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, 27 September 2018

PPV REVIEW: WCW Great American Bash 1998

WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review - poster
June 14, 1998 
Baltimore Arena, Baltimore, Maryland

It was the summer of 1998 and World Championship Wrestling were slowly but surely losing their claim to be the undisputed kings of pro wrestling in North America.

Having dominated much of the mid-90s with globally-recognised superstars and a game-changing nWo storyline, the company were beginning to buckle under the pressure of the new attitude ushered in by their rivals, the World Wrestling Federation. 

Still, if the Great American Bash line-up was anything to go by, the company weren't exactly ready to go down without a fight. 

A marquee match-up pitting WCW Champion Hollywood Hulk Hogan & Bret 'The Hitman' Hart against Macho Man Randy Savage & Rowdy Roddy Piper contained more genuine starpower in one bout that some wrestling promotions could put together on an entire card. 

Meanwhile, there was the latest instalment of the white-hot feud between Chris Jericho & Dean Malenko to look forward to, plus what looked to be a number of other stellar performances. 

Would this be enough to help WCW score a major victory in the ongoing Monday Night Wars

Let's head to Baltimore to find out:

Let the Summer Time Begin

Our show tonight began with a creepy video interspersing clips of a flying American flag with shots of the stars from our main matches tonight.

It was bizarre to say the least, like something out of a horror film.

Lighting the mood, Tony Schiavone welcomed us with a loud cry of ‘Let the Summer Time Begin!’ before he and colleagues Mike Tenay and Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan began giving us a rundown of tonight’s main matches.

WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review - Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
Mean Gene Okerlund made an appearance to remind us that after Sting and The Giant had beaten The Outsiders for the tag team titles, Giant had joined nWo Hollywood and Sting was with nWo Wolfpac. Okerlund reminded us that the two would now duke it out tonight to determine which man got to keep the belts and defend them with a partner of his choosing.

More hype from the announcers followed despite a clearly getting restless and entertaining themselves with a Goldberg chant.

Finally, no less than seven minutes into the Pay Per View, we finally got to the action.

Best of Seven Series Final
Chris Benoit vs. Booker T

Chris Benoit and Booker T had been tearing it up in their famous best of seven for weeks now, with the original final actually taking place on Nitro.

That came when Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart, trying to recruit fellow Canadian Benoit to the nWo, waffled Booker with a chair behind the referee’s back.

Benoit refused to win like that, informed the referee, and got himself disqualified.

WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review - Chris Benoit and Booker T - Best of Seven Series Final
However, Booker didn’t want a cheap victory either, and thus JJ Dillon had rendered that match null and void and given us a rematch tonight.

And man, what a rematch it was.

Both men had the crowds eating out of the palm of their hand with a nigh-on 20 minuet show-stealer that was captivating from start to finish.

Seriously, I challenge anyone to watch this match and not like it.

In the end, Booker T won with a top rope dropkick m and would now go on to challenge Finlay for the Television Championship later on in the show.
Your Winner: Booker T

If you want to read about the second time Booker and Benoit faced off in a Best of Seven series, see my WWE Survivor Series 2006 review.

Meanwhile, back in 1998, Chavo Guerrero told Lee Marshall that despite Marshall’s insistence to the contrary, uncle Eddie Guerrero did, in fact, want to fight Chavo later on in the show.

Saturn vs. Kanyon

This all dated back to Kanyon, as Mortis, trying and failing to get into the Flock.

WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review - Kanyon faced Perry Saturn
The masked man had then revealed himself at the end of Raven vs. DDP at the previous month’s Slamboree 1998, and been a thorn in Raven’s side ever since.

Raven, however, had decided that he was going to get Saturn to fight his battle for him, thus we had tonight’s contest.

Playing mind games, Kanyon had someone come out dressed as Mortis, and whilst that character was distracting everyone, the real Kanyon popped up behind Saturn, just like something you’d see The Undertaker do.

The resulting match, though it lacked the white-hot crowd of the previous one, was still very good.

Both men traded unique offence to create a highly entertaining bout with a highly bizarre finish.

After Saturn and Kanyon both crashed from the top rope to the outside, two men dressed as Mortis came out, threw the competitors back into the ring, and then started brawling with each other on the outside.

Meanwhile, back in the ring, Kanyon hit the Flatliner to win the match.
Your Winner: Kanyon

Afterwards, one of the Mortisses (Morti?) DDT’d Kanyon then revealed himself to be Raven.

Raven then berated Saturn for losing and sent the Flock on for a beat down, but instead, Saturn cleaned house and took everybody out.

Malenko Gives Up The Gold

WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review - Dean Malenko makes an announcement on Thunder
Prior to our next match, we were reminded that Dean Malenko had, on WCW Thunder, voluntarily surrendered the Cruiserweight title he had won from arch-nemesis Chris Jericho at last month’s Slamboree just to get another match with his rival.

I’m not sure what the logic behind that was as the two were about to face off for The now-vacant belt, but I’m sure there was some logic there somewhere.

Match for the Vacant World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Championship
Chris Jericho vs. Dean Malenko

As well as the aforementioned Slamboree clash, Jericho and Malenko had also produced a stellar outing at Uncensored 1998.

WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review - Chris Jericho faced Dean Malenko for the vacant Cruiserweight title
Here, they looked to make it a trifecta of enjoyable bouts by going all out in a war that surpassed even the two tremendous matches we’d already had on this show.

With Malenko fired up and looking for revenge and Jericho at his most flamboyant and arrogant best, this was as good a match as you could hope for between two of WCW’s most talented performers.

After a great back-and-forth, Jericho got in Malenko’s face and told him he was nothing, just like his late father, Boris Malenko.

Naturally, Dean went berserk, battering Jericho to the outside and nailing him with the worst looking chair shot in the history of pro wrestling.

That resulted in the bell being rung, but the war was far from over.
Your Winner by Disqualification: Chris Jericho

Afterwards, Malenko continued to beat up Jericho, battering him all the way to the back, and then outside the arena to the sidewalk, even slamming him into a mailbox.

At that point, Doug Dillinger stepped in and Jericho was able to make his escape, hilariously stopping traffic and running across the street and off into a random building.

Damn, that was fun.

Uncle Eddie Loves You

WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review - Juventud Guerrera starred in a weird promo clip
Out in the ‘Internet Location,’ Eddie Guerrero pleaded with his nephew Chavo to call the whole match off because nobody in the Guerrero family wanted them to fight and because Uncle Eddie loved Chavo, obviously.

From there, we went to the announcers speculating that Chris Jericho could rightfully claim to be the new Cruiserweight Champion despite the match ending on a DQ.

After that, we got the most bizarre video of the world which saw Juventud Guerrera walking up and down some steps. In between doing that, he sat on the steps, hung out by the gate in this picture, and generally just lurked about.

It was the weirdest and most pointless thing ever.

Juventud Guerrera vs. Reese

WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review - Juventud Guerrera faced Reese of The Flock
I’m writing this review on my phone and autocorrect keeps trying to change Juventud to 'Huge Tits.'

The less said about that the better.

Anyway, the story here was that 7ft Reese had basically been bullying the diminutive Juventud Guerrera, giving us a typical David vs. Goliath match.

As Big Man/Little Man matches go, this certainly wasn’t the worst, and it was pretty entertaining to some degree, but there’s no escaping the fact that this was the one match that finally broke the show’s run of exceptional quality bouts.

