Arnold Furious: 1998 was the year the WWF fought back and took over as the number one promotion in America. The Royal Rumble had put Steve Austin on his way to greatness but until he won the WWF title that would all be for nothing. The build on Austin’s megapush is so well done that everyone in wrestling tried to copy it for years afterwards. Rumours persist that Austin had been booked to win the title earlier; at Final Four over a year before this, in a match that Bret Hart eventually won. I’m not sure where these murmurings began but I’ve never heard anyone important mention them so we’ll take them as rumours and nothing more. A previous title reign would have made Austin’s achievements here seem less important, which is why quick title changes and surprise wins shouldn’t be overused, Vince Russo.
We’re in Boston, Massachusetts. Hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. Chris Warren and the DX Band play their versions of the American National Anthem and ‘America the Beautiful’. This whole thing was designed to get more heat on DX from the usually patriotic WWF, but I honestly enjoyed this more than the flag waving nonsense the WWF inserted ahead of other WrestleManias. Welcome to Attitude!
Video Control gives us a killer video package linking the current Attitude era to WrestleMania’s tradition and history. “These men who shun tradition are destined to become a part of it” still sends chills down my spine. It’s important to acknowledge your history.