In Your House 17: Ground Zero

That’s The Bottom Line! What is? I don’t know. The words uttered by “Stone Cold” Steve Austin usually put the full stop on what he has to say but right now his words speak louder than his actions. Austin is out injured due to the piledriver he received from Owen Hart at Summerslam. Intercontinental and Tag Team Champion Steve Austin is scheduled to wrestle tonight, teaming with Dude Love to fight in a fatal four way tag team title match against Owen Hart & The British Bulldog, The Godwinns and The Legion Of Doom but whether Steve can even wrestle tonight is the big question.

Tonight main event pits new WWF Champion Bret Hart against a man who makes his PPV debut tonight in The Patriot. The Patriot beat Bret Hart on the final Raw before Summerslam and now Bret is champion, it is he that gets the title shot in a war between the US and Canada. Former WWF Champion The Undertaker is in action as he takes on the man that cost him the title, Shawn Michaels. Michaels struck The Undertaker with a chair accidentally and has since aligned himself with the likes of Rick Rude, Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna. Paul Bearer continues to haunt The Undertaker with stories of his brother, Kane but there is no proof Undertakers brother is alive as of yet.

We’ll have a rematch between Goldust and Brian Pillman with the stipulation that if Pillman wins, he can take Marlena for himself whilst if he loses he will be gone from the WWF forever. Also tonight the leaders of the three rival gangs, Faarooq, Crush and Savio Vega compete in the first ever triple threat match on PPV. This is the first ever 3 hour In Your House PPV and it aired on the 7th September 1997.

A video package kicks us off showing us Shawn Michaels as the once respected athlete. However at Summerslam everything changed. Michaels accidentally nailed Undertaker with a chair, costing him the WWF title he has taken the blame badly. For the first time ever Undertaker and Shawn Michaels go one on one.

Fireworks go off in front of the classic In Your House set and Vince McMahon welcomes everybody to Ground Zero. He’s joined by Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.

Now to a video package about Brian Pillman and Goldust. Pillman claims to be the father of Goldust and Marlena’s child Dakota. If Goldust loses this match, he’ll lose his wife for 30 days but if he wins then Pillman will be gone from the WWF forever.

Goldust vs. Brian Pillman

These two men have met on PPV only once before and it was Goldust that won. He’s got black and gold cat facepain on tonight. Pillman comes out and Goldust meets him out there getting into it before the bell. In the ring and Goldust levels Pillman with a big clothesline before hammering him 20 times in the corner. Pillman chokes Goldust with his t shirt, he’s not wearing a dress tonight. He elbows Goldust down to the mat then goes after Marlena but Goldust cuts him off and drops him face first on the barricade. In the ring and Pillman regains the advantage but loses it when attempting a bulldog. This match has been back and forth so far. To the outside and Goldust suplex’s Pillman on the ramp! A win for Pillman would give him a 66% win record on PPV putting him in the top 10 of all time.

Back in the ring and Goldust gets the first near fall of the night. He then goes for a bulldog but Pillman puts the brakes on and sends the former Intercontinental champion flying. Pillman executes a chinlock now. Goldust manages to rise up to his feet with Pillman on his shoulders then drops him backwards! The Kentucky crowd are well into this match. Pillman heads to the top but Goldust backs into the ropes, crotching the Loose Cannon. Goldust then throws Pillman to the outside where Marlena gives him a slap for good measure. Back in the ring and Goldust hits the Curtain Call on Pillman but the referee is down! I’m not sure how.

Goldust sees to the referee and Marlena gets up on the apron. Pillman snatches her handbag off her and lamps Goldust with it! Goldust hits the desk, the handbag must be loaded, and covers him for the three! Brian Pillman wins the match! Pillman takes off with Terri, his prize for winning! Outside Lawler opens the handbag and there is a brick inside! We get a shot of the parking lot now where Pillman drives off with Terri! Goldust goes running after the car! Nice way to start the show.

