PPV REVIEW: WWF Breakdown 1998 - In Your House 24

September 27, 1998
Copps Coliseum, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Despite featuring prominently on the advertising for tonight's show, D-Generation-X leader Triple H was nowhere to be seen tonight. 

After capturing the Intercontinental Championship in a star-making performance against The Rock at Summerslam 1998, Hunter had gone down with a knee injury and had been forced to sit this one out.

Meanwhile, The Rock's career remained unscathed despite the Summerslam loss.

Tonight, he looked to continue his natural rise to the top of the WWF hierarchy by taking on Ken Shamrock and Mankind for a shot at the WWF Championship.

Speaking of that title, reigning champion Stone Cold Steve Austin was set to put it on the line against Kane and The Undertaker, a match that served as the latest chapter in his on-going battle with the evil overlord, Vince McMahon.

Here's what happened when the World Wrestling Federation rolled into Ontario for In Your House 24: Breakdown.

Vince McMahon is Basically Hitler

WWF - Breakdown 1998: In Your House 24 - Jerry 'The King' Lawler & Jim Ross
As often happened with 1998 WWF PPVs, tonight’s show began with a video package which depicted the evil Vince McMahon as a Hitleresque dictator.

Interspersing shots of a maniacal McMahon worth stock footage of tanks, war, and -weirdly- MLK’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, the video told us the story of Vince stacking the odds against Stone Cold Steve Austin by putting him against both Kane and The Undertaker.

This was a move that McMahon was certain would finally dethrone the WWF Champion once and for all.

From there, we got our usual greeting from Jim Ross and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler, who informed us of the recently-added stipulation that Austin would be stripped of his title should anybody interfere in the match.

With that, it was onto our opening contest.

Edge vs. Owen Hart

WWF - Breakdown 1998: In Your House 24 - Edge faced Owen Hart
After making his PPV debut the previous month at Summerslam, Edge had his first PPV singles match here with the one and only Owen Hart.

The future Hall of Famer looked clumsy in the early going, but soon found his confidence and worked a good match with his veteran opponent.

Not the best match by any stretch, but certainly a solid and enjoyable outing, this one came to an end when a mysterious blonde-haired guy came from the crowd and distracted Edge.

As the youngster looked with confusion, asking the man who would become known as Christian what he was doing there, Hart seized his opportunity, rolled up Edge and scored a quick three-count.
Your Winner: Owen Hart

Afterwards, Edge headed out into the crowd in pursuit of the mystery man.

Too Cool (Too Sexy Brian Christopher & Too Hot Scott Taylor) vs. Al Snow & Scorpio

WWF - Breakdown 1998: In Your House 24 - Brian Christopher & Scott Taylor faced Al Snow & Scorpio
Back at King of the Ring 1998Al Snow faced Too Cool in a handicap match. According to the story, if Al had beaten Brian Christopher & Scott Taylor, he would have been granted a meeting with Vince McMahon to discuss being rehired by the WWF.

Ultimately, Snow had lost that match, but finally got a WWF contract anyway by beating Sgt. Slaughter in a Bootcamp match on Raw.

Despite Slaughter being retired and a good few years older than Snow, the announcers told us multiple times that Snow’s win had been an upset.

Anyway, now Snow was teaming with Scorpio, the two having a common bond thanks to their previous runs in ECW.

The match started well, with a really good exchange between Scorpio and Scott Taylor, and did have some fun spots both inside and outside the ring that ultimately meant this had all the makings of a really good match.

Unfortunately, it was let down by a couple of things.

1: Scorpio trying to use a chair as a springboard to launch himself at Too Cool, only for the chair to collapse and cause Scorpio to fall on his arse. Taylor and Brian Christopher still sold the move anyway, which was dumb.

2: A confusing finish where everybody tried to pin everybody else but the ref stopped counting before someone could break the fall.

In the end, Al Snow hit the Snow Plow for the three.
Your Winners: Al Snow & Scorpio

Post-match, Scorpio had a word with Snow for accidentally hitting him on the head with, erm, head.

The Demons of Destruction Talk

WWF - Breakdown 1998: In Your House 24 - Michael Cole interviews The Undertaker & Kane
After waging war on each other back at Wrestlemania 14, Undertaker and Kane were now on the same page and were looking forward to taking out Stone Cold Steve Austin later in the show.

The Demons of Destruction, as JR called them, told Michael Cole to stop poking his nose in when Cole asked which one of them would get the fall over Austin and become champ.

According to The Undertaker, he and Kane had come to an understanding, and that’s all he was prepared to say on the matter.

Marvellous Marc Mero (w/ WWF Women’s Champion Jacqueline) vs. Droz

If ever there was a definition of ‘filler match, this was it.

