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WrestleMania XV

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Title: WrestleMania XV  
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Subject: WrestleMania, WrestleMania XIV, WrestleMania XIX, Stone Cold Steve Austin, WrestleMania XXVIII
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WrestleMania XV

WrestleMania XV
Tagline(s) The Ragin' Climax
Promotion World Wrestling Federation
Sponsor(s) M&M's
Date March 28, 1999
Attendance 20,276
Venue First Union Center
City Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Pay-per-view chronology
St. Valentine's Day Massacre: In Your House WrestleMania XV Backlash: In Your House
WrestleMania chronology
WrestleMania XIV WrestleMania XV WrestleMania 2000

WrestleMania XV was the fifteenth annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), which was presented by M&M's and took place on March 28, 1999, at the First Union Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Ten professional wrestling matches were scheduled on the event's card. The main event saw the challenger Stone Cold Steve Austin face The Rock in a No Disqualification match for the WWF Championship. The penultimate match saw The Undertaker wrestle The Big Boss Man in a Hell in a Cell match. Lower on the card, six of the seven active championships were defended, including the first WrestleMania defense of the Hardcore Championship. Also on the undercard was a Brawl for All match, an unscripted type of shootfight between wrestler Bart Gunn and boxer/mixed martial artist Butterbean.

The ticket sales of 20,276 drew a gross of $1,437,050.[1]


  • Background 1
  • Event 2
    • Pre-show 2.1
    • Preliminary matches 2.2
    • Main event matches 2.3
    • Reception 2.4
  • Results 3
    • Battle royal 3.1
  • References 4
  • External links 5


When Road Dogg Jesse James and "Bad Ass" Billy Gunn lost the WWF Tag Team Championship to The Corporation,[2] they tried their hand at singles wrestling for some time with Gunn failing in his attempts to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship, but Road Dogg becoming Hardcore Champion[3] until an injury prevented him from honouring a championship match with Al Snow who ended up fighting himself, and then Bob Holly for the vacant belt at St. Valentine's Day Massacre: In Your House with the latter winning the title at the banks of the Mississippi River.[4] When Road Dogg won the Intercontinental Championship on Raw is War[5] Gunn fought Bob Holly (now Hardcore Holly) and won when Holly crashed into an ad-hoc announce table Jim Ross had constructed for his pirate broadcast of the show.[6] Holly felt enraged that circumstances had conspired against him, while Snow still wanted another chance at the belt.

In the previous year, due to the suddenly enlarged roster, a

  • The Official Website of WrestleMania XV

External links

  1. ^ a b c d e f Oliver, Greg (April 1, 1999). "Austin WWF champ again". Slam! Sports.  
  2. ^ "Big Boss Man & Ken Shamrock's first tag title reign".  
  3. ^ a b "WWE Hardcore Championship title history".  
  4. ^ a b c d "McMahon makes a Giant mistake". Slam! Sports.  
  5. ^ a b "Road Dogg's first Intercontinental Championship reign". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved September 15, 2008. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Raw is War 1999 results". Online Word of Wrestling. Retrieved September 15, 2008. 
  7. ^ "Raw is War 1998". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved September 15, 2008. 
  8. ^ a b Powell, John. "The rock wins Survivor Series tourney". Slam! Sports.  
  9. ^ a b c Powell, John. "Shane wins, Mankind loses".  
  10. ^ a b Gramlich, Chris. "McMahon wins Rumble, Rock champ again". Slam! Sports.  
  11. ^ a b Powell, John. "Foley screwed again". Slam! Sports.  
  12. ^ "'"Mankind lets The Rock know what's cookin. Slam! Sports.  
  13. ^ "Seeing Undertaker's gift burn more than McMahon can bear". Slam! Sports.  
  14. ^ "Royal Rumble 1998 result".  
  15. ^ "WrestleMania XIV Main Event".  
  16. ^ Powell, John. "Austin loses title at Breakdown". Slam! Sports.  
  17. ^ "Judgment Day 1998 Main Event".  
  18. ^ "Foley wins Rocks WWF". Slam! Sports.  
  19. ^ Oliver, Greg. "WWF fans all in a Rage". Slam! Sports.  
  20. ^ a b "WrestleMania XV Card". Complete WWE. Retrieved September 16, 2008. 
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i "WrestleMania XV Results".  
  22. ^ a b "Facts/Stats".  
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h Powell, John. "Austin wins title at WM15". Slam! Sports.  
  24. ^ Pyette, Ryan. "Snake snags Vince".  
  25. ^ Powell, John. "Austin wins title at WM15". Retrieved December 25, 2010. 
  26. ^ Clapp, John (February 22, 2013). "Lights out".  


