WWF Breakdown (In Your House)
by Scrooge McSuck
- Originally broadcasted live, on Pay-Per-View, on September 27th, 1998 from the Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. This show, along with what WCW was offering a week earlier, must've been the biggest prick waving contest in not announcing what was going to be on the Pay-Per-View. Other than the WWF Championship;, Contenders Triple Threat Match and a Six-Man Tag featuring D-Generation X, most of the card was barely mentioned on television, let alone advertised. I know that everyone was buying the show for the on-going Austin vs. McMahon saga, but it wasn't until WWF Magazine released the results that I put together what the entire card was.
- Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler are at ringside to call all the action, unless otherwise noted. I'm starting to miss Jim Ross on the Sunday Night Heat telecasts. Shane and Cornette sound like such a B-Show team.
Opening Match: Edge vs. Owen Hart:
Not being Canadian, I don't understand the "home country" reactions and how the rules apply, but both men get decent pops. They start trading wristlocks and armbars. Edge counters a monkey flip, connects with a running dropkick, and takes Owen down with a drop toe hold. Edge with a hurricanrana and clothesline, sending Owen to the floor. Edge teases a plancha, but it looks like they missed something, as Edge stalls before following with a baseball slide. He comes off the apron for an indeterminate move, as it's easily countered with a powerslam. Back inside, Owen comes off the top with a missile dropkick for two. Gutwrench suplex gets two. Back and neck-breaker gets two. Criss-cross sequence ends with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex for two. Owen slows things down with a chinlock as we run-down the rest of the (meaningful parts) of the card. Owen with a Victory Roll (that looks familiar, huh?) for two. Spinning heel kick for two. Edge off the second rope with a body press for two. Owen feeds him the boot and follows with an enziguri. He tries climbing the ropes, but Edge interrupts with a modified electric chair drop. Edge with a one-man flapjack, followed by a swinging neck breaker for two. Edge with a DDT for another two count. They fight over a back suplex, and Edge gets another near fall with a Northern Lights. Edge fights out of a Sharpshooter attempt and cradles him for two. Edge with a heel kick, and suddenly someone hops the rail, looking an awful lot like Edge, and the distraction allows Edge to get rolled up by Owen to end things at 9:22. That might be Edge's first pinfall loss. The mysterious man turns out to be Edge's "brother", Christian. *** Things started off a bit slow, and there was that awkward spot on the floor, but other than that, Owen seemed to be carrying the load most of the way. Edge did a good job keeping up with him, and the final sequence of counters and near-falls was pretty good.
Al Snow & Scorpio vs. Too Much:
Last week on Raw, Snow defeated Sgt. Slaughter in a Bootcamp Match to earn his job back in the WWF, and after a post-match beating, Scorpio made the save. So facing Brian Christopher on PPV is considered punishment? Jerry Lawler: I thought Avatar had potential. That's your highlight of the match. Scorpio and Taylor start trading wristlocks. Scorpio with an atomic drop and spinning heel kick. Taylor counters a back drop with a pump-handle slam, then celebrates by getting molested by his own partner. Snow and Christopher tag in to electrify a crowd decked out in DX and Austin 3:16 shirts. Christopher blows a leap frog, and Snow unloads with a flurry of headbutts to the chest. Taylor tries his luck again, but it's all bad. Snow brings a chair in for a one-man version of Poetry in Motion. Scorpio tries it and slips, but Taylor and Christopher play along anyway, and Taylor winds up face-first in Christopher's crotch. Scorpio with a splash on Taylor, but he refuses a three count. WHY?!? Scorpio goes for a moonsault, but gets crotched and plays face-in-peril. Yes, this match is another 5-minutes. Snow gets the hot tag and wallops everyone with Head, even his partner, while the referee has his back turned. Christopher miss-times his pinfall interruption, so referee Jack Doan has to kind of stop for no reason. Snow finally finishes Taylor with the Snow-Plow (powerslam) at 8:09. * There was a couple of decent spots, but it was pretty sloppy for the most part. I swear, Scorpio must've been a hero to RVD. Both men blow all their spots or look bored out of their minds, going through to motions, in doing-so.
