Capital Carnage Date: December 6, 1998 Location: London Arena, London, England Attendance: 10,441 Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler We’re back in England again for the second WWF show there, but this time we’re in the big city as we’re in London. Austin was no longer the WWF Champion as Rock had turned heel in a big swerve at Survivor Series, becoming the Corporate Champion and setting the stage for the first big Austin vs. Rock showdown for the world title. Other than that it’s your run of the mill Attitude Era show with some very odd matches. There’s a double main event as X-Pac fights Rock for the world title and then a fatal fourway with Austin, Kane, Mankind and Taker. We’re in a much different era here as no longer is WCW destroying them but the opposite as we’re a few weeks away from Nash beating Goldberg and then the Fingerpoke of Doom, if that gives you any sort of context. That sounds decent so let’s see if this is good. Note, just like with One Night Only, this is my first time seeing this show so you’ll hear my true initial thoughts. The intro only talks about the fatal fourway but it has a twist: it REPEATS WORDS! This is just weak to say the least and it makes me think that the rest of the show isn’t going to be much at all, but I’ve been wrong before so let’s try it out. At least the arena has the Union Jack up this year. Gangrel vs. Al Snow Well this is an interesting place to start. This is during the time the Brood was relatively new and no one knew what in the hell to make of them. That music is still awesome. The announcers say nothing at all during his entrance which is odd to me. Snow has Head with him and is therefore ridiculously popular. He does the dance which is always amusing for some reason. Ross and King are back all of a sudden. Well ok then. This is the JOB Squad era which really is a good idea in theory. I think it’s just the tape but the audio is REALLY bad here. Oh look it’s a British fan with an airhorn. You know I was waiting on that. Snow starts by hitting all of his standard stuff, meaning that the in ring stuff is overshadowed by the insanity of his character which is a shame. The fans always do the We Want Head thing which gets a bit annoying but is always funny. Edge and Christian hit the ring after about 4 minutes or so which was of course expected. With Christian distracting the referee, Snow gets a shot with Head but Edge hits a missile dropkick from the top for the pin. Rating: C. Eh it was to get the Brood over so that’s fine. Snow was by far the more talented guy and since he made the match coherent, that means it’s good. You can’t expect much out of Gangrel due to a high level of suck. Oh that was funny. Anyway, this was fine for an opener I guess as Snow got the fans awake, which is exactly what he was supposed to do, and since he’s in the JOB Squad, no one expected him to win anyway. Foley says his boiler room is freezing. He also mentions there are no disqualifications or count outs tonight. Good to know. He also says he’s out for himself tonight as everyone else has beaten him up at one time or another. Foley’s completely random historical references were always my favorite part as they come from so far out of nowhere that they’re awesome. LOD vs. Headbangers This is Droz and Animal as Hawk was “recuperating”. They were running an angle where he was addicted to a bunch of stuff so he took time off. It was based on real life issues Hawk was having which I don’t like but whatever. They’ve got different music here. Yeah let’s just change some of the best music ever. That makes GREAT sense guys. Oh this is also after the Hawk “suicide” jump. Yes it was in Lexington, yes it was awful. The Headbangers were more or less worthless at this point but they were former tag champions so there we are. Oh and they’re heels now. Somehow they would stick around for another YEAR AND A HALF here, yet I never got why. Naturally this is just a basic tag match. Droz is “overzealous” apparently, meaning he’s more of a heel. Oh and he would be revealed as the drug dealer or something like that in the end. I love when either wrestlers or referees completely botch a three count and the guy kicks out before four. At least Lawler is talking like an American here. The Headbangers were always ridiculously over in England for no apparent reason. And after Animal comes in and cleans house, Droz pushes Animal out for no apparent reason and gets rolled up for the pin. This was more about the storyline of Droz just kind of sucking than anything else. And now they’re fighting after the match. The LOD are I mean. The arena is really smoky for this for some reason. Rating: C. It’s just barely long enough for me to grade but that’s not saying a lot. Like I said this was a lot more about the story than the match which is why a newly heel tag team beat them. There’s not a lot here and it showed badly, but at less than three and a half minutes, how much can I really criticize? We hit the recap button on Taker, Kane and Austin. Friday