Friday 21 May 2021

WWF Summerslam 1997: Hart & Soul Review!


Hello and welcome to another edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews, the only wrestling review series on the internet that continues to confuse you more than an episode of Monday Night Raw! It’s time for WWF Summerslam 1997 where Bret Hart looks to capture his fifth WWF Championship against the seemingly unstoppable Undertaker! We also have Stone Cold Steve Austin taking on the Intercontinental Champion Owen Hart, Brian Pillman vs Goldust and British Bulldog vs Ken Shamrock! Lots of drama involved in this one, Shawn Michaels is the special referee for the main event which creates a massive obstacle for The Hitman. Meanwhile, this night will go down in infamy for one moment and one move that would change the wrestling business dramatically for sure. Can Summerslam be a home-run like Canadian Stampede? Let’s find out!


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

This all kicked off at The King of The Ring, these two despise one another with Mankind looking to destroy Helmsley who cost him the chance to be the king of the ring. They battled to a double count-out at Canadian Stampede and things have escalated week after week so now we have to settle the score inside a steel cage match.


Helmsley starts the match by trying to dive out the cage door, Mankind grabs onto Helmsley and yanks Helmsley back into the middle of the ring. Right hands from Mankind, Helmsley tries to escape again but Mankind is not going to let that happen. Helmsley is raked against the cage before landing massive right hands in the corner. You know what’s next, Mankind lands his running knee. Pulling piledriver that looks nasty from Mankind, Chyna prevents Mankind from leaving through the door. Mandible Claw but Chyna chokes Mankind through the cage with her belt, the crowd voices their disapproval at this interference. Irish whip by Helmsley, Helmsley avoids a boot but eats a discuss clothesline from Mankind. Chyna is climbing the cage and low-blows Mankind who is on top of the cage.


Helmsley climbs up and suplexes Mankind to the mat from the top of the cage, that looked so nasty. Helmsley crawls towards the door and decides that Helmsley wants to beat up Mankind. Mankind is rammed into the cage wall multiple times, Mankind’s head is banged off the cage wall multiple times. Helmsley shows that mean-streak again while smashing Mankind repeatedly and Mankind grabs the foot of Helmsley who has almost escaped the cage. Helmsley is almost free, Helmsley boots down Mankind but Mankind comes back and drags Helmsley back into the cage. Mankind tees off on Helmsley with repeated right hands, Irish whip to the corner and a knee to the head. Chyna lands a forearm through the cage.


Both men land inverted atomic drops before Mankind lands a stiff clothesline, Irish whip and Helmsley counters with a face-buster. Mankind blocks the suplex and sends Helmsley into the cage who is in a tree-of-woe like position before Mankind lands a huge running elbow. Helmsley meets the cage hard, again Helmsley meets the cage with Mankind in control. Headbutt by Mankind, Helmsley back-drops Mankind into the steel cage. Helmsley is climbing high, Mankind is battling with Helmsley on the top rope. Mankind batters Helmsley who crotches himself on the top rope, Chyna looks on concerned at ring-side. Helmsley is also caught in the top rope, Chyna is trying to free Helmsley while Mankind crawls towards the door. Chyna rushes to the door and smacks it off the head of Mankind before wiping out the referee.


Chyna has a chair and she throws it to Helmsley, Pedigree is the plan but Mankind reverses and catapults Helmsley into Chyna who was climbing the cage wall. Chyna is down, Mankind lands a massive Double Arm DDT on the chair. Chyna is in the cage, Helmsley is not moving. Mankind rips off his mask not wanting to win by escaping the cage just yet. Mankind sits on top of the cage, Diving Elbow from the top of the cage. Right into the heart of Helmsley, Chyna crawls in trying to pull out Helmsley but Mankind is too fast and Mankind is your winner of this absolute war.


Fantastic opening match, it’s what you want from a cage match with two people who despise one another beating the hell out of one another inside of that cage. Great violence, great intensity from Helmsley and Mankind. So many great spots, the superplex from the top to the catapult into Chyna into that diving elbow, this match packs quite the punch and it’s a great way to cap off the feud if that is it for these two but I have a feeling it’s going to continue. One of my favourite matches of this era, a great feud that just gets better and better. Happy for both men, this is what they needed to get back on track!


Winner: Mankind over Hunter Hearst Helmsley via Escape!


Goldust W/ Marlena vs Brian Pillman

Goldust continues his babyface run against The Loose Cannon Brian Pillman, two men who met at Canadian Stampede in that awesome 10-man tag. Happy to see Pillman in a singles match, curious to see how Pillman does after his ankle injury. Pillman was more of a spectator in the main event of Canadian Stampede, this match starts with Pillman jumping Goldust. Pillman bites the head of Goldust, Goldust is whipped to the buckle and explodes out with a middle rope elbow. Ten punches in the corner from Goldust, Pillman tries the inverted atomic drop but Goldust dodges and kisses Pillman who powders at this atrocity. Pillman goes low with a boot and chops The Bizarre One, side headlock on the ropes from Pillman.


 Irish whip and elbow from Pillman, Pillman stalks Marlena. Goldust nails Pillman hard with a clothesline, chop and back rake from Goldust. Pillman begs off with Goldust landing jabs, Pillman takes advantage of Goldust lowering his head. Snap suplex from Pillman, Pillman climbs high and is crotched on the top rope. Marlena blows her cigar in the face of Pillman before Pillman uses Marlena as a shield and DDTs Goldust on the floor. Diving clothesline from Pillman for two, Pillman clamps on a sleeper. Goldust fires back, back-slide for two but Pillman is up first and lands a massive clothesline for two. Goldust ducks a clothesline and lands a flying clothesline of his own. Both are trading massive blows, Goldust wins the exchange. Running bulldog is countered by Pillman, shoulder thrust from Goldust and a sunset-flip but they botch it. They recover well with Marlena walloping Pillman in the head and Goldust getting the sunset-flip for the win.


Solid at the end of the day, Pillman’s cheating tactics are good fun and Goldust is getting good reactions between the ropes, wish there could have been a bit more to the match. It never left second gear for me, they just got on with it which is not a problem sometimes but I just didn’t care when all was said and done.


Winner: Goldust over Brian Pillman via Sunset Flip!


The Godwinns vs The Legion of Doom

LOD broke Henry Godwinn’s neck so The Godwinns came back with a vengeance and now we have this match between the two. It looked as if LOD would be tag team champions by this stage in the WWF but with Owen Hart being a singles champion, it seems plans have changed. The Godwinns have been part of some of my most hated matches of this era with simpleton Phineas being among my most hated gimmicks of the time so as heels, I am interested to see what the duo can do as I have long since lost my trust in The Godwinns as babyfaces.


We start with a brawl, LOD clothesline The Godwinns. Hawk lands an apron clothesline, Animal lands a shoulder block on Phineas who powders to catch his breathe. Henry works on Animal who missed a corner clothesline, Animal back-flips out of a belly to back suplex and lands a clothesline to both Godwinns. Hawk wipes out Phineas on the floor, lock-up and Henry clubs on Hawk. Hot-shot from Henry, Hawk dodges an apron leg drop. Hawk nails Henry on the floor and sends Henry into the steel steps. Snap-mare into a leg drop from Hawk for two, Henry goes low with a headbutt and a tag to Phineas. Headbutt from Phineas, neck-breaker stretch from Phineas.


Hawk tags in Animal, lock-up and Animal wrenches the arm. Irish whip with Phineas attacking Animal with a knee, Henry wipes out Animal with a clothesline to the floor. Animal is bumped into the guardrail, scoop slam for two. Tag to Phineas, bearhug from Phineas. Phineas tags Henry but Henry misses a clothesline, Phineas comes in and gut punches Animal. Phineas tries a middle rope clothesline, Animal nails Phineas and tags Hawk. Powerslam from Hawk, Hawk is battering both. Corner clothesline to Henry, clothesline to Phineas. Neck-breaker to Henry, Phineas makes the save. Animal wipes out Phineas, LOD clothesline Henry. Hawk wipes out Phineas with a diving clothesline before a Spike Piledriver puts down Henry.


