Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over twelve years now and have reviewed over 6,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?


Wrestlemania XIV
Date: March 29, 1998
Location: Fleetcenter, Boston, Massachusetts
Attendance: 19,028
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross
America the Beautiful: Chris Warren

This is the first of the annual redos and it’s a show that is incredibly historic but doesn’t get the most attention. As you might remember, the main event is Steve Austin getting his shot against Shawn Michaels for the WWF Title, along with Kane vs. Undertaker for the first time ever. Let’s get to it.

The opening video looks at the history of Wrestlemania and how tradition has been taken hostage by a new generation. These people are here to be the top stars and fight for the same title held by Andre, Hogan and Bruno. This year is destined to become a part of the history and somewhere, the father of Wrestlemania will revel in it as well.

Tag Team Battle Royal

Faarooq/Kama Mustafa, Savio Vega/Miguel Perez Jr., Jose Estrada Jr./Jesus Castillo, Truth Commission, Bradshaw/Chainz, New Midnight Express, Mark Henry/D’Lo Brown, Quebecers, LOD 2000, Rock N Roll Express, Headbangers, Too Much, Disciples Of Apocalypse, Steve Blackman/Flash Funk, Godwinns

For a future Tag Team Title shot and LOD 2000, with Sunny, are surprise entrants. If one member is eliminated, the entire team is gone. It’s a huge brawl to start (as it has to be) as JR tries to keep track of everyone involved. Vega is out, with Perez having to be helped to the back. Jim Cornette and Sunny argue on the floor as Kurrgan comes out to help eliminate the Truth Commission.

Cue Barry Windham (not in the match) to toss Chainz out and sure we’ll count that. Brown is eliminated and the Quebecers follow as the ring is clearing out a good bit. The Rock N Roll Express are out and Estrada/Castillo follow. The Headbangers are tossed as well, with JR wondering why Mark Henry is still in there despite his partner being tossed. Henry gets the message and leaves as Animal gets rid of Too Much.

We’re down to the Midnights, the LOD, the Disciples and the Godwinns as they didn’t waste time here. Things slow down a bit with Hawk shoulders Henry but Phineas is back up to get rid of the Disciples. Hold on though as the Disciples come back in to throw the Godwinns out, leaving us with two. Then the Godwinns get back in again and hit the LOD with their buckets. Animal is sent outside through the ropes but comes back in to make the save. Hawk hits a clothesline to get rid of Holly for the win at 8:21.

Rating: C-. This was nothing but a way for the LOD to come in with their new look and Sunny then run through some people for a win. There was almost no drama to this one and the stuff with the Godwinns seemed to be setting up something for the LOD going forward. Having the LOD come out for the return pop worked but a thirty man battle royal which took awhile to get through didn’t help.

We look at various media events to promote the show, including the DX public workout which almost went very badly due to Shawn Michaels being in quite the bad place.

Light Heavyweight Title: Taka Michinoku vs. Aguila

Michinoku is defending and Aguila would go on to be better known as Essa Rios. Aguila snaps off a headscissors and a spinwheel kick to send Taka outside. That means a baseball slide into a top rope moonsault (which JR calls an Asai moonsault) to take Taka out again. Back in and Taka dropkicks him to the floor for a change, setting up the always great looking top rope dive to the floor.

Back in again and Aguila sends him outside again, only to have Taka go up top. That’s fine with Aguila, who runs the corner and hits a top rope armdrag. A springboard armdrag and a very spinning wristdrag have Taka on the floor again, setting up the big corkscrew dive. JR is trying to keep up with this while Lawler has more or less given up.

Taka misses a moonsault back inside and gets planted for two before being sat up top. Aguila gets knocked down but Taka’s splash hits knees, allowing Aguila to hit a middle rope hurricanrana. A missile dropkick gets Taka out of trouble though and the sit out powerbomb plants Aguila again. Taka misses a middle rope moonsault, only to dropkick him out of the air. The Michinoku Driver retains the title at 5:59.

