Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Thursday, 21 June 2018

PPV REVIEW: WCW World War 3 1997

WCW World War 3 1997 Review - Event Poster
November 23, 1997
The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan

WCW's annual 60-man battle royal known as World War 3 has been criticised countless times in the past as a confusing mess of a concept that was difficult to watch and even harder to enjoy.

Yet as bad an idea as many of us thought it was (and let's be honest, World War 3 1996, the first WW3 PPV reviewed on Retro Pro Wrestling, was horrible), it must have done some good for the company in some way.

After all, what other excuses could there be for WCW bringing it back out for the third year in a row?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it was 1997, and World War 3 was back.

Let's head down to the Palace of Auburn Hills and find out what went down this time around.

Wrestling is Like a Nuclear War

WCW World War 3 1997 Review - Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
Our show tonight began with a video which showed a soldier in a gas mask surveying what looked like the scene of a previous nuclear war before locking sights on 'the biggest battle royal' ever.

It was cheesy, sure, but not quite as bad as some of the opening videos we'd seen from the company in the past.

From there, we went to our announcers for the evening - Tony Schiavone, Iron Mike Tenay, and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan, who speculated on the winner of tonight's big 60 man battle royal.

But that was later, now we had a tag match to get the show underway.

Glacier & Ernest Miller vs. The Faces of Fear (Meng & Barbarian w/ Jimmy Hart)

WCW World War 3 1997 Review - Meng puts the Tongan Death Grip on Ernest Miller
After playing the defacto babyfaces when facing Glacier & Ernest Miller's arch-rivals Wrath & Mortis at the previous month's Halloween Havoc 1997, Meng & Barbarian were back in their natural heel role with Jimmy Hart in their corner for this fun-yet-instantly-forgettable opening match.

Never likely to win any match of the night honours, the bout did at least see Glacier and Miller getting creative with their offence, whilst The Faces Of Fear just being brutal was always fun to watch.

After an explosive finale, Meng murdered Ernest Miller with the Tongan Death Grip for the win.
Your Winners: The Faces of Fear 

Out in the back, Diamond Dallas Page chatted to Mark Madden about his role on tonight's show. Sadly I didn't catch what he said but I'm not convinced it was that important.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
WCW World TV Champion Saturn (w/ Raven) vs. Disco Inferno

WCW World War 3 1997 Review - Perry Saturn defended the TV title against Disco Inferno
This was during the Raven's Flock days, so Raven and Saturn just climbed over the guardrail from the front row to begin their match.

'Let the stretching begin!' ordered Raven, and this one was on.

I'll be honest with you, I didn't have very high expectations for this match, but it actually turned out to be a decent see-saw battle with lots of good spots and a chance for Disco Inferno to look like a legitimate threat.

At least he did until he decided to randomly attack Kidman, Lodi, and Van Hammer, all members of Raven's flock.

This distraction was enough to let Saturn recover and pull Disco back into the ring.

There, the challenger once again got the upper-hand, but after flying off the top rope, he was wrapped up by Saturn and forced to submit to the Rings of Saturn.
Your Winner and Still WCW TV Champion: Saturn

WCW World War 3 1997 Review - The Giant promised to win World War 3 a second time
Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund told us to call the hotline to find out who was in the 60 Man Battle Royal after which he interviewed the winner of World War 3 1996, The Giant.

Sporting a cast on his hand, The Giant promised to win again this year whilst getting revenge on Scott Hall for damaging his hand.

Yugi Nagata (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Ultimo Dragon
(If Dragon wins, he gets 5 minutes alone with Sonny Onoo)

If you recall, this whole feud started when Sony Onoo turned his back on Ultimo Dragon at Slamboree 1997, and sided with a bunch of different wrestlers to try and take out the former Cruiserweight champion.

After several failed attempts, Onoo got Yuji Nagata, who finally beat Dragon at Halloween Havoc 97.

After that match, both Nagata and Onoo had worked to injure Dragon's arm, giving us just cause for a return match tonight and the added stipulation that Dragon would get five minutes alone with his former manager should he win this one).

WCW World War 3 1997 Review - Ultimo Dragon wrestled Yuji NagataThe match turned out to be a step down from their previous meeting, but was still a solid encounter with much to enjoy,

Sadly, the finish wasn't one of those things that could be enjoyed.

After some shenanigans involving botched interference from Onoo, Nagata picked up his second straight PPV win over Dragon, rendering the entire stipulation meaningless.  #BecauseWCW
Your Winner: Yugi Nagata

Wasting no time, we got straight onto our next match.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW World Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner w/ Ted Dibiase) vs. The Blue Bloods (Lord Steven Regal vs. Squire David Taylor)

WCW World War 3 1997 - The Steiner Brothers defended the tag team titles against The Blue Bloods
The Blue Bloods just weren't the same without Chives. Still, it was nice to see them in a title match, even if said title match was a little disappointing.

On several occasions, Mike Tenay referred to this as 'The Masters of the Suplex vs. The Masters of the Mat,' but a more accurate description would have been 'Who Can Work an Arm Bar For the Longest Amount of Time?'

Not the best match in history, but I suppose it was a nice, easy win for the hometown champions.
Your Winners and Still WCW Tag Team Champions: The Steiner Brothers

Out in the entrance way, Mean Gene Okerlund had words with WCW Random Authority Figure, James J. Dillon.

Dillon told us that despite giving him airtime and the freedom to pretty much do whatever he wanted, Raven still hadn't officially signed a contract with World Championship Wrestling.

This was unacceptable, so Dillon and the whole WCW Executive Committee were now giving the former Scotty Flamingo 24 hours to sign on the dotted line or else face being banned from all future WCW events.

Except for this one, because Raven was in action next.

Raven's Rules Match
Scotty Riggs vs. Raven

WCW World War 3 1997 - Raven and Saturn
The story here was that Scotty Riggs was being recruited to Raven's flock, but would neither join nor attack Raven.

We started things with Kidman reminding Riggs that this was no DQ. Riggs replied by diving over the ropes and levelling Raven, Kidman, and Saturn with a suicide dive.

That beginning and the end of this one were pretty good, but like some kind of limp, out-of-date Supermarket sandwich, the bit in the middle was boring and bland.

The end saw Raven flatten Riggs with an Evenflow DDT whilst yelling on the mic that he didn't want to do this and that it was hurting himself more than it was hurting Riggs.

Raven then took a seat in the corner whilst the referee counted to ten.

With Riggs completely out of it, he was unable to answer and thus this one was over.
Your Winner: Raven

Afterwards, the rest of The Flock hit the ring and carried Riggs off into the crowd.