Watchable but not much heat to it from the fans, Hawk receives a lukewarm reaction to his hot-tag. And I do not want to speculate on the personal life of Hawk at this point considering what would be coming in terms of angles in The Attitude Era but Hawk seemed all over the place at times here, timing was off and it made a little sloppy but that’s it now. I imagine this feud is done and dusted, no harm done.


Winners: LOD over The Godwinns via Spike Piledriver!


The British Bulldog vs Ken Shamrock

Continuation of The Hart Foundation antagonizing every babyface in the WWF, Bulldog covered Shamrock with dog food on Raw which leads us to this match. Shamrock comes down intense as always and belly to belly suplexes Bulldog to begin, Bulldog meets the steel steps. Irish whip, heel-hook from Shamrock but Bulldog makes it to the ropes immediately. Clothesline from Shamrock for two, forearms and knee-lift from Shamrock. Bulldog puts up a knee and clotheslines Shamrock down, headbutt from Bulldog. Suplex for two, reverse chin-lock from Bulldog. Shamrock escapes but Bulldog goes low, headbutts from Bulldog. Shamrock is being rocked, small package from Bulldog for two.


Reverse chin-lock from Bulldog, Shamrock is hurled into the ring-post hard. Hard Irish whip into the steel steps, Bulldog has the steel steps but the referee stops this act of violence. Shamrock punches and kicks back into the match before Bulldog lands a low blow. Into the ring we go, right hands from Bulldog who continues teeing off on The World’s Most Dangerous Man. Another chin-lock, Bulldog throws dogfood at Shamrock and Shamrock loses his mind and batters Bulldog with the dogfood can. Shamrock gets disqualified but gets over big-time as a loose cannon as he chokes out Bulldog and body-slams about 5 referees.


Brief and still I had 3 chin-locks from Bulldog, amazing how that man can go from a phenomenal entertaining performer in spots but when Bulldog is in there by himself, it can be torturous at times. Shamrock gets over big time which was tremendous, glad to see how they are handling Shamrock in the WWF. Great reactions from the fans, a success for sure despite the disappointing match itself.


Winner: British Bulldog over Ken Shamrock via DQ!


DOA vs Los Boricuas

So both Crush and Savio Vega had caused problems within The Nation due to their hatred of one another, this brings us to this match between the two groups. Like something out of The Warriors but I guess a more appropriate reference would be to perhaps capitalize on the feuds that rappers were having at the time, we have Gang-Warfare brother!


Crush is the babyface leading a tattooed biker gang against Savio and his Puerto Rican brothers, this match starts with a brawl and DOA control the rings like babyfaces. Skull and Jose, clothesline from Skull. Jose blocks with a boot and a diving clothesline to the back of the head before a boot from Skull. 8-Ball lands a massive sidewalk slam, here comes Crush who lands two leg drops. Miguel and Crush are in, Crush lands a tilt-a-whirl slam for two before we have Chainz and Jesus. Chainz lands a back body-drop and three elbow drops before tagging in Skull who lands punches and tags in 8-Ball. Jesus is rammed into the buckle before Savio Vega lands a corner spinning heel kick on 8-Ball. Jose and Miguel batter 8-Ball, Miguel rams 8-Ball into the turnbuckle and lands a corner clothesline.


Los Boricuas batter 8-Ball behind the referee’s back, Savio misses a clothesline and eats a clothesline from 8-Ball. The Nation of Domination are here, Jesus and 8-Ball are going at it, both men are down with Jesus keeping control. Triple beat-down behind the referee’s back, Savio is now legal. Hip-toss out of the corner, reverse chin-lock from Savio. Savio continues to wind up DOA as Miguel and Jose batter 8-Ball. Missile dropkick from Miguel, more dropkicks and double teaming on 8-Ball. Reverse chin-lock from Jose, 8-Ball fights out but Jose holds onto the leg. Miguel and Savio beat down 8-Ball, Savio misses a corner splash. Tag to Chainz, military press slams and boots all around. The match falls apart as the referee has no clue what to do, Chainz clocks Ahmed. Pearl River Plunge on Chainz, Chainz is thrown back in the ring and pinned off an elbow drop.


That heat segment on 8-Ball went on way too long, match should have descended into chaos the second we saw The Nation of Domination, crowd only cared for Ahmed in The Nation anyways. Easily the worst match on the card, dragged and accomplished nothing.


Winners: Los Boricuas over DOA via Elbow Drop!


(WWF Intercontinental Championship Match) Owen Hart © vs Stone Cold Steve Austin

Owen Hart managed to beat Stone Cold Steve Austin at Canadian Stampede which kicked off this feud between the two, Austin will kiss Owen’s ass if he cannot beat him inside of this ring. Now this match going in we all know is going to be infamous for all the wrong reasons but could these two work with one another? Was this a great match before the piledriver? Let’s see!


Owen Hart jumps Austin with a chop-block, Owen works the knee with kicks and sends Austin into the ring-post from the get-go. Austin fires back with right hands, Lou Thesz Press from Austin. Owen Hart takes the sternum-bump, Austin yanks Owen down by the hair. Austin chokes Owen with the middle rope, Owen dodges Austin who puts on the brakes at the last second and lands a clothesline for two. Austin works the arm, snap-mare and knee drops onto the arm. Owen has the hammerlock, Austin counters with both men countering before Austin drops Owen on the arm he has been working over. Arm-bar from The Rattlesnake, flying elbow counter from Owen. Austin drops Owen but Owen pulls Austin into the ring-post. Owen rams Austin’s arm into the steel steps, Owen steps all over the arm.


Owen wrenches and bites the arm of Austin, Austin is tied up in the ropes as Owen rips at the ringers. Stomps from the champion, stun-gun counter from The Rattlesnake. Powerbomb from Austin who clotheslines Owen to the floor, Owen calls for a timeout and tries to leave the arena. Austin clotheslines Owen down, Owen begs for mercy in the ring. Owen lures in Austin, big scoop slam and elbow drop for two, Irish whip to the buckle but Austin explodes out with a clothesline. Owen kicks off Austin to avoid the sharpshooter and lands a clothesline + a leg drop to the neck for two. Hard whip to the buckle, headbutt from Austin. Austin rolls through a middle rope crossbody for two, German suplex by Owen for two and a half. Camel clutch from the champion, anything to wear down the neck of Austin.


Austin escapes but lowers his head on an Irish whip, vicious DDT from Owen Hart for a close two. Reverse chin-lock from The Rocket, Austin escapes and applies his own sleeper. Owen reverses for his own, jaw-breaker from Austin. Austin goes to the middle rope, Owen cuts off Austin. Russian leg-sweep for two, Owen applies a sleeper while using the ropes for leverage. Referee Earl Hebnar catches Owen Hart cheating, right hands from Austin. Irish whip, Owen counters and piledrivers Austin and breaks his neck there and then. Owen starts walking around the ring stalling and we can see something is very wrong. You can hear the concern of Mcmahon in his voice, Owen continues stalling as Austin is in a bad, bad way. Austin struggles his way into a roll-up and pins Owen Hart, Austin is your WWF Intercontinental Champion.


What a professional Owen is, Owen knew shit was not good and did not stomp or try and work a different body part. Injuring one of the top stars in the WWF when they are white-hot, could you imagine how Owen must have felt at that time? The match was quite good before the abrupt ending, Austin was so explosive inside of the ring, things will not be the same from this point onwards but it was almost a blessing in disguise as Austin would become more popular in the months where he was injured.


Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin over Owen Hart via Roll-Up!


