ATTITUDE ERA #10: WRESTLEMANIA 13 (Mar 23, 1997) PART 1

On the Card: Attitude Era #10 WrestleMania 13 – March 23, 1997

In the previous entry, I looked at In Your House 13: Final Four. It was okay. The next PPV was WrestleMania! The thirteenth of its name!

Over the next few weeks, I will review this PPV from the perspectives of a fan looking back at it after two decades as well as my original thoughts as a teenager watching it at the time (though this particular PPV was one I watched in 1998 as my family did not have the channels necessary to watch wrasslin’).

WWF In Your House 13: Final Four 1997

Heat!

That’s right, motherfuckers: heat!

If there is one thing I remember about WrestleMania 13, it’s that I was always told it was the greatest Mania of all time. Back in the day, my family couldn’t afford PPVs and sometime in 2000, Channel 4 here in Ireland got the WWF. It was terrific. Until then, I had to rely on my friends who sometimes taped parts of Raw and some PPVs. It was like a really bad jigsaw puzzle… or every JRPG where you need to collect the sacred relics to recreate the yadda yadda and one part is in the frigid northlands (my friend Peter may have had the first hour of the Rumble) and the second bit is in the swamp (my buddy Decky had a lot of Mania 14, but the rest was some badly-dubbed German porn) etc. etc. A lot of my wrestling knowledge of this time comes from these sketchy memories, later helped by the advent of DVD and my job in TK Maxx that fuelled my extensive PPV collection. What I remember about Mania 13 is that my buddy Shane had it on tape and it was amazing to watch.

This takes me back. The PPV opens with a WrestleMania retrospective (including, 30 seconds in, a lovely shot of Pamela Anderson). We see Undertaker, Stone Cold, NOD, Sid, Bret, LOD and an announcer who thinks that he is narrating Game of Thrones. He also calls WrassleMania “the granddaddy of them all”, which is great.

Brilliant early nineties snazzy music as the weakest pyro in Christendom announces our arrival to the Rosemount Horizon, Rosemount, Chicago, Illinois. Playstation presents WrassleMania 13! Our announcers are growling Vincent Kennedy McMahon… and we don’t know who else because he doesn’t introduce them! There were 19,197 in attendance, with 16,467 paying with 2,730 comps and an average ticket sale of $50 per person. 237,000 buys at home, a dip from the 290,000 the year before, but the lowest PPV sales since the 1986 Mania which had a quarter of a million buys. This marks the steady decline in sales that started in 1993 and just kept getting lower until the sales exploded again the next year. Since then, they have remained (fairly) steady and around the 1,000,000 mark.

It is worth noting that this is often cited as the beginning of the Attitude Era, along with King of the Ring (my own personal “beginning”) and Survivor Series 1997 and the “Montreal Screwjob”.

Some cunts in the front row, some smarky ones have Blue World Order signs and t-shirts.

And before anything else happens, just to remind people that before the Attitude Era, there was childish nonsense, the Godwinns music hits and the pair of them rock up with Hillbilly Jim.

 (Note: Before the PPV began there was a dark match featuring Billy Gunn defeating Flash Funk and his two Funkettes: Tracy and Nadine.)

The Fink introduces the four-team elimination match as Phineas I. Godwinn and Henry O. Godwinn slap the shite out of everyone’s hands.

We finally get introduced to our announce team: Jerry “The King” Lawler, Vince McMahon and Jumping Jim “JR” Ross. Out Spanish announcers and clear stars of the show are Hugo Savinovich and Carlos Cabrera. French announcers are Jean Brassard and Ray Rougeau. Great. Vince says, “In any language, it spells, ‘excitement’.”

The Headbangers come down, old Mosh and Thrasher, and we get told the rules: A tag can be made to any man. Any man at all. Two partners can tag themselves in, if they damn well please. When one member of a team is eliminated, they are both eliminated and the last team remaining wins. What do they win? They are the number one contender for the WWF Tag Team Championship of course! And where are the Tag Team Champions? Later in the PPV they wrassle, so chill young blood.

Down come Stiffy McStiff, Doug Furnas and Phil LaFon. There is little craic from the pair of them.

Before the New Blackjacks come down, we see the New Blackjacks, Cunt Bradshaw and Blackjack Windham AKA Barry Windham.

All hell breaks loose and the bell goes.

Four-Way Elimination Tag Match for the Number One Contender for the WWF Tag Team Championship: The Headbangers (Mosh and Thrasher) def. The New Blackjacks (Blackjack Windham and Blackjack Bradshaw, The Godwinns (Phineas I. Godwinn and Henry O. Godwinn) (w/ Hillbilly Jim) and Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon in 10:39.

Christ, what a long title, by gum.

Everyone is fighting each other and trying to get the teams to their respective corners (which is stupid on his part, the ref should not have allowed the bell to ring). Bradshaw and Henry wrassle for a bit. Thrasher is tossed in and takes a boot from Bradshaw. Bradshaw, of course, in decent shape for a change. Bradshaw tags in Phineas and I can see that the wide-angle hard cam has some frame rate issues and I (hope) it’s not my ancient DVD that is doing it. Mosh is tagged in and the pair have to wrassle each other. Both the Headbangers have metal t-shirts on, with Mosh rocking a Metallica and Thrasher with a White Zombie T. The pair of them actually fight and tag in Phil Lafon with a lovely double flapjack. Blackjack Windham is in with his big moustache. Doug Furnas rocks in and hits a jumping hurricanrana. He tries a leapfrog, is caught, powerbombed and Bradshaw is tagged in.

