D-Generation X: In Your House
December 6, 1997
Civic Center, Springfield, MA
As we head to the last PPV of 1997, the WWF was a very different place to that it was a mere month prior. Coming off the heels of the incredibly controversial night in Montreal that saw Bret Hart unceremoniously booted from the company a mass exodus of talent took place in protest, most notably the entire Hart Foundation with the exception of Owen Hart heading elsewhere. With one of the top heel factions in the company gone, the WWF was now dominated by the antics of the other, D-Generation X, hence the name of the show. Tonight DX leader and newly crowned WWF Champion defends his title against the submission specialist Ken Shamrock. Meanwhile the champion's sidekick, the now Triple H takes on Commissioner Slaughter in a boot camp match after months of being a thorn in the Commissioner's side. Also tonight we get the first PPV meeting of two men who will really be the standard bearers of the next era as Stone Cold Steve Austin puts his I.C title up against the Rock of the Nation of Domination. With that, lets get this show going. Please leave all feedback and thoughts on Twitter at @Mpmcc91
After our opening video package we head to our announce team of Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler, who will pretty much be the main broadcast pairing for the next few years. They hadn't quite gotten their amazing chemistry just yet but they were well on the way.
WWF Light Heavyweight Championship:
Taka Michinoku vs Brian Christopher
For the past many months I have mentioned the Light Heavyweight division and tonight marks its official launch as a new Light Heavyweight Champion is to be crowned in the finals of a tournament that had taken place the past few weeks on Raw is War heading into this show. The division was basically the WWF's answer to WCW's cruiserweight division, although unfortunately WCW had most of the great talent. Anyway, Taka Michinoku got here by defeating Aguila in the semi-finals, whilst Christopher beat Scott Taylor. Christopher is of course the heel and there's still the running gag of Ross alluding to Lawler being his father whilst the King brushes him off. The match itself is a decent start to the show although its nothing that will blow you away. The crowd is definitely into Taka who busts out some impressive moves in this one. Taka comes away with the victory in this one as he pins Christopher following the Michinoku Driver to become the first ever WWF Light Heavyweight Champion at 12:00. He gets presented the title by some officials and poses for some photographers. Nice touch to put the new belt over. Good start to the show here.
In the back we go to Kevin Kelly and the Jackyl on the Superstar line before heading back to our next match.
Disciples of Apocalypse vs Los Boricuas
Yep this is still going on, and there's not much more to say than what has already been said in this feud. The Gang Wars is really feeling dated at this point, especially now that Crush has left in the post-Montreal exodus. His absence was dealt with by having him destroyed by Kane on TV heading into this show. Its Miguel Perez, Jose Estrada and Jesus Castillo of the Boricuas here who are of course against Skull, 8-Ball and Chainz. Savio comes out with his team but is quickly sent backstage to keep things even. I really don't have much to say about this match. Its more of the same which is not a good thing. DOA dominates early on, but the Boricuas come back and pick up the win when Estrada pins Chainz following a somersault legdrop by Miguel. This whole thing was doomed from the start as it was just dead by now.
In the locker room area we get a word from Toughman fighter Butterbean who looks to teach Marc Mero a lesson tonight. After a brief video package highlighting the events leading to this match we go to Michael Cole who is with Sable. She says she'll be in Mero's corner tonight, and speaking of the devil he butts in and tells Sable to stop stealing the spotlight. Yep he's a heel now.
Butterbean vs Marc Mero w/Sable
In an attempt to get some main stream exposure, the WWF brought in Butterbean for this show to work a little angle with Mero. Basically ever since Survivor Series, Mero had been acting more and more of a jerk towards Sable due to his jealousy for her popularity. Then on a recent episode of Raw is War, Butterbean (who had been sitting in the front row) came to Sable's defence when she was being berated by Mero. Mero responded by attacking the Toughman, leading to this match here. This is basically just a boxing match with four 2 minute rounds. Its a work by the way, not like the disaster of an idea that would lead to a future Butterbean appearance down the line. Sable is more over than either guy in this match, which I really can't blame the fans for because she looked incredible at this point. Mero plays stalling tactics whilst getting in a few cheap shots on his opponent here and there. Its really pretty boring, but I've never liked when they try to have boxing matches in wrestling. Mero ends up getting frustrated after being knocked around by Butterbean and responds by hitting the Toughman fighter with a low blow to be disqualified in the fourth round at a total time of 10:20. After the match Mero hits Butterbean over the head with a stool but runs off as Butterbean chases him to the back.
