- Originally broadcasted on Pay-Per-View on November 17th, 1996, from Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross are on commentary, unless otherwise noted. For those who haven't read my In Your House series of recaps, I would like to point out that this was around the time when I was seriously starting to lose interest in not just the WWF product, but wrestling altogether. It wasn't so much one big thing, but a bunch of little things that balled up into a heaping pile of hatred... but that's a rant for a day that will never come, so let's go to ringside.
We come back from an advertisement spot, with Sincere tossing Bart Gunn to the floor. Sincere nails Bart with an awesome baseball slide/dropkick. Whip to the ropes is reversed, and Bart with a sidewalk slam for three at 5:15. Bradshaw puts the boots to Bart and lays into him in the corner. Whip across the ring, and Bart takes him over with a hip toss. Holly tags in and hits the dropkick for two. Whip to the ropes, and Bradshaw puts him down with a big boot. Bradshaw with a Russian leg sweep for two. Holly with a hurricanrana. Whip to the ropes, and the Lariat finishes Holly at 6:56. Jesse James sneaks in with a roll up for three at 7:06, despite Bradshaw's shoulders NOT being down. Way to blow a spot. Sultan trips up James and sends him to the corner, but misses a charge. Sultan catches him off the ropes with a back breaker, but gets trapped in a small package and counted down at 8:05. Billy comes in and quickly Rocker Droppers Jesse James for three at 8:20. Bart and Billy finally go at it, and Bart gets trapped in the Andre Special™. Billy misses a big dive and gets laid out with a forearm for three at 9:03. Really, a FOREARM is the final elimination finisher? Match was just something to warm up the crowd. It dragged at times, then went into super-rushed eliminations mode.
Furnas in for the first time, and he quickly grabs a headlock. Whip to the ropes, and a criss-cross sequence ends with Furnas missing a dropkick. Blown spot. Cassidy in, and he nails Furnas with an elbow, then takes him over with a version of a uranage for two. Owen with a blind tag, coming off the top rope with a missile dropkick. Furnas counters a suplex with a small package, but Owen quickly kicks out and rushes through him with a clothesline. Owen with a fisherman suplex for two. Bulldog with his signature suplex, but he rather showboat than go for a cover. Cassidy follows Furnas into the corner with a clothesline, then connects with a stomache buster. LaFon gets the most heatless hot tag, sets Cassidy on the top, and a reverse super-plex pops the crowd and eliminates Cassidy at 13:39. That was indeed awesome. LaFon with a spinning heel kick on Bulldog for two. LaFon with a series of knee strikes for another two count. Whip to the ropes, and Bulldog presses LaFon into the air and drops him down, face first. Owen tags in, and he takes LaFon over with a belly-to-belly suplex for two. Owen with a neck breaker, followed by a second rope elbow drop for two. Owen feeds the foot and hits the enziguri for yet another two count. Bulldog tags in, and a double clothesline hits. LaFon offers a comeback, but Bulldog goes blatantly low. Owen sends LaFon to the corner, but meets a knee on a charge attempt. Owen takes a shot at Furnas, but a double team on LaFon fails, and LaFon rolls Bulldog up for three at 17:20. Bulldog clips the knee of LaFon like a true sportsman on his way out. Owen goes to work on the leg, slapping on an Indian death lock. LaFon comes back with a reverse kick in the style of the enziguri, and finally tags out to Furnas. He lays Owen out with a dropkick for two. Overhead belly-to-belly suplex for another two count. Whip to the corner, Owen takes a chest first bump allowing Furnas to finish him off with a vicious release German Suplex at 20:40, making the newcomers Furnas and LaFon the Survivors. Despite a mostly dead crowd, there was some decent action and impressive spots from the newbies (stuff that wasn't WWF Style, of course), and even the stuff involving the Godwinns wasn't too bad.
