All the Rage! Remembering The WWF’s Wrestlemania XV Rage Party

Brian Damage

There really is no question that WWE’s Wrestlemania has grown into a huge event every year. It is their signature show that features big match ups, stars from other areas of entertainment and thousands upon thousands of fans that come from all corners of the world. Another big part of Wrestlemania Weekend, is their Fan Axxess which allows fans to interact with many of their favorite WWE superstars. In 1999, before the existence of Axxess, there was an attempt by Vince McMahon to create an event before the “showcase of the immortals.” It was called the WWF Wrestlemania XV Rage Party and it wasn’t all that Vince or the fans thought it was cracked up to be.

I have to give credit to Vince McMahon for at the very least, thinking outside the box and trying something different and unique to make Wrestlemania an even bigger deal than it already was. In this particular case, Vince created a pre Wrestlemania XV party to get fans even more excited for the show than they already were. He brought in a DJ to spin tunes, had live musical acts like the late Isaac Hayes, Big Pun and the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies among other acts, and advertised some of the WWF’s top stars would be in attendance to interact with fans.

Over 4,000 fans crammed into the Philadelphia Convention Center to get that true Wrestlemania experience like only the World Wrestling Federation could do. This was supposed to be the party to end all parties. From several fan accounts, the bigger stars like Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Rock, the Undertaker and Mankind cut promos on a balcony and did not bother to go downstairs to mingle with fans as many thought they would. That didn’t mean that the WWF did not provide talent to be downstairs and sign autographs and talk to fans. Some stars like Debra, the Big Show, the Mean Street Posse along with a possibly drunk Shane McMahon all hung out downstairs with fans.

The party was broadcast on stations like TSN in Canada and the USA Network in the U.S. Michael Hayes was down on the floor talking to fans and the WWF stars and personalities that were willing to venture into the sea of spectators.

The party was probably highlighted by seeing Vince dance again. Not exactly his star making ‘Stand Back’ performance at the Slammy Awards some years prior, but entertaining in a weird way none the less. At least, he was having a good time, because for some fans, paying 80 bucks a pop to get into this party and feeling they were gipped by wrestlers staying far away from their fans was something else.

At the end of this Rage Party, the WWF did learn their lesson and created a more fan friendly environment with the creation of Fan Axxess. It just took this flop to get them to learn from their mistakes and improve on the idea. So if nothing else, the WWF Wrestlemania Rage Party taught the company how to better themselves and the product they were trying to sell to the public.

9 thoughts on “All the Rage! Remembering The WWF’s Wrestlemania XV Rage Party

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