Wednesday, June 24, 2020

WWF In Your House #13 - Final Four (February 1997)

So Stone Cold Steve Austin won the Royal Rumble under somewhat dubious circumstances and that necessitated what the WWF dubbed a "Final Four" match; a four-way elimination match that where one can be eliminated via pinfall, submission, and throw over the top rope onto the ground. Then Shawn Michaels vacated the WWF title because he lost his smile or something... and now the winner of the match would be crowed the new WWF Champion.

Quite the set-up, folks. Let's see how this goes.

WIldman Marc Mero defeated Leif Cassidy in a thing that happened. For those who don't know, Leif is Al Snow's gimmick from when he was a New Rocker with Marty Janetty, who found some new rocks of his own I'd imagine. Snow tried to do the thing where he would hurt Mero's knee, but Mero shrugged it off and this ended up being merely a thing that happened... and Sable too.

Honky Tonk Man comes out... and then we get a replay of Shawn Michael's forfeiting of the title because he lost his smile and people were sad because he might retire... what a bunch of marks, I suppose. Whether you believe the guy or not - and I don't; I think he was full of shit, but that's just me - everyone paid attention and let the man talk... except for that one guy. That guy's a hero.

The Nation Of Domination (Faaroooooqqqqqq, Crush, and Savio Vega - flanked by D'Lo Brown in a tux, Clarence Mason, and a bunch of other jabronis I don't know, two of them are apparently rappers, so that's something, I guess...) beat Flash Funk (2 Cold Scorpio dressed as a pimp), Bart Gunn, and Goldust in a six-man match. Stuff happened here, I guess. Didn't pay much attention, to be honest. Cue a WTF from Dustin Rhodes and we're good to go, I guess.

Intercontinental Champion ROCKY MAIVIA defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley to retain the title in the first genuinely good match on the show. Rocky had beaten Hunter for the title on Thursday RAW Thursday some time ago, so this was the rematch. The beginning of one of the most noteworthy rivalries of the Attitude Era and you can already tell that there was something special about these two going at it. Even under the silly gimmicks and haircuts, you had two talented young guns who worked magic and that's the case here. Tremendous.

Doug Furnas and Phil LaFons defeated Tag-Team Champions Owen Hart and British Bulldog via DQ when Owen hit one of the guys in the head with a Slammy in front of the ref, who immediately called for the bell because unlike most refs today, this fucker actually enforces the fucking rules. Slow to start, but after a while, it starts to get good before the DQ finish. There's a bit of friction between the two in-laws and who knows what would've happened if Bret hadn't... well, you know.

Bret Hart defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin, Vader, and the Undertaker in a Final Four match (battle royal format where you can be eliminated via over the top toss, pinfall or submission) to win the vacant WWF Championship for the fourth time... and then a day later, he loses it to Sid thanks to some Stone Cold interference. Vader suffered a bad cut over his eye that made me wince. This was a fantastic main event and was even more amazing when you know that Austin was working with one bad leg, but still managed to work like a goddamned madman.

Skip the first two matches and you've got a pretty damn good In Your House event in Final Four. The matches you expect to deliver did so in spades and even the tag match got good after a slow start. I enjoyed this one as much as I expected.

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