WWF House Show 5/16/1998

Written by: Bob Colling

World Wrestling Federation House Show
Date: 5/16/1998
From: Anaheim, CA

There were only two matches that weren’t recorded from the show. Those matches saw the Headbangers get a victory over Los Boriquas and Vader defeating Kurrgan in singles action.

Opening Contest: Barry Windham vs. Bradshaw: Bradshaw attacks Windham on the floor sending Barry into the railing but they quickly get into the ring. Bradshaw hits a leaping shoulder block and taunts the fans. Bradshaw hits the lariat and wins the match very quickly. Windham doesn’t sell it and hobbles to the backstage area. I’m assuming Windham was hurt and they went with a quick match.

Second Contest: Kama vs. Steve Blackman: Kama blocks a monkey flip out of the corner but misses an elbow drop. Blackman slaps Kama and clotheslines the big man over the top to the floor, which seemingly impresses the crowd. Kama avoids a dropkick upon his return to the ring and Blackman crashes the mat, which he would have done had he hit the move. Kama clotheslines Blackman and taunts the fans. Kama delivers a head butt to the lower midsection of Blackman and delivers a stomp to the face. Kama punches Blackman to counter a sunset flip and continues to taunt the crowd. Kama misses a splash off the middle rope and Blackman starts his comeback with forearm strikes and a dropkick. Steve drops Kama throat first across the top rope for a two count. Kama avoids an elbow drop but is met with a rollup and Blackman gets the win. (*1/4. Blackman appeared to impress the crowd a little but, but he was limited with his skill and Kama as an opponent. Thus, this was a very basic match and predictable bout.)

Third Contest: The Undertaker vs. Kane in a lights out match: Taker doesn’t take his jacket off and hammers away on Kane in the corner before scaring the referee out of the ring. Kane gets the advantage with a few strikes but is splashed by Taker moments later in the corner. Taker goes to the floor and stalks towards Paul Bearer but Kane saves him and they begin to brawl on the outside with Taker sending Kane into the railing chest first. Taker goes to walk the ropes but is caught in midair and sent into a corner where Kane pummels him with right hands and stomps. They go back to the floor where Kane sends Taker into the ring steps face first. Kane sends Taker chest first into the railing a couple of times and rolls his brother into the ring. Kane heads to the top rope and hits a leaping clothesline for a near fall.

Kane continues to casually work over Taker with basic strikes but Taker comes fighting back with boots to the midsection and right hands. Kane stops Taker by slamming him face first into the canvas and hits a leg drop. Kane is met with a big boot in the corner but plants Taker with a choke slam only to miss an elbow drop. Taker attempts a choke slam of his own and hits it! Kane wastes no time sitting right up so Taker connects with a side Russian leg sweep but Kane gets up again only to be knocked down with a right hand. Taker picks Kane up for the tombstone but Kane wiggles out and lands on the apron to drop Taker throat first across the top. Taker counters the tombstone attempt and spikes Kane down with the tombstone. Paul Bearer enters the ring and attacks Taker to cause a disqualification in a no disqualification match. Taker fights Bearer off and clotheslines Kane over the top to the floor. (**. I guess they didn’t want Kane to lose on the house shows this early as they can milk the feud for probably several more months by keeping him strong. The fans loved every minute of it and they did exactly what they should have done. Clearly not a classic match but it was entertaining for what it was.)

Fourth Contest: WWF World Tag Team Champions New Age Outlaws vs. LOD 2000: Animal and Billy start the match with the fans heavily behind LOD. Billy pokes Animal in the eyes and gets control in the corner with several strikes. Billy jabs Animal several times knocking him down to the canvas. Animal counters a leapfrog with a power bomb and clotheslines Billy over the top to the floor. Animal clotheslines Road Dogg, as well. Animal gets worked over by the champs but power slams Dogg for a near fall. Dogg fights back with jabs in the corner and hits a knee drop and an elbow drop for a two count. Animal just stomps on the back of Dogg and Dogg goes to the corner only to be rammed into Gunn’s groin. Animal knocks Dogg to the apron but gets dropped throat first across the top by Gunn. Gunn covers Animal but only gets a two count as the referee was out of position. Dogg jumps on Animal while he was across the middle rope to keep control of the championship match.

