Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Thursday, 10 January 2019

EVENT REVIEW: WWF Mayhem in Manchester 1998

WWE / WWF Mayhem in Manchester 1998 - Event poster
April 4th, 1998
Nynex Arena, Manchester

Today's review of WWF Mayhem in Manchester is one of only a very few reviews that I've done outside chronological order in the past couple of years. This is simply because I actually believed that this event took place the following year, in 1999.

What makes this embarrassing, is that I was actually there. The Nynex Arena (or Manchester Arena as it's now known) was about 20 minutes from where I lived at the time, so it was a no-brainer that I'd be there.

That makes tonight's show only the second time I've reviewed something on Retro Pro Wrestling that I was actually there for in person.

In case you're wondering, the first time was One Night Only back in September 1997, the night Shawn Michaels cheated hometown hero The British Bulldog out of the European Championship.

Fast forward just seven months later, and The Bulldog was in WCW while Shawn Michaels was a home nursing a back injury.

Not only that, but the whole landscape of the World Wrestling Federation felt much, much different than it had done in the latter part of 1997.

Need proof?

Compare reviews from that year to the reviews from 1998.

All done? then join me as I head to the Nynex Arena and relive the first true Attitude Era show I ever attended live.

A New Attitude Comes to England

WWE / WWF Mayhem in Manchester 1998 - Event logo
The version that we're reviewing tonight is the VHS version, which kicks off with Michael Cole telling us basically what I've already told you:

That this was the first Attitude Era event to come to England.

We began with clips of the WWF Superstars outside one of the main hotels in Manchester City Centre and then moved to Cole telling us about the history of WWF PPVs in the UK.

First, he told us about Summerslam 1991, when he, of course, meant Summerslam 1992. I'm surprised nobody in the edit picked up on that.

Then, he told us about the aforementioned One Night Only.

Finally, he showed us clips of the show we were about to see, Mayhem in Manchester.

Jeff Jarrett vs. Brakus

WWE / WWF Mayhem in Manchester 1998 - Jeff Jarrett beat Brakus
Unfortunately, this VHS version was a heavily abridged edit of the actual event, so we started out with more Michael Cole.

This time, he talked over a cut-down clip of a match between Jeff Jarrett and Brakus, a guy Cole told us was a "European favourite," despite the fact that none of us over here had ever heard of him.

From what we could see, the match looked like a fairly standard opener, ending when Jarrett slapped Brakus in the figure four.
Your Winner: Jeff Jarrett

Cole then told us what the next match was and then said "let's get right to the action," so let's do that, shall we?

The Disciples of The Apocalypse (Skull & 8-Ball) vs. The Godwins

WWE / WWF Mayhem in Manchester 1998 - The Godwins beat Disciples of the Apocalypse
Since nothing interesting happened here, I'll take this moment to tell you that the production values here are non-existence.

This is basically like watching a house show with Kevin Kelly the omnipresent Michael Cole commentating over it.

Not that this is necessarily bad. It's just, you know, a different look.

Back to the match, The Godwins won and nobody cared.
Your Winners: The Godwins

Let's keep going

Marvellous Marc Mero (w/ Sable) vs. Bradshaw

WWE / WWF Mayhem in Manchester 1998 - Sable
I've got a feeling that if all the matches are clipped then this review isn't going to be very good.

Still, I've started, so I'll finish.

All we saw here was a quick clip showing us Sable signing some autographs (because, you know, she was super popular), followed by a return to the ring where Bradshaw reversed a TKO and hit Marc Mero with a Clothesline From Hell to win the match.
Your Winner: Bradshaw

The Nation (WWF Intercontinental Champion The Rock & D'Lo Brown) vs. Ken Shamrock & Owen Hart

Though still edited, this was the closest thing we got to a full match so far.

It was also a whole lot of fun.

WWE / WWF Mayhem in Manchester 1998 - Owen Hart & Ken Shamrock faced D'Lo Brown & the Rock
Interestingly, Owen Hart was wearing his Slammy Award Winner attire, something which I'm positive he'd no longer been wearing at this stage.

Regardless as to what he was wearing, he and Ken Shamrock dominated the bulk of what we saw from this effort against D'Lo Brown and The Rock.

Shamrock, in particular, seemed to do most of the work, at one point even going for a walk through the crowd with the Intercontinental Champion before finally putting D'Lo in the Ankle Lock to win the match.

Watching it back, that was a hugely enjoyable bit of pro wrestling.
Your Winners: Ken Shamrock & Owen Hart

Moving on...

The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust (w/ Luna Vachon) vs. Cactus Jack

WWE / WWF Mayhem in Manchester 1998 - Goldust faced Cactus Jack
Though it wasn't on a par with the previous match, former WCW alum Cactus Jack and Dustin "TAFKA Goldust" Rhodes worked hard here to deliver a solid match that had a lot to like about it.

OK, so it wasn't the longest bout ever, and ok, so it wasn't exactly five-star PPV quality, but it was an entertaining affair from start to finish.

In the end, Goldust got the better of Cactus thanks to Luna Vachon who, from outside of the ring, held Cactus' leg down to stop him kicking out of Goldust's pin.
Your Winner: The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust

Afterwards, Cactus Jack attacked Goldust, but Luna jumped into her man's defence.

This brought out Sable for a huge pop.

The two girls then had a pull-apart brawl which also saw Marc Mero return to the ring. If you recall, Mero and Sable had defeated Luna and Goldust back at Wrestlemania 14, so there was certainly no love lost there.

After Luna bailed, Sable called her out on the mic. Vachon didn't turn up, so Sable took out her frustrations on Mero, pushing him to the mat.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg Jesse James & Bad Ass Billy Gunn) vs. L.O.D 2000 (Hawk & Animal)

WWE / WWF Mayhem in Manchester 1998 - The New Age Outlaws in crappy DX t-shirts
If there's one thing I remember about this event, it's that I went in really wanting to buy the classic D-Generation-X t-shirt, only to find they only had a crappy version that had the WWF logo exploding out of the DX logo.

It was a bad design, but it was the best they had, so I bought it anyway.

I mention this because Road Dogg and Bad Ass Billy Gunn were wearing those t-shirts as they made their way to the ring, having only very recently joined DX.

Still, this was at the time when the WWF's answer to the nWo were still technically heels, and so our champions acted as such.

If you ask me, from an in-ring standpoint, the New Age Outlaws were far better as heels.

Sure, they were on fire when it came to getting the crowd worked up as babyfaces, but most of their actual matches when they played the good guys were long, boring, and formulaic.

Here, they were far more interesting as they took the fight to the men they originally beat for the titles, the recently-repacked L.O.D 2000.

After absorbing plenty of punishment, the challengers looked to have the match sewn up, even lifting Road Dogg up for a Doomsday Device.

Before they could land it, however, Chyna ran in to cause the DQ.
Your Winners via Disqualification: L.O.D 2000 (New Age Outlaws retain the titles)

Chyna put in her second appearance of the evening immediately following that match.

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Triple H (w/ Chyna)

WWE / WWF Mayhem in Manchester 1998 - Bad editing from WWF's production crew
Further proof of bad editing in this video is that the overlay graphic told us Steve Austin was fighting Triple HHH, so like *gets the calculator out* Nine Hs?

Regardless as to how many Hs he had in his name, The DX leader and Stone Cold put on an explosive championship match together.

A rematch of sorts from their meeting almost two years prior at In Your House 11: Buried Alive, both champ and challenger worked hard to deliver a really exciting performance, even if it was a little on the short side.

Towards the finish, the champ drilled Triple H and Chyna with stunners, pinned Hunter, and got the three count.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin

And with that, it was onto our main event.

Kane (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. The Undertaker

WWE / WWF Mayhem in Manchester 1998 - The Undertaker wrestled in biker gear
Ah yes, that infamous time that The Undertaker's attire got lost in transit, so he had to wrestle dressed up as one of the members of the DOA.

This early version of Biker 'Taker went up against brother Kane in a Wrestlemania 14 rematch that was decent without being spectacular.

Personally, I would have put Austin/HHH on last as it was certainly the highlight of the show, but that's not to say Taker/Kane was bad.

It was a perfectly fine match for what it was and had the predictable ending of Undertaker hitting the Tombstone piledriver to pick up the win.
Your Winner: The Undertaker

And that, my friends, was that.

