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In Your House 8 – Beware Of Tropical Storms
A lot has happened since the last pay per view, namely "The Curtain Call", the now infamous event where Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, Diesel and Hunter Hearst Helmsley broke character at the end of a Madison Square Garden house show. Both Razor and Diesel were on route to WCW (Razor would debut on Nitro eight days later), and the scenery atop the WWF mountain was changing quickly.
In terms of the pay per view itself, Diesel's departure curtailed what likely would've been a prolonged feud with Michaels down to a one and done deal (that one and done arguably being the best match of the WWF run we've covered so far!). In his place was parachuted in British Bulldog, in an increasingly perplexing story line about the quite close to the bone lifestyle that Shawn Michaels lived. In one barmy segment on Raw at the end of April, Jim Cornette in a machine gun promo accused Shawn Michaels of trying to "deflower" Davey's wife – Diana. She ended up slapping him and this started a feud that even briefly saw Davey try to drown Shawn in the Persian Gulf while on a tour to Kuwait.
Elsewhere it was a very paint by numbers card. Savio Vega and Steve Austin were having a feud that stemmed back prior to Wrestlemania without ever really seeming to have anything of note to feud over. Undertaker was now feuding with Goldust, for reasons nobody can work out – this would be a casket match. The highly entertaining Yokozuna/Vader feud would also crescendo at this show, although whether the match would be any good was anybody's guess. Yoko had been sent away to fat camp to try and drop some weight mid-April... not that you'd have noticed.
We arrived in South Carolina with the impending threats of storms. The tag title pre-show match went off without a hitch, as did the opener... then things went awry.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs "Wildman" Marc Mero (w/ Sable)
A week after the curtain call, Hunter (in WWE history's version of the story) was beginning his long losing streak... which is sorta true but kind of overblown. Firstly, it's not like he was on an undefeated run prior to this - he'd lost on TV to Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels prior to this and at Wrestlemania against The Ultimate Warrior, along with exchanging unconvincing pay per view wins against Duke Droese. While it's certainly true he did lose a higher % of TV matches in the months that followed, he was still winning squash matches, as he was in his first year in the company. In short: he was demoted, but he was no Bob Holly!
As for this match... well, you could rename the show "Beware Of Rest Holds" if you liked, as that filled up about 70% of the match, as Triple H stayed on top for the most part as the crowd sat in near dead silence. Marc Mero is probably suffering from a lack of exposure, as the fans don’t respond to him to anywhere near the same degree as they did his Johnny B Badd character in WCW. Mero recovers from the long offense with his repertoire of aerial offense that dare I say it felt "phoned in" (if you can phone in a floatover DDT), Hunter tells Sable to "watch this", before Mero counters out of a pedigree into a catapult, HHH bounces off the ring post, "knocks himself out", and Mero picks up the win.
If you're watching on the network you'd have seamlessly transitioned into the main event. If you were watching at the time however, the feed went dead during Savio Vega's walk on, caused by a massive rain storm that knocked out all the power. But the show must go on... and it did, under the cover of near darkness (watch Raw the following night for clips of what went on while the lights went out, it was bloody dark!). But, around an hour later, the feed did stagger back to life. You'd eventually have to wait until Tuesday for the rest of the card, but there was enough time for a main event.
Shawn Michaels (w/ Jose Lothario) vs The British Bulldog (w/ Diana Smith and Owen Hart)
A bit of back story first: Prior to the match starting, we had a backstage promo with Jim Cornette, Clarence Mason (in a neck brace), Davey, Diana and Owen. Cornette said he had a bombshell to drop on Shawn, but he was going to wait until right before the bell to reveal it. He also announced Owen Hart was going to be managing Davey. The reveal ended up being a summons for, and I quote, "attempted alienation of affection"… Shawn ripped it up.
