1997 began with World Championship Wrestling solidly in control of the pro wrestling landscape. But by years end the World Wrestling Federation, through motivation, determination and innovation, weren’t simply gaining ground on WCW, they were nipping at their heels.
While an unpopular, unthinkable move in the eyes of a vast majority of wrestling fans the “Montreal Screwjob” made the WWF relevant again and helped reintroduce the revamped product to a score of new fans and a slew of casuals who had switched to WCW. By year’s end television ratings, PPV buyrates, and house show numbers were trending upwards compared to the same time in 1996. And, despite the fact that the “Montreal Screwjob” threw WWF’s planned booking out the window, D-Generation X was a stacked card on paper. The event featured Sgt. Slaughter’s first match in the WWF since the summer of 1994, the finals of the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship, and the first-ever one-on-one match between Rocky Maivia and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Though it was no match for WCW’s much-anticipated Starrcade ’97 later in the month, the event marked a true turning point for the WWF. But just how well does D-Generation X hold up today? Let’s hit ‘play’ and find out!
Context, for those wondering, isn’t an issue. All prior WWF PPVs as well as all prior editions of Monday Night RAW are currently available for you to enjoy on the Network today. In respect to editing, this is a slightly chopped up version of the event with a few non-essential segments clipped.
WWF D-Generation X: In Your House 19 (WATCH)
Date: December 7, 1997 – Location: Springfield Civic Center, Springfield, Massachusetts
Attendance: 6,358 – PPV Buyrate: 0.44 (>159,000 buys)
Commentators: Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler – Interviews: Dok Hendrix, Michael Cole, Jim Cornette, & Jim Ross
CHAMPIONS AT THE TIME
WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Shawn Michaels
WWF World Tag Team Champions: New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn)
WWF Intercontinental Champions: Stone Cold Steve Austin
WWF European Champion: Shawn Michaels
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: VACANT
The event opens with a vignette highlighting D-X’s latest antics and selling the Triple H/Slaughter “Boot Camp Match” and the Shamrock/HBK WWF Championship match.
After the pyro goes off Jim Ross welcomes us to the show and runs down the card with Jerry “The King” Lawler before introducing the Spanish and French announce teams.
— Finals of the Inaugural WWF Light Heavyweight Championship Tournament (WATCH – 3:00)
“Too Sexy” Brian Christopher vs. Taka Michinoku
Though a new Championship for WWF TV in 1997 the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship had been around since March 26, 1981 when Perro Aguayo defeated Gran Hamada in a tournament final in Shimizu, Japan to win the new title. The title was defended in Ray Mendoza’s Universal Wrestling Association in Mexico until the promotion folded in 1995 when the title became a part of the J-Crown in New Japan before being recalled back the States in August of ’97, dissolving the J-Crown in the process.
Christopher earned his spot in this match by defeating Flash Flanagan (quarter-finals) and future tag team partner Scott Taylor (semi-finals) while Taka defeated Devon Storm, the future Crowbar in WCW, in the quarter-finals and Aguila in the semi-finals. As for the match, it has its moments for sure, including the commentary, but Christopher’s Memphis fluff and gaga just kills this one for me. The finish comes after Christopher misses the Tennessee Jam from the top which allows Taka to land a crushing Michinoku Driver on “Too Sexy” for the pin and the WWF Light Heavyweight title at 12:02. After the match Gerald Brisco, Tony Garea, and Pat Patterson present Taka with the belt as Japanese photographers document the moment.
WINNER and NEW WWF Light Heavyweight Champion, Taka Michinoku (Pin, 12:02)
A WWF Superstar Line segment with Kevin Kelly and Jackyl that aired following the Christopher/Michinoku match has been (awkwardly) edited out.
Los Boricuas try to rap their way to the ring but it doesn’t work out so well. As the Boricuas walk around the ring we see a footage from the previous week’s RAW of D.O.A., Truth Commission, and Los Boricuas brawling in the ring.
