In the early 1990’s when Ric Flair came to the WWF after a long career wrestling for the NWA, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan was his financial adviser at the time. However, Heenan was also the color commentator alongside Gorilla Monsoon. Heenan had a great way in getting Flair over. He would say that since Flair was an outsider to WWF, people were trying to hold him down. Hence the phrase, “Be fair to Flair”. What does Ric Flair and Bobby Heenan circa 1992 have to do with Wrestlemania XV? Well, there’s a man named Mick Foley who had a dream of main eventing Wrestlemania and that man named Mick had a great 4 months in late 1998 and early 1999. He helped The Rock get over big time as a heel and also won the WWF Championship belt for the first time. He and the Rock had some very good matches, but for some reason (probably because they saw Rock vs. Austin as a better money making match), Mick Foley was left out in the cold come Wrestlemania time. Soon before Mania, Foley dropped the belt back to The Rock and was then put in a feud with the Big Show. At the time, the Big Show was actually looked upon as a main eventer, so it wasn’t that large of a step down. However, after working with the Rock and Austin for much of 1998, match-wise it was a major step down. Their Wrestlemania match was awful, (maybe one of the worst matches of Foley’s career) and the feud didn’t really do anything for either guy. Why the long segue from Ric Flair to Mick Foley? Because at the time, I was reminded of Heenan’s phrase while Foley was getting passed over. So I simply added Foley’s name and created my own. Be Fair to Foley. For some reason, the WWF didn’t listen to me.
Wrestlemania was a large disappointment in my eyes mostly because of the short term booking. The top guys were stretched way too thin and the matches seemed to be put together at the last minute. (Hey, sounds familiar to this year’s booking.) The two saving graces were the match pitting Shane McMahon and X-Pac, and the main event between The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Shane McMahon, if he wanted to, could’ve probably been a damn good wrestler. He understands the psychology and takes a damn good bump. Actually, if I was in his position as the son of the owner of the company, I wouldn’t be taking any bumps, but hey, he must love the crowd adulation. Here, he took on X-Pac who, when he’s on, can be good at carrying guys in matches. The match was the second best match on the night, as only the main event between the Rock and Stone Cold was better. The “swerve” of the night was that Triple H, who earlier in the night got back with Chyna who had just jumped to the Corporation (Vince’s heel faction where Rock was his corporate champion), came to the ring, supposedly to save his DX buddy X-Pac, only to heel him, and help Shane McMahon win the match. Triple H and Chyna then both went over to the Corporation, leaving their Degeneration-X buddies behind.
Triple H had a decent match with Kane where they played up the fact that Kane and Chyna had a thing for each other after Chyna left Triple H. And you know that the dumb guy is always going to get screwed so it was no surprise that Chyna helped Triple H get the duke. This is one of the things I had a problem with for not only this PPV, but for WWF in 1999. The storylines bounced around so often that if you missed the show for a couple weeks, you wouldn’t know what the heck was going on.
Let’s go back to Mick Foley, or his alter ego, Mankind. He was in a match with the Big Show, who was also in the Corporation at the time. The winner of the match would referee the main event between Stone Cold and the Rock. As the story went, Vince wanted the Big Show to win the match against Foley so that he would assure that the Rock would beat Austin. However, Foley won the match by disqualification and Vince was mad enough to get in the Big Show’s face to show his disapproval. Show wasn’t going to take it from Vinnie Mac and thus left the Corporation. Do you see why I didn’t like this show? So much activity for one night.
In one of the most embarrassing moments in the history of the WWF, they had a shoot boxing match. Butterbean, who earned his stripes beating tomato cans, fought Bart Gunn, who won a “Brawl For It All” tournament. Gunn won the tournament by beating Dr. Death Steve Williams and then beating the Godfather in the finals. Gunn was scared out of his life in the match and Butterbean knocked him into oblivion in the first round. I don’t think Gunn has been seen on WWF TV since.
Finally, the main event occurred and it was a very solid match. The Rock, was nearly at his best against Stone Cold, who was one year removed from winning the championship for the first time. Both guys sold for each other greatly. The one complaint about the match I had was all the ref bumps. Mankind was going to be the referee after beating Show. However, there was a swerve on top of a swerve. Mankind was hurt, and had to go to the hospital. McMahon gave himself the job of referee. He was knocked out of the match. Finally, Mankind hobbled down to ringside to count the pin for Austin, and the new champ was crowned.
In all, it was a disappointing show, but there were at least two solid matches. The fans went home happy as Austin won the belt and the Rock would make his descent towards babyface stardom very soon.
You’ll see below that there are many matches that I didn’t reference. It’s for very good reason. Believe me, you don’t want to know.
Hardcore Holly defeated Al Snow and Billy Gunn for the Hardcore Championship
Tag Team Champions Owen Hart & Jeff Jarrett defeat D’Lo Brown & Test
Butterbean defeated Bart Gunn in a Brawl for All
Mankind defeated the Big Show via DQ
Road Dogg defeated Ken Shamrock, Goldust and Val Venis in a Four Corners Elimination Intercontinental Championship Match
Kane defeated Triple H via DQ
Women’s Champion Sable defeated Tori via pinfall
European Champion Shane McMahon defeated X-Pac via pinfall
Undertaker defeated Big Boss Man in a Hell in the Cell Match
Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated The Rock to capture the World Wrestling Federation Championship