(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)
In Your House
May 14, 1995
Onondaga County War Memorial
Syracuse, New York
This blog moved to www.classicwrestlingreview.com
News & Notes: WCW steadily added PPVs to their lineup, so the WWF decided to counter with a new tactic. They would offer monthly events. Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, King of the Ring, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series were still the big five. Now, they would hold shorter cheaper PPVs during the off-months. The In Your House series was born. Each entry would be a roughly two-hour show with a handful of bouts. The live crowd would also see dark matches after the PPV ended. The move was risky because it could over-saturate the market. So, Vince added a hook to the premiere edition by giving away an actual house in Orlando, Florida. It seems like a strange thing to do when business was poor, but Vince took a gamble. It slightly paid off as this event did a better than expected buyrate.
The primary feud for this event is Diesel versus Sid for the WWF Title. On the RAW after WrestleMania, Shawn Michaels was awarded a rematch with Diesel. However, Shawn told Sid his services weren’t needed. He claimed he didn’t need a bodyguard distracting the ref and causing him to injure himself. Sid took exception to this gave Shawn multiple powerbombs during the commercial break. This turned Michaels babyface for the first time since 1992. Shawn would take time off to heal from the attack, so Diesel stepped up to get revenge for Michaels. It was then revealed Sid was working for Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Corporation. They used Michaels to get to the WWF title. Diesel faced Bam Bam Bigelow in a match and won. So, DiBiase finally had enough. He fired Bigelow. Bam Bam told him he couldn’t fire him because he quit. Now, Bigelow was also a babyface. DiBiase made changes to the corporation. He also fired Nikolai Volkoff and paid for the services of Henry Godwinn, who attacked Diesel.
Also, I want to talk about a new addition to the broadcast team. In early ‘95, Jim Ross pushed for Vince to hire Michael Hayes as a commentator. Michael had done commentary in WCW, and Ross felt he would be a good addition. However, Vince didn’t think the WWF fans would know who Hayes or the Freebirds were. He repackaged Michael with a new name and persona. Now, he was Dok Hendrix. Hayes cut his hair and shaved his beard. He morphed into a character somehow more annoying than Todd Pettengill. Hendrix was like your crazy uncle if he snorted a mound of cocaine and really loved wrestling.
Before we begin, I also need to point out a funny moment from the pre-show. It’s not on the network but I provided a link on the Facebook page. It’s the infamous Sid promo where he asks for a redo on live TV. Jim Ross responds, “It’s live, pal.” The look on Sid’s face made me feel bad for him. It’s not his fault. He only has half the brain of Kevin Nash.
The show begins with Todd Pettengill putting out the welcome mat for all the viewers at home. So, make sure you wipe your feet. You wouldn’t want to track dirt all over this PPV. He lists the entire card and there is surprisingly not a celebrity to be found. Todd talks about the main event and Diesel says, “In your house? Big Daddy Cool is in your face!” Sid simply laughs and I don’t blame him after that Diesel line. Then, Todd discusses the rest of the matches while they play sound bites from the wrestlers. He also talks about the house they’re giving away to a lucky viewer.
Next, a funky In Your House theme plays while Vince McMahon welcomes everyone. Dok Hendrix joins him and Vince introduces the Spanish announce team. They talk about Mother’s Day. Dok says some lucky Mama might win the house, but he reminds them he gets golf privileges. Is that what he’s calling it? I can only picture a drunk Michael Hayes showing up to the winner’s house and mumbling about getting a hole in one. Vince must be thinking the same thing because he looks like he has deep regrets about hiring Dok. Then, Hakushi’s music plays, so Dok tells everyone to open their doors for the modern-day kamikaze.
They show footage of Hakushi attacking Hart while the fans chant we want Bret. Todd is backstage with him, and he acknowledges the chant. Todd also says Bret is ready to go to the wing. No, that’s not a typo. Todd simply can’t speak. Bret sings Hakushi’s praises. He mentions the undefeated streak, but he says Hakushi has never faced the Excellence of Execution. Bret then dedicates his match to his mother Helen and threatens Jerry Lawler. He tells Jerry Helen is watching and says, “She has one thing in mind. I’m going to tear you apart.” Wait, is he saying Helen wants to tear Jerry apart? I almost believe she could do it.
Bret Hart vs. Hakushi (w/ Shinja)
Notes: Bret Hart rekindled his feud with Jerry Lawler after Jerry had accused him of being a racist. Yes, I’m serious. Bret received an award for being one of the most popular international stars. Lawler said the Japanese votes must not have been counted because they know Bret hates the Japanese. Bret denied this claim. He even received an award from the Japanese people. However, Lawler brought in a wrestler named Hakushi to attack Bret during the ceremony. A match between Bret and Hakushi was booked for this PPV, but Lawler claimed Bret was ducking him. Bret decided to prove this wrong by agreeing to wrestle both Hakushi and Lawler on the same show.
Hakushi is the Japanese wrestler, Kensuke Shinzaki (aka Jinsei Shinzaki). He was only three years into his career at this point but was already quite impressive. The Hakushi name translates to White Angel, and his look is amazing. His face and upper body are covered in painted Japanese lettering. He enters the ring dressed like Raiden from Mortal Kombat. Also, he is managed by Shinja (Sato from the Orient Express). Shinja wears a white suit and paints his face like a Japanese mime. Everything about the Hakushi presentation is incredibly cool. It’s a shame the WWF doesn’t do much with him.
The Match: They trade holds and work each other’s arms while Hakushi shows off his agility. There is some miscommunication early, but they adjust. Hakushi then takes control by giving Bret a springboard splash and a form of the Bronco Buster. Lawler watches the match on a monitor in the back as Shinja distracts the ref for some cheating. Then, Hakushi nails a handspring elbow and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. He also lands a flying headbutt. It’s not enough, so he attempts a springboard version. Bret moves and goes into his finishing routine. However, Shinja distracts and trips him. Bret answers by diving onto Shinja. So, Hakushi nails an Asai Moonsault. Next, he attempts suplexing Bret from the apron, but Bret reverses it into a victory roll for the win.
Thoughts: There were a couple of shaky moments early in the match, but it ended up being great. The miscommunication can be chalked up to the fact that Hakushi was still green. Once they got their rhythm, the match was solid. Hakushi was using moves that were still unique at the time. He even won over a portion of the crowd. I hard a small Hakushi chant. I like it was evenly matched. It made Hakushi look strong despite the loss. Bret enjoyed this match enough he included it on his DVD. I can see why.
Winner: Bret Hart (14:39)
After the match, fireworks explode. That’s a bit excessive. Bret celebrates and exits the ring, but he tweaks his knee in the process. He limps to the back while Hendrix gleefully points out the injury.
Meanwhile, Todd is in what he calls the 1-900 Room. Stan Lane and Alundra Blayze are trying to talk on the hotline, but Todd is being loud. Lawler arrives and says he wants his match with Bret immediately. Todd points out Bret hurt his knee, but Jerry pretends he didn’t see it. He claims it has nothing to do with wanting the match early. Todd then tells Lawler Bret is heading to the hotline, so Jerry pretends to get a page and leaves.
Next, Stephanie Wiand is walking around the In Your House set. She seems to think it’s the contest house. Is her character supposed to be an idiot? She also presents footage of an armored car delivering the entry envelopes to the arena. She says they were incredibly heavy. I’m unsure envelopes would weigh that much. Also, do contest entries need tight security? Steph then lists off where various entries are from, but she’s interrupted by Jeff Jarrett’s music.
