WWF King of the Ring '98
June 28th, 1998

It's time for the 6th annual King of the Ring pay-per-view and four men remain in the annual King of the Ring tournament to battle for the crown. The Rock takes on Dan "The Beast" Severn while Ken Shamrock squares off with Jeff Jarrett, with the winners to battle head-to-head in the final. Plus WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin faces a new challenger to his title: the monstrous Kane, who he must battle in a first blood match for the gold. But of course the one match people remember most from this show is the now-legendary Hell in a Cell bout between The Undertaker and Mankind.

ARK1 Review: WWF King of the Ring 1998

by Adam King

June 28, 1998
Live from the Igloo in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

We begin with a biblical-style intro video hyping the Austin/Kane and Taker/Mankind matches, yet there's no mention of the KOTR tournament itself. After that our announcers, Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler welcome us to the show while several gasoline cans are scattered around ringside. The announcers remind us of Kane's promise that if he fails to win the WWF Title, he'll set himself on fire! Also the 'Hell in a Cell' cell is hanging from the ceiling.

The Headbangers & Taka Michinoku vs. Kaientai (w/Yamaguchi-San)
The announcers say this is a bonus match added to the pay-per-view. Taka, who's still the Light Heavyweight Champion, comes out with Mosh and Thrasher, and once they're all in the ring, Taka takes off his robe to show he's wearing a Headbangers shirt and skirt. The 'evil Japanese' trio of Dick Togo, Funaki and Mens Teioh make their way out next. Thrasher locks up with Teioh to start and applies an armbar before hitting elbows to the head. Thrasher whips Teioh into the ropes but Teioh slides under him and drop kicks him into the ropes. Teioh goes for a whip but Thrasher reverses and hits a tilt-o-whirl slam. Thrasher goes for a slam. Teioh floats over and pushes Thrasher into the ropes. Teioh ducks a clothesline and comes off the ropes but runs into a powerslam for a two count. Thrasher tags in Mosh and whips Teioh into a missile dropkick from his partner. Mosh goes for a whip but Teioh fakes him out and tags in Funaki. Funaki comes off the ropes and leaps over Mosh but runs into a powerbomb. Mosh whips Funaki into the ropes and hits a reverse splash, and then drapes him on the middle rope and straddles him. Taka tags in and straddles Funaki as well. Taka rams Funaki into a turnbuckle and lands a series of chops. Taka whips Funaki into the opposite corner and hits a running knee to the face, then climbs to the top rope and connects with a missile dropkick. Funaki rolls out of the ring to the floor and Taka hops to the top rope and hits a springboard plancha. Taka exchanges high fives with his partners before going back in.

As Mosh rolls Funaki back into the ring, Togo comes in and cheapshots Taka. Funaki tags Togo in and both men whip Taka into the ropes and hit a double clothesline, then clasp hands and drop a double elbow. Togo chops Taka into the ropes then goes for a whip. Taka reverses, Togo fakes him out but Taka manages to monkey-flip him across the ring. Taka charges at Togo but gets backdropped over the ropes to the floor. Togo goes for a baseball slide which he turns into a head scissors. Togo throws Taka back into the ring, and then tags in Teioh, who comes off the ropes and connects with a boot to Taka's face. Teioh goes for a whip but Taka reverses and slams Teioh into the mat. Teioh tags Funaki in, and Funaki whips Taka into the ropes for a running knee to the chest. Funaki taunts the Headbangers, drawing them in and allowing Togo to come in without a tag. Togo grabs Taka with a full nelson and Funaki comes at him but Taka stop him with a double boot, rolls Togo off of him, then goes for a maneuver but Funaki cuts him off with a bulldog. Togo with a go-behind, Taka reverses but Togo escapes, runs up the ropes and hits a corkscrew moonsault. Teioh comes in and holds Taka for Funaki to come off the ropes but Taka escapes and Funaki nails Teioh. Taka nails Funaki with a spinning heel kick, then crawls over and tags in both Headbangers. Both Mosh and Thrasher take it to all three men, planting Teioh with a double flapjack. All six men are going at in until Funaki manages to slam Thrasher. Funaki goes to the top rope but misses with an elbow drop. Thrasher slams Funaki to the mat, then tags in Taka, and both Headbangers press slam Taka onto Funaki. Taka then drills Funaki with the Michinoku Driver and gets the three count for the win.

