Mike Reviews: WWF In Your House 6

There’s no particular reason for this one, but seeing as this show happened in the month of February and comes in at just under two hours, I thought I might as well review it. I’ve set some time aside next week to work on Six of the Best for WCW SuperBrawl, so keep a look out for that to be up before February comes to a close.

Without further ado though, let’s take a look at In Your House 6!

The event is emanating from The Louisville Gardens in Louisville, Kentucky the on the 18th of February 1996

Calling the action are Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler

Opening Match
Special Crybaby Match
Razor Ramon Vs The 1-2-3 Kid w/ Ted Dibiase

Kid had turned on Razor just prior to Survivor Series 95 and had even cost him the Intercontinental Title at the Royal Rumble. This match was scheduled to be the final blow off to the feud, with the loser literally having to wear a nappy (Or diaper to those of you who don’t spell colour properly). Lawler is in his element here, cracking jokes about how Razor was an ugly baby. Come to think of it, this stipulation really is pure Memphis isn’t it?

Razor bumps around The Kid to start and then sends him flying over the top rope with a big clothesline. Kid replies with a hot shot and a springboard clothesline, before delivering his kicks in the corner. A big spin kick from The Kid floors Razor and he mugs to the crowd to a murmur of boo’s. Lawler is just on fire on commentary here, saying that Razor was such an ugly baby that his dad went to the zoo to throw rocks at the storks! It’s like Jerry has been waiting his entire life for this match to come along and he’s going to make the most of it.

Razor fights back and flings Kid out of the corner with a big hip toss before crushing him in the corner with a big clothesline. A big Blockbuster Slam seems to be setting up The Razor’s Edge, but Kid scurries out of the ring before it can be delivered. This allows Dibiase to throw some baby powder into Razor’s eyes, which sets up a big missile dropkick back inside from Kid for the cut off. Dibiase did that spot right in front of the ref, thus making him look like a complete chump. Couldn’t Kid have distracted him or something so Dibiase’s cheating could go undetected without making the ref look like an idiot?

Kid gets the heat on Razor, hitting a big splash from the top for a two count before trying to put him out with a sleeper hold. They work the sleeper until the crowd start to chant for Razor, at which point Razor powers up and then crotches Kid on the top rope with an atomic drop. Normally I’d complain about that hold going on for too long, but they worked it long enough for the fans to care and they eventually did, so I’ll let them off.

Razor fires off some punches before setting Kid up top for a super back drop. Kid fights Razor off and goes for a cross body, but Razor rolls through for two. Kid gets a big spin kick for a two of his own, but Razor catches him on another cross body attempt and delivers a big second rope Blockbuster Slam. Razor calls for The Edge, which is Dibiases cue to distract the ref, whilst also leaving the bottle of baby powder on the apron for Kid to use.

Anyone who has ever watched wrestling before can probably see where this is going, especially as the heels already used the powder earlier in the match. Shockingly, this time they are hoist by their own petard as Razor kicks the powder into Kids face and smashes him with The Razor’s Edge. Not satisfied with just one however, Razor pulls Kid up at two and then delivers another Edge to really get his revenge. Not surprisingly, that’s enough for the win.

WINNER: RAZOR RAMON
RATING: ***

A solid and well worked match, if a somewhat unremarkable one. It certainly worked as a blow off to the feud, as Razor got his revenge and The Kid was utterly humiliated in the process, as it should be.

Razor indeed sticks Kid in the nappy post-match and then douses him in baby powder for good measure before leaving. As if to make things worse, Kid actually does the “wake up thinking he won” spot following the match, which leads to him crying when he realises he didn’t. Ah, you can’t beat the classics can you?

Meanwhile, Raymond Rougeau and Sunny plug the Superstar line (Get your parents’ permission first kids!). We see clips from earlier in the pre-show, where Jake Roberts scared Sunny with his snake. There are so many jokes I could make there but I’d feel cheap for going after such low hanging fruit, so we’ll move on. Jake had actually beaten Tatanka in the pre-show match, which surely had to be one of Tatanka’s last matches in the WWF right? I can’t remember him lasting much into 1996.

