WWE Wrestlemania XIV
March 29th, 1998

By the time the 14th Wrestlemania rolled around, the WWF was about to embark on its new "Attitude" movement that would bring the company back up to the top of the wrestling world. This historical event would act as the bridge between the old "New Generation" era that included names like Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart and the new era that would see the rise to the top of the WWF of men like Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H and others. Tonight's main event is the ultimate example of this transition, as Steve Austin hopes to take his place at the head of the WWF by facing off with Shawn Michaels for the WWF Championship, with boxing legend Iron Mike Tyson as the special ringside enforcer. But it seems the odds are against Austin, as Tyson has pledged his loyalty to Michael's D-Generation X group, and even Vince McMahon himself has said that Austin winning would be the worst thing for the WWF. Can Austin overcome the odds and win his first world title?

ARK1 Review: WWF Wrestlemania XIV

by Adam King

March 29, 1998
Live from the Fleet Center in Boston, Massachusetts

Note that I'm using the WWF Legacy version, which cuts out the DX band performing "America the Beautiful" and the intro video. Our announcers are Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler.

15-Team Battle Royal
The winning team gets a Tag Team Title shot at the next pay-per-view, In Your House: Unforgiven. Our participants include Savio Vega & Miguel Perez, Sniper & Recon, Chainz & Bradshaw, D-Lo Brown & Mark Henry, The Quebecers (Jacques Rougeau & Pierre Oulette), The Rock-n-Roll Express, Jesus Castillo & Jose Estrada, The Headbangers, Brian Christopher & Scott Taylor, Steve Blackman & Flash Funk, The Godwinns, DOA (Skull & 8-Ball), Faarooq & Kama Mustafa, The New Midnight Express (Bob Holly & Bart Gunn), and a mystery team. After Faarooq and Kama make their way to the ring, the mystery team appears and it turns out to be the Legion of Doom, Hawk and Animal, who broke up several weeks before this show but apparently patched up their difference and now have Sunny as their manager.

The bell rings and the teams immediately pile into the ring. Eliminations occur the usual ways, except when a man is eliminated, he and his partner are out of the match. The first elimination occurs 44 seconds into the match when Chainz knocks Savio Vega over the top rope to the outside, eliminating him and Miguel. Later Kurrgan comes out with the Jackyl and heads into the ring to toss out his former partners, Sniper and Recon. Flash Funk gets tossed over by Hawk, eliminating Flash and Steve Blackman. Suddenly Barry Windham charges into the ring, attacks Chainz and throws him over the top rope to the floor, getting his former Blackjacks partner Bradshaw ousted. Jacques Rougeau is tossed out by Mosh and D'Lo Brown joins him thanks to the DOA, taking both the Quebecers and D'Lo & Mark Henry out of the match. However Mark Henry stays in the ring, eliminating Jesus & Jose. Animal sends Kama out of the ring, taking out Faarooq as well. The Rock-n-Roll Express is gone after Ricky Morton gets thrown out by Phineas Godwinn. Mark Henry is still in the ring. Bob Holly clotheslines Thrasher to the outside, eliminating the Headbangers. Henry Godwinn throws Mark Henry through the ropes to the floor, finally getting him out of the ring. Scott Taylor charges at Bart Gunn but gets backdropped over the ropes to the outside, eliminating himself and Brian Christopher.

The final four teams end up being the DOA, the Godwinns, the Legion of Doom, and the New Midnight Express. After about a minute and a half Henry Godwinn clotheslines Skull (or 8-Ball) over the top rope to the floor, taking out the DOA. Skull comes back in as 8-Ball throws Phineas over the top rope while Animal tosses Henry through the ropes for good measure, leaving the LOD and Bob & Bart as the last two teams. However the Godwinns climb into the ring and clobber Hawk and Animal in the head with metal buckets. Phineas then stomps Animal out of the ring underneath the bottom rope, but since it wasn't over the top rope the LOD are still in the match. Bob and Bart try the throw Hawk over the top rope but Hawk hangs on and starts fighting back. Again Bob and Bart try to send Hawk to the outside when Animal makes it back into the ring and comes to his partner's aid, flooring both men with clotheslines. Animal whips Bart into the ropes and slams him to the mat. Animal whips Bob into the ropes and Bob runs into a boot from Hawk. Finally Animal sends Bart over the top rope at the same time Hawk sends Bob over, and the reunited LOD get the win and the title shot.

Winner: Legion of Doom (8:18)

Comments: A pretty bleh battle royal, not the best way to open the biggest PPV of the year. As soon as the LOD made their entrance (the only entrance that was televised) you knew they were going over. There were too many run-ins, and the camera missing some of the eliminations didn't help either. Not to mention half the teams were either not very good or just two guys thrown together. It's nice to see the 'new' LOD get the win, though their last run the WWF would take many weird turns before sputtering at the end of the year. [Score: 5/10]

Clips are shown from various events in Boston during Wrestlemania weekend, including the DX public workout, Steve Austin's appearance on Live with Regis & Kathee Lee, and the VIP Dinner at Boston Park Plaza.

