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, 17 May 2018

PPV REVIEW: WCW Fall Brawl 1997

WCW Fall Brawl 1997 Review - Event Poster
September 14, 1997
Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

The long-term success of the New World Order angle meant a lot of positive benefits for World Championship Wrestling. 

For one thing, it meant a remarkable change in fortunes and unprecedented profit. For another, it meant that for the first time in the company's short history, they could legitimately claim to be the number one pro wrestling company in North America, if not the world.

It also meant that they didn't really need to put too much effort in creating compelling storylines and matches; simply pit someone from the nWo against someone from WCW and you had a feud all lined up.

Thus it was that, for the second year in a row, we got some variation of World Championship Wrestling vs. The New World Order in the company's flagship match - War Games.

At Fall Brawl 1996, it had been three of the nWo's biggest stars - Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall teaming up with a fake Sting to battle Lex Luger and half of the Four Horsemen, with the briefest of cameos from the genuine Stinger.

This year, only Nash remained to do battle once more for the renegade faction, with B-Level players Konnan, Buff Bagwell and Syxx joining him for a match against all four members of the current incarnation of The Four Horsemen.

Yet just because it worked once, we were about to find out that WCW vs. NWO in War Games wasn't guaranteed to work again, and the lack of star power may well have been a factor.

Here's what went down when WCW presented Fall Brawl 1997...

It's War Games, And It's Personal 

Our show tonight began with a recap of the August 25th episode of Nitro, where Arn Anderson retired and Curt Hennig became an official member of the Four Horsemen.

That led to the infamous Four Horsemen parody by the nWo, which in turn led to Rowdy Roddy Piper (who was now in an authority figure role similar to the one he'd held in the WWF prior to Wrestlemania 12) booking nWo vs. The Four Horsemen in War Games.

The video took us to the arena, where Tony Schiavone welcomed us to the show and intrigued us to his broadcast colleagues Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan and -for the first time in forever- not The American Dream Dusty Rhodes but Iron Mike Tenay.

The announcers talked up tonight's main event before turning their attention to ringside for our opening contest.

World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Chris Jericho vs. Eddie Guerrero 

The last time we saw Chris Jericho on PPV, it was at the previous month's Road Wild 1997, where he unsuccessfully challenged Alex Wright for the Cruiserweight Championship.

Since then, Jericho had won the title and came to the ring to defend it tonight accompanied by Break The Walls Down, which was impressive considering that theme wasn't written for another two years.

I'm kidding of course, Jericho came down to his Pearl Jam rip off theme that WWE Network dubbed over.

Meanwhile, his opponent Eddie Guerrero had recently turned heel and sauntered to the ring wearing a brilliant scowl and accompanied by a theme song that sounded like a cross between Bad Street USA and Don't Step to Ron.

WCW Fall Brawl 1997 Review - Chris Jericho defended the Cruiserweight Champion against Eddie Guerrero
But hey, the entrances were hardly the talking point of the match.

No, Sir, that honour went to the action itself, which was nothing short of fantastic.

One of those matches that you could use to show non-fans why you like pro wrestling, Jericho/Guerrero was every bit as good as you might expect it to be, if not better.

After a great effort, Eddie picked up the win with a beautiful frog splash, ending what Tenay told us was the one-month reign of Chris Jericho.
Your Winner and New WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Eddie Guerrero 

Backstage, Jeff Jarrett spoke to an interviewer from not about his upcoming match with Dean Malenko tonight, but a different match against Curt Hennig on Friday.

The interviewer did then ask about Malenko, but we cut back to the ring before we could find out what Double J had to say.

Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray w/ Jacqueline) vs. The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner w/ Ted Dibiase) 

With Larry Zybysko now taking Mike Tenay's place on commentary, we got one of those rare matches that pitted two teams of actual legitimate brothers against one another.

WCW Fall Brawl 1997 Review - The Steiner Brothers faced Harlem Heat
I'll be honest with you, I've never been as big a fan of Harlem Heat as lots of other people, but I have to give them their due here - they worked hard against Rick and Scott Steiner and delivered a good -if not great - match that at least had the live crowd fully hyped and popping for just about every move.

After some good action, The Steiners got the win and the crowd just about lost their minds.
Your Winners: The Steiner Brothers 

Moving swiftly on...

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
WCW World TV Champion Alex Wright vs. Ultimo Dragon 

For the second PPV in a row, Alex Wright successfully defended a title.

WCW Fall Brawl 1997 Review - Alex Wright defended the TV title against Ultimo Dragon
This time, it was against Ultimo Dragon in what has to be considered one of the best of his career.

The crowd were not into it even half as much as they were for Steiners vs. Harlem Heat, but that was a shame because Alex Wright vs. Ultimo Dragon was tremendous.

I've said it before that because of the dumb Dancing German Guy gimmick and lack of any meaningful storylines, Alex Wright was grossly underrated.

Actually watch his matches such as this career-defining performance, his outing against Chris Jericho at Road Wild or his highly enjoyable bout against Dean Malenko at Clash of the Champions 32 and you'll see a guy who would really go.

Not only could he go, he could also win, picking up the victory via -fittingly- a German Suplex.
Your Winner and Still WCW TV Champion: Alex Wright 

Out in the back, Mean Gene Okerlund told us to call the hotline for an exclusive interview with Arn Anderson, but as he did so, Konnan, Buff Bagwell, and Syxx, and Kevin Nash all stormed past him, barged into a locker room, and then barged out again.

When Gene went to investigate, we found Curt Hennig lying on the floor in that room, the implication being that the New World Order had gone in and beaten him up.

Match to Decide the Number One Contender to the US Title
Jeff Jarrett (w/ Queen Debra) vs. Dean Malenko 

At the risk of sounding like a stuck record today, this was yet another fantastic match.

Nothing fancy, nothing elaborate, just proper, old-school professional wrestling at its very best is exactly what Jeff Jarrett and Dean Malenko delivered in a bout that deserved to rival anything else on the card for Match of the Night honours.

After a long and very enjoyable battle, Jarrett made Malenko submit to the Figure Four, earning himself a shot at the US title currently held by his arch nemesis, and husband of his valet Debra, Steve McMichael.
Your Winner and New Number One Contender to the US Title: Jeff Jarrett

WCW Fall Brawl 1997 Review - The NWO cut a backstage promo about their War Games match with The Four Horsemen
In one of those edgy, black and white promos that was the staple of their presentation, the nWo War Games team (Nash, Syxx, Bagwell, Konnan) cut a long and tiresome promo in which they none-too-subtly bragged about attacking Curt Hennig before claiming, over and over again, that they wanted to end The Four Horsemen once and for all.

