Attitude Era #1. King of the Ring (June 23, 1996) Part 3

Previously on On the Card: We got a gosh-darned Gunns match and the shitshow that was Warrior vs. King.

Dok Hendrix interviews Gorilla Monsoon. Jake Roberts is in a great deal of pain over his damaged ribs caused by Vader earlier in the night. Gorilla says he’s going to let Roberts fight despite his fears of internal damage because Roberts is 41 years old, which is a stupid reason. Vince asks Owen if he were Roberts, what would he do in this position. Owen, once again, increases Jake Robert’s age to “80 years old or 90 years old or whatever he is”. Roberts is really being set up to be the underdog here against Stone Cold.

Mankind def. The Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer via TKO in 18:21

Bit of a promo to an older PPV – In Your House 8: Beware of Dog. There was a casket match between Taker and Goldust, where Mankind emerged from the coffin just as Taker was about to throw his opponent in. Later, in a RAW two weeks previous, Mankind stopped Taker from entering the ring by grabbing his ankles. Vince and JR really put Mankind over as a psychopath with JR describing his lack of ear, scarred arms and limping walk. The music and lighting really help here. Even knowing as much about Mick Foley as I do, I still watched this with a certain degree of apprehension. He really did seem like an unhinged mentalist with a fixation on Mean Mark Callous.

The Undertaker’s ominous music hits and the crowd go mental. JR screams, “This is gonna be a slobberknocker! Two 300 plug pounders with total disdain for each other. This is gonna get physical.” Because Taker is so supernatural and Mankind is so insane, the two work together, like some strange form of performance art. Their gimmicks are perfect at this moment in time.

You can’t hear Howard Finkel at all and I didn’t even realise he was the ring announcer until the announcers shut the hell up and let us listen. Paul Bearer is there on his way to the ring with the urn, looking for Taker. Where is he? Bearer actually looks scared. Camera flashes illuminate the ring  – remember them? – as Bearer walks up the steps and the lights come on. By God! The Undertaker is on the turnbuckle! Big jump and the Deadman lays into Mankind. The pair of them trade blows and throw each other about the ring. Mankind tries to escape over the turnbuckle and Taker throws him to the outside. Mankind tries to run off, reconsiders, heads back only to see Paul Bearer and makes a move for him. Taker tries to remove the madman’s mask. JR once again asks questions about Mankind’s history, wondering where he gets his scars from.

Taker hits Old School and Mankind gains the upper hand with a bodyslam. Taker sits up straight and Mankind, in great style, instantly knocks him down. Any other wrestler would be incredulous, look around with a dumb look on their face. Mankind just goes back for him. He does not have time for this supernatural shit.

Mankind takes over for a while with some dirty shots to the Undertaker’s throat, throwing the Deadman out of the ring and dropping a pathetic elbow from the apron. Owen talks about Mankind’s sadism. JR does not have a good feeling about the match. The announce team are doing a damn good job of making this seem ominous, like something horrible is going to happen and no one has any control over it. Mankind throws Taker into the steel steps, reaches under the ring for some chairs and runs at the Deadman, getting a boot to the face for his troubles. Taker throws the mentalist into the apron and gives Mankind an awful flip onto the concrete and chair. It’s bumps like that that leave Mick Foley unable to walk normally in a few years. Taker goes for the Tombstone Piledriver, Mankind reverses and hits him with a neckbreaker.

Both guys have a wee lie down, and a well-deserved one at that. Mankind is up first and hits the Deadman with a leg drop. Nice shot of some guy in the crowd wearing a Taker hat. Mankind goes for the Mandible Claw and Taker reverses, getting a boot to the face for his troubles. Another leg drop and Taker does his supernatural sit up. Rest hold city. Undertaker reaches out for the urn held by Paul Bearer. Still a rest hold. For. Ages. Then, Taker just starts thrashing onto Mankind. Sick bump over the top rope and the pair of them start wailing on each other for a bit. Taker gets knocked against the steel steps and Mankind jogs around the ring, laying a brutal knee into the Deadman’s head followed by a very soft body slam. Mankind goes for another apron elbow drop and Taker retaliates with a steel chair. Another steel chair to the face and there’s no DQ. I can’t remember if it’s mentioned that it’s a no DQ match and the announcers don’t say if the ref was distracted. It changes the dynamic somewhat because it’s a heel move but Taker is clearly the face tonight.

Taker hits a high jumping clothesline followed by Irish whipping Mankind into the ropes. Reversal by Mankind into a vicious piledriver and a near fall. Mankind starts into a frenzy, runs into the turnbuckle and legit pulls his hair out. Jim Ross lines: “He’s pullin’ his hair out. He ain’t right… He’s as goofy as a pet coon, I’ll tell ya.” Mankind grabs the urn from Paul Bearer, goes to smash in Taker’s head before his manager steals it back. Taker sits up and Mankind fires in the Mandible Claw. Reversal into a chokeslam and Bearer swings the urn at Mankind, missing and cracking Taker. Mankind locks in the Mandible Claw and the match is ended as Taker is passed out from the Claw at 18:21.

2016 comments:

This would be a perfect match if you cut out the rest holds. Almost twenty minutes of wrasslin’ and a good quarter of that was both men having a wee hug. Unacceptable. That being said, I love Mick Foley, Taker is on fine form and P-Bizzle is a great manager so the match should be better than the sum of its parts. Some sick bumps that look gruesome but unimpressive just go to show why Mick can hardly walk these days. He could only keep this workrate up for a short while before something had to give, it’s just a shame that that “something” was “his entire body, all at once.”

1996 comments:

Mick Foley was in the match. A++, contender for Match of the Year on that basis alone.

A

Owen Hart rags on Dok Hendrix for a while. It’s gold. Speaking of…

WWF Intercontinental Championship match: Ahmed Johnson def. Goldust (c) w/ Marlena via pinfall in 15:34

Goldust is brilliant. He is my boy. Goldust AKA Dustin Runnels is amazing. Not only is his daddy Dusty Rhodes, one of the best lads, his brother Stardust AKA Cody Rhodes is fantastic and Goldust’s own gimmick is great. He gives himself 100% into the role of the genderfluid Hollywood critic. As he comes to the ring with Marlena AKA Terri Runnels, his legit wife at the time, we cut to last month on RAW when Ahmed Johnson was hurt and Goldie just went over and gave him the kiss of life. Johnson, either homophobic or sexually harassed, however you want to play him heel or face, destroys the place and doesn’t even thank Goldust for saving his life. What an ungrateful prick.

Marlena has a cigar and is holding it in a phallic manner. Because it’s almost the Attitude Era, after all. We are about twenty minutes away from it at this point, actually. Cut to the gate where Ahmed Johnson just bursts out of, sending the jesters flying. Johnson dives in, all greased up and ready to go. He starts swinging digs left and right and hits Goldust with a brutal clothesline that turns him inside out. Goldust rolls outside and Ahmed hits a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Ahmed throws Dusty into the corner and damn near kills him. Marlena has a nice wee seat to watch the match. She has lovely breasts, but then they all have lovely breasts.

Ahmed lifts the steel steps up and damn near legit murders his opponent. He’s covered in gold dust – it sprinkled from the sky during Goldust’s entrance and sticks to every surface. It is like some nature program about tracking animals. They say Goldust comes everywhere the dust falls. Goldie cracks Ahmed with the steel stairs and wails on him in the ring. His full body suit is open, showing his bare chest. Chin lock city for what seems like hours. Ahmed escapes and throws Goldust into the turnbuckle, who escapes and beats on Ahmed’s kidney. Goldust pats his opponents bottom.

It’s annoying that when Ahmed is in control, the speed is so quick and then the pace slows as Goldust takes over. It is certainly not an issue with the wrestlers – Goldust is a vastly superior wrestler to Goldust. Chinlock city followed by my legit favourite spot – the ref lifts and drops Ahmed’s hand three times to see if he has been knocked out. First two are drops and the third… he holds on! He’s up to a vertical base! Pin attempt, Goldust batters his opponent’s head. Pin attempt again, Ahmed is still in the match and bare-chested Goldie is frustrated. Ahmed is all hyped up on homophobia, Goldust, you have to try harder than that. JR: “Goldust, like a rabid dog here, exploding on Ahmed Johnson.”

Goldust hits a brutal piledriver, crawls over to his opponent and starts to feel him up, crawling up him for the pin attempt. Two count and Goldust cracks Ahmed a pair of times before getting him in some type of Camel Clutch (to presumably fuck his ass and make him humble). Ahmed’s up and he beats Goldust into the corner with some dodgy punches. Irish whip to turnbuckle reversed and Ahmed is once again on the mat. Goldust takes some time to feel his opponent up again and is cautioned strongly by the ref. Two punch reversals and Ahmed Irish whips Goldie, goes for the missile drop kick, misses and another pin attempt. The two men are gassed by this stage and in need of a lie down. Goldie gets Ahmed in a sleeper and the two men spoon. Ref asks Ahmed if he would like a wee cup of lemonade.

Another shot at my favourite spot but Goldust lets go after two hand drops. He parades about the ring sexually and licks his finger before going for another kiss of life to his opponent. Ahmed’s hatred of sexual assault is greater than his love of oxygen, it seems. He rallies, hits the double underhook powerbomb (the Pearl River Plunge, apparently) to a sitout pin and wins the IC title by pinfall in 15:34.

Owen claims that the only reason Ahmed won was because Goldust saved his life. Fantastic heel work.

Straight-up shoot fact: Ahmed Johnson was the first African-American to win a singles championship in the Fed. It is disgusting that it is 11 years after the first WrestleMania and only now are we getting a champ who isn’t Caucasian. Even at the time of writing (and after they do a big hubbub into Black History Month each February to prove they are diverse) The Rock is the only World Champion who would be considered black. Trrrrriple H also counts Booker T as a champion, though he won the World Heavyweight Championship, which is now retired.

2016 comments:

Ahmed is a great, threatening, powerful looking figure in this match. Any time he has offense, it looks like he is set to legit kill Goldust. It’s a shame that he gets gassed so quickly and the rest of the match relies on rest holds and timewasting. Goldust could probably hold the match on his own but as it was Ahmed’s chance to go over, he could not. I enjoyed it, but probably only because I love Goldust so much.

1996 comments:

Aww, it’s that creepy pervert and some guy who I’ve never seen wrestle but he’s in some of the video games I have. Turn that shit off.

B-

Brian Pillman gets up to no good, shouting at cameramen and fans. He uses crutches, which received after being in a car crash and damaging one of his ankles. He calls the crowd, “a sewer of human waste,” which is nonsense because everyone knows sewers are filled with mutant turtles and their rat sensei. Pillman then makes a Jeffrey Dahmer joke while making crazy eyes at the camera. Pillman calls JR a “stupid son of a bitch”, which causes Vince to say, “We apologise”. Pillman reacts to the cameraman stepping back and smiles. Vince keeps trying to talk but Brian talks over him, smiling and laughing at the camera.

Straight-up shoot fact: Brian Pillman had a stepdaughter that became a valet under the name of “Sexy” Lexi Pillman. Tragically, she died in an automobile accident in 2009.

The scene cuts to the gate, smoke and stage hands emerging as…

On the Card will return on July 14th with the fourth and final part of King of the Ring 1996.

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