(Originally written during the 24/7 era, somewhere around 2009 I think?)
This was one badly in need of a redo, so it works out well. This was during the heyday of Vince Russo, as Vince McMahon had won the Royal Rumble and put his Wrestlemania title shot on the line against Steve Austin in a cage match, the first true in-ring meeting between them.
Live from Memphis, TN, drawing a massive crowd of 17,000 but a disappointing 1.21 buyrate.
Your hosts are Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler. I think the introduction music is changed from the original.
Goldust v. The Blue Meanie/BlueDust
Yes, it’s that Russo hallmark, one wrestler dressed up as another wrestler and trying to co-opt the gimmick. Goldust gets a spinebuster to start and stomps away in the corner, but BlueDust takes a powder and stalls on the floor. Back in, Blue hits Gold with a dropkick to the knee and goes to work on the leg, but Goldust shoves him off and then spanks him in a dumb spot. That sets up Shattered Nuts in the corner, but BlueDust counters by moving out of the way. He goes up and misses the Meaniesault, and the Curtain Call finishes this disaster at 3:05. Craptacular opener. 1/4*
Hardcore title: Bob Holly v. Al Snow
This is for the vacant title, what with Road Dogg injured and all. Bob was not yet Hardcore, but this was the match that made him so. Snow puts him down with a chair to start, but they fight into the crowd as Michael Cole notes that Bob was Intercontinental champion for “a cup of coffee”. If by a cup of coffee he means never, then he’s totally correct. Holly hits him with a fire extinguisher spray and they go backstage, where Snow hits him with a pay phone and quips “Reach out and touch somebody”. With a cool dry wit like that, he could be an action hero! Bob comes back with an empty beer cooler and they move into the loading dock, where Snow uses a variety of cleaning implements for two. Then it’s another pleasant walk to the street outside, where Snow sends Holly into a retaining wall. And down to the Mississippi river, where Snow headbutts Holly into a wheelbarrow before they fight to the river bank. They go into the water and Holly uses a SHARP STICK OF DOOM for two. Man, remember when this crap seemed edgy? Holly beats him down and wraps him up in a length of fence for the pin and his first Hardcore title of millions at 10:45. Lots of walking in between a few cartoonish weapons. *1/2
Meanwhile, Undertaker and his Ministry of Emo engage in a peptalk.
Big Bossman v. Mideon
This was part of the epic Corporation v. Ministry feud, before it was revealed that in fact they were working together all along as the Corporate Ministry. Bossman overpowers Mideon to start and slugs away in the corner. They fight to the floor and Mideon bites him to gain the advantage, then follows with a necksnap on the top rope. Back in, Bossman chokes him out as the crowd is silent with two heels fighting for no good reason. Mideon does some choking of his own in the corner, but Bossman is like “Uh uh, I can choke better!” and does so. They slug it out and Bossman gets a full nelson while the crowd cheers for someone named “Boring”. Is he the super secret leader of the Corporate Ministry? TUNE INTO NITRO TO FIND OUT! Mideon stomps Bossman down, but it’s more punching in the corner as this drags on and on. They clothesline each other to draw out the pain even longer, but the Bossman slam ends it at 6:20. And not a moment too soon. -** This was completely awful with nothing leading to anything else and the guys almost literally stumbling around the ring for 6 minutes. And this feud was a major focal point of the promotion for months!
