WWF JUDGMENT DAY 1998
So the first show on the agenda is Judgment Day 98 which, interestingly enough, took place not in May but in October. It was, of course, on the three-week cycle that always comes before this show, meaning quite a few of the matches are follow-ons from the previous month. October '98 was an interesting time to be a WWF fan; the Brood were giving us a reason to say the word "gothic", Hawk was old, fat and drunk, and D'Lo Brown had a career ahead of him...
DOA/Paul "Mr. Dotcom" Ellering Vs. LoD2000: Okay, I'm confused here...Weren't they only 2000 when they were with Sunny? Or does Droz make it the new millennium? Suck to swank ratio: 5 to 1. Ouch. Sad as it is, three of these guys later found gainful employment with WCW. Any questions as to why Atlanta sucked so much now? Anyhoo, Animal starts against Skull, and the bald one takes over with a swinging neckbreaker. Animal comes back, hitting a dropkick(!) on 8-Ball, and DOA regroup. Hawk comes in and squares off against 8-Ball, and the biker hits a BAD powerslam. Hawk gets one of his own, but 8-Ball comes back. Hawk hits a neckbreaker for two, and tags Droz. Back elbow, but the heels take over and pound the shit out of him. Ellering comes in and gets a few licks in, and eventually Droz DDTs Skull and tags Hawk. Clotheslines for all! The original Legion hit Doomsday Device, and Droz covers for the pin at 5:56. DUD Hawk seems pissed of at Droz, y'know, pinning their opponents. Yeah, I'd get mighty pissed if MY partner won the match while I was shouting gibberish at the crowd.
Light Heavyweight Title Match: Christian w/Gangrel Vs. TAKA Michenoku w/Yamaguchi-San: This is Christian's in-ring debut, and he looks about twelve. It took JR about two weeks to stop calling him "Christopher". His brainrot isn't a new thing, y'know. Here, both guys are pretty much mutes, a situation oddly reversed today. Christian takes charge to start, but TAKA flips out of a German suplex and hits a heel kick, then clotheslines Christian to the floor. TAKA hits his swank no-hands-plancha, and to build the excitement we see a shot of Edge watching from the nosebleed seats. TAKA drapes Christian across the middle rope and kneedrops for two. Headlock, but Christian breaks free. TAKA gets a superkick, and Christian responds with a slop drop. "Edge" chant, because it wouldn't be a light heavyweight match without the crowd chanting for someone not in the match. Christian dropkicks TAKA, and hits Simon Diamond's three rolling suplexes for two. Sleeper, and TAKA escapes, so Christian throws him outside. Springboard plancha, and a powerbomb in the ring gets two. Slam, and we get to choking. Christian misses a splash, however, and both stay down. TAKA comes back with a dropkick to the floor and a baseball slide, then an asai moonsault. Back inside, and Christian backdrops TAKA to the apron. TAKA hops upstairs and tries a crossbody, but Christian rolls through for two. TAKA rollup for two. Dropkick O' Death gets two. Irish whips, but Christian gets a Russian legsweep for two. TAKA flips out of a powerbomb and hits a tornado DDT, then calls for the driver, but Christian does the Steamboat reversal for the pin and the title at 8:35. Good little match. *** Edge mulls the victory over.
Val Venis w/Terri Vs. Goldust: So Val sleeps with Dustin's wife, forcing him to return to his bizarre sexual deviant persona. Oooooooohkay. Goldie continues with his mindgames, cutting off Val's mic mid-promo and delivering a Stingesque "It's shoooooooowtime!". Val gets a quick back elbow and elbow drop, and they hit the floor. Goldie pounds him on the floor, but Val jumps him coming back in and tosses him again. Top rope plancha(!) squashes Goldie on the floor. Back in, Val goes upstairs, but Goldie gutshots him coming down and gets an inverted atomic drop. Slingshot belly-to-back, Irish whip, clothesline for two. He works Val's arm some, and gets a Hennig necksnap. Irish whip is reversed, and Val sends Goldie shoulder-first into the ringpost. Val works the shoulder on the floor, then takes it inside for some more workage. Hammerlock slam, and Val hooks a short-arm scissors. Goldust chant goes up. Val breaks the hold and gets a clothesline for two, then goes to an armbar. Armtest(?)and Goldie fights up and gets a crossbody for two. Val comes back with a clothesline for two, and works the arm on the ropes. Russian legsweep gets two. Powerslam and Val calls for the Money Shot, but Goldie cuts him off upstairs and gets a superplex for two. Goldie misses a second rope elbow, and Val grabs a sleeper. Goldie reverses to his own, and Val reverses to a belly-to-back. Both men down, and Goldie gets up first. Backdrop and the bulldog, and Terri gets on the apron. Goldie responds with his usual hip-thrustery, then dodges Val's sneak attack and absolutely PUNTS him in the Big Valbowski. That is, of course, enough to pin Val Venis at any time, and Goldie wins at 12:10. Big pop for that. Shockingly well-worked match. Even the sports entertainment finisher had a purpose, I guess.***1/4
Thrasher comes in and hits a jawbreaker for two, then goes back to choking. Bottom rope catapult hangman thingy, and Mosh beats on Gunn outside. He tags in and slaps on an armbar. Billy escapes a suplex, but gets clotheslined for two. Some more illegal stomping, and Thrasher covers for two. He works a sleeper. Armtest, and Billy reverses the sleeper, but gets belly-to-backed. Tag to Mosh, but Gunn catches him on a charge and drops him. Both down, and Gunn looks for the tag, but Trasher come sin and stomps him. The Bangers call for the Stage Dive, but Dogg nails Mosh with a boombox for the LAME, LAME DQ at 14:00. I guess Russo was trying to be cute by mirroring the Bangers/Outlaws feud from the previous year, but Lord that ending sucked the big one in the style of the Red Knight. So-so match, bad finish. *1/2. Mosh is apparently bleeding, but damned if I can see it.
