The last El Nino of similar strength was 1999, from memory, which kicked off the pause. El Nino is followed by la Nina, which cools the globe, so next year we won't have these tedious articles about short term spikes in weather masquerading as climate.
"Kicked off the pause"? Seriously? What you must mean is that, if you cherry-pick the global surface temperature data to start in 1997/1998, when the oceans turned over to the atmosphere a gigantic quantity of the heat they had been storing, it almost looks like there has been some sort of "pause" in rising temperatures, since then. (As long as you also don't count the new jump in surface temperatures that have happened since the oceans again began to turn over some of the additional heat they've accumulated.)
Modern La Nina years are years times when it's almost plausible to say that there's a pause in the human-caused rise in surface temperatures. But the hypothesis that goes with that assertion is just bankrupt: "I guess all those computer models, and ocean chemistry, and satellite reflectance, etc, musta just been off or something, because, look, they predicted a steady increase." The much more plausible and well-supported hypothesis is that fluctuations in the steady rise of average global surface temperatures are due to the buffering of heat in the oceans.