Hosted by Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, & Jerry “The King” Lawler
Can Michaels become the first Grand Slam winner in WWF history? Or will the hometown hero send the boytoy on a grumpy flight home? Will Undertaker regain the WWF title? Do Los Boricuas have what it takes to achieve tag team gold? Let’s find out!
Prior to the first match, Dude Love cuts a silly promo on Helmsley.
Match 1: Dude Love versus Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/ Chyna)
Mark your calendars! Helmsley jerked the curtain tonight.
When Helmsley attempted a leap frog, Dude Love nailed him.
He then gave Helmsley a back elbow, a cross corner whip, and a back drop.
As Helmsley charged, he ate a clothesline.
Dude Love then hooked an inverted Indian death lock and gave Helmsley a cross corner whip. The latter resulted in a Helmsley flip.
With Helmsley tied to the Tree of Woe, Dude Love delivered the ten-punch count-along to Helmsley’s ankle. Creative!
He then hit a diving double axe handle to Helmsley’s head and set up for Sweet Shin Music.
On the other hand, Helmsley sought refuge outside the ring and suckered Dude Love into a chase and clothesline by Chyna.
Helmsley then rammed him face-first into the apron and guillotined him with the top rope.
While the Birmingham faithful chanted “Dude Love,” their hero got nailed by Chyna. In the meantime, Helmsley distracted referee Mike Chioda. SNEAKY!
Helmsley then delivered a face crusher for 2.
After he applied a rope-assisted abdominal stretch, Chioda caught Helmsley’s shenanigans and kicked his arm away.
Helmsley then got into a shoving match with Chioda who read him the riot act for doing so.
When Dude Love gave Helmsley another cross corner whip, he followed with a bulldog for 2.
Helmsley then reversed yet another cross corner whip before executing a swinging neckbreaker.
As Helmsley attempted the Pedigree, Dude Love countered with a catapult to the top turnbuckle.
He then delivered the ten-turnbuckle count-along to Helmsley.
With Helmsley in the corner, Dude Love hit an avalanche.
He then gave Helmsley cross corner whip #4 but ate boot on his follow-through.
After Helmsley mounted the top turnbuckle, Dude Love joined and dragged him down to the mat.
He then hit Sweet Shin Music followed by a double-arm DDT for only 2 thanks to Chyna.
When Dude Love pointed out Chyna’s chicanery, Helmsley delivered a Pedigree.
Summary: Despite all of the matches these two have had together, their evening meal still requires more seasoning.
Earlier today, members of the Birmingham faithful chose their horse in the European title match.
Match 2: Leif Cassidy versus Tiger Ali Singh (w/ Tiger Jeet Singh)
Sunny was the guest ring announcer for this match. I wonder if Cassidy will look up her skirt like Max Mini did.
As Singh made his entrance, he called himself the “Messiah” and wanted to “set the wrestling world on fire.” Um, I thought only the Beast set fire to things not the “Messiah.” Perhaps I’m wrong.
Tiger Jeet Singh then spoke in Arabic, but Cassidy had heard enough jaw-jacking.
When Singh gave him a pair of cross corner whips, he followed with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex.
He then gave Cassidy another cross corner whip, but Cassidy applied the brakes and clotheslined Singh twice.
Upon delivering a spinning heel kick, Cassidy got 2.
He then rammed Singh shoulder-first into the top turnbuckle and hit a leg drop to the arm.
As Singh botched a roll-up, Cassidy came back by placing him atop the top turnbuckle.
Singh then nailed him sending Cassidy down to the mat, mounted the top turnbuckle, and hit a bulldog.
Summary: Showcase match for Singh. Pass the popcorn please.
We then revisit IYH XVII when Austin interfered in the Fatal 4-way match enabling the Headbangers to achieve tag team gold.
Match 3 for the WWF tag team titles: The Headbangers (champions) versus Los Boricuas
Savio Vega and Miguel Perez represented Los Boricuas in this match.
When Los Boricuas attacked at the onset, the Headbangers clotheslined them.
Mosh then reversed a cross corner whip and gave Perez an avalanche.
As Thrasher tagged in, he mounted the second turnbuckle and clotheslined Perez.
Vega came in unannounced and received a double hip toss and double elbow drop.