Match Two
Hunter Hearst Helmsley w/ Elizabeth Hilden Vs Duke “The Dumpster” Droese

Hunter was going through a gimmick of bringing a random good looking woman down to the ring with him before his matches. It would eventually pay off at WrestleMania XII where he’d bring Sable out with him, only to kick her to the curb following his defeat to Ultimate Warrior. Marc Mero defended her honour and it ended up leading to a long program between the two. Seeing as Hunter was a snobby rich guy, a feud with a working class bin man seemed like a natural fit.

The feud actually started on the pre-show for the Royal Rumble, where Duke defeated Hunter in a match to decide who would enter #30 in the Rumble Match itself. Hunter assaulted Duke on an episode of Raw and cut off his hair to heat things up and that brings us to tonight. I’m surprised they didn’t make this a gimmick match of some kind, especially as they’d already had a normal match and Hunter had upped the ante somewhat with his sneak attack.

Duke cuts an angry promo with Todd Pettengill during Hunter’s entrance and says that tonight is payback time. Duke hammers away on Hunter to start, tossing him around by his hair and unloading with punches. Hunter sells the battering well and begs off, but Duke isn’t in a forgiving mood and keeps bringing the pain. Lawler tries to grab a word with Hilden, and she does her best to look invested whilst rooting for Hunter. To be fair to her, she at least makes an effort.

Hunter finally manages to get some offence in by low bridging Duke and flinging him into the steps for the cut off. Hunter now gets the heat on Duke back inside and, as was the norm for him in his early days, everything is executed nicely but it’s not especially exciting. You could tell watching this that Hunter would eventually be fine once he got a gimmick that really clicked with the crowd, as he was always strong mechanically in the ring. It’s funny that the gimmick that finally got him over was being a snarky heel with a beefy female bodyguard, as he was basically just playing himself at that point.

Duke manages to raise a boot in the corner to stun Hunter and a double clothesline sees both men down for the count. Duke hits a spine buster and then starts making his comeback with clotheslines and a nice power slam, and it’s TIIIIIIIIIIIIIME TO TAKE OUT THE TRASH! And indeed, Duke hits The Trash Compactor (Essentially a tilt a whirl powerslam) but neglects to make the cover, instead wanting to hit Hunter with his bin. The referee isn’t having any of that however and gets rid of the bin, which allows Hunter to clobber Duke with the lid to pick up a desperation pin fall victory.

WINNER: HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY
RATING: **

Duke was the instigator of his own demise there, as he brought the bin in to the ring and it ended up proving his undoing. The finish of the match here would seem to suggest some sort of hardcore match as the blow off, but I don’t think that ever happened and I’m not sure how much longer Duke was even with the company after this. He had a decent enough look that they probably could have repackaged him in the Attitude Era or something, but he was pretty sloppy as a worker. Hunter held this one together well enough, but there wasn’t much heat from the crowd, which is probably why they moved Hunter onto Mero post Mania.

We get a WWF Store commercial, where Todd tries to entice people to purchase Undertaker, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and Diesel shirts. The Undertaker one looked pretty cool actually.

We cut to clips of Yokozuna and British Bulldog losing to Diesel and Shawn Michaels on Raw, which led to Jim Cornette berating Yoko post-match. An angry Yoko shoved Cornette down and then cleared the ring to turn babyface. Following the clips we go to Dok Hendrix, who is with Yoko. Yoko cuts a good fired up promo, although it pretty much killed the idea that he was supposed to be Japanese. Yoko says that Bulldog is in the wrong place at the wrong time and that he is going to burn Camp Cornette down to the ground.

