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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Road To Wrestlemania XXX

World Wrestling Entertainment will present its Spring Spectacular for the 30th time on April 6th from the Party capital of the planet New Orleans. It got me thinking, It's been a long road. I'm not talking about the path forged since the returning Batista won the Royal Rumble, I'm talking about the road from Wrestlemania I.
With Hulkamania in its prime a new phenom was born, long before the Undertakers streak began. On March 31st 1985 at Madison Square Garden Vincent Kennedy McMahon risked it all and cemented his legacy. I won't bore you with a history lesson on Wrestlemania and its origins, those are already well documented. This blog is all about my views on World Wrestling Entertainment and as such I will share with you my thoughts and memories from watching the "Greatest Show On Earth" over the years. With that said before focusing on this years Road to Wrestlemania let me first share with you three things.

Firstly I will tell about the first Wrestlemania I saw, as it happened, via Pay Per View. Then I'll share with you favorite Wrestlemania match of all time. Finally I'll give you my favorite Wrestlemania moment, one that will never be beaten no mater what WWE produces into the future.

MY FIRST WRESTLEMANIA

If you had to select one of the previous 29 Wrestlemania's to be the first one you watched live, why not this one. The FleetCenter in Boston gave birth to the Attitude Era. For those who can't remember the significance of this Wrestlemania let me refresh your memory. Before March 29 1998, Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie were relative unknown's to then WWF fans. (They were stars in Japan however) The Rock was still "Rocky Maivia". The New Age Outlaws were NOT official members of D Generation X. And the big one.........Stone Cold Steve Austin had not yet held the WWE Championship. The high point of the evening was obviously Stone Cold's maiden WWE championship but the quality of the under card can not be underestimated. Cactus Jack (Mick Foley) teaming with Chainsaw Charlie (Terry Funk) to defeat the New Age Outlaws for the Tag Team Championships. Ken Shamrock needing to be pried from The Rock's ankle following the Intercontinental Title match. HHH taking on the late, great Owen Hart for the European Title. The Undertaker going up against Kane for the first time in a fully fledged match.


As good as those matches were, they were not the main event. Shawn Michaels, in what was supposed to be his Wrestlemania swan song, taking on his heir apparent Stone Cold Steve Austin. Michaels had sustained a serious injury during the Royal Rumble during his Casket Match with the Undertaker and, against doctors advise, had decreed secretly that Wrestlemania 14 would be his final in ring performance. Stone Cold Steve Austin's star was on the rise and all that was needed was great story line and one final push to get him over the top. Enter Mike Tyson. Tyson's popularity in 1998 was on the decline however he did provide an element of reality into the kayfabe sport of Professional Wrestling. The feud between Austin and Michaels along with Tyson was flawless. It was the reason I bought the Pay Per View. The match itself was solid enough, not brilliant but well executed by both Austin and Michaels. It was the ending that made this match and carried the WWE into a new era. When Tyson climbed into the ring following a Stone Cold stunner to Michaels and counted the three count a new era arrived with it. Michaels was later felled by Tyson, signifying what everyone thought was the end of a glittering career. Stone Cold was now the champ and the led up to Wrestlemania also saw the beginning of the McMahon/Austin feud which would continue post Wrestlemania and carry the WWE into the years ahead.


The Attitude Era had begun and the Monday Night Wars were all but over. Rumor has it that a group of then Turner WCW executives gathered to watch Wrestlemania 14 at TNT headquarters. Following the show a prominent member of the group, one Eric Bishoff, was heard to mutter "Austin as Champ......Vince has lost his mind........that company will be dead in 6 months". A little over 18 months later WCW was no more and Bishoff was begging Vince for a job. Of course............it's just a rumor. Wreslemania 14 was truly the game changer.


In my next post I will write about my favorite all time Wrestlemania match.
Until then I've got TWO WORDS FOR YA
Enjoy Wrestling!



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