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WWF Shotgun Saturday Night - August 29, 1998
by Scrooge McSuck
- I know it's a pointless note to make, but I always feel like doing a recap on a show right as my birthday is coming around (that would be August 29th, for all you well wishers). Typically, a birthday present was my parents ordering SummerSlam, and on more than one occasion, SummerSlam has landed on my birthday, making it that much sweeter (I'm looking at you, 1994!). Those shows, while tempting to recap, have been done to death, so I'll leave them alone... but how about the Shotgun Saturday episode that aired the day BEFORE SummerSlam '98. I know it's not a high quality PPV, but any show that broadcasts on my birthday is worth a look.
- Michael Cole and Shotgun Saturday Night - August 29, 1998 are calling all the action, which doesn't sound very promising. For one, I don't particularly care for a face/face team, especially when both are incredibly pro-babyface too. Second, Cole was never that good, but he was major green calling wrestling here, and is nearly impossible to listen to without muting. For those who don't remember Kelly, he was, at least in the WWF, one of those backstage interviewers that was most famously refered to as a hermaphrodite, courtesy of the Rock.
The D.O.A. (w/ Paul Ellering) vs. Devon Storm & Ace Darling:
Whoa, a 1998 version of a squash match!? Devon Storm would go onto "bigger" fame as Crowbar, teaming with David Flair in WCW. Darling... well, he's a work anywhere kind of guy, but I'm sure I've seen him in ECW or something. The DOA, a.k.a the Harris Twins, Blu Brother, Grimm Twins, and Bruise Brothers, might be my least favorite tag team EVER. That's saying something. I find zero enjoyment out of them, or anything nice to say about their performances. Just an awful team that somehow kept being repackaged with little or no success every time. Putting a washed-up Paul Ellering with them doesn't help, either. The DOA attack from behind, and quickly work over their opponents. Skull is left in the ring with Darling, and casually throat tosses him over the top rope. Back in the ring, and 8-Ball tags in and nails a crummy clothesline, but Darling still does the Jannetty Sell™. 8-Ball with a pair of leg drops, but Darling tags out to Storm, who does his own inside-out sell of a clothesline. I really hate when that spot is done TWICE in the same match. The match is a backdrop to Cole and Kelly talking about the Undertaker and Kane forming an alliance on the most recent episode of Raw. Storm gets knocked outside, and Skull greets him with the DOA's favorite move. Skull tags back in, and a powerbomb finishes Storm off at 2:31. Well, that was quick, I guess. Thankfully.
- Dok Hendrix is hanging around to talk about the WWF coming to Green Bay, with tickets going on sale on September 12th. I can't believe they were STILL calling him Dok Hendrix. I guess he didn't turn back to Michael Hayes until forming an unlikely alliance with the freshly pushed Hardy Boyz. We throw it to pre-taped comments from the Undertaker, who is challenging Stone Cold Steve Austin for the WWF Title at SummerSlam. He mentions beating people who were "Immortal" and "Ultimate." Jeez, I wonder who he's talking about. Don't forget, the official theme song for SummerSlam was AC/DC's Highway to Hell.
I should mention a commercial that aired following the SummerSlam hype job... a collection of generic beverages, not unlike those dollar store bottles of blue and red drink, that were marketed with the WWF name. Each bottle top came with a WWF STICKER, too. I remember, back in, I don't know, 7th grade I guess (Yes, I was too old for this demograph, but fuck you for judging me!). Those thing were a bitch to remove, but I decorated all my school notebooks with them, back when being a wrestling fan was considered COOL. They included the obvious: Stone Cold, DX, Shamrock, Kane, Taker... VADER. Yeah, that one surprised me too. The drinks tasted awful, but it had WWF on it, so I pretended it was good. It was discontinued by the end of 1999, I think.
- Last Monday on RAW, Jeff Jarrett snapped, and along with Southern Justice, attacked a poor camera man and shaved him bald, and honestly, if you don't watch and just listen, it sounds like either a rape or murder, your call. We then throw it to clips of X-Pac vs. Gangrel (European Title match at the '99 Rumble!) where Jarrett made his presence felt again. Remember, X-Pac and Double J are going to compete at SummerSlam in a Hair vs. Hair Match. That would mark the death of "Double J" and introduced the buzzcut "Don't Piss Me Off" look that Jarrett has kept for pretty much the rest of his career to date.
