Hello and welcome to another edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews, the only wrestling review series on the internet that will never freak out about a tier list. It’s WWF In Your House: Final Four! With Shawn Michaels capturing the WWF Championship at The Royal Rumble, Shawn Michael would lose his smile and now the WWF Championship has been vacated. It could be Bret Hart, The Undertaker, Vader or Stone Cold Steve Austin. 4 men doing battle for the WWF Championship, that’s all we are given going into this one so I guess we will see what is going to happen on the Road to Wrestlemania!
Marc Mero W/ Sable vs Leif Cassidy
Cassidy gets another chance to shine, last time it was with Flash Funk and this time it’s Marc Mero. Slap from Mero, arm-drag and make it two. Mero continues to work the arm of Cassidy who cannot catch a break here, Cassidy is shoved down again and again by Mero. The story here so far is Mero is a little more aggressive than before, perhaps a change of character. Cassidy lures Mero to the floor with Sable saving her husband. Mero lands a slingshot leg-drop for two, Mero talks trash in the corner with right hands before Cassidy goes to the knee. Basement dropkicks from Cassidy, perfect pinpoint attacks from Cassidy. Mero tries fighting back, Cassidy trips up Mero and applies a heel-hook.
Cassidy releases the hold but continues punishing the leg, Mero’s leg is driven into the mat. Mero begins brawling back, Cassidy thwarts his comeback with a massive elbows to the knee. Another variation of a heel hook with Cassidy, Mero continues to struggle to stay in this match. Mero fights back one more time with massive rights, enzuigiri that floors Cassidy. Oklahoma roll for two, Cassidy lands a shin-breaker and a big figure four from Cassidy. Mero makes it to the ropes thanks to Sable’s help, Cassidy is going after Sable. Slap from Sable, suicide dive from Mero. Rights on the floor, two mat-slams and Cassidy is rammed off the buckle, Samoan drop and it looks like it’s time for The Wild Thing. It lands and Mero wins!
A cold opening match for sure, don’t blame the crowd too much here though with Mero sliding down the card month after month and Cassidy being nothing of note on television at the time. Another odd dynamic to this one is of course the heelish behaviour from Mero and Sable, we have another heel vs heel match which really does not do any favours for the fans who are unsure of who to cheer throughout. Solid work from Cassidy and good selling from Mero but little reason to care about this match, one of he weaker opening matches I have seen in the WWF on an In Your House PPV.
Winner: Marc Mero over Leif Cassidy via Wild Thing!
Nation of Domination vs Flash Funk/Goldust/Bart Gunn
Well this is an interesting one for sure, I thought Ahmed Johnson would continue his feud with Faarooq here but we have a sort of random six-man tag with Bart Gunn, Flash Funk and Goldust taking on The Nation of Domination. Savio Vega is here in The Nation with Crush and Faarooq, can’t say I saw that coming but I don’t have an issue with it as Savio had been directionless for a while. We start hot with a brawl, the babyfaces clear out the heels. Funk gets the shine with a massive crossbody to the floor before Crush and Savio get in two cheap shots.
Faarooq and Goldust are legal, Goldust slams Faarooq’s head into the mat. Tag to Funk, spinebuster counter from Faarooq. Tag to Savio, Funk lands a corner clothesline before Bart Gunn sends Funk to the floor with a crossbody but The Nation catch Funk and batter the babyface. Savio lands a big back body-drop, Crush is in the ring with big headbutts and punches. Belly to belly suplex for two, tag to Faarooq. Measured right hand by Faarooq, Faarooq slaps and drops his weight on Funk’s back. Funk counters with a knee to Faarooq’s nether regions, Savio smacks Goldust in the face as Crush lands a spike piledriver on Funk for a close two. Headbutt from Crush, tag to Faarooq. Funk lands a double clothesline on Faarooq & Savio, could it be hot-tag time?
Tag to Bart, Bart clotheslines and hammer everything in sight. Faarooq eats a powerslam for two as Savio saves, in comes Goldust and Funk. Bart avoids the dominator, diving top rope bulldog from Bart but Crush leg-drops Bart on the back of the head and Faarooq steals the pin.
The easiest pay-day of Goldust’s career? The man hardly did a thing but all jokes aside, an interesting and controversial angle continues to gather steam with a win but I have to think plans changed with Ahmed Johnson suffering another form of injury that keeps us from having another encounter between the two.
Winners: The Nation of Domination over Team Flash Funk via Leg-Drop!
