WWF: Judgment Day – In Your House XXV (10.98)

WWF: Judgment Day – In Your House XXV
October 18, 1998
Rosemont, IL
Rosemont Horizon

The current WWF champs are as follows:
WWF Champion: Vacant (9/28/1998)
Intercontinental Champion: Ken Shamrock (10/12/1998)
World Tag Team Champions: The New Age Outlaws (8/30/1998)
European Champion: D’Lo Brown (10/5/1998)
Light Heavyweight Champion: TAKA Michinoku (12/7/1997)
Women’s Champion: Jacqueline (9/21/1998)

Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. I will say, unlike in WCW, there’s not a ton of thought put into the PPV sets in 1998 outside of the now “Big Five”. Every WCW PPV set in 1998 looks like there was at least some artistic thought put into them.

  • Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline) vs. Al Snow (w/Head)

Jeff Jarrett comes out and wants to wrestle Al Snow instead of Marc Mero. I honestly don’t understand why these two are wrestling besides to get Jackie on PPV wearing Sable’s hair extensions she had recently cut off Sable’s head, which means it’s more about Sable than it is poor Jacqueline. While the ref tells Jarrett to leave, Mero jumps Snow from behind. Snow finds a powerslam and when Mero gets distracted by Head, he turns around into a clothesline. Snow then starts getting some advice from Head and Mero hits a jumping back elbow. Time to punt Head into the audience, but naturally Snow rolls him up for two. Snow hits a DDT and hits a flying moonsault. Jackie stands up on the apron so Mero can Golotta him for a DDT of his own for a two-count. Mero delivers a Merosault for 1-2-NO! I CAN’T BELIEVE IT. Snow grabs Mero for the arm trapped headbutts. Mero shuts him down with another clothesline. Snow catches Mero with an enziguri as the crowd chants for “Head”. Are they cheering for “Head” or for Snow? Sitout spinebuster by Snow sets up another flying moonsault, but he misses. Mero rolls him up for two. He continues with a Samoan drop and pulls up his boxing shorts for reasons I don’t understand. Here comes MARVELOSITY, but Snow moves out of the way and gets a nearfall as Mero gets his foot on the bottom rope. Snow avoids the TKO and winds up nailing the SNOW PLOW for the victory. (7:13) Not a bad opener to the show, but I don’t think this win for Snow means what it would have meant two years earlier – not to mention there wasn’t much of a problem between these two beforehand. Mero went from IC champion to pretty much a joke in two years time – mainly because his wife was hotter than him. The writing was on the wall for him at this point as he’ll be gone from the WWF by the end of the year. *½

They show Steve Austin from HeAT being sent to a closet to get dressed to be the referee in tonight’s main event. Needless to say, he doesn’t like being told what to do.

  • LOD 2000 & Droz vs. The DOA & Paul Ellering

Just so you know, Mr. Dot Com Paul Ellering is still JACKED, folks. Here is another sign of things to come as this is the last time we’ll see Hawk and Animal on PPV together. They’ll stick around up until WrestleMania XV as there’s an unsavory angle still to come involving Hawk. In lesser news, this is the last time we will see the DOA (or the Harris twins) on WWF PPV. I can’t say I’m really going to miss them if I’m being totally honest. We’ll see them occasionally in action on HeAT between now and the spring of 1999 before they head down south to become Creative Control once Vince Russo is at the helm. Lots of CLUBBERIN’ to start between Animal and the DOA boys. In comes Hawk in his first match back since taking some time off for his “pill addiction.” More of the same stuff. Hawk hits a Reverse Neckbreaker on either Skull or 8-Ball. Tag to Droz, he has some ugly tattoos, doesn’t he? He works face-in-peril since he’s a rookie. The crowd is SOLIDLY behind LOD, as you can imagine being in Chicago. Lawler is trying to get over the fact that Hawk is being considered an “alternate” on LOD. Droz finds a DDT on one of the twins and reaches Hawk for a tag. The match breaks down and one of the twins takes the DOOMSDAY DEVICE. Droz jumps in and gets the pin despite not even being the legal man. (5:55) It’s exactly what you think it would be. Lots of brawling. They try to make it seem like there’s heat between Hawk and Droz to end the segment. ½*

