In the previous entry, I looked at In Your House 11: Buried Alive 1996. It was an okay PPV with a good, creepy main event but the WWF Champion didn’t take to the mat until after the cameras started rolling. The next PPV was Survivor Series 96 and was the tenth of its name. The gimmick of Survivor Series was that it was an annual event that took place around Thanksgiving and had huge elimination-style tag team matches, usually between the heel faction and the face faction of the day.
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 Survivor Series
Back to Attack
The tagline makes no sense and the poster has Shawn Michaels, Sid Vicious, newcomer Bret Hart and Stone Cold Steve Austin’s heads floating between two buildings. Shawn is wearing the same expression he did during the poster for Mind Games back in September, so not much has changed there.
There is no Big Red WWF title screen this time around, just an announcer speaking over sped-up shots of New York to show how fast the city that never sleeps really is. Tonight, Shawn vs. Sid. Tonight, Bret vs. Stone Cold. Tonight, Undertaker vs. Mankind. And other people!
MB Karate Fighters sponsor the 1996 Survivor Series. 18,647 people are crammed into Madison Square Garden in New York. 199,000 people watching at home, a rise from an all-time low of 1995 at 128,000 buys. A taxi slides over the top of the screen as our announcing team is introduced: Vincent Kennedy McMahon, Jerry “The King” Lawler and Good Ol’ Jim “JR” Ross. There is literally no time for anything else as the first match is about to get underway!
(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 but was full of names that would become huge over the next wee while (though not with the names they appear here with): Jesse James (AKA Road Dogg Jesse James), Aldo Montoya (AKA Rat-Faced Knacker Justin Credible), Bob Holly (AKA Hardcore Holly), Bart Gunn (AKA Bodacious Bart Gun) versus the team of The Sultan (AKA Rikishi), Justin Bradshaw (AKA Cunt JBL), Salvatore Sincere (AKA Tom Brandi) and Billy Gunn (AKA Bad-Ass Billy Gunn). They were joined by The Iron Sheiky Baby and Uncle Zebekiah (AKA Zeb Coulter).
The British Bulldog’s music hits and out comes the man himself looking like a bust sausage along with his team of Slammy-Award-Winning Owen Hart and The New Rockers Marty Janetty and Leif Cassidy (AKA Al Snow). They are accompanied by Immigration Clarence Mason, who is just waiting for someone to mess up and get sent home.
The other team turn up, Phil Lafon and Doug Furnas, who are a pair of arses. They appear with the Gosh-Darned Godwinns Henry O. (in yellow) and Phineas I. (in red) with Hillbilly Jim. There is a Karate Fighters zeppelin flying about the arena that just crashes into the stands and stays there. Oh, the humanity!
The announcers comment on the smell of the Godwinn boys and the heel team shout at the crowd for some time before the bell rings to start the match.
Survivor Series Tag Team Match: Doug Furnas, Phil Lafon, Phineas I. Godwinn and Henry O. Godwinn (w/ Hillbilly Jim) def. Owen Hart, The British Bulldog, Marty Jannetty and Leif Cassidy (w/ Clarence Mason) via elimination in 20:41.
Marty Jannetty sneaks about the ring, trying to tickle his opponents until finally Phil Lafon comes into the ring and gets Marty into a great arm lock that Jannetty gets out of by jumping off the top rope. He takes a brutal clothesline from Phil and tags out. At this point, Leif Cassidy comes in but Marty hops about outside, clearly very badly hurt, or at least selling a leg injury very well. Both Leif and Phil have some great chain-wrestling in the middle of the ring with a submission manoeuver that is cancelled by a grab to the bottom rope.
Phineas comes into the ring and spits into the air, catches it and rubs it into his hair. JR talks about the Clintons. How apt.
Leif gives Phineas an absolutely lovely body slam but the hillbilly isn’t very happy about it and responds with a body slam of his own. He goes to bounce off the ropes and Jannetty hits him in the back. Owen is tagged in and Bulldog helps him double-team Phineas. They distract the ref and take the time to beat on the Godwinn until Leif comes back in and tags in hurt-leg Marty Jannetty. The announcers reveal that Owen is ticked off at Bret returning. Marty goes to the top rope and attempts a high-risk move but is thwarted by Phineas who attempts a superplex which is equally countered. Marty then tried an elbow drop and Phineas rolls out of the way to tag in his brother Henry.
JR tells us “Business is gonna pick up!” and indeed it does. Henry beats on Marty for a while, tossing him around like a great big child. When Henry goes into the corner, Phines dives in front of him, cushioning the blow. Leif attempts the same for his teammate and gets a boot to his chest from Henry for his efforts. Henry gets Marty in position for the Slop Drop and eliminates him with a pin.
Marty Jannetty has been eliminated by Henry Godwinn in 8:12.
Owen rolls in, hits Henry with a spinning heel kick and eliminated him with a pin.
Henry Godwin has been eliminated by Owen Hart in 8:18.
The teams are equal once again. Phineas is in and he’s cleaning house, throwing everyone out. Owen tags Bulldog in who hits Phineas with a powerslam and eliminates him with a pin.
Phineas Godwinn has been eliminated by The British Bulldog in 9:04.
Sweet baby Jesus, that’s three pins in less than a minute. The teams are now 3-2 with the advantage being the heel team of Leif Cassidy, Owen Hart and The British Bulldog. Both Godwinns are out and only Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon survive. Bulldog and Furnas waste time as a replay is shown on the screen. Some lovely running of the ropes until Furnas botches a dropkick and lands awkwardly. JR sells the dropkicks and tells us Furnas was a world-class powerlifter at one time. Owen strangles Furnas and Leif hits a half-Nelson slam followed by a brutal spinebuster.
Furnas is in the corner and getting beaten on by the heel time. Hart hits Furnas with a fantastic dropkick, almost killing him. Furnas gets Owen in a small package and receives a clothesline as a receipt followed by a fisherman suplex with bridge. JR wonders why there are two referees (one on the outside and one on the in) yet there are so many double teams. Bulldog hits a lovely delayed suplex (such strength) and tags out to get Leif in. Furnas has been getting his arse handed to him for a while now. He needs to tag out of build some momentum. Hot tag to Lafon who hits Cassidy with a reverse suplex from Bret’s rope followed by a quick pin.
Leif Cassidy has been eliminated by Phil Lafon in 13:43.
What a move! What a guy! Bulldog comes in, both teams down to two. Lafon and Bulldog have a lovely back-and-forth including some lovely chops. A pin attempt and fail. Bulldog gives Phil a huge press and Owen is in, hitting Lafon with a belly-to-belly followed by a neckbreaker and elbow drop from Bret’s rope. Lafon is kicking out from every move going and Vince tells us to forget about the double clothesline Owen and Bulldog hit Lafon with. Bulldog hits Lafon between the legs like a prick. JR complains about Harvey Whippleman. Lafon tries to get a tag but Owen knocks Furnas off the apron. In the ensuing chaos, Bulldog appears and a failed double-team ends with Bulldog getting pinned!
The British Bulldog has been eliminated by Phil Lafon in 17:22.
It’s only Owen left versus the newcomers! Oh good Lord! What a time to be alive! Bulldog doesn’t take his elimination lightly and tackles Lafon’s leg, which Owen then goes for again and again. Vince suggests that we might see the Sharpshooter in a moment. Owen leg drops Lafon’s leg and gets ready for the Sharpshooter. Lafon is surviving it but Furnas jumps in to break the hold and Owen breaks it himself. Ladfon gets the reverse enziguri and Furnas is tagged in. Owen takes a lovely dropkick followed by a lovely belly-to-belly followed by a German suplex for the pin in 20:41.
Owen Hart has been eliminated by Doug Furnas. The survivors are Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon!
Very good match. Very happy with it. Slow start but great end. If every match on the card attempts to be as good as that then this is going to be a great Survivor Series.
I don’t know half of these lads but by Christ they can wrassle.
Jerry calls them upstarts and punks, threatening that Owen and Bulldog might raise some merry hell at this. We see a bit of the replay.
Cut to outside on New York City.
On the Card will return on November 24 with the second part of Survivor Series 1996.