In the end, with Lodi occupying the referee’s attention, former Flock member Van Hammer drilled Reese with a chair. Juvi was able to hit a hurricanrana, and this one was over.
Your Winner: Huge Tits

Afterwards, Juventud leapt from the ring into Van Hammer’s arms, and the former heavy metal guitarist carried Juvi to the back like he was a baby.

Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Eddie Guerrero

WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review - Eddie Guerrero faced Chavo Guerrero
So, after Ultimo Dragon had failed to win him his freedom back in a match with Eddie at Slamboree, Chavo Guerrero has snapped, attacked the Dragon, and basically gone nuts.

It wouldn’t be long before we’d see him with Pepe (the horse’s head on a stick child’s toy) but for now, he was just loco, which is the reason Eddie Guerrero didn’t want to fight him earlier.

Alas, fight him he did, in a match that was decent but not half as good as you might expect from these two.

It’s a shame because both men worked very hard and Chavo pulled off some spots that were truly impressive, but the fact that the crowd really weren’t into it (at one point chanting ‘WE WANT FLAIR!’) really took the shine off things.

After a good effort, Chavo hit a springboard spinny-thing DDT to win the match.
Your Winner: Chavo Guerrero Jr 

Prior to the next match, we were shown clips from Nitro to remind us that Macho Man Randy Savage and Rowdy Roddy Piper hated each other but were going to tag up later to face Hollywood Hogan and Bret Hart, and then face each other immediately afterwards.

Before that, however, there was the little matter of the TV title to be dealt with.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
WCW World TV Champion Finlay vs. Booker T

WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review - Booker T beat Finlay to become TV champion
A deliberate change of pace next, as Finlay spent the majority of the match working over Booker T’s damages knee in all kinds of weird and wonderful ways.

That was basically all this was, and whilst it wasn’t bad in and of itself, it took some getting used to following the faster-paced nature of the previous bouts.

The fact that Finlay spent the whole match in charge (not to mention the fact that Booker T had wrestled eight matches against Chris Benoit just to get here) made the ending predictable, and yes, Booker eventually won the match, but not before completely forgetting that he’d had his leg destroyed, no-selling the whole thing and botching a tombstone piledriver reversal.

Finally, Booker hit a tombstone of his own, itself looking incredibly crappy, and then getting the three count.
Your Winner and NEW WCW Television Champion: Booker T

Afterwards, Stevie Ray came out to celebrate with his brother. I almost expected this to be the night that Stevie turned on Booker, but alas, it was not.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW United States Champion Goldberg vs. Konnan (w/ Curt Hennig & Rick Rude)

WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review - Curt Hennig (w/ Rick Rude) joined up with nWo Hollywood
So, the story here was that Curt Hennig was originally supposed to face Goldberg but got injured and, in storyline, nominated fellow nWo Wolfpac member Konnan to take his place.

I don’t know if it’s just because so many years have passed or because the nWo thing eventually got so bloated and complicated, but I had no memory whatsoever of Hennig ever being a member of the Wolfpac.

Anyway, you don’t win any prizes for guessing how this match went. It was your typical Goldberg squash in which the champ battered Konnan to put himself at 100-0.

I will say this though, Goldberg was insanely over. All throughout the show, the crowd had been chanting his name, and when the man himself finally came out, the response was arguably even louder than the one white-hit Stone Cold Steve Austin was receiving at the time.
Your Winner and Still Unites States Champion: Super Over Goldberg

Post-match, Hennig and Rick Rude turned on Konnan and revealed that they were nWo Hollywood all along. Now that’s what I remember.

After a serious beat down, Kevin Nash and Lex Luger ran down to make the save.

A cheesy promo video for Bash at the Beach 98 followed, after which it was time for one of two (technically three) main events.

WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hulk Hogan & Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart (w/ The Disciple) vs. Macho Man Randy Savage & Rowdy Roddy Piper

WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review - Bret Hart & Hulk Hogan faced Roddy Piper & Randy Savage
Even with two talented performers like Macho Man Randy Savage and Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart involved, this one came across as lazy and uninspired.

Half the problem was that Bret just didn’t seem interested and was merely going through the motions here whilst Savage was working with a legit knee injury that would eventually sideline him until 1999, thus he wasn’t up to his usual standards.

This bland meh of a match saw the heels beat up on Piper for a while after which Savage took some punishment and gave up to the sharpshooter.

Nobody gave a damn. Not even the wrestlers in the ring.
Your Winners: Hollywood Hogan and Bret Hart

Afterwards, Mean Gene tried to get a word with Piper, who was more interested in helping his fallen partner to his feet. Savage, however, had other ideas and clotheslined Piper.

The next match was on.

Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Macho Man Randy Savage

Short and yet somehow mildly more entertaining than the last match, this saw Savage get some offence in but then cripple himself coming off the top with an elbow drop.

Frustrated at only getting a two count, Savage then beat up Charles Robinson but got a low blow for his troubles and was slapped in a figure four.

Replacement ref Mickie Jay ran in, and this one was over.
Your Winner: Roddy Piper

‘This was brutal,’ said Tony Schiavone afterwards.

Yes it was, Tony. Though not in the way you think.

Singles Match for the WCW Tag Team Titles
Sting vs. The Giant

WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review - Wolfpac Sting faced The Giant
Remember, both men were technically the champs here but since they were both on opposite sides of the nWo fence, this match would determine which one of them got to defend the belts with a new partner.

The Giant came to the ring smoking a cigarette because, you know, he was an evil badass or something.

That match itself was short -stupidly short- and lasted only about six minutes. If this was an undercard bout, fine, but for a main event?

Regardless, Giant and Sting did the best they could with what they had and actually managed to make a fairly entertaining contest out of the short amount of time available to them.

Not an amazing main event by any standards, especially compared to the quality main events WWF were putting on at the time, but decent nonetheless.

In the end, Sting won with a tornado scorpion death drop.
Your Winner: Sting

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was all she wrote.

Whilst the main event wasn’t bad, it’s the undercard that really makes this a worthwhile show.

Benoit/Booker was solid, Kanyon/Saturn was a surprise highlight and Malenko/Jericho was fantastic stuff.

The more I think about it, the more I realise just how different WWF and WCW PPVs were at the time. WCW tore it up in the undercard but then faltered in the main event whilst WWF put on a disappointing undercard leading to an entertaining headline.

But anyway, overall, this is one show that is actually worth watching, and a step in the right direction for WCW, whose last couple of PPVs had sorely disappointed.

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
Other Great American Bash Reviews
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    Thursday, 20 September 2018

    PPV REVIEW: WWF Over The Edge 1998 - In Your House 22

    WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - In Your House 22: Event Poster
    May 31, 1998
    Wisconsin Center Arena in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    I get a cold shiver down my spine when I think about WWF Over The Edge. After all, it was at the 1999 version of this event that one of my all-time favourite wrestlers, Owen Hart, was tragically killed.

    Still, this is the 1998 version, the first Over The Edge event that we're here to talk about tonight. So, as much as possible, I'm going to push the events of 1999 out of my mind for the time being and concentrate on this show.

    Let's get to it, shall we?

    You Must Comply

    We began our show tonight with an intro video which took footage recounting the rivalry between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vince McMahon spliced it with footage of armies marching and 1984/They Live-style messages telling us to obey and be compliant.

    The overall effect was to liken McMahon to a dictator not too dissimilar to Hitler, and Austin as the anti-hero renegade who refused to conform.

    The main reason behind the video, however, was not merely to look cool (which it did) but to remind us that Austin would face Dude Love tonight with McMahon as the referee, Gerald Brisco as the timekeeper, and Pat Patterson as our guest ring announcer.

