Wednesday 14 July 2021

WWF One Night Only 1997 Review!


Hello and welcome to another wrestling review from Seanomaniac’s Wrestling Reviews, the only wrestling review series on the internet that has a more interesting saga than The Mcmahon Family! It’s WWF One Night Only, Davey Boy Smith against Shawn Michaels for the WWF European Championship! They have a wonderful video package hyping up Bulldog for the main event, the man can’t possibly lose right? We also have Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs Dude Love, Undertaker vs Bret Hart, Vader vs Owen Hart and more! Will this deliver? Possibly as we are in the UK so that means that match quality will not be top notch but it should be at least fun!


Dude Love vs Hunter Hearst Helmsley W/ Chyna

Seems a little odd for this feud to be continuing as Summerslam seemed to be the perfect end to it all but here we are months later with Dude still having problems with Helmsley. Elbow drop, slap and a back body drop from Dude, Helmsley is down as Dude dances. Eye poke from Helmsley, right hands from Helmsley before Dude fires back with a Mongolian chop. Dude struts around the ring and lands a massive clothesline, Helmsley rolls to the floor before Dude lands a massive forearm to the face. Helmsley misses a boot, Dude wrenches the arm and lands a leg drop to the arm for two. Knee drop to the arm, Dude continues to wrench the arm as Helmsley is in all sorts of trouble.


Forearms from Helmsley, Dude dodges the drop toehold and lands one of his own. Dude goes for a variation of The Indian Death-lock, Helmsley screams out in pain. Dude whips Helmsley to the buckle, Helmsley is in the tree of woe. Dude chops the leg of Helmsley, running elbow drop to the face of Helmsley. Dude calls for sweet chin music, Helmsley dodges and jumps to the floor. We have a chase around ringside, clothesline from Chyna that wipes out Dude. Hotshot from Helmsley, Helmsley hammers Dude down before Chyna lands a huge blow to the face. 2 for Helmsley, Dude begins battling back, Helmsley lands his face-buster for a close two. Abdominal stretch from Helmsley, Helmsley uses the ropes for leverage. The referee catches Helmsley, the referee pushes Helmsley who powders.


Dude takes advantage rallying with massive right hands, running face-buster from Dude for two. Helmsley sends Dude to the buckle, swinging neck-breaker from Helmsley. Pedigree is blocked as Dude catapults Helmsley into the buckle, Dude lands some massive rights with Helmsley being very rocked by this turn of events, Helmsley is sent into every buckle by Dude. Dude looks to charge, corner splash. Helmsley blocks the second clothesline, Dude is up there with Helmsley and arm-drags Helmsley down. Sweet shin music is on the menu, Double Arm DDT from Dude. 1….2… Chyna places Helmsley’s foot on the ropes and Dude is not happy. Helmsley boots Dude down and nails The Pedigree for the win.


Solid opening effort from these two, I thought Helmsley would have progressed and moved on from this feud to bigger and better things but these two are still brawling but I have no complaints from that because these two have great chemistry and kick a lot of ass when they are in the ring together. Fans are hot for seeing the WWF in action and it helps the match a lot but the two work hard and they are rewarded for their efforts. Great way to kick us off in the UK but I am not sure where things will go from here based on the rest of the card!


Winner: Hunter Hearst Helmsley over Dude Love via Pedigree!


Leif Cassidy vs Tiger Ali Singh

Quite the match for sure, Tiger Ali Singh taking on Leif Cassidy. Haven’t seen Leif Cassidy on PPV since the In Your House match against Flash Funk who also has seemed to disappear off WWF television. I don’t think either man is a babyface but I am guessing Singh is meant to be by default, Leif jumps Singh before Singh turns the tide. Big kicks from Singh, right hand staggers Leif. Hard Irish whips from Singh, belly to belly suplex from Singh. Boots to the head from Singh, Leif avoids the Irish whip and lands two big clotheslines. Spinning kick from Leif for two, Leif hammerlock throws Singh into the buckle. Leg drop into the arm and Fujiwara armbar from Leif. Singh begins fighting back, landing some sort of roll-through pin for two. Leif wants a superplex, Singh battles off and lands a diving bulldog which he calls The Tiger Bomb for the win.