During Jeff’s entrance, Vince takes a phone call from the 1-2-3 Kid. The sound quality is terrible, but Kid says he wants to be there so much he can taste it. He also vows revenge. Then, they go to Razor Ramon for his comments. Vince asks if it’s Razor’s first Handicap Match. He says it’s the first advertised one because it’s been 2-on-1 since day one. I guess he forgot having the Kid in his corner at Mania. Razor then addresses the Roadie stepping into the ring for the first time. It’s not the first time, but the WWF doesn’t acknowledge Roadie has a wrestling background. Razor also tells the Kid to get well before wishing Mama Ramon a happy Mother’s Day.
Handicap Match: Razor Ramon vs. Jeff Jarrett & The Roadie
Notes: This was originally supposed to be Razor & Kid vs. Jarrett & Roadie, but the Kid injured his neck. It was changed to a Handicap Match, despite Jarrett also feuding with both Aldo Montoya and Bob Holly. I’m unsure why one of them wasn’t added to the match. Bob Holly stated in his book he wasn’t pleased about that fact. He blamed the Kliq for keeping him out of it. (I realize I haven’t discussed the Kliq yet. I will talk about them once their final member arrives later in the year.)
The Match: The Roadie distracts Razor and Jarrett attacks, but Razor gets the early advantage. He has Jarrett on the ropes until the Roadie attacks from behind. He enters the match and lands a clothesline and some elbows before gyrating. Razor rallies and gets some near-falls, but Jeff & Roadie double-team him. Razor fights again and attempts a Razors Edge, but Jarrett back drops him over the ropes. The Roadie capitalizes with a flying clothesline to the floor. So, Hendrix pesters McMahon to admit it was a good move. Jarrett stops Ramon’s comebacks until both men collide. The Roadie tries slowing down the match with a headlock, but Razor recovers. He gives Roadie a super back suplex. Unfortunately, Jarrett clips Razor’s knee and attempts a Figure Four. Razor stops it and shoves Jarrett into the Roadie. This allows him to nail a Razors Edge for the win.
Thoughts: I enjoyed this match. I liked the storytelling and the Roadie did well. You could tell he knew what he was doing, but he played it so it appeared he was inexperienced. It’s the sign of a good wrestler when they can pretend to not know and still make it look solid. The finish was also done in a way that doesn’t hurt Jarrett too much. He can always claim the Roadie was in the way. It makes Razor look strong without sacrificing Jeff.
Winner: Razor Ramon (12:36)
Razor reaches his feet and the Roadie attempts attacking him. Razor sidesteps and tries to give Roadie a Razors Edge, but Jarrett clips his knee. He then puts Ramon in the Figure Four. Aldo Montoya arrives to help. He takes out the Roadie, but Jarrett jumps him. They return to attacking Razor until—
—a Kwang-shaped Puerto Rican man enters the ring and saves Razor. Vince and Dok have no idea who he is. Vince says he has no business in the ring, and the officials agree. They stop the attack and order the man to leave. Police also arrive, so he leaves peacefully.
Next, they show a commercial for King of the Ring. They show footage of knights fighting until they hear the narrator speak about the PPV. All of them run to a TV to watch. If they watch the event, I’m sure they’ll wish they kept fighting instead. Then, we see Jerry Lawler arguing with Jack Tunney. He still wants his match with Bret immediately, but Tunney refuses. This is followed by a hype video for Sid. It’s mostly footage of Sid destroying jobbers while his Psycho theme plays. It also includes him powerbombing Shawn Michaels and attacking Razor Ramon through his pyro. That was a cool visual.
Then, they go to the WWF’s new merchandise hype-man, Barry Didinsky. He’s holding the new all-over Bret Hart shirt. It’s called that because the artwork is printed all over it. I forgot how gaudy and ugly mid-90s t-shirts were. Barry claims it’s one-size-fits-all, but he also says it’s an extra large. Which is it, Barry? He then asks about Bret Hart’s well-being, but Vince doesn’t have an update.
