by Logan Scisco
–Jim Ross and Jerry
“the King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from Springfield,
Heavyweight Championship Tournament Finals Contest: Taka Michinoku beats “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher
with a Michinoku Driver to win the title at 12:03:
The predictable light heavyweight tournament finals ends
here and I think they would have been better served using a round robin format
to crown the champion than this. They
use a refreshing formula at the beginning of the match whereby Christopher
tosses Michinoku around for a couple of minutes before Michinoku rallies, which
gets the crowd into the match.
Christopher takes a nasty dive into the guardrail and cuts his lip
open. The match has an irregular flow
because Christopher still wants to work a slow, Memphis style and Michinoku
prefers to work faster sequences and transitions between moves. Christopher completely kills the crowd by
toying with Michinoku seven minutes in and this ends with the usual “you miss
your finisher and I hit mine” sequence that the WWF is known for. After the match, WWF officials present Taka
with the title, but I couldn’t help but think at the time “what next?” The division didn’t have anyone to elevate as
a credible challenger for Michinoku’s belt and as a result, the division was
dead on arrival. Rating: **½
–Kevin Kelly and
the Jackal hype the Superstar line.
Perez & Jesus defeat The Disciples of Apocalypse when Jose pins Chainz
after Perez hits Chainz with a somersault leg drop at 7:46:
The Boricuas do a horrid rap on the way to the ring that
makes R-Truth’s old gig completely comprehensible. You can give them credit for trying, but 1998
Konnan this was not. Since Crush is
gone, DOA is down to only three members so we get a six man tag. The match has nothing but lots of kicking and
punching and the only highlight is that Perez feigns a knee injury off of a
flying axe handle and runs in behind the referee’s back and alters the finish
after Chainz hits a Death Valley driver.
Dok Hendrix that he’s ready to take care of Marc Mero tonight.
–A video package
recaps the Marc Mero-Butterbean feud.
interviews Sable, who he says was at Butterbean’s undercard fight the night
before and held up his title belt. Sable
says that she’s in Marc Mero’s corner tonight and Mero interrupts the
interview, telling her she doesn’t have permission to talk, and he pledges to
knock out Butterbean.
Contest: Butterbean beats Marc Mero
(w/Sable) by disqualification when Mero uses a low blow and hits Butterbean
with a stool in the fourth round:
The match is scheduled for four, two minute rounds. For those unfamiliar with Butterbean, he was
a Toughman Contest superstar that eventually became a professional boxer and
won the IBA Super Heavyweight title in April 1997, which he never lost. The fans quickly turn on this, for obvious
reasons. They might get into it if it
was a legit fight, but the biggest mark can tell there’s something amiss when
Mero throws out a high knee in the second round and starts choking Butterbean
behind the referee’s back with the tape that holds the ropes together. They also didn’t bother to have any judges so
that’s another clue the fix is in. They
book this to make Mero more of a jerk, but the whole exercise made Butterbean
look weak with his obviously pulled punches.
That said, I would rather have seen Mero fight Butterbean at
WrestleMania XV than Bart Gunn since Mero was a Golden Gloves champion and
would have had a fighting chance.
–Kevin Kelly is in
the WWF America Online center with Dude Love.
I can’t help but have the old AOL dial tone go through my head right now.
Formerly Known as Goldust comes out with Luna Vachon, with her leading him on a
leash. He’s sporting a pink attire, pink
hair, and white face paint. He reads Dr.
Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham until Luna pushes him down and drags him
away. Really, really weird.
the Legion of Doom and Hawk says that Road Dogg Jesse James and Bad Ass Billy
Gunn remind him of boogers in his nose.
Was there a contest for oddest promo segment tonight?
–WWF Tag Team
Championship Match: “The Road Dogg”
Jesse James & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn (Champions) defeat The Legion of Doom by
disqualification when Hawk blasts James and Gunn with a bucket at 10:35:
James and Gunn take stalling to a whole new level, as
they restart their ring entrance several times since the LOD won’t cede a clear
line of access into the ring. The LOD
dominate until Gunn blasts Hawk with a cooler, which Lawler then completely
writes off by reminding the fans that it is just made out of styrofoam. Neither team does anything to make this
interesting until the LOD prepare to give James a Doomsday Device, but Henry
Godwinn breaks it up by hitting Animal with a bucket. That bucket eventually finds its way into
Hawk’s hands and like an idiot he hits the champions and nearly decks the referee
and gets his team disqualified. So, what
is it going to take to end this awful LOD-Godwinns feud? The tag division is really running on fumes
at this point and the LOD are clearly past their expiration date. Rating:
to get WWF the Music Volume 2. It will
cost you $20 for CD and $15 for tape with $4 shipping & handling.
–A video package
hypes the boot camp match between Sergeant Slaughter and Triple H.
Triple H and Chyna and Triple H is carrying a special “survival kit” for
tonight’s boot camp match that has a comb, depends, and some other geriatric
interviews Sergeant Slaughter, who promises to beat Triple H up in the next
Match: Triple H (w/Chyna) beats Sergeant
Slaughter with a Pedigree on a chair at 17:40:
This is actually Triple H’s first pay-per-view match in
the United States since becoming a member of D-Generation X. Slaughter comes out to the Patriot’s theme
music, which is the theme later given to Kurt Angle. A smart fan in the audience holds up a sign
that makes it onto camera in the early going that asks a great question: “Who booked this?” Slaughter is too old to give this a good
effort, as he is gingerly bumping around ringside and the crowd is dead
silent. The bump of the match goes to
the guest timekeeper, who Helmsley takes out to get access to the ring
bell. Even that generates very little
reaction. By the way, Slaughter takes
off his belt to choke Helmsley early in the match, but that causes him to keep
pulling up his pants throughout this encounter.