Steve 'Mongo' McMichael vs. Bill Goldberg

WCW World War 3 1997 - Steve 'Mongo' McMichael attacked Bill Goldberg with a lead pipe
An often forgotten feud, superstar Bill Goldberg's first rivalry in WCW was against Steve 'Mongo' McMichael, but the two wouldn't get the chance to compete tonight because Mongo revealed that he'd attacked Goldberg from behind with a lead pipe and knocked him out.
No Contest

Mongo did brag that he was here to give the fans a show, and challenged any wrestler from the back to come out and face him.

That prompted his estranged wife, Debra McMichael to drag a reluctant Alex Wright to the ring for a rematch from Halloween Havoc.

Steve 'Mongo' McMichael vs. Alex Wright (w/ Debra McMichael)

I know that Mongo wasn't exactly Ric Flair between the ropes, but he had a charisma about him that I can't help but enjoy, and don't know why he was often the butt of jokes back in the day.

The match was fine but immediately forgettable and ended with a big win for the ex-football-player thanks to a tombstone piledriver.
Your Winner: Steve 'Mongo' McMichael

Out in the back, Saturn proved to be the very opposite of Mongo by having all the personality of a brick as he talked to Jeff Katz and Mark Madden for, insisting that he would do whatever it took to keep his TV title.

World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Championship
WCW World Cruiserweight Champion Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio Jr

Last month at Halloween Havoc, Rey Mysterio Jr. beat Eddie Guerrero to become Cruiserweight Champion in a Mask vs. Title match that remains one of -if not the- greatest Cruiserweight matches of all time.

Since then, Eddie had won the title back so that we could have yet another awesome rematch here tonight.

I'm tempted to say that this sequel wasn't quite as good as the original Mysterio/Guerrero classic, but honestly, it was still so good that you simply couldn't fault it.

After a dramatic contest, Eddie landed a big-time frog splash to pick up the win.
Your Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Eddie Guerrero

As we went into an elaborate, cinematic advertisement for Sting vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan at Starrrcade, one thing became apparent at this point - this was one of those shows where Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan had enjoyed a beverage or two.

It's a shame to hear the late, great legend fumbling through his lines.

No Disqualification Match for the World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW United States Champion Curt Hennig vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair

WCW War Games 1997 - Curt Hennig defended the US title against Ric Flair
Ric Flair and Curt Hennig had been at war since the latter had turned on the former -and the entire Four Horsemen- at Fall Brawl 1997 and joined the New World Order.

Tonight, the two looked to settle the score once and for all in a no holds barred brawl which, though it dragged in places, was still a mostly enjoyable affair.

After a lengthy battle, Hennig countered a figure four by blasting Nature Boy with the US title belt, and this one was over.
Your Winner and Still US Champion: Curt Hennig

When that, it was onto our main event.

World War 3
60 Man Battle Royal featuring Diamond Dallas Page, The Giant, Scott Hall, Buff Bagwell, Randy Savage, Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine, Barry Darsow, Psicosis, Super Calo, Lex Luger, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and more

WCW World War 3 1997 - Randy Savage, Buff Bagwell, The Giant in th 60 man battle royal
The nWo contingent came out for this one showing some love to the recently injured Syxx by wearing his t-shirt.

Meanwhile, half the fun was watching which completely random wrestlers were involved for WCW.

As well as the names listed above, we also had the undoubtable El Dandy, Kendal Windham, Bobby Blaze, Finlay, and dozens more.

That was more fun than the snoozefest that was the first part of the match. Even the new rules -that leaving the ring in any way, not just over the top rope, would count as an elimination- did anything to liven this one up.

When things went down to one ring for the inevitable battle between the New World Order and WCW's top level stars, things did get genuinely exciting, with a solid brawl that ended with The Giant and DDP cleaning house until only Scott Hall remained for the nWo.

It was at that point that WCW did come up with a genuinely creative surprise.

Hall pointed towards the entrance as the nWo's music hit. Both the fans and the announcers believed it would be Kevin Nash -who had failed to appear at the start of the match- finally putting in an appearance, but instead it was Hollywood Hogan, who helped Hall even the score and take the fight to Giant and Page.

Dallas got dumped, but before The Giant could win his Second World War 3 in a row, Sting descended from the rafters.

The announcers couldn't believe that Sting was here, nor could they believe that Sting eliminated The Giant. I can't believe that not once did any of the announcers -all intelligent men apparently- realise that Sting was now seven feet tall or that he'd both grown and dyed his hair, or that he looked in every possible way to be Kevin Nash in a Sting costume.

Of course, he was Kevin Nash in a Sting costume, and that meant Scott Hall was your World War 3 1997 winner.
Your Winner: Scott Hall

Afterwards, the nWo, including former D-Generation-X man Rick Rude, all held a celebration in the ring using DDP as their piñata.

World Championship Wrestling's recent run of excellent pay per view offerings had finally come to an end with World War 3.

Yes, there were some good parts (Flair/Hennig and another incredible Mysterio/Guerrero outing spring immediately to mind), but any highlights were sandwiched between action which, whilst not necessarily bad, wasn't particularly memorable or exciting either.

Watch the two matches above, and maybe check it the ending of the battle royal for the ridiculousness of the announcers believing seven foot Kevin Nash was legitimately Sting, but otherwise not a show you need to see.

1997 events reviewed so far:
  1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1997
  2. WCW - Souled Out 1997
  3. WWF - In Your House 13: Final Four 
  4. WCW - Superbrawl VII 
  5. WCW - Uncensored 1997 
  6. WWF - Wrestlemania 13
  7. WCW Spring Stampede 1997
  8. WWF - In Your House 14: Revenge of The Taker
  9. WWF - In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell
  10. WCW - Slamboree 1997
  11. WWF - King of the Ring 1997
  12. WCW - Great American Bash 1997 
  13. WWF - In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede 
  14. WCW - Bash at the Beach 1997 
  15. WWF - Summerslam 1997
  16. WCW - Road Wild 1997
  17. WWF - In Your House 17: Ground Zero
  18. WCW - Fall Brawl 1997
  19. WWF - One Night Only 1997
  20. WWF - In Your House 18: Badd Blood
  21. WCW - Halloween Havoc 1997
  22. WWF - Survivor Series 1997
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Thursday, 14 June 2018

PPV REVIEW: WCW Halloween Havoc 1997

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 review - Event poster
October 26, 1997
MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada

There's a lot of stuff that you can claim World Championship Wrestling got wrong during their brief-yet-memorable run throughout the 1990s, but promoting major main-event attractions wasn't one of them. 

