Sunny comes out at the beginning of the Free-For-All (yes, I did remember for a change...) and hypes the main event cage match. She throws it to Michael Cole (Pettingill wannabe) who is standing at Shawn Michaels' dressingroom door - he then passes it to Doc Hendrix who shows us a clip of the Harts attacking Vader a while back. In the clip the Patriot runs to the rescue and gets the same treatment as his fat friend... the rest of it is just hype - no free matches on this PPV. Everything is normal and then...
Vince McMahon breaks into the broadcast and announces that Brian Pillman is dead!! He was found dead in his hotel room this afternoon! No details are forthcoming.
Doc is on the arena floor now and in the midst of his promo thing when the Hitman's music interrupts him. The Harts come out and Bret rants for about 5 minutes.
More promo clips then we are back with Cole who goes into the dressingroom. Michaels and company humiliate him, throw him in the shower and douse him. HH interviews HBK who rants about the Undertaker and other matches. Doc interviews Owen about the fact that Austin is in the building. Austin then appears on the TitanTron to answer Owen's rant.
Doc goes into the cage and talks about honoring Hall of Fame wrestlers tonight. He is interrupted by the Undertaker this time - UT's rant is directed at HBK, of course.
Oops! Time for the actual program.
Live from St. Louis, MO
NOD (Rocky Maivia/D'Lo/Kama) vs. Road Warriors - Ken Shamrock was supposed to be the third member of the face team but he is on the shelf temporarily. So we get a handicap match. LOD actually has a considerable experience and teamwork advantage in this contest despite the numbers. They dominate the action from the beginning of the match. McMahon mentions Pillman again at the beginning of this match but still offers no details and, in fact, says there won't be any before tomorrow morning. In the ring the Warriors still continue to set the pace. Maivia has to sneak into the ring and deliver an illegal DDT on Animal in order to grab the initiative for his team. Now Animal is getting creamed for several minutes. Hawk finally gets tagged in but the referee missed it and ejects him. Animal is still in trouble. He is in against Maivia when he gets the tag again and the referee sees it this time. In moments they have D'Lo ready for the Doomsday Device. But Faarooq distracts Animal, who leaves the ring and his partner. NOD storms the ring and Animal is overwhelmed and pinned.
Mosaic/Tarantula vs. Max Mini/Nova - Mini-match (Luche Libre rules) - this is the substitute for the Pillman/Dude Love match that was supposed to have taken place. As usual in these matches, the smaller team dominates the action - mostly by ducking out of the way of their lumbering opponents. As the match goes on the larger guys begin to press their size advantage. At one point Tarantula brings Max Mini out and drops him face first on the broadcast table (practically in Vince's lap). Eventually Max returns the favor by pinning him.
Headbangers vs Godwins - Tag Team Title match - for a change there is an actual question about which is the better team. Usually I have to say the Godwins have the best teamwork in most cases. But this young team stands right up there with them in terms of continuity and sticking to the gameplan. The initiative shifts back and forth throughout the match. The Headbangers have the speed advantage and make good use of it, the Godwins are relying on their superior power and have a skoash more cunning then their opponents. As the match wears on (it is a long contest because neither team makes many mistakes) the Godwins appear to have the upper hand. Uncle Cletus (Tony Anthony) is getting involved out on the floor. Phineous finally makes the error that allows Thrasher to get a tag. Mosh cleans house and all the Godwins plans go awry. It looks like the Headbangers are on their way back when suddenly, Phineous redeems himself by catching Mosh in midair and powerbombing him for the pin - afterward they trounce their vanquished opponents. The officials have to threaten to reverse the decision to get them to leave the ring area. Godwins are the new champs.
Legends Presentation - Gene Kiniski is welcomed to the ring and they show a video profile on him. Back in the ring JR gives him a plaque. Next, Jack Brisco is so honored then Dory Funk Jr., Harley Race , Terry Funk, Lou Thesz and finally Sam Muchnick.
Rather abruptly we switch to Doc who interviews NOD. Then Vince makes a slightly more detailed statement about Brian Pillman. He mentions the possibility of a drug overdose...
