The SmarK Rant for WWF In Your House: Revenge of the Taker!
Live from Rochester, NY drawing 6477, with a 0.5 buyrate.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler & Jim Ross
WWF tag team titles: Owen Hart & British Bulldog v. The Legion of Doom
It’s kind of interesting that Owen & Bulldog had a lengthy reign where they had nothing to work with for opponents, and by the time they finally found a top-shelf foil in the LOD, the feud was already a dead issue. Where were these guys back in December when they were defending against deadwood like Fake Diesel and Razor? LOD overpowers both Harts to start and Hawk hits Bulldog with a shoulderblock. Bulldog comes back with a delayed suplex, but Hawk shakes it off and beats on Owen for a bit. Animal with a powerslam on Owen for two and we hit the chinlock. Hawk comes in with a flying fist for two, but he collides with Owen and they’re both out. Owenzuigiri to get the heat and Bulldog comes in with a chinlock on Hawk. Jesus, is everyone literally going to sleepwalk through this entire match? Granted both Bulldog and Hawk probably have a pharmacy hidden in their boots at this point but maybe lay off the Ambien. Owen with a sleeper, but Hawk runs them into each other and makes the tag to Animal. Powerslam off the top finishes at 6:56 and the LOD are seemingly the tag champs. This would be bad enough, BUT WAIT! Another referee comes in and claims that Bulldog wasn’t legal, so the pin doesn’t count and THIS MATCH MUST CONTINUE. Oh goodie. Like, since when does that ever happen? Heels switch out behind the ref’s back millions of times and no one ever cares, but a second referee was actually watching this backstage and was so offended that he had to run down and protest? Vince is like “Well, we weren’t really paying attention so I’m not sure who was legal.” So we continue this snoozefest and the champs work Animal over in the corner, and Vince is sympathetic to the plight of the referee because Bulldog & Owen are hooligans. Hooligans? They continue working Hawk over as this dull dull dullfest drags on, but Animal gets the hot tag and they hit the Doomsday Device, before Bret Hart runs in for the DQ at 12:19. Yes, two shitty screwjob finishes in one match! Just awful. ½*
Intercontinental title: Rocky Maivia v. Savio Vega
Rocky’s pre-match promo is not exactly memorable, but he certainly sounds more comfortable already. Rock is a house of fire to start, and that means ARMDRAGS! And an armbar to show he really means business. Savio breaks free, but Rocky immediately goes back to the armdrags and Savio is helpless against the power of Rocky’s wacky waving tube man arms while Faarooq joins us on commentary and the headset fails. Gonna be one of those nights. Savio gets a cheapshot and pounds away to take over, then goes to the dreaded nerve hold. Rock does seem like he carries a lot of tension in his neck. Meanwhile, Faarooq is pretty sure that he’s going after Ahmed’s pancreas at the next PPV. That’s a pretty specific threat. Oh, hey, Savio is still holding the nerve hold. So, what’s going on in the news? Oh hey, I bought a Raspberry Pi 3 tonight as a birthday present to myself because fuck Nintendo and their pre-order nonsense. Fingers crossed that I can play No Mercy 64. Hmm, the match is still going. OK then. Savio gets another nerve hold, but Rocky comes back with the shitty tornado DDT (or as Vince calls it, “a classic maneuver”) for two. Savio with a rollup for two, but he misses the leg lariat and Rock comes back with a backdrop suplex and the ARMS ARE FLAILING. Rock Bottom gets two. You could tell he had something with that one. Savio tosses him into Crush outside to surcease Rocky’s momentum, so Crush puts Rock down with a heart punch and he’s counted out at 8:30. Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME? Who is booking this shit tonight? ½* And then Savio and Crush have issues as a result, setting up the epic split of the Nation that was still to come. Ahmed chases everyone off with his board again and accepts the challenge to fight all three Nation members next month. Rocky looked like a complete goof here.
Meanwhile, Ken Shamrock chats with people on AOL using what appears to be the first IBM Thinkpads ever made.
Meanwhile, Marc Mero updates us on his knee, which is doing much better, but Steve Austin walks into the men’s room in the background and all hell breaks loose. Bulldog and Owen emerge with bent pipes in hand and Bulldog stops and gives the most awesome guilty facial expression to the camera on the way by.
Jesse Jammes v. Honky Tonk Man’s Mystery Protégé.
And of course, we learn that Honky has in fact swerved us all and debuts ROCKABILLY. Later we learned that Disco Inferno was supposed to be the payoff, but he couldn’t get out of his WCW contract. This died like a million Jason Jordans combined and the crowd was immediately checked out before he even got to the ring. So it’s Billy Gunn with the same gear and workrate, but now he swivels his hips occasionally between moves. THEY’LL MAKE MILLIONS. Rockabilly Gunn controls with his dancing, but Jammes dumps him and JR is like “Maybe he should go back to being Billy Gunn after this match.” Gunn takes over with the fameasser and dances, but only gets two as a result. Vince is pretty much ignoring this and burying Billy on commentary, talking about the Austin-Bret stuff and just pretending nothing is going on in the ring. He’s not wrong. Gunn with the chinlock and this crowd is just dead silent. To this day I have no idea how or why this was supposed to be working. Like, Gunn literally punched Honky in the face on RAW two weeks before this and turned him down! Gunn misses a blind charge and everyone is out cold. Gunn, Jammes, the crowd, the announcers, possibly the ref, me, my cat, you name it. Granted my cat sleeps pretty much 23 hours a day, but this isn’t helping. Jammes makes the comeback and he also dances between moves. Hey, these guys should team up! Gunn dumps him and dances some more, but Jammes cradles for the surprise pin at 6:30. BURN IT ALL WITH FIRE. -**
Meanwhile, the Undertaker door banner, only $29.95! Now available in Canada! What kind of nightmares are they trying to give kids with this shit? Why would you want a giant picture of zombie Undertaker hanging on your door when you wake up in the middle of the night?
