Happy Stinky Saturday Everyone!
Back with another Stinker Review this week, where I watch a show that has a reputation for being awful and decide if that reputation is deserved or not. This week we’ve got WWF In Your House 19: D-Generation X, which was the WWF’s first pay per view event following the infamous Survivor Series show of 1997.
Shawn Michaels was both WWF and European Champ, and with back up from Triple H and Chyna he had an iron grip on the WWF Main Event scene now that Bret Hart had jumped to WCW. As a result they decided to name the December pay per view after the group, keeping the trend started in 1996 where they named the December event after a top Heel (Vader in 96, Shawn in 97 and Rock in 98).
I remember this show being quite the slog even in my younger days, but let’s see if time has been kind to it. In typical fashion, I’ve written this back in October (hello from the past) and Scott Keith has recently said he’s planning to re-watch this one so there’ll probably be a superior review already posted before this even goes up. That’s just my life sometimes.
If you’d like to view the card you can click below;
The event is emanating from Springfield, Mass on the 7th of December 1997
Calling the action are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler
We get the opening video package showing D-Generation X being jerks and attacking the babyfaces.
Final of WWF Light Heavyweight Title Tournament
“Too Sexy” Brian Christopher Vs TAKA Michinoku
The Light Heavyweight division was the WWF’s answer to the Cruiserweight division in WCW, but they didn’t really treat the belt as being that important and they mostly just had smaller guys working WWF Style, which ironically was how the Junior Heavyweight division in New Japan was until Tiger Mask and Dynamite Kid showed up. Christopher had reasonable lower card heat but TAKA is the better option due to him at least being more of a high-flyer.
Christopher has Droz’s music for whatever reason. I’m guessing the music guy just cued up the wrong track? TAKA doesn’t have a proper hometown here and is just announced as being from “Japan”. They establish early on that Christopher has the size and strength advantage, as he throws TAKA around with ease, but TAKA then uses his pace to put Christopher on the back foot and the crowd responds well to it.
Christopher attempts to reply by going for an axe handle smash out onto the floor, but TAKA dodges and Christopher hits the metal railings before coming up with a bloody mouth. TAKA keeps being evasive back inside whenever he can, getting some quick pin fall attempts and some more dives, including an impressive Orihara Moosault at one stage, which leads to Jerry Lawler coming off the commentary booth to check on his son, although he was refusing to admit that they were related in kayfabe because he didn’t want people to think he was old enough to have kids.
Christopher eventually manages to get the Skull Crushing Finale for the cut off and works some heat, although his cockiness means that he can’t make it count and put TAKA away. TAKA sells well and Christopher shows off some good Heel personality, so it’s a good heat segment, with TAKA bravely trying to fight back up to his feet. Christopher ends up missing the Tennessee Jam though and they take it home right away with the Michinoku Driver for three, with the win getting a healthy pop from the crowd.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: TAKA MICHINOKU
As a match in isolation it was good, and the crowd enjoyed it, although it kind of highlighted how the WWF didn’t really understand why people liked the Cruiserweight division in WCW
Pat Patterson, Gerald Briscoe and Tony Garea present the belt to TAKA in order to try and make it feel like a big deal, whilst Lawler is disconsolate about his lad losing.
Los Boricuas (Jesus, Jose and Miguel) w/ Savio Vs The Disciples of Apocalypse (Skull, 8-Ball and Chainz)
GANG WARZ!!! For those not au fait, the WWF had four main stables made up of stereotypical characters (The Truth Commission were modelled on apartheid South African’s, The Nation of Domination were militant African American’s, D.O.A were racist bikers and Los Boricuas were a Latino street gang) and they all promptly wrestled each other in a series of terrible matches, with each match being more awful than the last.
Crush/Brian Adams had been a member of D.O.A as well, but he’d jumped to WCW following the Montreal Screwjob in order to join the nWo so D.O.A is now a three man group. D.O.A get a nice pop for their entrance but the match dies once the bell rings, even though the wrestling isn’t awful or anything. The crowd mostly focuses on telling Miguel to shave his hairy back, and don’t really care about anything else.
Los Boricua’s eventually triple up on 8-Ball in order to cut him off, which leads to our Heel heat segment. 8-Ball actually sells that reasonably well and Los Boricuas aren’t too bad on offence either, with Miguel being the stand out. Speaking of Miguel, he comes off the ropes with an elbow and begins selling his leg, which leads to Savio trying to join the match in his place, but Tim White won’t allow it.
