In the weeks leading up to the show it was initially scheduled to be Hardcore Holly defending with Road Dogg in Billy Gunn’s place. Billy Gunn was slated to participate in the Fatal Four Way for the Intercontinental Championship later on. However Billy won the Hardcore title, and Road Dogg won the IC title necessitating this change. Bet you can’t guess who was firmly entrenched as head writer for this show? Starts with R and ends in usso. Billy Gunn tries to cut a promo before the match, but gets jumped by Snow. Holly kicks away at Gunn in the corner, and sends him to the ropes delivering a right hand. Snow sends Holly down with a right hand and delivers kicks to both men. Holly and Snow head to the floor and Snow whips Holly with a cable. Gunn comes out and attacks Snow, but gets whipped into the ringsteps. Holly attacks Snow from behind and rams him into the guardrail. Holly delivers a suplex on the floor to Snow, but kicked by Billy Gunn before he can get up. Gunn rams Snow into the ringsteps, and then goes for a piledriver and Holly. Snow makes the save, but gets a kick from Holly for his trouble. Snow goes under the ring and grabs a hockey stick which prompts a “Lets go Flyers” chant from the Philly crowd. After a few shots with the stick Snow finds a cooler full of drinks under the ring that he uses as a weapon. Gunn gets a hold of the hockey stick and breaks it over the back of Holly. Holly and Gunn end up the ring and Gunn delivers a few shots with the broken hockey stick. Snow comes in with a brook and breaks it delivering shots with the broomstick to both men. Snow delivers a clothesline with the stick, as Gunn comes in with a chair. Snow delivers a shot to the midsection of Gunn with the chair, and then uses it to springboard into Gunn in the corner. Snow goes for a charge in the corner, but Holly moves and Holly ends up on the floor. Gunn goes out after him and drops Holly on the guardrail. Back inside both men go and they both get shots from Head. Snow goes to the floor and grabs a table firing it into the ring. Snow sets up the table in the corner, and goes to whip Holly into it. Double reversal sends Snow into corner without the table. Gunn comes back and delivers chairshots to both men and fires Snow through the table. Gunn delivers a famouser on the chair to Snow, but Holly attacks with a chair to Gunn. He covers Snow from there and regains the Hardcore title at 7:03. Pretty typical hardcore match. They’re always fun, but if you’ve seen one you’ve seen it all.
Winner: NEW WWF Hardcore Champion: Hardcore Holly (Pinfall on Snow-Chairshot to Gunn **)
-Recap of D’Lo and Test winning a battle royal on Heat to earn them a tag title shot. Another Russo staple, tag team partners who don’t get along.
I actually write this on the day that Andrew “Test” Martin was found dead. Another sad statistic of a wrestler taken from us far too young. Test & D’Lo attack from behind and Owen gets a big boot from Test and a clothesline sending him to the floor. Jarrett gets a hiptoss from D’Lo and a clothesline. Flying forearm connects as D’Lo whips Jarrett to the corner. Elbow from D’Lo connects and both men tag out. Owen comes in with a series of chops to Test, but runs into a boot and a powerbomb for two. Test goes for the pumphandle slam, but Owen counters into an enzaguri. Owen goes for a sharpshooter, but D’Lo makes the save. Tag in to D’Lo who delivers a slam and a legdrop. D’Lo hits the ropes and gets a cheapshot from Jarrett on the apron, and then walks into a spinning heel kick from Owen. Gutwrench suplex connects for Owen who tags out Jarrett. Double clothesline connects to D’Lo and they follow up with a wishbone to his legs. Jarrett drops down on D’Lo who is placed on the second rope, and tags in to Owen. Tag to Owen, but D’Lo comes off with a clothesline to both men. D’Lo delivers dropkicks to both guys, and a Lo-Down to Jarrett. Owen makes the save. PMS runs down and gets in the face of Ivory distracting the referee. Brown goes for the power bomb again, but Owen comes off the top rope with a missile dropkick, which allows Jarrett to get the jackknife rollup allowing the champs to retain at 3:58. Afterward D’Lo and Test brawl. Totally pointless excuse to get a tag team title match on the card.
Winners: STILL WWF Tag Team Champions-Jeff Jarrett & Owen Hart (Jarrett pins Brown-Jackknife rollup *)
-Hype package for the Brawl for All Match.
