Michael Cole is again in the back but this time is joined by the WWF Heavyweight Champion, Stone Cold Steve Austin. Cole tells Austin that Taker is said to be here alone tonight and Austin goes onto cut one of his usual awesome promos. He tells Cole “All sentimental crap aside, I aint afraid to cheapshot ya to hang on the belt because I wont give you or Vince McMahon the satisfaction of seeing me give up this Title.” He tells Cole that’s all he has to say and walks out. In all seriousness, did Stone Cold cut a bad promo ever? His intensity was so believable and it truly stands the test of time.
Mankind enters the arena alone to defend the Tag Team Championship as the ring announcer says “The following match is a no holds-barred, no disqualification, falls count anywhere match”. JR tells us here the reason for Kane‘s no-show is because him and Mankind “beat the hell out of each other on Monday Night Raw”. We hear the classic “Oh You Didn’t Know” come over the loud speaker and is soon followed by “Your Ass Better Call Somebody” as the New Age Outlaws enter and the crowd sings along. Road Dogg Jesse James continues to hype the crowd up as he and Bad Ass Billy Gunn come down to the ring with a dumpster full of weapons. The D-X members are wearing South Park shirts here and I found that cool as this was at the time the long lived, and still going strong, TV series started.
Mankind gets the advantage, before the bell sounds by hitting them both in the head with a cookie sheet. He leaves the ring to grab a chair but when he returns Billy Gunn is standing in the ring with a chair of his own. The two have a duel of sorts with the chairs before Gunn drops his. This jousting match would allow Road Dogg to sneak in and the two are soon stomping a mudhole into Mankind. The pair continue to mangle some more cookie sheets and using the head of Mankind to do so. Gunn leaves the ring for more weapons and this gives Mankind an opportunity to strike. He does so by sending Road Dogg to the corner and back body dropping Billy Gunn to the outside. The running knee he delivers to the face of Road Dogg, that has a cookie sheet laid over it, looks just brutal. Mankind quickly returns outside and hits Gunn with a swinging neck breaker that leads to a two count. Mankind’s momentum is soon halted when the Outlaws return to double-teaming him. Road Dogg stands on the security rail and throws the ‘X’ up at the crowd and receives a positive response by doing so. They soon return Mankind to the ring and this time have a table with them. Road Dogg sets the corner up in the table but Mankind reverses the Irish whip and that in turn sends Billy Gunn through the table instead. The team is too much work for Mankind alone, though and the Outlaws regain the advantage again. This leads to a lifting neckbreaker, done in a similar fashion as a 3D, but Mankind manages to kick-out. They set up a pair of chairs next and proceed to powerbomb Mankind onto them. This bump is vicious and the landing on the chairs looked very awkward. But once again, after an arrogant cover by Road Dogg he manages to kick-out again. This angers Dogg and he exits the ring to grab the belts so that they can deliver a spiked piledriver onto them.
This leads to a three count for Billy Gunn as Road Dogg is crotch chopping with the count. The New Age Outlaws are the new “Tag Team Champions of the World” and this victory would give Billy Gunn the most Tag Title reigns at the time with 6. He is still second all-time with eleven and is only behind Edge, who has fourteen. After the match they dump Mankind into the dumpster and soon after Kane would rise from inside, with the sledgehammer. He then he acts as if he is beating Mankind with the hammer. For being a two versus one no DQ match for the tag titles it wasn’t that bad. As usual Mick Foley took some bumps that make me question the fact that he still manages to walk today. If hardcore is your style, then this is something to take the time to watch. Match Time: 7:30
The next video does a really good job recapping the feud between The Nation of Domination and Degeneration-X, but more importantly the feud between The Rock and Triple H. It shows one of my favorite Raw moments, The Crock, when D-X dressed as The Nation. It also shows the best 2 out of 3 falls match between these two at Fully Loaded, the previous PPV. The match goes to a time limit draw and The Rock would retain the IC Title. The Rock, with The Nation, would attack Triple H with a ladder and is what would to Triple H challenging him to ladder match. When the video ends we see Chris Warren and the Degeneration-X Band enter the arena to perform the DX anthem “Break it Down”. This is an awesome Triple H entrance and I legitimately rewound it to watch it again. Even though I don’t think they were playing the instruments, because the music started before they were in the ring, it was still nostalgic and I definitely enjoyed it. Triple H and Chyna join them in the ring and proceed to destroy the bands set like a Who concert. Chris Warren passed away on June 12, 2016 and was 49.