Rating: B-. It was a total popcorn match as they were all over the place with the high spots and as a result, it was rather entertaining. That being said, this felt like someone saw the cruiserweights in WCW and decided to do their own lower level version. That’s more or less exactly what this was, which is one of the reasons the division didn’t stick. Fun match, but it could have been on any given edition on Raw.

Gennifer Flowers interviewed the Rock earlier today, and asked how he would handle the homeless situation if he was leader. Rock prefers ruler, but the reality is that if those people stay off his lawn and in their boxes, he’s happy. As for the judicial system, as long as you realize he’s the judge and jury, everything is fine. Just remember that he would be a hung jury. Finally, he’s fine with running the White House as long as the interns underneath him do their, ahem, jobs. This was basically a celebrity serving Rock up some batting practice.

European Title: HHH vs. Owen Hart

HHH, with Chyna, is defending in one of the last bits of fallout from Montreal. Hart has a bad ankle coming in and Chyna is handcuffed to Commissioner Sgt. Slaughter. Hart slugs away to start and snaps off a hurricanrana for two, only to get elbowed in the jaw for his efforts. With Hart out on the floor, Chyna tries a right hand but gets pulled back by Slaughter, meaning HHH’s cheap shot doesn’t work either.

It’s way too early for a Sharpshooter back inside and HHH grabs the facebuster to take over. The jumping knee gets two and Lawler is literally screaming at HHH to go after the ankle. A DDT gets two before it’s FINALLY time to go after the ankle. HHH goes old school (yes even back then) with the spinning toehold, followed by an elbow onto the leg. More cranking on the leg in the corner has Owen in trouble but he’s able to come back with a belly to belly.

A spinwheel kick gives Hart two and he hits the enziguri, only to hurt the bad ankle again. The hurricanrana is countered with a hard powerbomb to give HHH two more as things slow down a bit. HHH puts him up top but gets shoved away, setting up a high crossbody for two. Owen falls head first into a low blow ala Sting (always works), sending Lawler into hysterics over the referee not calling a DQ. The Sharpshooter goes on but HHH makes the ropes. With the referee distracted, Chyna throws powder in Slaughter’s eyes and hits Hart low. That and the Pedigree are enough to retain the title at 11:28.

Rating: C+. This was good enough, though it’s far from the HHH that he would later become. The ending didn’t exactly keep Owen looking strong and that was pretty much the point of the match. Slaughter was barely a factor here, but that is the summation of his time as Commissioner: a grand total of nothing and it was nice to see him go away.

Post match Chyna beats up Slaughter.

We recap Sable/Marc Mero vs. Luna Vachon/The Artist Formerly Known As Goldust. In short, Sable is a star, Mero doesn’t like it, Luna and Goldust tried to do something about it and Mero came to her defense. Or the more realistic version: Sable, Sable, Sable, Sable, Sable, Sable and Sable. Er wait, putting “and” in front of her might suggest that Sable isn’t important and we can’t have that.

Marc Mero/Sable vs. Luna Vachon/The Artist Formerly Known As Goldust

Goldust takes Mero into the corner to start but gets caught with a running headscissors. The women come in but Luna immediately tags back out, leaving Sable to superkick (ok not so super) Goldust. Mero comes back in and is quickly clotheslined down as Lawler wants to know why Luna won’t fight Sable.

The villains take over on Mero, who manages a boot in the corner to put Goldust down. Luna gets the tag and so does Sable, which seems rather unnecessary due to the rules. Sable cleans house in the traditional catfighting style but does throw in some kicks in the corner. A clothesline puts Luna on the floor and it’s back to Goldust, who gets sent into the steps. Back in and the TKO is countered into a DDT to give Goldust two as things slow down again.