Whilst that is all going on, Chainz gets the hot tag and seems to have Jose pinned with the Spicolli Driver, but Miguel is of course revealed to be fine and he comes back in to give Chaniz a leg drop. Jose makes the cover and Los Boricuas pick up the dodgy victory, although it made Chainz look kind of weak that a simple leg drop finished him off when he was fresh. Miguel did a bit of a flip first, but COME ON.
WINNERS: LOS BORICUAS
Flat match with a lame finish
Michael Hayes is backstage with Butterbean and his coaching staff. Hayes wonders if Butterbean is healthy enough to fight tonight after he already fought the previous evening, but Butterbean says his adrenaline will be enough.
Michael Cole is backstage with Sable, who was at Butterbean’s fight the previous night. Sable says she will be in Marc Mero’s corner tonight, which leads to Mero coming in to yell at her.
Marvellous Marc Mero w/ Ray Rinaldi and Sable Vs Butterbean w/ Art Gore and Murray Sutherland
Mero was doing the jealous boyfriend shtick, with Butterbean earning his ire by having the temerity to be nice to Sable, thus a feud was created. Butterbean has zero wrestling experience whilst Mero used to box, so they’re going to do a terrible worked boxing match to pay it off as opposed to a terrible worked wrestling match instead. Joy…
I went down a YouTube rabbit-hole a while back where I watched some Butterbean fights, and to be fair to the dude he was an actual proper boxer, he just was too big to ever do anything other than 4 round fights. Any shouts that he was just a sideshow that could only knockout ham and eggers would be a bit unfair I think. Most decent heavyweights could probably just outlast him in an 8-12 round fight, but in the 4 round Super Heavyweight division he was fine.
The story here is that Mero is outmatched both in size and boxing ability, so he spends most of the “fight” stooging for Butterbean and getting beaten up whenever it’s a fair fight. It’s glaringly obvious that they’re pulling all of their punches and there are numerous occasions where Butterbean could easily knock Mero clean out but he has to pretend that he can’t do it. There’s just no way to work a boxing match in this sort of environment without making it look phony or hokey.
Mero tries jumping Butterbean from behind and choking him with tape, which allows him to get some offence, with Mero even adding some blatant eye gouging as well that Mike Chioda allows. The crowd are clearly starting to get restless after a certain point as this whole thing has just been a disaster. Mero even throws a dropkick in between rounds at one stage, which would be an instant DQ in an actual boxing match, which just makes this look like even more of a farce.
I get that wrestling isn’t “real” either, but you can work a wrestling match in a way that allows a viewer to suspend their disbelief and enjoy it as if it is real. It’s so much more difficult to do that with a boxing match, which is normally why when a boxing match is fixed one of the boxers normally doesn’t know because if both boxers are working then it becomes super obvious super quickly, whereas one boxer can “carry” another and it’s less conspicuous.
Mero eventually takes a big shot in round 3 and is saved by the bell, leading to his corner dunking a bucket of water on him to revive him. Again, in a real boxing match if someone was that knocked out after a round then the referee would never let them out for the next one. Mero eventually goes low at the start of round 4 and the ref finally throws the fight out to give Butterbean the DQ win.
WINNER BY DQ: BUTTERBEAN
I can’t rate it because it wasn’t actually a wrestling match, but it was so obviously fake that it was impossible to suspend any disbelief and the crowd actively disliked it after a certain point
Mero flees following that with Butterbean giving chase, and Jim Ross is so excited by it that he accidentally calls Mero “The Wildman”, which was his previous WWF gimmick.
The Artist Formerly Known As Goldust and Luna Vachon join us for a poetry reading in a segment that dies an absolute death. This was certainly worth putting on the wrestling pay per view we all bought to watch wrestling on.
Michael Cole is backstage with The Road Warriors, who cut a promo ahead of the next match. Hawk compares The New Age Outlaws to bogeys. Wow, Goldust reads Dr. Seuss and then Hawk compares his opponents to nose candy. Is this the Attitude Era or a Saturday Morning cartoon?
WWF Tag Team Titles
Champs: The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn) Vs The Road Warriors (Hawk and Animal)
The Outlaws had defeated The Road Warriors for the belts on Raw in a big upset and this here is the pay per view rematch, although more matches would be coming after this. Road Dogg welcomes us to Jurassic Park on his way to the ring, which leads to The Champs fleeing and then doing some extra stretches backstage. This goes on for a while until some WWF officials cut off The Champ’s escape and The Road Warriors drag them into the ring to start the match.