WWF World tag titles: Owen Hart & Jeff Jarrett v. Mark Henry & D-Lo Brown
Ivory was debuting as the former Nation`s valet at this point. She`d never even get an interview today. Henry pounds on Owen and takes him down with a clothesline to start, and D-Lo comes in with a back elbow. Owen bulldogs him and brings in JJ for a dropkick, but D-Lo gets a powerslam for two. Debra hops onto the apron to try some distraction, but D-Lo is stronger than that. It does allow Jarrett to take him down with a single arm DDT to take over, however. Owen pounds away in the corner and follows with a corner clothesline, then hits a spinebuster into a JJ fistdrop from the top. Jarrett misses a charge and crotches himself, but Owen nails D-Lo from the apron and keeps him from making a comeback. That`s a nice little spot. ENZUIGIRI OF DOOM gets two. Double elbow gets two, and we hit the chinlock. There`s no flow going on here and it`s really starting to bug. D-Lo fights up, so Owen comes in with a leg lariat for two. D-Lo comes back with a bodypress for two and a powerbomb out of the corner, and it`s hot tag Henry. He whips them into the corner, but misses a charge, and it`s BONZO GONZO. D-Lo powerbombs Jarrett for two despite not being legal. I recall that was a real problem around this time. D-Lo goes up, but Ivory and Debra have words, allowing Owen to hit Henry with the guitar and Jarrett to finish with the figure-four at 9:34. See, first Henry is legal, then D-Lo, then Henry again. I hate that and it totally helps to destroy the suspension of disbelief needed. Match was pretty dull as well. *1/2
Intercontinental title: Ken Shamrock v. Val Venis
This was the whole “Val goes after Ken’s sister” angle that later got much weirder when Ken started dating his “sister” in real life. Billy Gunn is the special ref just to confuse everything further. Val clotheslines Shamrock from behind to start and throws chops in the corner, and two clotheslines get two. Ken puts him down with a high kick and follows with a clothesline, then kicks him down. Shamrock puts him down with a series of knees, and they brawl outside while Gunn makes a half-hearted count and checks out Ryan’s ass. Shamrock pounds him down, but Val comes back with a suplex and slugs into an atomic drop. Val elbows him into an elbowdrop, but he’s no Jimmy Valiant and it only gets two. Crowd is just gone, not caring who wins because they never emphasize wins or losses on TV at this point. They fight for a suplex and Val gets a backbreaker submission before they fight out. Val puts Ken into the post to work on the back, and it’s back in for the camel clutch while Lawler makes lame soap opera puns. They slug it out and Val goes to a double-underhook pinning combo while the bored announcers talk about the earlier Hardcore title match. And then we go to a chinlock. I have to admit, I liked Michael Cole much better once he loosened up and stopped doing his ANNOUNCER VOICE all the time. The chinlock drags on for a good long while and Val gets two off a knee to the gut. Even less helpful is Billy Gunn playing nonchalant ref and thus killing any drama by acting like he doesn’t care who wins. Shamrock comes back with a DDT for two, but Billy refuses to count the three. Val grabs a sleeper in the ensuing argument, but Ken suplexes out of it. Powerslam gets another slow two. Val gets the fisherman’s suplex for two. Shamrock with a rollup for two as it finally picks up. Val gets the running knees into the Russian legsweep, but he stops to gyrate before he goes up to finish, and Shamrock slams him off. Shamrock comes back with a rana for one and the belly to belly sets up the anklelock. Ryan pulls Val into the ropes and quoth Ken “What the FUCK?”, so Ken gets all fired up and attacks Gunn. Val small packages Ken and Gunn gives the old fast count for the pin and the title at 15:56. That was pretty much the pinnacle of Val’s career, sadly. There was so much wrong with this match, but as a start: If a porn star is doing your little sister, you’re the BABYFACE. *1/2 (2019 Scott Sez: Additional note on why the match was so terrible, Ken Shamrock was deathly ill for the entire week leading up to the show and spent all week in bed in the hotel, basically dragging himself off his deathbed to drop the title here.)
HHH & X-Pac v. Kane & Chyna
So Chyna had just turned heel and aligned herself with the Corporation, against HHH, who was really working with the Corporation all along, and they were feuding with the Ministry, despite really working together all along. God bless Vince Russo. It’s kind of funny that the whole feud was based on people “knowing” that Chyna and HHH were an item in real life, without them ever explicitly saying it on TV. What’s funnier is that they actually managed to build up decent heat for the turn and then flushed it away at Wrestlemania when HHH turned as well. Kane slugs away on HHH in the corner to start, but X-Pac comes in and trades shots with his future tag team partner. Over to Chyna and she beats up on X-Pac, causing him to run away and write poetry about it before going into rehab. Oh, sorry, that’s real life. X-Pac almost gets the broncobuster, but Chyna bails to escape. It’s just too weird watching these two in the ring after seeing that horrifying porn video. Some things you just don’t want to know. Over to HHH, who gets a shot in the back of the head from Chyna to allow Kane to take over. Kane goes up with the flying clothesline and Chyna tries a suplex, but HHH reverses. Chyna escapes and slams him, and obviously HHH was all too happy to sell for her at that point. X-Pac tries working the arm and dodges a charging Kane, allowing DX to get a double suplex on him. Chyna comes in and gets tossed into Kane and DX cleans house. X-Pac stops to go after Shane McMahon and thus shut him up on commentary momentarily, but Kane clobbers him on the way back in and the Corporate team takes over. Sadly, Shane recovers and continues his excruciating commentary. 