1998 is the third entry (of 4) into the SummerSlam Review Series. When Vince and Company hit Madison Square Garden for a PPV, it’s always a good time. I was the ripe old age of 12 years old the first time I saw this SummerSlam. It was about the same as I recall, which means it was top heavy, like most WWF shows during this time. Not that the undercard wasn’t stacked in some ways, but there were as many hits as misses throughout the middle of the show. It’s nice to recall a time when the Intercontinental Championship was nearly as important as the WWF Championship, but in the era of The E, that just isn’t the case anymore. I guess they diluted it the second they started adding more World Championships. SummerSlam 98 wasn’t the best, but it is a very good display of the late 90′s Attitude Era.
European Championship Match: Val Venis v D’Lo Brown (C) (***): D’Lo Brown was at his peak during this time. Billing himself from all over Europe during this title reign, and still rocking his flak jacket. Val selling the “Chest Protector” was great. D’Lo even worked a thumb to the eye into this one. Val with an Exploder Suplex was a surprise, which JR calls a “high impact move”. The Money Shot reversed into a Sky High was great. I’ve always loved that move. D’lo botched his Running Powerbomb, and referee Jimmy Korderas played a drum beat on Val’s back, weird moment. Ref Jimmy K also got the most heat of the match when he tripped Val off the rope. Decent open, but didn’t really get the crowd going. Only in the Attitude Era would a face blatantly beat down the referee.
A little Foley promo, always a good thing.
The Oddities (Kurrgan, Golga, and Giant Silva) w/Luna Vachon & ICP v Kaientai (Taka Michinoku, Sho Funaki, Mens Teioh, & Dick Togo) w/Yamaguchi-San (**): The match starts with John Tenta (Earthquake/Golga) and Taka Michinoku, something I never imagined I’d see, and didn’t know I already had. Kurrgan dancing around is ridiculous. The crowd really couldn’t care less about the Oddities when ICP weren’t rapping. Lawler fits in a bit of light-racism under his breath. Even without trying, Tenta showed how much more athletic he was than the other big men. He was the only one able to take any offense from Kaientai. It was nice to see Luna get in the mix a little, and Tenta getting the PINFALL. The whole match is just an elongated squash.
Hair v Hair: Jeff Jarrett v X-Pac w/Howard Finkel (***): Finkel coming out as a DX member, and saying “Suck it!”, was hilarious. Pac got stuck on the rope, and nearly missed his Flying Body Press to the outside. Jarrett posting X-Pac on the outside was a devious spot. I’m always a fan of Figure-4 spots. Southern Justice was a more enjoyable gimmick than the Godwins to me. The finish was hilarious, as Jeff Jarrett getting tormented is always funny.
Rock promo was of the usual high quality, he even told Cole to shut up.
Marc Mero & Jacquiline v Edge & Sable (**): It’s funny how far Edge went to eclipse all the other people in this match. Sable’s Super-Hurricanrana on Mero was the highlight. Jackie has always been a logic-less hot mess in the ring.
Vince hyping Foley up was as good as promos get.
Lion’s Den Match: Owen Hart w/Dan Severn v Ken Shamrock (***): A few too many Irish Whips for what’s supposed to be a Shoot Fight. The cage looks cool, but it’s not much different that any other cage match. I liked the cage jump spot. These two could work a good match in the middle of the street, so I’m not surprised this was entertaining the entire time. Not the best match, but it looked good for what it was.
Tag Team Championship Match: Mankind (C) v New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn) (**): When these three guys are in a match, a dumpster always seems to be around. Pretty short match, a little violent, but nothing to talk about. Kane coming out to deal with Mankind post-match really offended JR.
Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: Triple H (w/Chyna and a garbaggio band) v The Rock w/Mark Henry (****): Fake Rage Against the Machine came out to play the terrible DX song. Both men start out by shouting F-bombs at each other, don’t see that anymore. JR asking “Why don’t we ever talk about Sammy Sosa?” made me laugh for some reason. These two beat the crap out of each other, a staple of any good Ladder Match. There were a couple times that I was shocked the ladder didn’t hit anyone in the crowd. Rocky donned the crimson mask for this one, but Triple H still seemed to get the worst of the affair. The People’s Elbow on the ladder is one of the few variations ever used with the spot. I like that both guys tried to cheat their way over, but no one cheated better than Chyna.
WWF Championship Match: Undertaker v Steve Austin (C) (****): Austin never went flashy, but his entrances are probably the best of all-time. A sloppy brawl from these two. You got Taker on mistake knocking Austin out with a headbutt, a botched (Spanish Announce) table spot and Stunner, at one point Austin seems to almost break his back going over the top to the outside. Kane coming out, and being sent to the back by Taker, was a nice little piece of storytelling. The crowd loved them some Austin. These two’s sloppiest match is still better than 99% of the stuff you’ll find in wrestling today.
SummerSlam Review Series #1:
SummerSlam Review Series #2: