Review for D-Generation X In Your House, December 7, 1997, Springfield, Massachusetts
The first PPV after the infamous Montreal incident. The WWF already had a painfully thin roster as it was, and now we don't even have the Hart Foundation, although Owen stayed in the company he hadn't returned quite yet. Mick Foley and Vader weren't booked for this show. No surprises that the buyrate was low, no one cared about either of the most heavily promoted matches, which was Sgt Slaughter (coming out of retirement) vs Hunter Hearst Helmsley, and the main event being Shawn Michaels vs a very green Ken Shamrock.
Hosted by Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler
WWF LIGHT-HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH: Brian Christopher vs Taka Michinoku
This is the finals of the tournament to crown the first ever champion. Christopher starts out stalling. A wristlock sequence and more stalling follow, and the match is already dead. Taka escapes a german suplex and sends Christopher outside with a couple of dropkicks. Taka follows it with his awesome springboard plancha. Christopher crotches him on the top rope and knocks him out. He tries a plancha but misses and rams his mouth into the railing, ouch, it draws blood from the mouth. Back in, Taka misses a missile dropkick and gets pummelled. Brian charges but misses. Taka with a tornado DDT for 2 and a rana sends Christopher fleeing. Taka follows with a quebrada and Lawler gets involved, rolling Christopher back in. Taka hits a pair of dropkicks but Christopher comes back with the Stroke and some choking. Ligerbomb gets 2, Taka reverses for 2. Christopher hits a missile dropkick and stalls some more. Rocker dropper followed by more stalling, ok this is getting silly. Christopher slaps Taka around a bit, then hits a lariat and stalls some more. Standing legdrop gets 2. Powerslam followed by a Tennessee Jam attempt but it misses and Taka finishes it with the Michinoku Driver at 12:01.
This didn't work at all, too much of a clash of styles. Christopher carried himself like a good heel, but the stalling killed the match and his Memphis stuff wasn't appropriate for a division that was supposed to be all about fast paced action. Taka worked really hard but this was an underwhelming way to usher in the new title. (**)
Disciples of Apocalypse vs Los Boricuas
Crush got sent to WCW so the DOA are down to 3, and thus, this is a 6 man shitshow instead of the usual 8 man. Savio is the Boricua not wrestling. They have the typical shitty match we're accustom to. JR speaks some truth about the DOA: "By any name, they're bad". Eventually Miguel hyper extends his knee, Savio tries to replace him but the ref isn't having it. Chainz tags in and hits a death valley driver but Miguel makes a miraculous comeback and hits a somersault legdrop and the Boricuas steal it at 8:00.
Typical crap but at least there was something of a story with Miguel's fake injury. Still doesn't get them a positive rating though. (DUD)
TOUGHMAN MATCH: Butterbean vs Marc Mero
It is, of course, a boxing match, but they couldn't call it that because boxing is regulated and Vince was obviously going to fix the match, which you can't do, at least theoretically. They couldn't call it a boxing exhibition, which is slightly different, but still regulated by athletic commisions, because Butterbean had a fight the previous night and the commisions won't allow anyone to fight on consecutive nights (even if they're exhibitions). So, the WWF had to call it something different and they came up with the tough man title. It was a terrible idea anyway because, at least before MMA really took off, there were two types of fans watching this: Boxing fans who will immediately notice the punches are pulled and hate it, and wrestling who don't want to see boxing to begin with who will also hate it. Huge logic gap there.
This whole thing is just stupid. There's no real boxing and no fake wrestling, it's just Mero spending 10 minutes getting cheap heat and Butterbean looking like a fake boxer pulling his punches the whole time. Eventually it ends in the fourth round with Mero getting DQ'd for a low blow and smashing a stool over Butterbeans back. Thankfully we wouldn't have to see Butterbean again until WrestleMania XV. (DUD)
It's now time for some cultural enhancement as Goldust comes out on a leash with his mistress Luna, wearing disturbing pink lace. Goldust reads us some Dr Seuss, he gets through a bit of Green Eggs and Ham in his stereotypical gay lisping voice, it goes on too long and Luna gets sick of listening to him and does us all a favor and drags him to the back. How controversial... god, this show is the shits.
