WWF In Your House #1
May 14th, 1995
Onondaga War Memorial, Syracuse, New York
May 14th, 1995
Onondaga War Memorial, Syracuse, New York
Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Dok Hendrix (Michael Hayes).
Not much has changed since Wrestlemania 11 a month ago. Diesel is still
the WWF champion, Yokozuna and Owen Hart are still the tag champs and Jeff Jarrett is still your IC champ. The only big changes really are that Shawn Michaels has been out of action after being kayfabe injured and betrayed by his new bodyguard, Sycho Sid. This would plant the seeds for Shawn's big face turn and eventual domination of the company. Tonight Sid challenges Diesel for the WWF title, so let's get right to it.
We get a nice little hype package where they quickly set up tonight's matches as well as plug the big giveaway of a newly built house in Florida, tying in with the new theme of these shows.
Bret Hart vs. Hakushi
This is one of two matches for the Hitman tonight, the other against Jerry Lawler later on in the night. This would be the first in many midcarders that Bret would feud with over the year 1995 as they were busy focusing on Diesel and HBK in the main event and kind of just let Bret go out every month and have great matches with random midcarders. These two had a few excellent matches over the summer of '95 and this is their first. Hakushi, better known to Japanese wrestling fans as Jinsei Shinzaki, and Bret lockup to start and we've got your basic feeling-out process to start things off. A shoulderblock gets a quick two for Hakushi as the fans begin chanting "USA!" briefly and ironically, before probably realizing that neither man in the ring is American. Rollup for Bret gets another two count and Bret takes control with a few armdrags as the pace quickens up. Bret takes his usual stiff bump into the corner and Hakushi gets a two count while The King watches the match backstage with delight. Hakushi hits a stiff dropkick and taunts the crowd for a bit, getting big time heat. You know Hakushi could have been a major heel if he hadn't been buried shortly after the Bret feud. On the outside Shinja takes some cheap shots on the Hitman while Hakushi distracts the ref. Hakushi and Shinja play some classic heel games with Bret for awhile, getting in cheap shots while the other distracts the ref. Crowd starts to rally for Bret as Hakushi hits his trademark handspring back elbow intothe corner, a move Chyna would steal a few years later (and perform badly). They reverse backbreakers momentarily and Hakushi climbs to the top rope for a diving headbutt for a very close 2 count. Hakushi springboards off the top rope (which is incredible stuff for 1995) but Bret moves out of the way at the last second. The Hitman starts laying in right hands and begins going into his 5 moves of doom; russian leg sweep, bulldog, backbreaker, diving elbow for the second rope and the sharpshooter, but Shinja distracts Bret long enough to delay the sharpshooter. Bret hits a huge clothesline that turns Hakushi inside-out, but he doesn't go for the cover. Shinja trips him up and Bret has had enough as he dives outside the ring and takes him out. Dropkick from Hakushi gets another two count. Hakushi tries for a suplex but Bret reverses it and they both go tumbling over the top rope and to the floor outside. Shinja distracts Bret again while the count is being applied and Hakushi hits a picture-perfect Asai moonsault onto Bret on the outside! A small "Hakushi!" chant starts out among the smarks as Hakushi's offense is mind-blowing stuff for the WWF in 1995. They trade hiplocks inside the ring but Bret rolls up Hakushi in a victory roll for the 3 count at 14:39. Great stuff for it's time as it started off a bit slow but the last 5 minutes or so both men were at their best, bumping their asses off. Hakushi impressed alot of people here with his signature spots and fortunately this led to more (and better) matches between the two down the line. ***¾
After the match Bret twists his ankle getting down from the ring. A bit of foreshadowing for his match with The King later on.
