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, 24 January 2019

PPV REVIEW: WWF Royal Rumble 1999

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1999 - Event poster
January 24, 1999,
Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, Anaheim, California.

"You've got no chance in hell of ever becoming the World Wrestling Federation champion again, Austin." 

Those were the famous words uttered to Stone Cold Steve Austin by evil WWF Chairman Mr. McMahon in the run-up to Royal Rumble 1999.

McMahon, you see, had been doing everything he could to stop Austin from winning the Rumble for the third year in a row and thus going on to Wrestlemania 15 to compete for the title.

He had even trying to prevent him from getting into the Rumble match in the first place.

Yet Austin had earned a guaranteed place thanks to a victory over the Undertaker in a Buried Alive match back at Rock Bottom: In Your House 26 in December.

Now, the best he could hope for was to ensure that there was no chance in hell that Austin would emerge victorious, even going so far as to entering himself into the Rumble match for the first time ever.

Hmm, no chance in hell.

You've got no chance in hell.

Sounds like that might make a pretty good theme tune, don't you think?

A $100,000 bounty 

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1999 - Jerry 'The King' Lawler & Michael Cole
We began tonight's show with the standard video package, this one reminding us of the hatred that existed between Mr. McMahon and Stone Cold Steve Austin.

McMahon hated Austin so much, in fact, that he had offered a $100,000 bounty for any man who could eliminate Stone Cold from tonight's battle royal.

From there, we went to Michael Cole and Jerry 'The King' Lawler, who told us that for the first time ever a woman (Chyna) would be competing in the Rumble match.

With that, it was on to our opening contest

WWF Hardcore Champion Road Dogg vs. WWF Tag Team Champion The Big Boss Man

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1999 - The Road Dogg faced Big Boss Man
As Road Dogg made his way to the ring, Cole told us that, despite him being the Hardcore Champion, this wasn't a hardcore match because The Corporation had ruled that out.

The D-O-Double-G was super over here. In fact, looking at it, it's almost surprising to see a jam-packed crowd going absolutely nuts for everything, especially compared to today's sterile product.

Though there are some fans who'll likely call this one boring, this fan couldn't help but enjoy this wonderfully old-school match.

Road Dogg and The Big Boss Man may not have busted out every move in their arsenal or put together beautiful chain wrestling sequences, but they made everything they did count, and delivered it all with a mentality that saw them focus only on getting the biggest possible crowd reaction from every little detail.

The result was a fun, enjoyable contest that Boss Man won with the Boss Man Slam.
Your Winner: The Big Boss Man 

From one Outlaw to another, we got straight to our second match of the evening.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion & WWF Tag Team Champion Ken Shamrock vs. Bad Ass Billy Gunn

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1999 - Ken Shamrock slaps the ankle lock on Bad Bum Billy Gunn
Billy Gunn had mooned Ken Shamrock's sister on an episode of Raw, prompting the Intercontinental Champion to have one his usual tantrums and attack Mr. Ass.

That was the simple, straightforward storytelling that got us to tonight's match.

Though longer and slower than the previous encounter, this was nonetheless a tremendous effort from both champ and challenger and probably one of the best singles matches Billy Gunn would have in his career.

Despite taking some serious punishment from Shamrock, Bad Ass on multiple occasions looked to have the title in the bag.

At one point, referee Tim White was accidentally clotheslined out of his boots by Shamrock, after which both he and Gunn double clotheslined each other.

This presented an opportunity for a quick run in by Val Venis, who had also had issues with Shamrock due to his sister, Ryan, being in the crowd.

Venis clocked the IC champion with a DDT. Billy Gunn made the cover and Tim White revived himself just long enough to count a nail-biting near fall.

It was fantastic.

Unfortunately, this wasn't to be Bad Ass Billy's night. He went up top, lept off for an axe-handle but missed his opponent and "rolled his ankle" on landing.

That gave the opportunistic champion the chance to slap on the ankle lock and declare this one over.
Your Winner and Still Intercontinental Champion: Ken Shamrock 

Out in the back, we saw Vince McMahon pacing up and down his dressing room as son Shane gave him a pep-talk. Ever present, Pat Patterson and Gerald Briscoe looked on.

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

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1999 - Ken Shamrock slaps the ankle lock on Bad Bum Billy Gunn
For the third match in a row, we got an enjoyable outing, this time between European Champion X-Pac and his vampiric challenger, Gangrel.

