Wrestlemania Challenge: Wrestlemania XV

Ok, since this card is a festering pile of s--- with lipstick on it (the main event of course), no one is going to care that I did Kane-HHH so I wanted to move on to something else.

I have said in the last few rants that the 1997 Summerslam match with Owen Hart and Steve Austin should have never happened. I say this because Austin was the No. 1 guy in the promotion at that point and didn’t need a gift run with the I-C title nor did he need to drop down from chasing Bret to fending off Owen. I understand Bret Hart’s idea was to put over Austin at Wrestlemania XIV, 18 months after their first encounter but by mid-1997 the WWF wasn’t into some long-drawn out booking and really such a chase wasn’t going to make Austin any hotter than he was.

The problem with this booking (before you get into the injuries, screwjobs, etc. that followed) was that the company champion was moved down the card. See for yourself. Bret Hart didn’t main event a PPV between Summerslam and the Survivor Series and he only had himself to thank for that. Shawn-Undertaker completely took over as the hot feud while Bret was fighting The Patriot (who no one took seriously) and Vader (who never caught on as a face). Even if Austin doesn’t get seriously injured, he’s the I-C champion and fighting through the Hart Foundation underlings and probably avoiding much contact with Bret Hart until after the 1998 Royal Rumble.

So I’m hitting the booking reset button and I’m going to give you guys the book. I’m starting with Summerslam where I’m booking a rematch of the February Fatal 4-Way with Champion Undertaker defending against Austin, Bret and Vader with Shawn Michaels as the special referee. The ending can actually be the same as the original Summerslam ending with Shawn decking the Undertaker with a chair and being forced to count the pinfall.

So that’s your starting point and your ending point is Wrestlemania XIV where HBK, Austin and Hart are involved in a three-way issue for the title. Is that match a three-way or maybe a re-do of Wrestlemania X and a double main event? Doesn’t matter, just make sure those three guys are involved.

Now remember as you figure this out some pretty important things that happened during this period. Shawn wins the Euro title (and uses it as a prop) in September. Rocky Maivia joins the Nation and becomes “The Rock” sometime in the late summer. Mankind is starting to emerge as well. And there are other bit players (i.e. Shamrock, Owen, Pillman was still alive, Undertaker of course).

And now for the HHH-Kane stuff that one or two of you will care about.

Wrestlemania Challenge: Wrestlemania XV
From The First Union Center in Philadelphia
Hosted by Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler

Triple H vs. Kane

This is the blowoff after a pretty shocking turn when Chyna attacked HHH on a recent RAW episode and HHH battled back by burning Kane. No clue who the face and heel are in this match as Vince Russo’s craziness confused everyone. The San Diego chicken attacks Kane…errr…nope that’s Pete Rose. Tombstone ends Pete’s night.

Meanwhile HHH’s music begins but he catches the big red machine from behind. HHH’s attacks get thwarted so he back drops Kane over the top. Kane lands on his feet, of course, and pulls HHH out but HHH sends him into the steps. Kane gets back up on the apron but HHH hits the Harley knee that sends Kane back to the floor. Baseball slide follows and they continue brawling on the outside. Back in the ring and Kane hits the big boot and tosses HHH over the top. HHH pulls Kane out and the brawl continues. Kane with a chokeslam that sends HHH over the top and into the Mean Street Posse (how’s that for an outdated stable?). The Posse sends HHH back over the ring barricade and Kane roughs him up some more. Back in the ring and Kane goes through his usual offensive moveset – punches, kicks, chokes – all done at a deliberate pace. Corner whip sends HHH hard into the buckle and Kane drops him with an uppercut. Big leg drop gets a near fall. Kane sets too early on an irish whip so HHH gets a boot in but Kane shakes it off and clotheslines him. Another corner whip but HHH catches a charging Kane with a boot. The damage is temporary as Kane casually sends HHH over the top rope and follows with pretty sloppy running top rope plancha (Oh well, he gets an ‘A’ for effort). Back in the ring and Kane scales the ropes but HHH catches him and beals him to the canvas. HHH avoids another shot and rallies with a knee smasher and another Harley kick that knocks Kane down. Chyna makes her way to the ring to a big pop.

