Attitude Era #1. King of the Ring (June 23, 1996) Part 4

Previously on On the Card: GOLDUSSSSST.

King of the Ring Final: Stone Cold Steve Austin def. Jake “The Snake” Roberts via pinfall in 4:28.

Stone Cold’s music hits, which is actually the Ringmaster’s theme as he won’t get the glass smashing for a number of months. Out he comes, passing his former Hollywood Blondes teammate on the way in. He says nothing to him, probably because Stone Cold can’t talk that much. Vince reveals that Stone Cold was legit sent to an emergency room and received 16 stitches to his lip and tongue. Jake Robert’s music hits and down he comes, dragging Revelations in his bag. Stone Cold is on him, battering at the ribs like a mental case. JR puts both men over, detailing their injuries. Stone Cold jaws off to Roberts, shouting at him to get up, wailing on his injured ribs.

Roberts actually grabs at Irish Referee Tim White’s hand in what seems to be legitimate pain, though could be the 41-year-old refusing to break kayfabe. Stone Cold slaps him and Jake fights back, knocking the Rattlesnake-to-be onto his arse. Stone Cold retaliates and starts ripping at the bandages covering Jake’s ribs, as if removing the flimsy piece of fabric will somehow break the healing spell that keeps his bones strong.

Motherfucking Gorilla Monsoon comes in! He starts shoving Stone Cold about and shoos him away, as if Gorilla, lacking a medical licence, can do some good. Owen calls Gorilla an ape, which is technically true: gorillas, as we all know, are from the family Homindae, known as the “great apes” along with orang-utans, chimpanzees and the species that Gorilla Monsoon is a member of: human beings

Jake gets helped up by Monsoon and soon rallies, knocking Stone Cold down with huge clotheslines. The crowd rises with him at this stage and Vince calls for the DDT. Austin fights back, hammering at Roberts’ ribs in the corner. He mounts the turnbuckle and shouts to the crowd. One stunner later and Stone Cold gets the pin, gets the win and is King of the Ring in 4:28.


Match was guff, but it’s what happens after the match that is important.


Stone Cold beats another old man half to death. What a guy.


Here it is, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Stone Cold Steve Austin is crowned King of the Ring 1996. Dok Hendrix is waiting there for him. Stone Cold looks absolutely amazing, by the way. The man looks better now than later when he’s guzzlin’ beer an’ kickin’ damn skulls. But we’re not here to talk about how good looking Stone Cold is, we’re here to talk about the greatest, most important promo ever and the genuine beginning to the Attitude Era. I’ll just paste the entire promo ad verbatim.

“The first thing I want to be done is to get that piece of crap out of my ring. Don’t just get him out of the ring, get him out of the WWF, because I’ve prove son, without a shadow of a doubt – you ain’t got what it takes anymore. You sit there and you thump your bible and you say your prayers, and it didn’t get you anywhere. Talk about John. 3:16… Austin 3:16 says: I’ve just whipped your ass!”

Dok Hendrix tries to tell him to lay off, but the Texan is having none of it, laying into Roberts’ alcoholism:

“All he’s gotta do is buy him a cheap bottle of Thunderbird, and try to dig back some of that courage he had in his prime. As the King of the Ring, I’m serving notice to every one of the WWF superstars. I don’t give a damn what they are, they’re all on the list, and that is Stone Cold’s list, and I’m fixing to start running through all of them.”

The crowd starts to boo and Steve just tells them to piss off! Brilliant stuff.

“As far as this championships match is considered, son, I don’t give a damn if it’s Davey Boy Smith or Shawn Michaels. Steve Austin’s time has come, and when I get the shot, you are looking at the next WWF champion, and that’s the bottom line because Stone Cold said so!”

Out he goes without even taking his crown and-


Owen starts talking about how he’s just trying to do commentary without trouble and Mr. Perfect’s music hits. Good God almighty, I am psyched for this already. Mr. Perfect is one of the all-time greats and his music is fantastic. He pops a chewing gum, drops the wrapper, gives a wee wave behind and strolls to the ring in his snazzy black and white striped top. What a lad.

WWF Championship match: Shawn Michaels (c) w/ José Lothario def. The British Bulldog w/ Jim Cornette and Diana Smith via pinfall in 26:24

Jim Cornette must have had a hell of payday tonight, coming out for a three-minute nothing with Vader followed by a half-hour main event. The man was lining his pockets because of the Fed. Davey Boy Smith walks out with his wife, flexing his arms, looking like a burst sausage with those ugly muscles. I used to hate the Bulldog because I’m Irish and the fact that he was pro-Britain rubbed me up the wrong way. Now, I love him because he was a great wrestler, but I still cannot get over my hatred for his stupid roid body. Turns out some fans agree with me because Davey is roaring at some ones front row.

