DVD Review: Wrestlemania XV

March 28, 1999 from Philadelphia, PA

I’m watching the Wrestlemania Anthology version of this, and at times it’s very tough to watch. Lots of overdubbing, lots of blurring.

If 1999’s Royal Rumble is known as the Russo Rumble, this could be called Russomania. Lots of very strange booking, lots of really crappy angles that led nowhere, lots of silly finishes.

Match #1: Hardcore Championship
(c) Billy Gunn vs. Al Snow vs. Hardcore Holly

Take this piece of brilliance for example. Two weeks prior, on Raw, Jesse James was chasing the hardcore belt. He had previously been hardcore champion and actually surpassed Billy Gunn in popularity. This was not in the plans. So, they decided that instead of James winning the hardcore title back at Wrestlemania, which had been the plan, they would make him the IC champ on that episode of Raw which would somehow kill his heat and make Billy Gunn more popular, so that the fans would hate Gunn that much more when he made his heel turn.

Just think over the logic of that for a second. Kill his heat by making him the IC champ. Stupid you say? Stupid like a fox says I.

Of course, this meant that Billy Gunn would have to win the hardcore title, which he had not been chasing. Plus the hot angle they had been doing between Roaddog and Hardcore Holly was dead, along with the angle they were doing with Gunn and Val Venis. Fucking brilliant. Seriously, any idiot could tell you why James was more popular. One, he was the face in peril. The face in peril is always the most popular. Ricky Morton for example. Two, he could actually talk. He did all the talking for the Outlaws. Billy just sat there with his pink “Mr. Ass” tights and did muscle poses like a schmuck, then wrestled for about three seconds before hitting the wall and burning out. Even the most dense mark could see that James carried the team. Yet by this point, the WWE was dead set on Gunn winning the King of the Ring (which he actually did) then winning the Royal Rumble and challenging for the WWE title by Wrestlemania 16. God bless fan apathy.

To the match. Three way brawl to start. Gunn looks unhappy and is clearly phoning it in. Clothesline by Snow to Gunn, stompy stompy to both guys. Snow takes Hardcore outside for some whips with a cable cord. Gunn gets reversed on a whip and takes a pretty good bump over the steel stairs. OK, so maybe I was harsh with the quick phone-in comment. Holly brawls Snow around the entrant way, but then chooses to suplex him not on the concrete but on the protective mat. What the fudge? Holly landed on the concrete himself, so shouldn’t that have hurt *him* more? Ugh. Gunn comes in and brawls with both, ramming Snow into the stairs. Billy goes for a piledriver on the floor to Holly, but Snow saves. Wouldn’t it have been more smart to… you know… help him hit the piledriver? Snow grabs a hockeystick, drawing a ‘Let’s go Flyers!” chant. Snow then grabs a tray full of drinks, but Gunn hits him with them instead. Al sells it like dead. Gunn breaks the hockey stick over Snow, and then sends Holly into the ring. Snow in to beat on Gunn with a broom. He then does an Avatar pose like he’s the last airbender or something.

Snow beats on Gunn and Holly with the broomstick. Snow appears to draw a blank so he beats on them a little more with the stick, then grabs a chair. Running splash off the chair by Snow draws an ECW chant. Camera focuses on Billy Gunn and we end up missing a spot where Snow goes off the chair and misses Holly. On the floor, Billy (totally out of gas at this point) press slams Holly onto the guardrail. Back in the ring, both guys get KOed by the Head. Snow grabs a table and sets it up in the corner. They tease a whip into the table, but Billy Gunn comes in and DESTROYS Holly with a chairshot. Snow gets put through the table. Gunn calls for the end and drops the Fameasser on Snow onto a chair. Cover for two as Holly saves by chairing Gunn, then covers Snow for the pin and the title.
*3/4 Quick, not a lot to it. Not at all effect in burying Jesse James.

