Sunday 7 November 2021

WWF Wrestlemania XIV Review!


Hello and welcome to Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews, the only wrestling review series on the internet that looks more barren than the roster to choose from in WWE 2K22! It’s WWF Wrestlemania XIV, this is a big one because this means I have watched every WWF PPV from Wrestlemania 1 to Wrestlemani 14! A significant run for sure and because I have previously covered ECW, The Attitude Era and onwards to roughly the end of 2008 as well as WCW The Start of The NOW until The End, it means it is time for a new series on this blog. That new series? I am going back in time to cover WCW from the first Starrcade until the beginning of The New World Order. Excited to jump on that train but let’s stay focused, we are here to witness the beginning of a new era as Shawn Michaels defends his WWF Championship against The Texas Rattlesnake Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin’s popularity skyrocketed following his feud with Bret Hart, Austin would become even more popular following his injury at the hands of Owen Hart and it would culminate in this moment: a chance to become WWF Champion. We also have Undertaker battling his little brother Kane, Kane tried to destroy The Deadman and Undertaker was reluctant to battle his own flesh and blood but now, Taker sees no other choice and his brother must be destroyed! We also have Luna vs Sable, The Rock against Ken Shamrock and Triple H taking on Owen Hart so plenty of big matches on paper but will they deliver on this night? Let’s find out!


Number One’s Contender Tag Team Battle Royal Match


Tag teams of the WWF battle to become the number one contenders for the championships, let’s run down some of the competitors for this match. The Nation represented by Kama & Faarooq, The Headbangers, The New Midnight Express, Boricuas, Godwinns, D’Lo & Mark also represent The Nation but none of that matters because we have a mystery team and it’s LOD. LOD had been taken out by D-Generation X with Hawk’s iconic haircut being shaved off but LOD are here with a new attitude and a new look, we finally have something for Sunny to do too which would be great considering how good of a mouthpiece she can be but as a babyface manager?


Everyone piles into the ring, you have a lot of what I hated about 1996/1997 WWF in that ring like The Godwinns, Boricuas and D.O.A. Some odd ones too with Steve Blackman in there and Flash Funk. Lots of clubbing going on in the ring, Sniper & Recon from The Truth Commission are in this? What? Kurgan is eliminated? I couldn’t even see him in there, Sunny and Cornette are talking shit to one another which is interesting considering how well they know one another. Barry Windham continues his feud with Bradshaw by throwing out Chainz, the partner of Bradshaw.


You keeping up with this? Because it’s a mess and a million miles per hour, Heel Rock N Roll Express will never get old to me, who could have though that was a good idea? Lots of pairing off, Thrasher has been dumped out. Mark Henry is still in the ring despite D’Lo being dumped out minutes ago so you can see it’s one of those train-wrecks. We have four teams, LOD, The New Midnight Express, D.O.A and The Godwinns. Henry Godwinn clubs out 8-Ball, Phineas gets thrown out by Skull so both teams end up leaving. Phineas and Henry have slop buckets and The Legion of Doom have been cracked in the head with the buckets. The New Midnight Express feel victory coming, double elbow to Hawk. Hawk hangs on and fights off Bart and Bob, Animal clotheslines on The Express. Powerslam on Bart, boot on Bob. Double clothesline and The Legion of Doom are going to Unforgiven.


An average battle royal, lots of brawling and pairing off in corners, little drama until the double slop buckets to the heads, could have been a lot better but could have been worse. At least the fans love LOD so that’s a positive, right team won but you already know how this works out so it’s clear the WWF had no idea what to do with one of the hottest tag teams of all-time!


Winners: LOD over Everyone Else via Survival!


(WWF Light Heavyweight Championship Match) Taka Michinoku © vs Aguila


A tough spot for Taka to be in, hopefully Taka can get these people on their feet. Taka is no stranger to the Mexican style so Aguila and Taka should work fine together. Arm-drags and headscissors to kick us off, spinning heel kick from Aguila. Baseball slide from Aguila, moonsault from Aguila. Aguila taunts the crowd after a beautiful moonsault, Taka is on the apron. Taka lands on his feet and dropkicks Aguila, springboard splash from Taka. Aguila takes a breather, Irish whip and flying forearm. Kicks from Taka, Taka is on the apron and lands a beautiful dropkick. Snap-mare with a dropkick to the back of the head and one to the face for good measure, Aguila back-drops Taka to the floor. Taka stops the dive, Aguila lands a springboard arm-drag, make it two. Beautiful wrist-lock arm-drag, corkscrew plancha from Aguila.


