Iím back with another WWF PPV recap from the spring of 1997. As always, Iíll
recap the matches, use star ratings to rate the matches and offer analysis
on them immediately after theyíre done. I will wrap things up with my final
thoughts and three stars of the show. Before we get to the show, letís talk
about the backstory.
Backstory: We pick things up from where we left off a month ago at the April PPV
entitled, Revenge of the Taker. On that show, the WWF Champion, The Undertaker defeated
Mankind to retain the WWF title. Also on the show, Steve Austin beat Bret
Hart by disqualification due to the interference of Hartís brethren in the
Hart Foundation group.
Following Cold Day in Hell, Austin called out Bret Hart on Raw. In what is
probably my favorite moment in the history of Raw, Austin challenged Bret to
a street fight. That led to a beatdown in the ring that saw Austin attacking
Bret in the leg with the help of a steel chair. When Bret was being carted
off in an ambulance, Austin was shown sitting in the front of the ambulance
and he punched Bret while he was laying there. It was a shocking moment that
was so very cool in may ways. Bret was out of action for a few months. In
reality, Bretís knee was bothering him and he needed a couple months off so
that it could heal. It was an angle that, to this day, Iíll never forget
because of the intensity that both men showed during the segments.
Austinís DQ victory over Hart set him up for a title shot against the
champion, The Undertaker. At this point Undertaker was feuding with
different people every month as they tried to solidify his role as a
babyface champion who would take on all comers. This match against Austin
was a babyface vs. babyface match since Austin officially became a good guy
after WrestleMania. This is also the first singles PPV match between Austin
and Undertaker, which makes it historic in that regard.
This card also saw Mankind and Rocky Maivia tangle for the first time on
PPV. Also on the card was Ken Shamrockís first PPV match, coming against
Vader. There was some other stuff, which Iíll get to in the review. Also of
note, Shawn Michaels was still out with a knee injury. If youíre keeping
track, that means no Hart or Michaels on the card. That canít be a good
thing, can it? Youíll see.
Now that you know the backstory, we might as well get to the review.
WWF Cold Day in Hell
Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Virginia
May 11, 1997
Nice video package to start highlighting Undertaker and Steve Austin, which
would be the main event later in the show.
Our announcers are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. They hype the
Austin/Undertaker match as well as Ken Shamrockís first PPV match later
tonight against Vader. They also hype Ahmed Johnson versus the entire Nation
Flash Funk vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley w/Chyna My, how times have changed. For those that donít know, Funk has wrestled all
over the world as 2 Cold Scorpio. When the WWF signed him, they gave him the
Flash Funk name and also a snazzy entrance complete with ďFunkettes.Ē Chyna
looks like a beast compared to now. Thatís what surgery does for ya.
Lockup to start. Flash drives him back into the corner. Kick by Flash,
shoulder tackle, into the ropes, leapfrog and Funk gets a hiptoss and
armbar. The ring sounds REALLY loud. Maybe because the crowd is dead. They
show the five front row seats ďboughtĒ by the Hart Foundation later in the
show. Forearms get Hunter out of the armbar, Flash flips out of a whip into
the ropes and gets a dropkick that sends HHH to the floor. To the top, he
comes off the ropes with a clothesline on the floor. Baseball slide misses,
Hunter grabs the ref and Chyna drills Flash in the back, sending him down.
Back in the ring, Flash fights back with some fists, but a whip into the
corner is turned into a knee smash. Hunter charges in with the high knee.
There are his knee moves. Hunter chops him in the corner, then stomps and
punches him down to the mat. Chyna gets a forearm shot to the face as the
ref is distracted by HHH. He gets two. Vertical suplex by Triple H. Running
knee to the face for two. He grabs a chinlock. Flash fights out, so Hunter
buries a knee to the ribs. Into the ropes, HHH gets ANOTHER high knee. Yawn.
Right hand to the chest with Flash on the apron and a few more. Hunter gets
a running knee that sends Flash off the apron to the floor. To the top,
Hunter gets a foot to the face on the way down. Crowd finally wakes up to
cheer Flash. He gets some punches to the gut, then a leg sweep. Back body
drop and a clothesline. Springboard legdrop gets two for Flash. To the top,
cross body for Flash. Into the corner, HHH does a Flair bump upside down.