HHH is distracted and Kane goes for the tombstone, HHH slips out and goes for the pedigree but Kane counters with a double leg pickup and drops an elbow. Chyna sends half of the ring steps into the ring. Kane grabs the steps and charges but HHH raises his boots and gives Kane and drop-toe that sends him into the stairs face first. HHH clotheslines Kane over the top and follows him out. Kane goes into the ring barricade and HHH sets him up for a pedigree on the ring steps but Kane counters and back drops HHH on the arena floor. Back in the ring and its chokeslam time as Chyna grabs a chair and climbs up on the apron. Chyna asks Kane to let her do the honors so he lets her come in the ring and she whacks Kane with the chair causing the DQ. HHH continues the attack with the chair and pedigrees him on the chair before reuniting with his fellow DX member and running away.

(Kane def. HHH, disqualification, **, bad but not totally offensive. The whole storyline did nothing for me.)

The Challenger

No Mercy 2002
From The Alltel Arena in North Little Rock, Arkansas
Hosted by Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler

Champion vs. Champion: HHH vs. Kane

Kane is the Intercontinental champion and HHH is of course the World Heavyweight Champion. I think they are still in this Katie Vick murder angle that I’ve never heard a good explanation of since I wasn’t watching wrestling at the time.

Kane takes control with the power stuff and adds a back body drop that sends HHH to the floor. HHH tries to pull him out but Kane kicks HHH into the ring barricade. Back in the ring and Kane drops HHH with a clothesline and gets a near fall. Kane with a corner clothesline on HHH but HHH moves out of a second one and gets a neckbreaker. Kane sits up however and hits a powerslam on HHH for two. Kane sets too early on an Irish whip, however, and HHH with a knee smasher and a clothesline that sends Kane over the top (he lands on his feet). HHH follows him out and goes to the eye, HHH with a knee to the back that sends Kane into the post. Back in the ring and HHH stops a short Kane rally with another neckbreaker that gets a two count. A hangman neckbreaker (ok, we get the point) and a second hangman neckbreaker gets another near fall. HHH uses the knee to choke Kane and does a catapult guillotine on Kane sending him into the middle rope. Kane tries to rally again but HHH with a sleeper hold and after about 30 seconds Kane falls to his knee and starts to fade away but he gets back to his feet and hits a suplex. Big elbow drop hits nothing but air, however, he catches a charging HHH with the big boot.

Kane sends HHH into the buckle, corner clothesline and a sidewalk slam from the Big Red Machine. Kane goes to the top and hits the big clothesline. Ric Flair runs down to provide distraction but that doesn’t solve much initially. Ric gets knocked down and Kane hits the big boot. Flair runs back in with the belt and gets knocked down again but HHH grabs the belt and wallops Kane with it for a super near fall. Meanwhile the Hurricane runs out to beat up Flair so HHH grabs the Hamburglar and pedigrees him on the floor. Kane back up and hits multiple clotheslines on HHH. Kane with a front powerslam for two. HHH comes back with an elbow but tries a rope move and gets caught. Kane posts HHH and follows him up. Superplex attempt is thwarted but HHH eats boot when he comes off the top. HHH fights out of a chokeslam attempt and ducks the big boot so Hebner can get it flush. HHH sends Kane to the floor and follows him out but Kane chokeslams HHH through WWE Deportes. Flair tries to help but to no avail. Back in the ring and Flair has the sledge hammer but Kane fights him off again. Kane has the sledgehammer and stalks HHH but gets caught with a low blow. Kane goes for the tombstone but HHH hits Kane with the hammer in the chops. Somehow Kane gets a chokeslam but there no ref. Second ref comes in and counts but Flair stops it and eliminates that official. Flair gets chokeslammed for his efforts. All this distraction allows HHH to get the pedigree and the victory.

(HHH def. Kane, pinfall, **1/4, kind of a fun, disjointed mess)

The Decision

Match: The No Mercy match was slightly better and had a finish, albeit one with a ton of interference. EDGE: No Mercy

Storyline: I vaguely remember the Wrestlemania storyline and the Chyna turn to the corporation was pretty shocking when it happened. Her turn back was less surprising. I’ve heard about the Katie Vick stuff but never bothered to read about it. The next time I hear something positive from the Vick stuff will be the first. EDGE: Wrestlemania

Intangibles: Hmmm, well the Wrestlemania match started HHH’s ascension to the top. Soon he would position himself at the top of the card, win the world title, marry into the McMahon family via storyline, start dating Stephanie McMahon in real life, marry into the McMahon family in real life and produce multiple children while taking an upper executive level spot that will soon see him control the promotion as a whole if it hasn’t happened already. Yes, that’s pretty significant. HUGE EDGE: Wrestlemania

Verdict: Yep, Wrestlemania based off the intangibles.