Brett Mix’s- WWF King of the Ring 1997 Review:
“Undertaker, you are worried about Paul Bearer`s Blackmail, well tonight…., you worry about THIS BLACK MALE.” -Farooq
-WWF King of the Ring 1997 took place on Sunday, June 8th, 1997 at the Providence Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island in front of 9,312 fans.
-This was the 5th Annual King of the Ring event.
-This was the first King of the Ring with the ropes a solid red color.
-Helmsley was allowed another spot in the tournament because he pulled a job to Mable prior to his match with Ahmed Johnson the previous week that he could be eliminated via disqualification and thus threatened the WWF with legal action; Vader was originally in this spot but was injured in his No Holds Barred match with Ken Shamrock at In Your House: A Cold Day in Hell on May 11.
-Jim Ross and Vince McMahon did commentary for this event.
-Before the pay-per-view aired, in a Free For All match: The Headbangers (Mosh and Thrasher) defeated Bart Gunn and Jesse James at 6:10 when Thrasher pinned Gunn after a Stage Dive.
-Now onto the PPV……………
1) Opening Contest- Hunter Hearst Helmsley (With Chyna) vs Ahmed Johnson in a King of the Ring Semi-Finals match
So a year has gone by and the company now has faith in Hunter.
Where in turn they have less faith in Ahmed Johnson and his de-push begins now.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley had the skills for sure to be a star so why not go there?
Here in 1997 Hunter Hearst Helmsley had Chyna. An X-Factor to help him cheat and get by.
Ahmed Johnson wins an early test of power and poses for his few fans. Hunter Hearst Helmsley answered back with a side headlock in mid-ring. Ahmed does the only thing logical and push him to the ropes and with momentum hits a running shoulder block before posing again for his few fans.
Ahmed Johnson takes one look at Helmsley and he knows he is going to win the power game each and every time. He asks for a test of strength, Helmsley answers back with some chops in the corner which light Ahmed up some more and he reverses Hunter Hearst Helmsley into the corner and he utilizes a gorilla slam. Ahmed begins the match on his game as Hunter takes his time outside the ring, once back in Hunter Hearst Helmsley kicks Ahmed when he is offguard. Hunter Hearst Helmsley with a kick to the groin but out of the corner comes Ahmed firing back with a powerful clothesline. Johnson slams Hunter to the mat and misses with an elbow. Hunter Hearst Helmsley buys himself a break.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley tosses Ahmed out of the ring and on the outside grabs him by the head then sends him hard back first into the steel steps.
Helmsley gets in the ring and poses for the crowd who hate the idea. Hunter charges off the ropes when he spots Ahmed getting up and lays him out on the floor with a baseball slide. Hunter goes to the top rope and drops a modified double axehandle down on Ahmed’s head. Fans begin getting vocal for Ahmed and as Hunter dishes out shots he shakes it off and eventually drops Helmsley with a right hand. Ahmed irishwhipped into the ropes leaps over Hunter and drops his leg on his back dropping him to the mat. Ahmed hits a back bodydrop on Hunter off the ropes. Ahmed Johnson again sends Helmsley to the ropes and drops him this time with a Spinebuster slam. Ahmed signals for the Pearl River Plunge.
Ahmed Johnson goes for the powermove but Chyna comes on the apron which takes him off his game. Hunter from the corner uses this distraction by driving the knee into Ahmed in the corner before dropping him with a Pedigree and it’s over.
In the end at 7:42 Helmsley pinned Ahmed Johnson after a Pedigree to advance to the finals.
Ross calls it an upset.
This match works fine as an opener because it had no slow moments at all.
2) Mankind vs Jerry “The King” Lawler in a King of the Ring Semi-Finals match
This is Jerry Lawler’s fourth King in the Ring in a row in the ring. They must of loved the fact he had the same name and capitalized under any oppurtunity.
Again The King at The King of the Ring rips on the crowd and it`s absolutely hysterical.
Jerry Lawler is taken offguard when Foley beats on him and he goes for a quick breather and once back in on the recieving end of more rights. The fans love Manind now and he drops King with a reverse elbow off the ropes. Mankind signals for the claw and Jerry Lawler leaves the ring scared.
