May 31, 1998
Wisconsin Center Arena
Buy Rate: .58
Announcers: Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler
1) Legion of Doom 2000 defeats Disciples of Apocalypse when Animal (Joe Laurinatis) pins 8-Ball (Don Harris) with a Powerslam at 9:56
Fun Fact: On the 5/25 episode of Raw, LOD introduced a new member for their group to help even up the odds against the DOA: “Puke.” The Puke name didn’t last too long, as he eventually settled in as plain old “Droz” Darren Drozdov. The team would be fairly strong until the fall, when everything comes crashing down, quickly.
Fun Fact II: Darren Drozdov is a former NFL player with the Jets and Broncos who will forever be known as the guy who threw up on camera during a Monday Night Football game. He ventured into wrestling and was in ECW in 1997 and early 1998 before debuting on the May 25 Raw.
Scott: This is quite painful to watch. My favorite tag team of all time, and now their winning useless opening show matches against other fading teams. By this time they’ve already been jobbed to the New Age Outlaws more times than you can count on both hands and this on top of the fact that they have to be pseudo-carried by Don and Ron Harris. Oh man that’s a recipe for disaster. I hate having to grade these matches so poorly but they’re just not good. Droz brings a different dynamic to things, but it still doesn’t hide the fact that these guys just can’t cut it anymore. Sunny is definitely losing her luster with each passing day. They are the only team in wrestling history to be AWA, NWA, and WWF Tag Team Champions. Watching them now, they look like washed up has-beens. There’s not much more to say, but it’s the continuing work by Vince to maneuver to mid-card to try and find the right mix. This match was not the right mix. Grade: 1.5
Justin: A very pedestrian match with a lot of choppy action. The LOD looked so lost and careless at this point that it is getting tough to watch. When you are carried in matches by the god-damned Harris Twins, it’s about time to call it a day. The addition of Droz breathes some new life into the group for a short time, but it was only a temporary fix to a permanently broken tag team. This story would take a unique twist over the next few weeks, when a face from the past gets tossed into the mix. For now, though, this feud is just getting started, but by the end of the year will be as agonizing and lengthy as the Gang Wars were in 1997. LOD seemed so refreshed and renewed when they came back to the WWF in February 97, but now they seem so stale and bland and have become unbearable to watch in such a quick fall from glory for Hawk and Animal. Grade: 1.5
*** Rock comes out to insult the crowd, and Faarooq then interrupts and piledrives Rock into a chair. The problem is he misses the chair all together, but Rock still does the stretcher job to add intrigue to the match later in the show. We also note that Rock debuts his first singles entrance theme at this show. ***
2) Jeff Jarrett defeats Steve Blackman with a kendo stick shot at 10:18
Fun Fact: Jeff Jarrett was wearing thin as NWA champ/Aztec Warrior, and the crowd just wasn’t buying it. So, he promised a big surprise at Wrestlemania. Thus, during the big show, out walked Tennessee Lee, the former Col. Parker in WCW, in his debut, and introduced the return of the “greatest country music star and wrestler today” Double-J, Jeff Jarrett. Out came Jarrett decked out in his old white outfit with blinking lights, riding on a light-studded horse. He claimed he was back and on his way to the top. He even capped all of this off by singing with country music star Sawyer Brown during Unforgiven. This was quite the turn around from his views on this gimmick just 6 months prior.
Fun Fact II: This feud stems from an altercation at Unforgiven when Blackman jumped Jarrett during the Sawyer Brown performance.
