History of Survivor Series Count-Up – 1998 – Deadly Game. The Tournament, Not HHH

Survivor Series 1998
Date: November 15, 1998
Location: Kiel Center, St. Louis, Missouri
Attendance: 21,779
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

Now this is a time when a year can completely change things around. Shawn and Bret are gone due to Montreal and injuries. Austin is the undisputed king of professional wrestling, and the WWF is back on top in the ratings war. The Attitude Era is in full swing as we have no world champion. With Vince hating Austin completely, he booked Austin in a triple threat for the belt at a PPV.

They double pinned Austin, leading to a one on one match at the previous PPV with Austin as the referee. Austin declared himself as the winner, leading to tonight’s 14 man tournament for the belt. It’s the first Survivor Series match to not have any traditional Survivor Series matches, but the tournament can be viewed as surviving so that’s fine and good. Other than the tournament, there’s a tag title match and a women’s title match. It’s a 14 match card, so let’s get to it.

We get a montage of people talking about how they’ll do whatever it takes to get the title. Remember that for later. The tagline for this show was Deadly Game, which came complete with a catchy song for it. Youtube it as it’s not bad at all. I remember watching this show with a buddy of mine and we were freaking about who could win this.

We were both complete marks at the time, but about a year or two later he would discover a place called Wrestlezone and mention it to me. My life changed forever. Ok so it took 6 years for me to click on the forums part and THEN it changed but you get the idea.

Apparently Vince did the brackets for the tournament. The first round matches are maximum ten minutes, so that’s a plus. Here are your brackets.

Undertaker
BYE

Kane
BYE

Rock
HHH

Goldust
Shamrock

Mankind
???

Jeff Jarrett
Al Snow

X-Pac
Regal

Austin
Boss Man

Kane and Taker were technically both champion before, hence the byes. Rock and HHH in the first round? That’s a heck of an opening match.

We open with…Vince. Yep, the first thing we hear is Vince has something to say. He has a broken ankle at the time thanks to Kane and Taker so he’s got a ton of help. This was actually a big show because for once we’re guaranteed a new world champion. That’s a rare thing. Oh he’s doing the announcing tonight.

First Round: Mankind vs. ???

Mankind was just flat out awesome at this point, as he often was. He was being completely suckered in by Vince to do his bidding because he was dumb enough to believe and trust Vince. Naturally, Vince used him to do his dirty work. As a reward, he gave him a joke: the Hardcore title, which became the hottest thing in the world for all of a week. Also, when Vince was in the hospital, Mankind visited him and debuted Mr. Socko.

He comes out in a tux with the mask, the belt and the sock on. That’s just priceless. He still has that classical music theme as well which is just humorous. There was a HUGE rumor going on at this time that the mystery wrestler would be Shawn Michaels, with even the fans chanting HBK. Josh, the guy I was watching the show with, looked at each other and said no way. He was just too hurt from Mania.

Vince puts on his glasses to read a statement about the opponent. He debuted in 1990, he had a win/loss record that couldn’t be compared to anyone else’s. He jumped ship to WCW but a shoulder injury had kept him out for two years. You can tell the audience is really puzzled over who this is going to be. It’s Duane Gill. No one, and I mean NO ONE got this. Gill was a jobber that never won a match on WWF TV.

This would be like bringing Reno Riggins in for a match. The fans are PISSED. His video is him taking a bunch of people’s finishing moves. He pulls an Eric Young and is scared of his pyro. Apparently he coaches an elementary school football team. I wish my elementary school had a football team. Anyway, the match lasts about 30 seconds. Mankind hits a double arm DDT and uses a rolling ¾ nelson, and I’m not making that up, to get the pin.

This was actually significant, in that it seemed as if Vince was hand picking Mankind to win the tournament. Also, JR mentions Mr. and Mrs. Foley’s baby boy, which is kind of sad as Foley’s father passed away yesterday. From what I read in Have a Nice Day, he was a good man. That’s sad.

Rating: N/A. This will be likely for a lot of matches tonight. How can I rate a thirty seconds match? Eight days later, Gill would win the Light Heavyweight Title (beating Christian of all people) and become Gillberg. I’m sure you’re familiar with that.

We see a clip of Sable getting beaten up by Jackie on Heat and then Cole is in her locker room. Sable as always is a whiny witch that can’t act or fight. She really annoys me most of the time.

First Round: Jeff Jarrett vs. Al Snow

The winner here gets Mankind. Jarrett has Debra McMichael with him now. I know you know who that is but that’s what they call her here. There’s a guy with a sign that says Jarrett is the guy you hate to hate. Does that mean he likes Jarrett? Also there’s a sign that says I need Head. When I saw that I forgot about Snow, so I was surprised. For once, Debra actually looks hot. Snow’s pop is MASSIVE.

He really could have been a solid midcard guy. He certainly had the crowd support. Apparently Snow has stolen Socko, so Foley’s was a forgery. Snow is just freaking creepy on a lot of levels. He lands a sweet cartwheel over the top rope to counter an Irish whip. That was awesome. This is actually a pretty good little fast paced match. Obviously they’re not going to get enough time to blow anyone away, but I like what I’m seeing so far.

These are two guys that can go in the ring and if they were given enough time, this would have been a very good match I think. Both guys get the others’ weapons but Snow gets hit with Head in the back which doesn’t even knock him down. He gets Head from Jarrett and gives Head to Jarrett’s head to end this.

