What the World Was Watching: In Your House: Ground Zero

by Logan Scisco

This is a bittersweet show for me to review because I
wanted my dad to take me to this show as a young fan, but he refused because I
had school the next day.  The WWF rarely
runs pay-per-views in Kentucky, so let’s just say I was not happy missing this
Vince McMahon,
Jerry “the King” Lawler, and Jim Ross are in the booth and they are live from
Louisville, Kentucky
A video package
recaps the Brian Pillman-Goldust feud.

Opening Indecent
Proposal Contest:  Brian Pillman pins
Goldust (w/Marlena) after hitting him with a loaded purse at 11:05:
The stipulation in this match is that if Pillman loses he
will leave the WWF forever, but if he wins he gets Marlena for thirty
days.  This match also has the
distinction of being Pillman’s last pay-per-view match before his death.  Since this is not a match on RAW, Pillman
does not have to wear a dress and Goldust attacks him before the official
bell.  Due to the stipulations, this
match has more intensity than their SummerSlam encounter and when Goldust is in
control the match is fine, but when Pillman takes over it slows to a
crawl.  Pillman takes a hot shot from the
top rope to the guardrail and Goldust proceeds to hit the Curtain Call, but the
referee gets bumped as Pillman takes the move. 
Marlena tries to hit Pillman with her loaded purse, but Pillman grabs it
and blasts Goldust for the victory.  Rating: 
After the match,
Pillman grabs Marlena and gets out of dodge fairly quickly before Goldust
revives.  Fulfilling his broadcast
announcing duties, Lawler grabs the purse that is still in the ring and reveals
to the audience that there was a brick inside of it.
Highlights of
Brian Christopher delivering a Tennessee Jam to Scott Putski on a chair on a
July episode of Shotgun Saturday Night are shown.
Light Heavyweight
Exhibition:  “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher
defeats Scott Putski by referee stoppage at 4:41:
Despite the storyline, Christopher gets a decent pop
because Louisville was a USWA territory and they work up a “Jerry’s kid” chant,
which Ross latches onto and says that they definitely would know if Christopher
is Lawler’s son or not.  This is a very
proficient contest as both men run through their usual offenses, but the crowd
still does not care about the light heavyweight division despite the WWF hyping
it since July.  Christopher delivers a
pescado on Putski on the floor, but Putski suffers a knee injury when catching
him and that ends this match prematurely. 
To my knowledge this was Putski’s last WWF match, which is unfortunate
because he had a potential.  Rating: 
After the match,
Lawler gets on the house mic and chastises Putski’s injury as WWF officials
help him to the locker room.
Sunny says that
Brian Pillman called her on his cell phone and she heard lots of things taking
place in their car, so if you want to find out what is going on call the
Superstar line tonight at 1-900-737-4WWF!
A video package
recaps the WWF gang wars
Triple Threat
Match:  Savio Vega defeats Crush and
Faarooq after he pins Crush with a spinning heel kick at 11:38:
This is the old Nation of Domination exploding and is the
quasi-blowoff to that feud since the gangs wars really fizzled out after
this.  If you want to look at the
long-term success you might have to say that the Nation of Domination won since
they would exist until late 1998 as a full faction.  The amazing thing, though, is that none of
the factions held the tag team titles. 
The look on Crush’s face as he shows up just reads “yeah I am losing
this match and I am just here for a paycheck.” 
The triple threat was still a new match at this point, as this was only
the third televised one, so Ross has to make sure to explain the rules, but it
sticks to a formula most WWF triple threat matches have where one man is
incapacitated for several minutes so the other two competitors can have a
one-on-one match.  Faarooq embraces the
no disqualification nature of the match by whipping both men with his belt and
using low blows.  The match has lots of
near-falls, but it is a huge choking, punching, and kicking affair.  Near the end of the contest, Crush and
Faarooq form an alliance and give Savio a double suplex, but the referee
refuses to count the fall when both men cover him.  Crush and Faarooq proceed to go at it, with
Savio getting tossed to the floor multiple times when he breaks up some pin
attempts.  Crush and Savio give Faarooq a
spike piledriver and Faarooq eats a Crush heart punch, but Savio catches Crush
by surprise with a spinning heel kick and captures the victory.  I will give these guys credit and say that
everyone tried.  Rating:  *½
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Mini Match:  Max Mini defeats El Torito with a sunset flip
at 9:18:
The “minis” have not been used in a while, but the WWF
began using them some more near the end of 1997.  Max Mini was a repackaged Mascarita Sagrada,
Jr.  The crowd really gets into Max
hopping around and cannonballing onto Torito through the ropes.  Torito loves to bite Max on the rear end and
Max gets angry that the referee is not doing anything about it, so he bites the
referee’s rear end.  The referee chases
Max out of the ring and in a funny moment, Max leaps into Lawler’s lap at the
announce table and puts on his crown as the crowd chants” Jerry’s kid.”  They work in some false finishes off of a Max
hurricanrana and a Torito powerbomb and Max eventually surprises Torito with a
sunset flip.  This match had its moments,
but it would have been better suited as a four minute match than being given
nearly ten minutes.  The finish was also
a letdown after all of the spots that led to it.  Rating:  **
A video package
recaps Steve Austin’s neck injury and how it has forced he and Dude Love to
forfeit the tag team championships.
