Before I start telling the story, let me introduce myself. My name is Dexter, and I am currently playing football for the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. Growing up, I was a huge fan of pro wrestling, and I was always begging my parents to let me stay up late to watch Monday Night RAW. Yes, I know wrestling is (mostly) fake, but I never really cared. I just wanted to see my favorite wrestler, Kane, chokeslam everyone to the mat.
Recently, with classes and football games, I’ve had trouble keeping up with both RAW and SmackDown. The other thing was that I only had a low-to-moderate amount of money, so I can only watch two or three pay-per-views per year. I usually stick to watching my old WWF DVDs when I can.
Except for one.
Last May, I was walking around the campus when I passed by a pro wrestling store. I had passed by that same lot a few days ago, and it was unoccupied and still had the “For Rent” sign. Those must be some efficient workers, I thought to myself. Shrugging, I walked inside.
As soon as I walked in, a blast of air conditioning welcomed me. Thank god, too – South Carolina isn’t exactly the coolest place in the country. Scanning the shelves, I spotted action figures, signed merch, and DVDs. I hopped over to the DVD shelf and went through its contents. A couple WrestleManias, a Jeff Hardy one, and a complete In Your House box set!
If you’re not a wrestling fan, In Your House was a pay-per-view series that was held in the months the WWF didn’t have a major PPV. Being from Memphis, I was able to go to the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre event when I was eight. And it wasn’t even nosebleed seats – I was four rows from the ring.
I snatched the box set, an Eddie Guerrero figure, and a Monster Energy from the vending machine, and put my loot on the counter. I expected the IYH collection to be worth a fortune, but nope! It was only twenty-five bucks. I didn’t really think much of it, and I rode my skateboard back to my dorm.
When I got home, I popped the CD into my PlayStation 3. The menu came up, which was the IYH logo and a collection of shots from the events. There were four options – SELECT EVENT, RANDOM EVENT, OPTIONS, and EXTRAS. I checked out the options menu. It was nothing special – just languages, subtitles, display and all that junk.
I don’t remember much from the extras menu – I saw a promo for WrestleMania 2000, though. (By the way, the DVD was apparently released in summer 1999.) I decided to get this show on the road, and went to SELECT EVENT. It took me to a list of In Your House PPVs, all twenty-eight of them.
I scrolled through, and sure enough, everything from the first IYH to Backlash was there. A part of my mind wanted me to go further for some reason, to see if there were any more options.
Right there on the screen was “29. ARMAGEDDON: IN YOUR HOUSE” clear as day. The title itself didn’t really strike me as odd; there were IYH events that later became yearly PPVs, like Unforgiven. The first Armageddon was held in December 1999. But, still, twenty-nine? As far as my extensive knowledge went, there were only twenty-eight IYH shows.
I decided to select it. I was brought to another screen. The description said Armageddon took place on June 6, 1999 in Charleston, South Carolina. I selected the MATCH SELECT option. There were only two matches. The first was a twenty-man over the top rope battle royale, and the second was Kane vs. Mankind in an Inferno Match.
Saving the best for last, I chose the battle royale. Billy Gunn won, if you’re one of the few who cares.
After that, I selected Kane vs. Mankind. Both of the wrestlers made their entrances, though I think Kane’s music was a bit different. A lower pitch, maybe. When both were in the ring, the fire around the canvas was lit, and the match was underway.
As far as I remember, the match was pretty normal. Kane would get in a few hits, Mankind would get a few, and they’d both hit their finishers sometime during the match. I, myself, felt pretty successful. I had found a lost WWF event. Still, why would Mr. McMahon remove all traces of this from the promotion’s history? I was about to find out.
Kane had been getting a ton of momentum, and he grabbed Mankind in a chokehold. Knowing full well what was coming next, I smiled like I was ten years old all over again. The Big Red Monster lifted Mankind up and tossed him into the flames. The bell rang, signaling Kane had won the match.
Then the screaming began.
Horrible, agonizing, ear-r****g screaming that could only be described as a banshee’s wail in reverse. The camera panned over to Mankind, and what I saw was terrifying.
Now, before I explain this scene, I’m rather immune to gore and disturbing imagery. I’m a dedicated horror fan and I’ve written a few Creepypasta. But this… this was just above all of that.
Mankind was on fire. Standard end to an Inferno Match, right? That’s how you win, after all. This was different. You could clearly see his skin melting off, showing muscle and even bone in some spots. His hair was singed. The lights in the arena turned off, but the flames still burned bright.
And this went on. And on. And on.
Finally, Jim Ross ran over with a fire extinguisher and sprayed Mankind. His charred body laid there, not moving an inch. Paramedics arrived and took him out of the arena. The television cut to black and took me back to the main menu.
Now, being a wrestling professional, I had knowledge of what was legit and what was kayfabe. This was legit. There was no way, especially in 1999, that such a horrendous burning could be faked like that on live television. I don’t even think that’s possible now.
I couldn’t get the image of Mankind out of my brain. I hopped over to my computer and made a thread about it on 4Chan as quick as I could. Only one person knew what I was talking about. He said that Mankind wasn’t originally Mick Foley.
The character was portrayed by another, unknown wrestler who died after the Inferno Match. The PPV was never aired or referred to again, and Mick Foley was brought in to replace Mankind’s original wrestler. Foley, however, had always been Cactus Jack and Dude Love. Mankind was called the third face of Foley because of the other wrestler’s striking resemblance to Mick.
The next morning I went over to the wrestling store to ask the manager about the DVD. Surprisingly, the place was open on Memorial Day. The manager said he found the DVD on the black market, and thought it would be perfect for collectors.
I haven’t touched that disc since.