Scott: Huh? This is one of those feuds that go in one ear and out the other. Jarrett came back with such great hoopla in late 1997, slamming his country music star gimmick. Well after that debacle of a storyline involving the NWA faction, he goes back to it. So, with nothing else for him to do, we get rid of all those titles, give him the hat with the lights on it and is the country star again. Man that is so 1995. This match for some reason is really awful, maybe because Jarrett can’t carry someone who at that moment needs real wrestling seasoning. Blackman is in the same boat that Ken Shamrock was in at this time in 1997. He doesn’t quite have it, so Tennessee Lee, formerly Col. Rob Parker of WCW’s swank Stud Stable, interferes often, and helps Jarrett win the match. If he had the 1999 heel attitude in 1998, then maybe he’d have stayed. Here, with the long hair, and cheesy music, he’s still a mid-card flunky. Blackman is, well, Blackman. Not a great match at all. Grade: 1.5
Justin: A decent, yet sloppy, match between two solid workers. This undercard is starting to produce good stories and characters, but the wrestlers are still trying to gel with each other, rendering a lot of the matches sloppy, choppy and sometimes unwatchable. Jarrett was still a lukewarm heel, so his actions don’t really get the crowd too riled up, and Blackman, while very serviceable, is a pretty lukewarm face. Thus, the crowd is in and out of this match. The finish is pretty neat and quick-paced, but that is about it. Jarrett’s look is getting pretty stale at this point, as he has been rocking pretty much the same look since 1994. He will continue to suffer from his blandness throughout the summer before getting some much needed changes. Grade: 1.5
3) Marc Mero pins Sable (Rena Mero) with an inside cradle at :21
Fun Fact: Sable had finally had enough of Mero’s stubborn, pigheaded ways and wanted out of her contract with him. He had humiliated her, scalded her and flat out embarrassed her. Mero finally caved and told Sable that if she could find someone to represent her in a match, he would put her freedom up. But, if Sable’s wrestler lost, she would have to leave the Federation for good. Sable claimed that she would find someone she could trust to win her freedom back. Of course, she walked out at the PPV in wrestling gear, claiming that she would do this all by herself.
Scott: This was one of those “In hindsight, this kind of sucked” storylines. Sable wanted out of being with Mero, over 2 years after “saving” her from Hunter Hearst-Helmsley. So, she wrestles for her freedom. The catch was if Sable lost, she’d have to leave the WWF forever. Before the match, Mero goes into a long monologue about how the business ruins relationships and it ruined theirs. He said he’ll do something he should have done long ago: Give her the freedom she wants. But Mero tricks her, then pins her. Well forever is two weeks, because Vince would bring her back as his storyline “other woman”. Of course, at this time Linda wasn’t on TV yet, so it didn’t really matter what women were with him. This wouldn’t be the first time Sable would be Vince’s “mistress”. They’d hook up again in 2003. This time, Sable’s the face, and isn’t crazy about being with the evil Mr. McMahon. In any event, this leaving forever storyline is quashed, never mentioned again. Grade: 0
Justin: Mero was in shock when Sable said that she would be the one to battle for her freedom. He started looking very embarrassed himself, and asked if she really hated being with him that much, that she would be willing to get in the ring and wrestle. She said yes, and he looked very forlorn. He claimed that he didn’t want it to end like this, and said he would lie down for her and she could pin him and be free. Well, if we know anything about Mero, we know what happens next. As soon as Sable goes to pin him, he rolls her over and pins her. It was a fairly entertaining moment that is capped by Mero celebrating like he won the World Title at Wrestlemania. Mero would debut a new woman valet a couple of weeks later, and Sable would even get her own tribute video ala Shawn Michaels’ “Tell Me a Lie.” This match was nothing, but Mero’s celebration is awesome stuff and helps make the angle a bit better. Grade: 0
4) Sho Funaki (Shoichi Funaki), Dick Togo (Shigeki Saito) & Mens Teioh defeat Taka Michinoku (Takao Yoshida) & Bradshaw (John Layfield) in a handicap match when Togo pins Taka with a Senton Bomb at 9:54
Fun Fact: Kai En Tai debuted on Raw a few weeks before this show when the jumped Taka during a match. Taka was actually a member of the group while in Japan. Kaientai was managed by Yamaguchi-san, who was really wrestling photographer, agent and pal of Eric Bischoff, Wally Yamaguchi, and declared war on their former partner. Taka began looking to Bradshaw for help, as he had been buddying around with Taka and trying to show him the ways of Americans, such as cars, beer and women.