Razor Ramon vs. Jeff Jarrett/The Roadie
We get a few brief words from the 1-2-3 Kid via telephone who doesn't say much. Razor had been feuding with Double J for months and with the Roadie's constant interference they decided to book this handicap match, which was originally planned to be Razor and the 1-2-3 Kid against Double J and Roadie until the Kid was injured. Razor is over huge, as always, making me wonder as always why he never got a real shot at the main event. Jarrett starts off with Razor and they lockup to start. Jarrett's attire is striped black and white so he looks exactly like the referee oddly enough. Cheap shot from Double J but Razor comes back quickly with a few big right hands. Jarrett misses a dropkick and gets clotheslined out of the ring. Jarrett drags him out with him and lures him in so the Roadie can get a cheap shot from behind. Back in the ring Razor gets tossed into a few corners and then hit with an enziguri. Double J tries for a cross-body block but Razor catches him in his trademark fallaway slam. Roadie tags in quickly and we bare witness to the televised in-ring debut of the future Road Dogg. After a few cheap shots he quickly tags out however. Jarrett and Razor trade sunset flips for near falls and the Roadie tags back in. Crowd begins to rally behind Razor while the Roadie keeps laying in lefts and rights. Roadie and Jarrett trade tags for a bit, dominating Razor until he starts to make the comeback. He signals for the Razor's Edge but Jarrett backdrops him over the top to the outside, where the Roadie dives off the top with a clothesline to the floor. Nice sequence of moves there. Back inside Jarrett hits a flying body press but Razor rolls through for a two count. Neckbreaker by Jarrett (which Vince strangely calls a "neckbuster") but he taunts the crowd instead of taking advantage of the hurt Razor. They knock heads into eachother off the ropes and both men are out. Razor is able to hit a nice back suplex but can't cover and both men are out once again. Roadie tags back in and hits a kneedrop from the second rope for a near fall. He locks on a headlock here as the pace has slowed down considerably. After a backdrop Jarrett tags back in but is met with a few stiff right arms. Both men are in the ring now but Razor is making easy work of them both, hitting a back suplex on the Roadie off the top rope. Jarrett attempts the figure four leglock from behind but instead gets met with the Razor's Edge for the win at 12:36. Nice little match here between these three as this was all about simply extending the Jarrett-Razor feud without having to keep putting out one-on-one matches between the two. Give this match a better middle and we've probably got a much better match. **¾ as it is.
After the match Jarrett locks on the figure four as he and the Roadie put the beatdown on Razor. Aldo Montoya of all people tries to make the save, but he's quickly rid of. A few moments later a random "fan" (Savio Vega) makes the save for Razor as apparently they're old friends. Atleast Savio isn't pretending to be a ninja anymore.
Backstage The King and the WWF President Jack Tunney argue about when King's match with Bret will take place.
King of the Ring Qualifying Match
Mabel vs. Adam Bomb
Oi vey, who's bright idea was it to put this on PPV? This has RAW-match written all over it. This was the beginning of Vince's attempt to make Mabel a main eventer, a mission that would fail horribly in every conceivable way and seriously hurt the company financially over the summer. Adam Bomb tries a few shoulderblocks but Mabel makes short work of him and squashes him (literally and figuratively) with a slam for the quick victory at 1:54. Typical squash match that should have been on Raw, not on PPV. DUD
Backstage Razor introduces us formally to Savio Vega, calling him one of the biggest superstars of the Caribbean. Let's not be THAT generous Razor.
WWF Tag Team Title Match
Owen Hart/Yokozuna (C) vs. Smoking Gunns
Owen and Yoko had all but squashed the Gunns for the tag titles back at Wrestlemania, so this is their big rematch. Yoko waves the Japanese flag around for a bit for some cheap heat. Yoko and Billy start it off and exchange a few headlocks while I'm busy entranced by the bodacious mullets-n-mustaches look of the Gunns. Hard to believe that was once considered fashionable. Owen and Bart tag in quickly and toss each other around for a bit. Bart hits a big dropkick and tags Billy back in who dropkicks Owen while Bart holds him in the air with a suplex. Say what you will about the Gunns, they had some innovative double-team moves I haven't seen before or since. Yoko tags back in and hammers away on Billy for a bit. Owen tags back in and hits a neckbreaker for a two count. Sunset flip on Owen gets another two but he recovers quickly with a spinning heel kick. Outside the ring Yoko slams into the turnbuckle inadverdantly while Owen starts getting double-teamed back in the ring. Big back suplex from Bart and they hit another double-team move, a suplex/neckbreaker combination that gets another two count. Bart misses a body press and flies outside the ring where he's met with a huge legdrop from Yokozuna. Yoko rolls Bart back into the ring and Owen gets the 3 count at 5:44. Bit of a rushed match here as they must have been running short on time. Decent, but nothing you couldn't see every week on Raw. *½
Backstage Diesel gives a bittersweet interview as he mentions how his mother passed away the year before around this time. He wishes all the mothers out there a happy Mother's Day anyways. Kind of a sad moment there.
