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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

Austin WWF champ again
By GREG OLIVER -- At WrestleMania
 PHILADELPHIA -- The problem with being live at WrestleMania, nestled high in the First Union Centre, is that the viewers at home probably saw more on TV than the press did from the press box.
  And so, this reporter will try to fill you in on what happened besides Stone Cold Steve Austin winning the WWF World title from The Rock, Chyna rejoining Degeneration X then leaving again with Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Hardcore Holly winning the Hardcore title, the return of Pete Rose and the debut of Nicole Bass in the pseudo-women's division.
 A brief rundown of Sunday evening's show:

The view from the First Union Centre press box before the event started. -- Greg Oliver, CANOE
  • Attendance at the First Union Centre: 20,276, for a gross of $1,437,050 USD. (Source: WWF) Well-behaved crowd too, with nothing thrown in the ring.
  • 10:50 -- McMahon confronts Austin, so he offers up another Stunner and beer bath and the crowd goes wild again.
  • 10:28 -- Austin vs The Rock starts. First match to take it into the crowd. Note that they fought in the only two open areas in the whole arena. 10:38, Austin nails the ref with a chair by accident. After a few restholds, Rock rockbottoms the ref. Austin then issues a Stunner on Rock. Another ref runs to the ring, and but Austin doesn't get the 1-2-3. Mr. McMahon enters the ring, and helps Rock beat up Austin. Mankind arrives to a rousing cheer. Back and forth until Austin stuns The Rock. Once again WWF World champ, Stone Cold Steve Austin. He basks in the crowd's applause.
  • 10:27 -- Stone Cold Steve Austin arrives to the night's biggest cheers by far.
  • 10:26 -- The Rock is introduced. Everyone is on their feet. Mix of boos and cheers for him. Weird seeing him in just trunks again, no facing shirts. Rocky sucks chant starts. Rock doesn't get on the microphone.
  • 10:19 -- Shawn Michaels introduced. Biggest cheers of the night so far, and prolonged. "We just can't just have a WrestleMania without the Heartbreak Kid, can we?" He appoints his own ref, and bars The Corporation from ringside. Michaels also challenges McMahon. Kiss Him Goodbye chant starts.
  • 10:18 -- Guest referee Mr. McMahon introduced.
  • 10:17 -- Jim Ross introduced by Michael Cole to annouce the main event.
  • 9:54 -- Undertaker vs Big Bossman in a Hell In The Cell Match. Real difficult to see anything from above in this match. First 'boring' chant of the night heard. Followed by 'Let's Go Flyers.' 10:06 blood appears on Undertaker's forehead. Boos begin. Undertaker wins clean after a tombstone piledriver. Brood drops from the rooftops, drop in noose for BBM. Brood had a smooth ride down, but a bit rougher ride going up -- Christian kissed the scoreclock, Gangrel appeared stuck at one point. During the Rage party recap, a stretcher was brought out for BBM.
  • 9:37 -- X-Pac vs Shane McMahon video preview and X-Pac interview with Degeneration X, which is apparently stronger than ever. McMahon w/ Test comes out first. X-Pac loses when Hunter Hearst Helmsley turns on him. Winner and still champion, Shane McMahon. New Age Outlaws make the save, followed by Kane. Test and HHH will make a decent tag team.
  • 9:29 -- Sable vs Tori, with the women's champ coming out first. Sable thinks she's Rick Rude or something. My neighbour in the press box from the Baltimore Sun swears that Tori is actually a man. Dye her hair orange, and she could be Tigra from Marvel Comics' The Avengers in that outfit. Nicole Bass interferes (now THAT'S a man!). Sable pins Tori.
  • 9:27 -- Kevin Kelly interviews Mr. McMahon. He'll be the referee.
  • 9:10 -- Kane vs Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Chicken attacks Kane, and under the mask is Pete Rose. Kane then totals Rose again. Hall of Fame chant starts but doesn't get very loud. Quietest the crowd has been during a match yet. 9:22 Chyna arrives. Chyna attacks Kane later. Why? Kane wins by DQ? No announcement made.
  • 8:53 -- Intercontinental title match. Order of introduction: Road Dogg Jesse James, Val Venis, Goldust w/ Blue Meanie & Ryan Shamrock, Ken Shamrock. Val and Shamrock are counted out, and eliminated. Shamrock goes nuts and attacks both Road Dogg and Goldust. Road Dogg rolls up Goldust for the win. It appears that Ryan Shamrock is siding with Blue Meanie.
  • 8:38 -- Paul Wight vs Mankind. The winner by DQ is Mankind. Afterwards, Mr. McMahon confronts and berates Paul Wight and pays the price as Wight loses it.
  • 8:37 -- Mankind is interviewed.
