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Leighty’s WWF In Your House: Buried Alive Retro Review

October 13, 2021 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
WWF In Your House: Buried Alive
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Leighty’s WWF In Your House: Buried Alive Retro Review  

-I enjoyed going back to watch Mind Games and the ending of Shawn/Mankind made me want to see this show, so let’s get to it!

-Announce Team: Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler
-Original Air Date: Oct 20, 1996
-Market Square Arena, Indianapolis, IN
-Attendance: 9,649
-PPV Buys: 100,000

-Show opener all about Taker/Mankind in the first ever Buried Alive Match. SONY’S PLAYSTATION PRESENTS BURIED ALIVE. Oh man, I remember buying my PlayStation off my high school friend and it was just glorious when I turned that thing on for the first time. Nothing was as high tech as a video game that used actual NFL footage in the opening like Game Day or Madden did. Kids today just wouldn’t understand!

-Vince, King, and JR are at ringside to set the stage and heel JR is questioning why he doesn’t have a mic. Yep, this is still a thing.

Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

-Look at these two jerking the curtain! Kevin Kelly is standing by with Austin and it seems this was to be Austin vs Savio, but Savio is out injured and we get this match. Austin gives Hunter credit for stepping in the ring with him. If Bret doesn’t announce he is retiring tomorrow, he will retire him and if you have a problem with his language, you can kiss his ass. Jim Ross smugly tells Vince that you can’t censor some people and Vince just rolls along with it. JR’s mic starts to cut in and out as Vince tells us there is audio difficulty and JR isn’t buying it. That starts a running gag for this match. HHH gets an armdrag and then bows at Austin which is a big part of his offense at this point. Austin goes outside to talk trash to a fan as we see tech guys trying to fix JR’s headset. Next HHH goes out to talk smack to the same fan, and of course JR’s mic still isn’t working. Back in the ring Austin gets an armdrag and flips Hunter the bird. Austin controls with a side headlock, but Hunter breaks with an elbow. JR plugs Bret coming back on RAW tomorrow and he wants to make sure we know it was all because of him. He then bitches about his headset not working being a conspiracy. The crowd chants for Perfect as he was set to return to in ring action on RAW, but that didn’t happen. If you are wondering about the match, nothing is happening as everything is focused on JR and they are stalling in the ring. Finally we get some action as Austin gets in some shots to a nice pop from the crowd as he is clearly the face in this one. Vince notes both of these guys can be future WWF Champions. Yep! Austin works the arm with a wristlock as JR makes sure to point out the names of the holds to Vince. Hunter breaks with a poke to the eye and throws chops in the corner. Austin comes out of the corner with a clothesline as Vince intentionally talks over JR trying to call the match and you can tell he is getting frustrated. JR: “A lot of rich, arrogant people live in Greenwich, Connecticut? Where do you live Vince?” Vince answers “Connecticut” and JR responds “There you go.” Nice! Back to the action in the ring as Austin gets sent flying off a backdrop. Snap suplex and then Hunter drops the knee for two. Belly to back suplex gets another two and then Hunter grounds things with a side headlock. We split screen back to the announce desk to hear JR complain some more. Austin and Hunter take turns trading sleepers before Austin connects with a jawbreaker for two. Stun Gun and middle rope forearm gets a two count. Then another as Austin is annoyed with the ref. Hunter reverses a whip and hits the high knee. He heads to the middle rope and drops a fist for a two count. Double clothesline leaves both men down and that brings out Mr. Perfect to a strong pop. He steals the woman that accompanied Hunter to the ring and that leads to Hunter heading outside, but Austin decks him from behind. Austin talks trash to Perfect because of course he would and then he throws a glass on soda on him. Hunter blasts Austin from behind off the distraction. Perfect walks out with the woman while Hunter sets for The Pedigree. He drops the hold though to go out after Perfect. Austin out and he tries a suplex on the floor, but Hunter blocks and gets one of his own. Hunter sets for a Pedigree on the floor, but Austin blocks and then catapults Hunter into the ring post. They head back in the ring where Austin misses the legdrop on the ropes, but he ends up hitting The Stunner anyway to win this one at 14:58.

Winner: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin via pin at 14:58
-This was solid, but kind of weird seeing these two go at it in a heel/heel match before their rise up the card. The JR angle on commentary may distract some from the match, but it was very solid and got Austin a good win before his showdown with Bret next month. ***

-Video package to set the stage for Bulldog/Owen vs The Smoking Gunns in a rematch for the Tag Titles. Bulldog/Owen won the Titles a month earlier at Mind Games. Since then, Sunny is no longer with The Gunns and Clarence Mason is now the manager for Owen/Bulldog.

