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Gimmick Some Lovin': The Buried Alive match

ANALYST
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Mankind and The Undertaker
Mankind and The Undertaker

In Gimmick Some Lovin', we take a look at one iteration of a gimmick match each week. Some are iconic for their success, others for the extent to which they flopped, and some just...happened.

We defined a "gimmick match" as, in any way, adding a rule to or removing a rule from a match, changing the physical environment of a match, changing the conditions which define a "win", or in any way moving past the simple requirement of two men/women/teams whose contest must end via a single pinfall, submission, countout, or disqualification.

This week's entry is the Buried Alive match which served as the main event of October 20, 1996, In Your House PPV.


Every Good Gimmick Needs a Good Feud

The Dead Man and his most trusted confidante (for a while, at least), Paul Bearer
The Dead Man and his most trusted confidante (for a while, at least), Paul Bearer

It's interesting, in considering doing a feature on gimmick matches, just how many of those gimmick matches end up involving one Mark Callaway, who, for the better part of 30 years, has been known to the wrestling world as The Undertaker.

Booger Red's WWF/E tenure includes at least five different types of gimmick matches which originated either to fit his supernatural character or to fit the brutality of the feud in which he found himself (more on that later).

One, the casket match, remained primarily the Dead Man's domain; while another, Hell in a Cell, has found much broader use in the world of pretend fighting.

Mankind in 1996, one of the most unique characters to appear on mainstream wrestling television at that time
Mankind in 1996, one of the most unique characters to appear on mainstream wrestling television at that time

Two speciality matches blossomed out of Taker's 1996 feud with Mick Foley's Mankind persona, primarily because the on-screen hatred between the two could not be settled by traditional means. The first, SummerSlam 1996's Boiler Room Brawl, was tailored to Foley's fascinating first WWF face and turned out to be difficult to watch, but very much ahead of its time.

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The match saw the pair batter each other with all the plunder they could find in the bowels of Cleveland's Gund Arena (which, for being relatively new at the time, managed to have a very cluttered, ancient boiler room area), battling each other (along with tetanus, hepatitis, and/or any number of bacterial infections) on the way to the ring.

The conclusion of this match saw Taker's trusted confidante, Paul Bearer, turn on "The Deadman" in a moment that is probably better in your memory than it is on video (spoiler alert: the actual turn takes far longer than it needs to; the finish features several long minutes of overacted deliberation before Bearer finally bashes his now-former charge with the urn).

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