WWF In Your House #10 9/22/1996

September 22, 1996
Core States Center
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 15,000
Buy Rate: .48
Announcers: Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, Mr. Perfect

Dark Matches:

1) Jake Roberts (Aurelian Smith, Jr.) pinned Hunter Hearst-Helmsley (Paul Levesque)
2) Faarooq (Ron Simmons) pinned Marc Mero
3) Psycho Sid (Sid Eudy) pinned Vader (Leon White)

Free-for-All Match

Savio Vega (Juan Rivera) beat Marty Jannetty in 5:22

Actual Show

1) Savio Vega defeats Justin Bradshaw (John Layfield) in a “Caribbean Strap” match when he touches all four corners at 7:07

Fun Fact: This match was an impromptu addition to the card. Bradshaw attacked Vega after his FFA match with Jannetty and Savio challenged him to the strap match to kick the show off.

Fun Fact II: About 2 minutes into the match, Savio is on the offensive on the floor and all of a sudden the Sandman jumps up from the crowd and spits beer in Vega’s face. He’s flanked by Tommy Dreamer and Paul Heyman and all three are dragged out by security after the incident. Vince quickly mentions who they are, not actually calling them ECW, just a local Philadelphia promotion, and that they don’t belong at the show. The next night, Tazz also showed up on Raw, thus proving that the night before was not a shoot. This was just the first of many times Vince and Paul would do cross-promotion over the next few years.

Scott: The first PPV in Philadelphia since the debacle that was the 1995 King of the Ring opens with the second Caribbean Strap match of the year, both involving Savio Vega. Bradshaw was one of the other newcomers to the WWF in 1996, and he will go on to have a lengthy career. As I mentioned during the strap match with Steve Austin at Beware of Dog, this type of match is difficult to watch because strap matches limit both the competitors’ ability to perform any kind of offense. Also, Bradshaw is nowhere near the ability of Steve Austin, so this match takes a hit from that as well. Even though he’s not in any high profile feuds, you can call Vega the modern-day Tito Santana. Give him anything to do, and he will perform for you. Well, at least Vega won some PPV matches. Bradshaw’s manager is one of my personal favorites, Uncle Zebekiah, otherwise known as “Dirty” Dutch Mantel. Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the ECW incident during this match, which got a nice pop from the crowd. If Sandman, Tommy and Heyman were at the KOTR in 1995 the place would have exploded. Probably could have booked it better also. Ah, that was so last year. Let’s look ahead, and this match was an adequate opener. Grade: 2

Justin: A decent opener that is remembered more for the ECW shoot/work that happened at ringside than it is for the actual in-ring action. Savio definitely was the new Vince-loyalist, as he always had a PPV match and a solid push. He never got a huge Main Event push, but they excelled at being role players, which is a perfectly acceptable role in the wrestling world if taken in stride. Bradshaw will end up becoming quite the WWE veteran as the years go on, but here he is an up and coming star with long blonde hair and a veteran manager as Zebekiah has returned from his Blu Brother days. Savio does his best to get things cooking here, and the match is decent enough, but all in all this was an OK opener that manages to get the crowd going due to the sight of their ECW heroes. Grade: 2

*** After the match, Vega is laid out in the dressing room by a guy dressed in purple and a guy dressed in black leather. Supposedly they were supposed to be Razor Ramon and Diesel. Obviously they weren’t. More on this in future reviews. ***

2) Jose Lothario defeats Jim Cornette with a series of punches at :56

Scott: I guess this an extension of the Shawn Michaels/Camp Cornette feud, because otherwise I find it a whole lot of nothing. OK, so fans wanted to see Cornette gets his ass kicked and his mouth shut. I’ll just leave it at that. I hope Lothario’s protégé, the WWF Champion is watching, because I’m sure in that :56 seconds, Cornette didn’t miss any spots to force Jose to throw a temper tantrum and cry. Lessons learned. Grade: 1

