Hello and welcome to another edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews, the only wrestling review series that always gives credit when reposting content! It’s WWF in Your House: A Cold Day In Hell! Stone Cold Steve Austin challenges for the WWF Championship against The Phenom, what a match that will be while we also see Ken Shamrock vs Vader, Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs Flash Funk and Rocky Maivia vs Mankind. A debuting Ken Shamrock and Stone Cold’s first main event in the WWF on PPV are too interesting things to watch for sure, let’s see how they do. Not expecting much based on the card but I could be wrong you never know!
Flash Funk vs Hunter Hearst Helmsley W/ Chyna
Here comes Flash Funk back on WWF PPV for the first time in a few months, Scorpio is a tremendous athlete that would be mishandled by the American companies like WCW & WWF while getting a good run in ECW and later in Pro Wrestling Noah. Meanwhile, Hunter Hearst Helmsley is turning things around with Chyna by his side. Helmsley is hiding behind Chyna and mocking Scorpio, I love it. Commentary puts over Chyna’s power and presence at ringside, no Funkettes at ringside for Flash. Flash grabs a side headlock, shoulder block and a big hip-toss with a dropkick. Ring sounds like trash, Flash works the arm of The Blue Blood. Helmsley drops some elbows as Funk dodges and whips Helmsley using his feet. Dropkick to the floor, springboard clothesline from Flash.
Chyna takes out Flash with a clothesline as Hunter is with the referee, Flash fights back with massive rights, Flash lowers his head off an Irish whip and eats a face-buster and a running high knee. Big chops in the corner, right hands and stomps from Helmsley. Chyna decks Flash with a right hand for a close two, suplex and a knee drop from Helmsley. Reverse chin-lock but Flash escapes with a kick to the head, Helmsley regains control with a knee. Another running knee from Helmsley, Funk is getting clubbed across the apron and Helmsley knees Funk who lands hard on the ramp. Helmsley throws Funk back into the ring, Chyna stares on menacingly. Helmsley tries a double axe handle with Flash blocking with a boot, Flash is firing up oh they are coming alive for Flash with Helmsley being swept off his feet.
Chops from Flash, back body drop and a big clothesline from Flash. Flash starts calling for a springboard, sling-shot leg drop with Chyna staring at Flash. Diving crossbody from Flash, Helmsley is begging off for mercy. Rights and lefts from Flash, Helmsley eats a spinning heel kick from Flash. Flash goes high, Helmsley crotches Flash on the top rope. Massive belly to back suplex from Helmsley, Pedigree in the middle of the ring and we have a winner!
Wow that was anti-climatic for sure, it looked like a devastating belly to back suplex for sure but I didn’t think the finish was coming at that point. Flash never has been given much in the WWF so an opening match on an In Your House PPV is as good as its going to get for 2 Cold Scorpio. Chyna adds a new dynamic to Helmsley’s matches but hopefully with the Mankind feud coming up soon, Hunter can become a more complete performer who can capture my attention throughout his matches. Glad to see Helsmley back on track but we still need more from Hunter!
Winner: Hunter Hearst Helmsley over Flash Funk via Pedigree!
Mankind vs Rocky Maivia
The deranged and demented Mankind takes on the high-flying rookie Rocky Maivia with the crowd continuing to voice their disapproval of the rising superstar. Wonder what will happen to this struggling babyface eh? Mankind rocks back and forth as Rocky wants to start this match, the referee holds back Rocky as Mankind continues to stall before Rocky turns his back. Rocky lures Mankind in, back body drop and dropkick by The Rock. Clothesline to the floor, Mankind drags out Rocky and begins smashing Rocky. Back rake from Mankind, Rocky is slammed into the ring apron, Mankind boots Rocky. Rocky reverses and Irish whip and lands a powerslam before missing an elbow drop. Mankind gets caught in a hammerlock from Rocky, Rocky drives knees into the back and arm of Mankind.
