Shawn Michaels, Sycho Sid & Ahmed Johnson vs. Vader, Bulldog & Owen Hart
July 2, 1996
WWF In Your House 9: International Incident

Reviewed by Joey O’Doherty (VOW Author Page / @AwesomeoJoe)

Gifted by Rich Kraetsch (VOW Author Page / FlagshipPatreon.com

Well, wasn’t I pleasantly surprised to see a big ol’ lump of Sid Eudy in my Secret Santa stocking. Sid is a national treasure in professional wrestling, and no one cuts a genuine unhinged promo like the big man, so I was very happy to not only be gifted this match but delighted I get a Sid promo to sweeten the deal.

But this match could have been so different. Originally it was supposed to be another unhinged maniac in the Ultimate Warrior making up the babyface numbers in place of Sid. But in the lead-up to the match, Warrior “warrior’d,” and decided he didn’t want to turn up for work, citing the passing of his father as the reason he couldn’t make some dates in the lead-up to this event. Vince didn’t buy it and replaced him with Sid. So, while I got a nice Sid promo, I did perhaps miss out on the deluded ramblings of Warrior in the pre-match promo. It’s hard to tell which one I’d prefer, if I’m being honest.

The babyfaces enter, and we get the hilariously infamous bit where the fans rush to get a piece of the Heartbreak Kid and spill over the barricade. Man do I miss Vince on commentary. No one was verbally prematurely ejaculating on commentary at the sight of his top star like Vince McMahon. If you didn’t know that Shawn was Vince’s top star beforehand, you’d know 5 seconds into his introduction. Get a room Vince.

You forget how impressive-looking Sid and Ahmed were back then. They dwarf poor Shawn and look genuinely huge by comparison. Vince loves his big meaty men, and you can tell by McMahon’s voice that he’s about to cum again at the sheer sight of these two beefcakes.

The match itself is solid enough, with a few underlying stories. “Can Shawn take on the undefeated Vader?” and “Can Sid be trusted?”.  Kayfabe-wise, I found it dumb that Shawn would even entertain the idea of teaming with the man who turned on him 12 months ago and put him on the shelf, yet he seems to have no problems having Sid watch his back again—you dumb WWF babyface.

I also found it odd that they didn’t build to Michaels and Vader finally confronting each other until later in the match. But sure, when has WWE ever had logic on their agenda’s when booking wrestling.

I also felt sad watching Vader here despite the pinfall here as I knew how he would be booked going forward. Vince would proceed to feed him to Michaels and his monster aura would soon be extinguished. In an alternate reality, Vince would put Vader over at SummerSlam and build up to a rematch at the Royal Rumble before Shawn would go on to WrestleMania 13 to take on Bret Hart. Sadly, Vader got stuffed next month thanks to asshole Shawn, and his career would never recover. What might have been?

Back to this match. Shawn does most of the heavy lifting in this match, carrying the bout for his two limited partners. HBK had a fine performance while his opponents all played their parts, and the decent crowd also played their part in elevating this match.  Storyline-wise, Vader beating Shawn was a good choice at the time. Vader was pushed as the undefeated monster (bar being stupidly eliminated from the previous Rumble by Shawn in January) and having him go over the Champion at least gave thought to the idea that Shawn was destined to lose the gold to Vader at the next PPV.  But I was annoyed that Vader didn’t go over clean, as this would have really planted the doubts of Shawn retaining at SummerSlam had he went over without Jim Cornette’s help.

Ultimately, the match was fine; there was nothing wrong, but nothing inspiring. The drama of Sid being trusted wasn’t there on a rewatch, as I knew he didn’t turn. The in-ring work was fine, but nothing overly spectacular. But I got a Sid promo, so I was always going to be happy with my gift. I like all the guys in the match, and I enjoyed fondly revisiting them.

I have no clue who gifted this, but I’ll go with Rich, who seems to like a bit of Sid himself.