If you remember one thing about Wrestlemania XIV, it will be that it started what was known as the Stone Cold era in the WWF. Steve Austin was arguably the most popular wrestler for his time as well as the biggest money maker in the business during his stretch of being on top. Austin’s ascent to the top helped make Vince McMahon a billionaire and the WWF a household name.
If you remember a second thing about Wrestlemania XIV, it would be that Mike Tyson was involved. Tyson was coming off some horrendous publicity and wasn’t actually sanctioned to box. It was a bad move for him to in the eyes of boxing people to associate himself with the WWF, but he made a ton of money and also help put the sporting public eyes, which didn’t usually follow professional wrestling, on wrestling. You’d never see wrestling on Sports Center. But with Mike Tyson involved, it was all possible. They don’t call Vince McMahon a promoting genius for nothing.
And if you were to have a really good memory and remember three things that happened at this Wrestlemania, you’d remember Shawn Michaels’ all guts performance in the main event. He worked through an injury that basically ended his career while he was still in his prime. The injury stemmed from a bump he took during his title defense at Royal Rumble against the Undertaker when he went over the top rope and while on his way down, bumped his back on a casket. He didn’t work from them until Mania and he was in obvious pain, grimacing through nearly every step of the match. Rumors have it that before the match actually happened, he was bothered with the finish and had to basically be told by the Undertaker that he should do the finish as planned and put over Steve Austin or else.
To preface this review, I will let you know that out of all Wrestlemanias, this one drew the smallest PPV buy rate. It also is considered one of the worst cards from top to bottom in Mania history. However, there is one reason why this isn’t the worst Wrestlemania ever. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Bret “The Hitman” Hart is why. The politics behind the match are laughable. After Bret Hart put over Shawn Michaels in the main event of Wrestlemania XII, they were supposed to build for a rematch at Wrestlemania 13 with Shawn then putting Bret over. Unfortunately, whether you believe that Shawn didn’t want to put Bret over, or that he was injured, that program didn’t happen and thus, Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Bret “The Hitman” Hart did. Shawn didn’t even wrestle on the card. This match had a lot of significance in branching out Stone Cold’s character. The program did two things perfectly. It established Stone Cold as someone who would never quit and it also helped turn him face, while turning Bret heel at the same time.
The most interesting non-main match on the card was a very snotty Hunter Hearst Helmsley (before he made the DX turn into Triple H) who was seconded in the ring by a very muscular and masculine looking Chyna facing off against Goldust. They actually had a really good match. The kicker was watching Chyna throw around Marlena like a rag doll. That one spot helped make her into a frightening character. She’s still frightening today, but for different reasons.
There was a star driven six man tag match that was also on this card. The Legion Of Doom (or Road Warriors), who were past their prime, teamed up with Ahmed Johnson. If you’ve never heard of Ahmed Johnson, it’s because he was only in the WWF for a couple of years. He was an immediate sensation as a huge and mobile big man, yet he was very sloppy in the ring and people didn’t like working with him because of it. He later tried to make a comeback in WCW years later as Big T, but he was way out of shape and went away very quickly. They took on Crush, Farooq, and Savio Vega in a Chicago Street Fight which is similar to your modern day hardcore match, except the match wasn’t “falls count anywhere”. The match served it’s purpose which was to have LOD, who were always billed from Chicago, get over huge. And putting Ahmed in there with them helped establish him, but also, give the aging tag team some of his rub. However, the match wasn’t anything memorable and it was sloppy at times. But at least the crowd was happy. Continue reading