WWF Light-Heavyweight Title – Taka Michinoku © vs. Aguila
Aguila is Essa Rios under a mask, but doesn't get a televised entrance. Once the bell rings Taka and Aguila slap hands to start. They lock up and Taka applies a headlock. Aguila shoves Taka into the ropes and Taka comes back with a shoulderblock. Taka comes off the ropes and Aguila counters with an arm drag. Taka sends Aguila into the ropes and Aguila counters with flying headscissors. Aguila follows up with a spinning heel kick. Taka rolls out of the ring and Aguila connects with a baseball slide. Aguila climbs to the top rope and connects with an Asai moonsault on Taka below. Aguila rolls into the ring, Taka tries to follow him but Aguila kicks him in the chest. Aguila attempts to suplex Taka into the ring and they go back and forth until Aguila is able to hit that suplex. Taka lands on his feet and hits a dropkick, causing Aguila to tumble through the ropes to the outside. Taka jumps onto the top rope and springs off hitting Aguila with a crossbody. Both men are back in the ring and Taka whips Aguila from one corner to the other, hitting a forearm shot. Taka stomps Aguila down then climbs onto the apron and hits a dropkick to the face. We get a shot of the Spanish commentators as Taka rolls Aguila over with a snapmare and dropkicks him in the back. Taka comes off the ropes with a dropkick to the face for a two count. Taka fights Aguila over to the ropes but gets backdropped over the top rope to the floor.

Taka gets onto the apron and stops Aguila's advancement with a forearm. Taka climbs to the top rope but Aguila throws him off with an arm drag. Aguila hits a short tackle then springs off the top rope for another arm drag. Aguila grabs Taka's wrist and hits a takedown. Taka gets to his feet on the floor and Aguila follows up with a corkscrew plancha. Aguila rolls into the ring, Taka climbs to the top rope and attempts a corkscrew moonsault but misses. Aguila quickly climbs up and connects with a moonsault of his own for a near fall. Aguila starts arguing with the referee and Taka slaps him in the face. Taka climbs to the top rope but Aguila cuts him off. Taka shoves him to the mat and leaps off for a big splash but Aguila gets his knees up to block it. Aguila sets Taka on the top rope and hits a hurricanrana. Aguila goes for a whip but Taka reverses, sending Aguila into the corner, and hits a flying leg lariat. Taka rolls over the top rope to the apron while Aguila staggers out of the corner then climbs up and connects with a missile dropkick. Taka sets Aguila up for the Michinoku Driver but Aguila floats over, attempts a hurricanrana and Taka counters into a powerbomb. Taka climbs up and attempts a moonsault but misses. Aguila rolls Taka into an Oklahoma roll but only gets two. Aguila climbs to the top rope and leaps off, but Taka catches him with a dropkick. Taka finally hits the Michinoku Driver and gets the three for the win.

Winner and still Light-Heavyweight Champion: Taka Michinoku (5:57)

Taka celebrates the win and even raises Aguila's arm in a sign of sportsmanship.

Comments: A very fun and energetic match, one that should have been the opener. It was a little too short at only six minutes, and there was too much emphasis on the high spots, but still a decent showing from the WWF's light heavyweight division, one of the few times it got the showcase its stuff on a big stage. Too bad the title wouldn't get many other chances on PPV throughout its history. [Score: 7/10]

Backstage former White House intern Gennifer Flowers interviews Intercontinental Champion The Rock, who wants to be referred to as "The People's IC Champion". Flowers asks The Rock how he would run the country if he was the leader and Rock tells her he prefers to be the "ruler". Gennifer asks him about the homeless situation. The Rock says as long as he has his palace in South Beach, he doesn't care. Gennifer asks about the judicial system. Rocky says he would be judge and jury, but changes his mind and says it would be a hung jury, "if you smell what I'm cookin'". Gennifer asks how he would run the White House. Rock says as long as the interns beneath him stay in line, he won't have the lay the Smackdown in a major way. Very entertaining promo from the Rock, showing he's mastered the art of being the arrogant heel back in the day.