-The Gunns are backstage with Dok Hendrix and Billy is only concerned about getting Sunny back. Bart isn’t happy!

WWF Tag Team Championship: The British Bulldog (c) and Owen Hart (c) (w/ Clarence Mason) vs. The Smoking Gunns

-JR is still having mic issues, but does note that he thinks Sunny is the most overrated manager in WWF history. Billy and Owen start and it should be noted this is another heel/heel match. JR notes he is having dinner with Bret Hart later tonight and he will be on RAW tomorrow. Vince sets JR up with some questions only for JR’s mic to keep fading out. Owen and Billy have a decent opening sequence that ends with Owen getting caught with a clothesline. Billy off the top, but gets caught with a right hand to the ribs. Bulldog in and Owen gets a drop toehold so Bulldog can drop a leg to the back of the head. Billy backs Bulldog into the corner and lands some shots. Bulldog gets a whip, but misses a charge in the corner. Bart gets a cheap shot from the apron as they show us Sunny watching on a monitor in the back. JR thinks Sunny missed too many trips to the woodshed which has Vince and Lawler questioning what is in the woodshed. Bart misses a move off the top which lets Bulldog make the tag. Owen gets a dropkick, but Billy breaks up the pin attempt. Double clothesline from Owen and Bulldog. Bart gets whipped from one corner to another and we go back to Sunny. Lawler drools over her and wants her to wink and she does which has his voice raise a few octaves. Again, 1996 Sunny is just gorgeous. Billy and Bart start arguing with each other and it nearly costs them as Owen gets a roll-up for two. They get back on the same page and hit a double Russian Leg Sweep for two. Billy with a weird looking elbow drop and we go back to Sunny, because why not? Neckbreaker from Bart gets a two count as he took a bit long for the cover. Owen gets sent into the corner and Billy gets the alley-oop off Bart’s back for the flying forearms. Sidewinder next, but Bulldog hides behind Bart and pulls him away as Billy comes off the top. Bulldog takes Bart to the floor and Owen hits a spin wheel kick for the win at 9:18. We get a final shot of Sunny as she is cheering for Owen and Bulldog.

Winners and Still WWF Tag Team Champions: The British Bulldog and Owen Hart via pin at 9:18
-About on par with last month’s match, but this one was a little shorter which is probably a good thing. The ending was clever. **1/4

-Back on The SUPERSTAR LINE is Mr. Perfect and Hunter.

-JR has left the announce table and is in the ring to rage against the machine. Vince points out that JR’s mic has been working now. JR mentions Vince fired him twice, but tomorrow on RAW Bret Hart will be live. JR says he went to South Africa and he is the one that brought Bret back. It seems Bret has a lot to say to the fans and maybe even to Vince McMahon and The WWF Champion. JR takes one more shot at Vince and throws his mic at him before taking his leave. Twenty-five years later and this is still baffling to watch.

-Earlier tonight on The Free for All Faarooq and Ahmed Johnson made threats to each other and then Ahmed ends up leaving Faarooq laying.

-Mr. Perfect is out next and Jim Ross is in his ear and they shake hands. For anyone watching you would think JR is the star of this show. Perfect joins the announce team and says he is here to watch The Intercontinental Title Match. Tomorrow night he will take out all his frustrations on Hunter.

”The Wild Man” Marc Mero (c) (w/ Sable) vs. Goldust (w/ Marlena)

-We get a promo from Mero before the match and it ends up being a shouting match with Lawler. Then Perfect and Lawler get into it verbally as the announce team antics just keep going on this show. This was made during the Free 4 All due to Faarooq’s injury. Perfect rants about Austin and promises to humiliate Hunter tomorrow. Goldust lands a kick and throws heavy blows to the back and then lands an uppercut. Mero with a hiptoss as Perfect puts over Razor and Diesel being great athletes that were brought back by JR. Man, twenty five years later and still dumbfounded they went with that angle. Desperate times during The Monday Night War I guess. Goldust lands some chops in the corner as Lawler talks about how ugly Sable is and boy would that tune change. Good thing Brock doesn’t watch Peacock. Goldust spits on Mero and that fires him up as he runs through his offense which sends Goldust to the floor. Mero up top with a somersault plancha to the floor and then a slingshot legdrop back in the ring for a two count. Mero up top again, but Goldust brings him down with a modified powerbomb. Back to the floor as Goldust sends Mero into the steps. Back inside the ring Goldust with a nice clothesline for two and then he goes to a reverse chinlock. Lawler and Perfect continue to snip at each other. I mean, they are doing a great job of hyping Perfect vs Hunter, but it never happened. Even Vince admits they are having trouble directing the action towards the ring thanks to the commentary. Another clothesline from Goldust and then he gets a mic from The Fink. He tells the fans to shut up and if they don’t he will stick his tongue down everyone’s throats. That gives commentary a chance to make jokes about The US Army and Bill Clinton. Mero gets a moonsault for two, but catches a shot to the kidneys. Curtain Call is countered into a roll up for two. Mero gets dumped over the top to the floor. Perfect is tired of the ref and heads over to help Mero back in the ring. Hunter is out and stares down with Perfect. Goldust tries to get a cheap shot, but Perfect decks him which the ref misses. Mero gets a Samoan Drop back in the ring and The Wild Thing finishes at 11:36.