Justin: Cornette and Lothario had issues stemming from their ringside antics and face to face showdowns regarding their charges’ matches and decided to face off in the ring. There is nothing special here, so let us move along. Actually…there was one important result here: Cornette is knocked silly. We will get to the importance of that in a few minutes here. Grade: .5

*** Stone Cold Steve Austin comes out with Brian Pillman and Owen Hart to bash the absent Bret Hart, and set up the feud that would launch Austin into the wrestling stratosphere. The infamous “Shit-man” comment was made here. Austin’s goal is to try and bait Bret into returning to fight him. This is a very important moment in Austin’s development, as he just goes out and says whatever he wants about whomever he wants whenever he wants. A few weeks later, Pillman would be interviewing Austin on Superstars and make the mistake of praising Bret. Austin, upon hearing the praise, snaps and destroys Pillman, re-breaking his healing ankle in the process by locking his leg in a chair and stepping on it, a move that has since been called Pillmanizing your opponent. In real life, Pillman had re-injured his broken ankle and needed to go back under the knife. The surgery would keep him out of the ring even longer than expected, as he wouldn’t make his WWF in-ring debut until June 1997. In a future review we’ll discuss a memorable Raw involving Austin, Pillman and firearms. In any event Bret would respond to these comments and challenges in due time. ***

3) Owen Hart & British Bulldog (David Smith) defeat Smoking Gunns to win WWF Tag Team Titles when Bulldog pins Bart Gunn (Mike Plotcheck) with a Powerslam at 10:59

Fun Fact: Before the match, Cornette’s lawyer Clarance Mason tricks a loopy James E., who was on a stretcher still after being punched by Lothario, into signing away the managerial contract of Bulldog and Owen.

Scott: This was a very entertaining tag match between two heel teams. The simmering problems between Bart and Billy Gunn come to a boil on this night, as continuing problems involving Sunny leads to both Owen Hart and Bulldog winning the tag titles for the second time. Owen lost the titles with Yokozuna exactly one year ago in Winnipeg to Shawn Michaels and Diesel. Bulldog hasn’t held the straps since he and Dynamite Kid lost the titles to the Hart Foundation in early 1987. This team would be almost as dominant as Owen & Yokozuna, holding the gold for quite a number of months. The crowd was definitely behind Jim Corn-, I mean Clarence Mason’s team. As for the Gunns, well Sunny lost her meal ticket, so she berates Billy and Bart and proceeds to fire them. The Gunns would last a bit longer, and then changes are in store after over 3 years together. The other point of note during this match was the heel turn of Jim Ross, who really starts sniping at Vince McMahon and vice versa. Ross even mentions Vince’s 1993 indictment, which led to the steroid trial. That continues over the next few months. Grade: 2.5

Justin: A pretty good tag match that features the Gunns finally exploding over Sunny and it ends up costing them the straps and the girl. Billy was chatting with Sunny when Bart was pushed into him and eventually pinned. The Gunns would forge ahead, but things were getting progressively worse, and anyone could see where they were headed. Bulldog and Owen now gain control on the Tag Team division and would end up with a stranglehold on the titles for quite a while. They also now begin to branch out on their own a bit, as Cornette was screwed out of being their manager by Clarence Mason. It was just about one year ago that the Bulldog had turned heel and it his solid run had a lot to do with having Cornette in his corner, so this was kind of a big change for him, although he and Owen were garnering pretty damn good heat at this point. One problem with this match is that both teams were heels, so the crowd is kind of flat for it, but seem to be leaning towards Bulldog & Owen. All in all, this was a solid match that finally shifts the balance of power in the Tag Division, thus guaranteeing us some fresh new match-ups after 8 months of the same old battles. Grade: 2.5

4) Mark Henry defeats Jerry Lawler with a body vice at 5:12

Fun Fact: After being amazed by Mark Henry’s agility as a huge bodybuilder that could dunk a basketball and the prospect of having a possible Olympic Gold medal winner on the roster, Vince signed Mark Henry to a surprising ten year deal. He was heralded and pumped up quite a bit upon signing, and his first big match is here against the wily veteran Lawler. This was set up when Henry press slammed Lawler during a Monday Night Raw commercial break.

Scott: Well, we clearly see from the get-go where this financial decision was headed. Over the past decade no major Vince McMahon acquisition would be more useless than Mark Henry. Lawler was a busy little bee in 1996. He fought Bret Hart sporadically from his debut in 1993 through 1995, and then mostly did commentating. Suddenly, in 1996 he fights in the Rumble, and against the Ultimate Warrior, Jake Roberts, and now Mark Henry. Henry would get hurt sooner rather than later which would become par for the course with him. Lawler finally cuts that silly mullet, but that’s really all to come of this. The Memphis stalling only drags this mess longer than it should have. Not a sparkling debut for the World’s Strongest Man. Grade: 1

Justin: Lawler tries his usual Memphis shtick here but nothing could salvage Mark Henry, as he is so green at this point he is a whole lot worse than he is now. What a waste of money. And forget the fact that Henry had no ability, as the contract was a waste due to the fact that Henry missed more ring time for injuries than Grant Hill did on the basketball court after railroading the Magic for his contract. Henry would continually be on disabled list over the next 8 years but I guess that is better than him sucking it up in the ring. The kicker would end up being that he actually got to be pretty solid and began getting over as a killer heel as his 10 year contract ran up, so they re-upped him. Crazy. This match stems from Lawler’s verbal abuse of Henry that started at Summerslam and continued throughout the month. I’ll tell you, Lawler is one of the best, but his 1996 run was full of stinkers. Grade: 1

5) Undertaker (Mark Callaway) defeats Goldust (Dustin Runnells) in a “Final Curtain” match with the Tombstone at 10:22

Fun Fact: They never really explain the rules of a “Final Curtain” match, but I think it seems to be No DQ or Count Out. Maybe it just meant it was the final match of this feud, but who knows for sure.

Scott: Finally, this feud ends. It started just before Wrestlemania, and after numerous matches on PPV and in “Coliseum Video Exclusives” it ends here in Philly. This feud wasn’t really between these two men. To me it seemed like the feud was simply to get Mankind involved in Undertaker’s affairs. Taker never really went for the Intercontinental title when Goldust had it. Sure, it was the typical “Goldust is being weird to his opponent” feud. However, once Mankind was involved it almost seemed like Goldust really was unnecessary. This group of Mankind, Goldust, and Marlena was weird in a “Rocky Horror” kind of way. This match is dreadfully dull, but at least this feud is over. Even though his feud with Mankind is Feud of the Year material, Taker is still kind of floating around the upper mid-card. As the year comes to an end however, his ascension to the World Title picture will ease his unhappiness. Goldust continues to float around until his character is made over slightly at the end of the year. Grade: 2

Justin: A really boring match here, which is amazing when you factor in how many times these guys fought between February and September. You would have thought these guys could have fostered some sort of chemistry, but in reality, they both played lots of mind games and incorporated a lot of stalling into their matches and that just wasn’t conducive to a good formula. Plus, Taker was just starting to change his persona and style, so he was still prone to having sluggish big man type matches. The Mankind feud and his ascent to the Main Events forced Taker to change his style for the better. Taker picks up the win and finishes off this feud once and for all. Goldust has fallen faster than a fat guy on a broken chair and Undertaker is gearing up for his big match in October, so this is kind of a waste of time. Grade: 1.5

6) Shawn Michaels (Michael Hickenbottom) defeats Mankind (Mick Foley) to retain WWF World Title by disqualification at 26:22

Fun Fact: Another instance of Shawn Michaels losing his temper. At one point, Mankind was on the mat and Michaels went up to the top rope so he could hit a double axehandle. Well, Foley gets up and staggers to the opposite corner. When Shawn notices that he is out of position, he jumps down off the ropes looking quite pissed off and charges Mick in the corner. He takes him down and starts wailing on him and finally Mick starts nailing him back. This goes on for about 20 seconds before they regain their composure and continue. Not sure if this was a legit blowup or just the two men working stiff with each other, but it did seem odd and out of place, and enough so that even the commentators mention it.

