Attitude Era #2. In Your House 9: International Incident (July 21, 1996) Part 4

Previously on On the Card: Goldust was there, so it was okay.

But back to the ring, Vince is talking about the main event: six-man tag between Camp Cornette and the People’s Posse. JR reminds us how this filler match came about with a shot of King of the Ring ’96 and the match ending between Shawn Michaels and the British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith. It’s the same promo as earlier, chronicling even Warrior’s suspension. Brock Samson appears and yadda yadda yadda. This is just time wasting while they replace the ring mat.

Straight-up Shoot Fact: Sid Vicious is one of the wrestlers responsible for the hatred against Hulk Hogan in the early nineties. Hogan had been running a Super-Cena style All-American character for years, always as a face. Being a huge box-office draw despite his limited moveset, it was only a matter of time before older fans rebelled. Similar to the “let’s go Cena/Cena sucks!” chants that we hear during RAW and other PPVs these days, the crowd booed Hogan and cheered Sid during the 1992 Royal Rumble. Despite the great crowd reaction, WWF retroactively made Sid a heel. It was the dislike of the Hogan gimmick and love of Sid’s mental charisma that did this.

Another shot of Sid appearing in his car, totally mental and smashing up the place. Dok Hendrix is chatting to the People’s Posse. Shawn is there, dressed like a damn idiot, like some sort of Village People reject. Ahmed Johnson is there with his shirt that says his name. Sid is in the background, towering over the other men. Shawn calls the People’s Posse a gang. Bit racist. Ahmed Johnson gibbers some indecipherable nonsense and then Sid legit says, “What he’s trying to say is-” and just goes on a rant of his own. Shawn gives an equally nonsense promo and when he mentions Sweet Chin Music, Sid looks around as if expecting a boot to be coming from nowhere. Shawn’s Sexy Boy music hits and the crowd go bananas.

All the kids run to the side as Shawn heads out. He walks straight down the centre and everyone is stretching their hands out to touch him. You know something is going to happen and it does. About twenty feet down the aisle, the right-hand side of the barrier just crumples and fans spill onto the ground. Shawn looks terrified and helps some people up before security usher him forward. Kids go to hug the champ and her spins into the ring for his pyro. Still cannot get over how amazingly over this cunt is. And he’s fucked on pills. You’re cheering a man who can’t tell you his own name!

Ahmed’s music hits and the Intercontinental champ comes down. Why they fire down the WWF Champion first is beyond me. Let the crowd wait. JR says, “This is the most emotions we’ve seen from Ahmed Johnson,” which is a nice way to say he’s wooden. Sid comes out to his Psycho music. Begin at least six and a half feet, the man is intimidating and had clearly had a wee bit of the nose candy before coming out. He Brock Lesnar jumps onto the apron and the three People’s Posse hug each other.

Vader’s music hits and the whole of Camp Cornette come out – Bulldog, Owen and Vader. It’s quite nice to have only two men with superhero names in the ring, though even Bulldog is known as Davey Boy Smith. Slammy Award Winning Owen Hart is probably the smallest man in the ring and he’s a God damn Hart!

Camp Cornette (Vader, Owen Hart, The British Bulldog) w/ Jim Cornette def. The People’s Posse (Shawn Michaels, Sycho Sid, Ahmed Johnson) w/ José Lothario via pinfall in 24:32.

Jerry says that Camp Cornette is, “A well-oiled machine, with one goal in mind,” but refuses to say what the goal is. Could be anything, really. Could be beating People’s Posse, could be world peace, could be a second Holocaust. The men are heels, they’re capable of anything. Big Van Vader starts and points at Shawn, who is by the sidelines. Ahmed, the legal man, obliges and tags in the Heartbreak Kid, who bounces in to lock up with the Mastodon.

Editorial Spot: I have mentioned before that I do not like tag team matches and I will elaborate here: when a fan, a wrasslin’ mark if you will, looks at this card and sees six-man tag with the WWF champ, the Intercontinental champ, plus fan-favourites, they go ballistic. “Look at all these wrasslers!” they may claim before going and booking the match in their mind. This is good. This is what you want. As a wrasslin’ promoter, you want fans to look at your card and love it so much they can’t keep still. However, tag matches of any size do not equal that. Tag matches are very complex matches that involve a great deal of psychology, pantomime and storytelling.

Take one of the best tag teams in the world at the minute: American Alpha in NXT. Their form of psychology is basic but effective. Chad Gable goes into the ring, gets beaten up and calls for the hot tag on Jason Jordan at the end for him to wipe up, throwing spears about, tacking guys and finally hitting the double team finisher. It is simple but effective. By contrast, the Usos do the exact same thing in the Fed, but they have done it since time immemorial. It is boring now. We do not care about Uso-crazy or whatever nonsense they’re cooking up because they do the same stuff. They’re the drizzling shits.

In a match like this, you have a very talented tag-team wrestler in Bulldog. You have a talented mat-based wrestler in Owen. You have the most popular superstar in the Fed at the time in Shawn. The others are not good enough to keep up with that. Don’t get me wrong, Leon White AKA Vader is a lovely man, very well spoken and has a keen understanding of wrestling psychology but he is not used to tag matches. Sycho Sid and Ahmed are just tanks, they’re good for hitting things but there is nowhere near the same amount of skill.

I’m not trying to fantasy book this match, but if we were wanting to get some Vader/Sid match over, we’d need to book it right. Imagine if Owen started vs Sid. Sid knocks him flat within seconds and Owen scrambles back to his corner. Bulldog comes in and the pair size each other up. Bulldog is a bit faster and catches Sid in some suplex. He can’t move Sid. He does it a few more times and still Sid doesn’t move, stays standing. Let’s then say that Sid knocks Bulldog to the ground and Bulldog looks shocked, wide-eyed and amazed. He tags in Vader. Crowd goes mental as the two big men square up to each other. They trade blows, move for move, no man taking over for more than a few seconds. They’re running the ropes, big boots, the lot. A scramble to the outside. Both men attempt finishers and their opponents somehow escape. There is a move done and both men are out. The ref starts a ten count, the crowd are on their feet and just as he reaches nine, both men hot tag in their best teammates – Shawn and Bulldog, who just had a killer match last PPV.

Tag team matches are essentially tiny little wrestling matches linked together. They need to have their own distinct storyline and that storyline can be split, paused and continued later. That is the essence of a good tag match. Let’s see if we see it here in the ring tonight.

Vader is shouting, opening his arms for a hug, playing with Michaels. Michaels is legit scared because Leon is snug as a bug. In fact, Michaels didn’t like to wrassle Vader for that reason and it’s a damn shame. Vader picks Michaels up and the pair run the ropes for a while. Vader goes for the powerbomb (which is not, for some reason, the Vader Bomb, which is a slingshot splash from the corner) and Michaels reverses it into a Hurricanrana. Running the ropes and both men to the outside. Michaels does a baseball slide followed by a suicide dive off the top rope. Another jump from the apron but Vader moves. The wily bastard. Replay shows Michaels hit Vader a little high on the body, cracking his upper chest. I wouldn’t be surprised if Vader’s lower back is in pain now.

Vader goes for the backdrop. Michaels reverses and tags in Sid, who goes mental and cleans house. In comes Owen and Bulldog, both knocked down. People’s Posse celebrate in ring. All you’ve done is push people over. Owen comes in and Sid tags Ahmed who hits Owen with a series of great suplexes. Owen rolls out of the way of an elbow drop and tags in Bulldog. Bulldog goes to town on Ahmed who retaliates with a great spinebuster followed by the Pearl River Plunge for a two count.

Vader is in and beating on Ahmed while Shawn ignores the action and waves to the crowd. Ahmed and Vader hang on the corners for a while, both probably gassed. Vader goes to cross-body Ahmed and the big man catches him mid-air. Owen tags in and shows off that good old Hart charm and skill. The man should be fighting someone of his technical calibre, like his mental brother. Ahmed gorilla presses Owen and Sid is in again. With Owen probably being the smallest person in the match, it seems unfair that these two behemoths are going over on him. He agrees and tags in Bulldog.

