May 22, 2007
Scott Criscuolo & Justin Rozzero

In Your House #1
May 14, 1995
On-Center
Syracuse, New York
Announcer: Vince McMahon and Dok Hendrix
Attendance: 7,000
Buy Rate: .83

Dark Matches:

1) Jean-Pierre Lafitte (Carl Oulett) defeated Bob Holly (Robert Howard)
2) British Bulldog (David Smith) and Owen Hart fought to a Draw (KOTR Qualifier)

Fun Fact: This is the PPV debut for Dok Hendrix, otherwise known as Michael Seitz or his stage name, Michael Hayes. He, of course, is a member of the famed Freebirds group, mostly teaming with Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts. After a legendary feud with the Von Erich family, the Freebirds wrestled in the WWF in the summer of 1984 being managed by Cyndi Lauper’s manager/husband David Wolfe. After being in New York they moved on to the AWA and wars with the Road Warriors. After that it was off to the NWA where they won the World, US Tag and Six-Man Tag Team Titles. Hayes also upset Lex Luger to win the US Heavyweight Title in 1989. After managing Arn Anderson and Bobby Eaton for a short time, he left WCW and came back to Stamford.

1) Bret Hart defeats Hakushi (Jinsei Shinzaki) with a reverse roll-up at 14:20

Fun Fact: Hakushi had started in Michinoku Pro Wrestling in 1993. He was known for doing the “praying walk”, similar to Undertaker’s top rope walk. He even did that move on barbed wire! A vignette aired on the December 10, 1994 Superstars that Hakushi was debuting in the WWF. His actual first match was at a Poughkeepsie house show on November 29. He made his TV debut on the December 18 Wrestling Challenge, defeating Gary Scott. Hakushi attacked Bret on the March 25 episode of Superstars while Bret was receiving an award from the Japanese media for being the most Popular American Wrestler in Japan (or something along those lines). He hit a beautiful Asai Moonsault on Bret from the interview podium. Also, Hakushi’s manager Shinja is former Orient Express member Sato.

Scott: The first of the “secondary” PPVs debuts in upstate NY, and this match was the first of many times where Bret Hart made an unknown (in the WWF) look like a million bucks. This would be the first of two matches that night for the Hitman, as he would face Jerry Lawler (yes this feud is continuing) later in the night. Solid match between both men, as Hakushi showed some pacing and workrate not quite familiar to a WWF audience, although it started a little slow as the two were obviously unfamiliar with each other. Also there wasn’t quite a PPV feeling to the show just yet. It felt like a RAW or another TV special. Still it was a great match, as only Bret Hart can deliver. Grade: 3

Justin: A really good match that was a bit ahead of its time, as Hakushi’s style of wrestling had not been introduced to the WWF at that point (outside of glimpses from the 1-2-3 Kid). Bret busts his ass as usual and gives the first IYH a rock solid opening match. It is a shame how much Vince misused Bret during 1995, as he was really hitting his peak, and would go on to carry every mid-carder he faced to good matches. If anything, he at least made the undercard fun and enjoyable with his feuds and matches. Bret “twists” his ankle leaving the ring after the match, thus putting a dark cloud over his health for his match with Lawler later in the evening. Grade: 3.5

2) Razor Ramon (Scott Hall) defeats Jeff Jarrett & Roadie (Brian Armstrong) when Ramon pins Jarrett with the Razor’s Edge at 12:37

Fun Fact: This was supposed to be a tag match featuring the Kid on Ramon’s team, but he messed up his neck a few weeks before this, so it was changed to a handicapped match. Ramon even has Kid’s name written on his boots.

