Location: Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, Indiana
Hosts: Vince McMahon, Jerry “the King” Lawler, and Jim Ross
Reported Attendance: 9,649
– Austin gives a great interview before the match with Kevin Kelly where he tells the WWF brass to kiss his ass if they have a problem with his foul language. Watching Austin’s stuff from 1996 as he was molding his character is classic.
-Opening Contest: Hunter Hearst-Helmsley (w/some girl) vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin:
Interesting opening contest as both men were heels. This would also be the last match of Triple H’s tenure on the “job squad” due to the Madison Square Garden incident. By the way, during this match Jim Ross’s microphone keeps going out and he blames his problems on Vince McMahon, who he was having a feud with at the announce table. Helmsley starts the match with an armdrag and Austin rolls out to the floor to jaw with a fan. Then, not to be outstaged, Helmsley goes out to jaw with the same fan. Back in, Austin gets an armdrag and flips Helmsley off. Austin gets a headlock for a one-count. Helmsley gets an elbow out of a hammerlock and we have more stalling. Ross makes an ominous prediction in saying that both men are destined to be WWF World champions. After a few slow moments Austin and Helmsley exchange slaps and Helmsley bails again. Back in, Helmsley gets a shoulderblock, only to have Austin come back with an elbow to the face and a kneedrop for two. Austin gets an armbar and drives some knees into the shoulder and works it over. Funny bits on commentary continue as Ross corrects McMahon’s calling of wrestling moves. Austin gets two off of a clothesline out of the corner and goes back to the arm. Helmsley hits a kneelift and takes Austin to the buckle as the crowd is dead. Helmsley whips Austin to the buckle and gets a backdrop. Suplex and a kneedrop by Helmsley gets two. Side suplex by Helmsley gets two and he covers with a sleeper for two. I have to say that while I applaud the WWF booking for putting a unique heel vs. heel matchup together I question making it the opening match because the crowd doesn’t know what to do. Austin powers out of a sleeper and both men exchange sleepers, which results in Austin getting a jawbreaker for two. Austin gets a hotshot and an elbowdrop off the second rope for two two-counts. Kneelift and a second rope fistdrop gets two for Helmsley. Double-clothesline spot gives us the double KO as Lawler asks Ross if he gets annoyed by McMahon’s “one, two, HE GOT HIM…no he didn’t” call during pinning situations. Mr. Perfect comes to ringside to take away Helmsley’s valet (the two were set to face off on the next Monday Night Raw) and that distracts Helmsley enough to allow Austin to hit him from behind. However, Austin then has a problem with Perfect and throws water in his face. Back in, Helmsley stomps away but decides not to Pedigree Austin and instead go after Perfect. Austin comes after Helmsley but Helmsley reverses a suplex in the aisle and Austin takes the move. Helmsley tries another Pedigree on the floor but Austin reverses and slingshots him into the ringpost. Back in, Austin hits the Stunner and wins the match at 15:31. Too many distractions in this match and the dead crowd hurt the rating as well. **
-Smoking Gunns-British Bulldog & Owen Hart Video Package
-Billy Gunn tells Doc Hendrix that after he wins the tag team belts back Sunny will return to his side. Bart Gunn has other ideas but Billy doesn’t care
-Marc Mero tells Jerry “the King” Lawler that tonight he will beat Goldust for the first time and as a result retain the Intercontinental title
-WWF Tag Team Championship Match: The British Bulldog & Owen Hart (Champions w/Clarence Thomas) vs. The Smoking Gunns:
Wow, another heel vs. heel booking for tonight’s match. Quite an interesting card to sell to fans, that’s for sure. This is the Gunns rematch against the Bulldog & Owen from In Your House: Mind Games when the Gunns Owen and Billy Gunn start the match and Billy gets two out of a headlock and finishes a brief sequence with a hiptoss. Ross’s microphone continues to have problems in this match continuing the hilarity. Another wrestling sequence sees Billy come on top again with a clothesline but a top rope axehandle gets a fist to the gut and the champions get a double-clothesline, a drop toe-hold/kneedrop back of the head combination, and a wishbone. Blind charge by the Bulldog eats buckle and Bart Gunn clotheslines him from the apron. Tag Bart and the Gunns get a double-clothesline for two. Bulldog gets some shoulderblocks but a crossbody off the ropes leads to a Bart powerslam. However, Bart misses a flying bodypress off the top rope and the Bulldog gets a crossbody off the ropes for two. Owen hits a missile dropkick and Billy interrupts the pin at two. Owen hits some headbutts and a double-clothesline is nailed by the champions. Bulldog pinballs Bart between the buckles for two. The champions continue to beat up Bart, who I guess is trying to play face in this match, and the Bulldog and Billy engage in a showboating contest on opposite sides of the apron. However, when Billy tries to showboat more than the Bulldog he gets too far away from his corner and Bart accidentally runs into him on a run of the ropes. Wow, that was a creative sequence. Billy asks Bart what the hell he just did and Owen gets a schoolboy for two. Nevertheless, the challengers regroup and get a double-Russian legsweep to Owen for two after Billy is tagged in. The Gunns dominate Owen and Bart gets two off of a swinging neckbreaker. Unfortunately, though, when the Gunns get ready to hit Owen with the Sidewinder, the Bulldog sneaks up behind Bart and pulls him out of the way when Billy is attempting to complete the move and Billy crashes to the canvas. Then, as the Bulldog brawls with Bart on the outside, Owen hits a dazed Billy with a spinning heel kick off the ropes and that get the pin at 9:17. Solid match that suffered from the crowd once again not knowing who to cheer for. **Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â½
-Jim Ross gets fed up with the announcing situation and goes into the ring to rant against McMahon. Then, he says that tomorrow night on Monday Night Raw there will be an appearance by Bret “the Hitman” Hart and chooses to leave the building.
