The Way Too Long Review of Degeneration X (Original DVD)

I would like to apologize to my fans for my lack of regular updates these last few months.   I know both of you are missing the laughs and venom of fresh Way Too Long stuff.  Hopefully things are going to settle back down now and I can finally get to posting the long-awaited Shawn Michaels, Hart Family, and Wrestlemania 26 reviews.  Until then, here’s a blast from the past: my review of Degeneration X, from way back in 2006, way before I joined Inside Pulse.  The DVD has been popping up at select Wal-Marts for the low, low price of $5.00.  Is it the deal of the year?  Here’s the review.

The Program: Exactly the same as the 1998 Degeneration X home video.  Lame lame lame.  No promos in the extras section.  Lame lame lame.  But, we get eight matches, six of which are from Raw and are largely forgotten.

Match #1
Shawn Michaels vs. Mankind
8/11/97 Raw

This was at the height of Shawn’s bitterness as he was being an annoying prick to all the other wrestlers.  Mankind brings a garbage can to ring, but Shawn blocks it and brawls to start, then puts the can on Mankind’s head.  Sledge off the top.  Mankind gets the can off and locks on the Claw by punching a whole in the bag.  Shawn’s fading, but breaks free.  Shawn misses a baseball slide and gets clotheslined down on the floor.  Ram into the stairs, hotshot on the guardrail (sick!), but Mankind misses a charge and gets backdropped on the announce table, which doesn’t break.  Damnit that looked painful.  So Shawn climbs the ropes and drops an elbow on the table, and it STILL doesn’t break.  Holy crap, ouch!  Shawn brawls and they get back in the ring.  Scoopslam by Shawn, elbow off the second rope, and he’s calling for Sweet Chin Music.  It misses and Mankind puts the Claw on, but both guys fall out of the ring.  Shawn then rams Mankind FUCKING SICK ASS HARD into the ring post three times, then backdrops him on the announce table, which AGAIN doesn’t break.  For god’s sake, where’s that table from, Krypton?  Trips and Chyna make their way to the ring as we go to a commercial.  Back from that, and Shawn has unmasked Mankind and HOLY SHIT!  MANKIND IS MICK FOLEY!  I’m stunned!

Whip to the corner, but Shawn misses a blind charge and rams himself against the post hard.  These guys are trying to kill themselves.  Sleeper by Shawn, with Chyna and Triple H looking on.  Flying forearm by Shawn gets two.  Rake on the ropes, but Mankind fights back and rams Shawn, but HBK gets an elbow in.  Now Shawn chooses to eye gouge Mick, and then punches him down.  Footchoke on the ropes.  Mick fights back with a takedown and some seated punching.  That’s so unlike Mick, this match kicks ass.  Cactus smash in the corner, and now here comes Rick Rude.  HBK flips out of a tree of woe but misses a clothesline off the ropes.  Double arm DDT and now both guys are KOed.  Mick gets a two count.  Triple H trips up Foley, Rude nails him with a chair, Sweet Chin Music, and Shawn wins.
**** Awesome Raw match, a lost classic for sure, and a great choice for the DVD.

Match #2
Triple H & Shawn Michaels vs. Mankind & The Undertaker
8/18/97 Raw

One week later, and we get this messed up pairing as bitter enemies Mankind and the Undertaker team up to fight off their new opponents.  Both Shawn and Triple H acted like they hated each other leading to this one.  Shawn had cost the Undertaker the WWE Title at Summerslam two weeks earlier.  Trips and Mankind start off.  Mick gets a quick advantage with some punches and the spinning clothesline.  Shawn runs in and gets fought off.  DX takes advantage but Mick fights them both off (!) while the Undertaker makes the blind tag, leading the heels to bail.  Trips works the Undertaker and gets his ass kicked, while Shawn tries to distract the Undertaker.  Taker ignores that and backdrops Trips over the top rope INTO Shawn in an amazing visual.  Shawn hits Sweet Chin Music on the apron but doesn’t get all of it and Taker keeps the advantage.  Shawn calls for Rick Rude as we go to a commercial.  Back from that, Mankind is in the ring now and grabs the Claw on Trips.  Chyna trips Mick up and crotches him on the ring post.  Shawn in, flying forearm, nip-up, snapmare, and Trips gets the tag for a clothesline.  Nice.  It gets two.  Punching by Trips but Mick uses leverage to throw HHH out of the ring.  Shawn doesn’t allow Mick to have any momentum and Trips keeps advantage.  Flying back-elbow by Shawn, who’s real cocky here.  Double team with Mick trying to fight off both guys.  Mankind fights back as this match gets really weird and spotty.

