Once again I have dug deep in the WWE Video Archives to find some of the best WWE PPVs of all time, and this time I have emerged with WWE Summerslam 1998. Summerslam 1998, the Highway to Hell, not only had a great theme song, but it had a hell of a main event, with Stone Cold Steve Austin defending his WWE Championship against the Undertaker, in what would be probably one of the best outings these two have had together, and there has been a lot of outings.
Vince McMahon had got the assistance of Kane to try and capture the WWE Championship from Stone Cold Steve Austin, with Kane capturing the Championship at King of the Ring ’98, but losing it back to Stone Cold the following Monday Night Raw, McMahon turned to the older brother of Kane, the Undertaker. With the Undertaker as Number 1 contender for the Championship the mach was set, Undertaker would face Stone Cold at Summerslam, however Kane would also be in the corner of his elder brother to give him a helping hand, brotherly love at its finest.
Also on the card, a match that would be both men’s steppingstone to bigger and better things, as Triple H took on The Rock in an epic ladder match for the WWE IC Championship. The leader of D Generation X, and the leader of The Nation had been leading their respective factions into war with one another. The Rock had been publicly humiliated when Triple H and D Generation X had impersonated The Nation, this lead to a match for the IC Championship at Fully Loaded ’98, in which the Rock immerged victorious. D Generation X and The Nation then had a street fight on a following Raw, in which The Rock had savagely attacked Triple H with a ladder. This then lead Triple H to challenge The Rock to a ladder match at Summerslam for the IC Championship, and this match would truly be something special.
The rest of the card looked like this:
WWE European Championship: D Lo Brown vs. Val Venis
The Oddities/ Featuring a live performance by The Insane Clown Posse vs. Kaientai
Hair vs. Hair Match: X-Pac vs. Double J
Mixed Tag Team Match: Sable & Edge vs. Marc Mero & Jacqueline
Lion’s Den Match: Owen Hart vs. Ken Shamrock
WWE Tag Team Championship, No Holds Barred Match: Mankind vs. Billy Gunn & Road Dogg
WWE IC Championship Ladder Match: Triple H vs. The Rock
WWE Championship Match: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Undertaker
High & Lows
The PPV kicked off with D Lo Brown vs. Val Venis for the European championship. D Lo was armed with his “Loaded” chest protector, and the action started soon as both men hooked it up. Val Venis gained the advantage in the first part of the match, until D Lo used his chest protector to his advantage. Both men seemed to be on top form, as their styles seemed pretty equal. The match continued with D Lo on the offence, Val then went for a suplex, but D Lo reversed the move into a Boston Crab submission move. D Lo broke the hold and the match continued, Val once again gained the advantage, he went for the Moneyshot off the top rope, and D Lo reversed the move into a pretty awesome powerbomb. D Lo went for the pin but Val again kicked out. Val then stripped D Lo of his chest protector, and Val put the chest protector on himself. Val went for the Moneyshot, but the referee then got in Val’s face, and he accidentally knocked Val down, Val then got back in the match, but knocked the referee down, the referee DQ Val, and D Lo left with his title. After the match Val slammed the referee down and the hit the referee with the Moneyshot. To be fairly honest I enjoyed this match, but I was pretty disappointed with the ending. Both Val & D Lo give it their all for the match, the ending didn’t really do justice for either man, it may have got Val a bit more “over” with the fans, but that’s it. Overall, cracking opening match, sadly a bit disappointing at the end.
We now go to the backstage area where Michael Cole interviews Mankind. Both men are stood next to a hearse in which Steve Austin had destroyed earlier on Sunday Night Heat. Mankind then reveals that the hearse was his, not Undertaker’s or Kane’s. Mankind leaves the interview carrying a sledgehammer. As you can expect this was a good interview, and that’s what you will always get from Mick Foley.
Worst match on the card now, Kaientai vs. The Oddities, this is simply the worst match I have seen in a hell of a long time. Before the match kicks off, The Insane Clown Posse does a mini concert, and its not much better than the match. The match kicks off with Golga who takes on the members of Kiaentai with a series of pathetic head butts. Golga steels Yamaguchi's shoe, he then pours a drink into them. The match continues to become a joke as Kurrgan gets the tag in. Kurrgan continues the match until he tags Silva, at this point JR confesses that this match was a not advertised as a “wrestling classic”, like we don’t know that. Kaientai then gains that advantage, for about 30 seconds, until Golga tags Kurrgan, who then goes onto gain the advantage, and he and Silva double chokeslam Kaientai and Luna slams Yamaguchi on the floor, Golga then enters the ring and scores the pin. This match is absolute rubbish; it sticks out like a sore thumb, a very good card, with such a terrible match. This is the only time on this PPV that you will have to hit the fast forward button.