The Rock‘s theme come on and cuts the party short. The place is pumped up for the match, especially during the mini concert. The Intercontinental Champion enters and is joined by Mark Henry. On the way to the ring The Rock stops to climb the ladder and does so with the belt in his mouth. He reaches the top and raises the Strap high above his head and we can See Triple H and Chyna clearing the bands debris from the ring. Rock hits the ring and then the turnbuckle to get some pop from the crowd. At this time we see Mark Henry doing a “tongue flick”, insulating cunnilingus, and this made me chuckle. We see the official strap the Title to an “apparatus” in the middle of the ring and the IC Strap is raised. And the match is set to begin.
The two are talking trash to each other before the bell and we can see Rock mouth “F*ck You, Motherf*cker” to Triple H and these lead to them exchanging blows. Hunter gets the edge after a stand up clothesline flattens The Rock, who is bouncing off the ropes. Triple H nails a facebuster and proceeds to “Crotch Chop”. The taunting leads to Rock trying for an early Rock Bottom but Hunter manages to wiggle free. They exchange some more punches but Triple H would reverse an Irish whip and attempt a Pedigree. This is in turn reversed when The Rock lifts him and back body drops him over the ropes. Nice bump. At this time Jim Ross mentions that Triple H is dealing with a knee injury and this wasn’t a work. Triple H really was working on a real knee injury. The Rock is taking his time going for the ladder and this allows for a sneak attack from Helmsley. He uses the guardrails to his advantage, bouncing The Rock back and fourth across the aisle, and the crowd is popping. They return to the ring and after The Rock ducks under some clotheslines Triple H nails him with a lifting knee to the face. Triple H would now go for the ladder and this allows for an ambush from The Rock. At the time we hear the “Rocky Sucks” chants from the crowd. After Rock bounces Hunter of a guardrail, we see him try to take the ladder to the ring for the first time. It doesn’t quite make it in though, as Hunter would attack Rock from behind. This leaves the ladder leaning on the ropes. The reason I mention this is Rock reverses an Irish whip that sends H into the ladder and Rocky hits him with an explosive clothesline when he comes off it. Rock uses this opportunity to take the ladder in the ring and set it up. He doesn’t make it very far up before Triple H hits him with the ax handle to the back. The ladder falls on the back of Triple H and it’s a hard looking bump. JR mentions their ages here, Rock-26 and Triple H-29, and its crazy to think of the road that lies ahead for these two athletes.
Both men regain their footing and Triple H is first to grab the ladder and use it as a weapon. A hit that King compares to “Mark McGuire swinging a baseball bat”. He hits Rocky with the ladder some more before he sets it up and begins to ascend it. The Rock makes the save by pulling Triple H to the mat, but Hunter lands very awkwardly on his leg. He is soon clutching the knee and it seems to me it isn’t a work. The only thing that makes me think different is how The Rock continues to work the injured leg. The crowd starts with the “Rocky Sucks” chants again as The Rock drops the ladder on Triple H and even pinches the knee in the ladder and stomps it. With the knee still pinched, The Rock leaves the ring to grab a chair. This leads to some cool sound effects as he beat the ladder with the chair, that still has Hunter’s knee pinched in it. After some knee work on the ring post Rocky sets the ladder up, using the stairs and guardrails to do so. He delivers a knee breaker on Hunter that set him up to drop an elbow on the prone Triple H. The Rock returns to the ring with the ladder and takes his time setting it up. He makes it two rungs from the top before Hunter makes the save by shoving him off it. They both lay on the mat after as Triple H knocks the ladder down and throws it from the ring. Hunter would soon throw The Rock from the ring and join him on the outside. Triple H leans the ladder against the guardrail but this backfires when The Rock catapults him into it. They continue to brawl down the apron and Triple H gets the advantage after he delivers a jarring clothesline. This leads to Triple H attempting to Pedigree The Rock onto the ladder. This is reversed with a back body drop that land Hunter squarely on the ladder. Rocky returns to the ring with the ladder but we see Mark Henry throw another ladder into the ring. This is the one The Rock chooses to set up and begin to climb while Chyna is attempting to help up Triple H. Rock is making the slowest climb in history as Triple H has to fight his way through Mark Henry to make the save. This leads to Chyna laying Henry out with a right hook. The Rock is fingertips away before Triple H shoves the ladder over and Rock sells it by flying out of the ring. There is a cool spot next when Triple H baseball slides into the ladder that then connects with the face of The Rock. This is when the blood starts to flow from the face of The Rock.