King of the Ring Qualifying Match: Mabel (w/ Mo) vs. Adam Bomb
Notes: Oh, god. It’s coming. The road to one of the worst PPVs ever begins. As I mentioned in my Mania review, Men on a Mission turned heel by attacking the Smoking Gunns. Oscar tried to apologize for the actions, but Mabel & Mo took exception. They attacked Oscar and kicked him out of the group. Mo would then take over duties as Mabel’s manager. Now, Mabel is facing Adam Bomb to qualify for the King of the Ring. Adam Bomb, on the other hand, turned babyface. Now, he has cool mushroom cloud pyro and throws foam missiles into the crowd. He even calls his fans the Bomb Squad. I get the feeling it’s all for naught because Vince is enamored with Mabel at the moment.
The Match: Mo distracts Adam, so Mabel attacks. He squashes Bomb in the corner and attempts another one. Adam moves. Then, he sends Mabel to the floor with a shoulder tackle and nails a slingshot cross body. He also sends Mabel into the ring and does a slingshot clothesline. Bomb then follows that with a flying clothesline, but it’s not enough. Sadly, Adam falls to a rolling kick and Mabel hits a powerslam for the win.
Thoughts: At least they kept it short, but I felt bad for Adam Bomb. His offense looked great. When he was in control, it was enjoyable. However, Mabel looked incredibly limited. He didn’t even leave his feet for the rolling kick. I can’t believe Vince is seriously pushing this guy. Mabel already had a reputation for hurting people, and he’s not capable of long matches. The second half of ‘95 is rough.
Winner: Mabel (1:54)
Todd is in the 1-900 Room with Razor Ramon. He says all heck broke loose after Razor’s match. Aw, shucks. Don’t you just hate when heck breaks loose? Then, Razor says he has a scoop for Todd. He introduces him to one of the Caribbean’s biggest stars, Savio Vega. Razor says he didn’t recognize Savio at first because he changed a little. Yeah, he removed his ninja mask. Savio says he couldn’t handle watching Double J and the Roadie attacking his friend. Razor claims he fought against Savio before, but it’s good to have him on his side for a change. I feel like Razor was cheekily making references to wrestling Kwang in the past. To the uninitiated, it sounds like a regular promo. To those in the know, it’s filled with inside jokes. I liked it. Get used to Savio because he will be all over the next PPV.
Tag Team Title Match: Owen Hart & Yokozuna (c) (w/ Jim Cornette & Mr. Fuji) vs. The Smoking Gunns
Notes: Even though the Gunns had their issues with Men on a Mission, they still get a rematch for their titles. The build was simple. Both teams interfered in each other’s matches and Bart even defeated Owen in a singles bout.
During the introductions, Jerry Lawler arrives at ringside. He still wants his match with Bret to happen early. Tony Garea and Rene Goulet escort him away from the ring while they show Bret backstage with an ice pack.
The Match: The Gunns attempt knocking down Yoko to start, but they can’t. However, Bart press slams Owen. The Gunns double-team him until Owen nails an enziguri. Then, Yoko uses a nerve hold on Billy. Owen also gives him a neckbreaker. Billy tries to rally with a sunset flip, but it’s not enough. He is sent to the floor where Yoko tries attacking, but Yoko hits the post. This opens the door for Bart, who slams Owen and lands a back suplex. The Gunns follow that with a double-team neckbreaker. Unfortunately, Bart flies out of the ring on a missed cross body and Yoko gives him a leg drop. Billy fends off Owen, but Yoko rolls the unconscious Bart into the ring for the pin.
Thoughts: I was sad this was so short. I get Yoko can’t wrestle long matches, but Owen can. It was a fun match while it lasted. There were some good spots. The Gunns have good double-team moves. It simply felt rushed. I’m guessing an earlier match went long.
