WWF In Your House
May 14th, 1995
Live from the OnCenter War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, New York
Announcers: Vince McMahon and Dok Hendrix
Stephen: The Raws have built the show up, I suppose. They weren’t all that great… but this show has promised a GREAT VALUE! All month long, Todd Pettengill has been doing IYH Reports noting how this is a BARGAIN of a PPV at the price of $15 in 1995 money. Maybe they should be charging $15 for the Network…
We get the front door open with one of the silliest yet greatest PPV sets ever and the colour commentary debut (on PPV – I assume he was on Superstars prior to this) of Dokken J. Hendrix (Dok for short).
Connor: Dok Hendrix is pretty annoying here but I think he was really their only other option as a heel announcer. In retrospect, they probably should have just done a face-face team and had Vince commentate with Gorilla Monsoon or JR. Was Dok Hendrix’s early gimmick “overexcited cokehead” because that’s what he sounds like in the booth.
Bret Hart Vs Hakushi (with Shinja)
Stephen: The first match pits Bret Hart against Hakushi. Bret’s job at this point was to decisively beat new stars that were being pushed while making them look good, but since it’s not 2014 this sort of “not putting the new star over” booking was considered acceptable and not terrible booking by the AOL wrestling community (all 50 of them). Maybe RSPW hated it, I don’t know. I’m just being facetious about the internet, for fun and all that. Also I spoiled the result before the match even started.
Connor: Watching these Spring and Summer ’95 RAWs on the Network, it’s amazing how quickly they undercut Hakushi. He was ahead of his time and a phenomenal high flyer but it doesn’t seem like anybody except Bret and maybe 123 Kid knew what to do against him and his push got cut off before it started. I think the biggest win he got against anybody other than Bret was Bob “Spark Plugg” Holly. Oh. I guess he won against the Kid at SummerSlam ’95 but I think that was the start of 123 Kid’s losing streak angle.
Stephen: I’ve seen this match on the 2005 Bret Hart DVD set but as I’ve never seen this show, I’ve never seen the ‘full context’ of it (I’m sure the match is the same either way). Early on we get some light “U-S-A!” chants from the crowd as they apparently dislike both Hakushi and Bret Hart. So far Dok has been pretty impartial too – I seem to recall him being more of a heel on commentary (he is filling in for Lawler, after all) but no hints of that just yet. As I type that, Dok yells “Cover him! Cover him!” after Hakushi whips the Hitman into the turnbuckles, which Bret took as only he does – chest first, falling backwards on to the mat.
We get a split screen – the graphic is TWO houses! – of Jerry Lawler watching the match on a monitor in the back, very excited the Hakushi is in control. Dok refers to Shinja stomping on Bret on the outside while Hakushi blocks the referee from seeing it as “good teamwork”, so the Early Installment Weirdness of Hendrix being unbiased seems to have quickly gone away. He even gets on Vince’s case for “not being neutral like me” when Vince admonishes the cheating.
Hakushi hits a “tremendous maneuver” (cartwheel into a back elbow) on The Hitman before hitting an impressive looking flying headbutt, but (despite Michael PS Hendrix’s objections that it was a 3) Hart kicks out at 2. Bret takes control with a side Russian legsweep and before I can even comment on the familiar move sequence coming up, Dok makes sure to point out that “this usually sets up the Sharpshooter” a few moves later. A bulldog, backbreaker, and 2nd rope elbow later and naturally the Sharpshooter is attempted but the application is unsuccessful. After Shinja trips Bret Hart on the outside, Hart dives outside the ring to take him out temporarily.
Back inside the ring, The Hitman goes to give The Modern Day Kamikaze a suplex but in a cool spot they go over the ropes and to the floor. Hakushi follows this up with a picture perfect Asai Moonsault which actually gets a small portion of the audience to chant “HA-KU-SHI.” Hakushi attempts to suplex Hart from the ring apron into the ring but this leads to a series of reversals, leading Bret to get the 1-2-3 with a victory roll.
Great match! If the other matches on this show are anything like this one, this will be one hell of a 1 hour 45 minute PPV!
Connor: That’s the great thing about these two hour pay per views. If you have one great match, it’s pretty much worth your while but a great match in a three hour pay per view can get lost in a pile of crap. Hopefully, the rest of this two hour (er… one hour and forty five minute) pay per view isn’t a pile of crap though.
Stephen: Alundra Blayze and Stan Lane are on the Superstar Line, likely discussing her terrible new haircut, while Jerry Lawler barges in to talk about the fact Bret appeared to tweak his knee after his match.
Stephanie Wiand shows us the armoured vehicle arriving with over 340,000 entries for the house giveaway. That was a quick waste of time if someone needed to use the washroom before our next match – Double J Jeff Jarrett and The Roadie vs. Razor Ramon. 1-2-3 Kid is on the phone with Vince and has something important to say: “I’ll be keeping my eyes on The Roadie.”
