The 1997 King of the Ring was built around one match: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels. The WWF title match was almost an afterthought. So, of course, it would suck!
Vince McMahon and Jim Ross are on commentary, and Vince motions for the camera man to look at all of the international tables but he doesn’t – so Vince stands up and walks him there! Carlos Cabrera is highly amused by the excited chairman! Vince informs us that it’s time for Ahmed “Get In Your Face” Johnson is on his way out, COVERED IN BABY OIL. Ahmed faces the MAN. I’m talking about the guy that runs the joint, Hunter Hearst Helmsley. He’s also coming out to Beethoven’s 5th, I believe, now. JR tells us Ahmed Johnson is a member of the Bloods! That’s a new tidbit for me, and a lot edgier than just a few months back. As I mentioned in the last In Your House, a change was noticeably in the air. Ahmed military presses HHH, and asks “How do you like that shit?”Well, Ahmed, I like it. He seems a little angry, which I always look for from the loser. Some of these grits think it’s real. Triple H gets a quick Pedigree in and wins!
I decided a while back that I should review events I was actually at. This is the beginning of that series. The most prominent event I attended was a little thing you may have heard of. I don’t know. May have heard of it…
I not only was there, but I was front row. $8,200 for two tickets. Seated next to Los Lonely Boys (guests of Stone Cold). I’ll add this unique perspective throughout the event.
Out of the gate, the theme song is very early 2000 – screaming, murder vocals. The show opens with Harlem Boys Choir singing Flag America 9/11 Patriotism or some song. We were all into it back then and of course, we visited Ground Zero. It was boring. At the end of the boring kids’ song, we see a different Freedom Tower. By the way, if you want to see me, there’s a big red head guy front row and I’m the guy next to him. We were huge.
Happy Mother’s Day and welcome to IYH A Cold Day in HELL. The house set is back but with a noticeable change – a video wall now occupied the giant window section. Also, the fireworks we begin the show with seem like an amateur set them. Tito Santana is on Spanish commentary!!
Flash Funk opens the show. This gimmick was torturous from day one and that’s coming from a Doink the Clown fan when Vince pushed him. Flash faces the man who will take over WWE in the future, Triple H. He also has Chyna with him. King needs the word “dojo” explained. There appears to be an issue with the white balance on the cameras. Helmsley hits one of the craziest belly-to-back suplexes off of the top rope. He flips Funk in the air. One Pedigree later and he wins. Chyna does a little roughing up of Flash.
In Your House: Revenge of the Taker followed the worst performing Wrestlemania in history, 13. “WALCOME EVERYONE!” Vince screams. The trio of Vince, JR and King Jerry Lawler are on commentary.
Uggghhhhhhh WHAT A RUSH! The Legion of Doom faces Bulldog and Owen. Smith and Hart use Bret’s theme, as the Hart Foundation had just recently reformed as a heel stable. “Hey Ross, you ever stop to think and forget to start again?” King begins the night with. LOD win the belts by pinning the wrong man. The decision gets reversed and the match continues. The commentators missed every second of it while arguing. Vince pretty much says it twice. He calls for the replay three times. The LOD hits the Doomsday Device on Owen and Bret Hart is late running out. The referee has to stall and finally counts so Bret can cause the DQ. When the finish gets botched, it’s a big deal. This show will see even more of this tonight.
We see Sunny and Brian Pillman basically fucking on the Superstar line. I’m sure they really did hook up, considering Sunny will finger-fuck herself on Skype for a $20 in 2015. Sick of Sunny jokes yet? I’m not!
In Your House: Final Four was the road to Wrestlemania 13 and was an effort to get the product moving in a firm direction, thanks to the fickleness of HBK “losing his smile.” At least he found his cunt.
The show opens with a shitty pyramid logo and football music. Someone runs into the camera while JR and King are speaking. King points at them! No Vince on commentary tonight. We are in Chattanooga, TN for this event.
We begin with Wildman Marc Mero against Leif Cassidy. Mero seems more aggressive than recently. Sable has glasses on, like the time they were going with a domestic abuse storyline for a week before dropping it. Mero wins with his shooting star press, called “The Wild Thing.” King says his motto is “Never hit a woman with glasses. Always use your fist.” He placed third for mayor in Memphis after this, FYI.
After wrapping up a very wild and chaotic 1996, due largely to WCW’s rise, we kick off 1997 with a stadium show – the only Royal Rumble to be held in one ever (a mistake, because it’s the easiest show to book right and the hardest to book wrong, which WWE has done three years in a row to date). Shawn Michaels headlines the 1997 Royal Rumble, sponsored by Starburst Fruit Twists, which were awful. Tasted like wax.
Out of the gate, the announcers microphones are fucking up. I see a man whistle super loud with just his mouth, inspiring me to try and fail for 20 seconds and then notice I am out of breath. Little did I know that it would actually be whistling, perhaps from this very man, that would greatly affect the quality of this show (at least by 2 rating points, seriously).
The 1996 Survivor Series was an important night in wrestling history including the Rock’s debut, a new logo and lots of fun. It’s the Survivor Series! Sponsored by Milton Bradley’s Karate Fighters. I bought them because of this. They sucked dick.
Out of the gate, the World Trade Center is heavy in the logo.The lower thirds (name graphics) all have the buildings in them. Sort of sad, looking back. Fucking religion.