Though fun from start to finish, this championship match was far from perfect.

Gangrel hadn't quite mastered the art of selling, constantly popping up after every high-impact move in a way that took all the levity out of things.

Then, 'Pac came off the top and squashed Gangrel, but Gangrel reversed the pin attempt. Referee Teddy Long clearly counted to three but then only declared it a two count, a move which prompted a loud "You f**ked up!" chant from the Anaheim crowd.

After a short, decent encounter, the champion retained thanks to his patented X-Factor move.
Your Winner and Still European Champion: Teddy Long 

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1999 - Kevin Kelly interviews DXBackstage, four-fifths of DX (Billy Gunn was missing) told Kevin Kelly that the group was tighter than ever but that tonight, it was every man and woman for themselves in the upcoming Royal Rumble match.

Shane McMahon and the women's championship 

Up next, Shane McMahon came to the ring with a weird, techno-style theme that sounded like something straight out of a 1980s sci-fi movie about a far off, dystopian future.

Shane introduced Luna Vachon, then told us that Luna's scheduled opponent, WWF Women's Champion Sable, had suffered a back injury (due to an earlier attack by Luna on Sunday Night Heat) and was unable to compete.

Therefore, said Shane, Sable would have to vacate the title. The champion had other ideas, coming to the ring and simply  saying "ring the bell."

"Have it your way," said Shane in response.

World Wrestling Federation Women's Championship Strap Match
WWF Women's Champion Sable vs. Luna Vachon 

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1999 - Sable retained the women's championship in a strap match against Luna Vachon
For the record, this was the first strap match we'd seen on WWF PPV since Savio Vega beat Justin 'Hawk' Bradshaw in one back at In Your House 10: Mind Games.

That match wasn't great.

This one was even worse.

A sloppy mess of a match, its only redeeming feature is that it was kept quite short.

Towards the finish, Shane McMahon distracted the referee (to this day I can't remember why Shane was involved in this storyline), but a "mysterious woman" came from the crowd and decked Luna, allowing Sable to touch all four corners.
Your Winner and Still WWF Women's Champion: Sable 

Backstage, we were shown a clip of The Big Boss Man talking to Ken Shamrock and Test, the latter of whom was making their WWF PPV debut.

Boss Man reminded his fellow Corporation members that tonight was every man for himself, and vowed to go after the $100,000 bounty on Stone Cold's head.

It's showtime...

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1999 - Doc Hendrix interviews The Rock
Before our next match, we were shown an awesome video which not only recapped the rivalry between WWF Champion Mankind and The Rock, but which also reminded us what a tough, sadistic individual the champion really was.

By interspersing soundbites from episodes of Raw with shots of Mick Foley absorbing punishment at the IWA King of Death Matches 1995 event and in the infamous Hell in a Cell match at King of the Ring 1998, we were shown how making Mankind say 'I Quit' was going to an almost impossible job for the challenger.

Not that The Rock himself seemed too concerned.

Talking to Doc Hendrix backstage, The Great One warned Mankind that he shouldn't take him lightly and that when it was all said and done, we would once again have a new WWF Champion.

This was gripping stuff and certainly made this writer very eager to see the upcoming match.

World Wrestling Federation Championship I Quit Match
WWF Champion Mankind vs. The Rock 

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1999 - New WWF Champion The Rock stands over a fallen Mankind
One of the defining moments of the Attitude Era, Mankind vs. The Rock at Royal Rumble 1999 still comes across just as brutal and sickeningly violent today as it did some 20 years ago.

At first, it was plenty entertaining, with both champ and challenger trading offence and goading the other one to say I quit. Then, somewhere around the time that Mankind fell from the stands and crashed through a bunch of electrical equipment, the whole thing took a dark turn.

Rock handcuffed Mankind's hands behind his back, and despite a brief comeback from the champion (including a wicked knee to The Rock's erm, *rocks*), it was the beginning of the end for the champion.

The challenger picked up a chair and delivered one ferocious blow after another. These weren't your regular worked chair shots. These were loud, violent shots that turned your stomach and had you seriously concerned for Mick Foley's well-being.

Even two decades later, you can't help but watch the ending of this match while at on the edge of your seat, hands over your face, just praying for the violence to stop.

It was intense. It was dramatic. It was some of the most captivating storytelling the World Wrestling Federation had ever committed to film and it was, eventually, over.

