In Your House VIII: Beware of Dog (2015 Redo): A Different Kind of Dark Match

This actually requires some backstory. 

There are actually two versions of this show but only one ever saw the light of day. The original show was scheduled for Sunday, May 26 in Florence, South Carolina. After the first match aired as scheduled, a bad thunderstorm rolled into the area and knocked out the power to the arena. The PPV feed cut out and the fans missed about an hour of the show. It did come back on in time for the main event, but no one saw the middle four matches. Those matches actually took place in the dark but to the best of my knowledge they weren’t filmed.

Obviously this wasn’t fair to the people who paid for the show, so the company held a second PPV in North Charleston, South Carolina on Tuesday, May 28th. The show featured the two matches from the original show and three new matches that aired live. The airing of the matches was a little odd as the world title match was aired second on the second PPV while the rest of the matches were aired after, meaning the last thing on the PPV is an Intercontinental Title match instead of the WWF World Title match.

In Your House #8: Beware of Dog
Date: May 26/28, 1998
Location: Florence Civic Center, Florence, South Carolina/North Charleston Coliseum, North Charleston, South Carolina
Attendance: 6,000/4,500
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler/Jim Ross, Mr. Perfect

Other than the Shawn vs. Bulldog match, the biggest match here is probably a Caribbean strap match between Savio Vega and newcomer Steve Austin. Austin isn’t a big star yet but it’s clear that the potential is there and that he could become something very big if he’s given the right amount of time. Vega was his first major feud and tonight is the blowoff between the two of them. Let’s get to it.

The opening video talks about Shawn while also focusing on the allegations of him breaking up Bulldog’s marriage.

Vince thanks the people that keep us free to be here tonight, which I’d assume is a shout out to the military.

Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Marc Mero

Mero is former WCW wrestler Johnny B. Badd who jumped to the WWF at Wrestlemania. These two started feuding that night over the way Helmsley treated his valet Sable and this is their final showdown. It’s a brawl to start before Mero’s theme music is even off. Mero takes him into the corner and pounds away before punching Helmsley out to the floor. A big plancha over the top takes Helmsley down again and we head back inside for a two count.

Helmsley pokes him in the eye to get a breather but gets flipped upside down in the corner for another near fall. Mero misses a charge and goes shoulder first into the post followed by Helmsley throwing him shoulder first into another post to really take over. A DDT on the arm stays on the bad shoulder as Vince warns of potential technical difficulties due to the storm but promising that they won’t last long. Mero gets pounded down and Vince isn’t pleased with the officiating so far.

A jumping knee to the face gets two on Mero and it’s off to another armbar. Mero tries to come back with a backslide but the arm gives out, allowing Helmsley to wrap it around the post again. The arm goes around the post a fourth time and Mero is in big trouble. Helmsley wraps the arm around the ropes and rams it into the buckle before putting on a cross armbreaker of all things.

After nearly a minute in the hold Mero is able to get to a rope, drawing almost no reaction from the crowd. They don’t seem all that interested in what’s going on, even though this is good stuff so far. Helmsley drops a knee onto the arm and puts on an armbar for a few moments. The shoulder is sent into the buckle again but Mero grabs a quick rollup with his feet under Helmsley’s arms for two. Helmsley wraps the arm around the ropes again and drops a top rope ax handle into the shoulder. That arm is being destroyed so far.

A hammerlock slam puts Mero down again but he gets up fast enough to crotch Helmsley on the top rope. Mero is able to snap off a top rope hurricanrana to put both guys down as the arm is too banged up. Helmsley gets taken down with a headscissors and a running knee lift before a top rope sunset flip (one of Mero’s finishers) is good for two.

Mero sends him to the floor and tries a flip dive over the ropes, only for Helmsley to move, injuring Mero’s knee in the process. Back inside and Helmsley loads up the Pedigree but Sable covers her eyes, making Helmsley drop the move. He demands that she watch but the delay lets Mero counter the second attempt into a catapult into the post for the pin out of nowhere.

Rating: B. This was a really nice surprise with both guys looking great out there. I loved seeing Mero wrestle with one arm as so often you’ll see someone have a limb injured and then just hold it while wrestling as usual. Very good showing here and a good example of letting the young guys set up the rest of the show in style.

Camp Cornette has a big surprise for Shawn but for now he’ll just get a smaller one: Owen Hart has a one night only manager license so he’ll be at ringside with the Bulldog.

Remember that the following match happened about an hour after the previous match.

Shawn says that he’s ready for the match but as he’s walking to the ring, Mr. Perfect smirks at him for some reason. They have a history together but haven’t had any issues for years.

