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Thread: WWE In Your House: Ground Zero Review

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    In Your House WWE In Your House: Ground Zero Review

    Ground Zero
    September 7, 1997



    A historic edition of In Your House. It’s the first IYH to be three hours long and the last IYH to feature the house set. Although each IYH featured taglines, I’d say it’s at this point that the taglines became a bigger and bigger deal until the IYH name was eventually just dropped entirely.

    Brian Pillman vs Goldust w/Marlena
    If Goldust wins, Pillman must leave the WWE forever. If Pillman wins, Marlena must be with him, day and night, for thirty days. This would be a rematch from Summerslam where Goldust defeated Pillman to force him to wear a dress for a month. Perhaps it’s because my expectations for WWE era Pillman is so low, but I found this to be just fine. It wasn’t too long and even featured Pillman taking a big bump from the top rope to the outside’s steel railing. One nice thing about the program is that there’s a certain believability to it due to the story of Pillman and Marlena once dating before she was married to Goldust actually being legit. I liked the finish with a ref bump during a Curtain Call, causing there not to be a referee to count while Goldust had the pin. While Goldust was trying to revive the referee, Pillman readied to attack him from behind until Marlena jumped on the apron. Pillman went after her, but avoided a purse shot, stealing the purse to knock Goldust out with it. With that, Pillman covers Goldust to steal the victory and gain the services of Marlena. With the way the finish went down, you could easily later explain it as Marlena purposely helping Pillman to cheat when she turns on Goldust after the month, but obviously real life got in the way and Pillman would be dead before the month would even be up. It’s hardly a classic for Pillman to go out on, but it could have been worse. ** ½


    Brian Christopher vs Scott Putski
    The big pre-title Light Heavyweight Division program featured Christopher vs the son of Ivan Putski, Scott “Of course I’m a light heavyweight…” Putski. Putski had a great look, but he was still green in the ring and hardly had the style of a light heavyweight. Even Christopher was an odd choice for a division created solely to cash in on the success of WCW’s Cruiserweight Division. This match wouldn’t be any good, but thanks to Putski legitimately injuring his knee on the outside, forcing the count-out victory for Christopher, it was kept short. Christopher had a good little moveset including the top rope leg drop and Skull Crushing Finale, but to think he’s actually being booked as the #1 heel of this new Light Heavyweight Division is crazy. With this injury, Putski’s short push and run with the WWE would be over. This division hasn’t even had their first champion yet, but they’ve already lost out on the first two intended #1 babyfaces in The Great Sasaki and Scott Putski.


    Faarooq vs Crush vs Savio Vega
    The three original members of the Nation of Domination are now bitter rivals leading their own factions. I believe this is the very first triple threat match in WWE PPV history. Unfortunately, it’s not a good start to these sort of matches. I’ll be nice and just assume that the lack of experience in these sort of matches have caused all three to be unsure of what to do. As a result, there isn’t much going on. At various points, we get brief alliances, which the commentators laughably believe is a sign that one of them is set to join another’s faction. Vega and Faarooq manage one of the worst miscommunication spots I’ve ever seen as Vega delivers a neckbreaker, but while Vega intends on going counter-clockwise, Faarooq is under the impression that they’re to go clockwise. Later, there’s a spike piledriver by Crush and Vega that is so unimpressive that Jim Ross openly admits that they didn’t get much of it. The finish baffles me as Crush nails the Heart Punch on Faarooq, but Vega catches Crush with a kick to allow Vega to pin Crush to win the match. Under no circumstances did I ever think Savio had a chance in this. The winner was obviously either going to be the biggest star of the three, Faarooq, or the babyface of the match, Crush. It didn’t accomplish anything to have Vega win. A truly awful match. ¾ *

