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

Showing posts with label Owen Hart. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Owen Hart. Show all posts

Friday, 28 October 2022

PPV REVIEW: WWF Survivor Series 1997

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1997 - Event poster

WWF Survivor Series 1997
Molson Centre, Montreal, Canada

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Survivor Series 1997, a game-changing event which, despite a lackluster undercard, went down as one of the most significant PPVs in pro wrestling history thanks to a little incident known as The Montreal Screwjob. 

Given that my last review of this event was written in 2010 and published a few years later when I started Retro Pro Wrestling, the 25-year anniversary seems like a good time to go back and revisit it all over again.

Besides, I wasn't all that happy with the original Survivor Series '97 review published on this site to begin with. So, without further ado, here's a fresh look at an event that changed the course of the WWF forever.


Hart vs. Michaels II: This Time, It's Personal 

Our show tonight began with a dramatic look back at the iron man match between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 12, followed by sound bites from the two’s scathing, animosity-filled promos in the build-up to their rematch here, a year-and-half later.

It says a lot about the quality of that feud that many of those sound bites have become iconic, as permanently etched in this fan’s mind as Austin’s King of the Ring ‘96 promo or Hulk Hogan declaring a new world order of wrestling at Bash at the Beach that same year.

With the opening video out of the way, Milton Bradley’s Karate Fighters presented the 11th annual Survivor Series before we got pyro galore and sweeping shots of the rabid Montreal crowd.

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1997 - Jerry Lawler and Jim Ros called the event

Our announcers, Jim Ross & Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler were as psyched as the fans for tonight’s event as they put over Hart/Michaels II (or III if you count their Survivor Series '92 match) and then sent it to the ring for our opening bout.

Traditional 4 vs. 4 Survivor Series Match
The Headbangers (Mosh & Thrasher) and The New Blackjacks (Windham & Bradshaw) vs. The Godwins (Henry & Phineas Godwin), Road Dogg Jesse James, and Bad Ass Billy Gunn

Road Dogg Jesse James and Bad Ass Billy Gunn weren’t officially the New Age Outlaws yet, but they were solidifying their status as the most villainous heel tandem in the company at the time.

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1997 - The Road Dog leads his team into battle

Tonight, the two stayed out of the ring as much as possible as The Godwins and The New Blackjacks kicked things off in a good, old-fashioned hoss battle.

The first I reviewed this match, I wrote it off as boring. Years later, while I’m not claiming it was a workrate classic or anything, I certainly enjoyed it more the second time around.

After Bradshaw and Windham had spent the first minute or so exchanging the advantage with Henry and Phineas Godwin, it was Henry who was the first to be taken out, putting the good guys up 3 to 4.

Phineas soon evened the score, getting revenge for his partner by eliminating Barry Windham.

After Billy Gunn took out Mosh, the other Headbanger, Thrasher, worked over Phineas’ arm for a lengthy stretch of time.

Although it wasn’t the most exciting part of the match, the arm spot wasn’t so bad that it ruined what was an otherwise perfectly acceptable opener.

As it wore to a finish, Thrasher did away with Phineas by jumping off the top rope and crashing on the pig farmer’s chest.

Not long after, Roadie and Bad Ass took out Bradshaw and Thrasher in quick succession to become the sole survivors and further cement their status as the top team in the division.
Your Winners: Road Dogg Jesse James & Bad Ass Billy Gunn

Remember The Truth Commission? They were up next.

Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match
The Truth Commission (Sniper, Recon, The Interrogator, and The Jackyl) vs. The Disciples of Apocalypse (Crush, Chainz, 8-Ball, and Skull)

The big problem with a match like The Truth Commission vs. DOA was that, once the biker gang stepped off their motorcycles they had nothing interesting to offer, while Jackyl’s gang of paramilitary soldiers were never had anything interesting to offer to begin with.

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1997 - The Truth Commission

Thus, after Crush, Chainz (Brian ‘Fake Undertaker’ Lee), and the team of Skull & 8-Ball (The Harris Brothers) got done popping the crowd by riding around on their bikes all that was left was a fairly lifeless match that was 80% clobberin’ and 20% sidewalk slams.

Seriously, I think there were more sidewalk slams in this match than you’d see in the entire body of work of The Big Boss Man.

The Interrogator (Kurrgan) established his dominance early on by taking out Chainz (with a sidewalk slam, obviously), only for the biker boys to get their revenge by eliminating The Jackyl first and then Recon (Bull Buchanan) a few minutes later.

After he was eliminated, The Jackyl immediately hopped over to the announce table and spent the rest of the match on commentary where he denied JR’s accusation of being the WWF’s answer to cult leader David Koresh and consistently promised to tell us the truth without actually saying what that truth was.

The battle continued as a two-on-two affair pitting Crush and whichever Harris Brother hadn’t been eliminated against Sniper and the big man, The Interrogator.

To the surprise of no one, it was the latter who was left standing as the sole survivor after Crush eliminated Sniper but then got himself pinned after -you guessed it— another sidewalk slam.

To be fair, this wasn’t completely horrible, but it certainly wasn’t much fun to watch either.
Your Winner and Sole Survivor: The Interrogator

Post-match, The Jackyl claimed that he had won the Survivor Series and lept into the ring to celebrate with his man Kurrgan.

Shawn Michaels is Gonna Win

Whenever the WWF would poll fans on their predictions for a high-profile match, I can’t help but think of the kid from Summerslam 1992 who proudly declared that the British Bulldog would beat Bret Hart ‘whether he wants to or not.’

Tonight, nobody claimed that The Hitman’s opponent had no choice in winning, but the vast majority of the Montreal fans who featured in this show’s “whose going to win?” segment all seemed to be rooting for the Heartbreak Kid despite Bret apparently being The Canadian Hero.

From there, we went to the America Online room where Stone Cold Steve Austin told interviewer Kevin Kelly that despite being concerned about his neck, he was still going to emerge victorious in his upcoming match with Owen Hart.

Austin was as compelling as ever here and ended his promo by leaning over and staring at a laptop running the WWF America Online chat room with such an exaggerated intensity that it made this fan crack up laughing.

A Word With Team USA

Back in the arena, Jim Ross put over tonight’s sponsors, Milton Bradley Karate Fighters, and took us to a clip of some kind of pre-show party to celebrate that sponsorship.

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1997 - Michael Cole interviews Team USA

Or at least something like that. To be honest, I’m not sure quite what the event was that we saw. All I know is that the clip featured an overhead crowd shot, Thrasher ramming some poor dude’s face into a cake, and nothing else.

Then, as we prepared for our next match, JR reminded us that Steve Blackman had debuted on Raw as a fan who just so happened to be a martial arts bad ass.

Blackman had jumped into the ring to save Vader from an attack at the hands of The British Bulldog, Jim Neidhart, and the duo of Doug Furnas & Philip LaFon.

As a ‘fan,’ Blackman had been arrested, but Vader had apparently bailed him out and then petitioned to have him join Team USA for tonight’s next traditional Survivor Series match.

Before we could get to that, however, Blackman, Vader, and their partners Marc Mero and Goldust stood by for a backstage interview with Michael “I’ve Been in this Company Forever” Cole.

