Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Thursday, 9 August 2018

PPV REVIEW: WCW Superbrawl VIII (1998)

WCW SuperBrawl VIII (1998) review - Event poster
February 22, 1998
Cow Palace, San Francisco, California.

Throughout 1997, WCW had set the wrestling world on fire and claimed their throne as the undisputed kings of the industry with a year-long build-up to Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. Sting. 

Billed as The Match of the Century, the battle -which took place at Starrcade 1997- had been so brilliantly promoted that there was seemingly no way it could fail.

Yet fail it did, at least creatively.

Whilst the show had been a rousing financial success for World Championship Wrestling, the awkward and confusing finish to Hogan vs. Sting, coupled with poor matches and bizarre booking decisions on the undercard made Starrcade 97 a creative disaster the likes of which they would never truly recover from.

Not that they wouldn't try.

Tonight, as WCW presented us with Hogan vs. Sting II, the company would try to correct course and convince us that yes - they still deserved their place at the head of the wrestling mountain.

Here's what happened when WCW went into damage-repair mode at Superbrawl VIII.

The Battle Continues 

WCW SuperBrawl VIII (1998) - Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
Our intro tonight recapped the story of Hogan and Sting's rivalry, and how the whole thing was more about the bigger picture - the epic war between World Championship Wrestling and the New World Order.

That took us to our commentators for the evening, Tony Schiavone, Iron Mike Tenay, and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan, who all told us just how vital tonight's main event, one of five title matches on the show, actually was.

Speaking of title matches, we had one coming up next.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
WCW World Television Championship 

WCW SuperBrawl VIII (1998) - Booker T beat Rick Martel for the TV title
This was originally supposed to be Booker T defending the TV title against Saturn, but after Rick Martel had gotten the better of Booker on Nitro, we'd had a little switch around.

Instead, the two would meet one-on-one in a rematch of their earlier meeting at Souled Out 1998, with the winner then going on to face Saturn later on in the show.

Though not on par with some of the all-out classics that WCW had used to kick off their shoes in the past, it's probably not very fair to go comparing this one to anything else and just let it be what it was, which is a very solid opener.

After a good battle, Booker T reclaimed his title.
Your Winner and New WCW Television Champion: Booker  T

Immediately afterwards, Saturn rushed the ring and it looked like our second TV title match was going to happen immediately.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
WCW World Television Champion Booker T vs. Saturn  

WCW SuperBrawl VIII (1998) - Booker T defended the TV title against Saturn and Rick Martel in two matches
Wearing street clothes and sporting more hair than I ever remember him having, Saturn beat Booker black and blue in a match they didn't really have any heat but was perfectly fine, at least it would have been had it been about five minutes shorter.

Seriously, this one felt like it went on forever and actually became a chore to watch at times.

After a long, long fight in which he mostly got his ass kicked, Booker T hit his Big Kick Thing that I've forgotten the name of to retain the title.
Your Winner and Still WCW TV Champion: Booker T

Backstage, Chris Jericho spoke to Mark Madden and Jeff Katz about his Cruiserweight Championship  Title vs. Mask match later on in the show.

La Parka vs. Disco Inferno 

WCW SuperBrawl VIII (1998) - La Parka vs. Disco Inferno
As Disco Inferno made his way to the ring, Tony Schiavone commented on how ridiculous it was that, with a full-scale WCW/NWO war going on, Disco and La Parka would be feuding over dance moves.

Alas, they were, but I'm not saying that was a bad thing.

Whatever reason they used to get in the ring together, Disco Inferno vs. La Parka was actually far more entertaining than you'd expect.

A good, see-saw battle with plenty to enjoy, this one ended with La Parka bringing a chair into the ring but getting thrown off the top rope onto it.

A Chart Buster later and this one was over.
Your Winner: Disco Inferno 

WCW SuperBrawl VIII (1998) - Mean Gene Okerlund with JJ Dillon and Nick Patrick
Out in the entrance way, we got the obligatory 'Mean Gene Okerlund interviews JJ Dillon' segment.

This time, Dillon told us that Nick Patrick had been reinstated following his suspension in the wake of Montreal II Starrcade 97.

To be fair, he should never have been suspended in the first place given that any idiot could watch that show and realise that Patrick never actually delivered the fast count he was so accused of.

Anyway, Nick, who has to be my favourite referee ever, came out and was thrilled about being reinstated, even going so far as to thank his friends, fans, and loved ones for their support.

He was, however, less thrilled to learn that he wouldn't be the referee for Hogan vs. Sting II later on in the show, a piece of news which upset him so much he started ranting about his missed back pay.

Patrick was golden here, with far more natural charisma than even some of the men refereed for over the years.

WCW SuperBrawl VIII (1998) - Bill Goldberg squashed Brad Armstrong

Brad Armstrong vs. Bill Goldberg

Bill came. Bill saw. Bill conquered.

This was your typical Bill Goldberg Super Squash Special, albeit with the added bonus that Brad Armstrong was reasonably entertaining in his few minutes as cannon fodder.

Your Winner: Bill Goldberg 

Moving on...

World Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship Mask vs. Title Match
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Chris Jericho vs. Juventud Guerrera 

At his heelish best, Chris Jericho was the ultimate brat here, even refusing to take the title belt off and trying to wrestle whilst wearing it until Juventud Guerrera kicked him in the midsection and the belt winded him.

After that, we got a fantastic Cruiserweight match that proved to be the best thing on the show so far.

For what it's worth, this was the second Cruiserweight title vs. Mask bout in the last six months, with the first one being Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. at Halloween Havoc 1997.

This match may not have been as good as that all-time classic but it was still great in its own right, and looked to have ended with a win for Juvi when he did get the three count but Jericho had his hand on the rope.

Afterwards a few more minutes of exhilarating action, Jericho slapped on the Lion Tamer and Juvi lost both the match and his mask.
Your Winner and Still Cruiserweight Champion: Chris Jericho 

Afterwards, Juvi teased the big reveal that, under his mask, he was actually a handsome pretty boy.

All the while, Jericho acted like a complete prick, goading both Juvi and the crowd and proving why he was one of the most entertaining acts of the late 1990s.

Steve 'Mongo' McMichael vs. The British Bulldog

WCW SuperBrawl VIII (1998) - British Bulldog beat Steve 'Mongo' McMichael
In 1993, The British Bulldog had enjoyed a brief run as one of WCW's biggest main event stars.

Five years later and he was back in the company, this time as a mid-card act that would struggle to find anything meaningful to do for the duration of his run.

At least he had something of a feud going on here with Steve 'Mongo' McMichael, as the two had a rivalry which led us to a mediocre match.

After several minutes of so-so action which saw Mongo hurt his arm, Davey Boy slapped on an armbar and won the match.
Your Winner: The British Bulldog

Afterwards, an irate Mongo McMichael shoved the referee over and stormed off backstage, complaining that he never actually gave up.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW United States Champion Diamond Dallas Page vs. Chris Benoit

WCW SuperBrawl VIII (1998) - Chris Benoit challenged DDP for the US title
Making his first US title defence since beating Curt Hennig for the title at WANK PARTY 5, Diamond Dallas Page put the belt on the line in a very good face vs. face match.

After a truly tremendous effort from both champ and challenger, a dramatic finish saw Page get the three count to retain.
Your Winner and Still WCW US Champion: Diamond Dallas Page

Heading back to the announcers, Tony Schiavone told us that despite earlier promising us that The Giant would be here, problems with his flight meant that he wouldn't.

He also told us that, after Kevin Nash had dropped Giant on his head like a sack of shit at Souled Out 1997, The Jackknife Powerbomb had been banned.

A brief video then showed us that happening at Souled about just in case we'd missed it.

No Disqualification Match
Macho Man Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. Lex Luger 

WCW SuperBrawl VIII (1998) - Randy Savage met Lex Luger in a No DQ match
I don't want to say that WCW were running out of ideas at this point, but Lex Luger came out doing the bandaged-ribs gimmick that Diamond Dallas Page had only just finished doing.

Of course, the bandages -required after Luger had been beaten up by the nWo - were a natural target for Macho Man Randy Savage, who lay into his opponent despite the announcers suggesting that the two may have called a truce because they'd been spotted 'having a conversation' backstage.