Sure, Hollywood Hogan and Rowdy Roddy Piper were at the peak of neither their popularity nor their physical condition, and sure, the match wasn't going to be a technical classic to rival the kind of stuff we'd see on your average WCW undercard, but look, even in late-1997, Hogan vs. Piper was still a big deal, and WCW did a fantastic job of making it feel like one.

Tonight, the two would collide in a steel cage match which, no matter how it may have transpired, felt like the biggest match in the world as we went into WCW Halloween Havoc 1997.

Here's what happened when Hogan met Piper, when Hennig met Flair, and when two all-time greats put on the greatest Cruiserweight match ever.

Tonight, it's Hogan vs. Piper in a Cage!

Months ago at Uncensored 1997, Roddy Piper led a team into battle against Team WCW and Team NWO, with a cage match against Hulk Hogan being the reward up for grabs if Piper's team won.

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 review - Dusty Rhodes Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
Piper's team didn't win, but now that Piper was in charge he could -and had- booked that cage match anyway.

Our opening video tonight recapped the recent war of words between the two before taking us to the arena where Steve Blackman's theme music played and Tony Schiavone, The American Dream Dusty Rhodes and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan were there to greet us.

The three, as usual, began by hyping tonight's main event before taking us down to ringside for our first match.

Yuji Nagata (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Ultimo Dragon

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 review - Yuji Nagata (w/ Sonny Onoo) faced Ultimo Dragon
After turning his back on Ultimo Dragon at Slamboree 1997 Sonny Onoo had been at war with his former charge, first sending in an army of luchadores to try -and fail- to take Dragon down before finally recruiting Yuji Nagata to do his bidding.

Nagata and Dragon went at it tonight in a very good opening match that really set the right tone for the rest of the show and was a pure joy to watch.

After an excellent battle, Nagata came out on top, finally giving Onoo one up on his rival.
Your Winner: Yuji Nagata

Afterwards, Nagata and Onoo attacked Dragon's arm. This one, apparently, wasn't over yet.

Disco and Jackie Hate Each Other

Out in the back, Disco Inferno bragged to's Mark Madden about how he was going to beat Jacqueline in their upcoming mixed gender TV title match.

Jackie then ran up to tell Disco that he needed to shut up, and then chased him off for good measure.

Special Unadvertised Bonus Match
Gedo vs. Chris Jericho

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 - Chris Jericho beat Gedo in an unadvertised match
You've got to admire the way 'pulled together at the last minute' becomes 'Special Unadvertised Bonus Match.'

You've also got to admire the way Chris Jericho turned up the intensity in this short -though very enjoyable- bout.

Mixing lucha-style action with the hard-hitting offence of traditional puroreso, this was a very good effort from both men, apart from one moment when a top-rope hurricanrana attempt by Jericho went awry and both he and his opponent nearly died.

Somewhat predictably, Jericho got the win with the Lion Tamer.
Your Winner: Chris Jericho

Out in the back, beautiful southern belle, Debra McMichael told Mean Gene Okerlund that she was the real star between her and her husband, Steve 'Mongo' McMichael.

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 - Debra and Steve McMichael argue backstage with Mean Gene
Though I may have this wrong (and I'm not sure it's important enough to check), it was implied that a stipulation had been put in place where Debra would have to leave WCW if her husband Mongo beat an opponent of Debra's choosing.

Speaking of Mongo, he came ranting and raving onto the scene so that he and his estranged wife could have a domestic live on air about whether or not Debra could keep her diamond ring and credit cards.

I don't care what anyone says, these two were pretty fun characters for their time, and yes it helped that Debra was more stunning than I think I ever gave her credit for back in the 90s.

World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Championship  Title vs. Mask Match
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio Jr

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 - Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio had the best cruiserweight match ever
Yes, it's this match, one of -if not the greatest Cruiserweight matches of all time and one of my own personal top five favourite matches ever.

I mean, seriously, from start to finish, this title vs. mask match was an absolute masterpiece, a work of art that stands the test of time as undeniable proof that Rey Mysterio Jr. and the late Eddie Guerrero are among the greatest in-ring performers of their generation.

Plus, it helped that -unlike a lot of Cruiserweight PPV bouts- the crowd were seriously into this one all the way through.

A true must-see contest, this one ended with a win for Mysterio via a sick top-top hurricanrana that looked almost as brutal as the earlier Jericho/Gedo one.
Your Winner and New WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Rey Mysterio Jr.

Post-match, an irate Eddie Guerrero attacked the new Champion.

Call 1-900 909 9900

Out in the entrance way, Mean Gene told us to call the hotline to find out who was in the newest backstage clique was in WCW.

A Word With Bischoff and Hogan

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 - Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan claimed Hogan wouldn't wrestle Piper
Out in the back, Hollywood Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff cut one of those edgy black and white promos in which they insisted that Hogan wouldn't wrestle tonight unless they got a contract saying that Sting wasn't allowed in the building.

Hogan played up like WCW were the bad guys if they didn't agree to this because they'd be depriving the fans of seeing Hollywood beat Piper.

This promo was far too long for what it was, and to be honest I switched off after about two minutes.

World Championship Wrestling
Steve 'Mongo' McMichael vs. Alex Wright (w/ Alex Wright)

The more WCW I watch, the more I find myself repeating the sentence I'm about to type below:

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 - Debra McMichael led Alex Wright into battle against Mongo
This was a passable match with a weird finish.

After a few minutes of decent but largely forgettable action (apart from one hilarious spot where Alex Wright tapped Mongo on the back to push him into the ropes and Mongo sold it like he'd just been stabbed), McMichael looked to have the win when -get this- Bill Goldberg came out.

Debra distracted the referee whilst Goldberg first speared, then Jackhammered Mongo, and did it so close to the referee that said referee would have to be a complete moron not to realise that he was there.

Goldberg then picked up Wright and dropped him onto Mongo, the referee turned around, and this one was over.
Your Winner: Alex Wright

Afterwards, Debra thanked Goldberg by giving him Mongo's Super Bowl ring. Alex Wright -now celebrating his third straight PPV win in a row- went to shake the big man's hand, but got beat up and jackhammered instead.

So yeah, that happened. Bill Goldberg, the man who went on to become one of the biggest stars of the 90s, starting his career in a random feud with Steve McMichael in the role of Debra's errand boy.

Macho is Here Because He Wants to Be

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 - Macho Man Randy Savage and Elizabeth
In another nWo promo, Macho Man Randy Savage, flanked by Miss Elizabeth, rambled on about Hogan, Bischoff and the cage match before claiming that he didn't really care about that at all.