Coming off as though he was struggling to remember his lines, Vader did nothing to endear himself to the Montreal faithful by declaring that he and his teammates were sick of "loud-mouthed, trash-talking Canadians telling us what to do.”

For his part, Steve Blackman insisted that despite being new to the WWF, he was plenty experienced in “every form of martial arts known to man” and was thus looking forward to tonight’s big fight.

Offering a retort, well-known Canadian The British Bulldog promised victory for Team Canada while Doug Furnas claimed that he hates America so much he’d moved out of the country.

Traditional 4 vs. 4 Survivor Series Match
Team USA (Vader, Steve Blackman, Goldust, and Marc Mero w/ Sable) vs. Team Canada (The British Bulldog, Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart, Doug Furnas, and Phillip LaFon)

With Goldust slowly transitioning into his Artist Formerly Known As phase and Marc Mero also becoming a heel due to his wife, Sable overshadowing him everywhere they went, Team USA made their way to the ring to the theme that used to belong to The Patriot but which has since become synonymous with Kurt Angle.

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1997 - Team Canada vs. Team USA

Once their opponents hit the ring, JR took the time to note that only one man representing Team Canada -Phil LaFon- was actually Canadian, with the rest of his team comprising two Americans and an Englishman.

The match itself wasn’t the most spectacular, but with Vader doing most of the work and his teammates providing some interesting moments, it was nonetheless a fun encounter.

Steve Blackman was the first to go when, apparently unfamiliar with the rules of pro wrestling, he went brawling on the outside with Phil LaFon and didn’t bother to answer the referee’s ten count to get back inside.

I mean, that was one way to get the newcomer out of there while still looking like a major badass, but you’d think one of his teammates would have sat him down to explain simple things like the count-out rule, right?

Vader soon evened the odds for his team by destroying Jim Neidhart and then got the upper hand moments later by also doing away with LaFon.

Team USA’s run of luck didn’t last long, however, as Marc Mero was taken out by Furnas.

To be honest, I would have eliminated Mero earlier, not because he wasn’t any good, but simply because the crowd were so hot for Sable that they didn’t really care much about anything else until she was gone.

Down to 2 vs. 2, Vader found that his only remaining teammate, Goldust, didn’t really care about much either. Not only had he not yet stepped in the ring, but when Vader actually tried to tag him in, the former Intercontinental Champion refused.

That left The Mastadon to duke it out with Bulldog and Furnas in an impressive display that was exciting to watch before finally forcing Dusty’s kid into the ring.

Wanting no part of Doug and Davey Boy, Goldust merely walked off and got counted out.

Not long after, Vader eliminated Furnas but was then immediately struck with a ring bell by the Bulldog behind the referee’s back and promptly pinned.
Your Winner and Sole Survivor: The British Bulldog

Despite the crowd cheering him hugely for winning whether he wanted to or not, Davey Boy immediately left the ring and stormed straight to the back.

Either that, or there was something going on backstage that he was eager to get back for.

Who knows

Not me, that’s who, but what I do know is that Milton Bradley Karate Fighters got another mention as the PPV sponsors had hosted something called the Survivor Series Super Supper Sweepstakes.

Hmm, I wonder if they were also responsible for the Super Summer Sizzler Spectacular or whatever that show ECW did in ‘93 was called.

Lawler and Ross spoke on the phone to the winner of that sweepstake, a giggly young lady called Jaqueline who, as her prize, got to choose Steve Austin as her dinner date.

Mankind Seeks to Avenge Dude Love’s Demise

From there, we got a video package recapping the arrival of Kane at In Your House 18: Badd Blood, The Undertaker’s refusal to fight his brother, and how that led to Kane annihilating Dude Love.

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1997 - Mankind cuts a promo on Kane

The Dude’s demise brought back Mankind to seek revenge for his own alter-ego, and that took us to an excellent backstage promo from Foley in which he likened Kane to a brick wall and vowed to run right into him.

I swear down, Foley in his prime has to be up there as one of the best promos in the business.

Mankind vs. Kane (w/ Paul Bearer)

You also have to give Mick credit for sacrificing himself in order to put Kane over as a truly dominant force in this match.

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1997 - Kane gets ready to face Mankind

Though Mankind certainly got his moments to shine here, he was mostly pulverized by The Big Red Machine.

He took a beating, had the ring steps hurled in his face, and was even sent crashing through a table.

Yet as unstoppable as all this made Kane look, it wasn’t enough to put his opponent away until a tombstone piledriver sealed the deal.

All of this played out beneath red lights which, although they were a little distracting, they did add something unique to a match that was otherwise already entertaining.
Your Winner: Kane

Did any of you send your cable bill proving you’d bought Survivor Series 97 so that you could get a free WWF dog tag?

Me neither, but JR told us they had 3,000 of those bad boys to give away, so I hope somebody did.

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1997 - Michael Cole interviews Vince McMahon and Sgt. Slaughter

Meanwhile, out in the back, Sgt. Slaughter told Michael Cole that they had extra security in place should anything crazy happen in tonight’s main event.

Cole then turned his attention to Vince McMahon and asked him who would win said main event.

Vince lied and said he had no idea.

What a Rush!

Backstage, Doc Hendrix interviewed Ken Shamrock, The Legion of Doom, and Ahmed Johnson about their upcoming match with the Nation of Domination.

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1997 - Doc Hendrix interviews Ken Shamrock, Legion of Doom, and Ahmed Johnson

Shamrock kicked things off by delivering a promo that was all Jeff Farmer levels of bad in which he basically said he and his men were all business.

Fairing a little better on the mic, Hawk gave the usual Road Warrior promo in which he promised that he and Animal would wipe out the “criminal element” from the WWF.

Fortunately, Hendrix was smart enough to keep the microphone away from Ahmed Johnson.

Traditional 4 vs. 4 Survivor Series Match
The Nation of Domination (Farooq, D’Lo Brown, Kama Mustafa, and Rocky Maivia) vs. Ken Shamrock, Ahmed Johnson, and WWF Tag Team Champions The Legion of Doom (Hawk & Animal)

A year on from his debut as a perma-grinned babyface, Rocky Maivia wasn’t yet The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment, but he was certainly on his way to becoming a heel worth paying attention to and further established himself by eliminating Hawk in the first two minutes of the match.

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1997 - They are the nation...of DOMINATION!

Ahmed Johnson then ensured an even playing field by pinning arch-nemesis Farooq, but the Nation leader retaliated by holding Johnson’s legs down while Rocky scored his second elimination on the master of the Pearl River Plunge.

Proving that their never-ending rivalry was far from done, Johnson and Farooq then brawled all the way to the back, ending an exciting first six minutes of the match.

From there, things slowed down considerably and the middle portion of the match seemed to drag on with little in the way of excitement.

It was during this lackluster middle section that Animal took out Kama Mustafa, only to be eliminated himself when Road Dogg and Billy Gunn interfered, blasting the Road Warrior with powder to the eyes and causing him to get counted out.

It was at that point that the match really picked up again. Shamrock snapped, eliminated D’Lo Brown, and then went at it with The Rock in a hot exchange that ended things in fine form.

Shamrock made Rocky tap in the ankle lock to win the match and emerge as the sole survivor.