After Vega tagged in, Thrasher hip-tossed him.
While the Birmingham faithful chanted “Head-Bang-ers,” Perez leap-frogged Thrasher.
Vega then tripped Thrasher coming off the ropes. How dastardly!
When Vega tagged in, he reversed a cross corner whip and gave Thrasher a spinning heel kick.
Perez tagged in and delivered a leg drop to Thrasher.
As he clotheslined Thrasher, Perez baited Mosh to distract referee Mike Chioda.
Los Boricuas then double-teamed Thrasher much to the chagrin of the Birmingham faithful.
After an illegal switch by Los Boricuas, Thrasher hit a cross body block to Vega for 2.
Vega rebounded with a spinning heel kick for 2.
When Perez tagged in, he slammed Thrasher, mounted the second turnbuckle, and delivered a senton splash.
He then gave Thrasher a standing moonsault for another 2.
As Perez dropkicked him, he suplexed Thrasher but couldn’t get 3.
Again, with Mosh’s distraction of Chioda, Los Boricuas double-teamed Thrasher.
A false tag occurred due to Perez’s distraction of Chioda yet Los Boricuas illegally switched a second time.
After Perez put a knee into Thrasher’s midsection, he slammed Thrasher.
Vega tagged in, attempted to splash Thrasher, but ate knees instead.
Shortly after, Thrasher hooked a sunset flip on Perez for 2.
Vega tagged in, gave Thrasher a cross corner whip, but came up empty on his follow-through.
When Thrasher hit a belly-to-back suplex on Vega, he made the hot tag to Mosh.
Speaking of Mosh, he placed Perez atop the top turnbuckle and delivered a super huracanrana for 2.
All four wrestlers were in the ring while Mosh powerslammed Perez for another 2.
As Mosh backdropped Vega on the floor, Perez struggled but powerbombed Thrasher.
Mosh then mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a diving seated senton to Perez.
The Headbangers retained.
Summary: Elongated heat segment seemed to last for an eternity; however, the champs retained while the Birmingham faithful ate them up with a spoon.
In a pre-taped interview, Ross sat down with Smith who mentioned his sister. Smith then dedicated the match to her due to her battles with cancer. Bravo! He then stated he’s lost about twenty-eight pounds (14 stone) to prepare for the lightning-quick Michaels.
Match 4: The Patriot versus Flash Funk
Unlike in America, the Patriot received a negative reaction from the Birmingham faithful. Gee, I wonder why.
As Funk dropkicked him, he ate a clothesline.
Patriot then delivered a diving head butt for 2.
When Patriot gave Funk a cross corner whip, he came up empty on his follow-through.
Funk then flipped to the top turnbuckle, hit a cross body block, and got 2.
Upon clotheslining Patriot, Funk got another 2.
Patriot then no-sold Funk’s chops, reversed a cross corner whip, and delivered a corner clothesline.
As he gave Funk an atomic drop/belly-to-back suplex combo, Patriot got 2.
Funk then hooked a unique surfboard, but Patriot wouldn’t submit.
When he gave Patriot a spinning heel kick, Funk got 2.
Patriot then powerslammed Funk for 2.
After Funk hooked a victory roll, he got 2.
Patriot then clotheslined Funk, mounted the top turnbuckle, and hit the Patriot Missile for another 2.
As Funk gave Patriot a cross corner whip, he followed with an avalanche.
He then slammed Patriot, mounted the top turnbuckle, and delivered a splash for 2.
Upon mounting the same top turnbuckle, Funk attempted a moonsault but ate knees.
Patriot then hit Uncle Slam and pinned Funk.
Summary: Funk tried hard but came up short against the Patriot who sorely needed a win.
Prior to the next match, pre-taped comments from the Road Warriors air.
Match 5: The Godwinns versus the Road Warriors
Animal reversed a cross corner whip but ate a back elbow on his follow-through.
When Animal gave him a flying shoulder block, Henry tagged in Phineas.
Hawk tagged in, gave Phineas a cross corner whip, and followed with a corner clothesline.
As he gave Phineas another cross corner whip, Hawk came up empty on his follow-through.
Henry tagged in, slammed Hawk, but missed an elbow drop.
Upon clotheslining Henry, Hawk delivered a jawbreaker.
