What the World Was Watching: In Your House #1

Vince McMahon and Dok Hendrix are manning the booth and we are live from Syracuse, New York!

Todd Pettengill interviews Bret Hart, who says that he will continue to prove that he is “the best there is, best there was, and the best there ever will be.”  He wishes happy Mother’s Day to his mother in Canada and says he looks forward to taking care of Jerry Lawler after he beats Hakushi in the opening match.

Opening Contest:  Bret Hart (5-1-1) pins Hakushi (w/Shinja) (15-0) with a victory roll at 14:41:

The storyline for this evening is that Bret Hart is booked for two matches, facing Hakushi in the opener and then wrestling Jerry Lawler later.  Just like WrestleMania X, one match does not necessarily trigger the other, meaning that Bret does not have to win this to get Lawler.  This is also Hakushi’s pay-per-view debut.  The unfortunate booking twist of this contest is that the Bret-Hakushi feud has been subsumed by the Hitman’s issue with Lawler.  For example, Bret’s promo right before this match prioritized what he had to do with Lawler and aside from a few nice comments about Hakushi treated the Japanese star as an afterthought.  The build was also lackluster, with Bret being accused of racism and Hakushi attacking him on Superstars and doing little after that.  Despite some of these flaws Hakushi more than holds his own here, nearly putting Bret away with a flying headbutt, and pulling out a crazy spot where Bret suplexes Hakushi out of the ring and to the floor.  There is even a nice call back to a Bret finish in a match with Lawler in March where Shinja tries to get Bret counted out by holding his leg, with Bret immediately attacking Shinja, but eating an Asai moonsault from Hakushi.  In the end, Hakushi loses his undefeated streak in singles competition in a hard fought match but is well protected, losing on a victory roll.  Rating:  ***½

After the match Bret hops out of the ring and appears to twist his knee.  He limps gingerly to the locker room and the announcers wonder how this might impact his match with Lawler later.

Lawler crashes the WWF Superstar Line, which Stan Lane and Alundra Blayze are working, and tells Pettengill that he wants to have his match with Bret immediately.

Stephanie Wiand comes out of the In Your House set and tries to play it off like she just walked out of the house in Orlando, Florida.  There is a big bin with over 100,000 postcards and later on she and Pettengill will draw one to give the house away.

The 1-2-3 Kid calls into the show and laments that he is injured and cannot compete at tonight’s show.

Razor Ramon says that tonight’s handicap match is probably the first handicap match that he has been in that has been televised but he is ready to get revenge on Jeff Jarrett and the Roadie.  He wishes the 1-2-3 Kid a speedy recovery.

Handicap Match:  Razor Ramon beats Jeff Jarrett & The Roadie after Ramon pins Jarrett after a Razor’s Edge at 12:40:

This was originally supposed to be a tag team match but instead of giving Ramon a replacement partner such as Bob Holly or Aldo Montoya, which could have elevated either of those guys, they opted to book him to face the heels alone.  The big selling point of the match is that it is the Roadie’s in-ring debut and fans wanted to see him destroyed after cheating for months to keep the Intercontinental title around Jarrett’s waist.  As expected the heels use lots of illegal double teams to maintain the advantage and the Roadie acquits himself well, actually contributing to the team more than being a hindrance like most managers are in these matches (although it helps that the Roadie is an actual wrestler).  The match also maintains a good pace, with Ramon pulling out hope spots at the right time to keep the audience invested.  Considering the fact that Jarrett was Intercontinental champion and desperately needed some credibility, it would make sense to put he and the Roadie over, but instead Ramon kicks Jarrett into the Roadie on a figure-four effort and pins Jarrett after a Razor’s Edge, continuing the narrative that Jarrett is a mere paper champion.  And why is Jarrett eating the pin anyway when the Roadie is right there to take the fall?  Rating:  ***

After the match, Ramon goes to give the Roadie a Razor’s Edge, but Jarrett clips his knee and applies the figure-four leg lock.  Aldo Montoya hits the ring to make the save but Jarrett and the Roadie destroy him and throw him out of the ring.  This then leads to a man in street clothes running in and cleaning house.  Hendrix says that the man looks familiar but we receive no further information as WWF officials isolate the man and he is taken into police custody.

A promo video is aired for the King of the Ring, which will air on June 25.

Jerry Lawler is shown arguing with WWF President Jack Tunney about how he wants to face Bret Hart as soon as possible.  This would be Tunney’s last appearance on WWF television.

A video package puts over the destructiveness of Sid.  McMahon and Hendrix assess who will come out on top in the main event.

Barry Didinski, the WWF’s recent merchandise pitcher, urges us to call 1-800-840-1991 to buy a Bret Hart t-shirt for $20.  He is worried that Bret might not be okay.

King of the Ring Qualifying Match:  Mabel (w/Mo) (3-1) pins Adam Bomb (11-2-1) after a powerslam at 1:50:

Based on the fact that Bomb was on a tear through jobbers in singles competition, seemed to have some new merchandise with his red and yellow footballs, and Mabel was playing more of the enforcer role in tags, he appeared to be the prohibitive favorite here.  However, a red flag goes up when Bomb hits two Neutron Bombs, one from the apron and one from the top rope, and only gets a one count for both.  And moments later Mabel catches Bomb’s body press attempt and spikes him into the canvas for the win, eliciting feelings of disappointment and shock from the crowd, who expected Bomb to triumph.