All in all then, the first Attitude Era event to take place in England was a rather unspectacular affair.

If you never see this event in your life,  you're honestly not missing much. 

Yes, Austin/HHH was great and by far the best thing on the show, but then again, the two would have better matches down the line, so you don't need to worry about this one. 

Besides, this show was about 90% Michael Cole and nobody needs that, not even Mrs Cole. 

1998 events reviewed so far
  1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1998 
  2. WCW - Souled Out 1998
  3. WWF - In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas 
  4. WCW - Superbrawl 1998
  5. WCW - Uncensored 1998 
  6. WWF - Wrestlemania 14 
  7. WCW Spring Stampede 1998
  8. WWF - In Your House 21: Unforgiven
  9. WCW Slamboree 1998
  10. WWF - In Your House 22: Over The Edge
  11. WCW Great American Bash 1998 
  12. WWF - King of the Ring 1998
  13. WCW - Bash at the Beach 1998 
  14. WWF - In Your House 23: Fully Loaded 
  15. WCW - Road Wild 1998
  16. WWF - Summerslam 1998
  17. WCW - Fall Brawl 1998
  18. WWF - In Your House 24: Breakdown
  19. WWF - In Your House 25: Judgement Day 
  20. WCW - Halloween Havoc 1998
  21. WWF - Survivor Series 1998
  22. WWF - Capital Carnage 1998
  23. WCW - World War 3 1998
  24. WWF - In Your House 26: Rock Bottom
Other WWF UK event reviews 
  1. Battle Royal at the Royal Albert Hall 1991
  2. Summerslam 1992
  3. One Night Only 1997
  4. Capital Carnage 1998
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    Thursday, 3 January 2019

    PPV REVIEW: WWF Rock Bottom 1998: In Your House 26

    WWE / WWF Rock Bottom 98 - In Your House 26 - Event poster
    December 13, 1998
    General Motors Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

    1998 had been a long and spectacular year for the World Wrestling Federation. 

    With the Attitude Era now in full effect, the company had started the year still languishing behind World Championship Wrestling in the legendary Monday Night Wars but were now once again reasserting their dominance as the world leaders in professional wrestling.

    Of course, much of the company's reversal in fortunes was down to the roaring success of Stone Cold Steve Austin and his epic rivalry with Vince McMahon, a rivalry which captured the imagination of fans in a way that few stories would do before or since.

    Yet whilst Austin was reaching the zenith of his career, another of the Attitude Era's stars was still on the rise, spending much of the year transforming from a popular mid-card act to a bonafide main event superstar.

    That man was, of course, The Rock.

    Tonight, on the last big event of the year, The Great One himself, the World Wrestling Federation Champion would prove that he was indeed one of the industry's biggest stars with his very own pay per view.

    Here's what happened when the WWF rounded out 1998 with the 26th In Your House, Rock Bottom.

    In The Rock's House

    WWE / WWF Rock Bottom 98 - In Your House 26 - The Rock at Planet Hollywood
    After a quick bit of "exclusive footage" which revealed preparations for tonight's Buried Alive match, we turned our attention to World Wrestling Federation Champion, The Rock.

    The Great One moved through a hotel lobby of some description, welcoming us to tonight's show in his usual braggadocious fashion.

    The champ told us that from now on, all the In Your House events would be called In The Rock's House, and that future PPVs would have names like "Rock Solid" and "Laying the Smack Down."

    So that was something to get excited about.

    With that, it was on with the show.

    Someone Will Be Buried Alive

    WWE / WWF Rock Bottom 98 - In Your House 26 - Jerry 'The King' Lawler & Michael Cole
    Our show began properly with one of the WWF's typically excellent video packages.

    This one reminded us that The Undertaker had now formed The Ministry of Darkness, had "crucified" Austin on a giant Undertaker symbol, and was now generally a creepy dude.

    Tonight, he and Austin would go at it in a Buried Alive match in which one man would be thrown into a deep grave and, well, buried alive.

    Michael Cole, who was making his PPV commentary debut here alongside Jerry 'The King' Lawler, showed us the grave and welcomed us to the show before it was on to our first match.

    For those wondering, Jim Ross wasn't on the show because his mother had passed away and because, as Cole would tell us later in the show, JR was also feeling "a bit under the weather."

    Supply & Demand (Val Venis & The Godfather w/ The Hos) vs. Mark Henry & D'Lo Brown (w/ Terri Runnels & Jacqueline)

    WWE / WWF Rock Bottom 98 - In Your House 26 - The Godfather teamed with Val Venis
    To be honest, I'm not entirely sure how official that team name was for Val Venis and The Godfather, but I saw it on Wikipedia once and it will do for this.

    Whatever they were called, the duo opened up the show by taking to the microphone. Making separate entrances, Val first described himself as being like butter on a pancake as both "melt in the hot spot." which sounds all kinds of icky.

    Then, The Godfather came down and said that whilst it was the holiday season, he was giving his hos to Val for the evening.

    From there, The Godfather's former Nation of Domination teammates, D'Lo Brown and Mark Henry came down with Terri Runnels and Jacqueline.

    The girls had recently formed an alliance, though why they'd chosen to align themselves with D'Lo and Henry was something that not even the announcers could explain.

    As for the actual match - it was a reasonable effort by all accounts and the perfect way to start a show like this one.

    The crowds were super into every move, which of course made the whole thing that much more exciting.

    With the referee distracted by some commotion on the outside of the ring, Jacqui climbed inside, pulled Val's pants down and hit him, giving Mark Henry the chance to slam Val down to the mat and score the win for his team.
    Your Winners: D'Lo Brown & Mark Henry

    Triple H vouches for the New Age Outlaws 

    WWE / WWF Rock Bottom 98 - In Your House 26 - Doc Hendrix interviews Triple H (w/ Chyna)
    The web was still in its infancy back in 1998, so the WWF Superstar Line was still very much a thing. 

    Before we got onto some more wrestling, we had Doc Hendrix shilling said hotline by interviewing Triple H.

    With Chyna standing by, Hunter told Doc that despite Comissioner Shawn Michaels banning DX from ringside during the tag team title match, his buddies The New Age Outlaws would still get the job done in the ring. 

    Earlier, on Heat...

    Prior to the next match, we were taken back to Sunday Night Heat from earlier in the evening.

    On that show, Mankind had viciously attacked his upcoming opponent, The Rock, injuring the champ's ribs in the process.

    Mankind had then revealed a clause in his contract which said that if The Rock forfeited, he would lose the WWF Championship and Mankind would become the new champion.

    To quote Susan Saint James:


    The Headbangers (Mosh & Thrasher) vs. The Oddities (Kurgan & Golga w/ Giant Silva & Luna Vachon)

    WWE / WWF Rock Bottom 98 - In Your House 26 - The Headbangers vs. The Oddities
    True story, I always thoughts babyface Luna Vachon was adorably cute in her own weird way.

    Anyway, that confession aside, this match between the good guy Oddities and the brash, violent bad guys The Headbangers had all the potential to be terrible.

    Instead, it was actually kind of fun, or at least as much fun as you could have watching anything involving Kurgan.

    After a short back-and-forth, Mosh got a flying crossbody on Golga (the man better known as Earthquake) and earned his team the victory.
    Your Winners: The Headbangers

    Backstage, Pat Patterson and Gerald Briscoe pandered to Mr McMahon. Meanwhile, Shane McMahon looked on.

    Owen Hart vs. Steve Blackman

    WWE / WWF Rock Bottom 98 - In Your House 26 - Owen Hart battles Steve Blackman
    Owen Hart had recently announced his retirement after causing a serious neck injury to Dan Severn.

    At around the same time, Owen's character from his earliest WWF run, The Blue Blazer, had begun making appearances and attacking Steve Blackman.

    This was enough to cause a heated rivalry between Blackman and Hart, the latter of whom was incredibly over here in Canada.

    Owen's popularity no doubt made this match much more enjoyable. That said, I couldn't help but watch with a certain tinge of sadness knowing that, with the arrival of the Blue Blazer character, we were moving into the final months of Owen's life.

