WWF: SummerSlam 1998

WWF: SummerSlam
August 30, 1998
New York City
Madison Square Garden

The current WWF champs are as follows:
WWF Champion: Steve Austin (6/29/1998)
Intercontinental Champion: The Rock (12/8/1997)
World Tag Team Champions: Kane & Mankind (8/10/1998)
European Champion: D’Lo Brown (7/20/1998)
Light Heavyweight Champion: TAKA Michinoku (12/7/1997)

Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.

  • WWF European Championship: D’Lo Brown (c) vs. Val Venis

Val lets us know he’s ejaculated before – TWICE, in fact. That’s cool. D’Lo hails from Finland tonight. Some people say Finland is officially the happiest country on planet Earth. Must be more like FUNLAND, amirite? D’Lo’s chest protector has been “specially reinforced” for tonight since I guess he fears Val Venis. Lot of strong tie-ups to start with nobody getting an advantage. Val blasts the chest protector with a forearm shot and hurts his arm. D’Lo is cool with it. Venis buries a knee to the gut, but then D’Lo runs him down with a Vader body attack. He follows up with an Avalanche for more chest protector work. He misses the second one and Val runs wild on him to send Brown on the run. Back inside, they run the ropes a bunch and Val finally lands a spinebuster. EDGE is in the audience! Venis misses a splash off the ropes. D’Lo counters a sleeperhold with a back suplex. He then reverses a cross-corner whip to send Venis HARD into a corner. Venis fires back with an exploder, but charges into a clothesline. The D’Lo jumping leg drop gets two. A flying vertical elbow from D’Lo gets another two-count. Brown stops a suplex and applies a Texas Cloverleaf. He randomly releases the hold because he’s *not* Dean Malenko. D’Lo tries a flying senton, but Val moves and starts the kitchen sink knees. VENIS HAS FLARED UP. He comes off the top rope, but Brown stuffs him with the SKY HIGH for 1-2-NO! He catches Val with a DDT for another nearfall. D’Lo heads up to the top, but Venis stops him. Brown punches him back down to the mat only to fly into a powerslam for two. They fight up top again, but Val wins that battle and heads back to the mat to give D’Lo a butterfly suplex. Now he slams D’Lo and heads up top again. There’s the MONEY SHOT, but D’Lo brings up the knees. Crowd is behind D’Lo now. Well, nevermind. They really milk the Running Powerbomb from Brown. Awesome. Here comes the LO DOWN, but Venis moves as Lawler makes a penis joke. Venis starts to NO-SELL as the Viagra kicks in. He pulls the chest protector off and powerslams Brown. Now Val puts on the chest protector and heads up top, but the ref causes Venis to get crotched. Whoops. Ref Jimmy Korderas is really concerned about the chest protector and won’t get out of Val’s way, so Val throws him across the ring. D’Lo gets the chest protector away from Val as the ref DQ’s Venis. (15:25) Probably went a little too long with a bad finish that hurt Val Venis, but there was some promising stuff in here. After the match, Val gives Korderas the MONEY SHOT for good measure. **

Michael Cole is backstage with the hearse, where earlier in the night on HeAT, Steve Austin assumed contained the Undertaker and/or Kane and beat the hearse with a sledgehammer. As the tow truck guy is getting ready to haul away the hearse, Mankind is seen observing the hearse with a sledgehammer in his hand. Mankind was going to stuff Kane inside this thing, but so much for that. Mankind continues to watch the tow truck guy work as we head back to the ring.

  • The Oddities (w/the Insane Clown Posse & Luna) vs. Kaientai (w/Yamaguchi-san)

