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Leighty’s Retro Review – WWF In Your House: Cold Day in Hell

May 21, 2022 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
WWF In Your House Cold Day In Hell Image Credit: WWE
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Leighty’s Retro Review – WWF In Your House: Cold Day in Hell  

-Continuing on as we get the first of many Austin/Taker PPV matches. Let’s get to it!

-Announce Team: Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler
-Date: May 11, 1997
-Location: Richmond Coliseum, Richmond, VA
-Attendance: 14,381
-PPV Buys: 120,000

Flash Funk vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/ Chyna)

-Commentary puts over that The Funkettes aren’t here because they are afraid of Chyna. It should be noted we have a proper entrance set for this show. JR mentions Flash has 6 kids at home to feed and needs to get the win here. He also puts over that Flash trained in the dojos of Japan. Flash gets a leapfrog followed by a hip-toss and dropkick. We see five empty seats in the front row as it seems The Hart Foundation has bought the seats from a scalper. Yep, they are basically telling you the Main Event is going to have a run-in. Flash hits a crossbody on the floor, but misses a baseball slide. Hunter distracts the ref which lets Chyna blast Flash from behind with a clothesline. Back in the ring Flash fights back with right hands, but sets too early on a backdrop and eats a knee. Flying knee from Hunter follows. Chops in the corner and then Hunter stomps away. Chyna lands another right hand from the floor as she is getting the biggest pops of the match. Suplex from Hunter and then he poses to get some heat. He drops a knee for two. Headlock from Hunter as I guess this was getting too exciting. Flash hits an up kick to break, but gets caught with a knee to the gut. Hunter hits some forearms on the apron and then hits another knee to knock Flash off onto the steel ramp. Lots of knee offense from Hunter in these early days of his run. Hunter heads up, but Flash catches him on the way down with a big boot to the jaw. Flash fires back and runs wild for a bit. He gets two off a spinning leg drop. Flash gets a cross body, but doesn’t go for the pin. He works Hunter over in the corner which lets Hunter take a Flair bump. Flash goes up, but Hunter shoves him so he falls balls first. Suplex from the top that Flash takes on his face. Pedigree finishes at 10:04 as JR calls him HHH. Great, I can type that now instead of going with Hunter over and over.

Winner: Hunter Hearst Helmsley via pin at 10:04
-Started slow, but got good towards the end. This was like an elongated match from Main Event. **1/2

-Chyna tosses Flash out of the ring after the match.

-JR throws to footage of Ken Shamrock in The UFC and then we get a prerecorded interview from Shamrock as he faces Vader tonight.

Mankind vs. Rocky Maivia

-Much like our Main Event, this match-up would happen just a few more times on PPV. Rocky gets interviewed by Todd before the match and stumbles a bit. If this was NXT 2.0 they probably release him for not improving. JR notes Rocky was married a week ago and I believe that is the woman who is now his ex, but his business partner and is a big part of the XFL relaunch. Mankind rocks in the corner as the bell rings and Rocky isn’t sure what to make of it. He opts to punch in the face and then hits a backdrop followed by a dropkick. Clothesline sends Mankind to the floor and Rocky makes the mistake of following. Mankind gets in some shots and gets the match back inside the ring. Rocky catches Mankind charging with a powerslam and then goes to a hammerlock. Mankind punches his way out, but again charges and gets caught with a leg sweep. They battle to the floor where Mankind comes off the apron with a canon ball. Back in the ring Mankind pounds away in the corner and delivers the running knee. That move always looks impressive! This crowd is just dead for all of this which is weird to think considering the two men in the ring and reactions they would get just even a year later, yet alone two years later. Rocky tosses Mankind over the top with a snapmare and they brawl on the steel ramp. Rocky talks a little trash and curses which is a nice little tease of what was to come with his character. Rock Bottom on the ramp which probably sucked for Mick but it’s Mick we are talking about. That gets a two count in the ring as Lawler talks about all the stuff The Undertaker has done to Mankind and all I can think is just wait to see what happens in 13 months. Clothesline from Rocky and then a shoulder breaker. He dances a little which draws some boos and then heads up where he hits the cross body, but Mankind rolls through and gets The Mandible Claw to finish this one at 8:05.

Winner: Mankind via pin at 8:05
-Either my timer stopped or something was cut out as I have 8:05 for the match and everywhere online has it at 8:46. This is fascinating to watch just because of where the careers of these would go in the years to come. You could see glimpses of The Rock coming out in this match and even in a throw away match, Mankind had no issue bumping like a mad man. Nothing much to see here, but it was fine. **1/2</b

-Back to RAW where Crush beat up a few people, but then got pinned by Ahmed Johnson who came down in a mask.

