Summerslam ’98 Tandem Rant

I don’t think this ever got posted because I assumed Michael would post it to the Pulse and then I forgot about it.  Anyway, here’s Summerslam ’98 redone by me (or at least half of it) and Mr. Fitzgerald for kicks. 

Tandem Rant for Summerslam 98

– Live from New York, NY.

– Your hosts are JR & King

European title: D-Lo Brown v. Val Venis

This was very early in Val’s run when he was the hot new thing and was expected to carry the promotion in later years. Funny how things very rarely work out like they expect. They fight for the lockup and D-Lo offers the handshake of sportsmanship, then gives a cheapshot on the next one. Val tries a forearm shot to the chest, but D-Lo’s chest protector does its job, so Val slugs away until D-Lo knocks him down with a shoulderblock. D-Lo follows with an avalanche to really drive the point home, but a second one misses and Val takes him down with a legsweep and follows with a dropkick. D-Lo runs away, but Val slingshots him back into the ring. Criss-cross and Val has a rollup blocked, but comes back with a spinebuster for two, back before it became the standard setup move for every main eventer.

Val with a clothesline and splash, but it misses and D-Lo slugs back. Backdrop suplex follows and D-Lo whips Val into the corner With Authority, but Val wants a slugfest. Val follows with a t-bone suplex, but D-Lo clotheslines him and gets a legdrop for two. Leg lariat gets two. Val fights up and tries a slam, but D-Lo clotheslines him down again and goes up with an elbow off the middle rope for two. Val tries a suplex, but D-Lo reverses him into a Texas Cloverleaf and forces Val to make the ropes. D-Lo goes up again, but misses a senton and Val comes back with the running knees. Elbowdrop and he goes up, but D-Lo catches him with the Sky High powerbomb. That gets two. DDT gets two off a nice reversal sequence. D-Lo heads up again and gets caught this time, but fights Val off. He comes down and gets caught in a powerslam, however, and Val gets two.

Val goes up again and then changes his mind and goes with a butterfly suplex instead, then heads up for the Money Shot…but it hits the knees. D-Lo tries the running powerbomb, but can’t get Val up and drops him on his head by accident. That might hurt someone one of these days! Another try works and he goes up, but the frog splash misses and Val makes the comeback. He elbows D-Lo down and then steals the chest protector, hitting him with a powerslam before donning the protector and going up. The ref tries to stop him, however, and inadvertently crotches him, so Val shoves the ref down for the DQ at 15:20. That’s a long match for such a lame finish. They were really letting it all hang out, though. ***1/2

Mike Says – Can’t say I disagree too much with Scott’s assessment to be honest. To have a DQ in the opener is always a lame idea but both men were trying really hard and the match had some good heat. I’m going with *** here.

Meanwhile, Mankind is offended that Steve Austin has previously destroyed the Undertaker’s hearse, since he was in it at the time, but that’s OK because he’s got a sledgehammer anyway.

Kaientai w/ Yamaguchi San Vs The Oddities w/ Luna and Insane Clown Posse

ICP try their best to rap The Oddities down to the ring. All I can say is that as far as rapping goes they make great wrestlers. I wonder if you could hire Giant Silva and Kurrgan for birthday parties? This was during a period where they were trying to get Kurrgan and Silva over so they gave them the gimmick of being weirdo’s and then stuck poor John Tenta with them as Golga to hold the matches together. Kaientai, on account of them being small, Japanese and not knowing how to work, are allowed to have a 4 on 3 advantage here.

Got to love WWF/E logic. Taka Michinoku, the current Light Heavyweight Champion at the time, starts with Golga and gets promptly head butted. Golga then goes outside and steals one of Yamaguchi’s sneakers and pours a beer in it. Oh the hilarity! Kurgan and Funaki go at it next and Kurrgan uses the power of racism to gain the advantage. Kaientai try to quadruple team Kurrgan but that fails because, try as they might, they’re Japanese wrestlers and thus they have no chance against the comedy antics of the Oddities.

