November 23, 2009
Survivor Series 1998, November 15, 1998, Kiel Center, St. Louis, MO
Announcers: Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler
Two months ago at Breakdown, Undertaker and Kane pinned WWF Champion Steve Austin at the same time in a Triple Threat Match. The result was that the Title was held up and a match between Taker and Kane with Austin as guest ref was set for the next PPV, Judgment Day, with the idea that Mr. McMahon would force Austin to humble himself and raise the hand of the new champion. Well, he refused to do that, declaring the match a no contest, and was fired as a consequence. With the Title still vacant, a tournament was announced for this show to crown a new champion once and for all. Meanwhile, Shane McMahon marked his entry into WWF storylines by defying his father and signing Austin to a brand new, ironclad contract, which included a guaranteed title shot. Mr. McMahon, now stuck with Austin for good, declared that if Austin was guaranteed a shot, he would get it in the form of a slot in the tournament, where the odds would be more stacked against him, so here we are.
Opening Match, First Round: Mankind vs. The Mystery Opponent
Mr. McMahon himself comes out to do the introductions for this one, first bringing out Mankind, who had sort of aligned himself with McMahon, yet still remained a babyface as it was clear that McMahon didnít really care for him. Heís dressed in a tuxedo, because he wants McMahon to see that he would make a great Corporate Champion, and also has with him the Hardcore Championship which he had recently been awarded as a gift from McMahon. His opponent, announced as a Mystery Opponent, had many people believing it would be a returning from injury Shawn Michaels regardless of the fact that would make no sense. Vince gives this huge buildup speech, and reintroduces us to the man, the myth, the legendÖ. Duane Gill, who proceeds to mark out for his video on the big screen which features clips of him getting squashed, and then gets stunned by the fact that his entrance includes pyro. Of course the idea was to make us believe that Mr. McMahon was giving Mankind an easy ride to the Title, and indeed he just slings Gill into the ring and finishes him with a double arm DDT at 0:31. DUD, but it gets our story underway.
First Round: Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra McMichael) vs. Al Snow
Winner here gets to face Mankind in the next round, although neither guy has a hope in Hell of winning the whole thing. Snow stalks Debra, and when Jarrett tries to break that up, Snow nails him. He then leaps at him off the steps and gets him in the ring. Slingshot legdrop hits, but his whip is reversed and he takes a stungun. They trade control back and forth with basic stuff. Snow actually does a Flair Flip at one point, ducking a clothesline from Jarrett on the apron and hitting one of his own. Neckbreaker follows, but he misses a legdrop off the top. Jarrett hits a dropkick for 2 and then Snow comes back with a crucifix for 2. They trade rollups and then Snow hits a clothesline. A nice looking spot sees Snow counter a spinebuster to a DDT for 2. Collision puts them both down so Debra picks this time to distract the referee. They each end up with the other guyís foreign object (guitar and Head respectively), but Jarrett gets the first shot in. He tells the ref to get the guitar out of the ring while he moves in for another shot with Head, but Snow gets it away, nails Jarrett with it and gets the 3 count to advance at 3:33. Match wise, this is going to be more like an episode of Raw then a PPV and the ratings will definitely reflect that. Ĺ*
