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WWF In Your House #9: International Incident

by Scrooge McSuck

- This one is more infamous for the backstage shenanigans and poor booking decisions, rather than whatever the hell ended up making it to the actual broadcast. The finish at the previous months King of the Ring set up a big 6-man tag between WWF Champion Shawn Michaels, New Intercontinental Champion Ahmed Johnson, and the Ultimate Warrior against the trio collectively known as Camp Cornette (Owen, Bulldog, Vader). However, Warrior being Warrior and McMahon being McMahon lead to Warrior's "indefinite suspension" for missing booking dates, and beaten down by the evil villains, only to be replaced by someone almost as impossible to deal with as he was, Sycho Sid, back from whatever injury or leave of absence that was bugging him since January. To make it worse, one of the key decisions in hyping the main event was that Jim Cornette would refund everyone their money if his team lost... did anyone expect Shawn and Co. to win after that? I didn't, and I was going on 11 at the time. One other tidbit: No title matches here, so what's the fucking point? The undercard is entirely filler. The buyrate couldn't have possible topped 0.4 (a.k.a pretty bad).

- Originally broadcasted on Pay-Per-View on July 21st, 1996, from the General Motors Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Jerry "The King" Lawler are calling all the action, unless otherwise noted. I always throw that part in there, because the hell if I can remember any random people showing up to talk over the action.

Free For All: Savio Vega vs. Justin "Hawk" Bradshaw (w/ Uncle Zebekiah):

This is our first look at Bradshaw on Pay-Per-View (okay, maybe not technically). He's basically a Stan Hansen rip-off, and his manager is Dutch Mantell, still working the gimmick of the relative/manager of the Blu Brothers. I don't get the point in this pairing, since Texas redneck and whatever-the-fuck-the-Blu's-were weren't anything similar. Poor Savio goes from high profile (midcard) program with Steve Austin to being a Free For All victim in less than two months. The wonders of 1996 and the inconsistant booking. Slugfest to start things off, won by Vega. Whip to the ropes, and Vega with a boot to the face. Bradshaw uses the ring attire of Savi to leverage throw him into the corner, then drives a pair of knees into the midsection. Charge to the corner, and Vega boots him coming in twice. Bradshaw misses a charge on a third attempt, and a dropkick sends him to the floor. Back inside, and Savio continues to hammer away. Whip to the ropes, and Bradshaw with a big boot. Savio comes back with chops, and hits the spinning heel kick in the corner. Savio with a clothesline and another spinning heel kick for a two count. Bradshaw catches Savio off the ropes with a powerslam, and uses the ropes for leverage to get the three count at 4:54. Afterwards, Bradshaw lays Savio out with a lariat and they give him a temporary tattoo. I'm sorry, I meant a "branding." Directionless filler.

The Bodydonnas vs. The Smoking Gunns (Tag Team Champions) (w/ Sunny):

(Skip & Zip vs. Billy & Bart Gunn)
As mentioned in the introduction, no titles are being defended, so what the hell is the point of having this match on the PPV? The Gunns won the titles from the Godwinns at IYH: Beware of Dog, turned heel, took on Sunny as their manager, and became completely uninteresting in the process. The Bodydonnas turned face by virtue of losing Sunny, then introduced "Cloudi" as their manager for about a week, one of the dumbest angles in all of 1996... so far. The Bodydonnas are so heatless as faces, it's laughable. It's DEAD FUCKING SILENT for their introduction. Harvey Wippleman is the referee, because Harvey Wippleman = Buyrates. The Bodydonnas clean house to start... did I mention "Zip" is formerly Tom Prichard of the Heavenly Bodies, with butchered and bleached blonde hair? How stupid of a name is "Zip" anyway? That's honestly the best they could come up with? ZIP!? Why not "Trip" or "Drip"? We're also informed that, hey, bait and switch: Jake Roberts won't be here tonight for his scheduled match against Mankind. I wonder what the reason for that was... (makes drinkie-drinkie motion). Jim Ross name drops the Vancouver Grizzlies, and Jerry Lawler chimes in "maybe they'll actually win a game." Oh, sorry if I'm ignoring the match, it's inredibly boring, and the fact we're name dropping professional sports teams from Vancouver (Canucks!) shows how dull it is. The Gunns stink as heels (Bart more than Billy), and Candido/Prichard stink as faces. We're told now that Henry Godwinn is filling in for poor Jake, who's suffering from the "wrath of grapes." Yes, the commentary is FAR more interesting than this. Skip takes most of the punishment, for those who care enough. After roughly 8-minutes of "heat", Zip gets an anemic reaction for a hot tag, and hammers on both Gunns. That lasts for all of 12-seconds. Bart calls for the sidewinder, but someone misses their que, and Skip comes off the top with a missile dropkick, allowing Zip to cover for three at 13:03. The win didn't lead to anything, as the Gunns spent most of July-August doing random stuff with Shawn Michaels and Ahmed Johnson. Slow, heatless, and dull. Sorry for the lack of PBP, but it was just uninteresting. I think the only point of the match was to get as many shots of Sunny's chest and her daisy dukes.

