Welcome to the reviews of the old school (and the new school) of KB. I have been reviewing wrestling programs for more than ten years and have reviewed more than 5,000 programs. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I will post a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net, starting today. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school, indies and anything in between. Keep in mind that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don't rate matches in less than three minutes as really, how good or bad can something so short be?
In your house # 13: Final Four
Date: February 16, 1997
Location: UTC Arena, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Commenters: Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross
This show is built entirely around a four-way elimination fight for the vacant WWF title between Bret Hart, Vader, Undertaker and Steve Austin. The problem with having four best players in a single game is that it takes away the rest of the show. Fortunately, there was a fight for the title in Raw's special episode that saw newcomer Rocky Maivia bother HHH for the Intercontinental Title, which means there's a rematch tonight. Other than that, there isn't much here to say the least. Let's do it.
The opening video talks about what it means to be a WWF Champion and how the desire for the belt has changed people's lives, which means that Bret will turn to the dark side after being removed from the title in It’s Time.
Marc Mero vs. Leif Cassidy
Cassidy doesn't even have an entry. Instead, he slaps Mero in the face and is dragged by a handkerchief for his efforts. We hit the arm a little with Mero in control, but Cassidy struggles and pushes the referee before falling to the ground. Leif wraps Mero's leg around the rope but Sable goes after him, allowing Mero to return with his right hands. Back and a slingshot slingshot keeps Cassidy in trouble with Mero screaming to stay away from Sable.
Cassidy returns with a couple of kicks in the knee and Mero is in trouble. More knee kicks have Marc on the mat and Leif slaps his leg. Mero's knee crashes into the mat when fans begin to wake up a little here. Back to the leg lock when Mero's offensive stops again. Mero finally approaches and grabs a rope so that Leif continues to trample.
The leg locks continue until Mero fights and scores with an enzyiguri, creating a rollup for two. Cassidy won't have any of this on defense and puts a four-legged lock, but Sable helps Marc reach the ropes. Leif goes after Sable, so Mero dives through the ropes to get him out. Back and Marc hits him face-to-face on the mat several times before a fall from Samoa establishes the Wild Thing for the pin.
Classification: D +. I didn't hate the game and psychology was working, but the execution was pretty boring for the most part. It was more about pressuring Sable to have more spine and Mero being more protective of her, but I see no reason for this to have been in PPV. This could have been achieved in half the time on television, which causes this to fall. However, it is not a horrible game.
The former intercontinental champion, man Honky Tonk, goes out to comment while looking for a protégé.
We return to that special Raw where Shawn lost the title due to a knee injury. We see almost the entire speech, which was falling apart when his knee miraculously healed about a month after Wrestlemania. Also included is the announcement that the Final Four match will become a title match.
Sid says he doesn't feel bad for Shawn because Sid never got his chance for the title due to Shawn's injury. He will have his chance tomorrow night and will rule the world again.
Domination nation against Bart Gunn / Goldust / Flash Funk
The nation is Faarooq, Savio Vega and Crush. Bart had a game against Faarooq where the rest of the Nation interfered, so he wants revenge. The same happened to Goldust in a match with Crush, while Flash is there to put the 3-3. The Nation also includes two white rappers, Clarence Mason, and several unnamed actors who were there to make the nation look bigger in a brilliant movement.
Faarooq has something to say before the game, but Goldust jumps and starts a fight of six men. The Nation is sent to the floor, but Funk throws himself on the three fighters to get them all out. Finally we start with Goldust against Faarooq and the gold in control. Funk quickly moves away from Funk, who is caught in a thorns hunt to give control to the Nation. Funk fights and hits a fast hurricanrana trampoline, but Crush breaks it.
Bart enters to fight Crush and the Nation falls to the ground, only for Gunn to throw Funk over and all three. However, it is a bad idea to have Funk dive into all three when the three-in-one beating begins. Crush pulls out two of a belly-to-belly supplement before it is the Nation's leader who fires cannonballs on Funk's back, only for Funk to turn around and crotch Faarooq on his knees.
Goldust tries to get in, but the distraction allows Crush and Vega to shoot piledrive flash for two. Funk returns with a quick double clothesline for Vega and Faarooq, allowing Gunn to remove the tag. A powerslam gets two in Faarooq when everything breaks. Bart hits an upper rope bulldog in Faarooq, but Crush hits a guillotine ball to knock Bart out, giving Faarooq the pin.
Classification: D. This coincidence exists and that is all there is to say about it. It was a glorified pumpkin with the Nation never in real danger at all. As in the opening game, this was something that could have been on any television show and nobody would have known the difference.
