June 16, 2012
Matt Peddycord
The Powerdriver Review

WWF: In Your House – Cold Day in Hell
May 11, 1997
Richmond, VA
Richmond Coliseum

The current WWF champs were as follows:
World Champion: The Undertaker (3/23/1997)
Intercontinental Champion: Owen Hart (4/28/1997)
European Champion: Davey Boy Smith (3/3/1997)
World Tag Team Champions: Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith (9/22/1996)

Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.

Rockabilly vs. Jesse James – Free For All Match
THE NEW AGE OUTLAWS EXPLODE~! Don’t normally recap these matches, but I have it and so I will. This one is happening due to Jesse James getting KABONG’D by the Honky Tonk Man three weeks ago on Raw. Shenanigans are already going down backstage as Todd Pettingell tells us Ken Shamrock has been attacked by Vader and Mankind, but Shamrock says this will not prevent him from defeating Vader tonight. Nothing match here as Rockabilly catches James telegraphing a backdrop and gives him a DDT for the win at 3:11. ¼*

In the back, we found out that the Hart Foundation got five front row seats from some scalpers. What heels! When will they take their seats? That’s none of your business, JR.

Now it’s time for the PPV!

Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) vs. Flash Funk
Last night on Shotgun Saturday Night, Chyna blasted Mankind in the balls not once but TWICE during his match with HHH. JR calls that move the ‘Golota’, which is named after a boxer who lost two heavyweight fights in 1996 via DQ to Riddick Bowe from hitting him in the nuts. Looks like the seeds are finally being planted for their summer feud. No Funkettes tonight because Chyna might beat them up for being prettier than her. JR tells us that Funk was trained inside a Japanese dojo. Lawler seems to think no one has any idea what a dojo is. Funk uses his fancy athletic ability to outwrestle the H man to start. Once HHH flies out to the floor, Flash follows him out with a big clothesline off the second rope. However, Helmsley avoids the baseball slide and holds the ref while Chyna blasts Funk from behind to give her man the advantage. Chyna is the only one people seem to be reacting to in this match. Back inside, HHH hits the Facebuster and Chyna gets in another shot on Flash. Harley Race knee drop gets two. High Knee sends Flash to the apron and another High Knee knocks him clean from the apron onto the rampway. Back in again, HHH flies down into a boot and here’s the comeback. Corkscrew legdrop out of the corner gets two. Instead of putting Helmsley, Flash keeps wanting to head up top. He tries that one time too many and HHH brings him down with a back superplex that lands Flash on his belly. PEDIGREE! That gets the win for HHH. (10:03) After the match, Chyna hoists Funk up off the mat and drops him crotch-first on the top rope. Hunter gets a big laugh out of that. Don’t know why you’re laughing right now. You’re only partially over because of the manly lady you have by your side. *½

We check in with Ken Shamrock to see how he’s doing since the beatdown laid upon him by Mankind and Vader earlier in the night. He says he’s in the ZONE! Look out.

Mankind vs. Rocky Maivia
THE ROCK N SOCK CONNECTION EXPLODES~! To replace Psycho Sid in this match against Mankind, it certainly appeared from last week’s Raw that his opponent would be Goldust. Nevertheless, Rocky dominates to start working the arm. Mankind dumps him out for a CANNONBALLLLLLL. Back in, Mankind delivers the running knee in the corner and squeals in his face. Rocky snapmares Mankind out and meets him on the floor for a Rock Bottom on the rampway! Back in the ring, Rocky covers for 1-2-NO! No one cares about this match and it almost seems like Rocky is already beginning to have that attitude we would start to see once he joins the Nation. He just looks angry during the whole match. SHOULDERBREAKER connects, but Mankind rolls through the Flying Bodypress to clamp on the MANDIBLE CLAW for the submission. (8:07) Pretty flat match outside the last couple minutes. **

Let Us Take You Back: Raw is War, 5/5/97. Ahmed Johnson ruined Crush’s gauntlet match.

Ahmed Johnson vs. The Nation of Domination – Gauntlet Match
If Ahmed wins, the Nation will be forced to disband. The NOD try and surround the ring throughout the match, but Gorilla Monsoon heads down and tells everybody to wait on the ramp. Crush is the first guy to face Ahmed. Basic wear down match by Crush. Once it looks to be curtains for Johnson, Crush calls for the NOD boys to come into the ring. Whey they don’t come, Ahmed avoids the HEART PUNCH and hook kicks Crush away. That gets rid of Crush at 5:31. Next is Savio Vega. Same type of match occurs. When Ahmed calls for the PEARL RIVER PLUNGE, Savio rolls out and surprises Johnson with a superkick. He then grabs a chair and beats up Ahmed to lose by DQ at 12:12. It’s now down to just Faarooq v. Ahmed. Faarooq pounds Ahmed a bit, but then charges into a Spinebuster. He hits the PEARL RIVER PLUNGE, but the chair attack took too much out of him to make the necessary cover in time. Once he lays on top of Faarooq, he gets 1-2-NO! Big heel reaction there. Ahmed stands up looking like he won, but Faarooq clips him from behind and delivers the DOMINATOR for the win. (15:28) Well, you knew it wasn’t going to be a classic. It was certainly about the angle than the wrestling. This was pretty much the end of Ahmed Johnson as being a legitimate threat to anybody and basically adopted the ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ philosophy as he would become the newest member of the Nation of Domination within a few weeks. *½