Mick hits a low blow but Trips doesn’t sell it.  Snap suplex by Shawn, elbow off the top, calls for some Chin Music, but makes the tag first.  Sweet Chin Music is blocked, then a KICK WHAM PEDIGREE is blocked and Mick tags in the Undertaker.  Clothesline to Trips, leg drop for two as Shawn bails.  Trips gets dumped, but Taker can’t get to Shawn.  He finally does but Rude distracts Taker with a chair.  Rude cowards out of a chairshot.  Chokeslam to Trips, but Shawn whacks Undertaker with a chair to draw a DQ.  Taker does the zombie sit-up, right into another chair shot, as Shawn looks on with a face that says “Oh shit, what have I done?”  Taker ZOMBIES UP and the heels bail.  Good angle.
***1/4 Good match, got weird towards the end with the frequent no-selling by both Mick and DX.  The angle sure was good and set up a pair of ***** PPV matches.

Match #3
Bret Hart vs. Triple H
10/6/97 Raw

This is during the Brian Pillman Raw, as the night before Brian was found dead at his hotel before the Bad Blood pay-per-view.  Even more freaky?  This match is at the Kemper Arena in Kansas City, where two years later Owen Hart would fall to his death live on PPV.  It’s almost surreal.  Non-title match and both guys are heels at this point, so the crowd heat is weird (along with the fans being in shock over Pillman’s death) and so are the announcers who keep talking about WCW.

Bret slugs away to start.  Suplex by Bret.  Russian leg-sweep.  Sling off the ropes, kick between the legs.  Trips takes control with some punches.  Bret comes back with a clothesline.  DDT gets two for Bret.  Snapmare into a headlock while Shawn makes his way to the ring.  Shawn takes Bret’s Canadian flag and picks his nose with it.  This distracts Bret and brings out Neidhart and Owen.  Back from commercial, Trips is in control.  Suplex gets two.  Atomic drop, kicking in the corner, ten punches, sleeper, but Bret backdrops him out of it.  Atomic drop by Bret, backbreaker, but the elbow drop off the second rope is blocked as the announcers say that it was too predictable.  What a crazy match.  DDT gets two.  Back-elbow by Trips, but Bret catches a backdrop attempt and goes for the Sharpshooter.  He gets it but it’s too close to the ropes and Chyna helps him break it.  Chyna attacks Bret and he walks into Sweet Chin Music with the ref not looking, and Bret gets counted out.
** Both guys seemed to be sleepwalking through the match, which is understandable.

Match #4: WWE European Championship
(c) Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H
12/22/97 Raw

We skip the whole screw job and the feud with Ken Shamrock and instead we get this.  Sgt. Slaughter had ordered Shawn to defend his European Championship, so he did against Triple H.  This is the Christmas edition of Raw, by the way.  Shawn and Trips played off hate against each other all night.  Jim Cornette is freaking out on commentary, talking about the iron-manish classic we’re about to see.  They circle each other to start, and then test the ropes.  Shawn avoids the lockup.  Then Trips avoids the lockup.  Lockup, and Shawn is knocked out cold by it.  Triple H crosses the ring about ten times then hits the worst looking splash this side of the Ultimate Warrior to get the pin and the title.  Shawn sells it like he just lost the Super Bowl.  Classic DX moment here, but not a match, so no rating.  Shawn crying and stuff makes it classic.  Sgt Slaughter comes out while Shawn gives a crying, tearful speech while Trips sells it like it’s the crowning achievement of his life.  Chyna fights keeping a straight face this whole time.  My god, this is brilliant, classic stuff.  Sure did piss off the other wrestlers though.  Shawn finally manages to say that losing the title is horrible and he’s lost his smile as a result of it.  Oh my god, I’m so happy they put this on the DVD.
No Rating, but very entertaining none the less.  This is what WCW wishes the FINGER POKE OF DEATH was.