Wrath & Mortis (w/ James Vanderberg) vs. The Faces of Fear (Meng & Barbarian) 

Yes, Wrath and Mortis were still a thing at this stage.

Meanwhile, after The Dungeon of Doom had effectively ended following Kevin Sullivan's retirement at Bash at the Beach 1997, Meng and Barbarian had apparently lost Jimmy Hart but gained some shiny new red pants.

The match itself was a little underwhelming compared to the awesome card we'd had so far, but that doesn't mean it was a bad match.

WCW Fall Brawl 1997 Review - Wrath & Mortis beat the Faces of Fear
Far from it.

With Barbarian taking the bulk of the abuse and Meng being just the personification of brutality in his inevitable hot Tag moment, The Faces of Fear worked well with James Vanderberg's men to create a decent hard-hitting big man match.

Towards the finish, Meng got both Vanderberg and Mortis in the Tongan Death Grip, but that allowed Wrath to come up from behind and slam his opponent down for the one, two, three.
Your Winners: Wrath & Mortis 

Out in the back, Chris Benoit, WCW US Champion Steve 'Mongo' McMichael, and Nature Boy Ric Flair were interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund.

WCW Fall Brawl 1997 Review - 3/4s of the Four Horsemen cut a backstage promo about their War Games match with the NWO
Benoit had choice words for everyone in the nWo War Games team, including this zinger:

'Nash, you've been so many different characters that nobody knows what you're about.' 

Mongo followed that by promising an apocalypse for the New World Order, and Flair styled and profiled whilst declaiming that he had more heart and determination than Nash.

Nobody will ever list this as their favourite promo, but it was short and effective, with perfectly acceptable performances from all involved.

Scott Norton vs. The Giant 

Honestly, I groaned when this was revealed to be the next match. I mean, Giant vs. Scott Norton? There was. I way this could be good, right?

Well, no, there wasn't, but at least it was short, and at least both men did their best to make it entertaining, with a violent brawl on the outside proving to be legitimately enjoyable.

Still, when The Giant choke slammed Norton for the win, it came as a big relief.
Your Winner: The Giant 

From there, it was straight onto our next match.

Diamond Dallas Page & Lex Luger vs. Macho Man Randy Savage & WCW World Tag Team Champion Scott Hall (w/ Miss. Elizabeth) 

WCW Fall Brawl 1997 - Randy Savage and Scott Hall faced Lex Luger and Dallas Page
Diamond Dallas Page and Lex Luger had originally been in the WCW War Games team until the nWo attack on the Four Horsemen prompted a change in the card.

That left DDP to once again get his hands on Macho Man Randy Savage after the two had a terrefic match at Spring Stampede 1997,  with Luger and Scott Hall thrown into the mix to make this a tag match.

On an unrelated note, Elizabeth looked incredible here, what a truly beautiful woman she was.

The action in this one was merely a build up to the bizarre ending, which started when Hall and Savage took out the referee (just as the announcers had suggested they might in the previous Giant/Norton match) and then took out their opponents.

The nWo beat down was so intense that it prompted Larry Zybysko -who had been having a feud of his own with Hall- to come down to the ring and square off with his nemesis.

Hall mockingly backed off from Larry, straight into a prone Lex Luger, who wrapped Hall up for a pin.

Zybysko, using some hitherto unknown authority possessed by retired-wrestlers-cum-commentators, then made the three count, and this one was over, apparently.
Your Winners via Larry Zybysko pin: Lex Luger and Diamond Dallas Page 

Our main event was next, which gave Mean Gene just one last chance to shill the hotline - don't forget - kids, get your parents permissions.

A Slim Jim commercial aired, and then it was on to a match that Michael Buffer told us would be unlike any other match (apart from all the other War Games matches, of course).

War Games
The Four Horsemen (Nature Boy Ric Flair, Chris Benoit, and WCW United States Champion Steve 'Mongo' McMichael) vs. New World Order (Kevin Nash, Syxx, Buff Bagwell, and Konnan) 

WCW Fall Brawl 1997 - Curt Hennig betrayed the Four Horsemen and joined the nWo
Like the previous match, this one was all about the finish.

Unlike the previous match, everything leading up to the finish was mind-numbingly tedious.

That finish see Curt Hennig come to the ring and -predictably - revealing that he wasn't hurt at all, and hadn't been attacked by the nWo.

Instead, he was with the boys in black and white, and helped Nash, Bagwell, Syxx and Konnan to handcuff Benoit and Mongo to the cage and basically destroy the Horsemen until Mongo volunteered to surrender so that Hennig wouldn't slam the cage door on Flair's head.
Your Winners: New World Order 

Naturally, Hennig slammed the door on Flair anyway, and this one was over.

Apart from a very boring main event and a weird finish to the Hall/Savage vs. DDP/Luger match, this was a fantastic show with lots to enjoy.

That said, even the main event -poor as it was- had a genuinely exciting finish.

All in all, one of the best PPV shows of 1997, and one of WCW's best of the past few years.

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
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Thursday, 10 May 2018

PPV REVIEW: WWF Ground Zero - In Your House 17

WWF / WWE: Ground Zero - In Your House17: Event poster
September 7, 1997
Louisville Gardens, Louisville, Kentucky

Despite being the first In Your House to run for three hours, and the first to have the actual 'In Your House' as the subtitle instead of the main selling point, the September 1997 Ground Zero event is often an overlooked and entirely forgotten pay per view.

On the face of it, this isn't too surprising. Sandwhiched directly between Bret 'The Hitman' Hart's fifth title win at Summerslam 1997 and the debut of both Kane and the Hell in a Cell match at the following month's Badd Blood, the seventeenth In Your House event lacked that big time memorable moment or any kind of all-time classic match.

Does that mean it deserves to languish, forever forgotten among an enourmous pile of pro wrestling shows which only grows higher with each passing week?

Not necessarily.

As we'll find out today, Ground Zero: In Your House may not have changed the world, but it sure did entertain.

Shawn Michaels is a Bad Man

Our opening video tonight focused solely on Shawn Michaels and his ongoing heel turn which began when he accidentally nailed The Undertaker with a chair at Summerslam 1997 and cost The Dead Man the WWF title.