Winners: The Headbangers & Taka (6:41)

Comments: Very fun opener to kick things off. Taka and the others got to show off some of their amazing stuff on a pay-per-view stage, and the 'Bangers weren't too bad either. I felt they should have given this match more time, or better yet have Taka defend the title against one of the Kaientai members in a singles bout, which he has hardly done since winning the belt last December. Still a good opener. [Score: 8/10]

Sable comes out to ring, having been recently reinstated by WWF Owner Vince McMahon. As the crowd cheers her, Sable then brings out Vince McMahon, who comes out with Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson to a chorus of boos. As Sable starts to leave, Patterson pats her on the rear end, prompting her to slap him in the face. Patterson starts yelling at Sable while Gerald says the fans should be cheering for Vince. Vince thanks the fans for joining them, asking how many are here to see Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated or see Kane set on fire? Vince says if that's the case, they're setting themselves up for a great disappointment. Vince tells the fans their lives were probably a symphony of disappointments, not measuring up to their parents' success, not making the grade in athletics and academics, and that their parents were disappointments as well. Vince adds the fans may blame their parents for all their problems, but they know what failure is. Vince wraps up by saying he's softening the blow when Steve Austin loses the title tonight and Kane is announced as the new WWF Champion. Pretty good promo, though why couldn't he do it on the Free-For-All instead of using PPV time?

J.R. finally mentions the King of the Ring tournament, with the two semifinal matches next.

Ken Shamrock vs. Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) King of the Ring Semifinal Match
Ken Shamrock, back in action after Owen Hart injured his ankle, made it this far by beating Kama Mustafa in the first round and Mark Henry in the quarterfinals. Jeff Jarrett got here by defeating Faarooq in the first round and Marc Mero in the quarterfinals. Jarrett attacks Shamrock as he's climbing into the ring but Shamrock fights him off. Shamrock whips Jarrett into the ropes and hits a back elbow. Shamrock whips Jarrett into the ropes again and hits a thrust kick, followed by a knee lift to the face. Shamrock throws Jarrett into a corner and lays into him. Shamrock goes for a whip, Jarrett reverses and sends Shamrock into the opposite corner but Shamrock comes out with a clothesline. Shamrock hits a snap suplex for a two count. Shamrock whips Jarrett into the ropes but misses a spinkick and Jarrett belts him in the chest followed by a swinging neckbreaker. Jarrett lands a short-arm clothesline, then whips Shamrock into the ropes and connects with a dropkick. Jarrett goes for another whip but Shamrock reverses and hits a spinkick to the chest. Shamrock clotheslines Jarrett over the ropes to the floor, then goes out and rams Jarrett into the apron. Shamrock drops Jarrett onto the guardrail then whips him into the ringsteps. Shamrock throws Jarrett back into the ring, Jarrett calls for a timeout but Shamrock won't have it. Shamrock goes for a whip but Jarrett reverses and Tennessee trips Shamrock from the outside, distracting him and allowing Jarrett to hit a chopblock to the knee. Jarrett works over the leg, then distracts the referee allowing Tennessee to get in a shot. Jarrett kicks at the knee and wraps it around the middle rope. Referee Tim White orders a break, even pulling Jarrett off by the hair. However while White is distracted Tennessee rams Shamrock's ankle into the ringpost. Jarrett continues kicking at the knee then whips Shamrock into a corner. Shamrock hits an elbow then connects with a spinning heel kick. Shamrock whips Jarrett into the ropes and hits another heel kick. Shamrock whips Jarrett a third time and hits a third heel kick. Shamrock whips Jarrett into the ropes a fourth time and hits a powerslam for a two count. Shamrock goes for another whip, this time Jarrett reverses, but Shamrock hits a huricanrana. Shamrock immediately goes into the Anklelock and Jarrett quickly taps out, giving Shamrock the win and sending him into the finals.

Winner: Ken Shamrock (5:29)

Tennessee comes in and Shamrock takes him out with a belly-to-belly suplex. Michael Cole grabs a quick interview with Shamrock, who says he has one more mountain to climb and he didn't come here to be second best.

Comments: Despite being only five minutes, this was a solid match. There was some good fast-paced action along with a bit of psychology. I would have liked to see it get more time, since it is a tournament semi-final, but good for what it is. [Score: 8/10]

The Rock vs. Dan "The Beast" Severn King of the Ring Semifinal Match
This is the WWF PPV debut of NWA Champion Dan Severn, who qualified for the tournament by defeating D'Lo Brown by submission in the first round (with an armbar submission that supposedly ripped D'Lo's pectoral muscles) and by beating Owen Hart in the quarterfinals. The Rock made it to the semis by beating Vader in the first round and Triple H in the quarterfinals. The Rock comes out with Mark Henry and Kama (who's staring to morph into the Godfather at this point) but the referee orders them to the back before Severn hits the ring. The Rock's Intercontinental Title is not on the line.

