Jump to content
Pro Wrestling Only

The 1997 WWF Project


Recommended Posts

I'm going to watch all of the WWF PPVs that happened on 1997. I'll cover the more memorable TV matches too. 1997 might be my favourite year for the WWF as there hasn't been a year where so much changed over the course of the year. If you compare January 1997 to December 1997, it's like looking at two different companies. Let's see if it holds up. 

WWF Royal Rumble 1997 (1/19/1997)

WWF Intercontinental Title Match    
Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Curtis Hughes) (c) vs. Goldust (w/Marlena)

Goldust is an excellent worker and Hunter was decent enough by this point in his career. Both men can throw a neat punch and they spent a lot of this one brawling outside the ring in between the less exciting moments when they keep it in the ring. Goldust gets a little too heavy-handed during the brawling and starts using the steel steps right in front of Earl Hebner, who does nothing. This really lit a fire under Jim Ross's ass as he chews out Hebner for not officiating correctly. Hunter does a Ric Flair-style flop beak-first onto the steel steps that the fans found amusing. Curtis Hughes makes his return as Hunter's new bodyguard and he was about as useless as you would expect Mr. Hughes has been throughout his career. The finish we got here was an overly-contrived screwy one, with both Hughes and Marlena getting involved. This was fine, if not a little dull in places. ★★½

Ahmed Johnson vs. Faarooq (w/Clarence Mason, Crush, D-Lo Brown, JC Ice & Wolfie D)
We are on our second match for the PPV and this is the second match on the show where a wrestler hits another weapon right in front of the referee and the referee does nothing! Ahmed is back from injury and you can start to see the wheels coming off for him physically by just how he moves around the ring. The guy looks in pain. Faarooq tries to get a good match out of Ahmed by trash-talking and keeping the action simple, but he's no miracle worker and Faarooq's best in-ring years were behind him by this point. Despite how unrealistic it was, I did enjoy seeing Ahmed scoop up Faarooq in the electric chair position when Faarooq was too busy jaw-jacking with the fans. This was short enough to not be too offensive, and the table bump during the post-match looked cool and it gave Ahmed and the NOD a reason to keep feuding. ★½

Vader vs. The Undertaker
Both men aren't afraid to lay it into each other and the punches here look very convincing. Seeing Vader cower away from Undertaker in fear during his shine just doesn't didn't sit right with me, even if was decent at being a chickenshit. The WWF really screwed up with Vader by having him be a cowardly heel instead of a kick-ass world-beater. Undertaker is one of the few stars that the dead crowd seems to give a crap about. Undertaker puts some effort in here by pulling out some different stuff, such as countering Vader's back body drop by landing a nice jumping leg drop as Vader bends down. Vader scores a rare pinfall win over Undertaker after Paul Bearer makes an appearance and hits Undertaker with the urn. Undertaker gets some of his heat back by choke-slamming the referee after the bell. This had quite a slow place and they would have a better PPV match later in the year, but I didn't hate this. ★★½

Fuerza Guerrera, Heavy Metal & Jerry Estrada vs. Canek, Hector Garza & Perro Aguayo
This was a failed exhibition for the AAA guys. They went way too long and they didn't give the fans anything to care about. It felt like no one in the audience had any idea who anyone in this match was. Heavy Metal tries and fails to get them involved by showing some love with a pro-USA rallying call. We got a few cool spots and sequences here and there, but they wouldn't keep the action flowing well. I did enjoy seeing Perry Aguayo as the old salty vet, even if he did fuck up the finish by completely missing his opponent with his double foot stomp from the top finish. He then had to come up with another finish on the fly and it was flat as a pancake. ★¾

Royal Rumble Match
This was quite a hard Rumble to sit through. It was so dull, with the fans sitting on their hands in silence for the majority of it. The AAA guys added nothing to the match, and it only went to show how egotistic Mil Mascaras is as he eliminated himself as didn't want anyone to get a rub from eliminating him. Owen ends up eliminating British Bulldog, which is the first sign of them teasing a break-up. Austin's reaction to Bret Hart coming out was by far my favourite moment of this match. His reaction was priceless. Jerry Lawler's being a surprise entrant and getting eliminated seconds later was genuinely quite funny and added some much-needed personality into the match. The match starts to show a bit of life once Bret and other stars join the match. I liked the screwy finish, with Austin sneaking back into the match after both referees were too pre-occupied with Funk and Mankind fighting on the outside to notice that Austin was actually thrown out by Bret. Austin gets the biggest victory of his career up to this point and it gave Bret a reason to finally start embracing the heel side. ★★

WWF World Heavyweight Title Match
Sycho Sid (c) vs. Shawn Michaels (w/Jose Lothario)

HBK had the flu here and you can tell that he wasn't running at 100%. Sid's stuff here was basic, but worked over Shawn's back and brought enough crazed facials to the table to keep his control segment interesting. Shawn using the TV camera was a nice callback to their Survivor Series match where Sid used the camera to dethrone Michaels as WWF Champion. This was an entertaining enough main event, but you can't help to think that this match (and the entire show) would have been improved if it happened at a smaller arena that was sold out with passionate fans instead of a stadium that had a heavily papered attendance. The fans were louder for this than any other match on this card, but it didn't quite feel like the triumphant homecoming victory that they were hoping for. ★★¾

Final Thoughts: This is far from being one of the worst PPVs that WWF had put up to at this time, but there's nothing here to go out of your way to watch. The massive stadium doesn't do that much to make things feel big-time when the atmosphere still feels so lifeless. 

WWF In Your House 13: Final Four (2/16/1997)

Marc Mero (w/Sable) vs. Leif Cassidy
This reminded me of the many Mero matches that used to open WCW PPVs, as this was a match that was decent enough to open the show without stealing the spotlight from the bigger matches on the show. Mero is a charismatic guy, and he can coast by on that and he was never really that interesting in-ring when you strip away all his presentation and the high spots from his moveset. Cassidy does a good enough job at working over Mero's leg. The camera keeps cutting to Sable and you can tell that the fed has big plans for here. Jerry Lawler can't stop making domestic abuse jokes about her, sheesh. Cassidy's downfall comes when he can't keep his eyes off Sable and it ends up costing him. Mero's finish is still quite a sight to see, even in 2022. ★★½

Bart Gunn, Flash Funk & Goldust (w/Marlena) vs. The Nation Of Domination (Crush, Faarooq & Savio Vega) (w/Clarence Mason, D-Lo Brown, JC Ice & Wolfie D)
The Nation beat a thrown-together team of babyface lower-card guys by playing the numbers game once again. Ahmed wasn't on the card tonight, so this felt like a TV match to heat up the Nation by giving them yet another victory before Ahmed and friends come to save the day. Funk gets to show off his agility and high spots during his shine and he was by far the most impressive man of the match. Funk gets his water cut off once the Nation comes to get and catch him during a dive attempt. Funk eventually makes a hot tag and the match turns into a fight with everyone getting involved, and Crush is able to sneak in and drop a leg on the legal Bart Gunn and seal the victory for the Nation. ★★

WWF Intercontinental Title Match
Rocky Maivia (c) vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley

This was quite impressive given that Rocky didn't even have a year under his belt at this point. Hunter tries to psych out Rocky by slapping him on the head, but this fails and Rocky shows a tiny bit of attitude and slaps Hunter back. Hunter carried the bulk of the match, and Rocky jumped through the hoops that Hunter set up. Rocky's stuff looks excellent, with his crossbody, arm drags, and dropkicks all looking nice and crisp. Hunter gets in some 80s wrestler worship by doing the Harley Race knee drop, the Flair turnbuckle bump, and the DiBiase front bump after getting punched in the mid-section after coming off the ropes. Goldust ends up costing Hunter the match, but Hunter gets the last laugh as Chyna makes her debut and chokes out Marlena. I can see why people started to turn on Rock at this time because of his character and booking, but you would have to be disingenuous to call him a bad worker as he clearly had all the tools to go far, even at this point in his career. ★★★¼

WWF World Tag Team Title Match
Owen Hart & The British Bulldog (w/Clarence Mason) (c) vs. Doug Furnas & Philip LaFon

This felt quite similar to the tag match these two tag teams had on Raw leading up to this. It's quite work-rate heavy, but they kept things different here by bringing some fresh exchanges to the mix and this bout had more emphasis on tag team psychology than their previous outing. Bulldog and Owen are constantly cheating behind the referee's back. Bulldog looked more fired up than I can ever remember him looking during his WWF run. Perhaps he was worried he would look outclassed by the other three talented men in this match and decided to put on his working boots? They are still teasing Bulldog and Owen splitting up and they come to blows here after a miscommunication sees Bulldog getting kicked in the jaw by Owen. I know some people weren't pleased by the DQ finish, but I thought it worked for the story they were trying to tell and it wouldn't have made sense to stick the tag straps on Furnas and LaFon as they weren't over enough to win them. ★★★½

WWF World Heavyweight Title Final Four Battle Royal
Vader (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker

This was chaotic. We might see multi-man matches on a weekly basis in 2022, but this felt fresh and the crowd came alive for this. Undertaker kicks a steel chair into Vader's face and he bleeds a right gusher. Vader bleeding through his mask made for a harrowing visual that will stick with me for a while. We get a lot of brawling around the ring and up the aisle. Bret Hart can brawl as well as he can wrestle. Seeing Vader and Austin clobber the crap out of each other makes me feel sad that we didn't get a proper program between them. Austin is eliminated first by Bret, but that won't be the last time we will see him tonight. The over-the-top eliminations were obviously put in place to protect everyone, but I don't think it hurt the match. Bret gets one last babyface hurrah before his world comes crashing down on him and he finally turns heel. ★★★★

Final Thoughts: 
Even with Shawn vacating his title and forcing the WWF to create a new main event with less than a week's notice, this show is a bit of a hidden gem. The two hours just fly by and there's nothing offensive on the card. The last three matches range from good to great and the first two are decent enough. Give this a watch if you fancy something short and sweet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

WWF Wrestlemania 13 (3/23/1997)

Four Way Elimination Tag Team Match
Doug Furnas & Philip LaFon vs. The Godwinns (Henry O. Godwinn & Phineas I. Godwinn) (w/Hillbilly Jim) vs. The Head Bangers (Mosh & Thrasher) vs. The New Blackjacks (Blackjack Bradshaw & Blackjack Windham)

The New Blackjacks could have worked as a great hoss heel team if they weren't saddled knocking off a gimmick that was over two decades old at this point. I never understood Vince's obsession with making 'new' versions of classic tag teams. There's a bit of confusion about the rules as both Headbangers are the two legal men at one point. We are told that they have to fight or risk being disqualified, which is a dumb ruling as it makes zero sense for tag partners to fight in a tag match. Furnas hits a beautiful frankensteiner on one of the Blackjacks. Blackjacks and Lafon & Furnas are easily the most enjoyable parts of this match, although it's not long until both of them are eliminated in succession. Firstly the Blackjacks get DQ'd by attacking a referee, then Lafon & Furnas are counted out. The Godwins take control of The Headbangers as Lawler and McMahon have some great lines about McMahon being out of touch with rock music. The Headbangers eventually pick up the win after using their speed and aerial attacks. This did its job of getting over The Headbangers as a quirky yet likable opening tag team. Meltzer gave this one negative stars, but I have no idea why it's so low as it's a perfectly acceptable tag match. It's a bit clunky when all four teams were in the match, but some of the high spots make up for it. ★★

WWF Intercontinental Title Match
Rocky Maivia (c) vs. The Sultan (w/Bob Backlund & The Iron Sheik)

The Honky Tonk Man joins the commentary team for this and he's humorously out of place for 1997. The Rocky Maivia character has been a massive bomb so far, with many 'Rocky sucks' chants being heard throughout the match. Rocky can clearly work and he's got all the fundamentals down, but he desperately needs a different presentation. The Sultan can't work an interesting control segment to save his life. He keeps Rocky in a chin lock that felt like it went on forever. The only entertainment I got from this part of the match was the commentary. Rocky's dancing comeback is cheap initiation of his dad's, it's no wonder why he didn't get over initially. After hitting his signature top rope crossbody, Rocky goes for a pin only for the referee to be distracted by Bob Backlund and Iron Sheik at ringside. After a Sultan false-finish, Rocky scores a roll-up for the win. The heels lead a post-match attack and eventually Rocky Johnson gets involved and helps his son clean house. It's nice that they gave Johnson a moment at Wrestlemania, but it did his son no favours as it made him look like a Daddy's boy. This match was saved from being completely dull by the ending and the post-match stuff. ★¾

Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) vs. Goldust (w/Marlena)
Despite also being a heel, Lawler rips on Chyna's appearance. Stay classy, Jerry. Goldust starts this match with the shine you would expect any southern babyface to get. Great Punches Dustin brawls Helmsley all over the place, getting him tied up in the ropes, a spot that has to be as old as pro-wrestling itself. Goldust is cut off by taking a nasty spill to the outside after a failed top rope move. The rest of the match consists of Goldust keep getting cut off whenever he tries to make a comeback. After standing still the entirety of the match, Chyna makes her way to Marlena. Marlena ends up in a bearhug as Chyna violently ragdolls her about. This distraction is enough for HHH to land a Pedigree and get the win. This was nothing fancy, but both men know how to work and the Chyna attacking Marlena made for a scary sight. ★★¾

WWF World Tag Team Title Match
Owen Hart & The British Bulldog (c) vs. Mankind & Vader (w/Paul Bearer)
Both teams are heels, but Bulldog and Owen work as faces for this match. Bulldog does some cool power spots on Vader and Owen does a decent job at being a face, despite being a heel for most of his WWF run. I think he would have fared better if they gave us a reason to cheer him. Lawler absolutely loses his shit when he finds out that Stu and Helen Hart are at ringside, as he rips into them in typical King fashion. Bulldog gets a hot tag and throws Mankind violently into the turnbuckle twice. The match goes to a double count-out after Mankind and Bulldog get knocked outside. Looking at all the phenomenal talent in this match, this should have been better than it was. Being a heel vs heel match and having a weak non-finish all didn't help matters. Vader was clearly done with the WWF at this point, it's crazy to think that he would stick around for another year. ★★½

No Holds Barred Submission Match (Special Referee: Ken Shamrock)
Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin

Even watching these two trade punches is elite-tier stuff. They brawl throughout the crowd and it feels organic. The crowd, who have been quiet all night, wake up as soon as the crowd brawling starts. Once their back in the ring, Bret starts his assault on Austin's leg. Austin sells this so well, flailing all over the place. Austin tries to keep with Bret, but Bret keeps cutting him off. After getting cut open, Austin doesn't have much more to give. He tries to choke out Bret with an electrical cord, but Bret wails him with a ring bell. All the weapon spots have meaning and aren't just used to add a nice spot here and there. Austin passes out in the Sharpshooter, and Shamrock calls for the bell. J. R's call of Austin never giving up adding a lot to his face turn. This is so much more than just a good bladejob. This is still the best match that WWF/E have ever put on. ★★★★★

Chicago Street Fight
Ahmed Johnson & The Legion Of Doom (Road Warrior Animal & Road Warrior Hawk) vs. The Nation Of Domination (Crush, Faarooq & Savio Vega) (w/Clarence Mason, D-Lo Brown, JC Ice & Wolfie D)

Yeah, I still enjoy this a lot. By no means a perfect brawl as the match starts to lose some of its intensity before they wrap up, but LOD and Ahmed Johnson look larger than life handling the entire Nation of Domination. Ahmed looks like a total star rocking his LOD gear. LOD are well past their prime, but you wouldn't have noticed due to the chaotic pace of the match (if you can ignore that horrific piledriver spot where Faarooq gets dropped on his head). This type of ECW garbage brawling just wasn't seen in a major federation at the time. This is the only street fight that WWE has done that actually lives up to its name. ★★★½

WWF World Heavyweight Title No Disqualification Match
Sycho Sid (c) vs. The Undertaker

I'm something of a Sid apologist. I love that daft bastard, but even I can't justify this. No Sid match should go 20-plus minutes because the result is this stinker. Bret Hart coming down at the start of this match to cut a whining promo might just be the best part of this. Sid spends a lot of time keeping Undertaker in rest holds and the most interesting thing he does here is crap his pants, and we don't even know if he actually did the deed or if it's just some urban legend. Undertaker not being able to show emotion limits him when he's teasing a comeback. The worst match on the card and a stinker of a Wrestlemania main event. At least the crowd seemed to enjoy this. ★½

Final Thoughts:
It's hard to rate this show as it features what I believe to be the best match that WWF/E have ever put on, even if the rest of the card was lacking. Outside of Austin/Bret, the street fight is the only thing worth going out of your way to see. 

WWF 1997 TV Odds and Ends Q1

WWF Monday Night Raw (1/20/1997)
Doug Furnas & Philip LaFon vs. Owen Hart & The British Bulldog (w/Clarence Mason)
This was better than anything that was on the PPV the night before. Owen had eliminated Bulldog during the Rumble match, and even though we are told that Bulldog and Owen had patched things up, you still get the feeling that one miscommunication is all that this team needs to implode. They managed to keep things together for this match. The match itself was good stuff, a proper workrate sprint. I can see why Furnas and LaFon didn't make it in WWF due to them seriously lacking in the charisma department, but they are really fun to watch wrestle. LaFon was the quicker of the team, who could keep up with Owen during their exchanges. Furnas was more of a powerhouse and I loved watching him entering the ring by shoulder charging the socks off Owen. I'm looking forward to checking out their PPV rematch after seeing this, even if the result here was decisive. ★★★½

WWF Monday Night Raw (1/20/1997)
Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker

All it takes is one look at Austin here during this show and you can see why he blew up in 1997. He moves with a purpose and is so intense that you can feel him through your screen. This was a fired-up brawl that ends with Vader rushing the rings and forcing the match to be called off after ten minutes of total match time. Bret Hart comes out and we have a four-way brawl as Raw goes off the air. This match obviously wasn't booked to be a classic match or anything. Instead it felt like a teaser for the upcoming PPV and I'm sure this hot angle helped convince a good amount of people to part with their cash for the event. Fun fact: this was the third time that Austin and Undertaker had faced each other in televised singles matches and every match had gone to a non-finish! ★★★

WWF Thursday Raw Thursday (2/12/1997)
WWF Intercontinental Title Match

Hunter Hearst Helmsley (c) vs. Rocky Maivia
It's still early days for Rocky, as you can tell he is still very inexperienced here. He put in a good effort here, even if he has already started to receive heckles from the audience. Hunter was calling this and did a good job at guiding his green opponent. This starts slow and takes a while to get going. The Honky Tonk Man comes down after the commercial break and joins the commentary team. Hunter brings some much-needed color to the match by slapping Rocky in the face and showing some aggression as he wails away at him. After Rocky takes a lot of punishment and kicks out all everything that Hunter throws at him, the fans seem to be into Rock and he gets a huge pop when Rocky is able to sneak away with the win after catching Hunter in a small package. ★★¾

WWF Monday Night Raw (2/17/1997)
WWF World Heavyweight Title Match

Bret Hart (c) vs. Sycho Sid
Bret had won the title the previous night during the Final Four match. Austin wants Bret dead after Bret eliminated him from the match. Austin had attacked Bret twice leading up to this match and you know he will make himself seen during this match. Bret had his work cut out for him here. Getting a good match out of Sid isn't easy, but he put in an admirable effort. This has a rocky start, with the match feeling directionless and cumbersome. Bret tries to work over Sid's leg while Sid clobbers away at Hart. Sid was working stiffer than usual. Bret's famous turnbuckle figure four makes its TV debut here. In a bit of foreshadowing, Bret shows his heel side by initially refusing the break the hold. Sid hits the ugliest sunset flip ever, but I give him props for trying something new. Austin eventually shows himself and brains Bret with a chair just as Hart had this won. The referee doesn't see this and Sid is able to take advantage of this and win the title. This had a hot finish and built up Hart and Austin's rivalry wonderfully, so it did everything it set out to do, even if the match is far from being one of Bret's best. ★★½

WWF Monday Night Raw (taped 2/26/1997, aired 3/3/1997)
WWF Intercontinental Title Match

Rocky Maivia (c) vs. Vader (w/Paul Bearer)
Vader previous had pinned Rocky during the quarter-finals of the European Title tournament earlier in the week. Vader is now out of the tournament but has earned a shot at Rocky's IC strap. Rocky getting paired with Vader is a smart move. Having Vader beat the hell of out Rocky and putting some hairs on his chest will give him a much-needed edge. One strike sends Rocky to the ground and Vader proceeds to hammer Rocky's pretty face up some more. However, it is not long before Vader starts to go on autopilot and works over Rocky with some uninspired holds. Vader was phoning it in here and this match is further hindered by a bad DQ finish. Just as the match starts heating up, Mankind comes out of nowhere and nails Rocky with Paul Bearer's urn. This was fine overall, but it's nothing going out of your way to see. ★★¼

WWF Monday Night Raw (taped 2/26/1997, aired 3/3/1997)
WWF World Heavyweight Title Match
Sycho Sid (c) vs. Mankind (w/Paul Bearer)

I was curious to see what Mankind could get out of Sid and the result is a decent brawl that featured nothing fancy. Sid wastes no time attacking Mankind as he enters the ring and they brawl on the outside, with Mankind taking a stiff bump into the ring post after missing a shoulder charge. The majority of the in-ring stuff here was basic, but we do see Sid pull out a Fujiwara armbar for some reason. Sid clobbers away at Mankind and pulls on his hair. Mankind is able to get on the Mandible Claw, but Sid easily fights out of the hold. Paul Bearer takes a tumble after Sid shoves Mankind into him. Sid follows this up for a chokeslam for a near-fall, before finally putting Mankind to bed with the powerbomb. It never felt like Mankind had a chance here. Sid looked over with the German crowd though. ★★½

WWF Monday Night Raw (taped 2/26/1997, aired 3/3/1997)
WWF European Title Tournament Final Match 
Owen Hart vs. The British Bulldog

Hart and Bulldog trade old Stampede and World Of Sport spots for 18 minutes. We get some jaw-dropping sequences here. Bulldog was super motivated here and was able to keep up with Owen. My main nitpick about this one is that eventually drop the brilliant story they were telling about Owen getting jealous of Bulldog and instead just do a finishing stretch that is just crammed full with false finishes with no story to it. It's still an exciting match and it's WWF's best Raw match up to this point in history. The performance that Owen put in as Bulldog started getting the better of him was great. He's forced to feign an injury, so he's able to get a few shots in. If they were able to have a finish that played off Owen's jealousy and the 'friendly rivalry gone sour' thing they had going on, then I could easily see myself giving this the full marks. ★★★★½

WWF Raw Is War (3/17/1997)
WWF World Heavyweight Title Steel Cage Match
Sycho Sid (c) vs. Bret Hart

This is the match where Bret goes full heel during the post-match and cuts one of the most blistering promos in company history. The match itself is kept simple and things don't get interesting until Austin interferes. Austin wants Bret to win this so they can fight for the title at Wrestlemania. Undertaker soon comes to Sid's aid. The four-man brawl on top of the cage was quite the visual and they had the crowd eating out of their hands. They do the spot where both men are trying to get out of the cage, with Bret trying to leave through the door while Sid climbs over the cage. Undertake is able to shut the door on Bret and Sid retains. After they come back from the commercial break, Bret shoves Vince to the mat and cuts the famous promo that must have pissed off the suits for the USA network with how many times Bret cursed! All four men brawl as the show goes off the air. This is more of an angle than a match, but what a hot angle it is! ★★★

WWF Raw Is War (3/31/1997)
WWF Intercontinental Title Match
Rocky Maivia (c) vs. Bret Hart

75% of this match was Bret working over Rocky, but Bret was so a pro at crafting a compelling control segment that I can't fault this! The way his heel side would slowly creep out was just masterful. Bret has just turned heel a few weeks early. His body language is sublime and you can tell that he's a heel just by how he circles Rocky before they lock up. He offers a disingenuous handshake, but Rocky refuses to shake his hand. They work holds, with both men kipping up out of arm holds. Bret doesn't do anything that bends the rules until after he cuts off Rocky with a stiff knee lift. Bret rains down with some stiff strikes on the rookie, before abusing rope breaks and making him work for that comeback. Bret looked like he was having the time of his life when he was soaking in all the boos from the audience. Bret's punishment really lit a fire under Rocky's ass, as he's all full of piss and vinegar when he makes his comeback. He looks the best he has ever looked in his career up to that point. Bret gets frustrated with Rocky and gets himself disqualified by refusing the break the figure four around the ring post. We get a super-hot afterbirth with LOD, Bulldog, Owen & Austin all rushing down to the ring. Bret made Rocky look like a million dollars here. ★★★½

Link to comment
Share on other sites

WWF In Your House 14: Revenge Of The Taker (4/20/1997)

WWF World Tag Team Title Match
The Hart Foundation (Owen Hart & The British Bulldog) (c) vs. The Legion Of Doom (Road Warrior Animal & Road Warrior Hawk)
Bulldog and Owen might be two of the better workers in the WWF in early 1997, but this was far from their best match. This was a big style clash. Owen and Bulldog aren't brawlers and LOD aren't exactly workrate wizards. The screwy-Russorific finish(es) didn't do much for me either. LOD initially win this one, but they pinned the illegal man, so the match is restarted. Bulldog and Owen aren't keen to get back in there, so the referee gives them an ultimatum: return to the ring or surrender their titles. The match actually ends on a DQ, after Bret Hart rushes the ring and attacks LOD just as they were about to win. This felt like a match you would see on Raw, not a PPV that you had to spend money to view. ★★¼

WWF Intercontinental Title Match
Rocky Maivia (c) vs. Savio Vega (w/Clarence Mason, Crush, D-Lo Brown, Faarooq, JC Ice & Wolfie D)

This was yet another match that felt like it belonged on a TV show and not a PPV. Two matches into this card and we've yet to have a clean finish. Rocky shows a little more intensity during his pre-match promo than you would expect from the happy-go-lucky rookie, but it's still not enough to save his act. They jump-start this and Rocky shows some fire and hits some slick-looking arm drags to kick this one off. Savio bumped well and Faarooq's guest commentary was solid enough, even if Faarooq hyping up another match while this one was taking place made this feel unimportant. Crush hits Rocky with a heart punch on the outside when the referee isn't looking. Rocky isn't able to make the count and Savio and Crush argue with each other as Savio obviously didn't win the title on a count-out victory. Ahmed rushes to the ring and accepts Faarooq's challenge of a gauntlet match in one of his more coherent promos. Rocky looked like an afterthought here. The actual in-ring stuff was fine, it's just that the booking sucked pondwater. ★★

Jesse Jammes vs. Rockabilly (w/The Honky Tonk Man)
With the product starting to feel edgier as a whole around this time, this match felt like it was straight from a 1995 In Your House card. It's pure New Generation camp cartoon wrestling. I can enjoy that when I'm in the mood for that, but this felt so outdated and lifeless by the spring of 1997. Jesse James had been feuding with Honky Tonk Man leading up to this and Honky is here to announce his new protégé. It turns out to be Billy Gunn and he comes out to crickets. The large group of fans leaving as soon as this one gets underway should tell you how much heat this rivalry had. Both men clearly put in the effort here, but they had no chance to get this over. James throws around some nice-looking punches and Gunn struts all over the place in a failed attempt to get his new gimmick over. The match suddenly ends with a James inside cradle. Hey, at least we got a somewhat decisive finish here. ★¼

WWF World Heavyweight Title Match
The Undertaker (c) vs. Mankind (w/Paul Bearer)

Mick Foley really brought out the best in Undertaker. Foley was so giving here, as he took some serious risks to make himself look fearless and get Undertaker over on his first PPV title defence. Mankind's head-first bump from the ring apron through the announce table was downright sickening. The first few minutes of this sees Undertaker kick all kind of ass as he violently slams Mankind's skull into the barricade. Mankind takes Undertaker's strikes well, by going all jellied-leg whenever Undertaker would land a big shot. Mankind is able to cut Undertaker off temporarily by striking Undertaker with the urn behind the referee's back. The constant rule-breaking happening right in front of the referee did eventually become tiresome, with even Jim Ross and Vince McMahon calling it out on commentary. With Undertaker mostly dominating this match, this felt quite one-sided, but I don't see that as a negative. Undertaker isn't the most compelling when he's down on his back selling and having him just throwing everything at Mankind made for much more interesting viewing. ★★★★

Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin
Russo's influence can clearly be felt on this show as 3 out of 5 matches on this card ended with either a DQ or a count-out! We have to deal with more blatant cheating in front of the referee here too, with Austin just straight-up hitting Bret with a low blow as Earl Hebner has to quickly pretend to look away. My gripes about the booking aside, this was a PPV match between two of the best ever, so the match itself wasn't going to suck at least. Much like their Wrestlemania 13 match, they open the match with some excellent brawling. This was smartly worked, with a great emphasis being put on limbwork as Bret systematically tears apart Austin's damaged knee. Austin's knee giving out when he attempts to land a piledriver was a great bit of long-term selling. I thought the finish here was flat. Bulldog nails Austin with the chair as he has Bret locked in the sharpshooter. Not quite on the level of their Survivor Series '96 or Wrestlemania 13 classic, this was still a fun yet flawed main event. ★★★¾

Final Thoughts:
If bad booking can ruin a show for you, than this show might not be for you! We get a lot of rough finishes here. It's not a terrible show as the last two match more than make up for everything.

WWF In Your House 15: A Cold Day In Hell (5/11/1997)

Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) vs. Flash Funk
Hunter and Funk aren't involved in a program here and this match's purpose was to further push the Hunter/Chyna pairing. Funk has lost his Funkettes due to his budget costs, but the commentary team tries to claim that they are not here because of their fear of Chyna. Speaking of Chyna, she obviously looks the part and she looks good every time she gets involved when the referee isn't looking. Things only went down south for her when they decided to put her in actual matches. Funk opens this match with some crisp high-flying offense before Chyna cuts him off and Hunter works him over in a solid control segment. The crowd starts to root for Funk as he makes his comeback before Helmsley puts him away with the Pedigree and Chyna drops Funk on the ropes after the match to add insult to injury. This was nothing to go out of your way to see, but it was a decent enough opener. ★★½

Mankind vs. Rocky Maivia
This was a total nothing match. Two years after this takes place, both men would be two of the most popular men in the company, but the fans are sitting on their hands for this. Rocky had just lost the title and we are not long from him turning heel. Mankind goes the extra effort to stop this from being too dull by wailing all over the place like a psycho and still putting his body through punishment in some nasty spots. He hits a cannonball from the apron and takes a proto-Rock Bottom on the steel rampway. The finish itself is quite decent too, with Mankind countering a Rocky crossbody with a Mandible Claw to score the victory. This would be the last time that we would see babyface Rocky Maivia wrestle on PPV. ★★

Three On One Gauntlet Match
Ahmed Johnson vs. The Nation Of Domination (Crush, Faarooq & Savio Vega) (w/Clarence Mason, D-Lo Brown, JC Ice & Wolfie D)

This was a tough watch, as this was three Ahmed Johnson matches back-to-back. The Nation agrees to break up if Ahmed can beat the gauntlet. Gorilla Monsoon orders the Nation members to move away from ringside so they can't interfere. Crush and Ahmed kick off the match and it's not pretty. It's very clunky and Crush spends way too much gesturing to his brothers to come closer to the ring. I was surprised to see Ahmed hit a scissors kick, no matter how ugly it looked. Savio comes out next and puts in a respectable showing trying to get the match over by landing some crisp punches and bumping and feeding for Ahmed. Savio gets himself disqualified so Faarooq can come in and pick the bones of Ahmed. Ahmed gets in a few hope spots which wake the crowd up, including landing a Pearl River Plunge, but he's too injured to cover. A chop-block and a Dominator later, this is over. The Ahmed vs Nation storyline should have wrapped up after Wrestlemania 13. ★½

No Holds Barred Match
Vader vs. Ken Shamrock

This shoot-style flavoured match felt very out of place for WWF in 1997 and I'm sure a lot of fans were turned off by it, but I was a big fan of this and I thought this did a wonderful job of getting Shamrock over during his WWF debut. These two smacked the crap out of each, with Vader audibly telling Shamrock to ease up. Shamrock getting frustrated by the rope breaks was a nice bit of psychology as they are obviously not a thing in UFC. Shamrock tries to chop Vader down with leg kicks and is always working to score the flash submission. He's able to mount a nice comeback after Vader misses his moonsault and lands a nice flurry before Vader cuts off his water by laying him out with a sickening palm strike. This match reminded me of UWFi Vader and I can't name you a better WWF Vader singles match than this one. It's funny to think that as this match was actually a punishment for Vader after he smacked a journalist about during WWF's Kuwait tour the previous month. ★★★¾

WWF World Heavyweight Title Match
The Undertaker (c) vs. Steve Austin

This was a face-versus-face match and the fans seem torn on who to cheer for. Austin is also feuding with the Hart Foundation at this time and they come to ring as fans as they have purchased front-row seats. People seem more into the match whenever Austin would start fighting with members of the Hart Foundation instead of working with Undertaker. We spend a lot of time in holds, but they are always working and the holds always have a struggle to them. I was expecting more of an explosive brawl instead of the slow and methodical match we got. The last few minutes are very exciting, with Austin getting the pop of the night after giving the referee the bird after the ref warns Austin for landing a low blow. Pillman sneaks over the barricade and rings the bell just as Austin has this won. Undertaker takes advantage of the distraction and retains his title and we are treated to a post-match brawl. Undertaker and Austin never had the best chemistry, but this was a so-so match with a molten-hot finish. ★★★

Final Thoughts:
This was the first ever PPV I brought on VHS. Even with all that nostalgia, I can't recommend this show. There's nothing terrible here, but it's so dull and average. Watch the Shamrock/Vader match and skip the rest. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

WWF King Of The Ring 1997 (6/8/1997)

King Of The Ring 1997 Semi Final Match
Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) vs. Ahmed Johnson

I thought this would suck, but it was actually a solid effort as they kept this simple and focused on Ahmed's strengths, such as his intensity and power spots. Ahmed is still quite over here. Looking like an ice-cold killer, Ahmed stares down Hunter as the commentary highlights their different upbringings. Hunter was obviously carrying this and he's starting to look like a ring general. My hot take of the day: 1996-1997 midcard Hunter is a lot more palatable than post-2010 Triple H. Ahmed countering Hunter's back drop attempt by landing a scissors kick on his spine was actually quite creative. Hunter advances with the help of Chyna, but Ahmed gets his heat back by getting straight up after getting pinned with the Pedigree and chases after Hunter and Chyna. Although it's not exactly a high bar, this might be Ahmed's best singles match. ★★¾

King Of The Ring 1997 Semi Final Match
Mankind vs. Jerry Lawler

Mankind is starting to get some cheers from the fans, so it's a perfect time to start his babyface turn and there's no man better at garnering him some sympathy than Jerry Lawler. Lawler put in a great performance here, using all the old-school heel tricks such as using a concealed weapon, trash-talking, eye gouging, and just being a proper slimy bastard all-around. Mankind further scrabbles his brain by taking some nasty barricade spots, which I don't think were needed here as his selling and the great heat segment did more than enough to get the fans behind him. After his piledriver isn't enough to put away his opponents, Lawler goes night-night after Mankind locks on the Mandible Claw. I never believed that Lawler stood a chance, but he did his job in warming Mankind up for the finals. I wish we got more lengthy Lawler matches on PPV, as he was fantastic here. ★★★

Crush (w/Clarence Mason & D-Lo Brown) vs. Goldust (w/Marlena)
This stunk, by no fault of Goldust though. No one needed to sit through a cold ten-minute Crush match on PPV. He was so dull when working on top, sucking the life out of the arena whenever he lock Goldust in a lengthy resthold. Expect plenty of claw holds, camel clutches, and not a whole lot of action here! Goldust seems to be over as a babyface and he shows a lot of fire when he's on his feet. The Nation tries to get into Goldie's head by approaching Marlena, but this distraction didn't seem to faze Goldust as he's able to get back into the game and mercifully end this one with a DDT. The Nation looked like total chumps here. ★

Sycho Sid & The Legion Of Doom (Road Warrior Animal & Road Warrior Hawk) vs. The Hart Foundation (Jim Neidhart, Owen Hart & The British Bulldog)
Sid puts over the Hart Foundation on his way out. All three men on the babyface side were way past it. The heel side was only a slight improvement, with both Neidhart and Bulldog being past their best days (although Bulldog still had a good showing in him here and there). Despite all this, this was a fun watch. The quick tags certainly helped put a stop to someone stinking up the match. The babyface shine segment was quite entertaining, mainly to see Sid act all goofy and club the heels on the head. I didn't mind all the no-selling from the babyfaces as it suited their gimmicks. Sid gets right back up after a delayed suplex from Bulldog and Hawk does his classic no-sell piledriver spot. The Hart Foundation do their usual heel stuff and win when Owen is able to sneak the win by landing a sunset flip on Sid when he was attempting a powerbomb on another man. Sid fucked it a bit, but it's Sid, so you can't help but laugh at the daft bastard. So long, Sid! ★★★

King Of The Ring 1997 Final Match
Mankind vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna)

This had a slow start that put a lot of people off, including me, but they manage to pull this around with a thrilling conclusion that sees Mankind take some dangerous bumps and kicks off one of 1997's most underrated rivalries. The beginning of this featured Hunter working over Mankind's already injured neck by pounding away on him with some nice-looking punches and not much else. It made sense, but it felt quite dull. We get a couple of boring chants from the audience. Things start to get going when Mankind does the hangman spot. Mick Foley did everything in his power to get this match over. He even dusted off the Cactus elbow spot, where he would send himself hurling dangerously off the ring apron onto the concrete. We get a gnarly table and barricade spot, but Mankind still kicks out and the fans are solely behind him by this point. This made Mankind a huge babyface and it elevated Hunter from the mid-card. ★★★½

Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels
This is the last big Austin singles match that he wrestled with a more technical style before his neck break in August. We get a lot of holds, but they never forget to showcase their massive personalities and egos and it created an atmosphere where the fans were rabid for both guys. These two have wonderful chemistry and I loved how this one escalated from an old-school technical bout to a slugfest once tempers start to rise. Austin sends HBK over the ropes violently and then Austin gives Shawn a nasty press slam on the exposed concrete. We get a callback later in the match when HBK sends Austin over the ropes during a tackle attempt. After a number of intentional ref bumps, Earl Hebner comes down and throws this one out. I thought the non-finish would be a lot more palatable if these guys were able to actually have a proper blow-off match that wasn't plagued by injuries. This is a bit of a hidden gem, as I don't hear many people talk about this one. Imagine how could Wrestlemania 14 could have been if they both were healthy! ★★★★

WWF World Heavyweight Title Match
The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) (c) vs. Faarooq (w/Clarence Mason, Crush, D-Lo Brown & Savio Vega)

Faarooq was certainly a bizarre choice to challenge for the WWF title at one of the big five PPV, but he did a decent enough job here. Paul Bearer has blackmailed Undertaker to take him back. It's an intriguing storyline, even if it does distract from Faarooq. There are enough interesting spots to stop this from feeling too pedestrian. I love how Undertaker mixed up the Old School here. Instead of coming off the top rope onto Faarooq, he instead does a trust fall plancha onto the members of the Nation at ringside. The Nation starts to bicker after interference not going the way they want and Faarooq tries to control the situation. This distraction is enough for Undertaker to do his Michael Myers sit-up and lay Faarooq out with the Tombstone. Not the most exciting PPV main ever, but far from the worst too. ★★½

Final Thoughts:
This isn't going to win any PPV of the year awards, but it's a good show. The main event isn't going to set anyone's world on fire and you do have to sit through a ten minute Crush singles, but the Austin/HBK hidden gem more than makes up for those shortcomings and the rest of the card range from solid to good.

WWF 1997 TV Odds and Ends Q2

WWF Raw Is War (4/7/1997)
Steve Austin vs. Mankind

The wrestling here is secondary to the storyline progression, but this, along with the Sid/Bret cage match from the previous month, is a good example of why WWF's TV product was so hot in 1997. This isn't going to make any MOTY lists, but it does its job of heating up the audience for the upcoming PPV. You've got Austin feuding with the Hart Foundation and Mankind feuding with Undertaker. Mankind was meant to be wrestling Sid here, but Sid no-shows and Austin is drafting into the match. Mankind cuts one chilling promo before the match. He is starting to show his human side here, as he references his family. Before accepting the match, Austin pressures Gorilla Monsoon to make Bret face him at the next PPV. This felt more like a post-neck break Austin match as he keeps it simple and takes no risks. He is mostly just walking and brawling here. He does a good job at it, so it's hard to fault him. Mankind still manages to get some nasty bumps in. Owen and Bulldog soon make their faces shown and this one predictably ends in a non-finish once LOD and Vader get involved. ★★¾

WWF Raw Is War (4/21/1997)
Street Fight
Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart

Bret and Austin's last-ever televised singles is more of an angle than a match. Austin challenges Bret to a fight and Bret accepts. Both men were wearing street clothes here. Bret makes his way to the ring, but has Owen and Bulldog ambush him from the crowd. They pull Austin's shirt over his head as they pummel him. HBK makes the save, by coming from the crowd with a chair and cleaning house. Bret is left with Austin in the ring and he continues to pick the bones of Austin and lays him out with a beautiful piledriver. In a nice bit of storytelling, Bret tries to do to Austin what Austin did to Pillman and crush his leg in a steel chair. Austin is able to fight back and obliterate Bret's leg before locking on the sharpshooter and refusing to break the hold. Officials rush to Bret's aide, but the damage has been done. We then get an excellent segment later in the show where Austin attacks Bret again by sneaking into the ambulance. The Attitude Era might not have officially started yet, but this set the standard for what a TV wrestling show could like look for the rest of the decade. ★★★

WWF Raw Is War (4/28/1997)
WWF Intercontinental Title Match
Rocky Maivia (c) vs. Owen Hart

In his last big profile match before turning heel and joining the Nation, Rocky puts in a half-arsed performance and is dragged kicking and screaming to a decent match by Owen. Even when he enters the arena, Rocky looks tired and doesn't have the pep in his step that he did during all his early babyfaces appearances. I thought this was initially a bit of foreshadowing, but it seemed that Rocky was just having a bad day at the office. Rocky opens the match with a dull shine segment. Rocky's stuff looks decent, but there's no spark to anything he does here. It all felt like he was going through motions. The match improves once Owen takes control. Owen lands a beautiful drop-toe hold to leg grapevine and starts working on his leg. The crowd is shockingly quiet throughout the entire match. We get some fun moments during the go-home stretch with Rocky pulling out one of the worst Rock Bottoms that I have ever seen and Owen damn nearly beheading Rocky when he cuts him off with a spinning wheel kick. The finish here came out of nowhere though. Bulldog is with Bret at the top of the stage, but neither gets involved and Owen wins the strap clean as a whistle after countering Rocky and landing a victory roll for the three. ★★½ 

WWF Raw Is War (26/5/1997)
WWF World Tag Team Match
Owen Hart & The British Bulldog (c) vs. Shawn Michaels & Steve Austin

This is the kind of Southern tag that would make Jim Cornette splooge. This had all the trappings of a good tag match: a lightning quick pace, plenty of workrate, and the faces and heels acting exactly how they should do in a tag match. This is Michael's first match since February and he shows zero signs of ring rust. He's the FIP for most of this match and he's fantastic and it's clear that he hasn't missed a step. Austin and Michaels are teaming up here, but they are not friends at all. They are facing off at the next PPV and it seems entirely possible that this team could combust at any given minute. The heel team cut the ring in half and keep working down Michaels. There are a lot of teases of Michaels getting the hot tag and the crowd eats it all up. Once Austin's in, HBK lands the Sweet Chin Music amid all the chaos, and Austin covers and gets the win and all hell breaks loose as a massive brawl breaks out. ★★★★½

Link to comment
Share on other sites

WWF In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede (7/6/1997)

Mankind vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna)
Mankind continues to bring the best out in Helmsley as their feud continues to heat up. Hunter was a bumping machine for Mankind's shine segment, who is looking surprisingly natural as a full-fledged babyface. Mankind does Hunter's curtsy and the fans lap it up. Chyna lands a powerslam on Mankind on the outside when the referee is distracted. Mankind's leg violently collides into the steel steps during this move. Mankind can't have a match in 1997 without me feeling genuinely concerned for his well-being! Hunter is showing a lot more intensity as works over the Mankind's leg. The finish felt like it came out of nowhere, with little build-up. This isn't the last we would see of these two on this night, as they would continuously brawl throughout the arena as the show rolls on! Both guys put in the work here and this was a hot opener. ★★★½

Taka Michinoku vs. The Great Sasuke
These guys were in a tough spot as no one in the audience seemed to care about them when the match started, with the exception of the few smark fans in the building. They start slow, with TAKA trying to avoid Sasuke's strikes. We get a decent bit of mat action, but they start to wake up the people when Sasuke starts landing the strikes. They were stiff as hell. The audience finally becomes unglued once TAKA hits his batshit-crazy spaceman plancha. I was surprised to see Sasuke kick out of the Michinoku Driver, seeing as TAKA was about to be built up as the star of the division. These guys certainly won over the crowd with their stiff working style and their insane workrate. This is the only light-heavyweight WWF match that could hold a candle to some of the matches that the WCW cruiserweights were putting on at the time. ★★★★

WWF World Heavyweight Title Match
The Undertaker (c) vs. Vader (w/Paul Bearer)

Vader is subbing for Ahmed Johnson, who is injured. Clocking in at a mere 12 minutes, this was all killer and no filler. Just a big stiff hoss fight with little downtime. The crowd is so into the Undertaker that the building is actually shaking when they try to cheer him on when Vader has him locked in a nerve hold. Paul Bearer was tremendous at being a total creep. There were a few miscommunications and botches during the final few minutes, but they covered for them well and they never killed the crowd. Undertaker retains after scooping Vader up and landing a Tombstone. It made for a hell of a visual, and keeping Vader in the Tombstone position without dropping him on his head must have been a challenge! Despite this match having little build, I thought these two put in a hell of a shift. ★★★½

Goldust, Ken Shamrock, Steve Austin & The Legion Of Doom (Road Warrior Animal & Road Warrior Hawk) vs. The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart, Brian Pillman, Jim Neidhart, Owen Hart & The British Bulldog) (w/Diana Smith)
25 years on and I don't think I've seen a more intense crowd than the one we got during this match. These fans would have died for the Hart Foundation! Austin has the crowd wanting his head, and he didn't even need to change his act up much from his usual babyface persona. All he had to was flip the crowd off once and they wanted him dead! Austin and Bret open and they bring the hate as they trade punches. I liked the little nod to their Survivor Series '96 match as Bret gets a nearfall by countering Austin's submission into a pinning attempt. It's bizarre seeing the babyface maul a heel like a pack of dogs, but it made sense as these guys would still be villains to the US crowd watching at home and they were still the heels in the grand scheme of things, even if they were idolized by the Calgary crowd. Both Austin and Owen are removed from the match due to injury, but they come back and the hatred picked right where they left off. Austin can't help himself from fighting with the Hart family in the crowd and he even put his hands on Stu Hart! The other family members spill over and it's all out carnage. Owen is able to roll up Austin during the commotion and get the victory. The victors fight off Team USA and the PPV goes off the air with a feel-good ending, with all the family celebrating in the ring. One of my all-time favourite matches. Over half the participants in this match were way past their sell-by dates and even they couldn't have brought this one down for me! ★★★★¾

Final Thoughts: This is one of the best PPVs WWF/E have ever put on. It's only a step behind Money In The Bank 2011 and Wrestlemania X-7.

WWF Summerslam 1997 (8/3/1997)

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

This match was an important step in the career of Mick Foley and he was the main reason why this was good. Chyna fumbles the timing of some of her interference spots and Hunter seems to be on auto-pilot here. Hunter wasn't horrible here, it's just that his control segment was uninspired and it was only entertaining as Mankind was willing to slam his skull into the cage with no regards for his own safety. It might be overshadowed by Mankind's cell bump the next spring, but Mankind getting to emulate his icon and dive from the top of the cage was a great spot. That superplex from the cage was nasty too, as that ring looked like it had zero give. I didn't find that this match dragged or anything, it's just a bit of let-down when you consider that their previous matches together had been better and this was meant to be the blow-off. ★★★½

Brian Pillman vs. Goldust (w/Marlena)
If Pillman loses this match, he has to wear a dress on Raw tomorrow night. I'm not saying that this is a misunderstood classic or anything, but I thought that this was decent and people are selling this one short. Pillman isn't physically able to hit any of his high-flying stuff from his Flyin' Brian days, so they have to work around his limitations. Pillman is incredibly intense here and he doesn't let up. The deranged expression that he had on his face when he Goldust locked in a chin-lock stopped this part of the match from feeling like a rest-break. Don't expect any top-tier workrate here, as they keep the action simple to accommodate Pillman. This match was high on character work though. Goldust no-sells an inverted atomic drop and kisses Pillman on the mouth. The finish features a pretty nasty botch. Goldust doesn't quite clear Pillman when he attempts a sunset flip, so he ends up falling on his head and they have to improvise and fix the finish on the fly. The fans booed the botch, but I thought that they recovered quite well. ★★★

The Godwinns (Henry O. Godwinn & Phineas I. Godwinn) vs. The Legion Of Doom (Road Warrior Animal & Road Warrior Hawk)
This wasn't pretty, but no one expected it to be. Henry's neck was broken by LOD earlier in the year, so they weave that into the match by having The Godwins use some neck-based offense on LOD. Hawk is able to get the hot tag and the LOD picks up the victory after a spike piledriver. I agree with the consensus that this wasn't exactly a babyface move, but the LOD were never wholesome babyfaces who had much care for their opponents so I don't think it matters all that much. This match was largely unremarkable, the quick pace stops it from dragging too much and it's over before it gets the chance to truly stink out the building. ★★