Scott: These mid-card storylines in 1998 were so strange. I know Kai En Tai was there to harass Taka for being a traitor or something like that. What stinks is that Taka was on a great run as Light-Heavyweight champion from December till March. After that, the light-heavy opponents stopped coming and he now has to defend himself against this gang of Japanese thugs. For 4 guys with what look like good ability, this is a clusterfuck. The action is choppy and these new guys are acting like they have no idea what they’re doing. The crowd is getting flat and with some big matches coming up on the card this is killing the crowd. These guys would get better as time moved on, but right now this could have been kept off the card and saved for Raw. Grade: 1
Justin: A decent, yet choppy match in a series of them on this show. Bradshaw was a bit out of place here, as the best action was when Kai En Tai was battling with Taka. Kai En Tai were brought in to help shore up the light-heavyweight division, tag division and to bring another solid storyline to the mid-card. They succeeded with the third thing, but neither of the first two, really. Bradshaw has been floating around without direction since Windham turned on him, so he is injected here as Taka’s big buddy. The two had some cute moments on Raw, but never materialized into anything meaningful. Taka will continue to have trouble with his former stable-mates, and soon the feud would feature another newcomer and take an interesting and bizarre twist. Grade: 1.5
5) The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) pins Faarooq (Ron Simmons) to retain WWF Intercontinental Title with a roll-up at 5:02
Scott: This match is more important for what happens after the pin. Rock is still a great heel, and continues to draw better and better pops from the WWF faithful. This feud with Faarooq is thankfully over, and a nice heel touch at the end with the feet on the ropes. Again, the focal point is after the match, as DX comes out and starts brawling with the Nation, since that match is later on. The length of this match thankfully didn’t make it too painful to watch. Rock is slowly starting to gain nice pops, which would serve him well as a better heel later on in the year. Grade: 1.5
Justin: A decent brawl to polish off the Nation mutiny angle. Faarooq was shunted down to the lower-mid card after this match, where we would reside until forming an unlikely tag team at the end of the year. Rocky’s pops and heat are gradually growing with each show, as are his moveset and confidence. He was slowly, but surely, climbing his way up the ranks, and was about to embark on the feud that would put him over the top. I find it interesting to watch Rock’s rise throughout 1997 and 1998, because he is the perfect example of a guy busting his ass and slowly getting over with the fans and it was fun stuff. What is not fun stuff is watching an out of shape Faarooq continue to suck any and all heat out of the ring. He just wasn’t over at all and was really falling apart in the ring. He was getting bigger and bigger and his work was loose and sloppy, as evidenced by the botched piledriver earlier in the night. Thankfully, this match ends the feud and the Rock moves on to much bigger and better things. Faarooq will get him into shape and resuscitate his career as the year rolls on. Grade: 1.5
6) Kane (Glen Jacobs) defeats Vader (Leon White) in a Mask vs. Mask match with a Tombstone at 7:20
Fun Fact: This is a rematch from No Way Out, which ended with Kane hitting Vader with a wrench. Vader returned at Unforgiven to attack Kane during the Inferno Match, thus setting up this “mask” match.
Scott: This was as obvious as the sky is blue. Kane’s been here 7 months, and his mask will come off? I don’t think so. Vader was really at the end here, as he loses a very slow, but mildly entertaining match. Even though this match was OK, Kane really hadn’t been totally challenged yet in the ring, so he’s quite awful to watch. I thought Vader was horribly misused throughout his whole 2-plus year run in the WWF. He was a monster throughout all of 1996, even giving Shawn Michaels a good match at Summerslam that year. Then the alleged “screwjob” by JJ Dillon of telling Eric Bischoff all of Vince’s plans in the fall of that year, and Vader is replaced by Sid at Survivor Series, and he wins the title. Sure, it probably worked out better in the long run, but you still have to feel for the mastodon. Kane gets a big gift next month, even if it is only fleeting. As for Vader, he gives a passionate speech after the match, stating Vader Time’s over, and he’s a “big piece of shit.” Grade: 2
Justin: A very weird stipulation match that pretty much telegraphed the ending a mile and a half away. Vader does the right thing here and helps get Kane over, but his career is stalling big time. He came back with some solid heat after the “wrench incident” but it all evaporated with this match. He sticks the nail in his own coffin after the match when he looks like he is about to cry and calls himself a “fat piece of shit.” The highlight of the match is Paul Bearer waddling around with Vader’s mask on after the finish. Other than that, Kane continues on up the WWF ladder and is elevated into major storylines next month. Grade: 2
*** WWF honors Mad Dog Vachon and The Crusher, two former AWA legends. Crusher gets a huge pop, as he’s a Milwaukee native. The last time we saw Vachon was at IYH: Good Friends Better Enemies when Diesel pulled his fake leg off in April 1996. Jerry Lawler comes out to bust their balls, and they kick his ass. Not a terrible segment, but a little long. Whey Vince constantly needs to embarrass Vachon by continually taking off his fake leg is beyond us. ***
7) Nation of Domination defeats D-Generation X when Owen Hart pins Triple H (Paul Levesque) with a Pedigree at 18:33
Fun Fact: The night after Unforgiven, Owen Hart snapped and decided he needed back-up. He was teaming up with Ken Shamrock against the Nation, and mid-match he jumped Shamrock, bit his ear, Pillmanized his ankle and put him on the shelf for a few weeks. Owen was a heel again, where he fit best, and joined up with the Nation. His reasoning is that his family had deserted him and he couldn’t get a break on his own, so he turned to the Nation to back him up.
