Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What the World Was Watching: Breakdown - In Your House

by Logan Scisco

So after a three week absence my column has returned.  Graduate school caught up with me and I had a litany of papers and book readings due that prohibited me from blocking out three hours to watch this show.  I got all of that out of the way, though

-The WWF must have had a history buff on the production staff at this time because the video package for this card features clips of John F. Kennedy, Benito Mussolini, and George Patton.  It is like a tame version of Mr. McMahon’s Utopia, but it is very effective at getting you excited for the show.

-Jim Ross and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


-Opening Contest:  Owen Hart pins Edge with a rollup at 9:16:

Based on what was taking place on RAW, I have no idea why they did not book Edge-Gangrel here.  Both men get loud ovations during their entrances, but Owen generates some heat by coming out in a Toronto Argonauts jersey.  Owen is the right guy to lead the rookie through a good match and this one goes back and forth for more than nine minutes with neither man sustaining much of an advantage.  Owen actually makes the “let me land on my feet as I’m diving toward your foot” spot work as he applies the Sharpshooter, but Edge quickly escapes.  The man soon to be known as Christian appears near ringside and that allows Owen to cradle Edge and hand the rookie his first loss.  I did not expect this result at the time, as Owen was directionless in terms of storylines.  One of the better openers of 1998 that a lot of people forget.  If you have never seen it, I suggest checking it out.  Rating:  ***¼

-Dok Hendrix and Sable urge us to call the Superstar line.  Sable is a horrible pitchwoman for this.

-Al Snow & Scorpio (w/Head) beat Too Much after Snow pins Scott Taylor after a Snow Plow at 8:04:

Snow is a permanent part of the company now after beating Commissioner Slaughter in a boot camp match on RAW.  WWF and WCW were in this weird phase in 1998 of booking pay-per-view matches between competitors that appeared on their C and D shows and this is a great example of that.  The WCW example would be the Norman Smiley-Prince Iaukea match at Starrcade.  This match is a dull mess that takes seven minutes to setup Snow decking Too Much with Head to get revenge for King of the Ring.  If Brian Christopher had not been Lawler’s kid, I think he and Taylor would have been released by this point.  It is a good thing they eventually stumbled on the Too Cool gimmick.  Rating:  ½*

-Michael Cole interviews the Undertaker and Kane.  The Undertaker says that it is no one’s business who will beat Steve Austin for the WWF title tonight, but assures the audience that they have reached a deal with each other.

-“Marvelous” Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline) beats Darren Drozdov with Marvelocity 5:11:

Our series of Shotgun Saturday Night-style matches with little build continues here, but hey, at least this is unique.  Ross cannot help himself in referring to Mero’s old persona by saying that he is no longer a “Badd man.”  Mero just gets the hell beat out of him in this match, as you can tell he is taking some stiff and reckless offense from his opponent.  Jacqueline hits Droz behind the referee’s back with a shoe and Mero uses that to hit Marvelocity (the awesome new name for the Wild Thing) and win.  So Mero now needs shoe interference to beat someone of Droz’s caliber?  Unsurprisingly, this was Mero’s last win on WWF pay-per-view.  Rating:  *

-Call 1-800-737-1161 to get your “Down Where?  Down Here!” D-Generation X t-shirt for $25 (plus $6 shipping & handling)!

-A clean shaven Bradshaw, a look that makes him look COMPLETLEY different from his former Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw and Blackjack Bradshaw gimmicks, says Vader is about to learn it is “about survival of the fittest, not survival of the fattest.”

-No Holds Barred, Falls Count Anywhere:  Bradshaw pins Vader with a neckbreaker at 7:56:

This match actually has a story as Bradshaw and Vader tried to be tag team partners during the summer and that did not work out.  In retrospect, the WWF should have let that team just run through the division for a while.  Who would not want to see Vader and Bradshaw just annihilating guys with power moves?  Then again, that was eventually what Bradshaw and Faarooq became and what do you know, that finally got Bradshaw over.  They brawl a little on the outside to pay lip service to the stipulation and then kick out of each other’s finishers.  Who do these guys think they are working a main event style?  Another lariat and a neckbreaker from Bradshaw, which Ross does his best to sell as a finisher as devastating as Jake Roberts DDT, put Vader away in what is the Mastadon’s last WWF pay-per-view appearance until 2005 (and let’s just forget about that one).  We are proving the law of diminishing returns with these B-level matches thus far.  Rating:  ½*

-Kevin Kelly, Tom Pritchard, and Jason Sensation talk about tonight’s remaining matches.  His impressions here of the Rock and Jeff Jarrett are not very good.

