Wrestlemania 15 Review

Since Wrestlemania 14, we’ve started to have fantastic episodes of Monday Night Raw where they’ve became the best thing to watch on television in the late-1990s. All of the sudden, many of the New Generation Era wrestlers where either out of the company (Shawn Michaels & Bret Hart) or they stuck with the company and evolved with the Attitude Era (Hardcore Holly, Triple H) where new stars have rose, story lines became more epic, and match quality was dramatic and well performed (even despite the more aggressive and violent style rather than the competitive direction). Because we were getting so many great Raw episodes and great PPV’s throughout 1998, how was the WWF going to deliver Wrestlemania 15? The problem however is that they couldn’t. Not to say that they can’t, but with all of the success and mind-blowing experiences that has happened almost every week for the company, I really don’t think you could have made show that was better than the PPV’s and episodes of Raw because this Wrestlemania, just didn’t feel like a Wrestlemania; it felt like an episode of Raw on steroids. What that means is that this show just threw in way too much in one singular night that just felt like a special episode than an actual Wrestlemania. And I’m here to tell you why this card, just couldn’t hold the same candle as to Wrestlemania 14.

Hardcore Holly vs. Billy Gunn (c) and Al Snow – Hardcore Match for Hardcore Championship – I really love the idea of the Hardcore Championship because it was a division where hardcore/trash wrestling is welcomed which is the backbone of the Attitude Era. This is a division where we get a taste of ECW in the WWF, however that doesn’t mean that ECW-style wrestling could make a Wrestlemania quality match. Even though that this was the very first Hardcore Championship match in a Wrestlemania, it just didn’t feel that welcomed. I mean, I certainly enjoyed the bumps that all these of these men took to represent a division, but it was not memorable. Everything that has been done in this match, has been done in that hardcore matches on RAW and even though I like the decision of having Hardcore Holly to win this match, it just felt underwhelming.
Match Score: 3/5

Owen Hart and Jeff Jarrett (c) (with Debra) vs. D’Lo Brown and Test (with Ivory) – Tag Team Championship – It’s really unfortunate that this is Owen Hart’s last Wrestlemania appearance before he died in that accident later in that year. I mean Owen is a great partner for any Tag Team (just look up his partnership with Yokozuna in Wrestlemania 11) but I never liked the team up between him and Jeff Jerrett because they’re both overshadowed by Debra because we all want to look at her “puppies.” The reason why all of the sudden D’Lo Brown and Test are facing that Tag Team Champs because both of them won the 20 men Battle Royal on Sunday Night Heat before the start of this show to determine the number 1 contenders for the tag champs. Brown and Test has no chemistry together and it was incredibly odd to have them become a tag team. I honestly think that Test should have been a solo wrestler and he should have been a great of a star as an Austin, Rock, Mankind, and so forth. Thankfully this match went short because it has no real purpose than to… well, just be there. It was an akward finish where Debra and Ivory started having an argument at ringside, then Terri Runnels and Jaquiline came down to argue some more to get Test distracted in stopping the fight just to have D’Lo loose the pin. It was the right decision to have Owen and Jeff win, but it could have been better.
Match Score: 2/5

Butterbean vs. Bart Gunn – Brawl for All – I praise the Attitude Era as much as any wrestling fan, but I will have to agree that the Brawl for All concept has got to be one of the worst decisions that Vince McMahon has ever done. For those who don’t know, “Brawl for All” is a boxing tournament where the whole point was a shoot and they put many of the WWF wrestlers in this tournament. The problem here is that Wrestlers are there to perform, NOT TO BOX! Boxing and Wrestling has never worked; just look at Mr. T vs. Piper at Wrestlemania 2 or Big Show vs. Floyd Mayweather. One of the most unforgivable things about the Brawl for All concept was the fact that it put a concussion on one of my favorite Wrestlers of all time, Dr. Death Steve Williams to retire out of the WWF. Steve Williams was supposed to be the next biggest opponent for Stone Cold Steve Austin, but because Bart Gunn had to put Williams out of action, just how is he going to deliver? By facing a “REAL” boxing champion like Butterbean… WHAT?! You honestly think that Bart Gunn could actually compete against a real boxing legend? He wouldn’t even last a fucking minute and I was right! Bart Gunn only lasted 35 seconds on the first round before the knockout and never again was Bart Gunn ever heard or seen in the WWF again. Brawl for All was career destroyer and because of this retarded stipulation Bart Gunn and Dr. Death had to pay for it. If there’s a list of all of the sins Vince McMahon that has been put on record before he ends up going to hell, this would be one of them!
Match Score: 0/5

