No Way Out of Texas: In Your House
February 15, 1998
Compaq Center, Houston, TX

With the Rumble behind us, we are well and truly on the road to Wrestlemania with another In Your House event, this also being the first of the long lived No Way Out chronology of PPVs. The main event for Wrestlemania XIV is set in WWF Champion Shawn Michaels vs Stone Cold Steve Austin, so rather than just having a filler title match tonight, Steve Austin will captain a team of four men to take on a four man team led by DX. Except for one minor detail - due to the back injury suffered at the Royal Rumble, Shawn Michaels won't be competing tonight, but he he will have a replacement. Also tonight Kane takes on a very large challenge in the beast from the Rocky Mountains, Vader. All that and more as there is No Way Out of Texas tonight. As always before we begin, follow me on Twitter: @Mpmcc91

We kick the show off with the typically good opening video, this one focusing on the idea that the superstars will not make it out of Texas unscathed after the events of tonight. Good play into the theme of the show. We then head into the arena where we are welcomed by our usual announcing duo of Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler. They tell us that Shawn Michaels is out of tonight's main event. I'm not sure just how widely most fans knew about the extent of the champion's condition at this point in time.

The Headbangers vs Marc Mero & The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust w/Luna
Interesting choice for an opener here. This is basically all about the increasing jealousy that Mero holds towards Sable. He had begun sending Sable backstage during his matches and had recently started teaming with the always bizarre Goldust who dressed up as Sable on a recent episode of Raw is War. I'm not quite sure where the Headbangers fit into this, but they had a recent altercation and you have to have a face team for the heels to go up against. Their moment in the spotlight is really over for now as they haven't been doing much since their brief tag title reign last year. Mero once again sends Sable backstage here which gets some massive heat from the crowd. God she was over. Of course, Luna remains at ringside and she has also become jealous of Sable's attention as of late, going nuts when the crowd start chanting for their favourite women in wrestling at the time. The match is decent, although nothing special. Both teams take their turns controlling the match but the heels take control. That is until Sable comes back out to ringside against Mero's wishes and gets into a fight with Luna outside. During the chaos, the referee does not notice the legal Mosh, who had been taken out by a TKO from Mero, swapping with Thrasher. An unsuspecting Mero is rolled up by Thrasher allowing the Headbangers to pick up the upset win at 13:27. After the match, Sable and Luna continue to brawl until their respective partners break them up. Goldust carries Luna away whilst Mero berates Sable for coming back out, only for Sable to knock him down to a good pop. The match wasn't anything special, but it did its job highlighting the issues between the heels leading to a match next month.
Grade: *1/2

We see Kevin Kelly and the Jackyl on the Superstar line before we go across to Owen Hart, the reigning European Champion who is in tonight's main event. Owen says he doesn't care who DX picks as Michaels' replacement, he just wants to get his hands on Triple H.

WWF Light Heavyweight Championship:
Taka Michinoku (c) vs Pantera
After sitting out last month's PPV, the reigning Light Heavyweight Champion is set to defend his title against the challenger of the month in the masked Pantera. The build to this match primarily occurred on Shotgun Saturday Night but continued on a recent episode of Raw is War as Pantera teamed with the champion's rival Brian Christopher to take on Taka and Aguila. During the match, Pantera loaded his mask with a foreign object and used it to pin the champion, thus gaining momentum heading into his title shot here. Sunny is the guest ring announcer for this one, because once again she has nothing to do now that Sable is the resident hot woman in the promotion, whilst Brian Christopher joins JR and King on commentary for this one, so we get the usual JR stirring the pot with Lawler as they refused to acknowledge their relation to one another. This was a decent enough match that was fast paced and saw some high flying manoeuvres. The crowd is behind Taka, but they really couldn't care less about his opponent though. After some quick back and forth, Taka comes out victorious as he pins Pantera following thr Michinoku Driver at 10:09 to retain the title. After the match, Christopher attempts to go after Taka whilst Lawler holds him back. Taka ends up diving out onto both men to keep that rivalry going. Fun stuff here.
Grade: **3/4

Back in the Superstar line area we see Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie on computers (quite the hilarious sight) as Kevin Kelly gets a word regarding the main event tonight. They look forward to taking the Outlaws apart after being sent crashing off the stage in a dumpster on Raw is War.