Tonight, there was no truce - just a passable though immediately forgettable no DQ match in which nothing interesting happened until the finish.

Luger got Savage up  for the torture rack, but Miss Elizabeth interfered to save her man, at which point the nWo B-Team (Scott Norton, Buff Bagwell, Virgil, and Brian Adams) all ran in.

Both Luger and Savage then sent the nWo packing, at which point Hogan came down and told his men to leave Savage because he wasn't family and that he (Hogan) was glad Savage had been beaten.

Because he had been beaten by Luger's torture rack, but we were too focussed on Hogan to notice.
Your Winner: Lex Luger

Time for one more match before our main event.

World Championship Wrestling Unified World Tag Team Championship
World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner w/ Ted Dibiase) vs. The Outsiders (Scott Hall & Kevin Nash w/ Dusty Rhodes)

The 'unified' here was a bit of a stretch here as the titles being unified were the real WCW tag titles held by The Steiners and the fake ones The Outsiders had introduced after they lost the real ones.

It didn't really matter anyway, because about a minute into the match Scott Steiner turned on Rick Steiner and joined the nWo.

Ladies and gentlemen, Big Poppa Pump was born.

A minute later, Hall hit the Outsiders Edge, and this one was over.
Your Winners and New WCW Tag Team Champions: The Outsiders

Afterwards, Steiner handed The Outsiders their titles and celebrated becoming the newest member of the New World Order.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
Match for the Vacant Title
Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. Sting

WCW SuperBrawl VIII (1998) - Sting beat Hulk Hogan for the vacant WCW title
It was once The Match of the Century, now it was The Rematch to Make Up For How Horrible the Match of the Century Had Been.

As Hogan matches go, this one was on the more entertaining end of the scale, but still, don't expect Malenko/Guerrero flashes of technical Wrestling brilliance.

What you did get was a weird match that was basically all Hogan. Until the finish happened, Sting was just a body that was there in the same way that Brad Armstrong had been for Bill Goldberg earlier.

At one point, Charles Robinson got squashed by Sting, prompting Nick Patrick to run in and shock Hulk by refusing to make a fast count.

Hogan continued to dominate anyway and cut off every bit of offence Sting made.

Eventually, Sting made the big no-sell comeback and hit Hogan with the Scorpion Death Drop, but Hogan kicked Nick on the way down.

An NWO run in ensured but Sting cleaned house and made the pin anyway.

A three count later and we had a new, undisputed  World Heavyweight Champion.
Your Winner and NEW WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Sting 

Afterwards, Sting took a can of spray paint left by Savage in the NWO run-in and sprayed WCW on Hogan's body.

Ladies and gentlemen, that's the finish we should have got at Starrcade.

Had the company done that in the first place, things might have worked out very differently for them, but only time would tell whether the damage-repair job carried out tonight had been enough.

As for the rest of the card, there was a lot to enjoy, particularly Page/Benoit and the Mask vs. Title bout, though this wasn't a bad show overall and is certainly worth a casual viewing.

More SuperBrawl Reviews

1998 events reviewed so far
  1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1998 
  2. WCW - Souled Out 1998
  3. WWF - In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas 
Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

PPV REVIEW: WWF - In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas

WWE / WWF In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas - Event poster
February 15, 1998,
Compaq Center, Houston, Texas

Back in the day, the 20th instalment of the In Your House franchise was always called No Way Out until somebody pointed out that those initials spelt NWO, and that the NWO was, of course, the reason why WCW were kicking the World Wrestling Federation's ass every which way but west. 

After that, the event became No Way Out of Texas, and was the last major stop on the road to Wrestlemania 14.

Here's what went down as the company began shaping the storylines that would deliver our marquee matches for the biggest event of the year.

The Renegades Are in Charge 

WWE / WWF In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas - Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler
Our show tonight began with the usual video package, this one telling us that whilst the road to glory often meant  making sacrifices and generally being a good guy fighting for what's right, renegades like Stone Cold Steve Austin, the New Age Outlaws, Cactus Jack, and Chainsaw Charlie had managed to make it to the top by being defiant, crazy, and a bunch of badasses.

Tonight, we'd see all those men, and more, at No Way Out of Texas.

That took us to the opening pyro, shots of a truly rabid crowd, and a welcome from Jim Ross.

Ross informed us that Shawn Michaels wouldn't be competing in tonight's big eight Man main event (he was recuperating from the injury he suffered when he landed awkwardly on the casket in a match with The Undertaker at Royal Rumble 98) and that because that match was likely to be so intense, it had also been turned into an anything-goes, no holds barred affair.

JR's broadcast colleague, Jerry 'The King' Lawler added that D-Generation-X would have a hard time finding any replacement on the same level of HBK (and man, would they ever!), and with that, it was onto our opening match.

Marvellous Marc Mero & The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust (w/ Luna Vachon) vs. The Headbangers (Mosh & Thrasher)

WWE / WWF In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas - Goldust and Luna Vachon
The ever-stunning Sable had accompanied Marc Mero to the ring but, playing up the heel gimmick in which he was supposedly jealous of his wife's popularity, Mero had sent her to the back, claiming that there was only room for one beautiful woman at ringside, and Luna Vachon was it.

Meanwhile, Luna's man The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust was supposed to be imitating Marilyn Manson, but actually bore an uncanny resemblance to Manson's on-again-off-again bassist, Twiggy Ramirez.

Together, Mero and MansonDust teamed up to take on Mosh and Thrasher in a match which, fun though it was, existed solely to serve as a backdrop to the rivalry between Sable and Luna.

After an enjoyable opener which saw Thrasher get busted open (Attitude Era = Blood), Sable returned to the ring to resume the argument she'd been having with Luna before the match (and on that week's episode of Raw).

This distracted Mero and MansonDust, who had actually been getting on quite well in some kind of Odd Couple double act.

The distraction allowed the Headbangers to do the old-switcharoo and win the match, not that anybody cared, or even noticed.
Your Winners: The Headbangers 

WWE / WWF In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas - Sable challenges Luna to a fight
They didn't notice because all eyes were firmly on Sable, and just Sable, not even Luna who she was mad at, just Sable.

We got ample shots of the irate beauty yelling at someone off camera, as if having the two in the same shot would somehow diminish Sable's sex appeal (which is dumb anyway, Luna was weirdly hot in her time).

Eventually, she got her hands on Vachon, only for a gaggle of officials to break it up.

Finally, Mero got in Sable's face, but she shoved him flat on his ass and sent him packing to end a fun first 20 minutes of the show.

Owen Hart Answers A Different Question 

WWE / WWF In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas - Owen Hart threatened to bust HHH's leg
Backstage, Michael Cole asked European Champion Owen Hart how he was going to co-exist with Stone Cold Steve Austin after the two had endured a bitter rivalry the previous year, complete with Owen breaking Austin's neck at Summerslam 1997 and then losing the Intercontinental Championship to him at Survivor Series 1997.

Owen responded by answering a different question entirely and telling Cole that he didn't give a damn who D-Generation-X picked as their partner tonight.

Finally getting to the question at hand, Hart tole Austin that as long as they stayed out of each other's way, they'd be fine.

To finish, he then turned his attention back to Hunter Hearst Helmsley, telling the DX member that when the two met in the ring, he was going to 'bust [his] legs,' which I suppose is a step up from kicking his leg out of his leg.

Sunny is Here 

WWE / WWF In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas - Sunny was the guest ring announcer
Looking pretty in pink, the ever-delightful Sunny came down to the ring to provide guest commentary for our next match.

I care not what you say, nobody was hotter than Sunny back in the day.

World Wrestling Federation Light Heavyweight Championship
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion Taka Michinoku vs. Pantera 

With nary a Cowboy From Hell in sight, Pantera wore his best dollar store leggings and cheap zebra print leotard to challenge Taka Michinoku for the Light Heavyweight Championship.

Despite almost nobody in the entire audience caring, both champ and challenger did their best to entertain, though sadly all their efforts were overshadowed by guest commentator Brian Christopher. 

At first stopping by to claim that Michinoku had cheated when he beat him for the title at In Your House 19: D-Generation-X, Christopher was obnoxious in a way that I'm sure wasn't part of his heel persona, and was so distracting that it was hard o pay attention to what was going on in the ring.

