Unforgiven: In Your House
April 26, 1998
Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC
One month removed from the night in Boston that saw Stone Cold Steve Austin rise to the top of the WWF, we are well and truly in the Attitude era now, with the first proper PPV since the biggest show of the year. With Shawn Michaels no longer on the scene, new WWF Champion Steve Austin has kicked off the rivalry that his name will forever be associated with - Austin vs McMahon. Tonight, the now evil chairman of the company looks to recently turned heel Dude Love to take the belt from the Texas Rattlesnake. Also tonight we have a Wrestlemania rematch as the Undertaker battles his brother Kane once more, this time in the first ever Inferno match. Well let’s get to it – but first, follow me on Twitter: @Mpmcc91
Our opening video package is surprisingly all about the Undertaker/Kane feud with no mention of the WWF Champion. Good stuff as usual though set to Dante's Inferno. We then head into the arena, as our usual announce team of Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler welcomes us to the show.
Ken Shamrock, Steve Blackman & Faarooq vs The Rock, D'Lo Brown & Mark Henry w/Kama Mustafa
Of course Rock is still the Intercontinental Champion here, with the belt now redesigned to match the overall new feel of the company at this point. He's still feuding with Shamrock over the belt after they faced off at Wrestlemania, but the real story here is the recent face turn of the former leader of the Nation, Faarooq. After months of dissension and then walking out on Rock at Wrestlemania, the ongoing power struggle in the Nation came to a head on the Raw is War following Mania. On that episode Rock and Faarooq were set to team against Shamrock & Steve Blackman. During the match, Rock and Faarooq got into an argument resulting in Rock walking out on his leader. Faarooq lost the match shortly after and commanded Rock return to the ring. Rock would do just that, but when he did so, the rest of the Nation members attacked their leader in an act of mutiny. Faarooq was out, and the Rock was now the official leader of what was now simply The Nation (no more Domination). The match is a pretty unspectacular start to the show though. Whilst a good group, outside of Rock, the other Nation members really weren't that great at this point (although D'Lo would quickly make strides over the next few months), and Faarooq wasn't in the best shape at this point. Rock is certainly continuing to get some great heat from the crowd though so that is a good thing. The match disintegrates into a six man brawl in the end with Rock and Faarooq the legal guys. Rock goes to hit a DDT on his former partner, only for Faarooq to counter into the Dominator powerbomb which scores the three for the face team at 13:32. Faarooq has now pinned the reigning I.C champion to continue this feud.
After the match, Michael Cole talks to Faarooq at ringside. He puts over his partners before saying that this business with the Rock is far from over.
In the arena the glass breaks and out comes the WWF Champion, Stone Cold Steve Austin to a huge pop. The deal here is that since Mr McMahon has said he will be at ringside for the main event, Austin is convinced that he is going to try to screw him out of the title (a la Bret Hart in Montreal), concerns that were heightened on Raw when Dude Love picked up a submission victory over Steve Blackman without Blackman actually submitting. Austin confronts the timekeeper and says that he will open up a can of whoop ass if he rings the bell on McMahon's orders tonight before leaving to get ready for his match later on. Effective segment to put over the story surrounding our main event.
We now get a video package highlighting the feud behind our next match.
WWF European Championship:
Triple H (c) w/Chyna vs Owen Hart
As I mentioned briefly in the review of our last show, the night after Wrestlemania, Triple H came out to the ring with Chyna and declared himself the new leader of DX after Shawn Michaels had dropped the ball by trusting Tyson only to be double crossed. This was effectively the WWF writing Michaels out of storylines due to his back injury. Triple H said that on that night he would recreate DX as an army, and brought out the returning Sean Waltman, now known as X-Pac whom we had not seen in the WWF since his days as the 1-2-3 Kid in 1996. X-Pac cut a memorable promo upon his return ripping on WCW where he had spent the past two years, but that was only the beginning of the new DX, as later that night the group would get two new members that we'll get into later on. Anyway, Triple H is still the European Champion here and we have a rematch from what was a pretty solid match at Wrestlemania between him and Owen Hart. Of course, Triple H won that match with the assistance of Chyna, despite her being tied to Commissioner Slaughter at ringside, so this time it has been decided that she will be suspended above the ring in a cage. Once again these two put on a decent match, although I preferred their Wrestlemania one a little more than this. Owen starts this one out in control after Triple H is distracted by Chyna being ordered into the cage by Slaughter. During the match we see Chyna attempting to get out of the cage - she succeeds in getting out but the cage is too high above the ring for her to interfere. The two men continue to go at it some more with Owen taking control once more, locking in the Sharpshooter on the champion. Suddenly the cage lowers though, as fellow DX member Road Dogg is at the controls. Chyna distracts Owen as Slaughter comes out with officials to escort her away. Meanwhile Owen hits the pedigree on Triple H, however in the chaos, X-Pac runs out to the ring and whacks Owen with a fire extinguisher. This interference, unseen by the official, allows Triple H to pin his long standing rival at 12:26, pretty much ending this feud (and Owen's face run in general). Triple H is still the European Champion, and DX are put over as a united group. A change lies ahead for both of these men though very shortly.
