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[1998-08-30-WWF-Summerslam] HHH vs The Rock (Ladder)

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Connecticut Yankee is horrible! This whole PPV feels like the payoff for the WWF spending months creating new stars. They borrow some stuff from Shawn-Razor three years earlier here with Rock working over HHH's knee. Their timing is off on some stuff, specifically when Rock has to stall climbing the ladder while HHH did the spot with Mark Henry and Chyna. Pretty amazing shift in the middle of this as Rock is suddenly a huge babyface with the crowd. That one flaw aside, they really crafted a great match here, specifically in teasing finishes while prolonging the match. There are better ladder matches but in terms of matches that click with a crowd and accomplish something in the big picture, this might be at the top of the list. As much as the WWF had been grooming these guys, this reaction still had to have shocked the hell out of everyone. I could nitpick this, but I think that would entirely miss the point. The WWF is on fire.

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HHH never looked like a bigger star (up till this point) than the finish of this match. I wouldn't be surprised if this is the moment where Vince decided to push the hell out of him. Rock speaks for himself of course

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In 23 years of going to shows I've never heard anything remotely like the pop the for the finish here. Shield debut could be "better" but it's hard to top this for favorite WWE match I've seen live.

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I thought this was pretty mundane for the first five minutes, but then The Rock starts working over the leg and the crowd gets progressively more invested and this turned into a great atmosphere where two stars really felt like they were being made. The climbing is drawn out and some of the spots are executed as flawlessly, but it was so refreshing for the WWF to give these guys this much time to tell and story and put themselves over. The finish is kind of cheap for a babyface win but they got away with it based on how integral Chyna has been in the overall angle. Rock looks really strong and HHH is escaping the shadow of HBK. I don't know if this was better than Shawn vs. Razor but it is right on that level. (****1/2)

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This has always been one of those matches I recognize as really well done and yet don't connect with. That was the case again on this viewing, but I can't pinpoint the reason. I think to some degree, I just don't like the way either guy executed his offense. So the whole thing felt very "performed" to me. But I'm not sure that's an argument I can back up in any meaningful way. Clearly, the crowd loved it, and the spot with Chyna paid off the storytelling. I don't know; can't please all of the people all of the time, I guess.

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Sloooooooooooooooooow climbing up the ladder. And for the first time in a WWF ladder match, chairshots on the ladder, which I never understood how it was supposed to hurt more than chairshots directly on flesh. Amazing heat, but a far cry from either Michaels vs Razor matches (I'm typing this from memory, haven't seen this in at least 10 years if not more). As far as significance goes, very important match as both guys are over big time and look like the future of the company.

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I liked this, but I think it was more impressive for the heat than the match itself. It really felt stuck between the more traditional ladder matches of the past and the ones that would occur in the following two years that really escalated the violence level. But it certainly worked, with Rock getting a monster reaction for the People's Elbow and Triple H getting a star pop for the title win.

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A breakout match for both guys for sure. It's not as good as the Shawn-Razor series but it's a hell of a match in its own right. On the worse side, the pre-ladder action isn't that great, but it benefits from the looser restrictions, which means we get a lot more hatred and violence and blood than the previous ladder matches were allowed to show. There was some pretty ridiculously slow ladder-climbing, though as the match went on I thought they were able to cover for it fairly well with Triple H's (rather legit) bad knee and Rock not being able to see for the blood in his eyes. Outside of WM14, almost all WWF PPVs for the past 2 years had been characterized by weak undercards and saved by a strong main event--this definitely feels like one of the rare complete shows from the time period, with good stuff up and down the card.

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http://placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-250-201/2/

 

#225

 

Because others were comparing, I'll say that I do think this is a step behind the Razor/HBK series. But, it's still great. Sure, there's the slow climbing of the ladder and some over selling. However, the great outweighs the minor flaws. I'm on the high end of ****1/4. It's a cool moment and a PPV I'll never forget how much my friends and I loved watching live. I thought H did a really good job of selling his leg, and the crowd was super hyped for this the further along it went. I usually don't like the chair smacking the ladder on top of guy spot, but for some reason I thought it looked good/worked well here.

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Did Triple H take all the ladder bumps because he was going over and Rocky juiced??

 

Hunter was very Foley-like in being a giving wrestler for the sake of the match...Rocky eh not too much. Not that I was looking for a Hardy Boys crash of death but, he was a little too safe in his approach...even in falling from the ladder.

 

In terms of the match, it didn't look like he "got" what Hunter "got" yet, Trips won...not a giant gripe b.c. the nutshot finish worked and the crowd was insane. Would have like one instance where Rocky looked like he really got clobbered. Perhaps having HHH roll off the ladder at the last second and Rock People's Elbow the steel!!!

 

I feel this style and presentation (including the live DX theme in ring) was more representative of the Attitude stuff rather than the puppies, and other cheap stuff.

 

Highly recommend this match esp. if the Hardy boys and E&C stuff is too outlandish for ya.

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See, even back then they had long, slow, overwrought forced epics. This had some nice weapon shots and spots, but structurally this did absolutely nothing for me. Lots of meaningless back and forth, pointless poor man's Shawn/Razor work on the leg, and of course plenty of dancy looking punches and execution. Triple H loved popping back up for no reason – for example, he would take a huge Estrada-esque bump to the outside early, but start going back on offense immediately, the insecure little buffoon. This also had egregious amounts of both guys laying around, and of course the constant slow climb/fall off and repeat. The crowd pop great for a few key spots, however there were also multiple times where the heat noticably died down. I think it's stuff like the quickly forgottten legwork or HHH's meaningless bump that conditioned audiences not to care for those moments between the big spots and this kind of match was something that would go on to plague WWF wrestling for decades to come.


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Jetlag, when I was watching this I felt like so much of this match is engineered to get "This Is Awesome" chants even though those didnt exist at the time. It didnt occur to me until I read your review how much this was a harbinger of things to come.

WWF Intercontinental Champion The Rock vs Triple H - Summerslam '98

I gotta commend them on winning over the crowd with hard work. The spot where HHH ricocheted off one ladder into knocking over the next ladder got them the respect applause. Nowadays that would trigger "This Is Awesome" chants. HHH went from getting pretty much zero heat on his way to the ring to getting one of the most massive pops ever when he wins the Intercontinental Championship. It is funny sometimes when I watch matches like this I feel like Im losing my grip on my grasp of pro wrestling psychology. The transitions in this match are piss poor. There is a lot of downtime. There is very little character work. Yet they get themselves over. I know different strokes for different folks yada yada, but still I am shocked how well this match worked for this crowd especially in the Attitude Era. I do think there is a lot to like in this match. I thought HHH gave one of his better "ring general" performances. He took most of the bumps and let himself get cutoff in compelling fashion. The match does pick up with the leg work. The pedestrian brawling beforehand was good for a clothesline or two, but otherwise was milquetoast. I thought HHH sold the knee well and Rock was good at using weapons to work it over. Like I said, HHH did a good job setting up both his hope spots and cutoffs. I liked the baseball slide the most. Since HHH had a bum wheel you really felt he needed that headshot to really put himself back in contention. The bladejob helped physically indicate the match was evened up. They play knock each other off the ladder. Run through their signature spots in between falling off the ladder. The finish was overbooked in a good way with Mark Henry throwing powder into HHH's eyes only for Chyna to low blow The Rock. I enjoy those shenanigans. You really felt like two new stars were born together thats rare ad I gotta commend them for that. Hell for a "knock each other off the ladder" match with little psychology it was actually pretty good. ***3/4

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