Meanwhile, Steve Austin is hurt, but he’s so pissed off that he wants to beat on Bret Hart regardless. Gorilla is fine with that and moves the match to the main event slot so he can prepare.
Meanwhile, the Hart Foundation claims that they were the VICTIMS in the bathroom incident, and also Austin was talking about their dad and that’s not cool.
WWF title: The Undertaker v. Mankind
The pre-match video package is much less spooky and effective with Todd Pettingill instead of Freddie Blassie. Taker attacks to start, but Mankind clotheslines him to the floor, which Taker no-sells. Vince wants us to imagine Mankind as WWF champion, and of course soon we wouldn’t have to. Taker tosses him into some chairs and it’s clearly gonna be the Mick Foley Saves The Show match. They brawl into the crowd, and Taker ropewalks him back in the ring, but changes it up by releasing and going with a flying clothesline instead. Neat! He stops to beat on Paul Bearer, but that allows Mankind to hit him with the urn for two. Mankind with the nerve hold after ramming Taker into the steps a few times, but they fight outside and Taker sends him into the steps himself. So then Mick grabs the water pitcher off the desk and breaks that on Taker’s head. Did they not bother to gimmick that thing? Taker is bleeding from that, so Mick hits him with a relatively gentle chairshot to the head and drops the elbow off the middle rope to the floor. Back in, that gets two, and Mankind takes over with a pair of piledrivers, and again the announcers are aghast at the very idea of WWF champion Mankind. Vince is pretty sure they’d “find some way to market it”, however. Taker fires back with the leaping clothesline, but the ref gets bumped and Mankind gets the Mandible claw. Another ref heads in and Mick kills him off and brings the stairs in, but Taker dropkicks them back at him. Taker just WAFFLES him with an unprotected chairshot to the face and that stuff gives me the heebie-jeebies these days. And then Mankind bails to the apron, so UT spears him with the stairs and he goes FLYING into the announce table, actually landing headfirst through the table in the spot of the month. Back in, the chokeslam gets two. Tombstone finishes at 17:16. Once again this confirms that Mick Foley is a hell of a pro wrestler and a crazy son of a bitch. ***3/4 Taker beats on both guys and unleashes the FIREBALL OF DEATH on Paul Bearer for good measure, which put him out for a few months and kicked off the biggest storyline of Undertaker’s career. The finish was actually blown, as the lighter didn’t work and the original spot was supposed to be Mankind throwing fire at Undertaker, but missing and hitting Bearer. So Undertaker had to improvise, beat up Mankind, and then throw the fire himself. It kind of worked better that way.
Bret Hart v. Steve Austin
They slug it out immediately and brawl to the floor, where Austin sends him into the stairs a few times, right in front of Gorilla Monsoon, and Austin throws him into the crowd and back into the ring again. Bret grabs a chair to defend himself, so Austin steals it, but Bret dropkicks him into the ref and pounds on the bad knee with the chair while the ref recovers. Man, I hope Hebner doesn’t hold a grudge for that. Austin fights back, so Bret kicks the leg out of his leg and it’s RINGPOST FIGURE FOUR time. Bret goes to work on the leg again while the Network tries to sabotage me, and we take the opportunity to cut to Paul Bearer cursing the Undertaker from a stretcher in the back. The Network starts jumping around because apparently lots of people are watching at midnight on a Friday night or something, and Austin chokes Bret down with wrist tape, but misses the elbow off the middle. Austin tries a suplex to the floor, but Bret reverses to his own suplex and goes to a figure-four to continue working the knee. This one is definitely not reaching the heights of the Survivor Series or Wrestlemania matches. Bret clips him and tries another ringpost figure-four, but Austin blocks it and they fight to the floor again and now Austin makes the comeback, backdropping Bret into the crowd for another brawl. Austin clotheslines him off the apron, and pounds away in the ring. Austin makes the comeback and tries a piledriver, but the knee buckles on him and Bret goes back to work on it. Austin gets a stungun for two and goes for the stunner, but Bret grabs the ropes to block and then kicks him in the balls. Superplex follows to set up the Sharpshooter, but wily Austin grabs his own leg brace off the mat and whacks Bret with it, then puts him in the Sharpshooter. The likelihood of Bret ever submitting to his own hold is low, but the Hart Foundation runs in for the DQ at 21:28 anyway, just to make sure. I dunno, maybe I’m getting old and grumpy, but I wasn’t feeling this one at all. The work was good, but the match was pretty meandering and seemed to lack the intensity you’d expect. Plus the show had way too many terrible finishes as it is and this didn’t need another DQ to end the show. ***1/4
That first hour is a flaming garbage dump of bullshit finishes and boring matches, but the Mankind-Undertaker match is pretty crazy. Overall just a very forgettable show that no one ever talks about for good reason.
But the next night on RAW…well…that’s another story.