WWF: Rock Bottom – In Your House
December 13, 1998
Vancouver, BC, Canada
General Motors Place
The current WWF champs are as follows:
WWF Champion: The Rock (11/15/1998)
Intercontinental Champion: Ken Shamrock (10/12/1998)
World Tag Team Champions: The New Age Outlaws (8/30/1998)
European Champion: X-Pac (10/18/1998)
Light Heavyweight Champion: Duane Gill (11/23/1998)
Hardcore Champion: The Big Boss Man (11/30/1998)
Women’s Champion: Sable (11/15/1998)
Before we go to the arena, we catch WWF champion the Rock making a public appearance yesterday at Planet Hollywood (remember those?) in Vancouver. He reminds us this is the ROCK’s PAY-PER-VIEW aptly entitled “Rock Bottom”. Future ‘In Your House’ PPVs will be named in honor of the Rock and will be named: Rock Solid, Rock n Roll, and of course Layin’ the Smackdown. Because this is a Rock PPV, it will have the finest action in sports entertainment today. Now KNOW YOUR ROLE, SHUT YOUR MOUTH, and enjoy the Rock’s PPV if ya smell.
Your hosts are Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler. This is Michael Cole’s debut as a lead commentator on a PPV. Check out the burial site! Over two tons of dirt and a tombstone that weighs 3,000 pounds!
- D’Lo Brown & Mark Henry (w/Jacqueline & Terri) vs. The Godfather & Val Venis (w/the gals)
Naturally, we get a big pop for the porn star, the pimp, and his women. Godfather is wearing his green pimp outfit tonight and the back of his jacket states that in fact “Hempin’ Ain’t Easy”. Godfather gives the ladies the night off from working the streets as an early Christmas present and offers them to Val for the night. Either way, they got to put out. Jackie and Terri hang back with D’Lo since Mark Henry is already taken – if even only in his own mind. Terri is seriously trying to imitate D’Lo’s head bob for some reason. Venis and Godfather rough up D’Lo to start. D’Lo avoids the avalanche (not called the Ho Train just yet), but Godfather comes back with the Hook Kick. Henry tags in, but Godfather slugs on him and hits the (not yet) Ho Train. Henry fires back with a powerslam – and another – and another. Godfather avoids a splash off the ropes and tags in Venis. Henry tosses Val into the corner for an avalanche of his own. D’Lo tags in and hits the Sky High. He heads up for the Lo Down, but Val moves out of the way. Tag to Godfather, he runs wild on D’Lo and Henry. He tags Venis back in so they can double suplex Henry. Meanwhile, the ladies at ringside start talking smack to each other. While Godfather and D’Lo are putting out that fire, Jacqueline runs inside the ring and pulls Val’s trunks down. Don’t worry, he’s wearing a thong. While Jackie gets out of the ring, Henry blasts Venis with a clothesline and GORILLA SPLASHES him for the win. (5:56) Is Terri behind this embarrassing display for poor Val? ONE MIGHT THINK SO. Anyways, this just felt like another Attitude Era tag match. *
Backstage, Dok Hendrix tells us about the WWF Superstar Line and talks with Triple H and Chyna. Helmsley wants to let Shawn Michaels know that the New Age Outlaws will get it done tonight against the Big Boss Man and Ken Shamrock.
They replay Mankind’s attack on the Rock earlier in the day that we saw on HeAT. The Rock’s ribs are injured, but he will defend the WWF title or risk a forfeit.