After the match, Michael Cole talks to Owen at ringside. The Black Hart is pissed at the finish to the match and is tired of being screwed. He says enough is enough and this bullshit is gonna stop. Heel turn alert!
NWA Tag Team Championship:
New Midnight Express (c) w/Jim Cornette vs Rock n Roll Express
The NWA invasion angle continues. The Rock n Roll Express were part of Jim Cornette's heel faction as the reigning NWA Tag Team Champions when they first arrived on the scene a few months ago, but prior to Wrestlemania XIV, they turned face after Cornette fired them following repeated losses to the Headbangers for their NWA tag titles on Raw is War. In the weeks thereafter, Cornette took on a new team - that of Bob Holly & Bart Gunn, now known as Bombastic Bob and Bodacious Bart respectively - the New Midnight Express. The New Midnights did what the Rock n Roll Express could not and defeated the Headbangers to win the straps on Raw is War the night after Wrestlemania. Tonight the Rock n Roll Express look to get some revenge on their former mentor by reclaiming the straps from his new team. Before the match, Cornette comes out and rants about his old team before bringing out the champs. The match here is pretty decent as the two teams wrestle an old school style tag match, although quite frankly the crowd does not give a shit. We may be in Greensboro, but matches like this aren't going to work in the Attitude era. The announcers are even talking about stuff still to come. The teams go back and forth with Cornette interfering when he can on the champion's' behalves. In the end the Rock n Roll Express look to have closed in on the belts as Gibson covers the Bodacious one, only for Cornette to break up the cover, coming off the top, but landing on his own man in the process. The Midnights recover though as Bob comes in and hits a bulldog on Gibson, allowing Bart to score the pinfall to retain the titles at 7:12. This was actually a decent match, but as I said, its out of place in this era.
In the back Luna is preparing for her upcoming evening gown match. She screams that she is going to rip off all Sable's clothes. Bet the male fans loved that. Oh wait, she's the heel?
Evening Gown Match:
Sable vs Luna w/The Artist formerly known as Goldust
So after teaming with Mero to pick up a victory over Luna & Goldust at Wrestlemania, Sable's issues with the deranged daughter of Mad Dog Vachon continue here. After coming up short at Mania, Luna demanded a rematch with Sable, this time one on one. Sable accepted and Luna declared that she would embarrass Sable by the match being an evening gown match, where the only way to win was to strip your opponent down to their underwear. In the weeks that followed, Goldust, still strange as ever, dressed up as Sable on Raw is War for Luna to strip him down, only for the real Sable to come out and brawl with her hated rival. Sable is out alone to start since Mero is embarrassed to be in his partner's corner, furthering the tension between the couple that has again reared its head since Mania, but he makes his way out during the match. If you are looking for match quality you are looking in the wrong place here, as this is a woman's match from the Attitude era. Its basically them just trying to rip each other's clothes off. Mero ends up arguing with Sable during the match, which causes the beautiful blonde to be distracted from her opponent. The distraction allows Luna to rip Sable's top off to a big pop, winning the match at 2:50. After the match, Sable gets some retribution by ripping of Luna's gown and the two end up brawling under the ring. Sable emerges holding Luna's underwear as Goldust covers Luna up and escorts her to the back. For all intents and purposes this would be the end of the Artist character, but the Sable/Mero issues would continue going forward.
Before our next match, the evil owner of the WWF, Mr McMahon himself makes his way out to the ring, along with his new stooges: Pat Patterson & Gerald Brisco. McMahon alleges that he does not intend to screw Austin out of the title tonight despite the champion's concerns. On that same token however, he will not be held responsible for what may happen if "Stone Cold screws Stone Cold". Another effective segment really putting over the Austin/McMahon rivalry which was still in its early stages.
