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Nestlemania’s Wrestlemania 15 Review: The Ragin’ Climax? What Now?

Let’s kick this one off with a Nerdy Nestle Note. Wrestlemania 15 was one of the first DVD’s I ever bought. Not wrestling DVDs. But DVDs.

Wrestlemania 15 is in Philadelphia a notoriously loud wrestling town – arguably one of the best in America. Attendance was 20,276 with a gross of $1,437,050. Business is booming. We are well into the Attitude Era and “wrestling” is hot. I use quotes because there’s little to no wrestling on this show.

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We start out with what I believe is one of the best Wrestlemania opens ever. “Classy” Freddie Blassie voices it. Talking about Gods, immortality, and the importance of cementing your legacy. It’s old school footage mixed in with Freddie walking around. It’s tremendous and got legitimate goosebumps watching it.

The opener to Wrestlemania 15, The Hardcore Title match. As Hardcore Holly defeats Al Snow and Billy Gunn for his 2nd Hardcore Title in 7:07. I kind of understand this was a match that would get the crowd going. It’s hardcore. Weapons. Yay! But if this is your starting point, you’re setting the bar high for violence right out of the gate. A hockey stick spot was nice, a “Let’s go Flyers” chant broke out, and then there was a table spot.

Hardcore wrestling when done right is awesome. This was just stupid all the way through. (Grade: D+)

Next, was a head-scratcher. On Sunday Night Heat, there’s a battle royal and the last two competitors in it would challenge for the tag titles later in the show. I guess I’ll buy that faulty logic. Winners of the battle royal are D’Lo Brown and Test. They face Owen Hart and Jeff Jarrett.

Jarrett and Hart w/Debra beat D’Lo w/ Ivory and Test in 3:59. That’s right, a tag titles match was less than 4 minutes. And the ending made no sense as well. It was an OK match. There was nothing really wrong with it. Debra gets involved at the end. Ivory pulls her down the PMS come down. (Looked like the missed their cue because they had no impact whatsoever.) Hart hit a missile dropkick and Jarrett rolls up Brown. Who cares? Dog shit. Why have this at all? This is a complete waste of time. (Grade: F)

The worst thing to ever happen to wrestling is next. The Brawl for All. Boxing Champion
Vinny Pazienza was the special guest ref. Three judges were out there, none worth mentioning. . . except Gorilla Monsoon! This would be his final TV appearance. I will always love that man. Anyway, to the “event”

Butterbean kills Bart Gunn in 35 seconds! 35 fucking seconds! Are you kidding me? This whole idea was garbage! This whole tournament is stupid. You try to show off who’s the toughest dude in the WWE, only to have him face a legitimate boxer. What did you think was gonna happen? They didn’t market Bart Gunn as a star, and they certainly couldn’t after a 35-second loss. A 16-man tournament was for absolutely nothing except a laundry list of injuries. Fuck Vince Russo. This left a black eye on the company for a bit. (Pun intended) (Grade: F-)

The next match was the first thing that made sense on paper. Winner becomes the special guest referee for the main event. Mankind defeats Big Show by DQ in 6:52.

Big Show is brand new to the company, and he really wants this you can tell. The dude beats the living crap out of Mankind, and Big Show pulls out a BEAUTIFUL Russian leg sweep. I don’t like either guy at all, but man, they tried really hard here. And… then the ending happens. Mr. Socko is in the Big Show’s mouth, Mankind turns around to get on Big Show’s back and then Show throws them backwards and Foley takes the brunt of it. Big Massive Bump, damn that hurts watching. The Big Show uses a chair on the outside, NO DQ! Big Show puts two chairs together and choke slams Mankind through it… DQ! What the fuck are we doing here? This era does not care about refs at all or their power within the ring. Makes no sense. (Grade: D)

After, Vince comes down and yells at the Big Show saying he had a plan damn it and Show ruined it. Show grabs him for a choke slam but puts him down. Then after more of Vince yelling, Show knocks him out. Crowd pops. After a video package, there’s a backstage segment saying Big Show should be arrested.