Taka is on the apron, springboard tornillo misses but Aguila lands a moonsault for two. Open palm slap from Taka, Taka climbs high. Bit of a miss communication with Aguila stopping a crossbody with his knees before landing a springboard hurricanrana. Aguila is whipped to the buckle, knee to the face from Taka. Missile dropkick, Michinoku Driver is countered as Aguila slides out but eats a powerbomb. Taka misses a moonsault, La Magistral for two. Aguila tries a crossbody, dropkick counter from Taka and one Michinoku Driver later, the champion has retained.


A fun high-flying contest between two men who would have to do damn-near kill one another to elicit a reaction from the fans as there is just no respect there for the level of work and talent that the athletes possess. However, don’t feel bad for Taka as Taka had quite the career in Japan and still continues to wrestle to this very day. Regardless, there are some nice spots mixed in here but it’s not the crowd’s cup of tea.


Winner: Taka Michinoku over Aguila via Michinoku Driver!


(WWF European Championship Match) Triple H © W/ Chyna vs Owen Hart


The Black Hart wanted to wipe out D-Generation X for what they did to his brother Bret, Bulldog and Neidhart. These two have battled as HBK was on a collision course with Stone Cold Steve Austin, Owen had a lot of momentum but it seems to have fizzled a little bit come Wrestlemania time. The added stipulation to this match is Chyna is handcuffed to Commissioner Slaughter. Worth nothing that Slaughter vs Helmsley was arguably the worst match I have seen in quite some time, I don’t think Owen should have shaved his beard as the crazed look of The Black Hart worked way better for the gimmick.


Owen comes down and pummels Helmsley, rights and lefts with a big back body-drop, ten punches in the corner. Hurricanrana for two, Helmsley is yet to have got started. Helmsley lands an elbow to the face, Helmsley kicks Owen to the floor. Chyna tries hitting Owen but Slaughter stops that action. Owen batters Helmsley, Sharpshooter attempt but Helmsley goes for the eyes. Owen kicks back at Helmsley, face-buster from Helmsley with a big clothesline for added measure. Chops in the corner, stomps too from Helmsley. High running knee from Helmsley for two, knee drop from Helmsley. Owen begins battling back, kicks too. Helmsley boots Owen, DDT from the champion for two. Helmsley wakes up and starts working the ankle which was in a cast two weeks before this match. Elbows and wrenching holds from the champion, the challenger is in serious trouble.


Owen starts fighting back, shoulder thrusts from Owen. Owen trips up Helmsley and meets the ring-post groin-first. Chyna is irate as Owen lands a missile dropkick for two. Spinning heel kick for two, enzuigiri from Owen who hurts his foot waffling Helmsley. Two for Owen, Helmsley counters the hurricanrana for a powerbomb, two for the champion. Helmsley does not connect with the superplex, diving crossbody from Owen for two. Pedigree is blocked, Sharpshooter is blocked too with Owen bouncing off the turnbuckle and headbutting Helmsley down there. Two for Owen, Chyna continues to threaten Slaughter, Pedigree is blocked again. Owen rolls through the sunset flip, Sharpshooter from The Black Hart. Chyna helps Helmsley reach the ropes, Owen begins pummelling the champion, the referee has to pull back Owen. Chyna throws powder in the eyes of Slaughter, Chyna low-blows Owen and Helmsley lands The Pedigree to steal the win.


Solid match between these two, a return to form for Helmsley who initially won me over upon entering the company back in 1995, Helmsley obviously grew leaps and bounds in his feud with Mankind but as Michael’s sidekick, I think Helmsley has stopped flourishing but a big change is coming ladies and gentlemen, as much as Helmsley is meant to be heel, the fans are cheering for Helmsley. I feel for Owen, The Black Hart gimmick had legs and a feud with the champion even if Owen lost, could have been something but it simply did not go that way.


Winner: Hunter Hearst Helmsley over Owen Hart via Pedigree!