Billy misses a big splash in the corner and falls flat on his face, which the fans found humorous. Animal makes his way to his corner and tags in Hawk who hammers away on Dogg and hits a power slam. Gunn accidentally elbow drops Dogg and is met with a shoulder block from Hawk. Hawk plants Dogg with a neck breaker and the LOD go for the Doomsday Device. Gunn chop blocks Animal’s knee and Hawk settles for a scoop slam. Hawk hits a top rope clothesline but the referee is distracted as Gunn hits him with one of the titles and Dogg gets the pin on Hawk. (**. Similar to the Kane/Taker match I thought they worked a formula that isn’t broken and it was entertaining. There weren’t any dead spots during the match so it felt like it was always moving.)

Fifth Contest: WWF European Champion Triple H vs. Owen Hart: They waste no time trading right hands to start the bout with HHH getting the better of the exchange. Hunter hits a high knee lift and plays to the crowd while Owen laid on the mat trying to recover. Owen stops Hunter with a low blow in the corner. Owen continues to work over Hunter with right hands and stomps in the corner while taunting the crowd. Owen rakes Hunter’s eyes and ties Hunter up in the ropes. Owen runs into a big boot from Hunter and Hunter hits a clothesline for a near fall. Owen quickly comes back with a spinning heel kick but can’t keep Hunter down on the cover attempt. Hunter plants Owen with a piledriver and both men are on the canvas. Hunter drives Owen’s face into his knee and gets a near fall. Hunter stomps away on Owen in the corner and chokes Hart over the middle rope. The referee is distracted as Chyna gets a cheap shot in.

Owen gets a two count following a swinging neck breaker. Owen bites Hunter in the corner but is met with an atomic drop. Hunter attempts the Pedigree but Owen counters and catapults Hunter into the referee in the corner. Owen plants Hunter with the Pedigree but the referee is out for the cover attempt. Owen knocks Hunter out with a kick to the head and locks in the Sharpshooter! Chyna enters the ring and low blows Owen! Hunter covers and gets the win. (**1/2. It’s a good match with the crowd really into the action. These two work very well and they didn’t mail it in on the house show.)

Main Event: WWF World Champion Steve Austin vs. WWF Intercontinental Champion The Rock: Austin opens the match working over Rock with several right hands and hits a clothesline. Austin takes Rock over with a vertical suplex but only gets a two count on the cover. Austin keeps control of Rock with a headlock on the canvas. Rock breaks free and drops Austin with a few right hands. Austin battles back with right hands and a Thez Press for more right hands for a near fall. Austin drops Rock with a short arm clothesline and goes to the floor to attack Mankind at ringside. Austin sends Rock into Mankind and the fans love it. Terry Funk came out and brawls with Mankind to the backstage area. Rock rolls Austin back into the ring and has control of the bout with several stomps while the fans try to get behind Austin.

Rock tosses Austin over the top rope to the rope. Austin attempts a piledriver on the floor but Rock counters with a backdrop! D’Lo Brown attacks Austin on the floor and rolls him into the ring for Rock to get a near fall. Rock stomps away on Austin in the corner to keep advantage. Austin nearly hits the Stunner, but Rock shoves Austin away and goes to the floor. Rock drops Austin throat first across the railing. D’Lo continues to attack Austin on the floor and Rock gets a near fall. Rock scoop slams Austin and goes for the People’s Elbow and he hits it! Rock goes for the cover but Austin kicks out at two. Austin gets out a sleeper hold to put one on himself. Austin runs the ropes but collides with Rock and they both go down to the canvas. Rock goes to the top but is crotched by Austin who chops Rock several times. Rock knocks Austin off the middle rope and gets punched in midair. Rock avoids the Stunner and goes for the Rock Bottom, but Austin elbows out of it. Austin counters a rollup and hits the Stunner to get the victory. (***. That was the match of the night as these two worked a good match and made sure everyone went home happy. These two would have some classics over the next four years. A good way to end the show for sure.)

Final Thoughts:
A lot of entertaining matches during a time that the company was hitting on everything. I enjoyed watching this live event, one of the better ones I’ve watched recently.

Thanks for reading.