What he really cared about -in his own insane way- was his upcoming Sudden Death Match against Diamond Dallas Page.

Offering her two cents, Liz told Savage that DDP didn't belong anywhere near Savage, to which Randy replied by going on a sponsored tangent about Slim Jims.

It was a typically batshit crazy Savage promo, and, weirdly, it worked.

Non-Title Inter-Gender Match
WCW World TV Champion Disco Inferno vs. Jacquelyn

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 - Jacqueline Moore beat Disco Inferno
I'm never entirely sure which spelling of Jacquelyn she used, so we'll go with this one for this inter-gender match.

Things began with Jackie ready to rumble but Disco stalling for about an hour on the grounds that e didn't want to hit a woman.

'This is absurd!' he yelled, and I couldn't agree more.

In fact, the whole first half of the match was a ridiculous -and tedious- game of cat and mouse that saw Jacqueline struggle to catch Disco.

When she did, she basically kicked his ass, rolled him up and pinned him.

Nothing against the future Hall of Famer, she was always fun to watch, but either she nor Disco benefited at all from this, and those of us who had to watch it suffered the most.
Your Winner: Jacqueline

Moving on...

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW US Champion Curt Hennig vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 - Curt Hennig attacks Ric Flair's knee using the ring post
Ric Flair and US Champion Curt Hennig had been at war since the latter had betrayed the former the previous month at Fall Brawl 1997, turning his back on The Four Horsemen (which he'd only just joined) to become the newest member of the New World Order.

Since then, the United States title had come into the picture, with Hennig getting the belt away from Mongo, and thus we had our match tonight.

A few years earlier, this battle between Flair and his former Executive Consultant could have been an all-time classic.

Tonight, it wasn't, but it was still the very best match that both men were capable of at this stage in their careers.

That's not a criticism either, this was a very good, old-school pro wrestling match full of passion and emotion.

It ended when Flair tied Hennig up in a tree of woe, put the US Title over the champ's face, and kicked it.

The referee called for the bell, so Flair decked him one for good measure.
Your Winner via Disqualification and Still WCW US Champion: Curt Hennig

Post-match, a gaggle of referees ran down to stop Flair from destroying Hennig. When they couldn't do it, Konnan and Vincent ran down to help out their nWo buddy.

JJ Dillon Gives Hogan What He Wants

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 - JJ Dillon presents Eric Bischoff with the contract saying Hogan must wrestle
After a brief clip that saw Macho Man Randy Savage taking to Mark Madden for, we got Mean Gene Okerlund talking to JJ Dillon out in the entrance way.

JJ claimed that everyone was sick of being bullied by the New World Order, and then when Eric Bischoff came down to once again insist that Hogan wouldn't wrestle, Dillon pulled out a piece of paper which apparently was the contract saying Hogan was legally obligated to wrestle.

That caused Bischoff to rant and rave that Dillon didn't have the authority to make the match, but  Dillon did, and the match was on...

....but not yet.

Scott Hall (w/ Syxx) vs. Lex Luger
Special Referee: Larry Zybysko

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 - Scott Hall and Syxx are just too sweetAfter taking it upon himself to count the winning fall in last month's DDP/Luger vs. Savage/Hall bout at Fall Brawl, Larry Zybysko was officially the erm, official, for this below average contest.

The only interesting thing here was the mounting tension between Zybysko and Scott Hall, Syxx, and Bischoff, the latter of whom came down towards the finish.

The rest of the bout was so boring that I honestly stopped watching at one point.

The end came when Bischoff distracted Zybysko and Syxx kicked Luger in the head.

Despite not wanting to, Larry was forced to count the fall and this one was over...
Your Winner: Scott Hall

...or was it.

Suspecting something was up, Zybysko called for a replay on the big screen and, after seeing that shenanigans had been involved, restarted the bout.

Hall returned to the ring, walked straight into a Torture Rack and lost the match.
Your Winner: Lex Luger

Afterwards, Hall and Bischoff beat up Zybysko and, adding insult to injury, Bischoff put his foot on Larry's chest whilst Hall counted to three.

A commercial for next month's World War 3 1997 followed, and then it was onto our next match.

Las Vegas Sudden Death Match
Macho Man Randy Savage (w/ Miss. Elizabeth) vs. Diamond Dallas Page

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 - Randy Savage and DDP beat each other senseless
Using some hitherto unknown definition of the term 'sudden death,' this was basically your typical Last Man Standing / Texas Death Match in which the only way to lose was to fail to meet the referee's count of ten.

Diamond Dallas Page came dressed for war in jeans, boots, and ribs bandaged up to sell the recent injuries to that area caused by the nWo, Savage wore a walking advertisement for Slim Jim, which was weird given how anti-establishment the New World Order were supposed to be.

Though this wasn't as good as their memorable outing at Spring Stampede 1997 it was still a decent effort from both men, and both women.

A surprising highlight came when Elizabeth smashed some kind of pizza tray over the referee's head and knocked him out, then began choking out Page with a TV cable.

Kimberly then rushed out and dragged Liz to the back by her hair. After that, the match, which had been pretty mediocre up to this point, finally got good.

At least it did until the finish, when a fake Sting (later claimed to be Hogan) came out and blasted Page with a bat.

Dallas couldn't beat the ten count, and that was all she wrote.
Your Winner: Randy Savage 

Cue Michael Buffer, it was time for our main event of the evening...

Cage Match
Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 - Piper vs. Hogan in a steel cage
Piper came out carrying Hogan's title belt despite not being the champion and this not being a title match.

I've tried not to rag on WCW for being, well, WCW, but the more I review these late-90s shows, the more I find myself seriously scratching my head.

Meanwhile, the cage was the old-school WWF style rather than the mesh style preferred by the company in usual matches, with the bars so far apart that Rey Mysterio and his fellow Cruiserweights could have easily have slipped through them and still had room to wear a backpack.

I mention this because it was more interesting than anything that happened in the ring for the first couple of minutes.

That was until the door came open and the action spilled outside of the cage.

With no referee on the inside of the ring, I'd assumed that the only way to win was to escape,  but that clearly wasn't the case, so at this point, I was both bored and confused.

Hogan tried to walk to the back, but Sting -or at least another, pro-WCW Fake Sting, arrived, pointed his bat at him, and kept him distracted long enough for Piper to come and beat Hollywood back into the ring.

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 - Piper vs. Hogan in a cage 2
As both Piper and Hogan tried to climb out of the cage (despite showing us they could go out of the door), another Sting arrived.

A bunch more also got involved, each one looking more like they bought a knock-off Sting costume from the Dollar Store than the last.