The most interesting thing here was that the company had brought the Women’s Championship back, and Jacqueline had apparently won it that week on Raw but did not bring the title to the title with her.

WWF - Breakdown 1998: In Your House 24 - Jacqueline & Marc Mero celebrate Mero's victory over DrozThe other interesting thing was JR making reference to Johnny B. Badd (‘he’s no longer a badd man’) which he had done regularly since Mero turned heel.

Speaking of heels, the match came to an end when Mero distracted the referee, allowing Jacqueline to jump off the top and hit Droz with the heel of her shoe.

Mero then hit Marvelocity (Shooting Star Press) to win what was a decent but immediately forgettable match).
Your Winner: Marc Mero

Backstage, a clean-shaven Bradshaw told Michael Cole that he wasn’t there to wrestle ‘that fat bastard’ Vader but to fight him.

‘Vader, this is survival of the fittest, not the fattest,’ said the Texan before storming off ready to fight.

Falls Count Anywhere: Vader vs. Bradshaw

WWF - Breakdown 1998: In Your House 24 - Michael Cole interviews Bradshaw
It still bothers me how badly Vader’s career was screwed up in the WWF.

Here, the big man went up against Bradshaw in a mediocre Falls Count Anywhere match that nobody remembers.

Nothing memorable happened apart from a couple of stiff spots which culminated in the most lacklustre of finishes:

A Rude Awakening from Bradshaw for the win.
Your Winner: Bradshaw

Apparently, the show next had Jason Sensation doing some impressions, but the version I’m watching (an original copy of the show and not the WWE Network edit) skips over that and goes straight to our next match.

D’Lo Brown vs. Gangrel

Here we had Gangrel making his PPV debut against  D’Lo Brown, who was still seething from losing the European Championship to X-Pac a few days earlier on Raw.

WWF - Breakdown 1998: In Your House 24 - D'Lo Brown faced Gangrel
To be honest, I’m not sure if D’Lo was more angry about losing the belt or about the fact that he hadn’t had time to get new attire made since his loss.

He wrestled this match wearing tights emblazoned with the words ‘EUROPEAN CHAMPION.’

Anyway, the match itself was decent, though not enough to elicit a reaction from the live crowd.

Two decades later, it’s funny how something Lawler said on commentary would prove to be so true:

That because of Gangrel’s unique look and awesome entrance people forget that he is, or at least was a talented wrestler.

Here he put up a good showing against D’Lo but came up short when Brown’s Nation teammate, Mark Henry, ran interference.

D’Lo hit Sky High and got the three count.
Your Winner: D’Lo Brown

Afterwards, Gangrel got revenge by spitting ‘blood’ in Mark Henry’s eyes and then beating up D’Lo Brown.

A part of me thinks that match might have been better if it had a reason behind it that could have made the fans care.

Instead, not unlike the earlier Mero/Droz match, this seemed like your average Raw mid-card bout.

Sugar Coated Testies

WWF - Breakdown 1998: In Your House 24 - Michael Cole interviews Ken Shamrock
On Raw, Ken Shamrock, Mankind, and The Rock met in a triple threat match to determine the next challenger to the WWF title.

That match was cut short when The Undertaker and Kane beat all three men up, so tonight we were going to have a rematch, this time inside a steel cage.

Before that, Michael Cole interviewed Shamrock, Doc Hendrix spoke to The Rock and Kevin Kelly had a word with Mankind.

Shamrock vowed that he would stop at nothing to become champion, whilst The Rock delivered all his catchphrases and said something about sugar coated testies.

Mankind wondered if sugar-coated testies were a new kind of cereal, though not before calling The People’s elbow the stupidest thing he had ever seen, promising that ‘I will not sell that abortion!’

With that, it was onto the match.

Triple Threat Cage Match
Winner Becomes #1 Contender for the WWF Championship
Mankind vs. Ken Shamrock vs. The Rock

Pinfall, submission, or cage escape rules apply here.

Also, judging by the crowd, The Rock was a full-on babyface here.

The Canadians loved him and it was clear from the outset that the time was night for The People’s Champion to be propelled into the main event scene.

WWF - Breakdown 1998: In Your House 24 - The Rock got busted open in his cage match against Ken Shamrock and MankindAs for the match itself, it started off fairly average but quickly built up into a dramatic, hard-hitting contest that kept you on the edge of your seat, legitimately guessing as to the winner.

Towards the finish, Mankind tried to dive off the top of the cage with an elbow but got nothing but canvas.

Whilst he was out (and The Rock was already out), Shamrock tried to escape through the cage door, only for Mankind to drag him, along with a steel chair, back in the ring.

The two brawled to their feet, where Foley smashed The World’s Most Dangerous Man with the chair and tried to escape the cage.