Feeling the wrath of 'Taker himself, not to mention his legions of fans, HBK had developed a new attitude that would eventually see him become a full on degenerate.

Before that though, The Undertaker had promised that Michaels would pay for his crimes, and would pay for them tonight, here at Ground Zero: In Your House

Welcome to Ground Zero

WWE / WWF - Ground Zero: In Your House 17 - Jerry Lawler, Vince McMahon, and Jim Ross
Tonight marks the first In Your House show where the brand was used as the subtitle instead of the main title.

That was evident when Vince McMahon welcomed us to Ground Zero before welcoming his broadcast colleagues, Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler.

The trio put over tonight's card after which McMahon told us that our first match would be Goldust against Marlena.

No, that's not a typo. That's what he said.

What he meant of course, was Goldust against Brian Pillman.

Special Stipulation Match
Brian Pillman vs. Goldust

The stipulation here was that if Goldust won, Pillman would have to leave the WWF, but if The Loose Cannon won, he would get the services of Marlena for 30 days, hence McMahon's confusion.

WWE / WWF Ground Zero - In Your House 17 review: Marlena was Brian Pillman's prize for beating Goldust
By this point his career (which would tragically soon be over), Pillman was no longer the high-flying wunderkind he had once been, but by employing a very different approach, he and Goldust were able to work together to put on a fun opening match which got better as it went on.

Of course, it helped tremendously that the crowd were white hot and into every move, but that only added to what was already a fine display from the two men in the ring.

Towards the finish, Earl Hebner got in the way of Goldust landing The Curtain Call and sold the gentle stroke of Pillman's elbow across his cheek as though he'd been run over by a bulldozer.

As Goldie checked on the fallen referee, Pillman snatched Marlena's purse from her, drilled his opponent with it, and won the match.
Your Winner: Brian Pillman

Post-match, The Loose Cannon grabbed hold of Marlena and forced her backstage after winning what was to be his last ever PPV match.

The drama continued for the next five minutes, first with Jerry Lawler showing us that Marlena had a brick in her purse, then with Pillman forcing the blonde beauty into his car and driving away, and finally with Goldust having a breakdown in his dressing room and dropping a couple of well-covered F-bombs.

Scott Putski vs. Brian Christopher

WWE / WWF Ground Zero: In Your House 17 - Scott Putski faced Brian Christopher
Nothing says 'Big Time PPV' like Scott Putski, does it?

Still, I shouldn't mock, because this was starting to look like a pretty fun match until Ivan Putski's lad injured his knee on the outside, promoting Mike Chioda to award the match to Brian Christopher.

Before that, we got a decent little show, albeit one that lacked the impassioned crowd of the opening match.
Your Winner: Brian Christopher

Afterwards, Christopher and his daddy both mocked the fallen Putski as a gaggle of referees tried to help Polish Power Jr. to his feet.

Putski was wheeled out on a stretcher, and I'm not sure he was ever heard from again, at least not on PPV.

Faction Action

Up next, Vince and JR told us that we were going to look at some 'faction action' which to you and me meant the company's thinly-disguised Gang Warfare storyline.

If you recall, Farooq had fired most of The Nation of Domination after the group cost him his WWF title match against The Undertaker at King of the Ring 1997.

WWE / WWF - Ground Zero: In Your House 17 - Crush and the Disciples of the Apocalypse

That prompted ex-members Crush and Savio Vega to form their own gangs - The Disciples of The Apocalypse and Los Bouricas respectively.

Meanwhile, Farooq had rebuilt his Nation with its one other original member D'Lo Brown and former Papa Shango, Kama Mustafa, who hadn't been seen on a WWF PPV since the 1996 Royal Rumble, when he was still Kama The Supreme Fighting Machine.

Farooq's long-time rival, Ahmed Johnson, had turned on the fans to complete The Nation line-up for a while, and even put in an appearance at the end of the D.O.A vs. Los Bouricas match at Summerslam 1997, but when he got injured again, The Nation eventually booted him out and replaced him with Rocky Maivia.

Tonight, the leaders of all thee factions would go head to head.

That match was next.

Triple Threat
Savio Vega vs. Crush vs. Farooq

I swear that when Crush first left The Nation, I wrote about the tattoo on his head disappearing.

WWE / WWF - Ground Zero: In Your House 17 - Savio Vega faced Crush and Farooq in a triple threat match
I must have been on crack though, because he definitely had it tonight as he went up against Savio Vega and Farooq in a match that I don't think was all that special.

I say 'think,' because right from the word go this one failed to keep my attention.

Every time I turned back to the screen, it would bore me so much I was immediately back to playing with my phone or scratching my ass or something far more than this match.

In the end, Crush nailed Farooq with the Heart Punch but then got drilled by a spinning heel kick from Vega who scored the win.
Your Winner: Savio Vega

With that over, we got a look at the outside of the arena including Mohammed Ali Boulevard, and then the crowd.

Minis Match
El Torito vs. Max Mini

WWE / WWF - Ground Zero In Your House 17: Max Mini faced El Torito
No, this wasn't the same El Torito who had that feud with Hornswoggle that time.

This was a mini luchadore who tonight went one on one with the popular Max Mini.

You'd have to be completely heartless not to enjoy this match.

Mostly a fast-paced lucha libre match with a hilarious spot of comedy thrown into the middle, the whole thing was fun from start to finish.

No, it wasn't a classic, no it wasn't a master class in-ring psychology and storytelling, but as a lighthearted diversion from the rest of the show, it was terrific.

Predictably, Max Mini won with a sunset flip.
Your Winner: Max Mini 

Up next, we were reminded that Stone Cold Steve Austin was being forced to surrender his half of the tag team titles on tonight's show.

Austin, if you recall, had originally won the tag team titles with Shawn Michaels earlier in the year, even facing Michaels in a match at King of the Ring 1997 whilst the two held the titles together.

WWE / WWF - Ground Zero - In Your House 17: Sgt. Slaughter forced Steve Austin & Dude Love to give up the tag titles
Michaels then went down with an injury again, leaving Austin to try and capture the now vacant belts on his own.

Instead, Dude Love showed up and the two became champs together until Austin suffered a legitimate and horrific neck injury at Summerslam 97 and was genuinely out of action for a while.

As such, new WWF Commissioner, Sgt. Slaughter had ordered Stone Cold to surrender his half of the Championship.