1999 Michael Cole and heel Shane might be one of the worst commentary teams EVER. Chyna drops X-Pac on the top rope and gets two. Chyna gets the sleeper, but X-Pac suplexes out and makes the hot tag to HHH, who slugs Chyna down and dumps Kane. HHH gives Chyna the high knee and obviously sets himself up for Kane to pull him out, while X-Pac finally gets the broncobuster. Shane goes after X-Pac and they head to the back, leaving HHH and Chyna alone. KICK WHAM PEDIGREE is blocked by Kane, who chokeslams HHH and puts Chyna on top for the pin at 14:42. I’m assuming that was his Valentine’s Day gift to her. I’ve always been a little bit embarrassed by my original rating, and this only confirms that fear. Probably seemed better because I was drunk and it was the first thing that the crowd actually popped for all night. **1/4
WWF World title, Last Man Standing: Mankind v. The Rock
Now remember, there MUST be a winner. I actually forgot that Mankind was the champion at this point. And don’t forget, there absolutely has to be a winner, no exceptions. Rock attacks to start and goes for the knee that he injured on Sunday Night Heat. Mankind comes back with a belt to the head, and that gets an 8 count. They fight up the aisle and Rock gets sent into the set, but comes back and whips Mick into it as well. Over to the website table, where Mankind DDTs Rock through the table. Rock answers the bell at 8. Back to the crowd, where Rock gets a sudden backdrop suplex and Mick takes yet another bump onto concrete, but he’s up at 3. Back to ringside and Rock gets whipped into the stairs. Into the ring for a People’s Elbow from Mankind, but it misses. Well, he’s not the Great One. Rock comes back and slugs Mick out of the ring, and follows with a suplex on the floor. Rock takes a break to do color commentary while the ref counts Mick down, but he’s up at 7. Rock threatens to give him “A Rock burger with a little extra Rock sauce on the side” but Mick attacks him to cut off the food-related smack talk and drops the elbow from the apron to the table. Rock answers the bell at 8. Back into the ring and Mankind charges with the stairs, but gets them kicked back in his face. Rock gets a chair and goes after the knee again, but does the silly spot where he hits the ropes and knocks himself out with it. Cactus clothesline puts both guys on the floor and they brawl back to the announce table again. Mick goes for a piledriver, but Rock backdrops him into the timekeeper’s table and thus hurts the leg again. Rock tosses the stairs onto Mick’s leg for good measure in a sick spot, but Mick still answers the bell. Rock grabs the mike and stops to sing “Smackdown Hotel”, but Mick awakes and gives him the Mandible Sock in mid-chorus. Rock answers the bell at 8 and comes back with a DDT, which puts Mankind down for 8. Mankind gets his own DDT for 8. Mr. Socko is countered with Rock Bottom and then they hit each other with chairs, and it’s a draw at 21:52. The crowd chants “bullshit”, rightly so given that they stressed several times that there MUST BE A WINNER. Definitely the lesser of their series, as they had good chemistry but not epic chemistry like Rock and Austin did. ***
Cage Match: Steve Austin v. Vince McMahon
Big stall from Vince to start and he forces Austin to chase him into the cage. Vince still won’t bring it, so Austin fakes a knee injury and waits for Vince to bite on the bait, which he does. Austin brutalizes him by the announce table and chokes him out with a cable, and they head into the front row. Back to ringside and Vince rams Austin into the cage, then runs into the crowd and dares Austin to follow. They fight up the stairs, stretching things out as long as possible, and Austin brings him back to ringside and then beats on him up the aisle and back to the ring again. Vince tries to climb into the cage and Austin keeps pulling him off, which leads to the big spot of the match, with Vince climbing the cage and Austin knocking him backwards into the table. Not bad for a senior citizen. But now things grind to a halt as EMTs try to take Vince out on a stretcher and thus give Austin the win by forfeit, but Austin’s having none of that. So Austin pulls him off the stretcher and tosses him into the ring to FINALLY start the match for realsies, and Austin immediately clotheslines him and stomps him down. He goes up and drops a pair of elbows and walks away, but Vince flips him off and dares him to keep fighting. So Steve stomps a mudhole, but Vince kicks him in the junk and sends him into the cage. Vince tries climbing out, but Austin casually catches him and dumps him back in, then sends him into the cage to draw blood. But Vince isn’t done yet and flips Austin off again to prevent him from leaving. So Austin heads back in again and continues the beating, and it’s KICK WHAM STUNNER. But now Paul Wight arrives from WCW and breaks through the ring, sending Austin into the cage and right through to the floor, giving him the win at 7:57. Totally non-competitive, but entertaining enough for what it was. **1/2 Austin v. Big Show should have been a big deal, but they totally blew it, to say the least.
The Pulse: Ugh, definitely take a pass on this one. Strong recommendation to avoid.