Henry O. Godwinn (w/ Hillbilly Jim) vs. Mankind:

As mentioned in the opening match, this was originally scheduled to be Jake Roberts taking on Mankind, but he's mysteriously absent, and we get a lame replacement in Henry Godwinn, instead. I honestly was looking forward to Roberts/Mankind, just to state for the record, so color me disappointed by this. The WWF was pretty good at doing that to me for quite a while. I'm still curious as to why Roberts was absent here with such little notice... injury, drugs? Mankind attacks from behind, and pounds away. Godwinn mounts a comeback and takes him over with a powerslam. Godwinn with a clothesline, sending Mankind to the floor. Back in the ring, and they exchange blows. Godwinn with a spinebuster and mounted punches. Mankind with choking, followed by a pretty weak elbow that Godwinn sells like a shotgun blasts. Mankind with a bulldog takedown, followed by an elbow drop. Mankind charges into the corner with a knee to the face, then drops a leg across the back of the head. Mankind exposes the concrete floor, and connects with a swinging neck breaker. He's hardcore! He's hardcore! Back inside, and Godwinn teases a comeback. Mankind with a clothesline into the corner, but a second attempt results in an introduction to the post. Whip to the ropes, and Godwinn with a clothesline. Mankind uses the overalls to throw Godwinn to the floor, but ends up getting slammed off the apron, onto the concrete. Godwinn calls for the end, but Mankind hangs on to the top rope, and slaps on the Mandible Claw for the victory at 6:54. Well, that was a trainwreck for the most part, but picked up decently enough towards the end. I can't imagine the match being much better with Roberts involved, but it still would've been interesting. Gotta love Mankind's outro music too.

"Wildman" Marc Mero (w/ Sable) vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin:

ReMatch from the Semi-Finals of the King of the Ring. Austin's introduced as the King of the Ring Winner, but his push really didn'y go anywhere until Bret Hart declared his return to the WWF. Can't complain about the push he got after that, though. Austin's still using his "old" theme and actually has print on his trunks. It just looks weird for him for his WWF run. Austin starts with a knee to the midsection, and a series of rights. Mero fights back with shots of his own, and comes off the ropes with a body press for two. Mero with an arm drag, then settles into working the arm with an armbar and wristlock. Austin escapes and takes Mero over with a headlock. Mero counters with a head scissors, and they actually muster up a bridge into a back slide spot. I didn't think Austin's knees could handle that, but it's 1996... Mero with rights and lefts, sending Austin to the floor to recover. Mero comes off the apron with a double axehandle, and sends it back in the ring. Mero with an odd roll up for a two count. Austin thumbs the eyes, and knocks Mero to the floor following a knee to the back. Austin follows, and slingshots Mero into the ringpost. Didn't see that spot too often back then. Austin hangs Mero up across the top rope, then shoves him off, into the security rail. Back inside, and Austin with a second rope elbow for a two count. Whip to the ropes, and Austin with an elbow. He slows things down again, slapping on a seated chinlock. Austin with a headlock, and Mero crotches him across the top rope. Whip to the ropes, and austin with a boot to the midsection. He goes for a powerbomb, but Mero hangs on, and a hurricanrana takes them both to the floor. Suddenly, Marlena and the "Usher" arrive to give Jerry Lawler something, then take off... BIG LIPPED ALLIGATOR MOMENT. Mero with a somersault from the apron, followed by a slingshot splash for a two count. Mero with mounted punches, but he ends up being crotched across the top rope. Austin goes for the Stunner, but Mero hooks the ropes, and slingshots from the apron with a leg drop for two. Austin clips the knee and hits the Stunner for the three count at 10:50 to a pretty solid pop. Disappointing match, compared to their KOTR encounter. I know the roster was paper-thin, but there had to be someone else to feed to Austin here.