night on Raw (they did that once in awhile), Taker had tried to have Kane sent to a mental hospital but Austin had hit Taker with a shovel and sent him to the hospital instead so he and Kane put Paul Bearer down a sewer. And that’s why I love wrestling: that makes sense here. Taker says he’s coming for Austin tonight and says a lot of over the top dramatic stuff. Val Venis vs. Goldust Val had been around for about four or five months at this point and was becoming a decently big deal. If he had a more realistic gimmick he could have been a big time midcard guy. His joke is about the Tower of London if you’re wondering. This is happening because Val slept with Goldust’s wife Terri and he got her pregnant, resulting in her dumping him. Val had a vasectomy so it couldn’t have been him, so Terri tried to get back with Goldie, which didn’t work, leading to the formation of PMS. This didn’t go well. It’s so weird hearing Ross constantly saying WWF. They’re on that weird platform thing again where the ring is elevated. I’ve seen that in Canada, England and Japan now so I guess it’s an international thing. There’s a lot of punching and kicking in this. Vince spoke at Oxford apparently. The crowd is kind of dead here and I think Val is the default heel here. Goldust reverses a top rope cross body into a really sloppy cover for two. He follows that up with some generic offense and the Sting falling headbutt to the crotch. He sets for Shattered Dreams but Val pulls the referee in front. Goldust stops and gets rolled up for the pin. Post match, Goldust hits Shattered Dreams to a solid pop. Rating: D. This was just boring as hell. It’s about 5 minutes long and just not interesting at all. It was generic and sloppy and the fans just weren’t into it for the most part. In other words, it was a standard late 90s midcard match. Vince does indeed speak at Oxford. Naturally he demands a bigger ovation and gets it. His business acumen is completely overlooked most of the time as he is a self made millionaire/billionaire depending on who you ask. As fans, we tend to complain about him a lot and say how he’s out of touch, but think about this for a second. He may be putting on insanely bad shows lately, but he’s doing so in huge arenas to tens of thousands of people and does so twice a week plus house shows and PPVs. People are willing to watch his television shows and pay to buy his PPVs and other merchandise. Barring something completely insane happening, WWE is going to be around for a very long time. H ow many other wrestling companies have ever come this far? Zero, and Vince is the undisputed number one reason his company is so successful. Yes, the wrestlers are the main attraction, but he signs them, pays them, writes a lot of the stories, and has final say. People argue Hogan was a huge thing, but what if Hogan had come in as the Adrian Adonis character? Vince was smart enough to put together that character and air it on TV. Vince is the WWE, and that’s often forgotten. And here he is in the arena with the Stooges and Shane. Apparently Rock was supposed to fight HHH but that’s been changed. HHH gets Jeff Jarrett and Rock gets X-Pac. That gets a HUGE pop. Brisco gets great heat. The Stooges should come back in some form as that’s a gimmick that never gets old. They bring up Vinnie Jones for no apparent reason. Vince is having a cup of tea while this is going on. Shane implies Jones is gay and the fans sound like they want to murder him. Jones will be a guest referee in the main event. Vince criticizes various aspects of British life. He’s just ridiculously great at drawing heat. He says all English people wish they were American, and I’ll be surprised if he gets home safely. This was great stuff as Vince talked for about three minutes and all of a sudden was the most hated man in England. Tiger Ali Singh vs. Edge Singh…why? What was the appeal of this guy that he kept getting pushes? More or less he does the same thing as Hassan did but an Indian version. Edge is the creepy guy still, as he comes through the crowd which I’ve always liked. Granted I was a huge Edgehead back then so that has a lot to do with it. Edge’s charisma is off the charts here. He’s not well known or polished at all here, but he’s still got all of the tools that would make him a big deal in about six of seven years. He’s the epitome of someone that rose through the ranks perfectly. So Edge is completely dominating here and has the crowd behind him, so he catches Edge coming off the top rope in a powerslam and uses the ropes for the cheap pin. What the hell was that? Rating: F. No no no no no. What just happened here? I mean Edge DOMINATED this thing, so he gets jobbed out to a joke like Singh? I get if Singh got ANY offense in, but this was nothing. This just failed completely. Michael Cole brings out Vinnie Jones to a mixed but mostly positive reaction. He says he’s going to knock Vince out to a huge pop. He’s clearly not used to talking in front of a live crowd, but he’s bleeding charisma and is having fun out there