The only highlight came when Randy Savage rushed down and leapt from the top of the cage, which was legitimately tall as hell, but missed Piper and nailed Hogan.

Piper then slapped the sleeper on, and Randy Anderson, who had randomly decided to enter the ring despite the announcers earlier making a big deal out of there being no referee, called it.
Your Winner: Rowdy Roddy Piper

Afterwards, Bischoff ran to the ring whilst Savage and Hogan handcuffed Piper to the cage and destroyed him.

To finish, a 'fan,' clearly a plant, climbed into the cage and got his Ass handed to him by Hogan and Savage before Doug Dillinger and a bunch of officials dragged him away to end this mess once and for all.

When I say mess, I really do mean it. That main event was god awful, and was exactly why people so heavily criticise some of the decisions WCW made back in the day.

That, and a couple of other weird booking choices made Halloween Havoc 1997 a disappointing show, especially given how awesome Fall Brawl and Road Wild 97 had turned out to be.

Still, this was the show that gave us the classic Guerrero vs. Mysterio Match, and for that alone it was worth sitting through whatever I just sat through for the last three hours.

Honestly, if you only do one thing after reading this review, make it watching that match.

1997 events reviewed so far:
  1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1997
  2. WCW - Souled Out 1997
  3. WWF - In Your House 13: Final Four 
  4. WCW - Superbrawl VII 
  5. WCW - Uncensored 1997 
  6. WWF - Wrestlemania 13
  7. WCW Spring Stampede 1997
  8. WWF - In Your House 14: Revenge of The Taker
  9. WWF - In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell
  10. WCW - Slamboree 1997
  11. WWF - King of the Ring 1997
  12. WCW - Great American Bash 1997 
  13. WWF - In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede 
  14. WCW - Bash at the Beach 1997 
  15. WWF - Summerslam 1997
  16. WCW - Road Wild 1997
  17. WWF - In Your House 17: Ground Zero
  18. WCW - Fall Brawl 1997
  19. WWF - One Night Only 1997
  20. WWF - In Your House 18: Badd Blood 
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Thursday, 7 June 2018

TV REVIEW: WWE Smackdown: 04/12/09

Hampton, Virginia

Just nine days away from TLC, The Undertaker plans to call out his upcoming opponent, Batista, whilst Jerishow prepare for their TLC match against DX with a match against Cryme Tyme.

Here's what went down.

NOTE: This an archived review written live at the time that WWE Smackdown aired on December 4th, 2009.

I'm archiving all my old reviews and including this one on Retro Pro Wrestling for the sake of prosperity.

R-Truth vs. CM Punk (w/ Luke Gallows)

Wasting no time in getting down to the action tonight, The Straight-Edge Saviour CM Punk battled R-Truth in a good opening contest.

Punk worked over his opponent's arm in the early going, allowing him to dominate the bulk of this entertaining bout before Truth began to make the inevitable comeback. Unfortunately, said comeback was cut-off by Punk's right-hand man, Luke Gallows, leading to a DQ finish.
Your Winner by disqualification: R-Truth

Afterwards, Gallows and Punk continued to annihilate R-Truth and looked rather pleased with themselves as a result.

Kane vs. Mike Knox

Fresh from his brief cameo in the Undertaker/Batista feud, The Big Red Machine locked horns with the infrequently-seen Mike Knox for seemingly no reason.

The match itself was so dull that commentators Matt Striker and Todd Grisham ignored it completely, choosing instead to hype up the Undertaker vs. Batista match at TLC. Kane chokeslammed Knox to end the contest.
Your Winner: Kane

Backstage, Josh Matthews interviewed Unified Tag Team Champions Chris Jericho & The Big Show regarding their match against DX at TLC. Jericho, as strong as ever on the microphone, was the mouthpiece for his team; promising to end DX once and for all at the pay per view and putting over Big Show as a monster in a pretty solid promo.

From the vault: Mark Henry vs. Finlay & Hornswoggle (Smackdown 2007)

Taking a look back to the days when Finlay actually had something do to (even if it was hanging around with that annoying leprechaun) and Mark Henry was a bland babyface, we get this handicap match from November 2007. Henry was defeated when Finlay nailed him with a shelaglah after which Hornswoggle hit the Tadpole Splash for the win. Following the match, The Great Khali arrived on the scene and destroyed Finlay.

Triple Threat match to determine the number one contender to the WWE Women's Championship: Mickie James vs. Beth Phoenix vs. Natayla

With Women's Champion Michelle McCool and her BFF Layla hanging out at ringside, their rival Mickie James fought to earn a shot at McCool's belt in a decent match against Natalya and The Glamazon. Mickie was tossed from the ring in the early going, leaving the two blonde grapplers to put on a good show and carry the bulk of the contest.

The end came when Beth hit Nattie with the Glam Slam. James then dropkicked Phoenix out of the ring and stole the pinfall for herself to end an enjoyable bout that surpassed anything we've seen from the Raw girls in a long time.
Your Winner and new number one contender: Mickie James

Afterwards, Mickie James took the microphone from Josh Matthews; vowing not only to take the Women's Championship from Michelle McCool, but also to extract revenge from her and Layla for all the hurtful things they'd done over the last several weeks. James then shoved McCool, but was quickly outnumbered by the champion and Layla.

A returning Maria made the save before she and Mickie celebrated with the crowd.

Rey Mysterio set to return

Backstage in Teddy Long's office, Batista confronts the GM over a challenge laid down by Rey Mysterio. Big Dave agreed to a street fight against the master of the 619 on next week's show, providing his hold-harmless agreement remains intact.

The Animal also complained about The Undertaker's plans to call him out later on the show, but Long insisted he could do nothing about that.

Non-title match: Intercontinental Champion John Morrison vs. Drew McIntyre

In a match he apparently requested, Intercontinental Champion John Morrison took it to Drew McIntyre in the early going, but it was the Sadistic Scot who walked away with a surprise victory after planting JoMo with a Kobashi DDT following several minutes of enjoyable back-and-forth action.
Your Winner: Drew McIntyre

The show returned from a commercial break to find Vickie Guerrero in the ring. Smackdown's consultant was fantastic at riling up the already excitable crowd with her usual 'excuse me!' catchphrase before calling out her former lover, Eric Escobar, and demanding an apology for the way he spoke to her last week.

When Escobar refused, Guerrero booked him in a handicap match against the Hart Dynasty, which begs the question as to when a consultant was granted booking power?

