Sunday, 9 April 2017

PPV REVIEW: WWF IN YOUR HOUSE 9 - INTERNATIONAL INCIDENT

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 9: International Incident - Event Poster
July 21, 1996, 
General Motors Place, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

It's been a long time since I last reviewed a World Wrestling Federation pay per view. 

As my attempt at reviewing every event from Wrestlemania 1 - Wrestlemania 30 hit the second half of the 1990s, I admit I was lured away -like many fans at the time were- by the excitement of the New World Order and the awesome in-ring action offered by World Championship Wrestling.

Yet whilst all of that was going on, whilst Hulk Hogan was being revealed as the 'Third Man' and sewing the seeds of the nWo, I had to remember that the WWF were still putting a product out too.

That product was this: In Your House 9: International Incident.

Taking place just a few short weeks after Hogan's memorable heel turn over in WCW, tonight's show was originally designed to serve as little more than a bridge between the previous month's King of the Ring, and August's Summerslam.

Ultimately however, the work of the in-ring competitors managed to elevate this show from B-level filler to a thoroughly entertaining event in its own right.

Not convinced?

Read on to find out just what went down when WWF In Your House came to Canada.

Welcome to the In Your House Free For All 

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 9: International Incident - Free for All
Not only is this the first WWF review I've done in a while, it's also the first review I've produced in ages from my original copy of the event rather than the WWE Network.

As such, we get ourselves a Free for All, which our announcers Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Jerry 'The King' Lawler.

promise us will feature not only a match between Savio Vega and Justin 'Hawk' Bradshaw, but also a much anticipated showdown between James E. Cornette and Jose Lothario.

I'm sure I can't wait. Can you?


Savio Vega vs. Justin 'Hawk' Bradshaw (w/ Uncle Zebekiah) 

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 9: International Incident - Savio Vega was 'branded' after his match with Bradshaw
According to Vince McMahon and a couple of flashbacks to previous shows, the story here was that these two hated each

other for no clearly identifiable reason, and had spent much of their previous two matches whipping the hell out of each other using a bull rope (Bradshaw) and a Caribbean strap.

Such was the animosity between these two, that Savio Vega arrived for his heated battle with his sworn enemy by dancing and strutting his way down to ring side.

As for the match itself, this one was very much like scores of bouts that I've reviewed here over the years:

It was entertaining, it served its purpose, but it was almost instantly forgettable.

Whilst you might not think it to read the names on paper, both Savio and Bradshaw did a good job of getting the crowd worked up, before the latter pinned the former thanks to the assist from manager Uncle Zebekiah and a crafty foot placed on the second rope for leverage.

Truthfully, it was good enough for what it was, though hardly the kind of match anyone would ever recommend you track down just to see it.
Your Winner: Justin 'Hawk' Bradshaw 

Post match, Savio looked to extract a measure of revenge on Zebekiah, only to receive a 'Clothesline From Hell' for his troubles courtesy of the future JBL.

From there, both Bradshaw and his manager proceeded to beat down on their fallen adversary before Zeb "branded" Vega with a shitty looking ink stamp that smudged all over Savio's arm the minute it touched the skin and looked fake as hell.


Goldust Arrives

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 9: International Incident - Undertaker faced Goldust
Turning our attentions away from Vega's rubber-stamp "branding," Vince McMahon next began to talk up the hotly anticipated match between The Undertaker and Goldust.

As the latter then began to make his way towards the ring, McMahon acted completely surprised, as though it were some great coincidence that The Bizarre One should happen to arrive just as his name was being mentioned.

Before we heard from Goldust however, we first saw a music video for The Undertaker, cutting a bunch of in-ring shots of The Deadman chokeslamming all and sundry with promo shots of him standing in graveyards beneath full moons and looking creepy as hell.

Actually, you don't need me to tell you about the video, here it is:


When that finished, we heard from Goldust as he sat at the commentary table, flanked as ever by the ever-beautiful Marlena.

Goldie had some choice words for his opponent, it's just a shame that he chose to make those words mostly nonsense. The gist of the promo was the champion acting weird and claiming to have felt The Undertaker's pain.

An odd segment, but then for a match pitting two of the World Wrestling Federation's most 'out there' characters, would you really expect anything less?

