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WWF In Your House: Judgment Day (October 1998)

by Scrooge McSuck

Judgment Day 1998 WWF

- Last time in the world of the WWF, Mr. McMahon finally succeeded in screwing Steve Austin out of the WWF Championship, putting him in a near-impossible situation in the form of a Triple Threat match with the united duo of Undertaker and Kane. They teased him over-coming the odds, but it just wasn’t happening. Unfortunately, both men claimed the pinfall, so the WWF Championship was disputed, and when McMahon attempted to clear things up, Austin hit the ring with a Zamboni and once again assaulted the owner. McMahon ended up chewing out Undertaker and Kane, and had his ankle broken in the process, which then lead to some hospital room sketches where Mankind debuted a softer side of his personality, as well as his sock puppet, Mr. Socko, and Austin not only assaulted McMahon with a bed pan, but also (allegedly) shoved something up his butt.

- Originally presented on Pay-Per-View on October 18th, 1998, from the Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, IL. Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler are at ringside to call all the action, unless otherwise noted. For those who care, Sunday Night Heat was presented live, and featured the following undercard action: Steve Blackman def. Bradshaw, The Oddities def. Los Boricuas (minus Savio Vega), The Godfather def. Faarooq, and Scorpio def. Jeff Jarrett, with a little help from Al Snow.

Al Snow vs. “Marvelous” Marc Mero (w/ Jacqueline):

No backstory to this one, unless they shot an angle on Shotgun or something. Jacqueline is wearing a “trophy” in the form of Sable’s hair, courtesy of an attack on Raw. Jarrett (who has issues with Snow) wants to sub in for Mero, but is told to take a hike. Mero attacks before the bell with rights. Whip to the ropes and Snow with a Power-Slam. He drops Mero with a trio of clotheslines for a two count. Mero escapes a chinlock and catches Snow off the ropes with a diving elbow. He teases going for “Head”, but Snow rolls him up for two. They go through a sequence of counters until Snow connects with a DDT. He comes off the top with a moonsault, but a distraction from Jacqueline allows for a (blown) nut-shot. Mero with a DDT for two. Mero to the top rope with a fancy standing moonsault for two. Snow catches the arms and unloads with a flurry of headbutts. Whip is reversed and Mero with another clothesline. Snow comes back with an enziguri, followed by a spinebuster. Way to rip off D’Lo’s Sky-High. Snow misses a moonsault, and Mero cradles him for two. Mero with a Samoan drop. He goes to the top again, but the SSP (called “Marvelousity”) misses. Snow counters the TKO, and hits the Snow Plow for three at 7:15. **1/2 Fun, energetic opener. I’m surprised we didn’t get a run-in from Jarrett to screw over Snow.

LOD 2000 vs. D.O.A & Paul Ellering:

How many matches between these two teams can one man suffer through?! LOD 2000 consists of Hawk, Animal, and Droz. Droz has taken over as Animal’s regular partner, with Hawk acting as the alternate, or in this case, a 6-Man Tag partner… all because he has personal demons. Animal and Skull start with clubberin’. Skull with a boot to the midsection, followed by a swinging neck breaker. Animal comes back with a clothesline and dropkick, sending him to the floor. Hawk tags in and Skull manages to blow a Power-Slam. Hawk comes back with a slightly better version, followed by his signature neck breaker for two. Droz in with a diving back elbow. 8-Ball with a cheap shot, allowing Skull to attack from behind. Ellering (ripped as hell) with some cheap shots from the apron. 8-Ball with a twirling side slam. Droz comes off the ropes with a clothesline, but can’t make the tag. He takes Skull down with a DDT and makes the tag to Hawk. He unloads with clotheslines and rights. Heck breaks loose. Animal with a diving shoulder tackle, and the Doomsday Device connects… but then Droz sneaks in and steals the cover, despite Hawk being the legal man, at 5:54. ¾* Same song, same dance, different result. Tension is brewing between the LOD 2000!

