Thursday, 1 February 2018

PPV REVIEW: WWF - In Your House 15: A Cold Day In Hell

WWE / WWF - In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell - Event poster
May 11, 1997, 
Richmond Coliseum, Richmond, Virginia

Since breaking free from the shackles of The Ringmaster gimmick, Stone Cold Steve Austin had been a slow and steady rise through the ranks of the World Wrestling Federation. 

By the spring of 1997, the absolute pinnacle of Austin's meteoric rise to stardom was still the better part of a year away.

Yet if there was ever a sign that the WWF was considering Austin as 'the man,' it came tonight, as he headlined his first pay per view against reigning champion, The Undertaker.

How did Austin do in his first high profile title match?

Let's head down to Richmond, Virginia to find out.

It's a Cold Day in Hell 

WWE/ WWF - In Your House 15: Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler
We started with the obligatory awesome video package, this one making tonight's world title fight between WWF Champion The Undertaker and Stone Cold Steve Austin seem like something straight out of the most macabre horror movie you ever read.

The video did a great job of getting us psyched for the big main event tonight. Afterwards, Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler hyped not only the main event, but the In-ring debut of Ken Shamrock, and Ahmed Johnson running the gauntlet against the Nation of Domination.

With that, it was onto our opening match.

Flash Funk vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/ Chyna) 

WWE/ WWF - In Your House 15: Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/ Chyna) faced Flas Funk
According to the announcers, Flash Funk hadn't bought The Funkettes to ringside because they were afraid of Chyna.

Not that it made much of a difference. The outcome of this one was always inevitable, with Hunter Hearst Helmsley regaining his momentum following his post-Curtain Call spell in the company dog house and Flash Funk being, well, Flash Funk.

Still, whilst the result may have been predictable, the two men did at least give us a reasonable show before we got there.

Hunter was at the phase of his career in which he was evolving -ever so slowly and ever so subtly- away from the Greenwich Snob gimmick he'd debuted with, and beginning to show some of the smarmy arrogance that was the stock-in-trade of the original D-Generation-X.

Tonight, the former Intercontinental Champion dominated proceedings, giving his opponent a few opportunities to dazzle us with some unique -for 1997 WWF- offence before cutting him off with a crappy looking Pedigree for the three count.
Your Winner: Hunter Hearst Helmsley 

Afterwards, Chyna picked up he defeated Funk and dropped him onto the ropes like a sack of crap. Funk sold his poor, aching crotch, then collapsed to the outside in comically over-the-top fashion.

Ken Shamrock is In the Zone 

WWE/ WWF - In Your House 15: Ken Shamrock cuts a backstage promo on Vader
Earlier tonight, Vader and Mankind had attacked Ken Shamrock.

Now, Shamrock -in the most monotone, lifeless promo ever, told us that he didn't really care about that. He was in his zone and ready to go to war.

Prior to the promo, JR and King showed us some footage of Shamrock in the 'Ultimate Fighting World,' which was always how the WWF referred to the UFC, as though it were some magical realm where guys just randomly beat each other up in cages all the time.

Rocky Sucks 

Displaying none of the confidence natural charisma that would eventually make him famous, Rocky Maivia flubbed his way through a terrible promo in which he spoke to Todd Pettengill about losing the Intercontinental title to Owen Hart.

Rocky told us that he'd learned a lot since joining the World Wrestling Federation, though apparently, he hadn't learned that it's generally a good idea to hype your upcoming match in a pre-match promo because he didn't here.

   

Mankind vs. Rocky Maivia

Mankind was without Paul Bearer here as Bearer was still out of commission, selling the fireball
WWE / WWF - In Your House: A Cold day in Hell - Todd Pettengill interviews Rocky Maivia
to the face that he received from The Undertaker at the previous month's In Your House: Revenge Of The Taker.

Much as with Rocky's pre-match promo, this match was nothing like the kind of thing we'd get when the two were the biggest stars in the company.

Rather, it was a whole bunch of 'meh' broken up by one cool spot when Rocky drilled Mankind with the Rock Bottom on the steel entrance ramp.