WWF World Title: British Bulldog vs. Shawn Michaels

Before the match, attorney Clarence Mason says that Shawn has tried to break up the Smith family so he’ll be filing a lawsuit against Shawn for “attempted alienation of affection.” Shawn is given the subpena, rips it up, and gets jumped from behind to get things going. That’s about the extent of this story and no one remembered it after the show. Shawn slides between the Bulldog’s legs and pounds away, sending Smith to the floor to run away from the kick.

Michaels dives over the top to take Bulldog out and we head back inside so they can circle each other. Shawn grabs a headlock to take him down to the mat with the hold lasting for a good while. Back up and Bulldog grabs a quickly broken bearhug, only to drop down to avoid a charging Shawn and getting caught in a rollup for two. Shawn goes to a short arm scissors but Smith rolls over and lifts Shawn into the air in the same counter he made famous against Shawn back in 1992.

Bulldog stomps Shawn down a bit more and poses for good measure. We hit the chinlock before the Bulldog puts on an over the shoulder backbreaker to stay on the back. The Bulldog slams him down and hits a Samoan drop to keep Shawn in trouble. Off to another chinlock as Owen goes around ringside talking trash about Shawn.

While in the hold, something clearly goes wrong with Shawn. The referee then gets up and goes over to the timekeeper, completely ignoring the hold. Allegedly this was saying that the match’s time had been cut due to the technical issues and Shawn was throwing a fit. Great way to react by the champion there. Anyway Shawn fights up and escapes the hold but misses a charge and falls out to the floor in a heap. Bulldog rams him into the announce table as well as the apron before heading back inside for a breather.

Shawn fights back and scores with a slingshot clothesline from the apron to put both guys down again. Back up and they hit heads to knock both guys down for the third time. Shawn is up first and scores with the flying forearm before nipping up. A top rope ax handle gets two but the Bulldog accidentally runs over the referee, knocking him out to the floor.

Shawn hits the top rope elbow but has to take out Owen instead of superkicking Smith. Another referee comes out as Smith loads up the powerslam but Shawn escapes. The champion hits a belly to back suplex and all four shoulders are down. The second referee gets back in and we have a double pin.

Rating: B-. This was a solid match and set up the rematch well enough. That being said, this would have felt better if it came at the end of the show rather than in the middle, but you can’t blame the company for a bad storm. Good stuff here though with Shawn looking good and Bulldog being a good opponent for him. It also reenforces the idea that Diesel just wasn’t all that good in the ring as Smith has had his second solid title match in a few months.

Post match both guys are announced as winners by different referees. President Gorilla Monsoon comes to the ring and we get a lot of replays which show the same double pin over and over again. Since it’s a tie, Shawn retains the title but there will be a rematch next month.

Everything from this point on is from Tuesday’s show and is airing live on PPV instead of being taped.

Savio Vega vs. Steve Austin

This is a Caribbean strap match, meaning they’re tied at the wrist and the first person to touch all four corners without interruption is the winner. Austin debuted a few months prior and is just the Ringmaster at this point, meaning he’s as generic of a heel as you could ask for. There’s potential there, but the gimmick is crippling him. The idea here is that it’s Savio’s signature match and if he wins, Austin’s manager Ted DiBiase leaves the company forever. DiBiase has a chauffeur’s hat which goes on Savio if he loses.

Austin immediately bails to the floor to start before coming back in to pound away on Vega. Savio comes back with a backdrop and Austin bails to the floor, only to have Savio pull the strap to send him ribs first into the apron. Back in and Vega whips Austin’s back with the strap and Steve just tries to get out of the ring to safety. Savio suplexes Austin back inside and the strap goes across the chest even more. Vega gets two corners but Austin trips him up to stop the streak, thereby erasing the two corners Savio touched.

Now it’s Austin’s turn to whip Vega but Savio pulls him to the mat and they go outside again. Austin gets in a HARD whip to the back before sending him back first into the barricade. Steve pulls him back up onto the apron to try and hang Savio but opts to just whip his chest instead. The strap is wrapped around Savio’s ankle so Austin can drag him around the ring but Vega breaks it up just before the third corner.

Savio starts whipping Austin again but gets backdropped out to the floor before he can get too far. The strap comes back to haunt Austin again though as Vega pulls him to the floor instead of giving Austin a breather. Vega suplexes Austin on the floor and takes him back inside where he ties Austin’s arm and leg together. Austin makes a stop and just goes nuts with the whip to take Savio’s breath away. Vega somehow gets up and crotches Austin down on the top, setting up a great looking superplex.

Savio slaps three corners but Austin makes a last second save with a spinebuster. Both guys are down again and Austin’s back is red from those strap shots. Austin chokes Savio across the ropes and with the strap before blasting him in the back for good measure. Austin gets two corners but Vega pokes him in the eyes before the third. They trade tombstone piledriver attempts but Savio falls over the top and out to the floor before either guy can hit one.