The opening and closing minutes of this match more than made up for the lag in the middle, ensuring that this was an all-round enjoyable contest.
Your Winner and Sole Survivor: Ken Shamrock

1.55.02 - record attendance.

As Shamrock celebrated his big time win, Jim Ross announced that tonight’s event had set a brand new attendance record.

Prior to the next match, a clip aired to promote the next WWF PPV, D-Generation-X: In Your House 19. That show would see Shamrock capitalize on his big win here, and his overall popularity, by headlining the show as a challenger for the WWF title.

We then took a look back at all the times Stone Cold Steve Austin’s rivalry with Owen Hart, including that awful moment Owen dropped him on his head back at Summerslam ‘97.

The two would meet in a hotly anticipated rematch next.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Owen Hart (w/ Team Canada) vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin

Damn, I miss Owen Hart.

Wearing his infamous Owen 3:16 t-shirt, the reigning and defending champion was accompanied to the ring by Neidhart, Smith, Furnas, and LaFon, but shortly after Anvil ate a stunner, those guys left and we got a short but explosive one-on-one encounter.

With the cruel Canadians showing their support for their countryman by yelling “break his neck! Break his neck!” Owen first got his ass whooped by Stone Cold but got a modicum of revenge outside the ring.

There, he choked Austin with a cable, and, when the referee threatened to disqualify him, Hart told him to go ahead and even rang the bell for him.

Of course, the official was having none of that, so it was back to the ring where Stone Cold regained the advantage and captured his second Intercontinental championship with an almighty stunner.

That wasn’t a long match. In fact, it was more of a short version of the main event brawls that would eventually become Austin’s trademark than an actual match, but the crowd and the competitors were both on fire and it made for compelling viewing
Your Winner and New WWF Intercontinental Champion: Owen Hart

Before a final look at Hart/Michaels, JR warned us that their match was going to be very personal and, I quote, “very stiff.”

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart vs. WWF European Champion Shawn Michaels

And so, five years after they first headlined a Survivor Series and began their journey to becoming bonafide main eventers, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels would meet one last time in a match that is still talked about today.

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1997 - Shawn Michaels puts Bret Hart in a sharpshooter

Adding an extra sense of suspense and drama to an already historic match, both HBK and The Hitman were filmed walking from their respective dressing rooms to the gorilla position with their allies in tow.

Michaels had HHH, Chyna, and Rick Rude with him while Bulldog and Anvil accompanied Hart.

Once both men were in the ring, they wasted no time in going at it, giving us a wild and out-of-control brawl into the stands and up the entranceway for a full solid ten minutes before the bell even rang.

The in-ring action was equally as enthralling, and though the spot where Michaels held Hart on the mat in a front face lock wasn’t the most exciting moment, it was an obvious call back to their Survivor Series ‘92 encounter.

Bret regained the advantage and began working over the European Champion’s legs, softening him up for the inevitable sharpshooter.

Of course, that move was applied, not by the man who had mastered it and made it so famous, but by Shawn himself.

A moment later, the call was made to “ring the f**king bell” and arguably the most controversial moment in WWF history occurred.

Ladies and gentlemen, we had all just witnessed The Montreal Screwjob.
Your Winner and New WWF Champion: Shawn Michaels

Post-match, the last live shot of Bret Hart on WWF programming for many years saw a bewildered and enraged Hitman spit in the face of chairman Vince McMahon while Michaels acted equally as surprised and annoyed as he grabbed the title and was rushed to the back by Triple H and Gerald Briscoe.

The camera followed him, zoomed in on the Survivor Series logo, and faded to black as Jim Ross wished us a good night.

Had the show not ended the way it did, Survivor Series 1997 would have probably gone down in history as a largely forgettable show, with only the main event, the IC title match, and arguably the Nation vs. Team Shamrock main event standing out as above average.

Yet that final call to “ring the f**king bell” and that lasting image of The Hitman grozzing right in Vince McMahon’s face would ensure that it didn’t really matter whether the show was any good or not.

Writing this review 25 years after the fact, it’s fair to say that it matters not one jot whether DOA vs. The Truth Commission sucked, or that the red lights in the Kane/Mankind match were distracting. It doesn’t even really matter that the Rock/Shamrock ending was a lot of fun.

All that matters is that Survivor Series ‘97 was an event that altered the course of history, serving as the catalyst for Vince McMahon’s groundbreaking heel turn, Bret Hart’s disappointing WCW run and sad end to his career in WCW and, with the then-new Intercontinental Champion Steve Austin at the helm, the dawning of the WWF’s hottest period of its existence.

Make no mistake about it. The World Wrestling Federation and, indeed, the entire landscape of professional wrestling would never be the same again.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Hulk Hogan and The Wrestling Boot Band: Hulk Rules (1995) - Track by Track Album Review

There once was a time when Hulk Hogan was one of the biggest stars in popular culture, when his was a name which transcended pro wrestling and made its mark right across the entertainment world.

There once was a time when cashing in on that popularity with a music album would have been the smart thing to do.

1995 was not that time.

There was also once a time when cheesy, novelty rap records and songs that sounded like they came from a Super Nintendo game went down pretty well.

1995 was not that time either.

Unfortunately, nobody told Hogan any of this.

That must be why, smack in the middle of the 90s, he released Hulk Rules, an album which would have still sounded terrible had it been released ten -or even five- years earlier, but would have at least been fitting for its time.

Make no mistake about it, with grunge music, the eventual rise of ECW and alternative culture surrounding it, Hulk Rules would have already sounded incredibly dated when it was first released.

Over two decades later, it's practically unfathomable that anybody would listen to this album and think "Yeah! You know what? We should release this to the public!"

Still, release it they did, and today, we get the ahem pleasure of going track-by-track through the one and only release from Hulk Hogan and The Wrestling Boot Band.


Let's do this.

1: Hulkster's in the House 

"The Hulkster's in the room. // You know he's on the move. // I can feel it in my feet. // We're moving to the beat."

True story, the official video for this song featured Macho Man Randy Savage on the keyboard.

We'd have to wait a good few years before we got a Randy Savage music album but until then he was apparently quite happy to hang out on what would prove to be one of the best tracks on the entire Hulk Rules album.

The huge, driving guitar riff and first-day-in-drummer-school beat may have been better suited to a Deff Leppard or Motley Crue demo from the turn of the decade, but you have to admit that when combined with that melody, it makes for a pretty catchy rock song.

If you just listen to that and tune out lyrics which range from either cheesy ("when the going gets tough, the tough get rough!") to just terrible (everything else), you could almost argue that Hulkster's in the House is a good song.

I mean, not a good song that anybody would actually buy and listen to if they weren't writing a review for a pro wrestling blog, but good for saying its on a novelty pop record by a professional wrester.

2: American Made

"He's got the red, white, and blue running through his veins // He was born and raised in the U.S. of A // He's government inspected, he's U.S. grade // If you mess with the flag it's like a slap in his face."

Up next, a song that probably needs no introduction.

American Made was the theme song that Hogan used in World Championship Wrestling whenever he was the red & yellow babyface Hulkster.

The song was clearly meant to be an updated take on his famous WWF theme, Real American. Though nowhere near as iconic as that Rick Derringer-penned track, but I'd argue that it's the better of the two in terms of pure rock-out fun.