Instead of just, you know, having Austin drop the title off at the office or something, this was pro wrestling, so the official forfeiture had to be done in the ring.

Stone Cold Surrenders the Tag Titles

We began the formalities with Jim Ross noting to Sgt. Slaughter what a crappy part of the commissioner's job this was.

Slaughter agreed, but didn't seem too phased by the whole thing, instead insisting that he knew the job was going to be hard when he first got into it.

WWE / WWF - In Your House 17: Ground Zero - Stone Cold Steve Austin and Dude Love surrender the tag team titles
Ross then brought out Dude Love, who was in a much more sombre mood than usual.

Though he could try and defend the titles himself, said the Dude, it would be unfair to Austin, since Stone Cold was the only reason Love had the belts in the first place.

That brought out Austin, who wasn't too thrilled to be giving up his title.

Stone Cold ignored Dude altogether, snatched the mic from JR and used it to verbally abuse Slaughter.

After tossing the title at Slaughter's feet and demanding the commissioner pick it up, Austin next turned his attention to Jim Ross.

The two weren't best buds yet, though when Austin ordered the announcer to say something, Ross did a pretty good job of kissing some Stone Cold ass. Presumedly sickened by the whole thing, Austin drilled JR with a stunner, earning the loudest crowd reaction of the night.

The best part of all this was actually Vince McMahon, who let it be known on commentary just how much he disapproved of Austin's antics.

That would come in useful down the road.

Owen Hart Likes Saying 'Crap'

WWF / WWE - In Your House 17: Ground Zero - Doc Hendrix interviews Owen Hart & British Bulldog
Backstage, Doc Hendrix spoke with WWF European Champion The British Bulldog and Owen Hart, the latter of whom said that what Steve Austin had done to Jim Ross was 'a load of crap.'

Then he said it again, and a third time. Presumedly, Owen just liked the fact that he could get away with saying 'crap' on TV now.

That aside, this was another entertaining promo from the brothers-in-law, with Owen demanding that he be given the Intercontinental title back (Austin had beaten him for it at Summerslam), and Davey Boy promising to be in Owen's corner when Hart and Austin did lock up again.

Fatal Fourway Tag Team Match for the Vacant World Wrestling Federation World Tag Team Championship
The Headbangers (Mosh & Thrasher) vs. The Godwins (Henry & Phineas) vs. The Legion of Doom (Hawk & Animal) vs. Owen Hart & WWF European Champion The British Bulldog

Prior to the match getting started, The Godwins, Legion Of Doom, and The Headbangers all had pre-recorded comments for us.

Unsurprisingly, each one promised to win the tag team title tonight.

WWE / WWF In Your House 17: Ground Zero - The Headbangers won the WWF tag team titles
What they didn't promise, was an entertaining match, which is just as well considering they mostly failed to deliver one.

For the first two-thirds of the bout, the action ranged from passable to mediocre, with the only real entertainment coming from Owen and Bulldog, who refused to tag in and get involved.

Yet when Hawk and Animal got disqualified for hitting Henry and Phineas Godwin repeatedly with a steel bucket, and The Godwins quickly fell to Mosh and Thrasher, Owen and Bulldog had no choice but to get stuck in.

When they did, the match picked up and gave us an exciting finale which almost looked to have Owen Hart secure the win with the Sharpshooter.

Instead, Steve Austin ran and planted the Slammy award winner with a stunner, allowing The Headbangers to get the upset win, and the Tag Team titles.
Your Winners and NEW WWF Tag Team Champions: The Headbangers

Post match, Mosh and Thrasher dove into the crowd to celebrate their big win with their fans. The celebration then moved out into arena lobby, where Mosh and Thrasher celebrated with an army of rabid fans by a mobile food and drink truck and gave out what I assume were burritos.

It was certainly different, and a fun way to show the new Champions' pride and joy at winning the belts.

Jim Ross is a Potty Mouth

WWF / WWE - In Your House 17: Ground Zero - Jim Ross is upset about getting stunned by Steve Austin
Backstage, an understandably upset Jim Ross held an ice pack on his neck whilst letting his feelings be well known about Steve Austin.

Dropping expletives every other word, JR insisted that he'd leave the WWF if he got beat up again.

Oh JR, how little you know about what was going to happen in your future.

A Look at The Patriot

Prior to our next match, we got an in-depth look at The Patriot and why he was so well-equipped to challenge Bret 'The Hitman' Hart for the WWF Championship.

WWE / WWF - Ground Zero: In Your House - Sunny interviews The Patriot about his WWF Championship match against Bret Hart
The video did a good job of making The Patriot look good, but it did nothing to make you want to care about him.

Nor did the promo he cut moments later when Sunny interviewed him backstage.

Bland, riddled with cliches and like something straight out of the 1980s, The Patriot's goody-two-shoes promo was as cheesy as it was cringeworthy.

Bret isn't Worried About The Patriot

The reigning WWF Champion didn't actually say he wasn't worried about his challenger, but that was precisely the point; Bret didn't mention The Patriot at all.

Instead, He spent all of his time with a really scrawny-looking Michael Cole talking about how the American wrestling fans hated him and he hated them just as much.

The only time Bret even considered his opponent was right at the end of his promo when he promised to kick the crap out of 'this guy,' basically treating the number one contender to the title like some no-name jobber.

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart vs. The Patriot

WWE / WWF - In Your House 17: Ground Zero - Bret 'The Hitman' Hart talks to Michael Cole about his match with The Patriot
Having never actually seen this match before, I'd gone into it with low expectations, for some reason thinking that it wasn't going to be as good as the calibre of matches Bret was capable of having.

In that respect, I was sort of right:

This wasn't the best Bret Hart match ever.

Then again, even the worst Bret Hart match is better than many other's best, and that was certainly the case here.

After a somewhat dull start, things quickly picked up, turning into a good match with a few exciting moments.

One of those came early on, when Davey Boy Smith got involved, only for his interference to be countered by the arrival of Vader, who was now a full-fledged babyface.

With those two gone, it was left to champ and challenger to build up the drama, most of which focused on teasing the idea that The Patriot might just win the title.

Whilst the execution of those drama-building spots was perfect, I'm not sure anyone in the arena that night truly believed that Bret was going to lose.

So, when Bret slapped on the Sharpshooter and won the match, it seemed all too obvious, taking the shine over what was otherwise a solid contest.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

Afterwards, we saw both men making their way to the back, The Patriot looking especially frustrated.

