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Thread: WWE Fully Loaded 1998 Review

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    Fully Loaded WWE Fully Loaded 1998 Review

    Fully Loaded
    July 26, 1998

    Val Venis vs Jeff Jarrett w/Tennessee Lee
    This would mark Valís PPV debut. Kaientai leader, Mr. Yamaguchi-san, would join Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler for commentator to hype up this new program he has going on with Venis after Venis released a sex tape with Yamaguchiís wife. This does beg a question. If the program is between Venis and Kaientai, then why is the match involving Jarrett? Itís not as if Venis and Jarrett had had any contact in the build-up to this match. I donít know what the deal is, but Jarrett looked off tonight. He wasnít so much botching so much as he kept awkward spots where he looked off of his game. Itís all back and forth, mostly uninteresting, despite Venis trying to work hard. Throughout the match, Lawler harasses Yamaguchi, constantly joking about his wife. Yamaguchi-san does promise to reveal something to Venis tomorrow on Raw though. Although Tennessee Lee was able to prevent a Money Shot, his man was still beaten after Venis countered a Figure Four into a small package. Other than Jarrett hitting a rare power bomb, there wasnít anything special about this at all. This should have been something like Venis having a gauntlet match against the three members of Kaientai instead. ** ľ

    D-Lo Brown © w/The Godfather vs X-Pac w/Chyna - Non-Title
    D-Lo won the European Title against Triple H (Albeit with The Rockís help) on the go home edition of Raw. The result is that D-Lo went from being a random member of the Nation to being someone with some midcard value. The downside to this match is that D-Lo kept going back to the head/neck with a bunch of headlocks. Itís not all that interesting, but it does play into the story of X-Pacís recent broken neck that kept him on the shelf for nine months. When they did manage to pick up the pace, it was pretty good. Considering the fact that theyíd wrestle a ton in 1998, this was merely a test run for better matches to come that helped showcase that X-Pac could be a good worker again and that D-Lo did have some talent. After D-Lo missed a Lo Down attempt, The Godfather would get involved, providing the distraction to allow D-Lo to give X-Pac the Sky High for the victory. Any annoyance I had about this being a non-title match vanishes once D-Lo starts his big celebration and keeps yelling about how heís going home with the title, as if there was any chance that wasnít going to happen. ** ĺ

    Before the next match, we get a quick backstage interview with the new tag team of Bradshaw and Terry Funk. The big news is that Funk announces that this will be his final match in the WWE for a bit, as heís planning on going home to recharge his batteries. Bradshaw, only just now learning about this, is none too pleased.

    Faarooq and Scorpio vs Terry Funk and Bradshaw
    If these two teams feel random to you, donít feel too bad. I was watching at the time and I barely even remember them. After Wrestlemania 14, Scorpio ditched his Flash Funk name and began teaming with Terry Funk. It only lasted a couple of months and I donít even recall an actual breakup. Then a few weeks ago, Scorpio began teaming with Faarooq, where they were only a Shotgun/house show tag team, although they were undefeated. The WWE didnít acknowledge it, but they did have a past with Faarooq bringing Scorpio into WCW back at Clash of the Champions 21, they teamed and wrestled against each other in ECW, and Scorpioís debut as Flash Funk came at the Survivor Series where Faarooq was on the opposite team. Meanwhile, Funk and Bradshaw had literally only been teaming for about two weeks with only having one TV match. Thanks to Funkís news before the match, Bradshaw and Funk didnít seem to be on the same page with Bradshaw constantly yelling at him and Funk losing grip of Faarooq causing Bradshaw to come off of the top rope into a power slam by his future APA partner. Thereís a good amount of awkward spots when it comes to Bradshaw and Faarooq. To Bradshawís credit, you could tell that he was putting in a lot of effort. I did dig his top rope shoulder block. Funk and Scorpio were far more entertaining with their spots a Funk Vader Bomb to a standing Scorpio on the outside. Much to my shock, as Faarooq and Bradshaw are fighting on the outside, Scorpio is able to hit the 450 Splash on Funk to cleanly pin Terry fín Funk on PPV. I felt the match was enjoyable enough, undoubtedly thanks to my love of Funk and Scorpio, but there was a noticeable boring chant. This is the sort of match that should have just main evented an episode of Shotgun. **

    After the match, Bradshaw berates Funk for losing before just attacking his now ex partner. Scorpio runs in to help his old partner, but Bradshaw lays him out as well. Scorpio takes an awesome inside out style lariat sell on the outside. While Faarooq was checking on Scorpio, Bradshaw laid him out with a chair strike as well. Other than a couple of house show matches in August and his return for the WWE vs ECW Head to Head and ECW One Night Stand 2, this would be it for Terry Funk in the WWE. Shame they couldnít give him something bigger for his farewell. Itís not as if Bradshaw benefitted from this angle either. This turned him heel and he promptly didnít do much until the Jackyl brought him together with Faarooq, and even then, that team didnít mean anything for the first couple of months until they joined the Ministry of Darkness.