  • 8:29 -- Brawl For It All match. Ref is boxer Vinnie Pazienza. Cornermen are introduced, including Chuck Wepner who once faced Andre The Giant, and Gorilla Monsoon who got a big ovation. Butterbean comes out first with his manager and trainers. Bart Gunn comes out with his trainers too. He's apparently Bart 'The Hammer' Gunn now. Greg Valentine should be arranging litigation by the end of the show. Butterbean clocks Gunn in the first round for the win. Seemed legit, at least for boxing. Pazienza and a chicken go at it after the match. Seriously.
  • 8:27 -- Set-up begins for Brawl For It All match.
  • 8:19 -- D'Lo w/ Ivory & Test vs Owen Hart & Jeff Jarrett w/ Debra. Jarrett pins D'Lo for the win. PMS comes out to rough up Ivory. Test and D'Lo briefly go at it.
  • 8:07 -- Hardcore Triple Threat Match. Al Snow comes out first, then Bob Holly (booed), then Bad Ass Billy Gunn. Brief 'Let's Go Flyers' chant starts when the hockey stick comes out. Bob Holly wins by pinning Al Snow and is the new champ
  • 8:04 -- Classy Freddie Blassie narrates an opening. "Welcome to WrestleMania, a showcase of the immortals." More fireworks.
  • 8:00 -- WrestleMania! They go directly to Boyz II Men singing America The Beautiful. Fans are restless. Their soft version just doesn't carry or capture the crowd.
  • 7:59 -- Paul Wight and Mankind go at it backstage. Heat goes off the air.
  • 7:56 -- Paul Wight is pissed backstage. Rock vs Austin is recapped again.
  • 7:54 -- Last USA Network commercial, fireworks are set up in the ring again. Boyz II Men come out without introduction. Heat banners are taken down for WrestleMania banners at ringside.
  • 7:48 -- Undertaker vs McMahon feud is recapped. Big Bossman comes out and is interviewed. Lights go out and UT speaks. Brood attacks Bossman and give him a bloodbath. Clean-up crew runs to ringside to mop up.
  • 7:46 -- Hell in a Cell starts to lower a bit
  • 7:34 -- They start introducing the tag team battle royale. Owen Hart & Jeff Jarrett come out with Debra first. Then: Godfather with three ho's, Steve Blackman, D'Lo Brown, Test, Droz, Viscera, Midean, Acolytes, Road Warriors w/ Ellering (and they get fireworks), Gillberg (complete with the video entrance and sparklers, and he is doused by a fire extinguisher), Too Much, D.O.A., Tiger Ali Singh (roundly booed), Hardy Boyz, Public Enemy (mixed reaction, ECW chant). Everyone attacks Public Enemy and they are the first to go. Order of elimination: Public Enemy, Viscera, Gillberg (which is booed), Animal, D.O.A., Hawk, Scott Taylor, Faarooq, Tiger Ali Singh, Hardy Boyz (great bumps though), Midean, Steve Blackman, Bradshaw, Godfather and Droz go out together. Test & D'Lo are final two, and Hart & Jarrett attack them in the ring.
  • 7:32 -- The Rock is interviewed.
  • 7:31 -- Home Shopping Network is plugged.
  • 7:25 -- D-X comes out. To think that only a year ago, D-X was Shawn Michaels and HHH, and some fellow named Tyson. The four current members promo-ed their matches.
  • 7:24 -- intro Shane McMahon's Grenwich Posse
  • 7:16 -- Ivory comes out with D'Lo Brown for match against Jacqueline, with Terri Runnels. The classy Philly crowd briefly chants 'show your tits.' Jacqueline wins. Tori comes out to protect Ivory from double-teaming. What happened to D'Lo?
  • 7:05 -- Mr. McMahon and Paul Wight come out and are roundly booed. "I don't appreciate that, by the way," says Mr. McMahon about 'asshole' chant. New provision in main event -- no DQ. Giant on mic is hard to understand. 'Giant sucks' chant stops him. He continues with his mumblings. Surely, it comes off better on TV.
  • 7:00 -- Fireworks, live on USA Network for Sunday Night Heat (but, of course, not in Canada). People pop for Heat opening on big-screens. Notice for first time that the Titan-tron isn't set up. However, they don't need it, as there are big screens at both ends of the arena, and on each side of the scoreclock. Fans chant along with Rock and Austin sayings. All the lights were out for the fireworks, including the signage and clocks.
  • 6:54 -- Guns 'n Roses Welcome to the Jungle intros Michael Cole, Kevin Kelly.
  • 6:50 -- "Good evening, Philly!"
  • 6:49 -- Lights go off, Rocky Sucks chant starts.
  • 6:43 -- TV screens are turned on, crowd reacts.
The crowd was outside the arena quite early, including more than one tailgate party. (Let's campaign to allow these in Ontario rather than Sunday Night Heat.) Before the show, I was also taken on a tour of the Comcast studios by SLAM! Wrestling reader Rick Bauer. Comcast is a regional sports network that broadcasts Phillies, Flyers and 76ers games. The tour also included inside the First Union Centre, and backstage where the WWF had made camp.

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