- Michael Cole is backstage with the Undertaker and Kane. When the time comes, which one of them is going to pin Steve Austin for the WWF Championship? Obviously, we don't get an answer, because otherwise we would know the finish and wouldn't want to keep watching this PPV.
"Marvelous" Marc Mero (w/ Jacqueline) vs. Darren Drozdov:
I guess Jacqueline won the reborn WWF Women's Championship in a random match with Sable. That title is so important, Jacqueline doesn't even bring the belt with her. I would question having a title for a division consisting of maybe three people, but hell, TNA is doing it now with two, so why the hell not? Mero controls early, pounding away on Droz in the corner. Whip to the ropes, Droz shoots Mero to the sky and sends him to the floor after a dropkick. Droz follows and whips Mero into the ring steps. Back inside, Mero regains control with a running knee lift. It doesn't last long, as Droz comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. Droz with a clothesline, but a charge is countered with a back drop, sending him to the floor. Mero follows with a somersault plancha. He goes for a slingshot splash, but Droz gets the knees up. Droz with an ugly diving back elbow. He connects with an inverted atomic drop and powerslam for two. Mero uses a distraction from Jacqueline to take control, using his wrist tape to choke Droz down. Jacqueline sneaks in with a high heel to the forehead (ripping off 1996 WCW, are we?), and Mero finishes with the Shooting Star Press (called Marvelosity) at 5:13. 1/2* Meaningless Monday Night Raw filler.
No Holds Barred Match: Vader vs. Bradshaw:
Yes, we're getting a "Gimmick Match" between these two after such amazing build-up as a one-and-done partnership, and unwanted interference in another random match. Bradshaw looks so much like his future JBL-self here, it's scary. He's got short hair and he's clean-cut (in comparison to the van dyke and long hair he was sporting). Lockup to the corner, Bradshaw unloads with knees and rights. Bradshaw's offense mostly consists of stiff clotheslines. They take it to the floor, where Bradshaw "bops" Vader with the ring bell, except for the good foot and a half of distance between the item and it's target. Bradshaw misses punches that meet the ring post, and Vader comes back with clotheslines of his own. Back inside for the moment, as they slug it out and Bradshaw takes him down with a back suplex. Back to the floor for more pointless brawling, then back in the ring. Vader with a splash from the second rope, followed by a Vader-Bomb, but Bradshaw kicks out at two. We've officially found the time of death for Vader's WWF career. Bradshaw with a Lariat for two. Another Lariat and a neck-breaker finally finishes things at 7:56. *1/2 This would've made a fine Hardcore Title Match, had the title been invented a few weeks earlier than it did. As a regular match, pretty dull stuff. I don't think Vader made another PPV appearance for WWE until Taboo Tuesday in 2005, randomly aligned with Jonathon Coachman and Goldust.
Gangrel vs. D'Lo Brown:
Non-Title Match, because since our last episode of Heat (before the pre-PPV edition, of course), D'Lo lost the European Title to X-Pac. This is Gangrel's PPV Debut, as if it matters. Brown avoids a pre-bell bum rush, but still falls victim to a diving elbow. Gangrel blocks a hip toss and counters with a double underhook suplex. A pair of twisting elbow drops gets two. At the pace these two are going, it feels like a 2-minute match on Heat. It's hard for anyone to get into this match: Brown is a solid heel, and Gangrel has been working mostly heel style despite rocking the fence of a tweener at times. Brown counters a Tiger Suplex with a low blow. Brown with a running Liger-Bomb to pop the crowd. Don't see that often anymore (unless your name is Brock Lesnar). Gangrel with another short offensive outburst, and there lies another problem with this match, other than having no one to cheer for: Neither man is stringing together offense or building psychology. It's just "you do a move, I'll counter, do my move, you counter, lather, rinse, repeat." It's stuff happening to fill time, rather than make for a meaningful match. Mark Henry finds his way to ringside, pulls the ropes down on Gangrel, and rams him into the post. Back in the ring. D'Lo hits the Sky High for the three count at 7:53, handing Gangrel his first loss in the process. So Edge and Gangrel both suffer pinfall losses in their first (singles) matches on PPV? That's just terrible. Gangrel gets his "heat" back afterwards, despite the crowd sitting on their hands most of the time. *1/2 Standard time filler stuff that I'll forget about half-an-hour from now.
