(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)
In Your House: International Incident
July 21, 1996
General Motors Place
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
News & Notes: The Ultimate Warrior is no longer with the WWF. He no-showed a few events. His reason was his father died. Vince didn’t buy his excuse because The Warrior hadn’t spoken with his dad in years. The Warrior and Vince butted heads over royalties and creative issues ever since Warrior returned. It is likely those are the true reasons. The problem is, they already filmed weeks of RAW episodes with The Warrior in them. One episode involved Camp Cornette beating up The Warrior. The WWF used it as their out. They also had Gorilla Monsoon suspend The Warrior on TV. He said Warrior could return if he posted an appearance bond. This was a legitimate thing. But he never posted a bond. The Warrior left the company instead. Now the WWF scrambled to find a replacement for the six-man tag at International Incident. They filmed extra footage for RAW of Shawn Michaels choosing a new partner. The man was Sycho Sid. They explained his absence by implying Sid was in a mental institution. People questioned whether Shawn could trust him. But Sid proved his loyalty by saving Shawn & Ahmed from an ambush. Sid arrived on the scene by crashing his car into some trash cans. It was both amusing and scary. Now Shawn, Ahmed, & Sid teamed together, they referred to them as The People’s Posse. (Ahmed was calling himself The People’s Champion.)
I also want to point out some notes from the Free for All. First Jim Cornette and Jose Lothario had a face-to-face confrontation. It became physical. Cornette guaranteed victory for his team. In fact, he promised to give every fan refunds if Camp Cornette lost. The second note is about a fresh feud from the pre-show. Justin Hawk Bradshaw faced Savio Vega. Bradshaw is the future JBL. His gimmick is a throwback and homage to Stan Hansen. Uncle Zebekiah is his manager. We will see more of this rivalry in a future review.
Affiliate of the Week:
They open with clips from the Free for All. Jose Lothario confronts Jim Cornette. They almost come to blows until Vader arrives. It appears Vader will attack Jose, but Shawn Michaels prevents that from happening. He slides into the ring and nearly flies out the other side! Vader and Shawn fight as the clip ends. Then we see a graphic for International Incident. It looks like the beginning of a news expose. Is this the WWF or A Current Affair?
Vince McMahon welcomes everyone to Vancouver and International Incident. The Smoking Gunns enter the arena while he speaks. Vince says, “Here comes trouble.” We then see Vince is with both Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross. It’s a three-man booth tonight. JR talks about Cornette’s money-back guarantee. Vince thinks Cornette is lying.
During the Gunns’ entrance, Vince speaks with the Bodydonnas. Vince notices Cloudy isn’t with them. He asks about her. The Donnas say Cloudy helped them realize they don’t need a manager. Zip thanks the fans and says it’s time to get to serious business. Skip says Cloudy was about mind games. But they can play their own mind games without her. It’s time to get down to business. (This promo showed they need a manager. It was bland.)
The Bodydonnas vs. The Smoking Gunns (w/ Sunny)
Notes: It didn’t take long for them to drop Cloudy. It’s for the best. Lawler jokes Cloudy is out on a blind date. He says she will win a free dog if she goes on any more. (Vince can’t muster more than half a fake laugh.) I also have two more bits of information before I get to the action. This is a non-title match. Sunny refused to put the belts on the line. The other news is Harvey Wippleman is now a referee. He works this bout. Lawler takes a few digs at him on commentary.
The Match: The Donnas control the bout early with double-teaming and frequent tags. They evade the Gunns and use takeovers and holds. Sunny stops their momentum by pretending to faint. Skip checks on her, so she slaps him. Billy then attacks. The Gunns return the double-team favor. They whip Skip around the ring. Bart catches him with a powerslam. Then the Gunns try a tag team move. But Billy can’t jump over Bart. The fans heckle them for the botch. Next, the Gunns use ref distractions to work over Skip in their corner. Skip counters with pin attempts and crossbodies. He finally tags Zip after turning an axehandle into an atomic drop. Zip cleans house until Billy trips him. Bart uses the opening to set Zip up for a Sidewinder. However, Billy is busy talking with Sunny. Bart looks around for his partner and eats a missile dropkick. Zip then covers for the victory.
Thoughts: This was a solid but unremarkable match. The action was good. I liked The Gunns’ heel work. But it didn’t set the world on fire. It was a serviceable opener. The tag division is far from exciting right now. The primary focus is Sunny. The teams are a backdrop.
