(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)
In Your House 6
February 18, 1996
News & Notes: After the Royal Rumble, Vader faced Savio Vega on RAW. He won the match, but he continued beating poor Savio. Gorilla Monsoon confronted Vader and the two got physical. When Monsoon chopped him, Vader attacked the WWF President and gave him a Vader Bomb. The WWF then suspended Vader for a month. (They did this because Vader needed shoulder surgery before starting full-time.) The suspension ended shortly before this PPV. Monsoon took time off to sell the injury and the WWF named an interim President. That man is Rowdy Roddy Piper.
Meanwhile, Bret Hart defends his WWF Title against Diesel at this event. However, The Undertaker promised Diesel would never again hold the belt. Monsoon made it a Cage Match to prevent interference. (We all know how well that works.) But, the Undertaker’s shadow looms over the match. I wonder where he is lurking.
Affiliate of the Week:
This month, Sunny is on a beach. She poses while the waves wash over her. Sunny says some of the material on this program might be too hot. Viewer discretion is advised. (Between the weird fetishes and Vince’s reactions to Shawn Michaels, it might be too hot for Vince. The rest of us should be fine.)
The narrator tells us about emotions. Bret Hart is feeling power, euphoria, and fear over losing his title. Diesel feels rage, defiance, and frustration over losing his belt. The Undertaker shows anger and wants revenge. It’s a dish best served cold. Either way, it will take a fifteen-foot high steel cage to advert anarchy. (Did he mean subvert? You can tell Vince wrote this.) After the opening video, the In Your House logo rings a doorbell, but a car runs it over. (Damn you, Rikishi!)
Vince welcomes everyone to Louisville and In Your House. He talks about the Kentucky Derby, Muhammad Ali, and the University of Louisville. He didn’t mention it’s also the home of Jim Cornette. Meanwhile, Lawler predicts victory for all the heels. He also says they will deport Yokozuna. Then, he laughs about Razor Ramon wearing diapers. Vince makes a face as if he wasn’t thinking the same thing.
Cry Baby Match: Razor Ramon vs. The 1-2-3 Kid (w/ Ted DiBiase)
Notes: The 1-2-3 Kid mocked Razor’s anger over losing his Intercontinental Title. He called Ramon a cry baby. The Kid and DiBiase suggested having a Cry Baby Match. What’s that, you ask? It means the winner dresses the loser in a diaper and shoves a baby bottle in their mouth. We are peering deep into Vince McMahon’s psyche with this bout. It scares me. This must be his weird fetish. I’m halfway surprised Goldust didn’t stand in the aisle and furiously—um, watch the match. (Yeah, that’s what I meant.) Razor and the Kid both hated this idea, but they complied. (I see why Razor would soon leave the company.) Before the bout, the Kid tries ripping the head off a teddy bear, but he can’t do it.
The Match: Both men trade slaps until Razor clotheslines the Kid out of the ring. The Kid answers with a springboard clothesline and some kicks. But, Razor tosses him around with ease. The Kid finally takes control when DiBiase throws baby powder in Ramon’s eyes. The Kid then nails a missile dropkick, some sliding leg drops, and a flying splash. After that, he keeps returning to a sleeper hold. Razor breaks it by crotching the Kid on the ropes. He then attempts a back superplex, but the Kid blocks it. The Kid tries a flying crossbody, but Razor rolls through the move. Ramon continues with a super fallaway slam, so DiBiase distracts Razor. The Kid gets more powder only for Ramon to kick it into his face. Razor capitalizes with a Razors Edge, but he pulls the Kid up before the three. He then gives him a second one and ends the match.
Thoughts: The gimmick was stupid, but the action was great. This was a solid opener. I expected no less with two Kliq members facing each other. I liked the story of the match, and the finish was well done. The crowd was hot for it.
Winner: Razor Ramon (12:01)
After the bell, Razor squirts milk in the Kid’s face. DiBiase tries stopping him, so Razor fends him off with baby powder. Ramon then puts the diaper on the Kid. He shrugs his shoulders to say, “Yeah, this is stupid.” Then, Razor dumps more powder on the Kid and leaves. The Kid wakes up and thinks he won. DiBiase tells him to look at himself. The Kid throws a fit when he realizes what happened.