Before the Fatal
Four Way, Sergeant Slaughter tells Jim Ross that presiding over the forfeiture
of the tag team championships is not one of his favorite parts of the job, but
he is doing it for the fans.  Dude Love comes
out and says that since Steve Austin helped him win the belts that he will not
defend them without him and gives his belt to Slaughter.  Austin comes out, threatens Ross, McMahon,
and Slaughter for showing videos of his neck injury and not allowing him to
wrestle and he tosses his tag title belt on the ground and tells Slaughter to
pick it up and give him twenty. 
Slaughter leaves with the belts and Ross tells Austin that he wishes him
a good recovery.  Austin responds by
giving Ross a Stone Cold Stunner to a huge pop.
Dok Hendrix
interviews Owen Hart & the British Bulldog and Owen says that he is
disgusted by Austin’s actions against his good friend Jim Ross so he is going
to lobby for Austin’s arrest for assault.
Pre-taped promos
are aired for the Godwinns and the Headbangers for tonight’s Fatal Four Way tag
team match.
Michael Cole
interviews the Legion of Doom, who say that their big goal in this match is to
get revenge on the Godwinns.
Fatal Four Way
Elimination Match for the WWF Tag Team Championships:  The Headbangers defeat Owen Hart & The
British Bulldog, The Legion of Doom & The Godwinns to win the titles at 17:20:
Order of
Elimination:  The Legion of Doom are
disqualified at 9:35; The Headbangers eliminate the Godwinns when Thrasher pins
Phineas with a sunset flip at 12:45; The Headbangers eliminate Owen Hart &
The British Bulldog when Mosh pins Owen after Steve Austin gives Owen a Stone
Cold Stunner at 17:20
There is a long feeling out process to start the match
and Owen and the Bulldog refuse to tag in until Hawk “tags” the Bulldog with a
right hand.  Since there is very little
happening in the first ten minutes, Lawler and McMahon choose to hype the One
Night Only pay-per-view in a few weeks. 
The Legion of Doom are the most over team in the match, but their reign
of futility continues when they beat the Godwinns with their slop bucket.  The Godwinns and Headbangers resume their
WrestleMania XIII showdown which has the same result as Thrasher pins Phineas
with a sunset flip despite Phineas being tied up in the ropes.  The ending at this point seemed academic, as
the Headbangers were nowhere near the team Owen and the Bulldog were, but that
does not take into consideration Steve Austin, who interferes to give the
Headbangers the upset win.  This booking
decision made zero sense at the time other than for pure shock value as the
Headbangers were a lower midcard tag team that had not won a match of note in
months.  It would have made more sense to
put over the Godwinns, who were already feuding with the Legion of Doom, which
was the big tag feud happening in the company at the time.  As a random fact, this was the second Fatal
Four Way elimination match that the Headbangers won on pay-per-view in 1997, as
they won the Fatal Four Way elimination match at WrestleMania XIII.  Okay match after the Legion of Doom were
eliminated.  Rating:  **
A video package
hypes In Your House:  Badd Blood.
Slaughter is shown
tending to Ross backstage, who has an ice pack on his neck.
A video package
hypes the Bret Hart-Patriot title match
­-Sunny interviews
the Patriot, who says he beat Bret Hart once and he will do it again.