Owen is on the table, telling Bulldog he loves him. Michaels’ music hits and the crowd goes wild. Out comes Shawn with José Lothario and the girls start screaming. At the time, this must have been amazing. How many main eventers have this sort of reaction from both genders? He’s a cross between The Rock and a Chippendale, only with the drug problem of a Skid Row stripper. His entrance lasts for a legit two minutes.

Gorilla Monsoon is in and at this point there are seven people in the ring – the two wrasslers, their managers, the ring announcer, the referee and the president of the WWF. Finkel makes an announcement that Mr. Perfect can stay as a referee… but has to do it outside the ring. He is replaced by Earl Hebner and the crowd go ballistic because Hebner is the motherfucking shit. Or maybe because the heels have been fucked over. It’s hard to know. Vince quips, “There’s nothing wrong with having two referees, that’s for sure!” and then states the odds for the idiots in the audience.

Bulldog gets some boos by waving the Union Jack flag. Michaels gets a USA chant going. I would have hated the former as a child and hate the latter as an adult. The match starts and Davey pushes Michaels away twice. Owen says, “We all know Michaels is a gutless coward,” and Vince replies, “We do not know anything like that.” Some great chain wrestling follows and Michaels takes over to show that he is the superior wrestler but that Bulldog is the stronger of the two. Vince says the match will fall down to luck.

Rest hold city is turned into a great off-the-ropes spot into two hurricanrana spots. Corny tries to hit Shawn with his racket and Michaels disarms him and whups the manager on the arse with his own weapon. Crowd goes mental. Vince: “Cornette got a hot seat!” Diana looks on. She is attempted to look concerned, but really just looks like she smells something familiar yet strange, or trying to remember what she needed to get from the shop. Probably sausages.

Chin lock city, which is disappointing as a lot of this match is waiting around for the next spot. Maybe that’s what Diana is thinking about. Bunch of chain-wrestling to a disappointing stand-off to arm bar city. Jericho would be proud because these men are going through all 1004 of his holds. JR notes that Davey Boy is right handed and that the left arm, the one that Shawn is working on, is naturally the weaker of the two. Bulldog boots Michaels’ in the head and throws him into the turnbuckle. Bulldog denies a head scissors takedown and back to arm bar city. Diana looks on, frowning. She shouts, “Come on Davey,” but the results are inconclusive.

We get a side-by-side shot of the action in the ring compared to Diana’s face. She does not react in any way, except when a fly lands in her open mouth or something. Bless her, they obviously told her to look concerned and she is. Since they told her that Davey would lose, she’s just wondering how hard he can lose and why she has a sudden craving for barbeque. Vince says that Lothario, like Michaels is, “an underdog, not gifted in size or strength.” Michaels gives Bulldog an arm bar… takedown! Exciting! Bulldog lifts Michaels into a gorilla press and walks backwards, dropping him over the top rope onto the mat. Vince goes insane and calls for Bulldog’s disqualification. I did not realise that this was in some way an illegal manoeuvre within wrestling.

On the outside, Mr Perfect is arguing with José Lothario, or, as Owen puts it: “José Lothario is arguing with Mr. Perfect. They should deport him back to Tijuana.” Michaels is covered in gold dust and my bounty hunter instinct goes off. That boy gets everywhere. Bulldog throws Michaels back in and Owen explains that Bulldog doesn’t want to win by countout, he wants to win by pinfall. As it is a championship match, titles would not change hand on a countout anyway. Davey is covered in gold dust.

Bulldog fires Michaels into the corner and the sweetest wrap-around bump of the evening until two seconds later when Bulldog turns him inside out with a grotesque clothesline. Bulldog goes for the surfboard to pin but Michaels stays in the match. Sleeper hold for a while and Michaels escapes, getting a knee to the abdomen for his effort. Michaels gets Irish whipped and thrown high into the air by Bulldog. JR: “You normally get peanuts for a flight like that!” Near fall followed by chin locks. Bulldog is shouting away: “Give up!” Vince references the Cliq, which is interesting.

