The WWF did the right thing in building a rich storyline leading up to the Undertaker and Steve Austin’s titanic SummerSlam struggle. Fans want to be drawn in by intrigue and the plot twists as the tension builds. The importance of pay-per-view revenue to the business has pushed federations into rushing out unfocused storylines within the tight time frame between events. What the WWF did wrong was schedule what turned out to be an extraordinary ladder match right before the main event.
Young lions Rocky (The Rock) Maivia and Hunter-Hearst Helmsley stole the spotlight from the ring veterans in a classic contest that made those watching damn proud to call themselves a pro-wrestling fan. Both gave everything they had…and then some. The cuts, bruises and sore muscles are the proof that erases any shadow of a doubt. As a promoter, you couldn’t ask anything more from your talent.
Following such an athletic display is impossible but Austin and the Undertaker did the best they could. The much teased Kane – Undertaker conspiracy to end Austin’s WWF World Title reign never took place.
In an interview earlier in the evening, Mankind and WWF President Vince McMahon discussed how Kane’s no-show at SummerSlam would affect the WWF Tag Team Title match. McMahon convinced Mankind to go it alone against The New Age Outlaws. Once again, Poor Mick Foley got his head bashed in. At the conclusion of the title bout, Kane appeared out of a dumpster and pummeled Mankind with a sledgehammer off camera. In another interview the Undertaker promised he would take Austin on without the assistance of his demonic “brother”.
Approximately half-way through the World Title match, Kane did march down the entrance way but The Undertaker waved him off. Kane obeyed heading back from whence he came. Austin attacked the distracted WWF phenom only to be chokeslammed over the top rope. Stone Cold’s spill on the outside had him holding his already tender neck.
Austin regrouped clotheslining The Undertaker over the top rope as well then connecting with a flying fist from the ring apron. Scripted too similarly to Austin’s past matches with Dude Love and Bret Hart, the main event did drag on especially when the wrestlers battled into the crowd and disappeared from view. Austin’s attempted piledriver on the concrete floor was met with a thunderous backdrop. The Undertaker clotheslined Austin over a waist-high retaining wall substituting for the traditional steel fencing then rammed his folically-challenged skull into a steel post.
The Undertaker used Austin’s own momentum to throw him through the ropes to the floor. Hurling the champ into the steel ring steps The Undertaker planted him on the Spanish announce team’s table, climbed to the top rope and guillotined him with a flying legdrop. Taker rose up. Austin lay deathly still.
Slicing his thumb across his throat, The Undertaker set-up Austin for the Tombstone Piledriver. Austin slid out at the last moment. The Man From The Darkside held Stone Cold for his cat walk punch. Austin yanked him down landing a low blow in the process. A Stone Cold Stunner put The Undertaker away. Conceding defeat, Taker handed Austin the WWF World Heavyweight title belt in a show of respect. Austin saluted the crowd. Kane and The Undertaker looked on standing side-by-side.
The next WWF pay-per-view is INYH: Break Down on September 27th from Hamilton, Ontario’s Copps Coliseum.
WWF SummerSlam ’98 Results
: WWF Heat aired promoting the event.
: Austin smashed The Undertaker’s hearse with a sledgehammer and a fork lift.
: Mankind picked up the sledgehammer voicing his anger at Kane’s absence.
: The Rock sneak attacked Hunter-Hearst Helmsley using the Intercontinental belt to whack Triple H in the back of the knee injuring him.
: Southern Justice and Jeff Jarrett shaved Howard Finkle’s head.
Val Venis (challenger) Vs D-Lo Brown (champion) (WWF European Title Match)
: Edge is shown standing in the crowd.
: Venis says: “I came. I conquered. I came again”.
: In an obvious gaffe, sometimes Val Venis punches D-Lo’s chest protector hurting himself, sometimes the padding has no effect.
: Venis goes for the Money Shot at 12:17. A quick-thinking D-Lo counters putting his knees up.
: D-Lo is supposed to powerbomb Venis. D-Lo loses his grip. Venis falls awkwardly on his neck.
: Lawler says of Venis’ kick-outs: “How does Val Venis continue to rise up like that?”.
: At 14:08, Venis rips off the chest protector and puts it on. Venis goes for the Money Shot again. In pulling at the chest protector the ref accidentally crotches Venis on the top rope. Venis retaliates by heaving the ref across the ring. D-Lo strips Venis of the chest protector. The ref DQ’s Venis. Venis slams the ref and Money Shots him.
Winner: At 15 minutes and 31 seconds…and still WWF European Champion…D-Lo Brown by disqualification..
Match Rating: 7 / 10.
The Oddities Vs Kai En Tai
: The Insane Clown Posse performs. The Oddities dance in the ring.
: The match consists of Kurrgan and Giant Silva manhandling several Kai En Tai members at once and Kai En Tai ganging up on the bigger brutes. It’s a total mismatch from the start.
: Golga steals Yamaguchi’s shoes pouring water in it and on him. : Luna powerbombing Yamaguchi receives a loud pop.
: Giant Silva and Kurrgan chokeslam two Kai En Tai members each. Golga splashes and pins them all piled on each other.
: J.R. says: “You won’t see any basketball players in the ring tonight”.
Winners: The Oddities at 10 minutes and 8 seconds..
Match Rating: 3 / 10.
X-Pac Vs Jeff Jarrett (Haircut Match)
: Double J is accompanied by Southern Justice. Commission Slaughter sends the two hicks packing.
: Howard Finkle comes out wearing a DX shirt, joins X-Pac in the crotch chop-fireworks bit and says to Jarrett over the house mike..”I’ve got two words for you Jarrett: SUCK IT!”.