Marc Mero & Sable vs Goldust & Luna


We have a promo package for this match of all matches, Sable continues to grow in popularity, Mero was a piece of shit to Sable but they are partners against Goldust & Luna so we shall see how this goes, I can only imagine what will be coming my way. Goldust and Mero to start, head-scissors and clothesline from Mero. Luna is tagged in, Mero says to the crowd “Do you want Sable?” Luna powders and we have a chase around the ring, Luna tags in Goldust. Goldust jumps Mero, back body-drop from Mero. Tag to Sable who kicks Goldust square in the head, Luna seems resistance to mix it up. Mero starts throwing his jabs and straights to the ribs, whip to the opposite buckle with Goldust landing a boot and a massive clothesline.


Snake eyes onto the top rope, Goldust chokes Mero using the middle rope. Both men collide with Mero landing a crossbody for two, Goldust drops down for an uppercut, both men bang heads and are down. Sable and Luna are in, Sable takes down Luna and lands forearms on the crazy one. Sable kicks Luna in the corner and head, snap-mare and a shot to Goldust. Clothesline to the floor, tag to Goldust. Goldust is sent into the steel steps, slingshot splash is stopped by knees. Mero low-blows Goldust, TKO is blocked into a DDT from The Bizarre One. 1…2. Mero kicks out barely. Goldust kicks Mero into the corner, Mero counters the curtain call and lands his knee-lift. Marvelocity? Turnaround moonsault for two, Goldust elbows Mero. Mero crotches Goldust, super hurricanrana for two. Luna kicks Mero, Mero thinks about hitting Luna but Goldust runs into Luna by mistake. Schoolboy by Mero for two, TKO connects on Goldust with Luna making the save. Sable is in but the referee is not paying attention, Luna dives onto Sable by mistake. Sablebomb for two,  Luna rakes the eyes.


Luna chokes Sable on the middle rope, knees to the back from Luna. The second time though, Sable manages to move out of the way but Sable cannot gain control. Luna lands shoulder thrusts, Sable counters the Irish whip and delivers a TKO for the win!


Herculean performance from Luna to make Sable look decent inside of that ring, I don’t think it could have worked out any better for all involved during this contest, this was quite the victory for the WWF as a whole. Mero would be gone by the end of next year after feuding with his wife while Sable would follow suite in early 1999 as did Goldust while Luna struggled away for respect during an era where it was more about how you looked than how you wrestled. Fair-play to all involved on this night, the fans got what they wanted.


Winners: Marc Mero & Sable over Goldust & Luna via TKO!


(WWF Intercontinental Championship Match) The Rock © W/ The Nation vs Ken Shamrock


No Faarooq in sight, building the tension between Rock and Faarooq for the leadership of The Nation. Ken Shamrock is red-hot as he has been since I would say Summerslam 1997 where we saw Shamrock truly snap for the first time. Shamrock has beaten Rock on numerous occasions but the slimy champion continues to hold onto the championship somehow. Shamrock runs down to the ring, right hands and a clothesline to the floor after a big kick from Shamrock. If Rock gets disqualified, he will lose the championship. Shamrock chases Rock up the ramp, Rock is bounced off the guardrail. Eye poke from Rock, Shamrock sends Rock into the ring steps. Shamrock lands two clotheslines in the ring, side-kick and right hands from Shamrock.


Rock pulls Shamrock to the floor and into the steel steps, scoop slam and People’s Elbow for two. Shamrock fights back with big rights, Shamrock sends Rock to the floor. Shamrock has a chair, Shamrock shoves down the referee so Rock uses the chair and waffles Shamrock in the face but Shamrock manages to kick out, Shamrock is irate after being cracked in the head. Elbow from Shamrock, calf, kick from Shamrock and a powerslam for two. Belly to belly suplex from Shamrock, Ankle Lock in the middle of the ring and Rock taps, Shamrock belly to belly suplexes all Nation members and continues torturing Rock which leads to the referee reversing the decision. Faarooq watches Rock scream in pain as the referee reverses the decision.