The ICP performance is cut from my video. This is a four-on-three handicap match. Golga and TAKA start the match. Golga isn’t worried about turnbuckle smashes and starts headbutting Kaientai away. Next up, Golga steals Yamaguchi-san’s shoe, smells it for some reason, pours a cup of water in it, and then throws the water from the shoe at Yamaguchi-san. Oh boy. Tag to Kurrgan, he gets on his knees and throws Funaki away. Lawler jokes about the Oddities being “baby stealing gypsies” as Funaki takes the Bossman slam. Togo and Michinoku jump Kurrgan, but he boots down Funaki and throws away Togo and TAKA. Teioh runs into a backdrop for fun. As Yamaguchi-san tries to get into the ring, he becomes involved in a tug of war with Kurrgan and Kaientai. When Kurrgan lets go, Kaientai and Yamaguchi-san goes flying. Now it’s Silva’s turn. Kaientai regroups and Togo decides to finally engage Silva. Well, he runs into a chokeslam. Now all four of Kaientai attack Silva and he’s able to fight them all off at once. Silva gets them all in the corner for the butt bump – reminiscent of Andre. Once everybody but TAKA is on the floor, Silva pitches TAKA on top of them. Back over to Golga, he gives the Earthquake Slam to Togo and drops an elbow. Teioh and Funaki stop the Earthquake Splash and give Golga a slam. With Golga down, Kaientai start coming off the top onto him one at a time. This type of offense continues and it works until Golga is faster than they are. Tag to Kurrgan, he runs wild on Kaientai. While Luna intercepts Yamaguchi-san, Silva and Kurrgan deliver STEREO CHOKESLAMS to Kaientai. Golga does a trust fall on the Kaientai boys and gets the three-count to end this one. (10:10) A little longer than it should have gone and arguably the worst WWF match of the year, but I would still prefer watching this to watching Hollywood Hogan sell a wristlock from Jay Leno. At no point did they ever try to present this as a serious contest, so I don’t see why we should take it too seriously either. What I saw was a throwback to some of the comedy “little people” matches you regularly saw in MSG two decades earlier, and that’s where I’m going to leave it. ½*

  • Hair vs. Hair Match: X-Pac (w/Howard Finkel) vs. Jeff Jarrett (w/Southern Justice)

For those who watched HeAT, Finkel got assaulted by Jarrett and Southern Justice and had his head shaved, which explains his presence at ringside. It kind of brings down X-Pac’s cool points a little bit. Commissioner Slaughter comes out and tells Southern Justice to take a hike. Finkel tells Jarrett to “SUCK IT”, but you really shouldn’t piss Jarrett off these days. Fast-paced start as X-Pac catches Jarrett with a spinning heel kick and clotheslines him to the floor so he can deliver a springboard dive. Back in, Jarrett hits a couple dropkicks to send out X-Pac. Jarrett ducks a blow and drives X-Pac’s balls to the ringpost. Back inside, Jarrett abuses X-Pac in the corner and whips him hard into the opposite corner. X-Pac comes back with a tornado DDT and delivers his signature kick combo. Jarrett cuts him off with a sleeperhold. His arm drops once, twice, BUT NOT THREE TIMES. X-Pac returns the favor, but Jarrett counters and puts X-Pac on the top buckle. X-Pac elbows Jarrett down and tries a flying body press, but Jarrett ducks and X-Pac crashes to the mat. X-Pac reverses a corner whip, but misses a spinning heel kick. Now Jarrett applies the FIGURE-FOUR. X-Pac nearly gets pinned a few times. He finds the ropes instead of reversing the hold. Jarrett tries the Figure-Four again, but X-Pac kicks him off into the corner and delivers a back suplex. BOTH MEN ARE DOWN! They are both up at eight. X-Pac takes Jarrett’s head off with a roundhouse kick and hits the Bronco Buster. Jarrett blocks a corner charge with a back elbow and delivers a flying body press, but X-Pac rolls through for 1-2-NO! Jarrett catches X-Pac coming off the ropes with a headscissors, but X-Pac reverses with a sitout powerbomb! Cover, 1-2-NO! X-Pac misses a corner charge allowing for more back and forth nearfalls. He tries another Bronco Buster, but Jarrett brings up the foot to block it. Finkel cries about a low blow and gets punched down by Jarrett. Next thing you know, Jarrett turns around into an X-FACTOR for two. Here comes Southern Justice. While Canterbury distracts the ref, Dennis Knight tries to KABONG X-Pac. When that fails, X-Pac gets the guitar away and KABONGS Jarrett. Good night. X-Pac covers for the win. (11:10) Armed with chairs, the New Age Outlaws run off Southern Justice to make sure Jarrett gets his head shaved. Darren Drozdov (who got some of his hair cut by Jarrett) and the Headbangers come down to help X-Pac to do the cutting. What a Memphis thing to do. If you want to change your look, you might as well turn it into an angle. Jarrett yells at ref Mike Chioda about getting blasted with the guitar. Finkel joins in on the fun as well. **½


Method Man is in the building. Jim Ross just saying “Wu-Tang Clan” and “Insane Clown Posse” on this show is quite entertaining.

Dok Hendrix is at the MSG Theater observing the Lion’s Den.

Elsewhere, Michael Cole talks with the Rock about injuring Triple H’s knee on HeAT. Rock wonders how Triple H can climb the ladder to retrieve the IC title on one leg. The Rock is the People’s Champ and the Best Damn Intercontinental Champ there ever was if you smell what the Rock is cookin’.

