Fleet Center Boston, MA
1) 15 team Battle Royal, incl. LOD, New Midnight Express, Godwinns, Too Cool, Kama/ Faarooq, Mark Henry/ D-Lo Brown, Headbangers, Savio/ Jose, Jesus/ Miguel, 8Ball/ Skull, Chainz/ Bradshaw, Rock n'Roll Express, Steve Blackman/ Flashfunk, Recon/ Sniper- 3
2) Taka Michinoku v. Aguila (Light Heavyweight Title)- 3
3) HHH v. Owen Hart (European Title)- 5
4) Marc Mero/ Sable v. Goldust/ Luna- 4
5) The Rock v. Ken Shamrock (IC Title)- 3
6) New Age Outlaws v. Cactus Jack/ Terry Funk (Dumpster Tag Title)- 6
7) Undertaker v. Kane- 5
8) Shawn Michael v. Steve Austin (World Title w/ Mike Tyson as Enforcer)- 6
The opener was built around LOD coming back as bad cyber punks with outfits that look like a detailed gangbanger's car and the always sensual Sunny. Battle Royal went by quick, with two dudes randomly coming into the match to interfere (incl. my boy B. Windham, decked out in his finest Big & Tall leather chaps.) Christopher took a nasty bump outside, while the Godwinns threw some hard right hands but that was it. The Lightheavys barely got 5 minutes to do their thing and their match didn't feel like a complete match, more like a collection of high spots, which suits their styles and the fickle fans best here. Not all of it worked, but there was a picture worthy moonsault from Augila outside. High risk but low impact. Owen and Hunter had Chyna and Slaughter at ringside handcuffed together in what looked like a terrible scene cut out of a degrading porn film, but they didn't let that deter them. Owen had his working shoes on and comfortably led HHH through a decent encounter. I've never liked Owen's punches but they had a sting on them here and were fun to watch bounce off of Helmsley's skull. The pace was perfect and all of Owen's offense served a purpose, plus the dude took a mean pedigree and made the move look great.
Dust looks insipid and overweight in his ridiculous silver garb. He does throw a great punch though, probably pretty underrated in the overall scheme of the game. It has a Bossman like snap to it. Crowd didn't give a spit about the men working in this match even though they were treated to a good old early 80's crossbody spot. Sable was obscenely over and the crowd was pissing themselves every time she got in. Dust used that to garner cheap heat by bumping for Sable all over the ring every chance he got, as did Luna. She freely put Sable over in nearly every lockup they had for the sake of the game. Near the end, the men actually pulled off some near falls the crowd was into, so this wasn't a total loss. IC title match flew by, like Shamrock's last 2 fights against Ortiz, as Kenny pretty much squashed Rock. They did a Reverse Decision angle to keep the belt on Rocky and this was mostly all story. Shamrock did take a legit chair swing to the face though that had me cringing.
The Dumpster match is still fun to this day, i liked RoadDogg's line on the mic before the match, "This match isn't for the weak at heart, so turn your head Terry Funk!" It does start out with a completely stupid bump by Foley, flipping directly into the dumpster with no room to pull it off and barely a target. Billy and Funk trade chops and shots from a cookie sheet that are pleasant to watch. Funk getting powerbombed into the dumpster looked like some sick Mobster like death on the harbors of Hoboken. Funny that the Outlaws had to push themselves into the dumpster backstage to lose. Brother v. Brother- mainly consisted of a lot of meaty punching. Couple things went wrong, such as the Tree of Woe spot, Taker trying to hop onto Kane's shoulders. Kane is totally doing the "impervious to pain" gimmick which takes something away from the work rate quotient but ratchets up the drama factor in the last couple near falls. Crash and Burn into the table by Taker is almost becoming a WM trademark for the old dead guy. I didn't know the undead could age, or go through mid-life crises (banging Michelle McCool) Ross sounds moronic when he states "Taker is being physcially dominated" while Kane is laying on his back in a boring chinlock. okay onto the main event.
I used to really love this match, but on closer inspection I found a few things that I wasn't too keen on. First off, Michaels, badly injured, probably shouldn't have done this match but gives it a hell of a try. He takes numerous dangerous bumps all around ringside to put on a good match. That being said, this is more like Shawn's farewell much more than Austin's crowning moment. Far too much emphasis on Michaels surviving crazy bumps than his really pathetic offense on Austin which is mainly stomps and punches. I could never claim to know the validity of his said injury at the time, but miraculously the only time it seems his back gives out is when Austin should be making the biggest comeback of his career, but it feels more like he beat an injured star ready to be put out to pasture. Tyson was a complete non-factor in this except for the phantom punch he Ko's Michaels with at the end of the match.