Handicap match: Eric Escobar vs. The Hart Dynasty

Despite his best efforts, Escobar was overpowered and outwrestled by his opponents in a passable outing, with Smith and Kidd picking up the win thanks to the Hart Attack.
Your Winners: The Hart Dynasty

In the post-match, Tyson Kidd brought Vickie Guerrero back to the ring, holding her ex in place whilst she administered a hefty slap to Escobar's chops.

Luke Gallows Speaks

Heading backstage once more, Josh Matthews caught up with CM Punk and Luke Gallows. The man formerly known as Festus told Matthews that his days walking around in a comatose state was as a result of his friends and family pushing pills on him and claims that CM Punk saved him. Furthermore, Gallows hoped that more lost souls could turn their lives around by following the Straightedge lifestyle.

Non-title match: Unified Tag Team Champions Chris Jericho & the Big Show vs. Cryme Tyme (Shad Gaspard & JTG)

As they look to battle DX in a Tables, Ladders & Chairs match at the TLC pay per view next Sunday, Unified Tag Champions Jerishow set their sights a little lower on tonight's show as they clashed with Cryme Tyme in a fairly good main event.

Following a short, explosive exchange of offence between the two teams, Big Show knocked out Shad Gaspard (now sporting short hair, for anyone interested in that kind of thing) with his Big Fist of doom to earn the victory for his team.
Your Winners: Chris Jericho & The Big Show

Having hyped up a confrontation between The Undertaker and Batista all evening, Smackdown heads towards the finish-line with the World Heavyweight Champion making his way to the ring to a thunderous ovation from the Hampton crowd.

Unfortunately for The Dead Man, his entrance was cut-short thanks to a surprise assault from Batista. The Animal attacked the champion from behind with a steel chair, and in a repeat of last week's show, proceeded to decimate him in the ring with more chair shots and a blow to the head with the Big Gold Belt.

Big Dave then posed with both chair and title belt as Smackdown drew to a close.

Final Thoughts: Despite that deathly dull outing from Kane and Knox at the start of the show, tonight's edition of Smackdown was nonetheless very enjoyable. CM Punk vs. R-Truth should probably pick up Match of the Night honours, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a tag team match pitting Punk & Gallows against Truth and Matt Hardy on next week's show (remember, Hardy suffered a similar fate at the hands of Punk & Gallows on last week's show).

Speaking of future booking plans, following Drew McIntyre's victory over John Morrison tonight, can we expect a title match between the two, possibly at TLC? I hope so, and I also hope that Morrison retains whenever they do meet over the gold, even though everything suggests the Scotsman is in for a title reign at some point in the near future.

On the negative side, I complained about it in the report, but I'm struggling to comprehend why Vickie Guerrero, who was hired only to help Teddy Long as a consultant, is suddenly granted the authority to book matches as she pleases.

Remembering Umaga
Over the past weekend, news emerged that Eki 'Eddie' Fatu, who competed in the WWE as recently as this spring as Umaga, had sadly passed away.

Umaga was a talented performer, playing the Big Monster role almost to perfection, and his Royal Rumble 2007 Last Man Standing match for the WWE championship against John Cena remains arguably as one of his career highlights. My thoughts go out to the friends and family of The Samoan Bulldozer.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

PPV REVIEW: WWF In Your House 18: Badd Blood

WWE / WWF - Badd Blood: In Your House 18 Review - Event poster
October 5, 1997,
Kiel Center, St. Louis, Missouri.

By October 1997, the In Your House events had become a staple of the World Wrestling Federation calendar, cropping up every month to bridge the gaps between the big five.

Yet up to this point, that's basically all they'd been - filler events designed to move the story along and get us to Wrestlemania, King of the Ring, Summerslam, Survivor Series or the Royal Rumble, where the really big stuff - the dramatic title changes and huge, game-changing moments would occur.

If there's any event that changed that, it was this one - Badd Blood: In Your House 18

For the first time ever, we would see two of the company's biggest stars - Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker go head to head in a brand new concept known as Hell in a Cell, but as we were about to find out - the cage itself wasn't the only thing making its first appearance in the World Wrestling Federation.

And yes, I'm deliberately avoiding talking about the one thing I really don't want to talk about on this show - I'll be sad enough when we get to it.

Tonight, it's Hell in a Cell

Our show tonight opened with one of the WWF's always-impressive video packages, this one telling us what an asshole Shawn Michaels had become since transforming into a fully-fledged heel, and how much a thorn in the Undertaker's side he'd been since Summerslam 1997.

Tonight, said our narrator, Michaels new allies, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Chyna, and Rick Rude were unable to help him, because he and The Undertaker would be locked inside the demonic structure known as Hell in a Cell.

Not only was tonight the first Hell in a Cell match ever, but it was also the first In Your House event to use a regular entrance way instead of the special house set.

WWE / WWF - Badd Blood: In Your House 18 Review - Vince McMahon's last PPV as a commentator
That became evident as we went into the arena for the usual pan of the crowd and the trademark growl of Vince McMahon, who was commentating on his last ever WWF PPV.

McMahon welcomed us to the show and introduced us to Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler as The Nation began making their way to ringside for our opening match.

3 vs. 2 Handicap Match The Nation (Rocky Maivia, D'Lo Brown, and Kama Mustafa) vs. The Legion of Doom (Hawk & Animal)

Here, we had D'Lo Brown competing in his first WWF PPV match ever, Rocky Maivia competing in his first since Wrestlemania 13, and Kama Mustfa competing in his first actual PPV match (excluding the 1996 Royal Rumble) since Summerslam 1995, when he lost to Undertaker in a casket match.

Tonight, the three had been set to take on The Legion of Doom and Ken Shamrock, but apparently, they had injured Shamrock on Raw, leaving Hawk & Animal to fight The Nation alone.

WWE / WWF - Badd Blood: In Your House 18 Review - The Nation - Kama, Rock, and D'Lo
Apart from a hot finish which saw Farooq arrive to stop the LOD from getting the upset, the match was fairly tedious and by far one of the most boring PPV opening matches of 1997.

The only notable thing to happen was McMahon informing us early on that Brian Pillman had passed away.

You know, to this day I've never forgotten October 5th, 1997 as the day that Brian Pillman died, and I kind of wish Vince had picked a more opportune and sombre moment to inform us of the sad news rather than dropping it in at the start of a pro wrestling match.

Speaking of the match, Rocky Maivia won with a move that hadn't yet been called The Rock Bottom.
Your Winners: The Nation

Afterwards, The Nation celebrated whilst LOD looked on, frustrated and exhausted.

