October 4, 2007
Scott Criscuolo & Justin Rozzero
In Your House #6
February 18, 1996
Announcers: Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler
Buy Rate: .77
Ahmed Johnson (Tony Norris) beat Isaac Yankem (Glen Jacobs)
The Godwinns beat the Bodydonnas
Coliseum Video Exclusive
Undertaker (Mark Callaway) beat Goldust (Dustin Runnels)
Jake Roberts beat Tatanka (Chris Chavis)
1) Razor Ramon (Scott Hall) defeats 1-2-3 Kid (Sean Waltman) in a “Cry-Baby” match with the Razor’s Edge at 12:01
Fun Fact: This is the Kid’s final WWF PPV match until 1998. He stuck around until late April, but once Diesel and Razor Ramon left, he started being a royal pain in Vince’s ass, so he cut him loose. He made his last appearance on the May 20th Raw (taped 4/29) where he lost to Savio Vega. He would be in WCW as the Syxxth member of the NWO by August.
Scott: This ends a feud that had been boiling over since the summer of 1995. The sad thing is, both these men were soon out the door, and this was their final dance together. Kid loses the match, and is fitted with a diaper, a baby bottle, and eventually a one-way ticket to Atlanta. What’s really puzzling about the whole Scott Hall thing was that, although he was an alcoholic and kind of a mess mentally, he still was way over with the crowd. Financially, Vince was in the worst shape of his career, but I’m surprised he didn’t make a better effort to keep Hall after his contract ran out. Kid also leaves, but he obviously wasn’t as important. This would be Razor’s final PPV victory in the WWF. Four Intercontinental titles, but only one PPV World Title match, and that was over three years ago. In a different time maybe Razor Ramon would have been Diesel in 1995. This was a solid opener and another nail in the coffin of Ted DiBiase’s Corporation. Grade: 2.5
Justin: A pretty solid match, as is usual with these two. This gimmick was a little goofy, but in a round-about way, it fit the feud, as the impetus of Kid’s heel run was that he was a whiny baby. Just the stipulation alone told you who was going to win this match, as I don’t think anyone could actually picture Kid putting a diaper on Ramon. A man we haven’t mentioned much since the fall of 1995 is Ted DiBiase. His stock had dropped and his Corporation pretty much died with the departure of Sid and, eventually, the Kid, so he was put with the Ringmaster to serve as his mouthpiece, a place he would hold for the next few months, but more on that later. Ramon was still in his feud with Goldust here, and was set for a rematch at Wrestlemania, but according to rumor he failed a drug test in between now and then and major changes would be made. He would return for his final match in April and that would be it for Razor. Grade: 3
2) Hunter Hearst-Helmsley (Paul Levesque) defeats Duke Droese (Mike Droese) after hitting him with a trash can lid at 9:37
Fun Fact: This is Droese’s final PPV match. He would hang around the Federation until the summer, as his last match is against Leif Cassidy at a house show in Providence, RI on July 7. His last TV appearance was on the 7/13 Superstars (taped 6/25) when he suffered a loss to the wrestling plumber T.L. Hopper. Hopped rammed his plunger into Droese’s throat after the match, putting him on the sidelines for good. Droese would bounce around the Indy scene in Florida before retiring altogether.
Scott: More “Rich obnoxious snob v. blue collar tough guy.” This was an interesting match because Droese actually dictated the pace for the first three minutes, odd since he’s the face. Helmsley as the heel should be doing that, but Helmsley seems to be still learning the heel ropes. Obviously HHH’s workrate changes over his career, as at this point he’s using a lot of simple maneuvers and cheap shots (eye pokes, low blows). You can also see the influence of his two favorite wrestlers in the dirty tactics of Ric Flair and the high knee-lift of Harley Race. Droese hits his finisher and then wants retribution for the garbage can shot he got from Helmsley on Superstars a few weeks before, but the ref takes it away. Helmsley takes advantage, gets a cheap shot in and wins the match. It’s clear referee Mike Chioda turns his head too quick and sees the can lid. Oh well you can’t always be perfect. Droese is soon shown the door, and next month Helmsley begins his next feud. Grade: 2.5
Justin: A decent match here, with some good back and forth action. Not really sure why Vince decided to push the Dumpster again after not using him for a year, but what makes things even weirder is that Droese is cut loose a couple of months later. I thought Droese had some potential and could have probably been repackaged to a better gimmick. He was solid in the ring and always showed a lot of personality, usually on throw away segments on the Action Zone where he would do impressions. It is around this time that the big mid-card purge occurs, and we will go into more detail at Wrestlemania when the transition is pretty much complete, but you can already see a number of guys who are a part of it in Tatanka, Ramon, Kid and Droese. This was a surprisingly interesting and acceptable mid card matchup. Grade: 2.5
3) Yokozuna (Rodney Anoia) defeats British Bulldog (David Smith) by disqualification at 5:02
Fun Fact: Yokozuna speaks for the first time (well other than yelling Bonzai!) in the pre-match interview.
