In my review of #98 (The Great Sasuke, Gran Hamada & Masato Yakushiji vs. Taka Michinoku, Terry Boy and Dick Togo – ECW Barely Legal-click here for my review), I said that it was an atypical ECW match. Well, this match pitting HHH vs Cactus Jack, would not have looked out of place on your average ECW show. Indeed, the crowd starts chanting ‘ECW’ after the surprise arrival of Cactus Jack. His arrival comes after an entertaining segment on the Titantron. Firstly, Dude Love (scheduled to fight HHH) refuses to fight HHH. Then Mankind comes in and also refuses to fight HHH. However, Cactus Jack completes the ‘3 Faces of Foley’ and readily accepts the match.
It starts off ‘hardcore’, as Jack runs down the ramp and smashes HHH in the head with a trash can. And so it continues, as ‘hardcore’ as any Raw match that happened in 1997. Jack hits a neckbreaker on the concrete floor. The fight wades its way through the crowd and into the backstage area, and back through the crowd into the ring. Both wrestlers take some hard bumps, but as usual, Jack takes the brunt of the punishment. He attempts to elbow drop HHH from the top rope to the padded floor, but HHH moves and Jack lands on a trash can. Jack is dumped onto the ramp a few times, just for good measure. A table completes the full retinue of a ‘hardcore’ match, as well.
It’s a high-risk, brutal and entertaining match. It is also a different ‘Mick Foley’ to what one expected in 1997. Mankind, his usual character, enjoyed absorbing large amounts of punishment. Cactus Jack, however, enjoyed handing out large amounts of punishment (as well as taking it, of course). But it’s something of a precursor to their next big encounter Royal Rumble 2000. The latter match appears further down the 100 Best…List at #26. Both matches are similar, but the latter match multiplies the violence by a high factor. Due to their similarity, I think they could have left this match off the Best 100 List and only included the Royal Rumble 2000 clash.
VERDICT: 7/10. A great ‘hardcore’ match, but it’s similarity to a match between the two wrestlers also included on the 100 Best…List made me question its validity. But, regardless of that, well-worth watching (both the match and the Titantron segment beforehand).
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(Side note-In the first ten matches of the 100 Best…List, HHH already has two matches involved…I guess it pays to be COO of the WWE! But I digress…)
(Click here for my review of #95: Hulk Hogan vs Andre The Giant, WrestleMania III)