Thursday, 23 August 2018

PPV REVIEW: WWF Wrestlemania 14

WWE / WWF - Wrestlemania 14 Review  - Event poster
March 29, 1998,
FleetCenter in Boston, Massachusetts.

Though the now-legendary submission match between Bret 'The Hitman' Hart and Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wrestlemania 13 is often considered a pivotal moment in the World Wrestling Federation's shift towards the edgier, more adult-orientated product of The Attitude Era, that era didn't officially get started until later that year.

What that means, is that tonight's show was the first Wrestlemania of the Attitude Era.

For this writer personally, it also means exciting news.

It means we're almost halfway there.

Long-time readers may know that Retro Pro Wrestling started off as a challenge I set myself to watch and review every Wrestlemania from 1 - 30, so every time I get to a new one I feel a little bit excited about getting that tiny bit closer towards my goal.

Anyway, without further ado, here's what happened when the World Wrestling Federation presented their 14th annual Wrestlemania extravaganza.

Tradition is Alive and Well in the WWF

Our introduction this evening told us that because our headliners were degenerate Shawn Michaels and foul-mouthed SOB Stone Cold Steve Austin, it was tempting to think that tradition and traditional values had been taken away from Wrestlemania.


On the contrary, said our narrator, just because Shawn and Austin were edgier, they were still fighting for the same sense of glory and prestige that everyone from Ernie Ladd and Gorilla Monsoon to Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant had competed for in the past.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, tradition was alive and well in the World Wrestling Federation, and tonight's show would prove that.

Welcome to Wrestlemania

WWE / WWF - Wrestlemania 14 Review  - Jim Ross & Jerry 'The King' Lawler
That took us down to the briefest of welcomes from Jim Ross who was, as you guessed, commentating the show with Jerry 'The King' Lawler.

Ross welcomed us as Farooq and Kama Mustafa made their way to the ring for our opening match.

15 Team Battle Royal
Featuring The Headbangers (Mosh & Thrasher), The Godwins (Henry & Phineas Godwin), the Disiciples of the Apocalypse (Skull & 8-Ball), Los Boricuas (Miguel Perez & Savio Vega, Jesus and The Other One), The Nation of Domination (Farooq & Kama Mustafa, Mark Henry & D'Lo Brown), Steve Blackman & Flash Funk, Scott Taylor & Brian Christopher, Chainz & Bradshaw, Rock 'n' Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson), The New Midnight Express (Bombastic Bob & Bodacious Bart), The Quebecers (Pierre Lafite & Jacques Rougeau), The Truth Commison (Sniper & Recon), The Legion of Doom (Hawk & Animal)

WWE / WWF - Wrestlemania 14 Review  -  Sunny revealed a new look for herself and The Legion of Doom
This was billed as a 15-team Battle Royal, but really, with random pairings like Bradshaw & Chainz and Flash Funk & Steve Blackman, it was an early example of the 'get everyone on the card' mentality that we've come to expect from modern Wrestlemania booking.

Of course, the highlight was the arrival of The Legion of Doom in their LOD 2000 gimmick with Sunny as their manager.

Sunny looked insanely hot, but Hawk & Animal, who had actually split up and were feuding the week before, looked absolutely ridiculous.

That was the only interesting thing to happen until Hawk & Animal tossed The New Midnight Express out for the win.

Apart from that, this was rubbish.

By the way, did you know that Bob Holly had been with the company since the early 90s but this was his first Wrestlemania and actually only his 8th appearance, his first since his 40-minute showing in the 1996 Royal Rumble?
Your Winners: The Legion of Doom

WWE / WWF - Wrestlemania 14 Review  -  Mike Tyson & Shawn Micahels kiss Mike Tyson at the DX Public Work OutAs a result of their win, Hawk & Animal had earned a Tag Team title shot at the following month's In Your House PPV.

Wrestlemania is Everywhere

Prior to our next match, we got a look at some of the promotional activity taking place in the weekend leading up to tonight's show.
This includes clips from the D-Generation-X public work out, a VIP dinner, and some random thing with Flash Funk.

