Attitude Era #3. SummerSlam (August 18, 1996) Part 4

Previously on On the Card: Jesus Christ, Jerry and Jake.

Vince introduces the Boiler Room Brawl promo, which is a fine promo. We see Mankind decimating Taker over five months. The Dead Man barely gets a look-in. Mankind batters pipes, holds rats and is generally a bit weird. The title card for the Boiler Room Brawl match has steam appearing from… just about anywhere. Doesn’t even need to be pipes, apparently.

Undertaker’s music hits and out comes big Paul Bearer, holding the Undertaker’s urn, talking to it and heeling it up, at one point becoming Nuclear Bearer. JR says, “It is impossible to predict what will happen here, there is no precident, nothing like this matchup has ever happened before and I am surprised that Gorilla Monsoon has sanctioned this,” which is a fair enough statement to make, mostly, until we remember that it is basically a race from a boiler room to the ring. Like a ladder match, it is a simple match to win no kayfabe but is seems impossible for professional wrestlers to do it.

A bunch of TVs have been set up around the ring for the crowd to witness the action backstage. Unless you have a front row seat, you can probably see fuck all. I re-read the part in Mankind’s first autobiography, Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks, and in it, he mentions nothing about the monitors, other than the crowd were watching them. He does mention that it was his concept and he had pitched some similar ideas to WCW and the entire setup was one that could only really be shown on TV and so was a great ratings draw. He explains that the actual match was filmed in one take with one cameraman the day before the PPV aired and that when they escaped from the boiler room, with Mankind leaving first, they finished the filming and continued where they left off the night of the PPV.

Cut to Taker standing outside the boiler room door, with a referee opening it for him because dead men don’t use knobs, apparently.

Mankind def. Undertaker via urn steal in 26:40.

Mick mentions that the match was too long, so let’s see if that’s true. There is little commentary, really, and this makes the match all the more sinister. Undertaker takes his time opening the door that says BOILER ROOM DANGER, obviously wishing to kill Mankind, but also understanding the importance of following instructions.

The boiler room is pitch dark, with only a light from the camera and some fluorescent lights above to show the action. Lots of tension here as Taker walks slowly through the boiler room and the commentators describe the action, building up the fight that is yet to happen. Taker walks in and Mankind sneaks out, hitting him with a 2×4. He breaks apart a palette and starts going to town on the Deadman. Of course, Mankind is squealing like a pig. He has been interrupted and was in the back, building a cabinet for Ahmed Johnson to hold his kidneys. He has a fresh one each day. Very expensive. Thousands of people die.

The two men really go at it – Makind’s workbench gets a doing as well, no tools to be seen, though. It looks like a gymnast’s horse, so he was probably getting a bit of exercise in before he and Mark Henry go to the Olympics. Taker is thrown into the boiler and Mankind starts making velociraptor sounds. The screen goes all fuzzy for a while and Vince says, “Technical difficulties.” Undertaker is thrown into the corner and knocks over lots of stuff. This boiler room is an absolute mess. Mick clearly has much better things to be doing with himself, apparently.

Mick doesn’t run back to the ring, he jogs back and forth, allowing the Deadman to get a weapon. Mick spins a wee wheel and some “steam” hits Undertaker in the face (probably a gimmicked pipe or fire extinguisher). Lots of bins are thrown about and people are hit with sticks. Mankind was involved in all the Boiler Room Brawls during WWF’s time and it makes sense because he spends all his time in boiler rooms. This doesn’t make sense once you consider that they are different boiler rooms, but presumably he lives in all boiler rooms at once. Mankind’s arm is sliced and there’s a wee bit of blood coming from him, but not enough to keep us happy. We wish for more blood, Mick!

His squalling and screeching is getting on my tits, though.

Mankind finds a ladder attached to a wall and decides to go for a wee walk up it and a jump off it onto Taker followed by the shittiest DDT in history. He beats Taker with a stick and then… drags him backwards? Listen, man to Mankind, Mick, just run outside. Go. Run to the ring, get the urn, be done with this insanity. If you want to win the match, you can. If you lose, it’s no one’s fault but your own. Screen goes a bit weird again and the crowd boo so much. When it comes back, we see a glimpse of a bodyslam of some description, followed by our boy Mick climbing up another ladder, this one wooden and free-standing. Vince says, “He’s going for that elbow again,” and Undertaker sits straight up, starts yanking at the ladder and is tipped back.

Straight-up Shoot Fact: This was a botched move that caused Mick to have sciatic nerve problems for the next seven months. It was so bad that he thought that he may have to retire.

He’s up and getting hammered by Taker and the Deadman is leaving. Foley is after him, whipping at him with chains and he takes a wicked uppercut for his troubles. Undertaker has a cut elbow, too, which is bad because about a week later, he would have a staph infection so bad that Mick said, “his elbow was swollen to twice its normal size. Staph infection was a common casualty of the business, but this was the worst case I had ever seen. A doctor was brought in and lanced the elbow. He then squeezed hard, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that pus shot ten feet across the room.”

Sexy.

The pair of them hang out for a bit and Taker hits Mankind with a fire extinguisher in the face. That is, he turns one on. He doesn’t abtually hit him with it. As Mankind fights his way out, one of the announcers says, “Unbelievable,” in the most bored tone he can muster, as if personally offended at what he’s just witnessed, frustrated that Mankind has a can-do attitude.

The camera angle changes and we see Mankind bursting out of the boiler room, hitting Taker and pushing him back in. He then uses a bin to barricade the door. Lots of wrestlers are out in the corridors, shouting and getting on. Undertaker bursts out, passed the Godwinns and several other unnameable wrestlers including SkipZip and Mark Henry! As the fight continues, Al Snow (Leif Cassidy) stands to one side and Goldust sneaks out, presumably to pinch Undertaker’s bum on the way past. We go past shirtless Stone Cold and… who is that? Is that Billy Gunn?

Nope, it’s cunt Bradshaw. Fuck him.

One of the referees quips that it looks like a prison riot, which is nonsense as no one is being shivved or raped. Mankind throws some “scalding hot coffee” over the Undertaker and someone sets a fire or turns on the smoke machine to sell it. Mankind escapes into the arena but Undertaker is after him with a brutal clothesline and cracks Mick with a 2×4. They beat each other gradually towards the ring. Wires from the TV screens trail across the floor. Not very safe and JR states as much seconds before Mankind rolls one over. Paul Bearer is in the ring, literally larger than life. He’s looking very relaxed though, probably because he knows what is coming up next. Mankind exposes the concrete floor and hits a weak looking piledriver.

Paul Bearer wobbles back and forth. God I miss him.

Mankind is on the apron. Bearer could run away, but doesn’t. Taker has Mankind’s ankle and the pair of them are on the apron, punching and grappling. JR says, “Their bodies just have to be achy.” Aye, Jim, like a breaky heart. Undertaker slingshots Mankind off the apron by pulling on the top rope. Undertaker is in the ring and the crowd are going wild. Down he goes onto the one knee… and Paul Bearer does nothing. He looks away. Mankind is in! Paul Bearer is laughing! The motherfucker! He’s done betrayed Taker! Mankind crawls towards Uncle Paul. Taker sits up and Mankind, in true Mankind style, just runs back and beats on Taker some more. Bearer drops the urn and kicks Taker, falling to the ground and wailing. Between Mankind and Bearer, the pair of them will just squeal like pigs all night. Bearer cracks Undertaker once again with the urn and hands it to Mankind for him to get the win in 26:40.

2016 comments:

A great concept match and a great match in concept. Mick says himself that it was seen as either a classic or a disaster. I would say both. It could have been done far better if more time was dedicated to the spots, maybe even having two or three cameramen in the room at once, add to the tension, or even have the whole thing done via security cam footage. As it stood, the opening was amazing, the middle bit was okay, the run through the locker room area was great fun and the ending was naff. All in all, an okay match.

1996 comments:

This is the greatest thing ever. They should use weapons more often.

Grade: B

Bearer and Mankind leave the arena, with Bearer yelling, “Ohhhhh yeeeees!” in his own classic style. Vince says, “the treachery of Paul Bearer,” and the man himself looks dead in to the camera and shouts, “I’m Paul Bearer and you’re not!” He winks at the camera and taps his head as well. Brilliant man. The crowd are throwing shite at the ring.

Undertaker’s music hits for one second, one single “Dong!” and the lights go down. There is druidic chanting and a bunch of lads in hoods walk to the ring. Two of them enter the ring and lift the Undertaker up, walking him to the edge of the ring where the rest of them carry the Deadman backstage. The music hits once more and then stops again. A hushed silence as the Undertaker is carried back by the druids.

On the Card will return on September 15th with the fifth and final part of SummerSlam 1996.

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