-D-Lo Brown beats Gangrel with the Sky High at 7:51:

Since D-Lo is no longer the European champion, he is back to being billed from Chicago.  Looking back, Gangrel was a character ahead of its time.  The 1990s had the goth craze, but with the Twilight stuff that came a decade or so later this gimmick could have been bigger than it was.  Gangrel takes the running powerbomb like a champ and that’s the highlight as the crowd gradually turns on D-Lo’s stalling and the match’s tedious pace.  Gangrel has several botches as well, so that just makes the match come off even worse.  Lawler makes fun of a fan with a Hulkamania sign in the crowd, to which Ross asks if he is playing the air guitar.  God, I miss snarky commentary like this that was actually entertaining.  Eventually, Mark Henry wanders out, rams Gangrel into the post, and helps his friend win.  Like Edge, this is Gangrel’s first loss.  So, why didn’t we get Gangrel-Edge on this show instead of having them both lose to Owen and D-Lo?  After the match, Gangrel spits blood in Henry’s eyes and hits D-Lo with the Implant DDT to get some of his heat back.  This was just awful.  Law of diminishing returns still in effect!  Rating:  ¼*

-A video package recaps the end of the triple threat match on RAW between the Rock, Ken Shamrock, and Mankind where Kane and the Undertaker interfered and beat up all of the participants.

-Shamrock tells Cole he will go as far as it takes to become the number one contender for the WWF championship.

-Dok Hendrix interviews the Rock, who gets a big pop from the crowd.  He promises to lay the smackdown on Shamrock and Mankind and make them famous.  It’s amazing how far along the Rock’s promo work has come over the past year.

-Kevin Kelly interviews Mankind, who goes on a hilarious rant about stupid things he has seen in his life.  It culminates in an indictment of the People’s Elbow.  He promises not to sell it.

-Triple Triple Threat, Steel Cage Match to Determine the #1 Contender for the WWF Championship:  The Rock beats Ken Shamrock & Mankind when he pins Shamrock after a Mankind chair shot at 18:47:

This is one of the last uses of the blue bar steel cage and this has pinfall, submission, and escape rules.  I remember being really excited for this because you could do this type of match in that awful WWF Warzone game on the Nintendo 64.  Fighting your friends to escape the cage was always a good time, assuming you could go all the crazy button combos to pull off the moves.  The Rock is insanely over here, getting chants before his entrance and throughout the match.  Things pick up ten minutes in when the Rock overcomes a Mankind and Shamrock double team to deliver a double People’s Elbow.  Not to be outdone, Mankind later dives off the top of the cage to try to elbow drop the Rock, but misses.  Shamrock brings a chair into the ring when he is prevented from escaping the cage and he eventually get smashed in the head with it by Mankind.  However, Mankind opts to climb out instead of going for the pin and the Rock covers Shamrock to win before Mankind can reach the floor.  That was a nice finish and the right guy went over, but this had too much one-on-one action and too many dead spots for my taste.  Rating:  ***

-A video package recaps the Val Venis-Dustin Runnels feud.

-Val Venis (w/Terri Runnels) defeats Dustin Runnels with the Money Shot at 9:10:

This was the only pay-per-view appearance for Runnels preacher gimmick, which gets the jobber entrance.  To show how times have changed, Runnels is somehow the heel here.  This match is also the return of Terri Runnels to television after being gone for eleven months.  Since Venis wrestles as a heel here, this match dies on the vine as the crowd does not care about Runnels and why should they?  The guy has not won a meaningful match all year.  Venis forgets to kick out of a bulldog at two and mercifully recovers and finishes the preacher off with the Money Shot.  After the match, Venis makes out with Terri in the ring.  Thankfully, Runnels would bring back the Goldust character to pay this off.  Rating:  ½*

-We get a recap of Jeff Jarrett’s continuing feud with D-Generation X that should have ended after SummerSlam.

-X-Pac & The New Age Outlaws beat Jeff Jarrett & Southern Justice when Billy Gunn pins Dennis Knight after a Fameasser at 11:20:

This is the last pay-per-view appearance for Southern Justice, as Mark Canterbury reinjured his neck after this and never returned to WWF television.  X-Pac is placed in peril and is well suited for the role to take Southern Justice’s power moves.  Despite that, the crowd could care less about Jarrett and Southern Justice, so this match, like many on tonight’s card, plays in front of a largely silent audience.  The crowd finally gets into this when all hell breaks loose and in the midst of that, Jarrett levels X-Pac with a guitar.  However, Gunn is able to catch Knight with a Fameasser (not yet named) and put D-Generation X over.  After the match, X-Pac is selling an eye injury due to the guitar shot.  Rating:  ½*

-A video package hypes tonight’s triple threat match for the WWF championship.