Didn’t overstay its welcome but I think I have seen enough for me to never want to see Ali Singh again. Thankfully, the WWF agree with me because I think the next time you see Singh on PPV is when they return to the UK at the end of 98 for Capital Carnage and one USA PPV appearance in 99 for Singh before they decided this probably wasn’t a good idea. Anyways, things would get much better for Leif who would find the gimmick for himself in ECW but here are some dark days for poor Al Snow.


Winner: Tiger Ali Singh over Leif Cassidy via Tiger Bomb!


(WWF Tag Team Championship Match) The Headbangers © vs Los Boricuas

Savio and Miguel are challenging for the championships, they jump the champions to begin before Mosh & Thrasher smackdown Miguel & Savio with clotheslines. Miguel and Mosh kick us off officially, hip splash from Mosh with arm-drags for good measure. Mosh tags Thrasher who lands a diving clothesline, Savio comes for a double hip-toss and elbow drop by the champions. Miguel rakes the eyes, tag to Savio who eats another hip-toss and side headlock. Thrasher and Savio wrestle with some interesting results as Savio has to reach the ropes to survive, Miguel comes in but Thrasher continues to have control with a side headlock takedown. Miguel shoves off Thrasher who gets kicked in the back of the head by Savio. Miguel lands a big kick to the back of the head, tag to Savio.


Thrasher eats a massive spin-kick in the corner from Savio, boots from Miguel who applies a shoulder claw. The challengers club Thrasher behind the referee’s back, Thrasher escapes the shoulder claw and lands a crossbody for two before Savio lands a lethal kick to the head for two. Snap-mare and tag to Miguel who lands a scoop slam and a tornillo with a moonsault for two. Mosh saves Thrasher who continues to get stomped by the challengers, front chancery from Savio. Referee misses the tag and Miguel continues beating down Thrasher with another shoulder claw. More quick tags, scoop slam but Thrasher dodges the splash by using his knees. Savio smashes Mosh in the face, once more we have a build-up for the eventual hot-tag as the heels get more heat on Thrasher.


Miguel and Thrasher are in, sunset flip from Thrasher for two as Savio makes the save. Savio is now legal, massive chops in the corner. Savio misses a corner splash and Thrasher lands a huge belly to back suplex. In comes Mosh, big rights for both challengers. Dropkicks and Savio is clotheslined to the floor, super hurricanrana from Mosh for two as Savio makes the save. Thrasher is with Savio, Mosh powerslams Miguel for two but Savio is there once more. Miguel and Thrasher are brawling as Mosh back-drops Savio on the floor, Miguel powerbombs Thrasher but Mosh lands The Mosh Pit for the win.


Big reaction from The Headbangers, you love to see it as they definitely were getting a lot of love in the states compared to LOD etc. Good match to put over the champions, the wrestlers made those fans rampant for that hot-tag and it paid off and I am a very harsh critic of Vega so to see this was quite the enjoyable match is quite the compliment!


Winners: The Headbangers over Los Boricuas via Mosh Pit!


Flash Funk vs The Patriot

Speak of The Devil, I brought the man up earlier and here he is back on PPV. Flash Funk aka 2 Cold Scorpio is one of the most talented wrestlers of the 90s but when it came to the mainstream wrestling companies in America, Scorpio rarely was given a position on the card that was close to his talent in the ring. Patriot came in as a babyface and I believe by default, Patriot is the heel here due to his love of America.


Patriot out-wrestles Funk to begin but Funk shows off his speed too. Both men shake hands before going back at it, side headlock from Funk. Patriot uses his strength to change the hold, side headlock from Patriot. Shoulder block from Patriot with boos ringing out in the arena. Funk slides out of the suplex but Patriot trips Funk. Funk dodges the elbow and lands a dropkick, Patriot answers with a clothesline. Funk dodges a corner clothesline, skinning the cat onto the top rope and landing a massive crossbody for two. Clothesline from Funk for two, reverse chin-lock from Funk. Patriot fights out and regains control, more rest-holds in the middle of the ring. Funk fights out, booting away Patriot who lands a massive powerslam for two.


