WWF In Your House: No Way Out
by Scrooge McSuck
- Originally presented on Pay-Per-View on February 15th, 1998, from the Compaq Center in Houston, TX. The show also went by the name “No Way Out of Texas”, possibly due to the “nWo” initials and the back-and-forth litigation between the WWF and WCW. Even though I was really into the product again by this point, I for the life of me don’t recall much that happened on Raw to build up the show. Even at 13, I knew this was a filler show before WrestleMania XIV, so I “watched” it via Scramble-vision™.
- Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler are at ringside to call the action, unless otherwise noted. We’re informed that Shawn Michaels will not be able to compete tonight in the 8-Man Tag Team Main Event, so who will take his place? You’ll love the big surprise….
The Head Bangers vs. TAFKA Goldust (w/ Luna) & Marc Mero (w/ Sable):
I’m going to have to double-back and read some old WON issues to understand these matches. I guess Goldust and Mero were joining forces in a mutual respect of mentally abusing Sable. I’m amazed that, with Vince Russo on the booking team, that they didn’t come up with a “symbol” for Goldust that resembled something vulgar. I guess he’s supposed to be Marilyn Manson for this one. Mero sends Sable away in favor of Luna before the match starts. Mero unloads with rights and lefts on Mosh to kick things off. Mero misses a charge and Mosh follows up with an avalanche and clothesline, sending Mero to the floor. Thrasher comes off the top with a clothesline, and Goldust runs into a drop toe hold. Thrasher gets the better of a boring criss-cross sequence. Mosh with a slam followed by a double team splash for two. Mero gets the blind tag and nails Thrasher with a running knee lift. Thrasher temporarily regains control until Goldust pulls the ropes down on him, then gives him snake eyes on the steps for good measure. Thrasher looks to be busted open, making this possibly the least important match to have a blade job. Goldust with a diving clothesline for two. Is it sad the highlight of the match is Lawler making a Chumba-Wumba reference? Thrasher with a body press from out of nowhere for two. Mero with a snapmare and choking with his wrist tape. That 5-second image scored this video a MA rating on the WWE Network. Sloppy sit-out powerbomb gets two. Thrasher counters the TKO with a DDT and Mosh finally gets the hot tag. Double flapjack on Goldust gets two. Luna trips up Thrasher on the top rope while the referee was distracted. Here comes Sable to wake up the crowd. Crappy TKO on Mosh, but Mero is concerned with intercepting Sable. Thrasher does a switch-a-roo with Mosh and surprises Mero with a small package for three at 13:55. *1/2 Too long considering most of the match was rather directionless, and the lame finish does nothing for the Head Bangers. Post-match, Sable shoves Mero on his ass.
- Sunny shows up to earn her paycheck, having the honor of doing ring introductions for the next match…
WWF Light-Heavyweight Championship Match:
No, he’s not wrestling the Metal band. I recall them doing something on Raw to put emphasis on Pantera being a heel by joining forces with Brian Christopher. Yeah, the Light-Heavyweight Division was already dead. We immediately lose focus on the match to see Brian Christopher join the commentary team. Pantera sends Taka to the floor with an arm drag and follows with a somersault suicide dive. Back in the ring, Pantera continues to control with high flying action. Taka sends him out this time and hits his signature springboard plancha. Taka with a snapmare and basement dropkick as Lawler and Christopher show off their abilities at disparaging an entire race of people. Taka meets buckle on a missed dive and gets taken off the apron with a head scissors. Pantera with a tope between the two sets of ropes, knocking Taka into the security rail! Back inside, Pantera slows things down with a camel clutch, followed by a surfboard. Taka teases a comeback until taking a back drop to the floor. Pantera hits the ropes and follows with a somersault senton splash! Pantera with a back breaker and top rope elbow. Whip to the ropes and a tilt-o-whirl back breaker, followed by a top rope hurricanrana! Pantera with a moonsault for two. He goes up again, but this time Taka rolls out of the way. Taka with a flying knee across the back of the head, but the Michinoku Driver is countered with a small package for two. Pantera with another cradle for two. Taka counters a head scissors with a powerbomb for two. Taka with a missile dropkick, and this time the Michinoku Driver finishes it at 10:11. ** The action was alright, but the commentary was bad enough to make this completely worthless. I’m sure it entertained Vince and Vince, though. Post-match, Taka hits Christopher and Lawler with the springboard plancha.
