History of Survivor Series Count-Up – 1996 – Bret vs. Austin The Prequel and Rock Debuts

Survivor Series 1996
Date: November 17, 1996
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
Attendance: 18,647
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Jim Ross

Now you can see the Attitude Era being born at this show, and it comes from one man: Stone Cold Steve Austin. Shawn Michaels is the WWF Champion, having won it at Mania 12. After beating Bret Hart, Bret left the company for six months and in that time, Austin won the King of the Ring and uttered the most legendary catchphrase of all time: Austin 3:16.

He then began calling out Hart, saying that he didn’t care what Hart had done, because Hart couldn’t beat Austin on Hart’s best day. That’s one of your main events. Your other is Shawn vs. Sid for the title. Yeah that’s kind of an afterthought here. We have our standard Survivor Series matches as well, with the debut of one of the biggest stars of all time here. I haven’t seen this show all the way through in years but it looks very good. Let’s see if it is.

We start off by seeing a big recap of how the WWF has been taking over New York, including the Hall of Fame inductions which they don’t even mention who was inducted so that should tell you how important it was. This was actually pretty good. I’m actually looking forward to this one.

Owen Hart/British Bulldog/New Rockers vs. Furnace/Lafon/Godwins

We immediately start it up here and Lawler is on commentary for this match only. That was a weird part to the show. Anyway, the New Rockers are heels here and it’s Marty Jannetty and Leif Cassidy, more commonly known as Al Snow. Now I’ve heard a lot about how great Furnace and Lafon are, but I’ve never seen it. They’re not bad at all, but they’re average to me. Maybe I’m wrong. I’ll give them another chance as I have no reason at all to hate them yet.

Oh apparently on the Free For All which was the preshow that anyone could watch, Bart Gunn was the survivor in a match. That’s a really bad sign for the rest of the evening. This is Furnace and Lafon’s WWF debut but they’re big stars in Japan. Ok then. The Godwinns have Hillbilly Jim and therefore are ridiculously popular. Like I’ve said, he’s one of those guys that was popular for a variety of reasons, but the biggest was that he never overstayed his welcome.

That’s something that a lot of unserious characters today need to get. Also, not all characters are going to be main event guys. Look at Kofi for example. Is anyone going to buy him as a main event wrestler? In the ring yes but not with that gimmick, and that’s fine.

Anyway, on to the match. We start with Lafon vs. Jannetty so already Lafon is the bigger name. Marty is just such an epic fail as a heel it’s unbelievable. Lafon isn’t bad at all. He’s not great but I’m not bored with him or anything. Now it’s over to Phineas, more commonly known as Mideon. All of a sudden I’d love to have Lafon back in there. Snow is really quite underrated. It’s a shame he always got such insane gimmicks.

The heels all beat on Mideon which gets a bit repetitive. The problem with this match is getting clearer and clearer: there is a complete lack of star power out there. I have no desire to see these guys wrestle each other at all. Ross is getting very heel-esque here with a lot of his lines. I’m assuming another failed attempt at making him a character would be coming soon. It never worked at all yet Vince did it like three times.

Marty and Henry go out within 10 seconds of each other, the first to a Slop Drop (Scorpion Death Drop) and Henry to a spinning heel kick by Owen. Well that was quick and not incredibly painful I suppose. Phineas has one of his weird fits where he becomes unstoppable and somehow even worse than he usually was. It’s very similar to Festus after the bell ringing. What is it with hillbillies and moods like that? It’s rather stupid.

Anyway, he walks into the powerslam from Davey and it’s 3-2. Furnace comes in and botches a dropkick. I’m not sure whose fault that was, but Bulldog was supposed to hold the ropes I think. Furnace landed on Bulldog’s back. It looked odd and was clearly a blown spot. Owen lands a Perfectplex. That’s just odd to see.

JR asks if he’s the only one thinking here as the referees are messing up by having the outside referee do nothing at all. Vince sounds so utterly bored that it’s downright laughable. Upon me actually thinking, Ross was indeed in the middle of a heel angle here. Considering it took me 10 minutes to remember that, you can tell how effective it was. Lafon hits a sick looking reverse suplex from the middle rope to end Cassidy and it’s the tag champions against Furnace and Lafon.

