Judgment Day: In Your House
October 18, 1998
Rosemont Horizon, Chicago, IL
One month ago, the evil owner of the WWF, Mr McMahon, achieved his long time goal of stripping Austin of the WWF Championship, following the controversial outcome of the main event at Breakdown. Tonight the championship is still vacant but will be decided in our main event, as the Brothers of Destruction do battle one more time. There's a twist this time around however, as in his quest to continue to mess with Austin, McMahon has appointed the former champ as the guest referee in that match, and has vowed that he will fire his foe if he fails to call the match down the line. What will happen? Read on and find out. All feedback is welcome on Twitter at @Mpmcc91.
Our opening video package is centred around the controversial WWF title picture and the ongoing Austin/McMahon saga. Good stuff as always. We head into the arena where our announce team of Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler get the show under way.
Al Snow vs Marc Mero w/Jacqueline
Pretty random match to start off the show here as I can't remember much interaction between these two guys in this time period. Snow had recently started up a little feud with Jeff Jarrett on TV prior to this show, whilst Mero is getting close to the end of his WWF tenure by this point. Its pretty much your new star versus a veteran to be made to look good. Snow is still pretty over here as he gets a solid pop from the crowd. Speaking of Jarrett, he makes his way out once the competitors are in the ring, wanting to get a piece of Snow after the two had an altercation earlier on Sunday Night Heat which resulted in Jarrett losing to Scorpio. Mero takes advantage of the distraction and nails Snow from behind, but Snow recovers and takes the early control of the match. The tide turns however when Jacqueline at ringside (still your reigning Women's Champion) gets Snow's attention, allowing Mero to hit his opponent with a low blow. From here Mero takes control with his offence, but Snow ends up regaining himself and building momentum, only to be thwarted by Jacqueline's interference once again. Mero connects with the Wild Thing, but Snow gets to the ropes. The Marvellous One looks to follow up with his patented TKO, however Snow reverses it into the Snow Plow to score the victory at 7:12. Decent enough opener but really nothing special. Simply a showcase for Snow to get a victory over a tenured opponent on his way out the door.
Before our next match, we take a look back at Austin's arrival in the building from Sunday Night Heat. Commissioner Slaughter, Brisco and Patterson escort him to the referee dressing area rather than letting him into the locker room.
LOD 2000 & Droz vs Disciples of Apocalypse & Paul Ellering
Yep this is still going on despite Ellering turning on the LOD all the way back in May. The real focus here however is the ongoing conflict within the Legion of Doom, as Hawk has been screwing up due to his alcohol based personal demons (a storyline sadly based on reality), with Droz attempting to take his place in the legendary tag team, with Animal beginning to consider it. Hawk even has a full head of hair here which just looks weird. Anyway this would all lead to the controversial segment on Raw is War down the line that Hawk would jump (or be pushed) off the titantron. Anyway Animal and Skull start this one out, with the DOA member taking the advantage. Its pretty much all DOA in the early going no matter who is in the ring, with Ellering even coming in to take cheap shots at his downed opponents before quickly tagging out of the match. Droz finally comes back with a DDT and a hot tag to Hawk, which leads to all hell breaking loose with all the men going at it. In the affray, Droz sends Ellering and 8-Ball to the outside, whilst the LOD hit the Doomsday Device on Skull. Not wanting to give Hawk the opportunity to look good however, Droz quickly returns to the ring and scores the cover himself at 5:04. Pretty poor match simply furthering the Hawk storyline. Hawk is pissed with Droz after the match, but the LOD and DOA are pretty much done as far as PPV goes here from memory.
WWF Light Heavyweight Championship:
Taka Michinoku (c) w/Yamaguchi-San vs Christian w/Gangrel
Hey this title still exists! Taka won the title all the way back in December of the year prior and has yet to lose the belt. Both men are heels here by the way, with Taka still being a part of Kai En Tai, whilst we saw Christian last month at Breakdown distract Edge, costing him his match against Owen Hart. He's since been revealed as Edge's brother (yep that changed over time) and has aligned himself with Gangrel, a man that Edge has recently had issues with. I should note that this is also Christian's first official WWF match. Not sure how he got a title shot, but its not like the division really matters after not having seen PPV since Mania. Having said that, the match is quite good. We see Edge looking on in the crowd as we get going with what is a very fast paced match. Taka starts out in control, sending the newcomer to the outside, but Christian regroups and builds momentum following a reverse DDT on the champion. The action eventually spills to the outside once again, with Taka hitting an Asai moonsault on the challenger. Both men return to the ring, and Taka looks to follow up with the Michinoku Driver, however Christian counters the manoeuvre into a roll up to pick up the victory at 8:34. Taka's ten month reign as champion has come to an end, and Christian has won the Light Heavyweight title on his first match. Edge looks on as Christian celebrates his victory. The issues between the two brothers would not last long, but nor would the new champion's title reign as we shall see soon enough. Solid stuff here though.