(WWF Championship Match) The Undertaker © vs Bret Hart (Shawn Michaels = Special Guest Referee)

If Bret loses, Bret will never wrestle in the US again! Quite the stipulation for Mr. Canada himself The Hitman. Bret has said many times that he has been screwed in the WWF, things could not be more clear with Shawn Michaels being the special guest referee in this match. Undertaker’s WWF Championship reign has been quite good so far beyond his match with Faarooq but these two have faced off before, WWF Royal Rumble 1996 and it was nothing to write home about at all with one spot sticking with me all these reviews later and I will be so pissed if they do not replicate it during this match.


Bret jumps Taker who had not taken off his jacket, Bret tees off with right hands but Taker is shaking it off. Taker grabs Bret, rights and lefts from The Deadman. Irish whip and clothesline from The Phenom, Bret powders but Taker rams Bret into the guardrail. Bret lays against the ring-post, Bret ducks the clothesline and Taker hurts his arm. Bret sends Taker into the steel steps, Taker sends Bret into the steel steps. In the ring, back-breaker from Taker who stretches Bret across his knee. Headbutt from Taker, Bret meets the turnbuckle. Bearhug from The Deadman, Bret bites his way out but eats a big boot. Taker misses an elbow drop, Bret goes after the leg of Taker. Repeated stomps, Bret stretches the leg over and over. Eye rake to Taker’s eyes, Bret drops all his weight on the ankle of Taker. Taker fights back before another eye rake, Bret stomps the hamstring of Taker over and over. Taker attempts to club The Hitman but Bret is relentless going after the leg. Figure four from Bret, Paul Bearer is waddling down to ringside, what could this mean?


Undertaker’s brother is still alive but can Paul Bearer be trusted? Is Kane alive? Taker reverses the figure four and Bret breaks the hold, Taker works Bret’s leg by driving it into the mat. Taker decks Paul Bearer with a right-hand, Bret Hart chop-blocks Taker hard. Ring-post figure-four from The Hitman, The Hart Foundation are at ringside while Michaels and Bret Hart are having words. Taker collapses to the mat as Bret continues working the leg, elbows to the knee with a grapevine from the challenger. Taker grabs a headlock but Bret continues to maintain control, Taker uses his good leg to kick Bret in the face. Taker beats up Pillman & Owen at ringside, HBK takes the duo to the back. In the ring, Chokeslam from Taker. Michaels does not see the pin, Taker is not pleased by Michaels not seeing the pin-fall.


Roll-up from Bret for two, Taker clotheslines Bret down and has words with Michaels. Bret pulls out Taker, Taker is rammed spine-first into the ring apron. Bret slams Taker into the ring-post, Bret lands headbutt to the spine of The Deadman. Back-breaker from Bret, two for The Hitman. Taker sits-up, suplex from the challenger and Bret’s Rope Elbow Drop. Two for Bret, Taker sits up again. DDT from Bret for two, headbutts from Bret. Taker stun-guns The Hitman, Bret answers with a Russian leg-sweep. Bret wants the sharpshooter but Taker has Bret by the throat, Taker pummels Bret in the corner. Hard Irish whip, Bret kicks away at Taker but Taker avoids the chop-block. Both men brawl with Taker getting the victory in that contest, flying clothesline by Taker.


 Sternum-turnbuckle bump from Bret, two for Taker. Boot by The Deadman and a leg drop for two, Taker Chokeslams Bret from the apron back into the ring. 1…2.. Bret kicks out! Bret crotches Taker who was going for Old School, Bret wants the superplex. Bret lands the superplex, Sharpshooter from The Hitman. Taker muscles out of the hold, sending Bret to the floor with his powerful leg strength.


Bret tees off with right hands, clothesline from Taker. Tombstone is avoided by Bret who pulls Taker into the ring-post, Bret locks in the Sharpshooter using the ring-post before Taker shoves off Bret into HBK. Bret grabs a chair from ringside, Bret clocks Taker in the head with the chair. Michaels is at ringside on one knee, Bret covers Taker for a close two. Michaels spots the chair, Bret and Michaels are having words, Bret spits on HBK. HBK swings the chair and waffles Taker in the head by mistake. Michaels has no choice but to count and Bret wins the WWF Championship.


So this one actually was lacking for me which is almost blasphemous for me to say considering how much I enjoy Bret’s work and his 1997 work has been excellent but this feels a step down from his matches with Austin and Taker is not the best when being worked on, always hard to feel for the giant 6 foot 10 beast. And they did not repeat my favourite spot of the crossbody counter into the Tombstone. Regardless, it just didn’t come together in this match for me and that’s a shame because there were elements that made it entertaining like Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart bubbling over and resulting it Michaels costing Taker the WWF Championship. It’s great to see another feud come out of this match but will either man be the one to dethrone The Hitman? Maybe not, could it be The Rattlesnake who takes the championship from Bret Hart? Of course all speculation at the time if we only knew how much the WWF would change in the next several months.


Winner: Bret Hart over Undertaker via Steel Chair to The Skull!


That was WWF’s Summerslam 1997, a good PPV showing from the WWF. It will be hard to top Canadian Stampede but this had many moments during this show where I was really enjoying the action. Helmsley vs Mankind in the cage could be considered a classic, it is a hot feud and the fans are invested 100% which makes for matches with big reactions to all the big spots. Foley tortures himself in the name of performance and is rewarded with huge cheers when he leaves the steel cage. The likes of Pillman vs Goldust & LOD vs The Godwinns are solid matches that do not overstay their welcome, they give you the result they want and move on, my knock would be both feuds have very good reasons to be heated but for one reason or another, we don’t get to see those fireworks come out during the matches. The DOA vs Los Boricuas match drags, it’s awful and I hate it. However, we have a big moment for Ken Shamrock who looks like a star with his wild man attitude of destroying everything thin sight, we have Austin vs Owen showing they can have a good match albeit the ending is all that will be spoken about for the next number of months and a main event that while it may not be a masterpiece or exciting affair, the ending will have major effects on feuds going forward and you definitely want to tune into RAW to see what happens next! The WWF without Austin until Survivor Series 1997 sounds bleak but HBK is back, could the WWF continue its good streak of PPVs? Join me next time to see, thanks for reading and remember: there’s always another night!

Sunday 16 May 2021

WWF In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede Review!


Hello and welcome to another wrestling review on the only wrestling review series on the internet that is more controversial than an old veteran going over a young talent! It’s WWF In Your House: Canadian Stampede! We are in bizarro world King as Canada plays host to the World Wrestling Federation. This PPV is main-evented by a massive 10-man tag between The Hart Foundation and a team led by Stone Cold Steve Austin! We also have Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs Mankind, The Great Sasuke vs Taka Michinoku and Undertaker defending the WWF Championship against the man they call Vader! This is a stacked card especially with The Michinoku Pro talent which I am sure will be quite the experience.


Hunter Hearst Helmsley W/ Chyna vs Mankind

King of The Ring rematch with Mankind teeing off on Helmsley, running bulldog from Mankind. Scoop slam and leg drop, Double Arm DDT right off the bat. Mankind mocks the pose of Helmsley, Irish whip but Helmsley counters with a massive facebuster. Picking up steam, Helmsley is dumped to the floor. Cactus Jack elbow drop off the apron, close two for Mankind. Irish whip with Helmsley taking his tumble to the floor, Mankind is on the middle rope but Helmsley escapes the elbow drop this time. Mankind chases Helmsley up the ramp and lands a massive clothesline. Mankind wants a suplex and it connects! Helmsley is knocked off the apron to the floor with Chyna encouraging Helmsley to get back in the ring, shoulder thrust and sunset flip but Helmsley gets caught in The Mandible Claw before Chyna makes the save.