King debates whether or not if two team members are in the ring and pin each other… do they both leave? Yes. Yes they do. Bradshaw drops Doug onto the outside. Bradshaw gets himself DQ’d by throwing the ref onto the ground.

Blackjack Bradshaw has been eliminated by DQ. The Blackjacks are eliminated in 4:55.

Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon have been eliminated in 4:55.

Stupid, stupid Bradshaw. He really does come across like the king of cunts, doesn’t he? Well he is. He’s the worst.

Phineas bodyslams Mosh then bodyslams Henry onto him. Silly gooses. Lovely huge delayed suplex. Jerry makes a Clinton joke. Say it to my face, Jerry, I dare you.

Henry tosses Thrasher into the corner. They spit on each other for a while. Thrasher does a lovely Flair flop spot and Mosh is tagged. Both Henry and Mosh go over the top rope. Mosh goes in first and guillotines Henry before jumping from the top rope. He shouts at the camera and then tosses Thrasher off the top rope. Vince tells us to forget about it and we do.

Jerry asks Vince if he has any White Zombie CDs. He doesn’t get it. Lovely big moonsault from Thrasher and he hits the hot tag on Mosh. Phineas clears the ring, throws Thrasher out, goes for the Slop Drop but it’s broken up. Mosh hits the seated senton and gets the pin in 10:39

Henry O. Godwinn has been eliminated by Mosh. The Godwinns are eliminated in 10:39.

The Headbangers are the winners and Number One Contenders for the WWF Tag Team Championship!

2017 comments:

Not bad, actually, and the crowd seemed to be into it. Seemed like a match called on the fly and would have preferred if it was just Godwinns vs. Headbangers without the bit at the start, being honest.

1997 comments:

I like these Headbanger yokes. Maybe I should listen to some White Zombie.

Grade: B

JR tries to explain the seated senton to us. They go backstage.

There is a promo for In Your House on April 20th. It doesn’t have a name yet. It will be “Revenge of the Taker”.

Back in the ring, it’s the fucking Honky Tonk Man. Captain Lou Albano is there. He’s the best. JR namedrops the fact that Honky and King are cousins.

The Sultan’s music hits and out comes Sheiky Baby with Rikishi, who, despite being a Samoan, is pretending to be Persian. Bob Backlund is there too, for some unknown reason. Sultan wears a mask. He could be a great gimmick, but it isn’t. This is an Intercontinental Championship match but there’s no history here.

Down runs Slammy Award-winning proto-Rock, Rocky Maivia. He has the old sideburns there as well.

Sheiky throws the flag about. Close up of Tony Atlas, tag partner of Rock’s dad, Rocky Johnson.

WWF Intercontinenatal Championship match: Rocky Maivia (c) def. The Sultan (w/ Bob Backlund and The Iron Sheik) via pin in 9:45.

Rock and Sultan are cousins in real life. Later, Sultan will run over Stone Cold Steve Austin for The Rock. Honky gives off because he says Rock is growing sideburns to impress him. Rock does this weird finger thing and Sultan bops him. Kip-up and the Rock kicks the shite out of Sultan, throwing him out. Rocky goes top rope but Sultan doesn’t see him. The crowd roar, “Rocky sucks!” and we see the beginning of the hatred for Rock. Jerry says that Rocky’s name should be Rookie! Brilliant.

Sultan kicks Rock in the gut and Rock is up, taking a choke-throw to the corner. Sultan attempts to pin Rock and fails. Rock covers his mouth to have a chat with Sultan, fights back, ducks a clothesline, takes a knee to the knee for his trouble and a lovely backbreaker. Sultan goes top rope and misses Rock, but both sell it anyways. Another cover, another fail. Irish whip and Rocky hits the sunset flip. Sultan double-chokes Rocky to lift him up, hits the belly-to-belly and another pin attempt. The announcers shit on Sultan and his speed.

Rest hold city from the pair of them. Earl Hebner is watching. Jerry makes a Christopher Reeve joke. Oy vey. More rest holds from Sultan. Rock looks like he might be out. The crowd is quite, quite dead. Earl hits my favourite spot – the hand drop! On the third, Rock wakes up and both men hit the clothesline at the same time. Rock rolls over onto Sultan and after a kickout, both men jump up. Shite selling, boys. You can’t be unconscious and wake up in seconds. Lovely punches, lovely dropkick, Rock hits the belly-to-belly, gets a kickout after two, hits a lovely spinning DDT, goes to the top rope, hits the cross-body and Sheiky Baby is distracting the ref. Sultan is up, but Rock hits the punches, the kicks, gets a superkick to the jaw, kicks out of a pin. Sultan piledrives Rock into the damn canvas and Honky makes a wheelchair reference. For shame, boys. Rocky hits the roll-up and gets the win by pin in 9:45.

2017 comments:

An okay match. Badly paced, though and neither men know how to sell.

1997 comments:

Are all these lads related?

Grade: B

JR goes to speak to Rock and Sultan is up and beating on Rock with the Intercontinental belt. Sheiky Baby, Backlund and Sultan beat on Rock. Sultan hits the frog splash, Sheik gets the camel clutch, breaks back, makes humble. Rocky Johnson is in the ring! By Christ, he’s in, he’s battering on Sultan and helping up Rock. Sultan gets the flag, beats on Rocky Johnson, tears off his shirt and Sheiky goes to camel Clutch but Rock is up, knocking Sultan out, turns on Sheiky Baby, hits a lovely scoop slam and Rocky does the same. Both men punch out Sheik and the pair of them hug mid-ring, shirts off. Earl cleans the house.