A forgettable and terrible match is next. A four-corners match for the Intercontinental Title. Road Dogg defeats Goldust w/Blue Meanie and Ryan Shamrock, Ken Shamrock and Val Venis in 9:46. This was odd to begin with. I completely forget about
Road Dogg as IC Champion when they were trying to make the New Age Outlaws singles champions. This match was a complete waste of time. About halfway through Shamrock and Venis get counted out. (To cut time, I assume) and we are left with Dogg and Goldust. Match ends when Goldust sends Dogg off an Irish whip, Dogg reverses, Ryan Shamrock grabs the foot of Goldust “by accident” and then Dogg runs full speed into Goldust who picks him up for a power slam, and a sloppy reversal occurs. Road Dogg gets the win. This. Was. BAD. (Grade: D-)

The setup of the next match, HHH vs. Kane, was interesting. Kane is a heel for the corporation, Chyna was hurt on a Raw, and Kane helped her to the back. HHH came out next week was pissed Chyna was with the Corporation so he shot Kane with a Flamethrower. Yes, a flamethrower.

OH! A quick note before the match, we get the continuation of Pete Rose and Kane. As Rose comes down as a San Diego Chicken. Rose gets a tombstone for his efforts. I love this stuff. Callbacks are always fun.

Kane w/Chyna beats HHH by DQ in 11:32. HHH sneaks up from behind and nails Kane with a low blow during his entrance. (Btw, the amount of low blows in this PPV is unsettling. It happens multiple times in almost every match. It loses its effect way early and it makes the rest of the show look bad.) There’s a lot of brawling in this match. At one point Kane does an over the top rope plancha which was pretty amazing. Chyna eventually comes down and puts the steel steps in the ring. The steps get used… once again NO DQ! Who cares? Match ends as Kane chokeslams HHH, Chyna enters with a chair saying let me hit him, and backs up and hits Kane. Now we get a DQ. Are you fucking kidding me? Two times so far in the event. What the actual fuck? Kane’s pissed. HHH picks up the chair and hits him and pedigrees Kane. Chyna and HHH hug and the crowd pops for it. So what the fuck do I know? (Grade: D+)

Quick Vince promo saying he’s the special guest ref DAMNIT!

Women’s wrestling was not at its high point just yet, as the Talentless Sable takes on Tori. Tori looked like she just came from a practice of Broadway’s Cats.

Sable defeated Tori in 5:08. All Sable was doing was kick and grind. She grinded so much she probably thought people were gonna give her dollar bills. This match is unwatchable. Although men like Sable, DUH! So she’s money, but not in the ring. The moves are sloppy, and everything looks unrealistic. It’s a real shame. Ref bump (I lost count how many on the night, it gets worse) Nicole Bass comes in and destroys Tori. Sable wins. (Grade: F-)

Backstage we have a reunited DX talking about kicking Shane McMahon’s ass.

Which transitions into X-Pac vs. Shane McMahon w/Test for the European title. (Which is Waltman’s first Wrestlemania match, such a bummer that the kid never really got his due on the main stage). Now I remember as a kid being a huge fan of X-Pac and loving this matchup. I didn’t really care about the rest of the card, but I loved Pac.

Shane McMahon beats X-Pac to retain the European Championship in 8:42. The Mean Street Posse attack Pac before the bell, stacking the odds against him. It’s a bit of cat and mouse. Test gets involved helps Shane. Shane does the people’s elbow but misses. Low blow by Shane off the Test distraction, yes again. Shane starts whipping X-Pac with a belt, nope, NO DQ. Who cares? Match spills to the outside where the Mean Street Posse holds X-Pac while he tries to mount a comeback. Test beats up X-Pac some more. After some back and forth X-Pac gets the belt, whips Shane… yeah, we know you don’t care about DQs. After X-Pac hits a Bronco Buster the ref checks on Shane. Test slides in the belt and smashes Pac. Pac kicks out. Test gets involved again but gets a bronco buster. HHH and Chyna come down to even the odds. What took you guys so long? Where’s the solidarity? HHH pulls Test out. X-Pac hits an X-Factor, Chyna distracts the ref, HHH slides in hits the Pedigree and Shane gets thrown on top. 1, 2, 3, …Kid. The Heel turn is complete BROOOOOOO. Fuck Vince Russo. This match wasn’t as bad as the others up to this point, but still, WTF am I watching. (Grade: D+)

After the match, Outlaws come down to get beat up, its blacked out, Kane comes down and everyone runs away. Most of this show is what happens before and after the matches. Not the matches themselves. This really pisses me off.