Speaking of the ramp, this was the first PPV to feature it as part of the set.

Anyway, Mankind won with the mandible claw and nobody cared.
Your Winner: Mankind 

Prior to our next match, Ahmed Johnson garbled out some kind of promo in which he said that he really just wanted to fight Farooq tonight and didn't care about fighting Crush and Savio Vega as well.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the same man who issued a challenge to all three men only a few weeks ago.

Gauntlet Match
Ahmed Johnson vs. Savio Vega, Crush, and Farooq (w/ The Nation of Domination) 

WWE / WWF - In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell - Ahmed Johnson interviewed by Todd Pettengill
Prior to this one getting underway, WWF President Gorilla Monsoon ordered the Nation to leave ringside, but allowed to stay at the top of the ramp, a difference of probably no more than 20ft.

Crush was up first and held his own against the Man Whose Trunks Would Always Ride Up His Ass, putting on a reasonable show before Ahmed inevitably picked up the first win.

Savio Vega then hobbled to ringside, selling an ankle injury which he immediately forgot about when he hit the ring.

Vega too was eliminated, but this time by Disqualification after beating up Ahmed with a steel chair.

The damage was enough for Farooq to come down and pick up the pieces, eventually winning the match after surviving a Pearl River Plunge, kicking out and hitting his own finisher, whatever that was called.
Your Winner: Farooq 

Before our next match, we were reminded of the rivalry between Vader and Ken Shamrock. Vader that spoke with Todd Pettengill backstage, saying that even though ABC had called Shamrock 'The World's Most Dangerous Man,' they didn't say anything about the World Wrestling Federation, because apparently, the WWF was a separate entity from the actual planet or something.


Vader also said that Shamrock knew nothing of pain and that it was time, Vader Time, and time for our next match.

No Holds Barred
Vader vs. Ken Shamrock 

WWE / WWF - In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell - Shamrock vs. Vader
Taking their cues directly from MMA -sorry, Ultimate Fighting World- a win here was by knockout or submission only.

As such, the match was fought more in the style of an MMA fight than a pro wrestling match and suffered because of it.

It was too long, had no flow to it, and delivered barely any excitement.

If you're genuinely a fan of UFC and the like, you'll probably enjoy this. If you're like me and just enjoy pro wrestling, you probably won't.

Unsurprisingly, Ken Shamrock won with the ankle lock.
Your Winner: Ken Shamrock 

Before we got to our main event, Stone Cold Steve Austin said that he didn't give a damn that there were five empty seats at ringside, reserved for The Hart Foundation, because that would just make it easier for all of them to get their asses kicked.

World Wrestling Federation Championship.
WWF Champion The Undertaker vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin 

WWF / WWE - In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell - The Undertaker vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Naturally, The Hart Foundation made their presence felt here, taking their seats for what I'm told was a very good match.

You see, even though I've read a lot of praise for this match, there was a spot where Austin had the Champion in a headlock for what felt like about 10 minutes that just killed it for me.

From there, no matter what these two did, this fan just couldn't get back into it.

In the end, Austin nailed 'Taker with he Stone Cold Stunner and looked to have the match won until Brian Pillman caused the distraction by ringing the bell.

The Undertaker recovered, hit the Tombstone Piledriver, and that was all she wrote.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: The Undertaker 

Afterwards, The Hart Foundation ran in and attacked The Undertaker, leaving Stone Cold free to go after Bret 'The Hitman' Hart, who was still sat in the crowd in a wheelchair after recently having knee surgery.

Austin pushed Bret out of his chair, stole his crutch, and then cleaned house with it.

To finish, he drilled Undertaker with the Stone Cold Stunner, then went after the Hart Foundation as they high-tailed it backstage.

   

Like many In Your House events, this one wasn't the most important one in the world. Every match was immediately forgettable, all with one notable exception:

The main event. Even still, for whatever reason, Undertaker/Austin I didn't quite do it for this writer. 

Still, that's not to say there's no reason at all to watch this show. If for nothing else, it's worth at least a casual glance to see the continuing evolution of Triple H and The Rock. 

I'll have some more of them at another time. Until then, 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
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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.