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WWF Sunday Night Heat- August 30, 1998

by Scrooge McSuck

- Last week on Sunday Night Heat, Jeff Jarrett and X-Pac were running around like a couple of jackasses with an electric Razor, Road Warrior Animal's hopes and dreams of becoming European Champion were ruined by Hawk's "personal demons", TAKA Michinoku scored a pinfall victory... over Scorpio, and the Headbangers were featured again, this time in a losing effort to the SuperTeam of Owen Hart and Dan Severn. Oh, and they were hyping something called SummerSlam. Whatever that was.

- Jim Ross and Shane McMahon are at ringside calling the action, unless otherwise noted. I should point out this was actually broadcasted live, from the home of SummerSlam, Madison Square Garden. On top of the full card set for the PPV, there's still a deep enough roster to fill out an episode of Heat as well. Another note: I know I reviewed this before, but it was a while back and half-assed, so here's a more up-to-date (in terms of writing style) version to replace it.

- Shawn Michaels makes one of his handful of random appearances on WWF television, his last being the previous episode of Monday Night Raw, saving Chyna from Mark Henry coming onto her in a sexual way (and thus setting the tone for Sexual Chocolate). Michaels big entrance is just for him to join J.R. and Shane at ringside to call the action. I don't recall if Shawn appeared on the PPV itself, but he wouldn't make regular appearances until after Survivor Series, when he was named the replacement commissioner in place of Sgt. Slaughter.

L.O.D. 2000 vs. Too Much:

(Hawk & Animal vs. Brian Christopher & Scott Taylor)
I was really looking forward to Animal getting another random, unearned Championship Match. This was originally to be Animal and Droz, but Hawk, who's been designated the LOD alternate, shows up at ringside a stumbling mess, and insists on taking Droz's place in the match. I hope this ends sooner than later, it's just too fucking shameless to promote someone's personal problems for the television audience as a storyline. Too Much starts with a double team pounding on Animal and a double suplex. Christopher with a slam for two. Animal blocks another double suplex and takes both men over by himself. Whip to the ropes and a clothesline to Christopher, followed by a Powerslam and Powerbomb on Taylor. He sets up for the Doomsday Device, but Hawk climbs up backwards, facing the crowd, because HIS PERSONAL DEMONS ARE GETTING THE BETTER OF HIM. Christopher clips Animal from behind, and Taylor lands on top for the three count at 3:00. Regardless of their age and deteriorating abilities, the Legion of Doom just jobbed in three minutes to Too fucking Much.

- SummerSlam Music Video, with Highway to Hell courtesy of AC/DC. After all these weeks, the show is finally here, and the following is the complete card:

- Shawn Michaels is back in the ring again, this time to interview everyone's favorite diva (in 1998), Sable. She's scheduled to be joined by a Mystery Partner to take on the duo of "Marvelous" Marc Mero and Jacqueline on the Pay-Per-View. The general idea would be a Oddities member, but since they're booked for a match, there really was suspense over who she was joined by. Spoiler: Edge. Hope I didn't ruin your night.

Dustin Runnels vs. Gangrel:

I wonder if there was some backstory to this, but then I'm not familiar with the Catholic Church's thoughts on Vampires. Gangrel made his debut two weeks ago on Heat, so I'm going to expect him to go over pretty easily. Gangrel attacks from behind with clubberin' blows. Whip to the ropes, and Runnels retaliates by slamming Gangrel face-first to the canvas. They keep going back and forth with everything, with neither man really gaining control. Whip to the ropes is reversed and Gangrel with a powerslam for two. They slug it out again, with Runnels taking control. He connects with a pair of clotheslines for two. Runnels sets up for a back drop, but Gangrel counters with the Implant DDT, and that's good enough for three at 2:31. Obviously incredibly rushed, and neither man building any lengthy heat period rendered this pointless and heatless.

- Michael Cole is still playing the role of backstage interview guy (see: Todd Pettengill), trying to get words from D-Generation X, and later Vince McMahon. Nothing much of note is said, so Vince McMahon decided to make it his life long perogative to feed Michael Cole lines for the rest of his career.

-"Double J" Jeff Jarrett and Southern Justice continue their string of appearances on Sunday Night Heat, randomly attacking poor Howard Finkel and shaving his head. I guess it's supposed to be a way to build heat for his match with X-Pac later in the night, but do fans REALLY care that much about the Fink to give Jarrett any credible heel heat for the match? Maybe these days, but not in 1998.

Vader & Bradshaw vs. The D.O.A. (w/ Paul Ellering):

Wait... I thought Bradshaw was working a loner gimmick, so why is he randomly teaming with Vader? The D.O.A. swerving us all by having Paul Ellering as their manager seems pointless now that their feud with LOD 2000 is over with (or should be over with). D.O.A. is Skull and 8-Ball, formerly the Bruise Brothers, The Blu Brothers, and the Grimm Twins (that one didn't last too long). Vader and Bradshaw immediately start to argue, so I'm not expecting this team to last very long. Vader and Skull trade blows, with neither man selling very much. Skull takes Vader down with a powerslam and drops a pair of leg drops. Whip to the ropes, and Vader comes back with his pump charge. Bradshaw tags in with authority and pounds away on Skull. 8-Ball puts Bradshaw down with a clothesline and drops a pair of elbows. Bradshaw no-sells a suplex and boots him right in the face. Bradshaw with the Lariat, but he tags Vader in to finish him off. We get babyface miscommunication, and 8-Ball rolls Vader up at 2:57. Post-match, Bradshaw and Vader argue some more. I wonder if this is going somewhere.

- Doc Hendrix, formerly Michael (P.S.) Hayes, comes to ringside and hype the crowd up as the PPV start time approaches. I never understood why they had to change his name to Do Hendrix, instead of referencing him as Michael Hayes. Everyone who had watched wrestling in the last decade was familiar with his face and voice, so why pretend he's somebody else?

- The Nation of Domination and D-Generation X find their ways at ringside at the same time, so a big brawl erupts. The Rock is defending the Intercontinental Title against Triple H in a Ladder Match, but other than that, no other matches between the stables were scheduled: X-Pac was booked against Double J, and the New Age Outlaws were challenging Kane and Mankind for the Tag Titles.

- We end the broadcast with Steve Austin manhandling the driver of a Hearse and smashing the windows in with a Sledgehammer (Hunter stole it from Austin!). I guess he was expecting the Undertaker to be arriving in it. Maybe at the 37th Annual Slammy Awards, but not for SummerSlam '98.

Final Thoughts: It's the Heat leading up to SummerSlam, so it can be forgiven for being a completely worthless episode. All the matches were of poor quality and incredibly rushed, no doubt to keep the crowd semi-cool until the real show was to start. Of the stuff featured that was to advance anything, it's more of the nonsense involving Hawk, and unfortunately it ran until early November, if I recall correctly. Also, the team of Vader and Bradshaw might have to settle their differences IN THAT VERY RING. Next time on Heat, we might have some new Champions and new contenders, so stay tuned.

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