WWF TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Road Dog Jesse James & Bad Ass Billy Gunn vs Legion of Doom
Worst pre-match promo ever from the Legion of Doom, as Hawk says the (almost) Outlaws remind him of boogers (seriously), and coins the phrase "what a booger" instead of "what a rush”, I'm sure it'll get over. He does refer to Billy Gunn as Mr Ass for probably the first time so I guess we can also thank him for that terrible name. "Road Dog" and "Bad Ass" were the official spellings at this point, but that would change for trademark reasons pretty soon after. Road Dog talks trash in the intro and it's pretty funny, he's leading an exhibition to see the scary dinosaurs in the ring (the LOD). They take stalling to a whole new level has they restart their entrance a couple of times before the officials get tired of it and force them to fight. Animal starts by killing Road Dog. He bails and gets a cheapshot on Hawk, which Hawk of course won't sell. More stalling by the Outlaws so Hawk clotheslines them both off the apron. Road Dog gets beat up for a bit. Animal in and gets 2 off a powerbomb. Road Dog bails and they stall some more. Billy low blows Hawk and Road Dog hits him with a cooler full of drinks and finally Hawk sells. Lawler mentions that it's made out of styrofoam, thus making everyone look stupid. Kicking and punching follows and Hawk doesn't look much enthused about selling. LOD set up a doomsday device but Billy distracts the ref and Henry Godwinn runs in with a bucket and hits Animal. Hawk steals it and gets DQ'd like an idiot at 10:25.
The Outlaws antics were fun, but the match itself was garbage. The finish was even worse as it doesn't help the champions (who had no credibility to begin with), and it doesn't help the LOD, who had next to no heat at this point and on top of that it necessitated a rematch no one wanted at the Royal Rumble. (-*)
BOOT CAMP MATCH: Sgt Slaughter vs Hunter Hearst Helmsley
This is the blow off the DX vs Slaughter feud. Slaughter gets to use Kurt Angle's music and gets no pop. Slugfest to start and Slaughter beats HHH with riding crop. Slaughter drops HHH and they halfass brawl outside, HHH bumps around and Slaughter waddles. In the ring, Slaughter chokes and whips HHH his belt. Clothesline gets 2 and HHH blocks the cobra clutch. Slaughter gets send to the corner and sent outside. They head into the crowd and Slaughter suffers the consequences of removing his belt, as his pant start falling down. HHH blasts the timekeeper with his own bell, then Slaughter, and we head back in for more belt action. HHH nails Slaughter with a chain for 2. This match could not be more slow and boring. Slaughter charges very slowly and gets backdropped out. HHH heads up and does that leap that never works and he gets booted in the face. Slaughter goes up and gets slammed down for 2. HHH livens the match up with a sleeper and Slaughter constantly yanks up his pants. He reverses into his cobra clutch which no one buys. Chyna breaks it up and decks the ref. Slaughter throws powder into HHH's eyes and goes back to the cobra clutch but gets low blowed by Chyna and a pedigree puts us out of our misery and 17:38.
Oh, just fuck this show. Who gave this so much time? Way too long. Slaughter could barely move out there and HHH was in no position to carry this to anything watchable. Horrible and boring match. (-**)
Jeff Jarrett vs The Undertaker
This is Jarrett's 'debut', so I guess the mid 90s run didn't count? Taker on top early and hits a ropewalk. Jarrett clips him and works over the knee for a while. Taker comes back and gets 2 with a legdrop and then it's lights out, and Kane enters. He chokeslams Jarrett to him the DQ win at 6:40. Kane slaps Taker who refuses to fight him and Kane leaves. Jarrett jumps Taker and gets chokeslammed. Taker leaves and Jarrett finally wakes up and struts. Again I say, fuck this show.