Ken Shamrock vs. Vader – No Holds Barred
Only submissions or knockouts will end this one in Shamrock’s first match in the WWF. Real tentative MMA-style start to this thing. Shamrock finally gets a big waistlock takedown in the middle of the ring causing Vader to take a powder. Back inside, Shamrock delivers what might be called a release German suplex. Vader again heads to the floor, but comes back inside only to be caught in an anklelock takedown. ANOTHER break on the outside. Vader just doesn’t seem to know what to do with him. Shamrock grabs a headlock and gets thrown away. He charges Vader and takes a short-arm clothesline. Vader goes to the mat and tries to hyperextend the arm, but Shamrock finds a way of escape and goes to a triangle choke. Vader tries to pick up Shamrock like he would if Shamrock had a short-arm scissors applied. He just falls back with him though. Now Vader is MAD. He picks up Shamrock for a suplex and just heaves him over to the top to the floor. Just a real fun ride. On the floor, Vader bounces Shamrock’s head off the ringsteps. We notice Vader’s nose is bleeding, which later gets confirmed as a broken nose. They exchange blows on the floor, but Vader takes it back inside. Vader sits on Shamrock’s left femur and pulls back. Once Shamrock breaks loose, Vader grabs him for a rear naked choke. Shamrock separates the legs and gets free. Now Vader avalanches Shamrock in the corner and tries the VADERSAULT, but there’s no water in the pool. Shamrock starts to work the leg to set up the ANKLELOCK. Eventually, Vader has enough and potatoes Shamrock. SNAP. Just as it looks like Shamrock is done, he trips up Vader and locks in the ANKLELOCK for the tap-out victory. (13:22) I like when they incorporate MMA into wrestling. It brings some legitimacy back that’s been lost over the years. I mean, this is not one of the best examples of that type of hybrid, but it’s one of the first here in the states and you have got to start somewhere. ***

WWF World Champion The Undertaker vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin
When was the last time there wasn’t a Hart family member wrestling on a PPV? Has that ever happened? Whether it’s Bret, Owen, Davey Boy, or the Anvil. From the Wrestling Classic onward. Heck, no Shawn either for that matter. No Bret or Shawn! First time ever. Mouthy (from Austin anyway) stand-off to start. The Hart Foundation finally make their way down and jump the rail to sit in their front row seats. Everybody but Bret since he’s in a wheelchair after all. After that’s settled, Austin and Taker get rough with each other while UT still has his championship belt and duster on. Austin slides out and pulls Owen Hart over the rail. Taker doesn’t care too much for that since it takes Austin’s attention away from him. He sends Austin into the steps and then throws Owen back over into his seat. In the ring, Taker hits the Jumping Lariat for two. He follows up with Old School for another nearfall. Austin goes to the eyes and grabs a headlock on the mat. That goes on forever while JR questions the logic behind Lawler’s new favored opinion of Bret Hart as of late. Taker beats Austin until he bails to the floor, but then Austin trips him up to post his leg and give the Hart Foundation the double-bird. Austin tries that one time too many and gets yanked into the ringpost. Back inside, Austin goes for the leg and grabs an STF. Taker sends Austin to the steps to stop all that noise so he can work over Austin’s bad knee. That goes on for a while. Austin flips out of a back suplex and clips the knee to take back control. Austin hits a suplex, but Taker fights back with a hook kick, SUCKA. Another try at Old School fails. Austin wants a superplex, but UT pushes him off. He finds the sleeper, but Austin drops to his backside to escape with the jawbreaker. They fight over to the corner where Austin kicks Austin in the tombstones right in front of ref Earl Hebner. Hebner won’t DQ him since it’s a title match on PPV, but he gives Austin a tongue-lashing, which gets him a double-bird when he turns away to a HUGE pop. Well, there’s the receipt. Taker jabs Austin in the balls and Hebner gives Austin the double bird! Chokeslam to Austin! He wisely rolls to the apron and snaps Taker’s neck off the top rope. That leaves Taker staggering as Austin catches him with the STONE COLD STUNNER! Right as Austin jumps on the cover, we see Brian Pillman is ringing the bell! While Austin and Hebner are giving Pillman their full attention, Taker SITS UP. Austin goes after Taker, but winds up in the TOMBSTONE, which gets reversed, and reversed again as Taker finally delivers for the 1-2-3. (20:07) Almost immediately, everyone but Bret from the Hart Foundation jumps on the Undertaker. As Austin gets to his feet, he turns Bret over in his wheelchair and steals his crutch to clean house on the heels. Davey Boy gets a shot with the crutch while Owen receives a big Chokeslam. Meanwhile, Pillman and Neidhart help Bret backstage. Austin/Taker seems like it would be a great combination for a match considering how legendary they both are, but they always tried to go the wrestling route it seemed instead of brawling, which I think would have made their PPV matches better. Despite being legendary wrestlers separately, they had ‘good’ instead of ‘great’ matches together. ***

And just to show he didn’t do what he did to help the Undertaker, Austin leaves him laying with a Stone Cold Stunner to end the show.

Final Thoughts: Well, this was a pretty weak PPV. Only three of the matches had an angle to support them and the other two didn’t help by being incredibly mediocre. With Ahmed looking so strong into the PPV, he should have made short work of the first two guys and then had the most trouble with Faarooq. I just felt that whole match was booked poorly and made Ahmed appear incredibly weak. The last two matches certainly don’t save the show, but they aren’t bad. Shamrock v. Vader was stiff and maybe I just liked it more than usual because of how into the Edgar v. Henderson title fight last night. Now with the Hart Foundation costing Austin the WWF title instead of Austin screwing Bret, you have some angle development there in the most interesting feud in wrestling at that time. So for that, I can’t say it’s all worthless. Overall, I’ll give ‘In Your House – Cold Day in Hell’ a ‘thumbs in the middle’.

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