Severn takes Rock down by the leg and Rock quickly grabs the ropes, forcing a break. They lock up and Severn gets the advantage with a takedown. Severn tries to apply a submission hold but Rock manages to reach the ropes, forcing another break. They lock up, Severn slams Rock to the mat and tries to apply a half crab, which Rock thwarts by grabbing the ropes. They lock up again and Rock knocks Severn away with an elbow. Rock rams Severn into a pair of turnbuckles, then whips him into a corner. Rock charges at him but Severn moves and slams him with a fireman's carry into an armbar. Rock tries to hold on and manages to reach the ropes. Rock elbows Severn in the face and hits a clothesline. Rock lays the boots to Severn before mocking him. Rock hits a suplex and covers but only gets two. Rock kicks at Severn when Severn punches him in the chest and fights him into a corner. Rock fights out it and applies a headlock, Severn shoves him into the ropes and Rock hits a shoulderblock, taking both men down. Mark Henry and Kama come back out and the referee tries to keep them out of the ring. Suddenly D'Lo Brown comes in through the crowd, wearing a chest protector because of the injury (this was the birth of D'Lo's chest protector gimmick). D'Lo quickly climbs to the top rope and hits the Lo Down on Severn. D'Lo then escapes through the crowd and Rock covers Severn to get the three count for the win, putting him in the final against Shamrock.

Winner: The Rock (4:25)

So we're going to have our third one-on-one PPV meeting between the Rock and Shamrock. Michael Cole interviews the Rock, who says before Shamrock will climb any mountain he's going to hit Rock bottom.

Comments: Another short but solid match. It may be too scientific for some people but still a decent showing from both men. Of course some of the fans were disappointed that they don't get to see Shamrock and Severn hook up in the finals, but having the Rock go over makes more sense. [Score: 7/10]

Too Much vs. Al Snow & Head
This is Snow's shot at getting back in the WWF, which he has been trying to do the past few week by getting help from Jerry Lawler. If Snow beats Too Cool he gets to meet with Vince McMahon, but if he loses he's out of luck. This is billed as a tag team match (with Head as a legal participant) but it's essentially a handicap match. Anyway Brian Christopher & Scott Taylor come out first before Jerry Lawler gets a quick interview with Snow, who's arguing with Head then says the Head "don't lay down for anybody". Snow and Head come out next to no music, and JR notices there's no referee in the ring. Howard Finkel announces that a special referee has been assigned, and that happens to be: Jerry "The King" Lawler. JR is crying foul as Lawler slips on a referee's shirt and enters the ring, and Snow chews out Head for not telling him this.

Scott Taylor starts off by locking up with Snow. Snow quickly gets the advantage with a front Russian leg sweep, then grabs Taylor by the hair and lands a series of crossface punches. Snow turns his attention to Head, allowing Taylor to recover and land some shots. Taylor goes for a whip, Snow reverses but puts his head down and Taylor rolls over him. Taylor starts dancing, both men miss clotheslines and Snow hits an Atomic Drop. Snow follows up with a pair of clotheslines, and Taylor scurries to corner and tags in Brian Christopher, who spits at Head. Both men lock up and Brian claims Snow's pulling his hair, prompting Lawler to force a break and reprimand Snow. Both men lock up again, Brian forces Snow into a corner by pulling the hair, which doesn't get noticed by Lawler. Snow escapes and tries a punch but Lawler stops him, allowing Brian to connect with a shot. Brian lays the boots to Snow then climbs to the top rope, but Snow cuts him off and slams him to the mat. Snow climbs to the top rope but Taylor bumps him, causing him to crotch the top turnbuckle. Brian goes up but Snow stops him and hits a Sunset Flip from the top rope. Snow covers Brian and Lawler makes a really long two count before Brian kicks out. Snow clotheslines Brian over the top rope to the floor, and when Taylor comes in he gets backdropped to the floor.

Snow goes out and slams Brian to the concrete floor, then starts walking away but changes his mind and nails Brian with a running clothesline. However Taylor springs from the top rope and hits a cross body on Snow. Brian throws Snow back into the ring, then climbs to the top rope and connects with a missile dropkick. Brian dares Snow to tag in Head before biting his hand. Brian tags in Taylor and both men hit a double Atomic drop on Snow. Brian grabs Snow by the hair, allowing Taylor to dropkick him in the face. Taylor covers Snow and Lawler tries a fast count but Snow kicks out at two. Taylor applies a chinlock, Snow fights out if it and comes off the ropes sliding under Taylor but Taylor hits a pump handle slam. Taylor moonwalks backs to his corner before hitting a running kick to Snow's face. Taylor whips Snow into the ropes, Snow slides under him again and this time hits a back suplex by the legs. Lawler helps Taylor tag in Brian, who applies a headlock on Snow and hits a bulldog. Brian tags Taylor back in, both men whip Snow into the ropes but Snow drills both men with DDTs then "tags in" Head. Snow nails Brian and Taylor with Head before hitting the Snowplow on Brian. Snow covers but Lawler refuses to count, with JR saying Snow's not the legal man. While Lawler goes out, Taylor whips Snow into the ropes but Snow low blows Taylor with Head then clobbers him in the face. Snow hits the Snowplow on Taylor, but Lawler brings in a 'Head & Shoulders' shampoo bottle, which Brian sticks on Head. Brian then covers Head while Snow covers Taylor and Lawler counts 1.2.3. Snow thinks he won, but Lawler says he counted the pin for Brian, so Too Much wins, meaning Snow doesn't get his meeting.

