NWK Reviews WWF In Your House Final Four

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NWK2000
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NWK Reviews WWF In Your House Final Four

Post by NWK2000 » May 2nd, '19, 21:07

2/16/1997 Chattanooga, TN

Intro


So I wanted to review Survivor Series 1997 off the heels of the Viceland show about it, and I also wanted to review this show, so I figured I'd start a new project. I'm going to review everything up to Survivor Series 1997 from here, including Retro Raw.

Opening video package: Bad. We get entirely too much footage of Shawn Michaels, and flashes of the guys wrestling for the title tonight

We throw right to...
"The Wildman" Marc Mero w/ Sable vs Lief Cassidy


Already, you get the vibe WWF is more concerned with building to Raw than anything else, as we get story beats that are left with an air of mystery (Why is Sable wearing shades? Marc Mero is more aggressive. Sable gets physically involved) that you know will pay off there.
Anyway, the story of this match is that Lief, who gets a jobber entrance, works the leg until a contrived spot sees Sable set up a plancha for Mero. Mero does a wacky comeback and hits the Marvelocity.

This was a solid opener marred by a goofy closing sequence

4.5/10
Honky Tonk Man shows up: Jim Ross reacts to this with shock, "T-that's the Honky Tonk Man's music". Honky gets in the ring, and we throw to....

Shawn Michaels "Lost my smile" promo: Bizarre change in tone aside, this is one of the most bullshit wrestling promos in all of wrestling history, and you should see it if you haven't already. Worth noting as well is Gorilla Monsoon barely containing his disgust for HBK

Goldust, Flash Funk, and Bart Gunn (w/ Marlena and The Funkettes) vs. The Nation of Domination (Crush, Savio Vega and Farooq) (with the rest of the Nation of Domination)


The wheels fall off the wagon a bit during entrances, first the commentators insist on shutting up during 90 percent of Flash's entrance, then we do explain how this random threesome of babyfaces got together we see video packages of each guy getting screwed by The Nation that go entirely too long and bleed over into other entrances. Also, PG-13 miss their cue to start rapping, so they're off beat, and when The Nation does the salute, Bart Gunn, who's in the background, nearly salutes with them but stops himself.

The story is that while the babyfaces are getting along, they aren't as cohesive a team as The Nation. In getting Flash's offense over, the first half of this match is as much a spotfest as you'll ever see in 1997, and then it becomes a regular tag match with heat and et cetera. The heels of course cheat to win, in much the same way we saw them cheat in one of the Raw replays earlier. Jim uses this as a way to plug the eventual Farooq/Ahmed confrontation, which, if that's all this was, why do the heels not just win clean?
5.5/10

Steve Austin interview with Doc Hendrix: GREAT! It feels very candid, sat in a desolate locker room. Austin is closer to his ECW character, a somewhat delusional man with a legitimate gripe.

We join Hunter Hurst Helmsley's entrance in progress, which really shows how vanilla this gimmick is without Chyna, and then we get

Maivia vs Helmsley recap from Thursday Raw Thuisday: This shows that Rocky kicked out of big moves, and rolled up Hunter when he got cocky. This was an effective sizzle reel, and competent storytelling, but I can't help but get 2013 Roman Reigns vibes off of this.

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Rocky Maivia (c) vs Hunter Hearst Helmsley


This match introduces and drops a "Hunter is trying to make Rocky angry so he'll fuck up, plot point, and goes into relatively tame babyface vs heel storytelling, until Rocky rolls up Hunter. Hunter kicks out at 2 7/8ths, which Hunter responds to by stomping that shit out of him. From here the match goes into another gear, where you get to see Rocky's generic, albeit VERY explosive offense. Unfortunately Goldust shows up and distracts Hunter a move and a pinfall.

This was a match that ended up being way better than I thought it'd be, but the interference, and having new, hot babyface Rocky Maivia both obtain and retain a title via fluke finishes isn't a very good look.

6.25/10

Post match: Bad. Goldust and Hunter tease a confrontation, but a well muscled woman chokes Marlena from behind the guard rail. Marlena is mobile and confused, but after we jump a closeup of Hunter, Marlena is suddenly on the floor, and Goldust dramatically shouts and carries her up the ramp bridal style.

Paul Bearer and Vader interview with Kevin Kelly: Awesome. Vader is quieter than usual, but even that's intimidating. Paul Bearer is an incredible hype man when he actually gets to be a manager instead of a sidekick to a heavily gimmicked character.

WWF Tag Team Championship
Owen Hart and The British Bulldog (c) w/ Clarence Mason vs The Can-Am Connection


Owen and Bulldog aren't getting along, with Owen having eliminated Bulldog at the Rumble, which is dumb because it's every man for themselves. They are accompanied accompanied by Mason, a Nation of Domination member, who's a holdover from Camp Cornette. Meanwhile Can-Am get jobber entrances.

This match starts out just as fun as you'd expect from four guys who are as well traveled as these guys are, with a VERY solid story. The heels work over the babyfaces, but progressively start screwing up Finally, tensions explode, and Bulldog finally turns on Owen! And then he....breaks up the cover for his team. From there, the booking gets nonsensical. They're trying to present Bulldog as the guy you should all cheer, but he turned on his teammate and then reneged. Everything they do beyond this to build support for Bulldog beyond this feels hollow and empty. It seems like they're just treading water until Owen hits one of the Can-Am with a Slammy while Bulldog has one of the Can-Am up in the powerslam for the DQ This match suffered from the fact that they fired Chekov's Gun mid-match, and the goofy DQ finish knocks down a match that could've been a very strong 8/10 to the rating you see above.

6/10

Post match: Eh. In the post match we find out that Davey thought he won by pinfall and is pissed at Owen for causing the DQ. This would've been a fun TV finish, but seems too hokey for PPV. At least the two being angry at each other is quality.

Undetaker interview with Doc Hendrix: Lame. Hearing Undertaker say "The force that dominated in the early 90s" is enough to take me out of this promo

Recap of Steve Austin eliminating the other three participants from the Royal Rumble: I'll have to review this one some other time, this convoluted finish always made RR 97 stick out as one of the worst.

We get Vader, Austin, and Taker's entrances, and then we get...
Bret Hart interview with Kevin Kelly: GREAT. He says babyface things, but there's a snotty, almost childish, arrogance to what he's saying

Final Four Match for the Vacant WWF Title
Vader vs "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs Bret "Hitman" Hart, and The Undertaker]


This is an elimination match. You can lose this match by going over the top rope in addition to pins or submission

What we get is an absolutely incredible match. 25 minutes of 4 people brawling simultaneously with no real pauses in the action. Also helping matters is the fact that Vader's eye gets sliced open by Taker kicking a chair into his face, leading to one of the goriest hard ways I've ever seen. Austin gets eliminated by Bret throwing him over the top rope first first, but he comes back out once Bret eliminates Vader by knocking him over the top. Taker gets distracted trying to quell Austin's interference, only to be thrown over the top rope by Bret for The Hitman to become our new WWF champion.
This was a crazy match, and absolutely one everyone should see immediately

9/10

Beyond the main event, nothing on this show is worth seeing. But, there are some interesting story beats that have me excited for Mania.
Up next on NWK Reviews
Matt Riddle's/Josh Barnett's Bloodsport
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WWE Wrestlemania 21
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WWE New Year's Revolution 2006

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