    On a lighter note, this was a decent effort. Owen dominated the bulk of the contest, much to the delight of the Canadian crowd. Yet when his opponent kept making comebacks and going on the offensive, a frustrated Slammy Award Winner simply took off, leaving the referee no choice but to call the ten count.
    Your Winner via count out: Steve Blackman

    Backstage, Vince McMahon went in search of Mankind. He eventually found him in what Foley had deemed to be his "office" but which was, in fact, just a large storage cupboard.

    Vince entered and closed the door behind us, meaning we'd never get to hear what Mankind had to say to the man he called "Dad."

    The J.O.B Squad (Al Snow, Scorpio & Bob Holly) vs. Brood (Gangrel, Edge & Christian)

    WWE / WWF Rock Bottom 98 - In Your House 26 - Edge & Gangrel
    Honestly, the only two people I ever remember being in the J.O.B Squad are Al Snow and a pre-Gilberg Duane Gill, so it was a bit surprising to see Scorpio and Bob Holly making their way out with Snow.

    Meanwhile, The Brood came down without the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship which Christian had won just a few months ago at Judgement Day: In Your House. He'd since lost that title to Duane Gill, effectively rendering that title a non-entity until the year 2000.

    This is one of those matches that got better as they went on.

    At first, the whole thing seemed a bit sloppy and disjointed, but when it finally broke down into everyone just hitting big moves on each other, it was actually fun to watch.

    Like everything on the card so far, "fun" was about the kindest thing that could be said.

    None of these matches were anything special, but for the sake of filling up time on the undercard, they were all perfectly acceptable.

    Of course, it didn't help that neither Cole nor King seemed to care much about the match, instead talking about Commissioner Shawn Michael's recent decisions and, well, anything apart from what was happening in the ring.

    This one ended when Christian hit the as-yet-unnamed Unprettier on Scorpio and got the three count.
    Your Winners: The Brood

    Backstage, Mankind and Mr McMahon continued to thrash things out. We couldn't hear what either man was saying.

    Striptease Match
    Jeff Jarrett (w/ Debra) vs. Goldust

    WWE / WWF Rock Bottom 98 - In Your House 26 - Jeff Jarrett battles Goldust
    So, the deal here was that if Goldust won, Jeff Jarrett's manager, Debra McMichael, would have to strip off. If Goldust lost, however, then he would have to strip off.

    The crowd were firmly behind Goldust, which isn't surprising when you consider that the crowd were mostly horny men who wanted to see Debra strip. I must admit, the former Queen of WCW was (and is) far more attractive than I ever gave her credit for back in the late 1990s, so I honestly don't blame them.

    Given what was at stake, the hot crowd helped make this one of the better matches on the card so far. Again, it wasn't anything amazing - but it was a really enjoyable outing with both Jarrett and Goldust playing their roles perfectly.

    Towards the finish, Jarrett distracted the referee whilst Debra walloped Goldust with a guitar.

    Three seconds later, we had a winner.
    Your Winner: Jeff Jarrett

    Or did we?

    WWE / WWF Rock Bottom 98 - In Your House 26 - Debra Strips
    Before Goldust was forced to take his kit off, Commissioner Shawn Michaels came out for his first PPV appearance since losing to Steve Austin back at Wrestlemania 13. HBK sent Jarrett to the back and then said that since Debra had used a guitar, Jarrett was disqualified, meaning Debra would have to strip.

    Not that she seemed to mind much.

    The blonde beauty milked the moment for all it was worth, slowly stripping off to her bra and panties.

    I've got to be honest with you, it was more attractive than anything we'd seen from the WWF's number one diva, Sable, or even from my beloved Sunny.

    The segment ended with Jeff Jarrett storming to the ring to confront Michaels whilst The Blue Blazer wrapped his cloak around Debra, much to the dismay of everyone.

    Meanwhile, out in the back, Vince McMahon was seen leaving Mankind's "office."

    World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
    WWF Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg Jesse James & Bad Ass Billy Gunn) vs. WWF Hardcore Champion The Big Boss Man & WWF Intercontinental Champion Ken Shamrock (w/ Shawn Michaels)

    D-Generation-X are banned from ringside

    WWE / WWF Rock Bottom 98 - In Your House 26 - Bad Bum Billy Gun
    Oh, you didn't know?

    This was basically every New Age Outlaws title defence you've ever seen.

    After riling up the crowd, the Road Dogg spent the majority of the contest getting battered from pillar to post by Ken Shamrock and The Big Bossman until Bad Ass Bily Gunn finally made the hot tag and cleaned house.

    Whilst it was fairly textbook, it was just like everything on the show so far - a decent effort without being spectacular.

    Not too surprisingly, the Outlaws retained their titles.
    Your Winners and Still WWF Tag Team Champions: The New Age Outlaws

    Afterwards, Billy Gunn pretended to masturbate with the Boss Man's nightstick.

    The Making of The Corporate Champion

    WWE / WWF Rock Bottom 98 - In Your House 26 - Vince and Shane McMahon w/ The Rock
    Prior to our title match, we were reminded of how The Rock and Vince McMahon fooled everybody into thinking they hated each other, but were actually working together. The two colluded to get The Rock all the way into the final of the Deadly Games tournament at Survivor Series 1998, thus making the future Hollywood superstar a WWF Champion for the first time.

    Looking back years later, it was exciting to see a new superstar having reached the top of the mountain.

    And to think, this wasn't even The Rock at his peak.

    After the video, we cut to the locker room, where, accompanied by Shane McMahon, Vince told The Rock that Mankind had agreed to waive the clause in his contract that would award him the title should The Rock forfeit.

    All Mankind asked in return is that there were witnesses to watch him and Rock initial it.

    Vince convinced The Rock that it was a good move. Apparently, they'd be doing that out in the ring.

    World Wrestling Federation Championship
    WWF Champion The Rock (W/ Vince & Shane McMahon) vs. Mankind

    WWE / WWF Rock Bottom 98 - In Your House 26 - Mankind confronts Vince McMahon
    Mankind had the short-lived remixed version of his first theme tonight. Like many things on this show, it's one I'd totally forgotten about.

    After his entrance, The Rock made his way out with Vince and Shane, and that's where the real fun began.

    Taking to the mic, Mankind agreed that he would waive the forfeit clause, but only if Vince admitted in front of everybody that he had never heard Mankind say "I Quit" in the controversial, Screwjob Redux Incident back at Survivor Series.

    Though he hadn't said them at Survivor Series, Mankind did say the words "I Quit" several times in this opening gambit, something that would come into play in the run-up to the 1999 Royal Rumble.

    Unsurprisingly, Vince refused.

    In fact, he told Mankind that The Rock had definitely heard Mick quit, and that was good enough for him.

    Just as Mick then went to attack Vince, The Rock struck from behind, and this one was one.

    Right from the word go, it was clear that this was building into a terrific title match.

    The two quickly took a tumble to the outside, Mankind's natural playground.

    There, the challenger went to work with some hardcore offence. That prompted Vince to take to the microphone and order the referee not to be lenient. Basically, said Vince, as soon as the referee had a legitimate reason to disqualify Mick, he should do so.

    "He's just making the rules up as he goes along!" cried Cole.

    "No he isn't," replied King. "You're always supposed to be disqualified if you break the rules!"

    King 1 - 0 Cole.

    Anyway, that only made the match even more interesting.

    From there, it built it up into some classic Attitude Era craziness, with The Rock taking Cole's headset and putting himself over on commentary whilst attacking Mankind from behind the table.

    Back and forth they battled, every move increasing the intensity, doubling the drama. The two had the crowds on the edge of their seats, waging a brilliant war against each other which ended when Mankind slipped on Mr Socko and rammed it down the champion's throat.

    The Rock passed out and we had a new champion!
    Your Winner and New WWF Champion: Mankind

    Or Maybe not.

    Vince took to the mic and informed us that, yes, Mankind had won the match, but he wasn't the champion.


    Because the WWF title could only change hands on pinfall or submission, but since The Rock had neither been pinned nor submitted, but just passed out, he was still technically the champion.

    OK, let's do this again then:
    Your Winner: Mankind (The Rock retains the title)

    Understandably irate, Mankind took out his frustrations on Vince and slapped Mr Socko on him. When Shane tried to save his dad by smashing Mankind with a steel chair, Mick no-sold it and Socko'd Shane, too.