Sunny and Doc Shill the Superstar Line

WWE / WWF - Badd Blood: In Your House 18 Review - Doc Hendrix & Sunny urge you to call the Superstar line
As the Bad Blood theme music played (the same theme music that would later be used by The Lethal Weapon Steve Blackman), Sunny and Doc Hendrix urged us to call the Superstar Line.

I must admit, I'd rather have Sunny try to sell me an overpriced phone call than Mean Gene Okerlund.

Brian Pillman Has Passed Away

Finally, Vince took the time to give us the proper, to-camera announcement about The Loose Cannon's passing, passing his condolences on to the family before telling us that in place of the match Pillman had been advertised for, we'd get a special attraction:

A minis match.

Tarantula & Mosaic vs. Max Mini & Nova

Nova was, of course, another mini wrestler, and not Simon Dean.

WWE / WWF - Badd Blood: In Your House 18 Review - Tarantula teamed with Mosaic to face Max Mini & Nova
In a way, I suppose the light relief provided by this lucha libre rules match was just what was needed after hearing the tragic news about Pillman.

Though not quite as fun as Max Mini's In Your House: Ground Zero outing against El Torito, this was still entertaining in its own way.

A fun little throw-away match which was just what the doctor ordered at this point.

Max Mini and Nova won, which was nice for them.
Your Winners: Max Mini & Nova

After the match, we got Michael Cole (though at first, I thought it was Todd Pettengill) voicing a commercial for Stone Cold Steve Austin's best-selling Austin 3:16 t-shirt, following which Vince McMahon told us that the crowd of 21,151 was likely to be a new arena record.

Sunny is Your Guest Ring Announcer

WWE / WWF - Badd Blood: In Your House 18 Review - Sunny is your guest ring announcer for the tag title match
Playing off her history as the manager of tag Team Champions, Sunny made her way to ringside to provide guest ring announcing duties for our next match.

World Wrestling Federation World Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions The Headbangers (Mosh & Thrasher) vs. The Godwins ( Henry O. & Phineas I. Godwin w/ Uncle Cletus)

For those wondering, Uncle Cletus was Dirty White Boy Tony Anthony, also briefly known as T.L Hopper.

The fact that they played up Henry and Phineas Godwin's past history with Sunny as the challengers entered the ring was a nice touch.

On another note, Mosh wore a Type O Negative T-shirt, which I just have to point out because Type O are one of my favourite bands.

WWE / WWF - Badd Blood: In Your House 18 Review - The Headbangers lost the tag team titles to The Godwins
Both of these facts are more interesting than anything that happened in the ring.

This was dull, and occasionally very sloppy, culminating in a win for The Godwins when Phineas caught Mosh coming off the top and caught in him in a horrible looking sit down powerbomb.

A three count later, and we had new Tag Team Champions.

The crowd, all 21+ thousand of them, went mild.
Your Winners and New Tag Team Champions: The Godwins

Afterwards, The Godwins continued to attack their fallen opponents, then ranted and raved at ringside when it was announced that they'd be stripped of the titles if they didn't leave the ring.

Austin vs. McMahon - It Begins

Tonight, Vince McMahon was commentating on his final PPV. After this, we would see the transformation of Vince McMahon - Lead Announcer into Mr. McMahon - Evil Billionaire.

That same Mr. McMahon character would go on to have a legendary feud with Steve Austin, but the seeds of that feud had already been sewn.

After injuring his neck at Summerslam 1997, Stone Cold had been out of action, having to give up his half of the tag titles at Ground Zero: In Your House.

Now he was being urged to give up the Intercontinental Championship he won from Owen Hart in that ill-fated Summerslam bout but, Austin being Austin, he preferred to compete instead.

McMahon had originally told him he wasn't allowed and received a Stone Cold Stunner for his troubles.

The following week, McMahon had given Austin three options:

1: Get medically cleared to return to the ring

2: Return to the ring but absolve the WWF of any responsibility

3: Get fired.

WWE / WWF - Badd Blood: In Your House 18 Review - Owen Hart had choice words for Stone Cold Steve Austin
This was all retold to us in one of the company's always-awesome video packages, after which we cut to a scrawny, nerdy little dweeb called Michael Cole.

Cole was interrupted by Owen Hart, who demanded that Austin both come out and give him his belt back but at the same time stay far away from the ring. I love Owen, but I'm not sure he thought that one through.

Honouring St. Louis Wrestling Legends

In a ceremony akin to a mini Hall of Fame event, Gene Kiniski, Jack Briscoe, Dory Funk Jr., Harley Race, Terry Funk, Lou Thesz, and Sam Muchnick were each called out by Jim Ross, had a brief video package shown, and were then handed a commemorative plaque by Sunny.

In a way, it was oddly fitting - one last farewell to the oldest of the old guard before taking pro wrestling boldly into new territory with the advent of the Attitude Era.

Farooq is Mad

Backstage, Doc Hendrix pissed off Farooq by suggesting that Steve Austin might help him beat Owen Hart for the vacant Intercontinental title.

Farooq, flanked by Nation members Rocky Maivia, D'Lo Brown, and Kama Mustafa, was irate at such a suggestion, and mumbled his way through a garbage promo in which he let Doc -and all of us- know just how irate he really was.

An Update on Brian Pillman

Prior to our next match, Next, a very nervous-looking Vince McMahon informed us that Pillman may have died of an overdose. It was hard to tell if Vince was more upset about Pillman than he was about the potential damage to his company an overdosing employee could do. Vince told us that drugs were a problem in all sports, in other words - not his fault.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
Farooq vs. Owen Hart

WWE / WWF - Badd Blood: In Your House 18 - Owen Hart (w/ Jim Neidhart) celebrates being a 2 time Intercontinental ChampionI'd never realised this, but Owen Hart already had the new theme music that he had post-Montreal. I'd always assumed he had the classic Rocket theme until then.

Prior to he and Farooq tying up, Austin stormed to ringside with the Intercontinental title, took a seat next to Commissioner Sgt. Slaughter and rang the bell, then stole McMahon's headset to basically go on an epic Stone Cold rant for a few minutes.

Austin then moved around ringside, talking first to the Spanish and then the French announcers.

Why am I telling you about this and not about what happened in the ring? Because the WWF decided that Austin's outside shenanigans were more interesting than anything going on between the ropes.

Owen and Farooq must have known this, and thus didn't put a great deal of effort into their short and forgettable encounter.

In the end, Austin drilled Farooq with the title belt, allowing Owen to get the win and his second IC title.
Your Winner and New WWF Intercontinental Champion: Owen Hart

Afterwards, everyone seemed confused about why Austin would help Owen even though it seemed blatantly obvious that Stone Cold was setting himself up for a rematch with the King of Harts for the title.

