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Leighty’s Retro Review: WWF In Your House: Canadian Stampede

July 11, 2022 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
WWF In Your House Canadian Stampede Image Credit: WWE
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Leighty’s Retro Review: WWF In Your House: Canadian Stampede  

-Commentary Team: Vince McMahon, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and Jim Ross
-July 6, 1997
-Canadian Airlines Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
-PPV Buys: 235,000

-Vince, Jerry, and JR are all sporting cowboy hats and the hat remained for JR after this show.

Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/ Chyna) vs. Mankind

-Rematch from last month when Hunter beat Mankind to claim the King of The Ring. They waste no time as they start trading blows. Bulldog from Mankind followed by a slam. He drops the leg and plants Hunter with the double arm DDT. This is already better than their match last month. Mankind sets too early on a backdrop and gets caught with a knee. Hunter can’t capitalize though as he gets backdropped to the floor. Mankind drops the elbow off the apron and gives us a Bang Bang as JR mentions Cactus Jack. That gets two back inside the ring. Hunter takes a crazy bump over the top to the floor off a whip. Mankind sets up on the middle rope, but Hunter bails and heads up the ramp. Mankind gives chase and hammers Hunter from behind. He splats Hunter on the steel ramp with a suplex. He goes back to the ring to rock and waits on Hunter. He knocks him off the apron with a right hand. Hunter works in a shoulder and tries a sunset flip, but Mankind counters with The Mandible Claw. Chyna lands a right hand over the ref’s back to break the hold. Mankind goes out after Chyna and Hunter tries to save, but gets caught with a right hand to the ribs. Hunter whips Mankind into Chyna who powerslams him on the corner of the steps. Hunter waffles Mankind with a chair on the damaged leg. We are only 5 minutes into this one and they are just destroying each other. Chop block from Hunter as we get a replay of the powerslam on the steps. Nasty! Hunter works the knee including an elbow on the joint. Hunter pounds away in the corner as he shows some good aggression. Funny how a match with Mick can have that effect on people. The knee buckles so Hunter hits a dropkick on the shin. Figure-four and Hunter makes sure to use the ropes for added effective. Always works! The ref catches Hunter and kicks his arms which lets Mankind break the hold. Hunter gets a reversal in the corner and preps for a Pedigree, but Mankind escapes. Hunter kicks Mankind away and on the rebound he falls face first into Hunter’s balls. Mankind is up first and hits the running knee in the corner while continuing to sell the knee. Hunter bounces around in the corner alas HBK and then gets stuck with a piledriver for two. Cactus clothesline sends both men to the floor. Mankind grabs a chair, but Chyna makes the save. While the ref deals with her, Hunter waffles Mankind with the chair again. Chyna then drops him with a clothesline. Mick never had a problem with Chyna beating the piss out of him. Hunter heads up, which is rare, but Mankind trips him up. Mandible Claw, but Chyna makes the save again and posts Mankind balls first. Mankind gets tossed into the security railing and they both get counted out as they fight in the crowd at 13:10.

Result: Double Count-out at 13:10
-Fun brawl that totally outclassed what they did the previous month. These two would only get better with each passing match they had against each other. Good stuff here and the result was fine as nothing was settled and would lead to even more from these two. ***1/2

-They brawl into the penalty box area as refs try to separate the two of them. No luck though as Hunter dives back on Mankind and the crowd is loving every second of this.

-Video package of all the things happening in Calgary this week!

-Dok interviews The Hart Foundation and Steve Austin tries to get at all of them but gets held back by officials.

Taka Michinoku vs. The Great Sasuke

-This was the start of WWE trying to match WCW’s Cruiserweight Division. It didn’t work out well for them as WCW already had most of the top cruiserweight/junior heavyweight talent and Vince never got the style to let them off the hook with Bischoff did with his division. Before the bell we cut to Mankind and Hunter continuing their brawl as they are back out on the arena floor.