The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. Goldust (w/ Marlena):

Why?! I'm not looking forward to this, after the stinker they put on at Beware of Dog (2). I don't know the story behind all the matches, and I don't care. "Purple Days" Undertaker was easily the worst part of his career, and matches like these prove so. Both men have lengthy entrances, so that eats up about 6-7 minutes. Goldust plays the stall game, and unlike with the match against Warrior at IYH 8, I don't mind this having little action, as long as it ends soon. Goldust uses the referee (Mike Chioda?) as a shield, and I swear Undertaker hasn't moved in a good two minutes. Undertaker sends Goldust to the floor with one underhand right, then more stalling. I'm surprised Goldust hasn't threatened to kiss everyone, again. Goldust drags Undertaker out of the ring, and pays for it. Undertaker chokeslams Goldust ass-first onto the steps, then heads back into the ring. Undertaker grabs the steps, but Marlena puts herself between them to prevent anything cool from happening. Back inside, Undertaker with choking in the corner. Goldust desperately works on the turnbuckle pad in-between taking beatings. Whip to the corner, and Undertaker with a clothesline, followed by a leg drop for two. Goldust finally gets some offense, but the hell of Undertaker is selling. Undertaker goes old school and plants Goldust with a slam. An elbow drop misses, and a clothesline sends 'Taker to the floor. Undertaker hangs him up across the top rope, then goes back to crushing Goldust into gold... dust. Whip to the corner is reversed, and 'Taker meets the exposed steel. Back to the floor, and Goldust uses the steps to his advantage. Goldust with a slam and seated chinlock. What's with everyone using that hold "tonight?" Undertaker fights back, and actually cradles Goldust for a two count. That was weird. Whip to the ropes, and Undertaker with a diving clothesline. Tombstone time, and (not really) suddenly Mankind tears through the canvas and drags Undertaker in with him, drawing a Disqualification at 12:07. The lights flicker and smoke puffs out through the hole, until Undertaker tears through the canvas from the opposite corner and brawls with Mankind up the aisle. The match stunk, but I guess it was more watchable than the Beware of Dog match. That's not saying much.

Shawn Michaels (WWF Champion), Ahmed Johnson (IC Champion), Sycho Sid (w/ Jose Lothario) vs. Owen Hart, The British Bulldog, Vader (w/ Jim Cornette):

We've already touched on the backstory to this one during the long-winded introductions, so let's just say this better be a DAMN good match to warrant ordering this PPV, considering the lackluster quality of everything else featured. Introductions take FOREVER, thanks to the babyface team needing seperate entrances. Vader and Michaels start. Lockup, and Vader easily over-powers the champion. Michaels with rights, and Vader lays him out with one blow to the chest. Whip to the ropes, and Michaels takes Vader down with a hurricanrana (and a light shove from sid). Michaels with a diving clothesline and a body press, taking Vader and himself to the floor. Michaels heads back in, hits a baseball slide, and comes back out with a plancha. Michaels comes off the apron, and tastes security rail for going to the well one too many times. Back inside, and Vader punks Shawn out in the corner. Sid gets the tag in for the long-waited Starrcade '93 battle, and hammers away on Vader with rights and boots to the midsection. Sid with clotheslines for all three members of Camp Cornette, then dumps all three over the top rope to a big pop. Owen attacks from behind, and takes another clothesline for it. Ahmed in with a sloppy trio of german suplexes (yes, AHMED JOHNSON did it), but an elbow drop misses the mark. Bulldog tags in and pounds away across the back. Whip to the ropes, and Ahmed catches Bulldog with a spinebuster. He hits the Pearl River Plunge, but Vader breaks the pin attempt.

