Hosted by Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Jerry “The King” Lawler
If the WWF sold a PPV that paled in comparison to WCW, would you buy it?
In case you’re interested, Rocky Maivia remained undefeated as he beat Salvatore Sincere in the Free For All.
Match 1: Flash Funk versus Leif Cassidy
Just so you know, the Funkettes accompanied Funk to the ring and danced with Vince.
Cassidy reversed a cross-corner whip, but Funk floated to the apron as Cassidy came up empty on his follow-through.
Funk then botched a leap to the top turnbuckle as well as a cross body block overshooting Cassidy.
After a cross-corner whip by Cassidy, Funk tried to float over him, got caught, and Cassidy sent him face-first to the mat.
Upon giving Funk a pair of head butts, Cassidy delivered an overhead belly-to-belly suplex over the top rope to the floor.
Cassidy then followed with a springboard somersault plancha. Woohoo!
He then went down the aisle to build momentum so that he can deliver a lariat on the floor.
As the kids chanted “Flash,” Cassidy dropkicked Funk in the back for 2.
After Funk slipped out of a powerbomb attempt, he gave Cassidy a dropkick.
Cassidy came back with a Rydeen bomb for 2.
After a slam, Cassidy mounted the top turnbuckle, attempted a moonsault, but came up empty.
As Cassidy missed a leg lariat, Funk hit a handspring enziguri sending Cassidy to the floor.
then delivered a tope as the West Palm Beach faithful stood in awe.
Back in the ring, Funk slammed Cassidy, mounted the top turnbuckle, hit the moonsault, but only got 2.
Funk missed a leg lariat, Cassidy gave him a clothesline.
A pinfall reversal sequence culminated with another enziguri from Funk.
He then gave Cassidy a cross-corner whip followed by an avalanche.
Next, he delivered a belly-to-back suplex, mounted the top turnbuckle, and hit the 450 splash.
Summary: The obvious botches subtract ½* from the match, but, otherwise, it was a fun and exciting opener.
Promo airs for the Royal Rumble video available 3/11/97. The show hasn’t even happened yet, but they’re announcing the sell date for the video cassette?
Before the next match, Kevin Kelly interviews the tag champions and Mason. Austin’s involvement was a hot topic of discussion.
“Earlier today” on Superstars, with Austin in the ring, the tag champions got clobbered by Ramon and Diesel (aired 12/15, taped 11/19).
Match 2 for the WWF tag team titles: The “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith & Owen Hart (champions w/ Clarence Mason) versus Razor Ramon & Diesel
Ross took exception to the booing from the West Palm Beach faithful aimed at Ramon and Diesel.
Diesel gave Owen a cross-corner whip, but Owen floated over him and gave him the ten-punch count-along.
As Diesel gave Owen a military press slam, Cibernetico and Pierroth came down the aisle primarily to introduce themselves to the WWF audience. They will participate in the Royal Rumble next month.
Nevertheless, Diesel clotheslined Owen over the top rope to the floor.
When Stone Cold Steve Austin came down the aisle, the West Palm Beach faithful finally woke up. I think this guy may be over.
After Smith hit a cross body block on Ramon, he brawled with Austin at ringside.
Once officials separated them, they escorted Austin backstage.
Owen tagged in, mounted the top turnbuckle, and lowered the boom on Ramon.
Ramon then delivered a clothesline, gave Owen a cross-corner whip, but came up empty on his follow-through.
Owen then mounted the top turnbuckle and delivered a missile dropkick to Ramon for 2.
As Owen came off the ropes, Diesel low-bridged him sending him to the floor.
While Smith and Ramon distracted referee Jack Doan, Diesel rammed Owen back-first into the ring post. How dastardly!
Diesel tagged in and gave Owen a sidewalk slam.
When Ramon tagged in, he delivered a rather unique pumphandle fallaway slam for 2. Innovative!
As Diesel tagged in, he gave Owen the big boot for another 2.
While the West Palm Beach faithful chanted “Diesel sucks,” Diesel missed an elbow drop. How ironic!
