wrestling / Video Reviews

Kevin’s RetrospectiveMania Series: WrestleMania XIV

August 21, 2019 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
Steve Austin WrestleMania 14 MIke Tyson
WWF WrestleMania XIV
March 29th, 1998 | Fleet Center in Boston, Massachusetts | Attendance: 19,028

The Attitude Era was now in full effect. The company was pushing boundaries and on the verge of an incredibly profitable couple of years. This show would mark the end of an era for one star, the ascension of another, and was the first appearance for a handful of notable stars. We also had the massive addition of Mike Tyson to the main event in a move that made headlines around the world. Needless to say, this is an important show. Let’s see where it stacks up.

• Match quality – Self-explanatory. Will always be the longest section.
• Memorability – How memorable is the show?
• Historical significance – The impact the show had on wrestling
• Booking decisions – Did the event have logical booking decisions for the stories they told
• Presentation – Things like stage setup, video packages, commentary, etc.
• Pacing/Flow – How well is the show laid out? Does it drag or move along smoothly?
• Entertainment – The non-wrestling elements like promos, celebrity interaction, concerts, etc.

Match Quality


Tag Team Battle Royal ~ 15 tag teams in quite a lot. LOD was a surprise entrant since they seemed to split a bit before this. They returned here as “LOD 2000” and had Sunny as their miscast valet. I kind of like this show opening with a battle royal the way Mania IV did a decade earlier. This was a big mess. A ton of guys in the ring doing a lot of nothing and then getting thrown out. They also removed any drama by giving LOD the big entrance. Everyone knew they’d win once that happened. No way they come back and just lose. A notable moment saw Barry Windham run in to screw over Bradshaw by throwing out his partner Chainz. Yes, Bradshaw and Chainz were a team. It came down to LOD and the New Midnight Express. LOD scored the win in a dull 8:19. A total mess. [¼*]


WWF Light Heavyweight Championship: TAKA Michinoku [c] vs. Aguila ~ The first and only appearance of this title at a WrestleMania. I don’t think the company ever understood this division. WCW had the better guys and the WWF crop was never given much of a chance to showcase anything but a few aerial moves. Here, we got a sweet moonsault by Aguila to the outside and a springboard crossbody from TAKA. Outside of those two moves, they didn’t get the crowd to respond to much. They did well with some late near falls. Again though, nobody cared. TAKA won with the Michinoku Driver in 5:59. They did moves and some were cool. Ultimately though, it was just a collection of spots. [**¼]

WWF European Championship: Triple H [c] vs. Owen Hart ~ Owen should’ve been a super hot babyface after Bret Hart left. Commissioner Sgt. Slaughter came out and handcuffed himself to Chyna to prevent her from interfering. I liked how Chyna tried to get involved instantly and it showed how Slaughter would have to hold her back. Triple H put the focus on Owen’s ankle because he came in with it injured. It’s some of the smartest and best Triple H work you’ll see from this era. You could see that he was getting ready to blossom. Seeing Owen fight from behind as a babyface was weird, but he did it pretty well. The Sharpshooter still got a great pop. Chyna threw powder in the commissioner’s eyes and hit Owen with a low blow. A Pedigree later and Triple H retained in 11:30. A good match with a lame ending. I don’t mind the cheating because that’s who they were. My issue was the powder. Why not do that earlier? Either way, the match itself made sense and featured good work from both guys. [***]


Luna Vachon and TAFKA Goldust vs. Marc Mero and Sable ~ The first mixed tag at Mania since 1994. Interestingly, Luna was also in that one and the mixed tag at WrestleMania VI featured Goldust’s father. The main crux of this was the Luna/Sable rivalry. That meant the parts with Mero and Goldust, while better in terms of technical stuff, lacked the energy that the ladies had. When Sable ran in to attack Luna, the fans went nuts. She was ridiculously over. Sable near pinned Goldust following a TKO from Mero but Luna broke things up. That was all just a setup for her to eat a Sable Bomb, but that somehow wasn’t the finish. No matter, as Sable wrapped things up with a TKO of her own right after at the 9:12 mark. That had the benefit of a wild crowd. They ate up everything. It was pretty fun for what it was and better than I expected. [**¾]