Silva comes in next and everyone bails because even though Kurrgan and Golga are big, Silva is just taking the piss. Silva shoves Dick Togo around as J.R tries to defend this shower of shite match. I can’t believe Silva turned out to be a semi reasonable shoot fighter as his offence looks horrible here. Finally, after what seems like years of crappy comedy, Golga comes in and actually hits some good looking offence. With Golga being the only Oddity who isn’t crap, the match picks up a little as he gets triple teamed takes the heat. He soon makes him own comeback though and tags in Kurrgan for the luke warm tag. Crowd is completely dead here which is horrific considering how hot they were for the opener. All of Kaientai get choke slammed and Golga splashes them all to end the agony.

WINNERS – THE ODDITIES

LOSERS – THE REST OF HUMANITY

Time – 10:10

½* – Horrible, just fucking horrible. I was actually offended watching it and that’s just unacceptable.

Scott Says – It breaks my heart how Kaientai were 10 years
before their time, because if they come in via ROH they would have
ripped up the US scene and probably found a home where someone knew
how to book them.  That is to say, against each other in tag team
matches forever.  The Oddities was a dumb concept that never got over
and yet they were big so people, that is to say Vince, didn’t want to
give up on them.  The match was mostly harmless in the grand scheme of
things, though.

Haircut match: X-Pac v. Jeff Jarrett

This probably would have been more effective had Jarrett still had his 80s hair rather than his post-WCW longish cut. Howard Finkel, whitest guy in the room, is an honorary member of D-X tonight after being attacked and shaved by Southern Justice on Heat, which gives us the disturbing image of the Fink doing crotch-chops during X-Pac’s entrance. JJ attacks to start, but X-Pac hits him with the spinkick and dumps him with a clothesline. He follows with a slightly botched springboard tope, and then dodges Jarrett coming back in. JJ hits him with a pair of dropkicks to put him on the floor, but they brawl out there and Jarrett rams him nut-first into the post. Well that’s OK, Chyna has the bigger dick anyway.

Back in, Jarrett slugs him in the corner and whips him into the turnbuckles, but a blind charge hits boot. Jarrett recovers with a powerslam for two and a corner clothesline, but X-Pac gets a tornado DDT for two. Jarrett goes with the sleeper and X-Pac reverses to his own, but Jarrett puts him on the top rope to break. X-Pac elbows him down, but misses a bodypress and both guys are out. JJ gets two off that. X-Pac tries to fight back with a spinkick, but whiffs completely and Jarrett gets the figure-four. X-Pac makes the ropes and Jarrett tries it again, but X-Pac kicks out this time and hits a backdrop suplex for the double KO. X-Pac recovers and a reversal sequence sees X-Pac hit a bodypress out of the corner for two. JJ tries a rana, blocked with a powerbomb for two.

X-Pac charges and hits the corner, allowing Jarrett to roll him up for two, reversed for two by X-Pac. Broncobuster, but Jarrett gets his foot up to block, which draws the ire of the Fink. Jarrett gets distracted, however, and the X-Factor gets two. Southern Justice heads out and brings the guitar, but X-Pac gets it, El Kabong, and Jarrett goes bald at 11:11. Lemme just stop and ask: Who really bought the Godwinns as badass bodyguards? This was good stuff, with X-Pac bumping all over the place back when he cared enough to die just to spite WCW. You have to respect that a little. ***1/4

Mike Says – Again I find myself agreeing with Scott here. Solid match with good selling and story. The post match haircut is very disappointing though as the shavers break and Jarrett gets a mild trim rather than a haircut. I’ll go ***1/4.

Marc Mero & Jacqueline v. Sable & Edge

Edge is the ever-popular Mystery Partner, and the other Great White Hope for the promotion along with Val Venis back in 1998. Well, they were half-right, at least. Mero slugs away on Edge in the corner, but he comes back with armdrags and forces Mero to tag Jackie in. So it’s over to Sable, but Jackie runs away and tags Mero again. So we’re back to Mero v. Edge, and Edge gets a flapjack but gets caught from behind by Mero, who adds a kneelift. He sets up for the TKO after taunting Sable, but Edge counters out to the DDT, and it’s hot tag Sable. She tosses Jackie around and it turns into a footrace, but she goes after Mero and kicks him low to set up a Sablebomb. Jackie breaks that up lest she somehow defy the laws of physics by actually pulling it off, but Jackie’s offense ends with a TKO from Sable that gets two.