Fun Fact II: In a weird moment, it seemed like Jim Ross gave away the ending to the Main Event. Before the Taker/Goldust match, they showed an ad for the next month’s Main Event: Mankind vs. Undertaker in a Buried Alive match. Ross states the match is non-sanctioned and that the World Title would not be on the line. It seemed like a given that Mick was walking with the strap, but I guess it was just a weird slip-up by Ross, and he probably meant to say, “If Mankind wins.”

Fun Fact III: On the 8/19 Raw, Mankind proclaimed that he wanted to win the World Title because he and Paul Bearer figured it was the best possible way to hurt as many people at one time. The two men had just about no interaction leading into the match. On the 9/6 special Raw Championship Friday, Shawn took on Goldust for the World Title. After the match, Mankind came in the ring, aided Goldust and then the two began to stalk HBK. Michaels was able to escape before any fighting occurred.

Scott: HBK takes a month off from feuding with Camp Cornette to battle the hot heel right now for the World Title. This was a great title match with a lot of stiff shots and big moves. Michaels is tested from a pain threshold perspective, as no one takes a bump better than Mick Foley. The DQ ending kind of sucks, but who said any booking is perfect. 1996 has been a banner year for Shawn Michaels. He won his second Royal Rumble, wins the World Title at Wrestlemania, and has been consistent and on his game. However, starting with his first of two matches with British Bulldog, Shawn would throw some bitch fits at some point in the match. Here, at this PPV, he seemingly again gets upset at his opponent over something, and flips. As mentioned in the fun fact, HBK flips out over Mankind not being set up for a top rope move. Shawn starts potatoing him, and Mick Foley is the probably one of the last guys you want to start beating on. Mick Foley said later on he was in the best shape of his career, and this is one of his favorite matches. Part of me wished Mick would have kicked Shawn’s teeth through his throat, the little bitch deserved it. Trying not to take away from the match itself, which is one of the best of the year, but once again Michaels had to act like a total dick. Mankind gave him all he could handle, but HBK survives. However, the groundswell for Sid was building, as was the building of Bret Hart’s return. Shawn’s run, at least this first one, is ending. This would be his last title defense on PPV before the big Survivor Series. Mankind would go back to his feud with Undertaker from here. This was a fantastic match with some pretty good wrestling and stiff, high impact shots. Grade: 4

Justin: The only bad part about this match was the weak DQ ending. Foley has stated that this was his greatest match ever, as he was in awesome condition and was able to go 26 hard, fast-paced minutes with the Heartbreak Kid. This match is flat out top-notch. These two are super-stiff with each other and it adds to the drama and excitement of the match. The action is quick here, and they never really stop or slow down at all. There is a great mix of high-impact wrestling and super sick bumps and spots such as the table suplex, Shawn kicking the chair into Mick’s face, HBK slamming Foley’s head into the concrete, Michaels getting backdropped on the floor and so on. Just an all around great match that helped establish Mankind as a legit threat who could hang with the Main Eventers. Mick Foley has received a hell of a push within his first year in the Federation. He was immediately programmed with the Undertaker and then proceeded to actually defeat him twice on PPV. Now, he was quickly elevated to #1 Contendership and takes the Champ to the limit. While the DQ was weak, it did leave some doubt as to whether or not Michaels could be the crazed madman. There are rumors out there that Mankind was set to win the Title here, but that Shawn vetoed it so the finish was changed, but I do not think those were ever proven to be true. Michaels has been on a killer run at breakneck speed, but as we said last month, the numbers weren’t there. With Sid’s return, Undertaker’s hot feud and a returning nemesis, the face side of the Main Event group was getting a little crowded. In the end, however, that over crowding would be a good thing as it would lead to the hottest Main Event scene in a long time. This match is the reason to watch this show and you need to see it if you haven’t yet. Grade: 4.5

