On This Day: July 21, 1996 – In Your House #9: International Incident: I Was Really Bad Back Then

In Your House 9: International Incident
Date: July 21, 1996
Location: General Motors Place, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross
Attendance: 14,804

We’re a month removed from KOTR 96 here where three things happened. #1, Shawn pinned Bulldog clean to retain the title, so that’s out of the way. Second, Mankind beat Taker clean by knockout. The Mandible Claw is now one of the most feared moves in the company as it actually beat Taker. That was huge at the time. The most important and by far most famous thing though was Austin won the King of the Ring tournament.

While that is pretty much forgotten, his victory speech featured the debut of one of the most famous catchphrases of all time. He had beaten Jake Roberts in the final. Roberts had been using a preacher gimmick at the time, so Austin had this to say. For those of you that haven’t seen this before, watch it now. This is required viewing for wrestling fans

And there you have it. The catchphrase that sold a million t-shirts is born. Austin rode that one line to the second biggest career in company history. He carried the WWF on his shoulders through their darkest days, and I don’t care who says otherwise, they’re wrong and I’ll argue that all day and never lose. Austin carried the WWF, and his persona was born on that night. His time would come, but at the moment it wasn’t quite there yet.

However, and dang I’m getting goose bumps thinking about this, that line where he said he didn’t care who you were or what you did, he was coming for you, would result in the return of Bret Hart, and the absolute best feud I’d seen in years would start at Survivor Series.

Oh and Ahmed won the IC Title that night too.

This show might as well be called Summerslam Pre-Show. That’s all it is: a PPV build up to Summerslam. Your main event is a 6-man tag, with Camp Cornette vs. Shawn and his two face partners. The original team was Shawn, Ahmed and Warrior Warrior Warrior. However, Triple W decided to bail, for various reasons depending on what story you want to believe.

Either way, he’s gone and was replaced by Sid. Other than that, this show is designed to build for the second Mankind vs. Undertaker showdown at Summerslam. The card here is one of the weakest of the entire series and perhaps the worst period. This should have been a Raw based on the look of it, but let’s give it a chance.

Your opening video is………bad. All it consists of is a recap of the free for all which was Shawn’s manager Jose Lathario beating up Cornette but then Vader running in to beat him up. Shawn got there before it happened though. There’s no talking on this and if you didn’t know who these people were you would have no clue what was going on. Apparently if Cornette’s team loses he’s promised all of the crowd a refund so we have the ending of the main event sealed.

Free For All: Justin Hawk Bradshaw vs. Savio Vega

Yes that Bradshaw. This was back when the pre show meant something. You’d get an exclusive match with the regular commentators doing the talking. It really did a good job of getting you in the mood for the main show which is something that is severely lacking in today’s stuff as all you get is a recap. Back in my day your preshow often had something that would play a role later on in the PPV itself, so you had to make sure you saw this show.

We actually get a recap of this mini-feud as they’ve met twice before. It is so weird to see JBL with blonde hair past his shoulders. He’s actually fatter than he was in his last run. Vega with a boot that almost hit Bradshaw and we wouldn’t want that to happen. There’s not much here as it’s really similar to a pre Raw dark match.

That’s fine really though as it’s only meant to warm up the crowd. Neither guy was anything more than a jobber at this point so no one is really interested. Bradshaw wins after his manager Uncle Zebekiah holds Savio’s leg down. Post match they beat Savio down.

Rating: C. Yes it’s boring and nothing special, but it wasn’t on PPV so what do you really want here? It’s a free match to get the crowd in the mood a bit. Based on that, it was fine for what it was. Nothing bad, just nothing good.

Bodydonnas vs. Smoking Gunns

This is non title for some reason. Sunny has jumped to the Gunns now as they’re the tag champions. To say that she looks hot as a cowgirl is like saying Norcal has a bit of muscle. She’s a goddess out there and she knows it. The cutoff shorts are amazing on her.

The crowd is so dead for this match and all they care about is Sunny. Apparently Jake Roberts can’t wrestle tonight, which I think is storyline. Lawler takes another jab at Roberts’ alcohol problems, which was a storyline that I’ve never been quite comfortable with. Ross mentions the “attitude changes” of the Gunns, which is code for heel turn. Roberts was supposed to face Mankind so he’s been replaced by Henry Godwinn. Well that’s a great thing indeed.

Ross says it’ll be a rugged match, which translates into: “We know it’s going to suck, but the show is 20 dollars so get over it.” Vince says that while the Bodydonnas are the quickest team in the company, which is probably true, the Godwinns are equally quick. Even JR asks if Vince meant the Godwinns and in a fairly stern voice, Vince says he did indeed mean the Godwinns.

That makes no sense and you can hear JR is confused, as I am, by that statement. Anyway, something is wrong with Sunny as she collapses. It’s a fake obviously as the Gunns use it to cheat. The Gunns have taken over but I’m more interested in an Urkel rerun on Nick at Nite. The Gunns try the World’s Greatest Tag Team move with Billy trying to jump over Bart who is holding his opponent’s legs while his throat is on the rope.

They botch it though as Billy can’t jump high enough. That’ makes me laugh. This match is running long here as it’s losing any steam that it had in the first place. I think the Bodydonnas are faces here but I’m really not sure. Apparently they had a manager that they fired to signify this, but it’s not sticking that well. Something is going on in the crowd as the fans are far more interested in that than they are in this match. The Gunns lose off of a missile dropkick from the top.

In the back we have Camp Cornette who is mad about Lathario’s actions earlier, claiming it was like a gang assault. Owen has a cast on his hand for some reason and Diana isn’t going to be in the corner tonight because it’s no place for a lady. Thanks for wasting 80 seconds of our time.

Mankind vs. Henry Godwinn

Yeah it’s a squash. Godwinn was a modern day Hillbilly Jim (that was his manager) but a bit more serious. However, no one believed he had a chance here. Foley was at his all time strangest here as there was never anyone like Mankind in wrestling prior to this.

The guy was just OUT there. He’d hit himself, pull chunks of his hair out and randomly scream. He was one of the few wrestlers that legitimately scared me as a kid. He beat the Undertaker who was one of my favorites and the mark in me was terrified of him being world champion. Anyway, there’s very little here. Godwinn pounds on him and nothing happens. Eventually Mankind gets the claw and Godwinn is out cold. This was nothing.

Rating: C. Boring, but it got the job done. Mankind looks like even more of an unstoppable monster and that’s exactly what he was supposed to do. When he was in a team, Godwinn was ok. On his own, he was pretty boring.

Steve Austin vs. Marc Mero

The announcers put Austin over as being a huge star and they couldn’t be more right. Them calling him technically sound amuses me as I know what’s coming. For those of you that don’t know, before Austin hurt his neck he was a totally different style of wrestler. He even came off the top rope a few times. They try to push Mero as the same thing and I just shake my head. Not everyone can be a star Vince.

This match is a rematch from the KOTR semis where Mero got beat by Austin, but during a rollup legitimately kicked Austin in the mouth and busted him open. Seeing Austin with writing on his tights is just odd to see. Sable’s hotness really should be illegal. She’s just gorgeous. This match is moving pretty slowly and I think that’s for the best. Austin’s style at the time was a more methodical one and that’s what you’re getting here.

You’re really starting to see some of the flashes of Austin’s signature style coming on here. He’s stomping a lot, turning really fast with his arms at his side, etc. Austin actually goes for a springboard move. He had a bulldog but runs at the corner to walk up them. He got reversed, but it was still amazing to see him attempt it and make it look good.

During the match, Marlena and the Usher come to ringside and hand King a letter or something. They leave with nothing really happening so that was kind of odd. Mero is just bland. His gimmick was that he was supposed to be wild, but that pretty much consisted of a lot of flips over the ropes and punches.

He was ok, but he was just out of his league here. Austin back then was one of those guys that you could just see something special in. You knew he was going to break through the glass ceiling soon and the only question was when would it happen? Anyway, Austin wins with the stunner, minus the kick.

Rating: B-. This match was designed to do one thing and one thing only: build up Austin. That’s exactly what it did too. Austin was the star in this match and did most of the work in it. He never was in any real trouble other than for a few seconds and he looked dominant over a guy that was a solid midcarder at the time. Good little match and it pushed Austin even harder by giving him another win to add to the pile.

Undertaker vs. Goldust

This feud just will never die will it? I can’t believe this thing has been going over four months and I literally don’t remember a single match they had. We get a recap of what this feud has been, which is more or less Taker beating the living tar out of Goldust but never getting the IC Title, until Mankind debuts and beats on Taker some too. That leads us here, somehow.

Of course, we get the endless stall from Goldust before the match starts and the insanely long entrance from Taker to fill in more PPV time. After about 5 minutes of stalling, Taker beats the living tar out of him. It’s a pure beatdown with very little from Goldust at all other than running from Taker. I really don’t get the point to these matches. We all know Taker is dominant and is going to crush Goldust, so why have them?

Apparently he’s more aggressive this time though so he won’t get beaten up as badly. Why do I have a feeling that won’t do anything at all to help him? The movie references are already rolling but they’re not as funny this time from Lawler.

Holy crap Taker used a small package, and a decent one at that. After about 10 minutes of Taker beating on Goldust, he hits the tombstone. However, as the referee is stalling to get to the finish, Mankind pops out of the ring (literally) and gets the claw on him.

The lights flicker but there’s no Taker as Mankind looks into the hole. Taker pops out of another hole and fights Mankind back to the locker room. As the announcers talk while the ring is repaired, we cut to the back where Mankind and Taker are fighting in the boiler room. That’s your foreshadowing to Summerslam I guess.

Rating: C-. This was what we had seen for four months now and still it’s not entertaining. Why Goldust is what I don’t get. He had no connection to Taker. No one remembers this feud for some reason. The whole point of this match was to have Taker and Mankind continue their feud so that’s fine, but it just was a stale feud by this point.

In the back, Goldust is quoting movie lines while stroking Mankind’s hair while he calls Goldust’s wig mommy. It’s stranger than it sounds. They talk about the Undertaker, I think.

Camp Cornette vs. Peoples Posse

Yes that’s what they were going by. Pre match we hear from the faces who say your basic face things. Shawn comes out first for some reason. As he’s coming to the ring, one of the barricades breaks and the fans fall into the aisle. Shawn keeps smiling though as clearly no one was hurt. One of the kids runs up and hugs him. Shawn is professional and hugs him back so that’s good to see.

Sid has been turned face for some reason now. This can best be described as three matches in one: Shawn vs. Vader, Ahmed vs. Bulldog and Ahmed vs. Owen. Sid is just kind of along for the ride, which isn’t his fault. He was thrown into this thing a week ago with no real storyline at all.

This match gets some decent time at over twenty minutes which should be a requirement for more than four people in a match. You have ample time to get all the feuds in and everyone has enough time to face everyone at least once. It’s kind of like an orgy: if you don’t get a sample of everyone, then it’s kind of a waste of time. You may be more partial to one person, but you need to sample them all.

This is a very solid match. While I never have been a fan of tags like this to close a PPV, this is one of the best I can remember seeing. Shawn, the best in the match, is in the ring more than anyone. He flows very well with all three men which is saying a lot as they’re all very different styles. Ahmed is barely ever in, which means that they at least know he’s terrible in the ring.

You get a lot of back and forth action with the heels dominating most of the match but the faces making the last minute save before things get too terrible. They hammer each other the entire match and it’s quite physical. You get combinations of all 6 guys which is always fun.

Cornette panicking at every near fall is just great as he fakes heart attacks like no one else ever could. This show really was better at building up Summerslam as Smith and Sid have a lot of time together here and they would meet next month.

Shawn and Vader of course would go on to headline Summerslam in a month in a showdown for the title. That of course is your ending here, as Shawn is setting for the kick but Cornette grabs his foot. Splash in the corner, Vader Bomb and the pinfall. The crowd and the announcers are stunned to say the least.

Post match, the faces clear the ring and Shawn jumps Vader before they all pose. Poor sportsmanship there. He got beat clean.

Rating: B. Very fun match that did its job. It built up for next month and it made people believe Shawn was vulnerable. It got the time that it needed and nothing felt rushed. Very well done match, but at the same time, this was the main event of the PPV. It’s by far the best match, but that’s not saying much.

Overall Rating: D+. This show is bad, like really bad. It’s five matches: a non title match, three glorified squashes and a good main event. There’s little of interest throughout the whole show and there was no reason at all for this to be a PPV. I could easily see this being a Raw.

Now I’m known to be a fan of this concept, but this was completely unnecessary. No need for a PPV here at all, and it showed. There is no thought, there is no effort, there is nothing at all to this show. Complete recommendation to avoid.


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1 comment

  1. beckett929 says:

    He was terrible, but jesus Ahmed Johnson was CRAZY OVER at this time.