Brawl for All Match: Butterbean vs. Bart “The Hammer” Gunn
Bart Gunn won the Brawl for All tournament which was an ill-fated shoot fighting tournament set up by WWF in 1998. That led to this rather infamous match. The rules to this match are three one minute rounds. Knockdowns are worth ten points, Takedowns are worth five points, and most punches landed get five points as well. Former Boxing Champion Vinny Pazienza serves as guest referee. Bart gets staggered right off the bat and knocked down. He gets to his feet, and proceeds to get knocked the fuck out in just :36. This would pretty much be the last time that brawl for all was ever mentioned in WWF. After the match The Famous Chicken runs down and gets knocked out by Pazienza
Winner: Butterbean (1st Round Knockout DUD)
-Kevin Kelly talks to Mankind about fulfilling his dream of competing in the Wrestlemania Main Event as a referee.
The Big Show vs. Mankind
Winner of this one goes on to referee the main event. Mankind attacks with a series of shots and a clothesline to start. Mankind hits the ropes and runs into a big boot. A headbutt sends Mankind to the floor, and Show follows him out. Mankind gets the better of an exchange on the floor, and sends Show into the ringsteps. Mankind tries a double arm DDT on the floor, but gets pushed into the ringsteps. Show delivers a headbutt and fires Mankind back into the ring. Show fires away with a pair of chops in the corner, and an elbow sends Mankind crashing to the canvas. He continues the assault driving Mankind’s head into his knee, and delivering a side Russian Legsweep. Mankind ducks a right hand, and Show goes crashing to the floor. Mankind pulls out Mr. Socko and delivers a mandible claw to Show. A right hand breaks that, but Show walks right back into it. Show starts to fade, and Mankind hops on his back for added leverage. Show stands up with Mankind on his back and comes crashing down the mat. Show kicks Mankind in the ribs and pushes him to the floor. Show follows him outside and grabs a steel chair. Big Show cracks the chair over the back of Foley, and grabs another chair and fires it inside. Show fires Mankind into the ring and sets up two chairs. Show chokeslams Mankind through the chairs and that draws a DQ at 6:51. Vince comes out after the match and gets in Big Show’s face. Show has heard enough and goes for a chokeslam but thinks better of it. Vince continues to berate him and finally Show knocks him out. Not much of a match, and the finish was really dumb, but it was just here to set up the main event anyway.
Road Dogg had won the Intercontinental Championship from Val Venis two weeks back on Raw. Everyone was fighting over Shamrock’s sister Ryan with the exception of the Champion. Goldust goes right after Shamrock, and Venis after James. Hurracanrana from Shamrock sends Goldust to the floor. Double elbow from James and Shamrock send Venis to the floor, and then Shamrock fires Goldust into the corner. Irish whip sends James into the corner. This is under the tag out elimination rules so James and Shamrock are legal in the ring. James hits the ropes and delivers a kick to the face, and a dropkick. James tags in Goldust who delivers a spinebuster, and a flying clothesline. Venis tags from Shamrock, and then puts the boots to him. Goldust sneaks up from behind with a suplex, and goes for the curtain call. Val slides down the back, and gets a spinebuster for two. Goldust hits the ropes, and delivers a clothesline for two. Goldust sticks Val on the top rope, and goes for a superplex, which is blocked. Val delivers a bulldog for a two count, and then connects on a fisherman’s suplex for two. Val and Goldust collide in the corner, and Val comes down with a headbutt to the groin of Goldust. Shamrock comes in a delivers a DDT to Goldust, and Road Dogg comes in with one for Val. Goldust crawls over and gets the cover for a two count. James comes in and delivers a pair of chops to Val. Irish whip is reversed sending James into the corner. Val follows in with a clothesline, and locks in a waste lock. Road Dogg ducks a punch and delivers a series of punches to Val. He gives the same treatment to Goldust, and then a fist drop connects to Shamrock. Road Dogg celebrates on the second rope, but gets suplexed down by Val. That picks up a two count, and Road Dogg comes back with a pumphandle slam. Shamrock tags in and charges into the boot of Venis. He counters into an ankle lock on Venis, but Val gets to the ropes. Shamrock charges at Val, and gets backdropped to the floor. Val comes outside with a baseball slide, and chases Shamrock down the aisle. Shamrock realizes the count too late and gets counted out along with Val at 8:23. Shamrock snaps and runs back in with a belly-to-belly suplex for both guys. Goldust makes the cover but only gets a two count. Goldust hits the ropes, but Ryan grabs his foot thinking it was James. Goldust goes for a powerslam, but James rolls through into a small package, which gets the three, count at 9:48. Surprisingly entertaining little match here. Afterwards Goldust berates Ryan and tells her to hit the bricks.