Faarrooq vs. Owen Hart - Intercontenental Title Tournament Final - Owen has new music for his entrance. Then Steve Austin's music plays and he is introduced to come in and present the IC Title belt at the end of the match. Slaughter makes sure that he takes a seat. But then he pops up and grabs McMahon's headset. He makes a statement then hands the headset back. The crowd is chanting "Owen Sucks!" as the match begins. Now Austin has the King's headset and is menacing him. Oh yeah...the match...in the ring there is a standoff - both competitors are being very carefull. Owen takes the early advantage and works on the knee of his opponent. Austin has one of the Spanish announcer's headset. He menaces Tito Santana and Pedro Morales then goes and questions Ray Rougeau for a while. In the ring Faarooq has made a comeback. McMahon is complaining about Austin's antics drawing attention away from the match. Jim Neidhart runs down to the ring and jumps up on the apron to distract the referee and Slaughter. Austin gets up and brains Faarooq with the Title belt! Owen quickly pins him and is the new champ. Austin stalks away from the ringside area.
Los Boricuas vs. DOA - this is another impromptu match to fill time lost because of the death of Pillman. We haven't actually seen the DOA around for a while. The match is a brutal affair with a lot of high impact action. I have to confess I don't care at all what the outcome is... The action goes out to the floor but the referee nips that in the bud. Back in the ring Chainz is getting mugged by some devastating quadruple-teaming. Crush finally gets tagged in and cleans house which draws everybody into the ring. It shakes out to inside/outside action until Crush gets the pin on Miguel with an assist from Chainz.
Flag Match - Bret Hart/British Bulldog vs. Patriot/Vader - the Flag capture option is added at the last minute as a way to win the match. Vader uses the word B*llsh*t in his pre-match rant - Vince apologizes for him. The fight starts out on the floor ringside. The Patriot uses his flagpole to attack the enemy! They separate into pairs - Brett/Vader - Patriot/Bulldog and brawl seemingly without constraint. The match has not officially begun. The good guys are in the ring - the bad guys out when the bell finally rings and the match is underway. The Patriot outwrestles the Bulldog to start the match then tags in Vader. Vader dominates both his opponents until the Harts pull off a doubleteam to put him down. But they can't hold him down and he regains the advantage. Both sides tag out. We're back to square one and the Patriot is back in charge. He attempts go after his flag but is prevented from reaching it. Bulldog makes an attempt at his flag with similar results. Meanwhile Bret is dragging the Patriot over to the ringpost to put that strange figure four on. The Harts continue to dominate the next several minutes until Vader uses his weight advantage to overcome his opponent's momentum and becomes the aggressor. The match is much slowed down now, the action is see-saw. Everybody seems to want to try a sharpshooter tonight! Even Vader starts to put one on Bret but can't figure it out. Vader goes up for a Vaderbomb on the Bulldog changes his mind and continues to the top to throw a moonsault. Only then he realises that his opponent isn't in position far enough from the corner. So he throws a back flip and lands on his feet, then wades in with body shots in the corner. JR tries to convince us that Vader saw his opponent moving "in mid air" and changed from a moonsault to a flip (right...) A fan runs into the ring and has to be ejected - Bulldog gets in some kicks to his chest. In the midst of chaos Bret Hart reverses a roll-up and pins the Patriot. Afterwards the Patriot show a fit of temper as he attacks Bret Hart.
The cage is lowered onto the ring as the announcers tell us what a great cage it is. Doc Hendrix interviews Shawn Michaels with his cronies. They cut away before HHH gets to say anything. We get a video review of the events leading up to this main event.
Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker - Cage Match - the cage is highly unusual, it sits on the floor and allows the contenders to walk outside the ring. The match is a brutal one as expected. The fight goes out to the floor soon after the beginning. Here the unusual nature of the cage comes into play. Rebounding off the cage to the floor looks a lot more painfull then the usual way. Shawn is the aggressor, using the ring steps as a weapon then later retrieving a chair from under the ring. He collides with a cameraman and ends up assaulting the poor fellow. When Sgt. Slaughter enters the cage to help the cameraman he leaves the gate open - before you know it the match has escaped!! It goes on outside the cage now. Michaels is smashed into the cage and is bleeding from the forehead. He climbs the cage to escape - the Undertaker follows and the match goes on up there!! Michaels tries to climb down the other side - UT steps on his hands and he falls onto one of the broadcast tables.
The officials finally get the match back in the ring just in time for UT's long lost brother Kane to show up and disrupt everything. He tears the door off the cage, confronts and then Tombstones the Undertaker. Michaels crawls over and gets the pin. His cohorts then come in and cart him away. UT is struggling to rise as we fade to black.
Obviously, the death of Brian Pillman threw things off considerably but all in all not too bad.
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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