And a very bad replacement.

No Way Out of Texas: In Your House #20
Date: February 15, 1998
Location: Compaq Center, Houston, Texas
Attendance: 16,110
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

Since we have the main event already set for Wrestlemania, tonight’s main event is a way to develop the world title feud while also tying in the other main feuds. The main event is an eight man tag between Austin/Owen Hart/Cactus Jack/Chainsaw Charlie (Terry Funk) vs. Shawn Michaels/HHH/New Age Outlaws. However since Shawn is injured, a replacement will be announced during the show. Let’s get to it.

Marc Mero/The Artist Formerly Known As Goldust vs. Headbangers

Goldust is still desperate for attention and is in this tag team which won’t bring him much attention whatsoever. Mero’s entrance gets a huge pop due to Sable coming with him. Goldust’s manager Luna hates Sable so we might get a catfight sometime tonight. Mero tells Sable to get out of the ring and the arena because there’s only room for one beautiful lady. Goldust is dressed (I think) like Marilyn Manson tonight to keep the levels of strange up high.

Mosh and Mero get us going with Marc pounding away in the corner and dropping Mosh with a back elbow to the jaw. More body shots put Mosh down but he comes back with a hard clothesline to put Mero on the floor. Back in and Thrasher scores with a middle rope clothesline before it’s off to Goldust who is loudly booed. Thrasher stomps away at Goldust and brings in Mosh for a backdrop. In a nice double team, Thrasher goes to the middle rope to lift Mosh up and drop him down on Goldust for two.

Mero comes in off a blind tag and scores with a knee lift to take over on Thrasher. The fans chant for Sable to tick Marc off and it’s back to Thrasher for some running shoulder blocks. Goldust pulls Thrasher to the floor though and sends him into the steps to put the Headbangers on defense again. Back to Goldust for some slow fist drops and a running clothesline for two. Thrasher is bleeding from the back of his head but it doesn’t look that bad.

Mero pounds away and puts on a chinlock as the blood starts flowing much worse. The fans get all over Mero to mess with his head again so it’s back to Goldust. Thrasher comes back with a quick cross body for two but Goldust makes a tag to Mero who takes Thrasher down again. A choke with some wrist tape makes Thrasher scream even more and a sitout powerbomb gets two for Marc.

The TKO (Mero’s fireman’s carry into a spinning Diamond Cutter) is countered into a DDT and it’s finally off to Mosh. Everything breaks down and Luna crotches Mosh to break up the powerbomb/legdrop combo. This brings out Sable (in less clothing than earlier) to go after Luna, but the distraction lets the Headbangers switch places, allowing Thrasher to roll up Mero for the pin.

Rating: D+. The match was pretty dull stuff but opening with Sable was a good idea. The fans absolutely loved her and she would get the crowd fired up every time she was on screen. Sable was probably the most financially successful Diva of all time as she drew insane money and ratings for the company around this time, which is unheard of for a woman in wrestling.

Luna tries to go after Sable but the guys break it up. Sable yells at Mero and slaps him down, furthering the split between the pair.

Jackyl, a semi-religious prophet character who did interviews and occasional commentary at this time, predicts that the mystery partner will lead DX and the Outlaws to victory tonight.

Owen doesn’t care who the mystery partner is but thinks things will be fine if Austin stays out of his way.

Light Heavyweight Title: Pantera vs. Taka Michinoku

Sunny is the guest ring announcer. Pantera, the challenger, is another guy who has had success in Mexico but isn’t known by about 99% of the American audience at any point in history. Brian Christopher comes out to do commentary as both guys speed things up to start. Taka slides to the floor and Pantera hits a nice dive but the camera is on Lawler and Christopher. Back inside and Pantera gets taken down by a nice headscissors to the floor, allowing Taka to hit his signature huge dive to wipe Pantera out.

Back in and Pantera is sent to the apron but he comes back with a top rope headscissors to the floor. The camera misses a suicide dive because of Lawler and Christopher again but thankfully replay shows us what we missed. Back in again and Pantera hits a butterfly backbreaker to set up a camel clutch. Off to a surfboard submission, complete with Pantera pulling on Taka’s neck for added leverage. Taka gets out and fires back with some strikes to the face but gets backdropped out to the floor.

