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Dunn’s Countdown to Survivor Series: Survivor Series 1998

November 20, 2006 | Posted by J.D. Dunn
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Dunn’s Countdown to Survivor Series: Survivor Series 1998  

So, here it is. The culmination of Vince Russo’s finest plan. To fill you in on what happened in between Summerslam and Survivor Series

  • Vince McMahon, sick of Austin as champion and Undertaker’s failure to unseat him at Summerslam, put Austin in a triple threat with Kane and the Undertaker at Breakdown.
  • At Breakdown, both Kane and the Taker pinned Austin, but no one knew who was champion.
  • Vince announced a Kane vs. Undertaker match to crown a new champion with Austin as the special referee. Austin, to be an ass, counted both men down, leaving the title vacant. Vince fired him on the spot.
  • The Rock, who was getting quite over as a babyface, won a cage match with Mankind and Shamrock to earn a title shot.
  • Vince announced a tournament to crown a new champion with Taker and Kane getting byes in the first round.
  • Meanwhile, Shane McMahon realized the error of his father’s ways and debuted as a real character, re-signing Austin to a new five-year contract!
  • Vince responded by disowning Shane and busting him down to a lowly referee.

Got all that?

Survivor Series 1998 — Deadly Game
by J.D. Dunn

  • November 15, 1998
  • Live from St. Louis, Mo.
  • Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.

  • Opening Match, WWF Title Tournament: Mankind vs. Mystery Opponent.
    WWF owner Vince McMahon handles the introductions. The Mystery Opponent winds up being Dwayne Gill, who was a perennial jobber in the WWF. Not exactly a title contender, but the idea was for Vince to give Mick a pass to the next round. Mankind gives Gill a Kobashi Driver and rolls him up for the win at 0:32. 1/4*

  • WWF Title Tournament: Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra McMichael) vs. Al Snow.
    Al was getting quite over thanks to “Head.” He actually knocked Jarrett out of the tournament to crown a new Intercontinental champion that was held on Raw. Al hits a somersault bodyblock off the steps early, but Jarrett gives him a hotshot. Snow Flair flips over the ropes and snaps Jarrett’s neck on the ropes to take over. Snow misses a guillotine legdrop but counters a spinebuster to a DDT for two. Crowd is out of it early. Debra gives Jarrett Head. Ahem. Snow misses a swing with Jarrett’s guitar but takes Head away from Jarrett and wallops him for the win at 3:33. But Jarrett would show them. He’d build an entire promotion designed around getting himself over! 3/4*

  • WWF Title Tournament: Big Bossman vs. Steve Austin.
    Bossman returned after several years in WCW and became Vince’s head of security. Big brawl and a Lou Thesz Press to start. Bossman lowblows Austin to take over with lots of smothering and chinlocks. Austin comes back with the usual, prompting Bossman to grab his nightstick and beat Austin’s ribs in for the disqualification at 3:20. Austin moves on but with severe injuries from the nightstick. 1/2*

  • WWF Title Tournament: X-Pac vs. Stephen Regal
    Regal was in his first short stint with the WWF, and they saddled him with the “real man” gimmick, which was funny but not really that good for his long-term prospects. Regal would leave/get fired for drug abuse and return to WCW before getting clean and coming back to the WWF as William Regal. There was a small issue between the two as Regal objected to an American holding the European title. Regal also holds a special place in fans hearts as the first person to accept the Godfather’s offer of the “hoes.” Regal frustrates X-Pac’s cruiserweight style with his ground-and-pound offense. X-Pac comes back with a spinning heel kick and a Broncobuster. They take it to the floor, and both are immediately counted out at 8:10. Vince demands they go into overtime so Austin will have an opponent, but X-Pac walks out, ruining Vince’s plan. This was decent wrestling, so of course the 1998 crowd was bored to tears. **

  • WWF Title Tournament: Ken Shamrock vs. Goldust.
    This was during the “Terri is pregnant with Val’s baby” angle. Shamrock had just won the Intercontinental Title and this was the highpoint of his skills as a pro-wrestler. These two don’t have the greatest chemistry as Goldust tries his southern 1994-ish offense while Shamrock goes all “Low Ki” on his ass with kicks. They do their best, though. The ref blocks Shattered Dreams, enabling Shamrock to hit a rana, a belly-to-belly, and the Anklelock for the win at 5:57. Goldust would get revenge by banging Shamrock’s sister in early 1999. *1/2