Victory roll from Funk for two, Patriot drills Funk with a clothesline. Patriot Missile connects for two, Funk lands shots in the corner. Corner splash from Funk, scoop slam. Funk calls for his finish, twisting splash for two. Funk wants to go for another high risk manoeuvre, Patriot blocks the moonsault with his knees and lands The Uncle Slam for the win.


Awkward is the word that comes to mind watching this match, Patriot seems to be off a bit inside of the ring, the chemistry not being there for this match while Bret Hart most certainly led the dance during their match at In Your House. Definitely at the point of the show where things usually drag, hoping for things to pick up soon enough!


Winner: The Patriot over Flash Funk via Uncle Slam!


Legion of Doom vs The Godwinns

Keeping LOD busy are The Godwinns who continue to be a thorn in their sides, this should be stiff at the very least considering what happened to Henry Godwinn at the hands of LOD. Animal and Henry to kick us off, it seems to be even between the two. Animal is backed into the corner, Henry goes low with massive clubbing blows. Animal eats an elbow from Henry, Irish whip by Henry but Animal ducks the clothesline and lands a massive shoulder block. Tag to Phineas, tag to Hawk. Hawk kicks and chops Phineas, Phineas is battered by Hawk. Corner clothesline, Irish whip to the opposite buckle. Hawk runs into the ring-post with his shoulder as Phineas dodges, reverse chin-lock from Phineas.


Henry and Hawk are in but Hawk battles back, jaw-breaker from Hawk. Tag to Animal who lands a back elbow and applies a reverse chin-lock. Animal is sent to the ropes where Phineas lands a kick behind the referee’s back, Henry clotheslines Animal to the floor. Tag to Phineas as The Godwinns double team Animal. Single arm DDT into a hammerlock from Phineas, tag to Henry. Phineas slams Animal to the mat, Phineas misses a middle rope attack as Animal blocks with his boot. Tag to Hawk who clotheslines everything, scoop slams galore. Neck-breaker to Phineas for two, Henry chucks Animal to the floor. Hawk eats a double clothesline, Slop Drop on Hawk. Henry kicks Animal down, 1…2… Hawk manages to power out! Phineas chokes Hawk with the flag behind the referee’s back, Henry watches on before tagging out.


Hawk eats a massive knee to the ribs, tag to Henry who lands a big elbow. Hawk manages to tag in Animal who runs wild, powerslam on Henry. Henry and Phineas are clotheslined down, Hawk clotheslines Henry to the floor. Doomsday Device and this match is over!


Another solid tag team match, nothing spectacular but I expected as it’s just a UK show. LOD continue to pick up momentum, surely it has to be a matter of time before this duo are Tag Team Champions once more! While Phineas may have been one of the most infuriating wrestlers to watch during the early years of his gimmick, the mean heel incarnation of The Godwinns has been solid inside of the ring but I will never forget how I had to suffer through Phineas and Sunny’s “love” story.


Winners: LOD over The Godwinns via Doomsday Device!


Vader vs Owen Hart

Originally scheduled to be Owen vs Shamrock, we now have Owen Hart vs Vader. Owen is very popular here in the UK but Vader against fun bumping smaller wrestlers is a good formula. Vader shoves off Owen to begin the match and Vader plays up with the crowd to begin, Vader shoves down Owen. Side headlock from Owen, shoulder block and Vader Hammer from Vader. Owen spills to the floor, Owen tries a sunset flip with Vader missing his hip splash. Owen tries a hurricanrana and lands it perfectly, right hands from Owen. Vader sends Owen to the buckle, Owen counters with a middle rope diving crossbody for two. Vader shoves off Owen’s sharpshooter, Owen wants a suplex. Vader tries a suplex but Owen slides out, schoolboy for two. Owen has to turn Vader for the sharpshooter but Vader makes it to the ropes immediately.


