WWE PPV Flashbacks: Breakdown - In Your House - September 27, 1998

Breakdown: In Your House
September 27, 1998
Copps Coliseum, Hamilton, ON

The Highway to Hell may have come to an end last month at Summerslam, but as we continue onwards to our next PPV in 1998, the conspiracy between the Brothers of Destruction has only become more intriguing. On this night, WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin must defend his title against both Undertaker and Kane in a triple threat match. Only its more a handicap match, since Mr McMahon, always wanting to screw with Austin has made it so the challengers could not fight one another during the match. Also tonight we have a steel cage match to determine who will be next in line (maybe) for a WWF title shot as Mankind, the Rock and Ken Shamrock square off inside. Its time to breakdown WWF Breakdown: In Your House. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and leave all your thoughts at @Mpmcc91.

Our opening video package is all about Mr McMahon's master plan to get the belt of Austin, which is pretty much what I just said above. I'll get into more detail later. Great stuff of course. Our announcers are the always great duo of Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler.

Edge vs Owen Hart
Our opening match of the night seems to be a bit of a random match thrown together to have the young rookie Edge benefit from working with a seasoned veteran in Owen Hart, as I really don't remember a great deal of interaction between these guys at the time. Owen is coming off his loss to Shamrock in the Lion's Den at Summerslam, a match which teased an Owen/Severn feud when the Beast walked out on the Black Hart, but that really went nowhere aside from a match the night after this show on Raw is War. That match would end with Owen injuring Severn's neck in storyline, which led to Owen claiming that he was retiring from wrestling. in hindsight now we can wish that was the case. Anyway Edge comes through the crowd, getting a good pop from his home province of Ontario. The match here is a pretty good opener actually despite the lack of storyline. Edge starts out in control but Owen turns the tide after catching the rookie on a dive to the outside, countering it into a powerslam. Owen goes on offence, with Edge fighting back a bit. Owen for the most part stays in control until he goes to lock in the sharpshooter, only for Edge to roll through into a near fall. Owen kicks out, but Edge follows up with a spinning heel kick. Just as he appears to be closing in on his first solo PPV win however, a debuting man with blonde hair jumps the rail and distracts Edge. The distraction costs the home boy the match as Owen rolls him up into a pinning predicament to score the win at 9:16. Owen celebrates his win as the mystery man retreats through the crowd with Edge giving chase. That mystery man was of course Christian, a man that will be linked to Edge for quite some time going forward. Good match for the time it was given.
Grade: ***1/2

We get a brief Superstar line plug before our next match.

Al Snow & Scorpio vs Too Cool
Our next match is all about the return of Al Snow. We last saw Snow back at the King of the Ring when he lost to Too Cool in that atrocity of a match that saw Head pinned for the three count. By losing that match, Snow failed to earn a WWF contract. In reality, he was finishing up his work in ECW before his full time call up to the roster. That occurred on an episode of Raw is War in September, when Al Snow came out of nowhere to attack Commissioner Slaughter, who by this point was nothing more than a McMahon stooge. As a result of this altercation, Snow faced Slaughter in a bootcamp match on the Raw before this PPV, with the stipulation being that Snow would win a WWF contract if he was victorious. Well that was exactly what happened, however as soon as the ECW alum defeated the Commissioner, he was assaulted by Patterson & Brisco. This led to Scorpio (another former ECW talent) making the save, forming an allegiance between the two men. Snow of course had history with Too Much, dating back the aforementioned match in June, which brings us to where we are today. Snow gets a decent reception from the crowd. I had forgotten just how over he was when he started up with the WWF. As far as the match goes, its okay, but its really nothing exciting. The teams take turns on offence in this one. At one point, the referee gets distracted and Snow uses a chair to his teams advantage. Scorpio and Snow spend time working over both Christopher and Taylor, and Snow brings Head into play, going crazy with it. He ends up accidentally whacking Scorpio before utilising his mannequin friend in delivering a low blow to Taylor. From here, all four men come in and brawl. Scorpio hits a flying clothesline, taking out Brian Christopher, whilst Snow connects with the Snow Plow on Scott Taylor, scoring the pinfall for the former ECW stars at 8:03. After the match, Scorpio doesn't seem happy with Snow whacking him during the match, but I don't remember much coming from that. Pretty much just a basic match to establish Snow as a player in the midcard.
Grade: **

In the back we send it to Undertaker and Kane. Both Brothers of Destruction vow that tonight will be the end of Stone Cold Steve Austin. Taker is now fully heel by the way, but more on that later.