Mankind is not happy, getting in the face of Chyna. Helmsley tries a sneak attack but Mankind sees that coming with a massive kick, the referee takes a punch though. Helmsley whips Mankind and Chyna powerslams Mankind into the steel steps, Helmsley has a chair and waffles Mankind in the ankle that smashed into the steel steps. Massive chop block from Helmsley, big stomps to the knee of Mankind. Elbow drop onto that injured knee, Helmsley brings his knees down on that leg in the corner. Big right hands in the corner, Helmsley continues to punish Mankind with a figure four. Helmsley uses the ropes for leverage until the referee catches Helmsley, Mankind fires back with right hands. Irish whip to the buckle, Pedigree is blocked by Mankind who drops a low headbutt on Helmsley. Running knee in the corner and elbow to Helmsley who was in the tree of woe. Stump piledriver from Mankind but Mankind’s knee does not allow Mankind to use all his weight on the pinfall. Mankind charges in for the Cactus Jack clothesline, Mankind clutches his knee once more though.


Chyna steals the chair from Mankind, Helmsley cracks Mankind with the chair and Chyna lands a clothesline, all behind the back of the referee. Helmsley is on the top rope, Mankind crotches Helmsley. Mandible Claw, Chyna trips up Mankind as Helmsley distracts the referee. Mankind is rammed into the ring-post groin-first which looks very painful. Mankind is bashed off the guardrail, and the two brawl into the crowd for the double count-out.


Well I was going to say that this was a great opening match, Mankind is very popular as a babyface and Helmsley’s snob character is at its peak with Chyna adding so much to Helmsley. They have their spots down, Helmsley gets a chance to look aggressive while Chyna looks devastating constantly being a thorn in the side of Mankind while Mankind comes off as very sympathetic and lovable due to Chyna’s interference and Foley’s willingness to take some of the most brutal bumps I have ever seen. Would have loved to see Mankind get a little more retribution but things are only getting started and I am all in for this pay per view!


Double Count-Out!


Taka Michinoku vs The Great Sasuke

WWF giving their answer to WCW’s cruiserweight division, it’s crazy to hear The Great Sasuke’s theme on the WWE Network. Regardless, these two have been tearing it up for years in Michinoku Pro while Sasuke tasted greater success with Sasuke mixing it up in NJPW and capturing the J-Crown. Both men are tremendous wrestlers and they had earlier had a phenomenal six-man tag at ECW’s Barely Legal so while I think the crowd may be lukewarm to the action at first, this match is going to be simply insane.


Lock-up and clean break from Taka, Sasuke grabs the wrist and wrenches the arm. Taka trips the leg, Sasuke goes for the cross arm-breaker before trading pinfalls. Spinning sole butt from Sasuke, snap-mare into a reverse chin-lock before a headscissors cover for two. Taka wriggles free into a headlock. Taka stretches Sasuke, elbows from Taka. Arm-breaker from Taka, Sasuke locks on a sleeper before Taka runs right into a spinning sole butt. Single leg Boston crab from Sasuke before Taka reaches the ropes. Big kicks from Sasuke before Taka palm thrusts Sasuke, dropkick to the back of the head. Low dropkick to the face, Sasuke sends Taka to the floor. Sasuke lands a diving thrust kick to the floor.


Sasuke works over Taka with massive kicks and a spinning sole butt before dropping Taka with a massive kick. Sasuke asks for Taka to stand up, more big kicks before Taka lands a dragon screw. Taka low dropkicks the knee, Taka springboard planchas onto Sasuke. Crowd appreciates that for sure, it looks beautiful. Taka flips out of the German suplex for a hurricanrana, two for Taka. La magistral for two, handspring elbow from Sasuke. Asai Moonsault from Sasuke to the floor, Taka regains control in the ring with a kick to the face and a springboard dropkick. Taka calls for the finish, Michinoku Driver for a close two!


Sasuke is still alive, Taka climbs high. Sasuke counters the crossbody with a beautiful dropkick, springboard moonsault for two. Massive powerbom with a Tiger Suplex for the win, Sasuke is your winner.


Like I said it would be, the crowd was lukewarm when the match started and once those two started flying, it was incredible. Despite Taka being the heel in Japan, the fans were huge fans of the smaller athlete here and Taka to his credit did the bigger dives and spots. I love watching these two during their days in Japan. Kaientai DX vs The Michinoku Pro stars like Sasuke and Super Delphin were always amazing matches. Great stuff here, very fun to watch as the crowd warmed up to the incredible action.


Winner: Great Sasuke over Taka Michinoku via Tiger Suplex!


(WWF Championship Match) The Undertaker © vs Vader W/ Paul Bearer

And now the match at Royal Rumble makes sense as Vader finally has his chance at the WWF Champion The Undertaker. Honestly, this should have come before Austin and Faarooq but I do enjoy the continuity. As for Paul Bearer being back in Vader’s corner, they haven’t really discussed why Taker no longer cares about the supposed secret.


Paul Bearer is cowering at ringside, the question on everyone’s mind is how will The Undertaker deal with Vader. The bell rings and Taker goes to work with big right hands and kicks, massive clothesline. Taker continues to dish out the pain to Vader, Paul Bearer is not a fan of any of this. Old School time, Vader is wiped out but it’s a close two. Vader is whipped to the buckle and explodes out with a hammer, Vader goes to work with rights and lefts. Taker ducks the clothesline and lands his flying clothesline for two, eye poke from Vader. Side headlock from Vader, Taker escapes and sends Vader to the floor. Brawling at ringside time, Vader sends Taker into the steel steps with Paul Bearer talking trash to Taker. Vader eats a hot-shot from The Deadman, Taker stalks Paul Bearer who is in a panic while Vader clubs Taker in the back of the head.


Paul Bearer wallops Taker with his shoe, short-arm clothesline from Vader. Middle rope clothesline from Vader for two, suplex from Vader. Big splash for two, Vader has a nerve hold but Taker battles out with those rights and lefts. Eye-poke and clothesline to Taker, Taker tees off in the corner with rights and lefts. Vader is wobbling, Chokeslam but Vader goes low as Paul Bearer distracts the referee. Vader runs into a tombstone attempt but Taker floats-over for a quick cover, Vader is whipped to the buckle. Elbow by Vader, big crushing hammer from Vader. Vader wanted a Vader Bomb but Taker goes low and lands a massive middle rope Chokeslam for two. Another Chokeslam with Vader kicking out again, they are putting Vader over big in this one. Taker calls for the finish, Tombstone Piledriver and Taker retains.


Considering how bad I thought this was going to be, this was one of the most pleasant surprises I have experienced while watching the WWF during this era. The fans love Taker and react big to everything he does, same with Vader when he lands a massive move. Plenty of big moves, big spots that are fun too and Vader comes off like a beast surviving the chokeslams only to eat that tombstone at the end. People love to criticize Vader in the WWF but the man had his moments even in defeat where he simply kicked all sorts of ass. Pleasantly surprised by this match, another good match in Taker’s WWF Championship reign.


Team Austin (Animal/Hawk/Goldust/Ken Shamrock/Stone Cold Steve Austin) vs The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart/Owen Hart/Jim Neidhart/Brian Pillman/British Bulldog)

While I may understand Austin & LOD’s deep-rooted problems with The Hart Foundation, Goldust and Ken Shamrock are interesting additions to the feud for sure but yes this is going to be a massive brawl. The biggest heel faction in the WWF against the babyfaces of the WWF. I wonder why HBK was not part of this show, what a team it would have been then right? Anyways, this is going to be a brawl and with a Canadian crowd firmly in the corner of The Harts, I wonder just how good this match is going to be, the crowd goes absolutely ballistic the second Pillman appears on the ramp.


Pillman’s first match on WWF PPV? I believe so, what a match to make your debut in, another big reaction for Neidhart. Bulldog comes off to a massive ovation and it gets bigger for Owen Hart. Buzzcut Owen Hart and just wait for what is coming next, it’s going to be the biggest pop of the night by far. Let it be known on this night, Bret was a Canadian Hero and I believe it!