-Triple Threat Match for the WWF Championship:  Kane and the Undertaker pin Steve Austin (Champion) after a double chokeslam to create a confusing situation at 22:05:

In this match, Vince McMahon threatened to strip Austin of the WWF title if any superstar tried to help him and stipulated that Kane and the Undertaker could not pin each other.  Austin launches a pre-emptive strike with a chair on the Undertaker during the latter’s entrance, which is the appropriate way to start the match, but he cannot capitalize and put Kane away before the Undertaker recovers.  What I liked about the stipulation for this match is that it actually made some of the rest spots appear sensible, as Austin would try to keep Kane or the Undertaker out of the match and focus on the other man.  In other words, this is like those ridiculous handicap matches the No Mercy career mode would make you play.  It takes sixteen minutes before Kane and the Undertaker turn on each other, but they eventually join forces at the end to put Austin away with a double chokeslam.  The only problem is that they both pin Austin, so who is the new champion?  Austin had some well-timed comebacks and Ross’s commentary helped, but Kane and the Undertaker just did not have enough creative offense to take this up a notch.  Rating:  **½

-After the bell, McMahon sends Gerald Brisco to ringside to grab the bell and then runs to his limo backstage, escaping as Austin beats up the stooges.  He flips Austin off before his limo speeds into the night.

The Final Report Card:  This was a very, very strange card.  Lots of matches added at the last second and the crowd did not care about a lot of what was taking place in the ring outside of the WWF championship match and the triple threat cage match.  If you need a cure for insomnia, this is a great show to pick because after the opener things gradually get worse with the exception of the triple threat.  The ending to the main event eventually created a great fall storyline, but it was an awful ending for a sub-par pay-per-view.  What is it about September shows and screwy finishes when it comes to this company?  In Your House 3, the weird ending to IYH:  Mind Games in 1996, the Ground Zero double disqualification between Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker (although that was actually good), and last year’s Randy Orton-Daniel Bryan debacle.  The company might as well run a show called “September Screwed” (hey, it's better than Fast Lane!) because it has an awful record putting on enjoyable shows during that month of the year.

Attendance:  17,405

Buyrate:  0.86 (+0.41 from previous year)


Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

71 comments:

  1. The Rock stole the show here. They should have just gave him the belt the next night on Raw.
    Kane and UT were awful, only being topped by that borefest they put on the next month.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sky High was one sweet finishing move. It was D'Lo's second most devastating finisher after the running powerbomb.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's hard to get any more devastating than D'Lo's running powerbomb.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Unless I'm forgetting something, the Summerslam main event was really Taker's last hurrah in terms of any sort of good match before he got hurt the next year and returned as BikerTaker. He was semi-effective with a more straightforward brawling, "main event" style (particularly the great WMX7 match with Hunter) in that gimmick for awhile, and his matches in recent years showed that the in-ring style didn't need to neatly fit the character. So he probably should've adopted the Attitude Era-style brawling a couple years sooner. Might not have been "good," per se, but it would have at least been watchable.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The reaction it Droz is certainly paralyzing!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Whatcyha in graduate school for?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Probably to get a degree. Stop asking stupid questions.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yeah because turning Rock face and making him champ would have made sense. We never would have gotten Montreal revisited and the Rock heel turn without some boring stuff though.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I would've loved to see this, too. Rock was just white-hot at this time. I actually watched this show last month and got goosebumps remembering how pumped I was that MY GUY WAS THE FUCKING MAN NOW. Because I never was an Austin guy until 2001. I liked him, I guess, but as a 15-year old white kid who wanted to be black, wore Boss, FUBU and NBA jerseys.... I didn't want to associate with the redneck.
    In hindsight, they handled Rocky's rise perfectly. Squeezed a few more months of heeldom out of him, including a box office smash of a WM15 main event and an epic feud with Foley, and had people ready to really lose their shit for him when he turned face on the Corporation a few months later.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Totally agree. How things played out was a bummer at the time, but man, did it ever end up being pretty goddamn perfect.

    ReplyDelete
  11. You were a little too excited to type that one, weren't you?

    ReplyDelete
  12. It turned out great and the next night on Raw was awesome but man UT-Kane was a pain to sit though.

    ReplyDelete
  13. It did turn out great in the long run but it was bumpy for a minute.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anyne catch the NASA fireworks show tonight?

    Good to see our tax money put to such good use!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yeah, with Austin being saddled with those idiots this was totally The Rock's show in the fall of '98.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Don't forget Night of Champions from this year as well.