On the Card will return on March 30 2017 with the second part of WrestleMania 13.

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Attitude Era #6. Survivor Series (November 17, 1996) Part 1

In the previous entry, I looked at In Your House 11: Buried Alive 1996. It was an okay PPV with a good, creepy main event but the WWF Champion didn’t take to the mat until after the cameras started rolling. The next PPV was Survivor Series 96 and was the tenth of its name. The gimmick of Survivor Series was that it was an annual event that took place around Thanksgiving and had huge elimination-style tag team matches, usually between the heel faction and the face faction of the day.

Over the next four weeks, I will review this PPV from the perspectives of a fan looking back at it after two decades as well as my original thoughts as a teenager watching it at the time (though this particular PPV was one I watched in 1998 as my family did not have the channels necessary to watch wrasslin’).

WWF Survivor Series

Back to Attack

The tagline makes no sense and the poster has Shawn Michaels, Sid Vicious, newcomer Bret Hart and Stone Cold Steve Austin’s heads floating between two buildings. Shawn is wearing the same expression he did during the poster for Mind Games back in September, so not much has changed there.

There is no Big Red WWF title screen this time around, just an announcer speaking over sped-up shots of New York to show how fast the city that never sleeps really is. Tonight, Shawn vs. Sid. Tonight, Bret vs. Stone Cold. Tonight, Undertaker vs. Mankind. And other people!

MB Karate Fighters sponsor the 1996 Survivor Series. 18,647 people are crammed into Madison Square Garden in New York. 199,000 people watching at home, a rise from an all-time low of 1995 at 128,000 buys. A taxi slides over the top of the screen as our announcing team is introduced: Vincent Kennedy McMahon, Jerry “The King” Lawler and Good Ol’ Jim “JR” Ross. There is literally no time for anything else as the first match is about to get underway!

 (Note: Before the PPV began, there was a 30-minute show called Free-For-All, which was the nineties equivalent of the Preshow, full of promos and summaries of recent TV matches. There was an exclusive match on Free-For-All and had little to do with the actual PPV but was full of names that would become huge over the next wee while (though not with the names they appear here with): Jesse James (AKA Road Dogg Jesse James), Aldo Montoya (AKA Rat-Faced Knacker Justin Credible), Bob Holly (AKA Hardcore Holly), Bart Gunn (AKA Bodacious Bart Gun) versus the team of The Sultan (AKA Rikishi), Justin Bradshaw (AKA Cunt JBL), Salvatore Sincere (AKA Tom Brandi) and Billy Gunn (AKA Bad-Ass Billy Gunn). They were joined by The Iron Sheiky Baby and Uncle Zebekiah (AKA Zeb Coulter).

The British Bulldog’s music hits and out comes the man himself looking like a bust sausage along with his team of Slammy-Award-Winning Owen Hart and The New Rockers Marty Janetty and Leif Cassidy (AKA Al Snow). They are accompanied by Immigration Clarence Mason, who is just waiting for someone to mess up and get sent home.

The other team turn up, Phil Lafon and Doug Furnas, who are a pair of arses. They appear with the Gosh-Darned Godwinns Henry O. (in yellow) and Phineas I. (in red) with Hillbilly Jim. There is a Karate Fighters zeppelin flying about the arena that just crashes into the stands and stays there. Oh, the humanity!

The announcers comment on the smell of the Godwinn boys and the heel team shout at the crowd for some time before the bell rings to start the match.

Survivor Series Tag Team Match: Doug Furnas, Phil Lafon, Phineas I. Godwinn and Henry O. Godwinn (w/ Hillbilly Jim) def. Owen Hart, The British Bulldog, Marty Jannetty and Leif Cassidy (w/ Clarence Mason) via elimination in 20:41.

Marty Jannetty sneaks about the ring, trying to tickle his opponents until finally Phil Lafon comes into the ring and gets Marty into a great arm lock that Jannetty gets out of by jumping off the top rope. He takes a brutal clothesline from Phil and tags out. At this point, Leif Cassidy comes in but Marty hops about outside, clearly very badly hurt, or at least selling a leg injury very well. Both Leif and Phil have some great chain-wrestling in the middle of the ring with a submission manoeuver that is cancelled by a grab to the bottom rope.

Phineas comes into the ring and spits into the air, catches it and rubs it into his hair. JR talks about the Clintons. How apt.

Leif gives Phineas an absolutely lovely body slam but the hillbilly isn’t very happy about it and responds with a body slam of his own. He goes to bounce off the ropes and Jannetty hits him in the back. Owen is tagged in and Bulldog helps him double-team Phineas. They distract the ref and take the time to beat on the Godwinn until Leif comes back in and tags in hurt-leg Marty Jannetty. The announcers reveal that Owen is ticked off at Bret returning. Marty goes to the top rope and attempts a high-risk move but is thwarted by Phineas who attempts a superplex which is equally countered. Marty then tried an elbow drop and Phineas rolls out of the way to tag in his brother Henry.

JR tells us “Business is gonna pick up!” and indeed it does. Henry beats on Marty for a while, tossing him around like a great big child. When Henry goes into the corner, Phines dives in front of him, cushioning the blow. Leif attempts the same for his teammate and gets a boot to his chest from Henry for his efforts. Henry gets Marty in position for the Slop Drop and eliminates him with a pin.

