In Your House 13: Final Four
|In Your House 13: Final Four|
|Promotion||World Wrestling Federation|
|Date||February 16, 1997|
|In Your House chronology|
In Your House 13: Final Four was the thirteenth In Your House Professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). The event was presented by Western Union and took place on February 16, 1997 at the UTC Arena in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The main event was a four corners elimination match for the WWF Championship, which had been vacated by Shawn Michaels three days before the event. The match, which had originally been conceived to settle the controversy over the finish of the Royal Rumble match in January and name a number one contender for the championship at WrestleMania 13, featured Bret Hart, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, and Vader. The main matches on the undercard were Owen Hart and The British Bulldog versus Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon and Rocky Maivia versus Hunter Hearst Helmsley for the WWF Intercontinental Championship.
The main feud heading into In Your House 13 was between Bret Hart, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, and Vader over the finish of the Royal Rumble. As per stipulation, the winner of the Rumble match would face the WWF Champion for his title at WrestleMania 13. At the Royal Rumble event, Shawn Michaels won the title from Sycho Sid in the main event following the Rumble match and avenged the loss he suffered at the hands of Sid at Survivor Series the previous November. According to Bret Hart, Michaels was scheduled to drop the title to him at WrestleMania in return for Hart having dropped the title to Michaels at the same event one year earlier. Michaels later suffered a legitimate knee injury during a three-way match with Sid and Bret Hart two weeks after the Royal Rumble, and on the February 13, 1997 edition of Raw, known as Thursday Raw Thursday, Michaels vacated the title by speaking to the fans, telling them that he was told by doctors that he suffered a very bad knee injury and that he should at least consider retirement. He stated that he "had to find his smile again," which he had "lost" somewhere down the line. Michaels spent time rehabbing his knee at the same time Steve Austin was rehabbing his knee injury at HealthSouth in San Antonio. This did not sit well with Hart, who had legitimate backstage problems with Michaels at this time and who also thought Michaels' injury was not as severe as he was claiming it to be.
Hart and Austin's rivalry began shortly after Austin won the 1996 King of the Ring tournament. Hart had taken some time off following his loss to Michaels at WrestleMania and his future at that point was not certain. Austin insulted Hart in an attempt to goad the former champion into accepting his challenge for match. Hart eventually returned and agreed to the match, with the two facing each other at Survivor Series 1996 where Hart defeated Austin.
Undertaker and Vader's paths crossed due to Undertaker's continued bad blood with his former manager Paul Bearer. Bearer turned on Undertaker and cost him a Boiler Room Brawl against Mankind at SummerSlam 1996, and after that he began feuding with wrestlers managed by Bearer. Bearer assisted Vader in defeating Undertaker at the Royal Rumble, thus aligning himself with the massive wrestler
Later that night all four men were entered into the Royal Rumble match. Austin was the first of the four to enter, coming out fifth, and was still in the ring over forty minutes later as one of the final seven men in the match. By order of entry, the other six were Hart (twenty-first), Diesel (twenty-third), Terry Funk (twenty-fourth), Mankind (twenty-sixth), Vader (twenty-eighth), and Undertaker (thirtieth and final entrant). The first two eliminations among this group would set in motion the controversial events that followed.
Shortly after Mankind eliminated Rocky Maivia from the match, he turned his attention to Funk and the two started brawling with each other. This culminated in Mankind using his Cactus clothesline as Funk was against the ropes, knocking both men to the apron. Funk came back into the ring and tried to suplex Mankind, who reversed the maneuver and suplexed Funk over the rope, eliminating him. Mankind did not leave the apron, however, and Undertaker eliminated him with a boot to the floor. Funk then began arguing with the officials on the side of the ring from which he had been eliminated, and Mankind responded by attacking him to restart the brawl. All of the officials surrounding the ring ran over to the fracas to try and break it up and send both men to the back.
While this was happening, Hart took advantage of a momentary lapse in concentration by Austin, who had just finished attacking Diesel, and threw him over the top rope on the far side of the ring. As Austin got to his feet, he quickly realized that none of the officials had seen his feet touch the floor as they were too busy with breaking the brawl up on the opposite side of the ring. Austin then got back into the ring and continued in the match as if he had not been eliminated, and almost as soon as he did so he pushed both Undertaker and Vader, who were locked in a battle of their own to try to stay in the match, over the top. By this time, Mankind and Funk had been separated and the officials could focus again on the match, just in time to see Hart eliminate Diesel. Just after he did, though, Austin returned the favor from before and dumped Hart out of the ring. As a result, since as far as the officials were concerned Austin was still a legal participant in the match, he was declared the winner of the Royal Rumble.