Droz vs Marc Mero w/Jacqueline
This is another match that really seemed to be just thrown together to fill out the card for this show. Mero has really just been playing second fiddle to Jacqueline as of late in her feud with Sable. Of the most significance on that front is that Jacqueline is now the WWF Women's Champion, having defeated Sable to win the vacant title on the Raw is War before this show, marking the first time the title had been vacant since Alundra Blayze took the old belt to WCW and threw it in the trash on Nitro in late 1995. Droz on the other hand, I believe was still hanging around with the LOD at this point. Much like our opener, this is face rookie vs heel veteran, although I have to say Mero is starting to look a bit dated at this stage. The match here is pretty basic. Mero starts out by throwing some punches but Droz sends him down, leading to the Marvellous one retreating before Droz sends him into the ring steps. Mero attempts to take control as the action returns to the ring but we get some back and forth from both competitors. At one point Droz has Mero beat, but Jacqueline intervenes, placing her man's foot on the rope to break the pin. From here, its all Mero, as the Marvellous one chokes Droz with his wrist tape before distracting the referee, allowing Jackie to whack Droz with her shoe from the top. Mero follows up with the Marvelocity shooting star press to score the win at 5:12. Pretty basic stuff. Mero's finisher was cool though. I'm surprised Sable didn't make an appearance here to continue her feud with the Mero couple.
Grade: *1/2

Before our next match we cross backstage to Bradshaw, who is now fully in heel mode. He's shaved his facial hair and actually looks a lot like his JBL persona with dark hair. Anyway, he talks trash about Vader, saying that his match up next is about survival of the fittest, not the fattest.

Falls Count Anywhere Match:
Vader vs Bradshaw

Alright so the last time we saw Bradshaw was at Fully Loaded in July when he seemingly heeled out after attacking Terry Funk following a losing effort in a tag team match with Faarooq & Scorpio. Rather than going full on heel however, Bradshaw would become something of a tweener, teaming with the popular Vader, before the two ended up coming to blows, putting an end to the allegiance. Bradshaw went full heel as a result and that brings us to this match here. As it says, this is falls count anywhere, so anything goes. Despite being essentially a glorified jobber for most of the year, Vader still gets a decent pop here which is always good to see since he was still a favourite of mine at this point. The match here is actually decent enough, although nothing spectacular. Bradshaw starts out in control, but that Mastadon turns the tide with a splash on his opponent. The action spills to the outside and Bradshaw whacks Vader with the ring bell, but the big man responds using the ring steps. The action returns briefly to the ring, but Vader sends Bradshaw back outside and into the guardrail, pounding on him some more. The big guy goes for a cover but Bradshaw kicks out. The match continues back to the ring and Vader looks to close in on the victory with the Vader Bomb, only for Bradshaw to kick out. Vader is in shock, and Bradshaw responds with a clothesline from hell which also only gets two on the big guy. Bradshaw then follows up with a neckbreaker which is successful in taking Vader down for the three count at 7:56. This was a decent, short brawl with Vader once again being a pro and putting the young guy over. Sadly this would be the end of the PPV run for Vader here as he would stick around for a few weeks before losing his final match to Edge on Heat. Its a shame that he wasn't used better towards the end of his run as I definitely think he had potential as a face in the upper midcard veteran role. I'm sure some day we will see the Mastodon in the Hall of Fame, but for now we say farewell to the big guy save for a few one off appearances over the years.
Grade: **1/4

Before our next match we get a WWF.com plug with Jason Sensation doing some superstar impersonations on the website. His Undertaker one was awesome.