Match Three
British Bulldog w/ Jim Cornette Vs Yokozuna

Yoko really was just too big at this point, as he could hardly move and was close to being a legit 600 pounds. He’d eventually have to leave the WWF later in the year as commissions outright refused to keep clearing him to wrestle due to his health issues. Yoko bumps Bulldog around to start but misses an elbow drop, which allows Bulldog to take control of the bout.

That was always an issue with babyfaces Yoko’s size, as the only way to ever get heat on them was usually based around them being clumsy enough to get cut off, and who really wants to cheer for a klutz? Yoko soon fights back and floors Bulldog with a clothesline before dragging him into a corner for the Bonzai Drop, but Cornette drags his man out of the ring to save his life.

Yoko again has to be clumsy for Bulldog to get back into the match, as he runs into the ring post when going for a splash. Back inside, Bulldog comes off the top with an axe handle, but Yoko flings him off on the resulting cover. Bulldog goes up again, but Yoko catches him on the way down with an elbow and then no sells some clotheslines.

Yoko hits a big Samoan Drop, which gets a good pop from the crowd, and follows it up with his best looking offensive move, the belly to belly suplex. Yoko again looks to go Bonzai on Bulldog, which brings Cornette in with a barrage of tennis racquet shots for the DQ.

WINNER BY DISQUALIFICATION: YOKOZUNA
RATING: *

I didn’t hate this or anything, but I didn’t think it was an especially good match either. The cheap finish left a sour taste as well, although I can kind of understand it as they were planning for Bulldog to get some WWF Title shots following WrestleMania XII and probably didn’t want him to get pinned here. They also wanted to do Yoko Vs Vader down the line as well, so they couldn’t really have had him lose either. One could then ask why they even booked the match in the first place, but that’s a rabbit hole it’s probably best not venturing down if we want to hold on to our sanity.

Speaking of Vader, he runs down to rescue his manager and set up the feud with Yoko. Vader wearing a leather jacket over his normal wrestling gear just looks really weird. Yoko gets handcuffed to the ropes and battered by the combined forces of Vader and Bulldog, as I take a moment to depressingly realise that all three men are now dead. This was a pretty good heel beat down, but Yoko never really got his revenge and ended up fading from the limelight after putting Vader over at Beware of Dog in May.

We cut to the America Online position, where Intercontinental Champion Goldust fondles an AOL operative whilst Marlena seemingly tries to escape from her outfit. Goldust challenges Razor Ramon for the following night on Raw.

Match Four
WrestleMania XII Title Shot on the line
Owen Hart w/ Jim Cornette Vs Shawn Michaels

The story here was that Owen had put Shawn on the injured list with his dreaded enziguri kick, but Shawn had rebounded and managed to win the Royal Rumble. Owen goaded Shawn into putting his title shot on the line here and this is the blow off to their issue. Todd interviews Shawn during Owen’s entrance, and he says he’s running through Owen tonight on his way to WrestleMania. Shawn actually gets a special entrance as he swings down from the top of the In Your House set. He would end up topping that entrance at WrestleMania of course by abseiling down from the heavens.

That was quite a drop actually, enough that a bad landing could have seen Shawn blow out a knee. Interesting they’d give their top babyface such a risky entrance so close to Mania. Vince McMahon really is totally overbearing on commentary here talking about how charismatic Shawn is. I get trying to get your top face over, but that was a complete oversell, no wonder some people started gagging on it. Shawn sends Owen over the top and then finishes his entrance in a funny moment.

Shawn gets the better of things in the early going, out wrestling Owen and hitting The King of Harts with a dive when he tries to take a breather outside. In another funny spot, Owen pulls Shawn’s hair at one point, so Shawn pulls it back, which causes Cornette to get up and complain on the apron, which allows Shawn to blatantly pull it some more whilst Cornette has a fit. Shawn continues to shine on Owen, but gets caught with a wonderful belly to belly from Owen for the cut off.