The Road Warriors clobber The Outlaws to start, with Road Dogg and Gunn taking some nice bumps for them. The Outlaws eventually try to flee and take the count out, but The Road Warriors drag them back once again, leading to Dogg managing to clock Hawk with an ice cooler for the cut off. That better not had been Steve Austin’s beer in there or I predict great pain in The Outlaw’s future, and they’ve experienced quite a lot of it in this one already.
Animal eventually gets the hot tag and The Road Warriors run wild on The Outlaws until The Godwinn’s run down with their slop bucket. The referee misses that but he turns around in time to see Hawk disarm Henry Godwinn and use the bucket as a weapon on all of the Heels, thus giving us a lame DQ finish to a so-so match.
WINNERS BY DQ AND STILL CHAMPIONS: THE NEW AGE OUTLAWS
Wow, some of the finishes have been AWFUL tonight. The match wasn’t terrible but it never really felt like it got going and the finish really dragged it down
We get a video package to hype up the Boot Camp match, focusing on Commissioner Slaughter’s dreaded Cobra Clutch hold. Well at least they made an effort to try and make him look dangerous I suppose.
Michael Cole is backstage with Triple H and Chyna, which leads to Triple H doing a lame promo where he pulls props out of a bag. Thankfully he gets serious towards the end and rescues it somewhat.
Jim Cornette is backstage with Commissioner Slaughter, who says he came here not to wrestle but to fight. He of course calls Triple H a puke and a slime, because if he didn’t we’d all get our nickel back.
Boot Camp Rules
Triple H w/ Chyna Vs Commissioner Slaughter
Triple H was getting a renewed push now he was in D-Generation X with Shawn Michaels, which had led to him running afoul of the trouble shooting Commissioner Slaughter, thus we have a match between the two here. They would drag this feud out for months as well, with it going all the way to WrestleMania. Slaughter was such a goof in this role that it basically became a Heel Programme after a certain point.
Slaughter is using “Medal” as his entrance music here, which makes a total of three different patriotic American wrestlers that used that theme. This is No DQ and there must be a winner, so Slaughter attacks Triple H with his riding crop right from the off, as the crowd goes mild. This is one of those matches where if Slaughter was actually over and the crowd actually cared about him then it probably wouldn’t be too bad as the atmosphere would be able to carry it, but because they don’t really care it ends up being a past his prime Slaughter very slowly beating someone up.
Triple H to his credit takes some great bumps here and is selling big for Slaughter, so he’s doing his level best to make this a good match, but the crowd continues to sit on their hands. The referee spends the match outside of the ring and only comes in to count, which does give the match its own unique wrinkle, but it does also kill some of the drama on the near falls as the ref has to scamper in to count and that slows things down.
Slaughter takes an impressive bump to the floor for the cut off and that leads to Triple H working him over. Slaughter is taking quite a few big bumps here actually, as they are trying very hard to make this good but the crowd seems far more interested in chatting amongst themselves. I wouldn’t go as far to call it good, but I can appreciate that the two guys aren’t phoning this in. You can tell they want it to be more than it is and the lack of crowd response actually becomes kind of depressing after a certain point, especially when Slaughter is getting flung over the top rope and over guardrails in an effort to get it over.
Slaughter goes for a slam at one stage and drops Triple H, but they cover for it well with Slaughter selling that his back is hurting and that’s why he couldn’t complete the move. Triple H knocks Slaughter off the top rope not too soon after that, as Slaughter seems intent to kill himself for this match, which leads to Triple H locking in a sleeper for a submission tease. Triple H was actually using a sleeper as a finisher in 2002 I believe, but it doesn’t get the job done here and Slaughter fights out of it.
Slaughter finally gets the Cobra Clutch applied, which leads to Chyna making the save, which is completely legal in this match of course. The referee still tries to tell her off for it, which leads to her clocking him and then heading out for a chair. The Cobra Clutch spot probably got the closest thing to a reaction in the match thus far, so they did a good job getting the move over at least. Slaughter throws powder in Chyna’s eyes and then goes back to the Cobra Clutch on Triple H, but Chyna kicks him right in the Iraqi sympathisers and a Triple H Pedigree on a chair follows for three.
WINNER: TRIPLE H
Both guys were trying really hard here, but the crowd was just not biting. Slaughter in particular took some ridiculous bumps when you consider he was pretty much retired at this stage. I’m not sure if labouring to beat the aging Commissioner was the best way to push Triple H at the time, but he ended up doing okay in the long run
Michael Cole is backstage with Aztec Warrior Jeff Jarrett, who is happy to be starting at the top here in the WWF and it’s just a matter of time before he becomes WWF Champion.