  • Marc Mero & Jacqueline vs. Sable & Edge

Edge is Sable’s mystery partner for some reason. The only reason I can think of is because no one would ever expect it. This is the PPV wrestling debut for Edge. It’s pretty amazing almost 23 years later and he’s main eventing this year’s WrestleMania. Sable gives Edge a “look” which I really don’t think will mean anything after tonight. Besides, Edge has just started an angle with Gangrel. Edge gives Mero a tilt-a-whirl headscissors and armdrags him around the ring. Tag to Jackie, Sable wants a tag. Once she gets the tag, Jackie runs over to Mero and tags her man. Back to the dudes. Edge gives Mero a flapjack. Jacqueline grabs Edge’s foot to distract him. Mero hits the Knee Lift and chokes Edge in the ropes. Sable will not shut up. Time for the TKO, but Edge counters and delivers a DDT. Tag to Sable, he double legs Jackie and does her thing. There’s some terrible looking kicks to Jackie. Sable nails Mero with a forearm smash and Mero falls off the apron. As Sable chases Jacqueline in and out and back in the ring, Mero intercepts and gets kicked in the nuts. SABLE BOMB? No, Jackie breaks it up. Marc Mero is so done. Jackie chokes Sable in the ropes, but Sable comes right back and hits her with the TKO. Mero pulls Sable off the pin. They argue on the floor as Jacqueline jumps her from behind. Back inside, heel miscommunication ensues. Sable tags Edge. He wipes out Mero with a plancha and throws him into the steps. Jacqueline jumps Edge and gets spanked for her troubles. Sheesh, is Peacock going to edit that one? Back inside, Edge hits a flying body press on Mero for two. Edge catches Mero with a reverse neckbreaker out of the corner for another nearfall. Jackie distracts Edge again, but Mero collides with Jackie and gets rolled up by Edge for two. Mero gives Edge a Samoan drop and heads up top, but Edge crotches him. Sable tags in and gives Mero a headscissors off the top. Jacqueline flies off the top, but lands on Mero. Whoops. Crowd chants for Sable. They do the corner spot where Jacqueline falls head first into Mero’s nuts. DOWNWARD SPIRAL to Mero. Sable and Edge then do a wheelbarrow splash double-team that lands Sable on top of Mero for the three-count. (8:26) Can you think of one wrestler from the Monday Night War period with a higher fall from grace than Marc Mero? He’s gone from being fairly over in WCW and having decent matches with Lord Steven Regal and “Stunning” Steve Austin to becoming Intercontinental champion. Then he gets injured, his WIFE continues to make TV appearances without him and quickly becomes massively more popular than he ever was simply because she’s got bigger fake boobs than he does, and now he’s doing jobs to her on worldwide PPV. It’s just bizarre the way life worked out for Marc Mero. Anyways, this match only served to show us that Mero and Jackie are completely incompetent together and I don’t see where they can possibly go from here to push this feud out much longer. Edge made you take notice though. *

Elsewhere, Vince McMahon interrupts Mankind’s interview with Michael Cole and talks him into defending the tag titles by himself since he knows Kane isn’t going to show up.

  • Lion’s Den Match: Ken Shamrock vs. Owen Hart (w/Dan Severn)

This is supposed to provide an MMA-type atmosphere for these two to do battle. The cage is MUCH smaller than what we see in UFC. Severn is the guy who “trained” Owen to be able to handle himself within this environment in order to get some revenge on his old UFC rival. By the way, this match did not take place in Madison Square Garden, but yet in the Theater  next to the arena. They each start off with some MMA-type submissions. Owen backs Shamrock into the cage and slams him down on the mat. Shamrock fires back with a ground and pound before delivering a back suplex. After Owen low blows Shamrock to escape a sleeper hold, Shamrock goes crazy with a few stiff clotheslines and rips off Owen’s t-shirt so he can choke him down. Shamrock then jumps off the cage to knock Owen down with a body attack. Owen fights back by throwing Shamrock face-first into the support beams. Enziguri kick connects before Owen gives Shamrock a version of the hotshot onto the cage. Shamrock now avoids a few finisher tries, and blocks a headscissors with a powerbomb. He uses the cage again to bounce back and nail Owen, but tries one too many times as Owen catches Shamrock in mid-air for a powerslam. Belly to belly suplex leads into the SHARPSHOOTER. Shamrock climbs the cage to break the hold, and then drops Owen with a DDT. Owen looks to come back to win by sending Shamrock into a support beam. He wants the BEAST CHOKER, but Shamrock walks up the cage to escape the hold and land behind Owen! Fujiwara armbar takedown puts Owen in position for the ANKLELOCK to give Shamrock the win. (9:16) Nice little story told there in that little cage. ***

Steve Austin says he won’t give Vince or the Undertaker the satisfaction of seeing him lose the WWF title.