Straight-up shoot fact: When Razor Ramon (Scott Hall) and Diesel (Kevin Nash) left the Fed for WCW, they were involved in the infamous “curtain call” scandal where they shared a hug in-ring with kayfabe enemies but legit friends Shawn Michaels and Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Vince was furious about this but couldn’t punish Hall or Nash as they were leaving. Neither could he punish Michaels, who was a huge box office draw and champ at the time. So, it came to HHH who was due to win this very King of the Ring to take one for the team and he was demoted to dark matches and jobbing for a while. He took it like a champ, though, and this worked in his favour. It wasn’t long until he was midcard, then had his own stable with Michaels named D-Generation X, ended up riding Vince’s daughter and owning half the fucking company in ten years.

Great running of the ropes into a lariat by Michaels. He tries to get some momentum but Bulldog hammers him with a great clothesline. Corny shouts at Michaels and Mr. Perfect shoos him away to check on Michaels. USA chant starts up. Chinlocks. Always with the chinlocks. Irish whip and Michaels reverses it into a crucifix. Bodyslam reversed into a bodyslam and Michaels is knocked down. JR: “Sweet Chin Music was on the jukebox but nobody came to it.” Diana looks on, still frowning. She’s going to give herself worry lines, that one. Brutal piledriver by Davey and Shawn is down. Bulldog goes high and seems to slip as he jumps, landing too short and awkwardly. Owen claims Lothario shook the ropes.

Bulldog gets whipped into the corner and it’s Michaels turn to go high. Bulldog hits a fantastic dropkick to Michaels face on the turnbuckle. Superplex from the top rope and Michaels is practically thrown halfway over the ring. Bulldog pops Michaels on the turnbuckle and tries for a super backdrop which Michaels reverses into a crossbody. The pair run the ropes and both are down. Hebner starts a countout and gets to seven before anyone moves. Michaels goes for a hurricanrana and Bulldog reverses into a sitout powerbomb. Another near fall. Michaels fires Bulldog into the turnbuckle and the Englishman flips before hitting the turnbuckle, springing off it and landing facefirst in the ring. Christ, what a great spot. He twitches like a man near dead.

Hebner starts another countout and more Irish whips to a lariat. Both men are down and BOOM Michaels gets the kip-up. The crowd go ballistic. They know what’s coming. He stomps about the ring, hits Bulldog with a body slam, hitting Hebner by mistake. Elbow drop into Sweet Chin Music. Michaels goes for the pin and Mr. Perfect stops him to hit the one-two-three in tandem. Michaels retains via pinfall in 26:24.


Brilliant stuff marred by rest holds. The spots were worth it though with both men giving it their all. they went to entertain the crowd and did a damn good job of it.


I would not have watched a match with Bulldog in it.


Owen pulls Mr. Perfect out of the ring during the pin and claims that it was only a two-count. He dives in afterward to confront Michaels. Some punches, atomic drop and Irish whip into clothesline. Owen gets a figure four. Shawn beats the shite out of Bulldog and Owen before the numbers game is too much for him. Double suplex to Michaels and then AHMED JOHNSON runs to the ring and cleans house. The crowd are loving it. In comes Vader and Camp Cornette take over. The ring bell is rung and some fan on the hard cam who looks like the Dude throws up the X symbol. Michaels is up and a double axe handle from Owen drops him. It all becomes a schmoz and stops being fun as it’s all called on the fly. Vader goes for the Vader Bomb and out comes Cunt Warrior to save everyone and tell them how gay people are going to destroy America or whatever. Michaels’ music hits and the fan favourites hug each other.

The Go Home Stats.

Man of the Matches: At the end of the PPV, there were some great matches but only one man can be the Man of said Matches. I want to give it to my boy Goldie or even Stone Cold for that killer promo. I would be remiss if anyone other than Michaels gets it. He threw his body around with such reckless abandon and hit almost every spot with skill and precision.

Woman of the Matches: Not many to choose from here, with the only women being present all valets. I want to give it to Diana for her gormless expression but I would be silly to award it to anyone other than Sunny. She actually makes a match about oil barons and pig farmers entertaining.

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

Best Spot: Michaels kip-up to Sweet Chin Music combo.

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: Ahmed Johnson, Leif Cassidy (Al Snow), Bart Gunn, Billy Gunn, Goldust, Henry O. Godwinn, Jake “the Snake” Roberts, Jerry “the King” Lawler, Jim Cornette, José Lothario, Mankind (Mick Foley), Wildman Marc Mero, Marty Jannetty, Phineas I. Godwinn (Mideon), Sable, Shawn Michaels, Skip (Chris Candido), “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith, The Ultimate Warrior, The Undertaker, Big Van Vader and Zip all competed. Owen Hart provided commentary with Jumping Jim Ross and Vince McMahon. Triple H and Aldo Montoya (Rat Faced Knacker Justin Credible) were involved in a dark match.

