#05-08628 – Free For All

Lee Maughan: Hosted by ‘Handsome’ Dok Hendrix.


WWF Tag Team Championship (Vacant)
The Bodydonnas vs. The Godwinns
There was actually outrage amongst the wrestling community at the time that the final of the Tag Team Title tournament was relegated to the WrestleMania pre-game show where it shared co-billing with the “blow-off” to the mean-spirited Huckster vs. Nacho Man series of anti-Ted Turner skits that polluted WWF television during the early months of 1996. In the years that followed, most would feel lucky the titles even got the privilege of a pre-show spot, a sad indication of how far the division continued to fall after many felt it had already “hit rock bottom” during its rather rotten status in the mid-90s. It’s not that the teams were entirely awful, but it didn’t help that the entire division was, for a time, built around the idea that Sunny was nothing but a gold-digging whore, which meant the action became rather secondary to the shenanigans. You also had the Smoking Gunns as three time champions. A solid team they were, but three time titlists? That never would have happened in the 80s. If good, solid teams like the Killer Bees, the Fabulous Rougeau Brothers and the Rockers couldn’t get a sniff of the belts, what chance would a couple of cowboys had? Meanwhile, the two teams here just got tarred with uninspiring gimmicks, the Godwinns saddled with Hillbilly Jim to appease Vince McMahon’s apparent fetish for yokel pig farmers; the Bodydonnas dressed up as bleached-blonde fitness gurus that otherwise had all the potential in the world to develop into the next Midnight Express or Heavenly Bodies precision-style tag team combination. As it is, the match is perfectly fine aside from a blown bodyslam and a particularly sloppy Slop Drop (both involving Phineas Godwinn, the one real lame duck of the bout), but as was par for the course in 1996, the whole thing revolves around Sunny who, fresh from having received a Slammy Award for “Best Buns” the evening previous, flashes her bare arse at Phineas who gets rolled up in the resulting confusion/lust.
Final Rating: **


The Bodydonnas vs. The New Rockers
Three months later, the Donnas had lost both their titles and their manager, and were back on pre-show duty as a consequence. To make matters worse, this is probably their best match, but it’s joined in progress, presumably because the WWF realises nobody would really care all that much about a match pitting a pair of 70s obsessed throwbacks against a couple of self-absorbed workout freaks turned happy clappy baby-kissers. But then, that’s the WWF for you, perhaps the only promotion on the planet with the ability to take Marty Jannetty, Al Snow, Tom Prichard and Chris Candido, put them in tag teams, and still make it tedious. Just one more example of the WWF suffocating talent with an over-the-top gimmick. The consequence of all that is a somewhat subdued crowd response for Leif Cassidy (Snow) busting out a full-nelson German suplex, and a northern lights suplex response from Skip (Candido). What does get a big reaction is Jannetty all but murdering Skip with a top rope powerbomb, a spot they previously performed at the 1995 Survivor Series. It seemed quite out of place here though because if you imagine wrestling to be real, it’s not something you’d expect to see twice, and certainly not in such close proximity. On top of that, the perception would be that it was Jannetty who delivered what was an undeniably cool move, and thus he’s the one who draws the big babyface reaction, despite the fact the New Rockers were supposed to be the heels. It was like they decided to ignore all traditional pro wrestling convention just because they had a cool move to get in rather than sticking to what made the most logical sense. For a moment there, I thought I was watching an independent match from the 2000s. All they needed were a set of pleather hooded ring jackets and a pair of kickpads apiece. In another odd little piece of business, the Donnas miss a rocket launcher, and whilst Skip’s face-first bump and resultant sell-job was exceptional, again, they’re the babyface team and I just don’t think babyfaces should miss moves and act like clowns, not unless they want to be pegged strictly at the Santino Marella opening match buffoon level. As it happens, that leads to Cassidy landing a sitout spinebuster, but the Donnas’ new manager Kloudi slips in while the referee is distracted and kisses Cassidy, who gets rolled up in the resulting confusion/lust. You see, Kloudi was the Donnas’ answer to Sunny, independent wrestler “Handsome” Jimmy Shoulders dressed in a sports bra and cheerleader skirt because, you know, cross-dressing is really, really, really funny if your name is Vince McMahon. The match actually felt like a bout imported direct from Japan before the silly finish, and I can’t help but think it would have drawn a significantly stronger reaction had it been held in a small bingo hall in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Final Rating: **½


