Heat Of The Moment: WWF Live Wire (October 4, 1998)

Previously on Breakdown In Your House: The Rock suddenly became the most over person in the World Wrestling Federation, the pajama variant Hardy Boyz had their pay-per-view pre-show debut, and a new WWF Champion was crowned. BUT WHOMST??

Previously on the Best and Worst of WWF Raw Is War: Vince McMahon tried to have a solemn and dignified WWF Championship presentation ceremony, got attacked by Stone Cold Steve Austin piloting a commandeered zamboni, and had his ankle shattered by two 7-foot tall guys for calling them mentally handicapped.

You can watch this episode on WWE Network here. You can follow the series and read previous entries on the Heat of the Moment tag page. If you like these, and our break from the normal Best and Worst format, make sure to share it around so it gets read and drop us a comment below.

Here’s what you missed 21 years ago on WWF Sunday Night Heat, originally aired on October 4, 1998.


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This week’s Heat is all about establishing Vince McMahon’s hospital stay and hospital room set, which become much more important the following night on Raw. A nearly whimpering Shane McMahon checks in with Pops via a live satellite feed from the Local Medical Facility, which is kind of hilarious, and Vince low key cuts a brilliant heel promo spinning everything that happened to blame Stone Cold Steve Austin.

“I would really like to be there with you tonight. This morning the doctor readmitted me to the hospital. I am in such excruciating pain. My leg’s been crushed. And I will never, ever forgive the Undertaker and Kane for what they did. But … this is really Austin’s fault. And every bit of the pain that I’m suffering right now will be worth it if Austin has to suffer the indignity of counting one, two, three, and crown one of those ungrateful monsters as the WWF Champion. And quite frankly, the doctor doesn’t know how I’ve endured this pain, the amount of this pain, that I’ve endured, the trauma I’ve experienced. There’ll be a further evaluation tomorrow, but for those of you who are concerned, I’m gutting it out.”

Looking back, Vince’s run here is probably the reason why WWE’s still so obsessed with making every top heel a pissy loser coward about everything. The early “Mr. McMahon” character was a total wimp who was constantly getting his ass kicked, but kept coming back and getting massive heat. Everything he did felt cowardly and borderline stupid, but he had a plan, quite frankly, and it was always engaging to watch him work it. What’s missing from today’s heels is that they’re … you know, actual wrestlers, and don’t have an established, real-life power to play with. So while Vince could be a total piece of shit jobber about everything and keep his heat because he’s still the boss and still pulling all the strings, someone like Braun Strowman going heel and turning into a coward just makes him a heatless coward.

Anyway, as you might imagine, Stone Cold Steve Austin isn’t happy having to watch Vince cut promos on him from his deathbed or whatever, so he barges into the production truck with an axe, bosses them around about it to find out what’d solve the problem, and then literally cuts the feed.

WWE Network

Realizing they’re just gonna set it up again the next night on Raw, Austin presumably finds a Party City on Monday afternoon and asks them if they’ve got any surgeon costumes. More on that when Raw becomes War.

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That’s not the end of the night for Austin, though. He shows up to make the save for The Rock when the advertised Rock vs. Jeff Jarrett main event turns into a 3-on-1 attempt at good old fashioned southern justice. It’s terrible when you phrase it like that, isn’t it? The southern territories will rise again! It’s always funny when the announcers start screaming about how violent and mean CANTERBURY AND KNIGHT are, though, because it plays like Geoffrey Chaucer got an HBO adaption.

But yeah, it’s a big moment, as it transforms the Rock/Austin staredown from a mid-card Intercontinental Championship feud to a face-to-face showdown between the two top stars in the company. The vibe you get is that Austin’s almost “passing the torch” to Rock, in a way, or at least openly acknowledging him as the next Austin-level guy. What you don’t know at this point is that the staredown is foreshadowing future WrestleMania opponents, as Austin’s obsession with handling Vince McMahon “the hard way” runs die-reckally into a guy who chose to play the Deadly Game the easy way.


Vince’s promo – 🔥🔥🔥
The future of Rock vs. Austin – 🔥🔥🔥🔥
Tomorrow night’s hospital segments on Raw – 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥


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As for the other two top mid-card names who’ve been involved in the title picture for the past month, Mankind and Ken Shamrock try to reconcile their irreconcilable differences by teaming up to face Skull and 8-Ball of the D.O.A. You’d think they could put their differences aside to defeat the Nazis, but they can’t. A lot of that going around these days.

Shamrock stands on the apron watching Mankind get beaten down by the Harris Brothers for a while, and only decides to take action when his partner starts doing well. That action: hitting him in the face with a steel chair. Only, this is Ken Shamrock we’re talking about, so his only experience with chairs is getting his brains scrambled by them. So you get pro wrestling’s most succinct version of The Uncanny: someone swinging a chair legs first.

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Shamrock chooses to lose the match out of spite, gives Foley those legs, and walks out while everyone in the front row flips him off. See how great it turns out when you pay attention to how the crowd’s responding, and then tailor your wrestling characters to suit that, instead of insisting you’re right?


The crowd, to Ken Shamrock – 🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕
Any time Ken Shamrock and steel chairs meet – 😨
The best Harris Twins match ever – ❄️❄️


Not much going on this week, honestly. Even the good stuff was just place-setting for Monday.

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An Owen Hart versus X-Pac match you’d expect to be pretty good ends prematurely when Owen gets in his head about having paralyzed Dan Severn and walks out. Everything about this story is a bummer, from the tone to the conclusion, so I’ll just shake my head at my computer screen and move on.

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The Hardy Boyz versus Kaientai feud (?) that started last week continues in true WWE fashion with one member from each team wrestling a singles match. It’s Sho Funaki vs. Matt Hardy, which is watchable for the three-ish minutes it gets. Nobody in the wrestling world is going online hoping Funaki vs. Matt Hardy gets 20 minutes in 1998, but you can already see how easy it is for the crowd to like the Hardys. Even when it looks like Matt’s wrestling in flannel jammie pants he bought from Target and sewed letters onto the legs.

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Fuckin’ tag teams. How do they work?

Finally, the Oddities get a big win over the Cartman-murdering Headbangers thanks to an assist from a posse of truly insane clowns. They’re still the babyfaces somehow despite it being 6-on-2 for the entire match, which is the price you pay for tearing up a freak’s adult animation plush.

Real talk: the Oddities are getting on TV every week and winning matches on the strength of how much a WWF audience likes a particular Insane Clown Posse song. They should’ve just given the entire roster Psychopathic Records tracks and leveled the playing field. Like, imagine Stone Cold Steve Austin stomping out to ‘Fuck The World.’

Next Week:

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Stone Cold Steve Austin makes an enemy in Shane McMahon, the lightly televised war between the Hardy Boyz and Kaientai continues, and wrestling dreamboat STARLA SAXTON debuts! All this and the fallout from an unforgettable Raw full of comical socks and bedpans, next week!