    ReplyDelete
  17. PhD in history. So basically lots and lots of and lots of reading.

    ReplyDelete
  18. 1. Space exploration will eventually allow us to establish a human
    civilization on another world (e.g., Mars) as a hedge against the type
    of catastrophe that wiped out the dinosaurs.

    2. We explore space and create important new technologies to advance our
    economy. It is true that, for every dollar we spend on the space
    program, the U.S. economy receives about $8 of economic benefit. Space
    exploration can also serve as a stimulus for children to enter the
    fields of science and engineering.

    3. Space exploration in an international context offers a peaceful
    cooperative venue that is a valuable alternative to nation state
    hostilities. One can look at the International Space Station and marvel
    that the former Soviet Union and the U.S. are now active partners.
    International cooperation is also a way to reduce costs.

    4. National prestige requires that the U.S. continue to be a leader in
    space, and that includes human exploration. History tells us that great
    civilizations dare not abandon exploration.

    5. Exploration of space will provide humanity with an answer to the most
    fundamental questions: Are we alone? Are there other forms of life
    beside those on Earth?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Vince was practically begging for people to watch WCW by only have the main event have a backstory and be ppv worthy. I forgot all about southern justice, my how they sucked.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hot, and completely not ready.

    OK, maybe Ambrose is ready, but not Rollins.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Yeah, that's all fine and good, except we haven't done shit in forever.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Virgil's Gimmick TableOctober 28, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    Rollins is very ready. He's got the charisma to be a slimy heel and and the ring skills to carry himself.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Crikey Mate Down Under AussieOctober 28, 2014 at 6:21 PM

    I was thinking Summerslam 2009 punk-Hardy but both are older than I thought...

    ReplyDelete
  24. You see guys? Even the beloved and perfect Attitude Eraz still had a dead period around the fall season! (Remember that the title was Abeyanced, and the October PPV solved NOTHING about it)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Would the Punk/Cena draw from NoC 2012 count as a screwy finish?

    ReplyDelete
  26. I used to think that you were doing a gimmick with your comments, but even Leonardo DiCaprio didn't play a retard this convincingly.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Can I get a Roderick Strong where you can pull a cord to make him say a random, generic, bland promo in a forced unconvincing fashion?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Cause In Your House Breakdown was the greatest PPV in history? I fail to see anything I said that was even remotely retarded, or even wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Didn't they wait until the pre-show to announce the triple threat match going to be in a cage? My memory of Sept '98 is very fuzzy.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I think multiple people said that Undertaker was dealing with a mountain of injuries in 98 and '99 that hampered his work. The groin tear was pretty much the straw that broke the camel's back.

    ReplyDelete
  31. IIRC, first it was on Raw and had a screwjob ending. Then it's at the ppv and yeah they made up the cage then at the last minute. Said it was for a title shot that the Rock never actually got.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I refuse to believe those reports that WWE officials were impressed with his mic work at his tryout. Unless he's just deliberately shit on the mic.

    ReplyDelete
  33. It was still better than WCW's Fall Brawl '98.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Oh man, Cena's beta version of his rap gimmick. With B2 and then later Red Dawg. I loved that! There's a match with Eddie where Cena's on commentary explaining what thuganomics is all about, and it's so good. It's easy to see why he got over.

    "BOO-YAAAAAAAAAAAAAH~!"

    ReplyDelete
  35. Here's another interesting factoid: Last Sunday was the first time EVER that a main event featured two guys who were born after the first WrestleMania.

    ReplyDelete
  36. [pulls string]
    "lol ill pretend u said 18"

    ReplyDelete
  37. Gangrel was always an interesting character, I loved the blood spewing and thought he had one of the better entrance themes/videos of the era. Shame they never did anything with him in singles, at least not that I can recall.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I don't get why Vince pointing out that this PPV sucking in the middle of what many people consider "The Goooooooolden Age" (which is correct) got the response it got? What was wrong with it?

    ReplyDelete
  39. You're excited for that QT Marshall figure too, huh?

    ReplyDelete
  40. Caliber and Vince Jordan probably do. Otherwise, I'm drawing a blank.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I had this on VHS, watched the shit out of it. I actually liked the random Midcard matches for some reason.

    ReplyDelete
  42. I missed the column. Glad to have you back.

    ReplyDelete
  43. as an avid action figure collector, I'm excited for these. Will be curious to see who they get rights to release in the throwbacks series, especially since a lot of the people fans would want in their ROH form have figures from other companies. (Punk, Claudio, Aries, Nigel, Homicide, Dragon and Joe all spring to mind)

    ReplyDelete
  44. Aren't ReDragon the champs again now?