Austin hangs Savio over the ropes yet again before going up top, only to be pulled down onto the barricade. Savio pulls him into the post before taking Austin back inside for a fireman’s carry. Austin puts up a fight after two buckles but it isn’t counted as breaking the momentum so Steve pulls him down after the third. A piledriver lays out Vega again but DiBiase wants another one. Savio counters into a backdrop but Austin comes back with his Million Dollar Dream sleeper.

Vega manages to stay on his feet so Austin jumps on his back. Savio walks around and gets two corners, only to climb up the ropes and drive Austin back first onto the mat for the break. Austin comes right back with more choking, wrapping the strap around Savio’s throat and pulling him across. Steve gets two but Savio slaps both of them as he passes by. Both guys get number three so it’s next buckle wins. In a very interesting ending, they get in a tug of war over the last corner but Austin looks down at DiBiase and catapults Savio into the buckle to lose the match but also intentionally get rid of DiBiase.

Rating: A-. This is by far the best four corners strap match I’ve ever seen. They beat the tar out of each other and the story made it even better. Steve intentionally losing makes him look very smart and all the more evil because he’s willing to throw DiBiase out the door to make himself a bigger star in the future. Really good stuff here.

Savio has the fans sing the Goodbye song to DiBiase.

Vader vs. Yokozuna

Vader broke Yokozuna’s leg a few months ago so tonight is about revenge. They slug it out to start with Vader getting the best of it to start, only to have Yokozuna punch him to the floor. Cornette nearly has a fit as Yokozuna is asking for a sumo challenge. Vader gets down in a three point football stance but steps to the side instead of charging ahead. They set up again and Vader does the exact same thing. The third attempt actually happens and Vader goes down like he’s barely even there before Yokozuna clotheslines him out to the floor.

Back in and Vader pounds away at the side of the head, only to have Yokozuna sweep the leg out and fall down on Vader’s leg. Vader rolls to the floor again, making sure we don’t have more than a few consecutive seconds of action in this match. He gets back inside and just pops Yokozuna in the face with right hands. Yokozuna sweeps the leg again and drops another elbow to complete the same sequence we just saw.

This time Vader doesn’t go to the floor but rather get up and pound away on Yokozuna’s back. He can’t slam him though, allowing Yokozuna to come back with a Rock Bottom for no cover. A Samoan drop puts Vader down again but Yokozuna goes after Cornette instead of hitting the Banzai Drop. Vader saves his manager and hits a pair of Vader Bombs for the pin.

Rating: D-. This was nine minutes of the same sequences going over and over until we got to the ending. These battles of huge men rarely go anywhere because there’s only so much they can do. Yokozuna would fade away pretty quickly after this due to his immense weight. He would try for years to get back into the company but he just couldn’t get his weight under control.

Intercontinental Title: Goldust vs. Undertaker

This is a casket match. The video before the match show us the setup of Goldust vs. Ahmed Johnson from last night instead of telling us about Undertaker vs. Goldust. Goldust had given an unconscious Ahmed mouth to mouth, thereby infuriating Johnson. The lights go out (JR: “On purpose this time.”) and Undertaker appears behind Goldust in the ring. Undertaker throws the champion around on the floor before taking him inside for more of the same.

They head back outside again with Goldust being sent into steps. Back inside again as the destruction continues. A legdrop keeps Goldust in trouble and Undertaker hits what would become known as Old School. Goldust comes back with a quick slam and a tombstone of his own but Undertaker sits up almost immediately. The champion puts him in the casket but can’t get the lid shut as Undertaker comes back with right hands. Instead Goldust sends him out to the floor and into the steps before choking with an electrical cord.

Back in and Undertaker gets caught in a bad looking sleeper hold to drag the match down even more. Goldust still can’t get him in the closed casket though as Undertaker blocks two attempts. They head back inside with Undertaker clotheslining both guys out to the floor, only to head back inside where the champion powerslams him down. A middle rope clothesline puts Undertaker down and Goldust goes for a cover out of instinct.

Goldust tries Old School of his own, only to be slammed down with ease. There’s the real Tombstone but Undertaker opens the casket and finds the recently debuted monster Mankind waiting on him. Mankind puts Undertaker in his Mandible Claw submission hold before putting Undertaker inside the casket and closing the lid for the win.

Rating: D. This feud was just a holding pattern for Undertaker until the real feud with Mankind could get going. No one bought Undertaker as a guy who would be in the Intercontinental Title picture for more than a few weeks and that’s exactly what happened. Nothing to see here and not a good way to end the show.

Post match Mankind locks Undertaker inside the casket but as Mankind leaves, smoke starts coming out of the casket. Paul Bearer opens the casket and there’s no one inside. The lights go out again to end the show.

Overall Rating: B+. This is a really solid show with three awesome matches to open things up followed by two that weren’t so good. If you stop the show after the strap match though, you have an awesome PPV with storyline development and awesome action. Really good stuff here….for the first hour or so.

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