Winners: Too Much (8:27)

Comments: Pretty stupid waste of time. All three men tried, and there were some funny moments, but overall the match just didn't work. Also most of the crowd didn't seem to care about the match, or even the storyline, though Head did get some reaction from the crowd. [Score: 3/10]

X-Pac (w/Chyna) vs. Owen Hart
This is X-Pac's first PPV match since returning to the WWF from WCW in April. Owen cost X-Pac a chance to advance in the KOTR qualifying round, and X-Pac did the same to Owen in the semi-finals, so this is a chance at revenge match for both men. Naturally JR makes no mention of both men battling each other in the 1994 KOTR tournament. X-Pac comes out first with Chyna to a good reaction. Owen comes out next but as he reaches the ring X-Pac nails a baseball slide to start the match. X-Pac goes out and beats up Owen before throwing him in the ring. X-Pac chops Owen in a corner then whips him into the opposite corner and lands a series of kicks. X-Pac whips Owen back the other way and charges at him but hits the turnbuckles when Owen sidesteps him. Owen tees off on X-Pac and stomps him to the mat. Owen rams X-Pac into a turnbuckle and whips him hard into a corner. Owen whips X-Pac hard into the opposite corner and follows up with a backbreaker. Both men exchange punches until Owen hits a headbutt, then whips X-Pac into the ropes and connects with a spinning heel kick for a two count. Owen goes for a whip but X-Pac reverses Owen into a corner then hits a spin kick to the head. X-Pac rams Owen into a corner and lands several chops but Owen fights back and lands an uppercut. Owen chops X-Pac then plants him with a Fisherman's suplex for a two count. Owen lands a Gutwrench suplex for another two count. Owen headbutts X-Pac and whips him into the ropes but lowers the head and X-Pac kicks him in the face. Owen manages to roll X-Pac in a cradle but only gets two. Owen goes for a whip but X-Pac reverses and hits a backdrop, then clotheslines Owen over the top rope to the floor. X-Pac goes out and hits a clothesline from the apron. X-Pac goes for a whip but Owen reverses and whips X-Pac into the timekeeper's table. Owen suplexes X-Pac onto the Spanish announcer's table, then throws him back in the ring, climbs to the top rope, and connects with a missile drop kick for a near fall.

Owen whips X-Pac into the ropes and applies a sleeperhold. X-Pac begins to fade but manages to fight out of it. X-Pac shoves Owen into the ropes and applies his own sleeper. Owen shoves him off and X-Pac hits the X-Factor (this wasn't his finisher yet). Both men get to their feet and X-Pac gets the advantage. X-Pac whips Owen into the ropes and attempts a spin kick, Owen grabs the leg but X-Pac hits the enzuigiri. X-Pac shoves Owen into the ropes and lands a series of kicks before choking Owen with his boot. Owen slumps down in the corner and X-Pac lands the Bronco Buster. X-Pac slams Owen to the mat and climbs to the top rope, but Owen cuts him off. Owen sets X-Pac up for a superplex, X-Pac shoves him off but loses his footing and crotches the turnbuckle before falling to the floor. Suddenly Mark Henry comes out and splashes X-Pac on the floor. Henry throws X-Pac back in the ring just before Chyna starts getting in his face and arguing with him. All of a sudden Vader comes out and starts brawling with Henry. In the ring Owen applies the Sharpshooter on X-Pac and X-Pac is tapping out, but the referee is too busy trying to break up the melee outside to notice. Chyna comes in and DDTs Owen. The referee comes back in the ring and X-Pac manages to drape an arm on Owen for the three count and the win.