Everyone's a Loser

WWE / WWF - In Your House 17: Ground Zero: Bret Hart and British Bulldog called everyone losers
Backstage, Micheal Cole caught up with Bret Hart and The British Bulldog, suggesting to The Hitman that the Hart Foundation's war with the USA might be 'starting all over again.'

Bret merely dismissed such silliness, instead claiming that the USA were losers, The Patriot, The Undertaker, and Shawn Michaels were all losers, and well, everyone was a loser.

Not Canada and the UK though, they were great, said The British Bulldog, and they were going to win the war.

In a not-so-subtle attempt to ensure he got a babyface reaction at the upcoming One Night Only PPV in England, Bret then mentioned that the UK appreciate great wrestlers.

Shawn Michaels Never Sleeps

Prior to our main event, we got a look back at the intense rivalry between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker.

That took us to backstage comments from HBK himself, who said that he could never rest in peace because he never slept, and was more than ready for The Undertaker.

Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker

Though erring on the side of heeldom, Shawn was in a 'tweener role here, one minute having garbage thrown at him on his way to the ring, the next hi-fiving a group of fans at ringside.

Whether you liked him at this stage of his career or absolutely hated him, there was no denying how entertaining he was.

The referee got bumped right from the off, giving The Undertaker the chance to batter Michaels around the ring and up to the entrance without mercy or regard for the rules.

Michaels sold his ass-whooping like a hero, at one point even banging on the front door of the In Your House set as though begging someone to let him in so that he could get away from his pursuer.

Order was restored when Commissioner Slaughter brought out Earl Hebner to oversee proceedings, giving HBK a chance to turn the tides in his favour.

Despite Michaels getting the upper hand, however, The Undertaker continually managed to turn the match back in his favour, even after Michael's insurance policy, Rick Rude, came down and handed his client a pair of brass knuckles.

WWE / WWF: In Your House 17 - Ground Zero - Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels
From there, the match descended back into the chaos that it begun with. More referees got bumped, chair shots were threatened but never materialised, and brass knuckle shots were exchanged.

Marking the first PPV appearance of what would come to be known as D-Generation-X, Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna also came out, but even despite their efforts to help Michaels destroy The Undertaker, the Man From The Darkside continued to fight back and even took out another referee.

Eventually, Tim White decided that he had completely had enough, ran to the ring and threw the whole thing out.
No Contest

Afterwards, a random assortment of WWF Superstars ran out to break up the fight, only for The Undertaker to break free and hit a sweet looking tope on Michaels, The Godwins, and a crowd of other ne'er-do-wells.

The whole thing, from Shawn's pre-match promo to the final moments of the show wase're an absolute joy to watch. One of the most fun main events I've seen in ages, this is definitely worth checking out.

I couldn't say that the whole of Ground Zero: In Your House is a total must-see show, but it's certainly one of the better events to be promoted under that brand.

The main event was superb, the title match was textbook but still enjoyable, and the undercard -despite dragging at times- did have its own flashes of brilliance.

Sadly, this did mark the last PPV appearance of Brian Pillman, a subject that's going to be even more difficult to talk about in the next WWF In Your House review - Badd Blood.

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
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Thursday, 3 May 2018

PPV REVIEW: WCW Road Wild 1997

WCW Road Wild 1997 Review - Event Poster
August 9, 1997
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Sturgis, South Dakota.

In 1996, Eric Bischoff gleefully pissed Ted Turner's money up the wall by hosting the Hog Wild 1996 PPV at the famous Sturgis Biker Rally but not actually charging for tickets. 

That event had seen the newly-heel nWo leader, Hollywood Hulk Hogan challenge future nWo member The Giant for the WCW title.

One year later, and after apparently getting away with not charging for tickets, Bischoff once again presented the Sturgis PPV, this time renamed Road Wild after Harley Davidson had threatened to sue for Hog Wild related copyright infringement.

Once again, Hogan, now fully comfortable in his role as the egomaniacal leader of the renegade New World Order, found himself in the challenger's role, this time against the man he only recently lost the title to on Nitro, The Total Package Lex Luger.

That's your introduction, and this, ladies and gentlemen, is what went down when WCW presented Road Wild 1997.

Luger is The Champion 

WCW Road Wild 1997 Review - Dusty Rhodes, Tony Schiavone, and Bobby Heenan were the event announcers
We started our show with a quick recap of how Luger had defeated Hogan just a week ago on Nitro, after which Tony Schiavone welcomed us to Sturgis.

Joined, as ever, by The American Dream Dusty Rhodes and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan, Schiavone speculated that tonight could finally be the night that WCW finally put the NWO to rest if only its stars could get the better of the boys in black.

With that, it was on to our opening match.

Vicious & Delicious (Buff Bagwell & Scott Norton w/ Vincent) vs. Harlem Heat (Booker T and Stevie Ray) 

WCW Road Wild 1997 - Jacqueline Moore was revealed as Harlem Heat's new manager
Our opening contest this evening was a mostly mediocre affair, the sole highlight of which being the surprise arrival, mid-way through the match, of Jacqueline, who took up post in Harlem Heat's corner.

Booker T and Stevie Ray had recently separated from Sister Sherri, and it seemed Jackie was here as her replacement, even going so far as to help her boys win the match by attacking Scott Norton.

Unfortunately, not even she had what it took to make this one exciting, and what we were left with was a reasonably dull effort that nobody -including the wrestlers in the ring- cared about.
Your Winners: Harlem Heat 

Before our next match, we were shown The Steiner Brothers with their new manager, Ted Dibiase, talking to'a reporter.

Dibiaise told the reporter that he had chosen to manage Rick and Scott Steiner because they represented 'traditional wrestling values.'

Konnan vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. 

WCW Road Wild 1997 Review - Konnan beat Rey Mysterio in a good match
A recent addition to the New World Order, Konnan was a pretty sloppy performer at this stage in his career, whilst Rey Mysterio Jr. was, as always, about as good as it ever got.

Putting the two together in one match made for interesting results - a bout that was at once both one of Konnan's best since he'd joined World Championship Wrestling and one of Rey Mysterio's worst.

The nWo star dominated proceedings, even unmasking his rival at one point (Rey got the mask back without revealing his face on camera) and eventually made Mysterio tap to the Tequila Sunrise, though not before a strong showing from Little Rey himself.
Your Winner: Konnan 

Afterwards, they played up Mysterio's injured leg by having a gaggle of referees and the trainer came down to help out the fallen star, even bringing a leg splint out.

