Mike Reviews – WWF In Your House #1

Happy Saturday Everyone!

I decided to review this one today seeing as its 27 years to the day that it happened and there’s a match on it that I remember being really good so I want to see if it still holds up. Plus, the show is only 100 minutes long, which will hopefully mean it’s a breezy watch.

In Your House represented the WWF moving to regular monthly pay per view in order to keep up with what WCW was doing at the time. WWF didn’t charge full price for these In Your House Events at first though and they only had a two hour run-time as opposed to the 3-4 hours you would normally expect for one of the WWF’s “Big Five” Events.

The event is emanating from Syracuse, New York on the 14th of May 1995

Calling the action are Vince McMahon and Michael Hayes

Todd Pettengill does the voice over for the opening video package, and he’s as smooth as always. Someone is actually going to win a house tonight. We then get perhaps the most 90’s opening theme tune ever to welcome us to the show.

Opening Match
Hakushi w/ Shinja Vs Bret Hart

Hakushi was Jerry Lawler’s hired gun here, as Lawler has a match with Bret later and wants him to be softened up first. They hyped this one up by having Hakushi showing up with a faux severed head of Bret on Raw, which didn’t really go down well. Hakushi had wrestled in Japan as Jinsei Shinzaki for the Michinoku Pro company and his performances there got him signed to the WWF, with Akio Sato being his manager as the creepy Shinja. The WWF never made the most of Hakushi though and he was gone by the time 1996 came along. Bret is way over here and he dedicates the match to his mother, as it’s Mother’s Day and she’s watching back at home.

This match is great, owing in a big part to Bret selling a bunch for Hakushi in order to make him look like a threat. The match gets Hakushi over as a dangerous competitor and it should have been a springboard for bigger things, but this was as high up the card as Hakushi would get as he’d be part of a lower card tag team with Barry Horrowitz by the time the summer came around. The hot crowd adds to the match as well, although they do chant “USA” at one stage in a gormless moment seeing as one of these guys is Japanese and the other is Canadian.

There is the odd moment where both men don’t appear to be on the same page, but those happen rarely and both guys are always able to get it back on track, with the work in general being really good. We see that Jerry Lawler is watching backstage in the hope that Hakushi will win. Interestingly they just let Lawler look at the monitor like a normal human as opposed to standing side on in a completely unnatural position like they make the wrestlers do these days. Bret’s selling is fantastic throughout the bout, as he treats Hakushi like an equal and it makes the match all the more engrossing because you can believe that Bret is actually in jeopardy.

Shinja gets involved with cheap shots at points when the ref isn’t looking and it does a great job of getting the crowd agitated. Bret eventually manages to dodge a springboard splash from Hakushi and makes the comeback. Hakushi bumps and sells for that really well and all of Bret’s offence has a good snap to it, with the crowd continuing to be invested in the action. Hakushi takes a fantastic back flip bump off a clothesline at one stage, but Bret decides he would rather keep clobbering Hakushi than go for a pin, which allows Shinja to trip him up.

Bret dives out onto Shinja with a TOPE SUICIDA, but Hakushi gets a near fall once Bret gets back into the ring. Both Bret and Hakushi end up taking a spill over the top rope to the floor following a suplex attempt, which leads to Hakushi getting a big Asai Moonsault when Bret is distracted by Shinja again. We get the count out tease following that, but Bret is able to just about make it back inside the ring in time, leading to a pin counter back inside to give Bret the last gasp win after a real struggle.

WINNER: BRET HART
RATING: ***3/4

This match is still great. There was the odd moment where they weren’t on the same page, but overall the match had good action, good selling and told a good story to boot with Bret taking a bunch of punishment in order to make Hakushi look good before managing to catch him out due to his superior ring smarts.

Bret teases that he twisted knee leaving the ring and limps to the back.

At the Superstar Phone-in Line, Lawler wants to wrestle Bret right away. Alundra Blayze desperately tries not to crack up whilst Lawler cuts his promo.

Stephanie Wiand hypes up that someone will be winning a house later.

Match Two
Handicap Match
WWF Intercontinental Champ “Double J” Jeff Jarrett and The Roadie Vs Razor Ramon

Razor had been feuding with Jarrett for months and this is ostensibly the blow off as Jarrett was due to feud with Shawn Michaels and then eventually The Roadie following this show. 1-2-3 Kid was supposed to be tagging with Razor here, but he’s currently out with a neck injury. This meant Kid also wouldn’t be able to compete in the King of the Ring, as the original plan was to be for Kid to make it all the way to the Final in the ultimate Cinderella Story before eventually getting squished by Mabel after a brave effort.

This is a fun match due to Jarrett and Razor working well together, with Roadie adding an extra dimension to their usual match. Annoyingly some fans keep yelling “OOO” whenever the guys in the match punch one another, which quickly becomes tiresome. Razor pin-balls Jarrett around to start but the numbers game ends up being too much and that leads to him being cut off and worked over by the Heel tandem. The match draws decent heat from the crowd and the action is solid, with everyone doing what they need to do and Jarrett’s bumping in particular being excellent. Jarrett was great as a weasel mid-card Heel who you could enjoy watching get clobbered.