Elimination Wrestler Eliminated by
1 Rocco Rock Viscera, Skull, and Blackman
2 Johnny Grunge Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, 8-Ball, Droz, and Brown
3 Viscera 8-Ball, Skull, Matt Hardy, Brown, Droz, Gillberg, and Christopher
4 Gillberg Viscera and Skull
5 Animal 8-Ball
6 8-Ball Hawk
7 Skull Hawk
8 Hawk Bradshaw
9 Scott Taylor Godfather
10 Faarooq Singh
11 Tiger Ali Singh Droz, Blackman, and Bradshaw
12 Matt Hardy Brown
13 Jeff Hardy Christopher
14 Mideon Godfather
15 Brian Christopher Bradshaw and Droz
16 Steve Blackman Bradshaw
17 Bradshaw Brown
18 The Godfather Droz
19 Droz Godfather
Winners Test and D'Lo Brown

Battle royal

No. Results Stipulations Times[23]
1H Jacqueline (with Terri Runnels) defeated Ivory (with D'Lo Brown) Singles match 01:23
2H D'Lo Brown and Test won when Droz and The Godfather eliminated each other. 21-man battle royal to determine the number one contenders to the WWF Tag Team Championship 04:14
3 Hardcore Holly defeated Billy Gunn (c) and Al Snow Triple threat hardcore match for the WWF Hardcore Championship 07:07
4 Owen Hart and Jeff Jarrett (c) (with Debra) defeated D'Lo Brown and Test (with Ivory) Tag team match for the WWF Tag Team Championship 03:57
5 Butterbean defeated Bart Gunn Brawl for All match 00:35[26]
6 Mankind defeated "Big Show" Paul Wight by disqualification Singles match to become the special guest referee of the main event 06:52
7 Road Dogg (c) defeated Ken Shamrock, Goldust (with The Blue Meanie and Ryan Shamrock), and Val Venis Four corners elimination match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship 09:46
8 Kane (with Chyna) defeated Triple H by disqualification Singles match 11:35
9 Sable (c) defeated Tori Singles match for the WWF Women's Championship 04:51
10 Shane McMahon (c) (with Test) defeated X-Pac Singles match for the WWF European Championship 08:38
11 The Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) defeated Big Boss Man Hell in a Cell match 09:46
12 Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated The Rock (c) No Disqualification match for the WWF Championship 16:55
  • (c) – refers to the champion(s) heading into the match
  • H – indicates the match was broadcast prior to the pay-per-view on Sunday Night Heat


The event was met with mixed critical response. Canadian Online Explorer's professional wrestling section gave the entire event 5 out of 10 stars. The main event between The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin for the WWF Championship was rated 8 out of 10 stars, the Hell In A Cell Match between The Undertaker and Big Boss Man was rated 5 out of 10 stars, the match between Shane McMahon and X-Pac for the WWF European Championship was rated 7 out of 10 stars, the match between Sable and Tori for the WWF Women's Championship was rated 1 out of 10 stars, the Four corners elimination match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship between Road Dogg Jesse James, Ken Shamrock, Goldust and Val Venis was rated 5 out of 10 stars and the Referee match between Mankind and Big Show was rated 4 out of 10.[25]


Rock then caught Austin by surprise with a swinging neckbreaker, taking the chair and driving it into Austin's back several times. After another pin attempt, with Tim White now officiating, Austin still kicked out and Rock used a sitting chin hold to subdue him. After holding him for some time, Austin slowly stood up, elbowing Rock and attempting a running attack but was taken out with a Samoan drop, which Austin again kicked out of. The Rock took his frustration out on White, Rock Bottoming him,[1] which gave Austin the time to recover and attack the champion with a Stone Cold Stunner, with Earl Hebner eventually coming in to officiate but only counting to two before Rock kicked out. Mr McMahon came to the ring, distracting Austin while The Rock lowblowed him; the two men kicking away at Austin in the corner and punching Hebner when he tried to stop them. As the two double teamed Austin, Mankind came running to the ring in his referee's uniform,[1] throwing McMahon straight out the ring and Austin tried a roll up pin. He followed with a Lou Thesz Press but Rock soon took the advantage with another Rock Bottom. With Austin in the middle of the ring, The Rock tried the Corporate Elbow but Austin moved out of the way at the last second. Rock caught Austin's foot and spun him round, trying to Rock Bottom him again but Austin elbowed him away and delivered a stunner, finally securing a pin fall and winning the WWF Championship.[21]

Before the main event, Michael Cole announced Jim Ross returning to call the match. Mr McMahon then came to the ring as the special guest referee but once he was in the ring Shawn Michaels' music began to play. Commissioner Michaels came to the ring and cut a promo joking that he had to buy a ticket to get in, then explaining that only the commissioner is entitled to appoint a referee for WrestleMania, ordering McMahon to the back and barring all members of The Corporation from ring side. The main event began with the two wrestlers insulting each other before Steve Austin threw the first punch, The Rock instantly returning. The majority of the early part of the match took place outside the ring, with Austin being choked with a T-shirt then taking Rock through the crowd before returning into the secure area and into the crowd the opposite end. When Rock threw Austin back into the secure area he choked him on some cable and took him up the walkway, but Austin fought out of his grasp and threw him into the steel barriers, trying to piledrive him but being backbody dropped so that his knee landed onto light support girders. Rock picked up Austin and threw him into the WrestleMania XV sign but Austin circled round and threw Rock into them instead, then dragged him back towards the ring having a suplex reversed on the concrete walkway. Rock then tried to throw Austin back through the crowd at ringside, spitting water in his face but Austin took control and put him onto the Spanish announce table, performing two elbow drops to break the table and then spat water into Rock's face. Austin threw his opponent into the ring, celebrating to the crowd but when he entered the ring Rock sprang up and drove Austin into the floor with a Rock Bottom, following with an unsuccessful pin cover. The Rock grabbed a chair but Austin took it from him, Rock blocked the oncoming chair shot by pulling referee Mike Chioda in front of him, who took the chair shot.[1]

The Hell in a Cell match began with Big Boss Man punching The Undertaker into the corner until he ducked out and returned the same. Although Boss Man was able to deliver a swinging neckbreaker, Undertaker took control again throwing Boss Man into the cell. Boss Man reversed an Irish whip and threw Undertaker into the cell too, handcuffing one hand to the chain fence. Boss Man taunted Undertaker's lack of control before striking him repeatedly with his night stick causing Undertaker to fall to the floor and rip the handcuffs, though Boss Man carried on using the nightstick and cut Undertaker open. Undertaker fought back by grabbing Boss Man at the throat and throwing him back into the fence again, striking him with a chair and running Boss Man face-first into the chain fence with a fireman's carry. As the two returned to the ring Boss Man tried to clothesline Undertaker but he ducked and performed a leaping flying clothesline of his own before going Old School, ultimately falling into the ropes. The two began a fist fight in the middle of the ring with Undertaker failing a tombstone piledriver attempt, but successfully performing it seconds later and pinned him afterwards.[21] Undertaker stood up and looked to the heavens with his hands upwards, signaling The Brood to descend onto the roof of the cell. They cut open the roof of the cell and passed through a noose, securing the other end to the top of the cell. The Brood then ascended back into the rafters as Undertaker put the noose around Boss Man's neck, with Paul Bearer causing the Cell to rise and take a hanging Boss Man with it.[23] After the match a video package of the Rage Party was shown while Boss Man was taken down and carried off on a stretcher.[1]