Winner and Still WWF Intercontinental Champion: Marc Mero via pin at 11:36
-There was a lot going on here and I don’t mean the action in the ring. It certainly was never boring when you add in the commentary and the run ins from Perfect and Hunter. The match was rather just a solidly average match with a good ending as The Wild Thing was a crazy move for the time until Rey and the CW starting topping it on a weekly basis in WCW. **1/2

-JR, the star of the company, is with The America Online crew and he has “Razor” and “Diesel” with him. 1996 man!

-Video package for Vader/Sid as the feud is over who has the best powerbomb.

#1 Contender’s Match: Vader (w/ Jim Cornette) vs. Sid

-As noted above the winner gets a WWF Title shot against Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series. Speaking of Shawn he is out to join the commentary team as they keep rolling through people to maintain a 3 man team. So we have had disgruntled JR, pissed off Perfect, and what looks like a wasted Shawn Michaels. Vader takes a swing at Shawn, but he ducks and it hits Sid. He no sells it and slugs Vader down before hitting a legdrop. Sid mounts Vader in the corner and throws down heavy blows. Shawn gives Vince a hard time about making him work on his day off, and I believe Shawn actually wrestled a dark match after the PPV went off the air against Goldust. Vader slugs Sid down and sends him to the floor by the announce desk. Cornette blasts Sid with the tennis racket and yeah, Shawn sounds gone. Vader is apparently content with taking the count-out so we wait to see if Sid can beat the count. He does and even tries a sunset flip from the apron, but Vader just sits down on him. Vader throws some clotheslines and it’s the second one that drops Sid. Sid hits Vader with a belly to back suplex and it’s a loud “Psycho Sid” chant. The man is always over! Sid comes off the top, but Vader catches him and hits a slam. A splash follows and that gets a two count. Vader to the middle rope for a splash and Vader makes the mistake of pulling him up the count of two. He covers again and again, just pulls off at two. Vader heads up again and Sid gets up the knees to block The Vader Bomb. Sid with a clothesline and a slam. The reaction to Sid here is something else and it’s no wonder the fans cheered him against Shawn next month. Cornette tries to get involved and takes a shot to the balls. Sid preps for The Powerbomb, but Vader drops down and blasts Sid in the junk. Now Vader preps for The Power Bomb but Sid blocks. Vader slaps him around, but misses a clothesline and Sid gets the pin off a chokeslam at 8:02.

Winner: Sid via pin at 8:02
-This match had the most heat out of anything on the show as the crowd was all about Sid. This was a fine HOSS fight that had them trading bombs and getting out of there before it went too long. Neither man hitting a powerbomb was weird when you consider the story of the match was about who had the best powerbomb. **

-Survivor Series is coming to MSG and the night before is The Hall of Fame!

-Dok Hendrix is set to interview Sid, but JR interrupts to ask the hard questions. Sid is cool with breaking Shawn’s back next month if needed and stumbles over his words, but this isn’t the infamous promo where JR had to tell him they were live.

-Video package for Mankind/Taker and it can’t be said enough that Foley was a God send for Taker as it gave him the perfect opponent and helped breath new life into the character. It also helped they let Mankind beat Taker. “Uncle Paul, I don’t want to be buried alive.” These two were made to feud with each other!

