The SmarK Rant for WWF Sunday Night Heat – 08.09.98
Well I guess “Sunday Morning Heat” is more appropriate in this case.
Taped from wherever RAW was that week. Oakland, I think it was?
Your hosts are Shane McMahon & two models & Jim Ross
Kane and Mankind join us and Shane is immediately on a combination of Red Bull and amphetamines on commentary (“FIRE FIRE FIRE FIRE FIRE FIRE!”) and Mick tells a story about taking his children to Santa’s Village and realizing the beauty of family, only to have the Undertaker try to CRIPPLE him. But you can’t keep Mankind down! Unfortunately, the fans in attendance at King of the Ring were too stupid to realize how tough he is, so they can all go to hell because he’ll no longer wrestle for their satisfaction. In fact, he won’t go out in a blaze of glory as Cactus Jack, he’ll just keep losing bodily functions until no one gives a damn about him any longer. Well, that’s actually not too far from the truth. Regardless, he’s calling out the Undertaker, TONIGHT.
Vader v. Mark Henry
Henry immediately PRESS SLAMS Vader. “That’s some strength right there!” notes Shane. Vader wisely goes to the floor to avoid that situation and they brawl out there, but Henry sends him back in and then puts him down with the CLUBBERING and adds a legdrop for two. There’s a distinctly embarrassing number of empty seats on the hard camera side at this point, I should note. Vader comes back with a splash for two and puts Mark on the floor with a short-arm clothesline, but Henry gently runs him into the stairs. Back in, Henry with a clothesline and big splash, but Mark is not yet finished and adds a second one. Henry’s bleeding from the mouth from Vader being stiff, so he adds a third splash, and then a fourth one, at which point the ref disqualifies him at 3:48. WHAT THE FUCK? What kind of incompetent refereeing is that? He hit him with four completely legal moves! A really fun mean guy match before the most idiotic finish in history. **
The Headbangers v. Southern Justice
OK, so this is a classic Vince Russo repackage, where he takes a team doing one gimmick and just randomly has them show up one day as another team entirely under new names. In this case, the Godwinns re-debut here and they’re now just Dennis Knight and Mark Canterbury in tough guy suits, which was actually a halfway decent direction for them but then they didn’t go anywhere in particular with it. And really at the end of the day, this is just Headbangers v. Godwinns for the millionth time. The Bangers double-team Knight, who is wrestling with his suit on, but Canterbury pulls out Mosh to end the babyface portion, and Knight chokes him out with a tie. And yet he wasn’t immediately fired like Daniel Bryan was. I feel like there’s a double standard at play here. Southern Justice pounds away on Mosh in the corner, but he makes the comeback and then Canterbury just cuts him off with a shot from behind and JJ runs in for the DQ at 3:24. Nothing to this one. ½*
X-Pac v. Taka Michinoku
Taka was still light heavyweight champion at this point, as though anyone cared still. Taka was fresh off turning heel and joining with his Kaientai brothers, so he acts heelish to start here and hits a missile dropkick, but misses a flying splash and X-Pac makes the comeback. Spinkick and he chokes away in the corner as they tease “What is D-X’s big announcement?” on RAW. Nothing of note, I think. Broncobuster and X-Factor finish at 2:13 to really kill that Taka heel run out of the gates. Kaientai brawls with D-X after the match and they completely get their asses kicked and look like jobbers. *1/2
Meanwhile, Michael Cole is in the Undertaker’s locker room, where something mysterious happens.
Bradshaw v. Dustin Runnels
Bradshaw was fresh off turning on Terry Funk, which I barely remember at all, which eventually set up the Acolytes. He takes Dustin down with a single-arm DDT and boots him out of the ring, but Dustin pulls him out for a brawl. Back in, Bradshaw with a backdrop suplex for two. He gets a shoulder tackle, but Dustin makes the comeback for about two seconds before the Clothesline From Hell finishes at 2:18. Well, this singles push attempt didn’t stick, especially since he got knocked out by Bart Gunn to end it. DUD
Meanwhile, in Droz’s World, he’s tattooed and pierced and proud of it.
Droz v. Jeff Jarrett
Droz works the arm and catches JJ with a Bossman slam, then hits a back elbow and powerslam for two. Aaaaaaaaand, here comes Southern Justice for the interference already. Jarrett tosses him after the distraction and hits a flying bodypress for two, and a DDT and Russian legsweep follow. Snap suplex gets two. Jarrett with a sleeper and he slugs away as this goes nowhere, but now the Headbangers head out for more interference and both guys collide, allowing Tennessee Lee to throw his boot in. Droz gets it first, nails JJ, and gets the pin at 4:17. Droz looked super-green here, not surprisingly. *1/2 And then Jarrett turns on Tennessee Lee for costing him the match, followed by Southern Justice, and they all leave Lee laying as that repackage ends rather abruptly. God bless Vince Russo.
Undertaker v. Mankind
Yes, the advertised main event fails to occur, as Kane turns on Mankind and tosses him through a table for reasons not adequately explored, then beats him down at ringside and tombstones him on the floor before pulling off the mask to reveal UNDERTAKER. OK, they got me with that one. Of course the entire angle only ran about 2 minutes before they rushed off the air.
This show continues to run at a million angles per hour, like D-X randomly getting into a brawl with Kaientai that was completely forgotten by the next night.