Gangrel vs D'Lo Brown
Our next match sees the PPV debut of an interesting new face in the midcard, the vampire like Gangrel. Gangrel arrived on the scene a few weeks before this show and is pretty much just in this match to showcase his talent. He had gotten involved with Edge shortly after arriving in the company, a storyline we'll see develop down the line. He gets a pretty good pop here as he makes his way out complete with his cool entrance rising through a ring of fire and spitting his goblet of blood upon entering the ring. His opponent is the former WWF European Champion, D'Lo Brown. D'Lo had continued his rivalry with X-Pac over the past few months and lost the title to the D-Generation X member on Raw is War six days prior to this show. Their rivalry would continue so I'm not really sure what the logic behind this pairing was for the card. I guess these guys are technically both heels, although the crowd is behind Gangrel. The match is okay, but that is about all. D'Lo has rapidly improved the past few months, but whilst Gangrel was an interesting character, he wasn't anything amazing in the ring. We get some basic back and forth to get started, with D'Lo taking control in the early going. Gangrel starts to build some momentum, but this leads to D'Lo's buddy Mark Henry coming down to ringside. Their allegiance was pretty much all that was left of the Nation by this point. Anyway, Henry pulls down the ropes as Gangrel runs at them, sending the vampire to the outside. He proceeds to throw Gangrel into the ring post as D'Lo distracts the official. Having done the damage, Henry throws Gangrel back into the ring and D'Lo capitalises, hitting the Sky High to score the pin at 7:46. The celebration is short lived however, as after the match Gangrel spits some blood in the face of Henry and then nails D'Lo with an Impaler DDT to get back his heat.
Grade: **1/4

We now get a recap of the events leading to our upcoming triple threat steel cage match. After that we get promos from all three men. First Shamrock cuts a generic promo saying that he will do whatever it takes to win the match. Then its over to Rock who tells off Dok Hendrix and promises to lay the smack down in the people's cage (he's finally turned face since Summerslam due to his huge popularity). Mankind then cuts a hilarious promo before we send it back to ringside.

Number One Contender Steel Cage Match:
The Rock vs Mankind vs Ken Shamrock

This is an interesting match as aside from Mankind somewhat, these guys had not really been involved in the WWF title contention scene as of late. Mankind has basically gone face after being abandoned at Summerslam by Kane, whilst Rock has drifted away from the Nation and is more face than heel at this point due to his popularity. Shamrock is also a face still, but that won't last much longer. This really stemmed from a recent episode of Raw is War in which Austin had to find a tag partner to battle Kane and the Undertaker. Always making the champion's life a living hell, Mr McMahon approached the three men involved in this match and told them that if they did not participate in the aforementioned tag match, he would give them the opportunity to earn a WWF Championship match. That match was set for the Raw is War prior to this show, however since McMahon had already gotten what he wanted, once the match was under way, he sent the Brothers of Destruction down to the ring to destroy all three men, rendering the match a non contest. As a result, they square off again tonight here, this time inside a steel cage match, as added on Sunday Night Heat before the PPV. This is actually a really good match, and one that is often forgotten, I guess because despite being a number one contender match, that stipulation wouldn't be paid off due to events later in the show. Despite all three men being faces, Shamrock is pretty much the heel by default here due to the other two being popular, especially in Rock's case. Nobody really gets an advantage in the early going as its all three men going back and forth inside the cage. Mankind and Shamrock end up teaming up on Rock, but the People's Champion overcomes both men, hitting them both with the People's Elbow and attempting to escape the cage. His opponents stop him, and after a bit more back and forth its Shamrock's turn to try to escape, only to be stopped by Mankind and Rock. Rock ends up being thrown back down as well and Mankind climbs to the top of the cage, only to drop an elbow aimed at Rock, however the Great One rolls out of the way. Shamrock ends up grabbing a chair in a failed escape attempt, but it works against him as Mankind avoids it and nails the UFC fighter with his DDT and follows up with a chair shot. Instead of going for the pin however, Mankind decides to climb the cage. Just as it looks like he is about to make it over and out however, Rock rolls over and covers the downed Shamrock to win the match by pinfall at 18:49. Very good match with the right man eating the pin, and the right guy going over. Rock now earns a shot at the WWF Championship - or so we think. Mankind looked a bit silly not covering Shamrock in the first place, but that's the way he was portrayed at this point anyway. Check this out if you haven't seen it.
Grade: ****

Before our next match we get a video package highlighting the events leading to it.