Mero knee lifts his way to freedom and a springboard moonsault press (which BARELY rotates enough) gives him two. This time it’s Goldust going up top but getting crotched right back down. A super hurricanrana sets up the TKO for two, with Luna making the save. Sable tags herself in and covers Goldust (as the rules are all over the place here) but has to avoid Luna’s top rope splash. Sable powerbombs Luna for two before avoiding a charge against the ropes. The TKO gives Sable the pin at 9:08.

Rating: C-. I know it’s been said to death, but simply put, Sable just wasn’t very good. She was there because of how she looked in gear and she knew how to sell a shirt, but those are the high points of her talent. The other three were trying, but this was all about Sable and everyone could tell from the second the match was announced.

Tennessee Lee (better known as Robert Fuller/Colonel Robert Parker) brings out Jeff Jarrett with Gennifer Flowers, the latter of whom is guest ring announcer for the next match.

Intercontinental Title: The Rock vs. Ken Shamrock

The Rock, with the Nation of Domination, is defending. Shamrock has been wanting the title and Rock gave him one heck of a scary chair shot to the face. Rock also accidentally hit Nation leader Faarooq, which seems to bode badly for him. They start fast as JR says this is for the European Title. Shamrock kicks him in the chest to start and they go to the floor, with Rock staggering near the technical equipment.

Back in and Shamrock strikes him down again before bouncing Rock’s head against the mat. They go back outside with Rock managing a whip into the steps for a much needed breather. That sets up the not quite People’s Elbow for two but Shamrock sends him outside again. The chair is loaded up but the referee grabs it, earning him a shove from Shamrock. Rock grabs said chair for a shot to the head for a near fall as the referee is back up. Shamrock unloads on Rock and belly to belly suplexes him into the ankle lock for the tap/the title at 4:49.

Rating: C. They kept this one moving as it wasn’t even five minutes long, with Rock only getting in a few shots here and there. Shamrock ore or less mauled him, with that chair shot barely doing any damage. This almost felt like a TV match instead of some big pay per view (let alone Wrestlemania) title match, but it also made Shamrock look like a monster by running through the champ that fast.

Post match Shamrock stays on the Rock so here are the Nation and some referees. That doesn’t work at all as Shamrock beats everyone up, which is enough for the referee to reverse the decision, meaning Rock retains. Shamrock blows off some more steam by beating up Rock on the stretcher. This really doesn’t feel like a Wrestlemania title match, but it was a rather different time. Again though: Shamrock looked like a killer and that worked well.

We get the still awesome “we are real athletes” promo, with wrestlers talking about their backgrounds and the injuries they had to deal with over their careers.

We recap the New Age Outlaws defending the Tag Team Titles against Chainsaw Charlie/Cactus Jack. The Outlaws don’t like old guys and put the two of them in a dumpster for a ride off the stage. Now it’s time for the appropriate choice of a dumpster match.

Tag Team Titles: Cactus Jack/Chainsaw Charlie vs. New Age Outlaws

The Outlaws are defending in a dumpster match (same rules as a casket match). It’s a brawl to start with Cactus trying to put Dogg in the dumpster early. That’s broken up and a metal sheet to the head slows Cactus down. Cactus’ flip dive off the apron only hits dumpster (you knew that was coming) and Gunn backdrops Charlie (or Funk as JR calls him) into the dumpster.

The Outlaws slam the dumpster lids onto Cactus and Charlie’s heads as JR thinks the old guys like this a bit. Cactus blocks the slamming of the lid though and it’s time to bring out some more weapons to crank up the violence. An elbow off the apron with a cookie sheet hits Gunn and of course it’s time for the ladder. Cactus and Gunn go up, only to be sent crashing into the dumpster for the big spot.

With Cactus getting out, Charlie gets powerbombed into the dumpster, leaving the Outlaws to take Cactus up to the entrance, which doesn’t feel overly logical. They go to the back so we look at some highlights, which would feel so bizarre these days. Cactus is sent into various catering things, including big Surge and Powerade displays. Gunn gets double armed DDT’ed onto a forklift and here is Charlie to pick both Outlaws up and drop them into a dumpster. Cactus closes the lid for the win and the titles at 10:17.

