Hello and welcome to the return edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews, I took a long hiatus because I was burnt out from wrestling to be honest. I struggled to be excited by wrestling during the Covid Era, things not being that much different as we look forward to the Royal Rumble. However, I have to keep going with these reviews because they are an escape from everything else. So, here we are with WWF In Your House: Buried Alive! The main event is a Buried Alive Match between The Undertaker and Mankind, potentially the end of the feud that has spanned for most of 1996, an excellent feud at that! We also have Sycho Sid vs Vader, Goldust vs Marc Mero and Austin vs Helmsley. Solid card with some potential hiccups, let’s see what happens tonight!
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Hunter Hearst Helmsley
Helmsley is subbing for Savio Vega which is quite odd as we get a lovely heel vs heel match, the lack of crowd reaction towards the foul-mouthed Rattlesnake tells you all you need to know. Helmsley has been largely absent from TV due to the MSG Incident so I have a feeling this will be quite one-sided. Dominating the early portion of the match is JR’s mic problems which never ever worked, nobody ever wanted to boo JR but that never stopped them from trying it multiple times. Arm-drag and pose from Helmsley, Austin is stalling and jaw-jacking with fans. Arm-drag from Austin and the fingers, Austin’s salute gets a reaction from the fans. Side headlock from Austin with a takedown for two, transition to hammerlock before an elbow from Helmsley.
Mr. Perfect is wrestling tomorrow on Raw, these two trade slaps with Austin winning that war, this is quite slow-paced between these two and it’s just not the match I wanted or needed to kick off the show. Lock-up and side headlock from Helmsley, Austin pulls the hair and eats a shoulder block before Austin lands a clothesline. Snap-mare and knee drop for two from Austin, another snap-mare into an arm-bar. Helmsley breaks free but Austin clamps on the arm-bar again while pulling on the hair of Helmsley. Austin is shoved off and Helmsley lands a massive knee to the ribs, right hand from Helmsley. Boots and rights from Helmsley, Austin reverses the hold and lands massive right hands. Helmsley reverses an Irish whip and lands a big back body drop, suplex from Helmsley.
Belly to back suplex from Helmsley for two, sleeper hold from Helmsley. Chants ring through the arena for Perfect, Austin elbows out and lands a shoulder block. Helmsley counters with a quick sleeper before Austin latches on a sleeper. Helmsley reverses for a sleeper, jaw-breaker counter from Austin for two. Irish whip, Helmsley eats a stun-gun. Middle rope elbow drop for two, Helmsley lands a massive knee to the face. Middle rope fist drop from Helmsley for two, double knockdown in the middle of the ring before the crowd pops for Mr. Perfect. Mr. Perfect stalks the valet of Helmsley, Austin pummels Helmsley before Perfect and Austin have words. Austin throws water on Perfect’s suit, Helmsley nails Austin from behind.
Perfect isn’t happy, Helmsley lands a big kick to the guts and thinks Pedigree but Helmsley spots Perfect with his woman. Austin clotheslines Helmsley in the ramp, suplex by Helmsley on the concrete. Helmsley wanted a Pedigree on the concrete but Austin counters with a catapult into the ring-post. Austin misses his knee attack in the ring but fakes being hurt and lands The Stunner for the win.
Odd to have two heels go at it, the crowd reacts to certain things Austin does inside of the ring but they remain on their hands for much of it, it’s a really strange choice of opening match. Crowd cares more about Perfect, his “impact” on the finish too was quite bizarre. They pack a lot in but neither man are white hot, it is a myth that Austin was white hot following KOTR 1996, don’t let yourself buy into that WWE narrative. Heel vs Heel without someone becoming a babyface at the end just comes off as odd to me, why book it? Why go there?
Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin over Hunter Hearst Helmsley via Stunner!
