December 18, 2010
The Powerdriver Review
In Your House: Final Four
February 16, 1997
The current WWF champs were as follows:
World Champion: Vacant (2/13/1997)
Intercontinental Champion: Rocky Maivia (2/13/1997)
World Tag Team Champions: Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith (9/22/1996)
Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler in their FIRST PPV together as a team. Is it safe to assume Vince had to do some last minute booking to oversee?
Mero Mable (w/Sable) vs. Leif Cassidy
Tonight, Sable realized that her future was so bright, she decided to wear sunglasses out to the ring. This is why you donít team up with Marty Jannetty. He up and leaves the WWF and his partner Leif Cassidy (Al Snow) walking around looking like heís the only one that doesnít know that the band has broken up as he is still wearing his New Rockers gear. Iím sure the card was explained on the weekend syndies, but Thursday Raw Thursday was too busy hyping the Final Four match, that the rest of the card had gone unmentioned. Anyways, this has the potential to be a good match. Mero works the arm to start and gets AGGRESSIVE by slamming Cassidyís head off the mat. To the floor, Cassidy tries to wrap Meroís knee around the post, but Sable kicks him in the gut to bring him off her man. That allows Mero to attack with a flying sledge off the apron. You can tell a heel turn is definitely in Meroís future. Back in, a slingshot legdrop by Mero gets two. Cassidy dropkicks the knee and tries to hyperextend the knee to take away Meroís aerial attack! GAH, I love JR. Itís just common sense psychology. An enziguri stops Cassidy momentarily, but Cassidy delivers a shinbreaker and leads right into the (WOO!) figure four. Sable pushes the ropes towards Mero to give him the rope break. Cassidy goes out after her again, which allows Mero to suicide dive on top of him. Back inside, Mero heads up top and hits the WILD THING for the 1-2-3. (9:31) Hate to say it, but itís possibly the last good match of Meroís career. Not sure if it was during this match or the next night on Raw, but he tears his ACL and he would never be quite the same. **Ĺ
Honky Tonk Man comes out for the live crowd, but instead we get the ďLost My SmileĒ speech again.
In the back, Psycho Sid says that whoever wins in the Final Four match tonight has the ultimate price to pay for capturing the WWF title because they have to face the man, the master, and the RULER of the world on Monday Night Raw!
Faarooq, Crush & Savio Vega (w/the NOD) vs. Bart Gunn, Flash Funk & Goldust (w/Marlena)
Bart, Flash, and Goldust as a team, you say? In recent weeks, they have all been beaten up and cheated out of a win by the Nation of Domination. Thatís all you really need to know. As the Nation of Domination head to the ring through the crowd, PG-13 lead the way in a rap. Faarooq wants some mic time, but Goldust doesnít want him to have some mic time and attacks. The good guys clear the ring so Flash Funk can dive out on top of NOD. Back in, Goldust dumps Faarooq down on his face and tags in Flash, but he leaps right into a Spinebuster. Savio tags in, but Funk gives him a hurracanrana off the top. Cover, 1-2-NO! Bart launches Flash onto the NOD, but heís caught this time and gets nailed with a clothesline. Back in, Crush levels Flash with a belly to belly suplex. Faarooq starts hoping up and down on Funk, but he does that one time too many and gets knees all up in his balls. Savio stops the tag and antagonizes Goldust so he and Crush can give Flash Funk a Spike Piledriver. That gets two. From there, Flash flips AROUND a double-clothesline from Faarooq and Savio and drills them both with a double clothesline of his own. HOT TAG TO BART! The action breaks down as all six men are inside the ring. Faarooq goes for the DOMINATOR on Bart, but Bart ends up over the ropes and on the apron. He comes off the top with a flying bulldog. Meanwhile, Goldust is beating up PG-13. Bart goes for the cover on Faarooq, but Crush saves with a legdrop. He puts Faarooq on top of Bart for the 1-2-3. (6:43) Short, sweet, and hot formula six-man. **Ĺ
In the back, Dok Hendrix is hanging out with Stone Cold Steve Austin. He threw these three pieces of trash over the top rope at the Royal Rumble, he says heíll do it again tonight too.