I wanted to see more of the match and less Head. Ross points out that the next WWF Champion could be holding a severed head wearing a tube sock. That sums up the Attitude Era. Debra has nice legs.

Rating: B+. This is hard to grade, but I really liked the little bit that I got to see. Both guys were crisp in the time that they had and it’s a match that you don’t get to see that often. I like Snow’s in ring work more than Jarrett’s so I’m happy here.

First Round: Big Boss Man vs. Steve Austin

There’s no transition here at all as we just go from match to match. I’m not a fan of that style. The pop for Austin is just ridiculous. He had been fired by Vince but Shane hired him back for 5 years. Amazingly, he wouldn’t last in the company that long. They brawl in the aisle to start as this is Vince vs. Austin in essence. Oh there’s the bell so that was pre match stuff. This is really just a fast forwarded match.

It’s a brawl as you would expect, but it’s just not that entertaining because they have less than four minutes to do anything. We see a split screen of Vince, Slaughter and Patterson watching this. There’s no Brisco so I’m assuming he and Patterson broke up for awhile. The announcers point out that Bossman might just be here to beat up Austin instead of advancing, so Boss Man is your Andre the Giant and Vince is your Ted DiBiase in this tournament with Austin as Hogan.

At least they waited ten years to recycle the tournament PPV formula. They go to the floor and Boss Man drills him with the night stick in front of the referee to end it while advancing Austin. Wouldn’t it have been smarter to try to beat him now? If nothing else you can beat on him and then also possibly take him out.

The result is the same but it takes more out of Austin and it could potentially eliminate him period. I’m no evil genius though. Austin gets a pop for winning despite having his face beaten in at the moment. The beating goes on way too long as shockingly they’re short on time I guess.

Rating: D. Again, it’s not even four minutes and 40 seconds of it is a rest hold. What do you want me to say here? It was bad for the most part, but it was all storyline here anyway so that’s fine I suppose. You have to love the Russo style here of flash with limited actual wrestling involved. That’s always a good thing to have.

Cole is with Vince and asks him if he’s worried that Austin has advanced. Vince of course isn’t.

First Round: X-Pac vs. Steven Regal

Winner gets Austin and X-Pac is European Champion here. This match is completely made of win because of one reason: we get to hear Regal’s MAN’S MAN SONG!!!  Oh I’m all giddy.

Regal was fired for working VERY stiff against Goldberg and making him look awful in the ring so he came to Vince and this is what he got for his trouble. It’s since become one of the most popular gimmicks ever, based on how absolutely freaking SWEET the song is. Apparently mixing concrete makes you a man. My grandmother is a REAL MAN’S MAN. Ross is on this weird kick of saying how old everyone is tonight.

King starts singing the song. He should stick to Wimpbusters. Pac gets a sweet spin kick early on. He’s against a smaller man so this should be decent. After saying how old Pac is (26), he calls Regal Blackman twice in a row. King points this out to him and of course Ross is offended. He got the idea from Regal being from Blackpool. At least that makes sense. The fans don’t like Regal so he poses for them.

In a cool looking move, Regal uses a slingshot, but instead of the corner X-Pac just lands on his face. That was awesome. Regal puts on a bad looking submission, which prompts Ross to say he’s looking for a submission. Well gee Jim thanks. I thought he was looking for 38 cents he lost in my couch last Thursday. Vince and co. are looking on as apparently Brisco bought Patterson a flower so they’re ok now. Brisco says that Austin will face neither guy.

In another odd looking but cool spot, for some reason X-Pac and Regal are both face down and Regal has his legs wrapped around Pac’s head. Pac flips forward and grabs the legs. So he’s laying next to Regal but is pulling backwards on his crossed legs in the same way you would for a Sharpshooter while lying down. That’s quite freaky looking. For no apparent reason, they argue over who Jesse Ventura would want to win. X-Pac holds his neck and clearly shouts OH SNAP.

As good as this match has been, X-Pac using the Bronco Buster just drains it. I can’t make it clear enough how much I hate that move. It looks completely retarded, so it’s become a staple of the product. They go to the floor and fight over a suplex but both guys get counted out to send Austin to the final four. That was good while it lasted. Vince isn’t happy but he wants overtime.

BUT WAIT!

Vince gets his wish, and we have a five minute overtime. The Fink calls it sudden death, but isn’t every match sudden death? X-Pac can’t fight because he’s hurt, so it’s over. Shouldn’t Regal just move on if they’re redoing the match? Apparently not which makes ZERO sense but whatever. Also, if Vince made the brackets why didn’t he give Austin someone harder than Regal or X-Pac in the second round?

Rating: B. This was another match that I wanted to see more of. This is the problem with big one night tournaments: you can’t see everything you want to. These guys got about 8 minutes though so I guess that’s pretty good.

They worked well together and if I’ve said it once I guess I’m now saying it twice: X-Pac needed to only fight average or small guys. His stuff goes through the roof against them because it looks believable that what he’s doing would be effective. For some reason they never got that. Anyway, this was quite good in my eyes.

First Round: Ken Shamrock vs. Goldust

Shamrock is the IC Champion at this point. The in the zone thing was always humorous to me for some reason. You know since he first got to the WWF, Goldust has really had no gimmick. I know that sounds ridiculous but think about it. What does he do that’s odd anymore? He has the stupid random stuttering thing but that’s once in awhile. Other than that, he’s just a guy in face paint and a weird looking costume.

