OSR: WWE One Night Only Review
20th September 1997, the United Kingdom saw it’s very first UK exclusive (well Canada aired it live) Pay Per View event in WWE History. Live from the NEC Arena in Birmingham, the One Night Only 1997 event centred around the return of Britian’s top WWE superstar, The British Bulldog. Given the current storyline in America, The Bulldog wasn’t liked by the American audience. One Night Only’s opening video package focused on the Bulldog’s rise into superstardom including his career highlight against Bret Hart at Wembley Stadium. The NEC is packed, even more so than a RAW TV taping for the WWE One Night Only Review…
1. Hunter Hurst Helmsley vs Dude Love
Mick Foley and Helmsley carry on their summer long feud, this time Foley’s alter ego of Dude Love is taking on Hunter. Mid match, Hunter shoves the official in hope to get a DQ. The referee shows his authority shoving Hunter instead. The crowd massively erupt for this simple moment. Chyna helps Hunter pick up the win.
Winner: Hunter Hurst Helmsley
Following asking the British fans who will win out of Bulldog and Michaels, Sunny comes to the ring as the guest ring announcer. Jim Ross uses up all his UK knowledge by comparing the beautiful Sunny as a Spice Girl.
2. Leif Cassidy vs Tiger Ali Singh
What ever happened to Tiger Ali Singh? All I remember of him was a pretty awful Lo-Down gimmick in late 2000 early 2001. Though I do remember him being on Capital Carnage 1998. Tiger proclaims he is a proud Canadian-Asian, saying everyone should stay drug free like him. Thankfully Leif takes advantage of Tiger’s father speaking. The only notable talking points is how JR tries to convince Jerry that Brian Christopher is his song; something that Lawler denies. A fairly simple match sees Tiger pick up the win with an Ali Bomb (a top rope diving bulldog).
Winner: Tiger Ali Singh
3. WWE Tag Team Championship: The Headbangers (Mosh and Thrasher) (c) vs Los Boricuas (Savio Vega and Miguel Perez)
The brand new tag team champions The Headbangers defend their Tag Team titles against Los Boricuas. There were so many factions towards the end of 1997. My only memory of Los Boricuas is due to the theme song being on the WWE Anthology CD! The match was very uninspiring and nothing really notable happening. Headbangers retain the belts.
Winner: The Headbangers, to retain the WWE Tag Team Chamionship
4. Flash Funk vs The Patriot
It is so strange to hear Kurt Angle’s theme song when the Olympic Hero isn’t coming to the ring. I never really understood why Patriot was pushed so hard so quick. He faced Bret Hart for the WWE title at IYH Badd Blood. A real mix match of styles here, The Patriot wins after reversing Flash Moonsault from the top rope.
Winner: The Patriot
5. The Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal) vs The Godwinns (Henry O. and Phineas I.)
Not alot to say about this match if I am honest. It’s the Godwins what is there to expect? LOD beat the Godwins with the Doomsday Device.
Winners: The Legion of Doom
In the ring, Jim Ross introduces The Worlds Dangerous Man Ken Shamrock to the ring. Vince McMahon reminds fans that he was scheduled to face Owen Hart, however injured the night before. Shamrock tells the fans he is gutted he can’t compete tonight and will be back stronger than ever. Rockabilly comes to the ring and claims the “World’s Strongest Man” has a doctors note. Regardless, Shamrock attacks Billy and locking in the Anklelock.
6. Vader vs Owen Hart
A match of nice comprises, Owen utilises his speed, whilst Vader goes for his strong style. Interestingly, Jim Ross makes the comment that none of the UK press want to interview Vader following the Kuwait incident. Vince solemnly reminds fans that there is more to that story. Fans are really getting into this match, Owen using speed to get on the better hand of Vader. Owen hits an insguri, climbs to the top rope, only for Vader to catch Owen into diving Vader bomb for the win.
7. WWE Championship – Bret Hart (c) vs. The Undertaker
We are ready for the Summerslam 1997 rematch, following Shawn Michaels use of the chair, costing Undertaker of the title. Undertaker reminds Bret Hart that Shawn Michaels won’t be able to help Hart tonight. This match has everything to expect, with neither men getting any main advantage. Undertaker escaped from the Sharpshooter and Bret Hart reversed Taker’s Old School. Not being able to get anywhere, Bret has enough, rushing outside and grabs the ringside bell.
He tries to hit Undertaker with the bell, only for a big boot by the Deadman. Taker then grabs the bell, only for the referee to stop him. Bret takes advantage with a low blow. Bret hilariously slips off the apron onto the camera man. Somehow Bret Hart’s head gets stuck in the ring rope. The referee is unable to escape, causing end of the match. Bit of a let down, following a great match. Undertaker, attacks the official and everyone who came down to help Bret.
8. European Championship – The British Bulldog (c) vs. Shawn Michaels
It’s the match everyone in the NEC has been waiting for, the European Champion defending his title against Shawn Michaels. For The Heartbreak kid, he wants to become the first man to win four titles in WWE. How will this pan out? The crowd in Birmingham are electric for the main event.
As British Bulldog dominates, the insurance policy comes down to the ring. Rick Rude, distracts Bulldog enough for Michaels to take momentum back. Rick Rude then attacks Bulldog at ringside. Shortly after, Michaels second insurance policy appears, as HHH and Chyna come down to help Michaels. The momentum has shifted massively, as D-Generation X manages to kill any offence by the Bulldog. Ringside, Bulldog, slips under the barrier. HHH hits the Pedigree on the Bulldog, throwing him back into the ring. Michaels then executes a figure four leglock for nearly 5 minutes. Despite his best efforts of escaping, the referee calls for the bell and a Shawn Michaels victory. The Birmingham crowd are not happy clearing all rubbish into the ring. The Harts come to the rescue but the damage is done.
Winner: Shawn Michaels, to capture the WWE European Championship
One Night Only 1997 Summary
On paper based on build up, it seemed crazy for the British Bulldog to drop the belt in his home country. In more so considering the event was the first WWE PPV event in the United Kingdom. The match itself,is really enjoyable, telling a great story where numbers game really stood up. Bulldog looked valient in defeat, whilst Shawn Michaels plan of becoming the biggest jerk in pro wrestler exploded in this one moment. No doubt a controversial decision to not allow the Harts to come down and help Bulldog until after the match. A true screwjob prior to that screwjob. Certainly a match worth watching.
The show, is a slow burn; a solid start, a mediocre middle and a pretty decent finale. Bret Hart vs Underaker by far the superior match of the show. Whilst the main event is a major talking point. For the United Kingdom, the show signifies a major turn in WWE’s interest. WWE would return a year later on PPV at Capital Carnage 1998, starting two PPV shows a year. Ending in 2003, where a RAW & SmackDown taping replaced the PPV’s.
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