The Quebecers vs The Godwinns
This is an incredibly random match considering both teams are heels. The Quebecers had recently returned to the company minus their old awesome entrance theme, but they wouldn't stick around for long. This is pure filler, although both teams have recently cost the other matches on Shotgun Saturday Night heading in to this PPV. The match is quite basic and the crowd just could not care less about either team, both of whom have seen better days in the past. The Godwinns take control for much of the match with their usual double teaming offence. There's just not much at all to say here. In the end, Phineas pins Pierre after the Quebecer is taken down with a clothesline from Henry to pick up the win for the hog farmers at 11:15. After the match the Godwinns slop the Quebecers. Yeah, time had passed both these teams by. Totally pointless match.
Grade: *

In the back, the New Age Outlaws don't know who their mystery partner in the main event is. They don't seem happy about it and complain about the lack of respect they have received since winning the tag titles.

After a WWF Attitude ad, we go to NWA North American Champion Jeff Jarrett, who is joined by his manager Jim Cornette. Jarrett talks himself up as the world's greatest wrestler as he gets set to defend his title up next.

NWA North American Championship:
Jeff Jarrett (c) w/Jim Cornette vs Bradshaw
We saw Jarrett holding NWA gold last month as he is in the midst of a rather bizarre NWA invasion storyline led by Jim Cornette here as the reigning North American Champion. Bradshaw's recent issues with the NWA faction started out as the New Blackjacks were set to team up against NWA imports the Rock n Roll Express. During that match, Bradshaw's partner Barry Windham turned on his partner and declared his allegiance to Cornette and the NWA. In subsequent weeks, Bradshaw was the victim of several beating on Raw is War from the NWA faction, leading to his challenge to Jarrett here. The North American Champion makes his way out to the ring along with Cornette, Windham and the Express here, but the referee only allows Cornette to stay at ringside after Bradshaw rushes to the ring and cleans house. The match here is nothing special, although I'll admit that it was better than I remembered it being. Cornette turns the tide for his man by providing a distraction after Jarrett spends the early part of the match being beat up by the challenger. At one point in the match, Bradshaw gets some payback when he gets his hands on Cornette and whips him into Jarrett. Shortly after, Jarrett grabs his manager's tennis racket and nails Bradshaw with it, triggering the DQ at 8:33. Post-match, Bradshaw gains possession of the racket and goes after Jarrett with it, only for the rest of the NWA crew to head back down to ringside. The numbers game gets the better of the former Blackjack as he is beat down once again until the Legion of Doom rush to the ring and make the save. Decent enough stuff here, but this whole NWA angle would pretty much come to an end shortly after this show. It was something different while it lasted.
Grade: **

We now head to Michael Cole, who is standing by with DX members Triple H and Chyna in the back. Triple H says that they don't need anyone to replace Shawn tonight and they will compete in a handicap match since nobody deserves to team with them. Cole tells him that WWF management have said that they will assign a partner. Triple H says he doesn't care so long as they stay out of the way out there.

Elsewhere we go to the Nation of Domination. All five members are in action next in a ten man tag. Rock and Faarooq tease dissension over leadership of the faction, a storyline which would brew over the next few months. Rock pulls faces behind the Nation leader as Faarooq talks about the upcoming match.

