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Cook’s WWF SummerSlam 1998 Review

August 31, 2022 | Posted by Steve Cook
SummerSlam 1998 Image Credit: WWE
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Cook’s WWF SummerSlam 1998 Review  

1998 saw the World Wrestling Federation return to the top of the heap. There were a number of reasons this happened, but one stood out from the rest. The rise of Stone Cold Steve Austin to the top of the card and the annoyance it caused the man who was no longer a friendly announcer and started appearing on television as the WWF’s evil owner: Mr. McMahon. McMahon was desperate to get that WWF Championship off of Austin, enlisting any top wrestler he could find to attempt to do so.

By the time August rolled around, Undertaker’s name came up. Not that McMahon & Undertaker were bosom buddies, but the Deadman was re-establishing his mean streak. Undertaker even reunited with his half-brother Kane, who had been one of Austin’s previous opponents. I’m pretty sure this was only the second teased reunion of the Brothers of Destruction, so it was still quite novel. Undertaker appeared to be the greatest threat Austin had faced yet.

Meanwhile, the Intercontinental Championship was the subject of a feud between the leaders of two competing factions. Rocky Maivia had defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley for the IC title back in February 1997. It was Maivia’s first singles championship victory and the end of Helmsley’s first reign as a singles champion. That all felt like ten years ago by the time August 1998 came around. Much had happened since Rocky & Hunter’s first meeting. The Rock turned against the people and took over the Nation. Triple H took over D-Generation X and became a fan favorite. While people’s opinions changed, the belt took a detour through Owen Hart & Steve Austin’s feud before returning to Rock, and Rock & Triple H went through some personality changes, the bitterness between the two men stayed the same. A no-contest at Fully Loaded led to a Ladder Match at SummerSlam.

The eleventh edition of SummerSlam took place in the same place the first & fourth ones did: Madison Square Garden. The WWF was back home and back on top.

Cook’s SummerSlam 1998 Review

We open with a video package chronlicing the recent issues between Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Undertaker & Kane. WWF was on the top of their game with their video packages during this time period. Lots of classical music, flashing lights & such. The Austin VHS tapes would feature a lot of them, and you wouldn’t mind seeing them again since they were so well-done.

Some in-ring pyro since we’re in Madison Square Garden and don’t have that huge stage. Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler are at ringside.

WWF European Championship Match: Val Venis vs. D’Lo Brown: Val says hello to the ladies. He came, he saw, and he came again. D’Lo currently resides in Helsinki, Finland. I’d forgotten he’d done the hailing from different countries gimmick, but Al Snow really took that to the next level a year or two later when he started dressing in the native attire. D’Lo rocking the chest protector here, which was made necessary when Dan Severn injured his pectoral muscles in a match. Some would say that D’Lo no longer needed the chest protector by this point, but that was purely speculation and never confirmed with 100% certainty. D’Lo gives Val some dap after a tieup as he’s all about sportsmanship. Not so much sportsmanship the second time around, and MSG currently resembles one of those smoke-filled rooms that I was told Vince McMahon took pro wrestling out of. D-Lo runs into Val chest protector first, then utilizes a splash in the corner. D’Lo misses a second splash, Val goes on the offensive with a drop toe hold & a dropkick sending Brown to the outside. D’Lo goes back in the ring & uses a Greco-Roman eyepoke before getting shoulderblocked down. Val runs the ropes a bunch and eventually hits a spinebuster for two. Edge is shown watching in the crowd while Val misses a splash on the mat. Sleeper into a back suplex by D’Lo. These guys might be looking to break the record for Irish whips in a match, which I suppose makes sense as Ireland is in Europe. Val hits an exploder, then runs into a clothesline from D’Lo. Herky-jerky legdrop gets two. Back hip attack from Brown gets another two count. Val can’t slam D’Lo, and D’Lo clotheslines him back down. A middle rope driving elbow gets two. Val blocks a suplex, but he still can’t suplex D’Lo. Brown goes for a Texas Cloverleaf, but can’t quite get it secured. D’Lo goes back to the middle rope, misses a back senton like he’s Bubba Ray Dudley. Val with those Kobashi knees off the ropes, which seem to get through the chest protector. Val heads up top and jumps right into a Sky High. 2.85 on that one. Series of reversals leads to a DDT for another two count for Brown. Val was always good for getting spiked on his head on that move. Val follows D’Lo up the turnbuckle but gets knocked back down. Brown dives into a powerslam that gets two. Venis tries to go up top, but Brown isn’t allowing it. Double underhook suplex and a body slam by Val, and now he goes up top for the Money Shot. D’Lo gets those knees up though, as Val spent too much time gyrating on the top rope. D’Lo gets his first babyface chant of the match, as he’s won some of the men in the crowd over. D’Lo goes for a powerbomb, but ends up just dropping Val. Gonna try it again, and this time it is a running powerbomb setting up D’Lo’s frog splash. However, Brown ends up missing the Lo Down, and they punch each other on the mat. D’Lo begs off before getting shoulderblocked down. Val rips off the chest protector & slams D’Lo down. Val puts on the chest protector, which the referee isn’t having any of. He ends up inadvertently crotching Val on the top rope, which is a game-changer. Val hits D’Lo with an inverted atomic drop, then tosses the referee down. D’Lo gets his chest protector back and the referee calls for the bell.