Killing time, Tony, Bobby, and Dream told us how important Sturgis was and what a huge event the whole Biker rally was.

Kids, Get Your Parents' Permission 

Up next, Mean Gene Okerlund showed us his terrible-looking fake tattoo in order to prove his Biker credentials before reminding us to call the WCW Hotline if we wanted to know who the two new managers were they were coming to World Championship Wrestling.

Tag Team Elimination Match
WCW United States Champion Jeff Jarrett & Dean Malenko (w/ Queen Debra) vs. The Four Horsemen (Crippler Chris Benoit & Steve 'Mongo' McMichael) 

WCW Road Wild 1997 - Dean Malenko teamed with Jeff Jarrett and faced Chris Benoit and Mongo McMichaelFor all intents and purposes, this was a handicap match.

United States Champion Jeff Jarrett wasn't exactly in the good books of Dean Malenko, so he let the Man of 1,000 Holds start the match and basically get his ass whooped for a good few minutes, without Jarett ever volunteering to get involved.

When Malenko did surprise Double J with a tag, the champion simply pulled arch-rival Steve 'Mongo' McMichael on top of him and had himself pinned.

Malenko then put up a good fight against The Four Horsemen but succumbed to a tombstone piledriver and diving headbutt from

Benoit and a second tombstone from Mongo to win the match.

I will say though, that as handicap matches go, that was pretty good, with an early exchange between Malenko and Benoit turning into a thing of absolute beauty.
Your Winners: Chris Benoit & Steve McMichael  

The match was followed by the briefest of clips showing us Diamond Dallas Page and The Steiner Brothers riding into Sturgis on their Harleys, after which it was straight onto our first title match of the evening.

World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Alex Wright vs. Lion Heart Chris Jericho 

WCW Road Wild 1997 - Chris Jericho challenged Alex Wright for the Cruiserweight title
Having recently defeated Chris Jericho for the WCW Cruiserweight title, Alex Wright put the belt on the line in a return match which started off clumsily but gradually evolved into a great piece of wrestling.

Both men worked hard to deliver the highlight of the show up to this point, with Jericho seemingly on course to regain his title.

At the last possible moment, however, Wright -who had recently turned heel- rolled up Lion Heart and kept his title with a fluke pin.
Your Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Alex Wright 

More random 'hey, we're at a biker rally' footage followed, after which it was onto our next match.

Syxx vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair 

After going at it in a big six man at last month's Bash at the Beach 1997, Syxx and Ric Flair had become the most bitter of rivals.

WCW Road Wild 1997 Review - Nature Boy Ric Flair faced Syxx
Tonight, the two would finally get the chance to settle the score in a match that turned out to be even better than the previous one.

A hugely enjoyable see-saw battle, this was one of the best matches I've ever seen Sean Waltman involved in, and a perfect example of Flair proving that he could still deliver at this stage of his career when he was sufficiently motivated to do so.

The whole thing was tremendous fun from start to finish and ended when The Dirtiest Player in The Game pinned Syxx using the ropes for leverage.
Your Winner: Ric Flair  

Another brief clip of the Sturgis bikers followed, after which we got back to the ring for our next match.

Curt Hennig vs. Diamond Dallas Page (w/ Kimberly) 

WCW Road Wild 1997 - Diamond Dallas Page (w/ Kimberly) faced Curt Hennig
As Curt Hennig made his way to the ring, Tony Schiavone told us that he and Diamond Dallas Page had been at war and bad each been attacking each other from behind.

Tonight, the two would go face-to-face in what proved to be another fantastic match.

Starting off with a wild brawl before settling into your standard two-guys-hate-each-other wrestling match, this one saw Hennig play the role of the crafty veteran, pitting his cunning and experience against the unbridled energy and determination of DDP.

That experience ultimately triumphed tonight.

A couple of ref bumps and an ill-advised run in from Ric Flair left Page -who had been busted open thanks to a wicked face smash into an exposed turnbuckle- vulnerable to a Perfect Plex, and that was all she wrote.
Your Winner: Curt Hennig

Post match, Mean Gene once again told us to call the WCW Hotline, this time to find out who Raven's first in-ring opponent would be in the company.

Okerlund then introduced us to a commercial for next month's Fall Brawl. The commercial, which focussed on the War Games match, showed us the likes of High Voltage, Hugh Morrus and Public Enemy all competing in the cage - as if there was any chance in the world that we would ever see then in War Games.

A quick clip then played of Eric Bischoff promising that Lex Luger would pay for beating Hogan, and with that, it was back to the action.

Macho Man Randy Savage (w/ Miss. Elizabeth) vs. The Giant 

WCW Road Wild 1997 Review - Macho Man Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth) faced The Giant
With the sun setting over South Dakota, The Giant looked to conquer the New World Order in a decent effort against Macho Man Randy Savage.

Though not on par with the last couple of matches, this one was fun for what it was, with Savage -like Hennig before him- using cunning heel tactics to counter The Giant's sheer strength and size.

This time, however, experience wasn't enough.

The Giant caught Macho Man coming off the top, choke slammed himself and won't match.

So far, WCW were 3-1 against the New World Order.
Your Winner: The Giant 

I can't believe how quickly this show has gone - only two matches left.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW World Tag Team Champions The Outsiders (Scott Hall & Kevin Nash) vs. The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner w/ Ted Dibiase) 

The Steiner Brothers' efforts to wrestle the tag team titles away from Kevin Nash and Scott Hall had been frustrating and heartbreaking for their fans.

If you recall, Rick and Scott first beat The Outsiders for the titles at Souled Out 1997 before Eric Bischoff overturned the decision and gave the belts back to Hall & Nash.

Then, when it looked like they might get a rematch, Hall and Nash had Masa Chono and The Great Muta take their place at Bash at the Beach 1997.

Tonight, the brothers looked to finally get their hands on the titles that the announcers frequently told us rightfully belonged to them, but were alas met with more frustration and yet more heartbreak.

The bulk of the match saw Scott Steiner separated from his brother and forced to play the babyface-in-peril for about a thousand years.

The beat down of Scotty lasted for so long that there seemed to be only one rightful conclusion - a crowd popping hot tag followed by the long-awaited big win.

The crowd popping hot tag came alright, and when it came that pop would have blown the roof off the arena had there been a roof there in the first place, but the big win?

Forget it.