    Vader vs Mark Henry
    Big lads wrestling! Remember when Vader used to be capable of challenging for the WWE Title on any PPV? Now heís been reduced to wrestling guys who arenít even capable of challenging for titles. This feud began during the King of the Ring tournament when Henry interfered to cost Vader a qualifying match against The Rock. Since then, they had a tug-of-war on Shotgun with Henry winning after Vader got tied up in his rope. This was bowling shoe ugly. How bad? They literally botched the very first spot as Henry is to catch a running Vader and slam him. Theyíre forced to attempt it a second time and after itís successful, Vader has to roll out of the ring, noticeably upset about what happened. The next several spots are all in favor of Henry and he looks so incredibly green. Frankly, itís depressing watching Vader be dominated by such a lesser opponent. Once Vader gets on offense, things to improve some since he actually remembers the spot so you donít get those awkward moments where Henry is trying to remember what to do. Henry would kick out of a middle rope splash by Vader. Henry would then get the pinfall after a running splash. Thank God for Vaderís AJPW/NOAH run following his WWE departure to remind people that he still had talent. His babyface run in the WWE was a disaster. * Ĺ

    Paul Bearer comes out to the ring with the WWE Tag Champions, Kane and Mankind. They gloat about the Undertaker not being in the arena yet, more on that later, before he's interrupted by the New Age Outlaws. The Outlaws challenge Kane and Mankind to a match tomorrow night on Raw.

    LOD 2000 vs DOA w/Paul Ellering
    About a month ago, LOD brought back Ellering, only for him to turn on them and join up with Skull and 8-Ball. Since then, a Skull vs Animal Raw match ended in an no contest when Ellering tried to run Animal over with his motorcycle. Much to my surprise, I actually had fun watching this. In the opening minutes, LOD just destroyed DOA to the point where it became clear that they were to lose, thus explaining why theyíre trying to look so good. Once Hawk started as the face-in-peril, Ellering started interfering non-stop to the point where he was more physically involved than either member of the DOA. Literally any time the referee wasnít paying attention, Ellering would be hitting, kicking, or choking Hawk. It allowed this DOA offense period to actually be fun. Once Hawk got the hot tag to Animal, LOD went back on offense, killing Skull and 8-Ball. LOD would hit the Doomsday Device, but thanks to Elleringís distraction on Animal, the members of DOA were able to switch places with the fresher member surprising Animal with a DDT for the pinfall. Maybe the most fun DOA match Iíve seen. ** ĺ

    Owen Hart vs Ken Shamrock - Dungeon Match
    Dan Severn is your special guest referee. This Dungeon Match takes place in the Dungeon in Stu Hartís basement. It was way back at the end of April on Raw where Owen turned on Shamrock to join the Nation in a tag match against The Rock and Mark Henry. I never saw that as truly Owen turning on Shamrock as much as his feud with DX was a disaster and Owen needed help in the numbers game, so he joined up with The Nation and poor Shamrock was collateral damage. Since Owen was still busy with DX, it took about a month before the Owen/Shamrock feud could really pick up. Meanwhile, Severn got thrust into the feud, becoming a rival of Owen and a surprising ally of Shamrock. This was such a fun encounter. Since itís a submission match and Shamrock is involved, at times it feels pretty realistic to a MMA fight. But since it isnít MMA, they spice things up with some more Sports Entertainment sort of spots including numerous collisions into the wood paneling walls, using an overhead pipe to attempt some spots like a Frankensteiner, and Owen even lifting Shamrock into the air so his head crashes through the ceiling. After Owen ducked a kick by Shamrock, the kick inadvertently hits Severn. That allows Owen to grab a nearby dumbbell to knock Shamrock out. Owen slaps on a modified Crossface and makes Shamrockís hand look as if itís tapping out for Severn to notice to call for the bell. So much fun. *** ľ

    The Rock © vs Triple H w/Chyna - 2 out of 3 Falls - WWE IC Title
    The war between DX and The Nation continues. This was a match I briefly praised years ago, but after my last watch of a couple of years ago, I changed my tune. Now with this latest watch, Iím bored to tears by this. Itís thirty long minutes without a single fall until twenty minutes in. Thereís a ton of restholds and absolutely nothing of interest. Even though thereís a ton of interference, Iím all for it because theyíre easily the highlights of the match. Initially itís Mark Henry running out to give Triple H a running splash on the outside before Billy Gunn made the save. Later, The Godfather tried to interfere, but The New Age Outlaws ran out to prevent it. Finally, D-Lo tried to interfere, but Triple H made his own save, bashing D-Lo with the European Title, to send Brown flying off of the top rope. Despite initially being a failed interference, the distraction did allow The Rock to hit a Rock Bottom on Hunter to get the first fall. From there, we go back to pure boredom until X-Pac runs out to give The Rock a X-Factor, but that only gives Hunter a two count. Triple H does get a fall after the referee is knocked out and Chyna delivers a low low to The Rock. This comes at just a few minutes to go in the thirty minute time limit and things go sorta pick up with a punching spree and the fans picking up interest. The ending is a major fail as Hunter counters a Rock Bottom with a Pedigree, but the referee refuses to count since apparently the time limit expired. We couldnít get any updates or the suspenseful final 60 seconds count? Rock would retain the title due to a 1-1 decision. Neither guy was capable of working a thirty minute match at this point and since they were so careful not to be blown up, they kept a very slow pace to ensure that they could both work it. This felt like pure filler on their way to Summerslam with their ladder match. * ĺ