Cole interviews
WWF Champion Bret Hart, who promises to take out his aggression toward American
fans in his title defense tonight
WWF Championship
Match:  Bret “the Hitman” Hart (Champion) defeats
The Patriot by submission to the Sharpshooter at 18:40:
This is second time in 1997 that the WWF champion is not
featured in the last match.  This title
defense appeared so academic to me in 1997 since I never thought the Patriot
was on Bret’s level and one month of build was not enough to erase that.  The Patriot opts to work the arm in the early
going and Bret target the legs.  The
British Bulldog wanders out and trips the Patriot when he runs the ropes and
Bret nearly wins with a school boy.  The
Patriot pushes Bret into the Bulldog on the apron and does a school boy
reminiscent of his July upset, but Bret kicks out.  The Patriot delivers Uncle Slam, but the
Bulldog pulls Bret out of the ring and the referee does not disqualify Bret for
some reason.  Vader wanders out to even
the odds and tosses Bret into the steps, but the referee decides to let that go
too, which I guess you can consider the equivalent of a professional wrestling
make up call.  The Patriot has completely
forgets about the leg injury he is supposed to have, which really irks me, and
hits the Patriot Missile, but Bret kicks out at two and transitions into his
moves of doom.  The ref gets bumped on a
Patriot elbow, so he is out of position to count another Uncle Slam, and both
men trade near-falls off of a small package. 
The Patriot puts Bret in the Sharpshooter, but that is a mistake since
Bret knows how to escape his own hold and he maneuvers out and applies the hold
to defend the title.  The finishing
sequence was really nice and this worked up a great pace after the ten minute
mark.  The finish would have come across
better if the Patriot had sold the leg better, though.  Rating:  ***½
After the match,
Bret gives the Patriot a piledriver, snaps the Patriot’s American flag in half,
and chokes him with it.
Cole interviews
Bret Hart and the British Bulldog and Bret says that the Patriot is a loser
just like Americans and the Bulldog promises that Canada and Great Britain will
win their war against the United States.
A video package
hypes the Undertaker-Shawn Michaels main event
Shawn Michaels
tells the announce crew that he does not rest in peace for anyone
“The Heartbreak
Kid” Shawn Michaels wrestles The Undertaker to a no contest at 16:20:
Michaels immediately hides behind the referee after the
Undertaker’s entrance, so the Undertaker decks the referee before the opening
bell can sound and Michaels decides he’s not going to wrestle.  Slaughter orders Michaels back to the ring
and in one of the greatest spots I can remember, the Undertaker picks up the
limp referee and tosses him over the top rope and onto Michaels.  Michaels follows that up with a hilarious
spot where he pounds on the door of the In Your House set out of desperation,
but he can’t get the door open and the Undertaker proceeds to beat the life out
of him with no referee to speak of.  Earl
Hebner is forced out by Sergeant Slaughter and Michaels embraces him and
demands the Undertaker be disqualified, but Hebner refuses and the match
finally gets officially underway. 
Michaels continues to bump around like a pinball as the Undertaker
shakes off his short spurts of offense. 
Michaels tries to use a chair, but the Undertaker blocks it with a big
boot and Hebner grabs the chair to prevent the Undertaker from using it, which
produces a ref bump when Michaels knocks them into each other.  Michaels hits two flying elbow drops for two
as Rick Rude comes out and tosses Michaels brass knuckles.  Michaels uses them and a third referee,
brought by Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna, slides in and counts two.  Michaels does not care for that and KO’s the
third referee and D-Generation X triple teams the Undertaker, with very focal
fans in the first row questioning their sexual preferences.  The Undertaker takes the brass knuckles from
Michaels tights and uses them but Hebner’s slow count lets Michaels kick out at
two.  Hebner gets chokeslammed for that
and referee Tim White frantically runs out and calls for the bell to throw the
match out.  This brawl needed some blood,
but it was a great way to keep the feud going and let people know if you could
reduce interference that Michaels would get destroyed by the Undertaker.  I also appreciated the creative spots, especially the use of the In Your House set.  Rating:  ****
After the match,
Michaels hits the Undertaker with Sweet Chin Music and D-Generation X takes out
a crew of WWF officials.  The Undertaker
revives and Tombstones Helmsley and he and Michaels are eventually separated by
the WWF roster.  As Michaels gets away,
the Undertaker gets loose and takes out about half the roster, Michaels
included, with a plancha and Michaels and D-Generation X scurry away as the
Undertaker stands in the ring with a chair as the pay-per-view goes off the
The Final Report Card:  This pay-per-view was shaping up as a three
hour episode of RAW until the last two matches, but those matches are very good
and Michaels-Undertaker effectively set up Hell in a Cell at Badd Blood.  Despite its quality, this show did the second
lowest buyrate of a pay-per-view by the company in 1997 (D-Generation X would
the lowest) so fans must have read through the booking and figured that Bret
was going to retain the title and the Undertaker-Michaels feud would continue
for another pay-per-view.
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up