SummerSlam ’97

Steel Cage Match

Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Mankind

This is a result of Hunter winning the King of the Ring over Foley. Mick’s slow burn face turn is complete. The cage will keep the interfering Chyna out, as she’s been involved in almost every Hunter match since becoming his bodyguard. Hunter goes right after the door, which is perfect for his character. Their King of the Ring final was a real snoozer to begin with so they switch it here and have Foley get an opening shine with Hunter trying to run away from him. The cage, as it turns out, doesn’t stop Chyna as she chokes Mick with a belt between the bars and nut-shots him as he tries to climb out. That sets Helmsley up to hit a superplex, which gets the crowd all kinds of freaked out. Hunter is a little timid in his bump but the alternative might be a broken neck. You have to be sure of your big bumps. To continue my Game of Thrones thinking: if Chyna is Brianne then that makes Hunter Renly Baratheon. Think about it. I guess Mankind would be Stannis as he drew power from the Evil Urn. I don’t remember a big Baratheon cage match in Series 2 though, maybe it was a blu-ray extra. This is a more traditional cage match than Bret-Owen from ’94. As if the concept had returned to the “classic” nature of the match. Foley doesn’t slow himself up though; he just wants to use the cage as a weapon to hurt Hunter, after he was wronged by the King of the Ring and his queen. Much like at KotR, the crowd go really quiet with Hunter on offence. It’s a combination of Hunter’s boring moveset and the crowd not feeling pain for Mick. Because Mick can take any pain, so there’s no sympathy. Both guys take some sickening bumps into the steel, my favourite is Mick taking a backdrop over the ropes into the cage. The way he drops into the ropes looks incredibly painful. He pops right back up and Hunter must be thinking there’s nothing he can do to keep Mick down. Hunter gets tied up in the ropes, which may have been accidental and Chyna has to prevent Mick escaping; CAGE DOOR IN THE FACE. OOOWWWWW. She lays out the ref for good measure and throws a chair in. Chyna gets into position for a bump off the cage as Mick slingshots Hunter into her. You can see she’s very deliberate about being in position so she doesn’t blow the spot, but it makes it a bit obvious. The fans buy into it anyway and it’s the biggest pop of the match. As Mankind looks to climb out, the crowd chant “Superfly”. Chyna comes in, blowing the finish, and Hunter tells her to get out. Mick climbs out but wait… he takes his mask off and climbs back up to the top. If he aimed to create the same goosebumps he got from Jimmy Snuka, then it’s mission accomplished. ELBOW OFF THE CAGE! Massive pop. He climbs out again and now Chyna actually hits her cue to jump in and drag Hunter out. Foley still wins by climbing quicker than Chyna can drag. The match has a couple of hugely memorable spots, especially the enduring babyface elbow drop. Chyna screwed up a few spots, but she was also involved in some of the better moments.

Final Rating: ***¼

 

Post Match: Mankind’s music cuts off and is replaced by Dude Love’s music. He tries to dance his way to the back but seems to have a badly injured leg. This was the start of the crowd feeling Mick was their guy. He was one of them. It was a road that would take him to the WWF title.

 

Toad welcomes Christie Todd Whitman, and celebrates her returning WWF PPV to New Jersey by changing tax law. She has Linda McMahon’s generic WWF music, which is in tune with her lack of charisma. Gorilla Monsoon and the Headbangers are with her. Obviously. Gorilla presents her with an honorary title belt, which is met with mixed reactions. Vince claims she might be president one day. Some serious political stuff going on there in an attempt to sway the WWF fans in a certain political direction. I’ll give you precisely one guess as to the political party Christie Todd Whitman belongs to. If you guessed Republican, you guessed correctly. We look into the crowd where Tiger Jeet Singh is sitting with his son and future, terrible, WWF superstar Tiger Ali Singh. Both guys are the absolute pits in the ring. Tiger Jeet Singh might be the worst wrestler to be considered a “legend” ever.

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