Match #5: WWE Championship
(c) Shawn Michaels vs. Owen Hart
12/29/97 Raw

The backup plan if Steve Austin would be unable to win the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 14 was to put the title on Owen Hart at that show and build to Owen vs. Austin at Summerslam 1998.  Owen was a face here, but the crowd was just not there for him (the fans still being pissed at him breaking Austin’s neck at Summerslam) and Austin somehow pulled off a miracle recovery.  Owen attacks on the floor with a press and some punches.  Fans don’t really react.  Owen kicks HBK’s ass from pillar to post, then hits a suplex on the ramp.  Fans still aren’t really behind him.  Facebuster on ramp, then finally into the ring to start the match proper.  Shawn gets tied up in the ropes, allowing Owen to get some free shots in.  Michaels fights out but gets backdropped over the top rope and out of the ring as we go to a commercial.  We come back and Owen is still in control, dropping Shawn into the guardrail and then crotching him on it.  Chyna trips up Owen on the inside, allowing Shawn to knock Owen off the apron and into the guardrail.  Sledge off the apron and some chops by Shawn.  Whip to the turnbuckle and a piledriver for two.  DDT by Shawn for two.  Sleeper hold.  Owen nearly breaks it by ramming Shawn into the turnbuckle, but Shawn holds on.  Again, and HBK still holds on.  Backdrop suplex breaks it and it’s a double KO.  Owen fights back.  Backdrop, ten punches, whip into the corner, clothesline for two.  Spinning heel kick gets two.  Belly-to-belly for two.  Sweet Chin Music misses and Owen hits the Enziguri and locks in the Sharpshooter, but Trips breaks his crutch over Owen’s head for the DQ.  Lame.
*** Good match, bad ending.  I think Owen might have made a good babyface if the fans had given him a break.

Match #6: WWE Championship, Casket Match
(c) Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker
1/18/98 Royal Rumble

Shawn punches to start, but Undertaker retains control.  Shawn goes for the ten-punch but Undertaker throws him off a couple times.  Chokeslam attempt is blocked by Shawn and he slugs away.  Hangman’s choke by Taker, then a press slam is blocked, but Shawn misses a blind charge and gets backdropped over the top rope, clipping his back against the casket.  The effect of this blown spot: Shawn was forced into retirement.  He didn’t just rupture the discs in his back, he practically exploded them.  How he finished this match or more accurately how he finished his match with Steve Austin at Wrestlemania boggles my mind.

Shawn has trouble getting up, but the Undertaker whacks him around and press slams him onto the floor.  Imagine Michael Jordan’s back exploding in the middle of a basketball game.  He sure as hell wouldn’t continue.  Back in, Undertaker whacks Shawn down and slams him.  Leg drop misses but Shawn’s wristlock is reversed into an old-school ropewalk.  Shawn gets flipped over the ropes and into a cameraman.  Shawn gets a hangman on the ropes, but a crossbody off the top is turned into a powerslam.  Makes me wonder if Shawn would have been able to come back if he hadn’t take so much abuse on his back after the injury.  Taker puts Michaels in the casket but Shawn keeps his arm outside of it.  Shawn throws power into the Undertaker’s eyes, but Taker still manages to land a punch.  Taker’s out of it though, and now Shawn is in control with some punches.  Taker tries a chokeslam but Shawn blocks and hits a standing moonsault off the top rope, into some punches.  Clothesline by Undertaker but Shawn skins the cat and gets plastered into the guardrail, then into the table.  Shawn reverses a whip into the steel stairs and Taker flies into them at full speed.  Shawn picks up the stairs and beats Taker with them.  Piledriver on the steel steps, and man did that look nasty.  Now Trips whacks away with his crutch, followed by some choking with it.  Michaels then takes a chair to Undertaker, and man are the fans pissed at Shawn.

Flying back-elbow and stomping by Shawn, now back inside the ring.  Shawn asks for the lid to be raised.  Taker gets up and fights of Trips and Shawn, but walks into a swinging neckbreaker.  Sleeper by Shawn.  Taker finally fights out after a couple minutes and gets a backdrop suplex.  Flying forearm by Shawn, nip-up, elbow drop off the second rope.  Taker is up while Shawn warms up the band.  Sweet Chin Music, and Shawn rolls Taker to the casket, but Taker ZOMBIES UP by grabbing a chokeslam on Shawn’s nuts.  Ouch.  Sympathy pains!  Backdrop on Shawn, whip into the turnbuckle, clothesline, and you would be hard pressed to tell that Shawn has fucked up his back as bad as he did.  Big boot, diving clothesline misses and Taker is in the casket.  Shawn climbs the top rope and hits a flying elbow off the top rope into the casket.  Nice.  Both guys are in the closed casket now, so the match doesn’t end.  Shawn tries to escape but Undertaker pulls him back in.  Taker knocks Shawn out of the casket.  Back in the ring, hard chokeslam by Taker, and now he’s feeling good.  Taker gives Shawn a GODDAMN TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER OFF THE APRON INTO THE CASKET!  Holy shit!  But wait, here come the New Age Outlaws, Savio Vega, Triple H, Chyna, Al Perez Jr… it’s like 1994 all over again.  But wait, here comes Kane to make the save.  The DX DVD of the match ends there, before you see the ending.  What the fuck?  Well, the finish is Kane beats the Undertaker and throws him in the casket.  I guess complete matches are overrated anyway.  Sure.
**** Good match, even more so if you step back and think about how bad Shawn was hurt during it.  Why the DVD doesn’t show Shawn actually win the match is beyond me.