First Round: The Big Boss Man vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Boss Man had recently been brought back from WCW as Mr. McMahonís hired goon, and was picked to be Austinís first opponent here, presumably to inflict some damage that will prevent him from moving on. They start out brawling in the aisle with Boss Man ending up getting whipped to the steps. As they get in the ring they cut to a backstage shot of Mr. McMahon and the Stooges watching on a monitor. We come back with Austin finishing the Thesz Press and dropping an elbow for 2. Boss Man hits a low blow to take over and then goes to work. Austin comes back with a clothesline, but puts his head down on a whip and gets kicked. Boss Man hits the rope straddle and then the sliding punch for 2. He applies a rear chinlock, but Austin backs him to the corner to break. Form there he stomps a mudhole, but Boss Man escapes, grabs the nightstick, and nails Austin for the disqualification at 3:19. He continues the beatdown after the match which has Mr. McMahon all smiles as he reveals that was pretty much the plan all along. DUD
First Round: X-Pac vs. ďThe Real Manís ManĒ Stephen Regal
Yes, this was during the brief period where Regal was the blue collar Real Manís Man, complete with really catchy entrance music. It didnít last long at all unfortunately, but heís here to face European Champion X-Pac in the first round. X-Pac starts by getting Regal with a spin kick and back suplex for 2, then drops a couple of legs for another 2. He misses a charge though and Regal chops him down for 2. Regal works him over for a bit, including a kneedrop. X-Pac tries a rollup, but Regal is right out of it and catapults him to the mat. Gutwrench suplex gets 2 and then he goes to a headscissors. X-Pac escapes, but misses that charge in the corner again. Regal sets him on top, and takes him down with a double underhook superplex for 2. Corner whip is reversed, but Regal comes out with a shoulderblock. X-Pac comes back with a spinkick for 2 and then uses a dropkick to set up the Bronco Buster, which he hits. Suplex follows and he goes up, but Regal crotches him and sends him to the floor. X-Pac reverses a suplex attempt on the floor and then pounds away but theyíre out there too long and itís a double countout at 8:10. Then we have a bit of a weird moment. Mr. McMahon realizes that the draw here will give Austin a bye, so he orders Commissioner Slaughter to go out and have the match restart, which he does. X-Pac meanwhile, in spite of being in control of the brawl at the end has started selling a head or facial injury for no apparent reason. As the announcement to restart is being made, he just keeps making his way to the back and soon enough the whole thing just appears to be called off and Regal sprints out of there too. I wonder what the hell happened there. *
First Round: Ken Shamrock vs. Goldust
Shamrock is the Intercontinental Champion, and had recently turned heel, which really suited him better. Goldust was still in the feud with Val Venis over Terri, but wasnít really going anywhere significant. Shamrock pounds him right off the bat, then hits a dropkick, a slam, and drops a knee. Goldust fires back, but misses a clothesline. Shamrock sends him off and this time Goldust does hit the clothesline to take control. That doesnít last long though as Shamrock comes back with a clothesline of his own out of the corner for 2. Russian legsweep gets another 2. He canít get a suplex though and Goldust reverses. He then gets a drop toehold and goes for a powerbomb, but Shamrock nails him and falls on top for 2. Goldust ducks off a whip and hits a kind of bulldog. Shattered Dreams is set up, but the ref steps in to prevent it and that allows Shamrock to come off with a rana. He then hits the belly to belly suplex and hooks the ankle lock for the tap out at 5:58. Another quick TV level match in a series of them tonight. *
First Round: The Rock vs. Triple H
Well, not quite. HHHís participation in this tournament was some pretty blatant false advertising as he was still recovering from knee surgery. So Patterson and Brisco come out to announce his replacement, The Big Boss Man. Rock proceeds to get him with an inside cradle and pin him at 0:04 to advance. DUD, but the plot thickens.