Rating: 6/10

Scott Putski vs. “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher

PPV debuts for both of these men who have famous fathers. Scott is son of the “Polish Power” Ivan Putski whilst Brian is son of Jerry Lawler, something Lawler likes to deny on camera. These two have had their run-ins on Raw over the last few weeks. This match is dubbed a light-heavyweight division match, a new division in the company for smaller wrestlers. Christopher is definitely one of the most charismatic stars of the division. Putski hits him with a clothesline and hiptoss in the early going before dropkicking him out of the ring. Back in the ring and Brian takes the advantage with a clothesline. He’s quite loud in the ring, he reminds me of Jacques Rougeau ever so slightly. Christopher goes to the top but Putski hits him with a right hand on the way down and follows it up with a hurricanrana for a two count. Brian hits a facebuster but Putski comes back into it with a couple of clotheslines.

Christopher hits a nice German suplex then throws Putski out of the ring before diving out at him. Putski seems hurt on the outside. He’s barely moving. The referee counts to 8 then stops and checks on him before ending the match and giving the result to Brian Christopher. This one felt like it didn’t really get started. What we saw of the match was decent enough. After the match Lawler berates Putski on the mic. He doesn’t seem like he knows what to say.

Rating: 4/10

We get an upbeat video package now highlighting the problems between The Nation Of Domination, Los Boricuas and Disciples Of Apocalypse.

Faarooq vs. Savio Vega vs. Crush

Crush definitely seems to be the face in this one. All three men come to the ring alone. Since Summerslam Faarooq has fired Ahmed Johnson from the Nation, probably because he got injured again and he’s bought in Rocky Maivia. Savio and Faarooq start the match by double teaming Crush in this first ever PPV triple threat match. Crush takes both men down with a clothesline then Savio pins Crush which Faarooq breaks up. Faarooq then starts whipping everyone! Savio Vega is joint 10th of all time alongside Yokozuna and Earthquake for most PPV wins with 10, a win tonight will consolidate him as 10th on his own. Faarooq sends Crush to the outside then hits Savio with a big spinebuster for a two count. Crush gets back in and chokes Savio in the corner then hits a powerslam on Faarooq.

You’d have to go back four months to find a last PPV victory for Faarooq or Crush. Neither men have won a PPV match since parting ways. Faarooq hammers away at Savio but Crush attacks him from behind. This time last year was In Your House: Mind Games, a show in which Savio Vega defeated Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw. Faarooq comes in off the top on Crush and covers him for a two. This would be a big victory for any man. Crush get Faarooq up on his shoulders and hits an electric chair drop but it’s Vega that covers Faarooq for a two. Crush hits a reverse atomic drop and right hand to get a near fall on Savio Vega. Savio and Faarooq botch a neckbreaker. Crush takes a break whilst Faarooq takes it to Savio Vega. Crush then hits a backbreaker on Savio and Faarooq breaks up the pin. Both men then pick up Vega and hit him with a double suplex. Both men then cover Savio but the referee refuses to count.

Crush throws Savio to the outside then he and Faarooq go at it. Savio gets back in to break up a cover. The crowd don’t seem into this one as much as the two previous matches. We’ve had two heel wins so far, could this one be a win for Crush? Faarooq hits a powerslam on Crush and Savio breaks up the cover. Crush and Savio then hit a spike piledriver and Crush clotheslines Savio over the top rope. Crush then hits the Heart Punch on Faarooq but Savio comes in and hits a spinning heel kick on Crush! Savio pins Crush for the three! That’s back to back wins for Savio Vega on PPV. And that also puts him in the top 10 for PPV wins. This match wasn’t too bad. The crowd didn’t seem into it but I thought it was ok.

Rating: 6/10

El Torito vs. Max Mini

Hmmm, a midgets match. Torito is a lot bigger than Max Mini. PPV debuts for both men. Not sure we’ve seen a midgets match since Wrestlemania 3. Oh, actually there was the Survivor Series 1994 match. Max Mini hits a nice spinning leg lock then dives out at Torito. The action has been fast so far! Max Mini locks on a wristlock but Torito bites him on the arse. Max Mini then bites the referee Jack Doan on the arse and Jack chases him around the ring. Mini heads to the outside then sits on Jerry Lawlers lap and puts his crown on. A “Jerrys Kid” chant then breaks out which makes me chuckle.