Everyone is squaring off, this feels big. I do believe we will kick it off with Austin and Bret, we are not messing about on this night. Bret wins the war, Austin is pegged back to the corner. Right hand and stomps from Bret Hart, the arena is shaking it is unbelievable. Austin rakes the eyes and tees off with right hands. Whip to the buckle, Bret clotheslines Austin down and lands a headbutt. Inverted atomic drop and a clothesline, Bret rakes Austin’s face off the ropes. Low blow from Austin, knee to the face from The Rattlesnake. Austin stomps away on Bret, the fans do not like it one bit. Million Dollar Dream from Austin, Bret tries the WM VIII counter but Austin has it scouted. Austin misses his knee attack on the ropes, tag to Anvil. Boot from Anvil, Irish whip and Austin lands a Thesz Press on Neidhart.


Tag to Shamrock, Shamrock floors Anvil and goes for The Ankle Lock. Pillman makes the save, arm-drag from Shamrock. Anvil lands big forearms, Anvil tries a hip-toss but Shamrock rolls through for the heel hook. Shamrock and Pillman wrestling now, eye rake from Pillman. Pillman bites the head of Shamrock, chops from Pillman. Whip to the buckle and a back-breaker for two, Pillman starts slapping and stepping on the face of Shamrock. Whip to the buckle and Shamrock explodes out with a clothesline, Shamrock lands a belly to belly suplex. Tag to Owen, large Owen chants ring throughout the arena. Goldust comes in, right hands by Owen but Goldust lands a back body drop. Owen answers with an enzuigiri, eye rake by Goldust.


Ten punches by Goldust, tag to Hawk who slaps and chops Owen. Gut-wrench suplex and leg drop for two, scoop slam and fist drop from Hawk. Hawk goes high, diving body splash for two. Hawk misses a dropkick, Owen wants the sharpshooter but Animal makes the save. Bulldog comes in, delayed suplex on Hawk for two. Forearms and it looks like it’s time for a Running Powerslam, Goldust makes the save. In comes Bret, in comes Animal. Lock-up, headbutts and shoulder thrusts from Animal. Whip to the buckle, Bret blocks with a knee and a clothesline. Goldust wants in, test of strength with Bret going low with a big kick. Elbow to the head, Bret puts Goldust in the tree of woe as The Hart Foundation batter Goldust before we have a brawl between the two teams. Owen is now legal, back-breaker from Owen. Whip to the buckle, Owen misses a corner spear as Goldust dodges and Animal comes in for massive kicks.


Owen lands his spinning heel kick on Animal, Owen goes high and lands his missile dropkick and kips-up. Animal reverses an Irish whip, powerbomb from Animal. Beautiful powerslam, Animal calls for Doomsday. Doomsday Device and Anvil makes the save, everyone is brawling once more with Austin smashing Owen’s knee into the ring- post. Austin grabs a chair and waffles the knee of Owen. Bruce Hart tries attacking Austin, Bret makes the save as Austin scrambles away. We are unsure if Owen can continue while Austin and Anvil battle, kicks by Austin before a bearhug from Anvil. Austin is in the corner of The Hart Foundation, more war as Austin is battered. Austin fights back, Pillman is dragged into the ring. Stone Cold Stunner on Pillman, Bret pulls out Austin and wraps Austin’s leg around the ring-post.


Bret pulls out a fire extinguisher and smashes Austin’s knee before we see an apron Figure-Four but Hawk makes the save and batters Bret. Bulldog is with Austin, Bulldog stomps away as Hawk comes in now against Bulldog. Hawk slams Bulldog, Hawk goes high but Bulldog crotches Hawk on the top rope. Two for Bulldog, tag to Anvil. Double clothesline, tag to Bret. Anvil and Animal will continue the match, Austin is being taken to the back. Test of strength, Animal wins at first before rallying, massive kicks before a tag to Bret. Back-breaker and middle rope elbow combination, Bret ducks his head off an Irish whip and Animal lands a kick to the head. In comes Pillman who smashes Shamrock with a clothesline, Bret is going to work Shamrock now.


Shamrock sends Bret to the buckle, sternum-first goes Bret. Shamrock doesn’t want to go low on Bret, Bret clubs Shamrock and dumps Shamrock to the floor. Pillman spills Shamrock over the announce table as LOD come to the rescue of The World’s Most Dangerous Man. Russian leg-sweep on Shamrock in the ring, Goldust saves the match. In comes Bulldog with massive forearms, Shamrock is rocked and stomped by an irate Bulldog. Low blow behind the referee’s back from Shamrock, in comes Goldust. Massive clothesline, whip to the buckle with a running bulldog. Pillman stops the curtain call, big save from Pillman again! Goldust is up though, middle rope dive is stopped as Bulldog climbs back and nails a superplex. Hawk makes the save, Austin is coming back to the ring on one leg. Austin gets the tag and Bret gets the tag, they tee off on one another with Austin stomping away on Bret. Sternum-first bump as Austin is cooking, suplex from Austin for two.


 Bret lands a neck-breaker from a lowered head Austin, back-breaker and Bret’s Rope Elbow Drop for two! Irish whip and a sleeper from Bret, Austin counters with a jaw-breaker. Bret kicks out and avoids a scoop slam attempting a sharpshooter but Animal makes the save with a clothesline. Austin applies the sharpshooter but here comes Owen Hart with the save. Tag to Owen with right hands to Austin, Owen lowers his head and eats a boot and a clothesline to the floor. Austin stomps Owen in front of The Harts, Austin grabs Stu and starts battering Harts at ringside, Bruce is in there. Owen rolls-up Austin with a handful of tights, can you believe it? Massive brawl with all Harts before The Hart Foundation stands tall to close us out!


What a match, what a crowd. That has to be up there with the Kobashi/Kikuchi vs Furnas/Kroffat tag match crowd, I mean they love The Hart Foundation and the match is just perfection. Everybody plays their roles so well and I love Owen getting to shine, Owen is so good and was given nothing for so long in the WWF. To see this match when he hits that dropkick and the place explodes, it’s beautiful. Austin and all the USA talent ramp up the heel factor, the crowd buys in and this might be Bulldog’s most energetic performance in years. You cannot watch this match and not get excited, it’s chaos from opening bell to end and when that finish comes, the fans are all for it. Maybe it could played out a little stronger with Owen coming out on one-leg and gutting it out, the finish was a little abrupt considering the little scuffle beforehand but this is one of my favourite matches of all-time.


Winners: The Hart Foundation over Team Austin via Handful of Tights!


That was WWF’s In Your House: Canadian Stampede, possibly the best WWF in Your House of all-time. The show is short but every match packs some sort of punch and there’s no dull moments. Helmsley vs Mankind is already becoming one of my favourite feuds with sympathetic glutton for punishment Mankind getting over big time against the snobby Helmsley and his bodyguard Chyna. The chemistry is there, these two need one another at this moment and time, it’s just working so well. We mix things up with a light heavyweight match and to nobody’s surprise, having two of the best talents in the world at that time tearing it up in the ring gets over by the end. I love these two, big fans of both and the crowd is lukewarm at first but the second Taka starts flying around, it’s a game-changer and it’s an entertaining and exciting match. Vader pulls out a great WWF performance vs Taker, this crowd helped for sure but the finishing stretch between these two alone was so much fun I could not help get sucked in along with the crowd. The main event has one of the hottest WWF crowds you will see on PPV, they react big to everything and this match just builds and builds until a very satisfying conclusion. Great PPV, the high point of 1997 so far and I would say watch this PPV because it is well worth checking out! Thanks again for coming to the blog and remember: there’s always another night!

Friday 14 May 2021

WWF King of The Ring 1997 Review!

Hello and welcome to another edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews, the only wrestling review series on the internet that continues to take longer hiatuses than Jontron! It’s WWF King of The Ring 1997, a night of first for the WWF. We may have our first African-American WWF Champion, we have our first singles match between reigning tag team champions, it’s time for a good old tournament! HBK Shawn Michaels is back in the WWF taking off the fastest rising star in the WWF in Stone Cold Steve Austin, Faarooq is challenging for the WWF Championship against The Undertaker and of course, the super important King of The Ring Tournament which can bring superstardom for any WWF Superstar that is lucky enough to win the tournament! Will it be a home-run for the WWF? Let’s find out!


