Attitude Era #8: Royal Rumble 1997 (Jan 19, 1997) Part 4

Previously on On the Card: Stone Cold cheats his way to victory.

Promo for the bad attitudes from the two men. We see Sid’s heel-turn where he attacked José Lothario. No apologies from Sid. Bad CGI of Shawn looking out a window into a WWF arena. The two men kick seven shades of shite out of one another and Sid powerbombs José’s 19-year-old son.

But back to the crowd… and then another cut to JR speaking to Shawn Michaels at Superstars. Shawn slurs through a promo. He says José means more to him than any other person on God’s green earth other than his mother and father. He’s threatening Sid saying that the champ will not be fighting just Shawn, but also thousands of San Antonians. Bit pointed.

Cut to Shawn and José walking down towards the ring. Vince says that it is a long walk. Music hits, crowd goes wild and Shawn leaves the Gorilla position to high five the crowd and say, “Yeah!” a lot. The big ring of lights is centre stage as Shawn poses, firing off some pyro mid-ring. What a matchup! What an entrance! This is what wrestling would grow into, where the entrances are almost as important as the action in the ring. The song repeats and… is that Sunny in the crowd? Jeepers. Sunny days indeed.

Cut to the back where Heel Sid walks slowly down the same corridor, heading to Gorilla position and out into the arena. Big boos from the crowd, actually. Fair play to them. Laser on his face as he punches the crowd’s fists and asks them if they know who the man is. The man is (supposedly) you, Sid. Sid sees Superfan Vlad and ignores Superfan The Dude (Faith No More Guy), who is wearing a blue BWO t-shirt. JR tells us that Sid has a “smattering of fans”, which is interesting considering so many were desperate for touching him.

Big SID sign in pyro goes off behind him.

WWF Championship match: Shawn Michaels def. Sycho Sid (c) via pin in 13:49.

Sid and Shawn square off. Sid gives Shawn one shove and he rolls right back. A second shove and Sid takes over, tossing Shawn about. HBK replies with a crossbody and kicks Sid out of the ring. Big pop from the crowd. Referee Earl Hebner holds Shawn back as we wait for Sid to get up. Shawn moves him back and goes out to help Sid up. Sid smacks Shawn and he reverses. Sid throws Shawn into the ring, lifts for the gorilla press and Shawn escapes with a rake to the eyes. Shawn goes top rope and Sid catches him for a powerslam. Front row is José’s son, who gives such advice as, “Get him!”

Sid gives Shawn a Camel Clutch, breaks back, makes humble. Sid bumps Shawn and gives the Camel Clutch again. JR tells us that this is the last time José Lothario will manage Shawn… it’s also the last time we see Shawn for a while, but that’s neither here nor there. Sid goes for a third bump, Shawn dodges it and takes over, giving some lovely punches, taking a huge turnbuckle bump, turned inside out, upside down and falls outside. Shawn lies there as Sid scoops Shawn, smashes him into the ring post once, twice and tosses Shawn in the ring for the pin.

Sid lifts Shawn up and hits him on the lower back. Sid gets Shawn in a rest hold and HBK fights to his feet before turned inside out by Sid’s clothesline. Sid taunts the crowd, goes for a pin, fails. Brilliant toss to the turnbuckle and Sid does the same again, catching Shawn for the bear hug. JR puts over the fact that Sid is keeping it simple. Shawn has said that he has “the flu”, that is to say “been strung out on pain pills for ages”. Cut to shots of Hawn’s parents ringside. Looking desperate.

Michaels hits Sid with a great Atomic Drop. He goes to Brets rope and attempts a jumping punch twice, Sid catching him on the second. The bear hug lasts forever and is a soft, soft, lovely bear hug. Sid goes for the pin, fails, leg drops, pins, fails. Chinlock city. It’s been sit down City over here. Shawn gets up, bodyslams Sid, hits the lariat, kips up, goes for a top-rope elbow, nails Sid and tunes up the band. Sid catches Sweet Chin Music and tosses Michaels out. Somebody tell these boys that the Royal Rumble match is over. Sid powerbombs Shawn to the outside and goes to chokeslam both Lotharios, Jr and Sr. Shawn fights back and Earl takes a ref bump. Sid chokeslams Shawn, goes for the pin, the official is out and a second ref comes in for the count, hitting the one, two and Shawn kicks out.

Sid causes another ref bump as the second one is hit by Sid. José goes to the rope, distracts Sid and Shawn gets a camera, knocks Sid down, goes for the pin and Earl makes his way laboriously to count the pin but Sid kicks out! My God! Shawn tunes up the band and hits Sid with Sweet Chin Music, getting the pin and win in 13:49.

2017 comments:

Worst match I’ve seen of Shawn’s so far in this blog. Really bad. No psychology, no real energy, just a bunch of rest holds followed by a spot at the end.

1997 comments:

Shawn looks like a drug addict.

Grade: C

Shawn bows to the crowd, his own hometown crowd and is awarded the WWF Championship by José Lothario. He celebrates with everyone else as the song repeats and some fucker whistles as loud as he can. For real, it is suuuuper loud. Go and shut up, eh?

People begin to file out as he goes to the parents and gives them a wee cuddle. He hugs his family and it turns out that the whistler is his sister! He climbs over Jerry, pats Vince on the back, almost strangles him with a hug and shoves his arse in his face. Whistling continues as he does a wee tour of the crowd, shaking hands with everyone. We see a replay of the heel move Shawn had busting Sid with the camera and getting the pin. Both superfans Vlad and Faith No More Guy shake his hands as the song repeats! Then we have a recap of the entire PPV from the HHH vs. Goldust match to NOD vs Ahmed, Vader and Taker (mit Paul unt Urn bump), the Royal Rumble feat. Stone Cold, giant 2×4, Bret coming out and Austin’s “elimination” followed by Bret’s tantrum. Then we see the match again! More Sid bumps and Shawn winning! The PPV ends with a bit of a wet fart.

The Go Home Stats.

Man of the Matches: Legit bad PPV with little big men other than, of course, Stone Cold Steve Austin who survived for over 45 minutes in the Royal Rumble, eliminated 10 people and, like Christ before him, was struck down and rose again to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.

Woman of the Matches: There were literally no women in this PPV other than Jacqueline, Sable and Marlena.