The British Bulldog and Owen Hart, the tag team champions, are teamed with the Rockers to face Doug Furnas and Phillip Lafon along with the fucking hillbillies, the Godwins. My mom texts me at 5 am distracting me as Henry and Marty both get eliminated. Phineas is power slammed and eliminated by the Bulldog. Furnas about breaks his neck on a botched drop kick. Lafon eliminates Leif Cassidy with a reverse suplex that looks near fatal. Furnas hits the best drop kick I’ve seen, rivaling Bob Holly and Jim Brunzel. Furnas and Lafon beat the tag champions and the sole survivors are the debuting stars. Won’t be the only occurrence of such a debut tonight.
Two In Your House PPVs back to back a month apart could be a hard sell. What could be a selling point? How about a BURIED ALIVE match!!?
PlayStation presented In Your House: Buried Alive. The Market Square Arena in Indiana hosts the event! And finally, FINALLY The HOUSE set is gone! It’s a mock-graveyard entrance. Thematic. King is back on commentary, too! With Vince and JR, who is upset because he doesn’t have a microphone.
Savio Vega was scheduled to face Stone Cold, continuing Vega’s trend of opening shows…but he is injured. HHH faces Stone Cold Steve Austin. JR’s mic keeps cutting out. It’s a rib by Vince. For some reason, both Austin and HHH get in the face of some fat Hoosier. It seems like they’re just doing a strange dance. They don’t do any moves and fuck around! Vince calls them both future WWF champions. The match ends up being more about Vince and JR arguing! JR says Helmsley needs a haircut.
In Your House: Mind Games is our next show and the tenth In Your House to be done! Yes, the house set is STILL used.
We begin with the Free For All! I know plenty of people have been saying listen, Savio Vega had been opening too many events. I agree! Marty Jannetty is in the ring to face an opponent…Savio Vega, dammit! At least he’s not opening the PPV itself. Bradshaw appears and is mad that an immigrant is wrestling. We hear an ECW chant. Vince mentions that some “local promotion” was there, and he’s glad they bought tickets. I can see the Sandman, smoking. Ha. Savio counters a cross body and wins. He gets attacked by Bradshaw. Uncle Zebekiah (Coulter) shows up too.
In Your House International Incident ended up being a very fun event, thanks to some future stars on the card as well as comedic moments from the King. The event is from Vancouver, BC. We begin with the Free For All. JR, King and the chairman, Vince are all in commentary. The fireworks go off for our free audience, as the instrumental version of Slam Jam plays.
Savio Vega will open up the event with a match against Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw. Of course that’s today’s JBL. He knocked out Savio a few weeks ago on Raw with a cowbell. Savio needed more of it. Guess who comes out managing Bradshaw? Uncle Zebekiah aka Zeb Coulter. Bradshaw is very physical. He wins with a foot on the rope that would have helped him none. Bradshaw hits his lariat but it’s way milder than his future version. Savio gets “branded” by Zeb, but it’s not hot. Just has shoe polish on it or something.
We get an Undertaker music video and because Goldust and Taker will wrassle tonight. Goldust joins the commentary team to do a movie-script-promo. I liked those.
Also, we review that the Ultimate Warrior was replaced by Sycho Sid, who drives a Lincoln into a dumpster. When he gets out of his car, his music plays. Did he have WWF Metal in his CD player?
When Stone Cold Steve Austin took off in the 1997 and 1998 time, there wasn’t a WWE marketing machine like there is in 2015. Every few months, he might get a new shirt – that was it. When his first VHS came out, ‘Cause Stone Cold Said So, it was BAD ASS because it was rated R basically. WWF was going REALLY far for a few months (Brian Pillman pulled a goddamn gun on Austin one week, come on!). But by the time Austin began his feud with Vince McMahon, they had toned it down from that insane shit…and Austin’s third WWF Home Video came out. “Hell Yeah.”
Raw is live from Phoenix, Arizona. Sold out, too. On a Tuesday. Ken Shamrock comes out in his street clothes. Shamrock delivers a shit interview but The Great One comes out. Before his music hits actually, still the Nation theme. The Rock delivers pure gold on the mic. Rock is over so much as a heel, at this point, that he probably had more heat than HBK. Shamrock has 2 minutes to beat DLo and just as he is about to, Rock slams him with two chair shots. The second one was brutal to Shamrocks skull, directly, head on.
I used to be the biggest Stone Cold Steve Austin fan. He would open up a can of whoop ass on Mr. McMahon and stun him, stun Shane, stun Stephanie (?), stun Linda (???) and maybe even stun Debra, his wife. While several of those women that Austin beat up were in the script, at least several that he has beat up in real life were not in any script. Steve Austin is a woman beater, according to his ex-wife.
We open with Rock and Farooq against Steve Blackman and Ken Shamrock. JR mentions how big of the future The Rock is. Maybe he knew. Kevin Kelly foolishly says “He’s in the same boat as Shamrock and Farooq and Dlo.” Shut up idiot. Match ends in a schmoz and Shamrock beats up Rock as Farooq holds back the Nation.
Raw is back with actual wrestlers we want to see! Austin, HBK and Tyson. I hate the effect where they cut back and forth between DX walking out and their titantron. Makes me sick. WWF has a hand drawn logo at the entrance. HBK calls out Iron Mike Tyson. The glass breaks. Rattlesnake is out. Then Kane comes out and says he will kill Stone Cold tonight. Austin says JR makes him sick!! Me too. He says he will kill Kane back. Tyson arrives.
Hello fuckers. Remembering back to the late 1990s, WWF didn’t have many video game options. At one point, WCW was killing them on consoles with WCW/nWo Revenge, World Tour, Nitro, and some others. Meanwhile, WWF had the shitty Wrestlemania Arcade Game no one wanted. Oh, don’t forget about the sequel to it no one remembers – In Your House. Acclaim had produced some flushers but finally seemed to be ready to give us an actual wrestling title…Warzone.