Another big scorching riff, another catchy hook, American Made is far superior to the opening track. In fact, it's far superior to anything else on this album which of course means only one thing:

It's all down hill from here.

3: Hulkster's Back

"Fortune and fame was his middle name. // He got as high as the sky, he remained the same. // With the training and the prays and the vitamins too. // Don't mess with us or we'll beat you too."

What happens if you play the basic, pre-programmed drum track on your kid's toy keyboard, add some sprightly keys that sound as though they come from the theme song of a Saturday morning TV show about streetwise high school kids, and get Terry Bollea to spit lyrics over the top of it all?

You get Hulkster's Back of course.

Remember earlier, when I told you this whole album sounded dated? This is one of the main reasons why. Even in 1992, people would have been rolling their eyes at what is basically the first of several Hulk Hogan rap jams, but in 1995, I can't imagine that anyone not involved in The Wrestling Boot Band would have thought this was a good idea.

It's cheesy and it's terrible, but if it does have one redeeming quality, it's that it is at least hilarious.

When Hogan's not rapping, he's busy shouting out random soundbites like "check out the pump, brother!" and "Test the power! all while some California valley girl randomly quips 'oh my god!"

It's kinda silly, but then it gets really funny when Hogan randomly yells "Oh! Look at that new vein in my tricep!"

That line alone is worth sitting through this entire album for.

4: Wrestling Boot Travelling Band

"I met a girl on the beach yesterday // And she looked a lot like you. // She heard the band play late last night // and she thought the bass player was cute. // She was down here on her vacation // 'Cos she needed her time and space // so we laid on the beach and got us a tan." 

The hilarity continues next with this little gem on which Jimmy Hart takes lead vocals.

I mean, one listen to this and you can't help but feel sorry for The Mouth of the South.

He meets a girl on the beach and invites her to a show but instead of falling for him, she gets a crush on Hogan instead. Cuckolded by his own bass player, Hart lies on the beach with this wandering-eyed Jezebelle anyway.

Poor Jimmy.

Also, poor us, because we're the ones who have to hear him tell this story over what sounds like the backing music to the worst country and western karaoke song you've ever heard.

Awful, but really, really funny.

5: Bad to the Bone 

"Come on baby, we're going for a ride // Just put your arms around and hold on tight // Turn up the music 'cause we want to play it loud // The girls all know it's a boys night out // 'Cause we're bad, bad, bad to the bone. (To the bone)"

No, this isn't a cover of the George Thoroughgood classic. Rather, it's a cover of Brian Pillman's old theme, Blondes Have More Fun, albeit with different lyrics.

You know what? It's not half bad.

Give this one to Motley Crue and let them add a bit of sleaze and sex appeal to it, and you've actually got a pretty damn good hair metal track.

6: I Wanna Be a Hulkamaniac 

"I Want to be a Hulkamaniac // Have fun with my family and friends"

I find it impossible to believe that the people who let rip with an electric guitar on Bad to the Bone and American Made are the same people who are responsible for this...this..whatever this thing happens to be.

I won't even call it a song.

This is literally the Owen Hart WWF theme that Hart and McGuire also wrote, only like a million times worse because it has Hulk Hogan rapping over it and some people chanting "Have fun with my family and friends" like something straight out of Barney the Dinosaur.

I mean this beyond bad. This is an absolute mess, but I suppose if you have a sense of humour about these kinds of things, I Wanna Be a Hulkamaniac could well be one of the funniest things you ever hear.

7: Beach Patrol 

"Whoomp, there it is, check it up, check it in // You'll be six feet deep if you touch my girlfriend // You know this home boy could lose control, You just don't mess with the beach patrol."

Whoomp! There it is! 

Who do The Wrestling Boot Band think they are? Men on a Mission?

Honestly, though this isn't quite as bad as the previous track, it's still pretty terrible.

Hart and McGuire use a MIDI keyboard to create a track that sounds like it should be Jobber McJobberton's theme music on a NES pro wrestling game while Hogan busts a rhyme about a lifeguard hitting on his girlfriend at the beach.

Every now and again, Hogan will go slightly insane and yell out "Hey girlfriend"  or "hey dudes!"

In that respect, it's kind of brilliant. In all other respects, it's fifty different kinds of terrible, girlfriend.

8: Hulk's The One

"They say your heart is made out of stone // You got me hanging by a string // My friends all tell me you're bad to the bone // Please be bad to me"

I could be wrong, but I think this is Linda Hogan singing an 80s-throwback power-pop ballad about how Hulk forced her to give him oral sex and then left.

First, she begs The Hulkster to be bad to her and it seems he's more than happy to oblige.

"You got me down on my knees // When you turned on the charm, I heard the alarm // I should have called the police"

So he makes her get down on her knees and this makes her think about calling the cops?


I don't like where this is going.

"You held on so strong and then you are gone // You turned the lights out on me"

Nor does Hogan, apparently. After using Linda for his tawdry act, he promptly leaves.

Forget hanging and banging, brother, this is hump her and dump her time.

9: Hulkster in Heaven 

"I used to tear my shirt // But now you tore my heart // I knew you were a Hulkamaniac // Right from the very start."

Oh dear.

This is one of the more famous songs from this album because of the story surrounding it.

According to Hogan himself, this song is about a young fan with a terminal illness who Hogan invited to sit in the front row and watch him wrestle at Wembley Stadium on the Summerslam 1992 show.

Yet just hours before Hogan was due to head to the ring, the little Hulkamaniac tragically passed away.

So far, so tear-jerkingly sad.

Except for the fact that Hogan was nowhere near Wembley Stadium in 1992 and certainly didn't compete at Summerslam.

While I'm willing to give Hogan the benefit of the doubt in that he did have a young fan pass away (albeit not in London), I do wonder why he would choose to pay tribute to said fan with such a poorly produced mess of a track.

10: Hulk Rules

"If you ever get in trouble and you need a helping hand // Just call on the Hulkster and he will be your friend // He'll stand up for your freedom, he'll stand up for your rights // United you both will stand, together you will fight."

Man, Jimmy Hart and JJ McGuire really loved that Owen Hart theme.

For the second time on the same album, they recycle The Slammy Award Winner's entrance music, this time adding electric guitar, an ear-piercing organ, and to complete the cacophony of noise, a random saxophone solo.

The result is, erm, interesting to say the least.

It's not the worst thing on the album, that's for sure, but like the other nine tracks, it's not something I'll ever be in a hurry to listen to ever again.

I started this review ready to write
Hulk Rules off as simply a really terrible novelty music record. Yet now I realise that it's so, so much more than that. 

It's not just terrible, it's also brilliant, cringe-inducing, hilarious, awful, embarrassing, wet-your-pants-funny, and at times just plain weird.

Part rock, part rap, part recycled Owen Hart themes, I absolutely guarantee you that, for better or worse, listening to Hulk Rules will be like no experience you've ever had before, brother.

Having said all that, there's one thing left for me to say.

Whoomp, there it is.

