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WWF King of the Ring ‘98

Live from Pittsburgh, PA

Airdate: June 28, 1998

Attendance: 17,087 (15,505 paid, sold out)

Hosted by Jim Ross & Jerry “The King” Lawler

Will Austin retain the WWF title, or can Kane become champion? Who will win Hell in a Cell? Who becomes the King of the Ring? Can the NAO retain the tag titles? Does something rather memorable happen during this show?

Match 1 (six-man): The Headbangers & Taka Michinoku versus Kaientai (w/ Mr. Yamaguchi)


Rating: **

Summary: As expected, lots of high-flying from Michinoku and Kaientai, yet the Headbangers remained window dressing for the most part.

Sable heads to the ring and introduces Mr. McMahon who is accompanied by Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson. While the Pittsburgh faithful chants “Au-stin,” Patterson violates Sable with an uninvited spank. Sable immediately and appropriately responds with a SLAP.

As McMahon polls the Pittsburgh faithful about the main event, he runs them down with a theme of disappointment. He kills even more time attempting to insult the crowd by promoting a new champion after tonight.

Match 2 (KOTR semifinal): “Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/ Tennessee Lee) versus Ken Shamrock


Rating: ***

Summary: Short but effective as Jarrett laid out the match, and Shamrock’s high-impact style glued it together.

After the match, Lee jumps into the ring to attack him, but Shamrock catches him and hooks a belly-to-belly suplex.

At ringside, Michael Cole interviews Shamrock who vows not to be “second best.”

Prior to the next match, we revisit RAW from three weeks ago when Severn tore D’Lo Brown’s pectoral muscles with a submission hold.

Match 3 (KOTR semifinal): Dan “The Beast” Severn versus the Rock (w/ the Nation of Domination)


Rating: *

Summary: More storyline than match as Brown’s interference cost Severn dearly.

At ringside, Cole interviews Rock who cuts a promo on Shamrock.

Video featuring Al Snow & Head airs.

Backstage, Al yells at Head, but Lawler relays the stipulations of win and receive a meeting with Mr. McMahon or lose and leave the WWF.

Match 4: Al Snow & Head versus Too Much


Rating: *

Summary: Memphis-style booking with a truly smartass finish. Why, you ask?

Christopher tosses Head back to Snow, and the object in question was a bottle of Head & Shoulders. Get it? I have a penchant for corny jokes, but this was…

We revisit RAW when Owen interfered in X-Pac’s match leading to a loss against HHH. During last week’s episode, X-Pac got revenge by WALLOPING Owen in the back of the head with a chair. Subsequently, Owen was BUSTED OPEN hardway.

Match 5: Owen Hart (w/o the Nation of Domination) versus X-Pac (w/ Chyna)


Rating: ****

Summary: Bell-to-bell action with a quirky finish to put X-Pac over. Poor Owen gets shunted down the DX pecking order from Michaels to HHH to X-Pac beating none of them.

Paul Bearer strolls to the ring and cuts a promo on Undertaker. We revisit last week’s RAW when Undertaker invaded Bearer’s “home” and destroyed Bearer. Describing Kane’s miserable upbringing, Bearer gloats about Kane’s apparent victory in tonight’s main event.

Removed from the PPV telecast is the promo for Fully Loaded ’98 LIVE on PPV on July 26. Order NOW! I understand it’s quite stacked.

You know I had to throw that in there again, didn’tcha?

Match 6 for the WWF tag team titles: Road Dog & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn (champions w/ Chyna) versus NWA World tag team champions the Midnight Express (w/ Jim Cornette)


Rating: **

Summary: Overbooked, colder than North America in December, and predictable.

Match 7 (KOTR final): The Rock (w/o the Nation of Domination) versus Ken Shamrock


Rating: ****

Summary: Phenomenal drama as the result of the match remained in doubt from one moment to the next. Also, excellent chemistry between these two led to a great match. Bravo, gentlemen!

HOT TAKE: Since the match was in the middle of the card, the WWF should have given the tournament to Rock. Shamrock had the UFC credibility, but Rock’s stock was soaring.

As the Cell lowers, JR mentions that the “structure…is custom built for injury.” Foreshadowing, perhaps?

Match 8 (Hell in a Cell): Undertaker versus Mankind


Rating: ****

Summary: I realize this is the third match in a row with a **** rating, but this one still receives accolades as one of the most violent and memorable cage matches of all time. Truth be told, the bump Mankind took off the Cell became water cooler material the very next day. The WWF may have ended the Monday Night War with this match. It’s THAT impactful.

Afterward, Undertaker walks out of the Cell while medics carefully place Mankind on a gurney. Refusing to leave in that fashion, Mankind crawls out of the ring and is helped by Funk and Commissioner Slaughter. The Pittsburgh faithful chants “Fo-ley” to appreciate the Hell he experienced.

POINT OF ORDER: Foley suffered the following injuries from this match:

  1. Concussion
  2. Dislocated jaw
  3. Dislocated shoulder
  4. Bruised ribs
  5. Internal bleeding
  6. Puncture wounds
  7. Several teeth knocked out

Also, Foley recalls Vince’s post-match respect in one of his books: “You have no idea how much I appreciate what you have just done for this company, but I never want to see anything like it again.”

Prior to the main event, we revisit the latest chapter in the Kane-Undertaker series when Kane defeated his “brother” to become the #1 contender. Afterward, Kane and Mankind ambush Austin. Next, Austin exacts revenge and attacks both the following week. To top it off, the match stipulations are announced—first blood AND if Kane doesn’t win the title, he’ll burn to death—followed by a “bloodbath” from Kane to Austin.

Match 9 for the WWF title (first blood): Stone Cold Steve Austin (champion) versus Kane (w/ Paul Bearer)


Rating: ***

Summary: Since Austin’s hotter than a firecracker, he shouldn’t be pinned. The first blood stipulation was implemented as a strategy to get the title from him. The interference by Undertaker should lead to a future PPV program against Austin with or without the WWF title.

After the match, Austin stands in both disbelief and disgust while Mr. McMahon seems rather pleased by the outcome.

Conclusion: Without question, this is one of the most historical PPVs in wrestling history. The Hell in a Cell match is required viewing for almost all wrestling fans. Justifiably, put the little ones to bed as it’s terribly violent. Otherwise, with three **** and an important main event, this show remains a no-brainer to recommend.

Buyrate: 0.85

Stay tuned for WCW Monday Nitro 06-29-98!

Comments? Suggestions? Send them to me at rsg@rockstargary.com and follow me on Twitter (@rockstargary202).

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