(WWF Intercontinental Championship Match) Rocky Maivia © vs Hunter Hearst Helmsley
Just months into his WWF Career and Rocky Maivia captured the WWF intercontinental championship from the clutches of Helmsley. The questionable booking of the championship continues with the title being passed around between Helmsley, Mero and Goldust as Ahmed Johnson’s injury continues to mess up the WWF. Helmsley wants to destroy Rocky who captured the championship on Thursday Raw Thursday.
Helmsley lost his championship due to underestimating the champion, will it happen again? Helmsley grabs the headlock, Rocky tries a drop toehold but Helmsley counters, applies his own and slaps the head of Rocky. They trade holds with Rocky landing a hip-toss, dropkick and a deep arm-drag. Rocky slaps the head of Helmsley who drags Rocky to the corner by the hair, they both slap one another. Helmsley backs away, Rocky lands a big back body-drop. Helmsley escapes the arm-bar and sends the champion to the floor, baseball slide and scoop slam on the floor from the challenger. Helmsley poses as Rocky struggles to make it back into the ring, Helmsley lands a massive elbow to the throat of Rocky who was hanging off the apron.
Rope guillotine from Helmsley, beautiful suplex from Helmsley. Knee drop from Helmsley for two, Helmsley applies the sleeper and uses the ropes for leverage behind the back of the referee. Hebnar kicks away Helmsley’s feet before Rocky almost steals the win with a small package again, nice call-back. Back-breaker for two, Rocky fights out but misses a dropkick as Helmsley holds onto the ropes. Rocky dodges the knee drop, eye rake from Helmsley. Whip to the buckle by Rocky, Helmsley misses a boot but connects with the clothesline. Helmsley climbs to the top rope, Rocky counters with a gut punch. Inverted atomic drop, right hands by Rocky. Helmsley flips out of the buckle, hard right-hand from Rocky.
Powerslam from Rocky, Diving Crossbody from Rocky for a close two. Helmsley begs off in the corner, ten punches from Rocky before a stun-gun into the buckle and Helmsley uses the ropes for leverage and gets a two. Irish whip by Helmsley but Rocky counters with a float-over DDT for two. Facebuster from Helmsley, neck-breaker too. Goldust tells Helmsley to kiss his ass as The Bizarre One is at ringside and Rocky steals the win with a German suplex!
Well it was solid for sure, the crowd hasn’t turned on Rocky yet and Helmsley was always fun to watch before his punishment due to The Kliq Incident. Neither man are on fire right now but they need the right angle and the right character change and it will be fine, we get to see something amazing here though as Chyna debuts choking the life out of Marlena at ringside, who was that Amazon? Who could she be? What’s going on? Helmsley might have an ace up his sleeve and what an ace it could be! Anyways, this was solid and better than anything I have seen so far on this card.
Winner: Rocky Maivia over Hunter Hearst Helmsley via German Suplex!
(WWF Tag Team Championship Match) Doug Furnas & Phil Lafon vs The British Bulldog & Owen Hart © W/ Clarence Mason
Continuing problems between Owen Hart & Bulldog leave a big cloud over this match, why is Clarence Mason still with these two? I thought Mason would take over from Cornette but Vader left the group and I honestly don’t see why he’s here. Anyways we actually have a babyface tag team who are credible against the heel champions.
Owen and Furnas start, great athletics with Furnas landing two deep arm-drags. Tag to Lafon, who shows some interesting leg-locks and transitions as Owen reaches the ropes. Owen tags Bulldog, Bulldog elbows Lafon. Lafon lands a knee, spinning sunset flip from Lafon. Bulldog eats a spinning heel kick from Lafon, Owen cheap-shots Lafon from the apron. Furnas complains and the champions double-team Lafon. Eye rake from Owen, Bulldog gets in some cheap-shots. Uppercut from Owen, Lafon sends Owen to the buckle who counters with a middle rope crossbody but Lafon rolls through for two. Eye-rake from Owen and a massive gut-wrench suplex for two. Back-breaker for two, tag to Bulldog. Double clothesline and wishbone-split, Bulldog stomps all over Lafon.
Lafon and Bulldog are in now with Bulldog landing a massive clothesline, stomp and tag to Owen. Lafon kicks off Owen to dodge a sharpshooter, Owen works the leg with stomps over and over. Bulldog waffles Furnas on the apron, Owen and Bulldog combine for a suplex/crossbody for two. Owen ducks his head off an Irish whip, small package reversals all around with the referee failing to keep control. Owen and Bulldog have words, Lafon is tripped by Bulldog. Owen nails Bulldog with a spinning heel kick by mistake, they have words again and slaps with Bulldog clotheslining Owen. Lafon lands a top rope splash with Bulldog saving Owen at the last second.