Quarterfinals: The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Kane
As the top two contenders, these two received byes to the quarterfinals to face each other a la Hogan and Andre at WMIV. Taker jumps him, but Kane gets the elbow up off a corner whip. He hits a big boot and clotheslines Taker to the floor, then follows and sends him to the barrier. Taker takes back control and sends Kane to the steps. Back in, Takes uses some kicks, but Kane reverses a whip and hits a powerslam. Elbow misses though and Taker goes back to work, now focusing on the leg. That lasts awhile until Kane just starts no selling. Takerís corner whip is reversed and Kane hits a clothesline in the corner. Flying clothesline off the top gets 2 and then he hits the chokeslam, but Paul Bearer is on the apron to distract him. Taker sits up and then takes advantage by hitting the Tombstone and getting the pin at 7:16. These guys never had great matches, but even by their standards this was pretty terrible. DUD
Quarterfinals: Mankind vs. Al Snow
For reasons I donít recall, Mr. Socko is tied around Head, and has been for awhile, but I would expect Mankind to reclaim it here. Snow jumps him, and then hits a clothesline and dropkick to the floor. Mankind grabs a chair, but Snow gets it away and hits a few shots to the gut. Crescent kick follows and then he leaps off the barrier, but gets caught and dropped on the chair. Back in, Snow catches him with an ensiguiri, but misses a shot with Head. Mankind hits a back suplex and realizes where Socko is. He beats on Head, I guess blaming it for some reason, but gets caught with a clothesline by Snow. He comes back with a clothesline of his own, but the runs into a spinebuster for 2. Snow then puts his head down on an Irish whip and takes the double arm DDT. Mankind puts Socko on, applies the Mandible Claw, and gets the submission at 3:57. Mr. McMahon and the stooges are shown watching backstage leading JR to speculate that Mankind truly is the Corporate Chosen One. Ĺ*
Quarterfinals: Ken Shamrock vs. The Rock
These guys feuded for much of the early part of the year with the face Shamrock constantly winning, yet failing to take the IC Title from heel Rock, but that was a long time ago and now we have heel Shamrock as the IC Champ, taking on babyface Rock. They start out with a slugfest and then Shamrock runs into a clothesline. Rock chokes him on the ropes, but then misses a charge to the corner. Shamrock works him over and hits a suplex for 2. He follows with a clothesline in the corner, then whips Rock to the other side, but Rock comes out of there with a clothesline of his own. To the floor where Rock rams him to the table, but his whip to the steps is reversed and Rock his them. Shamrock gets a slam on the floor, then gets him in and nails a dropkick and Russian legsweep for 2. He then hits a kneelift and hooks a rear chinlock. The Big Boss Man joins us at ringside, presumably for another try at eliminating Rock from the tournament. Rockís arm drops twice and then he fires out but runs right into a rana. Shamrock hooks the ankle lock, but Rock manages to struggle his way to the ropes. He comes off, but they clothesline each other. Rock recovers first and gets a cover for 2. He then hits the floatover DDT as Boss Man gets on the apron, but that distraction of the ref just allows Rock to hit a low blow. Slam follows and then he gets the Peopleís Elbow, to a huge reaction, but Shamrock kicks out at 2. He sets up the Rock Bottom, but itís blocked and Shamrock connects with a belly to belly suplex. Boss Man gets on the apron again, but this time tosses the nightstick in, supposedly for Shamrock, but Rock intercepts and nails him with it. That gets the 3 count at 8:21. Finally someone has come out, overcome the time constraints, and put on a reasonably good match. **, which isnít great, but by this showís standards so far, itís awesome.
Womenís Championship Match: Jacqueline (w/Marc Mero) vs. Sable
Sableís developing popularity led to the resurrection of the Womenís division with the idea that it would be built around her as the top star. But at first they had Jacqueline beat her to win the revived Title so they could build up to her winning it, and thatís how we got here. Shane McMahon is the referee here as he was demoted to that position after signing Austin to that new contract. Mero distracts Sable and that lets Jackie jump her from behind. She blocks a hiptoss and gets one of her own, followed by a crescent kick. She hits a TKO, but that only gets 2 as Mero drags off. Her response to this is to kick him low and Sablebomb him on the floor. Mero put his wife over like nuts to get her to this point, thatís for sure. Jackie nails her off the apron and then gets her back in and works her over with kicks and choking. She sets up her own powerbomb, but Sable backdrops out. Jackie still controls though and sets up a tornado DDT, but Sable just tosses her off. She then hits the Sablebomb and that gives her the 3 count and the Womenís Title at 3:14. Considering that Sable was a complete non-wrestler, they did a decent job of working around that, but it still wasnít any good. DUD