Connor: Amazing how the women’s division sort of got the shaft in ’95. Alundra Blayze Vs Bull Nakano totally deserved a spot on WrestleMania XI. The stupid Bertha Faye feud got a PPV match though. By the time of the excellent women’s Survivor Series match, Alundra Blayze was on her way out the door and to throwing the belt in a garbage can.
2 on 1 Handicap Match: Jeff Jarrett and The Roadie Vs Razor Ramon
Stephen: Razor Ramon wishes “Mama Ramon” a happy Mother’s Day from the backstage area before coming out in his Bill Cosby sweater converted into a Bad Guy vest and banana yellow attire. If you’re superstitious, I’m not sure why Razor would go into a handicap match against the men who beat him for the Intercontinental championship in the same gear he lost it in, but he also walked under a ladder at WrestleMania X without any ill effects… wait, is THAT what happened to Scott Hall? Was he doomed to a cursed life after walking under that ladder? On the subject of ring gear, Jarrett is dressed in what appears to be custom special guest referee black and white striped attire.
I realize Road Dogg has never been applauded for his great in ring skills, but as The Roadie he seems pretty bad – Dok may be giving him “a 7 or and 8,” but his work seems a bit sloppy/slow so far. He has been wrestling regularly since 1991 at this point but you wouldn’t know it and the limited things he does are being sold as “good for a debut” – maybe he really was good and is selling me on believing he wasn’t all that great, since his character wasn’t supposed to be a good wrestler at this point in 1995. He does seem to work a bit better as the match progresses though.
This has mostly been Razor vs. Roadie, or him being double teamed, or Jarrett with the advantage, but this is definitely bottom tier of the Jarrett/Razor matches (which I generally like – I think the may have peaked at Rumble 95 to be honest though). Razor does hit a nice looking back suplex which puts both men down on the mat – Jeff makes the tag to Roadie while Razor makes the tag to no one since it’s a handicap match, so after Roadie jumps off the ropes but fails to pin Razor for the 3 count, he locks Ramon in a rest hold. After a good rest, Roadie tags out but Ramon is on the comeback trail, hitting everyone before nailing Roadie with his patented top rope back suplex. He signals for the Razor’s Edge but Jarrett clips him and attempts to put on the Figure Four – Ramon counters with by booting Jeff into the Roadie, hits Double J with the Razor’s Edge and finally pins his rival with no title on the line.
Post match, Razor attempts to Edge the Roadie but Jarrett and Roadie end up double teaming him until
Savio Vega Aldo Montoya makes the save… what? Well I didn’t think that’s what happened and it turns out it doesn’t as Also “and his jockstrap” (as Dok mentions) is quickly dispatched. A MYSTERIOUS MAN WITH NO BUSINESS IN THE RING comes out to make the save and is escorted away by the police but the crowd appreciates his efforts to help Razor out.
Connor: I really appreciated this debut because it meant I wouldn’t have to watch anymore KWANG matches on these ’95 RAWs.
Stephen: A pretty cool KOTR 95 commercial airs – it appears to have been filmed at a Medieval Times which might explain why in 1995 they gave our class trip a free WWF magazine previewing that terrible PPV.
Stephen: Jerry Lawler is backstage with Canadian wrestling icon Billy Red Lyons (dont’cha dare miss it!) and Jack Tunney, demanding his match with Bret Hart happen NOW. I was surprised to see Tunney as ever since WrestleMania X’s build-up, Tunney has seemed to exist in name only, often being referred to but never appearing as an authority figure. We’re not too far off from him being officially gone though, replaced by Gorilla Monsoon.
Barry Dodinski shills Bret Hart shirts – 1 size fits all, $20 plus 3.95 shipping, call 1-800-TITAN-91 if you want one.
Connor: This might be one of the only ’95 appearances by Tunney. I remember there was a WWF Magazine exclusive angle around this time about Tunney being accused of accepting bribes from Ted DiBiase. In retrospect, kind of surprising that they didn’t bring that to TV and use that as an excuse as to why he was getting replaced by Gorilla instead of Vince just announcing “Tunney’s retired” on a random RAW a month or so after this show.
Barry Didinsky’s segments are awful. He’s got virtually no charisma so I’m amazed that he got hired to be a pitchman. These type of segments are dumb but at least, get a screaming Don West type. Didinksy had the energy of somebody going to a dental appointment.
King of the Ring Tournament Qualifying Match: Adam Bomb Vs Mabel (with Mo)
Stephen: Mabel makes his way to the ring for the first ever KOTR qualifying match to be held on PPV – at the time of this PPV I did not understand what purpose this served or why it was happening, and I honestly assumed Adam Bomb would win. Some fan seems to agree with me as he holds up a “ADAM BOMB – KING OF THE RING” sign.