Funk to the top, but gets crotched with his face facing the crowd. Belly to
back suplex off the top that Flash takes on his chest. Pedigree for the one,
two, three at 10:06. Post match, Chyna picks up Flash and crotches him over
the top the rope just for fun.
Winner: Hunter Hearst Helmsley by pinfall
Analysis: *1/4 Match was pretty slow the whole way through. There was
no feud heading in and it showed because the crowd was dead through most of
They show highlights of Ken Shamrock in the Ultimate Fighting Championship
(UFC). JR talks to Shamrock, who is on the video wall. He says heís focused
and heís in the zone. He tells Vader itís ďknuckle upĒ time.
Mankind vs. Rocky Maivia Mankind comes out first. They show his battles with Undertaker. Rocky says
this match is about his determination. Iíve almost forgotten about his theme
music. Damn, it was bad.
Rocky starts out with some rights, a back bodydrop, a dropkick and a
clothesline that sends Mankind out. There are your basic moves. Mankind
pulls him out to the floor, tossing him headfirst into the ring mat. Back in
the ring, Rock gets a powerslam off a whip in the ropes. Elbow misses, so he
grabs an armbar. Knee to the arm. Back up, Mankind fights out of it with
punches, but when he charges Rocky, he gets his legs swept out by Rocky. He
shoves Rocky out. Mankind on the apron and he comes off onto Rocky with a
flip that sends them both down. He slides back in. Crowd is DEAD, again.
Back in the ring, he pounds Rock in the corner and then hits the running
knee into the turnbuckle. He gouges the eyes. Into the other corner, Mankind
misses a charge. Double clothesline sends them both down. Rocky throws him
out to the floor. He follows him out and knocks him down on the ramp with a
flurry of punches. Rock Bottom on the steel ramp! Damn! That came out of
nowhere and looked very brutal. They didnít call it a Rock Bottom at that
time. He rolls him back in for two. He goes to whip Mankind in, but he falls
down on the run across. Side belly to belly for Rocky gets two. Off the
ropes, Mankind gets a short clothesline. Rocky gets a quick cradle for two.
Clothesline to the back by Rocky. Crowd is still pretty quiet. Shoulder
breaker by Rocky. He goes up to the top and hits a crossbody off the top.
Mankind rolls through with the Mandible Claw! Rocky is out. Mankind wins by
submission at 7:28.
Winner: Mankind by submission
Analysis: *3/4 The match was pretty boring until the last two or
three minutes. It saved it from being really bad. Foleyís bumping is wild as
usual, but Rock was too green at this point to do a whole lot. The Rock
Bottom on the ramp was pretty huge. Obviously, both guys went on to have
HUGE careers after this match. I still think itís fun to look back on
matches like this to see how theyíve both improved as characters and in ring
wrestlers. Foley was obviously good at this point while Rock had a long way
Next up is Ahmed Johnsonís battle against all three members of the Nation of
Domination. He has to run a gauntlet through Crush, Savio Vega and Faarooq.
If Ahmed wins, the Nation splits up. Thereís DíLo Brown looking HUGE as part
of the group.
As the Nation is in the ring, Todd Pettengill interviews Ahmed Johnson. Like
usual, itís pretty incoherent. He says he wants Faarooq to be up first.
Ahmed gets a pretty good pop when he comes out. The first good pop in the
first 35 minutes of this show. WWF President Gorilla Monsoon tells the
Nation they have to start the match now. He kicks the rest of the Nation,
about 8 guys, out of there. Crush is up first.
Ahmed Johnson vs. Crush Crush attacks from behind, but Ahmed decks him with a fist. Scissors kick
for Johnson. The Nation is watching at the top of the ramp. Bodyslam by
Johnson. Elbow drop misses. Crush gets a sidekick. Crush gets a HORRID
bodyslam. Off the middle rope, he gets a clothesline that JR calls hard, but
I call it crappy. He gets two with that. He clasps Ahmedís shoulder. Uh,
okay. Rest spots already. Crush gets a suplex for two. Front suplex by
Johnson gets two. Crush gets a sleeper. This is one of the longest, most
boring sleepers I have ever seen. Let it end! Please! After about two
minutes, Ahmed breaks out. Crush gets a knee to the gut. He signals for the
rest of the Nation to come, but they just stay the top. Another knee is
reversed into a cradle for two for Johnson. Crush knocks him down and hits a
VERY UGLY piledriver. He asks the Nation to help again. He sets up Ahmed for
the Heart Punch (you guessed it, a punch to the heart), but Ahmed fights out
and hits a spinning heel kick for the one, two, three at 5:32.
Winner: Ahmed Johnson by pinfall
Analysis: ľ* Just horrible. The only reason itís above DUD is because
it ended clean and the finish was actually well done. Certainly better than
seeing the worst finisher ever: The Heart Punch. Ahmed is a horrible worker,
but Crush was worse here.
Ahmed Johnson vs. Savio Vega Vega is up next in the challenge. He tries to attack from behind, but
Johnson fights back with a back body drop for two. He gets two clotheslines.
Johnson gets whipped into the ropes as Savio charges in with a spinning heel
kick that sends Johnson down face first. Vega goes after the ribs to keep
him down. He drapes his leg over his neck on the middle rope. Whip into the
turnbuckle headfirst. More stomping by Vega. Please, do something good! Just
once! Vega gets a big right to the face. In the corner, he blatantly chokes
Johnson. Crowd wakes up so Vega snap mares him over and applies a neck vice.
Maybe the worst submission move ever. Johnson fights back with fists and a
hip toss takeover. Ahmed to the middle ropes and he comes off with something
that misses. Vega back in control with fists until Johnson comes back.
Corner splash is missed by Vega leading to a back suplex by Johnson for two.
Into the ropes, Johnson gets a huge powerslam for a long two. He signals for
the Pearl River Plunge, so Vega slides out. He runs around the ring, then
drills Johnson with a sidekick to the face. He gets a chair, then jams into
the throat of Johnson. Ref throws the match out as a disqualification after
Winner: Ahmed Johnson by disqualification
Analysis: DUD. Dud is a word, but crap is a better word to describe
this. Yep, it was even worse than the match before it. Just kicks and rest
holds with no story whatsoever.
Following the DQ, Vega sends Johnson back in. He hammers him with some more
chair shots to the side. Itís now Faarooqís turn.
Ahmed Johnson vs. Faarooq Johnson is out, so Faarooq slaps him in the back of the head. Johnson comes
back with a rollup for two. Faarooq back up with a take down and forearm. He
charges in, but Ahmed kills him with a HUGE spinebuster. He sets him up for
the Pearl River Plunge. He hits it, but is too hurt to cover right away. He
takes about ten seconds and covers, but Faarooq gets out of it. Faarooq gets
a chop block to the back of the knee on Johnson. Dominator by Faarooq gets
the victory after 2:00.
Winner: Faarooq by pinfall
Analysis: Ĺ* At least this one had some big moves in it. If I were to
combine all three, Iíd give it ľ*. Just really bad from start to finish.
Just a lot of crap, basically.
They show clips from the previous edition of Raw where Vader beat Goldust
and then started talking trash to Ken Shamrock, who was announcing at
ringside. Vader spits on him, so Shamrock charges and they brawl.
Backstage, Pettengill interviews Vader. They show a clip from earlier in the
night when Vader and Mankind attacked Shamrock. Vader says Shamrock knows
nothing about pain and the power of Vader. Itís Vader time.
Ken Shamrock vs. Vader You can win by submission or knockout only. No pinfalls. Vader comes out
first to good heat. Shamrock gets a huge pop. This was his first real match
in the WWF, so the fans were anticipating his debut.
Feeling out process to start. Shamrock gets some kicks to the legs, but then
he backs off. Vader gets a punch to the gut. His bearhug attempt is turned
into a wristlock by Shamrock, so Vader grabs ropes to break. Vader drives
him to the corner, but Shamrock escapes. Vader gets ropes again as Shamrock
has a waistlock on. More kicks by Shamrock lead to a waistlock and a
takedown for Shamrock. Vader rolls to the floor. Vader comes back in with
punches, but Shamrock reverses and hits a stiff German suplex. He follows up
with some forearm shots to the face. Vader rolls out to the floor again. He
slowly comes back in, scores with some headbutts, whip in, but Shamrock
reverses into a leglock. Vader rolls out again to loud boos. He comes back
in and is greeted by more kicks to the legs. Shamrock gets a headlock, so
Vader picks him up and tosses him. Vader hits him with a hard clothesline
that sends him down. Armbar for Vader. Shamrock rolls out of it, then gets
an armbar of his own. Vader picks him up in the hold and tosses him over his
head to the mat. Vader picks him up in a suplex position and tosses him
straight out to the floor! What a cool visual that was as Shamrock takes the
bump leg and knee first. Vader meets him on the floor with a headfirst toss
into the steps. More body shots from Vader followed by another headfirst
bump into the steps. Comeback attempt by Shamrock is thwarted by Vader.