We now get a recap of the rivalry between Val Venis and Dustin Runnels which has led to the return of a familiar character up next.
Val Venis w/Terri Runnels vs Goldust
Following his loss to Venis last month at Breakdown, Dustin Runnels ditched his preacher gimmick and reverted to his old roots. The next night on Raw is War, Dustin revealed the man he was referring to with his comments of 'Him coming' referred to none other than the bizarre one himself, Goldust. Following Venis losing a match that night, Goldust returned to a huge pop and attacked the resident porn star of the WWF, hitting him with his new Shattered Dreams move. This segment pretty much turned Goldust face, although since we are in the Attitude era, Val is still also ridiculously popular despite sleeping with a man's wife. Anyway, Val does his usual stuff on the mic before the match here, but he is interrupted by Goldust's voice over the speakers. The bizarre one then makes his way to the ring and goes straight for Val as we get under way. Goldust is on fire to start as the action spills to the outside, throwing Val into the barricade and the ring steps before returning to the ring. From here, Venis recovers and gets a few shots in before Goldust regains control. Val ends up targeting his opponent's shoulder however, after sending it into the ring post and works over his opponent. Goldust refuses to give in though, and manages to avoid a Money Shot attempt, instead hitting Val with a superplex. We get some more back and forth until Terri attempts to get involved, screaming at Goldust. The referee gets her off the apron, but Goldust catches Val as he tries to take advantage and connects with the Shattered Dreams to get his revenge. This allows the bizarre one to score the victory via pinfall at 12:05. Nothing special match wise here, but its good to see the Goldust character back.
We now head to the back where Michael Cole is standing by with X-Pac, the former European Champion. We see footage from Sunday Night Heat where Ken Shamrock destroyed the injured Triple H. X-Pac says he will deal with Shamrock tomorrow night, but tonight he is focused on regaining his European Championship.
WWF European Championship:
D'Lo Brown (c) vs X-Pac w/Chyna
These two have been involved in a heated rivalry for quite some time now delivering some high quality matches along the way. The last time we were on PPV, X-Pac was the reigning European Champion, having won the title from D'Lo over the course of the summer. However he was defeated by D'Lo on Raw is War in a title match a few weeks prior to this show, thanks to the interference of Mark Henry. Since winning the belt back. D'Lo has reverted to his old ways of being introduced from a different European city each night, and at this show he is hailing from Milan, Italy. D'Lo was such an awesome European Champion and he gets some great heat from the crowd here as well. Anyway, X-Pac gets a good pop as expected at this point. The announcers talk about the Nation no longer being in existence as the members have really all gone their own ways aside from D'Lo and Henry remaining buddies. This is another very good match between these two athletes who have really legitimised the European title over the past few months. They both go back and forth in the early going of this one, but following a low blow, D'Lo takes control of the match. After taking a great deal of punishment, X-Pac eventually regains himself, coming back with some kicks and a broncobuster. Chyna follows up with a cheap shot on D'Lo but the champion kicks out of the subsequent pinfall. The two men continue to go at it, but the referee gets taken out in the heat of the action. With the official down, Mark Henry makes his way out and advances on Chyna, distracting X-Pac and allowing D'Lo to nail the DX member with the title belt. There's no referee to count the fall however, and X-Pac kicks out by the time the ref regains his composure. D'Lo attempts to follow up, but X-Pac counters his offence with the X-Factor to win the match and his second European title at 13:50. Good match here as we have come to expect from these guys.
We now head to the back where Michael Cole reports that Paul Bearer has been seen in the Undertaker's locker room. Hmm what's going on here? Before we can find out more, the recently turned heel Headbangers interrupt and rant about the New Age Outlaws. They challenge for the tag titles up next.
