WWF In Your House 9: International Incident
General Motors Place – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Jerry “The King” Lawler
Non-Title Tag-Team Match:
The Smoking Gunns [Billy & Bart] (c) (w/ Sunny) vs. The Bodydonnas [Skip & Zip]
Result/Analysis: The Bodydonnas via pinfall (13:06) when Zip pins Bart following a missile dropkick by Skip which negated The Gunns executing their sidewinder finishing move. Billy was sidetracked with Sunny anyway. That became a running theme. Of course, this being a non-title match, the tag-team titles still remain with The Smoking Gunns despite their defeat. How stupid. Why have a non-title match on a PPV? And, especially in this case, since The Bodydonnas were former champions. Lame. Cloudy (Kloudi?) had been dismissed by The Bodydonnas as their hand-picked replacement manager for Sunny. That idiotic Vince last ditch effort to get The Bodydonnas over flopped almost immediately, though, the basis for The Gunns feud with The Bodydonnas here – really Sunny’s beef with them – was over the introduction of Cloudy. The Bodydonnas win this match to set up for the obvious tag-team titles match at SummerSlam, right? Wrong! The Godwinns will be the challengers then. The tag-team division was downright horrific in 1996. This match isn’t too bad but the non-title stipulation takes any care away. At least you could see the beginnings of Billy breaking apart from Bart. It’s amazing The Gunns tagged for four years considering their overall impact.
Meanwhile, Camp Cornette is huddled together in their locker room as Mr. Perfect gets commentary. Jim Cornette says he’s guaranteeing victory tonight in the main event six-man tag-team match otherwise, he’s promising to refund everyone in attendance or at home watching in TV land and that will cost him millions of dollars. Cornette promises Vader will get his hands on Shawn Michaels and no one will be able to stop him. The British Bulldog, meanwhile, promises a match that’s so gruesome even Diana will have to remain in the locker room for it. Owen Hart has his sights set on knocking out Sycho Sid with his cast, just like he did to Ahmed Johnson on RAW, and to Michaels, albeit differently, previously. Without a doubt, Ahmed, Shawn and Sid need to lose.
Mankind vs. Henry O. Godwinn (w/ Hillbilly Jim)
Result/Analysis: Mankind via submission (6:54) with the Mandible Claw. The advertised Mankind versus Jake “The Snake” Roberts match was scrubbed either due to Jake’s legit rib injuries from wrestling “Stone Cold” Steve Austin at King of the Ring or Jake just flat no-showing for the event, the true story never came out. Oh well. That’s why they say “Card Subject To Change.” Godwinn, as I look at the WWF roster for this date, was really the only logical replacement for a babyface against Mankind as anyone else had their own match. Jake would have stumbled all over himself had he wrestled and given Lawler more of a chance at delivering wise cracks on his substance abuse problems, though, he does still anyway. Mankind went about things with reckless abandon as surely Mick Foley knew nothing different. The exposed concrete under the outside mats comes into play here, first with Mankind hitting a swinging neckbreaker, and later Godwinn slamming Mankind off the apron onto it. Ouch! Godwinn attempts the slop drop but Mankind hooks the ropes to block. The Mandible Claw is applied and back then, no one, not even The Undertaker, escaped that. Speaking of The Undertaker, he’s wrestling Goldust later on but he and Mankind were heavily embroiled in their feud with SummerSlam and a “Boiler Room Brawl” ahead of them there.
On the WWF SuperStar line, Brian Pillman has The Bodydonnas with him. Pillman chastises Skip and Zip for what they’re telling the fans was their motivation tonight. Pillman believes only their hormones and thoughts of T&A were on their minds, i.e., Sunny. The Gunns and Sunny were on the other side with Ray Rougeau making excuses for their loss. Who called the WWF SuperStar line other than kids without receiving their parents permission anyway? Pillman might just give shoot comments so if I got him on the telephone, I’d call in!
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. “The Wildman” Marc Mero (w/ Sable)
Result/Analysis: Austin via pinfall (10:50) following The Stone Cold Stunner. The match is good but it falls well short of their King of the Ring battle, which is a forgotten classic for many. Given IYH was a five match card, I expected 15-20 minutes here but no dice. Austin was more over as a heel than Mero was as a face. I’m sure Vince took note. At KOR, Mero inadvertently kicked Austin in the mouth leading to blood gushing from Austin and stitches for him post-match. Austin, in that match, wrestled calculated and methodical. Mero’s attack then was far more psychological. Austin losing the return bout wasn’t going to happen so with the outcome predictable, it’s hard to be as into them wrestling again. Austin suckers Mero into a trap here, feigning another facial injury only to cheap shot Mero to take control. Austin wrestles more his customary roughhouse style – catapulting Mero into the ring post and pushing him into the railing off the apron. Mero forges a comeback when he ranas Austin outside the ring, hits a somersault dive and a standing moonsault. Mero tosses Austin back in the ring, hits a springboard splash and a springboard leg drop. Austin kicks out at two each time. Austin clips Mero in the knee and immediately hits the stunner for the abrupt end. I wanted more. Marlena and her usher make an appearance to stalk Sable.
