Hart & Soul. This PPV features a main event that pits the hart of the WWF in Bret Hart against the Soul of WWF, The Undertaker. This will be Brets first WWF title shot on PPV since February and In Your House: Final 4. He was named number one contender after his team defeated Steve Austins team last month at Canadian Stampede. Since the, Brets long time rival Shawn Michaels has been named the Special Guest Referee for tonight main event. If Bret loses tonight, he will never fight in the US again and if Shawn Michaels is bias in his refereeing tonight then he will never fight in the US again. All that and Paul Bearer has been claiming The Undertakers dead brother Kane is actually alive.
Also tonight, the Intercontinental title will be on the line. At Canadian Stampede Owen Hart pinned “Stone Cold” Steve Austin to win the match for his team and now the two men go one on one for Owens Intercontinental title. If Austin doesn’t win, he has vowed to kiss Owen Harts ass. Austin is now tag team champion with Dude Love. Who? It’s Mankinds alter-ego, Dude Love but tonight it’ll be Mankind in action as he takes on rival Hunter Hearst Helmsley in a cage match. Designed to keep Chyna out of the match, could this be the final time we see a match between these two? British Bulldog will also be defending his European title for the very first time on PPV against Ken Shamrock. If Bulldog loses he has vowed to eat dog food!
We’ll also get a fourth member of the Hart Foundation in action when Brian Pillman makes his singles debut on PPV against Goldust. If Pillman loses he has said he’ll wear one of Marlenas dresses on Raw the next night. The other two members of team Austin from Calgary Stampede, The Legion Of Doom will also be in action when they take on The Godwinns. LOD accidentally broke Henry Godwinns neck a few months ago with the Doomsday Device and ever since then, The Godwinns have been looking for revenge. The other match tonight will pit two former Nation Of Domination members Crush and Savio Vega against each other along with their respective gangs in an 8 man tag match between Los Boricuas and The Disciples Of Apocalypse.
We kick off the second biggest pay per view of the year with the US national anthem. That won’t make The Hart Foundation happy. We then get a video package that starts with Bret Hart and how he turned his back on the fans. If live were fair then Undertaker would retain tonight. If life were fair then maybe Shawn Michaels would still be champion. All three of these men will be in tonights main event with Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee for the match between Bret Hart and WWF Champion The Undertaker. We then go to ringside where a steel cage is already set up and fireworks are shooting. Vince McMahon welcomes everybody to Summerslam, he’s joined by Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. Let’s get to the action.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Mankind – Steel Cage Match
I think the last steel cage match we had on PPV was at In Your House: Rage In The Cage when Bret Hart took on Diesel, a match where The Undertaker famously came up through the ring. This is the third PPV in a row we’ve had Helmsley vs. Mankind. In the first Helmsley won and in the second it was a no contest. Mankind and Helmsley are both undefeated at Summerslam as it stands with both men having won one match. Hunter goes straight for the door but Mankind grabs him back in. Mankind hits some big right hands whilst Helmsley looks focused on trying to exit the ring in the early going. Mankind is looking for his first win in three PPVs tonight and he drives his knee into Helmsleys face. Mankind now locks the mandible claw on Helmsley but Chyna reaches through the cage and breaks it up. Helmsley has won 80% of the matches that he’s had Chyna in his corner and he’s yet to lose. Chyna gets involved again, crotching Mankind on top of the cage.
Helmsley suplex’s Mankind off the top of the cage! He then goes to walk out of the cage but instead opts to walk back in and throw Mankind into the cage. Mick Foley is actually one half of the tag team champions with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin but under the gimmick of Dude Love. But it’s Mankind in action tonight and the tag team titles won’t be defended. Helmsley continues to throw Mankind into the cage, smashing his face off the bars. This is the third cage match at Summerslam, the first two being between The Ultimate Warrior and Rick Rude and Bret Hart and Owen Hart. The babyface has won the previous two. Hunter attempts to escape the cage now but Mankind drags him back in. Helmsley made his PPV debut at Summerslam 95 with a win over Bob Holly. Chyna gets involved again, hitting Mankind with a right hand giving Helmsley the advantage. But not for l
ong as Mankind hits a clothesline. Mankind suplex’s Helmsley into the cage then hits his tree of woe move into the cage. Mankind has put on fantastic matches again and again. Both men climb the cage and exchange right hands until Mankind crotches Helmsley on the top rope. Helmsley then gets his foot stuck in the ropes!
