When I predicted Kane to beat “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in their First Blood match in our Countdown to King Of The Ring, my SLAM! Wrestling tag team partner – Greg Oliver – was ready to have me committed. Outraged readers e-mailed me offering the names and numbers of trusted shrinks.

I hate to be the one who says “I told you so” but… I told you so.

The unthinkable has happened. Vince McMahon made a deal with the wrestling world’s version of Lucifer and now The Undertaker’s “brother” Kane holds the WWF’s most coveted title. Though, I doubt it will be a long and storied reign. He could lose it to The Undertaker tonight on Raw Is War.

Rabid “Stone Cold” Steve Austin fans have but one person to blame for this vexing turn of events: The Man From The Dark Side himself, The Undertaker.

Things went horribly wrong for the WWF rattlesnake as he collided with referee Earl Hebner at ringside. Coincidentally, Hebner is the same official who assisted McMahon in underhandedly stripping Bret Hart of the belt at last year’s Survivor Series. Austin recovered from the Irish Whip giving Kane a solid stomping in the middle of the ring. Out came Mankind wielding a steel chair. Austin, his elbow heavily taped due to a serious infection, stopped Mankind dead in his tracks levelling him with his trademarked Stone Cold Stunner finishing move. A second Stunner of the night blanked Kane out.

Still battered and bruised from the historic Hell In A Cell match earlier in the evening, The Undertaker arrived steel chair in hand. As Austin and The Undertaker both swung at Mankind, the quick thinking madman ducked out of the way. Austin and Taker’s chairs crashed together. Austin’s savagely rebounded striking him in the head. Crimson blood poured down Stone Cold’s face. As per the rules of the bout, Austin had clearly lost as he was indeed the first to be busted wide open but Earl Hebner still lay dazed.

Taking matters into his own hands, The Undertaker rolled Hebner back into the ring pouring gasoline out of a canister at ringside (to be used to set Kane on fire if he lost the match) over the cotton-headed official. Austin smacked Kane with the steel chair and in doing so displayed his blood soaked face to Hebner. Hebner immediately called for the bell and the unmoving Kane was announced as the new WWF World Heavyweight Champion.

Sitting in a private box high above the ring, WWF owner Vince McMahon (sitting beside Sable) smiled at the proclamation.

Earth-shattering as its conclusion was, the First Blood match had nothing on the classic Hell In A Cell match between The Undertaker and Mankind. If there was any question as to Mick Foley’s (Mankind, Cactus Jack, Dude Love) commitment to his craft, he actions which spoke louder than words, silenced his critics tonight. Like Jimmy Snuka’s unforgettable Super Fly leap off the top of a steel cage onto Don Muraco, Foley’s header off the roof of the Hell Cell to the concrete floor has cemented his place in wrestling history. Foley was there as a fan the night Snuka flew through the air. It inspired him to be the professional wrestler he is today. Undeniably, the student has now surpassed the master.

Completing the extraordinary bump approximately a minute into the match, Foley lay stock still under where else? The Spanish announce team’s table. Terry Funk, Vince McMahon and the WWF trainers checked on Foley’s condition calling for a stretcher. The cage began rising with The Undertaker standing on top of it. Half way back to the locker room, Mankind amazingly stood up and staggered back to the cage climbing to the top. In another outrageous bump, The Undertaker chokeslammed Foley through the cage roof to the mat below.

WWF Commissioner Slaughter and Terry Funk attempted to intercede and stop the beating. Funk was chokeslammed. Bleeding from his mouth, Mankind continued the brawl being crushed between the steel cage and the steel ringsteps utilised by The Undertaker. Mankind lacerated The Man From The Darkside piledriving him onto a steel chair then emptied a bag full of tacks onto the mat. Backdropped, chokeslammed and Tombstoned on the tacks, Foley surrendered to the three count.

In a sight rarely seen, Pittsburgh fans stood up in unison saluting Foley for an unparalleled, memorable performance as Terry Funk helped his injured friend up the rampway. Mr. Foley. You rock, my man.

The next WWF pay-per-view is Fully Loaded on July 26th.

WWF King Of The Ring ‘98 Results

Taka Michinoku , The Head Bangers Vs Kaientai

: Introduced as a bonus match.
: At 6:44, The Head Bangers double-slam Taka onto a Kaientai member. Taka uses the Driver for the win.

Winners: Taka Michinoku , The Head Bangers at 6 minutes and 44 seconds..

Match Rating: 6 / 10.

: Vince McMahon, Sable, Jerry Brisco and Pat Patterson enter the ring. McMahon belittles the crowd predicting a Kane victory. Sable is told to leave the ring. Patterson slaps her on the butt. She spins around and slaps him in the face. You go, girl!

Jeff Jarrett Vs Ken Shamrock (Ring Of The Ring Tourney)

: Shamrock hits a Hurracanrana and the Ankle Lock Submission hold. Jarrett taps out. He ain’t so great afterall, eh?

Winner: Ken Shamrock at 5 minutes and 29 seconds.

Match Rating: 6 / 10.

Dan Severn Vs The Rock (King Of The Ring Tourney)

: Satellite went out. No report on this match.

Winner: The Rock at ?

Match Rating: ? / 10.

Too Much Vs Al Snow , The Head

: The announcers say Snow isn’t “officially part of the WWF”. In reality, he has been on loan from the WWF to ECW.
: Jerry Lawler is announced as the special guest referee. True to form, Lawler fast counts for Too Much’s attempted pins and slow counts Snow’s attempted pins.
: The Head is tagged in. Snow clobbers Christopher and Taylor. Christopher pins The Head attaching it to a bottle of Head and Shoulders shampoo.

Winner: Too Much at 8 minutes and 26 seconds.

Match Rating: 2 / 10.

X-Pac Vs Owen Hart

: At 7:35, Mark Henry splashes a downed X-Pac. Chyna jaws with him. Vader splashes Henry. Owen slaps on the Sharp Shooter but Chyna DDTs him.
: Owen is screwed over again and bleeding underneath his eye.

Winner: X-Pac at 8 minutes and 30 seconds.

Match Rating: 6 / 10.

: A London, England card is announced for December 6th called Capital Carnage.
: Paul Bearer does mike work promoting Kane as champ.

The New Age Outlaws Vs The New Midnight Express (WWF Tag Team Title Match)

: Announced as a bonus match. Huh? I thought The Legion Of Doom was to take on The Outlaws. No explanation is given for the change.
: Chyna crotch shots Cornette. The Outlaws score the pinfall. Chyna’s constant interference is getting old..old..old.

Winner: …and still WWF Tag Team Champions…The New Age Outlaws at 9 minutes and 34 seconds.

Match Rating: 2 / 10.

Ken Shamrock Vs The Rock (King Of The Ring final)

: Triple H is the special commentator joining Lawler and Ross.
: Helmsley spits water in The Rock’s face. The Rock shoves him by the face backwards into the steel guard rail.
: The Ankle Lock Submission crowns Shamrock as King Of The Ring.
: Funny. There’s no elaborate ceremony to celebrate the occasion.

Winner: …and new WWF King Of The Ring…Ken Shamrock at 14 minutes and 9 seconds .

Match Rating: 8 / 10.

Mankind Vs The Undertaker (Hell In A Cell Match)

Winner: The Undertaker at approximately 17 minutes .

Match Rating: 10 / 10.

Steve Austin Vs Kane (WWF World Heavyweight Title Match)

Winner: …and new WWF World Heavyweight Champion…Kane at 15 minutes and 58 seconds .

Match Rating: 10 / 10.

Total Event Time: 2 hours and 50 minutes.

Overall Event Rating10 / 10.