-Ahmed Johnson’s attack on Faarooq is shown from the Free for All telecast
-Mr. Perfect comes to the announce table as a substitute for Jim Ross
-Intercontinental Championship Match: “Wildman” Marc Mero (Champion w/Sable) vs. Goldust (w/Marlena):
Goldust was the replacement for Faarooq, who was injured by Ahmed Johnson’s attack earlier in the evening. Mero gets an armdrag to start and they lockup into the corner, where Goldust tries to pet Mero and gets shoved to the canvas. Goldust hammers away but Mero gets a hiptoss off the ropes and more armdrags. Mero gets an armbar that he transitions into more drags. Well I think we all know what Marc’s favorite move is now. Goldust fires away in the corner some more and whips Mero into the corner. Way to show off the moveset tonight Dustin. Mero with a flying headscissors off the ropes, a backdrop, and after a clothesline Goldust rolls to the floor, where Mero hits him with a somersault plancha. Back in, Mero gets a slingshot legdrop into the ring from the apron for two. Blind charge by Goldust eats elbow but Goldust hits Mero with a side suplex when he tries to climb to the top rope. Mero is hurled to the outside and is then taken into the steps. Back in, the slugging continues until Goldust hits a clothesline for two. Chinlock time as Goldust appears to be zoning it in. Mero fights up only to get hit with a Goldust kneelift and Goldust fistdrop gets two two-counts. Back to the chinlock (ugh!) and Mero fights up and gets a flying bodypress for two. However, Goldust hits a clothesline to retain control and then calls for the house microphone where he tells the crowd to shut up because if they don’t he’ll shove his tongue down everyone’s throats. Mero hits a side suplex after that ridiculous charade and a Merosault gets two. Goldust whips Mero chest-first into the buckle and goes for a Curtain Call, but Mero floats over and gets a rollup for two. Mero, though, gets backdropped to the floor and Goldust slugs away. Perfect leaves the announce position to help Mero to his feet and Hunter Hearst-Helmsley returns to confront Perfect. Geez, do we need ANOTHER replay for this angle tonight? Perfect decks Goldust when he tries a sneak attack and, as Perfect confronts Helmsley in the aisle, Mero hits a Samoan drop and the Wild thing to retain at 11:37. I give Mero credit for trying, but it seemed as if Dustin just wanted to go through the motions and it messed this match up. Plus, making the match play fiddle to the Helmsley-Perfect saga sucked too but it would all come together the next night on Raw when Mero would drop the belt to Helmsley due to Perfect’s interference. **
-Vader-Sid Video Package
-Master of the Powerbomb/Number One Contender for the WWF Championship Match: Sid vs. Vader (w/Jim Cornette)
Ah, it’s the scheduled main event for Starrcade 1993 almost three years after the fact. The winner of this match gets a match with Shawn Michaels for the WWF Championship at Survivor Series and because of that Michaels comes out to do color commentary. Sid with fists to start and a clothesline and legdrop gets two. Sid does a five punch count in the corner but Vader blocks a bodyslam and unloads in the corner. Vader hits a short-arm clothesline and avalanches Sid against the buckles. Sid falls to the floor and Cornette hits him with the tennis racquet. Hmm, this match sure slowed down in a hurry. Slugfest from the apron and Sid tries a SUNSET FLIP into the ring but Vader crashes down on top of him. Damn, never seen Sid break that move out before. Vader with three short-arm clotheslines, but Sid side suplexes out of a headlock to give us a double KO spot. Vader whipped into the corner and Sid gets a big foot. Vader whips Sid into the corner but a blind charge eats boot. However, when Sid tries a flying bodypress off the top rope, Vader catches him and slams him. Splash off the ropes by Vader gets two. Second rope splash is nailed by Vader but he pulls Sid off the canvas twice as Cornette begs him to just pin him. Vaderbomb hits knees and Sid gets a slam. Cornette tries to help when Sid is getting ready to powerbomb Vader, but Sid crotches him on the middle rope when he tries to enter. Sid tries to powerbomb Vader again but Cornette distracts the referee and Vader gets a low blow. Vader then tries his luck with a powerbomb but Sid blocks and gets a chokeslam out of nowhere for the win at 8:01. After the match, Sid and Michaels shake hands and fireworks go off. This was one of the last chances the WWF had to do something great with Vader and of course they screwed it up. Match was much better than I expected it to be. *Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â½
-Survivor Series 1996 hype video
-Sid’s interview with Hendrix gets interrupted by Jim Ross and Sid messes up his promo by getting tongue tied and saying things that don’t make sense. Someone please tell me why this guy ended up with two WWF Championship reigns and guys like Vader didn’t
-Mankind-Undertaker Video Package
-Buried Alive Match: Mankind (w/Paul Bearer) vs. The Undertaker:
Funny moment on commentary as McMahon tells Lawler that he’d never participate in this kind of a match although he would many years later against the Undertaker at Survivor Series 2003. Slugfest starts us off and both men whip each other into the turnbuckles and fight out of them. Mankind tries to pull Undertaker to the floor, but the Undertaker kicks him back and Mankind takes a sick bump into the railing. Undertaker with a top rope flying clothesline onto Mankind on the floor and they fight up the aisle, with Mankind being rammed into the railing. However, when they reach the grave site Mankind hits the Undertaker with a shovel. Both men tumble down the grave area when the Undertaker blocks a Mankind suplex and they go back to the ring where Mankind gets taken to the steps. Back in, the Undertaker knocks Mankind back to the floor and then chokes him with a microphone cord. Undertaker hurls Mankind into the crowd and then tosses him back over the railing, following it up with a flying clothesline over the railing. I guess tonight we get to see lucha Undertaker and Mankind taking sick bumps but that’s their trademark. Back in, the Undertaker goes for the Old School ropewalk, only to have Paul Bearer shake the ropes and the Undertaker gets crotched on the top rope as a result. Nothing useful happens for a few more minutes except mindless punches and kicks so I grab a Coke out of my refrigerator. I return to see Mankind hitting the Undertaker repeatedly with some kind of foreign object Paul Bearer has evidently handed him with and whips the Undertaker into the buckles, but the Undertaker comes back with an elbow and uses the object against Mankind. Flying clothesline and legdrop are hit by the Undertaker. Undertaker stalks Bearer at ringside while Mankind grabs a chair, but the Undertaker hits Mankind when he sneaks behind him and no-sells an urn shot from Bearer. However, Mankind hits the Undertaker with the chair on a second attempt and rams his knee into the Undertaker’s face when the Undertaker is slumped against the steps. They go back to the grave site and Mankind kicks the Undertaker into the grave, but the Undertaker chokes Mankind when he is preparing to shovel dirt into the gravesite. Nevertheless, Mankind throws dirt in the Undertaker’s eyes only to have the Undertaker hiptoss Mankind off of the burial mound. They go back inside the ring and Mankind gets a stump piledriver. That’s the problem I have with Buried Alive matches: the fact that there can be little suspense because you have to have mindless brawling back and forth between the grave and the ring. Undertaker fights up only to have Mankind avoid an elbowdrop and get a double-arm DDT on a chair. However, the Undertaker rebounds, strikes Mankind with the chair and legdrops the chair across Mankind’s face. Mankind gets a stun gun on the apron, though, when the Undertaker tries to attack him from the apron. Concrete gets exposed on the arena floor but Mankind’s piledriver attempt, of course, gets reversed as the Undertaker lifts Mankind on his back and drops him sickly on the floor. I’m surprised Foley didn’t break his neck on that move. Back in, the Undertaker hurls the steps at Mankind and drops them down on his back. Undertaker hits the Tombstone and then puts Mankind on his back and carries him to the gravesite. However, at the gravesite Mankind hooks in the Mandible Claw, but when Mankind tries to strike the Undertaker with the urn he gets chokeslammed into the grave and the Undertaker shovels dirt on him to finish at 18:27. Simply a wild brawl filled with some entertaining bumps by Mankind. All in all a great effort to debut the new gimmick match. *** Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â½
-The Undertaker continues to bury Mankind after the bell has been rung when suddenly the Executioner makes his debut and knocks out the Undertaker with a shovel. Mankind and the Executioner continue to bury the Undertaker and later get assistance from Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw, Goldust, Hunter Hearst-Helmsley, and Crush. This goes on seemingly forever and culminates with a “lightning bolt” striking the grave and the Undertaker’s purple hand rising above the dirt as the show goes off the air. The “new” Undertaker look would debut at Survivor Series 1996 where the purple gloves and motif would be discarded and a rougher image would be displayed.
OVERALL TAPE RATING (BUST-****): *Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â½. This whole card was littered with “what?” matches for the most part. The card only had five matches in total with two of them being heel vs. heel (leading to crowd indecision that killed both) and one of them being a substitution bout. The only memorable thing to watch on this particular show is the debut of the Buried Alive gimmick unless you want to see Austin-HHH when neither of them had much heat. Additionally, this card’s highest rated match is the ***Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â½ Buried Alive contest with everything else somewhat lacking. Thus, I wouldn’t recommend running out to get this tape unless you are a collector of old WWF videos.