Match #2: World Tag Team Championship
(c) Owen Hart & Jeff Jarrett vs. D’Lo Brown & Test

Death Percentage: 50% as of March of 2009. Stupid match idea. D’Lo and Test never teamed before, but won their spot in a battle royal on Sunday Night Heat. This did not lead to a feud if memory serves me correct. D’Lo was hot hot hot hot at this point, catching on like wildfire as a babyface the same way the Rock had done on his own, and dare I say he earned a better spot on the card then this. Hell, Test was such a blackhole of heat at this point that the fans do nothing for his team and pop for the heelish Owen & Jeff.

To the match, the faces (?) brawl to start and Test knocks Owen out of the ring. Pathetic shoulderblock by Jarrett but D’Lo pops up and armdrags JJ down, then clotheslines him, then hits a spinning clothesline. Backelbow by Brown, then tag outs. Owen chops it out on Test only to eat a diving powerbomb for two. Pump handle slam but Owen hits an enziguri. Sharpshooter by Owen but Brown makes the save. What the fuck is this? It seems like they’re going home already, with Test hitting a bunch of power moves and Owen going for the shooter. Ugh. D’Lo in with the quickdraw legdrop. He jaws with Jarrett only to get spinkicked by Owen. Gutwrench suplex, tag to Jarrett for a double clothesline and a leg splitter. Owen tags in another double clothesline doesn’t work and Owen clotheslines them both. Scoopslams for all, dropkick to Owen, Sky-High to Jarrett for two as Debra and Ivory start to fight on the outside. D’Lo goes for a running powerbomb on Jarrett but Owen comes flying off the top with a missile dropkick and Jarrett bridges for the pin. Test and D’Lo brawl at ringside. I don’t think anything came of this.
** Quick and missing an entire middle section.

Match #3: Brawl for it All
Butterbean vs. Bart Gunn

My first thought when watching this during the original airing: Man, Gorilla Monsoon looks like death. In fact, he died a few months later. In the actual match, nobody knew what to expect in regards to the legitimacy of this fight. In Butterbean’s previous WWE stint, he faced Marc Mero in a work. However, the Brawl for it All was mostly a shoot. I think the outcome of this match left no doubt how legit it was. Hell, during instructions, Bart looks at Butterbean with this weird grin like he has no idea what’s in store. Meanwhile, Butterbean is wearing a face that says “I’m going to fucking kill you.”

First round and Butterbean makes a quick attack. Bart throws a punch, which only serves to piss off Butterbean. Bart lowers his defense allowing Butterbean to hit one good shot. Bart staggers so Butterbean runs in for the kill and hits a flurry of punches that knocks Bart down. Bart waits for the standing eight count while Jerry Lawler yells for him to go for a takedown (which is worth 10 points in this contest). No dice. Butterbean runs in, Bart blocks a mid-section shot, and Butterbean absolutely destroys Bart with the second hardest punch I’ve ever seen in my life. I seriously thought Bart was dead, as his head shakes like a bobble-head, he goes totally limp and bounces off the bottom ring rope. Scary moment. Needless to say, the match is instantly stopped.
No rating, but one of the all-time great Wrestlemania moments. Seriously. This whole segment made months of crappy brawl-for-it-all segements on Raw worth it. Bart Gunn, who disappeared right after the original Brawl for it All tournament was done, took off for All Japan right after this.

And for those of you wondering, the hardest punch I ever saw was “The Punch” that Kermit Washington leveled Rudy Tomjanovich with during an NBA game in 1977. If you can find a video of it (and it’s hard to do, the NBA doesn’t like to show it) then check it out. A punch so devastating that it nearly killed Rudy T, who had spinal fluid leaking from his mouth and his face detached from his skull. When he came out of his coma, he asked if the scoreboard had fallen on him.