Winner: D’Lo Brown (15:24 via disqualification)
Match Rating: **

This was pretty darn good up until the end, where the booking and the energy level of the combatants went downhill. Too much running the ropes, it’s not like these guys had the cardio of a Rey Mysterio Jr. at the time. Val slams referee Jimmy Korderas after the match and gives him the Money Shot before posing over him to get his heat back.

Michael Cole is backstage with Mankind by a hearse that Steve Austin destroyed during Sunday Night Heat. Austin thought Undertaker & Kane were inside, but it turns out that Mankind had planned on stuffing Kane into the hearse. Since Mankind’s plans have been foiled he’ll have to settle for using a sledgehammer if he sees Kane.

The Oddities (Kurrgan, Golga & Giant Silva w/Luna Vachon & the Insane Clown Posse) vs. Kai En Tai (TAKA Michinoku, Sho Funaki, Men’s Teioh & Dick Togo w/Yamaguchi-San): ICP’s performance of the Oddities theme song doesn’t make the Peacock airing of this show, which is either good news or bad news depending on how you feel about the Clowns. I liked them back in 1998! Golga starts against TAKA, who willingly downgraded his wrestling attire after joining this group and looks like some random kid off the streets. Then you’ve got Golga, who’s John Tenta wearing a brown mask, grey sweatpants and a white Eric Cartman t-shirt. Lots of interesting attire in this match for sure. TAKA’s offensive moves don’t go anywhere and Golga headbutts several Kai En Tai members. Golga then yanks Yamaguchi-San’s shoe off the poor guy’s foot and also gets a drink from ringside. If he gets out a hot dog, puts a hole in it and uses it as a straw, I’m outta here. Golga pours the drink into the shoe and flings it at Yamaguchi-San. Hilarity! Kurrgan squares off with Funaki, getting on his knees to do so. Funaki wrestling in a zip-up hoodie & shorts, not ideal attire in NYC in the summer months. Funaki tries to do something and gets slammed, then Kurrgan flings everybody around. Kurrgan does some dancing at ringside after sending Yamaguchi-San into the ring. Kurrgan dancing around reminds me of a story Lance Storm told where WWE officials made him dance at least thirty seconds during every match when he was working the wonderful “happy dancing guy with big rod” gimmick. I wonder if Kurrgan also had a dance time minimum. Giant Silva tags in now and three of the Kai En Taiers leave the ring. TAKA’s going to take him on, nah he’s actually going to tag Togo. Togo runs into a choke hold. All four guys climb onto Silva, and nobody accomplishes anything of note. JR says we need to see Giant Silva in person just to appreciate how big he is. Nah, I think we kinda get the picture when we see his opponents standing next to him. JR then compares Silva to Andre the Giant, which I assume had Andre spinning in his grave. Silva gorilla presses TAKA and tosses him onto his factionmates. The crowd did appreciate that usage of a wrestling move. Golga with the powerslam on Togo, then an elbowdrop. Golga walks into a double dropkick, and Funaki & Teioh actually manage to powerslam him. Lots of top rope moves from Kai En Tai onto Golga. Four straight legdrops and a pose from Kai En Tai, then the seated dropkick from TAKA. Golga turns the tide when he clotheslines all four down. Golga evades some moves, then rolls over to tag Kurrgan. Kurrgan applies the claw, but that gets broken up. Yamaguchi-San gets the bright idea to take off his other shoe and try to hit Kurrgan with it, but Luna rolls into the ring and gives him a bodyslam. Completely nonsensical, but the people popped for it. Double chokeslams from Kurrgan & Silva, and Golga falls on top of all four for the three count.