-Someone in the crowd walks by with a “This is Workrate” sign. Yep! Sasuke throws kicks early before we get a lock-up. JR is gushing over Sasuke as he was to be the jewel of this new division, and it ended up being Taka. They wrestle on the mat and fight over pin attempts before it ends up being a stalemate. Another go and Sasuke lands a spinning back kick. Taka flattens him out and gets an armbar as someone start yelling “boring.” WWF audiences weren’t trained to this style yet. Compare that to WCW crowds that were popping for this same mat based offense that started their CW matches. Sasuke lands a strike to the face and goes to a Single Leg Crab, but Taka gets to the ropes. Taka catches a kick and lands a palm strike. He connects with a dropkick to the back of the head and then gets a seated dropkick. Taka gets dumped to the floor and Sasuke comes off the top to the floor with a kick to the face. Back in and Sasuke goes crazy with kicks in the corner and hits a sick spinning kick right in Taka’s face. Ouch! More kicks, but Taka catches the leg and gets a leg whip. Sasuke bails to the floor and Taka follows with a springboard plancha. Beautiful! Sasuke escapes a suplex, but Taka comes back with a rana for two. Handspring elbow from Sasuke and on the floor he catches Taka with an Asai Moonsault. Back in the ring Taka connects with a belly to belly suplex for two. Running kick in the corner and a sweet springboard dropkick to the back of the head. Michinoku Driver gets two! Taka heads back up, but Sasuke catches him with a dropkick on the way down. Springboard moonsault press from the middle rope gets two. Sasuke hits a Thunder Fire Bomb and then a Tiger Suplex finishes at 10:00.

Winner: The Great Sasuke via pin at 10:00
-This was wonderful even with it taking a few minutes before the crowd bought into what they were doing. They hit each other hard and popped the crowd with some high spots. Taka totally stole the show from Sasuke here and it was probably for the best they hooked their wagon to him. ****

-Hunter and Mankind continue their brawl in the parking lot. Hunter gets backdropped on a stack of wooden pallets and a shovel gets involved. Hunter is bleeding from above his eye as the officials get them separated.

-Vince throws to footage from 2 weeks ago where Ahmed Johnson was injured and thus lost his WWF Title Match against Taker tonight. That ended any chance he had of salvaging his career in the WWF.

-Dok is backstage with Vader and Paul Bearer. Paul continues to mention that Taker is a murderer that killed him family and brings up that Vader beat Taker at The Royal Rumble. We see footage from that match.

WWF Championship: The Undertaker (c) vs. Vader (w/ Paul Bearer)

-They start unloading on each other as soon as the bell rings and Taker wins the first exchange. Clothesline and legdrop from Taker gets two. Whip to the corner and Taker follows with a splash for another two count. Old School gets another two count as Vader is getting mauled here. Another whip, but Vader finally shows life as he bounces out and clubs Taker. Zombie sit-up and Taker ducks a clothesline and hits his leaping clothesline for another two count. Vader back with body shots and hooks a standing side headlock. Taker shoves off, but Vader runs him down with a shoulder. Taker misses a clothesline but hits a boot to the face and clothesline Vader to the floor. They brawl out there and Taker gets sent into the steps with his knees taking the full brunt. Ouch! Paul Bearer makes sure to let Taker know he is a murderer. They fight on the apron and Taker drops Vader throat first on the top rope. Taker heads up and comes off with a flying clothesline for two. Uppercut sends Vader back over the top to the floor and lets Taker stalk Paul Bearer. Vader makes the save from behind with a clothesline. Bearer uses his shoe to smack Taker around a bit. Bearer gives us a Woo as he struts away from Taker. Vader backs Taker into a corner and pounds him to a seated position and this crowd is not happy at all. Short-arm clothesline and again, Vader has heat here. Flying clothesline from Vader from the middle rope gets two. Suplex from Vader followed by a splash gets two. Vader goes to a nerve hold as both men are breathing a bit heavy here. The crowd is so loud the hard cam is shaking and this is nothing compared to what we are going to see from this crowd in about 30 minutes. Vader goes to the eyes to cut off this comeback. Back to the corner and more boxing from Vader. Taker fires back and these two have to be loving this crowd. Goozle from Taker, but Vader goes low with a kick to the Tombstones. Vader charges but runs into a Tombstone, but Vader tries to roll back into one of his own and it gets botched as they fall down on each other. That looked bad! Vader catches Taker with an elbow in the corner and then drops an elbow to the lower abdomen. Zombie sit-up and a massive uppercut to the balls as Vader tried a Vader Bomb. Taker brings him down with a chokeslam for two. That ball shot was epic! Another chokeslam and another kick out at two from Vader. Taker has had it and plants Vader with a Tombstone for the win at 12:38.