Match #4
The Big Show vs. Mankind

The winner gets to be the referee of the main event. This actually is not Big Show’s debut match, as for reasons that are stupid beyond description, they decided his first match would be jobbing clean to Steve Austin on Raw. Mind you, the WWE gloated for years that WCW had no idea how to book a giant like Paul Wight. Foley slugs it out to start, then clotheslines him repeatedly. Wight gets a big boot up then headbutts Mankind out of the ring and to the floor. Foley tries to slug it out there. He rakes the eyes and rams Show into the stairs a few times. Jerry Lawler chalks up Big Show’s apparent crappiness to ‘being a slow starter.’ This should have been a total squash right up until the disqualification. Show finally has enough and rams Foley into the stairs, then drags him back into the ring and hits the big skillet chops to Foley. More brawling from Show, then a russian legsweep, a move not becoming of a guy like Show’s size. Show misses a big punch on the ropes and ends up flying over the top and out of the ring. The spot is so stupid the fans audibly groan at it. Foley pulls out Mr. Socko and locks in the mandible claw. Show escapes it twice, but Foley hooks it in a third time and kicks Show in the balls to get him down to his knees. Show looks like a total jobber in this match, while Michael Cole is screaming about it being an upset. An upset? Yeah, maybe if Show had gotten anything better then a Russian Legsweep in terms of offense. After having Show down on his knees, Foley goes around to his back to add a bit of a sleeper to the claw. Show gets to his feet and falls straight backward, crash landing on Foley with all his weight. Foley did this spot once with Vader, and in his first book he said he came up with the spot with the intention of it permanently injuring him to the point where he would be forced to retire and collect his Lloyds of London insurance policy. To his surprise, not only did it not end his career, but it didn’t even injure him at all. Mind you, he was in a state of depression at that time, having been buried in WCW because guys said he could never get over as a world champion and thus there was no point in even trying with him. Still, a pretty shocking (and somewhat self-incriminating) confession. But the spot worked then, and so it would presumably work now.

Back to the match, Foley appears to be pretty hurt. He was already fairly injured at this point and would take three months off following Over the Edge in May. That spot certainly contributed to it. Show dumps Foley to the floor and hits him with a chair to the gut, then one to the back. The ref isn’t disqualifying him, just yelling at him. Show laughs it off. He stands up two chairs in the ring then chokeslams Foley through them. The ref has had enough and DQs him, while Show continues the beating with a chair.
1/4* Pretty horrible. Foley was injured, Show was still not good in the ring (he would get training to help learn how to pace a match and use moves more becoming of a guy his size a year later), and the structure of the match was all wrong. But that crash spot was pretty fucking sweet.

After the match, Vince McMahon comes out to bitch at the Big Show and gets punched in the face, turning Show babyface. He would turn heel during the summer with Undertaker, then face after his dad died in the fall and winter, then heel again after he lost the Royal Rumble, then face again after Wrestlemania 2000. Chyna is all like “bitch please, I can top that.”

Then after a few replays, Vince is shown in the back with the stooges and asks for Big Show to be arrested for assault.

Match #4: Intercontinental Championship, Fatal Four-Way Elimination Match
(c) Jesse James vs. Val Venis vs. Goldust vs. Ken Shamrock

Jesse James is pretty over as the IC Champion. He beat Val Venis for the belt out of nowhere when he was supposed to be chasing the Hardcore title as I previously stated. Thus, any relevant storyline this had going for it is pretty much voided. The main IC feud was Shamrock vs. Val Venis. Venis fucked Shamrock’s sister, then dumped her as soon as he had goated Ken into an IC title match on pay per view, after guest referee Billy Gunn gave him a fast count. Ryan Shamrock (Ken’s sister) then hooked up with Goldust. It was all stupid but at least logical. Take Billy Gunn out of the equation and suddenly you wonder why there is even a match to begin with. Russomania is running wild, baby!

Big brawl to start. Roaddog is on Venis while Shamrock goes for Goldust. Shamrock hits a rana on Goldust to take him out of the ring. James & Shamrock take out Venis with a double back elbow, then Shamrock clotheslines James to take advanage. Hard whip to the corner, but my DVD glitches out a bit. Par for the course with the entire Wrestlemania Anthology DVD set. I end up having to eject the DVD, restart it, skip to the next chapter after this match, then rewind it to the next spot after the hard whip. Mind you, the disc isn’s scratched, and it’s never even been removed from the packaging. I had similar problems with the discs that required flipping (Wrestlemanias 4 and 5), but wasn’t expecting anymore instances of it. I would actually recommend avoiding the set for this reason, as others have encountered similar problems and there is no replacement program for the defective discs.