Bulldog vs Sid is interesting because not only is Bulldog capable of making any match amazing, but he is legit strong as fuck, shown by how he effortlessly holds Sid up for a huge suplex, easily a few seconds. Vader sneaks in for the elbow drop and Bulldog goes for a near-fall. Vader enters legally and we have the two biggest men in the match against each other. Doesn’t last long though before Bulldog is back in. Brock Samson takes a few punches, but it only makes him angrier! He tags in Michaels and the crowd go ballistic. Michaels hits a double axe handle nothing and Bulldog sells it like getting hit by a truck. Pin and near fall.

Michaels works Bulldog in the corner and takes a hit from the ring post. Bulldog lifts him up and the champ Irish whips him into Vader who is standing on the apron. Michaels goes for the pin and notices Owen about to dive in to break it up. He moves out of the way and Hart elbow drops his own brother-in-law! The fool! Owen gets thrown out and when he’s on the apron, Bulldog tags him back in. Owen, still dazed from the throw, is pulled into the ring by Michaels. We have a bunch of roll-ups. So many that the ref fails to notice a legit pin and Owen is holding Shawn for longer than necessary. More pins and some great combos. The two men go for the bridge. Close falls and Cornette goes ballistic.

Bulldog is in and hammering Shawn left and right. Great powerslam followed by a leg drop. Running of the ropes and Vader is tagged in as Shawn goes out. Cornette is arguing with the ref, giving Vader enough time to lift Michaels up by the hair and wail on him in the corner. Irish whip to the corner and Shawn wraps himself around the ring post. Vader picks on Sid and the comically tiny referee tries to restrain him. Vader gets another two-count over Michaels. Rest hold city as Vince says, “Michaels cannot continue at this pace.” At this point, there is no pace, just hugs. Something is going on in the crowd and the camera refuses to look. Is it a run-in? Is Mankind getting revenge on Vader for his missing ear? Is Goldust coming to kiss Ahmed again? Has Jake the Snake had enough of Jerry’s jibes?

No, it’s a member of the crowd on the hard cam who tries to climb over the ring ropes. Bulldog and Ahmed run to beat him good-looking and he retreats. Bulldog actually walks the whole way over, probably to give the guy a message with his fists and feet. Knowing Bulldog, he’ll lift him up and hold him there for an impressive amount of time. Vader and Michaels are still hugging. JR sells the hug as strain on Michaels’ neck. The ref (who I keep thinking is Earl Hebner) is slapping the two men heartily in some devil Morse code. He tells off José Lothario. It’s the ref’s match now, circling the couple in the ring. Michaels fights back and is downed by Vader who goes for the belly flop, only to be knocked on his arse by Ahmed. Both men go for the hot tag but Vader gets to Bulldog first. By this point, Michaels has been in the match for some time.

Bulldog goes for what  looks to be a botched crucifix powerbomb. Michaels escapes, goes for the wraparound and Bulldog reverse it into a sidewalk slam. Owen pops in and the tempo rises before both men are down. Jim Cornette batters on the ring, once again keeping better time than that damned Sable.

Bulldog hits Michaels with a beautiful powerslam and Sid breaks up the pin by running the ropes and hitting Bulldog with a leg drop. Ahmed keeps perfect time on the ring apron by battering with his feet. Bulldog tags in Vader, who hangs in his corner as Michaels builds up for the hot tag and slaps in Ahmed. Ahmed wails on Vader but – the ref stops him!  He didn’t see the tag! In the corner, Camp Cornette beats on Shawn and… Bulldog makes the pin? But the ref didn’t see Bulldog tag in – because he didn’t! Inconsistent refereeing! Near for and Owen goes to dropkick Shawn but Micheals rolls out of the way and Owen kicks Bulldog. Hot tag and Michaels finally tags in Sid.

Sid chokeslams Vader. Sid chokeslams Owen. Sid chokeslams Bulldog. Ahmed comes in and they body double clothesline Vader. Sid launches Michaels off the turnbuckle onto Vader but the pin is broken up by Bulldog. Shawn looks at Sid. It is a longing look, filled with regret. Cornette throws the racket into the ring for Vader but Shawn takes it from him and beats him over the head with it. Heel move from the faces. Shawn goes for Sweet Chin Music but Cornette grabs his foot. Vader knocks him down and get the Vader Bomb and the pin in 24:32.

