James Dixon: Much like a few other cut price releases from around this time, the quality of the tape used for this is very shoddy, and the picture is very light and grainy as a result. Jonathan Coachman hosts this UK-exclusive tape, and breaks out the revisionist history right away by claiming SummerSlam ’92 was the first ever appearance of the WWF in the United Kingdom. What a stupid thing to say. Even discounting house shows that had been going on since the 80s, the WWF still ran UK specials such as Battle Royal at the Albert Hall and UK Rampage so it’s just a patently untrue thing to claim. There is no reason behind the lies either other than misinformation, and it actually makes the company look foolish because they can’t be bothered to do their own research.
WWF Tag Team Championship
Edge & Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz
These two teams are embroiled in a long-running feud, with their best work opposite each other coming in stunt filled ladder matches, which I am sure the UK audience would have loved to have seen on British shores. As it is this is just a straight-up tag match, and despite the perfectly acceptable quality of the bout, the crowd is unbelievably quiet. You might even suspect the volume of the crowd has been turned down for some reason, but it hasn’t, they are just dead from a very average show. The exchanges are fine of course, but even the most basic heat generating methods don’t work with the audience. It takes Matt standing on the apron and clapping continuously while Jeff is in a front face lock to get them to do anything, but even then it lasts mere seconds. It is typical London aloofness. As always with British shows, stemming back to the early 90s, there are constant air horns audible and they are unbearable. Silent, uninterested crowds and constant horns? It’s like the 2010 World Cup. The match trundles on as if being contested in the AWA Team Challenge Series, while also sticking rigidly to basic and outdated tag team formula and using all the cheap tricks in the book. These guys are so much better than this, but I don’t blame them. Jeff’s hot tag to Matt is barely acknowledged. If I was these guys I would be taking all bumping out of the window right about now too and saving myself for an audience who appreciates it, but instead they do a tower superplex, which is an unnecessary bump on the bump card. The Hardys look to have it wrapped up but Edge uses the ring bell and gets his team disqualified, but they retain the tag belts. This would have been okay if not for the match-ruining crowd.
Final Rating: **
WWF European Championship
Shane McMahon (c) vs. X-Pac
Manchester is a far more responsive audience than London, and they are solidly behind X-Pac in this confrontation. To compensate for Shane not being able to build heat because he isn’t a worker, we get extracurricular from the Stooges and then Chyna. Shane dominates Pac far more than a non wrestler should, belting him with suplexes and back elbows and nearly sending him to sleep with a chinlock. He does bump impressively though, that is one thing about him that cannot be denied, and he takes a series of Pac’s kicks very well. But his moveset is nonexistent, and further compensations are made for that with the bumping of referee Mike Chioda and Chyna getting involved with a belt shot. Triple H wanders out too, because every match in 1999 has to be throttled by booking. In the ring Shane tries for the Bronco Buster on Pac, but misses and gets caught with the X-Factor. Cue Chyna again, who smacks the referee and goes up top but gets crotched. She sells it too, further adding fuel to the fire in the debate over whether she used to be a bloke. At the time at least. Unfortunately for poor Pac, Triple H slides in and drills him with a Pedigree and Shane beats him. The post match beat down from the Corporate Ministry and save from Kane are left off the tape. Not bad stuff here, but it was very much a match that was “good for a non-wrestler” rather than just plain old good.
Final Rating: **¼
Queen’s Cup Match
Chris Jericho vs. William Regal
The feud between these two rumbles on with Regal working as a heel in his home country, but once again the crowd are really poor. Once again, the show is in London, so it’s no coincidence. Michael Cole is especially intolerable during this with his cracking voice grating more than usual, especially when he comes out with his utterly nonsensical scripted toss. For example, the crowd cheer Regal when he waves to them and chant his name at various times, but Cole claims they are booing. Everyone watching knows otherwise, so why even pretend? It just makes him look stupid. There is really nothing going on here at all, with the minimum amount of energy exerted from both guys as they sleepwalk through their usual match and show little in the way of intensity or energy. I expect better from Regal in his home country, and better from Jericho generally. A long chinlock during the middle portion of the bout rather sums up the effort levels on display. Michael Cole sees something else to what everyone watching is viewing, getting far more excited than the situation calls for as he tends to do, before Jericho taps Regal with the Walls of Jericho. Because a trophy is involved and this is wrestling, the “cake principle” comes into play (that is, if a cake is involved in a wrestling angle or skit, someone is getting it in their face. It’s like an unwritten rule and it applies for trophies too), and Regal smashes the tossy little Queen’s Cup trinket into Jericho’s head after the bout. Naturally, that is not shown. I found this unspeakably dull.
