Flashback Friday: WWE Survivor Series 1998

So this is something new I wanted to do for HTCWrestling. My work schedule usually allows me to post articles on Friday mornings. Instead of a normal column, it is going to be a flashback column. It could be a PPV, TV Show or anything. With everything that has happened in the last couple days, I’ve decided to look at Survivor Series 1998: Deadly Game!

The backstory here is that Mr. McMahon declared the WWF Title vacant because Steve Austin declared himself Champ at the last PPV while being the referee during the Kane vs Undertaker Title match. McMahon fired Austin, only for Austin to show up and hold Vince at gunpoint then give Vince a 5 year guaranteed contraction signed by Shane McMahon.

Mankind started to take the role as a new son to Vince after he disowned Shane. The Rock also started to rise at this time and declared himself the People’s Champion. So this all set up a 14 man tournament for the WWF Title.

First Round Match-Up: Mankind vs Duayne Gill

-The crowd doesn’t know who the opponent is, but a loud HBK chant breaks out after Mankind gets to the ring.

-Vince’s introduction of Gill is great. He also gets his own titantron video and pyro!

-Mankind wins in less than a minute. This is how they get you to buy in right away…

First Round Match-Up: Jeff Jarrett w/Debra vs Al Snow

-I’m someone who never saw anything in Jeff Jarrett. I mean, as a mid-carder okay but I never saw him as the main event talent that he or Vince Russo saw him as.

-Al Snow wins after using head. It sets up Snow vs Mankind in the Quarterfinals, where there is some backstory. But we really know neither man is winning here.

First Round Match-Up: The Big Bossman vs Stone Cold Steve Austin

-Another short match which ends in a DQ after Big Bossman, who at the time was Vince’s personal bodyguard, attacks Austin with his nightstick. It is quite obvious this was the plan all along. Vince wanted Bossman to beatdown Austin so he didn’t win the Title. Vince watches on in the back with a smile on his face.

-Vince is interviewed by Michael Cole (holy shit Cole has been around for almost 20 years). Vince says the night is young and there is more where that came from.

First Round Match-Up: X-Pac vs Stephen Regal

-We gets to hear Regal’s “Real Man’s Man” theme song here, which at the moment is the highlight of the show.

-X-Pac is getting to his height of WWF popularity here. But the match is super slow and the crowd isn’t getting too into it.

-Both men go tot the outside where they are counted out. Vince sends Sgt. Slaughter out to demand an overtime. But neither man can continue, so Austin gets a bye into the Semi-Finals, angering Mr. McMahon.

First Round Match-Up: Ken Shamrock vs Goldust

-This right in the middle of the Marlena pregnancy angle, which the less we speak of the better.

-Surprisingly this is the best match on the card so far, which is weird since this is a Ken Shamrock match.

-Side note, I’ve always liked Shamrock. I don’t think the WWF ever trusted him to be a main eventer. Shamrock wins with the ankle lock.

First Round Match-Up: The Rock vs Triple H

-They show a guy in a chef’s outfit that says “We Smell What The Rock Is Cookin.” I hope they show that guy later on in the night.

-Gerald Briscoe and Pat Patterson come out. Triple H apparently “no-showed” the event, but Jim Ross said Triple H recently had knee surgery. Pat Patterson says Mr. McMahon found a replacement.

-Out comes Big Bossman, who is immediately pinned with one of the worst looking inside cradles ever. Vince McMahon’s “attempt” to foil The Rock fails.

Quarterfinal Match-Up: The Undertaker w/Paul Bearer vs Kane

-At this point Kane has no one with him. This PPV takes place after a RAW where Kane just went HAM on various people throughout the night.

-These two really never had a good match in the ring together. Their showdown at Wrestlemania 14 was a cool moment, but in ring wise they never put on a good show.

-Kane hits a chokeslam, but Paul Bearer gets on the apron to distract Kane. Taker hits a Tombstone and Bearer holds down Kane’s leg to give Undertaker the win.

Quarterfinal Match-Up: Mankind vs Al Snow

-Mankind is still wrestling in a full tuxedo to impress Mr. McMahon.

-Al Snow tries to use Head as a weapon, but Mankind avoids it. He then finds Socko around Head. It causes Mankind to lose it and then use Socko on Al Snow to give Mankind the win.

Quarterfinal Match-Up: Ken Shamrock vs The Rock

-Once again Shamrock is involved in the best wrestling match of the round. Is this a bizarro world or something?

-Shamrock gets the Ankle Lock applied but Rock gets to the ropes.

