WWF: Unforgiven – In Your House XXI (04.98)

unforgiven98

WWF: Unforgiven – In Your House
April 26, 1998
Greensboro, NC
Greensboro Coliseum

The current WWF champs are as follows:
WWF Champion: Steve Austin (3/29/1998)
Intercontinental Champion: The Rock (12/8/1997)
World Tag Team Champions: The New Age Outlaws (3/30/1998)
European Champion: Triple H (3/17/1998)
Light Heavyweight Champion: TAKA Michinoku (12/7/1997)

This is significant for being the first WWF pay per view in the Greensboro Coliseum. Except for West Virginia which will probably never ever hold a WWE pay per view, North Carolina is the last state of the old Mid-Atlantic territory to host a WWF pay per view. South Carolina had the infamous In Your House: Beware of Dog PPV in May 1996 while Virginia held it’s first WWF pay per view in April of last year entitled In Your House: Revenge of the Taker that saw Paul Bearer receive a fireball in his face from the Undertaker.

Old school fans will recognize this building as the “Madison Square Garden of the South” when it came to wrestling. The historic venue held 15,000 until a renovation in the early 1990s. It was reopened in 1994 and could hold a maximum of 23,000. This show is considered a sellout with 21,427 (20,268 paid) in attendance and the biggest crowd in the coliseum since the record-setting Starrcade ’86 show.

Enough trivia, let’s go on with Unforgiven.

They are still using the same movie trailer voiceover guy for these PPV promos. I wonder how many more PPVs they will use him since he has that feel of the old way of doing things for the WWF. Freddie Blassie quotes some of Dante’s “Inferno” to try and set the mood for the upcoming Undertaker versus Kane match tonight.

Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.

  • The Rock, D’Lo Brown & Mark Henry (w/Kama) vs. Faarooq, Ken Shamrock & Steve Blackman

This is a perfectly acceptable crew to face the Nation of Domination. Shamrock has had it out for the Rock for the past several months, Blackman was running through the Nation beating them left and right on RAW, and of course Faarooq was kicked out of his own group that he started when the Rock decided to take control. Shamrock has a foot injury and won’t do very much here. He and Blackman do the “black power” pose with Faarooq to show that they are UNITED. D’Lo is not a guy we get to see a ton of yet so it’s good to see him work a bunch here. After Blackman has his turn, Shamrock does a few spots and tags out to Faarooq. D’Lo tries to calm down Faarooq and then hits him with a cheapshot when Faarooq turns away. That’s a big mistake as Faarooq drops Brown with a spinebuster and pulls a leather strap from his tights to let D’Lo have it some more. The rest of the Nation sell this abuse real big, which is awesome. Back to Blackman now, the NOD keep him on their side of town. Rocky shows off his authority by telling D’Lo and Henry to do the work. Brown hits the Sky High on Blackman for what I believe is the first time on PPV. Once Faarooq is down, Rock wants in and puts the boots to the man. This guy is so flipping over. Blackman takes another tag and gets dominated some more. Rocky lays him out with some punches in the corner. He gives Blackman the People’s Elbow. D’Lo wants to show off with a flying moonsault and misses. HOT TAG TO FAAROOQ! The match breaks down leaving Rocky and Faarooq in the ring. Rock hits a DDT for 1-2-NO! Faarooq then fights back and hits him with the DOMINATOR for the clean pin over the IC champ. (13:37) A little on the long side when you’ve got some real limited workers in there. Faarooq really needed this win though. Not only has he been completely undermined by the Rock for months, but he also was left for dead in the parking lot by the Nation on RAW three weeks ago. *½

The WWF champ Steve Austin comes out to the ring and bullies the nerdy timekeeper Mark Yeaton. Austin doesn’t want a repeat of what Vince McMahon did at Survivor Series and says he’ll beat the hell out of Yeaton if it happens tonight.