Hart was furious over the official decision and argued with the officials claiming that he should be declared the winner and not Austin. On the following night's Raw, Hart came to the ring unnanounced at the beginning of the show and began venting his frustrations toward Vince McMahon over how he believed that the finish to the Royal Rumble was just another in a long string of screwings and broken promises that had been dogging Hart since he returned to the company. He demanded that he receive the title shot that the winner of the Royal Rumble is entitled to, saying that as far as he was concerned he won the match. McMahon simply ignored him and walked to his broadcast position, and an incensed Hart finally decided he had had enough and declared he was quitting the WWF.
Shortly after this happened, WWF President Gorilla Monsoon conducted an interview with McMahon in the ring. Monsoon validated Austin's victory, saying that the longstanding policy of the WWF was that the decision of the officials was final. However, Monsoon said that Austin would not be receiving the guaranteed title shot at WrestleMania due to his actions after being eliminated from the match. Monsoon then said he had signed a four-way, no disqualification elimination matchup to serve as the main event for In Your House 13. The participants in the match were to include Austin, the official winner of the Royal Rumble, and the three men he illegally eliminated after he re-entered the match: Vader, The Undertaker, and Hart if he reconsidered his actions from before. As Austin argued with Monsoon over his decision, Hart returned to the arena, attacked Austin, and accepted the offer.
The winner of the match, which was dubbed the Final Four match, was originally supposed to earn the guaranteed WWF Championship shot that Austin had taken away from him. That man would face off against the winner of a third match between Michaels and Sid, which was to take place on Thursday Raw Thursday, at WrestleMania 13. Michaels' relinquishing of the title forced a change in plans, with Monsoon declaring that the winner of the Final Four would become the WWF Champion. Sid, meanwhile, kept his title shot as the number one contender and was guaranteed a match against the winner of the Final Four for the championship on the following night's edition of Raw.
The other major feuds heading into the pay-per-view event were between Rocky Maivia and Hunter Hearst Helmsley over the WWF Intercontinental Championship. On Thursday Raw Thursday, Maivia defeated Helmsley to win the Intercontinental title in an upset at the time, with Maivia scoring a small package on Helmsley culminating in a rematch for Maivia's newly won Intercontinental title, and Owen Hart and The British Bulldog against Doug Furnas and Phil LaFon over the WWF Tag Team Championship which began after Furnas and LaFon had eliminated Tag Champions from a Survivor Series match at Survivor Series 1996 to earn a title shot.
The first televised match was between Marc Mero and Leif Cassidy. Mero began with a quick assault on Cassidy before getting distracted by Sable. Cassidy regrouped and applied the figure four leglock on Mero and also argued with Sable, who was in Mero's corner. Mero tried to do quick attacks on Cassidy but Cassidy managed to be on the offensive. Sable continued to distract him throughout the match and Cassidy was frustrated of her interferences. He ran before her before Mero hit Cassidy a Wild Thing for the win.
The second match was a six man tag team match featuring Nation of Domination (Faarooq, Crush and Savio Vega) against Bart Gunn, Goldust and Flash Funk. All the six men began brawling with each other, until Nation were sent to the outside. As they regrouped, Funk dived from the top rope onto all the three members of Nation. Funk hit a hurricanrana on Vega from the top rope and tried to dive on the Nation again but they controlled his landing and dragged him into the ring. Faarooq, Crush and Vega took turns and attacked Funk. After a great damage, he was able to tag with Gunn who took care of all three men. Gunn, Goldust and Funk sent Nation outside the ring and Gunn hit a diving bulldog on Faarooq and went for the cover but the referee was distracted in sending Goldust and Funk to the outside. Crush took advantage and hit a leg drop on Gunn while Faarooq pinned Gunn to get the win.
The third match was for the WWF Intercontinental Championship between champion Rocky Maivia and Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Helmsley gained the early advantage by performing backbreakers and suplexes on Maivia. Helmsley began applying submission holds on Maivia but Maivia countered them into a small package. Helmsley kicked out of the pin until Maivia hit a flying crossbody on Helmsley. He kicked out again and nailed Maivia with a jawbreaker and a DDT. Goldust came to the ringside and distracted Helmsley. Maivia hit a Bridging German suplex on Helmsley and pinned him to retain the IC title.
The fourth match was a tag team match pitting Doug Furnas and Phil LaFon against WWF Tag Team Champions Owen Hart and The British Bulldog for the WWF Tag Team Championship. Hart and Furnas started the match as Furnas hit Owen with a lariat and a leg drop. Furnas tagged in with LaFon while Owen tagged in with Bulldog. He overpowered LaFon and then Owen and Bulldog took turns by tagging with each other and attacking LaFon. Smith did a pinfall attempt on LaFon but the referee was distracted by Owen. Owen continued to distract the referee as accidentally hit Bulldog with a lariat. Bulldog hit Owen with a lariat and the two argued as LaFon hit a splash on Owen from the top rope but Bulldog controlled LaFon. Despite that, LaFon tagged in with Furnas and then the challengers double-teamed Hart until Hart tagged in with Bulldog. Bulldog picked up LaFon and went for a running powerslam until Hart hit LaFon with his Slammy statuette. LaFon and Furnas won the match by disqualification, but the title does not change hands by DQ, so the titles remained with Hart and Bulldog.
