Review for WWF In Your House: Ground Zero, September 7, 1997, Louisville, Kentucky.
First 3 hour In Your House and the final appearance of the stupid original In Your House set up they used. Shawn Michaels would finally have to face The Undertaker in the main event, and in the WWF title match The Patriot was set to challenge Bret Hart.
Hosted by Jim Ross, Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler
INDECENT PROPOSAL MATCH: Goldust vs Brian Pillman
This was the "Dakota is my love child" angle where Pillman was claiming to be the father of Dakota, Goldust and Marlena's daughter, as Vince Russo proceeds to introduce daytime trash TV (like Jerry Springer) to pro wrestling angles. If Goldust loses, Brian Pillman gets Marlena for 30 days. Pillman starts with chops but Goldust hits an atomic drop and a clotheline. Goldust goes up for the 10 punches in the corner, but he turns into 20. Pillman comes back with more chops and an elbow. His offense is so weak it's sad to watch knowing how good he was before all the injuries from the car accident. Pillman chases Marlena but gets dumped into the stairs by Goldust. Back in, bulldog attempt by Pillman but he gets crotched. Brawl on the ramp leads to a Goldust suplex. Back in, Goldust posts Pillman and works the knee. Bulldog is blocked and a backdrop as Pillman starts to control with heel tactics. Electric chair attempt but Goldust escapes. Charge is missed, Pillman goes up but gets crotched., he goes into the railing below. Back in Pillman blocks a superplex. He misses something off the top. Curtain Call bumps the ref and Marlena loses her loaded purse to Pillman and he nails Goldust with it for the pin at 11:03.
So Marlena has to spend 30 days with Brian Pillman, and the plan was for this to culminate on the next PPV with Marlena turning on Goldust and going with Pillman, but Brian Pillman's death on the day of the PPV obviously changed all that. Vince Russo, however, would go on to use that plot point many times after.
This would Pillmans last PPV match, and I think he'd only have one more match, which was on Raw against Owen Hart in the IC tournament. Thankfully it was lot better than SummerSlam, all thanks to Goldust actually. Pillman just couldn't go anymore, he looked lost at times and his offense was generally weak, he was good with the cheap heel tactics but that's about all he had. As I said it's really sad to watch him in his last months remembering that years before this guy was one of the best wrestlers in the world. (**1/2)
I spoke about Brian Pillman being at his best, and one of the best workers in the world a few years prior. If anyone wants to see him at his best and hasn't seen much of his WCW stuff, check out WCW Superbrawl II from 1992 on the network, he wrestled Jushin Liger in the opening match of that show and they tore the house down. It was given ****3/4 in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and it's worth every bit of it. Now let's get back to this show.
LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT MATCH: Brian Christopher vs Scott Putski
Putski ain't no light heavyweight, or if he is half the roster should've been. Christopher dominates early and cackles a lot, he really annoyed me when I was a kid and he's annoying me now too. The only thing fun going on here is that everyone knows Christopher is Jerry Lawlers son and it's a running joke because neither will admit it. Putski sends him over the top, back in, Christopher gets a lariat and takes over. Putski hits a rana for 2. Brian comes back and Putski cuts him off with a couple of a weak clotheslines and Christopher comes back with a german. He tosses Putski outside and follows with a pescado but it goes all wrong and Putski rips his knee all to hell in one of the more nasty injuries you'll ever see. It's gruesome to look at. He takes a count out loss at 4:37 and the injury ends his career. I wouldn't call it good, but before the knee injury they were having something of a watchable match but they were cut short for obvious reasons. Hard to rate this. (*)
TRIPLE THREAT MATCH: Crush vs Savio Vega vs Faarooq
Why? This is another match Vince Russos gang warz feud, aka the worst feud ever. One good thing came of this entire pile of shit, and that's The Rock, which admittedly, kinda makes all this crap worth it. Messy start with everyone getting some shots in. Crush goes to the floor and Faarooq hits a spinebuster on Savio for 2. Crush powerslams Faarooq for 2. He rams their heads together for 2. This is terrible, and I'm in pain watching this. Restholds galore as it feels like an iron man match. Savio hits the worst neckbreaker you'll ever see on Faarooq, which made me laugh, Savio went one way and Faarooq spin the opposite way. Next we get political as Faarooq and Crush start an alliance, it doesn't last long and they fight each other. So now they've telegraphed the finish too, I mean I remember nothing about this match and I know who's winning after that bit. Savio teams with Crush and gives Faarooq the worst spike piledriver you'll ever see. Crush stands around and Savio spin kicks him for the pin at 11:43 in a finish that pisses off the crowd.