Mo and Mabel jump Bomb before the bell rings causing Danny Davis to lightly admonish them, then ring the bell to start the match with Mabel clearly having an advantage. Dangerous Danny, still a heel all along (obviously this was not presented as the case). Bomb ends up in control early anyway, hitting all of his big man offense including his top rope clothesline. Since he didn’t even bother to make a cover after that – which was his finisher – I don’t like his chances here.
Mabel quickly gets back in control with what I guess was a jumping cartwheel kick. Adam Bomb recovers from this and leaps at Mabel but is caught and powerslammed down to the mat, causing Mabel to advance in a KOTR tournament that he has no chance in as long as guys like Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker are involved too.
Connor: Huge upset to seven year old me too. I thought Adam Bomb was the favorite here. Adam Bomb seems like the guy who was constantly on the verge of a push but they never really committed to a serious one until he was after his prime in the dying months of WCW. Mabel, at this point, was just a part time singles wrestler. There was no reason to believe at all that he had any shot of actually winning the King of the Ring Tournament.
Stephen: Razor Ramon introduces the fan from earlier as none other than his
ninja friend Kwang Caribbean pal Savio Vega! He notes he “didn’t recognize him” and he looks a bit different (to who? The few WWF fans who saw TNT in the Caribbean? People who know he’s Kwang?) but he’s happy to see him.
WWF Tag Team Titles Match: Owen Hart & Yokozuna (c) (with Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette) Vs The Smoking Gunns
Stephen: As The Smoking Gunns get set for their rematch attempt to regain the WWF tag team titles from Owen Hart and Yokozuna, Bret Hart is shown in the back with an ice pack on his knee.
This is very much into my “love the heels” era of fandom – Owen and Yokozuna were my favourite tag team and I was always worried they’d lose the tag titles, whether it was to the Smoking Gunns here or the Allied Powers in July. I liked the Allied Powers too, but I never cared for the Gunns. That’s one of those things where in hindsight I can see the Allied Powers was basically a way to give Luger something to do as his time in the company ran out and keep Bulldog relevant while Shawn Michaels and Bam Bam Bigelow took over top face spots on the card and the Smoking Gunns were actually a GREAT team that my childhood self was wrong for hating.
The match was fine – Gunns did some of their usual good double team spots – but it just kind of abruptly ends when Bart ends up on the floor, Yokozuna gives him a big legdrop and throws him back in the ring for Owen to pin.
Connor: Totally agree on the Smoking Gunns appreciation. I liked them fine as a mark but never thought they were super awesome or anything. Rewatching these mid ’90s shows, I think they’re one of the best teams of the era. Maybe not one of the greatest of all time but probably in the second or third tier of great WWF Tag Teams. They get a bit lost in the shuffle because Billy’s second team, The New Age Outlaws went on to greater fame but I think the Gunns are as good if not better, from a workrate perspective. Love the Yokozuna-Owen Hart team as well. Criminally underrated. Allied Powers are the definition of “makeshift tag team” and rewatching their matches, they seem to be wrestling with the same level of enthusiasm that Barry Didinsky had when he had to sell WWF
Stephen: Diesel is backstage with Todd and notes this is his first Mother’s Day without his mom, who passed away just after Christmas. That’s a pretty sad story which really clashes with Todd’s follow-up question of him “having a rough weekend with Henry Godwin”. Diesel eventually breaks the somber mood to start yelling about how excited he is to face Sid, coo coo ca choo.
Connor: Diesel quoting “I Am The Walrus” here made for one of the most bewildering, dopiest promos in WWF history.
Of course, it would be topped at the next IYH two months later by Diesel’s opponent at both shows, SID with the “WE’RE LIVE, PAL!” promo with JR…
Bret Hart Vs Jerry “The King” Lawler (With Mama Lawler)
Stephen: Jerry Lawler is in the ring with “his mother”, a young attractive woman. She says after her Jerry beats Bret, she wants to challenge Helen.
Before coming to the ring, Bret reveals he was playing possum and he has no knee pain at all! I always found Bret’s sneaky tactics a bit odd – sometimes a heel announcer would say “he’s just playing possum” (or “goldbricking” as Heenan put it at Mania VIII) or accuse him of faking the whole thing, the face announcer would be APPALLED, then Bret would prove the heel right and the face would just move on as if he wasn’t just shown up to be wrong.
I was a big Bret fan at this time but somehow I was also a big Lawler fan too, and I liked the angle that Lawler kept getting cheap wins over Hart. The King nails Bret with his patented piledriver but Hart channels Road Warrior Hawk and gets right back up, hitting Lawler with a piledriver of his own. Bret pretty much has control the entire way until Shinja makes his way out, gets Earl Hebner hilariously tied upside down in the ropes, and Hakushi comes out to attack The Hitman with his flying headbutts. After three of them, Hebner is back in the ring to count 3 as Lawler picks up a pinfall victory over Bret Hart.
