WWF: No Way Out! (of Texas) – In Your House XX

WWFNWO_98

WWF: No Way Out! (of Texas) – In Your House XX
February 15, 1998
Houston, TX
Compaq Center

The current WWF champs are as follows:
World Champion: Shawn Michaels (11/9/1997)
Intercontinental Champion: The Rock (12/8/1997)
World Tag Team Champions: The New Age Outlaws (11/24/1997)
European Champion: Owen Hart (1/26/1998)
Light Heavyweight Champion: TAKA Michinoku (12/7/1997)

FREE FOR ALL: Dok Hendrix announces that Shawn Michaels is out of the main event due to a back injury. What Dok doesn’t tell us is that he was diagnosed on Wednesday as having two herniated discs in his back. Is it possible Shawn was supposed to take the Stone Cold Stunner and do the job here? Hmm. So who will be his replacement? Hendrix says DX always has a plan and the possibilities of Shawn’s replacement is mind-boggling if you think about it. If you don’t think about it, is it supposed to be easy? Anyways, the main event has now been changed to an anything goes brawl one fall to a finish just like we like it in Texas.

We go to Michael Cole to hype the War of Attrition ten-man tag between the Disciples of Apocalypse, Ken Shamrock, and Ahmed Johnson against the Nation of Domination.

Sunny interviews Vader. Classic stuff. Just as he asks Sunny what time it is, she says it’s about fifteen minutes until the PPV. And hey look, there’s Road Warrior Hawk walking through the door behind them. Whoops. What’s he even doing here in full makeup? He’s not booked.

Elsewhere, Jim Cornette is shown talking to fans on America Online as some nerd types for him. Corny doesn’t seem to be in a good mood. He’s probably getting trolled by the Young Bucks.

After some more promo videos, Michael Cole gets to interview the New Age Outlaws. They watch what they did to Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie again for a good laugh. Cole seems pretty nervous around them, but then he gets SUPER nervous when he sees a chainsaw cutting through the door. To be fair, the Outlaws look pretty nervous as well.

Before we start the PPV, Dok Hendrix brings out Triple H and Chyna. Naturally, he wants to know who the replacement is for Shawn Michaels. That’s when Hunter’s phone goes off (how did the ringer go over the loudspeaker?). Hendrix gets a little too close to him and we never find out any information.

Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. GOOD GOD THERE’S PEOPLE IN THERE.

  • The Headbangers vs. Marc Mero & TAFKA Goldust (w/Luna Vachon)

Goldust – or Marilyndust – comes out to a bare bones version of “Beautiful People” now. When Sable gets too much love from the audience, Mero sends her backstage. Even when she’s gone, the crowd can’t seem to get her off their minds. Mero starts off with Mosh and punishes him with his jabs. Mosh avoids a corner charge and clotheslines Mero to the floor for them to regroup. Back in, Goldust tags in and he’s quickly under the control of the Headbangers. Thrasher drops Mosh on top of him from the superplex position for two. Mero takes over after a blind tag and Thrasher becomes your Headbanger in peril. To make matters worse for him, Goldust drops him face first on the steps to bust him open. Back in, Mero and Goldust take turns working over Thrasher to the point that Ross thinks the ref should consider ending the match. Thrasher finally lands the important spot to turn around the match as he counters the TKO into a DDT. HOT TAG TO MOSH! Double Flapjack to Goldust! They go for the Stage Dive finish on Goldust, but Luna trips up Thrasher. Mero tags in and hits the TKO on Mosh just as Sable storms down to the ring. While Mero and Goldust are keeping Sable and Luna separated, Thrasher switches with Mosh in the ring. As Mero heads back inside, Thrasher cradles him up for the three-count. (13:53) Sable gets in the ring daring Luna to come get her some, but Mero and Goldust do all they can to prevent that from happening. When they get too close, refs and agents run down to help out. It’s no Austin-Tyson moment, but the crowd is so behind Sable you might think it was. After Goldust carries Luna out, we see Sable shove down Mero to a HUGE pop. Mero exits the ring furious leaving Sable behind. This was an okay formula match. **

Tonight, Kevin Kelly will be on the WWF Superstar Line with the Jackyl. How interesting. Zzzzz.