Vader tags back in, and bitch slaps Ahmed in the corner, as the crowd chants for Sid. Ahmed with a sloppy flurry of rights, knocking Vader to the canvas. Vader with a thumb to the eyes, and an avalanche in the corner. Vader with rights and lefts to all parts of Ahmed Johnson. He charges in again, but Ahmed catches him in the air and plants Vader with a powerslam for a two count. Owen tags in, and puts the boots to Ahmed. Whip to the ropes, and he connects with a spinning heel kick. Whip to the corner is reversed, and Ahmed takes Owen over with a press slam. Sid tags back in, and nails Owen coming off the ropes with a big boot. Bulldog tags in, and quickly proves his strength with the delayed vertical suplex on Sid. Vader comes in with an elbow drop, and Bulldog covers for two. Bulldog pounds away with rights, but Sid starts no-selling, and quickly tags out to Shawn. He comes in with a double axehandle from the top rope for a two count. Whip to the cornr, and Michaels posts his shoulder on a blind charge. Bulldog pounds away, but gets whipped into Vader, and covered for two. Owen accidentally drops an elbow on Davey Boy, and Shawn covers again for a two count. Owen gets tagged in, and Shawn brings him in with a slingshot. Owen with a boot to the chest, and they wrestle around with an Oklahoma roll until Owen has control for a two count. Cross body, and Shawn rolls through for two. Michaels counters a suplex with a victory roll for two. Owen with a side headlock takeover, and Shawn counters with a head scissors. they bride up, and Shawn with a back slide. Owen rolls through it, and lays Shawn out with a clothesline for two. Bulldog in, and he gets a back drop and leg drop for a two count. Whip to the ropes, and a powerslam gets two.

Shawn rolls away from another elbow drop, but he takes a shot from the apron from Owen, and Bulldog lays him out with a clothesline. Vader measures up Shawn in the corner, and sends him flying over the top rope on a whip across the ring. Owen tosses Shawn back into the waiting arms of Vader. He hits a short-arm clothesline for two. Vader with an interesting arm-pit bearhug. In a "what the hell" moment, a fan tries to get in the ring, but quickly gets chased off and arrested. Shawn tries to fight free, but Vader tightens the grip. Michaels escapes, and gets squashed for it. Ahmed come in and knocks Vader off his feet with a clothesline. Bulldog cuts off the tag, and pounds away. Bulldog muscles him up into an overhead body vice. Shawn tries for a crucifix, but Davey Boy counters with a samoan drop. Charge to the corner, and Bulldog eats ring post. Owen cuts off the tag this time, and a head collision gives them another chance to build heat for the hot tag. Bulldog with the running powerslam, but Sid breaks the pin with a leg drop. Ahmed gets the hot tag... but the referee didn't see it? Shawn takes a 3-on-1 beating in the meantime. Must remind him of Syracuse. Owen accidentally hits Bulldog with a missile dropkick, and Sid FINALLY gets the hot tag. He comes off the ropes with a clothesline, and plants Vader with a chokeslam. Owen and Bulldog come in and take chokeslams as well. Ahmed tags in, and they hit Vader with a double clothesline, then launch Shawn on top for a splash. Bulldog breaks the pin, and all heck breaks loose on the floor between Owen, Bulldog, Sid, and Ahmed. In the ring, Shawn KO's Vader with the racket, but it only gets two. Shawn calls for Sweet Chin Music, but Cornette realizes he can trip him up, allowing Vader to crush him in the corner. The Vader Bomb hits, and Shawn actually does the job to Vader at 24:33. A little sloppy at times, with key spots being mistimed, but still a fun main event, and the only saving grace to a pretty poor show. Now we've got Shawn Michaels vs. Vader set for months to come... right?

Final Thoughts: This was easily on pace to be on the short list of "Worst WWF PPV's" before the main event saved it from that distinction. It wasn't an outstanding tag team match, but it's fun and worth a look for those interesting this era of the WWF. The rest of the show was a forgetable mess the day it happened, so just imagine how much worthless it is these days. Tag Team Champions featured in a Non-Title Match, the second Undertaker/Goldust match to have a screwy finish, and the only interesting undercard match ruined by a last-minute no-show replacement. Honestly, I can't even recommend the main event now that I think how bad the rest of the show is. Solid thumbs down, don't even bother.

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