We head to the back where Dude Love is on the Superstar line. He has faith in Austin against the Rock later tonight.
Back in the arena, the Artist Formerly Known as Goldust, along with his new valet Luna make their way out into the aisle. Goldust had basically gone off the deep end ever since breaking up with Marlena and will just get stranger and stranger over the next few months. Here he's wearing some kind of pink bondage attire. He recites Green Eggs and Ham before Luna leads him back backstage. Yep this whole gimmick was weird.
In the back, Michael Cole talks to the now former tag champs, the Legion of Doom who are looking to get back the titles up next.
WWF Tag Team Championship:
Road Dog & Billy Gunn (c) vs Legion of Doom
At our last PPV, the Legion of Doom were the reigning WWF Tag Team Champions, whilst the yet to be named New Age Outlaws were a random pairing of guys with nothing better to do that were building momentum as a heel tandem for the first time in a while. In what was a major upset at the time, the future Outlaws defeated the LOD on an episode of Raw is War in November. The new champs haven't truly really gotten over yet, but in a few months they will be one of the hottest acts and top tag team in the promotion which really shows that you can turn anybody around. The match here isn't very good though, which is probably what was expected since the LOD were never great in-ring wise and the Outlaws were still getting into the swing of things at this early point in their run. As a result the match is a heatless and basic brawl for the most part. Continuing the long standing rivalry between the LOD and the Godwinns, Henry Godwinn makes his way out during the match and hits Animal with the slop bucket without the referee seeing it. Hawk retaliates by grabbing the bucket and taking out everyone which ends up getting the former champs disqualified at 10:32. Road Dog and Billy Gunn hold onto the titles in what was a poorly booked mess. Why the LOD was still feuding with the Godwinns when they had this feud going on I have no idea.
We get a video package about Slaughter's issues with DX before sending it to Michael Cole, standing by with Triple H. Triple H makes a bunch of age related jokes at the expense of the Commissioner before we go across to Jim Cornette who is standing by with Sarge himself. Sarge cuts his usual type of promo referring to Triple H as a maggot. The boot camp match is up next.
Boot Camp Match:
Sgt Slaughter vs Triple H w/Chyna
After months of being the butt of DX's pranks and disrespectful antics in the face of authority, Commissioner Slaughter steps out of retirement to battle Triple H in a no disqualification match tonight. Having been made a fool of ever since the formation of the rebellious group, Slaughter gained a measure of revenge on his adversary when he came to the aid of Jim Neidhart in a match against Triple H, locking in the cobra clutch on a recent episode of Raw is War. Now that the Patriot is gone, Slaughter gets the music made more famous by Kurt Angle here. The match is basically here to help get Hunter over as an effective heel by working with a veteran like Slaughter, but being the on air authority figure up against the cool DX, its hard for the Commissioner to be viewed in a sympathetic light here despite JR's best efforts on commentary. The other main problem with this match is that it is just far too long considering Slaughter's age at this point, as these two go nearly twenty minutes which gets quite slow and dragging at times despite the involvement of weapons. I shudder to think what this would have been like as a regular match. Having said that, aside from the opener this is the best match we have had so far which really is telling about this card. Chyna has her fair share of involvement as she continues to play a key role in Helmsley's push as a heel up the card. The match comes to an end when Slaughter seemingly has Triple H put away in the cobra clutch, only for Chyna to hit the low blow allowing Trips to come back with a pedigree on a chair for the win at 17:39. Way longer than it needed to be, but you had to fill the card with something given the thin roster at this point. After the match, officials check on the downed Commissioner as the DX duo stands tall.
Before our next match, we hear from the recently returned Jeff Jarrett who we last saw back in January of 96. He's ditched the country music gimmick and claims the world title is in his future after he takes out the Undertaker up next. Yeah that's going to happen.