— “6-Man Tag Team Grudge Match” (WATCH – 19:38)
Loc Boricuas (Jose Estrada, Jr., Jesus Castillo, Jr., & Miguel Perez, Jr.) w/Savio Vega vs. The Disciples of Apocolypse (Chainz, Skull, & 8-Ball)
Crush was to be in the corner of D.O.A. but was injured at the hands of Kane and is out. Savio Vega wants to stay and manage but is booted from ringside prior to the start of the match. This one is the same-old, same-old from these guys. Miguel injures his right leg early in the match and spends the remainder on the outside clutching his leg (a la Peter Griffin). Vega, who had been tossed out, returns to replace Miguel and is somehow allowed to stay at ringside. In the end Chainz hits Jose with the Death Valley Driver only for Miguel to make a miraculous recovery, hit Chainz in the back of the head with a somersault legdrop, and put Jose on top of Chainz for the pinfall at 7:58.
WINNERS are Los Boricuas (Jose Estrada, Jr., Jesus Castillo, Jr., & Miguel Perez, Jr.) w/Savio Vega (Pin, 7:58)
Next up we go to the back where Dok Hendrix interviews Butterbean ahead of his “Toughman” fight with Marc Mero. Hendrix makes note of Butterbean making history by having fought on an HBO “TVKO” PPV the night before and then “fighting” on a WWF PPV the very next night. The unanimous decision win the night before over Doug Phillips, on the undercard of the De La Hoya/Rivera “Tidal Wave” PPV (240,000 buys), was not a good showing for Butterbean and he was left out of nearly all the national recaps of the event. Butterbean says the night before was just a warm-up and that he’s going to go out and take care of Mero for how he treats Sable.
Meanwhile, Michael Cole is off in another area with Sable, who Cole points out was in Atlantic City for Butterbean’s fight, before tossing to a vignette highlighting the Mero/Butterbean feud. Coming out of it Sable says that her heart is with Mero. Suddenly Mero crashes the promo and asks Sable if he gave her “permission” to speak. Mero accuses Sable of stealing his spotlight and says he going to knock out the “fat tub of crap” Butterbean.
— “Toughman Match” (WATCH – 32:00)
“Marvelous” Marc Mero w/Sable & Ray Rinaldi vs. Butterbean w/Art Dore & Murray Sutherland
This is just terrible, with fans far more into Sable than the “fight”. The story surrounds Mero hanging with Butterbean and then cheap shotting Butterbean after the first two rounds. Round three, by and large, is the most believable and realistic and naturally draws the loudest “boring”” chants of the night. At the end of the round Butterbean knocks Mero down but Mero is saved by the bell. At the start of the fourth Butterbean knocks Mero down again and we see a well-placed “Who Booked This?” sign that is by far the star of the match! Out of the blue Mero whaps Butterbean in the pills and the match ends via DQ :12 seconds into the fourth in favor of Butterbean. After the match Mero breaks his stool over the back of Butterbean and then slips on the water and falls on his face leaving the ring before Butterbean chases Mero to the back.
WINNER is Butterbean (Disqualification, 0:12, Round 4)
Next up we have arguably the worst segment in WWF/E PPV history when Luna Vachon brings out The Artist Formely Known as Goldust (on a leash) to “express himself in verse”. Goldust then reads Green Eggs and Ham in as effeminate voice as possible until Luna slaps him and drags T.A.F.K.A. Goldust to the back. Anyone who gushes over the “Attitude Era” and thinks it was all sunshine and lollipops needs to watch this crap! Today’s WWE ain’t got nuthin’ on this tripe!
Backstage Michael Cole interviews the Legion of Doom about their forthcoming title match against WWF Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws. We see footage from two weeks ago on RAW when the Outlaws stole the WWF Tag title from the L.O.D. Animal says no one can beat them fair and square and that the Outlaws are lucky to even make it the event. Hawk compares the Outlaws to a “deeply embedded booger” that he rolls and flicks away. “Get ready,” Hawk says, “to get flicked!”
The New Age Outlaws come out to the usual Road Dogg promo calling the L.O.D. dinosaurs. There’s a chase sequence in the aisle that lasts a while until Brisco, Patterson, Garea, and referees force them to go to the ring. L.O.D. meet the Outlaws in the aisle and drag them to the ring to start the match.