Then he started breaking out the casual racism, making random references to tacos when talking about Mexican Pantera (who was actually supposed to be his ally), and then -I kid you not- calling Taka 'slant-eyed.'

The match went on with hardly anyone paying attention until Taka hit the Michinoku Driver to retain the title.
Your Winner and Still WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Taka Michinoku

Post-match, Brian wanted to attack the champ, but when his daddy tried to stop him, Taka flew off the top rope to the outside and levelled them both.

The Lawler boys then tried to attack, but Michinoku ran off thro. CNN know

Cactus & Funk Are Ready For a Fight

Out in the back, Cactus Jack and Terry Funk were talking to Kevin Kelly for America Online.

In a fumbling non-promo, the two repeated each other's claims that they didn't care who the eighth man was going to be in the main event, they were going to beat up everybody anyway.

Right on.

The Quebecers (Jacques Rougeau & Pierre Laffite) vs. The Godwins (Henry & Phineas Godwin)

WWE / WWF In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas - The Godwins beat The Quebecers in a horrible match
Having recently returned to the World Wrestling Federation The Quebecers looked far worse than the last time they'd appeared together on a WWF PPV, which was several years ago at Wrestlemania 10.

They even looked worse than the last time they'd appeared on a WCW PPV, a little more recently at World War 3 1996, when they were known as The Amazing French Canadians.

Sadly, there was nothing amazing about them in this match.

Sure, they could still pull off some nice looking moves, but their contest with The Godwins, born of a recent rivalry played out on Shotgun Saturday Night, just sucked the life out of the arena.

After a whole bunch of blandness, Henry Godwin clotheslined Pierre from the outside and Phineas got the win.
Your Winners: The Godwins

Afterwards, The Godwins hit The Quebecers over their heads with buckets for good measure.

The New Age Outlaws Aren't Getting Any Respect

WWE / WWF In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas - The New Age Outlaws interviewed by Doc Hendrix
The running story throughout tonight's show was the mystery of who would be replacing Shawn Michaels in tonight's big eight-man main event.

Would it be somebody returning like Sycho Sid? A brand new superstar?

Nobody knew, and that was part of the excitement.

Next, Doc Hendrix tried to solve that mystery once and for all by asking The New Age Outlaws who the mystery man was.

To Doc's dismay, and the Outlaws' frustration, they didn't know either, and had actually assumed that Hendrix had called them out to tell them who the eighth man was.

Pissed off that they'd been left out of the decision-making process, the tag team Champions went off to get some respect, presumably from Triple H.

I know what you're thinking...

I'm not a real athlete, I'm just a wrestler...

Remember those PSAs? I do, my friend and I used to quote it to each other all the time.

Anyway, we got one next, so that was a fun trip down memory lane.

National Wrestling Alliance North American Championship
NWA North American Champion Jeff Jarrett (w/ Jim Cornette) vs. Bradshaw

Jeff Jarrett had originally come to the ring not only with Jim Cornette (making his first PPV appearance as a manager since Survivor Series 96) but also fellow NWA stablemates Barry Windham and The Rock 'n' Roll Express.

WWE / WWF In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas - Jeff Jarrett defended the NWA North American title against Bradshaw
The referee had ordered those three backstage, leaving us with a reasonably good one-on-one match.

Like a lot of undercard matches in the history of pro wrestling, this one wasn't going to set the world on fire, but it was decent outing that was probably the best match Bradshaw had been involved in since he joined the WWF.

In the end, Jarrett waffled the challenger with Cornette's tennis racket to lose the match but keep the title.
Your Winner via Disqualification: Bradshaw (Jeff Jarrett retains the title)

Post-match, Bradshaw took out Jarrett and The Rock and Roll Roll Express with the tennis racket, but Barry Windham tripped him up and the numbers game got too much for Bradshaw.

That's when long-time NWA mainstays The Legion of Doom ran in to make the save and bring this fun part of the show to a close.

Triple H Makes it a Handicap Match

WWE / WWF In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas - Michael Cole interviews Triple H (w/ Chyna)
Proving that he could indeed take the reigns as head of DX in the absence of Shawn Michaels, Hunter Hearst Helmsley cut a compelling promo in which he claimed that, because nobody was capable of filling Shawn Michaels' shoes, he wasn't picking a partner and had decided that tonight's main event would be a handicap match.

Michael Cole then informed Hunter that WWF officials were probably going to put someone in the match anyway, which was a good way to defer the blame for the eventual pick away from HHH.

The Rock Over Shadows Farooq

Backstage, Doc Hendrix interviewed The Nation of Domination about their upcoming 'War of Attrition' with Ken Shamrock, Ahmed Johnson, and the Disciples of Apocalypse.

Whilst Nation leader Farooq took the microphone to yell at Doc, The Rock gurned and posed for the camera and was genuinely hilarious.

If for nothing else, this show is worth tracking down for this segment - Rock was hysterical.

WWE / WWF In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas - The Rock poses during a Nation of Domination interviewWar of Attrition
The Nation of Domination (Farooq, D'Lo Brown, Mark Henry, Kama Mustafa, and WWF Intercontinental Champion The Rock) vs. Ken Shamrock, Ahmed Johnson, Chainz, Skull, and 8-Ball

When they called it a 'War of Attrition' that didn't mean there was any kind of special stipulation going on; it was just a way to sell a big ass tag match in the same way that WCW used to sell matches by calling them 'Super Special Grudge Match' or the like.

Still, as matches go, this was at least an exciting one, with exactly the right combination of star power, heated rivalries, and solid action.

After an explosive contest that proved to be a surprise highlight of the evening, Shamrock slapped Rocky in the ankle lock to win the match.
Your Winners: Ken Shamrock, Ahmed Johnson, and the DOA

WWE / WWF In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas - The Rock yells at Farooq after their match
Afterwards, Rock yelled at Farooq and Farooq took out his frustrations by hitting D'Lo Brown. D'Lo then wanted to get at Farooq but the whole thing was diffused by Kama and Henry - clearly interesting times were ahead for The Nation of Domination.

Austin is a Babyface 

Out in the back, Michael Cole interviewed Stone Cold Steve Austin who, like all three of his teammates, claimed he didn't care if there was an eighth man.

He then cut the closest thing he'd come to a proper babyface promo so far when he said that even though it was 'fun to whip someone's ass anywhere in the world,' it was even better in his home state of Texas.

That took us back to Ross and Lawler, who claimed to have one of Steve Austin's kindergarten report cards.

Even though it was clearly just a blank piece of card, the two claimed that it said Austin didn't play well with others, even as a child.

Next, we got a special video package looking at the rivalry between Vader and Kane.

That match was next.

Vader vs. Kane (w/ Paul Bearer)

WWE / WWF In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas - Kane vs. Undertaker
After making his debut by attacking brother The Undertaker at Badd Blood: In Your House 18, Kane had been on the warpath, destroying everyone in his path and even locking The Undertaker in a casket which he set on fire at the 1998 Royal Rumble,

With The Dead Man presumed gone, Kane had next turned his attention to Paul Bearer's former charge, Vader.

The match was mostly dull with flashes of excitement, especially at the finish.

Kane popped up from a Vader moonsault, got blasted with a fire extinguisher and powerbombed, but popped up again and landed a big tombstone piledriver for the win.
Your Winner: Kane

In the aftermath, Kane pulled a wrench from under the ring and smashed Vader in the face with it.

The attack was so bad that Vader had to be wheeled out on a stretcher.

After quickly telling us about Wrestlemania 14, Jim Ross told us that Vader's face had been caved in.

He and Lawler also confirmed Michael Cole's earlier suggestion that the WWF would indeed select a partner for Team DX

Non-Sanctioned, Anything Goes Eight-Man Tag Team Match
Stone Cold Steve Austin, Cactus Jack, Chainsaw Charlie, and WWF European Champion Owen Hart vs. Triple H, Savio Vega, and WWF Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws (Bad Ass Billy Gunn and Road Dogg Jesse James) w/ Chyna

WWE / WWF In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas - Eight Man main event (the mystery man was Savio Vega)
And so after all the hype, all the mystery and suspense, the mystery eighth man was revealed to be Savio Vega.

I remember at the time what an enormous feeling of disappointment we all felt with what has to be the most underwhelming selection of a replacement, and you cave still tell what a let down it was watching it even years later.