Matches: Ahmed Johnson’s first title reign as Intercontinental Champion. Both Tag Team and World Champions retain.

Dispatches: The Ultimate Warrior performed his final match for the Fed at this PPV.

Closing Statements: Other than the fantastic promo from Austin and the highlights of the final match, this PPV was nothing to write home about. Wrestling was not due to become huge for another year or so yet, so it’s not surprising that this PPV seemed like it was phoned in. There were a few shitty quick matches and the rest were full of rest holds. Still, it had some big names and paved the way for the wrestling we all enjoyed over the next few years.

On the Card will return on July 21 with In Your House 9: International Incident.


Attitude Era #1. King of the Ring (June 23, 1996) Part 3

Previously on On the Card: We got a gosh-darned Gunns match and the shitshow that was Warrior vs. King.

Dok Hendrix interviews Gorilla Monsoon. Jake Roberts is in a great deal of pain over his damaged ribs caused by Vader earlier in the night. Gorilla says he’s going to let Roberts fight despite his fears of internal damage because Roberts is 41 years old, which is a stupid reason. Vince asks Owen if he were Roberts, what would he do in this position. Owen, once again, increases Jake Robert’s age to “80 years old or 90 years old or whatever he is”. Roberts is really being set up to be the underdog here against Stone Cold.

Mankind def. The Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer via TKO in 18:21

Bit of a promo to an older PPV – In Your House 8: Beware of Dog. There was a casket match between Taker and Goldust, where Mankind emerged from the coffin just as Taker was about to throw his opponent in. Later, in a RAW two weeks previous, Mankind stopped Taker from entering the ring by grabbing his ankles. Vince and JR really put Mankind over as a psychopath with JR describing his lack of ear, scarred arms and limping walk. The music and lighting really help here. Even knowing as much about Mick Foley as I do, I still watched this with a certain degree of apprehension. He really did seem like an unhinged mentalist with a fixation on Mean Mark Callous.

The Undertaker’s ominous music hits and the crowd go mental. JR screams, “This is gonna be a slobberknocker! Two 300 plug pounders with total disdain for each other. This is gonna get physical.” Because Taker is so supernatural and Mankind is so insane, the two work together, like some strange form of performance art. Their gimmicks are perfect at this moment in time.

You can’t hear Howard Finkel at all and I didn’t even realise he was the ring announcer until the announcers shut the hell up and let us listen. Paul Bearer is there on his way to the ring with the urn, looking for Taker. Where is he? Bearer actually looks scared. Camera flashes illuminate the ring  – remember them? – as Bearer walks up the steps and the lights come on. By God! The Undertaker is on the turnbuckle! Big jump and the Deadman lays into Mankind. The pair of them trade blows and throw each other about the ring. Mankind tries to escape over the turnbuckle and Taker throws him to the outside. Mankind tries to run off, reconsiders, heads back only to see Paul Bearer and makes a move for him. Taker tries to remove the madman’s mask. JR once again asks questions about Mankind’s history, wondering where he gets his scars from.

Taker hits Old School and Mankind gains the upper hand with a bodyslam. Taker sits up straight and Mankind, in great style, instantly knocks him down. Any other wrestler would be incredulous, look around with a dumb look on their face. Mankind just goes back for him. He does not have time for this supernatural shit.

Mankind takes over for a while with some dirty shots to the Undertaker’s throat, throwing the Deadman out of the ring and dropping a pathetic elbow from the apron. Owen talks about Mankind’s sadism. JR does not have a good feeling about the match. The announce team are doing a damn good job of making this seem ominous, like something horrible is going to happen and no one has any control over it. Mankind throws Taker into the steel steps, reaches under the ring for some chairs and runs at the Deadman, getting a boot to the face for his troubles. Taker throws the mentalist into the apron and gives Mankind an awful flip onto the concrete and chair. It’s bumps like that that leave Mick Foley unable to walk normally in a few years. Taker goes for the Tombstone Piledriver, Mankind reverses and hits him with a neckbreaker.