WWF European Title – Triple H © (w/Chyna) vs. Owen Hart
Triple H regained the title from Owen two weeks before this show on Raw and also injured Owen's ankle in the process, setting up this return match. The DX Band plays Triple H and Chyna to the ring, where WWF Commissioner Sgt. Slaughter handcuffs Chyna to himself to keep her from getting involved in Triple H's match like she always does. Once Owen makes his entrance he goes right to work, taking Triple H down by the legs and hammering away at him. Owen whips Triple H into a corner and backdrops him to the mat. Owen hits a clothesline, followed by a clothesline in a corner. Owen hammers Triple H in the corner and follows up with a Frankensteiner for a two count. Owen goes for a whip but Triple H reverses and hits a back elbow. Triple H kicks Owen out of the ring to the floor. Chyna tries to take a swing but Slaughter holds her back. Triple H hops off the apron and Owen sends him into the guardrail. Owen continues his assault on Triple H and Chyna tries to kick at him to no avail. Owen rolls Triple H back into the ring, goes for a whip, Triple H reverses but Owen counters with a powerbomb. Owen starts to apply the Sharpshooter but Triple H rakes the eyes to escape. Owen staggers into the ropes but surprises Triple H with a mule kick. Owen whips Triple H into the ropes but lowers the head and Triple H hits a knee to the face.

Triple H comes out of a corner with a clothesline, then rams Owen into a turnbuckle and lands several chops in a corner. Triple H stomps Owen to the mat, pausing for a DX chop. Triple H whips Owen into the ropes, missing a clothesline but nailing a high knee for a two count. Triple H hits a suplex then does another DX chop before dropping a knee on Owen's face. Triple H rams Owen into a turnbuckle but Owen starts fighting back. Owen whips Triple H from one corner to the other and charges at him but eats a boot to the face, getting cut across the bridge of his nose. Triple H follows up with a DDT for two. Triple H finally starts attacking Owen's injured ankle, kicking at it before dropping a knee on it. Triple H applies a step-over toe hold and Owen is screaming in pain. Owen gets to his feet but Triple H kicks his ankle out and applies a grapevine. Owen escapes by kicks Triple H's face but Triple H continues to work over the ankle. Triple H fights Owen into a corner and drapes his leg over the middle rope, still targeting the ankle. Referee Tim White reprimands Triple H, giving Owen an opening to fight back. Owen fights Triple H into a corner, then whips him into the opposite corner. Owen charges, Triple H gets his legs up but Owen slides under him out of the ring and pulls him into the ring post by the legs. Owen climbs to the top rope and connects with a missile dropkick for a two count. Owen whips Triple H into the ropes and hits a belly-to-belly suplex for another two count. Owen whips Triple H into the ropes again and hits a spinning heel kick but still can't get the three count. Owen whips Triple H from one corner to the other and Triple H nearly flips over the top rope. Owen hits the enzuigiri for a two count but hurts his ankle in the process. Owen goes for a Frankensteiner but Triple H blocks it into a powerbomb for a two count.

Triple H sets Owen on the top turnbuckle then goes up for some chops. Owen headbutts Triple H away, causing him to fall into the ropes, and with Triple H staggering Owen connects with a crossbody from the top. Owen covers and the referee counts 1….2….but Triple H still kicks out! Owen goes for a whip but Triple H reverses him into a corner. Triple H sets Owen up for the Pedigree, Owen counters by into the Sharpshooter but Triple H powers out of it. Owen hits the corner then falls to the mat, accidentally headbutting Triple H below the belt. Owen covers and the referee counts 1….2….but Triple H barely gets the shoulder up. Owen whips Triple H into the ropes but lowers the head and Triple H kicks him in the face. Triple H sets up for the Pedigree, Owen counters with a backdrop, Triple H counters that with a Sunset Flip, Owen rolls out of it and applies the Sharpshooter! Triple H struggles to hold on when Chyna helps him reach the ropes, forcing a break. While Owen works over Triple H, Chyna throws some powder into Slaughter's face. Owen takes a swing at Chyna, allowing Triple H to knee him in the back. Triple H distracts the referee while Chyna gets on the apron and hits a low blow on Owen. Triple H hits the Pedigree and gets the three count for the win.

Winner and still European Champion: Triple H (11:30)

While Triple H celebrates his title defense, Chyna pulls Tim White out and demands she be released from the handcuffs. Once she's freed, Chyna pops Slaughter, sending him over the guardrail into the fans.

Comments: Really great match. Triple H and Owen clicked in the ring and the match flowed very well, with some great psychology to boot. The series of counters near the end was especially awesome. Chyna's interference does take away from the contest a little bit, but still the best match of the night. [Score: 9/10]

"Marvelous" Marc Mero & Sable vs. Goldust & Luna – Mixed Tag Team Match
Where to begin with this one. Basically Mero was jealous of Sable's popularity, so he asked Goldust to be his new 'valet'. Unfortunately Goldust's valet, Luna, took a disliking to Sable, leading to a rift between Mero and Goldust which resulted to this match. Prior to the bout JR mentions that Goldust's father Dusty Rhodes was in the first mixed-tag match at Wrestlemania VI, teaming with Sapphire to beat Randy Savage & Sherri Martel.