Winner: X-Pac (8:30)

Comments: This is a good match for what it was. Both men showed off some great abilities and the match flowed pretty well with some nice moments. Unfortunately the ending was way overbooked with too many unnecessary run-ins, which does hurt the score a little but not a whole lot. [Score: 8/10]

Paul Bearer makes his way to the ring for some reason and JR mentions last week on Raw, when the Undertaker broke into Bearer's home and attacked him. Bearer says that the fans may have though he wasn't going to be here tonight, but he wouldn't miss this night for the world. He took two of the worst beatings at the hands of the Undertaker and cursed him after the doctors took the stitches out of his head. Bearer goes on to say that Kane sat alone in his room for 20 years surrounded by pictures of the Undertaker, and every Saturday he would watch Undertaker on WWF Superstars and say he wanted to be like him. Bearer claims that Kane was ridiculed for his whole life, not being able to do what other boys did. However Bearer adds that tonight will be the happiest day of his life, since he'll be the father and the manager of the WWF Champion, and while the fans may laugh at him, he's going to laugh all the way to the bank.

WWF World Tag Team Titles The New Age Outlaws (w/Chyna) vs. The New Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette)
This is the other bonus match added to the show. The New Midnight Express (Bob Holly & Bart Gunn) are still NWA Tag Team Champions but those titles aren't on the line. (Not that anybody cared; the whole NWA angle was dead by this point). Road Dogg and Billy Gunn hit the ring with Chyna and the Outlaws doing their usual spiel before the New Midnights come in wearing their NWA belts. Bob Holly locks up with Road Dogg to start and Road Dogg forces Bob into a corner and the referee forces a break. They lock up again, Bob gets the advantage with a headlock, Road Dogg shoves him into the ropes but Bob hits a shoulderblock. Bob comes off the ropes, Road Dogg leaps over him and hits a hiptoss. Bob kicks him away and Road Dogg hits a clothesline. Road Dogg whips Bob into the ropes, misses a clothesline, and Bob hits his own clothesline. Bob whips Road Dogg into a corner but eats a boot to the face. Road Dogg tags in Billy Gunn while Bob tags in Bart Gunn, and the two Gunns stand face to face for the first time since early 1997 while JR (rightfully) brings up their history, mentioning that the two are "brothers" and former Tag Team Champions. Billy gets the advantage, Bart applies a headlock, Billy shoves him into the ropes and Bart hits a shoulderblock. Bart comes off the ropes, Billy avoids him twice and goes for a hip toss but Bart blocks it and hits a clothesline for a two count. Bart whips Billy into the ropes, Billy ducks a clothesline and tries a Sunset Flip that gets countered into a pin, which Billy bridges out into a backslide for two. Billy hits the Rocker Dropper for a two count. Billy whips Bart into the ropes, misses a clothesline, Bart leaps over him but Billy still hits a clothesline. Billy taunts Bart with the DX chop, then tags in Road Dogg, whips Bart into the ropes and trips him with a drop toe hold, allowing Road Dogg to hit a knee drop.

Road Dogg goes for a whip, Bart reverses and tries to go for a slam but Road Dogg floats over. Road Dogg shoves Bart into the ropes but Bart ducks through them and Bob nails Road Dogg from the outside. Bob comes in and gets in some shots before tagging Bart back in. Bart hits an axehandle, then tags in Bob and the New Midnights do the Outlaws' double team move, with Bart tripping Road Dogg and Bob dropping an elbow for a two count. Bob slams Road Dogg to the mat, then climbs to the top rope and connects with an elbow drop for another two count. Bob and Bart exchange tags before Bart slams Road Dogg to the mat press slams Bob onto their opponent for a two count. Road Dogg starts to fight back so Bob draws Billy in to distract the referee while Bart comes off the top rope with an axehandle. Bob whips Road Dogg into the ropes and connects with a dropkick. Bob does the DX "S*** It!" line, prompting Billy to come in and hit a bulldog. Road Dogg rolls Bob up but only gets two. Bob snapmares Road Dogg into a chinlock. Road Dogg fights out of it and comes off the ropes but runs into a knee to the face. Bob slams Road Dogg to the mat, then climbs to the top rope. Bob leaps off but eats a boot to the face. Road Dogg finally makes the tag to Billy, and Billy comes in and takes it to both Midnights. Billy rams Bart into a turnbuckle, then sets Bob up for a piledriver. Bart tries to stop him but Road Dogg intercepts him and the two start fighting on the floor. While the referee is busy with them, Billy lifts Bob up for the piledriver when Jim Cornette comes in and whacks Billy in the back with one of the NWA Tag title belts. Bob covers Billy, the referee turns around and counts 1.2. but Billy kicks out. Both Midnights whips Billy into the ropes, Billy ducks a double clothesline, Road Dogg trips Bart up from the outside while Billy knocks Bob down and gets a two count. Road Dogg and Bart are brawling on the outside again, grabbing the referee's attention. Bob lifts Billy up Billy floats over and rolls Bob up, but the referee doesn't notice it. Cornette comes in, NWA Tag belt in hand, but Billy stops him. Cornette holds the belt ready to swing it, not noticing Chyna behind him, and Chyna hits a low blow on Cornette. Bob pops Billy and goes for a whip but Billy reverses and both Outlaws hit a double Hot Shot on the top rope. Billy covers Bob and gets the three to retain the titles.

