December 3, 2009
Matt Peddycord
The Powerdriver Review

WWF In Your House: It’s Time
December 15, 1996
West Palm Beach, FL
Memorial Auditorium

The current WWF champs were as follows:
World Champion: Psycho Sid (11/17/1996)
Intercontinental Champion: Hunter Hearst Helmsley (10/21/1996)
World Tag Team Champions: Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith (9/22/1996)

Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Jerry Lawler.

Free For All:
Earlier Today on Superstars, Bret and Sid got into a FIGHT outside the arena. What are Shawn’s thoughts on the matter? Whatever. Bret has told the world that if HBK ruins this match for him, that there will be HELL TO PAY! Shawn’s shaking in his boots over that one. He calls Bret stupid and obnoxious. Let’s get to some RASSLIN!

Salvatore Sincere (w/Jim Cornette) vs. Rocky Maivia – Free For All Match
Tom Brandi is Salvatore Sincere – an Italian character that feigns sincerity with the crowd. A few WCW fans might recognize him as Johnny Gunn. Notice that I said few. There’s also a little story that goes with this match. In a throwback to the day when wrestlers would show up in a promotion and a bunch of managers would offer their services to him, Rocky Maivia turned Cornette down because he’s not exactly a standup guy, so now Rocky must pay. Rocky counters all of Salvatore’s headlock takedowns with headscissors. Salvatore slaps him for it, then gets punched into the see-saw effect in the ropes. Rocky does those cool leapfrogs, but gets his ten-count corner punch shoved off for a flying clothesline. We split-screen to Paul Bearer, the Executioner, and Mankind to tell us what they will do to the Undertaker tonight. Back to the ring, Rocky makes his comeback and hits the RUNNING SHOULDERBREAKER. He goes for the cover, but Jim Cornette hops in the ring for the DQ. (6:02) Well they were certainly trying to impress by not settling for a rest hold match since its free TV. Not too shabby. *½

HHH/Mero video package is shown. That leads to Dok Hendrix getting an interview with Marc Mero and Sable. Wow, that was awkward.

Onto the PPV!

Flash Funk vs. Leif Cassidy
For the kids out there, this is Al Snow vs. Too Cold Scorpio. Flash Funk is basically the Godfather character who calls his girls the Funkettes instead of hos. Vince gets a little funky while JR feels embarrassed for him. I think Vince thinks ‘funky’ is a funny word. As for Cassidy, Marty Jannetty got fired by the WWF for the fifteenth time in ten years, which forces Cassidy to go on his own. Armbars and hammerlocks to start. Flash overshoots a crossbody out of the corner, but still gets two off that. Funk tries a headscissors out of the corner, but Cassidy blocks and drops Flash on his face! Cassidy grabs Flash for his signature arm trap headbutts and then launches Flash to the floor with an overhead suplex. Awesome. Cassidy one-ups his game with a springboard somersault plancha and then runs Flash down with a clothesline. Back in, Flash comes back with the Flip Flop and Fly. I guess Flash is getting ‘funky like a monkey’? Cassidy cuts him off with a sitout spinebuster. Delayed cover gets two. Whoa, Cassidy applies the Dragon Clutch! Low-Ki in da HOUUUUUSEEE. That doesn’t get the submission, so Cassidy goes for a springboard moonsault and misses. Flash knocks Cassidy to the floor with a handspring kick to the head! PLANCHAAAA. Back inside, Flash hits a beautiful moonsault for 1-2-NO! Nearfall sequence occurs. Funk ends that with a jumping enziguri and then hits the 450 SPLASH for the win. (10:35) Very different style of match than the WWF fans were used to seeing at the time in that it was almost ECW-like with all the high-risk moves. ***½

