Written by: Bob Colling
World Wrestling Federation presents One Night Only
From: Birmingham, England
A video promoting Davey Boy Smith’s life is aired. Tonight, he defends the WWF European Championship against Shawn Michaels.
Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are on commentary.
Backstage, Dude Love shares some thoughts regarding the upcoming match. Dude suggests that after the match he and Chyna have some fun. It was a really stupid promo.
Opening Contest: Hunter Hearst Helmsley defeated Dude Love: Love shoulder blocks and slaps HHH after avoiding a leap frog. Love elbows HHH to a corner and backdrops HHH as he pops out of the corner. Love slams HHH down to the mat after holding his legs and dances for the crowd. HHH cuts Love short with an eye poke but Love strikes back with several right hands. Love catches a charging HHH with a clothesline after dancing some more. Love knocks HHH off the apron with a right hand which sense HHH crashing to the floor. Love brings HHH down to the mat with a wristlock. Love continues to work on the arm for a few moments. HHH breaks free following several right hands but Love comes back with a drop toe hold. Love has a modified version of an Indian death lock on HHH but doesn’t get a submission win. Love puts HHH in the tree of woe and begins to punch HHH’s right knee a few times. Love follows up with a forearm drop to HHH’s face. Love misses the sweet shin music as HHH bails to the floor. Love chases after HHH on the floor until Chyna nails him with a clothesline! Back in the ring, HHH drops Love throat first across the top rope. Chyna gets another cheap shot in as the referee is distracted and HHH gets a two count on a cover attempt. Love begins to fight back with several shots but HHH connects with a face buster for a near fall. HHH catches Love with an abdominal stretch in the middle of the ring. The referee breaks the hold due to HHH using the ropes and HHH shoves the referee who shoves him back! Love drives HHH down with a bulldog but only gets a two count. HHH fights back with a swinging neck breaker. Love counters the pedigree by catapulting HHH into the corner face first! Love hammers away on HHH and rams him head first into the turnbuckle pads. Love splashes HHH in the corner but on a second attempt runs into a big boot. HHH heads up top but Love arm drags HHH off the top to the mat! Love looks for the sweet shin music which he hits and plants HHH with a double arm DDT but only gets a two count as Chyna puts HHH’s leg on the bottom rope. Love yells at Chyna and turns around into the pedigree which is good enough for the win. (**1/4. That was a lot better than I was expecting considering Dude Love is worst of the three characters that Foley plays. The action was rather slow but I thought it was done well.)
We see fans opinions on the Michaels/Smith match with their pretty much being a split between both men.
Before the next match, Tiger Ali Singh cuts a really average babyface promo which his translator repeats for foreigners.
Second Contest: Tiger Ali Singh defeated Leif Cassidy: Singh had the early advantage to no heat as the babyface. Once Cassidy gets a clothesline in he gets a babyface reaction proving that the fans do not like Singh. Singh is able to put Cassidy away following a top rope bulldog, but the fans simply don’t care for him as a babyface.
Footage from Ground Zero where the Headbangers defeated Owen Hart and British Bulldog to win the WWF World Tag Team Championships after Austin hit Owen Hart with the Stunner.
