IN YOUR HOUSE IX: INTERNATIONAL INCIDENT
July 21, 1996
Mankind . . . bumps like a total fiend and makes Henry O. Godwin look like someone to reckon with.
Steve Austin . . . gets a watchable match out of Marc Mero for the second month in a row.
Vader . . . adds his name to the very short list of people who've gotten clean wins over Shawn Michaels.
BILLY GUNN/BART GUNN vs. SKIP/ZIP
This would have been fun if either of the Gunns had an iota of personality as heels. They get plenty of time to work over Skip and build to the hot tag, but they're both dull as dishwater. Wearing down Skip's back is a good idea, but all they really have to offer is whipping him into the corner, and their one attempt at an actual double team (the Haas and Benjamin leap frog into senton) gets blown when Billy can't clear Bart. It doesn't help that Skip's selling was rather pedestrian, one minute he's in agony and the next he's throwing fists and coming off the top when he should be making the tag, not unlike the blonde bimbo running upstairs instead of out the front door in a slasher movie. The finish is a cute play off their match at the Rumble, with the win coming on the heels of cutting off an attempted double team move, only this time it's Skip cutting off the Sidewinder with a dropkick to let Zip pin Bart. Skip and Zip both look serviceable, although I'd have liked to see better selling from Skip, but they really need to work against a heel team who can do more of the heavy lifting.
MANKIND vs. HENRY GODWIN
Much like the match with UT last month, the best thing here is Foley's bumping, but, unlike that match Foley also brings out some good offense of his own. Foley uses a bulldog, a running knee to the corner, and a spinning neckbreaker on the floor. He also smartly applies the Mandible Claw at the first opportunity, when he blocks the Slop drop. But, this is the Foley bump show and he doesn't disappoint, he takes a couple of huge lariats, a spinebuster, and a press slam from the apron to the floor (with the mats pulled back). It says a lot about the effect of Mick's bump taking when he makes Henry Godwin, who's never even sniffed the main event, look like just as much of a threat as The Undertaker.
STEVE AUSTIN vs. MARC MERO
Even though this doesn't measure up to their match from King of the Ring, it's still a fun affair. Austin brings the same attitude and ruthlessness, and Mero adds some flash with some dazzling spots, the moonsault off the apron is the first really mind-blowing spot of the night. There's a couple of nice touches that play off their previous match, with Austin feigning his mouth getting busted open again, only to poke Mero in the eye. Mero blocks the powerbomb into hotshot and takes Austin down with a rana. Mero also has the stunner scouted and uses the same block that Foley used to block the Slop drop, but doesn't follow up quickly enough and Austin gets an opening by clipping Mero's knee and hits the stunner to beat Mero for the second month in a row.
THE UNDERTAKER vs. GOLDUST
Hey, UT and Goldust actually *CAN* have a watchable match! It looks like another stall-a-thon by Dustin, but then UT choke slams him on the steps and it starts picking up. UT works over Goldust for a bit, including a fun moment when he wants to drop the steps on Goldust but Marlena stops him, and then they play off it later when Goldust gets advantage (by whipping UT into an exposed corner) and then drops the steps on him. UT even busts out a small package when Goldust blocks the Tombstone. UT winds up hitting the Tombstone a minute later and Mankind runs in for the DQ. Doesn't it figure that a ten minute throwaway to continue the UT/Mankind feud winds up being the best UT/Goldust outing?
SHAWN MICHAELS/AHMED JOHNSON/PSYCHO SID vs. VADER/OWEN HART/DAVEY BOY SMITH
A surprisingly fun PPV ends on a high note with a damn fine main event. All six get a chance to look good, the three babyfaces all get to clear the ring and send the heels packing early on, Vader and Davey get to show off their strength, and Owen and Shawn work a few great exchanges. Vader takes a couple of nice bumps from Sid's chokeslam and a big bodyslam from Ahmed, and even gives Shawn a near fall after Cornette's interference backfires. It ends with Vader getting a fairly clean pin on Shawn (Cornette interferes to give him the opening, but the Vader bomb and the pin were as clean as a brand new sheet in a luxury hotel) to give Shawn his challenger for Summerslam.
The only really weak moments are, oddly enough, during the extended heel control segment on Shawn. Rather than play to Shawn's strengths and let him bump six ways from Sunday, which Davey and Vader could both pull off, it's a lot of punching and kicking along with an extended period of Vader doing a sort of side bearhug. Shawn's only big bump is a spill to the floor. Shawn does some good selling here, especially during the three-on-one pummeling, but it'd have been nice to see Shawn take a few big bumps. Sid also mucks things up by taking too long to make the save after Bulldog gives Shawn the powerslam resulting in the ref having to stop counting. The heels win the battle, but the babyfaces win the war by clearing the ring, and Shawn gets his heat back by doing a huge plancha onto Vader. If the heels were more dynamic in their control segment and let Shawn do what he does best, then this is probably the WWF match of the year in a landslide. As it is, it's still pretty damn good. ***3/4
Conclusion: The only stinker is the opening tag match, and even that was just dull, not offensive. Everything else is watchable at worst, and the main event is easily a WWF MOTYC. This is definite recommendation to pick up.