Horrible match in just about every way you can imagine. It was boring, the moves were poorly executed, the booking just told you who was winning half way through and the only the finish had going for it was it ended this shitty match. This one isn't avoiding negative stars. (-**)
Max Mini vs El Torito
This is a minis match, I don't do minis matches so I'm not going to recap it or review it. There is a cute bit where Max jumps into the Kings lap and it's pretty funny and the match is actually decent between all the silliness, but I'm just going to move on.
Historic moment now. Commissioner Slaughter comes down to suspend Steve Austin, and strip him of his tag team title (the intercontinental title would be handed over later). Dude Love is the other half of the tag team champions, he's not going to be the tag champion without his partner Steve Austin so he hands his over. Austin comes out to a big pop and he is pissed off, he flips off JR and gets in Slaughters face. He tells JR to blow it out his ass, he tells Vince he's gonna stomp his ass in the ground. He runs down Slaughter, then drops the title at his feet and tells him to drop down and give him 20. The entire WWF makes him sick. He tells JR to say something, JR says he wants to see him back in the ring and he hopes he gets back to 100% very soon. Austin isn't in the mood and gives him a stunner. Vince McMahon leaves his seat at ringside and looks pissed off, he goes over to JR. Austin flips Slaughter off and leaves. JR is helped to the back.
Awesome, chaotic segment. This is why I've always argued the neck injury was a short term blessing in disguise. The WWF wasn't going to let him wrestle, they took his titles off him, and he felt like the WWF were trying to screw him. So he started taking it out on authority figures, starting with JR here and a few weeks later he'd get to Vince McMahon. It took him to the next level and set the table for making him the biggest star in the business.
Owen Hart and The British Bulldog think Steve Austin should be jailed, and threaten to chase him out of the WWF for good.
FOUR TEAM ELIMINATION MATCH FOR THE WWF TEAM TITLES: The Headbangers vs Legion of Doom vs The Godwinns vs Owen Hart & The British Bulldog
There is absolutely nothing interesting happening here at all. I mean the first 10 minutes have absolutely nothing worth mentioning so I'm not even going to bother. Eventually The Godwinns try to use the buckets but the LOD have had enough of that and use the buckets themselves on the Godwinns and they're DQ'd (this is at about the 11 minute mark). Headbangers get a double team suplex on Phineas for 2. Mosh hits a tope outside. Back in Godwinns control on Mosh but he gets a sunset flip to eliminate them. Now we're down to 2 teams. Bulldog gets a delayed suplex and Owen hits a spinning heel kick. Thrasher gets a bodypress for 2. Bulldog and Thrasher make a mess out of a double clothlesline spot and all hell breaks loose. Headbangers miss their finish, Owen goes for a sharpshooter but Steve Austin is back. He gives Owen a stunner and the Headbangers at the new champs at 17:22.
This was boring as hell and completely worthless. The Headbangers never had the chance to get over as they were passed over in favor of The Godwinns and the LOD soon after this and then the New Age Outlaws came on the scene and took over. (DUD)
WWF TITLE MATCH: Bret 'Hitman' Hart vs The Patriot
Patriot has Kurt Angle's music which is always weird to hear. Patriot is Del Wilkes and he's not a bad wrestler, he just had a very no nonsense style and wasn't a great fit in the WWF. Though, he was the perfect villian of the month for Bret Hart. They slug it out to start and Bret gets the better of it. Backdrop and suplex and Bret ties him up in the tree of woe. He chokes him in the corner. Patriot comes back with a lariat and dropkick, Bret goes out and stalls. Back in Patriot works the arm. This goes on for a while and takes me out of it. Bret eventually starts kicking the knee and working it over. Step over toe hold, followed by ringpost figure four. Bulldog comes down to give some moral support. Bret gets a russian lepsweep for 2. Suplex gets reversed. Patriot hits a sunset flip for 2. DDT gets 2. Lariant and Bulldog trips him up. Bret gets a rollup for 2. Patriot gets his own and then hits Uncle Slam but Bulldog interrupts the count. Vader has had enough and comes down to get rid of Bulldog and we get a big brawl on the floor. Back in, big boot and Patriot Missile gets 2. Atromic drop and back suplex get 2. Bret comes back and ref gets bumped. Patriot hits another Uncle Slam but there's no ref to count. Criss cross and both guys are down. Bret small package gets 2, reversal for 2. Patriot gets a sharpshooter on Bret. Vince screams at the timekeeper to "ring the fucking bell", oh sorry, we're not there yet. Bret reverses to the real sharpshooter and Patriot taps at 19:17.