(KOTR Semi-Final Match) Ahmed Johnson vs Hunter Hearst Helmsley W/ Chyna

Big match to kick us off with Helmsley and Ahmed Johnson, Johnson is still over like rover and seems to have left the disappointing Nation feud behind him. Hopefully, we can get back to Johnson being super explosive all the time in the ring, surprised by Lawler being a semi-finalist at this stage of his career in the WWF. Lawler’s hardly ben involved in an angle for almost a year or two at this point.


Ahmed stares down Helmsley, Johnson shoves down Helmsley with ease. Massive shoulder block from Johnson, Johnson mocks Helmsley with his own pose before Ahmed asks for a test of strength. Helmsley goes low with kicks and a massive chop, no effect on Ahmed. Ahmed whips Helmsley to the buckle, military press slam from Ahmed. Helmsley powders before slowing re-entering the ring, Helmsley pokes Ahmed in the eye. Big Irish whip to the buckle but Ahmed explodes out of the corner with a clothesline, scoop slam but Helmsley dodges the elbow drop. Helmsley dumps Ahmed to the floor, Irish whip into the steel steps. Baseball slide from Helmsley, Helsmley’s punches are not working as Ahmed fires back with right hands.


Scissors Kick from Ahmed, back body drop from Ahmed. Spinebuster from Ahmed, Chyna is on the apron and Ahmed is focused on Chyna. Helmsley knees Ahmed into the turnbuckle and spikes Ahmed with The Pedigree for the win.


Wow quick as that, can you believe Helmsley pinned Ahmed just like that? No exposed turnbuckle to protect Ahmed getting pinned? Clean as a whistle, Helsmley takes down Ahmed? It’s hard to believe it happening to be honest, I see so much upside in Ahmed, could you not give him a bit more? Maybe they had lost faith in Ahmed? Anything’s possible in the WWF, decent match from these two with a shocking ending for sure.


Winner: Hunter Hearst Helmsley over Ahmed Johnson via Pedigree!


(KOTR Semi-Final Match) Mankind vs Jerry The King Lawler

Lawler talks massive amount of shit before Mankind has enough, ramming Lawler into the announce table. Raking at the eyes of Lawler, Lawler seems to be lost. Big right hands by Mankind, more face-ripping from Mankind. Right hands from Mankind, stomps and an Irish whip. Elbow from Mankind, Mandible Claw is dodged by King who rolls to the floor. Lawler has something in his tights and rocks Mankind with the foreign object. Big rights from Lawler, running bulldog from Lawler. Mankind is dumped to the floor and sent into the ring-post, Lawler works over the head of Mankind specifically the ear of Mankind. Lawler uses another foreign object to beat on Mankind, massive right to the head.


Mankind hurls Lawler to the floor, Mankind sends Lawler into the guardrail over and over. Mankind has Lawler against the steel steps, Mankind tries a spear but Lawler dodges. Piledriver on the floor from Lawler who celebrates inside of the ring, Lawler wants the count-out victory. Lawler dropkicks Mankind who was trying to return to the ring, beautiful piledriver in the middle of the ring for a close two. Doesn’t get the desired reaction from the fans as nobody believes Lawler is winning, Lawler smashes Mankind in the face with a foreign object once again. Mankind begins fighting back with big kicks, right hands and a running forearm from Mankind, Mankind lands a big leg drop.


Lawler is in the corner, running corner knee from the deranged Mankind and gives us a little Bang Bang. Irish whip to the corner and big back body drop from Mankind, Lawler blocks the back body drop on the second attempt and lands the neck-breaker. Diving Fist Drop from Lawler, Mankind back-drops Lawler to avoid the piledriver. Lawler looks for the sunset flip to counter the back body drop but Mankind stops it with The Mandible Claw for the win.


Decent match, I think it’s going to be a challenge to turn Mankind but with Lawler and Helmsley as opponents, it should be a simple transition for Mrs. Foley’s baby boy. Lawler being a semi-finalist just rubs me the wrong way for some reason, I think it shows a lack of depth to an expanding roster. For all the praise I have been given the roster, it seems like a step-backward. On top of that, even with a massive Piledriver in the middle of the ring, nobody bought that finish at all. Not one person thought Lawler would be walking away victorious which makes for an awkward match for sure. Right result in the end with Mankind going onto the finals but I am just thinking who could have been used instead of Lawler in that spot.


Winner: Mankind over Jerry Lawler via Mandible Claw!


Crush W/ The Nation of Domination vs Goldust W/ Marlena

Goldust the babyface who has moved on since his feud with Hunter Hearst Helmsley takes on Crush who has had a decent push as a member of The Nation of Domination. There seems to be a lot of tension in The Nation with Savio and Crush having problems, causing each other matches and such. Crush jumps Goldust and throws The Bizarre One to the floor, Goldust sends Crush into the steel steps. In the ring, Goldust hammers Crush with ten punches. Goldust kisses Crush and batters him with more right hands, massive flying clothesline for two. Crush reverses an Irish whip but ducks his head, neck-breaker from Goldust. Crush comes back with a massive belly to belly suplex, forearm shots from Crush. Axe handle to the spine of The Bizarre One, Goldust fights back and tries a scoop slam but his back gives out. Crush is back on top with a back-breaker, close two for Crush. Camel clutch from Crush, Goldust struggles and fade before escaping the hold. Goldust ducks the clotheslines before eating a military press into a gut-buster for two.


Elbow from Crush, nerve hold from The Nation Member. Goldust fights back, Crush rakes the eyes. Goldust lands one of his uppercuts, massive clothesline and Goldust fires up with massive rights and a slap. Mounted punches from Goldust, Clarence Mason and D’Lo Brown are threatening Marlena. Goldust lands a running bulldog before spotting trouble on the floor, D’lo is decked by Goldust but Crush surprises Goldust. Irish whip in the ring, Goldust slides out of the military press and Goldust walks away with the win after planting Crush with a DDT.


Solid match from these two, I have seen much worse from Goldust but his babyface run is finally starting to find some momentum and The Bizarre One looks to be getting the reaction he wants from fans. Meanwhile, the big man Crush seems to be eating the most pin-falls in the Nation which I would have not said when trying to guess who that person would be, looks like Crush has hit his ceiling in the WWF which is a shame. Solid match from both men though, I have definitely seen worse from both!


Winner: Goldust over Crush via DDT!


The Hart Foundation (Owen Hart/British Bulldog/Jim Neidhart) vs The Legion of Doom (Animal & Hawk) & Sycho Sid

This is interesting for sure, I thought Sid was gone from the WWF but maybe the big man was simply injured after Mania? Regardless, Sid wants to take out The Hart Foundation due to Bret Hart costing Sycho Sid the WWF Championship at Wrestlemania with his interference. Big six-man tag here with Team Sid looking like the most badass team of all-time, you don’t get much bigger than those three!


Lots of LOD chants to kick us off, Animal and Owen square off with Owen grabbing the side headlock but Animal picks up Owen and launches him across the ring, Animal misses a clothesline but lands a scoop slam. Owen dodges the elbow drop, Animal avoids Owen’s grapple attempts. Owen brings Animal to the corner, boots by Owen before Animal reverses an Irish whip and sends Owen to the corner and lands a back body drop. Massive catapult to Team Sid who pummel Owen before Animal lands a powerslam. In comes Sid who nails an axe handle, Owen rakes the eyes of Sid. Shoulder block from Sid, test of strength but no Owen tags in Bulldog. Bulldog wants the test of strength, Bulldog goes low and delayed vertical suplex from Bulldog but Sid shakes it right off and batters all of The Hart Foundation. Tag to Hawk who batters Bulldog and then Bulldog tags in Jim Neidhart.


