July 1997 saw a very interesting time in the World Wrestling Federation, the seeds of a more edgy product are being sown by the minute. Blurred lines between the good guy vs evil are at unclear and an interesting situation where America is billed to face Canada. You heard that right; Bret Hart turned on the fans as the anti-hero Stone Cold Steve Austin shot to popularity. Whilst this was the case in America, Canada loved Bret Hart. Tonight’s In Your House will see a huge 5 on 5 tag match pitching the Hart Foundation against Stone Cold Steve Austin’s team. This is an event I have actually never seen, so thanks to the WWE network lets sit back and watch In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede.
In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede Review
The show kicks off with a brilliant mono story illustrating how we have come tonight between Bret Hart and Stone Cold. With a small firework display, we are treated to Vince McMahon, JR and Jerry Lawler wearing cowboy hats. As we get ready for our opening match.
Mankind vs Hunter Hurst Helmsley
Following on from their King of the Ring encounter which saw Chyna interfere costing Mankind the match; a rematch between Hunter Hurst Helmsley kicks off Canadian Stampede. Given Mick Foley is in the match, it is incredibly physical. Hunter plays a smart game by focusing on Mankind’s legs. Naturally Chyna gets involved on several occasions, distracting the referee only for Hunter to use the steel chair on Mankind’s knee. The match ends when both men start battling it out in the crowd. Both men are counted out, the brawl continues ending up in the penalty box. This nicely sets up the steel cage match at SummerSlam 1997.
Match rating (including post brawls) 4 out 5
Backstage, Bret and the Hart Foundation are talking about tonight’s match. Only for Stone Cold Steve Austin
Taka Minchunuke vs The Great Sasuke
High flying Japanese action is set to take place next, with both men making their debuts. The match is interrupted as Mankind and HHH continuing their brawl in the crowd. Finally the match up starts. Must admit Jim Ross makes some brilliantly terrible Japanese jokes, saying he barely learnt English in Oklahoma, and that Jack Doan is in for a treat to keep these guys in control.
The match builds up brilliantly quick, the fans are silent at the beginning but explode in excitement to the high risk moments through out the match. Taka delivered a brilliant jumping leap off the ropes. Taka is beautifully quick in the ring, leaping all over the place. The Great Sasuke picks up the win following several close falls.
Winner The Great Sasuke
Match Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Backstage, Mankind and HHH are still fighting in the parking lot, Hunter is busted wide open. How are these guys still going? The fight continues outside the arena. Finally the brawl is under control, however the fire is still burning in this war.
Undertaker (c) vs Vader
Ahmed Johnson was scheduled to face the Undertaker at this event, however suffered a knee injury during an episode of Raw. Instead, Vader is scheduled to face Undertaker for the WWF Championship. These two fought a pretty good match at Royal Rumble 1997. The previous week on Raw, Paul Bearer accused Undertaker of murdering his whole family. Throughout the match, Undertaker kept going after Paul during the match.
Both Undertaker and Vader work best with more physical opponents, these two have great chemistry. Whilst this is no 5 star match, Taker and Vader deliver an exciting match. Vader was able to kick out of the chokeslam. Taker resorted to a second rope ChokeSlam to Vader and a Tombstone to finish the match.
Match rating 3 out of 5
10 Man Tag Match
Stone Cold, Animal, Hawk, Goldust and Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Hart Foundation (Bret Hart, Owen Hart, British Bulldog, Jim Neidhart & Brian Pillman).
Before the main event the Canadian national anthem is performed. The Fink introduces Stu Hart who is sat at ringside, who receives an amazing reaction. Talking of interesting reactions, Stone Cold Steve Austin gets a very mixed reaction of boos and cheers.
Wow! You can’t hear Brian Pillman’s theme song as he comes to the stage. The same for all members of the Hart foundation. Scrap that, Bret Harts introduction has blown the roof off, one of the finest reactions I have ever heard in WWE.
“You have to be hear to feel this” Jim Ross sums up the atmosphere brilliantly as Bret Hart and Stone Cold kick off this intense brawl. Choatic is the best way to sum up the match. Owen Hart is injured part way through the match and taken backstage, the inevitable return to swing the momentum in the favour of the Harts was cleverly done. The action is all over the place, pure gang warfare.
Trying to sum up the action mixed with the excitement. Bret and Austin face off towards the end of the match, Austin shoves it to the fans by placing Hart in his Sharpshooter, which leads to Owens return. Owen and Austin brawl outside, where Stu pours his drink over Austin. This leads to a brawl with the entire Hart family. Austin rolls into the ring to escape walking straight into a roll up by Owen to secure the win.
The Harts celebrate in the ring, as security drag Austin’s team up the ramp. Austin breaks lose and goes after the Hart family. Numbers aren’t to Austins favour who gets handcuffed by security; and being dragged backstage. The Hart family celebrate in the ring, in arguably their last happy moment before all the tragedy and heart break ahead of them.
I loved this match, so much tension and fire involved. The crowd certainly helped up the anti, just like Chicago in Punk vs Cena. Regardless, timing was perfect for the match and a cracking way to end Austin vs Bret Hart.
Match rating 4.5 out 5.
In Your House: Canadian Stampede Review Summary
Bizarre is the best way to sum up the event particularly reverse crowd reactions made the show incredibly fun to watch. Similar to the NYC, Chicago or London crowd. It is refreshing to say there is not a bad match at all on the card. Foley and Helmsley battle across the arena was brilliant. Taka vs Sasuke is a refreshing taste and introduction to the upcoming Light Heavyweight division. Undertaker and Vader pulled off a good match; whilst the main event belonged to the crowd. Their energy and emotion made the main event entertaining to watch. Considering the show is just shy of 100 minutes it is a very easy event to watch, highly recommend. No wonder it was awarded best show of 1997 by Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
Event rating: 4 out of 5