (Boston, Mass.)

Attendance: 19,028

SUMMARY: Steve Austin won the Royal Rumble and Shawn Michaels defended his title successfully against the Undertaker, setting up a matchup between the two men, widely considered to be the company’s top two stars, at Wrestlemania. The next night on RAW, Vince McMahon said Mike Tyson would be a special guest referee at the Wrestlemania. Austin confronted Tyson and the two got into a small scuffle, prompting McMahon to flip a lid on Austin. Tyson later revealed that he was working with Degeneration X, stacking the deck against Austin, who was nearing his quest to become the WWF Champion. Meanwhile, the Undertaker, who swore he would never fight Kane, his brother, accepted the challenge and the two set on a collision course for Wrestlemania.

MY ENJOYMENT RATING: B-minus

FAVORITE MATCH: Undertaker vs. Kane. I chose this match over the main event for a variety of reasons. From the Undertaker’s memorable druid entrance to the aftermath where Kane tombstoned Undertaker onto a chair before sitting up to give a great visual, we get something that we won’t forget anytime soon. Take the visuals out of the match, it was a good big-man match. The false finishes were great, especially when ‘Taker couldn’t finish off Kane with one tombstone piledriver. The match established Kane as a truly strong character, and helped solidify Undertaker’s position as one of Wrestlemania’s top performers.

THINGS THAT MADE ME NOD IN APPROVAL: The Shawn Michaels vs. Steve Austin match wasn’t bad. It was a slow, methodical match that was clearly hampered by Shawn’s ailing back. He puts on a good show, but it pales in comparison to his future work later in his career. The same goes for Austin, who now had his moment to be the top guy in the company. The Rock makes an appearance, playing rag doll for Ken Shamrock. Shamrock plays a guy who snaps and starts beating up people for fun, and it suits him. I also loved the short, but fast-paced, match between TAKA Michinoku take on Aguila in a crusierweight bout. I also liked the marketing push the company made for the “Attitude Era.”

THINGS THAT MADE ME LOWER HEAD IN SHAME: The idea that the mixed tag team match went 10 minutes was far too long. I know the guys worked most of the match, but the match dragged. If you’ve read along for many of the other reviews, you realize that I have a certain disdain for battle royals. There are a lot of bad ones, and the 15-team battle royal was terrible. It had convoluted rules that was solely built around Sunny and Legion of Doom returning.

RANDOM THOUGHT: “Pete Rose is a heel. So is Kane, so why is Kane attacking another heel? Is he another face?”

MY ULTIMATE WRESTLEMANIA CARD RANKING: This card ranks behind Wrestlemania 6, but is ahead of Wrestlemania 3. It’s impact on the wrestling landscape can’t be ignored even if the card was barely above average. This ushered in a new era for the WWF, which was much-needed considering how popular the nWo was in the rival company down south. I know Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin are capable of better matches, but the circumstances around it makes it forgivable. I’m glad MIke Tyson had a more defined role than many celebrities that come through the event. He played a major role in the main event, but it was a little confusing since we don’t really get a good reason why he went against HBK. All in all, I did enjoy this card more than some of the Wrestlemania’s that came before it in the mid- to late-1990s.

  1. Wrestlemania 10 (Review)
  2. Wrestlemania 7 (Review)
  3. Wrestlemania 5 (Review)
  4. Wrestlemania 6 (Review)
  5. Wrestlemania 14
  6. Wrestlemania 3 (Review)
  7. Wrestlemania 13 (Review)
  8. Wrestlemania 2 (Review)
  9. Wrestlemania 4 (Review)
  10. Wrestlemania 12 (Review)
  11. Wrestlemania 8 (Review)
  12. Wrestlemania 11 (Review)
  13. Wrestlemania 1 (Review)
  14. Wrestlemania 9 (Really?)
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