The Rock practically knocked Mankind out cold then pointed the microphone down at him. What was clearly a recording of an earlier Mankind promo played on the PA system, filling the arena with the sound of Mick Foley's voice saying "I quit! I quit! I quit!"
Your Winner and NEW World Wrestling Federation Champion: The Rock

Afterwards, The Rock literally lauded his new title over a fallen Mankind as medical personnel tried to help the battered and bloody wrestler onto a stretcher.

Refusing to go out that way, Mankind crawled to his feet and, drenched in blood, limped out under his own power.

There's no chance in hell 

The final build-up to our main event began with a video package which took us all the way back to Breakdown: In Your House 24 in September 1998. On that night, Austin had lost the WWF Championship after being pinned by Undertaker and Kane at the same time.

Stone Cold had been trying to get his title back ever since but had so far had no luck whatsoever. Tonight, he was hoping that would change. Tonight, Mr. McMahon was doing all he could to make sure that there was no chance in hell that it would.

Austin had been drawn as number one in tonight's Rumble and Mr. McMahon had been booked at number two. The $100,000 bounty had been set, and it was time - almost- for the Royal Rumble.

First, you see, there was the matter of Sunday Night Heat. There, Austin had been denied entry to the arena via the VIP entrance because he wasn't driving a limousine. So he went out, got a limousine with monster truck wheels, and trampled everybody's car.

Then, later on Heat, Mr. McMahon slapped him, so he attacked Patteson and Briscoe.

With all that out of the way, it was onto the 1999 Royal Rumble Match.

1999 Royal Rumble Match

30-Man Battle Royal featuring: Mr. McMahon, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Golga, Droz, Edge, Gilberg, Steve Blackman, Dan 'The Beast' Severn, Tiger Ali Singh, The Blue Meanie, Mabel, Road Dogg, Gangrel, Kurrgan, Al Snow, Goldust, The Godfather, Kane, Ken Shamrock, Billy Gunn, Test, Big Boss Man, Triple H, Val Venis, X-Pac, Mark Henry, Jeff Jarrett, D'Lo Brown, Owen Hart, Chyna

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1999 - Vince McMahon won the Royal Rumble matchup
Kicking off tonight's main event, Austin battered McMahon around the ring to the absolute delight of the Californian crowd. At one point, Golga popped up as the number three entry but was immediately eliminated by The Texas Rattlesnake.

Golga's arrival, however, did give McMahon the chance to sneak out of the ring and hightail it through the crowd, though he didn't get far before Austin gave chase.

The former champion battered the Chairman all the way out into the arena concourse and into a women's bathroom, where Ken Shamrock and Test were lying in wait.

A corporate beatdown followed as Droz made his way out to the ring and basically stood around doing nothing.

Eventually, Edge was revealed as entrant number five so that Droz would have somebody to brawl with.

Gilberg arrived a short time later but -like Golga before him- was given the Bushwhacker treatment and immediately thrown out.

As the match settled into some kind of normality, we cut from the ring to the backstage area, where an unconscious Stone Cold Steve Austin was shown being hurled into an ambulance and driven away.

Later, Mabel -who had only just returned to the company that night- put in his first PPV appearance since the 1996 Royal Rumble.

The 1995 King of the Ring winner attacked Mosh backstage to claim a place in the match, then headed out to the ring and eliminated five people. Unfortunately, for the big man, that was where his night ended.

The lights went dark and he was attacked by Ministry of Darkness members Mideon and The Acolytes. The three punished Mabel all the way up to the entrance, where they were greeted by The Undertaker and Paul Bearer. The Dead Man said something sinister to his former rival before ordering his henchman to beat him up some more.

Kane soon put in an appearance and cleaned house, only to have The Men in White Coats come out in an attempt to straightjacket The Big Red Machine. Their attempt failed when Kane simply attacked then eliminated himself from the match so that he could chase them off through the crowd.

That left the ring empty, creating the perfect opportunity for Mr. McMahon to return to the ring during Ken Shamrock's entrance.

Next, Billy Gunn turned up, wearing only one shoe to sell the impact of Shamrock's ankle lock from their match earlier. The two rivals went to war as Vince McMahon sat down at the commentary table to boast about sending Austin to the hospital.

McMahon's gloating didn't last long, however.