Ken Shamrock, Ahmed Johnson & Disciples of Apocalypse vs The Rock, Faarooq, D'Lo Brown, Kama Mustafa & Mark Henry
This match is labelled the War of Attrition and was being advertised as an elimination tag match before being changed to a regular ten man tag here. The match is obviously an extension of the issues between Shamrock and Rock over the I.C title. Rock is still the reigning I.C champion here after retaining the title last month in controversial fashion at the Rumble. Shamrock's partners here have also had issues with the Nation in recent weeks as the DOA have gotten back into brawls with the Nation on Raw is War, and Ahmed basically has been on full time Nation feuding mode for the past year now. This is the last PPV for Ahmed by the way, he won't be missed at this point. On a recent episode of Raw is War, Shamrock and Chainz teamed together to take on Rock & Faarooq, a match which broke down into a total brawl between all the participants in this match, during which Rock smashed Shamrock with a chair to pick up the win. That brings us to this match. The match is actually pretty good considering some of the guys you have in here, and I found this to be really enjoyable. Theres plenty of tags made during this one, and of course we get a few moments in which the match breaks out into total chaos. During the brawl that breaks out, Shamrock manages to catch Rock in the ankle lock and has him tapping out 13:44. Shamrock gets another win over the reigning I.C champion to continue his momentum heading in to Wrestlemania next month. Post-match, Rock and Faarooq tease further tension as they argue about the loss. Rock ends up shoving Faarooq down and walks out as Faarooq orders him to return to the ring. They seemingly reconcile and the Nation do their salute in the ring. The power struggle in the Nation continues. Fun match.
Grade: ***

Backstage we hear from Stone Cold Steve Austin, the number one contender to the WWF Championship. He doesn't give a damn who the mystery man in the main event is. He just wants to open up a can of whoop ass. We follow up from this with a video package highlighting the events leading to our next match.

Vader vs Kane w/Paul Bearer
After turning on his brother the Undertaker back at the Royal Rumble and throwing him into a burning casket, Kane has been on a rampage once again, absolutely destroying anyone on the roster, just getting involved in random matches with Undertaker on the shelf. One such victim was Vader, as on the Raw is War following the Royal Rumble, Kane would interfere in his PPV rematch with Goldust, levelling the Mastodon with a tombstone piledriver. The next week, Vader got a measure of revenge taking the fight to Kane with a fire extinguisher, leading us to this match. At this point in his career, Vader has moved into the role of putting new talent over, so he's really just been put into this feud so that Kane can destroy a giant monster en route to his inevitable showdown with the Undertaker upon his return. I think Vader had a lot of potential as a face, but there were other guys on the roster who would be moved up the card, so its not as though he could have done more at this point. He could certainly still go in the ring though, so this match is pretty decent. Kane barely sells any of Vader's offence, but that's fair enough since it establishes him as an indestructible force as he has been since debuting back in October. He even sits up moments after being hit with the patented Vadersault towards the end of the match. Shortly after this, the action spills to the outside and Vader grabs the fire extinguisher once like on Raw. Kane fights back and ends up hitting the chokeslam but Vader gets back up. Kane follows with a tombstone piledriver however, and that takes the big guy down for the pin at 10:57. Pretty good power match here which saw Vader really make Kane look good. After the match, Kane is not done. He destroys Vader by smashing him in the face with a wrench, which results in the big guy being stretchered out of the arena. Vader would spend a few months on the sidelines as Kane has taken out yet another superstar that has gotten in his path. Who can stop the big red monster?
Grade: **3/4

We now get a video package highlighting our upcoming main event - the unsanctioned eight man brawl.

Unsanctioned Match:
Steve Austin, Owen Hart, Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie vs Triple H, New Age Outlaws & Savio Vega w/Chyna

