WrestleMania Flashback: WrestleMania XIV

Did I have time to blog? Yes I did! We’re continuing with our look back on the history of WrestleMania. Looking back WrestleMania XIV, you can really see how this was a transitional period for the WWE. The main event really is a final chapter on the pre-Attitude Era of the WWE. This leaves the WWE roster looking completely different, especially who the top stars are. Steve Austin walks out of with the World Championship, and the company switches over to being Austin-centric. That works, because he really was the biggest star at that point. 

THE GOOD:

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Remember VHS cassettes? I think I picked up a copy of this at Shop-Rite for $5 at some point.

The one interesting thing that stuck out to me after re-watching this was how appropriately short it was. The whole show was over in about three hours. That’s amazing when you look at it through the 2019 lens, where every week Raw is three hours and it is not uncommon to see a four and a half hour long pay per view.

THE BAD:

Match wise, there wasn’t too much to complain about. It was exactly what you would expect from a WWE event in 1998. The biggest gripe to me was the ending of the Owen Hart/HHH match, which had HHH winning due to some interference from Chyna. In a post-Survivor Series 1997 world it felt all but certain that Hart would be walking out of this match with the European Championship, but it didn’t happen. If you remember, Hart was red hot when he came back to the company. Losing in this fashion really cooled him off as a character. In hindsight, it doesn’t feel like he ever recovered from this. I guess you could say the same thing about the Rock retaining the Intercontinental Championship over Ken Shamrock.

MATCH TO WATCH:

I remembered really liking the New Age Outlaws/Cactus Jack and Terry Funk match a lot. I still did. But I completely forgot about the Taka Michinoku/Aguila match. WWE didn’t have a lot of matches like this at the time and it really stands out–in a good way–from the rest of the event.

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WWE 13: Making Pro Wrestling Video Games Fun Again

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The last pro wrestling game that I purchased was Fire Pro Returns for PS2 and I’ve been playing that religiously for the past five years. For Christmas, I was given  WWE 13 for Xbox 360. Was I able to make the transition to the newest, shiniest slickest pro wrestling video game?

The answer is yes. While lacking the ridiculous customization of the Fire Pro games, WWE 13 is the most fun WWE video game since Smackdown vs. Raw: Here Comes The PainI’ve been playing it pretty much non-stop since getting it.

The game is pretty much what you would expect; not only does it have the current WWE talent roster, but all the match types you would expect to find on your typical episode of Raw or Smackdown as well as the usual basic story modes that string along your story-lines.

But what really makes this an awesome game is the Attitude Era mode, which recreates all the major story lines on WWE programming from early 1997 through Wrestlemania XV. You wind up playing as Bret “The Hitman” Hart, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, the Rock…even Ken Shamrock as you relive all the classic Attitude Era moments. Best of all, if you successfully complete all the objectives in each match, it unlocks content that you can use in the regular game modes, ranging from wrestlers to new arenas.

The online modes add some more fun for the game, allowing you to play against WWE 13 users around the world and to download create-a-wrestlers that people have shared. The only problem with the online components is that the server lags and disconnects a lot, but that can be expected with THQ’s current financial woes. I mostly use the online feature to download new wrestlers and arenas. If you are willing to get up really early in the morning to avoid peak hours, it runs a lot smoother.

I have a feeling that I’ll be playing this for quite some time, as you can create an additional 50 characters on your own. I’ve already found a great Bob Sapp to add to the game. Not to mention, that they’ve issued several downloadable content packs that not only freshen up the current roster with people like Antonio Cesaro and Ryback, but also add classics from the Attitude Era like Brian Pillman, Terry Funk and Diamond Dallas Page. These are all additions I would have made on my own, so it frees up CAW slots!

I’ve been away from WWE gaming for a decent amount of time and it feels good to be back. This game is highly recommended for wrestling fans everywhere.