    Max Mini vs El Torito
    Before there was El Torito there was...El Torito? Unlike the 2010’s El Torito, the 90’s El Torito was a larger than normal mini that was always the heel. These two wrestled each other so many times in the WWE between 1996-1998 in various gimmicks. El Torito’s other main WWE gimmick was as Mini Vader. When it came to the flashy spots, it was flat out amazing how fast Max Mini was without even botching. The crowd got into it whenever there was comedy involved such as Max Mini being chased by the referee after biting him on the ass or when Max jumped on Jerry Lawler’s lap and wore his crown. They attempted to have a story with El Torito being the monster heel, but it was half assed. The problem with these sort of matches is that the story is never there for me. No one takes a moment to sell and at best it feels as if you’re watching a series of MOVEZ. What began as wildly exciting quickly becomes boring when you’ve already seen everything they can do within the first minute. Max Mini would pick up the pinfall after a sunset flip. ** ½


    Jim Ross is in the ring with Commissioner Slaughter. Due to Steve Austin’s injury at Summerslam, Slaughter is stripping Austin and Dude Love of the tag titles. Dude Love is brought out to hand his title over. Dude makes it clear that he couldn’t defend it on his own since Austin is the whole reason why he was a champion. Austin is then brought out. Austin gives Slaughter a hard time and teases giving him a Stunner. Austin allows Ross to say a lot of BS about how the WWE looks forward to Austin’s return before Austin shockingly gives JR a Stunner. I believe this is the iconic first Stunner of a WWE official. Slaughter would receive a Stunner the following night on Raw and McMahon would receive his first ever one on Raw from MSG later in the month. I feel as if these early Stunners against non-wrestlers do not receive enough credit for helping Austin becoming the most over talent on the roster.

    Owen Hart and The British Bulldog vs The Legion of Doom vs The Headbangers vs The Godwinns - WWE Tag Titles
    Originally, Austin and Dude were scheduled to defend the titles against Owen/Bulldog, Godwinns, and LOD in a match that is designed, I’m sure, to allow Austin to have an easy day to cope with his injury. Once it became clear that would be too much for Austin, the Headbangers were thrown in the match instead. On paper, it’d make far more sense to have Dude Love and the recent babyface turned Vader team up instead of the Headbangers. Sadly, this match was a dud. For the first two falls, Owen and Bulldog were barely ever involved. It’s rough going for those two falls with the crowd being incapable of caring about any of it. LOD are eliminated first, much to my confusion, after they thwarted a Godwinns’ attempt at using a bucket on them, and instead the referee caught LOD using the bucket on the Godwinns. The action continued with Headbangers vs Godwinns, which was even less remarkable. Headbangers did get in the best spot of the match with Thrasher jumping off of Mosh’s back over the top rope and landing on Godwinn on the outside. After a minor upset of the Headbangers eliminating the Godwinns, we finally got a chance to see Bulldog/Owen involved and...it’s still not good. There’s one really badly timed spot where Bulldog was supposed to crotch Thrasher on the top rope, but Bulldog took too long, causing Thrasher to just kill time on the top rope, looking quite foolish. Finally, the crowd comes awake when the referee is distracted as Austin runs out and lays Owen out with a Stunner to allow the Headbangers to shock everyone and pin Owen to become the NEW WWE Tag Team Champions. Without a doubt, up until the brand extension era where any two guys were given the tag titles, the Headbangers were one of the weakest teams ever to win the gold. A poor match, questionable booking, and a new pair of champions that have zero business being champions. * ½