    Could Austin overcome such insurmountable odds and still walk out with the WWF title?

    That was the question Jim Ross asked as he welcomed us to tonight's show.

    No, came the resounding reply from JR's broadcast colleague, Jerry 'The King' Lawler.

    With all that out of the way, it was onto our opening match.

    LOD 2000 (Hawk & Animal w/ Sunny and Darren Drozdov) vs. The Disciples of Apocalypse (Skull & 8-Ball, w/ Chainz)

    WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - Sunny Celebrates with Animal of LOD 2000
    Since we last saw them at Unforgiven 1998, Hawk and Animal had befriended newcomer Darren 'Puke' Drozdov, kicking off a storyline that would take a disturbing turn later on in the year.

    Here, Droz hung around ringside with Sunny whilst his team went to war with Skull and 8-Ball in a passable contest that hasn't aged well.

    What I mean by that is that whilst the crowd were super hot for it (or at least they were super hot for the LOD) watching this match back, you just don't feel that this was anything worth getting excited over.

    After 12 or so minutes, Skull and 8-Ball tried to pull the old switcharoo, but Droz got involved and ended up giving his team the assist for the win.
    Your Winners: LOD 2000

    As Sunny celebrated with her boys, the camera got a close up of her and gave us an eye-full of her nipple. I'm glad I only noticed this now. I don't think my 13-year-old self would have been able to cope with Sunny nips back in the day.

    Farooq takes out The Rock

    WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - The Rock cuts a pre-match promo before facing Farooq
    After leading a mutiny and usurping Farooq as leader of The Nation, The Rock was scheduled to defend his Intercontinental title against the man better known as Ron Simmons later on in the show.

    Instead, The People’s Champ debuted his new theme music -the original version of the theme we all remember him using- as he strolled to ringside to make fun of the Milwaukee crowd.

    Having heard enough, Farooq himself ran out to attack his adversary.

    The Rock brought out a chair, but instead of plastering Farooq with it, we got the familiar spot where he misses, the chair hits the ropes, and bounces back into his own face.

    Farooq then delivered a piledriver, aiming for the chair but missing but a good mile. Jim Ross, ever the professional, still tried to convince us that the move had landed.

    Eventually, the rest of The Nation ran out to make the save and Farooq just kind of walked away.

    That left The Rock selling the piledriver as if it had landed on the chair...from a great height...before having his neck trampled on by an elephant.

    EMTs came down and put Rocky on a stretcher with a neck brace, all but telling us that tonight’s Intercontinental championship match wouldn’t be taking place.

    Whilst this wasn’t a horrible segment, the fact that the chair-shot clearly missed really ruined it, especially when they tried to sell it that The Rock was legit hurt.

    Michael Cole is a Silly Bastard

    WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - Michael Cole interviews WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin
    Out in the locker room, Michael Cole asked WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin if tonight would be the last night he’d walk to the ring with the title.

    ‘Hell no, you silly bastard,’ replied Austin, before making up for the lacklustre show so far with a compelling promo in which he vowed to retain the belt.

    Asked whether anyone had volunteered to watch his back and keep Mr. McMahon in line, Austin said no, because everyone was too scared of Vince.

    This would become an important point later on in the show, but for now it was just a really good segment that really delivered.

    Double J (w/ Tennessee Lee) vs. Steve Blackman

    Yes, they were only referring to Jeff Jarrett as Double J at this point, with the announcers never once saying his full name.

    WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - Jeff Jarrett goes just by the name Double J
    Along with Double J and Triple H, I heard WWF also tried Quadruple P and Octuple Z but they didn’t take off.

    Whatever you want to call him, Double J was introduced by his promoter, Tennessee Lee before going up against Steve Blackman, who was competing in his first WWF Pay Per View singles match and his first PPV match of any kind since the 1998 Royal Rumble.

    The match was pretty good for what it was, but it became obvious that it didn’t really matter.

    At one point we were interrupted by Al Snow invading the Spanish announce team, and at others Ross and Lawler ignored the action completely to talk about The Rock and Sable.

    Still, Blackman and Jarrett -sorry, Double J- put on a decent show that ended when Tennessee Lee hit Blackman with one of his own sticks as the Lethal Weapon scaled the top rope.

    JJ made the cover, and this one was over.
    Your Winner: Double J

    Up next, we were taken back to Raw, where Marc Mero had made a deal with Sable:

    She could pick anyone in the WWF to represent her, and it that wrestler won, Sable would be free to leave Mero. If Mero won, however, Sable would have to leave the company.

    Marvellous Marc Mero vs. Sable

    WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - Sable took on estranged husband Marc Mero in a one-on-one match
    Rather than picking someone to represent her, Sable claimed she didn’t need any man to fight her battles, and would take on Mero himself.

    Feigning chivalry, Mero said the whole thing had gone too far, called for the bell and lay down, inviting Sable to pin him.

    When she made the cover, however, the dastardly heel kicked out at two, wrapped her up in a small package and won the ‘match.’
    Your Winner: Marc Mero

    Afterwards, Mero tried to rally the crowd into singing ‘Na Na Na Na Hey Hey Hey Goodbye’ but the crowd weren’t into it.

    Nor were they into much else for that matter.

    This whole segment fell flat, and wasn’t entertaining at all.

    Sable Says Farewell

    Backstage, Michael Cole interviewed Sable, who gave an emotional farewell, thanking the fans for their support.

    With that, Sable was apparently gone, but would be back by the time of the next In Your House event.

    The Rock is Hurt

    WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - The Nation tend to a hurt Rock backstage
    Pandemonium ran wild backstage as The Nation tended to The Rock, who was still wearing his neck brace.

    Owen Hart yelled random words at the camera as Doc Hendrix told us that Sgt. Slaughter had insisted that if The Rock didn’t compete tonight, he would be stripped of his title.

    3-on-2 Handicap Match
    Kaientai (Dick Togo, Sho Funaki, and Mens Teioh w/ Mr Yamaguchi) vs. WWF Light Heavyweight Champion Taka Michinoku & Bradshaw

    I always had a soft spot for Kaientai. Their match on the first ECW PPV was a highlight of that show and there was always something about seeing them in action that appealed to me.

    Here, although this wasn’t the greatest thing any of them had ever done, they certainly didn’t disappoint and delivered an entertaining contest that was always at its best when Taka Michinoku was going up against his former stablemates.

    Bradshaw was no slouch here either, and played his role as the big man laying waist to his smaller opponents really well.

    In the end, however, not even Bradshaw’s size was enough to combat the quickness and cunning of three opponents.

    Dick Togo drilled Taka with a senton bomb to win the match for his team.
    Your Winner: Kaientai

    WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - Sable leaves the arena after losing to Marc Mero
    Before the next match, we were shown Sable leaving the arena, and the World Wrestling Federation, whilst still wearing her wrestling attire.

    I mean, c’mon, wouldn’t you at least let the girl put some pants on first?

    World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
    WWF Intercontinental Champion The Rock vs. Farooq

    Three times they played The Rock’s music and three times The Great One failed to surface.

    That was until Sgt. Slaughter came out and basically made a huge mess of his lines.

    What he meant to say was that, as Commissioner, he was ordering The Rock to defend his title.

    WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - The Rock defended the Intercontinental title against Farooq
    What he actually ended up saying was something about him representing something. I don't know, it made no sense at all.