Owen tries a crucifix but Vader counters with a Samoan drop and a big elbow drop, Vader Splash from the middle rope for two. Sternum bump from Owen, Owen blocks right hands and tries a scoop slam but Vader shuts that right down. Short-arm clothesline from Vader, Fujiwara armbar from Vader. Owen escapes and fights out but Vader knees Owen and lands a corner splash. More Fujiwara armbar, Vader Hammer from Vader and massive rights to the face. Boot from Vader and Vader wants a Powerbomb, Owen slides out and lands the enzuigiri. Sharpshooter from Owen, Vader makes it to the ropes. Scoop slam from Owen for two, Owen whips Vader to the corner but Vader answers with a Vader Hammer. Vader Bomb is on the menu, will this be over? Owen blocks with massive knees to the ribs, missile dropkick from Owen and a kip-up. Spinning Heel Kick from Owen for two! Owen is cooking now, Owen wants to fly once more. Vader counters with diving crossbody into a powerslam for the win!


Surprising finish for sure considering it was meant to be Owen vs Shamrock, Owen losing clean considering his reaction and the fact that Owen is the Intercontinental Champion and how Vader usually was treated by the WWF booking team, this truly was a surprise for me. However, the match itself is a lot of fun and that’s no surprise, they knew what they were walking into with the crowd favouring the smaller Owen so Owen sells and sells building up to that eventual scoop slam and sharpshooter, I thought the spinning heel kick would do it but Vader counters and walks out the victor building up more momentum. Good stuff, the match of the night so far and it shows that there was a lot left in Owen Hart as a babyface in the WWF when the time comes!


Winner: Vader over Owen Hart via Powerslam!


(WWF Championship Match) The Undertaker vs Bret Hart ©

Summerslam rematch with no HBK around to ruin things for The Deadman, not the biggest fan of when these two have locked up inside of the ring. Rumble 96 was a rough match and the Summerslam match did not hit the spot for me but with a rampant UK crowd, could they pull it off?


Can’t imagine this one having any sort of definitive finish, Bret tees off with right hands before Taker throws Bret to the corner and lays in the punches. Bret is pulling himself with the ropes, headbutt from the challenger. Hard Irish whip and Taker tosses Bret to the buckle. Knees in the corner, Taker is with the referee as Bret exposes the top turnbuckle. Taker uppercuts The Hitman, Irish whip to the opposite buckle. Bret headbutts Taker over and over, right hands in the ribs. Taker clotheslines Bret down, crowd is split for sure. Bret clotheslines Taker, right hand after right hands from Bret. Taker is clotheslined to the floor but lands on his feet, Bret kicks Taker square in the face. Bret tries a plancha but Taker grabs Bret and rams the champion into the ring-post. They are brawling on the ramp, they battle back to the ring.


Taker is in firm control with big rights, Taker ducks his head off an Irish whip and Bret lands a massive DDT. Taker sits up though, leg drop from The Hitman. Multiple elbow drops from The Hitman, Bret rakes Taker’s face off the top rope and stomps on the throat of The Phenom. Taker sends Bret into the exposed buckle, Taker steps on the chest of the champion. Surfboard stretch by Taker which transitions into a pinning combination for two, Bret stomps away the leg of Taker but Taker uppercuts Bret down. Back-breaker from The Deadman who stretches the champion over his knee, Bret escapes and goes back to the knee. Whip to the buckle, Taker answers with an elbow. Taker whips Bret to the buckle, Taker misses a knee to the face and Bret goes to work. Bret hammers the leg, dropping his weight on the leg and stomping/stretching the leg as much as possible.


Bret drags Taker to the ring-post, Bret sends Taker’s leg into the post before applying the ring-post Figure Four! Bret continues dishing out the punishment to Taker’s leg, the challenger is in deep trouble. Figure four from The Hitman, Taker reverses the hold and the pressure, hobbling towards The Hitman. Headbutt and rights from the challenger, Irish whip but the boot misses for The Deadman. Bret kicks out the leg of Taker and drives his knee into the leg over and over, side Russian leg-sweep for two. Suplex for two, Bret’s Rope elbow drop does not connect as Taker uses his boot to block. Double knockdown as both men hit a clothesline! Taker leg-drops the groin of Bret for two, Bret counters the second attempt into a Sharpshooter. Taker uses his leg strength to kick off Bret, fans cannot believe it as Bret drives his head into the nether regions of the challenger.