Montel Vontavious Porter Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence: Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Best Spot: There were none, but I’ll put in Stone Cold’s false elimination and clearing the house in ten seconds flat.

Hatches: We have Canek, Cibernético, Mil Máscaras, Fuerza Guerrera, Heavy Metal, Hector Garza, Jerry Estrada, Latin Lover, Perro Aguaya, Pierroth from the AAA alongside Terry Funk and Curtis Hughes. Terry Funk will disappear for two years and return at the 1998 Royal Rumble, Curtis Hughes will not be back until Unforgiven 1999 and the AAA guys? Well… just check dispatches.

Matches: Hunter Hearst Helmsley retains his Intercontinental Championship and Shawn Michaels wins the WWF Championship for his second reign.

Dispatches: Canek, Cibernético, Mil Máscaras, Fuerza Guerrera, Heavy Metal, Hector Garza, Jerry Estrada, Latin Lover, Perro Aguaya, Pierroth, Razor Ramon, José Lothario, Jake Roberts, Diesel (until he returns as Kane) and Jerry Lawler and Shawn Michaels (until KOTR 97).

On The Card Hall Of Fame

Every “Big Four” PPV (Wrestlemania, Summerslam, Survivor Series, Royal Rumble) I will choose a man and woman to be inducted into the hall of fame. A man and woman must have been named either a Man of the Matches or Woman of the Matches in the previous months since the last “Big Four” PPV. Once a man or woman is inducted, they may not be inducted again but can still win Man of the Matches or Woman of the Matches. Through this, we can course the dizzying highs and savage lows of the wrestling landscape throughout the years. If no one new has been given the title of Man or Woman of the Matches, then a candidate will be chosen from the highest-rated matches since the last “Big Four” PPV. If no one is to be found there, then we go to the next highest-rated matches and so on. If we (unlikely) get to the bottom of the pile, then the Hall of Fame will remain empty to show the excellent calibre of the wrestlers and shallow roster.

Previous Men of the Matches: Shawn Michaels, Undertaker.

Nominated for Man of the Matches: Flash Funk, Leif Cassidy, Stone Cold Steve Austin.

The Winner and Entrant to the Hall of Fame is… Austin for winning the Royal Rumble!

Previous Women of the Matches: Sunny, N/A.

Nominated for Woman of the Matches: No one, No one.

The Winner and Entrant to the Hall of Fame is… No one again, for the second time in a row!

The Year in Reviews

Each Royal Rumble, I will give you some information of the past year of reviews for you stat-heads out there.

In 1996, the biggest movie at the time was Independence Day, which made $817,400,891 worldwide, followed by Twister and Mission Impossible. The biggest hit single of the year was Los Del Rio’s “Macarena”, which is shite, followed by Spice Girls “Wannabe” and Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me”.

Boris Yeltsin and Bill Clinton win their second terms as President of Russia and the USA respectively, the Nintendo 64 and Pokémon Red and Green are is released in Japan, a meteorite from Mars contained evidence of primitive lifeforms and Carl Sagan died.

In wrasslin’ news, the WWF Championship was held by Bret for 133 days since Nov 19 1995 until Shawn Michaels held it for 231 days from March 31 to November 17 where Sycho Sid held it into the New Year. Goldust held the Intercontinental Championship for 71 days from January 21 until he lost it in a match to Savio Vega and won it again the same night to hold it for 83 days from April 1 until Ahmed Johnson won it at King of the Ring, June 23; he vacated it after legit kidney problems (kayfabed as an attack by Faarooq) and Marc Mero won it on Sept 23, held it for 28 days until Triple H won it on Oct 21 and brought it into the New Year. The Tag Team Championship was brought into 1996 by the Smoking Gunns, who vacated it on Feb 15 after 143 days of holding it due to Billy Gunn having a neck injury. The Bodydonnas picked it up on March 31 and held it for 49 days until the Godwins picked it up on May 19, held it for a week, dropped it to The Smoking Gunns on May 29 and they held it until September 22 when The British Bulldog and Owen Hart brought it into the New Year. We had the Curtain Call at MSG, the formation of the NWO with Razor Ramon and Diesel leaving for WCW and the rise of Stone Cold and The Rock. Kurt Angle also won Olympic gold with a broken fuckin’ neck.

Closing Statements: A real let down and, unfortunately, it seems to be the end for Shawn Michaels for the next wee while.

On the Card will return on February 16 2017 with In Your House 13: Final Four.

Attitude Era #6. Survivor Series (November 17, 1996) Part 4

Previously on On the Card: Two of the all-time greats, Stone Cold and Bret, have a five star match.

Backstage, Dok Hendrix is speaking to Sid who looks like Brock Samson but sounds like an absolute Christopher Walken.

Cut to the gate and out comes Super Mario himself, Captain Lou Albano. He has no music although he should have Cyndi Lauper playing over him.

The motherfucking Nation of Domination music plays. Fuck yes. Old JC Ice and Wolfie D come out, rapping like the whitest of all white men, followed by Immigration Clarence Mason, Faarooq, and two of their unnamed goons in suits. Faarooq fires up the old fist there for the crowd. Good man yourself.

Out comes Rick Bognar AKA Fake Razor Ramon, or, as my wife calls him, Razor Ramen. She does it without sarcasm as she just (constantly) misreads his name. I could do worse, I suppose. JR complains that people are booing Razor as he is, “bigger, younger, stronger, better-looking than the first guy to have that name.” As he says this, Bowl Cut Kid himself pats him on the back. Surely this is the greatest point in Bognar’s life. It’s all downhill from here, bro. I love how Ross is attempting to heel it up and legitimately accepting that characters in wrestling are just that – only chracters.

Out comes Diesel, played by Dr. Isaac Yankem himself, Glenn Jacobs. He is now known as Kane.

Straight-up Shoot Fact: After the Curtain Call that took place in this very arena – Madison Square Gardens – in May 19, 1996, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash left for the WCW, leaving their characters – Ramon and Diesel – behind. Their return was part of an aborted attempt to heel up JR, which is impossible as he is fucking awesome and the fans went with whatever he said.

Vader comes out to little fanfare, which is a shame considering he was main event status in past months. Jim Cornette is on commentary and slagging JR.

Their opponents arrive with a very short intro each: Savio Vega with a little dance; Yokozuno, described as, “even bigger than you, Jim Cornette,” by Vince (Jim: “I led Yoko to the WWF!” JR: “You led him to the buffet table!”); Flash Funk, the proto-Godfather with his Funkettes, the double-hos (JR: “I’ve never seen the yellow and red look so good in Madison Square Gardens!”); and “The Mystery Partner”, Superfly Jimmy Snuka. Jim Cornette can’t believe it. Yokozuna takes forever to get out of the ring as the bell tolls.

Survivor Series Tag Team Match: Faarooq, Vader, Razor Ramon and Diesel (w/ Clarence Mason and Jim Cornette) vs. Flash Funk, Jimmy Snuka, Savio Vega and Yokozuna ends in double disqualification in 9:48.

We have Flash Funk starting with our man Vader. Jim Cornette can’t believe it. Vader pushes Funk over and flexes but Funk just kip-ups and does a sexy little hip move. Vader hits a stiff clothesline and Flash runs the ropes before hitting a spinning heel kick that Vader begins to bump for about ten feet before Funk hits him. Vader is knocked outside and Funk moonsaults from the top rope to the outside. Vader hits Funk with a Vader Bomb and Yokozuna runs in with his big bottom filled with farts.

In comes Savio and Faarooq. Razor Ramon jumps in and Savio goes mental on him, dodging a kick and getting a lovely five-punch in the corner. Razor catches the cross-body and hits a fallaway slam to allow our boy Ka- I mean, Diesel into the ring. Diesel beats on Flash funk for a while but Diesel catches him in mid-air with a great clothesline. A moment of Aloha-Arning from Diesel but he escapes and tags in Faarooq. Funk is running rings around everyone. Faarooq catches him and hits a great spinebuster. Vader comes in, knocks Funk out and there is a schmoz in the corner as Savio beats on everyone.

Big Daddy Kane Dieself is on Yoko’s corner and Superfly Jimmy Snuka is in to a big pop from the crowd. Vader is in, throwing Snuka into the ropes and Superfly headbutts him before bodyslamming Vader. What a move! Snuka is in trouble in the corner and Razor takes over. Snuka slips between his legs and Savio Vega is in. Diesel pops in and Vader pulls the ropes so Savio falls outside. Faarooq takes the time to attack Savio and Cornetter slags Ahmed. Diesel hits the Jackknife Powerbomb on Savio and gets the pin.

Savio Vega has been eliminated by Fake Diesel in 08:39.

Snuka beats on Diesel and in comes Razor. Another headbutt to Razor and a knee to the face. Snuka goes to the top rope and hits the splash to pin Razor.

Razor Ramon has been eliminated by Superfly Jimmy Snuka in 09:28.

Diesel comes in and cracks Snuka with the steel chair. The whole thing descends into anarchy and chairs are thrown everywhere. Savio Vega comes out and both teams are disqualified despite only one member of each team using weapons in 9:48.

2016 comments:

To say this is the worst match of the card should not be a complaint as this card has been terrific so far but this would be a bad match even if it had gone out on Sunday Night Heat. Awful, disgraceful, terrible attempt at wrestling.

1996 comments:

That Diesel fellow. I like him. I wish he were more… on fire.

Grade: F

Promo for the upcoming Shawn vs. Sid match. We see Shawn sliding down to the ring on a rope as the announcer tells us that all men have wanted to be the champeen. We see Sycho Sid cutting his mental promos. We see Shawn versus Vader, Bulldog and Mankind. Misunderstandings breeds contempt and Sid attempts to justify his insanity. Shawn is being cocky. Story of his life.

Out comes Sid with his Stone Cold jacket on. Sid’s mad music hits and out he comes, offering fist bumps to all and sundry. Is he a heel? Is he a face? The crowd threaten to spill into the aisle once again as Sid asks the crowd if they happen to know who the man is? It’s you, Sid. You’re the man. JR tells us that SID stands, not for Sidney, but for Suddenly I’m Dominant.

Picture in picture tells us that Shawn Michaels and Jose Lothario are on their way to the ring. Shawn is a bit distracted but once his music hits… well, it’s Shawn. He’s got the moves. The fans are actually grabbing onto him and holding him back from the ring. Security are called. Bowl Cut Kid looks on, his kingdom falling into disarray. Shawn slips into the ring and hits the pyro, pulling off his chaps. Oh, what a time to be alive! Sid nods away. The bell rings.

WWF Championship Match: Sycho Sid def. Shawn Michaels by pin in 20:02.

Both men go to the corner and Shawn chucks something in his mouth. The pair lock up and Shawn falls down to Sid’s punches with Michaels springing back up with each shot. Referee Earl Hebner says something to Sid and Shawn takes over, sliding between Sid’s legs, punching Sid to the ground and getting him in a bit of a rest hold. Shawn slaps Sid. Sid boots Shawn. Head scissors and a kip-up. Both men are great here tonight. Sid lifts Shawn into a gorilla press and goes for the back body drop but Sid attempts to give him the powerbomb. Shawn escapes and stands outside for some time.

Sid is getting angry and runs after Shawn, who runs about the ring and finally rolls in to take over. He gets a bunch of boos as well! My God. Is he going heel? The crowd dislike him. A “Sycho Sid!” chant rises. Shawn continues to work on the leg of Sid and goes into the figure four leglock. Sid tries to hang on but finds it difficult. Wrestling Caesar in the front row looks on unimpressed. JR takes this time to talk about how awesome Shawn is. Sid rolls over to “reverse” the figure four and Shawn gets the ropes to break the hold. The crowd boo heavily. Shawn drags Sid mid-ring but Sid fights back. On his feet, our man Sycho gives Michaels a kick to the ribs and watches him for a while.

Sid is in control, reverses into the cameraman and pushes the camera away angrily. Sid boots on Michaels and goes for the big boot, misses and Michaels continues to beat on Sid with a dropkick to the knee followed by a great boo from the fans. Michaels attempts the figure four and gets kicked twice. Michaels almost rolls outside, gets back in and Sid knocks him right back out. Sid takes Michaels to the entrance and gorilla presses him onto the railing. Crazy times. The crowd cheer Sid on and JR reminds us that Bret is set to take on the winner of this match. Sid kicks Shawn in the face and rolls him in. Sid goes for the pin but Shawn kicks out.

Great back body drop from Sid. Michaels is getting his fuck kicked in in the corner. JR tells us that Sid doesn’t need to be technically sound because he’s huge. An Irish whip in the corner and Michaels is turned inside out. He stunners Sid and goes for a crossbody but Sid catches him and hits the ribbreaker for a two-count. Sid hits a brutal Irish whip to Michaels and another. The clank of the turnbuckle is loud. Michaels calls for another Irish whip but Sid just punches him a bunch of times. Michaels starts to punch back but the crowd are not happy. Lovely bodyslam by Michaels and he goes to Bret’s rope for a lovely axe-handle nothing that he does a perfect bump for.

Million Dollar Dream city in the centre of the ring and there is two close two-counts before Shawn fights back. What a great bunch of boos from the crowd. Shawn goes for Sweet Chin Music but it is caught, countered and chokeslammed. Sid calls for the powerbomb and stands centre stage. Sid also is facing away from the damn hard cam. Shawn hits a roll-up and escapes the powerbomb but Sid is angry and hits a lovely powerslam to Shawn who escapes and kips up only to be mowed down by Sid. Another close two-count but the match continues.

Sid is in the corner, stealing the camera and Earl watches him, waiting for the cue. Jose is on the apron and Sid hits him with the camera. Shawn hits the Sweet Chin Music and chooses between the pin and Jose. He chooses Jose, pops out and asks for help. Sid is there, rolling Shawn into the ring and Michaels reverses a cross-body to hit Hebner. Shawn is still looking after Jose and takes a camera to the back of the head. Sid is no longer face! Or at least that’s what’s supposed to be happening!

Back in the ring, Sid goes for the powerbomb, hits it sloppily and Earl hits the one-two-three for Sid to win the WWF Championship in 20:02

2016 comments:

The weakest of Sid and Michael’s matches so far, and beset with timing issues, but still good.

1996 comments:

I don’t know who to love or hate. The crowd were not very clear about how they wanted me to feel.

Grade: B

Shawn runs to the outside to look after Jose, taking the heat away from Sid, who is celebrating mid-ring. Some smart cunt out in the audience has an NOW sign. Wrong company, bro, but we get that you’re a fan.

Sid has his time to celebrate but the crowd is still treating him like a face. Vladimir is there to hug Sid, which is nice for both of them. Sid asks the crowd if they happen to know who the man is and he fist bumps them all.

The Go Home Stats.

Man of the Matches: I’m going to go for Bret Hart. What a guy,

Woman of the Matches: Let me guess… Sunny, Marlena and Sable, right? Christ. None, once again.

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

Best Spot: Flash Funk’s moonsault to the outside.

Hatches: A few, mostly in the dark match: Bob Holly, Bret “The Hitman” Hart, Crush, Fake Diesel, Doug Furnas, Flash Funk AKA 2 Cold Scorpio, Superfly Jimmy Snuka, Phil Lafon, Fake Razor Ramon, The Sultan AKA Rikishi, Road Dogg Jesse James, Salvatore Sincere, The Iron Shiek, Rocky Maivia AKA The Rock, Uncle Zebekiah AKA Zeb Coulter.

Matches: Sycho Sid begins his first reign as WWF Champion.

Dispatches: None.

On The Card Hall Of Fame

Every “Big Four” PPV (Wrestlemania, Summerslam, Survivor Series, Royal Rumble) I will choose a man and woman to be inducted into the hall of fame. A man and woman must have been named either a Man of the Matches or Woman of the Matches in the previous months since the last “Big Four” PPV. Once a man or woman is inducted, they may not be inducted again but can still win Man of the Matches or Woman of the Matches. Through this, we can course the dizzying highs and savage lows of the wrestling landscape throughout the years. If no one new has been given the title of Man or Woman of the Matches, then a candidate will be chosen from the highest-rated matches since the last “Big Four” PPV. If no one is to be found there, then we go to the next highest-rated matches and so on. If we (unlikely) get to the bottom of the pile, then the Hall of Fame will remain empty to show the excellent calibre of the wrestlers and shallow roster.

Previous Men of the Matches: Shawn Michaels.

Nominated for Man of the Matches: Mark Henry, Undertaker, Bret Hart.

The Winner and Entrant to the Hall of Fame is… Undertaker for just being fucking awesome.

Previous Women of the Matches: Sunny.

Nominated for Woman of the Matches: Sunny, N/A, N/A.

The Winner and Entrant to the Hall of Fame is… No one because I have already chosen Sunny.

Closing Statements: Survivor Series 1996 was one of the strongest cards I have seen so far… until the last two matches let it down. I have the distinct feeling that that may have been because of the guys backstage rather than the talent of the men in the ring. I love Survivor Series every year and it’s nice to see that it was still amazing twenty years ago.

On the Card will return on December 15 2016 with In Your House 12: It’s Time.

Attitude Era #4. In Your House 10: Mind Games (Sept 22, 1996) Part 4

Previously on On the Card: Great Mark Henry match! And Goooooooldust!

Cut to Kevin Kelly backstage with our boy Shawn Michaels. Mankind has spoken about Paul Bearer leading him to his destiny. Michaels talks about being the best wrestler in the WWF and how he is going to go out and wrassle the wackiest guys ever. Kevin Kelly wonders aloud if Paul Bearer might use the casket. Michaels replies with the face that there’s not an awful lot going on upstairs with him and this is to his benefit as you cannot play mind games with someone who has no mind. Fair enough. Michaels says that he is about to leave to go to the ring and has no idea how it is going to go.

Back in the ring, a bunch of monks are leading a casket to the ring. Paul Bearer follows, his face scrunched up in a twist of disgust. JR says that “Mankind will do anything to his own body to win.” Mankind sits up in the casket, walks past Shawn’s pyro and rocks in the ring, cradling the urn of the Undertaker. It makes little sense for him to do that. The reason that the Undertaker gains his power from it is because it contains the ashes of his family… the family that he possibly killed.

Shawn’s music hits and there is a deafening pop from the crowd. Howard Finkel can hardly be heard. No barricades break this time as he pops into the ring, poses and the pyro goes off. Brilliant. He’s just a sexy boy, after all. Mr. Perfect says, “Look at Mankind! He doesn’t even know what’s going on with all the cheering and yelling,” as if he is a horse or some easily-spooked dog.

WWF Championship match: Shawn Michaels (c) def. Mankind via pinfall in 26:25.

Earl Hebner is the ref here. Both men circle each other before locking up. Michaels takes a terrific shot to the jaw and several punches to the face that he sells well. Mankind flips him high and then both men go over the top rope. Mankind wastes no time in chucking Michaels into the barricade and lifts the mat to expose the concrete. Michaels dropkicks the mat and then stomps over Mankind, climbs the turnbuckle and does a great cross body before rolling into the ring. His back is covered in gold dust. He was here.

Michaels jumps off the steel steps, rolls Mankind into the ring and hits him with a double axe handle smash. Mankind’s boot is caught, he is spun and punched a bunch of times. A body slam to the mat and Michaels hits the elbow before going for the Sweet Chin Music. Mankind sensibly runs out, screeching and begging Paul for the urn. Mankind finally goes back into the ring and the men beat on each other in the corner for a while. Mankind Irish whips Michaels and the champ goes for the crossbody but the madman retreats. Michaels does some ground-and-pound followed by a Russian leg sweep and some spooning. Michaels fights back and the punches he cracks Mankind with look legit.

Straight-up Shoot Fact: Mick Foley has an awful lot to say about this match. From his first book, quote: “We put twenty-seven minutes into what was undoubtedly the finest match of my carerr. There is no doubt in my mind that it was the best match of the year and one of the greatest in history.” Big words. He doesn’t actually explain how the match is good, though.

Earl shouts at Michaels and JR says, “It’s outta hand!” Michaels gets thrown to the outside and as Mankind moves the Spanish announcer’s table, Hugo Savinovich politely tells him not to until Michaels jumps over the table onto Mankind before suplexing him onto the steel steps, where he catches his leg. Looks rough. In the ring, Michaels tackles Mankind’s knee, throws him onto the casket and batters away on the left knee, even going to far as to push Earl Hebner away when he chastises him.

Mankind gets a leg drag with a twist from Michaels followed by a figure four. Great spot as Mankind falls back in pain and Earl starts to count the pin. Brilliant. Another fantastic dropkick from Michaels onto Mankind. He rolls him into a half-Boston crab and Paul holds the urn in front of Mankind as something to crawl towards. Michaels hits Mankind with a tilt-a-whirl pin, jumps for the head scissors and Mankind drops him back, hitting Michael’s neck on the top rope. He then takes what looks to be a pen from Paul Bearer’s pocket and stabs himself a bunch of times in the leg. Hardcore.

Mankind boots away on Shawn Michael’s head, gets him in the corner and cracks him with a running knee. Mankind then bites Michaels on the forehead. Mental. Michaels fights back with a backdrop followed by some meaty punches. Mankind is in tatters at this point… and covered in gold dust. Irish whip to Michaels and he baseball slides through Mankind’s legs. Quick scramble and Michaels is Irish whipped into the corner, is wrapped around it and falls into the tree of woe. Great punch to the face by Mankind and Earl tries to stop him but to no avail. Mr. Perfect: “The Heart Break Kid may be broken.”

Michaels goes to the outside and Foley follows him, getting some abuse from the crowd especially some lad in a green shirt. Mankind misses a knee to Michaels face and a drop toe hold drives his own head into the steel steps. Suplex into the ring from the apron is reversed but Michaels lands on the apron and jumps in to avoid Mankind’s run that ends up with Mick bouncing off the turnbuckle. Fantastic body slam in the middle of the ring and a two count. The two men run the ropes and Mankind gets caught in a hangman, the very move that caused him to lose an ear!

He escapes and after an aborted Mandible Claw, Mankind is thrown into Savinovich’s lap and cracked twice by a steel chair. Heel move, Michaels. Shawn then goes for Mankind’s claw hand. Shawn jumps off the ropes onto Mankind’s claw hand and is thrown outside the ring for it. Mankind jumps off the apron onto Michaels. Mankind dives out and hits mankind with a swinging neckbreaker.

Michaels gets back in and a leg drop on his neck stops him. Mankind goes for the cover but Shawn kicks out. He gives Michaels a brutal piledriver but Shawn kicks out… twice. He does some lovely leg-grip pin but Shawn kicks out. Mankind throws steel chairs into the ring and Earl removes them. Mankind goes for the casket and Shawn rolls in but jumps out quickly. Irish whip to jumping clothesline to kip-up combo, Michaels beats on Mankind, gets him with the body drop and jumping elbow but doesn’t get the pin. He goes for the second elbow but Mankind hits the ropes and Shawn lands on his bollocks. Mankind goes to the top rope and backdrops Shawn to the Spanish Announcer’s table on the outside. Vince is there to check on both men and Shawn is up in seconds, followed by Mick.

Paul Bearer distracts the ref as Mankind goes to the top rope with a steel chair. Michaels jumps up, kicks Mankind in the face and goes for the one… two… damn this is a slow count.

Oh that’s why. Vader is here. Vader, who fought Sid on the preshow dark match is here. Camp Cornette! Revenge!

Earl hits the bell despite the fact that Vader never lifted a finger onto Michaels. Paul Bearer comes in and bops Shawn on the head. Sid comes in and bops Vader. In the ring, Mankind is on his feet and he gets the Mandible Claw on Michaels, Bearer opens the casket to put Michaels in and-

OH SWEET JESUS THE UNDERTAKER IS ALREADY IN THERE.

Brilliant stuff all together.

Undertaker chases Mankind out and Shawn celebrates in the middle of the ring, exhausted, ready for a lie down.

The show ends with Paul and Mankind in a Coliseum Home Video Exclusive as both men shout at each other in the boiler room. P-Bizzle even took off his jacket. Back in the ring, Michaels tells an audience member to turn their sign upside down. Ha. Really nice moment, making sure that people don’t look like fools. Then he shows his arse tattoo and jumps out of the ring, hugging all the fans around the ring. He even goes to the announcers, ignoring Mr. Perfect, apologising to the Spanish announcers and their poor table. Highlights of the backdrop onto the table, Undertaker appearing etc.

2016 comments:

Was it the best match of the year? No. Was it Mick Foley’s best match? One of the best. Was it Shawn’s best match? Not even close. It was okay.