Lawler is up to his usual tricks to try and get Mankind away but he doesen’t want to give Jerry much room. King answers with a hard right and then a European Uppercut. King drives Mankind into the mat with a running bulldog.
A burger king chant starts up while King sends Mankind outside the ring.
Mankind is tossed out of the ring through the ring ropes to the floor.
The King wastes little time attacking Foley outside the ring focusing on Mick’s “half-ear.”
King begins to bite on Mankind’s ear.
Jerry Lawler goes back to biting and smiles for the fans who loved to hate him. Jerry Lawler slams Mankind hard into the corner turnbuckle padding. King unloads with another uppercut in the corner and proceeds to choking out Mick with his ring boot. King sends Mankind to the ropes and comes back with another right dropping Foley. From his knees Mankind uses some momentum to swing Lawler outside the ring to the floor. On the floor Mick hits Jerry Lawler with a right and then slams him into the guardrail. Mankind sends Jerry into the opposite end crashing into the steel. Mankind drops another blow dropping Jerry Lawler backfirst into the steel steps. As Mankind charged at King, he moved just in time and Mick crashed into the steps. Mankind is now driven into the steel by the King headfirst.
You’ve got to give it to Mick but only he would bump this hard.
Again Mankind’s head is driven into the steel and its brutal each time.
King believes Mankind will be counted out. Mankind is hit with a dropkick off the apron sending Mick into the steel once again. Lawler sets up Mankind for a piledriver and hits him square in the middle of the ring. This move has taken a hit credibility wise compared to the 80’s to say the least.
Lawler covers Mick with arrogance, thus he soundly kicks out. Mankind begins a comeback but is dropped to the mat by another European uppercut by Lawler. King is hit with a kick from the corner from Mankind and he fires back now and off the ropes drops King with another hard righthand. Mankind holds his head after it was bruised badly from the impact on the steel earlier on. Mankind drops a leg on King and proceeds to further his attack on Lawler driving him headfirst into the buckle before choking him out using the point of his knee. Mankind hits a headbutt and irishwhips King into the corner and hits a backdrop on Lawler. Mankind unleashes more righthands and sends him crashing into the corner again. Mankind gets taken down by Lawler out of desperation and as he turned the tide for a moment managed to go up top and drop the point of his elbow on Mankind. Jerry Lawler picks up Mankind again for a second Piledriver attempt but Manking revseres it hitting a back bodydrop in the center of the ring.
While Lawler attempts to roll him up, Mankind drops down and slaps the claw on King.
In the end at 10:24 Mankind forced Lawler to submit with the Mandible claw.
Fans are very much behind Foley to become King.
This here was a strange contrast with Foley in his Mankind persona taking on an aging Jerry Lawler.
The match had its good moments of brutality and comedy which ultimately makes up for anything it seriously lacked.
3) Goldust (With Marlena) vs Crush (With D’Lo Brown and Clarence Mason)
Random singles match now.
Crush is in the Nation and Goldust is a fan favourite. Apparently they wanted their two most deranged characters (Goldust and Mankind) to now become babyfaces which was strange.
Either way times were changing.
Goldust started the attack with some rights and got Crush in the corner at one point, it didn’t take long for Adams to regain control and go to work on Goldust using his power and driving his fist into the kidney’s of one Goldust. Crush posed for the crowd who booed him but Goldust shot back at Crush from his knees slapping him. Goldust scooped up Crush but he used his own momentum to drop down on him. Crush drops Goldust with a back breaker and he keeps kicking out.
Pace slows down now.
Crush stood over Goldust and then slapped on a reverse chinlock.
With this hold locked on Goldust for at least two minutes, he finally comes out. He is sent off the ropes and ducks two clotheslines before Crush holds him up with a gorilla slam before a gutbuster driving the point of his knee into Goldust’s sternum dropping down.
Not enough to put away Goldust.
Crush goes into a traphold on Goldust. Crush sends Dust to the ropes and he drops down and hits a swinging uppercut and a clothesline dropping Crush down. Goldust asks for the fans to get behind him (in more ways then one) and comes firing at Crush, holding his genitals and all before taking him down. Goldust was on top of Crush and now D-Lo and Mason as a distraction on the outside tried to get to Marlena. Goldust hit a running bulldog on Crush but then D-Lo must not of been able to hear the kids shouting “Look out for Goldust behind you!” I know if someone screamed that to me, I’d look.
Goldust was able to drop Crush once back in the ring after taking care of business outside of it.
In the end at 9:56 Goldust beat Crush with a DDT.
This made the Nation angry and Crush would be in the Nation for not much longer as a result.
This match is incredibally slow and seemingly pointless. Neither help matters but it’s not exactly terrible either because both men are capable of putting on this match type.
4) The Hart Foundation (Owen Hart, The British Bulldog, and Jim Neidhart) (With Bret Hart and Brian Pillman) vs Sycho Sid and The Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal) in a Six Man Tag
Road Warrior Animal and Owen start things off.
Owen Hart gets Animal into the corner and heis reversed irishwhipped to the buckle and Animal shows his power slamming him to the mat before catapolting him to the corner. Animal sends Owen to the ropes and hits a powerslam which gets him a two. The Anvil broke up the count.
Sid tags in and the fans love him for some reason. Sid drops a double axehandle on Owen before Owen rakes the eyes and fights back with a couple of right’s before a standing side headlock. Off the ropes Sid drops Owen with a standing shoulderblock. His mass was enough to make Owen drop. Sid asks the crowd if he should hurt Owen and Owen was such a good heel, everyone wanted him to.
The British Bulldog tags in Owen and shows his muscles and Sid plays wit his mind by backing off to the corner. Sid and The British Bulldog meet in a re-match from Summerslam 1996 with a test of power. The British Bulldog kicks at Sid’s mid-section and displays his power scooping up the bigger Sid and dropping him with a vertical suplex. Sid gets up and out of the corner fires back with a clothesline. Sid hits an arm-ringer on The British Bulldog and tags in Hawk.
Road Warrior Hawk sends Davey to the corner and Ross on commentary tries his best puns available.
Neidhart tags in as Davey was in the corner and Hawk doesen’t budge after the Anvil hits a shoulder block. He could of been high, but I don’t like to speak ill of the dead.
Hawk comes out of the corner with a hard chop and tags in Animal. Animal with a side headlock on the Anvil and The British Bulldog is backed off by the official back to the apron. Out of the corner Sid tags in and goes to work on the Anvil. All three guys use this advantage to take shots and Animal comes in twists the arm of Anvial, Hawk tags in and hits a snapmare to Neidhart. Hawk off the ropes answered another shoulderblock with NOT going down. Hawk was legitimately tough, we get it. Hawk hits a clothesline but the Anvil tags in Davey Boy.
In the ring The British Bulldog hammered on Hawk and maybe this power would drop him. Davey Boy hits a piledriver on Hawk and he gets right up.
What’s going on?
Does Hawk think he’s the Warrior. This was strange.
Owen comes in and thankfully sends Hawk to the outside. Animal is sent into the steps by Neidhart and behind the official drops a chair onto his back and throws him back in as he is the legal man. Owen hits a textbook snap suplex on Animal and gets a two.
Neidhart is elevated from the apron into the ring taking down Animal, Owen took a page out of his brother’s book there.
Neidhart with Animal sends him to the ropes and he attempts a sunset flip on Anvil who is groggy and finally goes down. Behind the official with The British Bulldog holding the distraction, Owen took an extra shot at Animal.
The Anvil held up Animal and as Owen tags in he comes off the top with a missile dropkick. Owen aggrivated Hawk on the apron and then he got Animal into the corner where behind the official Davey Boy and Anvil grabbed ahold of his head and slapped on a headlock.
The official not seeing the double-team work here was a bit far-fetched but still effective. The British Bulldog comes on and drops Animal with some power moves and then ultimately a powerslam. As The British Bulldog goes up top he is caught by Animal who counters with a powerslam. Animal goes up top this time and The British Bulldog hits a superplex off the top and Animal pushed off.
The Anvil is tagged back in and he is dishing out punishment to Aimal in the corner. Neidhart with spears take out the mid-section of Animal before he drops him with a snapmare. Anvil begins seemingly the first weardown hold of the entire match with a sleeper on Road Warrior Animal in the middle of the ring.
The fans are behind the LOD and Sid and he rises up while the Anvil tries to tork in his sleeper a lot harder. Animal off the ropes gets hit with a knee by the Anvil slowing him down. Neidhart sends Animal backfirst into the corner. Owen tags in and he is launched into Animal in the corner with a spear. OWen hits a neckbreaker on Road Warrior Animal and he gets a two out of it. Owen Hart then slaps on a sleeper to weardown Animal and perhaps isolate him now.
Owen Hart drops Animal down to the mat with the sleeper. As said the pace to this match was fantastic before Owen and the Anvil tried to weardown Animal. Animal is backed off to the corner and Hawk tags in.
Hawk drops Owen and he managed to tag back in The British Bulldog. He hits a slam and missed on a legdrop attempt. Hawk went to tag out and Bulldog wisely tripped him up.
Owen comes back in and then the Anvil as the Foundation began to weardown Hawk. Hawk though answers back with a double clothesline to the Anvil and Owen and Sid had the hot tag.
Sid fires at all the members and he shoved Owen to the outside. Sid grabbed Bulldog by the throat and hit a chokeslam. Sid now goes for a Powerbomb on Bulldog but Owen from the corner hit a sunset flip which didn’t get him at first but then ended up getting him.
The official must of forgot The British Bulldog was the legal man and not Owen but he lost control of the match.
A good pace here.
In the end at 13:37 Owen pinned Sid after an interesting sunset flip.
This match was a lot of fun but a bit sloppy in the end.
5) Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) vs Mankind in the Finals of the King of the Ring tournament
Everyone knew Hunter and Mankind had chemistry but this was one of there most underrated matches together here in the Finals of the King of the Ring in 1997. They`d go on to have several other memorable matches in 1997 alone such as the MSG match with Cactus Jack, the Summerslam Cage match, the Brawl at Canadian Stampede but this one was straight out both violent and technical.
It was extra impressive because both had already competed in a lengthy match already.
The hatred and will to win both men had here was evident throughout their actions.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley tries to weardown Foley straight off the bell with series of side headlock’s but Mick wasn’t having that kind of day. Mankind delivered some punishing shots to Hunter and then began to bite on his forehead down in the corner.
These two have always hated each other.
Mick teased a claw off the ropes but Helmsey grabbed onto the top rope for leverage that held him back. Triple H went for a walk and took his sweet time coming back in. Upon entering he complains to Keota.
Mankind ties up with Hunter and he steers him away and kicks at Mick’s abdomen (he’s got abs somewhere) and takes him out to the floor. Mankind though on the floor sweeps out the leg of Hunter and takes him to the ground and it becomes a brawl. Mankind sent Hunter into the steel on the outside. Mankind corners Hunter and in the corner he bites down on his head. Hunter kicks at Mankind in the corner and sends him hard into the corner before another kick to keep him level and a swinging neckbreaker.
Triple H and Mankind both rise up to their feet.
Hard impact takes Mankind down again and Helmsley rakes the eyes to take a dirtier approach. Hunter presses Mick down and chokes him out on the middle rope.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley viciously took down Mankind once more. Hunter hits Foley with several shots in the corner this time and Keota tells him to break after he relentlessly kicked at Mick before finally shoving him hard to the mat.
Behind the official Chyna takes a swing at Mankind.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley is hit with a desperation move from Mick coming by a heel shot to a heel. Now I’m doing the Puns.
Mankind charged at Hunter at the side ropes after some kicks and he moves out of the way just in time and Mankind is tangled in the ropes, just like at Mind Games. Mankind falls to the floor and as he backs up near Chyna she plays with her fist as if she wanted to take another shot. Hunter took Mick down and threw Mankind’s head into the steps, the same neck Jerry Lawler had earlier damaged.
Mankind struggling to stay up was sent back inside the ring and Triple H hit a swinging uppercut. Hunter Hearst Helmsley off the ropes dropped the knee to the back of the head of Mankind.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley off the ropes again drops his knee again dropping with impact focusing on where Mick was most weak. Hunter kicks at Mick who was now brought to his knees from the continious punishment. Hunter Hearst Helmsley goes for more shots but Mankind out of desperation swung him by his tights and clotheslined him off the ropes swinging back to the mat.
Mankind jumped on Triple H and started to make an attack from anything available again dropping Hunter across the ropes. Mankind went for another move but Triple H picked him up and dropped him to the mat with a Spinebuster to buy himself time. Mankind battled back with shots dropping Hunter Hearst Helmsley in the corner. Mankind charged at him and scored with a running knee. Mankind sent Triple H to the corner and he swung upside down and Mick drops the elbow to Hunter Hearst Helmsley’s head.
The impact alone brought Mankind back into the picture here and he went back to work on Hunter as he tossed him over the top rope out to the floor. Mankind missed with a baseball slide and Hunter Hearst Helmsley hit with a right, Mankind though was able to back bodydrop Hunter on the concrete floor. This move would ALSO help Mick back into things. Mankind dropped an elbow off the apron onto Hunter and both men are hurt.
Mankind outside the ring threw in Hunter and hit a double armed ddt.
Chyna distracted the official while Mankind covered Hunter but Chyna prevented the quick count and Hunter kicked out.
Both men back to their feet and Hunter Hearst Helmsley scored with a kick to Mankind and a Pedigree attempt but Mankind hit a back bodydrop followed by the Maindible claw and the fans went crazy. Chyna tossed Mankind out of the ring but Keota kept the match going.
Mankind gets a neckbreaker across the top rope dropping him to the floor once more and buying Hunter Hearst Helmsley more time. Mankind crawls back into the ring and upon entering is welcomed by kicks from Helmsley. Hunter shoved Mankind to the mat and took off his mask throwing it outside the ring. Hunter Hearst Helmsley climbs to the top and Mankind caught him up top with the claw once more. Hunter Hearst Helmsley rakes the eyes taking Mankind away but as Helmsley closed in Mankind hit an inverted atmoic drop, now a clothesline and another nearfall.
This was becoming a war.
Mankind then hit a running clothesline on Helmsley taking him out to the floor together this time.
Mankind went for an elbow drop off the outside apron and Hunter Hearst Helmsley moves out of the way just in time. Mankind comes crashing down into the steel bruising his head. Keota gets in Chyna’s face some more.
Mankind is sent crashing into the steel hard this time by Hunter focusing more on the bruised head region.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley now sets up Mankind on the announce table for a Pedigree.
Triple H hits Mankind with a Pedigree on the table with his head crashing down some more upon impact. Helmsley with Mankind placed on the apron charged towards him.
Helmsley hit a charging knee shot to the head of Mankind sending him down to the concrete floor hitting head first. So many bumps in one match alone by Mick, in his first match he had already bumped like crazy.
More brain damage to Miss’s Foley’s baby boy and somehow he kicks out when Hunter tries to put him away and the place explodes.
Mankind fights back but Hunter Hearst Helmsley drops him in the ring this time with a Pedigree and THAT will finally do it.
So in the end at 19:26 Helmsley pinned Mankind after a Pedigree.
This match is a Classic, the best King of the Ring final match of all time, just barely over the original one.
6) Shawn Michaels vs Stone Cold Steve Austin
The WWF Tag Team Champions squaring off here.
Austin`s shirt was selling like hotcakes by this point and Ross is sure to mention that, it really sold significantly more after the Mania match with Hart.
You’ve got to love Stone Cold Steve Austin’s entrance in this match, he tells the Hart Foundation that he’ll kick there ass on his way back. Austin then turns around like he owns the event, he remembers what happened at the last King of the Ring PPV.
Both guys popular with the ladies but obvioussly The Heartbreak Kid had more of the female fanbase during this match and Austin had more of the males it’d probably be safe to say, still they were both insanely over.
Michaels looks to be literally on COKE on the way to the ring. I wouldn’t be shocked.
Austin and Michaels were the tag champs and they talked trash in mid-ring.
Both guys circled around each other as the native Texans and current tag champions tied up. Austin got sent to the ropes and shoulder blocked Michaels and the males in the audience cheer.
Ross says Austin has a thirty pound weight advangage over Michaels. Well Alcohol makes you gain weight, Coke makes you lose weight, it’s common sense.
Austin flipped off Michaels as some people cheer, and then that’s when the “SPECIAL OLYMPIAN” came to the ring but Michaels went right for him to “HELP HIM”. It’s often been speculated if this was REAL or a plant, but in my opinion it was all a work. Right away Michaels knows what to do, RIGHT AWAY McMahon notes he is a Special Olympian. Would he react that way without a good look on a given day? I don’t think so. That’s way too risky and it showed Austin as heartless to attack Michaels while he was doing this.
Either way back in the ring Shawn got a hold of Austin’s left arm and slapped on an armbar.
Austin then had his arm twisted, Steve countered it and flipped his arm over, but Shawn then threw Steve to the mat and then flipped off Austin and the females cheer.
Austin goes outside the ring for a walk and then Shawn helped the fan to the back as referee Tim White did as well. Austin then let Shawn into the ring as he held the middle rope open for him.
Shawn leaped up to the ring apron and then got into the ring. Both men again circled around each other and Austin yanked Shawn’s left shoulder so hard it almsot fell out of its socket said McMahon, he twisted it a few times into a front facelock. Both men with counters and then a side headlock takedown by Shawn to Austin. Quick action and it looks so good here because both guys move around so well together especially during this time period.
Michaels kept a side headlock to Austin and then he kicked off the top rope and Michaels kept it on until he hit a shoulder block, then Austin leaped up and hit HBK with a reverse elbow and then Austin posed.
Stone Cold taunted Shawn by doing his signature pose and the males in the front few rows cheered. Michaels snapped Steve over and then kept a headlock on him. Michaels kept a standing side headlock on until steve pushed him to the ropes and he hit a shoulder block and then irish whipped Ausdtin, he ducked, leap frogged him and then Stone Cold hit an Atomic Drop on Michaels who was going for a Lou Thesz Press!
Austin then clotheslined Michaels VERY HARD outside the ring.
The two then brawled outside the ring!
Austin set up Shawn from outside the ring apron to inside the ring but he countered in mid-air with a sunset flip and then went into an armbar.
This match is unbelievable
A lot like Steamboat/Austin with how crisp/quick and enthralling the pace to the match was.
Austin needed to go for a walk after Michaels armbar to Austin and then a little psychology portrayed by Austin as he just stared into the eyes of Shawn and then came back in the ring and wanted to test power.
Steve and Shawn tie up in mid-ring with a test of stength in the center of the ring.
Austin flapped his arms as if Shawn was scared and then Austin won the test of strength and then shook his head like he usually did with one of his signature taunts which got a reaction. Austin stretched Michaels arms with control of his wrists with Michaels down on his knees.
Michaels slowly got back to his vertical base and both men were level to one another face to face, having gone at a magnificent pace.
Michaels with a hard irish whip to Austin and then a back drop! Michaels went to the side ropes, attempted to drop an elbow to Austin’s head but he moved out of the way and
HBK hit the mat hard.
Austin got up and went off the ropes and then went to drop an elbow of his own but HBK moved out of the way and the crowd found that humerous.
Shawn got up and slapped an armbar right back on Austin’s weakened left arm as he stomped on the canvas floor for more leverage and additional tork. Shawn then backed off the ropes with Austin’s power but he came off with a shoulder block, ducked a clothesline, but then Austin hit the Thesz Press which scored a big pop.
Austin then hammered HBK with hard right hands, went for a pinning combination but HBK rolled Austin up, Austin countered, the two men continued to flip over one another with awesome pinning combinations via inside cradles, Austin flipped over using HBK’s legs for leverage and then HBK bridged out and Austin tossed him over the top rope. What a great exchange that was.
Jim Ross says he doesen’t think he’s heard a crowd get into something as much as this. I don’t know about that but they definitely were in the match, that’s for sure!
Stone Cold grabbed HBK’s hair and then smacked his face into the top rope and left him hanging there until Steve hit his back with a hard forearm shot that sent him into the steel.
Austin went to the top rope and posed with his arms in the air.
Austin then moved the mat on the outside exposing the concrete floor.
Steve then scooped up Michaels and dropped his abdomen on the steel. Austin rolled back in the ring and Shawn layed there on the outside hurt.