Taka Michinoku © vs. Pantera:
The Godwinns vs. The Quebecers:
(Henry & Phineas Godwinn vs. Jacques & Pierre)
Yes, both teams are heels. Yes, this match is going to suck. These two teams have questionable bad blood, so someone thought the PPV needed more padding. The Quebecers have turned in their former “Mountie” attire for boring singlets, and have awful generic music. Phineas and Jacques (with a butt-ugly mullet) start by doing nothing. Phineas with a headlock and shoulder tackle. Jacques counters with a dropkick and overhead takedown. Pierre pounds away on the left arm of Henry. They take turns on arm-bars while the crowd takes a nap. Henry with a double clothesline to both Quebecers. Phineas with a single-arm DDT on Jacques. Spine-buster and leg drop for two. This match is dying a slow, painful death. Jacques with a sunset flip out of nowhere for two. Henry tags back in and controls with a chinlock. Absolutely nothing of interest is going on, so I enjoy re-runs of Futurama in the background. Pierre gets the least-reacted to hot tag in wrestling history and lays Phineas out with a clothesline. Sloppy double stun-gun on Phineas as the Quebecers are suddenly the heels of the match. Jacques with a piledriver, but the Tower of Quebec only gets two thanks to Henry breaking the cover. Jacques goes high risk with a plancha on Henry! Pierre gets nailed with a lariat from Henry, and Phineas covers for three at 11:15. Post-match, the Godwinns nail both Quebecers with slop buckets. -1/2* Who had the bright idea to put this on PPV and give it that much time?!
NWA North American Championship Match:
Yes, I remember this storyline… the lame “NWA” storyline that gave us a revived push of Barry Windham, the Rock n’ Roll Express, and Jeff Jarrett desperately trying to get over without his “Double J” gimmick. You thought Bradshaw’s push in 2004 was the first time he was broken away from a team and given a shot at solo action? HAH! He’s still dressed like a Blackjack here. Jimmy Korderas ejects the RnR Express and Windham before the match starts. Jarrett tries to attack from behind, but Bradshaw lays into him with rights. He whips Jarrett with his leather chaps and kicks him repeatedly to the face. He throws Jarrett across the ring with a hip toss and unloads with chops. Bradshaw with a big clothesline, knocking Jarrett out of the ring. He makes the unwise decision to go after Cornette, allowing Jarrett to take control. Jarrett with a missile dropkick for two. Cornette gets a cheap shot in behind the back of the referee. Bradshaw chases after him again and runs into a clothesline. Bradshaw with a cradle for two. Bradshaw blocks a sunset flip and counters with a bitch slap. Jarrett gets the boot up on a charge, but crotches himself going for a sit-down splash. Cornette gets another cheap shot in with the tennis racket to Bradshaw’s troubled knee. Jarrett punishes the leg, but the Figure-Four is countered. Jarrett ducks under the lariat and connects with a DDT. Bradshaw crotches Jarrett along the top rope, but his super-plex attempt is countered. Bradshaw catches Jarrett with the fall-away slam, followed by a Powerbomb. Cornette with another distraction. Jarrett uses the tennis racket, drawing a cheap DQ at 8:58. Post-match, Cornette gets slammed, but Windham saves him from the lariat. Suddenly the LOD Show up to fight off the NWA. *1/2 Match was OK, but a terrible finish made it even more lackluster.