WWF World Tag Team Champions Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith (w/Clarence Mason) vs. Razor Ramon II & Diesel II
There were other things going on between Owen and Davey Boy than just having to worry about the fake Razor and the fake Diesel. Owen had recently tried to help Steve Austin Pillmanize Bret’s leg, but Bulldog had an issue with this and got nailed with a steel chair by Stone Cold for running his mouth. By the way, the fake Diesel is better known as KANE! The fake Razor Ramon is nobody important. I think it’s kind of cool how most of Diesel’s moves were incorporated into the Kane moveset (side slam, powerbomb, jumping elbow drop). During an Owen Hart-Diesel exchange, JR makes the comment that these guys aren’t 45-50 years old. They aren’t bald and they don’t have any artificial body parts. Obviously a huge dig at Hogan and Piper over at the Dubya See Dubya. To be fair JR, at the time Hogan was only 43 and Piper was only 42! Moving on. With there being a relationship between the WWF and AAA, Cibernetico and Pierroth Jr. come down to ringside to try and rile up Owen and Davey Boy. Nobody knows who they are, but they will be competing in the Royal Rumble anyways. The action is pretty dull until Stone Cold shows up at ringside. Bulldog spots him and they get into a big brawl until WWF security takes Austin to the back. Back to the match, Owen nails Razor with a missile dropkick, but then Diesel pulls the top rope down and Owen falls to the floor and gets backed into the ringpost. Owen plays “favored-in-peril” for a while. Enziguri to Diesel sets up the HOT TAG TO DAVEY BOY! Big slam and the Stalling Suplex gets two. It breaks down as Owen and Diesel head to the floor. Diesel eats the post while Razor slips out of the RUNNING POWERSLAM. He goes for the RAZORS EDGE, but Owen spinning heel kicks him away as the Bulldog rolls into the jackknife cover for the 1-2-3. (10:46) Pretty dull formula tag outside of Austin’s involvement, but I did like the finish. Since these are JR’s guys, he cries that Owen isn’t legal and the count shouldn’t have been made. Speaking of Austin, he runs back down and clips Bulldog from behind just for giggles. **

Vince McMahon brings out Ahmed Johnson. Because of the kidney injury, he’s lost everything! Leave it to Ahmed to tell the truth about our health care system. Also, he can’t wait to return at the Royal Rumble to destroy Faarooq for all he’s done to him. Faarooq and the Nation of Domination show up in the crowd. He calls Ahmed an Uncle Tom. Faarooq HAAAATES Uncle Toms. I love how he hates white people, yet half of the Nation of Domination (PG-13 and Crush) at this point were white dudes. Ahmed has but one thing to say in response – YOU’RE! GOING! DOWN!

They replay the HHH/Mero video package.

WWF Intercontinental Champion Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Marc Mero (w/Sable)
Anybody know if this is the first time HHH used ‘Ode to Joy’ as his entrance music? They have some trouble connecting with some feeling out stuff, but then they head to the floor. Mero catches himself on the apron and flies onto Hunter with a double sledge. Back in, HHH stops a ten-count corner punch with a hotshot. Helmsley goes for the Pedigree near the ropes, so of course Mero backdrops him to the floor. HHH uses Sable to get in the way to cheapshot Mero. Hunter sends Mero into the steps and brings him back inside for a backbreaker. Wow – Triple H just gave Mero a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker! Who does he think he is? Sable cheers Mero on to get out of an ab stretch. Hunter tries to see how far he can push ref Earl Hebner around and gets shoved back into the corner for a tongue lashing. Mero makes a flying HHH eat a boot on the way down. Knee lift and the Tilt-A-Whirl headscissors gets two. Mero punches Hunter up top and brings him down with a hurracanrana. He goes up for the Wild Thing, but Helmsley shoves Hebner into the ropes to crotch Mero. HHH wants that Pedigree, but this time Mero catapults Hunter into the corner for two. Merosault gets 1-2-NO! Down goes the ref thanks to Mero. Hunter finds his IC belt, but can’t hit Mero in the face with it. HHH ducks the LEFT HOOK, but Mero flips out of a back suplex into the rolling clutch. No ref! Mero whips HHH in for the Harley Race corner bump as he flies to the floor. That sets him up for a somersault plancha from Mero. Here comes Goldust! He picks up the IC belt and WHACKS both Mero and Hunter with it! Since Mero was the first guy to get nailed, he makes it back inside before the ten-count to give him the win, but not the title. (13:10) Had a few problems getting started, but it picked up and turned into a really good match by the end. After the bell, Mero brings HHH back inside to give him the WILD THING. The beatings are still not over. As Hunter heads to the back, Goldust comes out and attacks him some more! ***¼

We go to Dok Hendrix for an interview with the WWF champ Psycho Sid. They show the fight again between he and Bret from Superstars. While he’s pulled away by WWF security, Sid breaks away and knocks Bret down from behind. It becomes important later. Sid connects the logic that because Shawn beat Bret and he beat Shawn, that the outcome of this match is simple – Sid beats Bret.