    Bret Hart © vs The Patriot - WWE World Title
    The Patriot...really? It’s the first three hour IYH and you’re expecting fans to pay a regular PPV price rather than the lower two hour PPV IYH, but you give the fans THIS match? To set this up, The Patriot defeated Bret on Raw back in July thanks to Shawn Michaels distracting The Hitman. There’s two big hang ups with this match. The first is that The Patriot just isn’t good. Not to mention it’s 1997, The Patriot is far too much of an 80’s like babyface that the crowd isn’t into him. The other problem is that absolutely no one could believe that The Patriot had a chance at winning the belt here. To give full credit to Bret, he managed to slowly get something decent out of The Patriot. The first half was dull with The Patriot mostly in control. That caused The British Bulldog to walk down to the ring to interfere and to break up The Patriot’s cover after nailing Bret with the Uncle Slam (Ugh...his name for the Full Nelson Slam). That brought out Vader to even the odds, leading to a brawl between all four men. Despite the fact that Vader punches and even whips Bret into the steel steps in front of the referee, the referee doesn’t call for the bell. It’s after Vader and Bulldog returns to the back that there’s some fun value in the match. We saw a nearfall after the Patriot Missile (Top rope shoulder block) and The Patriot hitting the Uncle Slam for a second time. The finish saw The Patriot lock in Bret’s own Sharpshooter with Bret reversing it into his own Sharpshooter in a visual that was supposed to be seen again at Survivor Series. The Patriot tries to hang on, but is ultimately forced to submit. It’s better than I remember it being, but I can’t believe the WWE wasted two PPV matches with Bret on The Patriot. ** ¾

    The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels
    The first ever televised one-on-one match between the two. Really impressive considering they’ve been in the same company since 1990. This feud has been building since Summerslam where Michaels, the guest referee, accidentally hit Taker with a chair, leading to Bret Hart, the intended recipient of the chair, pinning Taker to win the WWE Title. This match is a bit difficult to judge and rate. The best parts of the match are what happens before the match officially began and what happened after the match ended. Before the match began, it’s a chaotic scene with HBK trying to leave, but Commissioner Slaughter refusing to let him. The first referee gets gorilla pressed over the top rope and to the floor below on top of Michaels. There’s a fun spot with Taker beating Michaels up at the IYH set with the door being locked, preventing Michaels from escaping. Once the opening bell rang, the action slowed down. They traded locks and I’m generally not as interested. Considering I am watching this so soon after Michaels/Austin KOTR ‘97, it’s a little frustrating seeing the same thing happen with everything getting out of control near the end of the match, knowing that we’re being led into another no contest. Some of this chaos includes Rick Rude coming out to throw Michaels a pair of brass knuckles, Triple H and Chyna interference, plenty of ref bumps, and both men being unable to win after hitting the other with a pair of brass knuckles. Finally, Tim White runs out and throws the match out for the finish. All of this was designed to set up the Hell in a Cell match, which it did perfectly, but having this sort of finish in the main event of an already bad PPV was not very fun. This could have easily been just a non-wrestling segment brawl rather than a main event of a PPV. It’s a great segment, but I wouldn’t personally call it a great match. ***


    After the match, Taker and DX continues their fight. Triple H gets laid out with a Tombstone. A lot of officials rush out to try and break it up, but Michaels attacks them all. That leads to many of the lowcarders to try and pull Michaels and Taker apart. From there, we witness an iconic moment as Taker, for the first time ever, dives over the top rope to land on Michaels and various other heels.

    Overall
    WWE's first ever three hour In Your House PPV was a pretty clear dud of a show. Bret Hart was put against a weak challenger and as a result, had a weaker than normal match. The Taker/Michaels match was certainly legendary, but moreso as a segment than a match. The Light Heavyweight match between Putski and Christopher, which was already bad, was made worse by the Putski injury causing it to be prematurely stopped. Owen and Bulldog's talents were wasted in a match with the Headbangers actually going over. For some inexplicable reason, stars like Mick Foley and Vader just aren't booked in matches. Even if this was a two hour IYH with a few of the weaker star power matches removed (Max Mini/El Torito, Putski/Christopher, and the tag team titles match), but you'd still have a weak show. The value of the show comes from the fact that things are starting to pick up at this beginning of the Attitude Era. The Austin stunner of Jim Ross ended up being the start of something great for Austin and Taker's crazy dive became one of his main big match spots. In Your House: Ground Zero was clearly a not a show worth spending money to watch, but with the WWE Network, you can now easily watch it if you want to watch a meaningful, but not good, show from the start of the Attitude Era.