Bulldog hits a nip up. That was surprising. Ross says he looks strong. That…doesn’t make much since. The heels beat up on the faces for awhile until we get a slugfest between Lafon and Bulldog. In a perfectly fluid moment, Bulldog casually kicks him in the balls. That was a sweet heel move. Ross of course screams how awful the referees are.

Lafon gets Bulldog with a quick rollup to make it 2-1 and I think we can see the ending coming already. Owen gets the Sharpshooter as Ross is really getting annoying. Furnace breaks it up. Both guys are down after a sweet looking spin kick by Lafon to counter Owen. Furnace is in and he’s pretty good. He hits a bad release German suplex though where you can see that Owen’s head doesn’t actually hit the mat as he flips over. It was bad looking but most people won’t notice that so it’s fine.

Rating: B-. I’m not sure if I get the point of this match. I know it was to get Furnace and Lafon over, but did it need the other four guys? This could easily have been just a regular tag match, maybe non title or have ended with the heels running away etc. The wrestling was ok, but I found it to be overkill.

A certain rookie is nervous but ready. That takes two minutes to say.

We go to the boiler room with Mankind and Paul Bearer who say Taker won’t get their hands on Bearer. Foley had this character at a completely scary level.

Mankind vs. Undertaker

The catch here is that Bearer is in a cage above the ring. This was a white hot feud at the time as Mankind was a different kind of opponent for Taker for one reason: he might have been able to take a bigger beating than Taker which was unheard of. No matter how much he beat on him, Taker couldn’t get rid of Mankind. They traded wins in gimmick matches and regular matches, but Taker just can’t end him. That’s a nice touch and change of pace.

This is I think their 4th match on PPV. Bearer won’t get in and Ross thinks that it’s because he can’t fit in it. The gong goes off and the people freak out. Considering this is being written the night after Breaking Point, allow me: YOU TAPPED OUT! YOU TAPPED OUT! YOU TAPPED OUT! Oh that felt good. Anyway, his entrance is over the top even for him. He comes down from the rafters with his arms spread and his cape, yes it’s a cape, out behind him.

Yes, it’s the Undertaker imitating Batman. Just picture that for a minute. Where’s Doink when we need him? Did I really just say that? See what this show is doing to me and we’re 30 minutes into it. Bearer hides in the cage as we get underway. There’s a cage cam and Ross is way too excited about it. Taker’s outfit looks like it’s leather and shiny. Taker is not only Batman but apparently a dominatrix.

This was the very beginning of a new phase in Taker’s career as he began shifting more towards the evil monster and more demonic of a character. He shows this transformation by using a drop toe hold. He then goes to a wrist lock and then a Fujiwara Armbar. This is just odd to see. Taker is going after Mankind’s hand, which makes perfect sense due to the leathalness of the Mandible Claw. Taker misses an elbow and is up before Mankind. That’s just sweet.

Taker’s outfit reminds me of Rocky Horror for some reason. Ross hypes up a show in London for no good reason. He sounds like he did in WCW which is odd indeed. We hit the crowd which Ross calls the streets. Yeah that looks like a place people drive Jimbo. Back in the ring, we go to a wider shot that just looks odd. You can see the first two rows on either side instead of the usual closer standard shot. Taker bites the fingers used for the claw.

Call me stupid, but wouldn’t that be like asking for the hold to be put on you? The fingers are there, so why doesn’t Mankind just put the hold on? It sounds simple to me, but I’m no professional I guess. I’ll try to find a new catchphrase as I’m growing tired of that. He fights off the Claw as Ross won’t shut up about the freaking cage cam. The random painted on tear drop on Taker’s cheek is just odd.

Mankind finally hits the Claw for about a second but Mankind is launched to the floor to break it up. I don’t ever recall two guys this big doing bumps this hard for this long of a feud. That’s quite impressive, and the scary thing is their biggest match was nearly two years away at this point. As Piper would say, Old School is cool. I wonder if he liked Will Ferrell.

Foley goes up and Taker just starts popping him with big punches that sound sick. He sets for a chokeslam but the Claw breaks that up. Vince keeps calling the chokeslam the Goozle. What in the world is that? It sounds like a screwed up version of Google. Eventually he breaks it and chokeslams Mankind. Why didn’t he just bite him like he did earlier? Have some consistency please, I beg of you. Mankind misses a forward roll to the floor.