  • WWF European Championship: Triple H (c) vs. Owen Hart

Since Chyna has been a constant thorn in Owen’s side, she will be put in a shark cage and will hang from the ceiling. This has got to be a Jim Cornette idea, right? Commissioner Slaughter comes out and makes sure she goes into the cage. Owen beats up Triple H pretty good way before the bell sounds. Inside the ring, they trade blows for a bit. Helmsley hits the suplex and the Harley Race knee drop for two. He follows up with an out of character dragon sleeper while Chyna tries to BEND the bars apart. She pulls a file from one of her boots and drops it on the floor. Not sure if that was intentional or not. The Hall of Famer, ladies and gents! Anyways, they work off the dragon sleeper for a while. Eventually, Triple H tries to turn it into a reverse suplex and Owen flips out and delivers a bridging German suplex for two. That was a real beauty. While Owen is warming up with the ENZIGURI KICK OF CERTAIN DEMISE, Chyna is actually bending the bars of the cage. The Inverted Atomic Drop and the Spinning Heel Kick scores for another two-count. PILEDRIVER on HHH! The flying elbow drop connects, but Owen is distracted by Chyna making her way out of the cage! Of course she’s too high up to jump down. Owen flips out of a powerbomb and hits a DDT to set up the SHARPSHOOTER. Meanwhile, the cage is being lowered! WHY IS THE CAGE BEING LOWERED? Once Chyna is on the floor, Owen releases the hold and goes to mess with her. The camera spies Road Dogg over by the controls. While Commissioner Slaughter and the referees try to contain Chyna, Owen counters the Pedigree and hits Helmsley with a PEDIGREE of his own! No ref. X-Pac leaps in and KO’s Owen with a fire extinguisher. He gets out of Dodge and tells the cameraman to get the camera off him. Nice touch. Triple H turns Owen over and covers him as the ref gets back in the ring to count the pinfall. (12:26) Really well-booked match to put over Chyna and DX as a bunch of dick heels that are a force to be reckoned with. They were heels doing heel things and I like it. Afterwards, Michael Cole runs up to Owen for an interview. He tells us that enough is enough and things are going to have to change around here. Not really a great match, but the extracurricular stuff was very well done. **½

  • NWA World Tag Team Championship: The New Midnight Express (c) (w/Jim Cornette) vs. The Rock N Roll Express

Good grief this was bad. This is felt like a reenactment from a match I’m sure the Eaton and Condrey edition of the Midnight Express did in this building with the Rock N Roll Express in 1986. When Bombastic Bob gets knocked to the floor, Cornette hugs him just like he does with Eaton. Lots of noticeable empty seats during this match. When the Midnights cheat over an abdominal stretch and get caught, Cornette does the whole bit where he gets in a fight with ref Tim White. This would be fine if it were a house show, but this is PAY PER VIEW. You have a limitless worldwide audience and you are playing it up for fans who for the most part are no longer fans anymore. It’s just sad and awkward. Morton plays the Morton in peril here. He avoids a flying legdrop from Bombastic Bob and tags out to Gibson. STEREO TEN-COUNT CORNER PUNCHES on the heels. They get run together. The RNRs deliver the DOUBLE DROPKICK to Bodacious Bart. While the ref is busy with Morton and Bob, Cornette tries to give Gibson an elbow drop and misses hitting Bart instead. Gibson slugs Cornette and gives Bart an O’Connor roll. Meanwhile, the ref is still busy with Morton. Bob sneaks over and drills Gibson with a running bulldog and that’s all she wrote. (7:22) This is pretty much the end of the RNR Express on WWF TV. They have one more match on RAW in May, but that’s it. ¾*

  • Evening Gown Match: Sable vs. Luna (w/TAFKA Goldust)

This is a first for the WWF. I like how the name of the match goes from sounding at least somewhat dignified calling it an “evening gown” match to eventually becoming known as a “bra and panties” match. Luna is decked out in something a witch might wear while Sable wears a black number that I really don’t think any woman would actually wear. When Sable comes out, Ross remarks how you might think Ric Flair was coming down the aisle with a pop this huge. He then explains that Marc Mero is conspicuous by his absence. He was too humiliated to be a part of this match. First comes the sleeves and then comes the skirt. Sable fires back in the corner on Luna with her kicks that we saw at WrestleMania. Out comes Marc Mero. While he distracts Sable, Luna walks over and pulls off Sable’s top to end the contest. (2:35) Blonde, skinny, and gigantic boobs – that’s the ’90s for ya! I just don’t find Sable that attractive. It’s like two giant water balloons where boobs should be. After the bell, she gives Luna the SABLE BOMB and rips off the rest of Luna’s dress. Luna gets away from her and tries to hide under the ring, but Sable follows suit and comes back out with Luna’s undergarments in her hand. Good grief. Well, everybody got what they wanted. Sable lost the match standing there in her underwear and yet still got her revenge on Luna. This crowd couldn’t be happier. Goldust wraps his robe around Luna to cover her nekkidness and carries her backstage. N/R