The movie thing is gone, the inhaling is gone, everything is pretty much gone. He’s just Goldust. I guess that comes with being a veteran though. Apparently after leaving his wife and responsibilities last year he’s back with them now and Terri is pregnant again, but he’s leaving her. This would lead to the female stable known as PMS which was just a mess. Shamrock has won two tournaments already this year so he could be a big favorite in this one which makes sense.

Ross says he likes the ten minute time limits and I’m disagreeing with him again. They should have gone with longer matches and just 8 people. Honestly, would anyone have missed Regal and Pac in there? There had to be four others you could drop in there somewhere. As Ross talks about how great an IC Champion Shamrock is, you can hear the referee say “get it back in the middle of the ring and you have three minutes.” Well that’s good to know.

Shocky was right. It completely sucks the life out of a match. Shamrock is just dominating here as there was never any doubt he would move on. Goldust is another guy you could drop from this. He was just a jobber at this point living off of past success. My goodness I popped in the wrong show. I wanted the 98 show not the 09 one. Oh never mind.

It’s just that Goldust hasn’t done anything in 11 years. My mistake. He goes for Shattered Dreams which misses as Shamrock hits a sloppy top rope hurricanrana. That leads to the belly to belly and the ankle lock for the tap. Thankfully JR didn’t say tapping like a drunk man, because THAT MAKES NO SENSE.

Rating: D+. This was just boring. In something that won’t be said often tonight, that went on too long. It was a complete squash and just wasn’t any good. Granted it was supposed to be just an easy win for Shamrock so at least they got that right. Waste of a match though as 14 people is just too many.

After cutting back to see Shamrock leaving for about a second, Cole has an update on Austin. After the update, we know nothing new.

First Round: Rock vs. HHH

Rock’s pop isn’t that special actually. The winner gets Shamrock. Apparently Vince doesn’t like Rock either. I don’t think there was a reason given for that but whatever. HHH gets a good pop as this is a rematch from the epic ladder match from Summerslam which played a big part in Rock turning face. As the DX song and video plays, we get the Stooges. HHH isn’t here tonight apparently due to injury.

They try to play it off as a no show but it’s actually a knee injury. Rock’s sideburns are odd looking. Patterson says that there won’t be a forfeit and the replacement is Boss Man again. Boss Man gets a running start to the ring and it’s over. In the fastest match in company history, Rock wins in four seconds by grabbing Boss Man as he gets in and rolling him up as the bell is ringing.

Rating: A. For are you kidding me? Like I can grade this. So Jericho and Boss Man are eternally linked, as Jericho beat Rock and Austin in one night and Boss Man lost to them both in one night. In something that I really laugh at, the slow motion replay is a full ten seconds long. That’s just great.

Here’s your updated brackets.

Undertaker
Kane

Shamrock
Rock

Mankind
Al Snow

Austin
Bye

Hmm, which of these people don’t fit in with the other six?

Quarter Finals: Kane vs. Undertaker

This is the next chapter in the absolute never ending feud with Taker and Kane. Paul Bearer is with Taker again. The second round matches are 15 minutes. Bearer joined Taker again when he co won the title. This is happening because both guys pinned Austin at Judgement Day. Apparently cursing someone can be forgiven provided storylines need it. Both entrances here are just sweet, but WAY too long.

How ridiculous is it that we’re on the seventh match of the night already? It’s always amused me that Kane is supposed to be this freak that’s been kept away from society all his life, yet he’s a trained wrestler. Also, why is it that no one has ever physically dominated the Undertaker like everyone that faces him? Listen to any feud that Taker has with a big man and I guarantee that Ross will say that about him. It gets old after awhile.

Again, this is a fast paced version of what could be a good match. There’s a natural chemistry here between these two that never fails to at least be watchable. Taker actually sets up for a figure four. That’s just an odd idea. He’s going for the leg. Is that psychology from the master of the psych out?

Kane actually jumps over the top rope to get to the top for the clothesline. He follows it up with a chokeslam as Bearer gets on the apron. Thanks to the distraction, Taker gets the Tombstone to end it, despite Kane’s foot being under the rope.

Rating: C-. This was somewhere between a bad and fast fight and a train wreck. The time limit and lack of emotion here are clear, which is the stupid part of tournaments. Taker could barely beat Kane with three Tombstones in 25 minutes at Mania, yet he beats him here in seven minutes with one. It’s just the fast forwarded version with no time at all to build up stuff.

Quarter Final: Mankind vs. Al Snow

Again, no transition at all and we’re just on the next match. I hate that. It’s a WWF tape and it skips right when they say WWF Title tournament match. That’s just creepy. Vince McMahon has the power to go back in time and change things apparently. You have to love those panda lovers. Since we can’t remember 45 minutes ago, we get a recap of Snow vs. Jarrett.

Apparently Vince stole Socko. After a few minutes of bad and bland offense, Foley gets head from Snow and gets his sock back. Does that sound like the weirdest porn ever? He then starts beating Snow’s Head. Yep, it’s getting worse. Snow hits a sit out power bomb/spinebuster that was cool. Socko puts Foley in the final four where he’ll get Steve Austin.

Rating: D. This was just boring. I’m sorry a lot of these are short but there’s just not enough to talk about. My stories/jokes about wrestlers are used earlier in the night and there’s absolutely no story in these matches at all. It’s just two guys filling time in the ring with stupid pointless matches until we get down to the important stuff.