Semifinals: Mankind vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Austin is selling the beating from earlier, but comes in and attacks none the less, ripping off Mankindís tuxedo jacket and shoes in the process. He even hits him with the shoe at one point. Rope straddle follows, as we see that Mr. McMahon and the Stooges are approaching ringside. Mankind has taken control as we were watching that and takes some shots to the throat and hits the running knee in the corner. Austin ducks off an Irish whip and comes back with the Thesz press. He tries the Stunner, but Mankind avoids it and even sprints all the way up the aisle. Patterson and Brisco get him back, but Austin charges out and takes them out with a double noggin knocker. He sets up a piledriver, but Mankind backdrops out and then whips Austin to the steps. He tosses Austin over the barrier and follows, but Austin just clotheslines him right back to ringside. Mankind gets him though and rams him to the steps. In the ring, that gets 2. It breaks down to a slugfest with Austin winning but they end up clotheslining each other. Mankind whips him to the corner, but Austin comes out with a clothesline. He then stomps a mudhole and tries to post him, but Mankind pulls him forward into it. Now Mankind has a chair, which Austin kicks back in his face. Rope straddle misses and allows Mankind to hit a double arm DDT, but Austin kicks out at 2. He sets up a piledriver, but this time Austin backdrops out of it. He connects with the Stunner, but it only gets 2 as Mr. McMahon leaps out of his wheelchair and breaks up the count. He assaults the referee for good measure. Mankind hooks the Claw, but Austin kicks him and hits the Stunner again. Shane McMahon charges in and only counts 2 before giving Austin the finger instead. Austin kind of stalks him, but never really goes for him as there seems to be some confusion on whatís supposed to happen next. Mankind hits a clothesline and then Brisco and Slaughter hit the ring with Brisco nailing Austin with a chair. Now Shane counts again, and it gets the 3 count at 10:29 to put Mankind in the finals. The McMahons and their henchmen quickly flee the building in the limo with Austin seen in hot pursuit. **
Semifinals: The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) vs. The Rock
They start out with a slugfest and then Rock takes control. He misses a charger though and Taker starts pounding him. To the floor now where Rock is sent to the steps. Rock comes back and whips Taker to the barrier, but he comes off with a clothesline. Back in, he covers for 2. The crowd really seems deflated at this point with their favourite having been eliminated. Rock is even getting a minimal reaction here. Taker works him over for a bit with Rock tied in the ropes, but then Rock gets free and backdrops Taker to the floor. Rock rams him to the table and they briefly get into the crowd where Taker regains control. Paul Bearer gets in a shot with his shoe. Taker misses a charge in the corner leading to a Rock Samoan drop. The Big Boss Man makes his way out yet again, apparently not having left with the rest of the group. Rock gets a DDT and hits a low blow. Slam sets up the Peopleís Elbow, but Boss Man grabs the leg and Taker hits a clothesline. Now Taker goes after the Boss Man, I guess to say he doesnít want his help, but Rock comes back with a clothesline of his own. Taker grabs him by the throat though as Kane runs in as well. Taker throws him to Kane, who hits a chokeslam and thatís good enough for a disqualification at 9:04. Taker and Kane brawl out through the crowd afterwards. This was a crap match with a crap finish. The crowd doesnít even seem too excited that their second favourite just made the finals. DUD
WWF Tag Team Championship Match: The New Age Outlaws vs. The Headbangers vs. Mark Henry & D-Lo Brown