The heels double-team Sable, but miscommunication puts Mero on the floor, and Edge tags in for an EPIC tope con hilo. Jackie dives onto him, but Edge gives her a spanking and then heads back in with a high cross on Mero for two. Neckbreaker out of the corner gets two. Rollup gets two. Mero comes back with the samoan drop out of the corner and goes up, but Edge brings him down and Sable hits a Sable-canrana for two. Edge whips Mero into Jackie for the standard “headbutt to the nuts” spot, and Edge finishes Mero with a downward spiral and drops Sable on him for the pin at 8:25. Man, Edge just looked SO green out there, and the match just kind of meandered from spot to spot. Edge got quickly repackaged into Gangrel’s lackey after this. **

Mike Says – I found myself enjoying this more than Scott here. It was amazing watching Sable actually give a crap and she was trying so hard in the ring at this point to be above passable that I can’t help but respect her for it. Plus, the rana looked quite good too. I’m going **3/4 with a whole * being for effort, I loves my effort I do.

Lions Den Match

Owen Hart w/ Dan Severn Vs Ken Shamrock

They’re basically wrestling in a fake octagon here. This was the first hint of the UFC starting to influence the American Wrestling Scene. Back then UFC was very much a niche product instead of the worldwide phenomenon it is today. Shamrock wastes no time ramming Owen into the cage and slamming him down to the mat. Owen fights back with right hands. Shamrock hits a back suplex, which sort of kills the point of doing a fake shoot fight but meh. Owen whips Shamrock into the cage but he bounces back with a clothesline and starts choking Owen with his own shirt.

Owen is bleeding from the mouth. Shamrock gets an awesome move by running into the cage and bouncing off it with a back elbow. That looked great. Owen fights back with right hands and makes Shamrock eat some cage. Owenzuiguri floors Shamrock and Owen then flapjacks Shamrock into the cage. That looked unpleasant to say the least. It could be Sharpshooter time but Shamrock kicks him off. Owen tries a rana but gets caught with a Powerbomb. Shamrock is just nailing Owen with kicks here. Owen gives Shamrock a side belly to belly and locks in the Sharpshooter. Shamrock uses the cage to pull himself up and break the hold in a neat spot and then DRILLS Owen with a DDT. Owen sends Shamrock into the cage one more time and tries the Beats Chokers but Shamrock counters and puts Owen in the Ankle Lock for the submission as Severn walks away.

WINNER – KEN SHAMROCK

Time – 09:16

***1/2 – That was a really entertaining match as Shamrock was in the middle of a hot streak of matches and Owen Hart was always awesome in pretty much anything he did. I reckon it would be worked a bit differently today though with less wrestling moves and more mat work. In fact, the Joe/Angle Lockdown match was the modern evolution of this match in many ways.

Scott Says – I quite enjoyed this watching it 10 years later, as
I thought it would come across stupid and gimmicky and yet it still
really worked because Owen was such a fantastic worker at that point.
Absolutely a ***1/2 match.

Stone Cold is with Michael Cole and he’s going to do whatever he has to for the win tonight.

WWF Tag Team Championship

No DQ

Champions – Mankind and Kane

Vs

The New Age Outlaws

Kane supposedly has no showed here leaving Mankind in a handicap match which is weird considering he’s the heel. Mankind wears the Outlaws out with a tray to start. Mankind and Gunn have a chair duel that goes Mankind’s way but Road Dogg distracts him and the Outlaws take over. The Outlaws take turns hitting Mankind with weapons as the crowd isn’t really sure how to react to the supposed faces beating up Mankind in a heelish manner. God I hate Vince Russo, with visceral passion. This has his “shades of grey” bullshit all over it. The Outlaws give Mankind a Russian Leg Sweep into the side of a dumpster and bring him back inside where they grab a table. Mankind fights back and throws Gunn into the table but he’s soon double teamed again. Fans finally just give up and start chanting Foley as The Outlaws Powerbomb him on two chairs for a near fall. A spike piledriver on a belt finally ends the massacre.

