WrestleMania 14: Attitude Era begins
Hello everyone, and welcome to yet another edition of WrestleMania Rewind. I must admit, I’m looking forward to watching WrestleManias from this one onwards, because this is where it gets interesting. This year will see the 29th edition of the mega event, which first started in the Hogan era. Last WrestleMania I had covered (WrestleMania 13 for those who didn’t know) had seen the rise of the rattlesnake, Stone Cold Steve Austin, who’d go on to compete in the main event of this WrestleMania, which was WrestleMania 14. Many things had changed since the past WrestleMania, the most notable of them being Bret leaving the WWF for WCW. Survivor Series had seen the biggest screwjobs of all time as Vince aligned with Shawn and Triple H to betray Bret, as he was leaving the WWF for its rival WCW.
The main feud going into WrestleMania was between Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin. Michaels was the WWF Champion, and had suffered a serious back injury not so long ago during a Casket match with the Undertaker. Steve Austin would win the Royal Rumble for second straight year, and would challenge Shawn, who was the leader of DX for the WWF title at WrestleMania. Now, Vince had claimed there would be a special guest referee for the match, and it turned out to be Mike Tyson, who was suspended from boxing for biting Holyfield’s ear off. This got WWF a lot of mainstream attention, and just a few weeks before WrestleMania, Tyson was revealed to have joined hands with D – Generation X, which gave Shawn the advantage going into the match. Later, Vince had changed Tyson’s status to a special enforcer for the match.
The other main feud going into the mega event was between Undertaker and Kane. During the first ever HIAC match between Undertaker and Shawn, Undertaker was in control and was almost about to win the encounter when a masked man appeared and delivered a Tombstone to the Undertaker. It was later revealed that the masked man was Taker’s half brother, Kane. At the Royal Rumble, Kane had put Taker in a casket and then set it on fire. Paul Bearer claimed Taker was dead, only for Taker to return on RAW and challenge Kane to a match at WrestleMania. This would be their first encounter, and the first of their two matches at WrestleMania.
The card also saw matches of Triple H, who was in a feud with Owen Hart over the WWF European Championship, and The Rock, who would take on Ken Shamrock for the WWF Intercontinental Championship. This WrestleMania arguably kicked started the most famous era in WWF history, which was the Attitude Era. Also, the card featured a lot of great mid card talent, which was very thin in the previous WrestleMania. Without further ado, let us jump in right into the action.
Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal with Sunny) won the 15 team battle royal for the #1 contender spot for the WWF tag team titles.
Yes folks, at one point, there were nearly 20 tag teams in the WWF. Yes, some of them were makeshift, but there were legit tag teams as well. Years after this would see the golden age for tag division in the WWF with the Dudleys, E & C and Team Xtreme. Anyway, all the 30 men started things off at the same time, the person who got thrown over the top rope getting eliminated along with his tag team partner. The match went for about 10 minutes, and as expected, was a bad opening bout. The end saw L. O. D throwing out the Midnight Express to win the match.
Taka Michinoku defeated Aguila to retain the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship
Back in the day, Michinoku was one of my favourites. The Light Heavyweight Championship was replaced by the Cruiserweight Championship after the WWF bought WCW. Anyway, the match was only given about 6 minutes, but the two put on an impressive performance. The end came when Taka delivered his Michinoku driver to Aguila (Who’d later become Essa Rios) for the pin and to retain his WWF Lightweight title.
Triple H (with Chyna) defeated Owen Hart for the WWF European Championship
The third match of the evening saw Triple H taking on Owen Hart. Owen was the last member of the Hart Foundation remaining in the WWF at this point. These two were involved in a feud for the European championship, with Hart winning it before dropping it to Triple H once again. Their match at WrestleMania went nearly for about 12 minutes, and they put on a good match. Solid performance by both men, and at a point, Owen had locked in the sharpshooter, and Chyna made the save. The end came when ref was distracted by Triple H and Chyna delivered a low blow to Owen, and ‘Nose H’ delivered his pedigree for the pin and to retain his European title. Solid match that helped Triple H in gaining momentum in his career.