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    Re: WWE In Your House: Ground Zero Review

    I feel like you underrated a couple of things on here. I remember us having a debate when we did the best WWE Title match vote, and I was very high on the Patriot vs Bret match to the point where I either put it on my list or was considering it. Great carryjob from Bret.

    I think the main event is legitimately great. Not so much as a match because bell to bell it's only very good, but everything before and everything after makes it so much fun - one of the best 30 minutes of PPV in 1997. In some ways I actually prefer it over HIAC. It's a great way of building to the next stage in the feud with a non-finish without making the fans feel ripped off.

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    Re: WWE In Your House: Ground Zero Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Shock View Post
    I feel like you underrated a couple of things on here. I remember us having a debate when we did the best WWE Title match vote, and I was very high on the Patriot vs Bret match to the point where I either put it on my list or was considering it. Great carryjob from Bret.
    As big of a Bret fan as I am, I've never really cared for the Patriot match. It certainly got better the longer it went on, but it was still a waste of Bret.

    I think the main event is legitimately great. Not so much as a match because bell to bell it's only very good, but everything before and everything after makes it so much fun - one of the best 30 minutes of PPV in 1997. In some ways I actually prefer it over HIAC. It's a great way of building to the next stage in the feud with a non-finish without making the fans feel ripped off.
    Surprisingly, this was my first time seeing this match. So my expectations were pretty high.

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    Re: WWE In Your House: Ground Zero Review

    This is a great review. I actually just started watching the Raw tapes from this period since they hit their 20 year anny this month, I need to renew my Network subscription to watch these PPV's. I just watched the MSG Raw from September 22nd 1997 this past Monday night, maybe one of my favorite single episodes of Raw, the WWF debut of Cactus in an excellent brawl with Tripe H and some of the loudest ECW chants in WWF, then Austin's first stunner on Vince is still one of my favorite moments in all WWF history, what a great segment.

    I actually thought they were still using the "In Your House" tag for Bad Blood. But man how awesome was Stone Cold at this time? I remember just being so into WWF during this time back in the day, it's still one of my favorite little windows in WWE history, September to the build up to Mania XIV when they were red hot but still getting their ass whooped in the ratings by WCW. The more I learn about how Nielson ratings system works the more I think they got the numbers wrong back then, it's just hard to believe that so many more people were watching Nitro when Raw was kicking so much ass. I remember telling all my non-wrestling friends at school back in the day they need to check out Raw and see this bad ass motherfucker Stone Cold Steve Austin, everybody was like "Who!?!", six months later everybody wearing rattlesnake 3:16 t-shirts everywhere. Good times man. Wrestling was so awesome.
    Last edited by ShinobiMusashi; 09-20-2017 at 07:39 AM.

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    Re: WWE In Your House: Ground Zero Review

    I just watched this last night, spot on with your match ratings. It was a surprisingly easy show to get through though for a 3 hour show, the whole segment with Austin coming out cracked me up pretty hard, the stunner on JR especially, "Well let me tell you bout a..." *stunner*.

    Taker's entrance was awesome and the match with HBK was fun. Whole show was a hell of a nostalgia trip really, I started having flashbacks when they mentioned Marilyn Manson's performance on the 97 MTV Music Video Awards on commentary, holy shit that was 20 years ago, it's amazing how old I'm getting really.



    WWF 97 was a great time but it wasn't all peaches and cream, there was a lot of bad stuff throughout the year. I never really cared for the mini's or any of the Brian Christopher/Scott Putski stuff. That 3 way with Savio/Crush/Farooq was terrible, that spinning neckbreaker! Hilarious pro wrestling botch right there. I liked the Headbangers back when I was 13 but watching the old tapes now they were trash. That 4 way would have been a great moment to put the titles on LOD with Austin coming out to help them, would have been a huge pop. LOD was still awesome during this time, their promos throughout 1997 always cracked me up too, LOD still had it in 97 and should have been pushed better.

    Good review though, I need to look up your review for One Night Only.
    Last edited by ShinobiMusashi; 09-22-2017 at 01:30 PM.

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