Rating: C+. This wasn’t exactly your traditional match but what mattered the most was Cactus and Charlie getting their revenge after taking a huge beating. The fans wanted to see them win the titles and that is what they got. Granted it was on the Titantron, but that is better than not getting the belts at all. It makes sense to not put the Outlaws in a more traditional match as that was never really their thing, so thankfully this was a case of playing to their strengths.

We recap Kane vs. Undertaker and…yeah this is a deep one. So Paul Bearer turned on Undertaker, who wanted revenge. Eventually Bearer revealed that Undertaker had a brother named Kane, who was believed to be killed in a fire as a child. In reality, Kane was still alive and had apparently been kept hidden by Bearer for years. Then Kane appeared and wanted revenge on Undertaker, attacking every wrestler he could until Undertaker agreed to fight.

Undertaker never would, so eventually Kane put Undertaker in a casket and burned him alive (after teasing joining Undertaker in a pretty cool moment). That violates one of the most important rules in wrestling, which says “don’t tick off a giant monster who may or may not have evil powers”. This included Undertaker appearing on top of the Titantron and lighting a casket on fire, revealing a burning Kane inside for one of the most amazing things I had ever seen at 10 years old. Now it’s time for their first fight and this is huge.

Here is Pete Rose as a special guest and he is all over the Boston Red Sox fans, instantly getting every single thing about being a heel in wrestling. Rose halfway introduces Kane, who makes his full entrance….and promptly annihilates Rose with a Tombstone. This makes Kane the most popular man in Boston for at least a good thirty seconds.

Undertaker vs. Kane

Kane has Paul Bearer with him but Undertaker comes out with the tunnel made of torch carrying druids for one of the all time awesome entrances. They go nose to nose for an awesome visual before Undertaker starts striking away (I believe the first time he has ever attacked Kane). That’s enough to knock Kane into the corner, where he launches Undertaker in instead. Kane strikes away and puts him in the Tree of Woe to continue said striking.

Undertaker is sent outside for a second before the beating continues back inside. For some reason Undertaker tries to jump onto Kane’s shoulders, earning him a quick crash back down. Kane hits him with the steps and even Bearer gets in some cheap shots from behind. Back in and Undertaker starts running the ropes rather hard (that always looks cool), only to charge into a chokeslam, with Kane pulling him up at two.

We hit the chinlock, which is where the match grinds to a halt. Kane is a monster who has basically become a horror movie villain, but he knows how to grab a chinlock and lay on the mat for a bit? There is something that completely misses there and it kills the match dead. That’s broken up and Kane drops an elbow before grabbing another chinlock. Undertaker finally powers his way out and sends Kane outside, where the Taker Dive is sent crashing through the announcers’ table in a great visual.

Back in and the top rope clothesline gives Kane two but Undertaker is back with a Tombstone…which is reversed into one from Kane for two. That wakes the fans way back up and Undertaker starts striking away as Kane is starting to stagger. A running clothesline puts Kane down and there’s the chokeslam into a Tombstone for two on Kane. Another Tombstone gets another two, with Kane kind of twitching his shoulder for the kickout. The top rope clothesline into a third Tombstone (with a regular cover instead of the hands over the chest) finish Kane off at 16:59, though Kane kicks at about 3.1.

Rating: B-. This is a match that started and ended well, but there is a long stretch in the middle and it really hurt things. That chinlock segment and a bunch of the basic wrestling they did felt like it was out of a completely different match, which dragged things way down. This really needed to have about five minutes cut out, because the opening staredown and brawl worked, along with the last portion. Instead, it’s a rather long match that didn’t work as well as it should have.

At the same time, Undertaker winning didn’t exactly feel right, as Kane had been built up as this monster who should have been a different kind of opponent. In this situation, it would have made sense for him to win and beat Undertaker to set up some big, and much more violent, rematch. What we got was ok, but it should have been that much better.

