Welcome to the first edition of The Hardcore Files. First, before getting into anything, I’ll explain what this is all about. The Hardcore Files is a new series here on Wrestling With Words, where I will be reviewing WWF Hardcore Championship matches. Some may be good, some may be bad, but we’re going to dive deep into the Hardcore Division of at the time, WWF.
What better way to kick things off here than to review Mankind’s second title defense, after he was rewarded the championship from Vince McMahon. Then in his first defense he successfully defended the title against Ken Shamrock with the help of the J.O.B Squad. But now Mankind has a bigger task at hand when he defends the Hardcore Championship in a Ladder Match.
Date: November 30, 1998
Where: Raw Is War
Watch: WWE Network
Big Boss Man was accompanied to the ring by WWF Commissioner Shawn Michaels. Mankind on the other hand was accompanied by the J.O.B Squad.
Before the match got underway, Shawn sent the J.O.B Squad backstage then went on commentary. Boss Man followed up on the distraction and attacked Mankind with his nightstick on the outside. Mankind suddenly took control with the help of a ladder and tried to retrieve the championship.
Though technically this isn’t a ‘Hardcore Match’, hardcore rules still apply. One of the best things about seeing these hardcore type matches is seeing how creative the guys can get when using weapons. Mankind brought a faction of said element into the match as he put Boss Man in the ladder and dropped a big elbow on him. He hurt himself, but hurt Boss Man more, which is all that matters.
Just a couple minutes into this match and we see both men on top of the ladder fighting to get the championship.
Mankind pulls out his signature Mr. Socko and shoves it down the throat of Big Boss Man, knocking him off the ladder. Sadly for Mankind, things went downhill from here. The Rock made a run-in and pushed Mankind and the ladder down to the mat. But, Mankind didn’t hit the mat. He landed right on the side of the ladder, causing JR to spout out that he may of broke his leg. I’m positive the bump didn’t break it, but that was a pretty nasty fall. Rock picked up Boss Man and sent him up the ladder, but the heart of Mankind wouldn’t keep him down. He took Big Boss Man off the ladder and low-blowed The Rock. Of course, a 2-on-1 situation usually never goes good for the ‘one’, and he was ganged up on. After hitting Mankind with a Rock Bottom, The Rock held the ladder while Big Boss Man grabbed the championship and became the new WWF Hardcore Champion.
It was a fun match for the time it got. Certainly not too hardcore, but fun at least. Plus it was great to see The Rock get involved. Though just a ladder and a nightstick were the only weapons used, come back next time for the second edition of The Hardcore Files where we will see more action, more mind blowing television, and even more Hardcore!