Justin Hawk Bradshaw vs. Savio Vega
Often you’ll find that matches from pay-per-view pre-shows tend to have little thought put into them, little build-up, little time allotted and little reason for the fans to care. Here’s one of the more pertinent examples of that, a match with nothing particularly “good” about it, but by no means with anything “bad” either, and I wouldn’t really feel comfortably labelling it “boring”, despite the fact it boasts nothing of interest. It’s just two guys performing the most forgettable, basic wrestling match you ever saw, and then you move on with your life. For reference, Bradshaw’s manager Uncle Zebekiah (‘Dirty’ Dutch Mantel, part of a WWF “invasion” of sorts of former Smoky Mountain Wrestling guys given lame gimmicks including Tracy Smothers as Freddie Joe Floyd and the Dirty White Boy as T.L. Hopper following the closure of SMW in December 1995) trips him from the outside as he has Savio in position for a bodyslam, causing Bradshaw to fall forward and pin Vega amidst the resulting confusion. I’m not sure why Bradshaw couldn’t have just delivered the slam himself without the helping hand from Zebekiah, but there you go. Savio gets branded after the match too, completing an absolutely cosmic night for him.
Final Rating:


Steve Austin vs. Yokozuna
Yokozuna is announced at 660 pounds here, and I could believe it. McMahon even references Haystacks Calhoun on commentary in a rare moment of the WWF acknowledging the past. You could tell they had nothing planned for Austin at this point though, because he’s still fresh off winning the 1996 King of the Ring tournament and delivering his now-legendary “Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass!” speech, yet here he is, jerking the curtain in a throwaway match that wasn’t deemed worthy enough to make the actual pay-per-view. Retroactively, WWE has tried to paint the picture like Austin’s coronation was the beginning of his rise to superstardom, but he really wasn’t much more than an afterthought in the promotion until Bret Hart returned in late 1996, requesting to work a program with him. Even then he was only in the role to do the job to Hart and would have likely moved on to a midcard feud with former WCW tag team partner Brian Pillman had fate not intervened; Pillman’s ankle injury healing much slower than anticipated, and Hart being left without an opponent for WrestleMania 13 following the temporary “retirement” of Shawn Michaels, citing a knee injury. The resultant submission match between the two would go down as one of the greatest bouts in WWF history, and was pivotal in catapulting Austin up the card to the next level of stardom. It’s a bloody, exciting scrap that concluded with a well executed double turn, and the famous imagine of Austin passing out rather than submitting, while blood pours from an open wound on his forehead. This match however is the absolute polar opposite of that, Austin opens up with punches but gets caught with a Samoan drop, and bumps off a series of chops, something which irritates me for it’s lack of believability unless someone the size of Yokozuna is involved. Seriously, you try chopping someone on the street and see if they take a flat back bump. And then put the evidence on YouTube if they do, because I’d love to see it. Yokozuna then lands an enormous legdrop and looks to finish things with the Banzai Drop, but he’s so fat the top rope breaks and he falls flat on his back, as if he was just chopped in the chest by a stranger on the street, allowing Austin to catch a flash pin after about sixty seconds of combat, if that. You see what I mean about them not having anything for Austin? He didn’t beat Yokozuna there, Yokozuna beat himself. And what a humiliating finish too. Still, Austin winning sixty second matches on pre-shows against former WWF champions was at least a step up from jobbing the United States title to Jim Duggan in last minute, sixty second pay-per-view matches over in WCW, and as mentioned, better days were to come for ‘Stone Cold.’
Final Rating: ½*
Savio Vega vs. Marty Jannetty
This match comes from Mind Games, which you might know better as “the ECW show.” You see, the WWF were in Philadelphia, home of ECW, and a huge chant of those initials go up as Tommy Dreamer, Paul Heyman and the Sandman make their way to the front row, having bought tickets to the event. McMahon even draws attention to the group on commentary, though never specifically mentions anyone by name, only identifying them once the actual pay-per-view has started after Sandman spits beer in Savio’s face, getting the trio ejected. It was actually all part of an ongoing interpromotional angle between ECW and the WWF to help promote ECW’s first pay-per-view event, Barely Legal. Years later it was revealed that Heyman had been on the WWF’s payroll during this time period, and that McMahon had been making payments to ECW, apparently in return for Heyman advising ECW’s departing talent that the WWF was a better option than the rival WCW. ECW’s presence on WWF television was cutting edge stuff at the time, as McMahon looked for ways to counter WCW’s red hot New World Order angle. Certainly, this Jannetty-Vega match wasn’t about to do the trick, as it gets completely overshadowed by the ECW angle, and then ignored almost outright as Bradshaw whines about not being on the pay-per-view, having beaten Savio two months earlier. He’s got a point. Vega eventually wins the match by rolling through a crossbody attempt by Jannetty for the pin. Was it a rule that all pre-show matches had to end with a roll-up in those days? It certainly seems that way. Bradshaw and Zebekiah destroy Savio after the match, setting up a strap match between the two for the pay-per-view. The main body of the match was just as bland as the earlier Savio match; rather dull stuff, but again without a whole lot to complain about other than the relative lack of excitement on offer.
Final Rating:
Elimination Match
Bart Gunn, Jesse Jammes, Bob Holly & Aldo Montoya vs. Billy Gunn, The Sultan, Justin Hawk Bradshaw & Salvatore Sincere
What a wacky collection of gimmicks you’ve got on display here, especially given where everyone came from and subsequently went in the industry, so here’s an overview:

  • As three time WWF Tag Team champions, the Smoking Gunns had accomplished all they could together and had recently split to begin a feud with one another. Bart’s lack of charisma did him no favours as a solo babyface, nor did his stint as Bodacious Bart, one half of the New Midnight Express. He did eventually gain a modicum of legitimate credibility after knocking out ‘Dr. Death’ Steve Williams, the Godfather and Bradshaw en route to winning the Brawl for All tournament, the WWF’s sole foray into the world of mixed martial arts shootfighting. But it would prove to be all for nought as the promotion decided to sacrifice him to experienced freak-show boxer Eric ‘Butterbean’ Esch at WrestleMania XV in an attempt to fulfil contractual obligations. Still, Gunn’s career-destroying demolition job of Japanese legend Williams got him a nice run in All Japan for a few years, where as Mike Barton he held the Unified World Tag Team Titles alongside Johnny Ace (John Laurinitis.)
  • His partner Billy made out a little better after a rough start as Honky Tonk Man’s protégé Rockabilly, before a last ditch pairing with fellow struggler Jesse Jammes as the New Age Outlaws and eventual partnership with D-Generation-X reinvigorated the career of both as they went on to lift five WWF Tag Team Titles together before splitting in 2000. Gunn would win the belts a further two times with Chuck Palumbo as well as pick up an Intercontinental title, two Hardcore titles and the 1999 King of the Ring tournament, but was unable to break out as the top line singles star he had previously been pegged for. A run in TNA followed where, as the Outlaw and later Kip James, he was reunited with Jammes (then B.G. James) as the James Gang/Voodoo Kin Mafia. He returned to WWE in December 2012 as a trainer for the promotion’s NXT developmental system.
  • Jammes was Brian Armstrong, son of ‘Bullet’ Bob Armstrong and brother of Scott, Brad and Steve. Following a spell in the U.S. Marine Corps, he began wrestling full time for Smoky Mountain Wrestling in Tennessee and doing occasional TV jobs for WCW before getting a break with the WWF as country music hopeful Jeff Jarrett’s “Roadie.” When Jarrett quit the promotion in 1995, the Roadie became “the Real Double J”, Jesse Jammes, to little success. The peak of Armstrong’s career came as the Road Dogg, alongside ‘Bad Ass’ Billy Gunn in the New Age Outlaws, part of the rebellious D-Generation-X group. Red hot during their late 90s peak, Armstrong was fired in January 2001 owing to ongoing drug abuse and personal problems. He would rock up in TNA in 2002 as part of Vince Russo’s Sports Entertainment Xtreme (SEX) faction before siding with Ron Killings (R-Truth) and Konnan as part of 3Live Kru, until Gunn joined the promotion in 2006 and reunited their team. In October 2011, Road Dogg returned to WWE as a backstage producer and co-host of the Are You Serious? webshow with Josh Matthews, before returning to the ring part time on WWE house show runs, once again alongside Gunn.
  • Robert Howard began his wrestling life on the independent circuit as both “Superstar” and “Hollywood” Bob Holly, but was rebranded as “two sports superstar” Thurman “Sparky” Plugg upon his WWF arrival in 1994. He should consider himself lucky he wasn’t cast as a sex aid worker and given the name nickname “Butt”. Quickly renamed Bob ‘Spark Plugg’ Holly, he, like almost everyone else involved in this particular match, was a curtain jerking joke of a wrestler until a drastic change in appearance led to a solid mid-card spot, in Howard’s case as six-time Hardcore and three time Tag Team champion Hardcore Holly.
  • The Sultan was former Headshrinker Fatu under the masked gimmick of an Arabic nobleman. A 1995 singles run as a West Coast gangster looking to make a difference had failed to take off, and the real-life Solofa Fatu, Jr. wouldn’t get over in the promotion again until he adopted a sumo-style mawashi and took on the name Rikishi (the Japanese word for “strong man.”) Rikishi would become notable for his post-match dance routine rather than for any in-ring accomplishments, and that included his usual “high spot” of yanking his thong up into his arse crack before jiggling his enormous dimpled backside in a downed opponent’s face, like two gigantic Samoan golf balls built from jelly and encased in sweat-drenched sausage meat.
  • Aldo Montoya was regular WWF television jobber P.J. Walker with a bright yellow jockstrap attached to his head, a “reward” for having been Lawrence Taylor’s crash test dummy as Taylor trained for his WrestleMania XI match with Bam Bam Bigelow. Montoya looked utterly ridiculous as ‘the Portuguese Man O’ War’, but would go onto better things as Justin Credible in Extreme Championship Wrestling. In fact, Credible would actually become ECW World Heavyweight Champion, beating Tommy Dreamer on April 22nd, 2000 which led to an enormous fan backlash against him, with many who had previously trumpeted the real-life Peter Polaco as an undervalued worker now resentful of seeing him pushed far above his station. With the death of ECW in early 2001, Credible returned to the WWF in time for the ill-fated invasion angle, becoming largely just another face in the crowd until joining forces with Albert and real-life chum X-Pac to form the X-Factor trio, one of the lamest stables in wrestling history. From there, he made appearances for many independent groups and start-up promotions including Ring of Honor, Wrestling Society X, Juggalo Championshit Wrestling, EVOLVE and CHIKARA, was a regular face on ECW-theme reunion cards, and enjoyed brief runs with TNA and WWE’s revived ECW brand.
  • Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw was long earmarked by some as the next coming of Stan Hansen. In reality, he would end up somewhat unexpectedly as the next coming of one of Hansen’s former tag team partners, Ted DiBiase. His run as the fast-talking, business-minded, J.R. Ewing-inspired Texan magnate JBL was a revelation to those who knew him best as the beer-swilling, card playing Bradshaw of the APA, and whose previous incarnations as John Hawk, Justin Bradshaw and Blackjack Bradshaw had been about as one-dimensional as cowboy-stylised wrestling gimmicks got. Scaling the heights to becoming WWE Champion in 2004, JBL eventually retired due to back issues, going on to become a highly regarded colour commentator for the promotion.
  • Salvatore Sincere might well be the only guy in the match not to have gone to achieve bigger and better things in the wrestling industry, though it’s actually quite difficult to pinpoint where exactly his career peaked. As “Chippendale” Tom Brandi, he was the Television Champion of New York’s IWCCW promotion; He formed a tag team with Jim Powers in Sgt. Slaughter’s short-lived American Wrestling Federation; He enjoyed a brief run as a low card tag team partner of “Z-Man” Tom Zenk in WCW; In 1993, he won the Eastern Championship Wrestling Tag Team Titles with Tommy Dreamer before most fans had even begun to take notice of the soon-to-become Extreme promotion; He joined the WWF as an insincere Italian stereotype with a position on the card clearly stamped “afterthought”; And finally, he hit the independent trail as the second incarnation of the Patriot, a gimmick he claims to have purchased from its originator Del Wilkes, although Wilkes claims not to have seen Brandi since 1994, and that he’s using the trademarked name, gimmick and costume without any legal permissions.