Sable demands that she and Luna start, but instead Mero and Goldust kick things off. Goldust gets the early advantage and whips Mero into the ropes but Mero counters with headscissors. Mero hits a clothesline and Goldust quickly scurries to his corner to tag Luna. Mero tags Sable, but Luna rolls out to the floor, so Sable goes out and chases her around the ring. Luna quickly tags Goldust back in, and the fans are disappointed that the ladies didn't go at it. Sable tags in Mero but Goldust quickly clubs him in the back. Goldust goes for a whip, Mero reverses and hits a backdrop. Mero tags Sable, whips Goldust into the ropes and Sable nails a straight kick to Goldust's face. Sable wants Luna and Goldust tries to make a tag but Luna refuses to get in the ring. Sable tags Mero back in and Mero works over Goldust with a series of punches. Mero whips Goldust from one corner to the other and charges but eats a boot, and Goldust comes out with a hard clothesline. Goldust scoops Mero up and drops him into the top rope. Goldust chokes Mero on the middle rope then gets the referee's attention, allowing Luna to slap Mero. Goldust whips Mero into the ropes, misses a clothesline, and Mero hits a crossbody for a two count. Mero whips Goldust into the ropes but lowers the head and Goldust nails an uppercut. Mero applies a headlock, Goldust shoves him into the ropes, and the two men collide in something that may have went wrong. Both men are down as their respective partners ask for tags. Goldust tags in Luna while Mero tags in Sable and the women finally go at it. Sable takes Luna down by the legs and hammers away at her. Sable then sets Luna up in a corner and lands several kicks to the midsection. Sable throws Luna across the ring with a snapmare then knocks Goldust off the ring apron. Sable clotheslines Luna over the top rope to the floor. Luna tags in Goldust, but Sable belts Goldust into the face before tagging out to Mero. Goldust rolls out of the ring but Mero sends him into the ring steps. Mero rolls Goldust back into the ring, then slings himself over the top rope but Goldust gets his knees up to block it. Sable tries to come in, distracting the referee and allowing Mero to hit a low blow. Mero sets Goldust up for a TKO but Goldust counters into a DDT for a two count.

Goldust goes for a whip, Mero reverses but Goldust counters by sending Mero into a corner. Goldust sets Mero up the Curtain Call, but Mero floats over and hits a knee lift to the face. Mero goes to the top rope while Goldust gets to his feet, and Mero nails a springboard moonsault for a two count. Mero sends Goldust into a corner but eats an elbow. Goldust climbs to the top rope but Mero bumps the rope, causing Goldust to crotch the top turnbuckle. Mero goes up and hits a hurricanrana but only gets two. Luna gets a cheap shot on Mero, Mero threatens to hit her, Goldust comes off the ropes but Mero sidesteps and Goldust knocks Luna off the apron. Mero rolls Goldust up but only gets two. Mero whips Goldust into the ropes and hits the TKO. Mero cover and the referee counts 1….2….but Luna jumps on Mero's back to break up the count. Mero tries to get Luna off his back when Sable tags herself in. Sable goes for the cover on Goldust but the referee is busy getting Mero out of the ring while Luna goes to the top rope. The referee starts counting, Luna comes off the top rope but Sable moves and Luna splashes her partner by mistake. Sable powerbombs Luna and covers but Luna powers out of it. Luna rakes the face then chokes Sable on the middle rope. Luna drives her knees into Sable's neck. Luna goes for it again but misses. Luna goes for a whip but Sable counters into a TKO. Sable covers and gets the three count for her team.

Winners: Marc Mero & Sable (9:09)

Interestingly enough, even though Sable got the pin, Mero celebrates like he did all the work, which doesn't make Sable happy.

Comments: This match had the potential to be a train wreck but shockingly it actually turned out to be a fun, entertaining contest. All four participants worked hard to put on a fine bout, especially the men, and everyone showed some good stuff overall. Even Sable looked good and showed she had some abilities in the ring. Definitely the surprise match of the night. [Score: 8/10]

After the next couple of matches are hyped, Tennessee Lee is in the ring as he introduces Jeff Jarrett and Gennifer Flowers. Jeff asks Gennifer "ain't I great" and Gennifer agrees he is great. Gennifer then acts as the guest ring announcer for the next match.

