Plummeting into the vast archive of WWE videos, in search of some classic WWE action for the Video Vault, I found this piece of WWE gold, In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede. This is the video that many people consider the greatest WWE PPV of all time, but why? Surely a main event which features Goldust can?t be that good? Can it?
Length: (VHS) 118mins
Here is the card:
- The New Blackjacks vs. The Godwinns
- Mankind vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley/with Chyna
- TAKA Michinoku vs. The Great Sasuke
- WWE Championship Match:Undertaker vs. Vader/with Paul Bearer
- 10 Man Tag Team Match:Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Jim Neidhart, British Bulldog & Brian Pillman vs.Stone Cold Steve Austin, Goldust, Legion of Doom & Ken Shamrock.
In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede was not your usual WWE PPV, no, this was special, it was held across the border over in Canada, surprisingly enough. For one night, the land of the red and white maple leaf would turn pink and black for the home coming of Bret Hart and his Hart Foundation, as they would do battle against Stone Cold Steve Austin, and his team of Americans.
The main event was a 10 man tag team match, as Stone Cold Steve Austin, Ken Shamrock, Goldust and LOD faced off with Bret Hart, Owen Hart, British Bulldog, Jim Niedhart and Brian Pillman, in what would be one of the most emotional matches the WWE had ever seen. This match was made just a few months after Bret Hart had turned heel, and Steve Austin had became the Number 1 face in North America, the crowds in North America were all going Austin crazy as he took the WWE by storm attacking the “Anti-American” Bret Hart and his Hart Foundation. However the tides would be somewhat changed as Bret Hart came home to Calgary, Alberta, Canada for this wrestling classic.
For weeks Paul Bearer had been promising that the Undertaker?s younger brother was alive, and he did not die in a house fire that Undertaker caused. With that in his mind, Undertaker was forced to defend his WWE Championship against the monster known as Vader, but surely if the Undertaker had been playing with matches, Vader was the last thing Taker was bothered about, I mean, the man should have been arrested for Arson, come to think of it, why was he never “nailed” for that?
Highs & Lows
The crappiest part of the video is not actually really a part of the PPV; The New Blackjacks vs. The Godwinns was actually part of the pre-PPV show called the “Free For All”. Anyway, the match was crap. Both teams really suck, it doesn?t matter who they face because the matches are terrible. A few clotheslines later the match is over and we are spared. The thing is for those people who where watching this, thinking about getting the actual PPV, some might have been put off by this match, and subsequently not bought the PPV thinking it would echo the quality of the first match, well to you I say, you missed out on something special, buy the video now!
The PPV kicks off with a Triple H vs. Mankind, in a rematch from the outing that both men had the previous month at King of the Ring ?97. This match started extremely good, and the quality of the match stayed throughout. The crowd were extremely pumped for this match, and both men didn?t let them down as they used the crowds heat to make the match better. Triple H, in his pre-DX era put a whole lot of effort into this match being the heel. He went to the outside of the ring and himself and Chyna beat down a defenceless Mick Foley. The action returned to the ring, but Mankind came back and hit the Mandible claw on Triple H, Chyna interfered and broke the hold. The action went into the crowd and as both men got counted out. All 3 men brawled in the crowd, with Chyna and Triple attacking Mankind. A crowd of officials came out and broke the fight up. This was a first class effort by Mankind and Triple H, this was an outstanding opening match, and this match alone would have made the PPV worth buying.
Next up, footage of the Hart Foundation and the celebrations surrounding their homecoming, with Bret Hart attending autograph sessions and other festivities.
We then go to an interview with Bret Hart and the Hart Foundation, which is interrupted by Steve Austin, but WWE officials hold Austin back.
TAKA Michinoku vs. The Great Sasuke is up next, both men make their way to the ring for this Light Heavyweight Wrestling classic. But just before the match started our attention was moved to the outside area where Mankind and Triple H continued to battle each other, to the delight of the crowd. Mankind threw Triple H into some metal railings and this time Mankind got the advantage, WWE officials came out and separated the two once again, but the brawl continued to the backstage area. The light heavyweight match started and it was an absolute classic for the WWE. I can say that this was a feast of athleticism, I have never seen any Japanese wrestling, but if this is anything to go by, Japanese Wrestling is something everyone should watch. This match would be one of Taka?s highlights in the WWE, it was when he was put in good matches and he was not stuck on heat or some other lower card show. As I said previously, I have never seen any Japanese wrestling, but this match was great, I?m not sure how it rates in Japanese standards, but within the WWE it will always remain a classic. Again the crowd were deeply into this match, as I was. I sat in awe as I watched, it was amazing, the thing that helped the match as well is that McMahon, JR and Jerry Lawler never actually talked about any other matches, they just focused on this match which really helped. They were some amazing moves from both men. I suppose this was McMahon?s attempt to challenge the WCW Cruiserweight division, if this match was anything to go by, I?m deeply surprised why it never. This match was quality through and through; I will give it full marks.
Again we see Triple H and Mankind in the backstage area fighting each other, Mankind rams Trip?s head into a bus, Triple H then get Mankind, throws him into some barrels and the goes to Pedigree him on some staging equipment, but Foley reverses the move and backdrops him. The brawl continues until more officials break the two men up.
Next up, some footage of Ahmed Johnston injuring himself two weeks previously on Raw is shown, now there?s a surprise. Ahmed Johnston was supposed to be Taker?s opponent, but he injured himself and missed out on the big push he was supposed to get, Thank God!