Not sure why they didn’t want to pull the trigger on Shamrock as champion, maybe The World’s Most Dangerous Man didn’t need it but boy was Shamrock fun to watch when he was allowed to murder people, another brief contest between Shamrock and Rock coming out victorious. I am happy to see the conclusion of the feud with Shamrock finally winning the championship but that never happened sadly, Shamrock would capture the gold after HHH vacated the championship but a lot had changed by that time and while Shamrock was always taken care of when in the WWF, I can’t help but think this was the time to give the championship to Shamrock while Rock went off to sort his problems with Faarooq.


Winner: The Rock over Ken Shamrock via Referee’s Reversal Decision!


(WWF Tag Team Championship Dumpster Match) The New Age Outlaws © vs Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie


The Outlaws shoved the challengers off the Raw stage in a dumpster where they suffered horrific injuries which leads us to this match between the two, the challengers start hot, peppering the champions with punches and knees before Billy hot-shots Chainsaw. Road Dogg fights away from Cactus, baking tray to the head from Road Dogg. Billy saves his partner with a baseball slide, Billy has a busted nose as Chainsaw meets the guardrail. Chainsaw is placed in the dumpster, Russian leg-sweep into the dumpster on Cactus. Chainsaw fights his way out of the dumpster, both challengers have their heads smashed with the lids of the dumpster. Cactus and Chainsaw are dumped in, Mandible Claw on both Outlaws, this match is not over. Chainsaw comes out with a baking tray and waffles Billy.


Chainsaw cracks Billy again, Cactus Jack elbow drop to the floor. DDT on a baking tray by Chainsaw, Cactus pulls out a ladder. Cactus begins climbing the ladder, Billy low-blows Chainsaw. Road Dogg smashes Chainsaw who tips over the ladder that has Cactus and Billy on it, they fall into the dumpster. Chainsaw is powerbombed into the dumpster, Cactus is by the stage. They battle to the backstage area, Cactus is attacked with some trays and throw into some giant soda cans. Cactus grabs a chair and smacks Road Dogg in the head and Billy eats a Double Arm DDT on a forklift. The Outlaws are dumped into the dumpster with Cactus closing the lids. The match is over!


Didn’t know it could be any dumpster? Silly you but yeah an interesting brawl for sure, could have been worse. Didn’t overstay its welcome, lots of weapons, lots of smoke and mirrors which added to my enjoyment of the match, some nasty bumps too. Not much else to say about this one, Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie gain their revenge for the dumpster attack, things could not have ended on a happier note.


Winners: Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie over The New Age Outlaws via Closing The Dumpster!


Kane W/ Paul Bearer vs The Undertaker


Kane is alive! Words burned into my memory due to that memorable promo from Paul Bearer, Undertaker was manipulated by Paul Bearer due to this dark secret, Undertaker called Bearer’s bluff and those words were spoken. Taker doubted this could be true, his little brother could not have survived what happened to Taker’s parents. Undertaker continued his war with HBK, culminating in The Hell in A Cell match, Taker had battered HBK and before the final blow could be dealt, the arena went dark and Kane emerged for the first time, tombstoning his brother and allowing Shawn Michaels to win the match. Taker refused to do battle with his brother, he would not fight his own flesh and blood so things continued as before with Taker battling Shawn Michaels. Michaels would attack Taker but Kane would rescue his brother, it seemed that Kane and Taker would work together after all but Kane would turn on his brother at The Royal Rumble, locking his brother in a casket and setting it ablaze. Taker survived and decided enough was enough which leads us to this moment, two brothers, two monsters, two of the most dominating forces in the WWF doing battle.


They go nose to nose, staring one another down. Taker hammers Kane who hardly wobbles, boots and knees by Taker with Kane continuing to stand his ground. Elbow from Kane, Taker stomps away on Kane but Kane sends Taker to the corner. Taker elbows away Kane but Kane lands a short clothesline, more brawling from Taker. Kane misses a clothesline but sends Taker to the tree of woe, stomps from The Big Red Machine. Hard Irish whips from Kane, corner clothesline from Kane. Uppercuts and knees from Kane, Taker is draped across the top rope. Kane climbs high and comes down with his clothesline, more uppercuts and right hands and a corner choke from Kane. Taker eats an electric chair drop, Kane has the steel steps and drives them into the back of the head of Taker. Kane grabs the steps again and drives them into the ribs of The Deadman. Paul Bearer gets in a number of stomps on Taker, Kane has Taker on the apron. Suplex into the ring from Kane, Kane continues brawling. Taker comes back with a clothesline, Taker ducks two clotheslines but runs into a Chokeslam from Kane. 1…2.. Kane pulls up Taker by the hair, Kane wants to punish Undertaker. Kane applies a reverse chin-lock, Taker fights back with rights and lefts but Taker is floored by a clothesline, elbow drop from Kane. Taker manages to drop Kane to the floor, boot by Taker. Taker tries a suicide dive but Kane sidesteps and drops Taker through the announce table. Kane smacks Taker with the leftovers of the table.


