James Dixon: Tonight, someone will be set on fire! You know, just like in the days of Messrs. Gotch, Thesz and Rodgers.
The Nation of Domination (The Rock, Mark Henry & D’Lo Brown) vs. Faarooq, Ken Shamrock & Steve Blackman
Faarooq has just started his first WWF babyface run, having being excommunicated from the Nation due to the emergence of The Rock. Oddly, he still wears his Nation gear and leads his (white) partners in a black power salute. This is the fourth consecutive PPV meeting for Rock and Shamrock, and they also battled at Mayhem in Manchester, which was originally supposed to be a PPV, and will compete again in the King of the Ring final. There is a little miscommunication between the babyfaces when Faarooq begs away from a Shamrock tag while our Ken had D’Lo controlled. D’Lo is able to escape his clutches because of this, and Shamrock gets pissy with Faarooq and demands that he tags. He does, and his former protégé slaps him across the face, so Faarooq drills him with a spinebuster in response and then beats the piss out of him with his leather belt, to a good response from the North Carolina crowd. Mark Henry’s exchanges with Steve Blackman that follow are shamefully bad. It took Henry almost a decade to become even half-passable in the ring, and after just shy of two years here, he is still completely rotten. After losing his balance on a slam, he throws some weak stomps and a piss bad clothesline, silencing Flair country. The Nation take over when Faarooq puts his head down and gets planted by D’Lo, then the Rock works him over as the crowd get instantly on his back. Rock was really starting to get over in a big way, and there is an almost palpable physical manifestation of the buzz you get from watching him around this time. Heat on Faarooq turns into heat on Blackman as things begin to trail off a little. Rock throws in an early People’s Elbow, which riles up the crowd, but they die again right after when he puts on a chinlock. Faarooq eventually gets the hot tag and goes all house of fire, with Mark Henry again showing himself up. He should have been no-where near a ring. A pier-sixer breaks out and in the bedlam Rock hits a DDT on Faarooq for a near fall. Faarooq recovers, and drills Rock with a dangerous looking Dominator to pick up the clean win. Six months from now, that would never happen, because such was the meteoric rise of the Rock that he was light-years beyond Faarooq’s level, even by then. Where the hell was Shamrock in this match? He barely featured at all. A bit of a mess actually, but not offensive.
Final Rating: *½
Steve Austin comes out and bollocks the timekeeper, warning him not to piss him off. Oh, you wouldn’t like Steve Austin when he is pissed off. Austin warns him not to screw him because “you can always find another job, but you can’t find another life”. Being the man’s man that he is, Austin says he doesn’t mind if he loses to Dude Love fair and square, but he won’t let anyone screw him. Brief but necessary, because the main event is all built around the Austin-McMahon angle and this was adding an extra layer to things.