(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)
In Your House: Beware of Dog
May 26, 1996
Florence Civic Center
Florence, South Carolina
Notes: At In Your House: Good Friends, Better Enemies, Bulldog tried to confront Shawn Michaels. Davey was angry because his wife claimed Michaels propositioned her for sex. Diana says an attendant told her Cornette wanted to speak to her. She went backstage and found Shawn instead. Diana claims he harassed her. Shawn denied the accusations. But, Cornette and Mason presented character witnesses. They interviewed Marty Jannetty. He said Shawn always went for the married women. Then, they spoke with an anonymous lady. We only saw her silhouette. She told a tale of Shawn using her. He did it to get in her wrestler husband’s head. It ruined both their marriage and his career. (It feels like the WWF is poking fun at the rumors of the Kliq messing with people’s careers.) Diana confronted Shawn on RAW. She said he wanted her, but Shawn told her not to flatter herself. She slapped him in response. The accusations frustrated Michaels. He called it character assassination. (Cornette tells an amusing story about this feud. Stu Hart called Vince to complain. He said it made Diana look like a whore. But, he pronounced it in his Stu Hart drawl. Cornette’s imitation made the word sound more like, “Whooooooooore.” It’s quite funny.)
Before we begin, I want to also discuss the tag team picture. The belts changed hands twice. Also, Sunny was quite busy. The Godwinns defeated The Bodydonnas for the titles. But, Sunny revealed she manipulated Phineas into signing a contract. It made her co-manager of the Godwinns. Sunny ditched the Bodydonnas to follow the gold. However, The Godwinns then lost the belts to the Smoking Gunns. Billy Gunn kissed Sunny, which distracted Phineas. Sunny didn’t seem too bothered by it. The Gunns’ win happened on the Free for All. The tag belts aren’t defended on this show.
Also, I want to point out there was a severe thunderstorm in Florence the night of this PPV. Let’s hope it doesn’t affect the show in any way!
Affiliate of the Week:
The opening video cuts between contrasting footage. Vince calls Shawn the leader of the New Generation. Meanwhile, an anonymous woman accuses Shawn of using her. A silhouette of a lady with glorious 90s hair tells us Shawn is a homewrecker. He ruined her marriage. Meanwhile, Diana Smith confronts Shawn. She says she knows he wants her. Michaels tells her not to flatter herself. Diana slaps Shawn and he brawls with the Bulldog. Shawn says he’s damn tired of this character assassination. Then, we see the In Your House logo chained to a dog house. It’s for the best. We can’t have the logo bombing more cities!
Vince welcomes everyone to South Carolina and In Your House. Vince dedicates the show to fallen soldiers. (The show was on Memorial Day weekend.) Lawler makes a Mission: Impossible reference. He says Shawn Michaels’ mission is to prove he’s not a womanizer. Vince starts saying more, but Triple H’s music interrupts him.
During Hunter’s entrance, Dok interviews Mero and Sable. Hendrix asks Mero about his counter for the Pedigree. Marc ignores the question. He says it’s the dawning of a new day for Marc Mero. It’s time to answer the call of the wild. He welcomes Hunter to the jungle and makes a weird face for the camera. (I think he expected his music to start earlier. He was trying to match his face to the cat noise at the start of this theme.)
Wildman Marc Mero (w/ Sable) vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/ Rose Marie Lynn)
Notes: Hunter walks to the ring with an escort. Lawler later tells us her name is Rose Marie Lynn. She has a ridiculous haircut. It appears she’s wearing a helmet of hair. They show a clip of Hunter giving Mero a Pedigree. He attacked while Bob Backlund had Marc in a Crossface Chickenwing. That’s the extent of the build for this match. They’re punishing Hunter for the Curtain Call. He’s on the PPV because his match was already announced. Don’t expect many victories for him any time soon. Also, Lawler insults Sable’s looks during the entrances. (That’s strange considering how he reacts to her in the Attitude Era.) Jerry claims they filmed Gorillas in the Mist in Sable’s shower.