Post match Bearer comes in to stomp on Undertaker, who fights up and hits Bearer in the face. Kane is back up and wrecks Undertaker with the chair, setting up a Tombstone onto it to leave Undertaker laying. Kane and Bearer leave, with Undertaker getting up and kind of falling out to the floor.

We get a vignette featuring various legends, who talk about how they had their day but can never do this kind of thing today. Now, they cheer for these new people. This is an all timer from the company and shows how everything has changed. Awesome indeed.

We recap Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels for the WWF Title. Austin is on an all time roll and is ready to claim his destiny, but he has to deal with not only Shawn, but the rest of DX, including Mike Tyson, who has joined the team and is a special referee. To call this huge would be an understatement as even Eric Bischoff said “oooh, that’s pretty good.”

WWF Title: Shawn Michaels vs. Steve Austin

Michaels, with HHH and Chyna, is defending and Mike Tyson is guest enforcer referee. We get the long tracking shots from the back, which are still some of the best things WWF ever did and make things feel that much bigger. The DX Band plays Shawn to the ring for something that should be cool but they don’t quite have that epic feeling.

Austin flips him off to start and gets punched in the face, which does not sit well. The chase is on outside, followed by Austin hitting him in the head on the way back in. Shawn’s attempt to escape results in his tights being pulled down before Austin backdrops him onto HHH. That doesn’t work for HHH, who whips Austin into the barricade. HHH and Chyna are ejected and things are a lot more even.

Never one to lose a chance to beat someone up, Austin sends HHH into the DX Band set, earning himself a cymbal to the head from Shawn. Back in and Austin hammers away before flipping Shawn over in the corner. An atomic drop of all things gets two and the Stun Gun gets the same. Austin knocks him off the apron and into the announcers’ table, followed by the chinlock back inside.

Shawn fights up but gets sent hard into the post. The fight heads back to the floor, where Austin is sent over the barricade and Shawn clocks him with the ring bell. Back in and Shawn slowly hammers away until Austin fights up with right hands. Shawn is sent over the top for the crash but he’s fine enough to wrap Austin’s knee around the post. They get back inside again with Shawn slowly starting in on the leg but Austin fights back up.

That’s enough for Tyson to offer a distraction though, with Shawn getting in a chop block. The Figure Four has Austin in more trouble be fore finally breaks it up. Austin fights up again and makes another comeback, with the referee getting bumped, leaving Shawn to hit a not so great forearm. There’s the nip up into into the top rope elbow and Shawn loads up the superkick. That doesn’t work as Austin ducks and grabs the Stunner, with Tyson coming in to count the pin for the title at 20:06.

Rating: B. This is one of those matches that has so many details that make things all the more interesting. While it is Austin’s big crowning moment and the start of a new era, there was only so much that could have been done because of Michaels’ injuries. It would have been interesting to see what they could have done at full strength, but the match did the one thing that it needed: Austin hitting the Stunner to win the WWF Title for the first time.

Post match the celebration is on, with JR getting in the all time line of “the Austin Era has begun.” Austin throws Tyson an Austin shirt but Shawn gets up and isn’t happy. He takes the shirt away and tries a right hand, with Tyson easily blocking it and dropping Shawn with a right hand of his own. Tyson and Austin celebrate, confetti falls and the highlight package wraps us up.

Overall Rating: B. This show is rather weird in a lot of ways, as it might not be the best show in the way of quality, but it was one of the most important shows the company has ever had. First of course there is Austin, whose win took the company into an entirely new era. It’s the definition of a Wrestlemania Moment and it is still played in highlight reels decades later for a reason.

At the same time you have the focus on a much more in your face style, with stuff like the dumpster match and Kane vs. Undertaker being a weird sci-fi soap opera. The last three matches (and the Intercontinental Title to a lesser extent) felt big and that is what they were supposed to do. The first half of the show is only so good, but once this show kicks in, it kicks in hard and the company was off to the races soon after.

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You can find more from Thomas Hall at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.

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