Max Mini dives back into the ring and El Torito kicks him in the head. Torito wants the brick! Lawler doesn’t give him it. Torito flattens Max Mini but wastes too much time as Max hits a hurricanrana and gets a one count. Torito hits a big powerbomb on Max Mini and gets a two count. Torito is a lot bigger than Max. Max hits a sunset flip for a two. Big clothesline from Torito but Max hits a couple of clotheslines of his own then multiple arm drags to send Torito to the outside. But he follows that up with a beautiful springboard moonsault! Back in the ring and Max Mini hits a sunset flip from nowhere for the three! Not as awful as I thought it would be.

Rating: 3.5/10

Now to a video package of new commissioner Sgt Slaughter telling Steve Austin he has to forfeit his tag team title. We then go to the ring where Slaughter calls out the tag team champions. Dude Love is first out and he’s not a happy cat. Dude doesn’t want to defend the title on his own because it was Steve that bought him to the dance. He relinquishes his title to boos from the crowd. Next out is Steve Austin.  Austin comes out and gets in the face of Slaughter then gives Jim Ross and Vince McMahon some abuse too. Austin says he can wrestle but throws the title on the mat and demands that Slaughter pick up the title.  The commissioner obliges and leaves then Austin continues to give Jim Ross abuse before hitting Ross with the Stone Cold Stunner!

Dok Hendrix is backstage now with Owen Hart and The British Bulldog. Owen defends Jim Ross and says he’s a good friend of him. Hart wants Austin jailed. Bulldog says that he supports Owen 100%.

Owen Hart & The British Bulldog vs. The Godwinns (Henry & Phineas) vs. The Legion Of Doom (Hawk & Animal) vs. The Headbangers (Mosh & Thrasher) – Fatal 4 Way Match for WWF Tag Team Titles

The Headbangers replace Steve Austin and Dude Love in this one and they are actually undefeated on pay per view at this point. The Godwinns look for their first ever PPV win. This is an elimination tag team match with the last team standing winning the vacant tag team titles. Thrasher and Henry Godwinn start the match. Neither man can take the advantage then Thrasher tags Phineas! That means The Godwinns have to go at it. Henry tags Mosh to avoid fighting his teammate. Hiptoss and an arm drag from Mosh then Mosh tags Thrasher who tags Animal. LOD and The Godwinns have had their issues recently. Phineas tags Henry who hammers away at Animal. Animal sends Henry to the outside where Hawk gives him a big right hand for good measure. Henry then tags in Mosh. Owen Hart does some hilarious chicken impressions on the apron.

Animal tags Hawk who hits Mosh with a big gorilla press slam. Hawk then tries to tag The British Bulldog who refuses so Hawk hammers him and that’s classed as a tag. In comes Phineas who has a test of strength with the Bulldog. Bulldog tags Owen who comes in off the top. No eliminations yet in this one. The last time there was a fatal four way tag match for the tag team titles on PPV was at Summerslam 96 and the Godwinns were the only one of these teams to be involved in that one. Owen hits an enzeguri on Henry, gets a two count and tags in Animal. Animal misses a clothesline and goes over the top rope. Henry tags Phineas who pulls Animal into the ring and hits a jawbreaker. Phineas goes up to the second rope but Animal gets his boot up and tags Hawk. Hawk takes down both Godwinns then Animal sets Phineas up for the Doomsday Device but Henry breaks it up. Phineas then brings in the slop bucket but Animal takes it off him and hammers both Godwinns!

It’s a disqualification and The Legion Of Doom have been eliminated! The crowd boo that decision. That was a bit of a shocker. Mosh comes in and slams Phineas then comes off the top for a two count. Thrashers gets tagged in and dives over the ropes at Phineas. Henry attacks Thrasher on the outside as the Godwinns look for their first ever tag team victory. Henry comes in and slams Thrasher for a two count. Henry tags Phineas. The Godwinns have done most of the work in this one. Henry is back in and Thrasher sunset flips Phineas (the wrong man) for a three count! The Godwinns still haven’t won a PPV match together. Phineas hasn’t won one full stop.