Marty Jannetty has been eliminated by Henry Godwinn in 8:12.

Owen rolls in, hits Henry with a spinning heel kick and eliminated him with a pin.

Henry Godwin has been eliminated by Owen Hart in 8:18.

The teams are equal once again. Phineas is in and he’s cleaning house, throwing everyone out. Owen tags Bulldog in who hits Phineas with a powerslam and eliminates him with a pin.

Phineas Godwinn has been eliminated by The British Bulldog in 9:04.

Sweet baby Jesus, that’s three pins in less than a minute. The teams are now 3-2 with the advantage being the heel team of Leif Cassidy, Owen Hart and The British Bulldog. Both Godwinns are out and only Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon survive. Bulldog and Furnas waste time as a replay is shown on the screen. Some lovely running of the ropes until Furnas botches a dropkick and lands awkwardly. JR sells the dropkicks and tells us Furnas was a world-class powerlifter at one time. Owen strangles Furnas and Leif hits a half-Nelson slam followed by a brutal spinebuster.

Furnas is in the corner and getting beaten on by the heel time. Hart hits Furnas with a fantastic dropkick, almost killing him. Furnas gets Owen in a small package and receives a clothesline as a receipt followed by a fisherman suplex with bridge. JR wonders why there are two referees (one on the outside and one on the in) yet there are so many double teams. Bulldog hits a lovely delayed suplex (such strength) and tags out to get Leif in. Furnas has been getting his arse handed to him for a while now. He needs to tag out of build some momentum. Hot tag to Lafon who hits Cassidy with a reverse suplex from Bret’s rope followed by a quick pin.

Leif Cassidy has been eliminated by Phil Lafon in 13:43.

What a move! What a guy! Bulldog comes in, both teams down to two. Lafon and Bulldog have a lovely back-and-forth including some lovely chops. A pin attempt and fail. Bulldog gives Phil a huge press and Owen is in, hitting Lafon with a belly-to-belly followed by a neckbreaker and elbow drop from Bret’s rope. Lafon is kicking out from every move going and Vince tells us to forget about the double clothesline Owen and Bulldog hit Lafon with. Bulldog hits Lafon between the legs like a prick. JR complains about Harvey Whippleman. Lafon tries to get a tag but Owen knocks Furnas off the apron. In the ensuing chaos, Bulldog appears and a failed double-team ends with Bulldog getting pinned!

The British Bulldog has been eliminated by Phil Lafon in 17:22.

It’s only Owen left versus the newcomers! Oh good Lord! What a time to be alive! Bulldog doesn’t take his elimination lightly and tackles Lafon’s leg, which Owen then goes for again and again. Vince suggests that we might see the Sharpshooter in a moment. Owen leg drops Lafon’s leg and gets ready for the Sharpshooter. Lafon is surviving it but Furnas jumps in to break the hold and Owen breaks it himself. Ladfon gets the reverse enziguri and Furnas is tagged in. Owen takes a lovely dropkick followed by a lovely belly-to-belly followed by a German suplex for the pin in 20:41.

Owen Hart has been eliminated by Doug Furnas. The survivors are Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon!

2016 comments:

Very good match. Very happy with it. Slow start but great end. If every match on the card attempts to be as good as that then this is going to be a great Survivor Series.

1996 comments:

I don’t know half of these lads but by Christ they can wrassle.

Grade: A+

Jerry calls them upstarts and punks, threatening that Owen and Bulldog might raise some merry hell at this. We see a bit of the replay.

Cut to outside on New York City.

On the Card will return on November 24 with the second part of Survivor Series 1996.

Attitude Era #4. In Your House 10: Mind Games (Sept 22, 1996) Part 1

In the previous entry, I looked at Summerslam 1996. It was an okay PPV with a main event that lasted far too long. The next PPV was called International Incident and was a part of a long-running collection of PPVs called In Your House. The purpose of the In Your House PPVs were to give the audience a cheaper and more frequent WWF experience. At the time, the WWF only had four big PPVs – Royal Rumble in January, Wrestlemania near Easter, Summerslam in August and Survivor Series near Thanksgiving. The months in between were filled with In Your House PPVs and this was one of them.

Over the next four weeks, I will review this PPV from the perspectives of a fan looking back at it after two decades as well as my original thoughts as a teenager watching it at the time (though this particular PPV was one I watched in 1998 as my family did not have the channels necessary to watch wrasslin’).

WWF In Your House 10: Mind Games

No tagline this time around, just Shawn Michaels looking up to the left with a bit of a grimace on his face while in the background, in a haze of smoke, Mankind has puffed the doob so much that he can’t feel his face.

Big red WWF screen hits and on the version I have, there is no promo package whatsoever! It just jumps straight into the Free-For-All match. (Note: Before the PPV began, there was a 30-minute show called Free-For-All, which was the nineties equivalent of the Preshow, full of promos and summaries of recent TV matches. There was an exclusive match on Free-For-All and had little to do with the actual PPV. Normally, we miss it, but we have it this time around and it is a Savio Vega vs. Marty Jannetty match. This PPV was also lousy with dark matches, featuring a total of three: Jake Roberts vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley; Faarooq vs. Marc Mero; and Psycho Sid vs. Vader. It’s interesting that all six members of the dark matches are pretty big names in wrestling and play a vital part in the next few months of PPVs and beyond.) This is exciting as my copy of the PPV is different to the one on the WWE Network. Score!