Val Venis w/Terri Runnels vs Dustin Runnels
A few months ago back at Over the Edge we saw Dustin Runnels no longer in the persona of Goldust, having instead adopted the gimmick of a religious preacher. Over the months heading into this show, Dustin would rant about the state of morality in the WWF, quickly earning the ire of the fans. One man in particular who was regarded as a disgrace to Runnels was the resident porn star of the WWF - Val Venis. A few weeks prior to this show on Sunday Night Heat, this feud really kicked off with Dustin assaulting Val with a sign that he had been carrying around, claiming that "He was coming back". In retaliation for the assault, the next night on Raw is War, Val unveiled his latest adult film, titled 'The Preacher's Wife'. The video saw Val in bed with the returning Marlena, now going by her real name Terri Runnels, who had been away from the spotlight since Goldust broke up with her to become the Artist in late 1997. The next week, Dustin attempted to assault Val, but the porn star got the better of the exchange and continued to torment the bible basher with further stories of his sexual exploits with Terri, who was now depicted as a promiscuous woman. Yeah Val kind of comes off as the dick here, but hey, this was the Attitude era so he is the popular face. He gets a good pop as he comes out with the scantily clad Terri, whilst Dustin is booed. As far as the match goes here, this is very basic and the worst match of the night at this point. We start with the usual back and forth before Val sends Dustin to the outside. The two men brawl at ringside a little before returning to the ring. Some more basic back and forth follows until Val gains the advantage, eventually putting Dustin away with the Money Shot for the win at 9:09. Pretty boring match here, however this rivalry will take a turn next month with the return of a familiar face.
Grade: *

Up next its a recap of the X-Pac/Jarrett rivalry which I really thought ended when X-Pac cut Jarrett's hair last month in the Garden. Anyway six man action is up next.

X-Pac & New Age Outlaws vs Jeff Jarrett & Southern Justice
Alright, so as I mentioned, Jarrett had been feuding with X-Pac over the past month or so, which culminated in X-Pac defeating Jarrett at Summerslam and cutting his trademark blonde locks. With his hair gone, Jarrett has ditched his country music star gimmick and is now just a guy who goes around hitting people with guitars. Don't piss him off! Or make him mad for that matter! As I said earlier, X-Pac is entering this match as the reigning WWF European Champion after defeating D'Lo on Raw is War six days ago, whilst the Outlaws are still the reigning WWF Tag Team Champions after winning the belts at Summerslam last month. DX has quite the impressive collection at this point as Triple H is also the reigning Intercontinental Champion, but he's currently out with an injury (hence his lack of presence tonight). Surprisingly no Chyna either. To add some extra fuel to this feud, Southern Justice attacked Road Dogg on Sunday Night Heat prior to the PPV. The Outlaws get a measure of revenge however as they come through the crowd during X-Pac's entrance and jump the heels to get under way. Once things get under control, Jarrett and X-Pac start the match out, and we get what proceeds to be a decent, albeit unspectacular match. Its really just filler and a chance to get the popular DX members on the card. They are in a funny position at the moment as they are really just carrying on this feud with nothing else to do. The Outlaws in particular - at least X-Pac has his ongoing rivalry with D'Lo which will pick back up. Anyway towards the end of this match Jarrett tries to bring his guitar into play, but Gunn intercepts it. The referee stops him from using it, which results in the Southern Justice members beating on him, whilst Jarrett whacks X-Pac with the guitar on the outside. Gunn regains control in the ring however and puts Dennis Knight away with a Fameasser to score the victory for DX at 11:17. It was fun for what it was. After the match, X-Pac sells the guitar shot by holding his eye as the degenerates celebrate their victory,
Grade: **1/2

The main event is up next so we get a video package chronicling the events leading up to the reveal of the Master Plan.

