In the previous entry, I looked at In Your House 10: Mind Games 1996. It was an okay PPV with a great main event and Mick Foley’s finest (in his own opinion). The next PPV was called In Your House 11: Buried Alive and was a part of a long-running collection of PPVs called In Your House. The purpose of the In Your House PPVs were to give the audience a cheaper and more frequent WWF experience. At the time, the WWF only had four big PPVs – Royal Rumble in January, Wrestlemania near Easter, Summerslam in August and Survivor Series near Thanksgiving. The months in between were filled with In Your House PPVs and this was one of them.
Over the next four weeks, I will review this PPV from the perspectives of a fan looking back at it after two decades as well as my original thoughts as a teenager watching it at the time (though this particular PPV was one I watched in 1998 as my family did not have the channels necessary to watch wrasslin’).
WWF In Your House 11: Buried Alive
Dead or Alive!
Playstation presents this particular PPV, so you know we’re in the heady depths of the 90s. The poster shows the Undertaker getting ready to give you a nice massage as Mankind rises from a grave in the background, doing his best impression of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The moon is white and full and… wait… is that Paul Bearer’s face on the moon? Is Paul Bearer the man on the moon?
Big red WWF screen hits and there’s a cross, lightning, and The Undertaker cuts a promo interspaced with Mankind screaming from inside a box. Lots of shots of Undertaker digging some dirt as well. He mentions that he is judge, jury and executioner and obviously then also undertaker, mortician and gravedigger at the same time. The man will do anything for a payday.
Carl Orff’s O Fortuna plays. I had a wee look at the Wikipedia for O Fortuna and not only is wrasslin’ hidden in the “Live and reality TV and Radio” section as opposed to the “Sports” section, but Mind Games is not mentioned, only when Undertaker makes his entrance at WrestleMania XIV and when Stone Cold was crucified on Raw, both in 1998. Fun.
Fireworks go off as Vince welcomes us to the Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, Indiana for In Your House 11: Buried Alive. 9,649 in attendance, a drop from previous In Your House PPV, Mind Games, which had 15,000 in attendance and is the second lowest attendance in this blog so far, with the lowest being King of the Ring 1996 with an attendance of 8,762. Our announce team is Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler. Jumpin’ Jim Ross has no mic at the moment and will go through some serious audio issues throughout this PPV as his mic will continuously cut out which was unrelated to (but worked quite well with) his current heel turn. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you are in the midst of a rarely-seen announcer heel-turn. JR complains that he has no mic and Vince gives him his… two seconds before music hits and we need to go into the ring.
(Note: Before the PPV began, there was a 30-minute show called Free-For-All, which was the nineties equivalent of the Preshow, full of promos and summaries of recent TV matches. There was an exclusive match on Free-For-All and had little to do with the actual PPV: Cunt Justin Hawk Bradshaw vs. The Stalker AKA Barry Windham AKA Blackjack Mulligan Jr. Barry is the brother of Kendall and Stephanie Windham, the latter of which went on to marry Mike Rotunda AKA Irwin R. Shyster. The marriage spawned two boys, Windham and Taylor Rotunda, known now as Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas.)
Whose music plays? Why, it is none other than a young Hunter Hearst Helmsley, walking to stage with the bimbo of the week. As Vince is introducing him, JR complains about whether or not his mic is working. Jerry says, “You’ll either see the Stone Cold Stunner or the Pedigree!” which makes sense as HHH is fighting Stone Cold. I mean… that’s how wrestling works.
Cut to the back and Stone Cold is standing with Kevin Kelly who asks if Stone Cold’s game plan has changed as he was originally due to wrassle Savio Vega, but the Flintstones cosplayer got injured, forcing HHH to come in. Austin replies that it doesn’t change his plan one bit and references his King of the Ring promo: “Stone Cold’s got a list and everyone’s on it.” Austin then threatens Bret Hart and says that if people have a problem with Stone Cold’s language, they can kiss his ass.
