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, 26 July 2018

PPV REVIEW: WCW Souled Out 1998

WCW Souled Out 1998 - Event poster
January 24, 1998
Hara Arena, Trotwood, Ohio

In January 1997, World Championship Wrestling looked to capitalise on the runaway success of their New World Order angle by experimenting with a brand new concept: 

An entire nWo Pay Per View.

As you'll read in my WCW/NWO Souled Out '97 review, the event may have been a novel idea, but in reality turned out to be an absolute disaster.

In 1998 then, the company decided to do away with everything but the name as they launched their first PPV offering of the new year.

Here's what went down at Souled Out 1998.

Eric Bischoff is Building an Empire 

WCW Souled Out 1998 - Eric Bischoff featured in the opening video
Our show tonight began with a reminder that Kevin Nash had been forced to put up a $1.5 million dollar bond to guarantee he'd show up at tonight's event for a match with The Giant, with the added clause that The Giant couldn't touch Nash in the meantime.

This was edited in between clips of Eric Bischoff stood rubbing his hands together and making vague statements about building an empire which didn't seem to make much sense.

From there, we went to the classic announce team of Tony Schiavone, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan, and The American Dream Dusty Rhodes, who told us that not only was Nash definitely here, but that we'd also get a dream match between 13-time World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair and Bret 'The Hitman' Hart.

From there, it was on with show.

Eight Man Lucha Libre Match
Juventud Guerrera, Super Calo, Lizmark Jr., and Chaco Guerrero Jr., vs. La Parka, Silver King, Psicosis, and El Dandy 

WCW Souled Out 1998 - Super Calo, Lizmark Jr., Chavo Guerrero and Juventud Guerrera won an 8 man lucha mach
Throughout 1997 -and even a bit before- the likes of Chris Jericho, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, and Rey Mysterio Jr. had done a great job in making the company's Cruiserweight mean something important by forgoing the spot-orientated lucha style in favour of something that really mattered.

The result was a series of incredible pro wrestling matches such as Eddie vs. Rey at Halloween Havoc 1997 - matches that meant something, matches that had drama and emotion on top of just a bunch of cool flippy-spots.

But hey, sometimes a bunch of cool flippy-spots could be fun too, and tonight's opening contest proved that.

Ok, so there was nothing here that was groundbreaking, or that even mattered outside the confines of the match itself, but it was great fun and included some terrific spots, including Silver King hitting a suicide dive onto nobody and splatting himself to death.

After almost everyone else threw themselves to the outside with a bunch of dives, Chavo Guerrero and Psicosis were left in the ring.

Chavo hit a tornado DDT from the top rope, and this fun little match was over.
Your Winners: Chavo Guerrero Jr., Juventud Guerrera, Super Calo, and Lizmark Jr. 

Afterwards, the batshit crazy La Parka went batshit crazy and took out everybody -including his own teammates- with a chair.

Mean Gene Okerlund then shilled the hotline for a bit and then it was on to our next contest.

Anything Goes Match
Raven vs. Chris Benoit 

WCW Souled Out 1998 - Chris Benoit beat Raven
Raven came to the ring with The Flock but, unlike at Starrcade 1997, when he had Saturn substitute for him, officials had ordered that Raven had to compete and The Flock were banned from ringside.

Raven, proving that he was enough before emo was cool, took to the microphone to claim that he didn't care about being alone because he had no friends in school.

He then went to war with Chris Benoit in a solid effort that brought a whole new level of brutality to WCW.

Though both men would have better matches with other people, they worked well together to deliver a good, no-holds-barred match which ended when Raven passed out in the Crippler crossface.
Your Winner: Chris Benoit 

Afterwards, The Flock attacked Benoit but Dean Malenko made the save as the announcers wondered aloud why he'd come to Benoit's aid.

The two shared a nod of mutual respect, and then it was on to our next match.

World Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Chris Jericho 

WCW Souled Out 1998 - Chris Jericho beat Rey Mysterio for the Cruiserweight title
Lion Heat Chris Jericho was still in the early stages of the heel persona that made him one of the most entertaining things about WCW in the late 90a, but already he was infinitely more enjoyable than he'd been in his cheesy-babyface days.