Owen Hart had many great moves and that suplex was very much one of them. Owen gets the heat on Shawn now, wearing him down with a camel clutch. Shawn makes sporadic brief comebacks, but Owen is eventually able to cut him off again each time. An Owen spinning wheel kick sends Shawn outside, but Shawn is able to reverse Owen’s attempted suplex back in with one of his own. When he tries something off the apron however, Owen sees it coming and counters it with a power slam to cut him off again.

Owen goes for The Sharpshooter back inside and successfully applies it, but Shawn refuses to submit and manages to make his way to the ropes. Undeterred, Owen takes Shawn out with the enziguri, the force of which sends Shawn tumbling to the outside. Were the title shot not on the line, that would be a count out win for Owen to put sympathy on Shawn going into Mania, but because it is on the line, Owen throws Shawn back inside for a two count.

Owen misses a charge in the corner, which allows Shawn to start making the comeback. Shawn drops an elbow from the top rope and then punches Cornette off the apron. Owen is able to duck the Sweet Chin Music and tries for the enziguri once again, but Shawn is able to dodge it this time and follows up with some Chin Music to retain his Mania Title Shot.

WINNER AND STILL GOING TO THE WRESTLEMANIA MAIN EVENT: SHAWN MICHAELS
RATING: ***3/4

I don’t know if it would actually be possible for two men as talented as these two to have a bad match unless they actively wanted to. The match was somewhat lacking in heat due to the fans not really believing that Shawn would actually lose the Title Shot, especially as Owen wasn’t even the runner up in the Rumble match itself. It was still an enjoyable match though, even if Vince’s ridiculous oversell of Shawn was starting to make me a bit nauseous by the end. Shawn brings a young fan into the ring to dance with him afterwards in a nice moment of babyfacery.

Whilst they set up the cage for the main event, Todd brings out acting WWF President Rowdy Roddy Piper for some promo time. Piper was filling in for Gorilla Monsoon, who had been battered by Vader following the Royal Rumble. Piper officially announces that Shawn Michaels is the #1 contender for Mania and gives him a pep talk.

He also addresses Yoko, saying he doesn’t feel sorry for him earlier, saying he was dumb to let himself get ganged up on like that. He also takes a pop at Vader by saying he wears a jockstrap on his head. He says he wants to book Yoko Vs Vader at WrestleMania, which brings out Jim Cornette and his lawyer Clarence Mason to argue the toss.

Cornette yells that Piper is afraid of Vader, and that he’ll destroy Yoko at Mania. Piper hints that if Vader loses at Mania then Cornette might just find himself in the ring with Yoko as well. In the end they didn’t go ahead with Yoko Vs Vader as a singles match and instead did a 6 man tag match of Yoko, Jake Roberts and Ahmed Johnson against Vader, Owen and Bulldog, with Yoko getting 5 minutes with Cornette if they won. I’m not sure how we came about that match instead, but I’m guessing it was down to Mason doing some expert lawyering.

Main Event
WWF Championship
Cage Match
Champion: Bret Hart Vs Diesel

As we saw in my review of Survivor Series 95, Bret caught Diesel unawares with a small package to claim his third WWF Title. Diesel went back to his old heel persona after the bout, laying Bret out with three Jack-knife Powerbombs. He then interfered in Bret’s match with Undertaker at the Royal Rumble, pissing off The Deadman in the process. This is ostensibly the match to settle his issue with Bret, but they made no secret of Undertaker being likely to get involved in the show opening video, so we’ll probably see him pop up in some form.

Diesel wasn’t quite fully heel yet at this point but he’d attack Shawn Michaels in the coming weeks to fully cement his turn. At this stage he was a tweener with a bad attitude. It’s a slug fest to start, which not surprisingly goes Diesel’s way as he hammers away on Bret, trash talking whilst doing so. Bret tries making a break for it, but Diesel stops him and delivers some punishing knees against the cage before going for the door. Diesel tries to saunter out of the door, but Bret crotches him when he tries to step over the ropes.