Main event matches

Before X-Pac could make his way to the ring Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco attacked him from behind but caused little problem to X-Pac who beat them then ran into the ring, with Shane McMahon fleeing. Shane eventually made his way to the ring and was punched into the corner, escaping a Bronco Buster when Test pulled him out of the ring. Shane tried to escape once again but X-Pac chased him and threw him back into the ring, only to be struck down by Test and then have his crotch rammed into the ring post. When he returned to the ring Shane scoop slammed him and attempted a Corporate Elbow, with X-Pac sitting up just before the end but he was brought back down with a low blow as referee Mike Chioda was distracted by Test. Shane continued to push the disqualification boundaries by whipping X-Pac with his belt several times before being back body dropped out of the ring, recovering only to be met with a flying crossbody. The Mean Street Posse tried to restrain X-Pac but he fought back, only to be floored by Test. After a superplex, the pincount was broken up by Test but he was soon kicked out of the ring then X-Pac whipped McMahon with the belt before round house kicking him into the corner and performing the Bronco Buster. When Chioda checked on McMahon afterwards, Test struck X-Pac with the championship belt but by the time McMahon covered him he managed to kick out. Test tried to interfere but took a Bronco Buster too. Triple H and Chyna came to the ring to pull Test out but when McMahon was floored by an X Factor, Chyna distracted the referee to allow Triple H to Pedigree X-Pac and cover him with Shane, turning heel and allowing him to retain the title. The New Age Outlaws ran to the ring and brawled with Triple H and Test until the lights went out and Kane's music began to play but by the time the lights came up The Corporation were clear of the ring and had fled.[21][23]

The Women's Championship match began with Tori taking her time to enter the ring, Sable grabbing her hair when she finally did and tossing her back out. Tori regrouped outside and pulled Sable out by her legs, ramming her face into the apron and the barricade. She was whipped into the barrier herself and as she recovered, Sable performed a crossbody from the outside apron. Sable continuously assaulted Tori while down on the mat, but Tori delivered two vicious clotheslines to the corner on Sable, then attempted a sunset flip pin which began a series of pinning reversals ending in a stalemate. Afterwards Tori tried a running attack on Sable but took out referee Jimmy Korderas unwittingly. Sable then tried to perform her Sable Bomb but Tori jumped out of it. As she tried to perform her own powerbomb, a muscled woman, later identified as Nicole Bass, came into the ring to gorilla press slam Tori. This allowed Sable to Sable Bomb Tori and pin her to retain the championship.

X-Pac suffered at the hands of myriad run-ins in his match

Before Kane's match with Triple H, Kane entered the ring only to be attacked while he was performing his signature entrance by the San Diego Chicken. Kane fought back and unmasked the chicken, revealing it be Pete Rose, trying to gain revenge for the previous year's incident but receiving a Tombstone piledriver.[24] Triple H also tried to ambush Kane by coming through the crowd while all eyes were on the stage entrance, hitting Kane out of the ring and then hitting him into the ring post and whipping him into the steel steps. Kane then picked Triple H up and straddled him on the crowd barrier, pushing him into the Mean Street Posse who were at ring side, picking him up again to ram his back into the steel post three times. Back inside the ring Kane dominated Helmsley with his rough fighting style, using his foot to choke Triple H and knocking him down with clotheslines and punches until Triple H gained momentum from a reversal, smashing Kane's face into his knee. Kane was allowed time to recover when Triple H was distracted by Chyna coming to ringside. Triple H tried to Pedigree Kane as he stood up but failed while Chyna pushed the steel steps into the ring. Kane picked them up and ran into Triple H, who used the turnbuckle to swing his feet up and kicked them back into Kane causing Kane to stagger backwards and drop them before smashing his face into the steps from a drop toe-hold. Triple H then clotheslined Kane out of the ring, following himself and attempting to Pedigree Kane on the steps but was backbody dropped. When they made it back into the ring Kane chokeslammed Triple H while Chyna entered the ring with a steel chair, telling Kane she wanted to attack Triple H but as Kane turned, Chyna hit him with the chair causing him to corner her but again was hit with the chair, this time by Triple H who followed it up with a Pedigree onto the chair. Chyna and Triple H celebrated the reunion of D-Generation X afterwards.[21][23]