    Eventually, Ken Shamrock and The Big Bossman ran out to save the McMcMahons.

    Time for Buried Alive

    Before we got to our main event, we got a quick look at the recent history between The Undertaker and Stone Cold Steve Austin.

    This basically revolved around Austin costing 'Taker the title back at Judgement Day.

    To retaliate, Undertaker had whacked Austin over the head with a shovel and then attempted to embalm him, only for Kane to come to Austin's rescue. Stone Cold and Kane then threw Paul Bearer down a manhole (an image which has stuck with this fan for years), after which Undertaker went all demonic and promised to make Austin burn in hell.

    Tonight, the two would meet in what was to be the company's second only Buried Alive match on PPV. The first, of course, was back at In Your House 11: Buried Alive.

    Buried Alive Match
    Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)

    If Austin wins, he gets a place in the 1999 Royal Rumble
    WWE / WWF Rock Bottom 98 - In Your House 26 - Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker - Buried Alive
    Have I mentioned how much I love The Undertaker's theme from this period?

    Sadly, that was probably the best thing about this match.

    Whereas the previous WWF title match was dramatic and intense, the Buried Alive match was long and laborious, with only occasional flashes of the wild, exciting brawling that had been the hallmark of Austin's main event run.

    It wasn't that they didn't try.

    At various times it seemed like the two were moments away from really kicking it up a gear and giving us a classic main event.

    However, much like their match at In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell, the two struggled to deliver much of any genuine excitement, and the whole thing fell flat.

    Towards the finish, an explosion erupted from inside the open grave. Kane popped out and went to war with his brother whilst Austin chased Paul Bearer backstage.

    Stone Cold returned a minute or so later, directing a huge digger into the arena.

    Kane tombstoned 'Taker. 'Taker fell in the grave, and the digger dumped a bunch of dirt on it.
    Your Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin

    Afterwards, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Super Impartial Referee Earl Hebner drank a beer on The Undertaker's grave to end the show.

    This is one of those shows that you keep waiting to get better. Instead, you find yourself sitting there, match after match thinking "yeah, that was OK, but nothing special."

    That was the frustrating thing about this show. Every match was decent in its own right and nothing was particularly terrible. Even the match involving The Oddities had at least some entertainment value, but other than that, there was nothing that was must-see. There was nothing that really stood out. There as nothing, in other words, that made you feel excited about watching pro wrestling.

    That, of course, is apart from the WWF Championship match.

    Though Rock and Mankind would have a better outing at the following month's Royal Rumble, their battle here showed why The Rock deserved to be in the main event, and why Mankind deserved to be right up there with him.

    If you have the WWE Network and you don't have anything else going on, it might be worth spending a few minutes watching Rock/Mankind. Otherwise, there's nothing on this PPV that's actually worth your time. 

    1998 events reviewed so far
    1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1998 
    2. WCW - Souled Out 1998
    3. WWF - In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas 
    4. WCW - Superbrawl 1998
    5. WCW - Uncensored 1998 
    6. WWF - Wrestlemania 14 
    7. WCW Spring Stampede 1998
    8. WWF - In Your House 21: Unforgiven
    9. WCW Slamboree 1998
    10. WWF - In Your House 22: Over The Edge
    11. WCW Great American Bash 1998 
    12. WWF - King of the Ring 1998
    13. WCW - Bash at the Beach 1998 
    14. WWF - In Your House 23: Fully Loaded 
    15. WCW - Road Wild 1998
    16. WWF - Summerslam 1998
    17. WCW - Fall Brawl 1998
    18. WWF - In Your House 24: Breakdown
    19. WWF - In Your House 25: Judgement Day 
    20. WCW - Halloween Havoc 1998
    21. WWF - Survivor Series 1998
    22. WWF - Capital Carnage 1998
    23. WCW - World War 3 1998
    24. WCW Starrcade 1998
    Other WCW Starrcade reviews:
      Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

      Thursday, 27 December 2018

      PPV REVIEW: WCW Starrcade 1998

      WCW Starrcade 1998 Review - Event poster
      December 27, 1998 
      MCI Center in Washington, D.C

      Here's something that I don't think has ever happened before in the history of Retro Pro Wrestling: This Starrcade 1998 review is being published exactly 20 years to the day that the actual event took place.

      That's pretty cool, right?

      At least a lot cooler than the state of World Championship Wrestling at the tail end of 1998.

      Indeed, after tearing the World Wrestling Federation a new one and dominating the competition throughout the middle part of the 1990s, 1998 had seen the company slowly but steadily beginning to spin out of control as one bad decision after another saw them losing any momentum they'd once gained.

      Meanwhile, on the opposite side of pro wrestling's biggest war, the WWF had spent most of the year mounting an unprecedented comeback, clawing their way to the top of the mountain on the back of white-hot main event superstars The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin and, of course, on the back of a whole new Attitude.

      With the year now coming to a close, would WCW show that they weren't out of the fight just yet?

      Would the company put their best foot forward and give its fans hope for a better  1999?

      Or would Starrcade 1998 be just the latest in a long line of bad decisions?

      With the company's own white-hot star, Goldberg, putting his streak and the WCW title on the line against Kevin Nash, we all know the answer to that one.

      But hey, we're here anyway, so we might as well jump into the show, right?

      The Streak is On The Line

      WCW Starrcade 1998 Review - Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
      After a brief video introduction highlighting what a powerhouse Goldberg was, we cut to the usual dramatic introduction from Tony Schiavone.

      Along with Iron Mike Tenay and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan, Schiavone told us that Goldberg was currently 173-0, defending a title that had been in existence since 1905.

      The trio also informed us that, as per Eric Bischoff's demands, none of the Four Horsemen besides Ric Flair were allowed in the building, giving Easy E a distinct advantage in his match with the Nature Boy later on in the show.

      We then cut to Mean Gene Okerlund for a bit of 1-900-909-9900 action before the bell sounded, Dave Penzer spoke up, and it was on with the action.

      World Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship Triangle Match
      WCW Cruiserweight Champion Kidman vs. Juventud Guerrera vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.

      WCW Starrcade 1998 Review - Rey Mysterio faced Kidman and Juventud Guerrera
      Kicking off the show with what Mike Tenay promised us could be a "show-stealer," Rey Mysterio Jr. came to the ring with a random hip-hop theme that I don't recognise at all.

      That aside, this was a fun opening match.

      OK, so it wasn't the all-out show-stealer Tenay had predicted, and there were certainly times when you could tell the three combatants were merely shuffling from one spot to the next, but hey, some of those spots were a blast to watch.

      After a good back-and-forth battle, Latino World Order leader Eddie Guerrero got involved, trying to assist his boy Juventud Guerrera in picking up the win.

      Unfortunately for the LWO, Mysterio gave Kidman the assist in reversing a pin attempt, and the former Flock member retained the gold.
      Your Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Kidman

      Post-match, an irate Eddie Guerrero berated Rey and Juvi for being "morons" and not LWO material. This is despite the fact that, during his entrance, Rey dropped his LWO t-shirt to the ground and trod on it, effectively disassociating himself from the Latino faction.

      This is also despite the fact that Rey had already left the group at the previous month's World War 3 event.

      WCW Starrcade 1998 Review - Eddie Guerrero with Juventud Guerrera
      This whole, boring segment lasted almost as long as the previous match had, and culminated in Eddie calling out Kidman with the words "I challenge you to a cruiserweight champion!"

      Fortunately, Kidman knew Eddie had meant a championship match and came down to accept the challenge.

      In perfect heel mode, Eddie then claimed he wasn't ready (he was still wearing street clothes), but then relented and took the match to stop Kidman calling him a sissy.

      World Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship
      WCW Cruiserweight Champion Kidman vs. Eddie Guerrero

      Lacking the flash and panache of the previous encounter, this was still nonetheless a good match, albeit one that told a different story.

      WCW Starrcade 1998 Review - Billy Kidman defended his cruiserweight title twice
      Here, we had the fresh challenger, Eddie Guerrero dominating his battle-weary opponent for the bulk of the contest, with Kidman barely keeping himself in the match.

      Rey Mysterio stood guard as the champion's second, with Mike Tenay telling us that he was only in the LWO because he'd been forced to (probably by losing a match).

      Ah, so that makes sense now.