Scott: This feud started at the Royal Rumble, moved through Wrestlemania, and the next step is a handicap match. This is Roadie’s in-ring debut, and he’s OK. Not great, but he kept himself to simple strikes and non-complicated moves. He’s never been the best, but he’s OK. The crowd is very much into this match, even though it seemed Razor was getting very stale. Aldo Montoya comes in to help Razor after the match, and Jarrett & Roadie beat him down, keeping Jarrett’s heat. Then Razor is saved by a mysterious man who slides into the ring. The cops drag him off, but then Razor says that’s his friend Savio Vega. Immediately it’s a given Vega has never been on a big stage as he sounds as nervous as Owen Hart at the 1994 Royal Rumble. We will go over Vega more in our next review. This was a solid enough match that keeps the feud going. Grade: 2.5

Justin: A pretty solid match that is a little long and slow at parts. The crowd is always behind Ramon, so they are pretty hot for this match. It was nice to see Ramon get a solid pinfall win in this feud. Looking back at this feud, it is a nice template for a long, but interesting feud over a secondary title. I always liked the long back and forth battles over the secondary belts, because it made them seem so important. After some good action, Ramon picks up the big win over the champ to set the stage for a 1-on-1 rematch in the future. After picking up the pin, JJ and Roadie start beating down the Bad Guy. Eventually, Aldo Montoya comes down to make the save. However, Aldo comes out and gets killed as well. Then, an unknown man jumps in the ring: the debuting Savio Vega, as he runs in and aids his “friend” Ramon. The cops drag him out because he is Spanish…I mean because they think he is a fan, but Ramon introduces us to him after the match backstage. Savio would actually end up becoming a rock solid mid-card player over the next few years. Razor picks up the win and moves along with this feud. Grade: 2.5

3) Mabel (Nelson Frazier) defeats Adam Bomb (Bryan Clarke) with a powerslam at 1:52

Fun Fact: This was the first King of the Ring Qualifying Match.

Fun Fact II: On the 3/12 Action Zone, Men on a Mission lost a Tag Title match to the Smoking Gunns. After the match, MOM snapped and brutally beat down the Gunns to the shock of the crowd. Then, on the 3/26 Wrestling Challenge, Men on a Mission defeated Ken Raper & Gary Sabaugh in a squash match. After the match, MOM apologized for their attack on the Gunns and invited them to shake their hands. Once the Gunns came out, however, MOM once again attacked the Gunns and then turned their attention on their manager Oscar. They beat Oscar down and Mabel crushed him with a huge Legdrop. MOM were officially heels and Oscar would never be seen again.

Fun Fact III: This is Adam Bomb’s last PPV match. His final record is 0-6. He was 0-2 at the Royal Rumble, 0-1 at Wrestlemania, 0-2 at Survivor Series and 0-1 at other PPV events.

Scott: Should I even discuss this? It’s the unfortunate beginning of Mabel’s ascent to #1 contender status that goes through the summer. The match isn’t much, and since I was a big Adam Bomb fan, I was quite disappointed. Oh well, when Vince was an affinity for fat guys, there’s no stopping him. Not much more to say, except get used to these low workrate slow-paced sloth-fests. Grade: 1.5

Justin: Not much here, as I remember thinking at the time what a shock this was, as I would have bet good money that Adam Bomb was going to win, mainly because Mabel hadn’t been used as anything more than a jobber at that point, especially in singles matches. This probably should have triggered something in our heads at the time, but Mabel winning the KOTR just did not seem plausible at the time at all. Bomb busts out a couple of nice high impact moves, but Mabel pretty much squashes him. For all intents and purposes, this is it for Bomb, as he would stick around on Raw for a few months, but would not make it on to PPV again for a long time. Grade: 1

4) Owen Hart & Yokozuna defeat the Smoking Gunns to retain WWF Tag Team Titles when Hart pins Bart Gunn (Mike Plotcheck) after Yokozuna (Rodney Anoia) leg drops him on the outside at 5:44

Scott: This is definitely Owen Hart’s time right now. He and Yokozuna combine to make a pretty good heel tag team, led by Jim Cornette, the man who would be the top heel manager for the next year and a half. Here, they win the re-match against the face Smoking Gunns. Not much more to say here, just a solid tag team match. Grade: 2.5

Justin: A pretty solid, yet short match. Owen and Yoko were pretty good champs who were given a solid run in the tag division for a good chunk of 1995. Owen would really step his game up and would be known for his superb tag work over the next year and a half, really finding a niche for himself in that time. He and Yoko would work the big man/little man combo quite nicely and would become quite dominant. Tagging with Owen was a Godsend for Yoko, as he could hide on the apron and rest in between short periods of doing damage and still come off as pretty devastating in the ring. On the flip side, after dominating the first few months of 1995, the Gunns are now pushed to the back of the tag team bus over the summer. They will eventually step it back up and take control, but for now they are used to put over the current champs and will float around the mid card scene for a while. Grade: 2

5) Jerry Lawler defeats Bret Hart after Hakushi interferes at 5:01

Fun Fact: Bret pretended to have injured his ankle coming out of the ring after the first match so Lawler would think he was hurt. Bret let everyone know he was fine during a pre-match interview and the King found out as he walked to ring bouncing back and forth on his “injured” ankle. Ah, you just don’t see many guys do the little things like Bret used to do.