WWF Intercontinental Title – The Rock © (w/The Nation) vs. Ken Shamrock
This feud that started at the Royal Rumble continues with this third meeting between these two. This time if The Rock is disqualified, he will lose the Intercontinental Title. Rock comes out with Kama, Mark Henry and D'Lo Brown but Faarooq is noticeably absent, since the two were in their power struggle at this point. Shamrock comes charging out of the tunnel and goes right to work, nailing several hard shots. Shamrock whips Rock into the ropes, missing several clotheslines but connecting with a thrust kick. Shamrock clotheslines Rock over the top rope to the floor. Rock tries to walk out of the match and get counted out but Shamrock cuts him off and rams him into an anvil case. Shamrock rams Rock into the guardrail, then runs back to the ring to break the count. Rock comes back by raking the eyes. Rock tries to ram Shamrock into the ringsteps, but Shamrock blocks it and rams Rock into the steps before rolling him into the ring. Shamrock goes for a whip, Rock reverses him into a corner, but Shamrock comes out with a pair of clotheslines. Shamrock hammers away at Rock, but Rock sends him tumbling through the ropes to the floor. Oddly enough the Nation just stands there as Rock comes out and sends Shamrock into the ringsteps. Rock rolls Shamrock back into the ring and stomps away at him. Rock slams Shamrock to the mat then hits the People's Elbow (this was before it was his finisher) but only gets a two count. Shamrock fights back, whips Rock into the ropes then throws him over the ropes to the floor. Again the Nation doesn't try to help the Rock as Shamrock goes out and clotheslines Rock on the floor. Rock rolls back in while Shamrock grabs a chair to bring into the ring. The referee prevents Shamrock from using the chair so Shamrock shoves him aside (shouldn't that be a DQ?). Rock grabs the chair and blasts Shamrock in the head then covers but Shamrock powers out. Shamrock whips Rock into the ropes and hits a back elbow. Shamrock whips Rock again and hits a dropkick. Shamrock whips Rock a third time and hits a powerslam for a two count. Shamrock plants Rock with a belly-to-belly suplex before applying the Anklelock. Rock quickly taps out and we have a new Intercontinental Champion!

However Shamrock refuses to release the Anklelock. D'Lo comes in and Shamrock takes him out with a belly-to-belly suplex. Kama is in and Shamrock takes him out with a suplex too. Mark Henry is in and Shamrock takes him out as well. Shamrock then goes back to the Anklelock on Rock. Faarooq runs out and is about to come in, but stops, turns around and walks away, refusing to help the Rock. At this point Rock is bleeding from the mouth. A number of referees and officials come out to force Shamrock to release the hold, but Shamrock starts taking out the referees with suplexes. EMTs arrive to put The Rock on a stretcher. Finally Howard Finkel announces that since Shamrock would not release the Anklelock, the referee has reversed his decision and awarded the match to the Rock, meaning we don't have a new champion after all!

Winner by reverse decision and still Intercontinental Champion: The Rock (4:55)

The announcement causes Shamrock to go ape as he charges after the Rock, who's holding the IC Title belt up as he's being carted out. Shamrock knocks Rock off the stretcher and slams him onto the DX bandstand then proceeds to give him a beating. Shamrock grabs the IC Title and holds it before leaving the arena.

Comments: Not a very good match compared to the other bouts Rock and Shamrock had at the Royal Rumble or King of the Ring. It was way too short, and while it does a good job showing Shamrock as an animal, the Dusty finish ruins it; Shamrock gets the clean win in dominating fashion, yet loses on a reverse decision? That's more than stupid, especially for a Wrestlemania title match. At least the after-match antics were fun to watch, especially the Rock holding the IC belt aloft as he's stretchered out in a classic moment. [Score: 6/10]

WWF World Tag Team Titles – The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg & Billy Gunn) © vs. Cactus Jack & Terry Funk – Dumpster Match
This match came about as a result of the 2/02 Raw Is War where the Outlaws trapped Cactus and Funk in a dumpster and pushed it off the stage with them in it. To win the titles, one team must put both members of the other team in the dumpster sitting at ringside and close the lids. Cactus and Funk come out first, followed by the Outlaws, with Road Dogg doing his usual spiel. Both teams start off by fighting on the outside, with Funk ramming Billy into the ringsteps and Cactus doing the same to Road Dogg. Cactus rams Road Dogg into the dumpster and follows up with the running knee to the face. While Billy works over Funk in the ring, Cactus tries to lift Road Dogg into the dumpster but Road Dogg fights him off and nails him in the head with a cookie sheet. Cactus goes for a senton off the ring apron but misses and bounces off the dumpster. Billy brings Funk out to ringside and sends him into the guardrail. Road Dogg whips Funk into Billy, who backdrops him into the dumpster. Billy closes one of the lids before whipping Cactus into the dumpster, and Road Dogg rams Cactus into the dumpster with a Russian leg sweep. Funk climbs out but the Outlaws drape both Cactus and Funk over the lip of the dumpster and slam the dual lids on them repeatedly. Road Dogg stuffs Cactus in the dumpster then grabs Funk from behind, holding him for Billy to tear off his shirt and land some chops. Funk is stuffed into the dumpster and Billy shuts one lid. Road Dogg tries to close the other lid but Cactus stops him and applies the Mandible Claw. Billy tries to make the save and he gets a Mandible Claw as well. Billy escapes and clocks Cactus with a cookie sheet before Funk bursts out of the dumpster and brains Billy with his own cookie sheet.