Jeff Jarrett © (w/ Jim Cornette) vs. Bradshaw:
Ken Shamrock, Ahmed Johnson, Chainz, Skull, and 8-Ball vs. The Rock, Faarooq, D’Lo Brown, Kama Mustafa, and Mark Henry:
This is called a “War of Attrition” Match, whatever the hell that means. Faarooq and the Rock are having issues over who’s the top dog of the Nation. Rock is mugging for the camera like his life depends on it during the pre-match interview. Say goodbye to Ahmed Johnson, making one of his final WWF appearances. D’Lo and “Skull” start. Whip to the ropes and Skull with a swinging neck breaker. Shamrock with a diving back elbow. Kama and Chainz have a battle over who can suck-up the most to the Undertaker. Henry tags in, 9 years away from being a decent worker. Ahmed tags in, 2 years removed from being worth a damn in WWF. Unfortunately, even they couldn’t recapture their awful exchange from the ’98 Royal Rumble. Ahmed plants him with a slam without the least bit of building up the moment. Ahmed gets laid out, so naturally Faarooq tags in to take advantage. Ahmed surprises him with a spinebuster, and now it’s Faarooq taking a beating. Rock in for the first time, taking Shamrock down with a DDT. Shamrock avoids a chage from Kama and now it’s the DOA twins in control for 30-seconds. D’Lo with a snapmare and frog elbow drop from the second rope for two. Rock with a slam and the People’s Elbow for two. Stuff keeps happening, but the crowd doesn’t care unless the Rock or Shamrock are involved. D’Lo misses a moonsault and the hot tag is made to Shamrock. Suddenly everyone brawls to wake the crowd up. Shamrock with a belly-to-belly suplex on the Rock, followed by a takedown and the Ankle Lock finishes at 13:47. * Absolutely no flow to this match. Here’s the whole thing in one sentence: one guy gets beat up for 30-seconds, tags out to someone who beats up someone for 30-seconds, rinse, repeat.” I didn’t even know this was a one-fall match until the day of the show.
Vader vs. Kane (w/ Paul Bearer):
Finally, a match that actually holds interest for me, despite Vader having a .00001% chance of going over. He’s the only person since Mankind to get some kind of offense on Kane, so he has that going for him, but this is definitely a filler match as we anticipate the Undertaker/Kane encounter at WrestleMania XIV. They waste little time brawling outside the ring. Vader takes control in the ring with a flurry of rights and throws him over the top rope, possibly confusing this as a Royal Rumble Match. He sends Kane into the post, but Kane quickly recovers and comes off the top with a flying clothesline. Kane with a suplex, followed by an elbow drop. He jumps to the top rope and comes down with a forearm across the back of the head. Vader throws some rights at Kane, but gets knocked back down. Kane with a scoop slam, and again, the spot isn’t really built up well. Vader hits Kane with his charging avalanche, but it only slows Kane down for a moment. He takes Vader down with a DDT, but a charge is met with a clothesline. Vader counters a chokeslam attempt with a low blow and follows with a short-clothesline. Vader connects with a sloppy moonsault, but Kane sits up. They take it to the floor again, with Vader busting out the fire extinguisher. Back inside, Vader hits the Powerbomb, but is easily distracted by Paul Bearer. Kane sits up, puts Vader down with a chokeslam, and finishes with the Tombstone at 10:59. Post-match, Kane KO’s Vader with a giant wrench, taking him off TV for two months. *1/2 Moments were fun, but it was too slow and the crowd probably knew Vader didn’t have a hope in hell, and they never really made it look like he was ever in real control.