Meanwhile, The King comes back out and cuts a promo on Bret, showing off a model in her mid-20s claiming her to be his "mother". Kind of creepy honestly, especially with the King's storied sexual exploits over the years. Bret quickly lets the King and everyone know that he's been faking the leg injury all night to ease Lawler into a false sense of securtiy, and that he's had enough. He charges to the ring and we're off...
Bret Hart vs. Jerry "The King" Lawler
Great heat to start the match off as the King is bumping all over the place, selling like a madman every bit of Bret's offense complete with classic King facial reactions. Vince plugs the house giveaway while The King hits a crisp piledriver on Bret and celebrates, thinking the match is over. Bret however completely no sells it (huh?) and hits a piledriver of his own. Man I miss seeing that move since it's near-universal ban over the last 10 years. King calls for help from the back and Shinja comes down to the ring to distract the ref while Bret lays in lefts and rights on the King. The ref gets bumped and gets his foot caught in the rope while Bret starts hitting trademark moves. Hakushi however flies down to the ring and hits Bret off the top a few times while the King holds Bret down on the mat. The ref recovers just in time for Lawler to get the cover for the cheap win at 5:01. They managed to actually fit some nice stuff into the short time they had and the crowd was hot all the way through, but they simply didn't have enough time to do anything really meaningful. Check out their match at Summerslam '93 for a better idea of the match these two were capable of having together. *¾
Backstage Sid delivers his usual creepy, rambling promo with the camera basically up his nose. I wonder if this is where the filmmakers of the Blair Witch Project got their camera angle ideas from?Todd Pettinggill and Stephanie Wiand come out as it's time for the big house giveaway. They draw the winning entry from a giant pool of letters with lawn rakes of all things before Todd sexually assaults/helps Stephanie into the pool of letters to pick the lucky winner. They talk to some yokel on the phone who sounds about as enthusiastic about winning a new home as I am watching a Mabel match. Thankfully this would be the one and only time they did this.
WWF World Title Match
Diesel (C) vs. Sid
Sid had turned his back on Shawn Michaels the night after Wrestlemania when he failed to win the world title, and Diesel of all people came out to make the save for his old buddy. With Shawn kayfabe injured by Sid, he was made the number one contender and was revealed as the supposed "crowning jewel" of Ted DiBiase's Million Dollar Corporation. On paper this looked like a dream match, but what we got instead was a big fat stinker if I remember correctly. Staredown to start off but Diesel takes advantage early with forearms and a few irish whips into the corner. Diesel is hugely over here and as much as his title reign was maligned by critics, you really can't blame Vince for pushing the guy the way he did. They brawl outside briefly but quickly make it back inside where Diesel only gets a 1 count on Sid. Diesel gets dragged out of the ring and we've got more brawling. Big "Diesel!" chants start while DiBiase distracts him long enough for Sid to throw Diesel back to the outside. That's literally been this entire match so far, brawling inside, then outside, then back inside, then back out, etc. Sid rams Diesel into the ringpost and starts to take the upper hand. He gets a running start and punts Diesel in the head in Randy Orton-like fashion. Back inside it's nothing but forearms as about 90% of this match thus far has been lackadaisical brawling. This match is moving along at a snail's pace now, somehow making the first five minutes look like Bret-Hakushi in comparison. Sid locks on a camel clutch. Because that's just what this match needed, restholds. Sid holds this resthold on for what seems like an eternity but is actually probably closer to about 4 or 5 minutes, which is still unfathomably long. Diesel powers out eventually but gets met with a half-hearted chokeslam from Sid. Sid hits the powerbomb next as Diesel looks to be done, but Sid is busy taunting the crowd while DiBiase flips out on the outside of the ring. Diesel kicks out at two and starts the comeback. Seconds later Diesel hits the jacknife for what would have been the 3 count, but Tatanka and DiBiase hit the ring and start the beatdown on Diesel for the DQ at 11:31. Awful, awful match here between two guys that really need a better worker to play off of to have great matches. It was only a little over 10 minutes long, but felt like 20. When your world title main event consists 90% of punching and a camel-clutch resthold and ends with a DQ, we've got problems in the quality department. ¼*, and that's honestly being extremely generous as this could just as easily been a dud. I'm feeling nice I guess.