    Sable vs Jacqueline w/Marc Mero - Bikini Contest
    The video package before this contest is extremely classy as both women take turns throwing slutty insults at each other. Iíll make this nice and short. Jacqueline is wearing a super skimpy bathing suit while Sable reveals a thong and a shirt, citing that Mr. McMahon wanted her to be more conservative. She then blows off that command by removing the shirt by revealing a painted on hands on her breasts instead of a bikini top. Mr. McMahon and the stooges come out to cover Sable up and force her to the back. Jacqueline is apparently named the winner by DQ since Sableís outfit wasnít a full bikini. Then again, neither was Jacquelineís. You watch this segment and it becomes apparent why it took decades before the WWE audience began to respect womenís wrestling again.

    Before we get to the main event, I suppose I should go over the show long story. Throughout the night, The Undertaker was nowhere to be found. The big question was whether or not Taker would show up to team with Austin against Kane and Mankind. Midway in the show, Mr. McMahon announced that if Taker doesnít show up, McMahon will appoint the Brooklyn Brawler as Austinís partner. It was only during the IC Title snoozefest that Taker did finally show up.

    Kane and Mankind © w/Paul Bearer vs Steve Austin and The Undertaker - WWE Tag Titles
    Since King of the Ring, Kane and Mankind defeated the New Age Outlaws for the Tag Titles on the July 13th edition of Raw. At this point, Austin/Taker for the WWE Title at Summerslam has already been announced with a lot of talk being whether or not Taker has formed an alliance with Kane. I feel as if this is exactly what anyone should expect. Itís mostly just a bunch of brawling with Austin playing the face-in-peril while thereís plenty of dissension between Taker and Austin. The big question is whether or not they will be able to cooperate for the entire duration of the match. Where the match benefits is from the crowd. Theyíre into everything. Itís the four biggest stars of 1998 WWE and it feels like it. It could also very well just be a dark match after a Raw, but a bit longer. After a lengthy Austin face-in-peril sequence, Taker finally decides to extend his hand to tag him. He cleans house and finishes Kane off with a Tombstone to become the NEW WWE Tag Champions. Enjoyable for what it was, but itís nothing more than filler until the meaningful match of Austin/Taker at Summerslam. Luckily, the tag division in 1998 sucked beyond belief and literally all you had was The New Age Outlaws, so you canít complain much about the tag titles being involved in this. ** ĺ

    After the match, Taker leaves with both tag titles.

    It's safe to call Fully Loaded nothing more than a show on a build to Summerslam 1998. The main event and the IC Title match both came across as pure filler and especially in the case of the IC Title match, it's not worth watching. The big title victory of Taker/Austin would be short lived as Kane/Mankind would regain the titles prior to Summerslam 98. Again, I can't fault this hot potatoing of the tag titles when the WWE didn't have any other teams that could be on the level of the Outlaws. In general, most of the angles on this show felt pretty pointless. Hawk would begin to really struggle with his personal demons, messing up the LOD/DOA program, preventing them from having a match at Summerslam. With Terry Funk leaving the WWE, nothing would come about Bradshaw's heel turn on him. The Kaientai/Venis feud, which seemingly wasn't even worth a match on this show, would escalate on Raw with TAKA turning heel to join Kaientai, but if the feud is never truly featured on PPV, does it matter? The Henry/Vader program was short lived and I presume done by now. Truthfully, the only positive program that was showcased on this show was Shamrock/Hart, which lead to a rematch at Summerslam and later the angle with Owen seemingly ending the career of Severn, which unfortunately led to the return of the Blue Blazer. I feel like I say this a lot in my 1998 PPV reviews, but Fully Loaded feels like an extended edition of Raw. Check out the Dungeon Match though, it's pretty fun and more importantly, it feels so fresh and different.

  2. #2

    MC 16's Avatar

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    Re: WWE Fully Loaded 1998 Review

    Good - I think this was the PPV where I fell in love with D-Lo Brown. He was very good and played his character well. One of the most underrated wrestlers in the past 20 years. Of course the match isn't at the level it should be due to X-Pac's neck which kept and hindering him for most of the year. Owen Hart was good in this show as well, that "And I did it all by myself" comment was gold. Like you said, it did lead into the Blue Blazer but nothing you can do about it now. Oh and the world greatest lover comment from Tennessee Lee was great, but I think accidental.

    Okay - Whilst meaningless, I liked then rather have a filler feud or just have a match between Taker and Austin (like they would today), they had a tag match with their rivals to further build tension between the two.

    Bad - The rest.

    Milano Forever!

  3. #3
    Necro's Avatar

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    Re: WWE Fully Loaded 1998 Review

    Man this era had some brutal matches, as in brutal to watch.

    Out of this PPV the only thing that was interesting to me was D-Lo/Pac, The Dungeon match and the main event. I dug the Lion's Den Match at Summerslam 98

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