Marc Mero and Sable defeated The Artist, formerly Known as Goldust and Luna in a mixed tag team match
The only good thing coming out of this match was Sable. She was one of the hottest women in the history of the company. Damn you Brock Lesnar! Anyway, the story behind this match was that Mero was jealous of Sable’s fame (A little trivia; Mero and Sable were really married back then), and so was Luna. Goldust just had to fit in because he was a freak. The match went up to 10 minutes, and was surprisingly good. Goldy was a good worker; anyway, the end came when Sable delivered Mero’s version of TKO to Luna and covered her for the victory.
The Rock (With Kama Mustafa, Mark Henry and D’Lo Brown) defeated Ken Shamrock by disqualification for the WWF Intercontinental title
More than a match, it was an angle being set up. It was done brilliantly. Rock was a member of the Nation of Domination, and soon after this match, he’d replace Faarooq as the leader of N. O. D. The match went for about 5 minutes, when Shamrock applied the Ankle lock and Rock tapped out, giving the victory and the title to Ken.
Post match, Shamrock snapped as the members of the Nation attacked. He started giving belly to bellies to everyone, including an impressive one to Mark Henry (The Kool Aid guy!). Then he slapped the Ankle lock on The Rock again, and the fans were loving it! This was when the fans hated The Rock. Anyway, other refs came down and Ken snapped, giving all of them suplexes. The ref reversed his decision and gave the victory to The Rock, who was being carried away after the vicious attack. Ken went up the aisle to attack the The Rock again, giving him another body slam. The crowd absolutely loved every minute of it.
Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie defeated the New Age Outlaws (Billy Gunn and Road Dogg) in a Dumpster match for the WWF tag team championship
Chainsaw was none other than the famous Terry Funk. Terry was also a long time nemesis of Cactus, and they both had numerous bloody matches in Japan and in the United States. Anyway, the New Age Outlaws went in as the tag champs, and put on a solid match against their hardcore opponents. They would officially join DX the next night on Monday Night Raw. The match went on for 10 minutes, and the end came when Funker put both of them in a dumpster using a forklift.
The Undertaker defeated Kane (With Paul Bearer)
The semi main event time! Undertaker took on his half brother Kane in one of the most highly anticipated matches of all time! Before the match started, baseball legend Pete Rose knocked the fans. Kane came out and gave him a Tombstone, which was one of the more famous scenes which involved the celebrities in the WWF. Then Taker made his way out, and these two had a brawl. The match went over 16 minutes, and it even included Kane kicking out of two Tombstones! Undertaker gave one final Tombstone to Kane and that was enough to get the victory. After the match, Kane got up and attacked Taker with a chair, Tombstoning him over it to set up their Inferno match at Unforgiven. Great scenes as Taker went 7 – 0 at WrestleMania.
Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated Shawn Michaels (with Triple H and Chyna) with Mike Tyson as the special enforcer for the WWF Championship
The main event followed afterwards, which saw Shawn taking on Steve Austin. Austin went into the match with a huge number disadvantage, as Shawn had Hunter, Chyna and his new alliance, Mike Tyson. The match went on for over 20 minutes. Interestingly, both the guys went into the match hurt, as Austin had suffered a serious neck injury before this, when Owen Hart gave him a piledriver that broke his neck, and Shawn was suffering from a severe back injury. That limited both the guys’ abilities in the match. Mike Tyson kept helping Shawn to gain the upper hand in the match. The end came when Mike betrayed Shawn, as Austin delivered a stunner and there was no ref, and Tyson did the three count. The crowd popped huge as Austin won his first WWF title.
After the match, Shawn poked Tyson and that led to Tyson knocking down HBK with a punch. Huge Austin 3:16 chants broke out as Austin threw his shirt on the fallen Shawn Michaels. Fun fact going into the match: HBK apparently didn’t want to drop the title to Austin. So before the match, Undertaker looked at Michaels seriously while taping his wrists, signalling that he would personally see to it that he’d do the right thing. Also, after Taker finished his match, he apparently waited at the Gorilla position till the Austin – Michaels match ended, and then removed his wrist tapes.
Analysis: *** ½ (Out of 5)
One of the better WrestleManias. Austin 3:16 started, along with it the Attitude Era kicked into full flow. Few weeks after this, the WWF beat WCW in the ratings’ war after 84 weeks, and never looked back till WCW folded. Austin went on to become one of the biggest names in the business while Shawn retired till ’02. Well, that does it from me for today. Join us tomorrow for the next edition of WrestleMania Rewind as we carry on our trip down the memory lane, till we get to this year’s WrestleMania.
Read the rest of the WrestleMania rewind series here