1996 comments:

I hope in the future all the matches involve people going through tables.

Grade: B

The Go Home Stats.

Man of the Matches: You know what, I’m going to say Mark Henry. For real. You deserve it, bro.

Woman of the Matches: Between Sunny and Marlena? I’m going to choose Sunny again.

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

Best Spot: That back drop onto the table. Well done, boys.

Hatches: Farooq (dark match performer), Mark Henry (as a performer), Hunter Hearst Helmsley (as a run-in).

Matches: Owen Hart and British Bulldog win the Tag Team belts from the Smoking Gunns. Shawn Michaels retains.

Dispatches: None.

Closing Statements: I have a soft spot for Mind Games, even though it’s not a great PPV all together. It’s the perfect PPV from the end of the New Generation to show new viewers what wrestling is all about – big characters, big drama and a fantastic finish.

On the Card will return on October 20th with In Your House 11: Buried Alive.

Attitude Era #4. In Your House 10: Mind Games (Sept 22, 1996) Part 2

Previously on On the Card: Bradshaw. That’s how bad it was.

Cut to Jim Cornette promo with snazzy 90’s background music. Jim makes fun of the fact that his opponent in the next match, José Lothario, is old. We see José constantly get one over on Cornette. Cornette never gets the upper hand, other than on the mic, which is fair enough because Lothario can hardly speak English! We know who is going to win this shitstorm, at least have the decency of making it look like Corny is sneaky enough to get Lothario from behind or some shit.

Vader’s music hits and out comes Corny with some shiny full-body suit. We cut to backstage and “Razor Ramon” and “Diesel” AKA Kane. This is the beginning of an aborted arc that was due to turn JR heel and would make fun of Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, both of whom recently left WWF for WCW. Corny gets on the mic and makes fun of the crowd and tells them that José is old. Irish Referee Tim White walks behind Corny, just destroying any heat the man had.

Shawn Michael’s music hits and out comes the man himself. José Lothario, that is, Shawn wouldn’t be seen dead leaving gorilla for anything less than main event. José is wearing his pants and jacket, clapping hands with the crowd and really facing it up. He, at the age of 61, is still in better shape than Bradshaw. Corny goes for the punch, José ducks it and the match begins.

José Lothario def. Jim Cornette via pin in 56 seconds.

Let’s not sell this as anything more than a joke, shall we? From the promo package, we see that Corny can’t even get the upper hand when cheating. He’s not a wrestler, he’s a mic man. You wouldn’t put Jimmy Hart in the ring, would you?

And I mean that, Jimmy Hart should never be near a ring, the man’s an asshole.

JR calls José 62 years old, which is false as he would not turn 62 until December 12th. He knocks Corny down, Irish whip on him followed by a crack off the turnbuckle. The announcers make fun of Jim’s weight. Vince’s new catchphrase seems to be, “Aaaaaaah fuggedabbit!” when the wrassler hits a particularly good move as the other tries to fight back. José hits two uppercuts (each with a “fuggedabbit!” He then gets the pin in 56 seconds.

2016 comments:

No.

1996 comments:

Why?

Grade: You do not deserve a rating, sir.

As José just walks straight out, he claps people’s hands and we are given a Coliseum Home Video exclusive interview with Savio Vega and Dok Hendrix. Savio is still covered in beer, the poor son of a gun. He mentions that he does not know if Razor or Diesel attacked them. Savio has some mad scars on the old forehead.

We cut back to the ring and Brian Pillman is on his way there, slapping at people and generally being Brian Pillman. He’s like Dean Ambrose or Kurt Cobain: handsome and mental. Bret had dropped some words for Brian: “You are a liar,” he said. He turned to his brother Owen and said, “You’re just as bad a liar as Brian! You’re both liars!”

Brian rasps on the mic, making fun of Philadelphia again. You don’t need to make fun of it, Brian, everyone who has been in Philly knows it’s a shithole. He calls the fans illiterate degenerates. Vince apologises. Out comes Slammy Award-Winning Owen. Owen is fantastic. Cut to a great “Owen Hart, King of Farts” sign. Owen talks about how he is the best Hart and Bret is jealous. Both of them rag on Bret and then the crowd. Owen reveals that Bret is afraid of turning up, but not afraid of Brian, nor Owen… but of Stone Cold Steven Austin.

Out comes the 1996 King of the Ring to his old music, still, and he’s wearing a great waistcoat and jeans. Stone Cold’s beard is looking great and he starts into a great promo calling Bret Hart less than a chicken… specifically, “The slimy substance that runs out the south end of a chicken.” Scathing. The guys crack up in the ring but Stone Cold’s verbal beatdown is not over.  “Let me make one thing clear… if you put the letter S in front of Hitman, you’ll see how I feel about Bret Hart.” Austin hopes that Bret is resigned so that he can kick his ass. The crowd do not like this and they are certainly not fans of Brian’s anti-Philly sentiments either. Some guys actually stand up to shout abuse, either not understanding that wrestling is scripted or, because they are Philly fans after all, genuinely looking to fight someone.

Cut to Mark Henry, the world’s strongest man, who has yet to make his Fed debut in the ring, as he walks around the City of Brotherly Love. He looks at buildings. He checks out the Liberty Bell. He looks at a statue of a founding father. He strokes a horse. We see the skyline and then the CoreStates Centre of which, Vince tells us, the people of Philadelphia are extremely proud. It’s only a building, jeepers, calm down.

Bulldog’s music hits and out comes Davey Boy Smith and his brother-in-law, Owen Hart, who left the ring just to reenter.

Cut to Dok Hendrix, who is standing in front of Clarence Mason, the famous immigration man.

Back in the ring, the Smoking Gunns come out. Bart walks on ahead of Billy and Sunny, like they’re all fighting. Bart shouts at them to hurry up. Do I taste tag team dissention in the air? The Gunns are the tag champs… but also heels. And both Owen and Bulldog are heels. This doesn’t make any sense. Who do we root for?

Sunny jumps into the ring and points skyward where her promotional image is set to unfurl, just like it did in the last PPV at Summerslam. There is a pop and-

OH WHAT.

The picture is defaced! 30 feet of moustaches and glasses on our beloved Sunny, signed with a “To Bulldog & Owen All My Love, Sunny *”

Those wicked whelps!

Sunny obviously has a tantrum about it as Billy attempts to comfort her. Bart just wants the match to start. They’re dying to give a whuppin’ to these darn Canuck-lovin’ Canucks. Sunny complains that “it’s not fair!” which is not a statement you would attribute to a defacing of your image, but there we go.

WWF Tag Team Championship Match: Owen Hart and The British Bulldog def. The Smoking Gunns (c) via pinfall in 10:59.

The bell rings and Billy and Owen start. Ould Clarence “Immigration” Mason comes down to the ring, of course, both Owen and Bulldog are immigrants and will be removed from the great country of America pretty quickly. Great chain-wrestling from Owen and Billy. Lots of running the ropes and holds. Bart takes over and shows his strength. Bulldog is tagged in and the two strongest men in the match batter each other as much as they can. Owen tags in and tackles Bart right in the back of the knee.

Owen takes advantage of Bart’s leg injury by busting him in the corner with two superb kicks. Bulldog takes over and repeats the damage. Owen is tagged back in and repeats his attack on Bart’s leg. Jr mentions that Bulldog and Owen are cutting the ring in half. Owen leg drops Bart’s leg and Vince tells us to fuggedabbit. Another tag and Bulldog is in again, holding Bart with a stalling suplex. Such strength. He follows it up with a great flip and goes for the pin but gets two.

There is some confusion as Owen pops in without a tag being seen by the ref. Vince quips that, “You must have to be Rubber Man or Plastic Man or… Andre the Giant to make that tag!” Near fall and we are told to forget about it again. Bulldog is in and his running of the ropes is stopped by Billy. The action spills to the outside and Bulldog is thrown into the steps. Back in the ring, Bart swings Bulldog around in some modified Irish whip. Bart gets on all fours and Billy launches off his back onto Bulldog in the corner. A tag and both JR and Vince wonder why such a thing has happened. Bart gets Bulldog into a sidewalk slam position and Billy mounts the turnbuckle. He jumps, double knees to Bulldog.

A pin attempt is ruined by Owen jumping from one corner, the distraction by Clarence Mason on the apron. Bulldog rolls over, gets the pin but Billy kicks out on two and a half. Bart comes in and hits Bulldog with a bodyslam followed by knees to his chest. Owen tries to break up the double-teaming in the ring. Bart is back in and not much is happening, all men are gassed. Bart goes to bodyslam Bulldog but he escapes, launching Bart into Billy and Sunny, who are having a chat in the corner. Bulldog hits Bart with the running powerslam and gets the pin as Owen boots Billy in the face to stop the pin break. Bulldog gets the three, the win and the Tag belts in 10:59.

2016 comments:

Always nice to see Bulldog. Confused about who to root for, Kayfabe, though.

1996 comments:

That’s a Tag Team belt change and no one seems to care.

Grade: C

Owen and Bulldog celebrate as the Gunns commiserate. The winner’s arms are raised on the outside, which makes no sense. I know why now: Sunny wants on the mic. Her words are more important than new Tag Team champs. Sunny calls the Gunns losers as they follow her about the ring. She calls them liars, stomps about and runs out of the arena as Billy follows her.

On the Card will return on October 6th with part 3 of Mind Games.

Attitude Era #3. SummerSlam (August 18, 1996) Part 5

Previously on On the Card: Boiler Room Brawl.

Smash cut to Vader hugging air with Jim Cornette having a wild time behind him, Dok Hendrix in front. Cornette drops a promo about how Vader can beat Shawn. Vader’s music hits and out he comes, the big heap. 456 pounds of manliness walks past the old TVs that were used to watch the Boiler Room Brawl. The pyro is being set up as Vader can’t seem to find his way into the ring, throwing the stairs about the place. Vince bigs up Shawn a lot, but not as a competitor, more as a product of the WWF. He tells us that when he comes out, “you’ll know all about sports entertainment,” which is silly.

Shawn’s music hits and out he pops in sequins with José Lothario. The camera stays in strange places for a bit and when it comes back, we see that Shawn has a blonde girl around his neck. She gives him a kiss and some cunt behind her in the crowd does the V-finger-licking gesture for lesbians or whatnot. What an idiot. Vader is not impressed and just walks around the ring in circles. We don’t want a repeat of last month when the entire barricade fell. Shawn does his whole sexy boy entrance and the pyro goes off. The crowd are ballistic. Brilliant. I’ve barely seen or heard such a response from women for a wrestler. Maybe Val Venis.

One girl in the crowd is crying her heart covered eyes out. The bell does and we are starting.

WWF Championship match: Shawn Michaels (c) w/ José Lothario def. Vader w/ Jim Cornette via pinfall in 28:59

Almost half an hour long? This better be the best damn match I’ve ever seen.

Earl Hebner is the official here today. Brown hair this time around. Just wait, Earl, the stress will get to you soon. Vader punches our man Michaels for a while and gives off to the champ, knocking him to the floor with a big shot. Michaels catches Vader’s boot, drops the man and starts wailing on him. JR says that this is smart, keeping the big man down. Vader is tossed over the top rope and Shawn goes for the baseball slide, knocking the wind from the big man. This is followed by a great suicide dive and Vader is down. Jim Cornette is chatting to Vader and Shawn slides back out, terrifying Cornette.

Michaels goes for the hurricanrana and jumps on his back for an electric chair, pulling Vader to the outside and going for another hurricanrana that Vader reverses into a powerbomb. Michaels is on the outside, he is hurt and Vader is in the ring. No count out yet. Vader is back outside and dragging Shawn to the stairs, up, onto the apron and then tosses Michaels inside. Vader hits Michaels with a great suplex.

Vader starts to beat on Michaels in the corner and Hebner is angry as shit about it. Two Irish whips, both of which turn Michaels inside out, the second one tosses him to the outside. Vader goes to leave and Michaels tries to enter. Hebner tells Vader to get away from him and spends a lot of time telling Vader that he cannot wrestle the way he wants to, which is odd. Vader hits Michaels with a great drop, goes for a wee walk with Michaels and goes for a backdrop. Michaels fights back and Vader takes control. Another backdrop and Michaels reverses. Each time Michaels gets a comeback, Vader knocks him on his arse. Even Shawn punching raises an awesome pop from the crowd, they are super behind him.