WWF Intercontinental Champion Rocky Maivia vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley
Rematch from Thursday Raw Thursday thatís a decent mid card match here, but the hottest main event anywhere in the world three years later. Armbars and armdrags to start. HHH has enough of this guy and throws him to the floor. A baseball slide sends Rock into the guardrail and a slam to the floor adds an exclamation point to the whole deal. Hunter attacks Maivia on the apron and then catapults him throat-first into the bottom rope. Suplex sets up the Knee Drop for two. HHH uses the ropes for a chinlock. Rock fights out, but runs into a High Knee for two. In a nod to last Thursday, Rocky surprises Helmsley with an inside cradle for 1-2-NO! HHH makes him pay with some kicks to the head. Back to the chinlock. Rock fights out again and hits a crossbody for two. He whiffs on a dropkick and then gets caught with a spin-around clothesline. Hunter heads up top, but gets nailed in the gut on the way down and does the AA flip sell long when it was the only thing he borrowed from Arn Anderson. Pretty sweet though. Rocky starts his superman comeback and hits a Flying Bodypress for 1-2-NO! He wants the ten-count corner punch, but HHH walks forward and hotshots Rocky which leads into the Ric Flair corner pin for 1-2-NO! Desperation Hurricane DDT from Maivia gets 1-2-NO! Rocky wants the SHOULDERBREAKER, but Hunter stops him with the facebuster. Helmsley hits a reverse neckbreaker as Goldust heads out to distract him. Rock comes up from behind with a bridging back suplex for the 1-2-3. (12:30) I didnít think they would go that route with the finish, but they did. Good back and forth series of nearfalls with almost the same amount of drama from Thursday Raw Thursday. After the match while Goldust is distracted by Hunter, Chyna makes her debut from behind the guardrail, she grabs Marlena by the throat and starts to choke her out! Security carries her off while Goldust comforts his lady friend. **ĺ
In the back we go to Kevin Kelly who is standing alongside Vader and Paul Bearer. No one has been more dominant in the last few weeks than Vader. Except for Thursday when he lost to Bret Hart, but who needs to mention things like that?
WWF World Tag Team Champions Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith (w/Clarence Mason) vs. Doug Furnas & Phil LaFon
Once again, Owen and Davey Boy head out to the ring as though everything is fine and dandy. Furnas and Owen start us off with some nice chain wrestling. Tag to LaFon, he gets serious with necktie takedowns. He tries to tear up Owenís bad knee, so he tags out to Davey Boy. LaFon flips out of a suplex and levels Bulldog with a spinning heel kick for two. Finally, they stop LaFon as Owen kicks him once Davey Boy shoves him off into the ropes. LaFon still manages to roll through a crossbody, but then Owen rakes the eyes and goes back to work. Gutwrench suplex gets two. Tag to Davey Boy, LaFon scores a sunset flip while Owen distracts the ref. Bulldog jumps back up and runs LaFon down with a clothesline before doing his handstand flip, WHICH I LOVE. Back to Owen, he tries the SHARPSHOOTER and fails. Owen stays on the knee though. Rocker-Plex by the champs! That gets two. LaFon sneaks an inside cradle, which Bulldog turns over into Owenís favor. While Davey Boy heads back to the apron, Furnas turns it back over into LaFonís favor for 1-2-NO! That brings Owen over to yell at Bulldog, so LaFon takes advantage with a DOUBLE-NOGGIN KNOCKER! Bulldog trips up LaFon from the floor and they go for a double-team, but LaFon ducks and Davey Boy gets nailed with a lethal Spinning Heel Kick. Cover by LaFon, 1-2-NO! Owen slaps Bulldog, so Bulldog clotheslines Owen. Flying splash by LaFon on Owen! Cover, 1-2-NO! For some reason, Davey Boy still made the save. Tag to Furnas, he dropkicks Owen for two. Release overhead suplex gets another nearfall, but once again Davey Boy makes the save. Frankensteiner by Furnas gets 1-2-NO! Another save by Bulldog, but here comes LaFon to dump him out. The challengers give Owen a five-move combo ending with a LaFon DDT! Running legdrop by Furnas gets 1-2-NO! Next up, Owen flips out of a suplex and enziguri kicks Furnas right in the back of the head. Tag to Bulldog, he launches LaFon and then runs him down with a clothesline. The tag champs go for STEREO RUNNING BULLDOGS, but they get shoved off into each other. LaFon wants a monkey flip on Bulldog, but he gets dropped face down on the top turnbuckle to end that. Davey Boy sets up for the RUNNING POWERSLAM, but here comes Owen to crack LaFon with his Slammy Award while heís up on Bulldogís shoulder in plain sight of the referee for the DQ! WHAT. (10:30) Real weird finish. If Davey Boy didnít have a real legit reason to beat the crap out of Owen before, well thereís your reason. Clearly everybody worked hard in this one. Not a classic by any means, but a good solid tag match. Afterwards, Bulldog breaks Owenís Slammy and corners Clarence Mason, but he keeps his composure and leaves without breaking up the team. ***ľ
In the back, Dok Hendrix meets with the Undertaker. He says heís channeling the spirit of the OLD Undertaker to eliminate the other three in this match so he can once again be called WWF champion.