2016 comments:

It goes without saying that this is the best match of the night. It had crescendo booking, yes (when there’s nothing special for the whole match and then everyone hits their finishers at once) and Shawn was dead centre as always despite not being the biggest wrestler, strongest wrester or even most talented wrestler in the ring! That’s right, I said it. Some lovely hot tags in there and I felt excited by parts of it. Sid was the one who stunk it up, funnily enough, mostly out of his odd timing. The ending was fudged a bit as, once again, face Michaels used weapons against the heels. I’m not saying wrestling should be cut and dry, black and white, but come on, a little consistency regards the rules would be nice.

1996 comments:

Fucking Bulldog won, the heap of shite. Him and his fucking fat ear-destroying, canuck team.

Grade: A

As the referee rings for the bell, Camp Cornette cheer in the middle of the ring and Sid comes in to have a quick word with them all, powerbombing Bulldog and Owen. Sid’s powerbomb does not have a name, although it should be called, like, the Sidbomb or something. The Mood Drop? Something about the fact that the man is mental. Sid goes to powerbomb Vader but he escapes. Michaels suicide dives on to old ear-stealing Leon and the People’s Posse stand together mid-ring. Replays of the end of the match showing José Lothario giving Jim Cornette a wee bop in the face. Great catch by Vader at the end of the match. Michael’s music hits and he smacks of cunt Michaels right about now. The ending felt how Hogan would go over at the end of his matches.

Coliseum Exclusive Video of Jim Cornette bigging up the winners for a second before we get a quick recap of the night’s big matches, big bumps and most exciting angles, each one setting up for a much bigger match at SummerSlam 1996.

The Go Home Stats.

Man of the Matches: I don’t care what anyone else says, the only possible man in any of the matches has to be Goldust. The dedication to which he gives every promo, every line, every single second of his existence is so impressive. Comedy spots, whilst silly, do have a point. This is entertainment at the end of the day and good matches do not have to be The Godfather. Sometimes they can be Old School.

Woman of the Matches: We have the same set as last time: Marlena, Sable, Sunny, Diana Hart. Unlike last time, Sunny was crap. Sable is always crap. Marlena did not do a damn thing other than creep around with Goldust and Diana just smiled. I’m going to go for Marlena because I feel like I have to pick one, but this is during a time when women were not widely respected in wrasslin’.

Montel Vontavious Porter Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence: Goooooldust.

Best Spot: The entire first minute of the Goldust vs. Undertaker match, up to and including Undertaker’s powerful uppercut.

Hatches: Bastard Justin Bradshaw, Savio Vega, Sycho Sid and Owen Hart on in-ring action and Jerry “The King” Lawler on commentary.

Matches: No titles were on the line.

Dispatches: Although this is not a proper dispatch, it is worth noting that Ahmed Johnson was diagnosed with legit kidney problems and required surgery just before the next PPV, SummerSlam and was out of action for a while.

Closing Statements: The entire PPV, although not great, and certainly not hard-hitting, high-flying, heart-stopping or piledriving, was fun and quirky in its own way. You can see how the Fed was trying to get people to tune in by offering them fun little spots as opposed to storylines. It is akin to graphics and gameplay in video games: most people can ignore bad graphics for great gameplay and vice versa. Great games have both, good games have one and bad games have neither. Wrestling matches require something to be on the line and the match to be full of fun spots. Bad matches have neither and are time fillers. Good matches have one and are either spotfests or storyline matches. Great matches have both and can be match of the year. This PPV had a mixture of good matches, but in actuality, nothing was on the line in any of them and I didn’t feel that I was seeing anything unmissable, being honest. The next PPV is SummerSlam, one of the Big Four along with Survivor Series, Royal Rumble and WrestleMania. I genuinely cannot wait for that.

On the Card will return on August 18 with SummerSlam 1996.

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