We’re down to The Headbangers and Owen Hart & The British Bulldog. You’ve got to fancy the former champs in this one now. Owen and Bulldog double team Thrasher now. Bulldog is the legal man and hits his trademark stalling suplex for a two count. Owen Hart then comes in and hits a dropkick off the top for a two. Thrasher comes off the rope with a cross body for a two count. Owen tags Bulldog and both he and Thrasher go down. Both men crawl to their corners and both men make tags! Mosh takes down both Bulldog and Owen then Bulldog holds Mosh and Owen goes for the spnning heel kick but accidentally hits Bulldog! The Headbangers then  go for The Stage Dive but Buldog attacks Thrasher.

The crowd then go nuts as Stone Cold Steve Austin comes out and hits the Stone Cold Stunner on Owen Hart behind the referees back! Thrasher pins Owen and gets the three! The Headbangers win the match and the tag team titles! The crowd explode and Mosh and Thrasher go and celebrate in the crowd! That’s a big surprise tonight but it’s one I like!

Rating: 7.25/10

Jim Ross is backstage with Sgt Slaughter and Jim Ross isn’t happy. He threatens to quit if it happens again and he has some savoury words for Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Now to a video package about The Patriot Del Wilkes. He’s an ex American footballer and we get some nice words from his ex teammate George Rogers. Wilkes had success over in Japan. And now he goes after The Hitman.

Sunny is backstage with The Patriot now who is confident of winning. He’s beaten Bret Hart before, tonight he does it again.

Bret Hart (c) vs. The Patriot – WWF Championship Match

This is Bret Harts first PPV defence of his title and it’s The Patriots debut. This match gets underway before the bell as Bret goes right for The Patriot. Bret has the advantage in the early going hitting a headbutt to the lower regions then slamming The Patriot into the corner. Bret is out alone tonight, there is no sign of the rest of the Hart Foundation. Bret bites The Patriot in the corner but the American hero soon takes the advantage with a clothesline and a headbutt of his own. Patriot hits a dropkick but he’s getting a very mixed reaction. He clotheslines Bret out of the ring who bides his time getting back in. He flips the bird at a fan at ringside. Back in the ring and Patriot hits arm drags into an arm bar.

Bret struggles to get out of the arm bar for quite a while. The pace has slowed right down now. The Patriot releases the hold eventually and Bret goes right after his knee. Nobody has had more PPV appearances, matches, main events or wins than Bret Hart. Bret continues to work the knee for a while, even locking in a figure four around the ring post. The crowd boo as The British Bulldog walks down to the ring. He’ll be main eventing the next PPV against Shawn Michaels. An “Austin” chant breaks out but there’s no sign of the rattlesnake. In the ring Hart hits a backbreaker but The Patriot reverses a suplex. He then hits a sunset flip for a two count then a DDT  for another near fall. The Patriot bounces off the ropes where The British Bulldog pulls him down to is feet.  Patriot then throws Hart into the Bulldog and rolls up Bret for a two.

The Patriot then hits “The Uncle Slam” which should be it but Bulldog pulls out The Patriot. Now here comes Vader who recently saved The Patriot after Hart draped a Canadian flag over him. It’s all kicking off now as Patriot goes after Bulldog and Vader throws Bret into the steps. It seems as though the match continues as Vader throws Bret into the ring. The Patriot looks shattered, he hits a big boot on Bret and a powerslam. He then goes up to the top and hits “The Patriot Missile” which is a shoulderblock for a two. It’s all The Patriot as he hits an atomic drop and german suplex combo for another two count. Bret comes back into it by dropping the challenger on the ropes. He then comes off the second rope with his elbow for a two. The Patriot is up and as he hammers Bret he accidentally hits the referee. He then hits the Uncle Slam again but the referee struggles to make it over in time and counts to two before Bret gets his foot on the ropes.