If he had done a barrel roll he would have hit it. Vince, stop suggesting things. I would suggest you shut up immediately. Who told you that you could commentate well? I want them shot. Foley has some weird spike thing. It sounds like he’s saying s a t. I never got the point of his babbling but I liked it. It added a weird something to his character that made him somehow even more insane, if that’s possible.

Anyway, as Mankind pounds on him, Taker just casually picks him up and tombstones him to end this. That was abrupt. Bearer is lowered down but the Executioner runs out to save Paul. He gets the quickest beating ever as the heels all leave. This led to a one off bad match between the two at an In Your House where Taker beat him up with relative ease.

Rating: C+. This wasn’t one of their better matches. That’s the problem that these two had: they had to top their last match every time and eventually they’d have something like this. It’s a good match, but by comparison it’s not much at all. Either way, this was pretty good I guess. It’s certainly passable, but the ending came from absolutely nowhere, which isn’t something I tend to like. Still, this was fine.

Sunny comes out for commentary on the next match because she has boobs. That is a very catchy song.

HHH’s Team vs. Marc Mero’s Team

Mero: Stalker (Barry Windham), Jake Roberts, Rocky Maivia
HHH: Crush, Goldust, Jerry Lawler

HHH is Intercontinental Champion here, which he would soon lose to Rocky. This is Rocky’s debut with the company and he’s just SO happy to be here. That would become his gimmick: he’s getting beaten up a lot, but he’s happy to be here. Eventually he would win the IC belt, and he was still happy. He lost it and he wouldn’t stop smiling. Then the crowd told him to die, and a gimmick change was needed.

The Rock was born and the rest is pure history, as opposed to unpure history which isn’t pure. We get a quick interview from the heels which is all standard stuff. Lawler’s music is so freaking snobbish that it’s awesome. He would more or less retire soon after this and just become an announcer. Ross says he is having a hard time getting a raise from Vince. That’s just weird to hear this early. HHH’s belt is white as apparently he’s channeling Warrior.

Sunny and Ross get into it as Sunny points out there’s no woman with HHH. Ross of course is pissed off at this because that’s what Ross does. He doesn’t have his hat either. Ross as a heel is just awful because he’s a whiny little an. Stalker is wearing a WWF t-shirt. I have no idea what this gimmick was supposed to be, but it completely failed. Mark Henry was supposed to be on the face team, but he’s been replaced by Jake Roberts.

I guess Mero was captain leading into this? Roberts was doing the preacher thing at this point and has the big yellow snake out. Jake’s music never got old to me. He did but his music didn’t. The alcohol jokes begin already. These intros are taking WAY too long. We cut to a shot outside the arena for no apparent reason other than to say we’re LIVE.

We start (finally) with Mero and Lawler. Windham has a handlebar porn star mustache going on. It’s blonde, making it look very creepy indeed. Ok, no contact is made and Stalker is tagged in. I hate this match already. Lawler tags out. Stalker tags Mero which makes HHH run. There has still been zero contact. Sunny is talking about how downloaded she is and HOLY CRAP THEY’RE FIGHTING! Apparently Mr. Perfect is gone again as Helmsely threw him out or something.

Now it’s Stalker who is sloppy beyond belief. Oddly enough he’s a former world champion. Dang there’s a lot of gold in this. Ok so it’s just HHH and Rocky that had a lot but they make up for the rest. Again, Mero gets tagged in and HHH runs. This is just stupid. I get that it’s a heel tactic, but I want to see some wrestling, not a track meet. Why is Crush in this match? I don’t get it.

He would be joining the Nation soon enough, but at this point he has zero going on for him. I have no idea why he’s in this match either. Rocky vs. Lawler now, and good grief he looks awesome. You could tell they were going to push him to the freaking moon. He gets called Dwayne Johnson here, which I don’t think ever happened again. On to Rock vs. HHH, and the idea that they would steal the freaking show in less than two years in this arena blows my mind.

Everybody gets to beat on Rocky for awhile as Sunny apparently wants a piece of Rocky. Ross makes a reference to Crush being in jail and Vince doesn’t like it. Crush was a dark horse to be WWF Champion and he got sent to jail for weapons issues, throwing Vince’s plans off. If nothing else he would have won the IC Title or have gotten a huge push.

