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Dark Pegasus Video Review: King of the Ring 1998

February 10, 2008 | Posted by J.D. Dunn
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Dark Pegasus Video Review: King of the Ring 1998  

King of the Ring 1998
by J.D. Dunn

  • June 28, 1998
  • Live from Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.

  • Opening Match, Six-Man Tag: TAKA Michinoku & The Headbangers vs. Kaientai (w/Yamaguchi-san).
    The Bangers weren’t doing much because the New Age Outlaws had a firm lock on the #1 babyface spot, even though the WWE really, really wanted to push the Legion of Doom back to the top. As a result, they just meandered around in matches like this before inexplicably turning heel. The faces control early, and the crowd is firmly behind Taka. He works in his springboard plancha, but Togo cheapshots him from behind to give Kaientai the advantage. He gets out of trouble and tags in Mosh. The Bangers clean house and press Taka onto Funaki. Taka finishes with the Michinoku Driver at 6:44. Just a quickie to get the fans into the PPV. **

  • Sable introduces Vince McMahon for a promo. Pat Patterson pats her on the ass on the way out, so she slaps him. Oh, come on. Could you get a more innocuous touch?! Vince warns us to prepare to be disappointed tonight, much like we’ve disappointed our parents.
  • King of the Ring Semi-Final: Ken Shamrock vs. Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee).
    Normally, this would see Shamrock killing Jarrett, who was a mere comedy act at this point, but the Nation of Domination injured his ankle. He destroys Jarrett early. Jarrett, of course, goes after the leg to take over. Tennessee Lee gets in on the act with a cheapshot on Shamrock’s ankle. Lawler makes a tasteless-but-funny joke about Shamrock not being able to call his father if he becomes King of the Ring because he’s an orphan. Shamrock comes back with a rana and finishes quickly with the Anklelock 5:29. That was a quick tapout by Jarrett. Not much to say about this. **

  • King of the Ring Semi-Final: The Rock vs. Dan Severn.
    Severn does a lot of takedowns early, and the Rock looks like he has no idea what to do here. Severn, it should be noted, stretched D-Lo Brown and injured his pectoral muscles, giving D-Lo a reason to bring back the old “slow-healing injury” gimmick. Not much going on until the Godfather runs in and distracts the ref. D-Lo hits the Lo Down (Frogsplash) with the chest protector. That allows Rock to pick up the win and move on at 4:24. *

  • Recap of Al Snow returning with “Head.” This angle would be somewhat recycled into the “Don’t Fire Eric” storyline in TNA.
  • Too Much vs. Al Snow & Head.
    Al Snow returned from ECW with “Head” (the mannequin head that served as the model for Foley’s Mankind mask), and he even had a catchphrase – “What does everybody want?” Head. The idea here is that Al wants a meeting with Vince McMahon to discuss coming back to the WWF, and Lawler promised to arrange it if he can beat Brian Christopher and Scott Taylor tonight. Too Much, by the way, was the original incarnation of the tag team known as “Too Cool,” and it represents another one of those Russo standards – throw two jobbers together and hope they get over as a tag team. It worked with the New Age Outlaws and the Acolytes, and it almost worked for Palumbo & O’Haire in WCW. Oh, and one more thing to stack the deck against Snow: Lawler is the special referee. This is basically a handicap match, which bores the crowd. Snow gets one of those All-Japan Women clotheslines from all the way up the ramp. He gets the hot tag to Head. Al hits the Snowplow on Taylor, but Head is legal. Now, how do you pin a head that has no shoulders? Simple. You attach a bottle of Head & Shoulders to it. No, I didn’t make that up. Christopher gets the pin on Head at 8:24. It would be more loveably stupid if it weren’t so damned boring. Why would you give this more time than either of the semi-final matches?! 1/2*

  • X-Pac (w/Chyna) vs. Owen Hart.
    These two had one of the best short matches in history at King of the Ring 1994. This match is considerably different. They exchange hard corner whips early. Owen takes the Bret Bump to the corner. They head to the floor where Owen whips Pac into the timekeeper. Back in, Owen gets a Jackknife for two. Owen kills time with a sleeper, but X-Pac reverses. X-Pac hits the X-Factor, but it wasn’t a true finisher yet. Owen botches the sell on the Broncobuster. They go up for a superplex, leading to X-Pac getting crotched and falling out to the floor. Mark Henry arrives on the scene to splash X-Pac on the floor. Chyna goes nose-to-nose with Henry until Vader comes out of nowhere to avalanche Henry. All this has distracted the ref from seeing Owen put Pac in the Sharpshooter. Chyna uses the distraction to hit Owen with a DDT. That earns X-Pac the pin at 8:31. This was mostly an offshoot of the Nation versus DX feud, so that overshadowed some good work. This was also X-Pac’s first big singles match in the WWF after returning from ECW. **1/2

  • Paul Bearer comes out to yell at the Undertaker. Apparently, Kane lived with him for the last 20 years and watched wrestling every Saturday, becoming obsessed with becoming a wrestler himself. That’s kind of funny because Bearer was friends with Taker for a good five years, and you’d think he’d mention that to him. Plus, we were told that Kane was in an asylum for several years, not living with Paul Bearer. Retcon or bad writing – you make the call!
  • WWF Tag Team Titles: The New Age Outlaws (w/Chyna) vs. The Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette).
    Former brothers Billy and Bart go face-to-face and do a nice sequence that shows that Billy did, at one time, have wrestling talent. Roadie tries an O’Connor Roll but gets blindsided by Holly to assume the face-in-peril role. Holly tells Road Dogg to suck it and then tells him to go fuck himself. Well, if he could do those things, he’d be in porno movies. Billy gets the hot tag and goes for a piledriver on Holly, but Cornette breaks it up with the racket shot. Holly gets two. Billy reverses a rollup, and Cornette tries to interfere again. Billy catches him coming, though, and Chyna hits a low blow on Corny. The Outlaws hit a double hotshot on Holly for the win at 9:45. Decent formula tag. It occurs to me that the NAO never really had a finisher despite being on top of the tag ranks for nearly a year. **3/4