The only person getting anything resembling a reaction is Chyna, who
breaks up Slaughter’s Cobra Clutch and knocks out the referee. Slaughter immobilizes her with powder to the
eyes and re-applies the Cobra Clutch, but Chyna breaks that up with a low blow,
and that leads to the end. This was
meant to help get Triple H over, but that’s tough to do when no one cares about
the major storyline of Helmsley insulting Slaughter’s family. I can’t believe someone thought it was a good
idea to give this eighteen minutes. Rating:
Jeff Jarrett, who says that he is ready for his return to the ring.
defeats The Undertaker by disqualification when Kane interferes and chokeslams
Jarrett at 6:53:
So this is the culmination of the “I’m not getting any
respect around here” storyline that Jarrett has been harping for weeks. His entrance music is horrid, with some
generic music dubbed over by Jarrett talking about how great he is. Definitely not one of Jim Johnston’s finer
works. The Undertaker squashes Jarrett
for five minutes until Kane shows up and confronts his brother. Kane strikes the Undertaker, but the
Undertaker refuses to retaliate and Kane leaves. Jarrett tries to put the Undertaker in the
figure-four, but the Undertaker chokeslams him to get some of his heat
back. As you can imagine, this did
nothing for Jarrett and he went back to his country music gimmick within the next
few months. He didn’t really get a
reaction until Debra, who if you recall he blasted as a “dumb blonde” in his return promo, was brought into the company as his valet. Rating: ¼*
Mark Henry, who is sitting with Milton Bradley executives. Henry says he should return very soon to
in-ring competition and he wants Steve Austin to win the next match.
–A video package
recaps the Steve Austin-Rock feud.
the Rock and the Nation of Domination.
The only notable thing is that this is the first time that I remember
the Rock using the “People’s Eyebrow” in a promo.
Championship Match: “Stone Cold” Steve
Austin (Champion) beats The Rock (w/The Nation of Domination) with a Stone Cold
Stunner at 5:30:
After being in a coma for more than an hour, the crowd
wakes up for this one by showering the Rock with “Rocky sucks” chants and going
nuts for Austin. This is the memorable
contest where Austin shows up in his Austin 3:16 pickup truck and proceeds to
beat up the entire Nation of Domination with it. The crowd eats all of that up and thinks it’s
the greatest thing they’ve ever seen.
You can tell that Austin is still working cautiously because of the neck
injury, though. This is the match where
Austin started to show more of a brawling style and it is also the debut of the
Rock taking off his elbow pad for the People’s Elbow (which is not yet
named). Austin accidentally gives the
referee a Stone Cold Stunner, but he isn’t disqualified and a second referee
counts the fall when the Rock takes a Stunner shortly thereafter. A quick, entertaining match that provided a
small taste of things to come between these two. Austin also has his Intercontinental title
belt back, but he’s well above the title at this point. Rating: **½
–Kelly and the
Jackal hype the Superstar line some more.
–A video package
hypes the Shawn Michaels-Ken Shamrock WWF title match.
interviews Ken Shamrock, who says that he has a lot of experience in
pay-per-view fights and says Michaels will be squealing like a baby.
–WWF Champion Shawn
Michaels cuts a generic promo on Shamrock.
You can tell Michaels hard lifestyle is really starting to catch up with
him because he looks awful, much like he did in mid-1995.
Match: Ken Shamrock defeats “The
Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels (Champion w/D-Generation X) by disqualification
when DX interferes at 18:28:
This is Shamrock’s only main event title match during his
WWF tenure, which is somewhat surprising based on where his 1998 push seemed to
be taking him. Despite being pushed hard
the last two months, with unofficial tap out wins over Bret Hart and Michaels,
Shamrock just doesn’t seem credible in this spot because of how he had been
booked up to that point. I mean,
wrestling the British Bulldog, weaker parts of the Nation of Domination, beating
a depushed Vader, and making Billy Gunn tap out are hardly the accomplishments
of a top talent. Michaels wrestles a
very toned down style in this match and it just doesn’t work against Shamrock,
who doesn’t have the moveset to keep the fans interested if Michaels stays
grounded. DX’s interference doesn’t even
illicit much outrage, unless Chyna is the one doing the damage. Shamrock counters Sweet Chin Music with a
belly-to-belly, but when he applies the ankle lock DX runs in and Michaels keeps
the title. I hate disqualification finishes
in main event championship matches, especially because this didn’t lead to
Shamrock getting another title shot.
Michaels also seemed to be going through the motions for whatever
reason. Rating: **½
–After the match,
Michaels poses on the ring apron as DX beats on Shamrock, but he’s knocked off
and through a table by Owen Hart in street clothes and Owen pounds away until
DX gets near him and he flees through the crowd. Unfortunately, this didn’t lead to anything
since Michaels and Austin did not want to work with Owen for separate, and
arguably justified, reasons.
The Final Report Card: Owen’s return was a nice way to end the
pay-per-view, but this entire show was dull.
All night long you sit through matches and you figure that Shawn
Michaels will put on a great performance in the main event and save the show,
but he comes out and gives a poor effort along with most of the roster. Austin’s match with the Rock was the
highlight, but it was way too short and at the time I worried about Austin’s health
and if he’d ever be able to have 15-20 minute matches again and if not, how the
WWF was going to book around that. This
show received the lowest buyrate of the year, which isn’t shocking since
Michaels-Shamrock seemed more of a RAW main event and the roster was really
weak at this time. Yes, the future star
power was there, but it would take a few more months to take the New Age
Outlaws, Mick Foley, the Rock, Triple H, and others to a higher plane.
Show Evaluation: Thumbs Down