Heat Of The Moment: SummerSlam ’98 KickOff Show (August 30, 1998)

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Previously on Sunday Night Heat: Jeff Jarrett continued his sudden obsession with haircuts, The Rock accepted Triple H’s challenge for a ladder match at SummerSlam, and evil heel Mrs. Yamaguchi made her first (and last) Sunday Night Heat appearance.

Previously on WWF Raw Is War: Mrs. Yamaguchi-san said goodbye for good. Also, in wrestling news that appeals to people OTHER than me, Kane and the Undertaker are killing everyone they know en route to SummerSlam ’98, the HIGHWAY TO HELL. Or as it’s known on the Network, “Generic Rock Music #3.”

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 before SummerSlam ’98 on August 30, 1998.


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Hello Mr Heartbreak, Ive been expecting you

This week’s episode serves as the “kickoff show” for SummerSlam 1998, live (for an hour) from Madison Square Garden. In place of Shane McMahon’s weekly “girlfriend” we have Shawn Michaels, who Shane hilariously refers to as, “Heartbreak.” One of my favorite things about the Shane McMahon character has always been his weird need to give people nicknames, but not knowing how to use them. Like calling Shawn Michaels, “Heartbreak,” or calling Triple H, “Triple.” I can’t remember if he ever called Steve Austin, “Stone” or “Cold Steve,” but there’s a 75% chance he does.

Shawn being here is actually a huge bummer, as Sable’s supposed to announce her mystery tag team partner for the mixed tag team match against Johnny B. Masculine and his Girlfriend From The Neighborhood, and Shawn is in the ring interviewing her about it so everyone thinks, you know, he’s going to wrestle. Only he doesn’t, and they just awkwardly Dirty Dance it out because neither really knows how to be “sexy.”

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I love that Shawn’s idea of sexy dancing is the one pop-a-squat dance he knows, and Sable’s just standing there moving her arms slightly like she’s post-Crisis Britney Spears at the VMAs.

The mystery partner ends up being Edge, which is historically cool, but he’s a complete nobody in August of ’98. To put it in a modern context, imagine if at All Out Brandi Rhodes was supposed to have a mystery tag team partner, and CM Punk showed up. But then Punk just interviewed her about who it was, and it turned out to be Sunny Daze. And then they did the Humpty Dance?


Shawn Michaels’ dancing – ❄️
Sable’s dancing – ❄️❄️
Shane McMahon’s dancing (not pictured) – ❄️❄️❄️


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Seeing as this is the SummerSlam pre-show, there are a lot of concurrent plots “about to happen” throughout, such as:

  • Stone Cold Steve Austin is pacing back and forth in the parking lot with a sledgehammer waiting for Undertaker and Kane to show up, and Vince McMahon and the Stooges want to stop him, but none of them are willing to get hit in the face with a hammer
  • Determined Excellence and the Nation of Domination independently arrive at the arena and are ready to throw hands as soon as one group sees the other
  • the aforementioned Sable mystery partner drama
  • this enormous Reusable K-Cup Filter and/or aboveground pool that Ken Shamrock and Owen Hart are set to fight in looms in the background


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I love trying to figure out the ongoing plots of USA Network shows from 1998 based on Jim Ross and Shane McMahon’s sexy advertisement blurbs. I’m in love with typing these out like a crazy person, so you’re just gonna have to read them. Honestly, would you rather hear what I have to say about this pre-show Vader and Bradshaw vs. Harris Twins match*?

JR: “Folks, the heat continues, uh, right here on USA with USA Sunday Night Hat. First Russ goes back to skewl to take down a college gambling ring on an all-new Pacific Blue!”

Shane: “Then at 9, Harry’s true love is murdered and [reacting to suplex] hoouh! … he wants revenge, on an all-new Silk Stalkings!”

JR: “And at 10 the Section discovers Nikita’s plot … to destroy Section One, on an all-new La Femme Nikita! USA Sunday Night Heat coming up next, here on USA!”

Shawn Michaels: “And not showing anywhere on USA will be Shawn! Stripping nude!”

Shane: “Ha ha ha ha!”

JR: “Mama’s watching! Easy!”

I was really hoping JR was gonna hit back with, “sounds like you’ve still got a BONER from humping the air between Sable’s knees, on an all-new Sunday Night Heat, happening 10 feet in front of us!”

*it sucked a donkey’s ass


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Val Venis is still trash talking with Pacific Blue star Mario Lopez, but knows how to cut a promo, daddy, so he puts him over before tearing him down. “Mario Lopez is a great actor, there’s no question about that?” Isn’t there? I mean, I guess he did deserve a Primetime Emmy for playing the role of “A.C. Slater” in Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas.

How would I describe you if you build heat for a Canadian porn star wrestler vs. famous Saturday Morning television show wrestler, devote multiple segments on several weekly televised wrestling shows to the feud, pair them up in the same block of hacky Sunday night basic cable, and never actually have them wrestle?