Vince introduces Ray Rougeau and Sunny in the Superstar Hotline room. He asks what they will discuss with the participants of the previous match. Sunny promises to flirt with Razor, but Ray wants to talk about diaper rashes with the Kid. Sunny pretends to laugh at that awful joke. Then, Vince shows a clip from the preshow of Jake Roberts scaring Sunny with his snake. (No, that’s not a euphemism.) Sunny isn’t laughing anymore.
During the entrances for the next match, Todd interviews Duke Droese. He asks a question, but Duke interrupts him by yelling. He says Hunter has nowhere to run or hide. It’s revenge time! Duke promises to take Triple H out like yesterday’s garbage. Todd shows Duke footage of Hunter cutting his hair, so Duke says he will get a galvanized wake up call. It’s payback time! (This wasn’t a bad promo. They should let Duke talk more often.)
Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/ Elizabeth Hilden) vs. Duke the Dumpster Droese
Notes: Triple H’s gimmick changed again. Now, he’s a rich playboy. Beautiful models accompany him to the ring. A woman named Elizabeth Hilden joins him for this match. Hunter wants to avenge his Rumble loss to Duke Droese. He attacked Duke and cut Droese’s hair. (Is Triple H stealing Brutus Beefcake’s gimmick now?) After Duke’s promo, he rushes to the ring and brawls with Hunter. (On a side note, Lawler interviews Elizabeth during the match. She does her best to play a heel manager and cheer Hunter. They have a beautiful woman named Elizabeth playing a heel manager. Is that a reference to Miss Elizabeth’s recent heel-turn in WCW?)
The Match: They trade punches until Duke throws Triple H by his hair. He then whips Hunter around the ring and nails him with his weight belt. They fight back and forth until Hunter backdrops Duke to the floor. There, he whips Droese into the steps. When they return to the ring, Hunter uses uppercuts and punches. He follows that with a high-knee and a suplex. Hunter also whips Duke hard into the corner, but Droese surprises him with a boot. Then, both men go down to a double-clothesline. Duke recovers and gives Triple H a spinebuster and a backdrop. He also gives Hunter a powerslam. Next, Droese hits the Trash Compactor (tilt-a-whirl powerslam). But, he fetches his trashcan and throws it into the ring. (The lid smacks Triple H in the face.) The ref removes it, so he misses Hunter nailing Duke with the lid. Triple H then covers for the victory.
Thoughts: It was a decent match. It wasn’t thrilling, but it was solid. Duke isn’t bad. I’ve said it before. Duke arrived at the wrong time. If he joined the WWF three years later, he would fit in the Hardcore Division. They could have made him the master of the Dumpster Match.
Winner: Triple H (9:40)
Vince shows a replay of the finish. Lawler says the loss is Duke’s own fault. He brought a foreign object into the ring. Elizabeth Hilden gives Hunter a kiss after the match. Vince calls her Tilden. Then, Todd Pettengill gives us a tour of the WWF shop. A girl with ridiculous bangs models a gaudy Undertaker sweatshirt.
Next, they recap the issues between Camp Cornette and Yokozuna. A series of miscommunications led to trouble. Cornette lost his cool when Yokozuna fell out of the ring. They couldn’t help Yoko because he was too heavy. Jim yelled at him, so Yoko had enough. He attacked Cornette until Bulldog & Owen stopped him. Yoko chased them from the ring.
Dok Hendrix is backstage. He tells everyone they will hear from Yokozuna for the first time. Yoko says he stood in the shadows for three years. Cornette kept him quiet and stole the spotlight. He accuses Jim of taking all the money and the credit. He also says Owen Hart only won gold while hiding behind him. Then, he tells Bulldog he’s in the wrong place at the wrong time. Yoko promises to burn Camp Cornette to the ground and says, “Banzai!” Dok tells everyone to get ready for a train wreck and Vince agrees. (Are they burying the match before it begins? I thought this was a great promo. Yoko should also speak more often. But, he made it obvious he isn’t Japanese.)
Yokozuna vs. The British Bulldog (w/ Jim Cornette)
Notes: A face-turn for Yoko was probably a good idea. He needed some changes. However, tag matches are the best use of Yoko at this size. It’s not the best idea to put him in singles bouts. They introduce him as 641 pounds. Vince says that’s correct, give or take fifteen. It depends on what Yoko had for lunch. I would call that ridiculous, but I believe Yoko eats fifteen-pound lunches.