Mankind crawls to the cage door which Chyna slams in his face! Chyna then throws the referee face first into the steel steps! Chyna isn’t finished there though, she throws a chair into the ring and Helmsley goes for a Pedigree on it but Mankind takes him down and slingshots Helmsley into Chyna! Mankind then hits his trademark double armed DDT onto the chair! That gets a good pop. Mankind crawls to the top of the cage and all the way down as a “Superfly” chant breaks out. Chyna attempts to drag Helmsley out but then gives up, oddly. Mankind is one step from winning then takes off his mask! Mankind then climbs back up to the top of the cage and leaps off with an elbow drop! Mankind climbs out and Chyna comes back into drag Helmsley out (I think she fucked up before, she wasn’t supposed to come in) but it’s Mankind then drops out first and wins the match!
Mankind music hits then stops. Dude Loves music then hits! Mankind starts acting like his alter-ego Dude Love, dancing at ringside. Big win for Mankind who now holds victories over The Undertaker and Hunter Hearst Helmsley at Summerslam. This could be the end of this feud for now, we’ll have to see. Decent way to start Summerslam, this felt much bigger than an opener.
Todd Pettingill now introduces a politician woman who is accompanied by The Headbangers and Gorilla Monsoon. She gets the boo’d big time. Vince McMahon claims that she is the one responsible for bringing the WWF back to New Jersey. Monsoon then gives her the WWF title. This is shite, lets move on.
And we move on to see some activities from earlier today. The Honky Tonk Man and The Headbangers were there. As were some of the bigger stars like Steve Austin and The Legion Of Doom.
Goldust vs. Brian Pillman
This is the first of four matches we’ll see The Hart Foundation in tonight. Pillman has vowed that if he loses this match then he’ll wear a dress on Raw tomorrow night. Pillman is awesome. This is Pillmans first singles match on PPV and he attacks Goldust before the bell. Pillman is actually undefeated on PPV as he won as part of the Hart Foundation at Canadian Stampede. Goldust kisses Pillman then hits him with a right hand. Pillmn goes after Marlena on the outside but Goldust clotheslines him before he can get near her. Goldust is undefeated at Summerslam having beaten Marc Mero last year. Brian hits a suplex then goes to the top but Goldust gets up and throws him onto the top rope and to the outside. Pillman hides behind Marlena which allows him to get the advantage, hitting a clothesline off the top for a two count.
Pillman locks on a sleeper now. Goldust gets back into the match and the two men exchange right hands. Goldust goes for a bulldog but Pillman throws him out of the ring. Goldust gets back in with a sunset flip but Pillman manages to stop him until Marlena smashes her handbag into his face! Pillman falls and Goldust gets the three! Goldust gets his first PPV win in a year at the expense of Brian Pillman! The Loose Cannon isn’t happy, he’s going to have to wear a dress. What was in that hangbag? Bit of a slow match this one. Nothing special.
The Godwinns (Henry & Phineas) vs. The Legion Of Doom (Hawk & Animal)
There’s a lot of history between these two teams. The Legion Of Doom but Henry out of action with the Doomsday Device. The Godwinns have since turned heel and attacked Hawk and Animal on numerous occasions. Henry and Phineas have never won a PPV match as a team and in face, Phineas has never won a PPV match full stop. LOD have never lost at a Summerslam. The two teams get straight into it and the LOD clear the ring of The Godwinns. We’ve had two face wins so far tonight, could this be a third? The Godwinns make quick tags in the early going but Animal takes both men down with a clothesline. Hawk then clotheslines Phineas down on the outside. The crowd are right behind the Legion Of Doom in this one. Henry misses with a legdrop on Hawk then Hawk throws him into the ring steps. Back in the ring and Hawk hits a couple of legdrops then gets a two count.
Henry tags Phineas who hits Hawk with a headbutt. Animal is then tagged in and so is Henry. Animal locks on an armbar but Henry gets out of it and throws him into the ropes where Phineas kicks him from behind. Captain Lou Albano is at ringside. He hasn’t been in the WWF since managing the Headshrinkers. Back in the ring and Henry hits a powerslam on Animal for a two. Henry tags Phineas who rams Animals head into the top turnbuckle then locks on a bearhug. Animal gets out of the bearhug but can’t take the advantage. Phineas goes to the middle rope but gets caught with a clothesline allowing Animal to tag Hawk and here comes Henry. Hawk hits a big powerslam on Henry then Hawk goes after both Godwinns, taking both of them down with clotheslines. Hawk then hit a neckbreaker on Henry an all four men are in. LOD set Henry up for the Doomsday Device but Phineas breaks it up and gets a clothesline. LOD then hit a spike piledriver on Henry for the win!
The Legion Of Doom remain unbeaten at Summerslam whilst Phineas still hasn’t won a match on PPV. That’s three face wins from three so far.
Some shots of fan who have won free tickets and that. The winners are then in the arena with Sunny and Sable. The two winner then have to pick keys. There is a hundred numbers. Now Pettingill rings other people. The first doesn’t answer. The second is a wrong number. The third isn’t watching Summerslam. And his number is no good. And now another person is called. This is boring. The crowd are restless. The second caller doesn’t win either. Now for the first winner that’s there, nope he doesn’t win. And the other bloke doesn’t win either. Now some other bloke tells us which key would’ve opened the casket and it’s 3. Absolute rubbish.
Now to a clip from Raw where The British Bulldog headbutted Ken Shamrock during an arm wrestle. The Bulldog then threw dog food all over Shamrock. Dog food that the Bulldog will have to eat if he doesn’t beat Shamrock tonight.
The British Bulldog (c) vs. Ken Shamrock – European Championship Match
This is the first ever European title match on pay per view. Thwe two men get straight into it and Shamrock clotheslines Bulldog to the outside before throwing him into the ring post. This is a Summerslam debut for Shamrock and his second PPV singles match having previously beaten Vader. He locks an ankle lock on but Bulldog gets to the ropes. Shamrock hits a clothesline for a two count. Bulldog hits a clothesline to get back into the match then hits his trademark stalling suplex before locking on a sleeper. Shamrock hits a sunset flip for a two but Bulldog is up quick and clothesline the challenger down. Bulldog goes back to the sleeper. Only Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels have had more PPV matches and fought on more PPVs than The British Bulldog. Shamrock looks like he has a busted lip.
Bulldog throws Shamrock into the ring post and out of the ring. The referee stops Bulldog from using the steel steps which gives Shamrock enough time to get up and hit some chops. Bulldog is also third of all time for PPV wins behind Bret Hart and The Undertaker. Back in the ring and Bulldog goes back to the sleeper. He breaks it up and throws Shamrock to the outside before slapping dog food in Shamrocks face! This causes Shamrock to go crazy and hit Bulldog in the back of the head with the can of dog food! The referee then calls for the bell! It’s a disqualification! Bulldog wins by DQ after getting hit in the head with a can. Shamrock loses the plot and shoves the referee then locks a choke on Bulldog who has retained the title here tonight. Referee come from the back to break up the choke and Bulldog is out. Eventually he breaks it up then belly to belly suplexes the officials! The crowd love it! The aftermatch was probably better than the match which was a bit slow and cumbersome.
Todd Pettingill is backstage with Shawn Michaels who says he has nothing to settle with Bret Hart and tonight he’s going to be fair. We’ll see about that.
Next to a video package highlights Los Boricuas and The Disciples Of Apocalypse. Crush and Savio Vega both got fired from The Nation Of Domination and formed their own factions.
Los Boricuas (Savio Vega, Jose Estrada Jr, Miguel Perez and Jesus Castillo) vs. The Disciples Of Apocalypse (Crush, Chainz, Skull & 8 Ball)
This is a big 8 man tag match now. Savio Vega and Crush both need no introduction. Skull and 8 Ball have previously wrestled as the Blu Brothers whilst Chainz was The Fake Undertaker. Savio’s crew all make their PPV debuts tonight. All 8 men get straight into it with DOA clearing the ring of the Boricuas. Jose and Skull start the match with Skull throwing Jose from corner to corner. Savio then comes in and gets hiptossed for his troubles. 8 Ball then comes in and hits a sidewalk slam before tagging Crush. Crush gets the first near fall of the match which is broken up by Miguel Perez Jr who is then tagged in but doesn’t have any success. In comes Jesus and Chainz and it’s Chainz who hits repeated elbow drops. Chainz tags either Skull or 8 Ball. Both men comes in and drop Jesus on the top rope.
This match is quick and hard to follow as Miguel comes in and all four Boricuas stomp away at Skull (or 8 Ball). There’s plenty of action as Jsesus hits a legdrop on 8 Ball. And here comes The Nation Of Domination through the crowd. Faarooq, Ahmed Johnson, Kama and D-lo Brown make their way to ringside. Miguel Perez tags Savio Vega who chops away at 8 Ball then hiptosses him before locking on a chinlock. The referee struggles to keep control as Miguel Perez hits a dropkick from the top then tags in Jesus who dropkicks Skull or 8 Ball. In comes Jose now and he quickly tags out to Miguel Perez who tags out to Savio Vega. Skull finally tags out to Chainz and all of the Boricuas come in.
All 8 men go at it now! Chainz is sent to the outside and he hammers Ahmed Johnson but hammer shim back then hits the Pearl River Plunge on concrete! Savio rolls Chainz back in and Miguel Perez pins him for the three! After the match the Nation get involved and all 12 men go at it! The Boricuas manage to escape but this is a big win for Savio and co who scarper to the back. Ahmed is hobbling around, is he hurt again? Crush tries to run over everyone on his bike.
Now for a video package about “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Owen Hart. Owen pinned Austin at Canadian Stampede and that’s the basis of this feud. Austin has to kill Owens ass if he loses.
Owen Hart (c) vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin – Intercontinental Title Match
This feels like a bit of a step down for Austin who has been a main event player for the last year. Austin as well as The Undertaker are the only men to have wrestled on every PPV so far in 1997. Owen attacks Austin before the bell. The Hart Foundation haven’t had a great night so far with Pillman losing to Goldust and Bulldog only winning by disqualification. Austin is one half of the tag team champions and he takes Owen down with a Lou Thesz press. Austin hits a clothesline for a two count. Austin is so damn popular. He locks an armbar on Owen. Owen for me is part of the “big 5” along with Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, British Bulldog and The Undertaker. 5 men who are streets ahead of anyone else for PPV matches and appearances. It’s all Austin so far as he drops Owen on his back. Hart was successful at last years Summerslam, an event where he beat Savio Vega in the opening contest. He hits a spinning heel kick on Austin then pulls Austin face first into the ring post.
I expected Jim Neidhart to be ringside for these matches as he’s not in action himself. Owen pulls back Austins fingers which is basic but very painful. He then locks Austin up in the ropes and bites his fingers. Austin then hits the “Stun Gun” dropping the champion on the top rope then hitting a powerbomb and clotheslining him out of the ring. Owen then heads for the back but Austin races after him and throws him back in the ring. Lots of first PPV matches on this show including this one. Owen gets the advantage and hits an elbow from the top. The two exchange clotheslines and its Owen with the cover for a two. Owen then hits a german suplex and nearly gets a three. Ross sells Austins neck as Owen locks on a Camel Clutch. This is actually Austins Summerslam debut. Hart hits a DDT for a two count then goes to the sleeper.
Austin manages to get out of the sleeper with a jawbreaker. But Owen hits a side Russian leg sweep for a two then once again goes back to the sleeper. Steve Austin has had one hell of a year, fighting on every PPV this year but he’s only won one PPV match since winning the Royal Rumble back in January. And that was by DQ. He could do with a clean win tonight. Owen spends too long arguing with the referee and Austin spins him around and goes for a piledriver but Owen reverses it and hits a piledriver of his own. Austin is out. Owen paces around the ring whilst the referee talks to Austin. Steve manages to roll onto his stomach then rolls Owen up in the sloppiest cover I have ever seen for the three. Austin is not well though. He’s barely moved the whole time. But he has just won the Intercontinental title which right now seems to be cursed. Referees come form the back to help him up to his feet and carry him to the back.
We get a video package now for Bret Hart vs. The Undertaker. Hart has said that if he doesn’t win the title then he will never wrestle in America again. Shawn Michaels was announced as the Special Guest Referee but if he’s bias towards The Undertaker then he won’t be allowed to wrestle in the US again either. There hasn’t been much build between Bret Hart and Undertaker though, much like their previous PPV match at Royal Rumble 1996.
The Undertaker (c) vs. Bret Hart – WWF Championship Match
Bret is the first man out and he grabs the microphone, introducing the Canadian national anthem. The Undertaker is the only man to have wrestled on the last 3 Summerslam PPVs. He lost to Mankind at last years event and beat Kama the year before. Bret Hart has only ever missed one Summerslam PPV and that was last years event. Undertaker becomes the second man after Steve Austin to have wrestled on all 8 PPVs this year. It’s also worth noting that the WWF title has never changed hands at a Summerslam before. That’s a pretty big statistic considering how long the event has been going and it is the second biggest PPV of the year. This feels like a really big match feel. There are no more established main eventers on the roster than the three guys involved in this match. Last time Undertaker and Bret Hart met on PPV was at Royal Rumble 1996 and that was a WWF title match that Bret Hart retained. Both men have only lost once at Summerslam before, Undertaker to Mankind and Bret Hart to British Bulldog.
Hart attacks Undertaker with the belt for the bell and finally we’re underway with Undertaker hitting some big rights and lefts in the corner. On the outside and Undertaker rams Bret into the railings. Hart then throws Undertaker into the ring steps. Only Bret Hart has won more PPV matches and The Undertaker. The two men continue to go at it on the outside until Undertaker rolls Bret back into the ring. Undertaker hits a backbreaker and gets a two count. Vince McMahon then confirms that Austin has gone to the hospital with neck problems. Undertaker then locks on a bearhug. Last years Summerslam main event was between Shawn Michaels and Vader, this year neither of those men are in action. Bret goes after Undertakers knee now. Michaels has only wrestled on two PPVs this year, beating Sid at The Royal Rumble and drawing with Steve Austin at King Of The Ring. But he’s appeared on more PPV posters than anyone else so far in 1997.
Bret hits a headbutt then locks on a figure four leglock. Paul Bearer then makes his way to the ring. He’s been claiming that Undertakers brother that he thought was dead is actually alive. Could he show up tonight? Only 8 of the 20 men who wrestled at last years Summerslam are in action tonight. Undertaker gets out of the figure four then nails Paul Bearer. Bret attacks Undertaker from behind. Referees come out to see to Paul Bearer and get him out of here. Hart now locks on the figure four around the ringpost. Michaels, as referee, attempts to break it up and counts to 5 and Hart breaks the hold. Bret gets in his face. Hart continues to work Undertakers knee. Owen Hart and Brian Pillman have come to the ring now. Two men who lost their matches earlier. Where’s Bulldog? Hart wraps Undertakers leg around the ring post. Michaels gets in Hart face once again.
Bret locks a leg lock on the champion. Undertaker gets out of it and goes to the outside where he takes out Owen Hart and Brian Pillman! Michaels then attempts to get rid of Owen and Pillman whilst back in the ring Undertaker hits a huge chokeslam on Bret. But Michaels is nowhere to make the pin! Undertaker is pissed off and goes after Michaels but Bret rolls him up for a two. Bret pulls Undertaker to the outside and rams him into the ringpost. He rolls Undertaker back into the ring and comes off the middle rope with a double axe handle. It’s all been Hart so far in this one. He hits a backbreaker for a two. Hart then comes off the middle rope with an elbow and flips the bird to someone. Bret hits a DDT for a two then follows it up with another side Russian leg sweep and a legdrop. Bret then sets up for the Sharpshooter but Undertaker grabs him by the throat and gets up to his feet.
