October 20, 1996

Hunter Hearst Helmsley . . . makes the most out of his first PPV match in forever with a couple of big bumps and a fun match with Austin.

Owen Hart . . . may be one of the best workers in the WWF, but even he can’t carry the Smoking Gunns two months in a row.

Mankind . . . bumps like the madman that he is, but doesn’t come close to having the match he had the month before.


The ‘heel versus heel’ nature of this makes it unique, although it doesn’t really come out in their work, other than the early crowd playing. Austin works like Dick Slater: he can win just using his technical skills, but he’ll kick you in the face, just because. There’s no real theme or story to the work, but it’s nice to watch Austin work that style, considering the style of matches he’d become known for working later on. HHH makes his first PPV shot in forever count by taking a couple of sick bumps, like the suplex on the floor and the slingshot into the post. His selling of Austin’s jawbreaker counter to the sleeper and the Stone Cold Stunner are also good moments from him. The match itself is overshadowed by both the Mr. Perfect interference angle, and also by the ‘shoot’ angle of Jim Ross having auido problems, but it’s nice to see that Austin and HHH tried to put on a show, despite them being the third wheel.


There were a few good exchanges between Owen and Billy, featuring Billy out-cheating Owen, but other than that, this is the usual, skippable, affair from the Gunns. Austin vs. HHH is miles ahead of this in every sense. The dissension that led to the dissolution of the Gunns is pretty much the only thing to really take away from this, with the miscue that leads to Billy knocking Bart off the apron, and the finish with the Sidewinder coming up short (thanks to Bulldog) leading to Owen picking up the pieces and pinning Billy.

MARC MERO © vs. GOLDUST (WWF Intercontinental Title)

This isn’t a bad showcase for Mero, he doesn’t do anything groundbreaking, but it’s a nice enough look at what he brought to the table before his knee injury derailed his WWF career. Goldust completely tanks this though, he’s not even doing his usual “mind games” stuff to try to get heat, he just sits in a chinlock for far too long and accomplishes nothing. Then, Hennig shows back up, leading to HHH coming out, to continue their angle, and amidst all the nonsense, Hennig decks Goldust and Mero wins with a Samoan drop and SSP. At least all the PPV time that this Perfect/HHH angle took up wasn’t in vain. HHH would win the title the next night, with help from Mr. Perfect, in one of Vince Russo’s first ever nonsensical swerves.

PSYCHO SID vs. VADER (#1 Contender’s Match for the WWF World Title)

The trend of “nothing special” continues. Vader pretty much squashes Sid, with Sid basically selling like UT does, laying like a sloth. Sid gets knees up on a powerbomb and makes the 1980's Hulk Hogan comeback, no selling everything and quickly dispatches Vader with a chokeslam. Yes, Vader was one of the best big men in the business. Why do you ask?

THE UNDERTAKER vs. MANKIND (Buried Alive Match)

Eh, there isn’t anything done here, that hadn’t already been done before. Foley bumps like a fiend for UT, and the match takes a noticeable dip in quality when Foley is on offense and UT is the one doing the bumping or selling. UT takes to air a couple of times, to give the match an important feel, but this is light years behind the Michaels/Foley match from the prior month in every way. UT eventually keeps Mick down for good and buries him to win the match. A bunch of the heels attack UT and he winds up taking the dirt nap, but he comes alive at the end. It’s a scene right out of the 1994 Royal Rumble. Oh, and Terry Gordy debuts here with the goofy gimmick of ‘The Executioner’ because just being Terry Gordy wasn’t good enough.

Conclusion: The first PPV without a Shawn Michaels match is the first one that I can’t say anything good about. The only bright spot is the opener, and even that winds up taking the backseat to two different angles. To quote John Spartan: “Skip it.”