Previously on On the Card: Great Mark Henry match! And Goooooooldust!
Cut to Kevin Kelly backstage with our boy Shawn Michaels. Mankind has spoken about Paul Bearer leading him to his destiny. Michaels talks about being the best wrestler in the WWF and how he is going to go out and wrassle the wackiest guys ever. Kevin Kelly wonders aloud if Paul Bearer might use the casket. Michaels replies with the face that there’s not an awful lot going on upstairs with him and this is to his benefit as you cannot play mind games with someone who has no mind. Fair enough. Michaels says that he is about to leave to go to the ring and has no idea how it is going to go.
Back in the ring, a bunch of monks are leading a casket to the ring. Paul Bearer follows, his face scrunched up in a twist of disgust. JR says that “Mankind will do anything to his own body to win.” Mankind sits up in the casket, walks past Shawn’s pyro and rocks in the ring, cradling the urn of the Undertaker. It makes little sense for him to do that. The reason that the Undertaker gains his power from it is because it contains the ashes of his family… the family that he possibly killed.
Shawn’s music hits and there is a deafening pop from the crowd. Howard Finkel can hardly be heard. No barricades break this time as he pops into the ring, poses and the pyro goes off. Brilliant. He’s just a sexy boy, after all. Mr. Perfect says, “Look at Mankind! He doesn’t even know what’s going on with all the cheering and yelling,” as if he is a horse or some easily-spooked dog.
WWF Championship match: Shawn Michaels (c) def. Mankind via pinfall in 26:25.
Earl Hebner is the ref here. Both men circle each other before locking up. Michaels takes a terrific shot to the jaw and several punches to the face that he sells well. Mankind flips him high and then both men go over the top rope. Mankind wastes no time in chucking Michaels into the barricade and lifts the mat to expose the concrete. Michaels dropkicks the mat and then stomps over Mankind, climbs the turnbuckle and does a great cross body before rolling into the ring. His back is covered in gold dust. He was here.
Michaels jumps off the steel steps, rolls Mankind into the ring and hits him with a double axe handle smash. Mankind’s boot is caught, he is spun and punched a bunch of times. A body slam to the mat and Michaels hits the elbow before going for the Sweet Chin Music. Mankind sensibly runs out, screeching and begging Paul for the urn. Mankind finally goes back into the ring and the men beat on each other in the corner for a while. Mankind Irish whips Michaels and the champ goes for the crossbody but the madman retreats. Michaels does some ground-and-pound followed by a Russian leg sweep and some spooning. Michaels fights back and the punches he cracks Mankind with look legit.
Straight-up Shoot Fact: Mick Foley has an awful lot to say about this match. From his first book, quote: “We put twenty-seven minutes into what was undoubtedly the finest match of my carerr. There is no doubt in my mind that it was the best match of the year and one of the greatest in history.” Big words. He doesn’t actually explain how the match is good, though.
Earl shouts at Michaels and JR says, “It’s outta hand!” Michaels gets thrown to the outside and as Mankind moves the Spanish announcer’s table, Hugo Savinovich politely tells him not to until Michaels jumps over the table onto Mankind before suplexing him onto the steel steps, where he catches his leg. Looks rough. In the ring, Michaels tackles Mankind’s knee, throws him onto the casket and batters away on the left knee, even going to far as to push Earl Hebner away when he chastises him.
Mankind gets a leg drag with a twist from Michaels followed by a figure four. Great spot as Mankind falls back in pain and Earl starts to count the pin. Brilliant. Another fantastic dropkick from Michaels onto Mankind. He rolls him into a half-Boston crab and Paul holds the urn in front of Mankind as something to crawl towards. Michaels hits Mankind with a tilt-a-whirl pin, jumps for the head scissors and Mankind drops him back, hitting Michael’s neck on the top rope. He then takes what looks to be a pen from Paul Bearer’s pocket and stabs himself a bunch of times in the leg. Hardcore.
Mankind boots away on Shawn Michael’s head, gets him in the corner and cracks him with a running knee. Mankind then bites Michaels on the forehead. Mental. Michaels fights back with a backdrop followed by some meaty punches. Mankind is in tatters at this point… and covered in gold dust. Irish whip to Michaels and he baseball slides through Mankind’s legs. Quick scramble and Michaels is Irish whipped into the corner, is wrapped around it and falls into the tree of woe. Great punch to the face by Mankind and Earl tries to stop him but to no avail. Mr. Perfect: “The Heart Break Kid may be broken.”