  • WWF Title Tournament: The Rock vs. Triple H
    Vince was outwardly afraid that the Rock would turn into another Stone Cold, so he also wanted him out of the tournament. This was scheduled to be Triple H’s big return after injuring his knee (against the Rock) at Summerslam. Hunter was also, allegedly, cozying up to WCW at the time just to make his bargaining position better. Think how things might have turned out had Vince not called his bluff. But enough of that. Hunter is replaced by the Big Bossman who gets eliminated by a small package at 0:04. 1/4*

  • WWF Title Tournament, Quarterfinals: The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Kane.
    Taker was evil, Kane was good for those keeping track. Taker just kind of hangs back while Kane throws move after move at him. Kane gets two off a powerslam but misses an elbow. Taker clips his leg and goes after the knee. Kane starts coming back and hits the flying clothesline for two. Kane wins a battle of chokeslams but decides to go after Paul Bearer, enabling Taker to wake up and hit the Tombstone for the win at 7:16. 3/4*

  • WWF Title Tournament, Quarterfinals: Mankind vs. Al Snow.
    Snow actually kidnapped Socko and wrapped it around Head on Raw a few weeks before this. Mankind is still wrestling in his tuxedo to prove that he has the class to be World Champion. Snow hits a thrust kick on the outside, but Mankind sees him coming off the barrier and hits a shot to the throat. Mankind frees Socko and starts pummeling Head. The sock-assisted Mandible Claw finishes at 3:57. *

  • WWF Title Tournament, Quarterfinals: The Rock vs. Ken Shamrock.
    These two feuded for the first six months of 1998 going to what was realistically a push as Shamrock was unable to wrest the Intercontinental Title from the Rock but was able to win the King of the Ring tournament over Rocky. Rock explodes out of the corner with a clothesline. Rock debuts the CLEAR MOUNTAIN MIST on PPV but gets sent into the steps. Back in, Shammy locks in a chinlock to kill some time. Big Bossman wanders down for more face time — as if his 1:42 average match time this PPV wasn’t enough. Shamrock ranas Rock over and slaps on the Anklelock to the horror of the crowd. Rock makes the ropes. Rocky comes back with the People’s DDT and a lowblow. PEOPLE’S ELBOW! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Shammy kicks out and counters the Rock Bottom to a belly-to-belly suplex. Bossman slings in his nighstick, but Rock catches it instead and knocks out Shamrock at 8:21. Gee, the Bossman is screwing up so badly tonight that you’d think he’s actually helping the Rock. **cough** The match was okay but rushed thanks to the tournament. **1/4

  • Women’s Title: Jacqueline (w/Marc Mero) vs. Sable.
    Shane McMahon is the referee. See, he got busted down so far that he doesn’t even rate high enough to referee the tournament matches. Sable hits the TKO early, but Mero pulls her off the cover. She actually Sablebombs him on the floor but gets jumped from behind by Jackie. Back in, Sable counters a powerbomb and a Tornado DDT and finishes with the Sablebomb at 3:14. Huge pop for the win. 1/2*

  • WWF Title Tournament, Semi-Finals: Mankind vs. Steve Austin.
    Austin is coming in with injured ribs. He attacks and rips off Mankind’s tuxedo. The Stooges roll Mr. McMahon out to ringside to observe. Mankind fights his way back but gets hit with the Lou Thesz Press. Mankind squirts out of a Stunner and sprints to the back until the Stooges can coax him back to the ring. Austin runs him down, and they brawl on the outside. Things get kind of boring as Mankind takes over. Austin fights back and stomps a mudhole. Mankind has a chair booted back into his face but avoids Austin’s splash in the ropes. Austin backdrops out of a piledriver and hits the STUNNER! Vince is suddenly healed and pulls the referee out before he can count three. MANDIBLE CLAW! No! STUNNER! The Stooges and McMahon destroy the ref on the outside, so here’s Shane McMahon to count the ONE, TWO…? Shane suddenly stops and flips Austin off! He was in on it all along! Look at the stunned faces in the front row. Ha ha! Brisco hits Austin with a horrible chairshot, and Mankind gets the pin at 10:28. Mick revealed in his book that the Bossman was supposed to be the one to do the deed on Austin, but they had to improvise on the fly. Hence, the weak chairshot. He also notes that it’s never been shown on WWF TV since. The McMahons hop in their limo and escape, but Austin steals a suburban and chases them out. ***