Winners: The Oddities (10:10 via pinfall)
Match Rating: DUD

Good for all of these guys getting a payday. I don’t have much to say about this one other than the ICP performance was probably better than the match, even if you’re not a fan of their music.

Hair vs. Hair Match: Double J vs. X-Pac (w/Howard Finkel): We see a clip from earlier tonight on Heat, when Double J & Southern Justice (formerly known as HOG & PIG of the Godwinns) teamed up to shave the head of beloved ring announcer Howard Finkel. I guess Vince just got tired of seeing that hair on the sides of Howard’s head, not to mention that moustache. Commissioner Sgt. Slaughter tells Southern Justice to hit the bricks, but the newly clean-shaven Fink gets to stay at ringside & do some crotch chops with X-Pac. X-Pac & Howard have two words for Double J. Personally, I have no problem with the Fink as an honorary DX member. I’d at least rate him above Hornswoggle. Some running about to start, X-Pac hits a spinning heel kick and clotheslines Jarrett outside, then hits a cross-body from the inside second rope to the floor. JR is all about highlighting the ages of the younger wrestlers on this show. Double J hits two dropkicks, the latter depositing X-Pac to the floor. Jarrett rams X-Pac’s crotch into the ringpost, which isn’t a DQ in this match. Finkel’s motivating tactics get X-Pac back in the ring. Big punch in the corner by Jarrett. Hard Irish whip into the corner. Jarrett runs into a boot in the other corner, but hits a powerslam for two. Jarrett runs into an elbow in the corner, then X-Pac hits a tornado DDT. Kicks in the corner by X-Pac, but Double J locks in a sleeper. X-Pac fights out of it and hits one of his own, but JJ lifts X-Pac up onto the top turnbuckle. X-Pac elbows JJ off, misses a twisting crossbody. Finkel trying to power up the fans. X-Pac misses a spinning heel kick. JJ goes for the Figure 4, and locks in the best leglock in wrestling history! X-Pac powers up, and tries to turn it over. He can’t, and Mike Chioda’s over here making counts on X-Pac. X-Pac reaches the ropes, so Jarrett breaks the hold and returns to the center of the ring. X-Pac kicks him into the turnbuckle, then hits a back suplex. Lawler’s knocking Finkel’s capacity to give advice, does he not realize that the man’s ring announced at this arena for 20 years? Fink’s seen some matches. X-Pac hits a kick that sends Jarrett into the corner for the bronco buster. JJ elbows X-Pac in the other corner, hits a cross-body, X-Pac rolls through for a two count. Sit out powerbomb gets two for X-Pac. X-Pac misses in the corner, tries a cover which gets rolled through for another near-fall. JJ blocks a bronco buster, and Fink gets up on the apron to protest the obvious low blow. Man isn’t wrong. Jarrett decks Finkel, then walks into an X-Factor for 2.5. Here comes Southern Justice, who try to swing a guitar at X-Pac and miss. X-Pac gets the guitar and smashes JJ wish it behind the referee’s back. That gets the three count.

Winner: X-Pac (11:11 via pinfall)
Match Rating: **1/2

Pretty solid match here as one would expect. I tended to underrate X-Pac & Jarrett at the time, but their stuff has aged pretty well for the most part. Their in-ring stuff, at least. Jarrett’s woman-beating gimmick hasn’t aged well, and X-Pac’s crotch chopping & bronco busting was always a bit divisive.

Road Dogg & Billy Gunn chase Southern Justice off to make sure that the hair-cutting goes down. Droz & the Headbangers join the party. X-Pac has some problems with the electric razor, so we’ve got some common scissors to get the job done. Jarrett ends up with a buzzcut after this is all said & done, which ended up being his look for the time of his career most of us remember him for.

Dok Hendrix is at the Lion’s Den! He throws us to Michael Cole, who is with The Rock. Rock hit Triple H on the back of the knee with his IC title belt on Sunday Night Heat. Rock doesn’t understand how H will climb the people’s ladder with one leg. Rock is the people’s champion, the people’s choice and the best damn Intercontinental Champion there ever was.