Thanks for reading. If you're looking for more pro wrestling album reviews, you might enjoy: 
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Thursday, 23 May 2019

PPV Review: WWF Over The Edge 1999

WWE / WWF Over the Edge 1999 - In Memory of Owen Hart
May 23rd, 1999
Kemper Arena, Kansas City, Missouri, United States.

Honestly, I've been dreading this one. 

Since I first set out to review every WWF/WWE PPV between Wrestlemania 1 and Wrestlemania 30, I knew a day would come when I'd have to make a difficult decision:

Do I review WWF Over the Edge 1999 or not?

As we started working our way through Attitude Era reviews, I spent a lot of time thinking about this one event. I even mentioned it in my Over the Edge 1998 review.

Part of me wanted to skip over it. Yes, I'd set up to review *every* PPV, but surely nobody would blame me for leaving this one out. I felt that to review it might be disrespectful to the memory of one of my all-time favourite performers:

2 Time Slammy Award-Winning King of Harts, The Rocket Owen Hart.

It was on this show that Owen lost his life.

He went into the arena expecting to entertain the fans as only he could, to go onto Raw, and then probably to go home and see his wife and children. Instead, the Kemper Arena would be the last place Owen would end up going whilst he still drew breath.

I feel very emotional just writing that and, if I'm honest with you, I think that's the real reason that I didn't want to do this review.

I just didn't want to deal without how upset it was going to make me. Indeed, how upset it *is* making me before we've even rung the opening bell.

I loved Owen about as much as its possible for a fan of pro wrestling to love a pro wrestler. So far, I've reviewed 15 years' worth of pro wrestling pay per views and I can say with no amount of hyperbole that Owen's performance was always one of the highlights of any show he happened to be on.

The King of Harts always made me smile, and it's for this reason that I ultimately decided to go ahead and write the review.

The more I think about it, the more I think it's disrespectful to Owen's legacy if I leave this one out because to leave it out would be to pretend like it never happened. It would basically mean just skipping over it, not acknowledging the fact that Owen Hart literally gave his life to make fans like me smile one last time and not taking the time to pay tribute to him.

So I'll write the review in tribute to, and out of respect for, Owen.

With that, let's head to the Kemper Arena for Over the Edge 1999.

Am I Evil? Yes I am

WWE / WWF Over the Edge 1999 - Jerry Lawler & Jim Ross
We began tonight's show with one of the company's typically stylish opening videos. This one featured The Undertaker hanging around a bunch of fire and using as many different adjectives as he could possibly think of to tell us how evil he was.

Honestly, the whole video lasted about a minute, but it felt like 'Taker used the word 'evil' at least a hundred times.

The point of all this was that Evil Undertaker was promising to beat Stone Cold Steve Austin for the title, not because he was a better wrestler but because he was -you guessed it- very, very evil.

This took us to our commentators, Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler. The iconic duo reminded us of what just happened in the main event of Sunday Night Heat:

Vince McMahon took on Mideon (seriously) by orders of Shane McMahon, which had resulted in Vince getting beaten up to the point of being injured.

Vince and Shane were both supposed to be the special guest referees for the Undertaker vs. Stone Cold main event, so Shane's reasoning here was that if he could render Vince unable to perform his referring duties then he (Shane) could be the sole referee and help Corporate Ministry leader The Undertaker to win the title.

With that, it was down to the ring for our opening contest.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions Kane & X-Pac vs. D'lo Brown & Mark Henry (w/ Ivory)

WWE / WWF Over the Edge 1999 - X-Pac teamed with Kane to face Mark Henry & D'Lo Brown
Remember that time when Kane & X-Pac were one of the hottest acts on the card and rumours flew around that The Big Red Machine would start wearing green and black?

That was kind of fun, right?

Probably more fun than this long opening match which failed to ever come out of second gear.

Though not bad, it could have benefited from being at least five minutes shorter.

The sole highlight was Kane leaping off the top rope onto D'Lo Brown and Mark Henry on the outside.

Speaking of Kane, it was his chokeslam to Henry (who for reasons that I forget was wearing suit pants and shoes) that won the match.
Your Winners and Still Tag Team Champions: Kane & X-Pac 

Out in the back, Michael Cole promised that he'd give us more information about Vince McMahon's condition as soon as we had it.

Pierre isn't Real

WWE / WWF Over the Edge 1999 - Kevin Kelly interviews Hardcore Holly
Next, we went to Kevin Kelly, who was standing by for an interview with Hardcore Holly.

In preparation for his upcoming Hardcore Title match, Holly reminded reigning champion, Al Snow, that his 'friends' Pierre and Head were not real, but that the beating he was about to give Snow definitely was.

This started off as a strong promo for Holly, but halfway through it felt as though he completely forgot what he was supposed to say. Either that, or he was running on a finite amount of charisma that dried up as he spoke.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship
WWF Hardcore Champion Al Snow (w/ Head) vs. Hardcore Holly 

In case you'd forgotten, Pierre was a stuffed reindeer head that Snow had been carrying around with him.

Holly had destroyed the reindeer on Raw, but Al brought it with him anyway and used it to waffle his opponent in the opening moments of the match.

From there, we got your typical WWF hardcore match with an obligatory brawl out into the concession stands. There, champ and challenger proceeded to throw funnel cake and popcorn at each other, selling the deadly food items like they were Triple H's sledgehammer.

Though not quite on a par with the creativity of their earlier effort back at XX, this bit was at least mildly entertaining.

Sadly, once they both got back to the ring, all the life seemed to just drain out of both the competitors and the live crowd.

After a few more minutes of not very much happening, the champion powerbombed his opponent through a table, fell, head-first into Holly's nuts, and got the three count.
Your Winner and still WWF Hardcore Champion: Al Snow 

Out in the back, Michael Cole interviewed Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco, who confirmed that an ambulance had been sent for Mr. McMahon. Patterson was convinced that McMahon's ankle was broken, but Brisco didn't seem quite as concerned.

Mixed Tag Team Match
Jeff Jarrett & World Wrestling Federation Women's Champion Debra vs. Al Snow & Nicole Bass

WWE / WWF Over the Edge 1999 - Debra teamed with Jeff Jarrett to face Al Snow & Nicole Bass
Despite her being the WWF Women's Champion, JR told us that this was Debra's first actual match.

Was this the first time in history that somebody had been a pro wrestling champion before their debut match?

Here, the southern beauty teamed up with Jeff Jarrett to take on the unique paring of Val Venis and Nicole Bass.

Anyway, this one wasn't altogether too bad.

Naturally, Venis and Jarrett did the bulk of the work, while the inevitable cat-and-mouse between Debra and Nicole actualy proving to be reasonably entetaining.

At one point, the women's champion even struck her larger foe with Jarrett's guitar, but that wasn't enough to get the job done.

After a few minutes of decent action, Val flew off the top with the Money Shot and picked up the win for his team.
Your Winners: Val Venis & Nicole Bass

Post-match, Nicole woman-handled Val and gave him a long, deep kiss. Despite being clearly violated, the wrestling porn star seemed to very much enjoy having Nicole's tongue down his throat.

Meanwhile, out in the back, Mr. McMahon was shown being taken away on a stretcher whilst Shane McMahon mocked him.

D-O-G-G or P-U-SS?

