The SmarK Retro Repost – King Of The Ring 98


The Nameless Retro Rant for King of the Ring 98

– Live from Pittsburgh, PA

– Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.

– Opening match: Kaientai v. TAKA Michinoku & The Headbangers.

Thrasher and Men’s Teoih start, and man is Teoih short. More beats from

the Bangers on Kaientai. Taka gets the first highspot with his plancha

on Funaki. JR actually mentions the UWA middleweight title, oddly

enough. Taka misses another highspot and wipes out on the floor,

allowing KDX to take over. Kind of a schmozz breaks out and the Bangers

double-team Funaki, and Taka hits the Michinoku Driver for the pin.

Spotty but served it’s purpose. **3/4

– Some chick…Rena something…comes out to introduce Mr. McMahon.

Vince runs down the crowd and warns them to prepare for Austin losing

the title tonight. Dull time-filler.

– King of the Ring Semi-Final #1: Jeff Jarrett v. Ken Shamrock. JJ was

in Gimmick Number Three at this point: Another attempt at the “Ain’t I

Great” thing, complete with Tennessee Lee. Shammy tosses JJ around like

a ragdoll and tries to kill him. He puts his head down and gets

neckbreakered…broken…whatever. They fight outside the ring and

Shamrock beats the crap out of Jarrett. Lee’s interference allows JJ to

go to work on the ankle. Shamrock basically decides to stop selling at

some arbitrary point and makes the comeback with a vicious rana and

anklelock for the tap-out. This was there. **1/4

– Semi-Final #2: The Rock v. Dan Severn. For those who keep track of

these things, Rock is using the version of his music from WWF The Music

3. Severn tries some amateur wrestling stuff, which the crowd could

care less about. Rock is over huge as a heel, and the crowd wakes up.

Rocky gets his offense in, Severn makes the comeback, and the Nation

distracts the referee long enough for D-Lo Brown to debut his chest

protector with a frog splash on Severn for the Rocky win. This was

there. *1/2

– Too Much v. Al Snow & Head. See, if Too Much wins, then Al Snow has

to leave. Right. Dumb match, as Snow gets double-teamed (with Jerry

Lawler doing reffing duties) for a few minutes, before Snow makes the

tag to Head. Snow Plow to Scott Taylor, but Lawler gives Brian

Christopher a bottle of Head & Shoulders, which Brian attaches to Head

so he can pin it. As fun to watch as it sounds. 1/2* JR made the

comment later in the show that the match set the business back 20 years,

and it’s hard to argue. Amazingly, Too Much not only survived this match, but are currently YOUR tag team champs. Huh.

– X-Pac v. Owen Hart. This was the final step down in the D-X feud for

Owen — from Shawn to HHH to X-Pac. This was basically X-Pac’s comeback

match after head injury #92984. They trade leg lariats after some

initial feeling out, and it picks up a bit when they make it outside and

X-Pac goes crashing into the timekeeper. Owen suplexes him onto the

Spanish announce table for good measure. Back in the ring and X-Pac

escapes a sleeper and hits the X-Factor, which was not yet established

as a finisher. The Broncobuster is almost blocked by Owen, but X-Pac

decides to ignore that and Owen is a good sport and sells it. Ending

breaks down as Owen gets the Sharpshooter on X-Pac while Vader and Mark

Henry fight outside the ring, allowing Chyna to DDT Owen for the X-Pac

pin. I could have done without the massively overbooked ending, but it

was a nice introduction to the “new” Sean Waltman after years of

luchadorial conquests. ***

– WWF World tag team title: The New Age Outlaws v. The New Midnight

Express. This is the only meeting on PPV between WWF and NWA World tag

team champs. Road Dog is still working the kinks out of the

catchphrase. Oddly, three of the four guys here would become legitimate singles

contenders in the WWF later, and the fourth (Bart Gunn) would be had he

not gotten knocked on his ass at WM15. The Smokin Gunns face off and do

a nice little sequence, then Road Dog ends up playing Ricky Morton.

Really good double-team stuff from the NME, but the crowd is not into

this. But then the match was added at the last minute so there’s no

angle here, which is a shame because it’s a fine match. Billy Gunn gets

the hot tag and goes for the piledriver on Holly, but Cornette nails him

with an NWA belt for a two count. Gunn comes back with a two of his

own, and Cornette gets involved again, only to get nailed by Chyna.

Took too long. The Outlaws go 2-on-1 on Holly and hit a double-team

stungun for the pin to retain the titles. I liked this match even more

this time around than I did the first time, oddly enough. ***1/4 It

was also the last good match the Outlaws had before descending into

catchphrase hell as Road Dog woke up one morning and realized that they

didn’t need to wrestle anymore.

– King of the Ring: Ken Shamrock v. The Rock. HHH is doing color at

ringside. They do a meaningless series of counters that ends with a

Shamrock kick that sends Rocky running for the hills. Looked good,

didn’t accomplish anything. We learn Chyna has joined the Spanish

commentary team and in fact speaks Spanish. Back in the ring, and Rocky

ends up going out of the ring again. he gets into a shoving match with

HHH as he passes by, and Shamrock ambushes Rock from behind to trigger a

brawl. HHH goes back to the commentary table and gets off his classic

“testes…testes…1…2…3??” line. Back outside the ring again for

more brawling. The Foley series taught Rock how to make that into an

art form. Back in the ring and Rocky pulls out the neckbreaker and DDT

for a two-count. Crowd starts with the “Rocky Sucks” stuff. People’s

Elbow (not yet named) gets two, and only half the normal reaction…but

the reaction was building at that point. Mundo resto from Rock. Layin’

The Smack Down DDT gets two, and Shamrock makes a brief comeback, and we

do a double KO. Shamrock up and he snaps, dropkick, powerslam for two.

