The Attitude Era was constantly churning out new stars, thanks in large part to Vince Russo's insistence that every character have a story and the sheer devotion and determination of the men on the roster. Two such performers were Triple H and The Rock, two men who rose through the ranks as the leaders of feuding factions. One was a degenerate who bucked the system while the other was a cocky, confident, catchphrase-spouting third-generation star whose destiny it was to be a major star in the industry. Together, those two created magical moments and matches throughout the summer of 1998, culminating in a Ladder match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship inside the historic Madison Square Garden. The eleventh annual SummerSlam may have touted a Highway to Hell between Undertaker and Steve Austin but it was the two determined young stars who stole the show out from under their peers, delivering a match that played up the previously established storylines involving Chyna and Mark Henry. Of the utmost importance, though, was the fact that the bout served as Rock's breakout performance. For the first time, the flashy and charismatic star showed a violent side of his personality that struck the New York fans and almost instantly turned the "Rocky sucks" chants into support for wrestling's most electrifying star. Triple H won the match, turning in a gutsy performance on a bum knee, but it was his opponent who was catapulted into superstardom by way of his bloody showing of defiance. A match that created one of the biggest stars the industry had ever seen before, and helped two young performers breakout of the midcard, it is a somewhat forgotten classic in the annals of World Wrestling Entertainment.
Erik Beaston is a freelance pro wrestling writer who likes long walks in the park, dandelions and has not quite figured out that this introduction is not for Match.com. He resides in Parts Unknown, where he hosts weekly cookouts with Kane, The Ultimate Warrior, Papa Shango and The Boogeyman. Be jealous.