WWE / WWF Over the Edge 1999 - Mr Ass faced Road Dogg
Up next, former New Age Outlaws partners Road Dogg and Mr. Ass would go at it.

Backstage, Road Dogg cut a garbled promo in which he didn't really say anything but did manage to spell out the word 'puss,' inferring that while he was the D-O-G-G, his former partner was, yes, a pussy.

In response, Mr. Ass told Kevin Kelly that he'd spent the past few years carrying Road Dogg 'like a bad case of the clap but all of that was now over.

Although Road Dogg's promo wasn't great, this was actually compelling stuff that got you interested in seeing these two go at it.

Road Dogg vs. Mr. Ass 

WWE / WWF Over the Edge 1999 - Bad Ass Billy Gunn vs. Road Dogg
A lot had happened to Jesse James and Billy Gunn since they were two lower midcarders battling it out just to get noticed back at In Your House: In Your House 14: Revenge of Taker. Since then, the two had teamed up, dominated the tag team scene, and become one of the most popular acts of the Attitude Era.

Now, they were once again going their separate ways, with Gunn leaving DX, changing his name to Mr. Ass, and becoming a baddie.

Though both men no doubt did their best, this came across as a terribly bland match with not much to offer.

After a disappointing effort, Mr. Ass hit the Fameasser for the three count.
Your Winner: Billy Gunn 

Out in the back, Shane McMahon told Michael Cole that, as the sole referee for the main event, he would call things right down the middle.

There was a noticably sombre feeling to this segment.

Eight Man Elimination Match
The Corporate Ministry (The Big Boss Man, Farooq, Bradshaw, and Viscera) vs. The Union (Mankind, Ken Shamrock, Test, and The Big Show)

WWE / WWF Over the Edge 1999 - Big Boss Man works over Big Show
Right from the early going, it was pretty obvious that nobody wanted to be out there for this fairly average, Survivor Series style elimination match.

Not that the eight combatants didn't put any effort in.

The short-lived Union stable and the Corporate Ministry's answer to the nWo B-Team did at least look like they were trying, but by now the tragic event seemed to have cast a grim cloud over the entire night and took any enjoyment right out of this one.

After a decent effort, sole survivor Mankind slapped Mr. Socko down Big Boss Man's throat to pick up the win and bring this passable contest to a close.
Your Winner and sole survivor: Mankind 

Up next, we got the same promo package for Triple H vs. The Rock that we'd already seen about five times since Sunday Night Heat started a few hours ago.

This was supposed to lead into an interview with The Rock, but Chyna came out to distract him, allowing Triple H to attack The Great One from behind.

Mankind came to the rescue, but he too took a beating for his troubles.

Triple H (w/ Chyna) vs. The Rock

WWE / WWF Over the Edge 1999 - Kevin Kelly interviews The Rock
For the record, I always loved the theme Triple H was using around this time.

This wasn't as good as the all-out war Rock and Triple H had in their ladder match back at Summerslam 1998, but then it was never going to be.

That Summerslam match had been in a league of its own but whilst this wasn't quite on the same level, it was at least the best match on the card so far.

The two went at it in a good Attitude Era brawl which ended when Hunter got mad at Earl Hebner because Hebner had prevented Hunter from using a steel chair.

The former DX leader took his cues from X-Pac's theme music and knocked out the ref.

A few seconds later, Earl called for the bell and this one was over.
Your Winner via Disqualification: The Rock

Except it wasn't. The Rock got back up and beat Triple H to a bloody pulp. When Chyna got involved, Mankind ran out to even the odds.

I've a feeling The Rock 'n' Sock connection wasn't too far away from being a thing.

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)
Special Referee: Shane McMahon 

WWE / WWF Over the Edge 1999 - The Undertaker won the WWF title for a third time
Before the match got underway, Pat Patterson came out to take Vince McMahon's place as the co-referee, but he got chokeslammed by The Undertaker and was hauled out by Brisco and Sgt. Slaughter.

From there, we got your typical Stone Cold main event - a whole lot of brawling with the obligatory trip up to the entrance way- coupled with plenty of time spent attacking Undertaker's leg.

Like Rock/HHH before it, this was one of the better uotings on the card but still lacked a certain something, likely for very obvious reasons.

Despite not being as good as other Stone Cold main events, this was still the best that it could have been given the circumstances. It ended when Shane pulled a predictable fast-count to give The Undertaker his third WWF title.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Champion: The Undertaker

Afterwards, The Corporate Ministry ran in but all got stunnered for their troubles.


So, that was that. 

Now that I've worked my way through Over the Edge 1999 I have no desire to ever do so again, not just because of the sadness that comes from remembering this was the night that Owen Hart died, but because none of the matches were particuarly exciting. 

Given the circumstances, that's entirely understandable. Please note that I'm not complaining about Over the Edge benig a bad show, or even necessarily saying it *was* a bad show. 

It was a group of wrestlers doing their best to simply get to the end of the event under very difficult circumstances, and for that, I have to commend them.

I tell you what though, I sure do miss Owen. 

1999 events reviewed so far

Other Over the Edge reviews

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Thursday, 2 May 2019

28 More WWF In Your House Matches You Should Definitely Check Out

WWE - 28 Great WWF In Your House Matches - In Your House Logo
Well, we did it. On the road to reviewing every WWE PPV between Wrestlemania 1 and Wrestlemania 30, we've finally covered all 28 In Your House events, starting with the premier show in 1995 and culminating four years later in the month after Wrestlemania 15.

In doing so, we've seen so many great matches that, even though I put together my list of the Top Ten Best In Your House Matches a few weeks ago, I felt that I could have easily have made that a top twenty, or even thirty.

Ultimately, I decided against doing that, but I still didn't want to close this chapter of the Retro Pro Wrestling journey without looking back at some of my other favourite matches from the 28-show series.

What I've done today then, is go through all 28 In Your House shows and pick out at least one match that's worth watching from every show, excluding those already featured on the top ten.

Many of these aren't the main event, or even the most memorable matches from the shows they were on but were simply bouts that I enjoyed watching, and wanted to relive again.

Ready? Let's get into it.

In Your House 1: Bret Hart vs. Hakushi 

The very first In Your House match ever got the series off to a fine start at In Your House 1 back in May 1995.

This is typical of The Hitman's weird position in 1995 in which he mainly battled midcarders but still managed -much as he did here- to have the very best match on the show.

In Your House 2: Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett vs. Shawn Michaels

WWE - 28 Great WWF In Your House Matches - Shawn Michaels vs. Jeff Jarrett

In Your House 2: The Lumberjacks is better known as being the night that Jeff Jarret 'sang' With My Baby Tonight, but immediately after that, he dropped the Intercontinental Championship to Shawn Michaels in a fantastic, 20-minute effort which unequivocally stole the show.

In Your House 3: Bret Hart vs. Jean Pierre Lafitte 

Hart and Lafitte had previously met at In Your House 2 and delivered a match which, though it wasn't terrible, wasn't much to write home about.

One month later, they regrouped at In Your House 3: Triple Header and put on the match of the night, a brilliant, 16-minute encounter that is still remembered fondly to this day.

In Your House 4: Goldust vs. Marty Jannetty

Making his WWF in-ring debut, Goldust locked up with Marty Jannetty at In Your House 4: Great White North in  a very solid effort that could easily contend to have been the best match on the show.

