Mind Games. These are what the likes of Mankind and Goldust have been playing on Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker respectively. On paper, I don’t see a lot of potential in this pay per view but the two main events do interest me. Mankind gets his first ever WWF title shot against champion Shawn Michaels. There hasn’t been a lot of build for this match but he did choke Michaels out with the Mandible Claw a few weeks ago. It’s a classic pretty boy jock against deranged loner feud. Mankind has been given a decent push since his debut, mostly feuding with The Undertaker. Speaking of The Undertaker, he has a final curtain match with Goldust tonight. This is the rubber match between the two. At Beware Of Dog Goldust retained his Intercontinental title against The Undertaker in a casket match after some interference from Mankind. Then at International Incident Undertaker beat Goldust by disqualification when once again Mankind got involved. Tonight is the final curtain between these two men and there must be a winner.
There are three other advertised matches tonight. The first is a tag team title match between The Smoking Gunns and British Bulldog and Owen Hart. On paper that sounds like a very good match but in reality both teams are heels and I can see it being a bit flat. Who are the crowd supposed to cheer for? The feud has been between Sunny and Jim Cornette in the build up to this one. If Bulldog and Owen are to win it makes you wonder why they didn’t transition the belts though The Godwinns. The other two matches tonight could be duds. The first is between Jerry Lawler and Mark Henry. This one goes back a while with Lawler taking pops at Henry then at Summerslam Mark Henry saved Jake Roberts from Jerry Lawler. This is Henrys first ever wrestling match so this one could be interesting. The other match advertised for tonight is between managers Jim Cornette and Jose Lothario. That’ll be interesting. Let’s get to it anyway.
We start with a video package highlighting the main event between Mankind and Shawn Michaels followed by a package about Goldust and Undertaker. Those are the two big matches tonight. Surprisingly no “The World Wrestling Federation, 50 years in Sports Entertainment” graphic. It’s all about the strange pairing of Goldust and Mankind and their mind games on Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker.
Vince McMahon then welcomes us to Philadelphia. McMahon is joined by Mr Perfect and Jim Ross on commentary. They hype the big two matches tonight.
Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw vs. Savio Vega – Caribbean Strap Match
This match was made during the Free For All. Bradshaw attacked Savio Vega during his match with Marty Jannetty to a Caribbean Strap Match. This is the second of these matches and the second within a couple of months. Vega of course defeated Steve Austin in the previous strap match. Savio comes running down to the ring and wants to get straight into it but that backfires as Justin attacks him with the leather strap, whipping him. The strap finally gets tied to Savios wrist and we are officially underway. Bradshaw tries to touch all four buckles early but Vega pulls him back. This is Bradshaws pay per view debut here in the WWF. An “E-CDub” chant breaks out, we are in Philli. The action goes to the outside where Savio pulls Bradshaw into the ringpost using the strap. We then see a shot of ECW star Sandman at ringside getting in Savio Vegas face. Tommy Dreamer is with him. Savio and Bradshaw get back in the ring now and Bradshaw nearly touches all four buckles whilst he has Savio in a headlock but he can’t get to the fourth. Bradshaw is joined by Uncle Zeb.
Savio has the advantage now and he whips away at Bradshaw. Vega lost his last PPV match to Owen Hart and was attacked after the match by Bradshaw. Savio makes it to three buckles now but Bradshaw stops him from making the final. Savio then hits his finisher, the spinning heel kick! But once again Bradshaw stops him from hitting the fourth turnbuckle. And then we get a big clothesline from Bradshaw. He touches one corner and Savio does the same. Bradshaw makes it two and then three. Savio has also touched three and as Bradshaw goes for four, Vega stops him and fires himself to the fourth buckle! Quite a similar finish to the match between Vega and Austin. None the less, a big win for Savio Vega who was due a win. Bradshaw can’t start his career in a winning way. This match was ok to start things off tonight.
We get a video package now for Jim Cornette and Jose Lothario. Bloody hell.