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After tonight’s pay-per-view, make sure you tune in to the Home Shopping Network so Michael Cole and a somehow even more Beta Male can sell you 30-minute VHS tapes of your favorite wrestlers for like three and a half times what you pay for WWE’s entire streaming catalog of high-definition footage in 2019. You can also buy a denim jacket! It’s only four easy payments of 325 dollars!

Cole and Collard — not a great announce team, but a solid selection of side dishes at a church potluck — both went on to great success in their careers. Michael Cole has spent the past 20 years as the begrudgingly accepted “voice of WWE,” and Brian Collard sold worthless coins in the middle of the night on ABC Family! He does have a YouTube channel, though, and has thankfully archived this bit where The Rock shows up and shits on the whole enterprise:


Kind of!

Here’s Drunk Hawk in his L.O.D. 2000 helmet falling off the top rope and costing the Road Warriors a match against the version of Too Cool that pretends to make out with each other instead of dance. It’s like losing to the Headbangers when they were still nuns.

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In case you’re already tired of the Drunk Hawk story, keep in mind that it’s the end of August here, and the climax of the angle — Hawk “committing suicide” by jumping off the TitanTron on Raw — doesn’t happen until the middle of November. I hope you’re up for two and a half months of a guy with real life problems being forced to act out those problems in an embarrassing pretend way until it actually depresses and eventually kills him!


… – ❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️


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The other match (not counting the one I skipped to talk about Harry’s true love being murdered on an all-new Silk Stalkings) is Dustin Runnels vs. Gangrel, and the announce team has completely lost their ability to speak. Example:

Shane: “And we’re startin’ off right here, Gangrel … an-an has that red, viscous liquid all over his … all over, what would you call that? Some type of shirt. Very cool type of shirt!”

JR: “Somewhat GOTHIC in my view!”

Thanks, Kanye, very cool type of shirt. HE’S GOT BLOOD ON HIS PUFFY PIRATE SHIRT. The WWF announce team could walk down a flight of steps and be like, “starting off here, using our leg protrusions, so to speak, to walk down this … walk down this staggered slope of wood, very cool wood here!” Pronouns and nouns, guys. Pronouns and nouns.

Oh, also, Dustin Runnels is working this evangelical Christian gimmick where he keeps saying someone is “coming back.” He’s walking around with signs that say HE’S COMING BACK, and has HE IS COMING BACK on his shirt while he wrestles. The announce team has no idea who he could mean. They won’t even speculate. And yeah, the gimmick is that Goldust is coming back, but wouldn’t the announcers think the super Christian guy who keeps saying HE IS COMING BACK is talking about Jesus? “Some sort of Nazarene being referenced here, last time we saw him he was being heinously assaulted on some kind of symbol!”

If Vince McMahon wrote The Holy Bible, Genesis would be called, “Let’s Take You Back To Moments Ago.”


Using your words – ?????


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Somewhere in the middle of the show, haircut obsessed Jeff Jarrett and mafioso pig farmers Southern Justice sneak in some last minute heat for SummerSlam’s hair vs. hair match by attacking ring announcer Howard Finkel and brutally shaving off his hair. Well, the horseshoe of hair he has going around the sides and back of his head. The Hulk Hogan hair, minus the silken extensions.

Shane McMahon continues having no idea how to speak by saying Jeff Jarrett’s very simple catchphrase — “don’t piss me off” — as, “You know, he said, you know, don’t pee me off, so to speak! I don’t want to spoil how Chekhov’s act one announcer haircut pays off in act three of SummerSlam, but it involves the world’s most harmless man making fireworks shoot off by pointing at his other pee.


Horseshoe hair – ❄️
Just shaving it off and admitting you’re bald, it’s fine – ?


The actual subplots that work to sell you the pay-per-view, assuming you’re the type of wrestling fan who tunes in to Sunday Night Heat on pay-per-view night but doesn’t want to watch SummerSlam (?), play out in the show’s final moments. In addition to Sable’s, “it’s not one of the Oddities, now back that ass up” dancing from earlier, the ominous Lion’s Den footage (described as “a cheese grater” by Shane), and Jeff Jarrett’s emasculation of an already pretty emasculated old man, D-X and the Nation get in one last EVERYBODY FIGHTS before bell-time.

More importantly, a hearse finally pulls up to the arena (presumably because Kane and The Undertaker travel from show to show in Kane’s dad’s stolen car, and/or the one Steve Austin rented last Monday to prove a point) and Austin goes BUCK WILD on it, smashing it with his sledgehammer and moving it around with a forklift.

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If you ever wanted an answer to the question, “who’s better, Stone Cold or Goldberg,” I urge you to use their means of car destruction as a point of comparison. Austin manages to get through this entire bit without trying to be a badass and severing important things in his own arms. Also, he wrestles The Undertaker without almost killing everyone in the ring!

That’s a HeAT! See you at SuMMERSLAM!