Quarter Final: Ken Shamrock vs. The Rock

Winner gets Taker in the next round. We get a replay of both guys winning, including the whole match against Boss Man. That’s just amusing. This is a rivalry that Rock just flat out lost, yet somehow never lost the belt to him. You have to love WWF logic sometimes. The problem with tournaments is already coming through: it gets tiring seeing the same people every night. The chant is now Shamrock Sucks rather than Rocky Sucks, so there we go.

Shamrock was kind of limited as a character in the same was Benoit was. He was great at submission stuff, but he had little to his character and it hurt things for him. There was really no emotional investment to be made with his character and it was very clear. Ok, he’s a great fighter and submission guy. Why should we care? And that is why Benoit’s title reign failed, along with the fact that the real main events were HHH vs. Shawn during his time with the belt, but whatever.

You can tell they’re a bit tired also. I know they have the endurance to go longer than they’ve gone so far, but for Shamrock at least this is his second match. It must be draining to get yourself up for a match then have to do it again. Rock had a 4 second thing so I can hardly count that as a match. Speaking of the devil, here comes Boss Man. He sucks too according to the people.

I’ll give the crowd this: they’ll let you know what they think of you. Shamrock initiates his ending sequence and hooks the ankle lock, but since Rock is a face now it doesn’t get the tap. Boss Man still hasn’t actually done anything so at least he’s living up to his previous reputation. We get a double clothesline so both can take a quick rest. There’s really not a lot of interesting stuff in this match as the first six minutes or so were nothing more than just uninteresting back and forth offense.

Rock gets a low blow and the People’s Elbow but Shamrock kicks out. STOP EVERYTHING! JR DID NOT LIKE THAT CALL! Well, I guess that means we have to stop the show and redo the whole tournament. JR isn’t happy, and when JR isn’t happy, the world must bow to his wishes or dare we try to face the horrors of a JR disrespect rant.

It’s been at least a month since he last complained and whined so he must need to here soon. Rock Bottom is countered into a belly to belly, but Boss Man throws Shamrock the nightstick but Rock intercepts it and drills Shamrock for the pin. That’s a very un People’s Champion like thing to do isn’t it?

Rating: C-. This was just not that good. It was about eight and a half minutes, but they were just going through the motions to a dangerous degree. The last two minutes of it or so were fine, but other than that this was just dull. The fans didn’t really care that much either since until you get to the final four like will be up next, why should we care really? It’s just random matches that aren’t going to mean anything until later on, so why care? I certainly don’t.

Final Four:

Rock
Undertaker

Mankind
Austin

What are the odds that the four biggest names in the company would be the final four? I never for the life of me would have guessed that.

Paul Bearer says Taker will win.

Women’s Title: Sable vs. Jacquelyn

Oh this is going to SUCK. At this time, Sable was supposed to be the best women’s wrestler of all time, but there was one small problem: SHE SUCKED. Sable was over completely for her looks and nothing more. At Summerslam she had the most disgusting match I had ever seen, as Edge did all of the work for her yet Sable got every single bit of the credit. I hated that to no end.

It was always all about Sable and making sure she was happy when she was just horrid in the ring. She’s the epitome of everything that is wrong with women’s wrestling today. She’s there because she looks good in a swimsuit and she can barely wrestle safely let alone wrestle well. Because she has a massive chest though, she’s getting a lot of TV time. Ross says he watched Lawler every day and learned a lot from him.

There’s something you don’t hear every day. Apparently Sable has been training extra hard for this match. That can’t be a good sign. She uses the TKO, which is a cool move, but of course she does it wrong and lands on her knee, making the move look completely weak. Mero pulls her out though to prevent the three. I knew I hated him for some reason. Shane is the referee here as he’s being punished by Vince for being a bad little boy.

Sable hits her bad powerbomb on Mero on the floor, nearly breaking his neck. Why is that supposed to be impressive anyway? Oh look she can do sloppy moves on men. BIG FREAKING DEAL! Jackie has part of Sable’s hair that she cut off a few weeks ago. That’s just creepy.

At least she can wrestle, and with her on offense, not only is it better, but Sable gets beaten up. And just as I say that Sable counters to take over again. After another bad powerbomb and NO build to it, Sable is the Women’s Champion. Just shoot me now.

Rating: D. It was three minutes long, and most of that was sloppy. Once again, the attractive yet untalented wrestler gets the belt. Ross immediately says she’ll be the first to say she’s not the most polished but she’s worked the hardest. That’s the nice way of saying we know she sucks but she’ll have a photo shoot a week now for all the 12 year olds watching.

Semi Finals: Mankind vs. Steve Austin

We get recaps of both guys’ victories from earlier in the night in case we forgot already. I’ll never get why Vince thinks we’re that stupid. Remember Austin got beaten up earlier by Boss Man who has now been involved in three matches. I’m sick of him already. Vince and the Stooges come out after Austin hits Mankind with a slipper. You read that right and it’s better if you don’t ask. Foley is in the shirt and pants now so he’s looking a bit more like his traditional self.

In a weird sequence, Austin and Foley are fighting, and Foley hits the floor and, well I guess you could call it sprinting, sprints to the entrance. He’s stopped by Patterson and Brisco, but Austin comes and fights more. That was random. Since it’s the Attitude Era there’s a long brawl on the floor. McMahon won’t let the referee count. Why not? If both guys get counted out then they’re both eliminated so Austin wouldn’t be champion. Isn’t that what Vince ultimately wants?

I guess it’s because Mankind is the hand picked champion? Only in the Attitude Era do you need a scorecard to keep track of a match. It’s time for a bad rest hold now as Foley sits on Austin’s back with his hands on his face. Time for the double clothesline spot because we need to kill even more time. I remember back at Mania 4 they talked a lot about how you had to have stamina to get through one of these.

Call me crazy but I think Savage was in better shape back then than Foley is in now. Granted that’s just a hunch. Foley brings in a chair but it gets kicked in his face, which for some reason isn’t a DQ. It’s another instance of Vince making the rules up as he goes. Austin gets the Stunner but Vince jumps out of his wheelchair to break up the count before hitting the referee. Ross is of course pissed but Lawler shouts about how it’s a miracle.

Austin counters the Mandible Claw into another Stunner as Shane runs out for the pin. He gets to two and stops so he can flip Austin a double bird, turning heel and joining Vince again. Austin goes after him and the chase is on. Ross’ shouting of WHAT, WHAT, WHAT the heck is going on is rather amusing. Austin whispers a spot to Mankind who clotheslines him down. Slaughter comes in and grabs Austin while Brisco gets a bad chair shot to Austin for the pin.

Foley looks right at him while he’s doing this but Ross says he might not have seen it. I love spots like that where by simply watching the scene you can tell the announcer is wrong. That’s kind of a weak way to get rid of Austin but that’s just me. They begin the references to Montreal as my head begins to hurt.

Rating: C+. This wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great. Again, it’s just hard to get into a match like this when these two had an great match a few months ago that went about 25-30 minutes while this one just breaks 10. I get the tournament and the time issues, but this is one of the big dangers in it and it shows here. It’s an ok match, but by comparison this isn’t great.

On a side note, Mick Foley might have the best win/loss record against Austin of anyone I can remember after Austin won the title (so no Bret Hart). Think about it. They had two world title matches which were split, Foley pinned him at Summerslam 99 to win the title, and now this. Unless I’m missing a match and I likely am, that’s 3-1. For a guy like Austin, that’s very impressive.

We see Vince and co. running as Vince chases. Austin steals a car, throwing the driver out of it which is funny, and drives off. He’s in his gear, so what would it be like if he got pulled over? That would just be amusing.

We recap what we just saw, and wonder why Shane rehired Austin just to turn heel here.

Semi Finals: Undertaker vs. Rock

Lawler gets in a Groucho Marx line so I’m happy with him again. I didn’t know I was unhappy with him but oh well. Let’s recap both guys getting here because we have nothing better to fill the time up with. This is a rivalry that you don’t see a lot of but it’s certainly an interesting one. Since there was only three minutes of it in the previous match, they brawl on the floor for the early part of this match. Don’t you just love late 90s booking?

They’re in the ring now but they’re going very slowly at the moment. That’s likely better for Taker but for Rock I’d prefer him to go a bit faster. After a lot of slow back and forth stuff, Rock gets tied up in the ropes. He gets out, but even with him standing up and his arms clearly not tied anymore, Taker doesn’t notice. And this guy is supposed to be the master of psychology?

They go to the floor (shocking isn’t it?) and JR points out that if there’s a double count out then Mankind is the new champion. Hearing these words, Lawler screams. That was comical. Ross is wondering how Shane can look himself in the mirror again. Dude it’s wrestling. Ross gets in a small line about how he’s never been in Vince’s house because Vince always fired him elsewhere. Dude, LET IT GO!

Without saying it, Ross points out that there was no point in the face turn for Shane if they were going to turn him heel again this fast. And he’s right. Once again it’s all about the McMahons instead of the actual wrestlers. My goodness Boss Man is here AGAIN. That’s FOUR matches he’s been involved in tonight. That’s as many as whoever is going to win the tournament. In a funny spot, Rock hits a Samoan Drop and does the Taker sit up and the screw you sign to Taker.

Naturally, the announcers are talking about Austin and the McMahons because a solid little comedy moment can’t be acknowledged when Vince has things to do on the show. Rock sets for the elbow but Boss Man hooks his foot and Taker sits up. Now Taker hits Boss Man. In a strange way that makes sense.

Taker chokes Rock as Kane comes in and chokeslams Rock. Lawler thinks they’re back together but it makes sense as Kane just cost Taker a spot in the finals. That’s actually very smart booking. It protects both guys and bangs Rock up for the finals. Kane and Taker fight through the audience.

Rating: B-. It was slow but it was solid. The ending was a bit out there but it made great sense in this case. While not great it’s one of the better matches of the night. Rock and Taker is a pairing that I always wanted to see more of and while they had some short feuds, there was never a huge one and that always puzzled me. Either way, this was good enough but you can tell they’re getting a bit tired.

So the finals are Rock vs. Mankind.

Mankind says he can win tonight, if you smell what the sock is cooking. The look on Cole’s face might be the funniest thing in the history of the Survivor Series.

Tag Titles: New Age Outlaws vs. Headbangers vs. D’lo Brown/Mark Henry

I was going to post the match, but I couldn’t find a version online. The Outlaws are the only tag team in the world worth watching at this point as the Dudleyz were in ECW, Edge and Christian and the Hardys had no clue what they were doing yet, and the Outsiders were kind of feuding. As Road Dogg does his thing, there’s a sign that it’s literally taking 12 people to hold. That’s RIDICULOUS.

