Welcome to another edition of The Main Event. I am your host, Don Franc, back with another column that you will all hopefully enjoy. Long introductions aren’t really my thing, so let’s get right to…
THE MAIN EVENT
I’m back again with another retro review in honor of NXT bringing back In Your House. This time I’ll be covering In Your House: Canadian Stampede. I’m hoping that this is much better than Good Friends, Better Enemies. That was a very weak attempt at a PPV and my IYH viewing has not gotten off to a good start. I’m sure by this time Vince has got a lock on the monthly PPV format. Well, there’s only one way to find out. On to the show.
The opening vide package was great, highlighting Bret Hart’s fall from grace and Stone Cold’s rise. The narrator sounded super corny. McMahon, Lawler and JR on commentary. I guess three man booths wasn’t a new thing
HHH vs Mankind
So, HHH was the 1997 King of the Ring. He is accompanied to the ring Chyna who looks like she could eat HHH for breakfast. This is actually a rematch from the KOTR final where Chyna caused interference to allow HHH to pick up the win. Nice video package showcasing everything that led up to this point. Its weird seeing this iteration of HHH as I’ve only ever known him as The Game. Its also great to see Foley in full Mankind mode as I’ve never encountered the Mankind experience before. I’m really excited for this one!
Mankind starts like a house on fire and is taking it to HHH in the early going. You could definitely tell that this was the early days of the Attitude Era with lots of brawling and spots outside the ring. HHH actually launched himself over the ropes into a pin attempt on Mankind! Is this really HHH? Nice spot on the outside with HHH whipping Mankind into Chyna who scoop slams him into the steel steps and his leg landed awkwardly! A chair shot follows and this match is very Attitude Era-esque.
Chyna is pretty impressive and I wouldn’t have minded having her as a bodyguard! This was even a handicap match at times as Chyna proved very useful. After a really good match between the two, the match disappointingly ends in a double countout. They then brawl into the crowd and the fight rages on. Nothing comes of it and the two are separated and go their separate ways. This match lived up to my high expectations despite the finish. Really good match and I have to see more of this.
A video package shows the Hart Foundation roaming about Canada and they’re really playing into the home field advantage.
Backstage, Bret is being interviewed with the Hart Foundation and Austin attempts to fight them but is held back.
Taka Michinoku vs The Great Sasuke
I remember playing with Taka on Smackdown 2 on my ps1 back in the day, but otherwise I never saw him in action before. Ditto for Sasuke. Before the match can begin the camera cuts to the crowd to show that HHH and Mankind are still fighting! After Mankind’s opens up HHH they brawl to the back again. I have a feeling this one isn’t over. Anyway, back to the Light Heavyweight Division match. This was WWE’s answer to WCW’s Cruiserweight Division but based off the crowd reaction these guys are getting it’s not as good.
Sasuke is apparently a martial artist and it’s evident by his many kicks. This match isn’t as fast-paced I expected but it’s still a pretty decent match. Sasuke with a flying kick – like you see in Chinese martial arts movies – from the top of the turnbuckle to Taka on the outside! Sasuke is literally kicking the shit out of Taka. Taka hits a nice high-flying move to the outside to liven the crowd up. Finally some conventional cruiserweight moves gets the crowd fairly invested in this match. Sasuke picks up the win with a Cradle German Suplex pinning manoeuvre. This was a very solid match and well worth a watch. This PPV is two-for-two so far.
Backstage and HHH and Mankind are still fighting! This is great. They’re now outside of the arena just beating the shit out of each other with various objects. The referee finally manages to pull a bloody HHH away from Mankind.
The Undertaker vs Vader (WWF Championship)
‘Taker was supposed to face Ahmed Johnson as a challenger for his title. However, during a brawl Johnson injured his knee. In the previous retro review I posed the question as to why Johnson was unable to live up to his potential and perhaps missing out on this match was a part of it. In a clip, they showed how Vader actually defeated Undertaker at the Royal Rumble that year. Vader lived up to the hype on Good Friends, Better Enemies and I hope he doesn’t disappoint here. Undertaker is SUPER over! I haven’t really seen any matches in full from ‘Taker in the 90s so it will be fun to see if he was as good then as he’d become in the latter stages of his career.