:Way to go Howard! The Fink in DX? We dig it, baby!
: At 1:22, Jarrett atomic drops X-Pac onto a steel post. Ouch! That’s gotta hurt.
: A courageous Fink argues with the ref on the ring apron. Double J haymakers The Fink. The crowd really boos.
: Southern Justice returns. Knight swings at X-Pac with a guitar and misses. X-Pac retrieves the guitar braining Jarrett with it for the three count.
: The New Age Outlaws arrive steel chairs in hand to ward off Southern Justice. The Headbangers and Puke hold Jarrett while X-Pac and The Fink shave Jarrett’s head. Double J’s hair clogs the electric razor it is replaced by scissors.
Winner: X-Pac at 11 minutes and 9 seconds.
Match Rating: 8 / 10.
Sable and Edge Vs Mark Mero and Jackie
: A loud pop occurs when Sable kicks Mero in the crotch and Sable Bombs him.
: Sable TKO’s Jackie. Mero pulls Sable out of the ring before a three count is rendered.
: Edge suicide leaps over the ropes onto Mero. Jackie jumps on Edge’s back. Edge puts her over his knee spanking her.
: Mero is crotched on the top rope. Sable hurracanranas Mero a la Scotty Steiner off the top rope. Jackie misses Sable splashing Mero. Edge slams Sable onto Mero for the pin.
Winners: Edge and Sable at 8 minutes and 24 seconds..
Match Rating: 6 / 10.
Owen Hart Vs Ken Shamrock (Lion’s Den Match)
: The Lion’s Den is a wicked funnel-shaped, octagonal cage. The ref and camera men are on a walkway above attached to the cage. The cage is locked once both Hart and Shamrock are inside.
: Dan Severn is outside the cage holding a towel cheering Hart on.
: Shamrock rips off Hart’s shirt choking him with it. Hart’s lip is split open.
: Hart catapults Shamrock into the metal cage supports. Shamrock bleeds.
: At 7:08, Hart locks on the Sharpshooter. Shamrock crawls up the cage wall to break the hold, flips over and wraps Hart in the Ankle Lock submission hold.
: Severn shakes his head in disgust walking away.
: Next up: Lion’s Den match between Severn and Shamrock.
Winner: Ken Shamrock at 9 minutes and 16 seconds..
Match Rating: 7 / 10.
Mankind (champion) Vs The New Age Outlaws (challengers) (WWF Tag Team Title – No DQ Match)
: The Outlaws brings a garbage bin full of plunder to the ring.
: Mankind beans The Outlaws with a cookie sheet in the losing battle. The fans are clearly on Foley’s side.
: Mankind hip-tosses Gunn into a table shattering it. The Outlaws slam Mankind on two steel chairs and spike piledrive him on one of the tag belts for the victory. The fans aren’t happy with the cheap win.
: Gunn says: “We are putting you in the garbage where you belong”. The Outlaws slam Mankind into the garbage bin. The lid pops open. It’s Kane holding a sledgehammer. He strikes Mankind but Foley’s inside the dumpster so we can’t see the impact.
Winners: …and new WWF World Tag Team Champions…The New Age Outlaws at 7 minutes and 30 seconds..
Match Rating: 4 / 10.
Rocky Maivia (champion) Vs Hunter-Hearst Helmsley (challenger) (WWF Intercontinental Title – Ladder Match)
: Mark Henry is with Maivia. Chyna with Triple H.
: The DX band plays in the middle of the ring. Triple H carries the lead singer around on his shoulders then destroys the drum set.
: Way too much intense action to describe fully. Match of the year candidate.
: The Rock retrieves the ladder at 4:30. Triple H spikes the ladder onto The Rock’s chest.
: Maivia pulls Helmsley off the ladder. He falls and aggravates his knee injury inflicted earlier.
: The Rock puts Helmsley’s knee between the ladder stomping on it twice then drills the ladder and Helmsley’s trapped knee with a steel chair. : The Rock positions the ladder between the ring and the retaining wall. Helmsley is knee breakered on the ladder.
: Lawler says: “I’ve got two words for Helmsley: Ouch! Ouch!”.
: The People’s Champion slingshots Triple H into the ladder. Triple bounces off his head striking the announce table.
: At 14:06, Mark Henry hands another ladder to The Rock. Triple H socks Henry in the chops. Henry holds Triple H while Maivia climbs the ladder. Chyna forearm shots Henry.
: Triple H tips the ladder over sending The Rock over the top rope. Hemsley baseball kicks the ladder into The Rock’s face. Maivia bleeds.
: Maivia punches Helmsley off the ladder. Triple H bounces off the other ladder hitting the one Maivia is on. The Rock is guillotined on the top rope. The Rock slams Triple H on the ladder and delivers The People’s Elbow and The Rock Bottom. The fans go nuts.
: Triple H yanks Maivia off the ladder and drops him with a Pedigree on the ladder. The fan erupt.
: Mark Henry throws that blinding powder in Hunter’s eyes. The belt is in reach but Helmsley can’t see it. Chyna punches Maivia in the family jewels (Yawn! Haven’t we seen this before?). Triple H grabs the belt.
Winner: …and new WWF Intercontinental Champion…Hunter-Hearst Helmsley at 24 minutes and 32 seconds.
Match Rating: 10 / 10.
Steve Austin (champion) Vs The Undertaker (challenger) (WWF World Heavyweight Title Match)
Winner: …and still WWF World Heavyweight Champion…Stone Cold Steve Austin at 20 minutes and 50 seconds. .
Match Rating: 8 / 10.
Total Event Time: 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Overall Event Rating: 8 / 10.