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WWF Final Four: February 16, 1997

Now that everything’s peaceful, and everyone’s done arguing about Thursday’s RAW (and, by the way, I’m right), I’ll bring a new, less hostile subject to light:

BRET OR SHAWN? PICK A SIDE!

 Ok – just kidding, for god sakes please don’t start.

LIVE from Chattanooga, Tennessee, it’s … time to start with a Shawn Michaels recap AGAIN?!? That’s so 4 days ago, get with the times man.

JERRY LAWLER and JIM ROSS handle commentary duties, unless you’re wise enough to hit the SAP button and tune into the silky smooth Latino stylings of HUGO SAVINOVICH and CARLOS CABRERA. Not to mention, RAY ROUGEAU and JEAN BRASSARD handle the French duties, but you need to chain smoke to trigger that option.


MARC MERO (0-2-1) (with Sable) vs. LEIF CASSIDY (No data)

That win/loss record ain’t so pretty when you’re not wrestling DDP every week, is it Johnny? Mero’s growing out his evil goatee, while Al Snow continues to try and sprout a personality. Mero uses all kinds of hair-pulling, so Leif hits the floor and gets immediately distracted by Sable. Hey, if you’re into the former stripper turned Waffle house waitress who constantly smells like mouthwash and off-brand cigarettes look, I get it – after all, I’m not one to argue with Brock Lesnar. Mero nails Leif with a sledge, but back in Cassidy starts dropkicking the knees to keep the aerial moves at a minimum. A leg grapevine fails to yield a submission, so Leif goes back to staring at Sable’s tits to see how that goes. Mero tries to get a little something going, but finds himself back in a grapevine. Mero gets to the ropes and hits an enzuigiri. Leif comes back with a single leg atomic drop, and locks the figure four on, getting high praise from Ross for its inventor, the Nature Boy …. Buddy Rogers. Cassidy hits the floor, and whispers something to Sable ($50 for a little head?), and he gets slapped. Never lowball the lady, it’s $65 and you know it. Mero takes him out with a tope, and quickly finishes with the Wild Thing at 9:30. The mid-card of this company is an absolute mess. *1/2

THE HONKY TONK MAN joins us, but before we find out what he wants, we’re forced to watch Shawn Michael relinquish the WWF title as a result of his lost smile. Is Vince McMahon handling production tonight? There’s gotta be a reason he’s not ringside; I have to assume he’s in the production truck playing this on a loop, fighting back tears while admiring the handsome unshaven face of a man who is so ambitious, and so determined in his quest to ensure that he is never forced to lie down for a 3 count again.

Anyway, we don’t find out what the hell Honky wants, because now KEVIN KELLY has tracked down SYCHO SID, and he’s already shouting lunacy. He gets purple faced about the fact he didn’t get his title shot on Thursday, but he promises he’ll have his time at a new time. After all, he’s the master and ruler of the world (with exceptionally large nostrils).

FLASH FUNK (with the Funkettes), BART GUNN, and GOLDUST (with Marlena) (No data) vs. THE NATION OF DOMINATION (1-0-0) (with PG-13, Clarence Mason, D’Lo Brown, and Two Well Dressed Men)

The face team have been brought together through a common bond; the burning desire to cash a PPV royalty cheque. Faarooq tries to cut a promo, but Team Ridiculous attack. Flash takes out all 3 guys with a top rope plancha, which of course leaves him alone in a 3-on-1 spot to get his ass kicked. On the plus side, Jim Ross puts over his hang time – always important. JR discusses his shock and surprise when Savio joined the Nation, but I’d be a lot more caught off guard if he had a one-on-one match that ended in positive stars. Crush hits Funk with a belly to belly, while Faarooq questions just how black Flash Funk really is. Faarooq could easily answer his own question by kicking Funk in the kneecap and end his chance to reproduce, but it’s actually Flash who drives a knee into Faarooq’s pooter instead. Savio cuts off the ring, and Crush hits a spike piledriver for 2. Funk avoids a clothesline by spinning around the Nation’s arms like an Olympic gymnast, and Bart Gunn gets the hot tag. Powerslam to Faarooq gets 2, and everyone winds up in the ring. Faarooq goes for the Dominator, but Gunn slips off the back and hits a top rope bulldog. The referee, however, is too busy chasing Flash Funk out of the ring, and Crush quickly drops a leg to score the pin at 6:44. *

STEVE AUSTIN and DOK HENDRIX sit in the locker room to discuss whether or not Steve’s worthy of a main event slot on pay-per-view. Austin, pissed off, reminds him the Royal Rumble is a main event, and he already won that. “To me, Jackass, that constitutes a clear cut victory.” Austin accuses everyone in the office being part of a giant bureaucratic conspiracy, including Dok. “I will be the World Wrestling Federation champion, and you can count on it! … you piece of trash.”

HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY (4-3-0) vs. ROCKY MAIVIA (5-1-0) (for the WWF Intercontinental title)

Lawler predicts Rocky’s a flash in the pan, and is going to be dropping the title right back. Hunter feels much the same way and paintbrushes Rocky like a bitch, and Rock ain’t tolerating that, putting Triple H in his place with … a hammerlock. You tell him! Hunter does it again, and THIS time Rocky punches his lights out. While Hunter sits in the corner seeing stars, Rock fails to capitalize, or do anything actually. Why on earth would you let him come back? Sure enough, Hunter tosses Rock over the top and baseball slide kicks him into the guardrail. Back in, a slingshot across the bottom rope leaves Rock gasping for air, and a kneedrop gets 2. A chinlock is applied, with the ropes used as leverage (how does this add anything to a chinlock?) – but that’s caught and nearly leads to a Triple H / Earl Hebner showdown. Instead, Helmsley refocuses and hits the high knee for 2. Rock goes to the well a second time, but using the small package, but this time Hunter barely escapes at a late 2. Infuriated, Hunter hits a backbreaker and gets 2. The fans rally behind Rocky, and he hits a crossbody for 2. A dropkick completely misses when Hunter hooks the ropes, but his kneedrop hits canvas. Hunter goes for a punt to the jewels, but Rock blocks. Helmsley clotheslines him anyway, and goes all the way to the top rope. Of course, he has no aerial moves at all, so he just jumps towards Rock and gets punched in the midsection. A powerslam sends Rocky to the top, and he hits a beautiful crossbody for 2. Triple H hits snake eyes, and gets 2 with his feet on the ropes. Rock comes back with a floatover DDT, but that fails to get the win. Rock calls for the shoulderbreaker, but a facebuster stops that quickly. GOLDUST appears now, rubbing his ass provocatively towards Hunter, giving Rock a chance to hit a German suplex for the win at 12:31. That was the best finish they could book? An ass massage? *1/2

With MARLENA joining Goldust at ringside, they surround Hunter … but suddenly A WOMAN WITH A CLEFT JAW starts choking out Marlena! She’s hauled off by security, while an irate Goldust screams at them to arrest that fan. Of course, we’d come to know her later as The Lady with the Oversized Clit, but before that we just called her Chyna.

Meanwhile, KEVIN KELLY is with VADER and PAUL BEARER, and for Vader feels the best way to communicate is by standing 2 and a half inches from the camera lens. I just thank god this wasn’t recorded in HD; it’s bad enough I can count the hairs on his chin without worrying about the volume in his nose. The message: It’s Vader Time.

DOUG FURNAS and PHILIP LAFON (4-2-0) vs. OWEN HART and THE BRITISH BULLDOG (1-3-0) (with Clarence Mason and Slammy) (for the WWF world tag-team titles)