The four corners Intercontinental match began with Ken Shamrock and Road Dogg in the ring, with the latter being thrown from corner to corner until Goldust tagged his way in, with running shoulder barges that floored Shamrock. Shamrock tagged in Venis who came in and instantly attacked Shamrock until Goldust backdropped him. Goldust tried the Curtain Call but Venis flipped over Goldust's back only to be knocked down again by a clothesline from Goldust who then put Venis on the turnbuckle and attempted a superplex but Venis fought back and replied with a diving bulldog following with a fisherman suplex pin which would only make a two count. The two then collided in the turnbuckle, causing Goldust to fall down and Venis to fall on him, headbutting his crotch. Shamrock took a blind tag from Road Dogg, after he replaced Goldust, immediately putting an ankle lock until Venis grabbed the bottom rope. As Venis grabbed the ropes to stand up again Shamrock charged him but was tossed over the ropes as Ryan Shamrock insulted him. Venis went after Ken Shamrock and the two fought up the walkway with Shamrock running back to the ring but not fast enough to avoid a double count-out. Shamrock, not accepting the decision belly to belly suplex slammed both competitors before leaving. When they recovered Goldust Irish whipped Road Dogg but had it reversed and as Goldust ran into the ropes he had his leg caught by Ryan Shamrock, seemingly trying to grab Road Dogg's leg. Road Dogg charged Goldust and was picked up for a powerslam but managed to roll Goldust round, crashing him into the floor and covering him for a successful pin count.[21][23]

When Mankind entered the ring he was immediately headbutted out, but as Big Show followed him out, Mankind slammed Show's head into the steel steps. He then tried a double-armed DDT into the steps but was shoved over the steps falling backwards. Show dominated Mankind in the ring afterwards, using his sheer size to punch and throw mankind with Mankind eventually being tied up in the ropes allowing him to back body drop Show out of the ring and take out Mr. Socko to give Big Show a mandible claw three times when he returned. The third claw came with a low blow, for which Mankind was not disqualified. When Show stood back up, he had Mankind on his back and jumped backwards so that his entire body landed on Mankind. As the two recovered, Show kicked his opponent out of the ring, grabbing a steel chair and thrusting it into Mankind's chest then hitting it over his back. Big Show threw that chair and another in the ring, setting them both in seated positions and Show Stopping Mankind through the middle of them. At this point Earl Hebner finally decided to disqualify Big Show, with Show taking out his anger by attacking Mankind more with the chair. Mr McMahon made his way to the ring afterwards, berating Big Show for risking the WWF Championship match at which point Show grabbed him by the throat. He then thought better of it and released him, only to be met with another tirade from McMahon and a slap, causing Show to punch McMahon and knock him out.[21][23]

The Brawl For All match began with the two meeting in the middle, Gunn running into some blows from Butterbean. The two traded punches, neither man managing to contact properly until Butterbean shook Gunn with a left hand jab followed by a right hook which stunned Gunn allowing Bean to corner him, giving him another right hook which knocked him down. Gunn immediately came back up on his knees, but took advantage of the eight seconds before standing up fully. As soon as he stood up though he was met with an immediate right hook which knocked him straight back down, giving Butterbean a victory via knockout.[21] The match lasted a total of 34 seconds.[22] This was followed with an appearance from the San Diego Chicken, who mocked special referee Vinny Pazienza and was punched to the floor for it.[23]

The WWF Tag Team Championship match began with Jeff Jarrett and D'Lo Brown exchanging running maneuvers before both tagging in their respective partners at which point Test used a pumphandle slam on Owen Hart, but tried again after a failed pincount only to be met with an enziguiri and then the Sharpshooter. Brown came in illegally to break it up but was tagged in straight afterwards, dominating both Hart and Jarrett with power slams and dropkicks, almost winning the match after a Sky High that was broken up by Jarrett. Referee Jimmy Korderas was distracted when Debra (Debra Marshall) came to the apron to distract Brown only to be pulled down by Ivory (Lisa Moretti), at which point PMS (Terri Runnels and Jacqueline Moore) arrived and all of them began to fight while Test tried to pull them apart. With everyone distracted, Hart missile dropkicked Brown allowing Jarret to roll Brown up and sit on him, securing a pin count.[21][23]