Back to the match. Shamrock slugs it out and shoots off but lowers his head into some punches and a dropkick. He tags Goldust who takes Shamrock down with a spinebuster type move. Val Venis tags Shamrock, then stomps away at him. Goldust grabs Venis from behind and hits a modified backsuplex for two. He goes for the curtain call but Venis hits a spinebuster for two. Clothesline by Goldust gets two. Goldust slips off the ropes while setting up a superplex but Val saves the botch by turning it into a bulldog off the top for two. Fisherman’s suplex gets two. Shoulderblock knocks Venis goofy. Goldust falls down, then Venis lands fast first on his balls. Roaddog and Shamrock go in for DDTs and a double KO spot. In a fatal fourway? Jesus wept. Roaddog fakes a tag on Goldust while Shamrock distracts the ref, but Val comes to life and clotheslines him from pillars to post. James hits the shake rattle and roll on Venis and Roaddog, then punches Shamrock down and drops the crazy legs kneedrop. Backdrop suplex by Venis gets two as the ref isn’t even paying attention to the tags. Both guys slug it out. James hits the hump-handle slam on Venis, then Shamrock comes in and slaps the ankle lock on Venis. Venis makes the ropes, then backdrops Shamrock out of the ring, where Ryan chews him out. Venis baseball slides Shamrock and brawls him up the entrance way, where both guys are counted out. Shamrock missed his cue and started running back to the ring too soon, forcing the referee to count faster. This match is a bit of a disaster. Shamrock is pissed so he gives Goldust and Roaddog belly-to-belly suplexes. Thus it comes down to Goldust and Jesse James, the two guys who had the least to do with the overall storyline that had been building since January. And thus it’s only fitting that faster then I could type that Ryan Shamrock accidentally trips up Goldust. James charges, Goldust catches him in a powerslam, then James rolls through it for the pin. After the match, Goldust dumps Ryan.
1/2* Train wreck, barely worth the effort.

Meanwhile, Big Show gets arrested.

Match #5
Kane vs. Triple H

Before the match, the San Diego chicken attacks Kane. Kane quickly dispatches him and unmasks him to reveal Pete Rose. Tombstone and Pete does a stretcher job. Then Triple H jumps Kane from behind to start the match and slugs it out. Trips backdrops Kane out of the ring, but Kane lands on his feet. Kane tries to fight him off but hits the ringpost by accident. Trips sends him into the stairs in a pretty decent bump by Kane. Flying knee to Kane while he’s on the apron sends him into the guardrail. Then a baseball slide again sends Kane bouncing in the rail. Kane’s got his flying shoes on this match. Slam into the table, then back into the ring where Kane gets a leg up. Kane’s exposed are is seriously pale. I’m talking albino. They take the fight to the floor again where Trips gets caught on with a choke hold. Instead of chokeslamming him on the floor, he decides to crotch him on the guardrail and then into the Mean Street Posse. Kane lifts Trips up and rams him into the post three times, then sends him back into the ring. Crowd really isn’t very enthusiastic for this one. Quite frankly, they’re dead. To the corner where Kane lays a beating on Trips with big punches and then a blatant choke. Hard whip to the corner then an uppercut. Big legdrop gets two for Kane. Kane lowers his head on a shoot off and gets kicked, but no-sells it and clotheslines him over. Match might not be so bad if the crowd would show just a little enthusiasm. It’s Wrestlemania for fuck’s sake. Whip to the corner but Trips a foot up. Kane shrugs it off and dumps him to the floor. Flying plancha by Kane that he can barely pull off barely manages to make the crowd pop. Flying clothesline off the top in the ring misses and Trips fights back. Kane lowers his head into a face buster, then the flying knee takes Kane down. Kane goes for the Tombstone, but Trips flops out of it. KICK WHAM PEDIGREE~! but Kane stops him, drops and elbow, then falls over dead. What the fuck? What a random double KO spot. BUT WAIT~! Here comes Chyna, who puts stairs in the ring. They fight over who’s going to whack who with the stairs. Drop toehold by Trips to Kane who eats the stairs. Trips dumps him with a clothesline and takes the fight to the floor. Pedigree attempt on the stairs but Kane backdrops him onto the floor. Back in the ring, chokeslam hits. Chyna, looking nasty with her recent plastic surgery that clearly hasn’t healed all the way, gets up on the apron with a chair and asks Kane to be the one to hit Trips. In the history of professional wrestling, when has this ever worked out for the guy who’s letting the person with the weapon do the work? Not this time. Chyna hits Kane with the chair, which gives him the match via DQ but it’s apparently a moral victory for Trips, who grabs the chair and kills Kane with it. KICK WHAM PEDIGREE~! on the chair, then Chyna and Trips re-unite to a huge pop.
** Not technically bad but good lord was the crowd as apathetic as a crowd could get. It killed the match, because both guys seemed enthusiastic going into it.