Let's Take a Look at Tonight's Main Event

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 9: International Incident - Six Man Tag Team Main Event
As we've already touched on, In Your House: International Incident was set to be headlined by a six man tag team match pitting British Bulldog, Owen Hart, and Vader against WWF Champion Shawn Michaels, Intercontinental Champion Ahmed Johnson, and the recently returning Sycho Sid, but it hadn't always been that way.

Tonight's main event had its origins in the previous month's WWF King of The Ring 1996 where, after defeating Davey Boy Smith in a championship match, HBK was beat up by the entire Camp Cornette.

Ahmed Johnson and The Ultimate Warrior had made the save, originally setting up Warrior, Michaels, and Ahmed as the babyface team.

Not long after however, Gorilla Monsoon had 'indefinitely suspended' the Warrior for missing a bunch of house shows, leading to a replacement being sought.

On an episode of Raw, Michaels and Johnson had revealed Sycho Sid to be their replacement.


Cornette had then gone on to question Sid's sanity, though personally I would question the sanity of The Heartbreak Kid.

After all, wasn't this the very same Sid who had powerbombed him all the way to hell on the Raw after Wrestlemania XI?

It was but hey, this was mid-90s WWF, a time when all babyfaces were friends and all heels had an understanding based purely on which side of the good guy/bad guy line they stood.

Jose Lothario Faces Jim Cornette

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 9: International Incident - Jim Cornette was angry at Jose Lothario
The aforementioned video package led us nicely to an in-ring confrontation between Shawn's manager Jose Lothario and the leader of Camp Cornette, good old James E. himself.

This was a segment I doubt anybody really wanted to see, particularly since babyface manager Lothario was loudly booed when introduced by mediator, Jim Ross.

In fairness, the crowd were not too thrilled to see Cornette either, not that this seemed to bother him much.

Taking to the podium, Cornette launched a verbal tirade against Lothario, lambasting the wrestling legend for punching him in the teeth a few weeks ago.

The argument grew so heated that both men moved away from the microphone and got right up in each other's face. Cornette swung for Jose, Jose landed a punch right in Jimmy's face, and Vader ran out, seemingly to seek revenge.

Before he had the chance to do anything however, Shawn Michaels ran out for the save.

Watching this today, what's interesting is that there's no way WWE would have its two biggest stars appear before the crowd on today's Kick Off shows.

Can you imagine Brock Lesnar running to the ring to save Paul Heyman, only for John Cena to run out before the show even got started?


Kevin Kelly Interviews Stone Cold Steve Austin

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 9: International Incident - Kevin Kelly interviews Steve Austin about his match with Marc Mero
Still a fully fledged heel, Stone Cold Steve Austin was visibly pissed at Marc Mero for kicking him in the face last month.

Here, he vowed that not only would he kick Mero's ass, but that he'd kick the ass of anyone who tried to stop him en route to the top of the WWF.

Cornette Promises a Refund 


Meanwhile, elsewhere in the building, an irate Jim Cornette stood by with Vader, Owen Hart, and Davey Boy & Diana Smith.

In a move that would basically telegraph the result of tonight's main event, Cornette promised to refund every ticket holder and every PPV purchaser if Camp Cornette didn't win tonight.

With that, the Free for All was over and it was on to the main show.

Non-Title Match
WWF Tag Team Champions The Smoking Gunns (Billy & Bart Gunn w/ Sunny) vs. The Body Donnas (Skip & Zip) 

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 9: International Incident - Sunny led the Smoking Gunns into battle against the Body Donnas
Tonight's pay per view went straight into the action with a tag team championship match in which Sunny led Billy & Bart Gunn into battle against her former team, Skip and Zip. 

Prior to this one getting under way properly, The Body Donnas gave a short, pre-match promo in which they addressed the absence of Kloudi, the tattooed transvestite they brought into replace Sunny for a brief period.

According to Skip & Zip, Kloudie had taught both men that they didn't actually need a manager after all. They simply needed the fans to cheer them on.

And cheer them on they did, in a fun opening contest that saw both teams working hard to entertain the Vancouver crowd.

The Body Donnas had what I like to think of as I.R.S Syndrome; an over-the-top gimmick which overshadowed the fact that, when they got in the ring, they were actually really very good.