Owen Hart had his third WrestleMania WWF Tag Team Championship match[22]

The inaugural WrestleMania Hardcore Championship match began with Al Snow striking Billy Gunn as he tried to make a pre-match speech. With Gunn in the corner, Snow fought with Hardcore Holly outside the ring, wrapping his neck in cable but, after some fighting from Gunn, Holly was able to suplex Snow. After Gunn again interjected himself, Snow was able to go underneath the mat to find some weapons including a Philadelphia Flyers hockey stick much to the delight of the crowd. The match ended when Gunn put Snow through a table in the corner, originally intended for Gunn and then used the Fameasser on Snow, driving him into a chair on the mat. As the referee counted, Holly struck Gunn with a weapon, quickly covering Snow to steal his second championship reign.[3][21]

Preliminary matches

During the Sunday Night Heat pre-show, Jacqueline (Jacqueline Moore) pinned Ivory (Lisa Moretti) after a back suplex.[20] After the match, Terri Runnels burned her cigar into Ivory's cheek. The second Heat match saw a 21-man battle royal match with the last two competitors becoming a tag team for the evening to face the Tag Team Championship holders. In the event D'Lo Brown and Test (Andrew Martin) were the last two, still fighting without realising the match was over when Droz (Darren Drozdov) and The Godfather (Charles Wright) eliminated each other.[20] The show officially began with Boyz II Men singing "America the Beautiful" in the ring before the opening video.[1]

The event was marked with a Rage Party the preceding evening, playing on the tagline of the event, much like Fan Axess that would come in later years. It featured music from Isaac Hayes and Big Pun among others.[19]


Other on-screen talent
Role: Name:
Commentator Michael Cole (also Heat)
Jerry Lawler
Jim Ross (Main Event)
Carlos Cabrera (Spanish)
Hugo Savinovich (Spanish)
Owen Hart (battle royal only)
Jeff Jarrett (battle royal only)
Terri Runnels (Ivory v. Jacqueline)
Interviewer Kevin Kelly (also Heat)
Ring announcer Howard Finkel
Referee Mike Chioda
Earl Hebner
Jim Korderas
Theodore Long
Tim White
Vinny Pazienza (Brawl For All)
Brawl For All Judges Gorilla Monsoon
Chuck Wepner
Kevin Rooney


The main event of the evening could arguably be traced back over a year. When Steve Austin won the Royal Rumble[14] in 1998 Mr. McMahon made it quite clear he was not happy with a rebellious, foul-mouthed beer drinker as the potential representative for his company should he win the WWF Championship at WrestleMania XIV. When he did[15] McMahon set on a six-month-long quest to dethrone Austin as champion, which he eventually did in a de facto handicap match at Breakdown: In Your House against The Undertaker and Kane, who could not pin each other.[16] As both pinned Austin at the same time the belt was made vacant, with the two men ostensibly fighting for it the next month at Judgment Day: In Your House but McMahon's attempt to further humiliate Austin by have him officiate the match went awry when he attacked both men ending it in a no contest.[17] A Deadly Games tournament was scheduled for Survivor Series in November in which it turned out that The Rock, not Mankind, was McMahon's choice for winner and duly had the tournament manipulated to his advantage, while Austin lost in a match when McMahon's son Shane, acting as referee, refused to count a pin fall to go to the finals.[8] Knowing Rock would be busy feuding with Mankind, McMahon realized Austin was likely to use the 1999 Royal Rumble, rather than a personal attack, to attempt to reclaim the belt and laid down the stipulation that he must win a Buried Alive match against The Undertaker to be in the Rumble. When he did, with some help from Kane,[11] McMahon further tried to prevent Austin winning back the championship by 'randomly' drawing him as the first entrant in the Rumble and drawing himself as the thirtieth. Having annoyed Commissioner Shawn Michaels McMahon was placed into the match as the second entrant.[18] Despite a $100,000 bounty on his head, Austin survived almost all of the match, being the last person eliminated by Mr McMahon thanks to the distraction of The Rock, meaning that McMahon had earned a right to go to WrestleMania. As a part-time wrestler and a fellow member of The Corporation, McMahon explained the following night that he would be relinquishing his place at WrestleMania, the first Royal Rumble winner to do so, only to be told by Commissioner Michaels that if the winner is unable or unwilling to fight then the place goes to the runner-up. With McMahon irate, Austin revealed that he was willing to put his place on the line and not headline WrestleMania if McMahon would give him the opportunity to fight him one-on-one with no interference from The Corporation, and if he could beat him Austin would not go to WrestleMania. Their steel cage match at St. Valentine's Day Massacre mostly consisted of McMahon running away but eventually the two fought with Austin winning the match under unusual circumstances when Big Show made his debut, coming from under the ring and throwing Austin into the cage with the walls of it coming open, meaning that Austin had inadvertently won the match.[4]

Having been buried alive in a Royal Rumble qualification match at Rock Bottom: In Your House,[11] The Undertaker disappeared from television while The Acolytes, Faarooq (Ron Simmons) and Bradshaw (John Layfield), began to act strangely eventually abducting Dennis Knight and leaving him tied up in a darkened room. On January 11 The Undertaker returned in slightly new attire, taking a seat in a ceremonial throne on the Raw is War stage while Paul Bearer stood beside him and The Acolytes brought Knight out and tied him to a table. There Undertaker performed a ritualistic ceremony, rechristening him Mideon.[12] Undertaker began delivering ambiguous apocalyptic messages, but after recruiting Mabel, now Viscera (Nelson Frazier, Jr.) and The Brood he began to be more direct, revealing his plan to attack Mr. McMahon and take over the World Wrestling Federation. The security of Mr. McMahon's Corporation, The Big Boss Man, challenged the Ministry to a six-man tag team match which ended in a no contest when the Ministry abducted Shane McMahon and took him to Undertaker, who threatened him while choking him then gave him a letter to give to his father. McMahon replied the following week on February 22 by booking The Undertaker in an Inferno match with Kane on Raw is War, the first network television airing of that type of match. During the match McMahon provided commentary, nonchalantly revealing he had placed Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match against Big Boss Man for WrestleMania. During the match Paul Bearer gave an ominous gift to McMahon, a teddy bear. After Undertaker set Kane on fire, he turned to the enraged McMahon, taking the teddy bear (later revealed to belong to an as yet unmentioned Stephanie McMahon) and setting alight to it reducing Vince to his knees.[13] Trying to defeat either of his problems, McMahon declared he'd never show such weakness again and put Mankind against Undertaker which ended with Undertaker almost chokeslamming McMahon through the announce table until Boss Man saved him.[6] Undertaker continued with his mind games on March 8, ordering his Ministry to look for Boss Man all night and attacking any innocents who were in his way, eventually capturing Boss Man and crucifying him. Boss Man managed to escape while police were being beaten off by Undertaker's minions until he offered himself to the police while being derided by McMahon. The following week he continued his assault, with videos playing throughout the evening of the Ministry at McMahon's mansion ending in McMahon coming to the ring while Triple H brawled with Kane, begging Kane to help him. Kane ripped off his mask to reveal it was actually The Undertaker who grabbed McMahon by the throat as the lights turned off in the arena and when they came up, he was gone with McMahon alone in the ring.