Vince McMahon declares himself the referee for the WWE Championship match. They should have just done that from the beginning.

Match #6: Women’s Championship
(c) Sable vs. Tori

In the spirit of having more realistic storylines, Sable started acting like a total bitch who was bigger then the company. I take it she’s a method actress. She also started to age at a rapid rate. You could see the process had begun at this point. By time she returned to the WWE in 2003, although only four years had passed Sable appeared to have aged at least twenty years since her last stint, and she looked like someone in their fifties who had a LOT of facial work done. Meanwhile Tori was pretty much a bust in every way possible. And she’s dressed in the most god-awful looking outfit that looks like a reject for Mrs. Giant Gonzales. It’s also see-through, to the point where you can see her nipples. Sable kicks at Tori as she gets in the ring, then shakes her ass. Tori gets in the ring only for Sable to sling her off the ropes and kick at her, then dump her through the ropes. Tori drags Sable out of the ring and smashes her face from apron to guardrail and back again. Sable reverses a whip and sends her into the guardrail, then kicks at her again, then botches a crossbody when she jumps too high, though legend has it she bitched out Tori for not catching her once they were backstage. In the ring, Sable kicks at Tori and shakes her ass some more, but Tori takes her down and mounts some punches. Whip to the corner and a clothesline, then another. Sable reverses a whip but Tori covers her for two. Jack knife cover by Sable gets two, then another two but Tori botches the bridge up spot and they fall on their butts. They hold on and repeat the spot with Tori hitting the backslide for two. The ref gets wiped out, then Sable goes for the powerbomb. Tori is supposed to land on her feet to counter but she slips and falls on her ass again, then BOTCHES A PUNCH and goes for her own powerbomb. BUT WAIT~! 6’2″ Freak of nature Nicole Bass runs in and press-slams Tori. At this point 66.6% of the wrestlers in the ring sued the WWE. Thought that was funny to mention. Sable thanks Bass, shakes her ass some more, then powersbombs Tori for the pin.
DUD Truly awful. Sable would be gone by May. Nicole Bass would shed about 40 lbs of muscle and re-debut shortly there after as “Stephanie McMahon”.

Meanwhile, Chyna is back with Triple H, and X-Pac is ready to stick it to Shane McMahon.

