Impact Wrestling/OVW One Night Only Clash In The Bluegrass Live Report

So I took in the OVW vs. Impact Wrestling One Night Only Show in Louisville’s Davis Arena on Saturday night. That would be the same place where John Cena, Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar and Batista among others got their start (for all intent and purpose). It was a long night and mostly fun, but there was one problem.

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What the World Was Watching: WWF One Night Only (1997)

by Logan Scisco


A video package
highlights how the British Bulldog has become a wrestling ambassador for Great
Britain.
Vince McMahon, Jim
Ross, and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from
Birmingham, England.  The setup was
pretty cool, with WWF logos in the middle of the Union Jack and attendants in
British dress flanking the entrance ramp.
Dude Love talks in
a British accent and says that he does not miss his teeth.

Opening
Contest:  Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna)
defeats Dude Love with the Pedigree at 12:53:
The crowd is hot for the opener, with the usual British
gimmick of having people in the audience with air horns.  I would really hate to be seated by those
fans during the show.  The announcers do
not talk about Foley’s prior feud with Helmsley since he is wrestling under a
different gimmick.  The announcers also
hype Helmsley’s “cerebral” nature and how he is the smartest man in the
business.  The first five minutes is a
pretty good technical wrestling exhibition, with Love working the leg with an
Indian death lock.  Helmsley bails to
avoid Sweet Shin Music and that is Chyna’s cue to start interfering to keep Helmsley in control.  Helmsley and
Mike Chioda do the “push the referee, referee pushes back spot” after Chioda
breaks up Helmsley using the ropes on an abdominal stretch and the crowd loves
it.  Love pulls out an arm drag off of
the second rope (?!?!), but Chyna puts Helmsley’s foot on the rope after Love
hits Sweet Shin Music and that distraction enables Helmsley to
steal the victory.  This was a fantastic
opener, with very little resting and it used great pacing to keep a hot crowd
engaged.  Rating:  ***¾
The crowd gives
its opinion on who is going to win the main event between the British Bulldog
and Shawn Michaels.  There are a
surprising number of Michaels supporters, but a thirteen year old kid has the
best line of the segment:  “What has
Shawn Michaels done in the last year except for whining about losing his
smile?”
Sunny comes out to
do guest ring announcing duties
.
Tiger Ali Singh
(w/Tiger Jeet Singh) pins Leif Cassidy after a Tiger Bomb (flying bulldog) at
3:59:
This was one of the few appearances of Tiger Ali Singh in
1997, despite him being heralded as a big acquisition earlier in the year, and
was the first sighting of Cassidy on a big show in more than six months.  Before the match, Singh gives a weird promo saying
that he is a proud Arab Canadian that is drug free and hopes to set the world
on fire.  The crowd boos all of it,
especially when Tiger Jeet gets on the mic. 
The match is a disjointed mess, as Cassidy bumps around a lot for the
rookie, but Singh fails to pull off a hiptoss and cannot adequately get himself
on the top rope when Cassidy tries to suplex him on there to set up the
finish.  The crowd reads right through
Singh’s lack of ability and Ross got so bored during the contest that he bugged
Lawler about his relationship with Brian Christopher.  Rating:  ½*
Footage of the
Headbangers winning the tag team titles at In Your House:  Ground Zero is shown.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  The Headbangers
(Champions) defeat Savio Vega & Miguel Perez when Mosh pins Perez after a
Mosh Pit at 13:33:
The Headbangers have not scored a clean win on a big
television show since becoming the champions, but I like their chances of
getting one here.  The Boricuas play the
heel role well, despite constantly reverting to nerve holds when they cannot
think of anything else to do.  Thrasher
is placed in peril for ten minutes and when all hell breaks loose, Savio
prevents Miguel from getting pinned off of a super hurricanrana and a
powerslam.  However, Mosh surprises Perez
with the Mosh Pit after he powerbombs Thrasher and the Headbangers retain the
titles.  The heat segment was a little
long without enough believable near-falls, but this was a proficient tag team
match that the crowd was into throughout. 
Rating:  ***
European Champion
The British Bulldog tells Jim Ross in a taped interview that he is dedicating
tonight’s match to his sister, who has battled cancer.
The Patriot beats
Flash Funk with the Uncle Slam at 8:46:
Shades of gray! 
The Patriot gets booed, since he is waving the American flag in a
foreign land.  McMahon tries to say it is
a mixed reaction, but there are no audible cheers to be found anywhere.  The match has its moments, but both men’s
styles are so different that they do not complement each other well.  Funk does not utilize a lot of high flying
offense, but he does hit a splash off the top rope for a believable near
fall.  However, a moonsault eats knees
and the Patriot finishes and gets booed out of the building.  The finishing sequence was just enough to
keep this from ending up below average.  Rating: 
**
The Legion of Doom
tell the Godwinns that they are going down and Hawk recites some weird poem
about a bird doing its business in his eye and saying that cows don’t fly.
The Legion of
Doom beat The Godwinns when Animal pins Phineas after a Doomsday Device at
10:42:
The recently debuted Uncle Cletus is nowhere to be found and Henry is still mad about his broken neck and this feud continues.  Both members of the LOD are placed in peril,
but the Godwinns offense consists mostly of rest holds so it is tough to watch.
  They tease you with a finish about
seven minutes in when Hawk eats a Slop Drop, but he kicks out and the match
just continues. 
A myriad of clotheslines put the LOD back in control and they capture
another victory over the Godwinns, thereby continuing to dominate this
feud.  Phineas takes a nasty bump off of
the Doomsday Device, as he seems to crash down on his head, but he appears to be okay.  Rating:  *
Ross interviews
Ken Shamrock, who has suffered internal injuries in his match against Faarooq
on RAW.  As a result, he has been pulled
out of his match against Owen Hart on tonight’s show and Vader will take his
place.  Shamrock says that he is
disappointed that he cannot compete and Rockabilly comes out.  Rockabilly makes fun of Shamrock’s situation
and slaps him, but that leads to Shamrock taking him down and applying an ankle
lock before WWF officials intervene.  You would think that Billy would learn to counter that by the time he feuded with Shamrock in 1999.
McMahon interviews
WWF Champion Bret Hart, who says that he still hopes that the British fans
support him and even though he is fighting a fan favorite in the Undertaker
that he is going to give his best effort tonight.  McMahon presses Bret on the fans booing him
and Bret sheepishly says that he cares about his fans.  This was a really awkward interview for all
parties and made Bret look really bad.  This will become a common booking pattern for Bret’s last month in the company.
Vader pins Owen
Hart with a powerslam at 12:14:
Owen is really excited to be cheered by half the crowd
and an entire barricade nearly falls over because the fans want to touch him.  After Vader showcases his weight advantage in
the early going, Owen uses a hurricanrana to escape a powerbomb and teases a
Sharpshooter, but can’t turn Vader over. 
Vader seemingly kills Owen with a Samoan Drop and a second rope splash,
but Owen kicks out and then proceeds to outdo his brother’s chest-first bump
into the corner.  The crowd, which was
equally divided at the beginning, starts to cheer Owen since he’s the underdog,
but it makes little difference as Vader pounds away.  Owen catches Vader off guard with an enziguri
and applies a Sharpshooter, which is a great spot because the enziguri can
legitimately knock anyone out, but Vader makes the ropes.  Owen then slams Vader, which gets Hulk
Hogan-type reaction, but that only gets two. 
Vader Bomb eats knees and Owen hulks up. 
However, he makes the fatal decision to try a flying body press and
Vader spikes him into the canvas to pick up a hard fought win.  It was surreal to see Owen play the plucky
babyface role, but this is a match you have to see if you are an Owen fan.  Easy match of the night so far, with HHH-Dude
Love a close second.  Rating: 
****
Footage of the
ending of the SummerSlam main event between Bret Hart and the Undertaker is
shown
.
The Undertaker
cuts a taped promo where he says Bret Hart has one night to prove himself
worthy of being WWF champion and since Shawn Michaels is not the guest referee
he is going to have to beat him one-on-one.
WWF Championship
Match:  Bret “the Hitman” Hart (Champion)
defeats The Undertaker by disqualification at 28:34:
Back in 1997 there were no immediate rematch clauses, so
the Undertaker is getting his rematch with Bret at this show.  You would think that because they are on
foreign soil that the crowd would be behind Bret, but he gets a John Cena-type
reaction.  The early stages of the match
are an Attitude Era-style brawl, as both men tear into each other and brawl up
the entrance ramp, with the Undertaker getting the better of it.  Bret gets whipped chest-first into an exposed
turnbuckle and the Undertaker works the upper chest with a series of heart
punches, which displays some unique psychology. 
The Undertaker even uses a crucifix pin to secure a near-fall.  Bret fights back by working the right leg and
gets booed out of the building when he applies the ring post figure-four.  Bret pulls out the Mr. Perfect counter from