When said show featured the farce of Razor Ramon vs. Dean Douglas and Diesel vs. Bulldog (a match reported to be so bad it apparently made Vince Mcmahon throw his headset down in disgust) earning match of the night honours may not be such an achievement.

Still, Goldie and Jannetty entertained here, and deserve a place on the list.

In Your House 6: Shawn Michaels vs. Owen Hart

A month earlier, Shawn Michaels had won the 1996 Royal Rumble. Yet before he could make The Boyhood Dream Come True at Wrestlemania 12, he first agreed to put his title shot on the line against Owen Hart.

Duking it out at In Your House 6: Rage in the Cage, Hart and Michaels put on what I once called one of the best matches of 1996, a match that was every bit as good as you'd imagine it could be.

In Your House 7: WWF Tag Team Champions The Body Donnas (Skip & Zip, w/ Sunny) vs. The Godwins (Henry  & Phineas Godwin, w/ Hillbilly Jim)

WWE - 28 Great WWF In Your House Matches - Sunny and The Body Donnas

Of course, the best part of In Your House 7: Good Friends, Better Enemies, was the classic Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel match for the WWF title. 

That match was so good that it made into to the aforementioned In Your House Top 10, leaving me to find another match from that show to include here.

Sadly, there wasn't a lot to go on. Sure, Owen Hart and British Bulldog were pretty entertaining in their tag team match against Ahmed Johnson and Jake 'The Snake' Roberts, but I think an underrated highlight of the show had to be this one. 

We may crap all over the Body Donnas for their terrible gimmick, but the truth is that Chris Candido and Tom Pritchard were solid wrestlers capable of good things. Here, they dragged The Godwins to an enjoyable tag team match which I'm not ashamed to include on this list.

In Your House 8:  WWF Champion Shawn Michaels vs. British Bulldog

Having accused WWF Champion Shawn Michaels of hitting on his wife, Dianna, British Bulldog challenged Shawn Michaels for the WWF title in a very good main event which only just missed out on making it into the In Your House Top Ten.

It's worth pointing out that In Your House 8: Beware of Dog also featured a very enjoyable strap match between Steve Austin and Savio Vega (the one where Ted Dibiase left the WWF), but for my money, this one was just marginally better.

In Your House 9: Steve Austin vs. Marc Mero 

Back at King of the Ring 1996, Austin and Wildman Marc Mero had stolen the show with their King of the Ring final match.

One month later, at In Your House 9 - International Incident, they were at it again in a thrilling contest which gave that night's main event (Michaels, Sid & Ahmed vs. Owen, Bulldog & Yoko) a serious run for its money.

In Your House 10: WWF Tag Team Champions The Smoking Gunns (Billy & Bart Gunn)  vs. Owen Hart & British Bulldog

WWE - 28 Great WWF In Your House Matches - Sunny and The Smoking Gunns

Shawn Michaels vs. Mankind was clearly the best match at In Your House 10: Mind Games, but the whole point of today's post is to pick one good match from each In Your House that I didn't already feature in the aforementioned Top 10.

So I went with this one. While it may not have been anywhere near as good as Michaels/Mankind, Owen and Bulldog taking the tag team titles from Billy and Bart was at least very entertaining and proved to be the best match on the card that wasn't the main event.

In Your House 11: Undertaker vs. Mankind  - Buried Alive 

A rare heel vs. heel match between Steve Austin and Hunter Hearst Helmsley would have been my pick for In Your house 11: Buried Alive had Undertaker and Mankind not gone on to wage an all-out war on each other.

Competing in the buried alive match which gave the show its name, the two did the one thing they always did best when they worked together: 

Giving us something we'd never seen before.

Like their Boiler Room brawl at Summerslam 1996 and their Hell in a Cell classic at King of the Ring 1998, this unique match was unlike anything else on WWF programming and was all the more entertaining for it.

In Your House 12: Leif Cassidy vs. Flash Funk

There wasn't a lot to like about In Your House 12: It's Time. Even the main event (WWF Champion Sid vs. Bret Hart) left a lot to be desired.

Still, the show did have at least one good match - an opening contest between the future Al Snow and the former Too cold Scorpio.

In my original review, I called this:

A very enjoyable bout with lots of high flying and submissions held together by the kind of solid psychology that this kind of wrestling sometimes lacked.

I stand by this. Cassidy vs. Funk was about as good a PPV opening as you were going to get in mainstream American pro wrestling in 1996.

In Your House 13: WWF Tag Team Champions Owen Hart & British Bulldog vs. Doug Furnas & Philip LaFon

WWE - 28 Great WWF In Your House Matches - Owen Hart & British Bulldog

The fatal fourway match that gave the show its name was the real star of In Your House 13: Fatal Four Way, but this WWF tag team title match was pretty good in its own right. 

This was at the time when Owen and Bulldog were beginning to tease a breakup, but even when they were at odds with each other, the champs were still able to get the job done in a very good match which -along with the main event- stopped Fatal Four Way from being a total dud. 

In Your House 14: Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin 

WWE - 28 Great WWF In Your House Matches - Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart

One month after their legendary battle at Wrestlemania 13, arch-rivals Bret 'The Hitman' Hart and Stone Cold Steve Austin met in a rematch at In Your House 14: Revenge of The Taker

The show also featured Undertaker vs. Mankind for 'Taker's WWF title. Both matches had something in common - neither were the best match the participants would have with each other, but despite that, both were still really, really good. 

Austin/Hart III for example, didn't live up to the aforementioned 'Mania classic, but it was still a great bout in its own right. 

In Your House 15: WWF Champion The Undertaker vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin

Almost a year before he'd cement his status as the company's biggest ever headline attraction, Stone Cold Steve Austin headlined his first ever WWF PPV against reigning champion The Undertaker.

At the time that I first reviewed this show, the match didn't really do it for me, but I'm willing to accept that I was probably just in an off mood that day. After all, I've read nothing but high praise for the match from just about everybody else.

Besides, everything else at In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell was mediocre at best.

In Your House 16: WWF Light Heavyweight Champion Taka Michinoku vs. The Great Sasuke

There's a good reason I often refer to In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede as one of my favourite PPVs of all time:

Every single match offered a lot to enjoy.

Of course, it was the main event, a wild, 10-man tag pitting The Hart Foundation against Austin, Shamrock, Goldust and The LOD, that really stole the show. That's why it ranked so highly in the list of the Top Ten Best In Your House matches ever.

Having said that, the other three matches were solid. Undertaker and Vader had a good big-man match, while Mankind and Hunter Hearst Helmsley extended their wild, chaotic brawl throughout the show, spending most of the 'tween-match segments beating the life out each other.

But it was this, a crisp, light heavyweight masterpiece from Michinoku and Sasuke that really stood out.

Honestly, I'd add the whole show to this list, but if you only watch one match from it besides that incredible main event, watch Taka and The Great Sasuke trading stiff strikes, dazzling ariel moves and suplexes that were truly a thing of beauty.

This, my friends, was probably the best match Taka Michinoku would have in his WWF run.