Pantera hits a great looking dive over the top, landing head first on Taka’s back to keep the pressure on. A backbreaker sets up a top rope elbow to the back as Christopher talks about eating tacos with chopsticks. Taka gets in a shot to the ribs and goes up top, only to be caught in a top rope hurricanrana. Pantera gets two off a moonsault but misses a second attempt, allowing Taka to hit a top rope knee to the back of the head. Pantera comes back with a quick majistral cradle and a powerbomb for two each but misses a missile dropkick. The Michinoku Driver retains the title a few seconds later.

Rating: C+. Nice match here even though the fans didn’t care at all. The WWF was trying with this division but it never clicked with the audience. Taka was fine for what he was but he never became a big deal at all for the most part. Pantera was fine out there but the WWF never had a Mike Tenay (WCW commentator) to fill us in on the details and history of all these guys.

Post match Christopher tries to go after Taka but Lawler stops him, allowing Taka to dive on both of them to show them up.

Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie don’t care who the mystery partner is. Tonight is all about revenge for them though so they’ve been coming up with some evil ways to hurt the Outlaws.

Godwinns vs. Quebecers

The Quebecers (Jacques and Pierre) were a glorified comedy tag team from 1993 who came back for a few weeks in 1998. No one is really sure why as they were nothing special and a very random team to bring back. It didn’t help that they lost their signature Mountie outfits and are now just generic guys. Henry and Jacques get us going with the fans booing both heel teams. After a minute of stalling it’s Henry grabbing a headlock but Jacques suplexes him down.

Off to Pierre to trade some wristlocks until Henry grabs an armbar. Back to Jacques who gets clotheslined down and screams a lot during a wristlock. This match is already boring and it doesn’t help after the fans haven’t been interested in anything tonight. The Godwinns double team Jacques as Lawler implies he wants Bill Clinton shot. Jacques gets a quick two off a sunset flip to Phineas but it’s back to Henry to keep control with a chinlock.

Phineas comes in to headbutt Jacques in the ribs but Jacques comes back with an elbow to the jaw. The ice cold tag brings in Pierre as things break down. A bad looking piledriver puts Phineas down and the Cannonball (assisted top rope flip splash from Pierre) gets two with Henry making the save. Not that it matters as Henry clotheslines Pierre from the apron to give Phineas the pin.

Rating: D-. It was long, it was boring, and the fans didn’t react to anything in the entire match. I’m not sure why the Quebecers were hired again but it never worked for the most part. The tag division still isn’t great from top to bottom but the Outlaws have definitely helped things out a lot.

The Godwinns lay out the Quebecers with the buckets post match.

The Outlaws say they don’t know who their partner will be.

Jim Cornette and Jeff Jarrett say they’re ready for Bradshaw. This is part of the NWA storyline, where the WWF brought in some old guys to be the NWA representatives and basically humiliate the NWA as a whole. Jarrett is going to go after the leg that the NWA guys hurt recently.

NWA North American Title: Bradshaw vs. Jeff Jarrett

Bradshaw, the native Texan and challenger, chases the NWA (Cornette, Jarrett, Rock N Roll Express and Barry Windham, Bradshaw’s former tag partner) to the floor to start. The NWA save for Cornette is quickly ejected to make this as fair as possible. Bradshaw throws Jarrett back inside and whips him with his chaps to start before chopping Jarrett down over and over. A big boot to the face staggers Jarrett and a clothesline sends him to the floor.

Bradshaw makes the mistake of going after Cornette though and Jeff gets in some kicks to the chest to take over. There’s a middle rope dropkick from Jeff for two and Cornette gets in some choking of his own. The choking only ticks Bradshaw off and he rolls up Jarrett for two. The referee yells at Jarrett though, allowing Cornette to blast Bradshaw in the bad knee with his tennis racket.

Jeff goes after the knee but gets crotched on the top rope. Bradshaw’s superplex is blocked but he catches Jeff in a fallaway slam to put both guys down. There’s the powerbomb to Jeff but Bradshaw pulls Cornette into the ring, allowing Jeff to hit Bradshaw in the chest with the tennis racket for the DQ.