Both guys have a wee lie down, and a well-deserved one at that. Mankind is up first and hits the Deadman with a leg drop. Nice shot of some guy in the crowd wearing a Taker hat. Mankind goes for the Mandible Claw and Taker reverses, getting a boot to the face for his troubles. Another leg drop and Taker does his supernatural sit up. Rest hold city. Undertaker reaches out for the urn held by Paul Bearer. Still a rest hold. For. Ages. Then, Taker just starts thrashing onto Mankind. Sick bump over the top rope and the pair of them start wailing on each other for a bit. Taker gets knocked against the steel steps and Mankind jogs around the ring, laying a brutal knee into the Deadman’s head followed by a very soft body slam. Mankind goes for another apron elbow drop and Taker retaliates with a steel chair. Another steel chair to the face and there’s no DQ. I can’t remember if it’s mentioned that it’s a no DQ match and the announcers don’t say if the ref was distracted. It changes the dynamic somewhat because it’s a heel move but Taker is clearly the face tonight.

Taker hits a high jumping clothesline followed by Irish whipping Mankind into the ropes. Reversal by Mankind into a vicious piledriver and a near fall. Mankind starts into a frenzy, runs into the turnbuckle and legit pulls his hair out. Jim Ross lines: “He’s pullin’ his hair out. He ain’t right… He’s as goofy as a pet coon, I’ll tell ya.” Mankind grabs the urn from Paul Bearer, goes to smash in Taker’s head before his manager steals it back. Taker sits up and Mankind fires in the Mandible Claw. Reversal into a chokeslam and Bearer swings the urn at Mankind, missing and cracking Taker. Mankind locks in the Mandible Claw and the match is ended as Taker is passed out from the Claw at 18:21.


This would be a perfect match if you cut out the rest holds. Almost twenty minutes of wrasslin’ and a good quarter of that was both men having a wee hug. Unacceptable. That being said, I love Mick Foley, Taker is on fine form and P-Bizzle is a great manager so the match should be better than the sum of its parts. Some sick bumps that look gruesome but unimpressive just go to show why Mick can hardly walk these days. He could only keep this workrate up for a short while before something had to give, it’s just a shame that that “something” was “his entire body, all at once.”


Mick Foley was in the match. A++, contender for Match of the Year on that basis alone.


Owen Hart rags on Dok Hendrix for a while. It’s gold. Speaking of…

WWF Intercontinental Championship match: Ahmed Johnson def. Goldust (c) w/ Marlena via pinfall in 15:34

Goldust is brilliant. He is my boy. Goldust AKA Dustin Runnels is amazing. Not only is his daddy Dusty Rhodes, one of the best lads, his brother Stardust AKA Cody Rhodes is fantastic and Goldust’s own gimmick is great. He gives himself 100% into the role of the genderfluid Hollywood critic. As he comes to the ring with Marlena AKA Terri Runnels, his legit wife at the time, we cut to last month on RAW when Ahmed Johnson was hurt and Goldie just went over and gave him the kiss of life. Johnson, either homophobic or sexually harassed, however you want to play him heel or face, destroys the place and doesn’t even thank Goldust for saving his life. What an ungrateful prick.

Marlena has a cigar and is holding it in a phallic manner. Because it’s almost the Attitude Era, after all. We are about twenty minutes away from it at this point, actually. Cut to the gate where Ahmed Johnson just bursts out of, sending the jesters flying. Johnson dives in, all greased up and ready to go. He starts swinging digs left and right and hits Goldust with a brutal clothesline that turns him inside out. Goldust rolls outside and Ahmed hits a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Ahmed throws Dusty into the corner and damn near kills him. Marlena has a nice wee seat to watch the match. She has lovely breasts, but then they all have lovely breasts.

Ahmed lifts the steel steps up and damn near legit murders his opponent. He’s covered in gold dust – it sprinkled from the sky during Goldust’s entrance and sticks to every surface. It is like some nature program about tracking animals. They say Goldust comes everywhere the dust falls. Goldie cracks Ahmed with the steel stairs and wails on him in the ring. His full body suit is open, showing his bare chest. Chin lock city for what seems like hours. Ahmed escapes and throws Goldust into the turnbuckle, who escapes and beats on Ahmed’s kidney. Goldust pats his opponents bottom.

It’s annoying that when Ahmed is in control, the speed is so quick and then the pace slows as Goldust takes over. It is certainly not an issue with the wrestlers – Goldust is a vastly superior wrestler to Goldust. Chinlock city followed by my legit favourite spot – the ref lifts and drops Ahmed’s hand three times to see if he has been knocked out. First two are drops and the third… he holds on! He’s up to a vertical base! Pin attempt, Goldust batters his opponent’s head. Pin attempt again, Ahmed is still in the match and bare-chested Goldie is frustrated. Ahmed is all hyped up on homophobia, Goldust, you have to try harder than that. JR: “Goldust, like a rabid dog here, exploding on Ahmed Johnson.”

