Monday, July 14, 2014

Random Network Reviews: Beware of Dog

In Your House: Beware of Dog
5/26/96 & 5/28/96 – Florence Civic Center in Florence, South Carolina & North Charleston Coliseum in North Charleston, South Carolina

This show is infamous for two reasons. The first obvious one is that it is held over two dates at two separate venues. This is because during the original Pay-Per-View airing, the feed went out and three of the five matches never aired. I remember watching this show as a kid and being pissed. They finished the show in the dark for the fans in attendance, then did it again on Pay-Per-View in a different arena a few days later. The review is for the pieced together version. The two matches that originally aired the first night and the three made up matches that aired a few nights later. The second interesting thing of note with this show is that it is the only Pay-Per-View in WWE history to emanate from South Carolina. Let's get to it.

The opening video package focuses on the storyline that Shawn Michaels was trying to hook up with Diana Smith behind Davey Boy Smith's back. It was all false, but it did get the British Bulldog a title shot.

“Wildman” Marc Mero w/ Sable d. Hunter Hearst-Hemsley w/ random girl
 in 16:22
The future Triple H has a beef here with Marc Mero because of how he treated Sable, who would join Mero. Mero chases Hunter outside the ring but once they get in, Hunter hits him. It's like Marc has never seen a heel work before. He ends up on top though and dives onto Hunter on the outside. Mero hits a slingshot leg drop and is impressing me. Hunter does his best HBK impersonation with a turnbuckle spot. Hunter targets the shoulder by throwing Mero into the corners before doing a curtsey. He busts out a single arm DDT, which I appreciate. Mero's comeback attempt fails because of his shoulder so Hunter continues to target it. That good old psychology. Hunter drops his dreaded knee onto the arm. Hunter hits one of the worst top rope moves of all time before working the arm some more. Mero comes back with a top rope hurricanrana. A flying head scissors shows again that Mero's offense is ahead of its time. He continues to sell the arm injury despite his offensive outburst which ends when he lands awkwardly on the outside. Hunter decides against the Pedigree because he wants Sable to watch and she refuses. This allows Mero to reverse it into a slingshot and he gets the three. Holy crap that was much better than I expected. Great opener and both guys impressed. ****

Mr. Perfect is backstage to interview Camp Cornette. Jim Cornette hypes up the Yokozuna/Vader match and the WWF Title match. He secured a manager's license for the Slammy Award Winner, Owen Hart, so he can join Bulldog for the main event. Jim was really good as a manager.

WWF Championship
Shawn Michaels (c) w/ Jose Lothario and The British Bulldog w/ Owen Hart & Diana Smith wrestle to a draw
 in 17:20. Shawn retains the title
Vince McMahon discusses HBK's “interview” with Playgirl. Says it's just an interview. Sure, Vince. Clarence Mason serves HBK a lawsuit that he rips up and Bulldog attacks him from behind. Michaels busts out some arm drags and Bulldog dodges Sweet Chin Music by going outside, so Michaels leaps outside onto him. HBK hits an enziguri after a long headlock. He continues to work in mat wrestling as the pace has slowed by a lot. Bulldog powers out and then applies a submission of his own. HBK gets out but gets slammed. Another slow rest hold from Bulldog. Shawn seems to throw a fit while in a chin lock, doesn't sell and argues with Hebner about wrapping up the match. The action goes outside for a bit as Bulldog is in control. Things pick up as HBK hits a flying forearm and body slam. He connects with a double axe handle and Bulldog absolutely levels the official by mistake. Michaels calls for Sweet Chin Music and hits an interfering Owen with it. HBK counters the Bulldog's powerslam and hits a bridging German for three. But Bulldog's music plays. CONFUSION! Diana tries to leave with the belt until Gorilla Monsoon he-haws out like a jackass (thanks Austin) and snatches the belt. He declares it a draw as all four shoulders were on the mat and it's a draw. Not their best and Shawn's tantrum doesn't help. Disappointing. **3/4

We now move to Beware of Dog 2, where we will see the three matches that happened in the dark during the storm on night one. Mr. Perfect and Jim Ross call the action.

