The SmarK Rant for Sunday Night Heat – 08.30.98
Yup, it’s the pre-show for Summerslam 98, aka my 24th birthday! Holy hell I’m old.
Live from Madison Square Garden.
Your hosts are Shane McMahon & Jim Ross
Shawn Michaels joins us to start, making a return just a few months after retiring and doing color commentary tonight.
Animal & Droz v. Too Much
As usual, that wacky drunk Hawk stumbles out before the match, wearing his LOD 2000 helmet and looking like a complete doofus. So he sends Droz back to the dressing room and Animal is basically in a handicap match here. Animal gets double-teamed in the corner and they get a double suplex while Shawn discusses the dangers of mixing partying with wrestling. They try another double suplex, but Animal powers them into his own suplex and comes back with a powerslam on Scott Taylor. This sets up the Doomsday Device after a powerbomb, but Hawk has trouble getting his bearings on the top rope, and falls off onto Animal for the Taylor pin at 2:10. He kind of lightly bumped into him and that’s enough to put Animal down? 0 for 1. This interminable LOD storyline somehow gets worse every week.
Sable is here and looking all fancy, and Shawn interviews here and says she’s got the big guns, specifically the “38 specials”. Oh, Attitude Era. Sadly, Shawn is unable to coerce the answer to her mystery partner from her. The Edge payoff was…not great. But I see what they were going for and trying to make Edge into the hot new star. They were just a few years too early.
Gangrel v. Dustin Rhodes
Gangrel slugs away and dodges a charging Dustin, then drops an elbow, but Dustin drops him on the top rope. Gangrel comes back with a powerslam for two while JR runs down all the ways we can order PPV for the show. “That’s how I do it,” notes Shawn, “cable company comes knocking on my door looking for the money I owe them and I say ‘by the way, gimme the PPV.’” Ha! Dustin gets a clothesline for two, but walks into the Impaler and gets pinned at 2:34. Energetic little match and Gangrel got himself over well. 1 for 2.
Meanwhile, D-X arrives.
Meanwhile, Mario Lopez reminisces about scuffling with Val Venis on the show a couple of weeks ago. They’ve recapped this a couple of times and it never went anywhere.
Meanwhile, Vince is concerned about the sanctity of his main event, and if he needs to take the sledgehammer away from Steve Austin himself, he will.
Jeff Jarrett and Southern Justice suddenly head to the ring and beat up poor Howard Finkel, holding him down and shaving his head bald (even moreso) to get even more heat for the haircut match later tonight. “Not the gimmick!” declares Shawn when they go for the moustache. I’d bet good money Vince neglected to tell Finkel that this was happening until about 5 seconds before it happened. Jarrett and Southern Justice were a pretty good old school southern heel stable, but circumstances ended it too soon.
Meanwhile, the Stooges try to get the sledgehammer away from Austin, and that goes about as well as you’d expect. Vince tells them all to shut up and decides to take care of things himself. Vince abusing his toadies is always hilarious.
DOA v. Bradshaw & Vader
Kind of a weird combo on the babyface side. And indeed, they argue before the match even starts, so this probably isn’t a long term direction. Skull slugs Vader down and drops a leg on him a few times, but Vader clotheslines him down and Bradshaw tags himself in. 8 Ball gets a suplex for two, but Bradshaw boots him down and follows with a lariat. Vader comes back in, but collides with Bradshaw and a Harris pins him at 3:00 with a rollup. Pretty terrible. 1 for 3. And that proves to be the end of the Bradshaw-Vader team as they brawl afterwards and split up.
Meanwhile, we take a look back at the Rock v. HHH feud in advance of the ladder match tonight.
The Rock and his Nation buddies join us for the hard sell to end the show, but D-X charges in for the big brawl.
Meanwhile, Steve Austin and his trusty sledgehammer wait for Undertaker’s hearse in the parking lot, and Steve smashes in the windows and then hijacks a forklift and rips it to pieces.
Well, they did a hell of a job hyping up the show and making me want to redo it, so join us tomorrow for SUMMERSLAM 98!