WINNERS – NEW AGE OUTLAWS

Time – 05:16

* – For Mankinds bumping as this match made no sense on so many levels. Mankind even gets beaten up post match as the Outlaws put him a dumpster where Kane magically appears and hits Mankind with a sledgehammer. This would have been great if Mankind was turning face but he was a heel for something like 3 months after this. Witness the genius of Vince Russo people. He sure made me a believer

Scott Says – I barely even remember this happening, but that’s a
given for much of the tag title switches in 98-2000

WWF Intercontinental title, Ladder match: The Rock v. HHH

Man, I haven’t watched this one in 10 years. Mark Henry and Chyna are at ringside. This is weird for me because I was cheering for HHH at this point, since this was the match that turned me into a fan of the Rock. Now, of course, do I even need to say? HHH gets a facebuster and Rock tries the Rock Bottom, but HHH fights him off and they slug it out in the corner. Rock wins that one, but HHH goes for the Pedigree and Rock backdrops him to the floor. They brawl on the floor and HHH whips him into the railing and then back into the ring, where Rock slugs away on him. HHH USES THE KNEE and makes the first attempt at getting the ladder, but Rock clobbers him from behind to prevent that, and stomps away. Rock gets the ladder, but HHH sends him into the railing.

Rock comes back and whips HHH into the ladder in a nice bump and finally the ladder gets into the ring. Rock makes the first slow climb, but HHH dives off the top and knocks it down to stop him, then hits him with the ladder for good measure. Now it’s HHH’s turn to do the slow climb, but Rock knocks him off and injures the knee. Rock goes to work on the leg (psychology in a ladder match? Say what?) and drops the ladder on it, then sandwiches it in the ladder and stomps it. See, at least that can explain the slow climbing, since HHH obviously can’t climb at full speed. Rock, however, has no excuse here unless he’s terrified of heights. Rock wraps the knee around the post and puts the ladder outside, then drops HHH on it with a kneecrusher. And with HHH obviously done, Rock brings the ladder in and does the incredibly slow climb, giving HHH a chance to make the save.

HHH dumps Rock and sets the ladder against the railing, but Rock catapults him into it as Hunter is just bumping like a crazy man here. Speaking of which, HHH fights back and tries a Pedigree on the floor, but Rock backdrops him onto the ladder. Back in, Mark Henry tosses Rock another ladder and does the annoying rung-by-rung slow climb that no human being in the world ever does, and Henry brawls with Chyna at ringside until HHH is able to shove the ladder over. Rock hits the floor and HHH baseball slides the ladder into him and Rock starts bleeding just as I was about to complain that someone should be bleeding. They know me so well. HHH does the slow climb, but Rock shoves the ladder out from under him to save and slugs away in the corner, into a DDT. Rock recovers first and climbs…very….slowly, but HHH slowly chases him. They slug it out on top of the ladder and Rock tosses HHH into the other ladder, but HHH rebounds during his sell and falls into the Rock’s ladder, leaving everyone down on the mat.

Chyna slips a chair to HHH, and he pounds the Rock down under the ladder with it. They slug it out again and Rock slams him onto the ladder, which gives us The Ladder Elbow. I think that was the moment where my Rock love truly began. Rock Bottom follows and the crowd is actually chanting for Rock now during the height of his heel powers in 1998. Rock climbs and fights off HHH, but he gets yanked down and KICK WHAM PEDIGREE follows. Mark Henry, however, tosses a big handful of powder to blind HHH, although I think his nose sucked up enough of it to save his eyesight. They slug it out on top of the ladder and Rock looks to win, but Chyna gives him an epic nutshot, and HHH is the IC champion for the second time at 26:00. Unfortunately for him, that knee injury turned out to be a shoot and he barely got to defend the title before forfeiting it and gaining about 40 pounds of muscle while he was off. The slow climbing bugged the shit out of me, but this was two guys going out there and grabbing the proverbial ball and running with it, as they beat the hell out of each other to get each other over, and it worked big time, turning them both into the biggest stars in the world as a direct result. Plus I loved the idea of using the ladder to injure the leg instead of the contrived spots that followed once the match became a cruiserweight staple. So yes, it still holds up. ****1/2