Razor Ramon introduces the man who came to help him earlier to Pettengill, saying he is Savio Vega, and that he fought against Savio a lot in the Caribbean.  Prior to tonight Vega had been wrestling in the company as Kwang so this gimmick change was a definite upgrade for him.  However, with so many babyfaces on the roster do we really need more?  Also, it is hilarious how Aldo Montoya does not get as much as a shout out from Ramon since he tried to help first.

Prior to the next match, Jerry Lawler comes out and continues to argue with WWF officials about how his match with Bret Hart should be next on the card.  Bret Hart is shown backstage with his head in his hands, sitting in the locker room, and his knee is wrapped up.

WWF Tag Team Championship Match:  Owen Hart & Yokozuna (Champions w/Jim Cornette & Mr. Fuji) (6-0) beat The Smoking Gunns (10-1-1) after Owen pins Bart Gunn after a Yokozuna leg drop at 5:45:

Hendrix makes a good observation in that this is the first WWF pay-per-view where Owen is wearing a title and Bret is not.  This is the Smoking Gunns rematch for the tag titles after they lost them to Owen and Yokozuna at WrestleMania.  Like that match, the Gunns have lots of opportunities to finish Owen off and hit the Sidewinder but they take too long to cover and Owen kicks out.  An ill-timed crossbody sends Bart to the floor and Yokozuna drops the leg to make the rest academic.  All four men did the best they could with the time they were given but the entire bout was very, very rushed.  Rating:  **

WWF Champion Diesel tells Pettengill that Mother Day’s is somber for him because his mother passed away last year.  The promo is going well, with Diesel recapping how his challengers get harder and harder, until he quotes the Beatles “I Am the Walrus” to somehow instill fear into Sid.  For a show that is running out of time, the company did not feel the need to cut these video package and promos?

In a hilarious segment, Jerry Lawler introduces a young woman in her twenties as his mother to the crowd.

Bret Hart shows Pettengill that nothing is wrong with his leg and that he has pulled a big ruse on Lawler.

Jerry Lawler (w/His “Mother”) (1-0) defeats Bret Hart (6-1-1) after Hakushi hits a couple of flying headbutts at 5:02:

Lawler immediately tries to flee the ring when Bret exposes that his knee injury was a work but fails and Bret beats on him for a good chunk of the match.  Bret even no sells a piledriver, which would be a felony if he was working in Memphis in this period.  And around the three-minute mark we get shenanigans as Shinja distracts referee Earl Hebner, who eventually gets his foot caught in the ropes while climbing out of the ring, and Hakushi attacks Bret, giving the Hitman a couple of flying headbutts and helping Lawler win yet another match in this feud.  Like their battle on RAW a few months ago, this match was more about angle development than quality but it worked as the crowd wanted to kill Lawler at the end.  Rating:  ½*

After the match, the heels try to double team Bret but he fights them off and forces them to flee.

Sid says that time has run out on Diesel’s reign as WWF champion.

Pettengill and Wiand do a small comedy routine, with McMahon roaring with laughter, and then call the home of Matt Pomposelli, an eleven-year-old that is the winner of the contest.  Eventually, Matt’s family sold the house for $175,000 because they had just moved to Las Vegas and did not want to move to Florida.  However, he did tell wwe.com in 2012 that the sale paid for his college education so he got something out of it.

Hendrix hilariously talks about how he is glad that Matt is a friend of his and he and McMahon speculate on how the WWF title match will go.

WWF Championship Match:  Diesel (5-0-1) defeats Sid (w/Ted DiBiase) (1-0) via disqualification when Tatanka interferes at 11:29:

In a contrast from his last two pay-per-view title defenses, Diesel faces a man that is just as big as he is.  Sadly, that does not make for a great match that Diesel needs to continue getting over with the fan base as Sid works the back and applies a camel clutch that seems to last forever.  Sid powerbombs the champion but takes way too long to cover, thereby triggering Diesel’s comeback where he Jackknifes Sid.  However, before a pinfall can be counted Tatanka interferes and that causes a disqualification.  I could see myself going to * for this but the interference and ridiculous quickness of Diesel’s comeback against Sid, who took very little punishment in the match, lowers it.  Rating:  ½*

After the match, the heels beatdown Diesel but Bam Bam Bigelow runs in and makes the save and just like that we have our big angle for King of the Ring.

The Last Word:  This show is historically significant in that it propelled the WWF into the era of hosting monthly pay-per-views for extra revenue and to counter WCW, which was also transitioning in that direction by 1995.  Over time the two hour time frame of the show, as well as its $14.95 price, would transition into three hours and a price comparable to other pay-per-views as the company realized that the lower price was not attracting a significantly higher number of customers and made the In Your House shows seem second-rate by comparison.  You may also note that the match times in the middle of the show were short and that is because the company did not pace it well.  Still, that did very little for Adam Bomb and the Smoking Gunns, who ended up on the losing side of both outings.  The two Bret matches were a nice touch to get people to buy the show but I selfishly wish they had put Hakushi over Bret and then had Bret destroy Lawler, but they seemed to favor going forward with Bret-Lawler because Lawler could extend that feud on the mic much better than Hakushi and Shinja could.  It just seems counterproductive when the WWF could have tried to create a younger, newer star.  Finally, fans were roped into the build for the show as this pay-per-view got the most number of buys of any of the In Your House pay-per-views through 1997 so that solidified the thinking of the WWF to continue the monthly pay-per-view project going forward.

Attendance:  7,000 (3,500 paid)

Buy Rate:  0.83

Up Next:  Monday Night RAW from May 15, 1995!