You know what I don't get?

How come the World Wrestling Federation were able to decide that this was an unsanctioned match - meaning they had nothing to do with it, yet could still force an eighth man in there and have one of their referees officiate it?

Explain that to me, oh Mighty Lords of Kayfabe.

Anyway, with the bad guys all in the ring, Owen Hart car down followed by Chainsaw Charlie and Cactus Jack, all three of whom littered the ring with weapons before Austin blew the roof off the place with his entrance.

With that, the match was on.

Things started with a wild, weapon-filled brawl that was out of control in the worst sense of the word.

Sure it had some fun spots, but trying to watch eight men have four different fights at once gets to be confusing.

Thankfully, things did 'settle down' into your standard tag match (albeit one filled with weapons and barbed wire) and turned out to be a hugely enjoyable main event.

The heels dominated proceedings, with Owen Hart constantly trying to come to his teammates rescue and Austin launching a trash can at Billy Gunn in a truly beautiful spot. Then, after getting wrapped up in barbed wire, Cactus Jack made the tag to Stone Cold, who cleaned house and stunned Road Dogg to win the match.
Your Winners: Steve Austin, Cactus Jack, Chainsaw Charlie, and Owen Hart

Afterwards, Chyna confronted Austin and goaded him into giving her a Stone Cold Stunner to send the crowd hope even happier than they already were.

And so the Road to Wrestlemania turned it io a gear with what proved to be a hot main event which capped off a truly mixed bag of a show.

Apart from that big eight man match, there was nothing here that really stood out as being anything remarkable, but enough reasonably entertaining stuff (the opening tag match and the Nation/Team Shamrock stuff) that stopped it from being a one match show.

Next stop, Wrestlemania 15.

1998 events reviewed so far
  1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1998 
  2. WCW - Souled Out 1998
Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

PPV REVIEW: WCW Starrcade 1997

WCW Starrcade 1997 review - Event Poster
December 28, 1997
MCI Center, Washington, D.C

It's often said that of all the things World Championship Wrestling did in the mid-late 1990s to dethrone the World Wrestling Federation as undisputed kings of pro wrestling, the build up towards Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. Sting at Starrcade 1997 was one of their greatest accomplishments. 

Encompassing the formation of the New World Order, Sting's transformation into the mysterious 'crow' character, and a near 18-month build up which saw Hollywood Hogan and his nWo organisation running roughshod over the company Sting had long been the heart and soul of, all whilst Sting himself refused to compete and instead lingered in the shadows, the storyline had been executed to perfection.

So, when the company told you that Hogan vs. Sting was 'The Match of The Century' it didn't take too big a stretch of the imagination to believe them.

Now that the night itself was at hand, all they had left to do was finish the storyline off with a satisfactory ending.

Having done so good so far, there was surely no possible way they could mess up something so simple...

..Or was there?

Let's head to Washington and find out for ourselves, shall we?

It's The One We've All Been Waiting For 

WCW Starrcade 1997 review - Sting challenged Hulk Hogan for the WCW title
And so, the most anticipated show of the year began with a dark, haunting video package which did an excellent job of making Hogan vs. Sting feel like the biggest battle of Good vs. Evil since God banished Satan to the depths of hell.

Seriously, I know I've mocked WCW's cheesy, outdated video packages in the past, but give them their credit here, they got this one right.

The video led us to Tony Schiavone and our announce team for the evening, which also includes The American Dream Dusty Rhodes and Iron Mike Tenay.

As usual, the announcers built up the main event as a huge deal, and even went one step further than usual by showing us basically all the WCW wrestlers who were not on the card that night taking their seats at ringside.

WCW Starrcade 1997 review - Sworn enemies Glacier & Wrath hanging out in the crowd together
The idea here was that Sting vs. Hogan was such a huge deal that everyone from Harlem Heat, Sonny Onoo, and Hugh Morrus to Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine and Ultimo Dragon were eager to sit through a whole PPV just to watch it, and that this was such an important occasion that once sworn enemies Glacier and Wrath were willing to put their differences aside and sit just a few rows apart from one another.

OK, so that little continuity error wasn't the greatest, but the whole thing was a nice touch to build up the magnitude of tonight's show.

As Dean Malenko's music hit for our opening match, Schiavone ignored that to tell us that an nWo press release had been issued, informing us that Kevin Nash would not appear for his scheduled match against The Giant.

World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko 

WCW Starrcade 1997 review - Eddie Guerrero backs off from Dean Malenko
Over the past few months, Eddie Guerrero had enjoyed two phenomenal Cruiserweight Championship matches against Rey Mysterio Jr. at Halloween Havoc 1997 and War Games 1997.

Tonight, he went at it in another title defence against former Champion Dean Malenko in a match which, though it wasn't on a par with Guerrero/Mysterio, was every bit as good as you'd expect it to be.

Given the best part of 20 minutes to simply let rip, champ and challenger worked hard to deliver a hard-hitting wrestling match with nary a dull moment in sight.

After working Malenko's leg for the duration of the match, Eddie landed a brutal frog splash onto the challenger's knee and put him away for the three count.
Your Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Eddie Guerrero 

Up next it was survey time as Scott Hall came out to do the 'How many of you came to see the nWo?' thing he'd just started doing.

WCW Starrcade 1997 review - Scott Hall conducted a survey and got chokeslammed by The Giant
After reminding us that -as a reward for winning World War 3- he would get to face the winner of Sting/Hogan at Superbrawl in February, the nWo founder informed the D.C. crowd that Kevin Nash would not be appearing so The Giant could be declared the winner via forfeit.

Not surprisingly, this brought out the big man himself.

The Giant promised to be waiting for Nash when he eventually did return, then merely shrugged when Hall tried to attack him.

Giving the crowd something to cheer about, Giant then battered Hall, threatened to chokeslam him, but powerbombed him instead.

All credit to Hall here, he was an absolute riot in selling The Giant's offence and made the whole thing come off beautifully.

After that, Scott Norton and Vincent came out to help Hall to the back as the nWo B-Team music played. The two then returned to the ring for an upcoming six-man tag team bout.

Six-Man Match
Team nWo (Scott 'Flash' Norton, Vincent, and Macho Man Randy Savage w/ Miss. Elizabeth) vs. Team WCW (Ray Traylor and WCW World Tag Team Champions Rick & Scott Steiner w/ Ted Dibiase) 

WCW Starrcade 1997 review - Vincent wrestled in his first PPV match in years
Apparently, Konnan was supposed to be the third man for the nWo, but it was revealed that Macho Man Randy Savage had taken his place for this match against former New World Order man Ray Traylor and WCW Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers, with another original nWo member, Ted Dibiase, in their corner.

Speaking of Dibiase, his former lackey, Vincent was competing in his first WCW PPV match since joining the company the previous summer, and his first PPV match for any company since Survivor Series 1992.

I'm not, of course, including battle royals in that.

Anyway, as random as this one was, it was actually pretty decent in its own way.

The good guys spent the majority of the bout in control before it all broke down and Savage got the win with his flying elbow drop.
Your Winners: Randy Savage, Scott Norton, and Vincent 

WCW Starrcade 1997 review - Mean Gene Okerlund interviews J.J. Dillon
Afterwards, we got the obligatory Mean Gene Okerlund segment in which he urged us to call the WCW Hotline before introducing WCW Executive Committee Chairman, J.J. Dillon.

Dillon announced that, in the interest of fairness, the names of all the referees had been entered into a hat and one had been picked at random to determine who would officiate tonight's main event.

With eye-rolling predictability, the man chosen -at random, remember- for the task was, obviously, former nWo referee, Nick Patrick.

Bill Goldberg vs. Steve 'Mongo' McMichael 

At Halloween Havoc 1997, Bill Goldberg had interjected himself in the finish of Steve 'Mongo' McMichael vs. Alex Wright.

That has led to a scheduled match at World War 3 which never actually took place because Mongo had attacked Goldberg with a lead pipe backstage.

WCW Starrcade 1997 review - Bill Goldberg beat Steve 'Mongo' McMichael
So tonight, we finally got the big grudge match, and it wasn't the typical squash match affair we all remember Goldberg specialising in during this phase of his career.

