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Leighty’s Retro Review: WWF One Night Only

October 6, 2022 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
WWF One Night Only Image Credit: WWE
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Leighty’s Retro Review: WWF One Night Only  

Leighty’s Retro Review: WWF One Night Only

-Here I thought I was done with September PPVs from 1997 and then I had to be reminded a few weeks back that this show existed.  I thought about skipping it and focusing on only the PPVs released for the entire world, but I really want to see the Main Event and my plan is to rank every PPV match from WWF, ECW, and WCW from 1997 so we are off to England to check this one out.  This was a PPV exclusively for Canada and The UK and this is also a show I have never seen before so it should be fun.  Let’s get to it!

-Announce Team: Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Jerry “The King” Lawler
-Location: NEC Arena, Birmingham, England
-Date: Sept 20, 1997
-Attendance: 11,000
-PPV Buys:  20,000 (obviously very limited availability)

-SKY Box Office opening logo is kind of cool to include.  Show opening video package is all about The British Bulldog and how he is home as a conquering hero defending his Title, Country, and dreams of a young boy.  After that intro, how could he lose? 

Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/ Chyna) vs. Dude Love

-This is the 4th PPV match since June between these two though the first with Mick being Dude Love.  Dude gets an early knock down and slaps Hunter in the face.  He drills Hunter with a back elbow and gets a backdrop out of the corner.  Hunter begs off like he is Ric Flair, but gets pulled out of the corner and dropped on his back.  Dude dances and gets poked in the eye to turn the tide.  Hunter can’t follow though as Dude lands rights and lefts before sending Hunter into the buckle.  Dude shows-off to the crowd again and Hunter charges but eats a clothesline.  Hunter bails to the floor and tries to get Dude to chase, but instead Dude drops him with a forearm.  Hunter tries to land a kick, but gets caught and Dude goes to work on the arm.  JR mentions Cactus Jack and that would get paid off on the following RAW live from MSG.  Hunter fights back with right hands, but misses a drop toehold and Dude gets one of his own.  Dude gets a version of an Indian Deathlock as he has dominated this opening five minutes.  To. The corner as Dude hammers Hunter and sends him to the opposite corner where he bounces upside down and gets trapped in The Tree of Woe.  Dude hits the running double ax as this is just an ass kicking.  Sweet Shin Music is next, but Hunter bails to the floor.  Dude follows and Chyna catches him with a clothesline which should be a DQ, but apparently the ref was looking somewhere else.  Now Hunter has his opening and drops Dude throat first on the top rope.  We see a replay of the clothesline and Mick had no problem bumping his ass off for Chyna.  Hunter distracts the ref which lets Chyna get in another shot as the crowd freaks out.  Dude tries to rally, but sets to early on a backdrop and eats a facebuster on Hunter’s knee.  Hunter goes to the abdominal stretch and makes sure to use the top rope for added leverage to anger the crowd even more.  Always works!  The ref catches Hunter and kicks the arm which leads to a shoving match between Hunter and the ref and the crowd is loving all of this.  Hunter backs down and gets caught with a right hand from Dude.  He tosses Hunter into the corner and drops him face first on the way out.  Hunter reverses a whip to the corner and catches Dude with a swinging neck breaker.  The crowd really dislikes Hunter!  Pedigree is blocked and turned into a catapult as Hunter hits the top turnbuckle.  That leaves both men down and the crowd is rocking with them.  Dude fires off more right hands and bounces Hunter off the top buckle 9 times and some more dancing.  He finishes off the 10 count with one more and Hunter bounces across the ring.  Dude hits a running corner clothesline, but a second one eats a boot to the face.  Hunter heads up top which is weird to see even in 1997 and Dude brings him down with an arm drag.  Sweet Shin Music connects and Dude follows with a Double Arm DDT for two as Chyna put Hunter’s foot on the bottom rope.  Dude gets distracted by Chyna and walks into the Pedigree which gets the pin at 12:53. 

