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WWF Mayhem in Manchester
April 4th 1998
Nynex Arena, Manchester, England
Announcers: Michael Cole & Kevin Kelly
After the fantastic Wrestlemania 14 event, the WWF embarked on a European tour soon afterwards. The first thing I notice about this show is that the ring has the classic red, white and blue ring ropes, the “new generation” logos on the ring apron and the bright blue ring mats around the ring. I’ve no idea why they done that considering they were using the scratch logo at the time. The other thing is that the show is presented in highlight form with the exception of the two main events. That’s going to make things difficult for me to review but I shall do it the best I can.
We get an opening video highlighting the UK tour before heading to Manchester. Our announcers are Michael Cole & Kevin Kelly who were second tier announcers at this point in time.
Jeff Jarrett vs. Brakkus
Brakkus is a German wrestler who had a brief run in ECW. He looks like the type of guy Vince would like to push because of his looks. Jeff Jarrett is in full swing in his “Double J” gimmick, I’ve also noticed that Tennessee Lee isn’t there. I guess he didn’t come on the tour. Jarrett uses a bunch of starling tactics as Brakkus is building up momentum. The experience of Jarrett comes though as he regains control with a bunch of heel techniques and finally makes the big German tap out to the figure four.
Winner: Jeff Jarrett via submission
It was very basic stuff. You could tell Jarrett was carrying the match, he was the more experienced guy and Brakkus was a very limited opponent. To be honest, I really can’t remember Brakkus at all. He didn’t last long in the company.
The Disciples of Apocolypse (Skull & 8-Ball) /w/ Chainz vs. The Godwinns (Henry & Phineas)
Both teams were really stale at this point in time. The DOA got a good pop upon arrival (maybe that’s because they arrive on motorcycles) but like the Godwinns, they were just floating around doing nothing. The rules for this strap match differ to those that we are accustomed to. Instead of being strapped to your opponent, the straps were just lying around. The straps come into play a few times but there not really a major part of this match. Henry picks up the victory for his team with the slop drop on 8-Ball.
Winners: The Godwinns via pinfall
Rating: ½ *
I’m surprised with the lack of usage from the straps. That was kind of random but then again, so was this match. The announcers didn’t seem to know who was who, maybe they didn’t care because I certainly didn’t.
We get a video following Sable’s journeys in the UK. She was a big deal at the time. Very popular with the fans but very unpopular behind the scenes.
Marvellous Marc Mero /w/ Sable vs. Bradshaw
It seemed as if Mero & Sable were on the same page at Wrestlemania but it didn’t take too long for Mero’s jealousy to resurface again. Before the match, he told Sable to return to the back that drew massive heat from the crowd. Don’t blame them. Bradshaw had just been floating around after his feud with Barry Windham had ended. It was back and forth with Bradshaw overpowering Mero but only to have Mero cut him off with traditional heel tactics. Mero tried to go for the TKO but Bradshaw counters with a stiff clothesline for the victory.
Winner: Bradshaw via pinfall
Once again, it was basic stuff. A common theme for tonight’s show. The Mero & Sable feud would continue with the introduction of Jacqueline later in the year.
The Nation (The Rock & D’Lo Brown) vs. Ken Shamrock & Owen Hart
An extension of the Rock/ Shamrock feud for the Intercontinental title. Rocky is the champion and doing a damn good job of it too. Owen is still chasing Triple H in the European title scene, but with the DX leader having other fish to fry tonight he teams with the submission specialist, whilst D’Lo obviously fits being a fellow member of the Nation. There’s a spot in the match where Shamrock screws up. Shamrock screwed up as he pounds on D’Lo and teases him into reaching the corner to make a tag, only problem being they are in Owen’s corner so the whole thing is messed up. Rock yells at Shamrock for his stupidity and calls him a “dumbass”. The Rock must be the only person ever to call Shamrock a dumbass and not get his arse kicked because of it. It’s all back and forth until Shamrock makes D’Lo tap out to the ankle lock.
Winners: Ken Shamrock & Owen Hart via submission
Rating: ** ½
The best match of the night so far but it’s nothing too special. It deserved more time considering the strap match went on for 13 minutes.
The Artist Formally Known as Goldust /w/ Luna vs. Cactus Jack
Goldust was still doing his Artist gimmick but that would change in the coming months whiles Cactus Jack was on the verge of a big push so it was pretty weird seeing him in a mid-card match with Goldust. Luna proves to be a valuable asset at ringside as she gets involved a few times tripping up the Hardcore Legend here. Cactus fights back though and looks to be getting ready to put Goldust away. That is until Luna pulls her man out of the ring to save him from the double arm DDT. Cactus pulls Goldust onto the apron and looks to suplex Goldust over the ropes; however Luna takes Cactus out by the legs, resulting in Goldust coming down on top to score the pin. Cactus gets his heat back after the match as he locks in the Mandible Claw on Goldust. Luna tries to get involved but Sable comes out and we have a cat fight much to the delight of the crowd.
