WWF Canadian Stampede- July 6, 1997
by Samoa Rowe
-Opening hype video puts over the current direction of the company, where the lines between good and bad are becoming blurry. Our hosts for the evening are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Jerry Lawler.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley (with Chyna) vs. Mankind
This is a rematch from the King of the Ring finals, where Triple H picked up the victory with multiple assists from Chyna. Mankind doesnít waste a second initiating a brawl with Helmsley. Mankind delivers his patented elbow drop to the floor. Mankind sets up a riskier drop, but HHH runs away. Mankind dishes out a suplex on the ramp! Helmsley crawls to the ring but gets knocked off the apron. Mankind blocks a sunset flip with the mandible claw, but Chyna cheap shots for the save. Mankind goes after Chyna but is ready to knock a flying HHH down. Helmsley whips Mankind into Chyna, who power slams him into the steps! The referee misses a chair shot from HHH, who is now in firm control. Helmsley proceeds to work over the freshly injured leg. Mankind eventually falls head first onto Helmsleyís lower region, giving him an opening for a comeback. Piledriver by Mankind gets 2. Mankind clotheslines Helmsley (and himself) to the floor and fetches a chair. Chyna gets involved, allowing HHH to use the chair. Mankind crotches HHH on the top rope and applies the mandible claw. Chyna pulls Mankind groin-first into the ring post. They brawl into the crowd as they both get counted out at 13:10. Non-finish aside, this was a fine opener, ***.
-Helmsley and Mankind brawl into a penalty box and referees rush in to separate them. Helmsley isnít finished and jumps from behind.
-Michael Hayes, er, Dok Hendrix interview the Hart Foundation backstage. Or at least he tries to, but Steve Austin interrupts and needs to be held off from a fight.
Taka Michinoku vs. The Great Sasuke
Before the match can begin, Mankind and Helmsley brawl back into the arena. The situation calms down and the WWFís answer to WCWís cruiserweight division can finally get started. They lock up and jockey for position. Sasuke nails a stiff kick between some chain wrestling sequences. Taka runs into a spin kick, allowing Sasuke to lock in a half Boston crab. Taka blocks a kick and slaps the face. Taka begins to target the head. Taka is tossed to ringside and eats a martial arts kick from the top rope by Sasuke. Sasuke unleashes a series of kicks. Taka attacks the leg and nails a springboard plancha to the floor. Taka brilliantly blocks a suplex and nails a hurricarana. Cartwheel elbow by Sasuke and an Asai moonsault! Power slam by Taka and a missile drop-kick still canít the job done. Sasuke kicks out of the Michinoku Driver! Taka flies into a drop-kick from Sasuke. Springboard moonsault canít even get the job done. Sasuke delivers a bridging suplex for the win at 9:57. The match was a bit disjointed but was still a great amount of fun, ***ľ.
Winner: The Great Sasuke
-In the parking lot, Mankind and Helmsley are STILL brawling! Chyna is getting her shots in as well. Mankind counters a pedigree on a stack of wooden planks. Helmsley is busted open before the referees finally break it up.
-Doc Hendrix is backstage with Vader and Paul Bearer. Hendrix is outraged that Bearer would accuse the Undertaker of murdering his own family. Bearer doesnít understand how Taker can look himself in the mirror. We are treated to footage from the Royal Rumble, where Vader managed to defeat the Undertaker.
The Undertaker © vs. Vader (with Paul Bearer)
Paul Bearer is cowering in fear of the Undertaker, who wastes no time going to work on Vader. Vader powers back with a clothesline, but Taker just sits up and resumes the beat down. Taker kicks Vader to the floor but soon finds himself whipped into the steps. Bearer finds enough courage to kick Undertaker while heís down, all along shouting ďmurderer!Ē On the apron, Taker drops Vader neck first on the ropes and connects with a flying clothesline. Taker stalks Bearer, but leaves himself vulnerable to a sneak attack by Vader. After getting his ass kicked for almost six straight minutes, Vader unloads on the Dead Man. Undertaker pummels his way back into the fight, but Vader knocks him off his feet. Vader blocks a chokeslam with a low blow, which the referee allows. Vader blocks a Tombstone, but Taker rolls into a pinning predicament. Vader positions the Vader Bomb, but Taker blocks with a low blow! Undertaker delivers a chokeslam off the second rope but only gets 2! A second chokeslam only gets 2 as well. A tombstone finishes it at 12:37. This was pretty meandering stuff, but it picked up nicely in the home stretch, **.
Winner: The Undertaker
-A video package highlights all the recent violent happenings leading up to tonightís big ten man tag team main event.
-Doc Hendrix interviews Stone Coldís team for tonight, consisting of the Legion of Doom, Ken Shamrock, and Goldust. They donít feel like the underdogs, even though they will be squaring off against a well oiled machine in the Hart Foundation.
-The Canadian national anthem is performed by a national recording group, whose name I missed. Anyone who can e-mail me the correct band name gets a personal thank you from me. Stu and Helen Hart are also introduced in the front row by Howard Finkel.