Scott: It’s very difficult to get used to these short matches, but since this show is only supposed to be about 2 hours, you couldn’t have 15-20 minute matches out of the Hitman. This storyline between Lawler and Hart is close to 2 years old. For this era of the WWF, that is an eternity. Hogan/Andre was about that long, but back then there were only 2 supershows a year. Now, with this result, it doesn’t end. Hakushi, who lost a great opener to Bret earlier in the night, interferes to cost Hart the match. This storyline carries on the following month in a very…interesting…and pungent gimmick match. Once again, Bret Hart wrestles twice in a show. My respect for the Hitman grows with each PPV. Grade: 2.5

Justin: A quick, rushed match that is mainly used to set an unusual match between these two at our next outing. You have to wonder if they planned on drudging up this feud again or if they did it to keep Bret busy while he was put back into the mid-card. I remember being surprised that Lawler won at the time, but it makes sense looking back I suppose. Not much here match wise, but the story is good, as you would expect. Lawler had challenged Bret to this match after the Hakushi match was signed, assuming that Bret would not accept a second match and he could claim Bret was ducking him. Well being the Champ he is, and much to Lawler’s chagrin, Bret did accept and agreed to wrestle twice on the PPV. The King picks up the rare PPV win and this years old feud will run on for at least one more month. Grade: 2

***Todd Pettingill and his Mania co-host, Stephanie Wiand, give away the house to a lucky winner. That winner was Matt Pompacilli of Henderson, Nevada. Vince had a contest to give away a huge house in Florida as a way to get people to watch his new PPV venture. Since he obviously wasn’t making money hand over fist like in the past, he didn’t try this gimmick again. ***

6) Diesel (Kevin Nash) defeats Sid (Sid Eudy) by disqualification at 11:28 to retain WWF World Title

Fun Fact: The night after Wrestlemania, Vince interviewed Shawn and Sid in the ring on Raw at the end of the show. After Shawn challenged Diesel to a rematch, he told Sid that he reviewed the tape of the Wrestlemania match and saw that Sid was the reason the ref was knocked out and couldn’t count his pinfall. Shawn told Sid that when he faced Diesel again (presumably at this PPV) that Sid could have the night off. Well, that didn’t sit well with Sid, and he snapped on Shawn, telling him “you don’t give me the night off…you don’t give me nothing but respect!” Sid then dropped HBK with some nasty looking Powerbombs. As the show was going off the air, Diesel rushed to the ring to fend off Sid and come to his former friend’s aid. Shawn was now a face (as the fans had been calling for) but was sidelined from the Powerbomb attack. Diesel challenged Sid for a PPV match to get some revenge for Shawn. On the 4/16 Challenge, Ted DiBiase did a promo where he unveiled his new look Corporation, which featured a new centerpiece: Psycho Sid. Sid had his first WWF match in 3 years on 4/29, when he destroyed Aldo Montoya on Superstars in a squash reminiscent of his 1992 run of terror. Finally, things really boiled over on the 5/1 Raw. Sid was set to face Razor Ramon, but while Razor was posing in front of his pyro, Sid charged through the pyro and drilled Razor from behind. He dropped Ramon with two Powerbombs before Diesel came out and ran Sid off again.

