This is the first recap I’ve ever redone. The original was one of the first wrestling recaps I ever did, and I was never really happy with it. So we’ll consider this Mind Games: The Redux.
The pyro’s lit to prove how LIVE we are from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania! Our hosts this evening are VINCE MCMAHON, JIM ROSS, and MR. PERFECT! And we’re not gonna waste any precious In Your House time with hype...
JUSTIN “HAWK” BRADSHAW (with Uncle Zebekiah) vs. SAVIO VEGA (in a Caribbean strap match)
KEVIN KELLY quickly gets in a word with Savio before the match, but nothing of note is said. Bradshaw knocks Savio down right off the bell, and starts whipping him with the strap. For whatever reason HARVEY WHIPPLEMAN is the referee here, and he ties them together. Bradshaw starts touching the turnbuckles right away, and gets to 3, but Savio stops him short. A *huge* “ECW” chant erupts in the background, but at this point we’re not sure why. They head out where Bradshaw chokes Savio out with the strap. When Vega falls though, he pulls Bradshaw right into the ringpost. As Savio staggers around, he’s suddenly douced with beer - and the camera pans around to see THE SANDMAN standing there with TOMMY DREAMER!!!! Vince completely blows them off, by stating it’s a local group trying to get attention and they refuse to air it. Back in, Bradshaw works a headlock, but no one cares because the ECW guys are getting hauled off by security. Bradshaw starts touching the turnbuckles, and gets 2 of them before he gets backdropped. Savio starts whipping the crap out of Bradshaw, and tags 3 buckles. On the fourth, Bradshaw whips him fiercely. Savio is pissed, so he gives Bradshaw a spinning heel kick. Again, he taps the corners, gets to 3, and nearly gets whiplash from the force of Bradshaw yanking him away! Bradshaw hits a big boot, and follows with the Clothesline From Hell. JR calls this all a Very Special Night. And here comes the finish, because Bradshaw’s tapping the buckles with Savio right behind him doing the same thing. They both hit 3, and on the fourth they get into a tug of war - so Vega just lets go and goes crashing into #4 for the easy win at 7:09. * Bradshaw may have taken the loss here, but a lesson in strap matches was learned. In fact, some 8 years later, he’d win the most important one of his life, taking the WWE title in the process, and running with the belt for 8 months and counting. Wrestling is weird sometimes.
During the entrances to our next match, a disturbance in the back sees “RAZOR RAMON” and “DIESEL” stomping on SAVIO VEGA. The two run out of sight before the cameras get a good look at either one, but Jim Ross swears it’s them.
JAMES E. CORNETTE vs. JOSE LOTHARIO
Cornette cuts a pre-match promo, letting us know the fans get to see a real man for once in their lives. He calls Lothario a broken down old man, and promises to beat his stinkin’ brains out if he shows up.
Lothario, naturally shows up, and throws a couple of punches. Cornette is sent face first to the turnbuckle, hits a couple of uppercuts, and scores the pin at 0:58. DUD Perfect suggests that Lothario change his music from “Sexy Boy”, for obvious reasons.
DOK HENDRIX asks SAVIO VEGA who attacked him? Savio says he’s got absolutely no clue. Hendrix is surprised that it may be Razor, since they were good friends as children. Savio vows revenge.
BRIAN PILLMAN heads down to the ring, and calls the fans in attendance less than one half of one percent of the sewer that is Philadelphia, and that the founding fathers of this country are rolling over in their graves. “The birthplace of freedom has become a cesspool of drug abuse, battered women, and welfare recipients!” He points out the illiterate degenerates in attendance as proof of this, and then brings some “class” to the program in the form of OWEN HART, who’s of course carrying his Slammy. He asks Owen about Bret, and he felt that he’d patched up his hard feelings with him. He says that Bret had finally admitted that Owen was the better of the two - and is really hurt that Bret is lying to everyone. Apparently Bret had promised Owen that he’d be in Philly (which Bret had been denying on TV), but figures he backed out because he’s afraid. Not of Pillman, not of Owen, but of Steve Austin! So they invite STEVE AUSTIN to the ring to explain this. Austin says that as soon as he rolled into the WWF, Bret packed his bags and went home. He’s not even a chicken, he’s the slimy substance the rolls out of the south end of one. And just to hammer home the point, Austin adds the letter ‘S’ to Hitman, to sum up his opinion of the man. Austin begs Hart to return so he can whip his ass.
Earlier today, MARK HENRY visited all the historical sites around Philadelphia, because he’s a proud American.