Marty Jannetty is already in the ring with Leif Cassidy AKA Al Snow behind him, pointing at him. Savio Vega’s bongos explode from the speakers and the man himself comes out, high-fiving everyone and being a great face. He gets a bit of a pop as well. He throws his waistcoat at Al Snow, who attempts to wear it. Savio does not seem happy about that.

Savio Vega def. Marty Jannetty via pinfall in 5:22.

JR is bigging up Mankind, who is in the main event with Shawn Michaels for the World Heavyweight Championship. Vince and Mr. Perfect are also on commentary, but we will come to them in good time. Show of Leif Cassidy wearing Savio’s waist coat and smiling. Jannetty runs the ropes for ages but no one on the commentary team sells it, in fact, they’re talking about the beginning of the PPV and sandbagging this entire match.

And who should appear on screen? Only pre-Cunt JBL, Cunt Justin Hawk Bradshaw, with Zeb Coulter standing behind him. They are balanced above a spoooooky skull wearing a Mankind mask with “MIND GAMES” carved into its cranium. Justin Hawk Bradshaw (JHB) is shouting at Vince and pacing. Behind him stands Uncle Zebekiah AKA Zeb Coulter. He has a brand in his hand with J-B on it, where the hyphen mixes with the spine of the J and B to form a H. JHB. Do you see? Do you see? You are looking, but you do not see. JHB gives off because Savio is on PPV again and JHB has been in the WWF for nine months without a chance. He shows his true colours, the racist, ignorant, arrogant side of JBL that we will all come to know and loathe within ten years’ time. JR says, “Those Texans are like that, a little hot-blooded.”

Once again, the announcers are sandbagging the match and-

Wait, what? Are the crowd chanting “ECW! ECW!”?

They are chanting for ECW. Why are they-

HOLY FUCK.

Front and to the camera’s left on the hard cam is Tommy Dreamer, standing and waving to the crowd. His is joined by Paul E. Dangerously (Paul Heyman) and Sandman, who are both off-screen. This is due to a cross-promotional “Invasion” angle that ECW and WWF were planning at the time. The reasons behind it are lost to the annals of time as Vince states that he, “cannot remember why [he] helped ECW out,” although it was probably due to him wanting ECW (which was about to have its first PPV and financially was failing at the time) to become a feeder company to the Fed. Either way, the Invasion angle has these three guys ringside and then ECW having matches on Raw six months later. Fairly short, but fun if you’re into that.

In the ring, Savio gets a boot from Jannetty and JR bigs up Jannetty, saying that he has gone downhill since joining with “Nerdy” Leif Cassidy. Vince calls out ECW, saying that they are a “local wrestling franchise”. JR attempts to talk more about it, but Vince sandbags it almost instantly. They do not even mention the name. Savio rolls out and Leif gives him a boot. JR makes fun of Jim Cornette, saying that he was eating two triple cheeseburgers backstage. Corny has a match later on in the evening.

Jannetty hits Vega with a body slam and goes to Bret’s rope, walks along and goes for a double axe handle nothing, but Vega’s boot goes up to hit him in the face. Jannetty hits a cross-body from the ropes but Vega rolls through and pins Jannetty in 5:22.

2016 comments:

Entire match is ignored by the commentators and isn’t that interesting to begin with. It is better as a placeholder match, used to remind the audience of the upcoming festivities. To be fair, though, Savio Vega is about to have another match with JHB so he probably didn’t want to wear himself out.

1996 comments:

Sit down in front! You’re ruining the show for the rest of us, you damn ruffians!

Grade: D

Vega celebrates as Cassidy comes back in to remove his buddy. As Savio dances, out comes Uncle Zebekiah, pointing that damned dirty brand on him. JHB runs out and whips Savio with a big whip before escaping almost as quickly as he had arrived.

Smash cut to a promo package calling Mankind “the face of fear, the mind of madness… the horror that might soon be champion.” Distorted samples of Mankind talking. We see Undertaker vs. Goldust, an angle that is linked to Mankind as he and Goldust are buddies and Paul Bearer left Taker for Mankind in the last PPV. The announcer is gibberish, mixing metaphors and that sort of caper.

Cut to a horrible CG skull chomping at the bit and we are live at the CoreStates Centre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, home of ECW! 15,000 in attendance, apparently, and no word on how many PPV buys at home. Our announcers are Vince McMahon, Jumping Jim Ross and “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig. Whilst Vince sports a tux, JR has no tie like an Amish, Hennig is decked out in a brown suit with pink shirt. Behind them, a sign, amongst others, says, “Vince McMahon for God.” Another shot of a sign that says simply “Shawn Michaels and the Kliq!” Hennig asks if the curtain will fall on the Undertaker and if Shawn will lose his title… and his mind!

Ultimate Warrior-style music hits and out comes Cunt JHB, even though he left, like, ten seconds ago. Howard Finkel introduces the match as a “Special Caribbean Strap Match”, which is saying a lot about it considering it’s a very boring match style. The announcers talk over Finkel and mention that Savio Vega has never lost a strap match, even going so far as to beat Stone Cold Steve Austin himself, way before his push.

Cut to Kevin Kelly and Savio is furious, walking back and forth as KK talks to him. Savio shouts at JHB, even though the man himself is in the ring and will never hear the shouts. Savio runs to the ring and slides in as JHB beats on him with the leather strap. The official calls for the bell before Savio is actually tied up!