Naturally, since this is just a pre-show match and there’s a lot of eliminations to get through, everything feels rather accelerated. Sultan submits Montoya pretty quickly with a camel clutch, then in a very strange moment, Holly gets clobbered from the outside by Bradshaw, allowing Sultan to belly-to-belly suplex him for what looks like it might be the pin, only for Sultan to waddle over and tag Bradshaw instead of making the cover… before casually picking Holly up to apply a standing chinlock as Bradshaw stays on the apron. Utterly bizarre. Then, with the Sultan looking completely dominant, there’s a big clip in the action, ruining any flow the match had going. The reason for the clip I should point out was to eliminate a promo package for the upcoming Bret Hart-Steve Austin that aired on the original broadcast, and was obviously rather pointless to include here. Back in the arena, Bart eliminates Sincere with a side slam, before Bradshaw gets in with Holly and disposes of him with a lariat. And then something rather strange happens, as Jammes cradles Bradshaw for a pin, even though Bradshaw’s shoulder is clearly up. Bradshaw actually brought the incident to light some sixteen years later, writing on his Facebook page:

“My first Survivor Series, my team was [supposed] to go over and it was to be my first big push. It was one of [the] first times referees used earpieces, or at least different earpieces. So, I do a false finish, and Tim White counts me out! I’d kicked out on two but Tim was listening to someone in his ear and wasn’t paying attention. He looked up and said, “Oh my God, kid, I am so sorry!” but then had to pantomime he was sending me out of ring. I got to the back and was chewed out. I couldn’t stooge Tim so I just took it, later they realized Tim made a mistake and told me they were sorry. It was my pal Gerald Brisco that had chewed me out as he ran ‘Gorilla’ [position] back then. My push was killed and pretty much so was Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw.”
Watching the match back, you can hear the surprise in McMahon’s voice as he announces the elimination, questioning whether the referee made a mistake, which Jim Ross confirms during a slow motion replay of the spot. From there, the Sultan clambers back into the ring and suffers a roll-up from Jammes, eliminating him, but Jammes walks into a Rocker dropper from Billy, leaving just Billy vs. Bart in their epic first confrontation since the split. And that ends almost instantaneously as Bart surprisingly pins Billy with a forearm shot of all things (you would think they’d put the heel over fresh off the turn, and their singles match the following month that you can find on Best of Raw 3 ended in even stranger circumstances, with a worked neck injury to Billy), ending what felt like a 20-minute match crammed into about 10. Still, with the curtain jerking gimmicks on display, that probably wasn’t such a bad thing, and the match was perfectly fine if not particularly exciting.
Final Rating: **½
Rocky Maivia vs. Salvatore Sincere
Funny to think there was a time the Rock was being billed as hailing “from the South Pacific” but here it is, and in his home state no less. Sincere as the smooth-talking Italian Mafioso was possibly ahead of his time as a character, given the massive popularity just a few years later of The Sopranos. This match actually has a back-story to it, coming about after Jim Cornette tried to hire Rocky as his latest client, proclaiming that he “could be a champion!” There’s an understatement to be sure, but boy did Cornette ever have an eye for talent. His time as a trainer with Ohio Valley Wrestling is certainly proof of that. Still, our hero turned old ‘Corny down, so Cornette hired Sincere to take out his vengeance on Maivia. I’ve watched a lot of pro wrestling in my time, and was a pretty avid WWF fan around this point, and I have absolutely zero recollection of any of this. From a kayfabed perspective, Cornette’s presence at ringside is actually rather awkward, because you’d think with his years of managerial experience he’d have more to offer Sincere than instructing him to take out Maivia with a dizzying array of the only the most basic of arm drags, arm bars and side headlock takeovers. When you think of all the crazy double team moves the Midnight Express employed, it sure looks ridiculous that that’s the best plan of attack he can come up with. Then again, perhaps it says a lot more about Sincere’s deficiencies as a wrestler. In a more critical sense, even with a match as basic as this one you can really see genuine star potential in Maivia. For a guy as green as he was at this point to be having a match as acceptable as