UT-Mankind-Executioner feud video recap.

The Undertaker vs. The Executioner (w/Paul Bearer) – ‘Armageddon Rules’ Match
This is just Texas Death Match rules with a fancy name. There’s no DQ, no counts, and after you have been pinned or made to submit, you have ten seconds to get to your feet or you lose the match. Undertaker has little trouble at all with the Executioner (an unenthusiastic Terry Gordy) until Mankind comes out to make things 2-on-1. Even then, UT doesn’t really ever seem to be in trouble. They brawl over to the In Your House set where Mankind gets thrown through the window and back around through the door. It’s like the Shane-Angle King of the Ring street fight, only with less glass! They brawl back to the ring where WWF has to MACE Mankind down so they can put him in a straightjacket. While all that is going on, UT and the Executioner brawl outside where the Executioner gets rolled down a concrete hill into a pool. UT heads back to the ring to beat up Mankind while he can’t defend himself. Once Executioner makes it back to the ring dripping wet, Undertaker ends him with the TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER. That gets him the pinfall and the ten count to give UT the win and send Gordy out of the company. (11:32) Geez, what was up with Gordy here? All in all, Mankind really picked up the slack that Gordy left. *½

Dok Hendrix grabs a quick word with Bret Hart. Just as he’s in the middle of a sentence, HBK’s music hits and he can’t even finish his interview. Bret’s always getting screwed!

WWF World Champion Psycho Sid vs. Bret Hart
Shawn Michaels joins us for color commentary. In retaliation of what happened earlier in the day, Bret attacks Sid from behind right at the bell. Bret continues to ground Sid and work him over with elbow drops and headbutts to the groin. We go to the floor where Sid peels back the ringside mats, but Bret backs him into the ringpost a couple times. Inside the ring, Bret stays on the back with a reverse chinlock. Bret goes as far as to expose the turnbuckle pad. When he can’t smash Sid’s face onto the steel turnbuckle ring, Bret settles for a back suplex for two. Russian legsweep gets another two. Suplex sets up a flying vertical elbow drop to the back for another nearfall. Bret heads up again, but gets caught and slammed down. Sid hits a powerslam, but misses a legdrop as Bret goes for the SHARPSHOOTER. Sid kicks him off to the floor. Hey wait a minute. Stone Cold Steve Austin sprints to the ring and clips Bret from behind! Owen and Bulldog head out for the save – or at least Bulldog is. Owen just tries to keep Bulldog off Austin. Back in, Sid sees Bret limping. You think he’s going for the leg, but nope. Sid stomps him and goes for the Snake Eyes on the exposed turnbuckle. Bret slips out and trips over Sid, but doesn’t eat the turnbuckle like he was supposed to. Looks like Sid didn’t go far enough towards the corner to me. They go for the same thing again and this time Bret eats the turnbuckle. Chokeslam from Sid gets 1-2-NO! They head back to the floor where Bret steals HBK’s chair. Sid thinks Shawn gave Bret his chair and pie-faces him down. Back in the ring, Shawn gets up on the apron to get at Sid. Meanwhile, Sid whips Bret into Shawn to knock him face first onto a chair! POWERBOMB! Cover, 1-2-3. (17:04) And Psycho Sid beats Bret. He tried to get a little story out of Sid by concentrating on the back, but Sid wouldn’t sell and Bret’s not a miracle worker. Bret vs. Vader – the original plan for the main event – would have been night and day better, but of course this is what we got instead. Afterwards, Bret pulls Shawn’s shirt over his head and starts beating the crap out of him. **

Final Thoughts: What a Russo-heavy show as most everybody had this ’shades of gray’ character developing. Some people were getting in their late hits after the match was over (Mero, Goldust) and everybody had an attitude that in some ways was completely unlikeable (Bret, Shawn), which goes against the standard thinking that everyone had to be either good or bad characters. It’s another interesting PPV where a plethora of asterisks may be lacking, but at the same time the matches weren’t terrible and all were quite entertaining for one reason or another. I’ll post the two ***+ matches on my VodPod over on the right hand side of my blog, but check out anything else that peaks your interest you on Dailymotion. Slight thumbs up for In Your House: It’s Time.

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