      Meanwhile, despite being berated by Eddie earlier, Juventud Guerrera continued to run interference for the LWO leader.

      He wasn't the only one.

      Towards the finish, another LWO member who the announcers told us was Eddie's bodyguard came down to distract the referee. This backfired, as Rey gave Kidman the assist, allowing the champ to hit another shooting star press to retain the gold.
      Your Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Kidman

      A bizarre video package followed which saw clips of the Goldberg/Kevin Nash rivalry mixed with floating clouds and choral music.

      It was odd.

      WCW Starrcade 1998 Review - Norman Smiley vs. Prince IukeaNorman Smiley vs. Prince Iaukea

      Yes, Norman Smiley vs. Prince Iaukea on one of the biggest pay per views of the year.

      Welcome to the WCW, folks.

      Look, I'm not saying it was a bad match. The two actually put on a pretty solid wrestling clinic, but it went on forever and absolutely nobody cared.

      After almost 14 minutes of body scissors and assorted submissions, Smiley slapped on the Norman Conquest chicken wing to win the match.
      Your Winner: Norman Smiley

      Afterwards, a tired-looking Scott Hall turned up "unannounced" to cut a tedious promo about how 1998 had not been his year but 1999 would be.

      WCW Starrcade 1998 Review - Scott Hall promised to have a better 1999
      Distancing himself from former teammate Kevin Nash, Hall claimed that he had nothing to prove to Nash or to the fans, but only to himself.

      Though hindsight would prove that this would indeed serve a purpose, it was neither very interesting nor entertaining.

      We then got a clip of Bam Bam Bigelow arriving at a WCW show and beating up Hall, which somehow led to a pull-apart between Nash and Goldberg and, finally, a three-way between Nash, Bigelow and Goldberg.

      Maybe Bam Bam was still upset about something from the time he and Nash teamed up at King of the Ring 1995.

      The Cat (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Perry Saturn

      Now known simply as The Cat, Ernest Miller began tonight by taking to the mic to tell the crowd that they were lucky to see him compete and "whoop this guy."

      He then did his usual schtick in which he gave his opponent five seconds to leave the ring to avoid said whooping. Naturally, Perry Saturn declined the invitation.

      WCW Starrcade 1998 Review - Ernest 'The Cat' Miller faced Perry Saturn
      Though Miller was never the greatest (despite that being his whole gimmick), this was at least an effective way of getting heat before he and Saturn locked up.

      The actual match was kept short and played for laughs in the early going, with the cowardly Cat doing all he could to try and stay away from Saturn.

      Alas, he failed, got his ass kicked, and lost the match after Sonny Onoo tried to kick Saturn, missed, and smashed Cat in the mush.

      Cat kicked his manager back but got a Death Valley Driver from Saturn and was pinned.
      Your Winner: Perry Saturn

      Post-match, Miller shoved Onoo, apparently ending their relationship.

      "Meeeeeeeeean...WHOOO! Gene!"

      WCW Starrcade 1998 Review - Ric Flair interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund
      Up next, Okerlund interviewed a returning Ric Flair about his upcoming match with Eric Bischoff.

      Styling and profiling like no other before or since, Nature Boy vowed to tear Bischoff limb from limb in a highly entertaining promo, reminding us all that he was indeed a jet-flying, limousine-riding, kiss-stealing, wheeling-dealing son of a gun.


      In case you were wondering what caused this match, we next saw a video package which traced the Bischoff/Flair rivalry all the way back to the Outsiders invasion of 1996.

      If you recall, this led to Bischoff being revealed as part of the New World Order and becoming an egomaniacal dictator.

      The video package recounted many of Bischoff's most dastardly power-mad moves, including trying to rid WCW of Ric Flair, beating up David Flair, and generally being a massive D.

      After all that hype, you'd assume the big showdown between the two was next, but let's not forget that this was WCW, so of course, it wasn't.

      Buff and Scott Threaten Konnan

      Out in the back, Buff Bagwell and Scott Norton busted into Konnan's dressing room to tell him that the nWo Black & White was now under Steiner's control.

      The two then said that even though they'd promised not to beat up Lex Luger, they couldn't say the same about K-Dogg.

      This brought in Luger himself. The Total Package sent Bugg and Scott packing before having his loyalties questioned by Konnan.

      Brian Adams & Scott Norton (w/ Vincent) vs. Fit Finlay & Jerry Flynn

      WCW Starrcade 1998 Review - Brian Adams & Scott Norton faced Jerry Flynn & Fit Finlay
      Biggest pay per view of the year, folks!

      OK, so this wasn't terrible, but if that's about the best you can say about a wrestling match then that's not exactly a good sign, is it?

      After a whole bunch of kicking, slamming and chin-locking, Scott Norton powerbombed Jerry Flynn to get the fall for the nWo Job Squad.

      The most interesting thing to happen here was that Tony Schiavone told us the main event was now a No-DQ match.
      Your Winners: Brian Adams & Scott Norton

      Out in the entrance way, Mean Gene gave Eric Bischoff a chance to respond to Flair's earlier promo.

      A cocky heel in the best possible sense, Sleazy E put Flair over for "putting his life on the line" in a wrestling match despite having heart problems.

      Flair, according to Bischoff, really had no choice though because, and I quote "In the hundred and four years that Flair's been wrestling, he never saved a nickel" and now needed the money.

      Say what you want about Eric Bischoff, this was very good stuff.

      World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
      WCW TV Champion Konnan vs. Chris Jericho (w/ Ralphus)

      WCW Starrcade 1998 Review - Chris Jericho & Ralphus
      Prior to the match, we were shown a clip from Nitro of Chris Jericho putting the Lion Tamer on a skinny little dude dressed as Konnan.

      Jericho then came out doing the thing where he wore the TV title after having stolen it, pretending to be the champion.

      This would have been interesting if WCW didn't do the exact same gimmick every few months with different wrestlers.

      Hitting the ring with Ralphus by his side, the future Y2J wished us all a Happy Jericholiday before mocking his opponent's slang and baggy pants.

      Konnan then came down and had one of his best matches in a long time, a solid seesaw battle that was hugely enjoyable from start to finish.

      Rivalled only by the opening triple threat in terms of quality, this very fun match ended with Konnan locking in Tequila Sunrise to keep his title.
      Your Winner and Still WCW TV Champion: Konnan

      Out in the "Internet Location" The Giant got mad at Lee Marshall because he believed Marshall had insinuated The Giant couldn't beat DDP.

      Moving on...

      Eric Bischoff vs. Ric Flair

      WCW Starrcade 1998 Review - Ric Flair dominates Eric Bischoff
      Much better than this writer imagined, Bischoff vs. Flair was exactly what it needed to be:

      Several minutes of Nature Boy beating the ever-loving snot out of the WCW President to the delight of the live audience.

      At once point, Bischoff did mount a comeback, using a few karate kicks and driving Flair's head into the guardrail.

      It was at this point that Flair bladed probably just for the sake of blading. The match really didn't need it and it looked stupid, but otherwise, Flair had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand as he battered Easy E from pillar to post.

      The end came sometime after Little Naitch took a nap.

      Flair slapped on the Figure Four but an unshaven Curt Hennig came down, gave Bischoff an International Object, and helped him win the match.
      Your Winner: Eric Bischoff

      Post-match, Hennig dragged a battered, lifeless, yet victorious Bischoff backstage.

      Coming up...DDP Takes on The Giant! 

      Prior to our next match, we were shown a video that told us how we got to Giant/DDP.

      Basically, it began with Giant aligning himself with Bret Hart and helping The Hitman regain the US title from Page.

      Giant then attacked DDP, even destroying the old WCW logo set-piece as an excuse to eventually reveal the new logo and set-piece that nobody liked.

      The Giant vs. Diamond Dallas Page

      WCW Starrcade 1998 Review - The Giant faced DDP
      I wanted to like this match. I really did.

      Diamond Dallas Page had become one of WCW's hottest acts in 1998 and had been involved in some genuinely enjoyable matches (as well some not-so-enjoyable ones involving Dennis Rodman), but this?

      This was mostly slow, tedious, and not very interesting.

      Towards the finish, Bret Hart ran in swinging a chair, but missed Page and got The Giant instead.