Scott: Ugh. The main event of the first “secondary” PPV is dreadfully boring. Sid gets his first WWF Title shot since having to put up with Hulk Hogan’s crap in 1992. Sid is one of the most enduring superstars in the industry’s history, but this run of matches with Big Daddy Cool could very well be the worst series of main events in history. The problem here is two-fold and both involve Sid. First, Diesel looked great in his first two PPV title defenses because his opponents (Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels) sold well and took his unbelievable bumps. Sid is Diesel’s size and thus forearm shots and simple clotheslines don’t look that impressive, on top of the fact Sid isn’t very good at selling big power offenses. That brings us to our second problem. Throughout Sid’s career he was a badass heel, one who took a beating but kept on coming. Here, because Vince’s mid-90’s heels didn’t act that way, he had to be a WWF “cowardly heel”, which just didn’t look right with the personality and familiarity that fans had with him. It leads to a slow-moving, low-workrate, no-psychology match. The crowd is hot, but they figure it out as time progresses. This particular match ends with a run-in by Tatanka, after 11 and a half minutes of what seemed like watching paint dry. Newly-turned face Bam Bam Bigelow (we'll get into how that happened in our next review) comes in to help Big Daddy Cool and it sets up our next PPV main event. Trust me; it gets MUCH worse from here. Grade: 1.5

Justin: Blech. For some reason Sid seemed really unmotivated during this run in 1995, and it is weird because he was consistently in the Main Events. Maybe because he was stuck here for the summer and he missed softball season? He could have really made himself a bigger star with a solid PPV run during the summer but the role he was playing just didn’t suit his strengths. This match is brutally boring with tons of restholds and slow (and that is being nice) action. Diesel's run as champ officially goes into the shitter starting with this match. It would take Vince a while to realize that he need to really alter his way of thinking to save this sinking ship, so until then things get a bit messy. Thank God for Tatanka and Bigelow for ending this disaster of a Main Event, even though having a cheap DQ ending to a poorly worked match is never the best way to end a show. Diesel is a guy who can be carried to a great match, but Sid really is not the guy to do the job so this had mess written all over it from the beginning. Diesel’s reign has hit it’s first major bump in the road, and at the time, you gave him a pass because he had built up a nice line of credit since his monster push started, but pretty soon he maxes out his charge card and things get really, really ugly. Grade: 1.5

Matches that were Coliseum Video Exclusives:
Undertaker (Mark Callaway) defeats Kama (Charles Wright) in 13:05
Bam Bam Bigelow (Scott Charles Bigelow) defeats Tatanka (Chris Chavis) in 8:49

FINAL ANALYSIS

Scott: This was Vince’s chance to counter WCW with monthly PPVs, although not going full throttle with 3 hour shows for a couple of years. This premiere In Your House is not the greatest show in the world, but that's no surprise considering no Shawn Michaels, Undertaker wrestled off camera, and Diesel and Sid made a valiant attempt to completely stink the joint out. They succeeded, and would do so again for the next 2 months. After two well-wrestled PPV title matches, Diesel is woefully bad in this one, and it’s evident why. He can’t wrestle, and he certainly can’t carry someone himself. The top of the card doesn’t get any better as the year progresses, and we hit rock bottom with our next get-together. The undercard is solid enough, with a decent tag title match, a big win for Razor Ramon, and two matches from Bret Hart. Unfortunately it’s not enough to save this one from reaching mediocre, and with the WWF’s next effort it isn’t much better. Is this year over yet? Final Grade: C-

Justin: This show started out very well but went downhill faster than House Show attendance would in the following months. Vince really had trouble with the pacing of this show, as most of the matches in the middle had to be rushed because the opener ran long. 1995 is really weird, because the talent pool was shallow, but if Vince was shrewd and paid attention to the fans and not Nash, Hall and Michaels (as some claim), he probably could have used the talent in a better way to make his shows better. You are wasting Taker, Bret, Luger and Bulldog in mid-card tag teams and feuds when they could have all been main eventing. Hell, even push Ramon into the Main Events, he was over enough. Instead Vince lets Nash run amuck in the top of the card and nearly brings the whole thing crashing down on everybody. 1995 was definitely a learning experience for Vince, and he should be thanking Eric Bischoff for shocking the world in September and lighting a fire under his ass. For now, Vince is coasting along with two slugs running the ship. He will be in for a rude awakening soon enough, though, and starting with our next show, we see a hostile crowd in a hostile city that openly shits on his product for the first time. Final Grade: C-

MVP: Bret Hart
MVP Runner-Up: Hakushi
Non-MVP: Sid/Diesel
Non-MVP Runner-Up: Mabel (because this was the start of his reign of terror)

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