The Best and Worst Moment of WrestleMania 14
WrestleMania 14 was a coming out party for WWE. It may not have been the greatest WrestleMania of all time, objectively speaking, but the company was gaining momentum creatively amidst its well-received Attitude Era, and the booking of Mike Tyson as a guest performer drew as many eyes as possible to showcase the new direction of the company.
WrestleMania 14 saw the coronation of Stone Cold Steve Austin as world champion, the last match before Shawn Michaels’s first retirement and other suggestions of a paradigm shift. This article takes a look at the best and worst the show had to offer.
Best Moment: Mike Tyson Punches Out Shawn Michaels
When it comes to booking celebrities into the WWE product, it’s difficult to imagine a better choice than Mike Tyson in 1998. Tyson was white hot as not only a boxing star but a controversial celebrity who nicely embodied the edgier direction WWE was moving toward. Moreover, his real fight credentials added a hint of intrigue about whether he’d get physical in WWE, with the knowledge that he could probably punch out anyone who crossed him.
Positioning Tyson in a secondary referee role for the Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels world title main event was a shrewd bit of stunt casting, and confrontations between Stone Cold and Iron Mike almost made HBK a third wheel in the build to WrestleMania.
It all paid off with Austin not only winning to achieve his championship destiny, but also a send-off of Tyson KOing Michaels. The finish provided a media ready highlight and nicely wrote off Michaels’s character before he rode off into the sunset.
Worst Moment: Ken Shamrock gets disqualified
WrestleMania 14 had its share of fun moments and few overt blunders. This moment, therefore, goes less to a bad moment than the least good of a strong show. Ken Shamrock came at The Rock with a fury in their bout, selling his identity as The World’s Most Dangerous Man, with basically a match-long “snap.” Shamrock dominated and made his young heel opponent submit in short order.
It’s understandable that WWE would want to both pay off the Shamrock-Rock feud in this way, but also want to protect The Rock, whom the company clearly had bigger plans for.
However, the way WWE wrapped up this match felt awfully contrived rather than like a natural outcome. For all of his experience as a professional fighter, Shamrock lost his cool and kept attacking Rock after the bell until he was disqualified to officially lose the match. It was a cheap, technicality of a finish that rang hollow to most fans.