wrestling / Video Reviews

Dark Pegasus Video Review: In Your House 23 – Fully Loaded ’98

February 13, 2008 | Posted by J.D. Dunn

IYH 23: Fully Loaded ’98
by J.D. Dunn

Corrections, Clear-ups and Things:

-Re: Clash I vs. WrestleMania 4 (Clash I Review)- There was some question over just what kind of impact the two shows had going against one another. Clash I did a 5.1 rating (keep in mind that’s a lot different than doing a 5.1 today). Mania did a 6.5 buyrate (again, much different in today’s numbers). Mania III did over a 10.0. Starrcade 87 did a 3.3 buyrate a few months earlier versus the Survivor Series 7.0. I believe (although I’m not 100-percent) that the PPV companies had a revised system in 1988, which is why WrestleMania IV did a lower buyrate than SS87. Just for reference, Survivor Series 88 did a paltry 2.8. It’s all relative, but I think the WWE definitely got the better of the NWA on these few exchanges. And if you add in the Royal Rumble against the Bunkhouse Stampede…well, let’s just avoid bringing up that PPV if we can.

-Re: Steve Blackman (Over the Edge ’98 Review) – I mentioned that Blackman hopped the rail as one of Shamrock’s friends on Raw. Commenter Mark noted that Blackman debuted as part of Vader’s team at Survivor Series. We’re both half right. Blackman did hop the rail, but it was to save Vader from the Hart Foundation, not to save Shamrock from the Nation. They actually did do virtually the same segment involving Blackman, Shamrock and the Nation a few weeks after Survivor Series. That’s why I mixed it up in my memory.

  • July 26, 1998
  • Live from Fresno, Cali.
  • Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler who walked in on Sable in her dressing room and will not shut up about it!

  • Opening Match: Val Venis vs. Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee & Southern Justice).
    Southern Justice is the repackaged Godwinns. I actually liked that gimmick for them. Wally “You Hungry for Hot Pocket” Yamaguchi joins commentary because Val has been making pornos with his wife. He promises that “Val Venis will never forget Kaientai after Raw.” That would be the infamous “choppy, choppy your pee-pee” episode. Meanwhile, this match is pretty good, and the crowd is into it, which is odd for a 1998 Jarrett match. Tennessee Lee takes a cheapshot on the outside. Jarrett hits a DDT and goes for the sleeper. Val reverses it but gets suplexed. Val comes back with a Fisherman’s Suplex for two. Val hits a powerslam, but the ref gets bumped, allowing Tennessee Lee to crotch Val on the Money Shot attempt. Jarrett superplexes him but gets rolled up for two. Jarrett gets sent into Tennessee, allowing Val to roll him up for the win at 7:51. Val makes dick jokes about Yamaguchi-san after the win. The crowd was really into the match (and Val, more specifically), so this was better than you might think. **3/4

  • Non-Title: D-Lo Brown (w/The Godfather) vs. X-Pac (w/Chyna).
    D-Lo had just defeated Triple H for the European Title, and he’s sporting the chest protector. The match starts out okay, but D-Lo kills the momentum with a chinlock. X-Pac takes a hard corner bump. He misses a spinning heel kick, and D-Lo hits a frogsplash, but it’s off the second-rope so it only gets two. The moonsault misses, but Godfather cheapshots X-Pac, distracting him long enough for D-Lo to recover and hits the Sky High at 8:19. This would lead to a number of progressively great matches over the summer. **

  • The mysterious Edge looks on in the crowd.
  • Elsewhere, Kevin Kelly announces that the Undertaker hasn’t arrived to the arena yet.
  • Faarooq & Scorpio vs. Bradshaw & Terry Funk.
    Before the match, Terry Funk announces that this will be his last match for a while, which comes as a shock to Bradshaw. The two seem to be at odds throughout the match, which might matter if they had actually been a regular tag team outside of Shotgun Saturday Night. Funk and Bradshaw try a doubleteam, but it backfires, and Faarooq powerslams Bradshaw. Bradshaw comes back with a flying shoulderblock. Funk and Scorpio brawl to the floor. Funk does a weird pump-splash off the second rope to the floor. Faarooq takes a cheapshot at Funk, allowing Scorpio to hit a splash for two. The 450-splash finishes at 6:53. After the match, Bradshaw turns on Funk and destroys him with a lariat. Scorpio tries to help out but gets more of the same. Faarooq also tries to help out but takes a chairshot. This would be Bradshaw’s big heel turn that was later derailed by the “Brawl for All” tournament. *1/4