Winner: Hunter Hearst Helmsley via pin at 12:53
-Great opener as these two have wonderful chemistry obviously.  The crowd was way into this one and the story was quite easy as Hunter was screwed when it was one on one and it took Chyna to get him the advantage and the win.  ***1/2

-Fans make their prediction on the Shawn/Bulldog match and it’s kind of split actually. 

-Sunny is out as the guest ring announcer for the next match.  Again, WWF was trying to find anything for her to do to get her on camera. 

Leif Cassidy vs. Tiger Ali Singh (w/ Tiger Jeet Singh)

-WWF spent years trying to figure out what to do with Tiger and it just never happened.  The crowd boos him here as he cuts a babyface promo before the match about being drug free and being The True Messiah.  This poor guy had no chance!  Leif (Al Snow) jumps Tiger before the bell, but it doesn’t last long as Tiger lands punches in the corner.  He whips Snow from one corner to the other and gets an overhead belly to belly suplex as Leif bumps all over the place for him.  Running boot from Tiger, but he avoids another whip into the buckle and drops Tiger with a clothesline to a pop from the crowd.  Lawler makes stereotypical jokes about Tiger Jeet looking like a New York Cab Driver.  Vince makes note that the WWE agrees with Tiger that everyone should be drug free!  HA HA HA HA!  He said that with a straight face!  JR gets on Lawler about Brian Christopher being his son while Tiger blows a roll-up spot that Vince tried to cover on commentary.  I mean, if you can’t get simple shit down with Al Snow trying to carry you then you have problems.  I mean this is the guy that made people from Tough Enough look decent when he trained them.  Tiger knocks Leif off the top rope and connects with a bulldog from up there for the pin at 4:00.  Vince dubs the move The Tiger Bomb. 

Winner: Tiger Ali Singh via pin at 4:00
-At least it was short!  1/4*

-Sunny flirts with JR and The King after the match!

-Back to Ground Zero (my review is here) where Steve Austin cost Owen and Bulldog the Tag Titles as The Headbangers get their first taste of WWF Tag Gold. 

WWF World Tag Team Titles: The Headbangers (c) vs. Los Boricuas (Miguel Perez Jr and Savio Vega)

-Bangers won the titles a few weeks ago at Ground Zero and are pretty over with this crowd.  Boricuas jump start things before the bell, but gets knocked out of the ring to the floor.  We start proper with Miguel and Mosh.  Mosh gets a butt splash in the corner and an arm drag into an armbar.  Massive “Head Bangers” chant from the crowd.  Thrasher in and they unleash some double team offense on Savio and Miguel.  Savio gets in a cheap shot as the ref pushes him back to his corner and that lets him get the tag.  They have a mat sequence where they exchange headlocks and it is a wash.  The crowd starts their chant again and Savio isn’t not pleased.  Thrasher controls with a side headlock, but eats a cheap shot from the apron by Savio.  Savio in and he hits a spinning heel kick in the corner.  Chops from Savio as JR puts over Savio’s martial arts background.  I was waiting for a KWANG reference, but no dice.  Miguel back in and he gets a nerve hold for a bit and then connects with a legdrop.  Clothesline and he then draws Mosh into the ring which gets the ref’s attention and then a double team.  Classic, time tested tag wrestling and as always, it works here as the crowd is pissed!  The crowd rallies Thrasher and he elbows his way out of a hold and gets a crossbody for two.  Savio to his feet first and hits a super kick for two.  Tag back to Miguel as the crowd is back at it.  This may be the most over the Head Bangers have ever been in their career and that’s not a knock.  This crowd is molten for them!  Miguel goes back to the nerve hold while Savio pulls Mosh away from his corner which means nobody is him when Thrasher finally has a chance to make a tag.  Suplex for Miguel gets two as Mosh breaks up the fall.  That backfires though as the ref has to usher him out and the Boricuas work over Thrasher.  Savio pulls the ref away again while Thrasher gets the tag, but the ref didn’t so it.  JR jokes that it was a long flight over here.  Just wait a few hours!  Savio back in, but gets caught with a knee trying a splash.  The hot tag is cut-off by Savio and again that draws in Mosh and The Boricuas beat the snot out of Thrasher.  This is great use of the tag formula!  Thrasher fights off a grounded sleeper and gets a sunset flip for two as Savio makes the save.  Tag back to Savio and he throws chops in the corner.  Splash in the corner misses and Thrasher gets a belly to back suplex to leave both men down.  The crowd is losing it as they are desperate for a tag to Mosh.  Thrasher makes the hot tag and the place explodes.  Mosh runs wild with dropkicks and a clothesline that sends Savio to the floor.  Miguel gets set up top and Mosh gets a Rana from up there for two.  All four men brawl in the ring and Mosh gets a powerslam for two as again, Savio makes the save.  Savio eats a backdrop on the floor while Miguel gets a powerbomb in the ring.  It’s the illegal man though as Mosh comes off the top with the Stage Dive for the win at 13:32. 