An interview with Vader and Paul Bearer occurs now, Paul Bearer mouths off about something, and footage of when Paul Bearer hit Undertaker with the urn at the Royal Rumble 97 is shown.
Now the WWE Championship match, Vader makes his way to the ring, then Undertaker who gets a massive response from the crowd, classic Undertaker, probably one of his better matches as well. The match starts off pretty slow as you would expect. Undertaker took the first part of the match with a quick cover, Vader kicked out quickly, Undertaker then splashed Vader in the corner and went for another cover, but Vader kicked out. Vader then got the advantage, but it was short lived as Taker went for another pin. Vader got Taker in a sleeper, but as you can expect, Taker recovered. Vader went to the outside and Taker followed, Vader threw Undertaker into the steel steps, as Paul Bearer went over and taunted the Deadman. Undertaker recovered, gained the advantage and went for another pin, but “Baby Bull” kicked out. Vader got the advantage and slowed the pace down in the ring. Vader started to look like the monster that he should have been in the WWE, however that lasted for about 30 seconds, as Undertaker came back with the crowd behind him, Undertaker went for a choke slam, but Vader hit s low-blow on Undertaker. Vader then went for the “Vader Bomb”, Undertaker hit a low blow on Vader, and Taker then scored a pretty good choke slam from the second rope, and then gives Vader the Tombstone to get the victory.
This match was pretty good, it was not the best WWE Championship match of all time, but it was pretty good. To say it was the worst match of the card might seem a bad thing, but considering every match on the card was over average, this match being the worst doesn?t mean it?s a bad match at all. Undertaker was made to look like the super human; Vader was just a mere punch bag for the Undertaker to work on. Overall could have been a lot worse, and Undertaker did work pretty well, the crowd were once again in this match big time.
Now for the big one, The Hart Foundation vs. Austin, Goldust, Shamrock and LOD in an amazing 10-man tag team match. This match simply defies all “heel” & “face” logic. As the face Stone Cold was booed like hell, as well as the rest of his team, Bret Hart however was given a huge ovation, he and the rest of the Foundation were all given a heroes welcome. There was Maple Leaf flags all over the joint, and Bret Hart posters everywhere. The match started with the most hated man in the arena, Stone Cold, and the most loved man in the arena Bret Hart. The action was fast paced to start off with, Jim Niedhart was tagged in, then Austin tagged Shamrock in, Niedhart taunted Shamrock for a bit, then Shamrock locked Niedhart in the ankle lock, but the “Loose Cannon” interfered. Pillman was tagged in and him and Shamrock squared off. The match involved many tags from both sides with really hot action. The match involved brawling from the likes of Austin and Bulldog, technical wrestling from the likes of Goldust, Owen Hart, Ken Shamrock and Bret Hart, and the match involved power moves from the likes of Hawk, Animal and Bulldog.
The action was really hot, and all 10 men fed on the crowds heat. Austin played to the crowds, as they were “Austin Sucks” chants all over the arena. Goldust was stuck in the Hart?s corner, as all five men teamed up on him. Animal and Owen Hart were in the ring as Owen hit Hawk with a spinning heel kick. All hell broke lose as all 10 men went into the ring, Austin got Owen outside the ring and nailed his ring with a steel chair, Bret ordered Owen to be taken to the back, the “Austin sucks” chants were really loud. Austin nailed Pillman with the stunner; then Bret Hart took Austin out side and smacked a fire extinguisher over Austin knee. Austin was taken to the back and the sides were even. The match continued with the 8 men, and then Austin returned back down to the ring, Austin brawled with Bret, Austin got him into the Sharpshooter, until Owen came down to the ring and nailed Austin. Austin then got Owen outside, where Bruce Hart nailed Austin with a drink, Austin turned around and attacked Stu and Bruce, which lead to all the Hart family jumping the guard rail and attacking Austin, they then threw Austin into the ring where Owen pinned him. The ring became a flood of officials and security and the two sides were being broke apart, Austin?s team was thrown out of the ring and they went backstage. The Hart Foundation celebrated in the ring with literally the whole family, the ring became swamped with Hart family members, loads of them. But in true Austin style, he returned, nailed Niedhart with a chair, only to be met with by whole Hart family. Austin then was handcuffed; he flipped off the crowd, and was taken to the backstage area as the Hart family celebrated a truly huge victory. This match was amazingly entertaining; every single aspect of the match was entertaining. If there was ever a match that I will remember, it will be this match, it is simply as must see match. Great effort by all men, on a side note, the sad thing now is, out of all five men of the Hart Foundation team, only 2 are alive today, and only 1 is currently able to wrestle. Sadly Owen, Brian, and Davey Boy Smith have all died, and Bret has suffered many injuries, which have forced him to retire, this PPV does symbolise some of the greatest all of these men performed in the “Squared Circle”
This PPV is quite simply the best ever. Whether it be WWE, or any other wrestling federation, this PPV was great. Each match on the main card was highly entertaining, whether it be Triple H vs. Mankind, TAKA vs. Great Sasuke, Undertaker vs. Vader or the main event, the PPV was quite simply magic. All the men give it their best efforts, I?d not just recommend this PPV to people who have not seen it, I would highly recommend it to anyone who is a WWE fan, simply because it is a piece of gold. You should keep this PPV for the bad times in wrestling, when Hogan gets his next title run, or when X-Pac is in another main event, get this video out and watch it, all your faith will be restored in the WWE and Vinnie Mac.