Back in the ring, Vader whips him across and Shamrock takes the bump hard.
Vader with an anklelock variation. Shamrock fights out, so Vader hits a
chokehold that gets countered quickly by Shamrock. In the corner now, Vader
gets some hard shots, a whip across and a big splash in the turnbuckle. Slam
by Vader. He goes up for the moonsault, which he misses. Always happens.
Still a cool visual. More kicks to the legs by Shamrock followed by some
knees. Powerslam by Shamrock. Leglock is broken by Vader as he grabs the
ropes. More kicks to the legs by Shamrock, who sets in for a single leg
crab. Vader gets ropes again. Knees to the face by Shamrock along with some
hard forearms. Vader fights out with a massive forearm shot to the face.
Vader walks over to him, so Shamrock grabs the leg into an anklelock/leg
variation that forces Vader to tap out at 13:01.
Winner: Ken Shamrock by submission
Analysis: ** Not a great match, but the best one on the show at this
point. It was the kind of match that some fans would love while others
wouldnít because of its uniqueness. Personally, I sit in the middle. I like
the submission based wrestling. However, it didnít work too well here. The
crowd popped for some submission moves while doing nothing for others. It
was tough for them to know what was a big submission hold and what was just
a transition move. I think they accomplished their goal, which was to bring
Shamrock in as a killer from the start. Vader losing didnít hurt him too
much since they were doing very little with him at this point anyway. I
really liked both guys, but this wasnít one of their better matches. To wrap
up the comments on the match, itís worth noting that Vader legitimately had
trouble walking due to all the kicks to the legs that Shamrock did.
Obviously, Shamrock would learn to work safer in the future.
They show the empty seats at ringside reserved for the Hart Foundation. Todd
Pettengill interviews Steve Austin backstage. Austin says heíll take all
five members of the Hart Foundation on by himself. He says hell will freeze
over tonight. As he walks off, they show a clip from Raw two weeks ago where
Austin hits a stunner on Undertaker. Undertaker hits a chokeslam that
Pettengill calls a ďTombstone PiledriverĒ because heís an idiot. Ah, I miss
WWF Title: The Undertaker vs. Steve Austin Austin comes out first to a huge pop. Undertaker gets the usual five-hour
entrance to a huge pop of his own. They have a long staredown. That gets
interrupted, however, by the Hart Foundation walking down the aisle. There
they are. Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, Jim Neidhart, Brian Pillman and Bret
Hart in a wheelchair. Bretís selling the knee injury he received from Austin
a month before. They take their seats.
Austin charges Undertaker to start. He gets punches and kicks, but
Undertaker fights back with some of his own. Into the ropes, Austin ducks
out of the ring to pull Owen Hart over the railing. Undertaker tosses Austin
into the steps. Then he heads over Owen and knocks him back in his seat.
Crowd loves it. Back in, Austin takes advantage with some clubbering. Into
the ropes, clothesline misses and Taker gets a flying clothesline for two.
Armbar, shoulder blocks lead to the top rope clothesline for two. Austin
gets a thumb to the eye, then a side headlock that keeps Undertaker down.
Rollup gets two for Taker as the crowd is DEAD quiet. Why grab a headlock so
soon? Austin still grabs the headlock and it lasts for two minutes or so.
Undertaker whips him into the ropes, shoulderblock by Taker and another
Austin side headlock takeover. They take the time to have Lawler explain why
he loves the Harts because they realize the fans are stupid. After the
headlock, Taker gets a backdrop, but Austin follows up with a clip to the
knee. He pounds away in the corner. Undertaker stops him and pounds him in
the corner. Austin rolls out to the floor near the Harts. He pulls Taker
down and wraps Takerís knee around the post three times. Undertaker blocks
another attempt by having Austin go headfirst into the ropes.
Back in, Austin gets a trip and works on the left knee by dropping all his
weight across it. Knee to the face. He stomps away at the left knee, but
Taker fights back with fists. Tombstone attempt is reversed by Austin into
an STF, which is one of my favorite submission moves. Undertaker gets to the
ropes after about 45 seconds. Austin gets a couple of hard elbows to the
face. He goes to drop his weight on the knee again, but Taker reverses it by
kicking Austin over the top to the floor. He follows up by slamming Austinís
head into the steel steps. Undertaker gets a take down, then some elbows to
the left knee of Austin. He holds onto the knee. Austin fights out of it
with a barrage of rights. Undertaker sits up, then kicks the back of the
knee. Undertaker sinks in a half Boston Crab. Austin makes it to the ropes.
He rolls out, so Taker rolls him back in. Into the ropes, big boot misses
and Austin gets a leg takedown of his own. Austin wrenches the knee.
Undertaker kicks out of it. Austin slams Takerís right knee against the edge
of the ring apron. He drops a couple of elbows to the head for two. Crowd is
pretty quiet. Suplex by Austin for two. Undertaker with an armbar and
sidekick sends Austin down. Armbar, to the top, but this time Austin hits
him in the leg and Taker gets crotched on the top rope. You donít see that
countered too often. Superplex by Austin is reversed into a front suplex for
Taker. Elbow misses, Austin gets two. Sleeper for Taker reversed into a
jawbreaker that the crowd pops HUGE for because itís almost a stunner. That
gets two. Undertaker fights out with some fists that sees Austin get pounded
down in the corner. Low blow by Austin is seen by referee Earl Hebner. He
yells at Austin for it. When Hebner turns his back, Austin flashes the
middle fingers to the back of his head. Undertaker gets a blatant low blow
of his own. Austin complains about it to Hebner, but all he gets in return
is the double bird and a loud ďfuck youĒ by Hebner. Chokeslam for
Undertaker. Austin rolls out to the apron near the Harts. Taker follows and
gets his neck draped across the top. Stunner by Austin! He goes for a cover,
but the bell starts ringing before the ref can count. Itís Brian Pillman
ringing the bell. They yell at Pillman. Undertaker sits up, Austin tries to
keep him down, but gets whipped into the ropes. Tombstone by Taker reversed
into a Tombstone for Austin, but THAT is reversed to a Tombstone by
Undertaker for the pinfall at 20:09.
Winner: Undertaker by pinfall
Post match, the Hart Foundation come in the ring to pound on the Undertaker.
Four of them are on Undertaker. Neidhart shoves Hebner away. Austin sees
Bret alone in the crowd. He tips over the wheelchair, steels a crutch and
chases the heels out of there. Taker chokeslams Owen for good measure as the
Hart Foundation leaves. Undertaker poses with the belt, but when he turns
around Austin hits him with a stunner to a big pop. The show ends with
Austin chasing the Hart Foundation as Undertaker chases after Austin.
Analysis: ***1/4 A very hot finish really helped this one. The first
ten minutes were pretty slow as Austin hung onto a headlock for way too
long. The work on the knees was fine except that Austin didnít go for a
submission during any of it aside from that one STF. A Sharpshooter would
have been perfect with the Harts sitting there watching. The last ten
minutes of the match were hot pretty much the whole time. Neither guy was in
a clear advantage, so the brawling sessions fit in nicely. They would have
better matches with eachother in the future, as well as worse ones, so this
one stands out nicely as the first main event between these two.
Final Thoughts The main event lived up the standard of being a good match, but it wasnít a
great one. Austin was on a roll at this point. Undertaker was doing well
too. As Iíve said, they had better and worse matches in the future. This one
stands out, however, as being the first.
The Nation of Dominationís feud with Ahmed Johnson was absolutely horrible.
The gauntlet was a good idea on paper, but the execution of it was not fun
This was one of those events that was just sort of there. There was nothing
on here that jumps out at you as being awesome. What it did was provide
storyline advancement in the case of some feuds and solid victories for two
people, Triple H and Mankind, that would be seeing more of eachother in the
Three Stars of the Night
1. Steve Austin - Second month in a row. You could see how he was
really coming into his own here.
2. Mankind - He tried amazingly hard to make Rocky look like gold.
His bumps are disgustingly good.
3. Undertaker - Without a doubt, 1997 was his best year as a worker.
He had a solid, main event match with Austin.
On the 1-10 scale Iíll give this event a: 4
A below average show that needed a show stealing type of match in order to
make it anything special. If you missed this, donít worry about it because
you missed nothing.
Next Up: WWF King of the Ring from June 1997. (That review will likely come