“Marvelous” Marc Mero & Jacqueline vs. Sable & Edge: Sable & her husband Mero had some differences of opinion regarding their respective wrestling careers, which led to Jacqueline replacing Sable in Mero’s corner so Sable could get more over. We see clips of various recent attacks on Sable by Jacqueline. Lawler making Tickle Me Elmo jokes since that was only a couple years old at this point. Sable introduces us to her mystery partner, which doesn’t go over as well as you’d think since Edge had only had a few televised matches at this point and was known as a quiet enigma. Edge & Mero start the match. Mero with some punches because he’s a boxer! Edge with some fancy Japanese arm drags, which leads to Jacqueline tagging in. This means Sable has to tag in, which leads to Jacqueline rushing back to her corner and tagging Mero. Flapjack by Edge, but he gets distracted by Jacqueline & Mero takes advantage. Jacqueline chokes Edge on the ropes and punches him, but Edge slips out of a TKO attempt and DDTs Mero. Lots of screaming from Sable, the ladies tag in and we got some punching & kicking. Sable was never accused of being a ring technician, but she’s chasing Jacqueline around the ring and low-blowing Mero. She goes for the Sable Bomb on Mero, but Jacqueline breaks it up. Some choking on the ropes by Jacqueline, but Sable applies her own version of the TKO for a two count. Mero had to break it up, and Jacqueline gets the advantage again. Mero holds Sable for a running strike from Jacqueline, and we all know how that ends up. Sable tags in Edge, who leaps over the top onto Mero, then whips him into the stairs. Jacqueline jumps on Edge’s back, which leads to Edge spanking her. It’s 1998, so I’m surprised the spanking wasn’t included in the instant replay. Edge hits a crossbody onto Mero back in the ring for a two count. Edge hits a neckbreaker on Mero for another two count thanks to Jacqueline. Mero inadvertently knocks Jackie off the apron, but regains the advantage on Edge. Mero goes up top and gets crotched on the top rope. Sable wasn’t interested in kids at this point, and she tags in to give Mero a Sablecanrana off the top rope! Jackie accidentally splashes Mero off the top rope. Then they do the spot where Mero is driven into Jacqueline in the corner, Mero falls on his back, Jacqueline falls on her face into Mero’s crotch. Fun for the whole family! Edge hits the Downward Spiral on Mero, and plants Sable onto Mero for the three count.

Winners: Sable & Edge (8:26 via pinfall)
Match Rating: **

Not a technical wrestling classic, but perfectly acceptable for what it was. I tend to think most wrestling historians are a bit harsh towards Sable, as she was a decent enough wrestler for her experience level and was tremendously over with the audience. I know some people have personal reasons involving bitterness that make them take issue with that, but I have no dog in that fight.

Michael Cole is back with Mankind, who’s lost his car, his tag team partner and his sledgehammer. He doesn’t want to disappoint the people, but he’s a little worried about getting killed. Mr. McMahon tells Mankind that the people don’t want him to play in traffic, and reminds him that it’s Madison Square Garden. If Mankind can win tonight in a handicap match, he’ll be in the MSG Hall of Fame! Mankind would like a weapon, so Vince gets him a silver platter. What, he couldn’t find a brass ring?

We see a video hyping the feud between Owen Hart & Ken Shamrock that led them to a Lion’s Den match. Dan Severn trained Owen for the match, so I’m expecting a 30 minute time limit draw with very little action.