As we cut to the back to see the Ministry of Darkness putting Mabel into a hearse, Austin arrived, driving the very ambulance that he'd been taken out in.

Stone Cold returned to the rumble and things finally settled down into your basic Rumble match.

All that chaos certainly made for a different kind of match than usual, but that was only part of its appeal.

Some Rumble matches had lacked a certain something in recent years, but this was fun from top to bottom.

In the end, it came down -predictably- to just Austin and McMahon.

Stone Cold took great joy in beating up the boss, but a distraction from new WWF Champion The Rock allowed Vince to throw his rival over the top and claim the match.
Your Winner: Mr. McMahon

Afterwards, Austin chased off The Rock before Vince celebrated his big victory by having an Austin-style beer bash with Shane, Patterson and Briscoe.

On the whole then, the 1999 Royal Rumble was a fun show from start to finish. 

Outside the women's championship strap match, the undercard was enjoyable if unspectacular, while the championship match remains one of the most memorable in WWF history. 

Meanwhile, the actual Rumble match was different than just about anything that had gone before it and was all the better for being so. 

Instead of the usual lulls that tend to happen in most rumbles, this one was pretty much non-stop entertainment. 

A good effort and a show that you're unlikely to regret watching. 

Other 1999 pro wrestling reviews:
For more Royal Rumble reviews see:
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Thursday, 17 January 2019

PPV REVIEW: WCW Souled Out 1999

WCW Souled Out 1999 - Event poster
January 17, 1999 
Charleston Civic Center, Charleston, West Virginia

From the summer of 1996 to the winter of 1997, there was no hotter wrestling company on the planet than World Championship Wrestling. 

Already giving the World Wrestling Federation a serious run for its money with their flagship Monday Nitro broadcasts, the company found all new levels of success with the arrival of Scott Hall & Kevin Nash.

When that particular band of Outsiders were joined by Hulk Hogan at Bash at the Beach 1996, a New World Order of wrestling was formed (brother) that catapulted WCW into the stratosphere.

For over a year, the Turner-owned enterprise was seemingly untouchable. It seemed as though they could do no wrong...

Until they did.

In December 1997, they promoted Starrcade 1997, headlined by a match between Hogan and Sting which had been a year in the making and which still gets talked about today as one of the most perfect examples of long-term booking ever carried out in pro wrestling.

Yet the disastrous, laughable finish to that match would serve as the catalyst for the company's gradual decline.

As 1997 turned into 1998, the brand would begin to lose their stronghold over the pro wrestling industry and, as the year went on, one bad decision after another saw the company spiralling out of control.

But hey, that was then, and this was now.

1999 was upon us, and World Championship Wrestling had a whole new opportunity to prove that they could turn things around and reestablish their dominance.

Would they seize that opportunity tonight on this, their first Pay-Per-View of the new year? Or would Souled Out 1999 prove to be just another step towards the eventual demise of one of what was formerly the hottest wrestling company on the planet?

Let's head to Charleston, West Virginia to find out.

WCW is back in charge

WCW Souled Out 1999 - WCW President - Ric Flair
In place of the usual opening video, we began tonight's broadcast with the voice of Tony Schiavone saying "we interrupt this broadcast for a special announcement."

This was literally the first thing that happened. The broadcast hadn't even begun yet, so there was technically nothing to interrupt, but hey, let's not dwell on that too much, shall we? I'm sure there'll be things much more dumb than that on tonight's show.

Anyway, the special announcement came from WCW President Nature Boy Ric Flair, who was shown delivering a press conference as though he were the actual President of the United States giving a State of the Union address.

Flair told us that "WCW is back in charge" and that he would lead an army of hundreds in ensuring that the nWo never took over again.

Just to prove that WCW had won the battle against their New World Order rivals, the nWo logo was crossed out in the official WCW/NWO Souled Out 1999 graphic.

WCW Souled Out 1999 - Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
You could see this clearly from the announce table where Schiavone, joined by Iron Mike Tenay and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan, welcomed us to the show.

The trio reminded us of the ending to Starrcade 1998, in which Scott Hall used a taser to help Kevin Nash beat Goldberg for the WCW title and how that had led us to a "stun gun on a ladder" match between Hall and Goldberg later on tonight.

I'll remind you that Vince Russo didn't join WCW until September of that year.

Speaking of Goldberg, we cut to a shot of him sitting on the floor of his locker room and clutching his ankle as though he'd been attacked.