Furnas and Lafon have completely owned the champions over the last month, but Owen’s trick knee has bailed them out a number of times. The champs appear to be on the same page tonight, which bodes well for their retention chances. Furnas tosses Owen around with no resistance, but the second Lafon gets in, he’s met with a monkey flip; setting off a series of pinfall reversals between the two. Lafon moves to a grapevine of Owen’s “bad” leg, but he crawls to the ropes with ease, while screaming “GET HIM OFF!” Bulldog takes over, and he’s on the wrong end of a sunset flip for 2. Bulldog tries a roaring elbow, but Lafon meets him with a spinning heel kick for 2. Owen attacks with a cheapshot from behind, and while he leads a distraction, Bulldog chokes Lafon in the corner. Owen goes for a springboard crossbody, but Lafon rolls through for 2. A frustrated Owen uses a gutwrench suplex, and follows with a backbreaker to put the champs in the drivers seat. Lafon goes for a sunset flip on Bulldog, but Owen’s too busy sharing his recipe for white chocolate key lime cheesecake cookies with the referee, so he doesn’t catch any of the 40 count. The champs regroup, and together use a standing vertical suplex / top rope crossbody combo, but Lafon miraculously kicks out at 2. Bulldog starts shit with Furnas, which is exactly when Lafon cradles Owen. Bulldog shoves Owen back into the pinning position, and celebrates their impending win; completely missing Furnas turning them over the other way. Owen still kicks out at 2, and stomps over to his corner to feed it to Bulldog for missing that. A shoving match ensues, and a Happy To Take Advantage Of This Situation Lafon smacks their coconuts together. Bulldog shakes the cobwebs to hold Lafon hostage, but Owen’s spinning heel kick misses and catches his brother in law instead! Lafon gets 2, but needs air before he can continue. Owen and Bulldog resume their way, and Owen makes the mistake of bitchslapping the big man. That costs him HUGE, because Bulldog knocks his ass out and storms off. Lafon comes flying off the top with a big splash, but Bulldog suddenly has a change of heart and saves at 2. Furnas finally gets the hot tag, and a dropkick to Owen gets 2. Owen starts getting thrown around like a midget in a King Kong Bundy match, and Lafon comes back in (already?) to hit a Northern Lights for 2. Furnas comes back in, nails a Frankensteiner, but Bulldog saves. Lafon tosses him aside, and a superkick / DDT / legdrog combo on Owen gets a SHOCKING 2! I would have bet everything on that being it. Owen fights off Furnas with an enzuigiri that sounds like a gunshot, and back comes the Bulldog. Clotheslines are fed to everyone, but a surprise crucifix catches Davey off guard, and Owen’s forced to save at 2. All 4 guys throw down, with Lafon being left alone with Bulldog. Phil takes a snake eyes, and Bulldog starts up the running powerslam, but Owen casually walks in and hits the Ready For Dead Lafon with the Slammy, drawing an idiotic DQ at 10:31. Bulldog’s sick to death of the cheap disqualifications, but Owen defends it as irrelevant because they’re still champs. Davey tosses his belt aside, and breaks the Slammy. And HE’S the face?!? Clarence becomes the voice of reason, but Bulldog’s veins in his forehead look ready to blow as he accepts the belt and stomps off to the back. ***1/2

Elsewhere, THE UNDERTAKER and DOK HENDRIX hang out in a dingy room. Doom is guaranteed for Vader, Bret Hart, and Steve Austin. I’m not sure Butch Reed and Faarooq are gonna be happy fighting a handicap match against those guys, but a payday’s a payday.

KEVIN KELLY and BRET HART have found a room with much better lighting. Bret promises no more excuses, no matter what happens.

VADER (4-2-1) (with Paul Bearer) vs. STEVE AUSTIN (2-2-1) vs. THE UNDERTAKER (4-2-1) vs. BRET HART (3-1-0) (in a Final Four match for the WWF world heavyweight title)

This match is under the same rules as a TNA Gauntlet for the Gold. Everyone’s in the ring at the same time, and people are eliminated either by getting tossed over the top, or through pinfall or submission. Taker scores the first blow with a jumping clothesline to Vader, but he takes an early risk going old School on Austin. It works, but Vader’s waiting with a belly to belly. They brawl to the floor, and HOWARD FINKLE takes a bump when Vader steals his chair. The Fink’s chair carries a dark curse (he had a microwave burrito before the show), and it turns on Vader, smacking him in the face via Undertaker’s boot. Hart tries to put Austin to sleep, but a jawbreaker stops that. Vader eats a chokeslam, so Austin sneaks up behind Undertaker with a Stunner … for 2. He’d be among one of the last people to kick out of that move for a long, long time. Vader, with a busted open EYE (Jesus!!), starts beating down Bret with a chair.


Austin and Taker move down the aisle, and Austin refuses to be intimidated by anyone, flipping him off and trying to piledrive the dead man on the concrete. Of course, Undertaker’s got a good 100 pounds on Austin, so a backdrop directly on to the cement takes out Austin. Seeing Bret Hart distracted, Taker suplexes him off the apron and gets 2. Meanwhile, Austin’s recovered and throwing ring steps at Vader, because he’s that kind of a guy. Vader’s left eye is caked shut now, and a whip from Austin sends the big man crashing right into poor Finkle again. He heads back in, and perches himself on the top rope to attack – but Taker spies him and crotches Austin. Vader remains a human punching bag, getting thrown into the front row of fans by Bret, and he crashes hard. That dude came to work tonight!

SYCHO SID watches from the back, and makes faces.