Elsewhere, Michael Cole asks the WWF European champ Owen Hart how he will co-exist with Steve Austin tonight, which is actually an interesting question. Owen will stay away from Austin if Austin stays away from him. He plans on busting up HHH’s legs tonight as well.

  • WWF Light Heavyweight Champion TAKA Michinoku vs. Pantera

Since she has nothing better to do, Sunny comes out to be the guest ring announcer for this match. Pantera comes down to the ring high-fiving fans on his way. Isn’t he supposed to be working heel? What are you doing, man? Brian Christopher comes out to do commentary with JR and Daddy. They were actually pretty funny here and made an otherwise boring match with no heat into something entertaining. Every now and then, they’ll mirror each other’s reactions as JR makes a joke about them being family. Pantera sends TAKA to the floor for a somersault plancha to wipe him out. Back inside, Pantera is on TAKA with lucha armdrags and headscissors, but winds up on the floor for TAKA’s signature springboard dive. They do a very impressive spot where Pantera does a Super Calo-style flying headscissors to TAKA off the apron. As if that’s not enough, Pantera runs down the apron and flies through the ropes with a tope suicida into Michinoku driving him back into the barricade. You can probably tell where the story of the match is heading in now as Pantera spends some time working the back. When TAKA does another bump out to the floor, Pantera delivers a somersault senton to the floor. JR – “Tope con hilo by Pantera.” Christopher – “A what?!” That pretty much sums up the entire history of the light heavyweight division in WWE right there. Back inside, more back work from Pantera. He tries to put TAKA away with a top-rope hurracanrana. He hits one flying moonsault, but misses a second one. TAKA delivers a flying knee strike to Pantera and calls for the MICHINOKU DRIVER, but that’s countered to an inside cradle. La Magistral cradle gets two as well. TAKA blocks a hurracanrana with a powerbomb and heads up top for the missile dropkick. MICHINOKU DRIVER gets the three-count. (10:13) Except for the highspots that were on point, Pantera must have went too long with the back work and had to stop all that to go straight into the finishing sequence that came off feeling extra rushed and meaningless. Christopher gets up and wants a piece of Michinoku. When Lawler goes over to calm him down, TAKA dives out on top of them. TAKA sticks around for some reason and then gets ran off through the crowd. **

Over at the America Online table, Kevin Kelly interviews Cactus Jack and Terry Funk. They don’t care who Shawn’s replacement is tonight and then cut a babyface promo on the New Age Outlaws.

  • The Godwinns vs. The Quebecers

So not only is this a bad combination of teams, this is a Shotgun Saturday Night feud with absolutely no heat. Jacques gets owned by Godwinns offense for the majority of this stinker. And yes, this is a stinker. Pierre eventually gets the tag, but it’s certainly not a hot tag. After all the damage he had taken, Jacques still manages to give Phineas a piledriver. Mmhmm. They go for the QUEBEC CRASH on Phineas for 1-2-NO! The match breaks down and Jacques dives down on top of Henry. While the ref is getting Jacques to go in his corner, Henry is back on the apron and nails Pierre stopping an O’Connor roll on Phineas. Cover by Phineas, 1-2-3. (11:15) Afterwards, the Godwinns attack the Quebecers with slop buckets and then leave with their slop buckets. This has to be the worst match either team has had on WWF TV. It’s the first time in a long time I’ve actually given the following rating: CRAP.

Dok Hendrix asks the New Age Outlaws who the fourth man will be in the main event. They don’t know. They thought Hendrix was going to tell them who their partner was. The Outlaws seem disrespected that they don’t know and leave to go find out.