Shortly after, Diesel gave Owen a cross-corner whip but ate a back elbow on his follow-through.
Upon a second follow-through, Diesel ate a mule kick. Perhaps Diesel forgot to eat lunch today.
Regardless, Owen gave Diesel an enziguri.
Hot tag Smith.
After a slam, Smith gave Ramon a leg drop for 2.
He then delivered a vertical suplex and got another 2 thanks to a save by Diesel.
All four men were in the ring.
As Owen got whipped, an oncoming Diesel caught him, but Smith dropkicked them both over the top rope to the floor.
Ramon then clotheslined Smith, gave him a cross-corner whip, but came up empty on his follow-through.
Smith then attempted the running powerslam, but Ramon escaped.
Ramon then attempted the Razor’s Edge, but Owen intervened with a spinning heel kick.
Smith then hooked a somersault rollup and pinned Ramon.
Summary: Fortunately, we are nearing the swan song for Ramon and Diesel. The whole point behind their existence was Vince’s proof that ANYBODY can portray them not simply Hall and Nash. It was a horrible experiment that wasn’t necessary for the WWF to win their lawsuit against WCW. As far as the match goes, thanks to Owen and Smith, it had a hot finish containing Austin in the middle, so...
After the match, Austin returns to nail Smith from behind with a chop block.
Promo airs for WWF Heartbreak Express available 3/11/97 from Coliseum Home Video.
In the ring, McMahon interviews Ahmed Johnson. He then shills the Johnson versus Faarooq match at Royal Rumble. As Johnson “lives for (his) fans,” the Nation of Domination interrupts him. Faarooq then calls Johnson an “Uncle Tom” and vows to beat him at Royal Rumble “by any means necessary.” Notwithstanding, Johnson’s ready and gets the West Palm Beach faithful to chant “you’re going down” with him.
Promo airs for the Intercontinental title match—NEXT!
Match 3 for the WWF Intercontinental title: Hunter Hearst Helmsley (champion) versus “Wildman” Marc Mero (w/ Sable)
As Mero made his entrance, Ross mentioned that Undertaker will face Vader at Royal Rumble. So why is he AWOL tonight when the PPV’s subtitled after him?
When Helmsley came off the ropes, Mero delivered a hip toss followed by a dropkick.
He then clotheslined Helmsley over the top rope to the floor.
Next, as Helmsley avoided a somersault plancha attempt, Mero leaped from the apron and gave him a double axe handle. Kudos for acknowledging prior history.
Back in the ring, Mero reversed a cross-corner whip and delivered a back drop.
He then gave Helmsley the ten-punch count-along, but Helmsley countered with a jawbreaker using the top turnbuckle.
Helmsley then attempted the Pedigree, but Mero backdropped him over the top rope to the floor.
Mero joined, but Helmsley used Sable as a shield and decoy to nail him. How dastardly!
He then sent Mero back-first into the steps.
When Helmsley tried to WALLOP Mero with a chair, referee Earl Hebner stole it from him.
Helmsley then rammed Mero into the adjacent set of steps.
Upon their return to the ring, Helmsley delivered a backbreaker followed by a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for 2.
He then applied a rope-assisted abdominal stretch, but Hebner caught him.
After Helmsley lost his argument with Hebner, Mero reversed a cross-corner whip but ate boot on his follow-through.
Helmsley then mounted the second turnbuckle, leaped, but ate boot on the way down.
Upon giving Helmsley an inverted atomic drop, Mero hit a lariat.
He then gave Helmsley a cross-corner whip that resulted in a Helmsley flip.
After Mero kicked Helmsley in the midsection, he followed with a knee lift.
When Helmsley reversed an Irish whip, Mero took him down with a flying headscissors for 2.
Mero then placed Helmsley atop the top turnbuckle and delivered a huracanrana.
Afterward, he mounted the top turnbuckle to attempt the Merosault, but Helmsley bumped Hebner into the ropes. That caused Mero to lose his balance and fall to the mat.