Funk and Cactus roll Road Dogg from the dumpster into the ring and Cactus hits a swinging neckbreaker, followed by a reverse neckbreaker from Funk. Billy comes into the ring but Cactus throws him back out, then comes off the apron and hits an elbow onto Billy while holding a cookie sheet. Funk DDT’s Road Dogg onto a cookie sheet before Cactus starts throwing in several weapons, including a ladder. Funk and Cactus set up the ladder and Cactus starts climbing up. Billy takes out Funk with a low blow then goes after Cactus on the ladder. As the two are going at it, Road Dogg nails Funk with a cookie sheet, Funk staggers and knocks the ladder over, sending Cactus and Billy crashing into the dumpster (which had the lids shut)! Road Dogg fishes his partner out and the Outlaws double-team Funk. Billy powerbombs Funk into the dumpster off the apron, and the Outlaws go after Cactus in the aisle. The three of them start brawling out of the arena into to the back. After several replays we cut to the backstage area and find the Outlaws fighting Cactus to the loading area. The Outlaws whip Cactus into some giant bottles that are sitting on a forklift. Cactus comes back and clocks both Billy and Road Dogg with a steel chair. Cactus then drills Billy with a double-arm DDT on the forklift palette. Both Outlaws are placed on the forklift while Funk takes the controls and drives them to another dumpster in the back. Billy and Road Dogg are dumped into the second dumpster, Cactus closes both lids and the two hardcore legends win the titles! Funk even lowers the palette to seal the dumpster shut for good measure.

Winners and NEW Tag Team Champions: Cactus Jack & Terry Funk (10:00)

Comments: A great hardcore brawl between the two teams. There was a ton of brutal stuff here, especially the ladder spot, and the finish was unique. Just a fun match to watch. Unfortunately the Outlaws would win the titles back the very next night on Raw before joining DX, causing Mick Foley to briefly retire his Cactus Jack persona. [Score: 8/10]

The Undertaker vs. Kane (w/Paul Bearer)
The Undertaker and Kane finally go at it after Taker returned from his Royal Rumble disappearance on Raw several weeks before this show and finally accepted Kane's challenge. Before the match Cincinnati Reds great Pete Rose comes out to be the guest ring announcer. Pete gets on the mic and runs down the Red Sox, saying the last time he was here he kicked their butts, then claims the Sox can't win a World Series (this was before the miracle year of 2004, btw). Pete says his pal Bucky Dent says hi, then goes further mentioning Bill Buckner and the Curse of the Bambino. Before long Kane makes his fiery entrance and proceeds to take Pete out with a Tombstone Piledriver, much to the delight of the Boston fans. As Pete gets stretchered out, O Fortuna plays and druids carrying torches come out for the Undertaker's entrance.

Both men have a staredown to start. Taker lands the first punch but Kane barely reacts. Taker lands several more punches that have no effect and Kane misses a clothesline. Taker hits a fury of body shots that back Kane into the corner. Taker glares at the referee and Kane hits a back elbow. Kane throws Taker into the corner and goes for a clothesline but misses and Taker unloads on Kane. Taker for a whip but Kane reverses Taker into a corner. Kane charges but Taker stops him with a boot. Kane hits a short-arm clothesline but Taker gets right back up. Taker goes for a whip, Kane reverses, misses a clothesline but catches Taker off the ropes. Kane sets Taker up for a possible Tombstone but instead rams him into a corner and ties him in the tree of woe. Kane stomps Taker to the mat and chokes him. Kane works over Taker in the corner then whips him hard into the opposite corner. Kane whips Taker back into the other corner and hits a clothesline. Paul Bearer taunts Taker as Kane suplexes him onto the top rope. Kane clubs Taker in the back, then climbs to the top rope and comes off with an elbow drop. Taker tumbles out to the floor and tries to regain his composure before heading back in. Kane continues to pummel him with a series of rights and Taker tries to cover up. Taker stumbles to the other corner where Kane lands more right hands, and Taker covers up but some of Kane's shots still get through before Kane applies a choke. Kane whips Taker into the ropes, Taker ducks a clothesline and lands on Kane's shoulders but Kane hits an electric chair. Kane kicks Taker out of the ring to the floor, then goes out and drops Taker onto the guardrail. Kane rams Taker into the ringsteps, then while Bearer distracts the referee, Kane grabs the steps and drives them into Taker's back. Kane head back in while Bearer gets in some cheap shots. Taker climbs to the apron and Kane suplexes him back into the ring. Kane rams Taker into a corner and lays in more right hands, with Taker covering up. Taker shoves Kane away, but Kane whips him into the opposite corner. Taker comes out and hits a short clothesline. Taker comes off the ropes and ducks two clotheslines but Kane grabs him and hits a chokeslam. Kane covers and the referee counts 1….2….but Kane pulls Taker up, showing he's not done yet.