Big rights from Mankind, Rocky sweeps the legs of Mankind. Mankind tosses Rocky to the floor, apron diving senton from Mankind. Mankind tees off on Rocky with big rights, running corner knee from Mankind. Mankind continues to dish out the punishment with big right hands, Rocky dodges a corner splash but both men go down off a clothesline.
Rocky lands a Rock Bottom on the ramp for a reaction from fans as this match continues to spill out over the arena. Rocky throws Mankind in the ring for a close two, Mankind cannot stand when whipped across the ring as Rocky continues to land right hands and scores big with the belly to belly suplex for a close two. Mankind tries a kick before nailing a discuss clothesline on Rocky. Small package from Rocky for two, clothesline to the back of the head by Rocky. Rocky lands his shoulder-breaker and calls for the end of the match, Rocky lands the crossbody or so we think as Mankind rolls through with The Mandible Claw and Rocky passes out to the devastating hold.
Again an almost lifeless match based on the fans’ reaction who seem to be sick of Rocky Maivia but still not reacting huge to Mankind either, they work hard inside of the ring but when Rocky does not have the support of the fans and Mankind’s last resort is destroying his body, we get a brutal looking Rock Bottom on the ramp but you are not missing anything with this match either.
Winner: Mankind over Rocky Maivia via Manidble Claw!
Ahmed Johnson vs The Nation of Domination
This feud continues with Ahmed looking to bury his feud with The Nation of Domination, Ahmed Johnson accepted this challenge at last month’s PPV with Ahmed agreeing to take on the three main members of The Nation of Domination. Now the crowd actually come alive for Ahmed Johnson, this might be a lot of fun if Ahmed is allowed to just throw people around left, right and centre. So, it shall be Crush vs Ahmed first as Gorilla Monsoon has ordered the rest of The Nation to leave.
Right hands by Ahmed, Crush is down. Scissors Kick from Ahmed, scoop slam from Ahmed. Crush dodges an elbow from Ahmed, superkick from Crush. Clothesline from Crush for two, nerve-hold from Crush. Ahmed lands a sit-out suplex for a close two, Crush manages to turn the tide with a big sleeper. Ahmed fights out but eats a big knee to the ribs, The Nation continue to watch from the ramp as Ahmed almost rolls up Crush with a schoolboy for two. Crush lands a massive piledriver before deciding it’s Heart Punch time. Ahmed counters for a spinning heel kick to the face, Crush has been defeated.
Savio is up next who is limping to the ring, Ahmed decks Savio with right hands, back body drop from Ahmed. Two for Ahmed, clotheslines from Ahmed. Savio sends Ahmed to the buckle and lands his spinning heel kick in the corner, Savio continues to club Ahmed with big right hands to the ribs. Savio continues to stomp Ahmed and talking trash, big right from Savio and kicks from The Nation member. Corner choke from Savio, snap-mare into a nerve-hold. Ahmed fights back landing a big hip-toss, Ahmed goes to the middle rope. Savio dodges the splash, Savio slaps the head of Ahmed. Ahmed starts slugging it out though, big right hands with Savio missing a corner splash. Belly to back suplex for two, massive powerslam for two. Ahmed calls for the end, Savio rolls out of the ring.
Ahmed is in pursuit, Savio is running away before nailing a massive superkick. Savio pushes down the time-keeper and grabs a steel chair and Ahmed is nailed in the throat and head with a steel-chair. Savio has been disqualified but the damage has been done as Savio waffles Ahmed with the chair over and over in the ribs. Faarooq comes into the ring and paint-brushes Ahmed over and over, small package by Ahmed for two. Right hand by Faarooq, spinebuster from Ahmed who calls for the end. Pearl River Plunge from Ahmed, Faarooq manages to kick out of the Plunge, Ahmed gets chop-blocked by Faarooq and Faarooq delivers The Dominator for the win.
