Special thanks to Harvey "tv316" Vays for sending me a tape of this PPV and to Nate who helped me out by sending in his own impressive version of the flashback which I stole some ideas from. :) Thanks guys!
In Your House
July 21, 1996
Vancouver, British Columbia
Announcers: Vince McMahon, Jim Ross & Jerry "The King" Lawler
Free for All: Justin "Hawk" Bradshaw vs. Savio Vega
Yes, it's the same Bradshaw who currently wrestles for the WWF and I believe this was like his first match on PPV. Well, wait technically it isn't cause it's a free-for-all match. Anyway...Savio's career is now downward sloping having already feuded with Steve Austin, and with Bradshaw being a relative newcomer who the WWF seemed to have high hopes for, it was really a no-brainer as to who would win. Savio immediately goes after Bradshaw and the two go toe-to-toe until Bradshaw heads to the outside. There he doesn't have much luck either missing a punch and hitting the ring post by accident. Back in the ring, Savio Vega works on the injured hand and the two continue to exchange some pedestrian offense until Bradshaw manages to hit a blockbuster. Uncle Zebekiah, who I should mention is Bradshaw's ever helpful manager, gets involved by pushing the two down, then holds Bradshaw on top for the 1-2-3. 1/2* After the match, the frustrated Savio makes the mistake of going after Zebekiah, allowing Bradshaw to nail him from behind and set him up for the patented post-match branding.
Accompanied by Marlena, Goldust makes his way to the ring to hype his upcoming match against the Undertaker. He doesn't say anything of importance except that the Undertaker "will never forget the name of...ssssss...Goldust"!
Back in the ring, Jim Ross holds a dual interview with Jose Lathario and Jim Cornette. The two argue back and forth a bit with Cornette claiming that his "Camp Cornette" will come out victorious in the main event, while Lathario argues that the trio of Sid, Shawn Michaels and Ahmed Johnson will come out on top. Things break down when Cornette gets personal and attempts to whack Jose with his trusty tennis racket. Lathario ducks and decks Cornette with a right hand, causing The Man They Call Vader to come storming down to the ring. Before Vader can do anything to Lathario, Shawn Michaels also makes his presence felt, evening up the sides. A nice little segment that did its purpose to promote the main event.
Backstage, Kevin Kelly interviews Steve Austin. Austin, fresh off his incredible King of the Ring tournament victory, is out for revenge against "Wildman" Marc Mero, who injured Stone Cold during their King of the Ring match. It was completely inadvertent, but Austin doesn't think so and is of the opinion that Mero was out to injure him.
Non-Title Match: The Bodydonnas vs. The Smoking Gunns
Terrible way to start the PPV for two reasons - The Bodydonnas were perhaps the silliest team in the WWF at this time, especially after Sunny left/Cloudy entered and because this was a non-title match (Sunny refused to put the belts up for grabs), there was absolutely no appeal whatsoever. Furthermore, back in this day and age, a non-title match made for a pretty predictable outcome if you stopped and thought about it for oh...two seconds. We're also told that the Bodydonnas are without their "valet" Cloudy (who was actually a man and one of Chris "Skip" Candido's real life good friends) because the Donnas were good enough to not need a manager. Way to come up with a good reason to kill off the Cloudy character there boys. Anyway, the match starts off with a very slow sequence of arm related manuevers until Billy hits the Fameasser to counter. The only interesting thing going on during this period was the commentary as Jim Ross and Vince McMahon engaged in one of the most illogical conversations I've heard while Jerry Lawler tuned in with his colorful jokes. Ross is going on and on about the relative speed of the Bodydonnas while Vince argues that it is the Godwinns (!?) who are the quick team. The match is so incredibly boring that the audience is already out of it so they decide to change gears by mixing in some out-of-ring shenanigans involving Sunny of course. Back in the ring, the bad luck continues as Billy majorly botches a leapfrog causing half the fans to finally wake up which in retrospect I suppose is a good thing. FINALLY, the Gunns go for the kill but Skip sneaks to the ropes and hits a drop kick on Bart causing the momentum to take Zip over on top of him. Bart is unable to kick out and the Bodydonnas snatch up the victory at a very, very, very long 13:05 and head out. 1/2* Brutal way to officially start a PPV, by the way.
Meanwhile, Mr. Perfect is with the entire Camp Cornette. Cornette claims that Jose Lathario pulled out a switchblade on him, causing him to pull out the tennis racket. He also claims that Shawn Michaels attempted to team up and and gang jump him while Vader is going nuts in the back throwing furniture around. Davey Boy Smith lets us know that his wife Diana will not be at ringside for this event, and Owen Hart, with a cast on his arm, rounds things out by saying that he's looking to add Sid to his list of knockout victims.
