By JOE HAGEN – For SlamWrestling.net
I was going through some old wrestling mementos recently, and came across the card from an Attitude Era WWF show that I attended at the SkyDome (now named the Rogers Centre). As the previous Card Exam articles have focused more on historical events, I thought it might be interesting to share some memories of a more recent show featuring some names that have become absolute legends.
The event was held November 7, 1998. During this era, tickets for the following event would go on sale during the intermission of the previous show at the box office. Knowing this, I was able to call TicketMaster, and score a pair of front row tickets! It’s a shame I couldn’t find the ticket stub to share with this, but I don’t think the tickets set me back much more than $40 each. Can you even see a WWE show for $40 today, let alone sit in the front row?
The opening contest saw LOD 2000 taking on members of the Disciples of Apocalypse. Skull and 8-Ball (aka The Harris Brothers) were scheduled to appear, however 8-Ball did not make the event, and manager Paul Ellering took his place. Ellering, of course, was the longtime manager of the Legion of Doom who had recently taken to managing the D.O.A. The Legion of Doom were going through a transitioning period at the time, with Animal bringing newcomer Droz into the fold, because Hawk had been struggling with alcoholism (kayfabe). During the course of the match, Hawk attempted to insert himself, which distracted Animal. At this point, with the referee distracted, Ellering seized the opportunity, hit Droz with his briefcase, and scored the pinfall at 5:52.
Up next, Al Snow faced off against Toronto’s own Tiger Ali Singh, the son of the legendary Tiger Jeet Singh. Despite being the hometown boy, Singh was portrayed heel here, and ended up scoring the pinfall over Snow using a roll-up at 8:26.
In the next contest, Steven Regal squared off against “Lethal Weapon” Steve Blackman. Regal had been with the WWF since the start of 1998, but had quietly taken some time off to deal with personal issues. At this point, after appearing in a series of vignettes that featured Regal doing “manly things”, he was debuting the “Man’s Man” character. Blackman’s ultimate fighting expertise was no match for Regal’s penchant for bending the rules, however. Using the ropes for leverage, Regal managed to get the pin over Blackman at 4:28.
The following bout saw the relatively new team of Gangrel and Christian, The Brood facing off against newcomers Too Much, a team consisting of Brian Christopher and Scott Taylor. Edge would eventually join The Brood, and Gangrel would ultimately depart the company. Christopher and Taylor would also eventually adopt the names Grandmaster Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty, and update their team’s name to 2 Cool. At 9:30, Christian would hit a reverse DDT on Taylor and score the pin.
The evening’s first title defense saw European Champion X-Pac put his title on the line in a Guitar on a Pole match against Jeff Jarrett, who was accompanied to the ring at the time by Debra McMichael. While Jarrett was the first to get to the guitar, a shot to the midsection from X-Pac as he came off the top rope would derail any designs he had on using it against his opponent, and X-Pac would score the win after hitting Jarrett at 9:31 to retain the title. In clearing the ring between matches, the referee, the late Tim White would inadvertently kick a piece of the shattered guitar into my lap. I was reading my program, and didn’t see the object coming. I looked up to see where it came from, and White called down “Sorry about that, sr. I don’t know my own strength!”
The second title defense of the night would see Intercontinental Champion Ken Shamrock put the strap on the line against Mankind in a no holds barred Toronto Street Fight. At the time, Mankind was trying to gain the favour of Vince McMahon’s faction, The Corporation, and had started wearing a shirt and tie during his matches. He would not, however, end up walking out of SkyDome wearing championship gold, as Shamrock would ultimately get the win.
In what would probably be the oddest matchup of the evening, a mixed tag match would follow. Orangeville’s own Edge, who had been with the company just under a year, and had been working televised matches for about six months, teamed up with Sable against her husband Marc Mero and his partner, Jacqueline. Mero had recently dropped Sable as his valet, and Jacqueline had taken over as his manager. Edge would execute his finisher, the Downward Spiral on Mero after the former “Wildman” was dealt a low blow by Sable, scoring the pin at 8:23. Mero would depart the company at the end of the month.
Yet another hometown boy, Val Venis, was next up. Venis, who had been involved for a time with Terri Runnels would find himself stepping into the ring against Runnels’ husband Goldust, who, after a period of mixing up his gimmick had returned to his “classic” black and gold look. Despite a strong showing, however, the former porn actor would fall to Goldust at 7:03.
The last title defense of the evening saw the New Age Outlaws defend their titles against Nation of Domination members D-Lo Brown and Mark Henry. The Nation was close to being dissolved, and Brown and Henry would not be able to capture the gold. With the referee otherwise occupied, D-Lo ended up being clocked with one of the title belts, which cost them the match.
The main event of the evening saw arguably the biggest names of the Attitude Era do battle inside of a steel cage. Not the fenced cage that fans are more accustomed to today, but the “classic” blue, metal barred cage. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, Undertaker and Kane were all involved in feuds with one another, and putting the four titans in a cage to settle their differences was what was best for business!
One of the most notable tidbits from this matchup involved Undertaker, whose gear bag ended up being lost during transport from the previous show. The Phenom, not one to miss out on a match and disappoint fans, ended up battling in his street clothes! Fortunately, ‘Taker was known to “live the gimmick” at the time, and always dressed himself head to toe in black. If you think about it, this could be the genesis of the “American Badass” Undertaker, who would make his appearance several years later.
Before the match even began, Kane and ‘Taker would battle outside of the cage as Austin and Rock squared off in the ring. I was not paying attention to the action going on outside the ring, and as I snapped a photo of Austin and Rock in the ring, I got a little taste of the action as Kane was thrown by Undertaker into the ringside barricade directly in front of me, knocking me back into my seat!
The two brothers would make their way into the confines of the cage, both mixing it up with each other as well as trading blows with Austin and Rock. At eight minutes, fifty-seven seconds, Austin would hit the Stone Cold Stunner on Rock, leaving the Great One staring at the lights as the crowd of nearly seventeen thousand was soon treated to Austin’s trademark Steveweiser celebrations.
Joe Hagan is a long-time fan of professional wrestling. In 2019, he made the move from being the loudest voice in the crowd to being Ontario Independent Wrestling’s oldest rookie ring announcer. He can be seen — and heard — at shows for the IPW and Scorpion Kombat promotions.