After everyone makes their entrance, Bret Hart waits in the back for a last word with Kevin Kelly. May the best man win. Of course, that man is him.
The Undertaker vs. Bret Hart vs. vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Vader (w/Paul Bearer) Ė Final Four Match for the vacant WWF title
This is Royal Rumble rules except pinfalls and submissions are allowed. You can probably guess who pairs off to start. Undertaker hits Vader with a Jumping Lariat while Austin and Bret brawl in the corner. UT breaks that up and hits Old School all over Austin. Bret elbows Undertaker into a belly to belly suplex by Vader. They go to the floor while Bret and Austin go back to what they were doing. Meanwhile, UT kicks a chair back in Vaderís face to bust him open pretty good. Taker keeps up the violence by sending Vader into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Austin is trying to get the pinfall over on Bret. Nothing doing. Chokeslam by Taker to Vader! Before UT can continue, Austin walks over and gives him a STONE COLD STUNNER! Cover, 1-2-NO! Vader takes Bret to the floor to beat on him with a steel chair. Over in the aisle, Austin wants a piledriver, but UT backdrops out. With Austin down on the floor, Taker heads over to get him some of Bret. Meanwhile, Vader lifts half of the steps to whack Austin, but he gets kicked away. Instead, Austin drops the top half of the steps on Vader. They brawl over to the timekeepers table where Austin beats the crap out of Vader with the WWF title. Next, Vader pulls Bret out of the ring to brawl with him in the aisle. Taker stops Austin up top and nearly eliminates him, but Austin fights back and catches UT with a flying clothesline. This is just a dogfight, people. Austin hits a Lou Thesz Press on Vader, but gets a receipt with a Body Attack. Bret delivers a Piledriver on Austin while Vader misses a VADERSAULT on Taker! Nevertheless, they head to the floor where Vader chokes Taker out with a cable and then tries to pin him inside the ring for two. Everybody switches as Taker and Austin take turns trying to eliminate each other over the top rope while Bret is kicking Vader in the balls so he can give him the Russian Legsweep. Then out of nowhere while Vader is hammering on Taker, Bret lifts up Austin and dumps him over the top rope to the floor at 18:09. Bret and Vader stomp Taker out of the ring so they can go at it. That allows Paul Bearer to get involved and bash the urn over UTís head. By the way, Psycho Sid is watching on from a monitor in the back. I mean, why WOULDNíT he be? Vader takes off his mask and heads up top, but gets caught for a superplex. Bret grabs the SHARPSHOOTER, but here comes Undertaker to break it up and knocks Bret all the way to the floor. Why? Stone Cold returns to ringside to beat up Bret some more. Vader wants to Pump Splash the Undertaker, but thatís a HUGE mistake as Taker sits up and low blows Vader over the top rope to the floor at 22:34. Since itís no DQ, Austin can still beat up Bret inside the ring. UT gets rid of him for the time being and gives Bret a Chokeslam. He wants the TOMBSTONE, but Austin grabs hold of Bretís legs and yanks him down to crotch Bret on the top rope. Taker tries to get Austin off the apron, which allows Bret to roll him up for 1-2-NO! Bret canít knock Austin off the apron, but Taker can. As Bret backs away and the Undertaker turns back around, Bret clotheslines UT over the top rope to win the match and his FOURTH WWF title. (24:06) Austin is pissed. Undertaker is pissed. Vader has probably lost too much blood to care. And now Psycho Sid comes down to get in Bretís face as we close out the show. Definitely a great brawl, but I think this match is a tad overrated as it was pretty slow in some spots where I just wished someone would get eliminated. Word on the street is that Austin was supposed to take the strap here and drop it to Sid the next night on Raw instead of Bret to continue his conspiratorial stance against the WWF, but he blew his knee out in mid-match and the finish was changed. Whether thatís true or not, only the people involved know for sure. ****
Final Thoughts: I think this was a very well put-together wrestling show. Everything here was worth watching, nothing in the undercard overstayed its welcome, and they delivered in the main event that everyone paid to see. Not sure what else to say except that I give In Your House: Final Four a plain and simple enthusiastic thumbs up.