March to Mania · Pro Wrestling

MARCH TO ‘MANIA: Starting a trilogy

Wrestlemania 15 marked the beginning of a trilogy that many recent fans will remember for quite some time: The Rock vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. The two men would face each other two more times over the next five years on the biggest stage, and were easily the two biggest stars of the Attitude Era.

So where does their first Wrestlemania headline match rank?

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Wrestlemania 15 (Results)

Date: March 28, 1999

Arena: First Union Center (Philadelphia, Pa.)

Attendance: 20,276

SUMMARY: A year after winning the WWF Championship, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin finds himself fighting for the title again in the main event of Wrestlemania. The path back to the main event, however, wasn’t as easy as the year before. He didn’t win the Royal Rumble, losing to Vince McMahon who had entered the Royal Rumble second behind Austin. McMahon forfeited his main event spot, but WWF Commissioner Shawn Michaels said the spot would go to the runner-up. Austin, then in an effort to get his hands on McMahon, put the spot on the line if McMahon agreed to a match at St. Valentine’s Day Massacre without Corporation interference. Despite interference by Paul Wight, also known as The Giant who had just made the jump from WCW, Austin retained the shot against the corporate champion, The Rock.

MY ENJOYMENT RATING: B

FAVORITE MATCH: The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin. The match was great, and was a fine example of good type chaos. There was also a great tease of a flash finish when The Rock hit a Rock Bottom for a heated two count midway during the match. The match built up to a great – though slightly overbooked – finish where near falls and drama heightened to the moment when Mankind, holding his ribs and selling the injuries from his match earlier in the night, came to save the day.

THINGS THAT MADE ME NOD IN APPROVAL: The WWF always has some of the best production quality in the business and the introduction video was truly something else. Classy Freddie Blassie is perfect for voiceovers, and his voice sets emotion to set up Wrestlemania as the “showcase of immortals.” Before the awesome intro video, we get a cold open to Boyz II Men singing “America the Beautiful,” which provided me with a mark-out moment. I know, those things have nothing to do in the ring, but hey, I didn’t say this was all about matches did I? I enjoyed the Triple H story throughout the night. I liked how Chyna returned to Degeneration X and the promo before the Shane McMahon vs. X-Pac match. Then the turn was a surprise, and that’s all you can do to generate heat for newly christened heels. But don’t let the turn of Triple H and Chyna change how you view the X-Pac vs. Shane McMahon match. It was a good, fun bout that gave Wrestlemania 15 another good match.

THINGS THAT MADE ME LOWER HEAD IN SHAME: Sable was a nice thing to look at, but God help her in the ring. She was terrible, and the match with Tori didn’t do her any favors. Also, why was Nicole Bass helping Sable? I don’t really remember, but it seemed rather pointless. The Undertaker’s ministry period remains my favorite Undertaker of them all, but his match against the Big Bossman in a Hell in a Cell was just an regular match with a cell around it. I swear they could have found a better way to use the cell, but all it did was cheapen the gimmick match for one night. I’m not even going to get started to hanging a man on pay-per-view.

RANDOM THOUGHT: “For a guy who owns the company, Vince McMahon sure left a lot of checks and balances by handing power to a commissioner.”

MY ULTIMATE WRESTLEMANIA CARD RANKING: Wrestlemania 15 breaks a streak of lackluster Wrestlemanias. As highly as I ranked 14, it still couldn’t crack the top 5 that has stuck the same since Wrestlemania 10 due to a lackluster undercard. Wrestlemania 15 breaks this trend, mainly because the main event was highly entertaining. X-Pac is a highly underrated worker, but he’s more remembered for his go-away heat days, but this was X-Pac at his best. Shane McMahon, while not always a great worker, is always fun and provides entertainment, which isn’t bad considering he’s not a full-time worker. Remember, the ranking isn’t solely on match quality, though it plays a role, but entertainment is what the cards are ranked on.

  1. Wrestlemania 10 (Review)
  2. Wrestlemania 7 (Review)
  3. Wrestlemania 5 (Review)
  4. Wrestlemania 15
  5. Wrestlemania 6 (Review)
  6. Wrestlemania 14 (Review)
  7. Wrestlemania 3 (Review)
  8. Wrestlemania 13 (Review)
  9. Wrestlemania 2 (Review)
  10. Wrestlemania 4 (Review)
  11. Wrestlemania 12 (Review)
  12. Wrestlemania 8 (Review)
  13. Wrestlemania 11 (Review)
  14. Wrestlemania 1 (Review)
  15. Wrestlemania 9 (Come on)
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