Vince McMahon and his two stooges Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco come out to the ring. Something catastrophic will happen tonight. There is a conspiracy theory going around that the real reason Vince is here tonight is to screw Steve Austin out of the WWF title. He first tries to warm up to the Greensboro crowd by announcing that he is in fact a North Carolinian since he was born at a hospital in Pinehurst – a small town known for it’s expensive golf courses. Back to this theory that he’s going to screw Austin out of the WWF title tonight, Vince finds that idea beneath his dignity and will not even dignify this notion with a response. He does say this: he will not be responsible for what happens tonight In This Very Ring – especially if Stone Cold screws Stone Cold, which ties in with the post-Survivor Series “Bret screwed Bret” promo from last fall. Hint hint? And with that said, Vince leaves with Patterson and Brisco following behind.

  • WWF World Tag Team Championship: The New Age Outlaws (c) vs. LOD 2000 (w/Sunny)

Billy Gunn brings out a blowup doll that’s supposed to represent legendary UNC Chapel Hill basketball coach Dean Smith and incense these North Carolinians. What they fail to realize is that North Carolina (especially in Greensboro which in a lot of ways the epicenter for NC sports) has about four different ACC teams each with their own loyal fanbases, which is why this treatment of Dean Smith doesn’t really get over like they had hoped. The Outlaws sell a bunch for the LOD to start as they attack with shoulderblocks and powerslams. When they go for the DOOMSDAY DEVICE on Road Dogg, Gunn clips Animal from behind. The Outlaws then isolate Animal and work on the knee using kneebars and the ringpost. Gunn hits the Rocker Dropper for 1-2-NO! Road Dogg tags in and hits a Bossman straddle. Back to Gunn, Animal backdrops away a piledriver. He catches a kick from Gunn and leg whips him, but boy does Gunn oversell that one. HOT TAG TO HAWK! The match breaks down. Hawk delivers a flying splash to Road Dogg, but Gunn breaks up the pin with a title belt. Road Dogg rolls him over for 1-2-NO! While the ref is so busy with Animal, the Outlaws endure heel miscommunication as Gunn gets wiped out with a title belt. Hawk grabs Road Dogg and German suplexes him with (not much of) a bridge for the three-count. (12:23) Apparently ref Jack Doan only counted Hawk’s shoulders on the mat and not Road Dogg’s for some reason. If anything, this should be a no-contest instead of a win for the Outlaws – or just had a better finish. At least Road Dogg should have brought one of his shoulders up off the mat at the two-count like they would have done in the George Scott days in Greensboro. Match was okay, but never great. While over, the New Age Outlaws were never that great of a team wrestling-wise and the LOD are way past their prime. I liked the knee work alright and the Legion of Doom just did their thing. The rest of DX comes out and celebrates with the Outlaws for keeping their tag titles. Afterwards, LOD beats up Jack Doan and gives him the DOOMSDAY DEVICE. Awesome. *

Tennessee Lee introduces Sawyer Brown and Jeff Jarrett singing together. Since they are about five years past the peak of their popularity on the country music scene, they play it safe and sing one of their hits from 1992 entitled “Some Girls Do”. At the end of the song, Steve Blackman attacks Jarrett and Tennessee Lee saves the day as he KABONGS Blackman. Because this is wrestling, Jarrett slaps on the FIGURE-FOUR on the stage to signal a “We Want Flair” chant from the crowd. Jarrett tells the crowd to BRING HIM ON!

Lawler has his hotdogs and marshmallows ready for this next match.

  • Inferno Match: The Undertaker vs. Kane (w/Paul Bearer)