Winners: Owen & Yoko (5:44)
Next, Todd is with the WWF Champion, Diesel. He brings down the mood by saying it’s the first Mother’s Day since his mom died. Todd then brings up Henry Godwinn attacking him over the weekend. Diesel says the WWF is filling with 300-pound men that are gunning for him. He also says Ted DiBiase is paying people to take him out, but it didn’t work. Then, Todd brings up Shawn Michaels and asks how Diesel feels about it. He says Sid needs to be stopped and the attack lit a fire under him. Sid might be the master, but Diesel says he is the walrus, goo goo g’joob. Well, that was random. Finally, Diesel says he can’t wait and yells Sid hasn’t seen nothing. So, he has seen something? Come on, Diesel.
After the promo, Jerry Lawler is in the ring with his—mother? I’m fairly certain the woman is younger than him. She says it will make her proud if Jerry beats Bret tonight. Lawler asks what she’ll do afterward. She says she wants to challenge Helen Hart to a match. Jerry tells her to simply look for a pile of wrinkled flesh in one of the seats. Then, Lawler gets a kiss on the cheek and helps her out of the ring. Geez, Freud would have a field day with that segment. This speaks volumes about Lawler.
Meanwhile, Todd is backstage with Bret. Vince says they’re in the Gorilla Position. Is that the first time they’ve used that term on the air? If you don’t know, it’s named after Gorilla Monsoon because he would help produce the shows from that area. It’s the space directly behind the curtain where directors and producers sit to guide everyone to their places. Todd asks Bret about his knee. Bret says it’s 100% and dances a little jig. He says it’s not April Fools Day, but it will do. He also tells Lawler he’s history. Why would he reveal the truth before the match? Doesn’t it defeat the purpose?
Jerry the King Lawler vs. Bret Hart
The Match: Bret immediately attacks Lawler and Jerry keeps regrouping. The fight spills to the floor where Bret rams him into the apron and steps. Lawler tries begging off, but Bret is having none of it. He back drops Jerry and chokes him. Then, Bret ducks for another. Lawler surprises him with a piledriver, but Bret no-sells it. He answers with a bulldog and his own piledriver. He then has a bit of fun with Lawler, so Hendrix claims Bret made a pass at Jerry’s mom. Knowing Bret, he probably did. Shinja then appears. Earl Hebner warns him to leave, but Earl gets tangled in the ropes. This opens the door for Hakushi to attack Bret. Lawler holds him while Hakushi lands an axehandle and a couple of flying headbutts. Hebner is free in time to see Jerry making a jackknife pin for the win.
Thoughts: It wasn’t long, but I enjoyed it. They told a good story and there was some intensity. It was more storyline than match, but that’s how it should be with Lawler. Plus, this gets Hakushi more heat. It served its purpose well. I would be more amused if I didn’t know where this feud goes. Unfortunately, it’s about to get quite silly.
Winner: Jerry Lawler (5:01)
After the bell, Hakushi tries attacking Bret while Lawler holds him. Hart moves and Hakushi nails Jerry by mistake. Bret then cleans house while Lawler retreats with his—mom. Hendrix laughs about Bret’s loss and says Bret is embarrassed.
Then, we go to an uncomfortably close shot of Sid’s face. He starts whispering sweet nothings in everyone’s ears. Wait, what am I saying!? He whispers a creepy promo. Time has apparently run out for Diesel, and a new man will be crowned champion. Sid says Diesel has become another symbol of his many victories. He also calls him a victim. No one will help Diesel and now he has to meet the master and ruler of the world. Sid then repeats he’s the ruler of the world in a very angry voice. He didn’t shout a single word, but it was still a great intense promo. However, Dok Hendrix nearly ruins it by trying to be cool. He calls it the calm before the storm in the dorkiest voice ever.
Next, it’s time to give away the house. Todd and Stephanie are standing by the box of entries. They show footage of the home on the screen. I wonder if Stephanie finally realized her mistake from earlier. She suggests they use rakes to sort through the envelopes, so Todd grabs a couple from the garage. He then lifts Steph into the box. She stomps all over the entries before grabbing one and handing it to Todd. A couple of officials open the envelope and Todd calls the winner. He screws up at first and does it a second time. Finally, he reaches the winner, Matt Pomposelli. You can hear him and his family freak out as they realize they won. The dad thinks it’s a joke despite seeing them on TV. The entry was submitted by a kid and apparently his parents sold the house because they couldn’t afford the high taxes in Florida. However, they made $175,000 from the sale.
