The SmarK Rant for WWF Summerslam 1998

PPVs, Reviews

The Netcop BIRTHDAY Rant for Summerslam 1998: Highway to Hell!

Sunday Night Heat quickie results: Too Much over Animal and Drunk Hawk, Gangrel over Dustin Runnels, DOA over Vader & Bradshaw (who broke up and fought after the match). Austin wreaks some havoc for fun.

– Live from New York, New York.

– Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.

– Opening match: European title, D’Lo Brown v. Val Venis. Val’s take on NY: “I came, I saw, I came again.” Brown is now the only black guy from Helsinki. The concept here is that the chest protector is loaded. Kind of a lot of stalling to start. Solid, if totally unspectacular, opener. Crowd is hot to start but cools off. D’Lo controls, as per rule #459a of the WWF. Brown works on the back and even applies a Texas Cloverleaf. He misses a senton off the second rope and Val comes back. Val off the top but D’Lo catches him with the Lowdown (or Skyhigh, I always get those confused) powerbomb for two. D’Lo with a DDT for another two. D’Lo gets caught off the second rope with a Val powerslam for two and the crowd is back into it. D’Lo gets snapped off the top rope and Val with a butterfly suplex, but D’Lo lifts the knees to block the Moneyshot. The crowd starts chanting “D’Lo!”. D’Lo messes up a powerbomb, badly. Try #2 and he hits a running powerbomb, but Val moves on the Lowdown. Another Val comeback and he rips off the chest protector. Val powerslam and he puts on the chest protector and goes to the top rope, but the referee causes him to slip and crotch himself. Val gets up and tosses the ref out of frustration to draw the DQ. Bad ending to a pretty good match. Ref takes the Moneyshot in retaliation. **3/4

– Mankind surveys the damage to the hearse caused by Steve Austin.

– The Oddities v. Kaientai. ICP does a quickie concert to introduce the Oddities. Kurrgan is dressed like a rastafarian. Golga takes on all the members of Kaientai with headbutts. He steals Yamaguchi’s shoe as this threatens to further degenerate into a comedy match. Kurrgan’s in and he takes out all the members of Kaientai, including a human tug of war. Silva is in and Kaientai argues over who gets the honors. Silva takes out all the members of Kaientai. It’s official, it’s a comedy match. JR admits they didn’t advertise it as a classic. KDX finally manages to get control on Golga with a quadruple splash and the usual KDX routine but it doesn’t last long. Kurrgan gets the hot tag and destroys everyone. Kurrgan and Silva do stereo double chokeslams on KDX and Golga splashes everyone for the pin. Ugh. DUD. Well, I was thinking it would be negative stars, so I guess it’s an improvement.

– Dok and Shawn hype the hotline.

– Haircut match: Jeff Jarrett v. X-Pac. Howard Finkel, who was shaved by Jarrett during Heat, comes out in a D-X shirt with X-Pac and does the crotch chops with him. X-Pac with a great counter for the sunset flip: Move out of the way. Out of the ring and Jarrett does the most vicious ballshot on the post I’ve ever seen. EEEEEEEEEEE-YOWCH! Everyone in the room feels sympathy pains. More nice stuff here, including a tornado DDT. Fink cheerleads at ringside. Jarrett controls and gets the figure-four. X-Pac comeback, Bronco Buster. JJ with a cross-body off the top but X-Pac rolls through for a two count. Ranabomb by X-Pac for two. Another Broncobuster try but Jarrett lowblows him to block. Howard protests but Jarrett knocks him off. Facebuster by X-Pac for two. Southern Justice out, but the guitar misses, X-Pac grabs it, levels JJ, and gets the pin. Good match. ***1/4 DX and the Handbangers comes out to hold down JJ while X-Pac shaves him. Howard cuts some off for good measure.

– Mixed tag team match: Marc Mero & Jacky v. Sable & ???. Edge is the partner. No gender mixing allowed here. Standard match from Edge and Mero. Finally Sable and Jackie get in and a catfight erupts. Sable nails Mero for good measure. Mero almost takes a Sablebomb but Jackie makes the save and goes after Sable. Sable with a TKO on Jackie but Mero makes the save. Edge is a non-factor here. Jackie misses a shot and hits Mero. Edge in with a spectacular tope suicida on Mero. Jackie tries to interfere but gets spanked. Literally. Edge with a cross-body for two. Yes, Virginia, Edge is over. Rude Awakening off the top rope. More miscommunication with the heels. Mero with the Samoan drop and the Merosault, but Edge crotches him and tags in Sable. Sablecurana off the top rope! Edge with the Downward Spiral and then he slams Sable on top of Mero. Sable pins Mero. Edge retreats back into the crowd. **1/4

– Mankind is concerned because Kane won’t be there tonight and he doesn’t have a partner. He offers to play in traffic for Michael Cole’s amusement. Vince makes him a counter-offer: Defend the titles by himself and become a part of history. He even provides weapons for him. Mankind says he has 13 words for the Outlaws: How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