Goldust hits a brutal piledriver, crawls over to his opponent and starts to feel him up, crawling up him for the pin attempt. Two count and Goldust cracks Ahmed a pair of times before getting him in some type of Camel Clutch (to presumably fuck his ass and make him humble). Ahmed’s up and he beats Goldust into the corner with some dodgy punches. Irish whip to turnbuckle reversed and Ahmed is once again on the mat. Goldust takes some time to feel his opponent up again and is cautioned strongly by the ref. Two punch reversals and Ahmed Irish whips Goldie, goes for the missile drop kick, misses and another pin attempt. The two men are gassed by this stage and in need of a lie down. Goldie gets Ahmed in a sleeper and the two men spoon. Ref asks Ahmed if he would like a wee cup of lemonade.

Another shot at my favourite spot but Goldust lets go after two hand drops. He parades about the ring sexually and licks his finger before going for another kiss of life to his opponent. Ahmed’s hatred of sexual assault is greater than his love of oxygen, it seems. He rallies, hits the double underhook powerbomb (the Pearl River Plunge, apparently) to a sitout pin and wins the IC title by pinfall in 15:34.

Owen claims that the only reason Ahmed won was because Goldust saved his life. Fantastic heel work.

Straight-up shoot fact: Ahmed Johnson was the first African-American to win a singles championship in the Fed. It is disgusting that it is 11 years after the first WrestleMania and only now are we getting a champ who isn’t Caucasian. Even at the time of writing (and after they do a big hubbub into Black History Month each February to prove they are diverse) The Rock is the only World Champion who would be considered black. Trrrrriple H also counts Booker T as a champion, though he won the World Heavyweight Championship, which is now retired.


Ahmed is a great, threatening, powerful looking figure in this match. Any time he has offense, it looks like he is set to legit kill Goldust. It’s a shame that he gets gassed so quickly and the rest of the match relies on rest holds and timewasting. Goldust could probably hold the match on his own but as it was Ahmed’s chance to go over, he could not. I enjoyed it, but probably only because I love Goldust so much.


Aww, it’s that creepy pervert and some guy who I’ve never seen wrestle but he’s in some of the video games I have. Turn that shit off.


Brian Pillman gets up to no good, shouting at cameramen and fans. He uses crutches, which received after being in a car crash and damaging one of his ankles. He calls the crowd, “a sewer of human waste,” which is nonsense because everyone knows sewers are filled with mutant turtles and their rat sensei. Pillman then makes a Jeffrey Dahmer joke while making crazy eyes at the camera. Pillman calls JR a “stupid son of a bitch”, which causes Vince to say, “We apologise”. Pillman reacts to the cameraman stepping back and smiles. Vince keeps trying to talk but Brian talks over him, smiling and laughing at the camera.

Straight-up shoot fact: Brian Pillman had a stepdaughter that became a valet under the name of “Sexy” Lexi Pillman. Tragically, she died in an automobile accident in 2009.

The scene cuts to the gate, smoke and stage hands emerging as…

On the Card will return on July 14th with the fourth and final part of King of the Ring 1996.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Holy crap! The annoying announcer was a wrestler?


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

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

No one will dispute the fact that the Attitude Era was a wonderful time for wrestling. Not only did it rocket it back into the mainstream, but for a wrestling fan, it was the most exciting time to watch a bunch of grown men beat each other up for our entertainment. What people do dispute, however, is when the Attitude Era began. The WWF Attitude logo appeared at the 1997 Survivor Series – the same PPV that had the infamous Montreal Screwjob – but WrestleMania XIV is also cited as the beginning of the era with the rise of Stone Cold Steve Austin. If we keep going, we can imagine that Goldust’s introduction, the use of Sable’s sex appeal, gore within matches and use of profanity through the mid-nineties could be the starting point of the era.

However, the “passing of the baton” as it were happened twenty years ago today on June 23rd 1996 with the fourth King of the Ring tournament. Over the next four weeks, I will review this important 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.

WWF King of the Ring 1996

To Battle is Honor… to Win is HELL.

That tagline makes no God damned sense, which is probably where the New Generation of the WWF is leeching into the Attitude Era somewhat. I mean, they tried to be edgy but Christ Jesus they did not do a good job. Are we to believe that winning is worse than losing? Then why take part? Why not just lose the payday? Wrestling is so confusing.

(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 which featured The Bodydonnas (Skip AKA Chris Candito and Zip) w/Kloudi def. The New Rockers (Leif Cassidy AKA Al Snow and Marty Jannetty) in a tag team match. It was forgettable. There was an equally forgettable dark match featuring a young upstart named Hunter Hearst Helmsley def. Aldo Montoya AKA Rat-Faced Knacker Justin Credible in a measly three minutes, which is cheap, even for a dark match.)