Well I get what they were going for, Ahmed was exhausted and gave everything and Faarooq was too fresh to be put down by The Pearl River Plunge but for Faarooq to pop right back up and chop-block Ahmed and then nail his finish for the win, does that not show that Ahmed’s Pearl River Plunge is useless? How could Faarooq pop up just like that? How could the agent not see that this did no favours for Ahmed Johnson or anybody involved in the match? I just can’t believe they let that happen to poor Ahmed, I guess this feud is going to continue? How can I believe in Ahmed after being utterly squashed like that by Faarooq and his finish being brushed off like a slap to the head?
Winner: Faarooq over Ahmed Johnson via Dominator!
(No Holds Barred Match) Vader vs Ken Shamrock
Big reaction for the World’s Most Dangerous Man, this match can only end by submission or knockout. We have Ken Shamrock who worked in Pancrase and The UFC, building his legacy while Vader is no stranger to this style of match wrestling in the UWFI against the likes of Nobuhiko Takada and Gary Albright. Shamrock lands massive leg kicks to Vader, Vader shoves off Shamrock. They square off again, Vader takes the back with Shamrock blocking looking for the kimura. More leg kicks before Vader ties up Shamrock in the corner, Shamrock is too quick for Vader though and escapes the corner.
Shamrock takes the back, Vader is in the ropes. More leg kicks and Shamrock takes the back, Vader is suplexed but rolls to the floor. Vader comes back to the ring, landing a few shots before a massive German from Shamrock. Elbows from Shamrock, forearms rock Vader who rolls out a second time. Vader grabs Shamrock and headbutts Shamrock, rights and lefts from Vader. Rolling heel hook from Shamrock but Vader scrambles to the ropes as quick as lightning. Leg kicks and forearm shots from Shamrock, front chancery from Shamrock but Vader shoves Shamrock back. Short-arm clothesline, Fujiwara arm-bar from Vader. Shamrock counters looking for a cross arm-breaker and transitions to a triangle hold. Vader struggles before throwing off Shamrock, Vader suplexes Shamrock to the floor. Vader steps out to the floor and hurls Shamrock into the steel steps, Shamrock tries fighting back before Vader ends that flurry. Vader clubs Shamrock in the corner, hard Irish whip from Vader who looks for an ankle-lock. Rear-naked choke from Vader but Shamrock rolls through, Vader clubs Shamrock over and over again in the corner.
Vader Splash in the corner, scoop slam from Vader. Vader wants a moonsault, Shamrock rolls out of the way, big kicks and forearms from Shamrock. Knees and a powerslam, heel-hook from Shamrock but Vader grabs the ropes. Kicks to the thigh, single leg Boston-crab from Shamrock and Vader survives thanks to the ropes once more. Forearms and knees from Shamrock, Vader answers with a massive forearm of his own, Vader stands over Shamrock but Shamrock rolls into The Ankle Lock and Vader taps!
A positive debut for Shamrock, many people know of Shamrock working stiff in this one and Vader clobbering Shamrock in retaliation but this is a lot of fun, solid performance from Shamrock, it looks as Shamrock will be a positive addition to the roster who the fans can get behind if he continues to develop hi skills inside of the ring. Vader’s inconsistent push continues in the WWF, cannot wait to enjoy Vader’s run in WCW which will be viewed very soon on the site because I need to see Vader just destroy bitches again.
Winner: Ken Shamrock over Vader via Ankle-Lock!
(WWF Championship Match) Stone Cold Steve Austin vs The Undertaker ©
The anti-hero Stone Cold Steve Austin continues his rise to the top of the WWF, Austin defeated Bret Hart via DQ at the last PPV when The British Bulldog smashed Austin with a steel chair in the back of the head. The Undertaker has continued his reign of dominance since defeating Sid by defeating old foe Mankind. The shadow of The Hart Foundation looms large over this match as The Hart Foundation have purchased seats at ringside for this special occasion. Can The Rattlesnake focus on The Phenom with his nemesis Bret Hart at ringside?