- The Headbangers vs. Golga & Kurrgan (w/Giant Silva & Luna)
Mosh uses a stick and move strategy to start. He runs into a sidewalk slam though and tags out to Thrasher. Another sidewalk slam from Kurrgan. Cole mentions the “Cart Man” doll. Kurrgan avalanches the Headbangers and tags in Golga who lifts his shirt and does the same. Golga hits an elbow drop and a legdrop on Thrasher for two. Back to Kurrgan, he slams Thrasher, but misses a splash off the second rope and takes a double suplex by the Headbangers. The Leapfrog Body Guillotine wears down Kurrgan some more. He gets choked in the ropes as the Headbangers try to get heat. Tag to Golga, he runs through the Headbangers. Mosh gets a blind tag. As Golga continues to set up Thrasher for the finish, Mosh comes flying in with a body attack and gets the three-count. (6:52) Some dork fan in the front row put their hands on Mosh and he gets pissed. The camera went wide real quick there. Not good. ½*
Kevin Kelly and Dr. Tom Prichard are backstage at the WWF.com table. Which one are you supposed to be using? The WWF Superstar Line or WWF.com? BOTH OF THEM? INCLUDING WATCHING A PPV?
Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson try to calm down the McMahons over the Rock’s WWF title match.
- Owen Hart vs. Steve Blackman
Supposed to be the heel here, Owen Hart naturally gets a hero’s welcome home. He jumps Blackman as he rolls into the ring and the crowd sides with Owen throughout the match. When it’s the WWF, you can’t heel a Hart in Canada. Blackman comes back and sends Owen walking up the aisle. He runs down Owen and brings him back to the ring. A snap suplex by Blackman leads to a backbreaker. Blackman applies a bow and arrow submission. Cole has no idea what to call this. Oof, Owen has to feed the correct leg to Blackman to set up the ENZIGURI KICK OF CERTAIN DEMISE as the crowd goes nuts. Owen continues the offense with a series of suplexes. He stomps Blackman in the mid section trying to turn the crowd, but they won’t turn. Blackman isn’t that great of a babyface to do such a thing. He stops Owen coming off the top with a foot to the chest. As Blackman hits a suplex and a running elbow drop, the crowd chants that the “U.S. sucks”. Owen ducks out and takes another breather. Blackman catches Owen with a baseball slide and chops Owen back into the ring. Owen stomps Blackman on his way back in and the crowd cheers. He low blows Blackman and they don’t seem to mind. Next up, there’s an inverted atomic drop and a Spinning Heel Kick gets two. Owen hits a vertical suplex and comes off the top with a flying elbow for 1-2-NO! He slows things down with a chinlock. Blackman’s arm drops once, twice, but NOT THREE TIMES! Nobody cares. Owen catches Blackman with a kitchen sink knee and turns the tide. He hits a flying body press out of the corner, but Blackman rolls through for a nearfall. As Blackman gets up to his feet, Owen blasts him with another ENZIGURI KICK OF ABSOLUTE DESTRUCTION. That only gets two. Owen removes the turnbuckle pad and gets whipped into it for the chest-first bump. Blackman attempts to do more damage to the neck and tries a sleeperhold, but Owen shoves him off into the ropes and applies the DRAGON SLEEPER. Blackman escapes with knee strikes to the head, but Owen fires back with a DDT. He heads up top, but Blackman shrugs off the missile dropkick and applies a crappy Sharpshooter. Why does everybody find that hold so hard to apply? As the crowd cheers him on, Owen makes the ropes and slides out of the ring to fight another day as Blackman wins via countout. (10:28) The crowd ruined the match here. Not to mention Blackman is still pretty green and while he does some things right, I didn’t think there was enough here to put together a great match no matter what they tried. **½
Royal Rumble 1999 ad airs. LIVE! SUNDAY JANUARY 24 ON PAY PER VIEW!
We catch Vince McMahon searching around backstage for Mankind. He finds a boiler room door marked “Mankind’s Office”. How convenient. Vince knocks on the door and Mankind welcomes him in for a talk. C’mon in, dad. Mick just wants to talk.