Here, he challenged Rey Mysterio Jr. for the Cruiserweight Championship in what would be the first of many incredible matches the two would have over the years.

After a very good effort, Jericho slapped on the Lion Tamer to win his third Cruiserweight title.
Your Winner and New WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Chris Jericho 

Afterwards, Jericho was so upset that the crowd were booing him that he took it out on Mysterio and destroyed the now-ex champion's knee using the ring steps before sauntering backstage muttering that he was sorry.

An Update on the Vacant World Heavyweight Championship 

WCW Souled Out 1998 - JJ Dillon and Rowdy Roddy Piper announced Hogan vs. Sting II for Superbrawl
After the shenanigans that went down at the end of Hogan vs. Sting at Starrcade 1997, J.J. Dillon had declared the World Heavyweight Championship vacant.

Tonight, Dillon, standing in the ring with Mean Gene, asked the man who had originally booked Hollywood Hogan vs. Sting, Rowdy Roddy Piper, to come to the ring.

Piper, who hadn't been seen since he beat Hogan at Halloween Havoc 97, announced that it was up to him to decide what happened to the title.

Piper called out Sting, Hollywood Hulk Hogan, and Scott Hall, then announced that even though Hall had earned a championship match at Superbrawl as a result of winning World War 3 1997, Hall's title shot had been postponed and instead, the Superbrawl main event would be a rematch of Hogan vs. Sting for the vacant title.

Hogan urged Hall to help him beat up Sting, but instead the Outsider merely walked off, disgusted.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
WCW World TV Champion Booker T vs. Rick Martel 

WCW Souled Out 1998 - Rick Martel challenged Booker T for the TV title
The last time we saw Rick Martel on a PPV, it was at 1995 Royal Rumble, when he made a cameo in the Rumble match.

The last time we saw him in a singles match on PPV, it was at the 1992 Survivor Series in a match with Tatanka.

Here, he proved that he hadn't missed a step in his years away by challenging Booker T - making his first singles championship match on PPV- in another good outing.

After a very enjoyable bout, Booker retained the title thanks to the Harlem Hangover.
Your Winner and Still TV Champion: Booker T 

Afterwards, Martel gave Booker his title belt and the two shook hands. Perry Saturn then ran out and attacked Martel, prompting Booker to come back for the save.

Scott Hall (w/ Louis Spicolli) vs. Larry Zybysko (w/ Dusty Rhodes)

WCW Souled Out 1998 - Dusty Rhodes turned heel and joined the NWO
As an announcer, Living Legend Larry Zybysko had been more than a little vocal about his hatred of the New World Order, leading to an eventual war of words with nWo founder, Scott Hall.

Things had escalated Fall Brawl 1997, when Zybysko had counted the fall in Hall's match with Lex Luger, and then even further at Starrcade, when Larry beat Eric Bischoff for control of Nitro and Hall got involved.

Tonight, the two would finally meet in a 'hotly anticipated' one-on-one match that saw Hall seconded by his lackey, Louis Spicolli, and Zybysko getting a big pop for revealing that Dusty Rhodes would be his corner man.

The match itself was better than it should have been given that one of the participants had been retired for a few years, but took an awkward turn when the fans decided to blow the roof off with a loud 'Larry Sucks!' chant.

I'm the end, Zybysko 'played possum' and lured Hall into a submission hold.

Louis Spicolli ran in and hit Larry, and this one was over.
Your Winner via Disqualification: Larry Zybysko 

Afterwards, Dusty came in and once again got the biggest pop of the night for destroying Spicolli with a series of bionic elbows, but then also hit Larry with an elbow.

That was the cue to reveal that he was actually part of the New World Order, and that he'd, I don't know, been faking it with Spicolli because the two embraced just as much as Dusty and Hall did.

The fans were upset, but not as upset as Tony Schiavone, who was so heartbroken at his friend's betrayal that he refused to speak for a few minutes, leaving Bobby Heenan to hold the fort by himself.