On Heat all four guys beat up the Outlaws to try to make it seem like there’s a chance here that we could have new champions here. Spoiler alert: there’s no chance that’s happening here. This is the epitome of a filler match. Billy just doesn’t look right in all black. Naturally the Outlaws get the living tar beaten out of them for most of the match. Did you expect anything else? This is just dragging on forever.

Usually I watch a few minutes of a match and comment on it in here, but I’ve gone 7 minutes here and there’s just nothing to say. It’s not good, it’s not bad, it’s just there. I mean there is nothing at all special about this match that would make me interested in it at all. Ross is talking about the next match which I would be doing as well since there’s just nothing at all here of note.

There are no comedy spots, there are no cool looking sequences, there are no near falls, there’s nothing really bad at all either. It’s just six guys going through the motions and filling in PPV time. Actually 5 since Billy isn’t in this at all for the most part. We get a mixture of finishing moves that do nothing and the Billy hits a random and bad piledriver to end this mess. Post match the Dog says noting of importance.

Rating: F. This was nothing. I mean it was ten minutes of just filler which is awful in my eyes. Some people might like this and I can get that, but for me it was a complete and utter failure. No one with a brain thought there would be new champions tonight, and why should we have? Look at the opponents. This was a waste of time, but it was filler so what can I say?

Since we’re about to have the WWF Title match between Rock and Mankind, let’s talk about Austin and how he got robbed instead. Seriously, that’s all the recap is.

 

WWF Title: Rock vs. Mankind

Mankind apparently doesn’t get what’s going on. He’s not Eugene people. Rock looks more tired now than he did before he rested, but whatever. I almost forgot: Raw was in Rupp Arena the night after this, which is five minutes from my house. For some reason that I’ll never get, I didn’t want to go. The McMahons are still here too. They start with a lockup as most matches do.

Lawler defends Mankind of all things as JR mentions that WWF people will be on the Home Shopping Network in a bit. That’s even odder. Lawler gets in a little jab about how the people will get to see all of this PPV. What he’s referring to is Halloween Havoc 98. It was a double main event with Hogan vs. Warrior and DDP vs. Goldberg.

However, because we just HAD to have matches such as Saturn vs. Lodi and Wrath vs. Meng, the PPV ran long and the feed cut off at 11, right in the middle of the main event and Goldberg’s best match of his career. WCW aired the main event the next night on Nitro, which is both good and bad at the same time.

It’s good in that they get to have a PPV match for free on television because it’s practically a guaranteed ratings boost, but it’s rude to the fans that paid for it because everyone else is getting to see what the PPV fans paid for. Why should everyone else get to see it for free? The little jokes by Lawler and Ross here are amusing. Given the two people that we have in the ring, the inevitable brawl starts almost immediately.

You can tell that the fans are a bit worn out here. This is the fourth match for both guys so it’s not like these two are fresh faces. Three and a half minutes into the match, Vince and Shane, who is dressed as a referee, comes out to ringside. JR is hurt by Shane being a jerk. In that case, I hope Shane prays for forgiveness, for my God have mercy on he that hurts JR. Naturally Rock and Mankind take it to the floor. This is just getting stupid with how much they do this.

And now they’re deep in the crowd. I love how despite them having no real issues other than being in this match, they’re having this wild brawl. That cheapens things, but that’s what the Attitude Era is all about I suppose. We’re back in the ring now and Rock has a chinlock. It never ceases to amaze me how the Attitude Era is known for being all about excitement and intensity, yet most of the matches are really slow and methodical.

Ross more or less says that both guys are spent. Why? Both more or less had a bye in the first round with the longer of the two matches going 33 seconds. Snow isn’t really that tough of an opponent either, so Mankind more or less had a sparring session, a warm-up, and a real match and now this, yet he’s spent? Rock I can kind of understand as he had two decent length matches, but they shouldn’t be sucking wind or anything. I don’t get that.

We’re on the floor again and Mankind uses a chair. Rock counters and gets the steps on him which he beats with the chair. I get that it would hurt, but I don’t think it would be anywhere near as bad as it’s made out to be. Think about it for a minute. The steps are already on him right? Therefore there’s no major impact between them and his body after the initial shot with them. The chair would really just make them vibrate wouldn’t it?

After another brief stint in the ring, it’s naturally time to go back to the floor. Mankind hits the Cactus elbow from the apron to the floor and puts Rock on the announce table. He pulls a Hogan and legdrops him on it but instead of breaking through it Rock just slides off of it. JR is just flat out annoying here, yelling about all kinds of stuff without ever saying anything at all of importance but having all kinds of people likely praise him for it.

We go back in again and hit another chinlock. That’s the pattern of this match: big violent sequence outside and then a chinlock in the ring. After that, redo it but reverse the roles. That’s just kind of stupid when you think about it. This just isn’t that great of a match. It’s ok, but there’s just nothing excellent about it.

For the fourth time in less than fifteen minutes of this match, we go to the floor. Mankind dives from the middle rope through the Spanish table, because that’s just tradition. Back in the ring, Mankind kicks out of the Elbow. Because that move completely sucks, Mankind is up and hits the double arm DDT and grabs the sock.