- Gangrel, Edge & Christian vs. Al Snow, Bob Holly & Scorpio
Michael Cole mentions the loss of Jim Ross’ mother and says Jim is also under the weather to explain his absence. Lawler jokes that he never thought he would miss JR until he had to spend three hours with Cole. HA. As for the JOB Squad, Bob Holly debuts his buzzed haircut style that will be part of his look for the rest of his career. He starts against Edge and delivers a Falcon Arrow. Edge comes back with an electric chair facebuster. MOVES~! Edge tags in Christian who telegraphs a backdrop as Holly hits the butterfly powerbomb you used to see from Scott Steiner. Tag to Scorpio who is appearing in his final WWF PPV match, he roughs up Christian with corner clotheslines and a spinning heel kick. He nails Christian with a flying somersault leg drop for two. Snow tags in and delivers the arm trap headbutts. Christian comes back with a dropkick and tags out to Gangrel. Snow finds a bridging suplex, but gets run down by Gangrel. Once the entrances are over, the crowd is just dead. Snow can’t get them to react to anything. IMPALER DDT connects, but nobody cares. The Brood try and get more heat on Snow for a while. Lawler picks on Michael Cole since there’s not much to talk about. Scorpio finally gets the tag and lands the big jumping head kick for two as the match breaks down. Everybody ends up on the floor except for Snow and Christian. Snow “whacks” Christian with Head. Scorpio comes in and hits the MOONSAULT LEG DROP for two. Edge makes the save and jumps off Gangrel on all fours to plancha onto Holly and Snow. Meanwhile, Christian delivers the IMPALER on Scorpio for the win. (9:05) Bleh, the crowd is dead. Some good stuff near the end there. **
We see that Vince McMahon and Mankind are still having a conversation in the boiler room.
- Striptease Match: Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra) vs. Goldust
Well, Debra woke this crowd up. If Goldust wins, Debra has to shows us her boobies. If Jarrett wins, Goldust has to show us his boobies. Because of this stipulation, this crowd is 100% behind Goldust. Unless the crowd knows a finish is coming, the crowd doesn’t care for the actual match. They brawl in and out of the ring. Jarrett delivers a flying body press, but Goldust rolls through for two. He finds a swinging neckbreaker and a flying fist drop. Goldust reverses things with a vertical suplex. Jarrett is serious about the sleeperhold trying to get rid of Goldust, but the “Goldust” chants start up. The crowd goes back to sleep and then wakes up when Goldust wakes up. He gets a back suplex on Jarrett for a close two-count. Debra nearly KABONGS Jarrett and ref Jack Doan yells at her over it. Goldust delivers the CURTAIN CALL, but no ref. Michael Cole does not know the names of finishers. Goldust blocks a sunset flip and gets another close nearfall. He delivers the lay down uppercut and hits the RUNNING BULLDOG on Jarrett for 1-2-NO! Time for Shattered Dreams. Debra tries to distract him, but Goldust NO-SELLS and delivers SHATTERED DREAMS to Jarrett. Yikes, Debra KABONGS Goldust behind the ref’s back. In comes Jarrett, he levels Goldust with the STROKE for the win. (8:02) With how pissed the crowd already was over the Owen Hart thing, can you imagine if this was the finish? COMMISSIONER SHAWN MICHAELS comes out and sends Jarrett back to the locker room. He asks Debra to stay in the ring and reverses the decision because of Debra’s interference – awarding Goldust the win via DQ. Isn’t Shawn supposed to be a heel? *½
Debra goes from being super mad about it to putting a big smile on her face as she takes off her suit jacket. I wonder what Mongo is thinking right now. Jarrett can’t believe what he’s seeing as he watches on from the monitor. HBK puts a $100 bill in her bra. The skirt comes off to show her flat ass. When they cut to Jarrett, we see the BLUE BLAZER run behind him as if he’s going to the ring. As Debra drops the straps and Shawn helps her with her back strap, Jeff Jarrett and the Blue Blazer run down to cover up Debra. Just before the bra is off for the camera, Debra is immediately covered up by the Blue Blazer’s huge cape. She wants to stay out with HBK and show off what she’s got, but Jarrett tells her to head back to the locker room. IMAGINE THIS IN 2022. You can’t.
Elsewhere, Vince McMahon looks happy as he leaves Mankind’s office.