The announcers also told us that 19-year-old David Flair would be making his pro wrestling debut here, volunteering to help out his father, Ric, after two of the WCW President's allies had turned their backs on him.

We'll get to that fun story later. For now, let's get to the ring.

Mean Mike Enos vs. Chris Benoit

WCW Souled Out 1999 - Mike Enos faced Chris Benoit
WCW's Random Match Generator strikes again.

The company had a long history of throwing odd matches onto PPV for no reason, and this, apparently, was one of them.

Chris Benoit was part of the reunited Four Horsemen and came out with that totally awesome Horsemen theme, whereas Mean Mike Enos was...well, Mike Enos was  basically Generic Bad Guy Wrestler in Black Trunks #1589.

Not that Enos' lack of star power had any negative impact on this match.

The former Beverley Brother dominated the bulk of this solid, hard-hitting contest and though he did spend too much time spitting on his opponent for this writer's liking, he did at least look good here.

Alas, it wasn't to be Enos' day.

The Cripper slapped on the crossface to pick up the win at the end of a reasonably enjoyable opening match.
Your Winner: Chris Benoit

Moving on...

Norman Smiley vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.

WCW Souled Out 1999 - Norman Smiley faced Chavo Guerrero Jr
Remember that time Chavo Guerero's gimmick was that he was crazy and rode around on a wooden hobby horse called Pepe?

That time was now over because, apparently, Norman Smiley had kidnapped said toy horse and ground it down into sawdust.

Tonight, he brought that sawdust with him in an urn, leaving Chavo to come out horseless and looking for revenge.

Unfortunately for the third generation star, he wouldn't get it.

Smiley controlled the bulk of this really enjoyable match, using a combination of European-style stretching and some typical American pro wrestling spots to hurt his opponent from bell to bell.

Sure, Chavo got some offence in, but this was 90% Norman and 100% fun.

Though not a technical classic, Smiley's larger-than-life personality and unique offence made it a tremendous watch.

In the end, Guerrero looked to be mounting a comeback so Smiley threw Pepe dust in his opponent's eyes and locked him in a chicken wing for the count.
Your Winner: Norman Smiley

Out in the Internet Location, Konnan told Mark Madden that he was going to find out who made the call to kick him out of the nWo. He was going to hunt that person down and, when he caught them, he was going to beat them up.

Konnan sounded either super stoned or super tired here. Whichever it was, he didn't come off well.

Fit Finlay vs. Van Hammer

WCW Souled Out 1999 - Van Hammer faced Fit Finlay
Nothing says 'top-level PPV quality' quite like a Van Hammer match.

Towering over most of his opponents with his well-defined body and long, blonde hair, the WCW veteran had always had 'the look.' Unfortunately, he'd never had much of anything else, especially not the ability to put on an exciting match.

That was particularly evident here as he went up against Fit Finlay in a tremendously tedious contest.

Like Norman Smiley before him, Finlay brought plenty of European-style offence to the table. Unlike Smiley, Finlay had an opponent who wasn't capable of selling that offence in a way that created any excitement.

Not that Hammer's own offence was much better.

After several minutes of inaction that put the crowd to sleep, Finlay emerged victorious thanks to the tombstone piledriver.
Your Winner: Fit Finlay

Up next, we were reminded of Ric Flair's rivalry with Curt Hennig and Barry Windham.

More specifically, we were reminded of the time on Nitro when a fresh-faced David Flair volunteered to help Ric take down the future West Texas Rednecks. Flair had initially been reluctant, but his buddy, Arn Anderson, had encouraged Nature Boy to let David compete.

If this were any other wrestling show, this would be the point where I'd say "that match was next," but this was WCW, so naturally, it wasn't.

Wrath vs. Bam Bam Bigelow

WCW Souled Out 1999 - Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Wrath
What was next was this; a match which, while decent, went on for far too long.

When you get a match between two big men like Wrath and Bam Bam Bigelow, you want it to be short, explosive and high-impact.

This was none of those things.

Sure, there was some high-impact offence here and there, but for the most part, both men tried to wrestle a match that was more befitting men half their size.

So, while some parts were enjoyable, others were a chore to watch.

In the end, Bigelow used Greetings From Asbury Park to get the three.
Your Winner: Bam Bam Bigelow

Toss my salad and peel my potatoes...

"Yo, yo, yo, let me speak on this!"