Winner: STILL WWF Intercontinental Champion-“Road Dogg” Jesse James (Pins Goldust-Small Package **1/4)
-We see the Big Show being arrested by Philly Police
-Recap of the events leading to HHH and Kane
Kane vs. Triple H
Before the match the Famous Chicken attacks Kane in the aisle. Kane rips the mask off to reveal that it is Pete Rose looking for revenge from last year. He again eats a tombstone. To set this match up Chyna had turned on Triple H to join the corporation and Kane had taken a liking to her. Triple H comes through the crowd and attacks with a low blow to start the match. HHH pounds away in the corner, but gets thrown away. HHH charges into a boot, but comes back with a backdrop sending Kane to the floor. To the floor they go and HHH sends Kane into the ringpost, and then fires him into the ringsteps. HHH delivers a high knee to Kane sending him back to the floor, and then delivers a baseball slide. HHH fires Kane into the announce table, and back into the ring. HHH hits the ropes, but runs into a big boot from Kane who then throws HHH to the floor. HHH tries to pull Kane out with him, but he kicks him into the railing. They brawl on the floor and Kane eventually catches HHH and crotches him on the railing. A clothesline sends HHH flying into the crowd actually landing on Shane McMahon’s mean street posse. Back to ringside Kane rams HHH into the ringpost three times, and then fires HHH back into the ring. Kane connects with an uppercut and whips Triple H into the corner. Kane hammers HHH down in the corner, and chokes him on the bottom rope. HHH gets whipped into the corner again, and comes out walking right into an uppercut. Legdrop connects for Kane, which picks up a two count. Kane goes for a backdrop which HHH blocks with a kick, but Kane comes right back with a clothesline. Kane fires HHH into the top buckle, and charges into a boot. Kane tosses HHH over the top and back to the floor then coming over the top rope with a splash onto him. Kane fires HHH back inside and heads to the top rope. HHH catches him however, and slams him back inside. Kane goes for a splash, which misses, and HHH fires back with a series of rights. HHH ducks a clothesline and delivers a facebuster with the knee. HHH connects with a high knee, as Chyna makes her way to ringside. HHH slides down the back from a tombstone attempt and goes for the pedigree. Kane counters that and both guys end up down. Chyna fires the top of the ringsteps into the ring and Kane sits up. Kane charges with the ringsteps, but HHH gets the feet up and kicks the steps into him. Kane charges at HHH but gets a drop toe hold into the ringsteps. Referee Teddy Long fires the steps outside, and HHH clotheslines Kane to the floor. HHH follows firing Kane into the railing. HHH goes for a pedigree on the steps outside, but Kane counters with a backdrop. Kane sends HHH back inside and follows him with a chokeslam, which connects. Chyna gets on the apron with a chair, and asks Kane to let her finish him. Chyna clocks Kane with the chair drawing the DQ at 11:30. Kane hangs his head realizing Chyna has betrayed him, and HHH attacks from behind with the chair. He delivers a pedigree on the chair, and HHH and Chyna have their version of the Savage-Liz reunion with an embrace. As with most Russo booking the match was just there to set up the post match angle. Match was just okay.
Winner: Kane (Disqualification-Outside Interference **)
-Kevin Kelly talks to Vince McMahon who says he’ll be the guest referee if Foley is unable.
Sable fresh off her first Playboy shoot had recently turned heel with a better than everyone gimmick. Tori (not to be confused with Torrie Wilson) was the first in the long line of women who were introduced with a stalker gimmick. A tradition that continues to this day with Rosa Mendez and Beth Phoenix. Sable won’t let Tori get in the ring, and keeps getting kicked to the floor. Finally inside Sable delivers a series of boots and fires Tori again to the floor. Tori pulls Sable out with her and rams her face into the apron, and then to the guardrail. Sable reverses an Irish whip sending Tori into railing. Sable dives off the apron with a cross body, and fires Tori back inside. Sable delivers a pair of kicks to the ribs, but Tori comes back with a grind. Tori hammers away with a series of right hands, and follows an Irish whip to the corner with a clothesline. Sunset flip by Tori gets a two count, and Sable fights back with a jackknife cover for two. Tori goes for a backslide which gets two. Tori comes off the ropes and goes for a crossbody, which misses Sable, but takes out the referee. Tori botches her counter of the Sable bomb, but sets up for a Sable bomb anyway. Nicole Bass comes into the ring making her debut and gives Tori a press slam after attacking from behind. Sable bomb finishes things at 4:25. Absolutely god awful match.
