Though the WWF had taken control of the “Monday Night Wars”, winning or tying 12 of the last 13 weeks leading into this event, the war was far from over. On the heels of the crazy Hell in a Cell showdown between Undertaker and Mankind the WWF was on fire. Aside from the heights of “Hulkamania” a decade prior the WWF’s business had never been better. With the Austin/McMahon story still in its relative infancy and the coming rise of both The Rock and Triple H the WWF “Attitude Era” was only just beginning.
Fully Loaded: In Your House is perhaps best remembered for the bikini contest between Sable and Jacqueline and Sable’s hand-print bikini top. But just how well does Fully Loaded hold up two decades later? Let’s hit ‘play’ and find out!
This version of the event is not the live broadcast but the WWF Home Video release which means the only real editing casualty is the WWF Superstar Line segments. Context, meanwhile, is complete with all prior editions of Monday Night RAW, as well as all previous WWF PPVs, currently available on the Network for you to enjoy today!
WWF Fully Loaded: In Your House 23 (WATCH)
Date: July 26, 1998 – Location: Selland Arena, Fresno, California
Attendance: 9,855 PPV Buyrate: 0.9 (>328,000 homes)
Commentators: Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler – Interviews: Jerry Lawler & Jim Ross
CHAMPIONS AT THE TIME
WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin
WWF Intercontinental Champion: The Rock
WWF World Tag Team Champions: Kane & Mankind
WWF European Champion: D’Lo Brown
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Taka Michinoku
The show opens with Jerry Lawler entering Sable’s dressing room and getting a sneak peek of the bikini Sable plans to wear later in the show, which nearly kills “King” with glee.
Next is a great opening vignette highlighting the Undertaker/Stone Cold Steve Austin/Kane/Mankind saga. In the arena the pyro explodes and Jim Ross welcomes us to the show, talking briefly of the tag team main event before we go straight to the ring for our first match of the night.
Val Venis comes to the ring and attempts to pull his trunks down (“California, here I come!”) when Jeff Jarrett and Tennessee Lee (with Southern Justice) interrupt the festivities. Before the match begins Yamaguchi-San, doing color commentary, comes out with Kaientai. Eventually everyone but Lee and Yamaguchi are booted from ringside.
— Singles Match (WATCH – 3:18)
Special Guest Commentator: Yamaguchi-San
Val Venis vs. “Double J” Jeff Jarrett w/Tennessee Lee, Mark Canterbury, & Dennis Knight
Val, making his WWF PPV debut here, was still undefeated at this time. This is a great opener that the crowd is solidly behind but the Yamaguchi commentary kills the match. Jarrett dominates most of the match from the opening bell with Venis struggling to find his rhythm. In the end Tennessee Lee climbs on the apron to argue with the referee when Val sends Jarrett into Lee and rolls Jarrett up for the pin at 7:52. After the match Val grabs the mic and mocks Yamaguchi.
WINNER is Val Venis (Pin, 7:52)
Next we get a quick look at “Hart House” in Calgary where the “dungeon” match between Ken Shamrock and Owen Hart will take place later in the show.
As D’Lo and Godfather come to the ring we see footage from the go-home edition of RAW of D’Lo, thanks to The Rock, winning the European title from Triple H.
— “Non-Title Singles Match” (WATCH – 16:49)
WWF European Champion D’Lo Brown w/The Godfather vs. X-Pac w/Chyna
This match is just the beginning of the Nation/D-X story for the night. This is another great match that the fans are behind from the start. Though it’s not given a ton of time these two tell a decent story. Much like the opener D’Lo dominates nearly the entire match before X-Pac makes a late comeback. But when Chyna tries to help by distracting the referee The Godfather attacks X-Pac from behind. After X-Pac drills Godfather D’Lo hits the Sky High for the 1-2-3 at 8:28.
WINNER is WWF European Champion D’Lo Brown w/The Godfather (Pin, 8:28)
After replays of the finish we see a random shot of Edge in the crowd. At the announce position Lawler talks about seeing Sable later on and gushes about what Sable plans not to wear.
Next we go backstage to the internet location where Kevin Kelly and Tom Prichard sell Undertaker being late for the show with Prichard adding that Undertaker’s “reputation in the dressing room” prevents Undertaker from letting anyone down.
As Faarooq and Scorpio get in the ring J.R., from ringside, interviews Terry Funk and Bradshaw backstage. Funk announces that this match will be his last in the WWF for at least six months due to Funk needing to recharge his batteries. Bradshaw, looking to be hearing the news for the first time, is not happy.