Mankind vs. Henry O. Godwinn
There isn't much of a story behind this one because it was originally supposed to be Jake "The Snake" Roberts going up against Mankind. However, Roberts had some problems with the ol' bottle but Vince McMahon covers it up by saying that he is suffering from a case of injured ribs. Jerry Lawler isn't as forgiving though and goes on to throw some not-so-subtle drunk jokes at Roberts. Don't know whether it was the plan all along, but Roberts did return later in the summer and actually wrestled against Lawler at Summerslam. Mankind's offense to start things off: bite, clothesline, bite, bulldog, bite, knee drop, bite. Match heads out, then in and then back out with Mankind controlling most of the action, including a neckbreaker on the exposed concrete floor. Back in the ring, Godwinn goes for the "Slop Drop" but Mankind counters it by holding onto the ropes and in turn puts the Mandible Claw on for the imminent victory at about 6:45. *1/2 Could have been a lot worse.
"Wildman" Marc Mero vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Some brief history here as alluded to the earlier Austin interview. During their King of the Ring match which Stone Cold won obviously, Marc Mero accidentally kicked Austin in the mouth while attempting a simple rollup. It cut Austin up pretty bad, but it wasn't scripted or anything but the WWF chose to spin a storyline off of it and here we are today with the match. Austin starts the match with a flurry, attacking Mero with several vicious looking punches. They each then take turns working over the other's arms with some typical arm-wringers, arm-drags and wristlocks. Austin with a headlock, leading into a pin attempt, followed by a reversal by Mero and a pin attempt of his own. Austin bails to the outside and checks out Sable, but Mero doesn't appreciate that and jumps Austin and sends him back inside. There he goes for the old King of the Ring rollup and Austin, like the badass that he is, FAKES the injury. Mero makes the near fatal mistake of believing Austin and goes to check up on him, but Stone Cold springs back and chucks Mero to the outside. With his newfound fanbase loving every minute of it, Austin posts Mero, then doesn't let him get back into the ring. Mero eventually manages to get back into the ring but gets greeted by the famous Austin second rope elbow drop. Stone Cold then misses a running powerslam and Mero capitalizes on the blunder by crotching Austin over the top rope. Austin attempts what looks like a powerbomb but Mero blocks it and the two tangle up and fall to the outside. While all this is going on, Goldust's wife Marlena (Terri Runnels) comes down to the ringside area and hands the commentators an envelope. Although we don't get to see what's inside, it is presumed that the envelope is for either Marc or Sable, as Goldust and Marlena were soon to start their program with the duo following this PPV. Back to the action, Mero then hits a pescado, followed immediately by a standing Asai moonsault and the two wrestlers head back into the ring where Mero gets a two count off of a springboard splash. Mero then resorts to his finisher - The Call of the Wild but Austin runs into the ropes and causes Mero to crotch himself on the turnbuckle. Austin then goes for the Stunner but Mero matches Austin by blocking that and hitting a springboard/slingshot leg drop. Austin kicks out at two, takes out Mero and then delivers the Stone Cold Stunner for the three count at 10:45. *** Great followup to their excellent King of the Ring match which Pete rated as slightly higher.
Bob Backlund is seen in the crowd, campaigning to become the next President of the United States. One tiny problem though - we're in Canada and the fans should logically not care.
Goldust vs. Undertaker
Goldust wastes a helluva lot of time, which the WWF probably wants us to believe is a combination of his mind games coupled with the fact that the Undertaker is a mean looking fella. Anyway, the history here is that this is a rematch from a couple months ago when Goldust retained his Intercontinental title by virtue of a huge assist from Mankind. That resulted in a Taker/Mankind feud so you should all be able to guess where this one is headed. When they eventually do get started, Goldust manages to rip off a turnbuckle cover but doesn't immediately get the chance to use it as Undertaker goes ahead and does his now old school top rope walk. The two head to the outside for a brief moment, before heading back where Goldust capitalizes on the exposed turnbuckle, sending Taker into it. In the early to mid 90s, the only way to put Undertaker on the defensive was either via interference or some illegal activity. Back to the match, Goldust senses that he's injured Taker's back so he throws him to the outside and introduces Taker's back to the steel steps. Back inside, Taker escapes the assault by going for the Tombstone but alas, his back is too sore and he can't keep Goldust up. Wow, wouldn't ya know it - Taker is selling AND obeying the unwritten laws of ring pyschology. He turns into a small package getting two, but then follows it up with his patented running clothesline. This weakens Goldust enough to the point where Undertaker is able to hit the Tombstone. One, two, but wait, what's this! Mankind pops out from underneath the ring, sinks on the Mandible Claw and drags Undertaker into the ring. The bell rings and at 12:05 this one is over folks. * Not too long after the match ends, Mankind pops out and sits around, sticking his hand into the hole looking for Undertaker as smoke pours out of the hole, the lights flicker and Taker's music plays. Finally, the Undertaker comes out from the other side and he and Mankind battle all the way to the back.