WWF Tag Team Championship:
New Age Outlaws (c) vs The Headbangers
With the Outlaws needing new opponents to feud with, the Headbangers recently turned heel on an episode of Raw is War, attacking the Oddities who were still hanging around doing their comedy act but nothing more. This new attitude change led to the Bangers being named the next team in line to face the Outlaws. The following week the new challengers got into a brawl with the champions and assaulted Road Dogg with a boom box to set this up. The next week the issues between the two teams escalated when the Headbangers mocked the Outlaws' entrance and catchphrases before declaring they would become the next tag team champions. Anyway, the Outlaws are hugely over as always, but they get assaulted by their opponents during their pre-match introduction. As a result, the Bangers are in control for the early moments of the match, working over Road Dogg until Billy gets the hot tag into the match. Gunn starts out on fire but quickly begins to get worked over by both challengers as well. The heels continue to dominate, but some miscommunication on a double team leads to Gunn catching Mosh and taking him out. Thrasher comes in and nails Road Dogg however, but the Outlaw member retaliates by grabbing a boom box and smashing Thrasher over the head with it. This act of payback obviously leads to the DQ at 14:00, giving the match to the Headbangers, however the Outlaws retain the titles. Decent enough match with the Bangers seeming much more fresh after their heel turn. The ending was anti-climatic, but made sense in both continuing the feud and giving the Outlaws some revenge for the prior attack on Raw.
Back in the locker room, Michael Cole is now telling us that Paul Bearer is apparently in Kane's locker room. Before he can further investigate, Mankind comes in, now with the recently debuted Mr Socko. He makes fun of Shamrock before their upcoming match before taking off Socko and revealing black tape around his fingers to perform the Mandible Claw. Funny promo as usual from Mankind as of late.
WWF Intercontinental Championship:
Ken Shamrock (c) vs Mankind
Now the last time we saw the I.C title on PPV, Triple H was the champion, having defeated the Rock in a ladder match back at Summerslam to win the gold. Unfortunately for the DX leader, he suffered an injury shortly after his win and was stripped of the belt by Mr McMahon the week after Breakdown. A tournament was held to crown a new champion on Raw is War earlier in the month, which saw Shamrock defeat X-Pac on the finals to win the title. During this time, Shamrock became more aggressive, turning heel in the process, which was the right move given how stale he had become in the face role. He would cement that new attitude on Heat before this show, attacking the injured former champion, Triple H. Of course Shamrock also had unfinished business with Mankind going back to the cage match last month, which is pretty much why he is his opponent here. As I mentioned earlier, Mankind has really upped the comedy aspect of his character by this point, debuting Mr Socko in the hilarious hospital skit with Mr McMahon a few weeks earlier which I'll get into later. Anyway the idea around this match is that Mankind is a a guy that will never quit, but Shamrock thinks he has what it takes to make him submit. Shamrock starts out getting some shots in on the challenger, but Mankind takes over, quickly going for the Mandible claw, only for Shamrock to escape and take a breather outside the ring. The action spills to the outside, with Mankind tossing the champion into the ring steps and going for a chair. Shamrock however blocks the chair shot and hits his opponent with it instead. The match eventually returns to the ring with some back and forth between both men. In the end, Shamrock gets his opponent caught in the ankle lock. Mankind does his best to escape it, but Shamrock keeps it locked in. Out of frustration, Mankind begins to rip his hair out before applying the Mandible Claw to himself! Mankind begins to fade and as a result, the referee awards the match to Shamrock at 14:35. He is announced as winning via the mandible claw rather than the ankle lock, which causes the champion to snap and attack the referee with a suplex. Before the reigning champion can dish out more punishment however, Mankind recovers and applies a Mr Socko inflicted Mandible Claw on Shamrock to the approval of the crowd. Not a bad match with a fun ending as well.
Michael Cole now attempts to get a word with Mr McMahon about the WWF Championship match coming up later. Before getting any insight however, the newly appointed head of corporate security, the returned Big Bossman stops Cole in his tracks.