After the match Bam Bam Bigelow makes the save and we go off the air with Diesel celebrating in the ring.
This is the Coliseum Home Video version of the show, so we've got a few extra matches. Let's get to it.
Undertaker vs. Kama
Kama would be better known as Charles Wright or The Godfather, as he spent most of the 90s trying one gimmick and character after another until finally just settling on being himself and getting over huge with the Attitude Era fans. Undertaker is still busy squashing DiBiase's Million Dollar Corporation every week, and this is going to be no different. Lots of stalling from Kama to start but eventually 'Taker brings him into the ring and starts tossing him around with ease. Crowd seems strangely dead for an Undertaker match. 'Taker hits Old School and lays in a few headbutts but Kama trips him up and starts hitting left and rights on him in the corner. Outside the ring 'Taker slams his arm into the ringpost accidentally and Kama half-heartedly brawls with him for a bit as the crowd is pretty much completely dead for this match thus far. DiBiase taunts 'Taker with the big gold chain that was supposedly made out of 'Taker's melted down urn. I'm sorry, but hasn't the angle for the last 3 years been that Undertaker derives ALL of his power from the urn? So it finally gets destroyed...and nothing happens. Bit of a booking fail there if you ask me. Kama locks on a half Boston crab for a bit as the crowd finally starts to come alive with a "Rest in Peace!" chant. Undertaker hits a back suplex but both men are laid out for the count. Back on their feet Undertaker begins the Deadman routine, no-selling Kama's offense and hitting trademark moves like the running clothesline. Kama comes back with a few elbows, but Taker rises in his usual fashion and finishes Kama with a chokeslam at 13:08. Boring dark match here that was just another chapter in the seemingly-neverending Undertaker-Million Dollar Corporation feud. *
Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Tatanka
Bam Bam had left DiBiase's Million Dollar Corporation after his loss to LT at Wrestlemania and turned face. He comes out with this weird dragon thing around his neck, which always perplexed me at the time. Bam Bam takes the quick advantage and lays Tatanka outside the ring, doing a cartwheel in the ring in celebration. Back inside Bam Bam continues to dominate with hip-tosses and shoulderblocks. DiBiase lowers the top rope when Bam Bam goes to bounce off of it though and tumbles nastily to the outside. Tatanka takes it to him outside, slamming him into the steel steps. He delivers a freaking DEATH VALLEY DRIVER to Bam Bam on the outside! Holy shit, this match just picked up. Eventually Bam Bam makes it back in the ring but Tatanka continues to dominate with running boots. Tatanka locks on a headlock though, crushing my hopes of this match picking up it's pace. This goes on for a few minutes while the crowd tries to get a "Bam Bam" chant going briefly. Eventually Bigelow breaks the hold and both men collide in mid-air, both attempting cross-body blocks. Tatanka misses an axe handle off the top and Bam Bam leaps off the top rope for a sunset flip for 3 at 8:50. Match started off pretty fun, but Tatanka's chinlock saw an end to that. Average dark match. *¼
The worst thing about those bonus matches? They chose both of them over a 15 minute time limit draw between Owen Hart and the British Bulldog that happened the same night. What kind of twisted cruelty is that?
Bottom Line: Not one of the WWF's finest efforts, this was a shaky start for the In Your House experiment. The show starts off strong with a very good Bret-Hakushi match that would set up a great feud over the next few months and a solid handicap match between Razor and Jarrett/The Roadie. After that though it's all downhill as the rest of the card is extremely rushed and the main event is absolutely awful. The Coliseum extras aren't worth watching either, so I've got to go with a thumbs down for the first In Your House event. The Bret-Hakushi match is well worth your time though.