Stone Cold’s smashing glass music hits as he goes to the ring, jaws off to the crowd. A Shawn Michaels cosplayer gives him the finger and they spend some time discussing the finer things in life. Irish Referee Tim White is in the ring and holds Austin back from Trips as the former walks to his turnbuckle. The Bimbo of the Week gives her best Diane Hart Smith impression. JR still has mic problems.
Stone Cold Steve Austin def. Hunter Hearst Helmsley via pinfall in 15:30.
In two years, this is the kind of match that would main event a WrestleMania and in two years after that, it’s the type of match that would make me want to switch off my TV, but more on that later… much later.
The two men stand in the ring. Stone Cold is staring at Bimbo and HHH points at her. Great arm drag takedown and HHH bows to Stone Cold, who stares at him. Austin leaves to shout at some fans. HHH walks out too to have a wee shout. So far, we’ve had an arm drag. Brilliant psychology. Stone Cold arm drags HHH and then gives him the double finger in his face before retreating to the corner. JR is still having mic issues and I wonder if this is why there’s a slow pace in the ring. Stone Cold does some lovely chain wrestling and he gets an elbow to the jaw for his effort.
The men lock up followed by some lovely chain wrestling and another punch to the jaw which HHH takes this time. JR still has mic issues. Irish Referee Tim White is having a chat with Trips and, once again, the two men lock up, followed by a push, slap from the blueblood and punch from the Texan. This is about the third time that Trips needs to reenter the ring. Another lockup and they run the ropes followed by a great snapmare. Stone Cold batters away on Trips’ shoulder. The mic issues are part of an aborted attempt to make JR heel.
Trip batters Stone Cold with some great chops and he retaliates with a clothesline. Another armbar and they sit for a while. Armbar city. Jerry and Vince talk about Connecticut and JR makes fun of the place, calling it an “overpriced hellhole”, which should be called “many monied heck hole” but is cheerfully withdrawn. The two men batter each other senseless with Stone Cold winning some points by punching Trips in the corner but the Blueblood soon takes over and controls the Texan with some powerful backdrops, bodyslams and a number of near-falls. JR is sarcastic and calls Jerry the ”play-by-play guy,” which he appears confused by. Stone Cold gets some momentum and the two run the ropes with some sleeper counters until Stone Cold reverses one into the Stone Cold Stunner. Trips reacts by hitting the Flair flop. Austin attempts the pin and Trips actually kicks out! It is 1996 and someone kicks out of the Stone Cold Stunner!
Stone Cold hits the elbows from Brets rope and two pin attempts barely hit. Trips retaliates with the double knees and as both men as lying in the ring, the crowd pops as Mr. Perfect walks to the ring in a lovely blue suit. Doesn’t he look sharp? Perfect is due to wrassle HHH on the next Raw and he makes his way to the Bimbo of the Week. HHH leaves the ring to confront him but Stone Cold batters him and turns on Perfect for interrupting the match. Water is thrown in the face of Perfect and HHH takes advantage of the distraction to take control of the match. HHH is about to hit the Pedigree and leaves the ring to shout at Perfect but Stone Cold catches up with him and gets a suplex to the concrete for his efforts. There may be a double-count-out in the first match of the night. HHH attempts the Pedigree again but it is countered into a catapult onto the steel steps.
Stone Cold rolls Trips into the ring and misses a Bronco Buster on the ropes, flips off the crowd, flips off Trips and hits him with a no-kick-Stunner for the pin in 15:30.
A slow start match that quickly escalates into an Attitude Era spotfest as Perfect enters. This is probably the most Attitude Era that wrestling has become so far in 1996.
Mr. Perfect, did you just kidnap that nice young lady?
Very good start to the PPV and Stone Cold celebrates by raising both his fists on the turnbuckle as his Breaking Glass theme tune plays him out. He wastes no time in heading backstage, leaving Irish Referee Tim White to help Trips into the back.
On the Card will return on October 27 with the second part of In Your House 11: Buried Alive.