Now for something that really pisses me off, Undertaker beats Big Boss Man in a Hell in a Cell match in 9:48. Not a lot to say. It’s a forgettable Hell in a Cell. A hilarious moment that the crowd hates, Boss Man handcuffs Taker to the cage, hits him with a nightstick and Taker falls and the handcuffs break. It’s a great LOL. They use the cage, they both are bleeding, and tombstone and we are done. Thank God. Brood comes down from the rafters and gives Undertaker a noose, A NOOSE to hang Boss Man. Granted I know this is entertainment, but this is just tasteless given the circumstances. I hated this all the way through. After Boss Man is dangling for a while they shut the lights off. Yeah, it’s a nice stunt, but I didn’t see the value in it. (Grade: F)

Main Event is about to start. Vince comes dwn, but is stopped by HBK. (Crowd loves him, DUH) tells Vince you’re not the ref hit the bricks.

Note: Jim Ross comes out for the Main Event. Michael Cole was calling the whole show and boy was it bad. We have the Champion come out first at Wrestlemania. We all know how much JC hates this. I can feel him getting angry. Austin comes out sans vest. (He said he forgot it) and we are ready to go.

Stone Cold Steve Austin beats The Rock to become WWF Champion in 16:53. Now this match is a No DQ match. Like it matters at this point, but whatever. They brawl into the crowd, Austin takes a back body drop onto the lights, they battle into the signage, and Austin drops an elbow through an announcer’s table. The crowd is super into it. At one point Mike Chioda takes a chair shot to the head. THAT’S RIGHT! A REF TAKES A CHAIR SHOT TO THE HEAD CUZ IT’S MANIA! One ref done, another to follow as The Rock is frustrated after an Austin kick out and Rock Bottoms Tim White. It gives Austin time to get up and hit Rock with a Stunner. Earl Hebner comes in Rock kicks out at two. Vince comes down distracts Austin, Rock hits a low blow… repetitive don’t you think? Two heels beat up Austin and Hebner. Here comes Mankind. Mankind throws Vince out, and we are back to square one. After a Lou Thesz Press, Rock gets up delivers a Rock Bottom and goes for the “Corporate Elbow”… misses Austin gets up goes to kick, Rock catches, puts Austin in the Rock Bottom, Austin elbows out… Austin hits the Stunner and becomes the only man to win the WWF title at Wrestlemania two years in a row! (Grade: C+)

By far the best match on the card. After the match, Austin is celebrating with Hebner, having some Steve-weisers and walks past McMahon.

Kind of amazing note: Vince is screaming that’s MY BELT, THAT’S MY BELT. It’s funny knowing that Vince hates the term “Belt.” Seeing him say it here kind of makes you wonder when did this change of heart begin. Nowadays people apparently brainwashed to say Title.

Vince gets thrown into the ring for a stunner and a beer bath. End of the night!

This show was complete dog shit until the end. Even then the match wasn’t something I will always remember. Too many weapons, too many low blows, ref bumps, and blatant disregard for the rules really pissed me off while watching this. It made the whole night feel like a Monday Night RAW on Steroids, and it did not deliver between the ropes. Now granted, money-wise this was seen as a success, it was the hottest time in Pro Wrestling. But does anyone ever really remember these Attitude Era matches besides craziest of them all? All these guys no matter where they are the card kill themselves with stuff that we don’t even remember. It’s really sad. Another thing that was clearly apparent was that the wrestling didn’t matter. It was all plot points, which again isn’t a negative but it felt like a lot of this show had the same kind of stuff going on. If everything looks and feels the same, how are you going to remember it? I will remember this Wrestlemania for how much of a pill it was to watch. And it left a legacy in my mind, the Attitude Era sucked.

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