OWEN HART and THE BRITISH BULLDOG vs. THE SMOKIN’ GUNNS (with Sunny) (for the WWF world tag-team titles)
DOK HENDRIX gives us an update on JAMES E. CORNETTE, who’s still gasping for air from his match with Lothario. CLARENCE MASON is standing nearby, trying to revive his dear friend.
During the entrances, when Sunny’s poster is dropped from the ceiling, it’s certainly changed a bit from what we’re used to. It’s covered with graffiti, and signed “To Bulldog and Owen, all my love, Sunny”. Sweet girl. Sunny starts sulking at ringside while our match starts with Owen and Billy. CLARENCE MASON heads out while Billy rolls Owen up for 2. Billy hits a shoulderblock, but Owen comes back with a series of hiptosses for 2. Owen packages Billy for 2, while JR starts discussing the benefit of the doubt with Vince, including taking a shot about the steroid indictment. Bulldog comes in and gives Bart an armdrag. Bart comes back with a shoulderblock, but gets rolled up for 2. Bulldog hits a dropkick and tags in Owen. Owen clips Bart at the knees, and Clarence celebrates! Owen starts kicking away at the inner thigh of Bart, before tagging back out. Bulldog drops a knee on Bart’s thigh, and Sunny shows her cleavage. Owen comes in with a nasty legdrop, and works a deathlock. Owen moves to a Boston crab, but Bart makes the ropes. Bulldog comes in and hits his standing vertical suplex, and follows with a legdrop for 2 before Billy saves. Owen goes to the spinning toe hold, but winds up getting packaged for 2. Owen’s not impressed, and hits the deadly enzuigiri for 2. Bart whips Bulldog to the Gunns corner, and Billy yanks him outside to pound away on the floor. Bulldog is whipped to the steps in the distraction, and the Gunns take over. Bart whips Bulldog to the corner, and the use a double team avalanche. The champs use the Sidewinder to finish the job, but Clarence distracts the referee, who misses Owen’s guillotine onto Billy!!! Bulldog rolls over and gets 2! Billy freaks out, and starts stomping like mad on Bulldog. He tags out angrily to Bart, who drops a knee. Bart hits a scoop slam, then drops his knee onto Bulldog several times. For some reason, Bart decides to try a Running Powerslam, but it backfires when Bulldog slips off and shoves him away. Billy’s distracted because he’s flirting with Sunny, and doesn’t see Bart coming his way. Disaster ensues. Bulldog hits the Running Powerslam on Bart, and we’ve got new tag-team champions at 11:00!!! *** Good tag-team match. Sunny flips out, and tells them they’re no-good cowboy wannabes, and fires the both of them. Bart doesn’t particularly care, but Billy’s devastated.
KEVIN KELLY’s found his way to the dark, where PAUL BEARER and MANKIND lurk. Bearer squeals a lot, and Mankind promises misery for Shawn Michaels. He wants the Kliq to feel the pain he’s felt for years. And then we’ll all have a nice day.
JERRY LAWLER vs. MARK HENRY
This is Henry’s debut match in the WWF. Lawler starts with his usual heel shtick, letting the fans know he hates the Olympics, and only watched to see the synchronized swimmers drown. Lawler promises to prove that Henry’s got no business in a wrestling ring, and he can’t even escape a basic headlock. And sure enough, Lawler immediately puts on a headlock. But Henry escapes, and puts on a nasty hammerlock before shoving Lawler to the mat. A “BURGER KING” chant erupts, and Lawler’s ears start to bleed. Henry goes to a headlock, but Lawler slips out and puts on a hammerlock. Henry reverses that, and shoves Lawler to the turnbuckle. Lawler brilliantly tries a slam, and winds up taking a gorilla press for his efforts. Lawler starts attempting shoulder tackles, which is like running into a wall. A third attempt sees Henry just sidestep and toss Lawler to the outside. Lawler appears to have hit his head pretty hard on the way down, but recovers. He goes to the Mystery Foreign Object in the tights, and punches Henry in the face a couple times to get him staggering. Henry FLIPS and starts driving his knees into Lawler’s midsection. He hits some clubbering forearms over Lawler’s skull and puts Jerry in a backbreaker. Jerry taps out quickly at 5:14. 3/4* LEIF CASSIDY hits the ring to attack Henry for god knows WHAT reason, and gets tossed. MARTY JANNETTY isn’t far behind and suffers the same fate. HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY is the third man to attack Henry for no real reason, and he just gets gorilla pressed onto the Rockers on the outside. The heels retreat, and Henry celebrates with the fans while fireworks explode.