Triple H begins to climb the ladder but The Rock is there in time to knock the ladder over again. The Rock sets the ladder up it the corner and attempts to Irish whip Triple H into it. After some reversals that end with Rocky Dropping the DDT, that leaves both men on the mat. The Rock is on his feet first and begins to climb the ladder but Triple H isn’t far behind and they exchange punches at the top. This leads to Triple H being thrown from the top and into the ladder The Rock had set up in the corner. He would still manage the save by pushing the ladder over again. The Rock sells it great when he hits the top rope bouncing all over like a SuperBall. Again both men are on the mat. The Rock is first to his feet and he grabs the ladder but as he is doing so Chyna slides a chair in to Triple H. He then uses the chair to smash the ladder into the face of The Rock. He continues to beat the ladder into The Rock with the chair.
This leads to Triple H attempting to set up the ladder again but The Rock is there to make the save once more. Triple H takes a solid flat-back bump next when Rocky scoop slams him onto the downed ladder. This sets The Rock up to execute the World Famous People’s Elbow and the crowd is on their feet. JR is going nuts and screaming “a People’s Elbow to the Heart of Triple H right on the ladder” and the crowd is equally as crazed with their “Rocky” chants. Rock sets the ladder up but after a kick to the midsection Triple H begins to climb. He is forced to jump off though as The Rock is mounting an attack. The Rock reverses the attempted clothesline from Hunter and turns it into The Rock Bottom. This generates a nice pop and once again both men are prone on the mat. The Rock is up first and very slowly starts to ascend the ladder. Triple H is there once again to pull him down and this sets up a Pedigree that makes the crowd erupts again. I always like to point these spots out where the crowd is popping for both performers. It just shows the quality of match when they forget favorites and just enjoy the product.
Triple H is then attempting to stand, and is using the ropes to do so, when Mark Henry unleashes the pocket sand into the face of Hunter. The powder explodes everywhere and this makes for some good heat with the fans. The blinded Hunter is still the first to begin climbing the ladder but The Rock isn’t far behind. They go to blows at the top of it and The Rock gains the edge. The gold is in his grasp when Chyna slides in the ring to make the save. She delivers the uppercut low blow on The Rock and he comes crashing off the ladder. Triple H slowly climbs the ladder and struggle to grab the Strap. He eventually grabs it and is crowned the new WWF Intercontinental Champion. Degeneration-X soon joins him in the ring for a quick celebration. This really was the night of D-X as all members left with something they didn’t have coming in. Triple H gained the IC Gold, The New Age Outlaws with the Tag Titles and X-Pac left with Double J’s hair. This was an amazing match I found myself rewinding it for several spots. This kind of performance shows us why these two Superstars are so highly revered and legends of the game. Match Time: 24:32
After the match there is a really sweet promo as “WWF HOME VIDEO EXCLUSIVE” flashes on the bottom of the screen. It follow The Rock into the back through the curtain where he meets a doctor who lead his to a dressing room. As the camera follows him you can hear Bruce Prichard saying “I need Taker, Where’s Taker” repeatedly. Cool Stuff. The Rock cuts a promo after he kicks the doctor out. He goes on about how Triple H will never be The People’s Champ as the blood flows from his face. Good stuff and worth checking out.