Six Man Tag Team Match
Team nWo - Konnan, Buff Bagwell, and Scott Norton (w/ Vincent) vs. Ray Traylor and The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner w/ Ted Dibiase) 

WCW Souled Out 1998 - Rick Steiner face mauls Buff Bagwell
There were two stories here that took centre stage above all the action.

One was the dissension between Rick and Scott Steiner, with the latter becoming a roid-raging glory hog in recent weeks, and this being ignored by his teammates, and the other being Schiavone's disbelief over Dusty Rhodes' betrayal.

Tony was so messed up that he got Mike Tenay to come out and pick up the slack.

When he did speak, Tony told us that the reason the crowds were so quiet was because they were also in shock about the American Dream joining the nWo, and not because the match was boring, which it was.

After brother Rick played babyface in peril for about a thousand years, Scott got the tag and took out Scott Norton for the win.
Your Winners: Ray Traylor and The Steiners 

Afterwards, Scotty seemed to want to get into a posedown with Buff Bagwell, but Buff merely gave him a knowing look and walked off, smiling.

Kevin Nash (w/ Eric Bischoff & Hollywood Hogan) vs. The Giant 

I'm sure that this match has its fans, but I'm also sure I'm not one of them.

After a dull and sloppy effort, Eric Bischoff tried to get involved in the action and got chokeslammed for his trouble.

The distraction allowed Kevin Nash to throw steaming hot coffee in his opponent's face, and then pick him up and drop him like a sack of shit in a poor imitation of a jackknife powerbomb for the win.
Your Winner: Kevin Nash 

After medical staff bandaged The Giant's eyes and helped him to the back, we got a weird commercial for Superbrawl VIII featuring Diamond Dallas Page in a tattoo parlour and some goofy dude in a suit getting the world title belt tattooed on his forearm.

Nature Boy Ric Flair vs. Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

WCW Souled Out 1998 - Bret Hart beat Ric Fair in his debut WCW match
Wrestling in his first PPV match since Survivor Series 1997 and his first WCW match ever, Bret 'The Hitman' Hart went one-on-one with the man he beat to capture his first WWF Championship back in 1992, Nature Boy Ric Flair.

Despite the lack of an on-screen rivalry, the match was billed an as a battle to see which of the two top stars really was 'the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.'

What they ultimately proved, was that both men were capable of great matches, even though this one was perhaps not quite as good as it could have been.

Don't get me wrong, it was still a highly enjoyable effort, and by far the best match on the show, but there were still moments when it seemed to lack a little something.

The end came with a solid win for The Hitman courtesy of The Sharpshooter.
Your Winner: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

Moving quickly on, it was down to our main event of the evening.

Macho Man Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. Lex Luger

WCW Souled Out 1998 - Randy Savage faced Lex Luger in the main event
Well, I say it's the main event, and so did Michael Buffer, but Macho Man Randy Savage and Lex Luger felt like an afterthought, especially since the announcers hadn't mentioned it, not once, not even briefly, all evening.

Honestly, I had no idea this match was happening until it happened, and when it did, it was better than expected.

Ok, so the crowd were pretty dead, and if anything this one felt like a Nitro main vent rather than a PPV outing, but it was still pretty fun.

Most of that fun came from Miss Elizabeth running interference on behalf of her man, and Luger having to keep her at bay whilst still fighting off Savage.

In the end, Scott Hall came down with a chair to, I assume, help Savage, but Hogan came down and stopped Hall from getting involved.

Luger then sent Savage hurtling into Hall, who fell off the apron.

A torture rack later and this one was over.
Your Winner: Lex Luger

Except it wasn't really.

Hogan and the nWo (minus Hall) attacked Luger, then Sting came down to clean house as Souled Out came to an end.

So, was Souled Out any better when it wasn't an nWo-only PPV?

In short, yes, yes it was.

OK, so Souled Out 1998 wasn't the greatest show of all time, but it was a good start to the year for World Championship Wrestling and did contain some genuinely enjoyable matches.