    Eventually, The Rock did arrive to put Slaughter out of his misery.

    Wearing a neck-brace and selling his injury for all it was with, the champ was met outside the ring by a fired-up Farooq, who took control early on and dominated the bulk of this short and forgettable -though not particularly horrible- match.

    At one point, Farooq thought he’d won but it turned out The Rock had his foot under the rope. A few seconds later, the champ gained the advantage and scored a fluke pin with both feet on the ropes.
    Your Winner and Still WWF Intercontinental Champion: The Rock

    Afterwards, Farooq picked up where he left off and nailed The Great One with a piledriver. The Nation then ran in for the beat down, but DX made the rescue.

    So far, this whole show feels like it’s missing something. A quality match is probably what it is.

    Mask vs. Mask
    Kane (w/ Paul Bearer) vs Vader

    This rivalry stretched back to No Way Out of Texas, when Kane smashed Vader in with a wrench.

    WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - Paul Bearer managed Kane against Vader
    Tonight, The Mastodon looked to get revenge in a ridiculous Mask vs. Mask match.

    By ridiculous, I mean the stipulation was. Honestly, Vader losing his mask was like The Red Rooster losing the red dye from his hair.

    Still, Jerry Lawler tried his best to sell the possibility of seeing Vader unmasked as something we should get excited about.

    Nobody did get excited when the big man inevitably lost, just as nobody got excited for the match itself.

    I mean, it was there, and it was OK, but blah. I’m so bored by this show that even writing this review is tough going.
    Your Winner: Kane

    Afterward, Kane gave Vader’s mask to Paul Bearer, who put it on and did a little dance. Then, Michael Cole asked Vader what went wrong, and Vader gave us his famous promo where he referred to himself as a ‘big fat piece of shit.’

    Honouring Milwaukee Legends

    WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - Mad Dog Vachon was honoured in a mini Hall of Fame-type ceremony
    Up next, Michael Cole took the time to introduce local legends Mad Dog Vachon and The Crusher to honour them in a brief segment akin to a bad Hall of Fame induction.

    Vachon, last seen at In Your House: Good Friends, Better Enemies when his leg was used in the finish of Shawn/Diesel, thanked his wife, told us he loved his niece, Luna Vachon, and then thanked Vince McMahon for putting wrestling on the world stage.

    As for The Crusher, well, I’m honestly not sure what he said, but I think it was something like ‘rar rar rar arggghh.’

    Eventually, Jerry Lawler got in the ring to mock the two old-timers and even ‘stole’ Vachon’s false leg, but Crusher got the leg back and beat Jerry up with it.

    This was supposed to be comedy -I think- but, like everything on the show, it fell flat.

    D-Generation-X (Triple H, Road Dogg, and Bad Ass Billy Gunn w/ Chyna and X-Pac) vs. The Nation (Kama Mustafa, D’Lo Brown, and Owen Hart w/ Marc Henry)

    WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - Road Dogg hypes the crowd before DX vs. The Nation
    It was only at the previous months pay per view, Unforgiven 1998, that DX had still been technically heels.

    Now, thanks to those famous ‘Invading WCW skits’ and a well-timed feud with The Nation, they were fully-fledged baby faces receiving the loudest pop of the night.

    Meanwhile, The Nation had added Owen Hart to their mix and were beginning to show a little more of their own personality. That meant that, whilst he wasn’t yet a proper pimp, Kama Mustafa did come down to the ring chomping on a cigar.

    At one point in the match, JR even told us that the ‘boys in the lockeroom’ called Kama ‘The Godfather,’ or ‘Sir.’

    I mention all of this because it’s more interesting than the match itself.

    Ok, so this was one of the better bouts on the card, but it still was only mildly entertaining at best.

    What, could nobody on this card be bothered at all?

    In the end, we got the predictable ‘babyface-in-peril-makes-the-hit-tag-and-all-six-men-start-brawling’ bit which resulted in Billy Gunn and Triple H hitting D’Lo Brown with a spiked piledriver onto the European title.

    Hunter made the cover, but then Owen Hart ran in and blasted him with a pedigree onto the title to land the win.
    Your Winners: The Nation

    Time for the Main Event

    WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - Mr McMahon prepares for his special referee role in the Austin/Dude Love match
    Before the action, we got a video package reminding us of the build-up to this match and how Vince had said that he accepted the condition of somebody able to volunteer to keep an eye on him and make sure he called the match fairly, because he knew that nobody would have the balls to do it.

    That took us to a backstage interview in which Doc Hendrix asked McMahon (w/ The Stooges, obviously) whether tonight would be Austin’s last night as champion.

    That, said McMahon, was up to Austin, but what he did know was that the only way the match was going to end was by his (McMahon’s) hand only. Remember that for later.

    World Wrestling Federation Championship
    WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Dude Love (Special Referee: Vince McMahon)

    Prior to the match, Howard Finkle gave Special Guest Ring Announcer Pat Patterson an over-hyped introduction that had obviously been forced upon him by the evil heels.

    Patterson then gave the same kind of ass-kissing intro to Special Guest Time Keeper Gerald Briscoe, Special Guest Referee Vince McMahon, and, of course, our challenger, Dude Love.

    WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - Dude Love vs. WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin
    Patterson then refused to introduce ‘a bum’ like Steve Austin, but Austin, of course, needed no introduction. The Texas Rattlesnake blew the roof off the joint as he made his way to the ring, ready for war.

    Predictably, given that JR had spent most of the night telling us that The Undertaker was in the building for no reason, The Dead Man came to volunteer to keep his eye on McMahon.

    Finally, the bell rang, and the only match on the card worth watching got underway, though not before a large ‘VINCE IS GAY!’ chant erupted from the crowd which JR told us was actually ‘Vince is Dead.’

    I laughed.

    Gay or not, Vince decided halfway through the match that it was now Falls Count Anywhere, which gave us an entertaining trip up to the entrance and plenty of fun spots involving the junkyard cars that made up the Over the Edge set.

    It was the finish though that was the most entertaining part of all.

    A chair came into play, which Austin used to knock Dude Love out cold with.

    Vince, however, refused to count, prompting Austin to get up in his face. Love recovered and charged at Austin with a chair, but the champ ducked, and Dude took out The Chairman instead.

    With the ref down, Foley gained the advantage and Pat Patterson tried to count the fall, but Undertaker dragged him from the ring and choke slammed him through a table in a truly beautiful moment.

    The same happened to Gerald Briscoe, and I’ll admit to jumping out of my seat with excitement - just when I was wondering why we loved the Attitude Era, spots like that remind me.

    In the end, Austin stunned the challenger then grabbed an unconscious Vince McMahon and used the boss’s hand to make the three count.
    Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin

    Afterwards, Austin and Undertaker exchanged glances, leading us into Austin’s next feud.

    That, ladies and gentlemen, was a tough show to watch. Everything up to the main event was either uninspired, confusing, or just plain bad.

    The main event, however, was phenomenally entertaining and a true must-see Attitude Era match.

    When you do see it, however, be sure to skip the rest of the show, because it really did suck.

    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
      Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

      Thursday, 13 September 2018

      PPV REVIEW: WCW Slamboree 1998

      WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - EVENT POSTER
      May 17, 1998 
      The Centrum in Worcester, Massachusetts 

      By the spring of 1998, something that at one point had seemed almost impossible was becoming a reality: 

      World Championship Wrestling - a company which, for a fleeting moment in history had been the hottest pro wrestling company in the world- was starting to lose its battle against the World Wrestling Federation - a company that just a few years earlier seemed destined to go out of business.