The Claw gets two arm drops from the Rock but he counters into the Rock Bottom. However, it looks freaking stupid though because he gets Mankind set for it and then waits seven or eight seconds. Ok wait a minute. Why wouldn’t Foley be able to elbow him or something? Rock had been in trouble for awhile and since it can’t take a ton of energy to use the Claw, are we supposed to believe that Foley is drained of energy?

After not getting a pin with it, Rock gives the eyebrow to Vince and sets up a Sharpshooter. Yes, that’s how this ends: a Montreal reference. Rock goes corporate, turning heel and joining Vince as we reveal that Mankind was just a pawn like everyone knew he was and that Rock was Vince’s man the whole time. Vince gets on the mic and says the people screwed the people, just in case we didn’t get the Montreal reference the first time around.

Rock really looks awesome with that belt to be fair. Mankind is in the corner and looks heartbroken. I love how he went from being this clueless putz to being one of the wittiest guys in the company more or less overnight. Vince says the Rock hates the people. Rock gets on the mic and more or less says screw the people. Foley says he never quit as Rock hits him with the belt. In a moment that wasn’t supposed to be funny, Rock has the belt over his shoulder and Vince takes it to put it around his waist.

This takes forever and once he gets it on, within a second or two Rock takes it back off and puts it on his shoulder again. And cue Austin. He hits the ring and we have a Wrestlemania main event. Austin hits a Stunner that amazingly enough Rock sells correctly. He throws Rock and the belt to the floor and then gives Foley a Stunner for no apparent reason.

After beating on the Rock some more, we’re out. In a bonus we have some extra footage of Rock backstage where he just acts like a heel which is completely pointless footage.

Rating: B-. It was certainly ok, but it’s nothing special. More than anything else this benefits from actually having a decent amount of time. I wouldn’t have gone with Austin running in at the end and beating up Rock but rather have just had the three hold up their hands and end like that, but what they did is ok I suppose. Anyway, this was certainly a decent enough match but there was too much brawling for my taste.

Either way, these two had awesome chemistry together and it showed here, but this isone of their weaker matches, but it was their first time so I’ll let that slide. This would lead to what I felt was an outstanding feud between these two with them trading the title back and forth about 3 times over the next three months before Austin finally got his shot at Mania and took the title back.

Overall Rating: C+. This was one of the hardest ratings I’ve ever had to do. You simply can’t grade it on the strength of the matches alone because it’s just not that kind of a show. It’s a massive gimmick show, and the problem simply is that by the end, you’re bored with it. This show really would have been better making this a standard eight man tournament instead of the 13 (remember Boss Man fought twice).

It’s easy to eliminate five guys from this. Here: Snow, Goldust, Gill, Regal, X-Pac,. That leaves you with Taker, Kane, Rock, Mankind, Austin, Shamrock, Jarrett, and Boss Man. That’s not a bad field at all. Shamrock stays because of the tournament success and he’s IC Champion and Jarrett wins a battle royal or something or other to get in. For one thing, it cuts off a LOT of time that you could use for other non-tournament stuff which this show is dying for.

Also some of the matches could be say two or three minutes longer which makes them better to me as well. Overall, four matches each is just too much for guys, even if two were jokes. That’s four times the crowd has to pop for you and it just drains the people out. You can really tell this in the main event as there’s next to no pop at all, simply because the fans are popped out. Like I said though, this is one that is completely up in the air.

If you like things like one night tournaments then this is your show. If not, then watch the last four matches. I thought it was fine and it set up Mania, but yeah this would have been MUCH better if there was one less round. I’ll recommend it slightly but with a disclaimer.

WWF Title: Rock vs. Mankind

Mankind apparently doesn’t get what’s going on. He’s not Eugene people. Rock looks more tired now than he did before he rested, but whatever. I almost forgot: Raw was in Rupp Arena the night after this, which is five minutes from my house. For some reason that I’ll never get, I didn’t want to go. The McMahons are still here too. They start with a lockup as most matches do.

Lawler defends Mankind of all things as JR mentions that WWF people will be on the Home Shopping Network in a bit. That’s even odder. Lawler gets in a little jab about how the people will get to see all of this PPV. What he’s referring to is Halloween Havoc 98. It was a double main event with Hogan vs. Warrior and DDP vs. Goldberg.

However, because we just HAD to have matches such as Saturn vs. Lodi and Wrath vs. Meng, the PPV ran long and the feed cut off at 11, right in the middle of the main event and Goldberg’s best match of his career. WCW aired the main event the next night on Nitro, which is both good and bad at the same time.

It’s good in that they get to have a PPV match for free on television because it’s practically a guaranteed ratings boost, but it’s rude to the fans that paid for it because everyone else is getting to see what the PPV fans paid for. Why should everyone else get to see it for free? The little jokes by Lawler and Ross here are amusing. Given the two people that we have in the ring, the inevitable brawl starts almost immediately.

You can tell that the fans are a bit worn out here. This is the fourth match for both guys so it’s not like these two are fresh faces. Three and a half minutes into the match, Vince and Shane, who is dressed as a referee, comes out to ringside. JR is hurt by Shane being a jerk. In that case, I hope Shane prays for forgiveness, for my God have mercy on he that hurts JR. Naturally Rock and Mankind take it to the floor. This is just getting stupid with how much they do this.

And now they’re deep in the crowd. I love how despite them having no real issues other than being in this match, they’re having this wild brawl. That cheapens things, but that’s what the Attitude Era is all about I suppose. We’re back in the ring now and Rock has a chinlock. It never ceases to amaze me how the Attitude Era is known for being all about excitement and intensity, yet most of the matches are really slow and methodical.