Meanwhile, Sable is now on the Superstar line.
WWF Tag Team Championship:
New Age Outlaws (c) vs LOD 2000 w/Sunny
As I mentioned in the last review, despite Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie winning the tag titles in a dumpster match at Wrestlemania XIV from the Outlaws, a rematch was held the following night on Raw is War inside a steel cage, due to the fact that the wrong dumpster had been used in the finish of the match the night before. On the same night that Triple H had brought X-Pac back to the WWF, the new DX members rushed the ring during the match and assisted the Outlaws in winning back the tag titles. After months of a semi-alliance with the faction, the New Age Outlaws were officially revealed as the newest members of D-Generation X, making the faction now a five person unit. As far as LOD are concerned, after being off camera for a few weeks heading into Mania, the two returned as the repackaged LOD 2000 with Sunny by their side to win a number one contenders battle royal at Wrestlemania to earn this shot, renewing an old rivalry. Of course, despite their repackaging, LOD really have seen better days at this point, as they have deteriorated greatly from guys who were never known for being great ring talents to begin with. Having Sunny at ringside never gets any complaints from me though. The Outlaws on the other hand are on the way up, as like the rest of DX they are quickly getting more face pops despite being heels here. For some reason they bring a blow up doll out to ringside here. Very basic stuff here. The LOD go for the Doomsday Device on Road Dogg at one point, but Gunn takes out Animal's leg to stop it. The match continues, and in the end, Billy attempts to nail Hawk with the tag title belt, but he accidentally hits Road Dogg instead. Hawk follows up with a german suplex on the Dogg and gets the three to seemingly win the titles for the LOD, but apparently the Outlaws have been disqualified for the belt shot at 12:13. Ugh what a terrible finish. Couldn't the Outlaws have just beaten the LOD rather than the screwy ending. LOD wins, but the champs retain the titles. This feud is pretty much over though (thank god!). After the match, the LOD are pissed and they hit the Doomsday Device on the referee. This brings out Commissioner Slaughter who yells at Hawk as the referee is stretchered out.
Tennessee Lee, who we saw back at Wrestlemania is now out to bring Jeff Jarrett out to the ring to perform for us. He's not alone though as he comes along with Sawyer Brown, a country music group. They perform their song 'Some Girls Do With'. After the performance, Steve Blackman makes his second appearance of the night attacking Jarrett and knocking him off the performance stage. Tennessee Lee saves his star by whacking Blackman over the head with a guitar and Jarrett follows up by locking in the figure four on his attacker as the crowd chants for Flair. We are in Greensboro after all! This set up a little midcard feud going forward between these two.
We now get a video package chronicling the build to our next match.
Undertaker vs Kane w/Paul Bearer
This is of course the rematch from the highly anticipated showdown between these two at Wrestlemania where the Undertaker emerged victorious, only to be attacked by his demonic sibling after the match. The issues were still there to be settled, so Paul Bearer issued a challenge to Taker to battle Kane once more, this time in a match where the ring would be surrounded by fire, with the only way to win being to set your opponent ablaze. Taker would accept the challenge, but things became even more personal in the weeks that followed as Kane and Bearer visited the graves of the Phenom's parents, with the big red monster setting them ablaze. The week before this show on Raw is War, Kane and Bearer brought the coffins of Taker's parents out into the arena. They would set one on fire, only for Taker to intervene. The two would brawl, but Kane gained the advantage, chokeslamming Taker into the remaining coffin. That brings us to the first ever Inferno match in WWF history. Of course, this feud is still red hot, and the crowd goes crazy for the Undertaker. Kane's wearing sleeves on both arms for this match, so that might give you an indication who is winning this one. Anyway, the match is nothing special from a ringwork standpoint, but that's really not the point of this rivalry. Seeing the ring surrounded by flames is quite the spectacle taker starts this one out in control, but Kane takes over and we continue. The match is around the same level as their Wrestlemania encounter, but its an enjoyable watch. At one point Taker clotheslines Kane to the outside without setting him on fire, and the demonic big red machine attempts to leave. He's stopped in his tracks however by none other than the returning Vader, the man he took out at No Way Out in February. Vader brawls with Kane when in a very impressive spot, Taker dives over the top rope and the flames onto both men on the outside. Bearer tries to get involved with a chair, but Taker takes him out, busting his former manager open up at the band performance area. Taker returns to ringside and hits Kane with a big boot, which sends him backwards into the flames surrounding the ring. Kane's right arm catches ablaze and he retreats to the back, as the Undertaker picks up the win at 16:00. Taker poses in the ring with the flames surrounding him in a cool moment as these two go their separate ways briefly for now.
