Live from Cleveland, OH

Airdate: August 18, 1996

Attendance: 17,000 (14,926 paid)

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

For those who are interested, here is the Free for All containing the Bikini Beach Blast-Off along with Stone Cold Steve Austin versus Yokozuna.

Match 1: Owen Hart (w/o Jim Cornette) versus Savio Vega


Rating: **1/2

Summary: Alas, the crafty and wily veteran finds a way to win. I thought this would be more fast-paced however.

After the match, Mason enters the ring to congratulate Owen. Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw then comes out with Uncle Zebekiah, yells at the broadcast team without a microphone, and then levels Vega who was being helped by White back to the dressing room. Supposedly, he’s pissed about losing this match “yesterday” on Superstars (aired 8/17, taped 7/23).

In the boiler room, Todd Pettengill describes the upcoming brawl between the Undertaker and Mankind. Suddenly, Mankind appears claiming “there is no place like home.” That might work if he was wearing ruby slippers.

Match 2 for the WWF tag team titles (four team elimination): The Smoking Gunns (champions w/ Sunny) versus the New Rockers versus the Bodydonnas versus the Godwinns (w/ Hillbilly Jim)


Rating: *1/2

Summary: C-R-A-P that the Cleveland faithful could have used as a bathroom break.

After the match, Sunny comes into the ring and bestows a gift to all of us: a HUGE seductive picture of herself. Her ego is reaching Hogan-level proportions.

Ad for the Rapid Transit Authority in Cleveland featuring the Godwinns and Smoking Gunns. More PPV time wasted. Thanks!

Next, Jerry Lawler scouts the Cleveland Indians and speaks to catcher Sandy Alomar who threatens to piledrive Lawler. He then questions pitcher Charles Nagy about using the spitball. Afterward, he threw out the first pitch and sat in the nosebleeds making Uecker jokes.

In the next segment of time-wasting, the WWF Superstars are painting away some graffiti while the Undertaker gives away a funeral. What a prize! Can I get a cremation to go?

After Smith makes his entrance, Dok Hendrix interviews Sid. According to him, he’s “here to stay.”

Match 3: Sycho Sid versus the “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith (w/o Jim Cornette)


Rating: **

Summary: The crowd ate up Sid with a spoon.

Ad for the In Your House: Mind Games next month only on PPV.

Backstage, Pettengill interviews Mero with Sable. We then revisit Superstars when Mankind stalked Sable and called her “mommy.” Mero then calls Goldust a “falling star.”

Match 4: “Wildman” Marc Mero (w/ Sable) versus Goldust (w/ Marlena)


Rating: **1/2

Summary: Goldust’s heel work is improving, and that shooting star press by Mero is incredible.

After the match, Goldust stalks a terrified Sable right in front of Mero who gets up and nails Goldust. After crotching Goldust on the top rope, Mero dropkicks him to the floor. He then charges at Goldust and clotheslines him in the aisle.

We then revisit the interview of Johnson after his injury followed by the video of Faarooq’s attack and the subsequent battle royal victory. Next, Monsoon holds up the Intercontinental title. According to Pettengill, an eight-man tournament for the title begins tomorrow night on RAW. Following that, Johnson’s nurse states that, if the bleeding stops, then Johnson can return in 3-4 months. If not, then his kidney will be removed and his career will be over. Also, on RAW tomorrow night, Goldust, Sycho Sid, Savio Vega, and Stone Cold Steve Austin will participate in a four-man over the top rope battle royal with the winner receiving a WWF title shot on RAW Championship Friday on 9/6. Thanks, US Open!

In the ring, Pettengill interviews Faarooq (with Sunny) who questions why Monsoon isn’t out here to hand him the Intercontinental title right now.

After that, we revisit the banter between Roberts and Lawler.

Afterward, ring announcer Howard Finkel announces the newest addition to the WWF—Olympian Mark Henry. He was actually signed to a ten-year contract!

Match 5: Jake “The Snake” Roberts versus Jerry “The King” Lawler


Rating: DUD

Summary: Not as much of a match as it was a humiliation of Roberts. Hopefully soon, he will get his comeuppance.

After the match, Lawler opens the bottle of Jim Beam and pours it down Roberts’ throat. Shots, anyone? As he grabs the second bottle, Henry leaves the broadcast table, stops Lawler, and then assists Roberts backstage.

We then revisit the feud between Mankind and the Undertaker.

Match 6 (boiler room brawl): Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) versus Mankind


Rating: *

Summary: I waited THAT long for a Bearer heel turn, seriously? Nevertheless, the five year relationship between Bearer and Undertaker has been fractured as Bearer will now represent Mankind. Obviously, this match was more angle than substance.

Afterward, as Bearer and Mankind celebrate in the aisle, Undertaker is still in the ring OUT COLD. All of a sudden, the lights go out and chanting begins. Druids then come to the ring and carry the lifeless Undertaker backstage.

Also backstage, Hendrix interviews Vader with Cornette. While Vader looks menacing, Cornette threatens Michaels with treatment that will make him sound like Peter Frampton with his talk box.

Match 7 for the WWF title: The “Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels (w/ Jose Lothario) versus Vader (w/ Jim Cornette)


Rating: ****

Summary: This finish was constructed in order to keep Vader strong even in defeat so that Vader could put over the next contender in line. Great match, but Michaels’ unprofessionalism stood out like a sore thumb.

Strange finish aside, this match was supposed to be the stepping stone to Survivor Series where Vader would win the rematch followed by Michael’s hometown victory at Royal Rumble. Well, in case you aren’t aware, Vader worked STIFF. Michaels, being the champion and in Vince’s ear quite often during this period, told Vince either Vader needed to work looser or he (Vince) needed to find someone else. Guess which one Vince chose? That’s a story for later, so stay tuned!

Conclusion: Once again, Michaels saves a show that needed saving. The title match is the only match I’d recommend unless you’ve never seen the boiler room brawl. Speaking of which, while it serves as a template for future hardcore matches, it was only notable for the angle at the end.

See you for week 50 of the Monday Night War!

Buyrate: 0.58

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

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