Tori was sitting front row as a plant as early as September 14's Raw is War but it was not until late December that she began to act with stalker tendencies, sending flowers and notes to Sable, the WWE Women's Champion and even helping her to defend her title against Luna Vachon at the Royal Rumble.[10] On Raw is War the night after the previous pay-per-view, Tori invaded the ring again and was publicly shouted at and humiliated by Sable. Vachon then brought Tori to the ring a fortnight after, reprimanding Sable for her ego but a still-obsessed Tori helped attack Vachon. The following week on March 8's Raw is War Tori fought Vachon with Sable in her corner but after receiving a squash from Vachon, Sable also gave Tori a Sable Bomb leading to Tori interrupting Sable's Playboy interview by demanding a championship match at WrestleMania.[6]

Sable defended the WWF Women's Championship against Tori

After The Rock won his "I Quit" match against Mankind at the Royal Rumble by playing a recording of his voice, Triple H demanded an I Quit match of his own but, as he was about to put Rock through the announce table, The Corporation came to the ring and Kane held his manager/girlfriend Chyna hostage, demanding that he quit the match. As soon as the match was over though, Chyna low blowed Triple H and revealed her alliances with The Corporation, promising to give him a Valentine's Day present at the subsequent pay-per-view. Despite almost having the match won, Triple H suffered at the hands of an interfering Shane McMahon and illegal man Kane's chokeslam.[4] Triple H took revenge on the February 22 Raw is War by interfering in X-Pac's (Sean Waltman) match with Chyna, causing her to lose. Chyna then called Triple H out on March 8 but before they could fight Kane came to the ring and Chyna held up Triple H as Kane shot a fireball at him, though he would duck out the way causing (kayfabe) severe retinal damage to Chyna. Despite not receiving any damage, Triple H maintained that the fireball was meant for him, an insult he took personally and an intended injury he wanted to return personally at WrestleMania. On March 22 Kane prepared to have a match against Goldust, but as he threw off his entrance robes and wig it turned out he was Triple H holding a flamethrower, shooting flames in Kane's face.[6] Meanwhile, X-Pac, who had altercations with Shane McMahon previous to the February event, was frustrated with his Shane's interference in the match and was goaded into putting his European Championship on the line in a tag team match with Triple H against Kane and Shane which Shane won thanks to Triple H being distracted by Chyna.[9] With Shane claiming himself to be a fighting champion, he agreed to a rematch at WrestleMania but regularly interfered in X-Pac's matches up until that point culminating in a Greenwich Street Fight on March 22 that ended in a no contest when the Mean Street Posse ambushed X-Pac and drove off with Shane in their car.[6]

When Ryan Shamrock (Alicia Webb) appeared front row on Raw is War, January 11, she gained attention not only from her brother but also Val Venis, who performed a flirtatious dance for her, and "Badd Ass" Billy Gunn who lived up to his moniker by mooning her. Enraged, Ken Shamrock fought Gunn at the Royal Rumble[10] and then Venis at St. Valentine's Day Massacre, with Venis winning the Intercontinental Championship thanks to help from Ryan.[4] Venis soon dumped Ryan though[9] and she began a relationship with Goldust (Dustin Rhodes) and Venis also unwittingly lost his championship to Road Dogg on Raw is War[5] and so he found himself having to defend his championship against all the important men in Ryan Shamrock's life in a four corners elimination match.

From November's Survivor Series[8] until the night after St. Valentine's Day Massacre, The Rock and Mankind (Mick Foley) traded the WWF Championship between themselves numerous time as Mr. McMahon screwed Mankind time and time again on his quest to headline WrestleMania. In their final match, a Raw is War ladder match, Paul Wight delivered the Showstopper to Mankind as he was about to win the match,[9] removing his chances of appearing the main event. However, as Mr McMahon's Corporate conspiracy of appointing Big Show as special guest referee to secure The Rock as champion began to fall apart, Mankind constantly reared his head offering his services as a second official. With The Rock and Big Show causing infighting in The Corporation, Mankind successfully canvassed for a chance to referee, but rather than have two conflicting referees, a match was booked which would see the winner have the right to officiate.

, who held a 43–1–1 record at the time, challenged him to a Brawl For All fight. Eric "Butterbean" Esch boxer and mixed martial artist After a hardcore match between the two, which Gunn dominated until a masked assailant threw him off the stage, noted [6] after defeating every opponent by knockout aside from his opening round opponent Bob Holly. When Holly rechristened himself Hardcore Holly on February 15, decrying the poor gimmicks and tag team partners he had been given in the past, Gunn made his first appearance since winning the tournament, to remind Holly that not all his partners were of a poor caliber.[7]

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