Helmsley crawled over but only got 2.
He then attempted another Pedigree, but Mero countered with a catapult into the ring post, crawled over, but only got 2.
He then remounted the top turnbuckle and hit the Merosault for almost 3.
As Mero attempted a clothesline, Helmsley ducked so Mero accidentally nailed Hebner instead.
Hebner was OUT COLD.
After a neckbreaker by Helmsley, he brought the IC belt into the ring but missed a shot with it.
Mero then hooked a rollup for a false pin as Hebner was still down.
By the time Hebner got there, Mero only got 2.
Mero then gave Helmsley another cross-corner whip that sent Helmsley flying over the top turnbuckle to the floor.
He then followed with a somersault plancha.
When Goldust came to the ring, he grabbed the belt and nailed both Mero and Helmsley with it.
Mero then crawled into the ring and won by countout.
Summary: Like their previous encounter, this would have been a good main event for RAW.
After the match, Mero rolls Helmsley back in, mounts the top turnbuckle, and hits the Wild Thing (shooting star press). When he takes the belt with him backstage, the West Palm Beach cheers him. When Helmsley makes his way down the aisle, Goldust attacks him again. WE HAVE A FACE TURN!
Back in the locker room, Dok Hendrix interviews Sid. Previously, on Superstars, Sid, Bret, and Shawn Michaels brawled outside the arena. When Bret had his back turned, Sid nailed him. Sid then yells at Shawn “not to stick his nose” where it doesn’t belong. Either he whispers or shouts his promo toward Bret. That is NOT the proper type of promo for the face of the promotion.
Promo airs for the Armageddon rules match—NEXT!
Match 4 (Armageddon rules): Undertaker versus Executioner (w/ Paul Bearer)
Ross described the rules for this match:
After a pinfall or submission, the defeated wrestler must beat a ten-count to his feet.
“When one man cannot continue, the match is over.”
After a cross-corner whip, Undertaker clotheslined Executioner.
Why does this match seem like a scene from Game of Thrones?
Upon receiving a back drop, Executioner reversed on a cross-corner whip but ate boot on his follow-through.
Once again, Undertaker then made Executioner eat boot and gave him a pair of cross-corner whips. The latter resulted in an Executioner flip.
Shortly after, Undertaker slammed Executioner but missed an elbow drop.
Executioner then clotheslined Undertaker over the top rope to the floor.
On the other hand, Undertaker kept his feet, pulled Executioner to the floor with him, but got nailed with an urn shot by Bearer.
Although it didn’t faze Undertaker, Executioner made him HIT THE POLE!
After getting rammed face-first into the broadcast table, Undertaker reversed an Irish whip and delivered a clothesline.
He then removed the mat from a side of the ring, picked up Executioner, but somehow missed getting nailed from behind from an intruding Mankind.
Back in the ring, Mankind and Executioner gave Undertaker a double clothesline.
Undertaker came back and gave them a double noggin knocker.
As they made their way toward the IYH entrance, Undertaker made Executioner taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Red Sky chicken at Renegade’s Country Bar & Grill.
As if that wasn’t enough, Undertaker tossed Mankind through the trellis holding up the IYH sign.
Inside the “house,” Undertaker pushed Mankind through the “front door.”
Back at ringside, Mankind rammed Undertaker face-first into the steps.
While the West Palm Beach faithful chanted “Rest in Peace,” the security team came down to contain Mankind with mace.
Once again, Executioner and Undertaker fought their way through the “house” all the way backstage and out the front door. Is this match over yet?
Back in the ring, the security team secured Mankind in a straightjacket.
In the meantime, Undertaker sent Executioner down into the water fountain outside the West Palm Beach Auditorium.
He then returned to the aisle to nail the defenseless Mankind.
A soaking wet Executioner returned to the ring but received a Tombstone.
Referee Jim Korderas counted to ten giving Undertaker the victory.
Summary: Utter tripe. This had NO business being on PPV and was a waste of time from beginning to end. This was also the last appearance of the Executioner. RIP Terry Gordy.
