-Video package for tonightâ€™s Bret Hart-Bob Backlund match and we hear that Shawn Michaels will be speaking to us about his condition.
-Theyâ€™re still stuck in Richmond, Virginia, just like Robert E. Leeâ€™s Army of Northern Virginia. Vince McMahon and Jerry â€œthe Kingâ€ Lawler are in the booth
-Opening Contest: â€œThe King of Heartsâ€ Owen Hart (w/Yokozuna, Jim Cornette & Mr. Fuji) vs. Jeff Hardy:
Lots of reinforcements for Owen here, but considering that Jeff is paint-free at this point in his career I donâ€™t think that he will need them. Jeff gets a hiptoss off the ropes and works the arm as Diesel is shown watching the action in the locker room. Owen hits a backbreaker as the camera pans to a much better image of Diana Smith, whoâ€™s in attendance tonight. After Owen beats on him for a while, Jeff wakes up and reverses a take to the buckle. However, Owen takes Jeffâ€™s head off with a clothesline and hits a missile dropkick. Owen teases a Sharpshooter but decides to just do a roll up instead for the pin at 2:34. Afterward, Yokozuna comes in and gives Jeff a Banzai Drop for fun. Owen then adds insult to injury by locking in a Sharpshooter. Diesel thinks this is too much and makes the save (if you can even call it that). Owen flees so Diesel mixes it up with Yokozuna and blows the roof off the joint by giving him a big boot and knocking him out of the ring.
-Chaparita Asari vs. Aja Kong:
Asari whips Kong into the buckles and does some cartwheel dropkicks. However, Kong just uses her bulk to knock Asari down a few times. Kong snapmares Asari by the hair and lays in some stiff kicks to the back. For any old school fans, you know what it was like when you had a wrestling buddy toy as a child and tossed them around at will? Well thatâ€™s basically this match. Kong hits a nasty rotating piledriver that you would only see in Fire Pro wrestling but picks up Asari at one. More stiff kicks and a splash off the ropes leads to Kong picking up Asari at one again. This match is becoming hard to watch. Kong no sells an Asari comeback but a splash off the second rope misses and Asari tries a corkscrew splash off the top rope. That hits nothing and a nasty rotating punch finishes at 4:03. This was one nasty squash and I donâ€™t blame Madusa one bit for packing her bags and leaving the WWF after being booked against this monster. A post-match camera shot shows that Asari is bleeding from her nose and mouth.
-Todd Pettengill interviews Shawn Michaels. Shawn says he appreciates the fan support that heâ€™s gotten and when asked about when heâ€™ll return he said that doctors havenâ€™t given him a clear answer. Todd teases him about never being WWF champion and plants the seeds for the WWFâ€™s WrestleMania XII program. When asked about retirement, Shawn flips out like Kevin Costner in For Love of the Game and says he wonâ€™t respond to a question about that.
-Ahmed Johnson vs. Rick Stockhowser:
Dean Douglas cuts a brief promo for In Your House 5 in the split screen as Ahmed makes his way to the ring. Stockhauser ambushes Ahmed from behind but Ahmed no sells his offense and destroys him with two sloppy spinebusters. Iâ€™d love to blame those on Ahmed but I think thatâ€™s Stockhauser not wanting to take the full impact of the move. A Pearl River Plunge finishes at 1:06. As Iâ€™ve said before, Ahmed was the WWFâ€™s version of Goldberg. Who said Vince McMahon wasnâ€™t a visionary?
-Ahmed punks out Lawler who taunts him after the match.
-â€œHandsomeâ€ Doc Hendrix urges people to buy WWF denim jackets of The Undertaker, Diesel, Shawn Michaels, or Bret Hart. If you call 1-800-TITAN-91 you can get them for $59.95 and $3.95 shipping and handling.
-Funny WWF vignette where Ahmed Johnson, Yokozuna, Razor Ramon (with the Intercontinental title), and Hakushi, who are dressed up as Santa Claus and in a police lineup, beat up a random guy who a kid accuses of trying to sell him cigarettes.
-Vince McMahon interviews Sid, the 1-2-3 Kid, and Ted DiBiase about their match with Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon and Marty Jannetty at In Your House 5. DiBiase says the Kid and Sid are inseparable and argues that they will be the next WWF Tag Team Champions. The Kid & Sid were being built up as challengers for the Smoking Gunns but an injury Sid suffered in January 1996 screwed up those plans. Sid cuts an intense promo but it lacks direction.
-Non-Title Match: Bret â€œthe Hitmanâ€ Hart (WWF Champion) vs. Bob Backlund:
A series of wrestling sequences start the match, with Bret coming out ahead. Lawler interviews Diana in the crowd and she comes off as awkward on the mic. Bret and Backlund fight over another wrestling sequence, with the crowd becoming restless, and Backlund gets another rope break. The crowd boos and Backlund decides to educate them about his form of wrestling. However, as he educates the plebeians from the apron, Bret dropkicks him in the back and Backlund falls to the floor as we head to a mandatory commercial break.
When we return Bret gets two from a backslide and Backlund bails. Backlund stalls for a while and when he re-engages Bret works the arm. Backlund goes over on a slam attempt and locks in the crossface chicken wing, which Bret escapes by getting into the ropes. Backlund works on Bretâ€™s arm, teasing the chicken wing a few times and nearly giving the crowd a heart attack in the process. The crowd gets restless again as Backlund applies an armbar, but to his credit he doesnâ€™t just sit there with the move and pounds on Bretâ€™s arm as he has the move applied. Backlund goes for a slam but Bret falls on top of him for two. Bret gets a small package for two and we go to our second commercial break.
We come back with Bret getting a near fall and hitting a backbreaker. The second rope elbow drop that never gets a three count is delivered and Bret goes for the Sharpshooter. However, when Bret has it ready to turn over, the British Bulldog enters the ring. Bret releases the Sharpshooter and turns to face him, but that allows Backlund to sneak up behind Bret and apply the chicken wing. Unfortunately, despite the fact that Bulldog didnâ€™t touch Bret after coming into the ring, referee Earl Hebner calls for the bell and awards the bout to the Hitman at 11:00 shown. The Bulldog pounds on Bret as Backlund has the chicken wing locked in and itâ€™s awesome how the WWF officials back away from Backlund because theyâ€™re afraid theyâ€™ll be trapped in the chicken wing as well. This match was better than the rush job they were forced to do at WrestleMania XI, but the fans could only tolerate a small amount of scientific wrestling. Also, Bret didnâ€™t sell the elbow very much during his comeback, notably during his second rope elbow drop. However, it was a solid technical match and showed that Backlund could still be a useful part of the roster. Considering that, itâ€™s unfortunate that the WWF decided to limit his role in 1996. Grade: C+
-Tune in next week to see Yokozuna face off against Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon! The hype package says itâ€™s a big match because itâ€™s between two men that have held seven titles. Due to title inflation these days (and especially during the Attitude Era), main eventers in the WWE have doubled that number of titles on their own.
The Final Report: This show had a lot of hype for In Your House 5, but didnâ€™t feature a complete run down of the card. We finally got a healthy amount of build for Bret-Bulldog for the pay-per-view and itâ€™s a shame that they didnâ€™t keep Backlundâ€™s momentum going after this show. He didnâ€™t have to play a main event role, but he wouldâ€™ve been useful in the midcard and upper midcard. Overall, this show had a solid main event and the squash matches were awesome if you love to see jobbers getting tossed around like rag dolls.
Show Grade: B