Remembering The... Medium Event?
Toronto's Spiritual Sequel to
The Big Event in 1996
The city of Toronto has been home to many memorable wrestling events over the years. In addition to hosting WrestleManias VI (1990) and XVIII (2002), Canada's most populous city has also hosted two SummerSlams, a Survivor Series, plus pay-per-views or iPPVs for WWE, WCW, Ring of Honor, TNA and House of Hardcore. They've also hosted The Frank Tunney Memorial Tag Team Tournament and what was, in 1986, the largest outdoor wrestling audience in history.
And a full decade after The Big Event and in same venue (the cavernous Exhibition Stadium), the WWF held The Medium Event (it was never called that, officially, but it's not like President Jack Tunney is going to sue me over it now) on August 24, 1996. And even though I attended the show and enjoyed it... it wouldn't rank in my top ten wrestling events.
There are some things I remember about the show... and some I admittedly don't.
For example... I was today years old when I learned that the show was (apparently) shown on a prehistoric version of iPPV. Certainly at the time, this was never advertised, but enough websites have reported on it to make me consider the possibility. Plus, the event was large enough and the matches PPV-worthy enough where I can't completely dismiss the idea. However, no PPV footage has ever been found.
The crowd was pretty massive (although, to be fair, the photo you see here is from the 1986 show). According to our friends at Wikipedia, the attendance was 21,211 and honestly, I wouldn't doubt it at all.
The show took place during the Canadian National Exhibition (an annual fair that takes place in the last two weeks of August) and the CNE had even deemed the show to part of a WWF Day, complete with a pep rally of sorts before the event.
One of the featured matches was a lumberjack match between Sycho Sid and Vader. Very interesting considering, just a two and a half years earlier, that was scheduled to be the main event of Starrcade before Sid was fired from WCW.
What was noteworthy was that the lumberjacks were members of the Toronto Argonauts (Canadian Football League). And interestingly, ex-CFL members include Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Roman Reigns, Lex Luger, Superstar Billy Graham Brian Pillman and some guy named Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
There were several "better than your typical house show" matches, including The Undertaker vs. Mankind in a Casket Match, Owen Hart and The British Bulldog (no relation) vs. The Smoking Gunns, Jose Lothario vs. Jim Cornette, Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Marc Mero and The Godwinns vs. The "New" Rockers. But it was also the first time I saw a handful of World Champions wrestle live, including:
Hunter Hearst Helmsley (defeated Bob Holly)
John Bradshaw Layfield (as Justin Hawk Bradshaw; defeated Savio Vega)
Faarooq (defeated Aldo Montoya, a/k/a Justin Credible)
The main event was really memorable, featuring Shawn Michaels against Goldust in a Ladder Match. While that may not sound like an instant classic, it's worth noting that HBK was SERIOUSLY over in Toronto and had a great back-and-forth match with Goldust, who was just coming into his own. This was really a great way to send the crowd home happy.
While not many people remember The Medium Event, it was an important summer-time show in my hometown. Just ask President Jack Tunney.