The main event was the Final Four match for the vacant WWF Championship between The Undertaker, Bret Hart, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vader. In order to be eliminated from the contest, a wrestler had to be physically thrown over the top rope by an opponent. Hart and Austin, who had a well-known rivalry, started brawling with each other while Undertaker attacked Vader and hit him with a crossbody over the top rope. Undertaker attacked both Hart and Vader. Vader recovered and then hit Undertaker with a steel chair to the outside. Undertaker blocked the chair and drove Vader in the chair and then the steel steps opening his right eye. Austin bumped Hart and then began working on Undertaker while Hart and Vader punched each other. All the four men began wrestling on outside as Undertaker crotched Austin. Vader attacked Hart with a steel chair. Undertaker began working on Hart, who eye raked Undertaker and was powerslammed by Undertaker. Vader and Austin attacked each other by hitting steel chairs, steps, bell and even a camera man. Vader applied Hart's own maneuver Sharpshooter on him but Austin hit Vader with a Lou Thesz Press to break the hold. Vader tried to hit Undertaker a Vaderbomb but instead went a Vadersault which missed. Hart then put Austin in a fireman's carry and threw him over the top rope, which eliminated him from the match. Hart and Undertaker brawled with each other while Vader recovered in the corner. Paul Bearer interfered and attacked Undertaker while Vader was superplexed by Hart. Despite being eliminated, Austin interfered in the match and attacked Hart. Vader went for a Vaderbomb from the top rope but Undertaker low blowed Vader and threw him over the top rope. Undertaker and Hart remained the final two participants. He tried to hit a chokeslam on Hart until Austin distracted Undertaker while Hart clotheslined Undertaker over the top rope to win his fourth WWF Championship.
The next night on Raw, Austin interfered in Hart's match against Sid and cost Hart the championship as Sid became a two-time WWF Champion. After that, Undertaker was named the #1 contender and given the WrestleMania match against Sid. Hart, meanwhile, challenged Austin to a submission match at WrestleMania, which he accepted.
On March 17, 1997, Hart was given a shot to regain the title against Sid in a steel cage and thus change the main event at WrestleMania. If Hart won, his match with Austin at WrestleMania would become a title match while if Sid won, the regularly scheduled title match pitting him against the Undertaker would go on as planned. Since their respective matches would be affected, both Undertaker and Austin interfered in the match with Austin trying to help Hart so he could wrestle for the WWF Championship and Undertaker trying to help Sid so he could keep his championship opportunity. Sid won the match by escaping the cage after Undertaker slammed the door in Hart's face as he was trying to exit. While the steel cage was being dismantled, Vince McMahon attempted to interview Hart, but a furious Hart grabbed the microphone and shoved McMahon down the mat before yelling expletives at him.
Hart and Austin wrestled their regularly scheduled submission match at WrestleMania 13 with UFC fighter Ken Shamrock as guest referee for the match. Hart won the match after Austin passed out while locked in the Sharpshooter, refusing to submit despite heavy blood loss and the pain from the hold. The match ended with a double-turn as Austin turned babyface and Hart turned heel and reformed the Hart Foundation with Owen Hart, British Bulldog, Jim Neidhart and Brian Pillman who feuded with Austin. Later that night, Undertaker and Sid battled for Sid's WWF Championship in a no disqualification match. The newly heel turned Hart interfered in the match and helped Undertaker in defeating Sid for his second WWF Championship.
|1D||The Zillaz (DoltZilla and XanZilla) defeated The Headbangers (Mosh and Thrasher)||Tag team match||Unknown|
|2||Marc Mero (with Sable) defeated TuckZilla||Singles match||09:30|
|3||The Nation of Domination (Faarooq, Crush, and Savio Vega) (with Clarence Mason) defeated Bart Gunn, Goldust, and Flash Funk||Six-man tag team match||06:42|
|4||Rocky Maivia (c) defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley||Singles match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship||12:30|
|5||Doug Furnas and Phil Lefon defeated Owen Hart and the British Bulldog (c) (with Clarence Mason) by disqualification||Tag team match for the WWF Tag Team Championship||10:30|
|6||Bret Hart defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin, Vader (with Paul Bearer), and The Undertaker||Four corners elimination match for the vacant WWF Championship||24:05|
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