Sunny says Vince wears a toupee which amuses me. Rocky finally gets Jake in and the crowd pops hard. After a brief beatdown and some tasteless Lawler jokes, the DDT makes it 4-3 with Jerry being gone. Considering HHH would be in DX in a year, hearing Ross say he’s all business makes me laugh.

Windham comes in and gets less than no reaction. I mean the crowd is dead. Soon afterwards the Curtain Call ties it up. Finally the captains go at it as this match is just bad. Nothing interesting is happening at all and it’s just plodding through it. Rocky’s debut is the only reason for this match to exist. I just noticed something VERY weird. I downloaded a torrent of this show, but it’s clipped. It’s a tape of a British broadcast of it on Sky.

I found another version online, but the commentary is different. On the British version, there’s a lot of dead air time. On the American version, Sunny is insulting Sable. The rest of her commentary is there, but not all of it. That’s just very odd indeed. I’m assuming that it’s due to something to do with it being in the UK, but I honestly don’t know. That’s interesting if nothing else. Don Muraco is here. That’s just awesome.

Actually it’s not as Muraco is really overrated. This is just dull. It’s nothing but filler stuff here as they I guess have to fill their time quota. We go split screen to look at Sunny. Somehow that’s more interesting than a twenty something minute match. Mero puts out HHH with a moonsault. Oh wait, it’s a Merosault. I wouldn’t want him to speak out against me. Mero botches a flip over the ropes and crashes, leading to a Heart Punch from Crush to make it 2-2.

Less than thirty seconds later, another Heart Punch (which clearly hits Jake in the jaw) puts Roberts out. Well at least the most talented face is left. Sunny makes 2-1 jokes. So let me see: 2 midcard jobbers vs. a rookie hotshot. Hmm I wonder how this is going to end.

The Heart Punch misses and hits Goldust and a cross body beats Crush. A shoulderbreaker ends it as that was the perfect ending. A Coliseum Video Exclusive Interview says he knew he could do it. He’s really weak on the mic here, but it’s his first night so that’s completely excusable.

Rating: D. This was just boring. However, since it’s Rock’s debut, it’s certainly something that people should take a look at maybe once. He looked great out there in his first match in the big leagues and there was no sign of being nervous. The win was perfect because it didn’t make the bigger star, Goldust, look weak because Crush, another big star, did the damage that led to his elimination. As for the other six, it was a waste of 20 minutes.

We hit the recap of Austin vs. Bret and this looks great. The idea is simple: Bret represents tradition and old school, Austin represents the opposite. Austin calls him out repeatedly, and this is the showdown. That’s as basic as it gets. Apparently this is a #1 contender match also.

Austin says he’ll win.

Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin

The fans are starting to cheer Austin a bit. Bret says that he’s here for respect. JR says that he’d love to see this come down to a submission style match. Either he knew what was coming in 6 months or he’s a wrestling genius. Vince must have told him. Anyway, Bret gets a very good pop. It explodes when he hits the arena. The fireworks go off and you know this is going to be freaking epic to say the least.

The opening staredown looks like something out of a movie as the camera is positioned so that only their faces can be seen. Austin backs up and his face is replaced by his two middle fingers. That’s absolutely perfect. Ross AGAIN talks about how this is going to come down to a submission and says neither have tapped. That’s nonsense as Austin had tapped to a Sharpshooter on a tour in Kuwait that was taped before this match happened, but it’s WWF so it’s ok.

Why can’t this end in a pin? I don’t get that at all. Vince mentions someone putting the Sharpshooter on Bret and him tapping to it. This is either the most predictable company in wrestling history, or Vince made a lot of long term plans. Bret had been saying that Austin was the best wrestler in the world leading up to this match, and they start on the ground. That’s interesting to see from Austin.

He’s considered to be nothing but a brawler, but he doesn’t get nearly enough credit for what he can do on the mat. Vince tries desperately to convince us that Austin’s athleticism is the reason he’s getting cheered.

He just wouldn’t accept that the fans were changing and it nearly buried him. Ross says that Hart has done everything in Madison Square Garden other than beat Austin. Ok wait a minute. So, the only thing he hasn’t done is beat Austin? Has he beaten HHH? Rocky? How about has he staged a Broadway revival of Porgy and Bess? Apparently he has since the only thing he hasn’t done here is beat Austin.