Scott: I try to stay very objective and fair when doing these reviews. However, when it comes to DX you must excuse me. I am, and always will be one of the biggest D-Generation X fans ever. I owned all the t-shirts, a leather hat, the video, action figures, you name it. I loved the entrance theme, the crotch chop, the entire thing. Maybe it’s my love of factions, as my known love of the greatest faction ever, the Four Horsemen, indicates. This is their first PPV as full-fledged faces, which is hysterical considering one month before Triple H was fighting Owen Hart, and the roles were reversed. After DX went to arenas challenging WCW a couple of weeks before this show, the face turn was complete. The Nation is still run by Rock, but he wouldn’t become a focal point of this particular feud until the following month. The match is quite standard but fun anyway, including the great ending of Owen Pedigreeing Helmsley on one of the tag team belts. This was the only run I ever liked Billy Gunn in because frankly, he is an abysmal wrestler. But he’s in good shape, and has blonde hair, and that’s usually Vince’s only pre-requisites to get anywhere. X-Pac’s injuries haven’t healed yet so he’s not in the match, and Mark Henry’s not in the match because, well who would want him in it anyway? This feud stretches out over the next few months, but in the end the real battle is between the two leaders. Grade: 3
Justin: A fun and energetic six-man between two teams just embarking on the feud that would characterize 1998. X-Pac is on the outside here, as he had yet to be cleared for in-ring action. D-X had finally turned face in May, when they invaded WCW Headquarters in Smyrna, GA and started harassing their fans outside live shows. It was also around this time that they started doing their world famous and very long intro that they continued to do for the rest of the year. This feud would go onto make Godfather, Mark Henry, D-Lo and the Outlaws into solid upper-mid card stars and would establish Triple H and the Rock into mega-stars. This match was a good start to a lengthy and career making feud. Grade: 2.5
8) Steve Austin (Williams) defeats Dude Love (Mick Foley) to retain WWF World Title with a Stunner at 22:28
Fun Fact: After blowing his chance the previous month, Vince claimed he wanted a brand new challenger, and told Dude he was no longer needed, and that he no longer impressed him. Foley was glad, saying he no longer wanted to be Dude Love and that he hated what he had become. Vince said however, since he had no faith in anyone else, he could earn a title shot by taking out his best friend, Terry Funk in a hardcore match. So, on the 5/4 Raw, Foley, wrestling under his own name for the first time since 1986 or so, beat the crap out of Funk and pinned him to earn a title shot. The show ended with the Dude Love music playing and Vince and Foley dancing on the stage with the Dudettes. The following week, Vince announced that there would be a guest announcer, timekeeper and referee at the PPV. He announced Patterson as the announcer, Brisco as the timekeeper and himself as the ref. He also claimed that if any wrestler had the balls, they could stay at ringside as a special enforcer.
Fun Fact II: Pat Patterson’s ring introductions are worth $30 alone, you should really check them out. Also, this match featured our favorite ringside sign of all time: “Brisco Bros. stole my hubcaps.” Gerald Brisco and his brother Jack own a body shop in Tampa, FL, which explains that.
