The Year is 1997
It’s time to continue tracing the PPV events of the biggest wrestling company in history, World Wide Entertainment. It hurt not writing World Wrestling Entertainment, but I’ll respect Vince McMahon’s wishes in that regard. They’re more than a wrestling company now, but back in 1997, that was the entire basis of the company. The WWE, then the WWF, was being heavily tested by the WCW during this time, so the PPV schedule had to be top notch.
The Royal Rumble was held on January 19th of that year at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The winner of the battle royal, by way of cheating, was The Rattlesnake Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Main Event of the evening was The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels vs. Sycho Sid in a rematch from last year’s Survivor Series. HBK won, recapturing his title, only to voluntarily drop it not long after, due to the loss of his smile.
This month saw the arrival of the Pay-per-view In Your House: Final Four. The undercard had Hunter Hearst Helmsley going against Rocky Maivia, while the Main Event was Bret Hart, The Undertaker, Steve Austin, and Vader in a Four Corners Elimination match for the vacant WWF Championship.
WrestleMania 13 was held on March 23rd, 1997 at the Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois. It played host to one of the event’s greatest matches in Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Bret The Hitman Hart. The Main Event was Undertaker vs. Sycho Sid for Sid’s WWE Championship.
In Your House 14: Revenge of the ‘Taker was held on April 20th, 1997. The double main events were Mankind vs. The Undertaker for Taker’s WWF Championship and Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart to determine the Number One Contender for that Championship.
The fantastically, hilariously named In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell was held on May 11th, 1997 at the Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Virginia. The card featured Triple H, Mankind, and The Rock early in their careers, while the veterans Stone Cold Steve Austin and Undertaker were in the Main Event.
King of the Ring 1997 was held at the Providence Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The double Main Event was Shawn Michaels vs. Stone Cold and oddly enough, Farooq (with The Nation of Domination) vs. The Undertaker for Taker’s WWF Championship. I don’t know about you, but it’s a surprise for me to learn that Farooq was ever in the WWF Championship picture. I love the guy; I just didn’t ever see it. Good for him.
In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede took place on July 6th, 1997 at the Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The Main Event was The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart, Owen Hart, The British Bulldog, Jim Neidhart, and Brian Pillman) vs. Steve Austin, Ken Shamrock, Goldust, and The Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal). The crowd was insanely into the final match, making it more than worth a watch.
The WWE’s summertime extravaganza, SummerSlam took place on August 3rd, 1997 right in my backyard at the Continental Airlines Arena, now the Izod Center, NJ. I’ve written about the Main Event between Bret Hart and Undertaker before, but this is also where Stone Cold had his neck broken by Owen Hart in a horrific injury sustained during a poorly executed pile driver.
There were two Pay-per-views in September of 1997, but only the first was aired in the United States of America. That was Ground Zero: In Your House, which was held on September 7th at the Louisville Gardens in Louisville, Kentucky. The Main Event was Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker in a match that ended in a no contest. Also on the card was Bret Hart vs. The Patriot for Bret’s WWF Championship, a title he had regained at SummerSlam.
The second PPV in September was only aired in the UK. It was called One Night Only, and it took place September 20th of that year in the NEC Arena, Birmingham, England. This is the PPV where Shawn Michaels put on the “Heel Performance of the Year,” a distinction awarded to him by Dave Meltzer.
Badd Blood: In Your House was the Pay-per-view that month…
This was the month that saw The Montreal Screwjob happen on WWF Television. It happened during a PPV no less, and Survivor Series at that, one of their flagships. It’s worth watching based on that monumental event alone.
Closing out the year in 1997 was D-Generation X: In Your House. The card for the evening saw a tournament for the Light Heavyweight Championship, as well The New Age Outlaws vs. The Legion of Doom, Triple H vs. Sgt. Slaughter, and Stone Cold vs. Rocky Maivia for the WWF Intercontinental Championship.