WCW Souled Out 1999 - Konnan faced Lex Luger
If Konnan was angry about being kicked out of the Wolfpac by Kevin Nash and Lex Luger, he certainly didn't show it.

He danced his way down to the ring and then took to the microphone to warm up the crowd.

After doing the whole "bowdy-bowdy" thing, K-Dogg told us about all the different types of salad dressing, then encouraged Luger to "get ready to bow down, toss my salad and peel my potatoes."

I may be naive, but to this day I still don't know what "peel my potatoes" actually means.

What I do know, is that of all the things Konnan had ever said, this was the one thing the producers of the WCW Mayhem music album chose to immortalise in one of the songs from that album.

Konnan vs. Lex Luger

Throughout his career, Lex Luger always worked best as a heel.

WCW Souled Out 1999 - Konnan vs Lex Luger
It was in the role of the villain that The Total Package displayed a level of captivating charisma that was simply non-existent as a babyface.

Here, he displayed that charisma in spades when took to the microphone to tell Konnan that despite having a lot of love for him, K-Dogg just wasn't able to make the cut. He then offered his opponent the chance to walk out and forfeit the match, saving himself from a beat down.

Naturally, Konnan responded by clocking Luger, and this one was on.

Like Wrath/Bigelow before it, this one went on for far too long, but it also proved to be the first time all evening that the crowd would really come alive.

Indeed, whereas the Charleston faithful had been relatively quiet since the start of the show, they exploded in the early going as Konnan finally got his revenge over Luger, and remained very vocal for the rest of the match.

That made the whole thing a lot more enjoyable to watch, especially as it looked as though Konnan would get the big win the fans were hoping for.

Alas, it wasn't to be.

Just as he had Luger in the Tequila Sunrise, Miss Elizabeth came to the ring looking absolutely gorgeous and sprayed him in the eyes with what the announcers told us was black spray paint, but which I believe would later be revealed to be mace.

That gave Luger the opportunity to break free, apply the Torture Rack, and win the match.
Your Winner: Lex Luger

Afterwards, Konnan was helped to the back by Mickie Jay and WCW's trainer.

Loser Wears a Dress Match
Perry Saturn vs. Chris Jericho (w/ Ralphus)

Before the bell, Tony Schiavone told us that Saturn and referee Scott Dickinson had broken into the business together but had recently had some sort of falling out.

The disagreement had been fuelled by Chris Jericho telling Dickinson that Saturn hated him, and was played out here by the referee and Saturn having words in the early going.

So, that was basically the ending of the match telegraphed well in advance, but despite the obvious spoiler, this was still the best match on the card so far.

It was interesting watching Jericho here at the start of 1999, knowing where he'd be by the time the year was done. He came to the ring with Ralphus in tow, carrying a brown paper bag which contained the dress the loser would have to wear when they lost.

Locking up with Saturn, the two engaged in a fast-paced, hard-hitting contest that was a pure joy to watch.

WCW Souled Out 1999 - Chris Jericho & RalphusNo, it wasn't the greatest match of all time, but compared to what had gone before it, this was five-star classic stuff.

After a gripping see-saw battle, Saturn rolled up Jericho and looked to have the match won.

Dickinson grabbed Jericho's foot to help him reverse the pin attempt, made the predictable move of a fast-count, and gave the match to the soon-to-be Y2J.
Your Winner: Chris Jericho

Post-match, Dickinson laughed with Jericho as Saturn was forced to slip into a leopard print dress. The former ECW star's latest gimmick was born.

David Flair wants to be David Flair

Out in the Internet Location, David Flair displayed all the personality of an emotionally-stunted biscuit when he said that he wanted to walk out of the arena tonight being known as David Flair and not just Ric Flair's son.

Obviously, the best way to step out from his father's shadow was to team with his father in his debut match. Or something...

World Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship Four-Corners Match
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Billy Kidman vs. Juventud Guerrera vs. Psicosis vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.

WCW Souled Out 1999 - Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio Jr.
You know, it occurs to me only now that this is the only championship match on the PPV. Interesting.

It also occurs to me that this is a dumb concept. Two men start the match and any wrestler can tag any other wrestler. Whoever scores the pinfall becomes the Cruiserweight Champion.

So, if you wanted to be the champion, why would you even tag out in the first place?

The problem with this concept was easily solved by having the wrestlers basically ignore the whole concept in the first place.