– Lion’s Den match: Ken Shamrock v. Owen Hart. The Lion’s Den is a kind of faux UFC octagon. It looks cool. Pretty non-stop action. Owen bleeds hardway from the mouth. Some super-cool spots from Shamrock as he springboards off the cage at various points. This is just spot after spot with zero resting. Owen gets the Sharpshooter in the middle, but Shamrock fights to the cage and claws up the cage to break. Owen spears him into the cage and Shamrock with a tornado DDT. Owen sends him to the cage and applies the Dragon sleeper, but Shamrock gets to the cage and reverses to a Fujiwara armbar and anklelock for the tapout. Dan Severn walks off. Call me crazy, but this was the best match so far. ****

– WWF tag team title match, falls count anywhere: Mankind v. The New Age Outlaws. The NAO bring out a dumpster for old times. Mankind and Billy spar with chairs. Then the Outlaws take turns whacking him with metal trays. Mankind holds his own, and puts Billy through the Obligatory table. The Outlaws comeback by powerbombing him on two chairs. They toss the belt in and spike piledrive Mankind on the belt and that’s that. They dump poor Mick in the trash and celebrate…and Kane suddenly pops up in the dumpster with a sledge hammer. He slams it down into the dumpster and closes it. Disappointing. *1/2

– Review of The Rock v. HHH.

– Conneticutt Yankee come out to play HHH down live.

– Intercontinental title, ladder match: The Rock v. HHH. Slugfest to start. Both go for the finisher early but neither can hit it. HHH goes for the ladder first and it comes into play via Rocky. He makes the first try for the belt but HHH nails him from behind on the slow climb. HHH makes his own go for it but Rock yanks him down and he lands wrong on his ankle, injuring his knee. Rock works on it. Crowd is super hot. Rock drops the ladder right on the knee and then sandwiches the knee in the ladder and jumps on it a lot. Rock puts the ladder on top of the steps and the railing and drops HHH on it, right on his knee. Ouch. Rock goes for the belt but HHH barely gets there in time. Back out on the floor, and HHH gets slingshotten into the ladder. HHH gets the crap beaten out of him as he tries the Pedigree on the ladder on the floor, but Rock backdrops him on it. Henry tosses a backup ladder in because the first one is in bad shape. Rock does another slow climb as HHH fights off Mark Henry just in time to dump Rocky out of the ring. Baseball slide into the ladder right into Rocky’s face. Rocky bleeds. HHH makes his first attempt at the belt but gets dumped by the Rock. Rock sets up the ladder on the top turnbuckle and DDTs Hunter. Rocky climbs for the belt and Hunter follows him up the other side and we get the slugfest at the top. Hunter goes flying into the ladder on the turnbuckle, bounces off, and knocks the Rock off the ladder and onto the top rope. Rock grabs the ladder, but Hunter smacks him with a chair and beats the hell out of him with it. Rocky retaliates with a People’s Elbow on the ladder to a massive reaction. HHH back up and goes for the belt again, but Rocky pulls him off and hits the Rock Bottom to another massive pop. Rock back up the ladder again but HHH pulls him off and nails the Pedigree to yet another massive pop. Mark Henry then tosses a big bag of powder in his face and blinds him. HHH climbs but can’t see the belt. Another slugfest on top and Chyna runs in, ballshot to Rock, and he falls off, allowing Hunter to grab his second I-C title to a raucous ovation from the crowd. Rock is unconscious as D-X celebrates. Bold prediction: This match will *make* these guys’ careers. ****1/2

– WWF World title match: Stone Cold Steve Austin v. The Undertaker. And after the hype it comes down to this. Austin works on the arm early on. They trade offense for a few minutes and then Kane walks out and it looks to get interesting. UT tells Kane to go back to the dressing room and Austin jumps him as Kane walks off. Austin goes after UT’s knee on the outside but gets chokeslammed back into the ring. Austin clotheslines him out of the ring and they brawl into the crowd. Back to ringside and UT rams Austin to the ringpost. Back in the ring and UT tosses him over the top. Austin to the steps and you can sense the Spanish commentators are getting nervous. UT preps the table for surgery and chokes Austin on the table. UT to the top rope and legdrops Austin through the table! Back in the ring and Austin is spitting up blood. Undertaker misses a corner charge and we get a double knockout. Slugfest, Thesz press and elbow to the throat. Austin to the corner and he almost gets a Stunner on the charging UT but he blocks. Chokeslam and UT goes for the tombstone but Austin escapes and tries the Stunner. UT blocks and dumps Austin on the top rope. Russian legsweep from UT. Ropewalk but Austin lowblows him on the way down, Stunner and it’s over. Undertaker grabs the belt and hands it to Austin. An entertaining if not exactly technically sound match. Kane wanders out to stare down Austin from the aisle with Undertaker. ***1/4

The Bottom Line: All the issues were settled and everyone goes home happy, including me. Two ****+ matches kills any WWF undercard from this year and this show kicked ass. The Rock steals the show this year.

Thumbs up!

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