Kane is on the top rope, diving clothesline from The Big Red Machine for two. Kane batters Taker but The Deadman is not staying down, more brawling with Taker winning the war. Taker catches Kane but Kane Slips out, Tombstone Piledriver but Undertaker manages to kick out! Seconds later, Taker is on his feet brawling with Kane. Rights and lefts from Taker, clothesline by The Phenom. Taker lands a massive Chokeslam! Tombstone Piledriver! 1…2.. Kane manages to kick out! Leg drop from Taker, Kane is up again. Second Tombstone Piledriver, 1….2… Kane kicks out again! Taker climbs high, diving clothesline from The Deadman but Kane is up again.  A 3rd Tombstone Piledriver, 1…..2….3!


Quite the entertaining match for the beginning of a rivalry that would come to symbolize/dominate both of their careers. Kane is allowed to dominate and Taker is shown to be vulnerable, Taker has not been this vulnerable since the match with Diesel, two years before this match. Kane gets his heat back at the end too by Tombstoning Taker onto a steel chair, Taker was able to overcome his stronger brother through strategy and determination, Taker’s will to survive is on full display here and that sound when Kane survives that first tombstone is insane, you could feel the shock ripple through the arena. A war befitting of the feud, great story-telling that had been building since early 1997 culminating in a great match and a new star in Kane.


Winner: The Undertaker over Kane via Tombstone Piledriver!


(WWF Championship Match) Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Shawn Michaels © W/ D-Generation X


Stone Cold Steve Austin had won the Royal Rumble, we have been waiting months for this moment, people have wanted Austin and that championship for months and we are mere minutes away from that reality. Iron Mike Tyson is the special guest enforcer for this match, in his D-X gear because in the run-up to Wrestlemania, Mike Tyson had been unveiled as a member of D-Generation X. HBK had it all figured out, HBK had his posse and had Mike Tyson in his back pocket so what could go wrong? Said it before and said it again, Shawn Michaels was a God during 1997 and I am deeply saddened we did not get to enjoy HBK in 1998.


Austin misses as HBK nails a big jab to the eye, Michaels continues to talk-trash as Michaels is too quick for The Rattlesnake. HBK’s body language is fantastic to start off, Austin nails a Polish hammer and starts whooping Michaels, Michaels is kicked around the ring with his ass hanging out, Austin back-drops Michaels onto Helmsley, Helmsley jumps Austin with the referee seemingly powerless? The referee does not want to throw out the WWF Championship match, Helmsley and Chyna have been ejected as Michaels starts pummelling Austin. Austin jumps Helmsley who was walking away, HBK nails a massive clothesline. HBK drills Austin with a drum cymbal, Austin meets the dumpster from earlier. Michaels is on the top rope, Austin stops the axe handle. Michaels does his corner bump, it does not go well and Austin lands an inverted atomic drop for two.


Austin works the arm, eye-rake from Michaels. Stun-gun from Austin for two, Michaels dodges the stunner but Austin clotheslines HBK off the apron and onto the announce table. Michaels meets the steel steps, Austin lands a massive elbow across the throat. Austin slaps on the reverse chin-lock, this is a curious one. Jaw-breaker from Michaels, Austin sends Michaels into the ring-post using his legs. Michaels meets the guardrail but HBK back-drops Austin into the crowd. Michaels can take control now, left jabs from Michaels. Snap-mare and mounted punches from Michaels.