Goldust (w/ Marlena) vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)
Result/Analysis: The Undertaker via DQ (12:08) as a result of outside interference from Mankind. The Goldust “feud” with The Undertaker and the unneccessary mileage it got merely existed to advance the Mankind/Undertaker feud in 1996 that was going on through it all. It was very strange. Mankind involves himself here by popping thru the mat to prevent Taker from defeating Goldust following the tombstone piledriver. The match is incredibly dull and the Mankind involvement doesn’t help how you feel. There’s mucho stalling early on and Taker dominates throughout except for scant instances of control by Goldust. Mankind drags Taker under the ring with him by applying the mandible claw. He reappears in the ring only for the hole in the mat to fill with smoke as the lights flicker on and off for a minute or two. Taker then pops up thru a hole he makes in the mat on the other side of the ring and fights off Mankind. Their actual one-on-one match at KOR was decent enough to warrant the sequel, especially given how it ended controversially with Paul Bearer’s involvement. Having Mankind interfere again for a lame DQ in another Goldust match with Taker didn’t further what they had going. Goldust had become irrelevant to be used as filler for their feud.
The SummerSlam promo airs.
Vince and JR discuss the Main Event and the Joe Namath-like guarantee of victory by Jim Cornette. Who was dying to see Camp Cornette against Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson and Sycho Sid? The match has zero appeal barring Ahmed and/or Sid turning on Shawn. Neither one does.
Meanwhile, cameras catch Mankind and The Undertaker brawling in a boiler room. At SummerSlam, that’s where their match will be. No one can see what’s going on with the cameraman taken out. Mankind is heard grunting at least.
JR cues up a video package to highlight just how tonight’s Main Event came about.
Handsome Dok Hendrix interviews Michaels, Ahmed and Sid. Shawn promises the six-man tag-team match will be gang warfare as Camp Cornette has promised. Ahmed says the time for talking is done. “It’s time to talk it like you walk it, Cornette.” Sid says he’ll be the master out there in the ring while he’s backed up by his friends.
Six-Man Tag-Team Match:
[“The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels [WWF Champion] (w/ José Lothario),
Ahmed Johnson [WWF Intercontinental Champion] & Sycho Sid] “The People’s Posse”
“Camp Cornette” [The British Bulldog, Owen Hart & Vader] (w/ Jim Cornette)
Result/Analysis: “Camp Cornette” via pinfall (24:33) when Vader pins Michaels following the Vaderbomb. A fantastic match! All six guys look great here and Michaels does a superhuman job with the heavy lifting in the match while putting Vader “over” clean to set-up SummerSlam. Ahmed and Sid are properly used with short bursts of offense with both guys looking impenetrable and strong. Sid receives a massive pop and clotheslines the daylights of all three members of Camp Cornette. Ahmed powerslams Vader and hits his Pearl River Plunge finishing move on Bulldog. Owen and Shawn rekindle their rivalry in spots by putting on a wrestlin clinic of moves, counter moves and pin attempts. So good! Bulldog impressively suplexes Sid, showing off his incredible strength while later nearly defeating Michaels following his running powerslam finisher. Shawn also gets caught in a backbreaker and Samoan drop after he tried a crucifix. Michaels’ effort is excellent. Vader pummels him from pillar to post for the most part but Shawn wins their early bit with aerial moves. Ahmed in short bursts in this match gives you the feeling of just what Vince saw in him. He was over but could do high impact moves, such as a spinebuster (like the one on Bulldog here) or German suplexes in succession (he does this to all members of Camp Cornette). Sid back in the fold was addition by subtraction in that he was replacing the outgoing Ultimate Warrior and he was an overall better fit for the WWF in 1996 anyway. Michaels is in the ring against Camp Cornette for a solid 10-15 minutes, 10 coming in the crux of the match as “face in peril.” Shawn making the hot tag is teased several times before he eventually succeeds in reaching Sid as the drama builds. Sid chokeslams Owen, Bulldog and Vader! Damn!!! Sid and Ahmed double clothesline Vader next. Sid tags Shawn and launches him onto Vader from the top rope. Shawn and Vader are legal as the other four fight outside the ring. Cornette tosses Vader his tennis raquet but Michaels ducks and drops Vader by using the raquet on him. Shawn tunes up the band for sweet chin music but Cornette grabs his leg to stop him. Vader recovers and launches himself onto Michaels in the corner. Shawn drops as Vader positions him for the Vaderbomb. Lothario and Cornette scuffle. Vader connects with the Vaderbomb and Michaels is pinned! After the match, Sid and Ahmed attack with Sid hitting Bulldog and Owen with powerbombs. Vader is pulled out of the ring to avoid the same fate only Michaels dives over the top rope onto Vader to save face. The People’s Posse lose the match but the crowd is sent home happy. Minus a shocking heel turn by Sid on Michaels, Vader winning to set the stage for SummerSlam and challenging Shawn for the WWF Title, was the correct booking. What’s impressive about this match is the effort by everyone and how on point they all were. Michaels was carrying the company.
The Verdict: Few people watched the event at the time as the PPV has the second-worst buy rate in the history of the company, but retrospectively, International Incident is OK . The Main Event is terrific. The SummerSlam card had its top two matches in place. Austin was a budding star. Most importantly, heads didn’t appear to be down. WCW was generating all of the buzz and headlines because of the n.W.o. but from pure work rate standpoint, in-ring storytelling, and wrestling, the WWF, at the top rung, was as good. I, admittedly at 15 years old was all-in for WCW, too, with mostly Hulk Hogan being a heel and the n.W.o. thing fresh with no one knoeing its direction as my reasons. The WWF at this time wasn’t a bad product given who they had. I’d take this period over anything the company is putting forth today as “entertainment.” That’s quite terrible. Mankind/Undertaker was a hot feud and could Vader be the one to unseat Michaels as Champ? SummerSlam had juice.