      Not that it mattered, the two competitors continued to battle in a finish that was more exciting than anything else in the entire match.

      To finish, Page hit the Diamond Cutter off the top for the three count.
      Your Winner: Diamond Dallas Page

      Afterwards, Page and Hart trash-talked one another.

      We then got the weird Goldberg and Kevin Nash in the clouds video, and with that, it was time for our main event.

      World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
      WCW World Heavyweight Champion Goldberg vs. Kevin Nash

      WCW Starrcade 1998 Review - Kevin Nash beat Goldberg for the WCW title
      This is one of those occasions when rewatching wrestling shows twenty years after the fact can seriously spoil your enjoyment.

      Sure, Nash and Goldberg both worked to their strengths to give us a main event calibre big man match, but the ending to this one is so well known that I just couldn't buy into anything that was happening.

      Instead, I found myself sitting here waiting...waiting for the inevitable.

      Then, it happened.

      Disco Inferno ran in wearing a Wolfpac T-shirt and got speared to hell and back. Bam Bam Bigelow ran in and got battered too.

      Then, Scott Hall, disguised as a member of security, clambered up onto the apron and tasered the champion.

      Nash then recovered from having been beaten up by Goldberg and -not knowing Hall had been involved- powerbombed his way to infamy.
      Your Winner and NEW WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Kevin Nash

      Ladies and gentlemen, one of the worst decisions in WCW history had just been made, and knowing WCW history, that's saying something.

      The Finger Poke of Doom was imminent, the eventual demise of World Championship Wrestling not far behind.

      After two really enjoyable cruiserweight matches, Starrcade 1998 quickly devolved into a bizarre show which, for the most part, played out like a random episode of WCW Saturday Night rather than the company's flagship Pay Per View. 

      Whilst the likes of Smiley/Iaukea and nWo vs. Flynnlay weren't exactly awful, they weren't PPV quality either. 

      Meanwhile, the main event, whilst certainly befitting a show like Starrcade in terms of its stature, really was the beginning of the end of WCW as we know it. 

      It's sad really because at times World Championship Wrestling really had been the best pro wrestling show on the planet. 

      1998 events reviewed so far
      1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1998 
      2. WCW - Souled Out 1998
      3. WWF - In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas 
      4. WCW - Superbrawl 1998
      5. WCW - Uncensored 1998 
      6. WWF - Wrestlemania 14 
      7. WCW Spring Stampede 1998
      8. WWF - In Your House 21: Unforgiven
      9. WCW Slamboree 1998
      10. WWF - In Your House 22: Over The Edge
      11. WCW Great American Bash 1998 
      12. WWF - King of the Ring 1998
      13. WCW - Bash at the Beach 1998 
      14. WWF - In Your House 23: Fully Loaded 
      15. WCW - Road Wild 1998
      16. WWF - Summerslam 1998
      17. WCW - Fall Brawl 1998
      18. WWF - In Your House 24: Breakdown
      19. WWF - In Your House 25: Judgement Day 
      20. WCW - Halloween Havoc 1998
      21. WWF - Survivor Series 1998
      22. WWF - Capital Carnage 1998
      23. WCW - World War 3 1998
      24. WWF - In Your House 26: Rock Bottom
      Other WCW Starrcade reviews:
        Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

        Thursday, 20 December 2018

        PPV REVIEW: WWF Capital Carnage 1998

        WWE / WWF Capital Carnage 1998 - Event poster
        December 6th, 1998
        London Arena, London, England

        A lot had changed since the World Wrestling Federation had presented their last UK-only pay-per-view.

        That had taken place back at the Birmingham NEC arena on September 20th, 1997. It was called One Night Only and was notable for being the night Shawn Michaels humiliated national hero Davey Boy Smith, taking his European Championship in the process.

        Along with Triple H and Chyna, Michaels had gone on to officially declare himself the leader of D-Generation-X and dethrone Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in the main event of Survivor Series 1997.

        That event, forever known as "The Montreal Screwjob" was the catalyst for unprecedented change in the WWF, change which would ultimately give us the creative and financial resurgence known as the Attitude Era.

        A year down the line, as the WWF returned to the UK, that change was evident from top to bottom.

        Michaels was no longer an active competitor, with Triple H taking his place at the helm of DX. Bret Hart and The Bulldog were long gone from the company, and in almost every conceivable way, the World Wrestling Federation that arrived at the London Arena on this cold December night was an entirely different entity than the one UK fans had last seen in September '97.

        With that being said, let's head to England's capital for Capital Carnage 1998.

        There's a Fatal Fourway a'Comin'

        WWE / WWF Capital Carnage 1998 - Jim Ross & Jerry 'The King' Lawler
        We began tonight's show with a hype video for tonight's fatal four-way main event pitting Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Kane and Mankind against one another.

        Though it lacked much of the drama and storytelling that most WWF PPV openings had, this one was nonetheless effective in building excitement for the match.

        After panning through a sea of fan-made signs and hyper audience members, we were greeted by Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler for the usual introductions.

        As Ross and Lawler talk us through tonight's matches, I'll take a moment to point out two things about this show.

        1: This would be the night that Ross would suffer his second attack of Bell's Palsey. This one would happen as Ross was actually on air.

        This came just hours after Ross had learned that his mother had passed away. Imagine getting that news and then going on to still call a pro wrestling news. What a hero that man is.

        2: This is only the second show we've ever reviewed on Retro Pro Wrestling that your writer was actually live in the crowd for.

        Yes, somewhere in that 10,000-strong crowd was an excitable 14-year-old wearing a Stone Cold Steve Austin t-shirt who had no idea he'd still be writing about this event 20 years later.

        With that being said, let's get on to the matches.

        Gangrel vs. Al Snow (w/ Head)

        WWE / WWF Capital Carnage 1998 - Gangrel faced Al Snow
        So, we got things underway with a fun little opener pitting Al Snow against everyone's favourite vampire warrior, Gangrel.

        It's been said before that because Gangrel's whole gimmick was so memorable, many of us forget that he was actually a pretty solid performer.

        Here, he proved that by taking the fight to Snow in an enjoyable contest, suplexing him from pillar to post and engaging in some pretty sweet exchanges.

        With the London faithful firmly behind him, Snow did mount a comeback, and even gave his opponent Head, but alas, it wasn't to be his day.

        Mid-bout, Edge and Christian made their way to ringside, and, after Snow had drilled Gangrel with his mannequin head, Christian kept the referee distracted while Edge lept off the top rope and took out the J.O.B Squad leader.

        Gangrel made the cover and this one was over.
        Your Winner: Gangrel

        Out in the depths of the arena, Mankind told us that he was in "the coldest boiler room I've ever been in" (because, you know, England gets pretty cold in December) before reminding us that tonight's fatal four-way was no holds barred, no DQ, no countout.

        Wrapping up one his typically intense and well thought-out promos, then told us that after tonight, the London Arena would be up there with the likes of the Tower of London as a popular tourist attraction were gruesome things once happened.

        L.O.D 2000 (Animal & Droz) vs. The Headbangers

        WWE / WWF Capital Carnage 1998 - LOD 2000 vs. The Headbangers
        Prior to this match getting underway, we were reminded of that oh-so-classy 'Hawk is an Addict' angle and the time Droz pushed him off the Titantron.

        The Headbangers had recently turned heel again yet here they were loved by the London crowd. Whether that's because we just loved Mosh and Thrasher or simply hated Droz so much we'd cheer for his opponents, I can't remember.

        What I can tell, you from watching this, is that we certainly did hate Droz.

        While his partner Animal got a lot of love, the former football star was loudly booed by the audience.

        That was about the most interesting thing about this short little contest.

        OK, so it wasn't terrible, but it barely got the chance to get going before Droz got rolled up and pinned.
        Your Winners: The Headbangers

        Post-match, Droz and Animal got into an argument which led into a full-scale brawl that had to be stopped by a gaggle of referees.

        The brawl wasn't much, but it was still more exciting than that previous match.

        'The end is near, Austin'

        Up next, we were shown a flashback to the special Friday night edition of Raw which had aired earlier that weekend.

        On that show, Undertaker had attempted to put Kane in a body bag and send him to an insane asylum via ambulance.

        However, it turned out that Kane had escaped, sent 'Taker in the ambulance, and then helped Stone Cold shove Paul Bearer (now back with The Undertaker) down a sewer.