Ahmed Johnson vs. Crush

-This is a gauntlet match as Ahmed has to face the three Nation members one after another. If he defeats all the three The Nation disbands. Gorilla Monsoon is out and he sends every member of the Nation to the top of the ramp to make it one on one. If Crush wins then the entire match is over, but a Johnson win means Savior or Faarooq is next. Johnson hits a body slam, but misses an elbow. Crush lands a kick and then hits a weak slam. Clothesline from the middle rope looks rough as well as both men are stumbling around the ring. Nerve hold from Crush but he thankfully releases early and opts for a suplex for two. Sleeper from Crush which isn’t helping, but the crowd is with them as they loved Crush. Just a shame it never panned out for him as you could tell the WWF wanted to push him to the moon. Ahmed fights to his feet, but gets caught with a knee. Another one, but Ahmed gets a roll-up out of it for two. Elbow to the back of the head from Crush followed by a piledriver. Crush keeps wanting The Nation to come down to interfere, but instead they just salute. Heart punch is blocked and a heel kick gets Ahmed the win at 5:31.

Winner: Ahmed Johnson via pin at 5:31
-Boring and not good. 1/2*

Ahmed Johnson vs. Savio Vega

-Savio limps down as he apparently has an ankle injury according to what The Nation has told JR. Backdrop from Ahmed, but Savio reverses a whip and lands spinning heel kick. Up on the ramp JR and King miss Clarence Mason loading up the arm sling that Faarooq is wearing. Savio removed the top buckle at some point as Ahmed goes head first into it and even that is missed by JR and King. Instead we get the long view of the arena so JR can plug the city and how nobody does PPV like WWE. Savio chokes in the corner and then goes to a nerve hold. Joy! Ahmed breaks with a hiptoss, but misses a tackle. They start trading blows and Ahmed wins that exchange. Savio misses a splash in the corner and gets dropped with a belly to back suplex for two. Powerslam for two! Savio rolls to the floor as Ahmed signals for the PRP. Ahmed gives chase and gets hit with a superkick. Savio grabs a chair and blasts Ahmed for the DQ at 5:37.

Ahmed Johnson via DQ at 5:37
-Better match than the first, but weaker ending even if it made sense in the story they were telling. *

-Savio destroys Ahmed with the chair after the match to serve him up to Faarooq.

Ahmed Johnson vs. Faarooq

-Faarooq takes off the shoulder sling and starts slapping Ahmed around while talking trash. Small package gets two for Ahmed, and he catches Faarooq with a spinebuster to a monster pop. Again, the crowd was all in on Ahmed. Pearl River Plunge connects, but Ahmed takes too long to cover and Faarooq kicks out. The crowd is pissed! Faarooq hits a chop block and Dominator finishes at 2:10.

Winner: Faarooq via pin at 2:10
-Best match of the three because it fit the story and it was short. Ahmed was toast but got in some hope spots to pop the crowd, but he took too much abuse and lost. Faarooq kicking out of the PRP was strange, but him getting the win makes sense considering he was being booked vs Taker next month for the WWF Title. *1/4

-Back to RAW where Vader beat Goldust while Shamrock watched from ringside. Vader spits on Shamrock to draw him into the ring for the pull apart brawl.

-Vader is with Todd and we see footage from The Free 4 All where Mankind and Vader attacked Shamrock.

No Holds Barred: Submission or KO Only: Vader vs. Ken Shamrock

-This is Shamrock’s WWE in ring debut and after the rules on the screen telling us there is a standing eight count, JR tells us there isn’t a standing eight count. They square up and Shamrock throws some leg kicks and then shoots for a single leg. Vader gets in the ropes which forces a break. More hard leg kicks as Lawler brings up Ali vs. Inoki. Vader gets a shot to the gut, but Shamrock hooks a wristlock to force Vader to the ropes to break. Vader backs Shamrock into the corner, but Shamrock scurries out to create space. Shamrock gets a waistlock but can’t lift Vader and to the ropes we go again for another break. More leg kicks from Shamrock and this time he does lift Vader off his feet into a take down. Vader rolls to the floor to stall. We get a plug for UFC’s next PPV on May 30th as wild to think of a time UFC needed to leech off WWE to promote their PPVs. Back in and Shamrock gets a belly to back suplex and lands some forearms. Vader gets knocked down and bails to the floor again. Back in and now Vader lands some strikes, but Shamrock blocks a hiptoss and nearly gets an ankle-lock. Vader bails again to the floor. Vader swings wildly and misses so Shamrock throws more leg kicks. Vader breaks a front facelock and just blasts Shamrock with a clothesline. Vader works the arm as the crowd chants for Shamrock. He does break and goes for an armbar, but Vader rolls out. Shamrock gets a triangle, but Vader dead lifts Shamrock and dumps him across the ring. Crazy spot as Vader lifts Shamrock for a suplex and just drops him over the top to the floor. Sweet! Vader rams Shamrock into the steps as we see that Vader is bleeding from the nose. Shamrock fights back, but one shot from Vader snuffs out that rally. Back inside the ring Vader tries an Irish Whip, but Shamrock blocks. He lands a few punches and then tosses Shamrock into the corner. Vader hooks his own ankle-lock as the “Shamrock” chants start again. Shamrock escapes so Vader goes to a rear naked choke. They both stand so Vader boxes Shamrock a bit in the corner and then hits a running splash in the opposite corner. Release slam from Vader as he then heads up all the way up for the moonsault, but Shamrock just rolls out of the way. That was nearly ugly! Leg kicks, forearms and knees from Shamrock. He gets a slam and then hooks an ankle-lock, but Vader breaks with the ropes. More kicks and then a half crab, but again, Vader gets to the ropes. Vader gets mauled in the corner including a rough knee to the face. Vader just unloads with a right hand to the side of the face, but Shamrock catches him with another ankle-lock and Vader taps at 14:04. There was a story that Vader was legit pissed about Shamrock’s punches so Vader just decked him with that last one, but others have said there’s nothing to that and both men just agreed to work stiff.