Doc Hendrix asks Austin if he is worried because he has never defeated any of the other people in the Final Four game. Austin says he won the Rumble and is tired of the BS and the politics that have been holding him back because it ends tonight.
Intercontinental Title: Rocky Maivia vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley
Maivia won the Helmsley title three days ago and this is the rematch. Helmsley takes a head wrench to start before taking control with one arm and hitting Rocky in the head. Rocky trips him and hooks a hippo followed by a dropkick. There is one arm and one arm of the champion that hits Helmsley on the back of the head as revenge. Helmsley fights but is knocked down in another arm seconds later.
Rocky gets up but hits the ropes too often and is sent to the floor. A baseball slide sends Rocky to the barricade while things slow down. There is a knee drop in Rocky's head for two and we hit the chin with Helmsley putting his feet on the ropes for additional leverage. Earl Hebner breaks the hold, so Helmsley has to bring down Maivia with one knee in the face. Rocky returns with a small, fast package for two, but HHH steps on it again.
A heartbreaker gets two in the champion and returns to the chin. Rocky fights again and marks with a crossed body, but avoids a direct shot, sending Maivia back to the canvas. HHH runs her clothes again, but goes up, just to jump to the ribs. Rocky speeds things up and hits a powerslam before hitting his body crossed high by two. Maivia loads in a boot in the corner, but returns with a rotating DDT to knock them both down. Rocky returns with a facebuster and a neckbreaker, but here is Goldust to distract Helmsley. Distraction allows Maivia suplex to lower it to retain.
Classification: C-. The game was not great, but both boys would improve a lot. These two would have one of the best disputes of all time and lead the company for years to come. However, at this point, Rocky was still very young and inexperienced, which means that the game was not yet as good. Still, it is worth checking out historical purposes, if nothing else.
After the game, Goldust climbs on his apron when a woman too muscular approaches the barricade to drown Marlena. This woman would soon be revealed as Chyna, whom we will reach soon. Security takes women when Goldust demands that they imprison her.
Vader, now managed by Paul Bearer, promises to win the title and go through the other three men to do so.
Tag titles: Doug Furnas / Phillip LaFon vs. British Bulldog / Owen Hart
Furnas and LaFon are a team of smaller but very strong boys who fought mainly in Japan, but they are here to try to give the tag team division a bit of life. This should be very good. During the entry, Owen sneaks in front of Bulldog to make sure he is the center of attention, which is partly what separated Shawn and Diesel. Owen also eliminated Bulldog from the Rumble to promote the potential division.
Furnas and Hart set things in motion with Doug grabbing an arm. To LaFon, which counteracts a monkey pull on a sunset for two before putting Hart on a leg bar. Bulldog enters and forearms Phillip instead of accepting a handshake. A spinning kick gets two for LaFon, but Owen gets a cheap shot from behind, allowing a double team by the champions. Owen legally enters with a switch for two before he returns to Bulldog. Smith also walks away, but gets caught in a sunset, only for Owen to distract the referee to avoid a close fall.
Hart's sniper attempt is kicked, but it still blocks a tag attempt. Before Bulldog enters and lifts LaFon with a champion's leg lock, Owen adds a cross body for a good combined movement. The referee yells at Bulldog when Phillip rolls Owen, but the Bulldog comes in to flip the small package. While they put him back in the corner, Furnas enters and turns him over again to give LaFon two.
LaFon hits the champions' heads and Owen accidentally spins Bulldog in the face, which increases the tension even more. Bulldog turns off Owen and LaFon gets two of a splash of top rope. The hot label brings Furnas for a dropkick and suplex belly to belly, since everything is broken. A DDT and a legdrop get two over Owen, but he returns with the enzyiguri to Furnas.
The double tag brings LaFon vs. Bulldog with Davey throwing the smallest man. LaFon gets a sunset spin for two when everything breaks again with the champions being thrown together. Bulldog drops LaFon's face first on the buckle and loads the powerslam, only for Owen to enter with his Slammy award and hit LaFon for the unnecessary DQ.
Classification: YES-. This was really good, but the end was for the development of the story instead of the end of the good game. LaFon and Furnas are guys who have grown up with me over the years and this is one of their best games in the WWF. Owen and Bulldog were guys who could work well with anyone and when you give them people with talent to work, the games were always going to work well.
After the game, the champions discuss and Bulldog breaks the Slammy, but they finally compensate him, although the tension is still there.
Undertaker says he has his advantage and will take the title tonight.
We recap the main event. Again, these are the last four in the Rumble, but the end was a disaster that the only way to solve it is this Final Four match, which is now a title because Shawn loses the title.