Stone Cold is doing some SWEET mat work here, but Ross refuses to give him credit for it, saying he’s just brawling. You know, I hate Jim Ross. I think I always have. He’s this smug jerk that thinks because he’s been in wrestling forever that he’s owed something. Screw you Jim Ross. Grow up already. All you do is cheer for your friends and the people that kiss up to you backstage and other than that you’re just a pissed off, grumpy old man.

You sit around whining and complaining about how no one respects you and how you’re just doing your job. No you fat tub of goo. Your job is to call wrestling matches, not to be this son of a gun that tries to be the show. I don’t care how many freaking historic moments you’ve called, I don’t care how many times you’ve been named announcer of the year, I don’t care what you’ve had to put up with.

No announcer is more important than any wrestler and you need to get off your soapbox and do your job like an adult should. Until then, stop wasting my time. ANYWAY, now that I’ve ranted against JR a bit, I’ll get back to the match. JR (dang it) says that Bret has been obsessed with Austin for years. Wait, what? Austin had only been in the company like a year and a half at this point.

So wait, Bret was obsessed with a guy that wasn’t even in this company yet and was a rookie when Bret was already a veteran? See why I can’t stand Ross? Half the time he doesn’t even make sense. As Ross continues to complain about how he’s not respected, I’m tempted to mute this thing. According to Vince, Bret isn’t being offensive or defensive. Then what the heck is he being? Swiss?

Tomorrow there’s a toughman contest with Austin and Vader. This would be more commonly known as a hardcore match eventually. Ross keeps going with this stupid submission theory, despite Vince talking about how the Stunner is devastating. Austin’s psychology here is off the charts.

This is Bret’s first match in 7 months, so he’s using a lot of wear down moves to make Bret expend energy. That’s very smart indeed. Austin is doing stuff like fast covers one after another, Irish whips, things like that. They’re doing a very slow pace here, which I think is the way to go. They’re doing the slow build here, which is the right thing to do. It’s an older mentality that needs to make a comeback.

They’re into the crowd a bit as a simple throw breaks the barricade. It’s great to see how impressive the security is here. Now it’s completely down and there’s nothing keeping the fans from running into the ring. Austin fights back and gets a slingshot on Bret who hits the table but doesn’t go through it. Now we’re in a higher gear, but after the build they had it works a lot better. Ross comments on how it always happens to the Spanish guys. Oh how little he knows.

They do two more spots on the table and the freaking thing won’t break. That’s a tough table. The fans are all over this too. Ross says Vince needs to realize that it’s not 91 or 94 in this arena. Jim, I think Bret knows what year it is. So he wouldn’t want to get an upset win after getting beaten on forever? He would rather lose? You just make my head hurt. Austin hates the fans apparently. Geez Ross is talking about the submission thing again.

Where was this talking at Mania? Bret steals an Austin move with a stun gun. Why that little thief. He follows it up with one of the sweetest piledrivers I’ve ever seen. That was great. Bret goes up top for the second time in the match and this time it doesn’t work. We get some WOO chops, which surprises me as I would have thought it was too far north for that. Austin follows with a top rope suplex as these guys are freaking killing each other out there.

He hits the Stunner but pulls Bret away from the ropes which gives Bret the chance to kick out and Austin is PISSED. He puts a Texas Cloverleaf on instead but Bret gets the ropes. Bret almost gets the Sharpshooter but Austin is out.

Austin locks on the Million Dollar Dream, but Bret gets his feet on the turnbuckle (his feet touched the ropes so the hold should have been broken but whatever) and kicks off, rolling over backwards for the pin. The crowd pops madly as Bret celebrates and Austin stares him down from ringside.

Rating: A+. This is a truly forgotten classic and it suffers because of a simple reason; it’s sequel might be the greatest match of all time. This was a classic example of a torch passing feud. Austin was clearly the future with Bret being the star of the past. This is what the WWE needs to do today with its young guys, but I could rant for days on that so I’ll spare you.

This match did a lot for both men. It showed that Bret still had it, while the announcers did a good enough job of pointing out how good Austin was. It also showed that Austin was indeed worthy of fighting in the main event as he had Bret on many occasions with Bret winning on a miracle at the end.
This along with the King of the Ring speech, the I Quit match and the Rock truck match are probably the combined reasons why Austin took the company over the top in a few years. Anyway, this is a classic and go find it. It’s worth the half hour.

We go to Doc in the back with Sid, who says that he’ll win. He’s just bad on the mic.