The opening luchadore outing plus Jericho/Mysterio and Hart/Flair are all worth your time, whilst the stuff in between didn't suck so hard as to take the shine off those matches.

Not must-see viewing by any stretch, but a decent show overall.

1998 events reviewed so far
  1. WWF Royal Rumble 1998 
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Thursday, 19 July 2018

PPV REVIEW: WWF Royal Rumble 1998

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1998 - Event poster

January 18, 1998

San Jose Arena, San Jose, California.

It was the dawning of a brand new year and in many respects, the dawning of a brand new era in the World Wrestling Federation.

Despite spending most of 1997 slowly transforming their product into one with an edgier, more adult-orientated feel,it wasn't until the wake of the 1997 Survivor Series that the Attitude Era officially began.

A few months later, we found ourselves here, at the first Royal Rumble of that Attitude Era and the first World Wrestling Federation pay per view to feature the 'scratch' logo synonymous with that period.

With that in mind, this was the one show that was about to set the tone for the rest of 1998, the first full calendar year of the Attitude Era.

Here's what went down when the 1998 Royal Rumble came live from San Jose, California.

Everyone Wants to Be Champion

Our show tonight began with a dramatic video package highlighting someone the superstars in tonight's Royal Rumble match and telling us how important t it was to each of them that they won the annual 30-man battle royal.

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1998 - Jim Ross & Jerry 'The King' Lawler announced the show

From there, Jim Ross welcomed us to the 11th Royal Rumble and reminded us that we'd have three title matches on tonight's show. Ross' broadcast colleague, Jerry 'The King' Lawler, informed us that none other than Iron Mike Tyson was in attendance.

Just to prove it, a shot of Tyson (referred to as 'huge WWF fan' by Ross) enjoying the show from a skybox was shown.

The crowd booed loudly for the boxer but were then happier about our opening match.

The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust (w/ Luna Vachon) vs. Vader 

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1998 - Luna Vachon supports Goldust in his match with Vader

These two had been at war since Survivor Series 1997, when The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust -then just Goldust- had refused to tag In when he teamed with Vader, Steve Blackman, and The Patriot as Team USA to take on Team Canada.

So after a series of incidents on various episodes of Raw, they finally got together for a match tonight that was decent for what it was but hardly worth much of anyone's time.

Saying that I did enjoy Goldust's T.A.F.K.A gimmick, mainly because it was so different from what everyone else was doing, but even that couldn't stop this match from being anything more than average.

Ultimately, Vader went to Vader Bomb Goldust, but Luna Vachon jumped on his back.

Undeterred, The Mastadon hit the move anyway with Luna on his back in a cool way to end things.
Your Winner: Vader 

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1998 - The Godwins demand Michael Cole tell them where Steve Austin is

Out in the back, Stone Cold Steve Austin arrived, and Michael Cole tried to get a word with him.

Austin had nothing to say other than to tell Cole to park his pickup truck for him and be careful with it lest he gets his ass kicked.

As Austin stormed off, Cole began reminding us about the story of tonight's show -that Stone Cold was a marked man and everyone was after him- until he was interrupted by The Godwins, who proved that point by demanding to know which way Austin went.

Sunny is Your Guest Referee 

Be still my beating heart, the love of my life during the 1990s, was here as the special referee for our upcoming minis match.

Six-Man Minis Match
Battalion, Tarantula, and El Torito vs. Nova, Mosaic, and Max Mini 

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1998 - Tarantula and Max Mini met in a six man mini match

Normally these mini matches were pretty fun, but this one was kinda bland and disjointed and did a good job of exposing why the little luchadores weren't kept around long-term: they basically did the same thing over and over.

The match got repetitive pretty quickly and became uninteresting.

At one point, they did that spot -so popular on indie shows across the world- when they each took turns to do suicide dives on one another, but even that was rubbish because the three or four guys on the outside waiting to catch the one doing the dive did nothing to disguise the fact that they were just stood there waiting.