Winner: Ken Shamrock via tap-out at 14:04
-Something different as they beat the snot out of each other. I dug the story of Vader using all the wrestling rules to his advantage to fluster Shamrock early. Once they started trading bombs and submissions this got real good. Good debut for Shamrock and one of the last good matches from Vader in his WWF run. ***1/2

-Todd interviews Austin and you can tell he is jacked for this match.

WWF Championship: The Undertaker (c) vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

-Austin talks trash to Taker before the bell and then The Hart Foundation and Brian Pillman (Pillman has been telling JR he is not part of the Hart Foundation) head down to their ringside seat. I understand they bought a ticket but cooler touch would have been the coming through the crowd instead of down the ramp. Austin jumps Taker before the bell and stomps away in the corner. Taker fires back as he still has his jacket and WWF Title on. Austin hits the floor and immediately grabs Owen Hart and pulls him over the railing. Taker jumps Austin and sends him into the stairs then tosses Owen back over the railing into his seat. Back in the ring more punches from Austin, but he gets caught with a leaping clothesline for two. Old School from Taker after working the shoulder for a bit and that gets a two count. Austin goes to the eyes and gets a side headlock to get Taker on his back. They work that for a bit as Taker rolls for two counts every now and then. Taker breaks, but Austin is determined and goes back to the side headlock. JR passes time by asking Lawler how he could be a fan of Bret’s considering their history and Lawler is just happy that Bret has seen the light about the fickle WWE fans. Taker tries a back suplex to break, but Austin flips out and chops the knee. Taker is pissed as he fires Austin into the corner and unloads with strikes. He stares down the ref, but that lets Austin get a trip and then he wraps Taker’s knee around the ring post. Austin makes sure to flip off Bret and company at ringside. Taker uses his leg strength to pull Austin face first into the post. No matter though as he gets back in the ring and gets a heel trip and starts working the damaged knee. Taker fights back and looks for The Tombstone, but again, Austin slides off and gets an STF. Taker gets to the ropes to break and drops on elbow to the throat on the floor. More work on the knee from Austin, but Taker uses his good leg to boot Austin over the top to the floor. Taker follows and throws Austin into the ring steps. Heel trip from Taker and now he starts working on the left knee of Austin. Right hands from Austin break, but one shot from Taker regains the advantage. Half Crab from Taker as this is definitely a different type of match than what we would get from these two on a regular basis. Austin rolls to the floor and asks for a timeout, but no dice. Back in the ring Taker misses a boot and Austin attacks the knee again. Austin gets a spinning leg-lock as you can hear some of the fans turning on this one. Suplex for Austin gets two. Taker starts firing back and hits a reverse kick. Another run at Old School but Ausin trips the leg and Taker gets crotched on the top rope. Austin tries a superplex, but Taker blocks. He misses an elbow and Austin gets a two count off that. Sleeper from Taker which gets countered into a jawbreaker which nearly looks like a Stunner. Taker corners Austin and lands some strikes, but backs off the ref which lets Austin connect with a low blow. Austin flips off Taker, so Taker punches him in the balls. I guess they are even now. Chokeslam from Taker wakes this crowd up finally. Austin rolls to the apron and snaps Taker neck first off the top. Austin hits The Stunner, but no count as Pillman rings the bell to distract everyone. Taker sits up in the ring and looks for The Tombstone, but Austin reverses and then Taker reverses that to hit the move for the win at 20:06.

Winner and Still WWF Champion: The Undertaker via pin at 20:06
-Very different match from these two as Attitude Era Main Event Brawls hadn’t become the style yet. This was a wrestling match with a lot of holds which killed the crowd a bit. The ending got pretty good in the final stretched and you knew the Hart interference was coming, but Taker getting the win was the right call. Protecting Austin was also the right call as the crowd was eating up his act. ***1/4

-The Hart Foundation hit the ring to attack Taker, but they leave Bret alone in his wheelchair and Austin attacks him. He grabs a crutch and wears out whoever is moving. Taker plants Owen with a chokeslam as the crowd is losing it now.

-Austin hits Taker with a Stunner after he is announced as the winner and then flips him off before chasing The Hart Foundation to the back. Taker storms back with his Title as JR signs us off with Vince McMahon and the entire McMahon family wishing Rose Anderson a Happy Mother’s Day in Heaven as she apparently passed away last night.

-Thanks for reading!

The final score: review Good
The 411
The Gauntlet was the only real weakness of this show as the last two matches were good. The opening two matches were okay, but it was fun seeing HHH, Rock, and Mankind working the kinks out before their careers started to take them to a higher level. Definitely check out Shamrock/Vader to see them potato each other and then check out the Main Event to see a different type of Austin/Taker match.