In the crowd here, there is a sign with the Outlaws ENTIRE CATCHPHRASE on it which must be about four sections of seats wide and five or six rows deep. Even JR and Lawler are stunned at the appearance of this thing. So the rules here are that one guy from each team is legal at all times and you can only tag your own partner. So we get Gunn, D-Lo, and Mosh starting out. Gunn clotheslines D-Lo, who later comes back with a dropkick. Mosh covers for 2. D-Lo misses a charge on him and then takes a splash in the corner, followed by a springboard forearm on the apron. Tag to Dogg, who nails both guys, and then we get Henry and Gunn back in so the Outlaws can do stereo punches in the corners. D-Lo powerbombs Dogg out of there though and then the Headbangers take him out with a double flapjack for 2. From here on out you mostly get the Bangers and Henry/D-Lo working over Dogg, occasionally turning on each other like when D-Lo gets a tope rope rana on Mosh. Dogg gets a comeback, but runs into a clothesline from Henry. D-Lo sets up the Sky Hi on Mosh, but he flips out of it and gets a rollup for 2. Henry and Thrasher get tags and Henry drops a leg on Dogg for 2. More double teaming on Dogg follows until Mosh turns on D-Lo with a low blow for 2. The Bangers tray and take advantage, but canít finish off Dogg. Mosh and D-Lo end up taking each other out and finally that allows Dogg to make the hot tag to Gunn. He clans house for a bit until running into a Sky Hi for 2. He recovers from that quickly enough and hits a Fameasser on Mosh. Henry goes to splash them both, but Gunn moves and only Mosh takes it. That gets a 2 count, and then right afterwards, Gunn hits a piledriver on Mosh which gets 3 at 10:07. This was a pretty disjointed mess, but the good news was that the crowd was back into it. *
Main Event, WWF Championship Tournament Final: Mankind vs. The Rock
We see that Vince and Shane have returned to the building as they tell Boss Man to take the rest of the night off because they want to handle this personally. Rock tries a cheapshot off a break, which Mankind avoids, but Rock takes advantage anyways. Corner whip is reversed but Rock comes out with a clothesline for 2. They brawl out to the aisle and then Mankind rams him to the steps. Back in, Mankind hooks a rear chinlock as Vince and Shane make their way to ringside. Rock fires out and hits a back suplex, then knocks Mankind to the floor. Rock then gets another suplex out there and stalks the McMahons. Mankind tries to come from behind, but Rock nails him and now they brawl into the crowd where Rock nails him with a plastic garbage can. Back in the ring, Rock hooks a rear chinlock, which Mankind elbows out of. He then catches Rock with a knee and takes him to the floor with the Cactus Clothesline. He grabs a chair and nails Rock, and then goes for the steps, but Rock gets the chair and gets his own shots in first. Back in the ring, that gets 2. Mankind comes back with a low blow and dumps him to the floor again. Elbow from the apron hits and then he gets him on the table for a legdrop. That only gets 2 once he gets him back in the ring. He backdrops Rock to the floor again, but this time just gets him right back in. He puts his head down on a whip and Rock gets him with a DDT. Rock then charges, but gets tossed. Heís kind of leaning against the Spanish table, so Mankind goes to the 2nd rope and leaps at him, but Rock moves and Mankind goes through the table. Back in the ring Rock uses a bodyslam to setup the Peopleís Elbow, which hits, but Mankind kicks out at 2. Mankind comes back with the double arm DDT and applies the Socko Claw. Rock is going out, but recovers after the arm drops twice, breaks it and hits Rock Bottom. Heís delayed on the cover though and Mankind kicks out at 2. He give the Peopleís Eyebrow to Mr. McMahon, and then applies the Sharpshooter. As soon as he goes for the moves the crowd knows exactly whatís coming and starts booing it. Mr. McMahon calls for the bell at 17:15, and we have a new Corporate Champion, The Rock. Vince gives a victory speech, declaring that the People have screwed the People, while Rock declares that the People can kiss his ass. Mankind is confused, having though all along that he was the favourite, so Rock beats him down to drive the point home. Then Steve Austin comes back out and beats up Rock, ending the show with a Stunner on him, and then one on Mankind as well because it would be just too un-Austin like if he didnít. The match was good, but the storyline was great. Rock was awesome as a heel, and as much as everyone was starting to love him, I think it was great he got a run as champion in that role. ***
Vince Russo gets ragged on a lot for his booking, and deservedly so in most cases. But in this case, booking wise, he hits a home run. This is definitely one of the better examples of the storyline intensive Attitude era as it hadnít quite gotten out of control yet. As for the in ring? Well, thatís another story all together. The matches are generally short and terrible with only a few breaking through into the realm of being good. But thatís really secondary here anyways and the credit I gave them for executing the show makes up for it. Thumbs Up for Survivor Series 1998.