We’re treated to a promo clip show that looks like it’s been cobbled together in a dingy basement. It’s all flashes and filters and typewriter font. Remember that time when the level of the hipness of something was dictated by how much like a typewriter the font resembled? Well we’re deep into that territory tonight, people. The red WWF logo is followed by The Ultimate Warrior startling Jerry “The King” Lawler so much that the King hits him with a painting. We see Wildman Marc Mero do a bunch of hurricanranas on lads. Stone Cold looks middle distance. Vader jumps at Jake “The Snake” Roberts, who replies by holding Damien over his head and smiling. Mankind destroys a perfectly good coffin and the Undertaker looks mighty annoyed by that. Which is fair enough, like. Good coffins are hard to come by, and they’re Taker’s bread and butter, surely. They’re not cheap. In a stunning juxtaposition, we see the Godwinns do a jig with each other just before their former valet, Sunny, gets a good old kiss from Bodacious Bart Gunn. She then shows off her cleavage because it’s the Attitude Era, almost. To remind us of that, we have Goldust giving Ahmed Johnston the kiss of life and the man goes ballistic and smashes down a door because no matter how edgy this may be, it is still the nineties. Then, finally we see Shawn Michaels and The British Bulldog punch the face off each other whilst Mr. Perfect looks on like the Adonis he is.

We are ready to start in the MECCA Arena, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 8,762 attended. Slammy Award Winning Owen Hart arrives with a booboo on his wrist, storming clean past Jumping Jim Ross and Pre-Mr McMahon Vince. All three are in tuxedos and looking snazzy as fuck. Even JR, despite the fact that he does not wear a tie, like an Amish man. The entryway is manned by two court jester-styled gentlemen and out walks our first participant…

King of the Ring Semi-final: Stone Cold Steve Austin def. Wildman Marc Mero w/ Sable via pinfall in 16:49

Stone Cold Steve Austin is rocking the moustache/soul patch combo in this match. He clearly saw Wildman Marc Mero’s mental horseshoe of a lip-warmer and thought, “I ain’t gone let no damn son-of-a-bitch beat me in no God-damned facial hair game.” It will be a while before his beard will grow to the iconic Stone Cold goatee that we are used to. But this is not a blog post on Stone Cold’s wonderful face. Bit of a promo showing how much of a dick Stone Cold has been over the last few weeks. He Tazzmissions and Stunners people left and right because he simply does not care. He gives off to the referee for a while. Out comes Wildman Marc Mero and his mental wife Sable before she went off to marry an infinitely inferior but much more popular man in Brock Lesnar. Slammy Award Winning Owen Hart talks about his hand for a while and the two greasiest men in Christendom start to wrassle.

The match isn’t bad at all, a lot of near falls at the start and Stone Cold really sells his heel gimmick by glaring at Wildman any time he gets some offence in. Sable is trying to keep Mero in the match by hammering on the ring mat but she can’t keep time at all. Mero goes for the flying head scissors and Stone Cold stands outside forever, looking in at him. Stone Cold gets back in and we have rest holds to show off Marc Mero’s wonderful Solid Snake mullet. More rest holds. Sable keeps horrible time outside like some demented jazz singer. Irish Referee Tim White looks on as Stone Cold goes for the Lou Thesz Press and jumps too high, so just stomps a mudhole in Mero before going for the throat and shouting at the crowd. Great bump when Stone Cold rolls out of the ring and calls for a time out from the ref!

Test of strength from the cowardly hell Austin as he goes for the gut and holds Mero’s knuckles to ransom. A fan gently caresses Marc Mero as he lies outside. Stone Cold wastes no time removing the mats from outside the ring to expose the concrete before Bowl Cut Kid himself leans over the barrier and shouts at the camera. Mero takes a bump on the concrete and Stone Cold hits a brutal suplex in the ring. Stone Cold goes for Mero’s neck for a while like the bastard he is. Rakes Mero’s eyes on the ropes, Irish whips him from corner to corner. Sable prays to whatever God she believes in but none answer her. Dodgy ribbreaker from Stone Cold followed by a Boston crab. Stone Cold walks about for a while, keeping Mero from the ropes but the Wildman reverses it. Rollup to Irish whip and Stone Cold is back in control.