WWF European Title Match
The British Bulldog (c) vs. Ken Shamrock

For some unknown reason, Bulldog humiliated Shamrock by rubbing dog food in his face and that's why this match is happening. I don't think Bulldog was the man to carry Shamrock in his first traditional PPV WWF match. I don't think these two clicked and Bulldog was starting to feel washed-up by this point in his career. Shamrock opens this match by showing a lot of intensity and hitting some beautiful high spots, including a release belly-to-belly and a rolling leg lock. The match starts to wade into mediocrity once Bulldogs cuts him off and starts working Shamrock with some uninspired chinlocks. The commentators mention Shamrock is struggling to adapt to the WWF style. Not much of note happens from this point out until the ending. In what must be a first in wrestling history, a wrestler loses a match by nailing his opponent with a can of dog food. After Bulldog smears dog food into Shamrock, Shamrock snaps and gets himself disqualified and takes out a bunch of WWF officials in the process. The dog food stuff was goofy, but Shamrock looked like a total star when he snapped. That doesn't stop the match from sucking though. ★¾

The Disciples Of Apocalypse (8-Ball, Chainz, Crush & Skull) vs. Los Boricuas (Jesus Castillo, Jose Estrada, Miguel Perez & Savio Vega)
Just when you think Crush couldn't get any worse, they stick him with the freakin' Blu Brothers in an attempt to chase the success of the NWO by having multiple factions feuding with each other. They try to keep the action moving fast and utilize quick tags in an attempt to not expose the poor workers in this match. Los Boricuas were the better workers, but they are charisma blackholes and they do nothing to get the crowd into this. All that is in vain as the fans clearly don't care about this and it only takes a minute or two of in-ring time before one of the bald DOA members gets gassed and starts killing the match. The Nation of Domination coming through the crowd got a small pop at least. Ahmed ends up botching his one spot in the match. I can't believe we are going to have to put up with this angle for the rest of the year. ★½

WWF Intercontinental Title Match
Owen Hart (c) vs. Steve Austin

It feels wrong to give this match a star rating seeing as someone nearly died in the ring here, but the match was building up to be a classic before the infamous tombstone botch. Austin and Owen have fantastic chemistry and the action was quick and told a story. Owen works over Austin's hands before moving onto his neck. We get a lot of uncomfortable foreshadowing commentary about Owen working on Austin's neck. Austin wins the worst roll-up ever, but you have to give him props for finishing the match. The stipulation was that Austin would have to kiss Owen's ass if he lost, so that explained why they had to find a way for Austin to win, even if the man's neck was literally broken. ★★★½

WWF World Heavyweight Title Match (Special Referee: Shawn Michaels)
The Undertaker (c) vs. Bret Hart

The stakes of this match are very high, with Shawn Michaels being the guest referee. This match has one of my favourite finishes ever. It's not over-the-top, it's a perfect ending caused by very believable human error after Shawn's emotions get the best of him after Bret spits in his face and Shawn is put in the horrible position to count the pinfall or he would never be allowed to wrestle on US soil again. The stuff leading up to the finish was good too, with Bret working fantastically as a heel by keeping the pace slow by working over Undertaker's legs. The drama with Shawn as the referee was actually quite compelling. He has to call this down the middle, but numerous things happen throughout the match that tests him, such as Hart bending the rules and Undertaker getting frustrated with HBK after Shawn not being present to count a pin after Owen & Pillman interfere. Paul Bearer also comes down, but Undertaker makes sure to take care of him. This was a great main event that combined multiple storylines into one coherent package. ★★★¾

Final Thoughts: A mixed bag, but this event felt like a big deal. From Mankind's cage dive to the shocking conclusion of the main event, the product was starting to heat-up and feel exciting again. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

WWF In Your House 17: Ground Zero (9/7/1997)

Indecent Proposal Match
Brian Pillman vs. Goldust (w/Marlena)

Marlena has to spend 30 days with Pillman if he wins, Pillman is out of the WWF if he loses. The storyline might not fly today, but the crowd was clearly into this, even if the in-ring portion of the match wasn't exactly top-level stuff. We get some stiff punches and chops here, as well as a generous helping of ball-based manoeuvres as Goldust counters Pillman's bulldog attempt by sending him crotch-first onto the ropes. Goldust did a good job carrying Pillman here. Pillman 'wins' Marlena after the referee goes down and Pillman intercepts Marlena interfering by grabbing her loaded purse and clocking Goldust with it. The grim implications of this stipulation really start to set in once you see Pillman forcing Marlena into the car as Jerry Lawler cackles on about the situation on commentary. ★★¾

Scott Putski vs. Brian Christopher
Despite being on the shorter side, lacking charisma and being way too jacked to be a light heavyweight, Scott Putski was a good looking guy who looked to be a solid enough hand in the ring from what we saw here. None of this matters though, as he seriously injures his knee minutes into this when he tries to catch Christopher as he's attempting a dive to the outside and they're forced to end the match early, with Christopher getting a count-out victory. You can see through Christopher's cocky demeanour, as you can tell that he's concerned for Putski. This was the last time Putski would wrestle for the WWF. I don't think we were robbed of a classic here. ½★

Savio Vega vs. Crush vs. Faarooq
The first Triple Threat in WWF PPV history turns out to be a right stinker. Crush is over with this crowd for whatever reason, but that fanfare soon dies down when the crowd is forced to watch this plodding mess. Jim Ross reprimands Crush for going for a chinlock when he has the option to go for a pin. Savio and Faarooq botch a neckbreaker and the fans just turn on this after that. All three men try to form alliances with each other and they predictable fall apart. We get plenty of half-hearted pin break-ups until Savio puts this out of its misery and wins this one. This was slow, sluggish, and had zero heat. This was so bad, that I'm actually surprised that the WWF attempted another Triple Threat after this. DUD

Max Mini vs. El Torito
I'm not entirely sure what the WWF could have gotten out of the minis long-term, but this match added some variety and comedy to the card. I found Max Mini endearing and he certainly won over the crowd with his ass-biting antics. Being the tallest of the two, El Torito bullied Mini by cutting him off with some of the world's smallest big boots. The match felt dull when Torito was on top as he didn't have much to offer outside of cutting Mini off. I have no idea why WWF insisted on making the In Your House PPVs 3 hours when they clearly didn't have enough talent on the roster to fill the cards up every month, as evident by them having to fly in the minis to eat up time. ★★★

WWF World Tag Team Title Four Way Elimination Match
The Godwinns (Henry O. Godwinn & Phineas I. Godwinn) vs. The Head Bangers (Mosh & Thrasher) vs. The Legion Of Doom (Road Warrior Animal & Road Warrior Hawk) vs. The Hart Foundation (Owen Hart & The British Bulldog)

Steve Austin and Dude Love forfeit the tag titles before the match and this segment is much more entertaining than the following match. We still have to deal with that dumb rule where tag team partners are forced to face other if they are both legal men. This was a slog to sit through and this would have been much better if this was a straight tag match between Owen and Bulldog and the Headbangers. Perhaps as a way to avoid doing a job, the LOD get themselves disqualified and the Godwins follow soon after. Austin interferes during the finish and gets a huge pop and he's able to sprinkle some of his star power onto the Headbangers as they felt like a bigger deal by winning the vacant tag titles. The was a crap match, but the finish was great as Austin's interference enhanced the match without taking away from the Headbangers' victory. ★½

WWF World Heavyweight Title Match
Bret Hart (c) vs. The Patriot

You have to feel bad for Del Wilkes. As you can tell by his slick arm drags and his interesting control segment on Bret's arm, he clearly was a good hand in the ring, but he didn't have much in the way of charisma and he is saddled with a gimmick that would feel more at home during the Hulkamania era. He was never going to get over as the product was getting more mature. Despite all this, Bret Hart was able to make the audience in the arena believe that Wilke could actually pull this off and they were all biting on his nearfalls. It's especially crazy when you factor in that no one believed that The Patriot was winning this and this was just a filler title defence for Bret, The first half of this was quite slow yet technically solid, with Bret softening up Patriot's leg. Bulldog comes to aid Bret, but Vader soon comes out to stop this. I didn't like Vader just brawling with Bret right in front of the referee. You know Jim Ross would have something to say about that if he was still at the commentary desk! Bret is finally able to cut off Patriot's momentum by countering Patriot's sharpshooter into a sharpshooter of his own and The Patriot passes out. This didn't look interesting on paper, but Bret is able to get the fans invested and carry Del Wilkes to his best-ever singles match. ★★★½

The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels
Shawn has now gone full chickenshit heel and he was a bumping machine here. The referee gets punched out before the match officially begins and Undertaker fights Michaels up to the stage, with Undertaker tossing HBK right into the In Your House set. I didn't think Undertaker did too much to make this interesting and the Shawn was the main reason why this was good. He was just a complete prick here. Rick Rude comes down and hands HBK some brass knuckles, followed by Triple H and Chyna coming down to inflict more damage on Undertaker. Tim White finally declares this a no contest after both men can't keep their hands off the officials. The constant attacks on the referees got tiring and it made this PPV main event feel more like the closing segment of Raw Is War. Still, Undertaker's big dive and the locker room coming out to separate the two made for a hell of a visual to close the show with. ★★★¼

Final Thoughts: It's bafflingly that WWF made the In Your House cards go three hours here, despite clearly not having enough worthy stuff to add to the card! This could have been a decent two hour card if they could have just trimmed the fat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

WWF One Night Only (9/20/1997)

Dude Love vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna)
Both guys throw a decent punch and the crowd is hot throughout. Hunter looks like a million bucks in how he carries himself. Chyna keeps interfering and eventually costs Dude the match. Foley as Dude works a more technical style, and he opens this by working over Hunter in an arm ringer and then a reverse Indian deathlock. Hunter tries to cheat by using the ropes for leverage as he has Dude in the abdominal stretch, but Mike Choida notices this and starts to berate Helmsley. Helmsley backs off in a comedic fashion once Choida shoves him and the fans eat this all up. It's no wonder why Triple H would revise this spot with Earl Hebner years later given the crowd reaction here. This doesn't particularly stand out from their other 1997 PPV matches, but this is still enjoyable. You can't think to wonder how this could have been leagues better if Foley was working as Cactus Jack or Mankind or if this was a stipulation match of sorts, it's just missing that ruthlessness that could have made this a great match. Foley doesn't take any nutty bumps here, and I imagine this is the type of match that you would see him work if you went to a house show. ★★★

Leif Cassidy vs. Tiger Ali Singh (w/Tiger Jeet Singh)
Tiger Ali Singh debuts with his father in his corner and no-one cares. Tiger Jeet Singh gets booed as soon as he starts talking in his mother tongue. Ali Singh cuts an anti-drug promo, but he's no CM Punk. He picks up the win after a top rope bulldog on proto-Al Snow. An utter waste of 5 minutes. Cassidy tries, but getting a good match out of Singh is like getting blood from a stone. The brawling is acceptable, Cassidy bumps off the corner well, but there is nothing here worth seeing. Not even Sunny could save this one. There is nothing memorable nor historical, nothing 'so bad, it's good', just utterly dull and lifeless wrestling. ½★

WWF World Tag Team Title Match
The Head Bangers (Mosh & Thrasher) (c) vs. Los Boricuas (Miguel Perez & Savio Vega)

The Head Bangers were so ridiculously over here. Miguel Perez might be one of the hairiest wrestlers I've ever seen, it's like he's wearing a sweater. He hits a neat seaton/standing moonsault combination, which nobody pops for whatsoever. The Los Boricuas work a dull extended control segment on Thrasher. We get all the usual tag team spots, such as the face making a legal tag that the ref doesn't see, but they don't do anything interesting with these classic spots and the result is a boring heat segment complete with lengthy Boricuas nerve holds. Mosh finally gets the tag and it's not too long before he picks up the win, with the crowd reaching Bulldog/Bret Summerslam '92 levels of excitement. I wish I was joking. Nobody needs to see either the Head Bangers or Los Boricuas work for nearly 15 minutes, but with the crowd being so into this, it made the match more watchable than it should have been. ★★

Flash Funk vs. The Patriot
Unsurprisingly, The Patriot is booed for his obnoxiously pro-US gimmick. Funk brought the workrate here, and the Patriot was able to keep up, bar a few instances where he looked lost. Despite the negative reception he gets here, The Patriot doesn't do anything heelish here with the exception of him slowing the pace by cutting off Flash's quick sequences. This was rather colourless. With both guys usually being babyfaces in the US, they could have easily created an interesting dynamic with The Patriot slowly acting more like a heel due to the fans giving him a rough time, but they didn't do anything of that ilk. We do get some classic Vince-isms on commentary at least, with Vince sounding annoyed for both J.R and King for using pronouns, pal. ★★

The Godwinns (Henry O. Godwinn & Phineas I. Godwinn) vs. The Legion Of Doom (Road Warrior Animal & Road Warrior Hawk)
This was even more boring than their Summerslam match. Henry getting his neck broken by the LOD was mentioned before the match, but they don't touch upon it during the match. The neck work and the quicker pace from their previous PPV match were the only things stopping that match from feeling lifeless and directionless, so the action we get here is just some rugged brawling, with not much in the way of selling from either member of LOD. The LOD remain over with the UK fans and they are able to pick up the victory with the Doomsday Device. Not much to say about this one. LOD are beyond washed-up and they other nothing to the product other than a quick pop for the nostalgic fans. ★

Vader vs. Owen Hart
This was a great David vs Goliath match, with Owen showing off his babyface side as he gets a rare pop as he enters the arena. The first few exchanges do a great job at illustrating the power and size difference between the two wrestlers. Owen has his mind set on bodyslamming Vader and this ends up costing him big time before they pay all this off when Owen is finally able to get the big man up. They managed to convince me that a simple scoop slam could credibly end a match! Owen shows a lot of fire as he hits all his high spots on Vader. They recreate the Vader/Sting GAB '92 finish as Vader catches Owen as he comes off the top rope and uses Owen's own momentum to powerslam him. This left me wishing we got to see more of Owen as a babyface. ★★★½

WWF World Heavyweight Title Match
Bret Hart (c) vs. The Undertaker

They waste no time starting this, as both brawl until the match slows down to a more methodical pace once Bret focuses on Undertaker's leg. Not enough people talk about how brilliant Bret's DDT was. Bret drills Undertaker's neck into the mat with the move and it serves as an excellent cut-off spot. For a man not known for selling for the first few years of his WWF run, Undertaker was fantastic at selling here and I dug the small touches of him trying to stretch out the damage that had been done to his leg. The leg work has consequences as well, as even during Undertaker's comeback, all it takes is a well-placed kick to his leg to send him to the ground. Bret getting hung up in the ropes after trying to block the Tombstone was a great spot, but I'm less keen on the DQ finish that was clearly in place to protect the Undertaker. This was a great match in spite of its finish. The Undertaker really pulled his finger out here and the result is the best non-gimmick match of his career up to this point. ★★★★¼

WWF European Title Match
The British Bulldog (c) vs. Shawn Michaels

Another PPV in the UK, another time that Davey Boy Smith has to be carried to a match by a superior worker. At least Bret had the decency to do the honors for Bulldog. The beginning and the ending stretch of this was excellent, it's just the dull middle portion that let this one down. Bulldog bogs down by not being able to keep up with HBK and we see plenty of rest holds to allow Bulldog time to catch his breath. To his credit, Bulldog does hit some nice power moves here, most notably the beautiful sit-out powerbomb counter to Shawn's hurricanrana. Shawn being a real-life prick made him easy to hate here, but his actual heelwork was fantastic as he bumped his ass off for Bulldog and his use of stalling just made the male portion of the crowd want to kill him. I lost it when Shawn threw Bulldog's knee brace at Bulldog's family. As depressing as the finish was, it made me want to see DX get their comeuppances, and the visual of the ring getting pelted with trash as the fan's fallen hero is berated by the heels made for a hell of a close to the show. ★★★★

Final Thoughts:
If you can deal with the utterly depressing conclusion, this is one of the best PPVs that WWF had to offer in 1997. The crowd are hot, the two main events deliver and that Owen/Vader hidden gem and Dude/Hunter opener makes the undercard worth sitting through!

WWF 1997 TV Odds and Ends Q3

WWF Raw Is War (7/7/1997)
Taka Michinoku vs. The Great Sasuke

This doesn't have a great structure and it's not as good as their match from the night before, but it's an entertaining enough five-minute TV match. The crowd was wooed by the dives, even if they are given no reason to care about the competitors. TAKA makes a rare botch when he slips when attempting a springboard moonsault to the outside. Fortunately, he is able to recover and make his slip-up look intentional by adjusting it on the fly. Brian Christoper is on commentary and he walks the thin line between heel heat and go-home heat with his insufferable laugh and ignorant comments. Sasuke winning was a baffling decision, as this is his last match with the company and it's clear on commentary that they are building the division around TAKA and he could have benefitted from the win. ★★★

WWF Raw Is War (7/7/1997)
Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) vs. Steve Austin

The match here showed that both Hunter and Austin gel well together and it gave us a brief teaser of what a main event Austin run might have looked if Austin didn't break his neck. He was electric in everything he did here but also showed some incredible wrestling fundamentals. He shows that he can work a hold, make it look tight, and keep that intensity flowing. Seeing Austin land a flawless headlock takeover as he swaggers around the place in full Austin 3:16 mode was a weird sight, as his wrestling style would become much more brawl-heavy once he breaks his neck. In an attempt to get Austin to become his tag partner, Mankind comes out running to the ring wearing an Austin shirt. Hunter utterly brains him with a chair, but the distraction is enough for Austin to hit a stunner and win. The post-match is worth sticking around for, as Mankind tries to befriend Austin. ★★★

WWF Raw Is War (8/11/1997)
Mankind vs. Shawn Michaels

Man, we were really robbed by not getting a proper months-long program between these two as they compliment each other well and have clear chemistry. Their match at Mind Games was one of the company's best and this is an excellent TV main event. Mankind comes down to the ring with a trash can, but he ends up getting nailed with it and has the bin bag over his head and I was kind of hoping he would wrestle the rest of the match rocking his trash bag poncho. Rick Rude makes his return as Shawn's insurance policy and he's clearly paid off as he whacks Foley with a brutal chair shot to allow HBK to steal the win. Undertaker attempts to come to the ring, but Paul Bearer appears on the Titantron and warns him that Kane is coming to the WWF to wrap up the episode. This short and wild brawl, and a damn fine way to close a TV show. ★★★¾

WWF Friday Night's Main Event (taped 8/23/1997, aired 8/29/1997)
Taka Michinoku vs. Jerry Lynn

Jerry Lynn, looking like an undersized Kenny Omega with better fundamentals, makes a rare WWF appearance doing the honors for Taka Michinoku. These two were given five minutes to work with and they made every second count. Taka is starting to get over with the audience as they pop big for his victory. After getting hit with a spaceman plancha, Lynn unsuccessfully attempts to keep Taka grounded and it's not long until Lynn is looking up at the rafters after getting nailed with the Michinoku Driver. Check this one out if you enjoyed TAKA's match with the Great Sasuke. ★★★½

WWF Raw Is War (9/8/1997)
No Holds Barred Match
Vader vs. Bret Hart

It's a damn shame that this is one of the only singles match these two had, as they play off each other well. Vader attempted to blindside Bret when he was handing over the belt to the referee, only for Bret to grab the belt and start hitting Vader with it was class. We get to see Bret in brawling mode here, and he can put on a brawl as well as he can put on a technical clinic. He would let himself get pummeled by Vader and only take advantage by nefarious means, such as punting Vader square in the nuts. Vader grabs the Canadian flag and breaks it, but hilariously botches his first attempt. It's a shame that this had a non-finish once Bulldog rushes down. The Patriot gets the biggest pop of his WWF run when he attempts to save Vader, but it's Austin who is able to save the day. ★★★

WWF Raw Is War (9/22/1997)
WWF Intercontinental Title Tournament Semi Final Match
Owen Hart vs. Brian Pillman (w/Marlena)

Seeing as both men are stablemates, they don't want to fight each other and Pillman tries to fake an injury to forfeit the bout. Sgt. Slaughter sees right through this and forces him to fight Owen. They don't want to fight, so they instead take the piss and pretend to have a match by doing slow-motion exchanges. They have an incident with Marlena and they actually start fighting. The sad thing about this is that their half-speed fake fighting segment didn't all feel that different when they actually start locking up. Goldust runs down and ends this trainwreck. Pillman was a hell of a character that would have fit right in with the Attitude Era as evident by the pre-match with antics, but his body is ruined and it makes you wonder how the rest of his career would play out if he didn't pass away so soon. This is the last time Pillman would wrestle on Raw before passing away just a fortnight later. RIP Pillman. ★

WWF Raw Is War (9/22/1997)
Falls Count Anywhere Match
Cactus Jack vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna)

Cactus Jack makes his WWF debut in a literal garbage brawl. DX has formed but Triple H is still going by Hunter Hearst Helmsley. It's amusing to see him doing the Suck Its whilst Ode To Joy is playing. We think Dude Love is going to come out, but he appears on the Titantron and cuts a promo with Mankind by his side, which leads to Cactus Jack being introduced. It's a great moment and Foley knows how to weave his comedy into wrestling. The match itself is what you'd expect out of an Attitude Era hardcore match, but this was before it felt like a cliche. Foley takes a lot of damage and he brings the best out of Helmsley. Chyna takes one of her first ever televised bumps as Hunter accidentally knocks her into the steps as he tries to wipe out Cactus. They attack each other with all kinds of weapons and Cactus gets the win by piledriving HHH through a table on the stage. This isn't quite as good as some of their other 1997 matches, but it might be one of the most memorable due to Cactus' debut.  ★★★¾

WWF Raw Is War (9/22/1997)
Bret Hart vs. Goldust

After a minute or so of decent brawling, Hart starts chopping down Goldust with leg kicks and this match becomes one big control segment. Bret knows how to work a decent control segment, but he wasn't exactly giving to Goldust and it's clear that Bret is building himself up and not elevating Goldust. This was a fairly formulaic outing for Bret. Lawler's commentary on Marlena got tiresome quickly. HBK comes out but doesn't come down to the ring until the match is over as Goldust predictably taps out to the sharpshooter. A big brawl follows as Raw goes off the air. The match itself was fine, with some great punches from both men to counter-balance the repetitive nature of the legwork. Even Bret on auto-pilot is better than most workers. ★★¾

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

WWF In Your House 18: Bad Blood (10/5/1997)

The Legion Of Doom (Road Warrior Animal & Road Warrior Hawk) vs. The Nation Of Domination (D-Lo Brown, Kama Mustafa & Rocky Maivia)
In Rocky's first PPV match since turning heel and joining the Nation, Maivia is looking much more at home riling up the fans than he was when he was desperately trying to portray a white meat babyface. Ken Shamrock was meant to team with LOD, but he's out injured because of Faarooq, so this is now a handicap match. Animal hits a dropkick here and Hawk even busts out an enziguri, but the rare bit of flashy offense from LOD isn't enough to make the match stick out from their other outings from around this time period. The fans still go crazy from them and Animal even make a pitiful attempt at selling as the Nation work over him during the hot tag segment. The LOD finally get their hands on Rocky and just as they have him set up for the Doomsday Device, Faarooq appears and Rocky is able to hit the still unnamed Rock Bottom to win. ★★¼

Max Mini & Nova vs. Mosaic & Tarantula
This was nowhere near as decent as the minis match we got a Ground Zero for multiple reasons. Brian Pillman died earlier in the day, so this match is replacing Pillman's match with Dude Love. Going straight from a sombre real-life announcement to a comedy match was a misjudged move. I can see Vince's reasoning here as comedy could have been a great way to distract fans from the tragedy, but it came off as rather tacky. The action itself was what you'd expect. There's less comedy than the previous minis PPV match, but the premise is the same, with the larger minis acting as the heels and work over the smaller team. There's quite a few botchy sequences and the finish looks to be blundered too. Seeing Max Mini and Jerry Lawler interact was still amusing at least. ★½

WWF World Tag Team Title Match
The Head Bangers (Mosh & Thrasher) (c) vs. The Godwinns (Henry O. Godwinn & Phineas I. Godwinn) (w/Uncle Cletus)

Sunny is the guest ring announcer. Anytime the WWF would shoehorn Sunny into a match to be a guest ring announcer it was a clear indicator that the match had nothing going for it. The addition of Sunny would at least add some star power and a guaranteed pop when she comes out. Maybe that should have tried booking compelling matches? You know you are watching a dull match when one of the few replays was just a slow-motion close-up of one of the Headbanger's tongue piercing. The Godwins have a new manager in Uncle Cletus, but he does nothing to freshen up their act. Phineas nearly gets paralyzed by a botched flapjack. This was just deathly boring. The Godwins win the tag straps to little fanfare. Can I say anything positive about this? Well, I like Mosh's Type O Negative shirt. That's about it. ★

WWF Intercontinental Title Tournament Final Match
Owen Hart vs. Faarooq

This match is the finals to a tournament to crown a new IC champion, after Austin was forced to vacate the title after getting his neck broken by Owen. Due to the death of Brian Pillman just hours earlier, Owen looks visually shaken and his performance understandably suffers because of it. Stone Cold comes out and terrorizes all of the commentary teams as the match takes place. Austin's involvement was the sole highlight of the entire match. Owen lands a spinning wheel kick and starts chopping down on Faarooq's leg. Despite the fans not caring about this in the slightest, Faarooq does a decent job of selling. Austin whacks Faarooq with the IC title and lets Owen win the match, a move that leaves the commentators confused. This would have been abysmal without the inclusion of Austin. ★★

The Disciples Of Apocalypse (8-Ball, Chainz, Crush & Skull) vs. Los Boricuas (Jesus Castillo, Jose Estrada, Miguel Perez & Savio Vega)
Why did they insist on continuing this rivalry when they would always get crap matches with minimal crowd reactions? This might be one of the most uneventful matches to ever take place on PPV. It sucks, but there aren't even any botches to laugh at. There are no high spots, no one is over, and the action just consists of some of the most rudimentary brawling ever. Just a whole plate of nothing. ½★

Tag Team Flag Match
The Patriot & Vader vs. The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart & The British Bulldog)

Judging by the fiery pre-match brawl that these four get into before the match officially starts, you would think that this might actually be decent. Then the match actually begins and the pace slows down and not a whole lot of note happens. The flag stipulation added nothing to the match and it detracted from the action as you have to deal with the wrestlers slowly attempting to grab their country's flag. Bret was pretty decent at breaking the rules when he was the illegal man, causing damage behind the referee's back. A fan tries to jump into the ring but is quickly taken care of. In a callback spot to their unsung cracker of a match at Ground Zero, Patriot counters Bret's sharpshooter into one of his own. Vader misses a moonsault, but nearly ends up landing clean on his feet! Overall, this match ends up going way too long and it is one of Bret's weakest PPV outings. ★★

WWF World Heavyweight Title #1 Contendership Hell In A Cell Match
The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (w/Chyna, Rick Rude & Triple H)

Although it might be overshadowed by Kane's debut, Shawn's horrific bladejob, and bump from the cell, the first half of the match is incredibly well structured with Shawn backing away from Undertaker and only striking when he's able to find an opening. Undertaker stalking Shawn felt like it was lifted right out of a slasher film. Shawn has to use the environment around him if he wants to stand a chance and he comes up with some pretty unique spots, concluding with a piledriver on the steel steps. Shawn gets pissy with a cameraman for being in his way and this would come into play a few minutes later when he starts stomping on a different cameraman. This cameraman needs medical help, so WWF officials open the cell to get the man to safety. After Undertaker sits up after taking a Sweet Chin Music. Shawn decides to rush out of the cell. This was a really creative way to get them out of the cell. It becomes absolute pandemonium once they reach the top of the cell. Shawn just gets his ass handed to him as he bumps and bleeds all over the ringside area. Kane debuts and rips off the cell door as Vince McMahon makes one of his most memorable lines on commentary. One tombstone later, Shawn is able to drag his battered body onto of Undertaker to win the match. This was an absolute classic, featuring some sublime booking and two career-best performances from both Undertaker and Michaels. ★★★★★

Final Thoughts: Brian Pillman's death hangs over the card and it feels hard to not think about him when watching this one. It's only during the main event, I was able to switch off and lose myself in the wrestling. A total one match show. 

WWF Survivor Series 1997 (9/11/1997)

Survivor Series Elimination Eight Man Tag Team Match
The Godwinns (Henry O. Godwinn & Phineas I. Godwinn), Billy Gunn & The Road Dogg vs. The Head Bangers (Mosh & Thrasher) & The New Blackjacks (Blackjack Bradshaw & Blackjack Windham)

I thought this was a touch better than the usual fluff we'd get from the abysmal WWF tag division in 1997. Making their PPV debut as a team, the New Age Outlaws added some much-needed personality to the tag division. Perhaps it's the Texas crop top, but Billy Gunn got nuclear heat from the Montreal crowd. Bradshaw puts the effort in here and looks fired up for the limited time that he's in here before being rolled up and eliminated. Thrasher works over Phineas' arm and bites his fingers when the referee isn't looking. It's not long before all of Thrasher's teammates are eliminated and he has to take on the Outlaws by himself. There's nothing too memorable here. There's no storyline progression nor are there any big spots featured here, but this served as a decent enough opener. ★★¾

Survivor Series Elimination Eight Man Tag Team Match
The Disciples Of Apocalypse (8-Ball, Chainz, Crush & Skull) vs. The Truth Commission (Jackyl, Recon, Sniper & The Interrogator)

The Interrogator is the most run-of-the-mill giant ever. He's not Great Khali levels of terrible, he's just painfully uninteresting. All he does is grunt, no-sell, and put away his opponents with a weak side slam finish that looked like it wouldn't have hurt a fly. It's clear that neither the Truth Commission nor the future Kurrgan were going to get over by watching this. Skull and 8-Ball do their twin magic thing to zero reaction. The Jackal did his cowardly manager spot well, and he joins commentary after his quick elimination and is the only decent thing about the match. Like all DOA matches, this was rather dull and not a whole lot happens. At least they aren't still fighting Los Boricuas. ★

Survivor Series Elimination Eight Man Tag Team Match
Goldust, Marc Mero, Steve Blackman & Vader (w/Sable) vs. Team Canada (Doug Furnas, Jim Neidhart, Philip LaFon & The British Bulldog)

Despite both teams feeling thrown together, this wasn't a bad match. Steve Blackman makes his WWF in-ring debut here and he didn't leave much of an impression. After hitting a few bang-average martial arts moves and exposing himself as a charisma vacuum during the pre-match promo, he gets counted out and Jim Ross tries to put Blackman over by claiming he got counted out as he wasn't familiar with the rules of the WWF due to him only competing in martial arts contests before this, In one of his last great performances, Bulldog looked fantastic getting his babyface shine in. LaFon and Furnas seemed off here. Making their first PPV appearance since Wrestlemania, they weren't as snug as they usually were and they worked at a more lethargic pace than usual. Goldust has turned heel, and refuses to wrestle here. He tries to blame his broken hand before leaving Vader out to dry. The Goldust stuff added some much-needed story-telling to the match, as this entire match would feel inconsequential without it. Bulldog having to cheat to win felt like a weird booking choice, as he was the main babyface here and he didn't do anything heelish leading up to the bell shot. ★★½

Mankind vs. Kane (w/Paul Bearer)
After Kane takes out Dude Love, Mick Foley resurrects Mankind to get revenge on Kane. Only a top talent like Mick Foley could get that over without it being utterly ridiculous. What is ridiculous is that distracting red lighting that covers the arena and plagues all of Kane's early matches. Thank god WWE never did anything that silly again, right? ! Awful lighting aside, this was a hell of a way for Kane to make his in-ring debut. Mankind made Kane here in the same way that he made Triple H in 1997. We see Mankind go through the announce table and get press slammed from the top rope to the floor, but the focus never feels like it's not on Kane. Kane must have been watching his Halloween VHS, as all his mannerisms reminded me of Michael Myers. Kane's sit-up and tombstone still needed work, as they don't look as natural as they would look a few years down the line yet. Mankind gets a few hope spots, one after he flapjacks Kane onto the steel steps and one after a DDT, but it's not long until Kane disposes of Mankind with a tombstone. ★★★½

Survivor Series Elimination Eight Man Tag Team Match
Ahmed Johnson, Ken Shamrock & The Legion Of Doom (Road Warrior Animal & Road Warrior Hawk) vs. The Nation Of Domination (D-Lo Brown, Faarooq, Kama Mustafa & The Rock)

Rocky, LOD, and Shamrock all get monster reactions, with the crowd mainly wanting to see Rocky get his comeuppance. Hawk and D'Lo start and Hawn does his no-sell piledriver spot within seconds of the match starting. Thankfully it is not long until Rocky is able to hit the Rock Bottom two minutes in and sends Hawk back to the showers. Ahmed looks spent here, both physically and mentally. Not only has he put on a bunch of weight, but he looks like he would rather be elsewhere. The match starts to drag once the babyfaces are at a 2-on-3 disadvantage. Shamrock is way too green to carry this, and Animal was way past his sell-by date at this point and it doesn't help matters that it's mostly the dull pairing of Kama and D'Lo that they are working with, as Rock spends most of his time on the apron during this portion of the match. Rock wakes the crowd up by hitting a low blow after sneaking when the referee isn't looking. The New Age Outlaws come out in LOD gear and get Animal counted out after they go old-school and throw powder in his eyes. Shamrock and Rock are the last two men remaining and Shamrock looked great here, kicking out of all of Rock's signature moves and looking intense as hell. Rock hits the first ever People's Elbow on PPV and it's a strange sight to see that move get no reaction. This was a mixed bag overall, but there's enough good here to cancel out the bad stuff. ★★½

WWF Intercontinental Title Match
Owen Hart (w/Doug Furnas, Jim Neidhart, Philip LaFon & The British Bulldog) (c) vs. Steve Austin

Austin, who had his neck broken literally three months before this, is rushed back onto the active roster. It might not been the smartest move, as his performance here felt limited and I'm sure him rushing back was a major factor in him having to retire young. Despite Austin not being able to take a bump, this match had a plenty of intensity and they managed to tell a decent story in the four minutes that they were given. Bulldog, Furnas, LaFon and Anvil accompany Owen to the ring, but Austin sends them packing once Neidhart gets hit with the Stunner. This distraction was enough for Owen to take advantage and start the match. We get a lot of brawling and piledriver teases before Austin hits a Stunner out of nowhere and wins back the title. Despite being in Canada, the crowd didn't seem to mind Austin winning. ★★½

WWF World Heavyweight Title Match
Bret Hart (c) vs. Shawn Michaels

This was looking to be Bret and Shawn's best match before the infamous screwjob took place. Despite being two of the best ever, they never really had great matches with each other. They spent a ton of time fighting on the floor and through the crowd before the match gets officially underway. The brawling was intense, but nothing of note really happened. HBK was a heat magnet here and the fan's venom for him added a lot to the atmosphere. It's still so easy to hate him in retrospect when you know he is about to be a key part in legitimately screwing Bret out of the title. The fans are ecstatic once Bret is able to lock Shawn in the ring post figure four. Shawn cuts off Bret by launching Earl Hebner into Bret. Just as it looks like the match is about to begin to build to a thrilling finishing stretch, Shawn locks on the sharpshooter, and mass confusion ensues. The match itself isn't worth going out of your way for, but this is essential viewing for every wrestling fan as it shows you how real-life backstage politics can bleed into the staged match. Bret deserved better than this. ★★★

Final Thoughts:
If you remove the Screwjob, this was one uneventful show. It's not terrible or anything, but it's remarkably unremarkable for a Big Four PPV. Kane vs Mankind is a textbook example of how to continue to build a monster gimmick and Austin vs Owen is decent for what cards they were dealt, but that really was all this show has going on the undercard. Everyone needs to see the main event once though. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

WWF In Your House 19: D-Generation X (12/7/1997)

WWF Light Heavyweight Title Tournament Final Match 
Taka Michinoku vs. Brian Christopher

This was less of a balls-to-the-wall WCW cruiserweight bout and more of a traditional match with a strict face/heel divide. With his high-pitched squealing and his goofy mannerisms, Brian Christopher walked the fine line between generating real heel heat and genuine annoyance. The whole bit with Jerry Lawler being in denial that Christopher is his kid is amusing. Christopher served as the perfect foil for Taka and his antics stopped this one from feeling like a spotfest, like some of Taka's other WWF bouts. The match begins with Christopher using his bigger frame to overpower Taka. Christopher stays on top by keeping the pace slow, which made the fans root for Taka as they know Taka can pull out some insane stuff if he is able to get going. Christopher ends up bleeding from the mouth when he crashes face-first into the guardrail. My interest starts to peter out when Christopher spends way too much time on top, with him seemingly running out of stuff to do and starts stalling to fill up time. The finish is also quite sudden, with Taka quickly finishing Christopher off after dodging a Tennesee Jam and landing a beautifully executed Michinoku Driver. Despite my qualms with the final few minutes, this was a great way to kick off the PPV. ★★★¾