  • Falls Count Anywhere for the WWF Tag Team Championship: Mankind (c) vs. The New Age Outlaws

JR doesn’t think Kane is in the building. We’ll see. With Kane’s alliance with the Undertaker made clear on last week’s RAW, nobody expects him to show. The Outlaws bring a diggity dumpster with them to ringside. Mankind blasts them with the “silver platter” Vince handed him earlier to start. He wins a chair duel with Gunn, but the numbers game works against Mankind. They unload on Mankind with giant cookie sheets and then give him a Con-Chair-To with the sheets. Mankind backdrops Gunn to the floor and uses another cookie sheet to deliver the running knee on Road Dogg in the corner. Mankind slides out to the floor and nails Gunn with a swinging neckbreaker for a two-count. Over on the floor, the Outlaws double-team Mankind and bounce his head on the dumpster. Crowd wants to chant ECW right now. They lean a table in the corner and Mankind puts Gunn through the table. A double-team neckbreaker from the Outlaws gets two. They double powerbomb Mankind through a couple chairs and he still won’t quit. Now they settle for a SPIKE PILEDRIVER on one of the tag belts and that’s enough to secure the win. (5:16) And there ya go. The New Age Outlaws regain the WWF tag belts. Road Dogg gets on the mic and announces the Outlaws as the new TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD. Gunn yells at Mankind to never bet against the Outlaws as they put him in the dumpster for the lulz. Next thing we know, KANE IS INSIDE THE DUMPSTER WITH MANKIND. He finds a sledgehammer in the dumpster and smashes Mankind. Oh boy. As the Outlaws clear out, Kane closes the lid and wheels the dumpster with what’s left of Mankind back to the locker room. *

  • Ladder Match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship: The Rock (c) (w/Mark Henry) vs. Triple H (w/Chyna)

The DX band sets up their instruments in the ring to play HHH’s entrance. Rock’s entrance music just might be the best one he ever had at this point. This one pretty much ends the Nation as any kind of threat to anybody as a unit. Both guys go for their finishers early, and neither one is successful. With HHH taking a backdrop to the floor on the opposite side of where the ladder is at, Rock heads for the ladder. Helmsley meets him at the ladder for some brawling. Back in, HHH gives Rock the High Knee and reaches the ladder. Rock nails him from behind and turns it over. The “Rocky sucks” chant begins. He brings the ladder to the ring apron, but HHH pulls him aside for more guardrail action. Rock whips him into the ladder to stop all that noise. Now Rock slides the ladder into the ring and goes for the belt REALLY SLOWLY. HHH comes off the top and knocks Rock off the ladder, but the ladder ends up falling on top of him. HHH swings the ladder at Rock as Lawler makes the Mark McGwire comparison. JR wonders why nobody ever brings up Sammy Sosa. Rock yanks HHH by a leg to bring him off the ladder. HHH had been experiencing knee problems at the time, so Rock exploits that. Rock even goes as far as to PILLMANIZE HHH using the ladder. Now he’s got a chair and slams it on the ladder to do more damage to the knee. Probably not all that effective, but it makes a loud noise anyway. Rock makes a scaffold with the ladder between the steps and the guardrail to lift and drop HHH knee-first on the ladder. Rock slowly goes for the belt. Finally, HHH shoves him off the ladder. To the floor we go! The ladder gets propped up against the guardrail as Rock catapults HHH onto the ladder. Next spot, Rock counters a Pedigree and backdrops HHH on the ladder. Now the ladder is all bent out of shape, so Mark Henry slides in another ladder to the Rock. As Rock begins to climb, Henry tries to stop HHH from getting back inside the ring. Chyna helps out with that. Now HHH shoves the ladder over and Rock goes flying out to the floor. With the ladder opened up and turned over on its side, HHH baseball slides the ladder into the Rock to bust him open. Now Rock returns the favor by turning the ladder over HHH. They meet up at the top of the ladder and trade blows. HHH gets shoved off onto a ladder set up in the corner, but then stumbles back and turns the ladder over on Rock! Looks like Rock wants to go for the People’s Elbow ladder spot, but HHH has a chair and beats the ladder onto the Rock. Now it’s time for the People’s Elbow on the ladder spot. Helmsley kicks the Rock away and starts to climb. Rock grabs at his feet, but HHH kicks him back and flies down into a ROCK BOTTOM! Helmsley pulls down the Rock as he goes for the belt and delivers the PEDIGREE! With HHH in control, Mark Henry throws powder in his face! Now HHH and Rock meet at the top of the ladder again. Rock lays the smackdown on him and touches his IC belt, but Chyna sneaks in a low blow. As Rock collapses from the ladder, HHH climbs up the last couple rungs and regains the IC title. (26:07) Good grief what a pop. Really slow, but this was quite the spectacle and the best match either man had at this point, period. Nowhere close to the HBK/Ramon classics that had come them before though. ****