Furnas comes in, massive dropkick for two. Belly to belly suplex for two, tag to Lafon. Double back body-drop, two for Lafon. Northern Lights suplex from Lafon, Furnas lands a hurricanrana with Bulldog saving the match. Lafon and Bulldog brawl, superkick/lariat/DDT combination from the challengers for a close two. Owen escapes a suplex and wallops Furnas with a massive enzuigiri. Bulldog gets the tag, clearing the house with clotheslines and dropkicks. Lafon has the victory-roll for two, the match breaks down. Bulldog and Owen bang heads, Lafon covers Bulldog for a close two. Whip to the buckle, monkey flip is countered with Lafon eating a stun-gun, Bulldog wanted the Powerslam but Owen nailed Lafon with the slammy. Owen costs his team the match due to his actions.
Very good tag-team match, nice to have two teams who have chemistry and can work well together, it has been sorely lacking in the WWF at the time. I was sick to death of the heel vs heel dynamic and I mean how can you not find opponents for one of your most entertaining acts in Bulldog & Owen Hart? I really think the WWF did not appreciate what they had in these two, I am sure of it! Would love to see another match between these two, they were entertaining at Survivor Series and on this night, they kicked some serious ass. Lafon & Furnas tore it up in All Japan and Bulldog & Owen can go too so you have a kick-ass tag team match that continues the dissension angle between te two.
Winners: Phil Lafon & Doug Furnas over Owen Hart & The British Bulldog via DQ!
(WWF Championship Match) The Undertaker vs Vader W/ Paul Bearer vs Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Bret Hart
Shawn Michaels had given up the WWF Championship, losing his smile and putting a wrench in the plans for Wrestlemania. Austin would win The Royal Rumble but Austin had originally been tossed out of the rumble by Bret Hart so the rumble was considered null and void with these four men now doing battle for the WWF Championship. The other interesting part to this match is that Sycho Sid, the former WWF Champion is waiting in the wings on Monday Night Raw. You can win this match by pin-fall, submission or tossing your opponent over the top rope just like the Rumble.
We are guaranteed a new WWF Champion but who will it be? Austin and Bret, no surprise there. Undertaker and Vader too brawl, flying clothesline from The Deadman as Bret tees-off on Austin. Taker is out for blood, Taker takes out Bret and wants old school on Austin. Austin is flattened, Vader lands a belly to belly suplex on Taker. Vader knocks Taker to the floor, Vader lands many blows to the ribs before Taker boots the chair back into the face of Vader. Austin elbows Bret for a two, Vader is sent hard into the steel steps. Vader is bleeding, Bret lands a back-breaker on Austin. Bret slaps a sleeper on Austin who counters with a jaw-breaker for two. Taker catches Vader, Chokeslam on Vader.
Stunner on Taker, two for Austin. Vader clobbers Bret for two, Austin tees off on Taker who reverses the hold. Rights and lefts by Taker, Vader smashes The Hitman with a chair to the spine. Austin wants a piledriver on the floor but Taker reverses for a back-drop, Bret clotheslines Vader. Taker suplexes Bret into the ring while Austin and Vader brawl on the floor, Austin dumps steel steps onto Vader who is bleeding from his eye badly. Bret goes after the knee of Taker, Bret elbows and elbows the knee while Vader smacks Austin into the guardrail. Austin cracks Vader with the championship, both men are brawling by the announce table. Taker clotheslines Bret down, Vader drags Bret to the ring-apron.
Austin and Taker are in the ring, Taker leg-drops Austin while Bret sends Vader over the guardrail into the crowd. Austin lands a diving clothesline on Taker for two while Sid watches on, Vader has Bret in the sharpshooter while Austin stomps the neck of The Hitman. Taker and Bret pummel Austin, they are all brawling by the ringside area. Lou Thesz Press from Austin on Vader, there have been many close-ups of Vader’s face throughout this match, they love that blood.
Bret piledrivers Austin for a close, two Vader wants a Vader-Bomb! Vader goes all the way up though, Taker dodges the moonsault. Bret tees-off in the corner with right hands on The Rattlesnake, Vader is choked with a camera cable. Bret lands a fist-drop on Austin for two, Vader and Taker trade control with right hands all around. Austin rolls-up Bret for two, Vader and Bret are slugging it out with Vader winning the war before a massive low-blow from The Hitman. Austin yanks Taker into the ring-post by his jewels, Russian leg-sweep by Bret on Vader for two. Vader is throwing haymakers on Bret while Austin survives being thrown over the top rope because we need a reminder of that stipulation.
