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Charles (Loss)

[1996-10-20-WWF-Buried Alive] Steve Austin vs Hunter Hearst Helmsley

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I HATED this thing with Jim Ross's mic going out on this show. It actively detracts from the match, which is too bad, because these two work really well together, and this is a nice match. I love Austin's old style. Helmsley is decent at fundamentals despite having little presence or charisma, and I wish he would wrestle like this more often.

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Eh, at least the JR stuff stopped around when Perfect came out. Nice subtle foreshadowing of what was to come, as Perfect "accidentally" helps give HHH the advantage by getting into it with Austin (they'd had a previous blow-up on Superstars). I don't get HHH passing up the Pedigree to chase after Perfect, though, considering the endgame of this angle. But anyway, this is a nice match that overcomes the weird heel-heel dynamic and a crowd that didn't quite know what to make of it, as Austin hadn't quite engineered his cult following yet.

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Good match. Austin's pre-match promo is great where he tells people who don't like his language to "kiss his ass." Austin really is a nice throwback during this time. All of his matches are very basic but build really well. I appreciate working the opening minutes around gaining the advantage with holds. When they finally get to more high impact offense & a few near falls it feels earned & therefore the pin attempts are a little more meaningful. They teased Perfect-Austin which is also something that didn't happen unitl 2002. I liked the finish a lot with Austin missing his ropes bombs away, flipping the bird, & hitting the stunner for the win. The JR stuff got a few laughs out of me but starts to get really annoying a few minutes in. This is the end of Hunter's punishment from the MSG incident & Austin is on a role towards the break out feud of his career. Things are going to get really interesting in the WWF soon.

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Good match despite the ancillary stuff that wasn't very good like Perfect being involved and JR mic deal. I wish JR would have just stormed off around five minutes in. This really showed the more attitude era stuff creeping in more and more with Austin flicking HHH off and really working a match built around a lot of outside action. HHH really needed to kind of revamp his character as his work doesn't match his persona here. ***

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This is an interesting package with the commentary doing a shooty angle, two future top stars in the ring and them really running with Austin's badass, vulgar persona. The match was fine; the work in the ring was decidedly an afterthought in the entire presentation, but it was worked perfectly competently.

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