Triple Threat Steel Cage Match to determine the #1 Contender:
Yes, this match was just randomly thrown together on the Pre-Show. Three of the top acts on the roster not named Austin or Undertaker are put in a match like this WITH ZERO BUILD. That's Vince Russo for you. Putting a match that might've earned a few extra buys without telling anyone until literally the final hour. Rock and Shamrock naturally go for each other, considering their rivalry all year long. Mankind tries using this early distraction to sneak out, but gets caught by the Rock. Shamrock cuts the Rock off, then turns his attention to Mankind. Shamrock with an abdominal stretch, and Rock sneaks up and puts Shamrock in one as well. How often have you seen a double-abdominal stretch!? Shamrock hip tosses out, and Mankind does the same to Shamrock. Mankind and Rock talk turkey, but Rock double-crosses him immediately. Shamrock cleans house and makes a dash for the door, but he's pulled back in and double teamed until Rock double-crosses Mankind, AGAIN, to a solid pop. Now Shamrock and Rock take turns putting the boots to Mankind. Shamrock slaps on the Ankle Lock, but Rock breaks it up. Just to complete the rotation, we get the Mankind and Shamrock team-up. They take Rock over with a double suplex, but he comes back with a clothesline on Mankind before eating one from Shamrock.
Mankind vs. Ken Shamrock vs. The Rock:
Whip to the ropes, and Rock surprises Mankind with a DDT. Shamrock tries his luck, and takes the fancy-pants DDT from Rock. He plants both Mankind and Shamrock with slams, and the place goes crazy for a double-sized People's Elbow. How in the fuck did he not use that spot in other Triple Threat matches?! If he did, why don't I remember it happening?! Mankind and Shamrock keep their attention set on Rock, but dammit, he won't be denied, dropping Shamrock with a low blow and connecting with the Rock Bottom on Mankind. Shamrock breaks the pin attempt and nails Rock coming off the ropes with an elbow. Shamrock with a belly-to-belly suplex and the Ankle-Lock, but Mankind breaks it up. I was begging for a double-team Ankle Lock/Mandible Claw spot there. Mankind tries to climb out, but Rock pulls him back in thanks to a handful of hair. I hate that spot in Cage matches. They slug it out on top, and here comes Shamrock to join in on the fun... for about two seconds, being booted down by Rock. Mankind drops the Rock, and instead of escaping, comes down, missing his signature elbow drop. DUMBASS. I can't tell if he bladed or what, but Rock's got a mild cut. Shamrock goes for the door and finds a chair within reach. It works against him though, getting whacked across the face with it. Yeah, those unprotected shots to the head really had to go (NOT SARCASM). Mankind climbs, but Rock covers for three at 18:47. Poor Mick Foley... he thinks he won, but it slipped through his fingers by two-seconds. ***1/2 Fun and entertaining, something most Triple Threat matches have a problem accomplishing. Rock's status as #1 Contender would fluctuate over the next few weeks, but that's a story for another night.