Winner and Still WWF Champion: The Undertaker via pin at 12:38
-Hard hitting HOSS Fight with a noticeable botch, but the crowd heat was off the charts. Good match from these two even if you could tell Vader was starting to slow down some. ***1/4

-More footage from Calgary rolling out the red carpet for The Hart Foundation this week!

-Video Package for our 10 Man Tag Main Event!

-Dok speaks with Team Austin and Austin just walks off without speaking.

-Farmer’s Daughter sing O’ Canada! I mean, just fire this crowd up even more!

-The Fink introduces Ralph Klein, The Premier Providence of Alberta, and Stu and Helen Hart, who have their children and grandchildren with them in the first 60 rows or so. There’s a lot of Harts here!

Goldust, The Legion of Doom, Ken Shamrock, and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart, Brian Pillman, Owen Hart, and The British Bulldog (w/ Diana Hart Smith))

-Austin gets booed out the building, but the smile on his face as he walks down talking trash shows he is having the time of his life. The Hart Foundation get introduced one at a time and the crowd noise is just off the charts and grows with each person. It brings a smile to my face which is good considering I try to forget that 4/5 of this team is no longer with us. Owen is loving the reception he is getting and again, I can’t help but smile. Bret comes out last and very few people will ever be as over at one moment of time as Bret is in this moment. Just insane! I’m exhausted just from the introductions and there is still the match to get to. Bret gives his glasses to his mom and that gives Lawler a chance to crack a joke. JR then crushes him for it! JR brings up that there are cameras at ringside filming a documentary about Bret’s life. Probably nothing of note ever came from that! Not like they would get access to an industry changing event. I’m sure we will never hear of it again and for those curious it’s something about wresting with shadows, or whatever. Let’s move on! This starts the only way it can and that’s with Bret and Austin beating the piss out of each other. Bret wins the initial slugfest and this crowd is again shaking the hard cam. Austin rallies to massive boos, but Bret turns the tide with a clothesline. Headbutt from Bret and an inverted atomic drop followed by another clothesline. Bret rakes Austin’s face on the ropes, but a mule kick to the balls turns things to Austin’s favor. He stomps a mud hole in the corner as we may have a riot on our hands. Million Dollar Dream and Bret knows how to reverse that, but Austin is hip to that this time and lets go of the hold to kick out. Nice play off their Survivor Series 96 match. Bret makes a tag to The Anvil and Austin ducks a clothesline leading to a Thesz Press. Shamrock gets the tag and Anvil wants to square off MMA Style. Good luck with that as Shamrock lands a head kick and goes to the ankle lock. Pillman breaks that up with the biggest smile on his face. Anvil delivers some forearms, but Shamrock blocks a hiptoss and gets a roll into a pin for two. Pillman gets the tag and Shamrock takes him down rather easily. Pillman goes to the eyes and gets the biggest cheers of his life. He fires off chops in the corner and it’s kind of weird seeing Pillman work in a WWF ring because it didn’t happen often sadly. Shamrock bounces out of the corner with a clothesline and hits a belly to belly suplex. Pillman bails and tags Owen, so Shamrock tags Goldust. The crowd really loves Owen! Goldust hits a backdrop, but Owen gets the enziguiri for two. Goldust back with the 10 punch in the corner as the crowd starts a thundering “Austin Sucks” chant. Hawk gets the tag and he drops a fist on Owen. He comes off top with a splash after nearly slipping off the top rope. Dropkick is avoided and Owen goes for a Sharpshooter, but Animal stops that. Bulldog gets a tag and hits a delayed suplex to an amazing pop. Basically everything is getting incredible pops or massive heat. This is just other worldly! Bret and Goldust end up in the ring and Goldust wants to play some mind games. JR mentions this is the son of Dusty Rhodes sizing up the son of Stu Hart. Nice! Goldust gets hung in the Tree of Woe and gets mauled by the Hart Foundation. That brings in everyone else and again, just chaos with crazy heat. In case you didn’t know this crowd thinks Austin Sucks. Owen in and he misses a charge in the corner, but gets a spinning heel kick on Animal. Missile dropkick follows. Animal catches Owen on a rana and turns it into a powerbomb. Powerslam sets up The Doomsday Device, but Anvil makes the save. Everyone starts brawling again and Austin wraps Owen’s knee around the post. He uses a chair for good measure. Bruce Hart tries to grab Austin and gets decked for it. Bret makes the save, but Owen is hurt and gets helped to the back. This crowd really hates Austin now. No matter as he goes to work on Anvil. Austin gets caught in the wrong corner though and this blood thirsty crowd loves seeing him get beat 4 on 1. Austin and Pillman have a go for old time’s sake. Pillman gets his pants pulled down just because and eats a Stunner, but Bret saves and wraps Austin’s knee around the ring post. He gets more creative than Austin though and uses a fire extinguisher. Ring Post Figure Four for good measure and Bulldog stomps Austin as well. Austin crawls to his corner and tags Hawk. He hits a slam on Bulldog, but gets crotched heading to the top rope. Austin gets helped to the back to even things at 4 a side. Animal and Anvil in and they hook it up for a Test of Strength. Animal gets the early advantage, but Anvil lands a kick to take control. Classic double team from The OG Hart Foundation in a wonderful touch! Bret sets too early on a backdrop and gets kicked in the chest. Shamrock looks for a submission but plays around looking for fan approval, so Pillman comes in with a clothesline. Shamrock got Bret on the ground, but Bret begs off and Shamrock lets him up. Big mistake as Bret suckers him in and tosses him to the floor. Pillman sends him into the railing and everyone starts fighting everyone again. Someone eats the stairs as Bret gets a Side Russian Leg Sweep for two as Goldust makes the save. Pillman and Hawk fight on the floor as Bulldog pounds away on Shamrock in the corner with aggression we haven’t seen in years from him. Shamrock goes low and makes the tag to Goldust. He gets a bulldog on The Bulldog. Curtain Call is stopped by Pillman, who is the low key MVP of this one for all his great timing with these saves. That man is having the time of his life out there and I am here for it! Superplex from Bulldog gets two as Hawk makes the save. The boos increase as Austin limps back to his corner. The race is on and tags are made to Austin and Bret as they have another go. This time Austin stomps a mud hole and Bret takes his sternum first bump into the corner. Suplex gets two! Bret catches Austin with a neckbreaker and drops an elbow from the middle ropes for two. Sleeper, but Austin escapes with a jawbreaker for two. Bret gets a spinebuster and hooks The Sharpshooter, but Animal saves. This is like every tag match in every wrestling video game as you can’t get a pin due to someone always making a save. Now Owen gets to be the biggest baby face who ever faced as he limps down to the ring. He gets the tag and brawls with Austin on the floor. Bruce gets involved and Austin grabs Stu for fun. Austin gets attacked by two Harts and it should be a DQ, but that ref wouldn’t get out alive. Austin gets rolled back in the ring and Owen gets a roll-up for the win at 24:32. The pop is so loud you can’t even hear the bell.

Winners: The Hart Foundation via pin at 24:32
-Very few matches have ever had the crowd reaction and heat that this one had. It doesn’t carry the historical significance of Rock/Hogan, Cena/RVD at One Night Stand, or Cena/Punk at MITB, but it was on the same tier as them as far as crowd reaction. The match itself was a wonderful piece of business as everyone got some shine and the 25 minutes flew by. Add everything up and this was incredible. *****

-We aren’t done yet though as everyone brawls and The Hart Family hits the ring along with security. The Harts stand tall as the poor Americans get escorted to the back by security. The Fink announces The Hart Foundation as the winners and Austin is back with a chair. He takes on everyone bit it’s like 30 on 1. Bret makes sure to get in some cheap shots as Austin is buried under a pile of people. “Austin Sucks” drowns out the commentary and we see that Austin is getting handcuffed by security. Austin is pissed and flips off the crowd with his hands cuffed behind his back. THAT IS AWESOME!

-Now back to the ring as Stu gets helped into the ring along with everyone else with the last name Hart. If you are quick you can see a young Nattie and Harry. Helen gets helped in the ring as Lawler bemoans that Stu and Helen are responsible for all of this.

-Thanks for reading!

The final score: review Amazing
The 411
Again, this show doesn't have much going for it as far as being a historical show, but it's top to bottom one of the greatest wrestling shows WWE has ever produced. All four matches were good to amazing with a legendary crowd eating up everything they saw. The Main Event alone makes this a great show, but the other three matches delivered as well.