Jarrett wasn't getting over in the least and this didn't help the situation. The match was nothing but an excuse to have a Kane run in. (DUD)
WWF INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs The Rock
Rock stole the IC title on Raw, so he has the belt even though he's not the champion, and has the Nation with him. Austin sends the previously dead crowd into a frenzy driving his pick up truck to the ring. He gets in and it's on, he hammers the Rock until the Nation puts the boots to him. Austin fights back, D'Lo gets backdropped on the hood of the truck and stunnered on top of it. Back in the match starts and it's a huge slugfest. Thesz press is countered for 2. Austin hits the floor and the Nation jumps him. Kama tries a chair shot but takes out Faarooq and Kama gets whipped into the truck. Back in, the ref is distracted and Rock goes low and takes over. People's elbow beta version gets 2, he tries it again but this time with no elbow pad but misses and Austin fights back. He stops on a stunner because Kama is on the apron, he gets nailed. Austin stuns the referee by mistake, Rock gets the brass knuckles but Austin hits a stunner. Another ref runs in and counts the fall at 5:34 while the other ref called for a DQ. The official decision ended up being a DQ, but for all intents and purposes Austin won by pinfall.
You can probably cite this as the match that turned Austin into the top guy in the company and turned the WWF around for good. The feud also sent The Rock on his way to becoming the superstar he would eventually become. Short match and Austin couldn't do a lot, but what was there was all action and a lot of fun. (**1/2)
WWF TITLE MATCH: Shawn Michaels vs Ken Shamrock
Shamrock gives a robotic pre-match interview. JR interviews Shawn who calls him Girth Brooks and calls him a fat tub of goo. Shawn has DX with him, he bumps around early and goes out to stall a bit. Back in Shamrock gets a hiptoss and backdrop and Shawn bails again for more stalling. Chyna distracts, Shawn spits on Shamrock and hammers away in the corner, but Shamrock comes back and Shawn goes out with a clothesline and stalls for a third time, he's obviously not interested in putting much effort in here. Shamrock hits HHH and Shawns head together. Shamrock continues to dominate and sends Shawn into a corner bump, Shawn has to tell him to follow it up with a kick so get can get crotched. Belly to Belly attempt but Shawn pulls the ref and low blows. Shamrock gets sent out and HHH cheap shots. Shawn dives out with a cross body. Baseball slide attempt is avoided and Shamrock hammers away until Chyna sends him into the post, and more cheapshots follow. Back in, Shawn works on the back. Dropkick gets a 2 count. Shawn bodypress is reversed for 2, after some cheap shots Shawn decides to take a rest in the form of a chinlock. Shamrock powers out and starts to get into the zone. He hits a rana and starts to pound Shawn. Shawn goes for a rana of his but it's reversed into a powerbomb for 2. HHH and Chyna get some more cheap shots in. Back in, Shawn hits an elbow and warms up the band. Shamrock dodges and hits a belly to belly and locks in the ankle lock. DX run in for the lame DQ at 18:29. We'll get to the post match in a moment.
This match had bad idea written all over it, Shamrock was too green to main event a 20 minute PPV match. It also didn't help that Shawn didn't want to work with Shamrock. He worked at half speed, and refused to hold Shamrocks hand through it. Legend has it he was the one who told Shamrock to call his spots loudly because the wrestlers couldn't hear him, so the ringside fans could hear his spot calling. Whatever chance Shamrock had of being a main eventer was squashed here as Vince didn't think he was a good enough worker (and honestly, he wasn't, but Shawn did a lot to sabotage him here). At any rate, there was some decent stuff here and there but it was mostly a trainwreck, and the finish sucked. (**)
Post match, DX gloat, but then Owen Hart comes out of nowhere, and makes his shocking return. He sends Shawn flying through the announce table and jumps down to beat the crap out of him before jumping into the crowd to escape. This had money written all over it for the Royal Rumble, but Shawn didn't want to work Owen, so they just had a match on Raw before Owen was sent back to rot in the midcard, first to work with Triple H, and eventually moving down to X-Pac.
This show has the distinction of having FIVE matches in a row rated DUD or worse, good lord. Not a single good match, a lot of stinkers and half the finishes were DQs. Owen's return was a big deal on the day but it never went anywhere, and the only saving grace to the show was Steve Austin for the whole 5 minutes he was out there. And yes, the 5 minute Austin/Rock match that I rated at **1/2 takes match of the night honors. Thankfully no one watched the show back in 1997, and no one should watch it now either. It's one of the worst PPVs of all time. Thumbs way down.