Austin and Undertaker are staring one another down when we see The Hart Foundation come down to ringside, Bret Hart is in a wheelchair due to the attacks of Austin who damaged the knee of The Hitman. Austin goes after Taker, right hands to the back and stomps in the corner. Taker is being bounced around the ring before Taker decides it’s time to start pummelling Austin. Austin grabs Owen Hart and starts hammering The Rocket while Taker throws Austin into the steel steps. Taker nails Owen Hart and Davey Boy for sitting at ringside, Austin attacks Taker upon re-entering the ring but Taker lands his flying clothesline on Austin. Taker lands shoulder thrusts and Old School for two, Austin eye-pokes Taker and grabs a side-headlock takedown.
They sit in the headlock before Austin lands big right hands, shoulder block does not knock Taker so Austin goes back to the side headlock takedown. Taker tries a belly to back suplex but Austin flips out and chop-blocks Taker and goes after the leg with stomps before Taker counters and pummels Austin with rights and lefts. Austin pulls down Taker and wraps the knee around the ring-post, Taker pulls Austin into the ring-post but Austin recovers first and drops all his weight on that leg. Knee to the face from Austin, Austin continues working the leg with Taker struggling to free himself from Austin’s control. Taker kicks off Austin and decides when re-entering the ring, Taker is going to cripple Austin’s knee.
Austin fights his way out but Taker takes down Austin again, single leg Boston crab from Taker. Austin escapes, ducks a big boot and hammers the leg of Taker. Taker goes after Old School again, Austin trips up Taker. Taker blocks the suplex sending Austin to the mat, Austin dodges an elbow drop for two. Sleeper from Taker, jaw-breaker from Austin to counter. Taker fires back with right hands, low blow from The Rattlesnake. Taker answers with a low blow of his own, Chokeslam from The Phenom. Austin rolls to the ropes, resourceful from Austin. Austin hot-shots Taker, Stone Cold Stunner from Austin. Brian Pillman rings the bell distracting Austin and the referee, Taker whips Austin and both men trade counters to The Tombstone before Undertaker plants Austin for the win. The Hart Foundation destroy Taker, Bret Hart is all alone as Austin attacks Bret and battles off The Foundation with The Deadman. Austin nails Taker with a Stunner before walking off into the sunset.
The first big match between Austin and Undertaker, it leaves me with the same feeling I have for all their encounters: something is just missing. No matter when these two mixed it up, it was never a top match with Austin admitting so when looking back on their matches. The knee-work from both never really goes anywhere and while Austin may not be your typical babyface, the crowd is split only truly happy when Austin & Taker batter The Hart Foundation. The whole match you are left wondering how The Hart Foundation are going to interfere and to their credit I thought having Pillman ring the bell throwing everything into chaos was a good way to go about it, the finish was also nice with the drama of the Tombstone. Fittingly, Austin’s loss is pretty much an afterthought as Austin clears out The Hart Foundation with Taker and stuns The Deadman.
Winner: The Undertaker over Stone Cold Steve Austin via Tombstone!
That was WWF’s In Your House: Cold Day In Hell, a largely disappointing PPV from the WWF. With the rise of Austin and the likes of Helmsley and Mankind continuing to grow their characters, the roster is looking in better shape but the action is still dragging for me in the year of 1997. I think interesting things are happening but the matches are not hitting the spot, I think some of the matches on this card could have been right at home on RAW or Shotgun Saturday Night. I don’t think Helmsley and Funk was very good, same with Rocky vs Mankind. There was no tag team matches on the card, no use of Owen or Davey Boy and Taker vs Austin just never does it for me. The product is getting better, they are in a better position than they were in 95 or 96 but it’s just not hitting that sweet spot, it’s not delivering or firing on all cylinders. I’ve covered at least half of 97’s PPVs at this point and I am curious to see how things will change with HBK’s return and the mid-card acts like Shamrock, Rock, Mankind and HHH finding their groove plus the debut of Kane but right now, I need more from the WWF. Thanks for reading and remember: there’s always another night!