Winners: The Bodydonnas (13:05)
Mr. Perfect is with Camp Cornette. He says they’re angry about what happened on the Free for All. Vader shows this by throwing trashcans. They show the clip again. Cornette claims Jose pulled a switchblade on him. Jim states Shawn won’t have fourteen of his friends to help him. It’s a six-man tag. He also restates his money-back guarantee if his team can’t prevail. He begs them to win because he doesn’t want to be out seven million dollars. (I saw the buyrate for this PPV. He’s overestimating that number.) Bulldog speaks next. Vader stands behind him and makes weird faces. Davey thinks the match is no place for a lady. Diana will remain in the locker room. Owen then promises to knock out Sid with his cast as he did to Ahmed. After that, Cornette ends the promo by saying Vader is crazier than Sid.
Mankind vs. Henry O. Godwinn (w/ Hillbilly Jim)
Notes: They booked this as Mankind vs. Jake Roberts. However, Jake missed this show. (His demons have sadly reared their head again. Vince didn’t suspend him like The Warrior. But the writing is on the wall. Vince turned it into a storyline instead. Lawler takes frequent jabs at Jake for his drinking issues. I’ll speak more on that in the SummerSlam review.) They explain Jake’s absence by saying his ribs are injured. Godwinn is a last-minute replacement. Either way, this is a placeholder for Mankind while The Undertaker deals with Goldust.
The Match: Mankind jumps Henry while he does a hog call. He punches and bites Godwinn. Henry answers with a powerslam and clotheslines Mankind to the floor. He also lands a spinebuster when they return to the ring. Mankind leaps on Henry’s back, so he backs him into the corner. But Mankind counters with a bulldog and pulls out his own hair. Mankind follows that with a running knee to the head and an apron leg drop. Then Mankind pulls up the mats to expose the concrete. He gives Godwinn a swinging neckbreaker on the floor. Mankind then charges, but Henry moves. Mankind collides with the post. Godwinn capitalizes with a jumping clothesline. He then slams Mankind off the apron and onto the exposed concrete! Back in the ring, Mankind blocks a Slop Drop. This allows him to lock on the Mandible Claw for the win.
Thoughts: Mankind took some nasty bumps to make this interesting. It worked. I enjoyed this. It was short and to the point. It made Mankind look like a maniac. Godwinn got enough offense to keep it competitive. But it remained a dominant win for Mankind. It didn’t have much heat because of the last-minute change. However, it was still good.
Winner: Mankind (6:54)
Mankind rolls out of the ring and sprints to the back. He looks confused. Meanwhile, Brian Pillman is on the Superstar Line with the Bodydonnas. Ray Rougeau is on the other side with The Gunns and Sunny. Pillman claims the Bodydonnas are spouting sanctimonious garbage. He wants them to admit their real motivations were hormones and T&A. Brian also says the Donnas complained about the double-teaming. Pillman jokes they want to double-team Sunny. Vince tells him to knock it off. (I love the loose cannon stuff from Pillman. Brian plays it so well, and Vince’s reactions are great.)
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Wildman Marc Mero (w/ Sable)
Notes: Austin wants payback for his busted lip. He accused Mero of doing it on purpose. Meanwhile, Mero and Sable have their own issues with Goldust and Marlena. Marlena began showing an interest in Sable. She spotted Sable in the parking lot. Marlena couldn’t help noticing Sable’s skirt had some static cling. She helped her with that little issue. It made Sable deeply uncomfortable. (Don’t get your hopes up. The WWF drops this angle soon. Either Sable complained or viewers complained.) I also want to point out Austin is already getting cheers. Something tells me those will increase with time.
The Match: They trade takedowns, mat holds, and pin attempts. Austin regroups when Mero gets the advantage. Then Marc does a rolling prawn hold. Austin lures him into a trap by pretending he busted his lip again. He takes Mero to the floor and catapults him into the post. Austin also shoves him into the railing. Next, Austin wears down Mero with holds. Steve misses a Boss Man Attack, but he shakes it off. But Mero crotches Austin on the ropes. However, Steve retakes control while Marlena and the usher arrive. Marlena hands Vince a letter and then stays to watch the match. While this happens, Mero lands an apron moonsault and a slingshot leg drop. He follows that with a super Frankensteiner attempt. But Austin crotches him. Austin then tries a Stunner. Mero blocks it and lands another slingshot leg drop. Austin counters with a clip to the knee. He then capitalizes with the Stunner for the victory.