- WWF World Tag Team Championship: The New Age Outlaws (c) vs. The Big Boss Man & Ken Shamrock (w/Commissioner Shawn Michaels)
We get another example in the New Age Outlaws of an act being more over than the actual wrestlers. Back and forth action to start with nothing really happening worth noting. The Outlaws give Boss Man a double back drop for a two-count. Road Dogg comes back on Shamrock with the Shake Rattle and Roll followed by the Shaky Knee Drop. Shamrock NO-SELLS and pulls Road Dogg into an ANKLELOCK, but Billy Gunn makes the save. Shamrock kicks around Gunn, but then he telegraphs a backdrop and takes a Rocker Dropper. In comes Road Dogg, Shamrock throws him away and tags Boss Man who roughs up Road Dogg because he’s a HEEL and acts like one. The Corporation boys continue to get heat on Road Dogg for a long while. Almost NINE minutes later, Road Dogg back drops Boss Man over the top rope to avoid a piledriver. Instead of tagging out, he sticks around in the Corporation corner and gets beaten. We finally get a HOT TAG TO BILLY GUNN! Shamrock tries to cool him off, but Gunn blocks a hurracanrana with a powerbomb. Cover, 1-2-NO! Ref Tim White gets pulled out by Shawn Michaels and tosses the night stick to Boss Man. He whacks both Gunn and Road Dogg. Shamrock rolls over on top of Gunn for a nearfall. We get a convoluted finish where Gunn flips out of a vertical suplex and tries the Jackhammer. Shawn trips him up from the floor wanting Shamrock to fall on top, but Gunn somehow rolls over on top of Shamrock for the three-count. (17:04) They ought to know better than to have these four go almost twenty minutes. **
They show a sweet video package highlighting the Rock’s rise to become the Corporate champion.
Back in the locker room, Vince and Shane McMahon try to reassure the Rock that everything is going to be just fine.
- WWF Championship: The Rock (c) (w/Vince & Shane McMahon) vs. Mankind
Mankind brings with him the match contract stating that if Rock doesn’t defend his WWF title tonight, that he will have to relinquish the belt to him. He says he will put a line through that clause if “dad” will get on his knees and confess to the world that he did not say he quit back at Survivor Series when Rock had him in the Sharpshooter. Vince sticks to his guns, leaving Mankind no choice but to rip up the contract. As Mankind walks towards Vince pointing his finger, Rock nails him from behind and we are under way. Vince and Shane then take a seat over by Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler.
Loads of ringside brawling to start. It gets to the point that Vince instructs the ref to not be at all lenient towards what Mankind does and DQ him for any reason. It’s funny that the Attitude Era got us to such a point booking-wise, that following the rules of wrestling gets you tons of heat. More brawling on the floor though with Rock in control. He gives Mankind a suplex and brings him back inside. Mankind catches Rock with a big boot and throws him out in front of the announce table. He wants to jump off the second turnbuckle onto the Rock, but Shane gets up and grabs his foot to stop him. While Mankind tries to get rid of Shane, Rock comes over and throws Mankind down to the floor in a NASTY bump. While Mankind recovers as best he can, Rock puts on Michael Cole’s headset and does his trash talking thing. He spits water in Mankind’s face, which serves to wake him up and the brawl continues. Ref Mike Chioda stops Mankind from using a chair, but can’t stop Rock from giving Mankind a DDT on the same chair. Back in, Rock covers for two. Corporate Elbow connects to a HUGE pop for 1-2-NO! Now Mankind mounts his comeback and legdrops Rock in the balls, to which Vince sees as a DQ-able offense. He yells to Chioda to ring the bell, but then Mankind grabs Chioda and gives him a Pull-Up Piledriver before he can. Awesome. Vince looks over at the timekeeper Mark Yeaton to ring the bell, but Mankind throws him into the barricade before that can happen as well! As Mankind stalks Vince and Shane around ringside, Rock blasts him in the back with a chair. In the ring, the ROCK BOTTOM is delivered, but there’s no ref. Rock calls for a belt shot from Shane, but Mankind ducks and Rock gets laid out. Mankind covers Rock as ref Tim White runs down for 1-2-NO! They trade nearfalls hitting their own signature DDTs. Mankind brings Mr. Socko into the mix. MANDIBLE CLAW to the Rock! Since Rock isn’t answering the ref, he calls for the bell. (13:34) Vince grabs the microphone and tells everybody that while Mankind won the match, the only way the WWF title can change hands is via pinfall or submission. Rock didn’t tap out or say “I quit”, so the belt stays with the Rock. Afterwards, Mankind beats up Vince, Shane, and their stooges until the Big Boss Man and Ken Shamrock come out to save the day for the Corporation. While yes this thing is overbooked like crazy, this actually sets up their Royal Rumble match quite nicely and kicks the Rock v. Mankind feud into a higher gear. Of course, this needed JR to side with Mankind’s plight instead of Michael Cole, but there’s nothing you can do about that. ***¼
We get an awesome Undertaker and Steve Austin video package.