Lion’s Den Match: Owen Hart (w/Dan Severn) vs. Ken Shamrock: Smart move by the WWF here utilizing MSG’s smaller theater so they could jam more fans into the building. They used to sell tickets for the smaller theater for some of their bigger MSG house shows in the mid-80s (the show would air on a big screen), but this is the only time I can think of that they booked a match inside the theater. Lots of “Nugget” chants for Owen, very disrespectful from the NYC fans. Let’s talk about the Lion’s Den structure for a second. Basically, it’s a circle ring with a 10 foot tall fence surrounding it. It looks cool. Jack Doan is officiating from the top of the cage, which is interesting. Shamrock rams Owen into the cage and fireman carries him into an attempted armbar, but Owen goes to a leglock. Owen rams Shamrock into the cage and slams him down. Shamrock ends up on top with some fists. Shamrock hits a back suplex. Owen with a low blow because that sort of thing was ok in UFC back in the day. Irish whip into the cage, but Shamrock comes back with a clothesline. Shamrock chokes Hart with his t-shirt, snap mare and continued choking. Owen’s busted open from the mouth. Shamrock rebounds off the cage with a kick, then whips Owen off the cage into a belly to belly suplex. Shamrock then gets whipped into the cage a couple of times. Owen with some punches. Shamrock sent into the cage again, then Owen hits an enziguri. Another whip into the cage, and Owen hits a hot shot into the other side of the cage. Backbreaker! Owen goes for a piledriver but gets backdropped out of it. Owen goes for a Sharpshooter but gets kicked out of it. Owen goes for a rana and gets powerbombed. Some punches and a clothesline by Shamrock, then a reverse elbow off the cage. Big Cro Cop kick, then Shamrock dives into a powerslam. Belly to Belly by Owen, then it’s Scorpion Deathlock time! (Owen used the right leg? Now I need to go back and watch some more Owen matches and see if he was using the Scorpion all along.) Shamrock claws his way up the cage and breaks the hold. Shamrock with a Tornado DDT using the cage. Another clothesline sends Owen down, then a jumping kick. Owen does the ol’ up and over, sends Shamrock into the cage, then locks in the Dragon Sleeper! Shamrock flips out of it using the cage, then goes for the Fujiwara armbar. Transitions into the ankle lock! Dan Severn walks away in disgust as Owen taps out.

Winner: Ken Shamrock (9:16 via submission)
Match Rating: ***

This was a pretty fun look at what mixed martial-arts would be like with Irish whips and basic pro wrestling moves. I didn’t hate it! Maybe if UFC throws in some of that they’ll get some PPV buys. (I know they get a ton. I usually would just leave the obvious joke without a disclaimer, but every MMA fan I know is super cranky about everything ever.)

Michael Cole is with Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin doesn’t trust anybody is the jist of the 30-second conversation here.

WWF Tag Team Championship No Holds Barred Pinfalls Count Anywhere Match: Mankind (c) vs. The New Age Outlaws: The Outlaws bring a dumpster to ringside, which makes sense as Road Dogg & Billy Gunn became stars when they pushed Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie off of the stage inside of a dumpster. Mankind uses that silver platter on Dogg & Ass, then gets a chair. Badd Ass Billy has one too, and they have a sword fight. Mankind wins, but Road Dogg yanks the chair out of his hand and it’s now two on one. There’s a cookie sheet, and the Outlaws have two of them to use on Mankind. Early version of the conchairto there. Gunn gets backdropped over the top rope, then Mankind uses his running knee in the corner with a cookie sheet on Dogg. Mankind then does the swinging neckbreaker to Gunn on the floor for a two count. Mankind faces off with the Outlaws on the outside, they get the advantage and legsweep him into the dumpster. Road Dogg gets a table so Mankind can hip toss Billy through it. Outlaws hit the modified 3D on Mankind for a two count. Time to place two chairs together and power bomb Mankind through them. The lame cover gets a two count. You know, I was willing to give the Outlaws the benefit of the doubt and buy JR’s line of nonsense that it isn’t their fault. they’re just two good guys trying to get the title back, but that cocky cover made them the heels in my book. Road Dogg gets one of the title belts, and the Outlaws do a spike piledriver onto the belt for the three count.

Winners: The New Age Outlaws (5:16 via pinfall)
Match Rating: *

This is one of those things that happen when your booker thinks there are no faces and heels & everybody is shades of grey. People liked the Outlaws & Mankind and didn’t really want to boo any of them, so you just got 5 minutes of weapon shots with limited reaction because fans didn’t know who to root for. Not great, but at least it got the title off of tag team partners that ended up hating each other.