WWF Championship:
Steve Austin (c) vs Undertaker vs Kane

The issues between Austin and the Brothers of Destruction continue with our main event tonight. As we saw at Summerslam, after beating the hell out of each other in the early part of the year, the Undertaker and Kane have now formed an allegiance. At the aforementioned event, Taker was still in tweener mode, giving Austin a nod of respect in defeat, but there's been a few developments since then. This all came about when in his quest to get the belt off Stone Cold, Mr McMahon made the announcement that Austin would defend his title against both Kane and the Undertaker at the next PPV on an episode of Sunday Night Heat. The odds continued to be stacked against the champion a few weeks later on Raw is War when McMahon told Austin that Undertaker and Kane would not be allowed to pin one another in the match, essentially making this a handicap title defence for the champion. He also said that if anyone got involved on Austin's behalf in the match, the champion would be stripped of his title immediately. Austin physically retaliated, however the Undertaker and Kane cemented their heel status when they came to the ring and destroyed Austin, beginning their association with the evil owner of the company. The following week on the Raw is War prior to this show, Austin teamed with Billy Gunn to take on Kane and the Undertaker (the match I mentioned above where Vince persuaded Rock, Shamrock and Mankind not to team with Austin). The Brothers of Destruction were victorious in that match, however before the show went off the air, Austin grabbed a chair and attacked both his challengers, seemingly having momentum heading in despite the odds stacked against him. The challengers make their way out to the ring, Kane first, then Taker, and Austin jumps the Phenom with a chair in the aisle during his entrance. He then goes for Kane and we are officially under way. Austin builds the momentum in the early minutes, fighting off both opponents with anything he can get his hands on before the numbers game overwhelms the champion. Meanwhile the stooge party (Slaughter, Patterson and Brisco) head down to ringside to observe as well as take a few shots at the champ. Taker and Kane proceed to destroy Austin for a while, however they end up getting into an argument over who is going to pin the champion. They end up coming to blows and Austin attempts to use this to his advantage, but the Brothers of Destruction soon work together again dismantling Austin, only to get into an argument over who will pin the champ again. Austin fights back, and goes for the Stunner on Kane, only to be pushed into a Taker boot. Both challengers follow up with a double chokeslam, laying out the champion. Both Kane and Taker pin Austin together and score the three count at 22:18. I liked the story behind this match, but as far as in-ring work goes this was quite slow and plodding at times. Its worth a watch for historical significance in the Austin/McMahon saga though. Anyway, Austin has definitely lost the title, but who is the new WWF Champion?
Grade: *1/2

As everyone is trying to work out what is going on, Mr McMahon comes out to the ring and takes the WWF Championship. He quickly leaves ringside with it as Austin gives chase backstage. Then in a memorable moment, Mr McMahon gets into his limo, tormenting Austin as his stooges attack the champion. "Its mine! You don't have it anymore". Austin fights off the stooges, but before he can get his belt back, the limo takes off as the show comes to an end.

This was one of those shows that is more memorable for the storylines going in and coming out rather than being a necessarily good PPV in terms of match quality. We'll see that quite a bit over the next 12 months or so I think. That's the way the Attitude era was a lot of the time, but having grown up watching this stuff, its always fun for me to throw in for nostalgia's sake. The main event here really was not a high quality match, but the intrigue was added as Austin was screwed out of the title and there was a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the WWF Championship. This night was the show that took the Austin/McMahon rivalry to the next level, and from here things will pick up in a major way now that McMahon has succeeded in doing what he has attempted to achieve since the night after Wrestlemania XIV. As far as the rest of the show goes, the steel cage match was very good, and the opener was also pretty solid, but otherwise there wasn't anything going very far beyond being an average match. Its a fairly average show overall in other words.

Three Stars of the Night:
1. The Rock - excellent performance in the steel cage match. His popularity had grown hugely over the past few months, and he was about to receive the biggest push of his career so far. He would not become the number one contender despite his win here however, as we shall see next week.
2. Mankind - much like Rock, was doing a good job moving into the face role. His popularity wasn't quite what it would become yet, but he'll get there soon enough. Once again he put his body on the line for us with that elbow drop from the top of the cage.
3. Ken Shamrock - I'm giving him this more out of default due to his involvement in the cage match, even if he really was just the third guy in there. His face run was on borrowed time as evidenced by his fan reaction tonight, but he'd change things up in a bit.

No main event players tonight. The match really wasn't that great. Storyline wise things were on fire at the top of the card however.

FINAL GRADE: 5 out of 10

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. We’re seeing the rise of some key Attitude era players here, as Rock steadily climbs the ranks and Mankind is closing in on the top 5.

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
Ric Flair = 8
Jim Neidhart = 7
X-Pac = 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
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
D’Lo Brown = 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

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