Shammy plays chase and pounds on Mick, but Mick gets a body scissors and tries the Claw again. Shammy fights him off and they hit the floor. Mankind tosses Kenny into the steps and grabs a chair, but Ken boots it in his face. He gets a NASTY chairshot and pounds Mick some more in the ring. Clothesline gets two. He works the wrist some, but Mick bites him to break it up. Shamrock dodges a charge and gets the belly-to-belly, but Mick blocks the ankle lock and hits the double-arm DDT. Both down, and Mick pulls out his own hair to wake himself up. He gets the running knee smash, and puts Shammy in Tree Of Woe, then drops an elbow on his face. Ten count turnbuckle pounding, and Shammy looks like he's out cold. Of course, he always looks out cold, so that's no surprise. Mick legdrops him across the second rope, and gets the Cactus clothesline, then the Cactus elbow. He lines up a charge, but Ken powerslams him ANKLE FIRST onto the ringsteps. Mick loves that bump, don't he? Back inside and Shammy hooks the ankle lock. Mick makes the ropes, so Kenny pulls him back and applies it again, and Mick gives himself the Claw and passes out. Shamrock retains at 14:37. Fink announces Kenny the winner "by Mandible Claw"-the Hell? When does THAT ever happen?-and he snaps. See, he wanted to win with the ankle lock. Or something. He beats on the ref, allowing Mick to load up Mr. Socko and put Shammy out, to a HUGE pop. Ugly clash of styles.**
Mark Henry Vs. The Rock: Yeah, I know. Rocky had done the Triple H face turn prior to this-not officially turning, but still being wildly cheered. Mark reads a poem to Chyna prematch. Don't ask. He definitely lost weight before being sent to OVW. Rocky pounds him to start, and hits a suplex(!) for two. Mark bails, and Rocky pounds him on the floor, but Mark fights back. Rocky clotheslines him back inside, but Mark gets a back elbow and elbowdrop for two. Chokery, and Rock fights back, but gets clotheslined and legdropped for two. Chinlock, and Rocky fights out and stomps Henry down. DDT for two. Slam, and the People's Elbow, and D'Lo returns the favour for earlier in the night. Rocky clobbers him, but Mark hits a clothesline. Big splash, and D'Lo holds the feet, giving Mark the MASSIVE upset at 5:03. Pointless little match that did nothing for either guy.*. Rocky takes the loss like a MAN, safe in the knowledge that he'll be WWF Champion within a month.
Vacant WWF Title Match: The Undertaker Vs. Kane-Special Referee: Steve Austin: Near as I can tell, Kane and Taker have had TWELVE stages of love and hate. This is merely the fourth. Kane is FAT here. Austin, obviously, gets a mega pop. He gives both men the double bird and rings the bell. Taker jumps Kane and hits Old School early, then pounds him some more. Kane comes back and beats Taker down in the corner. Powerslam, and Taker sits up. Clothesline, and Taker sits up. Taker blocks a charge and gets a clothesline, and Austin refuses to count. Taker takes offence, and Kane clobbers him for a quick two count. Huh? Taker lays into kane, but Kane gets a big boot and clotheslines Taker to the floor. Taker takes control but misses a chairshot, and Kane fights back. Back inside and Taker gets a suplex, and Kane sits up. Kane clothesline, and Taker sits up. Kane messes up a powerslam, and Taker fights back. He goes to the leg and puts on a kneebar. Great, just what this match needs. More leg workage. Ho hum. Back to the kneebar, and Kane fights out and gets a sidewalk slam. Elbowdrop, but Taker ducks a big boot and goes back to the leg. Spinning toehold, as Austin nonchalantly watches. More knee workage. Bleeeaaarrrggghhh. Taker puts Kane in a BAD Tree Of Woe and works the knee some more. Weird-ass choke in the corner, and the crowd is rapidly dying. More workage, and Kane FINALLY comes back with a spinebuster. Clothesline, and Kane pounds Taker, then suddenly grabs Austin and chokeslams him. Uh, yeah. The Brothers Dead stomp him, then Taker jumps Kane, but gets chokeslammed. Paul Bearer waddles out, chair in hand, and begs Kane to let him finish the Taker. Kane, like an IDIOT, turns his back, and in a SHOCKING SWERVE, Bearer hits him with the chair. It has no effect, of course, and Kane menaces him, but Taker gets the chair and wastes Kane with it as Bearer smiles. Taker covers, but Austin won't count. Taker, like an IDIOT also, turns his back to Austin, and takes a Stunner and a chairshot. Austin counts both men down for the three, and declares HIMSELF the winner at 17:39. Awful, awful match with a piece-of-shit ending that did NOTHING for anybody.1/2*. And of course, per the prematch agreement, Austin is now fired. Austin calls Vince out to fire him, then goes backstage when Vince no-shows. Slip-Up Of The Night: Austin runs into the "retired" Owen Hart. Whoops. Austin goes back to the ring, and Vince appears behind the big screen and publicly fires him. Austin celebrates with some beers, then throws all mystique out the window by promising that "you ain't seen the last of Stone Cold".