The first bit was pretty boring but everything after the Bulldog came down ruled (not because of the Bulldog, just as a point of reference). Probably the only good match Patriot had in the WWF, though it's not like he was there for long. (***1/2)
Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker
Finally, I'm so up for this. Shawn Michaels had blasted The Undertaker accidentally with a chair at SummerSlam, costing him the WWF title and really pissing him off. He hadn't done himself any favors on the TV leading up to this either, including busting him open on Raw, and Taker is ready to kill him. Pyro guys screw up Shawns entrance and he's not too happy about it but his reaction is hilarious. Shawn Michaels doesn't want any part of Taker and hides behind the ref, so Taker lays out the ref and Shawn is deep shit. He doesn't want anything to do with this and leaves, I can't blame him either. Sgt Slaughter sends Shawn back, Taker throws the ref on top of Shawn. Poor ref is just mauled already. Taker goes out and Shawn crawls up the ramp. A hellacious beating occurs on the In Your House set. Did I mention The Undertaker is pissed? He goes for a big right hand and sends Shawn back to ringside. More of a beating ensues and he chokes him with a cord, and just continues beating the shit out of him. He sends him flying into the railing. Finally back in the ring, Shawn begs him to stop but Taker isn't having it. Beating continues and he gives him a wicked clothesline and drops some elbows. Cover but he killed the ref earlier and the match hasn't even started. So he keeps beating on Shawn. Corner whip and Shawn flies out of the ring. Another ref comes down and Shawn begs for a DQ. Ref isn't listening and tells him to get back in the ring. Shawn takes the leg and hammers away. Huge whip into the corner, mounted punches, but Taker shoves him down. Michaels tries again but gets the same. Chokeslam attempt but Shawn punches away, he goes up but gets punched on the way down and sent outside. Sunset flip in but that doesn't work either. Taker stomps away and Shawn takes another big bump off a whip and gets crotched. Clothesline gets 2. He goes for the arm and tries a ropewalk but gets dropped on the top rope. Baseball slide by Shawn and pescado but he's caught and gets rammed into the post. Back in a massive backdrop gets 2. Shawn hits a swinging neckbreaker but Taker sits up. Shawn can't believe it and grabs a chair but Taker doesn't care about that. Shawn tries to use but gets caught with a punch. Taker grabs the chair and the ref tries to stop it. Shawn hits Taker from behind and the ref gets wiped out. Shawn hammers Taker and hits 2 flying elbow drops. Ref comes around but he's slow to count. Taker kicks out with authority and Shawn lands on the ref. Rude is at ringside and tosses brass knuckles to Shawn, he uses them but there's no ref. Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna come down with another ref, he counts 2 so Shawn decks him. Hunter and Chyna beat on Taker outside. Back in it's a slugfest. Taker hits the floor and Shawn follows with a tope. Back in Taker blocks a superkick and pulls the brass knuckles out of Shawns tights. A good shot gets 2. Taker chokeslams the ref and finally another ref comes down and throws it out at 22:00 (that's from where the fight started, not the bell). DX tries a heel beatdown but Taker's not having that. Tombstone for Hunter and the dressing room empties to seperate them. Shawn escapes, Taker is in the ring so he debuts the flying dead man no hands plancha, it was always impressive but this was the first time he'd ever done it and it's still insane to watch, that sends the crowd crazy. He takes out about 10 guys with it and that's about the end of the that. Shawn survived, but there was only way to settle this feud, Hell in a Cell.
Never piss off the Undertaker, this was one of the most damndest and intense brawls you'll ever see. Shawn was bumping like a madman and Taker was at his best. They'd overshadow it the next month in the cell, and the entire purpose of this match was to get to that rematch, but it takes nothing away from what they did here, and this was the perfect set up for Hell in a Cell. (****1/2)
As usual with 1997 you can skip the undercard, it ended with 2 really strong matches that certainly bailed it out. The Austin angle is great and historic, Taker/Shawn easily take match of the night. Bret/Patriot was also really good stuff and if you can stand to watch minis matches this one is fairly entertaining. Thumbs up.