Dok claims he’s good friends with Matt and tells him to pick him up at the airport for a round of golf. I don’t think he realizes it’s a kid. Then, Vince and Dok discuss the main event. Vince says Sid doesn’t like being called psycho, but the name fits. Dok tries to add to that, but even the directors are tired of him. They cut him off with Sid’s music.
WWF Title Match: Diesel (c) vs. Sycho Sid (w/ Ted DiBiase)
Notes: Sid makes his entrance and Vince asks people to imagine Sid entering their house. WCW used to say Sid hailed from wherever he darn well pleases. He might just do that. Diesel then enters the arena while Sid stares down Vince. He dares McMahon to call him psycho to his face, but Vince ignores him. Dok tries to stir the pot and then claims he saved Vince from a beating. Then, Sid and Diesel go face-to-face. Diesel mocks Sid’s weird blinking tick before they shove each other.
The Match: Diesel whips Sid from corner to corner and nails some clotheslines and elbows. Sid regroups, but Diesel gives him an axehandle off the apron. He also lands some short-arm clotheslines and floors Sid with a jumping one. Then, the fight spills out of the ring and back again until DiBiase distracts Diesel. Sid attacks. He rams Diesel’s ribs into the apron and post before punting him in the head. Sadly, Sid then slows down the match with clubbing forearms and long Camel Clutches. Diesel eventually fights out of it, but Sid gives him a weak chokeslam. He also nails the powerbomb. However, Sid is slow to cover. Sid tries continuing the attack until he misses a corner charge. Diesel answers with a Snake Eyes and big boot. He then hits the Jackknife, but Tatanka attacks to cause a DQ.
Thoughts: This was slow and plodding. It started hot, but Sid brought it to a crawl with his boring back work. Big man versus big man matches can work when it’s two guys beating the snot out of each other. This was not that. It also doesn’t help that it had a disappointing non-finish. Both men work better with smaller guys who can bump and make them look good. I’m unsure who thought these two would match well. Sadly, it’s not the end of this feud.
Winner: Diesel (by DQ) (11:31)
After the match, Sid, Tatanka, and DiBiase attack Diesel. Sid tries to powerbomb him again, but Diesel back drops him. Bam Bam Bigelow also arrives to make the save. He cleans house and the corporation retreat. The Fink announces the decision while Diesel and Bam Bam celebrate in the ring. Dok says this isn’t over, and I wish he was wrong. Then, Vince says Shawn Michaels has to be pleased watching this. He also plugs King of the Ring before saying goodnight.
On a side note, the live crowd got a few dark matches after the show ended. The Undertaker faced Kama. Bam Bam Bigelow wrestled Tatanka. Also, The British Bulldog faced Owen Hart in another King of the Ring qualifier. However, it ended in a draw. Heaven forbid those two enter the tournament! Lord knows it needed them. There was also a match before the event. Bob Holly fought Jean-Pierre Lafitte. I will talk about the latter in a future review.
– Bret/Hakushi was great.
– The Tag Title Match was fun but short.
– The Handicap Match was well done.
– Bret/Lawler was entertaining.
– There were some good promos and amusing moments.
– Mabel/Adam Bomb.
– The disappointing main event.
– Dok Hendrix.
Performer of the Night:
I’m giving it to Hakushi. He impressed me, especially for someone who was relatively new to the business.
The first half of the show was really good, but it declined as it progressed. However, it was a quick and easy watch. The In Your House shows are all around an hour and forty-five minutes. I would say it was overall an enjoyable event. It was definitely a step up from WrestleMania. Now, if only I could say the same about the next WWF PPV.
Thank you for reading. My next review will be WCW’s Slamboree ‘95. Look for it next Saturday.