Back in the ring, Mankind sends Undertaker to the corner and follows in with a knee to the face. Whip to the corner, and Undertaker explodes right out with an elbow. He continues to pound away and takes a bite out of Mankind's knuckle sandwich. Taste good? Whip to the ropes, Mankind catches Undertaker with his head down and drives him into the canvas with a piledriver. He goes for the Mandible Claw, but Undertaker blocks. Mankind runs into a boot, but slips through the Tombstone and locks the Claw on. Undertaker with a leverage throw to send Mankind to the floor, and breaking the hold. Undertaker rams him into the rail, and goes back to slamming the hand into the ring steps. Undertaker goes Old School, as J.R. declares it "Vintage Undertaker." Mankind pretty much no sells and takes 'Taker down with a swinging neckbreaker. Mankind with a slow climb to the top, allowing Undertaker to pound away and plant him with the chokeslam. Undertaker with a charge, but Mankind ducks and we end up on the floor, again. Mankind tries the somersault again, but Undertaker avoids that, as well. Undertaker traps Mankind's hand in the Andre Special™, but that doesn't last long. Mankind hooks a sleeper, but 'Taker escapes with a back suplex. Mankind pulls something out of his tights and lays 'Taker out with it. Mankind continues going to the well, until Undertaker finally recovers (or becomes used to the pain) and finishes Mankind off with the Tombstone Piledriver at 13:13 (mockingbird lane). Undertaker gets his 5-minutes... but the Executioner (Terry Gordy) makes the save, ruining the match. Just kidding. It's pretty good, one of the best from the Undertaker from this era.
We get a good few minutes of stalling before something finally gets going, and it's Mero and Goldust who FINALLY get it going. Mero with a hip toss, followed by rights. Whip to the corner, and Mero with a back drop. Arm drag by Mero, then locks on an armbar. Mero with a surprise school boy for two, then back to the arm. Windham tags in, and a criss-cross ends with a clothesline. Helmsley tags in, but tags back out to Crush when Mero comes in. Miavia tags in for the first time and goes for the arm. Lawler tags in, and comes off the ropes with a shoulder. Miavia nips up, and a criss-cross ends with a pretty sloppy dropkick. Lawler tries a sneak attack, but cowers in the corner. Vince McMahon actually refers to Miavia as his real name and explains the reasoning of the name "Rocky Miavia." SHOOT! SHOOT! SHOOT! Helmsley puts the boots to him, and takes him over with a suplex. Goldust in with an elbow drop for two. Crush pounds away and connects with a back breaker. Miavia continues to take a beating from everyone. Miavia makes the hot-ish tag to Roberts, who unloads on Helmsley with rights. He connects with the short-arm clothesline, and we know what's coming next. Helmsley blocks a DDT attempt, and it's a gang beating in the corner that follows. Jake takes a beating, Lawler comes in to pick up the pieces, and he eats a DDT for the first elimination at 11:28.
Goldust comes in to continue pounding on Roberts. Snapmare, and it's chinlock time. I just don't see the point of a long resthold with so many people still involved. Is it that hard to make it interesting? Roberts ecapes with a jaw buster and tags out to Windham. He takes Goldie over with a suplex and floats over into a cover for two. Goldust rakes the eyes, but jumps into a fist from the second rope. Crush with a shot from behind, and Goldust finishes Windham off with the Curtain Call at 14:11. Mero with a knee lift, but Goldust quickly puts him down with a clothesline. Helmsley comes in and puts the boots to him in the corner, then drops a knee for two. Helmsley with a back breaker, and Crush comes in to slap on a bearhug. Crush with a pair of back breakers and a leg drop for two. Goldust with a diving clothesline for two. Whip to the ropes, and Helmsley locks on the abdominal stretch. Yes, he does get help for extra leverage. Mike Rotundo would be proud. This goes on for a while. Mero escapes, and a sunset flip spot goes on for about 45-seconds. Were they inspired by the never-ending fight scene from They Live with that? Mero surprises Helmsley with a head scissors. Whip to the ropes, and he takes the Champ over with a back drop. Mero gets dumped to the floor, but comes back in with a moonsault for the three count att 20:47. Crush tries his luck, but Mero remains in control. He misses a plancha, thanks to some help from Goldust. Back in the ring, the Heart Punch finishes Mero at 21:58. Roberts comes in, but Crush ducks the clothesline and Heart Punches him for another elimination at 22:21. Goldust and Crush work Miavia over for a bit, but he takes both out with a body press. Goldust goes low to slow things down, but Crush accidentally hits Goldust with the Heart Punch. Miavia with a body press on Crush for three at 24:39, then finishes Goldust off with the running shoulder breaker at 25:09 to become the Sole Survivor. Positives: knocking Mero and Helmsley out sort-of early, instead of the predictable finish. Cons: Everything else. Just too long and dull. The fans appreciation of Miavia would be short-lived, when he finally had to start talking and smiling some more.
Austin continues targeting the neck and chest with stomps, then slingshots him from under the bottom rope. Austin with a snapmare and settles in with a rear chinlock. Austin with a pair of knees across the throat for a two count, then goes back to the chinlock. Bret with rights to the midsection to force a break, escalating into a slugfest, won by Austin. He takes it to the corner, and teases stomping a mudhole, before it became a signature spot. Whip to the corner is reversed, and Bret lays Austin out with a clothesline. He connects with an inverted atomic drop and comes off the ropes with another clothesline. Whip to the ropes, fist to the midsection, and a roll up gets two. Russian leg sweep from the Hitman for another two count. Bret goes for a bulldog, but Austin pushes off, sending Bret 145 mph chest first into the corner. They battle over a suplex, with Austin setting Bret up across the top turnbuckle. Bret counters, dropping Austin face-first, then follows from the top rope with an elbow drop. It's only good for a two count. Bret goes for a back breaker, but Austin rakes the eyes to break free. Whip to the ropes, and Austin side-steps Bret, tossing him through the ropes in the process.
Austin follows, coming off the apron with a double axehandle, then continues to pound away across the back, culminating in ramming Bret's back into the ring post. Bret takes his time to talk trash, allowing Bret to bum-rush and tackle him through the security rail. Bret stomps away and rams him into the rail, knocking it over. Someone keep the fans back, before they riot. Bret tosses Austin back in the ring, and Austin rolls right back out on the opposite side of the ring. Bret follows, but it's a trap! Austin with a double leg sweep, and follows with a slingshot onto the spanish announcers table! Austin jumps on top to pound away, and they start vanishing under the table. You think they were trying to break the table with that spot? Austin slams Bret across the table (still doesn't break), then comes off the apron with an elbow across the chest. Austin brings Bret back in with a suplex and comes off the second rope with an elbow drop for two. Austin with another elbow across the chest for a two count. Whip to the corner, and since it's Bret, you know the ring inched over a little bit. He chokes Bret across the middle rope and comes crashing down with all his weight for two. Austin slaps on the abdominal stretch, and yes, he does use the ropes for extra leverage. I've never heard a crowd so into a stretch spot. We get another slugfest, this time with Bret gaining the upperhand. Whip to the ropes is reversed twice, and Bret returns the Stun Gun.
Bret with an Oklahoma roll for a near fall. Piledriver for another two count. Bret with the side back breaker on the second attempt. He climbs to the top rope, but Austin recovers in time to crotch him up. Austin lays into him with rights and chops (crowd chanting Woo? I guess this was when it was starting), then takes him down with a super-plex, but Bret somehow hooks the legs of Austin for another two count. Austin hits the Stunner from out of nowhere, but Bret kicks out at two. He must not have gotten all of it. Austin covers again for two. Austin with a series of mounted rights and another cover, still no good. Austin slaps on a Texas Cloverleaf, but Bret is able to crawl his way to the ropes and force the hold broken. Whip to the corner, and Bret slides ribs first into the post. Ouch. I hope that post is being paid overtime for this match. Austin covers for two, and slaps on a bow-and-arrow. Bret escapes and goes for the sharpshooter, but Austin is in the ropes. Bret goes for plan B, punching the hell out of him, instead. Whip to the ropes, and Bret slaps on a sleeper. Austin rams him back into the post and breaks it with a jaw buster. Austin with the Million Dollar Dream, but Bret kicks off the top turnbuckle and pins Austin down for the three count at 28:36. Yes, it's recycled from WrestleMania VIII, but who cares. I still believe their WrestleMania 13 match is their best and one of my all-time favorites, but I forgot how damn good this one turned out to be. In the big picture of things, Austin looked like a star at Bret's expense, even in defeat, and even then, Bret's win could've been classified as a fluke. Defintely an outstanding job in finally giving Austin that rub he needed to be put into the category of top of the card performers.
Funk and Vader start, making this the highpoint of the match. Vader shoves him down, only to nip up and shake his hips. Vader with rights and lefts, followed by a short-arm clothesline. Whip to the ropes, and Funk comes off the ropes with a spinning heel kick, followed by a body press, taking both himself and Vader to the floor. Funk with a moonsault from the top rope, to the floor. Back in the ring, and Vader lays him out with a body charge. Whip to the ropes, and Vader counters a hurricanrana with a powerbomb. Yokozuna's fat ass comes in, looking as disgusting as possible, and injures Vader with the move later known as the Rock Bottom. That would be it for Yoko's involvement in the match. Faarooq and Savio in now. Vega takes him down with a spinning heel kick, but Faarooq rakes the eyes and tags out to "Razor." Savio with arm drags and a dropkick. Savio avoids a boot in the corner and continues to hammer away. "Razor" catches Vega off the ropes with the fallaway slam. "Diesel" tags in and pounds on Flash, then lays him out with a clothesline. "Diesel" with a press slam, but Flash escapes and unwisely goes for a sunset flip. Faarooq tags back in and plants Funk into the canvas with a spinebuster. Vega tags in, because his obese and geriatric partners can't work anymore. He takes him to the corner, and I'm sorry, looking at Yokozuna is a horrible disgusting image every time. Snuka tags in for the first time and chops away on "Diesel", but runs into a knee in the corner. Vader comes in, and is victimized by Snuka with a headbutt, dropkick, and SLAM. Way to put over that new talent. Savio finally takes the first pinfall, following a Powerbomb from "Diesel" at 8:33. Snuka comes back in, and makes short work of "Razor", finishing him off with his signature Superfly Splash at 9:27. Then everyone gets Disqualified for brawling at 9:44, meaning we have no Survivors. We had a shortage of time, so we didn't get rapid fire eliminations instead? Stupid, stupid, stupid... and other than the stuff with Flash and Vader, a horrible example of what was wrong with the WWF at the time.
Sid walks Shawn around the ring and press slams him across the security rail. Back in the ring, Sid covers for two. Whip to the ropes, and he takes the Champion over with a back drop. Sid with more charging boots to the face. He would fit in well in 2012 WWE. Whip to the corner, Shawn lands on the apron and hangs Sid across the top rope. Shawn to the top, but Sid catches him (to a monster pop) and slams him down into a back breaker for a two count. Whip to the corner, and damn those buckles have taken a beating. Shawn keeps asking for more, and Sid gives it to him. Shawn offers a comeback in the form of a slugfest, and randomly plants Sid with a slam. Shawn to the middle rope, and he jumps into an obviously lifted boot. Sid with a Cobra Clutch (or Million Dollar Dream, whatever). Way to steal big submission holds from the last match, jackasses. Shawn fights free, but misses Sweet Chin Music, and Sid plants him with the chokeslam. Crowd approves, but he doesn't cover. He signals for the powerbomb, but Shawn cradles him for two. Whip to the ropes, and Sid with a powerslam for two. Shawn comes off the ropes with the diving forearm, but Sid no-sells the nip up and levels him with a clothesline for another two count. Suddenly, Sid grabs a camera and bashes Lethario with it. Shawn hits Sweet Chin Music, but is too concerned with his mentor's well-being. We get a referee bump on top of things, and Hebner at least stays down for this one. Sid hits Shawn with the camera, and the Powerbomb gives Sid the WWF Championship at 19:27. Probably Sid's best match, ever. He still looked mostly like his typical-self, but he had obvious moments of trying, and for as much as I disliked Shawn during this time of his career, it was a hell of a job carrying the guy.
Final Thoughts: One of the few WWF Pay-Per-Views from 1996 worth a damn. The standard elimination matches were an afterthought at this point, and the quality in them shows (but hey, the Rock made his WWF Debut here, remember!), but the three singles matches all ranged from pretty good to excellent. Undertaker/Mankind isn't much different from other matches they've had, but it's still good, Shawn carried Sid like the world was coming to an end, and Austin/Bret was one of the best matches the WWF put on in 1996. I know there wasn't a whole lot of competition, but it still counts. Definitely worth giving a look, if you've never seen before.
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