Both men collide and go down now as a big “USA” chant breaks out. Both men roll each other up for two counts. The Patriot then locks on the Sharpshooter! Bret reverses it though and locks on The Sharpshooter himself! The Patriot doesn’t seem to tap out but it’s over none the less as the referee calls for the bell! Bret Hart retains his WWF title but he hasn’t finished. He stomps away at The Patriot and hits him with a piledriver. Hart then snaps the American flagpole and chokes The Patriot with the flag. Not a bad title match albeit a bit slow in parts.

Rating: 6.5/10

Backstage Michael Cole catches up with Bret Hart who says Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels and The Patriot are all losers. All the losers in the world are in the WWF.

Now to a video package showing the problems The Undertaker has had with Paul Bearer and Shawn Michaels. Michaels is then interviewed backstage and he says that the legend of The Undertaker rests in peace tonight.

Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker

Shawn Michaels takes a long time to come out after his music hits. Michaels has only had two PPV matches so far in 1997, a win over Sycho Sid to win the WWF title at The Royal Rumble and a draw with Steve Austin at King Of The Ring. If Bret Hart is a heel and The Undertaker is a face then Shawn Michaels is definitely a tweener. Michaels pyro doesn’t work properly in the ring and HBK doesn’t look happy about it. Thunder rumbles before Undertakers music hits which is interesting, I don’t think that’s happened before. What’s also interesting is that this match is on last, after the WWF title match. This is a first time PPV meeting between these two men. In fact, only the opening match tonight between Goldust and Brian Pillman is a match we have seen on pay per view before. Michaels pushes the referee into The Undertaker before the bell rings and Undertaker hammers the referee! Michaels then backs up the entrance way but Commissioner Slaughter comes out and sends him back! Undertaker then picks up the referee and throws him at Michaels!

Undertaker chases Michaels to the top of the entrance way where he gorilla press slams him on the ramp! Undertaker then throws Michaels into the set. Back at ringside and Undertaker throws Michaels into the ring steps then the barricade. This is Undertakers 17th PPV appearance in a row. He’s closing in on British Bulldogs record of 20. The match still hasn’t officially started yet and there’s no referee and Undertaker drops an elbow in the ring. Undertaker pins Michaels but there’s no referee. Undertaker throws Shawn out of the ring where another referee has just run down. Michaels asks Hebner to disqualify The Undertaker but he refuses. Michaels takes out Undertakers knee and the bell rings and this one is officially underway. Michaels hammers away at The Undertaker but tries coming off the top and Undertaker hits him with a right hand then clotheslines him out of the ring.

Michaels tries to sunset flip his way back in but Undertaker grabs him up and hits a double armed chokeslam. It’s all Undertaker now as he clotheslines Michaels down for a two count. Undertaker is the only man to have wrestled on every PPV this year. This is the first one Steve Austin hasn’t wrestled on. Michaels and Undertaker battle on the outside now with ‘Taker ramming Michaels back into the ringpost. Back in the ring and Undertaker gets a nearfall after a big back body drop. Michaels gets back into it with a swinging neckbreaker but The Undertaker sits back up like a mofo. Michaels grabs a chair and rolls back into the ring with it. He goes to hit Undertaker but eats a big boot instead. Undertaker then picks up the chair but the referee grabs it off him and Michaels dropkicks The Undertaker with chair into the referee!

With the referee down, Michaels continues the assault and hits his elbow off the top rope! He goes up again and hits the elbow again! He pins The Undertaker but only for a two as Undertaker kicks out by throwing Michaels into the referee. Rick Rude then comes out and throws Michaels some brass knuckles before leaving again. Michaels covers Undertaker but the referee is down. Michaels stomps on the referee for good measure then another ref comes out but he only gets a two. Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna are out now and they join in the beatdown on The Undertaker. Michaels helps the official up then throws him into the turnbuckle. Helmsley rolls Undertaker back in the ring and Michaels chokes him and drops a knee on him. Undertaker starts a comeback with some big right hands but Michaels clotheslines him out of the ring where Helmsley and Chyna lay in some right hands.