Winners and Still WWF World Tag Team Champions: The Headbangers via pin at 13:32
-Good match here with a crowd that was way into the Bangers. Just keep it simple with tag wrestling and it’s hard to screw up. ***

-The Headbangers celebrate with the fans in the first few rows. 

Flash Funk vs. The Patriot

-It’s still so weird hearing that music and not seeing Angle come out and not hearing “You Suck” chants.  Patriot gets booed out of the building, which explains why he is facing another face in Flash here.  Lawler mentions The Brits are still upset over The Revolutionary War.  Handshake to start and a lockup that goes nowhere.  Another go and Flash gets a waist lock, but Patriot gets a drop toehold.  JR brings up that Flash has 6 kids at home so he needs a win and also questions how much of a hangover Patriot has after the loss to Bret at Ground Zero.  Side headlock from Flash, but he gets mowed down by a shoulder and the crowd boos.  Vince talks about some Americans being on the arrogant side.  Yep!  Lawler questions how many times The US has saved The UK’s backside and yet they boo.  Patriots lands a falling headbutt for two as so far the commentary has been the best part of this match.  Now Lawler calls soccer a sissy sport compared to real football and JR tries to keep the peace.  Flash avoids a charge in the corner and gets a crossbody from the middle rope for two.  Spinning heel kick is caught and something seems off, so Flash just drops him with a clothesline for two.  Funk buries a knee in the back and hooks a chinlock as Vince refers to him as “The Funkmeister.”  Funk throws chops which fires The Patriot up and again, the crowd is not happy.  Patriot gets a running clothesline in the corner and an atomic drop into a belly to back suplex.  He wanders around the ring and the opts for a cover which even Vince and JR are calling him out for.  Vince is not happy with this match as you can pick up on his code as he calls this “a different style of match than what we usually see.”  Funk ducks a clothesline and hits a spin wheel kick followed by a bog boot.  Patriot back with a powerslam for two.  He sets too early on a backdrop and Funk gets a boot in followed by a roll-up for two.  Clothesline from The Patriot sets up The Patriot Missile, but Funk is out at two.  Flash back with a slam and he heads up top with a 180 splash for two.  Moonsault catches knees and The Uncle Slam finishes at 8:48. 

Winner: The Patriot via pin at 8:48
-This was kind of boring and they seemed off for a bit of it.  The crowd dynamic didn’t help either and I was more entertained by the commentary.  *1/2

-LOD cuts a promo backstage!

The Godwins vs. The Legion of Doom

-This feud started when The LOD broke Henry Godwin’s neck and has been going on for months now.  The crowd really likes LOD as it’s called a Road Warrior Pop for a reason.  Henry and Animal start us off and kind of stall so the crowd can continue the LOD chant.  After about a minute we get contact as Henry pounds Animal down in the corner.  He gets a whip but misses a clothesline.  Animal gets a shoulder tackle, so Henry bails to the floor.  Tag to Phineas, so Animal makes the tag to Hawk.  Hawk gets in a kick and throws chops and right hands in the corner.  Running clothesline from Hawk, but a second one catches ring post.  Phineas hooks a chinlock to start another LOD chant.  Tag to Henry as commentary talks about Mad Cow Disease to fill the time.  Hawk back with a clothesline and a jawbreaker.  Tag to Animal and LOD gets a double back elbow and now Animal hooks a chinlock.  We get a close up of Henry’s mouth and his missing teeth.  Phineas gets in a cheap shot from the apron which lets Henry gets a clothesline that sends both of them to the floor.  Tag to Phineas and he gets a Fujiwara Armbar which stuns JR.  The Godwins get off some clubbering and Phones heads to the middle rope.  He comes off but Animal gets a boot up and the hot tag is made to Hawk.  He runs wild and gets a neckbreaker on Henry for two.  All four men battle and Animal gets dumped to the floor.  The Godwins double team Hawk and Henry gets a Slop Drop, but Animal distracts him enough so that it only gets two.  The Godwins use The Confederate Flag to choke Hawk as JR explains what the flag means (Southern States) so that people won’t think of it as being racist.  Hawk finally rallies back with a pair of clotheslines and hot tag Part II to Animal.  He gets a powerslam on Henry and a double clothesline. Hawk back in and he sends Henry to the floor with a clothesline.  Doomsday Device finishes Phineas at 10:43.

Winners: The Legion of Doom via pin at 10:43
-This was really boring and should have just been a LOD SQUASH or if they wanted a decent match let them go in a Tornado Tag or something.  1/4*

-Jim Ross has an in ring interview with Ken Shamrock and the crowd is kind of split on him.  Ken lets us know he had a punctured lung and is out tonight, but he will be back soon.  Rockabilly (Billy Gunn) heads down to be a sacrificial lamb and sure enough Shamrock gets an anklelock before the refs can pull him away. 

-Bret Hart cuts a promo backstage to hype his match with The Undertaker. 

Vader vs. Owen Hart

-Vader overpowers Owen to start because DUH! The crowd doesn’t like Vader and they are cool with Owen. Headlock from Owen, but he tries to shoulder Vader down and that doesn’t work as he bounces off him and then eats a standing splash. Owen flips head over heels and bails to the floor to regroup. Back in Owen gets a sunset flip and avoids getting on. He brings Vader down with a rana and throws punches in the corner. Owen gets a two count off a crossbody from the corner and tries the Sharpshooter, but Vader just kicks off. Roll-up from Owen gets two and he goes back to the Sharpshooter, but Vader gets the ropes to force a break before Owen could even get the hold turned. Owen tries a crucifix, but Vader is too strong and just falls back for a splash. Vader connects with a second rope splash and it only gets two which pops the crowd. Vader sends Owen into the corner and he takes the Bret bump with gusto. Owen tries to get a slam, but yeah that’s not happening right now and Vader slugs him down. Vader hooks an arm and transitions to a reverse chinlock as he makes Owen carry all his weight. Owen elbows his way out, but charges at Vader and catches a knee in the gut. To the corner where Vader gets a splash and the crowd is pissed as Vader poses. Vader takes Owen back to the mat with arm control and switches to a version of an anklelock. Owen gets in a few shots and avoids a splash in the corner. He tries for another slam and again no dice as JR questions the strategy. Vader slugs him down again and gets another two count. Right hands from Vader and he goes back to the ground game as he targets the ankle and knee. Owen counters and punches his way out of the hold but Vader is more than happy to trade blows and he wins the exchange. Splash from Vader gets two. Boot to the gut and Vader preps for the powerbomb, but Owen escapes and hits the enziguiri. Owen gets the Sharpshooter, but Vader gets to the ropes to force the break. The third time is the charm as Owen gets the elusive slam and that gets two. Vader is giving Owen a ton here which is cool! Owen misses a charge in the corner and Vader heads up for The Vader-bomb, but Owen gets up the knees. Owen hits a dropkick from the top rope and kips up. He lands a spinning heel kick for two as they are rocking it out there. Owen up top, but Vader catches him with a powerslam on the way down for the pin at 12:17.

Winner: Vader via pin at 12:17
-Oh man, they went home just as they were hitting another gear. A few more minutes and this one hits awesome status I think. Still very good as they had worked well together. ***1/4

-Back to SummerSlam as Bret spits on Shawn Michaels, who is the ref, and he tries to deck Bret with a chair to only end up blasting Taker. Shawn then has to count the pin as Bret wins the WWF Title for the 5th and final time.