  • WWF Championship: Steve Austin (c) vs. The Undertaker

They are really setting an atmosphere here for this one. Austin and Taker trade shots in the corner to start. Taker delivers a hard clothesline to Austin and tries for the pin, but Austin is quick to get up and gives Taker the double bird. Taker weakens Austin’s arm with the wristlock, but Austin gets away and tries for the quick pin with a rollup and a handful of tights (!!) for a nearfall. Austin returns the favor and goes to work a hammerlock on the mat. When Taker gets to his feet, he telegraphs a backdrop and bumps his head into Austin’s chin to knock him silly. Taker counters a vertical suplex, but misses an elbow drop off the ropes. As Austin attempts a Lou Thesz press, Taker counters with a hotshot for two. Taker pounds on the back and slows down the pace of the match. Once Austin rolls to the floor, he wraps Taker’s leg around the ringpost. Back inside, Taker comes back with the Jumping Lariat. He tries for Old School, but Austin pulls him down and returns to the leg. Hey wait, here comes KANE. Austin looks ready for him, but he can’t beat these Destructive Brothers. Taker tells Kane to leave so he and Austin can do this one-on-one – just like Taker said on RAW. After Austin makes sure Kane is gone, Taker pulls Austin back in the ring from the apron with a Chokeslam! Of course, the knee gives out on the way down. While Taker is licking his wounds, Austin sends Taker to the floor for some ringside violence as they brawl through the crowd. Hey, it’s the ATTITUDE ERA! Taker is in control as they make it back to ringside. Back inside, Austin goes for the Stone Cold Stunner and Taker blocks the move and backflips over the top rope to the floor. Austin goes out to meet him, but he’s driven into the post. Back in again, Austin gets thrown over the top rope as his back hits the apron. Taker heads out and sends Austin into the steps. The Spanish Announce Table gets set up for destruction. He heads to the top and proceeds to legdrop Austin through the table! INCREDIBLE. You won’t be seeing Taker doing anything crazy like that again for a while. Back to the ring, Taker covers Austin for 1-2-NO! He continues to abuse Austin, but Austin won’t stop fighting back. There’s a double-KO. Austin gets a surge of adrenaline and wins a slugfest. Austin finds the Thesz Press and does his thing. They again collide and it looks like Austin wants the Stone Cold Stunner, but Taker hits the mat and they both lie there. Austin covers for two. Taker finds the Chokeslam and calls for the Tombstone, but Austin shoves him off. Taker blocks the Stone Cold Stunner again and drops Austin’s nuts on the top rope. Hebner is *THIS CLOSE* to DQ’ing Taker. UT buys himself some time with a Russian legsweep and tries for Old School again, but Austin low blows him on the way down and hits the STONE COLD STUNNER for the win. (20:53) Taker doesn’t like it, but he hands Austin the title anyway. I liked the fact there wasn’t anything overbooked here. Every other PPV main event (to date) in 1998 has so much going on booking-wise. This was strictly MAN TO MAN and even in a storyline sense, Taker made sure if he was going to win, it was going to be *his* win. If he loses, it’s because he lost and not because someone else got involved. Kane comes back out. He and Undertaker stare down Austin from the aisle. Austin celebrates with the WWF title to close out the show. ***½

Final Thoughts: WrestleMania 14 is the “comeback show” for the WWF. They let the world know they were back and they were serious about once again securing their top spot as the #1 promotion in the U.S.A. King of the Ring 1998 shows that the “WWF Attitude” plan was working and the promotion was on an upward trajectory as far as their popularity goes. SummerSlam is the culmination of all they had accomplished in 1998 as it all comes to a head here. WCW was still competitive, but an event like this and with the current state of WCW just shows it won’t be long until the WWF leaves WCW in the dust. I look at the King of the Ring and SummerSlam almost like companion shows with WrestleMania 14. You can’t have one without the other. And with that, I’m going with a thumbs up for SummerSlam 1998.

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