        To this day, I always remember watching that segment. To this day, I'd still love to know how they pulled it off.

        Anyway, that took us to Michael Cole, who stood by for an interview with The Deadman.

        With his typically morbid promos becoming ever more macabre as of late, 'Taker talked about Austin's rotted soul and how we should pray for Stone Cold because all kinds of sinister things were going to happen to him.

        As usual, this was captivating stuff from The Phenom.

        Val Venis vs. Goldust

        WWE / WWF Capital Carnage 1998 - Val Venis faced Goldust
        These two had previously gone at it at Judgement Day: In Your House 25 during that whole saga when Terri Runnels was sleeping with Val Venis.

        Since then, Terri had gone onto declare herself pregnant with Val's love child (which Val himself disputed thanks to having a vasectomy) and form PMS with Jacqueline.

        Yet even with her out of the picture, it seemed The Big Valbowski and Goldust still hated each other.

        Tonight, they channelled that hate into a decent yet immediately forgettable, by-the-numbers match.

        Though pretty basic, this was actually a decent watch, ending when Val narrowly escaped a Shattered Dreams and rolled up Goldie for the three count.
        Your Winner: Val Venis

        Unfortunately for the wrestling porn star, he didn't get the chance to celebrate for very long.

        Goldust beat him up some more and then finally hit Shattered Dreams, much to the delight of the UK audience.

        Tea time: a pile of pious crap

        WWE / WWF Capital Carnage 1998 - Vince & Shane McMahon
        Next, we were shown a clip of Vince McMahon giving a guest lecture at the prestigious Oxford University.

        This was followed by the Chairman making his way out, accompanied by his son Shane McMahon, and The Stooges, Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco.

        Patterson kicked off promo time by telling us that Mr McMahon had changed tonight's card around.

        Instead of The Rock vs. Triple H (or Hunter Hearst Hem-sley, as Patterson continually called him), we'd get Triple H vs. Jeff Jarrett and The Rock vs. X-Pac.

        Gerald Briscoe then said little of note before handing the mic to Shane.

        Here, Shane took the opportunity to address footballer-turned-actor, Vinnie Jones.

        The Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels actor was set to be the special guest enforcer in tonight's main event, and Shane had a few thoughts on this.

        Specifically, he had thoughts on Jones' reputation as a "hard man," which in the UK, basically means you're known for being physically tough, if not a little violent.

        This being 1998, Shane had no problem suggesting that Jones was actually hard because he was George Michael's gay lover.

        "Oh come on, Vinnie Jones is a man's man, but not like that!" cried Jim Ross on commentary, as if being accused of being gay was the worst possible thing that could ever happen to someone.

        Ah, good ol' homophobic '90s.

        Shane's whole promo was terribly cringe-worthy.

        To begin with, Vince's wasn't much better.

        The evil overlord of the World Wrestling Federation took to the mic and began by telling us all that 'tea time is a load of pious crap,' even going so far as to toss away the cup of tea that I was drinking.

        The crowd booed like they were supposed to, but there was something very odd about this statement. I remember being there, live in the London Arena at aged 14 and wondering why I was supposed to be upset that Vince didn't care for a spot of tea.

        Watching it back, I still think it was a pretty dumb line.

        Fortunately, Mr. McMahon redeemed himself with one of the best promos I've ever heard him cut, launching into a scathing tirade about Britain's past as a colonial power, it's fall from grace, and it's inferiority to the United States.

        Vince gave us history, he gave us politics, he gave us social commentary. Above all, he gave us a compelling reason to hate us.

        It was awesome and would have been even more awesome had Vince not then predicted that one day the UK would be governed by "a Prime Minister of Pakistani descent" as though this were a bad thing.

        Yep, racism and homophobia in one segment. What a time that decade really was.

        Edge vs. Tiger Ali Singh

        WWE / WWF Capital Carnage 1998 - Tiger Ali Singh faced Edge - nobody gave a shit
        Does nobody else find it weird that Tiger Ali Singh would always show up at these WWF UK PPVs despite doing next to nothing on television for the rest of the year?

        Here, the second generation star drew heat for dedicating this match to his Indian forefathers who suffered under the tyranny of the British Empire (fair enough) but then basically got his ass handed to him in a short nothing match with future main eventer, Edge.

        The Brood member quickly dominated his opponent, only for Singh to score the upset with a quick roll-up (another one) that he reinforced by putting his feet on the ropes.
        Your Winner: Tiger Ali Singh

        Afterwards, Singh continued the beatdown, only for Edge to once again take control and batter the evil foreigner.

        It's gonna be emotional

        WWE / WWF Capital Carnage 1998 - Michael Cole & Vinnie Jones
        Up next, Michael Cole brought Vinnie Jones to the ring in order to respond to the earlier put down from the McMahons.

        Though clearly amped up and enthusiastic, Jones came across as an unintelligent thug, responding to Cole's simple questions with even simpler answers (such as repeating the phrase 'bring 'em on!" over and over).

        The crowd loved it but, looking back, it all seemed terribly scripted and forced.

        Mixed Tag Team Match
        WWF Women's Champion Sable & Christian vs. Jacqueline & Marvelous Marc Mero

        WWE / WWF Capital Carnage 1998 - Sable teamed w/ Edge to face Marc Mero & Jacqueline
        Christian's partner Edge had previously teamed with Sable back at Summerslam 1998 so now it was the younger of the two 'brothers' to tag with the women's champion.

        Quite why Sable would choose two gothic dudes as her partners is anyone's guess, but there ya go.

        Meanwhile, Marvelous Marc Mero had recently fired Jacqueline after she cost him a match against The Big Boss Man on Heat.

        He'd then gone onto Raw and promised that if he couldn't beat "that jobber" Duane Gill, then that would be the last we'd ever see of him.

        Naturally, The Marvelous One lost (thanks to interference from The Blue Meanie) and that was it for Mero's WWF career.

        Except of course for tonight, when he was forced to meet his final outstanding contractual obligation, teaming with his pissed-off former manager.

        The match itself was fine, with some fun, playful spots breaking up some solid action between the two men.

        Eventually, Mero took a walk and Christian gave chase, leaving Sable to finally get her hands on arch-rival Jacqueline.

        It didn't take long for the women's champion to dispose of her opponent either.

        A few punches and a TKO were all it took to win the match.
        Your Winners: Sable & Christian

        Afterwards, Jacqueline took out her frustrations on referee Tim White by attacking him. White lifted Jacqueline onto his shoulders, allowing Sable to reach up and pull off Jacqui's top.

        Having been there live, I can tell you that there are only three things I really remember from Capital Carnage:

        1. McMahon insulting tea time
        2. The Rock vs. X-Pac being awesome
        3. Jacqueline having her top ripped off and exposing her boobs to half of London while atop Tim White's shoulders.

        For years, I'd kind of had an inkling that this was planned but had never been entirely sure.

        Watching this show back today (For the first time in 20 years), it's obvious that Jacqui was wearing a very loose-fitting shirt and no bra, almost as if she -gasp- wanted to flash her breasticles to 10,000 people.

        World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
        WWF Intercontinental Champion Ken Shamrock (w/ Big Boss Man) vs. Steve Blackman

        WWE / WWF Capital Carnage 1998 - Ken Shamrock faced Steve Blackman
        When I said there were only three things I remember, I really mean it.

        I have absolutely no recollection whatsoever of ever seeing this match before. Now that I watch it back, I realise why.

        Before it started, Jim Ross told us that this was going to be a great match.

        Unfortunately, Jim Ross lied.

        This was the most boring thing on the card so far. A basic, kick-punch-chinlock repeat affair that was beyond dull.

        In fact, the only interesting thing that happened in the whole match was when the crowd started chanting 'you fat bastard!' at Shamrock's second, The Big Boss Man.

        Speaking of Boss Man, it came as a relief he finally whacked Steve Blackman in the ankle with his nightstick, allowing Ken Shamrock to slap on the ankle lock and pick up the three count.
        Your Winner and Still Intercontinental Champion: Ken Shamrock

        Continuing the trend of post-match beatdowns that had occurred after just about every match on the card so far, Boss Man beat up on Blackman a little afterwards.