(WWF Tag Team Championship Match) The British Bulldog & Owen Hart © vs The Smoking Gunns
Fuck sake, two heel tag teams going at it? Why should I care? Billy is a prick who wants to win back Sunny and does not care about Bart while Bulldog and Owen are well-known heels with manager Clarence Mason. Owen and Billy to start, side headlock from Billy. Hip-toss from Billy, Billy talks trash too just for good measure. Also, Owen has cut his hair. Both men take turns grabbing one another’s hair off headlocks. Billy lands a massive clothesline, stomp to the face of Owen. Billy climbs high, diving axe handle does not work as Owen lands a gut punch. Double clothesline and drop toehold/leg drop combination for two, wishbone split from the champions. Bulldog whips Billy to the buckle, Bart lands a clothesline behind the referee’s back. Double elbow from the challengers, Bulldog grabs a side headlock.
Shoulder block from Bulldog, Bart lands a powerslam. Bart is on the top, crossbody misses and Bulldog lands a flying crossbody for two. Tag to Owen who lands a missile dropkick, jacknife cover for two. Double clothesline from the champions, Bulldog whips Bart from buckle to buckle with Bart collapsing to the mat. Sunny is watching on from backstage, tag to Owen who leg drops Bart. Slapping on a reverse chin-lock, Owen is in firm control. Bart escapes but bumps into Billy by mistake, Owen rolls-up Bart for a close two. Billy attacks Owen behind the referee’s back, hotshot from Billy. Bart distracted the referee, tag to Billy. Double Russian leg-sweep for two, neck-breaker from Billy who poses before tagging in Bart. Bart lands massive gut punches while Bulldog complains, swinging neck-breaker from Bart for two.
Bart drags Owen to his corner, tag to Billy. Repeated stomps from Billy, tag to Bart. Massive corner splash from Billy, tag to Bart again. Right hand from Bart, Bulldog pulls Bart down so Billy misses his top rope leg drop so Owen takes off the head of Billy with a Spinning Heel Kick for the win.
No hot-tag, no babyface and another match where the fans haven’t a clue of who they are supposed to cheer and who they are meant to react to, Bart who we are meant to be sympathetic towards cheats in the match so there is just no reason to care when it comes to this match. Nobody looks good when this is over, nothing really advances the angle between Billy and Bart either. They were outsmarted by Bulldog, no major dissension other than when they ran into one another.
Winners: Bulldog & Owen Hart over Smoking Gunns via Spinning Heel Kick!
(WWF Intercontinental Championship Match) Marc Mero © W/ Sable vs Goldust W/ Marlena
So this match makes little sense to me but I think it’s circumstantial. Ahmed Johnson’s title reign was cut short by injury which left us resorting to these two facing one another again. Neither man were booked strongly as 1996 progressed as Mero continued to do the job to Goldust and Austin while Goldust was fed to The Undertaker after losing his championship to Ahmed Johnson. However, we finally have a babyface vs heel match, what a novel concept!
Arm-drag from Goldust and pose, they lock-up and Mero returns the favour. Goldust backs Mero to the corner, Mero shoves back at Goldust. Goldust lures in Mero with kicks and boots, throat thrust to the face. Irish whip reversal from Mero, arm-drag and dragon screw with Japanese arm-drags before Mero clamps on an arm-bar. More arm-drags from Mero, Goldust grabs the face of Mero. Big eye-rake and chops from the challenger, whip to the buckle. Goldust spits on Mero, Mero fires up with a tackle. Right hands before Mero lands a head-scissors, back body drop from Mero followed up by a clothesline with Goldust powdering. Mero lands a massive tope con hilo with his foot collapsing under him, every time he hits that move I wonder if it’s going to pop on him.
Mero lands an elbow but Goldust powerbombs Mero to the mat when Mero wanted some sort of moonsault. Sable looks on concerned, Mero has his eyes raked and Goldust lands a massive clothesline. Reverse chin-lock from Goldust, Mero battles back but Goldust regains control slapping on another chin-lock. Crossbody from Mero for two, Goldust answers with a clothesline. Goldust wants a microphone, getting some heat. Mero lands a belly to back suplex to thwart The Bizarre One. Mero is up high, Merosault for a close two. Goldust whips Mero to the buckle, kidney shot and could it be Curtain Call time? Mero flips over, Rolling Prawn Hold pin for a close two. Goldust back-drops Mero to the floor, Goldust pursues The Wildman.