Third Contest: WWF World Tag Team Champions the Headbangers defeated Savio Vega/Miguel Perez to retain the titles: Perez and Vega attack the champs before the bell but the champs quickly clothesline them to the floor. The Headbangers are really over with the England fans. Perez and Mosh kicked off the bout with Mosh gaining control following a back splash in the corner and arm drags. Thrasher tags in and drops Perez with a middle rope clothesline. Vega tried to get involved but is hip tossed by the champs. Vega legally tags in after Perez poked Thrasher in the eyes but isn’t able to keep the advantage. Perez tags back in and Vega cheap shots Thrasher as he runs the ropes. Vega legally tags in and trades blows with Thrasher until he connects with a spinning heel kick in the corner sending Thrasher to the floor. They quickly return to the ring where Perez tags in and has a nerve hold on Thrasher. The challengers keep control of Thrasher for several moments with Vega nearly winning the match following a standing spin kick. Perez hit a springboard twisting splash and a standing moonsault but that isn’t good enough for the win. Mosh gets the tag but the referee didn’t see the tag and that allows the challengers to beat down Thrasher behind the referees back. Thrasher blocks a splash by Vega when he gets his knees up and crawls over to the corner. Vega prevented the tag by hitting Mosh and keeps Thrasher in the ring. Thrasher drives Vega to the mat with a back suplex and the fans rally behind him to tag in Mosh and he finally does! Mosh cleans house with right hands and a standing dropkick on Vega. Mosh sends Vega over the top with a clothesline and hits a top rope hurricanrana on Perez but doesn’t get the win. Mosh gets a two count on Perez following a power slam as Vega broke up the count. Perez powerbombs Thrasher but Mosh leaps off the top with a splash and pins Perez! (**1/2. It was a decent tag bout, but the beat down by Vega and Perez went on for far too long. They did nearly every heel trick imaginable in the match and I didn’t think it was necessary. I thought the closing sequence was entertaining but if they cut the heel domination down by two minutes this match would have gotten another half star.)
Jim Ross interviewed WWF European Champion British Bulldog who said that this is the biggest event that he ever competed in and he is ready to go. Sunny interviewed Shawn Michaels, which is a rather sexual flirtatious interview. Michaels is looking to become the first grand slam winner in the WWF.
Fourth Contest: The Patriot defeated Flash Funk: Since both men are babyfaces they shake hands, though Patriot was greeted with a mixed reaction. It’s actually funny that Patriot is getting booed. Both men start off getting a few decent shots in with Funk using his speed to arm drag Patriot but is met with a clothesline from Patriot who gains the clear upper hand as a result. Funk displays some aerial moves hitting a top rope cross body after avoiding a splash in the corner which is good for a two count. These two do not have good chemistry whatsoever. Late in the bout, Funk avoided the full nelson and slammed Patriot. He went up top and connected with a twisting body splash but that wasn’t good enough for the win. Funk attempts a moonsault off the top but Patriot gets his knees up. Patriot hits the full nelson slam and wins the match. (*1/4. The two former partners of Marcus Bagwell in WCW didn’t click well here. Two totally different styles make for an awkward match most time and this was an example of such.)
Pre-tape comments from the Legion of Doom where they say that the Godwinns are going down and they don’t forget are shown. Hawk rambled about being glad that cows don’t fly and something else I didn’t really get.
Fifth Contest: the Legion of Doom defeated the Godwinns: Animal and Henry kicked off the grudge match. Henry got the early advantage with several strikes but Animal quickly came back with a leaping shoulder block sending Henry to the floor. Hawk and Phineas tagged into the bout with Hawk just chopping and punching Phineas several times. Hawk misses a spear in the corner and hits the ring post which allows Phineas to work on Hawk. Henry tags in but didn’t keep control of Hawk. Hawk clotheslines Henry and along with Animal back elbows Henry. Phineas cheap shots Animal from the apron and Henry clotheslines Animal over the top to the floor. The Godwinns keep control of Animal deciding to work on his left arm. Phineas misses a middle splash due to Animal getting his boot up and Hawk gets the hot tag cleaning house with clotheslines and scoop slams. Hawk drives Henry down to the mat with a neck breaker but isn’t able to get the three count. The Godwinns send Animal to the floor and double team Hawk with a clothesline. Henry hits the Slop Drop on Hawk but takes too much time to make the cover allowing Hawk to kick out at two! Phineas chokes Hawk with a flag behind the referees back before legally tagging into the match. Hawk is able to knock both challengers off their feet with clotheslines. Animal gets the hot tag and cleans house with a standing dropkick and power slam. Animal clotheslines both Godwinns and Haw sends Henry to the floor with a clothesline. Phineas is set up and LOD hit the Doomsday Device for the win! (**1/2. Not a horrible tag match. It was a evenly contested and a decent little match. It may have been slightly better than the tag title match but there wasn’t much heat for it.)
Jim Ross introduces Ken Shamrock for an interview in the ring. Shamrock was supposed to compete against Owen Hart tonight but was injured against Faarooq on RAW following a spine buster. Shamrock says if it was up to him he would be wrestling but he can’t due to a lung injury. Shamrock talks about being disappointed in not being able to compete. Rockabilly makes his way out and says that because Shamrock has a stomach ache he can’t wrestle tonight. Rockabilly doesn’t find Shamrock to be tough and slaps him! Shamrock goes nuts with right hands and drop toe holds Rockabilly to lock in the ankle lock! Rockabilly quickly gives up as officials run down to escort Shamrock from the ring.
Backstage, WWF World Champion Bret Hart is interviewed by Vince McMahon, who remains seated at ringside. Hart wants to believe deep down inside saying that he still the champion he was years ago. He is going to do the best he can do tonight and prove that he is the best. He will not overlook the Undertaker tonight. McMahon isn’t sure the fans like Bret Hart, but Hart gets a decent face reaction. Hart says it does matter if the England fans like him or not.
Sixth Contest: Vader defeated Owen Hart: Vader uses his size to shove Hart to the mat and bumps Hart with his chest to knock him to the floor. Hart avoids a sit down splash after a sunset flip and takes Vader over with a hurricanrana! Hart gets a two count following a spring board cross body off the middle rope. Hart attempts the Sharpshooter but Vader kicks him away. Vader counters a suplex attempt but Hart nearly wins with a roll up. Hart goes for another Sharpshooter but Vader is hanging onto the bottom rope to prevent it and kicks him away. Vader blocks a crucifix attempt with a Samoan Drop! Vader leaps off the middle rope to big splash Hart but only gets a near fall on the cover! Vader sends Hart hard chest first into the corner. Hart tries to comeback with a scoop slam but Vader easily clubs Hart over the back to prevent it. Vader gets a two count following a short arm clothesline. Vader stops Hart’s comeback with a knee lift and follows up with a splash in the corner. Hart avoids a splash and goes for another slam but it that didn’t happen, again. A few moments later Hart counters a power bomb by hitting Vader with his leg and locks in the Sharpshooter but Vader is able to reach the bottom rope! Hart breaks the hold and slams Vader for a two count! Vader stops a charging Hart with a body splash and goes for the Vader Bomb but Hart gets his knees up! Hart hits a missile dropkick and gets a second wind! Hart nails Vader with a spinning heel kick but isn’t able to get the win. Hart heads to the top rope but Vader catches him in midair with a slam and pins Hart! (***1/2. That was a very enjoyable bout. Vader looked like a legit big man and Hart played the underdog role perfectly. A very good match, which was something I wasn’t expecting. This proves that Vader still had a lot to offer in late 1997 despite not getting the proper push. Well done match by both men.)
Footage from SummerSlam is aired where Michaels accidentally hit Undertaker with a chair allowing Bret Hart to regain the WWF World Championship.
Backstage, the Undertaker says that Bret Hart has only one night to prove that he is worthy of being the WWF World Champion. Taker will reveal Bret Hart to being the demon that he truly is.