Animal tagged in, and the Road Warriors hit a double back elbow to Henry.
When Henry reversed an Irish whip, Phineas put a knee into Animal’s back.
Next, a clothesline by Henry sent both wrestlers over the top rope to the floor.
Phineas tagged in and gave Animal a single-arm DDT.
Shortly after, Phineas slammed Animal, mounted the second turnbuckle, leaped, but ate boot.
Hot tag Hawk.
As he gave Phineas a hangman’s neckbreaker, Hawk got 2.
The Godwinns then double-clotheslined Hawk, and Henry delivered the Slop Drop to him.
Can the Godwinns actually defeat the Road Warriors?
While Henry baited Animal to distract referee Mike Chioda, Phineas gave Hawk the business in the heel corner. Nefarious!
Phineas tagged in and put a knee into Hawk’s midsection.
After Henry tagged in, he hit an elbow drop for another 2.
Shortly after, Henry gave Hawk a cross corner whip, but Hawk exploded with clotheslines to both Godwinns.
Animal tagged in, escaped a double-team, and double-clotheslined the Godwinns.
When Hawk clotheslined Henry over the top rope to the floor, he mounted the top turnbuckle.
The Road Warriors then hit the Doomsday Device.
The Road Warriors won.
Summary: Just the usual fanfare from these two teams.
In the ring, Ross interviews Ken Shamrock who was supposed to face Owen but couldn’t due to a lung injury. He vows to return quickly, but Rockabilly comes to the ring. When he slaps Shamrock, Rockabilly raises the ire of Shamrock and succumbs to an ankle lock. Officials hit the ring to break up the melee.
Backstage, Bret cuts a babyface promo since he’s not in America.
Match 6: Owen Hart versus Vader
Vader gave Owen a running body block that sent him down to the floor.
As Owen attempted a sunset flip, Vader tried to SQUISH him to no avail.
Owen then delivered a huracanrana, but Vader reversed a cross corner whip.
When Owen leaped to the second turnbuckle, he hit a cross body block for 2.
He then attempted a Sharpshooter, but Vader escaped.
After Owen escaped a suplex attempt, he rolled up Vader for another 2.
He then made a second attempt at a Sharpshooter, but Vader made the ropes.
As Owen attempted a crucifix, Vader countered with a Samoan drop.
He then gave Owen an elbow drop, mounted the second turnbuckle, and delivered a splash for 2.
When Vader gave Owen a cross corner whip, it resulted in a sternum-first bump.
Vader then delivered a short-arm clothesline while a portion of the Birmingham faithful chanted “O-wen.”
After Vader gave Owen another cross corner whip, he followed with an avalanche.
He then whipped Owen into the opposite corner but came up empty on his follow-through.
As Vader clotheslined him, he got 2.
With the remainder of Birmingham faithful swinging to Owen’s side, Vader hit a second splash for another 2.
Vader then attempted a powerbomb, but Owen escaped and delivered an enziguri.
When Owen hooked a Sharpshooter, Vader made the ropes again.
Owen then slammed Vader for 2.
After Owen gave him a cross corner whip, Vader exploded with a running body block.
Vader then mounted the second turnbuckle but ate knees during a Vader bomb attempt.
As Owen mounted the top turnbuckle, he hit a missile dropkick.
He then nipped up and delivered a spinning heel kick for another 2.
When he mounted the top turnbuckle, Owen leaped, but Vader caught and powerslammed him.
Summary: Excellent story told as the underdog (Owen) got the Birmingham faithful behind him but ultimately lost on a big gamble. Great match!
We then revisit Summerslam ‘97 when Michaels CREAMED Undertaker with a chair. Following that, a pre-recorded promo by Undertaker airs.
Match 7 for the WWF title: Bret “Hitman” Hart (champion) versus Undertaker
Undertaker gave Bret a cross corner whip followed by a standing choke.
While Undertaker intimidated referee Mike Chioda, Bret removed the padding from the top turnbuckle. Sinister!
Undertaker then gave Bret another cross corner whip but ate boot on his follow-through.
When Bret attempted a hip toss, Undertaker blocked it and clotheslined him for 2.
Undertaker then missed an elbow drop so Bret attempted a Sharpshooter.
As Undertaker escaped, he sat up like a zombie.