Road Dogg introduces the new tag team champions of the world, and Billy Gunn says they’re going to put Mankind in the trash where he belongs. So they put Mankind in the dumpster. While the Outlaws pose & JR blames Vince McMahon for everything, Kane pops up in the dumpster. Turns out he has Mankind’s sledgehammer, and he drives it down into the dumpster! We assume Mankind is under there somewhere, and the Outlaws run off. Did they not know Kane was in their dumpster? We’ll never know, unless somebody asks Road Dogg on his podcast.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: Triple H (w/Chyna) vs. The Rock (c) (w/Mark Henry): The DX Band gives us a live performance! Rock carrying his belt in his mouth whilst climbing the ladder like he’s Vince McMahon’s birthday date carrying her purse in her mouth. I probably shouldn’t date these reviews like this, but what the hell. Definitely a slightly mixed but more positive reaction to the Rock from the MSG crowd, as Rock’s charisma was starting to appeal to the people that had previously despised him. Rock & HHH exchange punches to start. H with a clothesline and some mounted punches, a facebuster & crotch chop before Rock attempts a Rock Bottom, that’s shaken off but Rock punches away in the corner. HHH thinks Pedigree, but Rock backdrops him over the top rope instead. Rock walks towards the ladder, but walks a bit too slow. Triple H catches up with him in the small entranceway, then sends him into the barricade before rolling him back in the ring. Rock runs into a high knee from Triple H, who decides it’s his time to get the ladder. Rock puts a stop to that and sends H down to the ground with the ladder under him. The fans tell Rocky he sucks while Rock takes the ladder down towards the ring. Not into the ring though, as H cuts that off. H gets whipped into the ladder and clotheslined by Rock. The People’s Ladder finally gets placed into the ring, and Rock gets ready to climb it rung by rung by damn rung. For some reason that particular Rock promo was among the most quoted by the wrestling fan contingent in my 9th grade English class. H dives and knocks Rock off the ladder, but the ladder falls back onto Hunter Hearst Helmsley. HHH smacks Rock with the ladder like he’s in No Mercy, then drives it into Rock’s chest while JR wonders why nobody ever talks about Sammy Sosa. See, it’s not like JR started going off onto mid-match tangents when he got to AEW.

Rock yanks Helmsley off the ladder by his previously weakened leg, and Triple H lands gingerly. Rock starts targeting said leg with the ladder, getting a chair and smacking said ladder onto said leg. Now the good ol’ fashioned wrapping of the leg around the ring post as we get dueling Rock chants like he’s John Cena or something. Triple H’s knee gets driven into the ladder and Rock drives his elbow into Helmsley’s chest. Rock starts climbing that ladder, but again he takes too long and HHH shoves him off the ladder. Back outside, HHH takes the ladder with him, but it’s Rock that uses it, catapulting HHH into the ladder. H then takes a face bump into the announce table, so he’s having a good time. Back to the aisleway to fight some more, and for Rock to backdrop Triple H on the ladder. Chyna checks on Triple H as Mark Henry slides another ladder into the ring. JR is shocked and appalled since they already have a ladder, but Lawler claims the other one is too beat up to climb now. In 2022 we just have 36 ladders surrounding the ring with no rhyme or reason. HHH punches Mark Henry, then Chyna does the same. Rock is just a step away, but then gets pushed off and tumbles to the floor. H with a baseball slide into the ladder into Rock’s face. This results in Rock being busted open since this is 1998 and that’s what happened back then. Triple H tries to climb up, but Rock knocks the ladder down and HHH takes an awkward fall on top of the ladder. Rock hits a DDT, then slowly climbs the ladder. Triple H follows him up and they exchange punches. Rock pushes HHH off, HHH rebounds off the other ladder on top of the ropes and pushes Rock off. Chyna hands HHH a chair, which he hits Rock’s oncoming ladder with. Rock slams HHH on the ladder and hits the People’s Elbow, which was just heinous according to JR. Rock hits a Rock Bottom after Helmsley tries to climb up the ladder, and the crowd is banana. They’re using the bent ladder to climb here, which doesn’t seem like the best idea. Rock tries to kick Helmsley away, but HHH yanks Rock down by the tights! Then it’s the Pedigree! HHH tries to climb up, but Rock follows him. Rock temporarily gets the edge, and Chyna comes in to give him a low blow! That gives Triple H enough time to grab the belt.

Winner: Triple H (26:01 via retrieval of championship belt)
Match Rating: ****

Another one of those ladder matches that I like because there weren’t overly-contrived spots. Just two guys going out there and beating each other up with a ladder. Talk about a star-making match, too. Even as a dumb 14 year old I knew that I was going to see The Rock & Triple H main eventing a ton of shows in the coming years.

We get some EXCLUSIVE HOME VIDEO FOOTAGE of Rock walking through the backstage area & into Vince’s office. He’ll lay the smackdown on the doctor’s monkey ass! The Rock is the best damn People’s Champion there ever was, payback is a bitch, and Pat Patterson is still looking for Undertaker to make his way to Gorilla.

