The card started at 7pm UK time (2pm EST. Standard). Not much hype went into it; the WWF’s third UK-only PPV after the terrific “One Night Only” in ’97 and pretty sub-par “Capital Carnage” late last year. The card had few matches of interest – would the bookers turn it up on the night for another successful WWF event?
<> Shane McMahon Interview
McMahon seemed REALLY off in this interview with the ministry. Perhaps the time difference and jet lag were affecting him; as usual, he made lots of threats but nothing that anybody cares about. He made lots of mistakes.
<> Gillberg vs. Tiger Ali Singh
J.R. says “Tiger will face Goldberg” – he pauses for five seconds before correcting himself, with Lawler piping in “there’s not much difference, is there?”. Lawler’s right.Goldberg is taller, stronger, younger, more talented, more successful, a different person with a different name from a different state and a differ- ent personality, but they DO both have bald heads. Hearing this just reminds me how Mark Madden said some time ago that J.R. is as big a shill as anyone with a company, but for some reason he’s more respected; I have no love lost for Madden, but he’s right. Ross has been annoying me more and more recently, and is far from the bastion of objective commentary he used to be. Lawler is a walking hormone, and the amount of garbage he talks exceeds the definition of hyperbole.
Tiger started with some good mike work, talking about how his culture provided so much to that of England. I don’t think they’ve done anything with him since. J.R. claims a piped chant is real. Ugh. Nobody really knows who he is over here as much as in the U.S. Ross reminds us he’s the reigning Lightheavyweight champion – why?
Gillberg actually started off fast, and the fans popped big for him. Tiger got a press, but Gillberg came back with a slam and hit the spear (it looked stupid that Singh even sold it, he’s so much bigger). Gillberg starts grunting as Tiger recovers and goes up behind, kicking him in the shin; however,he didn’t make contact, and Gillberg didn’t know what to sell. To make matters worse, they do it again. Tiger gives up and just slaps on a neck-breaker for the three count. Man, I feel soured on the whole night already.
<> The Brood vs. Acolytes & Viscera
Chris Sabga and I found The Acolytes’ mic work on RAW last week hilarious – whatever it is they are capable of, it’s not being fully exploited right now. Viscera stinks. I still hate thinking about how they fired Vader only to hire a fatter and considerably (considerably) less talented big man. I have a terrible fear that he’s going to get the pin in this match, despite the fact that he’s overrated and everyone else in there is underrated, particularly Edge.
Viscera and Gangrel started off, with the latter trying to knock the 500lber off his feet. He took the advantage and hit a splash before failing a vertical suplex. Viscera went to counter, but screwed it up the first time. Gangrel rallied and made a tag to Edge.
Viscera tags Bradshaw, who slams Edge and hits a pair of stiff Dutch Mantel – like elbows. Christian distracts Bradshaw so Edge can hit a dropkick.Christian comes in and hits a clothesline on Bradshaw as he resists Edge’s drop toe hold. Legal men are now Simmons and Christian.
Christian hits a reverse heel kick, tags Edge. Double team, Edge whips Simmons in and hits a springboard cross-body in the corner, but is quickly caught in a stiff spinebuster. Viscera comes back in, hits a shoulder block and an elbow drop for two.Simmons back in, goes for a back body but is drilled with a DDT. Christian tags in and hits a series of dropkicks on Bradshaw.Off the ropes, reversal,double duck down by Christian before he is caught in an attempted cross body and drilled with a Scott Hall like fallaway slam by Bradshaw.
The big man hits two Irish whips and follows up on the back with a bear hug. Christian escapes, but catches a boot as he comes off the ropes. Viscera tags in and hits a nice walking side slam on the smallest man in the bout and goes in for a choke. Christian goes for a crucifix, but is drilled with a Samoan drop. Simmons comes back in and goes for a headlock.
Hot crowd, pushes Christian into a fast comeback, and he hits a face slam. Hot tag buildup, Bradshaw tags in and cuts off his opponent before he can make the tag. Whip by Bradshaw, goes for a splash but is met with two feet, and again. Christian charges but is planted with a big time powerslam. Edge again makes the save. They continue to build Christian to the hot tag; he hits an inside cradle for two.
Just when the wrestling was at a passable level, Shane McMahon comes to the ring entrance with Midian. You can smell the workrate drop.
Christian is put on the top turnbuckle, but is again saved by his team mates. Gangrel comes in and hits a tornado DDT on Bradhsaw, making the hot tag. Off the ropes, Gangrel does two drop downs and a cross body (familiar sequence), but is caught before Edge helps him knock his man over.
Christian hits a frog splash for a near fall on Bradshaw. Double DDT from the second rope by Edge and Christian doesn’t get the three either. Midian runs down (wow, his workrate has improved) and DDT’s Christian on the floor, throws him in,hands his team the victory.
<> Steve Blackman vs. Droz
Blackman looks the same as always. Droz looks like a goofball – both these guys need real gimmicks, personalities, a reason to love or hate them. Not much heat here. Both this and the opener are six months old. Weird matches tonight. With Gillberg and Blackman, I almost expect Greg Valentine or the late Dino Bravo to show up .
The match is horribly bland. It’s not that the stars aren’t talented, but there was no progression, no heat and really no interest in the match at all, and nothing happened worth noting. Blackman won after ten minutes by submission.