Vader and Taker are brawling again, Bret is slugging it out with Austin. Bret dumps out Austin with little to no drama, big reaction from the crowd for the elimination. Vader zeroes in on a struggling Hitman, Taker clubs Vader from behind. Whip to the buckle, corner splash from The Deadman. Bret headbutts Taker, Taker battles back with headbutts of his own. Vader chop-blocks the life out of Taker, great move from Vader. Paul Bearer gets involved to take out Taker while Bret superplexes Vader in the middle of the ring. Bret slaps on The Sharpshooter, Taker clotheslines The Hitman down. Austin is here attacking Bret, no surprise there.
Vader slams Taker in the middle of the ring, Austin sends Bret into the ring-post hard. Vader is low-blowed out of the ring after attempting a Vader-Bomb, Taker dumped out his arch-rival with Bret running into a massive Chokeslam from The Deadman. Undertaker calls for his finish, Austin will not give up. Austin almost pulls out Bret, Bret rolls-up Taker for two. Bret pummels Austin , Taker hammers Austin but Bret dumps out Taker with a clothesline.
A lot to talk about in this match, the first being the monster reaction for The Deadman. Nobody was more popular than Undertaker in this match, the crowd reacted big to everything The Deadman did, especially dumping out Vader and that Chokeslam to Bret Hart. The world was ready for the reign of The Deadman, Vader battles through an impressive injury for the majority of the match, blood pours out of just under his eye. Gives a great amount of drama and feel to the match with the blood just gushing out and this monster powering through the injury to slap the heads of all around him. I thought there was a lot of downtime in this though, like an actual rumble. Fair few times where they just paired-off and nothing really happened of note, don’t know why they decided to kickstart the match and have nowhere to go from there. Austin’s elimination was odd, I expected it to happen at the hands of Bret but not like that, it was unexpected considering Austin just survived an attempt from Taker and looked to be catching his breathe. Nonetheless, when the match was firing on all cylinders, it was enjoyable and dramatic for sure. Odd way for Taker to lose though, Bret did not duck Taker’s attack making Taker look like an imbecile when watching it back but The Hitman stands tall at the end of a very entertaining match at times!
Winner: Bret Hart!
That was WWF’s In Your House: Final Four, a good In Your House PPV from the WWF with all three championship matches ranging from solid to entertaining. The show kicks off with a less than stellar encounter between heel Leif Cassidy and a heelish Marc Mero, not a fan of Mero’s work in the WWF with him being inconsistent and sliding up and down the card due to injuries while Cassidy isn’t being given much of a role on TV to shine so the crowd is less than receptive to the match with neither man drawing reactions from the crowd that you would want for a hot opening match. Wild Thing still looks great though and we march on through to a six-man tag that seems thrown together with Ahmed Johnson out of the picture so The Nation pick up the win over a team where Goldust does hardly anything and Flash’s entrance is longer than the man’s involvement in the match itself.
Things change though as Rocky and Helmsley have quite the competitive match for the Intercontinental Championship with Helmsley no longer underestimating the younger rookie. Would have been nicer to see Rocky come out on top without the distraction from Goldust to establish Rocky as a credible champion and not just a fluke winner but with Helmsley’s booking over the past number of months, I don’t know who you would consider a worthy holder of the championship except for one of the men in contention for the world championship. Regardless, the match is solid with Helmsley showing what he can do given the right opponent while Rocky proves to be more than reliable as a babyface, imagine what they will be like in 3 years in time! The tag team championship match is also enjoyable with 4 very good workers showing how tag team wrestling should be done without the heel vs heel dynamic, Lafon & Furnas have an interesting style with a lot of what they did in All Japan being carried over to the WWF, it can be hit and miss but when they start busting out suplexes, superkicks and cool DDT combinations I am all for I while Owen is a tremendous little shit inside that ring while Bulldog brings the power. The main event brings tonnes of excitement with little moments of brilliance from all four involved, there is a downturn in the action mid-way through that makes the match drag a little but once we hit the home-stretch, it’s all guns blazing and the fans get their money’s worth on this night with a new WWF Champion. Good start to 1997 so far, Taker is climbing up in popularity once more and there is a new star in Stone Cold Steve Austin, things could be finally getting better for the WWF. Thanks for reading and remember: there’s always another night!