Final Rating: *½
Kurt Angle (c) vs. Steve Austin vs. The Rock vs. Rikishi
Joined slightly in progress from Sheffield, which is a far more receptive crowd than London. This had been a very middling show indeed prior to this bout, with overly long matches between guys you would rather see less than more of, and yet this only gets 9-minutes despite featuring four top guys! The WWF simply wouldn’t get away with that in the United States, where a 20-minute main event is almost demanded. Midway through Angle decides he has had enough and goes to leave, which shows that his “three I’s” are very much just a catchphrase, because he doesn’t demonstrate any intelligence at all in doing that. It’s not like he could be counted out, and he wasn’t going for a breather either, he was heading to the back. Why is that a problem? Because in keeping with the horrible rules of a title defence multi man, he can lose the belt without getting beat. Dumbass. The crowd responds to the tease of Austin vs. Rock when they are left standing face-to-face in the ring, and they go nuts for them trading punches and Austin hitting a Stunner. Was there ever any doubt that these guys would be headlining WrestleMania X-Seven? Pinfall attempts get broken up left and right as things break down, and Austin ends up turning straight into a Rock Bottom, only for Rikishi to pull the referee out. Rock argues with Rikishi and gets caught with the Olympic Slam, but the referee is distracted and Rock kicks out when the count finally comes. Edge and Christian come out to help Angle as Rock hits the Rock Bottom on Rikishi, only for Edge to pull him out. Overkill is the name of the game as the Radicalz get involved, also to help Angle. You know what makes a champion really great? When he needs help to retain his title in every single match and he is presented as a fluke. The guy was a genuine Olympic gold medal winner; what issue would it be for him to cleanly beat someone on merit? Anyone? No, instead Rock downs Rikishi and Angle sneaks the pin on his fellow heel while Rock is dealing with the interference. Brief but fun, though I am not impressed with the finish at all.
Final Rating: **½
WWF European Championship
The British Bulldog (c) vs. Shawn Michaels
I am fairly surprised that this is on here given it is from a completely different era and this was during a time where the WWF rarely looked to the past, but nevertheless I am glad to see it because it’s a phenomenal bout. We are joined in progress here though, which is a shame, just as Triple H and Chyna wander down the aisle. There is a huge difference in the audience volume here compared to the Attitude Era stuff, and a noticeable difference in the makeup of that audience too, which sounds like a lot of kids here. They chant constantly for Bulldog, but ask for Bret (Hart) when they spot Trips and Chyna because they suspect shenanigans. Curiously, there is no sign of the Hart Foundation whatsoever, which is really nonsensical booking. Necessary for the story of the match, sure, but it still doesn’t add up. On the outside of the ring Bulldog goes for a running powerslam on Michaels, but he gets his leg stuck in the elevated ramp that the ring is on and seemingly injures himself. It is a clever spot, and is followed by a Sweet Chin Music from Michaels and a Pedigree from Hunter. The odds are firmly stacked against Bulldog, with Hunter, Chyna and Rude slamming the barrier into his leg and then rolling him back in the ring where Michaels removes Davey’s knee brace and applies a figure four leglock. Michaels’ buddies continue to cheat, and Davey becomes overwhelmed by the odds and passes out to the hold, though never gives up. As soon as the crowd realise that Michaels is the new champion and that their national idol has been defeated, there is a near riot. Garbage is hurled, people are infuriated and Michaels adds to it all by gloating. Diana Smith tries to help her husband when the assault continues, but Chyna pulls her off easily, only for the Harts to finally show up and provide backup. Where were you guys ten minutes ago? This match had far reaching consequences for Davey, who Bret says “gave up” and that the “fire in his eyes had gone” when he got beaten here. The intention of putting Michaels over was to either create a major money rematch between the two six months later when the WWF returned to the country (which would have been a great idea, though both were gone from the company by the time Mayhem In Manchester rolled around for different reasons) or as a way for the Kliq to disparage and get one over on the Hart family. It could have been both. I can’t rate this here because it is only the finish and a thing or two more, but the full match is absolutely worth going out of your way to see.
Summary: This UK-exclusive tape release is in fact a very accurate encapsulation of the short-lived UK-only PPV shows, in that it features a bunch of very average matches and then one decent one, which was usually the case. I am struggling to fathom the purpose of this tape though, because is it supposed to be a teaser or a best of? Either way, there were much better options available, and I can only hypothesise that the match choice was down entirely to the runtime of the release, and bouts were chosen to fit. Of course, when the WWF turned into WWE they pretty soon stopped running UK PPV events altogether, so it’s all rather redundant either way. Not terrible but not particularly worth seeing, like almost every UK event from the Attitude Era.