Shout out to the bloke in the crowd with a Sabu sign, especially as he’s had it on camera multiple times and no one has bothered confiscating it.
Aztec Warrior Jeff Jarrett Vs The Undertaker
Jarrett had jumped over from WCW and they were paying lip service to giving him a proper push, so he was put in a pay per view match with Undertaker, who had his own issues with Kane going on. This push for Jarrett would last all of one pay per view until he was relegated to mid-card heck as part of the WWF’s miserable NWA stable, which seemed to exist only to make fun of classic wrestling in general.
For those confused about why I’m calling Jarrett an Aztec Warrior by the way, just Google the gear he was wearing from this time period and hopefully all will become clear. Taker dominates to start, no selling all of Jarrett’s offence and pinballing him around during the shine. Jarrett sells it all well, although he doesn’t look remotely on the level of a top guy like Undertaker here, and he was probably never reaching the top of the card with a character like this. His best chance was probably in 1999 when he was doing the misogynist gimmick.
Jarrett eventually targets Undertaker’s leg and starts working it over with an aim to apply the Figure Four. Undertaker sells it quite well actually, getting the mixture right between registering the pain whilst still trying to fight back. Taker eventually makes the comeback, which is the cue for Kane to join us. Kane decides to attack Jarrett rather than his brother though, which makes sense when Undertaker is then promptly disqualified.
WINNER BY DQ: JEFF JARRETT
Yet another crappy finish in a collection of them tonight. This was a first hour Raw match on a pay per view. The storyline aspect worked well, as it continued the story of Kane doing everything he could to try and coax Undertaker into fighting him by messing with his matches, but it wasn’t much of match up to that point and not an especially good showcase for Jarrett
Jarrett attacks Undertaker following the match and gets another Choke Slam for good measure on top of the one Kane delivered to him. This makes Jarrett look like a joke, but they do give him one nice character touch by having him wake up and then celebrate his “big” win like he actually achieved something.
Michael Cole is in the crowd with Mark Henry, who was still a babyface at the time and picks Stone Cold in the next match.
Michael Hayes is backstage with The Rock and The Nation of Domination. Rock cuts a quick promo where he says he’s the greatest Intercontinental Champion there ever was. This achieved what it needed to and eventually they’d give Rock more time with his promos to really get his personality and character over.
WWF Intercontinental Title
Champ: Stone Cold Steve Austin Vs The Rock w/ D-Lo Brown, Kama Mustafa and Faarooq
The first pay per view meeting between the two, as Rock stole the IC belt and started showing some real charisma in his new Heel role. Austin was still really struggling with his neck post Owen Driver, so this one has to be a lot of smoke and mirrors in order to cover for it. This is highlighted by Austin driving his truck down to the ring, getting possibly the biggest pop of the entire show in the process.
Austin has to essentially fight the entire Nation all by himself, as they all attack him before the bell rings. However, Austin gives D-Lo a back body drop onto the truck and then follows with a Stunner to take him out, leading into the match starting proper with Rock. Rock distracts the ref at one stage so Faarooq and Kama can drag Austin out of the ring, but he manages to take both of them out as well before getting back inside to be cut off by Rock.
Rock works a bit of heat on Austin and even delivers The People’s Elbow, although it wasn’t remotely over yet at this stage. It’s a testament to Rock refusing to give up with it that it ended up being over enough as a finisher that it ended up being the move Rock used to pin Hollywood Hogan at a WrestleMania in possibly his biggest ever match. Austin couldn’t really do much yet here and they keep the heat pretty simple, but the match has great crowd reactions so it makes up for it.
Austin ends up making the comeback, stomping a mudhole in the corner. Austin accidentally gives the referee a Stunner at one stage, but then catches Rock with one as well and another referee runs in to count the pin and give Austin the three count. Vince McMahon would use that errant Stunner as an excuse for booking a rematch between the two however, which would lead to Austin refusing to wrestle and Rock being awarded the belt.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: STONE COLD
This had a great crowd and some memorable moments. The match itself was okay at best, but it was fun whilst it lasted and they did a good job of covering for Austin’s injuries
We get a hype package for the Main Event. As an example of how depleted the WWF’s roster was at the time, the big go-home angle for this show featured Ken Shamrock, Commissioner Slaughter and Jim Neidhart laying out D-Generation X. What a babyface trio!