Match #7: European Championship
(c) Shane McMahon vs. X-Pac

Shane has Test with him and the Mean Street Posse at ringside. Plus, the stooges jump X-Pac during his entrace. Pac fights them off and runs in the ring, where his pyro shooters are waiting for him. They sit there for a bit, then someone is like “man, maybe we should get those out of here.” So no pyro, then Shane gets in the ring, does his karate kid pose, then bails again. He gets in the ring and leap-frogs Pac, but gets spin-kicked down. He goes for the bronco buster but Test saves and Pac puts the breaks on. Shane tries to bail on the match but Pac pushes him down on the concrete. Test catches him from behind with an axe handle, then crotches him on the ring post. Pac then takes a sick bump when Test looks go. High fives for Test from the Posse. Shane takes control and smacks Pac around the ring, including a bitch slap. Scoopslam and Shane decides to fire off a people’s elbow but Pac rolls out of the ring. Test distracts the ref so Shane could fire off a low blow. Shane then takes his belt off and whips Pac. Pac recovers and dumps Shane to the floor. Plancha by Pac but the Posse grab at him. He fights them all off and tosses Shane into the ring, but then Test clotheslines him out of nowhere. Shane puts Pac in the corner and drops a stone cold style elbow off the second rope. Shane climbs to the top but gets crotched and superplexed for two as Test pulls Pac out. Pac avoids a charge from Test, who eats the stairs. Back in the ring, Pac whips Shane with a belt, then hits the bronco buster. Test comes in again and hits Pac with the championship belt to the face. Shane slowly crawls over and covers for two. Shane chokes with a foot in the corner and goes for his own bronco buster, but Pac moves out of the way. Test in the ring again but Pac fights him with a spining heel kick. Bronco buster for him too. BUT WAIT~! Triple H and Chyna are out to finally make the save after saying they would “be there for X-Pac.” Of course, by this point Pac doesn’t need them, as he hits the KICK WHAM X-FACTOR~! on Shane for… nothing as Chyna distracts the referee while Triple H comes in the ring and hits the KICK WHAM PEDIGREE~! on Pac to turn on him then throw Shane on top for the pin and the retain. After the match, Test and Trips beat up X-Pac more. The New Age Outlaws run out to make the save and couldn’t be less effective as Test and Trips beat the shit out of them too without any effort at all. BUT WAIT~!! because Kane comes out to chase them off. Lawler asks if DX is finished. The crowd is so dead that Jesse James hears him and says “That big nosed son of a bitch Hearst Hunter Hunter… that jackoff… he’s finished.” Michael Cole says “Road Dog just said Hunter is finished.” James says “JACKOFF! YOU HEARD ME!” Pretty funny.
*** Actually a pretty decent storyline, as Pac fights off incredible odds all on his own only to have his best friend turn on him. The match itself was classic weasley villain vs. plucky babyface stuff and the formula works.

Match #8: Hell in a Cell
The Undertaker vs. The Big Bossman

Kill me. Undertaker was in his evil Amish phase here. Really no point in having the cell involved as these guys hadn’t even matched up yet. Then again, the average WWE fan around this time period was a total fucking knuckledragger who heard “Hell in a Cell” and no doubt pictured Taker throwing Bossman off the cell like he did Mick Foley and Shawn Michaels. So making this a cell match made it more likely someone somewhere might actually buy the show for it, because not even the most dense mark would have paid to see Bossman/Undertaker otherwise.

To the match, where Bossman slugs it out to start, but Undertaker reverses it and slugs it out. Undertaker runs into a back elbow, but clotheslines Bossman down for two. Undertaker lowers his head after a shoot off which slowly leads to Bossman hitting a neckbreaker for two. Zombie situp by Undertaker, but Bossman casually kicks him back down. Funny spot, though un-intentionally so. Another kick but Taker catches him takes him down by the ankle and throws mounted punches to the back of the head. Taker kicks Bossman into the cell, then rams him into it a few times. Then Michael Cole has his own Wrestlemania moment. In the most brain dead statement by an announcer in WWE history, Cole declares “This isn’t your traditional steel cage. You can get a finger caught in there!” Jerry Lawler responds with “… finger caught in there? After what we saw Mick Foley go through, you’re worried about getting a finger caught in there?” “I’m telling you the cell can rip flesh apart. We’ve seen it happen.” You can’t reason with him, Jerry. Next time just slap him. Oh yeah, match… Taker misses a charge and eats the cage. The Bossman grabs some handcuffs and smacks Taker with them, then cuffs Taker to the cell. He then grabs his night stick and KOs Taker against the cage with it. As Taker collapses, the handcuff breaks. In theory Taker’s wrist should be broken, and his hand, and possibly his shoulder dislocated as well. But it’s wrestling and the cuff wasn’t meant to break right there anyway. Bossman lays further beatings, busting Taker open. Taker finally decides to no sell and fights back. He grabs a chair then slowly makes his way over to him and smacks him in the back. Crowd is pretty dead again. In fact, I think the Philly crowd has officially beat the Bossman to the grave. Taker goes into the ring for apparently no reason other then to scare the referee while he tries to think of another spot. Clearly something happened that caused them to have to improvise some new spots. Taker bails to the outside again and decides to pick up Bossman and use him battering-ram style on the cell. That wasn’t too bad actually. I mean, it’s not like he was doing it to Shawn Michaels or something. Bossman is starts to fight back while the fans hate-hoo the match. Bossman is bleeding a trickle now. Flying clothesline gets two from Undertaker. Rope walk is countered and Taker gets crotched on the ropes, then rammed off the apron and into the cell. Michael Cole reminds everyone the main event is next, presumably for those who have not given up hope on this show being any good finally give in as well. Taker back in and they slug it out. Bossman wins out on it and hits a headbutt. More hate hooing by the fans. Low blow by Taker and he goes for the Tombstone but Bossman slips out. Clothesline misses and Taker does hit the Tombstone for the pin.
*3/4 Ease up folks, it wasn’t THAT bad, not even close. The problem with this match was the same as every match: the crowd was terrible. It’s hard to get motivated when the spectators don’t react to anything. There were a couple decent bumps and it’s not like they were botching spots left and right. It would have likely been better without the cell. So why use it?