Undertaker hits some big right hands but Bret kicks his way out of a chokeslam situation. Undertaker hits his trademark flying clothesline now and Bret crawls to the corner. Undertaker Irish whips him chest first then pins him for a two. Big boot by the Undertaker and a legdrop for a two. Is it time for a heel champion? There are more top faces than there are heels. Undertaker, Austin, Mankind, Shawn Michaels to name a few. Undertaker chokeslams Bret Hart but gets a two. Undertaker spins the arm now and goes up to the top but Bret kicks him off, crotching him on the top rope. Bret then goes up and goes for a superplex but Undertaker slips down. Bret gets him back up and this time superplexes him to the mat before locking on the Sharpshooter! Undertaker manges to break the hold, sending Bret to the outside. Hart can’t believe it but slides back in and it’s advantage Undertaker as he hits a clothesline.
Undertaker motions for The Tombstone now. But he can’t hit the move, Bret slides down and locks a Sharpshooter on Undertaker around the ringpost! Michaels counts Bret but Undertaker breaks the hold, sending Hart into Michaels! With Michaels down, Bret nails Undertaker with a steel chair! Hart then covers Undertaker and Michaels rolls in but Undertaker kicks out at the count of two! Michaels sees the chair now and accuses Hart of using it! Bret says “Fuck you” and spits in Michaels face! Michaels then swings the chair at Hart who ducks and Shawn nails The Undertaker! Bret pins the champion and Michaels has to count the three! Bret Hart wins the match and Michaels gets out of there shortly followed by The Undertaker. Harts music hits and fans throw cups into the ring as the announcement is officially made. Bret becomes a five time WWF champion. The Hart Foundation minus Jim Neidhart then come out and celebrate with The Hitman.
And that was the 10th annual Summerslam pay per view. 7 matches which featured some of the biggest stars in WWF history. The main theme throughout was The Hart Foundation and the stipulations if they won or lost their matches. As it turned out, Brian Pillman was the only member of The Hart Foundation to face a forfeit. He lost to Goldust with a finish that makes me think there is more to see in this feud. It’s usually the heel that wins by cheating but in this one it was the face. A good win for Goldust, his first for a year, so I look forward to see where this one goes. British Bulldog won his match by disqualification which also makes me think his feud with Ken Shamrock might continue. Shamrock lost it and went mental but it seems a bit daft DQ’ing him for hitting Bulldog with a can of dog food.
Also tonight Mankind finally defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley. They had a good match in a cage and as it turns out they’ve both won one and drawn one so is this feud over? I’d like to think it’s not, I think we need one more match between the two. Maybe with Mankind as Dude Love. But on the other hand, maybe Mankind will focus on the tag titles but I’m not sure Austin is too well after his match with Owen Hart. Austin is now the Intercontinental champion as well as tag team champion but following the piledriver from Owen, Austin could not move. Could this be him on the shelf? I guess we’ll find out soon. I wonder how the match was supposed to finish. I enjoyed the tag team match between the Legion Of Doom and The Godwinns. I’m sure those two teams will be top of the pecking order should the belts need vacating. The Godwinns still have never won a tag team match on PPV.
I was surprised Los Boricuas beat The Disciples Of Apocalypse as the DOA seem a little bit more over right now. But maybe that’s why they lost. It would also seem that the DOA will go on to feud with the Nation Of Domination but I’m sure sure where that leaves Savio Vega and co. Then in the main event, Bret Hart defeated The Undertaker with a little bit of accidental help from Shawn Michaels. I like Bret as champion, he has been on fire as a heel. But who will be his first contender? Undertaker? Austin? Michaels? Mankind? I would guess a rematch with The Undertaker.
There were no spectacular matches on this show but a few decent ones. Nothing memorable but certainly the opener and the main event were matches I would watch again.
Overall Rating: 55/100 (Ranked 29th out of 71)
Match Of The Night: Bret Hart vs. The Undertaker
Worst Match Of The Night: British Bulldog vs. Ken Shamrock
Surprise Of The Night: Los Boricuas Win
Worst Booking Of The Night: Ken Shamrock getting DQ’d for using a can
Superstar Of The Night: Bret Hart
Summerslam 97 Will Be Remembered For: Bret Hart becoming a 5 time WWF Champion