Jim Cornette is backstage with Ken Shamrock, where Shamrock says he’s a fighter and Shawn Michaels will be squealing like a baby tonight.
Shawn Michaels cuts a backstage promo saying he’s the #1 man in wrestling, and makes sure to call Jim Ross a big tub of goo. Ross sarcastically thanking Michaels for the promo before Michaels flippantly replies “sure, anytime” was a pretty funny exchange to be fair.
Champ: Shawn Michaels w/ Triple H and Chyna Vs Ken Shamrock
Shamrock mostly got the Title shot here because there wasn’t really anyone else as they were saving Stone Cold for WrestleMania XIV and the rest of the upper card was pretty depleted. No one really bought that Shamrock had much real chance of winning the belt here, but there was interest in seeing whether Michaels would be able to have a good match with him from the hardcore section of the fan base. Interestingly I think the shot of Earl Hebner holding up the belt before the match here ended up getting used in the opening FMV for WWF War Zone on the PlayStation.
Michaels bumps all over the place in the early going in order to make Shamrock look good in the shine, and it works well. The crowd enjoys watching Sharmock lay a whupping on Michaels, with even Triple H taking a pratfall from a double noggin knocker at one stage for good measure. We get an aloha-Shamrock, but he punches his way out of that and then mauls Michaels with punches and kicks in the corner, as Michaels continues to take some fantastic bumps for him. Eventually Michaels grabs onto Hebner to prevent a suplex and mule kicks Shamrock right in the octagon for the cut off.
Triple H and Chyna help out during the heat by getting some cheap shots in, with Michaels adding in a plancha into the mix as well. Shamrock’s bumping and selling isn’t great, but it’s not terrible either. You can see why he never really got a proper run in Main Events as he just didn’t have top level ability. He was a solid upper mid-carder though and as he continued to work more in the WWF he became a more well-rounded worker as well. By the time he left in 1999 he was good hand and someone who could usually be relied upon to at least have a watchable match.
Michaels targets the back area during the heat, which is ironic considering that he hurt his own back for real the next month at the Royal Rumble. There is a moment during the heat where Triple H throws a lovely worked punch to Shamrock whilst Shamrock is laying on the ropes and he does such a good job of pulling it that Shamrock doesn’t even realise a punch was thrown and doesn’t react to it. Say what you want about Triple H and his backstage politicking, but the dude was darn good at this Pro Wrestling thing.
Michaels locks in a sleeper hold at one stage, which succeeds in getting the crowd behind Shamrock, leading to Shamrock fighting his way out of it. These days I don’t think you’d do a spot where a traditional Pro Wrestler worked a long sleeper hold on a legit MMA fighter like that as I don’t think the fans would buy that the MMA guy couldn’t break out of it, which I guess is a testament to how MMA had penetrated the mainstream consciousness.
Shamrock makes the comeback following the sleeper and gets some near falls, but ends up snapping his neck on the top rope on an Irish Whip at one stage, which is really scary and it’s lucky he didn’t really hurt himself. DX helps out again in order to allow Michaels to get the elbow off the top in time to TUNE UP THE BAND, but Chin Music is countered into a suplex and that leads to DX running in for the lame nWo finish.
WINNER BY DQ: KEN SHAMROCK (SHAWN MICHAELS RETAINS)
This was a good match but it didn’t really feel up to the calibre of the Main Events that Michaels had previously had. The finish was ultra lame as well, but I it got around Shamrock having to do a job whilst keeping the belt on Michaels
Owen Hart returns to the WWF following the match and attacks Michaels, which could have potentially led to Owen getting a Main Event level push but he ended up in a mid-card feud with Triple H where he was defeated at every turn. This was at least an interesting way to end the show if nothing else, as there was intrigue as to what would happen with Owen going forwards.
Is It Really A Stinker?
Yes I’d say it was, with only two particularly good matches and a whole host of terrible finishes throughout the card. TAKA’s win and Stone Cold’s truck were the clear highlights here, with the rest of the card mostly featuring average to bad wrestling and some truly appalling wussy DQ endings that did very little for those involved. Even the non-wrestling stuff with guys like Goldust had very little redeemable features.
Michaels had a decent match in the Main, but it was below his usual standards, whilst Triple H and Slaughter worked hard but had to deal with an apathetic crowd. Stone Cold and The Rock had a fun outing for the time they were given, but aside from the opener there was very little else worth checking out here besides Austin tearing the house down. Thank goodness they at least hitched the wagon to Austin in 1998.
Final Rating – Stinker