Jose Lothario vs. Jim Cornette
Jim Cornette walks out looking like goodness knows what to Vaders music. Then we see some backstage footage of Diesel and Razor Ramon attacking Savio Vega.Could Diesel and Razor be back? Cornette gets on the microphone and tells us how Jose Lothario is old and he’s willing to give Jose the opportunity not to come out tonight. Lothario does come out (to Shawn Michaels music) and the match is on. Cornette tries to attack Jose before the bell but it’s all Lothario. He smashes Cornette into the top turnbuckle then hits him with a big right hand and then an uppercut. Lothario pins Cornette and it’s over! Lothario wins the match very quickly and I can’t even rate this one. Jose Lothario beats Jim Cornette.
Now a shot of the superstar line where Marc Mero and Faarooq are on the line. They meet tomorrow night on Raw for the Intercontinental title.
Brian Pillman comes to the ring now. He’s promised Bret Hart in an exclusive interview. Bret Hart has called him a liar though. Even Owen Hart has chimed i and said that he and Bret have made up. What’s going to happen? Pill man then introduces Owen Hart. Owen says that Bret has accepted that Owen is the best Hart and he’s shocked that Bret has called he and Pillman a liar. Owen says that Bret won’t be here because he’s scared of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Cue Steve who is wearing his “Stone Cold” waistcoat for the first time. Austin says that Bret Hart is scared of Stone Cold and he doesn’t even qualify as a chicken. And then says that if you put the letter “S” in front of “Hitman” then you have Austin opinion of him. Great segment here. Austin is a really good talker, as is Pillman. Owen aint too shabby either.
Now to some shots of Mark Henry looking at some of the local spots including the Liberty Bell.
The Smoking Gunns (Billy & Bart) (c) vs. The British Bulldog & Owen Hart – WWF Tag Team Title Match
We get a shot of Jim Cornette who is in the injury room with Clarence Mason, Cornette won’t be making it out tonight. But sunny is present for The Gunns. This should be an interesting one. We’ve got two heel teams vying for the tag team titles. Can’t remember the last time we had two heel teams against each other. Billy has a bandaged up hand so he must be carrying an injury. Billy Gunn starts the match with Owen Hart. And out comes Clarence Mason. Owen is distracted by Mason and Billy rolls him up for a two. One or two of the cameras are badly racked and very dark. Owen rolls Billy up in an inside cradle for a two and Billy tags out to Bart. Bart hits a slam and misses with an elbow allowing Owen to tag out to Bulldog. The pace is fast with these two as they leapfrog one another and Bulldog gets a near fall. Bulldog then tags out to Owen who is coming off win over Savio Vega at Summerslam. Bulldog was the only man in this match not to win at that PPV.
The tag team titles have never changed hands at In Your House, could Bulldog and Owen make this the first time? Owen has a figure four locked on Bart Gunn. It seems as though The Gunns will be wrestling as the faces in this one. Owen locks on a Boston Crab now. Owen tags Bulldog who is wrestling on his 13th PPV in a row now, more than anybody else consecutively. He hits a suplex and a legdrop on Bart Gunn and Billy breaks up the pinfall. Owen and Bulldog are working over Bart. Owen comes in without a tag being made and he goes back to the leg. Bart manages to roll him up though for a two. Owen hits an enzeguri for a two. Billy Gunn keeps getting involved when he shouldn’t. He pulls Bulldog outside the ring and throws him into the ring steps. Bart and Billy make quick tags now as the Smoking Gunns take the advantage. The crowd don’t know who to cheer for in this one. Bart and Billy then hit their finisher, the Sidewinder! Billy makes the cover but Clarence Mason jumps up on the apron, distracting the referee. Owen Hart jumps off the top on Billy and Bulldog pins him for a two.
Billy Gunn is the first man up though and he stomps away at Bulldog. Billy then tags Bart who tags Billy back in. Quick tags made. Billy Gunn is very vocal in this match, telling Bulldog to shut up. Owen Hart no longer has his cast after Mero removed and stomped on it on Raw last week. Bart is tagged back in and he goes for a running powerslam on Bulldog but Bulldog slips down and shoves Bart into Billy who is too busy showing off to Sunny. Bulldog then lifts Bart up onto his shoulder and hits him with the Running Powerslam! Bulldog pins Bart and as Billy comes in Owen hits him with a spinning heel kick! Bulldog gets the three! British Bulldog and Owen Hart win the match and the Tag Team titles! After the match Sunny berates and fires The Smoking Gunns! Billy can’t believe it! Decent match between two good teams.