As with the previous match, the crowd really adds to this, with them booing the Heels whenever they mug for the camera and chanting/cheering for Razor whenever it looks like he might make a comeback. The only real critique you can send this match’s way is that it probably goes on for a bit too long at 12 minutes. They could have probably shaved a few minutes off it and it would have been a leaner snappier bout. The crowd is still in to Razor’s comeback when he makes it though, especially when he throws the Heels into one another.

Razor’s general work and selling has been very good here, and they’ve been smart with the way they’ve booked the match, in that there are moments where if it were a singles match then Razor would be on an even keel with his opponent but having that extra body there always stops Razor from getting cooking. A good example of this would be when Razor and Jarrett are both down but Jarrett is able to tag out and Roadie quickly comes in with a knee drop to stop any momentum building. Eventually Razor runs Jarrett into Roadie and muscles Jarrett up for The Razor’s Edge for three.

WINNER: RAZOR RAMON
RATING: ***

I enjoyed that, as the match told a good story and the crowd was into it. They got around having the babyface win without making the Heels look too weak either, as the finish was presented as Razor capitalising on a moment of miscommunication rather than it just being Razor clobbering the Heels all by himself and winning in dominating fashion. Razor was on the defensive a lot and was only able to win when an opening presented itself.

The Heels jump Razor following the match and try to beat him down. Aldo Montoya tries to make the save but he gets beaten up as well, which leads to Savio Vega making his debut under that name to fight the Heels off. Vega had previously been the masked ninja known as Kwang.

Lawler is demanding that Jack Tunney bring his match with Bret Hart forward.

We get a video package showing some of Sycho Sid’s recent squash victories in order to get him over as a dangerous man for later on when he wrestles Diesel. It’s a well-made video but it sadly can’t disguise the fact that Sid sucks. Sid coming out of the pyro to destroy Razor Ramon was very well done though I’ll give them that.

Match Three
King of the Ring Qualifier
Mabel w/ Mo Vs Adam Bomb

Mabel and Mo had gone Heel just prior to Mania XI when they battered The Smoking Gunns. This was the beginning of a big push for Mabel that would see him Main Event SummerSlam 95. Bomb had originally come into the company as a Heel but he had become a babyface by this stage and he was kinda sorta over in the role but the WWF never really went anywhere with it and he eventually ended up in WCW in 1997 as Wrath.

Wrath was actually getting over in 1998 when they started having him squash guys in a Goldberg like style but then they fed him to Kevin Nash and that was it for his singles run. Bomb runs wild to start and manages to take Mabel down a few times with some impressive agility, including a big clothesline off the top rope. Mabel manages to cut him off with a spinning wheel kick though and follows up with the World’s Strongest Slam for the clean three count.

WINNER: MABEL
RATING: *1/2

This was too short to be rated any higher but it was actually a pretty energetic fun match whilst it lasted.

Todd is backstage with Razor and Savio. Razor gasses Savio up as a big star from the Caribbean. Savio says no one is going to miss with Razor whilst he is around, whilst Razor is glad that Savio is now on his side rather than against him.

Match Four
WWF Tag Team Titles
Champs: Yokozuna and Owen Hart w/ Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji Vs The Smoking Gunns (Billy and Bart)

Yoko and Owen won the belts at Mania XI when Owen revealed Yoko as his mystery partner. This time though The Gunns have advance notice of whom their opponents will be, so they are hopeful of having a better result. We see that Bret Hart is backstage icing his knee following what happened earlier as Jerry Lawler is still demanding that the match happen now.

I actually quite dig The Smoking Gunns and think they are sometimes under rated a bit. They were a solid tag team who could have good matches when paired up with decent workers, which is the case in this one. Yoko’s work was never the issue with him, as he knew what to do in there, he was just SO BIG by this stage that if you asked him to give you more than even a minor bit of exertion in the ring then he was going to struggle. In that regard tagging him with Owen was a smart move as it meant Owen could do the lion’s share of the work whilst Yoko got time to rest.

The Gunns shine on The Champs to start and look good doing so, which leads to a bit of heat on Billy before we get the hot tag to Bart. Bart looks good running wild, with Owen bumping all over the place for him, and the crowd is into the action. The Gunns don’t put Owen way whilst they have the chance though and that ultimately proves their undoing, as Bart takes a spill to the floor and Yoko drops a leg on him before putting him back into the ring for the Owen three count.

WINNERS AND STILL CHAMPS: YOKOZUNA & OWEN HART
RATING: **

This was decent if a bit rushed. It felt like a TV match rather than a pay per view one.

Todd is backstage with WWF Champ Diesel. Diesel says this is his first Mother’s Day since his mother passed away, which humanises him and actually makes you feel empathy for him. Todd asks him about his back as Henry O. Godwinn attacked him recently. Diesel says his back is going to be okay and that he’s going to get revenge on Sid for what Sid did to Shawn Michaels. Diesel came across as an actual human being for parts of that promo and that aspect was good, but then they had him do all the lame babyface stuff that they tried to force on Roman Reigns and it worked about as well for Diesel as it did for Roman.