Bret looks for the sharpshooter but Taker grabs the champion by the throat, Bret kicks out the leg of Taker but Taker pummels Bret with rights and lefts! Irish whip and boot by Taker, Taker lands a leg drop for two. Bret rolls out, grabbing the ring-bell, Taker is in pursuit and boots down The Hitman. The referee pulls away the ring-bell, chop-block from The Hitman. Bret takes out the leg of The Deadman again before Taker shoves Bret to the floor, the cameraman is wiped out by Bret. Taker hurls Bret into the steel steps, Bret is sent hard into the ring-post. Taker wants old school but Bret yanks Taker from the top rope to the canvas, Taker wants tombstone but Bret slides out with an O’Connor roll for a close two. Bret wants the tombstone, Taker kicks his legs out but Bret holds onto the ropes to survive.


Bret is caught in the ropes, Bret cannot break free as Taker goes to work, the official calls for the bell as Taker will not let The Hitman go free, Chokeslam from The Deadman. It takes multiple officials and his brother Owen to save him, Taker grabs Gerry Briscoe and Chokeslams him all the way to hell.


Despite the finish, I love this match. The crowd makes this the best Taker vs Bret match, the best that they ever had in my eyes. The crowd is split and react big to everything, Bret’s strategy is perfect. Weathering the storm, looking up for that one opening to take down The Deadman. Bret believes it will be the exposed buckle but in a cruel twist of fate that I love, Taker sends Bret into the buckle. Bret’s selling is perfection inside of that ring on this night, you can feel and see the air leave Bret’s body when he meets the buckle, you can see Bret’s desperation as Taker pummels him around the ring. Simply brilliant stuff from The Hitman, the fans are so invested in the match they never stop making noise the entire time, the match is pure chaos. Interesting finish too, it worked for sure and these guys worked their asses off, HBK is not one to be topped though so if I thought this match was good, I wonder what’s coming next!


Winner: Bret Hart over The Undertaker via DQ!


(WWF European Championship Match) British Bulldog © vs Shawn Michaels

Bulldog dedicating this match to his sister Tracy who battled back from cancer twice, Bulldog is over like rover in the UK with Michaels walking up the ramp and not caring about the hero. Bulldog shoves Michaels down, Michaels says Bulldog grabbed his hair but Bulldog shoves HBK down again and again. Michaels backs up onto the turnbuckle but Bulldog drags him down. Bearhug from Bulldog, two chop-blocks and Michaels is clotheslined onto the floor. Michaels is walking away, Michaels wants a time-out. Michaels eye-pokes Bulldog, right hands by HBK. Bulldog sends HBK into both buckles and suplexes Michaels into the ring. Bulldog military presses Michaels down, abdominal stretch from Bulldog. Michaels is sent tumbling over the top rope by Bulldog, Bulldog pulls HBK back into the ring, arm-drags from Bulldog. Bulldog keeps wrenching on the arm of HBK, HBK fires back with forearms. HBK tries shoulder blocks but an eye-poke works for sure, Michaels tried a hurricanrana but Bulldog countered it for a beautiful powerbomb for two.


Bulldog has a hammerlock to wear down Michaels, Michaels escapes and tries a crucifix but Bulldog lands a big Samoan drop. Bulldog wants a Romero special, Bulldog gets distracted and gets decked with a right hand to the face. Irish whip by Michaels, Bulldog catches Michaels for his delayed vertical suplex for a close two. The fans are not happy, the insurance policy is here though it’s Rick Rude. O’Connor roll from Bulldog but Rude shoves Bulldog so Michaels almost steals this match, Rude grabs Bulldog which allows Michaels to shove Bulldog to the floor. Rude shoves Bulldog into the ring-post, Michaels lands a diving axe handle to the floor. Rude shoves Bulldog into the ring apron, Michaels steps on the head of Bulldog in the ring.