  • NWA North American Champion Jeff Jarrett (w/the NWA) vs. Bradshaw

This marks the first time an NWA title has been defended on a WWF PPV. Ref Jimmy Korderas makes Barry Windham and the Rock N Roll Express leave the ring area before the bell. Bradshaw is in total Stan Hansen mode here carrying the bull rope. All he needs now is to become extremely far-sighted and let some chew stick out his mouth and he’d be Stan Hansen. He’s still got the New Blackjacks tights on as well. Bradshaw starts off strong against Jarrett until he goes outside and puts his hands on Cornette. Jarrett nails him from behind to take control. He keeps Bradshaw off his feet with dropkicks and clotheslines. He hits the Bossman straddle on Bradshaw in between Cornette choking him with his tennis racket. Bradshaw chases Cornette through the ring and gets blindsided by Jarrett with a clothesline. Jarrett misses a Bossman straddle, but Bradshaw gets whacked in the knee with the racket. He takes Bradshaw to school, but Bradshaw kicks away the Figure-Four. Nevertheless, Jarrett catches Bradshaw with a DDT. He comes off the top with a flying body press, but gets caught in mid-air for the Fallaway Slam. Bradshaw wins a slugfest and hits a powerbomb. Corny gets pulled into the ring and thrown into Jarrett to take a bump. While Bradshaw is looking down on Cornette, Jarrett picks up the racket and drills Bradshaw in the chest for the DQ to retain his title. (8:59) Since every match has some extracurricular activities, Bradshaw takes out Jarrett and the incoming Rock N Roll Express with the racket. He sets up Corny for the LARIAT, but Barry Windham appears and trips up Bradshaw. It’s a four-on-one massacre until the Legion of Doom (OHHHH!) come down for the save. Big pop for the Road Warriors. What’s old somehow feels new again. *½

Michael Cole talks with Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna to find out more about their fourth man. Good grief. They aren’t going to tell Michael Cole of all people. Triple H says nobody on this planet can match Shawn Michaels, so there will be no fourth partner. Cole says the WWF officials will give them a partner if he doesn’t choose one himself. Helmsley isn’t really concerned with any of this.

Elsewhere, Dok Hendrix is standing by with the Nation of Domination. Faarooq thinks the Rock is just begging for a butt whooping. Whoa! While Faarooq talks tough, the Rock steals the spotlight just being himself.

  • War of Attrition Match: The Nation of Domination vs. The Disciples of Apocalypse, Ken Shamrock & Ahmed Johnson

I have no clue why this is called a “War of Attrition” match since it’s just a one fall match. This is not elimination rules. Seems sort of strange to have this match with a multi-man tag main event too, right? The DOA boys take turns on D’Lo and Kama. We get our first interesting showdown when Henry dares Ahmed to come into the ring. Henry wins their brief battle, but does get slammed and tags out. D’Lo and Faarooq keep Ahmed down for a bit. Faarooq charges into a Spinebuster and Ahmed gets all hyped. The Rock breaks up the PEARL RIVER PLUNGE. In comes Shamrock, Faarooq low blows him and tags out to the Rock. He hits a DDT and stomps a mudhole in Shamrock while the crowd chants how much he sucks. Moving on. There’s some Kama and DOA interaction. D’Lo takes his turn beating on Skull or 8-Ball. You can never tell. Rock delivers the (soon-to-be) People’s Elbow for two. The NOD own the DOA guy some more. D’Lo misses a flying moonsault setting up a HOT TAG TO SHAMROCK. The match completely breaks down into a ten man brawl. While everyone else is on the floor, Shamrock gives the Rock the Belly to Belly Suplex and applies the ANKLELOCK for the tapout(!!). (13:47) Plenty of action, but man they went right for the finish. After the match, Faarooq and the Rock have to be held back from fighting each other. Rock starts to walk out on the NOD, but Faarooq gets him to come back to the ring as the NOD stand united raising their arms to the sky. The Nation of Domination is dissolving in front of our very eyes! By the way, this is the last match in the WWF for Ahmed Johnson. You will be missed. Great googly moogly! **

Michael Cole asks Steve Austin who he thinks the fourth man will be. He couldn’t care less and shows some love to the Houston crowd in his own “stone cold” way.