  • Vader vs. Mark Henry.
    Henry is svelte compared to today. They go gut-to-gut with no one budging. Henry botches a slam but tries again and gets it. Henry controls with power moves before trying a sunset flip (!). Vader squashes him. An avalanche sets up the short clothesline. A big splash gets two. Henry comes back with a powerslam and a splash of his own to pick up the win at 5:04. 1/2*

  • Paul Bearer, Kane & Mankind wander out to taunt the Undertaker and Steve Austin. The New Age Outlaws come out to challenge them to a title rematch. When an answer is not forthcoming, the Outlaws attack, and the two teams have a pull-apart brawl.
  • LOD 2000 vs. DOA (w/Paul Ellering).
    This is after Sunny left the WWF, and when she went, so did my interest in the LOD. Not only that, former LOD manager Paul Ellering has started managing the DOA under the gimmick “Mr. Dot Com.” I can only assume that’s a swipe at the IWC, but I don’t get it. This is also near the beginning of the silly “drug pusher” angle that would end with Droz physically pushing Hawk off the Titantron as he was threatening to commit suicide because Droz had been supplying him with junk for months. I’m not sure what the point of the LOD 2000 gimmick was because the LOD look and act exactly the same, and they have exactly the same match they always do. In this case, they dominate the DOA early until Hawk posts himself. Hawk takes some punishment, including a lot from Ellering, before coming back with a few clotheslines. Animal gets the hot tag and cleans house. They hit Skull with the Doomsday Device, but the DOA pulls the switcheroo, and 8-Ball gets the win with a simple DDT at 8:50. *

  • Vince McMahon and his entourage come out to remind us all of the “Card Subject to Change” caveat. Vince announces that if Undertaker no-shows, Austin will get a qualified replacement – the Brooklyn Brawler.
  • Dungeon Match: Owen Hart vs. Ken Shamrock.
    Owen turned on Shamrock to join the Nation, so Shamrock wants revenge. The whole thing is taped live from Stu Hart’s infamous basement. Dan Severn is your special ref, and this is under submission rules. They try to pawn it off as “live,” but the editing tips that it’s taped. Shamrock takes him down and pummels Owen. He rams Owen into the wall, but Owen goes low and hits a leg lariat. He hits a German Suplex and swings off a pipe into a huracanrana. Owen tries to hit him with a dumbbell, but Shammy blocks. Shamrock tries the same huracanrana, but Owen blocks to a powerbomb on the floor. Owen runs Shamrock’s head through the sheetrock and locks in the Sharpshooter, but Shamrock reverses. Severn takes an errant Shamrock roundhouse kick. Shamrock, like an idiot, turns his back on Owen. Owen knocks him cold with a dumbbell and gets the “tap out” with a crossface at 5:02. Actually, Owen was moving Shamrock’s hand himself, but I guess Severn was too groggy to tell. This was different. I prefer their Lion’s Den rematch at Summerslam. **1/4

  • Intercontinental Title, 2/3 Falls: The Rock vs. Triple H (w/Chyna).
    First Fall: This is the first real “test drive” match to see if either of these two guys can go with main event-type time. How do you think it worked out? DX and the Nation are sent to the back before the match, but Chyna gets to stay because she has a manger’s license. She gets in a good cheapshot early, but Rock counters Hunter’s Pedigree attempt. Rock reverses a whip on the outside and sends Hunter into the steps. Rock controls for most of the fall, but most of it is boring. Hunter takes his bump over the top to the floor. Rock follows him out and hits a suplex. Mark Henry steals his way down and splashes Hunter on the floor. Bad Ass Billy Gunn comes down to chase Henry off, but the damage is done. Hunter starts to recover, but Rock hits him with the title belt. It only gets two. Rock goes to an extended chinlock, boring King so much he starts talking about Sable for the 1,000th time this PPV. Rock botches his DDT before hitting it for two. Back to the chinlock. Hunter comes back with a high knee, but Rock hotshots him. The Godfather walks down, but the Outlaws cut him off. They all head back to the locker room without incident. Meanwhile, Rock stands around arguing with the ref for reasons indiscernible until D-Lo Brown runs in. Hunter crotches D-Lo and knocks him out with his own European Title. Hunter turns around into the Rock Bottom to lose the first fall at 20:24.

