Stone Cold Steve Austin just before catapulting Savio Vega into the final corner to lose their Caribbean Strap match at In Your House: Beware of Dog 2 on Tues., May 28, 1996.
Two days after the lights went out at In Your House 8: Beware of Dog, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) held a second pay-per-view (PPV) event in a different city and arena to make up for all the matches fans missed out on at the first show, which turned out to be all but two.
The show, aptly entitled Beware of Dog 2, began by airing replays of the two matches that went off without a hitch days before -- Marc Mero going over on Triple H and Shawn Michaels retaining the WWF championship after a smoz finish led to a draw.
The first match that aired live on PPV on this date in WWF history (May 28, 1996) was Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Savio Vegas in a Caribbean Strap match. And who could have known that a match that opened the PPV would have such far reaching consequences, not just for the company but for the entire pro wrestling business.
You see, the two day delay on this match was a bit of a blessing in disguise. It allowed the WWF to set up an angle on Monday Night Raw the night before with Ted DiBiase, who was still managing Austin at this point, stipulating that if Austin lost the match, he would retire from the business forever. In reality, he was on his way out of the company and, like so many others before and after him during the time, on his way to World Championship Wrestling (WCW) to get his piece of the Ted Turner pie.
As it turned out, that's exactly what Austin's character needed.
Before he was "The Rattlesnake," Stone Cold was given the name "The Ringmaster," a guy who was quite literally a master of the ring. But because the powers that be didn't recognize his considerable talents on the microphone, he was given DiBiase as a manager and made to wear DiBiase's old Million Dollar Belt. For a long time, he even used DiBiase's finisher.
Not surprisingly, it never got over. So DiBiase bailing to leave Austin on his own was the best case scenario for all involved.
The match itself was a three-star affair. Austin and Vega engaged in a physical bout with great psychology, as was usually the case with Stone Cold's matches. The idea behind the Caribbean Strap match was that both men would be tied together via a strap and the first man to touch all four corners would be declared the winner. After going back and forth in a fairly brutal encounter with both men getting plenty of licks in with the strap, Austin wrapped it around Vega's neck and set about touching all four corners while dragging Vega around the ring with him.
In the process of doing this, Vega made sure to touch each turnbuckle as well. When they got to the fourth and final corner, Vega provided resistance, leading to Austin using all his might to get Vega over to the corner so he could touch it. What ended up happening was Stone Cold catapulting Vega into the corner so he could touch the last turnbuckle to get the win.
A distraught Austin would tell off DiBiase before walking to the back. He would later say he lost the match on purpose just so he could be free of his manager and branch off on his own. And though we couldn't tell at the time, this ended up working out better than anyone could have ever imagined. Except maybe Austin himself.
In the process of working on this post, I asked Austin if he had any comments on his match against Vega. His response:
"Yep. Savio Vega is one tough cat."
No argument here. See what he means by watching the complete match after the jump.