WWF In Your House: Mind Games
By Big Red Machine
From September 22, 1996
WWF In Your House: Mind Games (9/22/1996)- Philadelphia, PA
SAVIO VEGA vs. MARTY JANNETTY (w/Leif Cassidy)- 2.25/10
During this match, Vince tells us that if we hear any “unusual chants” tonight it is because there is a popular “local wrestling contingent” in the building tonight. JR, being an absolute genius, immediately emphasizes the fact that the ECW guys bought tickets just to see the WWF.
POST-MATCH ANGLE- Uncle Zebekiah shows up and distracts Savio while Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw attacks Savio from behind and beats him with a cow bell.
SAVIO VEGA PROMO- okay
CARIBBEAN STRAP MATCH: Savio Vega vs. Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw (w/Uncle Zebekiah)- 4/10
So this is the match where Sandman famously spat beer at Savio, and I have to give them props here, because if Vince hadn’t mentioned the “local wrestling group” during the Free-for-all match, you would have been damn certain that this was a shoot because they handled it like it was a shoot.
This was every strap match you had ever seen, and with the same finish as every strap match you have ever seen (where the babyface is touching the turnbuckles as the heel drags him around, then stops the heel from touching the last one), but here they had the heel whip the babyface into the last turnbuckle, making the heel look like an idiot and making babyface look like a chump in his own gimmick match.
We cut to some commotion backstage which turns out to be “Razor Ramon” and “Diesel” beating up Savio Vega.
JOSE LOTHARIO vs. JIM CORNETTE-no rating.
JR says that Cornette “is wearing a pair of Yokozuna’s old tights, and they look a little snug on him.” That was awesome. Unfortunately JR also said that Cornette looked like a Twinkie. Cornette was dressed in red and black, without a stitch of yellow or white on him.
The match itself was exactly what you would expect from an old babyface with a boxing background against a heel manager. Cornette’s selling saved it from being totally unentertaining, though.
SAVIO VEGA PROMO-not good. He didn’t do a good job of selling either the beatdown from “Razor” and “Diesel” or his earlier strap match with Bradshaw.
SEGMENT WITH THE LEAGUE OF PEOPLE WHO DON’T LIKE BRET HART- GREAT!
First Brian Pillman comes out and he poops on Philadelphia. Then he introduces Owen Hart. Some clever fan has brought a sign calling Owen the “King of Farts.” Congratulations, sir. You have made the world’s most obvious joke. I hope you’re proud of yourself.
Owen then cut a fun promo saying that Bret isn’t scared of Pillman, and he’s not scared of Owen (“well… he’s a little scared of me”) but the real reason why Bret isn’t here tonight is because he is afraid of Stone Cold Steve Austin. Then Owen introduced Austin who cut an awesome promo calling Bret a coward.
Pillman: Are you trying to say that Bret Hart’s a chicken?
Austin: Bret Hart doesn’t even qualify as being a chicken. He’s the slimy substance that runs out of the south end of a chicken.
This was also the promo with the famous line “if you put an “s” in front of “Hit man” you’ll get my exact opinion of Bret Hart.”
WWF WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: The Smokin’ Gunns(c) (w/Sunny) vs. Owen Hart & The British Bulldog (w/Clarence Mason)- 5.75/10
After the match, Sunny berates the Gunns and fires them from her employ. Sunny was great here. She was an utterly fantastic heel.
PAUL BEARER AND MANKIND PROMO- eh.
JERRY “THE KING” LAWLER vs. MARK HENRY- No rating. AWESOME SEGMENT!
This was Henry’s in-ring debut, and the announcers (especially JR) did a fantastic job of explaining just how the “World’s Strongest Man” could possibly be an underdog against a 45 year-old man who hadn’t been a full-time wrestler in years. Lawler then said that Henry was so green that he didn’t know anything, and that he was going to take Henry to school. He said he would prove that Henry didn’t even know how to escape a headlock.
So the match started and Lawler put Henry in a headlock… and Mark Henry escaped from the headlock and put Lawler in a hammerlock and Lawler started to squeal like a little girl. FREAKIN’ AWESOME!
Henry released the hold and they went to lock up again… and then Henry put Lawler in a headlock. EVEN MORE AWESOME!
One thing that I absolutely loved here was that when Henry lifted Lawler up and put him in a backbreaker submission, Lawler tapped out RIGHT AWAY! It really sold Henry as being so strong that if you didn’t tap out right away, he might actually break your back.
After the match, the New Rockers jumped Mark Henry. They got their asses kicked. Then Hunter Hearst Helmsley jumped Henry from behind. He got his ass kicked, too (and tossed onto the New Rockers for good measure).
DOC HENDRIX INTERVIEWS THE NEW TAG CHAMPS & CLARENCE MASON- Owen and Davey Boy cut okay promos. Clarence reveals that when he gave Cornette some papers to sign earlier (right after Cornette’s match, when Cornette was in great pain) he got his papers mixed and accidentally had Cornette sign Davey Boy & Owen’s contracts over to him. He SWEARS it was an accident, though. Strangely, Owen and Davey Boy don’t seem too put off by this.
FINAL CURTAIN MATCH: The Undertaker vs. Goldust (w/Marlena)- 4.25/10
The gimmick in this match was that the only way the match could end was by pinfall, but they really didn’t take advantage of that at all, especially the No DQ’s part of the stip (which was the part that the announcers emphasized the most). Goldust got in 95% of the offense until Taker chokeslammed him off the top, then hit the Tombstone Piledriver for the win.
SHAWN MICHAELS PROMO- not too good, but I barely noticed it because I was a lot more concentrated on trying to figure out WHAT THE F*CK IS SHAWN WEARING?!
WWF TITLE MATCH: Shawn Michaels(c) (w/Jose Lothario) vs. Mankind (w/Paul Bearer)- 8.5/10
That spot where Foley stabbed his own knee was really weird. I didn’t like Shawn using the chair, but it did do a good job of showing his desperation.
They had an awesome match where Shawn worked over Mankind’s knee, which he sold beautifully, until Vader came out and caused a DQ… except I’m not sure that he actually ever touched Shawn (aside from reversing Shawn’ Irish Whip with one of his own, but the ref rang the bell before he had touched Shawn). He swung at him, but he never connected. Shawn landed all of the punches. There technically weren’t any grounds for a DQ yet.
Bearer hit Shawn in the back of the head with Taker’s urn (while the ref was distracted, yelling at Vader), then Sid came out and brawled away with Vader while Foley put the Mandible Claw on Shawn until the ref told him to knock it off… so shouldn’t Mankind be the champ if the ref hadn't jumped the gun on the DQ?
Bearer randomly decides to open a coffin that was randomly at ringside, and it turns out Taker was in their all along, so he got out and attacked Mankind.
An okay show from WWE. The main event was awesome, but nothing else was good, and between the convoluted, overbooked finish to the main event and disappointing Taker vs. Goldust blowoff, I really can’t call the show good.