Fun Fact II: Vader attacked Gorilla Monsoon the night after the Royal Rumble, putting him out of commission for 3 months. Roddy Piper was named interim President. When Gorilla returned, the “interim” that was present in his title since July of 1995 was dropped and he was officially made President of the WWF.
Fun Fact III: On the 2/5 Raw, Shawn Michaels and Diesel faced Yokozuna and British Bulldog in a tag match. As Bulldog was about to break up a pin count, HBK got out of the way and Bulldog accidentally leg-dropped Yoko. Soon after that mishap occurred, HBK superkicked Yoko out of the ring which knocked him cold. Bulldog and Owen couldn’t get him back in the ring and he was counted out. The following week Cornette berated Yoko and chewed him out, and Yoko responded by shoving Cornette to the floor and beating on him, officially leaving Camp Cornette.
Scott: The debut of the fan favorite Yoko is a success as he wins by DQ after Cornette comes in and hits him with the tennis racket. Bulldog’s heel heat is still very hot, and will stay hot throughout the year. Yokozuna was actually welcomed by the fans as a face, after over 3 years of being one of the nastiest heels in Federation history. Vader is very hot right now, and has already laid out Gorilla Monsoon, which at the time was kind of a shock…cue the bagpipes! Roddy Piper replaces Monsoon and makes a big announcement later in the show. The match itself is OK as Cornette hits Yoko with the racket to save Bulldog from a Bonzai Drop. Yoko tries to get some shots in but Bulldog and Vader come in to stop it. It’s unfortunate that Yoko ballooned to a ridiculous size because he could have been a good supporting babyface to Shawn Michaels and Ahmed Johnson throughout the year. However his health was just getting worse. Grade: 2
Justin: An OK match as you would expect from these two. As we have mentioned in the past, Bulldog was never one to carry someone to a good match, especially Yokozuna, who was huge at this point in his career. It is too bad that by the time his face turn came around, he was so ridiculously out of shape because he was pretty over and was given a couple of good feuds. It is sad to see his deterioration over the rest of 1996, his final year in the WWF. Bulldog would start teaming with Owen Hart as the year progresses, but only after he gets a nice Main Event run. This was a little disjointed, but the major story points got across just fine. Grade: 1.5
4) Shawn Michaels (Michael Hickenbottom) defeats Owen Hart with a Superkick at 15:55
Fun Fact: This match was meant to blow off the feud that began the night after Survivor Series, when Owen put HBK on the shelf with an Enziguri. HBK wanted revenge, but Owen said he would only fight him if the Wrestlemania title shot were on the line.
Scott: This match was for Shawn’s title shot at Wrestlemania. After Michaels was out after the enzuiguri Owen gave him during their match on the 11/20/95 Raw, the WWF played up whether HBK would ever come back. He not only came back but he wins his second Royal Rumble in January. However the very devious Jim Cornette baited HBK into putting his title shot on the line if we wanted a piece of the King of Harts. Owen does hold his end in this match also, including a sweet power slam as he catches HBK in mid-air on the outside. Owen dictates a good pace and both Vince and the King do their best putting both men over. The Enziguri Owen gives HBK was stiff as hell and HBK sells it like he was shot. Owen can’t get the pin and HBK makes his comeback and wins the match. A great match that I like even more after watching it again recently. This is the first of many “guy who wins the Rumble puts the title shot up at the February PPV” matches. This is also the first PPV instance that a kid from the crowd comes in and dances with HBK after the match. Shawn Michaels now heads to Anaheim and his date with destiny, in the midst of his best stretch of matches of his career, but his issues with Camp Cornette are just beginning. Grade: 4
Justin: An excellent match here between two great workers. As Scott said, this was Shawn’s best stretch of wrestling, and is the only full year of wrestling he had since 1992 (when the Rockers split) during his initial run with the WWF. He missed the fall of 1993 when he was “suspended,” he missed the middle of 1994 while recuperating from nagging injuries, he missed huge chunks of 1995 selling various injuries, he misses parts of 1997 when he “loses his smile,” and has his back stage brawl with Bret, and he career was put on hold in March of 1998. Owen was also coming into his own at this point. After an off and on 1995, he gets a really good push in 1996, and that push is pretty much sustained until his death in 1999. A really good match that featured nice wrestling and great drama and shows what Michaels was capable of when motivated and willing to do business back in the day. Grade: 4
*** Roddy Piper comes out to congratulate Shawn Michaels on his win, and emphasizes “There will be a winner” in the World Title match at Wrestlemania. Those words will haunt someone in that match, but more on that in our next review. ***
5) Bret Hart defeats Diesel (Kevin Nash) in a cage match to retain WWF World Title when Bret climbs out of the cage at 19:11
Fun Fact: This is the first World Title PPV cage match since Bret Hart beat Owen Hart at Summerslam 1994. It is also the fourth and last time Bret Hart and Diesel would square off on a WWF PPV. Bret won the series 2-1-1.