Kane applies a chinlock and Taker tries to hang on but starts to fade. Eventually Taker fights out of the hold with bodyshots and an uppercut. However Kane comes back with a clothesline, then follows up with a running elbow drop. Kane applies another chinlock but Taker slowly powers out of it, lifting Kane up and over the top rope to the floor. Kane climbs to the apron and Taker lands a series of rights, finally knocking Kane off the apron with a big boot. With Kane on the floor Taker goes for a plancha over the top rope but misses and crashes through the Spanish announcers' table! Taker is out as Kane tosses a piece of the table at him. Kane climbs back into the ring while Taker struggles to recover. Eventually Kane brings Taker back into the ring, then climbs to the top rope and connects with a flying clothesline! Kane covers and the referee counts 1….2….but Taker kicks out! Taker covers up again while Kane unloads several right hands. Both men start exchanging punches and Taker gets the advantage. Taker goes for a whip, Kane reverses but misses a clothesline, Taker scoops him up for a Tombstone but Kane counters into a Tombstone of his own! Kane covers and the referee counts 1….2….but Taker still kicks out! Kane continues his assault with Taker covering up but Taker blocks a right hand and starts fighting back. Taker lands a series of punches then hits a clothesline that takes Kane off his feet. Taker ducks a clothesline and chokeslams Kane while Bearer curses him. Taker signals for the end, then lifts Kane up and hits the Tombstone Piledriver. Taker covers for the pin and the referee counts 1….2….but Kane kicks out!! Taker hits a legdrop, then drills Kane with another Tombstone. Taker covers for the pin again but again Kane kicks out!!! Taker is shocked that two Tombstones didn't finish him. Taker climbs to the top rope and connects with a flying clothesline. Kane sits up but Taker drills him with a third Tombstone and this time is able to put him down for the three count.

Winner: The Undertaker (16:58)

However Paul Bearer slides a chair into the ring and heads in, kicking away at the exhausted Taker. Taker gets back up and pops Bearer but Kane nails Taker with the chair, then Tombstones him onto the chair. Kane and Bearer leave ringside, thinking they accomplished their mission, but Taker sits up, showing this feud is far from over.

Comments: This was a great big man match, well worth the long build. There were plenty of good moves and near falls, and the missed dive into the announcers' table was just insane. It also told a good story, with Kane dominating Taker most of the bout while Taker hung on and barely got the win, needing three Tombstones to put Kane away, and even then Kane almost kicked out in time. Thanks to this match Kane still looked like a monster even in defeat. None of the other matches between these two ever came close to matching this contest. Plus the two entrances were cool and also added to the match atmosphere. [Score: 8/10]

We then go to a promo video featuring wrestling legends Freddie Blassie, Killer Kowalski, Ernie Ladd and Gorilla Monsoon, saying how times have changed but they cheer for today's athletes.

WWF World Heavyweight Title – Shawn Michaels © (w/DX) vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin – Special Enforcer: Mike Tyson
As many of you know, this was Shawn's last match until August of 2002 as he was heading into this contest with the back injury he suffered at the Royal Rumble (the only other time he wrestled in 1998). Tyson comes out first to a modified version of the DX theme. Steve Austin is out next to a massive pop and gets right in Tyson's face. Finally Shawn Michaels comes out last with Triple H and Chyna, but not before he says "This is for you, Earl" into the camera, a nod to Earl Hebner, who was supposed to officiate this match but was rushed to the hospital with an aneurysm.

Both men circle the ring to start, with Michaels taunting Austin and Austin responding by flipping him the double bird. They go to lock up and Michaels gets the first shot with a right hand to the face. They go to lock up again and Michaels hits another right hand. Austin chases Michaels around the ring, Michaels comes off the ropes for a clothesline but Austin ducks it and nails him with an elbow. Michaels tries to crawl out of the ring but Austin grabs him by his tights exposing Michaels' rear end and kicks Michaels’ leg from under him twice. Michaels comes off the ropes but Austin backdrops him over the top rope and right on top of Triple H. Austin goes out after Michaels but Triple H nails him from behind and rams him into the guardrail. At that point referee Mick Chioda orders Triple H and Chyna to leave the ringside area. Meanwhile Michaels nails Austin with an axehandle off the ring apron. Austin rams Triple H into the DX bandstand but turns around into a clothesline from Michaels. Michaels then hits Austin with a cymbal stand. Austin fights back and goes for a whip but Michaels reverses and sends Austin into the dumpster from the earlier match. Michaels brings Austin back into the ring then comes off the top rope but Austin belts him in the chest. Austin whips Michaels hard into the corner. Austin whips Michaels into the ropes and hits an Atomic Drop for a near fall. Austin starts wrenching the arm until Michaels counters with a right hand. Michaels applies a headlock, Austin shoves him into the ropes and drops him on the top rope with a Stun Gun for a two count. Austin whips Michaels into the ropes and goes for the Stunner but Michaels shoves him away. Michaels goes out the apron but Austin nails a right hand that sends Michaels bouncing off the announcers' table. Austin rams Michaels into the ringsteps, then drapes him over the apron and clubs him in the chest. Back in the ring Austin drops several elbows and covers but Michaels kicks out. Austin applies a rear chinlock and Michaels escapes with a jawjacker. Michaels goes out and tries to drag Austin into the ringpost but Austin ends up pulling him into the post. Austin rams Michaels into the guardrail and charges at him but Michaels backdrops him over the rail into the crowd. Michaels then clocks Austin in the head with the ringbell.