Back in the locker room, Hendrix interviews Bret. We get a repeat of the earlier brawl from Superstars, and Bret snaps when Shawn Michaels’ music interrupts him. He states that after he wins the title tonight, he “(looks) forward to (facing Michaels).”
Speak of the devil, Michaels then makes his way to the ring for guest commentary.
Match 5 for the WWF title: Sycho Sid (champion) versus Bret “Hitman” Hart
In a sarcastic tone, Michaels sang Bret’s praises.
He then called Sid “the (WWF’s) most expensive piece of luggage” because he along with other WWF superstars carry him every night. HA!
Turnabout was fair play as Bret nailed Sid when the latter turned his back to remove the WWF belt.
Sid then reversed a cross-corner whip and delivered a clothesline.
Shortly after, as Michaels finished his soliloquy, Sid backdropped Bret over the top rope to the floor. Wait a minute! The Royal Rumble is NEXT month, Sid. Check your calendar!
Regardless, Sid joined and made Bret taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Mexican burger at Dorrian’s Red Hand.
then exposed the concrete floor, attempted a powerbomb, but Bret rammed him back-first into the ring post three times.
Back in the ring, Bret mounted the second turnbuckle and delivered a double axe handle to Sid’s back.
He then gave Sid a backbreaker followed by a pair of elbow smashes to the lower back.
Next, he cross-corner-whipped Sid further injuring the back.
After a leg drop, Bret put a knee into Sid’s back. To say Bret’s psychology wasn’t subtle would be a tremendous understatement.
While Michaels doesn’t claim to be a brain surgeon, Bret removed the pad from the top turnbuckle.
Bret then gave Sid a belly-to-back suplex for 2 followed by a side Russian leg sweep for another 2.
After a vertical suplex, Bret mounted the second turnbuckle, delivered a forearm smash to Sid’s back, and almost got 3.
As Bret mounted the top turnbuckle, Sid caught and slammed him down to the mat.
Sid then delivered a big boot followed by a powerslam for 2.
Upon giving Bret a short-arm clothesline, Sid got another 2 but missed a subsequent leg drop.
Immediately, Bret attempted to hook the Sharpshooter, but Sid kicked him out of the ring to counter.
While Sid distracted referee Earl Hebner, Austin ran to the ring to give Bret a chop block.
Suddenly, Smith, with his knee wrapped, and Owen came out to remove Austin.
According to Vince, Austin will participate in the Royal Rumble match.
Although Sid was a face, he should have been working on Bret’s knee but chose to ignore it.
In very un-“Hitman”-like fashion, he’s forced to make Sid repeat a spot since he botched an effort to send Bret face-first into the exposed turnbuckle the first time. Tsk-tsk.
Ross then clamored for a dentist to help Bret. I don’t think Bret would want to see this guy late on a Sunday night.
Nonetheless, Sid delivered a chokeslam for 2.
Afterward, Bret clotheslined Sid sending both wrestlers over the top rope to the floor.
When Bret tried to use Michaels’ chair, Sid gave him a double axe handle to the back.
Upon tossing Bret back into the ring, Sid pie-faced Michaels into the steel railing.
As Michaels got up on the apron to confront the WWF champion, Sid whipped Bret into him shooting Michaels face-first into his own chair.
Sid then gave Bret a powerbomb.
Summary: Sid’s repeating a spot and not working on Bret’s injured knee post-chop block are two of the many items that were unbecoming of the WWF champion in this match. While Bret’s work is solid, Michaels is correct regarding Sid’s need to be carried.
After the match, a bloody-nosed Bret rolls out of the ring and nails a staggering Michaels. Truly, the seeds of a rematch between Michaels and Bret have been planted.
Conclusion: While entertaining, this is an extremely SKIPPABLE show. If the WWF was smart, they’d plant their storylines on RAW and finish them off on PPV rather than the opposite. As the buyrate reflects, a lot of wrestling fans either chose to keep their PPV money or spend it on Starrcade.