PPV REVIEW: WWF Judgement Day 1998 - In Your House 25

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 1998: In Your House 25 - Event poster
October 18, 1998, 
Rosemont Horizon, Rosemont, Illinois

Apart from a single year (1999), Judgement Day was one of the WWF/WWE's regular B-Level pay per views that the company ran every year for over a decade. 

Before it became an annual attraction, however, there was this:

The first ever Judgement Day pay per view.

The 25th instalment of the In Your House franchise (which would end in just a few months), tonight's show would see The Undertaker and Kane go at it in the latest chapter of an ongoing storyline that would last literally for years.

This time, however, the vacant World Wrestling Federation Championship would be on the line and none other than Stone Cold Steve Austin would be the special guest referee.

Would The Phenom win his third WWF Championship tonight? Would Kane pick up his second in the space of a single year?

Would Austin even bother to show up for his special referee role, a role he had been quite open about not wanting to take?

Let's head to the Rosemont Horizon to find out:

Austin Violated McMahon

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 1998: In Your House 25 - Jim Ross & Jerry 'The King' Lawler
Our opening video package reminded us that Austin had lost the WWF title in a triple threat match against Kane and The Undertaker at Breakdown: In Your House 24.

Since both ‘Taker and Kane had pinned Austin at the same time, they would go at it in tonight’s main event to determine a new champion, with Austin as the referee.

McMahon had decreed that Austin would have to ‘humble’ himself and raise the hand of the winner or else be fired from the World Wrestling Federation.

This was all interspersed at random intervals with sound bites of McMahon claiming Austin had violated him.

I don’t care to go through all the episodes of Raw to find out what that’s about, but there you have it:

Austin violated McMahon and now he would have to referee tonight’s main event.

After the usual greeting from our announcers, Jim Ross and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler, it was onto our opening contest.

Al Snow (w/ Head) vs. Marvellous Marc Mero (w/ WWF Women’s Champion Jacqueline)

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 1998: In Your House 25 - Al Snow faced Marvelous Marc Mero
Earlier, on Heat, Al Snow had cost Jeff Jarrett a match against Scorpio, so Jeff tried to insert himself into this match and make it a triple threat.

Instead, he got sent packing by referee Tim White whilst Marc Mero launched an attack on the former Leif Cassidy.

After that, we got a pretty hot opener which the crowd were really into, mainly because of how over Al Snow (or at least his Head) was.

Mero used Jacqueline’s interference several times to gain control but it still wasn’t enough.

After some fun action, Snow reversed T.K.O into a Snow Plow to win the match.
Your Winner: Al Snow

Before the next match, we were shown a clip from Heat in which Stone Cold Steve Austin was met by Pat Patterson, Gerald Briscoe, and Sgt. Slaughter as he tried to go up to the wrestler’s locker room.

Austin was told that he wasn’t allowed in that locker room tonight and would have to change in the referee’s dressing room, which was basically a dingy stock room.

Six-Man Tag
The Disciples of the Apocalypse (Skull, 8-Ball, and Paul Ellering) vs. LOD 2000 (Hawk, Animal, and Droz)

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 1998: In Your House 25 - LOD 2000 faced DOA & Paul Ellering
Yes, both teams were still hanging around this late into 1998, mainly so that LOD could have somebody to wrestle whilst doing that angle in which Hawk was an addict/alcoholic and Droz wanted to take his spot.

Despite being a six-man, this was more like a handicap match, with former LOD manager and current DOA man Paul Ellering tagging for all of 15 seconds to kick Droz in the gut and hit him with a drop toe-hold.

Other than that, absolutely nothing remarkable happened.

The match wasn’t terrible - I’ve seen far worse, trust me- but it felt more like card-filler than anything else.

Only the crowd’s love of their hometown heroes, Hawk and Animal, made it seem better than it was.

In the end, Hawk and Animal hit the Doomsday Device (JR once again called it the Devastation Device) but Droz snuck in and stole the three count.
Your Winners: LOD 2000

Afterwards, Hawk looked pissed at Droz stealing the glory, but Droz himself seemed more concerned with celebrating along with Animal.

Prior to the next match, JR told us that this was the biggest crowd the WWF has had in the Rosemont Horizon since Wrestlemania 13.

World Wrestling Federation Light Heavyweight Championship
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion Taka Michinoku (w/ Yamaguchi-San) vs. Christian (w/ Gangrel)

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 1998: In Your House 25 - Christian (w/ Gangrel) beat Taka Michinoku
It would be easy to think the WWF had given up on their Light Heavyweight Championship.

Taka Michinoku hadn’t defended the title on PPV since February’s No Way Out of Texas: In Your House, when he beat Pantera.

Since then, the Japanese star had defected to the dark side by joining forces with former rivals Kai En Tai, and was now defending the title.

This time, his opponent was Christian, who was wrestling in his first PPV match after debuting during the Edge/Owen Hart match at the previous month’s Breakdown.