Michaels throws Austin back into the ring and hits an axehandle followed by a series of rights. Michaels (visibly in pain) stomps Austin in the face and rams him into the corner before hitting several punches. Michaels rolls Austin with a snapmare and unloads on him, then grabs the legs and stomps him in the chest. Michaels takes a moment to flip off the Boston crowd, allowing Austin to spring back to life with a takedown and a series of rights. Austin throws Michaels over the top rope to the floor but Michaels trips him and repeatedly rams his knee into the ringpost. Michaels drops Austin onto his knee then tries to apply a Figure Four but Austin shoves him into the corner and rolls him up for a two count. Michaels regains control and continues working over the knee. Austin rolls out of the ring but Michaels hits a baseball slide that sends Austin across the announcers' table. Tyson throws Austin back in and Austin starts arguing with him when Michaels hits a chop block to the knee. Michaels applies the Figure Four and Austin tries to hold on while Michaels uses the ropes for leverage. Austin's shoulders fall to the mat and the referee counts but Austin gets up. Michaels holds the top rope, Austin again falls to the mat but again gets up at two. Austin manages to turn himself and Michaels over to reverse the pressure and Michaels quickly grabs the ropes, forcing a break. Austin knocks Michaels down with several rights then catapults him into the corner and rolls him up for a two count. Austin goes for a whip but Michaels reverses and applies a sleeperhold. Austin backs himself and Michaels into a corner to escape the hold but accidentally squashes the referee, taking him out of the match.

Michaels charges at Austin but gets dropped onto the top turnbuckle. Austin lands several shots before ramming Michaels into a corner, then another corner. Austin stomps Michaels to the mat then whips him into the ropes and backdrops him to the mat. Austin goes for another whip but misses a clothesline and Michaels connects with a forearm. Both men are down until Michaels kips up. Michaels climbs to the top rope and lands the flying elbow smash then starts tuning up the band, getting ready for Sweet Chin Music. Michaels goes for the superkick but Austin ducks it. Austin goes for the Stunner but Michaels blocks it. Michaels shoves Austin into the ropes and goes for another superkick but Austin blocks that and this time hits the Stunner! Austin covers Michaels, Tyson runs in to count 1….2….3 and Austin wins the WWF Title!!

Winner and NEW WWF Champion: Steve Austin (20:01)

After the bell Tyson raises Austin's hand, and Austin celebrates becoming WWF Champion for the first time in his career. Austin then presents Tyson with an 'Austin 3;16' shirt and Tyson holds it up, renouncing his ties to DX. Michaels gets up, shocked at what he's seeing, and tells Tyson he's supposed to be on his side. After the two start arguing, Michaels takes a swing but Tyson counters with a right jab that knocks Michaels out. Tyson drapes the 'Austin 3:16' shirt over the fallen Michaels, and he and Austin leave the ring together in triumph.

Comments: A great main event to cap off Wrestlemania that also serves as the changing of the guard. Both men did their best to make this a memorable match, and this bout had a little bit of everything, including the hot sequence at the end. Although Michaels was hampered by his broken back (throughout the match you can tell he's in agony) he still gives a gutsy effort and gives us one last great performance before heading into his 4-year retirement. More importantly Austin gets the torch passed down to him and would begin his run at the top of the WWF with a strong start. [Score: 8/10]

We wrap up the show with a highlights package of tonight's Wrestlemania.

CONCLUSION: If Wrestlemania XIV is the transition from the old era, then this show gets the 'new' Attitude WWF off to a great start. This was just a great pay-per-view all around as well as a historical turning point. The two main events (Austin/Michaels and Kane/Undertaker) delivered, the Owen/HHH match was the highlight, and even the dumpster match and mixed tag match were fun surprises. The only low points were the opening battle royal and the IC title match, but the rest of the card more than makes up for it. Overall this event may not be one of the best Wrestlemania's ever but it is one of the top 10 and one you shouldn't miss, just to see the birth of the Austin era.


(Thanks to Adam King for this great review)