Rating: D+. Not as bad of a match as some of them and the Texas man helped get the fans interested but this still didn’t do much for me. The NWA angle was little more than a way for Vince to make fun of the organization and make them look like nitwits. The match was nothing special either with a basic knee story which went nowhere.

Post match the NWA jumps Bradshaw until the LOD makes the save.

HHH and Chyna won’t say who the mystery partner is either but there’s a long list of people wanting the spot with DX because they’re the new train in wrestling. However, there’s no one that can replace Shawn so tonight it’s a handicap match.

Faarooq says the Nation is ready for war while Rock makes funny faces.

Nation of Domination vs. Ken Shamrock/Ahmed Johnson/Disciples of Apocalypse

This is a ten man tag with the Nation comprised of Faarooq, Rock, Kama, D’Lo Brown and the now heel Mark Henry. The match has been billed as a war of attrition which would imply survival and elimination rules, but this is one fall to a finish. Skull starts with D’Lo and Brown goes to the eyes for an early advantage. An atomic drop slows D’Lo down though and it’s off to Shamrock for a back elbow to the jaw. A double tag brings in Kama and Chainz with Mustafa pounding away in the corner.

Some quick elbows have Kama in trouble so he tags off to Mark for some raw power. Henry wants Ahmed though and the fans till care about Johnson at this point. Johnson wins a slugout and slams Henry down, only to have the Nation come in with some cheap shots to take over. D’Lo hits a spinebuster to put Ahmed down and a long distance frog splash gets no cover. Instead it’s off to Faarooq who walks into a spinebuster from Ahmed but Rock breaks up the Pearl River Plunge.

8-Ball gets the tag and powerslams Faarooq down for two as the good guys start speeding things up. It’s off to Rock vs. Shamrock which is one of the matchups that people have wanted to see. Rock scores with a quick DDT and stomps away in the corner before bringing in Kama to miss a charge. Skull and 8-Ball take turns on Kama as we get some o the original twin magic. Kama will have none of that though and takes Skull into the Nation corner for a beating.

Rock comes in with the yet to be named People’s Elbow for two and it’s back to Faarooq to punch Skull in the jaw a few times. Skull comes back with a faceplant but Rock breaks up a hot tag attempt. Henry comes in to pound on Skull for about ten seconds before it’s back to Kama for a chinlock. D’Lo gets a tag but misses a moonsault, finally allowing for the hot tag off to Shamrock. Everything breaks down and the ring is cleared except for Shamrock to ankle lock the Rock for the win.

Rating: C-. It’s not a great match or anything and the elimination rules would have helped things a lot, but it was certainly better than some of the other stuff tonight. Above all else though the fans CARED about this. It wasn’t some dull filler match that was there to make sure a card was complete but rather a match with characters and a story we’ve been given reason to care about. That’s a big step up from a lot of this show.

Post match Rock and Faarooq are about to fight but they eventually make up.

Austin doesn’t care who the mystery partner is.

We recap Kane vs. Vader. There isn’t much here other than Kane attacking Vader because Kane is evil and Vader wanting a fight as a result.

Kane vs. Vader

JR says Vader has won titles on more continents than he can count. That says a lot about the Oklahoma school system. Kane gets a BIG pop during his entrance. The brawl is on to start with Kane taking Vader down via a clothesline. They head outside with Kane still in control, even though the fans chant for Vader. Back in and Vader kicking away at the leg before dumping Kane out to the floor for a whip into the post.

They head back inside again with Kane hitting his top rope clothesline before pounding Vader down into the corner. A nice looking suplex puts Vader down and a top rope forearm to the back does the same. The slow pace continues until Kane clotheslines Vader down yet again. We hit the nerve hold for a bit until Kane slugs Vader down to stop another comeback bid.

Vader finally scores with some right hands in the corner and a low blow to break up a chokeslam attempt. The moonsault mostly connects but Kane pops up, only to be clotheslined out to the floor. Vader is sent into the steps but comes back with a fire extinguisher to blind Kane. Vader’s powerbomb is no sold and it’s a chokeslam and tombstone to give Kane the win.

Rating: C-. This wasn’t terrible but it’s another case where the ending was obvious. Everyone knew that Kane was destined to face Undertaker and that Undertaker was the only person capable of defeating him. Vader was nothing more than a jobber to the stars at this point and his time was coming to a close in the company.