  • Kane (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Vader

FROM THE BOWELS OF HELL, it’s Kane. Several minutes of ringside brawling to start. Nobody bleeds though. Back in, Kane hits the flying clothesline reminiscent to to the style of his brother. Lots of choking involved. Kane even works a clawhold at one point. He delivers a few other moves like a suplex and a DDT. It’s weird because he’s supposed to be this freak of nature brawler, but can do wrestling moves. Granted, they aren’t difficult; but they are still wrestling moves. Vader comes back with his grizzly bear corner offense. Kane grabs him by the throat, but Vader goes low to escape that. He hits a short-arm clothesline and heads up top for the VADERSAULT. Oh, but Kane sits up. Back on the floor, Vader gets whipped into the stairs. While he’s there up against the ring steps, he pulls out a fire extinguisher again and sprays Kane. The ref is busy with Bearer and doesn’t seem to notice a thing. In the ring, Vader delivers the POWERBOMB, but again Kane NO-SELLS. Chokeslam and TOMBSTONE gets the win. (11:00) Afterwards, Kane finds a giant wrench next to the extinguisher and whacks Vader in the face. Well, Vader is out cold. A bunch of medics and refs come down to help him do a stretcher job. Never wanting to let a real injury get away from them without turning it into an angle, Vader will be out of action for a bit needing eye surgery. While he got surgery to fix his eye after the famous Stan Hansen in 1990, something came loose and he needs to get that fixed. *½

  • Unsanctioned match: Steve Austin, Owen Hart, Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie vs. The New Age Outlaws, Savio Vega & Triple H (w/Chyna)

This is anything goes as weapons are not just legal, they are encouraged. By the way, Austin can do no wrong here. He’s a part of a great team, but the crowd only pays attention to *him*. While everybody else fights around him, Austin completely dominates Billy Gunn. He decks Gunn with a trash can lid, but that’s not enough to get the Stunner as Gunn rolls out to safety. He takes out Road Dogg with the lid and continues with Hunter. Giant cookie sheets, broom handles, trash cans, chairs, and tables. The fan favorites are in total control. Some cool moments include Cactus whipping Billy into Owen who powerslams him through a table. Moving on, Road Dogg powerbombs Funk onto two chairs as this match has reverted to a regular tag match. Billy makes matters worse for Chainsaw Charlie as he gives him a piledriver on a trash can lid. If it’s not clear by now, Charlie is *your* face in peril with his goofy selling. In one of my favorite moments of the match, Gunn charges Austin who chucks a trash can at him from ten feet away. We get a false-tag spot in an UNSANCTIONED match. Tell me how *that* one works. With Chainsaw’s head sticking through the ropes, Helmsley nails him with a chair to the head, causing him fall straight down to the floor where he nose dives onto a flattened table. Back in, there’s a HOT TAG TO CACTUS. Once Road Dogg is beaten down into the corner, Cactus puts a piece of a table on his face and throws Billy Gunn into him. DOUBLE-ARM DDT to Gunn gets 1-2-NO! Cactus applies the MANDIBLE CLAW on NAO, but here comes Hunter to break it up with a low blow. There’s a Cactus Clothesline to Billy that takes them both to the floor, but Billy drops him with a DDT. Afterwards, Cactus gets whacked in the face with the stairs. Back in, the heels take turns handling Cactus. They even wrap some barbed wire around his face! Funk and Owen try to help, but the ref keeps pushing them back. As if barbed wire isn’t enough, Savio drills him with a chairshot to the head. The NAO hold Cactus for another chairshot, but Cactus ducks and Road Dogg gets nailed by Billy. MOLTEN HOT TAG TO AUSTIN! He tears everybody a new one before catching Road Dogg with a STONE COLD STUNNER for the win. (17:42) Billy Gunn receives the same fate. Helmsley gets knocked off the apron down onto the announce table. But wait, Chyna interrupts Austin’s four corner salute and they meet nose-to-nose. She shoves him back a couple times. Austin tries to leave, but she taps him on the shoulder and shoots him the double bird. Hey, you want to look and act like a man, you’ll get treated like one. STONE COLD STUNNER. Good night, everybody. This was just so much fun. ***½

Final Thoughts: As you can see, it’s all about Steve Austin and very little else. I just imagine how much better this main event would have been with Shawn Michaels on board. Either way, I think the match would ultimately have become a forgotten gem. Other than the main event (and it is a fun main event), there’s really not a whole lot to recommend. Everything here is just kind of sitting around waiting for WrestleMania. I don’t really feel like this show pushed any feuds forward or onto the next level like a PPV between Royal Rumble and WrestleMania should do. The bottom line is you could flip a coin between thumbs in the middle and thumbs all the way down for No Way Out! (of Texas): In Your House 20 and you wouldn’t be wrong with either result in my book.

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