Our main event is coming up, so we get a video package highlighting the build.
Steve Austin (c) vs Dude Love
There's a fair bit to talk about here, although the build to this one has been more about Austin/McMahon rather than Austin/Dude. Anyway, as we all know Austin defeated Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania to win the WWF title in what would end up being Michaels last match for a number of years. Well the next night on Raw is War, Mr McMahon told Stone Cold that if he was going to be the WWF Champion, he would have to change his ways to fit the corporate mould. He said Austin could do this the easy way, or the hard way, to which the rattlesnake responded by laying McMahon out with a stunner. The next week on Raw, McMahon announced that Austin had changed his mind, and brought out Austin, now dressed in a suit. Austin went along with it, taking photos with McMahon, before ripping off his formal attire and hitting McMahon below the belt. The next week, McMahon was furious and was goaded into accepting to face Austin in a one on one match. The match would take place later that night, with Austin being forced to wrestle with one arm tied behind his back. This episode of Raw, McMahon's first ever match, was the episode that finally broke the massive streak of Nitro winning in the ratings. Before the match got underway, Austin's former tag partner, Dude Love made his way down to the ring and attacked McMahon, only to turn on Austin and lock in the mandible claw on the champion, turning heel in the process. Dude would explain his actions, going back to the cage match the night after Mania where he lost the tag titles to the Outlaws as Cactus Jack. Whilst he and Funk were being beat down, the only thing the crowd was doing was chanting for Austin so he was no longer going to do things for them. Then of course, the key plot point came into play the week before this show on Raw, when McMahon announced that he would be at ringside for the title match between Austin and Dude. Anyway, Dude gets some decent heat here, and of course Austin gets the pop of the night. The match is very good, an overall exciting brawl typical of the era we have now entered. They fight up the aisle when Dude starts to retreat after Austin had the early advantage and brawl up on the stage area before returning to the ring. At this point Vince makes his way out and sits by the timekeeper. Austin takes moments throughout gesturing at McMahon, giving him the finger, but the match continues on. At one point, Dude locks in an abdominal stretch on Austin and McMahon orders for the bell, however remembering Austin's threats earlier, the timekeeper does not do it. Austin counters out and the action spills into the crowd for a bit. Back in the ring the referee gets taken out and Austin goes for a chair. McMahon tries to grab it from him, only to be nailed by a fist from Dude Love by accident in the commotion. Austin recovers and smashes Vince with the chair before rolling Dude into the ring, hitting the stunner and covering him, counting the three with his own hand at 18:49. Austin celebrates as medical personnel come and check on Vince. Gerald Brisco makes his way out and tells Howard Finkel that the winner of the match is Dude Love by DQ. This is of course building to a rematch the following month. For now, Austin is still the WWF Champion, and we go off the air with the medics tending to McMahon.
The main event for this show was pretty awesome (the ending might be criticised by some, but it really sets up the next phase of this rivalry) however the undercard still leaves a bit to be desired here. Taker and Kane in the inferno match wasn't the greatest match in the world or anything, but its certainly a fun match to watch, so I won't criticise that too heavily. However, other than the European title match, the other matches were really nothing special. Its a slightly above average show that is carried by the main event. The undercard will get better, but Austin is hot and thats really whats helping turn the tide against WCW at this point. The product is on fire at the moment, and that will continue going forward.
Three Stars of the Night:
1. Steve Austin - his first title defence as WWF Champion was a very good one. He was incredibly over, and that's what you want to see in the champion.
2. Dude Love - did an excellent job in his return to the main event scene despite only being thrown back in a few weeks before the show.
3. Undertaker - that dive over the flames was awesome.
FINAL GRADE: 6 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.
Bret Hart = 83
Shawn Michaels = 64
Steve Austin = 54
Randy Savage = 28
Undertaker = 22
Hulk Hogan = 18
Owen Hart = 16
Diesel = 14
Ultimate Warrior = 13
Vader = 13
Mick Foley = 12
Triple H = 12
British Bulldog = 11
Razor Ramon = 10
Ted DiBiase = 10
Ric Flair = 8
Jim Neidhart = 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
The Rock = 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
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: @Mpmcc91
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