Attitude Era #1. King of the Ring (June 23, 1996) Part 2

Previously on On the Card: Good Stone Cold match, crap Jake The Snake match.

WWF Tag Team Championship match: The Smoking Gunns (c) w/ Sunny def. The Godwinns via pinfall in 10:10

Oh those gosh-darned Gunns!

I will tell you one thing: during the nineties, the Fed knew how to properly gimmick up a tag team. I tell you what. I don’t need to know the damned backstory of these two teams. We have the hillbilly Godwinns against the Texan Gunns. I’m just going to assume that they’re cattle rustlers and oil barons. That’s it. That’s all I need.

The Smoking Gunns are Bodacious Bart Gunn and (Bad Ass) Billy Gunn before D-X turned him into a butt-loving butt lover. The Godwinns are Henry O. Godwinn and Phineas I. Godwinn AKA Mideon and are managed by Hillbilly Jim. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to realise that their initials spell HOG and PIG. They come to the ring with barnyard animals. This is a comedy tag team at its best because they’re loving their characters without it being too in-your face and over-the-top. This is either going to be the best match of the card or a filler.

Turns out it’s somewhere in the middle. I generally do not rate tag matches because they follow all the same tropes: your favourite wrestler watches a match three-quarters of the time whilst people you don’t care about build up to the hot tag where everyone is steamrolled and then pinned. Occasionally there’s some infighting and referee distractions and the rules don’t matter. But I am just so taken by the gimmicks in this match. The Godwinns come to the ring with baby goats under their arms. Both brothers are wearing dungarees and colourful Hoganesque yellow and red. There’s lots of dancing and swinging around. All very kid-friendly.

The Gunns cut a promo and by that I mean that Sunny cuts a promo. Say what you want about Tammy Sytch, the woman had charisma coming out of her eyes. No wonder Shawn Michaels and her would bump uglies for months. The Gunns come out, all in leather and jeans, full of smoke like they’ve been burning some of that Texas tea that they love so much. No wonder they’re the heels. The match hasn’t even started yet and I’m enjoying myself so much.

Cut to Free-For-All showing the Bodydonnas and “Kloudi” their new valet. The line between genuine comedy and so-bad-it’s-good comedy has blurred somewhat for me. Owen says Sunny is better than Sable, because the Gunns are tag champs and Mero has no belt. Sunny is clearly over with the crowd. One of the Godwinns tries to throw some slop over Sunny. Billy causes the distraction and Bart takes over as the match begins, 426 words later. Owen takes some time to say that Yokozuna is fat and Phineas (red Mideon) has one of his “spells” where he goes into a black rage. Kloudi appears at the bottom and calls Vince “Mr. McMahon” before blowing JR a kiss.

Henry Godwinn gets Bodacious Bart into an arm lock and he taps out – oh, but wait, it’s not an official tap out in some way, even though he slapped the ring thrice. Billy kicks Henry in the back, tags in, and the pair of them give a beatdown to the Yellow Godwinn. This whole time, Hillybilly Jim is presumably trying to sell the livestock to the crowd. Maybe Bowl Cut Kid buys one to sacrifice to whatever god he believes in, some Eldritch abomination, no doubt, that gives him his wicked powers. Bodacious Bart gets some licks in and Henry gets a roll-up and almost gets the three. Both men go down and we’re building up to the hot tag. Phineas gets excited and the ref goes to calm him down before Bart casually steps into the ring, claps his hands together to simulate a tag and the ref is none that wiser.

Those damn cheatin’, rootin’, tootin’ Gunns!

Bart goes for the leg drop and misses, leading to the hot tag, a schmoz and in the rabble, a boot goes over the back of the head of Phineas Godwinn and Billy Gunn pins him for the win in 10:10.