      If ever there was a sign that WCW was getting desperate in its attempts to dethrone the WWF once and for all, it was tonight - where head honcho Eric Bischoff had challenged Titan Sports kingpin Vince McMahon to meet him in the middle of the ring.

      Though it was an obvious publicity stunt, that didn't stop Bischoff & Co. from making it the main focus of their latest PPV, Slamboree 1998.

      As we'll soon find out, every other segment on the show was centred around Bischoff/McMahon.

      But does that mean the show as a whole was as terrible as it sounds?

      See for yourself:

      Welcome to Slamboree

      We begin tonight with an odd opening video interspersing shots of buildings crumbling with shots of stars Macho Man Randy Savage, Bret 'The Hitman' Hart, Sting, and The Giant.

      This took us to our announcers for the evening, Tony Schiavone, Iron Mike Tenay and, of course, the one and only Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan.

      Eric Bischoff Challenges Vince McMahon

      WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - Vince McMahon's WCW full access pass
      After reminding us of the two main event matches, the trio took us back to a clip from WCW Thunder in which Eric Bischoff claimed that despite receiving a cease and desist from Vince McMahon's lawyers, he was still challenging the WWF owner to a fight on tonight's show.

      That took us to a clip from earlier in the day in which WCW Head of Security Doug Dillinger waited outside the arena which a bunch of fans for McMahon's arrival.

      Despite Dillinger having a Full Access security pass ready for him, Vince obviously didn't show up.

      From there, it was onto our opening match.

      World Championship Wrestling World Television Champion
      WCW Television Champion Fit Finlay vs. Chris Benoit

      Dave 'Fit' Finlay hadn't appeared on WCW PPV since his brutal war with Lord Steven Regal back at Uncensored 1996 (and that's a match worth watching if you haven't already).

      Two years later, he was now the Television Champion and ready for war against Chris Benoit.

      WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - Finlay battled Chris Benoit for the TV title
      The match was as crisp and hard-hitting as you'd expect it to be and was mostly enjoyable for it.

      I say mostly because there was a section in the middle where the pace slowed to such an extent that it was boring to watch.

      Things did pick up, however, and came to a head when Booker T came out.

      Booker had some unresolved issues with Benoit following their previous meeting at Spring Stampede 98, and Benoit had even gone so far as to cost Booker the title to Finlay. Looking for retribution, the former champion didn't actually do anything, but his presence was enough to distract The Crippler and led to his eventual demise courtesy of a Finlay tombstone.
      Your Winner and Still WCW TV Champion: Fit Finlay

      Out in the back, or what Schiavone called 'The Internet Location,' Chris Jericho told Lee Marshall that it didn't matter who won tonight's Cruiserweight battle royal, they would all fall to the champ.

      Brian Adams (w/ Vincent) vs. Lex Luger

      WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - Lex Luger beat Brian Adams
      Not yet a member of nWo Wolfpack, Lex Luger had been at war with nWo Hollywood partly because he was, as Tony Schiavone put it 'Trueblood WCW,' but mainly because he was friends with Rick Steiner, who had been taken out by Scott Steiner and the rest of nWo Hollywood.

      Yet with what few stars that faction actually had all otherwise engaged, Luger was left to do battle with jobber Brian Adams in a basic big-man match that offered little in the way of entertainment.

      This wasn't bad for what it was, it's just that what it was wasn't much at all.

      Predictably, Luger picked up the win after 5 minutes with the Torture Rack.
      Your Winner: Lex Luger

      WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - Perry Saturn faced Goldberg
      Out in the back, Perry Saturn cut a bland, monotonous promo in which he basically distanced himself from The Flock then promised to beat Goldberg for the US title.

      We'd get to that later, but first it was onto our battle royal.

      Chris Jericho is Your Guest Ring Announcer

      Prior to the match itself, Cruiserweight Champion Chris Jericho interrupted ring announcer Dave Penzer and declared that he was taking over mic duties for this match.

      Though most of Jericho's introductions were basically borderline racist insults about the Mexican competitors (and a nod to The Rockers for Marty Jannetty), some of his barbs were genuinely funny, though you have to wonder why every single wrestler ignored the insult they received and just headed straight to the ring.

      Cruiserweight Battle Royal (winner gets a shot at the Cruiserweight title) ft. Ciclope, Super Calo, Chavo Guerrero, Marty Jannetty, Silver King, El Dandy, Psicosis, Juventud Guerrera, Vilano IV and others

      The rules here were that you could be eliminated via pinfall or over-the-top rope, but there wasn't a single pinfall, or even an attempt at one, in sight, so why they bothered to throw that in there is anyone's guess.

      WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - Dean Malenko won a cruiserweight battle royal dressed as Ciclope
      As battle royals go, this wasn't the worst, but then it was hardly anything special either.

      After a few short minutes of fairly nondescript action, it all came down to Ciclope and Juventud Guerrera.

      A long stare-down commenced, following which the two shook hands and Juvi jumped over the top rope, eliminating himself from the match.
      Your Winner: Ciclope

      Except of course Ciclope wasn't really Ciclope at all. The luchadore unmasked to reveal that he was actually Dean Malenko, whose bitter rivalry with Jericho stretches back several months.

      Shocked and surprised, defending champion Jericho nonetheless hit the ring ready to defend his title.

      World Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship
      WCW Cruiserweight Champion Chris Jericho vs. Dean 'Ciclope' Malenko

      The resulting match may have paled in comparison to their earlier outing at Uncensored 1998, but it was still Jericho and Malenko, so it was impossible for it to be anything but entertaining.

      In the perfect ending to the story, Malenko (who hadn't been seen since Mean Gene called him a loser) synched in the Texas Cloverleaf and won the match.
      Your Winner and New WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Dean Malenko

      'The world's toughest pumpkin has done it!' yelled Heenan, referring to the orange and black Ciclope attire.

      It's hard to explain in writing how funny that was.

      Vinnie Mac Cam

      WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - The "Vinne Mac Cam"
      I'm not making this up, WCW had a Vinnie Mac cam which included a helicopter shot of a white limousine pulling up to the arena, which the announcers speculated could be Vince McMahon.

      'If Jim Ross jumps out carrying his bags, you know it's him,' quipped Tony Schiavone.

      Seriously Tony, don't be such a bitch.

      We didn't get to find out who was in the limo, as we instead went back to the arena for our next match.

      Bowery Death Match
      Diamond Dallas Page vs. Raven 

      This was basically a Last Man Standing match inside a mesh cage with a roof on it.

      The announcers hyped up the fact that this cage had a roof on it without once saying 'you know, like WarGames.'

      Combined with several trash cans filled with plunder that had been stuffed into the ring, this had all the makings of a quality hardcore match, and even elicited a noticeable 'ECW' chant from the crowd.

      But quality this was not.

      It was a sloppy-arse mess of match with no redeeming qualities and an unnecessary ref bump.

      WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - Raven heads to the ring to face Diamond Dallas PageSure, Billy Silverman getting squashed in the corner was the signal for the obligatory Flock run-in, but I'll remind you that this was a no-holds-barred Last Man Standing cage match - there was little Silverman could have done to stop The Flock getting involved even if he hadn't been face down on the canvas.

      As it turned out, half of the Flock were thwarted in their attempts at a run-in by ex-communicated member Van Hammer, who beat everybody up with a huge stop sign then handcuffed Reese to the guardrail.

