The SmarK Retro Rant for WWE In Your House #3: Triple Header! (September 1995)
– This is another redo of a rant I did back in the bad old days where I thought it really needed an upgrade, and since I was watching this show anyway, here it is.
– Live from Saginaw, MI.
– Your hosts are Vince and Jerry and Jim.
Opening match: Savio Vega v. Waylon Mercy
Waylon was a timely take on Robert DeNiro’s villain in Cape Fear, because Vince has a habit of watching a movie and then suddenly coming up a new and original character that he immediately trademarks as his own original creation. Savio chops away to start and works the arm, but gets tossed. Back in, Mercy gets a hotshot for two and chokes him down. Sideslam gets two. Sleeper, and Dan Spivey shows off his great facial expressions here, but Savio escapes. Back to it, and this time he suplexes out of it. They slug it out and Vega gets the big boot and a spinkick for two. Bulldog gets two. Half-nelson rollup gets two. Mercy catches a clothesline and follows with a scary brainbuster for two. Backdrop driver gets two, but Savio comes back with a german suplex and a leg lariat for the upset.
(Savio Vega d. Waylon Mercy, leg lariat — pin, 7:05, **3/4) It turned into an interesting suplex battle, but Spivey’s body just couldn’t hold out and he was sent into retirement from a neck injury soon after.
Meanwhile, we learn that Owen Hart is not here yet, but they will absolutely live up to the stipulations of the main event, because the WWF doesn’t bait and switch and always delivers what they promise. And murder angles, they don’t do those either. Or rape angles. Or market to children.
Sid v. Henry Godwinn.
This was early in the long and storied HOG legacy. Henry slugs away to start and clotheslines Sid to the floor. Sid returns the favor by kneeing him to the floor and starts working on the back. Sid throws some running kicks, yelling like Monica Seles to really sell the drama. Or is that too dated of a tennis reference? Anyway, Sid goes to his favorite rear chinlock. Points for psychology, but yawn. Blind charge misses and HOG comes back with the Slop Drop for two. Dibiase makes the save, then trips HOG up and it’s good night sweet farmer.
(Sid d. Henry Godwinn, powerbomb — pin, 7:23, *) Not much challenge for Sid here. Attacks after the match tease us with HOG & Bigelow v. Sid & Kama, but I don’t know that the universe could have taken that kind of suck power in one ring.
The British Bulldog v. Bam Bam Bigelow
This was fresh off Bulldog’s heel turn against Diesel. Bulldog gets overpowered to start and Bigelow hiptosses him, but misses an elbow. We hit the chinlock early, but Bigelow escapes. Bulldog suplex, but Bammer no-sells it. His comeback gets cut off and Bulldog sends him to the floor. Bam Bam suplexes him onto the top rope and comes back in with a diving headbutt for two, but Bulldog clips him and starts working on the knee. Another clip after a lazy leg submission, but Bam Bam responds with an enzuigiri. Bulldog goes back to the leg, opting for a half-crab this time. Bigelow fights back, but walks into a knee for two. Back to the chinlock, but Bigelow fights out and falls back on a slam attempt, for two. He blocks a sunset flip using the POWER OF THE ASS, which sets up the moonsault. That misses, however, and Bulldog gets two off a diving headbutt before finishing clean.
(British Bulldog d. Bam Bam Bigelow, powerslam — pin, 12:01, ***) Quite an enjoyable little heavyweight match, which was setting up Bulldog for a title match with Diesel at the next In Your House.
Mr. Bob Backlund joins us to rant about youth today and introduce…
Dean Douglas v. Razor Ramon
This was set up by an attack at Summerslam 95, but in reality there was tons of stuff going on behind the scenes that Shane Douglas would likely whine for hours about if given a chance. I don’t normally side with Shawn Michaels in personality clashes, but in this case his little group of schoolgirls was in the right and Douglas was being a whiner. Razor attacks to start and dumps him, and they do a headlock sequence in the ring. Ramon dumps him again, but that goes nowhere. They fight over a wristlock and Ramon goes to a hammerlock, then catches a crossbody attack and gets the blockbuster slam for two. Back to the arm and Ramon holds an armbar, but Dean comes back with a sunset flip for two. Lariat from Razor gets two. Back to the armbar, but Douglas dumps him and follows with a half-assed pescado. He works Razor over on the floor and sends him into the stairs, and then into the post. Back in, a flying axehandle gets two. Douglas works the back and rams him into the mat for two. Surfboard as they plan things out, but Douglas works the ribs and whips him into the corner, and a splash gets two. He goes to a rear chinlock, but Razor escapes with an electric chair. Douglas revives first and gets two. Ramon comes back with a northern lights suplex for two. Backdrop superplex is blocked by Douglas, but a high cross is reversed by Razor for two. Ref is bumped and it’s the Razor’s Edge, but 1-2-3 Waltman runs in, in the know-it-all teenager phase of his character growth, which means that Ramon has to take the time to get him out of the ring. This allows Douglas to roll him up for the pin. WEAK.