Sloppy perfectplex gets two. Rock catches him with a powerslam of his

own for two. Rock goes for another DDT but Shamrock counters with a

northern lights suplex for two. Short arm clothesline from Rock for

two. Shamrock with his own for two. Shamrock tries a rana but gets

dropped on the top rope for two. Rocky argues with the ref, but that

gives Shamrock time to recover, and when Rocky stands over him and

trash-talks, Shammy rolls up and clamps on the anklelock for the

tap-out. Solid match with a good, CLEAN ending. ***1/4

– Hell in a Cell II: Mankind v. The Undertaker. Mick noted in a later

interview that his biggest mistake was asking Terry Funk for advice

before this match. Funk’s wisdom: “Start on top of the cage”. So they

do so, as Mick goads UT into climbing up the cage. It should be noted

that all the squares of fencing on the top are loose, so it wasn’t just

That One. So UT tosses Mick off the top of the cage onto the Spanish

table, and to be brutally honest, it lacks the same impact as when

you’re bombed and not expecting it. I mean, it was a nice bump and all,

but there wasn’t anything to build up to it. And on second viewing,

Mick guides himself down by holding onto the cage as he falls. I mean,

for full points on the dive, you have to free fall. The judges at the

Olympics wouldn’t allow a dive where the diver grabs the board to guide

himself, would they? Anyway, all jesting aside…Terry Funk comes out

to check on Mick and they stretcher him off, but Mick fights them off

and climbs the cage again to a big pop. Then comes the next Holy Shit

Bump, as UT gives Mick a half-assed chokeslam and Mick takes a bump

sixteen feet through the cage to the mat below. UT goes for the

ropewalk but Foley pushes him off and gives us the famous shot of the

tooth sticking out of his nose as his mouth bleeds. They fight to the

floor and UT rams the stairs into him. UT goes for a tope suicida but

Mick ducks and UT hits the cage…and blades on-camera. D’Oh! Back in

the ring and a Mankind piledriver on a chair gets two. Legdrop on a

chair gets two. Double-arm DDT, and Mick rolls under the ring and

retrieves his bag of thumbtacks. He puts the Mandible Claw on and UT

drops him on the thumbtacks. Chokeslam on the thumbtacks. Tombstone

finishes it. Okay, now for the major criticisms and why this is NOT a

****3/4 MOTYC.

– The actual moves done between the bumps were not well executed. The

chokeslam through the cage was sloppy, with Mick basically falling

backwards. UT did a pretty perfunctory tope, and then made the rookie

mistake of blading in clear view of the camera. That’s just sloppiness.

Go back and watch Badd Blood (which is the next rant scheduled —

patience, friends, patience) and compare with Shawn’s primo bladejob in


– There was only a few actual wrestling moves done — Legdrop, DDT,

Mandible Claw, chokeslam, tombstone. UT-Shawn, the closest WWF match to

compare with, had smaller bumps by Shawn, but more of them and more

intense ones, with better wrestling and better brawling in between them.

– The chokeslam bump was an accident.

– Undertaker was working on a broken ankle and was very limited in his


Anyway, history has already judged this match as Match of the Year for

1998, but I thought Austin-Foley from Over the Edge was a better brawl,

and Vince took just as good a bump at St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

Foley bumping does not a match make, it just makes more money for the

hospitals. My verdict: I’ll be more generous than Herb and go *, but

the “Holy shit” factor from first watching it is totally gone after

numerous replays have killed the uniqueness of the original viewing.

There you have it.

Main Event, First Blood, WWF Title: Steve Austin v. Kane. Since it’s

physically impossible for Austin to make Kane bleed, the result wasn’t

really in doubt, although the internet was in denial about that fact for

the weeks leading up to it. Kane whoops Austin’s ass for a bit, and the

cage mysteriously lowers. Kane whoops Austin’s ass some more, ramming

him into the cage some more. See, now how is less of a good match than

the UT-Foley one? Do the two bumps really add *** or so to it’s value?

Anyway, Kane gets caught in the cage and it mysteriouly starts to rise

again. They brawl to the entranceway. Austin takes his patented “go

for a piledriver but get backdropped” bump. They head back to the ring,

then brawl back outside again. Hebner takes a weak bump on the floor

and Kane tosses Austin back in and hits the flying clothesline. Austin

comes back and stomps him. Man, Hebner must have had another aneurism

out there or something, he’s been out forever. Mankind runs in with a

chair, and the cage lowers again as Mick take a Stuner for the company.

Stunner on Kane. Undertaker gets last run-in honors, swinging at Mick

with a chair but hitting Austin (who also blades on-camera) and the ref

wakes up to see that Kane is the new WWF champion. It should be noted

that Austin found not one, but TWO ways to job the title without

actually, you know, jobbing, in the same year. The other being

Breakdown with the double-chokeslam-double-pin ending. Match was

absolutely nothing. *1/2

The Bottom Line: Wildly divergent opinions on you-know-what aside,

there was some really solid wrestling in the form of Rock-Shamrock and

NAO-NME. Owen-XPac narrowly misses match of the night honors. And

Foley-UT is really worth a look, if only to make your own judgment on


Recommended show.