      Despite that, Kidman and Horace Boulder, who had been disguised as members of the riot squad that had accompanied Raven to the ring, both got into the cage, but were only there to eat a couple of Diamond Cutters.

      After that brief detour, things got back on track and ended when both Raven and Page went down but the latter was able to beat the 10 count and win the match.

      Given what both men were capable of, that was one of the biggest disappointments of 1998.
      Your Winner: Diamond Dallas Page

      Afterwards, Page escaped through the crowd, leaving a member of the riot squad to take the next five hours and spend it handcuffing the Flock, including Raven, to the cage.

      After putting the whole audience to sleep with this, the man took off his helmet to reveal that he was in fact Mortis, who had tried and failed to get into the Flock in recent weeks.

      Mortis then unmasked, revealing the face of a man the announcers recognised as being a ‘vendor’ who had been in the crowd at the last few shows and had tormented Raven, and who we would eventually get to know as Chris Kanyon.

      That whole thing, from the start of the cage match to Kanyon taking forever to handcuff the Flock, was terrible.

      On the Hunt for Vinnie Mac

      WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - WCW security study pictures of Vince McMahon and WWF Superstars
      Continuing to give the competition plenty of free publicity, we went back to the Vinnie Mac Cam, which this time showed us footage of a man holding a piece of paper upon which were photographs of not just Vince, but also Stone Cold Steve Austin, HBK-era D-Generation-X, and X-Pac.

      The man was looking for WWF’s biggest stars out in the lobby, and when they naturally didn’t show up, we got some security camera footage of some empty rooms and corridors, just in case McMahon -and I’m quoting Schiavone here- was ‘hiding.’

      This was very stupid.

      Perry Saturn is Ready for Goldberg

      Out in the ‘Internet Location’ Perry Saturn told Lee Marshall that Goldberg had gotten lucky when he beat him at Spring Stampede, but this time things would be different.

      By this point, we still hadn’t cleared the ring of the Flock and the Hell in a Cell/ generic cage with a roof, so we had the announcers kill some time until finally, it was back to the action.

      Ultimate Dragon vs. Eddie Guerrero (w/ Chavo Guerrero)

      WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - Eddie Guerrero puts a hurting on Ultimo Dragon
      So, in an effort to get his uncle Eddie Guerrero to renounce his evil ways and become a babyface again, Chavo Guerrero had challenged him to a match.

      If Chavo won, Eddie would have to start playing by the rules again. If he lost, he would become Eddie's lackey.

      Naturally, he lost, and went on to lose a match against the Ultimo Dragon at Spring Stampede due to Eddie-based shenanigans.

      The Dragon, however, had taken a disliking to Eddie and wanted Chavo to break free from his uncle's rule, even going so far as to issue a challenge:

      If he beat Eddie, Chavo was free to go.

      The challenge was accepted, and thus we had our match tonight.

      As you'd expect from two top caliber wrestlers, Eddie vs. Dragon was a very good wrestling match, though it could have been even better had they been given long enough to really tear it up.

      In the end, Chavo wound up costing himself his own freedom when he got on the ropes to argue with Eddie.

      Ultimo went to attack from behind, but Eddie moved and Chavo went crashing off the apron.

      As Ultimo checked on his fallen buddy, his opponent attacked him from behind, hit a suplex, then landed the match-winning frog splash.
      Your Winner: Eddie Guerrero

      Irate, Chavo proceeded to beat up the Ultimo Dragon until Eddie pulled him away. Not that this made things better, Chavo yelled and pushed his uncle, but when Eddie offered Chavo a free slap, the younger Guerrero refused.

      Vince McMahon: The Reason for the Ratings

      WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - Vince McMahon's WCW dressing room
      Out in the back, we were shown a shot of a special star dressing room reserved for Vince 'The Reason for the Ratings' McMahon.

      Did I happen to mention how stupid this whole thing was?

      World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
      WCW United States Champion Goldberg vs. Perry Saturn

      These two had met the previous month at Spring Stampede, but this time they were going at it for the US title, with no Flock supporting Saturn.

      A step above your typical Goldberg squash, this was a decent effort from both men, but still came down to one thing:

      Making WCW’s hottest property look even hotter.

      After a short but enjoyable battle Goldberg landed a spear and a Jackhammer to retain the title.
      Your Winner and Still US Champion: Goldberg

      Prior to one of our ‘Feature Matches’ we got a promo for The Great American Bash which saw Raven basically complaining that he never got any apple pie as a kid.

      I wish I was making that up.

      Eric Bischoff vs. Vince McMahon

      WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - Scruffy Eric Bischoff challenged Vince McMahon to a fight
      So this was it. They went so far with this as to have Michael Buffer do the ring announcing and introduce Vince.

      Obviously, McMahon was a no-show, leaving Bischoff, who was a heel (and who looked like shit) to lead the crowd in a ten count, counting McMahon out.

      Buffer then informed us that Bischoff had won by forfeit AND disqualification.

      Can you get disqualified for forfeiting? That’s news to me.
      Your Winner via Forefeit and DQ: Eric Bischoff

      Michael Buffer was on form tonight. He introduced our next match as ‘a grudge match from hell’ and then gave up on introducing Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart and kinda just yelled ‘Brehhhhh.’

      It’s stupid, but it really made me laugh.

      Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart vs. Macho Man Randy Savage (Rowdy Roddy Piper Special Guest Referee)

      Brehhhh, sorry, Bret Hart had cost Savage the title against Hollywood Hogan, turning him heel in the process and setting up a natural match between the two.

      Rowdy Roddy Piper was our special guest referee because he just was, and Randy Savage was representing the nWo Wolfpac, but still had the traditional nWo porn music intro.

      WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - Randy Savage battled Bret 'The Hitman' Hart
      Playing the role of the babyface, Savage absorbed punishment from bell to bell, and the match suffered because of it.

      Whilst this could use been a classic, it was a slow plod that saw Hart work over his opponent for half a millennium until Savage was able to reverse a sharpshooter.

      That's when things took a turn for the dumb.

      Miss Elizabeth ran down and distracted Roddy Piper so that Bret could drill him in the back of the head with an international object.

      Savage got the object and Bret backed off until Hogan ran in and attacked Macho Man.

      Bret then got the sharpshooter on again, Piper recovered and noticed that Savage was wearing the foreign object but it didn't matter because Savage tapped anyway.
      Your Winner: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart.

      This really is turning into a frustratingly bad show.

      World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
      WCW Tag Team Champions The Outsiders (Scott Hall & Kevin Nash) vs. Sting & The Giant

      WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - Sting &  The Giant faced The Outsiders
      There was a convoluted storyline going on here in which The Giant had joined nWo Hollywood but was teaming with WCW's Sting to face nWo Wolfpac's Outsiders.

      Because it's so convoluted, I'm going to ignore the story and focus only on the match.

      In and of itself, it was a perfectly acceptable main event, by not one that was ever going to win any awards.

      Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were clearly -loudly- the fan favourite but played the heel role right though the match, whilst the crowd clearly hated nWo Hollywood's Giant and were mostly apathetic about Sting, who seemed like an afterthought throughout the whole thing.

      After some passable action, Scott Hall turned his back on Kevin Nash and helped The Giant win the titles.
      Your Winners and New WCW Tag Team Champions: Sting & The Giant

      The look on Sting's face as Scott Hall revealed he was now in the nWo Hollywood camp was the same look I had after watching this show.

      It was a look of 'what the actual f--k was that?