FINAL ANALYSIS

Scott: This was kind of a lukewarm PPV, with a surprisingly awesome title match and a great tirade by Steve Austin, Brian Pillman, and Owen Hart. The undercard however, was kind of weak with another Undertaker/Goldust match, and what seemed like a very predictable tag team title change. The undercard would get better over the next few shows and with Bret Hart returning soon, the upper cards would get a nice injection as well. Steve Austin is growing week by week as a no-nonsense son of a bitch willing to fight with anybody. At the time, WWF fans don’t care about a guy like that because they had never had one be pushed seriously. However the wrestling world was starting to change its attitude towards characters. In 1995 fans dealt with poorly booked feuds with no logic. The transition continues in the WWF. Even as WCW is kicking the crap of out of Vince’s lame taped Monday shows, the seeds continue to be planted for the future. This show was ok, but carried by the main event. Final Grade: C+

Justin: This show is 100% completely carried by the Main Event and the Austin interview. The Title Match should have been the Match of the Year, but it was unfairly overshadowed by the Iron Man Match. The undercard is very weak here, as everyone was sick of the Taker/Goldust feud and Mark Henry was already sucking big time. I should also note that throughout the show, Jim Ross keeps plugging the next night’s Raw and keeps claiming that he is bringing back Razor Ramon and Diesel to the WWF, as he had been doing for weeks. That is a whole other story that we will delve into in future reviews. In other news, Jim Cornette begins to be phased out as the top heel manager, as he has now lost his prier tag team, which is now the Champs. Sunny also takes a hit here, as she fires the Gunns after they lost the belts. Now stepping up to the plate as the big heel manager is Paul Bearer, who is riding a hot streak with Mankind. As per the protocol in 1996, the Main Event for the next show is announced here, and it was a big one: Undertaker vs. Mankind in a Buried Alive match. Details would come in future weeks, but the match was signed and set. Anyway, this is a total one match show, but that match is unbelievable, so this PPV is a push as far as that goes. Final Grade: D for the undercard; A for the main event, so call it a C+.

MVP: Shawn Michaels & Mankind
Runner Up: Steve Austin, Brian Pillman & Owen Hart
Non-MVP: Undertaker & Goldust
Runner Up: Mark Henry