Goldust lands right hand after right hand, Mero is in dire straits. Helmsley is here, Helmsley wants a piece of Perfect. Perfect and Helmsley could be squaring off as the referee gets involved, Perfect waffles Goldust with a right hand. Mero throws Goldust to the buckle, Samoan drop from Mero. Mero wants to land Wild Thing/Marvelocity. Mero nails it and retains!
Quality finish, Mero hit it before for the first time I believe against Goldust and got only two, glad to see they learned from the previous mistake. This match was passable, largely better than what has come before because it had some semblance of a story as they weren’t two heels going at it. Not sure what we needed Perfect vs Helmsley cameo or Perfect nailing Goldust, seems like Perfect is the most over and important person in the WWF being all over this show thus far.
Winner: Marc Mero over Goldust via Wild Thing!
Sycho Sid vs Vader
Sid returned for the six-man tag match at International Incident as a babyface in a criminally underrated match during the dark days of the WWF. Now, these two battle in the battle of the powerbombs, I enjoy both men’s work when they have over and good selling babyfaces across the ring from them. This is two monsters slugging it out against one another and it will be ugly no doubt about it. To add weight to this match we have HBK coming to ringside to see who will be his challenger at Survivor Series 1996. Vader and Sid start hammering one another, clothesline and leg drop from Sid. Sid lands big right hands in the corner, Vader does not want to be slammed. Vader pummels Sid in the corner with rights and lefts, short-arm clothesline. Cornette whacks Sid with the tennis racket to aid Vader in this war. Sid eats a massive hip drop from Vader, short-arm clotheslines from Vader.
Sid sends Vader to the buckle, corner boot from Sid. Vader whips Sid, Vader eats a boot to the face, Sid climbs to the top rope. Diving crossbody but Vader catches Sid, scoop slam from Vader. Running splash from Vader for two, middle rope splash from Vader but Vader pulls up Sid. Vader-Bomb time! Sid blocks with his knees to the ribs, massive clothesline and scoop slam. Cornette tries entering the ring but Sid sends the rope into Cornette’s nuts. Vader low-blows Sid to survive the powerbomb, Sid blocks the powerbomb and ducks a clothesline and lands a Chokeslam for the win!
The Battle of The Powerbombs ends with a Chokeslam! Well, that’s disappointing, what kind of marketing is that for this match? That being said, it was mercifully quick and didn’t overstay its welcome. Sid sold when Sid had to, Vader got his shit in and Sid wins. Solid
Winner: Sycho Sid over Vader via Chokeslam!
(Buried Alive Match) Mankind w/ Paul Bearer vs The Undertaker
One of the most shocking betrayals in the WWF was Paul Bearer joining forces with Mankind to turn his back on The Undertaker. Mankind had continuously beaten The Deadman, defeating Undertaker in The Boiler Room Brawl but this is Undertaker’s match, Undertaker’s domain with this Buried Alive Match. The match starts in the ring and will end up by the gravesite, Taker slugs it out with Mankind. Mankind boots away Taker, right hands from Mankind. Whip to the buckle but Taker flies out with rights and lefts, Mankind is kicked to the floor. Undertaker is on the top rope, diving clothesline to the floor from The Deadman. Paul Bearer watches on as Taker smashes Mankind off the guard rail, Mankind is running away. They are right by the grave, Taker pummels Mankind into the dirt. Mankind manages to whack Taker with the shovel. Taker avoids a suplex into the grave with a small package, Bearer is cheering on Mankind who is backing away from Taker.
Mankind is bounced off the steel steps, Taker lands a hard right which sends Mankind to the floor. Taker chokes Mankind with a cable, Bearer is not happy at all. Taker tosses Mankind in and out of the crowd before diving over the guardrail to land a clothesline on Mankind. Taker has Mankind in the ring, looking for Old School. Paul Bearer shakes the rope to thwart Taker, Mankind attempts to choke out Taker, Taker manages to avoid being choked out but Mankind is in control. Taker sends Mankind into the buckle, clubbing blow to the back. Uppercut floors Mankind, Paul Bearer hands Mankind an object to stab Taker with, Mankind obliges and takes down Taker. Mankind drives the stake into the head of Taker, whip to the buckle but Taker explodes out with an elbow.