Carribbean Strap Match: Savio Vega def. Justin Hawk Bradshaw via tapping all corners in 7:09.

Bradshaw whips on Savio and Vince questions whether Harvey Wippleman should have rand the bell before securing Savio’s wrist. JR reminds us of the rules – the winner cannot pin, nor submit his opponent and can only win by slapping each turnbuckle one by one, in succession, without interruption. Bradshaw gets three until Savio fights back. Savio rolls to the outside, Bradshaw chooses to exit on the other apron so that the strap is caught between the turnbuckle. He chokes Savio with the strap as the crowd cheer for ECW. Savio pulls on the strap, forcing Bradshaw’s face into the turnbuckle. As Savio beats on Bradshaw, Sandman spits beer into Vega’s face, who, fair play to him, sells it like a boss.

Straight-up Shoot Fact: Although the ECW wrestlers being there was sanctioned by McMahon, he was the only one in attendance who knew it was a work so Savio and Bradshaw had no idea that the ECW guys were invited there. Considering JHB’s history of being a fuckhead, I’m surprised that didn’t backfire horrendously… although that might have been Vince’s intention.

Savio genuinely shows a mix of confusion and bemusement as Sandman busts himself open with the beer can. JHB pulls on the leather strap as Vince mentions that they are a, “local wrestling group,” again. Paul Heyman is pulling on Tommy Dreamer and Sandman as security go to them. JHB looks on. Vince says, “We will not shoot this incident that is occurring… Savio and Justin are ignoring it, as well they should…” Bit cheeky considering it was Vince’s idea.

JHB gets three turnbuckles and is backdropped before hitting the fourth. JR gets Savio’s record with strap matches over. Savio whips at JHB, even whacking him in the face at one point. JR: “Savio is whipping Bradshaw like a government mule!” Savio gets two turnbuckles and Bradshaw fights back. Savio gets three turnbuckles and is yanked back by Bradshaw. Both men are spending a lot of time on their backs. Bradshaw goes and hits a turnbuckle and behind him, Savio batters it. Same for the second… and the third (which Vince miscounts and thinks it is the final turnbuckle) and on the fourth, Savio pulls back and the two men tug of war until Bradshaw falls down, Vega springs forward and hits the fourth and final turnbuckle to win this gimmick match in 7:09.

2016 comments:

Not an exciting gimmick and not an exciting match.

1996 comments:

I certainly hope I do not have to listen to that loud Texan ever again.

Grade: D

Savio wins, lies outside for a while and chubby Bradshaw (a man who does not look good shirtless) stands mid-ring, looking awful. Savio Vega looks genuinely annoyed, hides from the ECW boys, even though they’ve been tossed out.

On the Card will return on September 29th with part 2 of Mind Games.

Attitude Era #2. In Your House 9: International Incident (July 21, 1996) Part 1

In the previous entry, I looked at King of the Ring 1996 and its importance in the Attitude Era – the loss of Ultimate Warrior, Jake “The Snake” Roberts missing his chance for glory and, of course, the rise of Stone Cold Steve Austin with the greatest promo of all time. The next PPV was called International Incident and was a part of a long-running collection of PPVs called In Your House. The purpose of the In Your House PPVs were to give the audience a cheaper and more frequent WWF experience. At the time, the WWF only had four big PPVs – Royal Rumble in January, Wrestlemania near Easter, Summerslam in August and Survivor Series near Thanksgiving. The months in between were filled with In Your House PPVs and this was one of them.

Over the next four weeks, I will review this PPV from the perspectives of a fan looking back at it after two decades as well as my original thoughts as a teenager watching it at the time (though this particular PPV was one I watched in 1998 as my family did not have the channels necessary to watch wrasslin’).

WWF In Your House 9: International Incident

Two Hours of Hard-Hitting, High-Flying, Heart-Stopping, Piledriving ACTION!!

There is entirely no need for two exclamation points there, lads. One or none, everyone knows that. I have looked at this card and with a grand total of FIVE matches (six if you include the match on Free-For-All), of which most are around the 10-minute mark, I am concerned about the legitimacy of this statement. However, I will refrain from judging until I watch.

We are ready to start in the General Motors Place… wait, is that its actual name? It’s just called a “place”? What the fuck. Well, it’s the General Motors Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, I guess. 14,804 attended, which is almost double of the previous PPV, King of the Ring, where 8,762 attended. Your announcers are Vince McMahon, chewing the scenery, along with Jumping Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler. Vince is springing about the place, clearly high on cocaine.

Savio Vega’s music hit and out he comes, slapping hands and shouting at the crowd. Cut back to a match on Superstars and RAW where Savio Vega and “Hawk” Bradshaw AKA Acolyte Bradshaw AKA Shit-Eating Announcer JBL are having a whipping contest. Savio gets to the ring and JBL runs in with Uncle Zebekiah AKA Zeb Coulter. Both are jawing off to the crowd.

(Note: Before the PPV began, there was a 30-minute show called Free-For-All, which was the nineties equivalent of the Preshow, full of promos and summaries of recent TV matches. This was an exclusive match on Free-For-All and has little to do with the actual PPV. This match was incorrectly reported on the Wikipedia page as being between Bradshaw and Hakushi.)