After the match, Bret cleans house on Lawler, Hakushi, and Shinja. Oh yeah, this whole feud was about Bret Hart being racist toward Japanese people… that never really went anywhere or had any doctored allegations or anything, it was just “Bret’s a racist!” and that was that.
Internet research tells me Lawler’s mother was played by “Unknown19950514-1877”. Uh, great, thanks.
Connor: This Lawler-Hart ’95 feud was surprisingly terrible. Especially since their feud two years earlier was so great. It started off with the “Bret is a racist” angle that went nowhere and it ended with the awful feud with Bret & Lawler’s dentist Issac Yankem DDS. Their matches weren’t very good either. Not bad but not nearly as good as their ’93 series. Which is odd since I don’t think either guys’ skills devolved in that period. Just very puzzling.
Stephen: Todd and Stephanie go over the amenities of the house they are about to give away, which I know the house is in Orlando and not Tampa, but I maintain the exact same design was used for the house Tyson Kidd and Natalya live in. A winning entry is raked out of the entries (literally, with rakes) and some frumpy looking legal folks verify the entry is a valid winner. Pettengill misdials the number on his first attempt but on the second try reaches a very excited family to give away the house (which WWE.com revealed years later had to be sold off due to the tax burden of winning the house).
WWF World Title Match: Diesel (c) Vs Sid (with Ted DiBiase)
Stephen: Sid with his awesome theme and red tights makes his way to the ring. His hair looks freshly bleached as well. “Diesel Blues” hits and we are moments away from the first ever In Your House main event. Hendrix makes sure to inform the viewing audience that as a wrestling match, the bout will suck (“it will be a brawl!”).
The match starts with Diesel throwing Sid from pillar to post, LEAPING at him twice in the turnbuckles and generally displaying a high level of energy that makes me think we’re going to have some really tired main eventers within minutes of this thing starting. Diesel even leaps off the apron to give Sid a double axe handle on the outside! They brawl on the floor and back into the ring until Ted DiBiase distracts Diesel, causing Sid to take control and REALLY slow things down after bodyslamming Diesel on the floor outside. Well, it was an ok match for a bit, anyway. Sid actually hits Diesel with the running Randy Orton Punt on the floor, but since that’s not really a thing yet Diesel shows minimal ill effects from it.
Sid slowly, methodically, and dully works over Diesel in the ring as Henry Godwin’s attack from Superstars has been brought up at least 3 times, foreshadowing a feud I’d never want to see and thankfully never happened. Sid locks Diesel in
The Accolade The Steiner Recliner a camel clutch rest hold to slow everything right down. Big Daddy Cool tries to fight out of it, but Sid leaps up and sits on his back, then delivers one of his more impressive trademark moves no one ever talks about – the Sid Legdrop. He gets a lot of height on it!
The above camel clutch spot repeats itself – and no, it was not a WWE Network backwards time skip – but this time when Sid tries to sit on Diesel’s back, Diesel moves and Sid lands on the mat. Diesel is still weak from Sid’s previous offense / tired from using so much energy at the beginning of the match, giving Sid enough time to hit a chokeslam and powerbomb! 1-2-He got him OH NO HE DIDNT! Sid took his time and Diesel kicked out.
Sid can’t believe it and figures the best course of action is to ram Diesel into the turnbuckles, but this just causes Diesel to reverse the situation and give Sid a big boot and Jacknife Powerbomb. Before he can get a decisive win, Tatanka runs in for the DQ and lays the boots to Diesel until Bam Bam Bigelow makes the save to set up next month’s main event, solidifying the fact that “bargain priced PPV” really meant “show that isn’t as important as our regular PPVs.”
Of course, it was a better show than the next month’s regular 3 hour PPV, but we’ll cover that later… maybe.
Connor: As Dean Ambrose would say, nope…
Stephen: The show ends with the “WWF: UNBELIEVABLE” ad that implies their brand of entertainment is saving the world from an alien race unhappy that our civilization had previously had two World Wars.
Connor: ’95 WWF had a lot of REALLY dumb ads. The one where old British people talk about WWF like it’s Harold Pinter play is just as bad (biggest outrage of that one is they couldn’t find a role for Lord Alfred Hayes who was still on the payroll at this point). Anyway, I think you put it well about them establishing a tone right away for In Your House. This show is more important than a RAW but less important than WrestleMania (or King of the Ring). In the day and age of three hour RAWs, I really miss these two hour pay per views. Unless they’re really, really bad (Hello, In Your House 4: Great White North), they always zip by. This show was just average but it moved a lot better than WrestleMania XI or King of the Ring ’95. Overall, have to give this a mild thumbs up!
Thanks for reading, everyone! We’ll do this again sometime. Maybe. See you for RAW Before The War on Wednesday!