Lou Albano wanders out to the ring because I guess he got lost. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame last night. He’s going to do Spanish commentary apparently. Well ok then.

Vader’s Team vs. Yokozuna’s Team

Vader: Farrooq, Fake Razor/Fake Diesel
Yoko: Flash Funk, Savio Vega, Mystery Partner

Ross brought these two back into the company. Again, I have no clue what the point of this was. I’m guessing that it was supposed to be a joke or something, but at the moment the only joke was how low the ratings were. Fake Diesel is Kane by the way. Good grief how many characters did he have to play? Cornette is going to do commentary. Thank goodness. The Nation’s entrance with its own live rappers is just great.

Savio and Crush would soon join the team to make it the better version. Yoko weighs about 700lbs here and would be gone soon. Flash Funk’s girls, the Funkettes, were at least hot. I’m guessing this is his debut. Is there a need to have this match? Yeah it’s his debut. Why are we seeing this match? How was this not on the Free For All? He’s wearing yellow and red, which Ross says has never looked better in the Garden.

If you weren’t getting your face kicked in, that would be a great line. The mystery partner is Jimmy Snuka. Seriously? Cornette is PANICKING. So let me get this straight. We have a guy that wears 700lbs, a pimp, an old guy, and a career jobber vs. two fakes and a pair of former WCW Champions. Please, be quick. We start with Flash and Vader as apparently Snuka is a big deal.

He never won anything of worth and he’s old, yet he’s the best worker on his team. Let that sink in for a bit. Scratch that. 2 Cold Scorpio is better, but this is Flash Funk isn’t it? Never mind, Snuka takes it. I might as well not watch the match and just listen to Cornette. He’s miles more entertaining and interesting here.

Yoko comes in to stop Vader and it’s just embarrassing. All he can really do is punch and waddle. Farrooq is in his standard stuff now and looks far more intimidating. They really had something with him but they never pulled the trigger for some reason.

Ross says he could manage Vader better than Cornette. “You couldn’t manage a Wendy’s!” “I could if you were in town Cornette!” Can we just let Ross and Cornette argue all night long? Yoko’s tights might house a small city. Kane wrestling as Diesel is rather intriguing. Oddly enough, Kane uses the Punjabi Plunge on Funk, which is ironic at the moment since Kane has been feuding with Khali.

Funk is taking a beating here as Farrooq hits a SWEET spinebuster. Vader is called a great garbage man by Cornette which makes perfect sense in context. I’d write the line out but that would mean pausing the match and I don’t have enough heroin and cocaine to get me through the extra time. Snuka comes in and chops Kane. Snuka actually slams Vader with relative ease. That’s surprising.

Savio and Diesel are in now and shockingly, Vega botches a move, in this case the spinwheel kick, somehow going too high with it. Yes, he went too high on Kane. Diesel has to drop low early to get hit by it on the way down and it just looks awful. In other words, the kick was supposed to hit him at its highest point in the jaw. Instead Kane started falling before the foot did and the foot hit him on its way down, if that makes sense.

Savio goes out to a decent Jackknife. Not great, but since he rarely used it, not bad. Superfly Splash ends Razor, and then as Jimmy is celebrating, Kane blasts the tar out of him with a chair. In a botched moment, you can see Savio running through the door literally the second the chair connects, chair in hand.

The timing was off there but I get what they were going for. Anyway, everyone comes in and it’s a massive disqualification, so the match is over. Are you serious? At least we get some awesome chair shots in this brawl. Ross says it was a premature DQ. After two chair shots in front of the ref, it’s not enough. And you wonder why I can’t stand him.

Rating: D-. This was an absolute waste of 10 minutes. They couldn’t have done a quick…I don’t know…ANYWHING else but this? Let’s see. Vader wasn’t doing anything here, two guys are part of a big joke, Snuka is retired, one guy is debuting, one guy just got a gimmick change, and one has no story. Maybe this was the best they could do, but wouldn’t something like Funk vs. a jobber have worked better? The only reason this isn’t an F is Cornette.

Standard video package about Shawn vs. Sid. This has barely been touched on at all other than really basic stuff. The video package helped a bit.