Next match on the card, “Hair vs. Hair” as Jeff Jarrett takes on X-Pac. Jeff Jarrett comes down to the ring with Southern Justice, who are sent to the backstage area by the Sarge, and we are shown some footage from Sunday Night Heat, when Howard Finkle had his hair shaved off. X-Pac makes his way down to the ring with The Fink, who then tells Double J to “suck it”. The match kicks off with Double J attacking X-Pac from behind, there is brawling in the ring, then Pac clothesline JJ out of the ring, he then jumps to the second rope and he does a flying body press onto JJ. The match goes to the outside again when JJ drop kicks X-Pac. JJ then gets X-Pac in the air and puts him into the ring post in a horrible crotch shot, ouch! Both men get back into the ring and the fight continues. The match continues at a really god pace, and the finish comes when X-Pac nails JJ with The X-Factor but only gets a 2 count, Southern Justice comes down with a guitar, he misses X-Pac, and X-Pac nails JJ with it, he goes for the cover and scores the pin. The New Age Out Laws, Head Bangers, Sarge and Droz all come down to shave Jeff Jarrett’s head. Overall this was a great match, great technical wrestling, great entertainment and a great effort by X-Pac and Jeff Jarrett.
A little segment in which Michael Hayes show us the Lion’s Dens in which Owen Hart and Ken Shamrock will do battle inside. He then crossed over to Michael Cole who is with The Rock, typical Rock interview with some footage of Rock taking out Triple H’s knee on Sunday Night Heat.
Mixed tag team match next, Marc Mero & Jacqueline vs. Sable and her mystery tag team partner, who would be Edge. The match starts off with Edge and Marc Mero in a typical fight. Both men brawl with some decent wrestling. We are teased with Sable vs. Jacqueline, until finally both of them fight. Both women have a pretty good match, as Jackie and Sable are pretty talented wrestlers. Jacqueline continued to brawl until Sable hits the TKO on her and went for the pin, but Mero came in and broke the pin, Edge and Mero fight outside, then Edge throws Mero into the ring. The fight continues, and Edge tags in Sable, Sable then hits a hurricurna on Mero, Edge hits The Downward Spiral and Sable gets the cover. Very entertaining match, this was Edge’s first run as a face and he and Sable were very popular with the fans. Nice match.
Another little Mankind interview with Michael Cole, Cole informs us that Kane will not be in the arena, Mankind loses it even more than usual when Michael Cole tells Mankind that people want their moneys worth, so Mankind offers to play in traffic. Vince McMahon then comes and promises Mankind he will be come a part of history if he defends the tag titles.
Up next a Lion’ Den match with Ken Shamrock vs. Owen Hart, if you don’t know, the Lion’s Den is similar to the UFC Octagon and I think the rules are pretty similar, in the sense that there is “No Holds Barred”. This match was really good, some awesome moves from both Shamrock and Owen Hart. This match was fast paced with hard-hitting action, two of the best athletes in the WWE at the time really put 110% effort into this one. The match offered grappling, it offered mat wrestling and it offered some really hot action. The ending came when Owen hit the Dragon Sleeper on Shamrock, then Shamrock reversed the move into a Fujiwara armbar and anklelock in which Owen Hart had to tap out. This match was a credit to Owen and Shamrock it was simply superb.
Michael Cole interviews Stone Cold about his match now, typical Steve Austin interview, nothing special.
Now, Mankind vs. The New Age Outlaws for the Tag Team Championship, in what would be a “No Hold Barred & Fall Count Anywhere Match”. The match was simply a brawl; Mankind was used as a human punch bag for the most part of the match. Mankind did come back briefly as he put Billy Gunn through a table, but then the New Age Outlaws came back and hit a powerbomb on Mankind through two chairs. The New Age Outlaws went for the pin but Foley kicked out, Billy & Road Dogg then delivered a Spike Piledriver on top of the tag title belt to Mankind. Billy & Road Dogg score the pin and win the match. Mankind then was tossed into the Dumpster that Billy & Road Dogg brought down, all of a sudden; Kane popped up and nailed Mankind with a sledgehammer. This could have been something really good, however the sole reason for this match was too establish Kane as a bigger heel than he was already. If Mankind hadn’t been beaten up so much then the match would have been better, sadly it was highly disappointing because it was so one-sided.