I’m interested to see how this match plays out. Although, the commentators are more concerned about ‘Takers brother coming to WWF. I wonder who that could be… Also, Paul Bearer is a ginger and doesn’t look dead! That’s weird to see. Undertaker is pretty agile, which I wasn’t expecting as I thought he was still methodically no-selling at this point. Vader is almost just as agile, even coming off the top with a forearm. This match is much better than I initially suspected.
When ‘Taker goes for a Chokeslam, Vader kicks him in the nuts INFRONT of the referred and doesn’t get disqualified. Very odd. ‘Taker returns the favour and once again the ref let’s it slide. Vader kicks out from a Chokeslam off the second rope! Another Chokeslam and Vader kicks out again! However, a Tombstone Piledriver puts Vader down soon after. Very impressive match from the big men and I really enjoyed this match. ‘Taker was good even then and Vader probably doesn’t get enough credit in WWE based on what I’ve seen in the two IYH shows that I’ve reviewed. Good match. Canadian Stampede is three-for-three.
Once again they show Bret in his hometown and you’d swear he was running for mayor.
The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Jim Neidhart, British Bulldog and Brian Pillman) vs Steve Austin, Goldust, Ken Shamrock & The Legion Of Doom
A video package highlights the feud once again. Before the match, Austin’s team is interviewed backstage but he doesn’t speak and just walks off. I guess he’s too focused on opening up a can of whoopass. They going full Canadian here as the Canadian national anthem is sung before the match. The crowd loves it. They’re really making this match feel like a big deal. The non-canadians get a negative reaction but Austin’s reaction is rowdy, with a mixture of cheers and jeers. Ask John Cena what that feels like. Of course, the Hart Foundation get a massive hometown pop and I though my TV was going to explode.
I thought this match would have a chaotic start, but it starts reasonably tame with the team captains – Hart and Austin – beating the hell out of each other. The atmosphere is absolutely incredible, similar to the atmosphere at ECW One Night Stand 2006 when Cena showed up. This is the definition of a partisan crowd. Austin is public enemy number and gets thrown with stuff from the crowd. The crowd loses their shit when Austin takes a pummeling in the Hart corner. Austin is able to fight out of the predicament and the crowd hates it, but they do love when Bret hits Austin in the knee with a fire extinguisher. Owen Hart gets sent to the back due to injury as well as Austin whose selling the knee. Its 4-on-4 now.
Despite this match being your typical 10-man tag affair, it still feels exciting because of the HUGE crowd involvement. Austin hobbles back down to the ring and the crowd hates him for it. And we back to how this match started, with Austin and Bret beating the hell out of each other. Stone Cold catches Bret in Sharpshooter but Owen Hart comes out from the back to make the save. After Stone Cold beats up Bret’s family, Owen manages to roll him up with a handful of tights for the victory and the crowd explodes. The brawl continues for a little while before it’s broken up. Austin then comes back out with a chair and takes on the entire Hart Foundation but gets overwhelmed. The security eventually handcuffs Austin and gets dragged out of the arena. Nice character work from Stone Cold.
As for the match itself, there was absolutely nothing special about the action. It was pretty much basic. However, the atmosphere made this match seem incredible. I think the crowd really made this match greater than it actually was. But overall, I’d say this match is a must-watch as it’s pivotal in Austin’s career and it was a pretty good feud at the time.
Overall, this was a fantastic show and the two hour runtime just flew by. All four matches more than delivered and I was thoroughly entertained by this show from top to bottom. This show is a must-watch as three of these matches had legendary wrestlers involved. After a disappointing first IYH for me, this one really delivered. Compared to Good Friends, Better Enemies; Canadian Stampede is a bonafide classic. I absolutely loved this show and you’d do yourself a good service by checking this show out.
And that does it for this edition of The Main Event. What did you think about Canadian Stampede? Please let me know in the comments below. But until next time folks…
This is Don Franc signing out.
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