Winners and still Tag Team Champions: The New Age Outlaws (9:54)

Comments: This was a pretty solid tag team match. It wasn't the greatest but was still decent with some good moments, including the Billy/Bart sequence. Again there's a slight issue with overbooking but fortunately it doesn't really detract too much. The New Midnight Express were pretty much finished by this point, as the team would split up several weeks later and go in different career directions, finally ending the whole NWA angle for good. [Score: 7/10]

The Rock vs. Ken Shamrock King of the Ring Final
Triple H (last year's KOTR winner) comes out and joins the announcers' table for this match, while Chyna joins the Spanish announcers. Shamrock tires to start with a spin kick but Rock backs away. They lock up but quickly break. They lock up again and Rock shoves Shamrock away. Rock gets the advantage and goes for a whip, Shamrock reverses but misses a pair of clotheslines. Shamrock tries a press slam, Rock floats over and shoves him into the ropes but Shamrock hangs on. Shamrock misses a clothesline but connects with a kick to the chest that sends Rock through the ropes to the floor. Rock comes back in and locks up with Shamrock before ramming him into a pair of turnbuckles. Rock goes for a whip but Shamrock reverses and nails two clotheslines. Rock lands several shots before ramming Shamrock into a third turnbuckle. Rock goes for a whip but Shamrock reverses and throws him over the top rope to the floor. Rock tries to gather himself as he walks over to the announcers' tables and notices Triple H sitting there. Rock and Triple H start arguing until Triple H spits water in his face. Rock shoves him down and Triple H wants to go after him, while Shamrock ambushes Rock and rams him into the guardrail and then both announcers' tables. Rock throws Shamrock back in the ring and tries a suplex but Shamrock blocks it and hits his own for a two count. Shamrock goes for a whip but Rock reverses and throws Shamrock to the outside when Shamrock's hand gets caught in the ropes. After Shamrock's hand is free, Rock goes out and tries to whip Shamrock, Shamrock reverses and sends Rock into the guardrail but Rock comes back with a clothesline. Rock drops Shamrock onto the guardrail before throwing him back in the ring. Rock whips Shamrock into the ropes and belts him in the chest, followed by a neckbreaker. Rock covers but only gets two. Shamrock tries to fight back and whips Rock into a corner but Rock comes out and hits a DDT for a two count.

Rock applies a chinlock and Shamrock tries to hold on. Shamrock fights out of it and comes off the ropes but eats an elbow that gives Rock a two count. Rock slams Shamrock to the mat, then hits the People's Elbow for a near fall. Rock applies another chinlock and Shamrock fights out of it. Shamrock whips Rock into the ropes but Rock counters with a tornado DDT for two. Rock whips Shamrock into the ropes but Shamrock ducks a clothesline and plants him with a suplex. Both men are down and the referee begins counting, reaching nine before they get to the feet. Rock comes off the ropes but misses a clothesline and Shamrock lands an elbow. Shamrock whips Rock into the ropes for a heel kick. Shamrock whips Rock into the ropes again and hits a powerslam for two. Shamrock hits a Fisherman's Suplex but gets only two again. Rock comes back with an uppercut, then rams Shamrock into a corner. Rock whips Shamrock into the opposite corner and Shamrock hits an elbow. Shamrock charges but runs into a powerslam from Rock for a two count. Rock goes for a whip, Shamrock reverses, Rock tries another tornado DDT but Shamrock counters with a Northern Lights suplex for two. Shamrock fights Rock into a corner and goes for a whip but Rock counters into a short-arm clothesline for a two count. Rock goes for a whip but Shamrock counters into his own short-arm clothesline for two. Shamrock comes off the ropes and tries a huricanrana but Rock counters into a Hot Shot on the top rope. Rock covers and the referee counts 1.2.but Shamrock kicks out. Rock stands above Shamrock when Shamrock takes Rock down and applies the Anklelock! Rock tries to hold on but finally submits, and Shamrock wins the crown!

Winner and 1998 King of the Ring: Ken Shamrock (14:09)

Shamrock gets his hands raised as Triple H walks off, but they don't have a coronation ceremony.

Comments: So Shamrock finally gets his clean singles win over The Rock. Great match between the two of them, definitely better than their outing at Wrestlemania. It had its slow spots, especially at the beginning, but was solid throughout with some good psychology and had a great ending with a clean finish. Great way to cap off the last good KOTR tournament. [Score: 8/10]

JR begins to hype our two main events as the Cell begins to lower, signaling the next match.