The Match: Mero gets the early advantage, so Hunter regroups. Marc dives onto him and nails a slingshot leg drop. However, Mero crashes into the post on a missed corner charge. Triple H pounces on the injury. He works Marc’s arm and shoulder for a while. Mero tries rallying with a rolling prawn hold, but it’s not enough. Hunter uses armbars and grabs the ropes for leverage. Sable screams, but the ref doesn’t listen. Eventually, Mero crotches Helmsley on the ropes and does a super Frankensteiner. He also uses a flying sunset flip. But, Marc misses a somersault plancha and tweaks his knee. Triple H attacks again. He wants Sable to watch, so he confronts her. When Hunter attempts the Pedigree, Mero reverses it into a catapult. Triple H collides with the post, so Mero covers him for the win.
Thoughts: The match was slow at times, but it was solid. It had a good story. It wasn’t flashy, but it was enjoyable. Mero can wrestle. His offense is good. But, his character needs work. He seems lost without the Johnny B. Badd gimmick. Also, Sable improved a bit. Someone told her to react more to the action. She was far more active in this bout.
Winner: Marc Mero (16:23)
Mr. Perfect interviews Camp Cornette. Clarence Mason wears a neck brace and a sling because Shawn attacked him. Even Owen Hart has a cast, but I believe he had an arm injury at the time. Perfect wants to know about Cornette’s bombshells. Jim won’t reveal the big one. He doesn’t want Shawn to know. Cornette says Shawn made his bed. He tried to get Diana to sleep in it. But, now he will sleep in it himself. Cornette does give one scoop. Jim is busy with Vader, so he got Owen a manager’s license. He will manage Bulldog in Jim’s place. Owen shows off the license, as well as his Slammy Award. (He’s quite proud of both.)
The next match…
Oops! So much for that. The storm cut the power to the building. They lost the PPV feed for an hour. There were emergency lights in the arena. Plus, they had battery-operated cameras. The other matches happened and they filmed them. However, the footage was unusable. It was too dark. (They were literal dark matches!) The power returned in time for the main event. It aired on PPV for the few people who stuck around.
The Bulldog enters the arena while Dok interviews Shawn Michaels. He asks if Cornette’s big bombshell concerns Shawn. Shawn jokes about Cornette dropping a bomb on the satellite feed. Shawn then compares Diana’s accusations to a storyline from Melrose Place. He says it doesn’t fly with the Kliq. He also tells Bulldog and Diana not to beware of dogs. They should beware of the Kliq. (He’s not wrong.) Shawn then walks to the ring while Jose pats him on the back. Shawn passes Mr. Perfect and they exchange glances. Vince wonders what that is about.
WWF Title Match: Shawn Michaels (c) (w/ Jose Lothario) vs. The British Bulldog (w/ Diana Smith, Clarence Mason, & Owen Hart)
Notes: During the entrances, Vince announces they will redo the missing matches on Tuesday. Then, Clarence Mason announces Cornette’s big bombshell. The Smith family is suing Shawn Michaels. Mason serves Shawn with a summons for attempted alienation of affection. Shawn rips up the paper. (I don’t think that voids it.) Bulldog attacks Shawn while he’s distracted.
The Match: Shawn uses his agility to avoid Bulldog’s attacks. He then nails a slingshot crossbody and slows the pace with a headlock. Shawn controls Bulldog with mat holds. But, Davey powers out of a short-arm scissors and returns the favor. He uses submissions on Shawn, including a Canadian Backbreaker. Shawn breaks free, but he stumbles out of the ring on an awkward botch. They fight on the floor and the apron. Shawn rallies after both men collide. Michaels nails a jumping forearm and a flying axehandle. However, Earl Hebner flies out of the ring when Bulldog runs into him. Another ref arrives as Shawn reverses a running powerslam. Shawn then uses a bridging German Suplex. Both men’s shoulders are on the mat as the ref counts three. Bulldog’s music plays, but Hebner claims Michaels won the match. The two refs argue until Gorilla Monsoon arrives. Meanwhile, Diana grabs the WWF title and holds it over her head. (Hey, she didn’t win it!) Monsoon declares the match a draw, so Shawn retains the belt.
Thoughts: This was another match that was solid but slow. They expected a longer bout, but Hebner told them to go home early. The power outage left them with little time. You could see Shawn complain about it. They rushed the finish, which hurt the match. I don’t mind the ending. I know they have a rematch. But, this bout was awkward. It’s a shame. It wasn’t their fault. (That’s the theme of the night.)