Kevin Kelly is backstage with Paul Bearer and Mankind now. Bearer blames the fans for him turning on Undertaker and blames the Kliq for what Mankind will do to Shawn Michaels. Mankind says he’ll be winning tonight, have a nice day!
Jerry “The King” Lawler vs. Mark Henry
We see some clips from earlier today with Lawler throwing water on Mark Henry and slapping him across the face in the free for all. Lawler comes out with his microphone. He says he’s giving Henry the wrestling lesson of his life tonight. This is Mark Henrys first ever match tonight. He comes out in the red, white and blue. Lawler tells him that he’s forgotten more about wrestling than Henry will ever know and then says he’s going to start the match with a basic headlock to show that Henry can’t get out of it. Lawler doesn’t lie, he locks on a headlock but Henry gets out of it and shoves Jerry across the ring. Henry then uses a headlock of his own before shoving Jerry into the corner. Lawler goes for a powerslam but has no success. Henry then gorilla press slams Lawler across the ring. This may be the first time that Lawler has fought on back to back pay per views. He beat Jake Roberts at Summerslam. Henry throws Lawler out of the ring but as the King gets back into the ring he reaches into his tights before smashing it into Henry faces! Mark goes down to his knees and Lawler puts his object back into his tights. Henry isn’t backing down though, he hits some knees into The Kings middle section and then gets him up in a backbreaker up on his shoulder. Lawler (presumably) submits and it’s Mark Henry with the big win on his pay per view debut! But wait here comes Leif Cassidy and Marty Jannetty! They attack Henry who disposes of both men. Then in comes Hunter Hearst Helmsley! But Henry gorilla press slams him out of the ring!
An advertisement now for the next PPV, In Your House: Buried Alive. Undertaker vs. Mankind is already advertised for this one in a Buried Alive match.
We get a video package outlining the history between Undertaker and Goldust now. Their first contest was at Beware Of Dog when Goldust beat Undertaker in a casket match when Mankind got involved. The second match was at International Incident and Mankind once again got involved attacked Undertaker. Tonight there must be a pinfall.
The Undertaker vs. Goldust – Final Curtain Match
This is the rubber match. Mankind has got involved in both previous matches between these two so this one is no disqualification, there must be a pinfall. Goldust was successful at Summerslam, he beat Marc Mero but Undertaker didn’t beat Mankind at that show after Paul Bearer turned on him. Undertaker gets right into this one with a right hand. He throws Goldust from one side of the ring to the other. Goldust gets back into the match with a swinging neckbreaker but Undertaker sits up and is back to his feet before the bizarre one. Undertaker hits a suplex for a two count. Undertaker goes up to the top now before balancing on the top rope and coming off with a single axe handle. The dead man then throws Goldust ouf of the ring. Goldust goes rummaging in a bag as Marlena causes the distraction. Goldust gets back into the ring and throws what looks like gold dust in his eyes! It’s advantage Goldust now as he knocks Undertaker out of the ring and hits him with right hands on the outside. The referee starts counting him out which makes no sense because there has to be a pinfall to win.
Only Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart and British Bulldog have wrestled on more PPVs than The Undertaker. Goldust hits a big clothesline and gets a two count. Undertaker is covered in gold glitter now. We’ve had three face vs heel matches tonight and all three have been won by the faces. Goldust smothers Undertaker but the dead man gets out of it with a right hand. Goldust stands rubbing himself which backfires as Undertaker gets up and hits some big lefts and rights! Goldust gains the advantage with a powerslam and a two count. Undertaker sits back up though and nails Goldust with a flying clothesline! Goldust hits an elbow and goes up to the top but Undertaker goes over and chokeslams him off the top. Undertaker then motions for the Tombstone, he scoops Goldust up and hits it! The referee counts the three and Undertaker wins the Final Curtain match. This match was good but I feel it deserved more time. It was pretty back and forth and lacked any big spots. Still, they’re both good workers and it had a big fight feel.
Kevin Kelly is backstage now with Shawn Michaels. Michaels says he is nervous for the first ever time. Michaels says he’ll be thinking on the job for this one.
Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Mankind – WWF Championship Match
A casket is wheeled down to ringside before this one. That makes me think Undertaker will be popping out of it costing Mankind the match. This is Shawn Michaels fifth PPV defence of his title having previously defeated Diesel, British Bulldog (twice) and Vader. Mankind pops out of the casket as it arrives at ringside. The WWF is struggling for main event heels at the moment with Vader being the only guy I can think of. I don’t mind Mankind in this one though, he’s been getting a big push as of late. Mankind knocks Michaels down early with an elbow. He follows it up with some right hands a back body drop. He then clotheslines Shawn over the top rope, going over with him. The strange newcomer then pulls back the mats at ringside but Michaels dropkicks him before going to the middle rope and hitting a cross body to the outside. With the mat pulled back Shawn smashes Mankinds head into it before throwing him into the ring. Back in the ring and Michaels hits some jabs and a clothesline to knock the bigger man down. He then hits a powerslam and then his elbow from the top rope. Michaels then motions for Sweet Chin Music but Mankind dives out of the ring!
Mankind gets back into the ring now and the two men exchange blows. Mankind attempts the Mandible Claw but Michaels blocks it. Michaels looks really angry now. He stomps on Mankinds head but Mankind soon gets the advantage back, throwing Michaels outside the ring. He joins him outside and moves a table but Shawn comes diving over the table! HBK hits a suplex on Mankind, smashing his knee onto the ring steps as he does. That one looked painful. Michaels chopblocks Mankind as he tries to get into the ring. Michaels is a lot more aggressive in this one than we’ve seen him before. Michaels takes out some aggression on the referee now which is enough distraction for Mankind to take control. Not for long though as Michaels hits a leg drag on the challenger before going to the figure four! This is Michaels 9th PPV in a row, only Bulldog has wrestled on more consecutively at the moment. Michaels continues to work the knee and goes to a single boston crab. Michaels rolls Mankind up for a two count then Mankind drops Michaels on the top rope to get back into it. Paul Bearer then hands Mankind a pen and he jabs away at his own knee.
Mankind is in full control now as he hits a running knee into Shaw Michaels face! He then drives the champions face into the mat. Michaels gets back into it with a side suplex though but he can’t keep the advantage for long! It’s back and forth now until Mankind throws Michaels into the ringpost and upside down. The WWF title has never changed hands at an In Your House PPV. Mankind drops a legdrop to the back of Michaels head then a big boot to send Michaels out of the ring. Mankind tires for a knee into Michaels head but the champion moves and Mankinds knee rams into the ring steps. Michaels then hits a drop toe hold onto the steps. both men slug it out on the apron and Mankind goes flying into the ringpost. Back in the ring and Michaels hits a powerslam for a two count. Michaels sidesteps Mankind and the deranged one gets his head stuck in the top and middle rope! Michaels walks over and Mankind locks on the Mandible Claw! But only for a few seconds, Mankind frees himself and drops to the outside. Michaels joins him and Mankind locks the Mandible Claw on the outside! Michaels sends him into the railings though.
All hell breaks loose as the referee is busy with Paul Bearer, Shawn Michaels smashes Mankind with a chair! He takes out his knee then smashes his hand so he can’t lock on the Mandible! Back in the ring and Michaels goes to work on Mankinds hands and fingers to stop him from using the Mandible Claw! Mankind back body drops Michaels over the top rope to the outside and follows it up with his elbow off the apron. He then hits a spinning neckbreaker on the champion on the concrete and both men look worse for wear. Back in the irng and Mankind hits a double armed DDT! Mankind pins him but Michaels kicks out at the two! Mankind pulls Michaels up and hits a piledriver! Another two count! Mankind keeps rolling Shawn up but the champion keeps kicking out. The challenger goes to the outside and throws chairs into the ring. The referee kicks them out then Mankind opens the casket and rolls Shawn Michaels into it. It’s not a casket match. That riles Michaels up though and he gets up and out of the casket. He hits his flying clothesline and nips back up to his feet. He powerslams Mankind and goes up to the top, hitting a flying cross body! Michaels goes back up to the top but Mankind knocks him down this time.
Mankind joins him up top and looks to do a belly to back suplex but Michaels rolls on top of Mankind and the two men go crashing through the Spanish announce table! Paul Bearer distracts the referee as Mankind takes a steel chair into the ring. He goes up top but Michaels hits a flying kung fu kick in his face! He goes to pin Mankind but here comes Vader! Vader gets involved and the referee calls for the bell. Paul Bearer smashes Michaels with the urn now. And here comes Sid! Sid fights off Vader to the back but back in the ring Mankind gets up and locks the Mandible Claw on Shawn Michaels. This one is over though, Michaels has won by disqualification. Paul Bearer lifts the lid of the casket and out comes The Undertaker! Undertaker chases Mankind and Paul Bearer to the back. They meet at the next pay per view, Mind Games! The ending still keeps Mankind hot too as he wasn’t pinned. Michaels becomes the second man ever to defend his title 5 times successfully on pay per view after Diesel. This was a really good match. Two great workers of very different styles.
Well this show turned out a lot better than I thought it would. We started with the unadvertised match between Savio Vega and Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw. This one wasn’t as good as the Vega/Austin match but it was an ok way to start the show. I was slightly surprised Savio won but in his own style of match I guess it made sense. Then we had the match between Jim Cornette and Jose Lothario. I didn’t mind this because it was so quick. Lothario won the match which was the right way to go. Cornette will have something to say about it, no doubt. The third match between The Smoking Gunns and Bulldog and Owen was a really good match. I thought the crowd would be more flat but they seemed quite into it. Like I said earlier, I would have preferred to see The Godwinns transition the belts. But it puts the belts on a new team in Bulldog and Owen who seem like a good team. There aren’t many face teams at the moment outside of The Godwinns and The Bodydonnas so it’ll be interesting to see who the first set of challengers are. That is of course unless The Smoking Gunns turn face following their sacking from Sunny after the match.
After the tag titles changed hands we had a singles match between Jerry Lawler and Mark Henry. Sadly this wasn’t the best match as expected. This was Mark Henrys first ever match and he hadn’t even had much in the way of training prior to this so you can’t blame him. Lawler is a good heel for these sort of situations because of the tactics and entertainment value he has. Again, the result somewhat surprised me as I thought Lawler might win with some under handed tactics. Then came the semi main event with Undertaker defeating Goldust. I’m glad this one went the way it did with Undertaker winning and no run-ins. This puts the full stop on this feud and it means Undertaker can concentrate on Mankind.
The main event was something else. A really really good match. Plenty of good spots with Mankinds head getting caught and both men going through the table. It was full of action and both men put on one hell of a performance. Michaels did lose his head for a bit, I don’t know if that’s because Mankind made a mistake but he wasn’t happy. Mankind showed that he can hang in the main event so that should be good for his career. Michaels wins by disqualification but it makes me wonder who his next challenger is. Mankind looks busy with Undertaker whilst Vader is busy with Sid and Steve Austin is busy with Bret Hart. Maybe Goldust?
This was a much better PPV than I thought it would be. The Shawn Michaels/Mankind match was one of the best we’ve had in a long time. The tag title match, Caribbean strap match and semi main event were all average to decent.
Rating: 57.5/100 (Ranked 12th out of 60)
Match Of The Night: Shawn Michaels vs. Mankind
Worst Match Of The Night: Jose Lothario vs. Jim Cornette
Surprise Of The Night: New Tag Team Champions
Worst Booking Of The Night: I think Bradshaw should have beat Savio
Superstar Of The Night: Mankind
Mind Games Will Be Remembered For: The epic main event between Michaels and Mankind