      I mean seriously. I always try to look on the positive side of things with these reviews, but this really was one of those shows where you start to literally see the wheels falling off WCW.

      The company were still hot at this point, but the more they produced shows like this, the further down hill they went.

      Benoit/Finlay and Guerrero/Dragon were both good matches, but not good enough to make this show worth watching.

      If, on the other hand, you want to see for yourself what a train wreck WCW was turning into, then Slamboree 1998 is a perfect example.

      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
      Other WCW Slamboree reviews
      Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

      Thursday, 6 September 2018

      PPV REVIEW: WWF Unforgiven 1998: In Your House 21

      WWF -  Unforgiven 1998: In Your House 21 EVENT REVIEW
      April 26, 1998
      Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, North Carolina.

      We've talked multiple times on Retro Pro Wrestling about the true beginnings of the Attitude Era. 

      Whether it was the World Wrestling Federation's gradual shift towards an edgier product back in 1996 (a shift that was so subtle you'd be forgiven for missing it altogether), or more prominent events like Montreal, there were a number of occasions between '96 and '98 that you could look to as a true turning point for the company.

      Yet regardless as to when it started, by the time April 1998 rolled around, there was no mistaking it:

      The Attitude Era was well and truly upon us.

      Featuring an Inferno Match, Evil Mr. McMahon, Stone Cold causing mayhem and Sable giving most of the teenage boys in the audience plenty of reason to stay up at night, Unforgiven 1998 looked set to perfectly encapsulate everything this oft-mised era was truly all about.

      But was it any good?

      Let's see what happened when the WWF ventured into what was typically enemy territory to find out.

      Now I Dub Thee Unforgiven

      Stone Cold Steve Austin was now the biggest wrestling superstar on the planet and riding a wave of momentum as WWF Champion, so naturally, our introduction ignored him completely to focus on the first ever WWF Inferno match that we'd see tonight between The Undertaker and Kane.

      To be fair, this intro was really good, mixing the company's usual penchant for the dramatic with quotes from Dante's Inferno and a compelling narrative.

      WWF -  Unforgiven 1998: In Your House 21 - Jim ross & Jerry Lawler called the action
      Immediately ruining the effect, we got some good ol' southern country music as the camera panned the North Carolina crowd and Jim Ross welcomed us to the show.

      His colleague, Jerry 'The King' Lawler insisted that just because Vince McMahon (now doing his evil Mr. McMahon gimmick) had spent weeks implying that he'd do a Montreal on Austin in the Rattlesnake's upcoming title defence against Corporate Dude Love, that didn't necessarily mean that's what he was planning to do.

      From there, it was onto our opening match

      Six-Man Tag
      The Nation (WWF Intercontinental Champion The Rock, D'Lo Brown, and Mark Henry w/ Kama Mustafa) vs. Farooq, Ken Shamrock, and Steve Blackman

      Since Wrestlemania 14, The Rock had seized control of The Nation and implored his men to basically let loose and be themselves.

      Apparently, only Kama Mustafa had taken him up on that, as he came to the ring in a black leather waistcoat, top hat, and earrings, looking more like The Godfather we'd get to love him as, and less like the Supreme Fighting Machine that nobody had given a crud about.

      WWF -  Unforgiven 1998: In Your House 21 - Farooq, Steve Blackman & Ken Shamrock took on The NationRock's leadership did mean that instead of the usual Nation Salute, the four men just did whatever they wanted when they hit the ring, though not before Howard Finkle referred to the Intercontinental Champion as 'The Rock, Ricky Maivia.'

      Proving that he was done with them once and for all, Farooq came to the ring wearing his Nation attire and led Ken Shamrock and Steve Blackman in doing the Nation Salute.

      All of that is far more interesting than anything which happened in the match.

      OK, so it wasn't bad, but it wasn't very interesting either, and basically saw The Nation control the bout until Farooq hit the Dominator to give the match, and the feud, the ending it deserved.
      Your Winners: Farooq, Ken Shamrock, and Steve Blackman

      Ok, so maybe it wasn't the ending, because afterwards, Michael Cole interviewed Farooq at ringside and Farooq said that this was only the beginning.

      Stone Cold Threatens the Time Keeper

      WWF -  Unforgiven 1998: In Your House 21 - Steve Austin threatens timekeeper Mark Yeaton
      In what we were told was an unscheduled appearance, Stone Cold Steve Austin came out and yanked timekeeper Mark Yeaton into the ring.

      There, Austin gave Yeaton a fair warning that if Mr. McMahon did go all Montreal and screw him out of the title, then he'd kick Yeaton's ass, but if Yeaton rang the bell only when he was supposed to, he'd be fine.

      At one point, Austin told the timekeeper that he had to 'call it down the middle,' apparently mistaking his job for that of a referee.

      World Wrestling Federation European Championship
      WWF European Champion Triple H (w/ Chyna) vs. Owen Hart
      (Chyna must be locked in a shark cage)

      Long before Enzo Amore did it, Chyna was suspended above the ring in a shark cage to stop her interfering.

      WWF -  Unforgiven 1998: In Your House 21 - Owen Hart looks on as Chyna gets put in a cage
      Obviously, that meant she and Triple H were still technically heels, though they were getting enough cheers that a full-on babyface turn couldn't be too far away.

      Sadly, Chyna's attempts to break out of the cage were so distracting that it was hard to focus on her man defending the European Championship against Owen Hart.

      That was a shame, because the actual match was pretty solid, but nobody was watching because they were all focussed on Chyna.

      To her credit, the moment she did escape the cage and spent time hanging from the outside of it was pretty impressive and proved to be the highlight of the whole thing.

      The cage lowered (we were told it hd been done by Road Dogg) and whilst Chyna was distracting all the referees, Owen hit Hunter with then Pedigree and made the cover.

      With no ref in place, X-Pac, in his first WWF PPV appearance since In Your House 6: Rage in the Cage, hit Owen with a fire extinguisher the drapsed Hunter's arm over the challenger.

      Mike Chioda made the three count, and this one was over.
      Your Winner and Still WWF European Champion: Triple H

      Post-match, Michael Cole interviewed Owen Hart.

      The defeated wrestler told Cole that enough was enough and it was time for a change.

      He also said that 'this bullshit has gotta stop.' making the second time in less than a year that word had been used on a WWF PPV (the first by Vader at In Your House 18: Badd Blood)

      New Midnight Express (Bombastic Bob & Bodacious Bart w/ Jim Cornette) vs. The Rock 'n' Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson)

      WWF -  Unforgiven 1998: In Your House 21 - The New Midnight Express set to battle the Rock 'n' Roll Express
      Prior to the match, Jim Cornette got us all nicely riled up by calling the fans 'ugly' and insisting that his team of Bombastic Bob and Bodacious Bart were going to 'ruin' the NWA favourites, Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson.

      When The Rock 'n' Roll Express did come out -for what was their second ever WWF PPV match (the first being Survivor Series 1994)- they entered into what proved to be the most entertaining match on the show so far.

      An enjoyable highlight was Jim Cornette, fed up of Tim White catching his team cheating, challenging the referee to a fight.

      White untucked his shirt and put up the dukes, so the cowardly Cornette backed off and we got the rest of this fun, old-school match with a decidedly old-school finish: The New Midnight Express won with a bulldog.
      Your Winners: The New Midnight Express

      WWF -  Unforgiven 1998: In Your House 21 - Luna Vachon threatens to destroy Sable in their evening gown match
      Out in the back, Doc Hendrix spoke to Luna Vachon (flanked by The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust) who cut a wonderfully weird promo in which she promised to leave Sable looking 'like a new born baby' in their upcoming evening gown match.