Winner: Draw (17:21)
Shawn looks annoyed. He doesn’t have the energy to celebrate. Vince and Lawler watch a few replays. Jerry swears Bulldog lifted his shoulder at the last moment. (He didn’t.) Vince sounds as disappointed as Shawn looks.
In Your House: Beware of Dog 2
May 28, 1996
North Charleston Coliseum
Charleston, South Carolina
News & Notes: The WWF presented a do-over show the following Tuesday. It took place at a Superstars taping in Charleston. It aired on PPV. Those who ordered the original show got it for free. On the broadcast, they showed the two matches from part one followed by the matches from this taping. Since it was a Superstars taping, the commentary team is Jim Ross and Mr. Perfect. (I am aware something significant happened in the wrestling world between the two shows. Don’t worry. I’m covering it this week.)
Caribbean Strap Match: Savio Vega vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (w/ Ted DiBiase)
Notes: On RAW, DiBiase acknowledged Savio winning the dark match at Beware of Dog 1. He claimed Vega couldn’t do it again. In fact, Ted promised to leave the WWF if Savio won the rematch. On the flip side, Savio has to become DiBiase’s chauffeur if he loses. This is a Strap Match. You win by dragging your opponent around and touching all four corners in succession. Ross says Savio never lost a Strap Match. (He should demand all his matches involve the strap!) Austin threatens Savio with the strap when he enters the arena.
The Match: Savio threatens to whip Austin, so Steve keeps regrouping. Vega pulls him into the apron and lashes him. Savio follows with an apron suplex and a roundhouse kick. Both men then trade lashings until they spill to the floor again. Austin uses the guardrail, and we learn Mr. Perfect has no idea where kidneys are located. Both men get two or three turnbuckles, but they keep stopping the momentum. They lash each other some more until Vega nails a superplex. He touches three corners again, so Austin hits a desperation spinebuster. They also reverse through a Tombstone attempt and fall to the floor. Austin climbs the turnbuckles, only for Vega to pull him down onto the rail. But, Austin stops Savio’s momentum again and uses a piledriver. DiBiase encourages him to do a second one, but Vega backdrops Austin. Austin then tries a Million Dollar Dream. Vega breaks it. Then, Austin hangs Savio over his shoulder with the strap. He starts touching corners, but Vega slaps them as well. They play tug-of-war until Austin pulls Savio into the fourth corner by accident. Savio wins.
Thoughts: This was quite good. I think it’s an almost forgotten gem. They had good intensity. Some of the strap attacks were brutal. Plus, I like that finish. It’s a shame it gets reused too often. Austin and Vega had good chemistry. But, this is the end of their feud.
Winner: Savio Vega (21:27)
DiBiase is furious, but Austin doesn’t care. He has enough of Ted and leaves him to his fate. Savio grabs a mic and tells them to stop the music. He leads the crowd in singing “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.” Savio is terrible at singing, but the crowd loves it. DiBiase can’t believe it’s over. He yells at the fans and storms away in a huff. (They did this because DiBiase also signed with WCW. That is the end of the Million Dollar Corporation. They were disappointing, to say the least.)
Meanwhile, Ross plugs the America Online chat. Shawn Michaels slowly types on a laptop. Ross wonders what they’re talking about. (I’m sure he’s still complaining about Beware of Dog 1.)
Vader (w/ Jim Cornette) vs. Yokozuna
Notes: They show a replay of Vader injuring Yoko’s leg. Ross says this match will be an old-fashioned slobberknocker. Mr. Perfect has no clue what that means. Perfect also talks about how they used a forklift to help Yoko to the back. He calls it embarrassing. Both men immediately trade punches when Yoko enters the ring.
The Match: Vader stalls often after Yoko gives him a throat chop. Yoko wants a sumo showdown, but Vader hesitates. They finally collide and Yoko knocks Vader down and out of the ring. Vader answers with punches until Yoko trips him. Yoko then attacks Vader’s leg for revenge. Vader attempts a slam, but he fails. (Ross claims only Ahmed Johnson ever slammed Yoko. Poor Luger.) Then, Yoko nails a Uranage, a corner splash, and a Samoan Drop. He pulls Vader to the corner for the Banzai Drop, but Cornette distracts Yoko. Yoko pulls Jim into the ring and tries giving him the drop instead. Vader saves Cornette and nails a Vader Bomb for the win.