Undertaker vs Jeff Jarrett
No longer Double J of country music fame, Jeff Jarrett had an interesting little character since his return to the WWF on an episode of Raw is War in October. On that episode he cut a worked shoot promo on both WCW and the WWF, really sticking it to both Bischoff and Vince. In the following weeks, Jarrett cut similar promos and was finally set to make his in ring return after Survivor Series. After weeks of shenanigans going down that saw the return not take place, Jarrett laid down an open challenge the week before the show, which was answered by the Undertaker, making his first appearance since being taken out by Kane at Badd Blood in October. So that brings us to this match here, which is really just a way to have Taker on the card and continue his storyline with his brother whilst holding off on the inevitable match between them. Jarrett is pretty much just fodder for the Phenom here and I can't help but notice that he looks tremendously out of place in the ring with Taker. Taker pretty much destroys Jarrett here as you would expect. He looks to put Jarrett away when Kane's music hits and the Big Red Monster makes his way to the ring. Kane chokeslams Jarrett which causes Taker to be disqualified at 8:40. Kane attempts to goad Taker into fighting him, but the Phenom refuses to do battle with his own flesh and blood. Kane leaves and Taker beats up Jarrett some more before leaving as well. After recovering alone in the ring, Jarrett orders the ring announcer to declare him the winner. This was really just here to put over the Kane/Taker storyline so I can't complain about this too much. It was never supposed to be a competitive match or anything.
We now go to Mark Henry who is chilling in the crowd. He's still a face but that won't last much longer. He say's he'll be back in action soon after having spent the past year and a bit on the sidelines. He picks Stone Cold in the upcoming I.C title match. Speaking of the I.C title match, we get a video package highlighting the events leading to it up next. Before the match we get a word from the Rock in the back who has really settled into his new heel role.
WWF Intercontinental Championship:
Steve Austin (c) vs The Rock w/Nation of Domination
Here we go, the beginning of one of the all time great feuds that would produce many great matches down the line. This is all happening due to the Nation leader Faarooq being pissed at Austin costing him the I.C title back at Badd Blood. To get some payback, Faarrooq ordered the Rock to steal Austin's belt, and act he was successful in doing. The two men had some great brawls heading into this show with Austin constantly taking it to the Nation in an attempt to get his belt back. The most famous of these incidents was the classic 3:16 beeper incident, which saw the Rock receive a page saying just that whilst being in the ring on an episode of Raw is War, only to be assaulted by the rattlesnake. Austin is insanely over as always here, and he gets a huge pop as he comes out to the ring driving a truck into the arena. Despite Austin not yet being fully recovered from his neck injury, this match is actually pretty good, although these two men would go on to have much better encounters down the line. D'Lo takes a bump onto the truck's windshield as Austin stuns him on top of the truck as the Nation members attempt to interfere on Rock's behalf before the match gets under way. The crowd goes crazy as the match is officially under way with Austin and Rock going at it. They keep it relatively short for Austin's sake at this point, but the match is still definitely the highlight of this show. After some more Nation interference, some back and forth brawling between Austin and Rock, and a ref bump mixed into it all, Austin ends up hitting the Rock with the stunner to retain his title to a huge pop at 5:28. As I said, short but fun stuff. This feud would come to a conclusion the following night on Raw when Austin refused to defend the title in a rematch ordered by Mr McMahon, saying that because he beat Rock tonight he didn't need to prove anything. Austin instead forfeited the title to Rock, saying he had his eyes on bigger prizes, but not before tossing the I.C belt into the river in a famous moment from this era. Great stuff all round.
Our main event is up next, so we get a video package highlighting Ken Shamrock's recent issues with DX. We then go to Jim Cornette who is with Shamrock in the back. Shamrock says he's going to make Michaels cry like a bitch. Yeah nobody believes he has a shot tonight. We then go across to Michaels and the rest of DX who make a few jokes at Jim Ross's expense before brushing off Shamrock's threats, with Michaels claiming to be the number one man in the company with that not changing any time soon.
Shawn Michaels (c) w/Triple H & Chyna vs Ken Shamrock
With Bret Hart having left the company following the Survivor Series, Michaels was really left without a strong face contender after winning the title since he had just finished feuding with the Undertaker so they couldn't go straight back to that. So he gets Shamrock here in a match that was really just thrown together to have a title match on the card. Shamrock was a solid midcarder, but nobody expected him to win the big one here. Anyway, Shamrock has been making people tap out to his ankle lock as usual heading into this show, one of his victims being Shawn Michaels himself, which pretty much earned him this match. DX responded by making fun of Shamrock and the ankle lock, but the submission specialist got the last laugh by locking the ankle lock in on Michaels whilst Slaughter had the cobra clutch on Triple H on the Raw is War prior to this show. It was a pretty basic build just thrown together as you can tell. I should note that Michaels is still the reigning European Champion as well here, but that won't last much longer. Also Rick Rude is now officially gone from the company after the Montreal exodus. The match itself is really nothing more than average here. Shamrock starts out on fire which has Michaels looking to bail in the early going, but the challenger goes right after him and the match continues. Of course there is plenty of DX interference as you expected from the faction at this point as a bunch of cheating heels but Shamrock does his best to overcome the odds. Late in the match Michaels misses the Sweet Chin Music, and Shamrock follows up by locking in the ankle lock on the champion. Just as it seems Shamrock has the title in his sights though, Triple H and Chyna runs in and trigger the DQ at 18:27. A pretty weak ending as Shawn retains his title by nefarious means. I understand the DX interference, but considering where they were going after this show I would have just had Michaels go over clean in this one rather than give Shamrock the DQ victory. He was back to the midcard after this anyway.
As Michaels goes to put a beating on Shamrock with with his DX partners, none other than Owen Hart comes out from the crowd and jumps Michaels, officially turning face in the process. I believe this was his first appearance since Montreal, but I may be wrong on that. The crowd goes wild as Owen beats the hell out of the WWF Champion, legitimately breaking his nose in the process and sending him through the announce table. Triple H attempts to come to Michaels aid, but Owen takes off through the crowd having done the damage as we go off the air.
The month following Montreal was a shaky time for the WWF to say the least. That was reflected here as this was not a very good show, with only the opener and I.C title match being above average, and in the case of the latter that was just because of the feel of the match rather than the actual match itself. I'd say the main event was underwhelming, but I honestly was not expecting much despite one of the best wrestler's in the world in Shawn Michaels being involved. To me Shamrock had no place in this match, but realistically who else were they going to give the title match to? It was nice to see Owen back as a face, as he was insanely over here. If possible I probably would have made it him against Michaels at this show, but as I said before I'm not entirely sure where he was post-Montreal. He would get a shot at Michaels' title on the last Raw of the year but come up short before moving back down to the midcard. The rest of the undercard was downright horrible as the roster was incredibly thin following the Bret Hart exodus of talent. Thankfully the WWF would turn things around in a major way heading into the new year and have one of the best year's in company history. The Attitude era is coming folks. Get excited.
Three Stars of the Night:
1. Steve Austin - the rattlesnake that we know and love is back. Fun chaotic title defence here against the man that would become his greatest rival
2. The Rock - it takes two to tango, and the Rock had done an excellent job working on his heel persona heading into the show. The crowd hated the guy which is the mark of any good heel. He would be rewarded for his efforts shortly after this
3. Taka Michinoku - the first ever Light Heavyweight Champion opened up the show with some impressive moves. He was definitely the star of the division in its early days
It feels weird not having Michaels, Bret or Taker in the top performer list after the last many shows.
FINAL GRADE: 2.5 out of 10
ALL TIME PERFORMANCE TALLY:
What I do here is add the three stars of the night with each review so as to keep track of who we can say overall is the greatest PPV performer to any given time. First place scores 3 points, second 2 and third 1. The list is put together from all the shows I have reviewed thus far. No big change this time around.
Bret Hart = 83
Shawn Michaels = 60
Steve Austin = 39
Randy Savage = 28
Undertaker = 21
Hulk Hogan = 18
Owen Hart = 16
Diesel = 14
Ultimate Warrior = 13
Vader = 13
British Bulldog = 11
Razor Ramon = 10
Ted DiBiase = 10
Mankind = 9
Ric Flair = 8
Jim Neidhart = 7
Hunter Hearst Helmsley = 7
Jerry Lawler = 6
Bob Backlund = 5
1-2-3 Kid = 5
Mr Perfect = 5
Roddy Piper = 5
Dynamite Kid = 5
Arn Anderson = 5
Marty Jannetty = 5
Ricky Steamboat = 4
Ax = 4
Smash = 4
Bobby Heenan = 4
Savio Vega = 3
Yokozuna = 3
Hakushi = 3
Bam Bam Bigelow = 3
Jake Roberts = 3
Tanaka = 3
Kato = 3
Vince McMahon = 3
Greg Valentine = 3
Tully Blanchard = 3
The Rock = 2
Jeff Jarrett = 2
Sgt Slaughter = 2
Rick Rude = 2
Paul Orndorff = 2
Brutus Beefcake = 2
Andre the Giant = 2
Crush = 2
Jesse Ventura = 1
Texas Tornado = 1
Tito Santana = 1
Virgil = 1
Rick Steiner = 1
Scott Steiner = 1
Lex Luger = 1
The Roadie = 1
Flash Funk = 1
Hawk = 1
Animal = 1
Taka Michinoku = 1
Don?t forget to follow me on Twitter at @Mpmcc91. Next week we kick of the new year of 1998.