— WWF World Tag Team Championship – “Grudge Match” (WATCH – 53:53)
The Legion of Doom (Road Warrior Hawk & Road Warrior Animal) vs. The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg & Bad “Ass” Billy Gunn)(c)
This one isn’t all that bad. For the most part it’s the Road Warriors dominating the Outlaws until late in the match. It looks like L.O.D. are primed to end Road Dogg with the Doomsday Device when Henry Godwinn runs in and brains Animal with the slop bucket. Hawk gets the slop bucket and beats the bejabbers out of Road Dogg and Billy Gunn with it which draws the DQ at 10:33. The finish killed this one and the fans were really not happy with it.
WINNERS and STILL WWF World Tag Team Champions, The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn) (Disqualification, 10:33)
We see a video package next highlighting the career of Sgt. Slaughter and the dreaded Cobra Clutch. After the vignette we go to the back where Michael Cole interviews Triple H and Chyna about their forthcoming “Boot Camp” match with Slaughter. Triple H reveals his “Sgt. Slaughter survival kit” that includes Metamucil, a can of prunes, and a package of Depends. Triple says this isn’t Slaughter’s or the “Next Generation”, “this is D-Generation!” Triple H closes by telling Slaughter he’ll stop by Slaughter’s house and let his “old lady” take a “smoke of the peace pipe!”
After Triple H and Chyna make their way to the ring we go backstage where Jim Cornette interviews Sgt. Slaughter, who yells about coming “to fight a scum, a slime, and a maggot that insulted my family.” “Helmsley, you puke,” Slaughter shouts, “I might be old, but I’m not dead!”
— “Boot Camp Match” (WATCH – 1:12:15)
Triple H w/Chyna vs. WWF Commissioner Sgt. Slaughter
Sgt. Slaughter’s role in the rise of D-Generation X has largely been forgotten, but Sgt. Slaughter was to D-Generation X what Mr. McMahon was to Stone Cold Steve Austin. This match, though, is s-l-o-w and l-o-n-g. The highlight of the match, unfortunately, happens when Triple H brains long-time timekeeper Mark Yeaton with the ring bell. Aside from a mercy pop when Slaughter lands the Cobra Clutch on Triple H the crowd is just dead for this one. Chyna gets involved late until Slaughter throws powder in her eyes. Moments later Slaughter again cinches in the Cobra Clutch and is on the verge of winning when Chyna kicks Slaughter in the ol’ coin purse before Triple H ends it with a Pedigree on a steel chair for the pin at 17:40.
WINNER is Triple H w/Chyna (Pin, 17:40)
Next we go backstage to Michael Cole who’s with Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett had returned on the October 20, 1997 edition of RAW (26:43) in one of the most infamous promos of the “Monday Night Wars” and had refused to wrestle on TV until finally WWF Commissioner Sgt. Slaughter forced Jarrett into the forthcoming match against The Undertaker. Jarrett calls Cole a “mark” and says that “tonight is the night that the cream rises to the top.” He’s going to bury Undertaker and be the number one contender to the WWF World title.
— Singles Match (WATCH – 1:38:33)
Jeff Jarrett vs. The Undertaker
This isn’t much of a match. It’s Jarrett’s speed against Undertaker’s strength when the light’s go out. Kane’s music hits and Kane and Paul Bearer make their way to the ring where Kane chokeslams Jarrett to give “Double J” the win by DQ at 6:55. After the match Kane slaps Undertaker, daring his brother to fight back, but Undertaker refuses. Kane sets off the turnbuckle pyro and leaves as Jarrett tries to put Undertaker in the figure four. Instead Undertaker lays Jarrett out with a sloppy chokeslam. Jarrett struts to end the segment.
WINNER is Jeff Jarrett (Disqualification, 6:55)
We head to the “Milton Bradley rooting section” next where Michael Cole interviews Mark Henry, who’s hanging out with the Milton Bradley “big wigs” and their kids, and says he’s a week or two from returning to the ring.
A vignette highlighting the Rock/Austin feud, including Rocky stealing Austin’s Intercontinental title, runs next followed by The Rock (with The Nation) backstage with Dok Hendrix where Rock says he’s the most dangerous and “best damn Intercontinental Champ there ever was.”