-Taker is in a dark room and cuts a promo hyping the rematch with Bret.

WWF Championship: Bret “Hitman” Hart (c) vs. The Undertaker

-Second PPV for Bret as WWF Champion and again he is on the undercard while Shawn is in the Main Event. Just saying! Taker’s entrance clocks in at just under three minutes from opening DONG to the music cuts out. Bret gets a much more mixed reaction compared to his brother. Taker charges in and Bret avoids and lays in punches in the corner. Taker returns fire as Bret loses this exchange. Whip to the corner and Taker lifts Bret off the mat with a choke. He buries knees in the corner as he is rather pissed at the start of this match. Bret exposes the buckle as Taker gives the ref a death stare that sends him to the floor. Bret takes another whip into the corner, but gets both feet up on a Taker charge. Bret lands a headbutt, but gets a whip reversed and Taker drops him with a clothesline two. Elbow misses so Bret goes for the Sharpshooter, but Taker kicks off and sets up. Bret drops him with a basement clothesline. Clothesline sends Taker over the top to the floor but he lands on his feet, so Bret gives him a baseball slide that sends Taker into the announce table. Taker walks around the ring to regain his bearings, so Bret jumps out after him but gets caught in a bearhug. Taker runs Bret back first into the ring post. They brawl up the entrance way as they exchange strikes again. Vince lets us know this is a see-saw match-up. Taker gets a slam on the ramp as the ref has stopped his count and is on the floor telling them to get back in the ring. Should have been a double count-out at this point, but apparently this ref wants to screw Bret. Back to ring where Taker lands more strikes and a headbutt. He sets too early on a backdrop though and Bret PLANTS him with a DDT. SWEET! Legdrop from Bret followed by several elbows as the crowd boos. Taker sits up, but stumbles around the ring. Bret chokes with his boot and tries a whip, but Taker reverses and Bret takes his sternum first bump into the exposed steel. Irony! Taker with a heart punch and then just stands on Bret’s chest. I cracked/bruised my sternum once. Sucked! I’ve told the story before, but it was when I was in high school and I gave my then girlfriend a DDT as we were playing around. Her shoulder caught me perfectly and next thing I know it’s a trip to the emergency room. Anyway, back to the match as Taker gets a backbreaker and stretches Bret, back first over his knee. He releases and gets a two count. Bret gets in a kick to the knee and keeps firing away with them. Taker gets sent into the corner, but charges out with a back elbow as some vocal Bret fans start booing Taker. It’s not as loud, but they are there. Another whip to the corner and again Taker blindly charges with a knee and only connects with the top buckle. Bret goes right after the knee and works that for a bit to many many boos! Bret drops a few elbows on the knee joint and hooks a knee-bar. Taker lands some clubbing blows to the chest to break. Bret keeps on the knee however and wraps it around the post to set-up the ring post figure-four. The ref counts to force Bret to break, but the damage has been done. A proper figure-four is applied in the middle of the ring. JR nearly slips on commentary as he talks about the Sharpshooter and nearly calls it The Scorpion Deathlock. I don’t blame him and I’m shocked it didn’t happen more. Taker is able to turn the hold to reverse the pressure, but Bret gets to the bottom rope to break. Taker gets to his feet and unloads with strikes in the corner. He hobbles around the ring as he sells the damage to the knee which is great to see. A big boot misses and Bret kicks at the knee to send Taker back to the mat. Bret goes back to the submission work on the knee which forces Taker to break with an elbow. Bret lands a headbutt and gets a Side Russian Leg Sweep for two. Snap suplex gets two! Backbreaker continues the Five Moves of Doom. Bret heads up to the middle rope, but Taker catches Bret with a boot on the way down. Taker misses a clothesline, but they clothesline each other on the rebound which leaves both men down. Taker up first to a mixed reaction and he catches Bret in the lower abs with a legdrop. Second try is blocked as Bret catches the leg and turns it into a Sharpshooter. Nice! Pretty sure that is how he beat Perfect for the IC Title at SummerSlam. Taker powers his way out with his leg strength, but Bret is back with more headbutts. He goes for the move again, but gets goozled. Taker hits rapid fire punches to the abdomen and drops a leg for two. Bret rolls to the floor and grabs the ring bell, but Taker catches him with a boot to the face. Taker grabs the bell and goes to use it like an idiot, but the ref takes it away. That gives Bret an opening as he goes low. He works over the knee, but Taker kicks him off and to the floor where he lands on the cameraman. Taker sends Bret to the stairs as the ref uses his count this time. They both get back in the ring where Bret slides out of the way of the exposed buckle, but gets bent around the ring post. Ouch! Taker goes Old School, but Bret yanks him off the top rope. Taker back with a Tombstone, but Bret slides off and gets a roll-up for two. Now Bret tries for a Tombstone, but Taker turns to one of his own. Bret grabs the ropes to avoids and ends up getting trapped in the ropes like Cactus Jack. The ref can’t get Bret free as Taker attacks, so he calls for the bell at 28:39.

Winner and Still WWF Champion: Bret “The Hitman” Hart via DQ at 28:39
-Fantastic match with an awful ending. This match built nicely and they had them rocking by the end, but then we get the dumb ending. Better than their SS match, but with a worse ending. ****

-Taker is apparently a sore loser as he beats up the ref and whatever officials head down to the ring. The boos are louder for Taker now as Owen Hart is out to help his brother to the back. Taker threatens more people as he continues to act like a sore loser. He has nobody to blame, but himself!

-Shawn cuts a promo before his entrance and he is booed out of the building outside of the shrieks from some of the women in the crowd.

WWF European Championship: The British Bulldog (c) vs. Shawn Michaels

-Bulldog gets a monster reaction as you would expect and yet it’s even bigger than you would expect.  His sister, who battled cancer, walks him down the aisle and joins the rest of the family in the front row.  I watched Clash at The Castle and saw how over Drew was, but that is nothing like this.  It could also be this is a smaller building where the crowd sounds louder vs a stadium with the sound going up.  I take that back, Bulldog is over with this crowd as anyone has ever been at any time in the history of this business.  Shawn stalls and walks up the aisle to massive boos.  He gets back in the ring and Bulldog shoves him across the ring.  The Bulldog chant starts again as they lock-up and Bulldog gets another shove and another one as Shawn is frustrated.  Shawn seems annoyed by the chants from the crowd and we get another lock-up and Shawn ends up on the top rope out of it and Bulldog yanks him down.  Shawn bumps like he is on something (which I mean) and a clothesline sends him to the floor.  Again, he may have went a little crazy bumping for Hogan, but this is what he did against larger and stronger opponents.  Shawn slows things down by walking up the aisle again.  He gets on the apron and gets in a thumb to the eyes, but Bulldog answers back and rams Shawn from one buckle to the other and gives him a reverse suplex back into the ring.  Gorilla Press teases throwing Shawn to the floor, but the ref stops that so Bulldog just slams him to the mat.  Hebnar should have minded his own business there.  Hopefully that is the last time ever he saves Shawn in a Title Match.  Abdominal Stretch from Bulldog for a bit.  Shawn gets in a shot and charges and takes a hellacious bump off a backdrop to the floor.  Good Lord!  Bulldog slings him back into the ring and gets a few arm drags.  He goes to work on Shawn’s arm and tosses him around the ring by it.  Shawn gets in some forearms to break and the crowd is pissed.  They hate this man!  Shawn tries to run over Bulldog and that doesn’t work, so he just casually lands a thumb to the eye.  He tries a rana, but Bulldog counters into a sit-out powerbomb for two.  Nice!  Bulldog goes back to the arm and shoulder.  Shawn reverses and tries a crucifix, but Bulldog destroys him with a Samoan Drop.  We are nearly 9 minutes in and this has been all Bulldog.  Surfboard from Bulldog, but he has to release the hold as his shoulders were down and Hebnar nearly counted to three.  Bulldog argues with Hebnar which lets Shawn get on track with a cheap shot from behind.  Shawn sets too early on a backdrop and Bulldog gets the delayed vertical suplex for two.  Rick Rude heads down and he pushes Bulldog off a roll-up attempt that leads to Shawn getting one for two.  Rude gets in another shot which lets Shawn send Bulldog to the floor.  Shawn distracts the ref while Rude sends bulldog into the post as the camera makes sure to show Bulldog’s family.  Shawn comes off top with a double axe and it has taken over 11 minutes but Shawn finally has something going in this match.  Rude gets involved again as he sends Bulldog back first into the ring apron.  Shawn snaps Bulldog neck first off the top rope and gets a running elbow.  Shawn hooks a sleeper as the crowd freaks out trying to rally their hero.  Shawn takes it to the mat and grapevines the legs to get a few two counts.  Hebnar checks the arm, but Bulldog keeps it up on the third try.  The crowd starts roaring and Bulldog is able to break with a belly to back suplex.  Shawn gets a kick to the face and sends Bulldog hard into the corner.  This show has had some great corner bumps!  Hiptoss from Show and he transitions into a short-arm scissor.  Bulldog turns and uses his strength to lift Shawn off the canvas and drops him backwards.  Nice!  They collide heads in the middle of the ring to leave both down.  Now Triple H and Cyna are out and get serenaded with boos.  The crowd starts a We Want Bret chant and it does look weird that he or Owen wouldn’t be out here.  Bulldog is up first and bounces Shawn all over the ring again off whips into the corner for two, but misses a charge in the corner and goes shoulder first into the post.  Slam from Shawn and he heads up top and comes off with the elbow.  He goes up again and hits another.  If he wants to be a real dick, he would do it 3 more times like Savage did to Warrior.  Shawn preps Sweet Chin Music, but Bulldog ducks and gets Shawn up for the power slam, but Rude grabs the leg.  Shawn gets clotheslined to the floor and Triple H gets decked.  Bulldog goes for a power slam on the floor, but his leg slips off the elevated ring and gets stuck under. The railing.  Rude and HHH work him over after Shawn hits Sweet Chin Music and HHH gets a Pedigree for good measure.  Man, Bret and Owen look like dicks for not coming out.  Shawn rips the knee brace off Bulldog and tosses it to Diana.  Classy!  Bulldog is toast, but Shawn hooks a figure-four and even gets added leverage from HHH.  The crowd is begging for anyone to come down and help, but no dice.  Bulldog drags his half-conscious body to the ropes, but Rude lands a punch to stop that.  Now Chyna and HHH both provide leverage as Hebnar can’t see any of this apparently.  The crowd tries to rally Bulldog one last time, but he passes out and Hebnar ends it at 22:53.

Winner and New WWF European Champion: Shawn Michaels via ref stoppage at 22:53
-It’s crazy but this actually angered me.  I mean, I guess that was the point, but man.  The match was great with a super hot crowd that was living and dying with every move. Bret/Taker was probably the better match, but I was into this one more thanks to the crowd and emotionally this one got me.  ****1/4

-The crowd is pissed and Shawn has the balls to cut a promo and dedicate what happened to Diana.  Shawn hooks the figure-four again which draws Diana into the ring and she attacks Shawn, but Chyna pulls her off.  Finally, Owen and Bret hit the ring, but where were they 10 minutes ago? 

-Garbage gets thrown at Shawn, HHH, and Chyna as they celebrate up the aisle.  Shawn continues to taunt the crowd as they hurl more garbage at him.  Back in the ring Bulldog crawls to his feet as JR puts over that he will never quit. 

-Thanks for reading!

8.0
The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Very good show here with 5 matches breaking *** and the final two matches were high quality though each had an ending that didn't make the fans happy. I know Bulldog losing was controversial and people still argue over it today. Easily one of the better shows by WWF in 1997 even with the few matches that were quite bad but at least had a hot crowd. Funny how something as simple as a crow being invested in what they are seeing makes a show better.
legend