Combined with a Smoking Gunns team who were finally finding their feet as nefarious heels, this one had all the makings of a decent match.

The end came when Bart set up one of the Body Donnas for the Gunns' finishing move, the Sidewinder, only to find that Billy Gunn was still on the outside cavorting with Sunny.

That gave Skip and Zip the opportunity they needed to get the better of Bart, scoring a big victory over the champions that would lead to a tag team title shot down the line.
Your Winners: The Body Donnas

Post match, Sunny threw a temper tantrum as Bart wondered allowed how his team had managed to lose.

The end of The Smoking Gunns was nigh.

Jim Cornette Loses His Mind

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 9: International Incident - Camp Cornette promised victory against HBK, Ahmed Johnson, and Sid
Backstage, Mr. Perfect stood by for an interview with Jim Cornette and his camp.

As footage played of his earlier in-ring altercation with Jose Lothario, Jim Cornette hillarious watched the same footage that we did but saw it an entirely different way, claiming that what we were actually watching was Lothario pulling a switch blade on Jim, Shawn Micahels attempting to attack him, and Vader making the save.

Trust me, it was funnier than it sounded.

To finish, James E. once again vowed to refund the money of both the live audience and those watching the PPV at home if his team lost. The British Bulldog then claimed that the match would be so gruesome that he was leaving his wife, Diana backstage, whilst Owen Hart vowed to destroy Sycho Sid.

All the while, Vader paced around the locker room, throwing trash cans around and barking like a dog.

As promos go, this was hardly the greatest of all time, but it was certainly entertaining and effective, and I suppose that's all that really counts.


Mankind vs. Henry O. Godwin (w/ Hillbilly Jim)

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 9: International Incident - Mankind Beat Henry Godwin in a boring match
This one had originally been set to see Mankind taking on Jake 'The Snake' Roberts, but for reasons that I'm not sure have ever been fully explained (probably because nobody cares), Roberts was replaced with Henry O. Godwin at the last minute.

Whilst a Mankind / Roberts encounter could have been something special had The Snake been on form, this one like exactly what it was:

A throw-away undercard bout which mattered very little.

The sole highlight saw Mankind pull up the protective padding around ringside, and then promptly no-sell a sick looking back bodydrop onto the concrete.

Taking things back into the ring, Foley countered the Slop Drop with the Mandible Claw, and this insanely boring match was over.
Your Winner: Mankind 

Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Marc Mero (w/ Sable)

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 9: International Incident - Marc Mero and Sable before Mero's match with Stone Cold Steve Austin
Last month, Austin and Mero's King of the Ring quarter final match had been one of the highlights of the show.

In tonight's rematch, both men went all out to top their previous effort. Whether they succeeded or not is probably a matter of personal taste, but what is certainly undeniable, is that this was a thrilling contest that served was one of -if not the- best matches on the card.

Following a solid back-and-forth, it was Steve Austin (who was still playing the heel at this point) for the win courtesy of an early version of his Stone Cold Stunner. 
Your Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin 

I should also mention that, during the Austin / Mero bout, Marlena came to ringside and handed a golden envelope to Jerry Lawler. 

Whilst we were shown several shots of Marlena continuing to watch Austin vs. Mero, neither Lawler nor Vince McMahon bothered to address the contents of the envelope, which makes you wonder what the hell the point was. 


Goldust (w/ Marlena) vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 9: International Incident - The Undertaker prepares for battle against Goldust
The Undertaker had so far spent much of the spring and summer of 1996 feuding with both Mankind and Goldust, alternating between the two bizare characters in a series of pay per view matches. 

Tonight, it was the turn of Goldust to face off with the Phenom in a return bout from their Intercontinental Championship match back at In Your House 8: Beware of Dog

Whilst your writer may have been highly critical of that previous match (I believe the best I could do was to call it "mostly tedious"), tonight's outing faired much better. 

After a great degree of stalling in the opening moments which actually proved to be far more entertaining than it should have done, the two went at it in a highly competitive match in which The Dead Man did his damnedest to make Godie look amazing without ever once sacrificing his own unique aura. 

More or less repeating the finish from their first match, Undertaker looked to have the win, only for Mankind to tear through the canvas from under the ring, lock the mandible claw on his rival, and drag him down beneath the ring. 
Your Winner by Disqualification: The Undertaker 

Afterwards, Mankind returned to the ring as the lights flickered, smoke flooded up from beneath the ring, and ominous bells tolled.

Had we finally seen the last of the Undertaker? Did Mankind really have The Dead Man's number?

Not by a long shot.

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 9: International Incident - Mankind drags Undertaker underneath the ringUndertaker pulled himself up from the opposite side of the ring, brawling to the back with Foley in the latest chapter of one of the most engaging feuds of 1996.


The Good Guys Are Ready

Backstage, Doc Hendrix stood by to get a word with our main event babyface trio of WWF Champion Shawn Michaels, WWF Intercontinental Champion Ahmed Johnson, and future champion, Sycho Sid.

In an entertaining promo, all three insisted that they were not worried about Vader, Bulldog, and Owen Hart.

In the words of Big Sid, it was real simple

Six men enter, only three men survive.

Six Man Team Team Main Event
WWF Champion Shawn Michaels, Intercontinental Champion Ahmed Johnson, and Sycho Sid (w/ Jose Lothario) vs. Camp Cornette (Vader, The British Bulldog, and Owen Hart w/ Jim Cornette) 

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 9: International Incident - Sycho Sid was the most popular wrestler in the main event
Appearing in his first WWF pay per view since December 1995's In Your House 5: Seasons Beatings, Sycho Sid was by far the most popular man in this entire six man match. 

That includes champion Shawn Michaels, who was so over with the Canadian audience that they broke part of the barriers separating them from the ilse as HBK made his entrance. 

Whenever Michaels was getting his ass handed to him in the ring, it was Sid the fans chanted for. When it was Johnson in the ring, it was Sid they wanted.

And when Sid himself stepped between the ropes?

The crowds -as the old saying goes- went wild.

But make no mistake about it; this was far from a one man show.

For the better part of thirty minutes, all six men put on their working boots and went to war in what was undeniably a solid, highly entertaining main event with nary a dull moment in sight.

Though there would be much better matches held in WWF rings in future years, this one was certainly far superior to some of the main events we'd been subject to over the course of the past year.

That includes those featuring Shawn and Sid.

After a lengthy battle, the Heartbreak Kid looked to have control of the match, and began "tuning up the band" in the corner, ready to knock Vader down and pick up the win for his team.

Yet with the referee distracted by the other four combatants all brawling around the ring, Jim Cornette was able to hold onto HBK's leg. This gave Vader just enough time to recover, squash the champion, and land the Vader Bomb for the cover, the count, and the win.
Your Winners: Camp Cornette

Whilst Cornette must have breathed a sigh of relief at avoiding the millions of dollars he'd have to refund if his team had lost, he can't have been too happy about the beat down his men received in the post match fracas.

With Sid and Ahmed cleaning house in the ring, Michaels launched himself over the ropes onto Vader, drilling him with a flurry of fists to set up a rivalry that would take us to the main event of next month's Summerslam.

Monsoon Confirms Summerslam's Main Event 

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 9: International Incident - Vader Demands a title shot against Shawn Michaels
Before we signed off tonight, Doc Hendrix gave us an exclusive word with WWF President Gorilla Monsoon. 

Just as Monsoon was done confirming that Undertaker would face Mankind in a boiler at Summerslam, Jim Cornette and Vader arrived on the scene, demanding a title shot against The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels.


Until then, all that's left for me to do is to give you my overall verdict on this show. 

That verdict?

It's definitely worth watching.

With the seeds planted for both Michaels/Vader and the Taker/Mankind Boiler Room Brawl, this show may have only existed to set the stage for Summerslam, but it actually succeeded in doing more than that. 

With the majority of matches ranging from decent (Gunns/Donnas, Taker/Goldust) to very good (Austin/Mero, the main event), In Your House: International Incident is proof that nothing everything about mid-90s WWF sucked as bad as you may have heard. 

I'll be back again soon with the Summerslam 1996 review. Until then, thanks for reading, and be sure to join me on Twitter for more Retro Pro Wrestling - @Retropwrestling

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Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.