In the end, Max Mini scored the inevitable win, and this one was done.
Your Winners: Max Mini, Nova, and Mosaic 

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1998 - Iron Mike Tyson hangs with Shane and Vince McMahon

Out in the back, The Nation of Domination charged into Steve Austin's locker room but only found an Austin foam finger instead.

We then returned to the arena, where we were shown Vince and Shane McMahon talking to Mike Tyson.

The Rock is Ready For Shamrock 

Prior to our next match, we were shown clips that recapped The Nation of Domination's rivalry with Ken Shamrock, including the episode of Raw in which Mark Henry turned on Shamrock and joined The Nation of Domination.

That took us backstage, where Rocky Maivia referred to himself constantly as The Rock whilst practicing becoming one of the most entertaining promos in the industry.

He wasn't there yet, but this was light years ahead of the awkward babyface promos he was cutting a year earlier.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Rocky Maivia vs. Ken Shamrock

After a slow start, this one evolved into an exciting match with a fun finish.

After a see-saw battle, challenger Ken Shamrock looked to have the title won, only for a Nation of Domination run to distract the referee.

That allowed The Rock to drill Shamrock with a pair of brass knuckles and make the cover, though not before stuffing the foreign object into his opponent's trunks.

To the champ's surprise, The  World's Most Dangerous Man kicked out and planted Mavia with a belly-to-belly suplex.

A three count later, and we had a new Intercontinental Champion...

...or did we?

No, we didn't because Rocky told the ref to check Shamrock's trunks.

He did, and the decision was reversed.
Your Winner via Disqualification and Still WWF Intercontinental Champion: Rocky Maivia 

Out in the back, Los Boricuas beat up either Skull or 8-Ball (did anyone ever know which one was which?) thinking that he was Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Oh You Didn't Know the LOD Were Legends? 

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1998 - The Legion of Doom promise to destroy the New Age Outlaws

Up next, Michael Cole voiced a video package which reminded us what utter legends The Legion of Doom were and how horrible The New Age Outlaws had been in attacking them and even shaving Hawk's trademark 'do.

That took us to Road Dogg Jesse James and Bad Ass Billy Gunn's entrance for the upcoming tag team title match and the first PPV appearance of Road Dogg's famous 'Oh you didn't know?' catchphrase.

From there, we got the ever-present Michael Cole informing Hawk and Animal that doctors didn't want Animal competing due to a back injury he received when the New Age Outlaws and D-Generation-X power bombed him off the apron through the announce table.

Animal ranted and raved that doctors didn't know what they were talking about, whilst Hawk threatened to murder the Tag Team Champions.

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

And so it was that we finally got down to the action.

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1998 - The Legion of Doom challenged the New Age Outlaws for the tag titles

Though not the greatest tag team title match in the world, this one was at least pretty entertaining for the most part.

Towards the finish, Road Dogg handcuffed Hawk to the ring post on the outside, leaving Animal to fend for himself.

The big man did a good job too and almost had Bad Ass Billy Gunn best until Roadie came in with a chair to cause the Disqualification.
Your Winners via DQ (The Legion of Doom)

Afterwards, the Outlaws continued their assault until Hawk broke free and cleaned house.

Mildred Bowers Wins Stone Cold Steve Austin's Pickup Truck 

The truck that Austin had earlier asked Michael Cole to park was apparently being given away in some kind of sweepstakes, and it was won by an old lady called Mildred Bowers.

Years later, in true Stone Cold fashion, Mildred would hit the news for claiming that the secret to living to 103 was drinking beer.

With that, ladies and gentlemen, it was almost time for the 1998 Royal Rumble.

Steve Austin Was A Marked Man

As the dubious winner of the 1997 Royal Rumble, Steve Austin was a favourite for this year's event.

It that didn't make him a marked man, the fact that he'd spent recent weeks dropping the Stone Cold Stunner in everyone from The Rock to The Godwins to Marvellous Marc Mero did.

1998 Royal Rumble Match
30-Man Battle Royal featuring The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Cactus Jack, Dude Love, Mankind, The Headbangers, Owen Hart, Honky Tonk Man, 

Like the time Demolition started the match against each other at Royal Rumble 1989, tag team partners Cactus Jack and Terry 'Chainsaw Charlie' Funk started this year's event against each other.

Unlike Ax and Smash, however, Cactus and Charlie gleefully demolished one another with chair shots and trash cans.

At one point, Tom Brandi came in as the number three entrant but got the Bushwhacker treatment and was immediately eliminated.

The Rock arrived as number four, and the match was on, with the likes of Headbanger Mosh, Steve Blackman, and Blackjack Bradshaw making up the numbers.

At one point, Owen Hart came out as the number nine entrant, but was attacked by NWA North American Champion and his future tag team partner Jeff Jarrett as Jim Cornette cheered on.

In other highlights of this year's event:
  • Rocky and D'Lo Brown turning on each other
  • Chainsaw Charlie eliminating Cactus Jack, but Foley returning as Mankind and eliminating Charlie, then -after getting eliminated again- returning as Dude Love
  • Owen Hart returning to take out Jeff Jarrett but being eliminated by Chyna and an injured Triple H, neither of whom were in the match.
  • A random cameo from the Honky Tonk Man (Lawler yelled 'my cousin! I mean, the Honky Tonk Man!')
  • Austin and Rock having an exciting brawl on the outside after both went through the middle ropes.
All of this for us down to our final four - Nation of Domination teammates Farooq and The Rock, and former tag team Champions Steve Austin and Dude Love.

Farooq dumped the Dude, Rocky sent Farooq out, and then we got an intense brawl between Austin and The Rock, ending with the predictable win for Stone Cold.
Your Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin

Up in the VIP section, Mike Tyson told Michael Cole that he was glad 'Cold Stone,' had won and that he was looking forward to a match between The Undertaker, who he'd been a fan of for years and 'the young, up and coming hungry tiger,' Shawn Michaels.


World Wrestling Federation Championship Casket Match
WWF Champion Shawn Michaels (w/ Triple H & Chyna) vs. The Undertaker

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1998 - Shawn Michaels defended the WWF title against The Undertaker

After costing him the Championship in a match against Bret 'The Hitman' Hart at Summerslam 1997, Shawn Michaels had been in The Undertaker's bad books.

The two had met in a fantastic match at Ground Zero: In Your House 17 before going on to have an even better rematch in the first Hell in a Cell match in history at Badd Blood: In Your House 18, a match that became an all-time classic.

So, needless to say, expectations were pretty high for this one.

Sadly, it failed to meet those expectations, but that says more about the high standards set by the Heat two matches than it does about this match itself because it was still very good and ultimately saved the entire show from mediocrity.

After taking a good deal of punishment from the champion, The Undertaker made the big miracle comeback and destroyed Michaels.

HBK fought back, and we got a cool spot which saw both men fighting in the coffin, but a chokeslam and a tombstone off the apron into the coffin looked to have Michaels' beat.

Before we could get a new champion, however, Undertaker sighed a big 'oh no, not this again, as we got The Royal Rumble 1994 ending all over again.

This time, it was the New Age Outlaws and Los Boricuas who made the attack.

Kane then came down, and Jim Ross told us he was here to help Undertaker (apparently, the two had formed some short-lived alliance that I'd totally forgotten about), but instead, he turned on him and slammed him into the casket.

The lid was closed, and the match was over.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Shawn Michaels

Afterwards, Kane and Paul Bearer locked the casket and then rolled it up to the entrance, where Kane attacked with an axe before setting it on fire and kicking off the first full year of the Attitude Era in dramatic, memorable style.

And so, that was the 1998 Royal Rumble, a show that didn't even begin to matter until the main event.

Don't get me wrong, the actual Rumble match was pretty fun, but with the entire build-up focussing on Austin, the winner was never in doubt.

The main event was also good stuff, though again, it lacked a certain something compared to Shawn and The Undertaker's first two matches in late 1997.

Still, as the first Royal Rumble of the Attitude Era, this one is actually worth a look.

For more 1998 pro wrestling reviews, see: 

For more Royal Rumble reviews, see:
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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 World War 3 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.