SummerSlam 1991 to put the Undertaker in the Sharpshooter, but the Undertaker
powers out and rallies.  Bret tries to
use the ring bell as a weapon, which the Undertaker blocks with a big boot, but
when he tries to use it the referee grabs it and Bret chop blocks the
Undertaker’s injured leg.  Bret ends up
hung in the ropes after fighting out of a Tombstone and when the Undertaker
will not stop his attack, the referee disqualifies him.  A lame finish for what was a great match, but
the Undertaker’s refusal to sell the leg near the end of match always brings
these matches down  I mean,
the Undertaker should have barely been able to stand near the twenty-one minute
mark, but he walks out of the match as if nothing happened to him.  Still, the interesting psychology in the
early going and the divided and vocal crowd make this the best Undertaker-Bret
match that I have ever seen.  After the
match, the Undertaker chokeslams the referee and Gerald Brisco, who has come to
get Bret out of the ropes.  Rating: 
****¼
Shawn Michaels
says that he is going to become the first Grand Slam champion in WWF history.
European
Championship Match:  “The Heartbreak Kid”
Shawn Michaels beats The British Bulldog (Champion w/Tracy) via submission to a
figure-four leg lock to win the title at 22:53:
The European championship was never intended as a
long-term WWF title, as it was more of a prop for the Bulldog, but this match
changed that.  This is also the first and
only time that a European title match headlined a pay-per-view.  The Bulldog dominates the early going with
his usual power offense and Michaels bumps like a pinball.  If Michaels really wanted to rehash the
issues between these two he would walk over to Diana and hit on her, but on
second thought he was innocent of those accusations in the summer of 1996.  Rick Rude wanders out ten minutes in and
immediately gets involved by interfering in a Bulldog roll up, tripping him
when he runs the ropes, and tossing the Bulldog into the ring post.  Michaels opts to keep the match grounded, but
the Bulldog mounts a second rally, which brings out Hunter Hearst Helmsley and
Chyna.  Now, this never made sense to me
because Owen and Bret Hart are backstage, so why are they sitting around and
not coming to their comrade’s aid? 
Michaels hits two flying elbow drops, but misses Sweet Chin Music.  However, Rude prevents the Bulldog from
hitting a running powerslam.  The battle
spills to the floor, where the Bulldog tries to give Michaels a running
powerslam, but his foot slips off of the stage the outside mats are on and he
eats Sweet Chin Music.  With the
referee’s back turned, Rude and Helmsley damage the Bulldog’s knee further and
Helmsley hits a Pedigree for good measure. 
Inside, Michaels takes off the Bulldog’s knee brace, tosses it to Diana,
and applies a figure-four, with Helmsley and Chyna assisting in leverage, and
Rude prevents the Bulldog from reaching the ropes.  Faced with four-on-one odds, the Bulldog
eventually passes out and Michaels becomes the first Grand Slam champion in WWF
history.  The original booking of the
match called for the Bulldog to win in triumphant fashion in his hometown over
a long-time rival that he had never defeated on the big stage, which is why he
dedicated the match to his dying sister Tracy, but Michaels vetoed the
finish.  Under these circumstances and
Michaels behavior at the time it does make you sympathetic to Bret’s case about
why he refused to job to him at Survivor Series.  The heel interference was great for crowd
heat and made the Bulldog appear strong, but I never care for this match.  Maybe it’s because I know the political games
played behind the scenes or the fact that the Bulldog really should have gone
over here, but this is a tough contest to stomach.  Rating:  ***½
After the match,
Michaels gets on the house mic and gloats about his victory as trash begins to
fill the ring.  Michaels taunts Diana and
then reapplies the figure-four until Diana and Owen Hart hit the ring and force
the heels to flee.
The Final Report Card:  A Bulldog victory, where the Hart Foundation
stormed the ring and helped fight off D-Generation X, would have made this one
of my favorite WWF shows of all-time. 
Despite the political games of the finish, this is a very solid show
that is worth checking out if you have never seen it.  The opener is great, the tag team
title match is better than expected, and the last three matches are
fantastic.  In some ways, I think this
pay-per-view is on the same level as Canadian Stampede and could easily be
considered the WWF’s best pay-per-view outing of 1997, even if the United
States did not have access to this show.



Also, random aside for my readers, but would you like me to start posting two reviews a week (say Tuesday at the regular time and on Saturday) or just keep it at one?
Attendance: 
11,000
Buyrate: 
0.05

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up