WWF World Title: Bret Hart vs. Vader vs. Steve Austin vs. Undertaker
This has some unique rules, since it is a style of elimination with eliminations coming from pinfall, shipments or on the top rope with both feet hitting the floor. Other than that, everything goes. The undertaker and Vader do it while Austin is hit in the corner. Undertaker chases Bret before hitting Austin as well before getting VERY risky with Old School. Vader returns with a belly-to-belly supplement in Undertaker, but the dead man sits.
The two monsters fight to the ground, which means they are still in the game. Vader's chair shot hits the post instead of Undertaker before the dead man returns it to Vader's face. Undertaker sends Vader to the steps, opening it before hitting the cut. Both are heading in, where Bret has been working on Austin's back to join the fight. Now it's Vader hitting Undertaker's face while Austin separates Bret from a dream. Undertaker strangles Vader, but Austin tests a Stunner, only for Undertaker to turn to the side, which makes him a neck breaker.
Bret hits Vader, but the monster hits him and they head outside. Undertaker hits Austin in the corner, but Steve returns with a neck breaker. Vader hits Bret on the back with a chair a couple of times, since his eye only sheds blood. The four boys are on the floor with Undertaker as Austin's backdrop in the concrete. Undertaker chases Bret while Vader goes to the ground to hit Austin. Steve sends Vader to the steps and drops them on Vader's back when Undertaker gets two in Bret through something we couldn't see.
Bret takes over and goes after the bury's knee when Vader sends Austin to the barricade. This match is really difficult to summon with everything that is happening. Austin hits Vader with the belt several times, but Vader defends himself and drags Bret to the ground for no apparent reason. Austin tries to leave the top in Undertaker, but gets nervous when Vader and Bret fight down the hall. Vader is sent to the crowd and Undertaker gets a count of two in Austin. Undertaker tries to throw Austin for the first time, but Austin returns with a clothesline for two.
Sid is looking back while Vader puts Bret in a sniper of all things on the floor. Austin separates him for no apparent reason, so Bret chases Steve in retaliation. Undertaker hits Austin, but Bret wants something from the dead man, which allows Austin to hit Thesz Press in Vader and shoot even more right hands. Undertaker chases Austin, but Bret drops Undertaker, leaving Hart as the only man standing. Vader hits a pretty clothesline in Undertaker while Bret hits a handsome pile driver for two in Austin.
The 450 lb Vader loses a moon jump over Undertaker, shooting the crowd even more. The monsters head to the ground to fight even more, since Vader's eyes look horrible. Austin tries to throw Bret over the rope, but Bret saves himself and hits Steve when Vader drowns with Undertaker. Bret sticks some elbows in Austin's face for two, but Undertaker goes after Austin instead. Hart returns with a low blow to Vader, sending the blood to his chest in a terrifying image.
Austin steps on Undertaker, but the dead man tries to put him as a backdrop on the ground. Vader tests an arm of all things in Bret while Austin has Undertaker on the top rope and on the apron, but it seems that Austin hurt his knee in the process. Keep that in mind when it comes into play later. Bret goes after Austin, since Steve can barely stand up. Not that it matters, since he is expelled only a few seconds later.
Back in the ring and Undertaker splashes Vader in the corner, so Bret goes after the dead man and Vader helps him, sending Undertaker under the ropes and to the floor. Bearer gets an urn shot for Undertaker when Vader goes up, just to be superplex down. Vader's face is covered in blood now.
There is a sniper for Vader, but Undertaker breaks it by instinct. Cue Austin to go after Bret and send him to the post. Back inside, Vader loads the Vader Bomb, but Undertaker stands up and turns it off, leaving us with two men. Undertaker chokeslams Bret and loads the tombstone, but Austin breaks it. Undertaker goes after him, which allows Bret to get a cumulative package for two. Bret knocks away in Austin before throwing Undertaker's clothes to the floor for victory and title.
Classification: A. This is such a unique coincidence that I am surprised that they have never used the rules again. The key to the game was to keep the matches moving, giving you a series of matches instead of the same guys fighting over and over again. Vader's eyes looked HORRIBLE and made the game much better. As for Austin's knee injury, he was supposed to win the title here and lose it with Sid the following night thanks to Bret, but the knee injury changed things.
Sid goes out to look at Bret to close the show.
General rating: YES-. Like Mind Games, when you have a game that lasts thirty minutes of a 105-minute program, it is difficult to call the program a failure at all. The coincidence of the label title also helps a lot, giving you two very solid matches out of five and nothing was really bad, so this is probably the best overall show so far. However, things would improve much soon.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for more than thirty years and has watched more than 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling critic since 2009 with more than 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his job at kbwrestlingreviews.comor check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. His latest book is KB & # 39; s Complete 2004 Monday Night Raw Reviews.
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