Torch Flashbacks WWF PPV FLASHBACK: Taker & Kane both win WWF Title at Breakdown 1998
Sep 27, 2015 - 2:14:52 AM
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WWF Breakdown PPV Flashback
September 27, 1998
HEADLINE: Austin loses title, but new champ not crowned
SUBHEADLINE: Kane and Undertaker score simultaneous pins, now must face each other at next PPV with Austin as ref
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: PWTorch Newsletter #514
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor
The story changed, but the players are the same. At Sunday night's "Breakdown" pay-per-view, Steve Austin lost the WWF Title for the second time since Wrestlemania, but it wasn't clear whether Kane or Undertaker would be crowned the new champion. At the WWF's next PPV, Oct. 18's "Judgement Day," Austin will get to crown a new champion - Kane or Undertaker - as he has been named special referee by Vince McMahon for that title match. (Editor's Note: The match ended in a No Contest; this set up a tournament, which ended at Survivor Series in November.)
On Raw the day after Breakdown, McMahon came to the ring to Austin's music with the WWF Title belt over his shoulder. McMahon was accompanied by Sgt. Slaughter, Gerald Brisco, Pat Patterson, and eight security officers. He said fans should believe him next time he says, "I guarantee you" and said unlike last time there will be no rematch for Austin. McMahon said the police officers were stationed outside the arena to be sure Austin had easy access into and out of the arena (but they were really there to keep him out). McMahon said he would crown a new WWF Champion later on the show. He said he would present that individual the official WWF Title belt. McMahon said Austin made the title belt for himself, pointing out that it had a skull on it. McMahon said there is only one place that belt is going. "That's above my fireplace, above my mantle, in one of my homes.," he said. "It will be placed there with all of my other awards and trophies." McMahon took off his jacket and Slaughter wrapped Austin's title belt around his waist. McMahon stood on the corner turnbuckle and raised his arms a la Austin. The crowd booed. Later on the show, McMahon revealed to Undertaker and Kane that because they didn't do their job by letting Austin attack him twice since they were hired as bodyguards, he was going to make them fight each other for the title.
McMahon made himself the star of the weekend. Without any top heels to take over as Austin's main opponent, McMahon is relying on himself to be the top heel while using title changes, character turns, and gimmick matches to sustain the long-running Austin-Undertaker-Kane feud. On next Monday's Raw (taped Sept. 29 in East Lansing, Mich.), Undertaker causes Kane to lose to Ken Shamrock. Later Kane tries to cost Undertaker his bout against Rocky, but Undertaker fends off that interference and pins Rocky after a tombstone on a chair.
The WWF began tinkering with several characters, but none of the angles point toward an obvious future opponent for Austin, assuming Austin is even being considered the WWF's long-term champion anymore. The WWF teased breaking up DX with Billy Gunn becoming a singles wrestler. Whether they are turning him heel or not wasn't clear. Ross did refer to Gunn as "perhaps the best pure athlete in the WWF."
The break-out star of the last couple of months took a giant step to the top tier of the WWF's roster. Rocky Maivia won a three-way cage match to become number one contender to the WWF Title and the next night he pinned Undertaker with his finishing hold on national television. Next week on Raw he will have Undertaker pinned after his Rock Bottom, but the ref will be down and unable to count the pin. He got pops that rivaled, if not surpassed, those Austin and Undertaker received. When he pinned Undertaker on Raw, the crowd popped as if he had just pinned a hated heel. Granted, Undertaker's character has been jerked around lately due to hot-shot booking and fans may not be sure what Undertaker stands for anymore, but he is considered the no. 2 star in the WWF behind Austin. (Editor's Note: Rock went on to win his first WWF Title at Survivor Series two months later.)
The WWF seems to be booking on the fly, but that has led to unpredictability. Outside of Undertaker's character perhaps being damaged by his about-face decision to align with McMahon last month, most of the wrestlers are coming out of this blender-style booking strategy stronger and fresher as a result. Raw on Monday beat Nitro by a 4.6 to 4.0 margin despite Nitro featuring a blockbuster main event of Hollywood Hogan vs. Bret Hart.
McMahon's on-air angle was that he had a "master plan" to get the belt off of Austin. Ironically, it was the lack of of a master plan that led to McMahon having to take the belt off of Austin in order to get one more PPV main event out of the long-running Austin-Undertaker-Kane feud. Will Undertaker or Kane win the title at Judgement Day? What will Austin? role be? Can the WWF avoid matching The Rock and Austin? If they match them up, who will fans cheer? Will the WWF headline Survivor Series with yet another Austin vs. Kane or Undertaker match? Will the fans buy it? The TV ratings say, "So far, so good."
- VIP Members read Keller's Full Breakdown 1998 PPV Report HERE .
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