  • WWF Title Tournament, Semi-Finals: The Undertaker vs. The Rock.
    Taker attacks at the bell, and they brawl on the floor. Rock gets tied in the ropes and pummeled, but he backdrops Taker to the floor, and they brawl in the crowd. The Taker wins out and destroys the Rock back in the ring. The Bossman returns again as Rock readies for the People’s Elbow. He breaks it up, which doesn’t make much sense in the greater context. Now, Rock takes a cheapshot at the Bossman. Huh? Taker grabs Rock by the throat, but Kane runs down and…chokeslams the Rock? Oh, but Kane has outsmarted the Taker because Taker gets disqualified at 8:24. Kane and Taker brawl to the back as Rock moves on to the finals. Thank God these guys learned how to work together by 2000. 3/4*

  • WWF Tag Team Titles, Triple Threat: The New Age Outlaws vs. Mark Henry & D’Lo Brown vs. The Headbangers.
    Someone cleverly brought a sign that stretches all the way around the arena with Road Dogg’s entire spiel on it. The Headbangers recently turned heel on the Oddities for “Russo Reasons.” Of course, Mark Henry was hitting on Chyna around this time, so he had heat with DX. Who would have thought that, of all these guys, only Mark Henry would still be with the WWE in 2006? Billy Gunn was actually the one being groomed to be the next big star. Everyone hits their usual spots here, but this is awfully sloppy. Watch as D’Lo looks behind him the whole way as he stumbles back into a Russian Leg Sweep. Mosh counters a Running Powebomb to a sunset flip on D’Lo. The Bangers hit an AWA Special on Roadie, drawing in Billy Gunn. D’Lo offers to team up with Mosh for another one, but Mosh double-crosses him and gives him a low blow. Billy Gunn finally gets the hot tag. The ref completely misses the count on D’Lo’s Rydien Bomb, and again on Mark Henry’s splash. Billy finally finishes one of the Bangers with a piledriver at 10:07. This was totally amateur hour at the end. I don’t give negative stars. O

  • WWF Title Tournament, Finals: The Rock vs. Mankind.
    Mankind, of course, had an easy way into the finals with the exception of the Austin match. That, thanks to the McMahons. The Rock also had a fairly easy path to the finals thanks to the McMahons, but that was seemingly through the bumbling of the Bossman. Speaking of the McMahons, they make their way back to ringside as Rock fights out of a chinlock. Apparently, according to Mick, they had tried to improvise up to that point, and neither of them knew what to do, so Mick just called the next few minutes of the match while in the chinlock. Rock takes Mankind to the floor and works in that chairshot-to-the-ringsteps-on-the-opponent’s-head spot. Mick tries a Cactus Elbow, but the Rock avoids it, and Mankind goes through the Spanish Announce Table, causing injuries that would knock him out of action in the summer of 1999. Back in, PEOPLE’S ELBOW! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Mankind kicks out and comes back with the Kobashi Driver. MR. SOCKO! Rock goes low to counter the Mandible Claw and quickly locks in the Sharpshooter out of nowhere. McMahon rushes over to the timekeeper and has him ring the bell, giving Rock the win and his first WWF Heavyweight Title at 17:18. Oh, it was all a shocking swerve! They wanted the Rock as their champion all along. In a “Keyser Soze” moment, everything seems to click as the fans realize that the McMahons orchestrated the last few months just to get the Rock into position as “Corporate Champion.” They took the controversial Montreal finish and turned into the big angle that would fuel the next…well, when are references to that going to end? Mankind questions how he could lose when he never got pinned nor submitted, so Rock jumps him from the back. Steve Austin returns to save Mankind from a beating and then gives him a Stunner because that’s how Steve Austin rolls. *3/4
  • The 411: Okay, here's the deal. This PPV sucks horribly. I mean, from a wrestling standpoint, this was just as bad as anything WCW ever produced. All of the storylines they had been building off paid off tremendously, but without that context, nothing really makes sense here. It works much better as part of a larger mosaic, a piece of a puzzle rather than a show unto itself. Maybe it would be worth a look to fans who were there and familiar with everything that happened in the fall of 1998, but even then, you still have to watch the damned thing. I don't think it's worth that.

    Thumbs way down.

    Final Score:  2.5   [ Very Bad ]  legend

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