“Hawk” Bradshaw def. Savio Vega via pinfall in 4:41

As soon as Bradshaw gets into the ring, his 6 foot 6 frame hopping over the top rope, Savio Vega is on him. Five punches in the corner and Bradshaw is knocked for six. He throws Vega into the corner and lays into him. Knowing what I know about Bradshaw (that he is a cunt), those digs are probably stiff as Val Venis. Turnbuckle to turnbuckle before Vega dropkicks Bradshaw out of the ring and goes after Zebekiah. Bradshaw punches Vega’s tummy and goes for the face but Vega ducks and the dumb motherfucker punches the ring post.

It is very, very sloppy. Bradshaw is either not listening or ignoring Vega as there are a lot of no-sold moves and the entire thing lacks psychology. Vega knocks Brawshaw into the corner and hits him with a kick. Vega topples over the top rope and takes control of the match. Near fall and Vega goes for the cross body off the rope. Bradshaw catches him and Zebekiah trips him. Ref counts it as a pin and Bradshaw get the one-two-three on Savio Vega in 4:41.

2016 comments:

Fuck Bradshaw.

1996 comments:

Fuck Bradshaw.

Grade: D

After the uneventful and disappointing curtain-jerker, both Zebekiah and Bradshaw go to town on Savio Vega. The kicks look pretty brutal, too. The bell keeps ringing and the official is scared off. Zebekiah “brands” Vega by hitting him with some painted metal made to look like a cattle brand. A little racist.

Ruthless Aggression Era #2. Judgment Day 2006 (May 21, 2006) Part 3

Previously on On the Card: Judgment Day 2006 had a great Booker T and Bobbly Lashley match. Everything is looking great.

Then Khali appears. Fuck everything about this.

The promo package bigs up the Undertaker a lot, as if he needs it. The man is a legend. Then comes Khali, a man who is quite tall, has a great big chest but only slaps Taker. We see Khali absolutely murdering everyone around him including Rey Mysterio, a very short man. Khali roars for a bit, making himself looks bestial in a… special way. He is not threatening in as much as you feel sorry for him.

His Titantron video is awful. It’s Khali’s face with flame in his eyes. Khali looks a bit like Roman Reigns, only with a bit of talent. The camera is all low-slung to make Khali look huge, not that he needs it. Big pause waiting for our man Taker. Then the bells toll, the lights go out and the crowd pops. Smoke everywhere as the Undertaker takes his stroll to the ring, avoiding the pyro this time. Maggle asks if the Undertaker’s spirit has been broken. Of course not. The man deals with death all the time. And you always need an undertaker. It’s good work. Even if the wrestling slows down, he can still bury people.

He enters the ring after about an hour or so. Him and Khali give each other a big, long look, stand toe to toe to show how much taller Khali is. The bell rings, finally.

The Great Khali w/Daivari def. The Undertaker via pinfall in 08:31.

I am tempted to write “it was shite” and be done with it, because even my memory, destroyed by age and video games, can remember this shitshow. There was a time when the Undertaker was a powerful force within the Fed, when he would fight the biggest and best. Mankind. Trips. Stone Cold. The Rock. Kane. All those men had mad skills, or at least had some in-ring ability when they faced the Phenom, but Khali… He looked the part, kind of, but was really nothing to write home about otherwise.

Taker dodges a punch and starts wailing on Khali. He gets thrown through the ropes like a damn ragdoll and takes his time going back into the ring. Khali winds up a shot with a pantomime spin of his fist. Undertaker once again dodges it and wails on Khali, only to be thrown through the ropes. The Undertaker gets back in, is stopped on the apron and gives Khali a stunner. He’s back in the ring, back in control and goes for an Old School, but Khali throws him off the top rope halfway across the ring. Khali is beating weakly on Taker, who is selling each punch like a chairshot. “Taker! Taker!” chant rises. Khali kicks and punches and clotheslines Taker. Khali walks outside and strolls about like a man who forgot his deodorant. Daivari is on the apron, distracting the ref, then jumps down to kick Taker for a while. Khali lumbers over to taker, keeping an eye on the ref, bodyslams Undertaker, makes a chopping signal with his hand, hits Undertaker, puts the foot on his chest and gets the two-count to minimal applause. Undertaker does his sit-up thing and beats on Khali some more.

Mean Mark is getting a decent amount of offense in and goes for another Old School, hitting it almost perfectly. Boxing jabs from Taker, but Khali barely moves. Undertaker dodges the clothesline, hits Khali with a jumping punch and Khali gets wrapped in the ropes. Daivari jumps in, distracts the ref and releases Khali. Taker goes for the clothesline, fails, and gets a boot from Khali for his effort. He sits up, gets another chop and a boot for the pin in 8:31.

2016 comments:

There was once a time when this was considered a good idea. There will never be a time when this would be considered a good match.

2006 comments:

Go away, Khali.

Grade: D.

Recap of the “best moments” of the match, which include a kick, a punch and a push through the ropes. Crap, crap, crap.

Promo for See No Evil, featuring Kane. We’ve all seen it, no point in recapping it.

The Phoenix Suns are also in the audience.

JBL vs. Rey Mysterio promo showing our man Rey defeating Angle and Orton for the World Heavyweight Championship. Rey tells us that he’s loving every minute of his reign. Real babyface stuff. JBL heels it up, looking up at JBL, Mark Henry, Khali and Kane every attack being ineffective against the giants. JBL is a real cunt at the best of times, but now he’s being a supercunt. Of course you want Rey to win. He’s great.

JBL’s music hits and he comes out in his limo. It has cow horns on the front of it. Cow moos play through his theme music. JBL is the US champion and is not defending it tonight. He is also billed from New York, even though he has a super Texan accent. He calls for Rey to come out and shouts at the ref, as if it’s his fault. Finally, Rey’s music hits and the crowd pops so loud. Down he walks to the ring, weird croupier visor on, like he’s about to play a game of Hold ‘em in the ring.

Rey’s wife is in attendance and he goes to give her a wee kiss. Angie is a lovely woman and they are very much in love. Good man yourself, Rey. Maggle calls Rey “the greatest underdog in the history of World Wrestling Entertainment.” JBL is a little on the fat side here, which makes him all the more unlikeable, somehow.

World Heavyweight Championship Match: Rey Mysterio (c) def. John Bradshaw Layfield via pinfall in 15:56.

JBL pushes Rey to the floor and he springs up in a second. Very threatening. The crowd are chanting “619!” which is nice, but Rey is getting a lot of pushes from JBL. It looks like a child fighting a man, which is fine, but at no point do I think that fat JBL can be beaten by Rey. And Rey isn’t a tiny man, he’s pretty well-built and strong. JBL smacks on Rey’s back and, knowing JBL, they are as stiff as Val Venis. JBL is thrown into the ropes and Rey goes for the 619 but JBL moves away. Rey mounts the apron and hits JBL with a seated senton.

In the ring, Rey gets three fast two-counts in a matter of seconds. Rey will never be able to lift JBL us, so relies on strikes during his offensive segments. He gets JBL in the corner and baseball slides into JBL’s balls. He should be disqualified for that, or at least get booed for using heel moves, but he doesn’t. JBL gets Rey with a big boot and throws him into the steel ring steps, still clutching his JBLets. JBL throws Rey into the ring and the crowd chant for another 619, even though Rey is not in control at all. Very slow pace now. JBL makes some move for Rey’s wife. Bad show. Pin in the ring, but Rey kicks it.

JBL does an Eddie-style triple-suplex, dances like Eddie and is a general bastard. Rey is bust and JBL goes to Angie again, harassing her. Nice fallaway slam, though, JBL can do some decent moves when he’s facing someone who is, essentially, a child. JBL hits some nice old clotheslines and makes a kissy face towards Angie. Ref starts to count Rey out, who is super bust underneath his mask. As soon as he gets to his feet, JBL boots and pins him. Very close two-count.

Rey starts to get some offense in but is stopped by JBL’s eye poke. Maggle and Tazz wonder where the blood is coming from and how Rey got bust. Bradshaw gets Mysterio in a choke hold and my favourite spot comes up where the ref lifts and drops his hand three times. Before the third, Bradshaw goes for the pin and Rey kicks out to a thunderous pop. Rey is lifted up to the turnbuckle and fights back, only to hit a messy moonsault on JBL when he gets up. Once again, Mysterio is in control with a combination of kicks, lariats and strikes. He goes to jump on Bradshaw in the corner, but Bradshaw’s boot finds Rey’s nuts.

Rey takes control again, gets Bradshaw on the ropes and hits the 619. He goes for the springboard crossbody and hits the ref instead. JBL takes advantage, hitting Rey with a powerbomb, calling for a second ref and Rey kicks out. JBL goes mental, gets a chair and gets a boot from Rey for his trouble. 619 followed by Eddie-style frog splash and Rey gets the pin in 15:56.

2016 comments:

Despite my hate for JBL, he puts on a good show here being a total bastard. He’s a real old-school heel and he is very good at it. It’s not that I dislike JBL because of his heel antics, I dislike him because his in-ring persona is so similar to his out-of-ring persona. Rey is exactly the same, however, where his character is like how Rey is in real life – lovely and cuddly.

2006 comments:

That doesn’t make sense. Sure JBL’s twice the height and about three times the weight of Rey.

Grade: B.

Chavo Jr. pops into the ring to celebrate with Rey as we see the highlights. Rey looks fucked, properly damaged from that bust head. He won’t be getting many kisses tonight, anyways.

The Go Home Stats.

Man of the Matches: I know this is going to be controversial, but Benoit. He was a great man in that twenty-by-twenty squared circle.

Woman of the Matches: Sharmell, without a doubt. I know she didn’t actually wrestle, but she did a far better job than either Jillian or Melina.

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

Best Spot: The Mark Henry faceplant onto the announcer’s table.

Hatches: Technically all of the wrasslers in the PPV are hatches as they appear for the first time on this blog, but none are legit hatches as they have wrestled in the Fed before now. Still, I will name them thusly: Paul London, Brian Kendrick, Joey Mercury, Johnny Nitro, Melina, Chris Benoit, Finlay, Jillian Hall, Gregory Helms, Super Crazy, Mark Henry, Kurt Angle, Booker T, Bobby Lasley, The Great Khali, The Undertaker, Rey Mysterio, JBL. The managers were Sharmell and Daivari with Crystal on interviews. Hitler Moustache Maggle Cole and Sunglasses Inside Tazz were announcers with Tony Chimel as ring announcer. Teddy Long was the General Manager.

Matches: Paul London and Brian Kendrick wins MNM’s WWE Tag Team Championship title and both Gregory Helms and Rey Mysterio retain. Booker T is the 2006 King of the Ring.

Dispatches: None.

Closing Statements: Obviously not as good as the previous PPV, the Smackdown branded ones tended to be a bit weaker. Considering the depth of the roster, however, a lot of the matches were weak and felt like filler.

On the Card will return on June 11 with the ECW PPC One Night Stand 2006.