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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OH SWEET JESUS THE UNDERTAKER IS ALREADY IN THERE.

Brilliant stuff all together.

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

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

2016 comments:

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

1996 comments:

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

Grade: B

The Go Home Stats.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dispatches: None.

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

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

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Attitude Era #4. In Your House 10: Mind Games (Sept 22, 1996) Part 3

Previously on On the Card: We saw Owen Hart wrestle. Glorious.

Cut to Kevin Kelly backstage in the boiler room with Mankind and Paul Bearer. Bearer is brilliant, shrill and eeeeeevil. Bearer blames everyone for his betrayal. Mankind hugs the urn and tells everyone that he lives so that others may feel his pain. His destiny is to win tonight, reportedly. He does tell us to have a nice day, however.

Back in the ring, Jerry “The King” Lawler comes out to verbally abuse the crowd for a while. That’s not like you, Jerry! In the middle of the slagging, it cuts to Superstars earlier and Free-For-All when Jerry pours water on Mark Henry and slaps him. We can’t hear Jerry shout, though he does ask, of the Olympics, “If one synchronised swimmer drowns, do they all drown?” In the middle of his rant, music hits and out comes “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry. He’s wearing a USA singlet, throws his XXXL jacket into the crowd and Jerry is still slagging him. Jerry, listen, Henry is 400 pounds. You can’t lift him.

Mark Henry def. Jerry “The King” Lawler via submission in 5:13.

So, once again, we have a match where the winner is obvious. Will the wrestling legend win or the young upstart who did not compete in the Olympics? Either way, it is not a strong win because the opponents are not equals.

Jerry knows all about mind games, according to Vince. The King walks about the ring and USA chants rise for Henry. They lock up and King keeps him in a headlock. Henry reverses it to a hammerlock and pushes Jerry down. JR states, quite correctly, that Mark Henry does not need to do anything fancy. Just overpower Jerry. Do what you are booked to do. Mark gets Jerry in a headlock and it’s the King’s turn to reverse into a hammerlock. Henry reverses that hammerlock into another hammerlock and throws Jerry into the turnbuckle. Big clap rises and the pair chase each other about the ring. Jerry goes to bodyslam Mark and Henry lifts Jerry into a gorilla press and chucks him away.

Jerry runs at Mark… and bounces off him. He runs to Henry and is tossed through the ropes. Jerry cracks his head off the ground on the way out, goes back into the ring and puts his hands down his tights to hold something in his right hand, strengthening his punches. That son of a bitch. Henry gets the fight back and whups on Jerry mercilessly. King tries to escape and is placed in a backbreaker submission, where he almost instantly taps out. Mark Henry wins his debut match in 5:13.

2016 comments:

This was actually a very good match, psychologically speaking. Other than the (foolish) body slam attempt, Jerry uses his superior wrestling knowledge to keep control of Henry and when he is overpowered, he cheats sneakily, but is not caught. Henry comes across as the good, honest, All-American babyface and Lawler is the snide, wicked, arrogant heel. Jerry tapped too quickly on the backbreaker for my liking.

1996 comments:

I hate jingoism… but I hate Jerry “The King” Lawler even more.

Grade: B+

I am pleased but also disappointed that the best match so far is a Mark Henry and Jerry Lawler match. This might be the only time these two men make this list. Marty Jannetty and Leif Cassidy come in to beat on Henry but are thrown out. Then, young upstart Hunter Hearst Helmsley runs in, the rascal, and is tossed out onto the lads on the outside. JR: “Mark Henry beat the King and all the King’s men!”

Henry does a wee dance mid-ring as well. Fair play to him. Pyro goes off above the ring. All right. Calm down.

Coliseum Home Video Exclusive of Dok Hendrix in the locker room with new Tag Team champions, Slammy Award Winning Own Hart, the British Bulldog and Immigration Clarence Mason. The boys come over as faces despite their alliance with Camp Cornette. Owen says Clarence brought the boys luck. Mason is now their new manager. Good man.

Cut to a promo of the Undertaker working as a blacksmith, trying to make some extra money. We are reminded of the Taker/Goldust rivalry. Mankind is mentioned as well. Over the last few PPVs, Taker has only fought Goldust or Mankind. Great feud.

Back in the ring, Goldust has arrived with Marlena. Goldust falls from the ceiling.

The gong rises and the audience go mental as they await the Undertaker to walk out of the house. There he is, walking slowly to the ring, wasting all our time, like Randy Orton would years later. He enters the ring and the two men are about to square off when Taker boots Goldust between the legs and the bell rings for this match.

Final Curtain match: Undertaker def. Goldust w/ Marlena via pinfall in 10:23.

The rules of the Final Curtain match are not stated, but I assume that they are a “Winner leaves town,” stipulation of some kind. Taker launches Goldie from turnbuckle to turnbuckle as Irish Referee Tim White looks on. Taker hits a very high leg drop and Goldust rolls to the ouside, Marlena looking on unimpressed. Taker is hit with a chindrop and Marlena gives him a slap for good luck. Goldust hits a swinging neckbreaker and Undertaker sits right up. Fantastic suplex from Taker followed by another quick sit-up and almost three count.

Goldust takes one hell of a hip toss followed by Old School. Three minutes in and Goldust has barely had any offence as he is thrown out of the ring like a bad child. But wait… he has something illegal in his hand… a bag of gold dust! As Marlena distracts the ref (after being picked up by Taker), Goldust flings the gold dust in Taker’s face. Blinded, the Deadman is as the critic’s mercy. Goldie drives Taker’s face into the steel steps and rolls back into the ring. Taker doesn’t know what to do with himself.

Taker gets his head bounced off the Spanish announcer’s table and rolls back in the ring as Goldust feels himself up. Taker is Irish whipped into the ropes but holds on, turning slowly, his eyes still stinging from the gold dust. Taker gets beaten in the corner and Irish Referee Tim White chastises Goldust for holding a choke on too long. Taker finally fights back with a great backdrop and both men are up on their feet, still beating on each other. Undertaker is rallying as best he can and Goldust is still unable to put the Deadman away.

Marlena goes to the turnbuckle and Goldust feels himself up again, holding the Undertaker’s head at groin level. The Deadman strikes back with a choke and several body shots, sending Goldie flying. A hard Irish whip and Goldust hits a beautiful body slam. Undertaker sits up quickly, the pair run the ropes and a high jump knocks both men down. Goldust goes to the top rope but Taker hits the chokeslam on Goldie, performing the “slit throat” taunt followed by the Tombstone Piledriver for the pin in 10:23.

2016 comments:

Great match. This is starting to pick up. I love Goldust anyways, but the psychology here was wonderful. Goldust seems to be Undertaker’s equal, but his hubris is too much for him to simply win, he has to humiliate Taker and that is his downfall.

1996 comments:

Jesus Goldust is creepier than the actual dead man in the ring.

Grade: B

Undertaker reaches to the heavens, looks about for his urn but Paul Bearer is nowhere to be seen. Will Goldust leave town now? Only time will tell…

On the Card will return on October 13th with the fourth and final part of Mind Games.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016 comments:

No.

1996 comments:

Why?

Grade: You do not deserve a rating, sir.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OH WHAT.

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

Those wicked whelps!

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016 comments:

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

1996 comments:

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

Grade: C

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

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

Attitude Era #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.