Instead, it was a competitive -though pretty bland- match which was so boring that at one point the fans stopped watching and started arguing among themselves.

Even a spot where Mongo fell like a sack of crap through a table (prompting a half-assed ECW chant) couldn't save this one from being the worst WCW PPV match of 1997.

Finally, Big Bill hit the jackhammer to pick up the win.
Your Winner: Bill Goldberg 

Post-match, Mike Tenay made a brief reference to Goldberg's undefeated streak, but it wasn't the big selling point that jr would later become.

Raven's Rules (No DQ)
Saturn vs. Chris Benoit 

WCW Starrcade 1997 review - Raven had Saturn substitute for him against Chris Benoit
For the past month, Raven had been avoiding Chris Benoit, either failing to turn up for their scheduled matches or sending one of his Flock to compete in his place.

Tonight was supposed to be the night that Raven finally manned-up to go one-on-one with The Crippler, but instead, Raven once again bowed out and had former TV Champion Saturn do his bidding instead.

Benoit, however, was adamant that he wanted Raven, and cut an awkward promo in which he tried to imitate Raven's cryptic style but instead sounded like he'd forgotten a poem he was reading out to his high school.

Thankfully, The Crippler was better in the ring than he was on the mic, and this became a decent effort, even though it did drag on in places.

Despite his best efforts, not even Benoit could fight off the entire Flock, and a DDT from Raven followed by the rings of Saturn brought this one to an end.
Your Winner: Saturn 

Ladies and gentlemen, Starrcade 1997 continues with our following contest.

Buff Bagwell (w/ Vincent) vs. Lex Luger 

WCW Starrcade 1997 review - Buff Bagwell bored the world to tears with Lex Luger
This was probably the most boring match in the history of professional wrestling. The fact that I'm still awake to write this recap is a miracle.

Lex Luger spent the bulk of the match fighting off both Buff Bagwell and Vincent, but just when it looked like he was ready to rack the former American Male, referee Billy Silverman got bumped.

Randy Savage then ran in to attack Luger but got racked instead.

Then Scott Norton came down and hit Luger with -of all things- Rick Steiner's dog collar.

Vicious then dropped Delicious over the Total Package, Silverman made the cover, and this one was over.
Your Winner: Buff Bagwell 

Yuck, that was horrible.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW US Champion Curt Hennig vs. Diamond Dallas Page 

WCW Starrcade 1997 review - DDP challenged Curt Hennig for the US title
Making up for the last couple of horrible matches, Curt Hennig and Diamond Dallas Page put on a tremendous show that was by far the best match on the card.

OK, so the competition for such an honour wasn't exactly high, but still, this was a compelling match with plenty to enjoy

After beating each other to the point of exhaustion, DDP landed the Diamond Cutter to win his first pro wrestling championship.
Your Winner and New WCW United States Champion: Diamond Dallas Page 

Out in the back, Eddie Guerrero spoke to Madden and Katz for

Match for the Control of WCW Nitro
Eric Bischoff (w/ Scott Hall) vs. Larry Zybysko
Special Referee: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart 

WCW Starrcade 1997 review - Larry Zybysko beat Eric Bischoff
In the wake of Survivor Series 1997, Bret 'The Hitman' Hart was pretty much the hottest commodity in professional wrestling.

Yet instead of capitalising on the outpouring of public sympathy for The Hitman by booking him in a high profile match at his first WCW PPV to make a tonne of money and establish Bret as the company's biggest babyfaces since Sting, the company instead had him make his first major appearance as a referee for a match between a non-wrestling executive and retired wrestler turned commentator.

Only in WCW, folks.

The match was being fought to determine whether WCW or the nWo would be in control of Monday Nitro, and it was a big pile of confusing garbage.

For the first five decades, Living Legend Larry Zybysko and karate black belt Eric Bischoff merely stalled, teasing that they might, just possibly, make contact with each other before the second coming of Christ.

After several eternities, Bischoff struck Zybysko with a karate kick to the head then got immediately pummelled by The Living Legend.

Larry spent the bulk of the bout in control, with Bret admonishing him at every turn for a variety of reasons, almost as though he was secretively on Bischoff's side.

The actual action was horrible, and came to a head when Zybysko tied up Bischoff in a Tree of Woe.

Whilst Bret told him off, Scott Hall attached a metal plate to Eric's foot.

Bischoff then regrouped and went to kick Zybysko with the loaded boot. Not only did he clearly miss, but the metal plate very clearly flew off the boot and very obviously soared across the ring.

Despite this, Zybysko fell down and pretended to be knocked out anyway.

The Hitman then turned on Bischoff and knocked him out, before putting Scott Hall in the Sharpshooter for good measure.

Larry then recovered and won the match, not by pinfall, submission, or any of the normal ways that a person wins a match, but simply by Bret Hart deciding that he was the winner and raising his hand.
Your Winner: Larry Zybysko (Nitro remains in the control of WCW) 

Post-match, the announcers explained this whole mess by saying that Bret had seen Hall load Bischoff's boot, but they said nothing about him seeing the metal plate fly off and obviously miss.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship:
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. Sting 

WCW Starrcade 1997 review -Bret Hart was involved in the main event
Competing in his first full PPV match since Bash at the Beach 1996 (excluding a brief appearance at Fall Brawl 96), Sting got an elaborate entrance the likes of which gave any of The Undertaker's more dramatic arrivals a run for his money and which genuinely gave this fan goosebumps.

Then he took off his trench coat and Tony Schiavone said 'look at his arms!' so we did.

Yet instead of looking ripped muscles -as Schiavone's tone of voice implied- the franchise player looked like he hasn't been near a dumbbell, nor the sun, since his last match.

In other words, Stinger looked like shit.

So too did the match.

We got about ten minutes of your typical Hogan main event before a very anticlimactic non-finish in which the champ merely dropped the leg on Sting and won the match.

It was such a strange, out of nowhere finish that the crowd greeted it with silence. Not Undertaker-Streak-Ending stunned silence but puzzled, head-scratching silence.

The head-scratching continued when we went outside to find Bret Hart preventing the timekeeper from ringing the bell and muttering something about something not happening again.

WCW Starrcade 1997 review - Sting beat Hogan for the title via weird botched finish
You see, the idea was that Patrick would do a fast count and Bret Hart -still with referee powers from the earlier match- would put things right to prevent another Montreal.

Except, Patrick never counted fast so Sting looked weak and Hart looked like an idiot.

Anyway, the match was restarted, and the worst WCW PPV of the year -if not the worst PPV of the year overall- was over thanks to a shitty looking Scorpion Deathlock.
Your Winner and New WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Sting

Post-match, the whole WCW roster somehow crammed into the ring to celebrate with the new champion in a moment which would have been a lot cooler had it not been for the crappy way the match ended.

And so that was that. 

Could WCW screw up what had been an otherwise perfect storyline?

Apparently so. 

An 18 month build up, all the hype of this being the biggest pay per view of all time, and what we got was a truly horrible effort that was painful to watch.

Still - this was World Championship Wrestling's most financially successful PPV ever, so for the company it was a hit, but you just know that nobody in their right mind would have paid money for Starrcade 1997 if they'd known what was actually going to happen at the show.

1997 events reviewed on Retro Pro Wrestling
  1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1997
  2. WCW - Souled Out 1997
  3. WWF - In Your House 13: Final Four 
  4. WCW - Superbrawl VII 
  5. WCW - Uncensored 1997 
  6. WWF - Wrestlemania 13
  7. WCW Spring Stampede 1997
  8. WWF - In Your House 14: Revenge of The Taker
  9. WWF - In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell
  10. WCW - Slamboree 1997
  11. WWF - King of the Ring 1997
  12. WCW - Great American Bash 1997 
  13. WWF - In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede 
  14. WCW - Bash at the Beach 1997 
  15. WWF - Summerslam 1997
  16. WCW - Road Wild 1997
  17. WWF - In Your House 17: Ground Zero
  18. WCW - Fall Brawl 1997
  19. WWF - One Night Only 1997
  20. WWF - In Your House 18: Badd Blood
  21. WCW - Halloween Havoc 1997
  22. WWF - Survivor Series 1997
  23. WCW - World War 3 1993
  24. WWF - In Your House 19: D-Generation-X
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Thursday, 5 July 2018

PPV REVIEW: WWF In Your House 19: D-Generation-X

WWE / WWF - In Your House 19: D-Generation-X - event poster
December 7, 1997,
Springfield Civic Center, Springfield, Massachusetts.