Austin comes to the ring in his black Stone Cold pickup truck and is promptly jumped by The Nation. Soon enough D’lo is backdropped through the windshield and hit with a Stunner on the roof of the truck!
— WWF Intercontinental Championship – “Grudge Match” (WATCH – 1:56:29)
“The Rock” Rocky Maivia w/Faarooq, Kama, & D’lo Brown vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin(c)
This match is one of the few on the card with any real heat. The crowd is just on fire for this one! Faarooq and Kama attack Austin from behind until Faarooq is waffled with a chair and Kama goes hard into the truck. Rock beats down Austin, goes low on the Intercontinental Champion, and hits what would become known as The People’s Elbow. Eventually Austin makes the comeback but mistakenly hits the Stunner on the referee before Rock slips on a pair of brass knuckles. Austin blocks the knucks and hits the Stunner for the pin at 5:33.
WINNER and STILL WWF Intercontinental Champion, Stone Cold Steve Austin (Pin, 5:33)
Another Kevin Kelly/Jackyl WWF Superstar Line segment is awkwardly edited out here.
A vignette highlighting Ken Shamrock’s path of destruction and ability to tap anyone on the roster airs next followed by footage of Shamrock tapping HBK to the ankle lock out on the go-home edition of RAW.
Backstage Jim Cornette interview Shamrock, who says that he’s a fighter who will have HBK “squealin’ like a baby.” We follow Shamrock from the locker room to the curtain and out as if Shamrock were preparing for a legitimate fight.
With Shamrock in the ring JR, from ringside, interviews HBK (with Triple H and Chyna), who calls JR fat on several occasions and say he’s “the number one man in the World Wrestling Federation”. We follow HBK and company, as we did Shamrock, through the halls to the curtain.
— WWF World Heavyweight Championship – “Grudge Match” (WATCH – 2:12:00)
“The World’s Most Dangerous Man” Ken Shamrock vs. WWF European Champion Shawn Michaels(c) w/Triple H & Chyna
The story in this match is Shamrock’s power versus HBK’s speed (and D-X). Michaels bumps like a Super Ball for Shamrock, who puts on one of the best matches of his young WWF career. More of fight than a wrestling match this one tells a good story, employs some great psychology (in my eyes), and delivers the kind of WWF World title match few fans expected they’d see. Shamrock makes a comeback late and looks to be on the verge of winning the WWF title when D-X again interferes. HBK goes for Sweet Chin Music when Shamrock ducks, hits the belly-to-belly, and cinches in the ankle lock. Triple H and Chyna storm the ring, save HBK and the title, and give Shamrock the match via DQ at 18:28.
WINNER is “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” Ken Shamrock (Disqualification, 18:28)
After the match D-X puts the boots to Shamrock and toss Shamrock from the ring. As Chyna and Triple H continue to mug Shamrock on the floor Owen Hart, in his first TV appearance since Survivor Series ’97, runs in and shoves HBK off the ring apron through the Spanish announce table at ringside. Owen beats the bejabbers out of HBK and tries to gouge his eyes out until Triple H makes the save. Owen jumps the guardrail and leaves through the crowd as Triple H tends to HBK. After the commotion dies down and Shamrock is ushered to the back HBK, Triple H, and Chyna pose in the ring in front of a rapidly vanishing Springfield crowd as the show goes dark.
It’s hard to argue that any PPV where half the matches end in DQ is any good but D-Generation X: In Your House 19 isn’t all that bad.
Loathed at the time as one of the worst PPVs of the year, the event represents a company in transition, making a path forward after one the most controversial moments in company history.
Already signed up for the WWE Network? You can relive D-X: In Your House 19 right now or see it for the very first time! Don’t forget to tell us what you think in the comments below.
Looking for more Network news? Give our friends at WWENetworkNews.com a visit today!
Thanks for reading – until next week, see ya ringside!
Watch every WWE, WCW and ECW pay-per-view event in history and 9,000 more hours of content on the WWE Network. Your first month is FREE! Click here to subscribe to the WWE Network.