2016 comments:

This was a terrible match, even by tag team midcard nineties standards, but I am so taken by this backstory that the Gunns and the Godwinns have some family feud over land that I enjoyed thinking of vignettes where the Gunns would be trying to rustle some cattle from the Godwinns and they would have these harebrained traps set up like simpletons. In my mind, there was a lot of hat-stomping. None of these vignettes ever existed, of course, they were all in my head, which goes to show that this match was so unentertaining that I had to find enjoyment in my imagination. In 2016.

1996 comments:

I didn’t put any weight into tag matches during this time because there were only about four tag teams in the whole company. And let’s face it, no good tag teams would come along until The Acolytes, Brood and Hardys. I probably skipped this match, if I’m being honest.

C-

As the Gunns leave to a chant of SUNNY! from the crowd, we cut to Fabulous Freebird Dok Hendrix interviewing Camp Cornette: Corny, Bulldog and Clarence Mason, who is a Johnnie Cochran analogue, though I like to believe he is a member of the USCIS. Corny cuts a killer promo on Michaels and there is a lot of anger behind it, which is fair enough because at this time, Michaels was an absolute diva. Corny has a bunch of great stories about Shawn being a total son of a bitch at this point in history. Mr. Perfect comes in and Bulldog starts shouting at Michaels, ending with, “you’re mine in less than a few short hours away,” which seems redundant. His wife, Diana Hart-Smith, is hanging out behind him, presumably checking out his backne.

The Ultimate Warrior def. Jerry “the King” Lawler via pinfall in 3:50

The music hits and Lawler comes out with his shit-eating grin. The King is at King of the Ring, which makes the tournament superfluous. He inspects the regal merchandise as an RF Video sign hangs behind him. This is before his full-time commentary post in the fed, though he had commentated PPVs in the past, and his patter is instantly recognisable. He calls the people of Milwaukee losers and spends a good amount of time building some cheap heat from the crowd. A girl wearing a Marilyn Manson t-shirt does not appreciate his shit. He drops some pretty harsh words to members of the crowd, calling specific ones fat, ugly and at one point tells a pair of girls that they have faces that “turn men into, well, people like Goldust.” Even for mid-nineties heat, it’s pretty harsh stuff.

This goes on for damn near five minutes. We see a cut from two weeks ago where the King hit Ultimate Warrior on the back of the head with a painting. Jerry doesn’t seem to notice the huge Warrior pyro that is set up behind him in the ring, and seems shocked when Warrior’s music hits and the pyro lights up. Down runs the man that selling forgot and he starts hyping up the crowd by shaking himself like a big bowl of jelly. He is basically a buff Santa, let’s face it. Lawler hits him with the King of the Ring sceptre and the ref stupidly rings for the bell before spending the first minute trying to stop Lawler from choking Warrior with the damned sceptre. Surely foreign objects are some of the things you need to check for before starting a match?

Warrior fights back and actually sells the punches Lawler dishes out. Lawler uses his hand tape to choke Warrior for a while and hits his piledriver. Warrior no sells it, because he’s a cunt. He runs about the ring like child, hits a couple of clotheslines, a jumping lariat and pins Lawler for the win.

2016 comments:

Holy crap! A Warrior match! This is going to be- oh wait, is that it? I had fond memories of the Warrior from being a child, which was his entire point, I suppose, and Lawler is a fantastic heel, so thought this would be similar to what it was – cheating Lawler gets the upper hand and eventually is toppled. I did not realise that Warrior was going to be such a cunt about the whole thing, but it wasn’t long before he left the Fed (this would be his last PPV appearance as a performer, though he appeared at WrestleMania XXX after being inducted into the Hall of Fame) and you could see he did not give a shit. Honestly, the only reason the man lived so long on his diet of steroids, homophobia and insanity is because he was determined that his last act in the Fed was not this shitty match, but that amazing promo he cut when being inducted into the Hall of Fame. He died one day after his final appearance on RAW.

Straight-up Shoot Fact: He legally changed his name to Warrior in 1993 and his children carry “Warrior” as a surname. That’s pretty boss.

1996 comments:

Holy crap! The annoying announcer was a wrestler?

D

On the Card will return on July 7th with the second part of King of the Ring 1996.