Just when The Steiners looked to have the win in the bag, Kevin Nash pulled referee Nick Patrick out of the ring.

Patrick disqualified The Outsiders and thus, even though they won the match, Rick and Scott still wouldn't get the titles.
Your Winners via Disqualification: The Steiner Brothers (The Outsiders retain the titles)

Talk about disappointing.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Lex Luger vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan 

WCW Road Wild 1997 - Lex Luger defended the WCW title against Hulk Hogan
At Bash at the Beach 1997, Lex Luger had made Hulk Hogan submit when the two faced off in a big main event tag team match (Hogan teamed with Dennis Rodman and Luger with The Giant).

That had been enough to give Luger a title shot, but after shocking the world with the win, it was time to restore the natural order of things in a rather mediocre main event.

I was tempted to call this disappointing, but then it's Hogan vs. Luger, so my expectations were never that high to begin with.

Some mostly uninspired back-and-forthing filled up the bulk of the contest before the somewhat inevitable nWo run-in.

Luger saw off the attack by Vicious & Delicious and the Wolfpac but fell victim to a baseball bat shot from another fake Sting and was unceremoniously pinned.
Your Winner and New WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Hollywood Hulk Hogan 

Wasting no time, Hogan and his crew celebrated briefly then hightailed it to the back, leaving the announcers to wonder where it all went wrong as The Steiners and Curt Hennig helped Luger to the back and the announcers buried their heads in their hands, wondering aloud where it had all gone wrong.

Finally, we were told that a fight had broken out backstage, but we're instead just shown the nWo celebrating and Dennis Rodman doing the honours of retagging the WCW title with the nWo logo.

You know, WCW gets a lot of flack for a lot of things - including wasting money on Hog/Road Wild, but whatever business decisions were made, that doesn't take away from the fact that Road Wild 1997 was mostly a very fine show with a lot of quality wrestling involved and for that, if nothing else, you have to give the company credit.

Though not everything on the card was top quality, enough of it was to make this one well worth your time.

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

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Thursday, 26 April 2018

PPV REVIEW - WWf Summerslam 1997

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1997 - Event poster
August 3, 1997, 
Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey

By the summer of 1997, the World Wrestling Federation were finally beginning to recover from the dismal performance -both creatively and financially- that had plagued them for much of the mid-1990s. 

With a compelling heel turn reviving his career, Bret 'The Hitman' Hart was delivering some of his best work in years both on the microphone and in the ring.

Meanwhile, The Undertaker was enjoying his first run as World Wrestling Federation champion, putting in solid main event performances against the likes of Mankind, Vader, and Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Tonight, the two would go head to head on the second biggest show of the year, an event that -if all went according to plan- should have served as the perfect example of how the WWF were finally regaining momentum.

Let's head down to East Rutherford, New Jersey, to find out whether it actually did or not.

Stand for the National Anthem 

Perhaps an effort to counter all the Canadian patriotism showcased at last month's In Your House: Canadian Stampede, we began tonight with a cold open which saw commentators and crowd alike standing for the American national anthem.

This then took us to the usual opening video, in which we were told that life isn't fair, and that's why everybody hated Bret 'The Hitman' Hart, why The Undertaker had to carry the burden of murdering his family, and why Shawn Michaels once lost his smile.

From there, it was fireworks galore, and an impassioned growl from Vince McMahon.

McMahon introduced us to his colleagues, Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler.

Lawyer and Ross speculated that we would see some gold change hands tonight, but before we got to our first title match, it was on to the hottest feud of the summer.

Steel Cage Match
Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/ Chyna) vs. Mankind 

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1997 - Hunter Hearst Helmsey faced Mankind in a cage match
After Rick Rude and Ultimate Warrior at Summerslam 1990 and Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart at Summerslam 1994, the blue steel cage so familiar from many a pro wrestling fan's childhood made its return here for only the third time in Summerslam history, serving as the battleground for a dramatic brawl between heated rivals Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Mankind.

The two had battled in the finals of King of the Ring 1997 before taking their hatred of one another to all new levels with some out of control brawling at Canadian Stampede.

Tonight was the night they looked to settle things in the cage, and deliver a great opening contest in the process.

A couple of big spots combined with a great crowd really made this one, especially when Mankind flew off the top of the cage ala his idol, Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka.

From there, it was a matter of formality as Mankind climbed back to the top of the cage and down to the outside to win the match.
Your Winner: Mankind 

Afterwards, Mankind was totally out of it until that terrible Dude Love theme struck up through the PA, prompting Mick to release his inner-Dude and dance his way to the back.


A Political Powerslam 

Up next, we had Todd Pettengill, WWF President Gorilla Monsoon and The Headbangers making a special presentation to the governor of New Jersey.

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1997 - Gorilla Monsoon, The Headbangers, Todd Pettengill and The Governor of New Jersey
The World Wrestling Federation had not held a PPV in the state for many years because of some entertainment tax law, but this woman had removed them so tonight we were celebrating and awarding her with a WWF championship belt.

I get the point of this, but it was all kinds of cheesy and not very entertaining, so it was a relief that it was kept quite short.

Killing Time 

Whilst the ring crew continued to take down the cage, we were shown a Tiger Ali Singh sat in the crowd with his dad, Tiger Jeet Singh.

What an underwhelming career the younger Singh would have.

From there we were shown clips of the Summerslam beach party which had taken place earlier in the day, and that took us to our next match.

Goldust (w/ Marlena) vs. Brian Pillman 

WWE / WWF Summerslam 1997 - Brian Pillman vs. Goldust (Pillman wears a dress if he loses)
If Brian Pillman lost this one he would have to wear a dress on the following night's episode of WWF Raw, so naturally, he lost.

And so did everybody who watched this match because it was pretty bland.

Thankfully, the very unexciting action didn't last long, and ended after a few minutes with a roll-up victory for Goldust.
Your Winner: Goldust 

Post match, Pillman threw a fit and destroyed the mannequin which held the dress he was supposed to wear the following evening.

The Legion of Doom are Angry

A while ago, The Legion of Doom broke Henry O. Godwin's neck when he landed awkwardly from a Doomsday Device.

The Godwins had since returned, and in full on heel mode had viciously attacked Hawk & Animal, leading to tonight's match.

Before we got there, we had Hawk and Animal ranting and raving in their typically violent style about just how badly they were going to destroy the pig farmers.

