With the 31st installment of The Biggest Party of the Summer just around the corner, join us as we take a look back at the history of SummerSlam. The ups, the downs, the moments, the stars, and the Attitude Era hitting The Highway to Hell!
Madison Square Garden
New York, New York
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs The Undertaker for the WWF Championship
For those of you that were unaware, in 1998, Stone Cold Steve Austin was kind of a big deal-and it’s a good thing he was. WCW had been dominating the professional wrestling scene to the tune of a year and a half long run on top of the ratings. Vince needed something to bring the fans back. That savior came in the form of a Texas redneck hell bent on making McMahon’s life a living hell.
The biggest match of his run may have been this SummerSlam against the only carry-over from the previous era in the WWF, The Undertaker. Everyone that steps in the WWF locker room has to go through The Dead Man to get proper respect, and Austin was no different.
The two had a match that you would expect from these two Hall of Fame performers. The match even included another one of the biggest storylines of the year, the relationship between The Dead Man and his brother Kane. The Big Red Machine came down to aid his brother, but Taker sent him away saying that he wanted to beat Austin on his own. In hindsight, possibly not the best move as Austin hit the Stunner and held on to his title.
TME TO GRAB SOME SNACKS
The Oddities were an attraction to say the least…as was their gimmick. For The Biggest Party of the Summer, they brought in the Insane Clown Posse to perform their entrance song (and the only song ICP did that didn’t make me want to run my head through a brick wall). Afterwards, their opponents, Kaientai mocked the giants and their distracting party mindset. Then the match happened…yeah…the match happened…ugh.
GLIMPSE INTO THE FUTURE
In her continued effort to get back at her former partner for how he treated her, Sable said that she would bring a mystery partner to take on Marvelous Marc Mero and his new valet, Jacqueline. That mystery partner came in the form of a new superstar draped in an enigmatic persona straight through the crowd named Edge. Things worked out pretty good for him I’d say.
MATCH OF THE NIGHT
It had been a little over four years since Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon set the bar pretty high with their ladder match at WrestleMania 10, coincidently in the same building. It would take a big effort to exceed, let alone match it. Triple H and The Rock were more than up to the challenge. With the Intercontinental Championship hanging high above the ring, the two leaders of the biggest factions of that era in the WWF – Degeneration X and The Nation of Domination would put on a match that would show us that they were both ready for the main event picture they would soon find themselves in…for good.
OTHER TOP MATCHES
Ken Shamrock vs Owen Hart in a Lions Den Match.
Kane & Mankind vs The New Age Outlaws for the Tag Team Championship
X-Pac vs Jeff Jarrett in a Hair vs Hair Match
This was the era that saved Vince’s treasured company and this SummerSlam was a big part of that. The show was really good, not great, but really good. This was another case of having solid matches at the top of the card but could have been a bit better leading up to it. WCW was still coming strong with Goldberg now holding their title, but the 1998 SummerSlam showed that the WWF weren’t going anywhere.
OVERALL SCORE – 7/10