WWF Light-Heavyweight Championship Match:
Taka Michinoku © (w/ Yamaguchi-San) vs. Christian (w/ Gangrel):

Christian made his WWF debut at Breakdown, costing Edge (his kayfabe brother) to suffer his first loss. This is his official in-ring debut. Taka has been the reigning Light-Heavyweight Champion sine winning the vacant Title at IYH: D-Generation X in December of ’97. They trade blows in the corner. Whip is reversed, Taka lands on his feet to counter a German suplex. He sends Christian to the floor with a spinning heel kick and clothesline, then follows him out with a springboard plancha! Meanwhile, Edge is watching from the crowd. Taka with a flying knee across the back of the head for two. Christian comes back with a reverse DDT. Christian with a trio of rolling suplexes, the third being a front suplex for a near fall. Taka takes a nasty bump over the top rope, and Christian springs off the second turnbuckle and over the ropes with a plancha of his own. Back inside, Christian with a Power-Bomb for two. He heads to the top, missing a splash attempt. Taka with a mid-air adjusted dropkick, sending Christian to the floor, followed by an Asai Moonsault! Taka with some vicious chops, complete with “woo” from the crowd. I guess that was starting to become a thing. Taka with a flying body press, but Christian rolls through for two. Taka with a roll up after a failed attempt for a two count. Taka blocks a roll up and hits a basement dropkick for two. Christian counters a whip with a Russian leg sweep for two. Taka with a Tornado DDT. He signals for the Michinoku Driver, but Christian counters with a small package for three and the Title at 8:35. *** Good match with some decent high-flying action and lots of near falls.

Goldust vs. Val Venis (w/ Terri Runnels):

After a failed run as “Preacher” Dustin Runnels, Goldust returns to inflict vengeance on Venis for constantly banging his estranged wife, formerly Marlena, Terri Runnels. Yep, all of Venis’ angles involved sleeping with a Superstars wife, girlfriend, sister, or whatever. Earlier on Heat, Venis received a special gift from Goldust: a gold protective cup. Venis controls early, slugging away. They take it to the floor, with Venis being sent into the security wall. Goldust with snake eyes onto the ring steps. Venis regains control and comes off the top with a cross body to the floor. Goldust counters a second high risk attempt and connects with an inverted atomic drop, followed by a back suplex. Goldust with a hard whip to the corner and a clothesline for two. Goldust meets post on a charge, falling to the floor in the process. Back inside, Venis with a hammerlock slam and elbows. He applies a short-arm scissor, a move not seen often in Attitude Era WWF. Goldust rallies back to his feet and comes off the ropes with a body press for two. Venis with a quick clothesline for two. Venis hangs the arm across the top rope and takes Goldust down with a Russian leg sweep for two. Whip to the ropes and a Power-Slam. Venis to the top rope, but Goldust slugs him and brings him down with a super-plex for two. Venis rolls out of the way of an elbow and grabs a sleeper. Goldust escapes and applies his own, but Venis escapes with a back suplex. Goldust comes off the ropes with a bulldog, but doesn’t cover. Terri with a distraction, but Goldust avoids the attack and kicks Venis low (behind the referee’s back) for three at 12:13. *** Solid wrestling with plenty of time to give them something to work towards, and to my surprise, the crowd was really into it despite a lack of clear babyface vs. heel characters.

WWF European Championship Match:
D’Lo Brown © vs. X-Pac (w/ Chyna):

D’Lo and X-Pac traded the titles back and forth over the Fall, so hopefully this will be the final encounter. D’Lo is STILL wearing the chest protector. D’Lo is introduced from “Milan, Italy.” Hilarious. J.R. hypes an upcoming UK event called Capital Carnage, coming to you on December 6th. D’Lo with a shoulder tackle and premature celebration. D’Lo works over the arm until X-Pac drops him with a spinning heel kick. Criss-cross ends with D’Lo connecting with a clothesline for a two count. Whip to the corner, but a charge misses. X-Pac with a hip toss, followed by a flurry of kicks. D’Lo gets a boot up on a Bronco Buster attempt, square on the gonnads. D’Lo with his snap leg drop for two. Snapmare into a chinlock. X-Pac escapes with elbows, but gets put down with a jumping heel kick. D’Lo with the running Liger-Bomb, but a lazy cover gets two. X-Pac blocks a super-plex and comes off the top with a body press. D’Lo rolls through for two, and goes back to the chinlock. X-Pac rallies again, but a charging dropkick misses. D’Lo with a slam and elbow drop for two. Back breaker for two. D’Lo turns him over with the Texas Cloverleaf, but X-Pac escapes. D’Lo to the top rope, but a cannonball splash misses. X-Pac with a series of rights and spinning heel kick. Whip to the ropes and he connects with a flipping clothesline. He dropkicks D’Lo into the corner and hits the Bronco Buster. Chyna with a cheap shot, but D’Lo kicks out at two. Whip is reversed and the referee gets bumped to the floor. X-Pac with a back suplex, and out trots Mark Henry. He distracts Chyna while D’Lo hits X-Pac with the European Title, but it only gets a two count. D’Lo with a sloppy Power-Bomb for two. He goes to the top again, and dives directly into the X-Factor, and we have new European Champion at 14:36. **3/4 Who gave the green-light for all these undercard matches getting significant time? A little slow at times, but the action was fine and we got a clean finish, something we should always be thankful for in the Attitude Era.

WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
The New Age Outlaws © vs. The Head Bangers:

(Road Dogg & Billy Gunn vs. Mosh & Thrasher)
Ugh… why are we getting a revived push for the Head Bangers?! In a pre-match interview, Mosh makes reference to Gunn’s failed persona “Rockabilly”, because Russo. The Head Bangers interrupt the pre-match antics of the Outlaws, so there goes the best part of the match. Road Dogg with his funky knee drop, and Gunn with an equally funky elbow. Gunn with a sloppy swinging neck breaker for two. Road Dogg takes Thrasher over with a hip toss and follows with a dropkick. Mosh gets a blind tag and comes off the top with a clothesline. Thrasher with a leap frog splash across the back for two. Road Dogg with a back suplex on Thrasher and tag to Mr. Ass. Ge hits Thrasher with a diving forearm, followed by a clothesline. Press slam to Mosh, but a trip to the ropes goes wrong and he gets to play degenerate-in-peril. Double team suplex and elbow drop gets two. We slow things down (even more) with a chinlock. Gunn with a spinning head scissors, but he can’t make the tag. Thrasher with a jaw-buster for two. Slingshot beneath the ropes, followed by illegal clubberin’ from Mosh. Another chinlock kills more time. Gunn counters and Thrasher takes him down with a back suplex. Road Dogg can’t get the hot tag, so he smashes Mosh over the head with a boom-box, drawing the DQ at 14:03. * Way too long and the absolute lamest finish you can have without actual putting the belts on the Head Bangers. This feud MUST continue!

WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
Ken Shamrock © vs. Mankind:

Shamrock won a 8-Man single elimination tournament the week before to become the new Champion, thanks to a knee injury that sidelined the former Champion, Triple H, for the better part of 5 months. Hunter sure did miss a lot of time in 1998. Lockup to the corner, Shamrock unloads with kicks. He sweeps the leg and immediately punishes the ankle. Mankind gets a boot up on a charge, but runs into a short-arm takedown. Mankind with a slam and leg drop for a one count. Shamrock with knees to the face. Mankind sweeps the legs and they tussle around until Shamrock grabs a front facelock. Shamrock with a sloppy hurricanrana. Mankind goes for the Mandible Claw, but Shamrock bails. They take it to the floor, with Shamrock being sent into the steps. Mankind grabs a chair, but the referee intervenes. Shamrock kicks it back into his face and smacks Mankind over the head, clearly in the view of the referee. Where’s Tony Schiavone to argue how it’s legal if it happens on the floor? Back inside, Shamrock with a stiff clothesline for two. Shamrock with an over-head wristlock to kill time. Mankind escapes with biting. Whip to the corner, but a charge misses, and Shamrock takes him down with a belly-to-belly suplex. Mankind from out of nowhere with a Double-Arm DDT. He unloads with a flurry of rights in the corner, followed by a running knee to the face. He hangs Shamrock in a tree of woe and drops an axehandle smash. Mankind drapes Shamrock across the rope and drops a leg across the back of the head. Mankind with a running clothesline, taking them both to the floor, followed by the Cactus Elbow. Mankind charges again, but this time Shamrock Power-Slams him onto the steps! Back inside, Shamrock grabs the Ankle-Lock, but instead of tapping, Mankind KO’s himself with the Mandible Claw, giving Shamrock the unusual victory at 14:36. What is with every match going 14-minutes? **1/4 Slow start and dull middle portion, but the final few minutes were some solid brawling and the finish was… creative?

- The Big Boss Man is back as Vince McMahon’s hired muscle, and he won’t allow anyone to talk to Mr. McMahon tonight. Anyone who threatens late 90’s Michael Cole is alright in my book.