Eye rake by Anvil, clothesline from Hawk with no effect. Anvil tees off with forearms, Hawk boots back Anvil and clubs the shit out of Anvil. Diving clothesline from Hawk for two, tag to Animal. Big kick from Anvil, in comes Sid. Team Sid batter Anvil behind the referee’s back, tag to Hawk. Sanp-mare and reverse chin-lock, Anvil is on his feet though. Dropkick from Hawk, Anvil is up though. Anvil lures in Hawk and tags in Bulldog, piledriver from Bulldog but Hawk no-sells and lands a clothesline. Tag to Animal, blind-tag to Owen though who lands a massive spinning heel kick on Animal. Owen dumps Animal to the floor and Anvil puts the boots to Animal. Steel chair to the spine, Owen suplexes Animal for a close two. Slingshot shoulder block for two, Animal has a sunset flip on Anvil while Bulldog distracts the referee.


Missile dropkick by Owen on Animal for two, The Hart Foundation batter Animal before Hawk gets a sliver of revenge. Animal is still isolated, double clothesline from Bulldog & Owen. Scoop slam, Bulldog gets caught from the middle rope with Animal landing a powerslam. Animal climbs to the top rope, Bulldog cuts off Animal for a top rope superplex. In comes Anvil, forearms from Anvil. Shoulder blocks in the corner, Animal is being battered. Reverse chin-lock, Animal fights out but the onslaught continues with Owen landing a big neck-breaker. Animal is caught in a sleeper from Owen, Animal is fading fast but Hawk is now the legal man. Scoop slam and Hawk is up top missing a headbutt with Bulldog landing big forearms. Scoop slam but Hawk dodges the leg drop, Hawk is caught by Bulldog and in comes Owen and Anvil.


Hawk powers through Anvil and Owen for a double clothesline, monster tag for Sid who clotheslines everything in sight, big boot for Owen. Owen is dumped to the floor, Chokeslam to Bulldog. Sid wants the powerbomb on Bulldog, Owen lands a diving sunset-flip off the top rope and gets the pin on Sid.


Wow, Sid must have been on his way out with a finish like that? An abrupt end to the tag match for sure, all that build-up for that? Disappointing for sure, no problem with The Hart Foundation stealing the win but couldn’t Owen have grabbed the tights, it just seemed far too easy. Even a missile dropkick to the jaw of Sid could have been more effective, Sid was still hugely popular garnering the biggest reaction in the match and by the end of the night, Sid might still have the biggest pop of the night so it would be sad to see Sid leave the WWF but I felt this match could have been so much more!


Winners: The Hart Foundation over Team Sid via Diving Sunset-Flip!


(KOTR Final Match) Mankind vs Hunter Hearst Helmsley W/ Chyna

The final between Hunter and Mankind, Mankind has been injured at the hands of Lawler due to repeated attacks to his neck. Chyna is at ringside, will her presence be felt in this match? Side headlock from Helmsley, Helmsley wrenches the neck. No purpose beyond hurting that neck, Helmsley goes after the neck once more. Mankind elbows Helsmley who tried a third headlock, Mankind stomps Helmsley again and again, Mankind rips at the face of Helmsley and bites the head of The Connecticut Blue Blood. Irish whip with Helmsley holding onto the ropes and powdering, Mankind continues to dish out the punishment with Helmsley dropping Mankind face-first onto the turnbuckle.


Irish whip to the buckle and neck-breaker from Helmsley, Mankind battles back but a clothesline puts down Mankind. Right hands from Helmsley, clubbing blows down to the neck again and again. Right hand takes down Mankind, Chyna decks Mankind with a massive forearm. Mankind low-blows Helmsley though, Mankind was looking for a clothesline but Helmsley dodges, Mankind is tied up in the ropes, Mankind slips out of the ropes but the damage has been done. Baseball slide from Helmsley, Mankind meets the steel steps too. Right hand by Helmsley, knee drop to the neck. Vicious looking manoeuvre, make it two knee-drops. Mankind stun-guns Helmsley for a close two, Mankind stun-guns Helmsley again but Mankind tries a third time but Mankind cannot carry Helmsley.


Running corner knee from Mankind after a flurry of punches, Helmsley is in the tree of woe. Running elbow drop to the face from Mankind, Mankind misses a baseball slide but Mankind back-drops Helmsley on the concrete. Apron diving elbow drop Cactus Jack style from Mankind, Double Arm DDT from Mankind with Chyna distracting the referee long enough for Helmsley to kick out of the manoeuvre. Helmsley wants a Pedigree but Mankind back-drops Helmsley, Helmsley wants the sunset-flip but Mankind has The Mandible Claw. Chyna drags out Mankind, saving Helmsley for the second time in this match. Neck-breaker with the ropes by Helmsley, Helmsley stomps away at Mankind. Helmsley rips off the mask and climbs to the top rope, Mandible Claw from Mankind. Helmsley uses a thumb to counter, inverted atomic drop from Mankind.


Clothesline from Mankind, Cactus Jack clothesline from Mankind. Chyna pulls Helmsley out of the way of an elbow, Mike Chioda is sick of Chyna. Helmsley sends Mankind into the steel steps, Helmsley is clearing the announce table. Pedigree through the announce table, talk about hardcore! Chyna cracks a sceptre across the back of Mankind, Helmsley knees Mankind into a cameraman. 1…2.. Mankind kicks out, Helmsley is furious with even Chyna doubting herself now. Helmsley drills Mankind with the Pedigree and it’s over, Hunter Hearst Helmsley is The King of The Ring!


Very good match, I have enjoyed Helmsley’s work since joining the WWF with Helmsley always being an enjoyable wrestler, just not the total package as of yet but here Helmsley has a great story to work with, Mankind’s neck is damaged and Chyna is going to allow Mankind to cheat as much as possible. What we get here is Helmsley working the neck of Mankind with knee-drops and neck-breakers while Chyna batters Mankind on top of it. Mankind takes one hell of a beating and survives, showing his fighting spirit inside of the ring, his desire not to give up or be beaten. Mankind is now very much a sympathetic babyface figure with an antagonist in Hunter Hearst Helmsley. That finish is great too, puts over how tough Mankind is inside of that ring. Pedigree on the announce table looked brutal and then the bump into the cameraman too, Mankind comes off great in defeat here. Big moment for both men here, their feud over the next few months will be crucial to their rise on the cards.


Winner: Hunter Hearst Helmsley over Mankind via Pedigree!


Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Shawn Michaels

Two unlikely partners winning the tag team championships, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels as partners. Austin and Shawn Michaels have big problems with one another as Austin is more concerned with wiping out Bret Hart, these two brawled on Raw and now they face one another at King of The Ring. Interesting match-up for Shawn Michaels’ PPV return and Austin, a big test for Austin but another babyface vs babyface encounter for Rattlesnake. I’m curious as to whether it was best for Austin’s direction to go up against more established babyfaces like The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels when first turning babyface. Regardless of his anti-hero character, is it the best choice?


How I have missed HBK in that ring, I already feel this is going to be quite the match. In one another’s face from the beginning, massive amounts of trash has been talked. Lock-up with a side headlock from Austin, massive shoulder block from The Rattlesnake. HBK pulls himself up after Austin gives HBK his salute. Austin is staring down on a fan at ringside, something has happened with a young man with disabilities. Austin rolls out as HBK tends to the young man, nice little moment there as Austin wants HBK to re-enter the ring. Lock-up with Austin working the arm, arm-bar from The Rattlesnake. Side headlock from HBK, Austin grabs the hair but HBK continues to hold onto the side headlock, determined to maintain control in this match.


Austin pulls the hair, shoulder block from HBK but Austin counters with a back elbow. Austin does HBK’s pose and nails an elbow to the back of the neck three times. Snap-mare with HBK escaping the chin-lock attempt, side headlock from HBK. Shoulder block from Michaels, drop-downs and leap-frogs before Austin delivers an inverted atomic drop and clotheslines Michaels to the floor. Michaels counters the suplex from the apron into an O’Connor roll for a close two, drop toehold into an arm-bar from Michaels. Austin reaches the ropes and powders for a breather, Austin wants a test of strength with Michaels. Boots by Austin who wrenches down on HBK, great camera shot of Austin staring into the eyes of Michaels. Michaels powers-up and boots Austin around the ring, back body drop from Michaels for close two. Michaels misses an elbow as Austin dodges, Austin knocks a cameraman to the floor and misses an elbow.