Thoughts: This was a solid encounter. These two have good chemistry when Mero isn’t kicking him in the mouth. There was one shaky moment, but they recovered well. It was short, but the action was good. It was also a decisive enough victory to make Austin look strong.
Winner: Steve Austin (10:48)
Marlena saw enough. So she leaves. Vince wonders if she distracted Mero. (He didn’t react to her at all.) Sable shows concern for Marc. She helps the ref carry him to the back. While this happens, Vince spots Bob Backlund campaigning in the crowd. Vince rightfully points out he’s in the wrong country for that. Then they show a commercial for RAW. Shawn & Ahmed will face The Smoking Gunns for the tag team titles.
The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. Goldust (w/ Marlena & The Usher)
Notes: Goldust and Mankind formed a rather strange bond since Beware of Dog. Goldust took Mankind under his wing. Mankind referred to him as mommy. Also, Goldust showed more confidence since defeating The Undertaker in a Casket Match. He wanted a sequel. Now Taker is fighting a battle on two fronts. He has issues with both Mankind and Goldust. They continue over the next few months. There is also another development I want to discuss. Lawler questioned Paul Bearer about what happened at King of the Ring. He wanted to know if Paul hit Taker on purpose. Bearer refused to answer Lawler’s questions.
The Match: Goldust stalls because he is reluctant to face Taker. He even uses the ref as a shield. They fight outside and exchange strikes. Taker then drops Goldust butt-first onto the steps. He threatens to throw them at Goldust, but Marlena protects him. Next, Goldust tries removing a turnbuckle pad. He also thumbs Taker in the eye and whips him around the ring. Taker answers with a choke toss, Old School, and a slam. But Taker misses an elbow. The fight then spills to the floor again. Taker hotshots Goldust at the apron. However, Goldust finally removes the buckle pad. He whips Taker into it. Goldust even attacks with the steps and wears down Taker with holds. But Taker fires back with a jumping clothesline. He then nails a Tombstone after two attempts. Taker looks for the cover, but Mankind appears through a hole in the mat. He locks the Mandible Claw on Taker. So the ref calls for the bell.
Thoughts: It started slowly, but it picked up steam. I know some people don’t like this match, but I didn’t mind it. I liked the storytelling and character work. The crowd reacted well to it. I even enjoyed the finish. Mankind coming up through a hole was a cool visual. (On a side note, how did Mankind get under there? We saw him run to the back earlier. That was well done.)
Winner: The Undertaker (by DQ) (12:07)
Mankind pulls Taker down into the hole and climbs back out. Smoke pours from the opening and the lights flicker. Mankind gazes under the ring, but he doesn’t see Taker. The lights continue flickering until Taker appears from another opening behind Mankind. Both men then brawl to the back.
Next, we see a commercial for SummerSlam. It references the summer Olympics. Various superstars compete in sports. Ahmed barrels through some hurdles. Austin chucks a shot-put that nails the torch bearer. Shawn Michaels even does a high-jump. Then a brawl breaks out during the medal ceremony when Goldust pats Triple H on his butt.
Meanwhile, some fans place a Burger King crown on Lawler’s head. He calls for security. Vince and JR are too busy discussing the main event to notice. Then they’re interrupted by Mankind and The Undertaker brawling in a boiler room. They knock out the cameraman in the melee. Ross says it’s out of control.
Next is a recap of the main feud. It features the attack from the end of King of the Ring. Todd Pettengill says this six-man tag was signed. But they show Gorilla Monsoon suspending The Ultimate Warrior. They also show Camp Cornette attacking The Warrior. Then we get Cornette’s great reaction to Shawn Michaels choosing Sid as the replacement. They follow this with footage of Sid saving Shawn & Ahmed from an ambush.