WWF Title: Shawn Michaels vs. Sid

Sid’s pyro is just awesome. Shawn’s is ok but not as good. There’s a kid dressed as Shawn. Oh yay. Shawn’s stripping thing got old fast. It looks like he’s limping a bit. This was a weird time for him, as he was having great matches but they were just random challenges. His title reign was kind of like Kofi’s US Title reign actually. The standard fast Shawn match starts us out as while Shawn is great, he’s a formula guy at times, which is fine, but predictable.

It’s like seeing a great movie that you’ve seen the ending of. It’s still fun, but it’s not as great as the first time. Sid nips up as well as apparently that’s the move of the night. The announcers talk about Jose Lathario for awhile and Vince is clearly uninterested. Shawn starts working on the knees, which is a very smart move as the announcers agree on. Shawn is actually getting booed here, which is surprising. Shawn reminds me of Edge a bit.

He was the undisputed king of the midcard, but he’s not a great world champion. The fans are really hating this actually. Shawn with a figure four now as they compare Sid to Diesel. They get back up and Shawn hits the post. As he’s getting back up, Ross says the post is still standing but Shawn isn’t. Sid kicks him in the ribs which Vince calls a kick in the teeth. Sid is getting big pops. Is New York completely stoned or something?

His offense is chokeslam, punch, kick, powerbomb. What’s the appeal of that? How in the world would he be main eventing Wrestlemania 13? The fans are booing the heck out of Shawn, which the announcers try to pass off as something Shawn shouldn’t care about. Yes, the announcers say a face shouldn’t care about the fans. We follow that up by JR saying it’s great to get the cheers. This needs to end. This is just run of the mill Shawn stuff here and while it’s good, it’s just not great.

Granted that could be blamed on Sid and his complete suckage. Naturally, Shawn makes a big comeback, culminating in him winning a fist fight and slamming Sid, because that’s really impressive don’t you know. The booing is just funny at this point as he’s the total face and no one likes him at all. Now that this match is getting even more boring, Sid puts on a Cobra Clutch because his epically diverse offense has made him so tired.

Sid hits the chokeslam with one hand which surprises JR despite him doing the same thing to Razor last year. Shawn gets a counter to the powerbomb which I legitimately thought was in slow motion. In a spot that made me smile, Shawn nips up and Sid takes his head off with a clothesline. That was great. Sid grabs a camera, which should be the whole match: random camera shots. It would be more interesting than this.

Shawn is up, but the referee feels the need to look at Shawn for a minute and a half so Sid hits Jose with the camera. Shawn gets the kick, but he goes to check on the old man like a stupid face would. The referee goes down and Shawn hits the floor again as we have no help for the old man that’s clutching his chest.

As I type that, JR mentions he might be having a heart attack. Sid blasts Shawn with the camera, leading to the powerbomb and a new champion. As soon as the three hits, the medics get there for Jose. I love that.

Rating: C-. This was a good match, but dang I didn’t want to finish it. It just had no build to it and the title change made no sense. I get that Shawn wasn’t working as champion…but SID? That’s the best idea they can come up with? SID? I will never cease being amazed by the idiocy of some fans.

They cheered for freaking SID. This just had no interest at all and I don’t think many people would argue with me. Shawn would get the title back at the Rumble but then 3 weeks later lose his smile and forfeit it.

Overall Rating: B-. The opener is good enough, Mankind and Taker is certainly fine but it’s one of their weaker matches, the third match was historic but bad, the fourth is an absolute classic, the fifth is laughably bad, and the main event is just ok.

There’s one truly bad match here, as Rocky vs. HHH is enough to raise up the third match. The worst match is the shortest so that’s always good. Overall, this is another show where the good stuff is good and the bad stuff is bad, but it’s worthwhile overall. It’s far from great, but it’s not bad.

A lot of it drags on and on, but when the good stuff is on screen, it’s some of the best there is. It’s worth a quick look if you’re interested, but the Hart vs. Austin match is absolutely required viewing. It did a lot for both men and set up the mega match in 6 months. Overall, the good outweighs the bad here, so it’s somewhat recommended.


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  1. Anton82 says:

    Yeah man, I didn’t think sid vs Shawn was all that great either. I liked it more then you, probably about ***1/4 or B-. But the crowd reactions to Shawn was more fascinating then the match its itself was good. Sid is just too horrible on offense

  2. Chrisman says:

    I wanted to watch the I Quit match but couldn’t find it. Watched this Bret v Austin instead. It did not dissapoint.