In the Vault: WWE King of the Ring 1998

We dive into WWE King of the Ring 1998, a PPV with interesting stuff going on as well as surprises. As Austin defends their WWE Championship against Kane in a “First Blood Match,” there is one match that absolutely steals the show and becomes one of the truly iconic bouts in WWE history.

Best of 1998 WWE King of the Ring

It took until Game 5 on a nine-game card for a solid game to show up in the form of X-Pac against Owen Hart. While these two had better matches, for an Attitude Era PPV, this match was pretty darn good and really fun to watch. There was a fast pace that worked perfectly and both guys made the most of what little time they had.

I would say this fight definitely deserved a little more time to give these guys more space, but they did a great job in under ten minutes. If it had any sort of stake, it would have been a barn burner for sure.

Shamrock and The Rock are two guys who should have reached WWE heights together during the Attitude Era. They worked so well together and both had crazy momentum. Their feud went extremely well and the final of the 1998 KOTR was one of the best in a while from an in-ring action perspective.

These two had great chemistry and their finals match is definitely worth watching.

Now we’re down to the serious business part of King of the Ring 1998 as The Undertaker takes on deadly enemy humanity in Hell in a Cell! We’ve all heard of this game, we’ve all seen this game. However, if you do not have seen – surprisingly as hell – look at it.

This is one of those matches that is WWE’s peak spectacle and peak wrestling spectacle.

It’s not just violence and spots for violence’s sake, there’s the story of a dangerous and overwhelming monster – The Undertaker – really trying to stave off a dangerous and unyielding lunatic – the humanity. And that works. It’s a flawless story with a solid build building up to it.

If you want maximum thrills and thrills that will leave you awestruck, check it out or rewatch it. Hell, I watch this game several times a year and it’s one of my favorites.

Stone Cold Steve Austin defending his WWE Title against Kane should have been better than he was too. Austin was always at his best when the odds were against him and the stakes were high. In this case, it was a “First Blood Match” against a masked giant. If Kane won, he became champion but if he lost, he had to set himself on fire.

It was pretty juicy to watch if you were a kid and wrestling still had that magic. The build was great, but the match itself was entertaining and the action was good, but it was totally overshadowed by the Hell in a Cell combat, no doubt. Also, the final 1998 King of the Ring was more exciting to watch.

The rest

While not a truly great match or even a good match, the opener was rather unusual in that it wasn’t a match where I would say skipping is highly recommended. Taka Michinoku teams up with The Headbangers to take on Kaientai in this one and it’s actually quite a fun match.

Unlike his team with Justin Bradshaw, Taka actually has an assist that will mix with the Kaitai boys. With a little more time and if the Headbangers just put an extra tap or two on the pedal, it could have been pretty good.

Six-man tag team matches have always worked best when the gas is on and the pace is fast or furious in my opinion. The Headbangers were able to do it but just didn’t.

Jeff Jarrett taking on Ken Shamrock should have been better than he was since we had Double J who could do it in the ring and keep things together and Shamrock who had a lot of momentum and hype. Shamrock’s lack of selling hurt things here, but considering they did it in the time allotted, I’m not going to shit on it.

I mean, at least it wasn’t ten or fifteen minutes.

Now a worthwhile fight was The Rock vs. Dan Severn. The Rock was rising high as the IC Champion and he was a definite star that WWE was invested in. I always liked the aura around Dan Severn and he had that dope-ass theme song but he just didn’t translate well to pro wrestling at that time.

Or rather, he didn’t translate well in WWE. Elsewhere in wrestling, he had a place even though most of those matches were in the bleeding and creeping NWA during its most active time. In WWE, he just got lost in the shuffle because there were openers and lower midcarders with more charisma that fit WWE better.

Plus, The Rock and The Beast just didn’t do well. There was nothing that said they would, they just met in the semi-finals of King of the Ring 1998.

Ugh, I used to love Too Much – capable, cocky young wrestlers with a cool theme song – before Too Cool. They always seemed to fit the B-show vibe of shows like Shotgun Saturday night. Al Snow was a good wrestler who actually got better with age and really got into the crazy thing. However, it wasn’t a match I needed on the PvP. It took a bit long for what we had because Snow didn’t have a real partner, just Head.

The tag team title match between champions The New Age Outlaws and The New Midnight Express should have been slightly better than it was, but it certainly wasn’t a bad match at all. I would say it was as average as it gets, honestly.

There was no “umph” and it didn’t really engage or excite fans. It was a match that was right there but would have been a good chill if King of the Ring 1998 was stacked with dope matches throughout.

WWE King of the Ring 1998 Verdict: Silver Medal (2.7/5)

Hell in a Cell is our game of the evening and it totally boosted the rating of this event. Although there were some bangers and strong fights on King of the Ring 1998, this match eclipsed everything else. Second is Ken Shamrock defeating The Rock to win the 1998 KOTR. As with the rest of the show, as I said there were a few strong fights but most were standard Attitude Era mediocrity PPV.

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