Sleeper from Michaels, belly to back suplex from Bulldog to release the hold. Two for Bulldog, Michaels maintains control with a kick to the head. Hard Irish whip to the corner from Michaels, hip-toss into a short-arm scissors from Michaels. Bulldog powers out of the hold, both men end up banging heads in the middle of the ring. More boos as we see Chyna & Hunter Hearst Helmsley are on their way to the ring, Bulldog begins smacking around HBK. Massive back body drop, Michaels flip out of the corner. Clothesline and catapult for two, Bulldog misses a corner spear and strikes the ring-post hard with his shoulder. Michaels climbs high after a scoop slam, diving elbow drop from HBK. Make it double, HBK calls for Sweet Chin Music. Michaels misses, Bulldog tries the running powerslam but Rick Rude has Bulldog’s foot.


Bulldog clotheslines Michaels to the floor, the referee is with Rick Rude. Helmsley gets a clothesline from Bulldog, Bulldog wants the powerslam but slips off the floor, Sweet Chin Music on the floor and a Pedigree on the floor for good measure. Bulldog’s leg has been crippled as Michaels looks to apply the figure four leg-lock. Michaels rips off the protective knee-brace and throws it to Dianna, Figure Four leg-lock from Michaels. Chyna and Helmsley hold Michaels’ hands for extra leverage, this is awful! Bulldog is crawling but Rude cheap-shots Bulldog down, more leverage with Chyna and Michaels. Bulldog is in crippling pain, where are The Hart Foundation? Bulldog passes out to the pain, this match is over! Huge boos in the arena and shit is flying into the ring!


It’s one of the boldest moves you will ever see in professional wrestling but that’s a fancy way of saying it is HBK at his worst because this is Hogan levels of politicking brother! Having Bulldog lose in the UK was unfathomable, it was setup for Michaels to lose, the man dedicated the match to his sister who had battled cancer! Politics aside, Michaels is at his dickhead best here being the most infuriating cheating prick I have ever seen. Stalling, eye-pokes and directing attacks towards Dianna, HBK is on fire as he has been since becoming a heel and its on full display here. Bulldog is hit and miss for me, on the right night in small bursts I can manage Bulldog unless he is in the ring with Bret or Shawn because when he’s in there with one of those two, the matches are awesome. This is no different, no twenty minute rest-holds, no wasted motion. It’s either Bulldog dominating with cool looking power manoeuvres or Bulldog selling because of Michaels’ cheating ways. It’s interesting why Owen and Bret wouldn’t get involved when Rude and the rest of the soon to be DX were there, I guess it would have been more triumphant if Bulldog had overcame them all but things didn’t go that way but this was an exciting main event with an outcome that is almost surreal to see but what a way to cement the top heel faction in the company at the time!


Winner: Shawn Michaels over British Bulldog via TKO!


That was WWF’s One Night Only 1997, arguably WWF’s best UK PPV. While many have fond memories of Summerslam 1992 and we got to see the likes of The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Undertaker, Kane and your Attitude Era favourites at the likes of Capital Carnage, Rebellion and Insurrextion respectively, I would be happy to argue that from a match quality standpoint and getting your money’s worth, you won’t find another match except for Bret vs Bulldog (Summerslam 92) that could compare to that Bret Hart vs Undertaker WWF Championship match and HBK vs British Bulldog. We know they take it easier when it comes to the UK PPVs but not here, Bret Hart and Undertaker have a great match with an insanely hot crowd to boot while Bulldog as the hero of England vs the arrogant HBK is great stuff too. These two matches alone make this PPV worth watching at least once if you want to get an idea of what the WWF was like in 1997 as it headed ever closer to The Attitude Era. Dude Love vs Helmsley is a good opening match that sets the mood for the night while Owen Hart plays a great babyface underdog against Vader in a very fun match. The card drags in the middle as expected with Tiger Ali Singh of all people making an appearance on PPV but those last two matches more than make up for the rest of the card. The WWF was not messing around when it came to the UK here, I wish this trend would have continued with Rebellion and Insurrextion but that was sadly not the case. Definitely would recommend the last two matches for their quality and also to see what its like when politics rears its ugly head in professional wrestling! Thanks for reading and remember: there’s always another night!

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