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Chairshot Classics: WWF SummerSlam 1998

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Stone Cold versus The Undertaker, The Rock and Triple H in a ladder match for the IC Title and a total of four championship matches in this Chairshot Classic.

For this edition of Chairshot Classics we keep the ball rolling with SummerSlam 98. The WWE Time Machine takes us into Madison Square Garden and the day is August 30. The WWF is finally ahead in the Monday Night Wars, out-performing Nitro on a weekly basis. The ratings for the previous month are as follows: 6/8 Monday Night Raw-4.3, Nitro-4, 6/15 RAW-4.3, Nitro-4, 6/22 RAW-4.3, Nitro-4.1, 6/29 RAW-5.4, Nitro-4.1. The Garden was jammed packed with 21,588 fans and another 700,000 watching on PPV. The 700K tuned in at home, who pay 30 bucks each, is a record that is still 2nd all time today and the most for a SummerSlam.

The opening vignette comes on the screen and shows the build up to The Undertaker/Austin feud, that also includes Kane. The video shows Austin being tormented by The Brothers of Darkness and his to Kane in a first blood match at the previous PPV, King of the Ring. Stone Cold would win the title back though on the following nights RAW. The opening ends with Vince McMahon saying “With Kane at your side, you will be the WWF Champion once again.” This wasn’t the best opener I’ve seen, but it did the job I guess. The camera enters the sold-out arena as Jim Ross welcomes us to the tenth annual SummerSlam and introduces his partner for the night, Jerry “The King” Lawler. JR tells us that four Titles will be defended tonight starting with the first match.

The challenger, Val Venis enters the arena first and is wearing his signature towel. He gets on the mic and greets the crowd with his “Hello Ladies” and proceeds to talk about the women of NYC, and getting some positive reactions. For those that don’t know Venis was a porn star themed gimmick that was pretty well received. This was definitely a Vince Russo idea. The Big Valbowski finishes with “I came, I saw and I came again.” Kicking the show off in proper Attitude Era fashion with some semen jokes, nice. The European Champion and Nation of Domination member, D-Lo Brown enters next with his neck on a swivel and talkin’ smack the whole time. I always was a fan of D-Lo and think he will be entering the Hall of Fame in the coming years. JR mentions the chest protector that D-Lo is wearing to protect an injured Pectoral Muscle. This would be the theme of the match. After some collar and elbow locks, that seem to go on forever, Brown gains the advantage when Val attempts to chop the chest of D-Lo, but encounters the chest protector. This hurts the wrist of Venis and allows Brown the edge. He works Val with various splashes protecting the chest. Venis avoids a splash in the corner and regains some steam with a Russian leg sweep. D-Lo soon leaves the ring to stop the gaining momentum of Venis.

When Brown re-enters the pair go back and fourth, mostly trading Irish whips. Val receives the first big pop when, off the ropes, he lifts D-Lo for a nice spinebuster slam. This leads to the first near fall, a two count. At this point we are shown a member of The Brood, Edge, in the crowd. They continue to trade momentum and D-Lo gets his first nice pop after an elbow drop from the second rope. This leads to another two count. The crowd really pops when Brown puts Venis in a Texas cloverleaf. It seemed to me that the hold wasn’t applied quite right and it led to it being released soon after it was locked on. Brown Val avoids a senton from the second rope. This would allow the crowd to start to rally behind Venis for a comeback and he does. Val is set to deliver the Money Shot on D-Lo, sounds bad I know, but Brown catches Venis mid-air and lands the powerbomb. This was nicely executed and the crowd popped as well. But this, too, would only garner a two count from the ref. A driving DDT follows but again only the near fall. Brown goes to the top rope but Val catches him this time and drives him to the mat with a powerslam. But yet again, another false finish that leaves the crowd bummed. Val continues to mount the offensive and after a few suplexs, D-Lo is in the middle of the ring and Venis is climbing the ropes. Val Venis attempts the Money Shot, a hybrid frogsplash, but Brown manages to raise the knees and the crowd is in disbelief. D-Lo attempts to powerbomb Val but the spot is blown and he drops Venis sloppily to the mat. He attempts it again and is successful this time with a sitting powerbomb variant. This sets up for one of my favorite versions of the frogsplash, The Lo-Down. D-Lo leaps from the top and pumps for the splash but Venis manages to roll out of harms way. This allows for Val to regain the edge and remove the chest protector from D-Lo, which he then puts on himself. The ref tries to stop him from climbing the turnbuckles and in doing so causes Val to fall on the “Big Valbowski” and this turns the heat up with the crowd. This leads to Val shoving the ref and Brown regaining the momentum and his chest protector. Before the match can continue the bell rings and Val Venis is DQed for shoving the official. D-Lo retains and Val Venis goes on to Money Shot the referee.

I don’t know if it’s because I always liked D-Lo Brown, but I really enjoyed this match and think it was a strong opening to the show. There was a good story, with the chest protector, and it even had a good finish.. The chemistry was decent and this match is definitely worth taking a look at. My only gripe would be not seeing D-Lo’s frogsplash and having to type “Money Shot.”  Match Time: 15:31

A quick clip of Michael Cole in the back is up next. He is joined by the disgruntled Mankind and talking about the hearse that was destroyed by Stone Cold on Sunday Night Heat. Mankind, sledgehammer in hand, is upset because he says he planned to put Kane in that hearse tonight, but is optimistic that he can still find some use for the sledgehammer.