The Rock vs Mark Henry
So here we have come to the explosion of the Nation as former members face off. Rock is the incredibly popular face here, having distanced himself from his old faction members shortly after losing the I.C title back at Summerslam. He was recently beat down by Henry and D'Lo on a recent episode of Raw is War to set this one up. Speaking of Henry, he has shown signs of his Sexual Chocolate character as of late, as he is currently infatuated by Chyna, and dedicates a poem to her prior to this match. Rock of course gets a massive pop from the crowd. The People's Champion starts this one out in control, but its not long before Henry takes over with his power offence, beating down the popular star. The action spills to the outside and Henry rams Rock into the announce table before bringing him back into the ring and continuing the beating. Eventually Rock comes back with a scoop slam on his old buddy and looks to follow up with the People's Elbow. He does not connect though as D'Lo Brown makes his way back out to ringside to distract the Great One. Rock gets some shots in on D'Lo, but Henry takes advantage and rolls his opponent up to score the shocking pinfall at 5:06. This was an okay match for what it was. It was wise giving it the short amount of time it had, as Henry was still very green at this point. The result was a major upset at the time as Rock was gaining a huge amount of momentum since turning face and working his way up the card, whilst Henry was solidly entrenched in the midcard at the time. I'm not sure if there were bigger plans for Henry at this point but in the end it wouldn't lead to much for the big guy. Regardless this was certainly a huge win for the World's Strongest Man at the time, even with D'Lo's interference.
We now get a video package highlighting the events leading to our main event tonight. Some of the Attitude era's iconic moments took place in the past few weeks which I'll get into in a minute.
Undertaker vs Kane
Special Guest Referee: Steve Austin
The WWF Championship was vacated following Austin's controversial loss to both Undertaker and Kane last month at Breakdown which saw both Brothers of Destruction pin the Texas Rattlesnake simultaneously. The following night on Raw is War, Mr McMahon held a ceremony to crown the new champion after bringing both Taker and Kane out to the ring. Before he could announce a champion however, he was interrupted by Steve Austin entering the arena on a Zambonie and in a famous Raw moment leaped off the top onto McMahon in the ring before being dragged away by security. After recovering from the ambush, McMahon took out his frustration on the brothers in the ring with him, chastising them for failing to protect him from Austin and as a result announced that the two would face off at the next PPV to crown the new champion, a match in which Austin would serve as guest referee. McMahon would then make a mistake he would regret moments later, sticking up his middle fingers at both brothers behind their back, only to be caught. This led to Undertaker and Kane destroying the owner of the company and shattering his knee with the ring steps. The following week on Raw is War, Mr McMahon was recovering in an undisclosed medical facility. He would be visited by Mankind in a hilarious skit that saw McMahon throw him out. He would have another visitor that night however when it was revealed that Austin impersonated his doctor and then in another hilarious moment beat the hell out of his nemesis using whatever he could get his hands on, including a bedpan. Austin was far from finished with McMahon however, as the next week following the now wheelchair bound chairman's arrival, the Rattlesnake would strike again, filling the boss's Corvette with cement. Later that night, McMahon confronted Austin in the ring and told him that if he did not call the PPV match down the middle, he would be immediately fired. On that same night, Austin teamed with the Rock to take on Undertaker and Kane, a main event match that saw Big Bossman revealed as McMahon's new personal security. Undertaker gets a decent pop from the crowd here despite both competitors being heels and shakes hands with Kane before the match. Austin's pop however puts Taker's reaction to shame as our referee makes his way to the ring and gets in the face of both competitors prior to starting the match. The crowd is hot for this, but the match isn't very good. The aura of seeing these two face off has faded a fair bit, and I believe Taker had a few injuries nagging him around this time. Taker looks to put Kane away in the early going, but Austin refuses to count the fall. A pissed Taker confronts the former champion and gets taken out by Kane. The big red monster follows up with a pinfall which Austin counts quickly, only for Taker to kick out. It was more Austin fucking with Taker than favouring Kane. Anyway we get some slow and plodding back and forth between both men, with the action spilling to the outside and involving the ring steps and a steel chair. Both brothers spend time in control of one another as the match goes on. The crowd actually starts up a boring chant during the match which you weren't used to hearing in this era, especially with Austin in there. The intrigue picks up however as the brothers team up to take out Austin before going at it once more. With the guest referee down, Paul Bearer makes his way down the aisle holding a chair but we still don't know who's side he is on. He gets in the ring and tells Kane to let him nail Taker, but as Kane steps back, Bearer double crosses his son, whacking him with the chair from behind. It doesn't have any effect though, as Kane just stands there, however Taker grabs the chair and takes out his brother with it. And so Paul Bearer is reunited with the Phenom, only this time on the heel side, whilst Kane would effectively be turned face. Meanwhile Austin recovers and hits Taker with a stunner and chair shot, resulting in both Brothers of Destruction being laid out. The match then reaches its end as Austin pins both men, counting his own fall and declaring himself the winner at 17:35. Great storyline development here, but the match itself was quite horrible until the ending.