The Disciples Of Apocalypse (8-Ball, Chainz & Skull) vs. Los Boricuas (Jesus Castillo, Jose Estrada & Miguel Perez) (w/Savio Vega)
Crush leaves for WCW after the Montreal Screwjob, but WWF insists on keeping the heatless Los Boricas vs DOA feud going, even if no one was clamouring for another match between them. The fans try to keep themselves entertained by telling Perez to shave his back. Chainz gets one of the coldest hot tags I've ever seen here. Perez looks to hurt his leg after coming off the top rope, so he has to bail out of the ring. Savio tries to interject himself as a replacement, but the referee isn't having this. As the ref is trying to get Savio out, it is revealed that Perez was faking his injury as he rushes in and attacks Chainz and wins the match for his team. Like most of the Gang Warz matches, this was completely forgettable. ★½

Four Rounds Boxing Match
Marc Mero (w/Ray Rinaldi & Sable) vs. Butterbean (w/Art Gore & Murray Sutherland)

Butterbean is signed on by the WWF to work two matches. He is nowhere near as over as they would hope he would be. This is worked boxing. It's going to suck. What made this worse is that they went four rounds before Mero gets himself disqualified. Austin vs Tyson, this ain't. DUD

WWF World Tag Team Title Match
Billy Gunn & The Road Dogg (c) vs. The Legion Of Doom (Road Warrior Animal & Road Warrior Hawk)

The tag team scene in WWF during 1997 was so bad. The New Age Outlaws seemed to be a breath of fresh air when they turned up late in the year, as they seem to click together well, but they have never been miracle workers and they can't get anything good out of a way past their prime LOD. Hawk does his dropkick to try and convince people that he still belongs in the ring. Animal nearly breaks Billy Gunn's face when he messes up a press slam onto the steel steps. Road Dogg feeds for the LOD decently enough. On top of the drab action, this had a crap finish too. Just when LOD has this won, Henry Godwin comes down and attacks the babyfaces with his slop bucket when the referee isn't looking. Hawk fights off Godwin and ends up getting DQ'd after going apeshit with Henry's bucket. ★

Boot Camp Match
Triple H (w/Chyna) vs. Sgt. Slaughter

It's funny that WWF constantly took shots at WCW for not using younger talent and here they are giving an overweight 49-year-old Sgt. Slaughter a featured match on PPV! This was slow and they didn't have much in the way of heat. In a moment that made the babyface look both stupid and weak, Slaughter struggles to get down on his knees to pin Hunter on the outside, only to be reminded by the ref that this isn't a falls count anywhere match! Slaughter removes his belt and Jim Ross reminisces about being beaten by his father. Given Slaughter's physical shape, I was surprised to see that he actually did the classic Slaughter bump over the top rope. Slaughter shows that he can still throw a great punch when he attempts to make a comeback. Chyna eventually gets involved, but Slaughter takes her out by throwing powder in her eyes. She's able to recover and hits Slaughter with a low blow so hard that you can hear it. Triple H hits a Pedigree on a steel chair and this one is mercifully over. Slaughter clearly put the effort in here, but he's not in good enough shape to have a match that's worthy to be on PPV. ★½

Jeff Jarrett vs. The Undertaker
What the hell was up with Jarrett's gimmick here? He's no longer a country music star. He's just a cocky wrestler in a hideous singlet. They're also referring to this as Jarrett's debut on commentary, even though he had a two-year run with the company that ended the year before. Jarrett dodges Undertaker's strikes and lands some of his own, but it doesn't have much of an effect on Undertaker. Undertaker throws Jarrett in the corner and lays in a big punch combo as the crowd goes crazy. This was pretty basic stuff, with Jarrett trying to chop down Undertaker's leg to gain an advantage. Anyway, this doesn't go long before the lights go out and Kane makes his entrance. He hits Jarrett, and then Undertaker, but Undertaker refuses to hit his brother. Once Kane and Undertaker leave, Jarrett is announced as the winner via DQ and celebrates as if he has just won the WWF title. ★½

WWF Intercontinental Title Match
Steve Austin (c) vs. The Rock (w/D-Lo Brown, Faarooq & Kama Mustafa)

They pad this out to hide the fact that Austin still hasn't recovered from his neck injury. Austin makes his way to the ring on the truck to a monster pop. The Nation constantly try to get involved, and they attack Austin before the match officially begins. D'lo takes a nasty bump from the ring onto Austin's truck, shattering the windshield in the process. Kama then accidentally wipes out Faarooq with a steel chair after Austin moves out of the way. Despite Austin not being able to bump because of his injury, Rock and Austin keep the match basic. This was a whole lot of basic brawling, but the fans are invested in the two characters, so they don't mind at all. The finish was a bit of an over-convoluted mess, with Austin hitting the stunner on the referee by accident. Rock tries to use brass knuckles on Austin, but Austin is able to score another stunner and another ref comes in to count the pinfall. These two would obviously go on to have better matches, but you can tell that they have chemistry together just by watching this brief match here. ★★¾

WWF World Heavyweight Title Match
Shawn Michaels (w/Chyna & Triple H) (c) vs. Ken Shamrock

Judging by Shawn's horrid pre-match promo, he looks pilled-up to the gills. I thought this looked promising to begin with. Shamrock's ankle lock is treated as a huge deal. HBK comes into this not treating Shamrock seriously and is able to hang with him during the early exchanges, but one Shamrock kick to the chest is enough to knock Shawn out of the ring and HBK starts to doubt himself and he has to rethink his strategy. Shawn excels at being the chickenshit heel in retreat and this was no different, it's just that this match takes a huge nosedive once Chyna and Triple H interfere and Shawn takes control. Talk about a dull control segment. Michaels felt completely directionless working on top and they suck the life out of the building when HBK locks on a lengthy chinlock to allow Shamrock to capture his breath after getting blown up. The loud-spot calling didn't help matters either. We get a few halfway decent hope spots that wake the crowd back up, but its not long before this one abruptly ends once Shamrock locks on the ankle lock and the rest of DX swarm the ring and cause the disqualification. Shamrock shits the bed during the biggest match of his career up to this point and HBK didn't exactly set the world on fire either. Owen Hart ends up making his return after being MIA since Montreal. If they had just gone off air after the DQ finish, fans would have pelted garbage into the ring, so it's a good thing that Owen makes his return here. ★★

Final Thoughts:
They really did save the worst for last. This was a bad show. Post-Montreal WWF was a weird time, and it would take a few months before they were able to find their footing once again. 

WWF 1997 TV Odds and Ends Q4

WWF Raw Is War (10/07/1997)
Brian Christopher vs. Tajiri

I didn't expect to see Tajiri pop up in 1997 WWF! Even though this was a five-minute TV match solely designed to heat up Brian Christopher before he faces TAKA, this was still a letdown to me as Taijiri would be the king of TV sprints during his later WWE run. Christopher brought the antics and Taijiri brought the moves, but it was everything in between that let this one down. These two just didn't click. Tajiri kicks hard and this wakes up the fans before putting them off by following up with some sloppy sequences. Tajiri's springboard elbow makes its WWF debut, but it doesn't look as impactful as it did during his later run. After Taijiri misses a spinning wheel kick which Christopher sells as if it hit him, the wheels really start to come off. Their timings are all off and they even botch the finish, where Christopher counters Taijiri's clutching pin and wins the match with a handful of tights. ★½

WWF Raw Is War (10/21/1997)
WWF Intercontinental Title / WWF European Title Match
Owen Hart (c) vs. Shawn Michaels (c)

Yeah, it is cheap that they advertised this as a match where it looks as if you are guaranteed a title change, only for it to have a non-finish. This has a weird dynamic, as it's not abundantly clear who the babyface is and who the heel is. Owen is the underdog of a heel stable whilst Shawn is ...eh Shawn, so he's naturally going to be hated by certain sections of the audience. These two work so well together. Shawn feeds off Owen's strikes masterfully and makes Owen look like a badass. The cameras miss a piledriver on the floor as they are too busy focusing on the rest of the Hart Foundation watching the match in the back. This showed flashes of brilliance, but being a 1997 TV match featuring top talent, you are certainly going to get a screwy non-finish to kill things off just as things get interesting. Austin, who is finally looking like a megastar, sneaks into the ring and causes the rest of the Hart Foundation to rush out and end the match. ★★★

WWF Raw Is War (taped 10/21/1997, aired 10/27/1997)
WWF World Heavyweight Title Match

Bret Hart (c) vs. Ken Shamrock 
Bret carries Shamrock to a decent match that plays into Shamrock's strengths and features a lot of mat-based stuff. In a glorious counter, Shamrock heel hooks his way out of a sharpshooter and is able to lock on an ankle lock, but he knocks over the referee in the process. Shawn Michaels runs down and lays out Bret with a superkick. Shamrock isn't pleased with HBK getting involved, so he snaps and takes out him. The match abruptly ends as Shamrock refuses to let Shawn go. This had a weak finish, but you could tell that Hart and Shamrock had chemistry and it's a shame they never had a chance to have a proper PPV match between them. ★★¾

WWF Raw Is War (12/29/1997)
WWF World Heavyweight Title Match
Shawn Michaels (w/Chyna) (c) vs. Owen Hart

I've always assumed that Owen and Shawn would be able to have an absolute classic match between them post-Montreal, but I'm less sure about that after watching this. Don't get me wrong, this was a good TV main event, but Owen exposed himself as a weak brawler and he didn't show much in the way of fire or aggression during the first few minutes where Owen is finally able to get his hands on the man who screwed over his big brother. Owen was much better during the finishing stretch, where he would bust out all his signature moves in a lightning-quick fashion, with each of them getting a convincing nearfall. Triple H comes down during the break and we all the usual DX interference that you can expect from them. Shawn was much better working on top here than he was during his PPV match with Shamrock a few weeks prior. He actually showed a lot of attitude as he jabbed away at a downed Owen. This had an identical finish to the aforementioned Shamrock match, with Triple H causing the disqualification after he interferes just as the babyface has Shawn beat in his submission hold. ★★¾

Top 20 WWF of 1997 Matches:

  1. Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin (No Holds Barred Submission Match) (WWF Wrestlemania 13 - 3/23/1997)
  2. The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (Hell in a Cell) (WWF In Your House 18: Bad Blood - 10/5/1997)
  3. Goldust, Ken Shamrock, Steve Austin & The Legion Of Doom (Road Warrior Animal & Road Warrior Hawk) vs. The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart, Brian Pillman, Jim Neidhart, Owen Hart & The British Bulldog) (WWF In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede - 7/6/1997)
  4. British Bulldog vs. Owen Hart (WWF Monday Night Raw - aired 3/3/1997)
  5. Owen Hart & The British Bulldog vs. Shawn Michaels & Steve Austin (WWF Raw Is War - 26/5/1997)
  6. The Undertaker vs. Bret Hart (WWF One Night Only - 9/20/1997)
  7. Vader vs. Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker (Final Four) (WWF In Your House 13: Final Four - 2/16/1997)
  8. Mankind vs. The Undertaker (WWF In Your House 14: Revenge Of The Taker - 4/20/1997)
  9. British Bulldog vs. Shawn Michaels (WWF One Night Only - 9/20/1997)
  10. TAKA Michinoku vs. The Great Sasuke (WWF In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede - 7/6/1997)
  11. Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels (WWF King Of The Ring 1997 - 6/8/1997)
  12. Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin (WWF In Your House 14: Revenge Of The Taker - 4/20/1997)
  13. Bret Hart vs. The Undertaker (WWF Summerslam 1997 - 8/3/1997)
  14. Mankind vs. Shawn Michaels (WWF Raw Is War - 8/11/1997)
  15. Cactus Jack vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (Falls Count Anywhere) (WWF Raw Is War - 9/22/1997)
  16. Vader vs. Ken Shamrock (No Holds Barred Match) (WWF In Your House 15: A Cold Day In Hell - 5/11/1997)
  17. Taka Michinoku vs. Brian Christopher (WWF In Your House 19: D-Generation X - 12/7/1997)
  18. Bret Hart vs. The Patriot (WWF In Your House 17: Ground Zero - 9/7/1997)
  19. Ahmed Johnson & The Legion Of Doom (Road Warrior Animal & Road Warrior Hawk) vs. The Nation Of Domination (Crush, Faarooq & Savio Vega) (Chicago Street Fight) (WWF Wrestlemania 13 - 3/23/1997)
  20. The Undertaker vs. Vader (WWF In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede - 7/6/1997)

1997 was one of the most interesting years in company history. The product felt like a complete different promotion from January to December. The year features two of the best matches in company history, Bret Hart's best run and the rise of Austin. On the other side of the coin, you have to deal with Brian Pillman's death, Montreal, endless Gang Warz matches and TV matches that just almost guarnteened to end in a non-finish. I've had a great time watching these shows as a whole and I'd still say that 1997 was one of my favourite years for the WWF.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...