#WWF803 – WrestleMania XV Highlights

Lee Maughan: Cast your minds back to… well, just a few pages previous and a tape branded WrestleMania XIV Highlights. Here’s the WrestleMania XV version, another cheap clip job of the show that was arguably the peak of the Attitude Era. Not because it was a great show or anything like that, but with Steve Austin and the Rock on top, the Corporation and Ministry stables at their height, D-Generation X making essentially their last collective stand as a babyface ensemble (albeit in separate outings and with the leader of the group turning heel), plus names like Mankind and Kane scattered throughout the card, it really does feel like the shop window pinnacle of everything that had gone down over the previous year. Of course, one could also make the argument that WrestleMania X-SEVEN two years later more closely represented the spiritual end of the Attitude Era what with Austin’s heel turn and union with perennial rival Mr. McMahon, plus the impending invasion of WCW, but this WrestleMania captures a particular collection of characters at the pinnacle of their popularity. So why is it then, that fans of the WWF in the late 90s never seem to fondly recall this specific show with any sort of affectionate misty-eyed nostalgia? I’d have to presume it’s all down to the fact that the show, for the most part, absolutely sucks…
Indeed, when you talk to Attitude Era fans about those glory days, very few will ever bring up any specific shows, save for perhaps Survivor Series: Deadly Game, a rotten show from an in-ring perspective but a veritable roller coaster of storyline twists and turns for those who don’t want to have to actually think about their wrestling. In fact, when discussing the era, it’s often angles, segments or the WWF’s precious “moments” that continually crop up; ‘Stone Cold’ Stunning McMahon at Madison Square Garden, hosing his boss down from atop a beer truck, or flipping the double bird to Mike Tyson. The People’s Eyebrow, the catchphrases and “Sing-a-long with the Rock.” DX parodying the Nation. All memories to last a lifetime, and not a single match among them. Maybe Vince Russo was right all along, maybe the matches really don’t matter…
In many ways, that’s what this tape attempts to achieve. The sub-30 minute running time leaves little opportunity for including much in-ring action at all, and much like WrestleMania XIV Highlights, is extremely heavily edited in an attempt to make the show feel like a collection of “moments” than any great card of pro wrestling action. To that end it succeeds, and with such a brief running time the content certainly flies by at a rate impossible to induce boredom, but almost as soon as one clip begins, it feels like it’s already over and you’re suddenly on to something else entirely with no chance for a respite to really take on board anything you’ve just seen. A bit like the Attitude Era then.


Summary: Another Toys Я Us “buy an action figure, pick up a free tape!” type release with the main feature squashed into about half the actual running time, dubbed as it is onto the sort of flimsy EP quality tape that feels like it might fall apart the second you press play. Again, the whole thing basically plays out like a Saturday morning child-friendly interpretation of Attitude Era programming. Given the kids of 1999 have long since grown up, it leaves almost no redeeming value to the piece whatsoever, save for perhaps a bit of PG-friendly filler material if the WWE ever finds itself with 25 minutes to fill on a 24/7 wrestling nostalgia network.
Verdict: 2

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