The Match: They trade punches before Yoko backdrops Bulldog. He then takes down Davey with multiple clotheslines. But, Yoko misses an elbow. Bulldog uses his own clotheslines. Then, he distracts the ref and Cornette attacks with his tennis racket. Yoko fights back and attempts a Banzai Drop, but Jim pulls Bulldog to safety. They fight on the floor until Yoko collides with the ring post. Bulldog capitalizes with a couple of flying axehandles. Yoko punches him on the second one. He then absorbs Bulldog’s clotheslines and nails a Samoan Drop. He follows that with a belly-to-belly, so Cornette attacks Yoko with the racket. The ref calls for the bell.
Thoughts: This wasn’t bad for Yoko’s limitations. He showed a bit more stamina than I expected. However, that finish was disappointing. It was necessary. Yoko was showing signs of fatigue. That doesn’t change the fact it was a flat ending.
Winner: Yokozuna (by DQ) (5:05)
Cornette continues attacking, but Yoko shakes off his strikes. He backs Cornette into the corner, but Vader arrives. Vader and Yoko trade punches until Bulldog joins the fight. Vader pulls out handcuffs and they attach Yoko to the ropes. Yoko tries fighting, but the numbers are too great. The officials try stopping the carnage. Vader chases them away and continues hitting him. Yoko and Vader trade more punches, but Cornette uses the racket again. The officials and Clarence Mason finally convince Vader to stop.
Meanwhile, Goldust and Marlena are in the America Online room. A guy types everything Goldust says while Goldy gets a bit too close and personal with him. Vince asks if Goldust can hear him, but he is busy. Goldust says he will dance cheek to cheek with Razor Ramon on RAW. Vince sounds unnerved.
Next, they recap the HBK/Owen Hart feud. Pettengill narrates a video package about Shawn’s courage. Shawn didn’t quit after thugs beat him and Monsoon made him forfeit his title. The music becomes sappy while they show clips of Michaels. Owen brags about hurting him, so Shawn returns and wins the Rumble. Then, Shawn agreed to risk his Mania title match to get Owen in the ring.
Todd interviews Shawn while Owen enters the arena. Pettengill questions the importance of the match. Michaels says he can’t fulfill his dream if he doesn’t win. But, he promises to kick it with the Kliq when he’s victorious. He says he will go through Owen and rock his way to WrestleMania.
#1 Contender Match: Shawn Michaels vs. Owen Hart (w/ Jim Cornette)
Notes: After the Rumble, Shawn said he had unfinished business with Owen Hart. He wanted a match, but Cornette refused. Jim said Owen already beat Michaels. (I’m pretty sure that match was a no contest.) Shawn asked what they wanted to get Owen in the ring. Cornette asked for Shawn’s Mania title match. He agreed to put it on the line for a chance at revenge. Before the match, Shawn has a special entrance. He dances on top of the In Your House set and swings down on a rope like a pirate. (Did Jean-Pierre Lafitte leave that behind?) He then throws Owen out of the ring so he can finish his dance. Shawn wins a Slammy Award for the entrance, but he promises to top it at Mania.
The Match: Shawn evades Owen and does a victory lap around ringside. He high-fives the fans. Owen tries doing the same, but no one will slap his hand. Shawn then surprises Owen with a flying crossbody and a flying axehandle. Michaels controls the bout with headlocks until Owen nails a belly-to-belly and a backbreaker. He follows with a neckbreaker. Shawn blocks a Sharpshooter, but Owen wears him down with various holds. (Lawler claims Owen invented all of them.) Shawn manages to reverse an apron suplex only for Owen to catch him in a powerslam on the floor. Owen also nails a missile dropkick and puts Shawn in the Sharpshooter. He breaks free before Owen hits the enziguri. Shawn tumbles to the floor. Owen returns him to the ring because he wants to pin him. Shawn kicks out. Michaels then rallies with jumping forearms and clotheslines. He continues with a flying elbow and knocks Cornette off the apron. Shawn tunes up the band, but he misses Sweet Chin Music. Owen tries another enziguri, but he misses that. Then, Shawn nails Sweet Chin Music for the win.
Thoughts: This was a great match. I expected nothing less. I liked the back and forth and that finish was great. Shawn seemed to not take it seriously early on, but that changed. The bout was even enough to make Owen look strong. Plus, you could see the possibility of Owen winning. Owen vs. Bret at Mania isn’t far fetched. However, Shawn vs. Bret is their obvious goal.
Winner: Shawn Michaels (15:57)
After the match, Shawn invites a young girl to dance with him in the ring. (That’s a little weird.) He lifts her onto his shoulder and poses while fireworks explode. I hope he knew that kid because he gives her a kiss.