Oh yeah, the post-match fun. Edge, Christian, and Gangrel fly down from the ceiling. Insert tasteless Blue Blazer joke here. They then help the Undertaker lynch the Bossman. Yes, as in murdering him. By hanging. With an honest to god noose. The brood then fly back up while Paul Bearer raises the cell up, thus completing the murder. Yep, don’t expect this one to air on TV again, kids. Meanwhile, Mike Awesome was watching this show and said “A rope… that’s a great idea!”

Yep, I’m going to hell.

Anyway, Bossman would come back from the dead and spend the next five years feasting on the flesh of the living until someone finally shot him in the brain in 2004.

Hell. Me. Going there.

Match #9: WWE Championship
(c) The Rock vs. Steve Austin

Who would have guessed at Wrestlemania 13 that two years later Rocky Maivia, who royally stunk up the joint at that show, would be in the main event of Wrestlemania XV? Certainly not me. And the Rock finally is wrestling in his normal ring gear here, with lipo-scars only slightly visible. Austin comes out in a t-shirt, which is weird seeming. I mean, this is Wrestlemania. It seems almost underwhelming. Wrestlemania sets didn’t really get over the top until Wrestlemania X7 anyway. I must confess, I’m not a big fan of the Rocky/Austin series of matches as most people seem to be. They pretty much strike me as a series of over hyped garbage brawls and comedy matches. Well produced comedy brawls, but comedy brawls none the less. That said, I haven’t watched this particular match since it aired and remember pretty much nothing about it except Rocky overselling the Stunner with insane gusto.

Vince McMahon enters to be the referee. BUT WAIT~! WWE Commissioner Shawn Michaels, absolutely stoned to the point where he can barely open his eyes, comes out to stop him and sends him to the back with threats of violence. He then bans the corporation from ringside. Except Vince, thus giving away his run-in. Seriously. He says “I might let you come down.” Drugs are bad, mmmkay. Mike Chioda takes the honors for the match. Oh yeah, and Jim Ross is back just to announce the main event.

Match starts with a big slugoff. Austin gets dumped over the top and to the floor, and crashes into the announce table while doing so. Rocky brawls Austin around and chokes him with his own t-shirt. Back in the ring, Rocky stomps away. Austin reverses a whip and dumps Rocky himself. Rock has his flying shoes on tonight as Austin bails and dumps Rocky into the crowd, which is always a stupid spot because you can’t really do much. The fans SWARM these guys and security is apparently gone. Cameramen are missing too so instead we get some really bad overhead shots where you can’t see anything. Lame. They give up on that shit quickly and take it back to the ringside area, then try the crowd spot again on the other side of the arena. Austin and Rock brawl in that section for a bit, then Rocky clotheslines Austin over the guardrail and back to the ringside area in what was actually a really cool bump by Austin. Rocky drags Austin to the entrance ramp and they brawl on a makeshift wooden floor, with Austin clotheslining Rocky on the floor there. Funny sound they’re making while they brawl. Sounds like a clog dance. Austin loads up a piledriver, but Rocky backdrops Austin onto a steel support that’s holding up the entrance ramp lights. Nice. Austin fights back and tosses Rocky into a boom-mic stand, then botches a clothesline spot by smashing Rock’s face with his forearm. Rocky thunks off the mat, and Austin trips up too. Weird spot, clearly a potato. They brawl over to the Wrestlemania logo, which Austin tosses Rocky into The whole logo shakes, and man, that’s kind of scary to watch. If it had collapsed, Wrestlemania would be over. Forever. To the entrance ramp where Rocky reverses a suplex with one of his own and Austin bounces off the cement. Snot rocket from Rocky to Austin, then a slam into the cement. Austin fights back and lays Rocky out on the Spanish announce table, then drops an FU elbow on it, which doesn’t break. Austin lays Rocky out on it again and drops another FU Elbow, and this time it collapses. Austin tosses Rocky into the ring, but Rocky bails and slams Austin’s feet into the ringpost. He tries to do it again, but Austin powers out and sends Rocky flying over the guardrail and into the stands. Would have been seen better if they weren’t busy showing us 5,000 goddamn replays of the table spot. As if anyone missed it. “Man, I ordered the this pay per view but now I’ve really got to crap! Oh well, it’s only the main event!” Kevin Dunn needs a shoe up his ass half the time. Austin’s done fighting in the crowd, especially THAT side of the crowd, so he drags Rocky back to the ringside area and tosses him into the stairs. In the ring, Rock Bottom out of nowhere followed by a quick cover gets two. Bad spot for that because the crowd kind of died as a result of that meaningless false finish. It makes Rocky look like a total wank. If you’re going to practice “Worst Move Ever Syndrome”, you really can’t do it with no buildup. Just ask Kevin Nash and Shawn Michaels. Rocky is pissed and grabs a chair, but Rocky throws the referee into the shot. Lowblow by Rocky and a swinging neckbreaker. The ref is out cold. KICK WHAM STUNNER~! but Rocky shoves out of it and chairs Austin’s knee. Rocky KO’s Austin in the face with the chair and Timmy White dives in to count to two. Fans aren’t exactly reacting great to the near-falls or the kick outs, because they’re WAY overdoing the Austin as Superman stuff here. Rocky grabs a chinlock, and Austin proves why he’s one of the best by actually selling it instead of laying there like a lump. Austin to his feet and he shoots Rocky off, only to get clotheslined down. Back to the chinlock by Rocky, and now Austin starts to fade a bit. Austin is still alive though. Shoot off by Austin but he charges into a Samoan Drop for two. Rocky up and he bitches at referee Tim White, then Rock Bottoms him. KICK WHAM STUNNER~! to Rocky but there is no referee. Earl Hebner is in with a late two count. BUT WAIT~! Here comes Vince McMahon. Austin grabs a chair but gets a bit distracted by McMahon. Austin goes to spike Rocky with a chair but eats a lowblow instead. McMahon gets in the ring and knocks out Hebner, then both Rocky and Vince stomp away at Austin. BUT WAIT~! Here comes Mankind. He knocks out Vince, then Austin schoolboys Rocky for two. Shoot off by Austin, thesz press and an FU elbow. Shoot off, Austin lowers his head and Rocky gets a clothesline. Rock Bottom again by Rocky, and then he sets up for the People’s Elbow. He misses it. KICK WHAM STUNNER~! turned into a Rock Bottom turned into a KICK WHAM STUNNER~! for the pin and the title.
**** Very good match, one of the better ones in the series. I actually liked it better then the more comical, garbagey Wrestlemania X7 match that everyone yanks their wank to. If they had cut out some of the weird stuff like the brawls into the crowd, the two chinlocks, and the Rock Bottom out of nowhere halfway through the match, this would have been one of the better Wrestlemania main events.

McMahon offers a handshake after the match and eats a stunner. He should get a nice little kick to the face for letting this abomination of a show go down.

BOTTOM LINE: The main event saves this from being one of the Wrestlemanias near the very bottom. I disliked numbers 2, 4, 9, and 12 more, and would rank 13 only slightly higher. My biggest complaint is there is no joy in this show. It seems dark and dingey and that big-event feel is not present at all. Big thumbs down. Rock/Austin can be found on the Rock’s latest DVD and I’m sure Bart Gunn vs. Butterbean is on Youtube somewhere.

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