The Rock vs. Mark Henry:

The Nation of Domination EXPLODES! Rocky is on a clear course of becoming the break-out star of 1998, and kind of did but technically didn’t turn face, but Henry is the clear-cut heel so there you go. Rock won the #1 Contendership at Breakdown, but he’s playing the waiting game while we try and determine a new WWF Champion. Henry reads a pre-match poem, dedicated to Chyna. Lanny Poffo’s legacy lives on! Rock gets the best pop of the night… so far. We’ve still got Austin to see. Rock with rights and a big clothesline. Whip to the corner and another clothesline, followed by a suplex(!) for a two count. Henry takes control and drops a big elbow for two. Rock with some rights, but Henry puts him back down with a clothesline. Leg drop gets two. He grabs a chinlock, because he’s used up his entire arsenal already. Rock pounds Henry into a puddle and takes him down with a DDT. Rock with a slam and the People’s Elbow to a thunderous reaction. D’Lo with a distraction, allowing Henry to recover. He drops Rocky with a clothesline, comes off the ropes with a Splash, and with the help of D’Lo holding down the legs, gets three at 5:06! *1/2 Mark Henry pinned the Rock? MARK HENRY PINNED THE ROCK!?

WWF Championship Match (Vacant):
The Undertaker vs. Kane:

The continuing fallout from Breakdown where both men pinned Stone Cold for the WWF Title. Steve Austin is your special referee, and he will either raise the arm of either Kane or Undertaker, or suffer the consequences. Since both legal participants are technically heels, it should create an interesting dynamic. Undertaker has another new remix for his theme, complete with guitar riff. I’m sure he debuted it at or right before SummerSlam. Austin gives instructions (and middle fingers) before the bell. Taker slugs away and goes Old School. Kane quickly comes back and takes Taker over with a Power-Slam. Taker gets a boot up on a charge and comes off the ropes with a clothesline for a complete lack of count from Austin. Kane with a takedown with a ridiculously fast two count. Kane with a big boot and clothesline, knocking Taker to the floor. Austin offers Taker some ring cables to choke with, but Taker grabs a chair. Kane ducks the attack and pounds away. They make their way back in the ring, no-selling everything imaginable. They blow something, then proceed to repeat the spot! Taker kicks at the left knee to take him off his feet. I never realized just how much lift Kane had in those boots in the early years of the character. Yes, that is more entertaining than focusing on Undertaker’s leg grapevine. Whip to the corner and Kane with his signature side slam. Taker ducks under a boot and clips the knee.

Austin looks as if he’s falling asleep watching Taker wrestle a submission style match for the first time in history. Taker with a weird tree of woe/leg-lock as I was preparing to spout off on how dumb it looks to use that particular spot on someone just shy of 7’0” (or 6’8”, but it’s wrestling math). This is excruciating to sit through. Kane counters a dive with a spinebuster, followed by a diving clothesline. Whip to the corner is reversed, Austin gets nudged, and Kane plants him with a Choke-Slam. At least that’s a believable referee bump in this case. Kane with a Choke-Slam to Undertaker, and now Paul Bearer shows up, chair in hand. He offers to whack Undertaker, but SWERVE, he blasts Kane instead… Kane no-sells it, of course. Undertaker with a chair shot, leveling Kane. Austin has recovered, and refuses to count. He hits Undertaker with the Stunner, followed by a home run swing, then counts both men down at 17:39, and declares himself the winner. ** As a match, from just the ring work… this wasn’t very good. They tried wrestling, and it just wasn’t something they should’ve gone with. On the bright side of things, Austin’s antics throughout the match was a true highlight, and the chaotic finish was another chapter that brought us to the cross-roads of Survivor Series.

- Post-Match, Mr. McMahon shows up in the VIP box and fires Austin to close out the show. Don’t worry, Austin found himself employed again with the WWF the following night, in what turned out to be Shane McMahon double-crossing his father… or so we thought.

Final Thoughts: For the first time in what I would say is a LONG time, the under-card wasn’t a complete waste of time. Dare I say, it was the highlight of the night. Nothing really stood out as “must see” wrestling, but we got very good outings out of the Light-Heavyweight and European Title matches, the opener between Al Snow and Marc Mero, and the battle between Goldust and Val Venis. The Main Event was hard to watch, but made for a decent chapter in a long-term storyline. The only negatives were the waste of time Tag Team Title Match and Round 78 of the LOD/DOA wars. Very, very, VERY Mild Recommendation.

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