Bret then clotheslined him down to the mat again.
After Bret clotheslined him over the top rope to the floor, he mule-kicked him onto the broadcast table.
Bret then leaped from the apron, but Undertaker caught and took him down on the floor.
When he rammed Bret back-first into the ring post, Undertaker brawled with him in the aisle.
He then slammed Bret on the ramp, returned to the ring, but ate a DDT.
Shortly after, Undertaker gave Bret a cross corner whip into the exposed turnbuckle resulting in a sternum-first bump. OUCH!
He then delivered a heart punch followed by a pair of elbow drops for 2.
As Undertaker hooked a crucifix, he got another 2.
He then gave Bret a backbreaker but couldn’t get 3.
Upon giving Undertaker a cross corner whip, Bret ate a back elbow on his follow-through.
Undertaker then gave Bret a cross corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through. In fact, he injured his left knee.
Shortly after, Bret rammed Undertaker’s knee into the ring post.
He then hooked the ring post figure-four leg lock until Chioda made Bret break the hold.
When Bret hooked a standard figure-four leg lock in the middle of the ring, Undertaker ultimately reversed it.
Bret then made the ropes to escape, ducked a big boot, and took down Undertaker.
As he delivered a side-Russian leg sweep, Bret got 2.
He then snap-suplexed Undertaker for another 2.
After a backbreaker, Bret mounted the second turnbuckle, leaped, but ate boot.
Next, a double clothesline put both wrestlers down on the mat.
Undertaker then split Bret’s uprights and got 2.
When Bret blocked a second attempt, he applied a Sharpshooter.
Will Undertaker submit?
No, Undertaker bridged out, but Bret made a second attempt.
Undertaker blocked it with a choke until Bret kicked him down to his knees.
As Undertaker rebounded with a big boot, he gave Bret a leg drop for 2.
Bret then sought refuge outside the ring and grabbed the timekeeper’s bell.
Although Bret tried to WALLOP him with it, Undertaker kicked it out of his hands.
He then took the bell and prepared to DEMOLISH Bret with it, but Chioda stole it away.
After Bret used a chop block to take him down, Undertaker booted him into the nearby cameraman in a unique visual.
He then joined Bret on the floor and rammed him shoulder-first into the steps.
Back in the ring, Undertaker tried to give Bret a cross corner whip into the exposed turnbuckle, but Bret went low to avoid it. Instead, he HIT THE POLE.
Undertaker then mounted the top turnbuckle, but Bret avoided the ropewalk shoulder smash by yanking him down to the mat.
When Bret escaped a tombstone attempt, he rolled up Undertaker for 2.
Bret then attempted a tombstone, but Undertaker reversed it.
As Bret grabbed the ropes to escape, his head got stuck between them. Yikes!
Like a shark, Undertaker seized his prey until Chioda called for the bell.
Bret retained via DQ.
Summary: Textbook definition of how to tell a story in the ring. Since they had history with one another, certain maneuvers were either blocked or countered, and the victory wasn’t clear-cut. Considering what transpires in the next few months, this would have been the best opportunity for Undertaker to regain the title.
After the match, Undertaker chokeslams Chioda while officials and Owen rescue Bret. Undertaker then grabs Gerald Brisco and chokeslams him to a chorus of boos. After ring announcer Carsten Schaefer notifies everyone of the official decision, Undertaker saunters after him to no avail.
Backstage, Michaels vows to become the first Grand Slam winner in WWF history by winning the European title. In the meantime, he refers to himself as “the headliner” and “showstopper.”
Match 8 for the WWF European title: The “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith (champion) versus the “Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels
Accompanying Smith to the ring was his sister Tracey.
As you’d expect, Smith received a great hometown reaction as the Birmingham faithful chanted “Bull-dog.”
Smith applied a bear hug but quickly gave Michaels a cross corner whip.
When he tackled Michaels twice, Smith clotheslined him over the top rope to the floor. In the process, Michaels also tasted the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Chick Norris Pizza at O’Neill’s.
With Michaels on the apron, Smith delivered a reverse suplex returning Michaels to the ring.
He then gorilla-press-dropped Michaels in lieu of tossing him seven rows deep.
After Smith hooked an abdominal stretch, Michaels escaped but received a back drop down to the floor.
He then returned to the apron only for Smith to bring him back into the ring the hard way.
Shortly after, Smith countered a huracanrana attempt with a powerbomb for 2.
Michaels then attempted a crucifix, but Smith countered with a Samoan drop.
As Smith secured a surfboard, referee Earl Hebner counted 2 before Smith released the hold.
He then gave Michaels a delayed vertical suplex for another 2.
Suddenly, “Ravishing” Rick Rude came to ringside.
When Smith rolled up Michaels, Rude got up on the apron and enabled Michaels to reverse the roll-up for 2.
Smith then delivered a pair of clotheslines before Rude tripped him coming off the ropes. Nefarious!
After Michaels hit a double axe handle to send Smith to the floor, Rude made Smith HIT THE POLE.
Michaels then mounted the top turnbuckle and gave Smith a double axe handle on the floor.
As Michaels distracted Hebner again, Rude rammed Smith back-first into the apron.
Michaels then guillotined Smith with the top rope and followed with a back elbow.
When he hooked a sleeper, Michaels took him down to the mat for 2.
Smith then got to his feet and delivered a belly-to-back suplex for 2.
After Michaels gave him a HARD cross corner whip, he hip-tossed Smith.
Michaels then hooked a short-arm scissors, but Smith picked him up and hit an electric chair.
As a mid-ring collision occurred, Helmsley and Chyna came to ringside.
Smith then backdropped and gave Michaels a cross corner whip. The latter resulted in a Michaels flip.
When he clotheslined Michaels, Smith catapulted him into the top turnbuckle for 2.
Michaels then gave Smith another cross corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
After he slammed Smith, Michaels mounted the top turnbuckle and hit the big elbow.
He then remounted the same top turnbuckle and hit another big elbow.
As Michaels set up for Sweet Chin Music, he placed Smith in the corner.
Smith then ducked the attempt and hoisted Michaels upon his shoulder for the running powerslam.
Conversely, Rude grabbed Smith’s boot to prevent it.
While Rude distracted Hebner, Smith clotheslined Michaels over the top rope to the floor.
He then joined Michaels and nailed him as well as Helmsley.
When he attempted the running powerslam on the floor, Smith’s foot slipped off the platform.
Michaels then hit Sweet Chin Music on the floor and re-entered the ring to distract Hebner.
Meanwhile, Rude, Helmsley, and Chyna sandwiched Smith’s previously injured knee between the steel railing and the platform. Now that’s ROTTEN!
Helmsley then gave Smith the Pedigree on the floor, before Rude, along with Chyna, tossed Smith back into the ring.
After Michaels removed Smith’s knee brace, he tossed it to Smith’s wife, Diana, in the front row.
He then hooked a Helmsley/Chyna-assisted figure-four leg lock.
Will Smith submit, and, in effect, lose the European title?
If Rude had anything to do with it, possibly, because he nailed Smith without Hebner’s knowledge.
As the roar for Smith by the Birmingham faithful hit a crescendo, he passed out from the pain.
Hebner then called for the bell.
WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!
Summary: Originally, Smith was booked to win the match to send the Brits home happy; however, Michaels changed it believing that if he stole Smith’s belt in September, a rematch would garner a bigger and more profitable show in 1998. Smith would then regain the title, and the Brits would rejoice. To be honest, I smell shenanigans.
After the match, the Birmingham faithful tosses debris into the ring. Michaels then grabs the microphone and refers to them as “limeys.” As he taunts the Birmingham faithful, Michaels calls out Diana specifically. Helmsley then takes a turn on the microphone while Michaels reapplies the figure-four leg lock to the unconscious Smith. Diana then enters the ring to support her husband, but Chyna pulls her away. Since Chyna didn’t know her own strength, Diana would complain about her manhandling years later.
Nevertheless, Owen and Bret finally come to Smith’s aid while Helmsley and Michaels hightail it backstage. Helmsley then hoists Michaels up in celebration much to the chagrin of the Birmingham faithful.
Conclusion: Thank goodness the show isn’t sold on the first five matches. They’re both forgettable and meaningless. On the flip side, the latter three matches not only provide great wrestling stories but also supply the viewer with extreme value. I truly believe there’s more to the story of Michaels’ victory, and we’ll discover those details as 1997 moves along.