Non Sanctioned: Buried Alive Match: The Undertaker vs. Mankind (w/Paul Bearer)

-So there is an open grave with a headstone and a heck of a lot of dirt near the entrance set and you must drag your opponent to the grave and bury them. Simple enough! Mankind is 2-0 on PPV matches against Taker at this point, which again is what helped get him over. The brawl is on from the start as Taker throws soup bones, but gets caught with an elbow in the corner. Taker tosses Mankind into the corner and unloads with fists of fury which sends Mankind to the floor. He tries to pull Taker out with him, but Taker kicks off and Mankind goes splat into the security rail and this is the old school metal railing before the padded one was introduced. Taker comes of the top to the floor as he basically just dives on Mankind. They fight near the grave site and the crowd is going crazy as they fit on top of the pile of dirt. Mankind uses a shove to the throat and then they tumble together down the hill and Mankind starts heading back to the ring. Mankind gets his head bounced off the steps and then back in the ring we go. Taker beats Mankind from one side of the ring to the other and then back to the floor. Taker uses a cable to choke Mankind and from there to start brawling through the crowd. Mankind with another crazy bump as he goes flying back over the security railing to ringside. Taker follows by leaping over the rail with a clothesline. You know this match is big time as Vince lets us know they are having a row. Not Yet Old School is blocked by Paul Bearer as he hits the top rope to throw Taker off balance. Mankind lands some strikes and squeals a lot. Taker is back as he fires Mankind into the buckle, but Bearer slips Mankind a foreign object. He blasts Taker and really, no need to even be secret about it since this is no DQ. Vince is questioning how that can be legal as he feels even in this type of match there has to be some kind of order. I mean the point is to bury your opponent alive, but he draws the line at a small weapon? Taker gets his hands on it and now Vince is cool with it. Taker with the flying clothesline and then drops a leg. He heads out after Paul Bearer as Mankind gets a chair. It backfires at first, but Bearer distracts Taker long enough for Mankind to hit a chair shot to the face. Taker falls back against the stairs, so Mankind hits the running knee. They head back to the grave and brawl near the hole. Taker gets put in the hole but he is back before Mankind can start shoveling dirt. They fight in the hold and Taker wins the slug fest, so Mankind resorts to throwing dirt in his face. Mankind looks for a hiptoss into the grave, but Taker counters with one that sends Mankind down the hill. Back to the ring and Mankind suckers Taker into chasing and once in the ring he sticks him with a piledriver. Bearer tosses a chair in and it’s a double arm DDT onto the chair. Mankind rocks with the urn, so Taker does the zombie sit up and he is pissed. He blasts Mankind with a chair shot to the back and then drops a leg on the chair over Mankind’s face. Mankind gets to the apron and is able to drop Taker over the top rope to create some distance. He pulls the mats up to expose the concrete. A piledriver is blocked and Taker puts Mankind on his back and just falls backwards into the steps. That had to suck for Foley! The stairs get put in the ring and Taker just tosses them in Mankind’s face and then drops them on his back. Again, that had to suck. The crowd is losing it now as Taker connects with The Tombstone. Taker carries Mankind to the grave, but he counters with The Mandible Claw. He gets the urn from Paul but Taker with the goozle and Mankind gets choke slammed into the open grave. Taker starts shoveling dirt and the ref calls this at 18:25.

Winner: The Undertaker via burial at 18:25
-Hard hitting brawl as you would expect from these two. They just have great chemistry with each other and then did well with the stipulation as they teased things by going back and forth between the ring and grave. Taker was due for a win in this series, and then the ending gave us a reason for a 4th match the following month so he could get his ultimate revenge. ***3/4

-We are just getting started though as Taker isn’t satisfied so he scares the ref off and continues to pile dirt on Mankind. Vince thinks they are getting carried away now, but the fans are loving every second of this. A debuting Executioner shows up and just blasts Taker with a shovel to the back of the head. He digs Mankind out of the grave and then tosses Taker into the grave as thunder effects and lighting tricks are used. Mankind and The Executioner dump dirt on Taker little by little as they look like cats in a litterbox. Goldust, Crush, Bradshaw and Hunter are out with shovels to help speed along the process. They would get smarter and have a pay loader for future matches. Fans start throwing garbage into the grave. Vince lets us know that this has gotten out of hand, but I mean this is what they signed up for and basically promised. Even with 6 guys it still takes a rather long time to fill the grave. Lawler is laughing as Vince is holding out hope that Taker is getting out of this somehow. More thunder and that has Goldust, Bradshaw, Hunter and Crush heading for the hills. Mankind rams a shovel into the pile of dirt and he, Paul and The Executioner take their leave. Vince hopes we enjoyed the show, but then then lightning strikes the grave and Taker’s hand rises from the grave as we go off the air.

-Thanks for reading!

The final score: review Good
The 411
Mind Games last month had an all time classic close the show, but a weak undercard. Here we had a solid opener and very good Main Event with perfectly acceptable wrestling sprinkled between. This was a good show and at just under two hours is an easy watch. The constant commentary issues may be a problem for some, but others may enjoy it as we don't get that much fire and personality anymore. This show is definitely worth a look and also helped set up Survivor Series the following month.