Sure, things started out in traditional four-corners fashion, but it eventually broke down into a four-way free-for-all that offered lots of entertaining spots.

Granted, it didn't offer much other than spots, but it's worth mentioning that "spotfests" in and of themselves aren't universally terrible. Placed in the right position on the card and used sparingly, they can be useful in adding a bit of fun to a pro wrestling show, and that's exactly what this one did.

Following a whole bunch of cruiserweight craziness, Kidman hit the Shooting Star Press on Juventud Guerrera to retain his title.
Your Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Billy Kidman

WCW Souled Out 1999 - Chris Jericho confronts Booker T
Out in the back, a be-suited Booker T was seen talking to's Mark Madden about Chris Jericho's victory over Perry Saturn.

It was at that moment that Jericho himself turned up and got into an argument with the former Harlem Heat member.

Booker accused Jericho's of "having the referee in your pocket" whilst Jericho argued that "it's not my fault I won the match," which, when you think about it, is a dumb thing to say.

Predictably, this argument led to the two men agreeing to face each other the following night on Nitro.

Curt Hennig & Barry Windham vs. WCW President Nature Boy Ric Flair & David Flair (w/ Arn Anderson)

Hennig was still part of the nWo here, but Windham, apparently, was not. Not that it stopped him from being just as callous on the microphone as he and Curt Hennig traded verbal jabs with the Nature Boy.

At one point, Flair told Hennig & Windham that unless they wanted to "go work for the WWF" they had better stop their talking and start fighting.

WCW Souled Out 1999 - Ric Flair teamed with David Flair
They soon did, but not before David Flair spent a few minutes convincing Ric to let him start the match against Barry Windham.

Though all this stalling took a while, it did at least mean that the crowd were more than pumped up to see Windham and Flair Jr. go at it.

At one point, Windham went for a bodyslam which David countered with a headscissor take over and the crowd erupted like they'd just seen Goldberg spear the s**t out of somebody.

Yet just when it looked the youngster would prove to be a chip off the old black, things quickly deteriorated.

The two men regrouped and locked up again. David Flair wrestled his way into an advantage, but when he went for a hip toss, he basically slipped his arm around Windham's waist and forced Windham to hiptoss himself.

It was a horrible looking move that elicited some serious cringe.

Fortunately, that was almost the last offensive thing David Flair would do all match.

Ric tug in, and what we got from here was essentially a handicap match, with David playing the traditional role of "dumb babyface who keeps trying to help his partner but only succeeds in distracting the referee."

Though not a technical masterpiece, this was a decidedly old-school match that did have a lot to offer.

Eventually, Arn Anderson hit Curt Hennig over the back of the head with a tire iron then threw a lifeless David Flair on top of him. Flair, who had just been beaten up, lay prone over Hennig as the referee counted to three.
Your Winners: Ric & David Flair

The bell ringing was not the end of this one.

Very quickly, the nWo Job Squad ran out and began to attack Anderson and Ric Flair whilst David looked on, helpless.

Chris Benoit ran to the rescue, but the numbers proved too much and he too was beaten up. The numbers continued to swell with the arrival of the nWo Wolfpac - that being Kevin Nash, Buff Bagwell, Lex Luger, Scott Steiner and Hollywood Hulk Hogan himself.

WCW Souled Out 1999 -Hulk Hogan taunts Ric Flair & David Flair
As Ric was handcuffed to the ring post, the dastardly nWo men stretched out David, sprayed "EZE" on his back (for Eric Bischoff) then proceeded to whip him with Hogan's belt.

Though this whole post-match angle did go on a little bit too long, it was nonetheless very effective. The sight of Ric Flair, handcuffed to the ropes and crying his eyes out as he tried to shield his battered son from the wrath of the evil New World Order was harrowing.

Indeed, if the whole point of pro wrestling is to elicit emotion, then this was one angle that was perfectly executed. You couldn't help but feel for Flair and hope and pray that somebody would come to the fallen hero's rescue.

Nobody did, and the bad guys simply walked away, ready to fight another day.

Finally, after a brief video package recounting the rivalry between Scott Hall and Goldberg, it was on to our main event.

Stun Gun Ladder Match
Scott Hall vs. Goldberg

WCW Souled Out 1999 -Scott Hall faced Goldberg in a ladder match
Well, what a mess this was.