Mike Says – This match is a classic. It’s fun to see how the ladder match evolved from a psychology heavy battle like this one to the insane spot fests of the TLC Era. I’m not saying one is better than the other, I’m just saying it’s interesting how things changed. Rock is so on in this match that it isn’t funny and Triple H more than holds his own. I to was a little peeved by the slow climb but the crowd didn’t seem to mind and the finishing sequence with all the run ins was excellent sports entertainment. ****1/2

WWF Championship

Champion – Stone Cold Steve Austin

Vs

The Undertaker

We start with, what else, a punch off and that surprisingly goes Undertaker’s way. They then do some mat wrestling with Austin trying to work Undertaker’s arm. They mess something up but quickly recover with Taker getting a suplex. Austin goes for the Thez Press but Undertaker catches him and gives him the Stun Gun for two. Irony is a cruel mistress. Austin now targets Undertaker’s legs and rams them into the ring post. Back inside, Taker fights back with a jumping clothesline and proceeds to choke away. Rope Walk is countered with a hip toss and Austin goes back to the knee, which is the cue for Kane to walk down for a distraction.

However, Undertaker demands that Kane leaves because he wants to win it one on one and Kane complies. Austin continues working on the legs but Undertaker manages to Choke Slam him when he stands on the apron. The fight goes outside again with Austin ramming Taker into anything he can find and it’s time for some crowd brawling! Funny moment as someone has a “Goldberg is Da Man” sign as the two fight in the crowd. The fight continues in the ring with Austin trying a Stunner but Undertaker blocks and pulls Austin outside where he rams him back first into the post. Undertaker now takes over and starts pounding the shizzle out of Austin’s dizzle.

Scary death spot moment as Taker lays Austin out on the table and then dives off the top turnbuckle with a leg drop that is just plain filth. Instead of the table collapsing, both men slide off to the floor with Taker just sitting on Austin’s face. That had to be a fun move to take. Austin is now rightly fucked five ways from Sunday but he still manages to kick out at two. Austin looks finished but he manages a desperation clothesline for the double down. Both men get back up and Austin unloads with the fists and a Thez Press but a Stunner ends up going awry. Austin still gets two from it but runs into a Choke Slam. Tombstone is countered but a crotching on the top rope isn’t. Taker tries the Rope Walk again but Austin catches him with a low blow and nails the Stunner to retain.

WINNER – STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN

Time – 20:52

***1/2 – a couple of blown spots deny this being any higher but it was still a solid match. Austin’s luck would run out at the next pay per view as the combined efforts of Undertaker and Kane would prove too much even for him.

Scott Says – The first time they met on PPV, but of course
far from the last.  They’d have better, they’d have worse, but this
was a little tentative for me, but always a shock to see Undertaker
doing a clean job like that.  I just watched it last night and I’ve
already forgotten it, so there you go.  *** sounds about right to me,
it kind of bored me and was a letdown after watching Rock and HHH tear
the house down.

Not wanting to tread on Scott’s toes here but Austin and Undertaker had met before on Pay Per View in the May of 97 with Undertaker defending the title. That match is actually a bit of a forgotten classic with I think me clocking it at ***3/4. I’d have to check my rant archives because I’ve definitely done the show.

All I can say is that this is one of the best supercard shows the WWF ever put on it the Attitude Era. There are a few bad matches but everything else is solid to fantastic. I have to give it a strong recommendation, especially as you can buy it with Summer Slam 99 as part of the Tagged Classics range. Get out there and purchase it!

Scott Says – Overall, it’s a solid show with no gross stinkers (outside of the
Oddities) and well worth checking out, probably one of the best
Summerslams they’ve done.

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