At the same time, The Rock pinned Shamrock and this fantastic contest came to an end.
Your Winner and New Number One Contender: The Rock

Afterwards, Mankind literally tore his hair out in frustration and Ken Shamrock ‘snapped,’ storming around the ring like a child throwing a tantrum.

Shamrock did this every time he lost and we were always supposed to cheer for him as a babyface.

Val Venis (w/ Terri Runnels) vs. Dustin Runnels

WWF - Breakdown 1998: In Your House 24 - Dustin Runnels faced Val Venis
So, after dumping Marlena (Terri) to shack up with Luna Vachon for a run as BDSM Goldust, Dustin Runnels had disavowed that character altogether in order to preach about morality and good value.

His role as preacher obviously meant he many things morally wrong with wrestling porn star, Val Venis.

So, he did what any bible-thumping preacher would do: He attacked Val and beat the crap out of him.

Val responded the only way he knew how:

By shagging Dustin’s wife.

That led us to our match tonight, and to Terri Runnels looking insatiably hot as she came to the ring with Val, getting molested by him the whole time.

Moving at a much faster pace than you might expect, this turned out to be a good match, although one that you’d no doubt instantly forget about.

With the announcers playing up the fact that Dustin was driven to distraction by his wife’s blatant adultery, it came as little surprise when Val Venis money-shotted his way to victory.
Your Winner: Val Venis

Post-match, Venis molested Terri some more whilst Dustin skulked off backstage, dejected.

Six-Man Tag
WWF European Champion X-Pac and The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg Jesse James & Bad Ass Billy Gunn) vs. Jeff Jarrett & Southern Justice (Mark Canterbury & Dennis Knight)

WWF - Breakdown 1998: In Your House 24 - X-Pac and Road Dogg go after Jeff Jarrett
One month after getting his head shaved by X-Pac at Summerslam 1998, Jeff Jarrett teamed with his new associates Mark Canterbury & Dennis Knight (formerly The Godwins) to battle the new European Champion and his D-Generation-X teammates, the New Age Outlaws.

Of note, this is the first PPV that saw Jarrett (who had once again ditched the country music star gimmick) bring a guitar to the ring with him. This is something that he would do pretty much for the rest of his career.

This started off reasonably well, with some hot action and a good exchange between former buddies Jarrett and Road Dogg, but it quickly settled down into a mostly lifeless match with few, if any, redeeming spots.

After a dull outing, Jeff Jarrett smashed X-Pac with his guitar outside the ring whilst Billy Gunn hit the as-yet-unnamed FameAsser on Mark Canterbury for the pin.
Your Winners: X-Pac and the New Age Outlaws

Post-match, they sold the chair shot as being as bad as an actual gunshot, with concerns about whether ‘Pac might have wood splinters in his eyes.

World Wrestling Federation Championship Triple Threat
WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker vs. Kane

WWF - Breakdown 1998: In Your House 24 - Undertaker vs. Kane vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Even though this was technically a triple threat, Vince McMahon had ordered that Kane and Undertaker could only pin Austin, not each other.

He had also decreed that Austin would lose the title of any of his ‘friends’ got involved, which was odd considering Austin was supposed to be the ultimate loner.

As it turned out, that caveat was unnecessary (though a useful red herring), but the Undertaker/Kane thing did lead us to the brothers’ inevitable falling out over who would pin Austin.

After a long and entertaining brawl (better than I’ve seen a lot of other people give it credit for), both pinned the champ at exactly the same time.

Howard Finkle made the ‘And new...’ announcement, but couldn’t tell us who the new champ actually was.

In the end, it didn’t really matter, as Vince McMahon came down, took the Smoking Skull belt, and rode off in a limousine with it.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Champion: ???

How's that for ending the show on a cliff-hanger.

Though I can understand why not everybody was a fan of that main event, it was typical of the ‘f**k the rules’ brawling style that was so typical of the WWF main event scene at the time, and it actually worked pretty well.

As for the show as a whole, this was an odd one.

Outside of the last three matches, nothing much seemed to matter. 

Edge/Owen, MeroDroz, and D’Lo/Gangrel were as random as you could have asked for and didn’t seem to have any point to them, whilst the best thing about Venis/Runnels was seeing Terri looking stunning.

Not that I’m saying this was a bad show. Most of the matches were decent enough, just not the kind of classics that would make it must-see viewing 20 years later.

If there is one reason to watch this show, it’s The Rock. 

This wasn’t the best he ever performed, but it was the first PPV where you saw that the former Rocky Maivia wasn’t just over, but was Main Event Superstar over, and during the hottest period in the company’s history, that’s saying something.

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
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    1. I don't blame Val for "molesting" Terri given how she looked. Her outfit and her cruel stuck up persona only made Val want her even more.