DOK HENDRIX gets in a word with CLARENCE MASON, OWEN HART, and THE BRITISH BULLDOG. Owen promises to prove they’re the best tag-team in the world by beating any teams that wish to challenge them. Bulldog and Owen welcome Clarence to their team, and Clarence tells them he’ll be around anyway because it would appear that Jim Cornette signed them over to him.
GOLDUST (with Marlena) vs. THE UNDERTAKER (in a final curtain match)
As it turns out, I just recapped this match just a couple of months ago. The advent of the WWE Jukebox has rerun a lot of older matches, and this was done as part of the Undertaker series in October. So I’ll let that one do the talking...
Taker decks Goldust before the bell, and quickly delivers a double arm chokeslam. A legdrop connects and gives Taker 2. Goldust rolls to the floor, and Undertaker stupidly follows - and takes a jawbreaker for his efforts. Goldust re-enters to hit a swinging neckbreaker, but Undertaker nosells and gives him a big boot. A vertical suplex gets 2. Taker nails a hiptoss and goes up for Old School. Goldust is dumped, and Marlena takes the opportunity to give her man a bag. She distracts the referee, and he pulls out a handful of gold dust which is immediately launched into the eyes of Undertaker. They brawl outside the ring and Goldust works over the Undertaker by the ring steps. They head back in and Goldust clotheslines Taker for 2. Undertaker comes back with a belly to back suplex, but Goldust recovers first and rakes the eyes. A weak hiptoss gets 2 for Goldust. Goldust attempts to smother Undertaker with the iron claw hold, but it's quickly broken. Undertaker throws Goldust into the corner and hammers away at the ribs. Goldust comes right back with a powerslam for 2. Undertaker starts his comeback with a flying clothesline. Goldust tries a top rope bulldog, but it's blocked and he winds up being chokeslammed off the top. Thumb to the throat, tombstone, and you can guess the rest. Goldust rests in peace at 10:24. *3/4
KEVIN KELLY has SHAWN MICHAELS at his side. Michaels says he’s gonna wrestle the wackiest cat in the WWF, and is a little nervous about it. However, he promises that he will beat Mankind.
MANKIND (with Paul Bearer) vs. SHAWN MICHAELS (with Jose Lothario) (for the WWF world heavyweight title)
Once again, the power of the WWE Jukebox tells me this is a repeat, and I’m gonna turn it over to November 2004’s edition.
I can't even count the number of times I've seen this match. This once-forgotten classic has been overplayed to death over the past few years, with the release of DVD and VOD. Michaels tries a side headlock, but that wrestling stuff isn't going to fly with Mankind, who takes him down with an elbow to the face. Mankind hits a backdrop, and takes Michaels to the floor with a cactus clothesline! Immediately, he takes to ripping apart the padded area around the ring, but Michaels sees an opening and dropkicks Mankind to the now exposed concrete. Mankind winds up underneath the padding, and Michaels jumps on him several times before heading up. He finds his way out, only to see Michaels gliding off the top rope with a plancha. They head back in, and Michaels nails a double axehandle off the top. Mid-ring slugfest is surprisingly won by Michaels, and Mankind is then leveled with a clothesline. Scoop slam is followed by the top rope elbow, and Michaels warms up the band already! Mankind sees it coming, and dives to the floor taking a harder bump than most guys would even after a move! Paul gives him the urn to calm him down a little. Back in, Michaels continues to hammer at Mankind, and takes him down with a front facelock where the punches can continue. Mankind comes back with a snapmare, and holds a chinlock in place while trying to apply the Mandible Claw! Michaels fights and fights to avoid it, and does escape. Mankind remains in control here, and sends Shawn to the floor. He pulls the Spanish announce table closer to the ring - but Michaels leapfrogs it onto Mankind! That's followed by a snap suplex that sends Mankind leg first into the ringsteps...and a loud BANG goes off upon impact. Back in, Michaels takes Mankind down with a chop block. Mankind rolls on top of the casket he travels to and from the ring in, but Michaels follows and slams his knee into the top of it! Michaels jumps on the leg of Mankind in the ring, but Mankind throws a couple of rights to take him down. He hits a running knee strike to Shawn's head, but Michaels retaliates with a leg drag, and slaps on a figure four!!! Mankind fights, and turns it over. The hold is released, and Michaels dropkicks Mankind in the injured knee! A kneedrop to the bad knee connects, and Michaels applies a half crab. Michaels gets in a rollup for 2. A blind charge