WWF Intercontinental Championship: The Rock [c] vs. Ken Shamrock ~ These guys met at the Royal Rumble and end up as the King of the Ring finals. Ken Shamrock ran to the ring to kick start the intense level of action. If Rock got disqualified, he’d lose the title. That didn’t come into play because this was kind of a squash. Shamrock just kicked his ass. Shamrock did take a gross unprotected steel chair shot for a near fall. He won with the Ankle Lock in 4:50. Like I said, mostly a squash. It felt more like an angle. Anyway, they overturned the decision because he beat up the Nation and some refs after the match. Stupid decision. [*]


WWF Tag Team Championship Dumpster Match: The New Age Outlaws [c] vs. Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie ~ So this was basically a casket match, but with a dumpster instead. This was a good preview of the hardcore matches that would take over a lot of 1999. They just battered each other with various weapons like chairs, cookie sheets, and more. Billy Gunn and Cactus Jack took a bump off the ladder and into the dumpster. It’s a smaller version of some of the bumps we’d see in later TLC matches. The Outlaws took Cactus backstage and teamed up to wail on him. Chainsaw Charlie made it back in the nick of time and used a forklift to trap the Outlaws in a dumpster backstage, winning in 10:01. Unfortunately, that was the incorrect dumpster and the decision was reversed the next night. The match itself was fine as a wacky brawl. [**½]

Kane vs. The Undertaker ~ The build for this was pretty cool. Yeah, it’s cheesy and silly but I don’t take my wrestling too seriously. It’s meant to be silly. There were parts in this match that were absolutely worth the hype. The moments where they battered each other and fought like two giants with a grudge were a lot of fun. The problem was that the kind of match they needed to have was meant for a short sprint. Get in, go to war, and go home. Instead, they had to drag this out and it led ot a lot of dull spots. Kane worked a chinlock for what felt like longer than some earlier matches. I liked the bits where Kane did Taker’s signature moves like the flying clothesline and the Tombstone. Kane kept sitting up after Undertaker would hit him with Tombstones. It took three to win in 16:58 and Kane still got a shoulder up after the bell. It should’ve gone closer to ten minutes. Going longer made it drag at points and that hurt the flow. [**]


WWF Championship: Shawn Michaels [c] vs. Steve Austin ~ Mike Tyson was the special guest enforcer. He had joined DX during the build to Mania. This was the best babyface against the best heel in the main event, which had so far only happened at WM III and V. Michaels portrayed the chickenshit heel in the early goings. Triple H and Chyna were ejected, which triggered a brawl and uptick in intensity. Michaels took control and worked a lengthy heat segment. Austin kept the crowd engaged with hope spots that had them erupting. Usually, I would have enjoyed the Shawn offense more but you could tell he was slowed by his back injury. It also affected some of his bumps. The closing stretch is seemingly what Shawn saved his energy for. He had perfect timing during that segment. After a ref bump, we got the infamous series where Austin blocked Sweet Chin Music, spun Shawn around and hit the Stunner. Tyson came in with a fast count and Austin finally won the title at the 20:02 mark. They had something great in them, but with Michaels’ injury, it capped out at just very good. Still, it was one of the better main events to this point. [***¾]

A middle of the road score for this show makes a lot of sense. That’s pretty much the definition. Outside of the boring battle royal, nothing is awful. There’s also nothing I’d consider great. Austin/Michaels was the best and that was just shy of being great due to Shawn’s injury. The rest of the show featured matches ranging from average to good.

SCORE: 5.0

 


 

Memorability

 


“The Austin era has begun.” Jim Ross’ famous line is one that still gets played to this day. It’s the thing that everyone remembers most from this WrestleMania and for good reason. It remains an iconic moment that officially cemented “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as THE MAN for the foreseeable future. On a lesser note, I feel like a lot of people also have fond memories of The Undertaker’s dope entrance. It is one of his best. There’s also the start of the running Pete Rose gag and you’ve got a Mania that has more than a few elements people recall often.