Dok Hendrix interviews The People’s Posse. Shawn compares his crew to the Three Musketeers. Cornette called it a gang fight. Shawn says that’s true. But Camp Cornette brought a knife to a gunfight. Then Ahmed mumbles and shouts. It sounds like he told Cornette to talk it the way he walks it. (Did he get that backward?) Sid tries explaining what Ahmed meant. He says six men enter, but only three survive. (That isn’t related to what Ahmed said at all.) Sid then calls Shawn & Ahmed his friends. He also refers to Ahmed as Ahmed Johnsons. (This is out of control. Now there are two of him!) Shawn finishes by saying he wouldn’t want to be Jim Cornette or Camp Cornette. Shawn even says, “What are you going to do when Master Sid gets a hold of you and Ahmed Johnson beats you around?” (Somewhere, Hogan grumbles about Shawn stealing his lines.)
(Camp Cornette) Vader, The British Bulldog, & Owen Hart (w/ Jim Cornette) vs. (The People’s Posse) Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson, & Sycho Sid (w/ Jose Lothario)
Notes: During Shawn’s entrance, fans rush the guardrail and knock it over. Lawler cackles with glee. (It’s strange seeing Canadians loving Shawn Michaels. Give it a year and that will change.) Ahmed and Sid have separate entrances. The commentators speculate whether Shawn can trust Sid. Sid gets a strong reaction from the fans. Meanwhile, Camp Cornette enter together to Vader’s theme. While this happens, Vince and JR give an update on the Taker/Mankind brawl in the boiler room. The Mounties broke up the fight and escorted both men out of the building.
The Match: Vader demands Shawn and gets him. The People’s Posse then control the bout. Ahmed assists Shawn in giving Vader hurricanranas, crossbodies, and a baseball slide. Then Sid hands out clotheslines to everyone. Ahmed then nails a Pearl River Plunge. But Vader breaks the count. Johnson then drops poor Owen on his shoulder with rolling German Suplexes. Sid returns and Davey gives him an impressive stalling suplex. Davey & Vader also double-team him. But Shawn returns. He exchanges technical wrestling with Owen and Davey. However, Owen clocks Shawn with his cast. Vader whips Shawn around and puts him in a chokehold. (A fan tries entering the ring, but Davey and Ahmed chase him away.) Bulldog & Owen keep stopping Shawn’s comebacks. Davey even lands the running powerslam. Sid breaks up the pin, but he takes forever. (Hebner has to stall his count.) Then, Camp Cornette triple-team HBK during a ref distraction. Shawn finally makes a hot tag after some miscommunication. Sid chokeslams all three opponents until the match becomes a brawl. Shawn hits Vader with Cornette’s racket, but Vader kicks out of a pin. Shawn then attempts Sweet Chin Music. Cornette grabs his foot. This allows Vader to nail an avalanche attack and a Vader Bomb to pin Shawn.
Thoughts: This was great. The crowd was hot and everyone brought their a-game. There was amazing action. It was paced well. We also got to see more of Shawn vs. Owen. That’s always a welcome sight. Even Sid seemed more motivated than ever. Where was this Sid in ’95? Also, I liked the story they told with Shawn and Vader. It setup things nicely for next month.
Winners: Camp Cornette (24:32)
Camp Cornette celebrates, but Ahmed & Sid attack. Sid powerbombs both Bulldog and Owen. He tries doing it to Vader, but Camp Cornette pull him out of the ring. Then Shawn dives over the ropes onto Vader. He throws fists until Vader retreats. The People’s Posse lift each other’s arms, but Shawn is in pain. He sells his ribs from the Vader Bomb.
We then get an In Your House extra. Dok interviews Gorilla Monsoon. They talk about SummerSlam. Monsoon says Mankind and The Undertaker are out of control. He’s putting them in a Boiler Room Brawl. But then Vader and Cornette interrupt. Cornette demands a WWF title match for Vader. He doesn’t let Gorilla answer. Cornette talks about the prophecy coming true. Camp Cornette won, and Jim couldn’t be happier.
The main event was great.
Austin/Mero was solid.
The Mankind stuff was good.
Cornette and Pillman were both entertaining.
The opener was bland.
Performer of the Night:
I’m giving it to Sid because he surprised me more than anyone. When motivated, Sid is great. This starts one of Sid’s best runs.
The main event brought this show up from decent to good. It didn’t set the world on fire, but it was a fairly solid PPV. I enjoyed the undercard more than some people did. It’s an easy watch with a great last match. Plus, it sets up SummerSlam well.
Thank you for reading. My next review is WCW’s Hog Wild ’96. Look for it next Sunday!
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