— Tag Team Match (WATCH – 30:08)
Faarooq & Scorpio vs. Bradshaw & Terry Funk
Though this match doesn’t have much built-in heat the fans are into the action. The story is all about Bradshaw being angry with Funk for leaving. This is is a stiff, physical match that tells a decent story and features a number of vintage Terry Funk spots. In the end, as Bradshaw and Faarooq brawl on the floor, Scorpio finishes Funk off with a 450-splash for the pin at 6:52. After the match Bradshaw beats up an apologetic Terry Funk before taking out Scorpio (with a highlight reel lariat) and Faarooq. Terry Funk would work only two more dates for the WWF, August 1 and 2, 1998 in Toronto and Montreal respectively, before leaving the WWF for ECW. This would be, to date, Funk’s final televised match in the WWF.
WINNERS are Faarooq & Scorpio (Pin, 6:52)
After replays of Bradshaw’s post-match assault we head back to the announce position where Lawler again goes on about what Sable will be dressed in for the upcoming bikini contest later in the show.
— “Grudge Match” (WATCH – 42:09)
Vader vs. “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry
The fans are solidly behind Vader, who is visibly frustrated, but this match is terrible. In the end Henry survives a Vader splash from the second rope before hitting a powerslam and massive splash of his own for the pin at 5:04.
WINNER is “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry (Pin, 5:04)
After once again visiting “Hart House” in Calgary we return to the internet location where Kevin Kelly and Tom Prichard continue to sell Undertaker not showing up.
In the arena Paul Bearer, with World Tag Team Champions Kane and Mankind, comes to the ring. Bearer tells the crowd he knew The Undertaker wants to “stay in one piece” for his WWF title match against Steve Austin at SummerSlam ’98, calling Taker a “coward”. Bearer then says Steve Austin is in “the wrong place at the wrong time”, that Kane and Mankind will finish Austin off, and that Undertaker will not be there to save Austin this time. The New Age Outlaws arrive, challenge Kane and Mankind to a title match on RAW tomorrow night, and begin to brawl with the Champions until referees and officials break it up.
Next is footage from the go-home RAW of Road Warrior Animal being beaten up by the D.O.A. and nearly run over by Paul Ellering on a motorcycle after being left in the lurch by Road Warrior Hawk, who eventually made the save.
— “Tag Team Grudge Match” (WATCH – 55:49)
The Disciples of Apocalypse (8-Ball & Skull) w/Paul Ellering vs. L.O.D. 2000 (Road Warrior Animal & Road Warrior Hawk)
This is awful. The Legion of Doom just look terrible, specifically Hawk, who just doesn’t look healthy. The fans are behind the L.O.D. 2000 and try to get into the match but it’s a boring, one-sided mess with Hawk taking nearly all of the punishment. Eventually Animal gets the hot tag and cleans house before the L.O.D. hit the Doomsday Device on Skull. In the end Animal goes after Ellering as the illegal 8-Ball swaps places with Skull and finishes Animal with a DDT, of all things, for the pin at 8:51.
WINNERS are The Disciples of Apocalypse (8-Ball & Skull) w/Paul Ellering (Pin, 8:51)
After replays we see the L.O.D. 2000 leaving the arena just as Mr. McMahon, flanked by Jerry Brisco, Pat Patterson, and Commissioner Slaughter, comes to the ring and tells the fans he’s just as upset as the fans at the “possibility” of Undertaker no-showing. If Undertaker no-shows, McMahon says, the fans can blame Stone Cold, not Mr. McMahon, who lists all the things Austin has done to Undertaker recently. McMahon mentions the “card subject to schange” disclaimer on the promotional ads and tells the fans that Undertaker’s “suitable replacement” will be none other than The Brooklyn Brawler, who comes to the ring and celebrates the decision!
— “Dungeon Match” (WATCH – 1:14:42)
Special Guest Referee: Dan Severn
Owen Hart vs. “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” Ken Shamrock
This match was taped a couple of days before the show in the “Dungeon” in “Hart House” in Calgary and is, for me, the true highlight of this show. Featuring both great, stiff action and more than a few humorous moments this match is just a blast to watch even 20 years later. In the end Shamrock accidentally drops Severn with a roundhouse kick to the head. As Shamrock checks on Severn Owen gloms Shamrock with a “dumbbell” and cinches in a crossface. Owen wakes Severn and flops Shamrock’s right arm to score the “tap out” win at 4:54 when Severn, no-selling the kick, calls the match.