Alrighty lets get to this. Of course, Austin won the Royal Rumble last month and is therefore set to meet WWF Champion Shawn Michaels (who was supposed to be in this match) at Wrestlemania. Joining Austin is the new WWF European Champion, Owen Hart. After returning at D-Generation X in December, Owen quickly became involved in a rivalry with then champion Triple H. Hunter would do his best to dodge Owen, so when the two were set to face off on Raw is War in January, Hunter recruited the Artist Formerly Known as Goldust to dress up as him and take his place in their match. Owen would come out victorious, and Commissioner Slaughter decided to uphold the decision as a title change anyway, getting a little revenge on his old DX foes as Owen became the new champion. As far as the Outlaws and Cactus/Chainsaw go, a recent episode of Raw kicked off with a hardcore match between the two hardcore legends. Cactus and Chainsaw would brawl to the stage and into a dumpster, when suddenly in a famous moment, the New Age Outlaws appeared and threw the dumpster off the stage with the two hardcore legends inside. Of course, the Outlaws are still the tag team champions here as well. Lots of great stuff heading into this one as you can see. As far as the replacement for Michaels goes, its the Los Boricuas leader Savio Vega. Sure it made sense since the Boricuas had recently been recruited to take out Austin by DX, but its still incredibly underwhelming since the WWF were teasing a huge mystery partner throughout the course of the show. He gets absolutely no reaction in stark contrast to the other participants in the match. Austin of course gets that monster pop that he has become accustomed to by now. This is a pretty chaotic brawl. There's no disqualifications, so everyone brings a bunch of weapons into the war. Although I don't get why they have to tag if its a no DQ match. Alas I'm nitpicking, as aside from that logic, the match is lots of fun and a good way to showcase three of the rivalries heading into Wrestlemania. It could have been better if Michaels was in a condition to compete, but since that was off the cards, all eight men did a great job in putting on a solid main event that kept the crowd going wild throughout. There's a few impressive spots mixed in such as Road Dogg powerbombing Funk through a set of chairs. Of course Cactus goes the most insane as he brings barbed wire into the match and ends up getting tangled in it before taking an assortment of chair shots. I also have to say that with Shawn out of the match, Triple H did a good job as the de facto leader of the heel team which perhaps was the first sign of him being able to hang in their with the big guns. Anyway, Austin eventually comes in legally for the first time in the match and cleans house. He gets the stunner on Road Dogg shortly after, which allows the Rattlesnake to pick up the win for his team at 17:37 and continue his momentum heading in to Wrestlemania. A very fun match here which was a chaotic frenzy that the Attitude era would become famous for. After the match the anarchy continues as Billy Gunn comes in to cop a stunner as well before Chyna confronts the number one contender. Austin goes to leave, but Chyna keeps getting in his face. Having had enough, Austin drops her with a stunner as well to a huge pop from the crowd before posing to end the show, his eyes set on becoming the top dog in the promotion next month.
Grade: ***1/2 FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a pretty fun show to tie things over heading towards the biggest show of the year a month later. Sure, the first half of the card was relatively lacklustre aside from a few bright spots such as the Light Heavyweight match, but starting with the Nation tag business certainly picked up as JR would say. There was nothing overwhelmingly great on this show, but I enjoyed the two multi-man tag matches, especially the main event which was a really good frenzy of chaos, with the crowd totally behind the top face in the company. The future was definitely looking good thanks to the Rattlesnake. As much as it pained me to see Vader destroyed by the big red monster, the match was above average, and it served its purpose well in getting Kane over as an unstoppable monster that not even the big grizzly bear was able to stop. The return of a certain Phenom the following night will set up the epic battle that we have all been waiting for. Overall a good show, doing a nice job of progressing the feuds already set up for Wrestlemania. Not the greatest show of all time, but a fun watch, as with most shows of this era.

Three Stars of the Night:
1. Steve Austin - what more is there to say? The crowd loved him and he made the main event one hell of an entertaining brawl.
2. Triple H - as I said earlier, he picked up the ball with Michaels out of action as the de facto leader of the heel team tonight. He did well in there too. Little did we know that he would take over the DX reigns on a more permanent basis soon enough.
3. Cactus Jack - once again destroying his body for the fans. The barbed wire stuff was sick amd got the crowd going.

This was really hard to decide on again. Austin was definitely the number one guy, but from there there was a whole bunch of people I could have thrown in from the the main event, as well as Rock looking great as he continues to show how great a heel he can be. It illustrates the hotness of the product at the time and the sudden depth of the roster in the main event and upper midcard.

FINAL GRADE: 6 out of 10

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 = 62
Steve Austin = 45
Randy Savage = 28
Undertaker = 21
Hulk Hogan = 18
Owen Hart = 16
Diesel = 14
Ultimate Warrior = 13
Vader = 13
British Bulldog = 11
Mick Foley = 10
Razor Ramon = 10
Ted DiBiase = 10
Triple H = 9
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
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 = 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 at @Mpmcc91.