Bret now targets Diesels legs, with the idea being that if Diesel can’t walk then he can’t stop him escaping. Diesel shrugs that off however and splats Bret with a side slam, as it seems like the crowd are more into him than the champion. Bret goes to climb out whilst Diesel goes for the door, but decides to stop and drag the big man back into the middle of the ring for more leg work. Satisfied with his work, Bret tries going over the top again but Diesel isn’t done yet and brings him back inside.

The crowd has either been pretty quiet all night or terribly mic’d, as they aren’t making much noise for this. It’s hardly been a classic or anything but it has been a decent brawl with some good selling from both men. Case in point, Bret keeps going after Diesel’s leg and the big man sells it very well. I suppose the cage stipulation has limited what they can do a bit. Diesel sends Bret hard into the corner, which gets an “Ooo” from the crowd. Bret has always taken that bump well and that was no exception.

Bret makes another break for it and actually gets over the cage to the other side, but Diesel drags him back in before he can climb down to the floor. Diesel finally manages to get booed by taunting the crowd, but he chooses not to go for the door and instead inflict more punishment to The Hitman. Bret counters the Snake Eyes by slipping behind and sending Diesel face first into the cage. Bret goes for The Sharpshooter, but Diesel thumbs him in the eye to block it, which leads to some fans actually chanting for him again. What a weird crowd. Pick a side and stick to it you fence sitters!

Bret actually comes off the top with an elbow drop and tries climbing out again, but Diesel goes low to put a stop to that and both men are down and hurt in the ring. Diesel makes a break for the door, but The Undertaker comes up from under the ring and drags him underneath, complete with smoke effect, which allows Bret to climb out and retain the title.

WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: BRET HART
RATING: ***

I don’t think many people like this match, but I actually quite enjoyed it. Bret Hart and Kevin Nash generally had good chemistry together and always put on a good intense fight when given the opportunity. I thought this was a really good WWF styled cage match, with good selling and tight brawling. The crowd were rather quiet at first but they were getting into it by the end. The finish was really cheap, but it set up a really good Mania match between Undertaker and Diesel, so I’ll give that aspect a pass. Overall I thought it was a decent main event, but I get why others might not have enjoyed it, as the cage limited what both men could do somewhat and the pace was a ted methodical in places, although that was because both men were trying to wear the other down so that they could escape.

Diesel flees from The Undertaker in fear post-match, whilst Undertaker poses atop the cage.

Final Thoughts

Three good matches out of five isn’t bad, especially for 1996 WWF, so I’d call this show a success. It was a very easy watch and it did a decent job of setting up the Diesel/Taker match at Mania, whilst also making Shawn Michaels look like a genuine top contender. The downside of the main event booking was that it made Bret look like a bit of an afterthought, which is not what you want your babyface champion to be.

The big problem with WrestleMania XII is that the WWF concentrated so much on making Shawn Michaels look like a strong challenger that they forgot to make Bret Hart look like a strong champion. As a result, Shawn was pretty much the favourite going into the match due to the booking, which would have been fine if that was the story they were telling, but it wasn’t. The whole point of the match was that Shawn was the underdog who was overcoming odds, whilst Bret was the strong and respected champion. However, whilst Shawn was beating everything that moved, Bret barely clung onto his title in matches with Undertaker and Diesel, in matches he would have lost had the two behemoths not cost each other the matches in question to further their own issue.

This show is kind of symptomatic of those issues, as Shawn survived the enziguri and beat Owen clean as a sheet, whilst Bret was well on his way to losing to Diesel until Undertaker showed up, at which point Bret scurried to victory. Bret was supposedly angry about this behind the scenes, and watching it back I can see why.

That all being said, I would happily recommend this show. There are some enjoyable matches and you can get through it all in nearly 90 minutes if you skip the Piper promo segment. It’s a fun and breezy watch, and worth your time if you’ve never seen it.