Here’s Part 15 of our WrestleMania Retrospective series, looking back at past WrestleMania events as we march towards WrestleMania 29 on April 7th
WrestleMania XV (1999)
Tagline: The Ragin’ Climax
Sponsor: M&Ms Crispy
Date: March 28, 1999
Venue: First Union Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
America the Beautiful: Boyz II Men
The Undertaker’s Streak: 8-0 (Def The Big Boss Man)
WrestleMania XV featured a main event that contested the WWF Championship between the challenger Steve Austin and The Rock. Another major match at the 1999 event saw The Undertaker wrestle Big Boss Man inside the Hell in a Cell, a roofed cage that surrounds the ring. 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.
In the previous year, due to the suddenly enlarged roster, a shootfighting (unscripted) knockout tournament entitled WWF Brawl for All was organized on a voluntary basis with Bart Gunn winning the tournament on August 24 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 teampartners 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. After a hardcore match between the two, which Gunn dominated until a masked assailant threw him off the stage, noted mixed martial artist and boxer Eric “Butterbean” Esch, who held a 43–1–1 record at the time, challenged him to a Brawl For All fight.
At WrestleMania XV, in The Brawl For All boxing match Butterbean defeated Bart Gunn in the first Wrestlemania’s boxing match since Wrestlemania 2. The match lasted a total of 34 seconds. 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.
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.
Prior to WrestleMania XV Chyna turned on Triple H, and allined herself with The McMahon Corporation. Durrning the match between Kane and Triple H, at WrestleMania XV, 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.
Having been buried alive in a Royal Rumble qualification match at Rock Bottom: In Your House, 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. 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.
After defeating The Big Boss Man in The Hell in a Cell match, with a tombstone piledriver, The 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. After the match a video package of the Rage Party was shown while Boss Man was taken down and carried off on a stretcher.
During the X-Pac Shane McMahon match, Triple H came to the ring seeming to help remove Corporation Member Test out of the ring. While this was happening X-Pac hit McMahon with an X Factor. Chyna then distracted the referee to allow Triple H to Pedigree X-Pac, turnning on him and DX, and cover him with Shane, allowing him to retain the title. The New Age Outlaws ran in 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.
In The 1999 Royal Rumble, Vince McMahon tried to prevent Austin winning back the WWF championship by ‘randomly’ drawing him as the first entrant. and drawing himself as the thirtieth. Having annoyed Commissioner Shawn Michaels McMahon was placed into the match as the second entrant. 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.
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.
During the championship match, 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 Earl Hebner when he tried to stop them. As the two double teamed Austin, Mankind came running to the ring in his referee’s uniform, 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. This also marked the final appearance of Gorilla Monsoon before his death. Monsoon hadn’t been seen on WWF television since SummerSlam 1997.
Prior to this, Gorilla Monsoon had appeared in 12 of the last 15 WrestleMania events (from I to X, XII). In WrestleMania XI, he appeared only in the Coliseum Video release. Here, he would make his final appearance as a judge for the WWF Brawl for All match.
WrestleMania XV Results
Sunday Night Heat Jacqueline (with Terri Runnels) defeated Ivory (with D’Lo Brown)
Sunday Night Heat D’Lo Brown and Test won when Droz and The Godfather eliminated each other in a 21 Man Battle Royal to become the no. 1 contenders to the WWF Tag Team Championship
• Hardcore Holly defeated Billy Gunn (c) and Al Snow Triple threat hardcore match for the WWF Hardcore Championship
• 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 03:58
• Butterbean defeated Bart Gunn Brawl for All boxing match
• Mankind defeated “The Big Show” Paul Wight by disqualification. Singles match to become the special guest referee of the main event.
• 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
• Kane (with Chyna) defeated Triple H by disqualification.
• Sable (c) defeated Tori Singles match for the WWF Women’s Championship
• Shane McMahon (c) (with Test) defeated X-Pac Singles match for the WWF European Championship
• The Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) defeated The Big Boss Man in a Hell in a Cell match
• Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated The Rock (c) No disqualification match for the WWF Championship