Flag Match Update

Next, we were shown footage of the Hart Foundation attacking Vader and The Patriot, following which, Vince and JR told us that the rules for the upcoming flag match had been altered so that the match could be won by pinfall and submission as well as capturing the flag.

Confusingly, we then went on to a different match entirely.

Los Boricuas (Savio Vega, Miguel Perez,  Jose Estrada Jr., Jesus Castillo) vs. D.O.A (Crush, Chainz, Skull, 8-Ball)

WWE / WWF - In Your House 18: Badd Blood - Los Boricuas faced The Disciples of Apocalypse Ah, the feud that would never end.

At one point, it became clear that the announcers weren't really sure which Boricua was which, and that's a shame because -though it was never destined to win any awards- this was a perfectly acceptable multi-man tag match.

After a few minutes of fairly inoffensive action, Crush picked up the win with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker in what would prove to be his final WWF PPV appearance of the 1990s.
Your Winners: The Disciples of the Apocalypse

Whilst I'm on the subject of Los Boricuas,  if you have the WWE Network, go track down a match between Miguel Perez and Psicosis from WCW Nitro (I believe it was either late 96 or early 97), it was actually one of the best random TV matches I've ever seen

Bret and Bulldog are Here in St. Louis, Right Here

WWE / WWF - In Your House 18: Badd Blood - Michael Cole interviews Bret Hart & British Bulldog about their tag flag match with Vader & The Patriot
Backstage, WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart promised that he and Davey Boy Smith were going to prove that they were better than any two American wrestlers in the WWF.

The Englishman known as The British Bulldog then promised to defend the honour of the Canadian flag tonight, here in St. Louis....right here.

Seriously, there was a pause after Bulldog said 'here in St. Louis,' then he said 'right here,' and looked incredibly proud of himself for realising that he was indeed right there.

OK, so it wasn't on a level with his Royal Rumble 1996 gem, but it was still pretty funny.

Vader Drops a Bomb

And it wasn't a Vader Bomb.

Continuing the botched promo theme, The Patriot told Vader and Doc Hendrix that he was going to go all out to win tonight, after which Vader yelled out that Bret Hart's claim to be the best there is, was, and ever will be was -and I quote- 'a bunch of bullshit.'

Naturally, a flustered Vince McMahon apologised for the profanity and tries to dismiss it as a consequence of live TV.

Flag Match
WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart & The British Bulldog vs. Vader & The Patriot

WWE / WWF - In Your House 18: Badd Blood - Bret Hart & British Bulldog vs. The Patriot & Vader in a Tag Team Flag Match
It's a shame that after such a legendary career full of awesome matches, Bret Hart's final WWF PPV victory would come in a long and lacklustre effort.

Given the news about Pillman, you can understand nobody bringing their A-Game, but with nobody able to turn until a notch, you'd think they'd keep things short.

Instead, this one seemed to drag on forever, with pretty much the only truly exciting moment coming when a fan bust in the ring and got his ass kicked by Bulldog and referee Mike Chioda.

After a long time of nothing much, Bret got the win over The Patriot with a roll-up. Why they even bothered with a flag match stipulation if this is how things were going to end is beyond me.
Your Winners: Bret Hart & British Bulldog

Afterwards, we got a quick commercial for Survivor Series 1997, then cut to Sgt. Slaughter checking under the ring with a flash light to make sure there was no way the wrestlers could get out under the ring or that anyone could get in.

With that, we went on to our history-making main event.

Hell in a Cell (non-title match)
WWF European Champion Shawn Michaels (w/ Triple H, Chyna, and Rick Rude) vs. The Undertaker

WWE / WWF - In Your House 18: Badd Blood - A bloody Shawn Michaels tries to escape from The Undertaker
Certainly, one of the best matches of the year, most likely one of the best matches of the 90s, and easily the greatest match of its type, this groundbreaking first Hell in a Cell match was gloriously violent and brilliantly entertaining from beginning to end.

Apart from a brief few moments of offence from Michaels, this whole match was basically The Undertaker brutally murdering The Heartbreak Kid.

He destroyed him in the ring, he destroyed him out of the ring, he destroyed him against the cage walls, outside the cage, and even on top of the cage in what was by far the most violent WWF PPV match up to that time.

Just when The Phenom looked to have the match won, however, the lights went dark and the sound of an organ which would become so familiar to fans over the course of the next 20 years struck up.

Kane had arrived, and neither The Undertaker, nor the World Wrestling Federation, would ever be the same again.

Ripping the Cell door off its hinges, the debuting monster stared down his brother then distracted him

by making the turnbuckles explode. A kick to the stomach later, and The Dead Man was being lifted up and driven down in a tombstone piledriver courtesy of Kane.

Michaels, who had been laid out almost unconscious in a battered, bloody mess whilst all this had been going on, crawled over, draped the arm, and got the win.
Your Winner: Shawn Michaels 

Looking like anything but a winner, Michaels' battered corpse was dragged out of the ring by the rest of D-Generation-X, as Jim Ross informed us that he would now go on to face the WWF Champion on November 9th at Survivor Series...

...And we all know how that ended, don't we?

The very definition of a one-match show, that main event was really the only thing worth watching at Badd Blood: In Your House.

Everything else was either underwhelming, overlong, or both, but I won't hold that against anyone who performed on this card.

The death of Brian Pillman, though cautiously underplayed by McMahon, hung over the entire event like the terrible tragedy that it was, and -quite rightly I say- took the enjoyment out of watching it.

And that's me -a guy who never knew Pillman personally- saying that 20 years later.

Imagine how the wrestlers who knew, loved, and worked with him felt.

So yeah, most of this show isn't worth watching but the debut of Hell in a Cell as a match is -and I don't say this often- absolutely essential viewing.

Thanks for reading.

1997 events reviewed so far:
  1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1997
  2. WCW - Souled Out 1997
  3. WWF - In Your House 13: Final Four 
  4. WCW - Superbrawl VII 
  5. WCW - Uncensored 1997 
  6. WWF - Wrestlemania 13
  7. WCW Spring Stampede 1997
  8. WWF - In Your House 14: Revenge of The Taker
  9. WWF - In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell
  10. WCW - Slamboree 1997
  11. WWF - King of the Ring 1997
  12. WCW - Great American Bash 1997 
  13. WWF - In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede 
  14. WCW - Bash at the Beach 1997 
  15. WWF - Summerslam 1997
  16. WCW - Road Wild 1997
  17. WWF - In Your House 17: Ground Zero
  18. WCW - Fall Brawl 1997
  19. WWF - One Night Only 1997
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Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.