Christian had been revealed to be Edge’s brother, and had aligned himself with his brother’s vampiric nemesis, Gangrel.

Backstory aside, this was a decent match that was hurt by the crowd not giving a damn about either man nor about anything they did.

After an otherwise fun, seesaw battle, Christian reversed a Michinoku Driver to capture the title in his debut match for the company.
Your Winner and New WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Christian

And that was the end of Taka Michinoku being seen as any kind of a star in the World Wrestling Federation.

Val Venis (w/ Terri Runnels) vs. Goldust

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 1998: In Your House 25 - Goldust faced Val VenisAfter failing to get the better of Val Venis as good ol’ Dustin Runnels, the second-generation star had returned to the Goldust gimmick that made him famous, and was now utterly adored by the live crowd.

Looking to avenge his loss the previous month (and seek some revenge for Val stealing his wife) Goldie went at it with the wrestling porn star in a good, entertaining contest that went down well more because of the characters and their rivalry than because of any of the actual wrestling moves.

Not that what they did wasn’t good. This was a good effort which ended when Terri Runnels distraction backfired, allowing Goldust to kick his rival in the goolies behind the referee’s back and score a three count.
Your Winner: Goldust

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 1998: In Your House 25 - X-Pac battled D'Lo Brown in an awesome match
Prior to the next match, Michael Cole showed us clips of Ken Shamrock beating up Triple H backstage after an injured Hunter was forced to hand his Intercontinental Championship to The World’s Most Dangerous Man.

Cole was interrupted by X-Pac, who promised to take care of Shamrock the following night on Raw. Tonight, however, he was all about reclaiming the European Championship from D’Lo Brown.

World Wrestling Federation European Championship
WWF European Champion D’Lo Brown vs. X-Pac w/ Chyna

I’ll just go ahead and say it - this is one of the most amazing matches I’ve watched in a long time.

Proof that you don’t need to be a main event star to have the crowds eating out of the palm of your hand, both champ and challenger turned it up several notches to deliver the absolute best match of their fall ‘98 rivalry, and one of the best matches of 1998 period.

After a really good outing, X-Pac caught D’Lo coming off the top rope, hit him with the X-Factor, and became a two-time European Champion.
Your Winner and New European Champion: X-Pac

Out in the back, Michael Cole told us there was a rumour going around that Paul Bearer had just walked into The Undertaker’s locker room.

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 1998: In Your House 25 - The Headbangers challenged the New Age Outlaws for the tag team championship
Once again, Cole was interrupted, this time by The Headbangers.

Mosh and Thrasher were now heels, and were set to challenge the New Age Outlaws for the tag team titles.

Before that, however,  they fumbled their way through a bunch of insider terms in a goofy, cringe-worthy promo.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Champions
WWF Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg Jesse James & Bad Ass Billy Gunn) vs. The Headbangers (Mosh & Thrasher)

Looking right at home in their new roles as the brash and violent bad guys, Mosh and Thrasher dominated almost the entire length of this long, drawn-out tag team title contest.

Whilst some would argue that this was a bad thing (certain chinlock spots did seem to drag on), this writer would disagree strongly.

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 1998: In Your House 25 - Billy Gunn waits for the tag from Road Dogg
Road Dogg and Billy Gunn did their best to make their opponents look like a serious threat to the titles, and the match itself did have some fun scattered here and there.

Besides, the crowd were hot for the New Age Outlaws from start to finish. At one point, Billy received what was legitimately one of the biggest pops of the night just for taking his shirt off.

The fans kept up this fever-pitch show of support throughout the contest, chanting the Outlaws' and DX's catchphrases as the champs took it in turns to get their asses handed to them by The Headbangers.

Fed up with the foul play from Mosh and Thrasher and unable to counter it with more above-board tactics, Road Dogg finally grabbed The Headbanger’s boom box and brought it across his opponents’ head, causing the DQ finish.
Your Winners by Disqualification: The Headbangers (New Age Outlaws retain the titles)

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 1998: In Your House 25 - Michael Cole interviews Mankind about his match with Ken Shamrock
Out in the back, Michael Cole began telling us about Paul Bearer apparently going into The Undertaker’s locker room before he was interrupted by Mankind.

On his way to challenge Ken Shamrock for the Intercontinental Championship, Mankind first told Cole that Shamrock’s interviews were the second biggest cause of teenage suicide, which was harsh but hilarious.

He then began engaging in some bizarre puppetry in which he asked Mr Socko what kind of underwear he was wearing.

This of course, just gave Foley an excuse to rip off his sock and reveal a mandible claw.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Ken Shamrock vs. Mankind

Though not the best match on the card, this was a solid outing that served its purpose well.

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 1998: In Your House 25 - Ken Shamrock defended the Intercontinental Championship against Mankind
Early on, it seemed as though Mankind was trying to wrestle Shamrock’s style of match, trading holds and reversals with the champion until the whole thing broke down into the typical Foley-style brawl.