World Wrestling Federation Light Heavyweight Championship
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion Taka Michinoku vs. Aguila

In what was probably his best PPV match to date, Taka Michinoku pulled out all the stops to deliver a brilliant Wrestlemania debut against Aguila.

The challenger was no slouch either, impressing in a very enjoyable effort with lots of innovative spots not usually seen on WWF programming.

After a good back-and-forth battle, Taka landed the Michinoku Driver to retain the title.
Your Winner and Still WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Taka Michinoku

WWE / WWF - Wrestlemania 14 Review  -  Gennifer Flowers asks Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson about running for US President
Up next, we went to a pre-recorded segment which may come back to haunt The Rock if he does ever take his idea to run for president seriously.

Gennifer Flowers, whose sole claim to fame was having sex with President Bill Clinton, asked The People's Intercontinental Champion what he would do if he were the leader of the United States.

True to form, the arrogant heel claimed that 'ruler' would be a more fitting term for him than leader, and that he didn't really give a crap about homelessness, health care, or any of that stuff as long as he was alright.

The segment was just that, 'alright.'

Whilst both The Rock and Ms Flowers did their best, the whole thing felt terribly forced and a little bit awkward.

World Wrestling Federation European Championship
WWF European Champion Triple H (w/ Chyna) vs. Owen Hart

WWE / WWF - Wrestlemania 14 Review  -  Triple H heads to ringside to face Owen Hart
The last time we'd seen the European Championship, it had been on the shoulder of Owen Hart at In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas.

Owen had since lost the belt to arch-rival Triple H, after Hunter attacked Owen's injured ankle and Tim White stopped the match.

So today, we had our rematch, which began with Hunter and Chyna making their way to the ring accompanied by a horrible version of the DX theme, played by the Chris Warren Band.

Chyna and her new boobs were then ordered to be handcuffed to Commissioner Slaughter to prevent her from interfering in the match.

I'm convinced we've seen this play out in another match but for the life of me I can't think which one. Maybe I've just seen this match recently and forgot.

WWE / WWF - Wrestlemania 14 Review  -  Chyna was forced to be handcuffed to Sgt. Slaughter
Anyway, this was a solid yet hardly spectacular match which ended when Chyna blinded Slaughter with some powder and low-blowed Owen.

A Pedigree later, and we were done here.
Your Winner and Still WWF European Champion: Triple H

Up next, we got a video package reminding us of the complicated rivalry between team of Luna Vachon and The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust, and Marc Mero and Sable.

If you need a reminder, it basically goes like this:

Marc Mero was jealous of Sable's popularity and had done all he could to demean and embarrass her, including hiring Goldust to dress up as his wife and rub his chest.

Meanwhile, Goldie's Mistress/Manager Luna had decided to hate Sable, and the feeling was mutual, then at some point Mero and Goldust had fallen out, and thus we had ourselves a match.

Mixed Tag Match
The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust & Luna Vachon vs. Marvellous Marc Mero & Sable

WWE / WWF - Wrestlemania 14 Review  -  Sable & Marc Mero vs. Luna Vachon & Goldust
As this one got underway, Jim Ross reminded us that this was only the third mixed tag match in Wrestlemania history, with the first featuring Goldust's father and then-current nWo member Dusty Rhodes teaming up with Saphire to take on The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase and Sensational Sherri at Wrestlemania 6.

Honestly, I racked my brains trying to think of the second one but couldn't, and had to Google it. I still can't find it, so I assume either JR was on crack or there was something I'm missing.

The actual match here was supremely enjoyable, with everyone playing their roles to perfection and delivering a surprise highlight of the evening so far.

As the most popular star in the match -and of the entire show up to this point- Sable blew the roof off when she hit Luna with the TKO for the win.
Your Winners: Marc Mero & Sable

WWE / WWF - Wrestlemania 14 Review  -  Jeff Jarrett escorted special guest ring announcer Gennifer Flowers to ringside
Up next, Tennesee Lee, better known as Col. Parker and last seen on PPV at WCW World War 3 1996, introduced Gennifer Flowers Jeff Jarrett, who came out in his country singer gimmick, the very same country singer gimmick he'd ridiculed only a few months before during the big worked-shoot promo he'd made on his big return to the company.