this one on live TV for a major organisation really says a lot about how much of a natural he was, and how it was only a matter of time before it all clicked and found the right role for himself. Nevertheless, a basic match is still a basic match and the finish is quite the slap to the face as Maivia nails Sincere with his shoulderbreaker finisher, only for Cornette to jump in the ring but flee in terror as Rocky catches him. Despite the lack of contact, that draws a disqualification. I’m not sure if that finish was intended to protect Sincere, stifle Rocky’s push or make the fans at home think “Hot damn! Well now I’ve no choice BUT to order the pay-per-view!” but it sure didn’t do a lot to help anybody’s cause. Then again, it did lead to rematch on RAW eight days later, which Maivia won decisively.
Final Rating:
Máscarita Sagrada & La Parkita vs. Mini Vader & Mini Mankind
This match came about as a result of a late 90’s working agreement with Mexico’s AAA promotion, an attempt by the WWF to bolster a rather thin talent pool, compete with WCW which had become gung ho about featuring luchadores like Rey Misterio, Jr., Psicosis, La Parka and Juventud Guerrera on its programming, and to help sell tickets to the 65,000 seat Alamodome, an arduous task given the WWF’s relative lack of popularity in comparison to where it had been some ten years prior. As a consequence, this was (including the actual Rumble match) one of five bouts on the card featuring AAA workers, along with two dark matches and a trios match that made the pay-per-view portion of the event. Obviously Mini Vader and Mini Mankind are pint-size representations of their full-sized counterparts, a standard gimmick in Mexico, and it makes me sad that WWE has always flirted with minis in that way, but have never really gone full-on with it. Honestly, I think having mini versions of legendary names like Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, et al, would provide a terrifically fun 4-minute bumper match for the older, nostalgia-fuelled crowd, especially running through the highspots and characterisations of wrestlers long since retired or too hurt to give what they once could. On top of that, I can imagine mini versions of John Cena, the Undertaker, Kane and Rey Mysterio (who is actually so small when he began wrestling that he very nearly became a mini himself) going down an absolute storm with the Saturday Morning Slam crowd. They’re not the kind of thing you’d want to see on RAW for anything other than special occasions, but for house shows and weekend television, I think a reignited juniors division could be a lot of fun. Just so long as they keep those hackneyed comedy spots from the Sky Low Low days out of it, of course. Máscarita Sagrada is the mini version of Máscara Sagrada, who would go on to be repackaged as Mini Nova by the WWF since the full-size Sagrada didn’t work for them. Similarly, another mini wrestler, Máscarita Sagrada, Jr. (based on Máscara Sagrada, Jr., a character AAA created to cash in on the success of the original Sagrada, which managed to anger both the original and the original mini with the feeling the new characters were just being used to exploit something they’d worked hard to make popular) was re-branded Max Mini for similar reasons, with Nova and Max Mini somewhat ironically becoming regular tag team partners in October 1997. Max would return to WWE in 2005 as Tsuki, as part of the short-lived Juniors division, losing a televised Velocity match to, you guessed it, Máscarita Sagrada. La Parkita meanwhile is the mini version of La Parka, who was, ironically enough, being regularly featured on WCW television at the time. In this instance, it’s the second incarnation of Parkita who would go on to greater fame back in Mexico as the second incarnation of Octagóncito. Incidentally, the first La Parkita had been Alberto Jiminez, who was actually the real-life brother of… Mini Vader and Mini Mankind! Like Sagrada and Parkita, Mini Vader and Mini Mankind had significantly more success in Mexico (as Espectrito I and Espectrito II respectively), and like Sagrada and Parkita, were both recast later in the year by the WWF, Mini Vader as El Torito, and Mini Mankind as Tarantula. Sadly, Alberto and Alejandro (Mini Mankind) who were twins, were found murdered on June 29th 2009, having been drugged by two female prostitutes. The women had apparently spiked their drinks with eye drops and alcohol, and stole money, phones and other items from the twins after they had passed out. Having tracked the women down by tracing a signal from one of the Jiminez’ twins mobile phones, the pair were found guilty and, on July 12 2010, sentenced to 47 years in prison.