Steve Austin, Owen Hart, Cactus Jack, and Chainsaw Charlie vs. Triple H (w/ Chyna), Road Dogg, Billy Gunn, and a Mystery Partner:
I didn’t notice until just now, but none of the important WWF Titles were defended on this show. WWF Champion Shawn Michaels is hurt and originally scheduled for this match, the Rock is the IC Champion and worked the 10-Man Tag, the Outlaws are the Tag Champions, and Owen is the European Champion. This match should just have a disclaimer reading “stay tuned in four weeks for WrestleMania, where the matches matter.” After spending the whole show talking about who the final participant of the match will be, imagine the surprise when it turns out to be… SAVIO VEGA. I’ll wait for you to stop laughing. To give WWF credit, this actually made sense, but on the other hand, its Savio f’n Vega! This lack of delivery set the standards for underwhelming surprises, and would carry the torch of being the worst such examples for years. Even on Scramble-Vision™, watching and listening for free, I felt ripped off by such an awful decision.
With that said, onto the match… the match starts off as a wild brawl, with the Austin-lead team dominating the action. Weapons are allowed, a decision made to help make up for the lack of Shawn Michaels being involved. Austin wipes out Helmsley with a big clothesline for the first near fall. They take it to the floor, with Austin in control and using a MOP. Chainsaw bashes Road Dogg in the face with a loaded garbage bag, and here’s Cactus with a table. Owen BETTER bust out the giant bag of popcorn! Owen puts Gunn through the table with a hip toss. He goes for the Sharpshooter, but Helmsley saves. Austin and Vega got at it on the floor for old-time’s sake. Hunter counters a hurricanrana from Owen with a powerbomb and dumps him to the floor. He unloads on Charlie with a trash can, then DDT’s him onto a lid. Owen with the enziguri of doom on Hunter. Here comes another Sharpshooter attempt, but Road Doog whacks him with a chair, then comically runs away from Austin. Road Dogg goes low on Charlie and Powerbombs him through two chairs!
The match finally has gotten under control, with everyone in proper tag team positions. Billy with a piledriver onto a trash can lid for two. Vega pounds away, using Charlie’s own suspenders against him. Road Dogg with a back suplex for two. Gunn tries coming in, but Austin launches a trash can at him, Donkey Kong style! Helmsley with an inverted atomic drop and Savio with a leg drop. The referee doesn’t see the tag to Owen, so Charlie continues to get worked over. Helmsley smashes him in the face with the chair and Charlie goes flying through the ropes, face-first onto the broken table. Charlie eventually finds himself in the right corner and tags out to Cactus Jack. He hits everything walking and plants Gunn with the Double-Arm DDT for two. Owen interrupts Savio’s interference with a missile dropkick, but Helmsley sneaks in with a low blow to break up a double mandible claw. Cactus recovers, taking Gunn over the top rope with his signature clothesline. Road Dogg with a distraction, allowing Gunn to take him down with a DDT. Savio brings in some barbed wire and wraps it around Cactus’ body. It’s clearly fake, but Savio wearing special gloves helps sell it. Owen rushes in to get some shots in, but Cactus is being brutalized with chair shots regardless. Gunn accidentally hits Road Dogg with a chair, and its hot tag time to Stone Cold! He pounds on all four opponents and the Stunner finishes Road Dogg at 17:41. That finish sure came out of nowhere. Post-match, Chyna gets in Austin’s face and is greeted with a Stunner! *** Started out super-hot and enjoyable, waking the crowd up from its near-2 hour slumber, but the heat segments were only going to be as good as the hot tag, and unfortunately, the final sequence lasted all of 30-seconds.
Final Thoughts: From the perspective of importance, this is nothing but filler. The main event is a combination of top programs sandwiched into a big tag team match more suitable for a TV special, but at least it gave us a clean finish. The rest of the card just highlights how weak the WWF roster still was, mostly in the undercard. You’ve got Jarrett and Bradshaw fighting over a heatless non-WWF Title, the Quebecers and Godwinns stinking up the joint, the random team of Mero and Goldust against lukewarm faces like the Headbangers, and a bunch of midcarders battling it out with the Nation in a match where the rules were never clearly defined in the shows leading into the PPV. Strongest recommendation to avoid, unless you need to see Savio Vega Main Event a PPV.
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