SCORE: 8.0

 


 

Historical Significance

 


This score has seen boosts when legendary wrestlers make their WrestleMania debuts. That happened three times on this show. You had the first appearance at the “Showcase of the Immortals” for Kane, the New Age Outlaws, and Ken Shamrock. Granted, Shamrock didn’t have a massive career like the others, but he was still notable. This show also marked the last WrestleMania for Shawn Michaels for five years. We won’t see him again on this journey until 2003. You also get the WWF Title victory for Steve Austin and the first defenses of the European and Light Heavyweight Titles in Mania history. Pretty good stuff.

SCORE: 8.0

 


 

Booking Decisions

 


I’d say this WrestleMania mostly got it right in terms of booking. Obviously, Steve Austin winning in the main event was the correct call. I’d also say that Undertaker, LOD 2000, TAKA, and Mac Mero and Sable were good picks. Owen Hart should’ve won but the bigger issue was the cheap finish. The bigger problems lied in the other matches. Ken Shamrock won the Intercontinental Title, only to have the decision reversed because he kicked too much ass? The New Age Outlaws lost the Tag Titles but that also got reversed because it wasn’t the proper dumpster. Those were two awful decisions that brought down this score.

SCORE: 6.0

 


 

Presentation

 


We all know how these late 90s WrestleManias struggled in terms of looking good. The previous three all had a similar look and this one slightly changed it for the circular stage setup. I appreciated something new but it was still basic. This show gave us our first listen to just Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. It’s the legendary duo that a lot of people my age associate with wrestling. Most of the video packages were quite good, especially for their time. I dug how the opening one focused on the past and how we were in a new era. I’d go down the middle here.

SCORE: 5.0

 


 

Pacing/Flow

 


Once again, the shows taking place during this time period were kept pretty short. They never touched three hours and that means the show shouldn’t ever feel like a drag. Truth be told, this show never did. They got the worst thing out of the way to start and once you’re past that, things move along smoothly. Kane/Undertaker went too long but I’d say everything else lasted about as long as it needed to. With the mixed tag, Dumpster match, and light heavyweights, there were a decent amount of variety that also helped keep things brisk. A good job here.

SCORE: 7.0

 


 

Entertainment

 


The big news here was Mike Tyson. Getting him was massive for the company and added so much intrigue to this event. He also performed his duties well and counting the three for Austin’s title win ensured he’d be involved in something that would be remembered forever. I also loved the use of Pete Rose. His roast on Boston sports always makes me laugh. Of course, taking the Tombstone was notable and remained fun for several years. Other than those two, I didn’t love this section. The live performances by the band doing DX’s entrances were a mixed bag and the two Gennifer Flowers segments were pointless, though Rock made one of them somewhat entertaining.

SCORE: 7.0

 


 

Overall

 


I came away surprised with this show. It wasn’t great in the ring but it scored at least a 5 in each category. That allowed it to finish higher than expected. With Steve Austin’s crowning moment, Shawn Michaels’ first swan song, Kane’s debut, Mike Tyson, decent booking, and some solid pacing, WrestleMania XIV overachieved and I quite enjoyed it.

TOTAL: 46/70

 

WrestleMania Rankings
1. WrestleMania III – 55/70
2. WrestleMania X – 52/70
3. WrestleMania VIII – 50.5/70
4. WrestleMania I – 50/70
5. WrestleMania XII – 48.5/70
6. WrestleMania VII – 46/70
7. WrestleMania XIV – 46/70
8. WrestleMania VI – 44/70
9. WrestleMania V – 39/70
10. WrestleMania 13 – 37/70
11. WrestleMania IV – 32/70
12. WrestleMania XI – 31.5/70
13. WrestleMania IX – 31.5/70
14. WrestleMania II – 29/70

article topics :

Wrestlemania XIV, Kevin Pantoja