Post match Kane grabs a wrench from under the ring and blasts Vader in the face with it to put him on the shelf for a few months.

We recap the main event which is really three feuds combined into one. The Outlaws put Cactus and Chainsaw into a dumpster and dumped them off the stage a few weeks back. Owen is feuding with HHH since Michaels wouldn’t do it. Austin would be feuding with Michaels but he’s injured, necessitating the mystery partner.

New Age Outlaws/HHH/??? vs. Steve Austin/Chainsaw Charlie/Cactus Jack/Owen Hart

This is one fall to a finish and anything goes. Billy Gunn brings a table with him just in case. The mystery partner is…..Savio Vega, who is a pretty big disappointment, but to be fair there was no one who wouldn’t have been a downgrade. At least he does have a history with Austin, but Rock would have been a much better choice. Cactus brings a small dumpster full of weapons to make sure this is as violent as possible. Austin comes out to a roar and the fight is on fast.

Austin blasts Billy in the head with a trashcan lid but Billy bails from a Stunner attempt. The bad guys all bail to the floor as Austin and Charlie rule the ring. Everyone heads to the floor now with Austin choking HHH with I think a broom. Back in the ring and it’s Cactus working over Road Dogg while Austin pounds on the back of HHH’s head. The table is brought in as Charlie hits Dogg in the head with something in a bag. Dogg is sent into but not through a table in the corner as the carnage continues. This is one of those matches where it’s practically impossible to call most of the stuff.
Gunn is powerslammed through the table and Vega is sent knees first into the steps. HHH has to break up a Sharpshooter on Gunn and DX actually makes a comeback. Austin gets pounded down with a trashcan lid and HHH powerbombs Owen for two. HHH blasts Charlie in the head five or six times with a trashcan but it takes a DDT to put him down for two. Owen comes back with a spinebuster to HHH and a quick Sharpshooter but Road Dogg breaks it up.

The referee actually tries to get people on the aprons for a tag match but they’ll have none of it. Road Dogg hits Charlie low and the Outlaws double powerbomb him through a pair of chairs. We actually get some of the people on the apron and start (seven minutes after the bell) with Billy pounding Charlie down until it’s off to HHH for more of the same. Dogg suplexes Charlie onto a trashcan lid for two as Cactus makes the save.

Austin comes in without a tag and throws a trashcan at Gunn’s head but it’s HHH with an atomic drop on Charlie before Austin can do any more damage. Owen gets the tag but the referee was busy with Road Dogg so it doesn’t count. You know for a match where anything goes, it certainly seems like there are a lot of rules being enforced. Charlie runs Road Dogg over and makes the hot tag off to Cactus to clean house. He puts Road Dogg under part of a table in the corner and throws Gunn into the same corner to crush Dogg even worse.

A double Mandible Claw slows the Outlaws down but HHH hits Cactus low to break up the hold. The fans demand Austin but get Cactus and Billy fighting to the floor instead. Gunn crushes Cactus with the steps and we head back inside for a two count from HHH. Savio comes in to wrap barbed wire around Cactus’ head before kicking him in the ribs. Owen FINALLY comes in to break it up despite the lack of a tag but Vega blasts Cactus in the head (still wrapped in wire) with a chair.

Cactus ducks a Gunn chair shot which blasts Dogg in the head and Jack has an opening. The hot tag brings in Austin to the pop of the night and house is cleaned. Austin destroys everything in sight and sends Road Dogg to the floor. He stomps away on Gunn in the corner before Dogg comes back in for the Stunner from Austin and the pin.

Rating: B. This was a nice tag match with the wild carnage part at the beginning and the perfect ending. There was no way this didn’t end with Austin getting the pin and standing tall which is exactly what we got. The fans went NUTS for Austin and he’s got all the momentum rolling into Wrestlemania. It’s the exactly right ending and it was done very well.

Post match Chyna gets in Austin’s face and gets a Stunner for her troubles to end the show.

Overall Rating: C-. The main event was exactly what it should have been but the rest of the show wasn’t much to look at. This was nothing more than a breather before the biggest show of the year which is all it was supposed to be. Austin is on top of the world at this point but he still needs to make it official next month in Boston.

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