-Rock goes for the Rock Bottom but Shamrock counters out. Bossman distracts the ref and tosses the nightstick in the ring, but The Rock intercepts and uses it on Shamrock to get the win. Bossman looks pissed.

-The Final 4 is The Rock vs The Undertaker, and Mankind vs Steve Austin. It all looked pretty obvious when you saw the brackets. I’m hoping this year’s tournament isn’t quite so obvious.

WWF Women’s Championship: Jacqueline (c) w/Marc Mero vs Sable

-Shane McMahon is the ref here, because Vince demoted him to that after signing Austin to a five year guaranteed contract.

-Poor Marc Mero. He never got a fair shot in the WWF and then became over-shadowed by Sable. I’m not saying Mero should have been a main eventer, but he could have gotten higher up the card than he did.

-Sable hits a TKO, but Mero pulls her out of the ring. Sable then low blows Mero and hits a Sable Bomb on Mero.

-Sable eventually counters a Tornado DDT, then hits a Sable Bomb to pick up the win. This passed as women’s wrestling during the Attitude Era. Still want that time frame back Internet nerds?

Semifinal Match-Up: Mankind vs Stone Cold Steve Austin

-Austin rips off Mankind’s tux and shoes. I hope those weren’t rented.

-Austin goes for a Stunner, but Mankind escapes and runs up the ramp. Austin eventually chases him down. He goes for a piledriver, but Mankind reverses into a backdrop on the floor.

-Mankind brings a chair in, but Austin blocks it. But Mankind comes right back with a DDT on the chair for only two.

-Crazy finishing sequence: Austin hits a Stunner, but Vince pulls the ref out of the ring. Austin hits another Stunner, Shane McMahon comes down, but Shane stops after two and flips off Austin. Briscoe and Slaughter then hit Austin with a chair, and Shane counts the three as Austin gets screwed over. Complicated and over-booked yes, but it sets the stage for later.

-This is also where the WWE current product misses Jim Ross, because he sells being furious and pissed off during and after the match.

Semifinal Match-Up: The Undertaker vs The Rock

-Knowing the injuries ailing him at the time, Undertaker probably shouldn’t be wrestling two times in one night.

-Out comes the Big Bossman again, who trips up Rock going for the People’s Elbow. Taker then takes a swing at Bossman, because Taker is also having issues with Mr. McMahon at the time.

-Kane comes out and chokeslams The Rock causing The Undertaker to get DQ’d. That’s a weak finish here. Even if you know what’s coming next, it still doesn’t work. Way too man screwy finishes here. Again, do you people still want the Atttiude Era back?

WWF Tag Team Championship: New Age Outlaws (c) vs Mark Henry and D-Lo Brown vs The Headbangers

-If you would have bet me in 1998 that the only person still wrestling for the WWE in 2015 from this match would be Mark Henry, I would have taken that bet.

-This is a triple threat with one man from each team in the ring at the same time, which makes for some clunky action.

-Billy Gunn wins after a piledriver. Road Dogg sold for most of the match. This may have been the worst match of the night.

WWF Championship Tournament Final: Mankind vs The Rock

-Before the match starts, we see Vince and Shane returning to the arena. They tell Big Bossman they want to personally take care of the Finals match.

-The fight goes to the outside and through the crowd, as Vince and Shane now watch on from ringside.

-The brawling continues on the outside with chairs, steps and the announce table being used. Apparently the entire match was called on the fly, that’s according to Mick Foley.

-Mankind goes for a Cactus Jack elbow off the second rope, but Rock moves and Mankind just makes it through the Spanish announce table.

-Rock goes for the Sharpshooter, and Vince demands the bell be rung. Rock wins the Title, as Mankind and the fans try to figure out what is going on.

-The McMahons and Rock give a victory speech. Mankind doesn’t get it, so he eats a belt shot and Rock Bottom.

-Austin comes back. He and Rock brawl, Rock eats a Stunner and gets tossed. Mankind then eats one too to close the show.

Final Thoughts

-If it were an 8 man tournament instead of 14, maybe the tournament comes off a little better. But most of the matches were kept short and the wrestling was not good. When people say they want the Attitude Era back, this is what we would get. The WWF took a risk turning The Rock heel after gaining fan traction and it paid off in the long run. I would LOVE to see the WWE take the same risk with Roman Reigns this year. A screwed over Dean Ambrose chasing a heel Roman Reigns into Wrestlemania for the WWE Title? Yeah, go ahead and take my money. Overall, it was a poor quality show with a good plot twist at the end.

Until Next Time,

Justin C

Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka