Friday, February 20, 2015

In Your House: International Incident

What the hell am I watching?

The event took place at GM Place in Vancouver (GM Place is really old), which was claimed to be at capacity. This PPV was a disaster on paper as everyone on the card seemed to drop out just before the event. Jake the Snake was replaced in his match with Mankind by Henry O. Goddwinn, while Sycho Sid took the place of Ultimate Warrior (more on him later)

Match 1: Bodydonnas vs. The Smoking Gunns w/Sunny
Result; Bodydonnas via pinfall
The Bodydonnas (Skip, Chris Candido,vwho was dating Tammy Sytch aka Sunny at the time and his "cousin" Zip, Tom Prichard) began with a promo thanking Cloudy, their short lived cross dressing manager, and explaining that since the fans were behind them they no longer needed a manager. If you heard their promo, however, they clearly needed someone to talk for them. Skip and Zip (seriously? What is with these names) took control over the match at the start while Jerry Lawler insulted the Vancouver Grizzlies and the Canucks. The majority of the match though was the Gunns controlling the action but the highlight of the match was a botched spot as Billy attempted to launch himself over Bart but couldn't get high enough. Sadly, this was before the days of the "You Fucked Up" chant.

It's amazing how bad the WWF Tag Team division was at the start of the era than during its prime with the Hardys, Dudleys, and Edge & Christian. The Match ended when Bart Gunn had Zip set up for the Sidewinder but Skip hit a dropkick on Bart from the turnbuckle as Harvey Whippleman, despite his big glasses, couldn't see what happened as he was distracted by Sunny on the outside. Zip fell over Bart Gunn for the three count.

Backstage, Camp Cornette showed a clip from "Free for All", the preshow at the time, in which Vader saved Cornette from Jose Lothario's "switchblade", which caused Shawn Michaels to enter the ring and save Lothario. Cornette promised to refund all the tickets and PPV money if Camp Cornette did not win tonight ("about 7 or 8 million dollars"). Owen Hart promised to knock someone out with his cast.

Match 2: Mankind vs. Henry Godwinn w/Hillbilly Jim
Winner: Mankind via ref stoppage

Jake the Snake could not make it to this match as he was injured. The Godwinns, slop bucket in hand, came down to the ring and did their trademark jig. This match just looked ridiculous in terms of characters. "If there's one good thing about Canada, they don't have an Arkansas. A state that gave us the Godwinns and a President named Bubba", said Jerry Lawler. Then followed it up with "Unlike Clinton Jake always inhaled", which was probably too on the nose. During the match Mankind screeched and ripped out his hhair. He was being promoted as a dangerous man who didn't care about his own safety or anybody else's. Mankind took a crazy bump from a scoop slam from the ring apron to the concrete floor. The match ended with the mandible claw that Godwinn could not recover from. It's interesting that they booked the mandible claw as an extremely painful manoeuvre rather than just the gross out finisher it became once he added Mr. Socko.

The WWF then advertised their 1-900 Superstar line with the Gunns on one side and Brian Pillman and the Bodydonnas on the other side. The WWE Network thankfully informed me that this line from almost 20 years ago was no longer active, as I would have been tempted to call it. The segment had a line in which Pillman suggested the Gunns wanted to "double team Sunny", which once again brought an apology from Vince McMahon

Match 3: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. "Wildman" Marc Mero w/Sable
Winner: Austin via pinfall

This was the first time I'd seen Austin with writing on his tights as he had a Stone Cold wordmark on his gear. Jim Ross put over how Austin was destined for superstardom. Vince tried to suggest his opponent was as well...not so much.

This match was a rematch from their semi-final match at King of the Ring, which was Mero's first loss in the WWF. They flashed back to the previous month when Mero "accidentally kicked" Austin in the face while he attempted a rollup. It's unclear why kicking someone in the face that you're fighting would be an accident. Austin was once again the heel and was consistently praised by Lawler.

They then had a splitscreen to backstage where Marlena, smoking a cigar, along with an usher, was on America Online. I thought the WWF pushing their online presence was a recent phenomenon but it was around even then. Later in the match Marlena and the usher came down to the ring and handed a gold envelope to Lawler. It's unclear what was the point as the envelope was never read during the match and did not have any impact the rest of the PPV. Austin won the match with the Stunner.

Following the match Bob Backund was shown in the crowd campaigning to be President (despite being in the wrong country) and then ran a promo for the Tag Team Championship match on Raw. Non title match on PPV followed by a title match on free TV? Makes sense to me.

Match 4: Goldust w/Marlena vs. Undertaker w/Paul Bearer
Winner: Undertaker via DQ

One of the good things about this era is that they actually allowed elaborate entrances. Taker walked to the ring, in pitch black, led by Paul Bearer with the urn. The only time we see entrances like this any more is at Wrestlemania or on NXT.

Undertaker controlled most of the match. They attempted to make Taker seem human as he held the steel steps above his head ready to throw them at Goldust but stopped himself because Marlena was in the way. Goldust, on the other hand, tossed Taker back first into the exposed turnbuckle and also slammed the steel steps against his back. As Undertaker made his comeback he attempted to get the win with a small package. I have never seen Undertaker do that before and am not sure if he's done it since. Undertaker finally hit the Tombstone and went for the pin. As the ref counted Mankind burst through the ring and dragged the Undertaker underneath. Smoke came out from through the hole as Paul Bearer shrieked on the outside. Undertaker eventually emerged from a hole on the other side of the ring and beat Mankind on his way to the back

They aired a short Olympic themed commercial for the next PPV, Summerslam.

The camera focused on the broadcast crew who were waving the smoke away from their faces. The fans behind the crew started chanting "Jerry!" a la Jerry Springer. A fan placed what looked like a paper Burger King crown on Lawler's head as he yelled for security.

The camera then showed Undertaker and Mankind fighing backstage. McMahon noted that they were fighting in the boiler room, but it's unclear how he could know that based on how dark the shot was.

Match 5:
Camp Cornette (Vader, Owen Hart and the British Bulldog w/Jim Cornette) vs. The People's Posse (Shawn Michaels, Sycho Sid, and Ahmed Johnson w/Jose Lothario)
Winner: Camp Cornette via pinfall
Prior to the match a video explained that Ultimate Warrior was suspended by Gorilla Monsoon for not showing up at various WWF events. They also showed him being attacked by Camp Cornette so they had two reasons for him not to be there.

In reality, however, Warrior had been fired by the WWF before the show even aired. The WWF claimed that Warrior had missed several house shows and was taking time off to supposedly grieve the death of his father. Vince did not buy this explanation as he said that the Warrior had not seen his father in a decade and was not close to him. Warrior, on the other hand, claimed that the reason that he did not show up for the shows was due to the WWF breaching his contract, by selling merchandise with his persona and not giving him a share of the profits. I'm more inclined to believe Vince, because Warrior was a nutjob, but there's likely blame to go around to both parties. The end result was he was replaced by the "two-time institutionalized" Sycho Sid in the match and had a hack DVD by the WWF called "The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior" released several years later. Preceding the Warrior's Hall of Fame induction the WWF apologized for the ham-fisted DVD and released a new one more properly acknowledging his contributions.

They aired a Michael Hayes interview with Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson and Psycho Sid. HBK mist have mixed up his catchphrases because he ended it with a Hulk Hogan trademarked "Whatchu gonna do?"

Michaels came out to a huge crowd pop but an even bigger pop from JR and McMahon, promoting Michaels as the most charismatic man in the world. McMahon reused his "boyhood dream" line from Wrestlemania.

A breathless McMahon then announced Ahmed Johnson who walked to the ring witth the "People's Championship Belt\' aka the Intercontinental Title. Wonder if Johnson ever sued the Rock. Psycho Sid go the last entance with his horror music entrance team, because this was still the cartoon character age.

Camp Cornette all entered together because they weren't special enough to get their own entrances. Cornette carried his tennis racket, which he had originally began carrying to protect himself from fans.  Now we're ready for the 6-man tag main event...A 6-man tag main event...on a PPV. Oh god.

The match started with Vader and Michaels and Vince asked "Imagine if Vader had the chance to beat Michaels for the WWF Title', giving away the build for the next PPV.

As Vader and Michaels fought I wondered what the need for Jose Lothario was,other than his punny name.   At one point Sid gott the hot tag, dominatted and cleared the ring. What says babyface better than complete dominance of smaller underdogs? Vince McMahon logic astounds me.

It was then Johnson's turn to dominate. He hit his finisher, the "Pearl River Plunge", on the Bulldog but the count was broken up by Vader. Johnson then pummelled Vader, who fought back witth some unconvincing punches, but again Johnson responded with a scoop slam, continuing the domination of the big men.

Even when Owen Hart, in his home country, got in the ring with Sid the crowd was solidly behind the Posse. Chants of Sid rang out whenever he was in the ring and "We want Sid", when he was outside the ring.

Camp Cornette eventually isolated Michaels and began to work on him but Sid again came in and chokeslammed all three opponents. Sid and Johnson made Vader look small.

Babyface Shawn Michaels hit Vader with Cornette's tennis racket but could not get the pin. He tried to set up for Sweet Chin Music but had his leg pulled by Cornette. Vader was then able to give Michaels the Vader Bomb for the win.

Following the match Sid powerbombed Bulldog and Owen Hart and Lawler rightfully pointed out that they were "sore losers". He would have powerbombed Vader too but Bulldog and Hart pulled Vader out of the ring.

This would be a heel turn if this booking had made any logical sense but, no. The WWF expected the crowd to cheer for a team that had 2 belt holders, a size advantage and attacked the team that hey had lost to just because Shawn Michaels flashed a smile? If you can explain how this makes any sense please do so because I can't figure it out. The booking was so bad it distracted me from even being able to determine whether this was a quality match or not. (I'm assuming it wasn't)

The PPV ended with Hayes interviewing Monsoon, who announced the Boiler Room Match between Undertker and Mankind for Summerslam. They were interrupted by Cornette's victory celebration rantt to end the show.

Overall, this show was substandard, It was like watching a RAW. There were no belts on the line, Mankind coming through the ring to pull down the Undertaker was over the top silliness and the main event was one of the worst booked matches I have ever seen.

I hope the rest of the In Your House events are better than this, but I'm not holding my breath.

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