Michaels goes to the outside and Foley follows him, getting some abuse from the crowd especially some lad in a green shirt. Mankind misses a knee to Michaels face and a drop toe hold drives his own head into the steel steps. Suplex into the ring from the apron is reversed but Michaels lands on the apron and jumps in to avoid Mankind’s run that ends up with Mick bouncing off the turnbuckle. Fantastic body slam in the middle of the ring and a two count. The two men run the ropes and Mankind gets caught in a hangman, the very move that caused him to lose an ear!
He escapes and after an aborted Mandible Claw, Mankind is thrown into Savinovich’s lap and cracked twice by a steel chair. Heel move, Michaels. Shawn then goes for Mankind’s claw hand. Shawn jumps off the ropes onto Mankind’s claw hand and is thrown outside the ring for it. Mankind jumps off the apron onto Michaels. Mankind dives out and hits mankind with a swinging neckbreaker.
Michaels gets back in and a leg drop on his neck stops him. Mankind goes for the cover but Shawn kicks out. He gives Michaels a brutal piledriver but Shawn kicks out… twice. He does some lovely leg-grip pin but Shawn kicks out. Mankind throws steel chairs into the ring and Earl removes them. Mankind goes for the casket and Shawn rolls in but jumps out quickly. Irish whip to jumping clothesline to kip-up combo, Michaels beats on Mankind, gets him with the body drop and jumping elbow but doesn’t get the pin. He goes for the second elbow but Mankind hits the ropes and Shawn lands on his bollocks. Mankind goes to the top rope and backdrops Shawn to the Spanish Announcer’s table on the outside. Vince is there to check on both men and Shawn is up in seconds, followed by Mick.
Paul Bearer distracts the ref as Mankind goes to the top rope with a steel chair. Michaels jumps up, kicks Mankind in the face and goes for the one… two… damn this is a slow count.
Oh that’s why. Vader is here. Vader, who fought Sid on the preshow dark match is here. Camp Cornette! Revenge!
Earl hits the bell despite the fact that Vader never lifted a finger onto Michaels. Paul Bearer comes in and bops Shawn on the head. Sid comes in and bops Vader. In the ring, Mankind is on his feet and he gets the Mandible Claw on Michaels, Bearer opens the casket to put Michaels in and-
OH SWEET JESUS THE UNDERTAKER IS ALREADY IN THERE.
Brilliant stuff all together.
Undertaker chases Mankind out and Shawn celebrates in the middle of the ring, exhausted, ready for a lie down.
The show ends with Paul and Mankind in a Coliseum Home Video Exclusive as both men shout at each other in the boiler room. P-Bizzle even took off his jacket. Back in the ring, Michaels tells an audience member to turn their sign upside down. Ha. Really nice moment, making sure that people don’t look like fools. Then he shows his arse tattoo and jumps out of the ring, hugging all the fans around the ring. He even goes to the announcers, ignoring Mr. Perfect, apologising to the Spanish announcers and their poor table. Highlights of the backdrop onto the table, Undertaker appearing etc.
Was it the best match of the year? No. Was it Mick Foley’s best match? One of the best. Was it Shawn’s best match? Not even close. It was okay.
I hope in the future all the matches involve people going through tables.
The Go Home Stats.
Man of the Matches: You know what, I’m going to say Mark Henry. For real. You deserve it, bro.
Woman of the Matches: Between Sunny and Marlena? I’m going to choose Sunny again.
Montel Vontavious Porter Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence: Mark Henry.
Best Spot: That back drop onto the table. Well done, boys.
Hatches: Farooq (dark match performer), Mark Henry (as a performer), Hunter Hearst Helmsley (as a run-in).
Matches: Owen Hart and British Bulldog win the Tag Team belts from the Smoking Gunns. Shawn Michaels retains.
Closing Statements: I have a soft spot for Mind Games, even though it’s not a great PPV all together. It’s the perfect PPV from the end of the New Generation to show new viewers what wrestling is all about – big characters, big drama and a fantastic finish.
On the Card will return on October 20th with In Your House 11: Buried Alive.