<> Kane vs. Midian
Sleeper match of the evening; I was dreading this one, but it was somehow void of many restholds or stupid brawling. I always liked Kane more than the average critic. The match wasn’t good at all, but it just didn’t stink as badly as I thought it would. It was short and to the point, with Kane hitting the chokeslam before Shane came down with the rest of his boys to kick his butt. X-Pac eventually came in to make the save.
<> Sable vs. Tori
Sable didn’t get as big a pop as usual. Her grind one-liner is older than Jerry Lawler’s toupee. She pulled out of the match, stating she had a cold, and put Nicole Bass in her place. Bass choke slammed Tori and pinned her. It’s official. The women aren’t going to wrestle. We don’t need a match, any excuse to get Sable out there.
<> Foley got on the microphone, talking about his upcoming match. He was original and hilarious as always. He mentioned Manchester’s football team Manchester United, who today won the English premier league title (very important title in England). He mentioned that he’d talked to Davey Boy Smith earlier in the day, saying that Smith told him to go away and let him get back to sleep, as he’d forgotten about the time difference (England is five hours ahead of eastern time). Pretty entertaining.
<> Shane McMahon vs. X-Pac (European Title)
X-Pac didn’t get as big a pop as usual – he’s been buried by the bookers a bit recently. McMahon charged and was side-stepped out of the ring. Pac caught him a second time as he came in as he took a pretty good bump over the top rope to the outside again.
This was probably the best match on the card. It was annoying to see McMahon again, he was ALL OVER the event, he interjected himself into almost every match. When he wasn’t over-selling he wasn’t that bad, certainly better than a lot of wrestlers in the WWF right now. I think he’s probably better than Billy Gunn.
The ending was terrible, as usual. There were four screwjobs in a row before X-Pac finally lost the match via pinfall, thanks to the horde of associates who came out to interfere. It’s not even worth repeating, folks, you’ve seen it all before.
<> Mankind vs. Billy Gunn.
Boy does Gunn stink. He’s a hard worker, but his offence is boring as the day is long. He dominated the opening minutes of the bout with brawling which was horribly boring, and a really low workrate. Foley kept the crowd in it, as the English mob were solidly behind him.
He got into the match about eight minutes in, hit a running knee and got a chair from outside. Referee Teddy long stopped him from using it, which gave Gunn the opportunity to take the advantage again before his opponent turned a back body drop attempt into a double underhook DDT.
After the bell rang for a two count (no idea why), Mankind was drilled on the chair with the “Fame Asser”. Huge push for Billy Gunn, but judging by this match he doesn’t deserve it at all.
<> They had a brief tribute to Davey Boy Smith which is very strange – they showed some clips of him, mentioned his back injury and wished him the best.
<> Steve Austin vs. Undertaker vs. HHH
Austin and the Undertaker have now been in the ring on seventy three pay per view matches. That doesn’t include RAWs, just PPV matches.
Hunter charged at Austin in the isle, only to be clotheslined. They fought back to the rampway, where Austin slammed Hunter, before the Taker took him out from behind. Hunter looks physically a lot like Shane Douglas these days.
For some obscure reason, a fan in the audience had a sign saying “Yes, I am a Model”. You’re seven years too late, son. Hunter and Taker began teaming on Austin, choking him with microphone wires and brawling nonsensically. They eventually fought back to the ring, where Austin hit a Thez Press on HHH and then “The Phenom” again blindsided him.
They brawled around again for a while. Austin hit a vertical suplex on Hunter on the concrete. He went to Powerbomb Taker, but was backdropped. Brawling. Austin hit both guys with a chair, got a two on Hunter. Brawling. Austin was being stomped, but Hunter got in Taker’s face about sharing him (or something).Taker chokeslammed him,but Austin grabbed Taker’s legs and wishboned him off the ring post. He then took Helmsley and brawled around ringside with him too. He Rammed Hunter’s head into the steps, but he didn’t come close to hitting them.
A few minutes later, Hunter breaks up Taker’s figure four leglock, which causes a brawl between the two on the outside (which Taker dominates). Bearer threatens Chyna. Austin goes after Taker again, as does Hunter. It basically turns into a three way. Jim Ross continues to have to explain to Lawler why they break up each others’ pins.
Austin counters the Pedigree into a catapult, which Taker catches to drill Hunter with the chokeslam. Austin breaks up the pin. A few stunners later, Austin goes for the pin. The ref then stalls BIG TIME as they wait for re-enforcements in the form of The Corporate Ministry to come down. Ultimately,they’re too slow, and Taker just “recovers” and breaks the pin on Hunter himself. Ministry hits the ring to beat up Austin. “Shane McMahon had it all figured out!” screams J.R., talking about how the match was made no-holds barred. “It’s no DQ! The ref can’t do anything!”. That Shane McMahon is a genius.
X-Pac, Kane, The Brood and Mankind soon run down and turn the match into a major brawl.
Hunter holds Austin for Chyna; she does a cool back-flip, forward cartwheel into a splash only to have Austin kick her in the gut. He hits the Stunner while Hunter is sleeping,then hits HHH himself with it for the win. After the match, X-Pac and Austin beat up Chyna, Shane and Hunter, and give all three the Bronco Buster and have some beers.