Both guys clubbed at one another on the outside and Steve irishwhipped HBK into the steel steps for further damage on the outside.
Stone Cold Steve Austin then dropped him stomach first on the exposed concrete. You have to give Shawn credit for his bumping skills, he sure can flop around out there to make matters. Steve then goes in the ring and does a Bret Hart pose and some cheer, some boo, JR says he doesen’t give a damn what they do.
Steve then pulled HBK back into the ring and hammered him with a series of right hands until he dodged a clothesline after Austin elevated him to the side of the ring. HBK was to the outside as Austin avoided contact and Steve dropped an elbow to him and threw him back in the ring.
HBK with a small package and he got a two, then Austin hit him with a hard clothesline upon getting up and he got another two. Nearfall after Nearfall made this extremely entertaining.
Austin then snapped Shawn over and went to the corner and targetted HBK’s injured mid-section and landed an elbow drop but only got a two!
This has been fantastic from the sound of the opening bell.
Steve slapped on a side headlock to catch a breath and Austin wasn’t sweating nearly as much as Shawn likely due to Shawn recently having returned you’d have to imagine due to conditioning levels.
But it was such a brilliant pace that both men were fatigued and Steve looked to wear down Shawn some more as Shawn had been in control early in the match, Austin more so in the middle to later stages as we saw a brilliant near fall series, now were nearing the climax.
Austin argued with Tim White and it bought HBK time to get up and get in a fist fight with Steve until he hit him with a shoulder block and sent him outside the ring! Michaels with a baseball slide to Austin on the outside. Michaels then grabbed Steve by the head and suplexed him from the outside ring apron back into the ring but Austin landed on his feet! Steve swinging and missed Shawn and was then sent to the ropes and HBK hit a flying forearm and kicked up. Steve went for rights back up but got sent to the ropes and hit with a back body drop by Shawn.
HBK built back up some much needed momentum and hit an inverted atomic drop to Austin. Michaels sent Austin into the corner and then he charged towards the turnbuckle to Austin but he moved out of the way crashing in shoulder first. Austin pulled on Shawn’s tights to expose his ass for the 56th time in his career.
Austin stomped on Michaels in the corner before sending him to the other corner where Shawn landed feet first on the top and sprung back with a cross body and got a two. Austin then immeditately back to his feet with a hard clothesline then another two count. Austin sent HBK to the corner and then Michaels stopped and countered by sending Steve Austin into Tim White who gets knocked down.
HBK went for Sweet Chin Music, Austin reversed it into A Stunner as the place pops, but no official! Stone Cold is pissed.
Ross says “Austin did it! Austin did it! Austin did it!” three times and he was just the color commentator here!
Tim White got up and then Austin hit a stunner on him and of course everyone just loved that “Attitude.”
HBK then hit a sweet chin music to Austin. Michaels had the cover but Mike Keota went to check on Tim White instead of counting the three so Michaels hit a Sweet Chin Music to Keota.
Michaels then got a two count and HBK grabbed Tim White and Earl Hebner ran out. Earl Hebner then decided to stop the match as both men had literally gone through it all.
The match ends when both men were disqualified after they attacked the referee at 22:29 of the match.
If you’ve never seen the ending to this match before you’ll be dissapointed. It’s a shame but it kept both guys looking strong which is key. It doesen’t effect my rating very much because I’m such a huge fan of the match and it’s the two men’s best work with each other. (That’s out there)
Austin and HBK continued to be out to get the other one as they stood there with the title belts.
So in the end at 22:29 Both men were disqualified after they attacked the referee.
This match is brilliant. Perhaps no match shows Austin in his absolute prime better then this one, what made matters even better was that Shawn was also arguably in his as well.
A huge upgrade on the Mania match they`d have a year later when both men were hurt.
This is somewhere in the top 50 matches in company history from where I sit.
7) Main Event- The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) (c) vs Faarooq (w/Crush, Savio Vega, D’Lo Brown, and Clarence Mason) for the WWF Championship
Welcome to Farooq`s 13 minutes of fame.
They made a big deal that there was never an African American Heavyweight Champion in the WWF. Since Farooq (Ron Simmons) had been WCW Champion you`d figure he had the best shot to become the first WWF Champion.
It still feels funny seeing him main event a PPV in this company as he was never quite at main event status.
The Undertaker at this point was beginning the `Kane` angle as Paul Bearer literally controlled everything Taker did.
Even the early stages of the match where Farooq begins to dominate and Bearer wanrs The Undertaker better.
The Undertaker went to work on Farooq but he countered with a powerslam off the ropes followed by a nearfall.
The Nation took extra shots at The Undertaker behind the official. Farooq dropped down with a hard shot on Taker’s back. Farooq irishwhipped the Deadman to the corner but he got a boot up on a charging Farooq catching him on the jaw. The Undertaker rings the arm and brings Farooq in for a hard shoulderblock. The Undertaker twists the arm and goes for some Old School and up high elects to drop onto the Nation on the outside rather then Farooq.
Interesting turn of events.
The Undertaker takes out the Nation on the outside but this left Farooq undamaged on the inside and he brings in The Undertaker by the hair, Taker countered by dropping to his feet because of his reach and clotheslined the head of Farooq back to the canvas.
The Undertaker back in covered Farooq and he kicked out. The Undertaker goes for Old School this time on the leader of the Nation and showing his agility up high loses balance eventually when a Nation member shook the rope. The Undertaker falls to the mat allowing Farooq a chance to re-group.
Farooq wasted little time stomping on the Phenom. Farooq hit a snap suplex on Taker and he gets a two as he was shoved off. The Undertaker back up drops Farooq with a clothesline. The Undertaker distracted by Bearer’s orders turns around and Farooq hits a lowblow. Farooq covers Taker but he puts his boot on the bottom rope breaking the count. Nation members choke out The Undertaker behind the official.
The Undertaker is on the outside and Farooq is running at him with steel steps in hand, the Deadman was able to get the boot up and Farooq crashed and burned. The Undertaker throws Farooq back inside the ring. The Undertaker drives a knee into the abdomen of Farooq a series of times before connecting with a hard right. The Undertaker lands shots on Farooq off the ropes he bounced back clobbering the Deadman in the back and dropping The Undertaker with a piledriver.
Farooq couldn’t capitalize right away and because of this The Undertaker kicks out. But I imagine he would of kicked out anyway, he’s The Undertaker. Farooq slaps on a sleeper down on the mat while the crowd chant “Rest in Peace.”
Farooq uses his feet on the ropes for additional leverage on the sleeper hold wearing down The Undertaker. Farooq back up catches Taker with a high boot and out of the corner goes for a crossbody but The Undertaker counters with a powerslam. The Undertaker drives Farooq into the buckle but Farooq pushes him against the ropes choking him out. Savio takes more shots at The Undertaker from outside the ring and Bearer gives The Undertaker a look.
Farooq distracted by what the Nation was doing on the outside doesen’t see The Undertaker sit up. The Undertaker from behind hits a Tombstone on Farooq and then covers him putting him away.
In the end at 13:43 Undertaker pinned Faarooq after a Tombstone Piledriver when Faarooq was distracted by Vega and Crush arguing outside the ring.
After the match, Ahmed Johnson made a run-in and delivered a Pearl River Plunge to The Undertaker.
This match was decent at best.
Final Rating for WWF King of the Ring 1997 = 7.5/10
This show featured a couple of classic matches and everything else was average to good.
A very solid event that is worth owning.
The whole card for this PPV was severely changed numerous times leading up to that actual date.
The original lineup was Taker vs. Ahmed, and Austin & Shawn vs. Owen & Bulldog.
Shortly after that, the matches were changed to Taker vs. Faarooq, Austin vs. Pillman in his return match, Bret vs. Shawn in a 10 minute challenge match where if Bret couldn’t beat Shawn in 10 minutes, he would never wrestle in America again, and LOD vs. Owen & Bulldog.
The week before the PPV, it was discovered that Bret would not be fully healed from his knee surgery in time, so he had to be pulled.
On the go-home Raw, the card was reshuffled to its present state, and Austin vs. Pillman was scheduled for Raw the next night.
I wish WWE would re-release all the old PPVs on DVD.