JR & King talk about our upcoming main event, and speculate on whether or not Kane will show up.

WWF Championship Match: The Undertaker vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (c): Undertaker had one of the better renditions of his theme during 1998-99, called “Ministry” if I’m remembering correctly. Austin was as popular as any wrestler ever at this moment in time. They waste no time starting this one with punches. Undertaker scares Earl Hebner out of the ring while delivering some shots. Clothesline from Undertker, and it must be said that these guys know how to throw some punches. Austin with the ol’ arm-wringer, and Undertaker reverses! Wrestling! Austin with a rollup for two, then a drop toehold into a Fujiwara armbar. Some old school wrestling, like you’d see at the top of most World Championship matches during this century. Gotta establish both men as accomplished grapplers. Austin works the armbar, Undertaker whips Austin off the ropes. Austin kicks a bent over Undertaker, whose head rises up and cracks Austin’s. Austin’s down on the canvas, and it doesn’t seem like he knows where he is. Undertaker counters Austin’s suplex attempt with one of his own, drops one elbow and misses another. Undertaker catches Austin with a hot shot for two. Undertaker works Austin over in the corner, then whips him over into the other corner. Austin goes after Undertaker’s legs, wrapping them around the ringpost. The Deadman fights back with a trademark flying clothesline, then applies a chokehold. Undertaker twists Austin’s arm, hits a shoulderblock, then goes for the rope walk. Austin blocks though, and armdrags Undertaker off the top. It’s back to Undertaker’s left knee as Kane makes his way to ringside. Kane’s about to make his way into the ring when Undertaker tells him to go to the back. Kane slowly backs up the aisle as Austin & Undertaker go at it.

Undertaker chokeslams Austin from the apron to the ring. We get a better look at the blood coming out of Austin’s mouth before he clotheslines Undertaker over the top rope. Undertaker landed on his feet as usual, but did some damage to his knee in the process. Austin & Undertaker head into the crowd because every WWF Championship match during this time period did some brawling in the crowd. Undertaker wins this part of the match, clotheslining Austin over the barricade. Austin goes for a Stunner back in the ring, but Undertaker blocks. Then Undertaker drives Austin spine-first into the ringpost. Back into the ring, and Undertaker does some stomping. Austin goes for another clothesline over the top, but Undertaker sends him to the floor instead. It’s Spanish Announce Table time! Undertaker lays Austin on top of the table & heads to the top rope! Undertaker goes for the legdrop, overshoots and both men end up sliding to the floor under the announce table. I don’t think that’s the landing they were expecting, but the people seemed to approve. Nobody chanted about the table not breaking. Cover gets two. JR apologizes for using the term “son of a bitch” while Undertaker pounds away on Austin. A double clothesline puts both men down. It’s Austin fighting back as he usually did. Lou Thesz Press, piston fire and a driving elbow by Austin. Austin goes for a Stunner, but Undertaker falls backwards out of it and both men go down. Cover gets two. Undertaker gets a chokeslam, then calls for the Tombstone. Austin slips out, Undertaker manages to crotch him on the top rope. Undertaker hits the Death Valley legsweep and does a zombie situp. He goes for the ropewalk one more time, but Austin catches Undertaker with a low blow when he jumps! Austin with the Stunner and the three count!

Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin (20:52 via pinfall)
Match Rating: ***

Considering Austin was knocked silly during most of it and Undertaker wasn’t exactly in the best physical condition of his life, they got a lot done and gave the people a good show. To be honest, these two characters could get by with a lot less than most people could, even in the main event of a major PPV. They were that over.

Undertaker gets the belt and pauses before presenting Austin with it. Kane joins Undertaker in the aisleway to stare Austin down as we fade out.

7.0
The final score: review Good
The 411
The WWF was clicking on all cylinders at this point, with things of interest going on up & down the card. Unlike some previous SummerSlams where some of the matches on the card had no real reason to exist, everything here had some kind of issue behind it. This show was huge for Rock & Triple H, who had the match that convinced people they'd be main eventing these SummerSlams pretty soon. Which they did, come to think of it. There was no reason not for this show to deliver given how the WWF was doing, and they got the job done.
legend

article topics :

WWE Sumerslam, Steve Cook