  • WWF Light Heavyweight Championship: TAKA Michinoku (c) (w/Yamaguchi-san) vs. Christian (w/Gangrel)

While this is Christian’s WWF TV debut, this is the last time we’ll see TAKA Michinoku on WWF PPV for quite some time. No build for this match whatsoever so Christian has a ways to go to win over the crowd. TAKA is on top of things to start as he’s working babyface. He knocks Christian to the floor for his famous springboard plancha. Edge is shown watching from the crowd. Back inside, Michinoku catches Christian with a knee coming through the ropes and delivers a springboard knee strike for two. Christian lands a reverse DDT to turn the tide. He follows up with Three Amigos and a sitout gourdbuster for two. The crowd and the camera is obsessed with Edge right now. TAKA escapes a chinlock and takes a somersault bump to the floor, which looked PAINFUL. Christian does his own springboard plancha onto TAKA. Back inside, Christian hits a powerbomb for two. He heads up top and misses a flying splash. Lawler is busy questioning the whole gothic lifestyle. Michinoku fights up to his feet and takes Christian to the floor for an Asai Moonsault. Back in, a flying body press connects, but Christian rolls through and gets two. Christian blocks an O’Connor roll once, but not twice as Michinoku gets two. Now TAKA avoids an O’Connor roll and low dropkicks Christian for two. He takes Christian from corner to corner, but Christian pulls him into a Russian legsweep for another nearfall. No heat for this match. TAKA counters a powerbomb and hits a tornado DDT. Time for the Michinoku Driver, but Christian counters and rolls up TAKA for the three-count to win the WWF Light Heavyweight title. (8:34) Ross calls this a “huge upset” and I would agree. Christian doesn’t seem thrilled to be the new champ, but that could be because he’s selling that gothic lifestyle. Twenty three years later, Christian will win nearly every title the WWE has to offer, becomes a two-time NWA world champion in TNA, and is still going strong as the IMPACT world champion. As for TAKA, he did a great job making Christian look good here. **½

  • Goldust vs. Val Venis (w/Terri Runnels)

They take us back to earlier tonight on HeAT when Val Venis received a “golden cup” from Goldust while doing color commentary. Goldust interrupts Val’s “Hello Ladies…” shtick and lets everybody know it’s showtime. I realize the absurdity of what I’m about to type, but this is the first we’ve seen of “traditional” Goldust since last year’s Survivor Series. He’s clearly the babyface here, but doggone it people like Val too. Back and forth brawling to start. They go to the floor where Val gets sent into the guardrail and dropped on the steel steps. That’ll make your Valbowski wilt! Back inside, Venis is MAD. He sends Goldust back to the floor and dives off the top. That didn’t seem necessary to me to do in a serious feud. Back in again, Goldust catches Val coming off the top again and atomic drops him. A slingshot back suplex by Goldust connects. He whips Val from corner to corner and runs him down for two. Now Goldust goes after Val’s shoulder, but then misses a corner charge and runs his own shoulder into the post. On the floor, Venis pulls Goldust into the ringpost and goes to work on the shoulder. Hammerlock slam by Venis! It’s not as good as Arn Anderson’s, but it’ll do. He applies a short-arm scissors. Goldust escapes, but Venis runs him down for two. Back to the shoulder. Goldust finds a crossbody block for two, but Val clotheslines him down for a two count of his own. Venis finds a Russian legsweep and then powerslams Goldust to call for the Money Shot, but Goldust is there to stop him for a superplex! Cover, 1-2-NO! Goldust misses an elbow drop off the second rope, but it doesn’t stop him. He walks into a sleeperhold, but backs Venis into a corner. Goldust grabs Val for a sleeperhold, but Venis breaks loose with a back suplex. We catch a shot of Goldust still wearing his wedding ring. Goldust mounts a comeback with a backdrop and hits the Running Bulldog. Hey check out Terri on the apron. She starts yelling to Goldust that he ruined her life, so Goldust responds by grabbing his testicles. This man does not know how to communicate. Val comes after Goldust, but then gets kicked in the nuts. DOWN GOES VAL! Goldust covers him for the three-count. (12:07) Looks like Val could have used the golden cup after all. Not totally sure Goldust was man enough to carry Val Venis at this point. He’s a decent mid-card guy in shorter matches, but this seemed to have went a little long. It also seemed like the crowd wasn’t sure who to cheer. **

In the back, Michael Cole sets up a clip from earlier tonight on HeAT when Ken Shamrock slammed a car door on Triple H’s injured knee. X-Pac stops by to tell Shamrock that he’ll be dealt with tomorrow night on RAW. As for tonight, X-Pac will be going back after D’Lo Brown to get his European title back.