The most puzzling bit, is that it was only a few weeks before that Jarrett had been doing his NWA North American Champion gimmick.

Anyway, Jarrett and Lee were just there to accompany Flowers as she did special guest ring announcing for the next match.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion The Rock (w/ D'Lo Brown, Kama Mustafa, and Mark Henry) vs. Ken Shamrock

WWE / WWF - Wrestlemania 14 Review  -  The Rock, with the Nation of Domination heads out to face Ken Shamrock
In a return match following their previous encounter at Royal Rumble 1998, The Rock defended the Intercontinental Championship against Ken Shamrock in a short but explosive contest that continued Wrestlemania 14's run of quality bouts.

At one point, the champion blasted his opponent full on in the face with a steel chair, but Shamrock kicked out, slapped on the ankle lock, and won the Intercontinental Championship:
Your Winner and New WWF Intercontinental Champion: Ken Shamrock

Afterwards, Shamrock lost his damn mind and beat up the rest of The Nation then put a beaten and bloodied Rock back in the ankle lock and refused to let go.

Farooq came down, teased helping The Rock but then -because the two had been having a power struggle as of late- decided against it and wandered off.

A gaggle of referees and officials came down, but Shamrock had lost it and just suplexed the crap out of some referees and officials you'd never seen before and were obviously indie workers hired to take the suplex.

Because of Shamrock's insanity, referee Mike Chioda reversed his decision and gave the title back to The Rock.
Your Winner and Still WWF Intercontinental Champion: The Rock

That decision only pissed off Shamrock even further, so he pushed The Rock off the stretcher the EMTs had placed him on, and beat him up some more.

WWE / WWF - Wrestlemania 14 Review  -  The New Age Outlaws lost the WWF tag titles to Cactus Jack & Chainsaw CharlieDumpster Match for the World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg Jesse James & Bad Ass Billy Gunn) vs. Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie

Making his first Wrestlemania appearance since Wrestlemania 2, Terry Funk was still using the Chainsaw Charlie name despite dropping all other aspects of the gimmick.

Here, he teamed with Cactus Jack to take on The New Age Outlaws in a no holds barred match in which the only way to win was to dump your opponents in a dumpster and slam the lid shut.

The match was disjointed and disappointing, but did provide a few genuinely cool moments, including that often-replayed spot in why'd Cactus Jack and Bad Ass Billy Gunn got knocked off a ladder and crashed into the dumpster.

The action then spilled backstage, making it the first PPV of the Attitude Era where backstage brawling was part of a match, but actually, the second time in Wrestlemania history where it had happened (the first was Savage vs. Crush at Wrestlemania 10).

There, Cactus dumped the champs onto a wooden pallet. Funk then lifted the pallet using a forklift truck and dumped them into a different dumpster to win the titles.
Your Winners and New WWF Tag Team Champions: Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie

The following night on Raw, it would be revealed that because Cactus & Chainsaw had used the wrong dumpster, their big win was null and void.

Still, it gave us a fun moment on the show, especially with Terry celebrating like he and Jack had legitimately just won a war. Nobody sold emotion like Terry Funk.

Pete Rose Gets Tombstoned

Out next, Howard Finkle introduced Pete Rose, a man he called 'a future Hall of Famer.'


Either Finkle meant the Baseball Hall of Fame, or he knew more about the future of the WWF than any of us realised.

Rose came down and immediately turned heel, ripping into the Boston crowd because their team were bad at baseball.

Rose was surprisingly good as a heel, though not as good as Kane who, despite being the heel in his rivalry with The Undertaker, got a huge babyface pop when he came out and tombstoned the baseball legend.

Kane (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. The Undertaker

WWE / WWF - Wrestlemania 14 Review  -  Undertaker went 7-0 against Kane
This all technically began a year ago, in the wake of The Undertaker's title win at Wrestlemania 13.