- Another notable WWF Commercial... the WWF War Zone for PlayStation, Nintendo 64, and GameBoy Color. I remember wanting this game so bad, and got it for Christmas, I think... and, well, it kind of sucked. First, the roster was incredibly outdated, with the likes of Bret Hart and British Bulldog featured, as well as Ahmed Johnson, who had been gone since February. The game engine was like a Mortal Kombat/Street Fighter game, with random butom combinations to perform moves. It wasn't the worst game I've ever played, but it felt like such a chore, and there wasn't a whole lot of options, so it was very meh. WWF Atitude followed with roughly the same gameplay, but a deeper roster and more options made it more acceptable.
- We recap the Brawl For All, where Bradshaw CLEARLY flopped for Bart Gunn, after weeks of wrestlers being injured and Bart Gunn knocking out the desired winner of the Tournament, Dr. Death Steve Williams. What a pathetic excuse for a tournament... shoot fighting that mixed boxing and wrestling, but fans didn't care for the concept, the matches were dull because of terrible pairings (Marc Mero, BOXER, vs. Steve Blackman, Martial Arts), and countless injuries allowing participants, like Mero, who lost, but continue on because their opponent couldn't/wouldn't continue. What a shit load of fuck.
Bob Holly vs. Dick Togo (w/ Yamaguchi-San):
Oh dear LORD, speaking of Bart Gunn, here's his ex-NEW Midnight Express Partner and Brawl For All Knockout Survivalist, Bob Holly. I don't know, if I had the choice, I'd rather be Sparky Plugg than the worst name to ever be graced with the Midnight Express team label. Jim Cornette must be spinning in his grave... and yes, I know, he's not dead, yet. Togo is a member of the Kai en Tai stable, along with Sho Funaki, Mens Teioh, and recently turned heel Light-Heavyweight Champion TAKA Michinoku, and yes, they were feuding with Val Venis at this point, and threatened to "Choppy choppy his pee-pee!". Lockup, and Holly with a side headlock, followed by a shoulder block. Holly rams Togo to the buckle and stomps away. Togo sends Holly out of the ring, and comes off the apron with a senton. Back in the ring, and Togo gets slammed off the top rope in a predictable spot. Irish whip is reversed, and Togo with a spinning heel kick. Whip to the corner is reversed, and Togo comes off the second turnbuckle with another senton, for a two count. Irish whip is reversed, and Holly takes Togo over with a powerslam for a two count. Holly with a snap suplex for another two count. Irish whip and Holly with a big boot for yet another two count. Holly with a scoop slam, followed by an elbow drop. Holly takes Togo to the corner and chops Togo with his typical stiffness. This just started dragging all of a sudden... Holly with an inverted atomic drop, followed by a charging clothesline. Holly with a powerbomb, then to the top rope, and he comes off with a leg drop (or the Alabama Jam, as it was called when Bobby Eaton did it) for the three count at 4:26. Talk about completely annihilating someone... Togo looked more like a scrub than Holly, who was on the verge of joining the JOB Squad in the coming weeks.
- Last Monday on the War Zone... Chyna had called out the Rock, no doubt for a D-Generation X ambush in retaliation for a brutal beating Triple H took in a Street Fight a couple of weeks back, but the Nation outsmarted them, and barricaded D-X with the use of a fork-lift (damn those fork-lifts at WWF events). The Rock and the rest of the Nation had Chyna trapped in the ring, and were about to let Mark Henry, before he was Sexual Chocolate, have his way with Chyna, until Shawn Michaels made a surprise run-in to make the save. And... yeah, what's the point of having Shawn Michaels do it, when he wasn't even on television on a regular basis again until becoming the new Commissioner and turning heel following Survivor Series?