so that’s all I can ask for. He would eventually become an actor, which fits perfectly. Marc Mero/Jacqueline vs. Christian/Sable So we see a clip of Mero firing Jackie and leaving the company after losing a match to Duane Gill on Raw. This is apparently only happening due to contractual obligations, even though Vince changed two matches earlier in the night. Christian is a complete newcomer at this time and looks awesome in the white shirt with the long hair. Sable is naturally cheered to no end as she recently “earned” the Women’s Title. Who cares that she was one of the most annoying workers ever and I can’t stand her? We start with Mero vs. Christian as in this it has to be men vs. men and women vs. women. Surprisingly enough, Mero really did leave shortly after this. Hey, let’s randomly say that Sable is hot. And now let’s completely ignore the gender rules. With Sable ready to fight Mero, Christian pulls his shorts down. Well ok then. It amuses me greatly that Mero is more embarrassed over being seen in traditional wrestling tights than he is over being Johnny B. Badd on national television but what do I know? HEY! Sable hit a basic kick! Let’s praise her and give her another month with the women’s title since she’s advance SO much! Christian hits a sweet cross body from the top and the girl chase is on. After Christian beats up Mero for a bit Sable hits a powerbomb on him and he walks out. This allows Sable to hit some bad offense and a TKO that was sloppy as hell for the pin. Jackie beats up the referee and Sable rips her top off, actually showing full chest, which I guess is allowed in England. She always seemed like she just wanted to be naked so whatever. Rating: D+. Again, this was nothing of note. It was about five minutes long (that’s the fifth match and none have gone six minutes yet) and just not a lot happened there. The problem is that it’s not enough time to get anything of note going. Christian was good here but he’s miles away from what he is today. Kane is walking around in the back. Yeah he’s just walking around. Intercontinental Title: Ken Shamrock vs. Steve Blackman Boss Man is with Shamrock, despite being one of the referees tonight. This shocks JR, because, you know, it’s hard to referee in one match and stand at ringside in another. Shamrock is a heel here having joined the Corporation recently. Shamrock wasn’t that polished, but the UFC thing helped him quite a bit in that regard. Oh Boss Man has the hardcore title now which apparently he stole despite there being no rules for that title. Shamrock is sloppy. Like, REALLY sloppy. We broke six minutes! Shame that this match is completely awful, but we did get to six minutes. The fans are more dead than Shamrock’s MMA career here and Blackman kicks Boss Man for no apparent reason so he gets nailed in the ankle for being a dick. You know the rest. Post match, Boss Man beats on him even more. Rating: D+. I couldn’t have been more bored during this match. Ken was just boring as hell here and Blackman got in almost no offense. No one thought Blackman would win and this was just boring as hell. But hey, we got six minutes! Rock is with Cole, who he makes fun of and says he’s not afraid of X-Pac or HHH. The belt looks absolutely perfect on his shoulder. Why can’t we have that instead of the spinner belt? In a really funny bit, Rock closes by not being able to remember his catchphrase so he uses the starts of Hogan’s, Austin’s, Flair’s and Hart’s before getting it right. Good freaking night this guy was good on the mic and when he wanted to be, he was great in the ring. Jeff Jarrett vs. HHH Jarrett has Debra with him finally and is getting close to getting over but it never happened. Since Chyna is with HHH, it brings to mind the alleged screwing of Vince that Jarrett did. The idea was that Jarrett and Chyna had feuded for the IC Title and he was finally going to drop it to her at a PPV. The problem was that his contract expired on Saturday, with him still as the champion and the title match scheduled. Jarrett said he wanted $300,000 to wrestle for one night, and Vince was stuck. Tell me, what did Jarrett do wrong here? He was in demand and he used that to get more money. For some reason his is considered horrible. Chyna is rocking more or less a bra and thong with chaps. I’m in love. Debra of course looks like hell, and Ross almost accidently calls her McMichael, her real last name. HHH is wearing red tights here which look odd as hell. This should be pretty good actually, as when you just have to get in the ring, both of these guys can wrestle with anyone. Chyna goes after Debra which doesn’t go well for the ugly blonde. To the surprise of no one that knows what they’re talking about, this is very decent stuff. It’s by far the most interesting and best worked match of the night, although that’s not saying much. Both guys know how to work a solid match which is all you can ask of them. Naturally the ending was a massive clusterfuck as Debra tries to seduce HHH but he’s got young and hot Stephanie