Scott: This is the fourth and final PPV meeting between Big Daddy Cool, and the Excellence of Execution. The final tally: 2 wins for Bret (Here, and the 1995 Survivor Series), one win for Diesel (by DQ at the 1994 King of the Ring), and one no contest (1995 Royal Rumble). This final match was not on par with the others, as Diesel seemed like he was going through the motions, but Bret could make a mop look good on his worst day. However, it still led to great psychology and storyline. Unlike Bret cage match with Owen at Summerslam 1994, which focused on getting out of the cage to win the title. Diesel focused on beating Bret up, and then getting out of the cage. It was so obvious Undertaker was going to interfere, as payback for what Diesel did to screw Taker out of the title at last month’s Royal Rumble. Sure enough, as Diesel was going out of the cage to win the title Taker would crawl out from under the ring, grab Diesel, and pull him under the ring through the hole he created. Bret would crawl over the wall, and retain his title. Once again another ending that made Bret look weak, and his fuse was getting smaller and smaller, seeing Shawn Michaels getting all the attention while his title matches were just stages for Taker and Diesel to screw with each other. It is evident that Bret was no longer Vince’s Flavor of the Month. It is unfortunate to call Bret a “transitional” champion at this point in time. In any case the stage is set for two huge matches at Wrestlemania. Grade: 3
Justin: This is a decent cage match, but no where near as good as their Survivor Series match. As Scott said, Bret had a very weird reign 3rd title reign during this time. After looking awesome at IYH#5 he is forced to carry Undertaker and Diesel, but for some reason he just wasn’t up to the task. I really think he was burnt out from going virtually nonstop since 1985 without much time off, a point that is evidenced by his long layoff following Wrestlemania. This match was mainly used to setup the Undertaker/Diesel blowoff and to firmly establish the Bret Hart/Shawn Michaels Wrestlemania Iron Man Match. The ending was really cool but the match itself was quite disappointing and nothing special and even tends to drag a bit in the middle. Grade: 2.5
*** After the match, Dok Hendrix interviews Roddy Piper, who announces Undertaker will face Diesel at Wrestlemania. ***
Scott: A pretty good show to prelude Wrestlemania XII. The storylines are subtly becoming more intriguing, more compelling, and worth watching. Shawn Michaels was finally reaching the levels he had dreamed of his whole career. Bret Hart was the champ, but it was obvious he was keeping it warm for HBK. Coming up is the Wrestlemania that would end the era of mediocrity and boredom. The roster was starting to switch from the old guard of 92-95 to a newer, fresher feeling with even more debuts to follow. This show was a good indication of better days ahead. Final Grade: B
Justin: A decent set-up show as the build to Wrestlemania was on. Vince wanted to do a complete 180 from Wrestlemania XI, and his main idea was to focus the show on his stars: the wrestlers, rather than a bunch of Hollywood stars no one cared about. The storylines were definitely improving and the undercard was starting to finally flesh out, and by April the whole roster would seem new and fresh. In a way, this is the final show where the focus is on a number of the “old guard.” This was a decent show that helped to pave the way for the success of the future. I do recommend hunting it down just to see Owen and Michaels battle it out, as that is a true hidden gem on this mediocre outing. Final Grade: B-
MVP: Shawn Michaels
Runner Up: Owen Hart
Non-MVP: 1-2-3 Kid
Runner Up: Main Event