With Owen Hart being one of this blog’s favourite wrestlers and the impending release of a WWE DVD set on him, we’ve turned this week into a sort of ‘Owen Hart week’ on here. On the back of last week’s ‘Top Five Owen Hart Moments’ pieces, we look at one of the best matches he was involved in: the main event of the 16th In Your House event, The Canadian Stampede.
I absolutely love this match and this event – it’s little wonder that it’s considered the finest wrestling event of 1997. This took place at Calgary in front of an incredibly pro-Canada, as you’d expect, crowd firmly behind the Hart Foundation against the American team.
In fact it’s really surprising to hear LOD and Stone Cold getting booed from the crowd. To the delight of the crowd, Bret and Austin start this one and slug it out as the crowd continue to go absolutely wild. Hart takes the early advantage and pounds away in the corner before stomping a mudhole in Austin. Bret charges out of the corner with a clothesline and follows that up with a headbutt. Inverted atomic drop and Austin is downed by a clothesline. A low blow halts Hart’s momentum and Austin stomps away in the corner.
Austin applies the Million Dollar Dream and like their ’96 Survivor Series match, Hart uses the ropes to kick into a pining combination but can only get a two count this time around. Austin misses a charge at the ropes and lands groin first on the second rope and the Anvil is in.
He misses a clothesline and is caught with a Lou Thesz press and Austin also makes a tag brining in ABC’s ‘The World’s Most Dangerous Man’ Ken Shamrock. The Ankle lock is applied early on but, to the delight of the crowd, Pillman breaks it up.
An arm drag takes Neidhart down as Shamrock focusses on the arm. Neidhart powers free but is taken down for a one count. Pillman is tagged in now and the two lock up. An arm drag takes him down but he’s quickly back to his feet and makes it to the ropes. No clean break as Pillman gauges the eys and bites Shamrock in the face as the crowd go nuts for this.
Chops in the corner follow before a backgreaker gets a two count. Pillman mounts Shamrock and slaps him in the face. Another Irish whip into the corner but this time Shamrock charges out with a clothesline and sends Pillman down with a belly-to-belly suplex.
The two make tags and it is Owen and Goldust in now. Owen punches away in the corner but is back body dropped. He still manages to hit an enziguri for a nearfall. Goldust mounts Owen in the corner and lands a series of punches to the face before Hawk makes his first appearance.
A gut wrench powerbomb then a standing leg drop gets a two fall. Hawk goes up top and hits a splash for a two count. Hawk attempts a dropkick but Owen holds onto the ropes before applying a Sharpshooter, which Animal breaks
The Bulldog is in and gets a two count with a hanging suplex. He sets Hawk up for the Running powerslam but Goldust interrupts that count. Animal is tagged in as is Bret Hart – to a thundering ovation. Animal misses a corner charge and is clothesline to the mat.
Goldust tags himself in and we get a test of strength. It’s short-lived as Hart kicks him to the mid-section before hanging him up in the Hart Foundation corner. That brings all ten men into the ring for a brief brawl.
It’s Owen that is in now but he misses a running charge into the corner, driving himself shoulder first into the ringpost, and Animal is tagged in. Hart catches him with a spinning heel kick and a top rope dropkick. Animal reverses a Hurricanrana attempt into a powerbomb and hits a powerslam off the ropes.
LOD drop Owen with the Doomsday Device but Neidhart breaks the pin. Austin drives Owen knee first into the ring post and smashes him with a chair until he’s grabbed by Bruce hart who is at ringside.
Bret sends Owen to the back to receive attention on his knee and Neidhart is tagged in where he locks up with Stone Cold. Another test of strength and again it’s broken early as Stone Cold kicks him to the gut. Austin is backed into The Hart Foundation corner where the remaining four pummel him.
He’s able to fight out and Pillman is in the ring and he takes a Stunner but Pillman rolls to his corner. The Hitman then wraps Austin’s knee around the ringpost before driving a fire extinguisher into it and applying the ringpost figure-four until Hawk breaks it up.
The British Bulldog is in now and Austin is able to tag in Hawk. Hawk slams Davey Boy as officials rush to ringside to check on Stone Cold. Hawk climbs to the top rope but takes too lon and Bulldog drops him groin first onto the top turnbuckle.
Neidhart is in and the two double team Hawk before tagging in Bret. Hawk is able to escape their attention and he too tags a partner in so it’s Animal and The Anvil now. Bret is tagged in and they double team Animal with the Demolition Decapitation.
Animal is able to make a tag and Shamrock is in. He’s indecisive when it comes to making an attack and is knocked down by Pillman with a clothesline. He is able to fight back and sends Hart sternum first into the turnbuckle. Shamrock allows Hart to get up and he regains control before tossing Shamrock to the outside where Pillman sends him hurtling into the announce table. This starts a brawl at ringside with Hawk being sent into the ring steps.
In the ring, Bret hits a Russian legsweep but Goldust interrupts the count. Bulldog pounds away on Shamrock as the crowd go absolutely bonkers. A low blow drops Bulldog and he’s able to tag Goldust in. he fells Bulldog with a clothesline and follows that up with a botched looking Bulldog on the Bulldog.
He hooks in the Curtain Call but it’s again Pillman that interferes. Goldust takes too long climbing up to the top rope and is caught and superplexed from the top. Hawk stops the count as Stone Cold hobbles back to ringside.
Austin and Hart are in now and The Hitman takes a turnbuckle bump sternum first. A suplex gives Austin a nearfall. He attempts a back body drop and is caught with a DDT. Hart follows up with a side backbreaker and a driving elbow from the second rope. He applies a sleeper but Stone Cold breaks it with a jawbreaker.
The Hitman applies a Sharpshooter but Animal makes the save. It’s Austin’s turn to apply the Sharpshooter and the returning Owen Hart makes the save before he’s tagged in. He punches away on Austin but puts his head down and is clothesline to the outside in front of the Hart family.
Bruce Hart throws a drink at Austin and several of the Hart family attack Austin and with Stone Cold distracted, Owen Hart rolls him up for the win.
Afterwards what looks like half of Calgary, but in reality is the Hart family, joins the victors in the ring. As was discussed on the recent Owen Hart DVD set, it was the final team that the entire family was in a WWF ring together. But what a final moment. An outstanding match to conclude a fantastic show.
Your winners: The Hart Foundation. What an incredible main event this was. This programme had been built for months with the crowd – on both sides of the America/Canada borders wildly into this one. What a pay-off this match was and what a crowd reaction it got. I struggle to think of crowd as hot at an event as the one on hand for ‘In Your House 16’.
You can read all previous ‘Matches from History’ pieces here.