This match has gone to pot. With no referee it’s a three on one beatdown. Undertaker doesn’t really have any mates so I can’t see anyone coming to his rescue. Michaels is bleeding just underneath his eye. Back in the ring and Michaels slips out of a Tombstone then Undertaker avoid Sweet Chin Music. Undertaker then grabs the brass knuckles out of Shawn Michaels tights and nails Michaels with them! He then gives Helmsley a right hand for goo measure. Undertaker covers Michaels and the referee slowly counts a two and Shawn gets his shoulder up. Undertaker then chokeslams the referee! Undertaker hits a big clothesline on Shawn Michaels and another referee, Tim White, comes out and calls for the bell. The bell rings and Undertaker chokeslams Hunter Hearst Helmsley into Shawn Michaels.

Undertaker then gets rid of Helmsley and turns around into Sweet Chin Music! That ties Undertaker up in the ropes and Chyna hands Michaels a chair. Undertaker boots it into his face though! The Undertaker then Tombstones Hunter Hearst Helmsley! Now here comes The Sultan, Brian Christopher, Flash Funk, Jesse James, Savio Vega, LOD, Rocky Maivia and DOA to split things up. Undertaker then dives out of the ring onto Shawn Michaels! Undertaker gets back into the ring and stands tall with a steel chair in hand. This match is a no contest but it was very very entertaining.

Rating: 7.75/10

And that was Ground Zero: In Your House. The first In Your House PPV to be preceded by it’s name and the first 3 hour IYH PPV. This show was missing a few guys like Steve Austin, Mankind and Hunter Hearst Helmsley  who are three upper midcarders right now placed just between the midcard and the main event. Obviously Austin is out injured and they didn’t want to go down the Mankind/Helmsley route again. We did get one rematch though and that was in the form of Brian Pillman and Goldust. An Ok match to start things off but should have big repercussions. Pillman now gets 30 days with Goldusts wife Marlena. That should create some interesting segments. Will she become a fully fledged member of The Hart Foundation? I hope not. Also worth noting that Ken Shamrock and Vader weren’t in action either tonight.

Speaking of The Hart Foundation, British Bulldog and Owen Hart were probably the favourites going into the tag team title match but shockingly it was The Headbangers that won the match. The Headbangers have won two PPV matches now from the two matches they’ve had and both were fatal four ways. There are options for them now and they could go on to feud with The Godwinns, Bulldog and Owen or even The New Blackjacks. Hell, you could put them against two members of the Nation Of Domination or Los Boricuas. Speaking of those factions, their leaders met in a triple threat match with Faarooq, Savio Vega and Crush battling. Savio Vega won that one and as Los Boricuas beat DOA at the last PPV, Summerslam, that makes the Boricuas look really strong right now. Savio is also up with the elite when it comes to move PPV wins.

We also got our first light-heavyweight match with Brian Christopher taking on Scott Putski. Christopher looked like he injured Putski when he dived over the top rope on him. Not Christophers fault by any means, it was just unfortunate. A good win for Brian though who right now seems to be the face of the light-heavyweight division. Getting even smaller than that though, Max Mini took on El Torito in a midgets match. I don’t like these matches but this was entertaining. If this is a serious division going forward then Max Mini is at the forefront.

Then in the first of the main events, Bret Hart defeated The Patriot. Definitely the right decision, I’m not sure how The Patriot fits into the bigger picture. Hart is a great heel champion right now and the contenders are queuing up. It wasn’t the best WWF title match ever, it was quite a slow one but it wasn’t the worst. Then in the final match, there was carnage between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker. Referees were thrown here and there and in the end it was ruled a no contest. I can’t see it being over between these two men, I can see them having a cage match or something to avoid any interfierence.

Overall Rating: 58.57/100 (Ranked 18th out of 72)

Match Of The Night: Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker
Worst Match Of The Night: Max Mini vs. El Torito
Surprise Of The Night: The Headbangers win the tag team titles
Worst Booking Of The Night: Maybe Savio winning back to back PPVs
Superstar Of The Night: Brian Pillman
Ground Zero Will Be Remembered For: The night Pillman won Marlenas services

 

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