- Buried Alive Match: Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer)
The fight begins in the aisleway as they immediately head to the dirt. Austin chokes Taker with his vest, but then Taker uses a guardrail to choke Austin. There’s like a dozen shovels stuck down into the mound of dirt. They end up in the ring where Austin hits the Lou Thesz Press and the elbow drop off the ropes. Austin pulls Taker’s nuts into the ringpost and wraps his leg around the post as well. He sends Taker into the steps, but Taker catches him looking away and boots him down. They fight over the Spanish announce table and turn it over. Back inside, we get some Taker offense. They brawl over to the dirt where Austin runs down Taker with the spare piece of guardrail. Time to go night-night for Taker. He’s nowhere near ready to be buried though. Cole mentions the grave is six feet deep while Taker is standing in it and it’s only up to his waist. Yikes, pal. Lots of punches traded inside the grave. They go all up the aisle and all around ringside brawling. Taker finds a chair and whacks Austin pretty good. After Taker rolls him into the ring, Austin prevents him from joining him. He leaps off the ring apron onto Taker and gets caught only to be backed into the ringpost. With that, Taker puts Austin back in the ring and gives him a Chokeslam. Alright, back to the dirt. Austin climbs out of the grave without much trouble. Wait, why is there a gas can by the dirt? Austin whacks him with that a few times and hits a STONE COLD STUNNER to put Taker into the grave. Austin unloads a wheelbarrow of dirt on top of Taker. Paul Bearer gets run off by Austin. Meanwhile as Taker escapes, an explosion happens and KANE climbs out of the grave. We get more monthly Kane and Taker brawling. Taker looks to TOMBSTONE Kane and puts him down when he sees a BACK HOE coming out towards the dirt. WHAT. Kane TOMBSTONES Taker. We see Austin directing the guy driving the back hoe to bury Taker alive. Of course this takes forever because it’s a FREAKIN’ BACK HOE. They aren’t made for speedy exciting television, they are made to move earth. Austin wins and now he’s qualified for the ROYAL RUMBLE. (21:30) With these two (or three if you include Kane) fighting constantly over the last six months, I just don’t feel like they had much story left to tell by this point. Not to mention Taker is running around on a broken ankle. If not for Hollywood Hogan selling a wristlock from Jay Leno, this might be the worst PPV main event of 1998. ½*
Final Thoughts: Man, it makes you wonder how different this show would have been outside of Canada. The first two matches were whatever, but they turned on this PPV after the bad Owen Hart finish on walking out on Steve FN Blackman. Anywhere in America, Owen would have been the heel like he was supposed to be. The crowd slept through the Brood/JOB Squad match and woke up for Debra’s boobs only to be strung along and disappointed. The WWF tag titles match is about par for the course with the New Age Outlaws – the people pop for the entrance and the finish, but don’t care about the in-between. The only highlight on this show for me was the continuation of the story between the Rock and Mankind. I am really digging the PPV stories they are telling month after month with these guys. As for the main event, you don’t really miss anything. Taker gets a load of dirt dropped on him and Austin gets a spot in the Royal Rumble match. THAT’S IT. Overall, I’m going with thumbs down for Rock Bottom: In Your House. Sorry your party’s so lame, Rock.