February 18, 2011
This was the first time I had ever seen the show and on the whole I thought it was a real strong show. Unlike my previous Mania reviews I watched this show in two sittings so I did lose some of the mood for the second half. Mania 14 was from Boston and we had Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler doing commentary.
The show opened with an “Alternative New Wave” version of America the Beautiful by the band that did the DX theme, and my God it was awful. Maybe back in the day when this style of music was popular this might have sounded good but in 2011 listening to it as a 41 year old man, this sucked. They had three guest celebrities for this show, Jenifer Flowers (I have no idea how this women qualified as a celebrity or who she was), Pete Rose, and of course Mike Tyson as the special guest enforcer in the main event.
Crowd was very hot for this show which likely made the matches seem better than they were, but at the end of the day if the crowd loves the match it’s a good match. Not much else of note on the whole for the show so lets get to the match by match:
15 Team #1 Contender Tag Team Battle Royal:
There were 14 teams promoted for this match with one surprise team to be revealed at the show. The surprise team was the return of the Legion of Doom, in their Legion of Doom 2000 outfits managed by Sunny. They got a huge ovation and as the surprise team there was little doubt who was going to win this match. Battle Royals generally suck and this for the most part was a standard Battle Royal, but it was only 8 minutes and the Road Warriors got a huge pop for the finish so no complaints it was as good as it could be.
Taka Michinoku vs Aguila (Light Heavy Weight Title):
I always preferred the term “Light Heavy Weight” to “Cruiser Weight” and now with the prominence of UFC I’d love for them to bring it back and do a 205 lbs weight limit like UFC. That said I didn’t care for this match much. It was a little too luchariffic for my tastes. It was just a bunch of spots done in 5 minutes. To be fair they were a bunch of fun exciting spots and the crowd liked them for the most part. All the crazy moves these guys did I thought it was absurd for the finish to be a sit out body slam. I know it was his finisher but come on Taka’s finisher was the least impressive thing he ever did. Match was fine just not my taste.
HHH vs Owen Hart (European Title):
Chyna was out with Hunter and man she was huge. Actually there were a lot of huge people on this show, you could definitely tell this was pre-Wellness. This was a pretty good match, solid early and picked up really well going into the nearfalls. Owen had an awesome belly to belly suplex. The gimmick of this match was the Chyna was handcuffed to Sergeant Slaughter to keep her from interfering so of course the finish involved her interfering, but at least it was done extremely well and the timing was great and Hunter got a lot of heat out of screwing Owen and retaining the title. This was quite good.
Mark Mero & Sable vs Goldust & Luna:
Technically not he greatest match but Sable was super over and the match was laid out to take full advantage of that. Great hot tag to Sable and the crowd went nuts, they hit a few really good false finishes and Sable won in the end and the crowd went nuts. Again technically not great but a huge thumbs up and the crowd loved it.
- Tennessee Lee introduced Jenifer Flowers and Jeff Jarrett who came out. Jenifer introduced the next match, I have no idea what the hell Double J was doing out there.
The Rock vs. Ken Shamrock (IC Title):
This match disturbed me a little bit. They played a video package of the build of to this match which consisted of Ken Shamrock taking a bunch of unprotected chair shots to the head and face. Match was okay but nothing great as far as wrestling goes, and a very weird finish. They finally worked to a ref distraction and Rocky blasts Ken with yet another unprotected chair shot. Ken proceeded to kick out and just get up and blow a comeback. He destroyed Rock put him in the ankle lock and Rock tapped out. Ken continued to freak out in an uncontrollable rag destroying every member of the Nation of Domination and a half dozen refs. He then went back to put Rock in the Ankle lock again. Rock is for some reason bleeding from the mouth from the Ankle Lock (no idea) Ken refuses to let go, and they announce that the ref has reversed the decision and given the title back to The Rock. Ken flips out again and destroys Rock some more. This was very weird but the crowd did seem to get into the crazed Ken Shamrock.
New Age Outlaws vs. Cactus Jack & Chain Saw Charley (Tag Title Dumpster match):
This was a bit dumb, and for the record Chain Saw Charley was Terry Funk. The rules were that you had to put both opponents in a garbage dumpster and close the lid. This was just a wacky nonsensical stiff brawls. There were more unprotected chair shots to the head and pointless spots and bumps. At one point the baby faces actually pulled Road Dog out of the dumpster in order to do more spots. They also did this huge ladder spot where Billy Gunn and Cactus took this huge bump ff the ladder into the dumpster and they didn’t even tease a near finish; both guys just got up and climbed out 15-20 seconds later. In the end they brawled to the back, you know away from the dumpster they needed to win the match. New Age Outlaws ended up on a Fork Lift and Funk drove it over to a backstage dumpster and dumped them in and closed the lid to win the Titles. If you like wild hardcore brawling this watch was for you; not my cup of tea however.
Undertaker vs Kane:
Pete Rose came out to do introductions and proceeded to bury the Boston crowd. He was getting a ton of heat and while they were showing crowd shots you could see Linda McMahon sitting in the crowd which was very strange. Kane was out first and gave Pete Rose a Tombstone pile driver. Taker was out next with a super long and awesome ring entrance. I think this match was likely a lot better back then with the heat of the angle. The match was mostly just Kane beating down Taker which was fairly slow. Highlights of the match were a monstrous dive by Taker over the top rope and getting throw into the announce desk. This looked very painful. Kane kicked out of 2 tombstone pile driver before finally getting pinned by the third one. Crowd popped on the finish and Kane did a post match beat down of Taker. Without the interest in the angle from the day this match was just okay.
HBK vs. Steve Austin (WWF Title):
Mike Tyson was out as the enforcer ref on the floor. Austin was super over and the crowd was completely into this. Match was very intense and exciting and you could really tell they were out there just feeling the crowd and each other and this was pretty awesome. There was one missed spot in the ring that they covered quite well. The match built great and the place went nuts when Austin finally hit the stunner and Mike Tyson counted 3. Austin wins the title, the Austin era begins and Shawn eats a right hand from Mike Tyson to send everyone home happy. This was quite great, and when you consider the two guys in the match this should be no surprise to anyone.
On the whole I thought this was a pretty solid WrestleMania and one of the best to date. Thinking back to the reviews of done so far seldom was there more than 2 really good matches and often several really bad ones. On this show there was 1 great match, 2 really good ones, 4 matches that were okay to good depending on your tastes, and no real stinkers. Crowd was really hot which helped and at the end I felt like I had seen a good show. Thumbs up.