Dustin Runnels vs. Val Venis (w/ Terri Runnels):
It's one of the few midcard matches that actually has had some build up. Again, it's a confusing mess, as both men can't make up which one is playing the face or the heel. Runnels has been a preachy bible-thumper, and now we're supposed to feel bad for him because Venis banged his wife, something he was cheered for in his previous feud involving Kaientai. Venis tries to attack following Runnels' pre-match prayer, but it backfires on him. Again, I can't stop typing "Rhodes" instead of "Runnels." Venis catches Runnels off the ropes with a Spinebuster and pounds away. Runnels responds with a powerbomb and some clubberin' of his own. Back and forth action, with not much of note taking place. Venis with his signature knees to the midsection and Russian leg sweep. Did I mention how much of a Ho-Bag Terri looks at ringside? It makes me glad I felt embarrassed to watch wrestling during this time period. Venis maintains offense, so he must be playing the heel. Runnels offers a comeback attempt, but Venis cuts him off and slaps on a chinlock. Runnels comes back with a DDT, but it only gets two. He heads to the top rope, only to get knocked down to the arena floor. Back inside, a criss-cross ends with Venis being dumped to the floor. Venis being revitalized by Terri's body is a surprisingly cute spot that also pisses Runnels off. Venis with a roll up for two. Runnels comes off the ropes with a bulldog for two, although I didn't see Venis kick out. Venis with a powerslam, followed by a series of elbow drops. He comes off the top with the Money Shot, and it's over at 9:09. Well, that was a bit anti-climatic for Runnels. He lost clean and convincingly to the heel that's been tormenting him for the last few weeks. ** Solid match, if completely by the numbers.
X-Pac & The New Age Outlaws vs. Jeff Jarrett & Southern Justice:
D-X is carrying around the European and Tag Team Championships, while Jarrett has his guitar and Southern Justice the shame of having a less entertaining gimmick than being the Godwinns. The Outlaws come through the crowd to attack from behind (babyfaces who cheat = money) and DX quickly cleans house. Jarrett and X-Pac start, proper, which guarantees the match will go downhill from here. In an odd moment, X-Pac powerbombs Jarrett to counter a hurricanrana attempt. We get the Road Dogg/Double J encounter we were supposed to get in 1995, and it's amazing how much Brian Armstrong wrestled the same style, complete with signature moves, but with a PG/TV-14 difference when it came to crowd interaction and promo cutting. He tries his funky jabs, but Cantebury (formerly Henry) lays him out with a hard clothesline. Stuff happens and Lawler makes a semi-tasteless joke regarding the Road Dogg and his involvement in the Gulf War. X-Pac gets the teaser hot-tag, cleaning house until a powerslam from Cantebury turns back the tide. Dennis Knight with a delayed suplex, but the crowd only pops when Davey Boy Smith does it and he's off in WCW. Cantebury with a wheel-barrel slam for two. Jarrett puts a sleeper on X-Pac, but honestly, this whole match has put a sleeper on me. X-Pac fights free and takes Jarrett down with a back suplex. Billy Gunn gets the real hot tag, his first action in the ring since the opening ambush (way to earn that payday, Billy). He unloads with rights on all three opponents. X-Pac in with the Bronco Buster on Jarrett as Gunn gets tossed to the floor. X-Factor is blocked and countered with a clothesline from Cantebury. We play a game of keep-away with the guitar until Jarrett KO's X-Pac with it on the arena floor. Back in the ring, Gunn with the Fame-Asser (still called a Rocker Dropper by J.R.) on Knight for three at 11:17. X-Pac sells the guitar shot like he's lost an eye. I don't know, that gimmicked guitar looked extra-gimmicked tonight. * Jarrett and X-Pac had some decent moments, but the rest was incredibly boring. Thank goodness we never got NAO vs. Southern Justice on PPV for the belts.
WWF Championship; Triple Threat Match:
After months and several attempts at taking the WWF Championship off of Steve Austin, Mr. McMahon has finally found his best bet in completing that mission: An unholy alliance between estranged "brothers" The Undertaker and Kane. Mr. McMahon made it clear that the Undertaker cannot pin Kane to win the WWF Title, and Kane cannot pin the Undertaker to win the WWF Title. If anyone dares interfere on behalf of Steve Austin, the match will immediately end and he will be stripped of his Championship. Honestly, I didn't order the PPV when it originally aired, but damn, if I wasn't a bit curious to see whether or not Austin would survive with the WWF Championship, or if he lost, whichever of the Undertaker or Kane wound up getting the deciding pinfall.
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin © vs. The Undertaker vs. Kane:
Austin starts things with his best option: laying out the Undertaker with a steel chair during his entrance, leaving it one-on-one with Kane for a few moments. Kane quickly goes to the top rope, but Austin side-steps the clothesline. Whip to the ropes, and Austin ends up on the floor, in front of a recovered Undertaker. Austin sends him into the ring steps, then turns his attention back to Kane, tripping him up and introducing the boys to the ring post. Austin hits the Stunner on Kane, but Undertaker pulls him to the floor to break the cover. It sure is nice of Kane to play dead for so long while Austin and Undertaker have their one-on-one in the corner. Austin comes off the ropes with the Thesz Press, and follows with an elbow drop. He sends Kane to the floor with a clothesline and takes 'Taker down with a swinging neckbreaker for two. Kane pulls Austin to the floor, and we end up getting Brothers of Destruction Miscommunication. Austin interrupts the conference with a running high knee, then chokes Kane out with a nearby cable. Undertaker does the same to Austin, but it's just not as cool as the double-Abdominal Stretch.
'Taker and Kane finally get on the same page, dropping Austin face-first across the SAT. Back in the ring, Austin finds himself in the corner, desperately throwing kicks, but a double noggin-knocker is blocked and he gets stomped down. Meanwhile, Mr. McMahon's Stooges find their way at the top of the entrance set, while Austin takes a deliberate beating from his challengers. Austin with another short flurry, but a Piledriver attempt is unwise, and he finds himself going splat on the concrete. In a cute spot, Austin breaks away from them and lays a short beating in on Gerald Brisco before he gets dragged back to the ring like a dead animal. Undertaker grapevines the leg while Kane smothers him. Austin finds himself on top of Undertaker, slamming his leg across the face. He stomps a mudhole in the corner on Kane, but a shot to the throat from the Undertaker puts him back in an undesirable predicament.
Austin finds the chair from earlier, wallops Kane with it, and desperately covers, only for Undertaker to whack him with it. He covers, but Kane breaks the cover! UH OH! Undertaker pounds on Austin, and Kane comes off the top with a clothesline. Kane covers, and this time Undertaker breaks the pin attempt. Undertaker attacks Kane from behind and levels him with rights. Kane gets a boot up in the corner, and we get an unlikely double team from Austin and Kane to send 'Taker to the floor. Austin quickly attacks Kane from behind and chokes him across the top rope. Russian leg sweep by Austin gets two. After a brief conference, Undertaker and Kane find themselves back on the same page. Kane does the dirty work on the floor, while 'Taker looks on from inside the ring. Again, they fight over who gets to go for the pin, which leads to a short scuffle and a double clothesline. Austin gets back to his feet and gets his licks in on both of them. He knocks Undertaker to the floor, but runs into a Powerslam from Kane. He slips out of a Spike Piledriver attempt and goes for the Stunner, but Kane shoves him into a big boot from Undertaker. They plant Austin with a Double Chokeslam, and both get on top for a three count at 22:04. Mr. McMahon finds his way to ringside, grabs the smoking skull WWF Championship, and makes his exit. The show ends without either man declared the new WWF Champion. **1/2 Hard to rate this match, but it was a solid effort and felt differently structured than the previous Triple Threat on the card. Ending a PPV with a question mark seems like such a bad idea, but honestly, no one expected Breakdown to be worth anything, and we'll find out it lead to one of the best blowoffs of the year.
Final Thoughts: The main event had an interesting finish, and there was a pretty good Triple Threat on the undercard, but other than that, this would be considered a good episode of Monday Night Raw, if matches were allowed more time than three-minutes per match. As much as we like to credit Russo in history for giving the undercard something to do, Edge and Gangrel both suffered their first pinfall losses (if it's important enough to mention, it's important enough to not do in meaningless thrown together matches), and I'm still baffled over who we are supposed to cheer for in this angle between Val Venis and Dustin Runnels. I'm also finding it hard to be invested in the DX/Jarrett and Southern Justice program, mostly because X-Pac won the ultimate blow-off at SummerSlam, and Southern Justice are dull as dirt. If there was ever a classic definition of a completely forgettable PPV, it's this. Nothing really outstanding happened, nor was it historically awful, either. It was just a 3-hour PPV with a lame name that happened to take place after an incredible hot SummerSlam with little else than a hot Main Event that was more about selling future shows than the one it took place on.
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