Seventh Contest: WWF World Champion Bret Hart defeated the Undertaker by disqualification to retain the title: They both get in several right hands with Taker getting the better of the champ. Taker continues to work on Hart with knee lifts in the corner and chokes Hart briefly. Hart exposes the top turnbuckle behind Taker and the referees back. Hart big boots Taker and hammers away on Taker in the corner. Taker stops Hart with a short arm clothesline for a two count. Hart tried for the Sharpshooter but is kicked away. Hart manages to clothesline Taker as he tries to sit up! Hart clotheslines Taker to the floor and baseball slides Taker into the announcers table. Taker catches Hart after he leaps off the apron and slams Hart down to the floor. Taker rams Hart back first into the ring post and stalks Hart up the aisle way. They trade a few blows until Hart gets the upper hand only to be stopped with a right hand. Taker scoop slams Hart on the ramp way! They return to the ring where Taker continues to work on Hart with head butts. Hart blocks a backdrop attempt by planting Taker with a DDT! Hart beats down Taker with a leg drop and several forearm drops. Taker sits up and Hart has a concerned reaction. Hart works on Taker’s ribs with several stomps and chokes the challenger. Taker sends Hart chest first into the exposed turnbuckle! Taker delivers a heart punch to the injured chest of Hart. Taker gets a near fall following a few elbow drops. Hart manages to pop his shoulder up at two when Taker rolls him up. Taker continues to control Hart with a back breaker. Hart is able to battle back getting a few shots in on Taker’s knee but is stopped with a back elbow strike. Taker misses running knee strike in the corner and that allows Hart to work on the knee for several minutes. Hart wraps Taker’s left knee around the ring post and puts the figure four leg lock around the ring post on! Hart returns to the ring and locks in the figure four legally right in the middle of the ring. Taker is able to eventually counter the hold but Hart reaches the bottom rope and the hold is broken. Taker gets up and works on Hart with several strikes over the back and in the midsection. Hart avoids a big boot and hits Taker in the leg to regain control. Hart works on Taker’s lower back with head butts and connects with a side Russian leg sweep for a near fall. Hart delivers a nice snap suplex but isn’t able to keep Taker down. Hart continues his attack with a back breaker and leaps off the middle rope only to be met with a big boot. Taker comes off the ropes and they both go down following a double clothesline. Taker gets up first and delivers a leg drop to Hart’s lower midsection for a two count. Hart blocks another leg drop and looks to put the Sharpshooter on Taker and succeeds! Taker looks to power out of the hold and kicks free from the hold! Hart quickly recovers and head butts Taker in the midsection several times. Taker blocks the Sharpshooter by grabbing Hart by the throat. Hart counters with a kick to Taker’s knee but is dropped following several strikes from Taker! Taker big boots Hart followed by a leg drop for only a two count, brother! Hart rolls to the floor and grabs the ring bell. Hart tries to hit Taker with the bell but Taker big boots Hart! Taker tries to use the bell but the referee yanks it away and Hart chop blocks Taker’s leg! Taker kicks Hart over the top rope as he tried to jump onto Taker’s leg. Taker sends Hart shoulder first into the ring steps! Taker sends Hart rolling into the corner and Hart hits the ring post with his back! Taker attempts to walk the top rope but is yanked off by Hart! Hart counters a tombstone attempt and nearly rolls Taker up for the win! Hart goes for the tombstone but Taker counters! Hart is hanging onto the ropes but ends up getting his head caught in the ropes. Taker begins to punch Hart several times and the referee has called for the bell! (****. Aside from the lame finish that was a very good match. I haven’t seen all their matches but that could possibly be their best match against each other. The fans were hot for the whole match and they went non-stop with very few rest holds which was great to see. If it weren’t for the lame finish this could’ve gotten a higher rating but they both needed to remain strong.)
After the match, Taker choke slams the referee. Owen Hart and officials run down to get Bret free. Taker grabs Gerald Briscoe and choke slams him in the ring.
Backstage, Shawn Michaels says that he is going to win the WWF European Championship and is capable of topping what we just saw.