Bret and Taker team up to beat the piss out of Austin, and Steve just glares at the Undertaker, daring him to bring it on. Vader breaks the party up, and Steve’s so grateful he jumps on Vader with a Dick to the Face, and pounds the shit out of his eye. Bret turns his attention back to Steve, and hits a nasty spike piledriver that makes me cringe just watching him take. Vader regains his edge on Undertaker and goes for the moonsault, but Taker rolls out of the way and he comes crashing down hard. I’ve been super critical of Vader in recent weeks – but all’s redeemed right now, this guy can’t see a damn thing, is taking a man sized beating, and just keeps coming. I’m all in on World Champion Vader right now. Taker chases Vader outside, but winds up getting choked out by camera cables. Vader rolls him back in and gets 2 while Bearer whines. Bret tries to bust open Austin’s eye before dropping an elbow and getting 2. Vader grabs Bret and gets into a slugfest with him, but Bret kicks him in the pooter. That doesn’t seem fan-friendly – damn Bret, what’s happening to you? A Russian legsweep gets 2. Austin works an armbar on Taker and tries to dump him over the top, but he holds on. Back in, he nearly tosses Austin himself, before working with Bret to make Vader’s bad night even worse. Taker works on the eye, while Bret suddenly dumps Austin at 18:11, seemingly out of nowhere. Apparently Austin may have injured his knee here, but it’s hard to tell for sure since he didn’t break down and cry or blame it on his lack of smile.

While Sid continues to bob his head around wildly and grimace, Vader rips off his mask because he means business now. Bearer smacks Taker in the face with the urn, while Vader beats on Bret and heads up. Bret was playing a little possum though, and he brings Vader back in with a superplex! He manages to get the Sharpshooter on, but Undertaker, stupidly, breaks it up, sending Bret to the floor. Even Ross can’t explain that one; but we’ll chalk it up to seeing a few stars from the urn-shot. Austin rushes back down as soon as Hart hits the floor, and he beats the piss out of Bret. Vader takes out Undertaker and goes for the Vaderbomb, but Taker does the zombie situp. One uppercut to the Rocky Mountains later, and Vader’s flying over the top and out at 22:31.

Austin continues to work over Bret, now in the middle of the ring. Taker isn’t having any of that, and kills Steve with a clothesline. Bret eats a chokeslam, and Taker calls for the tombstone. However, Austin grabs Bret’s legs trying to pull him over the top, but that stops the move! Taker turns to knock Austin off the apron, and Bret’s able to roll up Taker for 2! Taker turns back to Austin a second time, and THIS time Bret capitalizes with a clothesline that sends him over the top and Bret wins his 4th WWF title (back when this mattered) at 25:06! Incredible brawl from four of the best performers on the planet. ****

SYCHO SID makes a beeline right for the ring, yelling and screaming at seemingly nobody at all. Once he hits the ring, he shares some loud whispers with Bret as the pay-per-view heads off the air. These two battle for the belt on RAW tomorrow night, catch it!

Comments

  1. I'm not one for hyperbole, but I'm pretty sure these review are worse than polio.

    ReplyDelete
  2. SYCHO SID makes
    a beeline right for the ring, yelling and screaming at seemingly nobody
    at all. Once he hits the ring, he shares some loud whispers with Bret
    as the pay-per-view heads off the air. These two battle for the belt on
    RAW tomorrow night, catch it!)

    BRET: I'm going to beat you.
    SID: YOU AIN'T BEATING SHIT.
    BRET: Vince said...
    SID: WAKE UP BOY. YOU'RE FACING AUSTIN AT MANIA.
    BRET: For the title?
    SID: NO YOU VANILLA MIDGET. IT'S ME VS TAKER IN THE MAIN EVENT. FUCK YOU AND FUCK CANADA.
    BRET: Vinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnce...............

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Final Four is irrationally one of my favorite matches. I know its not ***** or anything, but I could watch it 1000s of times.

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  4. Is Bret Hart a pussy for not losing to Sid (or Benoit) in 2000?

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  5. Adam "Colorado" CurryMarch 21, 2015 at 12:57 PM

    A dungy room? Was a young Michael Vick hanging out off camera?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Another fun review! Keep 'em coming!

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  7. So, what makes the match an incredible brawl worthy of ****? I see about 800 pages of play by play and only one line of actual review.

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  8. Don't be ridiculous.


    They were in Tennessee, not Virginia.


    (Fixed!)

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  9. I miss wrestlers like Vader

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  10. Without a doubt

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  11. CFB has a creative and clever retelling of the match that gives you a genuine feel for what happened--it should be apparent how good the match is if you read the whole thing. With almost every other recapper/reviewer out there, I skip the play by play. But this detailed and witty play-by-play is CFB's calling card, I suppose, and I don't think he really needs an additional paragraph with a post-match analysis.

    On a sidenote, there were a lot of laughs in this review. Thanks, CFB.

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  12. With the win over Undertaker at the Rumble and Bret on Raw I thought we were getting a renewed Vader push.

    ReplyDelete
  13. It had a really frenetic energy to it, these four guys were going all out for the title.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Real Man's ManMarch 21, 2015 at 1:56 PM

    Care to explain?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wrestling fans and their women issues.....jeez.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Chris, your description of Sable was outrageous. Clean that shit up.

    ReplyDelete

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