 

We return to the arena and we see Kai-En-Tai enter. They are made up of Dick Togo, Mens Teioh, Sho Funaki, Taka Michinuko and their manager Yamaguchi-San. We see their opponents in the ring already and its because the WWE Network has edited out their entrance, as it was performed by the Insane Clown Posse. I don’t know what the reasoning is but it can’t be seen on the Network. Kai-En-Tai’s opponents are The Oddities and are made up of Giant Silva, Golga and Kurrgan. They are joined at ringside by Luna Vachon and the Insane Clown Posse or Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J. This is real life. I would usually take the time to break down some career highlights of some of these lesser known talents but this is so bad I’m not going to waste the time on such a pile of garbage.

 

The match is a gimmick, if you cant tell, and is not really worth the server space it will take up. Still, I will give the highlights. Kai-En-Tai all deliver frogsplashes to the downed Golga but this wouldn’t do much as he hits them all with a quadruple clothesline. The crowd eagerly awaits the hot tag that leads to everyone being in the ring. The biggest pop comes when Luna stops Yamaguchi-San from interfering by delivering a scoopslam. This finish would come after a quad-chokeslam leads to Golga covering all the members of Kai-En-Tai. This was indeed trash and the highlight would have been the ICP entrance theme but we don’t even get that pleasure on the Network. The only reason I could find for this is that the Insane Clown Posse left on bad terms after the WWE didn’t fulfill their end of the bargain due to failing to show commercials for a new ICP album during RAW. Move past this as quickly as possible. Match Time: 10:08

Jeff Jarrett would enter next and is joined by Southern Justice. Southern Justice is the re-packaged pig farming brothers, The Godwinns. You can read more on the Godwinns in my other Chairshot Classics found here. There is a special stipulation to this match, JR tells us, as it is a Hair versus Hair match. Double J is carrying his “Don’t Piss Me Off” guitar to ringside. The crowd is giving him some low heat as we see a clip, again from Heat, of Southern Justice and Jarrett shaving the head of Finkel. Jarrett advises the crowd to “Don’t Piss Him Off” and we see Sergeant Slaughter, the acting commissioner, tell Southern Justice to vacate ringside. We hear the X-Pac version of the D-X music come on and the crowd is popping as he enters with Howard Finkel at his side. The Fink is wearing a Degeneration-X shirt and a freshly shaved head. We even get some tandem “crotch chops” from the pair as pyro goes off in the ring behind them. X-Pac takes to the mic before the match calling Jeff a “Biotch” before Finkel tells him to “Suck it”. Great stuff here.

Jeff Jarrett would try to land a sneak attack but this would lead to some quick paced back and fourth. Pac would come out ahead after a spinning heal kick followed by a clothesline that sends Double J to the outside. And the crowd is popping for the highly energized X-Pac. They really start to pop after Pac jumps to the outside with a crossbody block from the second turnbuckle. Jarrett would finally mount an offensive with a pair of missle dropkicks. The second of which sends Pac over the top rope and to the outside. The fight continues to the outside and Jarrett atomic drops X-Pac into the ring post. Jarrett maintains with some whiplashing Irish whips to the turnbuckles. Pac finally slows the mounting attack with a tornado DDT of the second buckle. The “Let’s Go X-Pac” chants begin as both men are prone on the mat. The pair slow down and trade some rest-hold sleepers on each other. Jeff comes out on top by reversing the sleeper with an atomic drop onto the top rope. Pac tries to slow Jarrett with a spinning heel kick but he ducks under it and this allows him to try and apply the figure four. Pac is trying to escape but Jeff manages a few near falls in the process. He eventually gets the ropes forcing Jarrett to release the hold. He does so but is quickly pulling Pac to the middle to try and re-apply it. X-Pac manages to escape by kicking the ass of Jarrett and sending him tackling the ring post. He follows up with a back body drop that leaves both men on the mat. Pac counters a few punches that set up a Bronco Buster. He follows it up with an Irish whip to the corner but Jeff meets him there with an elbow. Jarrett attempts a crossbody from the top but Pac rolls through and gets the two count. Jarrett is on the receiving end of a sitdown powerbomb, after his hurricanrana is countered, when we hear the crowd pop again but this only manages another two count for X-Pac. Finkel is soon on the apron arguing with the ref after Jarrett countered the Bronco Buster with a low blow. This leads to a him being laid out by Jarrett and this turns the heat back on with the crowd.

Finkel’s distraction allows for X-Pac to sneak in a X-Factor but somehow Jarrett still manages to kick out. Southern Justice would re-enter ringside next and Mark Canterbury, formerly Henry Godwinn, tries to pull Double J from the ring. This distracts the ref and allows Dennis Knight, AKA Phineas, to try and land the guitar shot on X-Pac. Pac manages to duck under the shot and stunner Knight off the apron. He takes the guitar and explodes it over the head of Jarrett. He throws the remaining fragments from the ring and goes for the cover. The crowd counts along as the ref pounds the mat for a three count, and Double J is set to lose those luscious locks. Southern Justice tries to save Jarrett but The New Age Outlaws are soon out at ringside and stopping them with chairs. They would guard the ring as Droz, who lost his hair at the hands of Jarrett, and The Headbangerz enter to hold Jeff. Pac would start with some clippers but would have to resort to scissors because the clippers quit working. This was a decent match and the in-ring work of X-Pac is phenomenal. Some of the spots in this match reminded me of the style of NJPW today. I would recommend watching this one and if for no other reason than to watch J-E-double F J-A-double R-E-double-T get those blonde locks chopped. After the match we see Method Man, as JR say of the Wu-Tang Clan, in the audience. Match Time 11:10


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