  • King of the Ring Finals: The Rock vs. Ken Shamrock.
    Triple H joins the commentary team for some facetious inside talk and a few jabs at the Rock. This is what amounts to a blowoff between these two as Shamrock had chased the Intercontinental Title and been screwed out of it for months on end. In fact, the Rock spent about nine months as champion and didn’t get his first pin until nearly seven months into his reign! Slow start thanks to Rock’s tendency to head to the floor when things get heated. He turns and jaws with Hunter and gets a facefull of Evian mist. Rock finally takes over and gets two off a neckbreaker. The People’s Elbow gets two. The People’s DDT gets two, and they tease a double KO. Shamrock recovers and makes a comeback before charging right into a powerslam. Rock looks for another People’s DDT, but Shamrock counters to a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Shamrock goes for a rana, but Rock counters to a hotshot for two. Rock thinks it’s three and tells the ref about it, allowing Shamrock to recover and trip Rock down into the Anklelock at 14:10. Shamrock finally gets a measure of revenge after months of getting bamboozled by the Rock. Solid match outside of Rocky’s penchant for resting at this point in his career. **3/4
  • Hell in a Cell: The Undertaker vs. Mankind.
    “The pain that these two men are preparing to endure is inhuman”. Well, Jim Ross was half right. This is, of course, the match that gave Mick Foley a rebirth to his career and cemented the Hell in the Cell a reputation as the way to blow off a feud. They start on the top of the cell, which must have seemed like a good idea at the time. About a minute later, Mankind goes flying off in one of the most iconic wrestling images of the 1990s. “Good God almighty! Good God almighty! That killed him!” shouts Jim Ross. The next four minutes are spent putting Mick’s pancreas back in him and wheeling him out on a stretcher. Mankind ain’t going out like that, though. He gets up off the stretcher and staggers back ringside. They both scurry up the cage and slug it out once again. Mistake #2. Taker gets the best of Mankind and chokeslams him through the top of the cage. Mankind just kind of lands with a thud, and not the good kind where he bounces a little. Just SPLAT! Terry Funk and a number of officials hurry into the cage to check on Mick, who is by now unconscious. Taker gingerly drops down into the ring from above and starts attacking officials. Mankind finally recovers enough for the match to begin. He vacantly breaks up the Ropewalk Forearm, buying himself some more time. Taker slams the ringsteps into his shoulder but misses a tope. Back in, Mankind piledrives the Taker on a chair for two. He ups the ante by introducing a bag of THUMBTACKS into the match. Mistake #3. Taker goes for a Tombstone, countered by Mankind to the Mandible Claw. Taker powers up, hoisting Mick onto his back. Uh-oh. Taker drives them both backward, sending Mankind’s back into the tacks. Mankind rolls around in agony, covering himself in the metal tacks. From there it’s all academic (with Mick audibly saying, “Tell him to goozle me”). Taker hits him with chokeslam into the tacks and finishes with a Tombstone Piledriver at 17:08. Arguably your 1998 MOTY for the WWE based on long-term impact and sheer excitement. I don’t buy the “well, if you take those two big bumps out” argument. That’s like saying that if you take out all the armdrags and chops from Flair/Steamboat it would suck. It’s true, but those two big bumps are there, and they are the story of the match. Taker deserves a huge amount of credit for spoonfeeding Mick throughout the match too. ****
  • WWF Heavyweight Title, First Blood: Steve Austin vs. Kane (w/Paul Bearer).
    Austin has his elbow heavily taped, and by “heavily taped,” I mean he’s smuggling a midget in there. He drops an elbow with it anyway with no ill effects. Austin fights him off early and undoes the turnbuckle pad. Kane blocks and they brawl on the outside. The cell starts to lower and nearly comes down on Austin. Kane whips Austin into the mesh. Kane starts to crawl after Austin and gets halfway out of the cell door when it starts to rise! Austin eventually yanks him off, and they brawl all the way up to the entrance. Austin tries a piledriver but gets backdropped. They brawl back to the ring where Kane shoves Austin into Earl Hebner. The brawl continues unabated until Mankind runs down with a chair. Austin fights him of as the cell lowers again with all three guys inside it. Austin delivers Stunners to Kane and Mankind. The Undertaker hobbles down and swings at Mankind, but he winds up hitting Austin, triggering conspiracy theories about whether it was intentional or not. Austin continues to fight back, but he’s bleeding from the chairshot. Taker tosses the referee in, and Hebner sees Austin bleeding, so Kane picks up the win and his only World Title at 14:52. Austin would take the title back the following night. Like many WWE main events from 1998-1999, this just served to launch another storyline for Raw rather than serving as a real main event. And you can probably tell that the very next show featured a tag match in the main event, and you can probably tell who the participants are. *3/4
  • The 411: This is about as useless as the King of the Ring got because they knew they wanted to push the Rock and Triple H as their next stars, so they decided to give Shamrock the third-place prize of KOTR and keep him hovering around the upper midcard. The Hell in the Cell is the real draw here, and buying the tape is the only way you can see the match without those damn blurry spots where all the scratch logos are. Everything else is right around the average mark or a bit above, but I'd call it an easy thumbs up for historical and storyline reasons.

    Thumbs up.

    Final Score:  7.5   [ Good ]  legend

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    J.D. Dunn

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