April 28, 1996

The Ultimate Warrior . . . proves that the Halloween Havoc ‘98 mess is far from his worst outing on PPV.

Razor Ramon . . . makes his last shot on PPV count by putting over the new monster heel in as big a way as he can.

Shawn Michaels . . . sends his former best friend packing to ‘dubya see dubya’ on a high note.


Owen may have been damn good, but even he couldn't carry the other three. Ahmed couldn't work a lick, and he spends most of the match on the apron anyway. Roberts was too old and broken down to take any real bumps. So the result is a control segment on Roberts full of little more than punching, kicking, choking, and a couple of chinlocks. Feel the excitement, jack! Roberts finally gets the hot tag and Ahmed gives Davey a spinebuster and then brilliantly tags right back out so they can work the finish. Davey busts up Jake's knee with Cornette's racquet and then grapevines the leg to make Jake give it up, submissions weren't exactly commonplace in the WWF at this time, aside from squashes, so it's an original idea, but why use the grapevine when Owen is right there with the sharpshooter? Owen keeps it from being a total wash by providing some amusing moments, but no amount of comedy and stooging from Owen was going salvage this.

I suppose this nonsense between Goldust and Ultimate Warrior could be considered a match since there was a bell. But I'll be damned if I'm going to review it, it was bad enough that I had to watch it.


Considering that Hall was on his way out, this is worlds better than you'd probably think. There isn't much that Razor can do to Vader, so Vader goes the extra mile to sell the little offense that Razor can use. Vader reels a mile from Razor's punches, and when Razor hits Vader with something bigger, like the backdrop suplex and bulldog off the second rope, Vader is great at putting it over. Razor also returns the favor by taking a few big bumps from Vader, probably because he was smart enough to know that if he tried anything funny Vader could mess him up. It'd have been nice to see Razor do more to sell his ribs, especially after the first Vader bomb, he only goes all out when he loses the Razor's Edge. Razor survives the Vader bomb and winds up avoiding the moonsault, and Vader smartly takes the first opening he gets, when he back drops out of the Razor's Edge, and drops down onto Razor and puts him away.


There' s nothing here especially mind blowing about this match, aside from the bump that Phineas takes when Zip pulls down the top rope. The champions are quicker, smarter, and better wrestlers, the challengers have the obvious size and strength advantage, and that's how this plays out. The only really surprising things here are Henry's wheelbarrow backdrop and Skip actually being able to take Phineas over with the rana. The match is pretty dumbed down, with lots of punching and rest holds. Size starts winning out, so Sunny distracts Phineas and the champions pull the old switcheroo.

SHAWN MICHAELS © vs. DIESEL (WWF World Heavyweight Title)

This was about as good a note as possible for Nash to go out on (he and Hall officially finished up on 5/19, but this was the last televised appearance for them both). Diesel and Shawn are both about as fired up and intense as I've seen either of them, and they both go out of their way to bump and sell as much as possible. The lack of rules helps out Diesel in that department, since his move set is far from deep, so he compensates with things like whipping Shawn with the referee's belt, and using the chair. The match is also sprinkled with some smart moments, like Diesel's blocking the superkick and hitting Shawn with a short arm lariat that looked like it took his head off. There are some good revenge spots for Shawn, he gets a chance to use the chair on Diesel (it was Diesel hitting Shawn with a chair in MSG that officially turned him full blown heel), and he turns the tide with low blow, after Diesel had some the same thing earlier to halt Shawn’s comeback. Using Mad Dog's leg was certainly an original idea, and Shawn nailing Diesel with the leg stuns him enough for Shawn to finally hit the superkick and finish him off.

The only mark against the match is Shawn blowing off the jackknife, especially after he'd been so great with his selling. Shawn had been putting over all of Diesel's strikes like death, even the knee to the midsection which had never been more than a low level strike. But, he gets powerbombed through the announce table, complete with monitors crashing down on top of him, and he's on his feet only a minute later and taking the fight to Diesel. It's almost as bad as Shawn's kip up in his Summerslam '02 match with HHH. It's smart of Shawn to spray Diesel with the fire extinguisher before he starts unloading, but the damage was already done. Two or three years after this, table-breaking spots would be a regular occurrence on Monday night TV shows and PPVs, but they were enough of a rarity at this point that it deserved a much bigger sell job. Aside from that, this is the exact sort of crazy and hateful brawl needed to give Shawn a big shot of credibility as champion. ***3/4

Conclusion: This is as good example as any of why the way most WWF PPVs at this time were described as having great main events and mediocre undercards. The only big negative is the Warrior/Goldust nightmare, but remove Shawn/Diesel from the equation and it’s a serious drop in quality.