Another Boston crab and the two men have a wee breather while Sable hits the ring in some horrible 3/4 timing. Some nice near-fall reversals for a while and Stone Cold gets wrapped in a sleeper hold, reverse to a stunner. Wildman gives Stone Cold an ass-bump from the turnbuckle, a brutal missile dropkick that busts Stone Cold open legit. Then there’s a double axehandle smash followed by two dives over the rope from Marc Mero. Another drop kick and Stone Cold is bleeding bad when Mero gives him a hurricanrana off the top rope like a total psycho. Potential botched powerbomb before Stone Cold gets angry and stunners the Wildman for the pin in 16:49.


Looking back after 20 years, this is still a decent match. Stone Cold is not amazing and it really is a Wildman match. He shows off all his moves and really comes over as a babyface in this match. The fact that Stone Cold survives all the offense and walks away with a bust mouth makes him look like a hero. Good match, good start.


I actually did not watch KotR 96 until about 1998 because my family could not afford the channels that had wrestling and I could only see them by stealing VHS tapes from my friends. Back then, though, I remember being disappointed by the little blood, little boobs and this weird guy named Marc Mero. He didn’t exist two years later, funnily enough, and I could not really understand why. He seemed amazing with his flips and mental hair. Really, my biggest disappointment was the lack of Stone Cold glass smashing music.

Grade: B+

We have Dok Hendrix AKA Fabulous Freebird Michael Hayes interviewing Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Jake cuts a promo praising Jesus, who is the Christ.

Straight-up shoot fact: Stone Cold had been given a big smack in the mouth by Marvellous Marc Mero during the match and was driven straight to the emergency room after the match, sewn up and driven back to the arena for the King of the Ring final. Remember this. It is important later.

King of the Ring Semi-Final: Jake “The Snake” Roberts def. Vader w/ Jim Cornette via disqualification in 3:34

Big Van Vader, otherwise known as the man who ruined Mick Foley’s ear, is a towering beast of a man. Apparently, he’s a big softie in real life but that does not take away from the fact that the man is huge. At six-foot-five and 450 lbs, the man is a “mastodon” according to Vince. Owen rips on Jake Roberts, calling him 51 years old (changing it to 61 later), older than Robert’s real age of 41. Vince references the drug and alcohol problems old Jake has been open about recently. Jake, on his way to the ring, flings Revelations, his God-damned albino Burmese Python, towards Vader and Jim Cornette. Corny has a tennis racket for some reason. It’s all very strange.

Owen keeps talking about how old Jake Roberts is and Vince talks over him. Fuck Vince, even back before he became Mr. McMahon. Vader controls Jake until one single kick to the face turns the tide. Roberts calls for the DDT and is overpowered. Vader batters Roberts left and right. Roberts dodges a punch and hits Vader with a clothesline which barely fazes the monster. Roberts goes for the DDT and Vader, in the fall, pushes the referee and the ref disqualifies him! Whole match lasts 3:34. Vader beats the crap out of Roberts as Corny keeps the ref in the corner. Vader hits the Vader Bomb, the bell keeps being rung and the ref calls for more officials. Corny comes to his senses and holds Vader back. There’s a pushing match in the middle as Jake is brought backstage to advance into the final of the King of the Ring tournament with our man Stone Cold.

In a Coliseum Home Video Exclusive, it shows Vader crying like a child and bullying Corny, who seems to be in some sort of abusive relationship with Big Van. How odd.


I love Vader, I love Corny and I love Jake Roberts, so this shit was amazing. Yes, the match was nonsense and seemed to be called on the fly, but I loved the pantomime of it. That said, it wasn’t a great match at all and I didn’t really understand the point of it. Who was going over here? Were we supposed to hate Vader and love Roberts? Because no one goes over. Vader looks like a big baby and Roberts looks old and weak. The win by DQ is a great way to get a villainous heel over but it looked like a genuine mistake (and the only time a ref has ever stopped a match because they were hit, in my memory).

Had Vader gone for a choke in the corner and the ref had tried to stop him, Vader had pushed him and the ref went flying, then Vader would have looked like a machine. That man can push a ref so hard, he springboards about the ring? What a champ! If Roberts had hit the DDT then and officials had entered the ring to check on his damaged neck whilst Vader rose to his feet in the background (he pushed a ref like a ragdoll and shrugged off a DDT? This man is a monster!) then Vader hit the Vader Bomb, both would have gone over. This was just sloppy.


I hated Vader back in the day because he was the reason Foley lost an ear. I didn’t know who Corny was and Roberts was not a great watch.

Grade: D

On The Card will return on June 30th, 2016 for Part 2 of King of the Ring 1996.