I've got to be honest with you - I don't have the fondest memories of In Your House 19: D-Generation-X. 

I was 13 at the time this show was broadcast, and I remember watching it the following day on VHS because when you were 13 and living in the U.K., staying up til 3AM on a school night to watch a live wrestling show was never an option.

As I said, my memories of the event itself are not fond ones. I remember a feeling that the show was in some way bleak, with a sense of desolation permeating the atmosphere.

Perhaps this was because this was the first PPV to take place in the wake of the Survivor Series 97 controversy known as The Montreal Screwjob.

Perhaps it's just because it was winter time and I associate the show with the bleakness and desolation of winter.

Or maybe it's just because one of the only two matches that I remember from the show were HHH vs. Sgt. Slaughter, which has got to be up there as one of the worst PPV matches of the 1990s.

So, was D-Generation-X: In Your House 19 really all that bad?

Let's dive in and find out.

Welcome to the Show

WWE / WWF - In Your House 19: D-Generation-X - Jerry Lawler & Jim Ross
We skipped the usual dramatic video package tonight for a cold open. Cameras pan the crowd before heading to the announce table, where we find that the first PPV of the official Attitude Era is being called by the two men whose voices are still synonymous with that time period - Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler.

The two told us that we'd have no less than four title matches tonight, starting with the finals of a tournament to crown a New WWF Light Heavyweight Champion.

That match kicked off tonight's show.

World Wrestling Federation Light Heavyweight Championship Tournament Final
Brian Christopher vs. Taka Michinoku

WWE / WWF - In Your House 19: D-Generation-X - Taka Michinoku beat Brian Christopher to become Light Heavyweight Champion
And so, Taka Michinoku makes his first PPV appearance since the summer's fantastic In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede show.

Meanwhile, the WWF Light Heavyweight title itself was making its first PPV appearance since WCW Starrcade 1996, yes, WCW, when Ultimo Dragon defended it as part of the J-Crown against Dean Malenko.

Speaking of WCW, this opening contest lacked the flash and panache that you'd find with the Turner-owned company's renowned Cruiserweight division, but it was still an enjoyable bout in its own right.

Despite a busted lip (Attitude Era = Blood), Brian Christopher was in his element as the brash, arrogant heel who revelled in taking apart his smaller foe, whilst Taka's brief moments of offence were a thing of beauty.

The match was mostly all Christopher though, until Taka moved out of the way of a Tennessee Jam attempt, landed the Michinoku driver and won the Light Heavyweight Championship.

The only thing spoiling this match is that the announcers spent the whole time focussing on Jerry Lawler, who was pretending not to be BC's pops.
Your Winner and New WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Taka Michinoku 

Post-match, Taka was formally presented with the title belt by Pat Patterson, Tony Garea, and Gerry Brisco whilst a gang of Japanese photographers all gathered around to take pictures.

Kids, Get Your Parents Permission 

Backstage, Kevin Kelly and The Jackyll wasted about five minutes trying to convince us to call the WWF Superstar line.

The Disciples of The Apocalypse (Chainz, 8-Ball, Skull) vs. Los Bouricas (Miguel Perez, Jesus Castillo, Jose Estrada Jr.) 

WWE / WWF - In Your House 19: D-Generation-X - The crowd told Miguel Perez to shave his back
The crowd chanting 'Shave your back!' to Miguel Perez genuinely had me laughing out loud, and was one of the best things about this passable, but mostly bland, six-man.

These two rival factions had enjoyed a decent encounter in a 4 vs. 4 match a few months ago at Ground Zero: In Your House 17, but since then, Disciples of the Apocalypse leader Crush had left the company, ostensibly in protest at the Montreal Screwjob, but mostly because he could get a better deal from World Championship Wrestling.

So tonight, we got a 3 vs. 3 match that just wasn't as good as the earlier Ground Zero bout.

I'm not saying that the absence of Crush & Savio Vega was the deciding factor, but it is true that the quality of this was noticeably lacking.

At one point, Miguel took a tumble to the outside and looked to be injured, prompting Savio to rush in and attempt to take his place.

Referee Tim White disallowed it, but it didn't matter anyway. A minute later, Perez revealed the whole thing to be a rouse and helped his team pick up the win.
Your Winner: Los Bouricas 

Afterward, this happened and made me laugh out loud:

JR: 'Miguel Perez feigned his injury.'

King: 'What are you talking about? He didn't faint, he hurt his knee!' 

Trust me, the sincerity in King's voice made that hysterical.

Butterbean is Going to Beat Up Marc Mero 

WWE / WWF - In Your House 19: D-Generation-X - Doc Hendrix interviews Butterbean about his Tough Man fight with Marc Mero
Let's quickly recap here:

After last competing on a WWF PPV back in February at In Your House 13: Final Four (beating Leif Cassidy), Marc Mero had been injured and was forced to sit out for the next six months.

In his absence, his wife and valet, Sable, had become more popular than ever thanks to her dazzling good looks.

When he returned, he dropped the 'Wildman' act and became 'Marvelous' Marc Mero, playing on his real-life past as a boxer.

Growing jealous of Sable's popularity, Mero transitioned into a heel and began treating Sable badly, which raised the ire of boxer/Toughman competitor, Butterbean.

That led to a four-round toughman contest on tonight's show, which Butterbean was now here to talk to Doc Hendrix about.

Doc told us that Butterbean had only just competed the day before, albeit on a card that I can't find any mention of.

WWE / WWF - In Your House 19: D-Generation-X - Michael Cole interviews Sable
In a fairly no-nonsense promo, Butterbean told us that the previous evening had been just a warm-up, and tonight, Mero would have his hands full.

We were then supposed to have words from Sable, who was standing by with Michael Cole, but for some reason, my non-Network version of this show just skips straight to the entrances for the match itself.


I just watched the Network version of this PPV to get screengrabs - Michael Cole interviewed Sable by herself, and she promised that despite holding up the title belt in Butterbean's fight last night, her heart was in the right place and she'd still be in Mero's corner.

That brought out Marc himself. The Marvelous one lambasted Sable or doing an interview without permission, then accused her of stealing his spotlight and promised to destroy 'theat fat tub of crap' Butterbean.

Four-Round Toughman Fight
Marvellous Marc Mero (w/ Sable) vs. Butterbean 

WWE / WWF - In Your House 19: D-Generation-X - Butterbean faced Marc Mero in a 4-Round Tough Man fight
I forgot that this was at a time when Mero had that theme music that was featured on loads of porn videos back in the 1990s.

Or so I'm told, I'd have no idea, obviously.

Meanwhile, Butterbean used the theme that had previously been used by Bam Bam Bigelow during The Beast From The East's brief face run back in 1995.

As the entrances got underway, we got more comedy from JR and King.

King: 'JR, he's got food in his mouth.'

JR: 'That's a mouthpiece, King.'

I swear, without Vince holding them back, these two were already starting to flourish as an announcing duo.

The match itself was, well, it was a boxing match.

WWE / WWF - In Your House 19: D-Generation-X - Butterbean faced Marc Mero in a 4-Round Tough Man fight
It was like watching Roddy Piper vs. Mr. T at Wrestlemania 2, except with only 10% of the charisma.

A worked match, we basically got four rounds

of unspectacular brawling with moments of Mero being a cheating heel and him attacking Butterbean between each round.

In the final round, Mero took his heelish ways a step too far and hit his rival with a low-blow, bringing the match to an end via DQ.
Your Winner via Disqualification: Butterbean

Afterwards, Butterbean chased Mero backstage, and wouldn't be seen on WWF PPV again until Wrestlemania XIV

Dude Love and Steve Austin Are Soul Mates 

Backstage, Dude Love was shown with a couple of other dudes, all typing away at laptops whilst Kevin Kelly told us how great it was to access WWF content on America Online.

Kelly then asked the Dude what he thought about his 'buddy' Steve Austin facing The Rock tonight. 

Mick Foley's goofiest alter-ego took umbrage at the idea that he and Stone Cold were merely 'buddies,' insisting instead that the two were soul mates.