Taker strikes Mankind down with the stake, Mankind is groggy. Massive flying clothesline from The Deadman, leg drop from Taker. Mankind has a chair while Taker stalks Paul Bearer, boot from Taker. Paul Bearer nails Taker with the urn which creates a distraction for Mankind to wallop Taker with a chair-shot to the head. Up against the steps, Mankind delivers a vicious knee to the head. Mankind and Taker are in the grave slugging it out, Mankind could not bury The Deadman. Mankind throws dirt in Taker’s eyes, Taker blocks a hip-toss and hip-tosses Mankind off the gravesite. They go back to the ring, Mankind is looking for a piledriver, Mankind connects with a vicious pulling piledriver. Taker blocks the mandible claw but misses the elbow drop, Paul Bearer slides in a chair.
Double Arm DDT on the chair! Taker is laying motionless as Mankind cradles the urn. The Deadman sits up, Mankind is whacked with the chair across the back. Taker leg drops the chair into the face of Mankind, Mankind rolls to the apron and hot-shots Taker. Mankind rips up the protective ring-mats, Taker blocks the piledriver and drops Mankind into the steel steps. Mankind eats the steel steps to the face and the back, Tombstone Piledriver! Taker carries Mankind to the grave, Mandible Claw on Taker by the gravesite. Mankind has the urn, Taker grabs Mankind by the throat. Chokeslam into the grave, unbelievable from The Deadman. Taker looks to bury Mankind, and Taker is declared the winner of the match! Taker is shoving down referee after referee, wanting to bury Mankind but hold on who is this? It’s some sort of Executioner who waffles Taker with a shovel, this masked man saves Mankind and throws Taker in the grave. All the heels help Mankind bury Taker, this is insane! But you know, you never can really kill what is already dead!
Solid main event from the WWF on a night where the action was less than stellar, these two brawl and beat the piss out of one another like they have done in the past. Mankind has been amazing throughout the year of 1996, pulling out performances of The Undertaker that didn’t seem possible. These two like they have done many times during this year bring us some brutal looking bumps with Mankind taking the majority no surprise there at all. Taker wins the match as it’s time for Taker to go over but Mankind looked like a star in there with The Deadman, holding his own in this series of matches and his championship match with HBK. The two will now drift away from one another following next month’s Survivor Series and I eagerly await what will be next for two superstars in the WWF who needed each other so badly with Mankind coming in at the right time to rise as a top star in the WWF and Undertaker looking reinvigorated by this feud with The Deadman!
Winner: Undertaker over Mankind via Burying His Opponent!
That was WWF In Your House: Buried Alive, a disappointing pay per view from the WWF. We kick things off with a heel vs heel match that does not favours for anyone involved in that mess, the crowd only reacts big to Perfect who I know will be in WCW by this time next year so that can only mean good things. Anyways, Austin vs Helmsley work-rate wise is fine but the fans are confused and don’t know who they should react to, things continue in the next match between two heel tag team champions. How did we end up here? Because the tag team division resembled a toilet during this era but come on, I really had to watch another heel vs heel match following the opener, what were they thinking? Again, fans are confused and it goes nowhere with the teased dissension not being paid off so why bother having this match? Marc Mero vs Goldust is what I expected from these two, The Bizarre One’s gimmick could not match his ring-work during this time with matches being more a psychological battle than a physical one and Mero while explosive at times is let down by his selling and well a decent opponent in this scenario. So, they meander around with interference from Perfect because why not and the match comes to an end and I haven’t got a reason to care about either of these two.
Sid vs Vader was built as The Battle of The Powerbombs and it ended with a Chokeslam, that tells you everything you need to know really. Quite short not offensive but my god how do you not have that end with a Powerbomb? Would have protected Vader but lord knows they didn’t care too much about doing that so I guess the dumb finish makes sense. Main Event delivers, Taker and Mankind brawl around the arena, make use of weapons and take some big bumps with Taker gaining a measure of revenge against a man who has consistently beaten him over the course of the feud, we keep the feud going with the finish that will climax at the next pay per view. Solid main event but not enough to save this pay per view, I hope and pray that Survivor Series 1996 is somewhat better because this was a tough slog and it sums up WWF during this time quite well! Thanks for reading and remember: there’s always another night!