The Headbangers vs. The Pitbulls:
(Mosh & Thrasher vs. Pitbull #1 & #2)
Wait a fucking minute... the Pitbulls, recognized as the Pitbulls, are being featured on a WWF broadcast?! Wow, never thought that happened. Mosh and Pitbull #2 start, with Pitbull #2 slapping on a headlock, and bowling through Mosh with a shoulder block. Mosh comes back with a pair of arm drags and clamps on the armbar. Pitbull #1 tags in and gets taken over with a pair of arm drags, and also falls victim to the armbar. Thrasher tags in and nails Pitbull #1 with a clothesline. Pitbull #2 runs in and gets a flap jack for his troubles. Pitbull #2 formally tags back in and walks into another arm drag. Into the corner, and Pitbull #2 hammers away, but Thrasher soon retaliates and takes Pitbull #2 over with a powerslam. Whip to the corner, and Pitbull #1 misses a charge, spilling out of the ring. Suddenly, Pitbull #1 comes in and takes Thrasher down with a belly-to-belly suplex. Irish whip, and #1 with a drop toe hold, followed by a top rope elbow drop from Pitbull #2 for a two count. Whip to the corner, and Pitbull #2 with a spinning heel kick into the corner. Pitbull #1 comes in with a slam, and Pitbull #2 comes off the top with a shoulder block for a two count. Pitbull #1 tags in for a double boot to the head of Thrasher for another two count. Double clothesline spot puts both men down. Mosh gets the "hot" tag and hammers away on both Pitbulls, and greets them both with slams and dropkicks. The Bangers get whipped into each other, but I doubt the Pitbulls will rbe victorious. Headbangers with a double back suplex on Pitbull #1, and the Stage Dive onto Pitbull #2 ends things at 5:59. Fairly competetive match, considering the Pitbulls weren't WWF talent. I know there was the WWF and ECW working relationship, but that doesn't usually factor into anything.
- We recap the Kane/Undertaker Saga on Raw, which lead to Mankind taking a beating from his Tag Team Champion Partner, and then... the feed dies, and we're greeted with a black screen. That sucks. Well, this lead to Mankind vs. Kane in a Hell in a Cell Match, and Austin, as promised, did his best to take out one of the "Brothers of Destruction", somehow making his way into the ring and beating the tar out of Kane. I really do miss the Attitude era, not as a journey into the past, but watching it as it happened. It seemed so good, and everything wasn't nit-picked to death.
Dustin Runnels vs. D'Lo Brown (European Champion):
I'm sure this one is going to electrify the crowd! Brown is scheduled to defend the European Title against Val Venis at SummerSlam, so it's Non-Title. Runnels has ditched the Goldust character and started being the preaching voice of reason against the Attitude Era... so why not just keep Bret Hart around if you were giving someone that character? I guess Runnels being jobbed out and boo'ed as the babyface was the WWF's way of saying "Attitude is in, clean-cut good guys are out." Runnels with a quick prayer in the corner as the crowd chants D'Lo Sucks. Brown slaps away a handshake and bobbles his head. Rhodes retaliates with an inverted atomic drop, followed by a clothesline. Brown takes a hike, and I just realized he's sporting the chest protector that he wore for most of 1998, after an injury at the hands of Dan "the Beast" Severn. Lockup, and Runnels works a wristlock. Runnels with a snapmare and leg drop across the arm, but Brown quickly fights free and hammers away. Irish whip, and Brown with a spinning heel kick, followed by his signature leg drop for a two count. Brown with a scoop slam, and he comes off the second rope with an elbow drop for another two count. Runnels fights from his knees, but Brown rakes the eyes. Irish whip, and Runnels surprises him with an uppercut, followed by a pair of clotheslines. Irish whip, and Brown is pulling the old Bret Hart fake knee injury, bringing a hault to action. Runnels helps Brown to his feet, and Brown quickly connects with the Sky High, followed by the Lo Down (Frog Splash) for the three count at 4:46. That's what you get for being stupid, Runnels!
- The show ends with yet another video set to the tune of Highway to Hell. Enough already!
Final Thoughts: Not a decent look back into seeing what was going down with the days leading up to SummerSlam. All of the important angles are at least touched upon, and there's a handful of matches to break up the tediousness of recaps. The only downside to that is that the wrestling wasn't very good, and it was a much weaker lineup than we usually get for these shows. The two matches featuring all WWF talent included JTTS Dustin Runnels, one of the less important members of Kaientai, and Bob Holly, who was in between roles in the NEW Midnight Express and JOB Squad. Not the worst excuse of a show, but definitely one of the few times where all the angle recaps trumps watching the actual first-run matches.
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