This was poor stuff from Foley, who goofed around and said not very interesting stuff about Rock vs. Austin 1.

Goldust Wears a Pink Wig and Reads Green Eggs and Ham 

WWE / WWF - In Your House 19: D-Generation-X - Goldust (w/ his Femdom Mistress Luna Vachon) reads Green Eggs & Ham
Since we last saw him at Survivor Series, Goldust had undergone a complete psychotic breakdown and become The Artist Formerly Known As Goldust, an even more bizarre version of his already out-there character.

Imagine the original Goldust with all the restraints removed and a heavy suggestion that he was now really into bondage (with the equally bizarre Luna Vachon as his Femdom mistress) and you get the idea.

As odd as it sounds, I loved the TAFKA Goldust gimmick at the time because it was so completely different and off-the-charts crazy.

Watching back on this show, when Goldie and Luna both came out dressed in pink and he read from Dr Seuss, it still seems groundbreakingly different, though perhaps not as wildly entertaining.

Eventually, Luna got tired of the Green Eggs and Ham and pushed Goldust to the floor, calling him a scum-suck and dragging him backstage like the good little sub-bitch he was.

Oh, what a booger!

WWE / WWF - In Your House 19: D-Generation-X - The Legion of Doom called the New Age Outlaws Boogers and promised to beat them
It was only during the summer that Billy Gunn and Jesse James had been rivals, even going against each other at  In Your House 14: Revenge of The Taker.

Since then, the two had realised that their careers were going nowhere by fighting each other and decided to team up instead. Since then, the duo was well on their way to becoming one of the hottest acts in pro wrestling, even cheating their way to a Tag Team title win over the Legion of Doom. 

Tonight, Hawk and Animal would have their chance to get revenge, but not before we heard what they had to say to backstage interviewer, Michael Cole.

What Animal had to say was your basic Road Warrior 'we're gonna kick your ass' stuff, but what Hawk had to say was one of the most entertaining promos this writer has heard on any PPV I've reviewed so far.

Liking the champs to a booger stuck up his nose, Hawk went into detail about how he would remove that booger and flick it away.

'Get ready to get flicked!' he warned, which to me has got to be one of the most hilarious threats ever uttered on a wrestling show.

Just when I'd finished laughing at that, Hawk made with the funnies again by putting a unique twist on his famous catchphrase.

'Ohhhhhhh what a booger!'

What was going on with this show that everyone was making with the comedy?

World Wrestling Federation World Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions Road Dogg Jesse James & Bad Ass Billy Gunn vs. The Legion of Doom (Hawk & Animal)

WWE / WWF - In Your House 19: D-Generation-X - Jesse James & Billy Gunn defended the WWF tag team titles against The Legion of Doom
Oh you didn't know? 

The tag champs weren't known as The New Age Outlaws yet, but they were, even more, entertaining here than they were at the height of their popularity, playing the cocky-but-cowardly heel role to perfection.

The two did their usual schtick on the way to the way to the ring, with Road Dogg taking to the mic to mock Hawk and Animal for being old.

The LOD threatened to pursue James and Gunn down the isle, so the two retreated backstage and pretended to be warming up, before finally coming out again, claiming to be ready for action.

Far more entertaining than most 'stalling' spots in pro wrestling, the two teams repeated the sequence before a gang of road agents forced the tag champs to hit the ring.

When they got there, they entered into a fun though unspectacular contest with The Legion of Doom, the challengers mostly dominating the action with the two dastardly champs cheating to gain any kind of advantage.

For all intents and purposes, the superhero Road Warriors seemed on course for an inevitable victory, even picking up Road Dogg ready for the Doomsday Device.

At that point, Henry Godwin ran in and hit Animal with a steel bucket behind the referee's back.

Irate, Hawk grabbed the bucket and began swinging it at anybody in sight, including the referee, who promptly called for the bell.
Your Winners by Disqualification and Still WWF Tag Team Champions: Road Dogg Jesse James & Bad Ass Billy Gunn

Random thought:

It's fitting that the first PPV the New Age Outlaws appeared on as a tag team was one named after the stable they would later join and reach all new levels of popularity.

Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Tonight, the next thing that happened was that we got a commercial for WWF The Music: Volume 2, featuring stars like Vader, Mankind, The Undertaker, and Steve Austin supposedly playing their own theme music.


Or at least most of them were. Mankind played his outro theme on piano, Vaderbanged a drum, and Undertaker crashed two cymbals together, but Stone Cold merely smashed an electric guitar to pieces.

Dirtiest Players in the Game 

WWE / WWF - In Your House 19: D-Generation-X - HHH (w/ Chyna) tells Michael Cole that he's going to make Sgt. Slaughter's wife give him a blowjob
It was almost time for that dreaded boot camp match that had given me so many horrible memories of this PPV, but before we got there, we first had a look at a video package which highlighted what a tough S.O.B Sgt. Slaughter had been in his prime, but completely glossed over the fact that he'd once been the WWF Champion.

This was preceded by Ross and Lawler telling us about Slaughter's rivalry with D-Generation-X, who Lawler called 'The dirtiest players in the game.'

Somewhere in North Carolina, a certain Mr. Flair was calling his lawyer.

The video was followed with an interview backstage, in which Michael Cole asked Triple H whether his plan to antagonise the WWF Commissioner.

With Chyna standing by him, Hunter scoffed at such an idea before promising that after he'd beaten up Slaughter, he was going to visit Mrs. Slaughter and let her give him oral sex.

I wonder if Chyna would have stood by and watched that, too?

And That's an Order

In retaliation, Sgt. Slaughter was interviewed by -of all people- Jim Cornette.

Slaughter said that he was going to beat up Helmsley, and that this was an order, which of course, it clearly wasn't.

Boot Camp Match
Triple H (w/ Chyna) vs. Sgt. Slaughter

WWE / WWF - In Your House 19: D-Generation-X - HHH prepares to hit Sgt. Slaughter with a chain in their terrible boot camp match
So, here's an interesting thing:

At the 1991 Royal Rumble, Sgt. Slaughter beat Ultimate Warrior to win the WWF title.

A few years later, HHH would end up having two of his worst PPV matches ever against both men, first Warrior at Wrestlemania 12, and now Slaughter here tonight.

And trust me, this was definitely one of his worst. In fact, not only was it one of HHH's worse, it was easily one of the worst PPV matches of the 1990s.

Remember earlier when I said that thinking of this match made me think of something sparse, desolate, and dreary?

I realise why that is now:

Save for all but the briefest of spots, the crowd were absolutely dead for the entire match.

And quite rightly too.

This was painfully slow and mind-numbingly tedious, with Jerry Lawler's insistence on inserting as many military references into his commentary only making things worse.

Since there was no exciting action to tell you about, I might as well tell you about two other somewhat interesting facts:

This was the first WWF PPV that had Triple H wrestling under that name and not Hunter Hearst Helmsley.

Sgt. Slaughter came to the ring to a theme that just a few months earlier, at Ground Zero: In Your House, had been used by The Patriot, and that would, of course, go on to become famous as the theme of one Kurt Angle.

Back to the match, Helmsley planted Slaughter with a Pedigree onto a steel chair to put him, everyone in attendance, and me 20 years later, out of our collective misery.

Jeff Jarrett is Back

WWE / WWF - In Your House 19: D-Generation-X - A Returning Jeff Jarrett talks to Michael Cole about being back in the WWF
The last time we saw Jeff Jarrett on PPV was at WCW Fall Brawl 1997, where he beat Dean Malenko.

The last time we saw him on a WWF PPV was at the 1996 Royal Rumble, where he lost to Ahmed Johnson via Disqualification.

Now he was back, and after cutting a worked-shoot promo on both Vince McMahon and Eric Bischoff on an episode of Raw, had signed himself up for a date with The Dead Man.

Here, Jarrett, whose new attire made him look like a shit Power Ranger, told Michael Cole that he was about to beat The Undertaker en route to becoming WWF Champion.

Jeff Jarrett vs. The Undertaker

'There's all the great World Wrestling Federation superstars, and then there's...ME!'

Seriously, I've no idea what that theme was supposed to be, but it certainly didn't suit the cocky, swaggering Jarrett.

Nor did that crappy Power Ranger costume.