Mankind vs. Paul Wight – Can you imagine that there was a point in time where Big Show wasn’t called the Big Show or “The Giant” but was called by his real name? The stipulation for this match was that the winner had to be the special guest referee for the main event of Austin vs. Rock. You should also remember that Mankind was Mick Foley’s most popular character in his career and probably his best character in wrestling. However, I just really dislike this match. This was a very slow match where nothing exciting was going on so that mean nothing memorable was going to happen. The match gotten so boring and slow that Big Show had to place two chairs in position together, only to have Mankind chokeslammed to those chairs. The right guy won, but it was a really dumb decision to make this a finish. At best this should have been a hardcore match so we could see the best of Mankind because really, Mankind was one of the most popular wrestlers in the Attitude Era because of his two iconic falls from the top of the Hell in a Cell with the Undertaker at King of the Ring ’98 and it was disappointing that Mankind didn’t get a Wrestlemania moment. You had to get Vince McMahon to come out there and argue with Big Show and it just left us there after he punched Vince to the ground just to get arrested.
Match Score: 1/5

Road Dogg (c) vs. Ken Shamrock vs. Goldust (with The Blue Meanie and Ryan Shamrock) vs. Val Venis – Four corners elimination match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship – This is just a match that was what is was, and I really don’t think none of these men, except for Ken Shamrock deserved to be Intercontinental Championship material. Unfortunately, this is another Wrestlemania where Ken Shamrock did not win the Intercontinental Championship to establish himself as a big star like Austin, Rock, and the rest. I will have to admit that all four of these men displayed a wonderful in-ring work in this card, but because Road Dogg came in as Intercontinental Champion and left the match with the same championship in hand, just shows how underwhelming another Wrestlemania match really is in this card
Match Score: 2/5

Kane (with Chyna) vs. Triple H – Out of all the matches in this card, this one here had the most well told story behind it. Triple H and his D-Generation-X army wage war against the corporation faction lead by Shane McMahon. Chyna betrayed Triple H and DX Army to join the Corporation. It was a fantastic set up for Wrestlemania,however I just didn’t agree with Triple H all of the sudden has to face Kane instead of Chyna, (she who’s responsible for this storyline to begin with). Of course he had to face the muscle of the heel faction, but Kane really deserved more as Undertaker’s brother than being a henchman for the corporation. However, my favorite part of this match, wasn’t even the match, it was the interference of a man in the chicken suit as Kane was heading in the ring. And surprise! Surprise! It’s Pete Rose! Oh My God! We got a chance to see him and Kane go at it in another Wrestlemania and that we did. Another tombstone in for Pete Rose at Wrestlemania. It was stupid to have him wear a Chicken Suit, but I loved it when Pete Rose kept getting that tombstone from Kane that I so wish that there was more of it. So is Pete Rose coming back for Kane again in the next Wrestlemania? Wait for the next Wrestlemania review…

Anyway, back on the match… well, it was just there. It was all just a slow-paced brawl that was absolutely forgettable. I still stand by my saying that it should have been Chyna vs. Triple H so that we could have a great match between two lovers that have equal strength and wrestling styles and most importantly, the WWF could have established Chyna as a real Wrestler instead of making her career boom later in 1999. It was a completely sloppy finish here that ended in a disqualification (for a match that lasted nearly 10 minutes) and had Chyna and Triple H back together in the end… Really! What was the whole point of having her betray Triple H in the first place?! So does this mean she’s back in D-Generation-X? Well… find out later in this review. Other than that, was a poorly booked match and a serious middle of the road for a Wrestlemania
Match Score: 2/5