Next up, an incredible match for the IC Championship as Triple H would take on The Rock. This match had the best build up and storyline, better than any of the other matches on the card. Triple H made his way down to the ring with the DX band playing his theme and Chyna at his side. The Rock made his way down to the ring accompanied by Mark Henry. The match kicked off and it was action none stop, both men started to brawl in the ring firing lefts and rights at one another. Triple H gained the advantage soon, but then Rock took over and he had the advantage. Triple was thrown outside, and Rock went for the infamous ladder. Triple H followed suit and both men started to brawl in the entranceway. The action returned to the ring, and Triple H went for the ladder, again the action took to the outside, where as you can expect “Rocky Sucks” chants could be heard all over. Rock propped the ladder on the ring apron and flew Triple H into it. Rock then set the ladder up in the middle of the ring and he went for the title, Triple H dove to the top turnbuckle and then jumped onto The Rock, who was climbing the ladder. Triple H continued to assault on The Rock with the ladder, as he went for the title. The Rock then recovered and pulled Triple H off the ladder, Rock then gained the advantage and focused on Triple H’s knee, in which The Rock had attacked earlier. With Triple H at ringside in pain, The Rock then went to the ladder and climbed it in the centre of the ring, once again Triple H knocked Rock off the ladder. The action went to the ringside, where The Rock catapulted Triple H into the ladder. The Rock gained the advantage and Mark Henry brought a new ladder into the ring, The Rock set the new ladder up and climbed the ladder, he was right at the top when Triple H knocked Rock off the ladder and outside the ring. Triple H this time was climbing the ladder and yes, Rock knocked him off again. The match continued and both men made their way to the ladder and both men were on the top, The Rock knocked Triple H off, but Triple H then pushed The Rock off and he went flying off the ladder into the ropes. As the match continued The Rock laid a ladder in the centre of the ring, he then slammed Triple H on the ladder, he then delivered a People’s Elbow on Triple H. Suddenly the chants of “Rocky Sucks” turned into chants of “Rocky, Rocky”. The ending finally came when both men were on the ladder, Chyna give The Rock a low blow and Triple H grabbed the championship. This match was awesome, it is most certainly the best Triple H match I have seen, and it might well be the best Rock match I have seen. This match is most certainly the match of the night and I would by this Video for this match alone.
Austin vs. Undertaker for the WWE Championship now, Austin got a huge ovation, Undertaker got a pretty big ovation as well. The match started out in the typical brawl that you expect from Undertaker & Austin; surprisingly the match did follow a bit of mat wrestling which you don’t expect from these two. As the match continued Undertaker threw Austin into the rope, Austin came back and he smashed heads with the "Deadman" accidentally, this knocked Austin out momentarily, Undertaker had the advantage from this point on wards, up until the match went outside the ring were outside got the advantage, as he started to work on Undertaker’s knees. The match got back into the ring where the brawling resumed. As the match continued, Kane made his way down to the ring were Undertaker told him not to get involved in the match. Kane left and the match continued. With Austin walking along the ring apron the Undertaker chokeslammed Austin over the ropes and into the ring. The brawling continued outside as the fight went into the crowd, for some bizarre reason the referee never counted either man out. The brawl ended up outside the ring again, this time Undertaker set up Austin on the faithful Spanish Announcing table, Taker went to the tope rope and pulled off an awesome leg drop from the top rope, it was sheer class by the Undertaker. Once again the match started again in the ring, and it was as good as it was when the match started. The ending came when Undertaker went to do his walking on the rope trick; Austin hit a low blow on Taker, and then hit a Stone Cold stunner for the victory. Undertaker presented the title to Austin after the match in a show of respect, for what I know, and for what anyone who seen it was an absolute great match. This is the best single match in which Austin and Undertaker have faced off with one another. This was a first class performance from Austin and the Undertaker. It was nearly as good as Randy Savage marring Elizabeth, Oh Yeahhhhhhhhhhh!
After the PPV, we see some exclusive interviews from Undertaker, who gives his post match thoughts. Then we see an exclusive interview with Steve Austin who gives his thoughts about the match. These are two nice little interviews, which end a great PPV.
This is a superb PPV; it has superb matches with Undertaker vs. Steve Austin, Shamrock vs. Owen Hart and Triple H vs. The Rock. There has been many Summerslam PPVs, this is one of the best I have seen, it has probably one of the best PPV cards I have watched, with only one really bad match, one mediocre match, and the rest super matches. If you get this PPV you will only enjoy it, if you love the “Attitude” Era, then buy it! if you love quality WWE, then buy it!