Joel: I remember Vince McMahon and The Cooperation being a big deal during this time period, but I don’t think I realized just how central The Cooperation was to pretty much every storyline that was going on in this show. Of the ten matches on this card (nine if you don’t count the brawl for all match) five of them have were centered around a feud with a member of The Cooperation or The Cooperation itself. This included the last three matches of the show which were the most high profile matches on the card. While I get that it did a lot to elevate those storylines and feuds, for the handful of matches that had nothing to do with any Cooperation storyline, it made them feel that much more irrelevant and forgettable. Because of this it really takes a while to get to the matches that feel like they matter on the card.
Even though it won’t be their best WrestleMania match, and even though I already knew the outcome of the match, I couldn’t help but get excited at the beginning of the main event between The Rock and Stone Cold. There’s just something about these two and this era of wrestling. It might be that the crowds investment in this match. It might be the fact that Undertaker won his match with one tombstone instead of the usual 3-5 finishers so kicking out of a finisher in the main event felt like a big deal and not “just something that happens at WrestleMania. Maybe it’s just specifically these two wrestlers and the chemistry they have with each other and with the fans that helped, but even watching a match that’s over fifteen years old, it feels like a high profile, big deal match. It still gives that rush of adrenalin and genuinely feels like a match and a feud worthy of main eventing WrestleMania.
(One final note, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler work a thousand times better when Lawler is the heel, not Cole. It also helps that every third sentence is not step by step instructions on how to how to download the WWE app.)
Kue: This entire show was a Russo clusterfuck. None of the matches were good, save the main event. And even that match was marred with a slew of interferences. Austin/Rock delivered amazingly in drama and character, boosting the two top stars into an even higher stratosphere. Seriously, watch this match in its entirety, and try to find a second when the crowd wasn’t going crazy.
The rest of the card was all oddball matches and moments. Mankind and Big Show were wrestling to be referees for some reason (fighting to be demoted?), I was reminded of the existence of the Blue Meanie, Owen Hart was still being punished for his brother’s walkout of the company by being forced to be tag champs with Jeff Jarrett, there were two pretty horrendous women’s matches (which made me lose count of how many times Jerry Lawler said “Puppies!”), there was more interference in the Shane/X-Pac match then there are dabs at a Panthers game, and Taker hung a guy on live television.
With all of this said, I can’t judge this Mania objectively, as I watched this as a middle school child fully engulfed in the Attitude Era. As with many of us who were lucky enough to be in our adolescence during this incredibly entertaining train wreck of a time, nostalgia undoubtedly takes the driver’s seat when we watch these past events. If anything, Mania 15 displays perfectly what the Attitude Era was: a brilliant chaos that is best remembered and should never be attempted to be repeated.
Sanders: Truthfully, anytime Wrestlemania 15 is brought up, I just know it as a Rock/Stone Cold Wrestlemania because it’s a feud that was so good that we didn’t mind that they headlined 3 Wrestlemanias but it does help that there’s a year between each of those matches so we had a little bit more time to recover from the previous. And I have to agree with Kue, the rest of the show was simply chaos as the company was in full Attitude Era mode at this point in the sense that they were throwing everything they could at the wall and luckily Stone Cold, Rock and the Mr. McMahon stuck because there was a lot of other crap that slid down to the floor, leaving a crappy smear stain on the way down.
This Wrestlemania also depicted WWE’s time-honored tradition of taking something that works and is over with the crowd and injecting it into as many things at once as they can. We saw it with John Cena, they had about 3 CM Punk segments every Raw from the middle of 2011 until he left, we seeing elements of it with New Day now and, in this case, we see that happening with Mr. McMahon. It felt like he was involved in some way in just about every match on the card and yes, it helps get as many feuds over as possible but it runs the risk of becoming over-exposed and stale quicker than it would’ve naturally.
BD: This was another WrestleMania during WWE’s hottest time on record and yet, I felt this was another very sub-par WrestleMania.
This was also a rare occurrence where the main event completely outshined the rest of the card – Stone Cold’s best pre-neck-injury in-ring days were long over at this point, and Rock was never great in the ring, yet for some reason these two always had amazing matches, and this was the first in 3 great Mania ones.
Literally everything else on the card is horrible.
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone (That’s right, you’re getting BlackBerry-shamed. Love, Sanders)
Tags: Big Show, clashy ring attire, Mick Foley, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, VInce McMahon, wrestlemania 15