WINNER is Owen Hart (Submission, 4:54)
— WWF Intercontinental Championship – “2-out-of-3 Falls Match” (WATCH – 1:21:21)
“Triple H” Hunter Hearst Helmsley w/Chyna, X-Pac, Road Dogg, & Billy Gunn vs. The Rock(c) w/WWF European Champion D’Lo Brown, The Godfather, & Mark Henry
Everyone but Chyna (who has a “license”) is sent away from ringside prior to this one starting. This was to be a “title for title” match until Rock cost Triple H the European title on the go-home RAW. As much as this classic match is about Rock/Triple H the real story is the continuing war between D-X and The Nation. Rock takes the first fall when Triple H, disposing of an interfering D’Lo Brown, walks into a Rock Bottom at 20:22. Rock does his best to score the second fall as quickly as possible but Triple H fights on. Triple H pins Rock for the second fall after an X-Factor from X-Pac followed by a Chyna low blow and DDT on a steel chair at 26:35 to even the score at one fall apiece. The last two minutes are a frenzy with Triple H beating the bejabbers out of Rock in and out of the ring. In the end Triple H counters a Rock Bottom attempt into the Pedigree as time expires at 30:04. The match ends in a draw and The Rock retains the Intercontinental title.
NO WINNER declared (Draw, 30:04)
After the match The Nation swarm Triple H until D-X make the save and the two factions brawl until D-X clears the ring.
Next we go backstage to the internet location where we see Undertaker finally show up! This is followed by a WWF Home Video exclusive promo with The Rock (with European Champion D’Lo Brown) who challenges Triple H to a rematch.
Up next is a Jerry Springer-esque vignette highlighting the feud between Jacqueline and Sable which is followed by, of all things, a WWF.com “tale of the tape”, after which Dustin Runnels appears in the ring and begins to pray for forgiveness for the fans and warn about the impending arrival of the Messiah.
— “Bikini Contest” (WATCH – 1:58:30)
Special Guest Ring Announcer: Jerry “The King” Lawler
Jacqueline w/Marc Mero vs. Sable
This segment is over huge! After Jacqueline reveals her skimpy bikini (sorry, guys, the wardrobe malfunction is blurred) Sable says that Mr. McMahon made Sable dress more “conservatively”. Sable then says “this is live TV, and there ain’t a damn thing Vince can do about this!” Sable takes off her shirt and reveals the now-famous hand-print “bikini” top that gets one of the biggest pops of the night. Mero gets slapped after trying to cover Sable up and then argues that Sable isn’t wearing a bikini. Mr. McMahon comes to the ring and wraps Sable in his suit jacket before walking Sable to the back, lecturing Sable as they walk.
WINNER is Jacqueline (Disqualification)
Next we see a WWF Home Video exclusive of Jacqueline barging into Sable’s dressing room where the two argue until officials separate them. “Make sure that bitch doesn’t come back in here!” Sable yells.
This is followed by a great vignette detailing the story between Austin, Undertaker, Kane, and Mankind as well as the drama between Austin and Undertaker.
— WWF World Tag Team Championship – “Tag Team Grudge Match” (WATCH – 2:12:47)
The Undertaker & WWF World Heavyweight Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Mankind & Kane(c) w/Paul Bearer
Undertaker and Austin are more than reluctant partners but manage to work together. This match is a war and tells one helluva story. The Champions dominate the first half of the match until Austin gets the hot tag and nearly wins the titles after glomming Kane with a steel chair. The Champions turn it around a short time later and look to have the match sewn up when Austin drops both Kane and Mankind with Stunners. In the end Undertaker gets the hot tag and destroys both Mankind and Kane with chokeslams before crushing Kane with the tombstone piledriver for the pin at 17:27 to win the World Tag Team Championship. This marked Austin’s third Tag Team title reign (of an eventual four) and Undertaker’s first and ended Kane & Mankind’s first reign (of an eventual two) as Tag Team Champions at 13-days.
WINNERS and NEW WWF World Tag Team Champions, The Undertaker & WWF World Heavyweight Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin (Pin, 17:27)
After the match Undertaker grabs both Tag Team title belts and walks out as the show goes dark, leaving Stone Cold Steve Austin dumbfounded in the ring.
Though the bikini contest was the most talked about portion of this event it’s by no means the best.
Featuring the “Dungeon” match, a classic “2-out-of-3 Falls” match, a fantastic main event, and only two real duds Fully Loaded: In Your House, one of the best WWF PPVs of 1998, is well worth a second look from fans who only remember the hand-prints.
Already subscribed to the WWE Network? Then you can relive this classic Fully Loaded event or see it for the very first time! As always, let us know what you think in the comments below.
Thanks for reading – until next week, see ya at ringside!
Watch every WWF/WWE “Attitude Era” PPV in between more than 10,000 hours of content on the WWE Network. Your first month is FREE! Click here to subscribe to the WWE Network.