Seemingly the new champion, Austin dares Mr McMahon to fire him for his officiating antics, which leads to McMahon appearing in his personal skybox, flanked by his stooges. We then get those famous two words for the first time as the evil boss states "Screw you Austin - YOU'RE FIRED!". Not having expected McMahon to go through with it, Austin asks for his music to be played one last time as he drinks some beers as we go off the air.
Overall another fun show to throw in from this time period for the sake of nostalgia even if the in ring quality is still lacking for the most part. As I already said, the main event is quite slow paced until we get to the intriguing ending with a new union being reformed between Undertaker and Paul Bearer, and the cliff hanger ending with Austin being fired. Sure the championship would remain vacant, but that's part of the intrigue heading into our major show next month. As far as the rest of the card goes, there were a few bright spots such as another good clash between D'Lo and X-Pac over the European Championship, which is probably more prestigious at the moment than it ever will be again. The Light Heavyweight title match was also pretty good, with Taka's long but unmemorable reign being brought to an end by the mysterious Christian in a strong debut of a man still with the company today. Mark Henry beating Rock was a major upset at the time and I still don't understand the logic knowing where things were headed, but things turned out well enough for the Great One I'd say. Overall another mixed bag on PPV from this stretch, but the product is as hot as ever, and that makes for an enjoyable show with some major happenings taking place.
Three Stars of the Night:
1. X-Pac - I was always an X-Pac fan as a kid, but watching these shows has really made me appreciate just what a good worker he was in this stretch. Another solid match with the DX member emerging from his long standing rivalry with D'Lo as the victor.
2. D'Lo Brown - have to give credit to the other half of the equation as well here. D'Lo did a great job of legitimatising the European title and came a long way as a worker in 1998. He comes up short in his rivalry with X-Pac tonight, but he brought his game once again.
3. Christian - a strong showing for the blonde from Toronto in his first match with the company. Sure the Light Heavyweight title was meaningless by this point, but it was a solid performance to start a career that would have many great matches down the line.
You can again see the undercard players stepping up their game on this show to make up for the previously main event driven shows in the early part of the year.
FINAL GRADE: 5 out of 10
ALL TIME PERFORMANCE TALLY:
What I do here is add the three stars of the night with each review so as to keep track of who we can say overall is the greatest PPV performer to any given time. First place scores 3 points, second 2 and third 1. The list is put together from all the shows I have reviewed thus far. .
Bret Hart = 83
Shawn Michaels = 67
Steve Austin = 56
Randy Savage = 28
Undertaker = 25
Mick Foley = 20
Hulk Hogan = 18
Owen Hart = 17
Triple H = 16
Diesel = 14
Ultimate Warrior = 13
Vader = 13
The Rock = 12
British Bulldog = 11
Razor Ramon = 10
Ted DiBiase = 10
X-Pac = 10
Ric Flair = 8
Jim Neidhart = 7
Jerry Lawler = 6
Bob Backlund = 5
Mr Perfect = 5
Roddy Piper = 5
Dynamite Kid = 5
Arn Anderson = 5
Marty Jannetty = 5
Ricky Steamboat = 4
Ax = 4
Smash = 4
Bobby Heenan = 4
D’Lo Brown = 4
Savio Vega = 3
Yokozuna = 3
Hakushi = 3
Bam Bam Bigelow = 3
Jake Roberts = 3
Tanaka = 3
Kato = 3
Vince McMahon = 3
Greg Valentine = 3
Tully Blanchard = 3
Ken Shamrock = 3
Jeff Jarrett = 2
Sgt Slaughter = 2
Rick Rude = 2
Paul Orndorff = 2
Brutus Beefcake = 2
Andre the Giant = 2
Crush = 2
Jesse Ventura = 1
Texas Tornado = 1
Tito Santana = 1
Virgil = 1
Rick Steiner = 1
Scott Steiner = 1
Lex Luger = 1
The Roadie = 1
Flash Funk = 1
Hawk = 1
Animal = 1
Taka Michinoku = 1
Christian = 1
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