We see a clip of Mankind telling us that Goldust is his mommy. He says that he cannot tolerate anyone harming his "maternal love". Okayyyyy. In normal English - Goldust is out, and he's in as it pertains to the feud against the Undertaker.
Clips from the past showing the buildup of the six-man main event tag team match is shown next. Originally, the match was supposed to be the Ultimate Warrior joining Ahmed Johnson and Shawn Michaels against Cornette's boys, but Warrior was abruptly fired before the PPV could take place because he kept no-showing live events. Warrior claimed that his father was ill or something which is why he couldn't attend but Vince McMahon didn't buy it and said it was a breach of his contract. This was the last time we saw Ultimate Warrior in the WWF, in case you're wondering. The WWF ended up filling Warrior's vacant slot with Sycho Sid.
Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson & Sycho Sid vs. Vader, British Bulldog & Owen Hart
Michaels and Vader start it off, with Michaels resorting more to the high flying moves including a hurricanrana while Vader sticks with the traditional punches. They briefly head outside where Shawn misses a dive and lands on the railing. Vader throws Michaels back in and works on him, but eventually Sid makes his way into the ring and with the huge babyface reaction does the predictable thing and empties the ring. Owen jumps back in and tries to sneak up on Sid, but it doesn't work as Sid clotheslines him and then tags out to Ahmed Johnson. Weirdly enough, Johnson then proceeds to hit Owen with three German suplexes surprising me since I didn't even know that Ahmed knew what a suplex was. A missed elbow drop allows Owen to tag out to the British Bulldog who then proceeds to rough up Johnson. Ahmed fights back with a spinebuster followed by the Pearl River Plunge, but when he goes for the cover, it's broken at one by Vader. The two go nuts on another until Ahmed actually catches Vader in a bodyslam, which gets two. Tag to Owen brings about a "Sid" chant and Ahmed grants them their wish. Sid and Owen now and the big dominates but then strangely Irish whips him into his own corner, allowing Hart to make the easy tag out to Bulldog. Bulldog then shows off his ability and strength by hitting a wicked delayed standing suplex, one of his trademarks, but it only gets him a two count. Bulldog and Vader exchange tags a couple time and Sid tags to Shawn Michaels so now we have Bulldog and Michaels face-to-face. They got it and Shawn gets posted but manages to quickly overcome it by swinging Bulldog into Vader for a two. Eye gouge by Bulldog and a tag to Owen and now let the fun begin. Owen goes for the Oklahoma roll, Shawn counters and goes for a rollup but Owen counters and gets a two of his own. Takedown by Michaels, bridge up by Owen, backslide, reversal, clothesline as both guys show off their awesome technical ability. Tag to Bulldog, then to Vader and while the ref isn't looking, Owen gets in a few shots with his cast. Vader then slows things down by choking Michaels just as a crazed fan enters the ring and gets whisked away by security with some help from Bulldog and Ahmed. Michaels then goes for the big premature face comeback but of course Vader stops that with a shoulder block followed by a splash. Quick tags by the heels with Bulldog entering first, then Owen. Shawn and Owen collide but Owen manages to tag back out to Bulldog who promptly powerslams Michaels. Sid comes in for the save, giving Shawn the opportunity to tag out to Ahmed the second Bulldog tags Vader. The ref doesn't see Michaels' tag which causes Sid, Jose Lathario and Ahmed to protest giving Camp Cornette the free pass to kick the shit out of Shawn behind the ref's back. Bulldog and Owen set Shawn up for a missile dropkick from the top rope but Michaels has the presence of mind to move out the way, causing Owen to dropkick Bulldog. With the Bulldog and Owen confused and incapacitated, Shawn finally lumbers over to his corner for the hot tag to Sid who then cleans house, chokeslamming Vader, Owen and Bulldog in order. At this point, all hell breaks loose with Owen/Ahmed and Bulldog/Sid battle on the outside. Amidst all the chaos, Cornette leaps up onto the apron and starts arguing with Michaels and the referee but not before subtly throwing his tennis racket in the direction of Vader. Shawn sees him coming and avoids getting clocked but as he's setting up for the Sweet Chin Music, the sneaky Cornette grabs his leg and ties him up, allowing Vader to catch him in the corner for the Vader Bomb and the pin at 24:35. **** Outstanding match with Owen and Shawn stealing the show from where I sat. After the match, the faces attempt to get their heat back but the fans are nonetheless unimpressed at what they just saw.
In Your House Key Stats
Matches: 5 (on the actual PPV)
Total Wrestling: 67:15
Average Match: 13:27
Average Match Rating: **
Top Moments: Lawler's Jake Roberts jokes, Austin/Mero have another good match, tremendous main event.
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