      Evening Gown Match
      Luna Vachon (w/ TAFKA Goldust) vs. Sable

      As the participants made their way to the ring, Ross and Lawler were quick to stress on multiple occasions that this was no different than a 'tuxedo match,' that male wrestlers would normally compete in, as if so desperate to tell us that they weren't being sexist or exploitative in any way.

      It's funny how the company would start off the Attitude Era with this kind of disclaimer and dress up a 'strip you naky' match as a classy 'evening gown' affair and finish it by just calling it a 'bra and panties' match and fitting it in somewhere between Hot Lesbian Action and Trish Stratus barking like a dog.

      WWF -  Unforgiven 1998: In Your House 21 - Sable celebrates stripping Luna Vachon in an evening gown matchThe 'match' -and I'm being generous calling it that- was garbage, though thankfully very short garbage.

      After a minute or so of teasing, Luna inevitably stripped Sable down to her bra and knickers.

      Yes, I get it, Sable was the hottest thing on the planet, but I'm sorry, seeing a woman having her clothes ripped off and being angry about it just does nothing for me.
      Your Winner: Luna Vachon

      Afterwards, Sable hit the Sable Bomb on Luna then chased her under the ring and emerged a minute later holding Luna's bra and panties aloft, as if to suggest she'd literally raped her nekkid under the ring.

      As the company's second biggest star (behind Austin) celebrated, Luna was wrapped up in Goldust's robe (which he hadn't worn for months but conveniently did tonight) and was carried backstage over the shoulder of her man.

      Mr McMahon Resolves Himself of All Responsibility

      WWF -  Unforgiven 1998: In Your House 21 - Mr. McMahon looking perplexed
      Ah, semi-naked Sable followed by a Mr McMahon promo; it doesn't get more Attitude Era than that, does it?

      With The Stooges, Pat Patterson and Gerald Briscoe by his side, McMahon addressed the earlier comments made by Steve Austin in which he said that whilst he wouldn't dream of screwing Steve Austin because it was 'beneath [his] dignity,' he wouldn't be held responsible if Stone Cole screwed Stone Cold, ala 'Bret screwed Bret' back at the 1997 Survivor Series.

      Vince hadn't quite perfected the mannerisms of his heel character yet, but you could tell he was working on it, and this was good stuff from The Chairman.

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

      WWF -  Unforgiven 1998: In Your House 21 - Billy Gunn and a sex doll
      Like the rest of their DX brethren, The New Age Outlaws were still playing heels here, and came to the ring with a blowup doll that was supposed to represent a famous North Carolinian sports coach.

      Then Hawk & Animal came to the ring to claim the title shot they'd earned last month in Wrestlemania 14's big, 15 team battle royal, and not once did the announcers mention that their manager, Sunny, used to manage Billy Gunn.

      The match was a painful snoozefest that ended in the same way as Shawn Michaels/British Bulldog from In Your House 8: Beware of Dog, when Hawk drilled Road Dog with a bridging German suplex and held him for the pin, but the referee counted Hawk's shoulders down instead.

      I know the New Age Outlaws were entertaining as hell, and I know that Sunny never looked hotter than she did with Hawk and Animal, but that was seriously a horrible match.
      Your Winners and Still WWF Tag Team Champions: The New Age Outlaws

      Afterwards, the rest of DX came out to celebrate with the Outlaws whilst the Road Warriors took out their frustrations by taking out Mike Chioda with a Doomsday Device.

      Jeff Jarrett Live in Concert

      WWF -  Unforgiven 1998: In Your House 21 - Jeff Jarrett sings with Sawyer Brown
      Looking to redeem himself after his 'live' performance at In Your House 2 turned out to be a sham, Double J Jeff Jarrett teamed up with Sawyer Brown to sing 'Some Girls Do.'

      The resulting performance was even worse than 'With My Baby Tonight,' with Jarrett making it even more obvious than last time that he was lip-synching, whilst the audio mix was so god awful that the whole thing made me cringe from start to finish.

      After the performance was over, Jarrett was attacked by his arch-nemesis, Steve Blackman.

      Tennessee Lee came to the rescue and drilled Blackman with a guitar, allowing Double J to slap on a figure four.

      The whole thing was so bad that the crowd began chanting 'We Want Flair!'

      Hell, Fire, and Hot Dogs

      Prior to a Michael Cole narrated video package highlighting the build-up to our first ever Inferno Match, Jerry Lawler brought out some marshmallows and hot dogs, you know, to put over how serious this match was.

      Inferno Match
      Kane (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. The Undertaker

      First person to set their opponent on fire wins.

      WWF -  Unforgiven 1998: In Your House 21 - The Undertaker prepares for battle in the first ever WWF inferno match
      Early on, Jim Ross claimed that Kane had cost The Undertaker the WWF title against Shawn Michaels in the Hell in a Cell at In Your House 18: Badd Blood, which was impressive because Bret 'The Hitman' Hart was Champion at the time.

      Later, Ross then called Kane a 'one-eyed monster.' I wonder who explained that one to him after the show.

      Though aesthetically impressive, the early parts of this match were pretty dull, as Kane and Undertaker spent most of their time in the corners trying to set one another on fire.

      Every now and again, the pyro guy would send the flames shooting high above the ring ropes, and that looked way cooler than anything the wrestlers were doing.

      That was until 'Taker clotheslined his brother to the outside.

      There, Kane tried to bail, only for Vader, with whom he'd also been feuding, to come down and batter the Big Red Machine back to the ring.

      There, Undertaker soared high above the flames and took out both men with an awesome looking tope.

      Paul Bearer tried getting involved by hitting 'Taker with a chair, but The Dead a Man merely beat his former manager all the way to Jeff Jarrett's stage and smashed a bass drum over his head.

      This of course, was all a distraction so that Kane could fit an obvious fire-proof sleeve over his arm.

      When Undertaker returned, he hit Kane and Kane simply shoved this sleeve into the fire then ran off with his arm ablaze.
      Your Winner: The Undertaker

      Prior to our main event, we were reminded about Vince trying -and failing- to mound Steve Austin into a corporate champion, and how Dude Love had turned his back on his former tag team partner.

      World Wrestling Federation Championship
      WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Dude Love

      WWF -  Unforgiven 1998: In Your House 21 - Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Dude Love - WWF Championship
      After a lacklustre show, we finally got a top quality match here in our main event.

      If you were going to send anyone out to make your new Champion look like a star, Mick Foley was the man for the job, and here he certainly didn't disappoint.

      Both the Dude and The Rattlesnake played their roles to perfection, making this a very exciting match with a dumb finish.

      After the ref got bumped, Austin hit Vince McMahon with a chair then nailed Love with the stunner and then simply counted his own three count.

      That was enough for Mark Yeaton to ring the bell and for Austin's music to play, though it turned out he actually lost via DQ:
      Your Winner via Disqualification: Dude Love (Steve Austin retains the title)

      And that, ladies and gentlemen, was that.

      I'm convinced that fans often look back to the Attitude Era with rose-tinted glasses, and this show is the perfect example of that.

      Yes, it contained a lot of what fans like about that era, but as a show, it ranged from boring to cringe-worthy from beginning up to the main event, with the one notable exception being the surprisingly good New Midnight Express / Rock 'n' Roll Express bout.

      Watch for the main event and the chance to see some Sable booty, but otherwise, this is one to avoid.

      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
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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.