Scott: This, my friends, is one example of a “perfect” main event. Exactly the right mix of wrestling, brawling, psychology, and storyline. This would be the “Stone Cold Template”. Almost all of his main events for the rest of his career would follow this plan, and many will be great, some not so. Here, the Unforgiven main event left things unresolved, so there would be a re-match. This time Vince would have a large deck stacked against the champion with Pat Patterson guest ring announcer, Gerry Brisco the guest timekeeper, and Vinnie Mac himself the guest referee. The thing about this match many analysts and fans say is that at Unforgiven the match was set, but the storyline took it astray a few times and it lost focus. Here, the storyline points are laid out, and the match works around that. It was an excellent equation that made it an excellent match. Undertaker came out as the special enforcer, and that added to the excitement of the match. There was great brawling, particularly near the cars that made up the set. The climax was awesome. After Vince was knocked unconscious by an accidental Dude chair shot, Austin drops a Stunner, but no count. Dude reverses to a Mandible Claw, and Patterson tries for the quick count, but Taker grabs him and chokeslams him on the announce table, whipping the Milwaukee crowd into an absolute frenzy. Ditto for Brisco. Finally, Steve drops another Stunner, and uses Vince’s limp hand to count 3. The crowd is absolutely off the hook, and voila: A great main event with every aspect of the match working. Austin is the man right now and honestly so is Vince. Grade: 5
Justin: Just a flat out awesome Main Event, and a match that should have won Match of the Year, hands down. It is an awesome brawl with insane crowd heat, and the two men just decimate each other. They brawl on to the set and toss each other all over the concrete. The ending was even better, and I still mark out when Taker grabs Patterson and throws his ass through the table. Also, the chair shot that Mick gives Vince is so stiff that it knocked caps off of Vince’s teeth. Just an insane battle that put Mick Foley and Steve Austin in a league of their own as far as big match performers. A match that is as highly recommended as any other match we have reviewed. It sets the template for the Main Events to come throughout the rest of the Attitude era and put Foley squarely on the map as a legit Main Event player. Go check this out now and enjoy the greatness that is this whole match and storyline. Grade: 5
Scott: When I first remembered this PPV, I thought it was pretty good. I watch it again, and I was wrong. Take away the last 2 matches, and this show sucks. An aging LOD, some undercard matches with a weak backstory and sub-standard workrate eats up the first two hours of this show. The 6-man tag and title matches are what’s best remembered. The great HHH/Rock feud kicks into gear from here, and Austin has picked off one McMahon obstacle. The upper mid-card/main events are tightly fortified right now with Austin, Vince, Foley, Taker, Kane, DX and the Nation. The rest of the card is going through the motions, as some new and returning faces will start to work out the kinks. This is an average show overall that’s carried by a great 6-man brawl and a perfect main event. Final Grade: C
Justin: Well the tepid undercards continue, but this main event more than makes up for the preceding 2 hours. Austin was on fire right now, as his pops were blowing the roofs off the buildings and Vince was just as hot as the evil boss. Dude Love played his role well too, and was a perfect foil for Austin. I also want to mention the great opening video for this show, which featured all sorts of dictator-like images with rapid-fire voice over comments by Vince and the Brawl for All music playing in the background, which is another must see moment from this show. Once Vince fleshes out his mid-card, he will become unstoppable, but for now, he is back in the game and being carried by his super stud Steve Austin. Final Grade: C+
MVP: The Main Event
Runner Up: D-X & the Nation
Non MVP: Legion of Doom 2000
Runner Up: Jeff Jarrett
All Time PPV Active-Wrestler Roster
“Special Delivery” Jones
King Kong Bundy
Andre the Giant
Big John Studd
Davey Boy Smith
King Tonga (Haku)
Dory Funk, Jr.
Billy Jack Haynes
Koko B. Ware
Honky Tonk Man
One Man Gang
Bam Bam Bigelow
Big Boss Man
Kerry Von Erich
Irwin R. Schyster
Jimmy Del Ray
Ted DiBiase’s Undertaker
Roadie Jesse Jammes
Squat Team #1
Squat Team #2
PPV Rest in Peace List
“Playboy” Buddy Rose (Wrestlemania I)
“Special Delivery” Jones (Wrestlemania I)
Uncle Elmer (Wrestlemania II)
Adrian Adonis (Wrestlemania III)
Haiti Kid (Wrestlemania III)
Little Beaver (Wrestlemania III)
Junkyard Dog (Summerslam 1988)
Big John Studd (Wrestlemania V)
Sapphire (Summerslam 1990)
Bad News Brown (Summerslam 1990)
Dino Bravo (Wrestlemania VII)
Andre the Giant (Summerslam 1991)
Texas Tornado (Royal Rumble 1992)
Hercules (Royal Rumble 1992)
Elizabeth (Wrestlemania VIII)
Sensational Sherri (Wrestlemania IX)
Ludvig Borga (Survivor Series 1993)
Captain Lou Albano (Royal Rumble 1995)
Dick Murdoch (Royal Rumble 1995)
Rad Radford (Survivor Series 1995)
Bertha Faye (Survivor Series 1995)
Bam Bam Bigelow (Survivor Series 1995)
Chris “Skip” Candido (Summerslam 1996)
Yokozuna (Survivor Series 1996)
Terry “Executioner” Gordy (IYH: It’s Time)
Brian Pillman (IYH: Ground Zero)
Rick Rude (IYH: Bad Blood)
Next Review: King of the Ring 1998
34-year-old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Long-time fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls, and Minnesota Vikings. An avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on old-school wrestling.