(Dean Douglas d. Razor Ramon, rollup — pin, 14:55, ***) Perhaps the Kid’s volatile relationship with Ramon foreshadowed his relationship with Chyna? Maybe if MySpace had been around in 1995, Waltman would have written heartbroken poetry to Ramon on there.
Bret Hart v. Jean Pierre LaFitte
The fact that Bret got stuck in every shitty feud they could think up for him (like here, for instance, where the pirate dude stole his jacket) but still emerged as WWF champion I think shows how great he was. Bret dives on LaFitte and pounds away in the ring, but gets hammered down. Bret takes him down and grabs an arm, and a crucifix gets two. Back to the armbar, but LaFitte clotheslines him and does some choking. Bret rollup gets two, and Lafitte goes back to the pounding. Bret tries a charge, but hits the post, and Lafitte sends him back there for good measure. We get the Bret Hart Running Turnbuckle Bump and Lafitte gets two. Bret dumps him, but that backfires as Lafitte yanks him out and sends him into the stairs. Vince writes off Bret at that point. Geez, give the guy a LITTLE credit.
Bret fights back, but a spinebuster gets two. Lafitte goes to the chinlock. Bret fights up and goes down, and Lafitte drops a leg for two. Bret comes back with a sunset flip for two, but a clothesline puts him down again. Sideslam and Lafitte goes up with a legdrop for two. Back up, but the swanton misses. Bret comes back with an atomic drop and Sharpshooter, but Lafitte powers him out of the ring. He follows with a somersault plancha, but splats on the floor and Bret returns that trip into the stairs. Back in, legsweep gets two. Small package gets two. Backbreaker and elbow, but he hits boot coming down. You don’t usually see someone block that.
Bret tries another crucifix, but Lafitte has learned and counters to a Regal Roll for two. Bret blocks a slam for two and pounds away, but charges and hits knee, giving Lafitte two. Bret tries a bulldog, but gets sent into the corner for two. He fights back, but charges and crotches himself. Lafitte goes up and misses again, and they clothesline each other. Bret, however, takes advantage on the ground and hooks the Sharpshooter to finish.
(Bret Hart d. Jean Pierre LaFitte, Sharpshooter — submission, 16:34, ****1/4) This had all sorts of cool stuff that you didn’t see in 1995, with great psychology and both guys adjusting to each others’ strategy and mistakes. Probably should have made Carl Ouelette into a star, but it didn’t.
WWF Tag team titles / WWF title / Intercontinental title: Yokozuna & British Bulldog v. Diesel & Shawn Michaels
So the idea is that he who is pinned loses his title, but Owen Hart mysteriously was not there and Bulldog takes his place, which means that you can smell the screwjob coming a mile away. Shawn starts with Bulldog, and they trade hammerlocks. Bulldog tries to take him down,but gets backdropped, and it’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA as the Dudes With Attitudes clean house. Yokozuna tries against Shawn and they engage in a sumo battle, but Shawn runs into an elbow. Yoko misses his own elbow and Diesel comes in, but gets clobbered. Diesel uses the POWER OF THE BOOT to put Yoko on the floor, but Bulldog comes in and pounds away. Delayed suplex gets two. We hit the chinlock and Bulldog tries the powerslam, but Diesel throws elbows in the corner. Corner clothesline and Shawn comes in with a flying splash for two. Bulldog crotches him, however, and Shawn is face-in-peril. Yoko sends him into the corner and out, and back in Bulldog backdrops him for two. We hit the chinlock, and Shawn gets a sunset flip for two. Bulldog clotheslines him down again, and Yoko comes in with the VULCAN NERVE PINCH OF DOOM. The Banzai Drop misses, however, and it’s hot tag Diesel. Backdrop and Snake Eyes for Bulldog, and a sideslam triggers another brawl. They launch Bulldog into Yoko and Diesel walks into a samoan drop, but Shawn superkicks Yoko to the floor. Like a turtle on its back, Yoko is thus removed from the equation. Bulldog powerslams Diesel for two, but now Owen Hart suddenly appears, at which point Diesel immediately powerbombs and pins him.
(Diesel & Shawn Michaels d. Bulldog & Yokozuna, Diesel powerbomb — pin Owen Hart, 15:44, **1/2) This match of course eschewed standard practices of thinking, like having someone in the match taking the pinfall, and as a result the title victory was overturning the next night on RAW and the title went to the Smoking Gunns instead. As a punishment for the fans, we had to watch Diesel v. Bulldog in a god-awful main event at the next In Your House, too. So it was lose-lose for everyone.
Bret Hart v. Pierre the Pirate is a lost classic, but the rest is pretty pedestrian stuff, including the main event title match that turned out to be not a title match.
I kinda wish that the Bret match had been on his DVD so you could just buy that instead of tracking this down, but mildly recommended if you get a chance to see it.