The Godwins (Henry O. & Phineas I. Godwin) vs. The Legion of Doom (Hawk & Animal) 

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1997 - The Legion of Doom faced The Godwins
Competing in their first Summerslam match since the epic 1992 Summerslam at Wembley Arena (when they defeated Money Inc.) The Legion of Doom went at it with The Godwins in a reasonably decent match.

This wasn't the most entertaining thing you'll ever see, but it was far from the worst, and that's about the best thing I can say about it.

The LOD won and nobody cared.
Your Winners: The Legion of Doom 

Up next, we had the Summerslam sweepstakes in which a little kid and some scrawny Steve Austin wannabe, along with two randoms on the phones, tried to guess which key would unlock a coffin containing $1 million.

Remember McMahon's Million Dollar Mania from a few years ago? This was like that, except with the added bonus that you had Sunny and Sable there looking hotter than hell.

Seriously, that was the only good thing about this whole time-draining segment.

World Wrestling Federation European Championship
WWF European Champion The British Bulldog vs. Ken Shamrock 

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1997 - Ken Shamrock vs.WWF European Champion British Bulldog
In his first of only two PPV European title defences, The British Bulldog put the title on the line in a disappointing effort against former UFC star Ken Shamrock.

Davey Boy was still capable of having a good match at this post in his career, but either didn't want to, or couldn't get one out of Ken Shamrock, who was apparently still adapting to WWF style pro wrestling.

As such, what we got here was basically one long chinlock interspersed with a bit of brawling.

Towards the end, the action spilled outside where Bulldog threw dog food in the face of his opponent.

This made Shamrock lose his mind and hit Bulldog over the head with the full can of dog food, losing the match by DQ.
Your Winner and Still European Champion: The British Bulldog 

Afterwards, Shamrock continued his beat down and put the Bulldog in a chokehold in the middle of the ring, holding on for so long that Davey Boy turned purple and passed out.

Eventually, a gang of referees and road agents arrived to just kind of hover around Shamrock and wave their arms a bit until The World's Most Dangerous Man got bored and decided to suplex them all instead.

Shawn Michaels is Fair 

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1997 - Todd Pettengill interviews Shawn Michaels
As per the rules of our main event, if special referee Shawn Michaels had to call things fairly or else he would be kicked out of the company.

In a backstage interview, Michaels told Todd Pettengill that he would absolutely be fair, and lied through his teeth by claiming that there was no hatred between him and The Hitman.

Los Boriquas (Savio Vega, Miguel Perez, Jose Estrada Jr., and Jesus Castillo) vs. The Disciples of Apocalypse (Crush, Chainz, Skull, and 8-Ball) 

To be honest, I missed the first part of this match because I was trying to figure out how the WWF explained the fact that Crush suddenly lost that stupid pizza slice tattoo he had until he left The Nation.

Getting nowhere, I turned my attentions back to the match just in time to see Farooq lead The Nation down to ringside.

From there, what we got was a relatively entertaining match that ended when Nation member Ahmed Johnson hit a crappy looking Pearl River Plunge to Chainz on the outside.

Back in the ring, one of the Boricuas elbow dropped the DOA man and got the win for his team.
Your Winners: Los Boricuas

Afterwards, gang warfare broke out among all three gangs (or 'factions' as the commentators euphemistically called them) until Crush got on his motorbike and tried to run everybody over.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Owen Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1997 - Steve Austin vs. Owen Hart
Getting into a fierce rivalry with the reigning Intercontinental Champion ever since he'd been pinned by him at Canadian Stampede, Stone Cold Steve Austin had vowed to kiss Owen Hart's ass if he could not beat him tonight.

That was on Raw. Tonight, Stone Cold wasn't feeling so talkative. As he made his way backstage, he refused to give any comments to a scrawny little newcomer called Michael Cole who tried to interview him.

One he got to the ring however, Austin was fully ready to do whatever it took to win, taking the fight to the champion in the early moments of what would turn out to be the best match on the card up to this point.

It was a very good match, though watching it knowing what was to come kind of took the shine off it, especially when the announcers began telling us about Austin's neck problems.

The whole time, you were just waiting for *that* moment, the moment Owen hit the Piledriver on Austin and broke his neck.

That was hard to watch, even more so when you saw Owen trying not to act concerned but simply stall for time instead.

After getting the nod from referee Earl Hebner, Owen basically lay down and pinned himself.
Your Winner and New WWF Intercontinental Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin

Barely able to stand, Austin did his best to celebrate his victory, but could only raise the Championship belt above his head once before being helped out to the back in a scene that was truly painful to watch.

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion The Undertaker vs. Bret 'The Hitman' Hart (Special Guest Referee: Shawn Michaels)

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1997 - Bret Hart beat Undertaker for the WWF Title
The story here was that if Bret didn't win the title, he would never wrestle in the United States ever again. If Shawn Michaels favored The Undertaker, he wouldn't be allowed to wrestle in the States either.

Just to make himself feel at home then, challenger Bret Hart had the crowd listen to the Canadian National Anthem, getting plenty of heel heat before going against The Undertaker in one of the best main events I've watched in a long time.

The two went back and forth until Hart took control and began working over The Dead Man's legs.

All the while, Michaels ran around playing a firm-but-fair referee, a role which only added to the excitement.

Cameos from Paul Bearer, Brian Pillman, and Owen Hart all provided a break from the action, but really it was the dynamic between Hart, Undertaker, and HBK that really elevated this into a solid Match of the Year Candidate.

At the end, Bret used a chair to waffle Undertaker, but Michaels called him out on it.

The two got into a heated argument, with Bret yelling s very visible and obvious 'F*** you!' at the referee and spitting at him.

Michaels swung the chair at Bret, but Bret ducked, so Shawn yelled an equally as obvious 'Shit!'

Hart made the cover, HBK was forced to make a fair three count, and Bret won his fifth and final WWF Championship.
Your Winner and New WWF Champion: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

Michaels stormed off with Undertaker in hot pursuit whilst Bret celebrated to end the show.


The World Wrestling Federation may have been regaining momentum by the summer of 1997, but watching Summerslam 1997, you'd never have known it. 

This was a really mediocre show, starting off well enough then descending into tedium before picking up again for the last two matches.

Those two matches would ultimately change the game. Austin neck's injury was the catalyst for that last big push en route to becoming 'The Man' whilst Bret's big win in a fantastic main event would ultimately lead him to a title defence against arch-nemesis Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series and, well, we all know what happened there, don't we?

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 
Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

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.