In a unique finish, Shamrock slapped the ankle lock on the challenger, but rather than submit to it, Mankind put the mandible claw on himself and passed out.
Your Winner and Still Intercontinental Champion: Ken Shamrock

Afterwards, Howard Finkle announced that Shamrock was the winner ‘via Mandible Claw’ which sent Shamrock into one of his trademark hissy-fits, attacking Mankind and suplexing the referee.

I know having Ken Shamrock ‘snap’ like this was supposed to make him look dangerous and unpredictable, but it always just made him look like a crybaby, which isn’t exactly what you’d expect from a babyface.

I also know that I say this every time we review a show where Shamrock does it, but honestly, it's one of the dumbest things ever and is worth repeating.

Bossman Blocks Cole

`WWE / WWF Judgement Day 1998: In Your House 25 - Big Boss Man stops Michael Cole getting a word with Vince McMahon
Backstage, Michael Cole’s hopes of getting an interview with Vince McMahon were shot down by Big Bossman.

Last seen on PPV teaming with The Steiner Brothers to face the nWo at WCW Souled Out 1998, the former Big Bubba Rogers had returned to the WWF just a few weeks prior and was now serving as McMahon’s security/bodyguard.

Bossman reminded us that he was the law, order, and justice of the World Wrestling Federation, and that meant there was no chance of Cole getting his interview.

It’s funny, I was never the biggest fan of Bossman’s matches, but he was always a compelling heel character and delivered some good work here.

For the record, the last time we saw him on a WWF PPV was at the 1993 Royal Rumble.

Mark Henry vs. The Rock

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 1998: In Your House 25 - Mark Henry beat The Rock
So, on the back of his many catchphrase and general bad-assness, The Rock was now a fully-fledged babyface and, to prove it, he recently got attacked on Raw by his former Nation of Domination cohort, Mark Henry.

Meanwhile, Henry also has a confusing thing going on with Chyna. He had filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against her but then dedicated a ‘poem’ to her before this match.

Once the bell rung the action was short if not necessarily sweet.

It wasn’t a bad match by any standards, but it was hardly the sort of thing anybody would be talking about even the next day.

In the end, Henry scored the upset with a big splash.
Your Winner: Mark Henry

Post-match, The Rock looked on, bemused.

Something tells me this loss wouldn't hurt his career very much.

World Wrestling Federation Championship match (title vacant)
Kane vs. The Undertaker

Special Guest Referee: Stone Cold Steve Austin
WWE / WWF Judgement Day 1998: In Your House 25 - Kane vs. Undertaker for vacant WWF title with Stone Cold as the guest referee
Kane and The Undertaker has a great match back at Wrestlemania 14, and their Inferno match at Unforgiven 1998, though not on a part with their initial outing, was a spectacle in its own right.

In this, their third PPV meeting of 1998, however, the two really failed to put on a good show.

Of course, it didn’t help that the crowd were initially more into Guest Referee Steve Austin than anything the Brothers of Destruction were doing, but even when the initial obsession with Stone Cold wore off, this match failed to capture the intensity and creativity that Austin’s own main event bouts had delivered throughout the year.

This slow, aimless match came grinding to its conclusion when both competitors decided to turn on Austin and beat him up.

Paul Bearer then came down with a chair and begged Kane to let him be the one to take out Undertaker.

Instead, Bearer turned on Kane, who barely flinched when struck with the chair.

As Kane questioned Bearer’s treachery, Undertaker picked up the chair and laid out his brother, only for Austin to recover and knock out The Phenom with a stunner.

Stone Cold then counted both men out and declared himself the winner.
No Contest

Afterwards, Austin dared McMahon to fire him just as the Chairman had promised to do.

When Vince no-showed, Austin took us on a brief tour of the backstage area to look for him, then came back out to call the boss out a second time.

This time Vince appeared and was greeted with a rapturous chant of ‘Asshole! Asshole!’ from the live crowd.

‘I can’t hear a word you’re saying because you got eighteen thousand people calling you an asshole!’ quipped Austin, showing a mastery of the mic that is truly lost in today’s product.

Asshole or not, Vince delivered his first ever ‘You’re Fired!’ line to Austin, effectively terminating him from the company.

Never one to let a mere thing like being fired rattle him, Austin vowed that Vince hadn’t seen the last of him, then celebrated with the crowd and a couple of beers.

Austin would indeed be back just 24 hours later, when he appeared on Raw, made Vince wet himself, and revealed that Shane McMahon had signed him to a five-year contract.

Since I first started reviewing these Attitude Era shows, I’ve said many times that they were characterised by a poor undercard followed by a hot main event.

This, however, was exactly the opposite.

With D’Lo Brown and X-Pac stealing the show, most of the other undercard matches were reasonably entertaining, all building up to an awful main event which really showed why they needed Austin back in the ring.

For storylines and a taste of the Attitude Era at its most chaotic, this one is worth a look, but as far as matches go, just watch the European Championship match and then skip on to something else.

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
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