    Second Fall: The first fall should tell you that the WWF didn’t have a lot of confidence in either guy to get the job done for 30 minutes, and that performance in the first fall should tell you that they were right. They take it to the floor where Rock catapults Hunter into the Spanish Table. Back in, Rock hits the People’s Elbow for two. They clothesline each other for a double KO spot. D-Lo tries to get involved, but Chyna yanks him off the apron. The ref admonishes her, allowing X-Pac to run in and hit Rock with the X-Factor. ONE, TWO, THR-NO! Hunter brings a chair in, but Rock takes it away. Rock accidentally takes out the referee with his chairshot. That allows Chyna to sneak in and hit a low blow and DDT. Hunter rolls over and covers for the second-fall victory at 26:37.

    Third Fall: After another one-minute rest period, Hunter crawls over and covers, but the ref is being helped to the back. A second ref runs in and counts two. They brawl to the floor and back again. Hunter hits a jawbreaker for two but runs into a Samoan Drop for two. They slug it out. Rock goes for the Rock Bottom, but Hunter reverses to the Pedigree as time expires at 30:00. The ending was botched as the timekeeper left referee Earl Hebner hanging as Earl refused to count because time expired, but the bell hadn’t rung yet. Oddly enough, Earl got it right because the timekeeper didn’t ring the bell until 30:13. The last two falls redeem the match somewhat, but the first fall takes up 2/3 of the time and it was all designed around not having them do too much because their movesets weren’t interesting enough to do 20 minutes at that point. Contrast that with the Iron Man Match less than two years later. **1/2

  • Recap of the Russo-driven Sable/Jacqueline feud. You can tell that he was scripting the dialogue because it’s all ripped directly from Jerry Springer. “Skank!” “Ho!” “Don’t just blow it! Show it!” “My man is satisfied!” “My body is prime real estate!” “You my babydaddy! Where you been at?!”
  • Dustin Runnels prays for our souls because we are all a bunch of heathens for watching this smut. He warns that “the messiah” is coming very soon.
  • Bikini Contest: Sable vs. Jacqueline (w/Marc Mero)
    Lawler is your special emcee, of course. Jackie has what could diplomatically be called dental floss covering her naughty bits (or actually not covering for one brief moment). Sable one-ups her with a painted-on bikini. Meh. As someone who never found Sable attractive, this was pretty boring for me. In fact, I thought Jackie was a bit hotter here.

  • WWF Tag Team Titles: Kane & Mankind (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Steve Austin & the Undertaker.
    The Undertaker cost Austin the title at King of the Ring, but Austin regained it from Kane the very next night. Taker wound up winning a #1 contender’s match by dressing up as Kane and defeating Mankind, creating suspicion that Kane and the Undertaker were secretly allies. Therein lies your intrigue here because nobody trusts anyone else in this one. Big brawl in the aisle to start. Austin tells Taker to go fuck himself because Austin is starting. Austin gets caught in the wrong corner, but Kane escapes the Stunner. Taker tags in and hits Kane with a Russian Leg Sweep. He tells Austin to go fuck himself because now Taker is in charge. Mankind blind tags Kane who promptly chokeslams Undertaker. Taker plays face-in-peril, but the fans get restless until Austin knocks Mankind off the apron into the Spanish Announce table to block a Cactus Elbow. Austin gets the hot tag and delivers “the chairshot heard ’round the world,” according to JR. Of course, that usually refers to Tommy Dreamer’s shot on Raven, but I guess this one was louder or something. Mankind breaks up the count, and now Austin is the face-in-peril. Austin comes back with a pair of Stunners. Austin reaches for a tag, but the Undertaker short-arms it. Finally, his conscience gets the better of him, and Taker tags in. He cleans house, hitting Kane and Mankind with chokeslams. The Tombstone finishes Kane at 17:28. Taker carries out both belts to Austin’s chagrin. The match was about what you’d expect. Mick took a lot of bumps despite nearly killing himself a month early in the Hell in a Cell. The match followed the formula, but for whatever reason, it just didn’t gel. **
  • The 411: The PPVs during this era show one of Vince Russo's major weaknesses, which is that the TV is very good, but the PPVs generally suck. Not only that, but the PPVs are used as a device to build to Raw instead of the other way around. Fully Loaded '98 is no different. Virtually every event on the card builds up to something more entertaining without actually being entertaining itself. Can't recommend it.

    Mild thumbs down for Fully Loaded '98

     
    Final Score:  5.5   [ Not So Good ]  legend

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