In order to manage the champion, Paul Bearer had blackmailed his former charge by threatening to reveal a big secret if Undertaker didn't do everything he said.

Eventually, Bearer revealed that secret anyway, telling the world that The Undertaker had killed his parents in a fire but that his younger brother, Kane had survived.

Kane then made his debut at In Your House 18: Badd Blood by attacking his brother at the end of the first Hell in a Cell match, but Undertaker had refused to fight his brother until Kane locked him in a casket and set it on fire at the Royal Rumble.

After that, it was on, and man was it on.

This turned out to be The Undertaker's best Wrestlemania match so far, though I get that, given previous matches included Wrestlemania 9's Giant Gonzales abomination and a squash against Jimmy Snuka at Wrestlemania 7, that isn't really saying much.

Still, this was everything it needed to be, with Kane matching his brother in every way and pushing The Phenom to his very limits.

Not only did this tell a great story, it also ensured we'd take Kane seriously as a top contender down the line.

After a decent battle that did drag in places, well, you know the ending;

The Undertaker went 7-0.

The streak lived on.
Your Winner: The Undertaker

The Undertaker's celebration was cut short by Paul Bearer, who brought a chair into the ring.

'Taker struck Bearer, but Kane recovers from his loss and beat his brother with the chair before tombstoning him onto it.

Selling the beating like a pro, Undertaker sat up, but staggered weakly to the back.

Respect for The Legends


Prior to the main event, we got a video package where legends Classy Freddie Blassie, Gorilla Monsoon, and The Big Cat Ernie Ladd told us that there were no high-flying moves or 'fancy flashing lights,' in their day, but they still fought with honour and pride and all that good stuff, and respected and cheered for today's current crop of superstars.

A video recapping the rivalry between Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin followed, and then it was onto our main event.

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Shawn Michaels vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Special Enforcer: Mike Tyson

WWE / WWF - Wrestlemania 14 Review  -  Mike Tyson celebrates with new WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin
Having sided with D-Generation-X in the build up to tonight's event, special Enforcer Mike Tyson came down to a version of the theme music later used by X-Pac.

Meanwhile, Michaels took a moment backstage to dedicate the match to Earl Hebner, who was in intensive care receiving treatment.

Austin was here as the heir apparent, and this one was on.

After an explosive opening, Triple H ran interference, prompting referee Mike Chioda to order both Hunter and Chyna to leave the ringside area.

Down to one-on-one, Michaels and Austin stole the show in a fantastic main event that blew their previous meeting at King of the Ring 1997 right out of the water.

They wrestled in the ring, they brawled on the outside, and at all times they proved why they would both go down as among pro wrestling's all-time greats.

After a long and awesome match, Chioda took a tumble, Austin nailed the Stone Cold Stunner, and Mike Tyson made the three count.
Your Winner and NEW World Wrestling Federation Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin

Post-match, Stone Cold tossed Iron Mike an Austin 3:16 t-shirt as a show of respect which Tyson raised to the crowd, much to the chagrin of the fallen Shawn Michaels.

The Heartbreak Kid confronted Tyson about his betrayal and even punched him, but the professional boxer hit back and knocked Michaels out cold before celebrating with the new WWF Champion to close the show.


That, ladies and gentlemen, was the last time we'd see Shawn Michaels compete for the company before the name change to WWE, and also the last time we'd see the famous Winged Eagle title defended.




And so the first Wrestlemania of the Attitude Era was officially in the record books, and if the whole of that era could match this one show in terms of quality, then fans were in for an absolute treat over the coming months and years.

From top to bottom, this was a highly enjoyable show, with only the tag team title match and parts of Undertaker/Kane feeling a little underwhelming.

Sure, the Attitude Era had officially started in the wake of the 1997 Survivor Series (at least it had if you believe WWE's version of events), but tonight we saw the dawning of the Age of Austin, and things were about to get very, very interesting.


1998 events reviewed so far
  1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1998 
  2. WCW - Souled Out 1998
  3. WWF - In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas 
  4. WCW - Superbrawl 1998
  5. WCW - Uncensored 1998 
More Wrestlemania Reviews: 
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Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.