They show a commercial for WrestleMania XII. It claims critics called Mania XI sensational. (What critics said that!?) Then, Vince and Lawler talk about the main event before introducing Pettengill.
Todd welcomes the acting president, Rowdy Roddy Piper. He says he takes his job seriously. But, he’s not too serious to give his random opinion on Michael Jackson’s legal issues. He also says he’s not afraid of the boogerman. (Bastion Booger?) Piper sings Shawn Michaels praises, but he tells him to get ready for either Bret Hart or Diesel. He won’t stop the Mania main event until there is a winner. Piper then says he doesn’t feel sorry for Yokozuna. He’s 640 pounds of beast, but he can’t be dumb enough to be in those situations. Piper follows that by calling Vader inbred. He compares Vader’s mask to a jockstrap. (Hey, this isn’t Aldo Montoya! It’s Vader.) Piper won’t suspend Vader. He books him in a match with Yoko for Mania instead. Cornette and Clarence Mason approach Piper, but Roddy tells them to shut up. Piper mocks Cornette, so Jim returns the favor. He claims Vader scares Roddy. Jim hypes the Vader/Yoko match. He says what happens will be on Piper’s head. Roddy jokes Yoko weighs 640 pounds, which is 320 pounds per cheek. (Is Yoko all ass?) Piper then gooses Cornette and says people will fight at WrestleMania.
Cage Match for the WWF Title: Bret Hart (c) vs. Diesel
Notes: Both Bret and the commentators claim Bret never lost a Cage Match. That’s untrue. He lost a few to Yokozuna in 1993. Diesel ignores the fans, even those with black gloves. His heel-turn is nearly complete. Bret enters the arena while Diesel stands in the corner. Diesel can place his hands on the top of the cage from a standing position. It impresses both Lawler and Vince. (I also want to point out WCW and the WWF are once again presenting dueling Cage Matches on their PPVs. It won’t be the last time both companies do a Cage Match in the same month. They loved doing that.)
The Match: Diesel throws knees in the corner and tells Bret it will be a long night. They take turns ramming each other into the cage before Bret attacks Diesel’s leg. Then, they stop each other from escaping a few times. Bret continues attacking the leg until Diesel hits a side slam. There are a few more escape attempts until they meet at the top of the cage. Diesel slams Bret off the top rope. But, Bret surprises him with a boot and lands a bulldog. However, Diesel keeps catching Bret on the top rope or the top of the cage. Bret almost climbs over at one point. Diesel whips Bret around the ring, but Bret reverses a Snake Eyes. Diesel manages to block a Sharpshooter, so Bret goes into his finishing routine instead. Diesel stops it with a low-blow. Both men then prevent more escape attempts. However, The Undertaker appears through a hole in the ring! He drags Diesel into it while Bret escapes over the top of the cage.
Thoughts: This was the weakest of Bret and Diesel’s matches. It dragged. They filled the time until the finish. The ending was great, but it didn’t save the bout. Everyone knew Diesel vs. Undertaker was the plan. You could tell the fans knew this was an afterthought. The match didn’t have much heat. On a side note, Diesel tells a story about this match in shoot interviews. Bret didn’t like the finish because it made him look weak. Undertaker had enough of Bret’s whining. He told him, “It’s not always about you!” I understand both men’s concerns. They did treat Bret like a third wheel during this feud.
Winner: Bret Hart (19:13)
Smoke pours from the hole in the ring. After a moment, Diesel emerges with a torn pants leg. He backs away from the hole with a look of fear. Undertaker climbs out, so Diesel escapes over the cage. The Undertaker then poses on the top while Diesel retreats down the aisle. Taker’s music plays and the lights turn out, so Diesel acts spooked.
Razor/Kid was good, despite the silly gimmick.
HBK/Owen was great.
Triple H/Duke was solid.
They did a good job building storylines for Mania.
The main event was disappointing, despite the great finish.
Yoko/Bulldog had a flat ending.
Performer of the Night:
I’m calling it a tie between Shawn Michaels and Owen Hart. Both men did amazing.
The main event wasn’t great, but it was still a solid show. The overall presentation was good. It was an easy watch and it built Mania quite well. There were enough good-to-great matches on this card to make it an enjoyable experience.
Thank you for reading. My next review is—oh, NO! It’s WCW Uncensored ’96. This one might hurt a little. Look for it next Sunday!