The Undertaker vs. Mankind Hell in a Cell Match
Mankind comes out first with a chair in hand and starts to head into the cell, but comes back out and throws the chair on top of the cell, then climbs up to the top. The Undertaker comes out next and looks up at Mankind, who's daring Taker to come up and start the match on the cell roof. Taker decides to climb up after him and Mankind greets him with shots to the head. Taker fights him off and climbs up the roof where Mankind clocks him in the head with the chair. They continue to fight when part of the cell roof gives in. Mankind sets Taker up for a DDT onto the chair but Taker fights out of it. Taker suddenly throws Mankind off the cell and Mankind crashes through the Spanish announcers' table below!!! Mankind is barely moving in the wreckage as Taker looks down at him. Terry Funk comes out to check on Mankind, along with several officials who take off his mask. Even Vince McMahon and Sgt. Slaughter come out. The cell begins to raise (with the Undertaker still on top) so the EMTs can get a stretcher out there. Mankind is loaded on the stretcher and taken out, after which the cell comes back down. Taker starts climbing down when Mankind gets off the stretcher and smiles, wanting to keep going!

Mankind pushes the EMTs aside as he runs back to the cell and climbs back up to the top, with Taker doing to same, and the match resumes on the roof. Taker headbutts Mankind then tries to chokeslam him onto the chair but the cell gives way and Mankind falls to the ring below with the chair falling on his face! Mankind is unconscious as Funk and the doctors pour into the cell to tend to him. Taker comes down through the hole and scares away all the EMTs. Funk tries to stop him but Taker ends up chokeslamming him. (Reportedly the bump through the cell was not planned so this was to give Foley time to recover.) Taker throws Funk out of the ring just as Mankind gets to his feet. Taker nails Mankind with a right hand and Mankind crumbles to the mat. Taker grabs the arm and walks the top rope but Mankind bumps the ropes and Taker crotches the top rope. As the referees lock the cell door shut, we get the infamous shot of Mankind's bloody smile.

Taker tries to recover when Mankind knocks him off the apron into the cell. Mankind goes out and tries to lift up the ringsteps but can't. Taker grabs the steps and rams them into Mankind's head and shoulder repeatedly. Taker lands a series of uppercuts before going back into the ring. Taker goes for the suicide plancha through the ropes but misses and dives into the cell, busting himself open. Mankind rams Taker into the cell twice, then rubs his face along the mesh. Both men are back in the ring and Mankind piledrives Taker into the chair. Mankind covers and the referee counts 1.2.but Taker kicks out. Mankind hammers away at Taker's open wound, then drapes the chair over Taker's face and hits a legdrop onto the chair for a two count. Mankind is actually laughing as he hits a double-arm DDT. Mankind then goes out and brings a bag into to the ring and out pours hundreds of thumbtacks onto the mat! Mankind tries to knock Taker into the tacks, but Taker grabs him by the throat. Mankind escapes and comes off the ropes but runs into a big boot. Taker scoops Mankind up for a Tombstone but Mankind floats over and locks on the Mandible Claw. Taker begins to fade and the referee checks the arm. It drops once, twice, but Taker keeps it up the third time. Taker picks Mankind up on his back and throws himself backward, driving Mankind into the tacks! Taker then chokeslams Mankind into the tacks! Taker finally hits the Tombstone Piledriver and a three count later it's over.

Winner: The Undertaker (16:00)

The Undertaker slowly leaves the ring as the EMT's bring the stretcher into the cell to cart Mankind out. After the cell is raised, Mankind declines the stretcher, so Terry Funk and Slaughter help Mankind to the back as the fans give Mankind a well-deserved standing ovation.

Comments: Just an awesome match that really lived up to the hype. While the actual wrestling may not be much both men still gave it their all, especially Mankind, who went way above and beyond with the two huge bumps to make this a memorable contest. This is definitely a match for the ages, one that should have been the main event. [Score: 10/10]