Austin is on his feet, pushing off HBK who gets the shoulder block again, HBK dodges the elbow but Austin answers with the Lou Thesz Press. Mounted punches by Austin before HBK counters with a roll-up, the two trade pin-falls before Austin lands a knee and right hand. HBK is side-stepped and sent crashing to the floor. Austin has Michaels on the apron, Michaels is clotheslined off the apron into the guardrail. Austin pulls up the protective mats at ringside, Austin wants to cripple his tag team partner? Michaels is dropped on the guardrail by The Rattlesnake, Michaels is in big trouble right now.


Michaels fights back though with right hands before Austin lands a knee and sends Michaels into the steel steps. Military press slam on the concrete by Austin, Austin lands big rights on Michaels. Michaels wanted a flying forearm but Austin avoids it, small package from Michaels for two but Austin levels Michaels with a clothesline for a close two. Snap-mare and Austin wants that elbow drop, beautiful on the money for two. Austin locks in the sleeper using the ropes for leverage, the referee catches Austin with Michaels coming back into the match with right hands. Shoulder block, Austin is sent to the floor. Baseball slide from Michaels, flying forearm inside of the ring by HBK. Irish whip and back body drop to The Rattlesnake, Austin begs for mercy.


Inverted atomic drop from Michaels, whip to the corner but Michaels misses the corner spear. Michaels hits the ring-post hard, advantage goes to The Rattlesnake. Austin exposes the ass of Michaels, right hands by The Rattlesnake, Irish whip but Michaels counters with a crossbody for with Austin rolling through for a close two. Clothesline by Austin, HBK corner bump. HBK sends Austin into the referee, HBK tries Sweet Chin Music but Austin counters for a Stone Cold Stunner. Austin stunners the referee out of frustration, Sweet Chin Music from HBK. A new referee comes to ringside checking on the original referee, HBK cannot believe his luck and Michaels nails the new referee with Sweet Chin Music. Austin kicks out of the superkick due to wasted time, Earl Hebnar has had enough and calls off the match.


Not a popular decision for sure but I think it was best for both men. Why would you want to have either of these men lose when they are so popular and neither one needs a lost at this time in their career. Regardless of the finish, this was a very entertaining match with both Michaels and Austin having their moments in this one. HBK picks up right where he left off, stealing the show with ease while Austin continues to be the asshole that everyone loves in the WWF. Fun match, big statement from Austin showing that he can hang with the top names of the WWF. The WWF Championship cannot escape Stone Cold Steve Austin for much longer. Fast-paced with good psychology throughout, both men having their finishes protected and the finish itself protecting both men, I imagine it was the best way this match could have ended and turned out for both parties.


Double DQ!


(WWF Championship Match) The Undertaker © W/ Paul Bearer vs Faarooq W/ The Nation of Domination

Paul Bearer had been burned by Undertaker but now Paul Bearer holds a deep secret of The Undertaker’s past, what could be this secret? This secret has Undertaker doing the bidding of Paul Bearer once more though, it must be important but we are all left wondering what could it be? Meanwhile, Faarooq ran through a number of WWF superstars including dominating Ahmed Johnson in their last encounter so it makes sense that Faarooq would be a challenger for the WWF Championship. I am excited to see how Faarooq does in the main event, could be a really entertaining match too because Faarooq can dish it out for sure.


Faarooq jumps Taker to begin, big right hands from the leader of The Nation. Irish whip to the buckle but Taker fires back with rights and lefts, clothesline from Taker. Faarooq dodges an elbow drop but eats a boot from Taker, uppercut brings down Faarooq. Two for the champion, behind the referee’s back The Nation decimate Taker. Faarooq talks massive amounts of trash, Taker works the arm with Faarooq screaming out in pain. Taker fakes doing Old School and dives onto The Nation. Crush, D’Lo and Savio are all decked by The Phenom, didn’t expect it but I loved it. Hot-shot from Taker, Faarooq is down. Taker tries Old School on the opposite side of the ring but The Nation members pull down Taker who crotches himself on the top rope. Suplex from Faarooq for two, low blow from Faarooq with the referee missing the move. Two off the low blow, Savio and D’Lo attack Taker behind the referee’s back. How can Taker survive with all of The Nation at ringside?


Faarooq is ripping at the steel steps, this is not no DQ but Taker boots the steps into the face of Faarooq. Taker ducks off an Irish whip, Faarooq spikes the bejesus out of Taker with a piledriver for a close two. Faarooq applies the reverse chin-lock while using the ropes for leverage. They move towards the centre of the ring, jaw-breaker from Taker. Taker misses a leg drop though, Taker sends Faarooq to the buckle. Knee counter from Faarooq, Faarooq is on the middle rope. Diving crossbody is countered for a powerslam, knees from The Deadman who scares off the referee. Faarooq ducks the flying clothesline, Taker is in dire straits. Savio and Crush are having words on the floor, this was a little random with Faarooq getting distracted by the dissension and walking right into The Tombstone and Taker retains his WWF Championship.


Disappointing main event no doubt about it, I thought they could have gotten a lot more out of this match. Faarooq was dominating so they just randomly had Savio & Crush get into a war of words and cost Faarooq the match? I know they were issues between the two but this seemed like they brawled for no reason whatsoever. I thought this was a missed opportunity to build a lot of drama for this championship match with Taker overcoming the odds of beating all members of The Nation. Instead, Faarooq is an afterthought to The Nation breaking up and Paul Bearer’s manipulation of The Undertaker. After the match, Ahmed Johnson lays out The Undertaker with The Pearl River Plunge, I guess we will have a match between the two? I think the real main event was the match before with Michaels and Austin despite the non-finish.


Winner: The Undertaker over Faarooq via Tombstone Piledriver!


That was WWF’s King of The Ring 1997, a better PPV from the WWF despite some hiccups along the way. The first two matches of the night are nothing to write home about especially when you put them in the context of the main event with Ahmed Johnson being soundly defeated by Helmsley only to lay out the WWF Champion at the end of the night, maybe Ahmed should not have been in the tournament if that’s where you are going? Anyways, Helmsley beats Ahmed which looks even more bemusing once the main event ends while Lawler never had a chance against Mankind and the crowd knew that. Things look like they have potential with the six-man tag, six great athletes who have the crowd all-in on the match, the fans want Sid and they get Sid for about twenty seconds before Sid is rolled-up without a handful of tights or any sort of damage done to him, it’s not an easy pill to swallow because I thought this is where the show would turn a corner for me.


However, that comes next with the final match. Mankind delivers ana amazing underdog performance as the man who won’t quit. Attack after attack on his next, Chyna interfering and a brutal announce table Pedigree all come together with JR putting over the heart and fight of the deranged Mankind. A babyface is on the rise in the WWF and his name is Mankind. Things continue to turn with Austin vs HBK, two babyfaces who put on quite the show. The finish was the right call and fans may have been disappointed initially but you receive one hell of a match and Austin continues to catch fire in the WWF. The main event may have been a little disappointing in my eyes but Taker is over with the fans and this angle is drawing me in, I want to know what this mysterious secret is because no matter how average the matches may be for Taker, the angles are always interesting and well thought-out and of course, I was a big fan of Taker vs Mankind because of Paul Bearer’s involvement so to see another twist in the tale is good for me! Maybe my favourite PPV of 1997 so far but it’s not saying much, I still think there is work to be done and every angle could mean much more but this was a positive PPV compared to others from the year. Thanks again for visiting and taking the time to read this, I love cataloguing my thoughts about the sport that has given me so many memories and remember: there’s always another night!