    ReplyDelete
  45. I didn't want to like that, but the Davey comment made me lol.

    ReplyDelete
  46. I'd totally rock an RD Evans figure. I would prefer an Archibald Peck, but RD will do.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I didn't sayed i would do sexual thing with them. I need to more people on my heros team to defeat the league of evil

    ReplyDelete
  48. They'll pretty much be the generic wrestling figures you get at Family Dollar.

    ReplyDelete
  49. The funny thing around this time was that the RAWs were often better than the PPVs. There were a lot of shoddy workers and midcarders with nothing going for them at this point, which was more ideal for the rapid-fire matches & booking of RAW than the longer matches of a PPV.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Well to be fair, zero retail stores ever stocked TNA's action figures. Only way you could buy them was online or at live events.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I like it. He cuts promos like a twelve year old youtuber who is trying too hard to copy the AVGN. The toy could even be wooden for authenticity, but technically very competent with its articulation.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Michael Elgin: with easily removable title belt.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Maria Kanelis doll with a Mike Bennett accessory.

    ReplyDelete
  54. MaffewOfBotchamaniaOctober 29, 2014 at 5:35 AM

    ''Davey Richards figure will come with burning bridge accessory'

    A+++++

    ReplyDelete
  55. Compared to other sports, wrestlers are able to be competitive in their 40s and even 50s because it's not about how fast you can run or how strong you really are, but how you can connect with the fans.

    And the thing is, if you are winning everything in wrestling when you are young, you will get boring very soon, because you have mostly at least 20 years of a career before you. If you don't go away like Lesnar or Rock or change your character like Jericho or so, your act gets stale and you are there were Cena and Orton are, which are still young for a pro wrestler and they've done everything.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Well I think a show stands and falls with the main event. The WWF main events back then were always good and the WCW main events were always bad. In the midcard it was exactly the other way round, but midcard doesn't sell tickets.

    ReplyDelete
  57. That's definitely true. The Raws from '98 hold up great even though most of the PPVs from '98 and '99 weren't that good even at the time.

    ReplyDelete
  58. It has nothing to do with the quality (or lack thereof) of this PPV and everything to do with the over-the-top smugness and constant straw man arguments that you make. If you think the current product is better than the Attitude Era, have the balls to say so and defend it. If not, then pounding your chest ("You see guys?") about a 1998 B-PPV makes you look like an even bigger moron than usual. I've yet to see anyone on the BoD say that this era was "perfect," yet that's somehow the way you approach your comment.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Hogan and Piper really weren't that old when they had their "age in the cage" match - 44 and 43.

    ReplyDelete
  60. interestingly close: the second Michaels vs. Undertaker match at WrestleMania - with both of them being 45 at that time.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Unfortunately Gangrel didn't have enough charisma. I recall an interview where he spoke like he had marbles in his mouth. Edge took over for him and the rest is history.

    ReplyDelete
  62. CruelConnectionNumber2October 29, 2014 at 10:38 AM

    They should learn how to light an arena and have PPVs in front of more than 120 people first.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Well they sell out hamerstein with 3,500 seats so...I think they have that second one covered.

    The lights are a pain in some arenas. That isn't a question.

    ReplyDelete
  64. For the last while it's been safe to assume reDRagon are the tag champs.

    Even when they lose them they get them back pretty quick.

    Not that I'm complaining, they're without doubt the backbone of the division.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Spot monkeys make up a very small % of ROH wrestlers.

    And even then, they're GOOD little flip guys that could be serviceable wwe lower careers (like Evan Bourne) not the losers you see trying quad moonsaults and landing on their neck 5 feet from the opponent

    They aren't big, but most of the roster looks like they hit the gym. How fit are the average teenage bag boys in your town?

    ReplyDelete
  66. Fine is how I would describe the show.

    It gets streaky though. 3 or 4 weeks of acceptable but unexciting wrestling, then like 3 consecutive shows with **** matches on them.

    You just never know which run they'll be on when you tune in

    ReplyDelete
  67. Their owner wants to make a profit with ROH, and is fine staying at their current level.

    Add those two things together and you get the shit lighting and production.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Collectors.

    No point marketing these to kids.

    Kids make up maybe 5% of the audience at any show I've been at.

    ReplyDelete
  69. I bought the Jerry Lynn just because the fact that a Jerry Lynn action figure existed nearly made my brain explode.

    ReplyDelete
  70. I don't watch regularly, but I'm happy with what I see every time I tune in. The ACH vs. Jay Lethal match from a couple months ago was especially good.

    ReplyDelete