All Time PPV Active-Wrestler Roster

Tito Santana
Buddy Rose
“Special Delivery” Jones
King Kong Bundy
Ricky Steamboat
Matt Borne
Brutus Beefcake
David Sammartino
Greg Valentine
Junkyard Dog
Barry Windham
Mike Rotundo
Iron Sheik
Nikolai Volkoff
Andre the Giant
Big John Studd
Leilani Kai
Wendi Richter
Paul Orndorff
Roddy Piper
Mr. T
Hulk Hogan
Corporal Kirschner
Adrian Adonis
Dynamite Kid
Randy Savage
Ivan Putski
Davey Boy Smith
Moondog Spot
Terry Funk
Don Muraco
Bob Orton
George Steele
George Wells
Jake Roberts
Fabulous Moolah
Velvet McIntyre
Ted Arcidi
Tony Atlas
Brian Blair
Jim Brunzell
Bret Hart
Jim Neidhart
Hillbilly Jim
King Tonga (Haku)
Pedro Morales
Bruno Sammartino
Danny Spivey
Jim Covert
Russ Francis
Bill Fralic
Ernie Holmes
Harvey Martin
William Perry
Hercules
Uncle Elmer
Dory Funk, Jr.
Rick Martel
Tom Zenk
Billy Jack Haynes
Hillbilly Jim
Haiti Kid
Little Beaver
Lord Littlebrook
Little Tokyo
Harley Race
Jacques Rougeau
Raymond Rougeau
Danny Davis
Butch Reed
Koko B. Ware
Honky Tonk Man
Jim Duggan
Ron Bass
Judy Martin
Dawn Marie
Donna Christanello
Sherri Martel
Noriyoi Tateno
Itsuki Yamazaki
Rockin’ Robin
Ax
Smash
Tama
Boris Zhukov
Jim Powers
Paul Roma
One Man Gang
Rick Rude
Ken Patera
Bam Bam Bigelow
Ultimate Warrior
Sam Houston
Sika
Bobby Heenan
Barbarian
Warlord
Big Boss Man
Marty Jannetty
Shawn Michaels
Arn Anderson
Tully Blanchard
Conquistador Uno
Conquistador Dos
Blue Blazer
Mr. Perfect
Scott Casey
Akeem
Red Rooster
Ronnie Garvin
Bushwhacker Butch
Bushwhacker Luke
Mr. Fuji
Dusty Rhodes
Jimmy Snuka
Zeus
Earthquake
The Genius
Sapphire
Sato
Tanaka
Kerry Von Erich
Crush
Hawk
Animal
Undertaker
Tugboat/Typhoon
Sgt. Slaughter
Kato
Mountie
Virgil
Dustin Rhodes
Shane Douglas
Brian Knobbs
Jerry Sags
Genichiro Tenryu
Koji Kitao
General Adnan
Irwin R. Schyster
Ric Flair
Berzerker
Skinner
Blake Beverly
Beau Beverly
Repo-Man
Owen Hart
Tatanka
Nailz
Kamala
Samu
Fatu
Razor Ramon
Yokozuna
Rick Steiner
Scott Steiner
Bob Backlund
Papa Shango
Jerry Lawler
Max Moon
Carlos Colon
Doink
Lex Luger
Giant Gonzalez
Mr. Hughes
Billy Gunn
Bart Gunn
Jimmy Del Ray
Tom Pritchard
1-2-3 Kid
Ludvig Borga
Diesel
Adam Bomb
Keith Hart
Bruce Hart
Black Knight
Blue Knight
Red Knight
Robert Gibson
Ricky Morton
Mabel
Mo
Bastion Booger
Pierre
Kwang
Great Kabuki
Bob Holly
Luna Vachon
Dink
Alundra Blayze
Bull Nakano
Ted DiBiase’s Undertaker
Wink
Pink
Queasy
Sleazy
Cheesy
Eli Blu
Jacob Blu
Duke Droese
Timothy Well
Stephen Dunn
Mantaur
Aldo Montoya
Henry Godwin
Dick Murdoch
Lawrence Taylor
Hakushi
Roadie
Savio Vega
Kama
Hunter Hearst-Helmsley
Barry Horowitz
Skip
Bertha Faye
Isaac Yankem
Waylon Mercy
Dean Douglas
Goldust
Rad Radford
Aja Kong
Tomoko Watanabe
Lioness Azuka
Sakie Hasegawa
Kyoko Inoue
Chaparrita Asari
Ahmed Johnson
Buddy Landel
Takao Omori
Doug Gilbert
Squat Team #1
Squat Team #2
Vader
Steve Austin
Phineas Godwinn
Marc Mero
Mankind
Leif Cassidy
Bradshaw
Jose Lothario
Jim Cornette
Mark Henry

PPV Rest in Peace List

“Playboy” Buddy Rose (Wrestlemania I)
“Special Delivery” Jones (Wrestlemania I)
Uncle Elmer (Wrestlemania II)
Adrian Adonis (Wrestlemania III)
Haiti Kid (Wrestlemania III)
Little Beaver (Wrestlemania III)
Junkyard Dog (Summerslam 1988)
Big John Studd (Wrestlemania V)
Sapphire (Summerslam 1990)
Dino Bravo (Wrestlemania VII)
Andre the Giant (Summerslam 1991)
Texas Tornado (Royal Rumble 1992)
Hercules (Royal Rumble 1992)
Elizabeth (Wrestlemania VIII)
Sensational Sherri (Wrestlemania IX)
Ludvig Borga (Survivor Series 1993)
Captain Lou Albano (Royal Rumble 1995)
Dick Murdoch (Royal Rumble 1995)
Rad Radford (Survivor Series 1995)
Bertha Faye (Survivor Series 1995)
Bam Bam Bigelow (Survivor Series 1995)
Chris “Skip” Candido (Summerslam 1996)

Next Review: In Your House: Buried Alive

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