Thoughts: This wasn’t good. They stalled for most of it. Neither man had the conditioning for a hard-fought match. The stuff with Cornette was fun, but it wasn’t enough. This didn’t make Vader look strong. They have big plans for Vader in the summer, so this is strange. Pairing him with Yoko was a mistake.
Winner: Vader (8:53)
Next, they show a commercial for King of the Ring. Lawler chokes to death during a banquet and goes to heaven. He finds himself in a wrestling ring. He calls the great ring in the sky. Lawler says it’s great to be the king, but he’s hit over the head with a guitar. Is it Jeff Jarrett? No, it’s Elvis! He’s there with other various kings, like King Tut. They tell Jerry he’s no king and beat him up. Lawler asks, “Where am I?” It then cuts to the devil laughing. (That was a weird commercial, but I kind of liked it.) Ross then announces a few matches for the PPV. Shawn and Bulldog will have a rematch. The Smoking Gunns will face the Godwinns. And, The Ultimate Warrior will wrestle Jerry Lawler.
Casket Match for the Intercontinental Title: Goldust (c) (w/ Marlena) vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)
Notes: They announced The Undertaker would receive an Intercontinental title match. Vince told Goldust it would be a Casket Match, so Goldust freaked out. Taker and Bearer got in his head even more by presenting a special gold casket. However, that didn’t stop Goldust from doing his usual antics. He groped Paul Bearer and asked Taker if he knew about rigor mortis. Meanwhile, both Taker and Goldust had issues with other wrestlers. Mankind continued attacking Taker. He locked him in a casket and attacked it with a pipe. On the other hand, Goldust drew the ire of Ahmed Johnson. Owen Hart knocked Ahmed out with his cast, so Goldust revived him with mouth-to-mouth. Johnson was furious when he woke. He broke through the door to Goldust’s locker room, but he wasn’t there.
The Match: Goldust bails and tries luring Taker into a trap. It doesn’t work. Taker whips him around the ring and Goldust freaks out at the sight of the casket. Taker nails a slam, a leg drop, and Old School. Goldust answers with a slam and a weak-looking Tombstone. He rolls Taker into the casket, but Taker fights back. Then, they fight to the floor. Goldust chokes Taker with some cables and attacks Taker’s back. Goldust even uses a sleeper hold. He places Taker in the casket again, but Taker’s arm is outside of it when he closes the lid. Taker responds with a jumping clothesline. He also tries using a chair, but Goldust stops it. Next, Goldust tries doing Old School. Taker pulls him into the ring. He then hits the Tombstone. Taker turns to open the casket—and finds Mankind inside! Mankind puts the Mandible Claw on Taker and closes him in the casket. Goldust wins.
Thoughts: I enjoyed this. I know not everyone likes it, but I thought it was good. They never let it drag and there were some cool spots. It wasn’t bad for a Casket Match. Plus, I loved that finish. It was a good way to have Goldust win without Taker looking weak.
Winner: Goldust (12:36)
Mankind squeals like a pig and yanks out chunks of his own hair. Smoke pours out of the casket, so Mankind and Goldust retreat down the aisle. Paul Bearer orders the refs to open the casket. They do, but it’s empty! Paul Bearer yells, “He’s gone!” He freaks out and questions the officials. They have no clue what happened. The Undertaker’s music then plays while the arena goes dark. (This time, it’s on purpose. There was no storm.)
Mero/Hunter was solid
The Strap Match was great.
The Casket Match was enjoyable.
I liked the Mankind stuff.
Shawn/Bulldog was disappointing.
The power outage.
Vader/Yoko was bad.
Performer of the Night:
I’m giving it to Savio Vega. I know it’s a strange choice, but that was easily his best match. He had good intensity.
This is a difficult one to judge. You have to view it on two fronts. The action was quite good. However, the presentation was a disaster. If you watched it in ’96, it frustrated you. It’s easier to watch in an edited form. Overall, it was a decent show. But, you can’t call it a success. The WWF never ran another PPV in South Carolina. Vince probably viewed the place as cursed. It’s a shame. It wasn’t the WWF’s fault. This was out of their hands.
Thank you for reading. Get ready. You’re getting TWO reviews over the next week! First, I have a bonus review on Wednesday. I’m covering the May 27, 1996 episode of Nitro. (You know the one.) Then, I will review WCW’s The Great American Bash ’96 on Sunday. Look for both reviews!
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