Main Event: Shawn Michaels defeated WWF European Champion Davey Boy Smith to win the title: Smith shoves Michaels to the mat and Michaels complains of a hair pull. Smith continues to shove Michaels down. They lock up and Michaels steps up to the top rope only to be tossed off. Smith football tackles Michaels a few times before sending Michaels over the top to the floor with a clothesline! Michaels pokes Smith in the eyes from the apron and delivers a few right hands. Smith is able to ram Michaels head first into the top turnbuckle a few times before slamming Michaels back into the ring. Smith military presses Michaels and teases tossing him over the top to the floor before dropping him to the mat. Smith puts an abdominal stretch on Michaels in the middle of the ring. Smith backdrops Michaels over the top to the floor and catapults him back into the ring from the apron. Smith takes Michaels over with a few arm drags. Michaels tries a few shoulder blocks but isn’t able to knock Smith off his feet. Michaels pokes Smith in the eyes and goes for a hurricanrana but that is countered into a powerbomb by Smith for a two count! Smith counters a crucifix attempt with a Samoan Drop and locks in a surfboard but has to let go after his shoulders are nearly counted down. Smith blocks a backdrop attempt a delayed vertical suplex but is still unable to get the win. Rick Rude makes his way down to the ringside area. Rude shoves Smith over after he rolls Michaels up almost allowing Michaels to roll Smith up for the win. Smith gets distracted by Rude and is knocked to the floor by Rude. Rude sends Smith shoulder first into the ring post. Michaels leaps off the top to hit Smith with a double axe handle on the floor. Rude rams Smith back first into the ring apron while the referee is distracted by Michaels. Michaels drops Smith with a back elbow strike and stomps Smith on the face back in the ring. Smith gets out of a sleeper hold with a back suplex and gets a two count. Michaels sends Smith back first into a corner and follows up with a hip toss before locking in a arm bar. Smith slams Michaels with one arm! Smith runs the ropes and collides heads with Michaels knocking both men down. Here comes Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna to the ringside area. Smith drops Michaels with a big back drop and sends Michaels upside down into a corner. Smith catapults Michaels into a corner and nearly gets a three count. Smith misses a spear in the corner and hits the ring post shoulder first. Michaels hits a top rope elbow drop but doesn’t cover. Instead, Michaels goes up top again and hits a second elbow drop. Michaels signals for the super kick. Smith can’t get up so Michaels backs him into a corner and goes for the kick in the corner but misses! Smith goes for running power slam but Rude holds Smith’s foot. Smith is able to clothesline Michaels to the floor but the referee is distracted as Smith goes for the power slam but Smith’s foot slips and gets caught under the ring post. Michaels nails Smith with the super kick and slides into the ring. On the floor, HHH and Rude ram the railing into Smith’s knee several times. HHH plants Smith with the pedigree on the floor and roll Smith into the ring. Michaels rips Smith’s knee brace off and tosses it at Diane Smith who is sitting in the front row. Michaels has the figure four leg lock on Smith in the middle of the ring! Michaels is getting help from HHH and Chyna from the floor. Smith is refusing to give up. Smith tries to turn over but Rick Rude punches him behind the referees back. Smith appears to be getting another wind as the fans chant his name but Smith is knocked out and the referee calls for the bell giving Michaels the win! (***3/4. It was a good match but the screw job finish was unfortunate. Smith losing in England is really sad considering he dedicated the match to his sister, who I believe was ill and she was in attendance. It was a good match for sure, as the action and emotion was there but the interference for me drops it down to being just slightly behind the Taker/Hart match. It is still an entertaining bout, though.)
After the match, HHH and HBK taunt the fans and the Hart Family. Diane Smith gets out from her seat and tries to choke Michaels with the knee brace but Chyna prevents that from happening. Owen Hart and Bret Hart run down to run the heels off.
Final Thoughts: Once you get past the middle of the show, One Night Only becomes a really good show. The final three matches were quite enjoyable and make an otherwise dull show into an entertaining one. I have to give this a thumbs up as it became a really good pay per view once Owen/Vader took place and everything following that was enjoyable. Hell, the tag title match and the tag grudge match have some redeeming quality. I suggest checking this out.
Thanks for reading.