Winner: The Artist Formally Known as Goldust
Rating: ½ *
Overall, this was a pretty bad match with a lot of rest holds which is a shame considering the talent involved in this match.
WWF Tag Team Championship
New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg & Billy Gunn) © /w/ Chyna vs. LOD 2000 (Hawk & Animal)
The NAO are now officially members of DX after being assisted by Triple H and X-Pac on the Raw after Wrestlemania to win back the tag titles from Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie inside of a steel cage. The LOD were repackaged as LOD 2000 at Wrestlemania. It was a new gimmick but it was the same old same old. The LOD had lost their intimidating aura which made them such a big draw. LOD start out with the power advantage. The match continues on with both teams in control, but it’s pretty boring. The LOD look set to win the belts as they go for the Doomsday Device on Road Dogg, but Chyna comes in and hits a low blow on Animal, triggering the DQ.
Winners: LOD 2000 via DQ
Like most matches on the card so far, this was a basic tag match. Both teams would continue to feud for a few more weeks but they really needed to get away from one another and start fresh feuds elsewhere.
Triple H /w/ Chyna vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin
The Stone Cold/ DX rivalry gets put to bed here in Austin’s first title defence. Triple H wasn’t a main event player at this point in his career but with Shawn Michaels retiring, he was installed as the leader of the DX. Of course Austin is incredibly over here as he would continue to be for pretty much ever. He hits the stunner early on in this one, but the action spills to the outside rather than him having the chance to make the cover. This is definitely the best match of the night as it’s actually pretty solid. Chyna continues to play a role in Triple H’s matches as she manages to get a few shots in on the rattlesnake without the referee seeing it. Austin recovers and takes Chyna out with the stunner, and then gives another to Triple H which allows him to score the pinfall to successfully retain his title.
Winner and STILL WWF Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin via pinfall
Rating: ** ½
Decent but they would end up having better matches together later in their careers.
Kane /w/ Paul Bearer vs. The Undertaker
A Wrestlemania re-match for our main event. Undertaker is wearing his street clothes whiles competing in his Phenom character. The Phenom gets attacked by DX on his way to the ring. They weren’t feuding – I guess they just wanted to get some more heat on the new incarnation of the group. Once the match officially gets under way Kane takes control in the early going. Out of nowhere Taker counters his brother’s offence into a tombstone piledriver and pins the big red machine.
Winner: The Undertaker
Rating: ½ *
Huh? Well that sucks! At Wrestlemania, it had to take three tombstones to put away Kane which made him look unstoppable but here, it was one tombstone and the match only lasted 3 minutes. The fans were happy with the outcome though I guess.
Kane and Paul Bearer leave whiles Undertaker poses in the ring as the show comes to an end.
Top 5 Superstars
1. Stone Cold – Did a decent job in his forgettable first title defence. Would have more memorable ones of course.
2. Triple H – He was coming into his own as the leader of D-Generation X.
3. The Rock – His calling out on Shamrock was pretty funny.
4. D’Lo Brown – Was a reliable asset in the tag match.
5. Owen Hart – His reaction when Shamrock screwed up was funny.
Best match: Stone Cold vs. Triple H – Nothing else to choose from really.
Worst match: DOA vs. The Godwinns – A tossup between this and Undertaker/Kane. Eventually went with this since it went on for far too long.
Attitude Era moment: An early Austin/Hunter match. Both guys would end up having better matches with each other in the future but you could tell the chemistry was there.
Stone Cold – 34pts
Shawn Michaels – 28pts
Bret Hart – 18pts
Undertaker/ The Rock – 14pts
Mick Foley – 12pts
Triple H – 10pts
Owen Hart – 5pts
D’Lo Brown – 4pts
Taka Michinoku/ Ken Shamrock – 3pts
British Bulldog/ Kane/ Terry Funk – 1pt
Overall Show Rating (Out of 10): 2
The highlight format on the tape made things hard to review but from what I saw this was a very uneventful show. To be fair, I can’t really criticise because it isn’t a PPV in the real sense of the term. This was just a show thrown together for the fans to see the WWF Superstars live in action. At least the main event was decent.
Pay Per View Rankings
Wrestlemania 14 – 8.5
One Night Only – 7.5
Royal Rumble ’98 – 7
Summerslam ’97 – 6
No Way Out of Texas’ 98 – 5.5
Ground Zero – 4
Survivor Series ’97 – 4
Bad Blood – 3
D-Generation X – 2.5
Mayhem in Manchester ’98 – 2
Up Next: WWF Unforgiven