Taker has the black teardrop drawn under his right eye. Fire surrounds the ring as these two trade blows on each other. As Taker hits Old School, the flames get higher as he leaps off the ropes. Just amazing effects. The flames get higher with each big spot that hits the mat. Really cool visuals. Kane takes over with his 1991 Undertaker offense. Bearer slides in a chair and Taker gets blasted over the head. CONCUSSION CITY~! More Kane offense. Taker fires back with boots and gives Kane a Russian legsweep. Whaaaaat. Jumping leg drop connects. Taker goozles his brother, but Kane goozles him back and wins a CHOKESLAM battle. The flames go up on the impact. Taker avoids the Snake Eyes and delivers a CHOKESLAM of his own. Double KO! As they fight to their feet, Kane ducks under the Jumping Lariat and Undertaker nearly rolls into the flames. Side Slam to Taker, but he stops the Flying Clothesline and brings Kane down with a superplex. Taker then throws Kane over the top rope to the floor. Now what are they gonna do? Kane starts to leave and heads up the aisle, but THE MAN THEY CALL VADER returns and beats Kane back to ringside! Crowd really goes nuts for Vader. They chant his name and everything. As they continue to brawl, Taker delivers his amazing tope to wipe them both out. Paul Bearer gives Taker a weak chairshot to the back. Taker then uses that chair to wear out Kane. Paul Bearer gets chased over to the Sawyer Brown set by Taker and hit over the head with the bass drum. PAUL BEARER IS BUSTED WIDE OPEN~! Back to ringside, Taker boots away a chairshot from Kane. Kane then backs up into the flames and gets his arm caught on fire to end the match. (16:02) With his arm blazing, Kane rushes back to the locker room like some sort of 1980s horror movie villain. I prefer this one over their WrestleMania match just for the atmosphere, the return of Vader, and some excellent spots. **½

  • WWF Championship: Steve Austin (c) vs. Dude Love

The Dude pearl harbors Austin to set up an Austin comeback. Lou Thesz Press connects followed by the punches and the elbow. Austin seems to want to knock Dude silly with lots of impact moves to the head. They fight over to the Sawyer Brown set where Dude gets thrown off the stage onto the concrete. Good grief. Back to ringside for more brawling. In the ring, Austin misses a Bossman straddle and Dude takes over with a bulldog. He catches Austin with a running elbow drop and hits him with the kitchen sink knee. Dude applies a body scissors and a chinlock as Vince McMahon comes out with his two stooges. Vince takes his seat at ringside and tells Patterson and Brisco to go back to the locker room. It looks like Vince is eyeballing timekeeper Mike Yeaton a little bit. Austin gets a little fired up looking straight at Vince and escapes the hold, but Dude rolls him up for a fast two-count. Vince stood up hoping for a three-count. Austin trips up Dude and wraps his legs around the ringpost while keeping an eye on Vince. Dude backdrops away a piledriver out on the floor and works over Austin using the guardrails. Vince walks over and starts taunting Austin. As Austin gets to his feet, he stalks Vince up the aisle only for the Dude to nail Austin from behind. Back to the ring, Dude applies an abdominal stretch and Vince is adamantly trying to get Mark Yeaton to ring the bell until Austin reverses the hold. Back on the floor, Dude takes a suplex onto the ring steps destroying his legs even further. Austin throws Dude over the guardrail, beats him up, and then throws him back to ringside. Back in the ring, Dude cuts off Austin with a swinging neckbreaker and sets up for Sweet Shin Music. Austin catches the kick and the ref gets wiped out with a clothesline. Dude avoids the Stone Cold Stunner though and locks in the MANDIBLE CLAW. Austin tries punching his way out, but then Dude kicks him in the nuts. While Vince tries to wake up ref Mike Chioda, Austin throws Dude out of the ring. He picks up a chair and Vince stops Austin from using the chair. Dude gets the chair knocked back in his face a few times. As Vince goes to help Dude to his feet, Austin picks up the chair and whacks Vince. An absolutely unprecedented moment in the WWF. Ross raises the question whether he meant to hit Dude or wanted to hit Vince? Either way, it’s a win-win as far as Austin is concerned. Patterson and Brisco check on Vince and call for medical assistance. Austin takes Dude back in the ring and delivers the STONE COLD STUNNER. With no ref, Austin counts his own pinfall and this match is over. (18:46) The official decision is that Dude Love wins via DQ at the instruction of Gerald Brisco. This match would be much more fondly remembered had they not outdone themselves a month later. ****

Vince ends up doing a stretcher job for that heinous chairshot to end the show.Und

Final Thoughts: It’s hard being positive about a show as the WWF continues to struggle in the mid-card albeit still managing to put on excellent main events. Way too many screwy finishes, but that’s just the Attitude Era’s way of storytelling. If you aren’t all that enamored with the Austin-McMahon storyline yet, this is where it really starts to gain momentum. With that said, a “thumbs in the middle” for Unforgiven 1998 is about as high as I can go as only the last two matches were a lot of fun.

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Posted on September 27, 2016, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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