so screw the old woman made of plastic. Jarrett tries to use a chair but Chyna breaks it up and the Pedigree ends it. Rating: B-. While it’s short at less than seven minutes, this was fine for what it was. They put on a decent enough match though and it was something I would have liked to see more of which is something that hasn’t happened all night here. At the end of the day, good wrestling trumps everything, and it did here. Austin says it’s every man for themselves tonight. D’lo Brown is going around London and doesn’t like how he’s treated. It’s supposed to be comedy but nothing comes of it. Brown has a good voice though. Tag Titles: New Age Outlaws vs. Mark Henry/D’lo Brown The Outlaws are insanely popular here, but they’re all flash and no substance at this point as they almost never have anything resembling a standard match, which is why the tag titles meant almost nothing at all and still don’t to this day. They sold a ton of t-shirts though and considering their talent level, that’s pretty impressive. Oddly enough, they come out first. Brown’s head shaking is just awesome. This is around the time of the Chyna/Henry dating thing, resulting in a transvestite angle that I think only Russo and McMahon liked. The Outlaws are being courted by the Corporation here. I have to hand it to the Outlaws: they’ve gotten the crowd awake for the first time tonight. Gunn’s strength is really overlooked which is a shame. This lasts all of a few seconds though as he goes after Henry in a power match. We hit a bearhug that looks like hell. I’m blown away here: the Outlaws are wrestling and doing it pretty well here. Since Henry got his ass kicked, after they get together to talk, he and Brown decide he’s the best choice to stay in there. To be fair though it’s working as he’s beating on Roadie pretty well. Brown at this time was in the middle of losing a ton of weight. He went from about 400 down to maybe 250 in a remarkable transformation. He got much better in the ring as well so it worked very well indeed. After Road Dogg gets the hell splashed out of him, Gunn more or less is by himself. He either didn’t use the Fameasser yet or just wasn’t that good at it because he uses a piledriver to get the win. Henry is pissed. Rating: B-. This was fine. For a change, they actually wrestled a match and it came out pretty well. Now why can’t they do that in America? It was a very formula based match and that’s all there has to be a lot of the time. I still think the Outlaws are overrated and this is a great example of why. Why did they have to do all of the theatrics instead of having a decent match? We recap Rock joining the Corporation at Survivor Series, which truly was shocking. WWF Title: Rock vs. X-Pac Hmm, I wonder how this is going to go. Oh, Rock knew about this before the show but Pac didn’t apparently. That belt is perfect to say the least. In something I never would have guessed, X-Pac and Rock are the same age. Ross gets in a nice jab by saying this isn’t the Senior’s Tour for ex-WWF Superstars. This was about a month and a half after the Warrior vs. Hogan debacle and Nash was the #1 contender so I’m guessing that’s what those lines come from. Who came up with the line of holy mackerel? Why would you talk about a fish like that? It makes no sense. Pac should be ok here as Rock isn’t a power guy for the most part, meaning that the match should be better. This is my favorite kind of Rock match: against a guy with speed where he has to use more than just punches and throws. His athleticism is vastly underrated as he can pick up the pace with the best of them. Some of his stuff with Benoit, who can wrestle a fast pace very well, was great. Rock gets on the mic and says he’s leaving but HHH and Chyna make the stop. And there’s the fucking Bronco Buster but thankfully Rock gets out of the way, sparing us from the dumbest move of all time. We hit the floor and Rock uses a thumb to the eye, which gets a “That’s cheating!” line from JR that cracks me up for some reason. We shift to the formula based stuff, which again is perfectly fine. Rock hits the Corporate Elbow to a decent little pop. You can kind of tell that Rock wasn’t ready to be the top guy in the company but he was far too big to be in the midcard. I don’t think he should have main evented Mania 15, but the only other options would have been Austin and Show or Austin and McMahon. Show had been around a month and a half and it wouldn’t have been a great match as Austin wouldn’t have been able to do much. McMahon….maybe but I’m not sure. DX helps X-Pac get in a low blow which gets a rollup for two. The crowd is way into this so that’s something of note. For all the criticism DX has had from this time period, their three matches have been the best on the show and have gotten the crowd into the show, so there we are. And there’s our required ref bump. For no apparent reason Rock hits HHH before grabbing the belt. Oh that’s why he hit him. I don’t get why either but that sounds better. HHH gets the belt and pops Rock with it but