Winner: STILL WWF Women’s Champion-Sable (Pinfall-Sable Bomb DUD)
Patterson and Brisco jump X-Pac in the aisle, but it backfires as X-Pac moves and Patterson decks Brisco. X-Pac chases Shane around the ring, and back into the ring finally connecting with a spinning heel kick. X-Pac sets up for the Bronco Buster, but Test pulls Shane out of the ring. Shane goes to take a walk, but X-Pac jumps him from behind and throws him back in the ring. Test attacks on the floor and crotches X-Pac on the post as Shane distracts the ref. Back inside and Shane delivers a double axe handle and a series of knees in the corner. Shane delivers a bodyslam and sets up for his version of the corporate elbow, which misses. Test distracts the referee allowing Shane to hit a low blow. Shane gets Test’s belt and whips X-Pac with it. Shane charges at him, but gets backdropped to the floor. X-Pac flies over the top rope and splashes Shane, but The Mean Street Posse pulls him off. X-Pac fights them off and fires Shane back inside, but he gets a clothesline from Test on the floor. Back inside Shane goes to the second rope and delivers an elbow. Shane goes to the top rope, but X-Pac meets him with a dropkick crotching him on the top rope. X-Pac delivers a superplex, but Test pulls him to the floor breaking up the count. Test charges at X-Pac, but he moves and Test runs into the steps. Once back in the ring X-Pac delivers a series of straps to Shane and after a spin kick in the corner he delivers a Bronco Buster. Test sneaks in and with the ref’s back turned delivers a shot with the belt. Shane crawls over and covers, but only gets a two count. Shane chokes out X-Pac in the corner with the boot, and goes for a Bronco Buster of his own, but X-Pac moves out of the way. Test comes in again, but gets a spinning heel kick and he gets a Bronco Buster. HHH comes out, and Chyna distracts the ref. X-Pac hits the X-Factor on Shane and looks to finish, but there is no ref. HHH slides in and delivers a pedigree on X-Pac to complete his heel turn. HHH puts Shane on top of X-Pac and the ref turns around to deliver the three count allowing Shane to retain at 8:40. After the match HHH, Chyna, and Test beat down DX, but Kane makes the save. Another entertaining match, but was nothing more than a set up for the post match angle. This seemed like a very Russoriffic swerve at the time, but in reality served as the catalyst for HHH’s rebirth as the game. So I’d say it worked quite well.
Winner: STILL WWF European Champion-Shane McMahon (Pinfall-Pedigree Hunter-ference **1/4)
-Recap of the events leading to Boss Man and Taker inside the cell.
Hell in a Cell: The Big Boss Man vs. The Undertaker (w. Paul Bearer)
This was during the Ministry-Corporation feud, which was basically heel vs. heel although really McMahon was booked as the sympathetic figure. Of course it all ended with McMahon being behind everything. Bossman takes control early hammering away at Taker in the corner with a series of right hands. Taker comes back with a choke and fires Bossman into the corner delivering a series of fists. Irish whip from Taker sends Bossman into the corner, but Bossman comes out with an elbow. Taker comes back with a clothesline getting a two count. Bossman goes for the ride, but stops a Taker backdrop attempt with a swinging neckbreaker for two. Taker sits up so Bossman kicks him back in the face. Again, but this time Taker grabs the foot and hammers Bossman to the floor. Taker goes out after him and rams Bossman into the cell. Bossman reverses an Irish whip and sends Taker into the cell. Bossman grabs a pair of handcuffs and uses them to cuff Taker to the cell. Bossman gets a hold of his nightstick and hammers away at Taker, but as Taker falls the cuffs break rendering that entire spot pointless. Bossman chokes Taker with the nightstick as Taker gets busted open. Taker comes back with a choke and fires Bossman into the cell. Taker goes under the ring and grabs a chair and hammers Bossman in the back with it. Taker fires Bossman face first into the cell, and delivers a headbutt. Back inside they go as Bossman is also busted open. Taker hits the ropes and delivers a flying clothesline for a two count. Taker goes for old school, but Bossman kicks Taker’s leg allowing him to crotch himself on the top rope and fall to the floor. Bossman fires Taker back inside and they trade blows in the middle. Bossman gets the better of it with a headbutt, but Taker fires back with a low blow as the crowd starts to turn on the match. Taker goes for the tombstone, but Bossman slides down the back. Taker ducks a clothesline out of the corner and again goes for the tombstone. This time it connects and Taker picks up the victory at 9:47. Worst cell match ever, by far. After the match the craziness continues as The Brood repels from the top of the arena dropping a noose into the cell. Paul Bearer hits the button that raises the cell and hangs the Bossman from the top of the arena. I still don’t know how they did this stunt, although I’m sure someone will let me know.