WWF World Heavyweight Title Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Kane (w/Paul Bearer) First Blood Match
As usual, the first man to bleed loses. Naturally Austin's at a real disadvantage, since Kane's wearing a mask and full-body costume with only his left hand exposed. Also Austin's wrestling with a taped-up elbow, having suffered a staph infection the week before the show. Once Austin comes out he goes right to work, charging the ring and hitting a Lou Thesz press followed by a series of rights and an elbow drop. Austin nails Kane with his WWF Title belt twice then takes off a turnbuckle pad, exposing a steel bolt. Austin hammers Kane and tries to ram him into the bolt and Kane blocks it but Kane can't push Austin into the bolt either. Kane pops Austin with a series of uppercuts and chokes him on the mat. Austin fights back and goes for a whip but Kane reverses and scoops him up for a Tombstone. Austin floats over and shoves Kane over the top rope but Kane lands on his feet on the floor. Kane pulls Austin out of the ring but Austin blocks a right and rams him into the ringsteps twice. As Austin and Kane continue to fight, the Hell in a Cell begins to lower for whatever reason. Kane drops Austin onto the guardrail then whips him into the steps. Austin attempts a whip but Kane reverses and sends Austin into the descending Cell wall. Kane chokes Austin, trapping him under the Cell which almost lands on him but Austin gets out of the way. Kane throws Austin into the Cell several times, then sends Austin into the steps again. Kane goes for a whip but Austin counters and shoves Kane into the cell door. The Cell starts to raise again, with Kane still in the doorway. Austin gets in some shots before Kane grabs him by the throat. Kane falls from the doorway to the floor before Austin throws him into the guardrail a few times and the two brawl up the aisle. Austin brings Kane over to the entrance and sets him up for a piledriver but Kane backdrops him. We then get a quick shot of Vince McMahon watching the match from the skybox along with Sable.

Kane clubs Austin in the chest twice, Austin tries a suplex but Kane counters into his own suplex. Kane rams Austin into a spotlight before shoving him into a piece of guardrail, after which he nails Austin with it. Austin and Kane head back to the ring, which now has the Cell half-lowered over it. Austin rams Kane into the exposed bolt, then chokes him on the middle rope before straddling him. Austin throws Kane out of the ring and rams him into the guardrail, then into the timekeeper's table, then into the announcers' table. Austin grabs an electric fan and waffles Kane in the face. Kane grabs Austin by the throat and shoves him into referee Earl Hebner, knocking him out. Kane throws Austin into the ring, then climbs to the top rope and connects with a flying clothesline. Kane tries to ram Austin into the exposed bolt but Austin blocks it so Kane pops him with an uppercut. Kane comes off the top rope again but Austin moves out of the way. Austin lays the boots to Kane then shoves him into a corner and stomps away at him. Austin flips Kane the bird and rams his head into the bolt repeatedly. Suddenly Mankind comes running down with a chair in hand. Austin attacks Mankind and hits the Stunner just as the cell begins lowering again. Kane grabs Austin by the throat but Austin manages to hit the Stunner on Kane. Austin grabs Mankind's chair just as the Undertaker comes in with his own chair. Austin prepares to take a swing at Mankind when the Undertaker swings as well and accidentally(?) nails Austin, busting him open. Taker clotheslines Kane and Mankind out of the ring then brings Hebner back into the ring. Taker grabs one of the gas cans and pours gasoline on Hebner to wake him up. Kane nails Taker with the chair then turns his attention toward the bloodied Austin, who fights back. Austin hops to the middle top and connects with a clothesline. Austin wrestles the chair away from Kane and clocks him with it. However Hebner sees Austin's bloody face and stops the match, declaring Kane the winner and the new champion!

Winner and NEW WWF Champion: Kane (14:52)

Everyone is shocked that Austin's title reign has come to a sudden end. Austin argues with Hebner while up in the skybox, Vince smiles and gloats, thinking he's finally gotten one over on Austin as the PPV comes to a close.

Comments: This main event was good but unfortunately had to follow the excellent Hell in a Cell match. That said, Austin and Kane put together a decent title bout that was a fun, entertaining brawl but featured more overbooking and run-ins(is this beginning to sound familiar?). Of course as we all remember Kane wouldn't enjoy the title long as Austin regains the belt the very next night on Raw, and Kane failed to win another world heavyweight championship for 10 years. [Score: 8/10]

CONCLUSION: King of the Ring '98 was actually a pretty good show. The undercard had some solid matches throughout, from the wild opener to the KOTR final, and the Austin/Kane match was a decent main event that sadly had to follow the Hell in a Cell match (which it couldn't). As for the Hell in a Cell, it delivered in spades and has managed to stand the test of time. The only real sore spot was the Al Snow/Too Much debacle, and there was still too much filler with the in-ring interviews. Also the HIAC match should have gone on last. Finally this continued to show that the King of the Ring tournament was quickly becoming an afterthought on its own pay-per-view, since the two semifinals matches both lasted less than six minutes and there was no real emphasis on it. At least Ken Shamrock turned out to be a decent King of the Ring, as he would go on to hold the Intercontinental and Tag Team titles and have some decent matches before his WWF run came to a premature end in late 1999. That's more than we can say for some of the other Kings (i.e. Billy Gunn and Mabel). Overall another great pay-per-view from the WWF. Check it out to watch the immortal match as well as Shamrock winning the tournament and Kane's brief moment of glory.


(Thanks to Adam King for this great review)