  • WWF European Championship: D’Lo Brown (c) vs. X-Pac (w/Chyna)

D’Lo hails from Milan, Italy tonight. Headlocks and shoulderblocks to start. D’Lo lets the people know they betta recognize. Brown works a wristlock, but X-Pac comes back with his kicks. After X-Pac flips away from a hiptoss, D’Lo shuts him down with a clothesline. This is the first match the crowd is REALLY into right now. Brown lays in some chops on X-Pac’s chest. However, he misses a corner charge and X-Pac lands the Kick Combo. He looks for the Bronco Buster, but Brown blocks by bringing up his foot to the crotch. The D’Lo legdrop connects for two. He grabs a chinlock and really works the hold. I LIKE IT. The arm drops once, twice, but NOT THREE TIMES. D’Lo catches X-Pac with a high knee strike. Running Ligerbomb connects and he arrogantly lays back on X-Pac for two. D’Lo is really showing off here. They fight over a superplex and X-Pac knocks him down to the mat. Flying body press by X-Pac, but D’Lo rolls through for 1-2-NO! Back to the chinlock. X-Pac fights up and lands more kicks in the corner. He misses a corner charge and takes a butt bump off the top buckle. Nasty! Brown comes off the second rope with the fist drop for two. Lawler likes that move. Backbreaker by D’Lo gets two. Brown applies a Texas cloverleaf, but X-PAC WILL NOT DIE! He finds a way out and punches D’Lo in the face to break the hold. Crowd lets D’Lo know what they think of him. Brown heads up top and totally misses a cannonball legdrop. X-Pac gets a second wind and lands a spinning heel kick and a jumping lariat. Here comes the Bronco Buster. As D’Lo thinks about leaving, Chyna reaches in and nails him with a right hand. Cover by X-Pac, he gets a two-count. Ref Mike Chioda gets knocked to the floor. Whoops. X-Pac hits a back suplex. BOTH MEN ARE DOWN! That brings out Mark Henry and he confronts Chyna. Meanwhile, D’Lo grabs the Euro title and whacks X-Pac. Henry throws Chioda back in the ring to count the slow nearfall. D’LO CAN’T BELIEVE IT. He plants X-Pac with another powerbomb and X-Pac kicks out. He heads up top and X-Pac catches him on the way down with the X-FACTOR to regain the European title. (14:34) Match of the night, folks. I can’t imagine anyone not thinking the Rock was the most improved wrestler of 1998, but D’Lo Brown is right there. He gets it. As for X-Pac, you can always expect a good match out of him. ***¼

Backstage, Michael Cole spreads a rumor he heard that Paul Bearer has been seen going into the Undertaker’s locker room. The Headbangers interrupt because they have something to say to the New Age Outlaws. Thrasher blames Road Dogg for trashing their boombox with his face. Now they can’t listen to their Marilyn Manson CDs backwards. He’s got two words for Billy: YOU SUCK. Mosh says the Outlaws claim to be the tag team champions, but the only thing they are tag teaming is each other. DX can sit around putting each other over all night long, but tonight they are doing the J-O-B on the P-P-V. This might be the best promo I’ve ever heard out of the Headbangers.

  • WWF World Tag Team Championship: The New Age Outlaws (c) vs. The Headbangers

Headbangers get the spot intended for Southern Justice so they could dethrone the Outlaws and Billy Gunn could turn heel, but Mark Canterbury (who seems to keep getting injured) got injured recently and ended Southern Justice’s short run, and thus ending his time spent as a full-time wrestler. Of course, Dennis Knight gets to wrestle another year or so in the WWF as Mideon in the near future. Mosh and Thrasher attack during Road Dogg’s intro, but that ends quick as Billy tosses out Thrasher so he and Road Dogg can do their cute shaky moves to Mosh. Gunn finds a swinging neckbreaker on Mosh for two. Ross and Lawler put over the fact that every title defended tonight has changed hands. In comes Road Dogg, he lands a standing dropkick and a big right hand for two. Mosh gets a blind tag and catches Road Dogg coming off the ropes with maybe a jumping shoulderblock. I couldn’t tell what Mosh was going for there. Road Dogg plays Outlaw-in-peril here. The Headbangers deliver the Leapfrog Guillotine for two. While Road Dogg is getting his butt handed to him, Billy Gunn is trying to get the crowd hyped with “SUCK IT” chants. Road Dogg catches Thrasher with a back suplex to set up the HOT TAG TO BILLY! He hits Thrasher with a Stinger Splash and dumps him out. Press slam to Mosh, but then Thrasher pulls the top rope down to cause Billy to go flying out to the floor. Thrasher then sends Gunn into the steps to make matters worse. Back in, Mosh with a lax cover gets two. Bossman straddle connects. Thrasher takes Mosh and drops him on top of Billy from the second rope. He follows that up with an elbow drop from the second rope for two. Headlock time. Gunn breaks free and delivers a tilt-a-whirl headscissors. OH MY. Thrasher cuts off a tag to Road Dogg and a jawbreaker stuns Billy for two. The Headbangers start working the throat of Gunn, but you would think they would do that to Road Dogg instead since his throat was recently injured. Now Mosh grabs an armbar and slaps Billy around while telling him to “suck it”.  Gunn fights out of a suplex, but runs into a clothesline from Mosh for two. Thrasher grabs a chinlock and switches to a sleeperhold. His arm drops once, twice, BUT NOT THREE TIMES. Gunn reverses into a sleeperhold of his own, but Thrasher counters with a back suplex. Tag to Mosh, he charges Gunn in the corner and gets caught in mid-air for a back suplex of his own. Thrasher knocks Road Dogg off the apron to prevent the tag. While Road Dogg argues with ref Tim White, the Headbangers give Billy Gunn a Double Flapjack. Time for the Stage Dive, but Road Dogg shows up and breaks a boombox over Mosh’s head for the revenge DQ. (14:01) Well, that was obviously not a JVC Kaboom Box, says JR. Not a bad match, but despite the performance, I don’t think the crowd really believed the Headbangers had a snowball’s chance here. **½

Over to Michael Cole, we witness Mankind and Mr. Socko share a conversation about Ken Shamrock. It’s like he’s doing a bizarre dummy act. They apparently agree that Shamrock’s promos are terrible. Looks like Mankind has taped up two fingers with BLACK TAPE~! to make sure the Mandible Claw is super effective tonight.

  • WWF Intercontinental Championship: Ken Shamrock (c) vs. Mankind

Mankind has wrapped his fingers in the BLACK TAPE~! tonight. That means things are about to get real serious. Shamrock tries to ground Mankind to work the leg, but Mankind gives him trouble over that. When he can’t get to the leg, he settles for the arm. Frankensteiner by Shamrock, but then he runs into a MANDIBLE CLAW. Shamrock drops to the mat and bails. Back inside, Mankind surprises Shamrock as he takes him to the mat with a body scissors hoping to apply the Claw. Being the superior mat wrestler, Shamrock turns the tide on Mankind and starts beating the heck out of him. To the floor, Mankind sends Shamrock into the steps. The ref stops a chairshot, but not a boot to the chair from Shamrock that ends up in Mankind’s face. Now Shamrock grabs the chair and hits Mankind over the head. The damage Mick did to himself in 1998 alone is just unreal. Back inside, Shamrock returns to the mat working the arm. Mankind bites his way out, but misses a corner charge, and takes a Belly to Belly Suplex. Double-Arm DDT stuns Shamrock. Mankind begins to pull out his hair, which I guess is the equivalent to Lawler pulling down the strap. He hammers Shamrock down into the corner for the running knee. Tree of woe elbow drop follows. From there, the violence continues with VINTAGE FOLEY~! Cactus Clothesline sets up the Cactus Elbow off the apron. Mankind charges Shamrock, but takes a powerslam onto the floor, causing his leg to get slammed on the steps. Well, that was a freebie. Back in, it’s time for the ANKLELOCK. He makes the ropes, but Shamrock pulls him back and reapplies the hold. To avoid giving Shamrock the satisfaction of making him submit, Mankind starts punching himself in the face and knocks himself out with his own MANDIBLE CLAW. (14:36) Shamrock thinks he’s achieved the impossible, but sometimes the truth hurts. Mr. Socko comes out to play with Shamrock’s tonsils. Certainly a different finish and perfect for someone eccentric like Mankind. Interesting tidbit if you’re a title nerd like me: no one would have a longer reign after Shamrock as the IC champ until Randy Orton in 2003. **½

Back in the same hallway as before, Michael Cole wants to get a word with Mr. McMahon. The Big Bossman shows up and tells Cole that he is the law and order of the WWF, and he only enforces McMahon’s law, so Cole and the cameraman can leave before he shoves his nightstick up Cole’s ass. He then grabs Cole by the shirt and throws him away.

  • The Rock vs. Mark Henry (w/D’Lo Brown)

No D’Lo Brown, which makes sense considering he lost his match and the Euro title. We take a look back on last week’s RAW when Henry jumped the Rock and splashed him on the floor. Mark gets on the mic and recites a love poem for Chyna. All he wants is a chance, and everybody knows he loved her LONG before the implants. This match marks the official end of the Nation of Domination. They are keeping what still works after years of effort like Mankind, the Rock, and Ken Shamrock and shedding what is no longer working like Marc Mero, Nation of Domination, LOD, DOA, and TAKA Michinoku. The Rock starts off strong against Henry brawling inside and out of the ring. Henry eats the steps, but bounces the Rock’s head off the announce table. Back inside, the Rock explodes with a clothesline. Henry fires back with a reverse elbow and then a jumping elbow gets two. He continues to control the Rock with chokes and whatnot. Henry should be watching Vader 1992 if he wants to get better. Legdrop gets two. Chinlock time. The Rock comes back with a DDT for two. He slams Henry no problem and delivers the People’s Elbow for the pop of the night. D’Lo appears and gets punched off the apron. Henry runs down the Rock and then splashes him as D’Lo holds down the Rock’s feet to help Mark get the three-count. (5:04) Everybody in the audience is flabbergasted as Henry gets the biggest win of his career to this point. This was either done to swerve the audience or somebody really thought Henry could be a WWF title contender at some point down the road. ½*

They show an epic video package highlighting the Austin-Kane-Undertaker-Vince connection over the last year.

  • Vacant WWF Championship Match with Special Referee Steve Austin: The Undertaker vs. Kane

We’ve entered an era involving a stipulation that Vince Russo seems to really like that doesn’t get talked about enough – a match with a special referee. No zebra shirt or bike shorts for Austin. He comes out to an explosion of a crowd reaction wearing his latest Austin 3:16 t-shirt, jean shorts, and black shoes. In case you haven’t been following along, Vince McMahon has ordered Austin to humble himself, count the pinfall, and raise the hand of the winner of this match or he’ll be FIRED from the WWF. Lawler is pissed Austin comes out to such fanfare since he’s just a referee tonight. Paul Bearer is conspicuous by his absence. Austin flips off both guys and rings the bell. Taker nails Kane from behind to start. He hits Old School early on Kane and Austin stays out of the way. Kane takes over and can’t seem to keep Taker down. Taker runs over Kane with a clothesline and covers him, but Austin decides not to count. Kane jumps Taker from behind and covers him. Austin fast-counts Taker and only gets two. He’s like special referee in a WWF video game. We go to the floor for some ringside violence. Austin hands Taker a cable from off the floor, but Taker doesn’t give a shit and misses a chairshot up against the ringpost. Back inside, Taker delivers a snap suplex and Kane is back up first. They trade blows and Taker goes for Kane’s knee. Crowd is chanting for Austin and he’s just the referee. Kane comes back with a side slam if you can believe it. Taker ducks a big boot and chopblocks Kane to apply another leg hold. The crowd is starting to boo this match. This is really dragging right now. Taker puts Kane in a tree of woe to bend the leg some more. Taker charges Kane in the corner and gets lifted up into a spinebuster. Kane runs over Taker with a clothesline and pounds him in the corner. Kane grabs Taker and whips him back into Austin. Whoops. Austin staggers into a CHOKESLAM from Kane. Now the brothers start working together. Kane chokes Austin on the mat while Taker puts the boots to him, but Taker being the smarter of the two kicks Kane in the knee. Kane still gets a CHOKESLAM on Taker. That’s Paul Bearer’s cue as he walks to the ring armed with a steel chair. WHO’S HE GOING TO NAIL? IT’S KANE, but Kane NO-SELLS. Kane goes after Bearer, but Taker picks up the chair and cleans Kane’s clock. NASTY chairshot. Taker covers Kane and Austin refuses. He flips Taker the bird and hits a STONE COLD STUNNER! As Taker stands up, Austin drills him with a chairshot. With both brothers down, Austin counts both men out and calls for the bell. (17:41) And the winner of the match is, STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN. Sometimes you just have to tell the tyrants “no” and do the right thing. Not a great PPV main event, and even with Paul Bearer turning on Kane, Austin is still the story here. It was occasionally interesting seeing Austin interject himself in the match, but if you get in the mind of his character, he already knew what he was going to do before the ending happened. When it comes down to it, Austin would not let McMahon tell him what he can’t do. ½*

Austin calls for Vince to wheel his crippled ass out here. No McMahon, so Austin goes looking for him backstage. He opened one door and it was a maskless Owen Hart in the Blue Blazer outfit. He has no luck finding Vince however, so Austin returns to the ring. Austin thinks Vince has left the building because he doesn’t have the guts to fire him. Well, all of a sudden Vince yells for somebody to lift up the screen over by the entrance tunnel. As the screen lifts, we see Vince and the Big Bossman with the K-9 unit. While Vince is speaking, a fan throws what looks like a shirt or a towel or something on Vince’s face. Isn’t that against McMahon’s law? Austin can’t hear him over 18,000 people chanting “asshole” in Vince’s direction and tells him to put a little bass in his voice. Vince yells for everybody to get out their cameras (I mean, who would ever take a picture with their PHONE?) and take a picture of Stone Cold Steve Austin, because it’s the last we’ll ever see of him in the WWF. Vince does what Stone Cold claimed he didn’t have the guts to do as he remarks “Stone Cold, SCREW YOU, you’re fired.” He looks like he’s regretting what he’s about to do, but he does it anyway. He would rather satisfy his ego than do what’s best for business. Austin makes him repeat what he just said. Vince rolls away in his Titan wheelchair. Looks like Austin was proved wrong. He tells Vince that he may not ever step in a WWF ring again and he just might start hunting season tomorrow, but you can bet your ass he hasn’t seen the last of Stone Cold Steve Austin. You won’t see Austin cry in the middle of the ring, but he wants his entrance music to play one last time. They oblige him. Austin takes his Steveweisers and says goodbye to the fans. Ross sells it like the end and I don’t think anybody in the building believes he’s done. There’s also still no WWF champion.

Well, now you have to watch tomorrow night’s RAW to see what happens next.

Final Thoughts: This is a nice companion piece to last month’s Breakdown: IYH. Match quality-wise, even with the horrible main event, I’m going to say this is the best of the 1998 In Your House PPVs. I feel like “most” everyone on the undercard worked really hard to make themselves look good, which is what WWF PPVs had been lacking for YEARS.

The crowd was a bit strange for a Chicago crowd though. You always have high expectations that a good Chicago crowd will make a mediocre show more enjoyable, but not this time for some reason. Not sure why the crowd felt off. The unsung heroes of the show were Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler trying to make sense of it all as they are just at the top of their game.

I was going to say how I didn’t want to see Kane and the Undertaker wrestle each other for a while, and then I looked ahead to the next night’s RAW, and they are wrestling – in a CASKET MATCH. Oh well, at least it’ll be short. They also wrestle again at Survivor Series!

I’m going with thumbs solidly in the middle for Judgment Day: In Your House. I think that’s fair. The undercard really worked their butts off here.


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