Michaels goes over the rope, pulls him back over, gets Vader in the head scissors and it is reversed as Vader, his head halfway up Michaels’ arse, throws him about the ring. Hug city.

Michaels is getting back from the hug, his foot is going. He goes for a knee, he goes for a clothesline, he goes for a baseball slide under Vader and hits him with a cheap shot in the nuts. Earl doesn’t do a God damned thing and the crowd pop. Your WWF Champ, a face, just low blowed his opponent and you are cheering. Shower of bastards.

Michaels slaps his elbow and goes to the top of the turnbuckle. He goes for the elbow, decides halfway through that he won’t be able to reach, lands on his feet, stomps Vader and starts shouting at him, stomping him again. Vader was supposed to roll away so that Shawn could land on his feet and do an elbow drop from a standing position, but he didn’t. The pair of them then toss over the edge and Michaels swipes at the cameraman in his face. He’s being an absolute cunt right now. Vader gorilla presses Michaels and Earl Hebner does the quickest count-out in history to give Vader the win…

But Jim Cornette isn’t happy. A belt cannot change hands on a countout. He wants a rematch. Irish Referee Tim White is there, ready to help Michaels up. Hebner comes out for a wee chat. Shawn starts to walk down the aisle, turns, decides that he is not gutless and returns to the ring, limping. After all his heel antics, this does little to endear him. Old Howard Finkel goes on the mic to tell the crowd that the match will continue and instantly, Vader is on Michaels, slapping the bejesus out of him. José Lothario is giving Vader some lip. Vader slashes at him and Earl drags José away, only for Jim Cornette to smack him with the tennis racket. In the ring, Vader hits Michaels with a belly-to-belly and a close two-count.

From a smark perspective, we know that the match is not nearly over yet. Neither man has hit his finisher. Vader sets Michaels up for the old powerbomb and Michaels punches the shit out of him, runs the ropes, does a kip-up, hits the big elbow and starts kicking the ground for the Sweet Chin Music. Cornette interferes, Michaels grabs his racket and goes to town on Vader and Jim Cornette. DQ on Michaels’ part and Vader wins again. Real heel activities from the Fed Champ. Once again, Jim is on the mic. A baker’s dozen of men in the ring. Cornette is double-dog-daring Michaels to restart the match and when Gorilla Monsoon says yes, the two men go mental on each other. Howard Finkel belatedly tells the crowd it’s a rematch.

Michaels hits the elbow (again), goes for Sweet Chin Music (finally) and pins Vader for the three in-

WAIT VADER KICKED OUT?

Michaels cannot believe it. The crowd cannot believe it. Vader and Michaels brawl, Earl is thrown to the outside. Vader hits the powerbomb and a second referee jumps in, but Michaels just kicks out on two. Vader drags Michaels to the turnbuckle to hit the old Vader Bomb. He stops… he climbs to the top and-

HOLY JESUS THAT MAN JUST MOONSAULTED.

VADER JUST DID A BACKFLIP.

VADER MISSED MICHAELS ON THE BACKFLIP.

Michaels rolls out of the way and drags himself up to the top rope, hits a moonsault of his own and gets the pin in 28:59.

FINALLY.

2016 comments:

Michaels comes across as such a ballbag in this match. At the time, he was a total diva backstage and this was one of the matches that led to him wanting to get away from Vader because he felt he was too snug with his moves. This was not a great match. It had the capacity to be and was very exciting on the outset but something in the execution and the mood following Vader’s botch really sucks the energy out of this bout.

1996 comments:

Christ Jesus, that man can moonsault.

Grade: B

Michaels and Vader roll about in the ring for a while. The baker’s dozen enter the ring again and we see replays of the moonsaults while everyone looks around, upset at the ending. Vader leaves, which is interesting as nowadays, he would beat down Michaels to get his heat back. Michaels limps about and the PPV is over.

The Go Home Stats.

Man of the Matches: All of the matches were okay but not brilliant. Summerslam tried to cram too much into too little and wasted time with Mark Henry and the God damned King. I was going to give this to Owen but I feel that Undertaker did such a good job making us feel sorry for an unholy zombie wrestler, so well done, Taker, you are the man of these matches.

Woman of the Matches: I’m beginning to repeat myself here. Marlena, Sable, Sunny. It’s tough, I know, but I have to give it to Sunny. That big picture was great.

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

Best Spot: Once again, the first few minutes of Undertaker’s match was great. Very spooooky.

Hatches: Yokozuna.

Matches: Both The Smoking Gunns and Shawn Michaels retained their championships.

Dispatches: None! Everyone comes back!

On The Card Hall Of Fame

Every “Big Four” PPV (Wrestlemania, Summerslam, Survivor Series, Royal Rumble) I will choose a man and woman to be inducted into the hall of fame. A man and woman must have been named either a Man of the Matches or Woman of the Matches in the previous months since the last “Big Four” PPV. Once a man or woman is inducted, they may not be inducted again but can still win Man of the Matches or Woman of the Matches. Through this, we can course the dizzying highs and savage lows of the wrestling landscape throughout the years. If no one new has been given the title of Man or Woman of the Matches, then a candidate will be chosen from the highest-rated matches since the last “Big Four” PPV. If no one is to be found there, then we go to the next highest-rated matches and so on. If we (unlikely) get to the bottom of the pile, then the Hall of Fame will remain empty to show the excellent calibre of the wrestlers and shallow roster.

Man of the Matches: Shawn Michaels, Goldust, Undertaker.

The Winner and Entrant to the Hall of Fame is… Shawn Michaels for his dedication to the craft, excellent matches and headlining every PPV so far.

Woman of the Matches: Sunny, Marlena, Sunny.

The Winner and Entrant to the Hall of Fame is… Sunny for being awesome.

Closing Statements: SummerSlam ’96 was a classic but not for the right reasons. Whilst there were some great matches there, it was marred by a less-than-stellar main event, long matches that went nowhere and lack of tension in the storylines. By this point, Camp Cornette and Michaels have been at war for ages and no one else is getting a looksee. Mankind vs. Undertaker is nice but we’re sick of seeing the Godwinns and the Gunns wrassle. Interesting characters, varied storylines and matches with a threat is what is needed. Hopefully we will see that soon.

On the Card will return on September 22nd with In Your House 10: Mind Games.

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.