Live from Philadelphia, PA

Airdate: September 22, 1996

Attendance: 15,000 (11.969 paid)

Hosted by Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Mr. Perfect

For those who enjoy this sort of thing, here is the Free for All in its entirety.

Prior to the first match, Kevin Kelly interviews Vega who is fired up in both English and Spanish.

Match 1 (Caribbean strap): Savio Vega versus Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw (w/ Uncle Zebekiah)


Rating: *

Summary: Terrible strap match. I realize they pulled the Intercontinental title final in order to save it for RAW, but couldn’t they give us a better match than this? On second thought, I believe this match exists for ECW’s sake.

Next, we get a video retrospective on the Cornette-Lothario feud.

Match 2: Jose Lothario versus Jim Cornette


Rating: DUD

Summary: Time-wasting junk. Can we have some real wrestling please?

On the WWF Superstar Line, both finalists for the Intercontinental title match tomorrow night are promoting their match. While Sable seconded Mero, Sunny stood by Faarooq. Mr. Perfect’s chose Faarooq to win.

As Brian Pillman comes to the ring, we revisit Bret’s labeling him as a “liar.” He runs down Philadelphia calling it a “cesspool” then introduces Owen Hart. While Owen believes that Bret may be scared of both Pillman and himself, Bret’s truly scared of Stone Cold Steve Austin who made his way to the ring. Austin then illuminates us by stating “if you put the letter S in front of hitman…my exact opinion of Bret Hart.” This was the prototype for interviews Austin would use going forward.

Earlier today, Mark Henry took in the sites of Philadelphia minus the ECW Arena.

As Smith and Owen make their entrance, Dok Hendrix updates us on the condition of Cornette. In the meantime, Clarence Mason was selling Cornette on the idea of signing something that isn’t made clear.

Match 3 for the WWF tag team titles: The Smoking Gunns (w/ Sunny) versus the “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith & Owen Hart (w/o Jim Cornette)


Rating: ***

Summary: It’s time to split up the Gunns because they were not even close to being the better team here. With that being said, this was a fascinating heel versus heel dynamic match with the Philly faithful firmly in the challengers’ corner.

After the match, Sunny gets on the microphone, calls the Gunns “no good cowboy-wannabees,” and then fires them. Insert pink slip joke here.

In the “bowels” of the CoreStates Center, Kevin Kelly interviews Paul Bearer with Mankind. Someone turn on a light! This interview is barely visible on camera because it’s too dark. Anyway, Mankind cuts a promo on Michaels and vows to win the title.

Earlier today on Superstars, Lawler spilled coffee on Henry who chased after him. During the Free for All, Lawler slapped Henry in the face. I don’t like Lawler’s chances here.

Match 4: Jerry “The King” Lawler versus “World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry


Rating: DUD

Summary: While Vince and Ross emphasized that Henry was still “in training,” he needed a lot more time before being ready for the ring.

After the match, Leif Cassidy comes to the ring and attacks Henry from behind. When Henry turns around, he just shoves Cassidy completely out of the ring. Marty Jannetty runs out to defend his partner but suffers the same fate albeit under the bottom rope. Suddenly, some jobber named Helmsley attacks Henry but receives a military press and gets vaulted onto the Rockers.

Next month, the WWF invades Indianapolis on October 20 with In Your House XI: Buried Alive. In an unsanctioned match, Undertaker will face Mankind in a buried alive match.

Promo for the final curtain match airs as we revisit the wretched match at Beware of Dog II. During which, Mankind interfered to help Goldust win the casket match. After that, we revisit the god-awful match at International Incident where Mankind interfered by coming through the ring. Next, we revisit Summerslam where Paul Bearer turned his back on his protégé. To say I’m not looking forward to this match would be a tremendous understatement.

Match 5 (final curtain): Goldust (champion w/ Marlena) versus Undertaker


Rating: **1/2

Summary: That should put the nail in the coffin for Goldust’s spot in the upper card. Since the buried alive match was advertised BEFOREHAND, it was obvious who was winning here.

Backstage, Kelly interviews Michaels who refers to Mankind as a “wacky cat.”

Match 6 for the WWF title: The “Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels (champion w/ Jose Lothario) versus Mankind (w/ Paul Bearer)


Rating: ****1/2

Summary: What a shitty finish to an excellent match. This proved to me that Foley had what it took to be a main eventer in the WWF. Also, if you’re going to name a show Mind Games, have the champion use a clever maneuver or tactic to pull out a victory. It wouldn’t have killed Mankind’s character if he attacked Michaels afterwards.

Nevertheless, after the match, Michaels hits Vader with a flying forearm sending him out of the ring. From behind, Bearer then nails Michaels with an urn shot to the head. Following that, Sid comes to the ring to brawl with Vader while Mankind wakes up and puts the Mandible Claw on Michaels. When he summons Bearer to open the casket, Bearer obliges, but Undertaker pops out! He then shoves Mankind by the throat over the top rope to the floor and saunters after him. Great post-match action!

Conclusion: This show should definitely be labeled as historical for the war that was the main event. Despite the tag title change, I believe this should be considered a one-match show. If you’ve never seen the Michaels-Mankind match, you owe it to yourself to do so ASAP.

See you for the Monday Night War week 53!

Buyrate: 0.48

Comments? Suggestions? Send them to me at rsg@rockstargary.com and follow me on Twitter (@rockstargary202).

Custom Search

web counter
web counter