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 SportsCenter. 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 then 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. Either that, or Taker implied it with some mean looking body language.
The night started out with a tag team battle royal and the rules stated that if one person of the team was thrown over the top rope and onto the floor, his partner would also be eliminated. The surprise team in the battle royal was the Legion of Doom, but with the new moniker of LOD 2000 with new gear and Sunny as their valet.
But, even though they had a new gimmick, they were the same old aging tag team of the 80’s. Out of the fifteen teams, the old LOD were victorious and received a shot at the tag team titles at a future PPV event.
There were two very solid matches with young stars who would main event the two next Wrestlemanias. The Rock took on Ken Shamrock in a match for Rock’s Intercontinental title.
Rock played the chicken heel who was afraid of Shamrock’s crazy demeanor. The match had a good pace, but the finish left you wanting more. Shamrock had Rock in the famed ankle lock and the Rock tapped out, thus giving Shamrock the win and the belt.
However, Shamrock wouldn’t let up on the submission and when he finally did, he started throwing referees around. The ref then changed his decision and disqualified Shamrock. The Rock kept the belt.
Triple H had an excellent match with Owen Hart. The match featured really good wrestling and showed both guys at the top of their games.
The gimmick was that Sgt. Slaughter was handcuffed to Chyna so she wouldn’t interfere in the match. Of course, she interfered and HHH kept his European belt in the second-best match of the night.
There were also a couple good angles to come out of Wrestlemania XIV. One built towards Sable becoming a superstar by featuring her in her first match. She’s a pretty athletic gal, but as far as wrestling was concerned, the roles should’ve been reversed.
Luna Vachon is a scary individual, yet Sable was the one in the butt-kicker role. Luna didn’t want to be in the ring with the prissy Sable. I didn’t really buy it and it didn’t work for long.
However, Sable did one thing really well and that was play damsel in distress turned vocally independent wife to a very overbearing husband (Mark Mero). The crowd popped at what little skin Sable was able to show. But by the next year, her career had fizzled.
Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie (Terry Funk) had a solid bout with the tag champs, the New Age Outlaws. This is the only Wrestlemania where the New Age Outlaws ever competed as a team. They competed the next year, but in singles matches.
The gimmick was that the match would end when both members of one team were dumped into a trash dumpster and the lid was closed. Cactus Jack and Funk won the bout and the straps, but the next night they would lose them back to the New Age Outlaws.
The second highest profiled match was a snoozer. It featured the long built-up match between the Undertaker and his brother Kane. This story was once very interesting but every time they told more of the story, Kane’s character became less interesting.
Part of the problem was that Kane and the Undertaker could have good matches with other folks, but never with each other. Undertaker originally said that he would never fight his flesh and blood, but he had to and the match was born. Undertaker won, but it was only after he gave Kane three tombstone piledrivers.
The main event was what helped catapult the WWF to their greatest success. Shawn Michaels was the Heartbreak Kid and the Showstopper and he walked into the match as the champ.
He was severely injured and probably shouldn’t have even been wrestling. Austin, on the other hand was the WWF’s new star, the guy they were going to give the ball to.
The match wasn’t spectacular by any means, but what it did was jump start one of the best periods in WWF/WWE history. Mike Tyson was the special enforcer referee on the outside who would get involved when needed and if anything happened to the in ring ref, would have to go in the ring.
Tyson and Michaels claimed that Iron Mike was on the side of Degeneration-X, HBK’s faction. However, when it was all said and done, Iron Mike wasn’t with HBK and counted HBK out after a Stone Cold Stunner.
In the press conference after the match, Austin and Tyson declared they were in it together all along, but then the credibility in that statement was gone when Tyson kept calling him Cold Stone. He must’ve had some ice cream before the match.
The WWF was about to change, and its popularity was ready to explode.
LOD 2000 won a 15-team battle royal
Light Heavyweight Champion Taka Michinoku defeated Aguila
European Champion Triple H defeated Owen Hart via pinfall
Marc Mero & Sable defeated Goldust & Luna
Intercontinental Champion The Rock beat Ken Shamrock by DQ
Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie defeated the New Age Outlaws in a Dumpster Match to capture the Tag Team Championship
Undertaker defeated Kane via pinfall
Steve Austin pinned Shawn Michaels to become World Wrestling Entertainment Champion