Sable (c) vs. Tori – Women’s Championship – This was a match that was so bad that it was sexy. It means it’s a double edge sword here. As a heterosexual male, watch these two wrestle so badly was almost like a soft core porn with no sex involved, but at the other hand at a wrestling stand-point, this was probably the sloppiest match on Wrestlemania 15. It wasn’t Sable’s fault because she proved to be a fantastic and gifted wrestler that was able to take men down. The problem however is Tori (NOT Torrie Wilson). Tori is very inexperienced in wrestling and she just could not show any wrestling  talent. Most of the time she just didn’t know how to follow Sable’s moves and ended up botching and made this a really poor match. None of the two could make their bumps look painful and effective which was a whole bore if you’re not laughing at the trips and botches that they’re making. It’s another match where it had a poor finish where the referee got knocked out, Nicole Bass came in the ring to take out Tori, and Sable retained her championship. The whole point of thinking of “so bad that it’s sexy” it is similar to Uma Thurman’s performance as Poison Ivy in Batman & Robin; it’s just there to turn men on and that’s the only thing this match succeeded, nothing more.
Match Score: 1/5

Shane McMahon (c) (with Test) vs. X-Pac – European Championship – I liked the idea of D-Generation-X vs. The Corporation, but Wrestlemania 15 should have been a big event between leader and leader. Shane McMahon is the leader of the match, but even though X-Pac wasn’t leader, he was the full representation of D-Generation-X (more so than Shawn Michaels and any DX member). This was a great match-up between the two because they both had similar wrestling abilities and size & weight making the best one on one match for this mid-card. The only problem is that Shane was overly-cowardly in this match. I know this whole match is Shane’s idea, but he could have done so much more in this match to make it more exciting instead of doing that chicken-shit gimmick. He only made this match good when X-Pac was down and that just tests our patience to have Pac to get back on his feet and do what he does best. It did took a while but it was worth watching this match for the athletic showman style of wrestling… until Triple H and Chyna came in the ring to betray X-Pac. This was around the time when the bookers wanted D-Generation-X gone and I hated this decision… Sure it was a great idea of having a face turn then a heel turn in one night for Chyna and Triple H, but one reason why I hated this Wrestlemania was just to end D-Generation-X. I did not like the idea of having Chyna and Hunter joining the corporation and help Shane win the match. All of that talented work in this match just flushed itself down the toilet because of this dumb booking. It was stupid! Even though DX was destroyed in this show, the spirit of D-Generation-X was carried with X-Pac, Road Dogg, and Billy Gunn who still does the suck-it gesture and shouts those two-words for ya. Other than that, we didn’t have D-Generation-X again until the McMahon-Hemsley Era when DX returned (just without Chyna). The only saving grace that this match did was to have Kane come back for revenge and made himself a babyface which later became partners with X-Pac later in 1999 (a really underrated tag team).
Match Score: 2/5

The Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) vs. Big Boss Man – Hell in a Cell – I love the transformation of the Undertaker’s character since the Attitude Era begun from facing his brother Kane into becoming the leader of a faction called the Ministry of Darkness. It was an awesome heel turn where he made Vince McMahon look like a good guy and there was so many satanic imagery than any moment in wrestling. With this amazing evolution to the character, who’s next to face Undertaker? Big Boss Man?! It’s disappointing to never have Undertaker vs. Kane in a Hell in a Cell match (one-on-one) to culminate the brotherly rivalry. But all of the sudden, Big Boss Man was selected to be ‘Taker’s opponent for this Wrestlemania. I would have said Boss Man would have been at least a worthy opponent a long time ago during the Golden Era of Wrestling, but he has lot a TON of credibility since his last Wrestlemania match a long time ago. He really was Vince McMahon’s and the Corporation’s bitch. So how in the world was he worthy enough to be part of Undertaker’s undefeated streak? Let alone Hell in a Cell worthy? And speaking of Hell in a Cell… why didn’t this Wrestlemania make this Hell in a Cell match just as important, historical, and significant as the Hell in a Cell match when Mankind was toss off from the top of the Cell? It was like this Hell in a Cell was just tossed in their for the last minute before the show because they knew that the card was weak. This is no doubt the worth Hell in a Cell match of all time. We’re talking about a Hell in a Cell that had no story between the two, and nothing memorable from this match except for the hanging of Boss Man. The whole time we were just seeing just nightstick hits, handcuffing the Undertaker to the cage, and was a boring brawl. Hell in a Cell is a match of importance that was there to punish sheer top rivalries and this rivalry didn’t deserve any part of Hell in a Cell. The most discussing part of this match for me was to have Big Boss Man to be hanged on a rope as the Hell in a Cell assents up to the ceiling of the arena just to show shock value. The reason why I don’t like it is because it was there for shock value and because Big Boss Man passed away, I’m completely uncomfortable to see him pretend that he’s dead. Next Monday Night all of the sudden he’s alive and well… Talk about inconsistent and breaking any believability! The finish of this match went too far and even though Undertaker was a dark character, they just wanted to proof even more that Big Boss Man is less credible than he already was. I especially hate Michael Cole’s commentary when he said “Is it symbolic?!” What the fuck? He should have said “Somebody get him down!” After that handing, they had to cut to commercial break just to show that even if Boss Man did die from that stunt, that was horrible to see how insignificant a person’s life is to a commercial break… just horrible!
Match Score: 1/5

Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock (c) – No DQ for WWF Championship – After all the horrible matches that we all had to endure in horrible show, at least this main event almost save the show from being horrible. The Rock has already made himself a great wrestler and he deserved to become WWF Champion after winning it in the Survivor Series tournament. It was a great way to make a new star instead of just having Austin to be the top guy. Everyone still talks about how great Austin vs. Rock is because it was as epic as Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes, Hogan vs. Andre, and Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels. Out of all the bad booking in this card, this is the finale that did it right. This whole show as built up for having Austin to main event this Wrestlemania and it was hyped up well. We’re talking about Vince McMahon beating Austin in the Royal Rumble Match 1999, then Austin beating Vince in a cage match at St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, using a beer truck to pour beer at Rock, Shane, and Vince McMahon… if none of that made you want to go see this Wrestlemania, I don’t know what will because it was the craziest time in the WWF’s history. This match funny delivered because it was a combination of hardcore wrestling, showmanship, and even technical brawls. Think about Wrestlemania main events and this match truly fits that picture. All the matches in this card felt more or less like an episode of Raw, but this was really Wrestlemania material here! I just couldn’t believe the punishment that these two where taking from landing on concrete floors, falling on a lights and other steel objects, and did everything to keep each other down. It was a very chaotic match were even many referees gets knocked out. Hell, even Vince McMahon had to come in and try to give the Rock the win because neither one of the men could put the other man down for the count. But thankfully, this is the match that threw in so much in a singular match, having Vince McMahon involved, Mankind return as special guest referee, so much mayhem happening, and finishers applied towards each other just to do everything they can to put the other over. Suddenly, that last stunner proved to be the most effective and it earned him another main event victory, but this time it’s Vince McMahon’s loss. I really think that this was the only good thing that came out in Wrestlemania 15. This proved to be one of my favorite main events in a Wrestlemania. It shows why Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock were made for each other and they both face each other in 2 more Wrestlemanias in the future, but honestly, this is my favorite out of the three Rock vs. Austin Wrestlemania matches.
Match Score: 5/5 

There are only three things that was memorable in this Wrestlemania; Butterbean knocking the fuck out of Bart Gunn, Kane once again tombstoning Pete Rose, and Austin vs. The Rock. If those are the only things worth to remember, that’s really not good! With all honesty, this  Wrestlemania really wasn’t that bad, it did have more memorable things than Wrestlemania 13 (which was a one match show). It’s just the far that Wrestlemania 15 felt like a special episode of Raw, which made it feel like a middle of the road in comparison to all the other Wrestlemanias. Because it was the middle of the road is because some of the matches here really is just the stuff that we could have seen in an episode of Raw. If it wasn’t for the main event between Austin and the Rock, this would have been a complete disaster. There was so many thing thrown in this show and it just didn’t feel like special. We have four 2 out of 5 matches, three 1 out of 5 matches, and a singular 0 out of 5 match… arguably this has went down as some of the worst ‘Manias, but not “The” worst Wrestlemania because Austin and Rock saved the show. It’s very important to make all of the mid-cards just as important but when you’re making us wait for the main event to start after 2 hours of watching, you minus well just skip the show and just watch the main event because it really isn’t worth it. If you really want a Wrestlemania during the Attitude Era that really felt at all significant, just watch Wrestlemania 14. Hell, you can watch any other Pay-Per-View from the Attitude Era because this really was one of the worst the attitude era pay-per-views.

The Top Lister’s Score for Wrestlemania 15:


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