Jerry Lawler is in the ring with his “mother” (a hot young model) and cuts a hilarious promo about how he’s going to beat up Bret Hart.

Semi-Main
Jerry Lawler w/ Mother Lawler Vs Bret Hart

This was a long-running feud that started when Lawler attacked Bret Hart at King of the Ring 1993. This was yet another chapter in the story after Lawler had said all kinds of horrible things about Bret’s family. Bret reveals before the match starts that his leg is actually fine, which pays off that show long angle and leads to Bret clobbering Lawler both inside and outside the ring. Lawler of course sells all of that really well and constantly begs off like the good snivelling Heel he is.

Lawler does manage to get a piledriver but he stops to taunt rather than follow up, which allows Bret to get back up and deliver a piledriver of his own. Bret’s actually looked better than Lawler’s to be honest. The model/actor they’ve hired for to play Lawler’s faux-mum is actually really good, showing good enthusiasm and really committing to the part. Like in the previous match, Bret has chances to win just like The Gunns did, but he doesn’t take them and it ends up costing him as Hakushi and Shinja come down to cost him the match, leading to Lawler getting the cheap pin.

WINNER: JERRY LAWLER
RATING: **

That was another match that was a little bit too abrupt for my liking, but the action was fun and the finish was a good way of giving Lawler a cheap win without making Bret look weak as it took three guys to do it. Bret would end up getting his revenge at King of the Ring 1995 by making Lawler kiss his own rancid feet

Bret manages to fight the Heels off following the match to get his heat back.

Sycho Sid cuts his usual wacked out promo.

Some kid wins the house. According to OSW Review, they wouldn’t even keep the house and would end up selling it because they lived in California and didn’t want to move to Florida. Yup, that checks out! They say they live in Nevada on the show though, so either OSW has that wrong or the WWF did. Vince McMahon belly laughing would suggest that he thought this segment was good shizzle.

Main Event
WWF Title
Champ: Diesel Vs Sycho Sid w/ Ted Dibiase

Sid had come back to the WWF as a bodyguard for Shawn Michaels but had beaten Shawn up on an episode of Raw with multiple powerbombs so Diesel is out looking for revenge for his buddy here, whilst Sid has joined up with Dibiase in an effort to win the WWF Title. Dibiase had recently lost the main member of his Heel stable in the form of Bam Bam Bigelow so Sid stepped in to fill the void and we’d eventually get a Sid/Tatanka Vs Diesel/Bigelow match at King of the Ring 1995 as a result.

Diesel wasn’t really pulling up trees as Champion owing to a combination of the WWF sanding down all the rough edges that got him over to begin with by trying to make him Hulk Hogan, and a lack of good opponents. Not only was he saddled with a terrible wrestler like Sid but he still had Mabel to come over the summer. Yeah, Diesel was hardly a great worker or anything during this run, but they did very little to help him out when it came to his reign and it wasn’t entirely his fault that this run bombed.

Diesel shows some good fire to start, bumping Sid around and actually getting some pops from the crowd as a result. Sid’s selling is of course absolutely awful though, which takes away from it somewhat. Eventually Dibiase distracts Diesel and that allows Sid to cut Diesel off, which leads to the match grinding to an absolute halt due to Sid being beyond terrible. Diesel sells pretty well during the heat to be fair to him, as that was a decent aspect of Kevin Nash’s game, especially when you consider his size and the fact it wasn’t something he had to do that often.

They spend a long time working a camel clutch, which is better than a nerve pinch at least, and Diesel continues to sell well. The crowd has actually stuck with this for the most part and have got behind Diesel whenever it’s looked like he might start fighting back. Just as it looks like Diesel will finally mount a comeback, Sid cuts him off with a Choke Slam to put a stop to that and powerbombs The Champ for good measure. Diesel actually landed on his elbow there and the resulting injury would bother him for a while.

Sid waits too long to cover Diesel following the big move and that allows Diesel to kick out and start Hulking Up, which the crowd is again into. Diesel gets a powerbomb of his own, which leads to Tatanka running down for the horrible DQ finish. They didn’t want Sid to be out of Title contention which was why they did this finish, but it still sucked.

WINNER BY DQ AND STILL CHAMPION: DIESEL
RATING: *1/2

This had good heat from the crowd and Diesel was decent for the most part, but Sid was so awful that he really dragged it down and the terrible finish left a real sour taste in the mouth

Bam Bam Bigelow runs down to save Diesel following the match to set up King of the Ring 1995, leading to Diesel and Bigelow to celebrating together in the ring.

In Conclusion

This was a reasonably easy watch actually, with Bret/Hakushi being a great match and the crowd heat in general being really good. The crowd definitely lifted the show as every match had a decent atmosphere. 1995 is not a great year for the WWF but you could usually get at least one good match on these In Your House shows and they were generally breezy watches, as this one was.

I wouldn’t say you’d have to go out of your way to watch this show, but if you do watch it then you’ll probably like it.

Mildly recommended show