Ross more or less says that both guys are spent. Why? Both more or less had a bye in the first round with the longer of the two matches going 33 seconds. Snow isn’t really that tough of an opponent either, so Mankind more or less had a sparring session, a warm-up, and a real match and now this, yet he’s spent? Rock I can kind of understand as he had two decent length matches, but they shouldn’t be sucking wind or anything. I don’t get that.

We’re on the floor again and Mankind uses a chair. Rock counters and gets the steps on him which he beats with the chair. I get that it would hurt, but I don’t think it would be anywhere near as bad as it’s made out to be. Think about it for a minute. The steps are already on him right? Therefore there’s no major impact between them and his body after the initial shot with them. The chair would really just make them vibrate wouldn’t it?

After another brief stint in the ring, it’s naturally time to go back to the floor. Mankind hits the Cactus elbow from the apron to the floor and puts Rock on the announce table. He pulls a Hogan and legdrops him on it but instead of breaking through it Rock just slides off of it. JR is just flat out annoying here, yelling about all kinds of stuff without ever saying anything at all of importance but having all kinds of people likely praise him for it.

We go back in again and hit another chinlock. That’s the pattern of this match: big violent sequence outside and then a chinlock in the ring. After that, redo it but reverse the roles. That’s just kind of stupid when you think about it. This just isn’t that great of a match. It’s ok, but there’s just nothing excellent about it.

For the fourth time in less than fifteen minutes of this match, we go to the floor. Mankind dives from the middle rope through the Spanish table, because that’s just tradition. Back in the ring, Mankind kicks out of the Elbow. Because that move completely sucks, Mankind is up and hits the double arm DDT and grabs the sock.

The Claw gets two arm drops from the Rock but he counters into the Rock Bottom. However, it looks freaking stupid though because he gets Mankind set for it and then waits seven or eight seconds. Ok wait a minute. Why wouldn’t Foley be able to elbow him or something? Rock had been in trouble for awhile and since it can’t take a ton of energy to use the Claw, are we supposed to believe that Foley is drained of energy?

After not getting a pin with it, Rock gives the eyebrow to Vince and sets up a Sharpshooter. Yes, that’s how this ends: a Montreal reference. Rock goes corporate, turning heel and joining Vince as we reveal that Mankind was just a pawn like everyone knew he was and that Rock was Vince’s man the whole time. Vince gets on the mic and says the people screwed the people, just in case we didn’t get the Montreal reference the first time around.

Rock really looks awesome with that belt to be fair. Mankind is in the corner and looks heartbroken. I love how he went from being this clueless putz to being one of the wittiest guys in the company more or less overnight. Vince says the Rock hates the people. Rock gets on the mic and more or less says screw the people. Foley says he never quit as Rock hits him with the belt. In a moment that wasn’t supposed to be funny, Rock has the belt over his shoulder and Vince takes it to put it around his waist.

This takes forever and once he gets it on, within a second or two Rock takes it back off and puts it on his shoulder again. And cue Austin. He hits the ring and we have a Wrestlemania main event. Austin hits a Stunner that amazingly enough Rock sells correctly. He throws Rock and the belt to the floor and then gives Foley a Stunner for no apparent reason.

After beating on the Rock some more, we’re out. In a bonus we have some extra footage of Rock backstage where he just acts like a heel which is completely pointless footage.

Rating: B-. It was certainly ok, but it’s nothing special. More than anything else this benefits from actually having a decent amount of time. I wouldn’t have gone with Austin running in at the end and beating up Rock but rather have just had the three hold up their hands and end like that, but what they did is ok I suppose. Anyway, this was certainly a decent enough match but there was too much brawling for my taste.

Either way, these two had awesome chemistry together and it showed here, but this isone of their weaker matches, but it was their first time so I’ll let that slide. This would lead to what I felt was an outstanding feud between these two with them trading the title back and forth about 3 times over the next three months before Austin finally got his shot at Mania and took the title back.

Overall Rating: C+. This was one of the hardest ratings I’ve ever had to do. You simply can’t grade it on the strength of the matches alone because it’s just not that kind of a show. It’s a massive gimmick show, and the problem simply is that by the end, you’re bored with it. This show really would have been better making this a standard eight man tournament instead of the 13 (remember Boss Man fought twice).

It’s easy to eliminate five guys from this. Here: Snow, Goldust, Gill, Regal, X-Pac,. That leaves you with Taker, Kane, Rock, Mankind, Austin, Shamrock, Jarrett, and Boss Man. That’s not a bad field at all. Shamrock stays because of the tournament success and he’s IC Champion and Jarrett wins a battle royal or something or other to get in. For one thing, it cuts off a LOT of time that you could use for other non-tournament stuff which this show is dying for.

Also some of the matches could be say two or three minutes longer which makes them better to me as well. Overall, four matches each is just too much for guys, even if two were jokes. That’s four times the crowd has to pop for you and it just drains the people out. You can really tell this in the main event as there’s next to no pop at all, simply because the fans are popped out. Like I said though, this is one that is completely up in the air.

If you like things like one night tournaments then this is your show. If not, then watch the last four matches. I thought it was fine and it set up Mania, but yeah this would have been MUCH better if there was one less round. I’ll recommend it slightly but with a disclaimer.

 

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