Match #7: Non-sanctioned No DQ match.
Triple H, the New Age Outlaws, & Savio Vega vs. Steve Austin, Terry Funk, Cactus Jack, & Owen Hart
2/15/98 No Way Out 1998

Savio Vega?  Well, Shawn was injured during the casket match at the Royal Rumble so they had to find a replacement for him in this main event, and I guess the popcorn vender was busy.  Regardless, I’m happy this match is included and hopefully shown in its entirety.  You know, like the DVD advertises.  Fans boo Savio Vega’s entrance for a bit, then just go silent.  Funk is in his Chainsaw Charlie persona here, which is what he insisted on.  I have no idea why.

Austin brawls with Billy Gunn to start, but things quickly breakdown and all eight guys are in the ring.  Atomic drop on Billy, and a whack with a trashcan lid.  Austin goes for the Stunner so Billy bails.  Whacks to Road Dogg and HHH with the lid.  Now Austin is alone with Trips.  Austin kicks his ass.  Now Mick is alone with the Road Dogg.  Then Funk comes in and whacks James with some random object.  Austin crotches Trips with an extension cord.  This is just a total clusterfuck of a match, but in a good way.  Owen and Mick powerslam Billy through a table.  Owen slaps the Sharpshooter on Gunn but Trips makes the save.  Savio goes to work on Austin at the announce table.  Billy joins him. In the ring, Trips powerbombs (!!) Owen and Savio covers for two.  Trips whacks Funk a whole bunch of times with a trashcan, so Terry does his punch-drunk crazy old man sell job.  DDT on Funk for two.  Enziguri by Owen on Trips.  Owen gets a spinebuster on Trips and goes for the Sharpshooter but James makes the save.

Austin and Savio square off some more.  James powerbombs Terry through a pair of steel chairs.  Nasty.  Finally, things get to a normal tag match, as Billy and Terry square off.  Piledriver on a trashcan lid gets two for Billy.  In comes Trips, for some whacks.  Savio in for some punching, as the crowd dies.  In comes James.  Backdrop on the lid for James gets two.  Funk fights back and tries to make the tag.  Billy Gunn runs in, so Austin throws the trashcan at him, nailing him straight in the fucking head.  Man that looked awesome.  Savio is back in for a front-facelock on Terry.  Terry makes a hot tag to Owen, but the ref doesn’t see it.  What the fuck, it’s no DQ!

Terry finally gets an advantage and makes the tag to Cactus.  Fans don’t really care.  Pancake in the corner with a board by Mick on the Outlaws. Double arm DDT for two.  The Claw on James and Gunn, but Trips runs in and low blows Mick.  DDT to on the outside by Gunn to Mick.  Gunn blasts Mick with the stairs.  Back in, Trips hits a suplex for two.  Savio comes in and wraps Cactus in barbed wire, even tying up his mouth.  Ouch.  Cactus gets whacked with a chair and Owen has had enough and tries to make the save, but fails.  Savio plasters Mick with a couple chair shots.  Billy in with a chair, but he accidentally KOs the Road Dogg and now Mick has a chance.  He reaches for Austin and makes the super hot tag with mustard.   Austin kills everyone.  Stunner to James and that’s that.  Stunner to Billy Bitchcakes for good measure.
**** Entertaining as hell.  This would have been five stars easy if HBK had been able to wrestle, or if the crowd had been a little hotter.  Chyna comes in after the match and eats a Stunner too.

Match #8: WWE European Championship
(c) Owen Hart vs. Triple H
3/17/98 Raw

So Owen’s the champion here, having pinned Goldust, dressed like Triple H, to win the belt the previous month.  Funny enough, a year later Trips, dressed as Goldust, attacked Kane.  Cosmic.  For some reason, the title change was not done at Wrestlemania, which was the very next week.  Owen has a broken ankle here too, by the way.  Brawl to start, Owen dumps Trips but gets thrown into the ringpost.  Chyna comes in and whacks Owen with a baseball bat and Trips puts on an ankle lock to win the match.
DUD Well that was that. Not a great way to end the disc.

Bottom Line: Three four-star matches and some decent, totally forgotten about Raw matches makes this an easy thumbs up.

Okay, so I’ve been dragging my feet on new reviews.  But I promise that by the end of June you’ll have reviews for Shawn Michaels: My Journey, the Hart Legacy set, Wrestlemania 26, PW Diary’s Sgt. Slaughter Shoot, and Extreme Rules.  Plus if you enjoyed this and want to request any older DVD reviews to be posted here, let me know and I’ll be happy to post them as soon as possible.

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