Caribbean Strap Match
Savio Vega d. Steve Austin w/ Ted Dibiase
 in 21:23
If Savio wins, Ted Dibiase says that he will forfeit his career. They continually mention that Savio is undefeated in Caribbean Strap Matches. Austin pounds away on Savio to start but when he goes outside, Savio pulls him into the apron a few times in a creative spot. Savio whips Austin back in the ring and Austin does everything to bail. Savio suplexes Austin in and gets to two turnbuckles before Austin pulls him back. Austin's turn to whip on Savio until they get tangled up and seem to cuddle on the apron. After some fighting in the aisle, Austin chokes Savio with the strap and suplexes him in. He hog ties Savio and gets two turnbuckles, but Savio stops him. The third vertical suplex happens on the mat outside. Austin prevents Savio from winning and wears him out with the strap. Now we get a superplex by Savio as that is the favorite move of the match it seems. Austin hits a spinebuster to stop Savio. They reverse Tombstones until Savio flips outside and The Undertaker is pissed in the back, I'm sure. Austin pulls Savio away within inches of winning and the crowd is hot. Savio gets two buckles while in the Million Dollar Dream but he breaks the hold before he can continue. Austin hits three without knowing that Savio is hitting them behind him. They struggle over the fourth until Austin pulls Savio into the corner ending it. That was another great match. Surprised this got 20 minutes but they used it very well. The best match of Austin's WWF career to this point. ****1/4

Savio Vega and the fans sing goodbye to Ted Dibiase, who would leave for the nWo. This song worked better for Savio than it did for Stephanie McMahon recently. We then see Shawn Michaels chatting with fans on AOL and he's struggling to find keys on the keyboard. Ah, the 90's. 

Vader w/ Jim Cornette d. Yokozuna in 8:53
Vader didn't win the WWF Championship and that pisses me off. Yokozuna was absurdly big at this point at 641 pounds. Slug fest to start that Yokozuna wins. They get into a growling contest before Yoko goes to a sumo stance and Vader goes to a three point stance. Nothing happens though. Vader and Cornette stall until they go into their stances again. Yoko takes Vader off of his feet when they collide and knocks him outside. Vader takes control as they brawl back in the ring and he goes to slam Yoko. JR says only Ahmed Johnson slammed Yoko, so the WWF is just ignoring the Lex Express deal. Vader doesn't join that list and Yoko goes for the Banzai Drop. Cornette gets on the apron and brought inside by the former WWF Champion. Yoko goes to Banzai Cornette, but Vader pulls him out of the way and Yoko crashes. Vader targets the leg and hits the Vader Splash to end it. The slug fest that you'd expect, but Vader looked weak throughout. *1/4

A rundown of the upcoming King of the Ring card is shown as they announce a rematch for the WWF Title between Shawn Michaels and the British Bulldog, the Smoking Guns against the Godwins for the Tag Team Titles and the Ultimate Warrior vs. Jerry Lawler. The bracket is big with 16 guys. Goldust and Warrior went to a draw while Vader beat Ahmed on Raw. The other matches are Henry Godwin vs. Hawk, Jake Roberts vs. Hunter, Bob Holly vs. Steve Austin, Savio vs. Marty Jannetty, Yoko vs. Owen and Skip vs. Mero. Captivating huh? 

Intercontinental Championship Casket Match
Goldust (c) w/ Marlena d. The Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer
 in 12:36 to retain the title
Cool to see The Undertaker competing for the Intercontinental Title. He appears right behind Goldust to start the match. This was a fun sub-feud during Taker's awesome rivalry with Mankind. Undertaker dominates early. A body slam, leg drop and Old School continue that trend. I feel like, between 1994 and 1996 there were more Casket Matches than the rest of wrestling history combined. And that's with Undertaker missing a good chunk of '94.Goldust starts to get in offense but totally whiffs on a shot before actually hitting Undertaker with a Tombstone. Undertaker sits right up though. Goldie nearly gets him in the casket regardless, but Taker fights him off. Goldust slows it down with a sleeper hold and gets Taker in the casket, but he keeps his arm out and stops it from closing. Shortly after, Goldust goes for a pin because he forgot this was a casket match. Goldust goes for Old School and Undertaker yanks him off the top. Undertaker hits the Tombstone but when he opens the casket, out comes Mankind! Mandible Claw gets latched on and Undertaker goes in the casket and to sleep as the lid closes. Interesting dynamic and Goldust played some alright mind games. Decent, but nothing special. **1/4

Smoke rises from the casket and when it gets opened, The Undertaker is gone.

Overall: 7.5/10; Very good show and one of the better In Your House Pay-Per-Views. The opener is great and the Caribbean Strap Match steals the show. Two awesome matches, plus a solid though disappointing WWF Title match, on a five match card make this worth it. Up next on my random reviews will be SuperBrawl IX.