In Your House 17: WWF Champion Bret Hart vs. The Patriot

Undertaker and Shawn Michaels stole the show at In Your House 17: Ground Zero, which is why they're on the top ten list.

Before those two kicked off the first chapter of one 1997's hottest rivalries, however, Bret put his title on the line against The Patriot in a match that was better than this sceptical fan anticipated.

In my original review, I wrote:

This wasn't the best Bret Hart match ever.
Then again, even the worst Bret Hart match is better than many other's best, and that was certainly the case here.
After a somewhat dull start, things quickly picked up, turning into a good match with a few exciting moments.
Sure, the ending was never in doubt - nobody ever expected The Hitman to lose, but that didn't stop he and Patriot from putting on a dramatic contest that would have been match of the night had HBK and Taker not delivered a masterpiece.

In Your House 18: Tarantula & Mosaic vs. Max Mini & Nova

WWE - 28 Great WWF In Your House Matches - Minis Match

In my original review, I called Badd Blood: In Your House 18 'the very definition of  one match show.'

I stand by that. The only really good match was the Undertaker/Michaels Hell in a Cell match, which  was so good it made it all the way to the number one spot in the Top Ten Greatest In Your House matches.

Still, with the death of Brian Pillman lingering over the show, the rest of Badd Blood was a relatively poor show. Even a tag team match pitting Vader and The Patriot against Bret Hart and British Bulldog failed to deliver.

Meaning that, since I've stubbornly committed to picking one good match that wasn't in the top ten from every In Your House card, the nod goes to this fun little minis match. 

In Your House 20: The Rock vs. WWF Intercontinental Stone Cold Steve Austin

Austin and Rock would face each other for the WWF title at the final ever In Your House, Backlash.

That match was so good it ranked highly in the top ten.

Two years earlier, however, the two men had met for the Intercontinental championship in a really good match at D-Generation-X: In Your House 19, a match that proved -if ever proof were needed- that these were two bonafide main event superstars on the very cusp of greatness.

In Your House 20: War 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

WWE - 28 Great WWF In Your House Matches - The Rock and The Nation of Domination

Yep, I'm recommending a match featuring The Disciples of Apocalypse. That's how slim the pickings were for quality matches at No Way Out of Texas: In Your House 20.

Sure, the main event (an eight-man pitting HHH, Savio Vega and the New Age Outlaws against Austin, Owen, Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie) was awesome, but that already made it into the top ten. 

That left us with this, a match which was better than its list of participants may suggest. Though while the match itself was fun, it's the hilarious pre-match promo in which Rock upstages Farooq without saying a word that makes this must-see viewing. 

In your house 21 - World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Dude Love

First of all, I'll make no apologies for including both Austin vs. Dude Love matches in this list. Both were tremendous fun and were very strong contenders for the top ten.

In fact, the biggest problem I had writing that top ten was debating whether or not to include at least one of these two matches.

In the end, I didn't, but that's to take nothing away from the quality of this one. Making his first PPV title defence, Austin laid out the blue print for how all of his main event matches would run for the best part of the Attitude Era

It was wild, it was chaotic, it contained a whole lot of brawling and was just about as good of a main event as you were ever going to see in 1998.

By far the best thing at Unforgiven: In Your House 21

In Your House 22: Austin vs. Dude Love 2

One month after Austin vs. Dude Love 1 ended in controversial fashion, the two went at it in a rematch with Vince McMahon as the special guest referee and The Undertaker stalking around the place to make sure McMahon didn't do anything shady.

The resulting match may seem overbooked by today's standards, but it was a hugely entertaining affair that more than made up for what was otherwise a disappointing show at Over the Edge: In Your House 22.

In Your House 23: Two out of Three Falls for the World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental ChampionshipWWF Intercontinental Champion The Rock vs. Triple H

WWE / 28 WWF In Your House Matches You Should Watch - The Rock vs. Triple H

The Rock and Triple H would absolutely steal the show at Summerslam 1998 later that year in what is easily one of your writer's top five all-time favourite matches.

Before that, however, the two clashed in a two-out-of-three-falls match at Fully Loaded: In Your House 23, a match which most people have probably forgotten about but is absolutely worth tracking down.

In Your House 24: Cage Match to Determine WWF Championship Number One Contender - Mankind vs. The Rock vs. Ken Shamrock 

WWE / 28 WWF In Your House Matches You Should Watch - The Rock vs. Ken Shamrock vs. Mankind

Speaking of things long since forgotten, Breakdown: In Your House 24 isn't exactly a show that people still talk about today, but it did feature a few pretty decent matches.

Austin vs. 'Taker vs. Kane for the title was a whole lot of fun, but the real star of the show was The Rock who, at this event, made it known that he wasn't just The Rock: Popular Wrestler but that he was in fact, The Rock: Major Main Event Superstar.

His triple threat cage match against Mankind and Ken Shamrock may not be the best match you've ever seen, but it was a highlight of this show.

In Your House 25: World Wrestling Federation Light Heavyweight Championship
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion Taka Michinoku (w/ Yamaguchi-San) vs. Christian (w/ Gangrel)

X-Pac and D'Lo Brown didn't just steal the show at Judgement Day: In Your House 25, they put on an underrated classic that was one of the best matches of that year. It was so good, in fact, that I put it in the In Your House top ten, meaning I had to pick something else for this spot.

Unforunately, pickings were slim.

Judgement Day 1998 was not a good show, but it did feature this decent effort in which Christian beat Taka to become Light Heavyweight Champion in his debut WWF match.

This was a good performance from both men that would have been even better had the crowd actually cared.

In Your House 26: World Wrestling Federation Championship: WWF Champion The Rock (W/ Vince & Shane McMahon) vs. Mankind

Despite the whole show being name after his finishing move, The Rock's first WWF title defence on PPV was not the main event of Rock Bottom: In Your House 26.

That honour went to Austin vs. The Undertaker in a Buried Alive match.

What Rock/Mankind was, however, was the best match on the card by a long shot.

That's not to say it was the best match the two would ever have. Their Royal Rumble 1999 encounter a month later would far top this one, but this was still a hell of a match to watch.

In Your House 27: Vince McMahon vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin in a Steel Cage 

Even if this match had sucked, it would still deserve a spot on the list thanks to the historical significance of Vince McMahon finally lacing up a pair of boots and going toe-to-toe with his arch-nemesis, Austin.

The fact that their steel cage match at St. Valentine's Day Massacre: In Your House 27 was an absolute riot was a very welcomed bonus.

In Your House 28: Triple H vs. X-Pac 

The main event of The Rock vs. Steve Austin in a Wrestlemania 15 rematch was by far and away the best thing at Backlash: In Your House 28.

It was so good in fact, that I put it on the Top Ten Greatest In Your House Matches Ever list, meaning I had to find something else for this one.

To be honest, there was a lot to choose from. 

Whether it was Hardcore Holly and Al Snow getting creative in their hardcore title match or The New Age Outlaws having one of their better outings against Jeff Jarrett and Owen Hart, Backlash was a pretty fun show overall. 

Still, though this near-20 minute epic from former DX teammates Triple H and X-Pac had its down moments, it was still very, very good indeed.

Did I miss out your favourite WWF In Your House match? Come and let me know on the Retro Pro Wrestling Facebook page.

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.