-Austinís team makes their entrance to the ring. The crowd explodes as the Hart Foundation join together on the stage. This is truly one of the great moments in wrestling history, especially considering what would happen in the following years. Perhaps itís the alcohol, but I get tears in my eyes watching the five of them together on the stage now.
Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Jim Neidhart, British Bulldog (with Diana Smith), and Brian Pillman vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin, Goldust, Ken Shamrock, Hawk, and Animal
Itís amazing to think that as of this writing, four of these men are deceased, two of them have suffered career ending injuries, and only Goldust still wrestles on a national stage. Bret and Austin start the match off with a back and forth brawl. Bret picks gets the upper hand to massive crowd approval. Austin turns the tide to some nuclear heat. Fortunately, Bret regains control in short order. Austin hits a blind low blow and uses the cobra clutch, and Hart kicks off the turnbuckles to almost repeat their Survivor Series finish. Neidhart makes a tag and clubs away on Austin before eating a Lou Thesz press. Shamrock tags and Pillman has to pull him off the Anvil. Pillman tags but runs into some submission work. Pillman attacks the face to gain momentum. Pillman soon eats a suplex and tags in Owen. Goldust tags and ties up with Owen in a heated battle. Hawk tags in and floors Owen with a gut-wrench suplex. Hawk goes high risk and nails a splash for a near fall. Animal prevents the sharpshooter, but the Bulldog gets a tag and unloads on Hawk. Bret tags in and fights off Animal, who tags Goldust for a game changer. Bret dismantles Goldust and sets him in a tree of woe in the Hart Foundation corner. All five men attack Goldust, as Austin breaks it up. Animal tags in but Owen fights him off with a missile drop-kick. The crowd couldnít be happier with this turn of events. Sadly, Animal counters with a powerbomb and poor Owen becomes isolated from his team. L.O.D. deliver the doomsday device, forcing Neidhart to break a cover. All ten men charge the ring for a brawl, and Austin capitalizes with some chair shots to the knee of Bret. Austin attacks Bruce Hart at ringside! Owen appears to be too injured to compete, as Austin squares off with Neidhart. Austin fights off the Harts and delivers a stunner on Pillman! Bret grabs Austinís leg and destroys it in the ring post! Austin appears to be down and out as Hawk battles the Bulldog. Stone Cold limps to the back, leaving the match as an eight man tag. Neidhart and Animal square off. Bret assists with a leg drop, but Shamrock tags in. Pillman saves Bret from a leg submission, and Bret attacks the lower region of Shamrock. Shamrock regains control, but allows Bret to stand up for a lockup. This backfires as Shamrock is tossed to ringside, where Pillman drives him into the announce table! Animal is then driven into the ring steps, while Vince whines that the partisan Canadian crowd is cheering everything the Foundation does. Back to the ring, Bulldog pounds a mud hole in Shamrock. Low blow by Shamrock! Goldust tags and delivers a bulldog on the, er, Bulldog. Pillman prevents an inverted DDT, and Goldust eats a superplex! Austin returns to the match and wants a tag. Bret eagerly tags back in and resumes his epic war against Austin. Animal saves Austin from a sharpshooter, allowing Austin to lock in a sharpshooter of his own! Owen returns to make the save! Owen tags in but gets clotheslined to the floor. Austin lunges at Stu Hart and pulls in a Hart brother! Bret saves his family and rolls Austin into the ring. Owen rolls up Austin for the win at 24:25! This was a wild match full of nonstop action and just might be the most crowd-pleasing match in the history of wrestling, An all time classic, *****.
Winners: Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Jim Neidhart, British Bulldog , and Brian Pillman
-The match might be over, but the fight sure isnít as a wild brawl erupts, complete with the additional Hart brothers joining the fray. Security busts in to try and restore order, but to no avail. Austinís team reluctantly retreats as the Harts celebrate their victory with the overjoyed crowdÖ at least until Austin returns with a chair and attacks Bret. Everyone pounces on Austin and he finds himself handcuffed (to much outrage from Jim Ross). Austin exits in handcuffs, but still manages to flip the bird at the world. The Hart celebration continues, as Stu and Helen, and the grandchildren, are brought into the ring. Again, truly a great moment in wrestling history.
Final Thoughts: This was an all-around great show. Mankind/Helmsley put on a good opener and their prolonged brawling made for an intense first hour to the show. Sasuke/Michinoku was a rare instance where the light-heavyweights werenít treated like jokes in the WWF. Undertaker/Vader was nothing to brag about, especially considering how weak Vader was ultimately made to look, but it wasnít offensively bad either and ended up being decent enough to not suck the life out of the show. But really, the centerpiece of the show is the flawless main event that took a moment to celebrate one of the greatest legacies in modern wrestling history and paid respect to some true legends of the business. Tragedy wasnít far behind the Hart family, but this was their night. Canadian Stampede is playing on WWEClassics.com until the end of the month, go check it out!
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