there’s no referee. The two count gets a huge pop. You can’t argue the crowd here as they’re WAY into this. And there’s the Bronco Buster to bring the match way down. Rock goes after Chyna so HHH beats the hell out of him for the CHEAP DQ. I hate that, especially when I’m getting into a match. They couldn’t do a low blow and a rollup for the pin for Rock? It’s not like X-Pac was supposed to win here. Rock gets on the mic to brag but he gets beaten up again. Shamrock comes in for the save and gets knocked out too. Rating: B. Until the cheap ending, this was rapidly growing on me. Pac is someone I can’t stand most of the time but since he was fighting a smaller guy here, which is odd to say as Rock is 6’5 and 275lbs, the match was better. I would have loved an actual ending here but no go. This is what needs to happen more often today: a title match that has no real point to it but you give the guys twelve to fifteen minutes and have a solid match. This came out well though and I liked it, other than the ending. Steve Austin vs. Kane vs. Mankind vs. Undertaker Shane is introduced as the guest ring announcer. He comes out as just Shane, with the thing under his name saying Son of Mr. McMahon. I love that. Patterson is the timekeeper and Brisco is the referee, despite Boss Man being advertised for that. We get the standard gay jokes about Patterson. Vince is the guest commentator. Boss Man is apparently the enforcer. The face/heel alignment is about as off the wall as you could imagine. Kane is kind of a rogue, Mankind is a face that hates the other faces and Taker kind of likes Kane but hates Austin and Mankind. Vinnie Jones is the OTHER enforcer. We’ll have ten introductions for this (Shane, Patterson, Brisco, Vince, Boss Man, Jones, Austin, Taker, Kane, Mankind). That takes nearly 25 minutes for just introductions. I get that they need to fill time but this is ridiculous. It’s so weird to hear Vince on commentary here. Jones is cocky as hell and it’s working for him. Jones shoves Boss Man to the floor which is amusing if nothing else. Brisco holds up a red card which makes me roll my eyes. Apparently he’s gone now. We keep hearing the word conspiracy, which was more or less the theme of the summer. None of the four guys in the match are here yet. I want Jones’ coat. FINALLY we’re ready to go and they come out in the order of Foley, Kane, Taker and Austin. The big guys go at it before Austin is there which is smart if nothing else. Taker jumps him in the aisle so it’s those two and Kane and Mankind in the ring. Again there are no rules here for the most part. We have four world champions in there (Foley would win it in about 6 weeks) so we keep the camera on Boss Man and Vince who are at the announcer’s table. That makes sense. They’re following the orgy model for a match here as it’s just quick shots at each other before we go to the next guy with nothing really special going on at all. Vince is WAY too excited here. They’re really only having two guys in the ring for the most part which is rather annoying. Oh apparently Brisco has a bad knee. There’s just not much to say here as everything is just insane all over the place. I am liking Foley’s yellow tie as he can actually make it work. Everyone chokes everyone with a big rope as we have a massive attempted murder on our hands. There seems to be more room at ringside than there usually is. We get the pairings from King of the Ring 98 and we’re actually all in the ring for once. Foley beats on Austin but then the brothers decide to beat on him for awhile. They triple team him but Foley changes that. Austin of course comes back and there goes Brisco. Hebner comes down to be the referee now. About a minute later a stunner to Kane ends this clean. Jones comes back out to kick Boss Man into a stunner and a beer bash between the two ends the show. I like that for some odd reason that I’m not sure of. Rating: C+. Eh it was a wild brawl so what do you really want here? It was designed to feel like a bit match and send the fans home happy and that’s what it did. What more can you ask for at a show like this? It got Vince ticked off and a local hero got some air time so all is right with the world. Match kind of sucked but whatever. Overall Rating: C+. This just wasn’t that great of a show. The last few matches certainly make it watchable, but the first hour is just dull. The main issues that I have with it were the times of the matches. Until the last three matches, nothing breaks seven minutes. That’s like a TV show. This whole thing felt like a house show with a budget to me. The other problem was that other than Vinnie Jones and British flags, there was nothing at all to make this feel like it was in England. For One Night Only, the main event was for the European Title, which wouldn’t have meant anything elsewhere, but there it meant a lot. You don’t have that on this show and it hurt things a lot. Even with that though, this is a decent show. Watch it, but don’t go out of your way to as there’s nothing to write home about.