Stomp the groin, Michaels flips off the crowd which leads to Austin taking down Michaels, Michaels is hurled to the floor by the challenger. Michaels trips up Austin and wraps that knee around the ring-post. Again and again, Austin meets the ring-post. Michaels continues stomping away at the knee of Austin, Austin clutches his leg in pain. Austin avoids a figure four and kicks HBK into the ring-post, schoolboy for two. Michaels goes back to the knees, baseball slide from Michaels. Austin is distracted by Tyson, chop block from Michaels. Figure four from HBK, HBK uses the ropes for leverage. Austin reverses the hold, reversing the pressure but Michaels reaches the ropes quickly. Right hands by Austin, catapult into the buckle and a roll-up for two. Sleeper from HBK, Austin is beginning to fade.


Austin backs into the corner with Michaels, crushing the referee in the process. Austin stun-guns Michaels again, right hands from Austin. HBK bounces off every buckle, stomps from Austin. Back body-drop, Austin gets hit with a flying forearm. Michaels delivers a massive elbow drop to the heart of Austin, Michaels calls for the end. Austin ducks Sweet Chin Music, Michaels blocks and shoves off Austin but Austin catches the foot and drills HBK with The Stone Cold Stunner with Mike Tyson sliding in and counting the pin. Irate by the betrayal, Michaels confronts Tyson which does not end well as Tyson decks HBK.


As good as it could have been, it was clear as day that something was off with HBK as this match began, Michaels is grimacing throughout the entire match and while his body language is terrific, this is not the Shawn Michaels we know and love who can deliver a show-stealing performance with ease. HBK and Austin do their best to deliver an unforgettable performance but I think the match is best summed up by Tyson’s three count: Too fast that doesn’t let you enjoy the moment, close but not what we needed. However, we have what we always wanted, the Austin Era can begin and there are a lot of challengers awaiting The Rattlesnake and what a journey it would be!


Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin over Shawn Michaels via Stone Cold Stunner!


That was WWF Wrestlemania XIV, a Wrestlemania that continues the trend started in 1997 which followed into 1998 which was the cards were getting better and the bigger matches were doing what they needed to do. What I hated most about WWF in this era is on full-display in the first match, tag teams like Godwinns, Truth Commission, and number of acts that weren’t interesting inside of that ring. The Light Heavyweight Championship match is fun but the fans don’t care, the division was never going to rival what WCW had which was a shame for the talent busting their asses in the ring. HHH vs Owen delivers like HHH had been since I first saw him in the company, more fleshed out and more confident, HHH had grown so much in his feud with Mankind and it seems that this was a return to form since not having much to do in the past months as HBK’s sidekick. Rock vs Shamrock was odd to me, the reversed decision was never going to go down well considering we had a screwy finish at The Rumble so why not pay off the angle here? Baffling from the WWF like repackaging LOD and continuing to do nothing with them! Undertaker vs Kane delivers, the angle is fantastic and the match is two big monsters attacking one another and I was invested in it, Taker can be hit and miss, I have expressed that many times but on this night, it was a good night for The Deadman and in the main event, they did their best with what they could do, I don’t think I have ever watched a match where I knew just how much pain a performer was in, I have seen injuries and people try to work through pain only to stop but never like this, Michaels takes that first bump and his body fails him like his bones were suddenly made of glass, it must have been horrific but Michaels did what he had to do, he crowned the new king and his name was Stone Cold Steve Austin.


So this wraps up looking at the WWF through 1985 to 1998, what a journey it has been, I have tasted the highs of the Golden Era, watched story-telling and matches unfold that had me screaming up and down, we moved into The New Generation Era that had lows which I would call the lowest of lows but when things were good, they were really good and finally, the transition to The Attitude Era which also had its fair share of bad matches and acts but some amazing highs, I think wrestling will always be a mix of highs and lows and while I wanted to tear my hair out on some of these reviews, I am glad that I stuck with it and finished what I want to accomplish. Now into new territory, I know the big angles and the big feuds and have a fair idea of how things go but I have never seen the majority of it but that changes with our next reviews as I deep dive into WCW from 1983 to 1996, 13 years of PPVs where legends come and go and the company grows. From Crockett to Jim Herd to Bill Watts to everyone in between to finally Eric Bischoff. Could it be great? Could it be bad? Probably both but let’s see where it takes us right? Thanks for reading and remember: there’s always another night!

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