WWF Summerslam ‘97: Hart & Soul

Live from East Rutherford, NJ

Airdate: August 3, 1997

Attendance: 20, 213 (17,361 paid)

Hosted by Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, & Jerry “The King” Lawler

Will Bret win the WWF title or be banished from wrestling in America? Can Austin defeat Owen for the IC title or will he pucker up? Who will win the steel cage match? Let's find out!

As the show begins, an instrumental version of the US national anthem plays.

Prior to the opening match, we revisit IYH XVI when Mankind and Helmsley brawled outside the Saddledome. We then revisit RAW is WAR from last Monday when Mankind impersonated a cameraman to attack Helmsley.

Match 1 (steel cage): Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/ Chyna) versus Mankind


Rating: ***1/2

Summary: Exciting opener where Mankind bumped like crazy to enhance the match and elevate Helmsley.

After the match, Mankind lays on the floor until Dude Love's music hits. His foot then shakes to the beat of the music as he rises to his feet. As he celebrates, Dude Love dances in the aisle.

Todd Pettengill then introduces New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman accompanied by the Headbangers and WWF President Gorilla Monsoon. Interestingly, the Meadowlands faithful boos her out of Continental Airlines Arena. Monsoon then presents her with an honorary WWF championship belt.

Both Tiger Jeet Singh and Tiger Ali Singh were shown seated among the Meadowlands faithful.

We then see a "beach party" held earlier today at the Meadowlands.

Next, we revisit RAW is WAR from last Monday when PIllman attacked Goldust following his encounter with Rockabilly.

Prior to the next match, we get a pre-recorded promo of PIllman on Goldust and Marlena.

Match 2: Goldust (w/ Marlena) versus the “Loose Cannon” Brian Pillman


Rating: **1/2

Summary: Botched ending cost the match, but it was still entertaining. Unfortunately, Pillman was nowhere near the same wrestler he was before the accident last year.

After the match, Marlena places the mannequin in the ring, and PIllman destroys it.

Prior to the next match, we revisit Shotgun Saturday Night when the Road Warriors inadvertently broke Henry's neck. We then see footage of Hawk getting nailed with a slop bucket and Slop-Dropped on the steel ramp.

The Road Warriors cut a promo backstage.

Match 3: The Godwinns versus the Road Warriors


Rating: **

Summary: The Godwinns received their comeuppance as the Road Warriors destroyed them. On the other hand, I get the feeling that this feud isn't over.

Next, the Million Dollar Challenge is hosted by Todd Pettengill. Both Ryan Chadick and Patrick Stevenson won their trips to Summerslam and are in attendance. Ryan chooses key #52 while Patrick picks #13. Todd then calls another potential winner, but nobody's home. When he dials a different number, Sunny teases him, and Todd gets an invalid number recording. Upon attempt #3, Sunny's cleavage slows Todd down, and Michael Simmons states his cable company doesn't carry the PPV.

Regardless, Michael chooses #33, but his key doesn't turn the lock. Sable then helps Todd and reaches Rebecca Cohen who selects #14. Unfortunately, her key doesn't turn either. Afterward, Ryan tries his key, but it doesn't work. At least, he receives a hug from Sable. Lastly, Patrick makes his attempt but comes up empty. After all is said and done, key #3 would have opened it, so NOBODY won the $1 million.

We then revisit last week's RAW is WAR when Smith cheated during an arm-wrestling contest, DEMOLISHED Shamrock with a chair, and humiliated him with dog food.

Prior to the next match, Vince shills One Night Only LIVE on PPV on 9/20 only in the United Kingdom. Get your tickets or jump on the British isle to order NOW! According to Ross, Michaels will face Smith on the card. Hmmm...I wonder if anything historical happens.

Match 4 for the WWF European title: The “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith (champion) versus Ken Shamrock


Rating: ½*

Summary: I fear for what may happen to Smith here.

After the match, Shamrock shoves Doan down and applies a choke hold to Smith. Officials try to pry Shamrock from Smith, but he won't release. After a few minutes, Pat Patterson attempts to calm Shamrock down but receives a belly-to-belly suplex instead. Gerald Brisco tries but suffers the same fate. Next, Doan gets suplexed. Chioda then falls into Shamrock's trap. He then yells "Get out my way" while the Meadowlands faithful eat it up with a spoon. Great character development!

Backstage, Pettengill interviews Michaels who deems that there is no problem between Bret and himself. Also, he swears he'll be impartial in the main event.

Prior to the next match, we review the origin of the Gang Wars. It's about as interesting as it sounds.

Kp>Match 5 (eight-man): Disciples of Apocalypse versus Los Boricuas


Rating: *

Summary: With the exception of a few "Ahmed sucks" chants, this match had ZERO heat as the Meadowlands faithful couldn't care less. Neither do I actually.

After the match, Los Boricuas fight with the NoD, and a 12-man brawl erupts. Faarooq then makes Jesus taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Lucy Juicy at Cheeseburger in Paradise. While Los Boricuas return backstage, Faarooq also gives Skull a taste of it. Waiter, could you give the hurting bald biker some Paradise sliders please? Crush then scatters everyone by riding his Harley in their direction.

Video airs featuring Owen repeatedly stating that he defeated Austin at IYH XVI.

Backstage, Michael Cole interviews Austin but gets dismissed.

Match 6 for the WWF Intercontinental title: Owen Hart (champion) versus WWF tag team champion Stone Cold Steve Austin


Rating: ****

Summary: Well, this match earned its infamy due to Austin's serious neck injury. Will this derail his big push? With the exception of the injury, this match was rather great.

After the match, Austin writhes in pain on the mat while officials lift him to his feet. He then raises the belt overhead in celebration, but he doesn't have all of his wits about him understandably. In order to get Austin backstage quickly, referees Hebner and White assist him.

Video airs featuring Bret's promise as well as Michaels'. Next, we see the fight between Hart and Vince and Patriot's upset of Hart last Monday thanks to Michaels.

Match 7 for the WWF title: Undertaker (champion) versus Bret “Hitman” Hart


Rating: ***1/2

Summary: For the fifth time, Bret became WWF champion tying him with Hulk Hogan.

After the match, Michaels is beside himself for not only having to count the pinfall but also potentially pissing off Undertaker. While the Meadowlands faithful toss garbage in the ring, Undertaker saunters after Michaels. Bret then grabs the WWF title and holds it overhead. The Hart Foundation then joins Bret in celebration.

Conclusion: Between the steel cage match, the infamous Owen-Austin match, and the WWF title match, this show is a no-brainer to recommend. In addition, this show took place on my birthday, so it's a show that I'll never forget.

Buyrate: 0.80

Stay tuned for WCW Monday Nitro 8-4-97!

Comments? Suggestions? Send them to me at rsg@rockstargary.com and follow me on Twitter (@rockstargary202).

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