So now that you’re sufficiently depressed, here’s the match! Actually, it’s not much of a match at all, just a series of disjointed arm drags that McMahon and Jerry Lawler have no idea how to call. It’s really all just an excuse to make short jokes and act as a backdrop for hyping the Vader-Undertaker match on the actual pay-per-view. “I wonder if there’s a mini ‘King’?” asks McMahon. “Of course! You remember my Kings don’t you McMahon?!” replies Lawler. God almighty, please let’s not revisit that piece of business. “They rode here in my glove box!” Ho ho ho. Mini Vader misses the Mini Vaderbomb, Sagrada rolls him up (of course) with La Magistral, the match ends, the tape ends, and we all move on with our lives.
Final Rating: ½*


Summary: The positives: It’s eight matches in just a shade under an hour so it pretty much rockets by, and it’s an excellent chance to collect some (albeit not all) of the bonus matches not included on the tapes of the actual pay-per-view events. The negatives: They’re all pre-show matches, meaning they’re generally quick, basic, dull and pointless. There’s a tag team title change of course, but the belts were all but meaningless by 1996 anyway, as evidenced by the fact they were decided on the pre-show rather than on the WrestleMania card itself. And this is really nothing more than a cynical cash-in of matches that had already been given away on free TV as supposed enticements anyway. I suppose if you can get past the stench of money grubbing it’s an okay collection, but don’t expect a lot from it. One for the completists only.
Verdict: 32

One thought on “#05-08628 – Free For All

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