is where things finally go wrong, because one stun gun later, and Michaels is out! On the outside of the ring, Mankind confesses to Paul how much his leg hurts, and grabs a pen. With the pen, he starts STABBING HIMSELF in the leg to regain the feeling! Good gawd! Mankind kicks Michaels in the face, and pounds away in the corner. He limps around, but decides he's okay enough to do the running kneelift in the corner. Michaels is woozy, and his situation fails to improve when Mankind starts slamming Shawn's face to the mat over and over and over. Michaels comes back with a backdrop suplex, but Mankind turns around and kicks Shawn in the stomach. Michaels is soon thereafter caught in a tree of woe, and Mankind drops an elbow on his face. And another! Mankind drops a leg, and then kicks Shawn out of the ring. Michaels props himself up with the ringstairs - but when Mankind charges, Shawn moves, and Mankind hits the stairs full force with his knees! If that's not bad enough, he staggers into a drop toe hold that sends him face first to the stairs! They fight back up to the apron, where Mankind winds up diving at Michaels, and missing...taking the ringpost between the eyes! Back in the ring, Michaels slams Mankind for 2. A blind charge from Mankind quickly sees him get caught in a hangman's noose on the ropes - but when Shawn goes to make it worse, Mankind reaches back and applies the Mandible Claw!!! Shawn's only escape is to release the noose, and Mankind crashes to the outside. Michaels follows, but Mankind puts the Claw right back in. Michaels shoves it off, sending Mankind to the guardrail. When he stands, Michaels slams a chair over the head of Mankind, and then a couple of times into the hand he uses for the Mandible Claw!!!! They head back in, and Shawn now BITES the hand. Mankind falls, and Michaels stomps on the fingers, then tries to break them. Mankind rolls to the safety of the ring apron, but Michaels keeps stomping on the hand the whole way. Finally the ref breaks it up, long enough for Mankind to stand. Michaels charges, and takes a MANSIZED backdrop over the top and to the floor! Mankind follows with the running elbow off the apron to the floor! A swinging neckbreaker causes Shawn's head to bounce off the concrete, and Mankind's in full control now! As Michaels crawls back into the ring, Mankind drops a leg over Michaels, then follows with a double arm DDT...for 2! A spike piledriver gets 2! Mankind is furious that he can't finish Michaels, and hooks the leg...getting another 2. He starts ripping hair from his head in frustration, and throws some chairs into the ring. He also opens up his casket and rolls Shawn in. Michaels fights before the door is closed though, and they head back in. Michaels hits the flying jalapeno and nips up! The scoop slam hits, of course, and Michaels heads up for a crossbody, which gets him 2! He heads up again, but this time he's crotched by Mankind who falls into the ropes - and Mankind follows him up. Instead of superplexing him back in, Mankind BACKDROPS Shawn to the outside - and BOTH guys go flying through the Spanish announce table!!! Mankind grabs a chair while Paul Bearer distracts the referee and heads to the top rope - but Michaels jumps up and delivers Sweet Chin Music to the chair, and ultimately the face of Mankind! That gets 2!!! VADER hits the ring now, since Vince forgot to actually book a finish for this match, and it's all thrown out at 26:24! ****3/4 With a finish, we go the full 5. Michaels disposes of Vader, but Bearer rushes in and cracks him over the head with the urn. SYCHO SID heads down to fight with Vader now. Mankind wakes up now, and applies the Mandible Claw to Michaels who's out cold! Bearer goes to open the casket, but is a tad surprised to see THE UNDERTAKER inside, who was NOT there a minute ago!!! Mankind and Paul shit themselves, and rush to the back at breakneck speed while Michaels is declared the winner by disqualification. You want hardcore, you GOT hardcore!
Backstage, PAUL BEARER and MANKIND squeal back and forth. Mankind promises to use the power of the urn to bury The Undertaker alive.
And we wrap up with an extended celebration of Shawn Michaels bouncing around the arena.
This show is better than I remembered it. I went into this expecting a stinker, main event aside, but the tag-team title match is solid - and the Undertaker match isn’t bad considering the participants. At only 2 hours, not a waste of your time. Check it out if you’ve got nothing better to do.
Welcome, everyone to another EXCLUSIVE, JAM-PACKED and HIGHLY ADDICTIVE edition of Inside The Ropes. I'm Canadian Bulldog, one of only three openly gay columnists on this website. We've got a lot to get to this week, but first, a quick poll: