Wednesday, July 8, 2020

WWF In Your House #15 - A Cold Day In Hell (May 1997)

It's been a long time coming, but finally Stone Cold gets his first shot at the WWF World Heavyweight Championship and he faces off against... THE UNDERTAKER, playa!

Other stuff happened, I guess. More after the break...

Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/ Chyna) defeated Flash Funk (2 Cold Scorpio dressed as a pimp) in a pretty short but otherwise fun little opening match. Chyna gets involved a couple times to put her over as a tremendous hurdle and her presence would only get bigger (in more ways than one) from there.

Mankind defeated Rocky Maivia via mandible claw after rolling through to counter Rocky's flying cross body move. Maybe find a new finish kid. Rocky was fresh off losing the IC title to Owen Hart on RAW and now is being sent down the ladder. This is not quite the Mankind/Rock wars of later years; this was much tamer, but still a fun ride.

Ahmed Johnson is in a gauntlet match against three members of the Nation Of Domination, with the stip that if he wins, the Nation is disbanded... so knowing what happens afterwards, there was no question that Ahmed would lose and that kills the interest somewhat. He beat Crush in the first match, then Savio smashed Ahmed with a chair for the DQ before Faaaroooooqqqqq finished Ahmed off with a Dominator for the win. Ahmed looked like a beast before the fall, which is all you could hope to accomplish here.

Funny thing is that this version of the Nation wouldn't last, as both Crush and Savio would split off to form their own factions; Crush would form the bike-riding Disciples Of Apocalypse (which includes the Harris twins, who some of you might know from WCW and Neo-Nazi-ism...) and Savio would form Los Barriquas with a couple other Hispanics... while the Nation would get more colored people and we'd have them GANG WARZ or something that people liked... and then they wonder why WCW was kicking their asses around this time.

Ken Shamrock defeated Vader via submission in a weird attempt to bring shootfighting to the WWF. The whole idea is that you win via knockout or submission, much like an MMA fight. And yeah, this was messy, much like an MMA fight around that time would be. Both guys beat the shit out of each other and it turned out to be a fierce brawl. Funny how I can enjoy the fake MMA fights, but fall asleep during a real one. Go figure.

WWF Champion The Undertaker defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin with outside interference from the ringside Hart Foundation to retain the title. They teased a Stone Cold title win when Austin hit the Stunner on Taker and the ref started counting the pin before Brian Pillman rang the bell prematurely. Giving Austin the visual pin over the champion and following up with the distract before Taker tombstones the guy for the win - which is weird seeing Austin take a piledriver in these older clips, considering how he'd never take another one after the Owen one - but that's how you keep a guy strong in defeat. And considering the reaction that the crowd had towards a possible title change, something had to click where it was readily apparently that this Stone Cold cat might be the next big thing.

After the match, the Hart boys rush in an beat up both Stone Cold and Taker... but Austin escapes, sees ol' Bret Hart in his wheelchair (from the leg injury suffered at Austin's hands the night after the last PPV) and proceeds to beat him up some more. This last chunk with the title match and the post match stuff was great. A fantastic way to close up what I thought was a pretty good show, all things considered. Some slow stuff, sure, but nothing I would write off as complete atrocious.

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