Thursday, 10 January 2019

EVENT REVIEW: WWF Mayhem in Manchester 1998

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Need proof?






Compare reviews from that year to the reviews from 1998.

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

A New Attitude Comes to England

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeff Jarrett vs. Brakus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let's keep going

Marvellous Marc Mero (w/ Sable) vs. Bradshaw

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

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

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

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

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

It was also a whole lot of fun.

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

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

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

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

Moving on...

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

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

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

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

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

This brought out Sable for a huge pop.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And with that, it was onto our main event.

Kane (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. The Undertaker

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

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

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

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

And that, my friends, was that.






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

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

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

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



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