Despite the way he was presented, Jarrett was capable of entertaining matches, as was The Undertaker, so why the two couldn't produce one together is a mystery.

Seriously, this was almost as dull as the earlier boot camp match with a crowd that were equally as lifeless as they'd been for Helmsley/Slaughter.

WWE / WWF - In Your House 19: D-Generation-X - Kane confronted Undertaker in his match with jeff Jarrett
At first I thought it was because the boot camp match had killed the show, but then I realised what it actually was:

Jarrett and The Undertaker were just killing time until the inevitable arrival of Kane, and the Springfield faithful knew it.

After a couple of minutes of basically nothing happening, Kane did indeed arrive on the scene with Paul Bearer naturally in tow.

Kane chokeslammed Jarrett then turned his attention to his brother, slapping 'Taker across the face in an effort to goad him into a fight.

When Undertaker refused to retaliate (just as he said he would) his masked sibling simply turned and walked away.
Your Winner Via DQ: Jeff Jarrett

Post-match, Jarrett attacked 'Taker from behind and attempted a figure four, only for The Dead Man to grab Jarrett by the throat, stand up, and then drop Jarrett on his ass in a sloppy move that vaguely resembled a chokeslam.

After The Undertaker had left, Jarrett was declared the winner, had his hand raised by referee Tim White, and celebrated as though he'd just pinned his opponent clean in the middle of the ring.

Mark Henry is Back...Kind Of

WWE / WWF - In Your House 19: D-Generation-X - Mark Henry picked Steve Austin to beat The Rock in the upcoming match
Mark Henry hadn't been seen on WWF PPV since Summerslam 1996, when he defeated Jerry 'The King' Lawler, but tonight he was back, hanging out with some fans in the crowd.

Michael Cole Interviewed The World's Strongest Man, who told The World's Scrawniest Interviewer that he'd been hanging out with bosses from Milton Bradley, whose Karate Fighters game was the main sponsor of tonight's show.

Henry was asked who he favoured in the upcoming Intercontinental Championship match between defending champion Stone Cold Steve Austin and number one contender The Rock.

Naturally, the big man picked fellow babyface Austin rather than the man he'd later team up with in The Nation of Domination.

The Rock Promises to Embarrass Stone Cold

WWE / WWF - In Your House 19: D-Generation-X - The Rock & The Nation of Domination
Tonight's show was historically significant for a whole bunch of reasons - the first appearance of the New Age Outlaws as a team, the first appearance of Triple H as Triple H, and of course, the first in an epic rivalry between The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Tonight, the two would wage war over Austin's Intercontinental title, but before we did, we got a video package reminding us of how awesome The Rock was when he first tuned heel, and how he ended up at loggerheads with Austin.

This took us to a backstage promo where the future movie star, wearing Austin's title (which he'd stolen on Raw is War) and flanked by the rest of The Nation, reminded Doc Hendrix that he was no longer called Rocky Maivia, but simply The Rock.

Then, displaying a charisma that had been so sorely lacking during his awkward, awful babyface promo back at Wrestlemania 13, Rock promised to embarrass Austin and win the title for real this time.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock (w/ Farooq, D'Lo Brown, and Kama Mustafa)

WWE / WWF - In Your House 19: D-Generation-X - Steve Austin pins The Rock in their first PPV match together
Following his devastating injury at Summerslam 97, Steve Austin may not have been able to deliver a textbook wrestling classic,  but here both he and The Rock proved why they were every bit deserving of main event status with a short, wildly exciting brawl that was hugely entertaining from start to finish.

Much to the delight of the audience, Austin arrived for the big match in his own Stone Cold branded pickup truck, which soon served as a weapon when the champion back-dropped D'Lo Brown onto it.

A stunner for Brown on the roof of the truck quickly followed, after which Austin set about dismantling the rest of The Nation.

He and Rock then got into it, with the challenger laying the smack down on his opponent and even presenting us with the PPV debut of The as-yet-unnamed People's Elbow.

More chaos ensued, which somehow resulted in Austin dropping the referee with a stunner, giving Rock the chance to break out the brass knuckles.

The international object didn't do him any favours however, as Stone Cold landed the win, capping off what was undoubtedly the highlight of the show up to that point.
Your Winner and Still WWF Intercontinental Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin

Post match, JR told us that somebody was going to win Austin's truck at the 1998 Royal Rumble, then Kevin Kelly and The Jackyl urged us to call the Superstar Line again.

With that out of the way, it was on to our main event.

The Talking is Over

WWE / WWF - In Your House 19: D-Generation-X - Jim Cornette intervies Ken Shamrock about his WWF title match with Shawn Michaels
After a video package reminded us of the brief, thrown-together rivalry between Ken Shamrock and Shawn Michaels, the two gave us some final pre-match comments.

Displaying all the personality of pencil, Shamrock told Jim Cornette that he respected HBK as an athlete but was still going to beat him tonight because he was, of course, in the zone.

In response, Michaels spent most of his promo time calling Jim Ross fat and promising to show us why he was the number one man in the pro wrestling industry.

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Shawn Michaels (w/ Triple H and Chyna) vs. Ken Shamrock

vWWE / WWF - In Your House 19: D-Generation-X -  Shawn Michaels promises to beat Ken Shamrock in their match
With the crowd still recovering from the excitement of Austin/Rock I, they weren't too into this match in the early going. This took the shine off what was Michaels' first WWF Championship defence on PPV since he lost the title to Sid back at Survivor Series 1996.

Credit where credit is due, however, both HBK and The World's Most Dangerous Man worked hard to win the crowd over and turned in a decent main event.

After a lengthy back-and-forth battle, Shamrock drilled the champ with his dreaded belly-to-belly suplex and went for the ankle lock.

At that point, Triple H and Chyna -both of whom had been running interference throughout the match- jumped in, and that was that.
Your Winner via Disqualification: Ken Shamrock (Shawn Michaels retains the title)

Except, that wasn't quite it. D-Generation-X beat down on Shamrock, but as they were celebrating, Owen Hart ran to the ring and sent Michaels flying into the Spanish announce table.

There, Owen got revenge on behalf of his brother Bret by beating the crap out of HBK until Triple H came to the rescue.

Owen then charged off through the crowd, leaving the DX trio to celebrate as their PPV came to an end.

Purely from an entertainment standpoint, In Your House 19: D-Generation-X was a rather average show, with only the Austin vs. Rock encounter being worthy of repeat viewing.

From a historical standpoint, however, this one really is worth tracking down.

By WWE's definition, The Attitude Era was born in the wake of the Montreal Screwjob, making this show the first PPV of an era many long-time fans remember fondly.

Comparing this show to the way the shows the WWF had presented only a year earlier shows a huge difference, particularly when it comes to some of the company's biggest stars.

On this show, there was absolutely no doubting the fact that Stone Cold Steve Austin was the most over guy on the whole card, including Shawn Michaels. His opponent was still finding himself as a heel, but was already far more entertaining here in his PPV debut as The Rock than he'd been a year earlier as the perma-grinned goofball babyface Rocky Maivia.

Add in the debut of the New Age Outlaws, BDSM Goldust, and the crowning of a Light Heavyweight Champion, and what you've got here is a show that's worth checking out for, if nothing else, its importance to the evolution of Vince McMahon's sports entertainment empire.

1997 events reviewed so far:
  1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1997
  2. WCW - Souled Out 1997
  3. WWF - In Your House 13: Final Four 
  4. WCW - Superbrawl VII 
  5. WCW - Uncensored 1997 
  6. WWF - Wrestlemania 13
  7. WCW Spring Stampede 1997
  8. WWF - In Your House 14: Revenge of The Taker
  9. WWF - In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell
  10. WCW - Slamboree 1997
  11. WWF - King of the Ring 1997
  12. WCW - Great American Bash 1997 
  13. WWF - In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede 
  14. WCW - Bash at the Beach 1997 
  15. WWF - Summerslam 1997
  16. WCW - Road Wild 1997
  17. WWF - In Your House 17: Ground Zero
  18. WCW - Fall Brawl 1997
  19. WWF - One Night Only 1997
  20. WWF - In Your House 18: Badd Blood
  21. WCW - Halloween Havoc 1997
  22. WWF - Survivor Series 1997
  23. WCW - World War 3 1993
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Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.