At Wrestlemania 10, Scott Hall and Shawn Michaels had introduced mainstream audiences to the concept of the ladder match in what is still remembered today as one of the greatest matches of its genre.

A year later, at Summerslam 1995, he and Michaels did it again, putting on another classic that helped both men cement their status as Masters of the Ladder Match.

Three-and-a-half years later, however, Scott Hall showed absolutely no signs of being the same man that had battled Michaels back in the mid-90s.

He began tonight's main event by taking to the microphone and gloating about how he'd cost Goldberg the title at Starrcade '98. He then also reminded us of that shot we'd seen at the start of the show where Goldberg was on the floor, clutching his injured leg. Hall told us that because Goldberg was hurt, he wouldn't be competing tonight.

Michael Buffer disagreed, apologising for "that false statement from Scott Hall" and introducing the former WCW Champion.

What followed was a sloppy, sluggish horror of a match that was far removed from Hall's classics with HBK.

Even when Goldberg was busted wide open, and even when he pushed Hall off the ladder a bunch of times, nothing could escape the fact that this was a truly horrible match.

Part of the problem, of course, was that Goldberg was trying hard to sell the injury to his leg that Hall had mentioned earlier. However, he seemed to be focussing so hard on selling the leg that he became incapable of doing anything interesting.

It was painful to watch.

At one point, Goldberg looked to have the match won. He was at the top of the ladder, about to claim the stun gun that he'd need to zap Hall with to win the match. Instead, Disco Inferno -of all people- ran out and pushed Goldberg off.

Hall then got the stun gun, but the match wasn't over.

Again, you had to zap your opponent in order to win.

Goldberg blocked Hall's attempt to zap him, took the gun and teased zapping Hall with it for several millennia.

Instead, he threw it in the air and then hit Hall with a spear and a jackknife.

At that point, the camera crew messed up and spoiled a surprise by cutting to the entrance way even though nobody was there.

Back in the ring, Goldberg stunned Hall and won this atrocity of a match.
Your Winner: Goldberg

Immediately, Bam Bam Bigelow popped up and started attacking Goldberg, but Hall recovered from being zapped by a stun gun as if it was nothing and proceeded to zap both Goldberg and Bigelow with it.

It was -as many things in WCW were- stupid.

So, was Souled Out 1999 the start of a new era for World Championship Wrestling?

Was this the start of them putting their past mistakes behind them and turning things around? 

In a word, no. 

Apart from that ridiculous and awful main event, there wasn't much here that was on the level of the miserable mistakes WCW had made in the past, but there was nothing that gave you any hope for the future, either. 

Yes, Smiley/Guerrero was a fun little undercard match, and yes, Jericho and Saturn tore it up as best they could and subtly earned themselves Match of the Night honours, but there was nothing here to get overly excited about. 

All in all, it was just another forgettable pro wrestling show; the kind of thing you might feel OK about watching to pass the time on a boring Sunday afternoon, but not the sort of thing you're ever going to recommend to friends.

Other WCW Souled Out reviews:
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Thursday, 10 January 2019

EVENT REVIEW: WWF Mayhem in Manchester 1998

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Need proof?

Compare reviews from that year to the reviews from 1998.

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

A New Attitude Comes to England

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeff Jarrett vs. Brakus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let's keep going

Marvellous Marc Mero (w/ Sable) vs. Bradshaw

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

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

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

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

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

It was also a whole lot of fun.

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

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

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

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

Moving on...

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

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

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

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

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

This brought out Sable for a huge pop.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And with that, it was onto our main event.

Kane (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. The Undertaker

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

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

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

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

And that, my friends, was that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    That man was, of course, The Rock.

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

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

    In The Rock's House

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

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

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

    So that was something to get excited about.

    With that, it was on with the show.

    Someone Will Be Buried Alive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Triple H vouches for the New Age Outlaws 

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

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

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

    Earlier, on Heat...

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

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

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

    To quote Susan Saint James:


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

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

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

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

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

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

    Owen Hart vs. Steve Blackman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Or did we?

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

    Not that she seemed to mind much.

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

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

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

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

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

    D-Generation-X are banned from ringside

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Making of The Corporate Champion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Unsurprisingly, Vince refused.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    King 1 - 0 Cole.

    Anyway, that only made the match even more interesting.

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

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

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

    Or Maybe not.

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


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

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

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

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

    Time for Buried Alive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    It wasn't that they didn't try.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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