Lots more rest holds, some nice if flat exchanges – at one stage it looks like Shawn is asleep in a chin lock. That takes up a lot of the match, we ref bump where Bulldog charges into Hebner. Shawn lines up the superkick but delivers it to Owen instead (seems like they put Owen in the match just for this). We get two refs, Shawn does a bridging German suplex for the three, except both sets of shoulders were down. They end up saying this was a draw thanks to both men being counted down by each of the refs (Hebner had covered and counted from a standing position on the outside), but it took them a good three or four camera angles to prove it.
The match was pretty meh, but within the circumstances it makes a lot more sense. It's said that both Shawn and Davey went out there thinking the match (even with the power on) was a dark match, and that they would also get the chance to reprise their match on the Tuesday. Midway through they found out that wasn't the case, and this kinda threw things off. Combine that with the screaming woman in the crowd and a Shawn presumably ticking anyway after what happened at MSG the week prior and you have yourself a recipe for something. It doesn't make the replay version, but after the match Shawn chews out one of WWF's production people for an error queuing his music.
Monday Night Raw
The plan for Raw didn't really seem to change a lot vs what you'd imagined they'd have put out anyway. We got a pair of King Of The Ring qualifiers, and a tag match that lead on from the pre-show encounter from the PPV – where Sunny kissed Billy Gunn, distracting tag champs The Godwinns and causing them to lose the belts. She went from managing them to managing The Smoking Gunns on this one.
They did show clips from the dark portion of the pay per view (the first true "dark matches" in wrestling history), along with the announcement that the missing matches would be airing live during the encore presentation of the show (the following day at Superstars tapings). Ted DIBiase said if Austin didn't defeat Vega, then he'd quit the WWF.
Beware Of Dog: II
We're in Charleston, South Carolina for what would've been WWF Superstars taping. Jim Ross and Mr Perfect have the call. To their credit, there's no attempt to hide the fact these matches already took place (Perfect: "How can we be sure Savio won the strap match on Sunday? The lights were off!").
Savio Vega vs "Stone Cold" Steve Austin (w/ Ted DiBiase) in a Carribean Strap Match
This ended up being very good, within reason about as a good as a strap match you could have expected with relatively little on it between two pretty undercooked mid-carders. It was the usual strap match in terms of a lot of strap shots and dragging people around, but they built the drama nicely with the crowd that ended with Savio tagging three corners immediately after Austin. They had a stand off for corner number four, Austin attempted to pull his weight over and yanked him so hard Savio got there first. Good drama, DiBiase is distraught.
Vader (w/ Jim Cornette) vs Yokozuna
Given that I started the podcast mid 1993 (where Vader was WCW Champion and Yokozuna WWF Champion), I'm very fond of both of these characters. And while most people wouldn't rate the match (it was only eight minutes, of which a good three or four were stalling) I really enjoyed this.
After Yokozuna attacked Vader from the start we get a stand off with Yokozuna in his familiar pose, Vader sets in the three point stance but bottles in the moment Yokozuna threatens to charge. We repeat the spot twice – on the third occasion Vader finally contested the battle only to be floor by Yokozuna which popped the crowd. The action was decent after this, Yokozuna dominated for the most part before getting distracted by Cornette, in attempting to Banzai drop him Vader pulled Cornette to safety and capitalised hitting a Vaderbomb for the win. Good stuff this, although a sorta-flukey win over Yokozuna (easily a eighteen months past being relevant) was hardly what Vader needed right now.
Goldust (w/ Marlene) vs The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) in a Casket Match
It would be perhaps harsh to describe this as every Undertaker casket match you've ever seen (we've seen Undertaker/Kama - which was worse), but this followed the usual formula right up until the final moments. Undertaker's opponent dominates the most part, gets Undertaker in the casket but can't get the lid closed, then Undertaker hits a tombstone and wins the match. Except that this time when he went to open the casket door Mankind was inside. Mankind locks in the yet-to-be-named Mandible Claw and Goldust wins.
Score Rating: 4/10
Go Back And Watch: Austin/Vega is decent, *I liked* Vader/Yokozuna, but really you could probably skip the entirety of both shows.