Winner: The Undertaker (Pinfall-Tombstone ½*)
-Highlights from the Wrestlemania Rage party are shown.
-Michael Cole introduces Jim Ross who will serve as play-by-play man for the main event.
Vince comes out at special guest referee since Mankind is in the hospital and unable to serve in that capacity. Commissioner Shawn Michaels comes out with Mike Chioda though and overrules that decision, as the only person who can name a special referee is the commissioner. Shawn also announces that the Corporation is barred from ringside. Austin wears a t-shirt to the ring, because as he tells the story he left his vest at home. Rock backdrops Austin over the top into the announce table as they start, and they brawl on the floor. Rock chokes out Austin on the floor with the t-shirt and they head back into the ring. Rock hits the ropes, and Austin chucks him over the top to the floor. Outside they go, and they brawl through the crowd. Austin delivers a double axehandle off the hockey boards, and they head back to ringside. Austin throws Rock over the rail again and they brawl on the other side of the arena. Finally Rock is able to clothesline Austin back to ringside, and chokes him out with a ringside cable. Rock takes Austin up the entrance way, but gets whipped into the guardrail back by the entrance. Rock comes back with a backdrop onto part of the set. Austin fights back and fires Rock into the boom mic. Austin delivers a clothesline and stomp to the nuts before choking Rock with an extension cord. Rock rakes the eyes to buy some time, and gets Irish whipped into the Wrestlemania sign. They begin to head back to ringside, and Austin goes for a suplex on the floor. Rock blocks it however and delivers a suplex of his own. Rock fires Austin into the ringsteps, and then spits JR’s water on Austin’s face. Austin fights back sending Rock into the guardrail, and then delivering an elbow drop onto the Spanish announce table. When the table doesn’t break Austin goes to the railing and drops another elbow this time breaking it. Finally they end up back in the ring, but Rock slides back out and trips up Austin. He wraps Austin’s leg around the ringpost. Austin quickly fires back whipping Rock into the ringsteps, and again fires him back in the ring. Rock hits a Rock bottom out of nowhere once back in the ring, which gets two. Rock rolls to the floor and grabs a steel chair, but walks into a kick from Austin. Austin goes to nail Rock with the chair, but takes out the referee again. Rock comes back with a swinging neckbreaker, and picks up the chair. Austin gets a kick to the gut and hits the ropes but runs into an elbow from Rock. Rock takes the chair and delivers a series of chair shots to the injured knee of Austin, and then takes him out with a shot to the head. Tim White who was attending to the injured Mike Chioda comes in to make the count, but it gets a two count. Rock grabs a side headlock, but Austin quickly elbows out. Austin hits the ropes and runs into a clothesline, as Rock goes back to the headlock. Austin fights back up, and hits the ropes running into a Samoan Drop, which gets two. Rock delivers a Rock Bottom to the referee, but turns into a stunner. Earl Hebner runs out to make the count, but Rock kicks out. Vince comes out to ringside as Austin grabs a chair. Austin goes to hit Rock with the chair, but Rock comes back with a low blow. Vince slides into the ring and knocks out Earl Hebner. Vince and Rock stomp on Austin in the corner, but Mankind comes out and sends McMahon to the floor. Austin goes for a rollup and Mankind makes the count getting two. Lou Thesz Press from Austin connects, and is followed by the FU elbow drop. Rock counters a backdrop with a kick to the face, and delivers a Rock Bottom. Rock goes for the Corporate Elbow, but it misses. Austin goes for the stunner, but Rock blocks it. Rock goes for a Rock Bottom, but Austin blocks that and finally delivers the stunner which finishes things and Austin regains the World Title for a third time at 16:53. Vince eats a stunner after the match for good measure, and Austin celebrates with a few Steveweisers. This is the weakest of the Rock-Austin Wrestlemania Trilogy, but that’s like saying it’s your least favorite child. This is still a classic.
Winner: NEW WWF Champion-“Stone Cold” Steve Austin (Pinfall-Stone Cold Stunner ****)
The 411: Like most Attitude Era shows this one doesn’t hold up very well ten years later. Austin-Rock is gold, but the rest of the show is like one really long episode of Raw leading up to the main event. Oddly enough it wasn’t until business went down, that Wrestlemania quality went way up.