        If you smell what The Rock is cookin...

        WWE / WWF Capital Carnage 1998 - Do you smell what The Rock is cookin?
        Backstage, World Wrestling Federation Champion The Rock told Michael Cole that he was going to squash "that bony jabroni" X-Pac in their upcoming match.

        Seemingly unphased by the change in his opponent, The Great One planned to wrap out his promo with his famous catchphrase.

        There was just one problem:

        He couldn't remember it.

        First, he tried "whatcha gonna do," then "and that's the bottom line." He went for "to be the man, you've got to WOO," and even attempted "I'm the best there is, the best there was," but still it wasn't right.

        Finally, The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment his on "If you smell what The Rock is Cookin'" and this fun little segment was over.

        Jeff Jarrett (w/ Debra McMichael) vs. Triple H (w/ Chyna)

        WWE / WWF Capital Carnage 1998 - Jeff Jarrett & Debra
        I keep using the word "fun" in this review because that's the best way to describe it.

        None of the action up to this point had been particularly amazing, but outside of the Intercontinental snooze-fest, most of it had been an enjoyable watch.

        The same was true of Jeff Jarrett vs. Triple H.

        While both men would have much better matches in their careers, this one saw the two veterans prove themselves to be masters of their craft.

        It was the case of the cunning heel versus the super-hot babyface in a non-stop, back-and-forth battle.

        After a very entertaining contest and some shenanigans involving Debra and Chyna, Hunter Hearst Hem-sley hit the pedigree and got the three count.
        Your Winner: Triple H

        I should mention -because this is obviously important- that Debra looked smoking hot here.

        Stone Cold is in a bad mood

        WWE / WWF Capital Carnage 1998 - Michael Cole interviews Stone Cold Steve Austin
        Clearly trying to keep himself warm in the frigid British winter, Stone Cold Steve Austin told Michael Cole that he came to England to whoop somebody's ass, and it didn't matter who's ass that would happen to be.

        Maybe it was jet lag, maybe it was just the cold, but Austin seemed rather subdued, answering each of Cole's questions slowly and calmly before finally declaring that he was in a bad mood and sending the interviewer away.

        D'Lo does London

        Before the next match, we were shown a video of former European Champion D'Lo Brown making is way around London, pretending that he lived at Buckingham Palace, mispronouncing the River Thames (its pronounced "tems") and announcing that Her Majesty The Queen had renamed Big Ben to Big D.

        D'Lo, you see, had lost the title to X-Pac some time ago but was still going around pretending to be the champion.

        World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
        WWF Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg Jesse James & Bad Ass Billy Gunn) vs. Mark Henry & WWF D'Lo Brown

        Most matches involving the New Age Outlaws had a terrible tendency to be formulaic.

        Basically, Road Dogg would get beat up for a bit, Billy Gunn would make the save, and then it would just..kind of end.

        Tonight, the popular champions stuck to their tried-and-trusted formula, yet they also mixed it up enough that this became one of the better matches you'd see them in.

        The overall result was -you guessed it- fun.

        Like many of the performers tonight, you got the idea that the outlaws, as well as D'Lo and Mark Henry,  were having a lot of fun, and that translated into another entertaining match.

        Eventually, Bad Ass Billy Gunn got the win for his team.
        Your Winners and Stil Tag Team Champions: The New Age Outlaws

        Prior to the next match, we were reminded of The Rock's surprising heel turn and WWF Championship win back at Survivor Series 1998.

        World Wrestling Federation Championship
        WWF Champion The Rock vs. WWF European Champion X-Pac

        WWE / WWF Capital Carnage 1998 - The Rock defended the WWF title against X-Pac
        Making his first PPV title defence since winning the gold, The Rock took the fight to X-Pac in what was by far the best match of the night so far.

        Both champ and challenger traded the advantage several times, building up the drama of the match with every move.

        At one point, The Rock was fed up of being beaten up by X-Pac and threatened to leave, only for Triple H and Chyna to arrive and send the champion back to the ring.

        The challenger's allies then stuck around for the rest of the match, running interference in a way which made no logical sense (they were the babyfaces after all) but was very enjoyable all the same).

        After an absolute stormer of a title match, Triple H just beat up on The Rock, costing his buddy the match.
        Your Winner via Disqualification and Still WWF Champion: The Rock

        Afterwards, there was, you guessed it, another beatdown.

        Hunter and X-Pac (the babyfaces, remember?) put the boots to The Rock. Ken Shamrock ran in to help out his Corporation teammate, but he got attacked too.

        Needless to say, the crowd loved it.

        Time for the main event

        WWE / WWF Capital Carnage 1998 - Referee Gerald Brisco told Vinnie Jones he had to leave
        Before the final match got underway, Tony Chimmel introduced us to our special guest ring announcer, Shane McMahon.

        In turn, McMahon introduced us to our special guest timekeeper, Pat Patterson, who got a rousing "You Fat Bastard!" chant from the crowd, and also Gerald Briscoe, who was taking The Big Boss Man's place as special referee, leaving Boss Man to stand outside as a second enforcer to watch Vinnie Jones.

        Naturally, Briscoe got a solid chant of "The referee's a wanker!"
        Next, Shane introduced us to our special guest commentator,
        none other than Vince McMahon himself.

        This made it the first time Vince had joined King & JR on commentary for a PPV since Badd Blood: In Your House 18.

        Big Boss Man was then announced as the Corporate Enforcer, after which Tony Chimmel welcomed Vinnie Jones.

        The toughman received a huge ovation from the London crowd and got into a shoving contest with Boss Man, resulting in Briscoe showing him the red card (because football).

        This meant that Jones had to leave, and finally, we were allowed to have our main event.

        Fatal Four Way
        Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Mankind vs. Kane vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)

        Special guest enforcer: The Big Boss Man

        WWE / WWF Capital Carnage 1998 - Mankind, Kane and Undertaker stand over a fallen Stone Cold Steve Austin
        I won't lie, one of the most awesome things about this whole main event was hearing Vince slip naturally back into his commentary voice.

        He was still technically a heel, sure, but he was a heel Vince McMahon - Commentator rather than a heel Mr. McMahon - Evil Overlord.

        As for the match itself, it was all the chaotic, violent fun you'd expect from an Attitude Era four-way match.

        Plenty of brawling, swinging chairs and, of course, a crowd who ate it all up.

        Mankind, Undertaker and Kane all worked hard here, but really, this was the Austin show plain and simple.

        The London crowd were hugely into The Texas Rattlesnake and blew the roof off the place when he finally got the win over Kane.
        Your Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin

        To end things, Austin had a beer bash with Vinnie Jones and Earl Hebner, who had counted the winning three count after Austin had beaten up Gerald Briscoe.

        All in all then, a fun show.

        WWF Capital Carnage isn't the kind of pro wrestling that's going to change your life.

        It isn't the kind of pro wrestling event that's going to have you raving to all your friends about afterwards.

        But it is the kind of event you can pop on for a few hours on a quiet afternoon and be glad that you did.

        The Rock/X-Pac WWF title match is the true standout here, with the main event a close second.

        That said, outside of the atrocity that was Shamrock/Blackman, everything here is watchable and -for the most part- enjoyable.

        1998 events reviewed so far
        1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1998 
        2. WCW - Souled Out 1998
        3. WWF - In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas 
        4. WCW - Superbrawl 1998
        5. WCW - Uncensored 1998 
        6. WWF - Wrestlemania 14 
        7. WCW Spring Stampede 1998
        8. WWF - In Your House 21: Unforgiven
        9. WCW Slamboree 1998
        10. WWF - In Your House 22: Over The Edge
        11. WCW Great American Bash 1998 
        12. WWF - King of the Ring 1998
        13. WCW - Bash at the Beach 1998 
        14. WWF - In Your House 23: Fully Loaded 
        15. WCW - Road Wild 1998
        16. WWF - Summerslam 1998
        17. WCW - Fall Brawl 1998
        18. WWF - In Your House 24: Breakdown
        19. WWF - In Your House 25: Judgement Day 
        20. WCW - Halloween Havoc 1998
        21. WWF - Survivor Series 1998
        22. WWF - Capital Carnage 1998
        23. WCW - World War 3 1998
        Other UK event reviews: 
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        Retro Pro Wrestling

        New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.